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the synagogue were fastened on him.”— But instead of excitement, the calm tranquillity of his soul is told in the simple expression of the evangelist more than it could in the most artificially and exquisitely contrived human composition" he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister." These are instances of that tranquillity, which is the very life and soul of religion, and therefore we are directed to seek to have our closets for prayer.
But some will say, that they are so circumstanced, that they have no privacy in retirement, in which they can pray. But every person can make a closet of his heart, every man can find that retirement from the world, and privacy for God, which men are vainly seeking for in wildernesses and in cloisters, "thou shalt hide them privily by thine own presence from the provoking of all men, thou shalt keep them secretly in thy tabernacle from the strife of tongues." Yes, the felt presence of God is in itself that solitude, that deep retreat and retirement from the world, which those who have found out God alone can know; and thus it is, that the heart may be made the closet to which we may retire, and this we may carry with us wherever we go. We may carry it with us into the fields, as Isaac did when he went to meditate at eventide we can carry it with us into the deep solitudes of the mountains-we can carry it with us into the crowded walks and avenues of society, and there we can find, in God's presence, in the interior of our own souls, a temple of prayer, calm and tranquil amidst the storms and tempests of life.
But in order that we may be able thus to pray, we must remember in our lives, that seasons of prayer are coming round. Unless we live in a state suitable to praye
our prayer is a mere deception on ourselves. We must, in the first place, if we would pray acceptably to God, we must forgive, we must pass over, we must obliterate from the mind, we must forget, as to every thing of practical remembrance, every unkindness and every injury that we have received. If we would come into the presence of God in prayer, we must be able to lift up our eyes to him, and call him to witness, that there is not one fellow creature on earth, that, if we had our wish and will, we would not desire that God would give every temporal blessing to, that may be consistent with his eternal interests.— And we must have no guile. Nathaniel when he offered up that prayer under the fig tree, presented a sincere heart to God,
he had doubtless his sins to repent of, his infirmity and his short comings, but his heart must have been right with God, he could have no sins of unfaithfulness, or he could not have uplifted that prayer to God.
Our Lord directs us, when we enter into our closets; (for if places of retirement we have, we ought to use them) he directs us to "shut the door," and this may remind us of Isaiah xxvi. 20, “come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee, hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
"When thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” The term "Father” implies, as it were, the familiarity of home. God, considered as a Sovereign and as the Supreme Majesty, is at an infinite distance from us; and to offer him worship, suitable to that High and Holy One that inhabiteth eternity, would imply that all the riches of the earth, the gold of Arabia and Seba, that
all should be brought as an offeriug, in order to erect a temple suitable to the Lord, or to fit it up and establish it in such a manner as to be suitable to his service. But God, considered as a Father, may be approached with all the ease, and all the familiarity that men feel at home. When persons of a timid and retired spirit have been, perhaps from the duties of their station, forced into public scenes where all is formality, and, if the station be high, all is grandeur, when they return to the bosom of their home, and feel the ease and the comfort that sur
way, it should by no means be considered but that regular and stated rules should be adopted and adhered to, that we should, at stated times, morning and evening, and as often more as we find it expedient, and that we have opportunity, kneel down and offer positive prayer unto the Lord, so that one species of devotion should not interfere with the other.
round them there, true lovers of home can best describe the contrast of which they are sensible. And thus it is, that that great and glorious Being that sits on the circle of the heavens, and looks from eternity to eternity, and whose will is the law of the universe, condescends to invite us into the retirement of our closets, that we may there, in the most easy posture of the mind, at perfect rest, without any distressing form, pour out the whole weight of our sorrows, or tell out the deep gratitude of our hearts into the ear of that heavenly Father. Some persons have experienced, that there is no time at which they can lift up their thoughts and hearts to God better, than when, in the stillness and darkness and solitude of the night, they lie upon their beds. I have known a person of great piety, and great elevation of character, who said, "when after the business of the day, and when all the household, except myself, had gone to rest, and I go the last of all, and lay myself down on my bed, there is a luxurious peace, a sense of all absence of interruption-there is a calm and stillness of the soul that seems to pass insensibly into my prayer."
The last clause in this verse is, "that thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Yes, such is the nature, and mind, and character of God, that he not only allows us a promise to approach him, in all the familiarity of worship that implies the address of a child to a parent, but that he also says he will reward us as if there was a kind of merit in asking God for all that Omnipotence can pour on us; and this reward he will administer openly, he will do it before assembled men and angels: he will do it in the open day light of eternity. So, a marvellous change will come-and those prayers which we sought the privacy of the closet, or the privacy of our own hearts to offer up unto the Lord, these will come forth-the remembrance of these will be brought out before the assembled society of celestial orders. 'behold I create," saith the Lord, "all things new," -a marvellous change will come-when this invisibility in which the believer's life is hid with Christ in God, will put on visibility, and when "that which was spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed on the battlements of heaven." When we hear of some triumphant march for some distinguished military character, there is something in our nature that responds to it, there is an excitement, which implies nothing wrong-it is part of man's nature to feel, that displays of But still, though I have spoken in this that kind are exciting and stirring to his
revealed to the soul-when we hear the celestial harp struck, and the choir of cherubim and crowds of angels join to celebrate the praises of some one distinguished in the kingdom of heaven;will it be because that he has slain his thousands and ten thousands in war?No, it will be, perhaps, because he has borne some affliction with patience, because he has endured wrong and injury without returning it, because that he has kept the secrets of his spiritual prayer for God, and let the world know little of that which passed within his soul, and connected it with high expectations and hopes of glory, these triumphal songs will be sung for one who has overcome evil with good.
mind, but when the true glory has been | love of distinction will then be fully gratified, aye, all the high ambitions of the human soul will be found corresponding to their lawful wishes-crowns of glory, sceptres of righteousness, taking a place at the head of ten cities-these are the objects that the scriptures hold forth to win the heart from this low earth, and to draw up all that is high and lofty in man, to these objects for which he was created and made.
