(WISDOM)

“My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:1-6) KJV

Wisdom, having solemnly warned rebellious scorners, now instructs her dutiful children. The dark question long before asked-“Where shall wisdom be found?” (Job 28:12, 20, 21)-is now answered. It is here set before us, as the fear and knowledge of God (Verse 5); a principle of practical godliness (Verses 7-9); a preservation from besetting temptations (Verses 10-19); and a guide into the right and safe path. (Verse 20). Hence follow the security of its scholars (Verse 21), and the certain ruin of its ungodly despisers. (Verse 22). 

The rules for its attainment are such as the simplest comprehension can apply. Carefully pondered, and diligently improved, they will furnish a key for the understanding of the whole word of God. Let us examine them more distinctly.

Receive my words– Let them be “the seed cast into the ground of an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15)-a heart prepared of God. (Chapter 16:1.) Read the book of God as one who “sat at the feet of Jesus, and heard his word.” (Luke 10:39.) Like the Bereans, “receive it with all readiness” (Acts 17:11); like the Thessalonians, with reverential faith, acknowledging its supreme authority (1 Thess. 2:13.) Hide my commandments with thee. Carry them about with thee as thy choicest treasure for greater security (Col. 3:16, with Matt. 13:44); as thy furniture always at hand for present use. (Chap. 4:20, 21; 8:3. Job 22:22). Let thy heart be the hiding-place for the treasure. (Luke 2:19, 51. Ps. 119:11.) Satan never snatch it thence.

But there must be an active, practical habit of attention. Yet to incline the ear, and apply the heart“who is sufficient for these things?” Oh! my God! let it be thine own work on me-in me. Thou alone canst do it. Let it be with me, as with thy Beloved Son-“Waken my ear morning by morning to hear the learned.” (Isa. 50:4.) So let me under thy grace “incline mine ear, and hear, that my soul may live.” (Ibid. 55:3.)

Without this spirit of prayer-there may be attention and earnestness; yet not one spiritual impression upon the conscience; not one ray of Divine light in the soul. Earthly wisdom is gained by study; heavenly wisdom by prayer. Study may form a Biblical scholar; prayer puts the heart under heavenly tutorage, and therefore forms the wise and spiritual Christian. The word first comes into the ears; then it enters into the heart; there it is safely hid; thence rises the cry-the lifting up of the voice. Thus, “the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.” (Ps. 119:130.) God keeps the key of the treasure-house in his own hand. “For this he will be required of” (Ezek. 36:37) to open it unto thee. We look for no other inspiration than Divine grace to make his word clear and impressive. Every verse read and meditated on furnishes material for prayer. Ever text prayed over opens a mine of “unsearchable riches,” with a light from above, more clear and full than the most intelligent exposition. David (Ps. 119:18, &c.) and his wise son (1 Kings 3:9-12) sought this learning upon their knees; and the most matured Christian will continue to the end to lift up his voice for a more enlarged knowledge of God (Eph. 1:17, 18.)

But prayer must not stand in the stead of diligence. Let it rather give energy to it. The miner’s indefatigable pains; his invincible resolution; his untiring perseverance; seeking, yea, searching for hid treasures,-such must be our searching into the sacred storehouse. To read, instead of searching the Scripture,” is only to skim the surface, and gather up a few superficial potions. The rule of success is-Dig up and down the field; and if the search be discouraging, dig again. The patient industry of perusal and re-perusal will open the embosomed treasure. “Surely there is a vein for the silver.” (Job, 28:1.) Yet what miner would be content with the first ore? Would he not search deeper and deeper, until he has possessed himself of the whole; not satisfied with taking away much, but determined to leave nothing? Thus let us daily explore “the length, and the breadth, and the depth” of our boundless stores, until we be “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 2:18, 19.)

This habit of living in the element of Scripture is invaluable. To be filled from this Divine treasury; to have large portions of the word daily passing through the mind; gives us a firmer grasp, and a more suitable and diversified application of it. Yet this profit can only be fully reaped in retirement. We may read the Scripture in company. But to search them, we must be alone with God. Here we learn to apply ourselves wholly to the word, and the word wholly to us. This enriching study gives a purer vein of sound judgment. The mere reader often scarcely knows where to begin, and he performs the routine without any definite object. His knowledge therefore must be scanty and ineffective. Nor is the neglect of this habit less hurtful to the Church. All fundamental errors and heresies in the Church may be traced to this source-“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.” (Matt. 22:29.) They are mostly based on partial or disjointed statements of truth. Truth separated from truth becomes error. But the mind prayerfully occupied in the search of Divine truth-crying and lifting up the voice-will never fail to discern the two great principles of godliness-the fear and knowledge of God. There is no peradventure nor disappointment in the search-Then shalt thou understand. The Lord giveth wisdom; it cometh out of his mouth. None shall search in vain. (Job 32:8. Isa. 48:17; 54:3. Jam. 1:5, 17. Comp. Gen. 41:38, 29. Exod. 4:12. Dan. 1:17.) Never has apostasy from the faith been connected with a prayerful and diligent study of the word of God.

