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Ta desire this event, knowing the Other ends, which we are to keep in purpose of God respecting it, is to de- view in the duty of prayer, are the acsire that his purpose may not be accomplishment of the Divine purposes, complished; and that the greatest gen- in general; the greatest good of beeral good, which.is the object of all his lievers, and the best interest of the
purposes, may not be effected. Such Redeemer's kingdom. But, a prayer i desires cannot be truly benevolent ; for immediate perfection in holiness,
they are desires, which we ought not by one who has a just view of the reto possess, and which of course, we vealed purposes of God respecting this onght not to express to God in the form event, would not be consistent with
either of these ends. A state of imme2ndly. To pray for immediate per- diate perfection, being contrary to the fection in holiness is inconsistent with Divine purposes, would not be consisthe ends we are to keep in view, in the tent with a general prayer, that those duty of prayer.
purposes may be accomplished. And Our chief end, in prayer, as well as since we are assured that all things, as in all other duties, should be the glory they actually take place, shall work of God. But, we cannot pray for im- together for the good of individual mediate perfection in holiness, for the Christians, and for the best interest of chief end of promoting the glory of the church at large; we cannot conGod, because we know, at the time ofsistently wish, or pray, that the state of making this prayer, that the glory of individual Christians, or of the church God would not be best promoted, by at large, should be essentially different such an event. “ As this would be con- from that which God hath seen fit to trary to the Divine purposes, it would appoint. We cannot, consistently, of course, be inconsistent with the pray that his revealed purposes should greatest display of God's glory; and be altered for the good of particular believing this, we cannot have this dis- believers, or for the general good of play of his glory for our chief end, in the church,, because no possible alterpraying that this event may take place. Iation would conduce to this end. If There can be no greater absurdity,| all things, as they are established by than to suppose we can do any thing, the Divine purposes, will conspire to with an ultimate regard to God's glo- promote the good of believers, the ry, which thing, we believe and know, best interests of the Church, and the at the time of doing it, will not be con- greatest display of God's glory, it is ducive to this end.
manifest that we cannot desire or pray Another end, which we are to have for any conceivable change in the Diin view, in prayer, is to bring our-vine purposes, that these events may selves into submission to the ivine be accomplished. will. The design of prayer is not to 3dly. To pray for immediate perfecmove God to change his purposes. tion in holiness would be inconsistent The change, which is to be wrought, with the manner in which all acceptaby means of this duty, is not in God,ble prayer is to be offered up. but in ourselves. It is designed to All acceptable petitions must be bring us into submission to the Divine presented to God with submission to will; to prepare us to receive or not to his will. But, to pray, in this manner, receive, the particular things which we for immediate perfection in holiness, ask for, as God shall see fit. But, we knowing that it is the will or purpose cannot pray for immediate perfection, of God that we should not be thus perin holiness, with this end in view, be- fect, in this life, is to pray, either that cause we know it is contrary to the God would take us, immediately, out will or purpose of God, that this event of this world; or, that he would change should take place:
his revealed purposes respecting us; I VOL. 2
we might continue in a state
of imperfection. And, can any one be- This injunction is, evidently, founded lieve it is the duty of Christians to upon the principle, that no petitions, present such a prayer as this to the even for spiritual blessings, are to be throne of grace?
presented to God, for things which he No prayer can be acceptable to God hath previously assured us he will not which is not offered in faith. Heb. xi. 6. bestow. The prophets of old were But, how can we pray in faith for ai often prohibited from praying for the thing which God hath previously as- forgiveness of the Jews, when God had sured us he will not bestow? Where revealed his purpose to destroy them. can there be any ground for faith in Jer. vii. 15, 16. “I will cast you out such a prayer ? We, not only, cannot of my sight, as I have cast out the believe that the subject of the peti- whole seed of Ephraim, therefore pray tion will be granted, but we can have not thou for this people, neither lift up not a gleam of hope for it: we know, cry nor prayer for them; neither make at the very time of making this petition, intercession for them, to me, for, I that the thing which we plead for is will not hear thee.” A similar direction contrary to the purposes of God, and is contained in chap. xi. 14, and again will not be granted. But, if there be repeated in chap. xiv. 11, 12, to show no ground for faith or hope in such a that it is a consideration of nos mall im. prayer, it cannot be acceptable to God, portance. There are two reasons here and therefore it cannot be the duty of given, why Jeremiah should not prag Christians.
