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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Daily Recovery Readings – April 19

Just For Today
April 19
Footwork

“So many times, addicts have sought the rewards of hard work without the labor.”
Basic Text, p. 33

When we first came to NA, some of us wanted everything, and right away. We wanted the serenity, the cars, the happy relationships, the friends, the closeness with our sponsor—all the things other people had gotten after months and years of working the steps and living life on life’s terms.

We learned the hard way that serenity comes only from working the steps. A new car comes from showing up on the job every day and trying to “practice these principles in all our affairs” including our employment. Healthy relationships come as a result of lots of hard work and a new willingness to communicate. Friendship with our sponsor comes as a result of reaching out during the good times as well as the bad.

In Narcotics Anonymous, we have found the path to a better way of life. To reach our destination, however, we must do the footwork.

Just for today: I want a better life. I will make an inventory of what I want, find out how to get it, talk with my sponsor about it, and do the necessary footwork.

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Daily Reflections
April 19
BROTHERS IN OUR DEFECTS

We recovered alcoholics are not so much brothers in virtue as we are brothers in our defects, and in our common strivings to overcome them.
–AS BILL SEES IT, p. 167

The identification that one alcoholic has with another is mysterious, spiritual–almost incomprehensible. But it is there. I “feel” it. Today I feel that I can help people and that they can help me.

It is a new and exciting feeling for me to care for someone; to care what they are feeling, hoping for, praying for; to know their sadness, joy, horror, sorrow, grief; to want to share those feelings so that someone can have relief. I never knew how to do this–or how to try. I never even cared.  The Fellowship of A.A., and God, are teaching me how to care about others.

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Twenty-Four Hours A Day
April 19
A.A. Thought For The Day

Since I’ve been putting sobriety into my life, I’ve been taking out a lot of good things. I can describe it best as a kind of quiet satisfaction. I feel good. I feel right with the world, on the right side of the fence. As long as I put sobriety into my life, almost everything I take out is good.  The satisfaction you get out of living a sober life is made up of a lot of little things. You have the ambition to do things you didn’t feel like doing when you were drinking. Am I getting satisfaction out of living a sober life?

Meditation For The Day

It is a glorious way – the upward way. There are wonderful discoveries in the realm of the spirit. There are tender intimacies in the quiet times of communion with God. There is an amazing, almost incomprehensible understanding of the other person. On the upward way, you can have all the strength you need from that Higher Power. You cannot make too many demands on Him for strength. He gives you all the power you need, as long as you are moving along the upward way.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may see the beautiful horizons ahead on the upward way. I pray that I may keep going forward to the more abundant life.

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As Bill Sees It
April 19
Trouble: Constructive or Destructive?, p. 110

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

“Then came A.A. Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody–a fact that had to be understood and dealt with.  Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

Letter, 1966

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Walk in Dry Places
April 19
Who pushes my buttons?
Personal Relations

AA old-timers would be mystified today to hear program members talk about people “pushing their buttons.” (They can’t get your goat if they don’t know where it is tied) This expression wasn’t around when the early AA members pulled themselves out of the swamp and began their long journey to sobriety.

But they had their buttons pushed aplenty. Dr. Bob, treating alcoholics at St. Thomas Hospital; heard snide comments from other physicians who resented giving bed space to drunks. Bill W. struggling to launch a worldwide movement, took most every alcoholic, then and now, gets some heavy kidding from the world of drinkers.

What is the real problem in these instances? Are others pushing our buttons, or do we set ourselves up for this by being sensitive and vulnerable? Nobody could push our buttons if we didn’t have buttons to push.

We no longer have to worry about button-pushers if we accept them as they are, realizing that we don’t need their approval and can’t really be hurt by anything they do or say. Our serenity in the face of such problems may actually serve to attract people to AA.

Nobody can push my buttons unless I let them. Today I’ll be serene and clam no matter what others say and do. Thanks to the program, I’ll not worry about certain individuals who try to get under my skin.

