33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
Sermon 46 (Psalm 119:40)
- I COME now to a second use, and that is— Use 2. To press us to long after holiness and subjection to God.
- A man that makes God his heart’s delight shall have his heart’s desire:
- Better to be denied in mercy, than to have our requests granted in anger. But grace will do us no hurt; it will not increase our snares and temptations, as other things do; and therefore can never be given in anger, but always in love.
- Fix your desires and enlarge them to the full.
- Watch against the abatement of your desires, for they are of great use to you in the spiritual life.
- When the desires are fixed, endeavours are engaged; our desires must be pursued resolutely. But what shall we do to awaken these earnest longings in our souls, and those desires after holiness?
- Desire is but passionate will, or the will effectually and powerfully excited or stirred up to some absent good. Now the appetite is from God as well as the meat. Desire of grace is an affection above nature, and must be planted in us by the Spirit of God. God gives the desire, and he satisfies it. He draws,’ then we run after him,’ Cant. 1:4. He puts this desire in our hearts, then we are carried on with an earnest pursuit after grace.
- Spiritual desires need a great deal of cultivating.
- Renew your desires every time you come to God. When you come to the word, come with an appetite; prepare your stomachs always for God’s food.
- It is not enough that the soul is once come to Christ, but it is the business of our lives; we must be always coming:
- Consider what a fulness there is in Christ. This encouraged the prodigal, that in his father’s house there is bread enough. So should this encourage us, and awaken our desires; there is enough in Christ if I will but go and take it, and receive from this ever-flowing fountain of grace that God hath set up in our nature: John 1:16, Of his fulness have we all received.’
- Christ is not spent for giving; he hath enough to comfort and quicken us; he needs not our fulness, but emptiness.
- Doct. 2. Those that indeed long for holiness will see a need of new quickening. Here I shall inquire— 1. What is this quickening. 2. Why they that long for God’s precepts, and a more perfect and ready subjection to God, are thus earnest for quickening.
- First, What is this quickening? I shall not speak at large, for it often occurs in this psalm. It is used in scripture for two things:— 1. For regeneration, or the first infusion of the life of grace, Eph. 2:1, 5. Then we have divine qualities put into us, that do incline and enable us to live unto God. 2. It is put for the vitality and the vigour of grace, when the spiritual life is in good plight. Deadness of heart is apt to creep upon us, therefore we need renewed excitations and quickenings, that we may serve our God with cheerfulness, liveliness, and zeal. Christians should not only be living but lively;
- Without faith our notions of God, Christ, heaven, and hell are never practical and lively in operation; for this is the evidence of things not seen, and this convinceth us of all spiritual and unseen things, to make them have a force and operation upon the soul. We do but hear, read, and discourse literally until faith puts life into our apprehensions and thoughts of them;
- Secondly, Why will they that long after God’s precepts see a need of quickening? 1. Because of the diseases incident to the renewed estate. There is a constant weakness by reason of indwelling corruption: The flesh lusteth against the spirit,’ Gal. 5:17; they cannot serve God with that purity and liberty they desire. Then there are frequent indispositions of soul; sometimes they feel a slowness and loathness and dulness in their souls.
- The spirit is a tender thing. Every heinous sin is as a wound in the body, which lets out the life-blood, and so we contract a deadness upon ourselves.
- No creature doth subsist and act of itself. All things live, move, and have their being in God. There is a concurrence necessary to all created things, much more to the new creature: partly because of the internal indisposition of the subject in which it is—alas! grace in the heart is but like fire in wet wood—partly by reason of external impediments; Satan is ready to cast a damp upon the soul, so that the Lord’s grace is still necessary for us.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible