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der to conquer our reluctance, and win our love to prayer, is, just to be fully sensible, that we have to speak unto God, and that God will listen complacently whilst we do so. God listen complacently to us! If you want to have high thoughts of devotion, here they abound. You could not say nor imagine any thing higher, of the attention which God gave to the first anthem, which swelled from the hearts and harps of the angelic morning stars, when they began to shine and sing around the eternal throne. All the real glory of any mental exercise of men or angels, is, just the degree in which God notices and loves it. There would be no moral sublimity in the hallelujah chorus of the skies, if God took no pleasure in that high praise
. Let His eye be averted from it, or His ear shut to it, or His smile withdrawn from it, and that moment all the golden harps of immortality would be dropped, and all the armies of heaven silent, until some other form of worship was vouchsafed, on which God would look with complacency. Now, thus He looks on, and listens to prayer. The seraph's lyre is not more sure of God's attention, than the sinner's cry for mercy. Only think before you speak, and then speak unto God as you think and feel, and all His heart will be with you.
İt is not, however, either so natural or common to think, or to speak as we think, in prayer, as might be expected.
When a shrewd diplomatist defined the faculty of speech, as the power of concealing our real opinions and designs, he little thought that his political jest implied a solemn religious warning. There is great danger of concealing from ourselves the real state of our hearts, by the language of our prayers, whether that language be o own words or the words of others. We may not, indeed, intend, nor be exactly conSchoes of practising any imposition upon ourselves, when we pray; and Fet our prayers may be complete masks upon the motives and moods of our spirit: for we are quite capable, even before God, both of saying one thing and meaning another, and of saying much and meaning nothing. pp. 100—102.
Weigh this fact. You would not deem it right nor safe to strike out from your prayers the confession that you are a sinner. You could not satisfy yourself without some acknowledgment of your sins. To pass over this point altogether, would be so unlike all the inspired speciens of prayer,
that the contrast would startle you at your own singularity. No wonder. You, therefore, do confess sin when you pray. But, mark! if this be neither preceded nor followed by any serious relection ; if your penitence begin and end with your words ; if you forget the whole matter until the hour of prayer come round again, your corfession of sin is not conttition for sin. "Nay; it even hides from you the nature of true repentance. For it is not thus you act, when you have to confess a fault to man. You never did that without both pain and shame. You could not, however you might try to suppress your feelings. I mean by a fault, not, of course, every thing which others take offense at, but something which you yourself cannot justify; and Jou never did condemn yourself in words to any man, without both thinkng and feeling more than you said. Indeed, what you said was the least
part of your repentance, although it may have been the most huAnd is sin against God, a lighter matter in your estimation, than offense against man ? Does confession to the Majesty of heaven, searches the heart, call forth no blush of shame, -no tear of sorrow no throb of pain,-no thrill of fear,—no forethought nor afterthoug Have you ever been sleepless under the stinging consciousness of a rent's deserved anger; and never felt nor feared the evil of sing against God, but just during the few seconds of time which the con sion occupied ? If so, your ideas of God are very low indeed? Tr he is far more forgiving than man, and far more accessible than offen parties usually are to the offender; but He is not insensible nor in ferent to your sins. They are registered in His books, however memory or the sense of them may be erased from your conscien And you are aggravating them all, every time you confess them w out forethought and afterthought; for this is adding insult to disobe ence. Accordingly, you would not, you durst not, attempt to settle a serious offense against a human superior, with the cool effrontery of unfelt and unweighed apology. You would be afraid of faltering whi you uttered it, or of being confounded under the glance of a scrutinizi eye. You would not risk the experiment of a hollow or heartless co fession, before the judges of the land. And yet, you dare to utt words before the Judge of the universe, and words too about your så against Him, without contrition or consideration !' pp. 104-107.
• You begin now to see, that confession is just to think and speak your own sins, before God, as God thinks and speaks of them befor you in His word. You must agree with Him in opinion about the gui and danger of sin, if you would have him agree to your petitions for par don. And as God is not unwilling to accede to your wishes, wh should
you be reluctant to go all the length, in judging of the evil e sin, which he has gone in declaring its evil? He is not a man that b should lie or exaggerate. Indeed, the only real wonder in all that Go has said of sin and against sin, is, that his words are not more and stronger : for as nothing but the sacrifice of the incarnate Emmanuel could atone for sin, nothing too strong can be said of the evil of sin. No words can express, no images illustrate, no visions unveil fully, the enormity or the malignity of an evil, that could only be remedied by the blood of the Lamb. When “God made his soul an offering for sin," he said all, and infinitely more than all, that words or woes can explain.
pp. 111, 112.
