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prophet in the same character, for “he stood as a he came and sought fruit thereon, and found lamb that had been slain,' intimating that he did none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vine. so in the capacity of an intercessor, pleading his yard, Behold, these three years I came seeking own atoning death. Well therefore might the fruit on this fig-tree and found none; cut it down; apostle infer, “This man, because he continneth why cumbereth it the ground ? And he answerever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.'
ing said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, 3. And he continueth,' ever liveth,' for the till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear very purpose of maintaining his intercession. To fruit, well, and if not, then after that thou shalt this was he set apart in the councils of eternity. cut it down. All this indulgence was granted, For this was he anointed by the Holy Spirit in these advantages conferred, but in vain, the nation the fullness of time. And in this does he delight persevered in unbelief, and resisted the ministry himself in the courts of heaven above. He is of the Son of God, till at length he proceeded occupied in preparing his people upon earth for reluctantly but determinedly, to pronounce its their removal thence, and in receiving them to doom: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would his own rest when their work is finished here. I have gathered thy children together, even as a On earth he gives them of his Spirit, washes them hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and in his blood, guides their steps, sustains their ye would not! Behold your house is left unto labours, and presents their prayers; in heaven he you desolate, and verily I say unto you, Ye shall carries them to the throne, acquaints them with not see me till ye shall say, Blessed is he that its holy habitations, unfolds the purposes and cometh in the name of the Lord. The threatplans of God, and rejoices in their unbroken ened destruction soon followed, Jerusalem was praises. To each believer does he bend his atten- laid on heaps, the temple was consumed to tion as though there were not another in heaven ashes, the nation was scattered abroad, they have or earth but he, and on all he waits as though ever since been a people robbed and spoiled, and no one needed his special care. He sympathizes are a standing testimony to the destruction with each and with all, and proves himself a awaiting all who abuse their privileges. friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
What a lesson is here to the nations professing "He who for men their surety stood,
Christianity! They are now enjoying the national And pour'd on earth his precious blood, privileges which the Jews forfeited by their unPursues in heav'n his mighty plan,
belief. But they hold them on the same terms, The Saviour and the friend of man.
by the same tenure, even that they shall improve “Our fellow-suffører yet retains
them. Because of unbelief they were broken A fellow feeling of our pains; And still remembers in the skies
off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highHis tears, his agonies, and cries.'
minded but fear. For if "God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. If ever there was a time when this warn
ing seems to be necessary, it is now. National Sixth Day.--EVENING.
religion has become a term of reproach with
many. The nations are letting go many sound • Lord, let it alone this year also,' Luke xiii. 8.
principles to which they once adhered. May the Tuis language was originally employed with Lord have mercy upon Britain, and not suffer reference to the Jewish nation and their pri- her to forsake the national allegiance which she vileges. They had long been the favoured people owes to Jesus. Let her take hold of his truth of the Lord, the Son of God himself at length with a firmer grasp, or, great, glorious, and free, came among them, he had sent out instructors though she be, the time may come when she among them, but they rejected both him and shall not be known among the nations. them. By their unbelief and obstinacy they What a lesson is here to the professing churches greatly provoked Jehovah, and he threatened to of Christ! The Jewish church and nation were withdraw their opportunities. The time was both alike unfaithful to their opportunities, and fast approaching when they would bring upon they perished in one common destruction. Nor themselves swift destruction. But the merciful does the Jewish church afford the only warning. and forbearing Saviour first admonished them. Let us call to mind the seven churches of Asia. And to administer his reproof, and give them They were plainly threatened that unless they warning in the least offensive form, he uttered his repented their candlestick should be removed. instructions in the form of a parable. 'A certain But they repented not, they filled up the cup of man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and unbelief and sin, the divine forbearance would endure no longer, the little light that remained ful in all his house, as a servant.—Christ as a was soon extinguished, the crescent of an impos- Son over his own house, whose house are we'-. tor was hoisted where the cross once floated in tri- "That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to umph, and the desolations of many generations behave thyself in the house of God, which is now proclaim the consequence of abused and ne- the church of the living God. It is not without glected privileges.
