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and imperfections, entreats the Almighty to succour him—not to dispense with his efforts, but rather to quicken them to excite his will, to enlarge his powers, and to supply his deficiencies. Without such views and resolutions, prayer for the assistance of God's holy Spirit would be nugatory, or worse than nugatory. For were the gift conferred, and like the talent in the parable, wrapt in a napkin, and hid, we should only have received the grace of God in vain, and be liable to greater condemnation. Sensible of the importance of this gift, and of what will be expected from us by the Giver, “ let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."

With these sentiments on the subject of our prayer, let us now close these sermons, by taking a brief and connected retrospect of the several petitions we have offered up on each of the Sundays preparatory to the celebrating of our Lord's Advent. Let us observe what. particulars are requisite to make these petitions effectual; to cause our requests ,so to be made known unto God, that “ the peace of God, which passeth all understand

Heb. xii. 1.

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despise his ministers, and refuse to receive from the “ stewards of his mysteries,” that instruction, which will make them wise unto salvation. They that dishonour him in the

persons

of his earthly messengers; how can they expect to be received by him into glory, when he shall come in his glorious majesty, with the messengers of heaven, the holy angels.

IV. You pray, lastly, to be delivered from the impediments caused by our " sins and wickedness;" which embarrass and retard us, “in running the race that is set before us. What should be your conduct then, as men, who honestly and feelingly offer up tion? Surely, to abhor and detest those sins which "hinder you;" to set yourselves earnestly to correct them; to examine yourselves diligently; to observe the sin that doth most easily beset you; to detect your favourite weakness; to avoid as much as possible all opportunities, all temptations to wickedness ; in short, to form the necessary resolutions, and to adopt the necessary measures for “laying aside every weight," and for enabling us to “ run with patience the race that is set be

You urge, moreover, your prayer, for deliverance from the impediments caused by sin, upon the plea of the “satisfactionof

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Jesus Christ. Now what is

your prayer, but an act of rank hypocrisy, if you have no faith in that satisfaction, and if

you

have not a “thankful remembrance of his death,” who is the propitiation for your sins, and for the sins of the whole world. Therefore, to act consistently with your prayer, you must not only “ with patience run the race that is set before you;” but you must run this race, “ Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Your sentiments and your practice must correspond with your prayers, or the homage you offer must obviously be the homage only of the lips, not of the heart; and will inevitably be treated as such by the great Being to whom it is addressed.

But if your prayers, in all the cases we have enumerated, have been offered with sincerity ; if you are, with these feelings and dispositions, endeavouring to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light, in order to celebrate the advent of the Redeemer; what should cause you, on that day, to be absent from the holy table ?

The prayer for the grace of God, the casting away the works of darkness, and putting

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on the armour of light; the doing these things with faith in Christ Jesus, and with a thankful remembrance of his death: all this is the sum and substance of the preparation required for the due participation of the Lord's Supper? Why, then, refuse the invitation?

You are enjoined to partake of it by those very “ Scriptures,” to read which with profit and sincerity, you profess to have prayed. You are bidden to it by those “ministers of Christ, and stewards of God's mysteries," upon whose preaching you have implored his blessing

You celebrate in it the sacrifice of that Redeemer, by whom “ satisfaction” has been made for your sins; you receive in it the

pledges of his love;" you are admitted in it to the “ holy mysteries” ordained" by him, through whom alone you can expect deliverance from those sins, and before whom you must all stand, “when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge the quick and dead.” The many frivolous excuses which are set up against claims and obligations, such as these, it is no part of my present subject to consider. They have been elsewhere discussed, I shall content myself with reminding you, in a few words, that it is

• See Sermon XII. ,

the command of your Master, the desire of your Redeemer; your bounden duty and service. To use the earnest and energetic language of the second invitation to the communion, “I for my part shall be ready, and

I according to mine office, I bid you in the name of God; I call you in Christ's behalf; I exhort you, as you love your own salvation, that ye

will be partakers of this holy communion. See then, my brethren, that you

do

your duty—that you slight not the call. Partake of the Lord's Supper, divested of “the works of darkness,” clothed " in the armour of light." Thus may we all “ embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life;" thus be found “ an acceptable people” in God's sight; thus be delivered from the hindrance, and the consequences of our "sins and wickedness," and thus, finally, “ rise to the

: life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.'

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