10 DECEMBER (PREACHED 1770)
Caution in speaking of experiences
‘And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.’ Mark 9:9–10
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Mark 9:33–37
One reason for secrecy is on account of their fellow disciples, lest they should be grieved and discouraged, as they probably would have been, for they, as well as we, had a mixture of self and were often contending who should be the greatest. I have found such an evil in my heart, that when persons on whom I could depend have been speaking of comforts and manifestations beyond the line of my experience, I have felt for the time an anger and enmity against them, and a repining of spirit against the Lord. Besides, I knew not but they would have absolutely disbelieved the relation. It was perhaps upon one or both these accounts, that when St Paul had been caught up into the third heavens, he kept it a secret in his own breast for fourteen years, and it would probably have died with him, if he had not seen his duty to mention it for the sake of the Corinthians. We have cause to be glad that their conduct made it necessary for him to relate it. From whence I would observe in general that there is a wisdom and caution to be used in speaking of our experiences—perhaps not all things, nor to all persons. We should endeavour to suit what we tell them of ourselves to what we judge is their state and attainment, lest we discourage when we would comfort and offend when we would instruct. So there are depths of Satan in a way of temptation which are not so fit to be told to young converts, unless we know they are led something in the same way.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak’ (1 Corinthians 8:9).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 13 [2/4]