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"the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and join thyself to this chariot"; if “the Spirit said, Separate Me Saul and Barnabas," why may not the same Spirit speak to Christians to-day who are living under the same dispensation?

Catherine had at one time spent three days in a solitary retreat, praying for a greater fulness and joy of the divine presence. But instead of this, it seemed as though all the legions of darkness had been let loose in her soul, filling her with blasphemous thoughts and evil suggestions. waxed desperate, and she was sore pressed with fear, till at last the Saviour appeared to her and scattered the hosts of darkness and gave her deliver

ance :

The battle

"Now a great light seemed to descend from above, filling the place where she kneeled with heavenly brightness. The devils fled, and the Lord Jesus conversed with her. Catherine asked him, 'Lord, where wert Thou when my heart was so tormented?' 'I was in thy heart,' He replied. 'O Lord, Thou art everlasting truth,' she replied, 'and I humbly bow before Thy word; but how can I believe that Thou wast in my heart when it was filled with such detestable thoughts?' 'Did these thoughts give thee pleasure or pain?' asked the Lord. 'An exceeding pain and sadness,' she replied; to whom the Lord-'Thou wast in woe and sadness because I was in the midst of thy heart. My presence it was which rendered those thoughts insupportable to thee. Thou didst strive to repel them, because they filled thee with horror, and because thou didst not succeed thy spirit was bowed down with sorrow. When the period I had determined for the duration of the

combat had elapsed, I sent forth the beams of My light, and the shades of hell were dispelled, because they cannot resist that light'"*

For we


Here is a most vital lesson for believers. have not only a vivid illustration of the tender and gracious intercourse, which is possible between the saint and his Saviour, but we have also a salutary warning. The hour of holiest communion is not unlikely to be made the "hour and power of darkness," by the incursions of the Evil Spirit. sleepy and stupid Christian, baptized with "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," and living in fellowship with the God of this world, will not be greatly liable to assaults from the Evil One. It is those who strive for the highest consecration who will encounter the sharpest temptations. How instructive a lesson for us it is, that the first chapter in the Saviour's experience after His baptism by the Holy Ghost opens with these words, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted by the devil." Let not the Christian be surprised, therefore, to find his still hour disturbed by intruding thoughts and impudent suggestions of evil. The closet is the Thermopylæ of the kingdom of heaven; and he who with prayer and fasting attempts to take the kingdom by force, will find the spirits of evil massed there in strong † Luke iv. 2.

*"Catherine of Siena," 1347-1380.

array to resist him. Bunyan never penned words of deeper significance than when he wrote, "Then I saw that there was a way to hell even from the gates of heaven." But He whom we meet in the closet is faithful, "who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able; but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that we may be able to bear it."

With the closest access to God, will come the joy of the Lord, filling and overflowing the soul. This is the true reward and fruition of earnest communion, -a reward which is not to be sought as an end, but which will be certain to follow as a result. How difficult it is to persuade even Christians that joy in God is the only enduring and really substantial happiness. Many who truly love the Lord plead their right to temper and season their Christian exercises by worldly entertainment. We urge no ascetic rule here; only we wish to remind the Christian that the love of God is the only love that can never be inordinate the only love in which there can be no hurtful excess. In this respect it stands in total and unchangeable contrast to worldly affection. Read this confession of the brilliant Madame de Maintenon, which she makes to a friend. in the acme of her splendour : "Do you not see that I am dying with melancholy, in a height of fortune which once my imagination could scarce have conceived? I have been young and beautiful,

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have had a high relish of pleasure, and have been the universal object of love. In a more advanced age I have spent years in intellectual pleasures; I have at last risen to favour; but I protest to you, my dear madam, that every one of these conditions leaves in the mind a dismal vacuity." Turn from this beautiful court favourite to another French lady of the same period. Madame Guyon was the most despised and persecuted woman of her timehunted, derided, imprisoned, exiled. But writing of her spiritual joy at this period, she says:—

"The love of God occupied my heart so constantly and strongly that it was very difficult for me to think of anything else. So much was my soul absorbed in God, that my eyes and ears seemed to close of themselves to outward objects, and to leave the soul to the exclusive influence of the inward attraction. This immersion in God so absorbed all things, that it seemed to place all things in a new position relating to God. I could behold nought out of God; I beheld all things in Him."


Let us mark what the Scriptures say concerning those who are sealed—“ Ourselves also which have the first-fruits of the Spirit." "Sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance." This signifies that those who are filled with the Spirit already have foretastes of heaven, prelibations of the "pleasures for evermore which are at the Lord's right hand. If so, we need not speculate concerning the blessedness of the † Eph. i. 13.

*Rom. viii. 23.


redeemed. He who has the handful of first-fruits, knows what the harvest will be just as well as he will know when the grain has been reaped and gathered into the garner. The hearts of the redeemed above and below beat with the same impulse, and keep time to the same heavenly harmony. Why stand ye gazing up into heaven therefore, speculating with curious wonder concerning the bliss of the glorified? Put your ear to the heart of the saint in full communion with God, if you would know what the beatific joy is. Heaven is perfectly miniatured, wherever you find a soul in perfect fellowship with the Lord.

We have spoken in another chapter of the gracious visitations of the Spirit enjoyed by President Edwards. These were attended by experiences of the most seraphic delight-experiences in which the weight of glory was such as to cause him to break forth into a kind of loud weeping," while he contemplated the character of God. Let us hear

his description of this divine enjoyment:

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"I found from time to time an inward sweetness that would carry me away in my contemplations. This I know not how to express otherwise than as a calm, sweet abstraction of the soul from all the concerns of the world; and sometimes a kind of vision or fixed ideas and imaginations, of being alone in the mountains, or some solitary wilderness, far from all mankind, sweetly conversing with Christ, and wrapped and swallowed up in God." *

* Edwards' Works, Vol. I., p. 16.

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