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PREPARATION.

Prov. xvi. 1. The preparation of the heart in man— -is from the Lord.

Thou

O thou, the Father of lights, and the Giver of all wisdom, I would ever see and acknowledge, while I search into my heart, and endeavour to use every means of preparing for thy holy feast, that thou must give the blessing, or all is vain. Thou must open my darkened understanding, or I see not my sins. Thou must affect my heart, or I feel them not. Thou must give me faith, or I go not to Christ for relief, and believe not on him as my only hope. must sanctify me by thy Spirit, or I remain impure and unholy. O my God, thou only art able to supply my wants, or satisfy my immortal spirit. I come then to thee. I would lie at the foot of the cross for mercy and salvation. Let him that now asks, have; and that now seeks, find; unto him that now knocketh, let the door be opened. Hear, help, and save me, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.

Haggai i. 5. Consider your ways.

What is my WAY OF READING THE BIBLE? Do I read it daily, morning and evening? Do I pray over it? Do I reflect upon it? Do I adopt it as my guide? Do I ever slight God's book for man's books; and do I rest in man's word rather than God's word! My soul feels here its carnal tendencies, and its many omissions and transgressions.

What is my WAY OF PRAYER? Is it constant-at

least morning and evening, if not noon-day also? Are evening devotions slightly and carelessly performed, and morning hurried over? Is the habit of prayer through the day gained? Is it a joy to pray? Do I thirst for the seasons of prayer? O my leanness! I can look only to that High Priest who bears the iniquity of our holy things. How little is there of communion with God. Frequently he is like an unknown guest. He who ought to be the Presiding Governor is neglected, and real intercourse with him is often almost cut off by my corruptions.

What are MY WAYS IN THE HOUSE OF GOD? The question makes me sigh. O the underplot of worldly concerns that is busily transacting within, while the divine worship seems, before man, to be celebrating. Where are all the deep sympathies of prayer amid the crowd of vain thoughts that oppress and choke each holy emotion? Blessed Jesus! my prayers are my sins: thy righteousness my only hope!

What ARE MY WAYS IN LIFE? Some are indeed religious and profitable; but even in them, and in all my ways, self-indulgence in its thousand varied forms, vanity with all its endeavours to set off self, and earthly-mindedness with all its plans of worldly advancement, taint my course and defile my life. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.

O that walking with God, communion with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and delighting in him, may henceforth be my way all my days!

ACTS OF REPENTANCE.

Psalm xl. 12. My iniquities have taken hold upon me— they are more than the hairs of my head.

When tried by the only true standard, I am found wanting in every precept. If a duty be required, it is omitted, or imperfectly discharged; if a sin is described, the root of it at least is in me. But this is not all. I am guilty, without an adequate feeling of guilt. I am helpless, and yet not sufficiently conscious of my weakness.

When I look even at a single day, O what sins thickly crowd in every part. In the morning, what cold and distracted prayers! at meals, what love of self-indulgence! in conversation, what idle and vain words! in business, what self-seeking and what disregard of the glory of God! Sometimes, what ardour in earthly things; or at others, what sloth and negligence! In company, what worldly conformity, what lost opportunities of usefulness, what neglect of souls! in evening devotions, what sluggishness and drowsiness! in all, what forgetfulness of God!

O once crucified Lord! I would look on thee, and mourn. Here, in these sins, I see the nails that pierced thy sacred hands and feet! here is the spear that penetrated thy side; here the crown of thorns that tore thy sacred head! While looking at thy crucifixion, may I be taught to hate and forsake every sin.

Psalm xxv. 11. For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.

Not only are my sins more than I can number, but their aggravations are very great. They have been committed after I have professed myself a follower of the only Saviour, and though I knew that the world would take advantage of my failings to blame my religion, and thus put him whom I serve to open shame. They have been committed wilfully, repeatedly, deliberately, and after solemn vows and prayers. Gracious Father! what shall I say before thee? I would not extenuate nor cover my guilt, but freely acknowledge how deeply I have sinned. Neither dare I doubt of the extent of thy mercy; but O what, save the blood of thine only Son, could cleanse away such sins as mine, and that very blood shows me more the greatness of my guilt. If thou hadst been hard and severe, without mercy and without love, my sins had not then been so aggravated; but thou hast encompassed me with mercies, and I have forgotten, forsaken, and rebelled against him, whose very name is LOVE!

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But I cast myself, holy Saviour, sinful as I am, on thy atonement. My only hope is in thy name. that that promise may belong to me, Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Then shall I praise thee with joyful lips.

Psalm li. 4. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned. However I may have offended against my fellowcreatures, my peculiar and aggravated offence, in all

that I have in any way done wrong is, that I have violated thy law, and been guilty of rebellion and ingratitude towards thee. My soul, think then on thy sins against thy God. Muse on them, in silent sorrow, till the stony heart within be broken and softened. Consider, the holy and perfect Jehovah has seen all thy secret thoughts, and words, and ways; the pure and spotless Redeemer has been dishonoured by thy inconsistencies; the blessed Spirit has been grieved and resisted by thy wilful indulgence of sin.

But, O God, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. On thee I cast myself for pardon; to the mighty Redeemer I look for deliverance; and to the grace of the Holy Spirit for the renewal of a right mind.

Though I have grieved thy Spirit, Lord,
His help and comfort still afford;

And let a wretch come near thy throne
To plead the merit of thy Son.

Well may I style myself a miserable sinner! No other plea, nor hope, can I have, but in the merit of my Redeemer. Truly the heart knoweth its own bitterness-its own sinfulness. O may I, with all my soul and strength, return to God, seek his grace in his own ordinance, and, looking unto Jesus, be saved.

Deut. viii. 2.-Thou shalt remember all the

way which the Lord thy God led thee, these forty years, in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee.

I cannot but be humbled, I cannot but sigh from the bottom of my heart, when I look back on my past conduct and truly estimate it. Sin, that destructive

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