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Our Saviour spake a parable to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint. (Luke xviii.) A prayer to God is a petition to him for something which we want. Now we are told that we should pray earnestly and with perseverance; but this we cannot do unless we are first convinced that the object for which we pray is of great importance to us. What, then, is the grand object for which we are directed to pray, and how is it of great importance to us! That the heart of man is corrupt, that he is the slave of evil passions, the experience of all ages, and the words of Scripture, abundantly shew. His affections are set upon the things of this world, and are alienated from the love of God. " There is none righteous, no, not one, All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But what are the commands of the Almighty to his sinful creatures ? “ Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbour as thyself. And St. James says, “ He that offendeth in one point is guilty of all." Who is there amongst us who is perfectly holy in his thoughts, words, and deeds; and who loves his God and his fellow-creatures with a perfect love? There is no one. We have all offended; we are all guilty. And what is the penalty for our transgressions? Death, eternal death! Such is the condition of man with respect to the law of God. But the Almighty, in his infinite mercy, hath discovered to us a way by which we may escape this dreadful and otherwise inevitable punishment. He hath sent his only-begotten Son to die upon the cross as an atonement for our sins. He hath promised to all who repent and believe, to all who are sorry for their past sins, and sincerely purpose to lead a new life, and who confidently trust to the merits of Christ crucified as the only means whereby they can obtain salvation, eternal life. But who can, of himself, so far overcome his evil and corrupt nature as to obtain a lively and perfect faith in Christ; a faith which worketh by loving God and man? Alas! there is no one.
But thanks be to the same allbountiful God, who hath given us a Redeemer; he hath promised to every one who asketh, to every one who prayeth, the assistance of his Holy Spirit, to enable him to establish in his heart a lively faith. This, then, is the grand object of prayer ;-divine assistance to enable us to overcome our evil propensities, and to fix in our hearts a lively faith in Christ, without which we must eternally perish. How beautifully does our Saviour describe the helplessness of man, in the parable referred to above. A widow, one who had been deprived of her natural protector, by whose strength she would have been protected from all oppressions, is represented as beseeching, fervently and frequently, the judge to avenge her of her adversary. She knew that her own strength could not avail her, and therefore she anxiously sought for effectual aid. Such is the case of man ;--of himself he can do nothing, and consequently he must, if he would escape the snares of his adversary, the Devil, seek, by fervent and frequent prayer, for the powerful aid of Him who is both able and willing to save. Eternal life, then, is the object which we are to seek by means of prayer. He who falls upon his knees before his God, and utters petitions, whose object he hath not considered, or utterly disregards, is not a worshipper, but a mocker, of God. Such a one may utter certain words with his lips, but he cannot pray ; for prayer is the earnest petition of him who feels his want of that which he seeks to obtain. Hence,
No. 48.-VOL. IV. Bb
he who finds that he is lukewarm, and cannot restrain his thoughts from wandering during his prayers, should, in order to interest his affections, reflect upon the dreadful conséquences which await him if he should not obtain that for which he prays.
We are assured, by this parable, that perseverance in prayer will finally obtain its object. Many persons are apt to regard the saying of their prayers as the performance of a duty, and an acceptable sacrifice to God. But this is not the best way to consider it; it is as if a criminal should flatter himself that he is doing his duty to his sovereign when he is petitioning bim for pardon. Prayer should rather be looked upon as a great privilege, a means whereby we may obtain spiritual and temporal blessings, and we should use it continually in humble hope of obtaining our desire. But we continually need the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit to fit us for eternal life, which is the great end of prayer; therefore we must “pray always and not faint," till the Great Judge shall'appear, and declare us good and faithful servants. In the parable before us, we are directed to “pray always;" and St. Paul exhorts us to "pray without ceasing." These expressions mean that we should always maintain the habit of prayer. Henčė, it is good to observe stated times in which we should withdraw our thoughts 'as 'much as possible from the things of this world, and occupy them in prayer. But, besides these, the pious mind, deeply sensible of its own weakness and wants, whether in solitude or in the bustle of the world, whenever any temptation or trouble may occur, will, by devout 'aspirations to the throne of grace, seek for strength and comfort. In short, a dérout heart is the best guide to teach us to understand aright this as well as other precepts of the Gospel. If we feel our 'infirmities, and desire to be strengthened, we shall then be earnest and persevering in our prayers. October 3, 1824.
N. C. T.
WARNING TO BLASPHEMERS.
To the Editor of the Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
SR, The custom of taking the Lord's name in vain is 80 dreadful, that I hope and think you will agree with me in considering it a favour to your cottage friends to insert the following anecdote, which I know to be true.
One Sunday morning, some few years ago, two men met to drink at a public house in a small village in Essex ; where, after they had heated themselves with liquor, a challenge was given by one, and immediately accepted by the other, to see which could utter the most horrid oath. One had tried his skill, and, when the other was preparing to answer him, he saw his companion fall dead at his feet.
Let this be a warning to all blasphemers, let them consider that the punishment of crimes must come, sooner or later, and that the wise Providence of God, sometimes (as in the case above mentioned) is pleased to take off sinners in the midst of their crimes, that they may not persevere in a course of guilt, and at last incur eternal damnation, and that their fate may be a warning to others.
If you think this worth inserting in your useful little publication, you will, by so doing, much oblige Your constant well-wisher,
We do think the above 6 worth inserting,' and sincerely hope that it may “be a warning to others.” We have been rather backward in pub
lishing accounts of awful judgments, which have been sent to us,-because we must all be aware that the most dreadful sins do often go unpunished in this world; being left for the final judgment of the great day. It cannot, however, be denied that there are often, even here, such striking judgments on the wicked, as to shew plainly the indignation of the Almighty against their crimes, and to hold out a lesson of important warning to others. We know, ourselves, of a very awful visi. tation, which happened a short time ago. A man whom we ourselves knew, a'thatcher, in a passion swore that he would not thatch a neighbours' house, and he wished that if he did he might be struck dead. Being, however, a man given to drinking, and consequently often suffering from poverty, he was obliged to go to work ;-and, before the day was over, he slipped down from the thatch, and was dead in an instant. What seems more extraordinary still was, that the roof from which he slipped was that of a small shed, so near to the ground, as to seem scarcely likely to be the cause of any serious accident.
THE COTTAGER'S GARDEN DIRECTORY.
DECEMBER. LITTLE can be done in the garden this month, excepting in trenching dry ground, repairing fences, preparing tools, and attending to fruits, seeds, &c. Sow beans and peas as in the last month; but remember that though you may now sow, it is very uncertain whether you will ever reap. Towards the end of the month, try a few Sandwich and Toker beans. Earth up celery : protect as in the last month. Cover the stems of peas and beans with ashes, sawdust, or old tan. Cover seed beds with litter; and, if the weather be severe, 'protect young