« ПредишнаНапред »
digal, became impoverished, became ruined, became a preceding observations, any longer to be endured in corpse! O the happiness of drink!
any department, or among any class of society? No! "DRINK, AND BE HAPPY!”--the happiness of unmi- let it be scouted with the contempt and abhorrence it tigated domestic misery. “When poverty comes in at deserves; and in the place of its odious and delusive the doors, love flies out at the windows ;” and upon falsehood, let another motto be espoused by every this just principle it may well be inquired, when was reader throughout all the population of the country :there ever a family which was not wretched, when its pecuniary supplies were squandered away in the gin
“ DRINK NO MORE, AND BE HAPPY!". shop or the tap-room? Only let the demon of drink enter into any household whatever-only let it reduce
THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER: the husband, or the wife, or the children to its slavery -and happiness withers; hope expires ; affection dis
a Sermon, appears; infuriated passions, like those of infernal beings, are let loose ; curses, blasphemies, crimes
By the Rev. Thomas Griffith, M.A. (sometimes suicides and murders), haunt the dismal
Minister of Ram's Chapel, Hackney. scene--the resemblance and the prelude of everlasting woe. Take a domestic scene in connexion with drink.
1 Thess. v. 17. A year since last January, in the town of Hull, a
Pray without ceasing." widow, once respectable, had three children ; one six, another five, and another three years old. She had
If there be one spirit above all others, with become addicted to the “happiness.” of intemperance. which minister and people should meet toOne morning her shutters were closed ; smoke was
gether in the house of God, and which should seen to issue from the chamber-window; no answer was returned to the applications of her neighbours; sanctify all their intercourse with each other, the door was broken open: the mother and the children it is the spirit of prayer; for the very life of were dead. In a state of intoxication, she had set her religion consists in dependence upon God; bed on fire; she was incapable of assisting herself; and prayer is the breathing forth, the exerand she and her offspring were suffocated by the smouldering conflagration.
cise and energising of this life. All that “ Drink, AND BE HAPPY!” — the happiness of a ministers can teach will profit nothing, if it ruined mind. Even “moderate" drinking,“ very be not quickened by the Spirit of God. All moderate” drinking, always enfeebles the faculties and that hearers can receive will be but barren debases the intellect. But only let the habit of intem
and unfruitful, if it be not mixed up in their perance once be contracted ; only let a taste for its "happiness" once be established, and the mind will
hearts with prayer. speedily be blighted; the clear light of the understand- To this topic, therefore, let us consecrate ing will be exchanged for the momentary flashes of a our present meditations; and may the Spirit frenzied excitement; the voice of reason will be overwhelmed amidst the clamour of the passions ; the
of the living God breathe over us his most power of useful mental exertion will speedily be anni- genial influences, that with a prayerful mind hilated; the catastrophe of intellectual wreek will we may consider it ! ultimately be accomplished ; and folly, or paralysis, The injunction in our text, concise as it is, or delirium, or idiocy, or madness! will terminate the requires some consideration of its terms; scene. O, the happiness of drink! “ DRINK, AND BE HAPPY!”- the happiness of a dis
and I shall therefore, first, explain it. It honoured name. Infamy and intemperance are inse- presses home a duty of the highest moment parable companions. The drunkard has no friend. to our souls; and therefore I shall, secondly, He is alone in the world. When the habit is formed, enforce it. the reputation is tarnished for ever, and the miserable victim is shunned with alarm and disgust, or is re
I. Let us first EXPLAIN the injunction in garded with the look of unbounded loathing, or is our text. pointed at by the finger of universal scorn. 0, the It is the practice of the Scripture-writers happiness of drink!
