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BY JAMES SMITH
There is nothing too hard for thee. JER. xxxii. 17. JEREMIAH had to predict the long captivity of Israel and Judah, then he was directed to make a purchase in the land that was to be laid desolate, and having done what the Lord commanded him, deeply affected, he retired to pcur out his heart before the throne of his grace. Prayer fits us for our most arduous duties, and is a sweet relief when duty has been performed. We never prize the throne of grace, as we do when our hearts are overcharged with grief and sorrow, and no one but our heavenly Father can give us relief. How deep the devotion, how solemn the reverence manifested by this prophet. " Oh ! Lord God, behold, thou hast made the heaven, and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee." God's glorious works reveal his nature, and while they excite our admiration, they should strengthen our faith, and draw out our souls in prayer. Meditations on his greatness should lead us to appeal to his goodness. When we see what he can do, we should inquire what he has promised to do, and then go and plead with him to do for us according to his word. There is nothing too hard for him. The appeal is to his understanding and his strength.
362 ]s6xflI G TUO 'HM.U> FOB, GOD. There is nothing too difficult for God to discover. His eyes ai-e in every place : beholding
the evil and the good. othing can elude his notice, or escape his eye. All things are naked and open before him with whom we have to do. He discovers the true state of every heart, though the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Every heart lies bare and expo-sed before him. He fathoms its depths. He turns over its intricate folds. He analyzes its dismal contents. He is fully acquainted with every principle that influences it, with every thought that arises within it, with every word and work that proceeds from it. o one can hide his heart in secret from the Lord. He discovers the winding course of the life. How few pursue a straitforward course. How apt we are to start aside like a broken bow. In looking back we can see what strange turns, what mysterious windings there has been in our paths. We scarcely saw them, or were not much affected by what we saw at the time, although the most painful or pleasant events of our life depended on them. But the Lord saw the whole, and while he disapproved of our wandering disposition, he often came forward to prevent our ruin, and to overrule the most untoward, events for our welfare. He discovers the true cause of our low estate. We cannot fully or certainly. Sometimes we are ready to ascribe it to divine sovereignty, and sometimes to human responsibility, and sometimes partly to the one and
OTHI G TOO HARD FOE GOD. 363 partly to the other. That the blessed Spirit is grieved with us there can be no doubt, but the exact cause of it we do not perceive. But it is fully knowa to the Lord ; we may therefore go to him in childlike simplicity, tell him how we
feel, appeal to his knowledge of the cause, ask him to discover it, and graciously to deliver us from it. He -discovers the occasion of our doubts and fears. There is nothing in God's character, or in Christ's most precious Gospel, to lead us to doubt or fear, but just the reverse, and yet doubts and fears harass and torment us. Why is it? Perhaps the Lord only fully knows. There may be something physical that has to do with, it. There may be something infernal. ature and Satan may unite to lead us thus to dishonour God. Distrust is the root of them. Distrust of God's gracious word, or of his faithfulness to make it good. This is our easily besetting sin. This is the cause of more than half our troubles. for confidence in God ! His eye is upon the course pursued by every member of his Church. His eye tracts us into our domestic circle and our closets ; his eye follows us into our business, our society, and our pleasures. He notices our preferences, and our neglects ; our resistance to sin, or yielding to temptations. He approves or disapproves of every motive, word, or action, that passes before his omniscient eye. He discovers the work and the design of Satan. He keeps his eye upon his people's grand foe. However quietly the serpent may move t
364 OTHI G TOO HA11D FOR GOD. however deceitfully lie may lay his snares, the Lord is privy to the whole. Here lies our safety. The Lord is our keeper, and he that keepeth us neither slumbers nor sleeps. There is nothing too hard for God to effect. " I know that thou canst do every thing." " Is any thing too hard for me, saith the Lord ?" " He
doeth according to his \vill among the armies of heaven, and the inhabitants of the earth." " He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." othing is too hard for him. o change in providence, however it may appear improbable, or impossible to us. He could bring water out of the flinty rock, and quails to satisfy the wants, and gratify the lusts of his people in the desert. He could feed Elijah for twelve months by ravens, and for two years and a half more by a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in the widow's erase. He could inundate Samaria with plenty in the midst of famine and fearful desolation. If he will it, the fire shall not burn the three Hebrews, nor the lions injure Daniel, nor death hold Lazarus in the tomb. "What he has done, he can do ; for he is the same ; and if necessary for the glory of his name he will do it, for he will not suffer his name to be polluted. Providence is God at work at work for the accomplishment of his decrees, the fulfilment of his promises, the manifestation of his character, and the present and eternal welfare of his people. He can give whatever we want, do whatever we need, and glorify himself in giving to us, and working for us.
