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Thy great salvation. And Thou Who by Thy Spirit didst teach Thy servant to write these words, teach me by the same Spirit to hear, receive, and obey them: “ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice!”
ENTREATY FOR A RESPITE.
"O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength,
before I go hence, and be no more seen.”—Psalm xxxix. 13; P.B. version.
This is my earnest desire-to recover for a time, to be spared for a little while. May I ask it of God ? May I make this prayer my own ? Should I be doing wrong?
I think not. This was the Psalmist's desire, and he prayed in these words, and received no rebuke ; on the contrary, I find his prayer as part of the inspired word, which is to be my guide and teacher.
My God and Father, in these inspired words, and in my Saviour's name, I venture to lay before Thee the desire of my heart; “O spare me a little !” Spare my life, do
not cut short my earthly course, take me not away in the midst of my days. Thou hast given to me, and to us all, a natural love of life; in Thy great goodness and mercy, indulge me in my desire to live yet a while longer. Hezekiah asked of Thee, and Thou didst grant his request. May I come to Thee as
I Hezekiah did, and wilt Thou hear me as Thou didst hear him ?
I am very weak now, I cannot even collect my thoughts as I wish, or bring my mind to bear long or closely on any subject ; suffer me to lay my weakness before Thee, and to ask of Thee that, before I go hence, I may recover some measure of strength. Even should it be Thy will that this illness should be my last, still grant me some strength of mind and body, that I may be more able to collect my thoughts and fix them upon Thee, and pray to Thee, and commend myself to Thee, and exercise faith in my Redeemer, and cast myself afresh on Thy mercy and grace in Him. For I do desire, O my God, to use to Thy glory, and according to Thy will, whatever strength Thou mayest give me, whether for a longer or a shorter time.
If I should be called to go hence, then I could serve Thee no longer on earth. And, though Thou canst carry on Thy work without me, yet, if it be Thy will, I would gladly take some further part in it. I have tried to do a little; but it is little indeed that I have done for Thee Who hast done all for me. For many years I did not labour in Thy service at all, and, since I began, how slothful I have been, how little zeal I have shown, how many opportunities I have let slip! O my Lord and Master, I would that I might redeem the time, and henceforth be far more diligent and self-denying in Thy service. Hast Thou nothing more for me to do? Wilt Thou not employ me still ? Unfruitful servant as I have been, wilt Thou not try me again, and give me more grace, and make me even yet a “good and faithful servant" ?
My illness has taught me much. I see things now as I never saw them before. I have a deeper view of sin and its evil; I see how it prevails everywhere. I care more for the case of those who know Thee not; I see
i their misery and danger, and I have a great desire to do something more to bring them to Thee. Wilt Thou, O my Father, restore to me some measure of strength, that I may use it thus ?
I must beware of presumption and self-will in prayer. I must not set my will against the will of God, or prefer my own desire to what He may appoint. Lord, keep me from this! Yet in this very psalm I find many words which I cannot be wrong in making
“And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.” Yes, Lord, my hope is in Thee alone; it is Thou only Who canst lengthen out my life, and to Thee only do I look. And, even should it please Thee not to grant me this, still my hope shall be in Thee.
“I was dumb,” the Psalmist says, “I opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it.” Neither would I open my mouth in complaint; for it is Thy hand that has sent me this illness, and I dare not and will not complain against Thee. And if I have been