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couldn't do any thing more for her then, because she was gone; and although we had loved her very dearly, yet we would have it that we had not loved her near enough.
Thomas. Yes, Mary, I see what you mean; and that is the reason why we feel as we do when the old year comes to an end. It seems like something gone, quite for ever gone; and it feels like a part of ourselves, for it is indeed a very considerable part of our lives. It has carried with it every thing that we did, and thought, and said; nothing can now be altered that was wrong, and nothing can be repaired that was left undone.
Mary. How I wish, for myself, that I could feel these things only half as much as I did at your mother's death. I mean, I wish I could cry as bitterly for all I have done against my heavenly Father, as I then did for some fretful things I had said once or twice in my life to her! How strange it is that I feel so very warmly about earthly friends, and so much less so towards God. And yet I do believe I love Him more than all.
Thomas. I suppose this is very common with most Christian people: I cannot tell why, except for this reason, that we do not meditate enough about the things of God. I am sure we ought to be as much affected by our own thoughts as we are by the best sermons, or the best books; and yet we are not so. We don't reflect enough. There is not enough time and patience given to "communing with our own hearts," and that's the reason why our piety is not so deep as it should be. You know what our dear clergyman always tells us that we are a hearing people, but not enough of a praying and reflecting people.
Mary. Oh yes, I do indeed, and how true it is! There is such a sad mixture of all sorts of things in one's mind, that it's like a tangled thread, and there's no keeping it straight in any right way. When one tries to reflect as steadily as you mean, there come in a hundred little things, and cross the path of our thoughts in such a way, that we make very little progress indeed before we are called away to something else.
Thomas. Yes, it is very hard even to pray without wandering; but still harder to meditate on any good sub
ject, so as to have much profit or pleasure from it. But, just as you observe about mother's death, so there are times when one is very much assisted in thinking more seriously than usual; and these times ought to be well employed. The new year is one of the very best; and I do think, if the world would not try to drown itself in more than usual gaiety and folly at that time, they couldn't help turning things over then which might do them good. But I have always got enough to think of about myself, and so have we all. When we look back at the mercies we have received at God's hand, all our spiritual privileges, and all our domestic comforts, we are obliged to say that "the year is crowned with his goodness. But when we ask ourselves, "What have I ren
dered unto the Lord for all his benefits?" we are forced to acknowledge that it is "nothing." If we have been enabled to praise Him with any measure of gratitude at all, this has been of his own grace working within us, and not of our natural hearts. But how much less thankful are we than we ought to have been! How many gifts are unacknowledged even in words, and how many have been bestowed in vain! And when we reflect how far we have shown forth his praise," "not only with our lips," but "in our lives," we shall be still more humbled and abased. There is nothing pleasing to reflect upon, except the unbounded mercy of God, which has remained with us in spite of all our transgressions. This has been the light of the past year, the only circumstance altogether satisfactory on looking back; and I will add, Mary, that this is the only light of the coming year, to which we can trust with security. The future is, of course, unknown to us, and of itself must therefore seem dark and doubtful; but if we can see the beams of divine goodness shining upon the prospect, we shall go forward with good courage, and not be disappointed. All things work together for good to them that love God; and all times are good and prosperous. Every year is to them begun with hope, and ended with thankfulness. After all, there is but one anxiety for us to cherish, and this is, that we may be found among that number to whom all things work together for good. Our only regret and
sorrow about the past year is, that we have not shown the evidence, as clearly as we ought, of our being entitled to those promises. May the evidence be brighter henceforth; and we shall then feel much less of our present regret at seeing the old year departed, and much more of joy and comfort on entering upon a new one.
ON PRAYING IN THE NAME OF CHRIST.
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."
"HITHERTO have ye asked nothing in my name." Why, all the prayers in the Prayer-book end in the Saviour's name, so that can have nothing to do with us Christians. But, my friends, when you have ended our beautiful prayers at church with these words, "for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord," have your heart and your mind gone along with your lips? Have you remembered that our God is a consuming fire," and that "he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity "-therefore we might never dare to speak to Him, if his own beloved Son had not suffered the punishment which we deserved, in order to reconcile us to God, that so we might pray to Him as our Father? While saying, "through the merits of our only Mediator and Intercessor," do you consider that a mediator means one who entreats for another, and that the Bible says, "Jesus ever liveth to make intercession, and that "therefore we may come boldly?" Perhaps you may reply, "I have gone on regularly saying my prayers for years, but I do not feel as if I were more fit to die." Well, one reason may be, that you have not really asked in the Saviour's name; perhaps you have attended less to the end of your prayers than to any other part; and as you have always been in the habit of saying "for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord," it may have been said merely as a form ending the prayer, and thought no more of than the ending of a brief, or of a petition to parliament. Now Jesus says, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, in my name, he will give it you." And "God cannot lie;" but "he is faithful that hath promised;" so if you ask from your heart, for the sake of the Saviour
and believing what He here says, as surely as you read these words, you shall have the grace of God given you to create in you a clean heart," to "help your infirmities, and to fit you to die. And then the Saviour, who presented your petition to God, will "present you faultless before the throne," as justified by faith which is in Him. But observe the merciful purpose which the Saviour had in making this promise;" that your joy may be full." We should love the Saviour better, and therefore keep his commandments better, if we oftener remembered that He became "a man of sorrows that we might have "fulness of joy;" that He became the Son of man that we might be made the sons of God; that He died that we might live; that He shed His blood upon the cross, that our sins which are as scarlet should be made white as snow, and that He " now liveth to make intercession for us." If we ask for faith to believe in Him, for grace to love Him, and for strength to serve Him, we shall have these blessings, because He has said so. And He will give them to us, in order that our joy may be full. Now there is fulness of joy only in His presence, and there we shall be in a few years if we are His children. But then our joy shall begin in this life; we shall rejoice in the Lord" now; we shall be comforted on our death-bed; and after death we shall "return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon our heads;" and all for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. C. W. P.
RICHMOND PROVIDENT AND CLOTHING CLUB.
The Sixth Report of the operations of this Society is prefaced with a grateful acknowledgment to those friends. who have come forward in its support, and who have increased the amount of subscriptions to a sum much exceeding that received in former years.
The accompanying statement shows the importance of encouraging small weekly deposits; and when it is known that of the 640 persons who last year deposited the sum of five hundred and forty pounds, the greater part were
weekly contributors of only 2d., 3d., and 6d., that upwards of 300 were children attending the parochial schools, it will prove to the honorary subscribers that in aiding the operations of this Society they are "helping the poor by teaching them to help themselves."
If these institutions had only the temporal welfare of the poor for their object, they would not have so strong a claim on the support of the benevolent as they acquire when it is considered that by their means, under the Divine blessing, intemperance is checked; provision is made for the regular and decent appearance of families in the house of God, and of children in schools, where they may be trained in the way wherein they should go; and further, that they are in direct accordance with the inspired command to copy the industrious insect which provideth her food in the summer, and the word of Him who, though He could feed thousands with five loaves, yet taught His disciples to gather up the fragments that nothing might be lost.
Printing, Stationery, Collector's Poundage, & other Expenses.
81 4 8
8 13 11
76 14 7
£658 14 81