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our wants before God in our closets, not to acquaint him with what is unknown, but to impress our own minds with our necessities and fill them with thankfulness if we are supplied. There we may particularize our necessities. There too we may intercede in behalf of others for whom it is our wish to pray. But our readers have less need of being taught what is suitable to be done in their closets, than they have of being persuaded to repair to them. Probably we all admit that there ought to be stated seasons for reciring from all company and holding converse with God, and yet some of us suffer days, weeks, and months to pass away without such stated seasons for secret prayer. Let us here urge all to frequent their closets. Let us spread before you all some important considerations to enforce the performance of this interesting duty. This
SECOND general division. And we would remark generally, that the duty of secret prayer is recommended by Christ's example, enforced by his authority, is attended with many present advantages and ensures a future reward. Secret prayer is strongly recommended by Christ's example. Frequent mention is made by the evangelists of Christ's retiring alone for prayer. Sometimes it was before day that he arose for this purpose.
At other times he spent whole nights in prayer. If he who had infinite wisdom and the resources of the universe at command, who had no sins to confess, and who as God was dependent on no other Being, was pleased in his mediatorial capacity to set us the example of frequent and secret prayer, we may well be urged to follow so exalted a pattern. Besides his example, Christ has enforced the duty by a positive precept. " ENTER THY CLOSET, AND PRAY TO THY FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET. This command is from the same authority which proclaimed amidst the thunders of Sinai,
Though the consequences, as it respects others, are different, yet the contempt of authority which is manifested by the habitual violation of this precept will as certainly ruin ourselves as the breach of the decalogue. Besides, when so reason
SHALT NOT KILL.
able a duty as that of secret prayer is enjoined, we are doubly criminal if we neglect it.
Once more-innumerable present advantages result from a right discharge of this duty. It inspires the soul with peace of conscience. Souls, weary and heavy laden with guilt and fears, have entered the closet with trembling, but while pouring out the publican's language with tears of penitence and sighs of contrition, light, and comfort, and peace have succeeded. They have felt like the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration : It is good for us to be here. How often have the children of God, when pressed with temptations and surrounded with spiritual dangers, repaired to the throne of grace in their closets, and obtained succour and defence. How often have the pious, when communing with God in the closet, obtained new strength to run in the way of his commandments. How often has their holy zeal been inflamed and their active obedience greatly increased from secret prayer. Nor are these all the present advantages derived from a right performance of this duty. It affords a kind and measure of real happiness to which those who neglect their closets are strangers. Though the Christian has bis seasons of coldness in the closet, when he finds little or no comfort there, yet every truly pious soul will, at times, enjoy a calm and sublime satisfaction from secret prayer which no human intercourse can give him. This is a motive whose influence would be more felt if Christians lived more in the possession of their high privileges of communion with God. The last motive I shall mention is the future reward reserved for those who, in obedience to Christ, pour out devotional prayer to God in their closets. He has said, “ your Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward you openly." Those who have prayed to him as the Searcher of hearts out of love for his worship and obedience to his commandments, he will reward. And what will be the reward bestowed? His favour, which is life, and his loving kindness, which is better than life. He will own them as his children, as bear. ing his moral image, as made meet by his grace to
inherit his heavenly temple. He will bestow everlasting honours and rewards upon them before the universe. In the Great Day, multitudes of mortals despised by men, but who loved their closets, will be crowned with glory and honour and immortal life. From our subject many inferences might be drawn, but we must limit ourselves to the introduction of but few. And
1. How great is the condescension of the eternal Jehovah towards the sinful children of men! Though he stoops to behold things done in heaven, yet he invites the meanest and most vile of our race to enter their closets and in the name of the Mediator seek communion with him. What astonishing condescension is this! And shall we not all be solicitous to have communion with the Father of our spirits !
