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Saviour's blessing, to his grace I commend you, and under his care I leave you.
“ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
EZEK. XLVI. 10.
« And the Prince in the midst of them, when they go in shall go in, and when they go forth shall go forth.”
These words refer literally to the rulers of the Jews mingling with them in the services of the sanctuary. In the house of prayer, the rich and the poor meet together, and rulers should consider that they are as de. pendent on God as the meanest of their people, and that association with them in religious ordinances is the best security for the protection of the prince, and for the al. legiance of the subject. But this passage may be view. ed as pointing out to us that presence of the Lord Jea sus Christ in the worship of the sanctuary, without which it will yield us little pleasure or advantage. How gracious and encouraging is the promise of his presence, " Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in the midst of them !"
“ The Prince,” is a title frequently given to our Lord in Scripture, and we require to be reminded of it, that we may give him the glory which is due to his name. By the Father's appointment he is invested with regal dignity; and what has been said of some earthly prin. ces by lips of flattery, is true in its fullest sense of him, " that he reigns in the hearts of his people.” Wisdom and justice, power and grace, shine in all his adminis. tration. He is clothed with majesty, and girt about with might : eternal life is at his disposal, and the keys of hell and of death are in his hand. In the praise of earthly princes genius employs all its powers, but in the praise of Messiah, your Prince, his voice is heard whose testimony is as much superior in glory to human applause, as his wisdom and purity transcend that of err. ing mortals.“ To the Son he saith, Thy throne, o God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
We see not yet all things put under him, but we know that his kingdom will rule over all. Already have the darkness and the abominations of heathenism passed away in many regions before him, and the time hastens on when the proudest of his rivals shall be humbled in the dust, and every longue confess that he is Lord. Earth, so long a scene of slaughter and confusion, shall, through his influence, be formed into the abode of har, mony and love, and bless him as the Prince of
peace Hell, filled by those “ who would not have him to reign over them,” shall -proclaim the guilt and folly of his despisers, while heaven, shining in his glory, and resounding with his triumphs, shall raise from all its borders the homage of adoring gratitude and love,
My Lord and my God.”
But this Prince is in the midst of his people. This is a common representation of our Lord's station. It was typified in paradise by the tree of life in the midst of the garden ;, under the law, by the tabernacle of the congregation, which was placed in the middle of the camp, and by the mercy-seat, which stood. between the cherubims in the temple. In heaven he is the - Lamb in the midst of the throne; and, to point out his constant inspection and vigilant care in the church
on carth, he is said to walk in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Cry out, and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee."
This expression intimates that he is visible to all. He is not described as surrounded by a few who engross his attentions, while those at a distance can catch only a partial glimpse of him, but as encircled by all; and from every part of the circle he is beheld and admired. The beauty of the Lord, ye timid and dejected souls, is displayed for you ; and if your eyes do not behold it so clearly as others, it is because corruption hath spread its films over them. Implore him to impart to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; and if you can say that it is your supreme desire to have your hearts filled with . his love, and captivated by his beauty, you shall“ see his goings, even the steps of majesty of your God, and your king in the sanctuary.”
Christ also is in the midst of his people, as accessible to all. Earthly princes are accessible only to a few, and to approach them requires much influence, and a compliance with many rules and precautions ; but Jesus saith, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” The feeblest voice may whisper its complaints into his ear, the trembling hand may touch the hem of his garment, and the eye of serrow may drop its tear upon his feet. Every suppliant may put his peti. tion into his hand, and receive an answer directly from himself. Little children may come to him with their hosannahs, and the aged and the helpless with their many infirmities. In this circle I see attention sitting at his feet, entreaty stretching out its hands, affection walking by his side, faith leaning on his arm, and obe
dience treading in his steps. Say not, “Who shall ascend up to heaven, to bring Christ down from above? or who shall descend into the deep, to bring him up from below for the word is nigh thee, and Christ in that word.”
But Christ, as in the midst of his people, is ready to perform for them every necessary office. He is at hand to supply the wants of the indigent, and to lighten the burdens of the sorrowful; to strengthen the weak hands, to revive the spirits of the humble, and to bind up the hearts of the contrite. He is in his church like a father in his family, to receive their testimonies of confidence and affection, and to teach and warn them in all wisdom. And he is there as a prince in his court, receiving the homage of his courtiers, and distributing his favours among them. History records that a heathen emperor sighed over a day as lost, because on it he had conferred no favour. While we admire the generosity which awakened this regret, we can rejoice that, in the administration of him who is exalted a Prince and a Saviour, not a moment is lost to mercy. How pleasing is the assurance that he will
in with his people when they go in! Were the Lord Jesus present merely as a spectator, the idea of this would fill
your performance of religious duties is very different from what it ought to be. But he is with you to aid your devotions by his influence, to check the motions of
corruption, to enliven the religious affections, to purify your services, and to present them to his Father.
When you go in to public praise, he is there to in. spire the heart with pious ardour, and in public prayer he is there to excite holy desires, and to fill your mouths with arguments. He goes with you to the hearing of the word, to make it the power of God to your salvation. He goes with his saints to the place of baptism, to take in his arms the little children there presented to him, and “ to pour his Spirit on his people's seed, and his blessing on their offspring.” You have felt him present with you, I trust, when you were examining yourselves, pointing out to you the heavenly origin and tendency of your governing principles, fortifying you against the harsh conclusions of a jealous and desponding spirit, and making your deeds manifest that they have been wrought in God. And now, when you
have come in to the Lord's supper, he is along with you to record your vows, to receive your homage, and to make it the communion of his body and blood. Let the consciousness of his presence stir you up to perform the duties of this day in a manner becoming those who are acting under his eye. How solemn, and yet how delightful is this place, which he fills with glory, and blesses with peace !
After the Service.
The Redeemer assures you that he will go forth with you when you go out. It is a great mistake to imagine that we only require his presence when we engage in religious ordinances. It is most needful that he should be with us when we retire from them, to keep the “ evil one” from catching away the good which has been wrought, to maintain the fervour of devotion, and to enable us to act suitably to our profession. You have been hearing his word, he will go forth with you to incline you to obey it. You have been shewing forth the Lord's death; he will go forth with you to enable you to exhibit the moral influence