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to turn, or be converted to religion, who were never, that they knew, either indifferent to it, or alienated from it.
and in that sense not to stand in need of conversion; still less, that any sin is to be allowed, and not, on the contrary, strenuously and sincerely resisted and forsaken. I only maintain, that there may be Christians who are, and have been, in such a religious state, that no such thorough and radical change as is usually meant by conversion, is or was necessary for them; and that they need not be made miserable by the want of consciousness of such a change.
In opposition, however, to what is here said, there are who contend, that it is necessary for every man living to be converted before he can be saved. This opinion undoubtedly deserves serious consideration, because it founds itself upon Scripture, whether rightly or erroneously interpreted is the question. The portion of Scripture upon which they who maintain the opinion chiefly rely, is our Saviour's conversation with Nicodemus, recorded in the third chapter of St. John's Gospel. Our Saviour is there stated to have said to Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; and afterwards, as a confirmation, and, in some sort, an exposition, of his assertion, to have added, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It is inferred from this passage, that all persons whatever must undergo a conversion, before they be capable of salvation: and it cannot be said that this is a forced or strained inference: but the question before us at present is, is it a necessary inference? I am not unwilling to admit, that this short, but very remarkable conversation, is fairly interpreted of the gift of the Spirit, and that when this Spirit is given, there is a new birth, a regeneration; but I say, that it is no where determined at what time of life, or under what circumstances, this gift is imparted: nay, the contrary is intimated by comparing it to the blowing of the wind, which, in its mode of action, is out of the reach of our rules and calculation: "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." The effect of this uncertainty is, that we are left at liberty to pray for spiritual assistance; and we do pray for it, in all stages, and under all circumstances of our existence. We pray for it in baptism, for those who are baptized; we teach those who are catechised, to pray for it in their catechism: parents pray for its aid and efficacy to give effect to their parental instructions, to preserve the objects of their love and care from sin and wickedness, and from every spiritual enemy: we pray for it, particularly in the office of confirmation, for young persons just entering into the temptations of life. Therefore spiritual assistance may be imparted at any time, from the earliest to the latest period of our existence; and whenever it is imparted, there is that being born of the Spirit to which our Saviour's words refer. And considering the subject as a matter of experience, if we cannot ordinarily distinguish the operations of the Spirit from those of our own minds, seems to follow, that neither can we distinguish when they commence; so that spiritual assistance may be imparted, and the thing designated by our Lord's discourse satisfied, without such a sensible conversion, that a person can fix his memory upon some great and general change wrought in him at an assignable time. The consciousness of a great and general change may be the fact with many. It may be essentially necessary to many. I only allege, that it is not so to all, so that every person, who is not conscious of such a change, must set himself down as devoted to perdition.
This, I repeat, is all I contend for; for 1 by no means intend to say that any one is without sin,
I do not, in the smallest degree, mean to undervalue, or speak lightly of such changes, whenever or in whomsoever they take place: nor to deny that they may be sudden, yet lasting, (nay, I am rather inclined to think that it is in this manner that they frequently do take place;) nor to dispute what is upon good testimony alleged concerning conversion brought about by affecting incidents of life; by striking passages of Scripture; by impres sive discourses from the pulpit; by what we meet with in books; or even by single touching sentences or expressions in such discourses or books. I am not disposed to question these relations unnecessarily, but rather to bless God for such instances, when I hear of them, and to regard them as merciful ordinations of his providence.
But it will be said, that conversion implies a revolution of opinion. Admitting this to be so, such a change or revolution cannot be necessary to all, because there is no system of religious opinions, in which some have not been brought up from the beginning. To change from error to truth in any great and important article of religious belief, deserves, I allow, the name of conversion; but all cannot be educated in error, on whatever side truth be supposed to lie.
To me, then, it appears, that although it cannot be stated with safety, or without leading to consequences which may confound and alarm many good men, that conversion is necessary to all, and under all circumstances; yet I think, that there are two topics of exhortation, which together comprise the whole Christian life, and one or other of which belongs to every man living, and these two topics are conversion and improvement; when conversion is not wanted, improvement is.
