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Now, contrast this her state with the state of those of whom the parable speaks. "HEAR (says our Lord) WHAT THE UNJUST JUDGE SAITH. AND SHALL NOT GOD AVENGE His Own ELECT WHICH CRY DAY AND NIGHT UNTO HIM, THOUGH HE BEAR LONG WITH THEM? I TELL YOU THAT HE WILL AVENGE THEM SPEEDILY."9 Remember, then, that as the petition was supposed to be a just one that shall prevail with God, so it is here supposed to be the prayer of his own dear children, "HIS OWN ELECT." My brethren, I know the sort of instinctive dread with which this word is met by many. Persuaded, however, as I am, that not only Scripture but reason must establish the same truth, that sinners who cannot of themselves turn to God must in conversion be indebted to electing love; and that nothing can so tend to encourage and strengthen the Christian as the belief of this truth; still I have no desire at this time to enter upon the subject, or in any way to say that which may create even a momentary prejudice in any mind. I would only just remind you that our church exhibits no such morbid apprehension of this truth; that, on the contrary, she maintains it clearly and unequivocally. And those who object to it, if not objecting to the truth of Scripture, are most assuredly opposing one of the plainest statements of our church formularies. There is one of them, indeed, which perhaps. is mournfully known to many of you, in which the word is expressly used, (I mean the service for the burial of the dead,) where we distinctly pray that

9 Luke xviii. 6-8.

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God will shortly accomplish the number of his elect, and hasten his kingdom.' But essential as I consider the reception of this truth to be to the peace and establishment, and in some degree, to the fruitfulness, of the believer, I do not consider it essential to his safety; and, therefore, while I regret that any man should be without the peace which it is calculated to give, I would not urge it as a point of paramount importance, nor willingly offend any one by casting in his way the stumbling-block of a higher truth than he can receive. This, therefore, at the present time, is all that I design to say on this point, that the word here, whatever may be its further meaning, means, at all events, those that are true believers. And the force of the contrast lies in this, that while the widow, without any interest, without any love or favour towards her, without any advocate, obtained her object; believers, who are God's own elect, his own dear, and I would add chosen, children," chosen in Christ before the world began," the objects of his love and affection, of a love that existed from all eternity, manifested even in the giving up of his dear Son for them,-that these dear children, whose cry as such must be acceptable unto the Father, (his ear is open to their cry,) have a continual Advocate, a perpetual Intercessor at the throne of grace-that Son of his love with whom they are united, who " in all their affliction is afflicted," who sympathizes with them, and who pleads for them as for himself, as "members

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of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." My dear brethren, is it possible for us to enter into the comfort and encouragement which this affords, too fully? Can we over-rate the believer's assurance of "help in every time of need?" God desires to represent it to us by every figure. Are we his own, his "peculiar people?" 5 (Will any of you question that believers are such ?) Is it possible, then, that he can leave us to be overcome, or cast down, or destroyed? Are we his own, his children, accepted in the beloved," made his children in Christ Jesus? (Will any of you question that believers are such ?) Will he not hear our cry? Will any parent among you shut his ears to his child's cry? cry? Will he not rather start up in fear, and alarm, and anxiety, to relieve it? And will not our Father hear as readily and relieve as certainly? Have we an "Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous, not only as the propitiation for our sins," but as the constant, the ever-living Intercessor for all blessings for us? (and who will question that believers have such an Intercessor?) Is there any thing that he can obtain for us that we shall not have? The question, however, may arise in our minds, how shall we know that we are interested in all these great and precious privileges? My brethren, the Lord's words will here in some degree assist us in resolving that question. "SHALL NOT GOD," he says, “ AVENGE HIS OWN ELECT, WHICH 5 1 Pet. ii. 9. 7 1 John ii. 1, 2.

3 Ephes. v. 30.

6 Ephes. i. 6.

4 Heb. iv. 16.

CRY DAY AND NIGHT UNTO HIM?"8 It is the CRY that proves the relationship. Are there any afflicted, crying unto God? Whence comes that Whence comes that cry? Who gave birth to that earnest, persevering supplication night and day? It is THE SPIRIT's voice. "The Spirit itself maketh intercession." And although you, my brethren, may not recognise the sound, our Father which is in heaven does; and the offered prayer will be answered, for "the Spirit maketh intercession for us according to the will of God.”1 Earnest, heartfelt, believing prayer, is indeed one of the surest signs and accompaniments of divine grace. It was the first sign that the converted Saul manifested, "Behold, he prayeth !" and it will be the invariable one in all converted persons. Let all sincerely praying persons, all who go to God in christian prayer as poor sinners to a throne of grace, through a Mediator, assure themselves that they are God's children. They are speaking the language of God's children; it is "Abba, Father." And let such persevere; they cannot pray in vain. All Scripture example is against such an idea, from the case of Jacob downward. racter of God is against it. Their and interest with God are against it. pledge of our Lord himself is against it,

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The charelationship

The distinct " HE WILL

AVENGE THEM SPEEDILY," THOUGH HE BEAR LONG He will avenge, "and vengeance is



8 Luke xviii. 7. 2 Acts ix. 11.

9 Rom. viii. 26.
3 Rom. viii. 15.
5 Luke xviii. 7, 8.

1 Ibid. 27.

4 Gen. xxxii. 26.

his," and we must leave it to him. This is indeed peculiarly designed for the consolation and support of a persecuted and suffering people, but they must leave the avenging of their cause to God; and what they may ask for is not the overthrow and destruction of their enemies in wrath and revenge, but the vindication of their own truth, and of the glory of God's name. While a suffering church, or a suffering believer, may take up the widow's prayer and expect the widow's answer, let them beware of their motives, lest it should be said to them as it was to others, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." Designed however as it is for a persecuted people it is in spirit equally applicable, and declares the same great truth to all-that none who ask in faith shall ask in vain; and, whether it be for the deliverance from enemies temporal, or from enemies spiritual, or for the obtaining of blessings,—that all who persevere in asking shall, in God's good time, infallibly obtain. Wherefore, dearly beloved, "lift up the hands which hang down." "Be strong, fear not, behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

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But, my brethren, there is a very awful representation connected with this promise. The season of deliverance is spoken of as the season of the Lord's return. "NEVERTHELESS WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMETH, SHALL HE FIND FAITH ON THE EARTH?”1 8 Heb. xii. 12.

6 Rom. xii. 19.
9 Isa. XXXV.

7 Luke ix. 55.

1 Luke xviii. 8.

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