Page images
PDF
EPUB

in this position presented the same to him as he did to Paul, and why did he not fall into the temptation? why, he was preserved in Christ Je. sus, and called to feel the need of his

helping hand. There is no tempta. tion that happeneth unto you but what is common unto man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

A

Another place we see where there is a distinct mark made between the sorrow of the world and that of godly sorrow is in those two passages in the Acts of the Apostles, the one in the 2nd chap. 37th verse, when Peter preached to the conscience they were pricked in their heart, which produced a cry from real trouble; but the other in the 7th chap. 54th ver., when Stephen charged them of murder they were cut to the heart; but all the effect it had with them they continued to go on in their abominations, to fill up the measure of their iniquity. Yet God had mercy on one of them, and heard Stephen's prayer, for Paul said he was there consenting to the deed, but he obtained mercy, for he did it in ignorance and in unbelief. But when God brings a poor soul into these places he does the work most effectually, he lays judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and it is "precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little," and the work is not to be hurried, "he that believes shall not make haste." God will show this soul the danger there is in the way without a guide, and if he steps a step further he fears it will be his utter destruction; destruction, too, appears behind, and no way of escape on either side, and what to do he knows not, He mounts up, and he goes down into the depths, and he staggers to and fro, and reels like a drunken man-he is in real trouble

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

There are troubles in providence which are so peculiarly difficult which you may not be able to relate to any one that may be able to help you, no not if it be the nearest friend you have in the world. When God shuts up there is no communication that can be made that will prosper. And this may appear very strange why there should be this bondage, but it would not be an errand to the Lord, if we could unbosom ourselves to man, therefore, if the Lord has hedged us in, it is for some wise purpose. He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men; but what makes this trial so heavy to a real believer is the honour of God," lest by this trouble I should fall, and bring a reproach upon his most holy name, and his precious name be blasphemed through me, I say, this will produce real trouble, and cause the poor soul to cry, Oh, Lord, undertake for thy great name's sake. The trouble is such at times that he knows not how to put his petitions into words; and when such a text as this meets him, "call upon me in the day of trouble," he finds that he lacks something to enable him to prevail, which increases the trouble ten-fold. But, poor soul, these are some of the means, God, in his wisdom, uses to bring the christian into a right spot, where he shall say. thy will be done," and to acknowledge in that spot "without me ye can do nothing;" where the worth and blessedness of such a Saviour shall be found in the deliverance of the soul from whatsoever trouble it may be in.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But it is not so with a carnal pro

fessor, he says, well I cannot help it, God could help it if he chose, and could make it very different; and he hath said in his word, "be careful for nothing," and again, "labour not for the meat which perisheth ;" and thus he unwarrantably charges God foolishly, and makes him the author of his trouble, when oftentimes he is buffetted for his faults. But remember this, oh, vain man, this is not the faith of God's elect. But, perhaps, it will work another way with others. His trouble is lest he should lose his reputation among men; but as sure as it is so, so sure as there is a God living this trouble will only work death. The prayer may be answered, as was the Israelites of old, "God gave them the desire of their hearts, but sent leanness into their souls."

But the Christian will go on to find other troubles mixed with these. He will, perhaps, in these places have to mourn for the presence of an absent God like one that mourneth for her first born, and like the dove that mourneth sore for its mate, David speaks in the 42nd Psalm," as the bart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I coine and appear before God?" And all down that psalm he is pouring out his complaint before God, but at last he encourageth himself, and says, "Why art thou cast down, oh, my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." Here the man of God found a place of rest where he might bring his trouble, and "cast his burden upon the Lord." I know this spot well of late, my soul has been like Job's, where he cries out, "Oh, that I might know where I might find him." I have sought him in one place and in another place, and again in another place, but could find no place to pour out my soul in; I

could not find him whom my soul loveth, the good man had taken the bag of money and gone a long journey. And here I find self pity to be a very predominant feature, together with unbelief, which sinks the soul into a state of total helplessness to wrestle with God in prayer; but it is in these spots of real necessity and trouble that God places the words of my text, viz., "in the day of trouble." It is not when we may imagine the trouble before us, but "in the day of trouble," when we are really in want of assistance. “In that day, saith the Lord, I will pour upon the house of Israel the Spirit of grace and supplication, they shall call upon me and I will hear them," which cry I shall endeavour to show in the next part of my text.

