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entered into the most holy place with the blood of sacrifices, to make atonement for the sins of the people: so Christ appeareth ever before the throne of God, and sitteth at his right hand, to present their prayers, and to plead their cause.
Figure to yourselves, brethren, when engaged in holy acts of prayer-whether in private, or in the public services of the Church, figure to yourselves the unseen, but effectual, work of intercession on your behalf, which Christ is carrying on before the throne of God! Consider how great is the privilege, how exalted the character, of those who, as members of the body of Christ, believe that He is ever ready, and able, and willing to intercede in their behalf, and know that they have an "advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous!"* "What manner of persons ought they to be in all holy conversation and godliness!" How ought they to "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at * 1 St. John ii. 1.
the right hand of God!" * How great is their security also, having so mighty a King, so compassionate and sympathising an High Priest ! "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" asks St. Paul; "it is God that justifieth-who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us !"†
In the strength and power of that assurance, the apostles and early disciples of Christ "went forth and preached everywhere." Their first act after the ascension of their Lord shows that they considered His promise, "Lo! I am with you always," to be made not only to themselves as apostles, but to those also whom they should associate with themselves in that holy office, for they at once proceeded to choose out a successor to the traitor Judas, to be a witness with them, in his stead, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Having thus filled up the + Rom. viii. 33, 34
* Colos. iii. 1.
vacancy in the number of the apostles, they remained together in prayer and intercession, until the Holy Ghost was poured out in the same measure upon all of them. That wonderful and important event will shortly call for our more especial consideration on the day appointed for its celebration by the Church, viz. Whit-Sunday, so that I must not now dwell upon it. The connexion, however, of the last verse of the Gospel of St. Mark with the notice of the ascension of Christ, shows that the going forth of the apostles to preach everywhere was in obedience to the last command of Christ. The claim of inspired preaching was not interrupted, much less was it broken; and Christ, although no longer visible upon earth, never for a moment deserted the Church. The Lord worked with them, and confirmed the words with signs following." Thus did the great work of the preaching of the Gospel begin. Behold, my brethren, in these words, the origin of your faith. It is no " cunningly de
vised fable," which has been fabricated in a corner, and brought forth by stealth and stratagem to deceive the hearts of the unwary; it is plain and unsuspicious truth "that cannot be gainsayed." The Lord Jesus Christ, you have seen, during the time of his ministry upon earth, prepared for Himself a small chosen band of followers; He bore with their want of faith-He forgave their weakness and desertion-He gave them instructions concerning the nature of His kingdom, and the doctrine of the Gospel gradually"here a little, and there a little," as they were able to bear it: He qualified them by the surest evidence to be witnesses of that great foundation-stone of the truth of Christ, His own resurrection from the dead; He ascended in their sight into heaven: He poured out upon them the promised power from on high on the day of Pentecost, and forthwith they forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following." And now look to
the consequences of their going forth. The name of Christ hath been made known far and wide-the Church hath grown and increased mightily-the "heathen have feared thy name, O Lord, and all the kingdoms of the earth thy majesty!" The fact of our assembling this day, in this house of prayer, is the consequence of their going forth; and their commission is not yet revoked. He who said to His first disciples, "Go ye and teach all nations, and lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," saith the same to His Church in these days. We then are to be faithful witnesses to the truth of these things. Receiving the faith by the successive preaching of Christ's ministers from that day to the present, it is our duty to deliver it "whole and undefiled" to our children. And these, brethren, are not the times, if indeed ever such times have been or may be, in which the members of the true Church of Christ may be careless, indifferent, or inconsistent, without doing