Oh, what a change will then have taken place!—when humility, gentleness, innocence, meekness-when these are the ornaments which shine forth and adorn those who are in the society of the blessed, and in the assembly of the saints of God. There is in the human mind, a love of distinction, there is a love of being remarkable- and these are not wrong in themselves they are only wrong when they are set on cheating us. But this
May God inspire every soul here present with this love for glory,—may the Spirit from on high descend into each soul, and give some foretaste of that which is the inheritance of all those who lay hold on the salvation that is freely offered—an inheritance reserved for them in heaven.
Yes, "lift up your hearts," and may every soul here reply, "we lift them up unto the Lord." Lift them up to the hills whence cometh your help-open, open every wish, let loose every desire of the soul for glory, honor, and immortality, and they will be fully gratified; for "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man to conceive, those things which God hath prepared for them that love him."
JESUS CHRIST A GRACIOUS SAVIOUR.
PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF DELGANY,
ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 19TH, 1840,
BY THE REV. WILLIAM EDWIN ORMSBY, A.M.
LUKE viii. 48.
"And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."
THE circumstances connected with this | that she had, and was nothing bettered interesting and affecting narrative are but rather grew worse." This was her well known to you, my brethren; and trial, severe, protracted, and obstinate yet not so well known or so often read, bodily suffering. Severe—as rendering but that they may be read again and the patient ceremonially unclean; proagain with interest and profit, if accom- tracted-it was for twelve years; obstinate panied by the Holy Spirit's teaching. Vouchsafe to us, O God, the teaching of the Holy Spirit this day through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me
"she was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse." How often may she have cried out in her sufferings, "Lord, how long ?" Is any grief like mine? And
1st. Very briefly allude to the narrative yet, my brethren, there was special mercy in her trial: it was well for her it
2d. Dwell more at length on the spiritual was so severe, so protracted, and so obapplication of it. stinate; had it been less So, she might have been healed of another physician, and never have come to the Good Physician-the delay was gracious.
Verse 44," she came behind him," to steal, as it were, a cure: she little thought, (though she did know something of Jesus) that he knew her downsitting and her uprising, that he understood her thoughts afar off, that he beset her behind and before, and laid his hand upon her.” "She touched the border of his garment." How came she to venture to approach Jesus? Perhaps she had heard him say,
come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden," and thought, "surely I am one of them." In St. Mark, verse 27, we read, “when she had heard of Jesus." Perhaps it was from others she heard of the gracious words which came from his lips: however this was, she certainly heard either from him or of him, what encouraged her to go to him.
I. The miracle to which my text refers, is recorded in three of the Gospels with but little variety of detail; it is more fully told in St. Luke than in St. Matthew, and not so fully in St. Luke as in St. Mark.
We read in the end of verse 42, "as he went, the people thronged him," that is, as he went to the ruler's house. This may teach us that we should ever be seeking opportunities to do good, whether "we walk by the way or sit in the house," after His example who "went about doing good."
Verse 43 states the nature of the trial which brought the sufferer to the Saviour—“ And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any." Compare St. Mark, v. 26—“ had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all
But remark the faith of this poor woman. We have her own words recorded, Mark v. 28, "if I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole." Oh, woman, may we not say GREAT was thy faith. This single act showed her faith in Jesus as God. She trusted in his power as above man's, as superior to that of all she had consulted before. They had had every opportunity of examining the case, of varying the remedies, of consulting together; but He had none, and yet she felt that a single touch, not of himself, but of his garment, nay, the border of his garment, would heal in a moment what their united skill for twelve years had failed to remove. And so it was, for we read " immediately her issue of blood stanched;" she became perfectly well in an instant; Jesus Christ was a sure refuge, although the last, "as for God, his work is perfect."
Verse 46," And Jesus said, somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." So it is, my brethren, secret faith is as well known to Jesus as secret sin. Many a soul is known to Jesus, which seems to be hidden in a crowd. Saul of Tarsus was known, when in secret he retired to pray immediately after his conversion, "behold," said the Lord of him to Ananias, "behold he prayeth." Nathaniel was known to Jesus when he too retired (probably to meditate on the word), "before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee." Yes, and if on entering this church, a prayer of faith was offered up in that important moment before service begins, by any here assembled, for a blessing on the word—that prayer was heard-Jesus knows it. Yes, and if in the poorest cottage there be one who, though "poor in this world, is rich in faith," Jesus knows such a one; and if in our crowded schools, there be one Ichild whose heart has been drawn to Jesus, and one who trusts in his atoning sacrifice as his or her only hope, that Ichild is known to Jesus. In all these cases, as well as in that before us, Jesus perceives that virtue is gone out of him
to that soul.
The remaining two verses contain the
The trial would have
Let us now come to consider
II. The spiritual application of all this. There is a striking parallel between her case and ours; and it is surely recorded for our instruction, not only that we may admire the Lord's dealings to her, but come to the same Saviour for ourselves. Of Abel we read, "he, being dead, yet speaketh." So of this woman it may be said, she speaketh to us of Jesus, and seems to say to every one in this assembly, "O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in him."
1. The first point that I would refer