God's people can pray for the reign of grace over all the earth.. Such supplications are agreeable to the will of God. Psa. 122:6. The first three petitions of the Lord's prayer embrace the same subject. There is too little united, hearty calling on God. All the progress hitherto made in bringing men to a saving knowledge of the Redeemer has been in answer to the fervent cries of the children of God. There is nothing more powerful for good than prayer.
Those who know somewhat the doleful case of the heathen, ought to plead their cause before all Christian people. Mankind are slow to believe how terribly the perishing nations have multiplied their sorrows by hastening after other gods than Jehovah.
Every member of the church should be trained and urged to do his full share of the great work. He should know his place, and keep it. He should love to do what he can for so blessed a cause.
All the churches should be trained to liberality in giving their worldly substance for spreading the gospel. Systematic, benevolence is loudly called for. We must learn to carry our liberality to the extent of self-denial. We must remember the power of littles. The ocean consists of the aggregation of drops.
Our young men must freely give themselves to the work of the ministry at home and abroad. Parents must cheerfully give their sons to this service. It must come to be, in popular esteem, an honor to serve the Lord in any way his providence may permit. Why is the ministry so lighty esteemed ? Why do we so seldom find a Hannah, a Eunice, or a Monica in the church of God? One well-qualified, laborious minister of the gospel is commonly far more useful than two men of equal talents in any other calling. It is enough to break the heart to see revival after revival without a host of young men rising up to publish salvation.
There should be a much deeper tone of piety in all the churches. Love is too cold. Faith too often staggers. Repentance sheds too few tears. Joy has but few feasts. Pity for the perishing too seldom stirs the soul to its depths. Adoring views of God have too little power over men's minds. Hope is too feeble to impart much animation. "In doing good," says Burke, "we are generally cold, and languid, and sluggish, and of all things, afraid of being too much in the right. But the works of malice and injustice are quite in another style. They are finished with a bold, masterly hand, touched as they are with the spirit of those vehement passions that call forth all our energies when we oppress and persecute." Oh that ministers and people, fathers and mothers, young men and maidens loved as they should a dying world, and labored as they ought to turn many to righteousness.
Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts! The whole earth is full of thy glory. Blessed be the Lord for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth, and the fulness thereof. Still more would we bless thee for the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush, and for thy precious loving-kindness, and for the precious seed of gospel truth, and for the precious promises, and for precious faith to believe thy word, and for the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, and for the precious death of thy saints, and for the precious name of Jesus, which is as ointment poured forth, and for the precious blood of the Son of God, through whom we have redemption.
Look in mercy on this dark world. Remember Zion. Make Joseph a fruitful bough, whose branches run over the wall. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion. Bring back the captivity of thy people, that Jacob may rejoice and Israel be glad. Thou hast set thy Son on thy holy hill of Zion. Righteousness is the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Hasten the time when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the young lion and the fat-ling together, and a child shall lead them; and the cow and the bear shall feed, and their young ones lie down together, and the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the nations shall learn war no more, and thy ancient people the Jews and the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in; when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ; when the Lord shall call them his people which are not now his people; when the angel shall fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Lord God of hosts, cut short the work in righteousness. Let the ploughman overtake the reaper, and let a nation be born in a day.
"Pity the nations, 0 our God;
Constrain the earth to come;
Send thy victorious word abroad,
And bring the strangers home."
We are indeed asking great things, but we do it at thy command. We ask no more than thou hast promised to thy Son, and no more than he has purchased by his most precious blood, and no more than he himself intercedes for in heaven. Amen.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Pray for the Reign of Grace Over All the Earth
William Swan Plumer, The Rock of Our Salvation, pp. 434-439 (HT: Holdfast):