for that people; one is, God had deThese remarks apply only to those termined to “punish them,” and to who have just views of the revealed |“ cast them out of his sight;" and had purposes of God, respecting the im-revealed this determination to the properfect state of Christians in this world. phet; the other, which results from this, The prayers of those who have erro-||is, that God would not hear him, ir neous apprehensions of this subject, do such a prayer. not come within the limits of our pre But, if the fact, that God would not sent consideration.
grant deliverance to the Jews, but Such are the arguments, from would assuredly punish them, was a the nature of those desires which we sufficient reason why Jeremiah should are to present unto God, in the duty not pray that they might be spared, of
prayer; from the ends we are to and why God would not hear such a keep in view, in this duty; and, from prayer; the fact that he will not make the manner in which it is to be per-Christians perfectly holy in this life, is formed, in support of the doctrine that a sufficient reason why they should not it is not our duty to pray for immedi-pray for this event, and why such a ate perfection in holiness.
prayer will not be heard. We observe in the 4th place, That The prayer
of our Saviour, in Mat, this doctrine is supported by several xxvi. 39, may be adduced, in support. passages of scripture. The following of the doctrine under consideration.texts establish the principle, that we "O my Father, if it be possible, let ought not to pray for an event, which this cup pass from me; nevertheless, is contrary to tle known purposes of|not as I will, but as thou wilt.” The God:
cup, here mentioned, was doubtless 1 John V. 16. “There is a sin unto the scene of his last sufferings. In view death, I do not say that ye shall pray of the inexpressible agonies he was for it." The sin here referred to, is || about to endure, he exclaiins, “O my doubtless the unpardonable sin. We Father, if it be possible, let this cup are not to pray for its forgiveness ; || pass from me." By these words, he and the obvious reason for this direc- || did not pray to be delivered from these tion is, it is the revealed purpose of sufferings, if it were in the power of God that it shall not be forgiven.-|Omnipotence to deliver him. The
Phrase, “ if it be possible," can only || Laws are the fruit of a universal combimean, if it be consistent with the grea- nation among people of the same comtest display of God's glory in the sal-monwealth. Human depravity is alvation of sinners: if the work, which ways found enlisted in the warfare to he had undertaken, could be accom- render void such statutes as are poinplished in any other way. But, evented against its beloved licentiousness. this petition, thus qualified, he pre-Laws for the suppression of vice are, sented only in submission to his Fa- consequently, among the first that sink ther's will. Thus, we are taught not into " a dead letter.” The whole to pray to be delivered from any evils community are vigilant for regulations which it is the will of God that we pertaining to perishing property.-should suffer; or, to enjoy any good, They are unanimous in taking up arms which it is not his will to bestow. In against the dealer by false weights and other words, all our petitions are to be measures; the counterfeiter of money; limited by the Divine purposes; con- the thief, and the robber. But the prosequently, it cannot be our duty to ask fane swearer, the drunkard, the gamfor any thing which we know it to be bler, the sabbath breaker-is, in too his purpose not to grant.
many instances, permitted to pass with This doctrine is, also, implied in slight censure. In some cases, when that memorable prayer which is re- the laws which he violates have becorded in John xvii
. 9.“ I pray not for come silent, he has even the affrontery them, I pray not for the world, but for to demand the fair standing of reputathem which thou hast given me, for i tion. It is lamentable that his demand they are thine.” The reason here as- has been, of late, so rarely repelled. signed by our Saviour, why he prayed In such a state of society, a voluntanot for the world, is, that they were ry association has appeared necessary not given unto him by the Father;- in every parish of the community, for they were not included in the cove- the purpose ofawakening ihose wholea nant of redemption; of course, it was some laws which the profligate have pot the purpose of God that they caused to slumber; and of encourageshould be saved.
