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12 January, 2014

The Spiritual Chase by J. C. Philpot

For My New Year's Resolution!

Father God, even though the future looks bleak and frightening I know you have a plan for my life. Strenghten me during the journey and help me not to be afraid or restless, knowing that you are sufficient. Mold me, hold my hand and walk with me Saviour.

To find out why this short prayer, read January 1 post)

This post below is an excerpt from the new uploaded Kindle 

"The Spiritual Chase "  by J. C. Philpot 

But HOW does the soul thus "follow hard" after the Lord? Chiefly in longings, breathings, earnest cries, and intense pantings after Him. The Psalmist has expressed this in one short sentence, and a most emphatic and beautiful one it is—"As the deer pants after the water-brooks—so pants my soul after You, O God." He there represents the hunted stag panting and thirsting after one refreshing draught from the water-brooks; panting as David himself once panted for the water of the well of Bethlehem, when he uttered that poignant desire, "O that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem!" Thus it is by the panting and longing of the soul after God in intense desire and vehement longings of the soul to enjoy His presence, that this "following hard" after the Lord is chiefly manifested.

And God's people know this experimentally. How many times do they stretch themselves on their beds, and pant after the Lord as though the last breath were going out of their body! How often, as they are engaged in the daily pursuits of life, is there a cry going up out of their heart after the Lord, pleading with Him, and telling Him that they cannot be satisfied without His manifested presence! How often, perhaps, when for some time you have felt cold and dead, a sudden spirit of grace and supplication has come into your hearts, that has vented and breathed itself forth in cries to the Lord! And thus your soul has gone forth with the most intense desire to enjoy the sweet manifestations of His Person and testimonies of His covenant love.

"My soul follows hard after You." The Lord (we would speak with reverence) does not allow Himself at first to be overtaken. The more the soul follows after Him the more He seems to withdraw Himself, and thus He draws it more earnestly on the pursuit. He means to be overtaken in the end—it is His own blessed work in the conscience to kindle earnest desires and longings after Himself; and therefore He puts strength into the soul, and "makes the feet like deer's feet" to run and continue the chase.

But in order to whet the ardent desire, to kindle to greater intensity the rising eagerness, the Lord will not allow Himself to be overtaken until after a long and arduous pursuit. This is sweetly set forth in the Song of Solomon (5:2-8). We find there the Lord coming to His Bride; but she is unwilling to open to Him until "He puts His hand in by the hole of the door." She would not rise at His first knocking, and therefore He is obliged to touch her heart. But "when she opened to her Beloved, He was gone!" and no sooner does He withdraw Himself, than she pursues after Him; but she cannot find Him—He hides Himself from her view, draws her round and round the walls of the city, until at length she overtakes, and finds Him whom her soul loves.

This sweetly sets forth how the Lord draws on the longing soul after Himself. Could we immediately obtain the object of our pursuit, we would not half so much enjoy it when attained. Could we with a wish bring the Lord down into the soul, it would be but the lazy wish of the sluggard, who "desires, and has not." But when the Lord can only be obtained by an arduous pursuit, every faculty of the soul is engaged in panting after His manifested presence; and this was the experience of the Psalmist, when he cried, "My soul follows hard after You."