6. On manly views of divine influence.
If those are manly views of divine influence, which contemplate it as employed in a manner adapted to the free and intelligent nature of the human mind, capable of holiness, and yet so depraved, that no human persuasion is sufficient to reclaim it, then are the views presented under this head manly. Should it be asked what need there is for the work of the Spirit, if the Spirit teach nothing but the truths contained in the scriptures; the answer is,
we are naturally averse to learn them.” : It is not so much the weakness of our natural faculties, as it is the worldliness and car
nality of our affections, that renders the work of the Holy Spirit indispensable.” “ The very arts and sciences would require divine power to teach them effectually, if they involved as much holiness and devotion as the gospel.” “It is not the mystery of a revelation from heaven, nor the mysteriousness of what is revealed, but the design of it all, that is offensive to human nature. We are naturally fond of the mysterious, when it does not interfere with our comfort ; and therefore it is only a pretense, to mask disinelination, when mystery is pleaded as an excuse for unbelief, or indecision. It is a lion' only in those ways which men dislike to walk in.” If it be asked, how it can be true of believers, that they all are taught of God," when they seemed to bave learned so very different lessons ; when one is a Calvinist and anather an Arminian,-one a Churchman and another a Dissenter ? Mr. Philip's answer is :
Look, first, at the grand points in which they all fully agree. All the truly pious are of “one heart and one mind,” as to the way, and the design, of salvation by grace. They all unite in perfect harmony around the cross, and before the mercy-seat. Now, what could produce this union of sentiment and feeling, but Divine teaching? What better proof could be given, that they have all been in one school, and under one Master? For, remember, this agreement in the new song, is not confined to one nation ; but in every nation, all who really believe in Christ, believe the same thing concerning Christ, and for the same purpose too.
And now, as to what they differ about, the fact is, there has been 1. Divine teaching on either side, when the scriptures have not been allowed to speak for themselves. 'The Spirit leads only into all revealed truth.'
136. It might have been better to have said, that as to what they differ, this is to be referred to that same depravity, which entirely blinds the minds of them that believe not. It is too much for us to say, as the last sentence in the quotation implies, that the difference relates only to unrevealed truth. The cause undoubtedly is, to a humiliating extent, that through indolence, pride, prejudice, and other sinful principles, “the scriptures are not allowed to speak for themselves.” And truly, that man sanctified but in part, should in some things “err from the truth,” is no more wonderful, than it is that they should do wrong in their conduct. The wonder is, that as "to the way and the design of salvation,' they should all agree. The fact to be accounted for, if they are not all taught of God, is, that men who disagree in every thing else, should all unite in perfect harmony around the cross, and before the mercy-seat.” But to the necessity of a change of beart, says Mr. Philip :
• No man can look at heaven, in the purity of its enjoyments, o the spirituality of its engagements, and “marvel,” that he must “ born again,” in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is more a wonder, than that an ignorant man is unfit to fill the chai Newton, or a weak man to guide the helm of a free nation. Both place and the pleasures of eternal life, render the renewal of the - as necessary, as they render the resurrection-change of the body in pensable. “ Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." cordingly, no one marvels, that this mortal body • must put op imm tality,” before it can take its place in heaven. We both admit and mire the necessity of having this “vile body” changed and fashioned i the likeness of Christ's glorious body."' We feel, instinctively, its present weakness, and especially its grossness, are incompatible w “ an exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And, is not a corrupt soul as unfit for heaven, as a corruptible body? If the latter must “be the image of the heavenly,” surely the former cannot do without Marvel not that ye must be born again, in order to inherit the kingdo of God!' pp. 139, 140.
And as to the possibility of such a change, there are analogi familiar to our common experience, which may serve to commen it to our common sense.
