« 上一頁繼續 »
real devotion within. It is very important, whilst children repeat their hymn or their prayer, in the morning and evening, that this should never be considered in the light of a task or lesson.When a child is afraid that he shall be scolded if he has not his hymn or his prayer perfect,--there is an end of all feeling of religion. It is much better that he should use different words from those in the book (provided the sense be nearly the same,) than that he should be checked and corrected at such a time. A child repeats a very few words, for its little prayer, at first, and then, a few more are added as it grows older: and these are generally learned without much difficulty. But:it will take a longer time to repeat a psalm or a hymn perfectly. This must therefore, at first, be a lesson ;-and to prevent it from being an unpleasant lesson, it should be learned by small portions at a time, and learned very perfectly: and then when the whole is learned, and can be repeated without the least hesitation and difficulty, then, and not till then, it should be used with the prayer. It is of very great consequence, indeed, that every thing belonging to devotion should be as far as possible from being considered as a task. There should be no feeling but that of affection between a parent and child whilst they are engaged together in the offering of prayer: for if there be any harshness, or any thing of a disagreeable nature going on at this time, it will mix itself with the prayer, and the prayer will thus become, what it ought the least of all things to becorne, an exercise constrained and disagreeable.
We are to pray for a spirit of love and gentleness; we are to pray through a Saviour who is all love and mercy; and we are to pray to One, of whom it is beautifully said, that “God is love."
How much then it becomes us, both for ourselves and our children, to seek for the true spirit of Christian prayer!
ON SCRIPTURAL JESTS. We sometimes hear persons, in their common discourse, using scriptural expressions, in a manner by far too light and trifling. This is perhaps not done with any intention of bringing disrespect on the Scriptures,- but yet such is the natural and certain effect of it; and the practice is therefore a very bad and dangerous one. Whatever we hold in sacred reverence we cannot treat carelessly or wantonly. When, therefore, we treat sacred things lightly, it is a sign that they have not that place in our minds which they ought to have. A sentence then from Scripture, used as a jest or a pun, proves that all is not right in the mind of the person who so uses it. The same may be said of light and trifling applications of passages in our prayer-book, or any other book which we are accustomed to consider sacred. Yet these poor attempts at wit we often hear from those who have no true sense of the importance of sacred things, and who think that there is some thing sprightly and clever in this kind of loose con. versation. But we must not mistake profaneness for wit;-and indeed there is nothing, in the least, clever in this perversion of sacred language. “It is,” says Dr. Johnson," so easy, that no clever man would do it, and so wicked that no good man would."-And the great evil of it is, that, whilst the habit is continued, it prevents any good impression from being fixed in the heart. And, even, if this - levity should be given up, and through God's blessing, a better principle planted in the mind, still the profane thought will be too apt to return, whenever any of those expressions occur which have, in . former days, been a subject of such misplaced levity. Many true penitents have suffered great grief of heart from the difficulty which they have experienced in getting rid of those images which were first introduced into their minds by the loose mis
February the 24th, 1824. Mr. Editor, Having lately been much pleased with the perusal of a little book entitled, “Reflections for every Day of the Week," and thinking that many of your readers may not have seen it, I have taken the liberty of sending you the following extract. From your constant Reader,
VERUS. REFLECTIONS ON SATURDAY, Another week is past; another of those little limited portions of time, which number out my life. Let me stop a little here before I enter upon a new week, and consider what this life is, which is thus imperceptibly stealing away, and whither it is conducting me. What is its end and aim, its good and its evil, its use and improvement? What place does it fill in the universe? What proportion does it bear to eternity?-_This mortal life is the beginning of existence to beings made for immortality, and graciously designed for everlasting happiness. Compared with eternity, its longest dura. tion is less than a moment; therefore its good and eyil, considered without a regard to the influence
they may have on an eternity to come, must be of little consequence.
But, considering this short life as a probation for eternity, as a trial whose issue is to determine our everlasting state, its importance, to ourselves, appears beyond expression, great, and fills a right mind with equal awe and transport. What then, we may ask, is the good or the evil of life, but as it has, a tendency to prepare or unfit us for that decisive day, when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds with power and great glory, and shall send: his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds :--that Son of Man, w.bo is the Son of God, “ blessed for evermore," and once before came down from heaven and took upon him this our mortal nature, with all its infirmities and sufferings, and subjected himself even to the death of the cross, that He might redeem us from all our sins, and obtain the gift of everlasting life for all? Let us not therefore wilfully frustrate this last and greatest effort of divine inercy.
What then have we to do, but, with love and gratitude unutterable, to embrace the offers of salyation; and henceforth, become, in every thing, his. 'true and faithful disciples? To whom should we live, but to Him who died for us? To whom should we give ourselves up, but to Him who gavehimself up for us, whose yoke is easy, and his burden light?". In whom should we trust but in. eternal truth ? In whom should we cheerfully hope but in infinite goodness? Whom should we copy, But Him who was made like unto us in all things, sit only excepted; and has “left us an example that we should follow his steps?"! which if we do faithfully, to the utmost of our power, his grace shall so assist us, that in the end we shall be where he is, to behold his glory, and partake his bliss.
Let me think then, and think-deeply, how I have
employed this week past. Have I advanced in, or deviated from, the path that leads to life? Has my time been improved, or lost; or-worse than lost, -mis-spent? Ifthe last, let me use double diligence to redeem it. Have I spent a due proportion of my time in acts of devotion and piety, both private, public, and domestic ? Have I, in society, been kind aod helpful, mild, peaceable, and obliging? Have been charitable, friendly, discreet? Have I had a due regard, without vanity and ostentation, to set a good example? Have I been equally ready to give and receive instruction and proper advice, careful to give no offerrce, and patient to take every thing in good part? Have I been honest, upright, and disinterested? Have I, in my way, or according to my station, been diligent, frugal; generous, and active in doing good? Have I, in all my behaviour, 'consulted the happiness and ease of those I live with, and of all who have any dependance upon me? Have I endeavoured to preserve my body temperate, and my heart pure ? If to all these questions' 'I can humbly, yet confidently, answer, that I have done my best : if I have truly repented of all the faulty past, and made humble yet firm, and vigorous, and deliberate resolutions for the future, poor as it is, the honest endeavour will be graciously aceepted : and I may, to-morrow, gladly enter into the house of God, and join my fellow Christians in worshipping Him; or I may approach the sacred table and partake of that bread. of life which our blessed Saviour gave to nourish, to-all goodness, those who receive it worthily, and to be not only a means of grace, but a pledge of glory..