Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger

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with unveiled face

It is now in the flow 10:04 AM Sunday morning. I want to quote Ralph Erskine's sermon THE SAVING SIGHT because it goes along with what I wrote when I was reading recently "Carthusian Spirituality: The Writings Of Hugh Of Balma And Guigo De Ponte" [The Classics Of Western Spirituality]. There is throughout the history of Christian Spirituality a common mystical experience of seeing spiritually the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul in Second Corinthians, "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" 2 Corinth. 3:17,18.

"This sight of Christ is supernatural. "How is the glory of the Lord seen, but by the Spirit of the Lord?" 2 Cor. 3:18. It is God that must bestow this blessing; flesh and blood cannot reveal Christ to a man: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned; but God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit," 2 Cor. 2:10,14-This sight of Christ is an amiable sight; for, "He is altogether lovely." This makes his tabernacles amiable, because they see the glory of God there; and every thing in God that they see is amiable; yea, you are not to think that the children of God see only one side of God, as it were, and not another. Though the Lord shews but part of himself at once, now a lesser and then a greater part of himself, yet it is not to be thought as if they saw but one side of God and not another, of if he shewed his amiable side and concealed his terrible side; no, that which is most terrible in God to wicked men, that is also most amiable and lovely in the eyes of the saints; for a God in Christ is all amiable. His power, greatness, and justice, which the wicked abhor, appear to them in excellent glory.-Again, the sight of Christ here is frequently interrupted, it is only in heaven that the saints have the uninterrupted vision and fruition of God, without any cloud to darken their day; but here, no sooner does the heart begin to open to Christ some time, than alas! he is gone: "I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone."-Again, this sight of Christ, however short and inconstant, yet it is always sweet and satisfying, sweet and ravishing: "His mouth is most sweet," says the Church; "O how sweet and satisfying are the smiles of hos mouth! it is enough to make a heaven in the soul. How sweet are the words of his mouth! sweeter than honey and the honeycomb." When he manifests himself in a word of grace, the sweetness is such, that all sweetness is but bitterness in comparison thereof. How sweet and satisfying is it when the day-spring from on high visits the soul, especially after a long dark night of temptation, and despondency, wherein the soul thought that God had forgotten to be gracious and would never return. When the Sun of righteousness breaks out below the black clouds, even of sin and provocation, when the soul now sees the power and glory of God in the sanctuary, how is it satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and the mouth praises him with joyful lips!

Again, this sight of Christ is convincing, powerfully convincing; it carries so much evidence in it, as makes the soul cry out with Thomas, "My Lord and my God; He that believeth, hath the witness in himself." Surely we do not see Christ sleeping; nay, it is with open eyes and an open face: "All we with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." According to the measure and degree of the manifestation, it will have some evidence, even as a man seeing the sun, carries its own evidence along with it; though the sight be dark in comparison of what it will be, yet it is convincing in itself.-And it is convincing, so it is affecting. O! a sight of Christ is most affecting when it is a saving sight; it affects with reverence, therefore it is said of the disciples, when they saw him they worshiped him. It affects with joy: "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." It affects with holy fear: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead." It affects with wonder, and makes the soul cry out, "RABBONI, who is a God like unto thee?" It affects with self-abhorrence: "Now mine eyes see thee, wherefore I abhor myself." It affects with self-abasement: "O what am I, and what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" It affects with penitency and godly sorrow: "They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn." It affects with new vigour and courage: "They looked to him, and were enlightened, and their faces were not ashamed."" pg. 298,299 Ralph Erskine


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