Sermon 1072. My Prayer
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 22, 1872,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Quicken me in Your way." Psalm 119:37.
I THINK you will find the prayer for quickening repeated nine times in this Psalm. The form of it differs but it is alwaysthe same vehement cry, "Quicken me, O Lord." In addition to this you will hear David twice acknowledge that God had quickenedhim, saying on one occasion, "Your Word has quickened me," and in another place, "Your precepts have quickened me," so that11 times in one Psalm David turns his contemplations to the subject of quickening. This shows us the very great importancewhich he attached to it.
Remember well that this Psalm is dedicated to the praise of the Word of God. Throughout its entire length it sounds forththe honor of God's statutes and in some way or other the Word of the Lord is mentioned in every one of its 176 verses. ThePsalm is a star of the first magnitude and all its beams direct us to the Divine statutes. It is clear from this that theremust be an intimate connection between quickening and the Word of God. Indeed, it is so, for when we are much acquainted withthe Word of God we also discover more of our own deadness and lack of spiritual life.
And, moreover, inasmuch as we find David twice blessing God that the Word had quickened him, we see another connection betweenthe Word and quickening, namely, that while the Word convinces us of our death, it is also the means in the hand of the Spiritof God of our resurrection to newness of life. It kills, but it also makes alive! It quickens and it sustains what it begets."Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God shall man live."
Would you mourn your sluggishness? See it in the light of God's Word. Would you escape from your sloth? Be animated by theholy warmth of the revealed Truth of God. For both purposes, for conviction and for edification, the precious Truths whichare set forth in Scripture by the Holy Spirit will be exceedingly efficacious.
I purpose, this morning, in handling the brief prayer of our text, to note, first, that it deals with the Believer's frequentneed. Secondly, it directs him to the sole Worker of his quickening. Thirdly, it describes the true sphere of renewed spiritualvigor. And fourthly, it denotes that there may be special reasons and seasons when we should say, "Quicken me."
I. The prayer before us, "Quicken me in Your way," DEALS WITH THE BELIEVER'S FREQUENT NEED. I am sure that this is a frequentneed of Believers because we find David in this Psalm so often confessing his need-and where the best of God's servants feeltheir need of a thing-we may be quite sure that the rest of the family are under the same necessity. David seems to have beenby no means sluggish in the Divine life. That wonderful photograph of his internal being which we have in the book of Psalmsshows us that he was a man of intensely fervent love to God. We see he was a man whose nature was vital to a degree of sensitiveand energetic energy seldom, if ever, exceeded.
Panting, crying, pleading, singing, rejoicing, exulting-he was all life and of him it could not be said that he was neithercold nor hot. Notwithstanding the grievous fault into which he fell, his inner life was, as a rule, vigorous, healthy andenergetic. And yet that man of God prayed often, "Quicken me." Oh my Soul, you are not to be compared with David for a singlemoment! What need, then, have you to pray again and again, even with agony of soul, "Quicken me, O
But, Beloved, there is no reason to refer to others of God's servants for proof of this. You yourselves know, in your ownsouls, that your spirit is most apt to become sluggish and that you have need frequently to put up the prayer, "Quicken me."Apart from Him who is your life, what are you but a mass of corruption? You know this experimentally, do you not? There aresome among you who have received a more abundant measure of spiritual life than the preacher has yet obtained, but I fearthat the great majority of us are in the very opposite condition and have need to sigh and cry
over our lack of inward strength. We need to lament more deeply our manifold deficiencies. If there is a prayer in this Biblewhich well becomes my lips, it is just this, "Lord, quicken me in Your way."
I fear that those who are least ready to confess this are the very persons who ought to admit it first, and I am certain thata large number of God's people feel that they are dry and sapless and have need to be revived by life from above. Let us thinkover this matter a minute. Some years ago we needed quickening most emphatically, but then we had no power to pray, "Quickenme," for we were dead in trespasses and sins. No dead man ever prayed to be quickened! Such a prayer would be an index oflife. A really spiritual prayer for quickening can only come from those in whom the quickening Spirit has already taken upHis abode!
