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God; but thefe privileges do not belong to me, nor fhall I ever have the leaft intereft in them.'What reafon have you for faying fo?' replied the Doctor; Jefus Chrift is able to fave unto the uttermofl.'-'I will tell you, Sir, my circumstances, and then you will not be furprised at my speaking fo decifively on the fubject. I once made a credible profeffion of religion, which was fupported with great decorum and regularity for feveral years. I was very strict and confcientious in the difcharge of thofe various external duties which are connected with the Christian system. None could charge me with immorality of conduct or the neglect of pofitive commands. But in courfe of time my zeal departed from me, and I became carelefs and remifs in my walk and converfation. I felt no fatisfaction of mind arifing from the performance of devotional exercises, and gradually declined my cuftomary obfervance of them. Inftead of praying in fecret twice or thrice in a day, I only prayed once, the fame with refpect to family religion; and at laft thefe facred engagements were entirely omitted, which foon difcovered itfelf by my outward conduct, which received an impreffion of my diffipation. Ungodly company and the gratifications of fenfe were then the only fources of enjoyment in which I could indulge free from thofe ftrong convictions of guilt and dreadful apprehenfions of future punishment, which retirement and calm reflection impofe on the mind. Soon after this change took place, I was left guardian to a young lady, whofe fortune was committed to my care till fhe came of age; but I expended the money, and debauched the girl. Still I was fenfible how far preferable a virtuous and good life was to vice and profanenefs, and I was careful to inftruct my children in the principles of religion; and on the Sabbath-day would give them portions of Scripture to commit to memory. When I returned one evening from the finful amufements of the day, I asked them, as ufual, if they could repeat their lef fons: Yes,' fays the youngest child, and I have a leffon for you too papa.'-Well, what is that, my dear?' She opened the Bible, and read to me that awful paffage in Ezekiel, xxiv. 13. "In the filthinefs is lewdnefs; because I have purged thee, and thou waft not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthinefs any more, till I have caufed my fury to reft upon thee." This I received as the feal of my irrevocable doom, and I now know there remaineth no more facrifice for fins; but a certain fearful lookingfor of judgment and fiery indignation which fhall devour the adverfaries."


We may percieve from this affecting anecdote how much a man may do in religion, and yet at length come short of the kingdom of heaven; it is not prayer; it is not hearing fermons; it is not a form of godlinefs, however confiftent it may be with the written word, or how exact foever men may be in their fupport of it, that will intereft them in the divine favour. All this may fubfift without that internal change of heart and univerfal holinefs of life, which confifts in and establishes a conformity to the image of God. Many run well for a time, who afterwards fall to rife no more. Then guard well thine heart.-Stifle the firft inclinations to apoftacy, which begin with the neglect of prayer-Be diligent in business, fervent in fpirit, ferving the Lord; and cultivate a temper and habit which fhall form a pleafing counterpart to the character of thy Saviour-Attend to what God the Lord fhall fay unto you, and let it be the language of your heart; Speak, Lord, for thy fervant heareth. Otherwife, if you refufe and rebel, the Holy Spirit will not only withhold his common influences, but abfolutely fight against you, and become your enemy.




PIRITUAL gifts are for the common benefit of Chrif tians. It is as unreafonable for a believer to envy, or grieve at the gifts or graces which a brother poffeffes for his good, as it would be for a working fmith with a weak arm to fall out with his fhopmate who ftrikes the iron for




T is the peculiar glory of the Gofpel, to blend privilege and duty together, fo that obedience is rendered as much the fruit of choice, as of obligation. This is true of every part of Chriftian practice; and efpecially of prayer, which one defines to be, "putting the promises of God into suit." For this purpofe, a throne of grace is erected, and liberty of accefs is granted, to thofe on whom the fpirit of grace and fupplication is poured. To afford en

couragement, God is ftyled the hearer of prayer*, and has promifed all needful afliftance in this exercife, fo that the prayer of faith and fervour fhall availt. Since this is the cafe, much more is required of those who draw near to God, than merely making known their requests to him. When bleffings are fought for in prayer, they should be waited for in faith. Like the oftricht, who depofits her eggs in the fand, and then leaves them without any further attention, are many who profefs to maintain intercourfe with God in prayer; they pour out their hearts to him, and exprefs defires of various bleffings, and frequently complain that God has shut out their prayer, when they never watched to see what peculiar bleffings God beftowed upon them; nor confidered, whether their enjoyments in the leaft correfponded with their requests. It is certainly the duty of those who pray in spirit, to EXPECT, and OBSERVE, returns of prayer.

It is the duty of thofe who pray in fpirit, to EXPECT returns of prayer. Here it may be neceffary to observe, that though this is the cafe in regard to fuch an act of obedience, God exercises a fpecial fovereignty, both as to the feafon and nature of the answers he bestows. We may fometimes pray for a particular bleffing, which God fees fit not to grant; and, though many are difcouraged on this account, it is certainly from want of confideration. For, if God denies the fuit of the foul in one refpect, he may grant fome unfought good, which though not fimilar to what was defired, may be more valuable and advantageous: "If one should afk for filver, and the fame weight be given him of gold, he has no reason to complain." This is frequently the cafe in regard to prayer, where there is often a tranfmutation, but never a failure. This would be more difcerned, if faith was more exercised after prayer. For want of which, it is no wonder that many remain ignorant of their success in this refpect.

