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Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the
wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. Hos. ii. 14. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field ; let us lodge in the villages. Song of Sol.
Tue Lord forsaketh not his saints, though the great waves of affliction come upon them, and nigh overwhelm them, because they have forgotten their first love, and though the heavy tide of temptation be running strong against them, and they with their little bark of faith be unable to stem it, though they have given their hearts to that in which the Lord delighteth not, though they have backslidden often and far, yet the Lord
will allure them, and bring them into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto them.” 0 Lord, this world is nothing to me but a wilderness, a place of tribulation, where, being tossed to and fro, I enjoy no rest; but when I lift up my heart and look for peace in thee, I am supported and comforted. Grant that I may thus be strengthened for the time to come, whenever I am at a loss what course to take. Let me always firmly believe thee to be a present help in trouble, who art willing and able to bear me up under all outward distresses, till I shall safely arrive at the rest of the people of God.
Lord ! what a wretched land is this, that yields us no supply,
Yet the dear path to thine abode lies through this horrid land;
When ye prar, say, Our Father, 8c. Luke xi. 2. Ye
ask and reaive not, for ye ask amiss. James iv. 3. MANY say the Lord's Prayer who do not pray it. They do not care that God should say Amen, though they_themselves will say so. They say,
• Our Father;" but if he be their Father, where is his honour? They say, “which art in heaven;" but did they believe it, how durst they sin as they do upon earth? They say, “ Hallowed be thy name;" yet take God's name in vain. They say, “ Thy kingdom come;" yet oppose the coming of his kingdom. They say, “ Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;" yet will not stand to their word, for this is the will of God, their sanctification ; but they want none of that. They say, "Give us this day our daily bread;" yet mind not the feeding of their souls with “the bread (Christ Jesus) which came down from heaven.” They say, “ Forgive us as we forgive others ;” but alas! if God should take them at their word, how undone were they, whose hearts burn with malice and revenge. They say, “Lead us not into temptation;" yet run into it. They say, “ Deliver us from evil," and yet deliver themselves to evil, and give up themselves “ to fulfil the lusts of the Hesh.” &c. Yea, those generally sin most against this
prayer who stickle most for the saying of it. Reader, how often hast thou been guilty of such vain petitions and repetitions ? Wonder not, if thou prayest in such a manner as this, that thou receivest nothing. Labour to get a deep sense of God's majesty and mercy, that thy prayers may be fervent and earnest, and God will bless thee.
Assist and teach me how to pray;
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for
ever. Heb. xiii 8. Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification ; that, as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Cor. i. 30, 31. He has finished the transgression, he has made reconciliation for iniquity, he has brought in everlasting
righteousness. Dan. ix. 24. Isa. xlv. 24. WHEREIN have we that we should glory before the Lord? Have we obeyed the law? Have we satisfied, or can we satisfy, the Divine Justice ? Where is the righteousness which we have of ourselves to give to God? Let us look back upon our past lives—is it there? Let us look into our own hearts-is it there? Alas! In ourselves we find nothing but misery; but in Christ we find all that is good; nay, he is himself our All. He works and gives what is necessary to salvation, therefore we cannot, and need not, bring anything to him of our own; but since he is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and our all, we may, and must rely only on his name, and draw everything from him by the continual prayer of faith.
And when by living faith in CHRIST he becomes our all, the law, sin, Satan, and even our own judgments, have lost their power and right of condemnation over us.
Jehovah speaks, let Israel hear;
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love
one another. 1 John iv. 11. I say unto you, love your enemies ; bless them that curse you ; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them
that despitefully use you. Matt. v. 44. HYPOCRITES may counterfeit the children of God in many things, but they cannot love their enemies from their hearts; and yet by this we must try and know ourselves, whether we are really children of God or not. The world very easily, but very falsely, suppose themselves to be God's children ; but sincere Christians find it often
very hard to believe it without a divine sense and assurance of it; it costs them many a sore conflict; for if Satan disputeth the Sonship of CHRIST, much less will he spare any of us. But since a true love to the children of God, and to our enemies, is a sure evidence of our state of grace, we have our title clear to it, though we shall walk in darkness, and be destitute of all pleasant sensa tions. Give us, then, O thou Father of our spirits, the heart filled with love, that is able not only to love those that are of the same mind with our selves, but also to love those that are opposed to us, and even to love those sincerely that do us wrong. Give the meek, the lowly, and the loving heart which Jesus had.
Now by the bowels of my God,
His sharp distress, his sore complaints;
I charge my soul to love the saints.
Envy and spite for ever cease;
Amongst the saints, the sons of peace.
Through all our lives let mercy run;
For tlie dear sake of Christ his Son.
And he said to his serrant, Go up now, look toward
the sea. And he went up and looked, and said, There is nothing, and he said, Go again seven times. 1 Kings xviii. 43. James v. 17, 18. Seven times a day do I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgments. Ps. cxix. 164. Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a-day, and prayed
and gave thanks before his God. Dan. vi. 10. Six times Elijah's servant looked towards the sea before he could see anything; the seventh time he saw a cloud, but no bigger than his hand, yet that cloud, within a few hours, covered the heaven with darkness and the earth with rain. Just so may be the case with many a one when he is praying to his God, as Caleb's daughter did unto her father. Judges i. 15. Thou hast hitherto made me the owner of a dry, a barren heart ; but give me now some springs of water, some feeling, at least, some sorrow for my sins. Well, though at six times bending of thy knees, God doth not grant it, and though at the seventh there appears but one small drop swimming in thine eyes, yet be not discomforted; that drop may prove a shower, the beginning of that thaw may at last dissolve thy whole heart to water; and as there is a full joy for the thorough conversion of a sinner, there may be a suitable measure of joy for one tear, nay, for one desire of a tear, of any one sinner that repenteth. Grant, O Lord, that I may be able to come unto thee at all times in holy confidence of prayer, and that my prayers may not only be unceasing, but that I may with expectation wait upon an answer.
If six or sixty prayers are past,
Pray on and never faint;
To cheer a drooping saint.