Secondly, having shown a little what trouble is, I will now endeavour to prove, the real cry or call. It hath oftentimes been a trial to a child of God, that their cries have been as consistent with the word of God as possible, yet, they have not been answered; when it is declared by Christ himself, that" whatsoever we ask the Father in his name, it should be given to us." This mystery can be unfolded, by none other than God the Holy Ghost, where he will shew this poor soul, his faith is not to stand in word only, but in power; and that this power is not inherent in the creature, "not by might, nor by power, (of the creature) saith the Lord, but by my Spirit," and "when he the Spirit of truth is come, he shall lead you into all truth,” he will not lead into presumption, no, he will strip the soul of all confidence in the creature, and he will put the cry there himself, and enable the poor soul, to mix it with humble faith, "the Spirit itself making intercession within us, with groanings which cannot be uttered," will be the prevailing power, that shall bring us into the presence of God, where we shall pour out our souls, in spirit and in

[ocr errors]

truth; witness the poor man in the temple, his cry was simple and short, but it contains a volume of matter; there was a feeling sense of his sinnership before God; secondly a sense of the omniscience of God, in his boundless knowledge, and thirdly, of the omnipresence of God, to hear his cry, and fourthly, of the omnipotence of God, in his power to save or destroy, as seemed him good, but the Spirit making intercession within him with a "God be merciful to me a sinner," turned the eye of justice from him to the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom there was full satisfaction, for all his demands, the poor man was set free, and God was glorified, for it is written, he went done to his house justified rather than the Pharisee," again, when Hezekiah was pressed without measure, by Sennacherib king of Assyria, by his blasphemous letter, he took them to the Lord, and spread his case before him, (not to man, for vain is the help of man,) and the Lord heard him, and said of of Sennacherib, "Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back, by the way which thou camest." and thus the Lord fought his battles, and enabled him to say, when he had humbled him, "O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit."

The cry of the Syrophenician woman, was of that nature, that she could not take any denial, though there appeared to be so many apparent discouragements to damp her faith; but many waters could not quench it, it was an immortal seed, sown there by the Lord of the harvest, and he was come to seek the fruit, and when he discovered it fully ripe, namely, an acknowledgement of what she was as a gentile dog, He said unto her, "O woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt," and it was so. It was the

same with the thief upon the cross, "Lord remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom ;" and it was said of Paul, when the Lord commanded Ananias to go to see Saul of Tarsus, and to comfort him, for he said, "behold he prayeth," and the poor woman, with an issue of blood, said, "if I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be whole;" the cry of a poor soul in real trouble, consists of a very few words. I remember a very short time ago, being in deep trouble, and not knowing what to do, nor which step to take, I could find no access at a throne of grace, yet there was no guilt upon the conscience, but I was in darkness, and had no light as to what I was to do, and it appeared that the very next step I took, would bring me deeper and deeper into trouble, at length I fell down in my spirit before God, and these words came sweetly into my mind, "let the sighing of the needy come before thee," that moment a light broke in upon me, and a way was made as clear as the sun, in the noon day, for my deliverance, here I found, we cannot always pray when we would, yet it is not right to neglect the means of grace, for here the Lord often meets the soul, and shows him many things, which the careless and unwary miss; the diligent soul shall be made fat," and you shall reap, if you faint not" saith the Lord. "The disciples said, Lord, teach us to pray," we need teaching, for we know not how to order our speech before him by reason of darkness; now I know some will fly over these troubles, and treat these cries as low and despicable, and will soar about over the head of a poor soul that is down, and take a taunting proverb against such and say "he trusteth in God that he would deliver him, let him deliver him if he delight in him," such was the reproach they threw in the face of Christ; and Christ says to thee, poor soul," the reproaches of

[ocr errors]

them that reproached thee are fallen upon me, and reproach hath broken mine heart." Thus my friend, the blessing lies in this secret spot, which none but the elect can find, and it is here, where Christ comes down and makes known to us himself as a brother born for adversity, a friend that loveth at all times, and sticketh closer than a brother in the flesh, and in all our trouble and trials, he as a merciful High Priest is able to succour us, being in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin; he having taken our nature in union with his own nature is both able to succour and to save, being in one, perfect God, and in the other, perfect man, God's fellow, and man's fellow, and yet inseparably connected; and it is he that calls upon the poor soul to call upon him, he shows the sinner the situation in which he is in, and makes him willing in the day of his power, puts the cry into the heart, and bring him to the footstool of mercy where he proclaims himself to be " the Lord, the Lord God, mer, ciful and gracious, slow to anger, pardoning iniquity, and passing by the transgression of the remnant of his people, but will in no wise clear the guilty." Thus having treated a little upon the cry or prayer, I pass on to the third head which is to show the object, this poor sinner in his distress is directed to.

