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Give an account of thy stewardship. Luke xvi. 2.
God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Eccl. xii. 14. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad. 2 Cor. v. 10. O LORD, how have I wasted my time, goods, and faculties ! O pardon me for thine infinite mercy's sake; blot out my debt by thy blood; and grant, that henceforth keeping a daily good account, and acting more prudently, faithfully, and diligently, my reckoning may not be false at last. But preserve me also from all needless cares, since the care to get something is not the steward's business, but only to husband everything faithfully. “Teach me, o Lord, and give me wisdom and grace to govern my house, and manage all my affairs rightly. Be thou the principal governor and father of my family. I would be nothing but thy servant; direct me only in all things, that I may not suffer or do any harm.” He that does not expostulate with God, but accuses himself as guilty in all things, even his best performances, and flies to CHRIST as his only refuge, will be justified of God through the righteousness of his dear Son. And being thus adopted of God, he is ready and willing to be governed and directed by him in all things as a child.
That awful day will surely come,
Th’appointed hour makes haste,
And pass the solemn test.
Thou sov'reign of my heart !
Pronounce the sound, Depart!
Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith.
2 Cor. xiii. 5. Many might be induced to pray for faith, if they did not presumptuously pretend to it; for such as have actually faith, often doubt whether they have any or not; and those that are without, imagine they have enough.
But faith is only wrought in the souls of those who are deeply humbled by a thorough conviction of the greatness and heinousness of their sins, confessing themselves not only with their lips, but with a true sense of their hearts, to be the chief of sin
Without this repentance we do not enter through the right gate, and our faith is only fancy; for faith is the greatest and most difficult thing even to a child of God; it receives CHRIST into the heart, and overcomes the devil, world, and all sins, which is not easily done. Therefore, if the generality of people had true faith, nothing were easier to believe ; for what can be easier than to give a mere assent to the Bible as true, which is all that Christians mean by faith in general. The wicked, therefore, who live in sin, deceive themselves in thinking they have faith ; for faith giveth victory over the world. And all who trust in their own works, deceive themselves too; for the prayer of faith is, “ God be merciful to me a sinner !" “Lord, save, or I perish !" If then the first Christians had need to examine themselves, how much more have we? Therefore, the best and safest way is, to pray earnestly for that faith which has boldness, and triumphis even in death.
O Lord, thy power and grace display,
Let guilt and death no longer reign,
Nor let my humble faith be vain.
For thy name's sake, lead me and guide me. Pull
me out of the net that they have laid privily for me ; for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit, thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Ps. xxxi. 3—5. When the ark set forward, Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that
hate thee flee before thee. Num. x. 35. EVERY one having his own particular gift, has also his own particular enemies, who lay various nets and hinderances in his
as everybody must clear the way for a king when he travels, much more so our enemies, when the King of kings guides us and goes before us. Grant, O Lord, that all my goings and restings may be done at thy will! Num. iv. 17, 23. Be gloriously pleased to go always before me, and to make room, that mine enemies may be scattered, and fall into their own nets ;=for thou, who dwellest in heaven, laughest at all, even mine inward spiritual enemies; and art able to confound their deepest craft, and strongest power. Enlighten my darkness, blessed Jesus, that I may see my enemies distinctly; and strengthen my faith in thee, that I may not fear them. Be the Captain of my salvation; lead me on praying and believing; and do thou fight all my battles for me. So shall I come off conqueror through thy love, and will give to thee eternal praise.
Great God, preserve my conscience clean;
And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which
the Lord hath given you to eat. Exod. xvi. 15.
See also 1 Cor. x. 3, 4. This manna was entirely different from common manna, which is shook from the leaves of trees, and used only in medicine ; this dropped down from the clouds, and was truly a miraculous production, as is evident from the following circumstances: that it fell but six days in the week ; that it fell in such prodigious quantity as sustained almost three millions of souls; that a double portion of it fell the day before the Sabbath, and none on that day, &c. This manna is called “ spiritual meat,” because it signified spiritual blessings in heavenly things. CHRIST himself is the true manna, the bread of life, of which that was a figure. John vi. 49–51. The word of God is a manna too, by which our souls are nourished. Matt. iv. 4. The comforts of the Spirit are also an hidden manna. * Rev. ii. 17. These come down from heaven, as the manna did; are the support and comfort of the divine life in the soul while we are in the wilderness of this world. The manna gathered in the wilderness was not to be hoarded up, but eaten; so they that have received CHRIST, must live upon him daily by faith, and not think of laying up a stock to-day to serve them to-morrow; they that did eat manna in the wilderness hungered again; whereas they that feed on CHRIST by faith shall never hunger. “ Lord, evermore give us this bread !"
Whilst in the wilderness I stray,
Thy manna, Lord, I need,
Or I shall faint indeed.
What wilt thou, Queen Esther! And what is thy
request? It shall be even given thee, to the half
of the kingdom. Esther v. 3. Dost thou want nothing, O poor soul? Hast thou nothing to ask? O yes ! you say, a great deal. Well then, draw near to thy gracious King and Bridegroom without fear. Lo! he holds out his golden sceptre to thee, saying, Only ask; not the half, but the whole of my kingdom shall be granted; nay, I will give myself unto thee. O dear soul, pray and tell him everything that is wanting, be it ever so great or ever so small. His lovingkindness will hear even the least petition; nay, he will seem to be ignorant of what thou dost not tell him. But whatever is poured out before him, is actually addressed and lodged in its proper place, and does not lie upon thy heart any longer, but upon
his heart, which cannot rest till you are relieved. And if you have experienced his help aforetime, in great or small things, you may depend on his readiness to help you out of troubles hereafter; only be earnest in prayer for his help. We often imagined we were willing and drawing near to him, but he was unwilling, and refused our request; but it is not so; he rather draws us, and desires our relief more than we do; for it is he that works even this willing mind.
Are those the happy persons here,
Who dwell the nearest to their God ?
And Jesus bought this grace with blood ?
Go then, my soul, address the Son
To lead thee near the Father's face;
And taste the blessings of his grace.