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A DIALOGUE.

who sustain the pastoral office, “watch for they say forms of prayer are unscriptural? They dare your souls, as those that must give account,”

not, Mary. God himself supplied his church in the --a consideration so impressive, that Chrysó- wilderness with some; and those Jewish forms our stom tells us when he read that text "it pro

Lord and his apostles regularly used. Again ; the duced a violent agitation in his soul, and

Lord Jesus gave one (and 'tis a model to frame all filled him with a holy fear and trembling;” prayers by) for the benefit of his Church till she will

want to pray no more. Now, that the disciples and and, in a commentary on the passage,

their converts did not use the form which their Lord claims, “ Lord, how difficult, how hazardous

had given them, cannot reasonably be supposed ; and an undertaking is this! Of all the souls that

that their public worship was conducted in other such are committed to thy conduct, men, women,

forms, particularly those which the praying Psalms and children, thou art to give an account!” supply, seems to be pretty clear from different passages Justly might the excellent and sober-minded

in the Acts and the epistles. But, however this Bishop Bull subjoin, after quoting this and

may be, Mr. L. has told me more than once that, other testimonies in his most impressive dis- from all which learned and good men have been able course on the difficulty and danger of the to make out from old writings, it is beyond dispute priest's office, "We minister to souls ! souls ! that all Christian churches, in every nation of the Methinks in that one word there is a sermon. earth, did, from the very first times, use public forms Immortal souls! precious souls ! one whereof of prayer, and particularly the Lord's prayer, as we do is more worth than all the world besides,- ourselves : and this seems to a plain man like me one the price of the blood of the Son of God.of the most satisfactory proofs that could be had ; for,

to be sure, they who lived closest to the times of the THE ADVANTAGES OF FORMS OF PRAYER.. apostles and their successors were best able to know,

and the most likely to follow, the apostles' religious

practices; just as those who are acquainted with you Slephen. Why, grandfather, if here isn't Mary S. and me, Mary, or with those who know us, would be coming!

better able to write, or tell our life and habits, than Old Steady. Ah, indeed ; ask her in, Stephen. Good any who may come ages after us. 'Tis a comfort, morning, Mary ; I hope you are better ; I am glad to therefore, that the outcry of these latter days against see you about again.

forms of prayer cannot drown the quiet voice of time, Mary. Good morning to you, James ; I am better, speaking plainly to us through eighteen hundred thank God; but I have had a long sick time of it. years. Will you believe I haven't been out beyond our garden M. Well, I'm sure I little thought that any thing for weeks and weeks till to-day? However, I believe like this could be said of our old Church form of worI'm come to go to church along with you now.

ship and prayer; I wonder any one should have any Old S. I am glad to hear it, Mary.

thing to say against it; but a good many of them at M. But I should like to ask you one or two ques- | Jenny T.'s said, that the Prayer-book was of no use, tions, James, concerning the Church prayers; for the and that they couldn't pray with forms of prayer. people that we talked about some time back said some- Old S. That may be, Mary; but if either of them thing of them that rather troubled me.

were now here, I should content myself with answerOld S. What was it, Mary? I believe Satan knows ing, “ What you can't do, then, others can." But let too well by experience the power of the Church of us come a little closer to these good folks, Mary. Tell England liturgy against his kingdom to let it pass me, I would say to them, how you manage when the without a blow whenever he can aim one at it.

person who is praying aloud among you supplies (as M. Why, they tell me, James, that we that go to he must) the thoughts, and feelings, and words of church don't pray from the heart, but only with the your prayer? To put your amen to it, you must hear lips, because we use a form prepared for us.

