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mind, to unburden all his thoughts and desires before His heavenly Father in Christ Jesus, believing that He will not despise the prayer of His people who call upon Him, but will do for them exceeding abundantly above all that they ask or think,58 will supply all their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.59 And in the end it will ever be found that the prayer of faith is not offered up in vain, because He is faithful who hath promised to fulfil the desire of them that fear Him, to hear their cry and to save them.60 And therefore the praying people of God will have cause to praise Him, as the Hearer and Answerer of their humble supplications.

The act of giving thanks for mercies received excites feelings of gratitude in the breast, and encourages hope that He who has been so gracious as to bestow the blessing for which thanks are rendered to Him, will not withhold what is further needed, if it be for His glory and for our good that it should be granted. So the apostle argued, while he gave thanks to God, who, said he, delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.61 The more thankful we are to the God of our mercies, the more reason we shall have to praise Him for the continuance of His benefits. While therefore the apostle exhorted the church

58 Eph. iii. 20. 59 Phil. iv. 20. 60 Psalm cxlv. 19. 61 2 Cor. i. 10.

of the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing, he directed them also, In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Thus he knew they would have reason to rejoice evermore.62 The Psalmist therefore declared, It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most high.63 He who does not give thanks to God for the blessings which he enjoys, and especially when those things which he has prayed for have been granted to him, shows himself to be insensible of the goodness of God, and ungrateful for the gifts of His bounty. Let us unite our fervent thanksgivings for the blessings we have received, with our humble supplications and prayers for the things which we need; that by the offering of praise we may glorify Him, who condescends to accept the thanksgivings of His waiting people. Let us, by Jesus Christ, offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.64 And let us in every thing seek His blessing, lay before Him all our concerns, and commit our way to Him, being persuaded that the Lord is at hand, to hear and answer us, and to give us grace to help in time of our need.

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For our encouragement in the exercise of prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, we are

621 Thess. v. 16-18. 63 Ps. xcii. 1. 64 Heb. xiii. 15. 65 Heb. iv. 16.

assured that we shall derive from it the greatest consolation and happiness. For the apostle adds, The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. How blessed must they be who really enjoy this peace of God! They are at peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, in consequence of being justified by faith in their Redeemer, and they have peace from God in their consciences. The believer in Christ can never think of peace with God without connecting with it the means whereby this great blessing was procured, as it is described by the prophet, The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, who suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, and with His stripes we are healed. There is no peace with God, but through faith in the atonement of Christ. He is our peace,69 who made peace by the blood of His cross. On this we must rely, if we would regard the God of heaven as being at peace with us. We are reconciled to God by the death of His Son," who put away our sin by the sacrifice of Himself in our stead. It is the consideration of the price of our redemption, which discovers to us its value; and shows us the evil of sin, which could not be expiated without the blood-shedding and death of our

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66 Rom. v. 1. 67 Is. liii. 5. 68 1 Pet. iii. 18. Eph. ii. 14.

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Surety. Without shedding of blood is no remission72 of sin. That therefore which could not be pardoned without such a ransom, must be most hateful to God, and most hurtful to man. It is this view of sin, as having caused the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, which alone will make us utterly to detest it, and utterly to abhor it, because it is a cursed thing,73 with which God cannot be reconciled, but must visit it with His wrath and indignation.

But the peace spoken of in the words before us, is peace from God communicated to the soul by the influence of the Holy Ghost, in the use of the means of grace; a sense of peace in the conscience, enjoyed by the believer in Christ, in consequence of reposing the concerns of his soul and body, or all his care, upon God, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving; happiness of heart in a persuasion of the love of God in Christ, and the friendship of an almighty Protector. This peace of God passeth all understanding, the blessedness of it cannot be conceived of by any but those who through Divine grace are made acquainted with it. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him; but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit. The Psalmist says, Great peace

70 Col. i. 2. 71 Rom. v. 10. 72 Heb. ix. 22. 73 Deut. vii. 26.

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have they which love Thy law. It is such peace as the world cannot give; and which it cannot take away from those who are made partakers of it through Divine grace.

The apostle adds respecting this peace of God, it shall keep your hearts and minds. The word keep denotes the powerful protection and security which is afforded by a garrison that is in possession of a strong hold. Thus the peace of God keeps the heart, or preserves the affections, in the love and service of God; so that He is loved above all things, and His service is found to be perfect freedom. It also keeps the mind or understanding, so that it is attracted to Him as its centre, in the contemplation of whom is found. happiness and delight. By the enjoyment of this peace with God and from God, in communion and fellowship with Him, the believer is kept from falling under the power of his spiritual enemies; his affections and his understanding are set upon their right object; and the joy of the Lord is his strength.76 This unspeakable blessing is said to be received through Christ Jesus, through His mediation and intercession, or through faith in His atonement. is for the sake of His merits alone that any good gift of God is bestowed upon the sinful children of men. It is through faith in His name alone

74 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10. 75 Ps. cxix. 165. 76 Neh. viii. 9.

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