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with due submission to the will of difference in the manner of our com God.
ing at a knowledge of God's purposes ; There is great weight in this exam. and this circumstance may tend to reple. Here was the divine purpose flect light upon the duty of prayer. made known respecting an event,(cer- The divine purpose, undoubtedly may tainly with as much clearness as any be made known concerning an event one cap pretend it is respecting the in such a manner as to preclude the imperfect state of christians in this life,) propriety of prayer: and it may be and yet he who was perfect prayed made known in such a manner as not fervently that it might not be. to preclude it
From this example, it may surely be in respect of the imperfect state of inferred that it is right for us to pray christians in this life, we are left to inthat those events, which will involve fer the divine purpose, instead of being us in criminality, might not take place, taught it by any absolute declaration. although the divine purpose respecting This, therefore, may not be that kind their existence be made known to us. of knowledge of God's purpose resOur Savior's conduct appears fully to pecting this subject, which precludes support the principle that it is right to the propriety of praying for immediate pray for any favor which we need, perfection in holiness. with submission, except we are abso- The want of distinction, howeter, lutely and finally forbidden to do it. as to the manner in which we obtain a
I say absolutely and finally; for knowledge of the divine purposes, is God has sometines declared that he not the principal defect in the aforewould do certain things, and yet, in said argument. But this lies in the consequence of the importunate cries want of distinction as to the nature of of men, has forborne to do them. The events. I insist that such may be the case of Moses who stood in the gap nature of an event, that it is our duty before the Lord to turn away an-| to pray that it may, or may not take ger from Israel, when he said he would place, although we krow the divine consume them, and that of the Nine-l purpose to the contrary. vites who were threatened with dis- It is further argued in favor of the truction within forty days, may be ci-negative side of this question, that" to ted as examples.
pray for immediate perfection in holiIt is not to be supposed, that in ei-ness is inconsistent with the ends we ther of these instances, or in any other, are to keep in view in prayer;" such the eternal counsel of God varied. - as the glory of God, as the chief endHe only varied his providence as there bringing ourselves into submission to was occasion. And he took this the divine will -- the accomplishment course to try men.
of the divine purposes in general—the It hence appears, however, that it is greatest good of believers—and the often attended with difficulty to ascer- best interest of the Redeemer's kingtain what the fixed purpose of God is | dom.” I am unable to see that pray: respecting events: and that it is duty ing for immediate perfection in holiin many cases to pray for events which |ness, is inconsistent with either of these are apparently contrary to his purpose. | ends ; unless we admit that a person
By the mouth of the prophet, God|in sinning can really aim at the glory told Hezekiah that he should die and of God, and the best good of the sysnot live. 'To pray in this case for item. For if this be not the case ; if a the continuance of life, seems to have person in sinning acts in opposition to been praying for that which he knew God; then, just so far as a christian to be contrary to the divine purpose. comes short of sinless perfection, he Yet the king's prayer was heard; and opposes the glory of God, his own best fifteen years were added to his life. good, and the good of the universe,
Such instances show that there is a || He cannot seek the divine glory ip
that degree in which he ought to seek y tradiction; and if the truth of the oase it without being perfectly holy. So is that shritians are concerned for the that the notion of its being necessary divine glory, and active in promoting in order to his having a thorough re-it, only so far as they are sanctified, gard to the glory of God, that he should and honestly pray and strive to be hoconsent to remain, during this life, in ly; they act in perfect consistency a state of partial sinfulness, and that he with all the true ends of prayer ia prayshould forbear to pray for immediateling for immediate perfection in holiperfection in holiness, involves a con- ness. Let prayer be viewed as an ex. tradiction. He seeks the glorġ of God pression of our desires for the promo. no further than he prays and strives to tion of God's glory, or as a mean of be holy. Therefore, instead of its in- | obtaining his blessing, and of preparterfering with a due regard to the di- ing us to receive it, or in any other vine glory, to desire, and pray for inn- light which is proper; and it will apmediate perfection in holiness, this is pear to be perfectly consistent to pray the very course of conduct to which for immediate perfection in holiness. such a regard leads. And so far as It is not seen how a person can forthe christian does not desire and pray bear to do this without regarding inifor such a state, he does actually op- quity in some degree in his heart. pose the divine glory.