it first; and when you have heard it, as it didn't come Old s. I should like to look that man in the face, from your own mind, but was born of another, it is to Mary, who would be bold enough to tell me I don't all intents and purposes a form to you. Supposing, pray from the heart when I'm engaged in our public therefore, it had been taken down as the words fell worship. To my sorrow, be it said, I can often do from the lips of the speaker (and they tell me there this more in the Lord's house at such a time, than by are persons so nimble-handed in this day that they can myself in my own room. Many a time has the fire of write as fast as the tongue can speak), why it might have devotion kindled in my own soul from the holy warmth been handed round as the form, which all of you who of my fellow sinners praying in our forms round me; followed in it had just used; and then what is the difand I have truly enjoyed the presence of my Saviour ference betwixt this and any other form of prayer according to his well-known promise. Now, this is except in the matter of time? Yours, to be sure, was the answer of thirty years' experience, Mary; and one made on the spot, while most of ours have grown old fact like this swallows up, as Moses's rod did the in the service of God's people, some of them having magicians' serpents, all the fancies and the follies been well known at the throne of grace for fifteen which

may be brought against our liturgy on this head. hundred years. Now this last is a delightful considerBut I have no objection to drop this fact for a minute, ation to me; here I enjoy communion with the saints and just meet them on any ground they please. Do

above as well as below: it pleases me to think that in * From an excellent work, Village Dialogues, No, III. An

their forms I am using the spiritual “ threshing instruments” (you remember how God promised to make

dover, King.

to.

Israel one, Is. xli. 15) with which they used to this true only of a poor ignorant man like me. It is “ thresh the mountains, and beat them small"-(God the beauty of our public devotions that the highest grant me the arm of faith to wield them as well!)—and minds, as well as the lowest, can join in them, and be the nearer these old prayers come to those early times, satisfied. That which the king finds suitable for him, the nearer they stand to that age when the Spirit was the tongue of the unlearned cottager can say “amen” poured out upon the Church, " like floods upon the dry And then, also, they have so carefully and wisely ground.” A few drops of that “gracious rain, which allowed for the many different states and degrees of began with the apostles, might still have been falling grace, that for the weakest faith as well as the strongon those apostle-like men who have left us the legacy

est-for the babe in Christ as well as the full-grown of their devotions. Lastly, I might add, that it is more Christian--for the prodigal just "come to himself” as difficult really to pray in the words of another, when well as for the saint ready for his crown—from Manasyou have scarcely time to consider the meaning of seh, the publican, and the Magdalene, up to Elijah, each sentence, much less to pitch your spirit to it, than David, and St. Paul,—there is length, and depth, and it is to make that prayer your own with which you are breadth, and height, for their souls to move in! well acquainted. This is my answer to these despisers This reminds me of a favourite saying of Mr. L.'s of forms of prayer, Mary, who seem to travel so fast about the fathers of our Reformed Church; that they after their will-o'-the-wisps, that they outrun good were “nursing fathers," and "nursing mothers" too ; sense, and leave sober truth behind.

and that they joined together in one the characters M. And truly, James, as far as a poor ignorant both of the eagle and the hen. You may mind that woman like me, who am no scholar, can judge, I think beautiful song of Moses, in the 32d of Deuteronomy, they would have hard work to prove their own words. where he speaks of the eagle teaching her young to It really does me good to talk with you, for I don't fly- he says, “she stirreth up her nest, fluttereth know half the value of the Church of England, though over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh I was born and bred in her, as you may say ; and, them, and beareth them on her wings.” Well, so, if it isn't troubling you too much, I should be glad says Mr. L., have these holy men, by setting beto hear you say a little more about the Prayer- fore us their own heavenly flights, aimed to teach book.

our souls how to soar, even to “ the third heaven;" Dame Steady. Ah, Mary! you little think how my and again, like the kind and careful hen (which our old master's spirit gets up when he is talking of our Lord Jesus so touchingly talked about, when he stood liturgy. I believe, next to his Bible, he prizes the on the hill over Jerusalem, with tears running down Prayer-book beyond every other book in the world ; his cheeks), they have taken such thought for the and I've heard him say that he has there found the tender and weakly ones of the Church's brood, that “ throne of grace," and met his Saviour, oftener than there are thoughts, and confessions, and prayers, just any where else.

