“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.
GLORIOUS Lord God; our faith is fully assured of Thy being, and our heart rejoices in Thine infinite love, Blessed was the day when first we knew our God. We mourn and lament with deep penitence, that we should have lived so, long strangers to our best friend, to Him in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways. It is of Thy grace that we were ever brought to know Thee. Had we been left to ourselves we should have wandered on, and have remained in darkness till this day; but blessed be Thy name, O Thou God of all grace, Thou hast revealed Thyself to us, Thou hast brought Thy life to our death, and made us alive in Thee; Thou hast brought Thy light to our blindness, and made us to behold Thee; and now Thou art not only the greatest source of joy to our spirit, but Thou art all our joy — we have none apart from Thee. Whatever of comfort we find in the creature, we know it is but fickle; and while it is there, it comes from Thee, for all these things are empty, and vain, and void without Thee.
Whom have we in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that we desire beside Thee!
And Lord, we bless Thee for ever teaching us the way of faith; for enabling us to cast our guilty souls upon the Divine propitiation, made in Christ Jesus; for peace, like a river, has streamed into our spirit ever since. We bless Thee for the power to trust Thee with everything else, for time as well as for eternity. We are sure we never live except as we live by faith; that all else is but death, and the counterfeit of life. Lord God, Thou hast written death before our eyes on all the creature; Thou hast made us see the vanity of the most substantial things on earth. Behold we walk as in a vain show, and we disquiet ourselves in vain. All things are but shadows; but Thou, Thou art the eternal all. Casting our anchor upon Thee we are steadfast, and fixed, and safe; but all things else are quicksands. We cannot, dare not, find comfort, nor make a hope of them. Thou, Lord, art all our expectation, all our salvation, and all our delight; and this morning, in the act of public devotion, we would cry, “Only my soul waiteth upon God, for my expectation is from Him.”
Now this day, be pleased, in infinite mercy by Christ Jesus, to visit Thine assembled people. Give us first a sense of perfect pardon. May there be nothing between any child of Thine and Thyself, great Father, that could mar the perfection of communion. May we know that Thou hast forgiven us for Jesus Christ’s sake. And as for anything in us that would grieve Thy Spirit, take it away at once, and then let Thy Spirit bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Oh now give us the spirit of adoption. If indeed we be Thine, by Thy Fatherly love to us, we do beseech Thee breathe into every child of Thine a sense of love, a sense of Thy near presence.
And then Lord, wilt Thou deal with us according to Thy wisdom and prudence. Take out of us every evil and false way: aught wherein we have deceived ourselves do Thou remove. Anything which looks like growth in grace, which is mere puffing up do Thou take away; aught which we prize, which is but counterfeit, do Thou utterly destroy and oh, bring us of Thy great love to know Christ in truth, that what we know we may know, and not think we know. And oh that there might be a deep reality about our Christian experience, and knowledge; that the truth of God may be incarnate in the truth which lives in us.
Dear Savior, Thou knowest the peculiar trials and conditions of all these Thy people; and, we do pray Thee, now deal with each child of Thine according to his special need. Great Physician walk this hospital. Come and look on each special case, and may there be a masterpiece of Thy heavenly surgery in the case of each one of us.
Many of us need comfort; our heart is cast down within us. There are many of Thy saints in whose soul deep calleth unto deep at the noise of Thy waterspouts. Command Thy loving kindness this morning, and let Thy song be with us at this moment. Up from the shades may we ascend into the eternal light. Oh that the sun of Thy love might shine full on our brows, till our faces shall be bright like the face of Moses?
Oh that we might have such fellowship with God this morning, that we might defy Satan, defy unbelief, defy the flesh, defy the world, with a holy joy which comes not of the creature, and which the creature cannot mar — a “joy unspeakable and full of glory,” a draught out of the eternal fountains which well up from the deep which lieth under in the immutable and everlasting love and decree of God. Oh, let it be so with every child of Thine at this good hour.
Now we do, with all our hearts, pray Thee to gather in the rest of Thy family who, as yet, are far off from Thee. O mighty grace, seek out the prodigal! O mighty love, receive the prodigals when they come back! O mighty grace change their hearts and make them to love the great Father.
We do pray for all who are out of the way; for such in this congregation as remain unsaved. Lord, let them not die in their sins. Have mercy upon some that have had a godly training, but remain ungodly. Oh condemn them not, we pray Thee, with such a mass of guilt upon them; but save them yet. Lord, have great mercy upon such as are ignorant of Christ, and therefore sin, but know not what they do. Let them become trophies of Thy wondrous love. Gather them in; oh, gather them in to-day.
Now Thy servant, with a full heart, desires to bless Thee for the continual increase which Thou dost make to this church. Thou hast refreshed our soul by the testimonies of many that have lately found the Savior.
Blessed be the Lord, the Holy Ghost, who hath not suffered the word to fall to the ground, but who hath added to the church daily of such as shall be saved. Lord, continue this great favor. Stir up our dear brethren and sisters to continual prayer for a blessing. May the fire on this altar never go out; but as we have enjoyed, these many years, an unexampled prosperity, oh that we might continue to enjoy it still, unworthy though we be. Still, Lord, help us in every holy word and work.
Prosper us in the enterprises to which we set our hands. Bless our young man that go forth from us to preach the word. Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full of them. May there be many such reared up in this church that shall preach Christ crucified. Give to the church more and more the spirit of evangelization, and may many young men in the church, that are now sitting still and quiet, be moved to preach even in the streets, the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Lord renew the zeal of the church towards the Sabbath school. May there be more coming forward to give themselves to the training of the young for Christ. Oh say to many a Peter, “Feed My lambs.”
Revive the church of God in every place, we beseech Thee, in this dear isle of ours, so highly favored; and on the continent, and among our beloved brethren in America and Australia. Let the kingdom of Jesus Christ spread in all countries. Let Thy kingdom come, great God, ay let it come speedily.
It doth not trouble us to think that Christ shall come; it is indeed our joy.
Make no tarrying, oh our Lord! But meanwhile make us watchful, earnest, active; and may we be as good servants, whose loins are girt, and whose lamps are trimmed. May we wait for the Master till He cometh.
Now give a blessing this morning: we come back to that prayer of ours — a blessing to each one. Bless me, even me also, O my Father! ‘The prayer is offered in the name of Jesus Christ the Mediator. Amen. SERMON: No. 1542. (June 13, 1880.)\par SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4. 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4. HYMNS: 728, 694, 248.