• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Copyright
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Letter I
 Letter II
 Letter III
 Letter IV
 Letter V
 Letter VI
 Letter VII
 Letter VIII
 Letter IX
 Letter X
 Letter XI
 Letter XII
 Letter XIII
 Letter XIV
 Letter XV
 Letter XVI
 Letter XVII
 Letter XVIII
 Letter XIX
 Letter XX
 Course of Reading
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: A practical directory for young Christian females : being a series of letters from a brother to a younger sister
Title: A Practical directory for young Christian females
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001835/00001
 Material Information
Title: A Practical directory for young Christian females being a series of letters from a brother to a younger sister
Alternate Title: Letters to a sister
Physical Description: 269 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Newcomb, Harvey, 1803-1863
Massachusetts Sabbath School Society ( Publisher )
Hobart and Robbins
Publisher: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Stereotyped by Hobart & Robbins
Publication Date: 1851, c1833
Copyright Date: 1833
Edition: 7th ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Young women -- Conduct of life -- Early works to 1900 -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1851   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
 Notes
General Note: "Written for the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, and approved by the Committee of Publication."
General Note: "This edition has been revised with great care, and much new matter added."-- Preface, 1851.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
Statement of Responsibility: by Harvey Newcomb.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00001835
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234908
oclc - 37306247
notis - ALH5345
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front 1
        Front 2
    Frontispiece
        Front 5
    Title Page
        Front 6
    Copyright
        Front 7
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    Letter I
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Letter II
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Letter III
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Letter IV
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Letter V
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
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        Page 63
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    Letter VI
        Page 76
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        Page 82
        Page 83
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        Page 85
    Letter VII
        Page 86
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        Page 89
    Letter VIII
        Page 90
        Page 91
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        Page 102
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        Page 106
        Page 107
    Letter IX
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
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        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Letter X
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
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        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
    Letter XI
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
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    Letter XII
        Page 151
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        Page 155
    Letter XIII
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
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    Letter XIV
        Page 174
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    Letter XV
        Page 180
        Page 181
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        Page 186
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        Page 191
        Page 192
    Letter XVI
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
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        Page 213
    Letter XVII
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
    Letter XVIII
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
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        Page 231
        Page 232
    Letter XIX
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
    Letter XX
        Page 238
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        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
    Course of Reading
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
    Back Cover
        Page 270
        Page 271
    Spine
        Page 272
Full Text




I


The Baldwin Library
University
___ndaB o











Ak AA


I










PRACTICAL DIRECTORY

909


YOUNG/CHRISTIAN FEMALES;

BEING A

SERIES OF LETTERS

FROM A

BROTHER TO A YOUNGER SISTER.


BY HARVEY NEWCOMB.


WRITTEN FOR THE MABSACHUTSBTT8 SABBATH SCHOOL 8OCIBTY, A"
APPROVED BY THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION.


.oebentf 3Nsitlonr


BOSTON:
MASSACHUSETTS SABBATH SCHOOL SOCIETY.
Depository, No. 13 Cornhui





























Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by
CHRISTOPHER C. DEAN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


Stereotyped by
HOBART & ROBBINS;
32W ENGLAID TYTP AND STEREOTTPX FOUNDnUTy
BOSTON.













PREFACE.


THE following Letters were truly, as they profess
to have been, written to a younger sister of the author.
By the death of her parents, she was left, in a meas-
ure, dependent upon him, at an early age. She had
been the subject of many prayers, and endeared by
many ties. His house, as he humbly trusts, was the
place of her second birth. As she was about to leave
his roof, for a residence among strangers, the idea
occurred to him of imbodying his fraternal counsel in
such a form that it might be a friendly monitor to her,
in the midst of those dangers and difficulties which be-
set the path of inexperienced youth. In prosecuting
this design, it appeared hardly proper to testow so
much time upon the interests of one individual. Hence
the writer concluded to commit these Letters to the
press, with the hope that they might be the means of
doing some good. This work is intended not merely
to be read and laid aside ; but, as its title imports, to
be kept as a kind of practical directory for dEily living.
This edition has been revised with great care, and
much new matter added.


BOSTON. 1851.


1*





















CONTENTS.




'PA0
Pr ,.. ...... .... .....******
LETTER L
The Christian'e Mark, ................ .. 17
Introduction, .............. 17
A Great Mistake ................... 17
The Grace of God a Growing Principle, .......... 18
The Spring that never dries nor freezes, .... ...... 19
Growth in Grace ... ................ .20
The Glory of od, how manifested, ............ 21
The true Standard of Holiness, ............. .. .21
Paul's desire for Higher Attainments, 2........... .2
How Eminent Holiness is attained, .. ........... .23
Examples of Eminent Persons, .. ........... 23
Mrs. Edwards, ..... ............... 24
Earnestness in Religion, .. ....... 2
Religion the great Business of Life, . . ..... 25
LETTER II.
Importance of -thorough Knowledge of th Doctrines oj
Christianity; Means of obtaining it, .......... 82
Connection of Doctrine and Practice, .............2
Religion compared to a Building, . 27
The Holy Spirit operates through the Truth, .....* 28
Genuine and Spurious Religious Affections datngulshed, S8
Office of the Truth in Sanctification, .... .. 29
Doctrinal Knowledge without Practice, ............ 29
thrections, .... ............ .. 30
1. Becomes a Little Child, ........... ..30
The Starting Point of Error, .......... 31
2 Avoid a Controversial Spirit, .. .... 31
An Error of Young Persons, * 81
Use Helps, ................ ** 32
Writings of Men, why studied, ........ 32
Bible the Text Book........... 32
4. S k the Aid of the oly pirit, .. .. 3






VU1 CONTENTS.


LETTER III.
PAGN
True Religion a Work of Grace in the Heart, but must be
carried out in the Conduct, ................33
Inconstancy of False Religion, .......... .. 34
Fruitfulness of True Piety, ...... .. .... 34
Fruits of the True and False Professor contrasted, ....... 35
Fruit-bearing the test of Christian Character, .. 36
The Fruits of the Spirit, . . ...... .. .36
Love, as in the Experience of David, ........... 37
Manifested in willing Obedience, ............ .. 38
Love of the Brethren, ................. 38
Spiritual Joy. Peace, ............. . .39
Peace of Mind; its Manifestations, .......... 40
Meekness the Twin Sister of Peace, ............ 41
Long-suffering, Gentleness, ............... .41
Goodness ...... ..................42
Faith, a common Principle of Action, ..... ... .. 42
An Operative Principle, .. .. .... . .43
Power of Faith. Temperance, ............... 43

LETTER IV.
Reading and Study of the Bible, ............ 44
Search the Scriptures, . ..... .. 45
We must set our Hearts to it, ............... 46
Directions, ............ ............ 4
1. Read the Bible in your Closet, ........... 46
2. Preparation of the Heart, ............... 47
3. Seek the Aid of the Holy Spirit, ......... 47
4. Read with Self-application, ............ 47
5. Read the Scriptures regularly, ............. 48
6. Study the Bible systematically, *............. .48
Variety and Harmony of the Bible, ............ .49
Things to be observed, o ................ .49
Wisdom of Divine Inspiration, .............. 49
How to remove Difficulties, ............... 50
Commentaries. Tasks, ................. 50
Read in Course,...................... 51
Close Study of the Bible, .. . . .. .. 51
Constant Subjects of Inquiry, . . . 62
The Bible a History of the Church, . ...... 52
Periods of the History of the Church . . 52
Take notice what Period you are reading, .. . .63
Inquire what Doctrine or Principle is taught, recognized,
illustrated, or enforced, ................ 53
Note the Promises and Predictions, ........... 53
Take Notes, .. ...................... 53
Read the Gospel to study the Character of Christ, .53
Things to be observed in Sacred History and Biography, 54
Poetic and Didactic Parts of the Bible, ... .. .55
The Prophecies, .... . . .. 55








CONTENTS. IX


LETTER V.
PAon
Prayer and Fasting, . . 67
Duty of Prayer, .. .......... 57
Prayer defined, O................... ...69
Examples, ... ....................69
The Lord's Prayer; its Use, . ........ .69
The Power of Prayer, ................. .. 60
The Promises, .......................61
The Promises, .. . . . 61
The Promises exemplified, .. * * 61
The Arians. Francke. Dr. West, . . 63
The Slave liberated by Prayer, ... ........... 64
Asking amiss, ............ ...........64
We must desire the Things we ask, for the Glory of God, .65
We must ask,-
For Things agreeable to the Will of God, ........... 65
In Faith, .........................66
With Humble Submission, ............. .. .67
Practical Hints, .. .............. 67
1. Maintain a Constant Spirit of Prayer, ........... 67
2. Observe Stated and Regular Seasons of Prayer, .. .....68
3 Observe Special Seasons of Prayer, ..... . .71
Fasting, ........................ 72
4. Preparation of Heart, .... .......... 74
5. Persevere in Prayer, ...... ............ 74

LETTER VL
Temptation, .................. ..... 76
Existence of the Devil, ... ................76
His Character, .......................76
1. He is Powerful, .....................77
His Power limited, ................... 77
Why he is permitted to exercise Power, .......... 77
2. He has much Knowledge, . ................. 78
3. He is Wicked, ..................... 78
4. He is Crafty, Deceitful, and Treacherous, ......... 78
He is a Liar, ........................... 78
6. He is Malicious, .................... .79
The Devices of Satan, ............... 79
He suits his Temptations to our Circumstance, ........ 80
Impulses to be tried by the Word of God, ........... 81
Subtlety of Satan, ................. .. 82
Temptations from the World, ................ 82
From our own Hearts, ............ ... 82
The Heart a Castle, ....................83
We must set a Watch, ................... 83
The Double Watch, ............. 83
Watch unto Prayer, . . . ........ 83
Watch in Prayer, ............................ 84
Watch on the Mount, .... .. ............... 84
Watch in Despondency, .............. .. 81






E CONTENTS.



PAOX
Watch when Cheerful, ........ ......... 84
Watch in Prosperity, .................. 85
Watch in Adversity, ................... 85
Watch over the Tongue, .................. 85
Watch when doing Good, .. .......... 85
Watch against Besetting Sins, .......... .. 85
Watch over the Imagination, ............... 85

LETTER VIL
elf-Denial, ....................... 86
Nature and Consequences of Selfishness ,...... .... 87
The Selfish Principle surrendered, ............. .87
Self-Denial defined and applied, .. . .... 88
Essential to Christian Character, ............. .89
Christ's Example, .... .............. 089
A Caution, .. .......................90

LETTER VIII
Public and Social Worship, and Sabbath Employments, 90
Duty of Public Worship,. . . ..... 91
Example of "Holy Men of Old," ........... 91
Of Christ and the Apostles, ... .. ..... 91
Public Worship an Imperative Duty, .. . ... .93
Sin and Danger of neglecting it, .. ........ 94
Attend the stated Ministry of your Pastor, ........ 95
Be Punctual at Church . ............... 96
Go with Preparation of Heart, ................ 96
Deportment in the House of God. . ...... 97
Singing. Prayer. Wandering Thoughts, . 97
Take heed how you hear, . . ...... 98
Ambassadors. The Check Book, ............. 98
The Noble Bereans, . . ....... ............ 99
Fault-Finding, ...................... 99
Self-Application, .....................100
Hearing for Others, ....................100
Hear with a Prayerful Frame, .. ............. 100
Remember and Practise what you hear, *........... 100
Meetings for Social Prayer, .. ... .......... 100
Be governed by Principle, ...... ......... 101
Female Prayer Meetings, .. .. .......... ...101
The Sabbath-school, .. .............. 102
Three Requisites, ....... . 102
Hints on Sabbath-school Instruction, ........... .103
Skill in Teaching .. .... ..............103
Study the Juvenile Mind, .. . ...... .104
Use elp ........ ................ 104
Aim at drawing out the Minds of Children, 104
Catechising, .................. .....105
Dependence, ................... .. 105
Let your own Heart be affected, . . .... 105
Personal Application, . . . 105








CONTENTS. XI


PAGI
Earnestly asek God's Blessing, .. .......... 106
Private Sabbath Duties, .. .......... 106
Spend much Time in your Closet, ............... 107
Spnd none in seeking Ease or Pleasure, .......... 107
watch over your Thoughts, ...... ....... .107
Set a Guard over your Lips, ......... ... .. .108

LETTER IX.
Meditation, ........ ............... 108
I. Its Importance, ... ................ 109
2 Time and Manner of, ................ 109
3. Subjects of Meditation, ......... .. 111

SUBJECTS PROPOSED AND ARRANGED.
I Character and Attributes of God, ............ 11
1. Self Existence, .................. ... 112
2. Eternity and Immortality, ............... 112
3. Omnipresence and Omniscience, .... ....... .113
4. Omnipotence and Independence, ........... 113
5. Benevolence, ..................... 114
6. Justice, ........................ 114
7. Truth, ... .............. ......115
8. Mercy, ................. ..... 116
9. Wisdom, .. .......... ..... ... .116
II. Doctrines, ....................... 117
1. Decrees of God, ............ .. .......117
2. Sovereignty of God, ....... ........ .. .118
3. Human Depravity, ........... .. 118
4. Regeneration ...... .......... ... 119
6. Condition of Fallen Man, .. ............. 119
6. Plan of Redemption, ...................119
7. Justification, ........... ....... 119
8. Adoption, ................ .. 120
9. Sanctification, . . . . 120
10. Death, .................. 120
11. Heaven, .................. ......121
12. The Resurrection, ... ..... ............ 121
13. The Judgment ................... 121
14. The World of Woe, .......... ....... .122
III. Character of Christ, ...... ...... .122
IV. Names and Offices of Chrut,. ............ 124
1. Saviour, ................ ... 124
2 Redeemer, .................... .. 124
3. Prophet, ... .............. ..... 124
4. Priest, ................. .. .... 124
6. Ki.ng, .................... .. ...124
6. Mediator .1............. .. .... 125
7. Advocate, and Intercsor, ................12
8. Friend, ..... ......... .... ... I






X11 CONTENTS.



PAOI
9. Elder Brother, .....................126
10. Husband, ................. ..... 126
V. The Christian Graces, ................. 126
1. Faith, ........................ 126
2. HQpe,. .. .. . .. .. .. ..126
3. Charity or Love, ......... ........ 127
4. Joy, .. ................ .... .. .. 127
6. Peace, ............................. 127
6. Brothery Kindness, . . . 127
7. Humility, .. ...... ............. 127
8. Patience .. ......... ......... 127
9. Long-suering, ... ........ 128
10. A Forgiving Temper, ................. .128
11. Meekness,............... ........128
12. Gentleness, ............... 128
13. Temperance, .. .............. 128
14. Virtue or Moral Courage, .. .......... 128


LETTER X.
The Preseration of Health, ............. 129
Connection of Health and Usefulness, ............ 129
Duty of Preserving Health, .......... 130
Physiology. Habitat, ................... 131
Influence of Ladies, ...... ............131
Rules for Preserving Health, .. .......... 131
1. Make Conscience of it, ....... ....... 131
2. Be Cheerful, ......................132
3. Be Regular in your Habits, ............. 133
4. Exercise, .................... 134
Delicate Training of Young Ladies, ........... .135
6. Practise frequent Ablutions, ........... 135
6. Pay Attention to the Quantity and Quality of Food, . 136
Effects of bad or excessive Diet . . 137
How to glorify God in Eating and Drinking, ....... .138
7. Taking Medicine, ...................139

LETTER XI.
Mental Cultivation. Reading, ............... 141
Object of Education, . . . .. 141
Written Exercises, .................... 142
Discipline. Perseverance, ............... 143
Readinl, ........................144
Hints on Reading History, ............... 144
Biography, ............ ... ....... 147
Doctrinal and Miscellaneous Reading, .. ....... 148
Newspapers and Periodicals, .............. 148
UghtHeading. English Classics, ............. 150






of$
CONTENTS. Xiii


LETI ER IL
PAGl
Improvement of Time. Present Obligation, .. .. 151
Value of Moments, . ............ 161
How to redeem Time, .... . .... 152
Systematic Arrangements ............... 153
Motives for being Systematic, ........ ...... .153
Nature of Obligation, .................. 164

LETTER XI.
Christian Activity, .....................156
Female Influence,. .................... 156
May be felt in the Bible Society, .............. 156
In the Tract Society, ...... ............. 158
Monthly Tract Distribution, ............... 158
The Missionary Cause, . .. . ... 159
Influence in Behalf of the Poor, ... .......... 160
A Plea for thePoor,.. ............. ... 161
SExample of Christ, ................... 162
Temperance, ...................... 163
Interest of Females in the Subject, ............. 163
Conversation, .................. .. 164
Influence in bringing People under the Sound of the Gospel, 164
Influence directly on the Impenitent, . 164
TheDuty enjoined, .. ................. 164
1. By the Example of Christ, ........ . .. .165
2. By Love to God, . ...... .. . 165
3. By Love to our Neighbor, ......... .... 166
4. By the Injunctions of Scripture, ... .. ...... 166
Facts, ................ .......... 168
Wonderful Influence exerted by oneWoman, .. .... 169
Cautions, ......................... 172
1. Avoid Ostentation, ............ .. .172
2. Prudence and Discretion, ... ... ... 172
3 Be Resolute and Persevering, ........ ... 173
4. Be much in Prayer, ..................173

LETTER XIV.
Dress, ....... ............................ 174
Design of Dress, .. .. ................. 171
Things to be observed, ................. 175
1. All you have is the Lord, ... ........... .. 175
2. Your Time is the Lords, ................176
& Personal Appearance, .................. 177
Influence of Christianity, .............. .177
SRegard to Health .. ........ 178
Compression of the Chest, ........ ... .. 178
Do not make too much of It, .............. .179
2






XIV CONTENTS.