suited to the particular case of each. Old S. 'Tis true what the dame says, Mary; I do M. Well, James, you do astonish and delight love the blessed liturgy, though I love it, I trust, in me; I little thought that so many great and good proper measure, as the work of man. To me it has Christians had had a hand in making our Prayerbeen a sort of “highway of holiness," along which I book-do you know the names of any of them ?" could move up to God. I have found in it petitions, Old S. Why, Mary, I can't justly say I do. I've and confessions, and praises, suited to every frame heard Mr. L. name some of them ; but the sound and posture of my mind; and in such language, so of the names so strange to my ear, that I strong and beautiful, and yet so plain withal, that I should make but poor work at pronouncing them. never wished for any other to unload my mind with, But, however, our own blessed reformers not only or put forth my feelings and thoughts upon. And no made some themselves, but they went the round (so to wonder that this should be so, Mary, when you con- speak) of all the great Christian Churches that had sider who they were that put together our common ever been, since Christ laid the foundation-stone of Prayer-book. Why, they were men, most of them, full the first in Bethlehem-stable, and gathered together of the Spirit of God- -men who knew the human heart what was good out of all; just as though some of our in all its weakness, and wickedness, and wants-and, bees there should go round from hive to hive, collectwhat is best of all, who knew by experience the blessed | ing the best honey out of each, and then lay it up Gospel remedy. Like wise physicians, they were ac- together in one. Now, there is the collect for “ the quainted with our dreadful disorder, and with the Sunday after Ascension-day"-I always counted it a power of its cure, and the way of using it. Every sweet little prayer, fitted for any time or place; and prayer they have put there is a lesson to me, as well I'm not ashamed to say, that I have liked it better as a prayer, for it shews me what I ought to be. If I still since I have known that a wonderfully learned can't confess sin in the spirit in which they do, they and holy man of our own country, whose name, I think, are plainly humbler, holier, more "convinced of sin," was Bede, somewhere about 1200 years ago, breathed than I am. If I am not sensible of my blindness and out his soul, in the moment of death, in those very helplessness, as well as of my corruption and guilt, if words. I should suppose, Mary, it did not suit his I have no desire after righteousness, and no heart to purpose the less because it was a form? praise and bless God,—then the forms which they M. I should suppose not, James; for if ever a have given me bear constant witness against my sin- man prays sincerely, it is in that trying hour. You ful deficiencies. And thus I get acquainted with my- have said quite enough to settle the matter to my self, and am indebted for many precious hints besides mind about the lawfulness of forms of prayer, and the to these devout and experienced worshippers. Nor is value of ours particularly; but I should like to hear

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you go on a little. 'Tis a great saying with some of in language be strong and simple; in spirit be ferthese people, that they like praying in power.

vent and humble; in behaviour be reverent and soOld S. And so do I too, Mary — but what is lemn. Our good old Church makes great account of praying in power ? It is not praying in uproar and all these ; and the whole of the litany, but particonfusion, as some of them do, making another Babel, cularly the latter part, is one of the most beautiful as it were, to climb to heaven by, and with no better specimens of " effectual, fervent prayer" that ever success; neither is it pouring out a flood of words, the heart of man indited. which others seem to glory in-at one time running M. Will you be so good, James, as just to point on in vain repetitions, and at another in such a wild out what part you mean, that I may look at it at strain of this, that, and the other, without any order home? or connexion, that it is plain neither head nor heart Old S. To be sure I will, Mary. can be properly engaged -- and, I'm sure, they, who

pray with the understanding,” never pray with the “Spirit of God.” Oh, Mary, I can mourn THE SAVIOUR'S TESTIMONY TO JOHN over these persons, whilst I marvel at them. Did

THE BAPTIST. they never consider that there is such a thing as

The decided testimony which the Saviour bore to the indecent familiarity with God, taking liberties with

exalted virtues of that individual, who, as “the voice him, as you may say? He is never served “ac

of one crying in the wilderness,” was sent as the mesceptably," unless it be according to the apostle's senger to prepare the way before him, and whose rule, “ with reverence; and godly fear." Our own

nativity the Church calls on us this day to commeChurch, in tcaching us

to pray for a

“ heart to

morate, naturally leads the mind to contemplate, with

lively interest, a character so exalted. There were love and dread God," seems just to have hit the right

many distinguished features in the character of the state, a state of safety and enjoyment too. Love will

