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who is wrong. Those things arose from ignorance, which in this happy world has no existence. The peculiar honours of each will rejoice the eyes, and gladden the souls of all beholders. The shepherds of the Lord's flock, with him at their head, will see of the travail of their souls and be satisfied, and behold them as their crown of rejoicing continually. Pure and fervent love will reign in every bosom, shine in every countenance, and be realized in every action. But, Oh, how impossible it is to describe this heavenly scene! Strive, O my soul, so to live to God, that thou mayest at last know it thyself by thy own personal experience.
• Think, O my soul, on these great and glorious benefits, and above all on the perpetuity of their nature! This crowns all. Thou wilt never be deprived of the favour or presence of thy God. Thy joys and prospects will increase for ever. The saints will be thy everlasting companions. Love and gratitude will ever form essential parts in thy character; knowledge and holiness will remain with thee continually, and thy happiness will be as durable as he on whom that happiness depends. O eternity, how desirable art thou to the real christian, who can request and be satisfied with nothing less than endless duration to express his thankfulness to the deviser, promoter, and perfecter of his salvation!
These kinds of meditations have a good effect in promoting holiness, as they raise the soul above the vanities of the world, and the desires of its sensual companion the body: they call its noblest powers into exercise, and draw forth its most ardent desires after all that will prepare it for the presence of its glorious Redeemer, and deter it from forming any league with sin, or loving any of its vile practices.
FAMILY WORSHIP, It is a most desirable circumstance that our habitations should be consecrated to God, and become the nurseries of genuiné piety, and of all that is promotive of the best interests of man. It is a sad thing when families are disposed for every thing but devotion : when they can dress, visit,
game, &c.; and yet neglect to meet and bow themselves before the Lord their Maker, on whom they depend for the supply of all their wants, and to whom alone they are indebted for every favour they enjoy. What the prophet Jeremiah, by Divine impulse requested, is truly alarming; “ Pour out thy fury upon the Heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy From which words we may gather, that the Lord expects every family professing his religion, to have amongst them an altar for his spiritual worship, and that he is displeased with those families which have it not.
As, however, I intend this for those who, I take it for granted, do, without some insuperable difficulty, use prayer in their families, I shall confine my observations to such persons, and shew in what way it may best promote their entire sanctification. The first direction I would give is,
Be regular.-Some families are peculiarly circumstanced, so that from the very nature of their employments and affairs they cannot be so regular as they would; and there are many changes and fluctuations arising from sickness and other causes, that will necessarily prevent at various times the regularity here recommended; it may therefore be best to: say, Endeavour to be as regular in your approaches to the throne of grace as you can.
Suffer not frivolous matters to divert your attention, and after a while it will not only become habitual, but pleasant to you, and what you will not relinquish on any account. Holy Daniel, when threatened to be thrown to the hungry lions, if he continued his daily devotions in his family, resolved sooner to die than offend his God; and he in whom he trusted, blessed and preserved his faithful servant. “ His windows being opened in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” All this was done in too public a man. ner to be called private devotion, being both seen and heard, it appears by his bitter ad persecuting enemies. What a lesson for us not to be intimidated in this christian duty by
any who may not approve of it, or to excuse ourselves in the non-performance of it on account of extensive concerns, and perplexing cares, when the prime minister of a mighty empire could find time to approach his God “three times a day.”
Be seasonable.—Perhaps the most seasonable times of the day, for the right and undisturbed performance of this duty, where it is only observed twice, are the morning before breakfast, and the evening before supper, because then the family is generally collected with the greatest case, and in respect to evening, 'less dull and sleepy before than after supper. This may not, however, suit every one, and where it does not, it ought not on that account to be neglected; but the most proper seasons should be judiciously chosen and improved. If it is God that appoints the various orders and circumstances of men, and sees that all cannot act the same part, or at the same time, he will certainly accept the services of those that are sincere, whenever those services can be best rendered him, or prove most convenient to ourselves. It is probably on this account that no particular times are appointed when we shall approach him, but one is left to choose those seasons in which he can with less distraction and more fervour draw near to God in his own behalf, and in behalf of those committed to his care.
