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This amazing change, this infinite consum- dread? According to Paul-nothing-for mation, will be accomplished by his agency he has abolished death. Yea-this is only -I "will raise him up at the last day." HE one part of your consolation. This is all "shall change our vile body, that it may be negative comfort. But remember, he has fashioned like unto his own glorious body, ac- turned the curse into a blessing: he has made cording to the working whereby he is able of the enemy a friend. Instead of robbing even to subdue all things unto himself." you, it relieves; it enriches-it is the making of you for ever.-TO DIE IS GAIN!
"His own soft hand shall wipe the tears,
From every weeping eye;
And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears,
Behold the recommendation of religion; by which I mean the religion of the Gospel; for there is no other that reaches the case of Let it not be said, but this is a future event; fallen man. The people of the world often and the Apostle speaks of the past--he has affect to despise Christians; but there are abolished death. His recompense is as cer- moments in which they really envy them. tain as his sufferings. Purpose and execution When conscience has a wakeful moment, and are the same with him. His promise is ful- they are led to reflect on the believer's final filment. One day with the Lord is as a thou- safety and privileges, they exclaim, with sand years, and a thousand years as one day. Balaam, "Let me die the death of the right"He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I eous, and let my last end be like his." And make all things new. And he said unto me, no wonder; for he alone is the happy man Write for these words are true and faithful. whose chief interest is provided for; who is And he said unto me, IT IS DONE. I am Alpha safe for the soul and eternity-not he who and Omega, the beginning and the end."- has health, but he who is prepared to lose it These reflections should relieve us in the-not he who prospers in life, bat he who has loss of pious connexions. And how many hope in death-not he who lays up treasure have bereaving dispensations constrained, in on earth, but he who in heaven has a better speaking of their relations, to look back and and an enduring substance-he who can say, say-I had a child—a parent-a wife-a hus- with Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, band! Who has lived a few years in this and that he shall stand at the latter day upon vale of tears, and not had reason to sigh, the earth: and though after my skin worms "Lover and friend hast thou put far from destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see me?" And is sensibility forbidden us? "Our God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine tears become us, and our grief is just."-Yet eyes shall behold, and not another; though may a departing saint say, with a dying Sa- my reins be consumed within me." Igno viour, "Weep not for me, but weep for your-rance may conceal from a man his danger: selves and for your children." Yes, we are wickedness may harden his heart against a objects of pity-not they. We who are still sense of it: vain reasonings may stupify the in the wilderness-not they who have enter-conscience with an opiate-but there is no ed the land of promise. We who are still in true victory over death but that which is the conflict-not they who have gotten the derived from the cross and grace of the Revictory. We who rise in the morning to deemer. Happy ye who are found in him! cares that corrode us, fears that alarm us, in- It is not presumption, but becoming confirmities that press us down-not they who fidence, in you, to dare every thing--and to have obtained joy and gladness, and whose triumph over all. Nay, in all things we sorrow and sighing are fled away. Did they are more than conquerors through him that die? No-death is abolished. loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Are they dead? No. Their spirits are now with God: and their "flesh rests in hope. | Lord.” He will not leave their souls in hell, neither To conclude. What then is the duty of a will he suffer his holy ones to see corruption" sinner? It is, to remember that it is appointfor ever. "I would not have you to be igno-ed unto men once to die, and after this the rant, brethren, concerning them which are judgment; that his breath is in his nostrils; asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others that if he leaves the world a stranger to the which have no hope. For if we believe that Lord Jesus, temporal death will only be the Jesus died and rose again, even so them also passage to eternal-but that there is hope in which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Israel concerning this thing: that God has him. Wherefore comfort one another with sent his only begotten Son into the world, these words." that we might live through him; that he came, not only that we might have life, but have it more abundantly-and that we cannot escape, if we neglect so great salvation.—It is, to
"Why do you mourn departing friends, Or shake at death's alarms?
'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,
To call them to his arm."