LETTER XV.
PAGE
Social and Relative Duties, ... .. 180
The Family Relation, ..... .... ........ 180
Household Law, ........ ... .......181
Rules,.................. ......... 183
1. In Relation to the Family, ....... 183
2. To the Church, ............... 184
3. To Society in general, .......... ... 186
4. Visiting, ....................... 187
6. Worldly Society, ............. 188
6. Conversation ...... .....................* 188
7. Discussion oAbsent Characters, ...... ..... 189
8. Speaking of one's self, .......... .. .. 191
9. A Suspicious Disposition, .. ......... 191
10. Intimate Friendships, . .. ...... .192
11. Before going into Company, visit your Closet, ....... 19

LETTER XVI.
Charity, .................... .. 193
General Description of, .................. 193
Long Suffering, *.................... 194
Kindness, .. ......... ....... .....194
Envy, ....... ........... ........ .196
Self-Conceit, .... . . . 197
Description of a Self-conceited Person, .......... 197
Self-conceited Confidence not Independence of Mind, ..... 198
Unseemliness, ...................... 199
Forwardness, .................. ...1 99
Impertinence, .. ................. 200
Taking the Lead in Conversation, ............ 200
Fierce Contention for Rights, ; ........... 201
Rudeness, Grossness, ..................201
Disinterestedness, .. ............. .201
Selfishness ................... ..... 201
Churlishness,........................ 203
Good Nature, .................. .....203
Jealousy,.......................... 204
Fault Finding, ......................205
Telling others their Faults, .. . ....... 206
Christian Watch not Espionage, ............ 206
Effects of Ruminating upon the Faults of Others,....... 206
Sours the Temper and leads to Misanthropy, ...... 206
Charitable Joy, ................... ...206
Censoriousness, a Mark of an Impenitent Heart, ...... 207
Apostates, before their Fall, noted fer Censoriousness, . 208
Humble Christians not Censorious, ............ 209
Duty of Rejoicing in the Goodness of Others, ........ 210
Charity, positively . . ........ 211
Charity beareth all Things, ........ ...... 211
Believeth all Things, .................. 212
Endureth all Things, ......... ........ 212







CONTENTS. XV


LETTER XVI
PAGN
Harmony of Christian Character, .......... 214
Harmony of Sounds, Colors, and Proportions, delights the
Senses, .. .. ...................... 214
Harmonious Development of the Christian Graces, . 215
Effects of the Disproportionate Development of Character, 217
How Young Christians fall into this Error, . .. .. .218

LETTER XVIIL
Marriage, .......................... 220
Marriage Desirable, ................... 220
Marriage not Indispensable, ............. .221
Qualifications Indispensable in a Companionfor Life, 222
1. Piety,. ........... ...... ....... .222
2. An Amiable Disposition, ................ 224
3. A Well-cultivated Mind, ................. 224
4. Congeniality of Sentiment and of Feeling, ......... 225
6. Energy of Character, ..... .. ....... 225
6. Suitableness of Age, ...... ........ .......... 226
Qualifications Desirable, ............ 226
1. A Sound Body,... ........ .. ... 226
2. Refinement of Manners, ............... 226
3. A Sound Judgment, ........... ......., 227
4. Prudence, .............. .. ...... 227
5. Similarity of Religious Sentiment and Profesion, . 227
Treatment of Gentlemen, ...... ....... .. 228
A Peculiar Affection necessary, ..... .. .. ... 229
Social Intercourse with Gentlemen, ... ..... 229
General Remarks, . . . . 230

LETTER XIX.
Submission Contentment Dependence, ... ... .. 233
The Hand of God in all Things, ....... .. .233
Comforting Considerations, ........ ..... ... 235
Supply of Temporal Wants, .. ... . 236
Duty of Contentment, ............. . 237

LETTER XX
elf-Examination, ..................... 238
Danger of Neglecting it, ...... .... ... 238
Assurance Attainable, ............ ...... 239
Witness of the Spirit, ................... 239
Objects, ........... ... .241
1. To discover Sin . .................. 241
Questions for Saturday Evening, .... ..... .. ... 243
f






xvi CONTENTS.


PABU
Questions for every Evening, (several sets,) ........ 245
(I.) When Time is limited, ............. 245
(2.) For Ordinary Occasions, ............... 246
(3.) Dr. Doddridge's Questions, .. . .... 247
(4.) When you have more Time than usual, ........ 248
2. To ascertain why Prayer is not answered, ........ 261
3. As to the Cause of Affictions, .............253
4. Whether we are Christians, .......... 253
Am I a Chritian 7- Questions, . . 255
(1.) As to Views of Sin,.... ....255
(2.) Of the Government of God, . . ... 26
(3.) Faith in Ohrist,.... ................ .257
(4.) Love to God ...................... f258
(5.) Christian Character in General, ,......... .. .260
6. Preparation for the Lord's Table, .......... .262
Questions, ........................ 262
Conclusion, ........................ 264

APPENDIX.
A Course of Reading, ..... ... ... ..... 267
L Sacred History,......................267
Profane History, ....... ............... .267
1. Christian Doctrine, ...................8
m Biography, .. .. . 2
IV M . . . . . M I














LETTERS, &c.



LETTER I.
The Christian's Mark.
"Forgetting th)se things which are behind and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the priza
of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." PHIL. 3: 1. 14.
MY DEAR SISTER,
EVER since the death of our dear mother, I have
felt a deep interest in your welfare. And your being
left, while young, in a measure dependent upon me,
has increased my affection for you. You have now
left my roof, to sojourn among strangers. You have
little knowledge of the world, and your religious ex-
perience has been short. I trust, therefore, you will
cordially receive a few hints from one whose fraternal
affection has been strengthened by many peculiar cir-
cumstances, and who, for many years, has not ceased
to remember you in his prayers.
Young Christians, when they first obtain peace and
comfort in Christ, are prone to think the struggle over,
the victory won. But nothing can be farther from
the truth. They have but just enlisted under the ban-
ner of the great Captain of their salvation, in a war-
fare which will never cease till they shall have
obtained the final victory over sin and death, and
entered into the joy of their Lord. This mistake often
leads them to be satisfied with what they have already
2*





1i GROWTH ESSENTIAL.

experienced, and to cease that constant inward strife
and earnestness, which they exercised while under
conviction, before they found "joy and peace in be-
lieving." They see such a heavenly sweetness in
divine things, that they think it impossible they should
lose the relish all their days." This begets self-
confidence, and they trust in their own strength to
keep where they are, instead of eagerly pressing for-
ward, in the strength of Christ, after higher attain-
ments. The consequence is, they soon lose their
lively sense of divine things, backslide from God, and
become cold and barren in their religious affections.
A little child, when it first begins to walk, is safe
while it keeps hold of the hand of its mother, or faith-
ful nurse. But, when it begins to feel confident of its
own strength, and lets go its hold, it soon totters and
falls. So with the Christian. He is safe while he
keeps a firm hold of Christ's hand. But the moment
he attempts to walk alone, he stumbles and falls.
The Scriptures represent the grace of God in the
heart, as a growing principle. It is compared to a
mustard-seed, which is the least of all seeds. But,
when it springs up, it rises and spreads its branches,
till it becomes the greatest of all herbs. The beauty
and appropriateness of this figure will not be appreci-
ated, unless we take into consideration the luxuriant
growth of plants in Eastern countries. The Jews
have a fable of a mustard-tree whose branches were
so extensive as to cover a tent. There are two things
that no one would expect to see, in the growth of
such a plant: (1.) To spring at once into full ma-
turity. (2.) To become stationary in its growth,
before it arrives at maturity. If it ceases to grow, it
must wither away and die.
The spiritual reign of Christ in the heart is also
compared to a little leaven, which a woman took and
hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was
leavened. It was so little at first that it was said to
be hid. It could not be seen. So grace, when first
implanted in the heart, is often so little in degree, and








so much buried up in remaining corruption, that it can
scarcely be discovered at all. But the moment the
leaven begins to work, it increases without ceasing,
till the whole is leavened.
Again; Christ says, "the water that I shall give
him shall be in him a well of water, springing up
into everlasting life." When these words were
uttered, our Lord was sitting upon a deep well, in
conversation with the woman of Samaria. As his
custom was, he drew instruction from the objects
around him. He directed her attention away from the
water which can only quench animal thirst, to that
living water which refreshes the soul. But she, not
understanding him, wished to know how he could ob-
tain living water from a deep well, without anything
to draw with. In order to show the superiority of the
water of life, he told her that those who drank it
should have it in them, constantly springing up of
itself, as if the waters of the well should rise up and
overflow, without being drawn. The very idea of a
living spring seems to cut off the hope of backsliders.
You remember the cold spring that used to flow from
the rock, before our father's door. The severest
drought never affected it, and in the coldest season of
a northern winter it was never frozen. Oft, as I rose
in the morning, when the chilling blasts whistled
around our dwelling, and everything seemed sealed
up with perpetual frost, the ice and snow would be
smoking around the spring. Thus, like a steady
stream, let your graces flow, unaffected by the drought
or barrenness of others, melting the icy hearts around
you.
This "living water," in the soul, is intended to
represent the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In the
new birth, there is formed a holy union between tlh
Spirit of God and the faculties of the soul, so that
every correct feeling, with every good act, is pro.
duced by the Holy Spirit acting in unison with those
faculties. Hence, our bodies are called the temple of
, the Holy Ghost, and he is said to dwell in us. What


19


THE LIVING SPRING.





20 SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

a solemn truth! What holy fear and carefulness
ought we to feel continually; and how softly should
we walk before the Lord of Hosts!
The righteous," says David, "shall flourish like
a palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon."
But if the cedar should cease to grow as soon as it
springs up, it would never become a tree. It must
wither and die.--Again; it is said, "Ye shall go
forth and grow up as calves of the stall." A healthy
calf, that is fed in the stall, cannot but grow and
thrive. And surely the Lord has furnished us, in his
holy word, abundant food for our spiritual growth and
nourishment. If the calf is diseased, or if he refuses
to eat, he will pine away and die; and so with us.
The apostle Paul speaks of growing up into Christ, in
all things; and of increasing in the knowledge of God.
By this he evidently means, that experimental knowl-
edge of God in our hearts, by which we are changed
into his image. The apostle Peter exhorts us to
grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Again, he directs
us to feed upon the sincere and simple truths of the
gospel, as the infant is nourished by its mother's milk,
and to grow thereby. As conversion is called being
"born again," the young convert is very properly
compared to a new-born babe." As a babe is least
when first born, so the Christian, when first converted,
has the least grace; unless, indeed, he becomes dis-
eased, and pines away, like a sickly infant. And
such is truly the deplorable case of the backslider.
The motives which urge us to seek and maintain an
elevated standard of piety are the highest that can be
presented to our minds. 'The glory of God requires it.
This is the greatest possible good. It is the manifes-
tation of the divine perfections to his intelligent crea-
tures. This manifestation is made by discovering to
them his works of creation, providence, and grace,
and by impressing his moral image upon their hearts.
In this their happiness consists. In promoting his own
glory, therefore, God exermies the highest degree of






THE TRUE STANDARD.


disinterested benevolence. Nothing can add to his
happiness; nothing can diminish it. If the whole cre-
ation were blotted out, and God were the only Being
in the universe, he would still be perfectly glorious
and happy in himself. There can be, therefore, no
selfishness in his desiring his own glory. It is the
good of the creature alone that is promoted by it. A
desire to glorify God must, then, be the ruling princi-
ple of all your conduct, the moving spring of all your
actions. But how is the glory of God promoted by
your growth in grace ?
1. It is manifested to yourself, by impressing his
image upon your heart; and by giving you a spiritual
discovery of the excellence, purity and loveliness, of
his moral character.
2. It is manifested to others, so far as you maintain
a holy life and conversation; for thereby the moral
image of Christ is exhibited. The glory of Christ is
manifested by the holy walk of his people, just as the
glory of the sun appears by the reflected light of the
moon.
3. The glory of God is promoted by making others
acquainted with the exhaustless riches of free grace,
and bringing them to Christ; for, by that means, they
receive spiritual light to behold the beauty and glory
of the divine perfections, and his image is stamped
upon their souls. But your usefulness m this respect
depends mainly upon the measure of grace you have
in your own heart. The reason why many Christians
do so little good in the world is, that they have so
little piety. If you would be eminently useful, you
must be eminently holy.
But, you may ask, "What is the standard at which
I must aim I answer : The law of God is the only
true standard of moral excellence; and you have the
pattern of that law carried out in action, in the perfect
life of our blessed Lord and Master. No standard
short of this will answer the requirements of the word
of God. "He that abideth in him, ought himself also
so to walk, EVEN AS HE WALKED." All that we fall


21






22 HOLINESS, HOW ATTAINED.

short of this is sin. There is no want of ability in
the case, but what arises from our own voluntary
wickedness of heart. Christ says that he came not to
destroy the law, but to fulfil it. "We are not released
from the obligation of perfect obedience; though
grace has taken away the necessity of such obedience
as the ground of our acceptance with God." The
law is not made void, but established, by grace. We
cannot be saved by our obedience; because we have
already broken the law, and we cannot mend it. But,
while we trust alone in Christ, independent of any-
thing in ourselves, for justification before God, the
signs or evidences of our faith must be found within
us. There must be a new and holy principle in our
hearts; and just as far as this principle prevails, so far
it will show itself in obedience to the law of God.
There is no resting-place, in the agonizing conflict,
till we are holy as God is holy." I do not say that
Christians ever do become perfectly holy in this life.
The contrary appears, from the testimony both of
Scripture and experience, to be the universal fact. But
this is the measure of obligation, and we should strive
after it with all the earnestness of which we are capa-
ble.
We must not settle down contented with our attain-
ments, while one sin remains unsubdued in our hearts.
The Scriptures are full of this doctrine. The apostle
Paul expresses far more earnestness of desire after
higher attainments in the divine life than is ever felt
by such Christians as have only a feeble and glimmer-
ing hope of entering the abodes of the blessed. If
by any means," says he, "I might attain unto the
resurrection of the dead;" or that state of perfect
holiness which the saints will have attained at the
resurrection. And the kind of effort which he put
forth to obtain the object of his desires is most forcibly
described in the passage quoted at the beginning of
this letter. In view of this standard, you will be able
to see, in some measure, the exceeding sinfulness of
sin; and it will drive you more entirely out of your-






EMINENT EXAMPLES. 23

self to the cross of Christ. You will see the necessity
of daily renewing your repentance, submission, and
faith.
You see, from what the apostle says of his own ex-
perience, that high spiritual attainments are not to be
expected without great labor and strife. True piety
is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit; but the fact
that God works in us to will and to do of his good
pleasure, is made the ground of Paul's exhortation to
work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
The attainments of eminent saints are too generally
.ooked upon as out of the reach of common Christians.
They seem to think God is not willing to give all
his children the same measure of grace. But he could
not have said more than he has in his holy word, to
convince them to the contrary. Open thy mouth
wide, and I will fill it." Our Lord repeatedly assures
us that God is more willing to give good things to
those that ask him, than earthly parents are to give
good gifts to their children. And whoever will read
the lives of such eminent Christians as Edwards,
Whitefield, Brainerd, Martyn, Payson, Mrs. Edwards,
Mrs. Anthony, Mrs. Huntington, James B. Taylor,
and many others which might be mentioned, and take
notice of the means which they used; will not be sur-
prised at their attainments. The Bible represents the
Christian as in the constant exercise of holy affections;
and we should never rest with anything short of this.
Some of the persons I have mentioned did arrive at
such a state of feeling. President Edwards enjoyed,
for many years, the constant light of God's counte-
nance, and habitual communion with him. And so did
Mrs. Edwards, James B. Taylor, and many others.
She, for a long time, enjoyed, as she said, THB
RICHES OF FULL ASSURANCE." She felt an uninter-
rupted and entire resignation to God, with respect to
health or sickness, ease or pain, life or death; and an
entire resignation of the lives of her nearest earthly
friends." She also felt a sweet peace and serenity
of soul, without a cloud to interrupt it; a continual








rejoicing in all the works of nature and Providence;
a wonderful access to God by prayer, sensibly con-
versing with him, as much as if God were here on
earth; frequent, plain, sensible, and immediate an-
swers to prayer; all tears wiped away; all former
troubles and sorrows of life forgotten, except sorrow
for sin; doing everything for God's glory, with a
continual and uninterrupted cheerfulness, peace, and
joy." At the same time, she engaged in the common
duties of life with great diligence, considering them
as a part of the service of God; and, when done from
this motive, she said they were as delightful as prayer
itself. She also showed an "extreme anxiety to
avoid every sin, and to discharge every moral obliga-
tion ; she was most exemplary in the performance of
every social and relative duty; exhibited great inof-
fensiveness of life and conversation ; great meekness,
benevolence, and gentleness of spirit; and avoided,
with remarkable conscientiousness, all those things
which she regarded as failings in her own character."
How did these persons arrive at this eminence in
the Christian life 1 Although by free sovereign grace,
yet it was by no miracle. If you will use the same
means, you may attain the same end. In the early
part of his Christian life, President Edwards says, -
I felt a burning desire to be, in everything, a com-
plete Christian, and conformed to the blessed image of
Christ. I had an eager thirsting after progress in
these things, which put me upon pursuing and press-
ing after them. It was my continual strife, day and
night, and constant" inquiry, how I should be more
holy, and live more holily, and more becoming a child
of God, and a disciple of Christ. I now sought an
increase of grace and holiness, and a holy life, with
much more earnestness than ever I sought grace be-
fore I had it. I used to be continually examining
myself, and studying and contriving for likely ways
and means, how I should live holily, with far greater
diligence and earnestness than ever I pursued any-
thing in my life; yet, with too great a dependen" on


24


PRESIDENT EDWARDS.






RELIGION THE BUSINESS OF LIFE.


my own strength--which afterwards proved a great
damage to me." "Mrs. Edwards had been long in
an uncommon manner growing in grace, and rising,
by very sensible degrees, to higher love to God, wean-
edness to the world, and mastery over sin and tempta-
tion, through great trials and conflicts, and long-con-
tinued struggling and fighting with sin, and earnest
and constant prayer and labor in religion, and engaged-.
ness of mind in the use of all means. This growth
had been attended, not only with a great increase of
religious affections, but with a most visible alteration
of outward behavior; particularly in living above the
world, and In a greater degree of steadfastness and
strength in the way of duty and self-denial; maintain-
ing the Christian conflict under temptations, and con-
quering, from time to time, under great trials; persist-
ing in an unmoved, untouched calm and rest, under
the changes and accidents of time, such as seasons of
extreme pain and apparent hazard of immediate
death."
You will find accounts of similar trials and strug-
gles in the lives of all eminent saints. This is what
we may expect. It agrees with the Christian life, as
described in God's word. It is through much trib-
ulation that we enter the kingdom of heaven." This
is the way in which you must go, if you would ever
enter there. You must make religion the great busi-
ness of your life, to which everything else must give
place. You must engage with your whole soul in the
work, looking to the cross of Christ for strength
against your spiritual enemies; and you will come off
" conqueror at last," through him that hath loved us,
and given himself for us.
Your affectionate Brother.


