Ezekiel 36:6
Therefore, prophesy concerning the land of Israel and tell the mountains and hills, the ravines and valleys, that this is what the Lord GOD says: Behold, I have spoken in My burning zeal because you have endured the reproach of the nations.
Encouragement in ExileW. Clarkson Ezekiel 36:1-15
The Material Creation Sharing in the Fortunes of MenJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 36:1-15

Man has a many-sided nature. He is linked with the past history of angels and with the past history of the entire universe. His interests and fortunes are interwoven with the material creation and with the dynamic forces of nature. He has an interest in heaven and in hell. The intelligences of the universe are interested in him, and he is interested in them.

I. THE LAND OF CANAAN IS HONORED BY A DIVINE COMMUNICATION. It is a reasonable conclusion that the main interest God felt in the mountains and hills of Palestine arose from their use as a home and storehouse for his people. Yet it is proper that we should regard God as finding a pleasure in the hills and valleys on account of their native beauty. They were the workmanship of his hand, and there is every reason why he should find pleasure in his creations. The long, past history of their internal structure was open to his eye, and the beauty of their clothing was to him a delight. But why should he dispatch to these unconscious mountains a prophetic messenger? Without doubt, this was intended as a rebuke to the people who had grievously disregarded his messages. It was as if he said indirectly to the nation, "It is vain to speak longer to your stony ears. I turn away in sorrow, and address my message to the unconscious earth. The very mountains will give me better audience than you have done. If I speak to the dew, it will obey. If I speak to the fragrant soil, it will yield its fruit. If I speak to the mountains, they will put on verdure and beauty. But, alas! if I speak to the intelligent sons of Jacob, they turn deaf ears and rebellious wills to my gracious voice! O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!" By such methods of rebuke God endeavors to bring conviction home to the consciences of the people.

II. THE LAND OF CANAAN WAS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ISRAEL'S PAST RENOWN. This land had been specially selected by God as the most fitting scene for the training of the Hebrew nation. It was the glory of all lands, the envy of surrounding nations. Compared with the territory north, or east, or south, it was splendidly fertile, while its mountains made it a secure fortress. The diversity of hill and vale gave it peculiar beauty and served to exhilarate the mind. The mountain-peaks drew heavenward men's thoughts. According to the known law, that the physical features of a country mould unconsciously the character of the inhabitants, Canaan had been a benefit to the Jewish tribes. The land was a contrast to the soft, fertile loam of Egypt. The relaxing climate of Lower Egypt, together with the wondrous facility of obtaining large crops, made the people indolent and effeminate - impatient of arduous exertion. In Palestine a totally different condition of things prevailed. For the most part the operations of husbandry were severe. The sides of the hills required to be built in terraces in order to retain the soil. But climate and soil were congenial for almost every kind of fruit. It was a territory in which it was scarcely possible for one to grow rich; it was a territory eminently suitable for the development of hardy and industrious peasants. Especially the land was singularly dependent upon the periodic rainfall. For, devoid of rain and dew, the olives dropped withered and unripe, the vines were blighted, the young corn was shriveled. Hence, in an eminent degree, the people hung in constant dependence on the good will of God. He held in his hand the helm of their prosperity.

III. THE LAND OF CANAAN HAD SHARED IN ISRAEL'S DISCOMFITURE AND SHAME. Frequent invasions on their borders had made their homes and crops insecure, and, without security for obtaining crops, men will not sow their fields. Frequent absence also, to serve on the battle-field, drew away the young men from quiet husbandry. Such losses in such a country soon became serious. A diminution in their produce left them unable and unwilling to pay tribute to their foreign conquerors, and this resulted in fresh invasion. Step by step the land went out of cultivation. The terraces on the hillsides were neglected. The people forget God, and God withdrew the light of his favor. The mountain-slopes, denuded of soil, soon became bald, bleached rocks. The high reputation for fertility which the land had enjoyed was gone. Its excellence and glory departed. Sharon was no longer a fold for flocks. Carmel laid aside her bridal garments of floral beauty. Jackals and foxes and hyenas infested the land. With the degradation of the elect people came the degradation of the elect land.


1. In proportion to the infamy the land had endured was to be the fertility again to be enjoyed. The prosperity should not only rise to the former level; it should greatly surpass it. The infallible promise was made directly to every part and branch of the territory. God had a tender regard for every mountain and valley, for every river and plain; each should be enriched and gladdened by his favoring smile. The shame of the heathen should be outbalanced by corresponding reputation and honor. On condition of the faithfulness of the people this revival of prosperity should be enduring.

2. God speaks in language adapted to the age. By any other mode of speech God could not have been understood; and in such a case he may as well not have spoken. As men were stimulated to great exertions by a sentiment of national jealousy, so, in accommodation to imperfect men, God speaks of himself as stirred to activity by the fire of jealousy. Such jealousy was only another form of considerate love. It had no respect to himself. It was a jealous regard for the good of Israel, a jealous desire to fulfill his ancient promises.

3. These pledges of good were redeemed in the centuries which followed Israel's restoration. The land was reclaimed from the ravages of wild beasts. Cities and villages were rebuilt. Many parts of Canaan became fertile as a garden. Confessedly, we feel a disappointment that the revival of prosperity was not more complete, nor more abiding. But this was due alone to the folly and guilt of the people. In every promise of God there underlies a moral condition. For him to give unmingled blessing to evil-doers would be a fresh evil and an encouragement to sin. The actual fortunes of Canaan, in the later centuries, prove the faithfulness of God and the fickleness of the people. - D.

Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.
This chapter is full of "exceeding great and precious promises." The text is associated with all these prophecies. Though God promises these blessings, and they are absolute blessings springing out of Divine grace and flowing from sovereign electing love to this people, yet He determined that for these blessings there should be prayer, and that not one of them should be communicated but through this channel. Two things God designs by this plan. The first is, to make the mercy we get, valuable. No man fancies a thing that comes without his care, without his concern, without his anxiety; hence, to render these mercies precious and valuable to us — as they are valuable in themselves, so also to make us account them so — God will have us ask for them. And next, we shall not only prize them more, but praise the Giver of them, when we have them in answer to prayer. Coming without prayer, we should be very apt to forget the hand that bestowed them; but coming immediately in answer to prayer, a song of gratitude naturally arises to God.

I. THE SUBJECT OF OUR PRAYERS. What is it to be? "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."

1. The conversion or sanctity of souls, human souls, to God.

2. Not only that souls should be converted and sanctified, but that numbers should be converted. Why are we to ask for this so especially?

(1)God's promises warrant it. "All flesh," He says, "shall see the salvation of God."

