Archibald Forbes.

The Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 online

. (page 118 of 121)
Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 118 of 121)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

gi^test wndom.

And this discovers to ns the reaaon and the ae-
cessity of all the duties of Christianity, and of God's
dealings with fallen man in this state of trial.

For matance :— Jesus Christ commands as to iKeay
awrseltm, and to take up our cross daily, not boeaaaa
be can command what he pleases, (for he is infinite
goodness, and can command nothing bm what is
good for his creamres,) but because the corruption
of our natare requires that we should be forbidden
every thing which should increase our disorder.

And because this disorder has spread itself through
all the powers of our souls and bodies, and inclines
to evfl continually, he requires that our setf-denial
should mch as ftr as dur eorniplion.

He commands us, therefore, to deny oor own wis-
dom, because we are really olind as to what eoa-
cems our own true good« and should infidlibly nkt
ourselves, if leA to oor own choices.

He commands us to deny our 4igpMMif baraaae
intemperance would ruin as.

He forbids us to give way to our possums: bacaase
a thousand evils will follow, if we shoald do so.

He obliges us to keep a very strict watch ovar oor
hearts; because from thence proceed hypoeriayt
covetousness, malice, and many otl^er evils.

We are forbid to set our kourts upon the world,
and every thing in it, because our eternal bappineis
depends upon oar loving God with all our heiurtand

We are obligad to love our neighbor, and oor
▼ery enemies, and are forbid to hate, toaontaad with,
to hurt, to go to law with him, baeacNe l^s aBooli
axBiperau cwr minds, and griave the Holy %nrit of

Digitized by




Grod, by which we are wnctified ; being aguinst that
charity which Qod delights in.

We are forbid all repining when God afflicts us,
because, as sinners, suffering is due to us. And be-
cause our bodies have a verv ^reat influence over
our souls, we are commanded to /o^, and to be
9trictly temperate at all times, and to denv ourselves
(he love of sensual pleasures and self-indulgence.

We are commanded to deny all the ways of follv,
vanity, and false satisfactions, that we may be able
to talce satisfaction and pleasure in the ways of Gtod.

In short ;— in whatever instances we are com-
manded to deny ourselves, it is because it is abso-
lutely necessary, either to cure our corruption, or
to qualify us for the grace of God, or to hinder us
from grieving God's Holy Spirit, and forcing him
to forsake us.

The more we deny ourselves, the freer we shall
be from sin, and the more dear to God.

God appoints us to sufferings, that we may keep
close to Eum : and that we may value the sufferings
of his Son, wtuch we should have but a low notion
of, did not our own experience teach us what it is to

They that deny themselves will be sure to find
their strength increased, their affections raised ; and
their inward peace continually advanced.

1 Tim. vi. 8. " Having food and raiment, let us
therewith be content"

Let us not imagine that excess, luxury, and super-
fluity, and the love of pleasures, are less criminal,
because they are so common."


This is designed as a peculiar favor to Christians,
as indeed are all Christ's commands. Miseries arc
the uiiavoidable portion of fallen man. All the
difference is. Christians suffering in obedience to
the will of God, it makes them easy ; unbelievers
suffer the si^me things, but with an uneasy will and

To follow our own will, our passion, and our
sense, is that which makes us miserable. It is for
this reason, and that we have a remedy for all our
evils, that Jesus Christ obliges tts to submit our will,
our passions, &c. to God.

The good Christian is not one who has no incli-
nation to sin, (for we have all the seed of sin in us
bat who, beingsensible of such inclinations, denieth
them continually, and suffers them not to grow into
evil actions.

