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As to this patience in tribulation, a greater than Moses has appeared. Ho whose first words pertained to active obedience, closed his career with most unequalled submissiveness to most unparalleled sufferings. Some portions of the prayer he taught his disciples were unsuited to his own circumstances and character. No cry for pardon ever formed one of his petitions. But for submission to God's will he made supplication with strong crying and with tears. The mysterious shrinking of his human nature he fully conquered, and went
forth to meet the Cross with majestic calmness. Firmly be grasped the bitter * cup his Father had given him to drink, and lifting it to his lips, he said, “Not • my will, but Thine be done."
The blessing this prayer solicits includes
V. The uplifting of all human obedience to the heavenly standard. We are to turn away from all merely earthly excellence, and aim at likeness to the angels. Very significant is the description of these exalted creatures given by the Psalmist. “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” From this we gather, what all other Scriptures substantiate, that power and obedience are the broadest characteristics of the angels. Human art always represents them
as marked by grace and beauty rather than by great strength; the gentleness ... and submissiveness of their natures are portrayed, but their matchless power
is left unrepresented. With great strength we usually find much self-will associated. Amongst men feebleness and submissiveness generally go together; herce, probably, the great violation of Scripture facts in all the artistic
delineations of these ministering spirits. It seems impossible for human art to i embody in one ideal form the (to our minds) very opposite qualities of more
than gigantic power and more than childlike obedience. What art of man cannot adequately represent, saintly character is to imitate. We too often make a virtue of necessity, and submit because we have not strength to resist. When We possess the power we are prone to use it and have our own way. We are referred to the heavenly example, that we may learn to serve God with all our strength, as well as submit in all our feebleness, for this is the conduct of those #ho are at once mighty angels and ministering spirits.
We have thus endeavoured to set forth some of the things included in this brief but comprehensive prayer. This has been designedly done by Scripture illustrations, rather than by abstract descriptions. We have sought to set the petition in the light of facts from God's word, because these not only explain. it, but also show how good men have been able to offer it, and have got an "answer to it. There are many reasons why we should constantly, and from the heart, present it,--reasons why we should begin and go through this new year seeking to obey God's laws, to follow God's providence, to cherish contentment amidst all mysteries, and to manifest patience under all afflictions. Some of these reasons we shall try to set forth another month. Meanwhile, let us bear in mind, that the most colossal saintliness this world ever witnessed began that day when, on the road to Damascus, a self-willed man was touched by
Dirine grace, and, assuming the attitude of obedience, meckly asked, “Lord, C hat wilt thou have me to do ?”
BY THE REV. A. MÄLAREN, B.A.* " Ye cannot serye God and Mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thonght for your Life."
- Matthew vi, 24, 25. FORESIGHT and foreboding are two very expansion of that runs on to the close of different things. It is not that the one is the thirtieth verse. Then there follows the exaggeration of the other, but the one another division or' section of the whole, is the opposite of the other. The more a marked by the repetition of the command. man looks forward in the exercise of fore “ Take no thought, saying, What shall sight, the less he looks forward in the exer we eat ? or, What shall we drink? 0P, cise of foreboding. And the more a man Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? (for is tortured by anxious thought about a after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) possible future, the less bas he of the clear for your heavenlú Father knoweth that we vision of a likely future, and the less power have need of all these things. But seek ye to influence it. When Christ here, there first the kingdom of God." And then fol. fore, enjoins the abstinence from “thought lows a third section, marked by the third for our life” and thought for the future, it repetition of the command. " Take no is not an expedient which we adopt for the thought for the morrow; for the morrow * sake of getting away from the pressure of a shall take thought for the things of itself."
