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onset.

The 66

events” of the greatest magnitude “cast their shadows before.” We cannot be blind or indifferent to the fact, that the elements of evil are combining and consolidating their force for a vigorous and determined

enemy

has already come in “like a flood.” Popery is increasing-infidelity is triumphing—formalism is abounding-Goddishonouring, Christ-denying, Bible-rejecting, and soul-destroying doctrines in rank and rampant growth, are springing forth on every side. The demon of heresy has mapped the world, resolved to possess it for himself. His agents, numerous and disguised, subtle and persevering, are in the field, resisting every opposition, employing every instrumentality, and rushing with a promptitude that is marvellous, and a zeal that is appalling, into every new-made opening. What now should be the posture, and wherein lies the true strength of Christ's church ? How is she to rise to the true dignity and responsibility of her position? Shall she look to her marshalled hosts? Shall she repose upon her stores of wealth, her former conquests, her arsenals of learning, and her titled warriors? Alas! trusting in these alone, her ruin is inevitable. Where, then, shall she turn, and on whom shall she fix her eye? Upward, where sits her Lord upon his throne,-exalted, triumphant, and glorified. Tell her that Jesus is at the right hand of God; assure her that he loves her still—that he wears her name on his heart, and has engraved her upon the palms of his hands—that he is ready to pour down upon her the Holy Spirit in all the plenitude of his reviving, teaching, and sanctifying grace,—and you have unlocked to her the secret of her salvation. Yes! nothing but the baptism of the Holy Ghost can bring up the church to her right position, and prepare her for the approaching conflict. And this, this is the blessing the great Head of the church is exalted and waits to give.

And why have we it not? What hinders the blessing? We live under the dispensation of the Spirit—we hold in our hands the promise of the Spirit—we have seen in the history of God's American Israel—in the dispensations of his grace in some favoured parts of Scotland—in the almost miraculous progress of Christianity in the islands of the South Sea, as well as the extraordinary triumphs of the Gospel, and the planting of churches in Burmah and among the Karens, that there are seasons in which the exalted Head of the church pours down his Spirit in an especial and remarkable way, converting sinners, reviving saints, and more eminently qualifying his ministers for their great work of preaching the gospel. Why, then, should we disbelieve the doctrine, and limit the Holy One of Israel ? We have not, because we ask not; we ask not, because we believe not. Oh! for the outpouring of the Spirit upon our pastors, upon our churches, upon our congregations, upon our seats of learning, upon our rising ministry! Oh! for the powerful descent of the Holy Ghost, lifting up an effectual standard against the enemy now coming in like a flood!

What the church of God needs as a church, we equally need as individual Christians—the deeper baptism of the Holy Ghost. Reader, why is it that you are not more settled in the truth-your feet more firm upon the Rock ? Why are you not more rejoicing in Christ Jesus, the pardoning blood more sensibly applied to the conscience, the seal of adoption more deeply impressed upon your heart, Abba, Father," more frequently and with stronger, sweeter accent, on your lips? Why are you, perhaps, so yielding in temptation, so irresolute in purpose, so feeble in

66

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.

183

have re

you re

action, so vacillating in pursuit, so faint in the day of adversity ? Why is the glory of Jesus so dimly seen, his preciousness so little felt, his love so imperfectly experienced? Why is there so little close, secret transaction between God and your soul—so little searching of heart, confession of sin, dealing with the atoning blood ? Why does the conscience so much lack tenderness, and the heart brokenness, and the spirit contrition ? And why is the throne of grace so seldom resorted to, and prayer itself felt to be so much a duty, and so little a privilege; and when engaged in, so faintly characterised with the humble brokenness of a penitent sinner, the filial boldness of an adopted child, the rich anointing of a royal priest? Ah! let the small measure in which

you ceived the Holy Spirit's influence supply the answer.

“ Have ceived the Holy Ghost since ye believed ?”—have you received him as a Witness, as a Sealer, as a Teacher, as an Indweller, as a Comforter, as the Spirit of adoption ? But, rather, have you not forgotten that your Lord was alive, and upon the throne, exalted to give you the Holy Spirit, and that more readily than a father is to give good gifts to his child ? That he is prepared now to throw back the windows of heaven and pour down upon you such a blessing as shall confirm

your faith, resolve

your doubts, annihilate your fears, arm you for the fight, strengthen you for the trial, give you an unclouded view of your acceptance in the Beloved,

that

your name is written among the living in Jerusalem ?” Then, as you value the light of God's countenance, as you desire to grow in a knowledge of Christ, as you long to be more“ steadfast

, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," O seek to enjoy, in a larger degree, the presence, the love, the anointing of the Holy Spirit! Christ has gone up on high to give to you this invaluable blessing; and

says your encouragement, “ Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.Winslow on the Glory of the Redeemer.

and assure you

for

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.