Now, Beloved, blessed be the name of the Lord, we are no longer dead as we once were-the Spirit of God has breathed into ournostrils the breath of life and we have become living souls in the family of God. Let us be thankful for this, but let us,as we look around upon the spiritually dead who swarm our streets, take care to pray for them, "Lord, quicken the dead insin." Let our relatives be the special objects of our prayers for quickening. If we have a brother who is rotting in the graveof his iniquities, let us pray the Master to say, "Lazarus, come forth." If we have a son who is dead in sin, let us ask theLord to raise him up even from the bier of his transgressions. Or if it is a little daughter at home, fair and lovely yetunquickened, let our prayer be to the great Master that He would come and raise her up. He is able to raise any of the spirituallydead for He has raised us. Let our own conversion encourage us in praying for the spiritual resurrection of others.
But, Brothers and Sisters, although we ourselves are quickened in that sense we have still need to continue the prayer. Doyou remember the days of your first awakening, when you had only sufficient life to mourn and lament that you had so little?The first sense of life in you was painful-you were under a sense of sin and your guilt lay heavy upon you-you had only lifeenough to dread the death that never dies. Your life did little else for you but enable you to tremble, to mourn, to dreadand to reproach yourself. It was the dark side of life-the pain which is the true evidence of vitality but is terrible toendure. Then you needed fuller light and healthier life and no prayer could have better suited you than this which is nowbefore us, "Quicken me." Oh, the agonizing cries of awakened sinners! Theirs are no mimicries, but stern realities! Believeme, they pray.
Since that season, for blessed be God that state is over now, we have joy and peace in believing-not all the joy and peacewe could wish, but still a good share of it. But we still have great cause to cry aloud and that right often, "Quicken me."For instance, have you never felt the need of this prayer when you have been cast down by affliction? The spirit, broken andbruised, can only rally through an infusion of fresh life. When you could not get a grip at the promises because the handof your faith was numbed, you needed an increased vitality. In temporal trial more Grace was your best support-and when thetrouble was not only bodily, but spiritual-then increased inner life was the doubly efficacious remedy.
Do you remember when you were broken in pieces all asunder through some surprising sin and God, in chastisement, seemed tohunt you with the terrors of His Law? Then your expiring faith and swooning hope needed a new vitality! There was no restoredjoy for you till you learned, again, the meaning of the Redeemer's words, "I am the Life." Lying at the foot of His Crossyou saw the vital blood flowing from His dear wounds and you cried "Quicken me!" Forth from the heart of Jesus came a streamof warm life which entered your soul, renewed your faith, inspired you with sacred confidence and diffused within your spirita blessed calm in which you softly breathed the life of God and rose as one quickened from among the dead!
How many times, also, have you been the victim of worldliness, that horrible swoon of the heart towards Christ? Even overthose who try to live nearest to God this evil influence exerts itself like some stifling vapor, engendering a dreadful sleepiness,even where it cannot accomplish death. Men after God's own heart have cried, "My soul cleaves to the dust: quicken me, O God!"You have loved some earthly thing-some child, perhaps, has clambered into your heart's throne while it has been fondled onyour knee. Lawful loves have become engrossing and have eaten the Lord's portion. The Son of David has been displaced by anusurper, or at least another throne has been set up in His palace. Have you not been horrified at your own idolatry and resolvedto have done with it, cost what it may?
You have sought for the axe which should remove the right hand of sin, the hammer which should dash down the usurper's image-butyour heart has failed you, the fascination of the sin has spell-bound you! Around you the coils of
the serpent have been twined and you could not tear them off, for a poison chilled your blood and stupefied your brain andheart. Ah, then you saw the beauty of the prayer, "Quicken me," and well was it for you that, feebly as you uttered it, itwas answered from the Throne of Mercy! What could have stood you in good stead if you had been left a victim to the deadlydrugs and mortal opiates of sin?
