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one for which a rich answer of blessing is in store ; and yet, for a time, to that very prayer the Lord answers not a word.
I would conclude by adding a few words of address to two classes of persons.
And first, to those who are most concerned in our present subject,-Christians, who live in the habit of fervent prayer, and yet complain that they seem to receive no blessing.
I must say to them at once, that I am inclined to believe many of them mistake the matter of fact. They are not without a blessing. They imagine that their prayers are profitless : but let them try to do without those prayers, and they will soon discover how much of grace and mercy they were receiving, which, without prayer they would cease to have communicated to them. They are, I say, not without a blessing; and a time shall come when, their present morbid state of mind being rectified, and their present temptations dispersed, they shall see, and shall gratefully own, that it has been good for them to draw nigh unto God.
But let me suppose that they are correct in their view of their own case.
God does not answer them : not yet : the promise tarries. Then, what is the exhortation I have to address to them? What is the lesson which the history of this Canaanitish woman reads to them? Is it not this, “if the promise tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” In the Lord's own time, the best time: in the Lord's own way, the best
way, the supplications of his people shall be granted. "In due season they shall reap, if they faint not.”
Meanwhile, Christian brethren, do you not see an end, an object, which the Lord may have in view, in delaying his answer to your prayer? We have been mentioning this morning certain fears, as to the reasons of the Lord's silence, which you may be tempted to entertain, but for which there is no ground. It is Satan's way, to put such constructions on the Lord's delay, in giving his answer to prayer. But now let us ask, can we not gather for ourselves some explanation of his dealings with us in this matter from his own word.
What, think you, was the Saviour's object in treating the Canaanitish woman as He did ? “O woman, great is thy faith !” Does not that explain all ? She had faith, great faith, great faith in the power and mercy of the Son of David ; and the Lord would call that faith out; He would increase it; He would exercise it; and then He would crown it with a blessing.
Believer, so it is with you. You have faith ; faith in Jesus your Lord, your strength, and your Redeemer ; you trust his love, and power, and faithfulness: you come to Him for comfort, peace, and joy ; you come to Him for grace and strength ; you come to Him for deliverance from temptations, and victory over the world, and power against corruptions; and often you come to Him for the interposition of his providence, as well as of his grace ; but frequently you have to own that your peace is not perfect, your joy
not full, your temptations not removed, your corruptions not extinct, your path in Providence not cleared, your measure of grace not equal to your desires. And why does the Lord delay to do all you ask? It is to call out faith: to quicken its exercise : to make you more urgent, more persevering, more importunate in prayer, and then to do for you at last exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think. Then, on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.
One word to a very different class : those I mean, who are strangers to any anxiety about answers to prayer. They pray in their way. They say their prayers. At home, at Church, they utter words of prayer. But as to an answer, an answer of peace and grace, they look not for it, they wait not for it: they receive no answer, but this gives them no concern.
Brethren, are such here? Men who pray, but so pray as not to care for a reply? Is this prayer? To ask with the lip, what the heart heeds not to have ? What mockery ! The Lord awaken such! How plain that they are dead in sin. The Spirit of supplication teach them to pray !
PSALM XXXI. 14, 15.
I SAID, THOU ART MY GOD: MY TIMES ARE IN THY
HAPPY, thrice happy, the man,
thus speak. Beloved brethren, I invite you this morning to the contemplation of his blessedness : and I pray God to grant you all to be partakers of it.
The words of our text, were David's words : and we have in them
I. A CONFESSION MADE; HE ADDRESSES THE LORD JEHOVAH, AND DECLARES “THOU ART MY God.” II. WE HAVE
REFLECTION ENJOYED ; • MY TIMES ARE IN THY HAND.”
I. Let us observe THE CONFESSION MADE ; " THOU ART MY GOD." It contains two distinct acknowledgments. The Psalmist affirms in reference to Jehovah, “Thou art God; and then, beyond this, “Thou art my God.”
1. David confesses the Lord Jehovah to be God : as elsewhere, “ from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.”
St. Paul said, “ there be gods many, and lords many :
that is, in the world at large, "but,” he added, “ to us there is but one God.” So David lived in a day when idol gods abounded on every side, in the nations of the earth around him. He often speaks of it. “ Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands :” and he adds,“ they that make them, are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them. But, thou, house of Israel, trust thou in the Lord.” He, and He only, is the true and living God.
In like manner, our text is a declaration of this great first truth of religion. There is but one God, and Jehovah is He. “I am the Lord, and there is none else." "Thou art God alone."
But now it is needful, in order that we may understand the Psalmist's confession, to consider well what is meant under that great and terrible name.
“ Thou art God.” What does this imply? What did David himself understand thereby?
We shall best answer the question by just recalling to our minds a few of those places, in the book of Psalms, in which we hear the pious writer setting forth the nature and attributes of the God he adored ; places wherein, in truth, God Himself, by his Spirit in the Psalmist, tells who, and what, He is. Our only difficulty is how to select these places of holy writ, for the book of Psalms is full of attestations to the character and perfections of the Almighty God.
Let us glance at but a few, in which we shall