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not be interrupted: for to them, as the children of the light, the night shineth even as the day. How can he be in darkness, in whose heart is the light of life? Or, how can the cheerful light fail to him to whom Christ is like a sun by day and by night? Preserved by the grace of God, let us continually aspire after that which we shall one day become. Destined soon to enjoy in heaven a cloudless day, to which no night shall succeed, let us both night and day continue instant in prayer. There, without ceasing, we shall offer unto God our devotions; then here on earth let us never fail to offer up unto him our praises and our supplications."
In accordance with these sentiments, the primitive saints prayed always with all prayer and supplications. Three times a day they offered their customary prayers; at nine, at twelve, and at three o'clock. And yet they recognized no law binding them to stated seasons of prayer. They began and ended the day with prayer, and gave thanks at every meal. And when a brother who had enjoyed their hospitality departed, they commended him to God in prayer, saying, that "in beholding this brother we have seen the Lord himself." All their meetings for mutual consultation were opened with prayer; and in all seasons of distress, under persecution or in prison, they gave themselves unceasingly to prayer for deliverance. And often received as alive from the dead their brethren, delivered from their persecutors, as they firmly believed, in answer to their prayers.
HELP YOUR PASTOR.
To find fault with fault-finders, though proverbially a useless, is not always an unsatisfactory task. He who does it, while feeling the reward of performing his duty, finds the unpleasantness that sometimes accompanies this office removed, by remembering that the admonition he gives is not only needed but deserved; and it is this that gives, as it were, a relish to our efforts in speaking a kindly word to those who are in the habit of finding fault with their pastor. Such there are in almost every church. They are not those who are the most free from faults themselves. They are not the most regular in their attendance upon the services of God's house. They are not the most zealous in every good word
and work. They are not the most humble and diligent self-examiners. But, for all this, they oftentimes have considerable influence. Other circumstances than their consistency of Christian character give their language weight; and really unimportant as they may be, they nevertheless, like the mouse in the fable, play havoc with the net-work around noble game. Would that their labours always ended as well, and that they led him out of difficulties instead of into them!
It were much to be desired that those who are actually, though thoughtlessly, labouring to break their pastor down, would hesitate whenever they are about to speak of him, and ask themselves what they expect to accomplish. Is it his improvement? Why not, then, seek some way of quietly informing him of that wherein they think he is deficient, and thus do what they can to correct the evil, instead of whispering it to the openeared world, who will not exercise much charity toward one who seems so little esteemed by his own flock. Is it merely for the sake of talking, or conversing, as it is termed? Far better choose some happier theme, or show their wisdom by following the advice of Job to his sorry comforters. For some, it would be well to reflect whether their own lives are not a sufficient commentary on the inability of their pastor, without their using extraordinary efforts to bruit it abroad.
How much does a minister of the gospel need the aid of his people! He has the cares and troubles from which no man escapes, and added to these are the sorrows the world knows not of-sorrows arising from his own want of success, from the frivolity and carelessness of those to whom he ministers; their backwardness in rendering him that cordial support in word, in effort, and in prayer, that he so much needs. These things he tells not to others; but he feels them deeply. How much must it add to his grief, when, besides the drag upon his usefulness, which want of effort on the part of his people produces, he receives the chilling intimation, that he is directly opposed, not by an enemy-else he could bear it but by those whose attendance upon his ministry, and cordiality to himself, had led him to suppose they were his friends.
THE POSSESSION THAT ALL NEED. MAN has necessities that can be met only by the joy and peace of believing. There is no condition of humanity that does not need the witness of the Spirit that God is our reconciled Father, through the merits of his Son Jesus Christ.
1. The rich need it. The wealth of the world cannot give permanently a quiet conscience. The history of wealth furnishes not a history of enjoyment. Uncertainty of continuance, forever annoys the enjoyment of its present possession. What has it that can purchase health, that can cool fever, that can turn aside the dart of the great archer, death? The heart is corrupt; can money cleanse it? The spirit is dark; can gold enlighten it? The soul is condemned; can the world purchase its redemption? Another query which may serve as a reply to those above propounded-"What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
2. The poor need it. Surely, if it be necessary that the rich man should have the religion of the Bible to make him happy, the poor man has need of it. Could earthly possession afford bliss, the possession is not his, and the boon were therefore unsecured. He is jostled in the great thoroughfares of life at every step; and, as though poverty were a crime, he is looked upon coldly by those who should "know him as a brother." In the chamber of affliction, alas, how dark is poverty! How dreary the deathstruggle where want accelerates the work of disease and death! There are who are poor in this life, yet have riches that language may not utter; whose hopes are bright, whose joys are full, though the world esteem them wretched. Without godliness, poverty is inseparable from crime and woe; but the heart purged by the self-denials of indigence may feast on angels' food."
