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for this very purpose, to bring us nearer to God; and are continued for a time, to discover to us more abundantly the condescension of God in the removal of them.]

The person, whom he immediately addressed, was the Lord Jesus

[Paul had heard Stephen in the hour of martyrdom calling on the Lord Jesus; and had seen what support was administered to him on that trying occasion. And whither should he himself fly but to that same adorable friend, who is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” and “having been in all points tempted like us, is able and willing to succour his tempted people.” That his petitions were immediately addressed to Christ, is certain; for we are told in the text, that it was Christ who answered him, and on whose promised aid the apostle was enabled to rely. Is Christ then a mere creature? Can he be any other than God, equal with the Father, God over all, blessed for ever? Thus, if we go to Christ, or to the Father in Christ's

name, whatever we ask, Christ will do it for us, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.":]

In viewing the means resorted to by the apostle, it will be encouraging to notice III. The success of those means In due time our blessed Lord answered his petitions

[At last the suppliant was informed, that the grace of Christ, which had already been so abundant in his first conversion, should be “sufficient for him” under every subsequent trial: and that, however disheartened the apostle might be on account of his great and manifold infirmities, he should experience no real evil from them: on the contrary, they should be a source of much good, inasmuch as they should be the means of displaying, and magnifying, the strength of Christ. Thus all cause of complaint was taken away from him, because Satan was sure to be defeated by him, and the work of Christ to be advanced, both in his own heart, and by his ministrations in the world.]

This answer, though not precisely agreeable to the letter of the apostle's petition, fully corresponded with the spirit of it

[Our blessed Lord himself, when“ supplicating with strong crying and tears” for the removal of the cup, did not obtain the precise object of his request; yet we are told that he “was heard,” because he was strengthened, and enabled to drink it. Thus the apostle's petitions also were crowned with success. The trial was indeed continued: but the end for which God sent it, was accomplished. Had God removed the thorn, it is possible that the apostle might have been “exalted above measure," and might thereby have suffered irreparable loss in his soul: but by sanctifying the trouble, God confirmed him in his humility, and rendered him a distinguished instrument of good to his church. Now it is in this manner that God often answers the petitions of his people: and it is of great importance that we should be apprized of this, lest we be tempted to ask with the wicked, “What profit is there that we should pray unto him?" If it be a blessing to have affliction removed, it is a far richer blessing to have it sanctified for our spiritual and eternal good.]

e Acts vii. 58, 59.

rlleb. ii. 18, and iv, 15.

& John siv, 15.

That the apostle considered his petition as completely answered, will appear from IV. The effect which this success instantly produced

upon his mind

From this moment all his sorrows were turned into joy

[St. Paul did not merely submit to the divine will, and bear with patience a trial which he could not remove; but he even gloried in his tribulations; and made those very infirmities, which just before had been a subject of such pathetic lamentation, an occasion of joy and triumph. It is thus that every Christian is called to manifest his acquiescence in the appointments of heaven: he should count it all joy when he falls into divers temptations, and, being strengthened unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, he should give thanks unto the Father who, by trials, is fitting him for glory,']

The consideration that Christ would be glorificd in him, was sufficient to counterbalance all that he had suffered, or might yet suffer for his sake

[The honour of Christ was dear unto the apostle, and should be dear unto all who call themselves Christians. The continuance of the trial in the apostle's flesh, was an occasion of Christ's more abundant kindness towards him. His compassionate Saviour drew nigh unto him, and dwelt as it were, upon him; as God, by the symbol of his presence, had formerly rested on the tabernacle in the wilderness. And as the rebellious Israelites had been constrained to acknowledge the presence of God with Moses, so were Paul's enemies constrained to acknowledge that Christ was with him of a truth. The more weak and contemptible he was in their eyes, the more they must be compelled to glorify Christ, by whom he was strengthened in his spirit, and made successful in his ministrations. And if more glory might be brought to Christ by means of these infirmities, he was not only willing to endure them, but ready to glory in them even unto death.'] EXHORTATION Let us enquire into the cause of our troubles

Heb, v. 7.

i Jam, i. 2. Col. i. 11, 12.

