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with God for a blessing. In vain do we draw near him with our lips, if the heart be far from him. Though holily exercise can profit little, yet, even that should bear some correspondence with the disposition of the mind. Those honours which earthly sovereigns coufer on their subjects, are generally received on
their knees. Let us, therefore, come and kneel before the Lord our Maker: -- and were the pulpits and pews in all our places of worship, suitably accommodated for such a position in our public addresses, it might be as proper. In particular cases of advanced age, or bodily infirmity, a sitting posture may be necessary; but when it is the habitual practice of bealthy individuals, or of whole congregations, to sit during the time of prayer, the appearance is not only indecent, but inexcusable. Elijah prostrated himself in the presence of God; and were it the general practice of worshippers to kneel in prayer, to stand while they sing, and to sit while hearing the sermon, it would be productive, not only of greater variety and of sweeter harmony, but of stricter attention. But where the people sit to sing, to pray, and to hear, can we wonder to behold so many nodding heads, or drowsy countenances, when they should be all attention ?
Great earnestness was also manifest on this occasion. His heart was fixed and fervent. He continued, and probably long, wrestling for that blessing so much needed by Israel. This God, and his servant (whom some suppose to have been that son of the Shunamite, born in answer to a promise, and afterwards rg. stored to life as a miracle of God's power) were the only witnesses of this solemn scene. Often as the servant had looked at his master, he does not appear to have interrupted him in his devotion but once. In compliance with the prophct's order, he went and looked toward the sea; and, upon his return, saying, There is nothing, the prophet bade him go yet seven times; that is, though he was to repeat his visits again and again, he wished not to be interrupted in his devotion, till the discovery was obtained. Not a word, nor so much as a whisper was to be heari! It was the inward devotion of the heart ; – the wrestling of the mind :- earnest, fervent, in wrought prayer. The servant went, and came.
Probably, upon every repeated visit to the summit of the mount, as well as upon his return to the place where he had left his master, he might make some stay ; – yet he always found his master in the saine place, and in the same position. Still he continued in prayer.
Could we have read the language of his heart, when there was not a word on his tongue, it would have been to the following effect:-“ Lord, as I was yesterday called to be an advocate for thee, I now appear as an intercessor for Israel. Follow the convictions they then felt, with an eflectual impression on their minds. Forgive the iniquity of this people. Do not abhor tbem, for thy name's sake. Remember thom in great mercy; and break not thy covenant with them.
I cannot let thee go till thou grant a blessed rain, to render a barren land fruitful; and to convince them that there is a God and a prophet in Israel.”
Confidence gave vigour to his carnestness in this prayer. It was the prayer of faith ; founded, not on the mighty power of God, or the general goodness of God, but on his gracious pro• mise. Before the least exhalation appeared from the sea, or a cloud to indicate the approach of a shower ; — while the heavens were as a heated furnace above, and the earth like fuel, half consumed beneath, Elijah had been connaissioned to assure Ahab, that rain was coming in abundance. The prophet, therefore, might be certain that the promise would be fa!lilled; - but, to let us see that while promises furnish matter for prayer, faith is the hand to be cmployed to squeeze the blessings of divine good. ness out of those promises, Elijah, by prayer and supplication, makes known his request to Goil. Instead of going, like Ahab, to eat and drink; or retiring to Carmel, there to sit still in his sloth ; - instead of, with some, saying, “ If it is to be, it will be; - my prayers will neither frustrate nor forward the performance of the promise," — he pleaded with God to bestow that blessing he had promised. He believed that he shoukl have the blessing, before he asked it; and, therefore, he would give God no rest till he had obtained it.
Perseverance in prayer accompanied his confidence. Though God seemed to tarry, the prophet kept waiting for him, and pleading with him. His servant was probably more impatient, while running backwards and forwards so frequently without success. Six times had the young man gone and returned ; but he saw nothing. How happy would he be on the seventh to break the silence, saying, “ I see a cloud like a man's hand, rise out of the sea !" As it he hail said, "O, my father, give over thy pleading! thou hast had power with God, and hast prevailed! Thy prayer is heard. Yrs; I have seen, as it were, the hand of God, as that of a man, rising out of the sea, to subscribe his. Amen, to all thy petitions. Only, master, rise, - behold, and acknowledge it thyself!” Thus,
“ To patient faith the prize is sure." Let this prophet's success in pleading, encourage God's child. ren to persevere in prayer. The servant said, “ Behold there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea,” &c. In this, as in many other instances, we behold great effects arising from very small beginnings. Things, which at first appcared almost insignifi. cunt, lave enlarged into very extensive blessings. This cloud, vhich appeared no bigger than what might have been covered by a man's hand, kept gradually ascending, and extending itself, till at last it covered the whole sky. Thus also hath it ben with truth in the church, - with grace in the heart, - with
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efforts to promote the interests of religion in particular places, and with the diffusion of happiness in the world.
In taking a view of the rise and spread of divine truth in the church, we behold it rising like a man's hand out of the ocean of human misery, in the first promise of God after man's fall :I will put enmity between the serpent and the woman, and between the sced of this and of that ; but in bruising the heel of the one, the head of the other shall be crushed. Probably, at first, this proniise would appear to these progenitors of mankind dark, obscure, and insignificant. But it has proved a cloud full of blessings, which have often refreshed and inade glad the city of God. Rising out of its former obscurity, it has extended itself wider and wider, till it has become amplified into all those exceeding great and precious promises, which now appear yea
and amen in Christ Jesus. For what is the whole Bible but the first promise expanded, illustrated, and applied ? – It was no less than Christ, grace, glory, and immortality in the promise.
