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thing permanent, and, said she, “ Were it in my SAFETY OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
power, I would make any earthly sacrifice could Life is always uncertain; and the declaration of | I thirst after the Bible as I do after novels; and James the apostle is applicable to all seasons—" Ye
the greatest daily cross I am called to take up, is know not what shall be on the morrow." But we realize these truths more in a day like this, when the to pass by a novel without reading it. I would say judgments of God are abroad in the land, and when it as a warning to all my sex, Beware of this fatal in a few hours men sink from a state of apparent rock; beware of wasting not only days but nights, to health into the grave. At such a time, the Scripture | make yourselves fools all the rest of your days, if not doctrine of a particular providence is peculiarly dear absolutely wretched." This is a frank confession, to the righteous. When our Saviour was about to
which might be made by multitudes who are ciphers send forth his apostles to perform a work which would expose them to many and great dangers, he in society, because they have no fund within; for thus comforted them : “ Are not two sparrows sold novels, ever so attentively read, will furnish zone for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." This
AN AGED CLERGYMAN. language is equally applicable, of whatever character
| An aged clergyman, when preaching in New Engthe dangers may be to which Christians are exposed.
land some few years since, raising his voice with Not one of them will die accidentally. He who has
each succeeding word, and bringing down bis clenched fixed the bounds of their habitation, and appointed
hand with amazing force upon the Bible at the last them their work, will call each to go up higher, in
word of the sentence, exclaimed-“ A deceitful, his own good time.
wicked man is not fit to serve either God, man, or In the time of prevailing disease and death, let the devil!" Then, after a pause, he added. - And them see to it
I tell you why. He is not fit to serve God, becanse 1. That they are found in the path of duty. Like
he's unholy; he's not fit to serve man, because he's their divine Master, let them be going about doing
oing deceitful; and he's not fit to serve the devil, because good. Let them be found, when needed, at the bed.
he's not content with his wages. No," said the old side of the sick and the dying, and comforting the
man,“ he's not content with his wages. No, no, my bereaved. Let them have their lamps trimmed and
friends, the sinner is not satisfied with the wages well supplied with the oil of divine grace. Let them
which the devil gives, and he never will be for the be found watching. “Blessed is that servant, whom
wages of sin is death. Sinners! sinners! strike for his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing."
higher wages." | 2. Let Christian parents commend their families to God, day and night, endeavouring to impress divine truth upon their minds, and seeking for them his sanctifying grace. And let them, as they have
Fragments. given their children to God in the covenant sealed by baptismal water, be prepared to resign them, SERMONS work not upon hearts as they are eloquent should he claim them, into his hands, without a mur
and admirable, but as they are instruments in the muring word, saying with pious Job-“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the
hand of God appointed to such an end; even as name of the Lord.”
Austin said of the conduits of water, “ Though one 3. Let each individual, especially heads of families, be in the shape of an angel, another of a beast, yet guard, as tar as possible, by prudence in diet, &c., the water refreshes as it is water, and not as it comes against the insidious attacks of the pestilence. Let from such a conduit."-Flavel's Husbandry Spirithem gain the best information concerning proper remedies, and apply them without unnecessary delay.
tualized. Needless exposure to the disease by imprudent diet It is often as hard to persuade the broken-hearted and the like, and unnecessary delay in using remedies,
to hope, as formerly it was to induce them to fear, are but ways of tempting God. When we pray that
Is this thy case ? Behold this sweet promisehe will take care of us and ours, we are solemnly bound, as far as possible, to employ the best means
“A God ready to pardon !"-(Neh. ix. 17.) “ Thou of securing the blessing. God works by means. | art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful,
Having done these things, apply to yourself the slow to anger, and of great kindness.” Instead of language of our Lord " Let not your heart be keeping away from God under a sense of our untroubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me."
worthiness, as the enemy of souls would urge, let us In his hands, sincerely endeavouring to discharge your duties, you are safe. Should you be called to
come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obdie, it will be because Infinite Wisdom sees it best tain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. to take you to your rest. Be calın.-Presbyterian | He is a God ready to pardon.-Scott. of the West.
Divine TEACHING.-If God be our father he will
give us the teachings of his Spirit. “The natural SIN CURSING AFTER REPENTANCE.
