Images de page
PDF
ePub

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

* *

*

important ends in relation to ourselves. “5. God often suspends his favours on 1. It may have, and is designed to have the condition of our asking for them, and a beneficial influence in preparing us for asking in a suitable manner. the mercies we implore.

6. I mention but one consideration more, 2. It is designed also as an act of homage to illustrate the necessity and importance to our Creator-an homage due to his in- of prayer—and that is, the example of finitely glorious attributes, from creatures Christ. Christ not only prayed often with capable of perceiving them, and who, at his disciples; but he prayed alone, offerthe same time, are the daily recipients of ing up strong crying and tears unto him his bounty.

3. Prayer, more- that was able to save.” over, is designed as a mean of obtaining good, and of warding off evil.”

The author's reply to his third After answering very satisfac- the characteristicks of an accept

inquiry, viz. “What are some of torily, under the last particular, able prayer," is given under the the common objection, that as the following particulars-We quote purposes of God are fixed from the whole of the first eternity, prayer can have no influence on events, the author sums

"1. I name as one circumstance of ac.

ceptable prayer, that it must be the prayup his argument and concludes

er of a righteous man ;-in other words of this division of his subject by a true Christian. It does not seem pos. saying

sible that God should accept the prayer of “ It is enough for us to be assured that

the wicked, as it cannot flow from a right God has established a connexion between

spirit. Besides, we are expressly told,

that the sacrifice of the wicked is an asking and receiving—a connexion more

abomination to the Lord, while the prayer or less certain according to circumstances, but of sufficient moment, to awaken our

of the upright is his delight.' We will hopes, and to become a powerful stimulus

not say that God never hears the wicked, to prayer. All the promises made to pray.

as he hears the young ravens when they er imply this, as do also the many in

cry. As a compassionate Being, he may stances in which God has heard the cries

so far regard their supplications as to de. of his people.”,

liver them out of their troubles. This is

what the psalmist intimates when he ceProceeding to his nd inqui

lebrates the goodness of God towards

those who go down into the sea in ships, ry, namely—“ Wherein does the

and do business in the great waters. They great importance of prayer ap- see the wonders of the Lord in the deep. pear,” the author says

For he commandeth the stormy wind and "1. We mention first of all, the fact,

lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount that God is styled in his word a prayer

up to heaven; they go down again to the hearing God. * * * 2. But this truth

depths; their soul is melted, because of is more distinctly announced in the repeat

trouble. Then they cry unto the Lord, ed commands given us to pray.

and he bringeth them out of their dis3. The same conclusion follows most ob

tresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so

that the waves thereof are still.' viously from the promises which God has made to prayer. * 4. We shall be

" This is a wonderful expression of still more impressed with this truth, if

God's mercy—but “no proof that he acwe consider a moment what prayer has

cepts the prayers of those whom he thus

delivers from a watery grave. God is actually done."

holy, and it would be inconsistent with Reference is had in the fourth this attribute to approve or accept of an particular, to the answers made to act in his creatures, which had in it no the prayers of Moses, Joshua, Gi. degree of moral worth. He may have

compassion on a sinner, and deliver him deon, Barak, Sampson, David, Eli- from trouble when he cries ;--but he canjah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, the not behold his character or his works with Jews in the days of Esther and approbation. This has always been a Mordecai; and of the primitive stumbling-stone to many; and not unfreChristians, in the case of Peter, cuse to withhold prayer altogether. The when on the point of being slain truth, however, must not be concealed, by the blood thirsty Hered; in the whatever abuses may be made of it. God case of Paul and Silas, at Phi- hath said, 'He that turneth away his ear lippi; and in the conversion of shall become sin. 'And David confesses, multitudes on the day of Pentecost. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the

*

*

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*

*

[ocr errors]

*

*

Lord will not hear me.' And will he hear have taken it upon me to speak unto the others, who regard iniquity in their hearts, Lord;' as if it was a great thing--a privi. and whose prevalent disposition is opposi- lege, of which he felt himself wholly untion to God and his law? The prayers of worthy. And again: • let not the Lord such persons, as well as all their other be angry, and I will speak but this once.' acts, are destitute of love to God and love Such also was the temper of the publican, to man, and cannot be accepted in the who stood ' afar-off' from the mercy-seat, sight of him who looks to the very springs and who dare not so much as lift up his of action, and who condemns whatever is eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, not accordant with his law. It appears, and cried, God be merciful unto me a sintherefore, to be a primary requisite of ner. And this is the temper, in a greater every acceptable 'prayer, that it should or less degree, of all acceptable' worshipflow from the heart or lips of a righteous pers. Their cry is the cry of the humble; man."

