“Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight;
yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
When poor Jonah spake these words he uttered them in the very bitterness of his heart; he felt that he was cast out of God’s gracious presence. But he must have known something experimentally of the sweetness of God’s manifested presence; he must have tasted that heaven was in it, and that all his happiness centered there. He must have enjoyed this in order to know if God’s presence were not felt in the soul, there was but one barren scene of gloom and death; and that to be “cast out of his sight” was the commencement of hell upon earth.
Now here a living soul differs from all others, whether dead in sin, or dead in a profession. The persuasion that in God alone is true happiness; the feeling of misery and dissatisfaction with everything else but the Lord, and everything short of his manifested presence, is that which stamps the reality of the life of God in a man’s soul. Mere professors of religion feel no misery, dissatisfaction, or wretchedness, if God shine not upon them. So long as the world smiles, and they have all that heart can wish, so long as they are buoyed up by the hypocrite’s hope, and lulled asleep by the soft breezes of flattery, they are well satisfied to sail down the stream of a dead profession.
But it is not so with the living soul; he is at times panting after the smiles of God; he is thirsting after his manifested presence; he feels dissatisfied with the world, and all that it presents, if he cannot find the Lord, and does not enjoy the light of his countenance. Where this is experienced, it stamps a man as having the grace of God in his heart.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869