Every day deny yourself some satisfaction ; your

2w, objects of mere curiosity ; — ^your longue^ every
ing that may feed vanity, or vent enmitv;->the
pakSe, dainties ; — the ears, flattery, and whatever
corrupts the heart ; — the body, ease and luxury ;—
bearing all the inconveniences of life, (for the love
of Gkxl,) cold, hunger, restless nights, ill health,
unwelcome news, the nialts of servants, contempt,
. ingratitude of friends, malice of enemies, calunmies,
our own fiuHngs, lowness of spirits, the struggle in
overcoming our corruptions : bearing all these with
patience and resignaticm to the will of God. Do &U
Ifttt a$ tmto Ood, wh thegreaUtt prwacff.

All ways are indifferent to one who has heaven
in his eye, as a traveller does not choose the plea-
santest, but the shortest and safest way to his jour-
ney's end ; and that is^ the way of the cross, which
Jesus Christ made choice of, and sanctified it to all
his followers.

Matt viii. 90. " The Son of Man has not where
to lay his head."

Tnls should fill as with confosion, whenever we
are overmuch coocemed for the conveniences of life.

Our affections being very strongly inclined to sen-
sible good, for the sake of which we are often tempt-
ed to eviL anil ftU into great disorden^ we sboold

resolve to sacrifice our will to reason, and reason to
the will of God.

God does not require it of us, that we should not
feel any uneasiness under the cross, but that we
should strive to overcome it by his graces


Pervencv in devotion j - frequency in prajrer ;—
aspiring aAer the love of God continually ;— striving
to get above the world and the body ; loving silence
and solitude, as far as one's condition will permit ;
humble and affable to all ; — ^patient in suffering
affronts and contradictions ;— glad of occasions of
doing good even to enemies; doing the will of God,
and promoting his honor to the uttermost of one's
power ;— resolving never to offend him willingly,
for any temporal pUasmn^ pni/U, or lom. These are
virtues highly pleasing to God.

Self-denial aoes not consist in fastine and other
mortifications only, but in an ind^ffermcefor th* worlds
iismrqfiUypUasureSf honor», and its other idols.

It is necessary that we deny ourselves in little and
indifferent thiujgs, when reason and conscience,
which is the voice of Gk>d, suggests it to us, as ever
we hope to ^t the rule over our own will.

Say not, it is a trifle, and not fit to make a sacri-
fice of to Gkxl. He that will not sacrifice a liule
affection, will hardly offer a greater. It is not the
thing, but the reason and manner of doing it ; name*
ly, for Gtod's sake, and that I may accustom myself
to obey his voice, that Gk>d regards, and rewards
with greater degrees of grace.

The greater your self-denial, the firmer your faith,
and more acceptable to God. The sincere devotion
of the rich, the alms of the poor, the humility of the
great, the faith of such whose condition is d^peratc^
the contemning the world when one can command
it at pleasure, continuing instant in praver, even
when we want the consolation we expected : These,
and such-like instances of self-denial, God will great-
ly bless.

They who imagine that self-denial intrenches
npon oar liberty, do not know that it is this only
that can make us free indeed, giving us the victory
over ourselves, setting' os free Arom the bondage
of our corruption, enabling us to bear afflictions,
(which will come one time or other,) to fiiresee
them without amazement, enlightening the mind,
sanctifying the will, and making us to slight those
baubles which^ others so eagerly contend ibr.

Mni^fiiUiAm consists in such a sparing ose of the
creatures, as may deaden our love for them, and
make us more inoifibrent in the enjoyment of them.
This lesseas the weight of concupiscence which car-
ries us to evil, and so make the grace of God more
efflsctual to turn the balance of the will.*

Carnal man cannot comprehend that God loves
those whom he permits to sufier ;— but faith teaeheth
OS, that the cross is the gift of his love, the foundsp
tion of our hope, the mark of his childroa, and the
title of an inheritance in heaven. But cmless Gkxl
sanctify it by his Spirit, it becomes an insupportabla
borthen, a sol^ect of marmuring, and an occasioo

He that loveth life (that is, is fond of it) for the
sake of the pleasures and advantages it affords, will
soon lose the love of heavenly things ; the love of
God, of his seal, and of the duty he owes to them :
he hates it, who does not value it in comparison of
eternal life, which be hopes for. A Christian gives
proof of this by mortiiying himself.

