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Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isa. lv. 1. Come, for all things are now ready. Luke xiv. 17. Him (be it who it will) that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. John vi. 37.
How could a tender mother's heart cast out her sick child, calling for help! Come, my poor soul, come only as well as thou canst. Better to come in a cold, fearful, miserable condition, than not at all; for if we cannot come boldly to CHRIST with a strong faith, we must even come trembling, just as we are; nor will such coming be offensive to CHRIST; for he says, "Him that cometh," come how he will," I will in no wise cast out." A feeling of joy is not needful to bring us to CHRIST, but a feeling of our wants; for it is not required to bring any money of our own worthiness, but only the whole heap of our misery along with us, and desire grace. God does not look upon the sensible joy of faith (for this is his particular gift, which he could soon give, if need was), but upon the sincerity, application, and earnestness of a poor sinner. John Bunyan fitly compares such a one to a man who would fain ride a full gallop, whose horse is hardly able to go a good trot. In this instance, the intention of the rider is not to be judged by the slow pace of his horse (which resembles our corrupt and unwilling nature), but by his whippings, spurrings, and beatings of the beast.
See, dearest Lord, our willing souls
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. xii. 21. For who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good. 1 Pet. iii. 13. All things work together for good to them that love God. Rom. viii. 28. THE Christian life is a warfare, and the conflict between sin and holiness, and between sorrow and comfort, is often very violent. The child of God has many evils to encounter with. Sin, Satan, self, and the world, are daily enemies. He is also exposed oft to poverty, affliction, reproaches and persecution. O my Saviour, help me to overcome all evil in the strength of thy grace; give me a heart to do good to all who may seek to hurt me. Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? Not the Father, for he loves you; not Jesus, for he died for you; not the Spirit, his work is to comfort you; not good men, they love those who follow that which is good; not wicked men nor devils, for though enemies, they are confined, and cannot stir one step beyond what thy God and Saviour permits them. When you meet with a trial, look not to men but to Jesus. Pray for patience to bear it, and look up for a blessing upon it. Then all things shall work together for thy good. Rom. viii. 28. Let every temptation make you more careful, and put you on closer watching against the enemy. Cleave to Jesus by faith and prayer, like a child to its parent, when it sees an enemy coming towards it. Behold him, flee to him, rest upon him, and then you will rejoice in him.
How glorious, Lord, thy wisdom shines,
Prayer shall be made for him continually, and daily shall he be praised. Ps. lxxii. 15. Thy kingdom come. Matt. vi. 10. Pour out your hearts before him. Ps. lxii. 8.
→ WHAT a condescending King we have, who may always be approached! Who would not pray? You say, O that my coldness and indifference would permit me to do it! But are you not sensible of your wants and miseries? Is not this coldness and backwardness misery enough? Therefore you ought also to pray, and to pray most when you are so dull and drowsy, else it will never be better with you. Arise, therefore, and pray; the good Spirit of God will assist you in it. "Encouraged by the promises of a prayerhearing God, and a special assistance of the Holy Spirit in this work, we must, even in the greatest conflicts, not omit to resist the temptations of the devil. And though we have sinned, not defer it long; but pray directly, and say, The Lord is merciful, and I am unworthy and unable to pray! but, alas, what shall I do? Shall I wait till I am worthy and able? O no; perhaps that time will never come; for I am always a great miserable sinner. A Christian stands always in need of prayer; for since the sense of sin does not leave him, he must not leave off prayer." Lord grant me more of the spirit of prayer, and let it never be extinguished in my heart!
Arise, my soul, from deep distress,
God calls thee to his throne of grace,
Go then, my soul, and talk with God
What dost thou here Elijah? 1 Kings xix. 13. LET this question be supposed as addressed to us: What dost thou here in this world? Art thou "working the work of him that sent thee," or standing all the day idle? Art thou in the post assigned thee by heaven, truly called, and properly qualified for it, and faithfully discharging the duties of it? or hast thou thrust thyself into it without warrant or invitation; and therefore hast no cause to expect success? What dost thou here in this retirement? Is the world shut out of thy thoughts, and are the visits of the blessed Spirit invited? What dost thou here, if thy peace with an offended God is not already made, or most earnestly desired and sought after? If thou really wantest peace and safety, plead the blood of Jesus, flee to the city of refuge. What dost thou here in times of trial and temptation? Art thou flying from the danger, or boldly facing it in the name and strength of the Lord? Art thou ashamed of the cross, or dost thou willingly take it upon thee? Elijah failed here; he fled from Jezebel. And did such an one as Elijah fear? Then howl, ye fir-trees, if the cedars be thus shaken! hold fast by CHRIST, ye weak ones, if the strong fall! What dost thou here below? Art thou not pitching thy tent on this side Jordan, satisfied with thy present portion? or art thou "looking to a better country, to a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God?" Life is uncertain, death approaches, the Judge is at the door, then "prepare to meet thy God."
Arm me with a jealous care,
And thy weak servant, Lord, preparo
A good account to give!
Mine eyes are ever towards the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Ps. xxv. 15. Happy is the man that feareth alway. Prov. xxviii. 14. O How long can some enemies hide themselves with their nets before our eyes, and draw in all on a sudden! It is unspeakable how cunning and powerful our enemies are, how they lie in wait everywhere, so that in all places, and at all times, we are surrounded with many cruel murderers of souls! Blessed is he that keeps clear from self-confidence, and fearing always, says within himself, as soon as he awakes in the morning, Who knows what temptations I may meet with to-day? perhaps when I arise, by the first step my feet may be entangled in dangerous snares and nets. And as self-confidence ever will be ashamed, and a firm confidence in the Lord never shall (Rom. ix. 33), grant, O Lord, I beseech thee, that, distrusting myself, I may fully put my trust on thee, watching evermore in all things, and looking cautiously in all places about me, where there is any fear of danger. Whatever I am about to do or to speak, let me first converse with thee by prayer; that keeping always close to thee, I may be preserved against the power and craft of mine enemies, as in a stronghold; and confidently say, according to thy own pattern given (Ps. xvi. 8), " I have set the Lord before me because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."
God is my portion and my joy;
My soul would all her thoughts approve
Nor death nor hell my hope shall move,