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faculties of truth," we must despair of any “appeal" that could be made either to their reason or to their hearts.
It is instructive to observe that while Rationalism requires a higher religious faith than the Bible, Ritualism descends to a faith lower than the Bible ; its centre being the Church, its fountrin of grace the sacraments, its living power the priest. This is the trinity of the Ritualist. With the Church, the sacraments, and the priest, the faith of Ritualism is complete; the Church being the fountain of truth, the sacraments the medium of grace, and the priest the power on earth that dispenses salvation to man. That such a system, so dishonouring to God, and derogatory to the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, should find favour in England at this time of day, is a fact that should make all Christians tremble and fear for the future of this country. It is ominous of evil days that such wickedness should be successful even for a day, and should make the true Church of God in these lands thoughtful, and serious, and prayerful ; and, above all, to be prepared to meet the coming storm, and to stand in their lot at the end of the days. People of England, you are standing on the verge of a precipice ! A grave responsibility rests on every man that values his present privileges as a citizen and a Christian. “ Who is on the Lord's side ?” “ Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put ye every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour,” the sword in this case being the Word of the Lord. But there must be no compromise, no favonr, no leniency shown to brother, companion, or neighbour. God and truth. “ He that is not with me is against me. Take your sides. Stand forth in the ranks ; quit you like men. Roma ”-no peace with Rome. Awake, thou slumbering Church! “Let God arisé, and let all his enemies be scattered !”
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PRAYER A TALENT.-Lake xix. 19-27.
This is one of God's “good and whatever petition or request we bring perfect gifts,” which is to be used for in his Son's name, at any hour, night our own great advantage, and also to or day, He will hear us, listen to all bring in much glory and honour to we say, receive our full request, and himself. The vastness of this “talent" send us all we ask, and much more! seems almost overwhelming when we Now, when you go apart to pray to look into it. The mighty God, the your Father who is in secret, and Majesty of heaven and earth, conde- have shut the door upon everything scending to establish this mode of else but your intercourse with Him, communication between himself and kneel down and utter your whole us-we, who are not only insignificant heart before Him, “believing that creatures of the dust, but offensive he is, and that he is a rewarder of and rebellious creatures ! That He them that diligently seek him.” himself should have instituted such Now, the “ Talent” was a certain a medium of constant and daily ac- amount of something given, to be so cess to himself, and have told us that employed or laid out, as to produce a very large increase of the same
response to this gracious and condething. This is the plain meaning of scending conduct on the part of the parable. If we consider Prayer Christ, we attempt to breathe out as a “talent," what is that portion of our poor desires at his feet, He the talent which God has already en- sends his quickening Spirit into our trusted to our keeping, and for which hearts, and makes us inwardly feel He will call us to a strict account ? that He hears us- --that He is nigh to It is—first, the permission to pray; us--that He regards us.
Have not second, the power to pray ; third, the some of you felt this sweet and lifeopportunity to pray ; fourth, the com- giving encouragement? The Spirit mand to pray; fifth, the encourage- witnessing with your spirit that you ment to pray.
are the child of God ? Is not this Permission. The spirits of the encouragement ? lost are not permitted to pray; they
We read, " He commanded his unce had permission, command, and servants to be called, to see how encouragement, as we have now; but much every man had gained by this is no longer theirs ! But, though trading." Let us ask ourselves, Howo so wholly unworthy and beneath bis much, and what, have we gained by notice, God yet permits us to pray. trading with this one particular We have the power. No one can say talent? How much, and what, have he cannot pray; we can, and no you gained by prayer ? Have you man can take this power from us. gained a deeper sense of the importWe can ask what we desire of God, ance of spiritual things? This is the as well as of man, if we choose and first return to our prayers. The very have the wish to do so.
act of praying does this. Have you, The opportunity. Our whole life in the second place, gained a real is an opportunity to pray. God is conviction of sin } I mean a conwaiting to be gracious to our cry; sciousness (that nothing can we may at all times, and in every again remove) that you are a sinner place, lift up our heart to God in in God's sight, and cannot save yourearnest, heartfelt petition for his self ? Having felt this, have you, in grace and help. And every one can the next place, gained " a sense of make special opportunities if he pardon and mercy through the blood like. There is a great deal of truth of Jesus? If you have, you have in the old adage, “Where there's a also “gained" (fourthly) a peace, will there's a way.”
which you feel to be more precious Then the command to pray. No than worlds, and which you feel the one can neglect prayer without posi- world can neither give nor take away. tively transgressing the command of “Peace with God, through Jesus God! So desirous is the gracious Christ our Lord.” Oh, this is a pearl Saviour of our salvation, that He of great price! a jewel that will even commands us to do those things shine with intensest lustre for ever which He knows are essential to our and ever! Fifthly, if you have gained securing it.
