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Lord Jesus their one object--and the honouring Him their constant pursuit. The law of God will then appear in its true character, "as holy, just, and good." They will find that in keeping his commandments there is indeed great reward.-How will these principles, carried into practice, banish the wickedness which now produces so much positive misery!
When, also, the Holy Spirit is generally poured out, the love of the world will be overcome. At present, such is the general desire for the wealth or the distinctions of this world, that, the number of competitors far exceeding the objects of pursuit, jealousy and envy, and strife and variance, are continually brought into exercise. Each would be the first and only one can be. When, however, by this divine influence, the desires of the soul are fixed upon the Lord-when he is the object supremely loved-when men are generally saying, "Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us!" (Psalm, iv. 5.)-then those selfish struggles will have no place. It will then be seen "that a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” The distinctions of rank will be sought, not to raise the vanity of the individuals, but for the advancement of the glory of God.
The divisions, also, which now unhappily subsist in the church of Christ, will then be much lessened, if not entirely cease. These divisions owe their origin either to a defect in scriptural knowledge, which occasions mutual errors; or to a want of meekness, which keeps the will positive when the judgment is convinced; or to a scantiness of love, which prevents forbearance on minor topics. These causes will then be removed. When the mind is more enlightened, there will be fewer differences of sentiment-when the spirit of meekness enters, obstinate pertinacity will depart-when love is shed abroad in the heart, Christians will find too much pleasure in its exercise to permit trifles to interrupt its progress.
It is, in truth, delightful to reflect, that this is not an Utopian vision of society. It will take place when a large measure of this Holy influence is given. Then "the nations shall learn war no more; the wolf shall then dwell with the lamb, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah, xi. 6.) Then "Holiness to the Lord shall be upon the bells of the horses." (Zech. xiv. 20.)" Dust shall be the serpent's meat." (Isaiah, lxv. 25.)
The ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs to Zion: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." (xxxv. 10.)
Surely such a motive as this will unite all Christians in prayer. Who does not long and pant for the time when this earth, hiherto the seat of every dreadful passion, shall be a land of purity and love? Who would not desire to salute the outcasts of Israel with those blessed words," Thy God is thy glory, and the days of thy mourning are ended?" (Isaiah, lx. 19, 20.) Or what heart would not thrill with ineffable rapture to hear the joyful sound, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ ?" O that this blessed period may soon arrive! O that the Lord may hasten his coming!" Awake, awake! put on strength, O arm of the Lord!" (li.
Thoughts on the Importance of Special Prayer.
9.) "Take to thyself the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession!"
With such an animating motive to excite the church of Christ, it may perhaps be unnecessary to adduce any other argument; but, as the thought may arise in the mind, these days are too blessed to be speedily looked for--I would offer this final reason for earnest prayer : THE PERSONAL BENEFIT EACH CHRISTIAN WILL DERIVE FROM THIS DEVOTIONAL EXERCISE, EVEN IF THIS UNION SHOULD NOT BE SO EXTENSIVE, OR THE BLESSING SO GENERAL AS IS DESIRED.
Let, then, the Christian recollect, that his own spiritual welfare is intimately connected with this earnest prayer. For is he desirous to be enlightened with the knowledge of Christian truth-that his faith should be strong, his hope lively, his affections spiritual-that his family should be of one mind--that his teachers should be holy, zealous ministers--that his neighbours should be sincere Christians :--who is to effect all this ?-It is the Lord, sending His Holy Spirit to bless His word and ordinances. And is the Christian will be most likely to obtain when earnest in prayer. If you take the seasons of your Christian life in which you have been most happy, or most uneasy in your religion, you will find; generally speaking, your peace and comfort have risen or fallen as secret communion with God has been diligently pursued or neglected. This, like a spiritual barometer, will generally give your true state. If this has been your experience when principally seeking your own advancement, be assured it will be still more so when you are enlarging your petitions. The admonition is, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem :" the promise annexed--" They shall prosper that love thee." (Psalm, cxxii. 6.) Our blessed Saviour has directed us to pray for the extension of his kingdom, even before we ask for daily bread. Assuredly it was for our welfare that he taught us this prayer. "The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall he stand." (Isaiah, xxxii. 8.) Whoever else may disappoint us, God never will. His declaration will always stand sure: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you."