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,
neither can he know them." The natural man may A young lady in one of the large cities, of good have excellent notions in divinity, but God must native talent, was once condemning her folly, in teach us to know the mysteries of the gospel after a terms of deepest regret, for cultivating her taste spiritual manner. A man may see the figures upon for novel-reading. She had lately become pious, and a dial, but he cannot tell how the day goes unless now found to her sorrow, that her imagination had the sun shine; we may read many truths in the Bible, become so fascinated, and her taste so vitiated by but we cannot know them savingly till God by his this pernicious reading, that she could fix on no Spirit shine upon our soul.- Watson.
THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
SATAN'S TEMPTATIONS AFTER PRAYER.
BY WILLIAM GURNALL.
Satan draws his argument from God's deport- tion, to question whether God hears thee, bement to the soul in and after prayer ; in which, cause thou hearest not from him presently. three things he commonly insists upon, by them Be patient, and thou shalt find, the longer a to create trouble to the Cbristian's thoughts. mercy goes before its delivery, the more perFirst, His silence, which he would have the fect it will come forth at last. God gave a Christian interpret to be God's slighting or speedy answer to Abraham for his son Ishdisregarding of him and his prayer. Secondly, mael: “O that Ishmael might live !"– (Gen. His frowns, from which he would have him xvi. 18.) “ I have heard thee,” saith God, “conconclude, neither he nor his duty are accepted. cerning Ishmael."-(Ver. 20.) Indeed, he flour. Thirdly, He not giving the mercy in kind : and ished, and spread into a great nation, almost this he tells the Christian amounts to a denial. before Isaac's stem had budded. What a small
SECTION 1.-His silence after prayer. As number was the family of Jacob at their going wicked men sometimes sin, and God keeps down into Egypt ! But when the date of God's silence, which makes them bold to think God | bond was nearly expiring, and the time of their approves of them and their way; so sometimes I promise grew nigh, then God paid interest for a gracious soul prays, and God holds his peace his stay. None gain more at the throne of here also ; and the poor soul begins 10 fear grace than those who trade for time, and can that neither his person nor his duty are ap forbear the payment of a mercy longest. Seproved of God. Now Satan, knowing what condly, Consider, when thou findest the deepest thoughts are likely to rise in the Christian's silence in God's providence, concerning the own heart, falls in, and joins issue with the thing prayed for, then thou hast a loud answer Christian's bosom enemy, labouring to confirm in the promise. Say not, therefore, Who shall him in these his unbelieving fears. To help | ascend to heaven ? to bring thee intelligence thee out of this, First, Learn to distinguish be- whether thy prayer hath got safe thither, and tween God's hearing and his answering the had favourable audience in God's ear. God saiut's prayer. Every faithful prayer is heard, himself hath saved thee this labour; the proand makes an acceptable report in God's ear mise will satisfy thee, which assures thee, that as soon as it is shot ; but God doth not always if it be duly qualified, it cannot find the heart thus speedily answer it. The father, at the of God shut against it : “ The effectual fervent reading of his sou's letter (which comes haply prayer of a righteous man availeth much."on some begging errand), likes the motion, his (James v. 16.) So assured have the saints been heart closeth with it, and a grant is there of this, that they, before any inkling from propassed ; but he takes his own tiine to send his vidence hath been heard (to bring them the despatch, and let his son know it. Princes news of a mercy coming), have taken up joy have their books of remembrance, wherein they upon the credit of the naked promise, and write the names of their favourites whoin they feasted themselves with the hopes of what they intend to prefer, haply some years before their expected, but had not yet received, at the cost gracious purpose opens itself to them. Mor and charge of God's faithfulness, with which decai's paine stood in Ahasuerus's book some the promise is sealed : “In God I will praise while before his honour was conferred. Thus his word.” —(Psa. lvi. 4.) Mark the phrase : he God records the names of his saints and their had not as yet the desired mercy, only a word prayers. “The Lord hearkened and heard it ; of promise that it should come ; and consider. and a book of remembrance was written be. | ing the power and truth of God, the promiser, fore him, of them that feared the Lord, and he is as merry as if he were put in possession thought upon his name."--(Mal, iii. 16.) But, of it, and pays his praises before God performs perbaps, they hear not of God in his providen- | the promise. tial answer for a long time after. Abraham Section II.