Saviour himself, which proved him to be the Son of take you swift to God; but dread (or reverence and God. He appeals to his miracles as proofs of his godly fear) will steady you,—'twill be the ballast of Messiahship; and, as he said to the Jews, " the works your little ship. You look at the behaviour of all the

which the father hath given me to finish, the same

works that I do bear witness of me, that the Father Bible men of God in their approaches to the throne of

hath sent me;" so, in reply to the question put by the grace. Look at Abraham, Moses, Ezra, Isaiah, Da

disciples of the Baptist, “ Art thou he that should niel, David, and St. Paul, to mention no others- come, or do we look for another ?” he answered aud what self-abasement, what fear, what holy awe was said, " Go and shew John again those things which theirs ! And, just in proportion as they had clearer

ye do hear and see. The blind receive their sight, manifestations of God to their souls, so were they

and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the

deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have more humbled and self-condemned. But 'tis the

the Gospel preached to them.” Besides these mirafashion with many, now

w-a-days, to go just contrary cles, there were many other circumstances which into this. They would have you suppose that much contestably proved him to be the Messiah. The of God's glory is revealed to them; but you don't prophets, among other marks whereby he might be see them in the dust, you don't hear the cry of “ Woe

distinguished, declared he should be preceded by

some remarkable person-according to the testimony is me, I am undone!" These persons talk at God

of Malachi, " Behold, I will send my messenger, and rather than pray to him; they take advantage of the he shall prepare the way before me.” And again, apostle's invitation to come boldly, and forget that they “ Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before are going to beg for mercy and grace to help them.

the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord ;

and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the I trust, Mary, the Bible has shewn us a more ex

children, and the heart of the children to the fathers : cellent way. Praying in power is praying in humble

lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." And faith, fervency, and truth. The prayer of power, the that by this person was meant, not Elijah), who had effectual prayer, is one that comes from a sense of been translated to heaven, but another that resembled want, and desire, wrought into the heart by the Holy him in many qualities, even the Baptist, was asserted

by our Lord himself on more than one occasion. Thus, Ghost, and put forth with trust in God's mercy through

when the disciples asked him, Why say the scribes the Saviour. There needs no clamour, haste, or vio

that Elias must first come?” Jesus allowed it to be in lence of manner; "God is not the author of confusion, a certain sense that Elias was first to come and restore but of peace.” The divine Spirit wears a dove's all things. But then he adds that “ Elias is come image, and his “fruit is gentleness.” Besides, length already,” and they, i.e. the Jews, knew him not; and and noise are no signs of sincerity. The groanings | by the Elias that was come already, St. Matthew adds,

lest any doubt should remain whom our Lord meant of the spirit in a man are groanings that cannot be

" That the disciples understood that he spake unto uttered;" and he who takes upon himself to speak to them of John the Baptist.” And again, the same the great God, would do well to think before he evangelist introduces our Lord saying, that “ all the speaks, that he may not be “rash with his mouth,” | prophets and the law prophesied until John.” To or forget that he is sinful dust and ashes. No doubt

which he immediately adds —" And if ye will receive

it, this is Elias which was to come.” Betv:een the there are times (thank God, I know them) when the

prophet Elijali and the Baptist there were many points enlarged heart breaks out beyond its usual bounds, of similarity. If Elijalı was distinguished by the when the soul wrestles hard for the blessing; and then coarseness of his external garb, so had John his of course the prayer is suited to the frame. But these raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about times, I believe, are neither frequent nor lasting; and

his loins. If Elijah took refuge in the wilderness, so

did John come preaching in the deserts of Juuea. If they come mostly to the Christian when he is in his

Elijah zealously opposed the corruptions of Ahab, so closet alone with God. The general rule in prayer, did John reprove the enormities of İlerod. and especially in public prayer, to my mind, is this: Let us, then, consider the testimony which is here