Now this respective preaching of conversion or improvement, according to the respective spiritual condition of those who hear us, or read what we write, is authorised by the example of Scripture preaching, as set forth in the New Testament. It is remarkable, that, in the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, we read incessantly of the preaching of repentance, which I admit to mean conversion. Saint John the Baptist's preaching set out with it: our Lord's own preaching set out with it. It was the subject which he charged upon his twelve apostles to preach. It was the subject which he sent forth his seventy disciples to preach. It was the subject which the first missionaries of Christianity pronounced and preached in every place which they came to, in the course of their progress through different countries. Whereas, in the epistles written by the same persons, we hear proportionably much less of repentance, and much more of advance, proficiency, progress, and improvement in holiness of life: and of rules and maxims for the leading of a holy and godly life. These exhortations to continual improvement, to sincere, strenuous, and continual endeavours after improvement, are delivered under a variety of expressions, but with a
Now the reason of the difference is, that the preaching of Christ and his apostles, as recorded in the Gospels, and in the Acts of the Apostles, was addressed to Jews and Gentiles, whom they called upon to become disciples of the new religion. This call evidently implied repentance and conversion. But the epistles, which the apostles, and some of which the same apostles, wrote afterwards, were addressed to persons already become Christians; and to some who, like Timothy, had been such from their earliest youth. Speaking to these, you find, they dwell upon improvement, proficiency, continued endeavours after higher and greater degrees of holiness and purity, stead of saying.so much about repentance and conversion. This conduct was highly rational, and was an adaptation of their instruction to the circumstances of the persons whom they addressed, and may be an example to us, in modelling our exhortations to the different spiritual conditions of our hearers.
strength and earnestness, sufficient to show what I without undergoing it; and he must necessarily the apostles thought of the importance of what both be sensible of it at the time, and remember they were teaching. it all his life afterwards. It is too momentous an event ever to be forgot. A man might as easily forget his escape from a shipwreck-Whether was sudden, or whether it was gradual, if it was effected, (and the fruits will prove that.) it was a true conversion: and every such person may justly both believe and say of himself, that he was converted at a particular assignable time. It may not be necessary to speak of his conversion, but he will always think of it with unbounded thankfulness to the Giver of all grace, the Author of all mercies, spiritual as well as temporal.
Seeing, then, that the two great topics of our preaching must always be conversion and improvement; it remains to be considered, who they are to whom we must preach conversion, and who they are to whom we must preach improvement.
Secondly: The next description of persons, to whom we must preach conversion, properly so in-called, are those who allow themselves in the course and habit of some particular sin. With more or less regularity in other articles of behaviour, there is some particular sin, which they practise constantly and habitually, and allow themselves in that practice. Other sins they strive against; but in this they allow themselves. Now no man can go on in this course, consistently with the hope of salvation. Therefore it must be broken off. The essential and precise difference between a child of God and another is, not so much in the number of sins into which he may fall (though that undoubtedly be a great difference, First; Now of the persons in our congregations, yet it is not a precise difference; that is to say, a to whom we not only may, but must, preach the difference, in which an exact line of separation doctrine of conversion plainly and directly, are can be drawn,) but the precise difference is, that those who, with the name indeed of Christians, the true child of God allows himself in no sin have hitherto passed their lives without any in- whatever. Cost what it may, he contends against, ternal religion whatever; who have not at all he combats, all sin; which he certainly cannot be thought upon the subject; who, a few easy and said to do, who is still in the course and habit of customary forms excepted, (and which with them some particular sin; for as to that sin, he reserves are mere forms,) cannot truly say of themselves, it, he compromises it. Against other sins, and that they have done one action which they would other sorts of sin, he may strive; in this he allows not have done equally, if there had been no such himself. If the child of God sin, he does not althing as a God in the world; or that they have low himself in the sin; on the contrary, he grieves, ever sacrificed any passion, any present enjoy- he repents, he rises again; which is a different ment, or even any inclination of their minds, to thing from proceeding in a settled self-allowed the restraints and prohibitions of religion; with course of sinning. Sins which are compatible whom indeed religious motives have not weighed with sincerity, are much more likely to be objects a feather in the scale against interest or pleasure. of God's forgiveness, than sins that are not so; To these it is utterly necessary that we preach which is the case with allowed sins. Are there conversion. At this day we have not Jews and then some sins, in which we live continually! Gentiles to preach to; but these persons are really some duties, which we continually neglect ? we in as unconverted a state as any Jew or Gentile are not children of God; we are not sincere discould be in our Saviour's time. They are no ciples of Christ. The allowed prevalence of any more Christians, as to any actual benefit of Chris-one known sin, is sufficient to exclude us from