Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Heir of Heaven (Walking in Darkness) and the Heir of Hell (Walking in Light)

by J. C. Philpot

Part One – Introduction

“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow”—ISAIAH 50:10-11

THE WORD OF GOD appears to me to resemble a vast and deep mine, in which precious metals of various kinds lie concealed. The rocks and mountains and the general surface of the ground above the mine, every eye may see; but “the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places” (Isa. 45:3) that lie beneath, are known to but few. And thus many letter-learned professors and wise doctors may understand the literal meaning of the Scriptures, and explain very correctly the connection and the historical sense of the text, who are as ignorant of the rich vein of experience that lies beneath the surface of the letter, as the mules in South America are of the nature and value of the silver which they draw up from the bottom of the mine. “Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it...The stones of it are the place of sapphires, and it hath dust of gold. There is a path [that, namely, which lies through the mine] which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye [that is, the keen-sighted, but unclean professor: Lev. 11:13-14; Isa. 35:8] hath not seen” (Job 28:1,6-7).

In this deep mine do God’s spiritual labourers work, and as the blessed Spirit leads them into different veins of experimental truth, they bring forth “the precious things of the lasting hills,” to the comfort and establishment of His people. Thus, to one of Christ’s ambassadors is given a clear light upon the doctrines of grace, which have been riveted in his soul, and a door of utterance communicated to set them forth with unction and power. On another sent servant of the Lord is bestowed a divine acquaintance with the depths of his own inward depravity, under which he groans, being burdened, and a tongue like the pen of a ready writer to unfold the secret recesses of a deceitful and desperately wicked heart. Whilst to another spiritual labourer is given a heavenly light into the difference between natural and supernatural religion, and utterance bestowed to open up the various delusions whereby Satan, transformed into an angel of light, deceiveth the nations.

According, then, to the line which God the Holy Ghost has distributed to each of His own sent servants (2 Cor. 10:13,16), does He usually lead them to such parts of the Word as fall in with their own experience, and shine with the same light that has shone into their souls. Thus, they “see light in God’s light,” and as the blessed Spirit of all truth is pleased to shine upon a text, a peculiar light is thrown upon it, a peculiar entrance is given into it, a peculiar unction and savour rests upon it, a peculiar beauty, force, truth and power seems to shoot forth from every part of it, so that every word appears dipped in heavenly dew, and every expression to drop with honey.

Whenever a text has been thus opened to me, I have seen a ray of light shine as it were all through it, and it has seemed clothed with divine beauty and power. The words have perhaps been in my mind for days and have been bursting forth continually from my lips. I have seen a fulness and tasted a sweetness in them, which carried with it its own evidence, that they were the words of the ever-living God; and when I have gone with them into the pulpit, I have usually had a door of utterance set before me to unfold what I have seen in the text, and power has generally accompanied the word to the hearts of God’s people. Whilst at other times, and those much more frequent, the same text, as well as every other, has been hidden in darkness, and I have groped for the wall like the blind, and groped as if I had no eyes.

But if my eyes have been opened to perceive anything aright, or to see wondrous things out of God’s law, it is, I believe, to discover somewhat of the difference between natural and spiritual religion. And thus, as you have probably perceived, I find myself led from time to time to speak from such texts as that which I have read, in which the strong line between what is of God and what is of man , what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh , is clearly drawn.

In the two verses of the text, we find two distinct characters traced out by the hand of the blessed Spirit—the one, a child of God ; the other, a child of the devil. The one an HEIR OF HEAVEN; the other an HEIR OF HELL. One of these characters is said “to walk in darkness, and to have no light;” the other, “to compass himself about with sparks of his own kindling.” One is encouraged “to trust in the name of the LORD, and to stay upon his God;” against the other it is threatened that “he shall lie down in sorrow.”

Now I by no means assert that the one character represents all the family of God, any more than that the other character represents all the offspring of Satan. But it has pleased the blessed Spirit to bring together two opposite characters, to set them side by side, and so place them in strong contrast with each other. And thus I feel myself led to unfold as God shall enable me, these two different characters: first, because I believe the one represents the experience of many children of God during well-nigh the whole, of some during a part, and of all during one period or other of their spiritual life; and, secondly, because I believe the other character traces out the beginning, middle and end of thousands of dead professors in the present day.

But as none can reasonably object, if I describe a character, to my giving him a name, that we may know him again, I shall call the one THE HEIR OF HEAVEN WALKING IN DARKNESS, and the other THE HEIR OF HELL WALKING IN LIGHT.

Look for Part One of this great sermon next week.

Bro. Pat


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