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trial and enjoyment especially his Throne of Grace, that we may obown, and concerning which another tain mercy, and find grace to help person can judge but little, even in time of need." I do not presume when every secret is revealed and bis to assert that a person really reconcounsel earnestly sought. There are ciled to God is always conscious of also some cases in which a person the reconciliation; but it is safe to cannot persuade himself to disclose assure ourselves, that in proportion his mind to any, got even to his most to the vigour of our graces we have jatimale friends. Further, there are reason to expect from the Almighty other circumstances, where, after all an answer to our prayers. the efforts of ourselves and the wisest As to such seasons of unusual trog. advisers, nothing can be done, but ble as overtake practical believer, we remain in perplexity and confu- they, perhaps, may be equally sesion. On all these occasions, when vere with such as are endured by the earthly assistance and consolation most abandoned sinners. But be seem finally to desert us, there is distress what it may, it will never certainly an extraordinary refuge be so poignant to a Christian as to : reserved to us in the encourage- worldling. Chiefly because he lives ment and command held out in the in the spirit and practice of prayer
, Gospel, that we should go and sub- affliction loses much of its malignimit our sorrows and every feeling of ty: he regards it, indeed, as the na. despair before God in Christ Jesus. tural consequence and penalty of At the throne of grace we may sin, but still refers it to ibe partial pour out our whole heart without tenderness of his Lord, who professes any apprehension, open our most to administer chastisement as a hidden distresses, confess our most means of increasing both the dignihumbling weaknesses, speak as to a ty and the enjoyments of the divine friend of infinite compassion, of in- life. To a sou thas disciplined the nite patience, and of power sufficient days of darkness are seasons of exto deliver us from every trouble. traordinary devotion, and in the na
Bat I must here observe, that in tural course of grace, seasons of the circumstances that have been spiritual prosperity. If the afilica supposed, a devout Christian has an tion be not removed, the sufferer advantage, and a mighty one, which will have peace in looking back up a worldly man possesses not. The on the unreserved surrender of him. worldly man may, indeed, cry to self, when he adopted the language God in the pressure of severe dis- and humbly endeavoured to partake tress; but he has not the confidence of the spirit of Christ, “ Father, if it towards Him which is the hope and be possible, let this cop pass from consolation of a believer. A believer me; nevertheless, not as I will, bar advances towards the Divine pre- as thou wilt.” sence on firm ground. Though once, And again; it may in this place in common with the balk of man- be remarked, that the beginnings er kind, far off from the privilege of the various accidents of a religious Divine communion, yet he is now life are peculiarly marked out by
brought nigh by the blood of the necessity and the exercise of Christ." In ibis state of reconcilia- prayer. In many persons at tion, he offers, not the extorted peti- early period of their spiritual renttions of one who is compelled to vation, there is a strong reluctance pray to God because the world can to unveil their thoughts to others do nothing for bim, but the filial They would be glad to open plea of one adopted unto the family minds to their minister, or to site of God, and, through the Son of the prudent friend ; but this is not dete
, Blessed, entitled to the privileges of though counsel is much needed
. the kingdom of heaven. St. Paul Here then is a case where a private says, " Let us come boldly to the application to the Throne of Grace
