Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

the spirit and the temper of Christ. It tends to weaken the power of sin in the heart, and eradicate depraved propensities. Its influence is powerful in guarding against temptations or rendering the soul triumphant over them. It can calm the troubled conscience when no intercourse with men can do it. It can soothe the mind under a fictions and bereavements. Indeed to have communion with God in prayer is the best antidote, and the only effectual one, against the miseries of human life. Though it does not change the purposes of God, it makes the soul approve them. Though God remains the same, prayer is instrumental of producing great changes in the feelings of man. And who can say how often the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous are really answered in the bestowment of the blessings which they implore. Do not the Scriptures authorize us to believe that this is frequently the case? The prayers of the righteous, by belonging to the Divine purposes, may be an indispensable link in that chain of mercy and blessings, which descends from the Father of lights. They may have an inseparable connexion with the bestowment of pardon, sanctification, and eternal life on perishing souls. God has assured us that he will be inquired of by the house of Israel, for the bestowment of blessings, which he intended to bestow. He puts that honour on the means of grace of his own appointment.

I'Ourtily. There is a PLEASURE in prayer. The hypocrile and the formalist may find no satisfaction in this duty. The enthusiast may dream of transports that are but visionary. But neither the deadness of the one nor the delirium of the other will prove there are not sober and sublime pleasures in devotional exercises. When the pious mind is in prayer filled with adoring views of the Divine perfections, with admiration of the wisdom and goodness of God, with scriptural and clear views of the universality and equity of Jehovah's government; like the disciples on the mount of transfiguration, it feels that it is good to be there. When the soul is deeply humbled for sin, and, from a contemplation of its own nothingness and vileness, sbrinks to its

proper place in the dust of self-abasement, it finds a tranquillity to which the proud and the self-righteous are strangers. The tear of penitence offered on the altar of contrition, is attended with more real enjoyment than ever accompanied the pleasures of sin.

When in prayer, the enumeration of mercies inflames the heart with gratitude to God, it is accompanied with exalted and refined pleasures. When before the altar, the believing soul has confessed his guilt, as over the head of Him who bears away all the sins of his people, the hope of pardoning mercy gives peace to the troubled conscience. There a hope of acceptance with God, through the merits of Christ, becomes as an anchor to the soul sure and steadfast. And when the devout worshipper has spread his necessities before the mercy seat, he finds a tranquil joy in the consideration that God is able to relieve all bis wants; and that God will bestow on him whatever it is best he should possess; there too the ascriptions of dominion and power

and glory, give him a delight which he cannot describe. The truly pious reader will better understand the nature and the measure of this enjoyment in prayer, from recurring to bis own experience, when in favored seasons he had sweet communion with God, than from any description which can be given. And to those who have never felt those pleasures, it is impossible for language to convey to them an adequate idea of the pleasures of devout prayer.

And now, reader, the fourfold series of motives invite and urge you to ALL PRAYER, to constancy and perseverance in a devout performance of all the kinds of prayer recommended jn scripture, and which in former essays we have considered. All prayer is your indispensable duty. You do violence to your constitutional circumstances, when you live without feeling and acknowledging your dependence on God. You treat him with the basest ingratitude when you refuse to contemplate his mercies with thankfulness. You manifest impenitence and obduracy of heart when you refuse to confess your sins to God. Without prayer you betray ignorance of your own spiritual wants, and a want of feeling for the

highest welfare of others. While you live casting off fear and restraining prayer before God, you trample on his authority, you rush on the thick bosses of his buckler.

You not only neglect duty while neglecting prayer, but you deprive yourself of an invaluable privilege. You voluntarily, refrain from the gracious presence of a heavenly parent. You lose all the blessings of an audience with the most august and most gracious of Sovereigns,—one who never sent the soul away empty from him. You lose all the advantages of communion with God, advantages compared with which all others dwin. dle to notbing.

Without devout prayer the cares of the world will corrode your breast, sin and Satan will tyrannize over you. You must continue a stranger to true peace. You are an utter stranger to those pleasures wbich the right performance of this duty can bestow.

And now, readers, we call on all of you to yield to the motives of duty and live lives of prayer. Pray every where, lifting up holy hands. Pray with penitence for sin, in the name of Christ, relying on the aids of the Holy Spirit. Pray in your closets, in your families, and around the public altar. Pray with an holy boldness, for things agreeable to the will of God. Breathe the spirit, feel the desires of the prayer which Christ has taught us, and come to the mercy seat with a holy importunity. We call on you to do this as your duty, We invite you to do this as your high privilege, a privilege, the value of which is in some measure understood by millions now on earth; a privilege which has benefited and rejoiced millions who have now changed the voice of prayer for uninterrupted and everlasting anthems of praise.

We invite you to walk in their devout footsteps. By prayer seek the attainment of the spiritual advantages they enjoyed from it. By prayer seek to be assimilated to the spirits which now tune their notes before the throne of God and of the Lamb.

We invite you all by devout prayer, begin now to taste of those pleasures which forevermore flow at the right hand of God.

Yield your hearts to God, live lives of piety and devotion. Feel and express your dependence. Confess and forsake your sins. By faith behold, trust, imitate, and obey Christ. Seek for daily communion with him. Cast on him your cares. Pour out before him your sorrows. Live by the faith of the Son of God. Accept the advantages, and enjoy the pleasures of ALL PRAYER. And at last may your prayers terminate in the uninterrupted and everlasting praises of Heaven.

[For the Monitor.]

COMPANY AND CONVERSATION.

A VERY considerable portion of every man's life is necessarily spent in the society of others. The great business of life cannot be successfully carried on without a great deal of intercourse between individuals. Now, it would seem, if this intercourse is necessary and desirable, that much depends on its proper management; for it cannot be denied, that, in many instances, it has proved the ruin of families and individuals. What, then, is the character of that intercourse which is calculated to produce the happiest results? It is unquestionably the case, that an excessive love of company, and constant resort to the social circle, have a tendency to dissipate the mind and unfit for the more serious business of life: but this arises, not from a proper use of the social powers, but their abuse. Solitude is as necessary as society; nor can the symmetry of the human character be preserved without a proper mixture of each with the other.

The life of social entercourse is conversation : and this cannot be carried on with spirit for any considerable length at a time, without degenerating into mere chit chat. At least this must be the case with young gentlemen and ladies who have just entered into society, and begun to taste its sweets; but have not, of course, become familiar with those various topicks of

conversation which attaches so much value to the company of those whose minds are more mature, and whose knowledge of the world is more extensive. Here is the grand reason, undoubtedly, why there are so many triflers in the world. There are no seasons of reflection, to fit the mind to enter society, and derive those benefits it is so abundantly able to confer. There is a growing taste for company : company must be had; but the young man is entirely upfurnished with those various stores of knowledge necessary to render his company acceptable to men of information and discernment. Hence, he is thrown into a lower class, and thus effectually cut off from one of the best sources of improvement: and learns to trifle with triflers.

Here is the fruitful source of those evils so frequently complained of as springing from society. But the great fault is in the individual, in not taking proper paids in his first setting out in life. There are classes of men we very well know, whose very atmosphere is poisonous. Not sufficiently aware of this in the earlier part of life, and too often carried headlong by our passions, we run heedlessly into the group, and, in the ardor of our feelings, embrace the first we meet: but too frequently find, that we have pressed a viper to our bosom, to sting us at last

We see, then, at once, that there are some grand requisites necessary, in order to gain admission to those circles where we can expect to derive any lasting pleasure and improvement. But, happily, these requisites are within the reach of all

Every man whose company is worth possessing, will be able to discera whether we are gratified with rational conversation : and certainly, we have ability to cultivate such a relish.

In company, it is as much our business to talk and hear, as it is, at the proper hour, to attend the concerns of the counting-room, the shop, or the study. If we are not ready to do our part, to enliven the conversation and render it instructive, we are not only treating the company rudely, but depriving ourselves of a great deal of information and pleasure, which they are able to impart; and which they would, with pleasure, impart, were there proper attention and excitement.

« VorigeDoorgaan »