“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?” — John 21:20.
OUR FATHER, which art in heaven, Thou art infinitely beyond the grasp of our understanding; but in great condescension, Thou hast brought Thyself very near to the grasp of our love, and we trust this morning many of us can say with all sincerity, “Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love Thee.”
O Lord, it has seemed to us impossible not to love Thee; for Thou art so supremely lovable, so full of goodness, so perfect. Thou hast manifested Thyself to us as love, and shall not love go out towards love? Especially this morning do we feel our hearts warmed towards Thee, in the person of Thy dear Son. Surely we cannot see Him made our brother, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, sympathizing with us, married to us, dead for us and risen again for us — we cannot gaze into His right royal face, without feeling our heart melt at the very sight of Him. Oh Jesus we love Thee — we are Thine; and Thou art ours. Thou hast given Thyself to us, as well as for us; and now we cheerfully give ourselves back to Thee, feeling that we are never so much our own, as when we are Thine; that indeed we are not ourselves, until we, are lost in Thee; but that then have we found our truest manhood, when it and all else is surrendered to the allconquering power of Jesus Christ our Lord.
We come a second time to Thee in public worship this; morning, with the same prayer with which we commenced — it is the prayer for love. We have expressed our love, but we are ashamed when we have done so, because after all what is our love? it is so faint, so cold to Thee, compared with Thy love to us. So we would adore Thee this morning for the love which Thou hast manifested to us. Thou didst love us before the foundation of the world: Thine is no new compassion; for whom Thou didst foreknow, Thou didst predestinate to be conformed unto the image of Thy Son, out of Thine own pure love to them and because Thou hast loved us with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness hast Thou drawn us, and we feel the drawings now.
Thou didst first pluck us like brands out of the burning. We remember well when Thou didst draw us from a corrupt world, and from our own selfrighteousness, and we came to Jesus. But Thou art drawing still we feel the sacred bands; we yield to them, glad to do so. Lord, draw us this morning upward to Thyself, nearer than ever. May we not be satisfied with those heights of devotion to which we have attained; but may we reach somewhat higher to-day. Oh that we might become more completely consecrated! May the image of Christ become more perfect upon us, stamp it deeper into our nature. We trust the image is there; but oh that it set still deeper into our very selves, that all might see that the seal of the Holy Ghost was upon us, in the likeness of Christ our Lord.
Our Father, wilt Thou be pleased to-day to fill us with delight because of Thy love. Are we heavy of heart — let Thy sweet love lighten the burden; for what after all can there be to trouble the man whom God loves? Shall we not find even in Thy rod a sweetness, as Jonathan did, when he dipped his rod in the honey? Hast Thou not said, “as many as I love I rebuke and chasten,” shall we not therefore take Thy rebukes, and chastenings, and even rejoice in them, because therein the love of God is manifested toward us.
Are Thy dear children poor, or are they sick in body, or are they losing those they love, or is there yet a newly digged grave over which they could shed floods of tears? Oh sweet love of God, comfort them. Cover all the rocks, O mighty title of everlasting love, till not a rock is seen, and on that glassy sea may our spirits float above the rocks, which else had wrecked our lives. We do pray Thee give us comfort, but also give us strength as well as consolation.
Lord, we are very weak, and in ourselves we have no desire to be otherwise, because when we are weak, then are we strong; but we are very strong in Thee, and we do wish to have faith to perceive this. Lord, some of Thy children think Thee weak, because they are; and suppose that grace will fail then, because the flesh does but oh teach them better, and may they know that it is just in the death of the creature, that they shall find the life of God revealed.
Oh that our spirit might be always subject to the Divine Spirit may its earthiness and feebleness, only reveal the heavenliness, and the strength of the indwelling Spirit of God. And oh grant us to feel that we have power to overcome sin; that we have power to resist the lusts of the flesh, and to despise the pomp of the world, and the lust of the eyes. Though we groan within ourselves concerning the body of this death, yet sing we also “thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Help Thy children to take the victory, to rejoice that they do conquer; yea that we are mute titan conquerors, through Him who hath loved us.
And now that we are asking Thee to let Thy love be revealed to us in all its sweet influences; and now that we ask also that our love to Thee may be fervent, we pray Thee make us useful to our brethren. O Lord, we would not live unto ourselves; make us serviceable in gathering in the lost sheep.
Make. us wise that we may go after them in their devious wanderings, and discover them.
Lord, help us to speak a word in season to him that is sad of heart. When Thine arrows stick fast in the conscience, may we know how to apply the balm of Jesus’ wounds. Make us ready to tell out the sweet gospel which has been so precious to our own souls; and as men that have newly come ourselves from the presence of a pardoning Savior — men but newly washed in that dear blood which maketh white as snow, may we go and tell to our fellow-men, all black as they are, how they also can be made whiter than snow.
Lord, make us useful to Thine own children that have backslidden. May we be as Peter was to whom Thou saidst, “when Thou art converted strengthen Thy brethren.” O Lord, make us useful among backsliders — this very day may some of us be enabled to do somewhat toward the fetching up of the rear guard, of those that loiter and linger, that the whole army of Christ may quicken its pace and march to victory.
And now, Lord Jesus, we have a thousand things to ask of Thee, and of Thy Father; but Thou knowest what we have need of before, we ask. Give to each one of Thine own that special gift most needed we may not even know what it is, but according to Thine own wisdom and prudence, deal out of Thy treasury things new and old, for the enrichment and comfort of Thy people.
Bless this our beloved church keep them still in unity and earnestness of heart. In all fresh advances that we hope to make, be with us and help us.
Bless our dear orphan children, let them all be Thine. Help us in the building of new houses for orphan girls, and provide for our necessities in that matter.
Bless the dear sons of this church, trained at our own side, who go forth to preach the gospel whether they be in the College, or whether they are preaching outside of it, let the blessing of the Lord be with every one of them.
And all those who go from house to house with books, seeking to speak a word in season to the neglected; do Thou help them, and make this church still to be the fruitful mother of children. Yea make every one of us useful to Thy glory.
All other churches do Thou remember with even a greater blessing. Let all the churches of Jesus Christ on the continent, as well as in this island, and far away in America and in all our distant colonies, all be revived and refreshed. Yea, and those that speak not our tongue — those advanced posts among the heathen; do Thou remember them favorably, and visit them graciously.
Oh that the time were come when war shall cease, when drunkenness shall be put away, when all cruelty shall be abolished, when every superstition shall come to an end, and all oppression of man by man. When shall it be, save when He cometh, whose right it is to reign? At the very thought of His coming our spirits begin to glow and burn with lofty hopes. Come quickly; even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. “Let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.”\par SERMON: No. 1539. (May 23, 1880.)\par SCRIPTURE: 1 John 2. HYMNS: 810, 784, 798.