25






26 DOCTRINE.


LETTER II.
The Importance of a thorough Knowledge of the Doc-
trines of Christianity means of obtaining it.
"Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." -John 17: 17.
MY DEAR SISTER,
SOME people are frightened at the idea of Doctrine,
as though it were a mere abstraction, which has noth-
ing to do with practical life. This notion is founded
on a misapprehension not only of the meaning of the
term, but of the connection of actions with established
principles of the mind. The general signification of
the word doctrine is, the principles upon which any
system is founded. As applied to Christianity, it
means divine truth; for this is the foundation upon
which the Christian religion rests. Although the
truths of God's Word are not reduced to a regular sys-
tem in the Bible, yet, when brought together, they
make the most beautiful and perfect of all systems.
It is proper, therefore, that we should contemplate
them in a body, as they appear with the most perfect
symmetry, in the plan of God's moral government.
There is a disposition, at the present day, to under-
value doctrinal knowledge. Many people think it of
little consequence what they believe, if they are only
sincere, and manifest much feeling on the subject of
religion. But this is a ruinous mistake. There is a
most intimate connection between faith and practice.
Those principles which are believed and received into
the heart govern and control our actions. The doo-
trines which God has revealed in his Word are the
principles of his moral government. As we are the
subjects of that government, it cannot be a matter of






A GOOD COMPARISON. I

small moment for us to understand, so far as we are
capable, the principles upon which it is administered.
If we mistake these principles, we may be found in
open rebellion, while we think we are doing God ser-
vice. For example : God commands us not to steal.
But, if we do not believe that he has given this com-
mandment, we shall feel under no obligation to obey
it. And every truth which God has revealed is as
intimately connected with practice as this, although
the duty enjoined be, in itself considered, of less con-
sequence. Christianity is called a spiritual building.
Ye are built up a spiritual house." "Whose house
are we?" "We are God's building Now the
foundation andframe-work of this building are the doe-
trines or truths of the Bible. Some of these doctrines
are called fundamental or essential, because they lie at
the foundation of the whole building; and are so
essential to it, that, if taken away, the whole would fall
to the ground. These are, The Existence of God in
three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the
Fall, and consequent Depravity of Man; the Atone-
ment of Christ; Justification by faith in him alone, and
the Office of the Holy Spirit in the work of Regener-
ation. If any one of these were taken away, it would
overturn the whole building. These may, therefore,
well be called the foundation. But you see there are
other very important parts of aframe besides the foun-
dation. So there are many other very important
truths of Christianity, besides its essential doctrines.
But some of these are of more consequence than oth-
ers. If a post or a beam is taken away, the building
is greatly marred and in danger of falling; yet, if well
covered, it may still be a comfortable dwelling. Again,
although a brace or a pin is of service to strengthen the
building, yet either may be taken away without very
serious injury. But aframe may be complete in all its
parts, and yet be no building. Without a covering, it
will not answer a single design of a house; and just
in proportion as it is well covered, will it be a com-
fortable residence. Just so with Christianity. The






GENUINE AND SPURIOUS.


covering of the house is the work of the Holy Spirit
in the heart, producing gracious affections, which man-
ifest themselves in a holy life. But the covering of a
house cannot exist without some kind of frame-work.
So experimental and practical piety cannot exist with-
out a belief of the principal doctrines of the gospel.
The Holy Spirit operates upon the heart through'the
truth. He gives it a personal application; brings it
home to the heart and conscience, and makes it effect-
ual in changing the heart and life. Sanctify them
through thy truth: thy word is truth." Of his own
will begat he us, with the word of truth." Seeing
ye have purified your souls, in obeying the truth through
the Spirit." Being born again by the word of God."
Thus, the agency of the Spirit is always acknowl-
edged in connection with the truth. Any religious
feeling or experience, therefore, which is not produced
by the truth made effectual by the Holy Spirit, is not
genuine. There is a kind of indefinite religious feel-
ing, which many mistake for Christian experience.
They feel, and perhaps deeply; but they know not
why they feel. Such religious feeling is to be sus-
pected as spurious. It may be the delusion of the
devil. By persuading people to rest upon this spuri
ous religious feeling, he accomplishes his purpose as
well as if he had kept them in carnal security. And
the clearer our views of truth, the more spiritual and
holy will be our religious affections. Thus, godly
sorrow arises from a sight of our own depravity, with
a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as commit-
ted against a holy God, and against great light and
mercy. Faith is produced by a spiritual view of the
atonement of Christ, and of his infinite fulness as a
complete and perfect Saviour. Love is excited by a
discovery of the excellence of God's moral perfections.
Holy fear and reverence arise from a sight of the maj-
esty and glory of his natural attributes, and a sense of
his presence. Joy may come from a sense of the in*
finite rectitude of his moral government; from the
sight of the glory of God, in his works of providence


28






FEELING DISTINGUISHED.
a


29


and grace; or from a general view of the beauty and
excellence of divine truth. Comfort may be derived
from evidence of the divine favor; and confidence,
from an appropriation of God's promises to ourselves.
And in many other ways, also, the Holy Spirit pro-
duces spiritual feelings through the instrumentality of
the truth. But all religious feeling, produced by im-
pulse, without any rational view of the truth, is to be
suspected. It may be the work of Satan, who is very
busy in counterfeiting.religious experiences for those
he wishes to deceive. Every religious affection has
its counterfeit. Thus, sorrow may be produced by the
fear of hell, without any sense of the evil of sin; a
presumption of our own good estate may be mistaken
for faith, and this will produce joy; we may exercise
a carnal or selfish love to God, because we think he
loves us, and has made us the objects of his special
favor; and the promises of God, so far as they con-
cern the personal good of the believer, may administer
as much comfort to the hypocrite as to the real saint.
How exceedingly important is it, then, that you
should not only exercise a general belief of the great
doctrines of the gospel, but that you should have a
right apprehension of them. The truth is so necessa-
ry in the Christian warfare, that it is called the sword
of the Spirit. But of what benefit is the sword to the
soldier who knows not how to use it! The sword is
used as much to ward off the blows of the enemy, as
to attack him. But the novice, who should engage
an enemy, without knowing the use of his weapon,
would be thrust through in the first onset. Hence,
the peculiar force of the prayer of our Lord, Sancti-
fy them through thy truth." It is by the use of the
truth, as the sword of the Spirit," in the Christian
warfare, that the work of satisfaction is carried on.
But, as the frame-work of a building, though oom-
plete in all its parts, would be no house without a
covering; so we may have a perfect knowledge of the
abstract doctrines of the Christian religion, and be no
Christians. It is the practical and experirMatal ap-
3*







plication of these doctrines to our own hearts and lives,
that makes the building complete. Regard yourself
as a subject of God's moral government, and the doo-
trines of the Bible as the laws of his kingdom; and
you will feel such a personal interest in them, that you
cannot rest in abstract speculation. Study these doc-
trines, that you may know how to live to the glory of
God.
I will now give you a few simple directions for
obtaining a correct knowledge of the doctrines of the
Bible.
1. Approach the subject with the spirit of a little
child. As new-born babes desire the sincere milk
of the word." Except ye be converted and become
as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom
of heaven." A little child is always satisfied of the
truth of what his father tells him. My father says
so," is reason enough for him. He does not say, I
will not believe it, because I cannot understand it."
So it should be your first object to ascertain what the
Bible teaches, and then submit to it with the confi-
dence of a little -child. You cannot expect fully to
comprehend the ways of an infinite Being. You can
see but a very small part of the system of his moral
government. It cannot be strange, then, if you are
unable to discover the reasonableness of every truth
which he has revealed. Do not try to carry out diffi-
cult points beyond what is plainly taught in the Scrip-
tures. God has revealed all that is necessary for us
to know in this life. He knows best where to leave
these subjects. If there were no difficulties in the
truths revealed, there would be no trial of our faith.
It is necessary that we should take some things upon
trust. There are also some truths taught which we
find it difficult to reconcile with others as plainly re-
vealed. Be content to believe both, on the authority
of God's word. He will reconcile them hereafter.
" What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt
know hereafter." Let this consideration always sat-
isfy you: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in


30


DIRECTIONS.





A CONTROVERSIAL SPIRIT. 31

thy sight." I am the more particular on this point,
as it is the place where error always begins. The
setting up of feeble reason in opposition to the word
of God, has been the foundation of all mistakes in re-
ligion. And, if we determine to be satisfied of the
reasonableness of the truth before we believe it, and
carry out the principle, we shall land in downright
atheism. By this, I do not mean that any truth is
unreasonable. It is not so. Divine truth is the per-
fection of reason. But there are some truths which
may appear unreasonable, because we cannot see the
whole of them. Thus, a fly, on the corner of a splen-
did edifice, cannot see the beauty and symmetry of the
building. So far as his eye extends, it may appear to
be sadly lacking in its proportions. Yet this is but a
faint representation of the narrow views we have of
God's moral government. There is, however, no
truth which he has revealed, in relation to that gov-
ernment, that is more difficult to understand, than
many things that philosophy has discovered in the
natural world. Yet, even infidels do not think of dis-
puting facts conclusively proved by philosophy, be-
cause they cannot understand them. It becomes us,
then, with the deepest humility and self-abasement, to
submit our reason to the word of God.
2. Avoid a controversial spirit. Do not study for
the sake of finding arguments to support your own
opinions. Take the place of a sincere inquirer after
truth, with a determination to embrace whatever you
find supported by the word of God, however contrary
it may be to your favorite notions. But when objec-
tions arise in your mind against any doctrine, do not
suppose you have made some new discovery, and
therefore reject it without farther inquiry. The same
objections have perhaps occurred to the mind of every
inquirer, on the same subject; and very probably they
have often been satisfactorily answered by able writ-
ers. This is a common error of young inquirers.
They are apt to think others take things upon trust,
and that they are the only persons who have thought







of the difficulties which start up in their minds. But,
when their reading becomes more extensive, they
learn, with shame, that what appeared to them to be
original thought, was only following an old, beaten
track.
3. Use such helps as you can obtain. Read care-
fully selected and judicious authors, on doctrinal sub-
jects.* The advantages arising from the perusal of
other books than the Scriptures, to obtain doctrinal
knowledge, are these: 1. You may profit by the ex-
perience of others. You see how the difficulties which
arise in your own mind appeared to them, and how
they solved them. 2. Much light may be thrown up-
on many difficult passages of Scripture, by an intimate
acquaintance with the times and circumstances under
which they were written; and men who undertake to
write on these subjects generally search deeply into
these things. 3. God has been pleased, in every age,
to raise up men mighty in the Scriptures." By the
extraordinary powers of mind which he has given
them, they may have clearer perceptions of divine
truth than you are able to obtain by the exertion of
your own faculties alone. You may also employ the
sermons which you hear, for an increase of doctrinal
knowledge, as well as an excitement to the perform-
ance of duty. But all these things you must invaria-
bly bring to the test of God's word. We are com-
manded to try the spirits, whether they be of God."
Do not take the opinions of men upon trust. Compare
them diligently with the word of God, and do not re-
ceive them till you are fully convinced that they agree
with this unerring standard. Make this your text-
book; and only use others to assist you in coming to a
right understanding of this.
4. In all your researches after doctrinal knowledge,
seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Make it a sub-
ject of daily prayer, that God would enable you to
understand his word, that you may be rooted and
The reader will find a list ofsuitable books in the Appendix.


32


WRITINGS OF MEN.






RELIGION A WORK OF GRACE.


grounded in the faith." The influences of the Holy
Spirit are two-fold. He enlightens the understanding,
to lead it into a correct knowledge of the truth; and
he applies the truth to the sanctification of the heart.
Pray diligently that you may have both. If you per-
severe in the proper observance of this direction, you
cannot fail to profit by the others. But, if you neg-
lect this, your pursuit of doctrinal knowledge will
serve only as food to your pride, self-confidence and
vain-glory, and exert a blighting influence upon your
soul. Your affectionate Brother.





LETTER III.

True Religion a Work of Grace in the Heart; but it
must be carried out in all our Conduct.

"And he (the righteous) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers
of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season: his leaf shall ot
wither." Ps. 1 : 3.
"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope
tthe Lord is; for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that
spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat
cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the
ear of drought, neither shall cease from yieldingfruit." J.
17 7, 8.

MY DEAR SISTER,
IN my first letter I spoke of the indwelling of the
Holy Spirit, as represented by our Lord under the
similitude of a living spring. In my last I endeav-
ored to show that the operation of the Spirit of God
upon the heart is inseparably connected with the
truth. My present object will be to show the effects
produced by both these agents acting together. This
is most beautifully described in the passages quoted
above.. Here the Christian is represented under the


33







similitude of a tree planted by the rivers of water.
The grace of God, or the Holy Spirit acting in unison
with the word, to carry on the great work of regener-
ation and sanctification in the soul, is represented by
the constant flowing of rivers of water. This shows
the abundance of the provision. But a tree may stand
so near a river as to be watered when it overflows its
banks; and yet, if its roots only spread over the sur-
face of the ground, and do not reach the bed of the
river, it will wither in a time of drought. This aptly
represents the professor of religion who appears en-
gaged and in earnest only during remarkable outpour-
ings of the Spirit. He is all alive and full of zeal
when the river overflows, but when it returns to its
ordinary channel, his leaf withers; and if a long sea-
son of spiritual drought follows, he becomes dry and
barren, so that no appearance of spiritual life remains.
But, mark how different the description of the true
child of God. He shall be as a tree planted by the
rivers of water." This figure appears to have been
taken from the practice of cultivating trees. They
are removed from the wild state in which they spring
up, and their roots firmly fixed in a spot of ground
cultivated and prepared, to facilitate their growth.
This planting well represents the fixed state of the
renewed soul, as it settles down in entire dependence*
upon the word and Spirit of God, for nourishment
and growth in grace. But the figure is carried out
still farther, -" and spreadeth out her roots by the
river." When the roots of the tree are spread out
along the bed of the river, it will always be supplied
with water, even when the river is low. This steadi-
ness of Christian character is elsewhere spoken of
under a similar figure. The root of the righteous
shall not be moved." "He shall cause them that come
of Jacob to take root." Being rooted and grounded
in love." Hence the prophet adds, that the heat and
the drought shall not affect it; but its leaf shall be
green, always growing; and it shall not cease to bring
forth fruit. And throughout the Scriptures, the


34


TREE BY THE RIVER.








righteous are represented as bringing forth fruit.'
" And the remnant that is escaped out of the house of
Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit
upward." Here is first a taking deep root downward,
or the sanctification of the faculties of the soul, by
which new principles of action are adopted; and a
bearing fruit upward, or the exercise of those princi-
ples, in holy affections and corresponding outward
conduct. Again, Israel shall blossom and bud, and
fill the face of the world with fruit." The bud and
blossom represent, in a very striking manner, the first
exercises of Christian experience. However, this
may be easily counterfeited. Every tree bears a mul-
titude of false blossoms, which, by the superficial
observer, may not be distinguished from the true.
They may for a time appear even more gay and beau-
tiful. As it appears in full bloom, it would be impos-
sible for the keenest eye to discover them. But as
soon as the season arrives for the fruit to begin to
grow, these fair blossoms are withered and gone, and
nothing remains but a dry and wilted stem. But the
real children of God shall not only bud and blossom,
but they shall I"fill the face of the world with fruit."
In the Song of Solomon, the church is compared to
"an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits."
This is a beautiful figure. The pomegranate is a kind
of apple. The tree is low, but spreads its branches,
so that its breadth is greater than its height. So the
true Christian is humble and lowly; while his good
works spread all around him. The blossoms of this
tree are large and beautiful, forming a cup like a bell.
But when the flowers are double, no fruit follows.
So the double-minded hypocrite brings forth no fruit.
The pomegranate apple is exceedingly beautiful and
delicious; and so the real fruits of Christianity are
full of beauty and loveliness. Again, the church is
said to lay up for Christ all manner of pleasant fruit,
new and old. But, backsliding Israel is.called an
empty vine, bringing forth fruit unto himself. Here
we may distinguish between the apparent good fruits


35


FALSE BLOSSOMS.






9 THE FRUITS OF CHRISTIANITY.

*of the hypocrite and those of the real Christian. The
ltter does everything for Christ. He really desires
the glory of God, and the advancement of Christ's
kingdom; and this is his ruling motive in all his con-
duct. But the former, though he may do many
things good in themselves, yet does them all with sel-
fish motives. His ruling desire is to gratify himself,
and to promote his own honor and interest, either in
this world, or in that which is to come.
The fruit which his people bring forth is that on
which Christ chiefly insists, as a test of Christian
character. "Every good tree bringeth forth good
fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."
He compares himself to a vine, and his followers to
branches; and informs them that every branch which
beareth not fruit shall be taken away. In the pas-
sage quoted from the first Psalm, the righteous is said
to bring forth fruit in his season. And in the 92d
Psalm and 14th verse, it is said, They shall still
bring forth fruit in their old age; they shall befat and
flourishing;" thus exhibiting a constancy of fruit-
bearing, and an uninterrupted growth, even down to
old age.
But, it becomes a matter of serious inquiry to know
what is meant by bringing forth fruit in his season.
The apostle Paul says, The fruit of the Spirit is in
all goodness, and righteousness, and truth." Hence,
we conclude, that bringing forth fruit in season must
be carrying out the principles of the gospel into every
part of our conduct. In another place, the same
apostle informs us more particularly what are the
fruits of the Spirit: The fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance." Let us, then, carry out these
principles, and see what influence they will have upon
the Christian character. Love is something that can
be felt. It is an outgoing of heart towards the object
lbved, and a feeling of union with it. When we have
a strong affection for a friend, it is because we see in
him something that is lovely. We love his society,






EXPERIENCE OF DAVID. 37

and delight to think of him when he is absent. Our
minds are continually upon the lovely traits of his
character. So ought we to love God. The ground
of this love should be the infinite purity, excellence,
and beauty of his moral perfections, independent of our
relations to him. He is infinite loveliness in himself
There is such a thing as feeling this love in exercise.
In the Song of Solomon, love is said to be strong
as death." Surely, this is no faint imagery. Is it
possible for a person to exercise a feeling as strong
as death," and yet not be sensible of it? Love takes
hold of every faculty of soul and body. It must, then,
be no very dull feeling. Again; the warmth and the
settled and abiding nature of love are represented by
such strong language as this: Many waters cannot
quench love, neither can the floods drown it." Surely
this can be no fitful feeling, which comes and goes at
extraordinary seasons. It must be a settled and abid-
ing principle of the soul; though it may not always
be accompanied with strong emotions. We may
sometimes be destitute of emotion towards the friends
we love most. But, the settled principle of esteem
and preference is abiding; and our attention needs
only to be called to the lovely traits in our friend's
character, to call forth emotion.
David, under the influence of this feeling, breaks
forth in such expressions as these: My soul thirst-
eth for thee; my flesh longeth for thee :" "As the
hart panteth for the water-brooks, so panteth my soul
after thee, O God: My soul thirsteth for God, for the
living God :" "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth,
for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh
crieth out for the living God :" My soul breaketh
for the longing it hath unto thy judgments at aU
times." Surely there is no dulness, no coldness, in
such feelings as these. They accord with the spirit
of the command, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy might." And this was not, with the Psalmist,
an occasional lively frame. This soul-breaking lorg-
4






38 LOVE TO THE BRETHREN.

ing was the habitual feeling of his heart; for he ex-
ercised it "at all times." And what was it that
called forth these ardent longings? Was it the per-
sonal benefits which he had received or expected to
receive from God ? By no means. After expressing
an earnest desire to dwell in the house of the Lord,
all the days of his life, he tells us why he wished to
be there: o behold the beauty of the Lord, and to
inquire in his temple." The object of his love was
" the beauty of the Lord;" doubtless meaning his
moral perfections. Intimately connected with this
was his desire to know the will of the Lord. For
this he wished to "inquire in his temple." And
whenever the love of God is genuine, it will call forth
the same desire. The apostle John, whose very
breath is love, says, "This is the love of God, that
we keep his commandments." The child that loves
his parents will delight in doing everything he can to
please them. But the child that cares for his parents
only as he expects to be benefited by them, will al-
ways do as little as possible for them, and that little
unwillingly. So, in our relations with God. The
hypocrite may have a kind of love to him, because he
thinks himself a peculiar object of divine favor, and
because he still expects greater blessings. But this
does not lead him to delight in the commands of God.
He rather esteems them as a task. His heart is not
in the doing of them; and he is willing to make them
as light as possible. But, the real Christian delights
in the law of God; and the chief source of his grief
is, that he falls so far short of keeping it.
Again, if we love God, we shall love the image of
God, wherever we find it. "Every one that loveth
him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of
him." Our love to Christians, if genuine, must arise
from the resemblance which they bear to Christ; and
not from the comfort which we enjoy in their society,
nor because they appear friendly to us. This hypo-
crites also feel. If we really exercise that love, we
shall be willing to make personal sacrifices for the






SPIRITUAL JOY. PEACE.


benefit of our Christian brethren. We are directed
to love one another as Christ loved us. And how did
Christ love us ? .So strong was his love that he laid
down his life fur us? And the apostle John says, we
ought, in imitation of him, "to lay down our lives
for the brethren ;" that is, if occasion require it.
Such is the strength of that love which we are re-
quired to exercise for our Christian brethren. But,
how can this exist in the heart, when we feel unwill-
ing to make the least sacrifice of our own feelings or
interests for their benefit ?
Again; there is another kind of love required of
us. This is the love of compassion, which may be
exercised even towards wicked men. And what must
be the extent of this love? There can be but one
standard. We have the example of our Lord before
us. So intense was his love, that it led him to make
every personal sacrifice of ease, comfort, and worldly
good, for the benefit of the bodies and souls of men;
yea, he laid down his life for them. This is the kind
of love which is required of us, and which was exer-
cised by the apostles and early Christians.
Another fruit of the Spirit is JoY. We are com-
manded to rejoice in the Lord at all times. If we
have a proper sense of the holiness of God's moral
character; of the majesty and glory of his power ; of
the infinite wisdom which shines through all his
works ; the infinite rectitude of his moral government;
and especially of that amazing display of his love, in
the work of redemption-it will fill our hearts with
"JOY UNSPEAKABLE AND FULL OF GLORY." Nor is
rejoicing in God at all inconsistent with mourning for
sin. On the contrary, the more we see of the divine
character, the more deeply shall we be abased and
humbled before him. Says Job, "I have heard of
thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye
seeth thee. Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in
dust and ashes." It was a sight of God which
brought this holy man so low before him.
Another fruit of the Spirit is PEACE. This is of two


39








kinds; peace with God, and peace with man. The
impenitent are at war with God; there is therefore no
peace for them. God is angry with them, and they
are contending with him. But the Christian becomes
reconciled to God through Christ. He finds peace in
believing in him. The Lord is no longer a God of
terror to him, but a "God of peace." Hence the
gospel is called the way of peace;" and Christ the
"Prince of Peace." Jesus, in his parting interview
with his beloved disciples, says, Peace I leave with
you, my peace I give unto you." Righteousness, or
justice and peace, are said to have met together and
kissed each other. "'We have peace with God,
through our Lord Jesus Christ." The Bible is full
of this subject, but I cannot dwell upon it. I wish
you to look out the following passages ; read and com-
pare them diligently, and meditate upon the blessed
truth which they contain Ps. 37: 37; 85: 8; 119:
165. Prov. 16 : 7. Isa. 26 : 3; 57: 19. Lu. 2:
14. John 16: 33. Rom. 8:6; 14: 17. 1 Cor. 7:
15. Eph. 2: 14, 15. Phil. 4: 7. Col. 3: 15.
I know not how to speak of this exercise of the
mind. It is better felt than described. It is a calm
and holy reconciliation with God and his government;
a settled feeling of complacency towards everything
but sin. It begets a serene and peaceful temper and
disposition of the heart. But this gracious work of
the Holy Spirit does not stop with these exercises of
the mind. However we may seem to feel, in our
moments of retirement and meditation, if this peaceful
disposition is not carried out in our intercourse with
others, and our feelings towards them, we have reason
to suspect ourselves of hypocrisy. Whatever is in our
hearts will manifest itself in our conduct. If we ex-
ercise a morose, sour, and jealous disposition towards
others; if we indulge a censorious spirit, not easily
overlooking their faults; if we are easily provoked,
and irritated with the slightest offence ; if we indulge
i petty strifes and backbiting-surely the peace of
od does not rule in our hearts. So much does Christ


40


A PEACEFUL SPIRIT.