-The second thing which Satan prays for a child, and is heard ; but how many | gathers from God's deportment toward the years interpose before he hath him in his arms ? Christian, thereby to bring the hearing of his Take heed thou be not led into this tempta- prayer into question, in his auxious thoughts, is some anger which seems to sit upon his brow who at last was owned of Christ for a dear against the Christian. It cannot be denied, but child, and sent away to her heart's content. sometimes a dear saint of God may go away Sincerity needs fear no ill from God. This from duty with an aching heart, by reason of very consideration kept Job's head at another the sad impressions of an angry God left upon tiine above water.-(Chap. xvi. 12.) There we his spirit. And when thus it fares with the find God taking him by the neck, shaking him, Christian, Satan's time is come, he thinks, to as it were to pieces, and setting bim up for his lead him into this temptation, by persuading mark; but (ver 17) this upheld his troubled him he may read what entertainment his spirit, that all this befell bim walking in the prayer had at God's hands, in the language of way of obedience—“Not for any injustice in his countenance, and his carriage toward him. my hands ; also my prayer is pure ;" where. If God, saith he, had heard thy prayer, would fore he rears up his confidence (ver. 19, 20): he handle thee thus ? No, sure; he would “Behold my witness is in heaven, and my rerather have taken thee up into his arms, and cord on high ; my friends scorn me, but mine kissed thee with the kisses of his mouth, than eye poureth out tears unto God." The holy thus trample thee under his feet. Thou shouldst / man was not for all this scared from the throne bave had darts of love shot froin bis pitiful of grace, but still looked on God, though with eye, to intimate the purposes of his grace, and tears in his eyes, expecting good news at last, not arrows headed with his wrath, to stick in after so much bad. And we have warrant to thy soul, and thus drink up thy very spirits. do the same (1 John iï. 11): “If our beart Can these be the wounds of a friend ? —this condemn us not, then have we confidence the deportment of one that means thee well! toward God." This was the temptation which ruffled Job's Secondly, Inquire whether, under these thoughts, and embittered his spirit.---(Chap ix. frowns from God, there be yet a spirit of 17.) He could not believe God answered his prayer working in thee. Haply thou canst not prayer, because he broke him with his tem- | deny but that thy heart is rather stirred up pest- as if God's mercy came always in the from these to lament after the Lord with more still voice, and never in the whirlwiud. Now, / restless sighs and groans, to pray with more in this case, take this double counsel. First, feeling and fervency, than driven away from Inquire whether this tempest comes to find any duty. This spirit of prayer upheld in thee, Jonah in thy ship ; whether it takes thee sin- may' assure thee of these two things. First, ning, or soaking in any past sin unrepented ; | That the cloud of anger, which seems to sit on or whether thy conscience, diligently listened God's brow, is not in his heart. It is but a to, doth witness that thou art sincere in thin veil, through which thy faith might see thy course, though compassed with many the working of his bowels toward thee. The failings. If it overtakes thee in any run. | presence of the Spirit of God at work thus in away voyage with Jonalı, or rambling course a soul, cannot stand with his real anger. If with the prodigal, from thy Father's house, bis wrath were up, this in thee would be down. then, indeed, thou hast reason to question; yea, Thou shouldst have him soon calling back his it is beyond all question, that an acceptable ambassador of peace, at least suspend and prayer in this posture cannot drop from thy withdraw his assistance. When that sad breach lips. What! run from God, and then send was made between God and David in the matto him thy prayers! This is to desire mercy | ter of Uriah, David's harp was presently out! to spend upon thy lust. But if, upon thy faith of tune, his right hand had forgot its cunning, ful search, thou findest this storm overtakes and the spirit of prayer received a sad damp in thee in the way of duty and exercise of thy his heart. Where is the psalm to be found sincerity, like the tempest that met the disci. that was penned by David in that interregnum ples at sea, when at Christ's command they | | of his grace? I do not say he never did pray launched forth, be not discouraged ; for it is all the time he lay soaking in that sin ; but ordinary with God to put on the disguise of an those prayers were not fit to be joined with the angry countenance, and to use rough language, holy breathings of that spirit which actuated || when his heart is resolvi d upon ways of mercy, him before his fall, and after his recovery ; and meditates love to his people. Jacob, you | therefore, when by repentance he came to know, wrestled hard and long before victory | himself, like one recovering out of a dangerous inclined to his side. And the woman of Canaan sickness (which had for a time taken away his was sent array like a dog, with harsh language, senses), he begins to feel himself weak, and
SATAN'S TEMPTATIONS AFTER PRAYER.
