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A Particular Providence As Revealed in the Gospel
God beholds thee individually, whoever thou art. He 'calls the by thy name'. He sees thee, and understands thee, as He made thee. He knows what is in thee, all thy own peculiar feelings and thoughts, thy dispositions and likings, thy strength and thy weakness. He views thee in thy day of rejoicing, and thy day of sorrow. He sympathizes in thy hopes and thy temptations. He interests Himself in all thy anxieties and remembrances, all the risings and fallings of thy spirit. He has numbered the very hairs of thy head and the cubits of thy stature. He compasses thee round and bears thee in his arms; He takes thee up and sets thee down. He notes thy very countenance, whether smiling or in tears, whether healthful or sickly. He looks tenderly upon thy hands and thy feet; He hears thy voice, the beating of thy heart, and thy very breathing. Thou dost not love thyself better than He loves thee. Thou canst not shrink from pain more than He dislikes thy bearing it; and if He puts it on thee, it is as thou wilt put it on thyself, if thou art wise, for a greater good afterwards.... What is man, what are we, what am I, that the Son of God should be so mindful of me? What am I, that He should have raised me from almost a devil's nature to that of an Angel's? that He should have changed my soul's original constitution, new-made me, who from my youth up have been a transgressor, and should Himself dwell personally in this very heart of mine, making me His temple? What am I, that God the Holy Ghost should enter into me, and draw up my thoughts heavenward, 'with plaints unutterable?'
J. H. Newman.
The Presence of God
A poor Egyptian slave-girl, Hagar, spoke these words. Her life had become unendurable, and so she ran away into the wilderness, and an angel from God came to her and told her to return. Hagar's words teach us:
I. A lesson of God's watchful Providence. These words of Hagar are a special help to us:
a. When we are exposed to great temptations.
b. In any time of trouble or sorrow or struggle.
c. In time of prayer.
d. When we have to make difficult decisions in our life.
II. God's presence ought to be the great joy of our life here, as it will be in our life hereafter. Heaven is simply life in God's Presence, and the best preparation we can make will be to cultivate the recollection of that Presence now.
A. G. Mortimer, Stories from Genesis, p. 127.
References. XVI. 13. H. Ranken, Christian World Pulpit, 1890, p. 276. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii. No. 85; ibid. vol. xxxi. No. 1869. XVI. J. Parker, Adam, Noah, and Abraham, p. 129. XVII. 1. A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons, vol. i. p. 85. A. Martin, Penny Pulpit, No. 878. XVII. 1, 2. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv. No. 845; ibid. vol. xviii. No. 1082. XVII. 1-9. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Genesis, p. 117. XVII. 5. J. Morgan, Penny Pulpit, No. 382.
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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Genesis 16". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Sixth Week after Easter