may at once point out and supply ness is acquired by a return to the the deficiency of human means. if forgotten duty. The spirit and the you are nnable to bring yourself to habit of devotion are a security ask instruction of man, go to the against losing ground; and when a Fountain Head, to the living Spring backslider begins to recover his forof all wisdom. Enter into your clo- mer place, he will be found in the set, and in the presence of God re- posture of a supplicant. He will real all your ignorance, perplexity, regard his future strength as essenwants--your whole mind. Himself lially linked with prayer. As a redeclares, “ If any of you lack wise lapse into sin discovered his weakdom, let him ask of God, who giveth ness, he will, should he continue to all men liberally, and upbraideth sincere, learn a salutary lesson of not; and it shall be given bim.“ humility and caution. You find it impossible to overcome Thus far I have endeavoured to your onwillingness to refer your explain the meaning of "praying doubts to a fellow-creature. This always.” The amount appears to may not be an ill sign. You had be, that we should live not barely in much better distrust yourself, and the outward practice, but in the fercultivate a modest and retiring tem- vid spirit of devotion, suiting our per of mind, than be forward and prayers to our several circumstances, talkative about your new opinions : enlarging them at peculiar seasons, for, among the temptations which and making the leading events of our belong to the infancy of religion in lives, whether temporal or spiritual, the human soul, is that of thinking the causes and subjects of prayer. our hearts changed when we have
Indeed, without the habitual permerely altered our sentiments. Per- formance of a duty divinely appointhaps your principles may acquire ed, and so well fitted to the nature more strength and maturity, if they and wants of mankind, there can be are undisturbed either by the wis- no growth in grace. The Son of dom or folly of mankind; if they are God well urged upon us the efficacy left
, as it were, to the unobstructed of praying without weariness by the operation of that grace, which will parable of the importunate widow, be vonchsaled to fervent and sincere who, by continually imploring the
judge to give her redress, finally Circumstances in the advanced prevailed, and obtained her petition. periods of the divine life not seldom This account Jesus delivered, “ to call for unusual measures of prayer. this end, that men ought always to Religion, however unchangeable in pray and not to faint." St. Paul exitself, is confided to the mind of an horis the Romans to continue "instant uncertain creature : “ We have this in prayer;" and says to the 'Thessatreasure in earthen vessels.” How lonians, “ Pray without ceasing." few Christians safely reach their Before I proceed to any farther eternal rest, who in the journey explanation of the text, which will thither have not had sad occasion to be reserved for a future opportunity, Weep over their mistakes, their occa- I would remark, how necessary it is sional deviations, and their falls ! to have a right judgment in religious While connected with a mortal state, concerns ! The connection of this they are ever in danger. When, observation with the general subject
a professed Christian has arises from the propriety of consiperplexed his conscience by a sin of dering the proper seasons, subjects, emission, or by some practical guilt, and effects of prayer. Here a right his recovery must, under God, be ob judgment is certainly requisite. If tained by prayer. As religious de- we do not well select the seasons of clensions generally begin by the devotion, we shall be in danger of neglect of private devotion, so a confusing one duty with another. firmer standing in the ways of gudli
. A person must not be on his knees CARIST. OBSERY, No. 130.
when he ought to be actively em- talked, it may be, not unwisely; ployed in the needful business of but we come forth and join the cirthe world ; neither should the law. cle of folly and hypocrisy. On the ful engagements of life detain him other hand, if devotion lead us onfrom the essential duties of devotion. ward to humility, to dependance Christian sagacity discovers itself upon the grace and mercy of God in by dividing time most profitably Jesus Christ, to new and self-abasing among various duties, all of which convictions of our natural aversion are most usefully performed when from the gospel and cross of Christ ; transacted separately; for if they if our confessions have verily been are managed without regard to time “the sighings of a contrite heart," and place, they are confounded, and, and not the borrowed language and of course, done with no certain and unmeaning general expressions of a permanent effect. That which at miere speculatist in evangelical docthe present hour may be our first trine; if we retire from our devoduty, may in the next assume the tions to the duties of our stations, as character of sin itself. But if things those who in truth desire to have be regularly arranged, devotion will "the mind which was in Christ Je. prepare for other duties, and the sus;" if we become more like him, whole range of other duties will dis- and perseveringly desire to place pose to prayer.
