‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things
which are above, where Christ sitteth on the
right hand of God. Set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth’
Our Father, we dare call Thee by that blessed name, for we feel the spirit of children. We have an earnest love to Thee, and an implicit trust in Thee; and we desire in all things to be obedient to Thy will, and to seek Thine honour. All our dependence is placed on Thee since the day when Thou didst teach us to believe in Jesus Christ: and now, Thou art all in all to us, Thou art our fulness, and we lose ourselves and find ourselves completely in Thee.
We would come to Thee this morning by the way which Thou hast appointed; and enabled by the Spirit whom Thou hast given, we would speak with Thee. Father, we are always grieving if more or less we offend against Thy holy mind; and we grieve ourselves, to think that we should grieve Thee. Our innermost desire is to be absolutely perfect. Oh, how we wish we were! We hate every false way, and every sin; and we desire, with all the power of our mind, to be delivered from the dominion of any sin, and to be led into the blessed freedom of complete obedience to God.
Thou knowest Lord, for Thou searchest the heart and Thou triest the reins of the children of men — Thou knowest we can truly say, unless indeed we be under a very deep delusion, that we do wish to promote Thy glory among the sons of men; and that we count nothing to be riches, but that which makes us rich towards God; nothing to be health, but that which is sanity before the Most High – holiness in Thy sight; and we reckon nothing to be pure, but what Thou hast cleansed; and nothing to be good, but that upon which Thy blessing rests. Yet Lord, though it be so, though our mind has been by Thy Spirit set towards holiness, there is a death within us; the old nature which strives against our life, and the members of the body often join with the corrupt nature within, to lead us astray. We swing towards holiness and then we seem like the pendulum, to swing the other way. We are wretched, because of this, and we cry out to Thee to deliver us. Oh, that Thou wouldst deliver us!
We do thank Thee that Jesus gives us the victory but we long to have that victory in ourselves more constantly realised — more perfectly enjoyed. We would lie in the very dust before Thee because of sin; and yet, at the same time, rejoice in the great Sin-bearer, that the sin is not imputed to us, that it is put away by His precious blood, that we are accepted in the Beloved. But even this does not content us; we are crying after the work of the Holy Ghost within, till Satan shall be bruised under our feet, and sin shall be utterly destroyed.
Lord, Thou knowest the groanings of our heart; our prayers cannot express them: but we bless Thee that there is One who maketh intercession for us, with groanings that cannot be uttered, who is with us, and dwelleth in us, and is promised to be with us for ever. We shall overcome, we shall win the victory, we shall rise superior to depression of spirit, we shall overcome the doubts, and fears, and tribulations of our inward heart — we shall overcome, for Christ doth lead the way and victory lies in His cross; and we are sure of it, and therefore would we begin to sing the hymn of victory even now, saying — ‘Thanks be unto God who causeth us always to triumph in every place, by Jesus Christ His Son.’
At this time we would entreat Thee to visit us with Thy salvation. Lord we all want renewing, refreshing, reviving; but there are some of Thy people that sink very low by reason of physical infirmity and mental suffering; they lie in the very dust. But Lord, when our soul cleaveth to the dust, Thou canst still quicken us according to Thy Word and we ask Thee to make this a red-letter day in our experience. May we renew our youth: may the love of our espousals come back to us: may the joy of our first days be restored: may the childlike faith of the first steps we ever took towards Christ, be given to us now; and may we learn to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
O Lord our God, we do beseech Thee look upon the faint hearted and such as are swooning through affliction.
Bring again from Bashan, yea bring up Thy people from the depths of the sea. Take away our mourning and give us music: remove our sackcloth and give us beauty: take away our sighs and fill our mouths with songs; and let this be a radiant day of gladness, and a time of feasting from the Bridegroom’s own hand; and may our own spirits rejoice in Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
At this time also, great Father, wilt Thou visit this church with Thy great favour; and as Thou hast abounded toward us these many years in blessing, so give us now some new token, some fresh visitation for good. Lord, Thou hast not always given summer weather to the field of nature, but spring comes on and summer returns. Oh, give us summer weather as a church. May there be a great revival of religion in all the members, and especially in the minds of such as are growing cold or indifferent to holy things .Wherever there is any laxity of life, any slight holding of precious truth; wherever the world is creeping in with its corroding influences; wherever there is anything of sin which our eye sees not, but which Thine eye detects, be pleased to put it away. Fill the whole church with unity, with love, with life, with power.
We thank Thee for the many that are coming in among us fresh from the world. God be thanked for new converts; may they be like fresh blood in the veins of the church, keeping her alive and keeping her active; and may the Spirit of the Lord come down upon pastors, and elders and deacons, Sunday School teachers and workers and sufferers; and let the whole church be quickened. Yea, and not this church only but all the little hills of Zion, do Thou water with showers from on high. Let the country churches receive a blessed visitation. Let all the churches in foreign lands also be visited by the selfsame Comforter; and may there come to Thy church in these dark and dreary days, bright shining after the rain. May the time of the singing of birds come, and the voice of the turtle be heard in our land!
And oh, whilst Thou art doing this, look on sinners! Oh, look on sinners! When Thou blessest Thy people, Thou dost make them blessings. When the church is vigorous, when the people praise Thee, then shall the earth yield her increase, then shall all the nations praise Thee too; for the joy of Zion is the joy of the whole earth. When the Lord maketh glad His people then He maketh the earth sit still and rest, or even if it rages, yet still there is a time of salvation, a time of the ingathering of the hidden ones, and Christ’s name is glorious.
But, Lord, there is a great tumult in the world just now: we pray Thee overrule it for Thy glory. Grant that the best ends of progress, of truth and righteousness may be subserved; and may it be seen still, that the Lord reigneth. Even though the people should riot and rebel against the truth, yet do Thou advance Thy cause; even by disaster and defeat, if so it must be, or by success and prosperity. Let Thy kingdom come, good Lord; let Thy kingdom come, and let Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and our hearts shall sing with the angel choir, and be glad with all the ransomed before the throne, because God is glorified. This is our soul’s grandest object, that Jesus’ name be lifted high, and His throne be set up among the people, to the praise of the glory of His grace; and now unto the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, be glory, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
SERMON: No. 1530 (28 March 1880).
#Praise the Lord
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