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reserved for him to gather his laurels from the sheaves of the coming harvest, and find his reward in the purity and blessedness of a regenerated world.
Permit me also to remind you, my young friends, that the same divine influence which is the hope of the world is also your hope—your only hopeyour great and only incentive and encouragement in the divine life. Thus Paul considered it, when he said, “When I am weak, then am I strong." Thus a pious female of the last century considered it, when uttering the emotions of all the effectually called, she exclaimed, “ Though I am perfect weakness, I have omnipotence to lean upon.” Thus the ever-blessed Spirit himself considered it, when he left the injunction, “ Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure." I know not why men should stumble at the threshold of their inquiries, over their dependance on the Spirit of God; as though this discouraged, rather than encouraged them; as though it shut the doors of heaven, rather than kept them open; as though it retarded and bewildered them in their progress, rather than led them onward; as though, because “ without Christ they can do nothing, they cannot do all things through Christ strength ening them.” I know not why it is not your privi lege and mine to make the same practical use of our dependance on the Spirit of grace that was made by patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and mar.
tyrs. And sure I am, the use they made of it was, not to relax the bonds of obligation, encourage indifference, and sanction sloth and procrastination; but to impart strength in weakness, hope in despondency, courage in depresssion, darkness, and difficulty, and induce them to take hold of God's strength and be at peace.” Man in his best estate is weak and fallible. Of the choicest human endowments, we may say, “ This treasure we have in earthern vessels." Your strength is made perfect by conscious weakness. If the Spirit of God help not your infirmities, you are truly weak. But confident of his support, “ with a thousand perils in
your eye,” you may say, “ None of these things move me; neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.” Not a little of the darkness and despondency which perplex men in the present world, is to be attributed to the low views they entertain of the divine power and goodness. Just views of these attributes would always dispel the cloud. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Whatever reasons men have to distrust themselves, they have none to distrust him.
I will not close this lecture without adding another thought. How obvious, in view of the principles which have been suggested, is the privilege and duty of prayer. “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven, give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” I
know of no other way of procuring these divine influences than to solicit them. “ Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” A man who feels that his heart is wholly inclined to evil,“ deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” yea, “enmity against God, cannot live without prayer, and indulge any hope that he will ever become a converted man.
He will find his conscience more and more obdurate, his heart more and more fortified against the claims of the Bible, and hardened in sin; while the spirit and maxims of the world, and the subtle and ceaseless power of him who “goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour," rivet the chains of sin and death. The Christian who would resist the strength of his natural corruptions, and surmount the bindrances which beset his path to heaven, and who would not sink in utter despondency before the responsibility and perils of his high calling, must daily aspire after that divine aid which makes his progress certain and his triumph sure. The minister of the gospel who would be raised above discouragement in view of his own insufficiency and the greatness of his work, may, if he have the faith and prayer to ally his own weakness with the energy of the Holy Spirit, persevere in his labours, not only with undiscouraged cheerfulness and resolution, but comforted hopes. The church that “ sows in tears may reap in joy.” The spirit of prayer will give her confidence and hope. Whom she cannot awaken,
and convince, and convert, God can rouse from their apathy, open their hearts to understand his word, and at a time, and in a way that shall make his own power and grace the most conspicuous. Prayer makes the doubting hope, the feeble strong. It gives humility and confidence in God. It makes every effort for the salvation of men spiritual and holy. “Prayer moves the hand that moves the world.” Who would be insensible to the value of prayer ?
PHE OBLIGATIONS OF THE WORLD TO THE BIBLE
FOR THE SABBATH.
Every reflecting man must, one would suppose, contemplate with grateful admiration, the great wisdom of the divine Author of the Scriptures in the institution of the Sabbath. I know of nothing like this observance in any other system of religion except that revealed in the Bible, unless it be some feint traditions of it in some pagan lands of remote antiquity. It is a weekly observance; fixed and permanent; hebdomedal from its original institution, and to the end of time. Some of the ancient pagan nations had something in the form of an hebdomedal observance. Hesiod, the celebrated Greek poet of Bæotia, who lived about nine hundred years before the coming of Christ, says, “ the seventh day is holy.” Homer, who flourished about the same period, and Callimachus, also a Greek