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the unhallowed flames of selfish desire extinguished ; take your heart to Christ to be inflamed by His Spirit. When He that “maketh intercession according to the will of God” pleads within you, all self or party interests will die ; your prayer will then aim only at the accomplishment of God's will, and the promotion of His glory. This self-oblivious intercession which the Holy Ghost inspires cannot but prevail.
To many who ask why they plead ineffectually, the answer is, “ Because of unbelief.” Never is it more necessary to exercise strong faith in Him who has said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” than when pleading on bebaif of sinners with a distinct apprehension of the hindrances to the success of our prayer. With every known act of resistance on the part of those for whom we intercede, it is needful that by yet more powerful faith we draw down upon them yet stronger spiritual influence. And surely we have sufficient warrant for the exercise of such faith while thus interceding. Since the ultimate end proposed in answering prayer offered through Christ is “ that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” therefore, while we believingly present the pleadings of the indwelling Spirit, we may rejoice in the assurance, that, in whatever way God may please to answer our intercessions, He will answer them in the way that shall bring most glory to His name.
While it is admitted that they only can thus prevalently intercede, who by living near to Him know the “secret of the Lord," and thus are taught to ask according to His will,— who,“ praying in the Holy Ghost," exercise that faith which can remove mountains,”—yet this privilege is free to all, nay, is an unavoidable obligation that rests on each member of the church of Christ. “ To you it is given ”-even to the weakest and least efficient among us—to wield this power. For its acceptance and use we are responsible. A simple sense of our responsibility, therefore, should constrain us to intercede, not only for those who by kindred, national, or spiritual ties have an especial claim on our prayers, but also for all who claim our intercessions by the bond of a common redemption. By the love of our great High Priest, to whom we ourselves owe so much, and who DOT asks us to join Hiin in pleading for sinners, standing with His golden cer to receive your intercessions and mingle them with His own; by “the love of the Spirit,” who, compassionately brooding over perishing souls, seeks for the hallowed shrines of sanctified hearts, where He may successful! y plead for them; by the joys of those who, having by their prayers an! efforts “turned many to righteousness,” shine “as the stars for evermore," and lay their “crown of rejoicing ” at the Redeemer's feet; by the wails of the lost, whose piercing cry, “ No man cared for my soul," would surely Dot heighten the joy of our own heaven, should it ever fall reprovingly on our ear;-by these things let us be constrained to intercede for those wbom Jesus came to seek and save. Let Him not bave to look in vain for sharan in His work, or “wonder that there is no intercessor ;" but let Him find in us hearts that beat in unison with His own desire for the salvation of
souls. Seeing “ the travail of His soul” shared by us, and accomplished in us, He will “ be satisfied.”
Another service required of the Levitical priest was the conservation of the sacred fire, which was the symbol of the Holy Spirit. This originally came down from heaven, and was to be kept ever burning on the altar. With it the sacred lamps were lighted, the incense was kindled and the sacrifices were consumed. And thus the Holy Spirit, who on the day of Pentecost descended from heaven, is to abide with the church for ever, to be its Illuminator, Helper, and Sanctifier. The effect of the preached truth depends on His enlightening the understanding. Only by His illumination are revealed the things of God. The “prayers of the saints” avail only as He “helpeth their infirmities,” and “maketh intercession within” them. Their offerings, whether the dedication of themselves, or the presentation of their works to God, are only acceptable when “sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” As the fire on the Jewish altar was not repeatedly kindled, but sustained and guarded by the priests, who fed it with earthly fuel, so the church is not warranted to expect the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit apart from human effort. It is for the “royal priesthood” to guard the heavenly gift, once for all imparted, taking care that nothing quench that vitalizing influence without which the church is torpid and powerless. And in order that the vitality of the church be fully maintained, it is needful that the heart of each member be fired by the Holy Spirit, that each continually “stir up the gift of God which is in” him, and guard the sacred treasure with unceasing vigilance. As Christ has not given His Spirit for the benefit of His people only, but also for the quickening of the world, it behoves us diligently to tend the Divine life within, in order that its flames may spread without. When the professing people of God, conne coldly and with indifference to those ordinances of His house, for instance, which are designed, not so much for their own edification, as for the awakening and conversion of sinners, as if expecting the few who lead their devotions and meditations to bring sufficient warmth to quicken all the rest into spiritual vigour, it is in vain to hope that the end of those ordinances will be answered, in vain to look for the church to make any successful aggression on the world. It was when the disciples “were all filled with the Holy Ghost ” that three thousand were in one day" pricked to the heart.” If the people of God would now see the same results attend the preaching of the truth, let them stir up the pentecostal gift in themselves. When each brings to the sanctuary his measure of holy influence and intercessory power, then, and not till then, will the services of God's house be, to the extent designed, means of grace to the world and of glory to God. Then, and not till then, may we expect the Lord to “add to the church daily such as shall be saved.”