MEEKNESS. LONG-SUFFERING.


esteem this peaceful spirit, that he says peacemakers
shall be called the children of God. Again, he tells
his disciples to have peace one with another." The
apostle Paul, also, gives frequent exhortations to the
exercise of this grace. Be at peace among your-
selves." Follow peace with all men." If it be
possible, live peaceably with all men." That we
may lead a quiet and peaceable life."
MEEKNESS is a twin-sister of Peace. It is a temper
of mind not easily provoked to resentment. The word
used in the original signifies easiness of mind. The
cultivation of this grace resembles the taming of wild
animals. It is the bringing of all our wild and un-
governable passions under control. It is an eminent
work of the Spirit; and we may judge of our spiritual
attainments by the degree of it which we possess.
The Scriptures abound with exhortations to the
cultivation of it. It is preeminently lovely in the
female character. Hence, the apostle Peter exhorts
women to adorn themselves with the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of God,
of great price.
LONG-SUFFERING and GENTLENESS are twin-daugh-
ters of Meekness. The latter is the disposition of the
heart. The former are the actions which flow out
from that disposition, in our intercourse with others.
Long-suffering is godlike. It is an imitation of the
forbearance of God towards his rebellious creatures.
He is long-suffering, and slow to anger. He does not
let his anger burn hot against sinners, till all means
of bringing them to repentance have failed. 0, how
should this shame us, who cannot bear the least ap-
pearance of insult or injury from our fellow-sinners,
without resentment! But, if we would be the chil-
dren of our Father in heaven, we must learn to bear
ill treatment with a meek and quiet and forgiving tem
per. Gentleness is one of the most lovely of all the
races of the Spirit. It is a softness or mildness of
disposition and behavior, and stands opposed to harsh-
nese and severity, pride and arrogance." "It cor
4P


41








rects whatever is offensive in our manner, and, by a
constant train of humane attentions, studies to alleviate
the burden of common misery;" the constant exercise
of this spirit is of the greatest importance to the Christ-
ian who would glorify God in his life, and do good to
his fellow-creatures.
GOODNESS is another fruit of the Spirit I suppose
the apostle here means the same that he expresses in
another place by bowels of mercies and kindness."
It is doing good both to the bodies and souls of others,
as we have opportunity. Be kindly affectioned one
to another." Be ye kind one to another, tender-
hearted." This is a distinguishing trait in the Christ-
ian character. It shone forth in all its loveliness in
our divine Redeemer. He went about doing good.
So ought we to imitate his example. It should be
our chief aim and study to make ourselves useful to
others; for we thereby glorify God. If we have the
Spirit of Christ, this will be the great business of our
lives.
Another fruit of the Spirit is FAITH. Although
this is mentioned last but two in the catalogue, yet it
is by no means the least important. Indeed, it may
be called the father of all the rest. The proper defin-
ition of faith is, a belief of the truth. Faith is a very
common principle of action, by which is transacted all
the business of this life. People universally act ac-
cording to their faith. If a person is fully convinced
that his house is on fire, he will make haste to escape.
If a man really believes a bank-note is good, he will
receive it for its professed value. If the merchant
believes that his customer is able to pay for them, ho
will give him goods upon credit. If a child really
believes his parent will punish him for doing mischief,
he will keep out of it. And so, in everything else,
we act according to our belief. No person ever fully
believes a truth which concerns himself, without act-
ing accordingly. That faith which is the fruit of the
Spirit is a hearty belief of all the truths of God's
word. And in proportion as we believe these truths.


42


GOODNESS. FAITH.






POWER OF FAITH. TEMPERANCE.


in their application to ourselves, we shall act according
to them. The reason why the sinner does not repent
and turn to God, is that he does not fully believe the
word of God, as it applies to himself. He may be-
lieve some of the abstract truths of the Scriptures, but
he does not really believe himself to be in the dreadful
danger which they represent him. The reason why
Christians live so far from the standard of God's word
is that their belief in the truths contained in it is so
weak and faint. We all profess to believe that God is
everywhere present. Yet, Christians often complain
that they have no lively sense of his presence. The
reason is, that they do not fully and heartily believe
this truth. So strong and vivid is the impression
when this solemn truth takes full possession of the
soul, that the apostle compares it to "' seeing him that
is invisible." Now, but for our unbelief, we should
always have such a view of the divine presence. 0,
with what holy awe and reverence would this inspire
us On examination, we shall find that all the graces
of the Spirit arise from faith, and all our sins and short-
comings from unbelief. It is a belief of the moral ex-
cellence of God's character which inspires love. It is
a belief of our own depravity, and the exceeding sin-
fulness of sin, which creates godly sorrow. It is a
strong and particular belief of all the overwhelming
truths of the Bible, which overcomes the world.
" This is the victory; even our faith." It is a firm
and unshaken belief in these truths, presenting the
glories of heaven just in view, which supports the
Christian in the dark and trying hour of death. It is
the same belief which makes him as bold as a lion"
in the performance of his duty. This is what support-
ed the martyrs, and enabled them cheerfully to lay
down their lives for Christ's sake. It is this which
must support you in the Christian warfare. And in
proportion to your faith will be your progress. I
would be glad to say more on this subject. It is large
enough to fill a volume.
TzxEPeaANC is another fruit of the Spirit. This


43






44 READING AND STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES.

consists in the proper control of all our desires, appe-
tites, and passions. The exercise of this grace is of
vital importance, not only as it concerns the glory of
God, but our own health and happiness.
I have felt much straitened in giving a description
of the fruits of the Spirit in a single letter. I have
not pretended to do justice to the subject. My princi-
pal object has been to show the beautiful symmetry of
the Christian character, as it extends from the heart
to all our actions, in every relation of life. And this
will serve as an introduction to the more particular
consideration of the various Christian duties.
Your affectionate Brother





LETTER IV.

On the Reading and Study of the Holy Scriptures

Search the Scriptures." -JOHN 5: 39.

MY DEAR SISTER,
I FEEL persuaded that you will take a deep interest
in the subject of this letter; for, to a true child of
God, nothing is so precious as the volume of inspi-
ration. It is like rubies in a case of gold. That
which is most valuable for practical use lies on the
surface; while every examination discovers new gems
of surpassing beauty.
There is this difference between the devotional reading
and the thorough study of the Holy Scriptures, that
the object of the former is to affect the heart, while
that of the latter is chiefly to inform the understand-
ing. Although this blessed book should never be
used without practical application, yet, when all the
powers of the mind are taxed to ascertain the critical






SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES. W

meaning of the text, there is less opportunity for the
exercise of the affections of the heart than when the
mind is suffered simply to dwell upon obvious truth.
For the systematic study of the Bible, portions of
time should be set apart, if possible, separate from
our regular seasons of devotion; or, perhaps, im-
mediately after. For the former, a small portion
should be selected from the more practical and devo-
tional parts of the Bible.
We are commanded to search the &riptures.
Searching is a difficult and laborious work. To in-
duce us to engage in it, we must have a strong desire
for something valuable. Here is a treasure of suffi-
cient value to call forth this desire. This blessed book
contains the revealed will of God. All who love God
will be anxious to know his will. They will make it
the rule of their conduct. Thy word," says the
Psalmist, is a lamp, unto my feet, and a light unto
my path." The will of God, as made known in his
word, is like a lantern, which sheds a light on our
path, and directs the steps of our feet. The sincere
Christian will search after a knowledge of God's will,
with more eagerness than he would search for hidden
treasures of gold and silver. He will set his heart to
the work. This is what God commands. After Mo-
ses had given the law of God to the children of Israel,
he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words
which I testify among you this day." This is a very
strong expression. To set our hearts to any work, is
to go about it in earnest, with all the energies of our
souls. Again; when we make great search for any-
thing we very thuch desire and highly prize, and find
it, we are very apt to keep it. Hence David says,
" Thy word have I hid in my heart." But maik the
reason of his conduct. Why did he hide God's woid
in his heart ? He explains his motive : That I might
not sin against thee." .His object, in hiding God's
word in his heart, was to know how to regulate his
conduct so as not to sin against him. You must feel
a personal interest in the truth. You must study it as






46 READING IN THE CLOSET.

the directory of your life. When you open this bless-
ed book, let this always be the sincere inquiry of your
heart: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" Come
to it with this childlike spirit of obedience, and you
will not fail to learn the will of God. But when you
have learned your duty in God's word, do it without
delay. Here are two very important points of Christ-
ian character, quite too much overlooked. (1.) An
earnest desire to know present duty. (2.) A steadfast
and settled determination to do it as soon as it is known.
Here lies the grand secret of high spiritual attainments.
A person who acts from these principles may make
greater progress in a single day than a tardy, procrd-
tinating spirit in a long life. The pressure of obliga-
tion rests upon the present moment. Remember,
when you have ascertained present duty, the delay of
a single moment is sin. With these remarks, I sub-
mit a few practical directions for the profitable reading
and study of the Holy Scriptures.
1. Read the Bible in your closet, or under circumstan-
ces which will secure you from interruption, either by the
conversation of others, or the attractions of other ob--
jects. Do not attempt to fill up little broken intervals
of time with the reading of God's word. Leave these
seasons for lighter reading. Remember, the reading
of the Scriptures is nothing less than conversing with
God. When any one pays so little attention to your
conversation as not to understand what you say, you
consider it a great breach of politeness. God speaks
to you whenever you read his holy word. His all-
seeing eye rests upon your heart; and he knows
whether you are engaged in solemn stifling. If you
read his word so carelessly as rot to understand its
meaning and drink in its spirit, you treat him as you
would disdain to be treated by an earthly friend. 0
the forbearance of God, who suffers such indignity
from those who call themselves his children! Never
approach the word of God but with feelings of rever-
ence and godly fear.
2. Come to the work with a preparation of heart






READ WITH SELF-APPLICATION. 47

If you were going to visit some person of great con-
sequence, whose favor and esteem you wished to se-
cure, you would take care to have everything about
your person adjusted in the most becoming manner.
So let it be with your mind, when you come to con-
verse with God. Shut out all worldly thoughts.
Strive to bring yourself into a tranquil, holy, and
tender frame, so that the truths you contemplate may
make their proper impression upon your heart.
3. eek the aid of the Holy Spirit. Christ prom-
ised his disciples that, when the Holy Spirit should
come, he would "guide them into all truth." With-
out his enlightening influences, we cannot understand
the word of God; and without his gracious influences
upon the heart, we shall not be disposed to obey it.
We have the most abundant encouragement to seek
the aid of this Divine Instructor. Christ assures us
that God is more willing to give his Holy Spirit to
them that ask him, than earthly parents are to give
good gifts to their children. Before opening God's
word, pray that he would show you the truth, the
rule of your duty, and incline your heart to obey it.
As you proceed, keep your heart silently lifted up to
God for the same object.
4. Read with self-application. Whenever you have
discovered any truth, ask what bearing it has upon
your present duty. If it relates to spiritual feelings,
compare it with the exercises of your own heart. If
they do not correspond, you have work for repentance.
Go immediately to the cross of Christ; give yourself
away to him anew, and seek for pardon and needed
grace. This you may do instantly, either in a silent
or an audible prayer. If it relates to the spirit and
temper of Christians, in their intercourse with one
another, or with the world, compare it with your own
conduct. If you find yourself condemned, you have
the same course to pursue, with a steadfast determina-
tion to exhibit more of the spirit of Christ.. If it re-
Jtes to some positive duty, inquire whether you have
done it. If not, you have to go through the same







48 READ THE SCRIPTURES REGULARLY.

work of repentance and application to the blood of
Christ. But do not stop here. Do your duty imme.
diately.
5. Read the Scriptures regularly. To sustain these
frail bodies, a daily supply of nourishment is required.
Equally necessary is daily food for the soul. The
word of God is the bread of eternal life. Take, then,
your regular supplies of spiritual food, that your soul
may not famish. Choose for this purpose those sea-
sons when you are least liable to interruption; when
you can retire and shut out the world ; when you can
best command the energies of your mind. There is
no time more fit and suitable for this than the morn-
ing. Then the mind is clear, vigorous, unincumbered,
and prepared to receive an impression. There is also
a propriety in consulting God's word at the close of
the day. But this depends much upon the state of
bodily feeling. If you become exhausted and dull.
after the labors of the day, I would rather recommend
taking the whole time in the morning. But by no
means confine yourself to these stated seasons. When-
ever the nature of your pursuits will admit of your
seclusion for a sufficient length of time to fix your
mind upon the truth, you may freely drink from this
never-failing fountain of the water of life.
6. Study the &riptures systematically. If you read
at random, here a little and there a little, your views
of divine truth will be partial and limited. This meth-
od may indeed be pursued in regard to reading strictly
devotional; but only when other time is taken for ob-
taining a connected view and a critical understanding
of the whole Bible. The Bible is like a dish of savo-
ry meats. There is almost every variety of style and
matter. There is History, Biography, Argumentative
and Didactic Essays, and Poetry. Although these
various kinds of writing are contained in a great num-
er of books, written by various authors, at different
times, without concert, yet a remarkable unity of
design runs through the whole. They all aim at the
development of the plan of God's moral government;






THINGS TO BE OBSERVED.


and a most striking harmony of sentiment prevails
throughout. We find everything, from the very be-
giniting, pointing to the glorious plan of redemption
revealed in the Gospel. Although we may, at first
view, feel the want of a regular system of divinity,
yet, a careful attention to the subject will convince us
that God's plan is best. We have here the principles
of his government exhibited in living examples; which
give us a clearer view, and more vivid impression of
them, than we could obtain from the study of an ab-
stract system. There are several things to be ob-
served, in the systematic and thorough study of the
Bible, some of which I shall mention.
(1.) Always keep distinctly before you the grand
design of the Scriptures; which is, to convince man-
kind of their lost and ruined condition, make known
the way of salvation, and persuade them to embrace it.
(2.) Make it your constant aim to ascertain what
is the plain and obvious meaning of the writer; for
this is the mind of the Spirit. To aid you in this,
observe the following particulars: 1. Endeavor to
become acquainted with the peculiarity of each writ-
er's style. Although the matter and words of Scrip-
ture were dictated by the Holy Spirit, yet it was so
done that each writer employed a style and manner
peculiar to himself. This does not invalidate the evi-
dence of their divine origin. On the contrary, it shows
the wisdom of the Spirit. For, if the whole Bible
had been written in a uniform style, it would have
given opposers a strong argument against its authen-
ticity; while the want of that uniformity furnishes
conclusive evidence that it could not have been the
work of a single impostor. Again; a continued same-
ness of style would make the reading of soJarge a
book as the Bible tedious and unpleasant; but the
rich variety presented by the various authors of this
blessed book, helps our infirmities, and makes the
reading of it pleasing and delightful. 2. "Inquire
into the character, situation, and office of the writer;
the time, place, and occasion of his writing; and the
5


49







50 DO NOT TASK YOURSELF.

people for whose immediate use he intended his work."
This will enable you to understand his allusions to
particular circumstances and customs, and to see the
practical application of the principles he advances. 3.
Consider the principal scope or aim of the book; or,
what was the author's object, design, or intention, in
writing it. Notice also the general plan or method
which he has pursued. This will enable you to dis-
cover his leading ideas, if it be an argumentative
work; or the particular instructions of God's provi-
dence, if it be historical. 4. Where the language is
difficult to be understood, pay strict attention to the
context, and you will generally find the author's
meaning explained. But, if you do not, consider
whether the difficult phrase is a peculiarity of the
writer's style. If so, look out the place where he has
used it in a different connection, and see what mean-
ing is attached to it there. But, if this does not sat-
isfy you, examine the passages, in other parts of the
Scriptures, which relate to the same subject, and com-
pare them with the one under consideration. This
will generally clear up the darkest passages. But, if
you still feel in doubt, you may find assistance from
consulting commentators, who have made themselves
thoroughly acquainted with all the particulars I have
mentioned; which, with a knowledge of the language
in which the book was originally written, may have
enabled them to remove the difficulty. But, do not
trust the opinions of commentators any farther than
you see they agree with the general system of re-
vealed truth; and, above all, do not follow them in
any scheme of fanciful interpretation or visionary
speculation.
(3.) Do not task yourself with a certain quantity
of reading at the regular seasons devoted to the study
of the Bible. This may lead you to hurry over it,
without ascertaining its meaning, or drinking in its
spirit. You had better study one verse thoroughly,
than to read half a dozen chapters carelessly. The
nourishment received from food depends less on the








quantity than on its being perfectly digested. So with
the mind; one clear idea is better than a dozen con-
fused ones; and there is such a thing as overloading
the mind with undigested knowledge. Ponder upon
every portion you read, until you get a full and clear
view of the truth it contains. Fix your mind and
heart upon it, as the bee lights upon the flower; and
do not leave it till you have extracted all the honey it
contains.
(4.) Read in course. By studying the whole Bible
in connection, you will obtain a more enlarged view
of the plan of God's moral government. And you
will see how it all centres in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But I would not have you confine yourself entirely to
the regular reading of the whole Bible in course.
Some portions of the historical part do not require so
much study as that which is more argumentative and
doctrinal; and some parts of the word of God are
more devotional than others, and therefore better fitted
for daily practical use. A very good plan is, to read
the Old and New Testaments in course, a portion in
each, every day. If you begin at Genesis, Job, and"
Matthew, and read a chapter every day, at each place,
omitting the first, and reading three Psalms, on the
Sabbath, you will read the whole Bible in a year,
while on every day you will have a suitable variety.
Besides this, the more devotional and practical books
should be read frequently. The Psalms furnish a
great variety of Christian experience, and may be re-
sorted to with great profit and comfort, under all cir-
cumstances. This is the only book in the Bible which
does not require to be read in course. The Psalms
are detached from each other, having no necessary
connection. The other books were originally written
like a sermon or a letter. They have, for convenience,
since been divided into chapters and verses. If you
read a single chapter by itself, you lose the connec-
tion; as, if you should take up a sermon and read a
page or two, you would not get a full view of the au-
thor's subject. I would therefore recommend that, in


51


READ IN COURSE.







