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or inability, cannot ask for yourselves; for, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."s Above all, be sure that you make every inquiry, present every petition, through the intercession of that Friend who is nearest to the throne of Grace, even through the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father; all that he asks for you will assuredly be obtained; for, if "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," the effectual fervent prayer of a perfect Mediator must be irresistible.

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"He then," continues the historian, lying on Jesus' bosom, said, Lord, who is it?" How beautiful is this union of the closest intimacy, and the most profound respect ! St. John, though permitted to lean upon his Saviour's bosom, remembered still the immeasurable distance there must ever be between them. "Lord, who is it?" At 8 James v. 16.

those moments when you are admitted to the nearest union that created, finite beings can ever know, with him who is uncreate and eternal, beware of the slightest approach to familiarity: in all your inquiries, in all your prayers, while they breathe the spirit of a child, and are dictated by the confiding love of a son, forget not the reverence due to a father remember that God himself has said, "If I be a father, where is mine honour? If I be a master, where fear?"9



Our Lord having, in answer to Peter's inquiry, distinctly pointed out the traitor, thus began, as we learn from the parallel passage in St. Luke's Gospel, to caution Peter himself against his approaching danger: "Simon, Simon, behold Satan, hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted," when thou

9 Malachi i. 6.

hast recovered from the fall which I

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foretel, "strengthen thy brethren." How awful a warning was this to Peter! your great adversary "desires to have you : at the same time how encouraging! he does but "desire:" as the lion chained, he rages open-mouthed ; but there is a limit which he cannot pass.

My Christian brethren, you stand at the present hour in the same danger that Peter stood; you have the same adversary, and he is still filled with the same determined animosity, still actuated by the same dreadful desire to sift out from you all that is valuable, and to leave only the "chaff, which shall be burned with unquenchable fire." Eighteen hundred years, of too successful enterprise against the souls of men, are not likely to have weakened his strength, or diminished his cunning; he is still the same indefatigable oppo

1 Matt. iii. 12.

nent who ruined Judas, and who almost triumphed over Peter; and he is at this moment urging all his efforts of cunning and strength, and all his inexhaustible resources of trial and temptation, against the soul of every individual who names the name of Christ. He is incessantly striving for the ruin of each, even of the youngest, the poorest, the most inconsiderable among you, and is desiring your soul as anxiously, as unceasingly, as if it were the only prize upon this world's surface worthy of his efforts. May we not then, ought we not, as those who have the charge over you in the Lord, seriously to ask you, Against such an enemy, where is your resource? what your strength? You will not find it in your own resolutions-you need not seek it in your own heart. There is no armour of earthly temper which is proof against his fiery darts, no weapon that you can form against him, which shall prosper. He who was too cunning for


Solomon, too strong for Samson, will not be baffled by your wisdom, or subdued by your strength. "Resist the

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devil, and he will flee from you, is the declaration of God's own word; but resist him, in the power of your own might, and he will laugh you to scorn. It is from the armoury of heaven alone, that weapons can be brought, fitted for this spiritual warfare. Do you, then, seek them there? Does every day behold you earnestly imploring, through the merits of the Redeemer, arms from on high to enable you to fight the good fight? It is through the prayer of your ever blessed Intercessor that you can alone find grace equal to your need; it is from the power of the Spirit that you will alone obtain strength equal to your day. "I have prayed for thee"- there is your refuge. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against

2 James iv. 7.

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