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Will such a one only lodge his petition for the royal clemency, and mind no more about it ? No: Will he not ardently wish for a favourable answer, thinking every hour a day, and day an age, till the messenger arrive with the all-important answer i which, if delayed, will he not again and again, with a degree of ardour known to himself only, repeat the momentous petition ? Thus did David : “ One thing,” saith he, “ have I “ desired of the Lord, that will I seek after.” Psalm xxvii. 4.
We do not pray for our daily bread only, but also strive by every means in our power to obtain it: so all true wrestlers with God, not only pray for spiritual blessings, but also strive, through the means of divine appointment, to obtain the same through grace. But, alas! too many of us endeavour to quiet our consciences, by presenting a few lukewarm desires in a formal manner before the Almighty, without looking any more after them, as indifferent whether they be granted, as Pilate was, who, after he had asked our blessed Lord, What is truth? went out without staying for an answer, John, xviii. 38: or if we do in reality desire spiritual blessings, and delivery from the love and power of sin, it is too often, as St. Augustine prayed before his conversion, Not yet. Such seekers, if they continue still seeking in such a manner, shall never obtain, nor be able to enter in at the strait gate, Luke xiii. 24; for the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Thirdly, All true wrestlers with God esteem communion with him dearer to them than every thing else in the world : hence Jacob, to obtain this, stayed behind not only Leah and her children, but even his beloved Rachel and Joseph, that ever memorable night to him, in which he was honoured with the name of Israel. "Gen. xxxii. 28.
flowers are these which grow on the brink of the river ? Let me draw near and explore their beauties.
All'aghast, I spring back from the awful spot ! - Poor flowers, 'for all your gaiety, the brook is undermining you, in which you will soon be swallowed, and all your beauties destroyed. Just so is it with respect to the wicked and careless in this life : though they may be gay and prosperous, having more than their heart can wish, the brook of God's infinite wrath is undermining them, and will soon overwhelm them : then shall their beauty consume in the grave from their dwelling. Psalm xlix. 14.
From this we may see the state of the wicked, however prosperous, is not to be envied.
This water likewise bringeth me in mind of that near which Gideon and his company gained such a signal victory over the host of Midian, by only using the means of sounding trumpets, breaking pitchers, and holding lamps in their hands, crying, " The sword “ of the Lord, and of Gideon.” Judges, vii. 19.--22.
Just so true believers obtain a complete victory over the devil, the world, and the flesh, these worse than Midianites, through using the means of God's appointment, viz. attending to, and knowing the joyful sound of the
everlasting gospel; breaking the empty pitchers of self-confidence, and corrupt reason, and holding the lamp of divine revelation in the hand of faith ; believing that in and through the sword of the Most High having been awakened against the man that is his fellow, Zech. xiii. 7, even Christ Jesus, on our account, because he had taken upon him our suretyship, our debt is now paid, law and justice perfectly satisfied, and we acquitted from the charge ; which is made manifest by the Lord our surety having been taken from prison, as one who had fully paid the debt of the elect, and therefore ought no longer to lie there. Isa. liii. 8. Matt. xxviii. 2---8.
This brook also recalleth to my remembrance that striking comparison which the Psalmist maketh betwixt himself, longing for the ordinances of God's grace in the tabernacle, and the hart thirsting for the brooks of water.
After that creature has been long and sorely hunted in a dry and parched wilderness, the ardour with which it pants and longs for brooks of water to quench its almost insatiable thirst, is only felt by such a believer as David was, when debarred from holding communion with his God, in the public ordinances of his grace.
Thus did the man after God's own heart, when banished from the public ordinances of God, either by the wicked persecution of Saul, or the unnatural rebellion of his son Absalom, or both, saying, " As the hart “ panteth after the water brooks, so panteth
my soul after thee, O God: my soul thirst“eth for God, for the living God : when shall “I come and appear before God ?”' Psal. xlii. 1, 2. “ O God, thou art my God, early will “I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is ; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee
in the sanctuary.” Psal. lxiii. 1, 2.“ How “ amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of “ hosts! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth “ for the courts of the Lord ; my heart and
my flesh cryeth out for the living God !'' Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 2.