Those whom God loves, in order to an happy
etemitv, he weans flrom the pleasores of this pre-
sent life.

7)ni4MnMMi GonsistB in a sober nae ctf all eaitUy,

* Norris'k ChrialiMi PridiBM^ ^ 900.

Digitized by




▼inble things, and Id confising cmreelves within the
compasA of what is necessary.


The Almighty God enable ne to conquer the
temptation of riches, and to get above the allore-
ments of this present life !

Christian self-denial is, to resist and craciiy in
ourselves the spirit and inclinations of Adam — the
flesh, its affections and Insts,— todie to onr pas-
sions, in order to follow the motions of the Bpint/


Necessary to bring onr hearts to a penitent, holy,
and devout temper ; and to perform the vows that
are upon as.

By feuHn^gf by oiflu, and by prayers, we dedicate
cnxriodies, gocds^ and Mufe, to God in a panicnlar


E^hes. iv. ^, Let no comifi commwueakon pro-
ceed out of yowr mouth, but that which is good to
the use o/edifyimg, that it mof minister grace unto
the hearers,

Ephes. T. 4 Foolish talking, and jesting, are not

pRistRTB me, O God, fVom a Tain conversation.
Give me grace never to be ashamed or afraid to
speak of Thee, and of thy law.

Give me a lively dense of the valne of religion,
and make it the delight of my heart ; that I may
speak of it with judgment, seriousness, and affec-
uoB. and at dl seasonable times.

May that good Snirit, which appeared in the like-
ness of tongues of ore, warm my heart, and direct
my thoughts.

Matth. xii 34. ''Out of the abundance of the
heart the mouth speaketh. How can ye, being
evil, speak good thinn 1 By thv words thou shalt
be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be con-

Ps. czli. 8. ** Set a guard, O Lord, upon my
moudi, and keep the door of my lips."

Ps. xxxvii 9b. ** The mouth of the righteous
^[)eaketh wisdom, and Ids tongue talketh of judg-

Hearts truly touched with the love of God, will
communicate light and heat to each other,— will
speak honorably of God, of his perfeetioos, his jos-
tioe, goodness, wisdom, and power,— the excellency
of his laws,— the pleasantness of his service,— the in-
stances of his love,— the rewards he has promised
to his friends, and the punishments he has prepared
for his enemies.

Matth. V. 16. " Let your light so shine before
men, that thev may see your good works, and glo-
rifr your Father which is in heaven.*

1 Thess. V. 11. " Wherefore eomfort yourselves
toMher, and edify one another."

Heb. X. 14. ** Let us consider one anotlier, to
provoke imto love, and to good works."

And let us join a good life to our religious con-
verMtiOQ ; tad never contradict our tongue by our

We alwiyt do good or term to odien by the
mioiirer of our eonvemtfon ; we either confirta
tbem in ein, or awakeH tfiem to piety.

It is too true that some evil passion dr other, and
to grttlfy our corruption, is the aim of most couver-
sadons. We knra to ttpitk of past troubles :-^ha*
tred and ill-will make us take pleasure in relating
the evfl aeiidas ^ our «nemie». W» eonmare,
willi«one d egg s e of pnde, the-advantages we luive
overothiMe Wrimimt,irtditooscn8iMea'plea-

sure, the worldly happiness we enjoy. This strencth-

ens our passions, and increases our cormption. God

grant that I may watch against a weakness which

has such evil consequences.
May I never hear, never repeat with pleasure,

such things as may dishonor God, hurt my own

character, or injure my neighbor.
James iv. 11. " Speak not evil one of another."
Truly humility makes us see our own fauh&

without concemmg ourselvee with the faults of



Eccles. vii. 9. " Be not hasty in thy spirit to be
anery, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."

