Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PRAYER

Prayer is a defence against the spirit of this world - a bar to the inroads of vanity - a maul upon the head of the old man, and a lash of scorpions for the devil. It is a bridle in the jaws of a persecutor - a spell to a voracious enemy - a dagger at the heart of a heretic - a key to parables and dark sayings - and a battering-ram on the walls of salvation.


William Huntington

WISE WORDS


There must be a principle of better life that can savour, relish and feed upon better provision.

Vanity and folly (says the wise man) feed the foolish.

Self-will, self-sufficiency and self-righteousness feed the pharisee.

Husks feed dry and legal convictions.

A fair show in the flesh feeds the hypocrite.

Human applause feeds the letter preacher.


But the quickened soul must have the bread of life, for he is sure to perish without it.

By William Huntington

MARVEL NOT AT THE WORLD'S HATRED


Marvel not at the world's hatred. God's choice of us is the bone which they cannot endure:

"If ye were of the world the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hateth you."
(John 15:19

Especially those professors who make an outward show but are ignorant of the celestial adorning of the soul.

Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

A demure countenance, feigned speech, decent behaviour, voluntary humility, reproving others, straining at gnats, sighing under the Word, turning up the eyes, learning to prate, pass current enough with many.

But a deep sight and sense of sin, a wounded spirit, a thirst for the living God, self-loathing, humility arising from a sense of undeserved mercy, meekness, submission under the rod, compunction of soul, a sorrowing after God, being stung with grief for past sins, repentance drawn forth by a believing discovery of the dying love of Christ, to rejoice with trembling, humbling confidence, filial fear, cordial affections for the Son of God, and sympathetic fellowship with Him in His sufferings, which make the King's daughter all glorious within these are the spangling jewels which adorn the renewed soul, and which outside adorners know nothing of, nor care for; and it is these that are in the sight of God of great price.

By William Huntington

Monday, September 06, 2010

HEAVENLY WISDOM


"The Comforter, The Holy Ghost...he shall teach you all things."
(John 14:26)

There is a heavenly wisdom which the Holy and Blessed Spirit alone can give. He sheds a sacred light on His own word of truth, and by His personal and living teachings--opens, enlarges, and persuades the heart to receive what He thus shows and teaches.

However valuable and blessed the book of God is, we cannot be made wise unto salvation by the word itself--without the special teachings of the Holy Spirit as a personal and living instructor. He can suit His teachings to our case; knows when, where, and how to teach us; can bear with our ignorance and stupidity; give us the right lesson at the right time and in the right way; and do for us what no earthly teacher can--write His own laws upon our hearts and give us will and power to keep and obey them.

"Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go."
(Isaiah 48:17)

By J. C. Philpot

HEAVENLY DEW


"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."
(Deuteronomy 32:2)

The dew falls imperceptibly. No man can see it fall. Yet its effects are visible in the morning. So it is with the blessing of God upon His Word. It penetrates the heart without noise; it sinks deep into the conscience without anything visible going on. And as the dew opens the pores of the earth and refreshes the ground after the heat of a burning day, making vegetation lift up its drooping head, so it is with the blessing of God resting upon the soul.

Heavenly dew comes imperceptibly, falls quietly, and is manifested chiefly by its effects, as softening, opening, penetrating, and secretly causing every grace of the Spirit to lift up its drooping head.

Whenever the Lord may have been pleased to bless our souls, either in hearing, in reading, or in private meditation, have not these been some of the effects?

Silent, quiet, imperceptible, yet producing an evident impression softening the heart when hard, refreshing it when dry, melting it when obdurate, secretly keeping the soul alive, so that it is neither withers up by the burning sun of temptation, nor dies for lack of grace.

Oh may this Gospel ever "drop as the rain and distill as the dew" upon our heart, and make it fruitful in every good word and work!

Then shall we have all the comfort and God all the glory.

May "God give thee of the dew of heaven." (Genesis 27:28)

By J.C. Philpot

Sunday, September 05, 2010

WROUGHT WITH DIVINE POWER


"Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction."
(1 Thessalonians 1:5)

Most men's religion is nothing else but 'a round of forms'.

Some have their 'doings'.
Some have their 'doctrines'.
And others have their 'duties'.

And when the one has performed his doings, the other learned his doctrines, and the third discharged his duties — why, he is as good a Christian, he thinks, as anybody.

While all the time, the poor deceived creature is thoroughly ignorant of the kingdom of God, which stands not in simply in word — but in power.

But as the veil of ignorance is taken off the heart, we begin to see and feel that there is a power in vital godliness — a reality in the teachings of the Spirit — that religion is not to be put on and put off as a man puts on and off his Sunday clothes.

Where vital godliness is wrought with divine power in a man's heart, and preached by the Holy Spirit into his conscience — it mingles, daily and often hourly, with his thoughts — entwines itself with his feelings — and becomes the very food and drink of his soul.

Now when a man comes to this spot — to see and feel what a reality there is in the things of God made manifest in the conscience by the power of the Holy Spirit — it effectually takes him out of dead churches, cuts him off from false ministers, winnows the chaff from the wheat, and brings him into close communion with the broken-hearted family of God.

"Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction."
(1 Thessalonians 1:5)

By J.C. Philpot

THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH


"They perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
(2 Thessalonians 2:10)

There is a receiving of 'the truth', and a receiving of "the love of the truth".

These two things widely differ.

To receive the truth will not necessarily save (see the parable of the 4 soils); for many who receive the truth, never receive "the love of the truth."

Professors by thousands receive the truth into their judgment, and adopt the plan of salvation as their creed; but are neither saved nor sanctified thereby. But to receive "the love of the truth" by Jesus being made sweet and precious to the soul, is to receive salvation itself.

"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe."
(1 Peter 2:7)

By J.C. Philpot

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A PECULIAR, INDESCRIBABLE, INVINCIBLE POWER


"For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."
(1 Thessalonians 1:5)

The gospel comes to some in word only. They hear the word of the gospel, the sound of truth; but it reaches the outward ear only — or if it touches the inward feelings, it is merely as the word of men.

But where the Holy Spirit begins and carries on His divine and saving work, He attends the word with a peculiar, an indescribable, and yet an invincible power.

It falls as from God upon the heart. He is heard to speak in it — and in it His glorious Majesty appears to open the eyes, unstop the ears, and convey a message from His own mouth to the soul.

Some hear the gospel as the mere word of men, perhaps for years before God speaks in it with a divine power to their conscience. They thought they understood the gospel — they thought they felt it — they thought they loved it. But all this time they did not see any vital distinction between receiving it as the mere word of men, and as the Word of God.

The levity, the superficiality, the emptiness stamped upon all who merely receive the gospel as the word of men — is sufficient evidence that it never sank deep into the heart, and never took any powerful grasp upon their soul.

It therefore never brought with it any real separation from the world — never gave strength to mortify the least sin — never communicated power to escape the least snare of Satan — was never attended with a spirit of grace and prayer — never brought honesty, sincerity, and uprightness into the heart before God — never bestowed any spirituality of mind, or any loving affection toward the Lord of life and glory. It was merely the reception of truth in the same way as we receive scientific principles, or learn a language, a business, or a trade.

It was all...shallow, superficial, deceptive, hypocritical.

But in some unexpected moment, when little looking for it, the word of God was brought into their conscience with a power never experienced before.

A light shone in and through it which they never saw before - a majesty, a glory, an authority, an evidence accompanied it which they never knew before. And under this light, life, and power they fell down, with the Word of God sent home to their heart.

When then Christ speaks the gospel to the heart — when He reveals Himself to the soul — when His Word, dropping as the rain and distilling as the dew, is
received in faith and love — He is embraced as the chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely one — He takes His seat upon the affections and becomes enthroned in the heart as its Lord and God.

Is there life in your bosom?

Has God's power attended the work?

Is the grace of God really in your heart?

Has God spoken to your soul?

