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the further instruction connected with it, which is conveyed to us in the title given in this passage to the God to whom we are to pray-" the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Of all the titles of our GOD this is the most endearing; and it is peculiarly calculated to encourage the suppliant at the throne of grace, to come to that throne with a holy and reverent boldness, since it reminds him of God's willingness favourably to hear, and graciously to accept him. And although the penitent sinner may reason within himself thus: "I am unworthy of the least of all the mercies of my GoD: I am utterly unworthy to come before Him: How shall I, a sin-polluted creature, appear in the presence of that exalted Being who is glorious in holiness?

own declaration-"No man cometh unto the Father but by me."

The inspired prayer which we are considering, thus proceeds: "of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named." Whether these words refer to God the Father, or to Christ, is not clear from the passage: hence divines are not agreed respecting its application. This point, however, is not very material; for if we consider it, according to the opinions of some, as relating to Christ, the allusion is to their being named Christians from him; and in this case they apply to those who are now pursuing their journey to Zion, and those who through grace are already there, to believers on earth, and to the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven. But if the expressions before us refer to the Father (as they are considered by others), they convey a still more extensive signification, including not only believers on earth and the glorified saints, but also the innumerable company of the angels of God. These all constitute one grand family, and are said to be named of GOD, as being his children and bearing his name, just as the children of earthly parents are called by their names. What a cheering and animating consideration is this for those who are true believers in the Lord Jesus-who have taken up their cross and are following him through evil and through good report.

"

Perhaps there are some here who answer to this description, and who stand in need of consolation and enYou see that the Lord's people are but a little flock" when compared with the multitudes of the ungodly, and hence you are often discouraged, and tempted to think yourself alone in the house of your pilgrimage: but you are not alone, nor are the children of GoD so little a flock as you perhaps imagine. There are at

But yet, notwithstanding all this, our text encourages even the vilest of the vile to draw nigh to the Great Jehovah; yea, to take courage and cast himself, in simple faith and humble confidence, before the footstool of Him who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He, not with Him also, freely give us all things?" "He so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" to die upon the cross for its redemption. Surely this is sufficient to assure us that He will not spurn from his throne the suppliant that approaches Him, trusting in the mediation of his beloved Son. O, yes, he will be "accepted in the beloved." For never, my brethren, in our ap-couragement. proaches to the mercy-seat of GoD, let us lose sight of the important truth, that between GOD and man Christ Jesus is the great Mediator. We have no right to expect, that any prayer which we offer will be accepted, if it be not offered through his mediation, and in reliance upon it-it is Christ's

this very moment thousands whose faces you never will behold in the flesh-their history, their names, their very existence unknown to you-whose hearts are beating in unison with your own-who are pursuing the same narrow way in which you are walking are waging the same holy warfare in which you are engaged—are influenced by the same motives, actuated by the same principles, pursuing the same grand objects, and who have to encounter the same discouragements, and difficulties, and trials, with which you are contending. You may differ from them in clime and complexion-you may be separated from them by an immeasurable distance-mountains may rise and seas may roll between you, but you are members of the same great family-a -a family not only of earth, but also of heaven—a family of which saints and angels compose a part-and a family named of GOD. Be encouraged, then, and go on your way rejoicing in the anticipation of that blissful period when all the members of this family shall meet in the house and presence of their Father, and unite in one grand chorus, singing, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."

But, my brethren, if these things be so, what shall I say to you, whose whole course of life and conduct plainly | demonstrates that you are enemies of the cross of Christ? that you are minding earthly things alone, neglecting your immortal souls, and living without GoD in the world? Are you members of that happy family of which we have been speaking? Are you heirs of GOD, and joint heirs with Christ? You must know that you are not. Your conscience, if yet unseared, will tell you this. Ah, brethren, what privileges are you slighting, what hap

piness are you losing! Be persuaded, then, to aspire to those privileges, to seek that happiness. Pray for the spirit of adoption, and pray in faith.

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But to return to our text. The Apostle thus proceeds to pray in behalf of the Ephesians, "that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory;" that is, in a manner and measure corresponding with that rich fulness of grace, mercy, and power, which dwells in him, and constitutes his glory-" to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." By the "inner man" is meant the heart: thus the prophet Jeremiah speaks, in his thirty-first chapter and thirty-third verse, this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts." Their hearts, evidently implying the same as, or, indeed, being an explanation of the former expression, "their inward parts"—an expression corresponding to that of our text," the inner man." We likewise find St. Peter, in his first epistle, third chapter and fourth verse, using this expression, "the hidden man of the heart."

