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be no longer any ground for complaint ; the latter would find nothing to attach upon. But if, in spite of all its justice and forbearance, the violence of some neighbouring State should force it to resist an unprovoked attack (for hostilities strictly defensive are those only in which it would be engaged), its domestic union would double its national force ; while the consciousness of a good cause, and of the general favour of heaven, would invigorate its arm, and inspirit its effort.
XVI.-PRAYER.-ELIJAH ON MOUNT CARMEL. WHEN Ahab was gone, Elijah went up to the top of Carmel ; in spirit, however, we find him descending into the valley of humiliation. On Carmel's summit, where all was calm and still as in a solitary closet, no unbidden guests followed him ; there he could converse uninterruptedly with the Lord. On the top of Carmel too, he could the sooner perceive if his prayer was heard, and He stood there as on a lofty watch-tower, from whence he could widely survey both sea and land. However, he does not seem to have made use of his commanding view ; for on reaching the summit, he kneels down, and in this posture he begins to address the Lord, and to pray for rain. Behold him! Would it be supposedl that this is the man, who a short time before, stood upon Carmel as a vicegerent of God, seemingly empowered with a command over the elements? Yet he now humbles himself in the dust, under the feeling of his own poverty and weakness. What does his whole demeanour express but abasement, and consciousness of his littleness and unworthiness? But it was the will of God that we should for once behold his great prophet in such a situation, and overhear him in his closet, in order to teach us where his strength really lay ; to show us that it has been God's rule from ancient times to work with weak instruments, and to do wonders by bruised reeds, in order that we might see whence even an Elijah derived his greatness ; and not be tempted to place the honour and glory upon the head of man, instead of laying it at the feet of him to whom it belongs, and that we might feel the force of that encouraging sentence of the Apostle James
“ Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” When Elijah stood before the people, he was God's ambassador, and as such, had to speak and to act in virtue of his high commission ; but when he stood before God, he was a poor sinner and a worm, who was only able to live by mercy, and had nothing to demand, but every thing to beg at a throne of grace. On the summit of Carmel the feeling of his unworthiness seems to have quite overwhelmed him. How could it be otherwise, when he looked back upon the events of that day, and upon the whole course of his life to that moment? What success had been granted him in the fulfilment of his desires and prayers ? What succour, what preservation, what answers had he experienced ? and who was he? We hardly dare to say it; but he will have it confessed before God and man, how unworthy he is of the least of all these mercies; how much he regards himself as the chief of sinners. And in this consciousness he appears before the Lord entreating again a new wonder, although the altar is still smoking from the fiery testimonies which the Lord at his request had so recently given.
When Elijah had wrestled awhile with God in the depth of self-abasement and poverty of spirit, in a manner which perhaps few of us know from experience
for all believers do not tread in a path of such a deep and thorough humiliation—he said unto his servant, “Go up now," that is, to the declivity of the mountain, “and look towards the sea !” He placed him, as it were, on the watch-tower, to look out and inform him when his prayer was beginning to be answered, by a sign of rain becoming visible in the distant horizon ; for he was certain of a favourable answer in faith on the word and truth of him who had said to him at Zarephath, “ Go show thyself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth!” The servant went, looked out in the distance, and cast his eyes about on all sides; but the sky was clear as crystal—not a cloud to be seen. He came back and said, “I see nothing." But it is a matter of daily experience, that help does not appear at the first cry, nor is the harvest reaped the moment after the sowing time of prayer. This is certainly not agreeable to flesh and blood; but, spiritually considered, it is very salutary. What would be the consequence, if God's treasures were always opened to us at our first knocking ? Should we not seem to be rulers and commanders in the city of God, and forget our dependant condition? Should we ulot be in danger of making an idol of our prayer, as the Israelites made of the brazen serpent, and think it is our prayer that effects all ; that in it we possess a socret charm, a divining rod, or a legal claim upon the bounty of God? We should soon become self-sufficient. Therefore our gracious God does not always appear to hearken to the first cry: but lets us generally stand awhile at the door, so that once and again we are obliged to say, “ I see nothing.” We ought then to reflect a little, and become deeply conscious that we have, in reality, nothing to claim, but that all is mere unmerited favour. If we make our first approach to his footstool in the character of just persons, he keeps us back until we feel that we are poor sinners, unworthy petitioners ; and are ready to say, “ Truth, Lord : yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” Such is the method.
