by James Smith, 1860
We cannot expect all the Lord's people to think exactly alike, or feel exactly alike, nor act exactly alike. Our degrees of knowledge differ; our views influence our feelings, and our feelings affect our practice. Yet it is desirable, that in reference to God's truth, and our duty towards each other — that we should be as much like-minded as possible. On this — our peace, our harmony, and our union depends. The Apostle felt this, and therefore he uttered his ardent desire for his brethren at Rome thus, "May the God of patience and consolation, give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6. What a beautiful representation is here given of our Covenant God and Father, how encouraging to us in approaching the throne of grace.
"The God of patience," who is himself possessed of infinite patience, so that he can bear with us, and notwithstanding much that is amiss in us, bless us. How patient has our God been with us in the past, both as individuals, as families, and as communities! How patiently he bore with us in the days of our unregeneracy, and how patiently has he borne with us since! Not only so — but he works patience in us by his Spirit, and deepens, strengthens, and increases it, by sanctifying our various afflictions, trials, and troubles.
"The God of consolation," who comforts those who are
cast down. Who has . . .
sympathy for sufferers,
comfort for troubled hearts, and
salvation for perishing souls.
From him alone, can true consolation flow. He has laid a firm foundation for consolation in his word, and opened a fountain of consolation in his Son; and having provided consolation for us, watches over us, and in our deepest sorrows imparts consolation to us. Blessed forever be his name, he has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. What an endearing view is this of our gracious God — he has patience to bear with us, and consolation to impart to us.
May he grant unto us, to be like-minded with himself, and with his spiritual and holy people, that we may patiently bear with each other's weaknesses and failings, and endeavor by every means to comfort and console one another. May we be like our God, who has devised means to comfort us, and watches for opportunities to impart comfort to us. And may Christ Jesus be our pattern, who sought not to please himself — but devoted himself to seek the happines of his Church. Who laid aside his glory, humbled himself, and became a pattern of humility and forbearance to all his followers. Who prayed for his murderers, pitied the weakness of his disciples, and even looked Peter into penitence and love. The Lord alone can make us like-minded with himself and his beloved Son, he alone can give us grace to approve and practice the precepts of his holy word.
Our one grand object should be, that God "may be
glorified." This is God's highest end in all he does, or permits to be done,
and it should be our highest end too. God is glorified when the members of
his Church are like-minded, when they see alike, or if they do not
see alike — yet feel alike. When they observe his commands, strive
for each other's peace and comfort, and meet in harmony to . . .
talk of his dealings,
publish his truth, and
celebrate his praise.
O for grace that we may glorify God for his mercy! O to realize, that we are never in a right gospel spirit — but when we are seeking God's glory, in union with our brethren's benefit! The indulgence of a narrow, intolerant spirit — is sinful, highly sinful, it robs God of his honor, and the church of her right. A spirit of pride and self-importance is contrary to the gospel, and is sure to create trouble, both in the experience of the party, and in the church with which we are connected. A believer can have no greater plague, or a greater source of discomfort — than a high opinion of his own knowledge, attainments, and rights; for there will be sure to be some Mordecai, who will not bow down to him: "When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing down or paying him homage — he was filled with rage!" Esther 3:5
May the Lord then, grant unto his people:
oneness of mind in doctrine, experience, and practice;
much genuine humility, which will lead us to esteem others before ourselves;
a sweet spirit of earnest, constant prayer;
and much patience and consolation, that with one mind and one mouth we may glorify God.
If ever there was a day in which unity was desirable, it
is this; if ever there was a time when patience and forbearance were
necessary, it is now. If ever God is to be glorified by his church in this
world — it must be by our becoming like-minded, and imitating our Lord Jesus
Christ. O that the breaches of the church were healed! O that we were all
little in our own eyes! O that we lived . . .
not to gratify our appetites,
not to indulge our lusts,
not to amass wealth,
not to get name and fame;
but simply to . . .
spread abroad the truth of God,
extend the kingdom of the Lord Jesus,
bring sinners to repentance,
make our fellow believers happy, and
to the utmost of our ability glorify God.
God of patience — make us patient, that we may bear reproach, suffer insult, endure pain, and work hard, with an uncomplaining spirit! O for patience to carry our cross, do our work, and wait and watch, for the coming of the Lord Jesus.
God of consolation — comfort us in all our tribulations, in all our privations, and in all our sufferings for Christ's sake!
O to be happy!
Happy, in fellowship with God;
happy, because employed by God;
happy, in the prospect of being forever with, and forever like God!
O to be like-minded with Christ, in the world, the family, and the Church!
O to be humble, as Jesus was, that we may think rightly of ourselves, and rightly of each other!
O to be filled with love — brotherly love — so that we may live in love, and realize a union with all who are united to Jesus!