You, my Brothers, who are much engaged in business from morning to night-when things go with you very roughly, or on the otherhand when they go with you very smoothly-have the deepest cause to pray, "Lord quicken me." Earth sticks to our hearts, especiallythose forms of it known as gold and silver-and lumps of adhesive earth make a pilgrim's progress tardy. You cannot wrestlein prayer while you are loaded down with worldly cares! No runner can win a race when he stoops under great weights. It isimpossible to commune with God and yet to fix one's heart on money-making. While business is what it is and the wheels oftrade revolve at such a terrific rate, men had need be very vigorous in Divine Grace or their souls will be ground to dustamid their own machinery.
Oh you very busy men, you ought day by day to plead with the Lord-"Quicken me my God, lest I be overcome by the deadly influencesof the world." Though I mingle little with the business or the politics of the hour, I feel a drowsy influence creep overme from the smoke of these tents of Kedar in which I dwell, like that which Bunyan mentions in his description of the EnchantedGround where the very air made men drowsy. This influence tends to preaching mechanically, as an automaton might do if properlywound up, and it leads to praying by routine after the manner of a Tibetan windmill or a Ritualistic priest.
Hideous is this temptation to perform one's duties officially-because it is the time to do this and the proper hour to dothat! Oh, my God, deliver us from crawling along in the ruts and slipping sleepily along the grooves! We need life, vivacity,vigor, diligence, fervor, passion, vehemence in the service of our God or else our Christianity is worth no more than a nutshellout of which the worm has eaten the kernel and left nothing but rottenness! Our God is a consuming fire and only by fire canwe worship Him! Sacrifices without heart are an abomination to Him. The name to live is loathsome unless the spirit of lifeis present. The garments of a man may frighten birds, but only the heart and soul of manhood can avail with Heaven! Withoutthe living soul of sincerity and earnestness, what is religion but a tomb, whitewashed on the outside but rotten within? Wemust have life! First, last and midst, we must have life! Therefore to all professors I commend this prayer, "Quicken me."
My Brothers and Sisters, do not the most warm-hearted among us feel the need of more quickening? Let us consider a few matterswhich may awaken our desires more fully. First, let us enquire if we are as earnest in the things of God as in the commonthings of daily life? Is our soul as vigorous in its acts for God as in its emotions towards man? We are told by the Spiritthat the time is short and it remains that those who have wives be as though they had not; they that rejoice as though theyrejoiced not and they that weep as though they wept not because all these things are passing away and therefore our emotionsabout them should be comparatively slight.
But spiritual things, seeing they endure forever, ought to have a lodgment in the center of our being and concerning themwe should think deeply and feel strongly. Sorrow for sin should be the keenest sorrow. Joy in the Lord should be the loftiestof joy. Is it so? How do you find it with yourselves? Suppose it is the love of a newly-married wife-is there not an intensityabout it which needs no inflaming? Do you always or often find your soul so ardent towards the Lord Jesus Christ? Yet oughtHe not to be before all others? Or suppose it is your weeping for your lost husband or your dear departed child-you do notneed excitement to grief-no, your hearts bleed all too freely and you need arguments to relieve your sorrows!
Is it thus when you lament the dishonor done to the name of Jesus? Are the water floods quite as plentiful? Is repentanceas deep and living an emotion with you as sorrow under bereavement? I fear that in these earthly matters our heart is waxand in spiritual things it is as the nether millstone. Yet is it sad, indeed, that our affections entwine themselves abouta mere creature but put forth no tendrils towards the Lord of Love who laid down His life for us! If you are suddenly madepossessors of wealth, the joy you have over your substance is very manifest. None can question it. Or if your wealth is takenaway by some loss in trade or otherwise, your distress is by no means superficial. I pray you tell me, are you equally concernedabout the true riches?