and of them God hath said that he will not We submit it to professor Rich- despise their prayer. His promise is, that

he will be nigh unto such as are of a broken ards, whether this particular is heart, and that he will save such as be of sufficiently guarded. Ought he a contrite spirit. Without some portion not to have shown that men are of this spirit transfused into our prayers, not to wait till they are satisfied it is impossible they should find accept

ance with God: while they who have that they are righteous men, be

most of it will stand highest in the divine fore they attempt to pray? An favour, and secure the richest answer to important error is often commit their prayers. The Lord loves to fill the ted in regard to this point, which empty vessel-to raise the poor up out of it seems to us should have been soul, while the rich he sends empty away.

the dust-to feed the hungry, starving exposed, and corrected.

“5. I add, as a further characteristick “ 2. But secondly, it must be sincere, of acceptable prayer, that it must proceed expressing an unequivocal desire for the from right motives Nothing is more object prayed for.

3. Prayer, common than to ask for lawful objects to be acceptable and prevalent with from improper motives. "Yo ask and God, must be earnest, as well as sincere," receive not,' says the apostle, because ye

ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon

your lusts.' The object might have been We shall quote the whole of right, but the motive was wrong: Somewhat is said under the following thing earthly or selfish gave birth to their particulars, with which the first prayers. Perhaps they desired the gift of lecture is closed.

miracles, that they might benefit their

friends, or raise their own credit in the “4. Let me remark, however, in the world. Perhaps they desired to be saved fourth place, that though importunate, from the violence of persecution, not that they should not be dictatorial or presump- they might serve God with less distractuous. On the contrary, they should ever tion, or extend farther the borders of the be marked by the deepest humility. This Redeemer's kingdom, but that they might is an important requisite of every accepta. be dore at ease in their callings, and sink ble prayer. It is to the great God that more quietly into the enjoyments of the we pray, the dread Majesty of the uni- present life. Perhaps they were divided verse, before whom all nations are as the into parties, and wished some advantage drop of the bucket, and as the small dust over their respective opponents. But of tho balance: it is to him in whose sight whatever was the object, the motive was the heavens are not clean, and before wrong. God's glory was not their endwhom cherubim and seraphim veil their nor their own best good-nor that of faces. What are we, that we should others. Whether it were temporal or speak to this great and glorious Being! spiritual blessings which they sought, One would think that we should shrink some earth-born motive lurked beneath; into the very dust at the thought. Şure- and therefore their prayers were unavailly it becomes us to approach him with the ing: as ours also will be, when the motive profoundest reverence and humility, lay- is such as the all-searching eye of God ing ourselves at his feet, under a deep con- cannot approve. Then only will our viction of the awful distance between him prayers enter into his ears, when they and us. This was the temper of Abra- flow from a heart deeply imbued with the ham when he drew near to God in the spirit of the gospel; when his glory is plains of Mamre. We hardly know which uppermost with us, and the highest good to admire most, the humility of his ad- of his kingdom. In such a state of mind, dress, or the persevering ardour with we shall ask for right things, in a right which it was urged. Behold, now, I manner; and God, the unerring judge of

*

* *

*

ble prayer.

our hearts, will accept the service and grace and of supplication. If you would pronounce his blessing.

be saved from worldliness, from pride, “6. Finally, I might say, with the apos- from sloth, and from whatever would distle in our text, that we should ask in faith, honour Christ, or hinder the success of nothing wavering : for faith, no doubt, is your labours, and if you would be eminentan essential ingredient in every accepta- ly holy, or eminently useful, cultivate a

spirit of prayer. Let this be an object “But as I propose to make this a mat- with you now in all your preparations for ter of somewhat extended discussion, I the ministry: and when you shall enter shall defer it till I take up the fourth ge- upon this sacred office, do not forget, I neral inquiry, viz: "What is to be under- entreat you, that prayer-fervent and bestood by the prayer of faith, and how far lieving prayer—is among the mightiest has God bound himself to hear and answer weapons of your spiritual warfare." such prayer?". In the mean lime, we shall conclude this lecture, by remarking that