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Each Day a New Beginning
April 19

In the process of defining myself, I have a tendency to set up rules and boundaries and then forget that rules are made to be broken, as are boundaries to be expanded and crossed.
–Kathleen Casey Theisen

Recovery has given us the freedom to address life honestly, with forethought and a certainty about the rightness of our actions. We need be mindful that what is right today may not be right tomorrow or thereafter. As we move through our experiences, we are changed, and then we look with a new perspective on old conditions. Our new perspective hones our value systems, and yesterday’s rules and boundaries no longer fit today’s situations.

Our growth as women is an unending process. What we confront today with assurance, we prepared for yesterday. And tomorrow will be eased by our definition of today. The program has gifted us with clarity – clarity about ourselves, clarity regarding others, and clarity on how to continue our growth.

My value system awaits finer definition, and every experience, today, presents me with an opportunity for that definition.

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Keep It Simple
April 19

We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.
–Sacred ritual chant.

Good things keep happening to us. We are sober. We can think clearly. We can see progress on how we handle our problems. We have friends. We have love. We have hope.

We are starting to feel joy. Our fears are getting smaller. We are starting to trust our new way of life. Our new life brings good things to us. It brings blessings every day. We are beginning to expect them. But we’re still surprised at how good life can be. What a difference from the days before we entered our program!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thank-you for the blessings You keep on giving. And thanks for whatever today will bring.

Action for the Day: One way to give thanks for my blessings is to share them with others. How can I share my recovery today?

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Alcoholics Anonymous
April 19
LISTENING TO THE WIND

– It took an “angel” to introduce this Native American woman to A.A. and recovery.

It took a lot of booze to cover the nightmares of my past, but I was sure I could get around this small problem before long, I never did. The relationship broke up over my drinking, and I packed my little car and moved myself, my son, our dog, and three cats to the mountains.

p. 462

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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
April 19

Step Four – “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

First off, they can be told that the majority of A.A. members have suffered severely from self-justification during their drinking days. For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses; excuses, of course, for drinking, and for all kinds of crazy and damaging conduct. We had made the invention of alibis a fine art. We had to drink because times were hard or times were good. We had to drink because at home we were smothered with love or got none at all. We had to drink because at work we were great successes or dismal failures. We had to drink because our nation had won a war or lost a peace. And so it went, ad infinitum.

pp. 46-47

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Xtra Thoughts
April 19

Time is the greatest gift of all.
–Cited in Even More of…The Best of BITS & PIECES

Gifts are for giving.
–Ian and Sylvia Tyson

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
–John Wooden

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”
-Scottish Proverb

My sponsor pointed out that now that I’ve been around the program for awhile there is no denial . . . there is only refusal.
–Anonymous

With accepting God in my life each day, Through the trials and triumphs, I rest in comfort knowing God is leading me to Him.
–Tammy B.

You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.
–Irish Proverb

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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation
April 19
FREEDOM

“Freedom is the right to choose:  the right to create for yourself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing …”
–Archibald MacLeish

Spirituality involves the freedom to change; it requires the variety of choice in order to grow.

My past addiction was a life of slavery because it removed from me creative choice and left me obsessing about drugs and alcohol. My life, conversation and thoughts revolved around the bottle, and I was oblivious to the true meaning of life. I could not “do better” in my life because I was addicted not only to drugs but to the destructive lifestyle that goes with them. My freedom to experience the spiritual power of God’s creativity was lost to a mindless craving for drugs; in this sense, drug addiction is slavery.

Today I am free to see God’s world in people, places and things and I make a choice to live, love and laugh.

I am growing in the awareness of Your multifaceted love for me.

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Bible Scriptures
April 19

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
–Psalm 31:24

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
–2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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Daily Inspiration
April 19

Peace is one of our greatest needs because it provides for the strength we need in times of turmoil. Lord, I turn to You because You are my source of peace.

