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tervals, regularly and without intermission but it means further, to be, in one sense, always praying; that is, to be always in that temper or state of mind which is requisite for a right discharge of the duty of actual prayer;-to have habitually those views of God, of ourselves, and of others, which the several parts of prayer suppose or imply.
If you will look back, I think you will find upon consideration, at least you have been used to meditate seriously upon your soul's concerns, that to remissness in actual prayer, or to defect of this spirit of prayer, or praying frame of mind, more than to any other single and assignable cause, have been owing your past failures and miscarriages and sins, and your impatience under crosses, and fretfulness, and discomforts, and disappointments.
These things therefore do : 1. First examine yourselves. Compare your lives with the law of God, and make actual confession to him of all your sins with all their circumstances and aggravations, as far as you can recollect or see them, and make something of this a part of every day's duty. Strive to "have your sin ever before you;" to be habitually as sinners in your own sight; to be always viewing yourselves as creatures having no claim of right upon God's kindness -as unworthy to gather up the crumbs under his table, and therefore subsisting wholly upon his mere grace, and without hope or refuge from any other quarter. In a word, be, what your confession teaches you you ought to be, "Be clothed with humility."
2. In the next place, "continue instant" in supplication, or prayer, properly so called; that is, whatsoever you know yourselves to need, be continually asking it of God in Christ's name. And remember, also, that this likewise supposes and requires a correspondent habit of mind; and see that the habit abides with you. Accordingly, strive, as to have your sin, so likewise to
have your necessities, your ignorance, your weakness, your inability to help yourselves, ever before you. And set the Lord God continually before you. Understand that he is ever present, ever at hand, ever able, and ever willing to help you, and to do you good for the sake of Jesus Christ; that his eye is always upon you, that he orders all things in heaven and earth; that he loves you, that you are safe under his protection, that you can do or endure all things with him, nothing without him. Be continually look-. ing up to him as a Father, as reconciled in Jesus Christ, as covenanted and pledged to you, whilst you wait upon him, to save you from sin and danger; to guide you by his counsel whilst you commit your way unto him, and afterwards to receive you to glory for Christ's sake. Know that you are never alone if you belong to Christ, because your Father is with you. Always depend upon him, always confide in him; hope in his word; refer every thing to him, and do every thing for him; and act just as if you were always in his company and under his care, for so you surely are; and deem this to be privilege, and portion, and happiness enough for you in this world, let what will be against you; for so it surely is. And,
3. Therefore next "continue instant" in thanksgiving. If you are to recollect your sins every day to confess them, and your wants every day to entreat for the supply of them, can there be a reason why you should any less recollect, every day, God's mercies which he hath so freely and so profusely poured upon you, to give thanks for them? Well would it be for you, could you be brought to be in this duty as persevering, and as explicit and particular as perhaps you will admit you ought to be in the others. Greatly would it conduce to the confirmation of your faith and hope, to the increase of your love and zeal for God, to the support in your
souls of a joy in the Lord which would prove your strength. If self-knowledge be necessary and good for you, can the knowledge of God and of his dispositions towards you be less so? But how may he so well be known, or be understood so practically and so effectually, as through habitual recognition and constant special commemoration of his great and continual bounSee with what long-suffering they are still extended to those who make so light of them. Make explicit acknowledgment of this, and hear the Psalmist "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with lovingkindnesses and tender mercies." You can have no religion at all, if God is not habitually upon your thoughts in this manner, and you can have no enjoyment of his good creatures which can do you any thing else but mischief.
4. But I hasten to the last particular. "Continue instant" also in intercession. Remember, that "none of us liveth to himself alone;" that "we are every one members one of another,' and therefore pray for others no less than for yourselves. Every day of your lives remember those around you at the throne of God's grace. Pray that God's "way may be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations:" that all men may have grace, and that the souls of all may be "fed with food convenient for them," and their bodies supplied with all necessary comforts. Consider it a part of your duty to all who are near and dear to you, to pray for them-a duty it is to your parents, to your children, your husbands or wives, and to all your households: to the ministers of God's word, to all your rulers in church and state, to all the distress
ed, to all in temptation of any sort, to the whole Christian world, to the whole heathen world ;—and no man does his duty by his fellow-creatures who omits it.
