Obrazy na stronie

of him. As to him to live was

PAMILY SERMONS. No. XLV. Chrisi, so to die is gain. O how may this, after the example of the Matt. vi. 6. But thou, when thou ancient Christians, fill us with joy

prayest, enter into thy closet; and and comfort, in the well-grounded

when thou hust shut thy door, pruy hope of the happiness of our dear

to thy Father which is in secret; and friend! Well may we think we hear

thy Father, which seetle in secret, him say, Why do you mourn for

shall reward thee openly. me? Weep not for me, but weep for Private prayer differs from family yourselves; for to me to die is gain. or public prayer in several respects. And 0 how happy is our friend, The proper subjects of public or so· who now enjoys an absolute freedom cial prayer are such wants as belong from all the pains, and griefs, and to men in general. In private troubles of this miserable world! prayer, the wants of our particular who is out of the reach of all its state, our peculiar trials, dangers, and temptations and snares; whose soul temptations, form the proper subis put beyond the possibility of ever jects of our addresses. Hence prisinning; which now only begins to vate prayer is a peculiarly interestlive, being now all light, and life, ing part of devotion. It may also be and love, and motion ; seeing and considered as more spiritual in its enjoying God; joining in pure and nature. In public prayer, there are holy friendship with angels and many outward things to excite the archangels, and the spirits of just affections: the surrounding multimen made perfect, in admiring and tude, the union of many voices and adoring his Redeemer! O let us not many hearts in the worship of God, bewail the absence of our friend, the soothing or elevating straias of with fruitless sighs and tears; nor music, the solemnity of the house of sorrow as they that have no hope; God; all have a tendency to produce but let us always endeavour, after an artificial kind of devotion. This his example, so to live to Christ in is not said in order to lessen the this world, that our death may be value of such belps to devotion : far the same gain to us as to him!” from it: in our present state, we

Professor Scougal left his books need every help. Still it must be to the library of King's College ; and owned, that the less our devotion the sum of five thousand merks to arises from outward causes, and bis successors in the chair of Divia the less it depends on these, the nity. He was buried on the north more likely is it to be the genuine side of the college chapel, opposite feeling of a pious heart, actuated by the high altar, afterwards called the gratitude to God, admiration of his bishop's seat, or desk; with the folo perfections, love to his character, lowing inscription on bis tomb- confidence in his providence, and stone.

faith in his promises. Private prayer, Memoria sacruro

therefore, is far more likely to be HENRICUS SCOUGAL,

the result of a real fear and love of Reverendi in Christo Patris, Patricij God. It cannot, at least, be the off

Episcopi Aberdonensis filius, spring of ostentation ; nor is it easy Philosophia in hac Academia Regia, to conceive that it should flow from Per quadriennium, totidemque annis

bypocrisy. lo general it may be Jbidem Theologiæ Professur. Ecclesiæ in Auchterless , uno antistite, Pastor

. of the feelings of the heart, offered

regarded as the genuine expression Multa in tam brevissimo curriculo Didicit, præstitit, docuit.

up from ihe purest motives, and in Cæli avidus, et cælo maturus,

the most spiritual manner. There Obiit Anno Dom. M.DC.LXXVIII. may be even no voice heard, no Ætatis suæ XXVIII.

form used ; yet tbe ardent desire of Et hic exuvias mortalitatis posuit.

the soul, the unuttered aspiration, the penitent sigh, will be perceived and

aceepted as the purest worship by mercies enjoyed. And in answer to that Ciod who seeth in secret. such prayer, there may be vouch