how much the Spirit of grace was by his sin thy present inisery, and feed on thy past enfeebled in him ; which makes him so vehe. | crosses. Indeed, it requires a good insight mently beg that God would renew a right into the nature of the promises, and the divers spirit in him, and not take his Holy Spirit from ways God takes to fulfil then, to enable us to him.-(Psa. li. 11, 12.) The Spirit is so choice spell an answer out of a denial of the thing | and peculiar a mercy, that if thou canst find we pray for ; yet such a "good understanding lively actings of his grace in thee (and where have all they that do his commandments.”_ are they more sensibly felt than in prayer, (Psa. cxi. 10). They can clear God, and justify helping the soul to sighs and groans which his faithfulness in all his dealings, though, when cannot be uttered ?) thou canst not, in reason, he comes to answer their prayers, he chooseth think God is not friends with thee, though it not to enter in at that door which they set were at present as dark as midnight with thy open for him, por treads in the very steps of soul. Secondly, It may assure thee that his their express desires. The whole psalm con. ear is open to thy cry, when his face is hid tains a testimony given to the faithfulness of from thine eye. For, consider but who this God in bis providential works, at which though Spirit is that thus helps thee in prayer, and | a carnal eye (from the mysteries hid within) furnisheth thee with all thy spiritual ammuni. takes offense ; yet the gracious soul, by his tion with which thou so batterest the throne of more curious observance of, and inquiry into grace; is he not one that knows the mind of them, finds a sweet harmony between them God, and that would not have a hand in that and the promise ; and therefore he concludes, petition which should not be welcome to “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisheaven! Having, therefore, this assistance dom; a good understanding have all they that from the Spirit, doubt not thy acceptance with do his coinmandments : his praise endureth for the Father. In a word, the Spirit that helps ever.” They have a key to God's character, thee to thy groans and sighs in prayer, is no can read the hand of his providence, and so are other than that God thou prayest to; and will able to praise him (knowing him faithful) God deny himself ! This I conceive a princi- , when others are ready to curse him. But to 'pal part of that scripture's meaning (Isa. xlv. help thee out, or keep thee from falling into 19): “I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek this temptation, in the first place, consider what ye me in vain.” That is, Whenever I stir up mercy it is that God denies thee: is it not of a soul to pray, and empower him with my that sort of blessings which are not necessary Spirit to perform it feelingly, fervently, and unto thy happiness as a saint? Such all tem. after a holy manner, it is always to purpose. poral mercies are. The kingdom of God conGod never said thus to any, “ Seek ye me in sists not in meat and drink ; thou wilt find an vain."
absolute denial for no other; he hath bid us SECTION III.-The third thing from which take no denial for his love and favour, grace Satan takes his advantage, to breed scruples in and glory : “Seek the Lord and his strength; the Christian's mind concerning the acceptance seek his face evermore” (Psa. cv. 4); that is, of his prayer, is the denial of the mercy in kind be not put off for these, but live and die at which is prayed for. We are prone enough to God's door till he brings this alms to thee. have such thoughts ourselves, and Satan will Well, we will take this for granted. It is a not be wanting to feed any bad humour that is temporal mercy thou art denied. Now, when stirring in us. Or if our hearts seem pacified thou art tempted to question the love of God, with this dealing of God, lie hath his ways and or acceptance of thy prayer, let me desire thee wiles to conjure up this evil spirit of disconto weigh this threefold consideration. First, tent and unbelief. On this errand he sent Consider how ill God may take this at thy Job's wife, to make him think and speak evil hand, and that in a double respect; First, That of God: “Dost thou still retain thy integrity ?” thou dost suspect his love upon so slight and As if she had said, What! art thou at thy old trivial a matter, as the temporal enjoyments of work-still praying and praising God ? Dost this life are, which he thinks have not worth thou not see how much he regards thee, or thy enough to be put into the promise any other. serving of him? What hast thou got hy all | wise than they are subservient to the spiritual thy devotion ? Is not thy estate gone-thy and eternal blessings of the covenant : “ Seek children slain and buried in one grave—and first the kingdom of heaven, and these things thyself left a poor, loathsome cripple ?-thy shall be added unto you” (Matt. vi. 33); that life serving for nothing but to make thee feel is, as you need them. He casts them into the
other (more grand blessings), as a tradesman wisdom on work to make such a return as may would thread and paper unto a parcel of rich be most for his own glory, and his child's good. commodities. Suppose a child should ask his Now, it being the product of such infiuite wis. father for money to buy some trifle, but the dom and love, thou oughtest to acquiesce in it, father denies him : now, if the child should go yea, to praise God for it. Thus did David in a and make proclamation in the open street, to
great strait : “O my God, I cry in the daytime, the disgrace of his father, that his father did
| and thou hearest not.”—(Psa. xxii. 2.) Well, neither love nor regard him, though he wants what hears God from him. now ha.