to use broad and forcible terms to express * DRINK, AND BE HAPPY!”—the happiness of everlasting ruin. It is computed that by the agency of
the extent or the intensity of their ideas. intemperance, sixty thousand accountable and immortal These terms are thus sufficiently comprehenbeings are annually hurried into the eternal world. And sive to include every particular of the duty what are the feelings which must thrill through the which they wish to inculcate, and sufficiently mind in adverting to so tremendous a fact as this, when it is known that “no drunkard can inherit the
strong to require, in their application to parkingdom of God ?”. If this drinking had been the ticular instances, the fullest interpretation means of accomplishing the perdition of but one soul, that the case will admit of. Of this descripit would have accomplished an infinitely greater tion is the injunction which we are now to amount of ruin, than though an empire had been torn up by the ploughshare of desolation, than though a
consider : it is expressed in the most unliworld had been destroyed, or a sun had been extin
mited terms, which require some explanation guished, or a system had been erased from the uni- with respect to their practical application, verse of being. For when all material existence shall
but which, at the same time, evidently dehave passed away, the soul, with all its sensibilities and faculties as acute and as powerful as ever, will be
mand a very intense fulfilment of the duty rapidly advancing along its indefinite career of tor
which they enjoin. ment or happiness, of blasphemy or praise. But When, therefore, we are told to "pray THOUSANDS-MILLIONS OP SOULS LOST, AS THE CON- without ceasing," although we must immediSEQUENCE OF DRINKING! It is impossible to pro-ately perceive that the phrase "without ceasceed; the very spirit is overwhelmed with dismay. What, then, is the result of the whole ? Is the sense
ing" cannot be taken in the full extent which less and pestiferous maxim, so often alluded to in the the words literally bear, since it would then
enjoin an impracticable duty; yet we cannot practice with the Scripture saints, who thus but allow, that, to do justice to its force, we kept up their constant feeling of dependence must include within it all the meaning which upon God, and union with their Lord. David, its use in other similar passages will justify. for instance, “ evening, and morning, and at
Now, if we collate such passages, we shall noon, prayed and cried aloud” (Ps. lv. 17). find that such a phrase demands, first, the Daniel“ kneeled upon his knees three times frequent act of prayer. Thus, when St. Paul a-day, and prayed, and gave thanks before declares to the Romans (i. 9), that " without his God” (Dan. vi. 10). And St. Paul, as ceasing he made mention of them always in we have seen, refers, as matter of course, to his prayers," he seems to refer to his inter- those regular exercises of devotion, which cessions for them at his stated approaches to not all his manifold labours were suffered to the throne of grace: for when he tells the interrupt, yea, by which those labours were Ephesians (i. 16), in a similar phrase, that he sustained and sanctified. O that we were as "ceased not to give thanks for them,” we precise in our appointments with God as in find this to be his meaning, from the sen- our hours for business, for refreshment, and tence that he immediately adds, “ making for repose! that we so felt the value of mention of you in my prayers.” Just as he prayer, as even to anticipate, like David, the writes to the Philippians (i. 3, 4), “ I thank night-watches, to engage in it; and to esteem my God upon every remembrance of you, it more to us than our necessary food ! always" (that is) “ in every prayer of mine But the expression of our text demands, in making request with joy." Nor is that habit the second place, the persevering habit of of devotedness, which forms one marked cha- prayer—the patient waiting upon God in the racteristic of a Christian man, attainable but face of difficulties and discouragement. For by the exercise of frequent acts of devotion. when the Apostle exhorts the Thessalonians, In all cases, habits are formed only by the in our text, to pray without ceasing,” his repetition ofacts; and therefore devotion is es-object is, as may be gathered from the consential to devoutness. The inward feeling is, text, to animate them to persevere in suppliindeed, that to which God specially looks; but cation, notwithstanding their disappointment this feeling can neither be formed, nor che- with respect to the immediate coming of the rished, nor expressed, but by the outward act. Lord, their sorrow for the loss of Christian
It is on this principle, then, that stated friends, and their experience of unruly and exercises of devotion-stated seasons of re- unstable brethren. The injunction therefore tirement — stated days and hours of public, bears a meaning exactly similar to that which family, social, and private prayer-seem ab- our blessed Lord gives us in the parable of solutely necessary: not that there is any the importunate widow (Luke, xviii. 1), which, thing meritorious in these acts themselves, or we are told by St. Luke," he spake to this as if the mere performance of them, without end, that men ought always to pray;" that is, looking farther, were itself a positive duty; to persevere in supplication under every discoubut that they are the indispensable means to ragement, and never to throw ир
their dependthe attainment of that great end—the gradual ence upon God, though he may seem to “bear subduing of the soul into a devout and holy long with them." For that this is the meaning frame--the training it into a perpetual sense of “ always" in that passage, we see from the of His presence, in whom we live, and move, addition of our Lord, " and not to faint." and have our being — the setting the Lord This, then, is an important direction to always before us, that we may walk as in those especially, who, seeking God with some his sight.