BY THE REV. J. FLATHER.

MYSTERY surrounds every subject with which man is acquainted. To a limited extent, the truth is palpable to the understanding; within this boundary the Creator hath said, “ Let there be light:" and there is light; all beyond is shrouded in impenetrable darkness. The origin of evil is one of those subjects which irresistibly convinces the most sanguine student that “ secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” The circumstances connected with its origin upon earth are narrated in the book of Genesis. If the enquiry be proposed, why its existence was permitted, there is a satisfactory answer upon which to rest a belief that “the Judge of all the earth hath done right.” The constitution of a probationary creature necessarily implied a possibility of his doing wrong. Instinct guides all orders of the brute creation to the habits suited to their conformation; but a being endowed with the faculty of choice, must have different objects from which to choose, or the faculty would be superfuous; if the capability of choice were absent, our nature would not differ essentially from the beast that perishes, except in mere organization, for the power of selection is an inseparable attribute of " the breath of life.” That knowledge might have been given to determine the selection of that alone which is right, is proved by the cheerful obedience of celestial spirits, who voluntarily serve their Maker“ day and night," and to whom transgression is impossible. But they are not in a state of trial; they now reap the reward of faithful obedience in the state in which they were placed anterior to their translation to heaven. If there had been no possibility of wrong, there could not have been a trial The Scriptures teach that man in the garden of Eden was exposed to supernatural agency, which employed visible objects as the medium through which to act upon him, to resist which he possessed adequate strength; the fact is stated--the reason of the permission is not made known; and though there is sufficient "to justify the ways of God to man” in the constitution of man, and the position in which he was necessarily placed, yet we perceive that with the fact alone of the existence of evil can man have

any practical concern. Evidence of the existence of evil is painfully seen by the actions of every person, and of all nations, from the earliest times to the latest point of duration. The subject of all others most deeply interesting to man, is the means by which sin can be extirpated; for whatever agency can banish it from the earth as a whole, can destroy it from' the individual heart.

That legislation cannot effect the destruction has been demonstrated by the inadequacy of every effort that has been made. From the most imperfect form of government amidst the desert wilds, where the reckless sons of barbarism yield subjection to the caprice of their chieftainto the highest order of civilized society whose enactments are determired with all the pomp and complication that artifice and wisdom can suggest the despotism of Egypt, the democracy of Greece, or the mixed government of Great Britain-all proclaim by the result their incompetency to grapple with the cardinal difficulty of our nature. The highest object which the enlightened statesman hopes to achieve is the prevention of gross wrongs; he is conscious there are iniquities he has not power to suppress, evils he can neither prevent nor punish, injustice which will elude the grasp of authority, inhumanity that becomes almost legalized by length of existence, wicked devices that are clothed with all the trappings of social equity, and effect mischief in such a' mode as to mock at retribution. Trace the operation of human authority through the establishment, progress and downfall of empires—even when integrity, wisdom, and vigour have wielded that authority, it has gone no farther than the punishment or prevention of overt unrightevusness; occasionally lopping off an unsightly excrescence, or cutting away a fruitless branch, but leaving the corrupt tree again to shoot forth and luxuriate in an overgrowth of cankered wood when the pruning knife is laid aside.

Politicians sometimes point sneeringly to Tract, Bible, Missionary Societies, Sabbath-schools, Chapels, and the ministry of the Christian church, is impotent efforts of credulous minds to benefit the world-efforts too contemptible to divert their attention from their lofty enterprises to regenerate society. Had these scoffers been successful in their exertions even to the same degree as these institutions of the church, we might have felt less pity for them in courting the comparison; but look at the abortive schemes that have been successively propounded, each of which was announced as an effectual remedy for the maladies of the state; from these humiliating memorials of human folly turn to behold the few successful measures that are the brightest triumphs of the legislator-the utmost good wrought by them has been a change in the forms of society, or an increased facility in the prevention of evil.

A PRAYERLESS FAMILY.

