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Never did our Saviour say, “Get thee hence, Satan,” till now. It is a just indignation, that is conceived at the motion of a rivalry with God. Neither yet did Christ exercise his Divine power in this command, but, by the necessary force of scripture, drives away that impure tempter; “ It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." The rest of our Saviour's answers were more full and direct than that they could admit of a reply; but this was so absolute that it utterly daunted the courage of Satan, and put him to a shameful flight.
The way to be rid of the troublesome solicitations of that wicked one, is, continued resistance. He who forcibly drove the tempter from himself, takes him off from us, and will not abide his assaults perpetual. It is our exercise and trial that He intends, not our confusion. Bp. Hall.
AN UNEXPECTED SERMON. SERMONS are not always preached from the pulpit, for the other day I unexpectedly heard a very good one under the portico of a theatre in the Strand! It was an odd place, to
but a smart shower had driven me there for shelter, and soon after an old man took shelter there also, who began to talk of the best things. “Sir,” said he, “I am eighty-two years of age, and God has graciously given me, among many mercies, the mercy of being made sensible of his goodness. I remember, Sir, in my boyhood hearing an aged minister declare from the pulpit, that when he was forty years old he considered himself so good, that he believed the temptations of Satan had no power over him; but when he was threescore and ten, he was obliged to confess that Satan had a bait for old birds still. I am, Sir, as I told you, eighty-two; and, as the minister found at threescore years and ten, so I find at eighty-two, that I am a poor, weak, worthless creature, totally dependent on God's goodness and grace, feeling every day of my life that Satan has a bait for old birds still.”
The conversation of this aged christian much interested me; and as the rain continued, he narrated many little occurrences which had taken place in his life, to strengthen his dependence on God, and to confirm his faith in the glorious gospel of his Son Jesus Christ.
“It happened, Sir," said he, "on one occasion, while going out with my milk-cans, for I was then in the milk trade, that á man, a dreadful swearer, was cursing himself in a fearful manner. So, stepping up to him, I said, 'Friend, do you know what Amen means?' 'To be sure I do,' said he; it means So be it.' Then,' said I, 'how angry you would be if any one should say Amen to the curses you have pronounced against your poor eyes and precious limbs! If God should happen to say Amen, what will become of you?' I happened to mention the circumstance to my neighbours, when, some time after, one of them told me that a man had just been admitted a member of a neighbouring church, who stated that a reproof given him by a milkman, for swearing, had been the means which God had used to convince him of sin, and to incline him to seek for mercy at the cross of Christ. Thus you see, Sir, that God can make the weak words of the weakest believer strong in turning men from darkness to light, and in adding to his church such as shall be saved.”
EXTRACTS FROM ADVICES OF A MINISTER TO HIS
PEOPLE, WITH SOME ADDITIONS. WHAT an abundant blessing might follow my ministerial labours amongst you, did you all seek for help from God to pray aright in secret over the instruction you receive; if you would hasten home, without waiting for the customary, though mistimed salutations, while the recollection is fresh, the impression strong, and the heart full, to ask God, in the name of his dear Son, to bless and apply what you have just heard to your soul's good; thus your hearing would be made profitable indeed; thus you would "mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the word preached; and the seed sown would not be exposed to the enemy
your souls, nor stifled by the cares and concerns of this world, but would sink deep into your hearts, be watered by the dew of heaven, and bring forth fruits of righteousness.
Do you ask me, What is prayer? It is the voice of the needy to Him who alone can relieve them; it is the
of the sinful to Him who alone can pardon them. It is not
eloquence, but earnestness ; it is not fine words or flowing periods, but it is a deep sense of our guilt, urging us to approach the Saviour, and to seek pardon, help, and salvation, with strong crying, it may be with tears, and groanings which cannot be uttered.
Did you ever hear a man that was starving beg for bread? That was prayer.
Did you ever witness the agonizing cry of a condemned criminal for mercy ?
That was prayer. Did you ever behold the shipwrecked mariner looking wishfully to those on shore for rescue? That was prayer.
The publican prayed when he cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Peter prayed when he said, “ Lord, save me, or I perish.”
Bartimeus prayed when he exclaimed, “ Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!”
Stephen prayed when he uttered these words: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
In all these instances the words of the petition were plain and simple; they could not, indeed, be more so; but in each it was real prayer, because it came from the heart; and therefore was heard and graciously answered by Him to whom it was addressed.
