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Ik the closing moments of our blessed Lord's 
communications with his disciples, he uttered 
a sentence, deep in its significancy, and full of 
blessing for his people, which is still, to the 
majority of Christians, as treasure hid in a 

" Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye 

sTiaU ask the Father in my name, He wiU give it 

you. Hitiierto have ye asked nothing in my name : 

ask, and ye shall receive, that your Joy may be 

fvar (John xvi 23, 24.) 

Let us, then, dwell a little while on these 
wondrous words, seeing that they present us 
with nothing less than the keys of the treasure- 
house of our God, in which all blessings are 
laid up for us in Jesus. 

What is commonly understood by praying in 
the name of Jesus, falls far short of the truth. 
It is said that he prays in the name of Jesus^ 



wlio presents his request before God, hoping 
for acceptance, not on the groTind of his o^vn 
worthiness, biit upon the ground of the merits 
of Christ. "We say, on the contrary, he prays 
in the name of Jesus, who approaches the foot- 
stool of the Majesty on high, in the humble con- 
fession that he is utterly destitute of any rightful 
claim to God's favour, yet that he is nevertheless 
fully persuaded of it, because he knows that 
he has been washed in the blood of the Lamb. 
For if this expression implied nothing more 
than praying on the ground of the merits of our 
Surety, then the Saviour could not have said to 
his disciples, " Hitherto have ye asked nothing 
in my name." But who that has read the 
Holy Scriptures does not know how the Fathers 
of the old covenant were wont to pray, and how 
even they did not venture to bring their suit 
before God in their own righteousness, and 
without a mediator? The whole priesthood, 
and its attendant sacrifices, what was it but a 
continuous, loud-crying acknowledgment that 
they were to found the hope of a gracious 
reception at the hands of God, not upon ai 
personal merit, but exclusively upon one extra- 
neous to themselves, and only .imputed to them ? 
Prayer " in the name of Jesus " announces 
itself, therefore, to us as something entirely 




new. The SaviotiT Mmself presents it to ns as 
a thing which, before his coming upon earth, 
was not yet known. It is consequently to be 
included in the ezcluslYe prerogatives of the 
New Covffliant dispensation. 

Every prayer in the name of Jesus' is uttered 
in dependence upon the merits of Jesus ; but 
every prayer uttered in dependence upon the 
merits of Jesus is not on that account a prayer 
in the name of Jesus. The worshipper in the 
name of Jesus finds himself in a relationship 
towards Grod, which was still xmknown to the 
disciples, as well as to the saints of the Old 
Testament. If I, painfully conscious that I de- 
serve condemnation, draw near to the Eternal, 
interposing Christ as a shelter from judgment, 
then assuredly I pray, resting on the merits of 
Christ ; but even then I do not pray in Chrises 
name. In my prayer, I regard the Father as 
still estranged from me, distant and hostile, 
and myself only shielded from His wrath by 
Christ. I continue, then, trembling, as it were, 
before the portals of heaven, because I still 
feel a&aid in the presence of Grod. The feeling 
of my guilt and of the holiness of God still pre- 
ponderates in my soul, and I have no sense 
of my juatifcation and His love. I tremble 

Still before the High and Holy One, whose eyes 

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are like flames of fire ; and my heart, wMle I 
praj, whispers to me tremblingly, " Miserable 
being that thou art 1 trust in JesTis as the Sa- 
viour of sioners, else thou art undone." 

Now when I pray thus, I pray not amiss, but 
well; I pray not upon the ground of self- 
righteousness, but upon that of a Surety. But 
praying in the name of Jesus is something quite 
diflFerent still. For is it not truly another thing 
when I^ approach God as my Father^ in the 
blessed assurance 'that I am now His hdoved 
chUdj and that my transgressions are no longer 
remembered in heaven ? Is it not something 
very different from merely praying for rojercy, 
when I bWg .my prayer before Him in the 
delightful assurance that His parental love 
prompts Him to grant me with joy, as to a 
member of His beloved Son, all that I ask ? 
And when I throw myself confidingly on His 
bosom, in the sweet, peace-abounding persua- 
sion, that in Christ, my Surety and Mediator, 
I am not merely safe from His wrath, but 
also, through him, I am " beloved of God'* — 
an object of His highest goodwill, the delight 
of His eyes, and His eternal pleasure ? When, 
in this manner, I see myself only in the garb 
which I wear in Christ ; when I enter the man- 
idon of my Father as a child of the house, only 



one conviction fills my sotil — no more separation 
from Him ! bnt the consciousness that I, through 
the intercession of my Mediator, please the 
Father superabundantly weU, Saj, ohi saj, 
beloved, is not this, indeed, something quite 
different from that praying for the sake of 
Christ's merit, which we have previously de- 
. scribed ? Know then, now, my brethren, iJiis 
is drawing nigh to God in the name of Jesus. 

