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There were, likewise, superinduced agonies arising from his own exquisite sense of the malignity of sin. One sin was felt by him, no doubt, as a greater evil than a whole life of sin—a whole age of crime is, by his real followers. But such was his friendship for us, that he endured it all. That we, my brethren, might live, he willingly died beneath the dreadful weight of a world's sin, and the still more insupportable pressure of his Father's frowns. Surely there is good ground for the sustaining and cheering inference from this act of our Lord and Master, that he can now withhold no good thing from us. Had he not done this, all he could have done for us besides, would scarcely have included one real spiritual blessing ; and now that the unspeakable sacrifice is made, what blessings may not be expected from him.

Our Saviour shows his friendship for his true disciples, in often visiting them with the best tokens of his presence. What he once said to his desponding disciples in the days of his flesh, has been fulfilled in the case of every one of his disciples since. I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.

He to them in their retired hours ; and satisfies their secret longings of soul. He comes to them when engaged in deep spiritual meditation on his word, and opens to them the scriptures, shedding a bright illumination over the sacred pages. He comes to them, when communing together on subjects pertaining to his kingdom, and their hearts begin to burn within them in fervent anticipations of its extending glories. He comes to them in the temples of his grace, and though veiled from the apprehension of carnal and unbelieving minds, he manifests himself to them, makes them behold his glory and feel his love. Especially does he visit them at his table. There it is, that they most frequently obtain some more impressive views of his condescension and love, of his power and his compassion. Often at such seasons are they constrained to acknowledge with the favored disciples on the mount of transfiguration, that it is good for them to be there. And they would gladly prolong the blessed interview.

comes

The special friendship of our Lord for his disciples, appears in his readiness ever to listen to their complaints and to grant their requests. Earthly friends are often remote from us, and cannot be made seasonably acquainted with our necessities. Or if near, they are liable through selfishness or indifference, to treat our representations of personal wants with neglect. Or should they be at hand and willing with heart and hand to minister to our necessities, they may not have it in their power to impart to us the requisite aid. But if we are the friends of the Redeemer, we have ourselves a friend whose ear is ever open to the voice of our complaint. Wherever we wander, we do not go where our cry cannot reach his ear. He can never withhold any thing really good from us, because he is selfish or regardless of our wants. If he delays for a season to grant the object of our request, it is that we may be prepared to receive it. It is that it may come to us the good we

Most of our wants are such as he alone can fully know, and none but he supply. And yet if we are his sincere disciples, he has espoused all our great interests ; and his own glory is concerned that none of the great evils which we chiefly dread and most earnestly deprecate, come upon us. He is pledged by oaths which he himself has uttered ; he is bound by obligations which he himself has created, to take care of us, to sustain us in troubles, to protect us in dangers, to direct us in difficulties, and to allow nothing seriously to injure our souls. As he cannot deny himself, so neither can he deny the petition of one who humbly confides in his merits.

It is a wonderful proof of the Saviour's friendship for his disciples, that he bears with their sins and imperfections, and does not, though they fall into sins, lose their apparent attachment to his person and kingdom, wander

crave.

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from his fold, and bring reproach on his cause, give them up to their own heart's lusts to perish in guilt and pollution. Were he a human friend he would do this. We have not a friend on earth, who would remain our friend a single day, were we to treat him as we are almost daily treating the Saviour. No! They would lose all their esteem, and cease to cherish the least affectionate regard for us. When we consider how offensive to him sin must be, and when we think how odious it must appear to him, cherished and indulged by those whom he has redeemed by his blood and agonies, and called by his special grace; we must see, that in sparing them and bearing with them, he evinces a friendship which has no parallel among men.

While their brethren, did they know all he does of their sins and backslidings in heart, would regard them as wholly unfit to come to his table, and be ready to exclude them from the church, he does not forbid their communing with him in the solemn ordinance of the supper, and suffers them to retain a reputable standing in his church. And he will continue to bear with them, if they have any spirituality of character, until, when it will redound most to the glory of his name and tend most to secure them from future relapses, that they should be made to see and sorrow over their guilty course, and then he will humble and restore them.

Oh matchless friendship that he shows,

To friends more guilty than his foes ! A delightful mark of the Lord's friendship for his people, may be noticed in the rich provision which he continually furnishes to promote their increasing strength and progress in the divine life. He does not leave them when he has rescued them from destruction, but provides for their upward march to glory. They have their dangerous points to pass, and he kindly meets them there with the requisite aid to enable them to surmount difficulties, and to meet dangers unharmed. He gives

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them one seventh part of the time with special and exclusive reference to this end : That then they may gain, as otherwise they might not, a preparation at once for earthly conflicts and heavenly crowns : That then they may have an opportunity to gird themselves anew with the whole armor of God, so as to be able to stand in the evil day: That then in retired devout meditations on heavenly things, or in public solemn and engrossed attention to the ordinances of God's earthly temple, they may imbibe increased measures of the temper which reigns in his temple above.

For the same great end, he has instituted the ordinance of the supper. Nothing is more directly suited than this to yield them the necessary support and encouragement in their christian course.

He in this ordinance, invites them by believing views of his person and offices, his sacrifice and mediation, to nurture their spiritual man up to the measure of his own holy stature. He here assists their faith and love, and various graces, by presenting to the senses an emblematical representation of what he has felt, and undergone, and accomplished for them. He helps them here to perceive, through the medium of the senses, what, through the feebleness of their faith they might otherwise but dimly see, the greatness of his love, and the greatness of his suffering, and the

greatness of the salvation, he has procured for them. Enough must be presented to them here, if not to prevent their ever doubting his love and power to save, yet certainly to lead them to say with one of his earliest followers—I believe, Lord, help thou mine unbelief.

Finally, it is an affecting token of our Lord's friendship for his true disciples, that he continues his unceasing intercession for them in heaven. He has not only given bis life for them on earth, visits them here occasionally, listens to their complaints, bears with their sins, and makes provisions for their earthly pilgrimage ; but he ever appears in the presence of God for them, attending to all their interests there, advocating their cause

I am your

COMMAND.

before the eternal throne, procuring for them those divine communications they need in their upward course, providing a place for them in the eternal mansions of his Father's love, and ever standing ready to receive them at the gate of death, to wash away

their

every remaining taint of sin in his blood, to array them in the white and clean robes of his perfect righteousness, and to present them faultless before the presence of the excellent glory with exceeding and everlasting joy. What marks of friendship can be named, if these are not such ? What evidence can prove any fact, if here is not proof, that Christ is the friend of his people ?

But is our Lord the friend in the sense considered, of all his nominal disciples ? Certainly not. friend, and you are mine, IF YOU DO WHATSOEVER I

This is the meaning of the text. He is the friend of those, and those only who are his obedient servants. They can have no interest in his friendship, whose aim and solicitude, are not to yield a universal obedience to his commands. There can be no occasion to specify all of his commandments. We may learn their nature and import in the beautiful summary he has given of them in the context. One is this. Abide in me.

Feel your dependance upon me. Maintain an habitual communion with me. Manifest constantly your

adherence and attachment to me. Derive your strength and your consolations from me. Another of his commands is this. Continue ye in my love. Cease not to cherish an ardent affection for me, and in all possible ways to manifest that affection. Be careful that nothing may tempt you to withhold your love from me and thus provoke me to withdraw mine from you. You are exposed to innumerable troubles and reverses; preserve your

love to me,

and

your troubles will prove light, your duties easy, and nothing shall greatly embarrass you. - Again. This is my commandmentthat ye love one another, as I have loved you. Love each other in the manner I have loved you,

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