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Some mistake in another way, supposing that men should never attempt to pray but when they feel the present impulse of the Holy Spirit. But in reply it may be observed, that we are commanded to pray always. Go forward in the duty, and you may expect difficulties to be removed. Neglect not any proper season of prayer; nor on the other hand, neglect any duty of your station under the pretence of an impulse to pray. The Holy Spirit draws us to God at fit seasons.
We are not in danger of quenching, or grieving, the Spirit by the humble and diligent use of the means of grace; but there is much danger in losing this heavenly guest by the indulgence of any sin, and especially of any sensual iniquity. Ps. li, 11. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? Odefile not that temple, provoké not that Spirit; live in the Spirit, and then you will pray in the Spirit.
Having thus guarded against some mistakes, let it be remarked, what a comfort it is that there is an express promise that our heavenly Father will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. You need not then fear, however dull, or dead, or cold, your heart may be, to set about this duty. Seek, and you may fully expect to obtain, that aid of the Spirit, which will help you, and carry you through all your difficulties. Be diligent in reading the Bible, in coming to the Saviour, and in earnest entreaties for the influence of his Spirit. If you would obtain much of this divine influence, live near to your Lord who gives it. John xiy, 16, 17,
You have now seen how the Holy Spirit assists us in prayer: his aid, and the acceptance of our prayers, are obtained through the iptercession of Jesus Christ. While the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is God over all, ilessed for ever; it discovers to us also his mediatorial kingdom. It tells us that there is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. it, 5. Him hath God exalted as a Prince and a Saviour, to give many blessed gifts to his people. :
The first fruit of his ascending up on high, was the gist of the Holy Spirit. St Peter shows us that the prophet Joel had foretold that full effusion of the Holy Spirit which took place on the ascension of Jesus Christ, in these words and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. And after describing other effects of this, he says, and it shall shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved Our Lord also tells his disciples trat he will priy for this gift: he says, I will pray the Fa. ther, and he shall give you another Cornforter, that he may abide with you FOR EVER. John xiv, 16. The gift of the Spirit and the intercession of Christ, are thus connected together in the sacred writings.
It is unnecessary here to enter on a description of this intercession in all its bearings, it will be sufficient chiefly to dwell on it with reference to our prayers.. .
The intercession of Christ is his earnest address to God in behalf of those for whom he prays. In order the better to understand this, consider, THE OFFICE WHICH HE BEARS AS OUR HIGH PRIEST.-The- High Priest of Israel had to burn incense in the holy place on the altar of incense, morning and evening perpetually throughout the year. Exod, xxx, 7, 8. And he was once a year to appear in the holy of holies, alone, to sprinklė blood upon, and before, the mercy seat; to make an atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. Lev. xvi, 14-17.
The Apostle shews, us that this was typical of Jesus · Christ, who is not entered into the holy place made with hands, which are figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Heb. ix, 24. And he points out the superior advantage - of this priesthood on account of the Holy character ani-the enduring continuance of our High Priest: wherefore, he says, he is able also to save them to the utterinost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.Hely. vii, 25. While his people are praying without (Luke ii,' 10.) our High Priest is interceding within, and offering up our prayers.
Consider, then, his REDEMPTION.- Man was afar off from God, goilty, and under the penalty of that 'sentence, the soul that sinneth, it shall dic. Hon was the mercy of God to be displayed, and his jundice remain unsullies? By the deats of the Holy Jesus ihe Son of God, his justice is satisfied and engaged on the sinner's side; so that his mercy may flow to sinners in copious and uninterrupted streams. The divine love has its brightest displays, in being manifested towards the unworthy; and the Almighty arm is now stretched forth to save, and not to destroy the sinful. All the perfections of God being engaged on the sioner's side, the intercession of Him who has accomplished this, will evidently prevail. The sinner may now be received as a child returning to a reconciled Father. Here, then, and here only, is the true ground of encouragement for us to draw near with confidence to the Holy God.. ..
Consider the SITUATION OF THE INTERCESSOR.--He is at the right hand of God. Romans viii, 34. We may learn hence his power, bis dignity, his holiness, his interest with God, and his being ever present in heaven for us. All power is given him in heaven and earth. Matt. xxviii, 8. “All things go,” says Bishop Hopkins, “by favor and friendship in the courts of heaven; if we stand upon our own merits and deserts, we shall be shanefully disappointed in our expectations: we have no merit to take place in heaven, but only the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ."* Ah! how absurdly do they act, who when. such an Intercessor pleads for us, put their cause into the hands of any creature, saint, or angel.
Consider his CHARACTER.—He is the beloved son of God, the elect in whom his soul .delighteth. Isaiah xlii, 1. He is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from siinners, and made higher than the heavens. Heb. vii, 26. And with all this, he is full of compassion, tenderness, and love. We have not 'an High Priesi, which cannot,
* See Bishop Hopkins' Works, a most valuable Body of Divinity.
be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points templed like as we are, yet without sin. Heb. iv, 15. He is one who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way. Seeing, then, that we have such a great, such a compassionate, High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the son of God-let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb. iv, 16. .
Consider, farther, THE NATURE OF HIS 'INTERCESSION, St. John' seems to give us an emblematic view of this; (Revelation viii, 3, 4.) And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him inuch incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. Even the prayers of the saints are so defective, that they need the incense of our Redeemer's merit to make them acceptable unto God.
Jesus Christ intercedes. BY PERSONALLY APPEARING FOR US BEFORE God. In beayen itself he now appears in the presence of God for us. This man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, for ever sit down on the right hand of God. Hebrews x, 12. By his own blood he entered in once into the Holy place. Heb. ix, 12. The virtue, meril, and power of that hlood still remain,. How sure inay we be, then, that he . will obtain what he asks, when he pleads that he died
to procure it. He ascended into heaven with the body in which he suffered; and we may iinagine, when he makes intercession, that body silently and yet power