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gospel. Among other means of obtaining spiritual blessings, and growth in holiness, they prayed, and doubtless with fervency and in faith; but they seem to have done so without those special injunctions, and without so plain and explicit assurances of success, as the believer finds in the pages of the New Testament.

The gospel, then, places believers on vantage-ground, much higher than believers enjoyed anterior to those fuller revelations, made by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Our spiritual wants are, as it were, drawn out, and spread before us; so that the believer cannot innocently be ignorant of them. And, moreover, specific directions are given how, and upon whom, to call for spiritual gifts and graces; and promises and assurances are made, calculated to inspire the most timid with confidence.


A second advantage, which the Christian enjoys over the saints of the earlier revelation, is, that he may ask in the name of Jesus Christ. "Ask," says he, 66 in my name." "Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name.' That the ancient saints were accepted through the future propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, and that they had the "spirit of faith" in a suffering savior to come, is manifest; but it is equally clear that they did not pray in the name of Jesus; nor, up to this moment, had the disciples themselves. They had gone out, indeed, and preached in Christ's name; and had been commissioned to heal the sick, cleanse lepers, and raise the dead; and, returning, they had announced to Jesus that even the devils were subject to them. But as his atonement was not complete till he had hung upon the cross, its full merit could not be pleaded till after that event. Then the disciples, and all the followers of Jesus, in after years, were to ask in his name. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you?" As if he had said, "When you go to the door of mercy, and knock, make use of my name, and you shall

gain admission. Make it known that you belong to me, and my Father will treat you as belonging to him. Make it known that there is a mutual affection, a close and indissoluble friendship subsisting between us, and my Father will take you into his favor, to his heart. Tell him that my name is dear to you, and it will endear you to him; so endear you, that, ask what you will—the forgiveness of your sins, adoption into his family, the sanctification of your nature, the riches of his grace-all, all he will give you; I am so beloved by him, that, for my sake, he will refuse you nothing."

"Now, what a vast acquisition was this to the wealth of devotion! By empowering his people to employ the argument of his name, he is, in so far, placing the fund of his merit at their disposal. He affords them the profound satisfaction of bringing it into the presence of God, and using for themselves the very same plea which he employs for them; he is, in effect, pleading for them by their own lips, as well as by his own, and thus multiplying the voice and power of his intercession. By investing them with this privilege, he is virtually clothing them with priestly vestments, placing them by his side at the altar, and putting in their hands a censer filled with incense like his own.'


In this connection, it may be added, that Christ pledges himself to act in behalf of his disciples as their personal intercessor. "I will pray the Father for you." This was a new revelation; an announcement and an assurance never before imparted to believers; a power and a resource, of which past ages had been ignorant; or, if patriarchs and prophets had had some conjectures of this tenor, they were too faint to impart strength and animation to their devotions. Nor, in point of fact, could Christ have been such an intercessor before, as after, his death. From and after that momentous event, his residence-as God-Man-Mediator-was to be in

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heaven. There he was to reside, as the victorious Son of God; the conqueror of those powerful enemies of man, sin, Satan, and death; as one who had actually "traveled in the greatness of his strength; and, by the shedding of his blood, had purchased a people for himself." "The merit of his death would no longer be prospective, but actually existing;

fund of infinite value and inexhaustible resource, which he had created for them, and which, like incense and an acceptable memorial, would continually ascend to God in their behalf. He himself would be on the throne with the Father, and would personally attend to their interests. He would bear them on his heart; he would receive their supplications from off the wings of faith and love, and, mingling with them the merit of his sacrifice, he would present them to God. Thus, by proclaiming himself our intercessor, he would have us to know, that the entire merit of all that he did is contained as incense in his golden censer, that he might offer it up with the prayers of his people. Our prayers, then, in their ascent to the throne of God, mingle and blend with the ascending incense of his merit; our voice, before it reaches the ear of God, falls in and blends with the voice of him whom the Father heareth always. So that, in pledging himself to intercede in our behalf, he is, in effect, assuring us of the certainty of our success."

What an encouragement is thus presented to Christians to pray!-far, very far, beyond what the ancient believer possessed. A power, a purchase upon the throne, has been placed at their disposal, of surpassing and incomprehensible value. Reader! if you are Christ's, you have an all-sufficient, almighty advocate with the Father; one whom you know; one who invites your confidence; who solicits the management of your cause, and who has power with God.

"I will pray the Father for you." Had such an announcement been made to the patriarchs and prophets of old, what an impulse would it have given to their devotions! What

fervor and importunity to their prayers! The hope of success animates our efforts; assurance of it, secures it. The intercession of Christ-one of the most wonderful revelations in the whole divine record-is a verity, which we are not permitted to doubt: a truth, which we may appropriate and employ to our largest desire; and, in virtue of which, we may make ourselves the constant and importunate clients of the Great Advocate. How poor then soever our cause may be in itself, with an advocate who knows so well how to manage it with an intercessor of such exalted merit to urge its acceptance-so far from distrusting the issue of our prayers, “we may feel that the footstool is our only place of safety and hope; that, if danger impend, a sure way to avert it; or, if pardon and life be needed, a direct means to insure them, is to pray in the name of Jesus; making him, at the same time, by our faith and reliance, our advocate and friend."

In ev'ry dark, distressful hour,
When sin and Satan join their power,

Let this dear hope repel the dart,
That Jesus bears us on his heart.

Great Advocate! Almighty Friend!
On thee our humble hopes depend;
Our cause can never, never fail;
For thou dost plead, and must prevail.

But the revelations of Jesus, on this subject, are not yet exhausted. I may add, therefore, that as a higher encouragement to the devotions of Christians, Jesus assures them that he will himself answer their supplications. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." To authorize them to ask in his name, and to assure them of his intercession for them, might seem enough. But, if enough for them, it was not enough for the full and overflowing love of Jesus. He designed to roll up,

and magnify the riches of his grace. He would no longer allow the question to be raised, whether prayer was to be answered. Nay, such assurances he designed to give, that the most timid might have boldness of access; and that every one, who did pray fervently and importunately, should be able to say, exulting in the large and liberal blessings obtained: "Hear what the Lord hath done for me.” "That the same being should undertake, both to present and to answer their petitions, both to intercede for them and to confer the blessings sought, may appear incompatible; but the offices, though distinct, are perfectly consistent. In his conduct at the altar, we behold the intercessor; and, in his conduct on the throne, we behold the result of his intercession; having become the medium of prayer from man to God, he is rewarded by being made the medium of blessing from God to man; the intercessor for human penury, is constituted the almoner of infinite bounty; he is called from the altar of incense, to ascend and dispense, from the throne of God, the blessings which he has sought for us."

One other advantage remains to be noticed; but it is one which may be said, perhaps, to form the climax of all the rest, viz: the promise of the Holy Spirit. Under the Jewish dispensation, only a limited measure of this gift, a mere earnest of this spirit, had been enjoyed. The full bestowment of that gift was reserved to the era when Jesus, ascending to his throne, should be "glorified," and should claim the gift, which he had purchased, to pour it down upon his people.

It is a noticeable fact, that the disciples were engaged in prayer, at the very time of the first great effusion of the Spirit. That glorious Agent had, indeed, been promised; and they were to tarry in Jerusalem, till that promise concerning his advent was fulfilled. But they must pray for his coming; and only in answer to prayer would he come. They did pray, and he came came suddenly-came with great power. And what was the result?

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