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premeditate as to what they shall say when they are brought before magistrates, because the Holy Ghost shall teach them how and what they shall speak. Mark xiii. 11. Mat. x. 19. Luke xi. 11.xxi. 14. That the same law of interpretation applies to the promises in John xiv. 13–14.—XV. 7.-xvi. 23–24, is evident from the context. The promise in Matt. xviii. 19-20, is shown from its connexion to be limited to the apostles in the execution of their apostolic office.
There is also a special faith in respect to the working of miracles, to which special promises are given. Matt. xvii. 14-21.
The same kind of faith also is alluded to in Matt. xxi. 18—22. Mark xi. 12-26.
In respect to this passage, however, an objection has been started which deserves attention. It has been said that the duty of forgiveness being inculcated (Matt. xi. 25–26.) proves that the promise is a general one, and does not refer to the faith of working miracles. The objection would be valid, if it could be shown that it was not the duty of the disciples to forgive, when they prayed for the faith of miracles; but if it was the duty of the disciples to forgive when they prayed for this kind of faith, as well as at other times, then this exhortation is altogether in place; though the faith of miracles is the particular faith alluded to.
Again it has been asked—What is the faith of miracles ? is it anything else than faith in God? The faith of miracles is indeed faith in God, but it is faith in God for a specific purpose, directed to a specific end. I believe thousands of christians now living have real faith in God—but have they the faith of miracles ? can they repeat the mighty works of Christ and his apostles, or do they imagine that they can ?
Faith in God generally, as it should be exercised by all christians, is described in Heb. xi. 6; but the faith of miracles is a specific confidence, that God will enable us, for his glory, to perform a specific act, independently of the common laws of nature—an exercise of mind certainly very
different from the general confidence, however strong it may be, that God is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. No one could safely venture to undertake to work a miracle without this specific belief ; but it is not at all necessary for the proper discharge of the ordinary duties of a christian life.
When the Holy Spirit really prompts christians to ask for a specific object, for the purpose of preparing them for its reception, the exercise of mind is really the same as that which was required for the working of miracles, and is equally certain of being specifically responded to. Christians, and especially those who are highly devotional, not unfrequently are favored with such exercises ; and they are often desirable. But the simple-hearted and devotional christian is not to be distressed because his faith does not always partake of this specific character; nor is the boisterous and bold to lift up himself and talk saucily to God, because he imagines himself to have this kind of faith. But the question occurs, why are we required to pray at all ? Surely God needs no information as to our wants or necessities, and nothing that we can say can induce him to change any of his purposes, or make him any more desirous to promote his own glory, or the best interests of his creatures, than he now is. A Persian fable may help to illustrate this point. “One day as I was in the bath (says the fable) a friend put into may hand a piece of scented clay. I took it and said to it, art thou musk or ambergris ? for I am charmed with thy perfume. It answered, I was a despicable piece of clay, but I was sometime in the company of the rose -the sweet quality of my companion was communicated to me, otherwise I should be only a bit of clay as I appear to be.” The same idea is illustrated by 2nd Corinthians ii. 18. We are required to pray that our souls may be brought into contact with our God and Saviour, that his sympathies and feelings my flow into our hearts and transform us into his image, that we may thus be fit to receive the blessings that he gives, and learn to value them.
God neither converts nor sanctifies us by the direct exertion of his physical omnipotence ; but by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, and as it were magnetizing our souls with his own unspeakable affection.
Moreover, the very existence of God would become matter of indifference, if not of absolute scepticism, if our blessings were not to be sought and obtained by prayer. It is when we go to God as our Father, that we feel that he exists; and the mere philosopher, who barely proves the existence of God from the works of nature, has done very little towards convincing our hearts that God is, much less that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
While Stilling was at Strasburg, he was surrounded with sceptics and atheists, who advanced many arguments that he felt himself incapable of answering : but the tempter found nothing in him. These thoughts were in his heart, “He who so obviously hears the prayers of men, and guides their destiny so wonderfully and visibly, must beyond dispute be the true God, and his doctrine the word of God. Now, I have always adored and worshipped Jesus Christ as my God and Saviour ; he has heard me in the hour of need, and wonderfully supported and succoured me ; consequently Jesus Christ is incontestibly the true God, his doctrine the word of God, and his religion, so as he has instituted it, the true religion."
