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according to His promise, therefore rejoice in Him, therefore show meekness and moderation in all your conduct; and therefore dismiss all your care and anxiety, and make Him your refuge at all times, and pour out your hearts before Him.40 The Lord is ever near to His people. Let them remember it for their admonition, encouragement, and consolation.
But if the declaration be regarded as referring to the second coming of Christ, or that which is to us of the same import, as having the same consequences to each individual, the nearness of death and judgment; it announces to us the importance of living as it becometh those to do who must soon be separated from all things here below. We know not the day of our death,“ we know not how soon we may be called to appear in the presence of the Lord ; let us then seek to please Him in all our conduct; let us abide in Him, that when He shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 42 Let us rejoice in Him as all our salvation, and all our desire ;43 and not eagerly pursue earthly joys; and then it will be no loss to be separated from them. Let moderation appear in all our conduct with respect to the things of this life.
But, further, it is to be observed, that the Lord is at hand as the Hearer and Answerer of prayer. For the apostle proceeds on this account to exhort Christians, Be careful for nothing. Do not give way to distressing anxiety about the things of this world; for the Lord is at hand to take care of His people that put their trust in Him. Against this carefulness, or anxious solicitude, there are many cautions given in the New Testament, both by our Saviour and His apostles. Martha was reproved by Him, for being careful and troubled, or anxious and disturbed, about many things.44 In His sermon on the mount He admonishes His disciples, Take no thought, or be not anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the Gentiles seek ; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things : but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought, be not anxious for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, or bring its own cares with it. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.45 St. Paul says to the Corinthians, I would have you without carefulness, 46 or worldly anxiety. And St. Peter exhorts, Cast all your care upon God, for He careth for you.? So dangerous is this disposition that in
40 Ps.lxii. 8. 41 Gen.xxvii. 2. 42 1 John ii. 28. 43 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
the parable of the sower our blessed Lord speaks of the care of this world as choking the word, so that it becometh unfruitful. Many persons are liable to be disturbed and anxious about the things of this life in various respects. There is nothing so well adapted to remove this anxiety from the mind as the consideration that the Lord is at hand, who is able to order all things in providence and in grace for His people that call upon Him, and has promised to supply all their need; so that they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.49
For this reason a direction is given respecting the means to be used in order to obtain His help in time of need. The apostle advises the children of God, In every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. Here is an effectual remedy for all the evils with which we can possibly be visited. And in making use of this remedy, it may
be said, According to your faith it shall be done unto you. It is a great relief in trouble of any kind to pour out the heart before the Lord. So the Psalmist found it; and therefore said, When I am in heaviness I will think upon God, when my heart is vered I will complains to Him; for He shall stand at the right hand of the poor to save him from those that condemn his soul.51 And again, I
47 1 Pet.v.7. 48 Matt, xiii. 22. 49 Ps. xxxiv. 10. 50 Ps. lxxvii. 3.
poured out my complaint before Him; I showed Him of my trouble.52 When all other help failed he could say, God is our refuge and strength, very present help in trouble. 53
This however is a source of relief from anxiety which is to be obtained only by the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, for until He is believed on with the heart unto righteousness, there is no access into the Divine presence; since God heareth not sinners. Sin cuts off mankind from communion with God. Our Saviour Himself declared, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.5Unless we plead His merits for our acceptance at the throne of grace, we cannot be admitted to an audience there. But to all who draw nigh to God in the all-prevailing name of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate with the Father, the Lord is at hand to listen to their humble supplications. They may therefore dismiss their cares and anxieties, and cast their burden on the Lord, believing that He will sustain them, and give them that relief which they need.
What a gracious direction is this which is given to the believer in Jesus. In every thing ; whatever causes anxiety and distress is to be carried to God, and cast at His footstool. All anxiety of every kind is to be removed in this way. By prayer, or humbly complaining to God, and making known to Him all the desire of our souls. By supplication, or earnest entreaty for the fulfilment of His gracious promises. With thanksgiving; giving thanks at the same time for every blessing which His bountiful hand has bestowed, and every mercy which He continues to vouchsafe to His undeserving creatures; doing all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.55 This is the way in which the children of God are commanded to act, that hereby every distressing care may be removed, and every needful blessing obtained. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.56 God will be enquired of 7 in order that He may do as He has promised, and the thanksgiving of a grateful heart is to be offered to Him for the blessings which are received in answer to prayer.
51 Ps. cix. 31.
52 Ps, cxlii. 2.
53 Ps. xlvi. 1.
54 John xiv. 6. 55 Col. iii. 17.
If our sorrows lead us to the throne of grace to cast all our care upon God, to pour out our hearts before Him, to make Him our refuge, they will prove blessings in disguise. In every thing, whatever pains the mind, whatever occasions distressing feelings or apprehensions, it is the privilege of the Christian to make known his requests unto God; to ask for the relief of his wants, the supply of all his necessities; to open all his
56 James v. 16.
57 Ezekiel xxxvi. 37.