very unpleasant command if we say, He does Now if we try to generalise the lessons not mean to prevent the exercise of wise that lie in these three great divisions, we and provident foresight and preparation forget, I think, these. ANXIOUS THOUGHT what is to come. When this English ver- 18 CONTRARY TO ALL THB LESSONS OF sion of ours was made, the phrase, “taking NATURE; WHICH SHOW IT TO BE UNNEthought," meant solicitous anxiety, and ľCESSARY ;- that is the first, the longest. that is the true rendering and proper Then, secondly, ANXIOUS THOUGHT 15 meaning of the original. The idea is, CONTRARY TO ALL THE LESSONS OF GRACE, therefore, tliat here there is forbidden for REVELATION, OR RELIGION ; WHICH SHOW a Christian, not the careful preparation for IT TO BE HEATHENISH. And, lastly, what is likely to come; not the foresight ANXIOUS THOUGHT IS CONTRARY TO THE of the storm, and the taking in sail while WHOLE SCHEME OF PROVIDENCE ; WHICH yot there is time; but the constant occu SHOWS IT TO BE FUTILE. You do not pation and distraction of the heart with need to be anxious. It is wicked to be looking forward, and gazing, and fearing, anxious. It is of no use to be anxious. and being weakened thereby; or, to come These are the three things :-contrary to back to words already used, foresight is the lessons of Nature ; contrary to the commanded, and, therefore, foreboding is great principles of the Gospel; and contrars forbidden. My only object, now, is to to the scheme of Providence. Let us just ondeavour to gather together, by their link look, by way of exposition, and not by way of connection, the whole of these precepts 1 of preaching, at these three points. which follow the text to the close of the İ. The first is the consideration of THE chapter; and to try to set before you, in TEACHING OF NATURE. " Take no thought the order in which they stand, and in their for your life, what ye shall eat, or what yt organic connection with each other, the shall drink; nor yet for your body, sohal reasons which Christ gives for the absence ye shall put on. Is not the life more than of anxious care in our minds.
meat, and the body than raiment ?" And I mass them all into three. If you no then comes the illustration of the fowls of tice, the whole section, to the end of the the air and the lilies of the field. The whole chapter, is divided into three parts, by of these four or five verses fall into the threefold repetition of the injunction, these general thoughts. You are obliged “Take no thought." "Take no thought | to trust God for your body, for its life, for for your life, what ye shall eat, or what yo its structure, for its form, for its habitudes, shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye l and the length of your being; you are shall put on. Is not the life more than l obliged to trust him for the foundationmeat, and the body than raiment ?” The trust him for the superstruoture; you are
* Corrected reprint of short-hand notes of a sermon.
obliged to trust him, whether you will or 1 for the less. He has given you the greatnot, for the greater-trust him gladly for est: no doubt he will give you the less. the less! Then, again, you cannot help “ The life is more than meat, and the body being dependent; after all your anxiety, it | than raiment.” “Which of you, by taking is only directed to the providing of the thought, can add one cubit unto his stature? things that are needful for the life; the And why take ye thought for raiment ?" life itself, though it be a natural thing Then, there is another thought. Consult the life itself comes direct from God's hand; nature, not only in regard to yourselves, and all that you can do, with all your cark and gather lessons from that; but consult ing cares, and laborious days, and sleepless it in regard to God's ways of doing with nights, is but to adorn a little more beauti all his creatures. The animate and inanifully, or a little less beautifully, the allotted mate creation are appealed to, the fowls span--but to feed a little more delicately, of the air and the lilies of the field, the one
or a little less delicately, the body which in reference to food, and the other in refer_ God has given you! What is the use of lence to clothing, which are the two great
being careful for food and raiment; when wants already spoken of by Christ in the down below these necessities there lies the previous verses. I am not going to linger awful question, for the solution of which at all here, on the exquisite beauty of you have to hang-helpless, in implicit, | these illustrations: every sensitive heart powerless dependence upon God, -Shall I and pure eye dwells upon them with delive, or shall I die? shall I have a body | light. The “fowls of the air,” ye are much instinct with vitality, or a body crumbling better than they!: “The lilies of the field,” amidst the clods of the valley ? After all “they toil not, neither do they spin ;" and your work, your anxiety gets but such a then, with what an eye for all the beauty little way down ; like some passing shower of God's universe, "Solomon, in all his of rain, that only softens an inch of the glory, was not arrayed like one of these!" hard-baked surface of the soil, and has | Now, what is the force of this? I think it nothing to do with fructifying the seed all revolves round this—There is a specithat lies down feet below the reach of its men, in an inferior creation, of the same impotent and useless moisture. Anxious principles which you can trust, you men care is foolish; for far beyond the region who are “better than they." And not : within which your anxieties move, there is only that :--here is an instance, not only of the greater region of faith and entire de God's giving things that are necessary, but pendence upon God: “ Is not the life more of God's giving more, lavishing beauty than meat? is not the body more than upon the flowers of the field. I do not paiment ?"- you must trust him for that: think we sufficiently dwell upon the moral you may as well trust him for all the rest. and spiritual uses of beauty in God's uni
