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of means and opportunities for acquiring and communicating KNOWLEDGE, which we have enjoyed, what improvement have we made ? Do not abused school privileges, unprofitable reading, unedifying conversation, idle thoughts, and inattentive sabbaths rise before most of us and testify that much more knowledge, worth possessing, might have been acquired ? As public teachers, as editors, as heads of families, or as individuals, we all have enjoyed some opportunities of communicating useful, and especially religious knowledge to others. Have we done what we could, for benefiting others in time and for eternity by our instructions ? Some we might have instructed we shall see no more on earth. They are gone to the bar of God to leave their testimony of what we have done, and what we have left undone for them.
God has lent us PROPERTY ; bow have we used it ? Have not some of us foolishly squandered it? Have not others of us idolatrously hoarded it? Respecting what proportion of our gains or our expenditures, have we prayerfully inquired of our Master in Heaven how we could best please him, in seeking, in possessing, and in using his goods entrusted to our stewardship:
To each of us God has lent a greater or less degree of INFLUENCE; how has it been used ? If it has not emboldened any in vice, has it not too often rendered others indifferent to their immortal interests ? Rank, science, wealth and beauty, each has a governing influence to a considerable extent, and the possessor of either is accountable, not only for sin which his influence has originated ; but for sin which it might have prevented but has not. The thought of having impelled a soul from God, and holiness, and heaven, is distressing to any one that has the least moral sensibility. Here we must not have done with the subject of influence. We all do, or ought to possess influence at the throne of grace. Have we used a holy importunity in behalf of souls around us? Have we plead with God that hopeless ruin might be averted from others with the same importunity which Abraham used for guilty Sodom. Have not many precious lent opportunities of effectual fervent prayer been lost?
God has lent TIME to us all; what improvement have we made of it? When we look back upon the past year, now numbered with the years before the flood, and gone to register its testimony in the judgment records, have we no reason for deep regret, and even fearful apprehension ? In the book of God's remembr nce, does there not stand inscribed against our names, so much time wasted in worthless employments,-s0 much in frivolous amusements,—so much in listless indolence,-60 much in idle reading,—so much in devising sinful plans,—so much in vain conversation,—50 much in the indulgence of unhallowed passions and thoughts, and so much in unnecessary sleep. With numbers of us, when the sum total is computed, will it not be found MENE TEKEL, with reasons for trembling at being weighed in God's balance and found wanting ? Had such redeemed and properly employed time, how different might have been the account? How much knowledge of truth and duty might have been acquired! How many sinful propensities might have been eradicated! How many heavenly consolations might have been possessed! What luxuries might have been enjoyed in habitual endeavours to instruct the ignorant, to relieve the distressed, to reclaim wandering sinners, and to edify and animate Christians! What deeds of piety, charity, and self-denial might have been accumulated! Golden opportunities, gone forever!-invaluable moments lost, IRRETRIEVABLY LOST ! ALAS! FOR THEY WERE BORROWED !
Reader, how great has been the Divine forbearance toward us. Though we have all our past lives been guilty in an high degree of perverting and wasting goods which were only loaned us, our lives are yet spared ; our probation season lengthened ; and overtures of mercy still made to us. Had we the past year treated a fellow worm as we have treated the Eternal Majesty of Heaven, would he have borne with us? Truly it is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. Mercy's plea has yet prevailed; but justice's claim may soon be admitted.