O Lord, who art a God ready to pardon, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, remove far from me
all occasions and efiects of causeless and immode-
rate anger ; all pride and prejudice, and too much
concern for the things of this world : all inteIDpe^
ate speeches and indecent passions.

Give me, O Qod^ a mild, a peaceable, a meek,
and an humble spini, that remembering my own in*
firmities, I may bear with those of others:— That I
may think lowly of myself, and not be angry when
otherj think lowly of me ; that I may be patient to-
wards all men: ^ntle and easy to be entreated,
that Gk>d, for Cnnst's sake, may be so towards me.

Ephes. iv. 96. " Be an^y, and sin not: Let net
the sun go down upon your wrath."

Prov. xiz. 11. ^' The discretion ofamandefe^
reth his anger."

A soft answer tumeth away strife.

Prov. xvi. 33. " He that is slow to aneer is bet-
ter than the mighty ; and he thai ruleth his spirit,
than he that taketh a city."

Rom. xii. 90. " Be kindly affisctioned one towards

Suppress the very beginnings of anger.

Do not use to indulge it even where there are
real faults ; but try the gentle way, which may pi^
bably succeed better, and to be sure with more ease
by far.

Seldom do people vex us on purpose, and yet pre-
judice very often makes us think tnat Uiey do.

A sense of vone's own integrity will make olie
pass by injuries ibore easily.

Be not too much concerned to (ell the injuries yoo
have received.

Accustom yourselves to silence, if you would
learn to govern your tongue.

Deliver me, O God, from all violent and sinfbl
passions, and give me grace to stand against then.

Matth. V. 4. " Blessed are the meek.^'

Instruct me. Lord, in this Christian virtue ; Thou
who art the master and teacher of it.

FOR Foa<nvBNn8a or mjuani.

Luke vi. 37. " Forgive, and ye shall be fiW-

O God, who alone canst order the unruly wflls
and alTections of sinfbl men, show mercy to tby
servant, in forcing my corrupt nature to be obedient
to thy commands.

O God, who hast made it my everlasting interest,
as well as my duty, to forgive my neighbor what-
ever wrong ne hath done me ; help me to overcome
all the diffictilties I have to striig^le with, all pnde,
prejudice, and desire of rendering evil for tru,
that Imay not deprive my soul of that mercy whicn
thine infinite gooctness has offered to sinners.

Jkmes if. it " He shall have judgment without
mercy, that hath shot^ no mercy."

O blessed God. help me in this great concern, that
I may never fWl under thy wrath, for want of
showing mercy to others; butgpuit, OKessedJe-

Digitized by




sus, that in this I may be thy disciple indeed.^

Matth. 3^1. 19. " The Son of Man came eatinfir
and drinkingr, and they say, Behold a man glatton-
oos and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and

Whatever measure a gbod man takes, he will
hardly escape the censures of the world; the best
way is, not to be concerned at them.

It is an instance of humility siientlyto bear the
calunmies which are raised against us, when they
relate to ourselres only ; but it is a duty of prudence
and charity modestly to vindicate ourselves, when
the honor of Ood and the church is concerned.—
Both Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were slan-
dered: who then will complain i^at they cannot sa-
tisfy the world, and stop men's months 1

Psal. cxx. 3. "Deliver my soul, O Lord, from
lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.


Envy makes us see what will serve to accuse
others, and not perceive what may justify them. A
truly good man is always disposed to excuse what
is evil in his brethren as far as truth will suffer



Luke xviii. 3. The publican, standing afar off,
vf&uldnQisomuckasU/tupkueyestoieaven, but
smoU upon his breast^ saying, God be merdjul to
mc a sinner.

What would become of me, if Thou, O God,
shouldst not have mercy upon me 1

When I seriously consider these dreadful truths,
— That aU they are accursed, who do err, and go
astray from thy commandments,— That the unpro/Ua'
hie servant was cast into outer darkness; — When I
think of these things, I cannot but fear for myself,
and tremble to think of the account I have to give.

