“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem thou shalt weep no more he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.” — Isaiah 30:19.
OLORD GOD, the strength and the hope of Thy people, we would approach Thee through Jesus Christ Thy Son with notes of thanksgiving, for we are not ashamed of our hope, neither has our confidence led us into confusion. We have proven it to be true, that they that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which can never be moved, which abideth for ever.
We trusted in Thee with regard to our innumerable sins, and Thou hast cast them behind Thy back. We trusted in Thee, yea, we trusted in Thee when many evils compassed us about, and we were sore beset with temptation and Thou broughtest us; out into a wealthy place Thou didst set our feet upon a rock and establish our goings. We trusted in Thee, alas! too feebly, in the hour of our distress when we were troubled exceedingly with earthly things, still Thou didst not fail us though our faith trembled though we believed not Thou didst abide faithful. The Lord hath helped His people, yea the Lord hath been the strength and the help of His chosen. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all,” and at this moment, in looking back upon the past, we have nothing to do but to admire and to adore the constancy of love, the faithfulness of grace.
We thank Thee, O God, on the behalf of many of Thy people, our brethren, that Thou hast dealt so well with them. We knew them many years ago when their young hearts first believed in Thee, and here they are still the living, the living in Zion, to praise Thee as they do this day. Their feet have sometimes almost gone, their steps have well nigh slipped, but Thou hast held them up, and they are walking in their integrity, preserved as only grace could preserve them, living still to praise Thy name. We bless Thee on the behalf of the much tried among Thy children. They went through fire and through water; men did go over their heads, yet hast Thou preserved them. Their hope seemed to wither like the fading leaf, and the summer of their joy turned into a bleak winter of adversity, yet hath the spring time come to them and the time of the singing of birds, yea, they begin to pluck their first ripe fruits, and they joy and exult in the Lord.
O Lord, we praise Thee for keeping alive a testimony for the truth in the land. There have been dark and evil days, and some that professed to be Thy servants have turned traitors to the gospel; yet still Thou hast heard the cry of the faithful, and the candle is not put out, neither hath the sun gone down, but even unto this day the Lord, the God of Israel reigneth in the midst of His people and His saints exult in His name.
And now with this thankfulness upon our hearts, we would humbly ask Thee to strengthen us as to our future confidence in Thee. Are there any of Thy servants here at this time, or anywhere all over the world, whose confidence begins to fail them by reason of present affliction or deep depression of spirit? We beseech Thee strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die, and let their faith no longer waver, but may they become strong in the Lord in full assurance of faith. Oh God, thou knowest the burden of every heart before Thee, the secret sighing of the prisoner cometh up into Thine ears. Some of us are in perplexity, others are in actual suffering of body. Some are sorely cast down in themselves, and others deeply afflicted with the trials of those they love, but as for all these burdens ,our soul would cast them on the Lord — in quietness and confidence shall be our strength, and we would this morning, all without exception who are tried and troubled, take up the place of sitting still, leaving with quiet acquiescence everything in the hands. of God. Great Helmsman, Thou shalt steer the ship and we will not be troubled. By Thy grace we will leave everything most sweetly in Thy hands. Where else should these things be left? and we will take up the note of joyous song in anticipation of the deliverance which will surely come.
Save Thy people from unbelief, save them from confidence in the creature.
Bring us one and all to be as to the world even as a weaned child. May we have done with these things, and as to Thee, O Lord, may we with strong desire seek after yet more of Thee, and cling to Thee as our sure confidence for evermore.
As for the future, we desire to bless Thy name that Thou hast covered it from our eyes, nor would we wish to lift even a corner of the veil which hides from us the things that are to be, but we delight to feel that He who hast ruled all things for our good changeth not. It may be Thou hast appointed for us great torrents of tribulation, but Thou wilt be with us if we pass through the river. Perhaps Thou wilt permit us to go through blazing fires of persecution or temptation, but we shall not be burned, for Thou hast assured us it shall be so, that we shall go through the fires unhurt since Thou wilt be with us.
Peradventure it is written in the tablets of Thine eternal purpose that we shall soon end this mortal life and die. Well, be it so, we shall the sooner see Thy face, the sooner drink eternal draughts of bliss. But if Thou hast appointed for us grey hairs and a long and weary time of the taking down of the tabernacle, only grant us grace that by infirmity our faith may never fail us, but when the windows are darkened may we still look out to see the hope that is to be revealed; and when the grasshopper becometh a burden still let our strength be as our days, even to the last day.
We now commit ourselves again to Thy keeping, O faithful Creator; to Thy keeping, O Savior of the pierced hand; to Thy keeping, O eternal Spirit, Thou who art able to keep us from falling, and sanctify us fully that we may be made to stand among the saints; in light. O God, we can trust Thee, and we do. Our faith has gathered strength by the lapse of years. Each following birthday, we trust, confirms us in the fact that to rely upon God is our happiness and our strength, and we wilt do so, though the earth be removed and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. We will not fear since God abideth fast for ever, and His covenant cannot fail.
And now to-day wilt thou lead others to trust Thee. Oh be Thou so revealed wherever the congregations are met together, that men may come to Thee and live. Oh that the people in this house this morning, might not one of them go away unbelievers. If they have been indifferent to these things and have never studied the ground of the believer’s confidence, may they see it clearly this morning, and accept of it as the rock on which they shall build. Oh if there be in this audience, as we fear there must be, many that are living to trust in their wealth, or their talents, or their position in life, or who are trusting in nothing but raising their building without a foundation at all, Oh bring them this day to see that there is nothing worthy of an immortal soul’s confidence except the immortal and ever-living God, and this day come by Christ Jesus unto the Father. May many a heart end all its weary wanderings and sit still at Christ’s feet and see the salvation of God.
God bless our country! May faith be multiplied in the land! Preserve our nation at this juncture. Guide, we pray Thee, the deliberations of councilors and princes. May peace be preserved, and at the same time may the great purposes of God with regard to the spread of liberty and of the gospel be subserved by every decree of the council. O God, we beseech Thee, ease the world of the sway of every evil principle. Let the day come when all classes of men shall study the interest of others as well as their own, when the various nations shall yield to the one scepter of Christ and like kindred tribes shall melt into one. Yea, hasten His coming and His reign when the shout shall go up to heaven that the “Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
As Thou bidst us, we pray for all in authority over us, especially asking that every blessing may rest upon the Queen. We pray for other nations also, and especially for countries and colonies where our language is spoken and our God is worshipped — may the Lord’s choicest blessings rest there. We also put up special prayer for any of our dear friends that are in trouble, asking Thee to help some who have been suffering bitter bereavement, others who are vexed with sickness in their own persons. The Lord be pleased to be gracious unto all who trust Him, and to make them trust Him in the darkest hour. And now, unto the Father, the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, Israel’s one God, be glory throughout all the world. Amen and Amen. SERMON: No. 1419. (June 16, 1878.)\par SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 30HYMNS: 125, 747.