« EdellinenJatka »
you renew your application to the blood of Jesus, through whom the reconciliation between God and your soul has been accomplished." It is he that is our peace, and by his blood it is that we are made nigh*: it is in him as the beloved of his soul, that God declares, he is well pleased; and it is in him, that we are made accepted to the glory of his gracet. Go therefore, O christian, and apply by faith to a crucified Saviour: Go and apply to him as to a merciful high-priest, and pour out thy complaint before him, and shew before him thy troubles. Lay open the distress and anguish of thy soul to him, who once knew what it was to say, (O astonishing! that he of all others should ever have said it,) My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Look up for pity and relief to him, who himself suffered, being not only tempted, but with regard to sensible manifestations deserted; that he might thus know how to pity those that are in such a melancholy case, and be ready, as well as able, to succour them. He is Immanuel God with us**; and it is only in and through him, that his Father shines forth upon us with the mildest beams of mercy and love. Let it be therefore your immediate care, to renew your acquaintance with him. Review the records of his life and death: hear his words: behold his actions: and when you do so, surely you will find a sacred sweetness diffusing itself over your soul. You will be brought into a calm, gentle, silent frame, in which faith and love will operate powerfully, and God may probably cause the still small voice of his comforting Spirit to be heard++, till your soul bursts out into a song of praise, and you may be made glad according to the days in which you have been afflicted. In the mean time, such language as the following supplication speaks, may be suitable.
An humble Supplication for one under the Hidings of God's
"BLESSED God! with thee is the fountain of life§§, and of happiness. I adore thy name that I have ever tasted of thy streams; that I have ever felt the peculiar pleasure arising from the light of thy countenance, and the shedding abroad of thy love on my soul. But alas, these delightful seasons are now to me no more; and the remembrance of them engages
Eph. ii. 13, 14. Mat. xxvii. 46. ‡‡ Psal. xc. 15.
+ Mat. iii. 17.
Eph i. 6.
** Mat. i. 23.
§ Psal. cxlii. 2.
me to pour out my soul within me*. I would come, as I have formerly done, and call thee with the same endearment, my Father, and my God: but alas, I know not how to do it. Guilt and fear arise, and forbid the delightful language. I seek thee, O Lord, but I seek thee in vain. I would pray, and my lips are sealed up. I would read thy word, and all the promises of it are veiled from mine eyes. I frequent those ordinances, which have been formerly most nourishing and comfortable to my soul; but alas, they are only the shadows of ordinances: the substance is gone: the animating spirit is fled, and leaves them now at best but the image of what I once knew them.
"But, Lord, hast thou cast off for ever, and wilt thou be favourable no more +? Hast thou in awful judgment determined, that my soul must be left to a perpetual winter, the sad emblem of eternal darkness? Indeed I deserve it should be so. I acknowledge, O Lord, I deserve to be cast away from thy presence with disdain; to be sunk lower than I am, much lower: I deserve to have the shadow of death upon mine eye-lids, and even to be surrounded with the thick gloom of the infernal prison. But hast thou not raised multitudes who have deserved like me to be delivered into chains of darkness§, to the visions of thy glory above, where no cloud can ever interpose between thee and their rejoicing spirits? Have mercy upon me, O Lord, have mercy upon me! And though mine iniquities have now justly caused thee to hide thy face from me¶¶, yet be thou rather pleased, agreeably to the gracious language of thy word, hide thy face from my sins, and to blot out all mine iniquities**! Cheer my heart with the tokens of thy returning favour, and say unto my soul, I am thy salvation ++!
"Remember, O Lord God, remember that dreadful day, in which Jesus thy dear Son endured what my sins have deserved! Remember that agony, in which he poured out his soul before thee, and said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken met! Did he not, O Lord, endure all this, that humble penitents might through him be brought near unto thee, and might behold thee with pleasure, as their Father, and their God? Thus do I desire to come unto thee. Blessed Saviour, art thou not appointed to give unto them that mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness §§? O wash away my tears, anoint my
Psal. xlii. 4.
+Psal. lxxvii. 7.
Job xvi. 16. ** Psal. li. 9.
§2 Pet. ii. 4.
head with the oil of gladness, and clothe me with the garments of salvation*?
"Oh that I knew where I might find theet! Oh that I knew what it is, that has engaged thee to depart from me! I am searching and trying my ways! Oh that thou wouldst search me, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts; and if there be any wicked way in me, discover it, and lead me in the way everlasting §; in that way, in which I may find rest and peace for my soul, and feel the discoveries of thy love in
"O God, who didst command the light to shine out of darkness, speak but the word, and light shall dart into my soul at once! Open thou my lips and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise**, shall burst out into a cheerful song, which shall display before those, whom my present dejections may have discouraged, the pleasures and supports of religion!