This is all in a high strain of much of the Christian character is de excellence-instructive, impresveloped in the article of prayer. He sive, pious, and appropriate. But that prays much,' said the good Fenelon, loves much; and be that prays little, yet it appears to us that it is deloves little." 'A prayerless Christian is á fective in an important, nay, an escontradiction in terms; while he that sential particular. No prayer can prays not from a right spirit, how much

be either prevalent with, or acceptsoever he may abound in the duty, falls short of the Christian character. I know able to God, which is not offered of no criterion more decisive of the reali- in the name and through the mety and the measure of a man's piety than diation of Christ; and yet this is his prayers. Just so much as he has of not noticed at all, when the lecthe spirit of true devotion, just so much

turer's express object is to show and no more has he of the love of God and the love of man in his heart, and just

“what are some of the characterso much of reverence for God, of faith in isticks of an acceptable prayer.” God, and every other Christian grace. It would not be satisfactory to us Tell me how much he prays—with what

to remark, that it was proposed to sincerity, with what ardour, with what watchfulness, confidence, and persever

mention only some of the characance, and for what objects, and I can tell

teristicks of acceptable prayer. you how much he loves and fears God, “I," said the Saviour, “I am the how much he loves his neighbour-what way, the truth and the life; no man is his humility, his spirituality, and his deadness to the world—what his self-de

cometh unto the Father but by nial, his patience, meekness, and fidelity. me.” Here is an essential requiin the cause of his Master. All these vir- site, the want of which nothing tues are but the modifications of holy love; else can supply or compensate.

It and the strength of this is measured by should, we think, have formed the the spirit of his devotions.

“ Judging then by this rule, how much subject of the fourth particular, religion have we? What is the character and been very distinctly and proof our prayers? Let every one who is in minently stated. Who can read the habit of praying, and praying in se

the former part of the Professor's cret, answer this question for himself. If he can find what moves him in this duty, solemn and admirable remarks, and especially what is the preponderating under what he has made his fourth motive, he will find the master spring of particular, and not feel that he his soul—that which settles his character could have no access to God, could in God's sight; and which, remaining as it is, will settle it in a day of final retribu- neither address him, nor for a motion. He may know both whether his ment stand as a party with himpiety be real, and whether it be in a de- without the intervention of a Meclining or progressive state. I commend

diator and Intercessor! We know this subject, my young brethren, inost earnestly to your attention. Soon

not how to account for it, that the

you will be called to leave this sacred retreat, devout spirit of Professor Richand to enter upon the work of the gospel ards, with which we have the pleaministry—a work full of labour, full of difficulty, full of self-denial. Much will you overlook this particular; except by

sure to be well acquainted, could need diligence, and fortitude, and patience, and resignation to the divine will; supposing that his, mind was abbut above all will you need the spirit of sorbed in thinking of those things

وو

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

which are more likely to be neglect- not doubt, say so little of Christ? ed or forgotten as qualities of ac- give to his offices and his work ceptable prayer, than the mediation so small a space; present him to and intercession of Christ. In the view so defectively and cursorily following lecture, we find it put in as they too often do, in their as a memento, at the close of an preaching and publications. That extended discussion on the prayer in this respect there is a marked of faith, that “In all this, however, and striking difference, between it is to be understood that we ask evangelical ministers of the prea in Christ's name, and expect a

sent day and those, not merely of gracious hearing on his account the reformation, but those who solely, as the great Mediator of have flourished from that period the new covenant, through whom down to within half a century of all the blessings of that covenant the present time we think not are bestowed.And in the con. to be denied. Is it not attributaclusion of thạt lecture, in showing ble to a thirst which has of late the great encouragement which years been created for philosophithe people of God have to pray, cal speculations and investigahe justly remarks, that their hopes tions? So we think-This at least will rise “ the more they can see