We must ever ourselves under his guidance ; then, bear in inind, that as true religion we pray in spirit, in sincerity, in a properly enters into every thing, so disposition already sanctified and all portions of a Christian's time, and deriving increase of sanctification by all the engagements of his life, may every exercise of godliness ; we rebe improved to his religious advan- alize our prayers in our lives; our tage. Every lawful application of general duties help forward our detime may, in its degree, be " sanctifi. votion; our devotion prepares us ed by the word of God and prayer." for the active and inclustrious dis--It is also highly necessary to un- charge of life's daily dutjes; prayer derstand the proper topics of prayer. is beard and evidently answered; Here also is required a sound judg. the divine life receives fresh supplies ment. We must endeavour to find of vigour ant vitality; the opening out with accuracy what our princi- visions of the eternal world bepal wants are, and not exhaust our come brighter; and we are waiting devotion in asking for things of for that period when the prayers of merely secondary importance. It sinners passing through a rough and is well to examine and understand thorny state shall be exchanged for the modes of sin peculiar to our
the songs of the redeemed before selves, even such as “ easily beset the throne of God and of the Lamb. us," and harass us by temptations. In religion, as in the most solid Does not this examination of our systems of this world's philosophy, inward character call for the exer- we are required to reason from efcise of a sound judgment? - Farther; fects to causes; and the rule applies inquire into the natural or just ef with peculiar accuracy to the subject
If we find that an of this discourse. We have no need ability to utter the language of de- to go to the professors of a corrupt votion with fluency, and a feeling of scheme of Christianity (that, for expresent pleasure, tends rather to puff ample, from which the Reformation ús up with a high notion of our re- separated our own communion), to ligious attainments; or, if we find, understand the waywardness of the that when we have gone from the human mind in mistaking an act of closet to the world, our lives contra- devotion outwardly performed for a dict our prayers ; in either case, proof of religious sincerity; for this our petitions must be regarded as error is natural to man as man, and formal and insincere. We have not as a convert to any human
fects of prayer.
creed. We, perhaps, give ourselves do so, we may be excused in his credit for having fathomed the shal- sight, even when we habitually lowness, and detected the pollution, practise them, and hurry from the of the streams which heresy has confessions of the closet to the indiverted from the Fountain of living dulgence of passion and vanity. waters ; and so far the credit may May we all be saved from this, and be our due. But from what depths, every other delusion, for Jesus and from what unsullied streams, have Christ's sake. Amen. we ourselves drunk! We may have complained of the miserable mis
For the Christian Observer. takes and reprobate lives of such persons as were educated by the
ON TRUSTING IN GOD. priests and patrons of a secularised There is a sonnet, in a collection of gospel, and have wondered how men Italian poetry, by Muratori, which could imagine their salvation or ruin struck ine, when I formerly read it, to depend upon the heartless utler- as eloquent and affecting. I do not ance of strange and superstitious recollect the words, and can give even prayers; but, oh, let us wonder at the idea only imperfectly; but it is ourselves, that we can finenily speak something of this sort :“Where shall the scripturally authorised periods I find a friend whose merits will of devotion, and nevertheless rise never disappoint, and whose love from our knees and mingle in the never will forsake me? I have surbusiness and relaxations of life, as veyed the world, and sought where though our prayers were heartless my affections might repose. But too, and their language and doctrine some have forgotten me, some have also strange and superstitious! We proved faithless to my hopes, and are as we live, and not as we pray; some have been torn from me by and our prayers, in regard to their death. Oh my Saviour, thou retruth and eslicacy, are as we sustain mainest always true, and for eveć what may be termed the character present with me!” of the closet by extending the pro- The complaint of the poet exper influence of devotion to the presses, perhaps, a little of the chahourly concerns of life. Let us then rácter which ofien belongs to perlook io ourselves. We have before sons of a very quick sensibility: it us a proof of our spiritual sincerity: betrays a delicacy rather too refined, Our prayers, in their effects, are the and a tone of feeling naturally somebest of our faith.
