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had all the hierarchy of heaven followed in mourning, and the brightest angel of the throng been appointed herald to announce on that occasion the style of the departed. For who could deelare his generation? These are only a few of his titles: "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
O grave! rich, indeed, are now thy spoils! Not all the treasured dust of tombs, and mausoleums, and pyramids, can bear comparison with that solitary corpse! But, corruption, stand aloof! thy worm may not riot there! Those lifeless hands, O death! shall break the sceptre of thy dominion; and those mute lips shall declare, from the throne of universal judgment, the final destiny of all thy buried millions! Already he is risen, as he said: "Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
D. E. F.
THE SAINT'S PRAYER SHUT OUT.
LAM. iii. 8.
point out some of those probable reasons why the Almighty occasionally appears unmindful of our prayers.
Sometimes the things we desire in prayer are not agreeable to the will of God, and then they are not answered at all. Our heavenly Father is infinitely wise, therefore his answers to our prayers are not given at random, but are regulated by his own unerring wisdom; he knows what is best for us, and therefore gives or withholds accordingly. The people of God sometimes ask things which are inconsistent with the Divine will, and the bestowment of which would be very injurious to the welfare of their souls.
THE sources of that mental distress | And first, then, I will endeavour to which is often experienced by the Christian are very diversified: they sometimes arise from the power of indwelling corruptions; at other times, from the defects of his religious performances-from the persecutions of the ungodly--from the want of success in Christ's cause-from his numerous afflictions and sometimes from God's apparent unmindfulness of his prayer. The latter was a source of distress to the prophet Jeremiah, and it may be possibly a source of distress to some we are now addressing. One may, perhaps, be saying, and long have been saying, in the bitterness of his soul," I have often prayed for the enjoyment of God's favour, and the assurance of my interest therein, but he shutteth out my prayer;'" another, "I have long prayed for the conversion of my ungodly child, but he shutteth out my prayer.'"
Christian reader, is this your case? Read carefully then, while, by God's blessing, we endeavour to afford you direction and consolation.
We have some instances of this recorded in Scripture, as beacons to remind us of our danger, and yet to encourage us when our prayers are unanswered. Hence David prayed that his son Absalom might live long; but, if his prayer had been answered, Absalom was such a wicked son, he might have been still more a curse to his
father the longer he had lived. Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed; but his request was not granted, his thorn continued, though he had grace given him to bear it. The disciples requested that fire might come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans; but the Lord did not hear them; on the contrary, he rebuked their rash zeal. Oh! what a mercy that many of our prayers have never been answered; if they had, the things we desired might have been a curse and not a blessing. How often has a father prayed that a beloved child might live, but the child has died; if his prayer had been answered, that child might have embittered all his days, and, at last, have broken the parent's heart. How often has the Christian prayed for the lengthening of his days; but his prayer has not been answered, he has died-what a mercy!-perhaps if he had lived some years longer, he might have been the subject of great suffering and distress: like Job, he might have cursed the day of his birth, and have said, "Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it." How often has the Christian prayed in sickness that his health might be restored and established; but his prayer has not been answered, the sickness continued for years: if it had, perhaps the commencement of his restoration to health would have been the commencement of his spiritual declensions; and thus health would have been a curse and not a blessing. The school of affliction is a very instructive and profitable one; and therefore the Lord keeps us there, notwithstanding our prayers to get a release. God thinks more of the safety of his chil
dren than their ease and comfort. When our prayers, therefore, in these and similar instances, are not answered, we should rest satisfied they are contrary to the will of God, that the things we ask for are not good for us, and hence a mercy they are not granted. We would not intimate by these remarks, that prayer for temporal blessings is unlawful; we know to the contrary, both by God's promises, and his bestowment of temporal blessings in answer to prayer. Hezekiah's prayer was answered for a continuance of life; the Church's prayer for Peter's deliverance; and the prayer of Elias for rain. But, then, our requests for temporal blessings should be presented in entire resignation to the will of our Divine Parent. Our Lord prayed for a temporal blessing; but it was submissively, "O, my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." The apostle John tells us how we should pray, and when we may expect our requests shall be granted, in these words: "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of him."
Another reason why our prayers are not answered is, there is often some accursed thing with us; there is often an Achan in the camp, or a Jonah in the ship; there is often some unmortified lust, some revengeful temper, some uncharitable feeling in the breast; and before our prayers can be answered, these evils must be removed. Hence when Joshua sent some of his men to Ai, they were overcome by their enemies, because there was an Achan in
When Joshua the camp of Israel. complained to the Lord of his want of success, and said, almost in despair, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. Would to God we had been content and dwelt on the other side Jordan;" the Lord said to him, "There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." Then Joshua made an examination of the people, and found that one of their number had in his possession that which was not his own which he had hidden from him; and when this accursed thing was found out and removed, then the children of Israel vanquished their enemies. Thus it may be with us when our sins are mortified, subdued, and forsaken; when the accursed thing is taken away; perhaps an Achan in our hearts prevents an answer to our prayers for the removal of affliction, the assurance that we are interested in Christ, and the spiritual prosperity of our souls; perhaps an Achan in a minister or in a church, prevents the descent of Divine influence upon a congregation, and the success of the preached gospel which has been the subject of fervent prayer. Before we expect an answer to our prayers, therefore we should seek the removal of the Achans if they exist; and then, if our prayers are agreeable to the will of God, the blessing will come and will not tarry: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
VALUE OF THE EPISTLE TO
THERE is no book in the New Testament more important than this; and, of course, none whose want would be more perceptible in the canon of the Scriptures. Every reader of the Old Testament needs such a guide as this epistle, written by some one who had an intimate acquaintance from childhood with the Jewish system; who had all the advantages of the most able and faithful instruction; and who has, under the influence of inspiration, to make us acquainted with the true nature of those institutions. Nothing was more important than to settle the principles in regard to the nature of the Jewish economy, to show what was typical, and how those institutions were the means of introducing a far more perfect system-the system of the Christian religion. If we have right feelings, we shall have sincere gratitude to God that he caused the Christian religion to be prefigured by a system, in itself so magnificent and grand as that of the Jews; and higher gratitude for that sublime systemn of religion, of which the Jewish with all its splendour, was only the shadow. There was much that was beautiful, cheering, and sublime in the Jewish system. There was much that was grand and awful in the giving of the law, and much that was imposing in its ceremonies; in its palmy and pure days, it was incomparably the purest and noblest system of religion then on earth. It taught the knowledge of the one true God; inculcated a pure system of morals; preserved the record of the truth on the earth; and held up constantly before man the hope of a better system still in days to
come. But it was expensive, burden- his surprise at my assertions; and
some, precise in its prescriptions, and wearisome in its ceremonies. Acts XV. 10.
