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was, and is, and which is to come." Family Worship though of itself most commendable, cannot take the place of Secret Prayer; then it is that we hold intercourse with our heavenly Father ; lay our wants before Him, and praise Him for mercies vouchsafed unto us. Then only it is that we can open our heart, and supplicate for relief, where alone relief can be given. The bustle of the world, and all its alluring vanities are hid from our sight; we contemplate the fulness of the riches of a Saviour's grace; we follow him from Calvary to the blessed mansions of redeeming love. We feel that he will pity us like a father, and when borne down with heavy afflictions and earthly trials, we obtain consolation, and fresh strength to go on in our way rejoicing. However dejected we may be under the impression of our iniquities, in Christ and Him only we shall have refuge. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul i and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God."
"As pants the hart for cooling streams,
When heated in the chase;
And thy refreshing grace.
I sigh, with anxious care opprest,
To think of happier days,
To sing glad songs of praise.
Why art thou troubled, O my soul?
His praise I yet shall sing;
My health's eternal spring."
Chelmsford, A. M. W.
13th May, 1845.
IHZARCTIOFT, TTP. CHIIUIOKD.
The NARRATIVE of JONAH continued.
JONAH'S CONSOLATION, THANKSGIVING, & DELIVERANCE.
Then I said I am cast out of thy sight, yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to my soul; the depths closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains: the earth with her bars was about me for ever; yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord, my God. 2nd chap. Jonah, 4—7th verses. In these verses we notice Jonah's consolation and thanksgiving.— Prayer if made in faith will assuredly receive an answer. This is proved by the earnest supplication of Jonah to God, in the midst of his severe trial. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith believing ye shall receive," was a promise of our Lord's, and the performance of it can be witnessed in the every day events of life. And another thing may also be witnessed, that is, if our prayers are not answered immediately we must not murmur or be impatient; for God knoweth best our wants, and will supply them as He may think best for us, and when most beneficial to us. Jonah waited three days, before he was delivered from the belly of the fish. Therefore, let us not despair if our first petitions are not answered, but let us rather follow the advice of St. Paul, "continuing instant in prayer, for all things work together for good to them that love God," and if we place our reliance on his promises, he will recompense us,—for "he is faithful that promised." Jonah's conscience had convicted him, and in his haste he exclaimed I am cut off; but the Lord heard the voice of his supplications when he cried unto him. As the mariner looks towards the polar Btar, in order to reach his expected destination, in like manner did Jonah look toward the holy temple, as the only means for reconciling himself with an offended God: this was his consolation. He was hidden in the waters, still in this painful situation he was allowed to pour out his lamentations,— Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul, O God,
thou knowest my foolihsness, and my sins are not hid from thee. Seldom indeed is it that men are allowed to transgress the laws of God, without one day coming to an acknowledgement of their wickedness: neither, let it he remembered, does God afflict onh/ the open and wilful sinner, as in the case of Jonah, but he marks all those concealed violations, which men call (as I have before stated) little sins. One step in the wrong path, and who shall stop us. One enticement to evil pleasures will ultimately allow a thirst for sin to reign continually in us. One Sabbath broken, and appropriated to worldly matters will only fit us to desecrate more.— One indulgence of an evil passion, or sinful desire will tempt us into depths of ruin. Although Jonah had not forgotten the Lord in his distress, he did not at the same time have recourse to methods of man for comfort, but he prayed unto God. It is not merely bending to idols as the Heathens, which is abomination to the most High, but lip-service and outward forms without the genuine spring of holiness that merits and does receive his just punishment. Jonah's happy deliverance through prayer is an example, and a great encouragement for Christians in the midst of trials and afflictions to pour out their supplications with the prospect of their being answered. How many like Jonah have exclaimed during Affliction, "I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever; yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God." How many like Jonah by Divine grace, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit have with their repentance and devotion been raised from the pit of irrevocable wickedness and total destruction to the participation of glorious promises, and future recompense awaiting the righteous, and they only.— And what an extent of mercy is to be seen in all this. What a wonderful condescension for God to take upon himself our nature, and permit his only-begotten Son to be crucified for our sins. Have we not as much need to be thankful as the prophet? It is indeed too often forgotten that Christ is crucified even now, and put afresh to an open shame. There are wilful sinners knowing the good, but
choosing the evil; such are even now crucifying the Lord, but hereafter will be banished from his presence, "for our God is a consuming fire." "Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him, with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind, for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." We will now return to the narrative. "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." Here we notice 1st.—Jonah's wise reflection, that "lying vanities " forsake mercy. 2nd.—His joyful determination to serve the Lord. 3rd.— His happy deliverance by God, through prayer.
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Jonah is delivered from the belly of the fish, his prayer is answered, and God is glorified. Our prayers can also ascend, and abundant blessings may be showered down upon us, if we use the appointed means. But in this age of indifference to religious benefits, this age of restless excitement and inquisitive curiosity, men look to themselves and to the world for support in trouble which though it may promise much, performs little or nothing. Men do not sail in that channel in which real assistance can be obtained; for God is the spring of it, and whosoever drinketh of this water shall never thirst, for our Lord declared that it was "a well springing up into everlasting life."— Too many are now to be found, as it were serving God and the world at the same time ; friendly with the righteous, and yet not shunning "evil communications which corrupt good manners. Ye cannot serve God and mammon;" yet men are daily doing so, Beware of such a deluded and wicked profession, for you will not be deceiving God, but you will be thereby deceiving yourselves, and to your eternal condemnation. "No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Jonah's remark (in the 8th verse) is a solemn truth; and lay it seriously to heart. Some in trouble, promise; and on deliverance forget. How many leading irreligious lives when suddenly attacked with severe illness, repent heartily of their sinful ways, and intend if allowed to recover, henceforth to lead new and better, and holier lives; yet alas! when once again entered into the world, temptation assails them afresh, and they yield to its all-powerful influence; thus once more fall back into their old and easy paths of folly and sin :—their vows indeed are "lying vanities." Let every man then who lives in the habit or practise of any sin consider what he is doing, and under what circumstances he is offending. "Many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, but whether ye eat, says the Apostle, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many; that they may be saved. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous, there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, but ye are all one in Christ Jesus." These may seem little things, but without them you will die in sin. Look at such things as these, for you will find the use of them more and more as the days approach and your lives increase. Christ indeed has done his part, all that his mercy called upon Him to do; he has done all for reforming and saving sinners, which perfeet goodness could dictate to Him. And shall we allow sinful pleasures, which are but for a season, and lead to eternal death, to allure us from setting our affections on heaven and heavenly things—to be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and to desire the praise of men rather than the favour of God—to fear man so much as in the case of Jonah, and hence fall short of the better country, which God hath prepared for the faithful? The redemption of man is a stupendous truth, and imparts that peace, which the world giveth. not, and cannot take away. In the same merciful manner as God was pleased to release the disobedient prophet from the belly of the lish; so did Christ Jesus release, and even at the present time i»