‘For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law, but under grace’
Glorious Lord God, our inmost hearts worship Thee; for Thou art high above the heavens, and yet Thou humblest Thyself to behold the things that are in heaven and that are on earth. And in Thy condescension Thou hast regard to the very lowest of mankind. Many of us can sing ‘He hath regarded my low estate’; for Thou dost raise the poor out of the dust, and the needy out of the dunghill, that Thou mayest set them among princes, even the princes of the people. Who is a God like unto Thee: Hallelujah! our praises shall never cease from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, and all through the night watches, the Lord’s name is to be praised.
Our Father, for that is the sweetest title by which we can address Thee, we pray Thee save us entirely from sin. There are many in Thy presence who are resting in the peace which comes of justification by faith. We know that we are righteous through the righteousness of another, even Jesus Christ; but we pant and pine for personal likeness to Thyself. If Thou art our Father, then upon every child of Thine should be the Father’s image impressed: so let it be. We beseech Thee, Lord, to enable us to recognise our death to sin; and when it tempts us may we be deaf to the voice of the charmer with the deafness of death; and when it would use our members as instruments of unrighteousness, may we be quite incapable thereof with the incapacity of death.
O God, deliver us we pray Thee from the invasion of sin, as well as from the dominion of it. Grant us to walk as Christ walked; in His newness of life may we live — may the life in the flesh be a life of faith upon the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us; and may it be a life of love, and consecration of burning zeal for God; a life of pure holiness; such a life as the incarnate God Himself has lived among the sons of men.
We lament that in the body of this death there is much that we abhor. We are tempted to indolence at times, and though busy in the world we become spiritually idle. Also, we are tempted to envy others because they excel us, and we mourn to confess the meanness of our spirit in this matter; and also we have to lament our pride. We have nothing to be proud of; the lowest place is ours; but Lord, we often conceive ourselves to be something when we are nothing. We pray Thee forgive all these vices of our nature; but at the same time kill them, for we hate ourselves to think we should fall into such evils. Especially have mercy upon us for our unbelief. Thou hast given us proof of Thine existence, and of Thy love to us, and of Thy care over us: especially hast Thou given us Thine only begotten Son, best pledge of love. And yet we acknowledge that we do doubt. Unbelief conies into the soul. We are quite ashamed of this. We could lie in the very dust to think it should be so. Lord, have mercy upon us; but also help us to be strong in faith in the future, giving glory to God.
We must sorrowfully also lament our hearts, how they wander. If Thou givest us a blessing we begin to idolize it. How often do we set our hearts upon children, upon some beloved object, or upon wealth or upon honour. Somehow or other, this spiritual adultery too often comes upon us, and the chastity of our hearts towards our God is violated. Be pleased to forgive us in this thing also.
‘Take this poor heart and let it be,
For ever closed to all but Thee’ —
a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Let the whole heart be Christ’s alone, and never stray again.
Yet we do bless Thee this morning that we can pray in this fashion, for there was a time when it never struck us that there was much amiss with us, when sin was no plague to us; when we lived even in outward sin with but slight accusation of conscience, and certainly without any pain at heart. Thou knowest, Lord, that sin is our greatest curse; we would sooner suffer anything than sin, at least “when we are in our right mind we feel so. O God, deliver us from sin! At the very thought of its coming near to us we cry, ‘O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me;’ and we only find comfort in the blessed truth that Thou givest us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let that victory be very apparent, may it be very clear to our own consciousness, very much displayed in our lives. O God, help us to live towards Thee in all devotion, confidence, obedience, resignation and simple childlike trust. Help us to love Thee with all our heart and soul and mind. Enable us also to live to our fellow-men according to Thy Word, loving our neighbour as ourselves. Save us from all unneighbourly tempers, all hard thoughts, all slanderous words. Deliver us from bearing any anger in our heart: from everything that is ungenerous or unkind do Thou save us, and let the law of love be written on the fleshy tablets of our renewed heart, and be carried out in all the thoughts and words and acts of our lives. Especially help us to master our tongue, for if that be bridled the whole body will be manageable. Keep us, O God, when we are in company, and equally preserve us when we are in secret. Help us to keep the door of our lips; and grant that when that door is opened there may not come out of it sweet water and bitter: may we not both bless and curse, but may we speak that which is good to edification, and may our speech be also seasoned with salt.
Thus would we cry unto Thee after holiness. Thou knowest we do not expect to be saved by it; but we do look upon it as salvation to be saved from sin, to be delivered from corruption; to be emancipated from the bondage of the evil is the great thought of our spirit, and we look forward to heaven with this as one of its highest felicities, that we shall be without fault before the throne of God, and that nothing that defileth shall ever enter there. O Lamb of God, by whom we have been redeemed from sin and washed from uncleanness, wilt Thou graciously daily wash our feet that we may be clean every whit, and may enter in through the gates into the city, and be among those of whom it is written — ‘They shall walk with Me in white for they are worthy’
And at this hour, which is an hour of grace, we would ask Thee to help any of Thy children who are under bondage. If they have lost their hope, if their faith has become weak, if their love burns low, Lord, renew the youth of Thy people like that of the eagles; and let them mount up with eagles’ wings and rise above their doubts, their deadness, and their care.
Should any of Thy servants be in deep trouble, wilt Thou grant them grace to glory in tribulation also, because it worketh patience, experience, and hope. And may the Lord grant to all his tried and troubled ones, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Prosper Thy universal church. Send the preaching of the pure gospel again to the world. Silence the voices of those that are spreading infidelity and superstition: and may the day come when every pulpit shall resound with the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and His people shall again return to their allegiance to the faith — the faith once delivered to the saints, never to swerve again.
O God, suffer us to intercede with Thee a moment for our unconverted ones. Give us to feel great sorrow and heaviness of heart for those who, as yet, are far off from God: Lord, bring them in. O God, awaken the careless and frivolous — there may be such here this morning, who have never given any solemn consideration to the matters of their soul. May they be awakened and aroused today; and while we set forth the way of salvation by grace, may they feel their need of it and be willing to accept it; and may the Lord save them this day.
May any that are anxious, but are missing the mark, looking to themselves instead of to Christ, learn the way of life and run in it. Save them, O God; yea, save this people. Let all within the Tabernacle walls today be within the Temple gates above at the last. May every congregation of the faithful everywhere be under the Divine blessing.
Bless our country, we pray Thee, and we lift up again the voice of earnest prayer that peace may not be broken. Oh, let not bloodshed break forth in the midst of the continent; but may it please Thee to send wisdom to the counsellors of all nations, that by some means such a dreadful calamity may be avoided; and may He come who will end all danger of war, even the Prince of Peace Himself, in whose days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. The Lord hear us now; and forgive, and answer, and bless, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, and unto Israel’s one God revealed to us in the Trinity of Mystic Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be glory by Christ Jesus. Amen, and Amen.
SERMON: No. 1410 (21 April 1878).
#Praise the Lord
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