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away my filthiness, and make me a fit messenger to this people!”

Thy sin is purged.] The children of God are a wonder to themselves, when that Spirit comes in that conquers and purges so suddenly and easily what they before groan under, and wrestle with very long to little or no purpose. It is a change of the right hand of the Most High, as the Latin reads that word in Psal. lxxvii. 10. I said, This is my

infirmity, but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High; mutatio dextræ. Excelsi: a touch of that will cleanse and heal; the all-purifying virtue of his Spirit, whereof this baptism of the prophet's lips was a symbol, takes away the dross, which by other means than that fire cannot be purged: so in metals much pains may be taken, and strength of hand used with little effect, at most that does but scratch the superficies, makes the outside a little bright and shining, but severs not the dross from within ; that cannot be done without fire. Have we not found how vainly we attempt, while God withholds his hands ? yea, while a man fancies self-pureness, he is the more impure, as Job ix. 30, 31. If I wash myself with snow-water, and make myself ever so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine owen clothes shall abhor me : therefore prayer is the great resource of a soul under a sense of uncleanness, begging a new creation; so it is indeed; Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me"; following God with this suit, and resolving to follow himn till he grant it; for we well know he is able, and may say, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

This fire hath two effects; it works purity and activity, it takes away sin, and puts in spirit and life for obedience; and so here, ihy sin is purged; and then, says be, Here am I; send me : and the former is effectual towards the latter; the more the

* Psal. li. 10.

soul is cleansed, the more alive and able it is made for service. The purging out of those sickly humours makes it more vigorous and able, whereas they abounding, clog the spirits, and make the vital operations heavy and weak. A soul well cleansed from the love of sin and the world, and self, is in a healthful temper, and goes nimbly to any work; outward discouragements and difficulties are then nothing: a feverish distemper within, hinders and makes one lazy and unwieldy, unwilling and unable to labour; but that well purged and cured, he cares less for the hot weather without; strength of nature endures that more easily. Oh! how sweet to be thus acted by love! pure intention and desire of doing God service, and bringing him in glory! Other motives, or the mixtures of them, are base ; and though God may make use sometimes of such, yet he sees within, and knows what spring makes the wheels go, and he gives them their reward here, somewhat possibly of that they seek, (success, and credit, and a name), but the after reward of faithful servants they need not look for in that work; for they receive their reward, and can they expect more? Many an Here am I, comes from other incentives than an altar coal; and so they may burn and shine a while, but they soon consume and die out in a snuff; the heavenly altar fire alone keeps in, and returns to heaven where it was kindled.

There is many a hot furious march under the semblance and name of zeal for God, that loves to be seen, as Jehu", Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord. Such persons may flatter themselves into that conceit in the heat of action, to think it is for God, while he sees through it, and judges it. as it is, zeal for self and their own interest; and he gives them accordingly some hireling journeyman's wages, and then turns them off. But Oh! where the heart is purely acted by a desire of this glory, and seeks nothing else; for such remains that blessed

2 Kings x, 16.

word, Well done good and faithful servant, enter into thy master's joy.

This then, is to be sought for by ministers and eminent servants in public affairs, yea, by all that offer any service to God, a readiness from love; something of this there is in all that are truly his, though held down in many, and almost smothered with rubbish; and in these there is some mixture of flesh drawing back, The spirit is ready, but the flesh is weak, and a load to it

, hindering its working; and this strife is often found as a horse to an unskilful rider, at once pricked with the spur, and checked with the bridle: but where this spirit of love is, it doth prevail

, and wastes that opposition daily, and groweth in strength, more quick and ready, more freed from self, and acted by the will of God; attaining somewhat further in that conformity with heaven, where shall be no will striving but His alone, where those glorious bright spirits stand ready for all commands, that excel in strength, and employ it all to do his commandments"; and the more like them we be here, the more lively hope have we to be shortly with them, and to be wholly as they are.

Ver. 8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom

shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

This inquiry imports not a doubtful deliberation in God, but a purpose to send. He is represented as a king, advising with himself or council; and this is by some conceived as an intimation of the

mystery of the Trinity, as Gen. i. 26. And God said, Let us make man in our own image. Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? But were there not ready millions of these winged messengers ; what need then such a word ? True, angels were ready, but a man was sought; God, vouchsafing to send an embassy to men, will send one that might speak their language to them, and might stay and treat with them in a familiar friendly way, (an ambassador in ordinary to lie still and treat with them); and in this condescension much wisdom and love appears; he will take men subject to the like infirmities and pollutions with the people, as the prophet here acknowledges, but one purged from these pollutions, made holy, though not perfectly, yet eminently holy. This is very suitable, were not men invincibly obstinate, more suitable than that God should send by angels, that one of themselves should come and deal with men for God, and bear witness of this graciousness and readiness to forgive, so as to give himself for an instance of it, and say, "I have found him so." And they being changed and sanctified, show really that the thing may be done that it is feasible to sanctify a sinner; and so sinful men appear to be fitter for this service than embodied angels.

c Psal. ciii, 20.

I said, Here am I; send me.] What a blessed change on Paul cast to the ground! his own will was broke all to pieces, and now he is only for His service, whose name he so hated, and persecuted his servants; Lord, what wilt thou have me to dod? these are the very words and characters of a true convert, and thus the soul turned to Christ may in some cases doubt what is his will, but that once resolved, there is no deliberation whatever to do it or not. He says pot, if the service be honourable or profitable, that is, carrying worldly credit or profit in it, then will I do it; no, but whatever it is, if it be thine, and thou appoint me to it, here am I; and this makes the meanest work of this station excellent.

Then said I, here am I.] A strange change in the Prophet, even now an undone man, and here presently a ready messenger, and so turned an angel. Something of this most find that are truly called to this high work of delivering messages from God; sometimes a sense of pollution benumbs and strikes

Acts ix. 6.

them dead, and anon again, they feel the flame of love kindled with that coal, quickening them to such a readiness, and such free offers of themselves to service, as to those that understand not the reason of it, would seem presumptuous forwardness; and there may be in some minds, at one and the same time, a strange mixture and counterworking of these two together; a sense of unfitness and unworthiness drawing back, and yet the strength of love driving forward, thinking thus,

“ How can I, who am so filthy, so vile, speak of God? yet hath he shown me mercy, how then can I be silent?”

Send me.] Moses' reluctance, this same Prophet would have vented too before the touch of the coal, while he said, Wo is me, I am undone, or struck down, as the word may signify, cannot speak with such unholy lips of so holy a God. Isaiah cries out of polluted lips, as Moses complained of stammering lips; and this is fit to precede, first, a sense of extreme inability and indignity, and then, upon a change and call

, ready obedience. A man once undone and dead, and then recovered, is the only fit inessenger for God; in such an one love overcomes all difficulties without and within, and in his work no constraint is he feeling but that of love, and where that is, no other will be needed; the sweet all-powerful constraint of love will send thee all-cheerful, though it were through the fire or water: No water can quench it, nor fire out-burn it; it burns hotter than any other kindled against it; after the touch of that coal, no forbearing. (* But his word was in my heart as a burning fire, shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, I could not stay. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready-mind.) Yet, he says, send me; though he had so ardent a desire and readiness to go, yet he will not go unsent, but humbly of

a Jer. xx. 9.

bi Pet. v. 2.

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