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cannot make up their minds to give themselves up decidedly to the Lord. They waver between the world, with its attractive pleasures, its society, its people who scoff at the too religious, its pressing claims to be engrossed with this world's affairs, they waver between all this on one side, and on the other, the calls they hear from God's Word, witnessed by their own consience, to give their hearts' affections to the Lord, to come out and be separate from the world, its unsanctified pleasures, its ungodly and Christ-hating society, to be earnest, frequent, and fervent in prayer, to be constant frequenters of the Lord's house, and the Lord's table.
Such persons are in a dangerous state. They are very like those in the Laodicean Church, of whom it was said by Christ, I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev iii. 15, 16.)
This state of indecision must cause lukewarmness. And this, as you hear, is most hateful to God, and if it continue, will be rejected with disgust. Oh! fear continuance in such a state. The next step backward is a hardened, wreckless state, out of which
there is little prospect of awakenment. You ought to become decided at once, and lose no time, lest it be too late. You ought to consider that if religion have any truth in it, it is worthy of being everything to you, it is the one thing needful, one thing in comparison of which everything else is a trifle and light matter. You ought to consider which you will take up with, the world and its joys and pleasures such as they are, or God and all the blessings He gives to those who are His own beloved children. Can the world give you uninterrupted and lasting peace? Can the world gratify your desires so that you can say, I have need of nothing else, I want nothing beyond, I am perfectly happy? Can the world help you in the day of affliction, and comfort you
in the hour of trouble? Can it give you a helping hand in the sick room, or on the death bed? If so, you are right in cleaving to it. Serve it. But if not, if it is a grand deceiver, if it is a shadow and no substance, if the greatest pleasures it can give are carnal and not such as satisfy the immortal part of you, if it will forsake you and laugh at you in the hour of need, when you most want comfort and help. Oh! then be decided to give it up, be decided in your opinion that it is
good for you to draw near to God, and to
, live close to Him. Be no longer luke-warm ; Christ was not luke-warm when He poured out His soul unto death for His people that they might have life. Be zealous, and warm ; Christ was so, when He left His glory above, and walked in the dust of the world, or when He hung upon the cross bleeding, that we which believe might have life. Love as He has loved. Be zealous in prayer for His Spirit. Be zealous in watching against sin. Be zealous in bearing witness for Him against an ungodly world. And so confessing Him before wicked men here, He will confess you before saints and holy angels and in the presence of His Father hereafter.
PRAYER. GIVE me, O Lord, I beseech Thee, the zeal
, and love of Thy servant Elijah! Give me grace to bear witness against an ungodly world with all boldness as He did. May I become more decided in Thy service. May I never halt between Thee and the world. May my whole heart be given to Thee. May I walk closely with Thee. May the love of Jesus constrain me to do this. Lord ! make me wholly Thine, both now and for
GO AGAIN SEVEN TIMES.
“And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and
he cast himself down upon the earth, and put
his face between his knees, "And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward
And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go
again seven times. "And it came to pass, at the seventh time, that he
said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and
get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. "And it came to pass, in the mean while, that the
heaven was black with clouds and wind, and
there was a great rain.” 1 KINGS XVIII, 42—45. We have here another instance of successful prayer on the part of Elijah. He prayed that it might rain. And when he cast himself on the earth, and bowed down his head so that his face touched his knees, he was in the posture of prayer. And when he sent the servant to a higher part of the mountain, and told him to look if he could see anything, he was looking out for an answer to his prayer. He was sure it would come, and so, though the servant said he could see nothing like clouds bringing rain, he told
him to go seven times, -80 certain was he it would come at last. And then, when on the seventh time of going, the servant had seen a little cloud which only seemed as big as a man's hand, Elijah knew this was the beginning of an answer to his prayer.
So he acted accordingly, and sent a message to Ahab the king to make haste down, for rain would soon come in abundance. And so it did, for “meanwhile the heaven became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.”
We know that Elijah was praying for rain, because another part of God's Word tells St. James says, “he prayed again
, “ and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit."
We might perhaps have thought that it was not necessary for Elijah to pray
for this rain, since God had said to him, “Go shew thyself unto Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.” Here was a direct promise of rain. Yet Elijah sees it needful to
and pray earnestly that rain might come.
This, then, is one thing we learn from Elijah about prayer.
We learn that the promise of a blessing does not do
with the necessity of praying for it. He prayed for rain, and was engaged in fervent suppli