this, have you experienced something Then, encouragements—they are, of the sanctifying influence of the truly, without number! There is Spirit of God upon your heart and every encouragement we can possibly life, making you feel with the ask or wish. He stands at the door Apostle, “I am not my own, but of our bearts and knocks, and if, in bought with a price, and must there
fore glorify God with my body and will bring in our bitterest condemnaspirit, which are his ?" You work for tion or our highest glory at the last God now, not to gain life, but be- day. “ Ask, and receive, that your cause that life is in you, and must joy may be full,” is the word of therefore show itself by its fruits. Christ to each of us. Is not eternal The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, life worth asking for? peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good- This “trading" must be constantly ness, faith, meekness, temperance; carried on. See the men of the giving you to see such a perfect beauty world, how they go on; they never in holiness that no words can express, think they have done enough. Shall and which you long to attain, and to we grow weary in trading to increase show forth to the glory of Him who our eternal riches ? Shall the men of bas redeemed and forgiven you. If this world be wiser than the children you have arrived at this point of ex. of light? Shall we grow weary in perience, you are blessed and happy ; right doing ? No; let us work while you have truly “gained other five it is called to-day, improving to the talents.” But do not stop here ; utmost the Lord's talents, knowing while you have the talent of time still of whom we have received them. I granted to you, go on, and use this hope there is no one here who is talent of prayer for " more grace," wrapping her talent of prayer in a that He may “stablish, strengthen, napkin, and saying in heart, though settle you,” giving you "the full as- not with her lips, that God requires surance of hope unto the end,” that more than He gives, and that thereyou may “know in whom you have fore she has not used that which she believed, and be persuaded that He is has received. If there be, from such able to keep that which you have an one will be taken away that which committed to Him.” This talent is she has-permission, power, opporpre-eminently the one through the tunity, encouragement, and time to right trading with which we are to pray; and it will be given to others obtain eternal life. Yes, no less than more humble, more obedient in spirit eternal life is the mighty result of the than herself, who will bring honour sincere and diligent trading with to their Lord by the use of it. this talent; and, doubtless, it is our
E. T. improvement or neglect of this that
AFRICA AND ITS MISSIONARY WORK. As Africa is the principal theatre of their present forms even while other our missionary efforts in connexion with sections of the earth indicated that other sections of the Holy Redeemer's nature was yet in her childhood. At militant Church, a few remarks on that the very daybreak of reliable history, wonderful country may be acceptable to the African people were not only not our readers.
barbarous, but gave evident signs of ad. African history is most remarkable and vinced civilization. In the days of interesting. Geologists tell us that this Abraham—some two thousand years becontinent is the greatest and most ancient fore Christ—the kingdom of Egypt was division of the surface of the earth. firmly established, and had its regular They also say that its plains, rivers, succession of kings. Greece owed much valleys, and mountains, were nearly in of her success to this part of Africa. The important colony of Phænicia was are like the Kaffres, a name first given established on the north coast of Africa, by the Mohammedans, which means inand became a first-class kingdom for fidels, and used to be applied generally commerce. It is well known, too, that to the tribes of South Africa. The Mothe sailors of Carthage often doubled hammedan religion prevails in the North, her distant Cape, and that Numidia, and the Christian faith has been introEgypt, and a few other places on her duced by European missionaries into coast were most valuable and useful in a
many parts of the continent, especially commercial point of view.
on the West Coast, and at the Cape. How strange, then, that for so many It is a sad fact, however, that multiages so little should be known of such tudes of the African race are the victims a country! Even the daring Greeks and of a rude, cruel, and disgusting idolatry, Romans, when they reached the borders
and are spell-bound by the weakest and of Libyan and Nubian deserts, seemed most foolish superstition. It is refresh. willing to believe that all beyond was a ing, therefore, in turning to the Book of burning waste of sands, populated by the God to find that, sunken as this people wildest savages. It is true, in more are in ignorance and sin, there is in remodern times, the outline of the conti- version for them a glorious destiny. nent and the shape of the coast have been Men of sceptical minds may laugh at found out ; but the interior was known the idea of their elevation and converonly as a dreadful region, whence sup. sion, but a high anthority says : “ Ethioplies of human victims were secured for pia shall soon stretch out her hands unto the horrible slave-trade. Even at the God." beginning of this century, a map of I believe this prediction refers to Africa represented only a very narrow the entire continent of Africa—a conseaboard, with a few small districts ; but tinent nearly three times the size of all beyond was filled up with dreary, Europe, which comprises rather more scorching, barren deserts, and populated than one-third of the Old World, and with animals so unsightly and terrific as one-fifth of the land surface of the entire to fill us, in our schoolboy days, with the globe. The word Cush, which is here greatest alarm.