(2)God's Spirit can easily accomplish it. If these seem great things to ask, yet we are straitened in our own bowels, not in Him.

(3)God's honour is advanced by it.

(4)The Church is encouraged.


1. The want of vigorous personal piety.

2. The power of unbelief.

3. Private sins. Sometimes these sins are personal; sometimes relative; sometimes social.

III. THE SUCCESS OF PRAYER. God then designs to do it for us. He ha made up His mind to the granting of the blessings. And here is our comfort — that no uncertainty exists when we ask Him to grant His blessings which He has promised.

1. It has been His practice to answer prayer in all generations of the Church.

2. He pledges His faithfulness and honour to hear and answer prayer.

3. Christ's fulness is to be received by prayer — is to be communicated through this channel.

(James Sherman.)


1. It is a great privilege to be allowed to inquire at the hands of the Lord.

2. Prayer is also to be looked upon as a precious gift of the Spirit of God. It is by virtue of covenant promise and covenant grace that men are made to pray: for the Lord has said, "I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants in Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.

3. We must pray, because it is a needful work in order to the obtaining of the blessing. The Church of God is to be multiplied; but "Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of."

4. It is a business which is above all others remunerative. "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock." That is a beautiful idea of multitude. You have perhaps seen an immense flock, a teeming concourse of congregated life. Such shall the increase of the Church be. But then it is added, to enhance the blessing, "As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts." This to the Jewish mind conveyed a great idea of number.

5. The results of prayer as I have already described them are such as greatly glorify God. "And they shall know that I am the Lord." When the kingdom of God is largely increased in answer to prayer, there is a wonderful power abroad to answer the arguments of sceptics, and put to silence the ribaldry of ungodly tongues. "This is the finger of God," say they.


1. First, it should be by the entire body of the Church. For this will I be inquired of by" — By the ministers? By the elders? By the little number of good people who always come together to pray? Look! Look carefully! "By the house of Israel"; that is by the whole company of the Lord's people.

2. Next, the successful way to inquire of the Lord is for the Church to take personal interest in the matter. "Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." If the sinner will not repent, let us break our heart about him. Let us go and tell the Lord his sins, and mourn over them as if they were our own. If men will not believe, let us by faith bring them before God, and plead His promise for them. If we cannot get them to pray, let us pray for them and intercede on their behalf, and in answer to our repentance they shall be made to repent, in answer to our faith they shall be led to believe, and in reply to our prayer they shall be moved to pray.

3. The blessing will come to the prayer of a dependent Church. "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them"; that is to say, they will not dream of being able to do it for themselves, but will apply to God for it. Christian men should never speak of getting up a revival. Where are you going to get it up from? We must wait upon God, conscious that we can do nothing of ourselves, and we must look to the Holy Spirit as the alone power for the conversion of souls. If we pray in this dependent way we shall obtain an overflowing answer.

4. Again, the way to obtain the promised blessing is that the prayer must be offered by an anxious, observant, enterprising Church. The expression used, "I will be inquired of," implies that the people must think and ask questions, must argue and plead with God. It is well to ask Him why He has not given the blessing, and to urge strong reasons why He should now do so.

5. If we are to obtain the blessing in answer to prayer, that prayer must be offered by a believing Church. Answers to prayer do not now appear to us to be contrary to the laws of nature; it seems to us to be the greatest of all the laws of nature that the Lord must keep His promises and hear His people's prayers. Gravitation and other laws may be suspended, but this cannot be. "Oh," says one, "I cannot believe that." No, and so your prayers are not heard. You must have faith, for if faith be absent you lack the very backbone and soul of prayer.


1. You cannot be excused on the ground of common humanity; for if it be so that God will save sinners in answer to prayer, and I do not pray, what am I? Surely the milk of human kindness has been drained from my breast, and I have Ceased to be human, and if so, it is idle to talk of communion with the Divine.

2. Next, can any excuse be found in Christianity for neglect of prayer? In God's name, how can we make a profession of Christianity if our hearts do not ascend in mighty prayer to God for a blessing on the sons of men?

3. But perhaps an excuse is found in the fact that the Christian man does not feel that his prayer is of very much consequence, for his heart is in a barren state. Ah, well, this is no excuse, but an aggravation of the sin. At such a time there should be a double calling upon God that the Spirit of prayer may be vouchsafed.

4. I do charge you, professing Christians, not to restrain prayer to God for a blessing, for, if you do, you hurt all the rest of the brotherhood. Get a bit of dead bone into your body and it harms first the member in which it is placed and subsequently the whole body. So if there is a prayerless professor among us, he is an injury to the entire company.

5. Now, surely we ought to be much in prayer, because after all we owe a great deal to prayer. Those who were in Christ before me prayed for me: should I not pray for others?

6. I am afraid I shall have also to plead that I must suspect your soundness in the faith, brethren, if you do not join in prayer. Correct opinions are a poor apology for heartlessness towards our fellow men.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Observe how God hangs all the blessings of salvation upon prayer. He says, as it were, I have had pity upon sinners; I have provided pardon for the guilty, justification through the righteousness, and life through the death of My Son; I have engaged to take away the heart of stone and replace it with one of flesh; I have promised My Spirit to sanctify, sufficient grace, and certain glory; all these blood-bought, gracious, happy, holy blessings shall be yours, freely yours; yet not yours, unless they are sought in prayer. "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them."

I. NATURE HERSELF TEACHES US TO PRAY. Prayer must be natural, for it is universal. Never yet did traveller find a nation on this earth but offered prayers in some form or other to some demon or God. Races of men have been found without raiment, without houses, without manufactures, without the rudiments of arts, but never without prayers. Prayer is as common as speech, human features, or natural appetites. It is universal, and seems to be as natural to man as the instinct which prompts an infant to draw the milk of a mother's bosom, and by its cries to claim a mother's protection.

