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partake of the Christian Passover, with his "loins girt about, and his lights burning;" and so should he ever be ready, with his staff in his hand, to depart from this region of Egyptian bondage, and to go to the promised land: "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." Nor should it be forgotten, that "the whole congregation of Israel" were considered as killing the lamb. So the sins of men slew the Lamb of God; and thus Christ tasted death for every man, being the propitiatory sacrifice, not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. And that sacrifice, like that of the Paschal lamb, was completed in the evening of the day-the memorable day, when the sun was preternaturally eclipsed, and three hours of darkness mantled as with a pall the face of the earth. Never were more pregnant words uttered: "It is finished!"
It may be added, that the institution was to be observed as long as that dispensation lasted: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial. And ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever." So are we to celebrate the death of Christ, till he shall come "a second time without sin unto salvation." Finally; the Israelites were commanded "to instruct their children in the nature and design of the ordinance," Exod. xii. 26, 27. So should Christian parents, when their children ask, "What mean ye by this service ?" explain, illustrate, and enforce the sublime and impressive institution of the Supper. Hast thou done this duty, O Christian father, or mother, whose eyes rest on this page ?
J. N. D.
THOUGHTS ON PRAYER.
A CHRISTIAN sustains a personal relation to God; has personal wants, sins, and obligations; and feels it, therefore, both his duty and his privilege to go and speak to God alone. To this he is enjoined by the highest authority: "But thou, when thou prayest," says Christ, "enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly," Matt. vi. 6. The word " closet," in the original, signifies chamber, warehouse, or even cellar; in short, any secret place; and some suppose our Lord designedly employed a word of such latitude, that none might omit prayer under pretence that they had not a proper place to which to retire. Place is nothing; disposition in prayer is everything: "I will," said the apostle," that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands." Blessed privilege! There is no place in which it is suitable for a Christian to be found, in which it is unsuitable for him to pray.
There is very little danger in these days of feeble devotion, engrossing secularity, and active zeal, of spending too much time in the closet; the danger lies on the other side. Everything connected with religion, except public meetings, which very often have very little of religion in them, must be short: short sermons-short prayers-short meditations-short devotion - short books-short religion.
The life of man should be a life of devotion; he should habitually maintain communion with God; and between his spirit and the Father of his spirit, there should be the closest inti
plea which takes its rise from Calvary; a plea which renders irresistible the prayers of the infant and the aged man; a plea which He, who is surrounded by the praises of a multitude which no man can number, always listens to; a plea which engages the power of Omnipotence, and secures the favour of the Most High !
Prayer, like Jonathan's bow, returns not empty; never was faithful prayer lost at sea; no merchant trades with such certainty as the praying saint: some prayers, indeed, have a longer
with the richer lading at last.
macy. Devotion should be the breeze which should waft him over life's ocean. The Christian's communion with God is not limited to the hour, termed "the hour of prayer." He is frequently in the Spirit; he endeavours continually to maintain a prayerful frame of mind. If he be diligent in business, still he is fervent in spirit; if he partakes of providential favours, in everything he gives thanks; and when he surveys the loveliness of nature, kindling into ecstasy, he cries out, "All thy works praise thee, O God, and thy saints shall bless thee." To a spiritual mind surround-voyage than others, but then they return ing objects will furnish matter for prayer and praise; and how often, at the eventide, does the Christian enjoy & season of refreshing! The tranquillity and soothing lull of a summer's evening steals over his soul; and "he who looks through nature up to nature's God," cannot gaze on the giant fragments scattered around him-on the calm and unruffled surface of the lake, embedded by the lasting mountains, in the bosom of which the beauties of the surrounding scenery are mirrored, he cannot look on the green earth and the azure sky, or stand so near the ocean as to listen to the roar of its waters, without a holy feeling coming over him. Earth is the sanctuary where he now prostrates his spirit and worships God. This is the hour of prayer.
True prayer is the language of the soul; the bow of the heart must be fully bent, if the arrow of prayer is to reach the skies. Always remember your great Advocate, who stands before the throne. Trust him with your cause, rely on his intercession, and all your petitions shall arise acceptable, because of the plea by which they are urged; a
The longer a believer hath neglected prayer, the harder he finds it to pray; partly through shame,-for the soul having played the truant, knows not how to look God in the face; and partly through the difficulty of the work, which is doubly hard to what another finds who walks in the exercise of his graces. It requires more time and pains for him to tune his instrument when all is out of order, than for another to play the lesson.
