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of the philosopher, to whom I allude,) be admitted to a state of eternal happiness.
This doctrine is in direct contradiction to the declaration which our blessed Saviour, the great Judge of all, made with respect to the traitor Judas.-“ Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed: it had been good for that man, if he had not been born." Matthew xxvi. 24.
This woe could not, consistently with truth, have been pronounced against any man for whom an eternal state of happiness was prepared, let his preceding punishment be ever so great, or of ever so long duration.
To demonstrate the truth of this proposition, it is only necessary to appeal to the judgment of any one, whether this woe could with truth be applied to the life of a person (a future state being now out of the question) who was appointed to live a hundred years in uninterrupted felicity, excepting the short space of a single hour, during which he should suffer any conceiveable punishment. No doubt can be entertained of the answer to this inquiry.
Let us further suppose this perfectly happy life to extend as far as the age of Methusaleh, and that the intervening period of misery had but the duration of one second of time. Could it be said of such a one, “ It had been good for this man that he had not been born ?" We must suppose the person to have lost his understanding who should hesitate to conclude that such a life was truly desirable.
Yet even these proportions of happiness and misery, dissimilar as they are, do not exhaust the force of my argument; for the least imaginable portion of time, call it the ten thousandth part of a second, bears a greater proportion to the longest limited duration which the imagination can reach, than that duration does to eternity.
The conclusion, therefore, is clearly demonstrated, that eternal happiness will not succeed to any period of misery to the damned ; because on this supposition it could not be said of any one, “ It had been good for that man, if he had not been born.” If this awful truth had its proper influence
our minds, we should account every worldly enjoyment but as “ dung and dross," in comparison with the favour of God, and the attainment of that holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
FORMS OF PRAYER.
OBJECTIONS have been frequently made to pre-conceived forms of prayer. They have been represented as impediments to true devotion in public worship; as improper restraints upon those who are endued with the gift of prayer; and as proofs of a low state of religion in those who use them as helps to devotion in their seasons of retirement.
An inquiry into the validity of these objections will involve in it several important practical considerations. It will lead us to consider,
1. What is the nature of prayer.
2. What association subsists in the human mind between the affections of the heart, and the words in which those affections are expressed.
3. What assistance we are taught by the word of God to expect in the discharge of this duty.
4. What examples the Scriptures afford us of forms of prayer.
5. What may be collected on this subject from the experience of devout persons.
1. Prayer is the expression of our desires and affections towards God; whether in confession of our sins, in supplication for the blessings which we need in thanksgiving for mercies received, or in intercession for others.
He who searches the heart is perfectly acquainted with all our desires and affections. The manner in which they are expressed is of no consequence in his sight; but in acts of social worship our expressions are of great consequence, and in our most retired devotions they are not totally without effect upon our own minds.
Whether forms of prayer are helps or hindrances to private devotion, is so much a question of experience, that the solution of it, as far as it regards our own conduct, might with propriety be submitted to the determination of every sedate and devout Christian. Our conduct in this respect ought to be such, as upon experience we find to be most conducive to the suppression of our wanderings, and the maintenance of a true spirit of prayer.
The Scriptures represent that prayer which is acceptable to God in a variety of figurative terms, expressive of earnest desire, and strong affection. It is called,“ pouring out the complaint, pouring out the heart,” and “ pouring out the soul” to God, &c. And as our blessed Redeemer, who was a pattern of righteousness,“ in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears,” we should aspire after such a holy temper in the practice of this important duty, and estimate every external circumstance in proportion to the assistance which our minds receive from it in this holy and delightful exercise. We should never forget, that the most excellent form of prayer, or the most pathetic extemporaneous address, is nothing in the sight of God, where the heart does not pour forth its devout affections. The more we are impressed with a sense of these important truths, the less shall we be inclined