11 FEBRUARY (PREACHED 6 FEBRUARY 1777)
He hears the feeblest cry for mercy
‘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, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men).’ 1 Kings 8:38–39
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 35:1–28
[contd from 5/6]
The plague of your heart includes:
(i) temptation. This takes in all the foregoing. Satan strengthens unbelief, stirs up corruption, and fixes guilt upon the conscience. ‘He has near access to my heart and I feel that within which agrees with all his proposals. My mind is filled with hard thoughts of God, blasphemies and evil imaginations.’ A part of Solomon’s prayer was for Israel when smitten before their enemies.
(ii) deadness of spirit. ‘I know and believe the truth, but it seems not to touch me. I pray without life, I hear without pleasure, my mind is wandering to the ends of the earth and I cannot fix it.’ There is relief in this place also. A coal of fire from the golden altar of this temple will warm your heart, and quicken your affections to divine things.
(iii) impatience. ‘I am in trouble and my heart rebels against the Lord. I do not find affliction sanctified.’ Look to the temple, to him who drank the cup of wrath for us. I cannot mention every case; whatever it be, here is provision.
FOR MEDITATION: But what is it to direct the prayer to the temple? It is to pray in the name of Jesus, as King, and expecting—for his sake only. See what is asked: hear, see and do. He will hear the feeblest cry, forgive the greatest sins, and do the hardest things. For thou only knowest. He knows before you ask; he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit. We are going to the Lord’s table. May he enable us to carry with us a sense of the plague of our own hearts and of his abundant love, compassion and power. May he show careless sinners the plague of their hearts, that they may cry for mercy.
SERMON: 1 KINGS 8:38–39 [6/6]