These, then, are some of the reasons I would offer to induce all sincere Christians to unite in fervent prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Feeling, however, the vast importance of the subject, and earnestly desiring that this union may be as extensive as possible, I would venture to address myself more particularly to those, whose office makes their co-operation peculiarly desirable. O that the Lord may graciously bless the few observations we attempt to offer--may they be received in the spirit of Christian love, and entered upon with Christian zeal!
Permit me then, my brethren in the Ministry of the Church of England, with that respect which is due to your office, and with that diffidence which becomes one of the least of the servants of the Lord, when venturing to speak to His Ministers, to address myself to you upon this highly important subject. What I write is, I trust, written in the spirit of brotherly affection; from a desire to stir up 66 your pure minds by way of remembrance." Whatever suggestions I take
the liberty to offer to you, I earnestly entreat your prayers that they may first be impressed upon my own heart.
We speak to you my brethren, as the leaders and guides of the flock of Christ, as those from whom His body, the Church, receives its spiritual nourishment. It becomes us, of all other persons, deeply to interest ourselves in such a subject as this.
Some, indeed, have limited the agency of the Holy Ghost to the first ages of the Church; and have said, because His miraculous powers have ceased, that therefore His inward influence upon the mind and heart had ceased also.
Reason, however, teaches, that if the apostles, gifted with the powers of divine inspiration, required the inward influence of the Comforter upon the hearts of the hearers to make their discourses effectual, such a divine influence must be necessary in the present day. That as long as man comes into the world, "conceived in sin and shapen in iniquity," divine power alone can turn his heart, or make him willing to walk in the ways of God's commandments. We however, require not this argument. Our office in the Church of England, if we have entered upon it in the spirit which the Church requires, is the strongest admission of our belief in the continued influence of the Holy Ghost. With what peculiar solemnity was His office brought before us in our ordination Service!
It seems scarcely possible for any human ceremony more forcibly to impress upon the mind the great importance of the divine agency the Holy Spirit. Without an humble trust that we were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, none of us could ever have presented ourselves for the lowest place in the ministry. And when we received the higher order of priesthood, exhortation, public prayer, secret prayer, invocation by singing, solemn imposition of hands, were all used as means of grace, to bring down the divine influence of the Holy Spirit. (See Ordination Service, passim.)
This reverence to the Holy Ghost at our ordination has been confirmed by our daily services in the sanctuary. In our Liturgy, we constantly acknowledge the great extent and the great variety of His offices.
We, therefore, who are set apart for the office of the ministry, cannot be too deeply impressed with the unspeakable benefits connected with the grant of His divine influences, or too sensible of our own constant need of His gracious aid. That not only our own personal religion, but that all our ministerial success, depends upon the grace of the Holy Spirit. That in studying the Scriptures, in preparing our discourses, in visiting the sick, in our private instructions, in our public prayers and preaching, in short, that in all parts of our ministry we require His divine assistance. That we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." (2 Cor. iii. 5.) That no natural talents, or acquired endowments, can supply His gracious office. "That Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but that God only giveth the increase." 1 Cor. iii. 6.
With this impression upon our minds, with what earnestness should we aim at exciting a spirit of prayer for the general effusion of the Holy Spirit! How anxious should we be that all the sincere Christians in
Remarks on Female Circles of Industry.
our parishes and congregations may be thus engaged! What encouragement will it afford us in our ministry to hope that this pious ardour may be general! Assuredly we shall assemble in public worship with our respective charges, with very different feelings, when we believe the religious part of our people have been privately imploring the divine blessing upon themselves, their families, their ministers, their neighbours, their country, the Church of Christ, and the world at large. We shall all go forth to our labours, trusting that the seed we are sent to sow, will fall upon the good ground, and bring forth fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold.
O then, my brethren, let me intreat YOUR ZEALOUS CO-OPERATION in promoting this general spirit of prayer.
