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not but be painfully struck, by resentation most solemnly true ? the fewness of those, who make, That it should be thus is melan. in form, any profession of re- choly indeed. But since it is ligion, in comparison with the thus, that foolish virgins have many, who make none. Com- sometimes glaring lamps, and paratively small, however, as wise virgins sometimes indulge this number is ; yet a considera. in their slumbers ; it should ble proportion of these can hard. teach us certainly, an important ly be considered as entitled to lesson. It should teach us to the designation of credible pro. use caution and diffidence in fessors : for how many, alas ! judging one of another. “so walk,” under the sacred learn, then, the meaning, and profession of the gospel, as to the practical use of the injunc. make it unquestionably evident, tion, to "judge nothing before that they are enemies of the the time.” cross of Christ !” And must we But a Third reflection presses then, still go farther in our de- upon the mind ; that, though ductions ? Must we admit the true and false professors are not probability, that even of those, always distinguishable in their whose profession is fair and cred. lives, yet they will be awfully ible, many are yet but foolish distinguished at death. virgins.-butgraceless professors! often, indeed, the distinction is Destressful thought! Most deep- strikingly manifest, before the ly it should affect the heart, and fipal moment. When the cry arouse the whole soul of every
Behold the bride. professor.
groom cometh !” and they arise It is obvious, as a second re- to trim their lamps, it often is flection, that we cannot always made evident to all beholders, who certainly distinguish among the has oil, and who has not. Often professors of christianity, who the true Christian, though before are true, and who are false. his profession may have been du. The foolish virgins, as well as bious, on the near approach of the wise, had their lamps. Un. death, gives the brightest evidence sound professors have an out- of a penitent spirit, of a lively ward shew of religion, and not un. faith, and of a sure and stedfast frequently indeed a very glaring hope ; and when the summons profession : a profession, which actually comes, departs, in peace, strikes and dazzles the world, and in the triumphant anticipa. and puts the sincere, but modest, tion of the joy of his Lord. While Christian to confusion. On the on the other hand, under the other hand, sincere professors, same solemn circumstances, the Christians who have grace in their lamp of the graceless professor, hearts have their slumbering sea. however glaring it may before sons; seasons in which they shew have been, goes out; and he is but little of the spirit, the power, either distracted with awfully orthe genuine fruits of godliness. significant terrors, or sunk in a Shall I ask you, christian breth. still more terribly portentous ren, to look round you, and stupor. But be it as it may, in turn your eyes home upon your. these visible respects, while selves, and say, is not this rep. breath remains; yet no sooner
is the silver cord loosed,” than it was intended most deeply and in the dread light of eternity, the solemnly to impress. And is it, distinction appears to the ineffa. indeed, possible that under any ble joy of the sainted spirit, and just impression of the awfully to the unutterable despair of the monitory considerations here graceless soul.
conveyed, professors, or others, It is a solemn reflection, in can slumber and sleep, the wise the FOURTH PLACE, that for the and the foolish together? Should impenitent and unbelieving, there it not rather be expected, that all can be no hope, either in or af. would be awake, constantly ter death. This whole parable awake; and examining with un. is predicated on the momentous remitting care, and with the principle, that death terminates deepest scrutiny, the state of the probationary scene, and seals their souls, and the grounds of the character of both saints and their supposed safety. O, awake, sinners for the final judgment : awake, thou that sleepest. A. and on no other principle can ei. wake, professors, one and all; ther its pertinency be solidly awake to righteousness and sin shewn, or its propriety be solid.