Have you heard His voice, felt its power, and fallen under its influence?

"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
(1 Thessalonians 2:13)

By J.C. Philpot

EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE


"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
(John 17:3)

An experimental knowledge of Christ in the soul, is the only relief for sin's...

...Poverty, guilt, leprosy, bankruptcy, and damnation.

This is the true way of preaching Christ crucified; a crucified Jesus experimentally known to the soul.

I am deeply conscious of my own baseness, ignorance, blindness and folly.

But my malady is too deeply rooted to be healed by dry doctrines and speculative theological opinions.

The blood of the Lamb, spiritually and supernaturally sprinkled and applied, is the only healing balm for a sin-sick soul.

By J.C. Philpot

A NATURAL RELIGIOSITY


There is in some people a natural religiosity - that is, a disposition to be religious. If they had been born in Turkey, they would have been devout Muslims; if in Italy, they would have become priests, monks, or nuns, and as ready to burn a heretic as their fathers; if born and bred in England, they would be devout churchmen, pious dissenters, and so forth -just as the various circumstances of birth and education, habits and associations, might dispose or determine.

Now to these naturally religious minds, when fully ripened and blended with a stern spirit of self-denial, which usually accompanies and grows up with it, no system so thoroughly adapts itself as that of Popery - for it just meets and gives full play to that habit of mind which yields, like clay, to every object of groveling, superstitious veneration.

By J.C. Philpot

Friday, September 03, 2010

THAT INESTIMABLE SACRIFICE!


Jesus made that inestimable sacrifice - not of gold, nor silver, but of His own precious blood - to redeem selfish, carnal, ungodly, and hell-deserving sinners!

Moreover, He has bestowed upon them more than we can ever ask or think!

Glory and honor be to His adorable name!

By William Tiptaft

THE MORE WE TASTE OF THE PLEASURES OF SIN


How we find that there are two principles within us continually at war, and how they ever wrestle for mastery!

But whatever suits and pleases the flesh will surely make the soul lean, and bring on deadness and barrenness.

The more we taste of the pleasures of sin, the more we get blinded and intoxicated by them, and the more anxious to enjoy them in this time-state, whether we go to heaven or not.

Right hands and right eyes are dear to us, and self-denial is a continual cross.

When we are tried, tempted, and harassed, we want ease and comfort. Yet we daily learn that without ballast we should not sail in any way safely on the seas of temptation. We need chastisements, rods, and crosses, to bring us to a throne of grace; and we need a daily sense of our sins to constrain us to fly to the only true refuge for poor helpless sinners, who is a Friend in need and a Brother born for adversity.

By William Tiptaft

WHAT DEBTORS WE ARE TO GRACE!


It is a very narrow way to heaven, and none can be rightly in the path except by God's grace. Nor can they keep there, except by grace.

What debtors we are to grace!

God has been a kind and good God to me, in various ways, for more than sixty-one years.

How little gratitude for such great blessings in upholding, keeping and preserving us to the present moment!

If we know that it is a mercy to be out of hell, we have no room for boasting.

What a precious Saviour Christ is to those who really need Him!

By William Tiptaft

Thursday, September 02, 2010

THE WORLD IS A GREAT ENEMY!


"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
(1 John 2:17)

What is this world, and all things in it, if a man does not have God for his friend?

All things around us remind us that we are nothing better than grass, and are like a fleeting shadow. And if we are void of saving grace, awful is our state, whether we feel it so or not. But we find that the Lord must make us view things in their true colors. And if He favors us with a few breathings after the "heavenly manna", it will stop us from so earnestly seeking that "bread which perishes".

The world is a great enemy!

It contains so many snares and baits so suitable to our carnal appetite!

We are surrounded with everything that is trying to fasten our hearts to earthly things. And if we were to have no crosses, and no enjoyment and comfort in spiritual things, we would be endeavoring, still more than we are, to find our happiness in earthly things.

A tender conscience and godly fear in the heart, are great mercies. And if the Lord does bless our souls with a sense of His pardoning love, it is a wonderful favour.

For we know our vileness sufficiently to be sure that there is no hope for us but through His rich, unmerited love and mercy. It is a very narrow path, and the Lord must guide and direct us in it.

By William Tiptaft

SATAN'S CHILDREN BEGAN TO HISS!


Since I last wrote, I have preached in Abingdon Great Church. I preached the truth, I trust, to a very crowded congregation, supposed to be (sitting and standing, who were able to get in) about 5,000 people.

I pleased the believers; but very much displeased the carnally-minded, who were never before so puzzled and confounded in all their lives!

I spoke the truth faithfully, and so as all could hear; but I had no idea that the gospel would have given so much offence!

It is the truth that offends and disturbs Satan's kingdom!

The neighboring clergymen, who are in darkness, say of me, "Away with such a fellow from the earth; it is not fit that he should live!"

My mind is not moved by the persecution.

I believe if God has a work for me to do, I shall do it, in spite of the devil and all his children!

Nature is not changed, the gospel is not changed, and Christ is not changed.

What reason is there why they should not hate the truth now, as much as in the time of the apostles?

I never saw any fruits of my labours until I roused and disturbed the 'roaring lion'. When, through the grace of God, I began to disturb his kingdom, I soon found that his children began to hiss!

The world and Satan hate believers. The Pharisees hate me the most. I cut off all their rotten props, and all their fleshly devotion!

It is not coming near to the truth, it is not the 'mere letter' of the gospel, that will convert men; but the Holy Spirit.

Make the Word of God your study. Pin your faith to no man's views! I scarcely read any other book.

Beware of those who want to exalt man in any manner.

By William Tiptaft

THE WOULD NOT BE SO ANXIOUS TO SAVE MONEY!


If you were to go about telling people that you had an in inheritance worth a million worlds, and yet got upset over a trifle, they would not believe you.

If rich men only knew when they died, how...

Their relatives would scramble for their money,
The worms for their bodies, and
The devil for their souls...


...They would not be so anxious to save money!

If I love money more than Christ, woe is me!

By William Tiptaft

MARVEL NOT MY BRETHREN


"Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you."
(1 John 3:13)

You will be much despised and cast out for Christ's sake, and nothing will offend more than separating yourselves as much as possible from carnal people.

It is 'the life' which condemns the professing world.

When the world sees you unmoved by the riches and the pleasures which it so much adores; when you are led by the Spirit "to count all things but rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ"; when you have a single eye to God's glory, you must expect then to bear reproaches from the Hagar race.

By William Tiptaft

IT IS ONLY THE SPIRIT'S TEACHING


As a child of God, you are not of the world, but are chosen out of it. You are only a stranger and a pilgrim here.

You will meet with many professing to love the true doctrines of the gospel; but, alas! they at the same time love their sins, and too evidently show themselves to be...

Boasters,
Proud,
Covetous,
Heady,
High-minded,
Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

The gospel conforms God's people to the image of His dear Son.
It is only by the Spirit's teaching that we learn to be humble, meek, and lowly of heart; we see our helpless and lost state by nature, and are surprised to find our hearts so unclean and sinful.

By William Tiptaft

GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD


Preached at Lewes, 1856 - By John Vinall
_______________________________________________

"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16)

It behoves us patiently to wait and quietly to hope for his salvation. We cannot alter God's will, yet "we must pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

Go right on through frames and feelings, unbelief and all other opposition.

"And he spake a parable to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint."
(Luke 18:1)

I do not think that I shall ever be plunged again into the same depths where I have been, and I say so from my hope in this word.

"Hear now this, thou afflicted and drunken, but not with wine....Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again."
(Isaiah 51:21-22)

This is enough for me. God does not plead the cause of his people because it is a good cause, but because they are his people. How few know what it is to be saved by grace only.

The Lord says, "My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

God's grace goes in a sovereign way. Your better judgment may go one way, and your feelings and actings another. In this chapter we read of a Pharisee who was a ruler, and yet a little man and a good man - Nicodemus. These little ones stood by the Lord Jesus when the others fled. These will always stand the test. He came to Jesus by night. Whether we are afraid or ashamed all that shall come do come.

