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signs, the new year approaches too much “as a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains.” Let the following appearances, too visible, alas ! to every discerning eye, suffice to show this:- First, the increasing open avowal of infidelity. There was a time, when such sentiments were limited to the writings of self-called philosophers. These days are past: and now we see large bodies of men glorying in their unbelief, publicly assembling together, to worship a god of their own. Not satisfied with making the press teem with their blasphemies, like the frogs in Egypt, entering the royal palace. There, in the presence of our Queen and her assembled nobles, declaring it to be their purpose, vain as the imagination is, to create a new moral world, or a state of society in which all reverence to the Lord Jehovah and to his well-beloved Son, our only Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, shall be entirely laid aside. These infidels have spread themselves through many of our largest towns. They have their paid missionaries, their regularly constituted officers, and their periodical blasphemous publications.
Along with these and other advocates of infidelity, although of a different school, we have the adherents of the church of Rome in full activity. Their laymen forming themselves into ó a Catholic Institute ; ' their bishops charging their clergy to exhort their flocks to pray for the conversion of Protestant England; and both spending large sums in the building of chapels, colleges, nunneries, and other religious houses. No longer disguising their intentions, but boasting of their success, and exerting all their influence to bring the unwary under their dominion.
Whilst the kingdom of our Lord is thus openly assailed, many nominal Protestants are slumbering, and are thus affording opportunity to the enemy, whilst they are sleeping, to sow his tares. So that, although we are assured that He who is “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,” will finally triumph over every foe, if the Lord does not effectually awaken us from our slumbers, we know not the evils to which his church may be exposed. Whilst these lowering clouds appear, our own national sins, and the present state of Christendom generally, lead the observer of the times to fear that the predicted days of judgment upon the Gentiles may be approaching -that the numerous abominations of Christendom, which might cause the righteous “to sigh and to cry,” are but symptomatic: prognostics of that period when men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” Or forerunners of that day when, as the Prophet Daniel predicts, “the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." These dark shades overspreading the dawn of the new year should make us consider these streaks of loving-kindness and tender mercy to which I have referred at the commencement of the invitation, as warnings from the Most High, or as calls to “ redeem the time; ” to avail ourselves of the present moment —to profit by the showers of blessing now bestowed -to entreat the Lord to pour upon all who believe in His name
the Spirit of grace and of supplication.” That before these days of vengeance arrive, many may be led, in answer to their earnest cries, to flee from the wrath to come, and take shelter under His
. 523 wings; who is a refuge from the storm, and a covert from the tempest; when the blast of the terrible is as a storm against the wall.
These are only a very few of the reasons, for the limits of this address will not admit of enlargement, which should call the Christian church to united prayer.
The motives which were urged in former invitations, to which you are referred, abide with increasing force.
It is enough now to say that the Lord has encouraged us to persevere in prayer, by His gracious answers-That the increasing activity of Papists and of Infidels are powerful calls upon his people to awake from their slumbers, and arouse themselves to their divine Master's service. Whilst the signs of the times bring bis words to our remembrance with almost invincible power-"Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.”
The following suggestions are respectfully offered to assist those who are desirous of uniting in this general concert for prayer.
lst. Let Christians follow the example of our blessed Lord, (Mark i. 25.) who rose up a great while before day for secret prayer. Let them thus secure the blessing of him, who says, “ Pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
2nd. Let them call upon the Lord in their families, for his Spirit to be poured upon themselves and their households, their neighbours, their country, the ministers of the Lord, the churches of Christ, the remnant of scattered Judah and outcast Israel, and upon the Gentile world.
3rd. Let the ministers of the Lord afterwards privately meet with their brethren of their own communion, in earnest prayer for themselves, their flocks, the whole body of Christ, and the world at large; and then specially consult together upon the most effectual means for hastening the coming of the Lord's kingdom, and particularly for the continuance of such a general concert for prayer, that the year may proceed according to this devout commencement.
4th. Where circumstances will admit of a morning service, let the congregation be assembled, and in addition to the appointed prayers and a suitable sermon, let all who are devoutly disposed partake together of the supper of the Lord; or
5th. As may be more convenient, let the whole congregation meet in the evening for public worship, and let an appropriate discourse be preached.
May the Lord accompany these means of grace, or such others as may be adopted, with his abundant blessing. Oh! may it indeed be a season of special refreshment from the presence of the Lord.
Let this be the prayer of all who read this paper, and as the new year is now approaching, it would be a great kindness if those who approve the object, and have influence over the press, would republish and circulate this invitation, which any one, into whose hands it may fall, has full permission to do.
Peace be with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
Thus prays their affectionate brother and servant in the Lord,
JAMES HALDANE STEWART. St. Bride's, Liverpool.
The day which commemorates the nativity of our Lord ought to be a day of rejoicing and great gladness to all Christians. This day is set apart to celebrate that event, which the Old Testament prefgured, and all the prophets foretold.
The unblemished sacrifices of lambs and other offerings, typified “the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world” for us men and our salvation.
Holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners,” the heavenly babe was born into a world lying in wickedness.
66 But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." Gal. iv. 2.
The Almighty God, infinite in power, did not arouse the guilty from the stupor of sin by the flash of the lightning or roll of the thunder. By means of a still small voice he quickens those “ who were dead in trespasses and sins.” His holy Spirit operates with the Word, which was God, by whom all things at the beginning were made.
This “ Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. iv. 12.
This Word, clothed in human form, came down