66

a woman.

a

borne by our Lord to the character of the Baptist; and, filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's in the words of the collect of the day, "may we so fol- womb." It was the powerful agency of this divine low his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent Spirit which enabled him to fulfil the high duties of according to his preaching, and after his example his station. Without this assistance the Baptist would constantly speak truth, boldly rebuke vice, and soon have felt himself unable to perform the work patiently suffer for the truth's sake, through Jesus assigned him--to overcome the difficulties which must Christ our Lord.”

have ented themselves at every step. The same Our Saviour makes two declarations respecting divine Spirit must lead and guide us in our journey John, one representing him in a superior, the other through life, or we shall never arrive at the heavenly in an inferior light-GREATER than the greatest who kingdom. The world will ensnare us ; Satan will get had been born of women-Less than the least in the the advantage over us; our own weakness will ruin us ; kingdom of heaven. Verily I say unto you, among for, while partakers of a corrupt nature, we are conthem that are born of women there hath not risen a tinually liable to fall away; and then only are we greater than John the Baptist : notwithstanding he secure when the Divine strength is perfected in our that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than weakness. The doctrine which St. John preached he.”

was preached in power ; the common people flocked I. He was greater than any that had been born of to him in vast multitudes, and with them publicans

He was a prophet, more than a prophet; and soldiers, all anxious to know how they might fee and this he proved himself to be by the miraculous from the wrath to come. No prophet had appeared circumstances of his birth ; by the unblamable at all to be compared to John - none in qualifications tenour of his life; by his boldness in reproving the for his great work of calling sinners to repentance ; licentiousness of the age in which he lived; above all, none had been ushered into the world in so miraby the distinguished honour conferred upon him of culous a manner; none had so many seals to the being the immediate harbinger of the Messiah — the blessed effects of their ministry ;-and yet these things morning-star which betokened the approach of the did not constitute the high dignity of the Baptist, or Sun of righteousness about to arise with healing on raise him above other preachers of righteousness. his wings, and which, though resplendent in itself, He was more than a prophet-greater than those born was soon lost in the effulgence of the beams of the of women-not because he was endowed with higher more glorious luminary. Eminent as were Noalı, attainments, but because it was his high privilege Abraham, Moscs, David, Daniel, they were all in- immediately to precede the Messiah-to bear testimony ferior to the Baptist. The Saviour calls him “ to him as “ the Lamb of God which taketh away the burning and a shining light." By the manner in sin of the world"-to baptise him in the Jordan-to which he put the question to the multitudes, "What bear record when he saw the Spirit descending as a went ye out to the wilderness to see ? a reed shaken dove, and abiding upon him, when he came out of the with the wind ?”' it is obvious he regarded him as a water. Nay, he bore testimony, even before he was man of decided principle, firm in the faith, resolute of born, to the Messiah's dignity; for St. Luke informs us, purpose, not tossed about by every wind of doctrine. that it came to pass when Elizabeth heard the saluBy the question, " A man clothed in soft raiment ?" it tation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and is obvious he regarded him as one dead to the allure- Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and said, ments, and luxuries, and pleasures of the world - " Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the ready to make any sacrifice of personal comfort or fruit of thy womb." convenience for the advancement of the cause he had The death of the Baptist fully proves how zealous in hand-one who counted not his life dear, so that he he was in the Messiah's work, in endeavouring to lead might fulfil his high office, might call men to repent- men to repentance, in placing before them the grievous ance, and direct them to that Saviour through whose nature of sin, and in beir not dismayed by the fear merits mercy is shewn to the penitent.

of man.

He scrupled not to rebuke Herod, though His birth was, like that of the Saviour, remark- he was sure that the rebuke would call down his able. Zacharias and Elizabeth were old and well severest hatred-he scrupled not to address the many stricken in years --- according to the common course of Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism, as nature they could expect no offspring; when an angel a generation of vipers-to warn them to flee from the was commissioned to announce to Zacharias the birth wrath to come, to exhort them to bring forth fruits of a son. In the Temple, morcover, when engaged meet for repentance; not to trust to their supposed in the most solemn services, this announcement took privileges in having Abraham for their father. He place; and the circumstances respecting it, his birth, would allow of no compromise with sin.

