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is not to be distressed because his faith does not always partake of this specific character; nor is the boisterous and bold to lift up himself and talk saucily to God, because he imagines himself to have this kind of faith. But the question occurs, why are we required to pray at all ? Surely God needs no information as to our wants or necessities, and nothing that we can say can induce him to change any of his purposes, or make him any more desirous to promote his own glory, or the best interests of his creatures, than he now is. A Persian fable may help to illustrate this point.
“One day as I was in the bath (says the fable) a friend put into my hand a piece of scented clay. I took it and said to it, art thou musk or ambergris? for I am charmed with thy perfume. It answered, I was a despicable piece of clay, but I was sometime in the company of the rose—the sweet quality of my companion was communicated to me, otherwise I should be only a bit of clay as I appear to be.” The same idea is illustrated by 2nd Corinthians 3: 18. We are required to pray that our souls may be brought into contact with our God and Saviour, that his sympathies and feelings may flow into our hearts and transform us into his image, that we may thus be fit to receive the blessings that he gives, and learn to value them.
God neither converts nor sanctifies us by the direct exertion of his physical ornnipotence; but by shedding abroad his love in our hearts, and as it were magnetizing our souls with his own unspeakable affection.
Moreover, the very existence of God would become a malter of indifference, if not of absolute scepticism, if our blessings were not to be sought and obtained by prayer. It is when we go to God as our Father, that we feel that he exists; and the mere philosopher, who barely proves the existence of God from the works of nature, has done very
litile towards convincing our hearts that God is, much less that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
While Stilling was at Strasburg, he was surrounded with sceptics and atheists, who advanced many arguments that he felt himself incapable of answering; but the tempter found nothing in him. These thoughts were in his heart, “ He who so obviously hears the prayers of men, and guides their destiny so wonderfully and visibly, must beyond dispute be the true God, and his doctrine the word of God. Now, I have always adored and worshiped Jesus Christ as my God and Saviour; he has heard me in the hour of need, and wonderfully supported and succored me; consequently Jesus Christ is incontestibly the true God, his doctrine the word of God, and his religion, so as he has instituted it, the true religion."
The arguing Christian may easily be ensnared by the sophistry of infidels, but the praying Christian never.
The same principle applies also to prayer for others, and intercessory prayer has additional benefits. Whenever we pray for others, we become deeply interested in them; and we cannot long pray for them without loving them. The Christian who is in the habit of praying for his enemies, finds no difficulty in obeying the precept of Christ which requires him to love them ; but the prayerless person will find even the duty of forgiveness a very hard one.
It is a glorious privilege to be workers together with God in the great work of promoting the salvation of mankind, and that none may be deprived of a participation in so precious a privilege, the most efficient instrumentality is one in which all can unite, the poorest as well as the richest, the weakest as well as the strongest ; the instrumentality of prayer. The poor, deserted, unfriended widow, feeble and helpless and dependent on charity for her daily bread, can lend a helping hand to the progress of God's chariot as really as Paul or Luther.
With two reflections we close our remarks on this interesting topic.
1. What a rich privilege the Christian has in prayer! The Christian, I mean, whose walk is consistent, whose devotion is uniform, who lives by the faith of the Son of God; for nothing short of this uniformly consistent life gives one a firm hold on the promises. The Christian who lives usually as the world live, cannot, when his exigencies seem to require it, suddenly work himself up into a spirit of prayer, any more than the man whose physical energies have been weakened and his health impaired by a long course of indolence and dissipation, can suddenly become healthy and vigorous, when placed in circumstances of distress and peril. My Christian friends, if you are not now in a condition which gives you firm hold on the promises, let not this day pass without a resolute effort in the strength of Christ, to plant your feet on this high ground of Christian confidence, and to maintain
your position there till this mortal shall have put on immoriality, and faith be lost in vision. The promises authorize you, if you are what a Christian ought to be, to pray with ihe utmost confidence of receiving the blessing you seek, for your own advancement in every Christian virtue, and for the impartation of spiritual blessings to those in whom you are interested. i Thess. 4: 3. Luke 11:5—13. You are authorized to pray, with the utmost confidence, for every temporal mercy which you need, and with the assurance that nothing will be withholden from you which will really promote your welfare. Matt. 7: 7-13. Ps. 85: 11.' You are authorized to pray for the relief of your fellow-creatures in every time of distress, for the entire removal of sin and all its attendant wretchedness from the face of the earth, with the utmost confidence that not one of your petitions shall be unavailing before God. Ps. 102: 17, 21.
