A Token for Good
James Smith, 1842
"Show me a token for good!" Psalm 86:17
How condescending is our God to such poor vile creatures
as we are! He . . .
stoops to notice us,
promises to hear our cries, and
is faithful to bestow blessings in answer to prayer.
How ignorant is man by nature, of where and in what true
blessedness is to be found. "How shall I be happy?" This is man's
question — but is never propounded to Him who can answer it, until God the
Holy Spirit . . .
quickens the soul,
enlightens the eyes,
and humbles the heart.
Then we come to ask, seek, and look for the things which make for peace; then we cry, with the Psalmist, "Show me a token for good!"
But will Jehovah, the high and lofty one who inhabits
eternity, He against whom we have sinned — condescend to grant us such a
request? Yes! To the glorious gospel the Spirit leads us, and there we see
God's token for good. There, in Bethlehem's manger, in Gethsemane's garden,
and on Calvary's hill — we see Jesus suffering and dying! And in seeing
Jesus, we see . . .
and Heaven opened.
In Jesus, all good centers; from Jesus, all good proceeds.
Do I wish to know whether Jehovah will receive, pardon,
and bless so vile a sinner as I? In Jesus, God stands pledged to receive all
who come, and to cast out none. Do I wish to know whether He will accept my
prayers and grant me blessings? In Jesus, God is engaged to give grace and
glory; and His sweet, encouraging, Jesus-like language is, "If any man
thirsts — let him come unto me and drink." Here then, in the glorious
glad tidings, Jehovah shows me a token for good — He shows me Jesus .
full of grace and truth,
full of merit and mercy,
full of power and love,
full of kindness and pity!
And showing me Jesus, He says, "I spared not my own Son — but delivered him up for your salvation, and with Him also I will freely give you all things. I gave Him for you when you were sinners, enemies, and hardened transgressors! I gave Him that you might live, be made holy, and happy!"
Can I desire a greater token? A greater cannot be given; but others are superadded! He gives His Holy Spirit to them who ask; He gives a good hope and everlasting consolation; He gives faith of divine origin; He gives sweet comfort, by — the light of His countenance, the application of His promises, the discoveries of Jesus to the soul, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the heart. These are tokens for good. They say that God is gracious, full of loving-kindness and tender mercies. They enable me to rejoice, glory, and triumph in His holy name. They endear Jesus, humble my soul, loosen my tongue, fix my affections, and cause me to cry out, "Truly the Lord is good to those who fear Him, to the souls that seek Him."
Are you then desirous of obtaining a token for good? a token that will assure your soul of Jehovah's favor, a saving interest in Jesus, and a right to all gospel blessings? Then seek earnestly, seek it in prayer at His throne of grace. He waits to be gracious — he loves to bestow — he is ready to forgive. And His words — his sweet, winning, heart-delighting, hope-begetting, doubt-scattering words — are, "Ask — and it shall be given you; seek — and you shall find; knock — and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him that knocks, it shall be opened." What can be more positive, definite, or sweet, than such an assurance, backed with such a powerful, overcoming, satisfying argument? Surely, surely, Jesus here says all He can say, to encourage, embolden, and animate us at His throne of grace.
O my soul, bless, bless and adore the dear, gracious, and condescending Jesus, for such sweet encouragement; and ever seek, with importunity, at His mercy-seat, a token for good in all your trials, troubles, and distresses.
And you who are doubting, desponding, and fearing, take courage, rise, He calls you; He says to you, "If you shall ask anything in my name — I will do it." He is faithful, He cannot deny Himself. Heaven and earth may pass away — but His words shall never pass away. Ask of Him then a token for good — and you shall receive.
Come, and He'll cleanse your spotted soul,
And wash away your stains,
In the dear fountain that His Son
Poured from His dying veins!
Great God! the treasures of your love
Are everlasting mines;
Deep as our helpless miseries are,
And boundless as our sins!