The Lord does not bring his poor and needy children to a throne of grace, and send them away immediately they have come. But his purpose is, to shew them deeply what they are, to make them value his favours, to sink them lower and lower in self, that they may rise higher and higher in Christ, to "teach them to profit" (as the Scripture speaks), to write his laws upon their hearts in lines of the Spirit's drawing, in deep lines, "graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever;" not characters traced out in the sand, to be washed out by the rising tide, or effaced by the wind, but in characters as permanent as the soul itself. The work of the Spirit in the hearts of the redeemed is radical work, work that goes to the very bottom; nothing flimsy, nothing superficial, nothing which can be effaced and obliterated springs from him, but that which shall have an abiding effect, that which shall last for eternity.
The Lord is fitting his people for eternity, and therefore his work in them is thorough work; it goes right through them; it leaves nothing covered up and masked over, but turns all up from the very bottom, "discovering the foundation unto the neck" (Hab. 3:13), and doing in a man spiritually what the Lord threatened to do in Jerusalem literally, "I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down" (2 Kings 21:13). Therefore he does not answer the prayers of his children immediately when they come to his throne of mercy and grace, but rather he deepens those convictions that he has implanted; he makes the burdens heavier that he has put upon their back; he hides himself instead of discovering himself, and draws back further instead of coming nearer. Now this is intended to make them wait with greater earnestness, with more unreserved simplicity, with more absolute dependence upon him and him alone to communicate the blessing, with greater separation of heart from all the strength of the creature, with a firmer resolution in the soul to cast away all its own righteousness, and to hang solely and wholly upon the Spirit's teachings, and Jesus' sweet revelation of himself.