« AnteriorContinua »
Heads of consolation, with suitable promises. As we are all sinners, however unblameable before men as we are all sinners in the eye of God; and as we are all sinners against his perfect law; our chastisements are less than our deserts.
Far less than those of Job, and other favourites of heaven.
Unspeakably less than Christ endured, though wholly innocent.
Endured too for us men, and our salvation.
Afflictions proceed from fatherly love.
Intended to wean us from a transitory world. To bring us to the knowledge, faith, and love of Christ.
To set our affections on the complete and everlasting joys above.
Are light compared with the bitter pains of eternal death.
Are short compared with the endless ages of eternity.
Yet, by producing the afore-mentioned benefits, work out an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory.
Åre a mark of our adoption,
A proof, that God deals with us as with children.
Yield opportunity of paying the most acceptable obedience to God.
Resignation better than sacrifice.
Submission more pleasing (through the blessed Redeemer) than the fat of rams. 1 Sam. xv. 22.
We should often turn to some of the most sup
porting promises made to the afflicted, and treasure them up in our memories: such as the following;
And the Lord said, I have surely seen the "affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and "have heard their cry, by reason of their task"masters; for I know their sorrows." Exod. iii. 7.
"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and " he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on "the Lord." Ps. xxvii. 14.
"And call upon me in the day of trouble; I "will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' Ps. 1. 15.
"My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is "the strength of my heart, and my portion for 66 ever." Ps. lxxiii. 26.
Behold, happy is the man whom God cor"recteth; therefore despise thou not the chasten"ing of the Almighty." Job v. 17.
"But though he cause grief, yet will he have "compassion according to the multitude of his "mercies." Lam. iii. 32.
"And I will bring the third part through the "fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and "will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name and I will hear them: I will say, It is "my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my "God." Zech. xiii. 9.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a 66 moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding "and eternal weight of glory." 2 Cor. iv. 17.
We should frequently meditate on these promises. They should be in our minds as the honeycomb in our mouths. These are the balm for our sorrows; a well-spring of consolation; and these are ours through the Redeemer's merits. He died, nay died even the death of the cross, to make our title to these glorious privileges, these rich consolations, sure. Let us say therefore with an ancient
sufferer," In God's word will I rejoice; in the "Lord's word will I comfort me." Psal. lvi. 10.
These Heads of consolation should often be reviewed, seriously considered, committed to memory or writing, that they may always be present with such as are afflicted, as more needful and more sovereign for the refreshment of the soul than the choicest cordials for reviving the fainting body.
Consolations from prayer, considered as the universal remedy for all spiritual maladies.
This is the grand source of comfort; as no true comfort can be had without it, and as all true comfort may be derived from the right exercise of it.
No greater comfort can be enjoyed in any state of affliction than fervent, faithful prayer. Are you then sinking under a load of guilt? Come unto Christ by humble faith, and earnest prayer, and he will give you rest. Do you feel the pressure of sorrow, or the blast of censure? Instead of loathing your being, instead of breaking into sudden bursts of passion against your oppressors and slanderers, or contracting a settled gloom of malice, unbosom your secrets, and disburden your cares to him, who is both able and willing to resettle your discomposed mind. All that envenomed rancour, which is apt to embitter our spirits against mankind in gene-. ral, and our enemies in particular, when we suffer, (or think we suffer undeservedly,) will abate and die away, as we lift our hearts to God in prayer; and consequently, "set our affections on the things "above," reserved with the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort for us. Our bitter thoughts will then sweeten into an amiable humility, and we shall love our fellow-creatures.
Happy effect of prayer, which divests afflictions of their sting, and can change malevolence into love. We should therefore pray for one another; for what blessing cannot prayer obtain? If you
lack wisdom, by prayer you may gain it. If your sins be many and great, by prayer you may obtain pardon. If your lusts be strong and prevalent, by prayer you may have them weakened. If your graces be infirm, by prayer you may have them strengthened. There is no evil, which we feel or fear, but by prayer it may be removed; no good, which we either want or desire, but it may be procured by prayer. In short, prayer, faithful persevering prayer, can do all things on a reliance upon that inestimable promise, "Ask, and ye shall "receive."
Who then would live in the neglect of this very important duty! Who would not live in the constant and sincere performance of what is so advantageous to themselves, and so acceptable to God? The great spiritual Physician has prescribed this remedy for all our grievances, "Is any among you "afflicted? let him pray." Lo! here is the great sovereign and infallible medicine for the distressed soul, which is able to give ease to every complaint.
Are you cast down on a sick bed? Call for the elders of the church, and let them pray. This was Hezekiah's receipt when he was sick unto death. "He turned to the wall, and prayed."
Are you infested with importunate temptations? Then pray. So did St. Paul, when the messenger of Satan was sent to buffet him. "Thrice I besought "the Lord, that it might depart from me."
Are you disheartened with the weakness of grace? Pray. So did David," I am feeble and sore bur"dened: I have roared by reason of the disquiet"ness of my heart: Lord, all my desire is before "thee."
Are you distressed with poverty? Pray. So did David. "I am poor and needy: my heart is "wounded within me. Help me, O Lord my God! "Oh save me according to thy mercy."
Do you droop under the grievances of old age?
Pray. So did David, "Oh cast me not off in the "time of old age, when my strength faileth me."
Are you troubled and dismayed with the fears of death? Pray. So did David, "My soul is full of "troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. "I am counted with them who go into the pit. I am as a man who hath no strength. But unto thee "have I cried, O Lord, and in the morning shall 66 my prayer prevent thee."
Do you tremble at the thought of judgment? Pray. So did David, "My flesh trembleth for fear "of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments." Look up with Jeremiah, and say unto God, "O Lord,
thou hast pleaded the cause of my soul; thou hast "redeemed my life. O Lord, judge thou my cause."
Are you afraid of the power, malice, and subtlety of your spiritual enemies? Pray. So did David, "Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God. De
70 "fend me from them who rise up against me, O
"hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked "consider mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate me with cruel hatred. Oh! keep my soul, "and deliver me." St. Paul prayed on the like ochcasion; and he was answered with, "My grace is
"sufficient for thee."
So he intercedes for the Roman converts; "May "the God of peace tread down Satan under your "feet shortly." Rom. xvi. 20.
In short, whatever evil presses you, have speedy recourse to the throne of grace; pour out your heart before the Father of all mercies, and God of all comfort, and be sure, if not of redress, yet of ease. We have his promise for it, which cannot fail: "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will "deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." Some may pray to God with their lips only, while their heart is far from him: but be sure that he, who can truly pray from the heart, can never be truly miserable. Of ourselves we lie open to all evils; our