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conversion. Believers need re-converting, and sinners need converting. What numbers are living in sin, and dying in sin all around us. We cannot convert them, God can, but he has said, “I will yet for this be inquired of, to do it for you.” Our children, our servants, our other relatives and neighbours, need the converting grace of God. Shall they have it P “According to your faith be it unto you.” We want decision. Many of whom we have a good hope, are not decided. They have not given up the world. They have not declared themselves on the Lord's side. They still halt as it were between two opinions. We long to see them decidedly the Lord's. We want them to declare themselves, and act accordingly. We need consecration too. Believers need the Holy Spirit in greater measure, and in greater power, to consecrate their entire persons, time, talents, all that they have, and are, to the Lord's service and praise. O to see the Lord's people, whole-hearted in the Lord's cause, and living simply and alone for his glory! We want elevation also. The life that too many of us live, is a poor, low, earthly life. We are not sufficiently elevated in our views, hopes, aspirations, and ef. forts. Our thoughts of God, of his grace, love, and readiness to help, are not sufficiently exalted. O to see thousands converted by the grace of God, decided to be entirely for God, consecrated to the service of God, and elevated in the ways of God! Let us look,
Secondly, AT THE SOURCE OF SUPPLY. The Lord Jesus has all we need. He alone can give all that we require. To him therefore we must apply, and we have every encouragement to do so. He has the power. The power to melt and transform the heart. The power to decide the most doubtful case. The power to consecrate every believer to his service. The power to elevate and set us up on high. Power belongeth unto God. Jesus has power over all flesh. It is of no use applying to any one, who is not all. powerful. But he has not only power, he has love. Having power, he can do ; but having love, he will do. It is encouraging to apply to one, whom we know can help us ; but it is pleasanter to apply to one whom we know will. The love of Jesus is equal to his power. Not only so, he has promised. “ Whatsoever ye ask of the Father,” said he, “in my name, I will do it.” He knew he could, and therefore he pledged his word that he would. We may therefore make sure that we shall receive, if we ask any thing according to his will. He has given already in numberless instances, and is as ready to give now, as then, as ready to give to us, as others. O what encouragement we have to go to Jesus for our children, our friends, our churches, and our neighbour. hoods, seeing he is all powerful--all lovinghas promised to hear us and has proved the truth of his word in such numerous instances before! Let us look,
Thirdly, AT THE RULE BY WHICH WE ARE TAUGHT TO EXPECT. “According to your faith be it unto you.” This embraces confidence in God. And our confidence in God should be simple, strong, and abiding. If God has said, he will do. If he has raised our expectations, he will not disappoint them. We may trust him implicitly, and feel certain while we plead with him. He cannot deny himself. He is never disposed to go from his word. Therefore said John, “This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he heareth us : and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” It embraces also, earnestness with God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much ;" that is, the energetic prayer. We must be earnest, if we would succeed. Jesus, being in an agony, prayed the more earnestly. He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. We must be energetic too. Indeed, if we realise the value of the blessing, if we believe in the power and love of Jesus, if we exercise faith in the promises of the Saviour, we shall, we must be earnest. It embraces also, zeal for God. If I pray, I must work; and if I pray aright, I shall work. It is not enough to pray for the conversion of sinners, I must make use of means likely to convert them. True faith is always zealous, and is known by its costly, self-denying works. It embraces too, sympathy with God's end, or design. God designs to glorify himself in all that he does, and if I pray aright, I shall always keep God's glory in view. If I pray for the conversion of sinners aright, I shall pray that they may be converted in order that God may be glorified. Our faith then, if it is to secure for us the blessings we desire, must comprise confidence in God-earnestness with God-zeal for God-and sympathy with God in his end, or design.
Observe, prayer is the breath of faith. Wherever there is faith, there will be prayer; and the strength, energy, and success of prayer, will be in proportion to the strength of our faith. Earnestness is the life, or vigour of faith. If our faith is vigorous, robust, and lively, we shall be fervent, energetic, and earnest in our prayers. The promises are the food and warrant of faith. I may pray for all that God has promised. I ought to pray for all that God has promised. But if
I would so pray, I must read the promises, meditate on the promises, and believe the promises. They feed faith, encourage faith, and direct our faith. Benevolence, or liber. ality is the temper, or disposition of faith. True faith is always generous, liberal, benevolent. It will put up with anything for Christ. It will do, suffer, or give, to the utmost of its ablity, in order that God may be glorified, Christ exalted, and sinners saved. Success is the triumph of faith. Genuine faith will succeed. It will strive, plead, pray, and importune until it does. It is a fire that cannot be quenched, a life that cannot die, a principle that cannot be destroyed. Once set upon an object, it will accomplish it. Once engaged in a work, like its author, it will complete it. Delays are the trial of faith. Blessed be God, delays are not denials. The Lord may delay to answer me at present, but it may only be to prove my sincerity, to stir me up to more earnestness, and to make me more importunate with him. Let not delays make us despond, but rather fire us with more ardour, zeal, and determination. When the woman of Canaan applied to the Saviour, he answered her not a word, he repulsed her, he seemed even to treat her unkindly, but her faith triumphed, and her commendation was glori. ous, “O woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee, even as thou wilt." Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, is the song of faith. True faith as. cribes all the good that is done to God, and gives him the praise and glory of all. Let us then encourage faith, feed faith, exercise faith, and expect God to honour faith. Believing prayer will bring down the richest, greatest blessings from God. Let us then pray for the conversion of sinners, the deci. sion of seekers, the consecration of believers, and the elevation of God's consecrated ones, to the highest height of holiness, happiness, and usefulness, that God may be greatly glorified in the revival of his church.