(Charles Bridges)       

Christianity and Theological Liberalism by Burk Parsons

The nineteenth century witnessed the rise of theological liberalism in the Protestant church. It wasn’t new. It was an old liberalism repackaged with attractive branding and a clever marketing strategy, and the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries laid the perfect foundation. The Enlightenment viewed reason and empirical evidence as the primary way to construct a comprehensive system of all things pertaining to scientific and religious knowledge, as well as a way to understand ethics, government, and aesthetics, providing man with the supposed ability to obtain objective truth about reality. The Enlightenment was heralded as the “Age of Reason,” as opposed to the “Age of Faith.” Theological liberalism was simply the Enlightenment applied to theology, and so it was the obvious child of the Enlightenment.

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John 3:16 and Man’s Ability to Choose God

It is ironic that in the same chapter, indeed in the same context, in which our Lord teaches the utter necessity of rebirth to even see the kingdom, let alone choose it, non-Reformed views find one of their main proof texts to argue that fallen man retains a small island of ability to choose Christ. It is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Contuine Reading

James Smith (1802-1862)

“Be ye thankful.” Col. iii:15

WHAT cause to be thankful, what reason to be grateful have we!

Surrounded by mercies both temporal and spiritual. If we look back we ought to rejoice that God hath chosen us in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world; that He sent His only begotten Son into the world, to be a propitiation for our sins; that He sent His Holy Spirit in to our hearts, to convince us of sin, lead us to Jesus, and make us meet for heaven. We have His word in our hands, His grace in our hearts, His mercies in our houses, and His heaven before our eyes. O for a thankful heart! But let us take our poor hard, ungrateful hearts to Jesus; He can soften them and fill them with gratitude. Let us confess our ingratitude before Him, and mourn over our unthankfulness at His feet. He is ready to forgive. He can sanctify us wholly. He will hear our cry, and pity our complaints. O Jesus, grant us a deep sense of our utter unworthiness, and of Thine unmerited goodness, that our souls may daily praise Thee with joyful lips! May we live as thoughtful dependants; as grateful, loving children, before our Father and our God; and daily be thankful.

Through all eternity, to Thee
A joyful song I’ll raise’
But oh! eternity’s too short
To utter al Thy praise.

"Taken from: "Daily Remembrancer Morning and Evening"
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Robert Murray M’Cheyne

On the death of his brother, the little boy to whom the preceding letter was written.  

MY DEAR A.,-I did not think I was to have answered your kind letter in the time of bitter grief. But so it pleases Jehovah, whose will must be our will, if we would be happy. It is good for you to bear the yoke in your youth. This is the way God trains His saints, and especially His ministers. I saw you dear little brother twice on his dying bed, and indeed I could not believe he was dying except that his calm eye was directed to the hills of immortality, and he seemed already to breathe some of the atmosphere of the world of sinless joy. I do trust and believe that he was a saved boy. You know I am rather slow of coming to this conviction and not fond of speaking when I have not good evidence; but here, I think, God has not left us in doubt.  

At Blairgowrie he used several times to speak to me about divine things, and the tear would gather in his eye when he said that he feared he had never been brought to Jesus. Once, when he had a sore throat, he told me he was not ready to die. But now he was quite different. The veil seemed to be lifted away from his heart, and he saw divine things simply and fully.

Over and over he told me that he was not afraid to die, for Christ had died. “How kind it was in God to send Jesus to die for sinners.” He seemed tranquil and happy, even when the pain came on his head and made him knit his brows. You have reason to mingle praise with your tears. Do not sorrow as one who has no hope. Only seek a right improvement of this bereavement. He is not lost, but gone before, and we shall soon put off this clay cottage also. And soon we and he, made new, body and soul, shall meet the Lord in the air, and so be for ever with the Lords. I was at your house on Sabbath night, and saw them all,-sorrowful, yet rejoicing. Your dear little brother lies like a marble statute in the peaceful sleep of death, till Jesus’ voice shall waken him. Happy boy! He shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on him, nor any heat. The days of his mourning are ended, and his eternity of love and holy joy is begun.