How do we come?

By divine power.

"No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him."
(John 6:44)

"No man can come unto me, except it were given him of my father."
(John 6:65)

We are not brought into such close trials as they were when Christ was upon earth, but I think such a day is now coming, and I must sound the alarm. I am called to do this.

What did Nicodemus say?

"Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God."

This would have elated me, but Christ had no pride in him, and therefore he was never lifted up.

David says, "I am troubled: I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long." (Psalm 38:6)

This and the loss of God's presence principally make my troubles.

Don't you find this trouble?

I cannot say I have made my heart clean. It is foul and filthy. The Lord, answering Nicodemus, insists on regeneration.

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

This doctrine is confirmed by six verilys. Nicodemus takes this in a carnal way, "How can a man be born when his is old?"

Jesus goes on, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." This kind of flesh can never enter heaven.

"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." Every one of God's children is born of the Spirit. It is not water baptism that does this work. This is a sign and no more. But it is an ordinance of the Lord equally with the Lord's supper, and baptism seems to be enforced in the Word even more than the Lord's Supper.

If you are in real earnest you will search for God's word more than for gold. "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare....For the love of money is the root of all evil," - not money itself, but the love of it.

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness," etc.

It is well when we can do this. The young man whom Jesus told to sell all that he had and give to the poor, went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. He was one of those who make a god of their riches. Abraham was a very rich man. He was of a noble spirit, and would not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet of the king of Sodom. See how tender he was of God's honour.

I began with this doctrine of regeneration in my preaching.

Are you made to mourn over your shortcomings?

Pent up grief is worse than shedding tears. There are weepers mentioned in Scripture for different causes. Peter wept bitterly, but some had more sweetness than bitterness in their weeping, as it was with her who wept and washed Jesus' feet with her tears.

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son man be lifted up."

This refers to the account in Numbers 21. The people were much discouraged because of the way, and they spake against God and against Moses. Instead of committing themselves to God, they showed a great deal of what I have, that is, self-pity. Here is not only bitterness in the heart, but it comes out at the mouth. Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people. The Lord sent them.

"Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it?"

It was good, and would be good though it were Satan's messenger, as in Paul's case. Then they came to Moses and entreated him to pray for them. They were stung, and when a person is stung it brings him to his senses. Moses could not pray for Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; but he could pray for these stung people.

When do you go to Jesus?

Is it not when you are stung?

Moses was a type of Christ - stung with a sense of your guilt and anguish of spirit. The Lord directs Moses to erect a serpent of brass. We should have thought that the very sight of this would have made them worse. Go to Jesus when you are stung with anything.

"Ye people, pour out your hearts before him: God is a refuge for us."

There is no merit in being thus stung, but it brings us to Christ. Every one that beheld the serpent of brass lived. It does not do for us to reason about this, but it was God's way. Those that were rebellious and would not look, died.

"Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth."
(Isaiah 45:22)

"Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

If I look to anything that may be seen with the natural eye it is vanity. If I look to my own heart it deceives me. Look to Jesus Christ alone. "Even so must the Son of man be lifted up," that is, by the Gospel--by every sent servant of the Lord Jesus. Paul says to the Corinthians, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified."

Is not everything included in believing?

The Lord said to the ruler, "Fear not, believe only," though your daughter be dead.

"To trust him endeavour; The work is his own:
He makes the believer, And gives him his crown."


What shall we do?

"This is the work of God that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."

"Great are the graces he confers, But all in Jesus' name;
He gladly dictates, gladly hears, Salvation to the Lamb."


I think there is not any hymn by which you may judge yourself more than that. If you wish to know whether you are under the right spirit, it is an evidence of it when it glorifies Christ and humbles you.

"Try the spirits whether they are of God."
(1 John 4:1)

It is the especial work of the Holy Spirit to glorify Christ.

"God so loved," etc. The love of God is the source from which all blessings flow. "The world," not the whole world, but the elect world - as many as Christ died for and intercedes for. This is a world within the world. This is the people.

"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8) that is, manifested his love. Here the love of the Father is set forth.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God."
(1 John 3:1)

That love is manifested in the gift of his Son. "He gave his only begotten Son."

And again it is said, "He sent his Son." He loved us first, and then manifested his love by sending his Son. The Father loved us, Christ loved us, and the Holy Spirit loved us. That is the fountain of all happiness in time and eternity.

The love of the trinity in unity - three persons in one God. The doctrine of the trinity in glorious. Some say that Christ was not the Son of God until he was made man, but I believe in the eternal generation of the Son.

"Very God, of very God, begotten, not made."

I approve of this as scriptural. Don't lose sight of this when you see the love of God in sending his only begotten Son into the world.

Are you convinced that you cannot believe in Christ, that it is a supernatural work to believe, and God's work?

A receiving of Christ into the heart is a believing him.

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power (right or privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
(John 1:11-12)

A receiving of Christ into the heart is in fact true believing. I can trace my own experience more clearly this way than any other. The Jews, his own nation, generally rejected the Lord, and were given up to unbelief.

Can you come to this receiving Christ, and look back to the time when you did so?

"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." I often read these texts over and try myself by them. In the cordial receiving of Christ, in the conscience and affections, you will find pardon and peace. By faith we receive him, and by faith he becomes manifest in our conscience and affections. This secures our eternal salvation. Your believing proves that you are beloved of God, and that secures you.

Can you come in here?

"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious."
(1 Peter 2:7)

"Sinners can say, And none but they, How precious is the Saviour."

You may by this prove the genuineness of your faith.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."
(Romans 8:16)

"We have known and believed the love that God hath to us."
(1 John 4:16)

This faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

How do we receive Christ?

Generally through the preached word.

"He that receiveth you receiveth me."
(John 13:20)

You may trace this throughout the Scriptures. See the account of Lydia. She received the word from Paul, and she also received the preacher, and thus she received Jesus Christ. He is sometimes received in private meditation - so I have found him. He takes up his abode in the heart.

"This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it."

These are essential points, and if you secure them you secure heaven.

"For ye are all the children of God (manifestly) by faith in Christ Jesus."

You will find more or less the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

NO OTHER FOUNDATION BUT JESUS CHRIST


Preached at Brighton, 1856 - By John Vinall
_____________________________________________

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
(1 Corinthians 3:11-13)

The apostle had much trial with this church. He spoke at first unto them as unto carnal. There was much carnality among them.

"One saith I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?"
(1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:3)

See how he speaks to the Ephesians, Philippians and Thessalonians. He expresses his affection strongly to them. But he says to the Corinthians, "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates. But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates."

They called in question his ministry. He calls them babes. A babe is as much beloved as Paul was. Paul says, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon."

There are different sorts, and therefore we must examine ourselves whether we are gold or hay. There is a great deal of forgery in the world at large, and also in the religious world. Therefore, "let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."

This is working out our salvation with fear and trembling. If we have not this fear it is not a good sign.

"Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste."
(Isaiah 28:16)

Did you consider that word?

Our text refers to it. No man was ever sent to preach the Gospel who could not declare what God had done for his soul, as David did, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." (Psalm 66:16)

The Lord Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matthew 9:13)

I am a great sinner, but Christ is a greater Saviour. If you are a sensible sinner and need a Saviour, you must go to Jesus.

"Repentance is a gift bestow'd, To save a soul from death: Gospel repentance towards God, Is always join'd to faith."

Paul laid the foundation.

What was that?

It was the same as laid by all the apostles, and is called "the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." (Ephesians 2:20)

This was laid in the purpose of God, and then in the promises of God, as we read in Isaiah 28. Peter writes to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, etc. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, etc.

In the next chapter he calls them new-born babes, and he adds, "Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5)

Here we may try ourselves whether we are God's children or not. Peter is speaking to those who are newly regenerated and born again.

Do you think that you can go to heaven without this?