SUBJECTS OF INQUIRY.


addition to your daily reading in the Old and New
Testaments, you have also some one of those books
which require most study, in a course of reading, to
take up whenever you have an occasional season of
leisure to devote to the study of the Bible. But, when
you have commenced one book, finish it before you
begin another. You will find great advantage from the
use of a reference Bible and concordance. By look-
ing out the parallel passages, as you proceed, you will
see how one part of the Scriptures explains another,
and how beautifully they all harmonize. This will
also give you a better view of the whole Scriptures
than you can obtain in any other way. But if you
are a Sabbath-school teacher or scholar, your regu-
lar lesson will furnish as much study of this descrip-
tion as you will be able thoroughly to accomplish.
(5.) In reading the Scriptures, there are some
subjects of inquiry which you should carry along with
you constantly: 1. What do I find here which points
to Christ Unless you keep this before your mind,
you will lose half the interest of many parts of the
Old Testament. Indeed, much of it will otherwise be
almost without meaning. It is full of types and
prophecies relating to Christ, which, by themselves,
appear dry, but, when understood, most beautiful and
full of instruction. 2. Remember that the Bible con-
tains a history of the church. Endeavor, then, to
learn the state of the church at the time of which you
are reading. For the sake of convenience, and a
clearer view of the subject, you may divide the history
of the church into six periods: (1.) From the fall
of Adam to the flood. (2.) From Noah to the giving
of the law. (3.) From that time to David and the
prophets. (4.) From David to the Babylonish cap-
tivity. (5.) From that time till the coming of Christ.
(6.) From Christ to the end of time, which is called
the gospel dispensation. From the commencement
you will see a gradual development of God's designs
of mercy, and a continually increasing light. Take
notice of what period of the church you are reading;


52






CHARACTER OF CHRIST.

and from this you may judge of the degree of obliga-
tion of its members; for this has been increasing with
the increase of light, from the fall of Adam to the
present day; and it will continue to increase to the
end of time. Note, also, the various declensions and
revivals of religion which have occurred in every peri-
od of the church, and endeavor to learn their causes
and consequences. By this, you will become familiar
with God's method of dealing with his people; from
which you may draw practical lessons of caution and
encouragement for yourself. 3. Inquire what doctri-
nal truth is either taught, illustrated, or enforced, in
the passage you are readifig; and also, what prin-
caple is recognized. Great and important principles of
the divine government and of practical duty are often
implied in a passage of history which relates to a
comparatively unimportant event. Let it be your
absiness to draw out these principles, and apply them
to practice. Thus, you will be daily increasing your
knowledge of the great system of divine truth, the
necessity of which I need not urge. 4. Note every
promise and every prediction; and observe God's
faithfulness in keeping his promises and fulfilling his
prophecies. This will tend to strengthen your confi-
dence in him. You will find it profitable, as you pro-
ceed, to take notes of these several matters, particu-
larly; and, at the close of every book, review your
notes, and sum them up under different heads.
(6.) Read the gospels with great care, for the
particular purpose of studying the character of the
blessed Jesus. Dwell upon every action of his life,
and inquire after his motives. By this course you
will be surprised to find the Godhead shining through
the manhood, in little incidents which you have often
read without interest. Look upon him at all times in
his true character, as Mediator between God and man.
Observe his several offices of Prophet, Priest, and
King. See in which of these characters he is acting
at different times; and inquire what bearing the par-
ticular action you are considering has upon his media-
5.









trial character. Observe, also, the particular traits
of character which appear conspicuous in particular
actions; as power, energy, manly hardihood, dignity,
condescension, humility, love, meekness, pity, com-
passion, tenderness, forgiveness, &c. Take notes;
and when you have finished the course, draw from
them, in writing, a minute and particular description
of his character. This will be of great service to you
as a pattern. You will also, by this means, see a
peculiar beauty and fitness in Christ for the office he
has undertaken, which you would not otherwise have
discovered. But, do not stop with going through this
course once. Repeat it as often as you can consist-
ently with your plan of a systematic study of the Holy
Scriptures. You will always find something new;
and upon every fresh discovery, you can revise your
old notes.
(7.) In reading the historical and biographical
parts of Scripture, several things are necessary to be
observed: 1. The histories contained in the Bible
are the histories of God's providence. Observe his
hand in every event. You will there find some prin-
ciple or law of his moral government exemplified.
Inquire what that principle is, and carefully observe
its application to the conduct of nations, communities,
and individuals. 2. Whenever you read of particular
mercies or judgments, as experienced by nations, com-
munities, or individuals, look back for the cause. By
this you will discover the principles upon which God
acts in these matters. 3. In the biographies of the
Bible, study the motives and conduct of the characters
described. If they are unconverted men, you will
learn the workings of human depravity, and discover
what kind of influence a correct religious public senti-
ment has in restraining that depravity. If they are
good men, you will see, in their good actions, living
illustrations of the great doctrines of the Bible. En-
deavor to learn by what means they made such emi-
nent attainments in holiness, and strive to imitate
them. If their actions are bad, look back and inquire


54


SACRED IHISTOIRY.






SACRED POETRY. PROPHECY.


into the cause of their backslidings. If you discover
it, you will find a way-mark, to caution you against
falling into the same pit.
(8.) The poetical and didactic parts of the Scrip-
tures are scattered throughout the whole Bible. These
abound with highly wrought figures. This is proba-
bly owing partly to the insufficiency of ordinary lan-
guage to express the sublime and lofty ideas presented
to the minds of the writers by the Spirit of truth.
Endeavor to obtain a clear and correct understanding
of the figures used. These are often taken from pre-
vailing habits and customs, and from circumstances
peculiar to the countries where the Scriptures were
written. These habits and circumstances you must
understand, or you will not see the force of the allu-
sions. Others are taken from circumstances peculiar
to particular occupations in life. These must also be
thoroughly studied, in order to be understood. But,
where the figures are drawn from things perfectly
familiar, you will not perceive their surprising beauty
and exact fitness to express the idea of the sacred pen-
man, until you have carefully studied them, and noted
the minutest circumstances. Beware, however, that
you do not carry out those figures so far as to lead you
into fanciful and visionary interpretations.
(9.) The books of the prophets consist of re-
proofs, exhortations, warnings, threatening, predic-
tions, and promises. By carefully studying the
circumstances and characters of those for whom they
were written, you will find the principles and laws of
God's moral government set forth, in their application
to nations, communities, and individuals. From these
you may draw practical rules of duty, and also learn
how to view the hand of God, in his providence, in
different ages of the world. The predictions contained
in these books are the most difficult to be understood
of any part of the Bible. In reading them you will
notice, 1. Those predictions whose fulfilment is re-
corded in the Bible, and diligently examine the record
of their fulfilment. You will see how careful God is


55






56 WATCH THE IMAGINATION.

to fulfil every jot and tittle of his word. 2. There
are other prophecies, the fulfilment of which is re-
corded in profane history; and others still which are
yet unfulfilled. To understand these, it will be neces-
sary to read ancient and modern history, in connection
with the explanation of the prophecies by those writ-
ers who have made them their study. An attention
to this, so far as your circumstances will admit, will
be useful in enlarging your views of the kingdom of
Christ. But, beware of becoming so deeply absorbed
in these matters as to neglect those of a more practi-
cal nature; and especially be cautious of advancing
far into the regions of speculation as to what is yet
future.
(10.) You will find it an interesting and profitable
employment occasionally to read a given book through,
for the purpose of seeing what light it throws upon
some particular subject, -some point of Christian
doctrine, duty, practice, character, &c. For example,
go through with Acts, with your eye upon the doc-
trine of Christ's divinity. Then go through with it a
second time, to see what light it throws on the subject
of Revivals. Pursue the same course with other
books, and in respect to other subjects. In this way
you will sometimes be surprised to find how much you
have overlooked in your previous reading.
It will be perceived that I have laid out a very ex-
tensive and laborious work. But this is the great
business of our lives; and, indeed, the contemplation
of the glorious truths revealed in the Bible will form
the business of eternity; and even that will be too
short to learn the length and breadth, and height and
depth, of the ways of the Almighty.
Your affectionate Brother.







PRAYER AND FASTING.


LETTER V.

Prayer and Fasting.
In everything, by prayer and supplication, with thansgirn, le
your requests be made known unto God. Piai. 4: 6.
MY DEAR SISTER,
THE subject of this letter is one of vital interest
to every Christian. It is, therefore, of the utmost
consequence, that it be both well understood and dili-
gently practised. It seems hardly necessary to urge
prayer upon the Christian as a duty. Every true
Christian must feel it to be a soul-exalting privilege.
It is his breath ; without it, he can no more maintain
his spiritual life, than animal life can be sustained
without breathing. Prayer is an intimate communion
with God, by which we unbosom our hearts to him,
and receive communications of his grace, and fresh
tokens of his love. What Christian, then, whose soul
burns 'ith divine love, will be disposed to apply to
this holy employment the cold appellation of duty?
Yet, God sees so much the importance of prayer, that
he has not only permitted, but commanded us to pray.
Our Lord frequently directed his disciples, and us
through them, to "watch and pray." He also
teaches us to persevere in prayer: "Men ought
always to pray, and not to faint." The apostle Paul
is frequent in exhorting Christians to pray : Pray
without ceasing." I will that men pray every-
where." Praying always, with all prayer and sup-
plication in the Spirit." "I exhort, therefore, that,
first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
giving of thanks, be made for all men." "Continu-
ing instant in prayer." The duty of prayer is also
enforced by the example of all the holy men whose
biography is given in Scripture. Moses, Samuel.


67






58 DUTY ENJOINED. DEFINITION.

David, Elijah, and all the prophets, were mighty in
prayer. So were also the apostles. But, above all,
the Lord Jesus, our blessed pattern, has set before us
a life of prayer. You will find it very profitable to
read the lives of these holy men, but especially that of
our blessed Saviour, for the special purpose of notic-
ing how much they abounded in prayer. Our Lord
never undertook anything of importance, without first
observing h special season of prayer. Oft we find him
retiring into the mountains, sometimes a great while
before day, for prayer. Indeed, on several occasions,
he continued all night in prayer to God. If, then, it
became the Lord of life and glory to spend much time
in prayer, how much more, such weak and sinful
creatures as we, who are surrounded with temptations
without, and beset with corruptions within Prayer
is necessarily so intermingled with every duty, that
the idea of a prayerless Christian is an absurdity.
Prayer not only secures to us the blessings which
we need, but it brings our minds into a suitable frame
for receiving them. We must see our need, feel our
unworthiness, be sensible of our dependence upon God,
and believe in his willingness to grant us, through
Christ, the things that are necessary and proper for
us. An acknowledgment of these things, on our part,
is both requisite and proper; and, without such ac-
knowledgment, it might not be consistent with the
great ends of his moral government for God to grant
us our desires.
Prayer is the offering up of the sincere desires and
feelings of our hearts to God. It consists of adora-
tion, confession, supplication, intercession, and thanks-
giving. Adoration is an expression of our sense of
the infinite majesty and glory of God. Confession is
an humble acknowledgment of our sins and unworthi-
ness. By supplication, we ask for pardon, grace, or
any blessing we need for ourselves. By intercession,
we pray for others. By thanksgiving, we express
our gratitude to God for his goodness and mercy
towards us and our fellow-creatures, All 'these







THE LORD'S PRAYER ITS USE. 59

several parts are embraced in the prayers recorded in
Scripture, though all of them are not generally found
in the same prayer. The prayer of Solomon, at the
dedication of the temple, commences with adoration,
and proceeds with supplication and intercession. The
prayer of Daniel, in the time of the captivity, com-
mences with adoration, and proceeds with confession,
supplication, and intercession. The prayer of ihe
Levites, in behalf of the people, after the return from
captivity, commences with thanksgiving and adoration,
and proceeds with confession, supplication, and inter-
cession. The prayers of David are full of thanksgiv-
ing. The prayer of Habakkuk consists of adoration,
supplication, and thanksgiving. The prayer of the
disciples, after the joyous return of the apostles from
the council of their persecutors, consists of adoration,
a particular rehearsal of their peculiar circumstances,
and supplication. The apostle Paul particularly en-
joins prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving."
If you wish to learn how to pray, I would advise you
to look out and study all the prayers recorded in
Scripture. Although most of them are probably but
the substance of what was said on the several oc-
casions when they were offered, yet you will find
them much better patterns than the prayers of Christ
ians at the present day. There is a fervent simplicity
about them, very different from the studied, formal
prayers which we often hear. There is a definiteness
and point in them, which take hold of the feelings of
the heart. The Lord's prayer furnishes a compre-
hensive summary of the subjects of prayer: and you
will take particular notice what a prominent place is
assigned to the petition for the coming of Christ's
kingdom. This shows that, in all our prayers, the
glory of God should be the leading desire of our
hearts. But, it is evident that Christ did not intend
this as a particular form of prayer, to be used on all
occasions; although it includes all that is necessary
We are so made as to be affected with a particular
consideration of the subjects in which we are inter-







60 THE POWER OF PRAYER.

ested. We find our Lord himself using other words
to suit particular occasions; although the subjects of
his prayers were all included in this. The same thing,
also, we observe in the practice of the apostles and
early Christians. This is only intended as a general
pattern; nor is it necessary that all the petitions con-
tained in the Lord's prayer should ever be made at
the said time.
Prayer must always be offered in the name of
Christ. There is no other way by which we can ap-
proach God. There is no other channel through
which we can receive blessings from him. Jesus is
our Advocate and Intercessor. Our blessed Lord,
speaking of the time of his glorification, says to his
disciples, Verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye
shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you."
This, however, does not forbid us to pray directly to
Christ, as God manifest in the flesh, which was a
common practice with the apostles.
When the power of prayer is properly understood,
it becomes a subject of amazing interest. I am per-
suaded there is a vast amount of unbelief, in relation
to this matter, among Christians. If it were not so,
the chariot wheels of God's salvation would roll on
with mighty power. There would be a glorious
movement in every part of the world. The Spirit of
the Lord would be shed forth like a mighty rushing
wind." The promises of God to his people are so
large and full, that the utmost stretch of their faith
cannot reach them. The great and eternal God has
condescended to lay himself under obligation to hear
and answer the prayers of mortal worms. If we col-
lect the promises relating to this subject, we shall be
astonished at the amount of assurance which is given.
So confident was David on this point, that he addresses
God as the hearer of prayer, as though that were a
distinguishing trait in his character. Again, he says,
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not
despise their prayer." Solomon says, "The prayer
of the upright is his delight;" and again, He hear-







THE PROMISES EXEMPLIFIED. 61

eth the prayer of the righteous." The apostle Jamee
says, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much." The apostle Peter says, "'The
eyes of the Lord are open to the righteous, and his
ears are open unto their prayers." And Christ him
self has assured us, in the strongest possible terms, ol
the willingness of God to give spiritual blessings tt
those that ask for them. He says, Ask, and it shal
be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and iF
shall be opened unto you. Foievery one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to hin
that knocketh, it shall be opened." But, as if thi
assurance were not sufficient to convince us of thi.
most interesting truth, he appeals to the tenderes
sympathies of our natures. He asks if any father
would insult the hungry cries of his beloved son, when
fainting for a morsel of bread, by giving him a stone;
or, if he ask an egg, to gratify his appetite, will he
give him a venomous scorpion, to sting him to death?*
He then argues, that if sinful men exercise tender
compassion towards their children, how muho more
shall our heavenly Father, whose very nature is love,
regard the wants of his children who cry unto him.
is it possible to conceive a stronger expression of the
willingness of God to answer the prayers of his
people ?
And these precious promises are confirmed by
striking examples, in every age of the church. Thus,
Abraham prayed for Sodom; and, through his inter-
cession, Lot was saved. His servant, when sent to
obtain a wife for Isaac, received a direct answer to
prayer. When Jacob heard that his brother Esau
was coming against him, with an army of four hun-
dred men, he wrestled all night in prayer, and pre-
vailed ; so that Esau became reconciled to him. Moses
prayed for the plagues to come upon Egypt, and they
came; again, he prayed for them to be removed, and

The scorpion is a little animal, of the shape of an egg, whose
sting is deadly poison.
0







62 THE PROMISES EXEMPLIFIED.

they were removed. It was through his prayers that
the Red Sea was divided, the manna and the quails
were sent, and the waters gushed out of the rock
And through his prayers, many times, the arm of the
Lord was stayed, which had been uplifted to destroy
his rebellious people. Samuel, that lovely example of
early piety, and the judge and deliverer of Israel, was
given in answer to the prayer of his mother. When
the children of Israel were in danger of being over-
thrown by the PhiAtines, Samuel prayed, and God
sent thunder and lightning, and destroyed the armies of
their enemies. Again, to show their rebellion against
God, in asking a king, he prayed, and God sent thun-
der and lightning upon them in the time of wheat
harvest. In order to punish the idolatry and rebellion
of the Israelites, Elijah prayed earnestly that it might
not rain; and it rained not for three years and six
months. Again; he prayed that it might rain, and
there arose a little cloud, as a man's hand, which
spread and covered the heavens with blackness, till
the rain descended in torrents. Again ; when wicked
Ahab sent a band of men to take him, he prayed, and
fire came down from heaven, and consumed them.
Hezekiah, upon the bed of death, prayed, and God
lengthened his life fifteen years. Jerusalem was
invaded by the army of Sennacherib, and threatened
with destruction. Hezekiah prayed, and the angel of
the Lord entered the camp of the invader, and in one
night slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand men.
When all the wise men of Babylon were threatened
with destruction, because they could not discover
Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Daniel and his companions
prayed, and the dream and its explanation were re-
vealed. Jonah prayed, and was delivered from the
power of the fish. It was in answer to the prayer of
Zacharias, that the angel Gabriel was sent to inform
him of the birth of John the Baptist. It was after a
ten days' prayer-meeting, that the Holy Ghost came
down, on the day of Pentecost, "like a mighty rush-
ing wind." Again; while the disciples were praying,