3. The young need it. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto, according to the word." Youth is beset on every hand. A thousand temptations lay before him. Wealth glitters-fame charms-pleasure beckons -ambition prompts. He is treading on slippery places every moment. What shall give to his feet security, and to his heart repose? "They that seek me early shall find me."
time-worn heart to turn for comfort and repose? The past telleth but a sad history-a brilliant sunrise, a darkened noon, and an evening of storm and tempest. The present hath nothing consoling, for the sun is setting, and the twilight will be uncheered by a star of hope. The midnight is coming on apace; the voice of the Bridegroom will be speedily heard; and what if there be no oil in the vessel with the lamp?
4. The old need it. If religion be needful for the young man, how much more, we had like to have said, is it needful for the old! Then, where is the
5. IT IS FOR ALL. Blessed assurance! Who will not haste to secure the promised boon? Let not the rich man glory in his riches. Let not the poor man despair that shadows fall thickly upon his path. Let not the young presume upon his strength; nor the old weep that the day of mercy is ended. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. The language of invitation is sent forth to every man. Mercy's hands are wide open, and she has gifts for all. Not as the world giveth-to flatter and to poison; but as a father pitieth his children, and giveth that their joy may be full, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, and giveth that they may rejoice in his salvation.
QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT.
QUENCH not the Spirit! Beware lest, grieving the Spirit, he cease to move upon your heart, and you become hardened. And, oh, think what it is to be hardened! It is to have all the moral and religious sensibilities of the soul deadened. It is to become reckless and unconcerned. It is to be habitually in such a frame of mind that there are no compunctions for the past, no apprehensions for the future; deaf to all the calls of mercy, stupid under all the means of grace. It is to be habitually in such a frame of mind, that all promises and threatenings are alike disregarded, and all motives and appeals equally unavailing. As the dead man feels not the burning of the coal lodged in his bosom, nor the flinty rock the softening influ ences of the showers of heaven, even so it is with him whose heart is hardened. He may be in the sanctuary, but the most pungent discourses make no impression. He may witness sacramental scenes, but they inspire no solemnity: even funeral rites and the burial of the dead affect him not. Spread before him the glories of heaven, and he is not allured; point him to the torments of the damned, and he is not alarmed, lead
him to Calvary, and talk to him about the love of Jesus and his dying agonies, and he is as insensible as steel. Friends may entreat, but he heeds not; ministers may warn, but he repents not. Others may feel, but he feels not; others may weep, but he weeps not. He is hard as
rock; or say,
"Some alarming shock of fate Strikes through his wounded heart, The sudden dread! another moment, and alas! Where past the shaft no trace is found, As from the wing no scar the sky retains, The parted wave no furrow from the keel."
The rock may be riven, but it is rock `still; it be broken into a thousand may fragments, but there is no softening yet; and so it is with the sinner, when the drawings of heaven resisted, and the Spirit quenched, the sinner is left to himself, and becomes incorrigible and hardened-past feeling and past hope! Let me be poor, let me be a bondman, let me be a beggar; but let me not, given up of the Spirit, be a hardened sinner! O my God, cast me not away from thy presence, neither take thine Holy Spirit from me! Fellow-sinner, take care what you do just now. You are in solemn circumstances, and great interests are at stake! Many of you are under the influence of Divine drawings now, and some, perhaps, who are not fully aware of it. Oh, remember,
"God's Spirit will not always strive
With hardened, self destroying men; You who persist his love to grieve May never hear his voice again!'
SECRET PRAYER MADE PLEASANT.
1. Be regular in the observance of it. Arrange your affairs with reference to your daily seasons of retirement; and do it with just as much purpose as with reference to your ordinary meals, and, if you are ever irregular in the latter, with more. More depends upon this than most are aware of.
2. Watch over your life and conversation. If you suffer yourself to be betrayed into any irregularity of conduct, or frivolity of conversation, it will press like lead upon your spirits as you enter your closet. There is meaning in the words of the apostle, " Watching thereunto with all perseverance."
3. Prepare for it by meditation. The mind that has been engrossed, as it is sometimes necessary that it should be, in secular business, needs time to recall itself, that it may gain a proper attitude to commune with Jehovah. You must la
bour to secure the conception of a present God. You are alone with a grieved, offended, yet compassionate Friend. That Friend is He before whom the angels veil their faces. There must be a preparation in order to enter suitably into communion with Him.
4. Read, in connection with your devotions, a few pages in such works as Baxter's "Saint's Rest," Kempis's "Imitation of Christ," and, above all, devotional portions of the Bible.
