Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hope in Hopeless Cases

“Bring him hither to me.”-Matthew 17:17.

The disciples were baffled. The Master, however, remained undefeated, and cried, “Bring him unto me.” We ought to use the means so far as the means will go. We are bound, further, to make the means more effectual than they ordinarily are. Prayer and fasting are prescribed by our Lord as the means of stringing up ourselves to greater power than we should otherwise possess.

There are conversions, which will never be wrought by the agency of ordinary Christians. We have need to pray more, and by self-denial to keep our bodies more completely under, and so to enjoy closer communion with God before we shall be able to handle the more distressing cases. The church of God would be far stronger to wrestle with this ungodly age if she were more given to prayer and fasting. There is a mighty efficacy in these two gospel ordinances. The first links us to heaven, the second separates us from earth. Prayer takes us into the banqueting-house of God; fasting overturns the surfeiting tables of earth. Prayer gives us to feed on the bread of heaven, and fasting delivers the soul from being encumbered with the fullness of bread which perisheth. When Christians shall bring themselves up to the uttermost possibilities of spiritual vigor, then they will be able, by God’s Spirit working in them, to cast out devils, which to day, without the prayer and fasting, laugh them to scorn.

But for all that, to the most advanced Christian, there will still remain those mountainous difficulties, which must be directly brought to the Master’s personal agency for help. Still he tenderly commands us, “Bring them unto me.”

From a sermon entitled "Hope In Hopeless Cases," delivered July 19, 1868. Image by brokinhrt2 under Creative Commons License.

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