It was adapted to one people-a people who occupied a small territory, and who could conveniently assemble at the central place of their worship three times in a year. It was not a system adapted to the whole world, nor was it designed for the whole world. When the Saviour came, therefore-to introduce whom was the design of Jewish economy-it ceased as a matter of course. The Jewish altars were soon thrown down; the temple was razed to the ground; and the city of their solemnities was destroyed. The religion of the Hebrews passed away to be revived no more in its splendour and power; and it has never lived since except as an empty form.
This epistle teaches us why it passed away, and why it can never be restored. It is the true key with which to unlock the Old Testament. And with these views we may remark, in conclusion, that he who would understand the Bible thoroughly, should make himself familiar with this epistle; that the canon of the Scripture would be incomplete without it; and that to one who wishes to understand the revelation which God has given, there is no portion of the volume whose loss would be a more irreparable calamity than that of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
A. CHAIN PARABLE.
thought it strange that I should enforce the necessity of our keeping the whole law, if we desired to be saved by our own merits. It was unjust, he urged, to consider a man cursed who confirmeth not all the words of the law to do them; and cried out, "How can this be true, that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all? How can this be? If I keep six of the commandments, and break four, have I not kept the majority? And is not God in justice bound to give me heaven, because I have kept two more than I have broken ?"
In explaining these truths, we can easily make ourselves understood to cultivated minds; but I could never make the common people understand me without a parable. Instead of entering into an argument, I have often replied by describing a scene on the Ganges:-" The day was dismal, the wind roared, the thunder pealed, the lightning was vivid, the waves of the Ganges raged, the stream was swollen, and the current rapid; the infuriated elements threatened destruction to every vessel on its waters; no boat could outlive the storm for any length of time. But see, what is that? It is a boat in distress, filled with people, rapidly hurried along by the waves. Between the peals of thunder the shrieks of the people are heard; they
fear the rocks on the shore to which the current is driving them. What can be done for them? Could they but be drawn into this creek they would be safe. Those on the shore
I ONE day preached on the general corruption of mankind, and the impos-look anxiously around, and discover a sibility of being saved by our own chain near them. A man instantly works. A person present expressed fastens a stone to a rope, binds the
to lead the way, and prepare a place for him; and he is to be contemplated at every step, The truth taught us in this passage is, that the anticipation of
HIS SEVERE CONFLICT.-" Who endured the cross."
other end to the chain, and flings the stone into the boat. The rope is caught; the people eagerly lay hold on the chain; while those on shore begin to draw them, amid the raging ele-joy supported the Saviour in the enments, towards the creek. They al- durance of suffering. Let us view ready rejoice at the prospect of deli- him in verance; but when they are within a few yards of the land, one link of the chain breaks! I do not say ten links, but one link, in the middle of the chain. What shall these distressed people do now?-shall they still cling to the unbroken links?" "No-no!" exclaimed one of my hearers; "overboard with the chain, or it will sink them sooner." "What then shall they do?" "Cast themselves upon the mercy of God," exclaimed another. "True," I replied, "if one commandment be broken, it is as though all of them were broken; we cannot be saved by them; we must trust in the mercy of God, and lay hold on the almighty hand of Christ, which is stretched out to save us." I have frequently used this parable, and always found it to answer.
THE SAVIOUR'S SEVERE
"Who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross."-HEB. Xii. 2. THE Christian is pursuing a course that is identified with all that is solemn and sublime; his track is marked in lines of blood, and leads to glory, honour, and renown: it excites the interest of heaven, earth, and hell; many are watching him:
"A cloud of witnesses around, Hold him in full survey." He has the smiles of Jehovah, the ministration of angels, the prayers of the church, the envy of the world, and the frown of devils. Jesus has gone before,
The dignity He possessed.-When we refer to the Saviour in the scenes of his humiliation, we must never lose sight of his pre-existent glory and his unrivalled excellencies. The splendour of his Godhead was for a time enshrined in the veil of his manhood: the world could see in him no more than a man, but the eye of faith beheld his glory. The degradation He endured.“ The cross."
This was a death attended with the most excruciating pain, and connected with infamy, shame, and reproach. But what was the pain of the body felt on the cross, compared with the anguish of soul inflicted by the cause?
The design He had in view.-He suffered to make an atonement for sin : to reconcile us unto God, and that he might finally bring us to everlasting glory. These are purposes identified with all that is magnificent and sublime, and which regarded the highest glory of God and the greatest good of men.
FOLLY OF THE SINNER'S
FLIGHT. SIR,-Should you think the following affecting case will be likely, by God's blessing, to advance the Redeemer's kingdom, in warning and awaking some soul to the importance of an immediate surrender of the heart to the Lord, you will perhaps give it a place in your invaluable Magazine.