Awake, and trim ly vindicated. How impertinent, your lamps; and prepare to and how improper must the par. meet the Bridegroom. Soon, able have been, and the warning very soon, he will come; anú too, which it was intended to those who are ready will go in enforce; had our Savior believed with him to the marriage; and that, either at death the distinc. the door will be shut. And alas! tion between the righteous and then for those, against whom it the wicked would cease, and all is shut! They will be left for would be prepared to meet their ever in outer darkness, where Judge with joy, or that after there will be weeping and gnash. death there would be anothering of teeth.” gracious season, or space for repentance. Unquestionably our Savior believed no such thing : but hespake, that which he knew,
A WORD TO CHRISTIANS. when he said, "the door was shut” against the foolish vir. B. ethren, gins, and represented, that all Give me leave to call your their cries and lamentations af. attention to the practice of re. terwards were utterly unavail. viewing the prayers, which you ing.
daily make. We must not think On the whole then, FINALLY, it sufficient, that we have uttered of what momentous concern is a few words in prayer. It is the subjoined warning of the di. desirable to know, whether we vide and gracious Monitor: have prayed to God's acceptance;
Watch, therefore ; for ye whether our prayer avails at the know neither the day, nor the throne of Grace. It is important hour wherein the son of man
in many cases, to inquire after. cometh.” This is the moral of wards how we have done business, the parable ; this is its applica. as well as beforehand to consider, tion; this is the warning, which how we ought to do it.
Go For thy
1. Christians should examine If Christians overlook their whether their prayers have been views in prayer, they will not offered in faith.
be able to come to the throne of Faithless prayers are much the Grace with humble boldness. same, as none. Without faith it How greatly will it encourage is impossible to please God. Our and invigorate them in this duty, religion should be such as will to have it in their power to say, answer the purpose of saving our We know, that it was for the souls. Why should we be con- glory of God, that we begged of tent with a religion, which will him the blessings of his grace. We leave us perishing in our sin ? know, that it was for the glory Is not such a religion worse than of his name, that we prayed for none ? Be not deceived : God is the pardon of sin.' not mocked. How important name sake, 0, Lord, pardon then is it to the Christian, faith. mine iniquity, for it fully to examine whether his 4. It deeply concerns Chris. prayers, were made in faith ? tians to examine whether their
2. Christians should examine, practice is answerable to their whether they pray as penitents. prayers. Prayer to be good It is certainly interesting to them must have correspondent practice to know whether they take their attached to it, and this practice proper place before God, as of. is essential to the efficacy of fenders. If they stand up, and prayer.
This may be illustrated pray, and feel, that it would be by a few plain examples. It is unjust in God to deny them the duty of Christians to pray their request, they pray as im. God to keep them from tempta. penitent sinners pray. It con. tion. " And lead us not into cerns them to take the place temptation. They must be as which belongs to them as suppli- careful then to shun temptations, ants unworthy of any favor as they ought to be, to pray God from God.
to keep them from it. What 3. Christians should watch do they mean, when they pray unto prayer, that they may know God to keep them from tempta. whether they seek the glory of tion, and yet daily put themselves God. It is a divine direction, unnecessarily in the way of temp"Whether, therefore, ye eat, or tations ? Will not God judge of drink,or whatever yedo, do all to their prayers by their practice? the glory of God.” It is the duty What if it be their prayer, of Christians, and the duty of all that justice and righteousness men, to act for God, and to use might prevail ? This would be themselves and all they have sa. well. But should they not watch credly for him.
God is entitled to see that their practice is an. to all their service; and in with. swerable to the prayer they have holding from God his due, they made ? If with this prayer upon rob him of his honor.
our lips, we do wrong to others; The Christian should examine, which will be the most successful whether he goes to God as a pleading, our prayers for the child, in the spirit of adoption, prevalence of righteousness, or and asks of him blessings for the their cries against our partial in. glory of his name.
justice ? Behold, the hire of the
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CROSS.