Again. Should not this subject raise the minds of Christians above the fear of dissolution? You dread it—but what is it you
pray, with Moses, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." It is, to "seek the Lord while he may be found, and to call upon him while he is near." All else, for creatures circumstanced like you, is folly or trifling. "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Say then-"I am mortal-yet an heir of eternity. Every breath I draw brings me nearer the hour when this world will recede from my view, and proclaim its vanity and vexation. Then, O solemn thought! these states of changeless existence will open on my view in all their tremendous grandeur and importance. Then, dreadful alternative! the glories of heaven, or the damnation of hell, will be my portion.-To which of these am I hastening? What am I? A sinner.What then is my doom? The wages of sin is death. But is there no escape? With the Lord there is mercy, and with him there is plenteous redemption.' O cheering hope! But is it for me? He came into the world to save sinners; he died for the ungodly; and why not for thee?-And can he save me? He is able to save to the uttermost. And will he save me? Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.' O heavenly intelligence! 'Tis a saying worthy of all acceptation-I am saved by hope-To the throne of grace will I flee-on the Friend of sinners will I rely-and in the exercise of faith, love, patience, and obedience, all the days of my appointed time will I wait'-till -it will be nothing more-till my change comes." Amen.
THE TWO INTERCESSORS. He ever liveth to make intercession for them. Heb. vii. 25. The Spirit itself_maketh intercession for us. Rom. viii. 27.
that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. If God had told us that we cannot walk on the sea, or flee in the air, we should have believed him, without risking life by experiment: but here-in declarations equally express, men are not content without trying whether his word will come to pass or not.And, were it not for the dreadfulness of the result, we should say " And let them try! But God will be true, and every man a liar!"" Another mode by which he destroys, is to separate what God has joined together; such as principle and practice; doctrine and duty; pardoning mercy and renewing grace: the water and the blood-for he came by water and blood; not by water only, or blood only, but by water and blood: these were not severed in their effusion from the cross, and they cannot be divided in their application to the soul. That man is not yet truly awakened and enlightened from above, who does not see and feel his equal need of
ONE of the ways-" for we are not ignorant of his devices," one of the ways, in which the enemy of souls destroys men, is by joining together what God has separated. Hence the alliance between the world and religion; and hence the awful declarations; "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not
the Saviour and the Sanctifier-the Son of God and the Spirit of God-the work of the one for him, and of the other in him.
To such a connexion I am going to lead you. For be it remembered, every Christian has two Advocates, two Intercessors; and they should be viewed relatively to each other. "Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for them. The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us." We have therefore three things in view. And,
I. Let us consider THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST. Dr. Owen, long ago, complained, and there is much truth in the remark, that we do not dwell enough, in our thoughts, on the present life of Christ: for he is living, not a life of glory only-though even this should delight those that love him; but a life of office. It was expedient for us that he went away. It was for our welfare that he ascended into heaven, as well as descended into the grave. He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Because he lives, we shall live also." "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
When our Saviour left our world, he ascended up far above all heavens; and frailty might have feared, that his concern for us would have ceased with his residence among us. When a friend is going far away, we sometimes painfully think of the proverb,
Out of sight out of mind." Men, as they rise, too commonly lose much of their recollection; and forget even those to whom they were under obligation before" Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him." But, says Paul, though Jesus the Son of God be passed into the heavens, "we have
not an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities." The ligature which unites us remains-and is all sensibility and life. Had we seen him as he was going up, we should have prayed, with the dying thief, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." And does he not? Yes; "he ever liveth to make intercession for us."
Volumes might be written on the subject; but we must be brief. It has been questioned whether this intercession be vocal. Why should it not? He is "clothed in a body like our own." Certainly the common reason assigned-that it would be inconsistent with his present dignity, is not valid. For do we not know that dignity is never injured by condescension?That true greatness is tender and sympathizing? That his goodness is his glory? Do we forget the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich?"-And that he does not give up the kingdom to God, even the Father, till he has put down all rule, and all authority, and power?
But, not to intrude into things which we have not seen, it is enough for us to know,
First. That his intercession is real. It consists in his personal appearance; in the presentation of his sacrifice, and claiming the benefits arising from it. Eschylus was strongly accused, and likely to be condemned. His brother Amyntas engaged to be his advocate. Amyntas had done much for the commonwealth, and in a certain action, in their service, had lost a hand. He came into the court. The court was uncommonly crowded; and all were eager to hear him plead on so interesting an occasion. But he said nothing-he only held up his dismembered arin!! The audience and the judges were so moved, as immediately to order his brother's release. It does not appear that the High Priest said any thing when he entered the holy place: but what he did, spake loud enough. He wore the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on his breast-plate; he took the blood of the slaughtered victim in a basin, and sprinkled the mercy-seat, and burned incense before the golden altar, and then came forth and blessed the people. Abel's blood spake to God from the ground; that is, it demanded vengeance: the blood of Jesus is equally vocal; but it speaketh better things than that of Abel-it calls for mercy. How did John see him in the vision? As a lamb that had been slain; that is, with the wound in the neck, and the blood on the wool. With out a figure he retains in his glorified body the marks of his sufferings and death. The saints and the angels behold them, and exclaim, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!" God views them, and says, "Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine in
heritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." So the Saviour said himself. THEREFORE “doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life for the sheep."