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
(John 3:3)

The Lord first teaches regeneration--no trust in water baptism.

The work is to be tried of what sort it is. Take Peter's words, "As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2)

Are you quickened to feel your misery as sinners?

Regeneration is the infusion of the spirit and grace of Christ into the heart of a poor sinner, that is by nature dead in trespasses and sins.

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit."
(John 3:8)

I don't think that every one can state the exact time and way in which God first met him, but you may trace it in the effects. Feeling, crying, breathing, all prove life.

"This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word hath quickened me."
(Psalm 119:50)

The Lord put this cry into my heart, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

Have you been brought to feel your sin, and that you need a Saviour, and to have a desire after him?

If so, then God has secured you.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
(John 10:27-28)

There is no may be here, but it shall be.

"The desire of the righteous shall be granted."
(Proverbs 10:24)

"Unto you therefore which believe he is precious."
(1 Peter 2:7)

Did you ever find Christ precious to you?

He is this precious foundation.

"There is none other name under heaven given amongst men, whereby we must be saved."
(Acts 4:12)

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins."
(Matthew 1:21)

I can not only quote that Scripture, but bless God that I know it experimentally. Paul speaks of laying Christ as the foundation ministerially. He laid Christ as the only foundation for man to build on. He said, "I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2)

If you are building at all upon what you have done, or fancy you can do, you are on a sandy foundation. He has commanded us to rest upon his person, righteousness, and precious atoning blood. Christ says, "Without me you can do nothing."

His work is perfect. Do nothing to it.

How shall I know that I am brought to this foundation?

"To whom coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious; ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house."
(1 Peter 2:4-5)

When a poor sinner is quickened, he is a lively stone - then he falls on this foundation.

"Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
(Matthew 21:44)

"He is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient."
(1 Peter 2:8)

But unto them which believe he is precious.

Are you brought as a poor needy sinner to venture upon Christ?

You will be broken. A broken hearted sinner, and a loving hearted Saviour meet together. The contrition and godly sorrow form a cement of love which binds you to Christ. The foundation and the building are thus cemented together. In the very act of falling upon Christ, you find the contrition. The living stone and the living foundation are together. "This union with wonder And rapture be seen, Which nothing shall sunder, Without or within."

Did you not find a sweet love to Christ when you ventured on him?

Can you respond and say, I know it is so?

Would you part with that hope for all the world?

A good hope through grace is worth a thousand worlds.

"Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house."

The gold, silver, and precious stones are the elect. The wood, hay, stubble, are mere empty professors. Some are brought doctrinally and notionally to fall on the foundation, but never are cemented to it.

"Some this, some that good virtue teach To rectify the soul;
But we first after Jesus reach, And richly grasp the whole."


Venture upon the precious blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Faith working by love will cement you so to Christ, that you will say, "How precious is the Saviour!"

Have you ever found Christ precious in believing?

Then God for his sake assures you that once on this foundation you can never be removed from it.

REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD


Preached at Brighton, 1853 - By John Vinall
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"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
(Ephesians 1:7)

I may venture to say of this precious Epistle that it is one of the best ever written by Paul. I don't wish to set one Epistle before another, because "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God."

This Epistle begins, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God," - not by the will of other men, nor by his own will - "to the saints," not to all the world. "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." All spiritual blessings flow from one blessed source, and that is Jesus Christ.

Who are the "us" here referred to?

The children of God, or the elect of God.

"Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us."
(Ephesians 5:1-2)

You must always look at the characters traced in Scripture.

Don't you wish to be satisfied that you are the same character?

If you feel that you do not want to be called a Christian, unless you really are one, then you come to this.

"He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God."
(John 3:21)

I would not give a straw for religion without a personal application. The ministry of the late Mr. Brooke was the most searching that I ever sat under, and I always liked a searching ministry. It was never too searching for me.

"According as he hath chosen us in him." This is the foundation of all spiritual blessings. A man may have temporal blessings, and yet be destitute of all spiritual blessings. Temporal blessings are all the good things of this life, especially health and strength, which are better than all the other good things. Also to have our rationality preserved to us is a temporal blessing. I consider it a great temporal blessing in my present affliction to retain my rationality.

Another temporal blessing is to retain our sight, hearing, and other senses. I have in measure lost all these senses.

What are spiritual blessings?

First. Divine life, or the fear of God. None but the elect of God ever receive this.

"As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."
(Psalm 133:3)

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
(Psalm 111:10)

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death."
(Proverbs 14:27)

"Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee."
(Psalm 128:1-2)

"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever."
(Psalm 19:9)

Are you a partaker of that fear?

"My covenant was with him (Levi) of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before me."
(Malachi 2:5)

I believe that this was the first spiritual blessing I received.

"I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me."
(Jeremiah 32:40)

If you have this fear, it will preserve you from turning back to perdition.

"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
(Hebrews 10:39)

I am tracing these spiritual blessings out of the abundance of the heart.

"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things." (Matthew 12:35)

The next spiritual blessing is to have the spirit of grace and supplication.

"Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee."
(Psalm 65:4)

The child of God will be constrained to pour out his heart to him. Moses said unto Korah and all his company, "Even tomorrow the Lord will shew who are his and who is holy, and will cause him to come near unto him." (Numbers 16:5)

The sinner is constrained by the inward teaching of the Holy Ghost to draw near to God.

"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."
(James 4:8)

The next spiritual blessing is true faith, though it be ever so small.

"He that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
(Hebrews 11:6)

There are those who are weak in faith, and we are not to dispute their faith.

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."
(Romans 14:1)

"The feeblest pray'r, If faith be there, Exceeds all empty notion."

The principle of living faith is to believe the Word, and to believe that God hears prayer. The poor woman who had the issue of blood had this principle of faith.

Perhaps you would ask, Is it possible that faith may be in the heart, and yet we cannot discover it?

I could have asked the same question yesterday, when I was brought very low. On Friday last I was lifted up, and yesterday I was cast down.

Do you know these changes?

You must not consider such as are subject to them to be void of faith. I should say that is the very person who has true faith. "It lives and labours under load, Though dampt, it never dies."

I am one of those desponding creatures. "And from within (what's worse to bear), Despondency and doubt."

If you know nothing of these sinkings, you won't know much about the risings. Perhaps you say Christ's words are, "Take no thought for the morrow." I would desire to trust him indeed altogether.

Don't you know the prayer of the apostles?

It is my prayer every day. "Lord, increase our faith." Their faith led them to pray for the increase of it.

"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips."
(Proverbs 16:23)

The poor man said, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief."

Here is the struggle. Where there are these two principles, faith and unbelief, there will be a struggle.

"When I would do good, evil is present with me."
(Romans 7:21)

Unbelief was present. This is the struggle of Jacob and Esau in the womb. The next blessing is hope. Perhaps you say, I thought we had hope before faith. There is no such thing in the Bible. We read that Abraham had faith before he had hope. Suppose you come under great dejection to hear the word, and while I am speaking God applies it, and faith comes by the hearing, then hope springs up.

David says, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope." (Psalm 119:49)

You must first believe the Word before you can hope in it. It is first received into the heart, and then hope follows. This is a fruit and effect of God's everlasting love to you. The apostle says, "Which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace." (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

"The righteous hath hope in his death."
(Proverbs 14:32)

The next blessing is the favour of God.

"For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield."
(Psalm 5:12)

"His favour is as dew upon the grass."
(Proverbs 19:12)

"His favour is as a cloud of the latter rain."
(Proverbs 16:15)

"I will be as the dew unto Israel."
(Hosea 14:5)

Don't you find your heart sometimes softened and melted down before the Lord?

This is his favour.

"My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew."
(Deuteronomy 32:2)

Isaac's blessing to Jacob was this - "God give thee of the dew of heaven," that is, God's favour. "They shall revive as the corn." (Hosea 14:7)

This reviving is peculiar to God's children. The next blessing is peace, which is the fruit and effect of righteousness.

