For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:10-12
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
~ Psalm 13:5
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
~ Psalm 136-2-4
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
~ Deuteronomy 5:10
The Advanced Christian Reminded of the Mercies of God, by Philip Doddridge.
The following contains an excerpt from his work, “The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul Illustrated in A Course of Serious and Practical Addresses Suited to Persons with a Devout Meditation, or Prayer, Subjoined to Each Chapter”.
The Advanced Christian Reminded of the Mercies of God, and Exhorted to the Exercise of Habitual Love to Him, and Joy in Him.
The grateful Soul rejoicing in the Blessings of Providence and Grace, and pouring out itself before God in vigorous and affectionate Exercises of Love and Praise.
“O my God, it is enough! I have mused, and ‘the fire burneth!’ (Psa. 39:3) But oh! in what language shall the flame break forth? What can a say but this, that my heart admires thee, and adores thee, and loves thee? My little vessel is as full as it can hold; and I would pour out all that fullness before thee, that it may grow capable of receiving more and more. Thou art ‘my hope and my help; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.’ (Psa. 3:3) ‘My heart rejoiceth in thy salvation’ (Psa. 13:5) and when I set myself under the influences of thy good Spirit to converse with thee, a thousand delightful thoughts spring up at once; a thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, and flow in upon my soul with such refreshment and joy, that they seem to crowd into every moment the happiness of days, and weeks, and months. “I bless thee, O God, for this soul of mine which thou hast created; which thou hast taught to say, and I hope to the happiest purpose, ‘Where is God my Maker!’ (Job 35:10) I bless thee for the knowledge with which thou hast adorned it. I bless thee for that grace with which I trust I may (not without humble wonder) say, thou hast sanctified it; though, alas! the celestial plant is fixed in too barren a soil, and does not flourish to the degree I could wish.
“I bless thee also for that body which thou hast given me, and which thou preservest as yet in its strength and vigor, not only capable of relishing the entertainments which thou providest for its various senses, but (which I esteem far more valuable than any of them for its own sake) capable of acting with some vivacity in thy service. I bless thee for that case and freedom with which these limbs of mine move themselves, and obey the dictates of my spirit, I hope as guided by thine. I bless thee that ‘the keepers of my house do not tremble, nor the strong men bow themselves;’ that they ‘that look out of the windows are not yet darkened, nor the daughters of music brought low.’ I bless thee, O God of my life! that ‘the silver cord is not yet loosed, nor the golden bowl broken;’ (Eccl. 12:3,4,6) for it is thine hand that braces all my nerves, and thine infinite skill that prepares those spirits that flow in so freely; and when exhausted, recruit so soon and so plentifully. I praise thee for that royal bounty with which thou providest for the daily support of mankind in general, and for mine in particular; for the various tables which thou spreadest before me, and for the overflowing cup which thou ‘puttest into my hands.’ (Psa. 23:5) I bless thee that these bounties of thy providence do not serve, as it were, to upbraid a disabled appetite, and are not ‘like messes of meat set before the dead.’ I bless thee too, that I ‘eat not my morsel of meat alone,’ (Job 31:17) but share it with so many agreeable friends, who add the relish of a social life to that of the animal, at our seasons of common repast. I thank thee for so many dear relatives at home, for so many kind friends abroad, who are capable of serving me in various instances, and disposed to make an obliging use of that capacity.
“Nor would I forget to acknowledge thy favor in rendering me capable of serving others, and giving me in any instance to know how much ‘more blessed it is to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35) I thank thee for a heart which feels the sorrows of the necessitous, and a mind which can make it my early care and refreshment to contrive, according to my little ability, for their relief; for ‘this also cometh forth from thee, O Lord!’ (Isa. 28:29) the great Author of every benevolent inclination, of every prudent scheme, of every successful attempt to spread happiness around us, or in any instance to lessen distress.
“And surely, O Lord, if I thus acknowledge the pleasures of sympathy with the afflicted, much more must I bless thee for those of sympathy with the happy, with those that are completely blessed. I adore thee for the streams that water Paradise, and maintain it in ever-flourishing, ever-growing delight. I praise thee for the rest, the joy, the transport, thou art giving to many that were once dear to me on earth, whose sorrows it was my labor to soothe, and whose joys, especially in thee, it was the delight of my heart to promote. I praise thee for the blessedness of every saint, and of every angel that surrounds thy throne above; and I praise thee, with accents of distinguished pleasure for that reviving hope which thou hast implanted in my bosom, that I shall, ere long, know, by clear sight, and by everlasting experience, what that felicity of theirs is which I now only discover at a distance, through the comparatively obscure glass of faith. Even now, through thy grace, do I feel myself borne forward by thy supporting arm to those regions of blessedness. Even now am I ‘waiting for thy salvation,’ (Gen. 49:18) with that ardent desire, on the one hand, which its sublime greatness cannot but inspire into the believing soul, and that calm resignation on the other, which the immutability of thy promise establishes.
“And now, O my God, what shall I say unto thee? what, but that I love thee above all the powers of language to express! That I love thee for what thou art to thy creatures, who are, in their various forms, every moment deriving being, knowledge and happiness from thee, in numbers and degrees far beyond what my narrow imagination can conceive. But, oh! I adore and love thee yet far more for what thou art in thyself; for those stores of perfection which creation has not diminished, and which can never be exhausted by all the effects of it which thou impartest to thy creatures; that infinite perfection which makes thee thine own happiness, thine own end; amiable, infinitely amiable and venerable, were all derived excellence and happiness forgot.
“O thou first, thou greatest, thou fairest of all objects! thou only great, thou only fair, possess all my soul! And surely thou dost possess it. While I thus feel thy sacred Spirit breathing on my heart, and exciting these fervors of love to thee, I cannot doubt it any more than I can doubt the reality of this animal life, while I exert the actings of it, and feel its sensations. Surely, if ever I knew the appetite of hunger, my soul ‘hungers after righteousness, (Matt. 5:6) and longs for a greater conformity to thy blessed nature and holy will. If ever my palate felt thirst, ‘my soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God,’ (Psa. 42:2) and panteth for the more abundant communication of his favor. If ever this body, when wearied with labor or journies, knew what it was to wish for the refreshment of my bed, and rejoice to rest there, my soul, with sweet acquiescence, rests upon thy gracious bosom, O my heavenly Father, and returns to its repose in the embraces of its God, ‘who hath dealt so bountifully with it.’ (Psa. 116:7) And if ever I saw the face of a beloved friend with complacency and joy, I rejoice in beholding thy face, O Lord, and in calling thee my Father in Christ. Such thou art, and such thou wilt be, for time and for eternity. What have I more to do, but to commit myself to thee for both? Leaving it to thee to ‘choose my inheritance’ and to order my affairs for me, (Psa. 47:4) while all my business is to serve thee, and all my delight to praise thee. ‘My soul follows hard after God,’ because ‘his right hand upholds me.’ (Psa. 63:8) Let it still bear me up, and I shall press on toward thee, till all my desires be accomplished in the eternal enjoyment of thee! Amen.”