good reason the appellation is so common. It is What a lesson is here to every Christian con- intended to express the character of the church, gregation! We are blessed with our sabbaths, whose members are under one head, bound in our sanctuaries, and our sermons. But how are love to a common father, loving one another as these improved. Is the sabbath our delight, the children of one family, and having a common holy unto the Lord, and honourable ? Is the dwelling-place, both in this world and the next. sanctuary our refuge, of which we devoutly say, Even death does not break the union that binds How amiable are thy tabernacles ? Are our ser- them together. "Of whom the whole family in mons accompanied with the demonstration of the heaven and earth is named,' is the description of Spirit, and of power ? Are men convinced of inspiration. For although the church militant is sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment ? If yet far removed from the church triumphant, still 80, well. If not, God may soon be provoked to have they a tender sympathy in one another. deprive us of our means of grace. Our teachers Daily are they becoming more assimilated, and may be removed from our eyes, our sanctuaries soon shall the whole number be complete, and closed, or a mere dead service performed there, safe in heaven. Alas! that this unity should and our sabbaths overrun with desecrations, till have so little distinguished the church in its histhey can scarcely be distinguished from any other tory hitherto. It has rather been as a house diday. Alas! alas!. How far is this the case already. vided against itself. Hence has it not stood as it Let us consider our ways. The revival of reli- might against the assaults of the wicked one, and gion in the land must begin with the churches. Let its dissensions have been no small hindrance to its us inquire what can be done to stay impending progress. May the prayer of Christ speedily be judgments.
answered: “that they all may be one, as thou There is a solemn lesson here to every indivi- Father art in me and I in thee; that they also dual. Our opportunities are still many. We
may be one in us, that the world may believe have the word of God in our hands, and his ear that thou hast sent me.' is open unto our cry. Opportunities of doing "Over this house of God we have an High and receiving good are presented on every hand. Priest. This is Jesus, the Son of God, who in Much is given to us, and much shall be required. the character of an high priest has taken the care Ah! what fruit are we bringing forth? Is the and oversight of the church. And how faithfully good seed that is sown amongst us bringing does he sustain the offices of that high and holy forth, some thirty, some sixty, some an hundred- relation. The apostle Paul elsewhere says of fold? Surely this may reasonably be expected by him, we have a great High Priest that is passed the Lord of the vineyard. He cometh seeking into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. We fruit, even repentance, and faith, and holiness. have not an high priest which cannot be touched If he find it not he will pour forth his judg- with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all ments. Our blessings may be withdrawn from points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.' us, or we may be removed from them. “Let us Greatness and mercy are the features of his charkiss the Son lest he be angry, and we perish from acter. So great, that nothing is beyond his the way when his wrath is kindled but a little. power. So merciful, that there is no creature Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.' beneath his notice. O! what it is to possess the When the Lord cometh may he find us watching! sympathy of such a Being. He condescends to
discharge towards his church all the duties of the office he sustains. Is it the duty of a priest to
offer sacrifice ? He offered up himself, he gavo SEVENTH DAY.-MORNING.
his soul an offering for sin, himself the priest, the
altar, and the sacrifice. Does it belong to the 'Having an high priest over the house of God, let priest to offer intercession? “It is Christ that
us draw near with a true heart, in full assur-died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even ance of faith,' Heb. x. 21, 22.
at the right hand of God, who also maketh inter“The house of God' is a common appellation for cession for us.' 'He is able to save them to the the church, in the scriptures. “Moses was faith- uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them. Did every approach and say, “Let us come boldly unto the high priest bless the people? As he ascended the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, he lifted up his hands and blessed his followers, and find grace to help in time of need.' What a in that attitude he remains, and he was seen by ground, what a warrant, what an encouragement the prophet in glory, pleading his sacrifice, and to faith! A throne of grace! Come boldly! dispensing gifts to men. He is “an High Priest Obtain mercy! Find grace! Surely it is not unfor ever, after the order of Melchizedeck.'—*The reasonable to exercise the assurance of faith. same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' "Let us then draw near. O yes, we may now
'In ev'ry pang that rends the heart,
The Man of sorrows had a part; draw near to God. We may enter into the ho
He sympathizes with our grief, liest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living
And to the suff"rer sends relief.
With boldness, therefore, at the throne, way, which he hath consecrated for us through
Let us make all our sorrows known; the vail, that is to say, his flesh.' Appearing in
And ask the aids of heav'nly pow'r his name, we shall be accepted for his sake.
To help us in the evil hour.' "Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and
SEVENTH DAY EVENING. calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once
• That men ought always to pray, and not to into the holy place, having obtained eternal re
faint,' Luke xvii. 1. demption for us. We may draw near for Christ is there, heaven is sprinkled with his blood, it is THERE is great danger of men fainting in prayer, perfumed with the incense of his intercession, he and therefore are the exhortations of Christ on will appear our friend, our elder brother, and we this subject most seasonable and sustaining. How need not fear to come even to the throne. O! much instruction is conveyed in these few words, how we live beneath our privileges, standing afar Men ought to pray!' Prayer is natural—a off when we should draw nigh.
