Extracted from “Retracing and Renewing”
D. A. Doudney.
May 29 1833.Â—On Sunday week I heard a dear man of God (Mr. Warburton) preach such a sermon as was exactly suited to my case, from Isaiah, “For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Oh, how sweet was His discourse, wherein he spoke of the dealings of God with His ancient people, and also of his own experience of the Lord’s kind interpositions. I restrained my feelings till I could restrain them no longer. Every word spoke so to my heart, and carried with it such a deep conviction of my own ingratitude and unbelief, that it seemed as though my very heart would burst. Tears Â— not of self-love or pity, but of sweet contrition Â— flowed from my eyes. The house of God was indeed a Bethel; and, although I had two miles to walk in a shower of rain, it seemed as it were but a few paces! I was bathed in sweet sorrow; telling the Lord of His faithfulness. His kindness and love, and of my own ingratitude and rebellion. And not one fear or anxiety had I of His future faithfulness, and kind providential goodness. I could not bear to mingle with others under such sweet feelings, but would rather have continued in the fields, or in some secluded spot, that I might pour out my very soul before God.
Last Sunday morning, too, saw a sweet season, during a walk before breakfast, wherein I could bless God, as I looked around upon the beauties of creation, as they presented themselves in the calmness and serenity of a fine summer’s morning; and with which the word I was reading so accorded Â—”Blessed are they who dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee.” Oh, it is these things, and these alone, which can yield solid satisfaction, happiness, and peace. I have it by dear-bought experience and I pray that the Lord would
remember me, and cause me again to realize the blessedness of the man whose God is the Lord.
Sunday Evening, Sept. 8, 1833.Â—I have heard Mr. Gadsby preach to-day from those words in Micah: “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy,'” &c., from which he described the nature of the inward, as well as the outward, falls of the children of God; and truly to all of the former I must and do plead guilty; and, if sovereign grace does not prevent, I feel certain that I shall, ere long, to the latter also. O, that this may not be the case! I tremble to think of it. But the corruption that works in my heart from day to day, I fear will some day break out into action. May rich grace and mercy prevent
such an awful thing! What will become of me I know not! Certain I am that there is not a viler sinner in hell: and it seems to me that I have sin enough within me to damn a thousand souls, were it permitted to break forth. I have seen it this day to be a rich, unspeakable mercy that I was out of hell; and it seemed almost impossible that ever I could be rescued. My case appears to me to be more desperate than anyone else’s; and where will it end? It seems presumption in the highest degree, to think of ever being brought off conqueror and shouting, “Victory!” And, so far from asking temporal mercies at the hand of God, I felt I durst not; and I begged from my very heart that I might never again presume to ask for such a thing as a temporal blessing of God, as long as I lived; and as to the things which have lately occupied so much of my mind, it appeared to me only presumptuous to indulge in such a thought. I wondered that I was not cut down by the mighty hand of God, for my discontent and ingratitude. “Yes”, thought I, “if it comesÂ—if deliverance is brought to me, it must be immediately from a covenant God, and His name shall have the glory of it; but I’ll never again ask it.”-Â—Â—Â—But, my God, to whom can I come but unto Thee? I have NO refuge besides Thee; and I can but feel hope at this momentÂ—a hope with which I could not part for a thousand worlds. I can but hope that I shall yet say, Â“Though I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Let me learn, dear Lord, by the things which I suffer. Let me learn the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the depths of the riches of Thy grace. Let Christ become more and more my only hope; and let me be brought day by day to renounce my own righteousness, as nothing but filthy rags, and seek to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, so that I may be found without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Dearest Jesus, be Thou more precious unto me; and do Thou grant that the more I feel of my own inbred corruption, the more I may be led to Thee for succour and protection. Let me seek and find shelter under Thine own Almighty wings; and enable me ever to exercise hope in Thee! Oh, give me not over to the will of mine enemies, for they are stronger than I. Thou knowest that I have a sinful, hard, unbelieving heartÂ—a filthy, proud, and polluted nature, constantly prone to listen to, and desirous to embrace, the snares and temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Oh, then do show Thy mighty power in my deliverance! Get to Thy great Name glory in my salvation! Let me be another sinner saved by rich redeeming grace! Let Thy dear Name be once more magnified; and may I be brought finally to shout, “Victory, victory, through the blood of the Lamb!” Oh, may it be my happy experience; and may all these trials and exercises, which I feel within from day to day, be working for my good. May they be the means, in the hands of the blessed Spirit, of giving me to see more of my own emptiness and poverty; and causing me to feel more and more the need of the blood and righteousness of Jesus.