Sivut kuvina

question then returns, Who will go for us, and whom shall we send ?". Another question, of scarcely less moment, is, “Who will fill their hands this day unto the Lord ? Who has not given the Lord the portion of his inheritance," the Lord's lot ?" Who has kept both principal and interest for years ? Pay it back, and, as the poet says, with high interest too." Let the compound interest be faithfully paid. Let persons of property, who have no claimants, or very few, hear the voice, "Give charge concerning thy house. for thou shalt die, and not live.”—Isa. Xxxvü. 1. Who will make the cause of Christ their heir ? Who deserves to possess the immortality of incarnate benevolence ? “ Make to yourselves friends of the mainmon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you unto everlasting habitations. There let the Hindoo, and the Chinese, and the Japanese, the fruits of our mission, search for you among the blest ; and falling at your feet to kiss them, bless you for providing for the propagation of the Gospel for ages in their benighted countries. The wise son of Sirach has beautifully expressed the diffusion of benevolence.

“ I also came forth as a canal from a river,

And as a conduit flowing into a paradise ;
I said, I will water my garden,
And I will abundantly moisten my border;
And lo! my canal became a river !

And the river became a sea !"
April 25, 1843.



When we contemplate the exercise of prayer, and the disparity of creatures with the infinite Jehovah, with whom in its exercise they hold communion, we are lost in astonishment at the amazing condescension of God, who hears our petitions, and encourages our supplications.

If we consider prayer as a duty enjoined upon us, either by the example or command of Christ, we then feel that it demands the profoundest humility and self-abasement, and that we dare not even venture to supplicate the Almighty without an intercessor; and as God in his infinite mercy has provided a mediator, it is then the happiness of man to enjoy this glorious and inestimable privilege. Prayer is the nearest approximation of the soul to Christ, and to the Father by him ; it opens the windows of heaven, and penetrates into the bowels of Jehovah's compassion; it keeps up that union between God and the soul, which time, death, and eternity cannot dissolve.

It is not my intention in the present article, to enter into the more minute feelings and qualifications requisite for the discharge of this important duty and privilege, but will suffice that our attention be drawn to the general outline of prayer, and the several evils which so frequently affect the minds of believers when engaged in this devotional exercise.

1st. Let us examine our private prayers. When an individual has been awakened to a sense of his danger, and to feel his need of a Saviour, he experiences private prayer to be the most delightful and soul-reviving exercise that can possibly engage his attention; the feelings with which he first addressed the throne of heavenly grace, might probably be those of deep and heart-felt sorrow, but soon he hears the still small voice of a Saviour's love whisper to his troubled soul, “fear not I am thy salva

tion.” Time for prayer is no material consideration with him. Whatever may be his occupation, and wherever he goes, his mind is drawn in silent ejaculations with heaven. If he passes through a crowd he still holds communion with God, and all is hallowed ground to him; and when he hears the Gospel preached it falls upon his mind as though an angel spake from heaven expressly to him—it cheers his soul, it brightens his hopes, and gives him fresh ideas for communion with God when he is again alone; and thus he feels that oneness with Christ and his salvation which induces him to think with the apostle, that neither height, nor length, nor breadth, nor depth ; neither principalities nor powers, things present or future, shall be able to separate him from the love of Christ and the hope of his Gospel. But in a short time, when heaven sees fit to try the faith and patience of its new candidate, and satan, not willing to lose his victim, rushes forth with all his energies to poison the mind against the truth, and so far succeeds that the hitherto firm hold of Christ is relaxed, and prayer also restrained, then the christian finds that it is through much tribulation he must enter the kingdom, but still he feels a sacred pleasure in pouring out his soul in private before God for the daily and hourly forgiveness of those sins which arise out of the imperfections of his own depraved nature. His heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and perhaps some bosom sins and fleshly lusts are yet unsubdued, and to ask for the pardon of these in the presence of his christian brethren he is ashamed to do, but they rise predominant upon his mind in his private devotions, and he earnestly asks God to pardon them.

From repeated failures in this branch of duty, he is deceivingly led to think, that by some more pure feeling and zealous efforts in other departments of his religious duty to make compensation. And what numbers are there who privately act upon this principle of solemn mockery before the God of inflexible justice, who searches the hearts and who trieth the reins of the children of men. Are you a parent? which perhaps some of my readers may be, and to take the subject home to ourselves, suffer me to ask, If a child of yours was to commit some misdemeanor, contrary to the order and morality of your family, and was made to know your anger against it and to feel the necessity of obtaining your pardon, and promise not commit the same offence again, but was repeatedly to do so, what would be more calculated to excite your displeasure than this mockery of your paternal authority? And yet vain man dares to act thus with his heavenly parent; but Christ hath said follow holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. That we must watch as well as pray, lest we enter into temptation, and that our conversation and the daily habits of our lives be such as becometh the Gospel of peace.