And hence, though we do not degree of earnestness, yet find themselves too find in Scripture (which usually contents often baffled in their efforts to realise his itself with laying down the general prin presence, and are tempted to give up a pracciples of the Christian life, leaving it to tice which they find so fruitless; or at least ourselves to discover and employ the most feel their spirits cast down by ill success into effectual methods for the working out those a formal heartlessness. When the sorely principles,) any absolute injunction of set tempted Christian finds the sins that he had times of prayer, yet these are virtually bound mourned over, continually recurring, and the on us by its authority, inasmuch as they habits he had resolved against, still holding are included in the general command to pray out against his efforts, how difficult is it to without ceasing
maintain a steady, hopeful course of suppliThe frequent act of prayer, therefore, is cation against them--how ready is the sinkenjoined upon us by our text; and he who ing mind to fall into a sceptical despair of desires to cultivate the general spirit of de- ever being heard and helped ! But, o let voutness will assuredly multiply the occa- him never yield a moment to the insinuations sions of approaching God in solemn exercises of the tempter—let him not, for an instant, of devotion. This we find to have been the undervalue prayer, or doubt its efficacy-let him not imagine, in the darkest hour, that his Seek, then, I entreat you, brethren, to time, his tears, and his entreaties, have been realise that spirit of prayer, which is the conthrown away; that no prayer has pierced summation of devotion, and which our text the heaven above him, and no dews of grace especially enjoins. Let that pervade your will fall upon his soul ! He is to pray minds as an habitual feeling. Let it breathe without ceasing !" without permitting any ob- within you, as the very element of spiritual stacle to turn him aside, any delay to dis- life. Cherish its gentle aspirations, till they courage him, any seeming indifference to become to you as a second nature, and your shake his childlike faith in Him who heareth soul ascend towards heaven, even as the prayer. “Shall not God avenge his own sparks fly upward.” He who in this sense elect, which cry day and night unto him, follows out the apostle's injunction, does inthough he bear long with them? I tell you deed“ pray without ceasing" — not in the that he will avenge them speedily." "He outward act, nor in the unvarying conscioushas never, indeed, promised to answer prayer ness of supplication ; but in the holy, subaccording to our notions, or our will, and at the dued, devout, dependent spirit of his mind-in time, and in the manner, that our poor ig- that habit of reference to God's will, zeal for norant minds would dictate ; but that he will God's interests, and recollection of God's preanswer at some time, and in some manner, ac- sence, which operates unseen, and spends cording to the wisdom of his own far-seeing itself unspent. To hold habitual communion goodness, this we know, for He has said it with our heavenly Father, and to find this this we are sure of, for it has been promised secret spirit breaking out into expression and us by God, that cannot lie. We have the act on every suitable occasion; when we word of God, the promise of the faithful One, are in trouble, crying out to God--when we for our support; and therefore we are to go are in prosperity, singing and making melody on wrestling even against principalities and in our hearts to the Lord--in the evening, powers, and spiritual wickedness, and with commending our spirits into his hands-in standing in the evil day, “ praying always, the morning, waking into some holy thoughtwith all prayer and supplication in the Spirit
, amidst the cares and labour of the day, being and watching thereunto with all perseverance.” still fervent in spirit, serving the Lord--and Eph. v. 18.
amidst the calmness of the night, “ with our Yet our text seems chiefly to enjoin, in soul desiring God”-nay, whatsoever we do the third place, the pervading spirit of prayer.in word or deed, doing all things heartily For, without this, all stated acts, and perse- unto the Lord, and not to man: this is the vering diligence of outward supplication, will spirit that St. Paul enjoins upon us—this is be vain. Prayer consists not in those acts, praying without ceasing. Then, what, brebut in the spirit and temper of devoutness, ge-thren, are we? Are we disciples of Paul ? nerated, exercised, kept up under difficulty Have we the Spirit of Christ ? Are we not by those acts. And yet, perhaps, in no case carnal, and walk as men? has the corruption of our nature so perverted II. And is it not then needful that we now the best things to the worst results, as in the proceed, from having explained the injunction case of prayer. The converting of means into of our text, to endeavour to Enforce it on ends has been the fruitful source of all super- your consciences? which was the second point stition. And so it has been found in the that we proposed. exercises of devotion. The Romanist has It might, indeed, appear at first sight come to reckon his devoutness by the number strange that such a duty as that of prayer of his beads, and to crush the very life of should need enforcement. When poor, weak, piety by the weight of the meretricious orna- sinful creatures, who deserve to be exeluded ments that he has flung upon it. And the from God's presence, are invited, notwithFormalist of every communion has substi- standing all their guilt and imperfection, to tuted scrupulosity for earnestness, and me- enter into the presence-chamber, and approach chanical regularity for vital action. While the very throne of the King of kings, we the public service has been duly attended - might imagine that no very pressing arguwhile the chapter of the Bible has been regu- ment would be necessary to persuade to larly read down —while the closet form has such a privilege; we might suppose, that been statedly repeated, and the knees have even as water by the thirsty, and medicine been duly bent, and the appointed lesson by the dying, it would be seized with quick has been duly waded through, and the allotted avidity, and drunk in with admiring gratitude. time has been duly measured out,the heart, But, alas ! we are corrupt and fallen! and the life, the spirit of devotion, have been our very corruption makes unpalatable to us unthought of, and the satisfaction of a work the means of its removal-our very fall has performed has been substituted for the blessed- made it irksome for us to attempt to rise ! ness of a feeling enjoyed.