The late Rev. John Ryland, of Northampton, being on a journey, was overtaken by a violent storm, and compelled to take shelter in the first inn he came to. The people of the house treated him with great kindness and hospitality. They would fain have showed him into the parlour, but being very wet and cold, he begged permission rather to take a seat by the fireside with the family. The good old man was friendly, cheerful, and well stored with entertaining anecdotes, and the family did their utmost to make him comfortable: they all supped together, and both the residents and the guest seemed mutually pleased with each other. At length, when the house was cleared, and the hour of rest approached, the stranger appeared uneasy, and looked up every time a door opened, as if expecting the appearance of something essential to his comfort. His host informed him that his chamber was prepared whenever he chose to retire. But,” said he, “ you have not had your family together.” “Had my family together,--for what purpose? I don't know what you mean," said the landlord. " To read the Scriptures, and pray

with them,” replied the guest: “surely you do not retire to rest in the omission of so necessary a duty.” The landlord confessed that he had never thought of doing such a thing. “Then, sir," said Mr. R., “I must beg you to order my horse immediately.” The landlord and family entreated him not to expose himself to the inclemency of the weather at that late hour of the night, observing, that the storm was as violent as when he first came in. “May be so," replied Mr. R., “but I had rather brave the storm than venture to sleep in a house where there is no prayer. Who can tell what may befal us before morning ? No, sir, I dare not stay.” The landlord still remonstrated, and expressing great regret that he should offend so agreeable a gentleman, at last said, he should have no objection to call his family together,” but he should not know what to do when they came. Mr. R. then proposed to conduct family worship, to which all readily consented. The family was immediately assembled, and then Mr. R. called for a Bible; but no such book could be produced. However, he was enabled to supply the deficiency, as he always carried a small Bible or Testament in his pocket. He read a portion of Seripture, and then prayed with much fervour and solemnity, especially acknowledging the preserving goodness of God, that none present had been struck dead by the storm, and imploring protection through the night. He earnestly prayed that the attention of all might be awakened to the things belonging to their everlasting peace, and that the family might never again meet in the morning, or separate at night, without prayer. When he rose from his knees, almost every individual present was bathed in tears, and the inquiry was awakened in several hearts, “Sir, what must we do to be saved ?” Much interesting and profitable conversation ensued. The following morning, Mr. R. again conducted family worship, and obtained from the landlord a promise, that however feebly performed, it should not in future be omitted. This day was indeed the beginning of days to that family; most, if not all of them, became decided and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and were the means of diffusing a knowledge of the "gospel in a neighbourhood which had before been proverbially dark and destitute. “A word spoken in due season, how good is it!" “ In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”

PARENTAL INFLUENCE.

In the state of Pennsylvania there reside two families, whose history may be instructive to others. They present, in striking contrast, the effects of parental influence.

They have both lived in the same town for many years; they have enjoyed the same privileges, belonged to the same religious denomination, and listened to the same preaching. Both the heads of each family have been professedly pious for a long period. In the family of Mr. R., the power of religion was happily exhibited in the daily deportment of the parents. The morning and evening sacrifice was offered on the family altar with solemnity and devout feeling. These exercises were not hurried, formal, and unmeaning ceremonies: they were impressive, and deeply interesting. Long will the writer remember the occasional seasons at which he was privileged to unite in the morning and evening devotions of this family. Their memory is grateful and sweet. Religion had rendered the parents kind and affectionate, and deeply interested for the spiritual welfare of their children. Salutary Christian restraints were imposed upon them. They were instructed, not occasionally, but habitually, in the great and important doctrines of the Bible, and had them enforced on their consciences by parental love and affection. In short, religion was exhibited before them in the most lovely attitude. But in the family of Mr. W., religion was not so happily exemplified. Evening devotions were indeed performed, but often in a hurried and unimpressive manner. The children, instead of being interested and benefited, were rather disgusted, and contracted a disrelish for all religious exercises. Scarcely any restraints were laid upon them. Instead of spending the Sabbath at home in studying their Bible themselves, or receiving instruction from it through their parents, they were in the company of Sabbath-breakers, or reading some novel, or otherwise desecrating holy time. In short, little effort was made by the parents for the spiritual good of their offspring. And such was their conduct, at times, towards their children, and such their want of a Christian temper, that the children would often, in the most emphatic and passionate language, express their doubt of the Christian character of their parents. Now what has been the influence of these parents upon their children? Let facts give the reply. The children of Mr. R., six in number, have all become pious, except the youngest, who is only about twelve years of

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