II. SOME DIFFICULTIES CONNECTED WITH THIS DUTY. The decrees of God, say some, render prayer unnecessary, useless. Are not all things, they ask, fixed by these decrees, irrevocably fixed? By prayer I may, indeed, prevail on a man to do a thing which he has not previously resolved not to do, and even although he should have so resolved, man is changeable; and I may show him such good reasons for doing it, as to change his resolution. But if an immutable God has foreseen everything, and indeed, foresettled everything by an eternal and irreversible decree, what purpose can prayer serve? The objection admits of a conclusive answer. We might show that the decrees of God embrace the means as well as the end; and since prayer is a means of grace, being a means to an end, it must therefore be embraced within these very decrees, and cannot be excluded by them. I content myself, however, with simply remarking, that this objection is not honestly, at least not intelligently, entertained by any man. For, if the objection is good against prayer, is it not good against many things else? If it stops action in the direction of prayer, if it arrests the wheels of prayer, it ought also to stop the wheels of our daily business. If it is a valid argument against prayer, it is an equally good objection to ploughing, sowing, taking meat or medicine, and a thousand other things. Others, more earnest and honest, reading that without faith it is impossible to please God, reading and misunderstanding what they read, He who doubteth is damned, say that from want of faith, their prayers must be useless. Most false reasoning! What says the apostle? I will that men pray everywhere. God will have all men to be saved. Like little children, we take our Father's simple word, nor trouble ourselves with the metaphysics of the question. If you were sufficiently alive to your danger, oh, these difficulties would have no more power to hold you than the fragile meshes of a spider's web. I knew of one who, while wandering along a lonely and rocky shore at the ebb of tide, slipped his foot into a narrow crevice. Fancy his horror on finding that he could not withdraw the imprisoned limb. Dreadful predicament! Did he cry for help? Cry for help! Who dreams of asking such a question? True, none heard him. But, how he shouted to the distant boat! how his heart sank as her yards swung round, and she went off on the other tack! how his cries sounded high above the roar of breakers! how bitterly he envied the white sea mew her wing, as, wondering at this intruder on her lone domains, she sailed above his head, and shrieked back his shriek! how at length, abandoning all hope of help from man, he turned his face to heaven, and cried loud and long to God! All that God only knows. But as sure as there was a terrific struggle, so sure, while he watched the waters rising inch by inch, these cries never ceased till the wave swelled up, and washing the dying prayer from his lips, broke over his head with a melancholy moan. There was no help for him. There is help for us, although fixed in sin as fast as that man in the fissured rock. Whether we have true faith, may be a question which is not easily settled; but to pray is a clear and commanded duty. The "help, oh, help, Lord," never yet burst from an anxious heart, but it rose to be heard in heaven, and accepted by God.

III. PRAYER MUST BE EARNEST. It is the heart that prays; not the knees, nor the hands, nor the lips. Have not I seen a dumb man, who stood with his back to the wall, beg as well with his imploring eye and open hand, as one that had a tongue to speak? If you would have your prayers accepted, they must be arrows shot from the heart; none else reach the throne of God. You may repeat your prayers day by day; you may be punctual in your devotions as a Mohammedan who, at the Mollah's call from the top of the minaret, drops on his knees in the public assembly or crowded street. What then? The prayer of the lip, the prayer of the memory, the prayer of the wandering mind in its dead formality, is, in God's eyes, of no more value than the venal masses of Rome, or the revolutions of a Tartar's wheel. The sacrifice of the hypocrite is an abomination to the Lord.

IV. PRAYER IS POWERFUL. An angel, says our great poet, keeping ward and watch on the battlements of heaven, caught sight of Satan as he sailed on broad wing from hell to this world of ours. The celestial sentinel shot down like a sunbeam to the earth; and communicated the alarm to the guard at the gates of Paradise. Search was made for the enemy, but for a time without success. Ithuriel at length entered a bower, whose flowery roof "showered roses which the morn repaired," and where our first parents, "lulled by nightingales, embracing slept." There he saw a toad sitting squat by the ear of Eve. His suspicions were awakened. In his hand he bore a spear that had the power of revealing truth, unmasking falsehood, and making all things to stand out in their genuine colours. He touched the reptile with it. That instant the toad, which had been breathing horrid dreams into the woman's ear, changes it shape, and there, confronting him face to face, stands the proud, malignant, haughty form of the Prince of Darkness. With such a spear as that with which Milton, in this flight of fancy, arms Ithuriel, prayer arms us. Prayer moves the hand that moves the universe. It secures for the believer the resources of Divinity. What great battles has it fought! what victories won! what burdens carried! what deep wounds healed! what sore griefs assuaged! Prayer is the wealth of poverty; the refuge of affliction; the strength of weakness; the light of darkness. Prayer has just two limits. The first is, that its range is confined to the promises; but within these, what a bank of wealth, what a mine of mercies, what a store of blessings! The second is, that God will grant or deny our requests as He judges best for His own glory and our good. And who that knows how we are, in a sense, but children, would wish it otherwise?

V. PRAYER IS CONFIDENT. It is easy to know the knock of a beggar at one's door. Low, timid, hesitating, it seems to say, I have no claim on the kindness of this house; I may be told I come too often; I may be dismissed as a troublesome and unworthy mendicant; the door may be flung in my face by some surly servant. How different, on his return from school, the loud knocking, the bounding step, the joyous rush of the child into his father's presence; and, as he climbs his knee and flings his arms round his neck, the bold face and ready tongue with which he reminds his father of some promised favour! Now, why are believers bold? Glory to God in the highest! It is to a father in God, to an elder brother in Christ, that Faith conducts our steps in prayer; therefore, in the hour of need, bold of spirit, she raises her suppliant hands, and cries, O that Thou wouldst rend the heavens, and come down. I know a parent's heart. Have I not seen the quivering of a father's lip, the tear start into his eye, and felt his heart in the grasp and pressure of his hand, when I expressed some good hope of a fallen child? Have I not seen a mother, when her infant was tottering in the path of mettled coursers, with foam spotting their necks, and fire flying from their feet, dash like a hawk across the path, and pluck him from instant death? Have I not seen a mother, who sat at the coffin head, pale, dumb, tearless, rigid, terrible in grief, spring from her chair, seize the coffin which we were bearing away, and, with shrieks fit to pierce a heart of stone, struggle to retain her dead? And if we, that are but worms of the earth, will peril life for our children, and, even when they are mouldered into dust, cannot think of our dead, nor visit their cold and lonesome grave, but our hearts are wrung, and our old wounds bleed afresh, can we adequately conceive or measure, far less exaggerate — with fancy at its highest flight — the paternal love of God?

( T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.

1. We should pray for ourselves. We are sinful, indigent, and dependent creatures. God only can supply our wants and satisfy our desires.

2. We should pray for the Church of God. Good men feel interested in each other's welfare, and desire the peace and prosperity of Zion (Psalm 122:6-9). They pray for the extension and stability of her borders — the increase of her converts — and the unity and progression of her members (Habakkuk 3:2; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11).

3. We should pray for the world (Psalm 43:3; Isaiah 62:1; Matthew 6:10; Revelation 11:15).


1. In the method which He appoints. We cannot approach unto Him acceptably, but through Jesus Christ, who is the high priest over the House of God forever (John 14:6; Hebrews 7:17).