It is further said, that “ to pray God will undoubtedly overrule the for immediate perfection in holiness, imperfections of christians to his glory. would be inconsistent with the manner Therefore, all things considered, it is in which all acceptable prayer is to be not best that he should wholly sanctify offered up, i. with submission to them in this life. But this furnishes no God's will,” and “ in faith.” rule for them to walk by. For it is a But how can this be inconsistent with settled principle that we are not to do submission to God's will ? Has he ever evil that good may come. To sup- required us to submit to a continuance pose, bocause God can overrule sia in a state of sin? Does he not rather to his glory, and the best good of the require us immediately to come out of system, that a creature in sinning, or such a state, and be holy as he is holy? in not praying for immediate perfec-Continuance in sin, in any degree, is tion in holiness, can unite with him not a thing about which we are rein this end, appears to be a perfect quired to exercise submission. Chriscontradiction.
tians are unsubmissive, just so far as It is presumed that no one would di- they are imperfect. And it is no more rectly assert that a sinner in sinning inconsistent with the prayer of faith, can unite with God in the promotion to pray for immediate perfection in boof his glory. But the scheme which I liness, than it is to labor for such a am opposing evidently implies that this state. is the case in a degree. For what These are the principal arguments else is a christian's not praying for im- which are adduced in support of the mediate perfection in holiness, but a negative side of this question. But consent to continue a partial course when they are thoroughly examined, of sinning. All moral imperfection they all appear to be inconclusive. iz sin. And if, for the present, the Whatever force they have against the christian must not desire any other duty of praying for sinless perfection in state besides an imperfect one, in or- this life, lies equally against the duty der to keep up a due regard for the of being immediately perfect, or of laglory of God; it will certainly follow boring to be so. But as in the latter that in consenting to sin he can be re-case, it amounts to nothing, it does ally united with God in seeking his glo the same in the former. ry and the interest of his kingdom. Each one of these arguments, ap
Therefore, if this be a palpable con- pears to imply that, in this matter,
are to take the divine purpose for our it is expressed in his holy and righteous rule of conduct instead of the divine law, without being disposed to plead law. But this is, surely, a mistake. | for present strength to do it perfectly. The divine law is our rule of conduct. And, how is it possible that it should This requires immediate perfection in be wrong for him to ask God now to holiness. Here, therefore, our duty is ij enable him perfectly to do his own determined. And to this mark we are will ? The apostle in his first letter to to aim with all holy prayerfulness, the christians at Thessalonica, says, watchfulness and zeal.
“ This is the will of God even your In further confirmation of the opin- sanctification.” And to the Romans, ion which I have advances, I will cite he writes, " But be ye transformed by the following passages of scripture. In the renewing of your mind, that ye i Thess. iv. 23. the apostle manifestly may prove what is that good and acprays that the saints might be inadeceptable, and perfect will of God." perfectly holy in this life.
