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The Great Controversy.

The Great Controversy.

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Published by glennpease
BY HENRY EDWARD MANNING, M.A,



JOB x. 2.

" Shew me wherefore Thou contendest with me."
BY HENRY EDWARD MANNING, M.A,



JOB x. 2.

" Shew me wherefore Thou contendest with me."

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 20, 2013
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08/31/2013

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THE GREAT COTROVERSY.BY HERY EDWARD MAIG, M.A,JOB x. 2." Shew me wherefore Thou contendest with me."GOD has declared so plainly, that He rebukes andchastens all whom He loves, that we can hardlydare desire to be free from chastisement. Much aswe shrink from the thought of God s heavy handcoming down upon our weakness, of the sharpnessof bodily pain, and of the anguish of affliction, yetwe must still more shrink from such words as, " If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons : for whatson is he whom the father chasteneth not ?" Better any thing than this. God is so divinely gentlein His visitations, that if a light stroke, even theshadow of His hand, will suffice for our sanctifica-tion, He will send no more. Happy and blessedare they whose conscience is so sensitive and tender, that a slight sorrow, or a soft smiting of His291 THE GREAT COTROVERSY. [SERM.rod, is enough to waken them into an eager andfervent desire of perfecting their conversion. Tobe easily awakened, and to open all the ear of thesoul upon a fainter call of His voice, is a great signof a state of grace. It is not, however, enough thatit be a prompt, unless it be persevering attention." When He slew them, they sought Him, and turnedthem early and inquired after God." 1 " But withina while they forgot His works, and would not abideHis counsel." 2When, therefore, we are in any way smitten of God, the first thing we ought to ask is, " Shewme wherefore Thou contendest with me." Somereason there certainly is : some special, and, by
 
His light, some discoverable cause.Let us take one or two of the commonest causesof God s chastisement.1. The first is clearly an unconverted life. Byunconverted, I do not mean the life of those, if such there be, who have never received the graceof God ; for in them it would be no special andpersonal sin, as it is in us, not to turn to God, because, without His grace, it would be for themimpossible. But who are they among baptizedChristians ? I speak, therefore, of those to whoman unconverted life is a special state of sin, because they have received God s grace, because1 Ps. Ixxviii. 34. 2 Ps. cvi. 13.XVI.] THE GREAT COTROVERSY.they are regenerate. This is the condition of greatmultitudes in the visible Church. They have received that thing " which by nature they could nothave." They have in them the gifts and power of a new life, of a life which should be always turningmore and more fully and intimately to God, untilit be altogether filled with the Divine Presence.But they hold these gifts in unrighteousness, andbring this spiritual power into the bondage of anevil or worldly will. Even in childhood, the sevendeadly sins often begin to wax strong, and to grievethe Spirit of our new birth. Then we proceed topositive breaches of God s law and of our threebaptismal vows ; the mind of the flesh outgrowsthe spirit, and gains an habitual mastery in thesoul. In this way a deceitful childhood growsup into a rebellious boyhood, and a stained andwilful youth, until the force of reason, and a fewremaining fears, make a sinner in his manhood toput on a seemly disguise over an uncleansed heart.And many there are who thus become in fact,though not by intention, hypocrites. Or to take afairer case. It often happens that men grow upwithout great and actual falls, and yet without anyreal knowledge of God or of themselves. The un
 
seen world for them does not exist. All qualitiespurely spiritual, and all realities of a holy life, areto them imperceptible. They have no sense forTHE GREAT COTROVERSY.them ; no eye, no ear, no spiritual capacity, byway of imagination or of sympathy. Such peopleare often among the most blameless of ordinaryChristians. They are upright, amiable, tenderhearted, full of fond affections ; within the instinctsof nature and of home, loving and beloved : but towards God they have little sorrow, little zeal, littlelove no fire of devout worship. Such people arereally unconverted. They are not yet turned toGod. The world hangs between them and theTrue Light, and they are dark in the whole disk of their spiritual being. We might take manymore cases ; but as they would be, for the mostpart, shades of these two kinds, what has beensaid will suffice. ow all of these have one thingin common. They are not conscious that Godhas a special quarrel against them. It is a partof an unconverted state to mask itself. It drawsan insensibility over the conscience and the heart." Ephraim hath grey hairs, and he knoweth it not."This, then, is one question to be asked when Godafflicts us : " Shew me wherefore/ Is it thatI am walking after the flesh, or after the world ?Is the grace of my regeneration supreme in mysoul? or have I served myself, and crossed theDivine intention of my baptism ? What was mychildhood, boyhood, youth ? What am I now ?What is my chief end in life, the current of XVI.] THE GREAT COTROVERSY. 29?my desires, the habitual inclination of my will?What is the world unseen to me ? what is myheart before God, and what is God to my soul ?Am I living for Him, moving towards Him, passing out of myself into Him ?" If not, this is thequarrel God has against you ; and He will not

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