2. With devout dispositions of mind.

(1)Sincerely, without hypocrisy (Matthew 15:8);

(2)Humbly, with reverence and godly fear (Psalm 89:7);

(3)Fervently, with holy ardour (Genesis 32:26);

(4)Affectionately, with hearts filled with love to God, and goodwill to all mankind (Matthew 6:14, 15);

(5)Believingly, in the lively exercise of faith (Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14, 15).

3. In every situation of human life. In private retirement (Matthew 6:6); — in our families (Joshua 24:15) — in the public ordinances of the Gospel (Psalm 27:4) — and in our daily occupations, we should "pray always, with all prayer, and everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting" (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Timothy 2:8).

4. With diligent perseverance unto death.


1. Prayer is an ordinance of Divine authority. The Lord commands us to pray (Psalm 4:4, 5; Jeremiah 29:12; Luke 18:1) — He promises to hear and answer prayer (Psalm 91:15, 16); and He directs how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13).

2. Prayer evinces the dependence of the creature on the Creator.

3. Prayer demonstrates the connection between duty and interest. As intellectual beings, we are capable of moral actions and spiritual enjoyments. The Lord is therefore pleased to suspend the blessings He promises, on the performance of the duties He enjoins: and it is only by complying with the latter, that we can realise the former (Psalm 34:17; Jeremiah 33:3).

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

I. PRAYER IS A "REASONABLE SERVICE." This can be best shown by examining those speculative objections which have been preferred by sceptics against it.

1. That prayer is inconsistent with the Divine omniscience. "If God knows your wants, and your disposition to have them supplied, why inform and importune Him in prayer?" The objection proceeds from a misapprehension of the design of prayer. Its ostensible design is indeed the attainment of the blessing for which we pray; but there is an ulterior and higher object for which it was appointed, namely, the spiritual influence, the disciplinary effect of the habit.

2. Another objection alleges that prayer is inconsistent with God's immutability. I answer, God is immutable in the principles of His administration, but not in His acts. The laws protect you today because you conform to them, tomorrow they may put you to death for transgressing them; not because they change — the change is in yourself. So the sinner is heard if he truly prays, but lost if he prays not; yet God does not change, it is His ordained economy that it should be so. And this economy is founded in His immutable wisdom.

3. It is objected again that the universe is governed by secondary causes; and, in order that prayer should bring about results different from what would take place without it, there must be an interference with — a suspension of — those fixed causes; but there is no such interference. I have three remarks to make on this objection. The first is, that it applies to prayer only so far as physical blessings are concerned, for these alone are affected by physical causes. I remark, secondly, that the objector is incompetent to the assumption, that there is no Divine interference with fixed causes in answer to prayer. How does he know it? And how can he assert it against God's own assertion if he is incompetent to know it? Thirdly, I remark it is not necessary to assume that there is any rupture of natural causes in the case. We notice but the lowest links in the chain of those causes; how then can we assume that the higher ones are not adapted or controlled, so as to meet this peculiarity of the moral system? The last link of the series is in the hand of Omnipotence.

4. Another objection is, man's comparative insignificance. "Can it be supposed that the infinite God will stoop from amid all worlds to regard our wants and prayers?" The objection includes two elements, — the insignificance of man and the greatness of the Deity. The first is a mere fallacy. Man is, indeed, physically insignificant, but not morally nor intellectually. Weakest and most imbecile of all living creatures at his birth, in a few years he masters all others, controls the elements by his arts, and by his science transcends his own sphere to survey kindred worlds. This he does amid innumerable impediments, physical. mental, and moral. What then must be his progress in his purely spiritual sphere? It is not improbable that an hour's exercise of his faculties there will unfold them more than the labour of a life here. Let us pass to the next element in the objection — the greatness of the Deity. "Can it be supposed that the infinite God will stoop from amid all worlds to regard our wants and prayers?" Yes, the greatness of God, the very ground of the objection, is the ground of our confidence. God is infinite; were He finite, however great, there might be plausibility in the objection. Then it might be supposed that His attention would be so absorbed in the more general affairs of the universe, as to exclude from it entirely our minute interests; but infinite greatness implies that the small as well as the great, the minutia as well as the aggregate — that all things are comprehended by it.

II. Prayer is a salutary exercise. It is so, in the first place, because it is the means of the blessings prayed for. Faith is the condition of salvation; it is faith that is imputed for righteousness: yet prayer is the expression, the vehicle of faith; prayer is the wing on which faith rises to the mercy seat. In the second place, its disciplinary effect is salutary. If our spiritual blessings were not conditional, but matters of course, like the blessings of light, air, or water, we would forget, as the world has in regard to the latter, the merciful agency of God in conferring them. Prayer, therefore, tends to humility. Gratitude, likewise, is produced by it in the same manner; for every blessing received in answer to it. comes to us as a gratuity of the Divine mercy. There is no virtuous affection with which it is not congenial. It is serene, tranquillising, spiritualising. It cannot consist with sin. "Prayer," says one, "will make us either cease sinning, or sin make us cease praying."

III. PRAYER IS A CONSOLATORY EXERCISE. Man has a moral nature. His moral faculties are as distinguishable and as constitutional as his physical or intellectual. His most perfect happiness consists in the due gratification of all his faculties. There is a higher gratification than that of sense; there is a higher exercise than that of thought. It is the satisfaction of the conscience and the exercise of the heart. God made man for intercourse with Himself; all other exercises and enjoyments were to be but secondary to this. Prayer is the means of this intercourse; its language is the converse of this communion. But it is consolatory in a second sense. It is a source of aid and security. A devout mind, constant in the habit of prayer, may acquire such a lively sense of the immediate presence and sympathy of God as to exult in the most trying danger, and be almost superior to even the instinctive fears of human nature.

IV. PRAYER IS A SUBLIME EXERCISE. The reach of a mighty mind, transcending the discoveries of ages, and evoking to view new principles or new worlds, is sublime. Newton's discoveries, pushing human comprehension higher in the series of natural causes and effects, were sublime. But there may be a progress remaining, compared with which his discoveries, as he said himself, are like the bubble compared with the ocean, But prayer sweeps over all secondary causes, and lays hold on the first cause; it bends not its flight to repose its wing, and refresh itself amid the light of undiscovered worlds, but rises above stars and suns, until it bathes its pinions in the light of "the excellent glory."Conclusion —

1. These views should lead us to estimate prayer as a privilege, not merely as a duty.

2. Our interest in it may be considered a criterion of our piety.

(A. Stevens, M. A.)