THE ARIANS FRANCKE DR. WEST. 6d

the place was shaken where they were assembled, to
show that God heard their prayers. It was in answer
o the prayers of Cornelius, that Peter was sent to
teach him the way of life. When Peter was impris-
oned by Herod, the church set apart the night before
his expected execution, for special prayer in his be-
half. The Lord sent his angel, opened the prison
doors, and restored him to the agonizing band of
brethren. And when Paul and Silas were thrown
into the dungeon, with their feet fast in the stocks,
they prayed, and there was a great earthquake, which
shook the foundations of the prison, so that all the
floors were opened.
But the faithfulness of God to his promises is not
confined to Scripture times. Although the time of
miracles has passed, yet every age of the church has
furnished examples of the faithfulness of God in hear-
ing the prayers of his children. But these are so
numerous that it is difficult to make selections from
them. However, I will mention a few. When the
Arians, who denied the divinity of Christ, were about
to triumph, the Bishop of Constantinople, and one of
his ministers, spent a whole night in prayer. The
next day, Arius, the leader of his party, was suddenly
cut off, by a violent and distressing disease. This
prevented the threatened danger. Augustine was a
wild youth, sunk in vice, and a violent opposer of
religion. His mother persevered in prayer for him
nine years, when he was converted, and became the
most eminent minister of his age. The life of Francke
exhibits the most striking and signal answers to
prayer. His orphan house was literally built up and
sustained by prayer. If you have not already read this
work, I would advise you to obtain it. It is a great
help to weak faith. Mr. West (afterwards Dr. West)
became pastor of the Congregational church in Stock-
bridge, Massachusetts, while destitute of vital piety.
Two pious females often lamented to each other that
they got no spiritual food from his preaching. At
length, they agreed to meet once a week, to pray for







64 THE SLAVE LIBERATED BY PRAYER.

his conversion. They continued this for some time,
under much discouragement. But, although the Lord
tried their faith, yet he never suffered them both to be
discouraged at the same time. At length, their prayers
were heard. There was a sudden and remarkable
change in his preaching. What is this?" said one
of them. God is the hearer of prayer," replied the
other. The Spirit of God had led Mr. West to see
that he was a blind leader of the blind. He was con-
verted, and changed his cold morality for the cross of
Christ, as the basis of his sermons. A pious slave in
Newport, Rhode Island, was allowed by his master to
labor for his own profit whatever time he could gain
by extra diligence. He laid up all the money he
earned in this way, for the purpose of purchasing the
freedom of himself and family. But, when some of
his Christian friends heard what he was doing, they
advised him to spend his gained time in fasting and
prayer. Accordingly, the next day that he gained, he
set apart for this purpose. Before the close of the
day, his master sent for him, and gave him a written
certificate of his freedom. This slave's name was
Newport Gardner. He was a man of ardent piety ;
and in 1825, he was ordained deacon of a church of
colored people, who went out from Boston to Liberia.
Instances of surprising answers to prayer, no less
striking than these, are continually occurring in the
revivals of religion of the present day.
With the evidence here presented, who can doubt
that God hears and answers prayer? But, the objec-
tion arises, "If this doctrine be really true, why is it
that Christians offer up so many prayers without re-
ceiving answers?" The apostle James gives some
explanation of this difficulty: Ye ask and receive
not, because ye ask amiss." It becomes us, then, seri-
ously and diligently to inquire how we may ask arirht,
so as to secure the blessings so largely promised in
answer to prayer. In relation to this subject, there
are several things to be observed:
1. We must sincerely desire the things which we ask.









If a child should ask his mother for a piece of bread,
when she knew he was not hungry, but was only tri-
fling with her, it would not be proper for her to give
it. Indeed, she would have just cause to punish him
for mocking her. And do we not often come to the
throne of grace, when we do not really feel our per-
ishing need of the things we ask God sees our
hearts; and he is not only just in withholding the
blessing we ask, but in chastising us for solemp
trifling.
2. We must desire what we ask, that God may be
glorified. "Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it
upon your lusts." We may possibly ask spiritual
blessings for self-gratification; and when we do so,
we have no reason to expect that God will bestow
them upon us.
3. We must ask for things AGREEABLE TO THE.
WILL OF GOD. "And this is the confidence that we
have in him, that if we ask anything according to his
will, he heareth us." The things that we ask must
be such, in kind, as he has indicated his willingness to
bestow upon us. Such are, spiritual blessings on our
own souls; the supply of our necessary temporal
wants; and the extension of his kingdom. These
are the kind of blessings that we are to ask; and the
degree of confidence with which we are to look for an
answer must be in proportion to the positiveness of
the promises. Our Lord assures us that our heavenly
Father is more willing to give good things, and par
ticularly his Holy Spirit, to them that ask him, than
earthly parents are to give good gifts to their chil-
dren; and he declares expressly, that our sanctifica-
tion is agreeable to the will of God. The promises of
the daily supply of our necessary temporal wants are
equally positive. What, then, can be more odious in
the sight of God, than for those who profess to be his
children to excuse their want of spirituality on the
ground of their dependence upon him ? And what
more ungrateful, than to fret and worry themselves,
leat they should come to want 1 We may also pray for
6*


65


ASKING ARIGHT.







66 WE MUST ASK IN FAITH.

a revival of religion in a particular place, and for the
conversion of particular individuals, with strong
ground of confidence, because we know that God has
willed the extension of Christ's kingdom, and that the
conversion of sinners is, in itself, agreeable to his
will. But we cannot certainly know that he intends
-to convert a particular individual, or revive his work
in a particular place ; nor can we be sure that the par-
ticular temporal blessing that we desire is what the
Lord sees to be needful for our present necessities.
4. We must ask in faith. "But let him ask in
faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like
a wave of the sea, driven with the winds, and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any-
thing of the Lord." A difference of opinion exists
among real Christians, as to what constitutes the
prayer offaith spoken of by the apostle. Some main-
tain that we must believe that we shall receive the very
thing for which we ask. This opinion is founded on
some promises made by our Lord to the apostles,
which those who hold the contrary opinion suppose to
have been intended only for them. I shall not attempt
to determine this point; nor do I think it very import-
ant which of these theories is embraced; because, in
examining the history of those persons whose prayers
have received the seal of heaven, I find some of them
embraced one, and some the other; while many who
embrace either of them seem not to live in the exer-
cise of prevailing prayer. The main point, therefore,
seems to be, that we should maintain such a nearness
of communion with God 'as shall secure the personal
exercise of the prayer of faith. Two things, however,
are essential to this: (1.) Strong confidence in the
existence and faithfulness of God. He that cometh
unto God must believe that he is, and that he is a re-
warder of them that diligently seek him." (2.) The
prayer of faith must be dictated by the Holy Spirit.
Faih itself is declared to be the gift of God;" and
the apostle says, "The Spirit also helpeth our infirm-
ities; for we know not what we should pray for as






SPIRIT OF PRAYER SUBMISSION.


we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for
us, with groanings which cannot be uttered." He
maketh intercession for the saints, according to the
will of God." 'When this wonderful truth is made
known, we are no longer astonished that God should
assure us, by so many precious promises, that he will
hear and answer our prayers. We are called the
temples of the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost dwell
in us, to guide and direct us in all our ways, will he
forsake us in so important a matter as prayer 0,
then, what a solemn place is the Christian's closet, or
the house of prayer! There the whole Trinity meet
in awful concert. The Holy Spirit there presents to
the everlasting Father, through the eternal Son, the
prayers of a mortal worm! Is it any wonder that such
a prayer should be heard ? With what holy reverence
and godly fear should we approach this consecrated
place !
5. We must ask in a spirit of humble submission,
yielding our wills to the will of the Lord, committing
the whole case to him, in the true spirit of our Lord's
agonizing prayer in the garden, when he said, Not
my will but thine be done." If I had a house full of
gold, and had promised to give you as much as you
desire, would you need to be urged to ask ? But, there
is an inexhaustible fulness of spiritual blessings treas-
ured up in Christ; and he has declared repeatedly
that you may have as much as you will ask. Need
you be urged to ask? Need you want any grace ? It
is unbelief that keeps us so far from God. From what
has been said on this subject, I think you may safely
conclude that your progress in the divine life will be
in proportion to the real prayer of faith which you
exercise.
But I come now to give a few practical directions
respecting the exercise of prayer. Several things are
necessary to be observed by every one who would live
near the throne of grace.
1. Maintain a constant spirit of prayer. "Pra7
without ceasing." Continuing instant in prayer.


67







68 STATED SEASONS OF PRAYER.

" Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit." And he spake a parable unto them, to
this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to
faint." The meaning of these passages is not that we
should be always upon our knees, but that we should
maintain such a prayerful frame, that the moment our
minds are disengaged, our hearts will rise up to God.
Intimately connected with this is the practice of ejacu-
latory prayer, which consists of a short petition,
silently and suddenly sent up from the heart. This
may be done anywhere, and under all circumstances.
Frequent examples of this kind of prayer are recorded
in Scripture. It has also been the practice of living
Christians in all ages. It is a great assistance in the
Christian warfare. It helps us in resisting tempta-
tion; and by means of it, we can seek divine aid in
the midst of the greatest emergencies. To maintain
this unceasing spirit of prayer is a very difficult work.
[t requires unwearied care and watchfulness, labor,
and perseverance. Yet no Christian can thrive with-
out it.
2. Observe stated and regular seasons of prayer.
Some professors of religion make so much of the fore-
going rule as to neglect all other kinds of prayer.
This is evidently unscriptural. Our Saviour directs us
to enter into our closets, and, when we have shut the
door, to pray to our Father who is in secret. And to
this precept he has added the sanction of his own ex
ample. In the course of his history, we find him often
retiring to solitary places, to pour out his soul in
prayer. Other examples are also recorded in Scrip-
ture. David says, "Evening and morning, and at
noon, will I pray." And again; "Seven times a day
do I praise thee." And it was the habitual practice
of Daniel, to kneel down in his chamber, and pray
three times a day. But this practice is so natural,
and so agreeable to Christian feeling, that no argu-
ment seems necessary to persuade real Christians to
observe it. It has been the delight of eminent saints,









in all ages, to retire alone, and hold communion with
God.
With regard to the particular times of prayer, no
very definite rule can be given, which will suit all cir-
cumstances. There is a peculiar propriety in visiting
the throne of grace in the morning, to offer up the
thanksgiving of our hearts for our preservation, and to
seek grace for the day: and also in the evening, to
express our gratitude for the mercies we have enjoyed;
to confess the sins we have committed and seek for
pardon; and to commit ourselves to the care of a cov-
enant-keeping God, when we retire to rest. It is also
very suitable, when we suspend our worldly employ-
ments in the middle of the day, to refresh our bodies,
to renew our visit to the fountain of life, that our souls
may also be refreshed. The twilight of the evening
is also a favorable season for devotional exercises.
But, let me entreat you to be much in prayer. If the
nature of your employment will admit of it, without
being unfaithful to your engagements, retire many
times in the day to pour out your soul before God,
and receive fresh communications of his grace. Our
hearts are so much affected by sensible objects, that,
if we suffer them to be engaged long at a time in
worldly pursuits, we find them insensibly clinging to
earth, so that it is with great difficulty we can disen-
gage them. But, by all means, fix upon some stated
and regular seasons, and observe them punctually and
faithfully. Remember they are engagements with
God.
For your devotional exercises, you should select
those times and seasons when you find your mind
most vigorous, and your feelings most lively. As the
morning is in many respects most favorable, you
would do well to spend as much time as you can in
your closet, before engaging in the employmerits of
the day. An hour spent in reading God's word, and
in prayer and praise, early in the morning, will give a
heavenly tone to your feelings; which, by proper
watchfulness, and frequent draughts at the same foun-


69


TIMES OF PRAYER.









tain, you may carry through all the pursuits of the
day.
As already remarked, our Lord, in the pattern left
us, has given a very prominent place to the petition,
" THY KINGDOM COME." This is a large petition. It
includes all the instrumentalities which the church is
putting forth for the enlargement of her borders and
the salvation of the world. All these ought to be
distinctly and separately remembered ; and not, as is
often the case, be crowded into one general petition at
the close of our morning and evening prayers. We
are so constituted as to be affected by a particular con-
sideration of a subject. General truths have very little
influence upon our hearts. I would therefore recom-
mend the arrangement of these subjects under general
heads for every day of the week; and then divide the
subjects which come under these heads, so as to
remember one or more of them at stated seasons,
through the day, separate from your own personal
devotions. Thus, you will always have your mind
fixed upon one or two objects ; and you will have time
to enlarge, so as to remember every particular relat-
ing to them. This, if faithfully pursued, will give
you a deeper interest in every benevolent effort of the
times. The following plan of a daily concert of
prayer was, some years since, suggested by a distin-
guished clergyman in New England. It gives some-
thing of the interest of the monthly concert to our
daily devotions.
SABBATH. Sabbath duties and privileges; as
preaching, Sabbath-schools, family instruction, &c.
ph. 6: 18-20. 2Th. 3: 1.
MONDAY. Conversion of the world; the prev-
alence of peace, knowledge, freedom, and salvation.
Ps. 2: 8. Isa. 11: 6-10; 62 : 1-7 ; 66 : 8, 12.
TUESDAY. Our country; -our rulers, our free
institutions, our benevolent societies; deliverance from
slavery, Romanism, infidelity, Sabbath-breaking, in-
temperance, profaneness, &c. Ez. 9: 6-15. Dan.
9: 4-19


70


DAILY CONCERT.






SPECIAL PRAYER. 71

WEDNESDAY. The rising generation : colleges,
seminaries, and schools of every description; the
children of the church, the children of the ungodly,
and orphan children.
THURSDAY. Professing Christians; that they may
much more abound in all the fruits of the Spirit, pre-
senting their bodies a living sacrifice, and offering
gladly of their substance to the Lord, to the extent of
his requirement; that afflicted saints may be comfort-
ed, backsliders reclaimed, and hypocrites converted;
that Zion, being purified, may arise and shine. Isa.
62: 1. Rom. 1: 8. Col. 4: 12.
FRIDAY. The ministry, including all who are
looking forward to that office, and also the Education
Society. 1 Thess. 5: 25. Luke 10: 2.
SATURDAY. The Jews. Isa. 54: 8. 59: 20.
Ezek. 36: 27. Rom. 11: 11-31. Also, our
friends.
3. Observe special seasons of prayer. Before en-
gaging in any important matter, make it a subject of
special prayer. For this you have the example of the
blessed Jesus. When he was baptized, before enter-
ing upon his ministry, he prayed. Before choosing
his twelve apostles, he went out into a mountain, and
spent a whole night in prayer. The Old Testament
saints were also in the habit of inquiring of the
Lord," before engaging in any important enterprise.
And the apostle Paul enjoins upon the Philippians,
in everything, by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto
God." Also, whenever you are under any particular
temptation or affliction; whenever you are going to
engage in anything which will expose you to tempta-
tion; whenever you perceive any signs of declension
in your own soul; when the state of religion around
you is low; when your heart is affected with the con-
dition of individuals who are living in impenitence;
or when any subject lies heavily upon your mind; -
make the matter, whatever it is, a subject of special
prayer. Independent of Scripture authority, there is







72 FASTING.

a peculiar fitness in the course here recommended,
which must commend itself to every pious heart.
In seasons of peculiar difficulty, or when earnestly
seeking any great blessing, you may find benefit from
setting apart days of fasting, humiliation and prayer.
This is especially suitable, whenever you discover
any sensible decay of spiritual affections in your own
heart. Fasting and prayer have been resorted to on
special occasions, by eminent saints, in all ages of the
world. The examples recorded in Scripture are too
numerous to mention here. If you look over the lives
of the old Testament saints, you will find this practice
very common. Nor is the New Testament without
warrant for the same. Our Lord himself set the ex-
ample, by a long season of fasting, when about to en-
dure a severe conflict with the tempter. And he has
farther sanctioned the practice, by giving directions
respecting its performance. We have also examples
in the Acts of the Apostles. The prophets and
teachers, in the church at Antioch, fasted before
separating Barnabas and Paul as missionaries to the
heathen. And when they obtained elders in the
churches, they prayed, with fasting. Paul, in his
epistle to the Corinthians, speaks of their giving
themselves to fasting and prayer, as though it were
a frequent custom. You will find, also, in examining
the lives of persons of eminent spiritual attainments,
that most of them were in the habit of observing
frequent seasons of fasting and prayer. There is a
peculiar fitness in this act of humiliation. It is cal-
culated to bring the body under, and to assist us in
denying self. The length of time it gives us in our
closets also enables us to get clearer views of divine
things. But there is great danger of trusting in the
outward act of humiliation, and expecting that God
will answer our prayers for the sake of our fasting.
This will inevitably bring upon us disappointment and
leanness of soul. This is the kind of fasting so
common among Roman Catholics, and other nominal
Christians. But it is no better than idolatry. Most
1.






FASTING DIRECTIONS. 73

of the holidays which are usually devoted by the
world to feasting and mirth are very suitable oo-
casions for Christians to fast and pray; and this for
several reasons: (1.) They are seasons of leisure,
when most .people are disengaged from worldly pur-
suits. (2.) The goodness of God should lead us to
repentance. Instead of spending these days in mirth
over the blessings we have enjoyed, we should be
looking into our hearts, to examine the manner in
which we have received them; humbling ourselves
on account of our ingratitude; and lifting up our
hearts and voices in thanksgiving for them. (3.)
The first day of the new year, birth-days, &c., are
very suitable occasions for renewing our past lives,
repenting of our unfaithfulness, making resolutions of
amendment, and renewing afresh the solemn dedica-
tion of ourselves to God.
When you set apart a day of fasting and prayer,
you ought to have in view some definite and partic-
ular objects. The day should be spent in self-exam-
ination, meditation, reading the Scriptures, confession
of sin, prayer for the particular objects which bear
upon your mind, and thanksgiving for mercies re-
ceived. Your self-examination should be as practical
as possible; particularly looking into the motives of
your prayers for the special objects which bear heavily
upon your heart. Your confession of sin should be
minute and particular ; mentioning every sin you can
recollect, whether of thought, word, or deed, with
every circumstance of aggravation. This will have a
tendency to affect your heart with a sense of guilt,
produce earnest longings after holiness, and make
sin appear more hateful and odious. Your medita-
tions should be upon those subjects, which are cal-
culated to give you a view of the exceeding sinfulness
of sin, and the abounding mercy of God in Christ.
Your reading of the Scriptures should be strictly de-
votional. Your prayers should be very particular,
mentioning everything relating to the object of youp
4eAire sand all the hindmnoes you have met ia se&u*
'*







74 PREPARATION. PERSEVERANCE.

fig after it. Carry all your burdens to the foot of the
cross, and there lay them down. Your thanksgiving,
also, should be very minute and particular, mentioning
every mercy and blessing which you can recollect,
with your own unworthiness, and every circumstance
which may tend to show the exceeding greatness of
God's love, condescension, and mercy.
4. Come to the work with a preparation of heart.
The best preparation at all times is to maintain an
habitual spirit of prayer, according to the first direc-
tion. But this is not all that is necessary. We are
unavoidably much occupied with the things of this
world. But when we come before the great Je-
hovah, to ask his favor and seek his grace, our minds
should be heavenly. When you go into your closet,
shut out the world, that you may be alone with God.
Bring your mind into a calm and heavenly frame, and
endeavor to obtain a deep sense of the presence of
God, "as seeing him who is invisible." Think of the
exalted nature of the work in which you are about
to engage. Think of your own unworthiness, and of
the way God has opened to the mercy seat. Think
of your own wants, or of the wants of others, accord-
ing to the object of your visit to the throne of grace.
Think of the inexhaustible fulness treasured up in
Christ. Think of the many precious promises of God
to his children, and come with the spirit of a little
child to present them before him.
5. Persevere in prayer. If you are seeking for any
particular object, which you know to be agreeable to
the will of God, and your prayers are not heard, you
may be sure of one of two things: (1.) You ave
been asking amiss. Something is wrong in yourself.
Perhaps you have been selfish in your desires; you
Shave not desired supremely the glory of God ; you
have not felt your dependence: you have not hum-
bled yourself sufficiently to receive a blessing; or per-
haps you regard iniquity in your heart, in some othe.
way. Examine yourself, therefore, in all these par
ticular. Repent, where you find your prayers have






IMPORTUNITY. '5

been amiss. Bow very low before God, and seek the
influences of his Spirit to enable you to pray aright.
(2.) Or, perhaps the Lord delays an answer for the
trial of your faith. Consider then the encourage-
ments which he has given us to be importunate in
prayer. In the eleventh chapter of Luke, our Lord
shows us that our friends may be prevailed upon to
do us a kindness because of our importunity, when
they would not do it on account of friendship. And
in the eighteenth chapter, he shows us that even an
unjust judge may be persuaded by importunity to do
justice. Hence he argues the importance of perse-
vering in prayer; and adds with emphasis, And
shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day
and night unto him, though he bear long with them ?
I tell you he will avenge them speedily." Again;
look at the case of the Syrophenician woman. She
continued to beseech Jesus to have mercy on her,
although he did not answer her a word. The disci-
ples entreated Christ to send her away, because she
troubled them with her cries; yet she persevered.
And even when Christ himself told his disciples that
he was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel, and compared her to a dog seeking for the
children's bread; yet, with all these repulses, she
would not give up her suit; but begged even for the
dog's portion the children's crumbs. When by this
means our Lord had sufficiently tried her faith, he
answered her prayer. So likewise persevere in your
prayers, and" in due time you shall reap, if you faint
not. "
Your affectionate Brother.