ing the magistrate and public officer In each of these passages, the pray- to fidelity in every thing that pertains ers which are brought into view, are, to their office, and to their oath. evidently, grounded upon, and regula- Nor has this necessity presented itted by the general principle, that we self unattended with a reasonable prosought not to pray for any event which pect of success. The considerate and is contrary to the revealed or known sober are always on the side of such efpurpose of God: consequently, it is forts. Omnipotence is on their side. not our duty to pray for immediate But the power of the Most High is emperfection in holiness.
ployed in aid of those, who, according (To be continued.)
to his will, use the means which he gives them.
An experiment of twelve years, in
the island of our fathers, has proved the If those feelings and opinions, pur- happy efficacy of voluntary associaposes and deeds, which prevent per- tions for the suppression of vice. That manent good, and produce permanent experiment, in the beginning, was evil, are justly called vicious, or im- comparatively feeble. It was, also, moral, then, every judicious effort to resisted with much violence and masuppress immorality must deserve en-lignity. Its friends persevered howev. couragement. Statutes and penalties er. The cause acquired strength.me against immorality bave, from the be- The magistrate was aided in his duty. ginning, been found indispensable to Many of the incorrigible in profligaw the security of man's social well-being. I were brought to merited punishment
CONNECTICUT MORAL SOCIETY.
and shame. Notorious licentiousness | ion, would use them to excess; and, has, of course, been gradually falling likewise, to ascertain the quantity of arinto infamy. Criminals have been di-dent spirits consumed within the parish minishing. On the subject of the during the year which began, the first Lord's day, even the metropolis of the of April, 1813. To the former article British dominions exhibits a new face. the committee attended, and the conThe ruin of numbers has been mani-sequences were in some degree, such festly prevented.
as good people would wish to behold. Similar effects have been produced on the latter article of request, the by similar associations in the Ameri- committee had made no report at the can States. As far as combinations close of the year specified. The vices þave been formed, and their labors di- of profanity, Sabbath-breaking, and inrected by a discreet firmness and reso-temperance had been prevalent.Įution, the results have been happy.- Considerate people rejoiced in the forThey continue to be happy. It is, in- mation of the Society. Numbers, of deed, obvious, that the mere establish- an opposite character, manifested hosment itself of such associations must tility, and labored to render the Socieact powerfully as a check upon openty odious. Nevertheless the friends immorality. For, how can the public of morality prevailed. The effects of knowledge of a combination to prose- the institution were happy. Though cute for specified offences, fail to di- every thing pernicious had not been minish those offences ?
removed, yet the objects of the instiThe Connecticut Society for the tution were, in some measure, attainpromotion of good morals is co-opera-ed, and progress was making towards ting with others, of the same nature, their complete accomplishment in that in our land. Its constitution is, per- parish. haps, the simplest possible. It seems The Branch Society of Middlesex, not, however, the less likely, on this in Norwalk, reported resolutions of the account, to be efficacious. According following import; That they would to its provisions, reliance is placed on themselves be examples of morality ; those Branch Societies which it invites that they would admonish retailers of the well disposed in every parish to ardent spirits not to violate the laws of form. To the persevering activity of the state upon this subject; that if, afthese the friends of social order and ter such admonition, the laws were vivirtue are to look for the salutary ef-olated, the members would complain, fects of the institution. To such of unless satisfied that such retailers were these as have already had time and a determined to obey the laws in future ; disposition to act, they have not looked that no member would employ a perin vain.