The word used here to express the idea of prayer is a suggestive one. "I will yet for this be inquired of." Prayer, then, is an inquiry. No man can pray aright, unless he views prayer in that light. First, I inquire what the promise is, I turn to my Bible, and I seek to find the promise whereby the thing which I desire to seek is certified to me as being a thing which God is willing to give. Having inquired so far as that, I take that promise, and on my bonded knees I inquire of God whether He will fulfil His own promise. I take to Him His own word of covenant, and I say to Him, "O Lord, wilt Thou not fulfil it, and wilt Thou not fulfil it now?" So that there, again, prayer is inquiry. After prayer I look out for the answer; I expect to be heard; and if I am not answered I pray again, and my repeated prayers are but fresh inquiries. "Wilt Thou answer me, O Lord? Wilt Thou keep Thy promise? Or wilt Thou shut up Thine ear, because I misunderstand my own wants and mistake Thy promise?"

I. PRAYER IS THE FORERUNNER OF MERCIES. We bid you turn back to sacred history, and you will find that never did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by prayer. The promise comes alone, with no preventing merit to precede it, but the blessing promised always follows its herald, prayer. You shall note that all the wonders that God did in the old times were, first of all, sought at His hands by the earnest prayers of His believing people. Our Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest blessing that men ever had. He was God's best boon to a sorrowing world. And did prayer precede Christ's advent? Was there any prayer which went before the coming of the Lord, when He appeared in the temple? Oh yes, the prayers of saints for many ages had followed each other. Abraham saw his day; and when he died Isaac took up the note; and when Isaac slept with his fathers, Jacob and the patriarchs still continued to pray; yea, and in the very days of Christ, prayer was still made for Him continually: Anna the prophetess, and the venerable Simeon, still looked for the coming of Christ; and day by day they prayed and interceded with God, that He would suddenly come to His temple. It has been so in the history of the modern Church. Whenever she has been roused to pray, it is then that God has awaked to her help. Jerusalem, when thou hast shaken thyself from the dust, thy Lord hath taken His sword from the scabbard. When thou hast suffered thy hands to hang down, and thy knees to become feeble, He has left thee to become scattered by thine enemies; thou hast become barren, and thy children have been cut off; but, when thou hast learned to cry, when thou hast begun to pray, God hath restored unto thee the joy of His salvation, He hath gladdened thine heart, and multiplied thy children. And now, again, to come nearer home: this truth is true of each of you, my dearly beloved in the Lord, in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favour, but still great prayer has always been the great prelude of great mercy with you. And now some will say to me, "In what way do you regard prayer, then, as affecting the blessing? God, the Holy Ghost, vouchsafes prayer before the blessing; but in what way is prayer connected with the blessing?" I reply, prayer goes before the blessing in several senses. It goes before the blessing, as the blessing's shadow. Even as the cloud foreshadoweth rain, so prayer foreshadoweth the blessing; even as the green blade is the beginning of the harvest, so is prayer the prophecy of the blessing that is about to come. Again: prayer goes before mercy, as the representative of it. The prayer comes, and when I see the prayer, I say, "Prayer, thou art the vice-gerent of the blessing; if the blessing be the king, thou art the regent; I know and look upon thee as being the representative of the blessing I am about to receive." But I do think also that sometimes, and generally, prayer goes before the blessing, even as the cause goes before the effect. Some people say, when they get anything, that they get it because they prayed for it; but if they are people who are not spiritually minded, and who have no faith, let them know that whatever they may get it is not in answer to prayer; for we know that God heareth not sinners, and "the prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord." "Well," says one, "I asked God for such-and-such a thing the other day; I know I am no Christian, but I got it. Don't you consider that I had it through my prayers?" No, sir, no more than I believe the reasoning of the old man who affirmed that the Goodwin Sands had bean caused by the building of Tenterden steeple, for the sands had not been there before, and the sea did not come up till it was built, and therefore, said he, the steeple must have caused the flood. Now, your prayers have no more connection with your blessing than the sea with the steeple; in the Christian's case it is far different. Ofttimes the blessing is actually brought down from heaven by the prayer. Oh! the testimonies to the power of prayer are so numberless, that the man who rejects them flies in the face of good testimonies. We are not all enthusiasts; some of us are cold blooded enough; we are not all fanatics; we are not all quite wild in our piety; some of us in other things, we reckon, act in a tolerably common sense way. But yet we all agree in this, that our prayers have been heard; and we could tell many stories of our prayers, still fresh upon our memories, where we have cried unto God, and He has heard us.


1. I think it is, first, because God loves that man should have some reason for having a connection with Him. It is as if some father should say to his son, who is entirely dependent upon him, "I might give you a fortune at once, so that you might never have to come upon me again; but, my son, it delights me, it affords me pleasure to supply your wants; I like to know what it is you require, that I may oftentimes have to give you, and so may frequently see your face. Now I shall give you only enough to serve you for such a time, and if you want to have anything you must come to my house for it. Oh, my son, I do this because I desire to see thee often; I desire often to have opportunities of showing how much I love thee."

2. God would make prayer the preface to mercy, because often prayer itself gives the mercy. You are full of fear and sorrow; you want comfort — God says, pray, and you shall get it; and the reason is because prayer is of itself a comforting exercise. Take another case. You are in difficulty; you don't know which way to go, nor how to act. God has said that He will direct His people. You go forth in prayer, and pray to God to direct you. Are you aware that your very prayer will frequently of itself furnish you with the answer? For while the mind is absorbed in thinking over the matter, and in praying concerning the matter, it is just in the likeliest state to suggest to itself the course which is proper; for whilst in prayer I am spreading all the circumstances before God, I am like a warrior surveying the battlefield, and when I rise I know the state of affairs, and know how to act. Often, thus, you see, prayer gives the very thing we ask for in itself.

3. But again it seemeth but right, and just, and appropriate, that prayer should go before the blessing, because in prayer there is a sense of need. A sense of need is a Divine gift; prayer fosters it, and is therefore highly beneficial.

4. And yet again, prayer before the blessing serves to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes the common pebbles of God's temporal bounties more precious than diamonds; and in spiritual, prayer cuts the diamond, and makes it glisten more.

III. Let me close BY STIRRING YOU UP TO USE THE HOLY ART OF PRAYER AS A MEANS OF OBTAINING THE BLESSING. Do you demand of me, and for what shall we pray? The answer is upon my tongue. Pray for yourselves, pray for your families, pray for the Churches, pray for the one great kingdom of our Lord on earth.

Almost every page of the Bible is radiant with exceeding great and precious promises, which God in His love has given and in His faithfulness has fulfilled. When we have pleaded them confidingly in prayer, and obtained the fulfilment of anyone, even the least of them, how rich and happy have we become! Prayer is the golden link which binds promise to fulfilment. If men say, God has purposed this, and it will be done whether we pray or not, this passage asserts just the contrary. In this utterance, stern in its condemnation of all that is not simple in prayer, and yet encouraging to all that is so, the Lord solves the ever-recurring doubt, "Will God, in deference to our prayer, interfere with the order of the world?" He has already, in arranging that order, provided for the answer to every prayer.