OTHI G TOO HA11D FOE GOD. othing is too hard for the Lord. o work of grace. He can break the hardest heart. Though it be petrified like the heart of Manasseh, or like the heart of Saul of Tarsus, he can break, soften, and transform it by a word. He can bow the stubbornest will ; how determined and imperious it may be, it must yield at his command. Therefore it is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
He can enlighten the darkest intellect. Where man has failed to instruct or impress, he has easily and wondrously shone upon the mind. He can warm the coldest professor. Though he seem to have been born in an icehouse, and frozen into an iceberg, he can melt, warm, and cause the bosom to glow with warm, winning, and tender love. He can quicken the most inactive spirit. Where there appeared to be no energy, no power, no zeal for God ; he has inspired the individual with extraordinary activity in his cause, and concern for his glory. He can fructify the most unfruitful church, making "the wilderness like Eden, and the desert like the garden of the Lord." He can cultivate the most barren neighbourhood. Where all appeared hopeless, and every effort vain ; for of the hardest stones he can raise up children unto Abraham. He can use successfully the feeblest instrument. Rams' horns, shall bring down the walls of Jericho. Trumpets, pitchers, and lamps, shall conquer the mighty host of Midian. The foolishness of preaching shall save them that believe. The
366 OTHI G TOO HARD FOE, GOT), weakest saint, like the jaw bone in the hand of Samson, shall do wonders, slaying heaps upon heaps. Every instrument is just what God makes it. Every agent accomplishes the thing whereauto God sends it. See then, to whom we must look. ot to creatures, not to circumstances, not to ourselves; but to the Lord for whom nothing is too hard. We cannot, he can. Creatures cannot, but he can with ease. See then, from what we must draw encouragement, who have to do with one whose
wisdom is infinite, and whose power is omnipotent. He can do exceeding and abundantly above all that we ask or think. If God therefore bid us do any thing, let us set about it in his strength, depending on his word, and if tempted to despond or relax our efforts, let us view him as associated with us, and turning to him say, " There is nothing too hard for thee." See then, to what we must appeal. To the almighty power of God. To his ability to discover and to do whatever he will. We are not left to our own resources, or sent on a warfare at our own charges ; but the Lord our God goeth with us as a mighty and terrible One, and therefore though in consequence of our ignorance, weakness, and fear, we are liable to fail, yet through his presence, power, and Spirit, we can do all things. See then, of what you must beware, of limiting the Lord. This was Israel's sin, and for this they had to smart, as we read, " How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness and grieve him in the desert ! Yea,
KOTHI G TOO HAKD FOB, GOD. 367 they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. When God heard this he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel ; so that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men ; ?nd delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand." When Moses yielded to fear, and was guilty of something of the kind, the Lord was vexed with him, and said, " Is the Lord's hand waxed short ? tliou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not." It is at once offensive to God and injurious to us 5
to limit the power of God on the one hand, or the mercy of God on the other. He will act worthy of himself. He will display the infinite perfections of his nature, in his dealings with the children of men, but more especially with his own people. See then, on what we should fix our faith. On the power of God as pledged to us in his precious promises. If he can do what we want, we have then only to ask,- Has he promised to do it ? or do any of his promises warrant us to expect that he will do it ? If so, we may then go and ask him to do it, and plead with him until he give us what we ask, or something bet ter in its stead. See then, with what we should feed our hope. We hope for great things from God, but not for greater things than he is both able and willing to give. But at times our hope gets feeble ; we look at circumstances,
S68 OTHI G TOO ITAIID FOB, GOD. \ I at creatures, at our own. vileness, or nnworfchi- f ness, then up springs questions, fears, doubts, and gloom. ow we must turn away from self entirely, and fix the eye steadily on what God is, as a covenant God and Eather in Jesus ; upon what God has promised in his word; and especially upon the great fact, that God can greatly glorify himself, by doing great things, for such great sinners as we are. This will strengthen our faith, envigorate our hope, and give us confidence and courage before God's throne. We cannot ask j God to do greater things than he hath already done, or than he has promised to do in his blessed word. His loving heart is larger than our most extensive wishes. His promises go beyond our
expectations. His power to discover what we want, and to do what he discovers to be necessary, ought to fill us with joy and peace. We have to do with a God who is at peace with us, whose love is fixed upon us, who rejoices in opportunities to do us good, and who has all power over all worlds. Let us then commit ourselves and all our affairs to him. Let us carry all our complaints to his footstool. - Let us seek his interference whenever it is necessary. Let us expect him to fulfil his word in our daily experience. Let us put ourselves into his hands that he may glorify himself in us and by us. And, in all times of trouble, in all times of temptation, in all times of conflict ; when burdened with cares, when tormented by Satan, when persecuted by the world, when neglected by friends, when smarting undei
OTHI G TOO HAKD FOB, GOD. K convictions of sin,, when labouring under discouragement, wlien looking forward with apprehension to a dying hour or a judgment day, let ' us remember for our comfort, that like Jeremiah, we may approach our Father's throne and say, " There is nothing too hard for thee :" therefore 1 thou canst sustain me, thou canst deliver me, thou canst make me a conqueror, and more than a. conqueror over every foe, over every fear, and *over every inbred lust. Let us place God's power, against our weakness ; God's knowledge, ; against our ignorance ; God's mercy, against, our ^misery; God's fulness, against our emptiness;
j and so live by faith, walk by faith, fight the good fight of faith, and go on expecting " the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls." To God all powerful, to God only wise, be glory and honour, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. Jesus, my Saviour and my Lord, "Tis good to trust thy name; Thy power, thy faithfulness, and love, Will ever be the same. Weak as I am, yet through thy grace I all things can perform; And, smiling, triumph in thy name Amid the raging storm.
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