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the horrors of sin, which I am about to expiate, and the overflowings of my affection for those in whose place I am substituting myself, they may be engaged to exhibit an inviolable attachment to thy holy laws." Which ever of these two senses we affix to the words of our blessed Lord, they strongly mark that intense application of thought by which he was animated, to inspire his disciples with the love of virtue.
This is not all : he is expressing an earnest wish, that assistance from heaven might supply what his absence was going to deprive them of: For them I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified. But now I leave the world. My disciples are going to lose the benefit of my instructions and of my example. May a celestial energy, may divine communications of resolution and strength occupy my place: I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil .... Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have 1 also sent them into the world : and for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
3. Finally, Jesus Christ asks, in behalf of his disciples, a participation in the dominion of which he himself had taken possession. He had already in part, conveyed to them that dominion': The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them ;
be one, even as we are one, ver. 22. What is that glory, which the Father had given to Jesus Christ, and which Jesus Christ had given to his apostles ? Among a variety of ideas which may be formed of it, me must, in a particular manner, understand it as implying the gift of miracles. In virtue of this power, those sacred ministers were
that they may
enabled to carry conviction to the human mind, with an energy of eloquence altogether divine. The resurrection of one who had been dead is the great exordium of their sermons. This argument they oppose to all the sophisms of vain philosophy: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses : therefore being by the right hand of God exalted .... he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear : Acts ii. 32, S3. They confound those who continue proof against conviction. They call down the most formidable strokes of celestial indignation on some of those who had dared to trifle with the oath of fidelity plighted to their divine Master. Ananias and Saphira fall dead at their feet. Acts v. 9. The weapons of our wurfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds : casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ : and having in a readiness to revenge all disober dience, 2 Cor. x. 4–6.
But this is not the whole of that authority, and the whole of that power which Jesus Christ wishes to be conferred on his disciples. He asks, in their behalf, that when they had, like him, finished the work which they had given them to do, they should be exalted to the same glory: that after having turned many to righteousness, they might shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever : Dan. xii. 3. This is what he had promised them: I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what he asks for them : Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be
with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me : for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world .... that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee : that they also may be one in us, ver. 24. 21.
We conclude this head with a reflection of no small importance : namely this, That among the graces which Jesus Christ prays for in behalf of his apostles, must be comprehended those which were necessary to the persons who were after them to exercise the gospel ministry. Whatever difference there may be between these two orders of ministers, they are the objects of the same prayer. Their talents were to differ only in degree, and God, at this day, limits the measure of them, only because circumstances have varied, and miracles are no longer necessary to the church.
But as the apostles had, in substance, the same gifts with Jesus Christ, the ministers of the gospel likewise partake in the gift of the apostles, because they have received the same commission, and are called to build
up the church, of which those holy men laid the foundations.
Lofty idea of the apostleship! lofty idea of the office of the gospel-ministry! The apostles entered with Jesus Christ into the plan of the redemption of mankind, as Jesus Christ entered into it with God. And the ministers of the gospel, to this day, enter into the same plan with the apostles, as the apostles entered into it with Jesus Christ. The eternal Father, before the foundation of the world, Matt. xxv. 34. foreseeing the deplorable misery in which the wretched pregony of Adam were to involve themselves, traced the plan of redemption : from that period he provided the victim : from the period he set apart for us a Redeemer : from that pe
riod he prepared for us a kingdom. Jesus Christ, in the fulness of time, came and executed this plan. He assumed our flesh. He lived among us. He suffered. He died. I have glorified thee upon the earth. I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, ver. 4.
The apostles succeeded their Master. And these holy men, with that heroic courage which the idea of a cominission so honorable inspires into generous minds, braved and surmounted all the difficulties which opposed their progress. They trod upon the lion and adder : the young lion and dragon they trampled under feet, Ps. xci. 13. Power was giv en them to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, Luke x. 19, They took as a model in their course, (it is an idea of the Psalmist) that glorious orb of day, whose going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, Ps. xix. 6 Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world Rom. x. 18. They rose superior to the powers of sense and nature: they subdued the passions which have naturally the greatest influence over the heart of man: they knew no man after the flesh, 2 Cor. v. 16. They carried on their souls the impress of their Saviour's virtues, as they bare his marks imprinted on their bodies.
The ministers of Jesus Christ assume the place of the apostles: they have one and the same vocation : they are calleil to the same work: they have to teach the same truths; the same vices to reprove; the same maxims to establish; the same threatenings to denounce; the same consolations to administer; the same felicy and the same glory to promise. Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor. ji. 16. But we are upheld by you, all-powerful intercession of Jesus Christ with his Father! From
your energy it is that we obtain, in our retirements, that attention, that composure, that concentration of thought of which we stand in need, in order to penetrate into those lively oracles which it is our duty to announce to this people. From your powerful energy it is we obtain that clearness, that fervor, that courage, that elevation of spirit of which we stand in need in this chair of verity, to exalt us above the malignant censure of a murmuring multitude, ever disposed to find fault with those who preach the tru: h. To you we must stand for ever indebted for the success of our ministry, and for the hope we entertain that this people, to whom we minister in holy things, shall one day be our joy and our crown, 1 Thess. ii. 19.
III. Thus are we led forward, my brethren, to the third division of our discourse, in which you are most particularly interested. It is truely de li htful to behold the Author and Finisher of our faith united, in a manner so intimate, with diety. It is delightful to behold those apostles, whose writings are in our hands, and whose doctrine is the rule of our faith, intimately united to Jesus Christ as he is with God. There is, however, something behind still more particular and more consolatory. All these different relations, of Jesus Christ with God, of the apostles with Jesus Christ have been formed only in the view of producing others, and these affect you. Attend to the interest which you have in the prayer of Jesus Christ : neither pray I for these alone but for them also which shall believe on me through their word : that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us, ver. 20, 21.
Awake to a sense of the dignity of your high calling. Contemplate the unbounded extent of