“Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”
Malachi 2:17 “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” — Malachi 3:18.
TRULY God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. Thy people desire to set their seal to this, and to acknowledge that Thou art overflowing goodness. O Thou blessed God, Thou hast remembered both our temporal and our spiritual wants; Thou hast lifted us up from the gates of the grave, delivered our soul from death, our eyes from tears, and our feet from falling. Thou hast dealt well with Thy servants, O Lord, according to Thy Word. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, there is none that dealeth so bountifully; for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His thoughts above our thoughts and His ways above our ways. Our soul, therefore, blesseth God the Lord, and all that is in us is stirred up His holy name to magnify and bless. “Bless the Lord” is the utterance of our inmost soul this morning; “from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same let the Lord’s name be praised.”
And now, Lord, Thou wilt listen to us while we confess before Thee how unworthy we have been of all Thy goodness; for we are a sinful generation, even as our fathers were. We have sinned times without number, and even those of us who are Thy people, and have been born into Thy house, we have even more than others to mourn over our sin, for Thou hast made us more sensible of it, and we have sinned against greater light, which we do sorrowfully confess. Our sins of pride, of unbelief, of hasty judgment of Thy providence, our neglect of searching into Thy mind in the Word, our neglect of possessing Thy mind in our daily life, our transgressions and our shortcomings make against us a great list of accusations. But we bless Thee that they will not stand as accusations, for behold, none can lay anything to the charge of Thy people, seeing all was laid on Him upon whom the transgression of Thy people was laid of old by Thine own hand; and now, washed in His precious blood, and clothed in His matchless righteousness, we know that despite our faults we stand accepted in the Beloved, for which again we bless Thee. Deep down in our hearts shall, the song begin in humiliation of spirit because of our offenses, but it shall rise to the very heights of heaven while with exultation we behold how we are “raised up together and made to sit in the heavenly places,” and are presented in Christ Jesus “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.”
Lord, we desire this morning to contemplate with admiration Thy ways toward us. Thou hast put some of us into the furnace. There is no child of Thine but knows something of the heat of the furnace, and we perceive that Thou art as a refiner unto us, and that the fire is meant to consume our dross and tin, therefore do we thank Thee for it. For all the acts of discipline to which we are subject we, would praise the wisdom and the love of our divine Father. Thou wouldst not have us live in sin; sin is much worse than furnace work. All the trial in the world is not so hard to carry as a sense of sin. Lord, if Thou dost give us choice to keep our sins and to live in pleasure, or to have them burnt away with trial, we will say to Thee, Lord, give us the sanctified affliction, but deliver us from all the influences of sin, from every evil habit, from all the accretions of former sin, all the ore that is mixed with the precious metal, everything that diminishes the brightness of Thy grace in us, everything that keeps Thee from taking delight in us, take it away, we beseech Thee and if this life is to be to Thy people the crucible and the burning heat, even to a white heat, so let it be, so long as Thou dost sit at the furnace mouth to watch the ore that nothing should be lost. Oh, blessed God, help any of Thy children that are in the midst of the heat now. Let them see the Lord sitting near and watching, and let them feel perfectly at ease, because in His hands all things must be well.
And gracious God, we pray Thee, work in us according to the chapter we have been reading such a holy love to Thee, that we may render to Thee all that we have. We have sometimes said in our soul “Take not tithe, but take Thou all.” Keep us true to this. May we feel that we are “not our own but bought with a price,” and let this be no sentiment which ought to have power over us, but a real force which doth constrain us, because “we thus judge that if one died for all, then all died, and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them and rose again.” We do pray for grace that we may spend all our time, every faculty, and all that we possess in glorifying our Lord and Master amongst the sons of men in “Works which perfect saints above And holy angels cannot do.” This morning be pleased to accept the thanksgivings of Thy servants for any special mercies received, and especially of one who begs us to thank Thee for Thy grace and mercy extended to her and the fifty little ones with whom she was about to cross the sea. They went through fire and through water, but still Thou didst preserve them, and we pray God speed them on their way to the distant land, and bless that sister who spends her life in gathering the arabs of the street that she may take them to a land where they will be well cared for. Oh Lord, prosper her and all others that in any way seek the good of the poor and needy.
Bless, we pray Thee, all city missionaries, all visitors from house to house, all those who seek to reclaim fallen women, or waifs and strays among the children. Let the philanthropic work that is done in our city, ever be under Thine eye, and be upheld by Thy gracious hand. Our ragged schools, and especially our Sabbath schools, do Thou look upon with favor, and grant them ever to be a nursery for the Church of God. And the Lord bless all that in any way seek to make known the savor of the name of Jesus. Oh, give the humblest tongue that tells of Christ to speak with fire, and where the multitudes are gathered together, there give ferrous and earnestness, sincerity and depth of power to bring sinners to Jesus. “Let the people praise Thee, O God, yea, let all the people praise Thee!”
Let our great cities be swept clean of vice and infidelity and superstition.
Deliver our country villages and hamlets from the drunkenness and ignorance in which they dwell. Let the whole earth behold the brightness of the coming of the Lord. Let Jesus Christ reign from pole to pole until He Himself shall come openly and manifestly to take to Himself His great power, and all the kingdoms surrender themselves into His hands.
And now, Father, save any in this house who remain unreconciled to their God. Touch now with Thy sacred finger some careless heart that may be using even the House of God as a place for the gratification of curiosity, desiring no spiritual gift whatsoever, yet wilt Thou be pleased to lay Thy hand upon that heart and make it feel that God is near, and may conscience say “Be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God hath come nigh unto you.” And, oh, that there might not be the power to put aside that kingdom, but may the conscience now be so touched and girded with strength that the will may submit, and the judgment yield, and the affections bow, that God may reign over many a heart which hitherto has been a rebellious province of His domain. Again we say, “Let the people praise Thee, O God, yea, let all the people praise Thee!” Save this assembly this day; let every one that is within these walls, or shall be here, be saved. And now may the good seed drop into furrows that shall welcome it, and from it may there spring a harvest to Thy glory, O Thou ever blessed, unto whose name be honor, world without end, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. SERMON: No. 1415. (May 19, 1878.)\par SCRIPTURE: Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3.HYMNS: 885, 714, 728.