“ There is nothing,” said the servant. But our praying Elijah does not despair. The reason why we generally so easily grow weary and so soon cease from praying is, because we are not sufficiently in earnest for the blessing we implore. This, however, was not the case with Elijah. He therefore bids the servant, “Go again seven times.” But why precisely seven times? Does it only mean several times, or is there here any particular emphasis in the number seven? And why was the servant to go thus again and again? What would it avail him to hear every time, “ There is nothing ?” Doubtless it stimulated the prophet's ardour; it animated him to wrestle the more earnestly with God; it made him still less and less in his own eyes, and drew forth deeper and deeper sighs from his contrite soul. How would his fervour in prayer thus augment from one minute to another. To obtain a speedy hearing is much more agreeable to our natural feelings, but waiting long is far more beneficial for us. These are the most blessed spots on the face of the earth where prayer is wont to be made with the greatest fervency and perseverance. During this process of persevering prayer, our corrupt nature receives. the most deadly blows; then is the heart thoroughly broken up, and prepared for the good seed of the word; the remains of self love are demolished; the chambers of imagery are cleansed; the foundation of truth in the soul is laid deep; and when at length the answer comes, how great is the joy?
XVII.-NOTES ON THE FESTIVALS OF THE JEWS. THE Jewish Sabbath began at sunset on Friday and ended at sunset on Saturday ;-“ From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbaths.”
The Passover, or the feast of unleavened bread, was instituted to commemorate the deliverance of the children of Israel from the tyranny of Egypt.
Pentecost, or the feast of Weeks, was an annual offering to Jehovah, for having blessed the land with increase. It also commemorated the giving of the law from Mount Sinai, fifty days after the departure from Egypt. It took place in May, the time of harvest in that country.
The Feast of Tabernacles was instituted to remind them that they had dwelt in tents in the wilderness.
The feast of Trumpets. The beginning of every month was made known to the inhabitants of Jerusalem by the sound of musical instruments; but the great festival was the first day of the moon in September, the beginning of
the civil year.
The JUBILEE was held every fiftieth year, in which the prisoners were set free, and every man restored to his inheritance.
1.-IRRESOLUTION. IRRESOLUTION on the schemes of life which offer themselves to our choice, and inconstancy in pursuing them, are the greatest and most universal causes of all our disquiet and unhappiness. When ambition pulls one way, interest another, inclination a third, and perhaps reason contrary to all, a man is likely to pass his time but ill who has so many different parties to please. When the mind hovers among such a variety of allurements, one had better settle on a way of life that is not the very best we might have chosen, than grow old without determining our choice, and go out of the world as the greatest part of mankind do, before we have resolved how to live in it. There is but one method of setting ourselves at rest in this particular, and that is, by adhering steadfastly to one great end as the chief and ultimate aim of all our pursuits. If we are firmly resolved to live up to the dictates of reason, without any regard to wealth, reputation, or the like considerations, any more than as they fall in with our principal designs, we may go through life with steadiness and pleasure ; but if we act by several broken views, and will not only be virtuous, but wealthy, popular, and every thing that has a value set upon it by the world, we shall live and die in misery and repentance.
One should take more than ordinary care to guard one's self against this particular imperfection, because it is that which our nature very strongly inelines us to ; for if we examine ourselves thoroughly, we shall find that we are the most changeable beings in the universe. In respect to our understandings, we often embrace and re