duty, a privilege. It arises out of the relation But let us beware that we draw near 'with a in which we stand to God as his dependent true heart.' No insincerity must be allowed in creatures, but especially is its obligation inthat approach. God is a Spirit, and they that creased, and its benefit required by our sinful worship him must worship him in spirit and condition. Men ought always to pray! In all in truth. We have to do with him who situations and at all times is it needful and bindsearcheth the hearts, and trieth the reins of the ing. The habit of prayer should be diligently children of men. And it becometh us to say and cultivated, that, as the apostle enjoins, we may feel like David, “if I regard iniquity in my heart “pray without ceasing. Every event and every the Lord will not hear me.' What we ask we circumstance should remind us of God, bring us must honestly desire to obtain; what we vow to him, and lead us to seek his direction, or we must be careful to pay; what we profess we praise his goodness. And we should be on our must take care that we feel. Let us not draw guard against neglecting prayer, knowing, as we near with the mouth, and honour him with the are here warned, that there is great danger of lip, while the heart is far from him. Let us re- fainting. member all things are naked and opened unto the This danger partly arises out of the nature of eyes of him with whom we have to do. For prayer. It is a simple, spiritual exercise—the when the apostle saw the High Priest in his communion of the soul with God. But this is heavenly glory •his eyes were as a flame of fire, an exercise very distasteful to men. Hence the and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned constant inclination to turn it into a mere cerein a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many mony. To say prayers is easy, to perform waters.'
penances is easy, to endure pilgrimages is easy; Still, if we draw near with a true heart, we but to pray is not easy, it requires a change of may also come 'in full assurance of faith. On heart, the help of the Holy Spirit, constant his word we may confidently rely, his promises watchfulness over the heart, and an abiding we may assuredly believe, his merits we may sense of eternal things upon the mind. boldly plead, and in his name we may fearlessly Besides, God is pleased often to delay apparent confide. Whatsoever we ask, believing, we shall answers to prayer. Even where it is most sinreceive. The more we trust in him the more we cere this may be the case. Let us remember honour him. We may encourage our souls in how Christ treated the woman of Canaan when she came to him to supplicate for the deliver- / Great good may arise to the suppliant both ance of her daughter, who was grievously vexed by the delay and by the answer being different with a devil. At first he seemed entirely indif- from what he expected. It is well fitted to throw ferent to her entreaty, for · he answered her not us back upon exercises of self-examination. Have a word. Even when his disciples took up her our prayers been such as we should offer, or as cause and became intercessors for her, being an- God should answer? Is there anything in our noyed by her importunity, he alleged she had no life that proves a hindrance to our supplication, claim on his mission, as he had been sent only and which must be removed before a righteous to the lost sheep of the house of Israel' Not God can answer it? Are there means which we yet discouraged, she drew still nearer, and wor- have neglected to employ, and in the neglect of shipping him, said, “Lord, help me. But he which it is presumption to expect that our seemed immovable, and replied, 'It is not meet prayers shall be heard? How good it were to to take the children's bread and cast it to the engage in such reflections as these! In the happy dogs. She had her answer, "Truth, Lord, yet results of them we might eventually find the the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their answers to our prayer. master's tablu. Not till then did he grant her At the same time, such a delay is calculated request. He delayed-he raised up apparent and, no doubt, intended to exercise our faith. difficulties, and it would seem as if her request We must learn to trust God when we do not could not be granted. Was this unkindness in see the reasons of his conduct. How nobly is our Lord? None will say so. The issue justi- this grace manifested in Abraham! He had refies the delay. And this case is recorded for our ceived the promise of a son, but how unlikely that instructioni. God may delay to answer our it should ever be fulfilled, how long the trying prayers, but we should not therefore faint. delay, years after years passing by, and to all There is a time to withhold, and a time to be human apprehension the long-promised and stow. God knows what is best for us. Let us much-cherished object growing more unlikely wait his pleasure, and not faint.
than before. But his faith in God sustained Or it may please God to answer our prayers him. He had his hours of trial and seasons of in such a way as we do not expect, or which at darkness, and there were times when he was the time we may not understand. We have an tempted to seek the fulfilment of the promise by instructive example of this case in the history of unlawful means. But on the whole he clung to the apostle Paul. “A thorn in the flesh was the hope set before him through all this dark given him, a messenger from satan to buffet night of disappointment, and his example is thus him. Although we cannot tell what this was, quoted by the apostle Paul, · He staggered not yet we know it was some strong temptation. at the promise of God through unbelief, but was He betook himself to prayer as his only refuge. strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being *For this thing,' says he, 'I besought the Lord fully persuaded that what he had promised, he thrice, that it might depart from me.' Here also was able also to perform. Our business is to was delay, for he prayed once and again, appar- learn what God has promised, and in perseverently without an answer, and was obliged to urge ing prayer and labour to wait the time of his his suit upon the Lord thrice. Nor was this all. performance. For although an answer came, it was very dif- By this means the grace of patience will be ferent from what he desired and expected. The much exercised and strengthened. We must not temptation was not withdrawn as he prayed it be in haste when God is not. We must submit might be. The answer was, “My grace is sufficient ourselves and our ways to his government. It for thee. The temptation was continued, but may be well to have our fond schemes crossed he obtained strength to bear it. . And this he by his providence. We must learn to bear his understood to be the answer, for he added, "Most will no less than to do his will. It is a wholegladly therefore will I glory in mine infirmity, some lesson when we are taught that our strength that the power of Christ may rest upon me is to sit still. And it is a high attainment when Who does not justify the divine procedure, not we can say with all our hearts, " Thy will be only in the delay, but in the nature of the done.' answer. Let us not limit the Holy One of Is- Let us pray thus, and in due season we shall rael. He understands our case better than we be answered. Only let us be sure that what we do ourselves. And let us gratefully receive such ask is agreeable to the will of God, and sooner or answer as he may be pleased to give, and not later our request shall be granted.
