21 MARCH (PREACHED 21 MARCH 1773)
Much to be observed
‘Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.’ 1 Timothy 1:16
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Ezra 6:19–22
When Moses has related the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, he adds, It is a night much to be observed, and they were accordingly directed to keep it in solemn remembrance. Much to be observed and remembered likewise is the time where it can be clearly known, of the Lord’s appearance to deliver his people from Satan’s bondage. I say when it can be known, for many are brought in so gradual a way, that they cannot distinctly mark the beginning. Others can certainly tell when he signally appeared in their behalf. The return of this day has I believe never been wholly forgotten by me, for twenty-five years past, though I have never thought of it with a thousandth part of thankfulness and sensibility which it demands. It is the day when the Lord sent from high and saved me from sinking in the deep water. It is the first time since I came to Olney that it happened on a Sunday, and as the Lord has been pleased (which is rather more than I could have hoped for two or three days since) to enable me to stand before you this afternoon, I would hope he will graciously fulfil my text amongst us at this time. And that I shall not speak of such an amazing instance of his mercy, and stand up as a pattern of his longsuffering before you in vain.
My manner of life till that period and the dreadful extremity to which I was then brought is pretty well known. Surely there never was one to whom a part of the Apostle’s words were more applicable than myself. I was indeed a persecutor, a blasphemer and injurious, but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. O to say from my heart, I thank Christ Jesus my Lord.
FOR MEDITATION: My subjects today were suggested from my own circumstances. This being the anniversary of ye day in the year 1748 when the Lord delivered me from sinking at sea, and made the first impression upon my heart after my dreadful apostasy, I preached upon the occasion in the afternoon, and was favoured with liberty. O that I could preach effectually to my own heart. Lord do thou make it soft and sensible.
Diary, 21 March 1773
SERMON: 1 TIMOTHY 1:16 [1/4]