I. One reason why God looks for prayer before the fulfilment of a promise is THAT WE MAY BE REMINDED THE MORE STRONGLY OF OUR ENTIRE DEPENDENCE UPON HIM. This dependence is taught us in various ways. Sometimes we have grasped something as if it were our own, and it has been suddenly taken from us. Sometimes, when we have fancied that we had attained some strength of virtue so as to be able to resist temptation, we have been made to feel, by our sins and our failures, what utter weakness ours is. Now, of the various ways in which God teaches us the lesson of dependence on Him, I know none at once so powerful and so pleasant as that which He has adopted when He says: If you are to have any promise fulfilled you must plead it with Me; come to Me as one who remembers that all the sufficiency of man is in God; come to take good from My gracious hands, as the bestowment of My unchanging love and faithfulness, the fulfilment of My certain promises; come and ask of Me and you shall receive; seek Me and ye shall find Me; knock at My door and it shall be opened unto you.

II. Another reason which may be adduced why God particularly desires that we should pray is in order THAT WE MAY HAVE A DUE ESTIMATE OF THE WORTH OF HIS GIFTS. You must look at things in the light which the eternal world throws upon them. You are apt to miscalculate their value amidst your fellow men, who themselves estimate amiss the true proportion of the things that God either gives or withholds. You are too liable to take their estimate of them; and when you are enjoying God's earthly gifts you are too apt to undervalue the higher blessings which are most to be enjoyed in quiet communion with Himself. Therefore He draws you away from the glare of the world, and from the false notions prevalent among your fellow men, and brings you into your closet, that there, as you think of Him, as you approach Him, as you remember that these things come from Him, you may estimate that as the best which speaks most of Him, that which has most of His own nature, and brings you most into harmony with Himself. Then you begin to see that it is comparatively immaterial whether you be strong or feeble in body, if only you be strong in faith, giving glory to God; that it matters little whether you be rich or poor, if only you be rich in faith and have firm hold of the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.

III. Another reason is TO CONNECT THE GIFTS MORE PARTICULARLY WITH THE GIVER AND WITH THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THOSE GIFTS ARE BESTOWED. In Fatherly love He looks down upon His children, and for His children's happiness He pours out His bounties of every kind upon them. But we are not to let our thoughts terminate here. No; we must love Him beyond ourselves. Why are His blessings given? As "of Him. and from Him," so "to Him are all things." Everything that He bestows is indeed intended to enrich and to bless those who receive His gifts, but it is intended also to come back to Himself in love and praise and service. God has connected the fulfilment of His promises with prayer, in order that we, asking these blessings, and being heard in our prayers, and receiving God's gifts, may also remember that, if given by Him, they are given for His own purposes and to be used according to His will. How can we bend our knees before Him, and earnestly solicit some benefit, some one of God's blessings, with the thought in our minds that the gifts of God may be used merely for ourselves? Is there not in the very position we are made to occupy, as creatures dependent upon His will, something which suggests to the mind which has been renewed, the heart in which the love of God has been in some measure shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, that all with which God enriches us, should be used for Him? We feel then that we are "stewards of the manifold grace of God." Observe, too, another thing in connection with this recognition of God as the Giver, and the use and purpose of His gifts. We find that those who obtain God's blessings in answer to prayer constantly pass on from the benefit to recognise in their gratitude the Divine beneficence of Him who gives it. When you have received a blessing there may be a transient feeling of happiness, but it is important that we should remember that every blessing we have is but an isolated instance of the exercise of that Divine beneficence, a putting forth of those Divine attributes, which are always and everywhere at work.

IV. Yet another reason is IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE THE HABIT OF INTERCOURSE WITH HIMSELF. It is impossible for anyone fully to understand, until he experiences it himself, what the coming into the secret presence of God is; what it is to shut the door and have communion with the Father who seeth in secret. But every renewed soul, the soul of every true Christian believer, knows what it is to have access to God through Jesus Christ. Yet there are influences which so drag us down, so draw us away from God, so shut up the channels of communication, so send the heart, as it were, coldly back into its own selfishness, that we continually need to be drawn again and again into this intercourse with God. We mourn oftentimes that it is so; yet so it is; and because it is so, God has coupled His blessings with prayer. He gives us a promise of a blessing, and then, in order that we may be drawn to intercourse with Him, He tells us that if we would have the promise fulfilled, we must come to Him and ask as His children; we must enter into our Father's presence and must kneel before Him; we must lift up the pleading eye and utter words of entreaty, and endeavour, with the strength of faith, to grasp all His declarations. We must do this, and then, and not till then, shall we have the fulfilment of God's promise.

(W. A. Salter.)

I. IN ORDER THAT HE MAY TEACH US THAT WE HAVE NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH HIS PURPOSES AND DETERMINATIONS. Suppose God has fixed something, His decree is nothing to you, — that is not to be the law of your action. He calls you to a nobler and a more profitable study than the study of His determinations would be. You would soon be lost in such a subject, and never would arrive at any reasonable and satisfactory result respecting them. He calls you to search deep down into the eternal principles of your own nature, and of those Scriptures which He has given you for your guidance. He calls you to exercise your own sense of right and wrong. He has not revealed His determinations that He may lessen your activity or repress your thought. He calls you to exercise and make use of the powers He has given you. And that His determinations may not have a wrong influence over you, He has enjoined upon you the duty of prayer, even in reference to their execution.