"Yet, Lord, on the whole, I submit to thy will. If it is thus that my faith must be exercised, by walking in darkness for days, and months, and years to come, how long soever they may seem, how long soever they may be, I will submit. Still will I adore thee, as the God of Israel, and the Saviour, though thou art a God that hidest thyself ++: still will I trust in the name of the Lord, and stay myself upon my God‡‡; trusting in thee though thou slay mess; and waiting for thee, more than they that watch for the morning, yea, more than they that watch for the morning||||. Peradventure in the evening time it may be light¶¶¶. I know, that thou hast sometimes manifested thy compassions to thy dying servants, and given them, in the lowest ebb of their natural spirits, a full tide of divine glory, thus turning darkness into light before them***. So may it please thee to gild the valley of the shadow of death with the light of thy presence, when I am passing through it, and to stretch forth thy rod and thy staff to comfort me+++, that my tremblings may cease, and the gloom may echo with songs of praise; But if it be thy sovereign pleasure, that distress and darkness should still continue to the last motion of my pulse, and the last gasp of my breath, Oh let it cease with the parting struggle, and bring me to that light which is sown for the righteous, and to that gladness which is reserved for the upright in heart to the unclouded regions of everlasting splendor
*Isai. Ixi. 10. Jer. vi. 16.
Isai. 1. 10. *** Isai. xiii. 16.
† Job xxiii. 3.
2 Cor. iv. 6.
+ Lam. iii. 40.
Psal. cxxx. 6.
§ Psal. cxxxix, 23, 24.
++ Isai. xlv. 15.
and joy, where the full anointings of thy Spirit shall be poured out on all thy people, and thou wilt no more hide thy face from any of them* !
"This, Lord, is thy salvation for which I am waiting† ; and whilst I feel the desires of my soul drawn out after it, I will never despair of obtaining it. Continue and increase those desires, and at length satisfy and exceed them all, through the riches of thy grace in Christ Jesus! Amen."
The Christian struggling under great and heavy Afflictions. Here it is advised, (1.) That Afflictions should be expected, §. 1. (2) That the righteous Hand of God should be acknowledged in them, when they come, §. 2. (3.) That they should be borne with Patience, §. 3. (4.) That the Divine Conduct in them should be cordially approved, §. 4. (5.) That Thankfulness should be maintained in the midst of Trials, §. 5. (6.) That the Design of Afflictions should be diligently enquired into, and all proper Assistance taken in discovering it, §. 6. (7.) That when it is discovered, it should humbly be complied with and answered, §. 7. A Prayer suited to such a Case.
§. 1. SINCE man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly up
ward; and Adam has entailed on all his race the sad inheritance of calamity in their way to death, it will certainly be prudent and necessary, that we should all expect to meet with trials and afflictions; and that you, reader, whoever you are, should be endeavouring to gird on your armour, and put yourself into a posture to encounter those trials, which will fall to your lot, as a man, and a christian. man, and a christian. Prepare yourself to receive afflictions and to endure them, in a manner agreeable to both those characters. In this view, when you see others under the burden, consider how possible it is, that you may be called out to the very same difficulties, or to others equal to them. Put your soul, as in the place of theirs. Think, how you could endure the load, under which they lie; and endeavour at once to comfort them, and to strengthen your own heart; or rather pray that God would do it. And observing how liable mortal life is to such sorrows, moderate your expectations from it; raise your thoughts above it; and form your schemes of happiness, only for that world, where they cannot be disappointed in the mean time, blessing God, that your prosperity
+ Gen. xlix. 18...
‡ Job v. 7..
* Ezek. xxxix. 29.
is lengthened out thus far, and ascribing it to his special providence, that you continue so long unwounded, when so many showers of arrows are flying around you, and so many are falling by them, on the right-hand and on the left.
§. 2. When at length your turn comes, as it certainly will, from the first hour in which an affliction seizes you, realize to yourself the hand of God in it, and lose not the view of him in any second cause, which may have proved the immediate occasion. Let it be your first care, to humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time*. Own that he is just in all that is brought upon yout, and that in all these things, he punishes you less than your iniquities deserve‡. Compose yourself to bear his hand with patience, to glorify his name by a submission to his will, and to fall in with the gracious design of this visitation, as well as to wait the issue of it quietly, whatsoever the event may be.
§. 3. Now that patience may have its perfect work§, reflect frequently, and deeply, upon your own meanness and sinfulness. Consider how often every mercy has been forfeited, and every judgment deserved. And consider too, how long the patience of God hath borne with you, and how wonderfully it is still exerted towards you; and indeed not only his patience, but his bounty too. Afflicted as you are, (for I speak to you now as actually under the pressure) look round and survey your remaining mercies, and be gratefully sensible of them. Make the supposition of their being removed: what if God should stretch out his hand against you, and add poverty to pain, or pain to poverty, or the loss of friends to both; or the death of surviving friends to that of those whom you are now mourning over; would not the wound be more grievous? Adore his goodness, that this is not the case; and take heed, lest your unthankfulness should provoke him to multiply your Consider also the need you have of discipline; how wholesome it may prove to your souls, and what merciful designs our heavenly Father has, in all the corrections he sends upon his children.
§. 4. Nay, I will add, that in consequence of all these considerations it may well be expected, not only that you should submit to your afflictions as what you cannot avoid, but that you should swectly acquiesce in them, and approve them; that you should not only justify but glorify God in sending them; that you should glorify him with your heart, and with
Ezra ix. 13. § James i. 4.
* 1 Pet. v. 6.
+ Neh. ix. 33.