"Thus shalt thou say unto him, the Lord saith thus, behold, that which I have built, will I break down; and that which I have planted, I will pluck up."Jer. xlv. 4.
My soul, ponder well these words; and when thou hast duly meditated, behold and see, in the instance of the church at large, and in thine own circumstances in particular, whether the powerful operations of the Lord's grace be not thus frequently carried on, by seemingly opposite means? Doth not the Lord appear to be often breaking down what his own right hand hath built, and withering what he hath planted, when providences appear to run counter to his promises, and the way to their accomplishment seems impossible? Thus the gourd of Jonah was blasted when the prophet needed most a covering: thus the poor man's child, in the gospel, when in the view of Christ, was thrown down by the devil, and torn more than ever he had been before; Mark ix. 26. thus the children of Israel felt Pharaoh's oppression the more called forth, because "the Lord had promised them deliverance;" Exod. v. 22, 23. Look at home, my soul, and see how matters are there. Since the Lord called thee by his grace, to reveal his Son in thee, hadst thou conferred with flesh and blood, how often to thy view would it have appeared, that things were worse with thee than before? Surely thy corruptions never strove for the mastery with equal strength, as since grace put a restraint upon them: like the swelling waters, which become more violent in proportion as the bank is thrown up to keep them back. Never did Satan so rage in his temptations, as since Jesus blessed thee with the visits of his love. And how often, when the enemies of thy salvation have for a season seemed to prevail, hath it appeared to thy view, as if the Lord had broken down that which he had built, and plucked up that which he had planted? And how often, in the distress of soul occasioned by it, hast thou cried out, "Hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious: and will he shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure?" Precious Jesus! how infinitely precious, in these instances, as in every other, is the view of thee, and of the ways of thy grace! I see, Lord, by this process of thine, that both building and planting, both beginning and ending, are of the Lord. That sweet scripture is confirmed: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house: his hands shall also finish it," Zech. iv. 9. In thee, and upon thee, O Lord, is all founded. It is Jehovah hath said it, and Jehovah will confirm it: "I have said, (saith the Lord) mercy shall be built up for ever!" Ps. lxxxix. 2.From the POOR MAN'S MORNING AND EVENING PORTIONS.
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