Then, again, there comes up this other verse. That he should so have chosen to thought. Not only are you compelled to give more than barely was necessary for exercise an anxious dependence in regard the support of the functions of life; that to a matter which you cannot influence everywhere his loving, wooing hand should life and body—and that is the greater ; touch the flower into grace, and deck all but, still further, God gives you that: Very barren places with glory and with fairness, well: God gives you the higher; and --what does that say to us about him ? It God's high gifts are always inclusive of says to us, He does not give scantily: it is God's little gifts. When he bestows the not the mere measure of what is wanted, thing, he bestows all the consequences of absolutely needed, to support a bare existthe thing as well. When he gives a life, ence, that God bestows. He taketh pleahe swears by the gift that he will give sure in the prosperity of his servants. Joy, what is needful to sustain it. God does and love, and beauty, belong to him; and hot stop half way in any of his bestow. the smile upon his face that comes from the ments. He gives royally and liberally, contemplation of his own fairness flung out honestly and sincerely, logically and com into his glorious creation, is a prophecy of pletely. When he bestows a life, there- | the gladness that comes in his heart from fore, you may be quite sure that he is not his own holiness and more ethereal beauty going to stultify his own gift by retaining adorning the spiritual creatures whom anbestowed anything that is wanted for he has made to flash back his likeness. its blessing and its power. You have had | The flowers of the field are so clothed, that to trust him for the greatest: trust him we may learn the lesson that it is a fair
Spirit, and a loving Spirit, and a bountiful, because God has endowed us with the power Spirit, and a royal heart, that presides over for putting it forth. the bestowments of creation, and allots gifts Then, there comes another inferiority. to men.
" Your heavenly Father feedeth them." But, notice, before I pass on, how much | Aye: they cannot work, and yet they are of the foree of what Christ says here de- fed. They cannot say, “Father !" and yet pends on the consideration of the inferiority they are not anxious. You are above them of these creatures who are thus blessed; by the prerogative of toil. You are above and also notice what are the particulars them by the nearer relation which you susof that inferiority. We read that verse, tain to your Father in heaven. He is their “ They sow not, neither do they reap, nor Maker, and lavishes his goodness upon gather into barns," as if it marked out a them: he is your Father, and he will not particular in which their free and untoil. forget his child. They cannot trust: you some lives were superior to ours. It is the can. They might be anxious, if they could very opposite. It is part of the things look forward, for they know not the hand that mark them as lower than we, that that feeds them: but you can turn round, they have not to work for the future. They and recognise the source of all blessings. reap not, they sow not, they gather not; So doubly ought you to be guarded by the are ye not much better than they ?-better lesson of that free, joyful Nature that lies " in this, amongst other things, that God round about you, and say-No fear of has given us the privilege of influencing famine, nor of poverty, nor of want; for it in: the future by our faithful toil, by the sweat feedeth the ravens when they cry :-10 of our brow and the labour of our hands. reason for distrust; shame on me if I am The inferiority lies, first, in this : Creatures anxious; for every lily of the field, and is labour not, and yet they are fed ;--and the every bird of the air, blows its beauty, and lesson for us is, Much more we, whom God carols its song, without sorrowful fores has blessed with the power of work, ought boding, and yet there is no Father in the not to be anxious; much more we, whom heaven for them! God has gifted with force to mould the And the last inferiority is this: “ To-day future, may be sure that he will bless the it is, and to-morrow it is cast into the oven." exercise of the prerogative by which he Their little life, thus blessed and brightenel: differences us from inferior creatures, and oh, how much greater will be the mercies makes us capable of toil. You can in that belong to them who have a longer life: fluence to-morrow. What you can influence upon earth, and who never die! The lesson by work, fret not about, for you can work ; is not-These are the plebeians in Gol's what you cannot influence by work, fret not universe, and you are the aristocracy, and about, for it is vain. “They toil not, nei you may trust him ; but it is—They, by they do they spin;" you are lifted above their inferior place, have lesser and lower them, because God has given you hands, wants, wants but for a bounded being, and learts, and heads; and man's crown wants but for a narrow nature, wants that of glory, as well as man's curse and punish stretch not beyond earthly existence, and ment, is, “In the sweat of thy brow shalt that for a brief span. They are blessed in thou eat bread.” So learn what you have the present, for the oren to-morrow sad lens io do with your foreboding. So learn what not the blossoming to-day. You hare you have to do with that yreat prerogative nobler necessities and higher longings of looking forward. It is meant to be the wants that belong to a soul that never dies cuide of uise work. It is meant to be the wants that belong to a nature which glows 8 ipport for far-reaching, strenuous action. with the consciousness that God is your It is meant for the elevation of the man Father, wants which “look before and above mere living from hand to mouth after," therefore, you are “ better than the ennobling of the whole Being by toil they ;” and “shall he not much more that is blessed because there is no anxiety clofe you, O ye of little faith?” in it, by labour that will be successful
(To be continued.)
