THE PEACE OF GOD.
OUR God, we stand not afar off as Israel did in Sinai, nor does a veil hang dark between Thy face and ours; but the veil is rent by the death of our Divine Lord and Mediator, Jesus Christ, and in His name we come up to the mercy seat all blood besprinkled, and here we present our prayers and our praises accepted in Him. We do confess that we are guilty; we bow our heads and confess that we have broken Thy law and the covenant of which it is a part. Didst Thou deal with us under the covenant of works none of us could stand. We must confess that we deserve Thy wrath and to be banished for ever from Thy presence. But Thou hast made a new covenant, and we come under its divine shadow; we come in the name of Jesus. He is our High Priest; He is our righteousness; He is the well-beloved in whom Thou art well pleased.
Holy Spirit teach us how to pray. Let us know what we should pray for as we ought. Our first prayer is: Be Thou adored; reign Thou over the whole earth; hallowed be Thy name. We desire to see all men submit themselves to Thy gracious government. We wish especially that in the hearts of Thine own there may be an intense love for Thee and a perfect obedience to Thee. Grant this to each one of us. We would each one pray, “Lord, sanctify me; make me obedient; write Thy law upon my heart and upon my mind.” Make our nature so clean that temptation cannot defile it. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” May our course be very clean, our path be very straight; may we keep our garments unspotted from the world; and in thought and desire and imagination, in will and in purpose, may we be holy as God is holy.
O God, we pray again fulfill that covenant promise, “I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” May we be very tender towards Thee; may we feel Thy faintest monition; may even the gentlest breath of Thy Spirit suffice to move us; may we not be “as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto us,” but may we be as children obedient to a father; may we yield our members cheerfully to the instruments of righteousness; may we have a natural desire wrought in the new nature towards everything that is pure and honest, unselfish and Christly.
O, Spirit of God dwell in us. Is not this also a covenant promise, “I will put My Spirit within thee, and I will make thee to walk in My ways.” Dwell with us Holy Spirit; rule over us Holy Spirit; transform us to Thy own likeness, O Holy Spirit! Then shall we be clean; then shall we keep the law.
We would offer a prayer to Thee for those who are quite strange to the work of the Spirit of God, who have never owned their God, who have lived as if there were no God. Open their eyes that they may see God even though that sight should make them tremble and wish to die. O! let none of us live without our God and Father. Take away the heart of stone, take away the frivolities, the levity, the giddiness of our youth, and give us in downright earnest to seek true happiness where alone it can be found, in reconciliation to God, and in conformity to His will.
Lord save the careless, save the sinful, the drunkard, take away from him his cups. The unholy and unjust men, deliver these from their filthiness; the dishonest and false, renew them in their lives; and any that are lovers of pleasure, dead while they live, and any that are lovers of self, whose life is bounded by the narrowness of their own being, the Lord renew them, regenerate them, make them new creatures in Christ Jesus. For this we do fervently pray.
Lord God the Holy Ghost, may faith grow in men; may they believe in Christ to the saving of their souls. May their little faith brighten into strong faith, and may their strong faith ripen into the full assurance of faith. May we all have this last blessing; may we believe God fully; may we never waver. Resting in the Great Surety and High Priest of the New Covenant may we feel “the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” and may we enter into rest.
Bless Thy people that are at rest, and deepen that rest. May the rest that Thou givest be further enhanced by the rest which they find when they take Thy yoke upon them and learn of Thee. May Thy Word be very sweet to them. May there come over our spirits a deep calm, as when Christ hushed both winds and waves. May we feel not only resignation to Thy will, but delight in it, feeling pleased with all the Lord provides. May we rest in our God and be quite happy in the thought that our sins and our iniquities He will remember no more. He has brought us into covenant with Him by a covenant which can never fail, so like David we may say this morning: “Although my house be not so with God, yet He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure.”
Lord, bless Thy Word throughout the world. Prosper all missions amongst the heathen, all work among the Mohammedans; and, oh! send Thy grace to the churches at home. Turn the current of thought which sets so strong in the wrong direction, and bring men to love the simplicities of the Gospel. Remember our country in great mercy, and in all ranks and conditions of men do Thou give the blessing. May there be multitudes come to Christ from among the poorest of the poor, and let the wealthy be led away from their sin, and brought to Jesus’ feet. Be gracious to the Sovereign and Royal Family, and to all that are in authority over us. May peace and order be maintained, and let not the peace of the world be broken.
But what of all this? Our heart goes far beyond all this: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever and ever.” “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” All things are in Thy hand, come quickly; the cries of Thy people persuade Thee, “the Spirit and the bride say, come,” make no tarrying, O, our Redeemer, and unto the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, the God of Abraham, and God of our Lord Jesus Christ be glory for ever and ever. Amen.