And what prayer should we more frequently, or more fervently offer in behalf of ourselves and others, than this? Of what do we stand more in need, than to be strengthened with might by the Spirit of GoD in the inner man? "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life." "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."

These are the declaration of Holy Writ; and do not these and similar passages clearly shew that the salvation of the soul is not a matter so easily accomplished, that the glory of heaven is not an object so easily at

tained as many appear to imagine? | and to suffer the whole will of God,

per

On the contrary, there are great and
formidable difficulties to be encoun-
tered, obstacles to be surmounted, and
enemies to be subdued by those who
would "sit down with Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of
GOD. Experience accords with these
representations; for where is the
son who has ever seriously entered
upon the paths of real religion, that
will not bear his testimony to their
truth? Where is the genuine Chris-
tian that will not tell us of the great
and manifold difficulties with which
he has to contend with-in common
with all who would live godly in Christ
Jesus in the pursuit of this great ob-
ject? He has enemies within, and
enemies without; enemies that are
subtle and strong, while he, in him-
self, is weak. The world, and Satan,
and the flesh, are in active opposition
to him-temptations and trials are
continually assailing him-snares in-
numerable beset his path in every
direction. Who, then, it may be asked,
can be saved? Who, of the weak and
sinful race of man, can overcome the
snares, and enemies, and countless
difficulties opposed to his progress in
the way which leadeth unto life? For
your encouragement and mine, the
Holy Scriptures declare, that the
weakest believer in Jesus may—and
you may, my brethren-weak, though
you are in yourselves, if "strength-
ened with might by the Spirit of GOD
in the inner man"-you may go forth
to encounter the enemies and the ob-
stacles to your salvation, conquer-
ing, and to conquer." It is that
blessed Spirit, who is the author and
source of all spiritual strength in the
hearts of the people of GOD-it is he
alone, my brethren, that can strengthen
you against the corruptions of your
own hearts, the temptations of Satan,
and the snares of the world. It is he
alone that can strengthen you to do

""

and, in a course of vital piety, to en

dure unto the end."

Here, then, we discover a principal cause of the slow progress made in the divine life by many, who appear desirous of being the Lord's, and of whose sincerity we are unwilling to doubt. Here we may learn whence it arises that the resistance they offer to their spiritual adversaries is so slight and ineffectual, and that they are so easily overcome, they overlook the work of the Spirit in the great plan of man's salvation. Instead of placing their dependance on his grace and power, instead of seeking strength from him, they are trusting to their own strength, their own resolutions, and their own efforts. No wonder, then, that so many are unstable, so many halting and lingering-so many sinking into cold and listless formality. For none can walk in the paths of safety, none can glorify their God and Saviour, but through the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit; and this grace, and this strength, is freely offered without money, and without price. If ye," said the Lord Jesus, "know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

""

Be encouraged, then, ye who feel and lament your weakness and manifold infirmities. You are not commanded to go forth to the fight of faith in your own strength—you are even expressly and repeatedly warned against it in the Holy Scriptures. Seek, then, strength from above, and expect the aid of the Holy Spirit only in answer to believing prayer, and in the persevering use of all the appointed means of grace. For though in yourselves you can do nothing, what can you not do, if strengthened with might by the Spirit of God in the inner man?

My brethren, thus strengthened you

will grow in grace, overcome every obstacle, and vanquish every foe to your salvation; trample under foot with a holy disdain the vanities of the world-crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts-obtain peace in life, joy in death, and bliss in eternity.

The next petition offered by the Apostle, for his beloved Ephesians, is thus expressed-" That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. This is the glorious privilege of the established believer. Of him, who with a deep sense of his own guilt and misery, and ruin, as a sinner, and his consequent need of Christ as the only and all-sufficient Saviour, has fled to him from the wrath to come, and thus he enjoys a spiritual union with Christ by faith. By faith he is grafted into him, as a branch of the true vine. By faith he is built up in him, as a living stone in the sure and tried foundation. By faith he abides in him as the strong tower, in which alone he can be safe; and as he thus abides in Christ, so on the other hand Christ abides in him. Hence St. Paul tells the Colossians that "Christ is in them the hope of glory."

and prayer, and you will be convinced of this important truth. If, therefore, when tried by this test, you find yourselves wanting, I beseech you to seek this faith of GOD-it is his gift— it is of his operation-but it is a gift which he is willing to bestow. Ask, then, and receive, that your joy may be full.