Let it be remembered, that prayer is not done, when we retire from the more immediate prefence of God; it is not completed, till it is accomplished: For, as one obferves, "When we have put up a faithful prayer, God is made our debtor by promife, and we are to take notice of his payment, and give him an acknowledgment of the receipt of it;" which certainly cannot be done, unless there be an ex

*Psalm lxv. 2. Dictionary of the Bible,

† James, v. 16. Vide Calmet's art. Ostrich. Job, xxxix. 13, 14, Habakkuk, ii, 1.

pectation of a gracious anfwer. Without this, there can be no motive to difcharge the duty, but a fenfe of obligation. Nor can there be any reafon for enlargement of heart in it, or confidence in Gad. Faith can have no employ, where the foul has no hope. In fuch a cafe, prayer becomes merely an act of homage to God, confidering him as the Governor of the univerfe; whereas otherwife, it is the expreffion of filial love, and dependance: Nor can we, confiftently with our profeffion of fincerity, afk bleffings from God, when we have no expectation that he will communicate them. Truly was it faid, that, "most take prayer as a PRESCRIPTION only, but not as a means," which ought to be the cafe, as our expectation never exceeds our intention in any business.

But while it is our duty to expect, it is equally fo to oвSERVE returns of prayer. To confirm this, we have the teftimony of a cloud of witneffes. Simeon had waited for the confolation of Ifrael: If fo, he had earnestly prayed for a fight of the Meffiah. This was granted him, and when enjoyed, he fays, Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have SEEN thy salvation. Similar to this, is the conduct of all who are taught of God-of all who are taught to pray. Without fuch an obfervation of anfwers given to prayer, it is little better than a folemn profanation of a divine ordinance, which is inflituted by God to be a means of obtaining what we defire. Nor can fuch perfons be acquitted of the charge of taking the name of God in vain; as it is in fact fuppofing both his unwillingnefs, and inability, to regard our fupplications. It is to let God speak in vain to us; for prayers, when anfwered, are like dialogues; fo that there must be a mutual regard in the parties concerned. Such conduct might very justly provoke God in future not to answer at all: As one great defign which God has in regarding us, is to excite to praife, which, by fuch neglect, will be prevented. Prayer and praise ought to be intimately connected; they fhould be like the double motion of the lungs: The air that is taken in by prayer, fhould be breathed out again in praife. Experience may be greatly enriched by fuch an obfervation of the divine conduct, fo that the foul may be brought to fay, with one in the fame circumftances, I have tried God often, henceforth I will trust him. Surely fuch a frame of mind. must be desirable, as the attainment of thofe who are the fincere followers of the Lamb.

Avoid flothfulness in prayer. Qui frigide rogat, docet ne gare. God delights not in a formal, but a fervent fpirit.

"Oh let me feel the fire of zeal,
In drawing near to thee."

Thofe prayers that awaken God, muft awaken us. Beware, profeffor, of neglecting this duty, of remiffness in it, or of inattention fubfequent to it. God is omnifcient, to discover the thoughts of the heart; and omnipotent, both to relieve the wants of the foul, and to avenge the injuries of his infulted majesty. CIO.

P. S. An anecdote relative to Dr. Goodwin, and which illuftrates the preceding effay, may not be difagreeable to our readers. That great man lay wind-bound in hourly fufpicion that the purfuivants would ftop his voyage, and feize his perfon, before the wind would favour his getting away for Holland. In this diftrefs, humbly praying to the Lord Jefus Chrift for a more propitious gale, he faid, "Lord, if thou haft at this time any poor fervant of thine that wants this wind more than I do another, I do not afk for the changing of it: I fubmit unto it." Immediately the wind came about to the right point, and carried him clear from his pursuers,

Comfort for Gad's Children under their afflictions.



FFLICTIONS fpring not out of the duft, they are all allotted by our heavenly Father, who has promised that he will make them to work together for our good. Scriptures deal copioufly on this fubject, and furnish us with fuch confiderations as have a tendency to comfort us under all the croffes to which we are fubject in this vale of tears. They inform us that afflictions are only fatherly corrections, the fruit of love, and not the effects of anger, for "whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, and fcourgeth every son whom he receiveth." If therefore he dealeth with us as he does with all his children, we need not complain of our afflictions. What God doth muft be eventually good, how èvil and bitter foever it feems at prefent. to us. He never corrects his children without a juft caufe, although we cannot always perceive it. In fuch a cafe, however, it is our duty to hold our peace because he doth it, or rather to adopt the language of the Pfalmift, "I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness haft afflicted me. But it will more effectually promote our con

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