Great is the power of prayer. The conversion of sinners, and the edification of saints, will generally bear proportion to the fervent wrestlings of God's people. It is a certain symptom of revival, when a spirit of prayer is poured out from on high; on the other hand, it is a sure test of a declining church, when a spirit of prayer is restrained. Christ delights to be entreated; when church-members have no employment for him, he begins to go away.
CONSCIENCE A PROPHET.
1. And one that will have a hearing. Other prophets have been denied this.
People have stopped their ears, as in Stephen's case; or locked the prophet up in a dungeon, as in Jeremiah's case; that the senseless walls might hear his prophesying, and not they. But here is a prophet they cannot dispose of after such fashions. Not hear conscience! Men have tried it well; but the stern voice at mid-day, and the whisper at midnight, louder than the noise and bustle of the world, has taught them that conscience would have a hearing.
2. And a bold and plain-spoken prophet, too, is conscience. Some prophets have been timid and time-serving, more among the modern than among the ancient. They have dreaded to give their whole message. They have seen woe approaching, but have shrunk from giving the trumpet its full blast. But people have not to complain of conscience on this behalf. Conscience has a word to say to guilty minds, and says it. Herod and Felix shall hear, as well as the meanest of the people.
3. And here is a prophet who compels assent to his own predictions. Men who hate the prophets and their messages, are very willing to disbelieve them, and succeed in making themselves believe such prophecies falsehoods. But when conscience lifts up its prophetic voice, and tells what woe betides the guilty, there is an inward response to that alarming voice. The soul's own conviction of its own guilt makes the prophet's picture a painful reality. The warning voice cannot be disbelieved. Other prophets may be lightly esteemed, and their messages set at nought by a reckless unbelief; but not so a prophesying conscience. Its very voice is one of woe, and is felt to be a specimen of the approaching
sorrows it describes. Its own words are sparks, and the hearer and sufferer cannot question that they portend a great flame that cannot be quenched: they are the murmurings of the coming storm.
4. And here is a prophet whose presence cannot be escaped. Men may flee from the voice of man, or drive from them the annunciators of evil tidings. Elijah flies from the fury of Ahab. But there is one who cannot be thus shaken off. Its victim is guilt, and guilt shall find it on its track wherever it may flee, or wherever it may hide itself. Rush to the theatre, the dance, the banquet, the intoxicating bowl; but conscience is there. If you can stupify the soul for a moment, so that its dreadful voice is not heard, it can be but for a moment; and then the louder and more terrible is its voice, from the fact that you wickedly sought to repel so kind a friend. The wave recedes far from the shore only to rush back with augmented violence. The attempt to flee from conscience is sure to make its presence one day more terrific. The effort to stifle its voice is sure to make it more terrific. Escape conscience! Can a man escape from himself? Where can he go from his own presence?
5. Conscience is a prophet which will verify all his own predictions. No Jewish or Christian prophet could do this. They could only utter what must be executed by other hands. But here is one who executes his own prophetic declarations. It speaks of future woe for guilt, and inflicts it. It speaks of "a worm that dieth not," and is that worm; of "a fire that shall not be quenched," and is that fire. It tells the guilty that they " shall go away into
everlasting punishment," and then goes with them to be the executioner of it.
6. Conscience will never lose the prophetic office. Other prophets may retire from the work, or drop their mantle by a call to ascend on high, and so their prophecies cease. But conscience ever liveth. Never will it cease to prophesy to the guilty in hell; and it shall be of "wrath to come," wrath ever coming, and its vials never all emptied!
Such is conscience as a prophet. How much every human being has at stake in the attitude taken by such a prophet towards himself! Reader,-its prophecies concerning you, what are they?
