27 JUNE (PREACHED 23 JUNE 1776)
Where is their zeal?
‘Brethren, pray for us.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:25
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Galatians 6:1–10
I feel for the declensions of many. I will lay no stress upon my own personal concern. It is trying to flesh and blood to see any who once professed a warm regard, look shy and cold, and when one loves and studies to show it, to be misapprehended and misrepresented. Blessed be the Lord, if I have something of this kind to complain of, the instances are not many. And were it not for the cause, the effect would sit light upon me. But how many do I know who have carried it unkindly to the Lord, if not to me. O where is their zeal, where is their first love, where is the value they once put upon ordinances, where is that gospel conversation they once aimed at? Once they loved to assemble with the Lord’s people, now they may be often seen with the drunkards. Brethren, pray for me. I fear lest the Lord should be displeased. Would it be believed if I should tell it in London, where I am going, that in such a place as they suppose Olney to be and where there are so many people and where the gospel has been so many years, it should sometimes be difficult to find one man present to set the psalm before sermon on a Thursday evening? I well remember when it was far otherwise.
Thus saith the LORD to Ephesus,
‘Recall to mind the happy days
And thus he speaks to some of us;
When thou wast filled with joy and praise;
‘Amidst my churches, lo, I stand,
Repent, thy former works renew,
And hold the pastors in my hand.
Then I’ll restore thy comforts too.
‘Thy works, to me, are fully known,
‘Return at once, when I reprove,
Thy patience, and thy toil, I own;
Lest I thy candlestick remove;
Thy views of gospel truth are clear,
And thou, too late, thy loss lament;
Nor can’st thou other doctrine bear.
I warn before I strike, Repent.’
‘Yet I must blame while I approve,
Hearken to what the Spirit saith,
Where is thy first, thy fervent love?
To him that overcomes by faith;
Dost thou forget my love to thee,
‘The fruit of life’s unfading tree,
That thine is grown so faint to me?
In paradise his food shall be.’
SERMON: 1 THESSALONIANS 5:25 [5/6]