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plying the throne of grace on behalf of the churches of the saints? (Ephes. iii 14—21; Coloss. i. 28, 29; ii. 1—3; 2 Thess. i. 11, 12). And to crown all, is no the great love of Jesus to his Church manifested by his perpetual intercessiu on her behalf P If we, then, say we abide in him, let us seek to walk as he walked, and to be followers of those who were men of prayer. In thus actin| we shall consult our highest happiness, for it may with truth be said concernin Zion, and him that loves her,—
"The man that soeks thy peace.
Nor are encouragements wanting to pray without ceasing. The character < God'—the name of Jesus—the promised help of the Holy Spirit—the engaf ments of Divine faithfulness—>he end to be answered by prayer, even "thatt Father may be glorified in the Son ;" all, all encourage us to come with boll ness to the throne of grace. Prayer has already gained many victories, and, b God's help, may yet gain many more. When we feel inclined to despair or gro weary, let us study such Scriptures as the following: John xvi. 23, 24,: "An in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatw ever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may b full." John xv. 7: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall« what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." 1 John v. 14. 15: "And this the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his wi he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we knoff tbi we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Let us also study the instances of successful prayer which God's word recon Shall I tell you of Peter, and how the prayers of the Church were more thin match for Herod and his mighty men? (Acts xii.) Prayer made the fetters ii otf—opened the prison doors—locked the guards in sleep, and filled the Church with wonder and praise. Shall I tell how, when Jerusalem was surrounded h the Assyrian host, Isaiah lifted up his prayer for the remnant, Hezekiah sprew the lett-r before the Lord, and their united requests turned the might < thousands of warriors into the impotence of death r Shall I tell you how b lieving prayer built walls with water, and made the sea a highway for the feeb and a grave for the strong? Let us think on these things with many othei "and pour out our hearts like water before the face of the Lord our God:" 1 us cry mightily for blessings on the Church, and for the salvation of sinnen In acting thus, we shall be, as we have already Been, associated with patriarcl prophets, and apostles, and, most of all, be conformed to Him who sought by h» strong cries on earth, and who still seeks by his prevalent intercession in heave the destruction of sin and the salvation of sinners, the triumph of truth and t honour of God.
Dear Christian friends, you who have felt the power, the pleasure, and t profit of believing prayer, to you the ministers of the Gospel especially ma their appeal; and in the language of the apostle say, "Brethren, pray for us. We seek not yours, but you. Consider, I beseech you, the connection there mo* be between a spirit of prayer and the prosperity of the Church of God. Wh is prosperity? It is the possession and exercise of those graces and gifts whic only God can bestow, and which God will only bestow in answer to prayer, this observation be true, the point is settled; we need go no farther; we s« that if we would have prosperity we must ask, and ask in faith, nothing doubtinj (James i. 5). We may get numbers without prayer; .we may get respectability and wealth without prayer; but prosperity we cannot get without prayer; ant of what avail is any thing or everything else, without spiritual prosperity? W *ant, then, more prayers; real heart prayers. True, we are glad to hear gifted brethren; we wish the head as well as the heart to be engaged. Prayer should be thoughtful, sensible, and orderly; but all will not do without the heart. By leart prayer, I mean for the heart to be with God; thinking on him, loving lim, desiring him; on the promise, leaning on it, pleading it, expecting its Wfilment; for the Church, feeling for her sorrows and. longing for her welfare. Phat was heart prayer which Paul thus describes: "Striving according to his rorking, which worketh in me mightily. For I would that ye knew what great lonflict I have for you" (Coloss. i. 29). And such prayer he desired from the jhurch: "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and or the love of the Spirit, that ye strive (or agonize) together with me in your payera to God for me'' (Rom. xv. 30). Such heart prayer as this will be sure to produce prosperity, for prayer not only brings down blessings from God, but it elevates the soul to God—prepares for service—fits us to receive and improve God's blessings—and meetens us to be efficient instruments in his hand; in snort,capacitates us to be "labourers together with God." Communion with TMd produces spirituality and humility: and spiritual and humble souls are those whom God will employ, bless, and honour.
