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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 42 - Luke 11:13 - How Much More! Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




How Much More!


     "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gjfts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"-Luke 11:13.



     The Bible is not only a revelation from God, but it is the revelation of God; of his mind, his heart, his whole character. It is given us for the purpose of leading us to place our trust in Him, drawing us to Him, removing our suspicions, rooting out the evil heart of unbelief. "They that know thy name will put their trust in thee"; "how excellent is thy loving-kindness, therefore the sons of men shall put their trust in the shadow of thy wings."

     Here the earthly parent and the heavenly parent are brought before us, for the purpose of shewing us the confidence which we ought to place in the latter. The argument rests on the natural confidence which the child has in its father's bountifulness; and runs thus, "If in spite of all the drawbacks arising from a naturally evil being, a narrow heart, and limited love, an earthly father is trusted; how much more should our heavenly Father be trusted, in whom there are no such drawbacks?"

     The argument of the whole passage turns on this. Ask, seek, knock! You shall not, cannot fail! If a son ask bread, will his father mock him by giving him a stone? That cannot be. If a fish, will he be so cruel as to give a serpent? Far more impossible! If an egg, will he present him with a scorpion? Much more impossible and incredible. No parent, however unnatural, would do any of these. If impossible with men, how much more so with God?

     There is here both a comparison and a contrast; a likeness and an unlikeness between the earthly and the heavenly; and it is on this that the argument of our text turns.

     The comparison is just this: If an earthly father will give his son what he asks, how much more our heavenly Father? For our heavenly Father is truly what his name indicates, "Our Father in heaven." That name is no figure when applied to him. The figure is all the other way. It is far more real when used in reference to Him than to any other. In all the others it is a figure, in Him it is real and literal. He has all a Father's heart and feelings; he made that heart, and knows what it is, and what is in it. That human heart is formed after the model of the divine. Our parental feelings tell us what his are; our yearnings shew us what his are. And then he knows, if one may say so, what are a father's responsibilities,-to provide for his own. He made us, and will He not support us? will He not bless us? As a father is the source of blessing to his children, so is God.

     But we have specially to mark the contrast or difference between the earthly and the heavenly parent. For the point of our text turns more especially on this. It is from this that we get the force of the "how much more."

     I. Earthly parents are feeble, He is almighty. He has all a father's ability, and far more. He is always full,-full to the uttermost; He can always afford to give, and is always able to do for us. His is the fullness of omnipotence. How irresistible the argument of our text!

     II. They are ignorant, He is wise. They do not know what, or when, or how to give. His mode of giving is wise; his skill is infinite. He commits no mistakes in giving. His is a wise giving; He knows our wants; He does not give at random.

     III. They are easily provoked, He is longsuffering. A father needs patience in dealing with his children; and love lends him patience. But his patience is not inexhaustible. It wears out. He is at times provoked. Not so with God. His patience is infinite. He can put up with affronts, and bear coldness; always ready to give when asked, whatever the past provocation be.

     IV. They are changeable, He changes not. Even the love of earthly fathers does not exempt them from frailty and caprice. They are fickle; giving and refusing according to their mood or temper. He changes not. His feelings, his mode of acting and giving remain the same; without variableness or shadow of turning.

     V. They are often perplexed, He is never at a loss. Their resources are limited, and they sometimes know not what to do. He is not harassed or distracted by the number of petitions and petitioners; never bewildered, never at a loss, because of the variety of the wants of his vast family. He can give to each case as much attention as if He had no other to care for. His hand, his heart, his mind are large enough for all.

     VI. They are but imperfectly happy, He is the blessed One. Our giving depends much on the state of our minds at the moment. When depressed, we have no pleasure in giving; we either refuse, or we give merely to get quit of the applicant. Darkness of mind shrivels us up, makes us selfish, neglectful of others. When full of joy, giving seems our element,-our joy overflows in this way; we cannot help giving; we delight in applications; we seek opportunities of giving. So with the blessed God. Being altogether happy, his delight is to give; his perfect blessedness flows out in giving. We can never come wrongly to such an infinitely happy being. He teaches us by his own example, that it is "more blessed to give than to receive."

     VII. They cannot be always giving He can. His heart and his treasure are inexhaustible. Their past gifts are no pledges for future ones; his are; all his gifts; specially his beloved Son, We count upon the future because of the past. What will He not give!

     We have but to open the mouth; to stretch out the hand. There is no unwillingness on his part. All is love. Asking is not unnecessary; it is the expression of dependence, the attitude of creaturehood. But he loves to give,-freely,-to all. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace.