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As peace is but the delightful effect of the powerful operation of piety on the human mind, so it renders the soul more prepared for the discharge of the duties of our high vocation ; thus it unfits us for the world, and its transitory pleasures, and strengthens us against the encroachments of the enemy. This peace keeps the christian from the allurements of the world, because it affords superior pleasure-pleasure which is pure and heavenly. The light of the sun eclipses the twinkling of the stars, and the pale radi. ance of the moon; so the hallowed enjoyinents of religion far transcend in excellence and importance the transitory pleasures of time. The peace of God affords a so much superior joy in the soul as to overcome flesh and sepse. Thus it is that faith triumphs, and tramples on all inferior things. It arises above the world, it fixes its steadfast gaze upon immortality, the new Jerusalem, the eternal throne, the river of the water of life, the vast assembly surrounding the divine Majesty, and rendering him their constant adoration, with their capacious minds full of the most pure and exalted bliss,—when faith thus looks within the veil, the heart becomes dead to earthly things. It was thus that Moses, seeing him that was invisible, became dead to all the grandeur of the Egyptian court, and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. It is not then very difficult to perceive how the peace of God, arising from dependance upon him and communion with him, tends to make us indifferent to the perishing objects of time: presenting a nobler prize, it detaches us from the world, and makes us look forward to the completion of our joy.
But the apostle adds, It shall keep your minds; that is, it shall preserve your understanding in the truth. Wherever the peace of God exists in the soul, it arises from a spiritual perception of the sublime doctrines of christianity. The man who possesses it experiences in his own mind a clear, a full conviction of their truth. He knows that his peace has resulted by giving a cordial reception to these truths. While he feels this, he is not likely to depart from the faith once delivered to the saints. His peace is more precious to him than the world, consequently he adheres with firm. ness to its sacred cause, and is fully confirmed that it is the production of an infinite God.
It is to be feared, that some may read this article who mind earthly things; the cares, the anxieties, the enjoyments of time completely engross their attention. For them, as long they continue in their present condition, there is no peace.
You seek for happiness where it is not to be found. God has laid his ban on the universe, not to afford a moment of true enjoyment to the stout-hearted and rebellious. When afflictions come, when trials arise, you can possibly realize no peace; and your present will only prove the precursor of a vengeful storm. Let me entreat you to flee to Jesus, and be washed in his atoning blood. Let your affections become dead to the world. Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God.
O. C. D.
THE OBLIGATIONS OF CHRISTIANS TO PRAY FOR
Of man in audience with the Deity." “I WISH,” said an eminent minister on his death-bed, “ that I had prayed more.” We can all sympathize with the sentiment. Many of our mercies, and those which we most highly value, have been imparted in answer to prayer. Memory fondly and frequently lingers on seasons when it has been given us to prove the power and taste the sweetness of devotion. Elevated to the hallowed summit of the mount of communion, we have looked down with disdain on the contemptible trifles of a vain and vanishing world; we have found that prayer has strengthened faith, brightened hope, sweetened care, kindled desire, and fostered those impressions in our bosoms which will be reviewed with unmixed satisfaction and gratitude in the invisible world. In prosperity it has chastened, in adversity it has solaced us; and in anticipating the last solemn scene of our mortal existence, we have cherished the hope that with the language of prayer,—“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”—we shall bid adieu to the events of earth, and welcome the hallelujahs, and hail the inhabitants of heaven.
On the present occasion, however, the writer would bespeak the attention of his readers to the importance of prayer for those who have gone forth to preach to the heathen the unsearchable riches of Christ; and especially would he present his request in behalf of those honoured and faithful brethren who are labouring in Orissa. It was his privilege to enjoy the repose of academic bowers with two of those brethren-a period, in thinking of which, he has not unfrequently been disposed to use the language of the incomparable bard of Eden
“Happy constellations on those hours
Shed their selectest influence." Often does he in imagination visit his dear and distant friends, and fain would he impress on christians the importance of remembering in their best moments those who, in the expansive spirit of christian benevolence, have resigned much that they valued to spread the savour of the knowledge of Christ in lands of darkness and of death.
He would urge this request from the express injunctions of Scripture ; such, for example, as Rom. xv. 30; Eph. vi. 19, 20; 1 Thes. v. 25; 2 Thes. iii. 1; Heb. xiii. 18. These Scriptures are often adduced to show the propriety of Churches praying for their ministers, and very properly so. Every faithful minister values the prayers of his flock more highly than thousands of gold and silver. But we submit that the texts referred to apply with additional force to missionaries. The apostles were not pastors of Churches when they so earnestly besought the supplications of their friends : they were engaged in missionary labours, or were imprisoned, and desired release, that they might pursue such labours. It may not be known to all our readers, but such is the fact, that the words, apostle and missionary, are of identical import; the former being derived from the Greek, the latter from the Latin. Each denotes one who is charged with a special embassy. If, then, the missionaries sent out by the Lord Jesus, and supernaturally endowed by him, needed the prayers of the Churches, much more do those who, without such endowments, are called to the same arduous service.
The appalling condition of the people amongst whom our brethren labour, calls upon us to pray for them. Men that “professed and called themselves christians," once represented Hindooism as “a most beautiful religion,” and appeared horror-struck that any should ever think of sending christianity to a people so innocent, virtuous, and happy, without it. The researches of christian missionaries, however, have proved that these were lying statements; that the abodes of innocence and virtue had no existence, except in imagination ; and that the moral condition of the people was as deplorable as satan and sin could make it. None but those who labour in India can have any adequate conception of the infernality of that system which, for more than twenty centuries, has prostrated many of the brightest intellects, brutalized the finest affections, and sent to a tremendous doom myriads that cannot be numbered. The awful and unexampled description furnished, Rom. i. 21–32, applies in every particular to Hindooism ; indeed, it is now admitted in the pages of a Review* that once attacked the missionary enterprize with more than common malignity, that Hindooism is “the worst of false religions.” Ponder, we beseech you, brethren, the solemn statement, that “no idolater hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God;" be encouraged by the assurance that the influences of the Eternal Spirit are imparted in answer to prayer; and sustain, by your believing and fervent supplications, those who are publishing the message of life and salvation “even where satan's seat is."
The sacrifices which our brethren have made, lay us under additional obligation to pray for them. They valued, equally with ourselves, the quiet abode, the tender friendship, the many conveniences and comforts enjoyed in England. Is it asked, Why then did they relinquish what was so highly and deservedly prized ? We reply, It was not that they loved their friends less than we, but that they felt for the heathen more. Believing it to be the will of Christ that his servants should " go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” they could not remain in their father-land; a laudable ambition to “preach the Gospel where Christ was not named" fired their bosoms; they heard his voice calling ; they saw his providence pointing, to distant and deeply benighted Orissa. Nor were they disobedient to the heavenly vision. To the high behest of the Redeemer they cheerfully bowed, and entered with hearts full of zeal and love on the perils and honour of foreign service. In the spirit of the devoted apostle of the American Indians, they could say, “ Here am I, Lord; send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage Pagans of the wilderness ; send me even to death itself, if it be but in thy service, and to promote thy kingdom. Farewell friends, and earthly connections, the dearest of them all, the very dearest, if the Lord calls for it. I'll spend my life to my latest moments in dens and caves of the earth, if the kingdom of Christ may be thereby promoted.” They do not regret having made the sacrifice ; they never will regret it. Often are their hearts gladdened while meditating on the condescending promise of the Saviour, that every one who for his sake renounces parents, and friends, and valued earthly comforts, shall “ receive a hundred fold in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting ;” and not seldom at mercy's footstool do they offer devout thanksgiving, that in the testimony of a good conscience, in the peace which passeth all understand
* See a recent number of the Edinburgh Review.
ing, in the conscious presence of their blessed Master, and in the pleasing tokens with which they are indulged of his approving smile, they have the hundred fold, while the tide of holy joy rises higher as they anticipate the loftier recompence of the eternal state, where they will rank with the nobility of the skies, and receive the brightest diadems bestowed by infinite grace. Still it will be felt by every mind possessing aught of sensibility, that their present condition is one of privation and suffering. Reference has already been made to the herculean difficulties with which they have to contend, arising from the ignorance, ingratitude, and impurity of the people. We may add, how little have they of congenial society! Of course we do not forget how greatly our brethren are indebted to the attention and affection of their amiable and devoted companions; (whom God long preserve !) nor does it escape our recollection, that it is often their precious privilege to listen to the simple and artless strains in which the happy converts from a degrading superstition express their love to the Saviour, and desire to walk in his ways. We are certain that no music can be half so sweet to our beloved friends as “the lispings of these babes in Christ;" but it is surely superfluous to urge, that the tastes and habits of converted heathens are so foreign from their own that they cannot enjoy with them that agreeable and improving intercourse which is founded on “kindred tastes and congenial habits," sanctified by piety. Because of these privations, endured for His dear sake, “whose they are, and whom they serve,” we submit that they have a strong claim on our sympathy, our affection, and our paayers.