Secondly. It extends to all our important interests. We may look upon his prayer for his disciples, on the night in which he was betrayed, as a specimen of his continued intercession before the throne. And for what does he not there plead? Is it their preservation? "Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Is it their renovation? "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Is it their union? "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Is it their glorification? "Father, 1 will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may be hold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
Thirdly. It is successful. "I know,” says he, "that thou hearest me always." This conclusion is derivable from the grandeur of his character, and his nearness to God. He is called God's own Son, his only begotten Son, his dear Son, in whom his soul delighteth. It is derivable from the ground of his demand. By his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, he has rendered the communication of the blessings we need consistent with the truth, and righteousness, and law of God. It is derivable from Divine fidelity. He who is faithful to his saints, cannot be unfaithful to his Son: the joy that was set before him, as the recompense of his sufferings, he must possess. He "shall see his seed; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands. He shall see the travail of his soul and shall be SATISFIED."-To which we may add, the interest he feels in his people. What he asks on their behalf, he asks for himself; for they are one and "he is glorified in them."
II. Let us examine THE INTERCESSION OF THE SPIRIT: for the Spirit "itself maketh intercession for us."
In entering on this part of our discourse, it is necessary to observe, that, subjectively and instrumentally considered, religion is our own work: we run the race set before us; and fight the good fight of faith: we believe, and repent, and pray-But, owing to our natural ignorance, and weakness, depravity, and aversion, it is God that worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. To his Spirit, therefore, all our renovation is ascribed: we
are said to be "born of the Spirit;" to be
Let us see how this general reflection
as free as they are suitable. Particularly we see Jesus as the Mediator of the new covenant; as once suffering for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God; as the way to the Father-and "have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." Thus these words of the Saviour are fulfilled, "He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."
Finally. The Spirit renews our souls, removes our alienation from the life of God, and produces in us those principles and dispositions which cause us to delight in approaching him; and even to give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Thus our duty is converted into a privilege; and we find it too good to draw near to God ever again to restrain prayer before him.
First. The Spirit leads us to an acquaintance with ourselves. He removes the vail of ignorance and delusion that concealed our state, our wants, and our desert: and the man who once said, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, now sees, that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. He no longer denies his guilt; or palliates his offences; or goes about to establish his own righteousness: but, filled with self-abhorrence, condemnation, and despair, cries, "God be mer--but he revives their confidence by the apciful to me a sinner." For, plication of the blood of sprinkling: and brings them into the presence of God again as their Father and their Friend.
Here I would observe, That this influence is afforded us all through life, and is not confined to the commencement of a religious course: neither is it limited to persons of inferior attainments only-What says the Aposple? We know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. The wisest, if left to themselves, would often ask for scorpions, instead of fish-but he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God. The most zealous sometimes grow careless and formal--but he quickens their souls, when they cleave unto the dust. The holiest contract fresh guilt, and when they remember God, are troubled
Secondly. The Spirit fixes upon the mind a concern to be delivered and relieved, too great to be shaken off. Many persons are followed with some general notions of their being in an unconverted state; and feel some superficial apprehensions of the unhappiness and danger of such a condition: but they have no burden too heavy for them to bear; they are not weary, and heavy laden; they can sleep, and eat, and drink, and trade, and trifle, as well as before. But it is not so with the man whom God is bringing along to his footstool. He sows in tears. His sin is ever before him. Neither business, nor company, nor amusement, can ease the anguish of his broken heart; or divert him from the inquiry, "What must I do to be saved?"