We all know that to seek a favour in the 
naioe of another, is considered nothing else but 
to represent the person of that other. So that, 
if I say to you, for instance, you are to ask of 
one of my fiiends aught in my name, and you 
do so, then surely it is not, strictly speaking, 
you that ask, but it is / who am the petitioner. 
My influence, in this case, passes over to you, 
and stands you in good stead ; and, were you to 
receive a refusal, it is not you who would feel 
mortified, but /. Only imagine, then, what a 
precious privilege the Saviour extends to us, 
when he encourages us to ask of the Father in 
his name ! For what else can he mean to say 
than that we may, by faith, suppose ourselves 
standing completely in his place, and, thus free 
and glad, walk before the Father as being one 
with Christ; and may we not expect for our sup- 
plications the same open and inclined ear which 


his prayers ever fotmd with tlie Father ? "What 
else can he niean but that we regard ourselTes 
as those upon whom the entire grace of the 
only begotten Son has been outpoured ? 
What else can he mean but that we should 
continue in the blessed conviction that God 
knows us no longer according to the flesh, and 
that, therefore, if He cast us off from Himself, 
it would not be, strictly speaking, us that He 
would cast off, but him — ^His own Son ? Oh ! 
^ wondrous grace ! And such, truly, is the 
sense of the words of Jesus I 

Whosoever, then, has faith to regard himself 
as " accept^ in the bdoved" and knows the ^ial 
right that has been acquired for him, and views 
the gloiy of his Surety as his own, he can, with 
a conscience free and clear, bring his prayer 
before God with confiding, cheerful, and filial 
boldness. He has such an estimate of Grod's 
love to him, that it never occurs to him to 
doubt whether the Father will hear him. 
Such is he who prays in the name of Jesus. In 
this manner, the saints of the Old Testament 
had never as yet prayed. They knew that, for 
the sake of the Messiah, they would not be 
condemned, and, in so far, they rejoiced in j 
their deliverance. But, little as a pardoned 
transgressor would infer, from the pardon be- 




stowed upon him, that the king now, after 
presenting him with his life, would also clothe 
him in purple and sUk, and receive him as a 
friend at his table, nay, in his arms, even so 
little did they think that the entire glory of the 
Mediator in whom they hoped, was accounted 
to them as their own property. With us, it is 
now quite otherwise. All that they only hailed 
as a promise afi^ off, we have seen brought 
forth into reahty and truth. We know upon 
what groxmd " Tie that is least in the kingdom of 
heaven is greater than John the Baptist.'^ We 
may, therefore, appear before the Lord in quite 
another frame of mind. We are not surprised 
when the Saviour mentions the praying in his 
name as something that coxdd exist only after 
he came into the world. What is then promised 
in this prayer ? Learn and marvel. " VerUt/j 
verily/" begins the Lord. That is his royal 
signet attached to this remarkable writing. 
That is the oath with which he confirms it. 
That is the solemn formula with which he 
makes the matter sure against every contradic- 
tion and doubt. " / say unto you" he proceeds ; 
*' /, who am in the bosom of the Father : on me 
you have to depend.** And how runs now the 
great, the important saying, which he has so 
solemnly, so majestically introduced ? " What- 



soever ye shaU ash the Father" saith he, or, " att 
that ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will 
give it you I " 

Now, what do we desire more, my beloved ? 
Behold a large white tablet hung before us, 
reaching from earth to heaven. On that how 
much may not be written ? " AU that ye shaU 
ask" saith the Lord : in St. John, (chap, xv.,) 
it runs, " ye shall ask what ye wHl, and it shall 
be done unto you." Here, then, are aU barriers 
and boundaries torn away. Here is a field 
opened to our desires, which has no landmarks 
and no limits. Nothing good for us is so 
great, nothing so trivial, but that we may 
receive it from the Father, if we only ask it 
in the name of Jesus. Say, then, what is it you 
would most desire to have granted to you? 
Would you wish to be delivered from your 
troubles? Are you anxious that your sick 
child may recover? Approach, then, the Fa- 
ther ; ask it of Him, in faith, in the nama of 
Jesus, and, truly, if for your good and His 
glory, the desire of your heart will be granted - 
■you. Prayer is a magic wand in the hand of 
faith. Give a sign, and Amalek falls ; smite 
the rock, and it will yield you water; com-, 
mand the waves of the Red Sea, and they will 
divide themselves ; rebuke the tempests which. 



rage around you, and all will become calm. 
All, aU may you have, if you axe only in a 
state to ask for it in the name of Jesus. 