και επισκηση. .

[The rod has a voice which we ought to hear; and, if we would attend to it, would discover to us many hidden but grievous abominations, which lurk unseen in our hearts.] Let us carry them all to a throne of grace

[It is to little purpose to complain of them to our fellowcreatures: but “God never says to any, Seek ye my face in vain.] Let us exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

(He says to us, “ Believe in God; believe also in ME.". He is God, equal with the Father; and “in him all fulness dwells." His promise is addressed to all his suffering and tempted people; and the truth of it shall be experienced by them all.” Only let us believe in him; and no adversary shall be too strong, no calamity too heavy, no duty too difficult; for " all things are possible to him that believeth.”]

I Phil. i. 20.

m Mic. vi. 9.'

a John xiv. I,


1 Chron. iv. 10. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, say,

ing, Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me. And God granted him that which he requested.

REMARKABLE is the honour which God puts upon prayer

And numberless are the instances which are recorded of its efficacy

Jabez is here mentioned in a long catalogue of namesBut while the names only of others are recorded, he is particularly noticed

He is even declared to have been more honourable than all his brethren

This distinction indeed might be given him on account of his primogeniture

But it was certainly still more due on account of his piety

Like the patriarch Jacob, “wrestled with God and prevailed”— I. The import of his prayer

In its primary sense it evidently related to temporal blessings

[God had promised his people an inheritance in CanaanBut they were not able of themselves to drive out the inhabitants

Jabez therefore, sensible of his insufficiency, prayed to God for help

He begged for the blessing of God upon his own endea

He desired to be preserved from the dangers to which his military exploits would expose him

And to have, through the divine interposition, an enlarged inheritance in the promised land

These requests he urged with a significant and earnest plea—]

But there is reason to think it had also a spiritual meaning

[The earthly Canaan was typical of the heavenly kingdom

The enemies also that were to be driven out, were typical of the enemies with whom the Christian has to contend

Moreover, the assistance, which God rendered to his people, was intended to shew us what aid we might expect from him—

And what evil will a child of God deprecate so much as sin?-


- Almost all Hebrew names had some peculiar signification. Jabez signified sorrow: the name was given him in remembrance of the unusual sorrows his mother endured in childbirth. And it was in reference to this that he deprecated the evils to which he was exposed; " Keep me," &c. lest I be Jabez in my experience, as well as in my name. VOL. V.

3 M

Surely nothing is so“ grievous” to him as the prevalence of corruption

Well therefore may Jabez be considered as looking beyond this world

And as imploring a secure possession of his heavenly inheritance

In both these views the prayer is well worthy of our notice II. The excellence of it

It is the sentiment, rather than the expression, that gives excellence to prayer

But in both respects we may admire that before us

It was


[He felt his entire dependence upon the power and grace of God

This is intimated not merely in the petitions offered, but in the very manner in which they were offered—“Oh, that," &c.

Such humility is absolutely necessary to render prayer acceptableThe more we abase ourselves, the more will God exalt us

Let this be remembered in all our addresses at the throne of grace-] Diffusive

[Jabez did not content himself with a mere general petition

He opened distinctly his several wants to God
A similar conduct is proper for us also

Not that God needs to be informed of our wants, or that he will hear us for our much speaking!

But we need to recite our wants, in order to impress our own minds with a sense of our utter helplessness and unworthiness-] Importunate

[He enforced his request with a very earnest pleaNor, in reference to sin, could any plea be more proper for him

We indeed should urge the prevailing name of Jesus

But we may also properly deprecate sin as “grievous" to our souls

Yea, a disposition to do this is both an evidence of our sincerity, and a pledge of the divine acceptance.

6 Rom, vii. 24.

c Phil. iv. 6.

d Matt. vi. 7, 8.

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