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merit of not being an extortioner, unjust, or an adulterer, he could not claim not to be a proud, vain, boastful hypocrite.
If we now turn to contemplate the publican, the contrast is striking and delightful. “ The sacrifices of God are a broken heart, and a contrite spirit;" and such is the sacrifice offered by the publican. He expresses the deepest penitence by what he does, and by what he says. "He stands afar off.” The Pharisee had advanced to the side of the court nearest the temple, as if that more honorable and conspicuous place belonged to him. But the publican occupies a position on the opposite side, as far as possible from the temple. He feels unworthy to approach near to the place where God has his holy habitation. The consciousness of guilt also prevents him from “raising his eyes to heaven." But his heart ascends, and with it "a godly sorrow," most acceptable to God. Moreover, he “smites upon his breast,” in token of a holy indignation against himself for his many transgressions, and as an expression of his anguish on account of them.
Such were the preliminaries of the prayer which he proceeds to offer. It was short. “Fear and shame," says an old divine, “hindered him from saying much; sighs and groans swallowed up his words; but what he did say was to the purpose :” “God be merciful to me a sinner.” How different from the language of the Pharisee! Sin!—he had none to confess. Mercy!—he had no occasion to ask it. He was rich and full; pure and worthy. What should he confess? What need he implore? But the publican feels guilty, and most unworthy; he feels condemned, and sues for pardon : “Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee!"
Would we pray so as to be accepted of God? Let us shun the vain-glory and offensive ostentation of the Pharisee: let us imitate the sincere humility, and the deep and fervent repentance of the publican: let us cry, as did the Psalmist; and then shall we be able to rejoice as he rejoiced, and praise as he praised.
O God of mercy, hear my call!
My load of guilt remove;
That bars me from thy love.
Give me the presence of thy grace;
Then my rejoicing tongue
And make thy praise my song.
PARTING DIRECTIONS OF JESUS CHRIST.
And 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. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide
with you for ever.-John xiv. 13-16. That whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he may give it you.—John
xv. 16. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, What
soever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name : ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. At that day, ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you.—John xvi. 23–26.
1 It was
THE sun had descended behind the mountains which were round about Jerusalem;" and even the last rays of twilight were fading from the spires of her lofty edifices, as Jesus and his twelve disciples were entering an upper room of a house in one of the streets of the “Holy City.” a solemn and interesting occasion; being the last interview which he should enjoy with them prior to his crucifixion. On this account, doubtless, they seemed dearer to him than ever. He, therefore, took the opportunity presented by the observance of the Passover, to say some things to them. which he had reserved to the present time, but which, now, on the eve of his separation from them, it was expedient for
them to know. He wished, also, to draw them nearer than ever to his heart; to unbosom to them his inmost love, and thus to prepare them for the pang of parting with their Lord, which he knew was just at hand.
They were soon seated at the table, where, having celebrated the Passover, he instituted the Supper, designed to take the place of that divine and most significant rite, and which was to continue, in all time to come, as a memorial of his love.
“Do this,” he cried, “till time shall end,
While thus engaged, he announced to them his speedy return to his Father. But, lest the annunciation should fill them with sorrow and apprehension, he followed it with the most kind and consolatory assurances.
“He sought to prepare them for the approaching trial, by showing them that, though he died, he died with them on his heart.” going; but it was to his Father, and their Father—to his God, and their God. Indeed, it was most expedient for them that he should go. They would meet with trials and tribulations; but, if he went, he would prepare a place for them, and, in due time, call them home to himself. Meanwhile, he would send the Spirit-long promised, long looked for-who should comfort them, support and animate them; who would communicate to them truths of inestimable value to themselves and the world; and who would carry on, and complete within them, the work of sanctification.
Nor were they to imagine that intercourse between them and himself was here to terminate. He should, indeed, see them no more in the flesh; but he would come to them, and his Father also, and make their abode with them. And, in addition to all these considerations—calculated to mitigate
their sorrows, and to inspire them with joy-he had blessed truths to announce to them, in relation to another mode of intercourse with the earth and himself, viz: prayer.
" Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name." Up to this time, they had not besought God through him, as the Mediator, but they had directly applied to him. But, now, he announces to them the new and animating truth, that, from and after his crucifixion, their requests were to be made to God in his name. Immediately following that event, “I will see you,” says he, v. 22; “and in that day,” or from that time,
ye shall ask me nothing,” but ask the Father in my name.
“At that day," and forward, "ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you.” In several instances, he had said he would pray for them : indeed, he had, on this point, given them already such assurances, that further declarations were unnecessary. "I do not say I will pray for you :" there is no need of my repeating this assurance; and, besides, the Father himself loves you so well, that whatever you shall ask, he will grant you for my sake, and because of your love
Such was the valedictory discourse of the Redeemer to his disciples, touching their future intercourse with the Father and himself, by means of prayer. And there is not, and there never was, any thing more tender and appropriate, in all the annals of time. Jesus here pours out his whole soul. He opens
the bosom of Infinite Love. He gives assurances of the most friendly and animating character. When he had gone up, after his crucifixion, his disciples understood the full import of his gracious words and promises: and they animated them through all their after-trials; in stripes—in imprisonments-in perils by land, and perils by sea-through life, and in death itself.
These directions and assurances of Jesus were not designed to be limited to his disciples, to whom they were
originally addressed, but to extend, in all their significancy and value, to such as “ should believe on his name.” Jesus is, at this present time, an Advocate and Intercessor in behalf of his people, and will so continue till the work of redemption closes. What a blessed annunciation! What an encouragement to those who feel that their cause is weak—and not only weak, but that they personally have no power to present it! Diffident disciple of Jesus! you have a strong cause, for your cause is the cause of Jesus; and you have a strong advocate, for he has assured you that he will plead for you; and, besides, the Father himself has set his love upon you, and is himself ready to grant your request. On what possible ground, then, can you fail ?
JESUS IN GETHSEMANE.
And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his dis
ciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done, &c.Luke xxii. 39–46.
DELIGHTFUL must have been that interview, which we have just done contemplating, between Jesus and his disciples. Doubtless it would have been pleasant to both, could it consistently have been prolonged. But Jesus knew that his hour was approaching. The Prince of Darkness was marshaling his forces. His betrayer had gone forth, and was gathering his assistants in the already-matured project of surrendering him to bigoted and vindictive rulers and priests.
Jesus, therefore, retired from the chamber; and, taking his course across the Cedron, invited his disciples to accompany