II. IN ORDER THAT HE MAY TEACH US THAT HE ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING WITHOUT THE USE OF MEANS. If everything has been fixed absolutely, then clearly there is no occasion for any means to be employed to secure the result. It is equally clear that things have not been fixed and determined in this manner; and anyone who should presume that they have been, and act upon his presumption, would soon discover, in his utter ruin and destruction, the error he had Committed. In all matters relating to this present life, we never entertain such ideas for a moment. We all know that God has fixed and promised that there shall be a harvest every year whilst the world lasts. This fixing, however, does not secure the harvest. Suppose the husbandman, relying upon the promise, had refused to sow the seed, he would most assuredly have been taught his folly by being deprived of any harvest. But it is not in this direction that we need to be cautioned. We shall never be deterred from working in temporal matters by the knowledge we have of God's decrees. But there is still danger in the principle, and that danger is sometimes realised in religious matters. The knowledge that God has promised success, and that we are entirely dependent upon God for our success, may lead us to inactivity. Because we know what God intends to do, we may rashly and foolishly conclude that He will accomplish His purpose without the employment of any means at all. But I do not find God acting in this way in the world around us. There was a time when God would prepare the world for the coming of His own Son. He might have done so by an immediate act of His own will; but He chose to raise up a visible messenger, and sent John the Baptist to prepare in the wilderness a highway for our God. There was a time when God would gather the fulness of the Gentiles unto His Church. He might have done so by causing some mysterious and unseen influence to be felt simultaneously throughout the world; but He raised up Paul, and sent him to preach amongst them the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. He works through means. It matters not that those means are trifling and insignificant, and disproportioned to the end they serve to secure. The slightest means, so long as they are used, serve to substantiate and justify the principle that God works not without them, and the weakest instrumentality becomes strong and powerful when it is wielded by the hands of an Almighty God, and serves, too, to show us that we have some part to do in the carrying out and accomplishment of the purposes of God. And this is the lesson we have to learn here. God has promised; but He says that the fulfilment of the promise rests with ourselves. It may not be much that we have to do, but that little must be done before God's work will he accomplished.

III. IN ORDER THAT HE MAY TEACH US WHAT IMMENSE CAPACITIES FOR DOING GOOD HE HAS ENDOWED US WITH. The whole world is within the range of our influence, because it may be made the object of our prayer. There is not a single living person who is not within reach of our power. Our prayer can rise up unto the highest, and it can sink down to the lowest and most depraved. Our friends may be separated from us by distances which we cannot destroy; but distance is a thing unknown to prayer, and so, for all practical purposes, they are near, and we can bring to bear upon them an immense, an omnipotent power. Our feelings may not allow us to talk upon religious subjects to some of our friends, and yet we can use, on their behalf, an instrumentality that has never been known to fail. We may have no wealth with which to carry forward the cause of Christ, and yet, out of our poverty, we may enrich its treasures and augment its affluence. We may have no talents to set forward, and no eloquence to describe, the glories of our Redeemer, — we may never be able to speak a single word in support of the claims of religion, and yet we may do more to Promote the cause of Christ, to magnify the glories of our Lord, and to support the claims of religion, than the man who has at his command wealth and talents and eloquence, but who is not a man of prayer.

IV. IN ORDER THAT HE MAY TEACH US THAT, AFTER ALL OUR EFFORTS, SUCCESS COMETH WHOLLY FROM THE LORD. The husbandman never thinks of taking to himself the credit when he reaps a bountiful harvest. He blesses Him who made the seed to burst forth into life, even when it had died; who watered the earth with His showers, and matured its fruits by the genial influence of His sun. He praises God for His faithfulness to His promise. Such, too, ought our feelings to be. We knew beforehand what the result would be. We were sure of success, for God had said that He would do it. We only prayed for the fulfilment of a promise thus graciously given, and the very fact that we were only told to pray, ought to teach us that God meant that we should attribute all the glory, and ascribe all the praise to Him. Had He meant that we should share with Him the glory of securing the result, He would have given us some greater portion of the toil. He only told us to pray; and those few words that we breathe, — what are they towards securing so grand a result? They are nothing. It is only the fact that they are told to God that makes them strong and efficacious. Clearly, then, there is no glory belonging unto us. Success only humbles us: and as we look upon the answers to our Prayers in souls renewed and converted, piety and reason alike dictate the confession: "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."

(F. Edwards, B. A.).

Edom, Jerusalem, Mount Seir, Tigris-Euphrates Region
Behold, Borne, Hills, Jealous, Jealousy, Mountains, Nations, Prophesy, Ravines, Says, Scorn, Sovereign, Speak, Spoken, Suffered, Thus, Valleys, Watercourses, Wrath
1. The land of Israel is comforted, by destruction of the heathen, who spitefully used it
8. and by the blessings of God promised unto it
16. Israel was rejected for their sin
21. and shall be restored without their desert
25. The blessings of Christ's kingdom

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 36:6

     8773   jealousy

Ezekiel 36:1-7

     8816   ridicule, nature of

Ezekiel 36:5-6

     1185   God, zeal of

Ezekiel 36:5-7

     8370   zeal

Ezekiel 36:6-7

     5562   suffering, innocent

January 2. "I Will Cause You to Walk in My Statutes" (Eze. xxxvi. 27).
"I will cause you to walk in My statutes" (Eze. xxxvi. 27). The highest spiritual condition is one where life is spontaneous and flows without effort, like the deep floods of Ezekiel's river, where the struggles of the swimmer ceased, and he was borne by the current's resistless force. So God leads us into spiritual conditions and habits which become the spontaneous impulses of our being, and we live and move in the fulness of the divine life. But these spiritual habits are not the outcome of some
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

May 30. "I Will Put My Spirit Within You" (Ez. xxxvi. 27).
"I will put My Spirit within you" (Ez. xxxvi. 27). "I will put My Spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments." "I will put My fear in your hearts, and ye shall not turn away from Me." Oh, friend, would not that be blessed, would not that be such a rest for you, all worn out with this strife in your own strength? Do you not want a strong man to conquer the strong man of self and sin? Do you not want a leader? Do you not want God Himself to be with
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

August 25. "And I Will Put My Spirit Within You, and Cause You to Walk in My Statutes, and Ye Shall Keep My Judgments and do Them" (Ezek. xxxvi. 27).
"And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them" (Ezek. xxxvi. 27). This is a great deal more than a new heart. This a heart filled with the Holy Ghost, the Divine Spirit, the power that causes us to walk in God's commandments. This is the greatest crisis that comes to a Christian's life, when into the spirit that was renewed in conversion, God Himself comes to dwell and make it His abiding place, and hold it by His mighty power
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Holy Nation
'Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. 28. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A New Heart.
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you."--EZEKIEL xxxvi. 26. In the beautiful and suggestive dream of Solomon, which is recorded in the third chapter of the First Book of Kings, God appears to him, saying, "Ask what I shall give thee"; and Solomon's answer is, "O Lord, I am but a child set over this great people, give me, I pray Thee, a hearing heart." And God said to him, "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, nor riches;
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

Prayer --The Forerunner of Mercy
Now, this morning I shall try, as God shall help me, first to speak of prayer as the prelude of blessing: next I shall try to show why prayer is thus constituted by God the forerunner of his mercies, and then I shall close by an exhortation, as earnest as I can make it, exhorting you to pray, if you would obtain blessings. I. Prayer is the FORERUNNER OF MERCIES. Many despise prayer: they despise it, because they do not understand it. He who knoweth how to use that sacred art of prayer will obtain
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

