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Mediator of the New Covenant, they cannot fail to be made partakers of that abundant grace, which ought to be the chief object of all our prayers, and which is never denied to the humble. We know assuredly that our heavenly Father giveth his Holy Spirit to them who ask him; and if, for the sake of his beloved Son, he is pleased to bestow this unspeakable gift in answer to the prayer of the believing soul, why should we hesitate to admit that it is of the Lord's mercies, that, by the eternal ordination of divine wisdom, prayer has been rendered one of the sure and sufficient means of transmitting to the faithful every other good and perfect gift which cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning ?
To the duties of social prayer and thanksgiving, accompanied with that instruction in righteousness, which the reading of the Scriptures is calculated to impart, let the benefits thus conferred on your several domestic circles operate as a strong incitement. It is not, indeed, within the compass of buman ability to infuse grace into the souls which are most tenderly beloved. But great will probably be the influence of a pious example on those who confide in your affection, and bave. cause to revere your worth. If your children and dependents perceive, that, while you are not slothful in the business of time, you are also fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; and that, while you provide for your own the food and the raiment which are obtained by the blessing of God on the band of the diligent, you ask for them that bread of heaven which strengtheneth the heart, may you not bope that they will be stirred up both to pray and to labour for the meat wbich endureth to life everlasting, and that they will learn to regard the favour of God as a better portion than the abundance of corn and wine? May you not hope, that while your own minds are elevated by contemplating the works of creation, providence, and redemption, and by reflecting on the dignified and endearing relation to which you have been raised in baving "received the spirit of adoption, whereby you cry Abba, Father," they who look up to you for guidance and protection will take pleasure in approaching to God, and, through the experience of the peace of walking with the wise, wil be taught to abhor the enticements of sinners, and to hold fast that which is good? And even in the case of those who, through perversity of heart, and the snares of an evil world, have forsaken the path of integrity and truth, may it not be hoped that the wise counsels which they bave for a season forgotten, and the devotional habits which they have long failed to imitate, will, like the bread cast upon the waters, be found after many days ? Small must have been your experience of the discipline of providence, if you have never known -80 much as one who had wandered so far from the
way of peace as to disappoint the earnest expectations of his father, and to turn the joy of her who bare him into bitter! Dess, but who, after his owo wickedness had corrected him, and his backslidings reproved him, has been awakened to Dew obedience, by recalling to his agonized mind, with reveren. tial awe, the solemn image of the parental guide, in whose quiet babitation the daily exercises of prayer and praise ballowed every pursuit, lightened every care, soothed every sorrow, and seasoned every enjoyment, so as to render the voice * of rejoicing and salvation, in the tabernacles of the righteous, a lively type of the blessed conversation of heaven, and a delicious foretaste of the fellowship of the saints in light.
If ye know these things by your own experience, or by the incontrovertible testimony of them who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, happy are ye if ye do them. Nor can you bave peace and safety, if, knowing what is good, you leave it undone.
And while you present your supplications for yourselves and your families, forget not the eternal concerns of the famiJies which call not on the name of God. If it be, as it ought to be, your heart's desire, that they may be brought to the obedience of the Gospel, brethren, pray for us, and for all the ministers of the truth, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you. Such an intercession as this will assuredly prove efficacious towards the enlargement of the household of faith, if all of you, both small and great, not only in the congregations of the upright, who in heavineas of heart sigh for the abounding of iniquity and the failing of truth, but in your families apart, and in your unseen retirements, prostrate yourselves at the footstool of your Father in heaven, who seeth in secret, and pour out your desires before him in that effectual fervent importunity, wbich, like the long and patient waiting of the husbandman for the precious fruit of the earth, will
, according to the sure word of promise, issue in plenteous showers of blessings, pot confined to any favoured spot, or any privileged community, but dropping down fertility far and wide over fields co-extensive with the inhabited world, filled as it shall be in that evening-time of light with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea : And thus the God of the whole earth, in remembrance of his holy covenant, and in fulfilment of the good pleasure of his goodness, will arise and have mercy not only on the mountain of holiness in which he had bis dwelling in time past, but on all, in every place, who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord; so that, while he clothes his priests with salvation, and makes his people shout for joy, the ways of Zion, which have mourned because few came to the solemn feasts, shall be thronged with the multitudes who keep the holy day with thanksgiving in their hearts
aud the high praises of God in their mouths, wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of those times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, when his works shall appear before the face of his servants and his glory to their children; and they that fear the Lord, being all replenished with the riches of grace, sball take that sweet counsel together which revives the inward part, and knits the brotherhood of Cbris tians in the unity of faith and the holy bond of perfectness. “Then shall the offering of his people be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years.". the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all, the glory sball be a defence."
AUGUSTINE'S CONFESSIONS ABRIDGED.
O LORD, I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid, thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. Let my heart, and tongue, and all my bones say, Lord, who is like unto thee ? and do thou answer me, and say to my soul, I am thy salvation. Who and what am I? what evil am I not? Was it my will, or words, or deeds, that have dono it? No: but thou, Lord, good and merciful, and thy right hand looking at the depth of my death, and exhausting the abyss of corruption from the bottom of my heart The whole of my evil lay in a will, stubbornly set in opposition to thine. But where lay of old time, and from what deep secret was my free-will called out in a moment, by which I bowed my neck to thy easy yoke, and my shoulders to thy light burden, Christ Jesus, my helper and Redeemer? How sweet was it in a moment to be free from those delightful vanities, to lose which had been my dread, to part with which was now my joy! Thou ejectedst them, O my true and consummate delight, and thou enteredst in their room. O sweeter than all pleasure, but not to flesh and blood; clearer thau all light, but to the inner man ; higher than all honour, but not to those who are high in their own eyes. Now was my mind set free from the corroding cares of avarice, and ambition, and lust, and I communed in playful ease with thee, my light, my riches, my Saviour, and my God.