is the best account we can give of of Jesus the great Mediator, at the unquestionable melancholy the right hand of God, and the fact-melancholy indeed; for it stronger their reliance upon the bodes serious evil to the church of fulness of his righteousness, and Christ. Philosophy never did, the preciousness of his , blood.” and never will, have much to do, Here is unequivocal evidence that either in converting sinners or Professor Richards is not among edifying saints. God has never those who either disbelieve the blessed it, and never will, as an indivine mediatorial character of strument of great value in promotthe Redeemer, or seek to disguise ing his cause--In defending it, what they do believe-But here philosophy may sometimes have is all we have found, after look- its use. But God will bless his ing and longing for more on this own holy word chiefly. Let phiessential point, in a pamphlet of losophy be the handmaid of that 38 pages on “the Prayer of Faith" word, but never usurp the place of And with the truest affection for her mistress. If she does, (and our friend and brother, we ask she seems to be doing it) we may hirn, is this enough? It is not have fanaticks on one hand, and enough for us. We wanted to see metaphysicians on the other, and this great truth form one conspi- true religion will lose by, both. cuous feature of the discussion, Let us return to the holy oracles and breathing its vital influence of divine revelation, and draw our through every part-to see, stand- arguments, and quote our authoing out in bold relief, the idea that rities, from that source. every prayer, and every petition, have more scripture and less phi. which is prevalent at the mercy losophy and rhetorick, in our serseat on High, must be put into mons, and religious essays. Let the hand of the great Intercessor us learn of holy Peter, John, and there, to be presented by Him Paul, what is the place that the whom “the Father heareth al- Lord Jesus Christ ought to hold ways."

in our discourses. We must do How does it happen that mi- this, or see scepticism, gross docnisters whose general orthodoxy trinal error, and a thousand fanis unquestionable, and of whose tasies of men of weak or corrupt piety, even eminent piety, we can- minds, overspreading our country.

Ch. Adv.-Vol. X.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Let us

3 S

Assuredly we do not intend all so strong a bias against God's rethis as applicable to the lectures vealed truth, that to evade its inbefore us. One defect, and it is fluence, and escape from its requialmost the only one we have no- sitions, and quiet their minds unticed in these lectures, has led us der its fearful denunciations, men off into this discussion. But to will embrace the most monstrous notice that defect with distinctness, and inconsistent notions, and risk was with us a matter of conscience, their eternal 'salvation on the is. and we mistake much if we of- sue. Hence, in every age of the fend the author by what we have church, such heresies have arisen

, said-But in any event 'o yegpapun and such fanatacism has been witμεν, γεγραφαμεν.

nessed, and both have become so The chief object of these lec- popular and prevalent, that every tures is principally found in the sober mind is filled with astonishsecond, of which we hope to give ment in the review and contemplaan abtract in the coming month. tion of the facts: and hence it has (To be continued.)

often been rendered the painful

duty of men of the first eminence DEBATE ON CAMPBELLISM; Held at their powers and efforts in coun:

for piety and talents, to employ Nashville, Tennessee, in which the teracting errors and delusions of Principles of Alexander Campbell the day-of which, when we read, are confuted, and his Conduct examined. By Obadiah Jennings, common sense and natural reason

we are ready to wonder that the D. D. To which is prefixed, a of mankind did not reject them Memoir of the Author. By Rev. without aid from argument

, or M. Brown, D. D. Pittsburgh: even the necessity of warning: Printed by D. and M. Maclean.

We have been led to these ré(1832. Duod. pp. 252.

flections and remarks by the conIt is a mortifying fact that it is tents of the book before us; and by often necessary to reason soberly authentick information derived and soundly, against such mon

from other

sources,

relative to Mr. strous absurdity as would seem to Alexander Campbell

, and his condeserve not to be reasoned with at troversy at Nashville, with the all. Nor is there any subject in re- Rev. Dr. Jennings. Campbellism gard to which this fact is so often is so openly and palpably at war witnessed, as religion-the most with the Bible

, and in many reimportant of all subjects. In truth, spects with the plainest dictates of if men were to talk as absurdly on reason and common sense, that it the concerns of common life, or on, seems marvellous in the extreme, any topick of science, or the social that reasonable beings, with the interests of mankind, as they often Bible in their hands, and in a lando on religion, it would not be ne

guage which they can read for cessary to reason seriously with themselves, should be deluded by them.

They would be so gene- what contradicts it so plainly. Yet rally pitied, or despised, or laugh- the melancholy truth is

, that this ed at, as to be likely to do litt heretical mountebank is popular tle or no mischief, and might and influentỉal to a wide extent

, in safely be left to the correction the southwestern part of our coun: which their own folly and non- try, especially among the Baptists

; sense would bring upon them, as a and his soul-ruining system is pronatural and unavoidable conse- fessedly believed in and adopted, quence. But it is far otherwise in ' by a misguided multitude. It apmatters of religion. In regard to pears that Dr. Jennings was first this, the corruption and deceitful- led to an encounter with him, withness of the human heart produce out expecting such an occurrence

« PrécédentContinuer »