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your privileges. Behold to what a height of glory you are encouraged to aspire, and what unspeakable benefits you already derive from the religion of the blessed Jesus! Already you possess with God, as doth Jesus Christ, a unity of ideas, and you partake, in some sense, of his infallibility, by subjecting your faith to his divine oracles, and by seeing, if I may use the expression, by seeing with his eyes. Already you have with God, as Jesus Christ hath, a unity of will, by the reception of his laws, and by exerting all your powers that his will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Already you enjoy with God, as doth Jesus Christ, a unity of dominion. “ All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death,” i Cor. iii. 21, 22. - You are already partakers of a divine nature," 2 Pet. i. 4. “ You are already transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord,” 2 Cor. iii. 18.
But how is this union still marred and interrupted! How imperfect still this participation of the divine nature, and this transformation into the same image! Let this be to us, my brethren, a source of humiliation, but not of dejection. A more glorious state of things is to succeed the
present: it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. A new influx of light with which the soul shall be replenished ; a new influx of divine love, with which the heart shall be inflamed ; a new influx of felicity and delight, with which the immortal nature shall be inundated, are going, ere long, to place in its brighest point of view, all the sublimity, all the excellency of our condition : Father, I pray not for my disciples alone, but for
them also who shall believe in me through their word: that they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also may be one in us.
But how is it possible for the miserable posterity of Adam ; how is it possible for wretched creatures born in sin; how is it possible for frail mortals, a compound of dust and ashes, that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth, Job. iv. 19. how is it possible for beings so mean, so degraded, to become one with God, as Jesus Christ is one with him?
Away, Christians, away with every shade of incredulity. Nothing is too great for this prayer to procure. There is nothing that God can deny to this dying Intercessor. Let the mind be filled to its utmost capacity, with all that is vast and affecting in the sacrifice which Jesus Christ was about to present to his Father. Consider that God is love, 1 John iv. 16. And what could the God who is love refuse to the Redeemer of the world, at the moment when he was going to devote himself, with such ardor of affection, for the salvation of mankind. Behold him, the Redeemer of a lost world, behold him ready to affix the seal to the great work which God had committed to him : behold him prepared to be led, as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep, dumb before her shearers, Isa. liii. 7. behold him prepared to undergo that punishment, the bare idea of which makes nature shudder: behold him prepared to enter into the deep mire where there is no standing, of which the prophets speak, Psa. Ixix. 2. and all this out of that love, and all this from that principle of cha-rity which glowed in his compassionate breast.
At that moment of love, at that moment which
embraces all eternity--pardon me the expression, my friends, and condemn me not, if in a subject which has nothing human, I am constrained to employ modes of speech which are not in common use among men--at that moment which embraces a whole eternity, when charity was carried as far as it could go, this Redeemer presents himfelf before the God of love, and asks of him, that in virtue of this sacrifice of love, which he was going to offer up, all the faithful, this people, you, my dearly beloved brethren,you might be crowned with the felicity and with the glory, with which he himself was going to be crowned; but to which love would have rendered him insensible, had he not promised himself to communicate them, one day, to men, the objects of his tenderest affection.
O mysteries of redemption, how far you transcend all expression, all thought! Ye angels of light, who live in the bosom of glory, turn aside your eyes from beholding wonders which dazzle the heaven of heavens: bend lowly over the mystical ark, and search it to the bottom. And you, for whom all these wonders are wrought, children of fallen Adam, bow down in gratitude and adoration, and measure, if you can, the dimensions, the length, the breath, the height, the depth, of that abyss, which passeth knowledge, Eph. iii. 18, 19.
My brethren, there is an air of credulity and superstition in what passes between a dying person, and a minister who is endeavoring to fortify him against the fears of death. The minister has the appearance of an impostor, and the dying person of a visionary. We promise to a man extended on a sick bed, to a man who is in a few days to be shut up in a tomb, and to become a prey to worms, we promise him an eternal abode, and rivers of pleasures : we assure him that he is the favorite of
heaven, at the very moment when he is going to become the abhorrence of the earth, at the very moment when corruption and rottenness are hastening to put to flight from his person his most affectionate friends. These pretensions are, however, incontestable. They are founded on the cha. ritable prayers which the Redeemer of men addressed to the God of love, at the time when he himself was perfected in love: “ I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; and I am going to seal with my blood that awful ministry which thou hast committed unto me. Grant to my obedience, grant to the prayers and to the blood of thy expiring Son, that which is most capable of supporting him amidst those fearful objects with which he is surrounded : it is the salvation of that world of believers, who are to embrace my doctrine: Father, I will that where I am, those whom thou hast given me, may be there also with me, that they may behold my glory: and I pray not for them only, but also for those who shall believe in thee through their word.”
These prayers, my brethren, are still presented. Jesus Christ is still doing in heaven, what, in the days of his flesh, he did upon earth: he is even at the right hand of God, where he still maketh intercession for us, Rom. viii. 34. He is still able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them, Heb. vii. 25. But do we avail ourselves of these prayers ? But are we seconding this intercession? Alas! I was preparing to set open to you all the treasures of consolation which we see issuing from a dying Saviour's prayers. But I find in that prayer, one word which stops me short ;, one word which terrifies me; one word which sug
gests an inquiry that awakens a thousand solicitudes : Are we in the class of those for whom Jesus Christ prayed to the Father; or are we of those for whom, he tells us, he prayed not ? Does it contain the sentence of our absolution, or that of our eternal condemnation? You have heard this word: but have you seriously weighed its import? Have you listened to it with that composure, and with that application, which it demands ? The word is this : I pray not for the world: I pray for those whom thou hast given me, ver. 9. My disciples, for whom I pray to thee, are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, ver. 14.
We frame for ourselves a morality that suits our own fancy. We look upon a worldly spirit as a matter of trivial importance, which it is scarcely worth while to think of correcting. A preacher who should take upon him to condemn this disposition of mind, would pass for a mere declaimer, who abused the liberty given him, of talking alone from the pulpit. A wordly life, wasted in dissipation, in pleasure, at play, at public spectacles, has nothing terrifying in our eyes. But be pleased to learn from Jesus Christ, whether or not a worldly spirit be a trivial matter. But learn of Jesus Christ, what are the fatal effects of a worldly mind. It is an exclusion from the glorious catalogue of those for whom Jesus Christ intercedes. It destroys the right of pretending to those blessings which the Saviour requests in behalf of his church: I pray not for the world : 1 pray for them whom thou hast given me. My disciples, for whom I pray to thee, are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Would you wish to know whether Jesus Christ is an intercessor for you? Would you wish to know whether you are of the number of them who shall,