A Second Conviction
The below is an extract from the memoir of Joseph Hatton who was editor of the Gospel Standard magazine for two short periods and a shepherd of Christ’s flock in Redhill, England. This brother had been greatly blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ, but he writes of a time when he felt the Lord withdrew; and for nine years he walked in a dark path, on the verge of despair. In our times what is evidently the firey darts of the enemy of our souls is referred to as obsessive compulsive disorder. Intrusive thoughts are common to all the saints with the hope, I am convinced, that the wicked one may gain a stronghold in the mind in order to render the saint useless in the service of God, and I hope this short testimony greatly helps and encourages the brethren. Joseph Hatton felt he had almost given up hope of seeing the face of the Lord Jesus any more, but God in His great mercy delivered him from this state of mind.
After this long, dreary season, the Lord commenced a second conviction; but not like the first. This was a conviction of my utter helplessness to serve God apart from His power. I was convinced that sin could and would overcome the strongest, if suffered to do so. Here I saw that power belongeth to God, and to Him only. It appeared now as though the very belly of hell was opened up against everything that was godly within me; and awful floods of blasphemy were poured into my mind, so that I dared not read the Bible. Great fears of death followed me night and day, until I was afraid to move about, lest I should meet with something to put an end to my useless life. In this way I went on for some considerable time, when at length these words were savingly applied: “Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”
I now felt that I had not only passed through death in the law in my former soul trouble, and a deliverance from it, but this blessing had caused me to pass through death to all hope in self, in a gospel point of view, and that is was impossible to form resolutions, or even think a good thought, apart from the entire grace of God.
Henceforth I have been made to depend on Him who is able to save, which dependence has been tried again and again; and sore conflicts have succeeded each other until desperation has called for rebukes and stripes from God. Then He has sent His Word and healed me.