9 FEBRUARY (PREACHED 6 FEBRUARY 1777)
All persons and all cases
‘What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive …’ 1 Kings 8:38–39
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Revelation 7:9–17
When we meet in the name of Christ in his ordinances, we are at the gate of the temple. The Lord is near, his eye upon us, his ear open to us, and his arm stretched forth to bestow upon us the blessings of his goodness—therefore the promise and encouragement. What Solomon asked, the Lord put in his heart because it was his pleasure to perform. Here is leave given for all persons and all cases.
(i) All persons—that is, all who account it a privilege, every man who knows the plague of his own heart. How strongly does unbelief work when those who do have a right, make the ground of that right an objection against themselves! Do you say, ‘Ah, I am such a sinner, such a backslider, I dare not come?’ Is not this rather a proof that you know the plagues of your own heart and are therefore invited by name?
(ii) All cases—what prayer and supplication soever. This is a large word. Let no one say, ‘I am shut out.’ They who know the plague of their own hearts will have matter for various supplications. A sense of our wants and wills will teach us to pray. What is this plague? Let the Lord know and direct your prayers to the Temple and you shall be heard.
Behold the throne of grace!
My soul ask what thou wilt,
The promise calls me near;
Thou canst not be too bold;
There Jesus shows a smiling face,
Since his own blood for thee he spilt,
And waits to answer prayer.
What else can he withhold.
That rich atoning blood,
Beyond thy utmost wants
Which sprinkled round I see;
His love and power can bless;
Provides for those who come to GOD,
To praying souls he always grants,
An all-prevailing plea.
More than they can express.
SERMON: 1 KINGS 8:38–39 [4/6]