2nd. Let us examine the state of mind in which our social or public prayer is attended to, for truly this seems highly important. And here again I shall commence with the young convert, for it is to these I would more particularly address myself, and with whom we invariably find if there is not a degree of shyness or dislike to be engaged in these social exercises, it is not, on the contrary, unfrequently acted upon under the influence of spiritual pride. The mind is too much drawn out after great swelling words of pompous vanity, an abundance of sentimental ideas. And when they have concluded their prayers, can scarcely tell who or what they have prayed for, but go on pleased with the pharisaic imagination that they have acquitted themselves very admirably.

for you.

And again, we find there are others who when they are called upon either by their minister or any other to engage in prayer, refuse to do so on the present occasion. And this is often the case where a reluctance of heart is permitted to exist, under whatever character it may appear. And when the painful anxieties of the world some times press heavily upon them, or some of the more awful insinuations of satan surround their minds, and steal away their warm and affectionate desires after Christ and things divine; they feel the bright beams of the glorious sun of righteousness hid from them, and they are ready to say, Oh that I knew where I might find him whom my soul loveth. But why should we refuse to ask of him who has promised to meet with two or three to hear their mutual cry, and to impart grace and strength equal to his people's day? The prayers of the brethren may somewhat avail for our edification and comfort; but every heart knoweth its own bitterness, and the stranger intermeddleth not with its joys. And while we ourselves refuse to ask, do not we deprive ourselves of the blessings we stand in need of? We may feel as though we could not pray as we would wish, or have done previously, but let us not suppose that some new thing had happened to you for this is not a trial or temptation, but what is common to all; and by the expression of your own feelings, others then will be better able to pray as

But again, in our social prayers we hear that many are the deep and heartfelt petitions of God's people for the salvation of their friends and neighbours. Feeling the inestimable value of Christ's Gospel to their own souls' salvation, they are given to feel a deep interest for the welfare of their fellow men. Many are the encouraging promises given to this charitable feeling ; for it is written that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much with God, and it has often been proved, that God does hear and answer the prayers of those who cry and sigh for the abominations of the land. But what greater amount of good might we expect to see if those prayers were followed up with more of Gospel intercourse with those for whom we pray; but instead of this the christian often blushes to talk of things divine, and to tell his neighbours what Christ has done for his soul. And on the other hand, joins with them and with apparent interest too upon any other topic of conversation, whereby many are led to slight and undervalue true religion as being nothing worth.

Again, at our social prayer meetings we unitedly ask God for his blessing upon our minister. Paul, in his epistles to the churches, exhorted the brethren to pray for him also, that he might speak with boldness the things pertaining to God. And it is essentially necessary that we should pray for our pastor, that God out of his boundless stores of grace and wisdom would enrich his mind still more and more with the light of truth, and that larger measures of divine grace may be given to him, so that when he hath preached the gospel to others, he himself may not prove a castaway; but while seeking to water the souls of others, he also may participate in the same, and be the honoured instrument in God's hands, of bringing many to a saving knowledge of the truth. But while we thus pray for the minister, and feel that it is highly desirable he should be thoroughly furnished so as to bring out things new and old for the furtherance of Christ's gospel and kingdom, is it not equally important that they who constitute his flock should encourage his heart by living a zealous and holy life, acting up to all the principles of their christian profession. And where this is the case, how is a minister enabled to set them forth as being the salt of the earth, the light of the world which shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, to contrast their happy condition with that of the thoughtless profligate sinner. But alas, how often do we find a minister's heart grieved by the lukewarmness of the Church, and the dissension so frequently existing amongst them; and where this does not so far prevail as to exclude them from uniting their supplications with one another, they will each ask God to forgive them their trespasses ; but how? for surely they cannot say as we forgive those that trespass against us, while they are actually cherishing a feeling of enmity against each other. Well may it be said of such, what do they do more than others.

Lastly—Let us examine our family prayers. And can we for a moment suppose that the christian parent can feel it his duty to pray for his neighbours and the world around and not for his family; no, most assuredly not; his family claims his highest and tenderest affections, he feels it his incumbent duty to commend its members, individually and collectively, to the grace of Almighty God. And how many children, when called by Providence to leave their parents, have through their fervent prayers been so powerfully impressed as to carry into the world with them a deep sense of piety, and in due time have cheerfully given their hand and heart unto the Lord God of their fathers. But when this part of christian duty and enjoyment may be so far undervalued by many parents as only to occupy their attention once a week, (and even then, feeling it our duty in every point of view, and the family previously read a portion of Scripture, and our minds occupied how and what we shall speak before God,) we must confess we often rise from our knees with a degree of complacency, not so much from a hopeful anticipation that our prayers will be heard and answered in the experience of every individual member of the family, as from a feeling that we have thus formally acquitted ourselves of the duty so conjointly devolving upon us.