We must be enjoined to seek our own peace.
We must be pressed to minister to our own therefore shall he teach sinners in the way. health.
The meek will he guide in judgment, and the Let me, then, dear brethren, press this meek will he teach his way.” duty of prayer upon you, first, as a remedy for Or are we, again, perplexed with reference perplexity. Man is ignorant and foolish; to the path of duty ? Are we torn by various and he has daily proofs that it is not in him- conflicting demands upon our conscience, or self to direct his steps. Short-sighted in his unable to discern between good and evil, and views, misled by his prejudices, cheated by detect the tempter even under his form of an his passions, and often left in darkness even angel of light? Are we invited to self-inby his conscience, he frequently knows not dulgence by the plea of moderation; or to what course he ought to take, to thread the injurious approximation to the world by a mazes of perplexity, to bring into harmony desire to conciliate or do good ? Let us seek the various emotions that agitate his mind, | for full discrimination, decision, and stability, and even to pursue the call of duty. His in prayer. Trust not too much to the repreblindness bewilders him. His sins and sentations of other men---listen not to the temptations agitate him. His very conscien- pleadings of your own deceitful heart-linger tiousness confounds him. Such seems to not upon the reasonings which would tempt have been the condition of the Thessalonians. you to surrender to the adversary; but get They had been perplexed by the most painful you up, at once, like Hezekiah, to the sancuncertainty concerning the expected coming tuary of God—there spread out the arguof their Lord. They had seen their friends ments that are urged upon you—thence decut off by death, when they had fondly hoped rive a wisdom and determination not your to wait together for the speedy manifestation own--and there plead for God's interposiof the Prince of life. Their hopes and their tion in your behalf. O what a privilege is it experience, the promises of God and the ways to have a heavenly Father, into whose graof God, had seemed to them contradictory. cious ear we can tell out our feelings, and And what were they to do? How were who can guide us with his counsel! "If any they to maintain their faith and patience ? man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who By what means were they to accomplish the giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth apostle's injunction, to sorrow not as those not, and it shall be given him.” “ Trust in the who have no hope ? By prayer. “Pray Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine without ceasing."
own understanding : in all thy ways acknowAnd what a blessing is prayer for us, dear ledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." brethren, in similar exercises of mind! Are Secondly; let me press this duty of prayer #e anxiously seeking the truth of God, and upon you, as a consolation under trouble. The yet do we find many a topic “ dark with ex- Thessalonians were in trouble, and yet the cessive bright,” and turn with dazzled eye Apostle calls upon them, in the verse before from contemplations which reveal to us our our text, to rejoice evermore. How was this own humiliation, but not God's purposes ? contradiction to be realised ? How were they, Are we perplexed by various conjectures, though troubled, yet not to be distressed; and distracted by the conflicting tenets of though sorrowful, yet to be rejoicing ? Our different religionists? and do we long for text affords the answer-solves the paradox: simple, practical truth--just truth enough to Pray without ceasing ;" and so would they shew to us the method of salvation, and guide go on to the reiterated duty,“ in every thing our feet into the paths of peace? Then go give thanks." And similarly, brethren, let to prayer-submissive, teachable, and patient me commend to you the exercises of devoprayer -- as your great remedy. Cry out tion, as your all-sufficient consolation under with David, "O send forth thy light and thy the various trials of this troublesome world. truth; let them lead me: let them bring me Who is not, at some time or other, in himto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles." self, or in his family, or in his friends, asPray with Paul, that God would give to you sailed by trouble? And whither shall he “ the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the go for consolation but to Him who is "the knowledge of Christ; the eyes of your un- Father of mercies, and the God of all comderstanding being enlightened, thať ye may fort ?” “Is any afflicted ? let him pray.” know what is the hope of his calling, and “ Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will what the riches of the glory of his inheritance deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." in the saints.” And calm and settle down That is the way to turn sorrow into joy, and your mind into the attitude of meek depend- murmuring against God into glorifying his ence upon God (that best posture for the holy name! Yea, "in every thing," says St. search and the discovery of all true wisdom), Paul," by prayer and supplication, with by resting on the solid promises of his holy thanksgiving, let your requests be made known word.