If you have found the priceless pearl, are you enchanted with it? If you have lost fellowship with Jesus, does the loss depressyour spirit? Are you as eager to be rich in Grace as to be great in wealth? Do you prize Christ as you do your
profits? Are you as eager in a Prayer Meeting as you are in the market? I fear, Brothers and Sisters, that a comparison betweenour zeal for temporal and spiritual things would lead to very humbling conclusions and give us reason to cry, "Lord, deadenme to this world, but quicken me towards the world to come."
The same truth will be apparent if we will think of the earnestness of men of the world in their callings and pursuits. Howmen will wear themselves out in seeking the secular objects on which their hearts are set! To what sacrifices will they exposethemselves! The votaries of science altogether shame the followers of religion. They have penetrated into the densest swampsdefying fever and death. They have lost themselves among the wildest savages, or they have died amidst eternal snows. Havethey not lost their lives while using deadly drugs out of which they hoped to discover curative agents? Or worn away theireyesight by weary night watching of the orbs of Heaven? Science daily increases her martyrologies but where do we find ours?Where is the chivalry of Christians? Alas, where survives the heroism of the
In former times the followers of Christ counted not their lives dear unto them for His sake. But now we hug ourselves in easeand venture little for the Lord. The world has warm followers and devoted friends, but Jesus is attended by a lukewarm bandof men who are more likely to sleep at Gethsemane's gates than to watch with Him for a single hour. Oh Lord of Love, willYou not quicken us? Behold our need! Forgive our sin and from this good hour teach us how to live! We shall surely also berebuked if we think of the zeal of some of the Lord's servants. Their lives should make us feel how little life we have. Putyourself, beloved Brother, side by side with Paul for a few minutes. Think of his unquenchable zeal. Remember his voluntaryexposure to a thousand risks-his suffering and his labors for the propagation of his Master's Gospel. Where are we, and whatare we? Alas, we blush and sink to nothing in the presence of such a man!
Others of like energy have been and are in the Church. Why are we so unlike them? Shame, shame upon us! Perhaps it may touchus with some degree of feeling if we recall what our own zeal was at one time. It never was much to boast of- when we weremost earnest we could well have borne to be heated seven times hotter and yet not become too much inflamed-but are we nowas zealous as once we were? May I ask you to look back upon the early days of your religion? Oh you then ran where now youcreep! You blazed and glowed where now but a few sparks are left! The love of your espousals, when you went after your Masterinto the wilderness, when nothing was too heavy or too hard for His dear sake-where is it now? Where is it now?
As you grew in years you should have grown in zeal, for you know more of Him and you have received more from Him. But is itso? Why, we thought we would push the Church before us or drag the world behind us and we meant to do I know not what-buthave we done it? Then we cried, "Who are you, great mountain?" "Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain." But the greatmountain remains where it was because our faith has declined and our zeal has flagged. Oh, for the Spirit to re-baptize usinto the fullness of His life and strength!
Once more, think, dear Friends, of our condition of spiritual life and of what it ought to be when we remember our obligationsto our Savior. Stand in spirit at the foot of the Cross and see the five wounds and the precious blood that bought us. Canyou remain unmoved? Do we gaze into yon dear face, that mirror of love and grief, and feel no love to Him? Can we think ofHis returning into His Glory, and bearing our names upon His breastplate day and night before the Eternal Throne and feelno enthusiasm for Him? Can we meditate upon Him as from before all worlds loving us, and to all worlds loving us still, andyet remain indifferent?
Why, Sirs, if we lived for Jesus solely and evermore and died a thousand deaths for Him, these were cheap things to lay atthe foot of His dear Cross! He deserves infinitely more from us! Think, I pray you, of all the Truths of our religion andask yourselves what kind of life they require of us. We believe that men are lost and shall we be idle when in our hands isthe Gospel which alone can save them? We know that men are passing into a condition in which they shall forever abide, everlastinglyblessed or eternally accursed of God-and only the Truth of God that we have to tell them can secure them from unending misery-andcan we withhold the saving Word?
