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The Efforts and Support of the Christian.

The Efforts and Support of the Christian.

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Published by glennpease

BY REV. JOHN SUMMERFIELD, A.M.


Psalm lxiii., 8. — My soul followeth hard after thee ; thy right hand upholdeth me.

BY REV. JOHN SUMMERFIELD, A.M.


Psalm lxiii., 8. — My soul followeth hard after thee ; thy right hand upholdeth me.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 18, 2014
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THE EFFORTS AD SUPPORT OF THE CHRISTIA. BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.Psalm lxiii., 8. — My soul followeth hard after thee ; thy right hand upholdeth me. The Hebrew here rendered followeth hard after signifies also to cleave to, &c. — Perhaps the Psalmist had the idea of a child at once exerting itself to follow and to cleave to its pa- rent. How natural — picture a case : see the father — the child says, " Hold me by the hand ;" still it requires all his exertion to keep pace, &c. — But while he hangs on you, he is encouraged to proceed. He followeth hard, but your right hand upholds and draws him forward. In applying these words to the experience of a child of God, consider, I. The efforts he makes. II. The assistance he receives. I. The efforts he makes. These efforts are directed to three principal points : First. Obedience to the will of God. Self-will is the prin- ciple of action with the children of this world. But reli- gion teaches to deny self. God's will is the Christian's chart and compass. " Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?" But this obedience is distinguished by two features : 1. It will be spiritual. There will be purity in the mo- tive, as well as rectitude in the act. 2. Universal. — ot like Saul, who spared Agag, but " hav- ing respect to all the commandments."
 
Secondly. Constant exercise of faith in the promises THE EFFORTS AD SUPPORT OF THE CHRISTIA. 267 of God. The child of God feels his impotence and his need of him who is able to keep him from falling — he fol- loweth hard ! — often fears he shall be cast down. It would be endless to enumerate all the difficulties to be encounter- ed. — " Many are the afflictions of the righteous," &c. — often they are tried in the fire. — The accuser of the brethren per- haps obtains permission, as in Job's case, to lay his hand on their property, their children, or their persons ; nay, one in whom they trusted lifts up his heel against them. And do they feel no tendency to faint under these tribulations ? no temptation to say, " All men are liars ?" o danger in believing a lie of the enemy that " God has shut up his lov- ing kindness in sore displeasure" — no difficulty in saying, 11 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." O ! it is a narrow ivay, a steep and difficult ascent. — There are mo- ments in which we cry out, " My feet were almost gone, my steps had wellnigh slipped." Yet we follow hard after God, and resemble Gideon and his little army, " faint, yet pursuing." Thirdly. The enjoyment of communion with God. This is a higher point of Christian experience ! — the principal in- ducement to a child in following, &c. — does not merely ori- ginate in the influence of authority, or the fear of surround- ing dangers, but from the expectation of that satisfaction and pleasure which is always found in the society and con- verse of a beloved object. The toil of exertion is sweet- ened, and the length of the way beguiled by a thousand pleasing inquiries — a thousand pleasing communications. The little traveller, as he runs by the side and holds the hand of his father, lifts up his voice for information and in- clines his ear to instruction ; and if it were not. for the inter- est which this mutual intercourse gives to the journey, it
 
would be, to the child at least, a dull and irksome toil. He would want a sufficient excitement to persist in the labori- ous effort ; and beginning at first to follow afar off, would at length be tempted to' measure back his steps to the place from whence he commenced his course. So with the child of God. Communion with his heavenly Father is the most valued and exalted privilege. Divest re- 268 THE EFFORTS AD SUPPORT OF THE CHRISTIA. ligion of this, and it becomes a yoke grievous to be borne. We might, indeed, submit to it for a while in the spirit of bondage unto fear, but we should soon become faint and weary in our minds. And such is actually observed to be the case with those who substitute purposes of amendment, attempts at reformation, and forms of Godliness, in place of spiritual, experimental piety — these have no root in them- selves. Religion has no hold upon their affections ; it is not the source of their joy. They flee to it in a time of danger as a matter of necessity, not of choice ; and when the danger seems in some degree subsided, they gradually return to the world ; they endure for a while, and in a time of temptation fall away. Such are the desires they cherish, such the ef- forts they make. II. The assistance he receives. The inference is, as long as the people of God follow hard after, &c. 1. He will deliver their feet from falling, as the child upheld by the father — so feeling his dependance, he is strong in the Lord, &c. If ever we fail, either there is a want of fervour in our en- deavour, or of simplicity in our dependance. We either do not follow hard after, or do not hang upon him. I appeal

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