CHRIST CRUCIFIED AFRESH BY
BEHOLD! this storm, wherewith all the powers of the world are shaken, is now over. The elders, Pharisees, Judas, the soldiers, priests, witnesses, judges, thieves, executioners, devils, have all tried themselves in vain with their own malice; and He triumphs over them all, upon the throne of his cross-his enemies are vanquished, his Father satisfied, his soul with this world at rest and glory: "It is finished!" Now, there is no more betraying, agonies, arraignments, scourgings, scoffing, crucifying, conflicts, terrors-all "is finished." Alas, beloved! and will we not let the Son of God be at rest? Do we now again go about to fetch him out of his glory, to scorn and crucify him? I fear to say it-God's Spirit dare, and doth : They crucify again to themselves the Son of God, and make a mock of him"-to themselves, not in himself; that they cannot, it is no thanks to them-they would do it. See
and consider: the notoriously sinful conversations of those that should be Christians, offer violence unto our glorified Saviour; they stretch their hand to heaven, and pull him down from his throne to his cross; they tear him with thorns, pierce him with nails, load him with reproaches. Thou hatest the Jews, spittest at the name of Judas, railest on Pilate, condemnest the cruel butchers of Christ; yet thou canst blaspheme, and swear him quite over, curse, swagger, lie, oppress, boil with lust, scoff, riot,-and livest like a debauched man; yea, like a human beast; yea, like an unclean devil. Cry "Hosanna" as long as thou wilt, thou art a Pilate, a Jew, a Judas, an executioner of the Lord of life; and so much greater shall thy judgment be, by how much thy light and his glory is more. Oh, beloved! is it not enough that he died once for us? Were those pains so light, that we should every day redouble them? Is this the entertainment that so gracious a Saviour hath deserved of us by dying? Is this the recompense of that infinite love of his, that thou shouldst thus cruelly vex and wound him with thy sins? Every of our sins is a thorn, and nail, and spear to him; while thou pourest down thy drunken carouses, thou givest thy Saviour a portion of gall; while thou despisest his poor servants, thou spittest on his face; while thou puttest on thy proud dresses, and liftest up thy vain heart with high conceits, thou settest a crown of thorns on his head; while thou wringest and oppressest his poor children, thou whippest him, and drawest blood of his hands and feet. Thou hypocrite! how darest thou offer to receive the sacrament of God with that hand which is thus imbrued with the blood of him
whom thou receivest? In every ordinary thy profane tongue walks, in the disgrace of the religious and conscionable. Thou makest no scruple of thine own sins, and scornest those that do; not to be wicked is crime enough. Hear him that saith, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul strikes at Damascus; Christ suffers in heaven. Thou strikest; Christ Jesus smarteth, and will revenge! These are the afterings of Christ's sufferings. In himself it is "finished;" in his members it is not, till the world be finished. We must toil, and groan, and bleed, that we may reign; if he had not done so, "it had not been finished." This is our warfare; this is the religion of our sorrow and death! Now are we set upon the sandy pavement of our theatre, and are matched with all sorts of evilsevil men, evil spirits, evil accidents, and, which is worst, our own evil hearts; temptations, crosses, persecutions, sicknesses, wants, infamies, death! all these must, in our courses, be encountered by the law of our profession. What should we do but strive and suffer, as our General hath done, that we may reign as he doth, and once triumph in our "It is finished?" God and his angels sit upon the scaffolds of heaven, and behold us: our crown is ready; our day of deliverance shall come; yea, our redemption is near, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes, and we that have sown in tears shall reap in joy. In the meantime, let us possess our souls, not in patience only, but in comfort; let us adore and magnify our Saviour in his sufferings, and imitate him in our own. Our sorrows shall have an end, our joys shall not; our pains shall soon be finished; our glory shall be finished, but never ended!—Hall.
REASONS FOR DISSENT. "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason." 1 PET. iii. 15.
A MAN who can give no reason for dissenting from the Established Church, can hardly complain if his opponents set him down as an unreasonable sectary. Religious separation without sufficient reason is schism. Yet are there not many Nonconformists who would be sorely perplexed, if asked by an intelligent Churchman to give a reason for their Dissent? Unable to ground it on any broad, great principles, they betake themselves to petty details. Instead of battering the enemy's citadel, or defending their own, with heavy artillery, they can only discharge a handful of pebbles and dirt, or, at least, a volley of small shot. They are content to rest their justification in rending the outward unity of the church on no more substantial ground than the wearing of a white gown or a black one, a form of service, or a sentence in a Prayer-book. Thus the great cause of the authority of Christ, and the purity of his church, is brought into contempt.
Six points may be briefly stated, and easily remembered, as REASONS FOR DISSENT. Based on the New Testament, they show that separation from the National Establishment is not only a justifiable act, but an imperative duty.
These are: The sole Headship of Christ-Purity of Communion-Apostolical Order-the Rights of the LaityConformity of Doctrine and Rites with the Word of God-and the Unity of the Church of Christ.
Under each of these several heads, a