* Good and upright is the Lord, I unto God; and the peace of God, which pass
eth understanding, shall keep your hearts animate the Ephesians against not only flesh and minds in Jesus Christ.” Alas ! how and blood, but against principalities and those who neglect their Saviour-who un- powers, and the rulers of the darkness of dervalue spiritual religion—who live without this world, and spiritual wickedness in high God in the world, -how such can bear up places ? “ Praying always with all prayer under any trouble, I know not. They may and supplication, and watching thereunto with go on smoothly enough, while all things smile all perseverance.” And what is to preserve and flatter with a dangerous calm ; but when us, brethren, from the sin, and shame, and the tempest rises, and the winds blow, and misery, of spiritual defeat, nay, make us the waters toss their angry heads on high, to strong in the Lord, and in the power of his what haven shall they run, and where shall might, but just this spirit of prayer? “Betheir shattered bark find rest? Brethren, ask seech the Lord thrice,” with all the energy yourselves this single question, amidst all that Paul did, and you, too, shall find, like the ease and the indifference of a worldly him, Christ's strength perfected in your weakprosperity,-"What will ye do in the end there
Bow your knees unto the Father of of ?” What, when your earthly comforts are our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant swept away? what, in the hour of sickness? you to be strengthened with might by his what, on the bed of death? O pray now for Spirit in the inner man; and then Christ repentance and conversion, if then you would shall dwell in your hearts by faith-you effectually pray for peace. Turn ye to the shall be rooted and grounded in love, and stronghold, while the way is open to you. you shall be filled with all the fulness of Seek the Lord while he may be found, and God. call upon him while he is near. Submit yourselves to Christ as your Redeemer, and seek the Spirit of Christ as your restorer;
Reviews and Notices. and then may you “come boldly to the throne Lectures on the Life of Samuel, preached in the Parish of of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace in Warminster, Wilts, during Lent, A.D. 1834. By Wiltime of need.” Prayer shall lay your griefs
liam Dalby, M.A., Vicar of Warminster, and Pre
bendary of Sarum. London, Rivingtons. to rest upon the bosom of your Lord; shall realise to you things not seen and eternal;
The practice of preaching Lent lectures has now and thus shall make your light affliction, great benefits have arisen, and may be expected, from
become very common; and we trust and believe that which is but for a moment, work out for you it. It was revived, we believe, by Mr. Blunt, of a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Chelsea, a few years ago, by preaching a course of glory.
sermons, during that season, on the history of AbraLastly ; let me press upon you prayer as
ham; a habit which he has kept up each succeeding
Lent: with how much interest to his hearers and the your strength against temptation. No sin
public, the large congregations that attended them, can be successfully resisted without fervent and the great demand for them when published, suffiprayer. Nor can we escape the influence of ciently testify. This laudable example has been so those hourly temptations which crowd round generally followed, that there is scarcely any clergy
man of known excellence and zeal, who has not adoptour daily path (and which, too generally, we
ed some form of Lent instruction. The lectures of overlook as trifling, and therefore fall by them), Mr. Dalby, delivered two years since, have fallen in but by the permanent and wakeful spirit of our way: they bespeak our interest (even before exaprayer. The devout mind acquires a quick mining their contents), by the objecè the author had
in view in publishing them--which was to extend the and lively sense, a ready tact, by which it
means of pastoral usefulness in his parish, by “disdiscerns and starts back from the very occa- charging the outstanding expenses of the erection of sion of temptation. It is endued with the a free church in his parish," and promoting the delicate feeling of the sensitive plant, and
erection of the new church school-rooms.” The sub
ject of these sermons is that of " Samuel, the prophet shrinks from the very touch of whatsoever
of the Lord." The first lecture treats of the diferent defileth. And even when the trial has com- modes in which scriptural truth may be advantagemenced—when we have been seduced or ously brought before the mind, among which one of forced into the struggle with our evil nature
the most useful is, dwelling on some Scripture chaand our awakened passions even then
racter. The advantages to be derived from this study
are then pointed out; as arising from our natural prayer is the grand resource by which our fondness for facts, and the ease with which personal spirits may be nerved to conflict, our integrity adventure is retained in the memory; as well as from of heart be maintained, our enemy be over
the circumstance of their
being human agents whose come by us, because
history we contemplate. The cautions to be observed calls down upon prayer
in the study of every Scripture character (with one, us a superinduced strength, puts into action
and that a divine, exception) are then stated. The for us an Almighty arm!
to danger here is that of "admiring injudiciously, comstrengthen the Thessalonians under the things mending erroneously, and justifying falsely." These which they suffered of their countrymen, and
lectures take the principal passages in the life of
Samuel, and draw from them the sacred lessons they to enable them to stand fast in the Lord ?
were intended to convey to the various relations of “ Pray without ceasing." And what was to life. In the circumstances of Elkanalı and Hannah,