Isaiah Ixvi. 2. '* To this man will I look^ even
to him that is poor, and pf a contrite spirit, and
trembleth at my word."

Psal. xxxiv. 11. '* The Lord is nigh unto them
that are df a contrite heart: and will save such as
be of an humble spirit."

Look upon me, gracious Lord, with an eye isi

Psal. XXV. 2. " For thy name's sake. O Lord,
pardon my iniquities^ for they are great."

My only comfort is, they are not too great for
thy mercy.

And the Lord Jesus our advocate has assured us
even with an oath, That all sin shall be ftngioen
unto the sons of men. That is, if with hearty repent-
ance and true faidi they turn unto God.

O most powerful advocate ! I put my cause into
thy hands;— let it be unto thy servant according to
this word ;— let thy blood and merits plead for my
pardon ; — say unto me, as thou didst unto the peni-
tent in thy gospel, Thy sins are forgiven. And
grant that I may live to bring forth fruits meet for

Matt. vi. 14. " If ve forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive your tre»-

Even the power to perform this most kind condi-
tion must be from thy ^race, O Jesus!

And I trust thou wilt grant mc this grace, be-
cause the very will to ask it is from Thet, and from
thy will, whieh wills nothing in vain.

Perftet, thareforv, my Saviour, the work whieh

Thou hast begun in me; and let me feel the effects
of thy grace, in the constancy of my devotion,— in
the care of my soul.— in the faithfbl discharge of
my duty, — and in all such acts of righteouso ess, pi-
ety, and charity, by which I shall be judged at the
last day.

John V. 14. ** Sin no more, lest a worse thing
come unto thee."

Make me, O Lord, ever mindful of my infirmi-
ties and backslidings, that I may be more watchful
and more importunate for grace, for the time to

Matt. V. 7. " Blessed are the merciful, for they
shall obtain mercy."

Give me, O Lord, a true compassion for the
wants and miseries of others, that tnoii mayst have
compassion upon me.

Luke xvi. 10. "There is joy in the presence of
God over one sinner that repenteth."

Lord, increase the number of penitents, and the
joys of heaven, in delivering me and all siuuers
from the power of the devil, and in vouchsafing us
the ^race of a true conversion.

Matt. V. 4. " Blessed are they that mourn : for
they shall be comforted."

O Lord, gram that I may seek for comfort not in
the things of this world, but by a sincere repentance
for my sins, by which God is dishonored,. and his
judgments hanging over my head.

Luke xix. 10. '"The Son of Man is eome to seek
and to save that which was lost."

O comfortable words for lost sinners ; God him-
self seeks to save them. O thou, who sought me
when I was astray, save me for thy mercy's sakej.
and preserve that which thou hast sought ana

Matt. ix. 28. " Come unto me, all ye that labor
and are hear/ laden, and I will give you rest."

O Jesufi, conduct and keep me to thyself, or I
may surely miss the way.

Phil. ii. 12. " Work out jrour own salvation with
fear and trembling: for it is God that worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

It was not in mjrself, O God, to begin the work
of my conversion :— finish, I oeseech Thee, that
which Thou ha^ oegun in me ; may I close with
thy grace and persevere unto my life's end.

Micah vii. 18. ** God retaineth not his anger for
ever, because he delighteth in mercy."

Ezra ix. 15. " O Lord God, behold, we' are before
thee in our trespasses; we cannot stand before thee
for this."

Numb. xiv. 19. " Pardon, I beseech Thee, the
iniquity of thv servant, according to the greatness
of tny mercy."

say unto me, as thou didst unto Moses, Ihaive
pardoned thee.

Ezek. xviii. 23. '* All his iniquities that ho hath
committed, they shall not be mentioned vnto him."

Lord, be merciful unto us, for we have sinfted in
the midst of light, and even against light.

