« AnteriorContinuar »
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Resist the Devil, and
he will Aee from you. James iv, 7, 8. And thus the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous mun availeth much. chap. v, 16.
My dear soul, draw nigh to God in prayer, and he will draw nigh to thee; be instant in it, and the Devil cannot stand against thee; for prayers will drive away sin and Satan, as the wind drives the smoke before it ; it works wonderful great things, and will make possible what seemeth most impossible. If God has given thee some spiritual blessings already, this is an encouragement to hope also for that which thou lackest yet: therefore only pray confidently, and you shall receive evermore; for unbelief is the only reason that God cannot work wonders for us.
My God, I bow before thy feet,
Creatures with all their charms should fly
I live by the faith of the Son of God. Gal. ii. 20.
In spiritual things we are too often living upon Self. We seek in
frames, forms, creatures, and animal life, that inward peace and stability of mind, which is only to be found in the Redeemer. Outward duties are well in their place; but they have no divine life in themselves or to give. They are to be performed, but not trusted in ; to be used with grace, but cannot buy grace. They are as the scaffold of the building, a mean for carrying on the work, but not the end of the great design. In the power of Christ they are blessings; without it, they have no power.
The whole trust must be in Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life; without him prayers, praises, rites, and ordinances are carcases without a soul. Every performance of outward worship is so, unless the Saviour fills it with his divine spirit. Then it is we experience a communion of heart, a reviving of the soul after the adorable Jesus, and a delightful view behind the veil of cutward ordinances (such as no carnal eye can behold) manifesting the Lord in his goodness, beauty, grandeur, blessedness, and glory,
Nature has all its glories lost,
When brought before thy tlırone ;
No flesh shall in thy presence boast,
But in the Lord alone,
Tuke this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.
Exod. ii. 9,
As Moses was ordered to be saved by the most cruel enemy's daugli
ter, so Satan himself, even when he meditates our destruction, must be a mean of our life. See also Matt. xii. 48. Who is my mother, &c. Isa. viii. 10; and ix. 6. O Lord Jesus, if thou art a child born unto me, and I willing to receive thee as my Immanuel, thou wilt be my shield and exceeding great reward, and defend me powerfully against all my enemies. O my dear Saviour, if thou art mine, all is mine, even thy Father, thy Spirit, and thy heavenly glory; all accidients, all enemies must work for my good, and be instruments and ministers of my salvation. O that I may, trusting in thee, never fear any thing, but, thinking directly it is mine, may only make good use of every thing. Thus even the very worst would turn to my greatest blessing; and without it perhaps I should want as needful a thing as a mill or a ship does when destitute of wind and water.
My soul, survey thy happiness,
While the good Spirit shows us how
Speaking unto yourselves in psalms and hymns. Eph. v. 19. Teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns. Col. iii. 16. IF F We are obliged to promote the temporal good of our neighbour, how
much more the spiritual, by edifying discourses ! But how is it? The children of God, when a person visits them (says a certain divine) are sometimes troubled, and know not what discourse to enter upon: at last they begin an unprofitable discourse, or at least they suffer others to do it, and are silent at it. I will tell you what I have done in such cases: Í first prayed to God, saying;“ O good God, here I receive a guest, and having nothing to set before and treat him with, I pray " thee to give me the right bread for him ;" which the Lord was pleased to hear in such a gracious manner, that I could sooner enter into an edifying discourse. And thus we keep our conscience clean; and though perhaps the lips were frozen up at first, they are thawed and opened by prayer. Some foolish philosophers, to the great offence of others, mock at divine things, and even at prayer; as if we needed no other help than our own depraved reason and will. But what St. Paul says (Rom. i. 22) is fulfilled in them : -"Professing themselves “ to be wise, they become fools.” What will become of these poor scoffers upon their dying bed, and at the day of judgment! that they would take warning while it is time ! Now, if some proper hour appear,
But let the scoffing sinners hear Let none be overaw'd;
That we can speak for God.
Tell his disciples, and Peter (who was deeply fallen) especially. Mark xvi.
7. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
for the whole world. 1 John ii 1, 2. Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. Heb. xii. 12.
Hast thou been slack, unfaithful, and fallen away ? O poor soul,
thou art not to make light of it; but why wilt thou continue in thy fallen condition any longer and complain? Get thee up and ask pardon of Christ ; he is ready to forgive and receive thee again, like Peter, “having received gifts for the rebellious." Delay not to lay hold of thy ransom, which is greater than all the sins of the world'; nay, the ransom is paid for this very sin, and a pardon purchased by it already. Therefore sue it out and be not discouraged, nor listen to the temptation of giving up hope, and turning back to the world. The Lord even now reaches forth his hands to thee
anew by this very word; come, lift thyself up at it, and be careful for the time to come to be so much more cautious, humble, and gentle towards others; for a Chris, tian's foot may trip; but when recovered, it slides deeper into humility.
Salvation! O the joyful sound,
Bury'd in sorrow and in sin,
At Hell's dark door I lay;
'Tis pleasure to my ears ; A sov'reign balm for ev'ry wound,
A cordial for my fears.
To see a heav'nly day.