Without Me, Ye can do Nothing

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jw

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An excellent meditation from the Reverend Andrew Gray as we approach the Lord in worship on His holy day (Works, pp. 219-220):

If the faith of that saying, which is in John 15:5, "Without me ye can do nothing," were more deeply engraven and stamped upon the tables of our hearts, we would be walking alongst our pilgrimage with the sentence of death in our bosom, and have our confidence fixed on him above; for there is not only an inability in ourselves to do any thing, but also we are clothed with a woeful impossibility, as that word doth hold forth, without me ye can do nothing. And certainly, the lower we descend in the thoughts of our strength, we are the more fit to receive this divine influence from him, by which we are capacitated and rendered able for the doing of every duty.​

We must likewise make use of Jesus Christ in all our approaches unto God, as one before whom all our prayers must be accepted before him. The sacrifices of Judah cannot come up with acceptance upon that golden altar before the throne, except they be presented by him who is that great Master of request; this is clear from Rev. 8, whereby the angel that is spoken of there, we understand to be the messenger of the covenant; and by that incense, we understand the merits of Jesus Christ, who is that precious veil that is spread over these sinful imperfections of our duties, which they must be mixed with, before they be an acceptable savour unto God. O! how doth he abominate and abhor all our prayers, if they [lack] this precious ingredient, that sweet-smelling incense—the merits of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ! It is he that doth remove all these rovings, and vain impertinences, of ours, that we have in the exercise of that duty, and doth present them in a more divine frame and contexture. He reduces them in a few words, and makes them more effectual for the obtaining of our requests.​

If the consideration of this were more with us, O! how would it make Jesus Christ more precious in our eyes? As likewise, it would discover unto us a more absolute necessity in having our recourse to him in all our approaches to God: such is the depth of the unsearchable grace of Christ, and of his infinite love towards sinners, that the voice of complaining on them was never heard in heaven. Christ never spake evil, but always good, of believers before his Father, notwithstanding he hath oftentimes spoken reproofs to themselves; that is clear from John 17:8, where, giving an account of the carriage and practice of his disciples unto his Father, he doth exceedingly commend their faith and their carriage towards him, and saith, They have received me, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me: and yet, in John 14:1, he doth challenge their unbelief; the one speech he directeth to God his Father, and the other he directeth to them. Love, in a manner, doth silence all the noise of complaints with him, and maketh him always breathe out love in his expressions of them before the throne. He will be whiles speaking roughly to believers here to themselves, but, to say it with reverence to his blessed Name, he never telleth any ill tale of them behind their backs.​
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
What a good and true word this is—"without me, ye can do nothing." Anything and all that I have credited to my account is of Him alone who loved me and gave himself to die for me that am but dust and ashes. I stand amazed, or more accurately dazed at the thought that I was then, and am now the joy of his loving heart. Would to God that I indeed was nothing—that I was as dead as the clay he so lovingly is making into something beautiful. But alas, I am in myself more than nothing, for I am a substance of well-nigh infinite evil. One enormous mass of sin and contradiction to depths that even my most profound times of self-knowledge and loathing cannot reach the bottom. There is in this life simply no end to the remaining corruption that still clings to this body of death. Yet from that depth I look up and and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto [me] at the revelation of Jesus Christ; who shall change [my] vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. So we wait for the Day when we shall know even as we are known for we will see him as he is. Then his joy and our joy will be fulfilled and grow throughout all eternity.
Isaiah 25:9
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us:
this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

I am, and we are, black, but comely.
 
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