I do not wonder that those who believe the contrary to this should take things coolly, but I do marvel at ourselves that weare so insane at heart that we are not moved to passionate earnestness for ourselves and our fellow men! Fanaticism itselfwere, under some aspects of it, nothing but cold-blooded reason in the face of such Truths as these! We ought to live impassionedlives, full of flaming energy and we would if this prayer were heard, "Quicken me in Your
way." Thus I have spoken upon the first head. Now may we be helped to dwell upon the second and may the Spirit bless us thereby.
II. Our text DIRECTS US TO THE SOLE WORKER OF QUICKENING. "Quicken me." David seeks quickening
from the Lord alone. He goes at once to Him in whom were all his fresh springs. Life is the peculiar sphere of God-He is theLord and Giver of life. No man ever received spiritual life, or the renewal of it, from any other source but the living God.Beloved, this is worth remembering, for we are very apt, when we feel ourselves declining, to look anywhere but to the Lord.We too often look within. "Why seek you the living among the dead?" You might find a diamond upon a dunghill, but you willnever find spiritual refreshing in human nature. Look, then, to some better source than to the howling wilderness of self.
We are very apt, also, to think that in the use of the means of Grace we shall necessarily obtain reviving and refreshing."If I can hear Mr. So-and-So preach, who has often laid his hands among my heart-strings and brought out music there, thenI should be again awakened. Oh, could I hear him once again I should see better days." You do not know. That beloved voicemay have lost all power over you. If you look to the servant and not to the Master, the Master will leave the servant andthe servant will be of no use to you. Dig the pools by all manner of means-passing through the valley of Baca make it a well,but remember, the life-refreshing water does not rise from the bottom of the well, it drops from above-"the rain also fillthe pools."
God out of Heaven, alone, can make instrumentality to be of vital service to us. Not even the sweet succors of the CommunionTable can bring back vigorous life to the Christian apart from the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Rest you not in the outward,for it cannot touch the inward! Above all, never go to the law for reviving. Do not begin chiding yourself by saying, "ThisI ought to have done and I shall lose the love of God if I do not," and so on. That is all legal. The child of God, when hehears the roar of Sinai's thunder, sinks into a deeper death-it cannot rouse him into life. Slaves may be moved by terror,but not the true born child of God-a nobler motive sways his heart. Go not, then, to rewards and punishments for your life-youwill never find it there. The ministry of the Law is the ministry of death, not of life. We must take ourselves to the Spiritof God who is the gift of the Gospel, not of the Law. Remember, Beloved, that Jesus Christ is come that we might have lifeand that we might have it more abundantly!
Now, if any poor soul first of all obtained life from looking alone to Jesus it is clear that if she wants more life she mustget it in the same way. They say that for a sick man his native air is the best. My native air was Calvary-was it not yours,dear Brothers and Sisters? Let us together seek the blood-stained spot. Go and breathe the atmosphere of atoning love again!Get back to the foot of the Cross once more and you will find effectual quickening. The Holy Spirit is the great Agent bywhom the life of Jesus is infused into our nature. The Holy Spirit at this moment can come upon the coldest heart in thisplace and make it flame and blaze with more than angelic ardor! You are like a bush at this moment, dry and dark, but Godhas but to put one spark of His life in you and you will be like the bush in Horeb which flamed like the sun.
Dear Sister, have you fallen very low? Go to God, for He can lift you up when no one else can. My ministry cannot quickenyou, but the Lord can. He has only to send forth the Divine Life and the dullest and most slothful, the most barren, the mostdead among us would become warm with Apostolic fervor and the Divine Life would make us shine as the glittering seraphim whichsurround the burning Throne! Oh God, how this moves us to pray to You! You can do it. Do it now! "Quicken me in Your way!"
Did you notice that in the text nothing is said about the means by which the Lord is to quicken us? David leaves that to God'sdiscretion. Let Him use His own methods. There is a prayer-you will find it in the 149th verse, and also in the 156th-in whichDavid prays, "Quicken me in Your judgment," as if he left it to infinite prudence to select its own methods. He did not pretendto say what was the best way, but left himself in God's hands, only praying, "Lord, quicken me." Let us consider the variousmethods by which the Lord can quicken His people. Usually He does it by His Word. "Your Word has quickened me."