"The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace."
(Psalm 29:11)

The wicked know nothing of this.

"There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
(Isaiah 57:21)

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

These passages are sweeter to me than honey and the honeycomb.

"Wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."

Not according to our merit or worthiness.

What is it to redeem?

The word signifies to buy back again. The apostle says in Hebrews 12. we are come "to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling." Eternal redemption is obtained through the blood of Christ, and in no other way. We were all lost and gone for ever. Then Christ came to redeem those that were lost, to pay the ransom price.

"When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
(Galatians 4:4-5)

Therefore, he is called the Redeemer.

"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord."
(Isaiah 59:20)

The Lord says in Psalm 40: - "Lo I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God, yea, thy law is within my Heart."

He redeemed us by fulfilling the law that we had violated. He restored that which he took not away. He rendered to the law of God a tenfold righteousness to that which we had lost. We broke it as creatures, but the obedience of Christ is the Creator's obedience. I like Dr. Hawker's remarks on this point. He says that Christ greatly exceeded in this respect. It was needful that the justice of God should be fully satisfied.

"Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things.....But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot."
(1 Peter 1:18-19)

"Without shedding of blood there is no remission."
(Hebrews 9:22)

There is redemption by blood and by power.

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed out of the hand of the enemy."
(Psalm 107:2)

Here is redemption by power. I hope you can join with me in feeling both these parts of redemption.

What brought us out of the world?

Was it not the power of God?

Do you know the redemption by the remission of sin, the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins?

How did the Lord show that?

I don't say he does it always in the same way. There may be many here, who have had the pardon of sin without the word being applied to them in any particular way, as it was to me, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee."

I like Mr. Hart's words on this point -
"The sinner that, by precious faith, Has felt his sins forgiv'n
Is from that moment pass'd from death, And seal'd an heir of heav'n."


I believe that many feel the pardon of sin, when they cannot say that there has been any especial of the word; so that they may be without a clear view of the application of Christ's atonement. If you have the feeling part you have the best part. This is the sweet and blessed effect of the pardon of sin, and there can be no effect without a cause. If you have a love to Christ, your sins are pardoned.

"Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much."

There can be no sense of pardon, but by Christ's blood.

"The blood of Christ, (a precious blood!) Cleanses from all sin, (doubt it not), And reconciles the soul to God, From ev'ry folly, ev'ry fault."

Treasure up this pardon of sin. If you have this, you need not fear death.

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
(1 Corinthians 15:58)

May God bless you with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, and above all with the pardon of sin.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST


Preached at Brighton, 1857 - By John Vinall
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"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
(2 Timothy 1:12)

FOR forty-five years that I have preached among you, I have never come forward under such embarrassment as I do at the present time. There is a cause and an end to be answered in every dispensation. "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." God plunged him into depths of affliction, both inwardly and outwardly. "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants His footsteps in the sea, And riches upon the storm."

I am brought to know something of the deceitfullness of my heart. The true knowledge of ourselves brings us to the true knowledge of Christ. I know that I am a fool. It is not every fool that has this knowledge. I did not feel this embarrassment until I came here this afternoon. One text brought it on. One word will cut you through. This text came to me this afternoon. "Christ the Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor. 5:7,8) I know there is bitterness amongst us, and this word cut me through and through, as we are about to partake of the Lord's Supper. Ask your own consciences as in the sight of a heart-searching God. If you say you are not guilty, I am afraid of you. "I know whom I have believed;" that is, I know the object, the Lord Jesus Christ, to suit me. Paul saw an altar at Athens "To the unknown God." You may not see him, but not to know him is not to have any trust in him. You may be worshipping like the heathen, if you don't know the object of your faith. "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee." (Ps. 9:10) What knowledge is this? "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:11,12) "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah....I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jer. 31:31,33) Ask yourselves this question, Have I this knowledge of God? Don't say you have if you have not. What is meant by knowing God? Paul says, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him...That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." (Phil. 3:7-10) "Not as though I had already attained," (Phil. 3:12) etc. He wanted an increasing knowledge of Jesus Christ. "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 3:18) Do you know enough? If so, I cannot join with you. I am foolish and ignorant. I have known the Lord fifty-four years, and yet I am as a beast before him. I want to know more of him. "They shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest of them." There is in this a knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins--a knowledge of the pardon of sin brought home to the heart. "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much. "This text once lifted me up, and brought a sweet sense of the pardon of sin when I was much cast down, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow." (Isa. 1:18) Then the Lord shed such a sweet sense of his love into my heart, that I said, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." "He that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (1 John 4:7) Has God ever removed sensibly the guilt and burden of sin from your conscience? Have you ever had a knowledge of God in removing your sin? Then you know that you love Christ. "The upright love God," and "The upright shall dwell in his presence." You cannot get any real consolation until you are brought here. The first act is being delivered from the state of death. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27,28) David says, "This is my comfort in my affliction, for thy word hath quickened me." (Ps. 119:50) If you have not this quickening you are still dead. This is personal work. If you can live contented without a personal knowledge of Christ, your religion is worth nothing. This will be attended with the sealing and earnest of the Spirit in your hearts. Get the earnest, and the inheritance is sure. "Yes, I to the end shall endure, As sure as the earnest is giv'n, More happy, but not more secure, The glorified spirits in heav'n."

This is the mystery of true religion. I know Christ--he has manifested his precious love to my soul. Mr. Jenkins once preached from these words, "That which ye have already hold fast till I come." And this I hope the Lord will enable me to do. Job said, "O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave." That is my language, but the best expression is this, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come." To have a true knowledge of Christ will be attended with the witness of the Holy Ghost. "In whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession." (Eph. 1:13,14) Our safety is in his knowing us, but our comfort is in our knowing him. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his." (2 Tim. 2:19) "I am persuaded" through faith. That is a living principle. "True faith's the life of God; Deep in the heart it lies; It lives and labours under load; Though dampt, it never dies."

This is implanted in regeneration. All the graces are then implanted. This persuasion is explained in Rom. 8, and Paul says, "I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is real faith. Now as to committing. "Into thine hands I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth." It is committing something into the hands of another. You entrust your money with your bankers. What did you commit to the Lord? This is the sweetness of religion. "Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." The child of God himself is committed to him. Give yourself to him. He has first given himself to us. Then in due time you will commit yourself to him. Have you ever known that moment when you have unfeignedly given yourself to Christ, body, soul, and spirit? I hope to do as Stephen did, when I die, and say, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." It is as supernatural act. If you can come into this, you need not fear death. When a woman marries she is no longer her own. So it is with us, when we commit ourself to Christ. It is put in the margin, 1 Peter 2:23, "Committed his cause." If I am not mistaken I have committed my cause into God's hands. The Lord will certainly take up the cause of his children. Micah says, "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, (was that a good cause?) until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me." "Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God, that pleadeth the cause of his people." If God waited for a good cause to plead, he would never plead mine. Jeremiah says "O Lord, thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul." When I look back fifty-four years, through all the opposition that has been made against me, I can say that no weapon ever formed against me has prospered, because God has set his love upon me. There is a pleading of the Lord's works. "Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." Here is a committing of things into God's hands. You will first commit your person to him, and then your cause. We have nothing to do but, like Manoah and his wife, to look on while the angel did wondrously. Christ has done all for us. This is a humble committing of ourselves into his hands, and it is the essence of religion "to look on." "Be still and know that I am God." "My Jesus has done all things well." Whatever we are enabled by true and living faith to commit into his hands he will take care of, whether it is our family or anything else. Sometimes a man commits a matter to a friend, or a cause to his lawyer or councellor, and then he says, I leave it in his hands and have done with it myself; and so feels relieved. How much more when this is done to the Lord? "Against that day." Dr. Gill says this comprises three days--the day of death; the resurrection day; and the day of judgment. May the Lord enable us humbly, heartily, and sincerely to commit ourselves unto him.