• Have you ever lost, by death, a beloved parent, brother, or sister Remember the state of your heart, whilst stunned or melted by that be reavement! You had no occasion to try experiments, nor to take mea your
to feel as the rest of the family felt. The loss affecte you at the same time, and in the same way, that it did others. You spirits sank-your heart melted—your whole soul quivered with deep emotion. You may have wept less than some of the family did; bu you did not feel less, when you gazed the last lonk, upon the face you were to see no more, “ until the heavens and the earth were no more. You had your full share in all the real suffering which pervaded the domestic circle, when you first met that circle, after the final interview in the chamber of death. Every convulsive shriek and sob, during that solemn meeting, went to your heart. For the time, all worldly recollections passed away from your mind. You could not have planned nor executed any earthly enterprise, however gainful or tempting. Whatever was the absorbing subject of public attention, at the moment, you were almost insensible to its very existence; and too much absorbed at home, to have any personal sympathy with it. Your thoughts and feelings were concentrated upon the breach—the blank—made in the family circle ! Remember also, how attentively you listened to the chapters of the word of God, which were read that evening. They were full of meaning, and almost sounded as if you had never read them before. You felt no inclination to quarrel or cavil with the oracles of God. You were glad to find that there was so much in them, suited to the house of mourning, and to the bleeding heart. Even prayer, however you may have felt it to be “a weariness" before or since, was then soothing. You joined in it instinctively, and enjoyed it much, when it placed you under the pitying eye and the shadowing wing of a paternal God.
sures, in or
Even when it led your thoughts direct to the blood of the Lamb,” as the caly plea for pardon, and to the grace of the Holy Spirit, as the only murce of purity, you fell in with the strain of the petitions, and were not unwilling to be an entire deblor to the mercy of the Cross. You saw so clearly-and felt so keenly-how life, and health, and reason, depended to the will and power of God, that you could neither doubt nor wonder that salvation should depend upon his good-will. In a word, you were **almost persuaded to be a christian," whilst the infinite importance of being “altogether” a Christian, lay before you in the strong light of death, judgment, and eternity. Thus God“ maketh the heart soft," in the day of bereaving visitation. In such a scene, even Hume burst into tears, and exclaimed, “O that I had never doubted.” Now, although all this do not amount to a spiritual change of heart, it was a moral change, which, while it lasted, corresponded with the providential dealings of God with your family: and still, it is both proof and illustration to you, of the possibility of having your heart brought as fully under the power of the word of God, by his Spirit
, as it was then under the power of his rod, by his providence. For, if such be the force of circumstances, when they are solemn and painful, what may not the force of eternal truth effect on the heart, when accompanied by the
gracious influences of the eternal Spirit ? This is the point, on which I would now concentrate your attention. Add, if you will, to the tender and intense emotions I have just recalled, all the deep emotions you
have ever experienced. You have been very ill at times; and
heart was softened then. You have had some signal escapes from imminent danger; and your heart melted then. You have witnessed scenes of woe and suffering; and your sympathies overcame you. You have even been dissolved in tears, by reading a tale of deep interest; and amidst the solitudes of nature or the grave, you have mused, until your spirit was in full communion with all the aspects and associations of the scenery. Well; to all these fine emotions, I make my appeal. You justly regard them as manifestations of good taste and right feeling; and thus as proofs that you are not heartless nor frivolous. So do I. Such sympathies and sensibilities identify you with all who can think and feel. No mind can reach manhood without them. I appeal, however, to rabat you have felt under the pressure of affiction, or in the presence of suffering, or amidst the silence and solitude of impressive scenes, in order to show you what you may feel, and ought to feel, under the disclosures and overtures of eternal life.
Now you would be ashamed of yourself, if you had not wept when the family grave was cpen ;—if you had not softened, when the mighty hand of God brought you low;—if you had not yearned with sympathy, when real and heart-rending suffering fell under your notice. And, is it no shame to be unmoved by the curse of a broken law? No shame to be unmelted by the atoning sufferings of the Son of God ? No shame to be heedless about that “ holiness, without which no man shall See the Lord?” Judge righteous judgment! I will not call your senability vapid sentimentalism ; nor your sorrows selfish, because they terminate upon earthly things; but I will, I must say, that it is as unmanly as it is ungodly, to be unfeeling, whilst your immortal soul is in Vol. VI.