" And the Let us obey this will, and leave God very God of peace sauciify you wliol- to execute his own purposes. ly: and I pray God your whole spirit, Dec. 13, 1814. and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our The FOURTH REPORT of the Di: Lord Jesus Christ.” He utters a simi
reclors of the Oneida Bible Society, lar prayer in Hebrews xiii. 20, 21. “Now the God of peace-make you
at their annual society meeting in the perfect in every good work to do his village of Nen-Hartford, January will, working in you that which is well
18, 1815. pleasing in his sight, through Jesus The Directors, in compliance Christ." The following petition in the with their duty, as required by the conLord's prayer is much in point, " Thystitution, respectfully subinit the folwill be done in earth as it is in hea-||lowing REPORT: ven.” It is very manifest that this pe- The amount of receipts into the tition implies sinless perfection. And funds of the Society, by subscriptions, it is one which ail christians are direct- donations and contributions, during ed to make. And the words naturally the last year, as may be seen in the import that we are to pray that the schedule of the Treasurer's report, is will of God may now be done in earth $466 26; being $86 56 more than as it is in heaven. To these passages the amount of receipts for the year we may add Ps. li. 2. “ Wash me preceding. thoroughly from mine iniquity, and At the date of the last annual report, cleanse me from my sin.” This was the balance in the hands of the purevidently a prayer for immediate per- chasing commitlee was $81 50 1-2. fection in holiness. So that the affirm- They were then indebted to Messrs ative of the present question is sup- Hudson and Goodwin, of Hartford, ported by the example of very emi-| $58 25. They still remain indebted nent saints. And these prayers ap- for the transportation of bibles for two pear perfectly to accord with the na- years, having never been able to obture of holy affections. He who is tru- tain the account. ly brought to see the evil of sin, and The Committee hare received the beauty of holiness, cannot but de- from the Treasurer, the last year, $200, sire, immediately, a complete deliver-| leaving a balance in his hands of ance from the one, and a perfect pos- $11 22. They have purchased 300 session of the other. If, therefore, he bibles, at sixiy two and half cents expresses the real language of his re-eacb, amounting to $187 50. They newed nature in prayer, he will pray have paid Messrs. Hudson and Goodo be made inmediately sinless. He win $60, and would have paid for the annot rightly love the will of God, asil dibles, but for the difficulty of making
remittances, which difficulty is now the object of their association, have removed by the procurement of eas-been small; yet, it is a source of the tern bilis; and the money will be im- purest joy and satisfaction, that they mediately remitted. The lateness are honored as instruments of commuof the season, in which the purchase | nicating the word of life to many of of bibles was made, has hitherto pre-||the ignorant and destitute of their felvented their reception. The commit- low mortals. tee have now on hand $232, which It is with pleasure that the Direcwill be sufficient to pay the debtstors contemplate the growing imporof the Society, and for the trans- tance of this institution; and it is with portation of bibles already purchased the liveliest emotions of gratitude to
The Treasurer has paid over to the the GREAT DISPOSER of events, Bible Society of New-York $200, that that they view the animated and inhad been previously appropriated by creasing exertions which are now mathe directors, as mentioned in the re- king, not only in the United States, port of the last year, to aid in the but throughout the christian world, to work of printing the bible in the French extend the knowledge of the Holy language.
Scriptures. The Distributing Cammillee, at the There are, at present, 62 bible so date of the last annual report, had cieties within the territory of the Uniton hand 600 bibles; they have receiv-ed States; extending into every state ed none since. During the last year. in the union, and embracing all denothey have distributed 525 bibles, of winations of christians. These have which 437 have been delivered to a. all been instituted since the 12th of gents in tre counties of Oneida, Herki- December 1808; and no less than 22 mer, Montgomery, Madison, Lewis and of them have been established the Chenango ;-and 88 they have distri- past year. Of these societies, there is buted with their own hands. They || 1 in New-Hampshire, 7 in Massachuhave 75 still remaining for distribution. | setts ; 1 in Rhode-laland; i in CorPhe whole number of bibles, that has necticut; 2 in Vermont; 12 in New. been distributed by the society, since York; 4 in New-Jersey; 8 in Pennits formation is 2575.
sylvania; 2 in Maryland; 1 in Del At a meeting of the directors, in aware; 1 in the District of ColumDecember last, it was resolved that no bia; 11 in Virginia ; 1 in North-Carocompensation shall be received for any lina; 2 in South-Carolina ; 1 in Georbibles, that are distributed by the a- gia; 3 in Ohio; 1 in Kentucky; 1 in gents of this society. It was also re- Tennessee; 1 in Mississippi Territory, solved that each member of the 80- and 1 in Louisiana. ciety may receive one bible, annually, It is pleasing to belold, in this numfor distribution at his pleasure. ber, 8 female societies; 1 in Massa
Considering the great importance of chusetts, in the town of Boston; in friendly intercourse with similar in- New-York, at Geneva and Poughkeepstitutions, and of particular informasie; 1 in New Jersey, at Burlington ; tion respecting their success in pro-3 in Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, moting the general object for which Carlisle and Newviile; and i in Virthis society is established, it was re- ginia, at Manchester. These have all solved that a copy of this report be been organized the past year, except sent to each of the Bible Societies in that in Geneva, which was formed in the United States: And the Directors June 1813. carnestly request from cach society a The Societies existing in this state copy of the report of its proceedings are tablished, s at New-York; 2 at annually, in return.