The same may be said of grace in the heart. Like this cloud, or like a grain of mustard-seed, to which it is compared in Scripture, hardly perceptible at first, it unites with the soil, swells, germinates, bursts the shell, springs up, forms itself in. to branches, and extends them till the birds come and lodge under its shadow. While the mind is under concern and conviction, grace remains hid under a cloud of obscurity. In appearance it is all cloud; but there is a blessing behind, which, like a hand, brings help, and works deliverance. Thus, that work of grace, which comiences in conviction, advances to a serious concern, increases with hopes, which are often beclouded with fears, gradually becomes like the shining light, or like this cxtending cloud, issues in all the blessedness of salvation. Increasing with the increase of God, it grows up toward a persect nmin in Christ, till it attain to the mark of the stature of his fulness. Take courage, Oye timid followers of the compassi- . onate Jesus-He that hath begun his good work in you, will preserve and perform it, till he has perfected that which con
Efforts to promote the interest of religion, in particular places, like this little cloud, have afierwards been greatly exiended. A Cornelius has prayed in private; or two or three who feared the Lord have conversed together, and united in prayer, for tlie direction and blessing of God upon their liberal designs. The Lord has he ırkeneil, heard, and answered the prayers which his Spirit indited in their liearts. A messenger from divine mercy has been sent amongst them. One, like the Philippian jailor, has heard and trembled ; another, like Lydn, found her heart opened to attend to the word preached; a third, like the wandering Onesimus, has been impressed by the very same truth upon which he had formerly turned bis back. The prayers of a pious tew have proved like the dew from Heaven,
to water the seed disseminated by the faithful minister. Others were inclined to hear, and made to feel, the power of divine truth. A church was formed, the congregation increased, the handful of corn was greatly multiplied,--the little one became a thousand. - 'The cry then was, — Lengthen the cords, and strengthen the stakes. Thus, like this cloud, they were collected to scatter blessings all around. Not only on this little hill, but upon individuals and families around them; the showers have come down in their season, even showers of blessings ; while fresh converts have sprung up as the grass, or lave flourished as willows by the water-courses.
Like this cloud, the diffusion of happiness in the world has originated from very small beginnings. Witness the first introduction of the gospel in Judea, and afterwards into Britain ; and witness societies, which have been formed and succeeded, for the spread of the gospel,- the promoting of religious knowledge, or the sending of Missionaries to the Heathen: others, for distributing Bibles at home and abroad, in our fleets and our armies : and who can tell but the humiliations and prayers of the late fast-day may be productive of extensive blessings, hastening on that day, when all the kingdoms of the earth shall submit themselves to Jesus Christ, and the world be filled with his glory. Blessed day! when peace shall look down from Heaven, and war shall no longer desolate the earth !
While that cloud of gospel-grace, which originally appeared in Judca, has extended itself even to us, let us severally enquire whether, as individuals, it has proved to our souls a shower of mercy, which, bringing salvation, maketh barren hearts fruitful ?
Let us also take notice of the connection there is between prayer and providence.--View this in the abolition of the Slave-Trade; in the prosperity of the gospel in particular places ; and in the spread of it in the world. Though the Saviour be yet clothed with a cloud, soon will he shine forth, as the sun in its strength, and then all the nations of the earth will see and rejoice in the salvation of our God.
ON THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BODY
AT THE RESURRECTION.
"The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” To this change it is impossible for the thoughts of the believer too frequently to advert. In proportion to the attention we give the subject, will our minds be struck with a view of its grandeur and importance. Desirous of becoming increasingly acquainted with every doctrine of divine truth; of obtaining more expanded, more distinct views of what we feel and acknowledge to be of supreme importance, we rejoice that we have the Scriptures to guide us in all our enquiries, which never fail to give to the humble and enquiring mind all the information it can desire, --all that is necessary for spiritual improvement and education.
The gospel of Christ opens a new world, -it draws aside the curtain of futurity, and we are struck with a disclosure of the great realities of the other world. Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. The resurrection of the lead, independent of the wonderful circumstances with which it is connected, is an event wonderfully strange :-the bare idea is enough to overwhelm the human mind. But what are those circumstances connected with it? Behold, Ile who is the resurrection and the life, whose voice shall awake the sleeping dead, and raise them from their beds of death, in which for ages they have rested, -He will effect a cliange in their bodies, glorions beyond all description, beyond the utinost stretch of conception. Not by any long-laboured process, but in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye!
Does the Christian ask, What, then, shall our bodies be like? Paul answers the question, Phil. iii. 21. Who shall change these vile bodies, and make them like unto his own glorious bodyLike unto his own glorious body! What Christian can read these words without being filled with surprize and admiring gratitude! If we turn to the account given us of our Lord's transfiguration, Matt. xvii. we shall find ourselves not left to uncertain conjectore, as to his glorious body,what now it is, and what our bodies bereafter shall be. Is it not probable, that the transfiguration was designed, at least in part, to give a representation of Jesus in his glorified state? His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. Now, it is asserted by the apostle, that the bodies of the saints shall be made like unto his : and is it possible that these bodies of our humiliation should become so glorious ? Let the voice of rejoicing be heard in the tabernacle of the righteous,---for it shall be so, our God hath spoken it. Now, indeed, we are reminded, by every circumstance connected with our present state of existence, that these bodies which we inhabit are vile bodies, in a lamentable state of degradation. How frequently is the body the subject of long and wasting disease-of'excruciating pains! How often does it prove a clog to the soul, damping the ardour of its devotions, retarding its progress, and checking its flight toward Heaven! How much is it the seat of vile passions and unhallowed pro, pensities ! often sadly deformed, easily shattered and broken down, carrying along with it principles of dissolution, which bring it to dishonourable corruption in the grave,-there to be insulted, as it were, by the meanest reptiles that crawl!- Did our prospect here terminate, nothing could be more gloomy! But we look forward :--these bodies shall be changed these bog