As there is an intimate connection between prayer and prosperity, so is there oetifeenthe spiritual prosperity of the Church and the conversion of sinners. On.thispoint I appeal to facts, and call upon all to search the word of God, aid also to explore the field of observation around them for proof, whether it is so or not. The Acts of the Apostles abundantly demonstrate, that when the wiurch was most full of the Divine life, then was she most honoured to bring sinners to God (Acts ii. 41; iv. 4; xi. 19—24; xiii. 2). Then three thousand, and afterwards five thousand, were converted; next we read of a multitude of 'he priests being obedient to the faith; and of much people being added to the pfd; so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. And even now, I ask pw confidence, where do we find the work of conversion going on, but where TMere is the spirit of grace and supplication P Christians, let us endeavour to teel our responsibility in this matter, for assuredly it is far greater than we """Sine. If the prosperity and increase of the Church is thus connected with a 'Pf' of prayer, are we not verily guilty if we rest satisfied without such a spirit? The conversion of sinners is the work of God; we know it, we feel it; but when was it the case that a spiritual church went on praying without the ,rm of the Lord being revealed, without an addition of members; yea, and such I shall be saved? Brethren, are we prepared to pray more than ever—to pray ervently—to pray perseveringly and patiently P Are we prepared to make any ^ifiees, so that the flame of devotion may be kindled in our hearts indivi■%, until it communicates from heart to heart, and the Church becomes what "onRht to be, a representation of Jesus in his love to his people, his zeal for v"8 g'ory) and his pity for sinners P Your closets and the prayer-meetings
"the Church will tell how far you are prepared for this. May the love of jjUist forbid that any Christian should say, " I pray thee have me excused;" Win that case the solemn words of James are applicable to us: "Draw nigh to od, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify Joni hearts, ye double-minded." Recollect, Christians, the claims of God upon J —your iafinite obligation—your solemn profession—your glorious prospects "■the impression your influence and example must make—the account you have »render—and the faithful promise of Jehovah to give his Holy Spirit to them "m ask him; and then go and act accordingly. Ipwich.
BT THE BET. W. BUBTON.* "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."—! Cor. XT. 57.
In one view, my brethren, our emotions to-day may be of the saddest description, in another they may be calm and even joyous. It depends very muoh on the direction in which our thoughts turn, whether we shall be overwhelmed with distress, or whether our minds be filled with comfort and consolation. Whatever be the relation we sustained to him whom God has recently taken to himself—that of family tie, or connection with him in Christian friendship and church fellowship—if we permit ourselves to dwell exclusively on our great loss, if we think of his place being vacant, his active living influence as come to an end, if we reflect that his many services for the cause of God amongst us have all come to a termination, that his accustomed form our eyes shall never more behold in the earthly sanctuary, and the familiar tones of his voice we can never hear again—if we dwell on these things, grief will possess our hearts, we cannot but feel sad, and the deep shadows of sorrow falling on us will darken our souls and oppress our spirits. But there is light in the midst of this trial—the light of life, the light of hope, the light of joy; so that we need not to sit desolate in "the shadow of death." There is another, an altogether different aspect in which we may look on this event; there is another side to the picture, a side that has brighter, more glowing, more lasting colours; and the effect of contemplating this more lightsome view will certainly be more cheering, more animating, more strengthening, and X think one may say more elevating and sanctifying to our soul.
Yes, dear friends, we may think of our brother as living now " before the throne," as having done with all the cares and sorrows of this mortal state, "compassed about with songs of deliverance." We may dwell with delight and thankfulness on his life of faith and well-doing—on the termination to that life so calm and peaceful and untroubled — his passing away without aevere protracted suffering into the glory of heaven, into the presence of his Lord and ours, emancipated from all the ills that
belong to this world, enjoying the realm tion of the words he so frequt quoted— "There shall we see his face, and never, wn
There from the riven of his grace drink enita pleasures in."
If we let our minds go out in thu i reotion, and contemplate those high ret ties that are apprehended by faith, sure there will be, to say the least, a feeling« oalm, quiet joy—and may it not be exulting joy ?—when we think of him actually in the midst of those glories; I to him to live was Christ, and to die w gain.