Pripile prayer is also a better test safed fresh manitestations of the Dior index of the state of the soul, than vine presence, a renewal of strength, public or social worship. Every an increase of light, an accession of man is what he is in secret. When bliss ; so that all wisdom, power, and no eye is upon him, then his true goodness may appear to flow directcharacter and feelinis shew them. ly from God, the oply Fountain of selves. If then he sincerely and good. In this way might Adam devoutly pours out his heart before converse with God in paradise. But God; if' then he truly mourns his when he fell, this intercourse was

as desins, and feryently desires to obtain stroyed; and since that period, men divine grace, 10 pardon and sanctify have lived in a state of alienation bim, there is good ground for be from God. But though communiga Jieving that he is a real disciple of with God, that invaluable privilege, Christ. But if the person, who in has been forfeited, still man is not social worship seems animated by a Jeft without bope. A new way of glow of devotion, and deeply affected access to God is opened. He has by-a sunse of sio, feels no holy given his only Son to be a Mediator warmth or penitent sorrow in .prie between himself and his fallen creawale prayer, if he can often ooit Lures. They draw near to him on a secret susies, or perform then only thrope of grace through Christ, and in a cold and careless manner; he he receives them for the sake of his has reason to fear lest bis devotion beloved Son. And that this privi. io public should not be the oPering lege may be rigbily used, he has of a sincere heart.

given them his Spirit lo incline and · Prayer is the intercourse of the teach them to pray, to belp their iasoul with God the Father of spirits: firmities, and to sanctify their dean intercourse not carried on by the sires. Thus have we access to God, bearing of the ear, or the uttering through Christ, by the Spirit. The of sounds, but by the union of mind ibrone of grace, where Jesus is seatMåtb mind. It was been an old ob- ed as the Bligh Priest and Advocale jection against prayer, that God does of his people, is now the place where not need to be told our wantş, or to God holds intercourse with man, and be entrealed to supply them. This communicates to him the fulness of objection proceeds on a mistake as his grace. There, all his faithlol ·lo ihe true nature of prayer. It does servants are found. There they notcoosiler prayer as the intercourse meet their God and each other; and or communication wbich subsists be the blessed intercourse of heaven is tween the Lord and ('reator of the kept up by prayer, dictated by the

erse, the Chief of all spiritual Spirit, and offered up through Christ. beings, and the spiritual beings It is by means of our relation lo when he has created. The angels his Son ihat God becomes in a pecuin heaven thus told constant com liar sense our Father, and that we munion with Him in whom they are encouraged so draw near him as live, and move, and have their being such, in the confidence that with a Norisit to be supposedl

, thal, because father's feelings he will receive and they have no sins to lament, they bless his returning children. Thus have therefore no perd of prayer: our intercourse with God is renewed, the very continuance of their state and we enjov in our measure and of perfection, of strength and desire degree that blessed communion with to do the will of God, may be the him on earth which ihe angels enjoy subjects of constant prayer-ot de. in heaven ; and we then most nearly vout acknowledgment.tiat all good pariake of the lile, the enjoyment, proceeds from God, of humble con. the employment of angels, when we fidence io bim, of terveat praise for are engaged in prayer to God.

And as this freedom of access to so many should live without prayer? God by prayer is the highest privi- nay,that prayer should be even a iroulege we enjoy, so the benefits of it ble and a burden to them? Every day are of the bighest order. Let us re- does the sun behold innumerable, nember that God is the only source rational beings, preserved and supof all good, of all wisdom and ported by God's bounty, endued by strength, of all honour, happiness, him with many noble powers, and and glory; and that whatever we graciously invited to partake of all have of these we must obtain imme. the blessings of his favour and of diately from him. But it is a law of eternal glory, averse to communion, the Divine government, that spiritual with their God; rising in the morngifts should be connected with ing without thanksgiving or prayer; prayer to God, and with the ac- lying down at night without acknowknowledgment of our dependence ledging his mercy or desiring his on him. The life of heaven is presence; and who say to him in spoken of as seeing God; dwelling effect, “ Depart from us; we desire with him; beholding bis face conti- neither to know thee nor to receive nually. No inhabitant of heaven is' any blessing from thee.” Fain insensible to the presence of God, would I bring all who thus feel and but holds constant intercourse with act, 10 a sense of their duty; rain him in the exercise of dependence would I convince them of the high and gratitude, adoration and praise; privilege of being permitted to pray and the perfection of religion on to God. May. God himself, who earth consists in partaking of the alone can touch the heart, make the sáme benefits, and exercising the present endeavour effectual to that same affections. And how great is end; may he awaken in them better the value of those benefits which he feelings, while I lead them to ask bestows on such as maintain com- their own consciences why it is that munion with bim by prayer! All they neglect to pray.- Is it that God worldly blessings were but a small is a spirual Being whom you do not thing for him to bestow : he gives perceive by your senses, and there, freely infinite blessings-eternal life, fore cannot converse with? But are eternal glory, the eternal enjoyment there not innumerable persons who of happiness. These are blessings find no such difficulty in addressing worthy of God to give, and of an im- the Author of their lives? There mortal being to receive ; and these is no more difficulty in addressing are all communicated through the a being whom you do not see, than medium of prayer. To prayer, the one whom you do, provided only ear of God is ever open; to prayer, your belief of the presence of both the pardon of innumerable sins and be equally strong. If, indeed, you deliverance from every evil are grant- entertain a doubt whether God is ed; by prayer, the victory over the present with you, and hears you, world, the flesh, and the devil is ob- ihen indeed there will be no earnesttained; by prayer, the weak are ness or seriousness in prayer, Unmade strong, the helpless are pro- belief, then, is one great cause of the tected, the corrupt are sanctified, neglect of prayer. But surely even death is disarmed of its sling, and, the evidence of our senses is not the grave of its spoil; by prayer; stronger than that which proves, bethe gates of heaven are opened, and yond all question, tbat there is an an entrance obtained into the re- Almighty Being who knows all gions of eternal light and glory. things, who is ever present with his