Let me intreat YOUR OWN FERVENT PRAYERS, that the Lord may grant to us who are in the ministry, more of his Holy Spirit. O may He more and more make all bishops and pastors, like the pastors of the first churches," men of God, full of faith, and full of the Holy Ghost!" It will greatly encourage us in our arduous office to reflect, that we are thus intreating one for another; that we are secretly, constantly, and fervently praying, that this blessing may be largely bestowed upon all people. If all the clergy are thus employed, what sanguine hopes may we not entertain! It would, indeed, be a most favourable sign of a revival of religion, if they all should seek to fulfil the office assigned to the watchmen in Zion: "Ye that make mention of the Lord," or, as the emphatic marginal reading of our Bible is, "Ye that are the Lord's remembrancers," whose office it is to put Jehovah in remembrance of His gracious promises, "keep not silence." In your closets, in your families, in your private intercourse with each other, "give Him no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah, lxii. 6.)
Permit me also to suggest the importance of our frequently preaching upon the various offices of the Holy Spirit. By this practice, our hearers will be more fully instructed in this part of Christian doctrine, and hence be more deeply convinced of the necessity for a general effusion of His divine influence.
Prayer is the child of faith, and faith comes by hearing. If Christians hear of the offices of the Holy Spirit, and of the promises to give this blessing to all who ask it, their faith may be strengthened and their prayers become fervent. In a short time this pious flame may spread, and without observation the kingdom of Christ may come.
REMARKS ON THE PROPOSED PLAN OF FEMALE CIRCLES OF INDUSTRY.
To the Editor of the Christian Herald.
SIR-I am a constant reader of your useful publication, and my heart is often warmed while perusing its interesting accounts of revivals of religion, and the various effects produced by Missionary, Bible, Tract, and Sunday School Societies.
I rejoice with my fellow Christians, that our lot is cast in a land where we may not only sit under our vines, and our fig trees, and none to make us afraid, but where there are opportunities for females to cast in their mite into the treasury of the Lord, by engaging in all those institutions which aim at the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. But sir, while we are performing these important duties, there are others which ought not to be left undone. The same blessed lips that commanded to "Go and teach all nations," commanded also to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked; and there is a particular blessing promised to him that considereth the poor. Now, sir, I fear that your correspondent" S-" when recommending the formation of Circles of Industry in this city, did not consider the number of poor women, who depend entirely upon the labours of their hands, for the support of themselves, and often a family of children. The resources for female industry are so inadequate to the demand for employment, that various charitable societies are engaged in supplying the wants of the sick, the aged, the widow, and orphan. Want of work is a complaint we daily hear, and if such be the case now, what an increase of misery would follow were our pious females to monopolize the little there is. But some will say, we will only do fancy and other work, and that poor people cannot do." To this I answer, and from a personal knowledge of the fact, that there are many ladies in this city, who bave moved in the first circles of fashion, and have been educated in the most expensive manner, who are now obliged to earn a scanty subsistence by executing embroidery and other fancy works. One of these told me lately, that seeing some infant's caps in a window for sale, she made several and offered them to the person who kept the shop. A bargain was soon made, as her's were executed in a superior style, but on inquiring who had supplied the others, she was informed it was a poor widow, who had no other support for herself and two infant children-poor as my friend was, she carried her work elsewhere. Lest, however, my fair sisters may feel disappointed at having their circles of industry disturbed, I would suggest a change in their object. Instead of making articles for sale, let them employ themselves in altering cast-off garments for Sunday school children. In putting their old gowns together, and quilting warm coverlets for the sick and the destitute. Those who have fine old linen, might make many comfortable articles for their less favoured sisters, or should they prefer it they might make up linen for poor Students of Theology. I would also suggest a plan for furnishing a fund for Missionary or Bible purposes. Let each circle of industry have one or more boxes, and the members drop into them as much as they can spare when they meet, and at the end of the year remit the amount to whatever Society they please.
A very little self-denial in dress or pleasure will furnish more money than could be made by the needle, and the persons thus employed will not be goaded by the reflection, that while endeavouring to benefit the souls of those at a distance, they have been taking the bread from our own poor.