THE MEETINGS FOR SPECIAL PRAYER.
BY THE REV. CHARLES STOVEL.
STRANGE! It is very strange that after inheriting the Gospel so long, an appeal to God in special prayer should be made, at the same time, by religious partisans so diverse in character, and so unrelenting in their mutual animosities. “The Holy Father," from that darkness and terror which encompass the Papal throne, calls to his children in every land, for prayer, “ incessant prayer.” A slave state in North America, agonized with fear for its beloved inhumanity,
demands a day of fasting and special prayer. From America, in former years, · the call to special prayer went forth into all the earth; it was reverberated
from Loodiana, from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and several parts of England, until Papists, Puseyites, Methodists, Independente, Baptists, the Brethren, and, in short, all classes, united, as if the whole creation, groaning beneath its bondage of tormenting vanity, had crowded round the feet of the eternal Father, to implore, by combined and simultaneous invocation, his interference and judgment to end this moral contest of mankind.
Imagination, without much perversity, might paint an altar of Rome, with Pope and cardinals chanting their prayer to God; while, not far off, a crowd of labourers, round the Italian Alps, shrinking from that earthly priesthood, were studying the oracles of God, and pleading with him for protection and deliverance from a thousand mortal wrongs. One asks for power to oppress, the other entreats deliverance from the oppression. While such a spectacle of revolting contrast fills the thought, man is made to feel that God only can appreciate and answer the prayers that rise from earth to heaven. With him to listen and search the heart, no sinner can be condemned for seeking mercy at his hands ; but because he searcheth the heart, and because he is holy, nothing can be more important for sinners in special prayer than thoughtful consideration of what he requires, before prayer can return from him to us with the blessing which he has promised.
One thing to be observed in every case is, that prayer must be offered to God; ... and, therefore, made consistent with the majesty of his throne, and the holiness
of his nature. Solemn, thoughtful, and sincere, each supplicant must approach, to be accepted by the Searcher of Hearts; for without such a disposition of the -soul, special prayer is special mockery. Words without meaning are worthless where God is waiting to bestow his largest benefactions. No business can be 80 important to a sinful man as that which brings him to the throne of mercy. If, then, he prays to himself, to the persons who worship with him, or to some idol in his thought, his prayer, failing to reach its proper object, is made ridiculous and even sinful. Such a debasement of devotion may be boisterous and protracted; it may also be combined with business speculations and intensified with the feeling which they generate ; but it fails to secure a blessing from God, and leads to infidelity. Prayer must bring the soul to God, or it is nothing worth. It is a homage done to God here in the necessity of the present time : by it consciousness is designed to evolve as before the eternal throne. The praying child is, by his prayer, united to his father in heaven. If in all the special services we now anticipate, we can but reach this vital communion of the soul with its eternal Parent, it will be hard for men to calculate the blessings which must ensue, to believers who tuus pray, to the Church of Christ, to the schools, and to the world.
But prayer must conform to Divine teaching. God waits to be gracious, but not to effectuate by his gifts the dictations of human vanity. When pressed by