Reader, let us be aroused at the commencement of
the year, to resolve in the strength of another, that we, in future, will employ our talents, knowledge, property, influence and time, more to the Divine honour, to our usefulness on earth, and our preparation for heaven, than we have ever before done. What scenes are before us this year we know not. We live in a world of changes. How many of these have we witnessed the past year in the circles of our acquaintance ; perhaps of our dearest relatives. These changes you can better conceive, than I describe. This year, changes await us. About 30 millions of our race will change worlds. And is it not possible ; is it not even probable, we may belong to that number? Let each of us inquire of his own heart how he would choose to write, speak, conduct, converse, and feel this year, if he knew it would be his last, and resolve thus to do. With this conviction before us as editors we should be less solicitous to please than to profit our readers, and when we sought to please them, it would be for their good unto edification. These feelings would be of service to us in our selections from materials offered for our work, and would induce us to commend each volume and each number to the blessing of Him, who is able to cause our feeble efforts to subserve the best interests of many thousands of youth now, and through them to benefit future generations. To that honour would we aspire, living or dying.* The reader who feels habitually that he may die this year, we are confident will read with attention and interest whatever on our pages may conduce to expand his understanding, to refine his taste, to arouse his conscience, to purify and elevate his affections, or to regulate his will and
* Believing as we do, that Bible Class instruction tends powerfully to attract and bind young people to the service of God, we intend this year to increase our efforts for the formation, the enlargement, and the edification of Bible Classes. Their history, including the advantages resulting from them, will not be overlooked while we conduct the Monitor. Pastors, who have such associations of youth, are requested to furnish us with an epitome of their history, and name such facts respecting them as they think fit. When they can say with Dr. Mc Auley, that within one year from the formation of their Bible Classes 56 members have had their names transferred from the Class list to the records of the church, it ought to be told throughout Christendom.
guide his steps in wisdom's ways. And it is our ardent desire that each reader of the Monitor may enjoy a HAPPY NEW YEAR, and that our pages may contribute to that happiness.
PRAYER DEFINED AND UNIVERSALLY OBLIGATORY.
ESSAY ,......NO. I. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting.
PAUL. If we believe in the existence of a God, who is the former of our bodies, and the Father of our spirits," can we deny our obligations to worship him ? His own word alone can acquaint us how we may worship him acceptably. In that precious volume we are abundantly taught, that prayer to God is an important part of religious worship on earth; that it is a duty universally obligatory on all prisoners of hope. The Scriptures are very full and explicit respecting the matter and manner, the time and place, suitable for the performance of a duty so important and universal. Less however has been written, and published, and circulated on this subject, than its importance demands. In a series of Essays we propose to discuss the subject of PRAYER. In this Essay, we propose to define prayer, exhibit the extent of human obligations respecting it, and glance at the moral affections indispensable to its right performance.
FIRST. A definition of prayer will be given. " It is the offering up of our desires to God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins and a thankful acknowledgment of his mer. cies.” Prayer is either mental or vocal. Mental prayer is raising the desires to God without words. Vocal prayer is the offering up our desires clothed in lan guage. Again, prayer may be divided into ejaculatory, secret, and social. Ejaculatory prayer is separate, unconnected desires raised to God from a heart habitually alive to devotional exercises. This kind of prayer may
be used in the house and in the field, in
and alone. It is peculiarly suitable and useful when in the house of God. The pious soul will often there breathe out these aspirations. O that God would meet me in his sanctuary. O that he would indite my prayers and tune my songs. O that his spirit would render his word effectual for my good. Secret prayer is obedience to the command of Christ. 6 Enter into thy closet, and pray to thy Father who is in secret. It is calling in our wandering thoughts in retirement and pouring out a connected train of desires before God either with or without language. Social prayer is uniting with others in addresses to God, adapted to the collective desires of the social worshippers. It may be performed around the family altar, or in private or public religious meetings.
Prayer may be dissected into eight parts; INVOCATION, ADORATION, CONFESSION, PETITION, PLEADING, DEDICATION, THANKSGIVING and BLESSING. Some of these parts are found in every scriptural prayer.
some instances they are nearly all introduced into public prayers. The order in which these parts were enumerated, is the order in which they are commonly introduced. But variety for edification will often transpose the parts of public prayer, though invocation is suitable for the introduction of every social prayer.
INVOCATION is a solemn mention of one or more of the titles or attributes of God, a declaration of our design to worship him, attended with an expressed desire for his aid and acceptance. It is inyocation to say, Father who art in heaven, the great and dreadful God, our waiting eyes are unto thee” for thine assistance and blessing.
ADORATION is the devout enumeration of the perfections of Jehovah and the displays which he has made of them in creation, providence, and redemption. This is the language of adoration. “Father of mercies, we adore thee as the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise God, filling immensity with thy presence and glory. We adore thee as the fountain and author of all existence and intelligence, of all holiness and hap