“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“ —Psalm 139:23, 24
“He that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God”(John 3:21). This is an infallible touchstone of true conversion, given by the Oracle of truth. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). Sincerity may be attended with diffidence. Sincere upright souls know they have to do with a heartsearching God: to him they appeal, and desire to be searched and tried by him. What avails the soul, to obtain a favourable opinion from our vain fellow-mortals, if we are conscious all is not right within! What peace, what comfort, what joy, though men approve, and the soul itself be ever so confident, while conscience testifies my ways do not please the Lord, my walk is contrary to his will! True love to Jesus excites godly jealousy in the heart.
While in the flesh, we are ever exposed to deceit from a subtle foe, a deceitful heart, and an ensnaring world, yea and from false teachers also. Intricate paths may present- darkness may overtake— and Satan may thrust sore at the soul that it may fall, or be driven into byways of error and wickedness. Here is the wisdom and patience of saints when they cannot see their way, to cry to their guide. Jesus is the way, the only way, the way everlasting; in which the saints in all ages walked to glory. Faith in Jesus is inconsistent with every wicked way. Though in our present state there is no entire freedom from sin, which dwelleth in us; consequently no perfection in righteousness performed by us: yet the more we abide in Jesus, the closer we cleave to him, the more stedfastly we behold him, so much the more, through the grace of the holy Spirit, we shall be dead to sin, and alive to holiness. We shall experience the ways of wisdom to be “ways of pleasantness, and all her paths to be paths of peace” (Proverbs 3:17). This is the end of simple-hearted, sincere souls, in their appeals at a throne of grace, that “with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, they may be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
His spirit purifies our frame,
And seals our peace with God;
Jesus and his salvation came
By water and by blood.
O let thy grace surround me still,
And like a bulwark prove,
To guard my soul from ev’ry ill,
Secur’d by sov’reign love.
William Mason (1719-1791)
A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God