And now, to all who are engaged in either of these departments of christianity, I would say, be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary, the devil, goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Prayer, in the abstract, is no very difficult duty to perform, and we may be praying all the days of our lives, but if it does not proceed from, and is followed out by a pure motive, it profiteth nothing; and when we ask God for any of his temporal favours, which apparently our bodily circumstances require, we ought to be very cautious how and what things we ask of him, for he knoweth what things we have need of before we ask him. And if we had a greater portion of this world's goods greater would be our responsibility; and it is also questionable whether we should have grace and stability to use them for the glory of God, if even we should be vain enough to vow before the Almighty. And when we do ask God for such blessings, we are not unfrequently looking for them to spring out of a far different channel from that which perhaps God designs they shall do; and to do this we dishonour his providential government, which can bring all things to bear upon this necessary point. But in asking God for more grace and spiritual understanding, we cannot ask too much; he has a boundless store treasured up in Christ, which is ever full and ever free, and his benevolent hand is ever ready to supply that which is lacking within us; and it would be well if christians were to pray more fervently; with all prayer then might we expect to see more glorious results at this critical period of the christian era. Then would the mountains break forth into singing before the Lord, and the desert would blossom as the rose. Alfreton.

W. P.


MR. MATHEWS ON THE ATONE. be committed with impunity; that, in short, MENT.

God desired, by the sacrifice of Jesus, to To the Editor of the General Baptist Repository.

exhibit and commend himself to his ruined

creatures as an object of awful gratitude My Dear Sir,- In the strictures made and confidence, love and joy; and at the on my sermon, “ Jesus a sacrifice," several

same time to awaken in them every sentiof the expressions employed are so friendly ment of shame and penitence, sorrow, fear as to constrain me to meet them in a spirit and abhorrence towards sin; that in the of corresponding kindness. It appears to language of the Old Testament, he might the reviewer " desirable for my own sake, proclaim himself “the Lord, the Lord God, and for the comfort of my friends at a dis. merciful and gracious; forgiving iniquity, tance, that I should publish a clear and transgression and sin, set, by no means intelligible profession of my faith, at least, clearing the guilty;"—and in the language in relation to this fundamental doctrine,” of the New, “ that he might be just, and the Atonement. I may, perhaps, still not yet the justifier of those who believe in be successful in conveying all my mind on


I am, dear sir, this most important subject, any more than

Faithfully yours, for the Redeemer's sake, I have done in the little discourse before

Tuos. W. MATHEWS. mentioned, which was preached, as many

Boston, May 17, 1843. sermons are, not to say all one could say on the topic, and unintentionally omitted

ON CHURCH MEETINGS. many important truths I all along believed to be involved in the atonement; but if you DEAR SIR,- I have thought for some. deem the following at all satisfactory, you time, that the usual manner in which our will favour me by giving it publicity. Church meetings are conducted is pot by

I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is a far so profitable as it might be, if a different being truly divine and truly human, in one course were adopted. person. I believe that the Son, being equal When christians meet together to transwith the Father, was sent by the Father act matters of business connected with into this world, into our nature, to be the Christ's kingdom of holiness and peace, propitiation for human guilt, for the sins of which they believe is destined to subdue all all mankind. That the dreadful sufferings the nations of the world, and bring them of Christ were endured merely and only on over to the practice of its holy and peace. account of sin, not his own, but ours; and able precepts, and thus to diffuse happiness originated in the infinite batred of God to and joy all over the world, and if they sin, and in His infinite love to sinners. really believe that they-every one who That they were designed to magnify, to dis. professes to belong to Christ-ought to play, to glorify, to vindicate, equally, God's possess and exhibit the genuine spirit of severe justice in the punishment of sin, and christianity, which is to leaven the world; his superabounding grace towards sin. and if they are willing to be governed by ners; ihat we might be freely pardoued the laws of Christ, which are calculated to through the blood of Jesus, yet so as that, bless mankind so far as they are obeyed,in receiving the pardon, we should be made surely we ought to expect that, if this spirit most solemnly sensible that God does in no and these laws are any where brought into degree excuse its sinfulness. That God, in full exercise and operation, they may be the death of his Son for the crimes of man- expected to be found in all their beauty and kind, has given assurance to all intelligent efficiency in the assemblies of christians creatures of the strictness of his government, for the express purpose of promoting the the infinitude of his wisdom, and the riches interests of Christ's kingdom. If christians of his mercy. That no one, because of are to condact themselves towards the men God's justice, should any longer be left to of the world with prudence, kindness, be. doubt of his fatberly goodness; nor, be- nevolence ;“ not rendering evil for evil," bat 'cause of his mercy, to hope that sin might “doing good to them that hate them, and

« EdellinenJatka »