Now, my brethren, I prefer on this« oasion the more joyous aspect; I vraol rather give prominence to the gloriot truths brought to light in the G«p< which bear upon the future, and which •« so well adapted to encourage our hesxli time of affliction and days of bereavema I would try to lead out your mind in '1" nobler heavenward direction, instead o confining your thoughts to things pre**' and seen; for there, beyond us, there» • wide and glorious expanse of thingsuwai and eternal, in which we ourselves and • who have fallen asleep in Jesus are deep and joyfully interested. And surely tha is something in the removal of a belovi friend to that unseen world of glory, whia should act as a powerful attraction I drawing our thoughts upwards, ffhW should beckon us away from earthly thin] to the bright future. Surely heaven sea» nigher when we think of one with ffbon we were intimate, one who was amongst B as one of ourselves a short time ago, ban; really there, and that at this moment h is becoming consciously familiar with tw highest life, as familiar as he was with 1» on earth. Shall we not "follow and » pire"? And the thought occurs, that« those for whom we mourn, who have go« to be for ever with the Lord, could coi municate with us and influence us, thi would chide us, gently chide us, if we sorrowed as those might who have no hope; if we allowed our own grief so to absorb Dot attention that we should forget their joji if we permitted the earthward view to draw away our thoughts from the blisshl immortality that is theirs.
* In this sermon there are some allusions to the recent death, after a short illness, of Mr. H. Coomb*' the senior deacon of the church at Badcox Lane, Frome.
When through the mercy and grace of Bod we can rejoice that those taken from dor side are safe, not only safe but happy, w ought not to indulge in a spirit of morbid grieving or repining, which, besides feakening and depressing our spirits, goes fcr to deprive us of the blessed results of "ratified affliction. It is true that nature •Woks from death, and we feel it painful to be teparated from those we love 5 it is tn» that ties of fond affection are snapt, •nd deeply-rooted attachments violently uptorn by the hand of death; and we cannot, Mr does God expect us to, repress the ■fipg tear of sorrow j but, oh! how it nitigates our grief, and sweetens the bitTMrt cup of affliction, tojknow there is a glorious hereafter, that the separation is out for a short time, that death is a neces•"J part of the process that conducts to perfect joy, one of the links in the chain of the .Almighty's purposes with regard to W saints. Men who know nothing of Christianity, nothing of Him who is "the wurrection and the Life," nothing of the joy of hope that cheers the heart, nothing of lie inheritance of the saints in light—they ■n>y confine their view to the earthly and TM seep, and with unavailing sorrow, in "naUeriated darkness, mourn as if death J" the end of all. But we who know that °wti is the entrance to all that is desirable TM glorious, may strike a higher note, a ffloregladsome strain; we may rejoice in "■e salvation of our God 5 and even now, * the vacancy and loss which death has jjNoghtj'we may say, " O death, where is TMy sfeg? O grave, where is thy vicJ*?'1 The Bting of death is sin, and the **gth of ein is the law. But thanks be "God, which giveth us the victory, through ""Lord Jesus Christ."
Our text you will observe forms the TMai of a glorious burst of praise with "hich the Apostle concludes his elaborate "PMent on the doctrine of the resurrec«on. It i8 a high strain of triumph, a ■cog we may sing over every one who falls weep in Jesus—" Thanks be to God, who Pveth us the victory, through our Lord •esus Christ." In discoursing on these **di let us think first of The Victobt, "d what is comprehended in it; then, "** this victory as won for us and given to m i »nd lastly, the emotions that should
fill every Christian heart in prospect of it.
I. Fiust, then, as to the Victory and what is comprehended in it. There is something that is overcome, and the overcoming is nothing less than victory. It is not escape or deliverance only from threatening evils j it is not eluding the grasp of an adversary and seeking refuge in flight; though even such a blessing might make us glad, might fill our minds with tranquillity in looking into the future, and calm all apprehensive fears in prospect of death. But it is far more—it is the destruction of foes, a complete triumph over opponents; it is a victory. It is victory over death. Death is swallowed up in victory; death is destroyed; and so complete is the destruction, so glorious the victory, that the gloom of death vanishes and is lost in the glory of the triumph, as the darkness of night disappears before the light of day. Death is the great destroyer, the conqueror of all men. They may employ death as their minister in conquering and destroying each other; but they who use death as their servant, and make a league with him against their enemies, are in the end mastered by him. The mightiest and the lowliest of men must succumb to him. •'None are humble enough to be overlooked and pitied; none are good enough to be revered and spared; none are high enough to have the right to bid him stand at bay." Oh, what a ruthless conqueror is death! To no appeal of beauty, or youth, or affection, or moral worth, will he give heed. He is the universal destroyer; and when he fastens his grasp on one of Christ's, one whom he cannot really harm, still, though the believer is safe from the full force of his deadly power, yet in one view death is a terrible destroyer and conqueror. As you look on the sickly, diseased frame wearing down to the grave; as you mark the unmistakable signB of approaching dissolution—the sinking strength, the laboured breathing, the altered look, and then last of all, the motionless, inanimate body; —as you behold all this, you feel death has a victory and has cruelly triumphed. But, oh, it is a short and seeming triumph at the most. True, the heart beats no more, and living thought and emotion beam no longer in the face; the eye is dimmed, and every bodily power is motionless; but the spirit, the soul, is untouched and unharmed. Amidst the decay and downfall of the house, the tenant ia liberated, and
