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fully urges his plea in our behalf. Hence, St. John, who saw the glory of the inner temple of God, says, I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, stood a lumb as it had been slain. This view of the subject has been well illustrated by the story. of Amyntas and Ærhylas, related by the historian Ælian. Æchylas was condemned to death by the Athenians, and was about to be led to execution. His brother Amyntas bad signalized him. self in the service of his country, and on the day of a most illustrious victory, in a great measure obtained by his means, had lost his hand. He came into the court, just as his brother was condemned, and without saying any thing, exposed the stump of his arm from under bis garment, and held it up in their sight; and the bistorian tells us, “ that when the judges şaw this marki of his sufferings, they remembered. shat he had done, and for his sake discharged the guilty brother, whose life had been forfeited.” The wounded body of the Saviour, though there may remain no visible marks of his humbled state, iş, in the sight of God; thus perpetually pleading for his sinful and guilty brethren. Not that God the Father is severe, austere, difficult to be entreated, or hard to be wop: this would be a very mistaken view of him whose name is - LOVE. The Father appoints this way of approach in infinite compassion and love to us, that we may come boldly unto the throne of grace ; (Hebrews iv, 16.) and though his holiness be such that he cannot endure the approach of sinners without a Mediator, yet it was his own free grace which inoved him to provide a Mediator, and disposes him to accept his imediation in our behalf.Hence the Father himself is represented as willing to hear us, when we pray in the name of Jesus.-
Thus our Lord says to his disciples, (Joho svi, 26, 27.) At that day ye shall ask in my name, and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you.
Jesus Christ intercedes for his people BY PRAYING FOR THEM.--Does he see them exposed to the just yengeance of the holy almighty God? Is the sentence gone forth, Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? he prays Let it alone this year also, and I will dig about it, and dung it, and if it bear fruit, well; but if not, after that thou shall cut it down. Lukę xii, 8, 9. Are any of his disciples exposed to peculiar temptations and dangers, so that it may be said of them, as it was of Peter, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sist you as wheat, he adds, But I have prayed for thee ihat thy faith fail not. Luke sxii, 32. Indeed, we could never pray ourselves, we could never approach unto God so as to be accepted of him, but through the intercession of Christ. No man, saith our Lord, cometh unto the Father, but by me. John xiv, 6. By his prayers we receive the Holy Spirit, (John siy, 16.) and many other spiritual blessings. In the 17th of John, you have a delightful specimen 'and example of the prayers which Jesus our Lord himself makes for his people.
Jesus Christ also OFFERS UP OUR PRAYERS.--It was the office of the Jewish priests to present the prayers of Israel unto God at the time they burned incēnse bę. fore the Lord on the altar. And thus our High Priest, by his own intercession, makes even our poor and imperfect sighs and groans prevailing and effectual. The very best prayers we make, even when aided by the Holy Spirit of our God, are so tainted with our sins, and so mingled with our impertections, as to need his
mediation for their acceptance. He has assured us, (John xvi, 23.) Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. This name of Christ enabled those who used it, through faith in his name, to work miracles, cast out devils, speak with new tongues, and oppose and overcome Satan, the world, and the flesh; and by it we shall assuredly prevail in all our petitions. Our persons and our prayers are accepted of God, in and by Jesus Christ. Eph. i, 6; 1 Pet. ii, 5.
It is delightful to consider further that THE INTERCESSION OF OUR LORD IS ALL IN OUR BEHALF. It is said of the prophet Elijah, Elius made intercession to God against Israel. “He was,” says Trail, “a severe prophet, and had severe service put into his hand; but our great Prophet and High Priest makes no intercession against his Israel, but all for them.” In that pattern of what he is doing, (John xvii,) we may observe that he mentions not one fault of his disciples, but selects what was good in their conduct, and then pleads their cause. Let us see in this his love; let us trust him entirely.
The intercession of Christ is an enduring act of mercy. His grace and love never fail. It is said, (Heb. vii, 25.) hé ever liveth to make 'intercession.-Therefore the Apostle adds, He is able to save to the uttermost. We need not fear that we are now 100 late to obtain the advantages of it. He intercedes for his church now, is he did in the days of his flesh. John xvii, 20, 24.
It is also an INTERCESSION FOR sinners.--It was foretold, of him, He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah liri, 12. Hence he prayed even for his murderers. When they had
taunted and reviled him, and nailed him to the accursed tree, he still prays, Father, forgive them. And there is a special intercession for his people, which may greatly encourage believers. St. Paul says, who also maketh intercession for us. Romans vüi, 34. The connection here shews him to mean God's peculiar people; hence our Lord saj's, (John'xvii, 9.) I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me, for they are thine. Augustine says, “Christian men in their prayers mutually recommend each other to the divine regard. That person for whom no one intercedes, while he intercedes for all, is the true and only mediator.
I have stated thus fully and plainly, from the Holy Scriptures, the doctrine of the intercession of Jesus Christ, because it is not only a most delightful truth to those who feel the burden of their sins, but is highly profitable to us when duly improved. To this end it should be considered before, at the time of, and after your prayers. : : :
BerORE PRAYER.--Make it the only ground of your encouragement to draw 'near to God. Do not, on the one hand, trust in any preparation which you may have made, or in any dispositions which you may have acquired; and on the other hand, whatever your former transgressions, (Ps, xxv, 7.) or aggravated wickedness, may have been, (Ps. xxv, 9; Ixxix, 8, 11.) or whatever is the conviction of your present sinfulness, (Jer. xiv, 7.) or your indisposition to approach God, still endeavor to come with freedom, knowing that you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propio tiation for our sins. 1 John ii, 1, 2.
AT THE TIME OF PRAYER.—Let the intercession of Christ encourage you. Expect, through his mediation, the spirit of grace and supplication. Zechariah xii, 10.
By the exercise of faith, however weak, still expect to receive, out of his fulness, grace, suited to your neces. sity. However great the matter for which you ask, however many things in yourself may tend to discourage or discomfort you; you have a sufficient ground to hope for the acceptance of your prayers, through the name and mediation of Jesus Christ. His gracious intercession remaius firm and unchangeable. Let faith in Christ's merits quiet and compose your troubled mind, and dispose and strenghten you to leave every petition with comfort and confidence in his hands.
AFTER PRAYER.—However conscience may accuse you of many wanderings, imperfections, and distractions, or abuses of former answers to prayer, or however ear. nest or fervent your petitions, still plead for acceptance only on this ground, Christ is your mediator. Your hope of a fivorable reception of any prayer, is, and is only, in the name and work of Jesus Christ, and got in your own prayers. A practical writer observes, “If we have cast our anchor on Christ, and rest upon his merits and intercession, in order to the receiving of an answer to our prayer, we shall have a sufficient hold to keep us sure and steadfast, in the midst of the tossing waves of this world. By this .we may answer all--Christ is faithful, and a tender sympathizing High Priest, and so will not, and cannot forget.or neglect our cause."*. . :.
"He," says Ambrose, “is our mouth, with which we address the Father; our eye, by which we behold him; our hand, by which we present ourselves to him: without whose mediation neither we, nor any of all the saints, have the least intercourse with God.”
* Brown on Prayer :-an author to whom the writer has been ofien indebted.