Of the other duties required of the Jewish priests we will only briefly notice their attention to the sacred lamps which lighted the holy place. These lamps were lighted from the altar, and carefully kept free from whatever would dim their brilliancy. The golden candlestick symbolized
Gospel truth communicated to the church, to be by its instrumentality diffused throughout the world. It is for the “royal priesthood" to see that nothing obscure its brightness, but that it shine with clear and diffusive radiance. Not on the ministers of the Gospel only does this charge devolve. All the people of God are required to "hold forth the word of life,” to do their utmost to aid those who are more particularly called to proclaim the truth, by personal recommendation of it, and by a practical illustration of its principles. In order that the church may fulfil the Divine design as a centre of spiritual illumination, its members must individually be “lights." It is not enough that the Gospel shine in here and there & few.
Men will not believe the Gospel unless they see its power manifested in the church. Weighty is the responsibility resting on the people of God with regard to the world. They have received the light of the Gospel in trust. To them has the truth been given, that the world through them might believe. And none who have been spiritually enlightened may claim exemption from this responsibility. “As every man bath received the gift,” so is he bound to “minister the same, as a good steward of the manifold grace of God.” What answer can they give in the day of final account who neglect the charge thus committed to them? And what account can be rendered by those who not only fail to diffuse the truth, but cast a shade over its brightness, or arrest its rays, by their inconsistent profession of religion ? Fain would we repress the thought that in “that day” the salvation of multitudes will be found to have been hindered by those in the church who, instead of adding lustre to its glory, have rather obscured it. If the “royal priesthood” were as numerous as it evidently ought to be, then should Zion “arise and shine ;” and, "the righteousness thereof going forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth,” she should speedily dissipate the “ darkness that covers the earth,” and hasten the bright day when it “ shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
With the service of the “royal priesthood” many hallowed privileges are connected. Of these spiritual sustenance is not the least. As they who, under the Mosaic dispensation, “ministered about holy things, lived of the things of the temple," partaking of the shew-bread, of which none but the priests might eat, so all who now serve God acceptably in His spiritual church, of which the Jewish sanctuary was the type, find there a table spread for their refreshment, and are “ satisfied with the fatness of His house." While idlers, who in the means of grace seek only intellectual luxuries or religious excitements, are ever complaining of their souls' leanness, they who labour according to the mind of Christ for the interests of the church, and seek in its ordinances Divine strength for its service, feed on" hidden manna,” proving the truth of the promise, “I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness.” As they who served at the Jewish altar were “partakers of the altar," so the “royal priesthood " have an altar, whereof others have no right to eat.” Continuously presenting the “living sacrifice” of a consecrated heart and life, they enjoy not only the benefits
of the Saviour's expiatory offering, but, nourished by Him whose “flesh is meat indeed," and feeding continually on His fulness, they are partakers of Christ,” and daily grow in assimilation to His nature.
But something more than spiritual sustenance was symbolized in the peace-offering of which the Jewish priest partook. It was a token of the Divine fellowship to which they who ate of that sacrifice were admitted. They were “ partakers with the altar,” as well as “of it.” (1 Cor. ix. 13, and s. 18.) Thus the "royal priesthood " not only derive spiritual nourishment from Christ, but also in fellowship with Him each realizes His gracious promise, “I will sup with him, and he with me.” They who have bound all they have and are to Christ their altar, whose interests are thus identical with His, and whose joye and sorrows are one with His, not only share the travail of His soul and the weariness of His toil in caring and labouring for the welfare and extension of His church, but also participate in His joy, when, beholding its growing numbers and maturing graces, He calls on His friends to feast with Him in His delight; (Cant. v. 1 ;) and, bringing them into His banqueting-house, gives to each a draught of His unspeakable peace and joy. Blessed are they who drink of the same cup of gladness with their Lord. With this deep joy" a stranger intermeddleth not.” They only who are baptized with the same Spirit that Jesus was baptized with, and who drink of the same cup of self-sacrificing toil whereof He drank so deeply, can enjoy this " fellowship," or "feast with Jesu's priests and kings."
