Until we are really humbled and brought down before God, with a view of His mercy and grace in Christ Jesus, we cannot bear to deal honestly with ourselves, or for others to deal honestly with us. It is our pride, our self-righteousness, our presumption, and our hypocrisy, our double dealing with God and our own consciences, which make us shrink from being searched by His Word and the light of His Spirit. As long as a man stands in his own strength or goodness, all the curses of God’s law strike at him as a sinner; but when he falls flat, as it were, on his face, confessing his iniquity, loathing himself in his own eyes for his baseness, and looking up in faith, hope, and love to the Lord of life and glory, as putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, then all the storm is ceased, and the blessings, promises, and mercies of the Gospel fall upon his soul like the still small rain and the refreshing dew.
And as these mercies enter into his heart, they bring forth in him every Gospel fruit spring up and grow in the heart which is truly brought down by grace (Galatians 5:22-24).
But I would say to you and to all my friends in the Lord, be not afraid of sinking too low in your own eyes. But covet above all things – covet earnestly precious manifestations of the Lord to your soul, sweet glimpses of His Person and work, and breakings in of the light of His countenance, and of what He is in Himself as the Son of God, and as the Mediator between God and men, the risen and glorified Intercessor, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.
The Lord means to teach us that grace is grace, and that we can be saved in no other way. When then we are being led down into these depths, there seems to be little before the soul but ruin and despair. It does not see that this sight and sense of sin is a needful preparation, to know what grace is and what grace can do; but when grace is manifested in its fullness and its super-aboundings, then the wonder is that grace so rich and free should ever be extended unto, or should ever reach, a soul so vile. . . .