tianity to their souls, than the most hardened Jew, the character of God's children. And we must or the most profligate Gentile was in the age of be converted from that sin, in order to becoME the Gospel. As to any difference in the two such. Here then we must preach conversion. cases, the difference is all against them. These The habitual drunkard, the habitual fornicator, must be converted, before they can be saved. the habitual cheat must be converted. Now such The course of their thoughts must be changed, a change of principle, of opinion, and of sentiment, the very principles upon which they act must be as no longer to allow ourselves in that which we changed. Considerations, which never, or which did allow ourselves, and the actual sacrifice of a hardly ever entered into their minds, must deeply habit, the breaking off of a course of sinful induland perpetually engage them. Views and mo- gence, or of unfair gain, in pursuance of the new tives, which did not influence them at all, either as and serious views which we have formed of these checks from doing evil, or as inducements to do subjects, is a conversion. The breaking off of a good, must become the views and motives which habit, especially when we had placed much of our they regularly consult, and by which they are gratification in it, is alone so great a thing, and guided; that is to say, there must be a revolution such a step in our Christian life, as to merit the of principle: the visible conduct will follow the name of conversion. Then as to the time of our change; but there must be a revolution within. conversion, there can be little question about that. A change so entire, so deep, so important as this, The drunkard was converted, when he left off I do allow to be a conversion; and no one who is drinking; the fornicator, when he gave up his in the situation above described, can be saved criminal indulgences, haunts, and connexions; the
cheat, when he quitted his dishonest practices, however gainful and successful: provided, in these several cases, that religious views and motives influenced the determination, and a religious character accompanied and followed these sacrifices.
In these two cases, therefore, men must be converted, and live; or remain unconverted, and die. And the time of conversion can be ascertained. There must that pass within them, at some particular assignable time, which is properly a conversion; and will, all their lives, be remembered as such. This description, without all doubt, comprehends great numbers; and it is cach person's business to settle with himself, whether he be not of the number; if he be, he sees what is to be done.
getting those things that are behind, (those things whereunto I have already attained,) and looking forward to those things that are before, (to still further improvement,) I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." This was not stopping; it was pressing on. The truth is, in the way of Christian improvement, there is business for the best; there is enough to be done for all.
First: In this stage of the Christian life it is fit to suppose, that there are no enormous crimes, such as mankind universally condemn and cry out against, at present committed by us; yet less faults, still clearly faults, are not unfrequent with us. are too easily excused, too soon repeated. This must altered.
But I am willing to believe, that there are very many Christians, who neither have in any part of their lives been without influencing principles, nor have at any time been involved in the habit and course of a particular known sin, or have allowed themselves in such course and practice. Sins, without doubt, they have committed, more than sufficient to humble them to the dust; but they have not, to repeat the same words again, lived in a course of any particular known sin, whether of commission or neglect; and by deliberation, and of aforethought, allowed themselves Thirdly We may not absolutely omit any in such course. The conversion, therefore, above duty to our families, our station, our neighbourdescribed, cannot apply to, or be required of, such hood, or the public, with which we are acquaintChristians. To these we must preach, not con-ed; but might not these duties be more effectively version, but improvement. Improvement, conti- performed, if they were gone about with more dinual improvement, must be our text, and our to ligence than we have hitherto used? and might pic; improvement in grace, in piety, in disposition, not further means and opportunities of doing good in virtue. Now, I put the doctrine of improve- be found out, if we took sufficient pains to inquire ment, not merely upon the consideration, which and to consider? yet is founded upon express Scripture authority, that, whatever improvement we make in ourselves, we are thereby sure to meliorate our future condition, receiving at the hand of God a proportionable reward for our efforts, our sacrifices, our perseverance, so that our labour is never lost, is never, as Saint Paul expressly assures us, in vain in the Lord; though this, I say, be a firm and established ground to go upon, yet it is not the ground upon which I, at present, place the necessity of a constant progressive improvement in virtue. I rather wish to lay down upon the subject this proposition; namely, that continual improvement is essential in the Christian character, as an evidence of its sincerity; that, if what we have hitherto done in religion has been done from truly religious motives, we shall necessarily go on; that, if our religion be real, it cannot stop. There is no standing still it is not compatible with the nature of the subject: if the principles which actuated us, be principles of godliness, they must continue to actuate us; and, under this continued stimulus and influence, we must necessarily grow better and better. If this effect do not take place, the conclusion is, that our principles are weak, or hollow, or unsound. Unless we find ourselves grow better, we are not right. For example, if our transgressions do not become fewer and fewer, it is to be feared, that we have left off striving against sin, and then we are not sincere.
