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their hope they are imperfect, in their love they are imperfect; they are imperfect in every thing. Even the apostle Paul felt it, though he had been "caught up to the third heaven' we know in part;" and if he said so, well may we say so. Look at any one truth-look at the incarnation, look at the atonement, lock at the glorious righteousness, look at the "covenant ordered in all things and sure;" look at any one of these-how little do we know of them! Surely, we seem to stand on the threshhold of truth, rather than to enter into the length and breadth of it. We know indeed but in part. Look at even that great man of God, the apostle Paul; he sometimes trembled" I was with you in weakness, and fear, and in much trembling.' And an especial message was sent to him, saying, "fear not, Paul." I think all our commentaries] seem mightily concerned to persuade us that the apostle was not afraid; I believe he was afraid, for if he was not afraid, wherefore the necessity of saying, "fear not?" We must not deify the apostles; they were 66 men of like passions with ourselves;" they had their weaknesses and their faintings too. And remark too, lest the heart of Paul should be cast down, Titus was sent to him-"God that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus." If I see him disputing with Barnabas, was there not a deficiency of love? was there not a deficiency of patience? It is, therefore, for the saints of God, though they be imperfect, and because they are imperfect-it is for them that we are commanded to pray. My dear hearers, they are believed to be saints of God. In these days you will find this question much mooted, To whom were these epistles sent? It was to the saints of God; not to national saints,they would not understand them; but to the true saints of God. It was to those who had been called by sovereign grace out of nature's kingdom into the kingdom of grace. How this ought to weigh on the hearts of many, who perhaps take rather a different view from myself on this point! Put this epistle to the Ephesians into the hands of these national saints, and ninety-nine out of a hundred of them will not understand it; and I would say-and I would say it with humility and meekness, put this epistle into the hands of the saints of God in this Church, and if ninety-nine out of a hundred of them did not understand it, it would be to me one of the greatest wonders. 1 do not say they would understand the whole of it, for who is he that does ?-not he who preaches, undoubtedly; but they would have a true, real, and spiritual perception of what the reality of this epistle is, and of the truths contained in it.

Oh! my dear hearers, it is the saints of God for whom we are to pray; however feeble the impression may be, however weak, however little, however small their faith, yet if they love Him, we should love them and pray for them. Therefore, when you read the expression "for all saints," remark, that it takes in not only some but all; not merely some of them who are the nearest to us, the

dearest to us, and the closest to us; not merely those whom we think the most conscientious, and the most devoted, the most spiritual, and the most holy; but also those in whom we see great blemishes. If we do but perceive in them the handwriting of God; if we do but perceive in them the broad mark; if they love Christ, and hate sin; however confused their minds, however at times we may find them drooping on their way; then the Lord enjoins us to pray for them. There is a tender tie that binds us together, and we should show the reality of it by our supplication on their behalf.

We have here a clear token of what is our duty, considering we are "members of one body." Observe how that is set forth in the fourth chapter and the sixteenth verse: "from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." The weakest member has as much interest in the body as the strongest ; and whether the members touch one another or not, if the least member of my body suffers, the whole body suffers. So wherever we see the true membership, whether severed from us, at a distance from us, whether the church be near or distant, however that may be, we are to pray for them, and to pray earnestly for them. Ah! beloved, did we but feel the close and tender tie! Did we more enter into that great truth, 'why, the same love that loves them loves me!' God knows no difference in His love; there is as much done for the weakest as for the strongest; it cost the incarnate God His blood to redeem their souls from eternal wrath; each one of God's saints is a temple of the Holy Ghost; there is the same breastplate for the weakest as for the strongest; they are all borne on the shoulders, and they are all borne on the heart of the great High Priest. The very sameness of the desert too through which we are passing, the sameness of our enemies, the sameness of our friends, the sameness of our consolation, the sameness of our prospects, the sameness of our election, ought to endear us one towards another, and ought to draw us out in all love and prayer the one for the other. So, beloved, the very gifts that I see in my brother ought to endear him to me; the very grace that I see in him ought to endear him to me; the very trials that we have to pass through ought to endear him to me. And if God has strait

ened his path; if I see him in sorrow, if I see him in grief, ought it not to endear him to me, and make me more to pray for him, more earnestly to beseech God for him? Nay, I will go one step further and say, that whatever blemishes I see in him, whatever infirmities I see in him, ought to increase my love and sympathy for him; and I ought to bear his infirmity on my heart at a throne of grace. Whatever there is that grieves me in his inconsistency that I see, ought to lead me more to a throne of grace for his inconsistency's sake. Oh! did we enter into this great truth! did we feel more of it! I believe that there never was a more searching truth to men's consciences than

this truth, when God the Spirit makes it so; I believe it will search us and make us to know what poor and feeble Christians we are half our days.

II. Observe now, secondly, what is the exhortation with which these words are accompanied. "Watch thereunto with all perse


It is a remarkable expression: not only "watch," but "watch thereunto with perseverance ;" and not only "watch thereunto with perseverance," but "with all perseverance;" and that, too, in the earnestness of "supplication." My dear hearers, such is our infirmity, such is our weakness, that we are apt to tire in all spiritual things. If we receive the greatest communications of God's grace, we are prone to decline; if the Church is visited by Him-if "He comes into His garden, and eats His pleasant fruits," we find instantly that she is prone to sleep. Now this involves a solemn and deeply affecting truth. Whatever measure of grace you and I may have received, however we may have been stirred up to prayer for the saints of God with fervency of supplication, instantly a tiring process begins! We may compare our state to that of the planets under the influence of the sun. We have no doubt that they are under the influence of the sun; we have no doubt that he keeps them in their orbits; and we have no doubt that every moment they have a tendency to fly off from the sun. So with regard to our souls; every instant there is a tendency off the sun; and we require the reigning power of the Holy Ghost to keep us in our orbits. And we should search for it diligently, and seek for it importunately, because there is not a moment but there is that tendency off God in our natures and in our prayers. "I will lift up my hands, I will lift up mine eyes:" whence this expression? There is no necessity for any such expression in going down hill; but in all ascents one feels the necessity for super added power.