There are promises in God's Word of such effectual restorative power, that if they are but fed upon and their nutriment absorbedinto our nature, they will make a dwarf into a giant in the twinkling of an eye! And he who lies faint upon the ground andcannot move hand or foot shall mount upon the wings of eagles, and run and not be weary, if but one Word out of the mouthof God is applied to him by the Spirit. Sometimes, however, God uses other instruments,
such as affliction. It is wonderful how a little touch of the spur will quicken our sluggish natures! God has ways and meansof touching our flesh and bone and rendering sleep an impossibility in more senses than one. Personal affliction is like atonic medicine, by which our relaxed energies are strung up again-but to this end it must be sanctified, or it will fail.Blessed be God for a flick of His whip! We might else have stumbled in our sleep and fallen. It does good to such sorry jadesas we are. I pray that some of you may get a touch of it, for you are dull enough. Just a touch now and then does all of usgood and rest assured we shall have it, too, if we do not keep awake without it, for God loves us too well to withhold Hispaternal rod.
At the same time, He can quicken us by great mercies. A man may be stirred up to diligence by a sense of gratitude to Godfor great mercies. I grant you it does not always have that effect, but it ought to. Oh, if our hearts were right, it wouldbe sweet to say, "Here is another mercy, another favor from God, this binds me with another cord to His service. I will loveHim more and devote myself more intensely to His work." Christian example, too, sometimes stirs us up. I believe the readingof holy biographies has been exceedingly blessed of God. The life of such a man as M'Cheyne, or the diary of Brainerd, orthe story of Whitfield's ministry-such things make us think, "What are we? What are we living for?" Put microscopes upon oureyes and yet we can hardly see ourselves, we are so little-we are as grasshoppers in their sight-yes, we are as grasshoppersin our own sight. This stimulates us.
On the other hand, if you fall in with a number of idle dolts of professors, as sometimes you do, your indignation at themwill help to excite you to zeal, or it ought to do so. We have known some who have said, "I am superior to these, at any rate,"and therefore congratulating themselves they have gradually sunk down to the same ignominious level. But in a true heart thesluggishness of others is a spur to greater exertion, for such a man says, "Is my Master served in such a beggarly manneras this? Then will I serve Him with all my heart, to make up for the lack of service in others."
It is said that Augustus Caesar was once asked to a feast by one of his subjects, but the attendance was so dilatory, andthe feast so meager, that he rose in disgust and said he supposed he was invited to be honored, but he had discovered thatit was intended to insult him. Truly in many a congregation of Christians-yes, even of our own denomination- the worship ofGod is done in such a mean, stingy, dead-and-alive way that it seems as if Christ were asked to the assembly to be insultedrather than to be honored! Verily such treatment of our Lord is enough to make us weep tears of blood and then drive us onwardto a service unparalleled in these frigid days!
Doubtless, too, a warm-hearted ministry has much to do with quickening us and if we have a choice of ministries in any place,we should select not that which tickles the ear most, but that which most enlivens the heart. If there are two ministriesto be had, one of which is highly rhetorical and exceedingly pleasing to the intellect, but the other, though lacking in thesepoints, nevertheless appeals to our conscience, arouses our heart, feeds us with spiritual meat and incites to higher degreesof sanctity-choose that one-for it is the ministry which God approves.
Under God's blessing, every one of our Divine Graces may become a means of enlivening us. For instance, our faith, as it believesthe great things of God, will be sure to arouse us. Our hope, as she looks forward to the bright reward, will cause us tolabor where otherwise we should have fainted. And love, which is the fore-horse of the team, will draw us to serve Christwith might and main. True love to Jesus, if it comes to a great vehemence, will quicken the entire spiritual Nature and thenwill the prayer be answered, "Quicken me." Thus, Brothers and Sisters, you see God has both gentle and rough means of quickeningus, but for my part if He will but quicken me, I will make no bargain with Him-let Him do it as He wills. Do what You willwith me, my Lord, only keep me from being lukewarm, coldhearted, dead and alive. Do make me to be all on fire for You!