son addicted to immorality, unless The General Society, however, || such person refrain from it while in his cannot be inattentive to the concerns | service, or be indebted to said memof every part. Composed of members ber; that the members shall deem it associated in the several Branches, their duty to admonish all persons they possess favorable means of infor- within the parish, whom they shall mation pertaining to morality in the know to be guilty of vicious conduct, various districts of the community. and, in case admonitions prove useless An abstract of reports from the Bran-to make complaint to the proper auches are here laid before the public, thority, provided, the families of such
The Branch Society in the first par-vicious inhabitants were not likely to ish of Woodstock, reported, That, im- be distressed by the consequences of mediately after their organization, they executing the laws; and, finally, that appointed a committee to request re- they would not vote for any person guiltailers of ardent spirits to refuse selling ty of known immorality, for any imthem to such people, as, in their opin- || portant public office, whatever might
be his political opinions. An address | stock reported, That a reformation in was delivered, pointing out the preva-morals had been progressing there, the lent vices with their pernicious effects, last two years; that taverns and tipand making known the determination pling shops are now little frequented; of the Society, by the blessing of God, that gross breaches of the Sabbath are to suppress them. That Branch had rarely, if at all, seen in the parish; and been quite recently organized, when that profanity, when heard, which is this oort was prepared. Effects ex-|| by no means often, is generally dise tensively salutary are rather anticipa- | countenanced. All intelligent friends ted, therefore, than realized.
of human well being will rejoice, when The Branch Society in Wolcot re- truth shall authorise many such reports. ported, That they had resolved to hold The Branch Society in Greenfield in due contempt, all persons who spend provided, soon after their organizatheir time in idleness, gambling, pro- tion, that nearly, or quite, every family fane swearing, and excessive drinking; in the parish become furnished with a to notice carefully violators of the Sab- copy of an“ Address of the Western bath and neglecters of public worship; Association in Fairfield County, to the and to feel themselves piedged indi-churches and congregations under vidually to bear testimony by example, their care, on the pernicious effeets of exhortation, admonition, and reproof, ardent spirts.” Much good was soon against all immoral conduct within observed to be the pleasing result. their personal knowledge,
Many respectable families, who, acThe Branch Society in East-Haven cording to fashion in our country, had resolved, That the suppression of vice long made spiritous liquors a part of generally was their object--and espé- the entertainment at social visits, cially Sabbath breaking, intemperance, discontinued their use. Individuals, profane swearing, slander, and gamb-| whom that fashion had led to intemling; that every member would feel perance, had seen the error of their himself obligated to use the influence way and turned from it. Others, who of his personal example, and—if a pa-| had believed that ardent spirits were rent, master, or guardian-of his autho-necessary to sustain them while at hard rity, for the accomplishment of this ob- || labor, were convinced, that such an ject; that the Society would support | opinion was altogether groundless.-its members in their efforts to suppress So salutary were the effects of exersuch immoralities; that, in appoint-tions already made, that, although inment to office—whether of state, town, temperance was still, in some degree, or parish, it should be the duty of eve- prevalent, the Society indulged strong ry member to withhold his suffrage hopes of seeing their persevering effrom men habitually guilty of vicious fort followed by a general reformapractices; that every member would tion. That Branch, also, impressed aid the civil magistrate in executing the with the importance of suppressing the laws against vice, and assist all inform- open profanation of the Lord's day, ing officers in the discharge of their du- declared their readiness to co-operate ty; and that the Clerk of the Society | with the other Branches through the present the grand-jury-meu, constables, State, in putting a stop to this alarming and tithing-men of the town, each with evil, and to assist in promoting every a copy of their vote, tendering their as
measure conducive to the good of sistance and pledging their support to man. [To be continued.] the said officers, in the execution of the laws against immorality in general, and, especially, against licentious taverns, places of illicit resort, and the THE Brief for Contributions thro' prevalent vices above mentioned. this State, for the benefit of the MisThe Branch Society in North Wood-isionary Society, having expired with
CONNECTICUT MISSIONARY SOCIETY.