The publican went down to his house justified. Peter was upheld from sinking by the sustaining arm of Christ.
Blind Bartimeus was restored to sight.
Stephen fell asleep in Jesus, in a calm and forgiving spirit.
Indeed, I know not how sufficiently to present to you the prevailing efficacy of genuine prayer. It besieges heaven with a holy violence, accosting God in the language of the wrestling patriarch, “I will not let thee go, except thou
No sooner is the spirit of prayer and supplication given from on high, than the stubborn soul is melted; and if these heart-tendering visitations of God's love are rightly abode under, the broken heart will, in due time, be bound up; the sinner changed into a humble saint; and offending man restored to the lost image of his God.
Do you ask, What is the proper season for prayer? I answer, in the apostle's words, “Pray without ceasing.” I mean not that you should always be on your knees, or always lifting up your voice to heaven, but that
should constantly cherish a praying spirit. Are
you blessed with temporal mercies—with a comfortable competency-a smiling family-a fair reputation ? Seek for ability to pray sincerely to God that these blessings prove not a snare to you, lest they rob God of your heart, and you have your “good things” upon earth only. Are you tried in your health-in your circumstances—in your family? Seek to God for help to pray that the will of God may be accomplished in the dispensation; that you may discern the designs of his providence, may meet it with humble resignation, and reap the blessing. Are you called to undertake some arduous duty, or encounter some severe temptation in the way of your duty? Seek for holy help to be enabled, availingly, to pray that God's strength may be perfected in your weakness; that his grace may be sufficient for you; that so you may come off more than conqueror through Him that loved you.
Begin the day with secret, heartfelt prayer to God: it is the golden key that unlocks heaven to pour down blessings on us: and end the day with this secret, heartfelt prayer to God; it is the golden key that locks us up under Heaven's protection.
THE NEW HUSBAND. WHILE the regiment of militia was in Ireland during the late war, an incident happened which proved highly beneficial to one of the soldiers, it being made the means, through the blessing of God, of awakening a sinner from the sleep of sin. There were three of the soldiers who encouraged themselves, not in the way of godliness but wickedness; and it was difficult to say which exceeded the others in riot and drunkenness, whenever opportunity offered. One of them was a married man; and his wife, who was almost brokenhearted at his drunken frolics, had discontinued following the regiment, and settled herself in the town to which she belonged, working to maintain herself. Whenever he came home on leave, he spent her little savings, pawned her furniture, and so ill-used her, that she always dreaded his return as a period of pain and distress. But behold, what wonders God works! And how often, when we least expect it, he speaks the word, Return, O backslider! In a drunken frolic, while in Ireland, one of the three fell over the balusters of the stairs which led to the apartment they had been in. Being in a state of intoxication, and a large made man, he fell with a tremendous weight, and the fall was fatal! He was dead in a few minutes ! Both of his companions were much alarmed; but the one to whom I have been alluding was the most impressed, and the thought instantly darted into his mind, -" It might have been myself, and oh! horror, where would my soul then have been ?" This idea, and the sad scene, sobered him; he broke off all his bad habits, and began to pray, to read his bible, to attend public worship, and to unite with serious people. Conscious how much his wife had suffered from his former conduct, he obtained leave, as soon as he could, to return home. He wrote to say that he was coming, but took no notice of the change which had taken place in himself. She received the intelligence with sorrow, expecting, as formerly, that he would return without a shilling in his pocket, and scarcely any clothes, for such used to be the case—all his pay gone before he reached home, and his decent clothes pawned to supply his drunken thirst. Greatly was she surprised to see him arrive in a decent suit, a new hat, and his knapsack full instead of empty! not banging at the door for admittance in a noisy way, but quietly waiting for its being opened, and with a cheerful voice entering in and seating himself in a chair ! She was silent from astonishment, and dared not ask any question, lest she should break the charm, scarcely believing that it would last long. Much more was she surprised when, after his refreshment, instead of going out to seek for old companions, and to drink at the public-house, to see him take out of his bundle a new gown for herself, and his bible; but still he made no remark. The next morning, being the Lord's day, she felt encouraged to propose going to church, to which he readily consented; and he himself proposed it in the afternoon. Her heart was too full to close this day without some inquiry; and then he related all that had passed, and doubtless they blessed the Lord for all this mercy. He soon afterwards obtained his discharge, and settled himself in a trade that he had been brought up to. Their circumstances continue to prosper; and she told her