5. Let your heart dictate every word you utter in the form of prayer. In other words, do not go to the closet merely to discharge your conscience in relation to the duty; but go there to unburden your soul of its emotions; and, while there, do not utter words significant of desire you do not feel. If you have not the emotion which you ought to have, do not mock God by expressions which signify its possession; but meditate, and pray for it till it is awakened; and when it comes, utter it.
6. Pray much to Christ. He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He was tempted, tried, in all points as we are; and presents himself before us in a form to meet our sympathies, and invite our most confiding approaches. Why did Stephen, in the hour of his trial, pray, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?" There is a volume of instruction in that prayer. It points us to One who-having trod the path of temptation, suffering, death-bears towards us the heart of a brother, that can be touched, combined with omnipotence to save.
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.
Ar a monthly meeting of ministers in London, after lecture, they met, as usual, at a tavern, took dinner, and before they separated a question was proposed to be discussed at the next meeting, viz."How can we pray always?" A woman at the bottom of the room, attending to the fire, turned round and said, “Why, gentlemen, I could answer that question now." "Ah," said a minister, "Susan, do you know how to pray always?" "I hope so," said Susan. But," said the minister, "you have so much to attend to, how can you find time to pray always?" "Oh," said Susan, "the greater the variety I have to attend to, the more I am assisted to pray. In the morning, when I open my eyes, I pray, 'Lord, open the eyes of my understanding, that I may behold wondrous things out of
thy law.' Whilst I am dressing, I pray, 'Lord, may I be clothed in the robe of righteousness, and adorned with the garment of salvation.' As I am washing myself, I pray, 'O Lord, may I be washed in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.' When kindling the fire, I pray, 'O Lord, kindle a fire of sacred love in this cold heart of mine.' And whilst sweeping the room, I pray, 'Lord, may my heart be swept clean of all its abominations.' And so, gentlemen, I am praying all the day." Oh, happy woman! I dare say she was not a gloomy Christian. Such a life fur
nishes clear evidence of an interest in Christ, and experiences the truth and reality of what many sing, but never realize :
"When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies, I'll bid farewell to every fear, And wipe my weeping eyes.'
THE WINGS OF PRAYER.
OUR wretchedness and God's mercy are the two wings on which our prayer ascends to heaven. Let us consider, first, how short our life is; how slippery the way, and how uncertain the hour of our death; that we came into the world weeping, that we pass along in it with sorrow, and shall quit it with anguish. Let us consider what bitterness is mingled with its highest delights, and how deceitful and treacherous is everything which comes from the love of the world. Let us think what unnumbered evils lie heavily upon mankind at large, and what dangers have threatened us in particular. Let us remember how many sins we have committed from our youth up; how much worthless labour we have performed; how often we have toiled for nothing; what we have found, and what we have lost; where we are, and from whence we are fallen. What can urge us to prayer more strongly than such considerations?
he reminds us of himself when we forget him; how he calls us back when we forsake him; how graciously he receives us when we come to him; how he forgives us when we are penitent; how he upholds us when we stand, and how he raises us when we fall; how he brings bitter sorrow out of our sinful pleasures, and heavenly consolation out of our sorrow. Surely, if we consider all this, our hearts will be inflamed for prayer.
On the other hand, what can more sweetly attract us to it than the mercy of our Creater, which we never cease to experience? How much good he has shown us, and from how much evil he has delivered us! Let us consider how
"As doves to their windows." ISA. lx. 8.
THIS text has been well illustrated by Morier in his "Second Journey," p. 140: "In the environs of the city (Ispahan) to the westward, near Zainderood, are many pigeon-houses, erected at a distance from habitations, for the purpose of collecting pigeon's dung for manure. They are large, round towers, rather broader at the bottom than the top, and crowned by conical spiracles, through which the pigeons descend. Their interior resembles a loneycomb, pierced with a thousand holes, each of which forms a snug retreat for a nest. More care appears to have been bestowed upon their outside than upon that of the generality of dwelling-houses, for they are painted and ornamented. The extraordinary flights of pigeons which I have seen upon one of these buildings, afford, perhaps, a good illustration of the passage in Isaiah, lx. 8: Who are they that fly as a cloud,' &c. Their great numbers, and the compactness of their mass, literally looked like a cloud at a distance, and obscured the sun in their passage." What gives an additional value to this illustration is the probability that similar dove-houses were in use among the Hebrews; for they certainly were so among their Egyptian neighbours, as we see by the ancient paintings and in the mosaic pavement at Præneste, where the dove-cotes are such large round towers as Morier describes, decreasing in diameter upwards; but they are without the conical spiracles which we find in those of Persia. It has been common with writers and speakers, referring to revivals of the work of God, and the conversion of men in large numbers, to speak of sinners flying as a cloud to the church, and as doves to their windows, and the figure seems marked alike by propriety and beauty. Conversions at present, however, resemble less a harvest than a gleaning, and scarcely anywhere is aught spiritual occurring, to which the language can be applied; but such times have been, and such times will be again, and they are, perhaps, nearer at hand than is generally supposed. The darkest hour is that which just precedes the dawn. The Lord hasten it in his season! Amen and amen!
