“LET ALL THE PEOPLE PRAISE THEE.”
OUR Father, when we read Thy description of human nature we are sure it is true, for Thou has seen man ever since his fall, and Thou hast been grieved at heart concerning him. Moreover, Thou hast such a love towards him that Thou didst not judge him harshly; and every word that Thou hast spoken must be according to truth. Thou hast measured and computed the iniquity of man, for Thou hast laid it on the Well-Beloved; and we know Thou hast not laid upon Him more than is meet.
O God, we are distressed, we are bowed down greatly when we see what is the condition to which we and all our race have fallen. “Where is boasting then?” And yet we grieve to say that we do boast, and have boasted; and that our fellow-men are great at boasting; whereas they ought rather to lay their hands upon their mouths before Thee.
It has become a wonder to us that Thou shouldst look upon man at all; the most hateful object in creation must be a man, because he slew Thy Son, because he has multiplied rebellions against a just and holy law. And yet truly there is no sight that gives Thee more pleasure than man, for Jesus was a man; and the brightness of His glory covers all our shame; and the pureness and perfectness of His obedience shines like the sun in the midst of the thick darkness. For His sake Thou art well pleased, and Thou dost dwell with us.
Lord, we once thought that those descriptions of our heart were somewhat strained, but we think not so now, for verily we perceive that had it not been for restraint which held us like fetters we, in our unregenerate state, were capable of anything; for, even now, when we are regenerate, the old sin that abideth in us is capable of reaching to a high degree of infamy; and did not the new life restrain the old death we know not what we might yet become.
We thought once we were humble; but we soon found that our pride will feed on any current flattery that is laid at our door. We thought we were believers, but sometimes we are so doubting, so unbelieving, so vexed with skepticism that we should not certainly choose to follow that is Thy work in us. By nature we are such liars that we think Thee a liar too; the surest token of our untruthfulness, that we think that Thou canst be untrue.
Oh, this base heart of ours! hath it not enough tinder in it to set on fire the course of nature? If a spark do but fall into it, any one of our members left to itself would dishonor Christ, deny the Lord that bought us, and turn back into perdition.
We are altogether ashamed. Truly in us is fulfilled Thine own Word: “Thou shalt be a shame, and never open thy mouth any more.” For Thy love to us hath silenced us, that great love hath hidden boasting from us; Thy great love, wherewith Thou lovedst us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins; Thy great love wherewith Thou hast loved us still, despite our ill manners, our wanderings, our shortcomings, and our excesses.
Oh, the matchless love of God! Truly if there be any glory it must be all the Lord’s; if there be any virtue it is the result of grace; if there be anything whatsoever that lifts us above the devil himself it is the work of the Divine Spirit, to whom be glory!
And now at the remembrance of all this, and being in Thy presence, we do yet rejoice that covered is our unrighteousness; from condemnation we are free:, and we are the favored of the Lord. Thou hast given us, O Lord, to taste of that love which is not merely laid up for us, but we have enjoyed it, and do enjoy it still.
Our heart knows the Father’s love, for we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba Father.” And we joy and rejoice in the redemption of our spirits, and we expect the redemption of our bodies, when, at the coming of the Lord they too shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
O Jesus, Thou wilt bring Thy Israel out of Egypt, and not a hoof shall be left behind; no, not a bone, nor a piece of Thine elect shall be left in the hands of the adversary. We shall come out clean, delivered by Him Who doeth nothing by halves, but Who on the cross said, “It is finished.” Who much more will say it on His throne: Glory be unto Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Who hath lifted us up from our ruin and condemnation, and made us new creatures, and justified us, and guaranteed us eternal life, which eternal life shall be manifested at the coming of the Lord. All glory be unto His ever blessed name for ever and ever!
And now, Lord, during the few days that remain to us here below, be it all our business to cry, “Behold the Lamb!” Oh! teach these hearts to be always conscious of Thy love; and then these lips, that they may set out as best they can by Thy divine help the matchless story of the Cross. Oh! do give us to win many to Jesus; let us not be barren, but may we have to cry that we are the beloved of the Lord, and our offspring with us. May we have many spiritual offspring that shall go with us to the throne, that we may say before Him, “I and the children that Thou hast given me.”
Lord, bless the work of the Church and all its branches; and let Thy kingdom come into the hearts of multitudes by its means. Remember all churches that are really at work for Jesus, and all private individuals, workers alone, workers by themselves. Let the Lord’s own name be made known by tens of thousands. Give the Word, and great may be the multitude of them that publish it. Let all this, our beloved country, know Christ, and come to His feet; let the dark places of this huge city be enlightened with the sweet name of Jesus. And then let the heathen know Thee, and the uttermost parts of the earth hear of Thee.
Oh! from the tree declare Thou Thy salvation, and from the throne let it be published in proclamations of a king. “Let the people praise Thee, O God; yea, let all the people praise Thee.”
Our heart seems as if it had not anything else to ask for when it reaches to this; yet would we go back a moment and say: Lord, forgive us our sins; Lord, sanctify our persons; Lord, guide us in difficulty; Lord, supply our needs. The Lord teach us; the Lord perfect us; the Lord comfort us; the Lord make us meet for the appearing of His Son from heaven!
And now we come back to a theme that still seems to engross our desires.
Oh! that Christ might come. Oh! that His word might be made known to the uttermost ends of the earth! Lord, they die, they perish, they pass away by multitudes! Every time the sun rises and sets they pass away! Make no tarrying, we beseech Thee. Give wings to the feet of Thy messengers, and fire to their mouths, that they may proclaim the Word with Pentecostal swiftness and might. Oh! that Thy kingdom might come, and Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.