THE MUSIC OF PRAISE.
OTHOU blessed God, we must be helped of Thy Spirit or we cannot worship Thee aright. Behold the holy angels adore Thee, and the hosts redeemed by blood bring everlasting Hallelujahs to Thy feet. What are we, the creatures of a day, polluted with sin, that we should think that: we can praise thee? And yet the music of praise were not complete if Thy children did not join in it, even those of them who are still in this world below. Help us, then; enable us to tune our harps and to fetch forth music from our spirit.
Verily, Lord, if there are any creatures in the world that can praise Thee we ought to do so. Each one among us feels that he has some special reason for gratitude. Lord, it is an unspeakable mercy to know Thee — to know Thee as our reconciled God, to know Thee as our Father in Christ Jesus, who has forgiven us all our trespasses. Oh! it is unspeakably sweet to come and rest in Thee, and to know that there is now no cause of quarrel between us and Thee; on the contrary, that we are bound to one another by a covenant which in infinite tenderness and mercy Thou hast made, that Thy people might have strong consolation, and might boldly take hold on Thee.
Oh! the joy of knowing that we are Thine for ever, thine in the trials of life, and thine in the last dread trial of death, and then Thine in resurrection, thine throughout eternity. We do therefore worship Thee, O God, not as a constraining nor under terror or pressure, but cheerfully and gladly, ascribing unto Thee praise, and power, and dominion, and glory, and honor, world without end.
We wish we knew how to do something for Thee. We pray that we may be helped to do so ere we die; yea, that every flying hour may confess that we have brought Thy Gospel some renown; that we may so live as to extend the Redeemer’s kingdom at least in some little measure; that ours may not be a fruitless, wasted life; that no faculty of ours may lay by and rust; but to the utmost of our capacity may we be helped of the Divine Spirit to spend our whole life in real adoration.
We know that he prays that serves, he praises that gives, he adores that obeys, and the life is the best music. Oh! set it to good music, we pray Thee, and help us all through to keep to each note, and may there be no false note in all the singing of our life, but all be according to that sacred score which is written out so fully in the life music of our Lord.
We beseech Thee to look down upon Thy children, and cheer us. Lord, lift us up. Come, Holy Spirit, like a fresh, bracing wind, and let our spirit, through Thy Spirit, rise upward toward God.
We would with much shame-facedness acknowledge our transgressions and sins. There are some that never felt the burden of sin at all. Lord, lay it on them; press them with it. Almighty God, vex their souls; let them find no rest till they find rest in Thee. May they never be content to live and die in sin, but of Thine infinite mercy come to them, and make them sorry for their sin.
As for Thy people, we are grieved to think that we do not live better than we do. Blessed be Thy name for every fruit of holiness, for every work of faith, but oh! for more. Thou hast changed the tree; it is no longer a bramble; it can bring forth figs, but now we want to bring forth more of these sweet fruits.
The Lord make us to love Christ intensely, to love the souls of men most heartily, to love Thy truth with earnestness, to love the name of Jesus above everything. May we be ravished with the sound of it. The Lord give us to have every grace, not only love, but faith, and hope, and holy gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly love. Build us up, we pray Thee, Lord, in all knowledge, and in all experience, and give us with this submission to Thy will, holy resignation, great watchfulness, much carefulness in our speech, that we may rule the tongue, and so rule the whole body.
The Lord pour out His Spirit upon us that every chamber of our nature may be sweetened and perfumed with the indwelling of God, till our imagination shall only delight in things chaste and pure; till our memory shall cast out the vile stuff from the dark chambers; till we shall expect and long for heavenly things, and our treasure shall all be in heaven and our heart be there. Take our highest manhood, Lord, and saturate it in Thy love, till like Gideon’s fleece it is filled with dew, every lock and every single fleck of it, not a single portion of it left unmoistened by the dew from heaven.
How we do bless Thee for many that are striving to walk as Christ walked, and who are also trying to bring others to Christ. O Lord, help us in this struggle after holiness and usefulness; and as Thou hast given to many the desire of their hearts in this respect up to a certain measure; now enlargetheir hearts, and give them more both of holiness and usefulness. Oh! give us to be like trees planted by the rivers of water, that we ourselves may be vigorous, and then give us to bring forth abundant fruit according to our season, to the praise and glory of God.
Our desire is that we may be quickened in our progress toward the celestial life. Visit us with Thy salvation. Lord, let us not only have life, but let us have it more abundantly. May we every one of us quicken His pace, and may we run more earnestly than ever toward the mark that is set before us.
Remember all Thy Church throughout the whole world. Prosper missionary operations. Be with any ministers or missionaries that are depressed for lack of success. Be with any that are rejoicing because of :success. May each heart be kept in a right state, so that Thou mayest use Thy servants to the utmost of possibility.
O God, send us better days than these, we pray Thee. We thank Thee for all the light there is, but send us more light. We thank Thee for what life there is among Christians, but send more of it. Bind the churches together in unity, and then give them such speed, such force, such power that they shall break into the ranks of the adversary, and the victory shall be unto Christ and to His people.
Remember our dear country. Bless the Sovereign. Remember all those that lead our legislature. Be gracious unto all ranks and conditions of men.
Have mercy upon all that are poor and needy, all that are sick and sorrowing, and that are tossed upon the sea. Remember the prisoners and such as have no helper. Be gracious to such as are in the article of death; and, finally, let the day come when the Sun shall shine forth in all His brightness, even Christ Jesus shall be manifested, to be admired in them that believe, and to make glad the whole creation. Make no tarrying, O Thou Sun of Righteousness, but come forth speedily. We ask it for Thy name’s sake. Amen.