76


TBMPTATION


LETTER VI.

Temptation.
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." MATT
26:41.
MY DEAR SISTER,
THAT there is an evil spirit, who is permitted to
,exert an influence upon the hearts of men, is abun-
dantly evident from Scripture. This truth is referred
to in the beginning of the gospel of Christ, where it
is said Jesus went up into the wilderness, to be
tempted of the devil. He is often represented in the
Scriptures as the father of the wicked. The tares
are the children of the wicked one." Thou child
of the devil." He is also represented as putting evil
designs into the hearts of men. "And Satan stood
up against Israel, and provoked David to number
Israel." The devil having now put into the heart
of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him."
" Ananias, why hath Satan filled .thy heart, to lie
to the Holy Ghost?" Wicked men are spoken of as
being carried captive by him at his will. He is also
represented as the adversary of the people of God,
seeking to lead them into sin, and, if possible, to
destroy them. Your adversary, the devil, as a roar-
ing lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may
devour." These, and numerous other passages,
which might be quoted, fully establish the fearful
truth, that we are continually beset by an evil spirit,
who is seeking, by every means in his power, to in-
jure and destroy our souls.
When we have to contend with an enemy, it is very
important that we should know his character. From







CHARACTER OF THE GREAT ADVERSARY. 77

the Scriptures, we learn several characteristics of the
great enemy of our souls.
1. He is powerful. He has other fallen spirits at
his command. Our Saviour speaks of the fire pre-
pared for the devil and his angels." He is called
" prince of the world," prince of darkness," and
"the god of this world." All these titles denote the
exercise of great power. He is also called destroyer;
and is said to walk about, seeking whom he may
devour. Indeed, so great was his power, and so
mighty his work of ruin and destruction in this lost
world, that it became necessary for the son of God to
come into the world to destroy his works. For
this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he
might destroy the works of the devil."
But, a'lhough he is powerful, yet his power is
limited. This you see in the case of Job. No doubt,
his malice would have destroyed that holy man at
once. But he could do nothing against him till he
was permitted ; and then he could go no farther than
the length of his chain. God reserved the life of his
servant. And the apostle Jude speaks of the devils
as being reserved in chains, under darkness." But
the objection arises, As God is almighty, why is
Satan permitted to exercise any power at all ?" To
this objection the Bible furnishes satisfactory an-
swers. (1.) It is to try the faith of his children.
This was the case with Job. The devil had slandered
that holy man, by accusing him of serving God from
selfish motives. By suffering Satan to take away all
he had, the Lord proved this accusation to be false;
and Job came out of the furnace, greatly purified.
The apostle James says, My brethren, count it all
joy, when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing
this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
If the children of God were never tempted, they
would never have an opportunity to prove the sincer-
ity of their faith. But they have the blessed assur-
ance, that God will not suffer them to be tempted-
above what they are able to bear, but will, with the
7*







78 HIS KNOWLEDGE. HE IS WICKED -CRAFTY.

temptation, also make a way to escape, that they
may be able to bear it. (2.) Again; the devil is
permitted to exercise his power, for the discovery
of hypocrites and for the punishment of sinners.
" These have no root, which for a while believe, and
in time of temptation fall away." "But, if our gospel
be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the
god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that
believe not."
2. He has much knowledge. He knew the com-
mand of God to our first parents, and therefore
tempted them to break it. When those that were
possessed with devils were brought to Christ, they
cried out, We know thee, who thou art, the holy
one of God." He has also a knowledge of the Bible;
for he quoted Scripture, in his temptation of our
Saviour. And as he has great experience in the
world, he must have a great knowledge of human
nature, so to be able to suit his temptations to the
peculiar constitutions of individuals.
3. He is wicked. "The devil sinneth from the
beginning." He is called the wicked one; or, by way
of eminence, The Wicked." He is altogether
wicked. There is not one good quality in his char-
acter.
4. He is crafty, and full of deceit and treachery.
He lays snares for the unwary. That he may the
more readily deceive the people of God, he appears to
them in the garb of religion. Satan himself is
transformed into an angel of light." In consequence
of his cunning and craft, he is called the serpent.*
He is also represented as deceiving the nations.t
Hence we are cautioned against the wiles of the
devil.*
6. He is a liar. The first thing recorded of him is
the lie which he told our first parents, to persuade
them to disobey God. Hence our Saviour calls him
a liar from the beginning."
*Oa. 8: ; 7:1; Bev. 2:9. t Rev. 90:&
Sph.:; 11. John 8: 44







HE IS MALICIOUS. HIS DEVICES.


6. He is malicious. As Satan is the enemy of God,
so he hates everything that is good. He is contin-
ually bent on mischief. If his power were not
restrained, he would introduce general disorder, an-
anchy and confusion, into the government of God.
He loves to ruin immortal souls; and he takes delight
in vexing the people of God. Hence he is is called
Destroyer,* Adversary, Accuser, Tormentor, and Mur-
derer.t
Now, since we are beset by an adversary of such
knowledge and power, so sly and artful, so false, and
so malicious, it becomes us to be well acquainted
with all his arts, that we may be on our guard against
them. The apostle Paul says, "For we are not
ignorant of his devices." 0, that every Christian
could say so! How many sad falls would be pre-
vented I will mention a few of the devices of
Satan, which are manifest both from the Holy Scrip-
tures, and from the experience of eminent saints who
have been enabled to detect and distinguish his secret
workings in their own hearts. It is the opinion of
some great and good men, that the devil can suggest
thoughts to our minds only through the imagination.
This is that faculty of the mind by which it forms
ideas of things communicated to it through the senses.
Thus, when you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell any-
thing, the image of the thing is impressed upon the
mind by the imagination. It also brings to our recol-
lection these images, when they are not present. It
is thought to be only by impressing these images upon
the imagination, that he can operate upon our souls.
Hence, we may account for the strange manner in
which our minds are led off from the contemplation of
divine things, by a singular train of thought, intro-
duced to the mind by the impression of some sensible
object upon the imagination. This object brings some
other one like it to our recollection, and that again
*Abaddon signfifs destroyer.
tRev. 9: 11; 1 Pet. 6: 8; Rev. 12: 10; Matt. 18:34; John
8: 44.


79









brings another, until we wander entirely from the
subject before us, and find our minds lost in a maze
of intellectual trifling.
Satan adapts his temptations to our peculiar tem-
pers and circumstances. In youth, he allures us by
pleasure, and bright hopes of worldly prosperity. In
manhood, he seeks to bury up our hearts in the cares
of life. In old age, he persuades to the indulgence of
self-will and obstinacy. In prosperity, he puffs up
the heart with pride, and persuades to self-confidence
and forgetfulness of God. In poverty and affliction,
he excites feelings of discontent, distrust, and re-
pining. If we are of a melancholy temperament, he
seeks to sour our tempers, and promote habitual sul-
lenness and despondency. If naturally cheerful, he
prompts to the indulgence of levity. In private de-
votion, he stands between us and God, prevents us
from realizing his presence, and seeks to distract our
minds, and drive us from the throne of grace. In
public worship, he disturbs our minds by wandering
thoughts and foolish imaginations. When we have
enjoyed any happy manifestations of God's presence,
any precious tokens of his love, then he stirs up the
pride of our hearts, and leads us to trust in our own
goodness, and forget the Rock of our salvation.
Even our deepest humiliations he makes the occasion
of spiritual pride. Thus we fall into darkness, and
thrust ourselves through with many sorrows. If we
have performed any extraordinary acts of self-denial,
or of Christian beneficence, he stirs up in our hearts a
vain-glorious spirit. If we have overcome any of the
corruptions of our hearts, or any temptation, he ex-
cites a secret feeling of self-satisfaction and self-com-
placency. He puts on the mask of religion. Often,
during the solemn hours of public worship, he be-
guiles our hearts with some scheme for doing good;
taking care, however, that self be uppermost in it.
When we are in a bad frame, he stirs up the unholy
tempers of our hearts, and leads us to ind lge in


60


DEVICES OF SATAN-







COUNTERFEIT GRACES. 81

peevishness, moroseness, harshness, and anger, or in
levity and unseemly mirth.
There is no Christian grace which Satan cannot
counterfeit. He cares not how much religious feeling
we have, or how many good deeds we perform, if he
can but keep impure and selfish motives at the bot-
tom. There is great danger, therefore, in trusting to
impulses, or sudden impressions of any kind. Such
impressions may be from the Spirit of God ; but they
may also be from Satan. The fact that your religious
feelings are not produced by yourself, but that they
arise in your mind in a manner for which you cannot
account, is no evidence, either that they come from
the Spirit of God, or that they do not. There are
many false spirits, which are very busy with people's
hearts. As before remarked, Satan sometimes ap-
pears to us like an angel of light. He is often the
author of false comforts and joys, very much like
those produced by the Holy Spirit. We are, there-
fore, directed to try the spirits, whether they be of
God." Nor is it certain that religious feelings are
holy and spiritual because they come with texts of
Scripture, brought to the mind in a remarkable man-
ner. If the feeling is produced by the truth contained
in the Scripture so brought to the mind, and is, in its
nature, agreeable to the word of God, it may be a
spiritual and holy affection. But if it arises from the ap-
plication of the Scripture to your own case, on account
of its being so brought to your mind, you may be sure
it is a delusion of the devil. He has power to bring
Scripture to your mind when he pleases, and he can
apply it with dexterity, as you see in his temptations
of the blessed Saviour. Our own hearts are exceed-
ingly deceitful; and our indwelling corruptions will
gladly unite with him in bringing false peace and
comfort to our souls. Satan, no doubt, often brings
the most sweet and precious promises of God to the
minds of those he wishes to deceive as to their own
good estate. But we must be satisfied that the
promises belong to us, before we take them to our-






82 FALSE PEACE. THE HEART.

selves. We have a more sure word of prophecy,"
by which we are to try every impulse, feeling, and
impression, produced upon our minds. Anything
which does not agree with the written word of God
does not come from him, for he cannot deny him-
self."
Satan manages temptation with the greatest subtle-
ty. He asks so little at first, that, unless our con-
sciences are very tender, we do not suspect him. If
he can persuade us to parley, he perhaps leaves us for
a while, and returns again, with a fresh and more
vigorous attack. He is exceedingly persevering; and,
if he can persuade us to give place to him at all, he is
sure to overcome us at last.
We are also liable to temptation from the world
without, and from the corruptions of our own hearts
within. They that will be rich fall into temptation
and a snare." The" riches, honors, pleasures, and
fashions, of this world, are great enemies to serious
piety. Every man is tempted when he is drawn
away of his own lusts and enticed." Remaining cor-
ruption is the sorest evil that besets the Christian.
The temptations of Satan alone would be light, in
comparison with the inward conflict he is compelled
to maintain against the lusts of his own heart. But
the devil makes use of both these sources of tempta-
tion to accomplish his ends. The former he uses as
outward enticements, and the latter act as traitors
within. Thus you may generally find a secret alli-
ance between the arch deceiver and the corruptions
of your own heart. It is not sin to be tempted : but
it is sin to give place to temptation. Neither give
place to the devil."
The heart is very properly compared to a castle or
fort. Before conversion it is in the possession of the
great enemy of souls, who has fortified himself there,
and secured the allegiance of all our moral powers.
But when Jesus enters in, he binds the strong man
armed," and takes possession of the heart himself.
Yet Satan, though in a measure bound, loses no op-






WATCH. 00

opportunity to attempt regaining his lost dominion.
ence we are directed to keep the heart with all
diligence." Now we know how a castle, fort, or city,
is kept in time of war. The first thing done is to set
a watch, whose business is to keep constantly on the
look out, this way and that way, to see that no enemy
is approaching from without, and no traitor is lurking
within. Hence we are so frequently exhorted to
watch. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into
temptation." "Take heed, watch and pray; for ye
know not when the time is." And what I say unto
you, I say unto all, Watch." Watch ye, stand
fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
" Continue in prayer, and watch in the same, with
thanksgiving." "Praying always, with all prayer
and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto
with all perseverance." Let us watch and be
sober." "Watch then in all things." Watch unto
prayer." Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth
his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his
shame." Set a watch, 0 Lord, before my mouth;
keep the door of my lips." If we were in a house
surrounded by a band of robbers, and especially if we
knew there were persons in it who held a secret cor-
respondence with them, we should be continually on
our guard. Every moment we should be watching,
both within and without. But such is the state of our
hearts. Surely, no ordinary danger would have called
forth from our Lord and his apostles such repeated
warnings. We are directed to watch in all things.
Keep a continual guard over your own heart, and
over every word and action of your life. But there
are particular seasons when we should set a double
watch.
1. We are directed to watch unto prayer. When
you approach the mercy seat, watch against a careless
spirit. Suffer not your mind to be drawn away by
anything, however good and important in itself, from
the objectt before you. If the adversary can divert
your mind on the way to that consecrated place, he






84 SPECIAL WATCHFULNESS.

will be almost sure to drive you away from it without
a blessing.
2. We are required to watch not only unto but in
prayer. Satan is never more busy with Christians
than when he sees them on their knees. He well
knows the power of prayer; and this makes him
tremble.
Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees."

You should, therefore, with the most untiring vigi-
lance, watch in prayer against all wandering thoughts
and distraction of mind. You will often experience,
on such occasions, a sudden and vivid impression upon
your mind of something entirely foreign from what is
before you. This is no doubt the temptation of Satan.
If you are sufficiently upon your watch, you can ban-
ish it, without diverting your thoughts or feelings
from the subject of your prayer, and proceed as
though nothing had happened. But, if the adversary
succeeds in keeping these wild imaginations in view,
so that you cannot proceed without distraction, turn
and beseech God to give you help against his wiles.
You have the promise, that if you resist the devil he
will flee from you. These remarks apply both to
secret prayer and public worship.
3. We have need of special watchfulness when we
have experienced any comfortable manifestations of
God's presence. It is then that Satan tempts us to
consider the conflict over, and relax our diligence. If
we give way to him, we shall bring leanness upon
our souls
4. We have need of double watchfulness when
gloom and despondency come over our souls; for
then the adversary seeks to stir up all the perverse
passions of the heart.
5. Watch, also, when you feel remarkably cheer-
ful. Satan will then, if possible, persuade you to






WATCH THE TONGUE.

indulge in levity, to the wounding of your soul, and
the dishonor of religion.
6. We have need of special watchfulness in pros-
perity, that we forget not God; and in adversirL, that
we murmur not at his dealings with us.
7. Set a watch over your tongue, especially in the
presence of the unconverted. The tongue is a fire,
a world of iniquity." David says, I will keep my
mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
I do not mean that you should ever engage in any
sinful conversation in the presence of Christians. I
know some professors of religion will indulge in
senseless garrulity among themselves, and put on an
air of seriousness and solemnity before those whom
they regard as unconverted. This they pretend to do
for the honor of Christ. But Christ says, Out of
the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
God hates lip service. However, in the company of
sinners and formal professors we are peculiarly ex-
posed to temptation, and have need therefore to set a
double guard upon our lips. A single unguarded ex-
pression from a Christian may do great injury to an
unconverted soul.
8. Watch over your heart when engaged in doing
good to others. It is then that Satan seeks to stir up
pride and vain-glory.
9. Set a double watch over your easily besetting
sin. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin
which doth so easily beset us." Most persons have
some constitutional sin, which easily besets them.
Satan takes the advantage of this infirmity, to bring
us into difficulty.
10. Finally, keep a constant watch over the imag
;nation. Since this is the medium through which
temptation comes, never suffer your fancy to rove
without control. If you mortify this faculty of the
soul, it may be a great assistance to your devotion.
But, if you let it run at random, you will be led cap-
tive by Satan at his will. Strive, then, after a oanoti-
8






86 SELF-DENIAL.

fled imagination, that you may make every power of
your soul subservient to the glory of God.
Your affectionate Brother.





LETTER VII.

