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the throne of His mercy, securing to every penitent sinner the free forgiveness of his sins, through Jesus Christ, the Blessed Son of God, who once died for our salvation, and now sitteth at the right hand of God, Himself praying for us, and offering our humble prayers to His Father and our Father.
What more, then, is necessary, my brethren, since of our own selves we can do nothing, but need the help and strength of some one more great and mighty than we are ; and since God in His great goodness has promised that help and strength to all who devoutly seek it through Jesus Christ, what more is necessary to persuade us to be diligent at all times in prayer to our Father which seeth in secret ? whether you have lived in the neglect of this important duty or not, you best can tell; but let me beg you to consider that if you neglect to offer your earnest prayers to God, you are neglecting that which, of all other things, is the most likely to restore you to His grace and favour; let me beg you to remember that the journey which we are travelling is a dangerous journey, that the way which goeth from earth to heaven is beset with snares and difficulties, with trials and temptations ; let me beg you to remember that, owing to the sin of our first parents, we are by nature much more inclined to evil than to good, and that if we have not the grace of God to direct us, and support us, we cannot long keep out of sin, but must be led away by the malice of the devil, by the deceitfulness or weakness of our own hearts ; that grace has been promised on the word of Him who cannot lie, to our humble, earnest prayers : how shall we before God, if what He has offered to give, we shall have refused to ask for? Remember then how much is at stake the eternal welfare of your souls. Will you, by neglecting to pray for the forgiveness of God, leave it impossible that you
should escape the punishments which your sins have deserved ? or will you with earnestness and repentance implore His pardon, His pity, and His love?
Will you, by neglecting to pray for His grace, leave it
an easy matter for the world, the flesh, and the devil, to get the victory over you ? or will you, by praying for His help, which He has promised to bestow, put it in your own power to get the victory over them ?
O may we none of us live in the neglect of a duty which God requires of us, and requires of us for our good! May we all learn so to ask that we may receive, and that our joy may be full! Let us remember that our prayers are offered to a holy, pure, and perfect God; and that He never will accept, or bless them, unless they come from pure and holy hearts. This, then, must be the constant care of our lives, to watch over our hearts and guard against every beginning of sin, for it is from them that all wickedness first arises. We must endeavour to live innocent in our deeds, in our words, and in our thoughts : till this is the case with us, we pray to no purpose; for a Christian must watch as well as pray. Never, then, be the words of my text forgotten, If I incline to wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
(FOR GOOD FRIDAY.)
Luke xxiii. 28.
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for
yourselves, and for your children.
WHEN the time was come in which the Blessed Son of God, after a life spent in the most perfect love and good-will to man, was yet to give one other most convincing proof of His mercy by laying that life down for the forgiveness of us miserable sinners, He was betrayed, as you have heard read this morning, into the hands of His enemies, by one of those whom He had chosen for His companions, who had lived with Him, received His instruction, and shared His love. To take away His life, to shed the blood for which they had long been
thirsting, was a business about which they were soon agreed. They pretended to put Him on His trial : they pretended to give Him justice: but they hired false witnesses to lay to His charge things that He knew not. They were eager for His blood, and His blood, at any price, they were determined to have.
Pontius Pilate, the governor, confessed that he found in Him no fault at all. (How should he? His life had been spent in doing nothing but good : He could do no wrong: He was perfectly without spot of sin or failing). Yet He was sentenced to die : and, as if that were not enough, He was sentenced to die a death which none but the very vilest sinners and the very wickedest of men were ever put to, being nailed to a cross, to suffer a lingering death of the greatest pain and agony. I cannot but remind you here of all that Jesus was forced to submit to, and did submit to with the utmost meekness and patience, from the time when he was delivered into their hand to the last moment of His life. We call ourselves believers in Him and fol