Albany; 1 in Orange county : 1 in Although the means, which the socie- Otsego county ; 1 in Washington cou ty have hitherto enjoyed for promotiog ty ; 1 in Schoharie county; and 1
Oneida county ;-besides the efe-tricts. “They have also four special male societies above mentioned. Of agents, residing in different parts of these, 2 only have been instituted the the state, who serve as general depospast year.
itories of the scriptures, for the purpose Believing that the Society will feel of furnishing them, as they are ordera deep interest in the success of simi-ed by the managers and agents, in lar institutions, the Directors will ex- their respective bounds." hibit, with pleasure, a brief sketch of The Bible Society of Salem, and it the most interesting particulars from vicinity (in Massachusetts) have circuthe reports of other societies, that have lated, in the course of the past year, come to their knowledge.
320 bibles in the neighboring towns. The New-York Bible Society have The whole number distributed by this distributed, gratuitously, in the course society, since its formation in Sept. of the past year, in various parts of 1810, is 860 bibles, and 90 New-Tes this state 1675 bibles. The whole | taments. number of bibļes, that have been dis- The Connecticut Bible Society, as tributed by this society, since its for-appears from their fifth annual report, mation in Nov. 1809, is 10,114. are continuing their benevolent exer:
The Auxiliary New-York Bible So- tions, undiminished. During the past ciety have distributed, during the year year they have purchased 2500 bibles, past, 1000 bibles,
and have contributed $500, to tho The Bible Society of Washington New York Bible Society, to aid in County, formed in Jan. 1813, distribu-printing the bible in the French lanted in the course of that year 500 bi-guage. They have circulated in their bles, and had the prospect of destrib- own state, 943 bibles, and have sent uting a greater number the succeed-1679 for gratuitous distribution elseing year.
where. The whole number that has The Bible Society in Otsego county, been distributed by this Society, since established in June 1812, "had distri- its formation in May 1809, is 10,141 buted, in the course of the year, 340 bibles, and 100 New Testaments. Of bibles and 200 New-Testaments, in these, 5914 bibles have been circulatfourteen towns of their vicinity. Fured within the limits of the state, and the purpose of better ascertaining and 4227 in other places. supplying the wants of the inhabitants. The Bible Society of Philadelphia have within their district, they have organi- distributed, by agents the past year, zed bible associations in twelve towns, 500 bibles and 700 New-Testaments, in Otsego county; all formed on the besides many copies circulated by the same plan, and acting as auxiliaries Managers. “ Since their stereotype to the parent institution, for the pur-press has been in operation, they have pose of procuring funds and distribut-struck off 14,125 bibles and 3250 Newing bibles. These associations annu-Testaments. Their edition of 6000 ally render an account of their pro- copies of the New-Testamentin French ceedings to the general society at was completed some time since, and Cooperstown, and pay into its treasu-the destribution of a considerable numry the amount of their collections.ber of them committed to the care of They, on the other hand, receive from the Rev. Mr. Mills, who is on his sethe county depository, the scriptures cond Missionary tour through the for distribution, as they are wanted.”, south-western regions of this coun
The New Jersey Bible Society havetry.” adopted a plan similar to that in Otse- While such extensive and vigorous go county. They have appointed a exertions are making to spread the
Board of Agents” in each county, (Holy Scriptures through every part of o collect contributions, and to dis-hour own country, it is animating to be ribnte hihles
in their regnativo dis.
hold the unlimitel bonorolence which