Stand tall and smile often and it will be very difficult to be unhappy. Lord, may my disposition reflect the joy and peace that is Your Will.

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A Day At A Time
April 19

Reflection For The Day

As we continue to make thees vital choices and so move toward these high aspirations, our sanity returns and the compulsion of our former addictions vanishes.  We learn, in the words of Plutarch, that, “A pleasant and happy life does not come from external things.  Man draws from within himself, as from a sprig, pleasure and joy.”  Am I learning to “travel first class” inside?

Today I Pray

The grace of God has showed me how to be happy again.  May the wisdom of God teach me that the source of that happiness is within me, i my new values,k my new sense of self-worth, my  new and open sense of self-worth, my new and open communication with my Higher Power.

Today I Will Remember

Happiness comes from within.

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One More Day
April 19

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.
– Mignon McLaughlin

Morning sounds and sights filter in through the bedroom window as we lie awake wondering, once again, if we can get started for the day. Oh, we think to ourselves, can I make these tired and weary bones and those sore and aching muscles do what I command them to do one more time?

We need strength to begin, to face each day, to start working our joints so we can face another day. A silent prayer may rush from our lips as we gather all our resources. We are extraordinarily strong poeple. Having a health problem makes us aware of a source of strength previously left untapped. We open ourselves to that strength — within ourselves, our doctors, our Higher Power. We rise and get on with our lives.

I have two gifts right now — this day and the strength to meet the challenges and demands.

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One Day At A Time
April 19
~ HAPPINESS ~

The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.
–William Saroyan

How many times during my life have I said that all I want is “just to be happy.” We are told early on that our legacy is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Did you notice that our forefathers used the word “pursuit?” How very wise they were.

Happiness is not automatic. Life is difficult and it’s supposed to be that way. If we expect happiness and we expect life to be easy, at some point in time we are going to be very disappointed. I thought eating food made me happy and it did … for a short time. There were other temporary compulsions in my life that made me think I was happy ~ but again for only a short time.

As I began to work the Steps, I began to desire something other than happiness. I found myself yearning for serenity … and I found it. The way I found it was by not expecting the world and everyone in it to make me happy. I learned that life was more of an adventure than a bowl of cherries. I learned that the more I expected from people, places and things, the more disappointed I was … and the more disappointed I became, the less happy I was.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will not require happiness. But when I least expect it …. happiness will find me.

~ Mari ~

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day – April 19

“We all come from the same root, but the leaves are all different.”
–John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA

We all come from one Great Spirit but we are all different and unique. Nothing in the Great Creation has a twin that is identical. Even children that are twins are different. Every single person is extremely special and unique. Each person has a purpose and reason why they are on the Earth. Just like every leaf on a tree is different, each one is needed to make the tree look like it does. No leaf is better or worse than the other—all leaves are of equal worth and belong on the tree. It is the same with human beings. We each belong here and do things that will affect the great whole.

Great Spirit, today, let me see myself as a valuable contributor to the whole.

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Journey To The Heart
April 19
Release Old Emotions

Our emotions and experiences sometimes lead us out of the present moment. Something happens– someone says something, we hear something– and a feeling crops up. Often, underneath it is an old feeling, a feeling from the past, an old chunk of energy that’s hidden in our soul, stored in our body.

We aren’t off track when that happens. We’re right where we need to be: off center and out of the present moment. We can use moments like these to heal ourselves.

Let yourself feel the feeling. Let yourself release the energy. Talk it out. Jog it out. Do what your heart leads you to do to release that bubble of emotion from your soul. Take as much time as you need– an hour, a day, a month.

When it’s gone, you’ll find a surprise. You’ve advanced on your path. You’ve learned something new. A new cycle has begun. An issue arose that provided an opportunity for healing and growth, and that healing and growth turned into a pleasant and welcome surprise.

Yes, sometimes experiences lead us out of the present moment. But if we stay present for ourselves, we’ll always come back. Changed. Lighter. Healed. And more ready to love.