Improve this sharp wind, dear A., for you will soon lose the benefit, if not carefully sought after. Search out the Achan in your heart at such an hour. Let affliction strike heavy blows at your corruptions, your idolatries, and self-pleasing and worldly schemes. Learn much of Christ at such an hour. Study Him at the grave of Lazarus (John xi.); and at the gate of Nain (Luke viii. 11); and also within the veil (Rev. i. 18). Do not be ashamed to grieve deeply; but let sadness find relief in the bosom that was pierced with the spear.

“Is any afflicted? Let him pray.” Strange, Satan often tempts us to restrain prayer at such a time. Be very gentle towards the souls of your kindred now.

Remember D- and H- at the throne of grace, if God had taken them, where would they have been? Learn also that ministers must care for lambs. “Preach the gospel to every creature.” Pray for me, also that I may do so,-that I may be made a better man and a more faithful pastor of old and young. –Ever yours, till we meet in glory, etc.    

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Robert Hawker (1753-1827) Thirty-One Meditations on Christ

“Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart;
for God now acepteth thy works.” Ecclesiastes 9:7

My soul, here is a sweet subject for your hourly thoughts. Are you “accepted” in the Beloved? Have you accepted Jesus, and God accepted you in Jesus?

Well may you then eat of the bread of common providences,70 and drink of the sweet of all sanctified mercies, for everything is blessed in Jesus, and Jesus is blessing you in everything. Surely, an accepted soul is a blessed soul, for he is blessed in his basket71 and in his store;72 blessed in his laying down and blessed in his rising up; blessed in his going out and blessed in his coming home; yea, blessed in time and blessed to all eternity. Yes, blessed source of all my blessedness, precious Jesus, I will go my way, for You are my way (Joh. 14:6). I will eat my bread with joy, for You are my bread of life (Joh 6:35). I will drink the wine which You have mingled73 for me, for Your love is better than wine (Song. 1:2).

And as God my Father accepts me in You, this forms an everlasting cause of everlasting joy: joy in what I have; joy in what I expect; joy in even what I want,74 for those very wants will lead me the closer and the nearer to You. Joy in what I fear, for my fear will keep me depending upon You; joy in what I suffer, for my sufferings are sweetly blessed when they afford a renewed occasion for my Jesus to sooth me under them and, in His time, to deliver me out of them. And joy in all I lose, for lose what I may, I cannot lose You-I cannot lose God’s Christ; I cannot lose His love, His favour, His grace, His Spirit, the efficacy of His blood, and the merits of His righteousness. Oh precious security, precious salvation in the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 33:16)! Shall I not live up to this heritage, and live under its influence, in the thankful, joyful use of it from day to day? God your way, my souls, go in Jesus as your Way. Every day, and all the day, eat your bread with joy. Eye Jesus as your spiritual food and always present at your table. Drink hourly of His cup of salvation with a cheerful heart, for you are accepted in the Beloved.

70. Providence-works of God in preserving and governing all His creatures and all their actions.
71. basket-contents of a basket, as in harvesting-as much as it can hold.
72. Store-storehouse, as of harvested food.
73. Mingled-mixed (possibly with water, as a common practice).
74. Want-lack.

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The word of the cross is the power of God

The Power of Death to Sin

How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Rom. 6:2 t is the power of the cross!   

WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN?          

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? ….

On this aspect of the power of the cross we concentrated our attention in the preceding chapters of the book. The Word of the cross is the power of God unto salvation; by its power we are redeemed from the curse of the law, reconciled to God, delivered from the dominion and fear of death, and our conscience is purged from dead works. Sinners though we be in ourselves, we are righteous before God; dimmable though our state may be, in Christ we are justified; the handwriting of God through the blood of Christ, inscribed in our conscience, declares us as righteous as if we never had commented any sin, yea, as if we personally had paid the penalty for our sins, and kept all God’s commandments ever since!   

But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

Is there no room, then, for the question: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

The question, it would seem, follows very normally, and, what is more, it would appear as if the answer suggested is the only possible and logical conclusion from the doctrine of free justification: let us continue in sin, that grace may abound. The more e sin, the more we create the situation in which grace may truly shine forth in all its glory. By continuing in sin, it would seem, we serve the cause of grace. Let us, then, fathom the depth of sin, that we may taste the fullness of grace. 

