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decrees, those insolent decisions, which have fulminated from the mouths of certain Pontiffs bearing the christian name? If these same apostles, who preached nothing but superiority to the world: nothing but humility, but charity, but patience, but chastity, had been, like some of their pretended successors, addicted to the spirit and practice of revenge, of ambition, of simony; magicians," fornicators; men polluted with abominations which the majesty of this place, and the sanctity of the pulpit, hardly permit me to insinuate? What must not have been the infamy of coininitting such things, when the bare idea of them puts modesty to the blush ?
O how much better has Jesus Christ, our great leader and commander, provided whatever was necessary for the good of his church? During the whole course of his life, he presented a model of the most pure and consuinmate virtue. One of the great ends of his devotedness to death, was to engage his beloved disciples thence to derive motives to the practice of holiness : this is the sense which inay be assigned to that expression in the prayer, which he here addresses to his Father: For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified : ver. 19. For then I sanctify myself: The meaning may be, “I labour incessantly to excite thy love within
me to a brighter and a brighter flame, not only because it « is a disposition of soul the most becoming an intelligent
creature, but that I may serve as a model to them who are to diffuse the knowledge of my gospel over the world.”
Or, according to the interpretation of others; for them I. sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified, that is, * I de“ vote myself to death for my disciples, to the end that,
beholding in my sacrifice 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 at 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, tháť assistance from heaven might supply what his absence was going so 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 I 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; that they may be one, even as we are one : ver. 22. What is that glory, which the Father hud given to Jesus Christ, and which Jesus Christ had given to his apostles ? Among a variety of ideas which may be formed of it, we must, in a particular manner, understand it as implying the gift of miracles. In virtue of this power, those sacred ministers were 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 sera mons. This argument they oppose to all the sophisans of vain philosophy: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses : therefore being by the right hand of God eralted .... he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear: Acts ii. 32, 33. They confound those who continue proof against conviction. They call down the most formida. ble 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 warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds : casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalta eth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and have ing in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, 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
. s. This is what he had promised them: I appoint: unto youlkingdom, as my Father hath appointed auto me, that y'e
may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on
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 gifts 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 inankind, 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 that period he set apart for us a Redeemer : from that period 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 commission so honourable 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 dra
gon they trampled under feet, Ps. xci. 13. Power was given 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 cire cuit 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 called 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 felicity and the same glory to promise. Who is sufficient for these things ? 2 Cor. ii. 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 truth. 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 di. vision of our discourse, in which you are most particularly interested. It is truly delightful to behold the Author and F:nisher of our faith united, in a manner so intimate, with Deity. It is delightful to behold those apostles, whose writings are in our hands, and whose docuine is the rule of our faith, intimately united to Jesus Christ as he is with God. O consolatory. All these different relations, of Jesus There is, however, something behind still more particular and
Christ with God, of the apostles with Jesus Christ, have been forined 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 your privileges. Behold to what a height of glory you are encouraged to aspire, and what unspeakable benefits you already derive from the religion of the blessed Jesus ! Already you possess with God, as doth Jesus Christ, a unity of ideas, and you partake, in some sense, of his infallibility, by subjecting your faith to his divine oracles, and by seeing, if I may use the expression, by seeing with his eyes. Already you have with God, as Jesus Christ hath, a unity of will, by the reception of his laws, and by exerting all your powers that his will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Already you enjoy with God, as doth Jesus Christ, a unity of dominion : All things are yours ; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. You are already partakers of a divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. You are already transformed into the same image, from glory to glory even as by the spirit of the Lord, 2 Cor. iii. 18.
But how is this union still marred and interrupted! How imperfect still this participation of the divine nature, and this transformation into the same image! Let this be to us, my brethren, a source of humiliation, but not of dejection. A more glorious state of things is to succeed the present: it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is, 1 John, iii. 2. A new influx of light with which the soul shall be replenished, a now influx of divine love with which the heart shall be inflamed, a new influx of felicity and de.' light with which the immortal nature shall be inundated, are going, ere long, to place in its brightest point of view, all the sublimity, all the excellency of our condition. Father, I pray not for my disciples alone, but for them also who shall believe in 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.
But how is it possible for the miserable posterity of Adam, how is it possible for wretched creatures born in sin, how is it