1 John 1. 9. " If we confess oar sins, Ood ia
ft" - . ^^ gj^^ ^^^ ^

cl l"

one whom the
sij eadofthe judg-

m id the hatred of

si promise of God,

ai le soul, arlB ow-

in irist

vant, that thoa
shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am 1"

My only support is, thai my sins have not put me
out of the reach of thai mercy which is iD^it«.

Whecaaundentandhiferront OetoaiiMThoa
me (ram my secret fanlis.

Digitized by




O hoxdf be favorable onto me; pardon and de-
liver me from all my sins.

Grant thai my sins may never rise up in judg-
ment against me, nor bring shame and confusion of
face upon me.

My Houl troly waiteth still upon Gkxi, /or of him
cometh my salvation.

John vi. 90. " It is I, be not afraid."

Lord Jesus, in all the troubles that shall befhU
me, i<peak the^e comfortable words to my soul, B is
If be not afraid ; and then I shall be secure both
from presumption and despair.

John viii. 24. " If ye believe not that I am he,
(that is, the Messiah, the Son of GK>d,) ye shall die
in' vour sins."

Jesus, the onl}r refu^ of sinners, does the

world know what it is to die in sin 1 1 believe.

Lord, increase my faith, and deliver us all from the
dreadful state of final impeoitency.

3L *' If ye continue in my word, then are ye my
disciples indeed."

May I, O Jesus, love the truths of thy word ;
make the gospel my delight-, and continue in the
practice of them to my life's end.

51. " If a man keep my saying, he shall never
see death."

Jesus. Thou hast made known to us another
death, besides that which separates the soul fVom
the body. O may thy grace and mercy secure us
from the bitter pains of eternal death.

Luke vii. 7. " Say the word, and my servant
shall be healed."

1 acknowledge, O Jesus, the almighty power of
thy grace to heal all the disorders of my soul ; O
deal with me according to the multitude of thy mer-
cies and heal my soul of its sad disorders.

John iii. -24. "God is a spirit ; and they that wor-
ship bim must worship him inspirit aud in truth."

Give me, O Jesus, an iuward disposition to holi-
ness, an bumble and contrite heart, a dependence
on the will of God, an acknowledgment of nis good-
ness, and a zeal for his glory ; to which all the ordi-
nances of his law and gospel should lead us.


Grant, O Liord, that, as I have but a short time
to live, and an eternal interest depending, I may not
. squander away one moment in vanity, or in that
wnich will not profit me in the day of adversity.

Rom. xi. 16. " Blindness in part is happened to
Israel, until the fulness of the GJentiles be come in,
and so all Israel shall be saved."

O God, the God of Abraham, look upon thine
everlasting covenant; cause the captivity of Judah
and of Israel to return. They were thy people ;
O be Thou their Saviour, that all who love Jerusa-
lem, and mourn for her. may rejoice with her for
Jesus Christ's sake, their Saviour and our?. —

IN ma OP puBuc nnmucnoNB.

P Sovereign Lord ! I prostrate mjrself before
Thee, confessing my own sin^ and aclmowledging
the justice of any scourge which Thou shalt bring
upon us; and trembling to think how much I may
have contributed towards it :-^eseechiiu: Thee to
have compassion on ua, in tnese days ofconfusion.

O Lord, prevent the judgments that threaten «s ;
— spurge this nation from all such crimes as may be
the cause of thy heavy displeasure against us,-*
from UcerUiousT^ess and drunkenness t^Tom swear-
ing ^Ifinfj and perjwry j^trom saonU^e^ injustice ,
frandf duotedience^ malice^ and wncharttableness. —
Take fW)m us the spirit of oMeum, irrOigion^ and
prrfdneness ; and in mercy rebuke and convert all
such as give encouragement or countenance to any
of these vices, which may provoke Thee to give us
op to infidelity or dettmouoD. O let thy anger be

Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 118 of 121)