The “royal priesthood” are also admitted into fellowship with the Father. This the Jewish peace-offering was perhaps more especially intended to denote. But distant was the intercourse enjoyed by the Levitical priests compared with that intimate communion with God which is the privilege of those who serve at the Christian's altar. Those were not permitted to follow the High Priest into the holiest, nor to obtain any glimpse of the Shechinah; but they who are brought“ nigh by the blood ” of that sacrifice which our High Priest is ever presenting on His people's behalf, are privileged to enter into the Holiest, and, being made “pure in heart,” to “ see God” as revealed in Christ. As the Jewish peace-offering was divided between God and the priest, so Jesus has not only ascended in our nature to heaven, to represent us to the Father and recommend us to His favour, but He has, by His Spirit, given Himself to His people, to reveal to them the Father, and render them meet for His fellowship. And they who through this “pew and living way which Christ hath consecrated for us,” the rent veil of His flesh, enter into the holiest, behold undismayed the God of infinite justice, power, and holiness ; seeing that henceforth for them He ever sits upon the mercy-seat. There, through Jesus, the “royal priesthood” enjoy the transforming vision of His glory, and the hallowed privilege of His intimate converse. Thus their “fellowship is with the father,” as well as " with His Son Jesus Christ.”
A glorious inheritance also is the portion of the "royal priesthood.” As the Levitical priests had no earthly possession allotted to them, because
“the Lord was their inheritance” and “their possession,” so all who are in spirit separated from the world, refusing to make its wealth, or fame, or pleasure, the portion of their soul, receive God, a glorious recoin pense, as the “ portion of their inheritance.” Not what the Lord has merely, but all that He is, does He impart to those who give themselves to Him. The infinitely Holy One is their “ portion ;" therefore, though their souls may now be weary with the view of sin around, and the effects of sin within them, yet they “rejoice and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness." His hallowing presence constitutes their present heaven, and His nature is a pledge of that ever-progressive holiness of character, and perfect purity of heart, to which he promises they shall themselves be raised. The Almighty is their “ Portion ;" therefore, though attacked by the world of sin, and surrounded by the hosts of hell, yet, being encircled by the Omnipotent arm, they “fear no evil.” The all-wise God is their “Portion;" therefore, though their path be intricate and the night dark, they tread with confident step as, turning to the Infinite Wisdom, they trustfully appeal, “ Thou shalt guide me.” The God of ineffable love is their “ Portion ;” therefore, though wearied with earth's toils, and chilled by its selfishness, they ever find rest and solace in Him. His hand supplying all their need, His Spirit ever supplying those streams of consolation which most abound when earthly streams of joy are dried up to flow no more. God in all His fulness is their “inheritance ;” an inheritance yielding supplies ever fresh and never failing. From the inexhaustible fulness of the Infinite Mind, their mind is constantly supplied with new and elevating thought. From the unfathomable depths of the Divine heart, their btart is ever filled with heavenly affections and hallowed joys. “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” the exceeding vastness of this reward. Happs are they to whom the Spirit thus reveals the “deep things of God,” who apprehend “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” the infinite “fulness of God" = their glorious inheritance.
And not only do they who serve God in His spiritual temple enjoy ali the privileges symbolized in Jewish types, but a princely dignity is conferred upon them. They are a "royal priesthood," being anointed“ kings" as well as “priests unto God.” As earthly kings have considered their majesty heightened by being served by princes, so the King of kings enhances His own glory by bestowing honour on those who serve Him. Man was created for dominion ; but having been discrowned and enslaved by sin, Jesus has redeemed him from the yoke of his spiritual foes, so? given him power over Satan, the world, and sin, that He might *as s prince draw near to God.” Royal wealth, too, as well as princely power, does the Lord our King give to His servants. In a very important sense, “all things” are theirs ; whatever of good this life contains being resde contributory to their happiness, and its very evils working together for that good; all influences, whether good or evil, all circumstances, favourable or adverse, being made to serve their interests. How infinitely richer than earth’s proudest potentate are they whom thus all things serve! But the