“But without faith it is impossible to please him for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” — Hebrews 11:6.
OUR FATHER, our faith is in Thee; our expectation is from Thee; our love goeth out towards Thee; we believe Thee, we accept every word of Thy sacred revelation as being eternal verity and immutable truth. Sometimes we are troubled to know whether the promises are for us — whether we really have a share in covenant blessings; but we thank Thee that Thou hast helped many of us to hold a trial in the court of conscience, and since our heart condemns us not we have confidence towards God. Let this be the portion of all Thy children. May we come away from doubting and fearing and hesitating, and may we believe. Oh, for the faith which trusts the bare promise of God! Let us not be asking for ‘signs and wonders, and withholding faith because these are not given to us; but whatsoever we find in Thy word may we believe it to be sure truth, and hang our souls upon it.
Above all things, give us grace to trust in Jesus, in the full atonement made, and the utmost ransom paid. “He is all my salvation and all my desire” may we each one be able to say this of Him who “of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” “Thou, O Christ, art all we want; More than all in Thee we find.” Oh, let us never mistrust Thee, Thou blessed Son of God. May we have no doubt about Thy Father’s love — no suspicion as to the love of the Spirit; but may we joy in God by Jesus Christ, through whom also we have received the atonement. May we come to anchor, and, casting anchor in the port of peace, may we never be troubled again about that question, but be able to say “My Father” with an unfaltering lip. The Lord grant that we may all of us have not only faith in Christ, but full assurance of faith, whereby we shall trust, for the present and for the future, everything in those dear hands that were nailed to the cross for us. Help Thy children to perform an act of faith tonight by leaving all their troubles apart and coming close to their Lord. He has sweat great drops for us, and now Thou biddest Thine own children to cease therefrom, even as of old Thou badest the priests to wear no garment that caused sweat, because they were to find rest in Thy service and peace in the performance of their holy duties. Even so may Thy people do.
O Lord God, even while we have been reading that chapter, of which some are so much afraid, we have felt that we could well trust Thee with a boundless sovereignty, and we do. Thou art so good, so kind, so just, so holy, that no mistake is possible to Thee. Thou art the fountain and source of all law what Thou commandest it is ours to obey. We have heard the thunder of that sentence, “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” and in meekness of heart and lowliness of spirit we bow before the infinite glory of Thy majesty, and it is to us the most joyful of all songs, “The Lord reigneth let the earth rejoice. Let the multitudes of the isles be glad thereof.”
Lord, we yield up to Thy sovereignty all that we are and all that we have.
Do as Thou wilt with us. Whenever our wishes grow into willings, and our willings become obtrusive fault-findings with Thy providence, have mercy upon Thy servants in this thing, and take away from us the evil heart of unbelief that dares to question Thee. Be this the finale of our every prayer, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt;” and be this the great pleading of our heart every day, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” O Thou who art God, we have heard Thee say, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and what a silence hast Thou made in our heart, where else there had been murmuring and complaint, when we have understood “The Lord hath done it.” Aaron held his peace when he knew this; and so would we. Nay, we would do more. We would speak out of our griefs and our down-castings, and say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him, for the Lord is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. Blessed be His name.”
And now, our Father, hear the pleadings of Thy children as we thus bow before Thee and yield everything to Thy parental will. Now bless Thy children. Sanctify us, Lord, spirit, soul, and body. Cleanse us even as with hyssop. Cleanse us in our inward parts, and make us to know wisdom in the secret places of our spirit.
And, Lord, wilt Thou also help such of Thy children as are very sorely burdened. When Thou layest on a burden, give strength equal to it, and if the burden should press heavier and heavier, hold the everlasting arms yet more consciously underneath us. Remember some present who have lately been bereaved. They lately had the sentence of death in themselves by reason of sore disease of body. Help, strengthen, comfort, deliver. The widow and the fatherless are always Thy care. Look, most tender and compassionate Lord, upon all such as are in any trouble of mind, or body, or estate; and let the rich comforts of the Comforter Himself be dispensed to them.
And, Lord, wilt Thou keep those that are not troubled. Let them rejoice with trembling. Wilt Thou preserve us all from any of the intoxication that comes of prosperity, and when our heart is glad, if it be not with the high joy that comes of God, let us always look to Thee to sober us in such moments. The Lord lead us safely on to His eternal kingdom. We will not ask whether the road will be rough or smooth. We leave that with Thee; only bring us to behold the face of Him we love. If Thou wilt give us bread to eat and raiment to put on, and bring us to our Father’s house in peace, it is all we ask below. Whatsoever Thy will ordains, only do bring us to our Father’s house in peace. Grant us this.
Father, one other prayer it is that Thou wouldest bless those that do not know Thee. We pray Thee that we may have in our own hearts much of the heaviness that Paul knew, when we think of the many ungodly ones, especially of those that are of our own kith and kin, such as have heard the gospel from their very childhood, in whose father’s house there was a prophet’s chamber, whose mother died with the name of Jesus on her lips, whose father, grown grey with age, is on the road to glory, and they are still unconverted. Oh, bring them in! Dear Father, there are many of us praying now from the bottom of our hearts that all our children may be Thy children, and that all related to us may be of the family of Christ. Then, Lord, we thank Thee for that blessed word, “The promise is unto you and to your children;” but Thou didst not stop there, for Thou hast said, “and to them that are afar off, even to as many as; the Lord our God shall call.”
Lord, bring in the far-off ones. Save poor fallen women save the equally fallen men.
Oh God, have mercy upon heathen lands; upon Popish countries; upon those that sit in the Mahometan moon-darkness. The Lord be pleased to let His light shine over all the sons of men, and accomplish the number of His redeemed, to the praise of the glory of His grace wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. And to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glory, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. SUNDAY EVENING, August 20, 1885.SCRIPTURE; Romans 9. HYMNS: 734, 623, 624.