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dom? Are you disheartened ? The remedy—the way to brighter days to all desirable success, is before you. Pray more. Do you say that you have prayed-and prayed more? Well, pray more still : pray on: pray always, and never faint.
Are you a professor of the gospel, and is the church around you asleep?mare sinners descending the broad way? What shall you do? Why, pray; pray, and pray again, and keep on praying; and, in every succeeding interview with God, be more importunate.
Are you a parent, and have you children, without God, and without hope in the world? Does their conduct grieve you? Do their prospects alarm you? May be, you have warned them; plead with them; prayed for them. And, now, what more can you do? What more? Let me ask, Have you prayed as much as you are able ? offer another prayer? Can you not pray, yet more fervently? -a little more, than you have ever yet done? Until you have done all these, despair not. Pray on, till God himselt bids you pray no more; but while the words of Jesus stand unrevoked, "men should always pray, and never faint," the warrant is good and the prospect fair.
When I hear good men say, that they can do no more, I am reminded of the story of Robert Bruce and the spider. Like a true patriot, he had espoused the cause of his country; and, in defence of her liberties, had exerted himself, as he thought, to the utmost. At a certain time, sunken and dejected, he took refuge for the night in a barn. Sleep forsook him. In a feverish and restless state, he lay till morning, reflecting on the course which he should pursue. The cause of the patriots was becoming desperate; it was already so. And what more could he do for his oppressed and bleeding country? While he lay distressed by this conflict of feeling, his attention was attracted to a spider, which was attempting to pass from one beam to another. But she fell
Presently she was again ascending; and on reaching the same spot, again she fell. On the third, fourth, fifth trial, she was equally unsuccessful. But she seemed in no wise discouraged; but intent and determined. Bruce had counted the nineteenth time: all ineffectual. The movements of the spider were evidently less vigorous. She appeared weary, but still bent on accomplishing her purpose. Once more, therefore, she ascended; her pace slower; her step faltering. She reached the important gap; she seemed to gird herself up to a final, desperate effort; she gave one more leap: it was the twentieth, but that twentieth was successful.
The spider was unconsciously reading a lesson of vast importance to the recumbent Scottish patriot; nor did she inculcate that lesson in vain. Bruce was roused. More might be done. The fortunes of his country, desperate as they seemed, might be retrieved. He rose, more invigorated than if he had slept the entire night. He sallied forth; sought out his few and dispirited followers; and, putting himself once more at their head, fought and won the celebrated battle of Bannockburn, which gave independence to Scotland and a crown of glory to Bruce.
Years have passed since I read this story; but I relate it, I believe, substantially correct. And what a lesson it inculcates! How many, like Bruce, might be taught by an humble insect! The truth is, we should never despair, in regard to our success in a good enterprise. Never ? This is strong language; perhaps too strong : but we should be willing to labor, while the last ray of day lasts, and even until every appearance of twilight has departed. In respect to prayer for any good object, I know not when we should rest. Certainly never, until the power of prayer is exhausted, or until God so ptainly manifests his will, not to grant a favorable answer, that further supplication would seem to be forbidden. It is granted, that God may so clearly indicate his pleasure, that we should cease after a single supplication. Christ con
fined himself to a repetition of his prayer in the garden three times : Paul did the same, in respect to a removal of the “thorn in the flesh.” But they ceased only when they were satisfied of the divine will. At that point, we may also well cease to pray: but until we are satisfied of this, let us not 6 faint.” Pray on.
will -yea, nineteen times—and if you stop there, you fail. Pray the twentieth time; and that last-most fervent-most believing—most faithful prayer, is the one which serves to move the muscles of Omnipotence” in your behalf; and, when they move, the blessing comes.
pray ten, fifteen
Then earnest let us be,
And never faint in prayer;
And makes our cause his care:
THE PHARISEE AND PUBLICAN.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be mer. ciful to me a sinner.-Luke xviii. 9-13.
A WRITER has some where remarked, that “humility is the Alpha and Omega of a sinner's faith and a sinner's aopes; the commencing and crowning grace; the all in all of the spirit of Christianity." Just so.
The whole superstruction of hope and holiness rests on humility. “The building itself is a beautiful fabric of humility; and all those ornamental decorations that crown the pillar of the temple,
and on which even the eye of God himself looks with pleasure, are all emblems of humility."
In like manner, the services which are rendered to God from within this building—the prayer, the praise, the homage—if acceptable, must rise from an altar, on which humility has been the first sacrifice. Humility is the courtdress of heaven. Gabriel wears such a dress under his “ garments of praise :" not a saint in the kingdom of God on high but has on this indispensable "wedding garment." How much more becoming the child of God on earth, who every day commits sin enough to banish every angel from the realms of glory!
To intercourse with God, humility is as necessary as holiness was to Adam in the garden of Eden. He remained not one hour in his earthly paradise after that was extinct; and not one moment will God hold fellowship with one who comes not with a broken and contrite heart. To be accepted, he must say, with Jacob: “I am not worthy of the least of all these mercies, and of all the truth which thou hast shewed unto thy servant;" he must say, with David: “Have mercy upon me, O God! according to thy loving kindness, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions ;" he must say, with Ezra : "O God! I am ashared, and blush to lift my face up to thee, O God; for our iniquities are increased over our heads, and our trespass is gone up to the heavens ;" he must say, with Daniel: “O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face: to the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him. Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he has set before us by his servants the prophets ;" he must say, with the publican, smiting upon his breast, “God be merciful to me a sinner."
The design of Jesus Christ, in the parable before us, was to show the necessity of humility, in order to the acceptance of prayer before God.
No arguments would have served to exhibit the truth so clearly, or to have impressed it so forcibly, as the picture of the Pharisee and publican, which Christ has here drawn. We see, at
glance, the character of the two men, and the essential difference in the nature and foundation of their worship. In the one case, there is humility and repentance; in the other, nothing but pride and ostentation. No one, who has read the account of these two men, ever, for one moment, saw a single reason why the Pharisee should be. accepted, or a single reason why the publican should not be accepted.
If it be urged, in behalf of the Pharisee, that, in praying, he was discharging a duty, it is granted. But, beyond this, what is there to recommend him? What merit attaches to him, who, acknowledging the duty of aiding the poor, carries them nothing but the chaff of his wheat, or the husks of his corn? To what reception is he entitled from a pure and holy God, who comes only in the spirit of self-glorification ? His object is not to honor God, but to honor himself; not to express his sense of dependence, but to magnify his deeds ; not to bewail his sins, but to boast of his worthiness. “The foundation of prayer,” says Paley, “in all cases, is a sense of want. No man prays in earnest, or to any purpose,
for what he does not feel that he wants.” But the Pharisee expresses not a single want. No! not he. He comes to God, to inform him how very good he is, and what very good works he has done! how beautifully his character and actions contrast with those of others!
We perceive not one element of prayer in all this array of devotion; while his pride, ostentation, and hypocrisy stand out in all their odiousness and depravity. He does, indeed, give thanks to God that he is not as other men are ; but he does not add, with Paul, “ By the grace of God I am what I am.” No; the grace of God had had no concern in making him to differ from others. If he could claim the