laborers who have reaped down you, yea, when ye make many your fields, which is of you kept prayers, I will not hear ; your back by fraud, crieth : and the hands are full of blood. cries of them which have reaped
JUSTUS. are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
If a man at his own table, as is not uncommon, should pray God to supply those who are destitute of the mercies, by him and his family enjoyed; the words of such a prayer would As Moses lifted up the ser. be good. But if the man should pent in the wilderness, even so contribute nothing to the relief must the Son of man be lifted of the poor; his prayer would up; that whosoever believeth in avail no more than the cold com. him should not perish, but have fort administered by him who eternal life. dismisses the poor with goodwords How absurd, to imagine that only. “If a brother or sister” the form of a serpent in brass, saith the apostle, “be naked, elevated upou a pole will prove and destitute of daily food, and an antidote to the deadly venom one of you say unto them, De- of these fiery serpents! How part in peace, be ye warmed and foolish, to believe that barely filled: notwithstanding ye give looking upon this artificial serthem not those things which are pent will affect the cure of those needful to the body; what doth who were bitten ! How repug. it profit?» Let Christians think nant to reason! How repugnant of the angel's testimony in be. to common sense !'-Such, or half of Cornelius, the devout similar to these, might have been centurion ; “ Thy prayer and the exclamations of the proud thine alms are come up for a me. and pretendedly philosophic in morial before God.”
the Hebrew camp.
And such, If a Christian should pray, as or similar to these, have been Christ has directed, “Thy king. the exclamations, actually utterdom come,” " this is nothing more ed by men, doting on their own praying for the
in modern times. It prevalence of true religion. But has been thus also in regard to what avails such prayers, if we
the doctrine of the cross.
In practically oppose true religion, the carly days of the gospel, or even use no endeavors to pro
66 Christ crucified was to the mote it.
Jews a stumbling block, and to Finally, in a word, if we sep- the Greeks foolishness ;' and in arate prayer from the spirit and all succeeding ages, it has been temper of mind, which the duty the standing jest, the scorn, and requires, and also from corres- derision of vain pretenders to ponding practice, what will it be philosophy, and vaunters in the but solemn mockery? It is in. all sufficiency of human reason. iquity, even the solemn meeting. But never more than in the presAnd when ye spread forth your ent age, was the doctrine of salhands, I will hide mine eyes from vation by faith alone in the cru
cified Son of God, branded as manuel; with what egregious foolish and absurd, nay, as im. folly and madness are they really pious and blasphemous.
chargeable, who, through the But however foolish to the wantonness of pride and self. wise men of this world the method conceit, "reject the counsel of of cure might seem, however rea God against themselves.” Had pugnant to the proud decisions any of the Israelites, vainly trust. of human reason and philosophy; ing in human skill and scorning still, every humble and believing a method of cure, so humbling Israelite, who, when bitten, look. to human reason, refused, when ed to the serpent of brass, lived. bitten, to look to the serpent of So likewise, though the preach. brass, and therefore died; not all ing of the cross be “unto them their fine and plausible reasonings that perish foolishness ;" it is and objections, not all their par. nevertheless, unto every one
ade of wisdom and philosophy, that believeth, the power of God not all their points of wit or unto salvation.” After all their strokes of sarcasm, could have pretensions then, to superior saved them from the infamy of wisdom and philosophy, after all fools or madınen. The fool. their disdainful sneers at the doc. ishness of God is wiser than men, trine of the cross, and at the hum. and the weakness of God is stron. ble believers in the crucified Im. ger than men.”
unto you—Whosoever shall not INSTRUCTIVE NARRATIVE. BY receive the kingdom of God, as JAMES MUIR, D.D. PASTOR OF a little child, he shall not enter THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, therein. And he took them op ALEXANDRIA.
in his arms, put his hands upon
them, and blessed them.” The “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, 'hast thou ordained strength.”
scriptures, by little children, * Children” cried " in the temple, Hos- mean all who are under age, as annah, to the son of David.” “I love them who love me, and they the "Olive Plants,” arising about
well as infants on the breastwho seek me early shall find me.”
a good man's table, “ They brought young chil. tage of the Lord,'_which the dren to” Christ, when he was on parent is bound to cultivate and earth—66 that he should touch to improve. them; and his disciples rebuked “Suffer the little children, to those that brought them. But come to me.”_Some of them were when Jesus saw it he was much of the same tender age, as the displeased, and said unto them thousands in Nineveh, who could -Suffer the little children to not discern their right hand from come unto me, and forbid their left-These he took into them not ; for of such is the his arms; others of them being kingdom of God-Verily, I say more advanced, were led forward