The opponents of the truth of sovereign grace, and of free justification through grace in Christ, without works, often claim that this is only possible inference that follows logically from this doctrine. It makes men careless and profane. It offers them an indulgence to sin. Nay, what is worse, it changes sin into a virtue, since it becomes a means to extol the grace of God. You teach, they say, that we are justified before God without works. No matter how deeply and grossly we sin, we are righteous before God. Righteousness is simply imputed to us. God works are not its ground: they cannot add to our righteousness. Sin cannot change it: though our sins are as scarlet, though they cry to heaven, in the judgment of God we are declared righteous. Well, then say they, lust us continue in sin: that is the only possible conclusion you can draw from such a doctrine. If it does not make a particle of difference in the judgment of God whether we sin or do good works, by all means let us sin, for this has, at least the advantage that it brings into bright relief the glory of God’s forgiving mercy.

Thus the opponents of Paul’s day, and the enemies of the so-called “blood theology” of modern times argue against the Scriptural truth of free justification through the blood of the cross, in order to demonstrate the absurdity and pernicious nature of this doctrine. Nor need we deny that, if their argument were correct, and their conclusion true, if it were the tendency of the cross of Christ to render men secure in their sin, to make men careless and profane, the truth of free justification could no longer be a cause for glorying. In that case, it would indeed be a dangerous doctrine. Then the cross of Christ would be made of none effect.   

But they that thus oppose the truth only speak in their ignorance. They have not experienced, neither do they understand the marvellous power of the cross.

For rather than causing men to rest secure in their sin, seeing they are justified without works, so that they become careless and profane in their walk and conversation, the power of the cross has the effect that it causes men deeply to abhor sin, to repent in dust and ashes, and to walk as children of light in the midst of the world.  To verify this, just ask, not the enemies of the cross of Christ, but those that have experienced the power of the blood of Jesus unto their justification, and that know what it means to be justified freely by His grace.  Ask them, if they have any confidence in their own works as a ground of their righteousness before God, and they will assure you that all their boasting is in the cross of Christ, and in the atoning power of His blood. To them, all other ground is sinking sand. They utterly repudiate it. But again, ask them whether this exclusive confidence in the cross as the ground of their righteousness, does not have the effect upon them that now they become careless and profane, induces them to draw the conclusion that it is profitable to continue in sin that grace may abound, and they will reply with holy indignation and abhorrence: God forbid! They will assure you that the power of the cross, as they experienced it, bore the very opposite fruit: it caused them to abhor sin, to eschew it, to flee from it, to fight it with all their might. And for nothing they long more fervently than to be delivered from the defilement of sin finally and completely. “Live in sin?” they will say, rather amazed that you could approach them with such a proposition, “continue in sin? How could we, that have tested the power of redemption in the cross of Jesus, consider such a possibility, or do such a thing? God forbid!”

This is also the answer of the Scriptures, by the apostle Paul, in the sixth chapter of the Romans. Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! Such a proposition cannot be entertained seriously, even for a moment. …. 

It is plain, therefore, that, according to Scripture, the redeemed in Christ have died with Him, and that now they are dead unto sin, so that sin no longer has the power to reign over them.

It belongs to the power of the cross to render men dead unto sin.

Two questions arise in this connection: 1. What does it mean to be dead unto sin? 

In answer to the first question, we should carefully observe that the Bible does not say that sin is dead in the believer, but on the contrary, that he is dead to sin. The difference is evident. It would be a grievous error to change this expression, or to understand it as meaning the same as the statement that, as long as the believer is in the world, sin is dead in him. …. Fact is, that when we are engrafted into Christ, and the power of the cross is realized in us, sin is not dead, but remains very much alive. …. Not until we breathe our last are we delivered from it. …. In fact, it often seems that, according as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus, the motions of sin in our members also increase their activity, always attempting to bring us again into bondage. We must therefore, till the day of our death, heed the exhortation of the Word of God to put off the old man, and to put on the new.

Yet, although sin is not dead in the believer, he is surely dead to sin.

The natural man, the sinner apart from Christ, is alive unto sin. Sin is his lord. The power of sin is enthroned in his heart.  It is his rightful Lord, it has the right to exercise dominion over him, and he is its legal slave. God’s sentence is that the sinner shall die. …. This dominion of sin, however, is not contrary to the will and desire of the sinner, so that he ever longs to be delivered from its bondage. On the contrary, he agrees with it. He is well pleased with the reign of sin. He delights in the service of his evil lord. He is a willing servant. He loves the darkness rather than the light.  …. The paths of sin are his delight. He is alive unto sin.