The Covenant Promise of the Spirit
I. First, as for THE COMMENDATION OF THE TEXT, the tongues of men and of angels might fail. To call it a golden sentence would be much too commonplace: to liken it to a pearl of great price would be too poor a comparison. We cannot feel, much less speak, too much in praise of the great God who has put this clause into the covenant of His grace. In that covenant every sentence is more precious than heaven and earth; and this line is not the least among His choice words of promise: "I will put my spirit
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

The New Heart
And now, my dear friends I shall attempt this morning, first of all, to show the necessity for the great promise contained in my text, that God will give us a new heart and a new spirit, and after that, I shall endeavor to show the nature of the great work which God works in the soul, when he accomplishes this promise; afterwards, a few personal remarks to all my hearers. I. In the first place, it is my business to endeavor to show THE NECESSITY FOR THIS GREAT PROMISE. Not that it needs any showing
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Free Grace
The other error to which man is very prone, is that of relying upon his own merit. Though there is no righteousness in any man, yet in every man there is a proneness to truth in some fancied merit. Strange that it should be so, but the most reprobate characters have yet some virtue as they imagine, upon which they rely. You will find the most abandoned drunkard pride himself that he is not a swearer. You will find the blaspheming drunkard pride himself that at least he is honest. You will find men
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

What Self Deserves
"Ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities, and for your abominations."--Ezekiel 36:31. IT HAS been the supposition of those who know not by experience that if a man be persuaded that he is pardoned, and that he is a child of God, he will necessarily become proud of the distinction which God has conferred upon him. Especially if he be a believer in predestination, when he finds that he is one of God's chosen, it is supposed that the necessary consequence will be that he will
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

The Stony Heart Removed
"Can aught beneath a power divine The stubborn will subdue? 'Tis thine, eternal Spirit, thine, To form the heart anew. To chase the shades of death away And bid the sinner live! A beam of heaven, a vital ray, 'Tis thine alone to give." But while such a thing would be impossible apart from God, it is certain that God can do it. Oh, how the Master delighteth to undertake impossibilities! To do what others can do were but like unto man; but to accomplish that which is impossible to the creature is a
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 8: 1863

Let Your Hearts be Much Set on Revivals of Religion. ...
Let your hearts be much set on revivals of religion. Never forget that the churches have hitherto existed and prospered by revivals; and that if they are to exist and prosper in time to come, it must be by the same cause which has from the first been their glory and defence.--Joel Hawes If any minister can be satisfied without conversions, he shall have no conversions.--C. H. Spurgeon I do not believe that my desires for a revival were ever half so strong as they ought to be; nor do I see how a minister
E.M. Bounds—Purpose in Prayer

God Has Everything to do with Prayer
Christ is all. We are complete in Him. He is the answer to every need, the perfect Savior. He needs no decoration to heighten His beauty, no prop to increase His stability, no girding to perfect His strength. Who can gild refined gold, whiten the snow, perfume the rose or heighten the colors of the summer sunset? Who will prop the mountains or help the great deep? It is not Christ and philosophy, nor Christ and money, nor civilization, nor diplomacy, nor science, nor organisation. It is Christ alone.
Edward M. Bounds—The Reality of Prayer

How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
(Admonition 27.) Differently to be admonished are those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters, and those who covet indeed the things that are of this world, but yet are wearied with the labour of adversity. For those who prosper in what they desire in temporal matters are to be admonished, when all things answer to their wishes, lest, through fixing their heart on what is given, they neglect to seek the giver; lest they love their pilgrimage instead of their country; lest they turn
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Jesus Angry with Hard Hearts
But I must not let imagination mislead me: they did nothing of the kind. Instead of this, they sat watching the Lord Jesus, not to be delighted by an act of his power, but to find somewhat of which they might accuse him. When all came to all, the utmost that they would be able to allege would be that he had healed a withered hand on the Sabbath. Overlooking the commendation due for the miracle of healing, they laid the emphasis upon its being done on the Sabbath; and held up their hands with horror
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

The Everlasting Covenant of the Spirit
"They shall be My people, and l will be their God. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me."--JER. xxxii. 38, 40. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants

Good Works.
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephes. ii. 10. Good works are the ripe fruit from the tree which God has planted in sanctification. In the saint there is life; from that life workings proceed; and those workings are either good or evil. Hence good works are not added to sanctification for mere effect, but belong to it. The discussion of sanctification is not complete without the discussion of Good Works.
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Touching Jacob, However, that which He did at his Mother's Bidding...
24. Touching Jacob, however, that which he did at his mother's bidding, so as to seem to deceive his father, if with diligence and in faith it be attended to, is no lie, but a mystery. The which if we shall call lies, all parables also, and figures designed for the signifying of any things soever, which are not to be taken according to their proper meaning, but in them is one thing to be understood from another, shall be said to be lies: which be far from us altogether. For he who thinks this, may
St. Augustine—Against Lying

Pastor in Parish (I. ).
Master, to the flock I speed, In Thy presence, in Thy name; Show me how to guide, to feed, How aright to cheer and blame; With me knock at every door; Enter with me, I implore. We have talked together about the young Clergyman's secret life, and private life, and his life in (so to speak) non-clerical intercourse with others, and now lastly of his life as it stands related to his immediate leader in the Ministry. In this latter topic we have already touched the great matter which comes now at
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect. Matthew 5:48.
In the 43rd verse, the Savior says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward
Charles G. Finney—Lectures to Professing Christians

The Person Sanctified.
"The putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh."--Col. ii. 11. Sanctification embraces the whole man, body and soul, with all the parts, members, and functions that belong to each respectively. It embraces his person and, all of his person. This is why sanctification progresses from the hour of regeneration all through life, and can be completed only in and through death. St. Paul prays for the church of Thessalonica: "The God of peace sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit and soul
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Introductory Note.
[a.d. 145-220.] When our Lord repulsed the woman of Canaan (Matt. xv. 22) with apparent harshness, he applied to her people the epithet dogs, with which the children of Israel had thought it piety to reproach them. When He accepted her faith and caused it to be recorded for our learning, He did something more: He reversed the curse of the Canaanite and showed that the Church was designed "for all people;" Catholic alike for all time and for all sorts and conditions of men. Thus the North-African

Evidences Internal and Experimental.
1. The external evidences of revealed religion are, in their proper place and sphere, of the highest importance. Christianity rests not upon theory, but upon historical facts sustained by an overwhelming mass of testimony. It is desirable that every Christian, so far as he has opportunity, should make himself acquainted with this testimony for the strengthening of his own faith and the refutation of gainsayers. Nevertheless, many thousands of Christians are fully established in the faith of the gospel
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

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