Sixthly: Whilst any good can be done by us, we shall not fail to do it; but even when our powers of active usefulness fail, which not seldom happens, there still remains that last, that highest, that most difficult, and, perhaps, most acceptable, duty, to our Creator, resignation to his blessed will in the privations, and pains, and afflictions, I apprehend, moreover, that with no man living with which we are visited; thankfulness to him can there be a ground for stopping, as though for all that is spared to us, amidst much that is there was nothing more left for him to be done. gone; for any mitigation of our sufferings, any If any man had this reason for stopping, it was degree of ease, and comfort, and support, and asthe apostle Paul. Yet did he stop? or did he so sistance, which we experience. Every advanced judge? Hear his own account; "This I do, for-life, every life of sickness or misfortune, affords
Secondly: We may not avowedly be engaged in any course or habit of known sin, being at the time conscious of such sin; but we may continue in some practices which our consciences cannot, and would not, upon examination, approve, and in which we have allowed the wrongness of the practice to be screened from our sight by general usage, or by the example of persons of whom we think well. This is not a course to be proceeded in longer. Conscience, our own conscience, is to be our guide in all things.
Fourthly, again: Even where less is to be blamed in our lives, much may remain to be set right in our hearts, our tempers, and dispositions. Let our affections grow more and more pure and holy, our hearts more and more lifted up to God, and loosened from this present world; not from its duties, but from its passions, its temptations, its over anxieties, and great selfishness; our souls cleansed from the dross and corruption which tney have contracted in their passage through it.
Fifthly: It is no slight work to bring our tempers to what they should be; gentle, patient, placable, compassionate; slow to be offended, soon to be appeased; free from envy, which, though a necessary, is a difficult, attainment; free from bursts of anger; from aversions to particular persons, which is hatred; able heartily to rejoice with them that do rejoice; and, from true tenderness of mind, weeping, even when we can do no more, with them that weep; in a word, to put on charity with all those qualities with which Saint Paul hath clothed it, I Cor. xiii. which read for this purpose.
materials for virtuous feelings. In a word, I am persuaded, that there is no state whatever of Christian trial, varied and various as it is, in which there will not be found both matter and room for improvement; in which a true Christian will not be incessantly striving, month by month, and year by year, to grow sensibly better and better; and in which his endeavours, if sincere, and assisted, as, if sincere, they may hope to be assisted, by God's grace, will not be rewarded with
PRAYER IN IMITATION OF CHRIST.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.-Luke v. 16.
THE imitation of our Saviour is justly held out to us as a rule of life; but then there are many things in which we cannot imitate him. What depends upon his miraculous character must necessarily surpass our endeavours, and be placed out of the reach of our imitation. This reason makes those particulars, in which we are able to follow his example, of great importance to be observed by us; because it is to these that our hopes of taking him for our pattern, of treading in his footsteps, are necessarily confined.
Now, our Lord's piety is one of these particulars. We can, if we be so minded, pray to God, as he did. We can aim at the spirit, and warmth, and earnestness, of his devotions; we.can use, at least, those occasions, and that mode of devotion, which his example points out to us.
