28 JUNE (PREACHED 23 JUNE 1776)
Pray for a fresh anointing
‘Brethren, pray for us.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:25
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Galatians 5:16–26
I feel for the congregation’s heart-burnings and grudgings one towards another. Alas, when a little word inadvertently spoken shall be sufficient foundation for a quarrel. When there is a readiness to give offence, a readiness to take offence, a backwardness to reconciliation—these things throw two things in a minister’s way. He cannot but consider them as a sign that grace is low, and a means of keeping it so—that to such persons he is little useful at present and, unless the Lord interpose, he has but a poor hope of being more so. Some or other of these trials are always present to my mind and of late they have brought another troublesome thought upon me. I had not been a month in Olney before the Lord gave me such a regard for the people that it has ever since been the place of my choice. I have ever laboured to decline and avoid what the world calls advantageous offers and at this moment you are upon my heart to live and die with you, if the Lord please. But I am not my own master. And if the gospel should come to be greatly neglected and slighted and a form of godliness take place of that power which once was known here, will there not be some reason to fear lest the Lord should show his displeasure by removing it?
Brethren, pray for us. Pray for me and for yourselves—that the Lord may take away our iniquities, pour a fresh anointing upon minister and people, that I may be strengthened and owned in the work and you may know and prize and improve the privileges you enjoy.
FOR MEDITATION: [for New Year’s Evening 1775]
Preachers may, from Ezekiel’s case,
Like him, around I cast my eye,
Draw hope in this declining day,
And oh! what heaps of bones appear!
A proof like this, of sovereign grace
Like him, by JESUS sent, I’ll try,
Should chase our unbelief away.
For he can cause the dead to hear.
When sent to preach to mouldering bones,
Hear, ye dry bones, the Saviour’s word!
Who could have thought he would succeed?
He, who when dying, gasped, ‘Forgive’,
But well he knew, the LORD from stones
That gracious, sinner-loving LORD,
Could raise up Abram’s chosen seed.
Says, ‘Look to me, dry bones, and live.’
SERMON: 1 THESSALONIANS 5:25 [6/6]