Remember, Beloved, that this is a promised blessing. David says, "Quicken me according to Your Word." You will find that thoughtrepeated in the Psalm. It is a blessing to be pleaded for, for in a former verse David says, "Quicken me in Your righteousness,"as if he felt that God would not be righteous, would not be keeping His promise if He did not quicken him. This is a blessingwhich is always a token of God's loving kindness wherever it comes. Look at the 88th verse and the 159th, and you will findthem both saying, "Quicken me after Your loving kindness."
III. Our text DESCRIBES THE SPHERE OF RENEWED VIGOR. "Quicken me in Your way." I have no business to ask God to quicken mein my own way-no right to ask Him to quicken me merely that I may enjoy myself religiously, or be thought to be a very eminentChristian-or be able to sit down and contemplate my own beauties and perfections with self-complacency.
Somebody once said to a Christian man, "Pray, what faith have you?" Said he, "I have none to boast of." If you see a fellowwho has not a sixpence to bless himself with, if he chances to possess an imitation diamond ring, how careful he is to showit. See how he always puts out his finger to let you see it! But he who is worth his millions never thinks of displaying hisgewgaws in that fashion. He that has merely a name to be religious is sure to advertise it, but he who is rich towards Godis the very man who thinks himself poor, and cries out, "Lord quicken me!"
Now, what is the path in which we require to be quickened? First, it is in the way of duty in common life. Am I a father-quickenme to bring up my children aright. Am I a housewife-Lord quicken me that my duties at home may be discharged as in Your fear.Am I a servant or master-Lord, quicken me. I have my temptations in my daily calling- quicken me to stand against them. AndI have also my daily opportunities for serving You-quicken me to make use of them.
It means next, "Quicken me in sacred activity." Am I a preacher? Lord help me to preach with all my might and with all Yourmight, too. Am I a teacher in a school? Lord grant that I may not go to sleep over my children, but may win their souls, beingblest by You with the earnestness which impresses youthful minds. Have I any other work to do? Am I a deacon or elder of theChurch? Let me be so ardent in piety that my fellow members may be excited by my zeal. You have all some work to do for Christ-Ihope you have. If you have not, go home and begin. But if you are doing your work, I know your prayer must be, "Quicken mein Your way."
Did not David mean, again, quicken me in the way of patient suffering? I must not forget that there are some whose servicefor Christ is more honorable even than the service of the worker, but who are very apt to think that Christ considers themuseless. Oh dear Brothers and Sisters, are you called to suffer bodily pain? Your work is to bring forth the inexpressiblysweet fruit of patience! Go and pray, "Quicken me in Your way." You know the story about poor Betty, who said the Lord hadcalled her to do this and that while she was well, but now, "The Lord has said, 'Betty, go and lie on that bed and cough,'" and she said, "I will do it for His sake." May you rejoice in the Lord's will even if it causes you to pine, to cough andto die! Not even the song of the angels is more sweet to God's ear than the resignation and patience which are to be foundin the hearts of the sons and daughters of affliction. But you will need great Grace for this, my Sister. You will need astrong inner life for this, my Brother-therefore pray, "Quicken me in Your way."
And the same is true of the way of hallowed worship. We need to be quickened there, quickened in private prayer, quickenedin public prayer, quickened in our family devotion, quickened in our reading the Scriptures, quickened in our contemplationsof Divine love, quickened in all forms of worship. We require to be quickened in our growth in Grace, in humility, in patience,in hope, in faith, in love, in every good gift. Especially we need to be quickened in communion with our God. Then let uspray the prayer, "Quicken me in Your way."