It is to be reinarked, that a fulness of mental devotion was the spring and source of our Lord's visible piety. And this state of mind we must acquire. It consists in this; in a habit of turning our thoughts towards God, whenever they are not taken up with some particular engagement.Every man has some subject or other, to which his thoughts turn, when they are not particularly occupied. In a good Christian this subject is God, or what appertains to him. A good Christian, walking in his fields, sitting in his chamber, lying upon his bed, is thinking of God. His meditations draw, of their own accord, to that object, and then his thoughts kindle up his devotions; and devotion never burns so bright, or so warm, as when it is lighted up from within. The immensity, the stupendous nature of the adorable Being who made, and who supports, every thing about us, his grace, his love, his condescension towards his reasonable and moral creatures, that is, towards men; the good things which he has placed within our reach, the heavenly happiness which he has put it in our power to obtain; the infinite moment of our acting well and right, so as not to miss of the great reward, and not only to miss of our reward, but to sink into perdition; such reflections will not fail of generating devotion, of moving within us either prayer, or thanksgiving, or both. This is mental devotion. Perhaps the difference between a religious and an irreligious character, depends more upon this mental devotion, than upon any other thing. The difference will show itself in men's lives and conversation, in their dealings with mankind, and in the various
duties and offices of their station; but it originates and proceeds from a difference in their internal habits of mind, with respect to God; in the habit of thinking of him in private, and of what relates to him; in cultivating these thoughts, or neglecting them; inviting them, or driving them from us; in forming, or in having formed a habit and custom, as to this point, unobserved and unobservable by others, (because it passes in the mind, which no one can see ;) but of the most decisive consequence to our spiritual character and immortal interests. This mind was in Christ: a deep, fixed, and constant piety. The expressions of it we have seen in all the forms, which could bespeak earnestness and sincerity; but the principle itself lay deep in his divine soul; the expressions likewise were occasional, more or fewer, as occasions called, or opportunities offered; but the principle fixed and constant, uninterrupted, unremitted.
But again: Our Lord, whose mental piety was so unquestionable, so ardent, and so unceasing, did not, nevertheless, content himself with that. He thought fit, we find, at, sundry times, and I doubt not, also, very frequently, to draw it forth in actual prayer, to clothe it with words, to betake himself to visible devotion, to retire to a mountain for this express purpose, to withdraw himself a short distance from his companions, to kneel down, to pass the whole night in prayer, or in a place devoted to prayer. Let all, who feel their hearts impregnated with religious fervour, remember this example; remember that this disposition of the heart ought to vent itself in actual prayer: let them not either be afraid nor ashamed, nor suffer any person, nor any thing, to keep them from this holy exercise. They will find the devout dispositions of their souls strengthened, gratified, confirmed. This exhortation may not be necessary to the generality of pious tempers; they will naturally follow their propensity, and it will naturally carry them to prayer. But some, even good men, are too abstracted in their way of thinking upon this subject; they think, that since God seeth and regardeth the heart, if their devotion be there, if it be within, all outward signs and expressions of it are superfluous. It is enough to answer, that our blessed Lord did not so think. He had all the fulness of devotion in his soul; nevertheless, he thought it not superfluous to utter and pronounce audible prayer to God; and not only so, but to retire and withdraw himself from other engagements; nay, even from his most intimate and favoured companions, expressly for this purpose.
Again: Our Lord's retirement to prayer appears commonly to have followed some signal act and display of his divine powers. He did every thing to the glory of God; he referred his divine powers to his Father's gift; he made them the subject of his thankfulness, inasmuch as they advanced his great work. He followed them by his devotions. Now every good gift cometh down from the Father of light. Whether they be natural, or whether they be supernatural, the faculties which we possess are by God's donation; wherefore, any successful exercise of these faculties, any instance in which we have been capable of doing something good, properly and truly so, either for the community, which is best of all, for our neighbourhood, for our families, nay even for ourselves, ought to stir and awaken our gratitude to God, and to call
forth that gratitude into actual devotion; at least, this is to imitate our blessed Lord, so far as we can imitate him at all: it is adopting into our lives, the principle which regulated his.
