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My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (as also the Holy Spirit). For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. John v. 17, 21. See also John ix. 4, and xiv. 10.
O MY poor soul, is not the blessed Trinity thy God, in three Persons, able to destroy the works of the devil, and fulfil his good-will in thee? O yes, he works both to will and to do; and that very thing which is above your own power, he works, and nothing else. If you can do little, he works much; if nothing at all, so much the better, then he works all; for he is our all, since we are nothing, and can do nothing, And happy are we that we can have him for our support in all things; and that the children of God are not required to direct their own steps, but shall be led by their heavenly Father. Now, O Lord, since by the will, guidings, and workings of my own heart, I throw only so many hinderances and blocks in my way, grant, I beseech thee, that, in true dependence on thee, I may venture everything; and, despairing of my own sufficiency, may always abide in thee, draw all necessary strength from thee by prayer, and bring forth many good fruits which may last to eternity! For thy work in true believers, weak as it may seem now, will last for ever, and none shall be able to destroy it.
Lord, let thy counsels guide my feet
Then, if the springs of life were broke,
The strength of every saint.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James iv. 7, 8. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Chap. v. 16. O My dear soul, draw nigh to God in prayer, and he will draw nigh to thee; be instant in it, and the devil cannot stand against thee: for prayers will drive away sin and Satan, as the wind drives the smoke before it; prayer works wonderful great things, and will make possible what seemeth impossible. If God has given thee some spiritual blessings already, this is an encouragement to hope also for that which thou lackest yet: therefore only pray confidently, and you shall receive evermore; for unbelief is the only reason that God cannot work wonders for us. Pour out upon my soul, thou living and wonderworking God, the spirit of prayer; let me pray and strive, pray in faith, and pour out my whole heart before thee. Ps. lxii. 8. Let me strive in faith that the Lord may impart the blessing and draw nigh to me; for without thee to be with me, all my prayers and all my strivings are in vain.
My God, I bow before thy feet;
My soul should pour out all her cares,
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal. ii. 20.
IN spiritual things we are too often living upon self. We seek in frames, forms, creatures, and animal life, that inward peace and stability of mind, which is only to be found in the Redeemer. Outward duties are well in their place; but they have no divine life in themselves or to give. They are to be performed, but not trusted in; to be used with grace, but cannot buy grace. They are as the scaffold of the building, a means for carrying on the work, but not the end of the great design. In the power of CHRIST they are blessings; without it they have no power. The whole trust must be in Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the life: without him prayers, praises, rites, and ordinances, are carcases without a soul. Every performance of outward worship is so, unless the Saviour fills it with his divine Spirit. Then it is we experience a communion of heart, a reviving of the soul after the adorable Jesus, and a delightful view behind the vail of outward ordinances (such as no carnal eye can behold), manifesting the Lord in his goodness, beauty, grandeur, blessedness, and glory.
The faith and hope of things unseen
These are the blessings I desire;
Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. Exod. ii. 9.
As Moses was ordered to be saved by the most cruel enemy's daughter, so Satan himself, even when he meditates our destruction, must be a means of our life. So also Matt. xii. 48. Who is my mother, &c. Isa. viii. 10, and ix. 6. O Lord Jesus, if thou art a child born unto me, and I am willing to receive thee as my Immanuel, thou wilt be my shield and exceeding great reward, and defend me powerfully against all my enemies. O my dear Saviour, if thou art mine, all is mine, even thy Father, thy Spirit, and thy heavenly glory, all accidents, all enemies must work for my good, and be instruments and ministers of my salvation. O that I may, trusting in thee, never fear anything, but thinking directly it is mine, may only make good use of everything. Thus even the very worst would turn to my greatest blessing; and without it perhaps I should want as needful a thing as a mill or a ship does when destitute of wind and water.
My soul, survey thy happiness,
All things are now the gift of God,
If peace and plenty crown my days,
Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord. Eph. v. 19. Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns. Col. iii. 16. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God. Acts xvi. 25. If we are obliged to promote the temporal good of our neighbour, how much more the spiritual, by edifying discourses! But how is it? The children of God, when a person visits them (says a certain divine), are sometimes troubled, and know not what discourse to enter upon: at last they begin an unprofitable discourse, or at least they suffer others to do it, and are silent at it. I will tell you what I have done in such cases: I first prayed to God, saying, "O good God, here I receive a guest, and have nothing to set before and treat him with; I pray thee to give me the right bread for him; which the Lord was pleased to hear in such a gracious manner, that I could sooner enter into an edifying discourse. And thus we keep our conscience clean; and though perhaps the lips were frozen up at first, they are thawed and opened by prayer. Some foolish philosophers, to the great offence of others, mock at divine things, and even at prayer; as if we needed no other help than our own depraved reason and will. But what St. Paul says (Rom. i. 22) is fulfilled in them :-" Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools," What will become of these poor scoffers upon their dying bed, and at the day of judgment! O that they would take warning while it is time.
Now if some proper hour appear,