“Jesus often met there with His disciples.” (John 18:2)
Would it not be well if disciples often met there with Jesus? Is there not, indeed, a sense in which Gethsemane ought to be regarded as the very oratoire of the Church, the closet, spiritually, where we may, with many precious aids to faith, pray to our Father who sees in secret and rewards openly, as we shall see He rewarded the Man of Sorrows?
One way of sin is exception enough against the man’s salvation. Though the sin that he lives in be but small: such persons will not be guilty of perjury. stealing, drunkenness, fornication; they look upon them to be heinous things, and they are afraid of them; but they do not much matter it, if they oppress a little in a bargain, if they commend a thing too much when they are about to sell it, if they break a promise, if they spend the Sabbath unprofitably, if they neglect secret prayer, if they talk rudely and reproach others; they think these are but small things, if they can keep clear of great transgressions, they hope that God will not insist upon small things. — But indeed all the commands of God are established by divine authority: a small shot may kill a man, as well as a cannon bullet: a small leak may sink a ship. The Way to Know Sincerity Hypocrisy Cleared Up
Ministers are set as guides and teachers, and are represented in Scripture as lights set up in the churches, and in the present state meet their people, from time to time, in order to instruct and enlighten them, to correct their mistakes, and to be a voice behind them, when they turn aside to the right hand or the left, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it;” to evince and confirm the truth by exhibiting the proper evidences of it.
When the Holy Spirit has convinced a
sinner of his being in this unrighteous state,
then it becomes an important inquiry — how
can the Judge of all the earth ever look upon
and treat a sinner, as if he was a righteous
person ? To which the gospel answers direct-
ly — " God hath made Christ to be sin for us,
who knew no sin, that we might be made
the righteousness of God in him.
I do believe, from soul experience, that one of the greatest, if not the greatest burden and trial to the child of God, is the daily, hourly, minutely, momently workings of sin. The adulterous eye, the roving heart, the defiled imagination, the constant stream of iniquity polluting every word and thought, every feeling and desire, is and must be a burden to the soul, just in proportion as the fear of God lives and works in a man’s conscience.
So you may hence learn the worthlessness of all your pains and endeavors after Christ. When sinners have taken a great deal of pains to get an interest in Christ, they are wont to make a righteousness of it; little considering that at the very time they are taking so much pains, they set nothing at all by Christ for any glory or excellency there is in him; but set him wholly at nought, and seek him out of respect to their own interest. Fourth, hence learn how justly God might forever refuse to give you an interest in Christ. For why should God give you any part or interest in him whom you set at nought, all whose glory and excellency you value not in the least, but rather trample it under your feet. Why should God give you any interest in him whom you so despise? Seeing you despise him, how justly might you be obliged to go without any interest in him! How justly might you be refused any part in that precious stone, whose preciousness you esteem no more than that of the stones of the street! Is God obliged to cast such a pearl before swine who will trample it under their feet? Is God obliged to make you possessors of his infinitely glorious and dear Son, when at the same time you count him not worth the having, for the sake of any worth or excellency that there is in him; but merely because you cannot escape hell without him?
We can have no greater evidence of a change in us from this state and condition, than a change wrought in the course of our thoughts. A relinquishment of this or that particular sin is not an evidence of a translation from this state; for, as was said, such particular sins proceed from particular lusts and temptations, and are not the immediate universal consequence of that depravation of nature which is equal in all. Such alone
are the vanity and wickedness of the thoughts and imaginations of the heart.