What an and the recovery of his father's speech, who had been example for Christian ministers at the present day! struck dumb for unbelief, were noised abroad through- | how incumbent is it on them to lay to heart the words out the whole hill country of Judea; and one said to of St. Paul—" Moreover, it is required in stewards another, What manner of child shall this be? In due that a man be found faithful ; but with me it is a very time the Baptist appeared preaching in the wilderness small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's of Judea. Multitudes flocked to hear him at Bethabara, judgment.” Is it not the duty of private Christians, and to be baptised of him in Jordan. He fulfilled in as much as of the Christian minister, boldly to rebuke this respect the prophecy of Isaiah, " that he should vice-to rebuke it by their exhortations, and also by be the voice of one crying in the wilderness." His their living-to suffer no opportunity to pass by of doctrine was repentance--" Repent ye; for the king- | bearing their testimony to the truth of the Gospel? dom of heaven is at hand.” What doctrine was more It is impossible not to advert to two points in the suitable for him to preach? Repentance is the best character of the Baptist well worthy our particular introduction to Christianity: before a cordial recep- consideration--to his candour and humility. tion is given to the saving truths of the Gospel, there To his candour. " When the Jews sent priests and must be a heartfelt sorrow for sin, an earnest desire to Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? be freed from sin ; without this there may be the he confessed and denied not, but confessed, I am not name, there can not be the genuine spirit of godliness. the Christ. And they asked him, What then ? Art The need of a Saviour's mercy must be felt before the thou Elias ? And he saith, I am not. Art thou offer of this mercy is accepted; and this need will not that prophet? And he answered, No." The Jews, be felt unless the conscience be heavy laden on account groaning under a foreign yoke, torn asunder by inof transgression. The ministry of John was as re- ternal disputations, were willing to have received him markable as his endowments; and his endowments as their deliverer. The sensation which he had excited must have been great, for St. Luke tells us, " he was among all ranks of the community was so great, that

man.

according to the testimony of Jesus, they were willing humblest Christian, the meanest, the poorest, the most for a season to rejoice in his light. He had only to say ignorant of Christian believing people – the most he was the Messiah, and the whole Jewish council, abject, enjoys privileges which were denied to the the priests, and elders, and scribes, would, with one prophets in old time, and even to the Baptist himself. accord, have hailed him with transport. Here, then, They enjoy a clearer revelation of the Saviour's was candour, candour which well merited the appro- character, of the true nature of his kingdom, and of bation of the Saviour, and which no impostor would the mighty purposes for which he came into the ever have displayed-which proved how anxious he world. Abraham rejoiced when " he saw the day of was to ascribe the honour to whom honour was due. Christ afar off;" and doubtless he built all his hopes of

To his humility. He declares himself unworthy to be acceptance on him. The Baptist bore testimony to the servant of the Saviour---so far from being the his person, to his office, to his work, to his pre-existSaviour-not even worthy to perform for him the most ence; and yet it is probable he did not enter fully menial offices. “ There cometh one mightier than I, into the great work he came into the world to perform. the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop Even the apostles themselves, though the companions down and unloose." “ I have need to be baptised of of his ministry, constantly listening to his discourse thee," said he to the Saviour, as he came to be bap- addressed both to themselves and others, had impertised of him in Jordan ; “and comest thou to me?" fect notions upon many points connected with his And when some, touched perhaps for his honour, and salvation, until the Holy Ghost was given to them jealous for his reputation as a preacher of righteous- from on high, and they were led into all truth. It is ness, informed him of the multitudes who flocked to the privilege of the very lowest Christian to be assured hear the Saviour, " Ye yourselves," said he, “bear that the Saviour has appeared, has suffered, has me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I arisen from the dead, has ascended into heaven as am sent before him: he must increase, but I must our Forerunner, and is there sitting, an all-powerful decrease : this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” Not and a willing Advocate, and has declared that he will that I am prospering, but that he is prospering ; not come again to receive his followers to himself. It is that multitudes flock to hear me, but to hear him. his privilege to hear that Saviour's gracious invitaWhat a reproof to the petty jealousies, and envyings, tions, his promise of pardon, of grace, of life eternal; and strifes—which, as St. James affirms too truly, are to know that the way hath been opened to the Father, attended with every evil work-which are too often even through the blood of his Son. It is his privilege found even among the professed followers of the Sa- to know something of the height, and depth, and viour; and which prove that, with the outward form length, and breadth, and to know, as it were, the of godliness, there is something wrong in the heart ! love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. It is his It was the envy of the brethren of Joseph that led privilege to be baptised into the name of the eternal them to commit the cruel act of selling him as a bond- Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-to bear on