Thirdly. The Spirit enables us to apprehend and believe the mercy and grace revealed in the Gospel. Hence arises a hope that maketh not ashamed. This hope enters the soul, as the sun does a garden in spring; calling forth, by a genial influence, the leaves and the buds, after the dreariness of winter. We are sweetly, yet powerfully, excited and encouraged to make known our requests unto God. We see that our case, however deplorable, is provided for; that all things are now ready; that the blessings we need are
Therefore, grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It would be, not only the vilest ingratitude, considering what he has done for you; but the greatest folly. How much, how entirely, do you depend upon his agencyyou cannot even pray without him--and what can you do without prayer? Would you grieve a friend, and induce him to give up his correspondence, and his visits; and constrain him to withhold his assistance, and to look another way, if he meet you in the road-when you every moment need his smiles and his aid?
Shall I also say, Beware that you do not abuse this encouraging truth? It is abused, when you neglect prayer till, you say, the Spirit moves you. For we are to stir up ourselves to take hold of God. We are to cry for aid, as the Church does: "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." By tacking about, the mariner gets wind-not by lying still. God helps us, not in the neglect-but in the use of means-" Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." The more dull and dead
we feel ourselves the more we need these exercises, which are appointed to help us; and which, for this very reason, are called the means of grace. And Christians well know what a change they have often experienced, even in the performance of the duty? They have kneeled down, dark, and cold, and contracted; but have risen up enlightened, and inflamed, and enlarged; and have exemplified the promise; "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."-Having considered the intercession of Christ, and explained the intercession of the Spirit, let us, III. View them IN THEIR RELATION TO
It is easy to distinguish these Intercessors. The one makes intercession above; the other below: one in the court of heaven; the other in the conscience. The one makes intercession for us, the other in us. The sanctifying Intercessor produces the petition; the atoning Intercessor introduces it: the one is the notary that indites the case; the other is the counsellor that pleads it before the jury and the Judge.
But there is a connexion between them; and it is threefold. First: a connexion of derivation. The one flows from the other. If the Son of God had not made intercession for you as a sinner, the Spirit itself would never have made intercession in you, as a believer. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: "that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Secondly: a connexion of dependence. The one needs the other. Is not the work of the Spirit pure and holy? Can that which he produces be imperfect and polluted! You must distinguish between the same work as it is his, and as it is ours. What comes from him is pure and complete; but as far as it is done by us it is defective and defiled, like water, which, however clear from the spring, rolling over a muddy bottom, or running through an impure channel, will be soiled and injured. Hence all need, as long as they are here, the continued mediation of the Saviour: and he is the great high priest over the house of God, for this very purpose, and offers with much incense the prayers of all saints. We need not be afraid to pray, since all our services pass through his hands, and he presents and perfumes them. Thirdly: a connexion of evidence. The one proves the other. As to some of you, how long have you been praying, "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation? Show me a token for good, that I may rejoice in thee? What happy beings would you go away at the end of this exercise, if you could ascertain one thing: namely,
that the Redeemer thinks upon you for goodand appears in the presence of God for you.
Well; the proof does not lie far off-it is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart. It is prayer-not fine prayer-not well-arranged language; the proof does not require language at all. No-but a broken heart; a contrite spirit; tears; sighs; groanings-groanings which cannot be uttered.
Of this therefore rest assured, that if the Spirit itself is thus making intercession in you, Jesus is ever living to make intercession for you.
And what can you desire more? It was the privilege of David, that he had a friend at court-and this was Jonathan the king's son. It was the privilege of Jacob's sons, that they had a friend at court-and this was Joseph their brother. Christians! both these advantages are united in your portion. You have a Friend at court; you have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteousand he is the King's Son; he is your Brother. "Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword! Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
And while he represents you in heaven, may you, Christians, represent him on earth. While he pleads your cause, may you plead his; and henceforth live, not to yourselves, but to Him who died for you and rose again!
THE GRAND INQUIRY. Lovest thou me ?—John xxi. 17.
SOME of the greatest works of God seem to have been the effects of accidental occurrences, rather than the results of design. The reason is, because God is the sovereign Master of occasions, as well as of their consequences. He foresees them; he procures them; and what is contingency with us, is purpose with him.
The same may be said of his Word. Many parts of it were produced by particular events; but they were intended for universal and perpetual use; and therefore, in reading them, we should be concerned to bring what is said of others to bear upon ourselves. Many of the Psalms of David were composed by the author under the influence of peculiar circumstances; but these peculiar circumstances were comprehended in the Diving arrangement, and have been rendered subservient to the welfare of the Church of God in all ages of the world. When Joshua