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served church fasts, whether he drank tea or coffee, whether with sugar or without, and whether one or two dishes of either, are the most important items to be found in the childish register of the great Johnson, supreme dictator in the chair of literature, and almost a driveler in his closet; a melancholy witness to testify how much of the wisdom of this world may consist with almost infantine ignorance of the affairs of a better."

The record in Johnson's Diary is that of deplorable superstition and Romish bondage unto fear, arising from the want of an intelligent apprehension of the method of redemption in Christ, and a heartfelt reliance upon his atoning mercy for justification. But the record in Cowper's history, and in the broken series of notes between him and Mr. Teedon, is of a mind fully awake both to the terrors of hell and the glories of redemption, and also perfectly acquainted with God's method of acceptance and of pardon, and perfectly submissive to that method, and relying only on that; a mind also encompassed with spiritual terrors, and burdened with despair, but at the same time confident in God's readiness to hear and answer prayer, and expecting relief, grace, and deliverance in no other way; not by observing church fasts, or drinking tea without sugar, or setting always the left foot first across the threshold, but by faith in the Lord Jesus, and prayer in



His all-prevailing name as our Advocate with God.

It is a picture of the dreadful conflict of a mind "plunged in deeps," as Cowper thought, "unvisited by any other human soul;" a child of God, harassed with the belief that for a special and peculiar reason God would not hear his own prayers, and sometimes forbade him to pray, turning for help and hope to the intercessions of a fellow Christian, acquainted with that conflict, and filled with sympathizing grief on account of it, and to whom Cowper believed, and had reason to believe, that God granted daily enjoyment in prayer, daily and sweet access to the throne of grace. Now in all this Cowper certainly had both Apostlic examples and injunctions to guide him, and the instructions of Divine Inspiration to sanction his course. Paul never intimates that it is egregious conceit and vanity in any common Christian to imagine that God will answer his prayers, but he does earnestly beg all common Christians (common or uncommon) to pray for him, and he does say that he fully expects particular blessings through their prayers. And the Apostle James says indeed nothing about getting relief to a burdened heart by drinking tea without sugar, but he does say, confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another; and he does not intimate that the prayers of a literary



man and a poet are of any greater efficacy before God than those of a poor schoolmaster; he does not intimate that a man must be learned and refined before he can dare presume that God will hear his prayers; neither does he intimate that prayers from the prayer-book will be heard, while extempore prayers from the Christian's own heart, if offered in the confidence that God will hear them, are only fanaticism and presumption.

Furthermore, the sorrows, terrors, and burdens of the soul are the very evils of all others, in which God would have Christians seek the aid of one another's prayers; and to rely on sincere prayer, in such a case, is not to rely on man, but God. The affectionate turning of Cowper's despairing heart to Mr. Teedon's prayers for spiritual sympathy and comfort is a most striking proof of the prevalence of faith and christian fellowship even above despair: Cowper felt a confidence in Mr. Teedon's christian character from long acquaintance with him; and the failings of tediousness and verboseness in conversation, with some foibles of vanity even, were little things in comparison with the possession of an honest, grateful, and sympathizing heart. Cowper was not a man easily to be deceived or imposed upon, but he had very great discernment of character, and was never in the habit of concealing or denying his impressions. For example, in one of his letters to Newton, in




the year 1784, he thus speaks of a man whom they had both known, and whose professions of religious experience it would seem had been somewhat large: "He says much about the Lord and His dealings with him; but I have long considered James as a sort of peddler and hawker in these matters, rather than as a creditable and substantial merchant."

Mr. Teedon, Cowper knew to be a very different person, sincere and fervent in his Christian emotions, and irreproachable in his Christian life. As he had known much of Cowper's trials, and for a long space of time, it was very natural that both Cowper and Mrs. Unwin should not turn away from a Christian sympathy expressed by him in notes as well as in conversation, but should somewhat freely, and with kindness, answer his inquiries. Hence the communications that sprang up between them; earnest desires for prayer and help on the one side, and assurances of prayer and encouragements to hope that it would be answered on the other. The Christian circles at Olney and at Weston did not despise Mr. Teedon for his poverty, nor for the fact of his gaining an humble subsistence in the capacity of village schoolmaster; nor did they regard it as a mark of egregious vanity and conceit in him to suppose that God might possibly answer his prayers, any more than in Newton himself, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, praying on the Lord's day out of the prayer-book.



LORD MAHON, in his History of England, in the chapter on Methodism, says that a "solemn accusation might have been brought against Wesley for the presumption with which he sometimes ascribed immediate efficacy to his prayers." He also says, among other evils of his career enumerated, that " very many persons have been tormented with dreadful agonies and pangs;" besides the great evil of the Church being weakened by so large a separation from it as the formation of the Methodist churches occasioned.

The agonies and pangs were simply those that Paul himself experienced when he found himself slain by the Law; those that Bunyan and Luther experienced in a conflict protracted beneath the burden and the sense of guilt, much longer than Paul's was, before they would learn the lesson which

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