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while they struggle, grace and strength is given them. Who, then, is the faint-hearted, the faithless Christian, who wearies beneath the trial, who gives way in the fight, who yields to the temptation ? ah! persevere yet awhile; wrestle yet a little longer during the dark night, soon will the day break. Remember, who intercedes for you on high; look up to Him, and you cannot fail. And, above all, dread that deceitfulness of man's heart, by which you may persuade yourself that you sink under the grievousness of the trial, when, in truth, you are really in love with the sin, perhaps, in your inmost thoughts, even wishing to be strongly tempted, that it may seem to serve you as an excuse for falling. But if you be not unfaithful and insincere, be assured with the temptation a way shall be made for your escape, that you may be able to bear it.
And further, in all those numberless sins, into which even good men are liable to fall, Christ is the Advocate with the Father, on behalf of all, who, upon the whole, are humbly and sincerely trying to please Him. I am not now speaking so much of wilful and presumptuous sin. I am not now alluding to the sad falls of backsliding Christians. But I know that the original infection of our nature remains in the regenerate. The highest saint deeply laments how far he is from that perfect standard at which he aims. But this is his support and stay, that Jesus Christ the righteous makes intercession for him, that if he sin, he has an Advocate with the Father. And this is no ground for presumption; this gives no just cause for careless, thoughtless, living. But when a man has reason to believe that he is growing in grace, and that the image of Christ is, indeed, forming in him, such an one has hope, notwithstanding the many infirmities for which he sorrows, because he knows in whom he has believed, and dares to come boldly to the Throne of grace, because His Saviour is sitting there, helping him and praying for him.
And Christ's intercession has procured for us that Gift of all gifts, that other Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. He has ascended up on high, and received this Gift for men. He has prayed the Father, and the Father hath
sent the Comforter, even the spirit of Truth, to dwell in the hearts of Christians, and guide them into all they should know. Hence every holy desire, every godly purpose, every good action. Hence the influence of every lofty example, the inspiration of every sacred writing, the efficacy of every word of exhortation. Hence the sanctification of every saint, who has been made meet for those everlasting mansions, which our Saviour has prepared in heaven for us.
It is a most encouraging thought to the simple-minded, this truth of our righteous Saviour's Intercession. For not an act is faithfully performed on earth, by the aid of the Holy Ghost, but there is, as it were, an echo thereof reverberating through and through the skies, yea, reaching the very Throne of God. We cannot utter one faithful prayer, , or breathe one sincere wish, but Christ Himself answers to that prayer, presents that heart-felt desire at the right hand of the Father. We cannot offer unto God in the Holy Communion the sacred memorials of Christ's Body broken, and Blood shed for us, but our great High Priest Himself makes a remem
brance, as it were, of that Sacrifice, which, once for all, He made of Himself on the Cross, and gives us His Flesh which is meat indeed, and His Blood which is drink indeed, causing us to be partakers in all the benefits of His Passion. His all-prevailing intercession gives a value to our intercessions, His prayers for us make our prayers to be heard.
May God give us grace to remember this, that we faint not, nor grow weary in welldoing, but watch always: and, above all, that in everything we do towards Almighty God, we may be preserved from a double mind, acting with truth in our inward parts. Then shall the Lord, our glorious Redeemer, our gracious Advocate, our long-suffering Intercessor, plead our cause with them that strive with us, and fight against them that fight against us; and we will talk of His righteousness, and be telling of His salvation from day to day.
[Preached at S. Giles' on the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 10, 1813.)
FROM THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY,
S. MARK vii. 34.
BEFORE Christ came, man was fast tied and bound with the chain of his sins; Satan led men captive, and kept them prisoners at his will. With sinful, fallen natures, with wills out of harmony with the will of God, with a proneness and tendency to sin, they could not rise to the righteousness of God. Their eyes were blind, and the light from heaven entered not into their souls; their ears were stopped, and they heard not the voice of God