&lf-Denial.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himmlf, and take
up his cross daily, and follow me." Lv 9: 23.
MY DEAR SISTER,
THE duty of self-denial arises from the unnatural
relation which sin has created between us and God.
The first act of disobedience committed by man was
a setting up of himself in opposition to God. It was
a declaration that he would regard his own will in
preference to the will of his Creator. Self became
the supreme or chief object of his affections. And
this is the case with all unregenerate persons. Their
own happiness is the object of their highest wishes.
They pursue their own selfish interests with their
whole hearts. When anything occurs, the first ques-
tion which arises in their minds is, How will this
affect me?" It is true, they may often exercise a
kind of generosity towards others. But, if their mo-
tives were scanned, it would appear that self-gratifi-
cation is at the bottom of it. The correctness of these
assertions, no one will doubt, who is acquainted with
his own heart. All unconverted persons live for
themselves. They see no higher object of action than
the promotion of their own individual interests. The
duty in question consists in the denial of this disposi-
tion. And a moment's attention will show that noth-
ing can be more reasonable. No individual has a right
to attach to himself any more importance than properly






SELFISHNESS. Ul

belongs to the station he occupies in the grand scale
of being, of which God is the centre. It is by this
station that his value is known. If he thinks himself
of more consequence than the place he occupies will
give him, it leads him to seek a higher station. This
is pride. It is setting up the wisdom of the creature
in opposition to that of the Creator. This was prob-
ably the origin of the first act of disobedience. Satan
thought himself entitled to a higher station in the
scale of being than God gave him; therefore, he
rebelled against the government of the Most High
This act of rebellion was nothing more than setting
up his own selfish interests against the interests of the
universe. And what would be the consequence, if
this selfish principle were carried out in the material
universe ? Take, for example, our own planetary sys-
tem. If oeery planet should set up an interest sepa-
rate from the whole, would they move on with such
beautiful harmony No; every one would seek to be
a sun. They would all rush towards the common
centre, and universal confusion would follow. God is
the sun and centre of the moral universe, and the set-
ting up of private individual interests as supreme
objects of pursuit, if permitted to take their course,
would produce the same general confusion. This it
has done, so far as it has prevailed. Its tendency is to
create a universal contention among inferior beings for
the throne of the universe, which belongs to God
alone. But, the interests of God, if I may be allowed
the expression, are identified with the highest good of
his intelligent creation. Hence we see the perfect
reasonableness of the first commandment, Thou
shalt have no other gods before me." There can be
no selfishness in this, because the best interests of the
universe require it. But, by pursuing our own selfish
interests as the chief good, we make a god of self.
The religion of Jesus Christ strikes at the root of
this selfish principle. The very first act of the new-
born soul is a renunciation or giving up of self- the
surrender of the whole soul to God. The entire dedi-






88 SELF-DENIAL ESSENTIAL.

cation which the Christian makes of himself-soul,
body and property--to the Lord, implies that he will
no longer live to himself, but to God. Present your
bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto
God." For none of us liveth to himself." They
which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves,
but unto him which died for them and rose again."
" Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye
do, do all to the glory of God." Self-deiial is, then,
an entire surrender of our own wills to the will of
God. It is an adoption of the revealed will of God as
the rule of duty; and a steadfast, determined, and
persevering denial of every selfish gratification which
comes between us and duty. It is a seeking of the
glory of God and the good of our fellow-creatures, as
the highest object of pursuit. In short, it is to love
the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might,
mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves."
By carrying out this principle, in its application to
the feelings, desires, and motives of the heart, and
the actions of the life, we learn the practical duty of
self-denial. This is a very important matter; for the
Scriptures most fully and clearly cut off all hope for
such as are destitute of the true spirit of self-denial.
Let us hear what our blessed Lord and Master says
upon this subject. He that loveth father or mother
more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that lov-
eth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of
me." If any man will come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For,
whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whoso-
ever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." "If
any man come to me, and hate not his father and
mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters,
yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
"He that loveth his life, shall lose it; and he that
hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eter-
nal." If thy right eye offend thee, (or cause thee
to offend,) pluck it out and cast it from thee." We
mit follow Christ. Here we are taught that, unless






FOLLOW CHRIST. W

we put away all self-seeking, and willingly surrender
the dearest objects of our affections on earth, yea, and
our own lives also, if need be, we have no claim to the
character of disciples of Christ. The glory of God
and the general good must be our ruling principle of
action; and we must not gratify ourselves in opposi-
tion to the will of God, or the interest of our fellow-
beings. Every action must be brought to this test.
Here is heart-work and life-work. Self must be de-
nied in all our spiritual feelings, and in all our devo-
tions, or they will be abominable in the sight of God.
Here is work for self-examination. Every exercise of
our minds should be tried by this standard. Again;
we must deny self in all our conduct. And here we
have the examples of many holy men, recorded in
Scripture, with a host of martyrs and missionaries, but
especially of our Lord himself, to show what influence
the true spirit of self-denial exerts upon the Christian
life. In the passage quoted above, our Lord expressly
declares that, in order to be his disciples, we mustfol-
low him. And how can this be done, but by imitating
his example ? He was willing to make sacrifices for
the good of others. He led a life of toil, hardship,
and suffering, and gave up his own life, to save sin-
ners. His immediate disciples did the same. They
submitted to ignominy, reproach, suffering, and death
itself, for the sake of promoting the glory of God, in
the salvation of men. Cultivate, then, this spirit.
Prefer the glory of God to everything else. Prefer
the general good to your own private interest. Be
willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of
others. Carry this principle out in all your intercourse
with others, and it will greatly increase your useful-
ness. It will also really promote your own interest
and happiness. There is nothing which renders a
person so amiable and lovely, in the sight of others, as
disinterested benevolence. Think no sacrifice too
great to make, no hardship too painful to endure, if
you can be the means of benefiting perishing souls.
Remember, it was for this that Jesus gave up his life;
8*







SELF-DENIAL NOT OUTWARD.


and he requires you to be ready to give up everything
you have, and even life itself, if the same cause shall
require it.
But let me caution you against placing self-denial
chiefly in outward things. We are not required to
relinquish any of the comforts and enjoyments of this
life, except when they come in competition with our
duty to God and our fellow-creatures. Every crea-
ture of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it
be received with thanksgiving;" and godliness has
the promise of this life as well as of that which is to
come. The religion of some people seems to consist
chiefly in denying themselves of lawful enjoyments;
and you will find them very severe and censorious
towards others, for partaking freely and thankfully of
the bounties of God's providence. This, however, is
but a species of self-righteous mockery, characterized
by Paul as a voluntary humility. Instead of being
self-denial, it is the gratification of self in maintaining
an appearance of external sanctity. It may, however,
be not only proper, but obligatory upon us, to sacri-
fice these lawful enjoyments, when we may thereby
promote the interests of Christ's kingdom; which
requires the exercise of a self-sacrificing spirit.
Your affectionate Brother.


LETTER VIII.

Public and Social Worship, and Sabbath .mEployment.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." Hs.
10: 25.
"It is lawful to do teel on the Sabbath days." MAt'. 12: 12.
Call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable," -
"honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pliess
ure, nor speaking thine own words." IsA. 8 : 13,

MY DEAR SISTER,
The duty of public worship is clearly taught in
the Holy Scriptures: 1. From the appointment oam


90







DUTY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.


day in seven, to be set apart exclusively for the ser.
vice of God, we may argue the propriety of assem-
bling together, to acknowledge and worship him in a
social capacity. God has made us social beings; and
all the institutions of his appointment contemplate us
as such. The public worship of the Sabbath is pre-
eminently calculated to cultivate the social principle
of our nature. It brings people of the same commu-
nity regularly together, every week, for the same gen-
eral purpose. In the house of God all meet upon a
level.
2. If we look forward from the institution of the
Sabbath to the organization of the Jewish church, we
find that God did actually establish a regular system
of public worship. An order of men was instituted
whose special business was to conduct the public wor-
ship of God. After the return of the Jews from cap-
tivity, social meetings, held every Sabbath, for public
religious worship, became common all over the land.
They were called synagogues. Although we have
no particular account of the divine origin of these as-
semblies, yet they were sanctioned by the presence of
Christ, who often took part in the public exercises.
Under the gospel dispensation, the plan of syna-
gogue worship is continued, with such modifications
as suit it to the clearer and more complete develop-
ment of God's gracious designs towards sinful men.
A new order of men has been instituted, to conduct
public worship and teach the people. As religion
consists very much in the exercise of holy affections,
God has appointed the preaching of the Word as a
suitable means for stirring up these affections. Our
desires are called forth, our love excited, our delight
increased, and our zeal inflamed, by a faithful, earnest,
and feeling representation of the most common and
familiar truths of the Bible, from the pulpit. It is

*The term ynagogue was applied both to the place of meeting
and to the congreSatoa aemsbn for public wo hip, a the term
euh is& now .


91







92 EXAMPLES OF HOLY MEN.

evident, then, that the private reading of the best
books, though highly useful, cannot answer the end
and design of public worship.
3. The duty of public worship may be inferred
from the fitness and propriety of a public acknowl-
edgment of God, by a community, in their social
capacity.
4. This duty is enforced by the example of holy
men of old ; but especially of Christ and his apostles.
David took great delight in the public worship of
God's house. My soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh
longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no
water is, to see thy power and glory, so as I have seen
thee in the sanctuary." I went into the sanctuary of
God; then understood I their end." "Lord, I have
loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where
thine honor dwelleth." "I went with them to the
house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with
a multitude that kept holy day." We took sweet
counsel together, and walked to the house of God in
company." I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever." "One thing have I desired of the Lord,
that will I seek after ; that I may dwell in the house of
the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty
of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." Such were
the feelings of the man who has expressed, in strains
of sweetest melody, the experience of Christians in all
ages. Delight in the worship of God's house may
be regarded as one of the tokens of the new birth. If
you are destitute of this feeling, you have reason to
form sad conclusions respecting the foundation of your
hopes. But, the example of Jesus is very clear on
this point. "And he came to Nazareth, where he
had been brought up, and, as his custom was, he went
into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up
for to read." From this it appears that Jesus, even
before entering upon his ministry, was in the habit of
attending regularly upon the public worship of God
in the synagogue of Nazareth, where he had been
brought up. This was the first time he had been







EXAMPLE OF CI[RIST. CONCLUSIONS. 93

there, after the commencement of his ministry; yet he
went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as his
custom was; evidently showing that he had always
been in the habit of doing so. Again; after the cru-
cifixion of our Lord, we find the disciples regularly
assembling together upon the first day of the week,
which is the Christian Sabbath. And Jesus himself
honored these assemblies by his presence, after his
resurrection. That this practice continued to be ob-
served by the churches founded by the apostles, is
evident, from the frequent allusions to it in the Acts,
and in the writings of Paul. Paul preached at Mace-
donia upon the first day of the week, when the disci-
ples came together to break bread. In the sixteenth
chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, he gives
directions for taking up collections for the poor saints
on the first day of the week; which evidently means
the time when they were in the habit of meeting for
public worship. And in the eleventh chapter of the
same epistle, he tells them how to regulate their con-
duct when they "come together in the church."
Again; he exhorts the Hebrews not to forsake the
assembling of themselves together." From all these
passages, I think the inference is plain, that, under
the direction of the apostles, the public worship of
God, upon the Sabbath, was observed in the primitive
churches. And this is confirmed by the fact, that the
same practice has since been uniformly observed by
the church in all ages.
From the foregoing arguments I draw the following
conclusions: 1. It is the imperative duty of every
person to attend regularly upon the public worship of
God, unless prevented by circumstances beyond his
control. God has appointed public worship, consist-
ing of devotional exercises and the' preaching of his
Word, as the principal means of grace, for edifying
his people, and bringing lost sinners to himself. We
cannot, therefore, excuse ourselves for not waiting
upon these means; nor can we expect the blessing of







94 SIN OF NEGLECTING PUBLIC WORSHIP.

God upon any others which we may substitute in their
place.
2. This duty remains the same, even under the
ministry of a cold and formal pastor, provided he
preaches the essential doctrines of the gospel. If he
denies any of these, his church becomes the synagogue
of Satan, and therefore no place for the child of God.
This conclusion is drawn from the practice of Christ
himself. He attended habitually upon the regularly
constituted public worship of the Jews, although there
appears to have been scarce any signs of spiritual
worship among them. The Scriptures were read -
the truth was declared; yet all was cold formality a
mere shell of outside worship.
3. No person, who neglects public worship upon
the Sabbath, when it is in his power to attend, can
expect a blessing upon his soul. When preaching
is of an ordinary character, and not very full of in-
struction, or when the manner of the preacher is disa-
greeable, people are frequently tempted to think they
can improve their time better at home, in reading,
meditation, and prayer. But this is a very great mis-
take, unless they can spend the Sabbath profitably
without the presence of God. If, as I think I have
already shown, it is the duty of every one to attend
upon the regularly instituted public worship of the
Sabbath, when we neglect it we are out of the way
of duty. And God will never bless us in the neglect
of any positive duty, even if our whole time be spent
upon our knees. Remember, this is the condition of
the promise, If ye abide in me, and my words abide
in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you." When, therefore, we are living in sin, or
in the neglect of duty, (which is the same thing,)
God will not hear our prayers. If I regard iniquity
in my heart," says the psalmist, the Lord will not
hear me." Again; it is the regular ministration of
his word in the sanctuary, that God most eminently
blesses for the growth of Christians and the conver-
sion of sinners. And when the appointed means of









ce are slighted, can any one expect the blessing of
Gd Will he bless the means which you have de-
vised, and preferred to those of his own appointment
Do not, then, neglect the habitual and regular attend-
ance upon the public worship of God, whenever there
is a properly conducted assembly of orthodox Christ-
ians within your reach. I would not dare neglect
this, even if the reading of a sermon were substituted
for preaching.
Having, as I think, proved the obligation to attend
public worship, I will now notice a few particulars
respecting the performance of the duty.
1. Attend on the stated ministrations of your pastor.
If there is more than one church professing your own
sentiments, in the place where you reside, select the
pastor who is most spiritual, and will give you the
best instruction. But, when you have made this
selection, consider yourself bound to wait on his min-
istry. Do not indulge yourself in going from place to
place, to hear this and that minister. This will give
you itching ears," and cultivate a love of novelty,
and a critical mode of hearing, very unfavorable to the
practical application of the truth to your own soul. If
you wish to obtain complete views of truth, if you
wish your soul to thrive, attend, as far as possible,
upon every appointment of your pastor. Every min-
ister has some plan. He adapts his preaching to the
peculiar state of his own people, and frequently pur-
suus a chain of subjects in succession, so as to present
a complete view of the great doctrines of the Bible.
Whenever you absent yourself, you break this chain,
and lose much of your interest and profit in his
preaching. I do not say but on special occasions,
when some subject of more than usual importance is
to be presented at another place, it may be proper for
you to leave your own church. But, in general, the
frequent assistance which most pastors receive from
strangers will furnish as great variety as you will
find profitable.
9. Be punctual in attending at the stated hour of


95


ITCHING EARS.









public worship. This, though of great importance, is
sadly neglected by most congregations. Punctualit'
is so necessary in matters of business, that a man i
hardly considered honest, when he fails to meet his
friend at the hour of engagement. And why should
it be thought of less consequence to be exact and
punctual in our engagements with God than with
man ? The person, who enters the house of God after
the service has commenced, greatly embarrasses the
preacher, and disturbs the devotions of others. Be.
sides, he shows great want of reverence for the
sacredness of the place, time, and employment.
" God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his
saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are
about him." Always calculate to be seated in the
sanctuary a few minutes before the time appointed for
the commencement of worship. As precious as time
is, it would be much better to lose a few moments,
than to do so much injury. But this time need not be
lost. You require a little time, after entering the
house of God, to settle your mind, and to lift your
soul, in silent prayer, to God for his blessing.
3. Several things are necessary to be observed, in
order to wait upon God, in the sanctuary, in a proper
manner: (1.) Go to the house of God with a prepa-
ration of heart. First visit your closet, and implore
the influences of the Holy Spirit, to prepare your
heart for the reception of the truth, and to bless it to
your own soul and the souls of others; and, if possi-
ble, go immediately from your closet to the house of
worship. On the way, shut out all thoughts except
such as are calculated to inspire devotional feelings;
and, if in company, avoid conversation. Whatever
may be the nature of such conversation, it will be very
likely to produce a train of thought which will distract
and disturb your mind during public worship. (2.)
When you approach the house of worship, remember
that God is there in a peculiar manner. He has
promised to be where two or three shall meet in his
name. It is in the asmnbly of his aints, that he


96


PUNCTUALITY.









makes known the power of his Spirit. As you enter
his house, endeavor to realize the solemnity of his
presence, and walk softly before him. Avoid care-
lessness of demeanor, and let your deportment indicate
the reverence due to the place where God's honor
dwelleth." Keep thy foot, when thou goest to the
house of God." But, above all, avoid that indecent
practice of whispering and conversation in the house
of God. Before service commences, it unfits the mind
for the solemn employment in which you are about
to engage. After the congregation is dismissed, it
dissipates the impression received. When seated in
the place of worship, set a watch over the senses,
that your eyes and ears may not cause your mind to
wander upon forbidden objects. There is great dan-
ger that the attraction of persons, characters and
dress, may dissipate every serious thought with which
you entered the sanctuary. By this means, you will
lose the benefit of the means of grace, and bring lean-
ness upon your soul. Again; set a watch over your
imagination. This is a time when Satan is particu-
larly busy in diverting the fancy; and, unless you are
doubly watchful, he will lead away your mind, by
some phantom of the imagination, before you are
aware of it. Keep these avenues of temptation
guarded, and seek to bring yourself into a prayerful
frame of mind, that you may be suitably affected by
the various exercises of public worship.
4. Unite in spirit with the devotional part of the ser-
vice. "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him
must worship in spirit and in truth." Be particularly
careful that you do not mock God in singing. This
part of worship, I fear, is too often performed in a
heartless manner. Try to sing with the spirit, as
well as the understanding. And whenever you come
to anything in the language of the psalm or hymn
which you cannot adopt as your own, omit it. If you
sing before him what you do not feel, you lie to him
in your heart. And you know, by the terrible exam-
ple of Ananias and Sapphira, how God regards this
9


97


SPIRITUAL WORSHIP.










sin. In prayer, strive to follow, in your heart, the
words of the person who leads, applying the several
parts of the prayer to yourself in particular, when
they suit your case, and yet bearing in mind the
various subjects of petition, which relate to the con-
gregation and the world. In all the exercises of
public worship, labor and strive against wandering
thoughts. This is the time when Satan will beset
you with all his fury. Now you must be well
armed, and fight manfully. Be not discouraged, though
you may be many times foiled. If you persevere in the
strength of Jesus, you will come off conqueror at last.
5. Take heed how you hear." (1.) Consider
the speaker as the ambassador of Christ, sent with a
message from God to yourself. For such truly is
every evangelical minister of Christ. (2.) Diligently
compare the doctrines, which you hear from the pul-
pit, with the Holy Scriptures, and receive nothing
which does not agree with them. The figure used in
the passage referred to, (2 Cor. 5: 20,) is borrowed
from the practice of one government sending a person
on a particular errand to another. The analogy in
this case, however, does not hold good throughout. It
is like a sovereign sending an ambassador to persuade
rebels against his government to submit to him, and
accept of pardon. But, in such a case, it would be
possible, either for some person, who was not sent, to
deliver a false message in the name of the king, or for
one who was really sent, to deliver a different mes-
sage from the one sent by him. So it is in relation to
preachers of the gospel. There are many, whom
Christ has never sent, who are spreading abroad lies
over the land; and there are others, really sent by
Christ, who have, in some respects, misapprehended
his meaning, and therefore do not deliver his message
just as he has directed. But, our blessed Lord, fore-
seeing this, has wisely and kindly given us a check
book, by which we may discover whether those who
speak in his name tell the truth. Hence we are com-
manded to "search the Scriptures," and to "try


98


HEARING.









the spirits, whether they be of God." And the Be-
reans were commended as more noble, because they
searched the Scriptures daily, to know whether the
things preached by the apostles were so. If, then,
they were applauded for trying the preaching of the
apostles by the word of God, surely we may try the
preaching of uninspired men by the same standard.
(3.) Beware of a fault-finding spirit. There are
some persons, who indulge such a habit of finding
fault with preaching, that they never receive any ben-
efit from it. Either the matter of the sermon, the
apparent feeling of the preacher, or his style and man-
ner of delivery, does not suit them, and therefore they
throw away all the good they might have obtained
from his discourse. Remember that preachers of the
gospel are but men. So weak are they, that the
apostle compares them to earthen vessels." Do not,
then, expect perfection. Bear with their infirmities.
Receive their instructions as the bread which your
heavenly Father has provided for the nourishment of
your soul. Do not ungratefully spurn it from you.
What would you think, to see a child throwing away
the bread his mother gives him, because it does not
suit his capricious notions Surely, you would say
he did not deserve to have any. But, if your minister
is cold and formal, and does not exhibit the truth in a
clear, pointed, and forcible manner to the conscience,
mourn over the matter in secret, before God. You
will do no good by making it a subject of common
conversation. It will lead to the indulgence of a cen-
sorious spirit, to the injury of your own soul, and the
wounding of the cause of Christ. If you speak of it
at all, let it be in a spirit of tender concern for the
welfare of Zion, to some pious friends, who will unite
with you in praying for your pastor. You recollect
the conversion of Dr. West,* in answer to the
prayers of two pious females. So you may be instru-
mental in reviving the heart of your pastor. (4.)
SM pg 64.


99


FAULT-FINDING.




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