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Today’s Gift
April 19

Inch by inch, row by row Someone bless these seeds I sow . . . ‘Til the rain comes tumblin’ down.
—David Mallett

We plant a garden with faith, never knowing exactly what the harvest will bring. We attend to those aspects of gardening, which we have some control over, planting good seeds in rich soil, in straight rows, the right distance apart. We weed and fertilize, and we tie up our tomato plants.

We may pray for rain, but we never know if we’ll get too much or too little. We can’t control the wind or rabbits or bugs or the strongest strains of weeds. Yet most of us don’t let these things keep us from planting.

With this same sort of faith we can tend to ourselves. Though we don’t know what each day will bring, we can plant the seeds in ourselves to meet most anything. We can rise each morning determined to give what we have. We can’t plant the seeds for others, and we can’t keep the storms from coming. The beauty is, we don’t have to.

What seeds of joy can I plant today?

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The Language of Letting Go
April 19
Accepting Change

The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places – time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.

But change is inevitable and desirable.

Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we’re not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we’ll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we’re being prepared for a new normal?

Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we’re going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don’t know where the changes are leading.

We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.

Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I’ll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don’t understand.

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More Language Of Letting Go
April 19
Say what you don’t know

One day, I was at a restaurant with friends. Now, my friends knew– particularly one of my friends– that I don’t eat pork. It’s not a religious thing. I just get sick from pork, even the tiniest bit will give me a headache, and sometimes nausea. So no matter how good that bacon looks, or how much my mouth waters about pork chops frying in the pan, I stay away from pig.

So we’re at the restaurant. I’ve looked at the menu. And the waiter comes over and rattles off the specials of the evening to us. The torteliini sounded pretty tasty. I knew he had used another to describe the tortelini– prosciutto– but I skimmed over the word. The whole dish sounded interesting to me.

We sit and have small talk. Then, the meal comes. The waiter puts my dish down in front of me. I pick up my fork and begin eating.

“Do you know what prosciutto is?” my friend asked.

“Yes,” I said lying.

“Point to the prosciutto,” he said.

I picked out a vegetable that kind of looked like celery and stabbed at it with my fork. “There,” I said, “that’s it.”

“You’re kidding around now, aren’t you?” he said. “Point to the prosciutto!”

I felt my face redden. “I don’t like being tested this way,” I said. “I know what prosciutto is.”

“This,” he said, stabbing a piece of something on the plate, “is prosciutto. It’s ham. Italian ham. I just thought you’d like to know, being as you don’t eat pork.”

“Oh,” I said, pushing my plate back. “I don’t think I’m that hungry after all.”

I know this is an old lesson I’ve talked about before. I had to learn it again. Sometimes, we feel inadequate, but what we don’t know can hurt us. And besides, if we say we don’t know when that’s the honest answer, we just might learn something new.

Today, if the true and correct answer is “I don’t know,” that’s the reply I’ll use.

God, help me let go of my belief that I have to know something I don’t.

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Touchstones Meditations For Men
April 19

Some of us, observing that ideals are rarely achieved, proceed to the error of considering them worthless. Such an error is greatly harmful. True North cannot be reached either, since it is an abstraction, but it is of enormous importance, as all the world’s travelers can attest.
—Steve Allen

How many of us, seeing others who failed to live fully by their ideals, cried, “Hypocrite!” Perhaps we even pointed to others’ shortcomings to excuse our own. Now, in this program, we may be tempted to swing like a pendulum to the other extreme. We may hold to our values and principles so tightly that we are perfectionistic.

The idea that True North cannot ever be reached is very useful. If we don’t achieve True North, even though we establish it as our standard, we will generally be heading in the right direction. Although we never perfectly achieve our ideals, they remain our standards today for orienting our lives.

I do accept standards for my life. I will not beat on myself for my imperfections.

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Daily TAO
April 19
FUNDAMENTALS

After completion
Come new beginnings.
To gain strength,
Renew the root.