Lessons by the Way; or, Things to Think On.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU.
treasure of wrath. Every day he lives in sin, the book of God's remembrance records it
FOR you, my reader, are they-young or old, rich or poor, male or female. I wish to have you answer them, if you can.
1st. Are not the 600,000,000 of heathen, who are perishing in ignorance of the gospel, famishing spiritually?
2nd. Is the famishing of the soul less lamentable than that of the body?
3rd. Are not those six hundred millions famishing for the bread of life, dependent on us, who have it, for a supply of it?
4th. Has not our Lord Jesus Christ told us to supply them with it?
5th. If they are as truly dependent on our sending it, as on his providing it, should not we be as willing to devote our lives to carrying or sending it, as he was to devote his to providing it ?
6th. If we refrain from many expenditures, which fashion demands, that we may do the more to save them, will it cost us more than it did him, to leave heaven and go to the stable, the garden, and the cross, to save men?
7th. If we refrain from many expenditures for which taste pleads, that we may be able to do more for them, shall we do more than he did for us, when he took the form of a servant, and subjected himself to contempt, and insult, and a public execution with criminals ?
8th. If we even deny ourselves some comforts and conveniences, for their benefit, shall we be going farther in self-denying benevolence than he did?
9th. Was he more benevolent than he would have us be?
10th. Would it be more painful for us to refrain from many expenditures, which fashion demands, and for which taste pleads, and even deny ourselves many comforts and gratifications, for the sake of giving them the gospel, than it would be for them, if we should not give it, to "have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone ?" (See Rev. xxi. 8.)
11th. If it would not, then is it not our privilege and duty thus to refrain and deny ourselves?
12th. Would not you be more Christ-like, more happy, and more useful, if you should do it, than you would be, if you should not?
13th. Will you do according to your answers?
THE TREASURES OF THE WICKED. EVERY man is treasuring up stores for eternity: -the good are laying up "treasures in heaven, where moth doth not corrupt:"-the evil and impenitent are "treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath." What an idea is this? Treasures of wrath! Whatever the impenitent man is doing, he is treasuring up wrath. He may be getting wealth; but he is treasuring up wrath. He may be getting fame; but he is treasuring up wrath. He may be forming pleasing connections; but he is also treasuring up wrath. Every day adds something to the heap. Every oath the swearer utters, there is something gone to the heap of wrath. Every lie the liar tells, there is something gone to the heap of wrath. Every licentious act the lewd man commits, there is something gone to the
against him. The impenitent man has a weightier treasure of wrath to-day than he had yesterday; he will have a weightier to-morrow than he has to day. When he lies down at night he is richer in vengeance than when he rose in the morning.
He is continually deepening and darkening his eternal portion. Every neglected sabbath increases his store of wrath; every forgotten sermon adds something to the weight of punishment. All the checks of conscience, all the remonstrances of friends, all the advice and prayers of parents will be taken into the account, and all will tend to increase the treasures of wrath, laid up against the day of wrath.-Rev. J. A. James.
VIEWS OF HOLINESS.
IN President Edwards' brief narrative of his religious history, his views of holiness at an early part of his Christian experience are thus set forth :
"I remember the thoughts I used then to have of holiness, and said, sometimes, to myself, I do certainly know that I love holiness, such as the gospel prescribes. It appeared to me, that there was nothing in it but what was lavishingly lovely; the highest beauty and amiableness-a divine beauty: far purer than anything here upon earth; and that anything else was like mere defilement in comparison of it.
"Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature, which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness, and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers, enjoying a sweet calm, and gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year, low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun's glory; rejoicing, as it were, in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lov ingly in the midst of other flowers round about; all, in like manner, opening their bosoms, to drink in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature-holiness, that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart, and purity of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this-to lie low before God as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all; that I might become as a little child."
ONE DROP AT A TIME. "Life," says the late John Foster, "is expenditure; we have it, but are as continually losing it; we have the use of it, but as constantly wasting it. Suppose a man confined in some fortress, under the doom to stay there till death; and suppose there is there for his use a dark reservoir of water, to which it is certain none can ever be added. He knows, suppose, the quantity is very great; he cannot penetrate to