« 上一頁繼續 »
In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me. Psal.
Ixxxvi. 7. God's answer: Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer ; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. Isa. Iviii. 9. The Lord is rich unto all who call upon him; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved — (this, to the comfort of the weak, is several times repeated in Scripture). Joel ii. 32. Acts. ii. 21. Rom. x. 12, 13, 19.-- Therefore when the righteous cry, the Lord heareth them, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Psal. xxxiv. 17. The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him. Psal. cxlv. 18. The prayer of a
righteous man avuileth much. James v. 16. O GLORIOUS promise ! how can God deny me any thing now that I
pray for He has passed his word for it; his Son has purchased it; the holy Spirit inspires the prayer ; the word holds it forth, and the prayer of Faith lays hold of it, and actually receives it. Prayer is the mouth of Faith. If thou wilt have much,“ open thy mouth wide, and it shall be filled.” Who then should not be stirred up to pray much! O what foolishness is this, that we have nothing, but may obtain all from God, and yet are so loth to pray much and pray right!
God knows the pains his servants feel,
"He hears his children cry ;
And, their best wishes to fulfil,
His grace is ever nigh.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. 2.Cor. v. 17.
LET no man be discouraged from coming to Christ, because he finds not in
himself that godly sorrow for sin, that ability to repent, that disposition of beart which he desires to have: we must first be in Christ before we are new creatures. This is a common fault among us; we would fain have something before we come; we think God's pardons are not free, but we must bring something in our hand; whereas the proclamation runs thus :
Buy without money;" that is, come without any excellency at all; because we are commanded to “
come, and take the water of life freely.' Therefore do not say, I have a fretful disposition, and a hard heart, and cannot mourn for sin as I should, therefore I will stay till that be done. It is all one: as if you should say I must go to the physician, but I will have my wonnds well, and my disease healed first. The end of going to Christ is, that this very hardness of thy heart may be taken away; that this very deadness of thy spirit may be removed; that thou mayst be enlightened, quickened, healed; that thou mayst hate sin, for he is thy physician; look not for sanctification; nor for genuine fruits of righteousness, till thy soul is united unto Christ by a living faith ; for it is faith that purifies the heart and works (i. e. produces good works) by love. Thou must first be in Christ, grafted into Cbrist by faith, before thou canst be a new creature.
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient ; all things are
lawful for me ; but I will not be brought under the power of any. 1 Cor. vi. 12. Many that are well affected to religion, and receive instructions of piety
with pleasure and satisfaction, often wonder how it comes to pass that they make no greater progress in that religion which they so much admire. Now the reason of it is, because religion lives only in their head, while something else has possession of their heart; and therefore they continue from year to year mere admirers and praisers of piety, without ever coming up to the reality and perfection of its precepts. If it be asked why religion does not get possession of their hearts ? the reason is, not because they live in gross sins of debaucheries, for their regard to religion preserves them from such disorders, but because their hearts are constantly employed, perverted, and kept in a bad state by the wrong use of such things as are lawful to be used; for our souls may receive very great hurt, merely by the abuse of innocent and lawful things. What is more innocent than rest and retirement? and yet what more dangerous than sloth and idleness? What is more lawful than eating and drinking ? and yet what more destructive of virtue than sensuality and indulgence? How lawful and praiseworthy is the care of a family ? and yet what so prejudieial as an anxious worldly temper? Reader, Follow the apostle, and beware of lawful things; keep thy heart free from the power of them.
O Lord, direct me in the use
Of things that lawful are ;
For lawful things may have abuse
And prove a fatal snare.
There are diversities of operations ; but it is the same God which worketh all in
all. I Cor. xii. 6. Some believers are remarkable for the strength of their faith in trials, even
unto death ; others for liveliness and activity in duty; others for wisdom, conduct, and prudence in temporals and spirituals; others for their zeal in defence of the truth; others for knowledge in the mysteries of truth; others for meekness and patience; others for outward usefulness; and some for an inward and spiritual life of communion with God. But all these are the various gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit dividing severally to every man as he will, and are given to profit withal, according to his place in the church, or in the world. My fellow Christians, Letys hence learn a lesson of forbearance to our brethren. It is not right to judge of another by thine own pattern. Art thou a warm and active Christian? Condemn not him whose endowments may be more placid and contemplative than thine. He who now creeps as a snail in humble silence, may, by one lift of Divine Power, be raised higher than thou art. The same may be said of other differences among the followers of Jesus : let us then no longer envy one another, or indulge a rash and censorious spirit; but rather covet earnestly the best gifts of meekness and love, and, by the help of Divine grace, faith, fully improve the talent committed to our trust, that each of us may receive that heart-reviving word,“ Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord !” There is a voice of gov'reign grace, Stretch out thine arm, victorious King, Sounds irom the Sacred Word;
My reigning sins subdue ;
And form my soul anew.
On thy kind arms I fall;
My Jesus and my All,
Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above. Jam. i. 17. READER, It is a point of the greatest importance for thee to know,
that every evil thing is of thyself, and every good thing of God; without faith' we cannot be saved ; but, saith St. Paul, Eph. ii. 8, “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” We are called upon to repent; but in Acts v. 31, we read that Christ is exalted at the Father's right hand, to be a « Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel.” We must be born again; but regeneration is wholly of God's will;
rn not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John i. 13. Saving knowledge is likewise the gift of God: “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven.” Matt. xiii. 11. Effectual calling is also of God's grace, 2 Tim. i. 9. , Justifia cation is of God's grace; we are justified freely. Adoption also is an act of grace; he vouchsafes that high privilege, not in common to all, but only to so many as he pleaseth. Perseverance in duty is also God's gift; for “ we are preserved by the power of God to salvation." Eternal life is also a gift; for “ the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ.” A right knowledge of these things, reader, will keep thee humble and dependent upon God; and not only dispose thee to give him the glory of his grace, but to seek to him diligently for it. Whate'er I have or may possess,
Comes from his bounty and his grace, It flows from God above;
And undeserved love.