Be concise.-- That is, do not adopt any method that is long and wearisome in itself. What is burdensome, is not likely to be profitable, or to spiritualize the affections of the spul. Perhaps the following method may be pursued with advantage to ourselves and others. Read a psalm or a chapter from the Old Testament at morning prayer, and one from the New in the evening; and, where there are voices for it, and opportunity, sing a hymn. Then let the master of the family, or some one appointed by him, either pray extemporary, if he have gifts, which is the most excel. lent way, or devoutly read a form expressive of the state and wants of the persons assembled. Let him draw near in humble confidence, asknowledging the Divine perfections,
every and the equity of his government. Let him praise him for all the great and glorious things revealed or done by him through successive ages, and thank him sincerely for all his mercies. Let him confess with humility of mind, in general terms, the sins they may at any time have committed, as Job is said to have done for his children, and ask and expect forgiveness through the infinite merit of the Lord Je. sus. Let him ask the gift of the Holy Spirit to purify all their natures, and all those temporal supplies that will best answer their situation in the world, and commit himself and them into his hands, that they may be kept from evil, and finally brought to his eternal joy. These, and such like petitions, offered in simplicity and faith to God, will not fail to bring down his blessing upon them all.
Be constant.-Having seen the necessity and advantages of this method, endeavour to observe it carefully. Make it a matter of conscience thus daily, if possible, to approach your God. Let no visitors, no persons of different sentiments, no fear of any man, nor any consequences, divert you from your purpose. In your business and concerns for the day, always consider this as an important part; and let all under your influence and authority be taught to look upon it as such. If any thing of an unpleasant nature has occurred, any reproof been necessary, any misunderstandings taken place, or any unlovely temper discovered itself; let not prayer be omitted on that account, but rather confess it to the Lord, and beg of him mercy for the past, and grace to help in time to come. If you should not always find the same sweetness and liberty in drawing near to him, that must not discourage you, as there may be much temptation in it, and by perseverance, you will take the same pleasure in it as before.
Be spiritual.—“God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Mere formality is neither acceptable to him, nor profitable to ourselves. We must therefore guard against it, and against all wanderings and distractions also. The Lord looks upon the heart: be requires truth and sincerity there, and without due regard to these things, we are indevout and hypocritical worshippers. He that would worship God in the Spirit must regulate his desires according to his will, and should he offer up his petitions, when suitable, in the express words of scripture, it would be altogether the better; but especially he should be careful to keep a pure conscience towards God and man, and live under the anointings of the Holy One. And it should be his continual aim to seek the glory of God, whether the favours requested be temporal or spiritual, or whatever kind of praise or gratitude we offer him.
Be liberal.-We are commanded to pray for all men ; for kings, and all that are in authority; for enemies, and for them which despitefully use us and persecute us; and then surely for our friends, and all that are near us in the flesh, that they may be near us in the Lord. When our hearts thus expand to all our fellow creatures, we cannot injure them, we cannot wish them evil; but, on the contrary, good of every kind; which cannot have any other than a good effect upon our own minds. This is a most desirable state of mind; and though after all, there may be those who will despise both us and our principles, yet they never can de. prive us of the pleasure springing from such benevolence; and our fervent desires for the good of all are so fully in the spirit of unseigned piety, that they are, and must be, ever acceptable in the sight of him who is, and ever will be, the God of love.
Be watchful.-Mark the effect produced in drawing near to God in this duty, and endeavour to preserve the same state of mind, till you are again called to appear in the pre. sence of your God and Father. Here you are humbled, continue to walk in the same spirit; you forgive such as offend you, do so when you are no longer on your knees. Here you bewail your sin and folly, take heed and offend no more; you here profess to sympathize with such as are in distress, let your carriage towards them be such as your circumstances properly afford, and then your souls will not be