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forming us to Him, and leading us in the blessed steps of his most holy life!
(3.) The prayer of this happy believer expressed the earnestness of his soul for that spiritual and everlasting salvation, of which he had learned the Redeemer to be the fountain :-"Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” He reproves his hardened fellow-he acknow. ledges his own offences—he justifies God, in bringing him to shame and death for his iniquities, as perfectly just and unimpeachable ; and then, he flees, in all the eagerness of desire, to the hope set before him,--to that anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, which had been just revealed to him in the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ. “Lord, remember me. It is a brief but powerful pleading. His whole heart went with it; the desire of his soul was to the Lord, and his soul spake in his prayer. It was like the impassioned cry of the father, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” It was uttered in the spirit of the jailor, when he sprang in, trembling, before Paul and Silas, and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?" Now that he is awakened to find his need of an atonement and righteousness, which nothing, and no one in the wide universe, save He who hung in agony by his side could supply, he is dead to every other consideration, and Christ reigns supremely in his desires. He was probably the first of those, under the Gospel dispensation, who truly believed in the intercession of his Lord. And if all who have since professedly come unto God by that blood, wherewith the Great High Priest entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for sinners, had really come, and were now coming, with the earnestness of this man's desire, with the ardent longing of his mind for mercy, and with his exalted views of Jesus Christ, as an Intercessor for his people, what honour would be put upon the Lord's priestly character—what comfort would abound in prayer-what joy, and filial hope, and trust, in the believer's approach to the throne of grace ; and what a return of gifts and graces to the Christian, in the communications of heard and answered prayer !
The dying thief pleads with the Lord, like Joseph in his prison, with the chief butler, -not so much for a present, as a future mercy ;—that he may share the deliverance of him to whom he makes his request ;“Think on me, when it shall be well with thee; and shew kindness, I pray thee unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house." Here, however, the similarity entirely ends. The chief butler forgat Joseph ; but He who is the only Mediator of intercession, as well as the only Mediator of atonement, bears the persons, and wants of his servants and brethren before God, as He bore their sins from God's sight, when He took them
It might be, that this now happy object of mercy had never prayed before ; and yet his prayer is heard and answered. Heard and answered, did I say? The Lord doth for him “ exceedingly abundantly, above all that he can ask or think." And thus it will ever be, when any one seeks the compassion and help of Jesus Christ. Not only shall he not seek in vain, but blessings, for which at first he dared not hope, shall be communicated to him, in the riches of that grace which supplies every need. The same Lord, who amidst the agonies of his dying hour, remembered the penitent malefactor, will never forget the prayer that pleads the merit of his blood, and the perfection of his righteousness, now that he enjoys the glory of God, and the rest of heavenly blessedness. Neither the cross of Calvary, nor the throne of heaven, can make the Great Intercessor regardless of those who must perish if he save them not. Come then to Him, owning Him as your Lord. Come to Him pleading his memory
your case, and his knowledge of your need. “Ask, and ye shall have ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
If you, dear friends, can only mourn, or sigh, or in broken sentences pour out your wants before God ; nay, even if you can neither mourn, nor sigh, as you wish, the look of faith towards Jesus, as of the dying Israelites to the serpent in the wilderness, will form an expressive appeal ; nay, further still, if you will lift up your hearts at all to Him, the promise is already on record, “ Before they call, I will answer ; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
The manner in which our Lord replied to the cry of his eager, faithful petitioner must form the subject of our consideration to-morrow evening. I can only now beseech those whose hearts are yet hardened against Christ, to cast a glance at the dreadful consequences of that obduracy, in which, for any thing we are taught to the contrary, the other malefactor died. You have stood as it were at the foot of the