Page images
PDF
EPUB

ness.

We are

shall shake her "silver wings” and her“ feathers of gold," and shine gloriously in the light of the Sun of Righteous

Would that the mark and token of the early Church might become ours; when they continued stedfast in the Apostle's doctrine, in breaking of bread and in prayer;when in their persecutions they were known as the people that called on the name of Christ. Would that we might estimate as they did, this privilege in all its fulness and freeness—of asking any thing in Christ's name. not straitened in him who answers prayer-we are straitened in our own desires in prayer. Our beloved Master has opened wide his hand to satisfy every living soul. He invites with no uncertain sound, “ Ask and ye shall have; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." And why then do we not take him at his word, and prove him, whether he will not open the windows of heaven, and pour forth upon us blessings so abundant that

, we shall not be able to receive them.

I beseech you, therefore, to exercise yourselves in prayer, more and more. You cannot think of the privilege too often, nor estimate its importance too highly. Put the question to any Christian, who is successfully fighting the good fight of faith ;-ask him where he gains bis strength -how he is enabled to go forth, in the power and the might of Jehovah, against all his spiritual foes, and he will tell you that he is armed with prayer. This is the ground on which the battle must be fought, against the Prince of the Power of the air, and against our own lusts and passions. We are too apt to suppose that our greatest conflict lies in immediate contact with the world—we are too apt to imagine that the heat of the battle is in our outward engagement with the enemy. Great and terrible this undoubtedly is on many occasions : but we believe, never

go: and

theless, that the burden and heat of the conflict is in prayer, and that the more the believer advances in the Divine life, in a knowledge of the snares that surround him, and the strength he has for his defence, the more will he be satisfied that the warfare is really to be fought upon his knees.

There, beloved, the trial is to be endured—there the victory is to be won. Be diligent in prayer, and the world and the Prince of the world will be overcome ;—be lax in prayer, do not seek to go to God, as you are encouraged to

you
will find the world too much for

Satan will have the advantage over you; you have already given way before the adversary in the most important step, and you will the more easily surrender in others. Lay this, then, to your hearts ;—if you wish to persevere in the paths of righteousness and in the ways of heaven-if you wish to resemble your Lord, the great Captain of your salvation, in conquering those that rise up against you, you must have your full heart ever overflowing with this blessed privilege, the highest boon of heavenly love, the richest treasure of the Gospel of Peace. Your enemies are “ legion,” and they are ravening in your path : how shall you meet them ? with prayer. What do you need to check and turn aside the evil of your own heart? Christ will supply your need in prayer. Do you desire to wield the sword of the Spirit valiantly, so as to feel yourself, and cause others to feel that “there is none like that?” Ask for the power in prayer. Do you wish to keep the shield of faith bright and polished ? Restrain not the outpourings of prayer. You will find here a bulwark of defence against which every inroad of the enemy will be in vain, against which all the fiery darts of the wicked shall fall as lightly and as harmlessly as the feather wafted on the breeze. Here will your hands be taught to war and your fingers to fight, and you must be made more than conquerors.

you.

And remember, that there is not only your own advantage and triumph dependent on your diligent use fo this privilege, but there is also connected with your proper exercise of it, the glory of God. When we triumph in prayer, we are glorifying God; and therefore well has our Poet described Satan as trembling

when he sees The weakest saint upon his knees. Every gracious answer to the prayer of faith is not only strength to the weak, and power to the faint; but it gives an additional lustre to the Redeemer's crown. not only preserved, saved, strengthened; it is the glance of the Lord your Master, which through your weakness has struck down your adversary; it is the God of strength out of Zion which has foiled him, and cast down his strongholds. Grace, mercy and peace to the redeemed, glory to God in the highest, are the blessed results of prayer. Can greater inducements be laid before you, for giving earnest heed to the Apostle's exhortation, “Pray without ceasing.'

You are

EXPOSITION VI.

JOHN xiv. 15–26.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he

shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth ; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless : I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more ; but ye see me : because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world ? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words : and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings : and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I hare

said unto you. We may well imagine the sentiments which pervaded the WE hearts of the disciples, as, reclining at the supper-table, they listened to the gracious declarations of our Lord, which have been already noticed. And it is not improbable that our blessed Saviour paused for a few moments

succour

after he had uttered them. He had just encouraged them by the large promise, that when he went to the Father, he should so manifest his Divine power in and by them, that the works which they performed should be greater even than those he himself bad done before them. And in the fulness of his love, he added the assurance that he was ever ready to do for them whatsoever they desired. When their hearts were overwhelmed—when difficulty, danger, and trial of every description were before them-when, without the actual presence of their Master, they were left exposed to the malice and hatred of his and their enemies—then let them think of their Master, not as one afar off, who could not aid, but as one very nigh, and ready and able to

-“ If ye ask any thing in my name I will do it.” Surely the eyes of all them that sat at meat with the Redeemer, must have been fixed upon him with intense emotion-surely they must have forgotten for the time their gloomy forebodings and their carnal expectations, in the depth of their tender love and affection towards Him, who had opened his hand so widely, and tendered so rich and gracious a boon to them. We can well conceive the expression of beaming love and ardent devotion directed by the little remnant to their beloved Master, and he, catching up this manifestation of their love, adds, "If ye love me, keep my commandments.” He read in their countenances the reality of their attachment and reverence towards himself. He needed not to ask the question ther, “Lovest thou me?” The sparkling eye, the heaving bosom, proved, that amid many imperfections, and with many remaining doubts and weaknesses, Jesus reigned in their hearts; and though to others vile, was to them, “altogether lovely." He therefore desired at once to fix and concentrate the feeling they manifested, to render it

H

« PreviousContinue »