what hears God from him, now he hears noneither food nor raiment, would this be well thing from God, as to the deliverance prayed taken at the child's hand! This thou dost in for? No murmuring at God's proceedings ; nay, this case, though thou thinkest not so much; he hears quite the contrary, for he justifies and and hath not thy heavenly Father more reason
| praises God (ver. 3): “ But thou art boly, O to question thy love, for taking away his good thou that inbabitest the praises of Israel !" name, than thou to suspect his for his denial ? Thirdly, Observe whether thou canst not gather But again, he may take it ill that thou hast something from the manner of God's denying aspersed his wisdom. Is there no way but this the thing prayed for, which may sweeten it to for the wise God to show his love, and answer thee. Haply thou shalt find he denies thee, thy prayer ? Cannot he deny health and give but it is with a smiling countenance, and patience ?-take away thy estate, and turn it ushers it in with some expression of grace and into contentment; teaching thee to be abased, favour, that may assure thee his denial proand to bless God thou art made low ? He ceeds not from displeasure. As you would do that will make thee so happy in heaven, where with a dear friend, who, may be, comes to bor. few of this world's enjoyments shall be seen, row a suin of money of you, lend it you dare cannot be make thy life comfortable on earth not, because you see plainly it is not for his wi hout some of them ? Secondly, Consider good; but in giving him the denial, lest he how thou prayest when thou didst meet with should misinterpret it, as proceeding from love this denial. Didst thou pray peremptorily, and and respect, you preface it with some kind absolutely, or conditionally, with submission to language of your hearty affection to him, as the will of God? If peremptorily, thou wert that you love him, and therefore deny him, and beside the rule, and art the cause why the shall be ready to do for him more than that prayer came back without its errand. God will comes to. Thus God sometimes wraps up his not hear or bear commanding prayers; he that denials in such sweet intimations of love, as preinust have a temporal mercy, if he gets it, may vents all jealousies arising in the hearts of his have a spiritual curse, but he is sure to get a people. When David was denied to build a temporal cross. So Delilah proved to Samson, temple for God, he gave him a large testimony of u ho would not take his parent's counsel, but his affection, how highly he accepted his good. must have her, whatever comes of it: “Get will therein ; though he should not build a her me, for she pleaseth me well.”—(Judges temple for him, yet his desire was so kindly siv. 3.) But he paid dearly for his choice. May | taken, that God would build a house for him be such an enjoyment pleaseth thee well; thy that should last for ever. Thus sometimes a carnal heart is in love with it, and that sets thee faithful minister prays earnestly that God would d-praying inordinately for it. Alas! poor bless his labours to the converting of his people, creature, if thou badst it, what wouldst thou and is denied, yet intimations of God's love to do with it? Thou wouldst fondly lay thy head his person are dropt, with a promise that his in its lap, and let it rock thy grace asleep, and reward is with the Lord; so that his prayer, then betray thee into the hand of some sin ; | though denied as to them, is returned with peace but if thou prayest with a submissive spirit, on into his own bosom. Another prays passioncondition God liked it as well as thyself; why | ately, O that he might see Jerusalem a quiet then dost thou now recant thy prayer, seeing habitation ! and that truth and peace might God hath declared his will, that it is not good for flourish in his days. This, may be, is not granted, thee to have thy desire? Wilt thou not be because his desire antedates the period which determined by him, to whom thou didst refer God hath fixed in his purpose for the fulfilling of thyself ? Hast thou not reason to think that his promise to his church ; but be manifests Gud takes the best way for thee? There is his love to him, and expresseth how higbly never a prayer put up but God doth, as it were, he respects his love to the church. Thus God weigh and ponder it, and then his love sets his did by Daniel, to whom an angel was sent