2. Have we the examples and authority of Christ to encourage us in this duty; how dare any of us neglect it?
Since it brings present comfort and ensures future blessings, what folly attends those who live month after month and year after year without stated secret prayer. And are there none of our readers who are strangers to their closets. Such must be strangers to God. However frequently you may attend public worship, or if you even pray in your families but never visit your closets there to worship God, you have not the spirit of the gospel within. With even a name to live you are dead; for prayer is the breath of the Christian, and if the least measure of spiritual life be preserved, it will manifest itself in secret devotion.' Let all of every age and in all circumstances realize that this is a duty from which none can excuse themselves, and it must be performed with holy affections in order to our acceptance by the Searcher of hearts. God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. We would ask the aged, do you pray in secret? We would put the same question to the middle aged and to the young. It is not enough that you fly to the closet under circumstances of danger, and cry, Lord, Lord, while you have no desire to bear the moral image of his children. It is not enough that you statedly repair to retirement, if you
are always reluctant to go, and formal and lifeless when there. You must love your closets and be devout when in them.
Finally, Let those who have tasted the sweetness of communion with God in their closets, be grateful for all their enjoyments and hopes derived from secret prayer, and let them be exceedingly watchful that neither the world nor the adversary prevent them from a constant and devout performance of this all important duty.
[For the Monitor.)
INFLUENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
THE great mass of mankind are but little sensible how much of their present enjoyment is derived from the prevalence of the Christian Religion. Few, comparatively, regard it as the legitimate source of most of their temporal blessings, and yet this can be made abundantly manifest to every reflecting mind. It only to compare the present condition of Christian and Pagan nations, or by the light of history to view the condition of ancient Greece and Rome, even when at the acme of their civilization and refinement, and this truth appears as clear as the meridian sun in a cloudless sky. All those benevolent and charitable institutions, which now bless and adorn our guilty world, owe their existence to the influence of Christian principles. Before the Gospel was promulgated, no systematic attempts were made for the alleviation of human misery; even in those nations where the greatest advances had been made in the acquisition of human knowledge, and where human genius soared as high as it ever has done since, the poor were sold as slaves; the feeble, the helpless, and the aged, were suffered to die unheeded and unattended, and often was the wretched victim of distress deprived of life, as the only means of relief, or a burden not to be borne. In the dark and unblessed parts of the earth, such things are witnessed, even at the present day. How different is our situation, and that of
every nation, where the light of divine truth has shed its healing and refreshing beams. Here the attempt is made, and successfully made, to wipe the tear from every eye; an asylum is provided for the friendless and unprotected orphan, for the lonely and aged widow; hospitals are erected for the comfort and the relief of the sick and needy stranger; the poor are supported at the public expense, and Charity, clad in the robes of heaven, is unwearied in her endeavours to find out, and to instruct the ignorant, to visit the prisoner, to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked. As the famous river Nile fertilizes every spot of the earth which is visited by its waters, so, where the Gospel has been promulgated and accepted, a rich and unfailing stream of mercy flows to bless and ennoble mankind. Were there no hereafter, none but a madman or a demon could wish that the Christian Religion should be discarded from the world. Of all the institutions which owe their origin to Christianity, there are none more important in their nature, or more beneficial in their consequences, than that of preaching the Gospel. The beneficial effects resulting from the preaching Gospel may be considered in a political, a moral, and a religious point of view; and upon each of these we propose at this time to submit a few remarks.
Before the introduction of Christianity, the rights of man were but poorly understood, and but little regarded. This, for the first time, taught the relations in which mankind stand to each other, and the duties and privileges of those relations, and also the solemn truth so humiliating to the pride of the human heart, that in the eyes of God all men are equal, and that to him they are all accountable. The obligation of governors and governed is now known to be reciprocal. Rulers are commanded to be just men, ruling in the fear of God; to be “ a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well;" and they are entitled to be, not the lords of his heritage, but the mere stewards of his bounty. From the fearless preaching of these doctrines by the undaunted Luther and his associates, the human mind became disenthralled from the fetters in which it had