My dear hearers, to feel this is no small mercy, and no small blessing, be assured. But especially in things spiritual, where our prayers are of the most unselfish character. There is a selfishishness in praying for ourselves, naturally and necessarily (I do not say it is a sinful selfishness, but a natural selfishness, that is bound up in our prayers)-so that when we pray for more spirituality, when we pray for more deadness to the world, when we pray for more of the quickening of the Spirit of God within us, when we pray for more close and real walking with God, there is a tendency to ourselves in all these things. But when we pray for a brother, when we are urgent with God for his spirituality, when we lie low in the dust because of some fault that we see in him, when we pray for more unearthliness in him, when we pray that he may have more deep views of Christ, when we pray that he may be more weaned from the creature, when we pray that he may be more a

man of God in all the actings of spiritual life, there is nothing selfish in it. And the less it is selfish, the more we are indisposed to it; therefore the necessity of "watching thereunto with all perseverance." And it is especially necessary in seasons like ours, when there is a great deal to try the saints of God. There are a great many heresies, there are a great many errors, there are a great many schisms, there are a great many divisions, there are a great many blemishes, to be seen amongst the saints of God. Oh! beloved, in the midst of all this to love the saints of God, and pray for them! There are some, to whom we naturally addict ourselves; there is something intellectually that pleases us, there is something morally that pleases us, there is something in their doings that pleases us, or there is something in their habits that pleases us ; but sometimes it is that all these things are otherwise, and we see nothing in the world to please us but the image of Christ, and nothing in the world to draw us, but His mark on their foreheads they love Christ, and they hate sin. Now, in the absence of those things, to pray earnestly, to pray affectionately, and to pray perseveringly for them, beloved, requires great grace, mighty grace, exceeding grace, such grace as I should be happy to think that there are many that are the subjects of it that hear me at this moment. There are some whom it costs little to love; they are so lovely, there is something that so commands our attention, that we cannot be with them but we are drawn to them so there are some, in whom there is something that so repels and removes them from us, that to love them for Christ's sake, and to be urgent and prayerful in spirit for them, requires great grace. Oh! it should lead us to great searching of heart; it should lead us to great pursuing of principles to their sources, and that constantly, day by day!

Now for a few remarks, by way of conclusion.

In the first place, observe of what vast moment it is that your saintship should be clear. There are many that say, 'I do not think the saints love me much'-it is because they do not see clearly that you are a saint of God. You say one thing, but there is a contradictory witness in court; the witness says one thing, but you say another thing. Oh! that you may have the clear inward testimony of your saintship!—for men must know us to be saints of God, before they can be urgent in prayer for us. I may see ten thousand imperfections, I may see them to be weak, in some things very weak; but I must see the clear lineaments of the Holy Ghost, the clear drawing of the power of the Spirit-I must see the clear mark in their foreheads before ever I can be led out fervently to pray for their souls. Oh! then, the necessity for having a clear, manifest, decisive evidence of your saintship!

Ah! beloved, little do we know how others need our prayers! We see them smiling-no wrinkle on their brow; they are enabled to pierce through the cloud; but it costs them many inward pangs

-they sigh, and sometimes they cry; it is a hard struggle they maintain: we just look at the outside, we see nothing more. Ah! could they tell us half of what they have been the subjects of-in faintings, in depressions, in their nervousness, their sad views of themselves, their darkness, their legality !-though we see it not.

Oh! how little can we enter into what the saints of God really are, so as faithfully and fervently to pray for them! We cannot enter into all their case; we are not commanded to do it; but still to remember that they are tempted souls, they are tried souls! The index of a man is not in his countenance; there are many aching hearts hid under a smiling face. One little knows, beloved, how much the saints of God are tried, and how they stand in need of our supplications at a throne of grace continually.

We little know how soon we may need their prayers; for where we think ourselves the strongest, we may find ourselves to be the weakest; and where others give us the most credit, there we may have the lowest place. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to comfort Titus-it was by Titus that he was comforted. "God, who comforteth the hearts of them that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus." So, though we may be the means of comfort to others at one period, they may be the means of comfort to us at another; and even the younger ones may comfort the older, and the weaker ones may comfort the stronger. Therefore be urgent in prayer; for you little know how you may need the prayers of others, as you little know how others may need your prayers.

But, beloved, there is another point, and that is, there is a peculiar blessing connected with intercessory prayer. There is a very strong expression in the second epistle to Timothy, the first chapter, the third verse: "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day." What a strong expression! I thank God that He has given me a praying spirit for thee.' What is there in a praying spirit for another, that should call forth gratitude and thankfulness in me? Oh! beloved, to be the means of binding up one broken heart! to be the means of leading onwards one faint heart! to be the means of pouring the wine and the oil into some fainting spirit! to be the means of cheering the meanest soul! The Lord can make use of the feeblest means, and the most unlikely means, to draw forth the saints of God to more fervency, more decision, more glorious conquests over self and sin. Oh! I would say, there is a blessing connected with it! There was indeed cause for Paul's thankfulness that he continued in remembrance of his beloved Timothy in his prayers night and day; and you and I never have so great cause for thankfulness, as when we are so led out in prayer for others. I would say, when we are urgent with God for our children, no one knows how selfish we may be in it; when we are urgent with God for our own soul, no one

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