From his book, The Bruised Reed:
The Presence of the Heavenly Fire
- First, if there be any holy fire in us, it is kindled from heaven by the Father of Lights, who “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” (2 Cor. 4:6). As it is kindled by the use of means, so it is fed. The light in us and the light in the Word spring the one from the other and both from the one Holy Spirit….
- Secondly, the least divine light has heat with it in some measure. Light in the understanding produces heat of love in the affections….
- Thirdly, where this heavenly light is kindled, it directs in the right way. For it is given for that use, to show us the best way, and to guide us in the particular passages of life; otherwise, it is but common light, given only for the good of others….
- Fourthly, where this fire is, it will sever things of diverse natures, and show a difference between such things as gold and dross. It will sever between flesh and spirit, and show that this is of nature, this of grace….
- Fifthly, so far as a man is spiritual, so far is light delightful to him. He is willing to see anything amiss that he may reform, and any further service discovered that he may perform, because he truly hats ill and loves good….
- Sixthly, fire, when it is present, is in some degree active. So the least measure of grace works, as springing from the Spirit of God, who, from his operations, is compared to fire….
- Seventhly, fire makes metals pliable and malleable. So grace, where it is given, makes the heart pliable and ready to receive all good impressions. Obstinate spirits show that they are not so much as smoking flax.
- Eighthly, fire, as much as it can, sets everything on fire. So grace labors to produce a gracious impression in others, and make as many good as it can.
- Ninthly, sparks by nature fly upwards. So the Spirit of grace carries the soul heavenward and sets before us holy and heavenly aims. As it was kindled in heaven, so it carries us back to heaven….
- Tenthly, fire, if it has any matter to feed on, enlarges itself and mounts higher and higher, and, the higher it rises, the purer is the flame. So where true grace is, it grows in measure and purity. Smoking flax will grow to a flame; and, as it increases, so it discards what is contrary to itself and refines itself more and more.