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I must again, therefore, repeat my request, that nothing may serve to satisfy the reader's mind, concerning the important doctrine to which I have called his attention in these pages, but that heartrenewing, that soul-instructing knowledge, which "maketh wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Reader! farewell. Accept this New Year's Gift as a small token of love to the church of Christ, for 1803.* What may be opening before both of us in the unforeseen events of it, I know not; neither would I, if I were able, anticipate the information. It is enough for me that my God knows, and that the same who knows as graciously appoints. And I am well persuaded that the next blessing to that of having a well-grounded assurance of an interest in the covenant-mercy of God in Christ through the eternal Spirit, is the consciousness that it is a covenant ordered in all things and sure.
May it be your portion and mine, living and dying, to be blessed in our souls with all covenant-mercies from God, and all covenant-grace leading to God, that we may be happy in time, and happy to all eternity!
* This tract was first printed in January 1803,
"Thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God." JOB xv. 4.
I consider prayerless hearts as so many defenceless citadels, lying open and exposed to the incursion of every foe; whereas the houses of the truly devout are like castles in which the Lord dwells, and which are garrisoned with the Divine Presence.
THE great and pressing claims of prayer, considered as a means of grace, are so fully allowed by every one of common sense and common reason to be positive and indispensable, that there can be but one character upon earth who will presume to question or deny them. He, and he only, will do it, who hath thrown off all sense of religion, and hath dared to say with his mouth, what hitherto the fool hath only ventured to suggest in his heart, that "there is no God."
It is not, therefore, to confirm the positiveness of the duty, neither is it to give conviction of what no reasonable man can want to be convinced of, that these Five Minutes' Advice are offered; but it is to warn those who profess in words to believe, but neglect to carry it into practice, that something more is necessary than the mere consent of the understanding, in the great concerns of religion.
Among many apparently well-disposed persons, there are not a few who are, like Agrippa, but almost Christians; and, among others, the numbers are, perhaps, as many who, like Nicodemus, though they own Christ in their hearts, are afraid to profess him openly. Would to God the former would seriously consider the extreme folly of halting between two opinions; and that the latter would frequently place before him those awful sentences pronounced by the blessed Author of our religion on this culpable timidity:-"He that denieth me before men, shall be