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ON SOCIAL PRAYER.
or three” may often meet " with one accord,” to celebrate the divine goodness, and supplicate a continuance of their heavenly Father's blessing. There are stumbling-blocks in every path of duty, and, doubtless, objections may be started against this. A few of these, 'as they occur to me, I will endeavour to obviate.
I think I hear a timid female declaring, that she has no objection to unite either with her family or some intimate friends around a throne of grace, provided she be not requested to engage in extemporary prayer, since her abilities are feeble, and her courage too weak to attempt such an exercise. My dear young friend, I can sympathize with you, similar appprehensions having once been mine. But, О take heed lest this should prove one of Satan's artifices, to keep you aloof froin a practice which might promote your progress in holiness. Have you not a brother, a sister, or a familiar acquaintance, with whom you can ut first unite alone, till, emboldened by habit, you venture to request others under the same roof, or of similar sentiments, to increase your party? Impress your mind with just ideas of the great God, and if you are not ashamed to pray before Him, be not ashamed to pray before your fellow-mortals. Let it be your chief concern to get your heart rightly affected, and that will be the easiest way of producing utter. ance in the tongue.
But I seem to hear another, urging the want of opportunity; a series of avocations fill up the day, and no vacancy is discovered to admit this novel occupation. Is not this the language of a too hasty decision? Once again review your occupations, and, if then your judgment remains unaltered, see if you cannot rise an hour earlier, or retrench the time allotted for meals and recreation. Gain a free liberty from your will to commence the engagement, and you will find many obstacles disappear at once.
A third person, perhaps, laments the opposition of friends, whilst a fourth complains of the ridicule of enemies. The former I would counsel to act with judicious caution, and prudential wisdom. It is impossible to afford particular direction in circumstances where trifling varieties occasion great differences. In general, therefore, endeavour to win your friends to your own opinion, by gentleness, condescension, and meekness; at the same time exemplifying, by good works, the power of faith on your heart, that they who oppose you now, may, by frequently observing the happy result of being with Jesus," be induced finally to concur in your plans. The latter, I would remind, that “ judgments are prepared for the scorners,” and that “ shame is the promotion of fools." Consider, the resistance of an avowed adversary may be less perilous than the insinuations of a seeming friend. With patient resignation, 6 commit your ways unto the LORD; cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you ;” and intercede with fervency for your opposers, entreating God to 66 renew a right spirit within them.” In whatever circumstances you may be placed, or however delicately you may be situated, “ in every thing, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God," who is the giver of every good and perfect gift ;” and rest assured that He will, ere long, “ return you an answer of peace.”
Allow me to point out a few advantages flowing from the exercises which I recommend.
1. They will heighten and perpetuate christian friendships. There is no bond so firm or so lasting, as that which is fastened by the hand of piety. Will it be too bold an assertion to make, that the retrospect of the happy hours which we have spent with each other at Jesus's feet, in social devotion, instead of employing them in frivolity or earthly pursuits, will aug. ment our gratitude and joy, and produce higher endearment even in heaven itself.
2. They will lead to improvement, in the gift, as well as in the grace of prayer. Hereafter, you may be thrown into situations where that gift may be very essential to usefulness. Prepare yourself, then, for such circumstances : learn to fill up your present
ON SOCIAL PRAYER.
narrow sphere with propriety, and in the spirit of habitual devotion, that when it becomes more extended, you may be found ready for all the will of God.
3. But the principal benefit you will reap from this course, will be that the “ Sun of Righteousness," in answer to mutual prayer, will arise upon you " with healing in his wings.” The constant practice of this duty will increase a holy communion with God, who delights to shed his most kindly influence on those who are most frequent in their ad. dresses to Him. If while young, you study to please Him, and cultivate a holy and reverential affection for Him, you certainly have the prospect of enjoying greater degrees of comfort from Him, through life, than if you had neglected in youth this branch of social christianity
Hesitate not, then, my dear young friends, immediately to enteron this most delightful work. Suffer not another year to pass by without the addition of this duty of Social Devotion, to those you already practice. So shall you be profitable to others, as well as happy yourself; the Divine Presence will abide with you day by day; and after guiding you by his counsel, God will receive you to glory. ELVIRA.
The short sojourner at the inn,
The ruin'd fragments to survey. I HAVE just stopped for the night in the sweetly secluded village of
It is well sheltered on all sides by woods, and surrounded with green meadows. The cottages are thatched, and stand at some little distance from each other, and make a very pretty appearance with their whited walls, and little gardens in front, which are mostly well fenced round with neat and thriving hedges. At some distance is the village church, dusky in its antiquity, and presenting a reverend piece of gloomy gothic architecture. The parsonage one may discern a few fields further off, among a cluster of venerable trees which almost ob. scure it with their thick foliage.
I had written thus far in my journal when I was interrupted by the entrance of the landlord, who came to receive orders about supper. I took the opportunity to make some inquiries respecting the village and its vicinity, in order that, as my stay would be but short, if there was any natural curiosity, or any celebrated edifice, I might lose no time in examining it. In viewing the wonders of creation, I consider time may be very usefully employed; and even the specimens of modern art, or the vestiges of ancient grandeur, will afford to a well-directed mind ample matter for useful and improving reflection.
proving reflection. From the landlord I received but little information, excepting that there was
an old ruined building about half a mile off, which was called a monastery,” and which was much visited by the curious. I forthwith resolved to spend the time till supper in a stroll to the Monastery. ACcordingly, after receiving directions as to the way,
I set out. The evening was beautifully calm and serene, It was the hour
When twilight gathers o'er the skies,
And clouds advance in dark array,
In faintest warblings on the spray. I proceeded through the village, and then crossed over a stile into the fields, through which lay the path to the object of my excursion. I know not any thing that has such a soothing influence over the mind as the still and sober hour of evening. The bustle of the day is over, and we are soon to consign ourselves to repose; these circumstances tranquillize the spirits, and dispose the mind to meditation. When the shadows of evening descend on the mountains, and the majestic groves assume a darker hue, while
the slow mists are rising in the valleys, and the moon puts forth her pale crescent in the distant sky, where is the beholder whose heart is not softened by the scene, and whose mind is not raised in devotion to the Great Author and Preseryer of all ?
In a short time I came within sight of the pile of ruins. What had formerly been the Monastery stood upon the margin of a small but clear river, and was encircled in a wood of very large, and old trees. The ruins lay scattered over the ground to a considerable distance : enough remained, however, to point out that it had been once a noble and extensive build. ing. Several ranges of broken arches were partly visible for a long way through the foliage of the trees, but the walls seemed to be held together only by the climbing ivy, which flourished and spread over it in all directions. What a contrast there is, thought I, between its present and former state!
Then fair a Monastery stood,
The dark brown turrets towering high,