no longer has to contend with an uncongenial companionship, no longer is held down to this earth by a hody of sin, no longer is thwarted by a partner that was possessed and ruled by a law contrary to the law of the spirit; the emancipated soul is freed from the body, vile through sin. And even in the midst of death's havoc upon the body, while the frail tenement is crumbling into ruin, is there not something of triumph in the soul of the Christian, an exulting joy within the breast? Have wo not beheld, in the tranquil, placid expression of the dying believer, in the beaming countenance lit up with Divine light, a victorious joy glancing forth? Is there not a victory even in death? and while the body succumbs to the power of the tyrant, the Boui rises triumphant, and calmly rejoices in her superiority. Death is indeed a servant to the believer, and is made to do the needful work to advance the final, complete glory; so that the Apostle Paul, in enumerating the various and rich treasures of the Christian's heritage, says, amongst other things that are subordinated to his good, "death is yours;" not meaning thereby you Bhall die, not you are death's; but "death is yours;" yours to subserve your highest interest j yours to minister to your well-being; yours to work for your glorification; yours to open the portal of immortality, and to usher you into the mansions of light. But what a different thing is it if you are death's; if death, as the messenger of justice, can come, and with authority of law claim you for his own, taking you as a culprit to trial and condemnation! So death will come to every one out of Christ.
But what is the secret of the victory over death? It is connected with and springs out of another victory, namely, victory over sin. "O death, where is thy sting P" A triumphant challenge this, as much as to tell us (as indeed it does tell us in the most forcible way) there is no sting in death j for the sting is sin, and that has been taken away in the death of Jesus Christ. The sting is sin. This is the deadly, poisonous, harmful thing in death; this it is which gives him power to hurt and destroy; and this gone, the power to destroy is gone; and in this sense, death is "abolished," is harmless, powerless for evil. It is no longer the same thing now that the sting is gone. Yes, it is a victory over sin in the first place; and because it
is so, it is a victory over death. What is it that makes death terrible? It is chiefly sin. What is it makes death hurtful 7 Nothing but sin. It is true that nitute shrinks from dissolution, shrinks from thaj strangeness of leaving this old familiar world and from taking part in the scenesrf another; shrinks from the thought of ti» body being laid in the cold, corrupt gnrtj but it is a sense of sin that fills tbe mir1 with anxious foreboding, with dread « terror. Assure me, then, that sin is tal away, that the blood of Jesus Christ is all-sufficient atonement: let me believe tl and accept it as the truth of God, then the prospect of death my heart is at n and a holy quiet reigns within. Thus As humblest believer is enabled to " trinrnpl o'er the monster death and all his frighBI powers;" and entering the last valley ht finds it lighted up with the presence of hi Lord, and songs of victory burst fortk from his dying nps.
And beyond all this there will be complete victory over sin, death, and the grare, when in the resurrection morn the bodies of the saints shall rise again, when tk* which was sown in corruption shall I* raised in incorruption, that sown in fr honour shall be raised in glory, that son in weakness shall be raised in power, that sown a natural body shall be raised * spiritual body. Then, indeed, shall tit great destroyer be fully vanquished, and the precious dust of those who slept the sleep of death shall be raised up. Then the command to the earth shall be, " Give up," aaJ to the sea, "Keep not back," and He precious treasure God is keeping » securely in his world shall be surrendered. Strange and glorious mystery! in which we for ourselves and for those who bare died in the Lord, are so interested. Oh, what triumph shall that be! for until the resurrection day the full victory TM not be achieved. "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and th» mortal must put on immortality; *> when this corruptible shall have put o> incorruption, and this mortal shall hare put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is writteoi Death is swallowed up in victory." A* we, brethren, have the pledge and assurance in Christ's triumph that this victory shall be ours. "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become tho first-fruita of them that slept;" because he has rises we too shall rise—because he lives we el*