Let us remember the parable of the importunate widow,
vour of the self-righteousness of man, but the
forms which they assume are almost as many as • There is none other name under heaven given the persons who indulge them. But they are
among men whereby we must be saved, Acts alike vain. Of them all may it be said, the iv. 12.
bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himTAERE is no Saviour but Christ. The lan- self on it, and the covering narrower than that guage of the scriptures is very strong and de- he can wrap himself in it.' "The hail shall sweep cided. “Neither is there salvation in any other'— away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall not in angels, nor in men, and they cannot con- overflow the hiding place.' fer what they do not possess ; those things essen
Blessed be God, however, if there be only tial to salvation are not within the compass of one Saviour, he is all-sufficient. If there be no their feeble powers and limited capacities. “There other name that can prevail, it is all-prevalent. is no other name,' no other being or character so And what is his name? The Lord Jesus Christ. constituted as to be capable of undertaking or 0! who can fathom this name! And what executing the salvation of sinners. Not “under thoughts are suggested by these titles! The heaven'—and this is a large compass. “Not Lord! This name belongs to him, both by naamong men’—be their attainments what they ture and by office. By nature he is Lord of allmay, knowledge, or influence, or goodness, or by office all power has been given to him in heawhatever else they may possess. It is manifest ven and in earth. He is the Lord of the conthe language of scripture is thus precise and science, moving it as he will; the Lord of life, pointed, for the purpose of forcing men out of the bestowing and withholding it; the Lord of glory, many refuges of lies to which they are apt to be- to whom all praise belongs; the Lord of all, take themselves, and of shutting them up to the men below as well as the redeemed and angelic one only method of salvation which God has hosts above. Jesus! This is a name altogether provided.
taken from his office. He is called Jesus because For how numerous are the vain devices of he saves his people from their sins. This is the men! One trusts in his innocence-never having design and purpose of his mission. For that end seen himself in the light of the divine law, nor he came, and this he is ever engaged in accomhaving felt the condemnation which it pronounces plishing—saving men from the guilt of sin by upon sin. Another rests in an idea of his compara- washing them in the fountain of his blood, detive purity—others seeming to be much more livering them from its power by renewing their depraved than himself—and not understanding hearts in righteousness, and upholding them in that all men stand as sinners upon the common the midst of duty and temptation by the grace ground of guiltiness in the sight of God. Not a of his Holy Spirit. Christ is also a term of office. few are satisfied with their purposes of future re- It implies his appointment to the work of formation, not doubting but opportunity shall be saving sinners, and includes his offices of prophet, given, and that when embraced all shall be well. priest, and king—as a prophet communicating A larger class are building their hope upon soine instruction by his word and Spirit, as a priest revague expectation, that what is wanted in them conciling sinners to God by his atoning blood, will be supplied from the grace and righteousness and as a king ruling the hearts of his people and of Christ. Many are proud of their attainments, restraining the rage of their enemies. What a and entertain no doubt that they shall be ac- Saviour! How complete in person and in work! cepted and rewarded for them. Some are satis- Yet we are prone to distrust him. Even when fied with notions of the divine mercy that float the need of such a Saviour is in some measure in their imaginations, without being able to say felt, we are fearful to commit ourselves into his precisely what their hope is. And very many hand. His salvation is full and free, and these form no ideas upon the subject, are wholly en- are man's great stumbling-blocks. He would gaged with the things of time and sense, or, if a prefer to be indebted to the Saviour only in part. serious thought betimes should visit them, they He would like to pay some equivalent for redismiss it with the idea that they are no worse demption. But know, vain man, either Christ than others, and must fare as well as they in the must be a whole Saviour or none. We must chances of eternity. So it is, notwithstanding the either be complete in him or have no interest in fullness, and plainness, and urgency of the gospel
. him at all. O! that man understood how in him Where men are at pains to form opinions, they "God justifieth the ungodly.' This is the grand are almost as various as their countenances. Some-offence. Yet if we would be saved it must be thing, indeed, they have in common, for all sa- borne. In that testimony we must acquiesce,