And now put all these things together, and "your profiting shall appear unto all men." "Set your affection on things above." Receive affliction as sent by God for good; live in perpetual communion with your Maker through Jesus Christ, coming to him for all you want for yourselves or others; acknowledging him as the author of all you have or hope for and believing yourselves the objects of his good will in Christ, at the same time that you see yourselves to be worthy of nothing but his displeasure. Fly to him in all troubles, pour out your hearts before him, be continually thinking of him, ever seeking his favour as the one thing needful: and then--though I cannot tell you that you shall live long, or live without great afflictions, yet I can assure you, that if you live and meet with such afflictions, you shall have cause to bless God for them, and have his comforts to refresh your souls under the endurance of them. And if you live in prosperity, you shall have cause to bless God for that, and have his grace to keep you humble, and to save you from its snares. And I can assure you, too, in the name of the Lord, that you shall be better kept from sin than you have been, and that you shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and though you shall be nearer death, you shall also be nearer life, nearer to glory, and honour, and immortality.
ON THE TERM VIRTUE IN
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
THERE appears to me to be an unnecessary scruple in the minds of some excellent persons against the use of the term "virtue," in
theology. I admit that, from our early classical habits on the one hand, and the vernacular English of our authorised translation of the Scriptures on the other, it is, in general, better to avoid words which remind us of the former, and to choose those which have been employed in the latter. I should, therefore, in general prefer, and almost without exception in sermons, the word God to Deity, holiness to virtue, godliness to piety, and sin to vice; and, indeed, Saxon words in most instances to those derived from the Latin: but still the scruple is often carried too far; so that many a pious clergyman has been set down as a very heathen, for using one of the latter class of words, when he by no means intended in so doing to mutilate the force of scriptural ideas. The word "virtue," for example, even in our vernacular translation, is sometimes used, as Cruden well expresses it, as "the generical word that contains all moral and Christian virtues under it" as in Phil. iv. 8, "If there be any virtue, think on these things." It is used in the same manner in our Prayer-book. Let us not, then, make a man an offender for a word, or infer that he is of necessity preaching mere morals, because he may happen, from long habit, to employ, not perhaps wisely, terms used in moral science, to express ideas of scriptural divinity. The mere sound is of little consequence, if the meaning be clearly defined: the chief evil is, that where these words are used, the meaning is too often defective.
VERBAL MISAPPLICATION OF
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I ADMIT, with your correspondent G. (p. 166), that it is desirable to avoid verbal, as well as substantial,
misapplications of Scripture; but I cannot think the instance he has adduced perfectly applicable to his argument. He quotes Mr. Cadogan as saying, "Exalt Jesus," and the promise is, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me:" which he remarks, that "exalt " means to magnify; whereas, in the text alluded to by Mr. Cadogan, "lifted up" means crucifixion. This is true; but Mr. Cadogan seems also to have had in his mind an allusion to Moses "lifting up" the serpent in the wilderness; and though this was typical of crucifixion, yet it was primarily an elevation and exhibition; the junction of all which ideas is implied in Mr. Cadogan's remark. The successive steps are, that the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness prefigured the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; that Moses was to lift up the serpent, and the Israelites were to look at it that they might live; and that thus, under the Gospel, the Christian minister exhibits Christ to mankind. There is, however, a little quaintness or technicality in such condensed expressions; and they suppose the hearer competent to trace the latent analogy; but I see not that they are so exceptionable as your correspondent supposes. The chief objection to them is, that they are deficient in simplicity. Try the experiment in a Sunday school or village circle. First read Mr. Cadogan's sentence, and then ask, What is meant by "exalting Jesus?" The answer will, perhaps, be, "Preaching Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King; making Him the great subject of every discourse." "Where is the promise which Mr. Cadogan mentions, that if we thus preach Christ we shall draw men to him?" A pause; you quote the passage referred to, but find your auditors not satisfied: "No, sir: that promise was not about preaching Christ, but about his crucifixion." "Well, but you remember what is said about lifting up the
serpent in the wilderness. "Yes, the life, that every believer in him,
sir; but that is not the promise Mr. Cadogan speaks of: the words draw all men unto me, do not come in at that place." I can only say, that I purposely tried the experiment with an intelligent child, but found it not so easy as I thought to explicate Mr. Cadogan's remark: the analogy between metaphorical exaltation and literal elevation, like the serpent, or our Lord's crucifixion, I saw did not satisfy his mind. I could not convince him that "the promise" is what Mr. Cadogan says it is: nor is it so, except analogically, or figuratively; but what do uninstructed persons understand of theological analogies and figures?