My brethren, is this your privilege? Is this your religion? Have you that lively, realizing faith, by the exercise of which the believer has Christ dwelling in his heart? If not, truth compels me to say, that your religion is of no value. It is a form without the power-a body without soul—a shadow without substance. Only search the Scriptures with diligence, impartiality,

The prayer of St. Paul is thus continued: "That ye being rooted and grounded in love," (that is deeply fixed and firmly established in love to the Lord, and to his people for his sake,). " may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fulness of GOD.

The term "Saints" is frequently applied by the ungodly to the true and faithful servants of God, as a term of ridicule and reproach; but it is applied to them in the Scriptures in a very different sense. There it is given to them as a title of honour, and there their happiness and privileges are displayed in the most glowing and attractive colours. In the passage before us, they are said to comprehend and know, what no others can comprehend and know, namely, the redeeming love of Jesus. They survey it in its breadth, as commensurate with the very boundaries of the earth, extending to sinners of every nation and character. They dwell with delight on its length, as

Hence, he prays in our text for the Ephesians, "that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith." For it is by faith that this exalted privilege is enjoyedit is faith enthrones the Redeemer in the affections of his people-it is faith that seats him in their hearts-it is faith that renders him precious to them —as it is written, "unto you that be-reaching from everlasting to everlastlieve he is precious."

ing. They contemplate it in its depth as bringing him who thought it not robbery to be equal with God-Jehovah's fellow-the everlasting Son-of the everlasting Father, to the deepest state of humiliation and suffering, to the ignominous death of the cross, for the salvation of a ruined world. And they meditate on its height, as viewed in the lofty privileges to which it advances them in the present world, as

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inscribed on the thrones of glory, on
which it will assuredly place them in
the next, and as manifested in his be-
ing still mindful of them in his exalted
state at the right hand of the Father,
where he ever liveth to make interces-
sion for them. Thus, to comprehend
and know the redeeming love of Christ,
is an unspeakable blessing. For what
can be so efficacious in sweetening life,
ministering consolation amidst its mul-
tiplied trials, and supplying a never fail-
ing source of peace and joy.

this as the chief end of existence
your
here? Is it your supreme desire and
aim to be filled with all the fulness of
GOD? Alas! it is to be feared that
many of my hearers are actuated by
far other desires, and are pursuing
other objects. And what are the
objects which they are pursuing ?
Things which perish with the using,
vain and delusive trifles, which cannot
enable them to meet with comfort the
hour of death and the day of judgment
-objects which even now, when they
are most successful in their aim at
them, continually disappoint the hopes
and expectations which they have che-

Fully, indeed, to comprehend and know this love, we never shall be able on this side of the grave. For, saith the Apostle, "it passeth knowledge;"rished respecting them. To such I

but it should be our hearts desire and prayer to know more and more of it; to have more enlarged and comprehensive views of it; and to experience more of its sanctifying influence and energy, in constraining us to live no longer unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again. And what was the great object which in breathing these fervent supplications for the Ephesians, St. Paul proposed? It was, that they "might be filled with all the fulness of GOD"-that they might have his image reflected in them that they might exhibit a conformity to his moral perfections-that they might have a fulness of light and grace and holiness, and joy, and peace in the present life; and at length arrive at the most perfect vision and enjoyment of him, and conformity to him in his immediate presence.

would say, be wise in time-pursue the one thing needful which the Bible most clearly sets before you-seek the honour which cometh of GoD-lay up treasures in heaven-repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out-forsake your iniquities and flee to the Redeemer-pray that you may be strengthened with might by the spirit of God in the inner manpray that you may have Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith-pray that you may not only know, but feel the efficacy of his redeeming love, nor rest satisfied till through the mighty power of his grace, you "be filled with all the fulness of GOD." And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. That this may be the happy

My brethren, is this the grand ob- portion of you all, may GOD of his inject which you are proposing to your-finite mercy grant for Christ's sake. selves? Do you view and consider | Amen.

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