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PRIVATE PRAYER ENFORCED BY THE EXAMPLE
OF CHRIST. In illustrating this subject it will perform was most arduous : he had to be necessary to bring before the read. endure the contradiction of sinners er the scattered statements found in against himself, to fulfil the law which the holy Scriptures respecting the they had broken, to resist all the inprayers of Christ, especially the pray- | fernal suggestions of the apostate ers offered in retirement. To obviate spirit, and, at last, in obedience to the misconception, it should be observed will of the Father, to give his life a that it was the human nature of our ransom for many. The man Christ Lord that needed the support and Jesus,' needed strength from his Faconsolation obtained by prayer. Hether for all this. had no taint of original depravity to The prophetic page, it may be obdeplore: he had no actual transgres. served, describes the great Messiah as sion with sorrow and tears to confess; the chosen and beloved servant of nor was it possible that the proud and Jehovah, sustained and upheld by mighty foe who sought to overcome him,* so that, arduous as was his the second Adam as he had done the work, he should not fail nor be disfirst, should accomplish his dark de- couraged.'•Behold my servant, whom signs: still, in other respects, our I uphold ; mine elect in whom my Lord needed, and obtained help and soul delighteth; I have put my spirit comfort from on high. The work upon him.”—Isa. xlii. 1 and 4. We which the Father had sent him to may therefore, reverently believe that
* It is sometimes represented that the | as from what is recorded of his prayers. divine nature of our Lord sustained the hu That the Spirit was his guide in all he did man during the period of suffering; and is manifestly suggested, if indeed, I may Watts, a name to be greatly venerated, not say undeniably proved, by such texts as though not implicitly followed, says, Isaiah xi. 2.- And the spirit of the Lord But the divinity within,
shall rest upon him ;' lxi. 1,—The spirit Supported him to bear:
of the Lord God is upon me;' Matt. iv. 1,-But I do not find such language used in • Lead up of the Spirit into the wilderness;' the Word of God; and therefore as firmly Mark i. 12,— The Spirit driveth him into as I believe the important doctrine of the the wilderness'-a phrase expressive, not of Godhead of Christ, I contend that we ought violence, but of the energy of the impulse; on all sacred subjects to speak in the Matt. xii. 28,- If I cast out devils by the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth. It spirit of God; Acts x. 38,– How God appears clearly intimated in Scripture that anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy our Lord, while upon earth, was sustained Ghost;' Heb. ix. 14,— Who, through the by the Father, and guided by the Spirit. Eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot That the Father was his protector appears to God;' 1 Peter iii. 18,— Quickened by clear from Isa. xlii. 1, xlix. 8, &c., as well the Spirit.' VOL. 13.-N. S.
the Lord in his retired hours fervently thee: and I will preserye thee' was supplicated that divine support, and the language of Jehovah to his bethose spiritual influences which the loved Son. Isa. xlix. 8. Father, by the mouth of his hols! But we are not left on this subject prophets' had promised to impart; to deductions, however well sustained, nor were his supplications in vain. from the prophetic page. Much direct • The Spirit of the Lord God was information is contained in the gosupon him.' 'God gave not the Spirit pels, especially in the gospel of St. by measure unto him.' Other inspired Luke. The baptismal day of Christ predictions of the promised Redeemer was marked by the exercises of devorepresent him as suffering intense tion. Ascending the banks of the anguish of spirit, and crying mightily Jordan, in whose waters he had been to God for succour. In the Psalms baptized, while he was 'praying, the which testify of Christ, we meet with heaven was opened, and the Holy such pleading and supplication as Ghost descended in a bodily shape the following :- O my God, I cry like a dove upon him, and a voice in the day time, and thou hearest not, came from heaven which said, “Thou and in the night season, and am not art my beloved Son: in thee I am silent. Be not far from me, O Lord; / well pleased.' After his baptism he O my strength, haste thee to help me. entered on his public ministry, and Save me from the lion's mouth. Save prayer sanctified all that he did. The me, O God; for the waters are come following verse furnishes impressive in unto my soul. As for me, my evidence of his devotional fervour :'prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an · And in the morning, rising up a acceptable time. O God, in the mul. great while before day, he went out, titude of thy mercy hear me. Hide and departed into a solitary place and not thy face from thy servant, for I there prayed.' By examining the am in trouble : hear me speedily.'- context we see that this took place Psa. xxii. 2, 19, 21, xix. 1, 13, 17. | after the Sabbath: the day of holy Such supplications would appear emi. rest had been spent in works of mercy, nently suitable for the Man of sorrows in healing the bodies, and instructing during the brief and troubled period of the souls of men : he was about to his sojourn in mortal flesh. We are go over Galilee on the same benevoassured that the Father always heard lent errand, and he entered on the him; and the page of prophecy re- important work with prayer - leavcords the answer of the Father as welling us in this respect an example as the pleadings of the suppliant. 'In that we should follow his steps. 'A an acceptable time bave I heard thee; great while before day'-ere the and in a day of salvation have I helped darkness of the night had passed, or
+ The opinion of many that such Psalms David speaketh concerning um "He, as the 16th, the 22nd, the 69th, and the seeing this before, spake of the resurrec109th, are to be regarded first as the lan- tion of Carist' (not of his own). Another guage of David, and then as a prediction of inspired apostle establishes the same view. Christ appears to me (at least in relation to Acts xiii. 35-37. It may also with prothese Psalms) wholly wanting in proof. priety be asked, where is the evidence that The translators in the heading to the David's hands and feet were pierced ? or, Psalms, following earlier translators, have that his persecutors parted his garments spoken of the language as David's com- among them, and cast lots upon his vesture ? plaint, or prayer, or praise, or hope, but I or that they gave him gall for his meat, cannot subscribe to this opinion. Taking and, in his thirst vinegar to drink? God the 16th Psalm as an example, where is the by the mouth of his servant David spake evidence that from verses 8 to 11 David these things concerning Christ, and, in my speaks concerning himself? The exposi- judgment, concerning him only. tion of an inspired apostle ought to set the question at rest for ever. Acts ii. 25- 34,
Luke iii, 21, 22.