To be dead unto sin is the opposite of this.

It is the state in which we are no longer under the legal dominion of sin. Sin is no longer our lord. It has no longer the right to reign over us. Just as a slave for whom the price is paid, or that has been declared free by the law, is no longer legally bound to serve his former master, so he that is dead to sin is liberated from the legal dominion of sin by God’s own verdict of liberation. Sin shall not have dominion over him, because he is not under the law but under grace. …. O sin is still present with him. And it operates in his members. Ever it attempts to reign its former lordship over him. But all that is within him, according to his inner man, hates and abhors the service of iniquity. Sin is not dead, but he is dead to sin. His entire attitude over against his former lord has radically changed. He is converted. And for the sin that still operates in his members, and ever attempts to divert the vehicle of his life and walk in to the old ruts of unrighteousness, he humbles himself before God daily, repents in dust and ashes, and confessing his sins before God, he has no rest till he has found forgiveness in the blood of the Lamb.

He that is in Christ is a new creature: old things have passed away, behold all things have become new! (II Cor. 5:17)   

How, then, would it be possible that the believer in Christ should live according to the slogan: “Let us continue in sin, that grace may abound”? ….

That is the power of the cross.

When the Spirit of Christ enters into our hearts, and establishes the living fellowship of faith between us and the Christ that died and rose again, and calls us through the gospel, we know that we are free, that we are not under the law but under grace, and that sin shall have no dominion over us. Then we reckon ourselves dead unto sin, and alive unto righteousness. Then we reveal our having died unto sin by a hearty repentance and sorrow after God, by our eschewing and  abhorring sin and fleeing from its lusts, and by a positive delight in righteousness to serve the living God.

That is the power of the cross.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

How absurd!

The power of the cross is our death unto sin.

The power of His resurrection is our quickening unto a new life of righteousness.

With Him we died; with Him we are raised that unto Him we might live!

O, glorious power of Calvary’s tree!  

Herman Hoeksema

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John Calvin’s prayers as he went through the book of Zephaniah

Verses. 1-4

The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as we are so prone to corruptions, and so easily turn from the right course after having commenced it, and so easily degenerate from the truth once known,-O Grant that, being strengthened by thy Spirit, we may persevere to the end in the right way which thou showest to us in thy word, and that we may also labour to restore the many who abandon themselves to various errors,; and though we may effect nothing, let us not yet be led away after them, but remain firm in the obedience of faith, until having at length finished all these contests, we shall be gathered into that blessed rest which is prepared for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Verses 5-9

And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as we continue in so many ways to provoke against us thy wrath, we may patiently bear the punishment, by which thou wouldest correct our faults, and also anticipate thy judgment: and since thou art pleased to recall us in due time to thyself, let us not turn deaf ears to thy counsels, but so obey and submit ourselves to thee, that we may become partakers of that mercy, which thou offerest to us, provided we seek to be reconciled to thee, and so proceed in thy service, that under the government of Christ thy Son, whom thou hast appointed to be our supreme and only king, we may so strive to be wholly devoted to thee that thou mayest be glorified through our whole life, until we become at length partakers of that celestial glory, which has been procured for us by the blood of thy only-begotten Son. Amen.

Verses 10-12
 
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as almost the whole world breaks out into such excesses, that there is no moderation, no reason,-O grant, that we may learn not only to confine ourselves with in those limits which thou dost approve and command, but also to delight and glory in the smallness of our portion, inasmuch as the wealth, and honours, and pleasures of the world so fascinate the hearts and minds of all, that they elevate themselves into heaven, and carry on war, as it were, avowedly with thee. Grant also to us, that in our limited portion we may be in such a way humbled under thy powerful hand, as never to doubt but that thou wilt be our deliverer even in our greatest miseries; and that ascribing to thee the power over life and death, may feel fully assured, that whatever afflictions happen to us, proceed from thy judgment, so that we may be led to repentance, and daily exercise ourselves in it, until we shall at length come to that blessed rest which is laid up for us in heaven, through Christ our Lord. Amen.   