THE PRAYER OF JABEZ


Preached in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, 1877 - By Thomas Bradbury
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"And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
(1 Chronicles 4:9-10)

The most telling and lasting of all teaching is that of history or illustration. Precepts and commands may be given, but we all know the truthfullness of the old adage, "Example is before precept." We see this true in the household, in the senate, and in the field. The commander who leads on his men with a cheerful, Come, inspires them with more boldness and confidence by his example, than could be possible by all the authoritative commands he might have in his power to issue. Those of us who are acquainted with God's written Word know well that there is not a precept therein but what is illustrated by some bright examples. God commands, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble." He sends the trouble and draws the heart of His child to Himself in prayer and supplication for the deliverance. It is thus that the exercised hearts of the children of God are led by the Holy Ghost into a right understanding of His dealings with His people. Men of like passions with ourselves were all the worthies whose histories are recorded in the Book, and the knowledge of this gives us a little confidence and liberty in breathing our complaints to Him with whom we have to do, when adverse circumstances try our faith, when accursed influences distress our spirit, and indwelling sin and corruption appear to almost swamp the life of God in our heart. It is no small mercy to stand before Him knowing that we have just that experience which characterized those persons upon whom He has thrust signal honour in giving their names and histories a place in His most Holy Word. It is a blessed privilege for us to know that Abraham was not one whit better than ourselves, and that the most highly favoured one mentioned in the Bible is on the same level in Jehovah's eyes and esteem, as the weakest lamb within these walls, or the most timid child of His who, through a godly jealousy, dares not utter that personal pronoun, "My" in its lispings before the mercy-seat.

May it be our lot this morning, in humble dependence upon the best of all teachers, God the ever blessed Spirit, to look at the precious portion which I have read by way of text. To look at it? Say you, why each of us can do that! Yes, we can as we are blessed with the answer to Paul's prayer in our heart: "The eyes of our understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," (Eph. 1:8). I love to experience this as I am brought to meditate upon any portion of the Scriptures of truth, and to find that Christ is All and in all therein to His tried exercise, and sorrowing children. Just look at the position of the text. Notice its surroundings. You may, or you may not read such portions as these very often. They may appear dry, sapless, unnecessary. But every word of God is pure, and all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable for doctrine for reproof and for correction. By such genealogies, though they may not yield so much comfort to our hearts or peace to our minds, yet they are of marvellous importance in tracing out the true line of descent of our blessed Lord from Adam to His appearing in the flesh. I well remember the first time, long years ago, my eyes fell upon this precious portion; I was astonished! It appeared like an oasis in the wilderness, a garden in the desert, a spring of clear water in a dry and barren land, or like a beautiful gem shining in the midst of a dark setting. Well, there is something for us to notice in the surroundings of this portion as we view them in the light of the first sentence.

"And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren." Who was Jabez? Who were his brethren? Some have identified him with Othneil the first of the judges. If we turn to Judges 1:13, and 3:9-11, we see that he was the son of Kenaz, and as Caleb's younger brother, and son-in-law to Joshua, he would be one of those whose business it was to enter the Promised Land, and see by the power of God's right hand the Canaanite driven out little by little. But who were the brethren of Jabez? The persons whose names appear in the various parts of 1 Chron. 4. We notice the posterity of Judah, Ashur, and others who acquired to themselves, renown, position, place, and power, in the world in building cities, founding nations, leading victorious armies and doing exploits; yet the testimony of God in the face of all these is, "Jabez was more honourable than his brethren." Why more honourable? What is stated of Jabez to distinguish him from the rest of his brethren? The wisdom of the head is seen in one, the strength of the arm is seen in another, the skill of the hand is seen in the third while the wisdom of the understanding is seen in a forth; but the grace of God and communion with Him is seen by Jehovah's eye in the heart and experience of Jabez. Hence he, "was more honourable than his brethren." Ah, my dear friends, it is more honourable to be identified with a despised, rejected, but precious Jesus, and associated with His tempted, tried, scattered, and peeled ones, than to hold place, position, and power, in connection with the great, the mighty, and the renowned of this world. See! "Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee," (Isa. 43:4). This is the declaration of God concerning the whole election of grace. Do we know as brethren, beloved of God, our election? Are our names written in life's fair book, and that since before the worlds were framed? Have we the good hope that when the roll-call of God's worthies takes place, when the world is on fire, our names shall be owned therein? Does the all seeing eye of God look upon us in the midst of the seed royal of heaven in unchanging, uninterrupted oneness with Christ, who is All in all to me? Then He is at this very moment with us in the midst of all the temptations, tribulations, and trials, which perplex us, and which are unknown to all the world beside. What glorious distinction! "More honourable than his brethren!" O how precious to have a knowledge and realization of our grace union to Jesus Christ, the Captain of Our salvation, the Leader and Commander of the redeemed host, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

"And his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow." Jabez! A name corresponding with the circumstances of his birth and with her own spiritual experience. This reminds me of what we read concerning Hannah in 1 Sam. 1, who, in bitterness of soul and sorrow of heart, breathed out her desires into the ears of Him, who, when He hears His own Spirit indited prayers, is sure to answer them. When the prayers are Spirit indited and God breathed there must be an accomplishment and performance of the same. This is sweet encouragement to those who pray not by the clock, but who, as it were, pray without ceasing, in the public ministration of the sanctuary, in the quietness of their chamber, in the solitude of their souls though surrounded by the busy throng or the gay assembly. But mark! She called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bare him with sorrow." Sorrow! Part of the entail which God put upon woman as the effect of sin and transgression. Remember ye not the words pronounced in the ears of our first parent Eve? Gen. 3:16: "And to the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." But we see something more than nature here! With spiritual understandings we behold the Church, the bride, the Lamb's wife, bringing forth a spiritual progeny, a seed which the Lord has blessed. Now all these are born again in sorrow, sorrow on account of sins of omission and commission, sins against His holy law, sins against the glorious light of His Gospel, sins against the grace He has richly bestowed upon us, sins against the precious privileges He has brought me to enjoy, sins when I pray, therefore my prayers must be perfumed with the sweet incense of my Saviour' intercession, sins when I sing His praises, sins when I preach His Word; but, O how blessed for me to know that the sweet Singer of Israel sings for me, that the Conductor of the liturgies of His people intercedes for me, and that the great Prophet of the Church appears for me in my necessity and speaks home His own precious truth to the heart of His poor and needy brethren! Sorrows sometimes swell as the sea through felt, accursed indifference, a wandering mind, a wayward disposition, and, vain thoughts!" A precious portion comes to mind. Jeremiah tells us that vain thoughts are only lodgers. Do vain thoughts lodge in thee? See! He who holds uninterrupted possession of the house, in His own time will turn these wretched lodgers out, as He reveals the beauty of His person, sheds abroad His love in thy heart, makes known to thee the joys of His salvation, shows thee His hands, His feet, His side, and His once thorn crowned brow, saying, I suffered all for thee. Blessed with such gracious communications the sorrowing soul rejoices with trembling, and with the sweet realization of His mercy cries.

"Dwell on the sight, my stony heart
Till every pulse within
Shall into contrite sorrow start,
And hate the thought of sin."


Sorrow will be the lot of God's children as long as they remain in this wilderness world. Notice that precious and profitable declaration of Jesus to His sorrowing disciples, (John 16:20-22), "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your joy no man taketh from you." Notice that word, "again." I do like it, for it has been a precious word to me for many days and weeks past now. See Jer. 31:4: "Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel." There must have been a breaking down! "Thou shall again be adorned with thy tabrets!" Stripping and stripping again must be experienced. Look at Psa. 72:20: "Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken be again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth." "Deaths oft!" See Mark 10:1: "And, as He was wont, He taught them again." A patient Teacher! Poor ignorant, forgetful scholars. Mark sell Jonah 2:4: "I am cast out of Thy sight; yet I will look again toward Thy holy temple." Then God's holy temple must have been hid from the sight of His longing, anxious, waiting servant. "Ye now, therefore, have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice." Is not that blessed? No one can rob you of your joy! What is your joy? "The joy of the Lord is your strength; and Jehovah Himself is the joy of His people."

