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more ready to hear than we to pray. But He has his own reasons for delaying the fulfilment; and as the command is to "pray without ceasing,” so none but importunate prayer will succeed. It is remarkable, that this incident, which is a practical illustration of the necessity of such a principle, follows so closely upon the parable of the unjust judge. Our Lord taught by lessons of example as well as by precept. The former are best suited to simple minds, and as the old prophets instructed the people by signs, so our blessed Saviour represents to His children the principles of His system in the history of his life.

I'll go to Jesus, though my sin

Hath like a mountain rose;
I know His courts, I 'll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.
Prostrate I 'll lie before His throne,

And there my guilt confess;
I'll tell Him I'm a wretch undone,

Without His sovereign grace.
Perhaps He will admit my plea,

Perhaps will hear my prayer ;
But if I perish, I will pray,

And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go;

I am resolved to try;
For if I turn away, I know

I must for ever die.

The First Day of Lent,

COMMONLY CALLED ASH WEDNESDAY.

THE COLLECT.

tent;

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are peni

Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE EPISTLE.

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Turn ye even unto Me, saith the Lord, with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning : And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.—JOEL ii. 12, 13.

THE Lord not only

invites

, Ho persuades us to repent

ance. He argues from His own attributes; His nature and longsuffering—sound conclusions which he who acts upon need not be ashamed. Away, ye counsellors of despair! Penitence alone remains for man. The best can do no more; the worst are not excluded from it. Let him who is without sin throw a stone at the rest. O my God! my soul is disquieted within me. What is done cannot be undone. I cannot redeem the past. Thou hast written it in Thy book, and kept it in heaven ; and the lines which Thou hast written, time will not rub out. I acknowledge my transgressions, and my

sin is ever before me. “ The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” If my repentance will not atone to Thee, it will prove to me the sincerity of my profession, and the resolution of my faith in Christ. What is this but living faith } This differences the true and spurious Christian. And for whom hath He suffered, but for those who believe in Him ? and for those whom He hath suffered, what hath He done? He hath blotted out “the handwriting of ordinances that was against them, which was contrary to them, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

THE GOSPEL.

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance : for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast.MATT. vi. 16.

THERE

NHERE are some men naturally of a grave and sombre

aspect. They cannot be said to be so, in order that “they may appear unto men” to be something sanctified, because they would be so, whether they attached any value to a reputation for sanctity or not. These, therefore, do not come under the reproof of the text, which canvasses not the deed but the motive which dictates it. But if the letter does not apply here, the spirit will elsewhere, in instances which come not particularly under the head of fasting or abstinence. The principle of the charge evidently is, not to affect the grave aspect which recommends itself to many as the evidence of piety, in order to compass such an end. Yet how many, by peculiarities of dress, language, phraseology, and details, angle for the reputation of superior piety. Let our language be like the language of other men, our dress like theirs, our conversation and deportment free from singularity. Let us anoint our heads, and wash our faces, that we appear not unto men to be pious ; but “unto our Father which is in secret,” who will not fail to reward us openly.

The solemn season calls us now

A holy fast to keep:
And see within the temple how

Both priest and people weep.

But come not thou with tears alone,

Or outward form of prayer; But let it in thy heart be known

That penitence is there.

Thy breast to beat, thy clothes to rend,

God asketh not of thee; Thy stubborn soul He bids thee bend

In true humility.

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