We are not ashamed to urge the diligence and faithfulness with which our brethren have laboured, as a further reason why we should strive together with them in our prayers to God for them. Far be it from us to depreciate the missionaries of any society : we honour from our hearts every man who counts not his life dear to himself, so that he may testify the Gospel of the grace of God to the heathen ; and very highly do we estimate the labours, and very devoutly do we rejoice in the triumphs, of the elder society of the Baptist denomination (a society, than which none has been more signally owned by the Head of the Church ;) but we do unhesitatingly express our conviction that our own dear brethren, as a whole, have been as zealous, self-denying, and laborious, as the missionaries of any society. They have made full proof of their ministry; they are workmen that need not be ashamed
" Christ and his cross is all their theme.” They steadily and constantly proclaim that life-giving truth, the doctrine of an atoning Redeemer, which at the beginning was the only hope of humanity, and which will be the theme of every song, and the joy of every heart, when uncounted millions with ineffable transport shall celebrate the jubilee of the world. On this account it would be ungrateful to them, and unfaithful to Him whom they serve, not to remember them in our devotions.
Again, our brethren frequently and imploringly entreat us to uphold them by our prayers, and we cannot surely think lightly of a request so often, so earnestly, and so affectionately presented. Many who read these lines have enjoyed with some of these beloved friends the pleasant and profitable intercourse of the social circle, have worshiped with them at the family altar, have received with them the emblems of redeeming love, have heard their voice in the great congregation, and did, on the day that witnessed their designation to the great work, solemnly pledge themselves in the face
of high Heaven to pray for and support them while they should be pursuing their benevolent and self-denying labours. The vow was registered on high ; has it been performed ?' We know that nothing animates the missionaries so much as the assurance that they share in the prayers of their friends. Much do they like to be remembered at the writing desk, but more at the mercy-seat. "God forbid that we should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for them.”
The apparently unpromising sphere of missionary labour which the brethren occupy, with the certainty of ultimate and most delightful success, call on us to be instant in prayer for them. Let me not be misunderstood on the former topic. India is by far the most important field that christian benevolence can cultivate, nor does Orissa yield in importance to any other part of India. The writer has paid a little attention to the operations of other missionary societies in this benighted region, and believes that our own has been as successful as any, in proportion to the time of its operation, and the number of labourers that it has employed. In the amount of native agency that it has called forth, he is disposed to think much more so. But let us not unduly rejoice; the time of harvest for Hindostan is not yet ; but that time shall come. In Orissa shall Christ be known, and his praise shall be great throughout India, India belongs to Immanuel by right, by purchase, by promise. He anticipates the possession of this considerable portion of his inheritance with transports of satisfaction. Till then his triumphs cannot be completed; till then he cannot see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. When this rebellious province has been subdued, the Son of God will receive a more brilliant diadem than any that has yet beautified his brow, and the joyous event will be worthily celebrated in higher and holier regions of the universe by
As from blest voices uttering joy;" and heaven will ring with jubilee. Let us be animated by the glorious things that are spoken of the city of our God. Idolatry, with its nameless and numberless evils, shall for ever cease. The man of Mecca shall no longer beguile myriads of an apostate race. The man of Italy shall be consumed by the spirit of Christ's mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming. The Jews, so long “without a king, without a sacrifice, and without teraphim,” shall be gathered to Shiloh. All nations shall call Him blessed, and He, “whose right it is to reign,” shall sway his peaceful sceptre over a renewed and happy world. Anticipating this blessed consummation, for which creation groans and travails, and the Church of God prays and hopes, we do, with all the faithful, lift up our hearts to Him whose name be ever praised for his love to man, and adopt the beautiful language of a favourite poet
“Come then, and, added to thy many crowns,
Thy word fulfill'd, the conquest of a world !"