The arguing christian may easily be ensnared by the sophistry of infidels, but the praying christian never.
The same principle applies also to prayer for others, and intercessory prayer has additional benefits. Whenever we pray for others, we become deeply interested in them ; and we cannot long pray for them without loving them. The christian who is in the habit of praying for his enemies, finds no difficulty in obeying the precept of Christ which requires him to love them; but the prayerless person will find even the duty of forgiveness a very hard one.
It is a glorious privilege to be workers together with God in the great work of promoting the salvation of mankind, and that none may be deprived of a participation in so precious a privilege, the most efficient instrumentality is one in which all can unite, the poorest as well as the richest, the weakest as well as the strongest ; the instrumentality of prayer. The poor, deserted, unfriended widow, feeble and helpless and dependent on charity for her daily bread, can lend a helping hand to the progress of God's chariot as really as Paul or Luther.
With two reflections we close our remarks on this interesting topic.
1. What a rich privilege the christian has in prayer ! The christian, I mean, whose walk is consistent, whose devotion is uniform, who lives by the faith of the Son of God; for nothing short of this uniformly consistent life gives one a firm hold on the promises. The christian who lives usually as the world live, cannot, when his exigencies seem to require it, suddenly work himself up into a spirit of prayer, any more than the man whose physical energies have been weakened and his health impaired by a long course of indolence and dissipation, can suddenly become healthy and vigorous, when placed in circumstances of distress and peril. My christian friends, if you are not now in a condition which gives you firm hold on the promises, let not this day pass without a resclute effort in the strength of Christ, to plant your feet on this high ground of christian confidence, and to maintain your position there till this mortal shall have put on immortality, and faith be lost in vision. The promises authorize you, if you are what a christian ought to be, to pray with the utmost confidence of receiving the blessing you seek, for your own advancement in every christian virtue, and for the impartation of spiritual blessings to those in whom you are interested. 1. Thess. iv. 3. Luke xi. 5–13. You are authorised to pray, with the utmost confidence, for every temporal mercy which you need, and with the assurance that nothing will be withholden from you, which will really promote your welfare. Matt. vii. 7–13. Ps. Lxxxv. 11. You are authorized to pray for the relief of your fellow-creatures in every time of distress, for the entire removal of sin and all its attendant wretchedness from the face of the earth, with the utmost confidence that not one of your petitions shall be unavailing before God. Ps. cii. 17–21.
Every christian, in every christian community, that lives and prays aright, fills the sphere which he occupies with an atmosphere of spiritual blessedness, by which all who breathe it are benefited, unless they obstinately reject its wholesome influences. Let no christian, by a life of spiritual insensibility, deprive himself of the distinguishing privilege of his profession.
2. How miserable the impenitent who never offer acceptable prayer ? God is no respecter of persons, he has none of those personal partialities and personal antipathies, irrespective of actual merit or demerit, by which our social feelings are so much characterized. As each one is in heart, so God regards him. He that loves and obeys God, has access to his mercy seat; he that neither loves nor obeys, makes himself a stranger and an alien from his Father's house. My impenitent friends, do you not desire access to the throne of grace, where the promises are so full and free—the hope so sure and certain ? Poor, unhappy creatures indeed are you, if you have nothing but an arm of flesh to rely upon. How can that deliver you soul from spiritual death? How can that save you from the sorrow and miseries of this life even? How can that save you from the pangs of hell ? Beware, there is a time when God will hear all who call upon him, and there is a time when he will refuse to hear, and that too a time of extremest agony. Read carefully Prov. i. 20–33.
To-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts. Psalm xcv. 7-8.
DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE.
TOUR OF THE REV. E. E. ADAMS, CONTINUED.
A public meeting was held here on behalf of our Society, in the very neat and convenient Town Hall. The people expressed much interest in the statements made, and appeared to contribute according to their means.
