« PrécédentContinuer »
with an almost endless succession of fleeting images.
This daily irruption of the enemy constitutes no small part of the Christian warfare. The believer feels greatly distressed, when his foolish heart thus wanders from its divine centre. At such seasons his language is: 0! that I were
near, and like my God!" But alas ! I groan being burdened. My heart is pained within me. I am almost tempted to conclude, that my experience of joy and peace is delusion.
If I be a child of God, why am I thus ? And yet, I cannot but feel some encouragement from the thought, that if I were under the absolute controul of natural corruption, I could not thus lament and mourn over its workings and deceits.
Why do I groan, being burdened, if I feel no burden? And if I feel my burden, who has given me this spiritual sensibility? I know that in a natural state, man can neither mourn over, nor feel the weight of spiritual evils; it being one of the marks of unregeneracy to grow in love with, rather than groan under, sin.
If I am daily anxious to possess the spirit of prayer, to be inwardly renewed in the spirit of my mind, to be more under the influence of filial love and filial fear, may I not hope that a God of grace has indeed drawn me by his loving-kindness, and loved me with an everlasting love ?
Delightful thought! Is it too much to draw this happy conclusion? There is no merit in any creature, saint, or angel. The voice of sovereign grace is : “ I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy ; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
0! that I may be enabled by humble faith t) lie at the foot of the cross; and there to view, with growing delight, the never-ending wonders of redeeming love! Such are the feelings of every true believer.
Lord, bestow upon me this blessed spirit of prayer. Preserve me from the incursions of the enemy, from the wanderings of my wayward heart. Take the world out of
affections. Let not its image be painted upon my imagination. But let thine own image be deeply engraven on my soul.
As we cannot live naturally without air, neither can we live spiritually without prayer. The latter is as necessary to the soul, as the former is to the body. A prayerless person is a Christless person. Living without God in the world, he must die without hope.
The natural heart dislikes prayer, because it requires a frame of mind quite opposed to its corrupt views and feelings.
If we feel an inward dislike to secret prayer; or if, when we pray, our hearts are habitually cold, and distracted by worldly cares and sinful imaginations; we cannot have a clearer proof of our being carnally-minded, which is death.
To pray aright, we must see our wretchedness, we must feel our misery, we must acknowledge our guilt, pollution, and helplessness, we must lie at the foot of the cross, plead in faith the merits of a crucified Saviour, renounce our own righteousness, supplicate forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, implore the gift of the Holy Ghost, hunger and thirst after righteousness, and pour out our souls in grateful acknowledgments for redeeming grace.
Now all this is contrary to the natural man. It was therefore no small mark of Saul's conversion, when Jesus said to Ananias : “Behold he prayeth.
What an exalted privilege is prayer! How precious is the throne of grace! And yet,
“ What various hindrances we meet,
There is even in the believer a painful backwardness at times to approach that throne, on which his Father sits in the mild radiance of covenant love. Yea, even in his happiest moments, when with filial confidence he draws near the mercy-seat, the artful enemy will labour hard to impede him in his work, and tempt him to give up the present duty; well knowing that every relaxation in duty is a weakening of principle.
When such assaults are violent, the heart is grieved, and the believer is greatly discouraged. But if he really loves the exercise of prayer, and seeks opportunities for holding communion with God, although much hindered by foolish, wandering, hated thoughts; let him not bé induced to abandon the sacred work, which would only give the tempter an advantage over him.
When Satan casts his fiery darts, then must the soldier of Jesus Christ hold up “the shield of faith," and wield the weapon of "all prayer;" being assured that, in spite of every opposition, victory shall be the glorious result.
The divine command is, “ Go forward." So did the Israelites when the Red sea was before them, and the Egyptians behind them. Through the power of Jehovah, the mighty waters divided; a way was made for his ransomed to pass over; and they sang the high praises of their Redeemer, whilst their enemies lay dead upon the sea shore.
“ So let all thine enemies perish, O! Lord: but let them that love thee, be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might."
“ Happy art thou, O! Israel: who is like unto thee, O! people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency ! The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, destroy them."
Yes! all the spiritual enemies of the true Israel shall sink as lead in the mighty waters, in that day, when Satan and his rebellious angels shall be cast into the lake of fire, never more to harass the glorified church of God, which shall shine as the sun for ever and ever!
I desire, I long, I pray to be thine, O blessed Jesus ! a member of thy mystical body-a sheep of thy pasture.
Almighty Saviour! grant unto me the spirit of prayer, that with my whole heart, I may lift up my soul unto thee. Open my understanding to understand the Scriptures. Incline my will to choose those things which are pleasing unto thee. Fix my affections upon thyself, all precious Redeemer. Sanctify my imagination; store my memory with spiritual treasures ; sprinkle my conscience with thy pardoning blood ; cover me with thy justifying righteous
Come and dwell, O! divine Saviour, in my heart by faith. Make my body the temple of the Holy Ghost; impress thy divine image on my soul. Preserve me from the power and pollution of sin; the snares and wiles of Satan; the love and influence of the world : shed abroad thy love in my heart; stablish me in the faith of the Gospel. May I ever receive thee in all thy glorious offices and characters as my only, my complete salvation.
Give me grace, O! blessed Jesus, to believe in the dignity and majesty of thy person, as the eternal word, the everlasting Son of the Father, of equal power, glory, and eternity with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
May I behold thee with admiring love and gratitude as the virgin's Son, lying in the manger; taking upon thee my nature; that so being God and
man in one Christ, thou mightest satisfy eternal justice, and bring in everlasting righteousness.
0! may I contemplate with mingled feelings of grief and joy, thine agony and bloody sweat, thy cross and passion, thy precious death and burialwith grief, when I reflect on sin, my own sin, which nailed thee to the accursed tree-with joy, when I meditate on thy dying love; a love which angels cannot fathom; a love, which fills the bright intelligences above with wonder and delight; a love, which fills each humble soul on earth, with gratitude and praise
Jesus! I would-oh! that in the humble confidence of faith, I may say, I do-receive thee as my only, my beloved Saviour !
Impart unto my soul this spiritual, this practical, this experimental knowledge of thyself, who art the light of the world, and the wisdom of thy people.
0! wash my guilty soul in thy cleansing blood, thou, who art the bleeding, propitiatory sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
Now that thou art ascended up on high, and hast entered into the holiest of all, plead the cause of a poor wretched sinner, who looks unto thee as the Lord my righteousness - my great Melchisedec. Exert thy regal power in my soul, thou king of saints, and destroy all thine enemies and mine. Subdue every
rebellious inclination of my heart, which opposes itself to thy will. Bring all my powers into subjection to thy divine authority; and sit upon
the throne of my heart, the Lord of every motion there.
O! may I delight in the contemplation of those soul-reviving characters which thou sustainest in the covenant of
grace. Thou art the Redeemer, Mediator, Justifier, Surety, Advocate and Purifier of thy people; their friend, and counsellor, their shepherd and guide; their husband and guardian.