It was the cnvy of Haman that led him to seek his forehead the mark of his Saviour's cross. It is his the destruction of Mordecai. It was envy in Saul privilege to draw near to the holy table, and to parwhich led him to attempt the life of David, for he take of his Saviour's body and blood-body broken could not bear to hear the song of triumph--Saul for our offences -- blood shed for the remission of hath slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands. sin. It was envy which raised the first murderer's knife to But there is a fearful tendency in man to forget shed a brother's blood. But no such feeling existed the inestimable privileges bestowed upon him-a in the mind of the Baptist.

fearful tendency, even in the professing Christian, to Between the Saviour and the Baptist there was the live unmindful of the mercy of his heavenly Father, most remarkable resemblance ; so that the one was in sending the Son of his love to die on the cross for indeed frequently taken for the other. Herod, when man's redemption. If those who sinned under the he heard the miracles of Jesus, said, the Baptist is old dispensation were amenable to the righteous disrisen from the dead; the Pharisees, when they ob- pleasure of the Almighty if they who repented not served the Baptist, doubted not that he was the Mes- at the preaching of the Baptist were in imminent siah. “How, then,” says Bishop Horne, “shall we raise danger of being made partakers of the wrath to comeour thoughts to conceive adequately of a person thus surely their present condition must be fearful, and their distinguished-thus raised to unrivalled pre-eminence future doom inexpressibly beyond human calculation above the generations of former men! Surely he wretched, to whom the gracious invitations of the deserved the encomium given by the Son of God; Gospel are made in vain; and wlio, while their lot and surely, after this declaration made by the Master, has been cast in a Christian land, and their path the disciples cannot easily exaggerate in their praises illumined by the rays of the true light, continue to of St. John as the great pattern of repentance, the walk on in darkness, and hate the light, because their relative of Christ, the friend of the Bridegroom, the deeds are evil. herald of the King immortal, and the joy of the world." Great, however, as was the privilege conferred on

THE RED SEA. the Baptist, in being the honoured instrument in preparing the way for the Lord-in bearing testimony The Red Sea occupies a deep, rocky cavity, extend/to him as the promised Saviour, the Saviour declares, ing about one thousand one hundred and sixey miles " that he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is

in length, and its mean breadth may be taken at about greater than he," and consequently than all the prophets, and wise men, and patriarchs, who lived

one hundred and twenty. Strabo has compared its under the old dispensation. What, then, are we to

shape to that of a broad river ; and it does not receive understand by the kingdom of heaven? and in what the waters of a single tributary stream. The name respects may those who are the least in that kingdom be greatly puzzled the ancients, and has occasioned, in regarded as greater than the Baptist? The expression, the kingdom of heaven, has several significations: here

later times, a display of much superfluous learning to it must signify the Gospel dispensation. The Baptist

determine whether it was derived from the colour of urged repentance on the ground that the kingdom of the water, the reflection of the sand-banks and the heaven was at hand-that is, that the Messiah was now neighbouring mountains, or the solar rays struggling about to establish his spiritual kingdom over the through a dense atmosphere. These various conjecs hearts of men ; and not merely the humble teacher, or apostle, under that dispensation, but even the

• Irom Andrew Crichton.

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