the starry host had given place to , guage to Peter. That prayer appears the bright orb of day, while the busy to have been offered in secret. multitudes were enjoying undisturb. The melting scene which was exed slumbers, he rose, retired to a hibited in Gethsemane must not be distance from the abodes of men, and overlooked in these lines ; and in refervently sought the blessing of Him lation to this, Heb. v. 7, may with whom he always honoured. In ano. propriety be cited—a text which apther place it is said, “It came to pass plies specially, though by no means in those days that he went out into exclusively, to the agonizing conflict a mountain to pray, and continued in the garden. “Who in the days of all night in prayer to God ?'
his flesh, when he had offered up Cold mountains, and the midnight air, prayers and supplications with strong Witnessed the fervour of his prayer.' crying and tears, unto him that was
His apostles, we may believe, large- able to save him from death, and was ly shared in the protracted petitions | heard in that he feared. Let the offered on this interesting occasion, reader especially mark that the devofor it is added, and when it was tion of Gethsemane was solitary deday he called unto him his disciples : votion : the agony of the garden was and of them he chose twelve, whom solitary agony. Entering on this also, he named apostles.' How often last scene of suffering, he said to the he retired for meditation and prayer disciples, 'Sit ye here, while I go and to the mountains near the sea of pray yonder.' Only the three faGalilee! After feeding the multitude voured disciples were allowed to be with five loaves and two fishes, “ He with him, and when prayer was offerwent up into a mountain apart to ed he went to a distance even from pray, and when the evening was | them. “He went a little further, come, he was there alone.'* Very and fell on his face, and prayed, precious to our Lord were these sea- saying, O my Father, if it be possisons of retirement. It is said in ble, let this cup pass from me: another place, “As he was alone nevertheless not as I will, but as thou praying.'t And again, 'He went up wilt.' He returned to his disciples, into a mountain to pray, and as he and after a brief interval, again he prayed the fashion of his counte- | left them for prayer. - He went nance was altered,'&c. He received away again the second time and from God the Father honour and prayed.' Again he returned to the glory while engaged in the solemn disciples and found them asleep. and delightful exercise of prayer. Once more he prayed, and to do so The 17th chapter of John records he withdrew from the disciples. `He his intercessory prayer for his belov. left them and went away again, and ed disciples. How fervently did he prayed the third time;'S and on this pray for the deliverance from evil, occasion, being in an agony, he the sanctification, the unity, and the prayed more earnestly.' Our Surety final glorification of those whom trod the winepress alone, and of the the Father had given him. Nor is people there was none with him. On it less interesting to observe that he the cross he prayed, and with the not only prayed for his disciples in breath of prayer he breathed out his general, but remembered their indi. soul to the Father, — Father, into vidual cases before the Father. I thy hands I commend my spirit: and have prayed for thee,'1 was his lan- having said thus, he gave up the
ghost.'l Christ has in this left us
an example that we should love and cept we obtain strength by prayer. practice prayer as he did.