and elsewhere translated “ Ethiopia,” It was not until our own times that has been applied to at least three disanything like satisfactory knowledge tinct countries, and was used very much has been secured as to the physical in olden times as the word India is now features and useful productions of Cen. used by ourselves. The word Ethiopia tral Africa. Brave men, with stout is composed of two Greek words, which hearts, scientific knowledge, and deeply- mean to burn a countenance; and which rooted love to God and man, have pene- the Greeks regarded as expressive of a trated its unknown regions, and proved dark complexion. The Hebrews also rethat it contains vast prolific lands, sepa- stricted the word Cush or Ethiopia to the rated by forests, rivers, and hills, which sunburnt, tanned-complexioned people abound in the richest vegetation, and of the Cushite race, whose settlements with the most important productions. were in Northern Africa. This people
But we are more interested in the are the descendants of Ham, and are people of Africa, who number about a spoken of in the Bible as dark-com. hundred millions, than in her geological plexioned—“Can the Ethiopian change developments or geographical position. his skin ?" In the north of Africa, the people be. This, then, is the people who shall long to the Semitic family, including soon stretch out their hands unto God. those who live in the vicinity of the Age after age they have stretched out Nile. In Central Africa the people are their hands to strange and powerless chiefly negroes. In the South, with the gods; ere long those hands will be exception of the Hottentots, the people stretched out to the true and the living God. And to such a God their hands degradation physically, mentally, and will not be stretched out in vain. There religiously must be admitted. Many of is a strong prejudice against colour of them know and feel it themselves. But skin among some people. Ethiopians give them time, give them opportunities, would stretch out their hands in vain give them education, but, above all, give to those who think them a sort of re- them the Gospel, and they will rise in the fined species of the ape or the gorilla. scale of humanity in proportion to their But when they turn away from men to privileges. For this many of them God, their hands are not pushed away already stretch out their hands to God in scorn.
Their prayers enter into the in earnest prayer. And shall not God ears of the Lord God of Sabaoth, the avenge his own elect, who thus cry day sighing of the people comes up before the and night unto Him? Lord, and He will answer them accord- God will employ them in the extension ing to the greatness of his power. of his own kingdom. Many of them
He will send them deliverance. For are even now engaged in working for generations they have been oppressed God among their own countrymen. Inand down-trodden. Even in their own deed, I believe it is chiefly by native country they oppress and enslave each agency that Africa is to be regenerated. other. But the white man has been Our own schools and churches on the their chief oppressor. Look at some of West Coast of Africa are managed the French colonies ; look at Spain and entirely by native agents ; and other Portugal; and, until lately, look at missionary societies are adopting the America. Yes, and look at England. same plan. In 1618 a charter was granted by James But some men will ask what reasons I. to establish a regular slave-trading we can produce for our belief in the company to Africa. In 1645 Jamaica future elevation and salvation of the was taken by England. Seventeen years
African race. after another company was formed, with I reply, first, because we have already the Duke of York at its head, and one had an earnest of it. Thousands of of the conditions upon which this com- Africans are now around the throne of pany was invested with a royal charter, God in heaven ; and there are thousands was that it should supply annually to of them on 'earth who are living witJamaica 3,000 slaves. Slavery was thus nesses of the transforming power of legalised for nearly 200 years, and one divine grace. Begin at the Gambia, go of the chief slave-dealing captains on the all along the Western Coast, visit the African coast was actually knighted on his Cape, penetrate for hundreds of miles return to England by Queen Elizabeth ! the interior, and you will find that at
There is, however, a far worse bondage this moment multitudes of Africans are than this, and that is the bondage of stretching out their hands unto God. A their intellects and hearts to the most noble army of God's martyrs now sleeps degrading and cruel abominations. But in Jesus in African soil, whose blood was God will deliver them; He will break off the seed of our African churches. These their fetters ; He will free their bodies, brave men and noble women have not light up their minds, and emancipate toiled, prayed, wept, and died in vain. their souls. He will say “to the Secondly, because the work of God north, give up; and to the south, keep for Africa is so much opposed. It is a not back ; bring my sons from far, and fact that in these days missionaries to my daughters from the ends of the the African race are vilely slandered, earth.” Already He is binding up the and their work is despised. African broken-hearted, offering liberty to the churches and schools and converts are captives, and proclaiming his own ac- laughed at. But these are infallible ceptable year.
signs that the work is real and successGod will elevate this people. Their ful. And the winds of opposition and