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that is the Holy Spirit, “ will not come unto
you, but if I depart I will send him unto
you.” When Christ declares, to continue his earthly presence was not so great a gift as to send the Holy Spirit, in what state must that man's heart be, who professes that he troubles not himself about the Holy Spirit? Can there be a stronger instance of how proud and hard the human heart will grow, when it does not humble itself to ask for Divine assistance from above.
Hitherto, what has been said relates to the influence of the Holy Spirit upon man, as each soul stands separately in need of his assistance. But there is another office belonging to him—one not so personal, yet which brings his power home to our tenderest sensibilities ; which must fill every feeling mind with the most affecting awe. 'Tis his promise to guide us in our prayers for others. The Spirit is then said to make intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered. No commandment is given more positively, or more frequently, than that we should pray for one another. There are many instances in Holy Writ of the wrath of God being turned away, in answer to the petitions, which his true servants offered up
for others. St. James assures us that, the “ effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
“ availeth much.” What a thought is it, mý brethren, that perhaps had we been more regular in our petitions, they might have kept the fountain of God's mercy open for those most dear to us. Some for whom we may have made every other exertion ; the responsility of direetion; the labour of well-weighed advice; the sacrifice of much that was personal ; the vain anxiety of wishes; all, all is given, except prayer for the Holy Spirit ; that we may be enabled through him to offer up such petitions as will be heard acceptably at the throne of Grace. The day in which the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, may show that this was the thing wanting, and that to this deficiency might be traced the failure of all our other endeavours in behalf of those for whom we are most interested. Or perhaps, our own iniquities prevent these addresses to Heaven being heard It is the righteous man's request, from which the Lord will not turn away. In Abraham, all the families of the earth were blessed ; such was the favour vouchsafed to one righteous servant. How doubly blessed are they who thus labour to benefit their friends, humbly holding it in faith as a view and reason, why they should seek after holiness, not only for the sake of their own souls, but also for the sake of the
prayers they may offer up for others. Nor need this be confined to particular names ; though every one has those who claim their chiefest and first petitions to the Father of Mercies; yet, wherever there are things to be wished otherwise, either in body or mind, whether among the many or with the few, whenever we have cause to lament, to pity, or to blame, there we have food for intercessory prayer, there we are called upon to pray for our fellows. St. Paul is very forcible in his injunction for this kind of charity, which taking God as its witness, “hopeth all things, “ believeth all things, endureth all things;" such prayer
is the very seed of this genuine charity of the mind, for how could we pray for others, where we had not those good feelings towards them; where we were not willing to “hope that God would be merciful; where we were not ready to believe there was room for his aid effectually; where we were not prepared ourselves to bear and endure a while, till the time of change might come round. St. Paul orders, that "first of all “ supplication should be made for Kings and “ all in authority, that we might live godly “ and peaceable lives.” Against national calamities, therefore, we have the Apostle's instruction in the spirit to fly unto prayer.
Against national blindness we have the same Apostle's example for the same remedy, his prayer for Israel, that then persecuted the Church, was that they might be saved. Where the cords are drawn closer, for friends and kindred, O God, how gracious is it in thee, that having experienced the inefficiency of our own power, we are allowed to look to thy Spirit in its prevailing strength; and in the closest concern, in the business of our own hearts, sensible of weakness, sensible of unworthiness, who can find language to express the peace it gives to know, that the Spirit is promised whose name is the Comforter, and that he will guide us into all truth. But remember what must go hand in hand with these great notions-remember while in the body we are not yet made perfect, we are but creatures who must guard against the assaults of a corrupted nature with all watchfulness. When we pray for the Holy Spirit, it should remind us of what is so fully expressed in the epistle to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that
ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit " of God dwelleth in
if " the temple of God him will God destroy, “ for the temple of God is holy, which temple
When such holiness, and human nature are put in contrast, who is there that
any man defile
does not smite upon the inward breast and cry, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” Who is there that does not then feel the comfort of a promised help from the Spirit of Holiness, and a desire to pray to him for his heavenly establishing ?
As this is our bounden duty, so with increased earnestness let it be our reasonable service; and the more we feel the vast obligation laid upon us, from the manner of our Saviour's death, by which he went away from us, so much the more may we find that his departure was expedient for us; that the justification purchased by his sufferings, and the sanctification flowing from his Spirit, may reclaim us from sin, establish us in righteousness, and in the multitude of the mercies of Him who giveth liberally and upbraideth not, bring us through the power of the Holy Ghost unto our God. Amen.