And now, seeing that such is the creatures, and attends to all they privilege, and such the benefits, of say and do. Every thing above us, prayer; and that we are invited, and beneath us, and around us, proves eveo urged, to share in them; is it not this. Our own existence is not a matter deeply to be regretted that more certain than. His; and if Ho exist, He must possess attributes"mind is enmity against God; for it is which sbew him io be near to us, not subject to the law of God, neither about our path, and surrounding us indeed can be.” Now this is the on every side. And will He nut hear very state from which the preaching if we address him? He that made of the Gospel is intended to deliver the ear, shall be not hear? He that men. By nature men are alienated formed the eye, shall he not see? from God, and the Gospel is intendHe that gave man understanding, ed to reconcile them to him, and to shall he not perceive ? All nature bring them back to their heavenly and all revelation confirm this, and Father by repentance and prayer, proclaim God to be every where acknowledging the injury they have present, and at all times observant done to the best of Beings. o that of his creatures. Well then may we were all convinced, that in keep we adopt the language of the Psal. ing at a distanee from God we keep mist, and say, « Lord, thou hast at a distance from our best friend searched me and known mc; thou and kindest benefactor! He wants knowest my down-sitting and my not our services, but we want bint up-rising. "Thou understandest my and his yrace. He humbleth himthoughts afar off. Thou compassest self even to listen to the aduration my path and my lying down, and of angels - yet sach is his wonderart acquainted with all my ways: fut condescension that be stoops for there is not a word in my tongue from heaven to listen to the groans but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it al- and supplications of the lowest and together."


4 с

most abject of his creatures. He Let us be persuaded, then, that at waits to do us goock and to shew us this moment, at every moment, there mercy, if we call upon him. Our is an Almighty Being near us, who unwillingness to pray to such a Beobserves all we do, and say, and ing shews most strongly our need of think, though we see him not; and prayer; for surely this alienation this Being, in his word, requires us from God, this aversion to holy into maintain a constant intercourse tercourse with him, must be removed, with bim. We are, therefore, bound if we would dwell with God. here. to pray to him daily. Shalbwe, then, after in heaven: Surely, if we knew refuse to pay him our just tribute of lim aright; if we could see the inhomage and obedience, and to hold finite fulness of bis compassion, the communion with him, when he in- overflowing benignity of his dispovites and entreals us to do so? sition, the vast extent of his bounty,