But, ia good truth, whether you will be 
succ6ssfal in asking in the name of Jesus for 
all that you might desire for yourself, that I 
must doubt. You might totsh that God would 
be pleased to raise up again from the grave a 
dead person ; but only then, assuredly, would 
you be enabled to pray for that with full, 
undoubting confidence, when you were com- 
pletely and divinely convinced such a miracle 
must be necessary for the honour of Grod. 
Luther was enabled to pray in the name of 
JesuSj for the lives of his friends, Melancthon 
and Myconius, who were sick imto death, and 
already despaired of. He doubted not, and, 
behold! what he desired was granted. For 
gold and silver, too, you may have a desire ; 
ask for it only, however, in the name of Jeshs, 
^ if you can J and it will be granted to you. But 
how will you be able to do that ? Only follow 
the example of the late pious Professor Franks. 
He was enabled to do it most happily. Thou- 
sands forthwith flowed to him ; and he who, on 
commencing,, had scarcely command over a few 
pence, soon collected enough to build an insti- 
tution for orphan children, as spacious nearly 

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as a small to-vm. The Lord did wHat His 
servant desired. *' Beloved, if our heart con- 
demn us not," saith St. Jolm — ^that is, if we 
are not obliged to accuse ottrselves secretly that 
we pray in self-will, or only out of love to our 
own flesh, or solicit Grod temptingly^ " then have 
we confidence toward Grod; and whatever we 
ask, we shaU received 

Now, what say ye to these things ? Oh I 
since from those mighty words, " Verily^ verily, 
I say unto you, whatsoever ye shaU ask the Father 
in my name, He wiU give it you" the veil has 
withdrawn itself from before me, I stand before 
them in amazement, as before an opened sanc- 
tuary, and know scarcely how to bear myself, 
for astonishment and rapture, at the abundance 
of magnificent and blessed thoughts which I see 
contained therein. I behold, as it were, a 
throne of God erected upon this saying. 
Gleaming lightnings shoot forth therefrom on 
all sides, only to illumine to my view the Holy 
of Holies in th^ temple of Christianity. The 
most blessed articles of the New Testamrait 
stand there grouped around it, in unveiled 
splendour, like sweet messengers of peace; 
and in its centre, appears the whole glory of 
the Gospel, condensed into one wonder-teeming, 
majestically refulgent, burning point. Oh, how 


those mighty words chastise us ! How dis- 
graced do we stand before them ! For, if tLe 
prayer in the name of Jesus is the ship that is 
to convey us to the opposite shore, where all 

that is desirable is to be obtained, it is evident 
that there must be among us a lack of people 
who know how to sail with this bark. The 
condition in which we are, proves it ; otherwise 
things would have a different appearaiice in 
the midst of us. Heaven would not remain so 
little known and enjoyed. Spiritual barrenness 
would soon vanish. The Church would flou- 
rish like the lily, and gift upon gift would be 
showered down upon us from on high. Our 
weakness judges and condemns us. We know 
not how to make use of the key which has 
been given to us ; and what Jesus said to his 
disciples may also be applied to ourselves: 
" Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name" 

Yet, in the same measure that these mighty 
words condemn us, so also do they raise us up 
again ; for they open to us the golden prospect, 
that now, with every coming moment, a lovelier 
dawn may appear for the Church of Christ. 
It is true, the Church, viewed as a whole, 
presents us with a sad, gloomy picture, in these 
days of ours ; but what more, with reference to 
those words, does it stand in need of, but that a 


chosen band of pious men slionld be compelled 
and encouraged to ask in the name of Jesus, 
with full, fervent, and filial confidence, for a 
new day of Pentecost ; and that the life of 
God might forthwith discharge itself in streams 
upon the earth, and a new spring of spiritual 
grace descend again from heaven ? True it is, 
the aspect presented by our churches here is 
sad and gloomy, and, alas 1 there is little of 
awakened raiergy, and of the true vitality; but 
who knows, perhaps, this very day the heart of 
a single individual may be large enough to 
receive within it the whole Church, and to 
raise it up in the Saviour's name, even to the 
bosom of the Father ; and from this hour forth 
the clouds again drop dew, and the heavens 
' above our heads rain righteousness? True it is> 
of those we love, there is many a one going on 
in " the broad way that leadeth to destruction," 
' and the fear creeps upon our mind that we, 
may, at some future time, be forced to separate 
from him for ever. But soft ! — how comforting 
« here appear also those mighty worda of Jesus ! - 
' K I have hitherto never yet prayed in ^ name 
' of Jesus for the soul of this or that of my beloved 
friends, I may still be able to do so before mid- 
night — perhaps this very hour, and my cares 
are at an end : the beloved soul is saved ! 


