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The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
JAMES v. 16. When the mouth praiseth, man heareth; when the heart, God heareth. Every good prayer knocketh at heaven for a blessing; but an importunate prayer pierceth it, though as hard as brass, and makes way for itself into the ears of the Almighty. And, as it ascends lightly up, carried with the wings of faith ; so it comes ever laden down again, upon our heads. In my prayers, my thoughts shall not be guided by my words; but my words shall follow my thoughts.-BISHOP HALL.
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.-MATTHEW vi. 20.
It is a sure word of Thine, O Saviour, that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. Neither can we easily know where to find our hearts, if our treasure did not discover them. Now, Lord, where is my treasure ? Surely I am not worthy to be owned of Thee if my treasure be anywhere but in heaven. My lumber and luggage may be here on earth, but my treasure is above; there Thou hast laid up for me the richest of Thy mercies, even my eternal salvation. Yea, Lord, what is my richest treasure but Thyself; in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yea, of infinite glory, are laid up for all Thine. All things that this world
can afford me are but mere pelf, in comparison of this treasure; or, if the world could yet yield ought that is precious, yet I cannot call that treasure.-BISHOP HALL.
When I awake up after Thy likeness, I shall be satisfied
with it.-PSALM xvii. 16. Doubtless, O God, Thou, that hast given to men, even thine enemies, here upon earth, so excellent means to please their outward senses—such beautiful faces and admirable flowers, to delight the eye ; such delicate scents from their garden, to please the smell; such curious confections and delicate sauces, to please the taste; such sweet music from the birds, and artificial devices of ravishing melody from the art of man, to delight the ear-hast much more ordained transcendent pleasures and infinite contentments, for Thy glorified saints above. My soul, while it is thus clogged and confined, is too strait to conceive of those incomprehensible ways of spiritual delectation, which Thou hast provided for Thy dear chosen ones, triumphing with Thee in Thy heaven. Oh, teach me to wonder at that which I cannot here attain to know; and to long for that happiness which I there hope to enjoy with Thee for ever.- BISHOP HALL.
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should over
take you as a thief.—1 THESSALONIANS V. 4.
There was given to me a thorn in the flesh to buffet me.
2 CORINTHIANS xii. 7. Whatever this affliction was, it was something which, to our unsubdued impatience, would have been a perpetual source of mortification and vexation, though to him it became, through grace, &
source of triumph. He “prayed thrice that the suffering might be removed from him," and the prayer was granted by being turned into a thanksgiving; for the answer was, “My grace is sufficient for thee," etc. “Most gladly, therefore," he adds, , " will I glory in my infirmities.” What this particular form of weakness and suffering was, we shall never know. It is easy enough to conjecture, and impossible to prove. But the essential point is, not what the trial was in itself, but what it was to him, what he felt it to be. We often feel our troubles far more than would be supposed possible by others, who only see us from without. If we had beheld St. Paul, he might have appeared to us brave enough. We might have had no conception of his inward sense of feebleness. The main point of his trial was the effect on the apostle's mind, and that effect was humiliation. Let us gain some benefit to ourselves from his bitter experience.-Howson.
MAY 10. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall
bring it to pass.—Psalm xxxvii. 5. He that taketh his own cares upon himself, loads himself in vain with an uneasy burden. The fear of what may come, expectation of what will come, desire of what will not come, and inability of redressing all these, 'must needs breed him continual torment. I will cast my cares upon God: He hath bidden me: they cannot hurt Him ; He can redress them.
That which the French proverb hath of sicknesses is true of all evils: that they come on horseback, and go away on foot. Sorrows, because they are lingering guests, I will entertain but moderately, knowing that the more they are made of, the longer they will continue; and for pleasures, because they stay not, and do but call to drink at my door, I will use them as passengers, with slight respect. He is his own best friend, that makes least of both of them.BISHOP HALL.
O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made
them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.—Psalm civ. 24.
The longer I live, O my God, the more do I wonder at all the works of Thy hands. I see such admirable artifice in the very least and most despicable of all Thy creatures, as doth every day more and more astonish
observation. I need not look so far as heaven for matter of marvel, though therein Thou art infinitely glorious; while I have but a spider in my window, or a bee in my garden, or a worm under my feet, every one of these overcomes me with a just amazement. Yet, can I see no more than their very outsides; their inward form, which gives their being and operations, I cannot pierce unto. The less I can know, O Lord, the more let me wonder; and the less I can satisfy myself with marvelling at Thy works, the more let me adore the majesty and omnipotence of Thee that wroughtest them.-BISHOP HALL.