Whilst here, I met a good farmer, the subject of great afflictions. In the year 1840, a disease deprived him of all his horses; in 1841 by the same cause he lost all his cattle; and during the first half of the present year, he suffered from severe personal indisposition. In July last, the climax of afflictive visitations was completed in the loss of his house and furniture by fire. This was doubly grievous to him, inasmuch as his aged and infirm mother was, with himself, deprived of a home. When I spoke with him of his calamity, saying that I felt any attempt on my part to give him consolation, would be but mockery ; with moistened eyes and faltering tongue he exclaimed,—" It might hare been worse," and then calling religion to the aid of his philosophy, more calmly and emphatically added,—“. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” A subscription was immediately got up, by which the good man realized a very handsome donation to assist him in one more effort for a personal livelihood, and the support of his dependent parent.
This furnishes a lesson of resignation, and a proof of the power of piety; and I may add an illustration of the fact, that christians are more ready to give for the temporal relief of one fellow creature, than for the spiritual welfare of thousands.
We could not condemn the good people of Oakhampton for their charity in this instance, rather would we commend them. They acted nobly. But it did seem to me, that the disproportion between £25 for such a charity, and only as many shillings for the sailors' cause, was too large.
May not this anecdote remind us of our obligations to seamen, especially at this time, when so many are falling a sacrifice to their dangerous calling. We hear of vessels wrecked and crews lost, on every continental coast, on the shores of Africa and of America. During the present month, not less than a thousand lives have been lost at sea, and as many spirits have gone to their account. What have christians done for them? You can do nothing for them now; but what are you ready to do for others who may be within the circle of your influence ? Shall a thousand, shall ten thousand more go down into the deep, unforgiven, unsaved, and appear at last on the left hand of the Judge, and say, to our condemnation, as they hear their sentence of banishment from life,
and joy, and glory, we had not a tract, nor a bible, nor a missionary to light our passage to the grave !—to tell us of Jesus, and immortality, and heaven.
Here a few donations were obtained, but nothing could be done to create a general and permanent interest.
IL FRACOMBE. Great interest is felt here for sailors. The Bethel room is well attended, and christians generally, are very favorable to its support. I preached in it to a crowded audience. A venerable gentleman of ninety years, accompanied me to the Bethel, gave out the hymns without the use of spectacles, and closed the service with a most solemn and appropriate prayer. We held a public meeting in the elegant hall, the Rev. Mr. Besly presided. The audience and speakers were highly respectable. A good lady from Wales so far interested herself as to address several families of rank on behalf of our cause. May the result be realized in our funds, and in our increased influence for good! Many cards were taken by active young ladies, and I trust they will be well circulated and subscribed to. I record with regret, the fact that some sailors have recently imposed upon the benevolent people of this wateringplace, by pretending to have been cast ashore in a destitute condition. Such impositions injure our Society. They create a disgust of seamen, and therefore often prevent a cordial reception of those acting for their spiritual welfare. Let me beseech sailors to consider the evil of such practices ; let me urge them to have regard to their own honour and moral good, and to the feelings and benevolent designs of our Society.
BARNSTAPLE. The pastors and people of this town received me with the greatest cordiality. Their piety and benevolence will not soon be forgotten.
A very interesting providential circumstance introduced me to the mayor and council of Barnstaple, and favoured our cause. I visited the council room at the hall to meet the mayor, when he might have leisure for an interview. He was engaged with the council in deciding certain cases brought before them by the police.
A lad of 15 years was first presented under charge of vagrancy. He pleaded hunger and want of work. He was a sailor boy, and on his way to Plymouth in quest of employment. He was dismissed with the command to leave the town immediately.
The next was a young man also a vagrant. “He had begged for bread, and should do it again.” He was quite radical.
He was sentenced to the work-house 14 days for contempt of court.
Next came a poor mason, who for the first time in his life was “ half seas over.” He was found under the table in a neighbour's kitchen, and "looked," as well he might,“ rather suspicious.” He was immediately