Behold, thus let us take our stand upon those 
words, as upon a serene eminence, breathing 
blessed hope, with nothing before oux eyes but 
a clear and cheerful prospect. 

This description of prayer in the name of Jesus, 
corrects many erroneous impressions which are 
prevalent among us, as to the spiritual position 
of a true Christian. Thus, among other things, 
it is said that a poor sinner, which every Chris- 
tian still is, has to consider, whenever he prays, 
that it is not becoming in Kitti to enter the 
mansion of the mighty Lord with head uplifted 
like a saint, but only with downcast look. Who- 
ever is not able to pray otherwise, let him pray, 
in that manner. Let him, however, refrain 
from wishing to set up Ms manner of praying 
as the common model, and from attempting to 
describe it as the only proper and evangelical 
orm. No ; this style of praying is not evange- 
lical. But it may be replied, has not Abraham 
so prayed? as, for instance, "Behold, now, I, 
which am but dust and ashes, have taken upon 
me to speak unto the Lord ;" and Jacpb, Moses, 
and Solomon as well ? Yes, my beloved, they 
may have done so. And a greater is here than 
even Abraham and Moses. For know ye not 
that it was said of John the Baptist, no one 
preceded him who was greater than he; and 

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yet, again, he that is least in the kingdom of 
heaven is greater than John the Baptist ? We, 
my brethren, live in the New Testament dis- 
pensation, and have the privilege of praying 
in Chrisfs name, that is to say, as being our- 
selves one unth Christ. We have the privilege 
of believing that aU that makes Christ dear, 
and recommends him in the sight of the Father, 
has been wholly transferred to ourselves. We 
may, therefore, commime vdth the Father as 
Christ. Christ was not afraid. He threw him- 
self on his Father's bosom as a well-beloved 
Son. Christ spoke in full confidence ; Christ 
asked cheerfoUy and unabashed for whatever 
he wished to have, and doubted not that he 
would receive it. 

There is another view of our relation with 
Grod, which is still more false and exceptionable. 
Some think to themselves, " I know that I am 
one of God's people; whatsoever, therefore, 
may be- for my highest weal will be done unto 
me. My High-Priest is now praying for me ; 
80 henceforth I myself need not pray." Thus 
they pray but little, or not at aU. Oh, back- 
sliding without parallel ! For, only once re- 
flect-— the Saviour solemnly confers upon a 
poor sinner the great, glorious privilege of 
being allowed to approach the Father in all 


his troubles, with a filial confidence, as though 
he himself -were Christ. The sinner, however, 
declines this offered prerogative. Oh! who 
does not feel the inward shudder of death at 
this miserable thought ? "Aye," say we, and 
■\¥ith good reason, " if that man were internally 
awake, he would not know how to bear himself 
for joy and amazement at the grant of such an 
heritage. He would regard it as his highest 
happiness to make use of so sweet a privilege 
day by day." 

The words, " VerUy^ verily, I say unto you, 
whatsoever yt shaJl ask the Father in my name,^ 
impress upon us a new seal of the sweetest and 
most blessed of all the truths in the Bible. 
You surely anticipate what species of truth I 
here mean. I mean not that we, for Christ's 
sakej are no longer tmder condemnation. I 
mean rather that we have become, in Christ, 
purified, endeared, and well-beloved children 
of the Father. Most assuredly, that is made 
known to us in a hundred passages of the 
Scriptures, but nowhere, methinks, more clearly 
and unambiguously than in those words ; for, 
while the Saviour reminds us that we may pray 
to the Father in his name, then does it follow 
surely, that we are as dear and well-pleasing to 
the Father as Christ ; and Christ intimates to 


US ia those words, notliing less tlian tliat the 
entire fulness of the gloiy and the grace which 
delighted the Father in him, is henceforth, by 
imputation, and in effect, bestowed upon our- 
selves. To imprint this indescribably sweet 
^ruth yet deeper on his disciples, he says to 
them, ''You may look upon the matter, as 
though on that account you stood in need 
of an advocate with the Father. No," saith 
he, "I say not unto you, that I wiU pray 
unto the Father for you on this ground ; for," 
continueth he, " the FaJther Himsdf loveth you.** 
And with that cdnclusion, he impresses it more 
deeply, more profoimdly, on their hearts, that 
his glory is theirs. " The ghry which thou gavest 
mey I have given them" These were his words 
in addressing the Father ; and that, as often as 
they draw nigh to the Father, they should 
admit no tinge of fear into their souls, he adds, 
** and hast lored them as thou hast lored me." 
(John xviL 23.) 


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