To him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
I. CONSIDER THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT, WHICH THE APOSTLE MAKES, OF GOD'S ALL-SUFFICIENCY. God's ability intends not merely His power, but all those perfections which render Him a suitable object of our faith in prayer. It imports an exact knowledge of what our wants are, a ready disposition to supply them, wisdom to discern the proper time and manner of granting supplies, as well as power to effect whatever His wisdom sees best to be done.
1. God often does for men those favours which they never thought of asking for themselves.
2. God answers prayer in ways that we think not of. He will not always bestow the particular things which we ask, for we often mistake our own interest; but He will grant us things more valuable in themselves, or better adapted to our condition. Or, if He gives us the blessings in substance, He will send them in a more suitable time and manner, than we had proposed. I remember to have heard, on good authority, a remarkable story of an African, which will illustrate this thought. The poor man, in his own country, was led, by contemplation on the works of nature, to conceive that there must be, though invisible to him, a supreme, all-powerful, wise, just, and good Being, who made and governed the world. Impressed with this sentiment, he used daily to pray to this in, visible Being, that he might, by some means or other, be brought to a more distinct knowledge of Him, and of the service due to Him. While in this contemplative and devout state of mind, he, with a number of others, was treacherously and perfidiously taken by some of his own countrymen, and soon after was sold for a slave. Now his faith began to waver. "For," thought he with himself, "if there is such a just and good Being, as I have supposed, who governs the world, how is it possible that fraud and iniquity should be successful against innocence and integrity? Why are I and my fellow prisoners, who have acted with openness and simplicity, made to suffer, while our enemies are permitted to triumph in the success of their deceit and violence?" The poor fellow, after several changes of masters, was finally sold into a pious family in New England, where he was carefully instructed in the Christian religion, which he embraced with great appearance of sincerity and joy, and obeyed with exemplary diligence and zeal. And, in the relation of his story, he often made this pious reflection, that while he was perplexed to see the triumph of fraud over innocence, God was really answering his fervent prayers, and bringing him to the enjoyment of the means of religious knowledge and eternal salvation; that what he had thought was an objection against the justice of Providence, was really a wonderful and merciful compliance with his daily supplication.
3. The mercies which God is pleased to grant us, often produce happy consequences far beyond what we asked or thought,
4. The worth of the blessings which we ask and God bestows infinitely exceeds all our thoughts.
II. CONSIDER THE ASCRIPTION OF GLORY WHICH THE APOSTLE MAKES TO THIS ALL-SUFFICIENT GOD.
1. God is glorified by the increase of the Church.
2. God is glorified in the Church, when a devout regard is paid to the ordinances which He has instituted.
3. God is glorified by the observance of good order in the Church, and by the decent attendance of the members on their respective duties.
4. That God may be glorified, there must be peace and unity in the Church.
5. That glory may be given to God in the Church, there must be exemplary holiness in its members.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.