In music, the fundamental tone is the lowest, or root, tone of a chord. Without its presence, no true character is established. Our actions in life are as similarly varied and complex as music. Without a thorough grounding, there is no harmony.

Followers of Tao emphasize cycles. This must include a sound understanding of what to do whenever a cycle comes to an end. New ones will begin : Some of them will be engendered by the old one, others may simply be in the background and will now come forward. If we are to properly shape these new movements and if we are to prevent unwanted cycles from beginning, we must take stock and renew our basis in the fundamentals.

Everyone wants to be daring, creative, and original. Everyone wants to do things in new ways. But unless we return over and over again to the basics, we will have no chance to truly soar. Do not forget the root.  Without it, we can never issue forth true power.

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DailyZen
April 19

The Wise Ones of Old

The wise ones of old had subtle wisdom
And depth of understanding,
So profound that they could not be understood.
Because they could not be understood,
I can only describe how they appeared in the world:

Cautious, like crossing a wintry stream,
Irresolute, like one fearing danger all around,
Ceremonious, as one who pays a visit;
Yielding, like ice beginning to melt,
Genuine, like a piece of uncarved wood,
Open-minded, like a valley,
And mixing freely, like murky water.

– Lao-Tze

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Food for Thought
April 19
Perseverance

We all go through periods when we seem to be standing still or slipping backwards. It is often difficult to stay with our food plan when weight loss slows or stops. We may become bored with the program if our understanding of it is superficial. There are many times when things do not go the way we would like, and we may be tempted to give up.

Let’s remember where we began and how miserable we were before we found OA. If there are times when abstinence does not seem so great, let’s remember how much worse the alternative is. We have been down in the depths of despair before, and we do not choose to go back there.

One day at a time, we can keep moving forward. Even when we see no signs of progress, we can know that our Higher Power is now in charge of our recovery and that His purposes never fail.

Lord, give us strength to persevere.

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In God’s Care
April 19

To think you are separate from God is to remain separate from your own being.
~~D. M. Street

God has taken up residence within us as our guide and in the world as our companion. Everywhere we cast our gaze, we will see other homes of God. We are never really separated from God even though we often feel disconnected.

As children, many of us dreamed of God as separate and very far away in heaven. To accept the knowledge that God is everywhere and is within us is perhaps strange at first. But as our acceptance grows through working our program, we are comforted by the knowledge that we travel no path alone.

We can harbor no thoughts or desires or prayers in secret. Our constant companion knows us fully, hears our every need, cares for us deeply, and will ensure our safety every step of the way. We only need to remember to extend our hand to God for surefootedness.

Let me remember God is my guide and constant companion.

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Faith’s Check Book
April 19
An Expert Searcher

For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
–(Ezekiel 34:11)

This He does at the first when His elect are like wandering sheep that know not the Shepherd or the fold. How wonderfully doth the Lord find out His chosen! Jesus is great as a seeking Shepherd as well as a saving Shepherd. Though many of those His Father gave Him have gone as near to hell-gate as they well can, yet the Lord by searching and seeking discovers them and draws nigh to them in grace. He has sought out us: let us have good hope for those who are laid upon our hearts in prayer, for He will find them out also.

The Lord repeats this process when any of His flock stray from the pastures of truth and holiness. They may fall into gross error, sad sin, and grievous hardness; but yet the Lord, who has become a surety for them to His Father, will not suffer one of them to go so far as to perish. He will by providence and grace pursue them into foreign lands, into abodes of poverty, into dens of obscurity, into depths of despair; He will not lose one of all that the Father has given Him. It is a point of honor with Jesus to seek and to save all the flock, without a single exception. What a promise to plead, if at this hour I am compelled to cry, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep!”

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This Morning’s Meditation
April 19

“Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.”
-—Matthew 27:51.

NO mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power—many lessons were herein taught us. The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in Him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay. That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; He openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

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