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this grace to mortify our corruptions; to sanctify our aflections ; to resist temptations ; to overcome the world. This grace, and this alone, can enable us to pursue our journey ; to run our race; to accomplish our warfare ; to endure to the end. We cannot pray, or sing, or hear, or read as we ought, without the assistance of this grace helping our infirmities. “We cannot,” says Bishop Hopkins, “stand one monient longer than God holds us, or walk one step farther than God leads us." For a thing constantly necessary, the apostle would teach us to pray constantly.
But there are some seasons in which we peculiarly require the aid of divine grace. Two or three of these it may be proper to mention.
Prosperity is a time of need. Few know how to abound. It is no easy thing to be full and not deny God.. Worldly fame and affluence have often had a haneful effect on the minds of good men ; have attached them too strongly to earth, and slackened their diligence in seeking a better, even a heavenly country. They have had less dependence upon God, and less communion with him. They have grown high-minded and illiberal, and exhibited far less of the Christian in their advancement than in their poverty. Others have dropped and lost their religion entirely in passing from a cottage to a mansion. "The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.” Let us, therefore, be wise, and remember that the wisdom which alone can preserve us, consists in our fearing always; in a diffidence of ourselves; in our praying, hold thou me up, and I shall be safe. He indeed can keep us from falling, even in slippery places. Thus he guarded Joseph and Daniel, in situations equally high and dangerous.
Affliction is a time of need. It matters not from what quarter the trouble springs, it is a trying season, and the Christian is concerned to come forth as gold. He not only needs support and comfort, so that he may not faint, but he needs strength and preservation, so that he may not sin. He is concerned to be secured from impatience, from distrust of Providence, from quarrelling with instruments. He wishes to glorify God in the fires ; and to derive advantage from his crosses, so as to be able to say, it is good for me that I have been afflicted. For all this he seeks the Lord, and what the Lord said to Paul he may apply unto himself: “My grace is sufficient foi thee; for my strength is made perfect in weak
Death is a time of need. And it is unavoidable—other times of need may come, but this will come. It is indeed the last time of need, but it is also the greatest. It is a new and untried time. It settles everything for ever. It is awful to let go our hold of earth, to give up the soul into the hand of God, and enter eternity. The enemy also now uses all his force to distress. There are two seasons in which he is peculiarly busy-when we are coming to Christ for grace and when we are going to him for glory. Now others may endeavour to banish this subject from their minds, but the Christian must think of it. And he will be concerned to die safely—as to consequences ; honourably-as to religion; comfortably as to himself; and usefully—as to others. And what can be done here without grace to help -to help in this time of need! If many Christians who are now cast down, were but assured that their sun would set without a cloud, they
would be filled with strong consolation, bear cheerfully their trials, and look forward to every future scene with pleasure. Well, grace can do this, and has done it for many, and even for many who were once walking mournfully before the Lord. When the time of need came, then came the grace-suffering grace for a suffering hour, and dying grace for a dying hour.
Now, if this be our errand in prayer—if we are to pray—that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, does it not follow, as a fair inference from the subject, that a prayerless person is destitute both of the mercy and grace of God? This is an awful truth, and it leads me, before I conclude, seriously to ask you
First. Have you come to this throne? Have you ever prayed ? Perhaps you have sometimes dragged through the duty as a task-but did you ever feel it to be your privilege and your pleasure? Perhaps you hare engaged in it occasionally-but has it been your habitual employment ? Perhaps you have called upon God in the hour of sickness and danger—but as health returned, have you not dropped prayer by little and liule, till you have lived entirely without him in the world ? You have frequently attended public worship-do you pray much in your closet; or in the duties of your calling do you send up many a desire to God, saying, Lord, help me? You are fond of hearing sermons—but while you so often hear from God, does God ever hear from you?
Secondly. Do you design to come? or, have you resolved to restrain prayer before him?
Do you imagine you can acquire these blessings in any other way than by prayer? This is impossible. “For all these things, (says God,) will I be inquired of. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Or, do you imagine these blessings are not worthy of your pursuit ? Alas! strange as it may appear, I suspect that this is the case. You are not prepared to estimate these advantages : you do not feel your need of mercy and grace. Otherwise surely you would deem them worth asking for. If you could gain a fortune by prayer would you not pray? or health-would you not pray? But what are these to mercy and grace ? These comprise every other blessing—and nothing else can be a blessing without them.
Or, do you imagine they are not to be gained ? There is no ground for such despair. Hc" waiteth to be gracious, and is exalted to have mercy. Come, for all things are now ready.” None are excluded; all are welcome-yet if one class of petitioners could be more welcome, and successful than another it would be the young. “I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me."
SUMMER AND HARVEST.
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son ; but he that
sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.-Prov. x. 5.
What a scene of desolation was presented to the eye of Noah, when he opened the door of the ark. No human face appeared. The earth was stripped of all its beauty; and no trees, no plants, no grass were to be seen. The effects of the deluge were everywhere awfully visible; and every cloud, every wind, excited alarm. In this condition he offered a sacrifice. God accepted it-and to dissipate his fears, and to draw forth his confidence, he said, “ While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.”
Each of these periods is not only useful, but instructive. We cheerfully part with the dreary hours of winter, to embrace the reviving spring ; and as readily resign the growing hours of spring to welcome in the joyful harvest. When under Divine Providence this season arrives, “the year is crowned with his goodness ;—the earth is full of his riches ;'-—and the husbandman is called forth to secure the golden produce. He is reasonably expected to make every earthly concern give place to this, and to exert all his diligence to improve the short but all-important period. Hence, the reflection of Solomon: “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in