« FöregåendeFortsätt »
THE WORLD'S WANTS.
A BENEVOLENT mind cannot confine its attention to itself, nor to its own family, or immediate connections. It wishes well to all. It desires to see all happy. Nor does it only desire, but, if sanctified by grace, it pours out prayers to God, and makes use of all the means at its command. When one plan is finished, it thinks of another, and is always proposing, planning, and doing something to make God's world, a happy world. It breathes peace, and glows with good will to men.
I am deeply conscious of my imperfections, and am humbled whenever I review my poor efforts for the good of others; and yet I believe I have written these few lines out of my own heart. Yes, I do desire to see all men happy. I would fain do something to add to the happiness of my fellow-men ; and whenever I hear that, by my pen or otherwise, I have been the means of making a fellow-sinncr happy, I rejoice.
This morning, I have been taking a look at the world-at its divisions, disorders, dissersions, miseries, and woes,-and I have been asking what does the world want, what would be a remedy for its maladies ; and after some consideration, I conclude that three things are necessary, and as I can take part in procuring and conferring them, I in. tend to do so : and in order that others may co-operate and assist, I shall briefly state what I conceive to be needful.
First, THE TRUTH OF GOD. Darkness hath covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. The world is ignorant of its Creator, for the world by wisdom knew not God. Igno. rance of God and His rights, of His nature and disposition, of His grace and mercy, of His provision and promises, almost universally prevails. False views of God have been received, and misconceptions of God are general. Besides this, man knoweth not himself, his depravity and destiny, his dangerand duty, the way to obtain deliverance from sin, escape the wrath of God, and enjoy the happiness of heaven. Ignorant of the nature of true holi. ness and how to acquire it, men cannot be happy. Of millions of my fellow-immortals it may be said, “It is a people of no under. standing ;' “ They are all gone out of the way ;" * Madness is in their hearts ;" “ There is none that seeketh after God.” Lamentable state! Melancholy condition this! God's remedy for the wants and woes of humanity is to be found in His truth-His gospel. Nor can we do a better thing for the world, than carry out our Lord's command, and “preach
the gospel to every creature.” “Go teach all nations” the pure, spiritual, and simple truth of God. The truth of God enlightens the understanding, sanctifies the heart, and reforms the life. It gives correct views, produces holy feelings, and leads every one that is influenced by it, to live righteously, soberly, and godly in the present world. The truth is the instrument by which God works, it is the weapon by which the Church conquers, and it is the rule by which every sincere convert walks. It must be published among all nations for the obedience of faith. Wonders have been wrought by it in times past, and wonders will be wrought by it yet ; for it is mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. This leads me to notice that the world needs,
Secondly, THE SPIRIT OF God. The Spirit seldom, if ever, works without the truth ; and the truth never works effectually without the Spirit. The Spirit, therefore, and the truth must go together: the one is put into our hands, and the other is promised to accompany and crown our efforts. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, and without Him there is no spiritual life. It is the Spirit that teacheth, and without Him the natural man understandeth not the things of the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit that helpeth our infirmities, and without Him we are weak and powerless. Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but it is the Spirit that giveth the increase. The new birth is of the Spirit, by the truth; and sanctification is of the Spirit, by the truth. While, therefore, we should be most anxious to spread the truth, we should, if possible, be more anxious that the Spirit should accompany the truth, filling it with life and power. Like the bones in Ezekiel's vision, man-poor, powerless, lifeless man,is to be seen all around us : we may, we should preach to the dry bones, because God has commanded us, and by our preaching a reformation may be effected; but there will be no spiritual life, no standing up before God, no acting for Christ, until the Spirit of God is communicated. The religion of the heart is produced immediately by the Holy Spirit; and, when produced, it is nourished, strengthened, and perfected by the Spirit. Our poor world deeply needs the powerful preaching of the truth of God, and that that truth be attended by the Spirit of God. Hence we observe, that the world needs,
Thirdly, THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE OF God. They only can pray aright, for they only have faith; and without faith it is impossible to please God. They are a royal priesthood, they can enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, and they are commanded to pray and intercede for all men. They are
in office for the world. They are its lights, and should diffuse the light of divine truth ail around them. They are its priests, and should plead and intercede for it. The state of this poor world should deeply affect us ; the doom of this guilty world should stir us up, as the doom of Sodom did Abraham, to intercede fervently for it. Alone in the closet prayer should be offered for the world. At the family altar, we should never forget the world. When met specially to plead with God, we should deeply sympathize with the world. The world needs the prayers of God's people, for their prayers have power with God. It was in answer to prayer, that the Holy Spirit was at first given. It was the fervent, energetic, importunate prayers of the primitive believers, that brought down such a blessing on the labours of the apostles and early ministers of the gospel. Prayer is the means appointed by God to bring down blessings on our souls, our families, the church and the world. The world does not, cannot pray, for itself. As, therefore, pure benevolence would prompt us to speak for the dumb, lend a hand to the blind, or provide a crutch for the lame; just so, the benevolence of the gospel should prompt us to pray earnestly, heartily, daily, for a poor dumb world, for poor blind sinners, for poor crippled human nature. The truth must be spread abroad, the Spirit must descend, before the glory of the Lord can be revealed, and all flesh see it