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tears; but, after all, there is no eloquence so effective as that of a pure, upright, consistent life. It shames thé accusers of our holy faith ; it puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and often constrains them, by the good Wirks which they behold, to glorify God in the day of visitation.
Christian ! let it be your earnest prayer and daily endeavour to be kept from dishonouring that worthy name by which you are called. Prefer, a thousand times over, to suffer for Christ rather than that He should suffer by you. Recommend the doctrine of God your Saviour, not in some, but in all things. Recommend it by the purity of your conversation, by the blamelessness of your life, by the integrity of your dealings, by your abhorrence of all that is mean and unmanly. Recommend it in the various conditions in which you may be placed-in prosperity and adversity, in obscurity and eminence, in health and sickness, in joy and sorrow, in youth and age, in life and death. Let there be nothing wanting that will contribute to the completeness of your religious character, but seek that every grace may be in you and abound more and more.
Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity; you will thus be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
17th Day. “And he spake a parable unto them to this
end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint."-Luke xviii. 1. Persevering The success which at
tended the importunity Supplicatian. and perseverance of the poor widow, whose case is here referred to, should stimulate and encourage us in our approaches to the Divine footstool. The person whom she addressed was an unjust and hard-hearted judge; but He with whom we have to do is very pitiful and of tender mercy, being more ready to hear than we are to pray, and is wont to give not merely more than we deserve, but exceeding abundantly above all we can solicit or desire.
It must, however, be remembered that the prayer which God honours, and in answer to which He bestows His promised blessings, is heart-felt, fervent, wrestling prayer. Such was the prayer of Jacob on the memorable night which preceded his interview with his brother E-au. “ And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” He was blessed: as a prince he had power with God and prevailed. O Christian ! aspire after his spirit, that thou mayest meet with his success. Our formal petitions are altogether unavailing; but the fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much. It is not the prayer that is lifeless and lukewarm, but
“Prayer ardent opens heaven,
In audience with the Deity.” O what losers are we in consequence of not possessing more of such a spirit ! It is for want of it that in affliction we are not consoled—that in perplexity we are not directed—that in temptation we are not preserved. It is for want it that we are barren when we might abound in all the fruits of righteousness —that we are indigent when we might have been rich in faith—that we are such dwarfs when we might have been spiritual giants. We have not, because we ask not, or because we ask amiss ; and we certainly ask amiss if we ask in that spirit of coldness and indifference which is so common.
But to earnestness we must add perseverance. The question is asked concerning certain formalists, – “Will they always call upon God ?”– a question which implies that their zeal and importunity will soon pass away. It is not sufficient for us to be anxious and earnest for a time, but we must hold on until we obtain the blessing. Our fervour must not be like a mere blaze of straw; it should rather resemble the sacred flame on the Jewish altar, which, kindled by the breath of heaven, never went out. O reader! beware of restraining prayer before God; but seek, in giving thyself to this sacred exercise, to do so with importunity on the one hand, and with perseverance on the other.