Verses 13-Ch.2:2
 
Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that we continue in various ways to provoke thy wrath, we may at length be awakened by the blasting of that trumpet which sounds in our ears, when thou proclaimest that thou wilt be the judge of the world, and testifies also the same so plainly in the gospel, so that we may, with our minds raised up to thee, learn to renounce all the depraved lusts of the world, and that having shaken off our torpidity, we may so hasten to repent, that we may anticipate thy judgment, and so find that we are reconciled to thee, as ever to retain the taste of it, in order that we may be enabled to renounce all the allurements and pleasures of this world, until we shall at length come to that blessed rest, where we shall be filled with that unspeakable joy, thou hast promised to us, and which we hope for in Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Chapter 2:3:8


Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou hast been pleased to consecrate us as peculiar people to thyself, we may be mindful of such an invaluable favour, and devote ourselves wholly to thee, and so labour to cultivate true sincerity as to bear the marks of thy people and of thy holy Church: and as we are so polluted by so many of the defilements of our own flesh and of this world, grant that thy Holy Spirit may cleanse us more and more every day, until thou bringest us at length to that perfection to which thou invitest us by the voice of thy gospel, that we may also enjoy that blessed glory which has been provided for us by the blood of thy only begotten son. Amen.

Chapter 2:9:15


Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen. Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword. And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as thou triest us in the warfare of the cross, and arouses most powerful enemies, whose barbarity might justly terrify and dishearten us, were we not depending on thine aid,-O grant, that we may call to mind how wonderfully thou didst in former times deliver thy chosen people, and how seasonably thou didst bring them help, when they were oppressed and entirely overwhelmed, so that we may learn at this day to flee to thy protection, and not doubt, but that when thou becomes propitious to us, there is in thee sufficient power to preserve us, and o lay prostrate our enemies, how much soever they may exult and think to triumph above the heavens, so that they may at length know by experience that they are earthly and frail creatures, whose life and condition is like the mist which soon vanishes: and may we learn to aspire after that blessed eternity, which is laid up for us in heaven by Christ our Lord. Amen.

Chapter 3:1-5


 Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God. Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that inasmuch as thou hast deigned to favour us with an honour so invaluable, as to adopt us for a holy people to thee, and to separate us from the world,-O grant, that we may not close our eyes against the light of thy truth, by which thou showest to us the way of salvation; but may we with true docility follow where thou callest us, and never cast away the fear of thy majesty, nor mock thee with frivolous ceremonies, but strive sincerely to devote ourselves wholly to thee, and to cleanse ourselves from all defilements, not only of the flesh, but also of the spirit, that by thus seeking true holiness, we may aspire after and diligently labour for that heavenly perfection, from which we are yet far distant; and may we in the meantime, relying on the favour of thy only-begotten Son, lean on thy mercy; and while depending on it, may we ever grow up more and more into that true and perfect union, reserved for us in heaven, when we shall be made partakers of thy glory, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Chapter 3:6-9


I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings. Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent. KJV

PRAYER

Grant Almighty God, that since it is the principal part of our happiness, that in our pilgrimage through this world there is open to us a familiar access to thee by faith,-O grant, that we may be able to come with a pure heart to thy presence: and when our lips are polluted, O purify us by thy Spirit, so that we may not only pray to thee with the mouth, but also prove that we do this sincerely, without any dissimulation, and that we earnestly seek to spend our whole life in glorifying thy name, until being at length gathered into thy celestial kingdom, we may be truly and really united to thee, and be made partakers of that glory, which has been procured for us by the blood of thy only-begotten Son. Amen. 

Chapter 3:10-13

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that since the depravity of our nature is so great, that we cannot bear prosperity without some wantonness of the flesh immediately raging in us, and without becoming even arrogant against thee,-O grant, that we may profit under the trials of the cross; and when thou have blest us, may we with lowly hearts, renouncing our perverseness, submit ourselves to thee, and not only bear thy yoke submissively, but proceed in this obedience all our life, and so contend against all temptations as never to glory in ourselves, and feel also convinced, that all true and real glory is laid up for us in thee, until we shall enjoy it in thy  celestial kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Chapter 3:14-20


Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD. KJV

PRAYER

Grant, Almighty God, that as we are at this day so scattered on account of our sins, and even they who seem to be collected in thy name and under thy authority, are yet so turn by mutual discords, that the safety of thy Church hangs as it were on a thread, while in the meantime thine enemies seek with savage cruelty to destroy all those who are thine, and to obliterate thy gospel,-O grant that we may live in quietness and resignation, hoping in thy promises, so that we may not doubt, but that thou in due time wilt become our deliverer: and may w so patiently bear to be afflicted and cast down by thee, that we may ever raise up our groans to heaven so as to be heard through the name of thy Son, until being at length freed from every contest, we shall enjoy  that blessed rest which is laid up for us in heaven, and which thine only-begotten Son has promised for us. Amen.