"And Jabez called on the God of Israel." Not on one of the gods of the heathen, or on a god of His own manufacturing. Not on a god of his vain imagination, or choice, but he called on the God of Israel, the covenant God of an elect and distinguished people. "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things," (Psa. 72:18). Look at the wondrous things He did in Egypt in the preservation of His people there, and delivering them there from, in sending their enemies down into the depths of the Rea Sea, like lead in the mighty waters, in marching and counter marching them through the wilderness, and bringing them by the strength of His own right hand into possession of the land which He had promised to their fathers for them. All these are so many types of His dealings with His spiritual Israel throughout all time. Now turn to Luke 1:68: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people." "His people." Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. No guile? Why I find that my nature is nothing else but guile! Wait a moment, I am not speaking of thy nature, but of that which God has implanted within thee, of that which is born of God, for in that there is no guile, no deceit, no hypocrisy, or, as the word may be correctly rendered, no reserve. No holding back part of their confession to Him, but as the Spirit dictates so they speak, and make a clean breast in the presence of God of all their sins, follies, and infirmities. And so the preacher in the pulpit, as he is guided by God the Holy Ghost into a clear, warm, and blessed apprehension of a portion, he cannot for his own fancied convenience hold it back for a future time. It is with him as with Micaiah who said, apparently to his disadvantage, "As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak," (1 Kings 22:14). I will give you an instance: A precious portion was brought home to my heart while in the North. Something suggested, that will do well for Sunday morning, and so I purposed; but Friday morning came, there was not another text for me in the whole of God's Book, and from the depths of my heart I thanked Him for it. There can be no holding back, no reserve, no dallying with God when He works in us by the love and power of His blessed Spirit.

"The God of Israel." The covenant God of all those with whom the covenant Angel wrestles and who wrestle with a covenant God. Israelites who feel and mourn their weakness with the thigh out of joint. Israelites who glory in their infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon them, causing them feelingly and gratefully to acknowledge, "When I am weak then am I strong." Israelites who plead and prevail with God as Jacob and Jabez did, for we find from the last words of the text, "And God granted him that which he requested." Jabez was a praying man. What do we mean by a praying man? Not the man who is brimful of words, and ever ready to exercise his gift. No such thing! I believe if a true child of God id called upon to pray in public he must tremble in spirit, and that with godly fear, to address the Majesty of heaven, lest he may be betrayed into presenting the false fire of his own production, and not the true fire wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost. How blessed is the testimony of God in Rom. 8:26, a precious chapter, revealing glorious doctrines and a gracious experience coming down to the weakest child in the family of the living God! "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities." What are these infirmities? Our prayers. What! Call our prayers infirmities? Yes, "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought." God seals the lips of His child in His sacred and solemn presence that he may learn to wait His will and time for the performance of His gracious promises, and know that the ways and works of the Lord are right. "We know not what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." So it was with Jabez, as he breathed this short but comprehensive prayer into the ears of his covenant God, "the God of Israel." Let us notice the four short but significant requests:

I."Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed."

II."And enlarge my coast."

III."And that Thine hand might be with me."

IV."And that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."

I. "Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed." These four requests embrace all the wants and necessities which God's poor children pour into His ever open ears and sympathizing heart. To be blessed is to be in Christ. To be blessed indeed is to be assured of our acceptance with the Father in all the glorious perfections of the Son of His love. Just a word or two here. Sometimes we pray, but we little think for what we are praying. We pray for warmer zeal, for a clearer and brighter apprehension of God's love, to be made more useful in the Church of God, I pray that my testimony may be blest to the hearts of God's elect, eternally loved and loving children; but I little know what I am asking for in that. See! As sure as God is in heaven I am praying for temptations, for trials, for tribulations, and without the full measure of these there will be no fruitful ministry of the Word, no sweet savour of life and power to the hearts of God's exercised and troubled ones. Do we pray for our faith to be strengthened? We pray for storms, tempests, and trying winds to shake the tree whose roots shall strike deeper and firmer into the clift of the Rock of Ages. O blessed be His Name who hath blessed us; the winds may roar as they rush from His fists, (Prov. 30:4), and blasts from hell may rage horribly around us, but the faith He has given can never be destroyed, the hope He has implanted can never be impaired. Does Jesus pray for me? My faith can never fail, my hope cannot decay, and the little spark of love I experience shall be fanned into a flame of eternal duration, as He leads me safely to His own sweet home of uninterrupted peace. But, to the text. Jabez prayed to be blest indeed. He prayed and thanked God for bodily covering; but to be clothed in Christ's glorious righteousness was to him a blessing indeed. To hear the Gospel of love is a blessing; but to, "comprehend with all saints what is the length and breadth and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge," is a blessing indeed. To sit under a faithful preacher and teacher is a blessing; but to be taught of God is a blessing indeed.

But did I not tell you that as assuredly as we are blessed in Christ what we may expect? Turn with me to Matt. 5,: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Do you want that? You say. I want to be rich in faith, and enriched with all knowledge, and the riches of the full assurance of understanding. Yes, my friend, I know your wants in these matters; but your Master has decided and declared that with the experimental possession of His kingdom and riches, poverty of spirit must be felt and known. "Blessed are they that mourn." You say I want to rejoice and be glad in the Lord. So do I; but He who predestinated thy path of painful but profitable experience, saw it was necessary for thee to be brought to the spots where thou shouldest mourn over thy sins and for His gracious presence. "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst." O, say you, I am so hungry this morning, God makes me to feel the pinchings of my spiritual appetite, I long for the provisions of His house, for the bounties of His covenant. Well, friend, He who provided all things for thee, He who is thy Shepherd, Protector, and Provider will cause thee to know what that means, and confess, "I shall not want." Thou shalt not want the blessedness of hungering, thirsting, desiring, and longing for Himself, and the want experienced by thy poor heart this morning is but the forerunner of that gracious supply and rich blessing which He will communicate in His own set time of favour. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you." I don't like that, and I will tell you why. "Evil communications corrupt good manners," and God having given to us good manners in the Son of His love, Satan is sure to try them by the revilings of his brood. At such times I am tempted to take the law into my own hand, and were it not for the restraining power of my God, instead of being found at the footstool of sovereign mercy, bending lowly with His weak and weary children, I should display my folly in reviling too. O God, give me a soft and humble heart before Thee! Lord, bless me with true repentance and fervent love! Lord, bless me with Thine own faith, and a rich apprehension of my standing in Thy family as an elect vessel of mercy. What! At that election again? Yes, and I hope I shall be with my dying breath; and should Arminians, freewillers, and pietists be looking on, may they hear and know that God's election is to me a precious reality.

See! "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him," (Eph. 1:3,4). Is not that blessed? Yes, but listen to this:

"Though God's election is a truth,
Small comfort there I see;
Till I am told by God's own mouth
That he has chosen me."


That is to be blessed indeed. In Jehovah's purpose of love concerning me, His, "Yea," was written upon every blessing, and inscribed upon every promise which He treasured up in His covenant for me; but the purpose alone will not satisfy me; I want the performance of the purpose in my heart's experience which is His own, "Amen," begetting gratitude and praise to Him for His electing love. That is what I call being blessed indeed. See! We listen to the preacher and hear him show forth the riches of sovereign, electing, redeeming grace; our outward ears drink in the message of the Word, and, so far, we are thankful. But some are not, they hang their heads, walk out of the place, saying, "There was nothing for me this morning." They look as though they had been living on vinegar for a month. God's tried and truly sent servants need to be encouraged, but they will get sorry encouragement from such murmurers and complainers. We listen to the preacher and are blessed; but as we hear the voice of the Beloved, experience the sweet anointing of the Spirit of love, are favoured with a melting of soul from a sight of the suffering Lamb of God in His agony and bloody sweat, His sorrows, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and intercession for us, we are blessed indeed. Here we have a Bible full of precious promises! Why not appropriate the promises? Cannot! But we look for the presence of the promises Fulfiller. A Bible full of promises is a blessing; but the promises performed in me by the power of the Holy Ghost is a blessing indeed. The revelation of Christ Jesus in the Book of books is a blessing; but the revelation of Christ Jesus in my heart, and the enjoyment of the Promiser in the promise, is a blessing indeed. What are all the promises to me without Him in whom all elect ones are blessed? Just so many tokens of blessing to encourage me in waiting to be blessed indeed.

"Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed." Bless me with an abiding sense of Thy love, a sweet enjoyment of Thy mercy. Bless me with the assurance that I am a stranger with Thee down here, and that Thou hast a place for me with Thee in Thy Father's house when my heart has ceased its throbbing, and sin, sorrow, and suffering are for ever past. These are grand, glorious, and eternal realities, not vain notions or speculative philosophy:

"No big words of ready talkers,
No dry doctrine will suffice,
Broken hearts and humble walkers,
These are dear in Jesus eyes."


And a Spirit imparted knowledge of that is a blessing indeed.

II. "And enlarge my coast." This expression no doubt, had reference to the location of the tribes in the Promised Land. The Canaanites were not all driven out, but some permitted to remain, lest the land should be desolate and the beasts of the field multiply against Israel. By little and little God would drive them out, enlarge the coasts of the children of Israel, and increase them, (Exod. 23:29,30). We thus see Jabez acknowledging the sovereignty of God in temporal prosperity. He remembered that it was not his own wisdom or might that brought him his possessions. But we cannot think that this referred to temporal things alone. Oh, no! We who by grace have been brought into possession of the spiritual kingdom of God know full well that foes abound, and that wild beasts are ever ready to tear and devour the living family. There is a short petition in the Litany of the Church of England, and it would be a mercy if we felt it written in our hearts day by day: "From envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness, good Lord deliver us." I have prayed that a thousand times, and yet I find my old nature to be as full of envy, malice, and hatred as ever it was, not a particle better. A petty fellow to be a preacher! Quite right, old friend, I have thought so myself, and were it not for God's sovereign grace and constraining love, you would not catch me preaching here this morning. Wild beasts and enemies without of every description, all dead set against God's truth. Then look at the enemies within! Unbelief, indifference, envy, pride, deceit, conceit, distrust, jealousy, and such like! Well might Jabez cry, "Enlarge my coast;" and well may we. "Enlarge the coast," of my knowledge of Thee and Thine, that I may enter into a fuller enjoyment of Thee my portion and mine Inheritance, and into sweeter and more loving communion with Thy saints! Well, the Lord is witness that oftimes I am searching within the backs of His Book, when your eyes are closed in sleep, longing for brighter views of Himself and a richer apprehension of what He is to me as my covenant Father, Saviour, and Comforter. "Enlarge my coast." In prayer I am straitened; I cannot pray as I would! Do Thou enlarge my coast of spiritual promise that I may plead with Thee, talk with Thee of Thy judgments, order my cause before Thee, fill my mouth with arguments, and enter into sweet possession of those spiritual blessings which Thou didst make over to me in Thine everlasting covenant of grace. "Enlarge the coast," of my faith that I may not doubt or distrust Thee. When the way is rough, to lean upon Thee; when the clouds are dark, to wait Thy coming; when the furnace is fiercest, to feel Thee near; when all earthly things are shaking, to rest more firmly in Thee.

"Sweet in the confidence of faith
To trust His firm decrees;
Sweet to lie passive in His bands,
And know no will but His."


III. "And that Thine hand might be with me." This is a precious petition! What does the hand of God indicate? It is a highly figurative mode of speech ofttimes found in God's written Word. By it the Holy Ghost shows forth the unchangeable purpose of Jehovah. Turn to Acts 4:28, where you see the truth as flowing from the hearts of the worshipping disciples of Jesus, "For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined to be done." The hand of God means His never failing purposes. Lord, let me see Thy hand in every pain and pleasure I feel; let me sing is sweet submission to Thy will:

"His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower;"


So that I may say in faith, whether my heart is cheered with His smile, or sad with the feeling of His absence; whether I am rejoicing in the enjoyment of covenant privileges, or mourning my lack of them; whether I am surrounded by smiling friends, or suffering the pangs of bitter bereavement, "Oh that Thine hand may be with me." It also sets forth the power of God. See Psalm 95,: In His hand are the deep places of the earth....and His hands formed the dry land." There we have His power in creation and preservation. The providence of God is seen in this expression in Psa. 145:16: "Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." It is used to shew forth God's unwearied care for, and Jesus' preservation of, His people. See! John 10:28,29: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all: and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." He holds the wind in His fists, and the waters in the hallow of His hand, the very spot where He keeps His redeemed people. Sometimes they may be chin-deep in water, and with the wind boisterous, ready to perish; but perish they cannot, their cry will be, Lord, do assure me that I am in Thy hand. His gracious presence is denoted by His hand. See how Nehemiah acknowledges this: "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me," (chap. 2:8 and 18). Thus we see that this form of speech, "Thy hand," shows forth His purpose, power, providence, protection, and presence.

Still further. When Joseph brought his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to his father Jacob, the old man crossed his hands, laying them upon his grandchildren's heads, saying, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads," (Gen. 48:16). Depend upon it, God's blessings will come down cross handed to you and to me. Look at our blessed Lord as He blesses the little children! Are there any such here this morning? I do not mean young in years, but little in their own esteem, weaklings in faith, and according to their own apprehension feeble in their desires and determinations. See! He lays His gentle hand upon the heads of all such and sweetly blesses them. These blessings are the gifts of His bounteous hand, they flow from His purpose, are applied by His power; they are unfolded by His providence, held in His protection, and enjoyed in His sacred presence. They are richly apprehended through His redemption work: "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn Mine hand upon the little ones," (Zech. 13:7). Precious hand of blessing and bounty! He puts forth His hand, we are saved! He opens His hand, we are fed! He stretches forth His hand, we are healed! He lays His hand upon us, we are blessed! Are there any fluttering hearts here this morning? May you know that this gracious hand is with you indeed.

IV. "And that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me." From the evil one, the devil, and his assaults and temptations! From the evil world with its sins and follies! From the power of an evil heart of unbelief! From evil influences which continually surround me! From evil associates who vex and wound Thy life and Spirit within me! Jabez here alluded to the name given to him by his godly mother, and to the nature implanted within him by the God of Israel. Sorrow was in his name, and grief over sin, failure and infirmity was his daily experience, while the fear of God in his heart caused him to pray for distance rather than deliverance for evil. Such is the lot of every true child of God, suffering is a grief to him naturally, and sin is a grief to him spiritually, so he prays: "Keep me from evil that it may not grieve me."

Now look at the prayer of our blessed Lord for His own whom He was leaving in the midst of an evil world, (John 17:15): "I pray not Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from evil." Notice the confession of Jacob when nearing the close of his earthly pilgrimage: "Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been," (Gen. 47:9); and then mark the grateful acknowledgment of his adoring heart when blessing his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh: "The Angel which redeemed me form all evil, bless the lads," (Gen. 48:16). Now, just a glance at that precious testimony in Isa. 57:1: "The righteous is taken away from the evil." Not from the evil, "to come," but from the evil which surrounded, dwelt in, and grieved them. Taken away by the kind and loving hand of Jehovah from all that is hateful to Him and grievous to them.

"And God granted him that which he requested." He was and is faithful to His promise and mindful of His covenant. Every desire, hope, expectation, and plea arising from His own life within must be answered in the case of every sorrowing Jabez, of every tried and tempted, sorrowing and sighing child of the living God.

May the Lord add His blessing. Amen