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present triumphant. He may suffer them, for wise purposes, to undergo apparent defeat, and to be exposed to a tempest of opprobrium, oppression and scorn. In these cases it is our duty to sustain ourselves by the consideration that God does His will, and that the Judge of all the earth will do right. And to him who thus in disappointment and suffering, baffled in his hopes, and tempted to skepticism, yet honors God by a meek and uncomplaining submission due from a sinful, short-sighted creature, to infinite wisdom and absolute sovereignty, it will in time be made conspicuously to appear—as 'clearly as the flash of a sủnbeam through the fissures of a dissolving cloud—that benefits were withheld for the bestowal of greater, that temporary suffering is but the prelude to everlasting blessing, short-lived disappointment to the dawn of unfading honor, and that truth and right go down beneath a horizon of darkness, and an ocean of storms, only to reappear in the morning glory of an eternal triumph. Jesus as an infirm, dying human being, staggering under the curse of a world, prayed that He might be delivered from suffering the second death. His prayer was unanswered and He died; but His grave was the scene of death's dethronement and the birth-place of unnumbered millions of deathless souls redeemed from Satan, sin and hell. Hold, Christian brother! Do not despair because your prayers

for certain blessings, however apparently great, have for a time been unanswered. Where is your faith? Where is your allegiance to your almighty, all-wise, allmerciful Sovereign ? Collect yourself.' Put on the panoply of God. Stand against these troops of fiends that would dislodge you from the citadel of your faith. Look up. God, your redeemer and deliverer, reigns.

See, He sits on yonder throne, and suns and systems of light are but the sparkling dust beneath His feet. Thousands of thousands of shining seraphs minister before Him. Infinite empire is in His grasp. The sceptre of universal dominion is borne aloft in His almighty hand. His eye is upon His afflicted people. See, see, He comes, He comes, riding upon the wings of the whirlwind, wielding His glittering sword bathed in the radiance of heaven, driving His foes like chaff before His face, and hastening to the succor of His saints with resources of boundless power, and illimit

able grace.

III. Let us pass on briefly to consider the third essential element in true prayer—a thoroughgoing reliance upon the atoning merits and advocacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer is a duty of universal obligation. We are bound by the very conditions of our being, as the creatures of God's power, the subjects of His government, and the pensioners of His bounty, to render worship to Him and to express our dependence upon Him in the form of supplication. But, on the supposition of sin, it is impossible to see on what natural grounds we would have a right to approach Him with entreaties for His favor. Exiles from His presence, condemned by His law, and doomed by His justice to perpetual exclusion from His fellowship, we might indeed roar out our petitions for relief from our misery, but could be consoled by not the most distant hope of audience and acceptance. It has, however, pleased God to bridge this gulf which separated us from Him, and which would otherwise have been forever impassable by us. In the mediation of His dear Son, who, being God and man in one person, was competent to reconcile ụs to His Father, we have a way of access opened to

us through which we are again privileged to approach the divine throne with our supplications and our prayers. The atoning blood of Jesus removes the guilt of the believer and pleads for his acceptance with melting accents and resistless power. To offer prayer without a reliance upon the person and the work of the great Mediator is to bar the door of audience against ourselves. Reliance upon His atoning merits is absolutely necessary, therefore, to the existence of true and effectual prayer. Having, therefore, brethren, says the Apostle Paul, boldness to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near. And let it be also borne in mind that had we not in the person of the Lord Jesus a righteous advocate on high, a merciful and faithful high-priest who, having passed through the heavens, appears for us in His Father's presence, no prayers that we could offer would rise into those holy courts. Polluted as we are in our persons and defiled as we are in our best services, it is out of the question for us to approach directly to the throne of the majesty on high. It is the province of the great Intercessor to offer His blood as the reason of the sinner's accepted approach, to take into His own priestly hands the prayers of the suppliant, and perfuming them with the incense of His glorious sacrifice to present them before His Father's throne. True prayer, then, my friends, involves a heartfelt recognition of the advocacy of the great Redeemer, and an humble dependence for acceptance upon His availing intercession.

IV. The last element which I shall mention as necessary to the existence of true prayer is the gracious assistance of the Holy Spirit. Blinded by sin as we are, we would, in ourselves, be ignorant of the objects for which we should pray, and be unable, did we know

them, to pray in an acceptable manner. The apostle teaches us that it is one part of the condescending and merciful office of God's blessed Spirit to supply these wants. “Likewise,” says he, “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered." From this consoling passage we learn that coming into our hearts as the promised “Spirit of grace and of supplication,” the Holy Ghost graciously helps us while struggling under our infirmities, while conscious of our unworthiness and ashamed to appear before God, while vainly endeavoring to collect our scattered thoughts and wandering affections, and almost hopeless in the effort to school our stammering tongues to utter the language of sincere petition. He illuminates our souls with a knowledge of our real wants, and stimulates our desires for that grace which alone is able to relieve them. And then remaining in us, what wondrous mercy that such dullness and reluctance to pray and proneness to sin as we constantly oppose to His heavenly offices do not drive Him from us in unappeasable anger !—remaining with us, He responds from the depths of our poor, sinful hearts to the pleas that Jesus pours out for us in the heavens and makes intercessions for us with unutterable groanings.

THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER: OR THE MANNER IN WHICH IT OUGHT

TO BE PERFORMED

Hebrews, x: 22. Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with

pure water."

In the words immediately preceding the text the apostle, as I endeavored to show in the last discourse, indicates the grounds of acceptable prayer. They are, first, the atoning death of the great Mediator, forcibly expressed by the words, "the blood of Jesus”; and, secondly, the presidency of Christ as a great High Priest over the house of God in all that pertains to the offering of worship. And the warrant which we have to approach God in reliance upon these grounds is derived from His own invitations, commands, and promises. Your attention is now asked to a consideration of the question, What is the spirit of true and acceptable prayer? How should we pray? In what manner should we attempt to discharge this allimportant duty! In answering these questions I shall follow the order of statement observed in the text.

I. In the first place, in conformity to the exhortation of the inspired apostle, we should earnestly endeavor, in all our prayers, to "draw near” unto God.

This evidently implies that we should avail ourselves of that perfect liberty of access to God which is granted to us under the present dispensation in consequence of the completed mediatorial work of Christ, and His

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