Page images

be daily transgressing. I am surrounded with mer, cies, but I can take comfort in nothing, while God is offended. Was not Christ our passover, sacrificed for us? Was not he wounded for our transgressions, and! bruised for our iniquities ? Then, blessed Jesus, I look to thee, that thy blood, which speaks better things than that of Abel, may plead for me with the incensed Majesty of heaven, and cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. Thou gavest thy soul an offering for sin"; 0! let thy payment procure my discharge.”

Another says, “ Lord, let my corrupt dispositions be subdued. Thankful I am for a hope, that my former sins have been pardoned. But I want to be prevented from sinning again. I would not only have their guilt taken away, but their power also broken; that all inordinate appetites and affections may be brought and kept under, and not suffered to rule in my heart any more. It grieves me, that I should have any thing within me to hinder me in the way of holiness, or to entice me to do what is displeasing and dishonourable to God. Conscience makes opposition to those sinful inclinations. But this, alas! is too often ineffectual; and, through the surprise and violence of temptation, against my.will, I am hurried away. O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? Lord, I am oppressed, do thou undertake for me."

“ Lord, increase my faith,” says another. “ When I think of God's perfections and promises, and consider that all these are engaged to believers, I am ashamed of my own too frequent timidity. I grieve that I should be afraid of evil tidings, and that upon

[ocr errors]

every little alarm I should be so much cast down; as if I doubted whether God were able to govern the world in such times of general distraction and tumult. Lord help my unbelief; enable me to cast all my care upon thee, in full persuasion, that thou knowest how to make the wrath of man to praise thee, and to restrain the remainder of it, whenever thou pleasest.”

I presume not, Christians, to dictate your requests: every one has wants and wishes peculiar to himself, and willexpress them in his own particular way. But this I say, that it is well for all of us, that we have such a merciful and faithful High-priest to present and recomiend them to God. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace; but, at the same time, with the humility of the centurion, when he said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof.” “ Lord, we are not worthy," let us also say, “ that thou shouldst take the least notice of any of us; that thou shouldst hear one of our prayers, relieve one of our wants, or bestow upon us any one blessing.” But let us come too, with the centurion's faith, when he added, “ Only say, in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” Let us add, in like manner, “ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make us clean. Thou canst make reconciliation for all our iniquities; thou canst give ease to our troubled consciences ; thou canst subdue our pride, passion, sensuality, and worldliness; and thou canst fill us with joy and peace in believing. Yes, gracious Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst supply all our needs; and do for us exceeding abundantly above allthat we desire.”

[After the Administration of the Ordinance.]

[ocr errors]

Christians, you have been applying to Jesus, the compassionate physician ; and now let me request you to add this to the various petitions which you have already presented ; “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?”

You have prayed that your understandings may be enlightened, and has he granted your request? Have you had some new discovery of the truth of the gospel, some refreshing manifestations of the favour of God, and clearer views of your interest in the blessings of the unchangeable covenant ? Again, you have prayed that your sins may be pardoned, and has he granted this request? Has he said to you, “ I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions ; and will not remember thy sins ?” Again, you have prayed, that your depraved dispositions may be subdued ; and has he granted this request ? Can you now wrestle with flesh and blood, and even principalities, and powers; and resist temptations with greater vigour and success? You have also prayed, that the Lord would increase your faith ; and has he granted this request? Can you leave all your concerns in God's hands, with greater confidence in his wisdom, power, love, and faithfulness? Are those difficulties, which appeared like mountains, now dwindled into mole-hills ; and your unbelieving fears in a great degree dispersed ? I say, has God granted you all that you asked ? Surely, gratitude then should induce

you to inquire, 66 What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me?"

The two blind men whom Christ cured, were, without doubt, full of thankfulness and joy; and they felt their hearts so strongly attached to their benefac


tor, that they determined to follow him whithersoever he went. Surely we ought to feel, and act, in the same manner. If Christ has now cured or comforted us, let our lives be devoted to his service and honour: let us take his yoke upon us; and learn of him, whatever lesson he may think proper to teach

Let us imitate him in the meekness of his temper, and the holiness of his life : in his submission to God's will, and his zeal for his glory. Let us follow him cheerfully and fully, though he lead us to Gethsemane or Golgotha : for, if we partake with him in his sufferings here, we shall be richly recompensed when we are brought to his immediate presence hereafter.



LUKE XV. 23.

Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us

eat, and be


GRACIOUS Lord, is this the manner in which thou treatest thy undutiful children!

Is all this feasting and rejoicing, for the return of an ungrateful and rebellious prodigal ? Is not this the man, who, but a little while ago, weary of the restraints of his father's house, made that insolent demand, “ Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” Is not this he who spent all his substance in riotous living; and yet now is he received, and pardoned, and caressed, and feasted, with such unusual marks of tenderness and joy. The penitent himself did not expect so much favour. See there, how he stands confounded and silent; while his heart is bursting with remorse and gratitude, and he wants words to express the kindness of his father! What may we not hope for from one so abundant in mercy, who discovers no resentment, and utters no bitter reproaches, for the past undutifulness and extravagances of his penitent children?

The Prodigal intended to petition, that he might be taken into the number of the hired servants; and

« PreviousContinue »