what disposed to sadness. Yet bis An ancient father of the church sorrows were probably real; and (St. Augustine) confesses, that in his the sentiment he utters, though unconverted stale he prayed that he slightly shaded with melancholy, is might be cured of a certain sin ; but just, noble, and affecting. Such is in the very act of supplication, he ihe imperfection of human characsecretly hoped that God, in this ters, and such the uncertainty of instance, would not hear him. How earthly blessings, that few probably useful is the lesson that may be pass even through a third part of drawn from this confession ! And life without witnessing the dissoluhow seriously ought we to try and tion of some attachments which examine our own hearts, in order to were once dear to them; and none acquaint ourselves, wherher we real- certainly can advance to a mature ly wish to have our petitions graut- age without being sensible of a pang ed, or miserably delude and quiet still more severe in a long and awconscience by persuadmg ourselves ful separation from those they love. that the mere utterance of a prayer Yet, in all our disappointments and is all the debt we owe ; and that if sorrows, one Friend is suill near to God will not remove our sins when us, whose kindness is ever most we have once or twice asked him to wakelul when we most need it ; who
can neither forsake us from levity, rivalled, of incomparable security, nor be snatched away from us by and ineffable happiness. He calls death.
upon us to come to him with hum. · It is indeed an unspeakable con. ble and thankful hearts; to place solation, to every reflective and feel- our whole confidenoe in him ; to be iog mind, that, amidst all the changes lieve that he really loves us, and act and chances, the disappointments as it we believed it ; to accept, as and vanities around us, there is One freely as he offers it, the gift of who is permanent and perfect. The everlasting life ; and, casting away idea of that awful Being, who is the together our sins and our solicitude, Father of the universe and the Centre to walk henceforth as children of a of all excellence, is so congenial to Parent who can never fail them,the human mind, that, even if it were " heirs of God, and joint heirs with impossible to prove his existence by Christ." reasonable inferences, I think we Surely I need not stop to qualify should be constrained to believe it what has been said. The God of from a necessity of finding some. purity can be approached only by thing to sustain us under the sense the pure; and though all are freely of our weakness. For such a sup- addressed, they only may presume port, it is in vain that we look round to trust in God as their Father, who upon each other. Every face is have first learned to trust in Christ pale with the same fear; and the as their Saviour ; who have laid tongue of the wise, which should down the burden of their sips before speak consolation, is faultering with the cross ; and received from their the confession of its own helpless- Redeemer, • into an honest and ness. Take but God away, and the good heart.” the Spirit of sanctificamighty vision around us is only a tion. But “ leaving the principles feverish dream;--a short, irregular, of the doctrine of Christ" (which, incomprehensible drama, of which though, like other rudiments, the man is at once the feeble actor and foundation of all knowledye, we unmeaning spectator, “ strutting his ought not to be for ever employed hour upon the stage," and then va- in laying afresh), let us employ a nisbing for ever.
few momenis in contemplating more But God, of his great goodness, has nearly the duty which I have innot suffered us to wander about in scribed as a title to this paper-the darkness. He has taught us, by the duty of trusting in God. works of his providence, and by the Consider who it is that calls upon word of bis Spirit, “that he is, and us to put our trust in him : “God, that he is a rewarder of them that dis that made the earth, and all things ligently seek bim.” Nor is this all. that are therein." In what lanTo know indeed this alone, would guage shall I presume to speak of have been an unspeakable privilege him! The most extraordinary genius and blessing; it is more than the of modern times * never pronounced wisest discerned clearly in ancient the awful name of God, without days. But to us, the chosen seed, a pause. It is an idea which fills adopted and beloved in the Redeemer, the mind at once, and which the God has revealed himself, not merely highest natures will always contemas the Maker and Judge of the uni- plate with the profoundest reververse; nay, not simply as its general ence. As the most perfect optical Guardian and Benefácior: He has instruments, enabling us to extend taught us to regard him as a recon, on every side the range of our vision, ciled Father; a watchful, tender, and only discover new worlds and celesunfailing Friend. This is the charac- tial wonders bursting upon our view ter he has vouchsafed in mercy to in every direction ihrough the illiassume; to this blessed relation he mitable regions of space; so when invites us; a relation of dignity on,
Sir Isaac Newton,