Thirdly, the object, me, “ call upon me." I have often been tried in my first setting out as to whom I was to direct my petitions, whether to God the Father, or to God the Son, or to God the Holy Ghost, and perhaps it is a trial to God's dear children to this day; well, I shall endeavour as the Lord shall enable me to gather out these stones, and cast up the high way; God said to me " he that hath my word let him speak my word faithfully, what is the chaff to the wheat; now poor soul, it matters little whether you direct your petition to God the Father, God the Son, or

God the Holy Ghost; in the 5th chapter of John it is blessedly illustrated in the 17th verse, Jesus said "My Father worketh hitherto and I work," and you will find because he made himself equal with God, the Jews sought to kill him; and if you read on, you will see how blessedly he shows the unison of the will between him and his Father, and he says in the 21st verse, "for as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will, for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which sent him." And he speaks further "that the hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live;" "for as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." And thus he clearly proves that he is one with the Father, consequently a proper object for worship, and adoration; even so is the Father, which most men will acknowledge. But remember this my friends, God is an inexorable God out of Christ, as the Apostle saith, "our God is a consuming fire." Even so is the Holy Spirit a person in the adorable trinity, as an object of proper and divine worship: for it is written "if I go not away, the Comforter will not come, who is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it know, eth him not: but if I go away, I will send him, and when he, the Spirit of truth, is come he shall reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and judgment," thus you see he is a person, and he is the eternal Jehovah the Spirit, God over all blessed for ever

more,

But we are instructed in scripture in all our petitions, to remember the name of Jesus Christ. And why is this? I answer, because he is near.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

est to us, being one in our nature; and in that nature he satisfied all the demands of divine justice; and further, he as the Head of the church, is the representative, and as the sacrifice he is the object God looks upon, consequently the object we are directed to; and the object the eye of justice is upon, as you see in Zechariah, ix, 11. 12, as for thee, (says Justice to Christ), by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein there is no water." And Justice by this very sacrifice preaches the gospel to the poor sinner that is in these bonds, saying, "Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;" and Christ says himself Look unto me, and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else." This was the object all the patriarchs and prophets looked to through the types, and died in that faith, not having received the fulfillment of his incarnation; God having provided some better things than types and shadows for us: even a body hast thou prepared, not prepared before the virgin was conceived, no, but prepared of the woman, the actual seed and substance of her body, yet without sin, for as Adam, in his sinless state, was holy, so was he the figure of him that was to come, who was called that " Holy thing," which was made of a woman, made under the law, and which should be called the Son of the Highest; I do not believe that when he became incarnate, he was absent from heaven one moment; as dear Mr. Hart sings

"His shoulders held up heaven and earth, While Mary held up him."

He was the omnipotent and omnipresent God, that filled all space, and possessed all power, and so he does now, therefore, he says, "whatsoever

you ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." But this name, the name of Jesus, is to be held sacred, as sacred as the name of God; for it is written, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. I tremble sometimes when I hear people in prayer use this name without the least authority or reverence. Surely, God will not wink at this; for he says, "I will not hold him guiltless that taketh my name in vain." It is not to be used in every circumstance we may think proper, for James says, "you ask and you receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lust." Ask that you might receive: that is, “in the day of trouble," ask to be brought submissive to the will of God, whether it is his will you should be brought out of this trial or not, and if not, beg for strength to bear it, "for ye have need of patience after you have done the will of God that ye might receive the promise." And remember this, poor soul, there is not a trial, difficulty, or temptation you can go into, but what Jesus Christ is well ac quainted with the nature and power of it; he being tempted in all points like unto his brethren, knows well the force of temptation, and the power it needs to stand against it. He needed, in the days of his flesh, his own divine nature to support him, which was never one moment absent from him; consequently, be proclaims himself not only to be man, but "I am God, and beside me there is none else." And his name to the children of Israel was, "I AM that I AM," able to save to the very utmost all that comes unto God the Father by me. He is not a subordinate God, or a begotten God, as many in this day will tell us, but he is the eternal Son of God, full of grace and truth.

Thus, my friends, this is the object the poor soul in distress is directed too, and all other Christs that men may invent, will never do you any good in the day of trouble, and

« PreviousContinue »