Every Christian, in every Christian community, that lives and prays aright, fills the sphere which he occupies with an atmosphere of spiritual blessedness, by which all who breathe it are benefitted, unless they obstinately reject its wholesome influences. Let no Christian, hy a life of spiritual insensibility, deprive himself of the distinguishing privilege of his profession.
2. How miserable the impenitent who never offer acceptable prayer ? God is no respecter of persons, he has none of those personal partialities and personal antipathies, irrespective of actual merit or demerit, by which our social feelings are so much characterized. As each one is in heart, so God regards him. He that loves and obeys God, has access to his mercy scat; he that neither loves nor obeys, makes himself a stranger and an alien from his Father's house. My impenitent friends, do you not desire access to the throne of grace, where the promises are so full and free ? the hope so sure and certain ? Poor, unhappy creatures indeed are you, if you have nothing but an arm of flesh to rely upon. How can that deliver your soul from spiritual death? How can that save you from the sorrows and miseries of this life even? How can that save you from the pangs of hell? Beware, there is a time when God will hear all who call upon him, and there is a lime when he will refuse lo hear, and ihat too a time of extremest agony. Read carefully Prov. 1: 20—33.
Today if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts. Ps. 95 : 7, 8.
GREEK AND ROMAN EDUCATION,
By Rev. Albert Smith, Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, Middlebury College
The science of education is in this country in its infancy. In America every thing is young, for we are a youthful people, just entered on a career of uncertain termination. That education should have made but little progress in this new world, will appear the less surprising, if we consider that no modern nation, the Germans alone excepted, can be regarded as possessed of a scientific and thorough knowledge of the subject ; and that out of the countries of Luther and of Knox, there exists among no people of the present day any thing more than the rudiments of a system of public instruction. The nations of the old world are, in general, not so much in advance of us in this, as they are in other sciences and arts. And even if they were, we should still be disposed, on account of the difference between the political institutions of the two continents, to receive their doctrines with suspicion. If the emperor of China, of Austria, or of Russia chooses to give to his loyal subjects some form of education, we are apt to think that the system which would please him might not suit the genius of the “ fierce democracie” with which we are in love. We have therefore in this matter set up for ourselves. If our religion must remain as its great Author left it, in government at least, and in education, we would make all things new. In the treatises, addresses, and reports in which the subject of education is discussed, many arguments are drawn from reason and common sense, and some from excited imagination, but from testimony and the experience of other nations, very few. Every man bas his own scheme, and theories in abundance float loosely in the public mind. In this time of unsettled views, it may with reason be inquired whether we do not reject too rashly the collected wisdom of ages? If we look with contempt upon the spurious science of idolatrous and Mohammedan Asia ; if we reject the monarchical principles of modern Europe ; it may sıill be asked whether there comes to us no voice of instruction from antiquity? Do we require of our instructors that they should
love freedom and hate tyranny ? Liberty has found no more enthusiastic defenders than the democrats of Athens, tyranny no more uncompromising foes than the republicans of Rome. Do we insist that masters who teach so wise a nation as ourselves should be distinguished in literature, science, and art ? The glorious light of a free civilization, struggling through the gloom of the middle ages, as the splendors of the departed sun stream up behind the forests of the west, still reaches us from republican antiquity. The history, the constitutions, the eloquence of the ancient republics are the study of our statesmen and orators. The dead languages in which their literature is buried cpnsume the best years of our choicest youth. An acquaintance with their poetry, philosophy, architecture, and sculpture is regarded as indispensable to the formation of a perfect taste. We admire the genius and the skill of the beauty-loving Greek, and look with reverence on the lofty dignity, the inflexible integrity, the self-sacrificing patriotism, and the unyielding perseverance of the stern republican of Rome. There is no enlightened monarchy in Europe in which the character, institutions, science, liierature, and arts of the republicans of antiquity are not examined and admired. And surely it might be expected that in the great republic of modern times these subjects should excite a still deeper interest. It seems surprising that in this forming period of our institutions, and especially at a time when the attention of the people and governments of so many States is turned towards schemes of public instruction, there should be among us so little inquiry respecting the education of the ancients. Do we regard the subject as unworthy of investigation? Why not then despise the literature and science, the arts of peace and war with which this education was connected ? We cannot imagine that the character of the ancient republicans, stamped with features of nobleness and beauty, happened into being. There existed somewhere a forming power. Is it supposed that this character is the offspring chiefly of the physical influences of climate and soil ? The skies of Italy are sunny still, but they smile no longer on that noble race of men whose virtues St. Augustine has said, God rewarded with the dominion of the world. The air of Hellas is pure as ever, but it breathes not the spirit of the ancient time. The men of Greece and Rome, vigorous in body, heroic in spirit, and trained to self-control, rose not