NOTE ON JOHN xi. 25, 26.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I VENTURE to present to your readers the words of our Lord to Martha, in a view, as it respects the last clause, not usually taken of them, but which appears to me to convey their plain meaning. Martha, having expressed her confidence as to the future resurrection of Lazarus, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day," our Lord returned, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believ eth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth
who shall be alive and remain unto
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
and believeth in me, shall never die." MR. IRVING ON THE DOCTRINE OF After the declaration of the future resurrection of every believer who shall die in the Lord, may not the subsequent expression, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, refer to those believers who shall be found living on the earth when the Lord shall come again? Our Lord appears to assure Martha, first, in reference to his being the resurrection, that every believer in him, though he die as to the body, yet shall live; he shall be raised again: and then, in reference to his being CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 329.
MR. Irving is no trimmer, and his talents are equal to his courage: so that where he is right, he is nobly right; and where wrong, proportionably wrong. He gives no quarter to any man of any party; he graduates only for the extremes of heat and cold, frost and fever; all measure, all qualification he instinctively rejects. Hence his volumes are a
strange tissue of opposites: a repertory of anomalies; a magazine of splendid good and splendid (never intentional) evils: you alternatively smile and frown in every page; all are pleased with some, and none with all; and to analyze and pronounce an opinion upon the whole, you must give an estimate, paragraph by paragraph, and often line by line."
These observations occur to my mind in reading the following pas sage upon the doctrine of assurance; and which I cite, without note or comment, for the benefit of all whom it may concern. It may furnish an appropriate sequel to the discussion in your pages on the subject.
"Besides these forms," says Mr. Irving, "which the revival of the last fifty years has assumed, there is another engendering by the subtlety of Satan, which to delineate and expose aright may be of great profit to the Christian church: for it hath not yet settled into the chronical state of a sect and party. The Arminian spirit of preaching experience, and registering experience, which is nothing different from the confessions and good works of the Papists, hath at length begun to alarm many with apprehensions for the honour of Christ: who, (not comprehending the proper position from which to contend, through their ignorance of the true visible church, which they see only in our Arminian and Pelagian formalists, who call themselves churchmen, but are of the synagogue of Satan,) do come forth in their own single strength, and preach the assurance of faith, the immediate and instant assurance of our salvation through Christ Jesus. They preach Christ, as they term it; that is, the liberty of salvation through his merits; and they say, Do you believe that you are saved? And if you say 'yes,' they call upon you to rejoice, to go on and prosper. And on they go at full gallop, rushing against every sober-minded Christian, and upbraiding him as they pass. Our good old distinc
tions between justification by faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ, the assurance of which, we also allow, must commence the Christian's work, and sanctification through faith in the Holy Spirit,the former an act, the latter a work, they give little or no heed to whatever: although I believe this distinction to be at the foundation of all sound doctrine, and not without the loss of both truths to be confounded.".... "This infection runs like wildfire: this seed springs up like Jonah's gourd; and like Jonah's gourd it will perish, affording no shelter to a man's soul in the strong heat of the sun. One cannot but love their zeal, and admire the ringlets of their childish beauty, and the freshness of their downy cheek; but, ah! what shall these avail in the day of fierce and fiery controversy, when man must brave the battle's edge, and snatch the martyr's crown from the midst of the fire? I also love them as I love my sweet children, and delight myself with their soft and yielding spirits; but when I speak to them as men, straightway they are offended. God knows how I suffer daily in my heart, when I behold. these, and many other exemplifications around me, of this thinness of soil, perceiving how we shall be broken upon the first onset of the enemy, which the Lord for the pre sent restraineth, and which may he long restrain! for who could look upon the tents of Israel scattered, and the children of the living God discomfited?"-Rev. E. Irving on the Parable of the Sower, Lecture II. pp. 488–490.
As I have promised to cite without note or comment, I must leave' the eccentric author to pat the "downy cheeks" of his Malaniste friends on the one hand, and to skirmish on the other with more sturdy opponents, who certainly will not admit his assertion that "preaching and registering experience" is "nothing different from Popery." I, however, fully concur with him in opinion