IV. Lastly, the connection of our text DENOTES THAT THERE MAY BE SPECIAL REASONS AND SPECIAL
SEASONS FOR THIS PRAYER. Just observe it. Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity, and, "Quicken me in Your way." You seethe connection of the prayer? David is exposed to a temptation-the temptation reaches him through his eyes-he prays God toturn his eyes away from it and then as a cure for the evil he says, "Quicken me." Brethren, are you never fascinated by asin? Whenever you have been conscious of that diabolical fascination it has been time to cry, "Quicken me in Your way." Isee I am weaker than I thought I was, Lord. I was carried away with anger when I thought I had gained a quiet temper at last.Lord, I found my heart going after an evil which I thought I had no relish for. Give me more Grace, Good Master. "Quickenme in Your way."
A fit time for this prayer is a season of great affliction. The 107th verse teaches us that. "I am afflicted very much: quickenme, O Lord, according to Your Word." Times of great temptation of spirit and trial of soul should be seasons for praying thatGod would give us extraordinary Grace. When we have been confessing past sloth we should pray for Grace to resist it in thefuture. If God at this time should convince any of us that we have not done 1/10th of what we ought to have done and thatwe have been living at a distance from the love of Christ, then the prayer should arise, "Quicken me in Your way."
Are we just now called to some extraordinary service? Does the Lord lay upon us a heavy burden for His name? Do not let usshirk it, or say, "I cannot do it." No, "Lord, quicken me!" Give me more Grace and then I shall be equal to any emergency,for as my days my strength shall be. This prayer is very suitable to the members of this Church because at this time we haveseen so many of the good and excellent among us taken away. It scarcely seems as if the Lord would leave us
any. During the last few months He has continued to sweep away one and another from us, and this week another valuable Brotherhas been borne to the tomb. Surely everyone remaining should say, "Lord, quicken me!" Grant that I may live so that if I amalso soon to be removed I shall have finished my course and have fought the fight right through and gained the crown whichGrace has promised.
Perhaps within the course of another week this black upon my pulpit may wear a third significance, as it has a double onealready. From which of us shall it derive its third meaning. Do I stand here to preach in feebleness my last sermon to you?Do my beloved Church officers sit around me for the last time? And have I here members of this fellowship who are now, uponthis last occasion, gathered for united worship? Brethren, it may be so! Then let us pray for quickening, that we may livewhile we live and waste no precious moment of our scant earthly existence! The needs of our Church are very great. If I stoodin a harvest field and saw that the crop needed to be ingathered, and that a laborer was working in it till he fainted againand again-and if I saw him in great feebleness grasping the sickle, impelled by a brave spirit which kept him to his work-Ithink I should pray, "Lord, help me to reap, too. Help me to go into that mass of standing corn and reap, too, for I see Yourservant overworked with service."
My fellow Servants, bought with the same blood, the harvest truly is plenty but the laborers are few! I entreat you, by theblood and wounds of Him who bought you, let not a single one turn away but rise up and serve God with heart and soul and strength!Ah, we shall soon have to give account for all these things. Within a few short weeks or months we shall stand before HisJudgment Seat whose eyes of fire shall read us through and through! We shall then be called to account for these ungodly oneswho sit with us this day! Can we answer for their souls? We are a great Church in a great city and multitudes are dying withoutknowing Christ-if we do not give them all the help and instruction we can- how shall we answer for it?
If standing in this pulpit to preach to crowds I do not stir my soul and preach earnestly, how shall I answer for it? Whenblood shall be upon these skirts in the day of judgment-the crimson of souls damned through my indolence- how shall I answerfor it? Great God, forbid that it should ever be! But it may be so with you as well as with me-each one according to his responsibilityand position. I again entreat you by every name that can tell upon your hearts and arouse your consciences-pray to God toquicken you to an ardor of love and an intense diligence of service for His dear and precious name!
Ah, some of you I cannot ask to offer this prayer. I have told you why. Dead Souls, how can you pray for life? But I willask God's people to pray for you and I will pray for you-that the Gospel which I am commanded to preach even to the dead insin may come with power to your souls. Here it is: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved! He that believes notshall be damned." The Lord lead you to obey the Word! Amen.