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sistency. No one knows how the Holy Spirit workshow much material influence may be communicated by Him without our feeling or knowing it. Let us, therefore, as we have received how we ought to walk and please God, strive so to "abound more and more,” even though we should not be conscious of any remarkable improvement. For it is always to be hoped that we are acquiring consistency and strength.
“ And, behold, a woman of Canaan,” fc.-MATT. xv. 22.
ANY downcast minds hang heavily over certain
passages of Scripture which seem to wear a gloomy aspect for them. The text squares with them. Could anything be more exclusive than the present sentence ? Composed by the Saviour, and applied to the party who addressed him. So stern a sentence, and so particular an application. Truly, prayer is powerful. There is no scripture which is proof against the passage of prayer, because none is constructed to exclude it, however it may apparently restrain it. He who tried the woman of Canaan by those discouraging words, tries many a doubting soul by texts of stern import which meet the eye, and seem, as with the voice of Christ, to bid the mourner go his way. Strive in humble dependence upon the teaching of the Holy Spirit to unravel its hidden import-prove it with the severity of faith and the consistency of prayer unto Him who has made prayer to be the channel of His grace.
Lie low at His footstool and leave it not until thou hast obtained thy blessing. So shalt thou find those words to be for thee which seemed to be against thee; and that scripture which seemed to breath threatenings alone, teeming with promises and goodwill to thee.
What various hindrances we meet,
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight :
The Third Sunday in Lent.
We beseech Thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.”—EPHES. v. 1.
HAT a pleasant thing to feel oneself not alone in
the world or without a friend, but under the kind tutelage of God! How clearly it appears to a reflecting mind, that the system of the world proceeds under the constant control of Him who designed it! The true philosopher is the true Theist, and the true Theist is the best Christian. How pleasing is that comparison suggested by the Lord to the disobedient Jews, of their relation to Him, with that of the sons of Jonadab to their father. (Jer. xxxv.) It indicates the true feeling we should entertain to God. He is to us a reconciled Father, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Very refreshing would be this view of God's relation towards us, if practically and generally entertained; “I do this, because my Father bids me.” “I avoid that, because He forbids it.” Such a feeling, being the motive of our minutest acts, would diffuse over them much additional pleasure. No act, indeed, which does not in some degree partake thereof can be acceptable; and any act which sincerely entertains this motive is acceptable in spite of its other imperfections. How desirable in all respects that spirit of adoption whereby we may cry, “ Abba, Father !"
“ Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." -LUKĖ xi. 28.
OT that the womb was not blessed which bare Him,
and the paps which He sucked. For it is written, “Hail thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee;" “ blessed art thou among women;" and indeed, if the Jewish people were highly favoured, because the Messiah was born of their seed-how much more blessed the individual who was the immediate means of His birth. But all things appear clearer by comparison ; and if such distinguished privileges are below the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father," we may conclude how great the dignity of the child of God must be ! They hear the word of God and keep it; and if they keep it, it has not been heard in vain : as it is written, “of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (Jas. i. 18.). "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Let us take heed how we hear; for, “ from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have.” Again, if outward privileges, though of so high an order as those of the Virgin Mary, fall so far below the graces of the Spirit in the estimation of the Saviour, we may collect what value He will attach to the ordinary gifts of knowledge, wisdom, learning, capacity, or eloquence (by which some are so puffed up)if unaccompanied by sincerity -as much as He would value “sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” Without charity they are nothing.