But the true reason why we neg. we should not act thus. It is his lect to pray to God is probably a presence which gives glory to heasecret sense of guilt, and a dislike or ven and fills it with joy; and ought dread to approach him We know not we also to rejoice in it? Conthat God is a holy God, who requires sider only his mercy : He hath not holiness in all who draw nigh to withheld his Son, his only Son, from him; but our minds are averse to us, but has given him to be a propi holiness, and though we cannot con- tiation for our sins. Does this look ceal ourselves from him, yet we like a stern,.unpitying Being ? " But vaioly endeavour to hide him from .he is a just and holy God.” Yes our view. We do not like to have But, though both just and holy, he such a witness of all we do ; and we delighteth not in the death of a sinfeel an awe and constraint in the ner, but rather that he sbould turn thought of his presence. Besides, to from his way and live; and to effect pray, while we do not forsake our sins, this, what pains has he not taken; appears to be such plain mockery what arguments has he not used; of God that we cannot persist in it. what invitations bas he not given ; In short, to use the language of what promises has be Dot made! Scripture, “the carnal" or uarenewed But, alas! till the heart is io some

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measure changed, it is in vain to rest call us to come up to them:
convince the understanding. "If, how angels wait 10 carry the joyful
ever, we are so far persuaded of the tidings to heaven of our approach to
evil of our alienation from God as to God: the Holy Spirit is even now
be desirous to have it removed, let striving with us : Christ urges us
us bless God even for this desire, from heaven to come to God through
and let us pray to him for that mercy him : and God, the Father of all,
and grace of which we stand in stretches towards us the sceptre of
Deed. Let us confess to him our his grace, and entreats us pot to re-
true state, lament before him the fuse him who speaketh to us from
hardness and impenitence of our heaven. Let not all this be in vain:
hearts, beseech hini to enlighten let us no longer delay to accept the
our understandings, and to draw our offered mercy; but io-day, while it
affections to himself. God will help is called to-day, let us cast ourselves
those who thus wurn to him. He at the feet of our heavenly Father
will strengthen each weak endea- and implore this grace. If we draw
vour, and perfect every feeble at nigh to God, be will draw nigh to
tempt. And to prayer let us join us. If we pray to him fervently for
meditation on the true character of the blessings we need, we may con-
God, as revealed in the Bible, and fidently rely on the fulfilment of his
displayed by his only begotten Son, promise: "Ask, and ye shall re-
If our view of God is not, as it ought ceive; seek, and ye shall find;
to be, a cheering and encouraging krock, and it shall be opened unto
view, our prayers will necessarily you." Amen.
be cold and formal. It is the love of
God which produces earnestness,
pleasure, and constancy in prayer.

For the Christian Observer.
Oh, then, let us be induced by the
mercies of God, and by a sense of When we consider the relation in
our wants and miseries, to draw which we stand to that Almighty
nigh to Him. Let the void we feel Being, who created us by bis power,
in our minds convince us that our and who preserves us during every
souls can nerer find rest till they moment of our existence by the un-
are united to God, the source of all ceasing energy of his wisdom; it
good and all peace. Let the guilt seems of all truths the simplest and
of our sins hasten our application to most obvious, that we ought to be
him, who pardoneth iniquity through subject to bis disposal. When we
his Son, and who willeth not the recollect that He, who is our sove.
death of a sinner. Let the peace reign by nature, unites in his adora.
which passeth all understanding, of ble character every attribute which
which ihose are destitute who live can attract our veneration, or claim
without God; let the sweet hope our confidence, or win our love,
of eternal happiness, which never duty seems too cold a term to ex•
brightens their hours; let the vanity press the regards which are due 10+
of this world, and the glory of that wards him. But when we reflect,
which is to come; let the miseries that He who formed us by his power,
of sin, and the blessedness of holiness; and blessed us by his goodness, left
let every thing on earth, and in hea- not the world he made to perish in
ven, and in hell, persuade us to re- its wilful apostacy, but purchased
turn to God, and to offer him the full again his own creation by the blood
surrender of our hearts. The faith- of his dear Son, what language can
fal on earth exhort us to draw near adequately describe the feelings of
to God: the dead who have perish- glad obedience and grateful adora-
ed warn us from the tomb not to cion, which should animate every
trifle with the offers of Divine mercy: child of this wise and gracious, in-
the saints who have entered into sulted and indulgent Parent! Yet

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