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times of need, is prayer your resource ? God, our reconciled Father in Christ Jesus, is “a very present help in trouble,” do you know Him as such? Do you in every “fiery trial" go at once and spread your case before the Lord? In social intercourse with friends, does prayer form part of that intercourse ? surely the joy of meeting shall be more bright, the sorrow of parting be soothed, the time spent together be precious and leave a blessing in the remembrance, if it has been sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. Finally, in secret are you much in prayer ? Matt. vi. 6. How often did you go to God yesterday in secret prayer?. ... Oh the blessedness of secret prayer! prove that blessedness : how refreshing the dew on the drooping plant! more reviving the Spirit's influences on the praying soul. “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength,” “Wait I say on the Lord,” let prayer sanctify all you do; is the fire kindled on the altar of your heart, in your private supplications in the early morning and in family prayer ? keep up that fire throughout the day by the breathings of thy soul heavenward ; are you on a journey ? pray ; are you engaged in labour either of mind or body? prayer will sweeten the toil and bring a blessing down; blessed, thrice blessed they, who are taught of the Spirit “always to pray and not to faint,” who “ in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make their requests known unto God; the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” Phil. iv. 6, 7. That day is approaching that shall lay open the hidden things of darkness, when the prayerless soul shall find that its secret sins are set in the light of God's countenance, and that the time is past for spreading them before Him, through the precious blood that now freely speaketh pardon and peace. At that day, my praying brother, shall you enter into that city, whose “walls are salvation, and whose gates are praise;" here you have spread your sins, your cares, your sorrows, before the Lord, and He will there spread His joys before you; your prayers will be ended, your praises will be but begun. “The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away,” Isa. li. 11.
“ PLUCKING OUT THE RIGHT EYE."
St. MATTHEW v. 29, 30.
“ And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
A “PLUCKING out,”—a cutting off,—this we like not; we are ready to cry,
“This is an hard saying, who can hear it ?" we would rather be told of “peace and joy in believing,” of “the crown of glory,” of “the New Jerusalem.” Brethren! of these indeed it is our privilege to hear and to rejoice in the consolation, but let us not forget that both go together, the precept and the promise, “the fiery trial” and “the exceeding joy,”? “ the reproach of Christ” and “the recompense of
· Matt. v. 3.-12.
1 Peter iv. 12, 13.
reward,” the fight of faith and the victory of
I. The Painful Necessity.
I. The Painful Necessity. I call it necessity, for although an alternative is mentioned, it is such an alternative that as reasonable beings we must at once reject,-eternal misery the price of perseverance in sin! Yes, my fellow-sinner! thou must kill sin, or sin will kill thee; thou must mortify the evil that is within thee, giving itno quarter,or that evil will cast thee " where the worm dieth not and the fire never shall be quenched;” necessity is indeed upon thee, sin must be put away; and yet the Lord hides not from us that it is a painful work ;-it is no light thing to pluck out the right eye, no easy matter to cut off the right hand. Painful, yet blessed necessity! painful—for it is opposed to the desires of our evil hearts; blessed-for it is the parting with that which would shut us out from peace here, and from glory hereafter.
· Hebrews xi. 26.
1 John v. 4. Matthew xix. 29. * 2 Tim. ii. 12.
5 Luke ix. 23.
1. The members spoken of plainly tell of difficulty. “The right eye,” “ the right hand,” what members so needful as these? as needful does sin appear to the unchanged heart, there is an attraction in it that draws us towards it; nay, when habit hath fixed on us its chains, sin seems to be our second self, necessary to our life, not to be dispensed with ; as well might we try to do without the right eye, the right hand, as without the sin which doth so easily beset us." In such a light did the possessions of this world appear to the young ruler, (Luke xyiii.); he did not know that they had wound so tightly round his heart, until he was bidden to unwind the coil, and then he could not; these possessions had become part of himself. Even so necessary did Herodias seem to Herod; it must have been a dire necessity that should have persuaded him to pluck out his right eye, or to cut off