I determined in thy sight to give up my employments, not abruptly, but gradually.* And opportunely, the vintage-va
* I would suggest four particular remarks on the narrative of our author's conversion. 1. That it does please God, in every age, to distinguish some of the works of his Holy Spirit by extraordinary circum
cation being at hand, I resolved to continue in my employment till that time. I was glad, also, that I bad an opportunity of saying to my scholars, what was true, that the care of my health, which had suffered much from fatigue, obliged me to cease from the laborious office of teaching. And to have given up the work before the vacation might have appeared arrogant, and exposed me to the censure of vanity. But should
any of thy servants think that I did wrong in remaining in the chair of deceit a day longer, I will not contend. But hast not thou, most merciful Lord, washed away this, with all my other deadly sins, in the laver of regeneration ?
Our friend Verecundus was seized with a distemper, and receiving baptism in the midst of it, departed this life in thy faith and fear. Not long after my conversion, my friend Nebridius, also, though he had sunk into the error wbich takes away the proper manhood of thy Son, was recovered; and becoming a faithful Christian in Africa, his own country, quitted this tabernacle of clay, and now lives in Abraham's bosom. He no more puts his ear to my mouth, but his spiritual mouth to thy fountain, to receive as much wisdom as he is capable of,happy without end.
It is pleasant to me to remember and confess how thou didst teach me and my friend Alypius, in the country, where we enjoyed the affectionate and sedulous care of my mother, We were both in the capacity of catechumens, and I read with pleasure the Psalms of David. With what mingled pity and indignation did I look on the Manichees, who madly rejected the antidote of life. O that they saw the internal eternal life, which because I had tasted, I grieved that I could not shew it to them.
stances. It is of little consequence to debate, whether the voice heard in the garden was miraculous or not, whether literally true, or an impression on his mind. Either way, it was equally from God, and 'sheds à lustre on the conversion of a great and eminently holy personage, who was called to testify remarkably for God in bis day. 2. There is generally some master-sin, which impedes the work of God in all his people; Augustine's was sensuality, and in the mortification of that master-sin, the grace of God is peculiarly illustrated. 3. The great medium of de liverance always is the written word of God, testifying of Jesus, and salvation only by putting him on through faith. 4. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. In our weakness, thoroughly felt, God appears. Is it to be wondered, that the saint before us proved so strong and zealous a champion of the effectual grace of God, and was made use of to revive the clear doctrine of it in the Church, and was trained up by his own experience to defend it against the subtleties of Pelagius? He who fore. saw what Pelagius would introduce, in his adorable wisdom thus provi. ded an experienced pastor of his Church, who, in due time, should withstand his corruptions. But of this more hereafter.
The holidays being finished, I signified to my scholars, that they must proride themselves another teacher. And I wrote to Ambrose an account of my errors, and of my present desire, and begged bim to recommend some part of thy word more particularly to my attention, as a proper preparative for baptism. He pointed out to me the prophet Isaiah, I apprehend, on account of his superior perspicuity in opening the Gospel. However, finding the first part of this prophet more obscure, and apprehending the rest to be similar, 1 deferred the read ing of bim till I was more experienced in the Scriptures. The time approaching in which I must give in my name, I left the country and returned to Milan. There I received baptism with Alypius and the boy Adeodatus, the fruit of my siu. He was almost fifteen years old, and, io understanding, he exceeded many learned men. í glorify thee for thy gifts, my God; for I had nothing in the boy but sin. For that I brought bim up in thy religiou, thou, and thou only, inspiredst me. I looked with trembling at his prodigious genius. But thou soon removedst him from the earth, and I remember him with greater satisfaction, as I have now no anxiety for his childhood, his youth, or bis manhood. Nor could I at that time be satisfied with contemplating the mystery of redemption. The hymns and songs of thy Church moved my soul intensely; thy truth was distilled by them into my heart; the fame of piety was kindled, and my tears flowed for joy. This practice of singing had been of no long standing at Milan. It began about the year when Justida persecuted Ambrose. The pious people watched in the Church, prepared to die with their pastor. There my mother sustained an eminent part in watching and praying. Then hymns and psalms, after the manner of the east, were sung, with a view of preserving the people from weariness; and thence the custom bas spread through Christian Churches.
Thou, who makest men to be of one mind in an house, uni. tedst to us one of our young townsmen, Euodius, who had: served in the army, and was now regenerated. We determined to return to Africa, and when we were at the mouth of the Tiber, my mother departed this life. I must not pass by the conceptions of my soul concerning her, who endured Jabour for my temporal birth, and laboured in heart for my spiritual birth. She had been brought up in a Christian fa. mily, but did not so much commend her mother's care, as that of a decrepid old servant of the house, who had uursed her father, whose years and character were highly respected, and who superintended the education of her master's daugh
She never suffered them to drink even water, except at meals, telling them, that if ever they becaine mistresses, the custom of drinking would remain, but they would then indulge it in wine, not water. Yet my mother Monica, pot