Let us not forget either that we Let the reader prayerfully ponder cannot discharge relative or public the instruction to be deduced from duties aright unless we are much these remarks. We have much with God in retirement. Reader, need to be alone with God; and it is has God placed you in the conjugal only as we are so that we can expect relation ? Then do you not need a blessing from above on what we grace from on high that you and do. Christian friends : deeply pon- | your endeared associate may in all der this. Look into your own hearts. I things live together as heirs of the How many corruptions to be sub- grace of life-that your prayers be dued! How much pride, passion, not hindered ? Has God made you impurity, unbelief to be mortified ! | a parent-committed to your care nor can you mortify these evil prin- the training of immortal beings, that ciples in your own strength. Look you may restrain their evil propensiat the difficulties in the way to hea. | ties, make suitable provision for ven. Think of the danger from the them as respects the life that now is, wiles of the devil-from the frowns and above all, teach them the things of the world, and forget not the which relate to the life to come? Is greater danger from its bewitching not prayer necessary for wisdom to. smiles. Think of your daily work walk before them with holy consis. to deny self, to take up your cross tency, and to instruct them in the and follow Christ, to love your ene- good way, for patience to bear with mies, to pray for them that despite them, and for firmness to correct fully use you and persecute you, to them? You must feel that in your glorify God in your body and spirit own strength you cannot properly which are his, to do all with an eye discharge so weighty a trust. Again, to Christ. Can you do all this, so has God vouchsafed to you the grace opposed to the natural inclinations of proclaiming to dying men the unof the heart, without help from on searchable riches of Christ? The high? Study the history of ancient example of our Lord conveys most saints. Art thon greater than our important instruction to those of us father Abraham ? He was a man of to whom has been committed the prayer. Art thou greater than our ministry of reconciliation. Our time father Jacob? He wrestled alone must be divided between the mount with the angel, and prevailed. Art and the multitude. When we are thou greater than Israel's sweet | not engaged in speaking for our Mas. singer; or than the prophet, who, ter, we ought to be speaking to him. with the den of lions before him, Let us learn too from the recorded • kneeled on his knees three times a supplications of our Lord to be much day and prayed, and gave thanks in prayer for the glory of God. Christ before his God?' Above all remem- especially sought this in all that he ber—' I give myself unto prayer'- did. “I honour my Father,' was his were your Lord's words. If prayer expressive language; and it was true was so necessary for the Master, can of all his discourses, of all his miracles, it be less so for his feeble servants ? of all his prayers. In all his suppli
Are we stronger than he ?' The cations he referred everything to the thought be far from us. Surely we will of the Father; and in this rescannot mortify the flesh with iis pect, let us be like him. Let the affections and lusts except by much petition which he offered—' Father watchfulness and prayer. We can- glorify thy name,' be often presented not run in the way of God's com. / by us. In short, we would urge its mandments with enlarged hearts, ex. importance on all. To the deacons of our churches I would say: go from lines are entire strangers to the exerthe closet to the church-meeting, cises of experimental piety, and the and to the discharge of all the im- duty which we have seriously urged. portant duties of the office to which is one to which such have the you have been called : you will then strongest repugnance. It is much • use the office of a deacon well,' and easier to hear a sermon, or read a will be blessings to the churches that religious treatise, or attend an excitappointed you, and to the pastors ing religious meeting, than to retire whose helpers you are. On the Sab- for the purpose of self-inspection and bath-school teacher, and on the tract prayer, but it must be done ; and the distributor we would urge the advioe : repugnance which the unsanctified go from retired prayer to meet your heart feels to the exercise, is the class; or to distribute your silent strongest proof that without it the messengers of mercy, and you are sinner will be undone. It has been sure to be rendered a blessing. To elegantly said, “At the day of judgthe private christian in every situa- ment the attention excited by the tion of life we would say; be much surrounding scene, the strange asin secret communion with God: it pect of nature, the dissolution of the is the life of all religion. Keep your elements, and the last trump will heart with all diligence. Pray for have no other effect than to cause more self-knowledge, and let every the reflections of the sinner to return humbling and painful discovery of with a more overwhelming tide on the evil of the heart endear to you his own character, his sentence, his the precious truth- If any man sin, unchanging destiny; and amidst inwe have an advocate with the Father, numerable multitudes that surround Jesus Christ the righteous.' The him, he will mourn apart. expressive language of an old poet* Reader, let your reflections now, is well worthy of being habitually with deepest seriousness and anxiety pondered by us all.
turn on what you are by sin, and on • Christ purged his temple: so must thou
| what you must be for ever if not my heart.
found in Christ. Go and confess All sinful thoughts are thieves together met, your sins to God. Go and thankTo cozen thce.
fully embrace the mercy which is We have all much need to be alone freely offered in Christ to the chief with God for the purpose of serious,
of sinners. Go to your closet to prayerful, searching self-examination. commune with God and your own But, perhaps some who read these heart; and go at once. God meet
with you there. J. BUCKLEY. * Herbert.
Cuttack, June 9, 1851.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES.
(Continued from page 504.) In addition to these quotations, clusive of all questions and controverproving the genuineness and authen- sies amongst christians; and that they ticity of the New Testament Scrip- were distinguished, too, with titles of tures, may be mentioned the fact that peculiar respect and reverence, as they were quoted by the early writers the Holy Scriptures,' 'the Oracles as books possessing an authority which of the Lord,''the Divine Scriptures,' was peculiar to themselves, and as con- the Books of the Spirit,' &c. Proofs