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well. When we know what it is to drink of the well opened by Christ, we shall then find, in the Son, how that it springs up into everlasting life. And when he found that his journey was prosperous, he blessed Jehovah Elohim of his master, for He had not left him destitute of His mercy and truth. He is now received into the house; he washes his feet, and partakes of the feast set before him. He is himself partaker of the true washing and blessing; and, as the faithful servant, he would bring the bride to the son. Then, in the father's family, these blessings are mutual. So they strengthen each other's faith. Laban and Bethuel testified how all proceedeth from Jehovah, as they said, “ Behold, Rebecca is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be thy master's wife.” The Apostle, speaking of her, says that she, even as Sarah, conceived by one—that is, by our father Isaac; and that of the twins born, the elder should, according to the covenant, serve the younger—the carnal nature the spiritual, which is election, the purpose of the Father. And so it is the seed of Isaac, the only son. She hearkened and considered; she inclined her ear.
The message was pleasant to her ; she willingly accompanies the man, and, as she departed and followed with her damsels, they blessed her, saying, “ Be thou mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of them which hate thee."
She, as she became the wife, and brought forth her children, represented the covenant a reality within, as the elder nature served the younger. Even as she brought forth twins, in whom was a nature hateful to the Father, and must be put away, while that which he loves is to be manifested.
May we all know how to interpret the Word, not giving to isolated parts what is the property of the whole. Some say, “ We would be exceeding fearful of imposing any sense upon the Holy Scriptures which God has not plainly sanctioned." The Bible is a revelation, and given in a form best adapted to the nature of things and the constitution of all men. Who will, then, say there is no sanction for the interpretation of the Word ? Let them only see that its sense is attested by the unchanging laws of nature and the fixed relations of life, they will be no longer contented to abide in ignorance, but rise to the apprehension of the substance, which is attested by the shadows that make up the warp and woof of life. But they
“ We will not take upon ourselves absolutely to affirm that the marriage of Isaac was allegorical," and conclude, "It was certainly the marriage of God's only dear Son to His bride, the Church.”
Abraham is now married and blessed with a large posterity. The blessing of his God is upon him, according to the covenant. He then departs out of this life, and enters upon the glorious consummation of all his hopes, and so is for ever delivered from all evil.
JOHN xvi. 23, 24.
“In that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
PRAYER is said to be “the power that moves the arm that moves the world ;", or, " that opens heaven, that streams of mercy may flow in all their fulness.” These, and such like sentiments, do not express the true and simple idea of prayer. They imply that God withholds what is meet, or that, until the creature first moves, He is indifferent to his necessities.
Prayer is the moving pulse, the vital action of the soul. Where it does not beat there is no life, no communion, no fellowship with God. A prayerless soul not only robs God of that devout, reverential homage which is His due, but ignores His characteristic blessedness—the outcoming of Himself, and the imparting of the rich bestowals of His grace to man, whom He has created in His own image, and for which He has destined him.
“Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it," is the unvarying and unchanging purpose of the ever-blessed One. Of the preventing grace of God, which has ever been in advance of man, there is no stint. No one ever truly prays, but realises a blessing. If he be straitened, he is so in himself; for the floodgates of mercy and love are wide open, and the rich streams of benign blessings are ever flowing in all their fulness at his feet.
In order, then, to understand the nature of true prayer, it is important to understand the condition of soul necessary to it. The language of the Old Testament is, “Call upon me and I will answer thee, and shew thee mighty things thou knewest not." True prayer, then, is something far deeper than the mere act or words of prayer. It not only recognises God as the hearer of it, so that we are in His presence, but it demands that condition of soul wherein He may unveil wondrous things, to us hitherto unknown.
Satisfied with some self-approved habit, impatient of advice, and without consideration, men ask: “ Who regards not His gifts?" "Who despises His grace ?" " Who resists His will ?” “ Are there not different kinds of prayer, and do we not feel it to be our duty to engage in them ?” " Are there not various seasons of prayer, and do we not strive to improve them?” “ Are there not encouragements to prayer most exalting, and do we not seek to embrace them ?” Yes, truly; but, then, with what result ?
“ In that day,” said the Lord to His disciples, and so to all men, " ye shall ask me nothing; but ye shall ask the Father, and ye shall ask Him in my name.” The same blessings are vouchsafed us. Where do the words of Christ imply otherwise ? Yet, many may say,
- We have often prayed; we have gone through the routine of public and private prayer ; we have come into the great congregation and on our knees publicly, in the hearing of our fellow men, confessed our sins, and have gone into our closets and there gone through our accustomed duty; we have prayed in season and out of season.” And, it may be asked, “Was it in Christ's name? or, rather, was it not in your own name, being without result, as your own experience testifies ?”
If we but consider the condition of soul necessary to true
prayer, we cannot fail to notice the importance of the term “In my name,” twice mentioned in these verses.
The name of anything usually signifies its nature or properties, as the names of men express something prominent in their life, character, destiny. And when this is referred to the Lord Jesus, it signifies what He really is. He ever desired to be received as coming in the Father's name: “I am come,” He said, “ in my Father's name, and the works that I do bear witness of
As the Father knoweth me, so know I the Father. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me. If you do not receive my words, receive my works, that ye may know that what I do, I do in the name of the Father,
who hath sent me.”
Thus, the disciples were sent forth in His name. They had then believed into Him. As He said, “ In my name they shall cast out devils, speak with new tongues, lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” James says, “ Take, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an ensample of suffering affliction and patience.” Of whom Peter writes, “
They searched what and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow.” Thus the same thing is expressed by
“ In the name of the Lord;” by another, “ The Spirit of Christ in them.” “ Whatever ye do,” says Paul, “ in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus;” that is, do it by Him, or rather, let Him do it dwelling in you. This compendium of Christian life is made to import à vapid and unmeaning signification where it is said, “Do it by His authority and according to His directions.” When the Apostle declared that for him to live is Christ; that he knew no man after the flesh, being crucified with Christ; and he did all