Again: It appears, on one occasion at least, that our Lord's retirement to prayer was preparatory to an important work, which he was about to execute. The manner in which Saint Luke states this instance is thus:-" And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God; and when it was day, he called unto him his disciples, and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." From this statement I infer, that the night, passed by our Lord in prayer, was preparatory to the office which he was about to execute: and surely an important office it was; important to him, important to his religion; important to the whole world. Nor let it be said, that our Lord, after all, in one instance at least, was unfortunate in his choice; of the twelve one was a traitor. That choice was not an or; a remarkable prophecy was to be fulfilled, and other purposes were to be answered, of which we cannot now speak particularly. "I know," says our Lord, "whom I have chosen." But let us confine ourselves to our observation. It was a momentous choice: it was a decision of great consequence; and it was accordingly, on our Lord's part, preceded by prayer; not only so, but by a night spent in prayer. He continued all night in prayer to God; or, if you would rather so render it, in a house, set apart for prayer to God. Here, therefore, we have an example given us, which we both can imitate, and ought to imitate. Nothing of singular importance; nothing of extraordinary moment, either to ourselves or others, ought to be resolved upon, or undertaken, without prayer to God, without previous devotion. It is a natural operation of piety to carry the mind to God, whenever any thing presses and weighs upon it: they, who feel not this tendency, have reason to accuse and suspect themselves of want of piety. More over, we have for it the direct example of our Lord himself: I believe also, I may add, that we nave the example and practice of good men, in all ages of the world.
ponded with it. Scenes of deep distress await us all. It is in vain to expect to pass through the world without falling into them. We have in our Lord's example, a model for our behaviour, in the most severe and most trying of these occasions: afflicted, yet resigned; grieved and wounded, yet submissive; not insensible of our sufferings, but increasing the ardour and fervency of our prayer in proportion to the pain and acuteness of our feelings.
But, whatever may be the fortune of our lives, one great extremity, at least, the hour of approaching death, is certainly to be passed through. What ought then to occupy us? what can then support us? Prayer. Prayer, with our blessed Lord himself, was a refuge from the storm; almost every word he uttered, during that tremendous scene, was prayer: prayer the most earnest, the most urgent; repeated, continued, proceeding from the recesses of his soul; private, solitary; prayer for deliverance; prayer for strength; above every thing, prayer for resignatio
ON FILIAL PIETY.
And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families.-Genesis xlvii. 12.
WHOEVER reads the Bible at all. has read the history of Joseph. It has universally attracted attention: and, without doubt, there is not one, but many points in it, which deserve to be noticed. It is a strong and plain example of the circuitous providence of God: that is to say, of his bringing about the ends and purposes of his providence, by seemingly casual and unsuspected means. That is a high doctrine, both of natural and revealed religion; and is clearly exemplified in this history. It is an useful example, at the same time, of the protection and final reward of virtue, though for a season oppressed and calumniated, or carried through a long series of distresses and misfortunes.
Again: We find our Lord resorting to prayer in his last extremity; and with an earnestness, II say it is an useful examp if duly understood, had almost said, a vehemence of devotion, propor- and not urged too far. It shows the protection tioned to the occasion. The terms in which the of providence to be with virtue under all its diffievangelists describe our Lord's devotion in the culties: and this being believed upon good grounds, garden of Gethsemane, the evening preceding his it is enough; for the virtuous man will be assured death, are the strongest terms that could be used. that this protection will keep with him in and As soon as he came to the place, he bid his disci- through all stages of his existence-living and ples pray. When he was at the place, he said dying he is in its hands-and for the same reason unto them, "Pray that ye enter. not into tempta- that it accompanies him, like an invisible guardian, tion." This did not content him: this was not through his trials, it will finally recompence him. enough for the state and sufferings of his mind. This is the true application of that doctrine of a He parted even from them. He withdrew about directing providence, which is illustrated by the a stone's-cast, and kneeled down. Hear how his history of Joseph, as it relates to ourselves-I mean struggle in prayer is described. Three times he as it relates to those who are looking forward to a came to his disciples, and returned again to prayer; future state. If we draw from it an opinion, or an thrice he kneeled down, at distance from them, expectation, that, because Joseph was at length repeating the same words. Being in an agony, rewarded with riches and honours, therefore wo he prayed more earnestly: drops of sweat fell from shall be the same, we carry the example farther his body, as if it had been great drops of blood; than it will bear. It proves that virtue is under yet in all this, throughout the whole scene, the the protection of God, and will ultimately be taken constant conclusion of his prayer was, "Not my care of and rewarded: but in what manner, and will, but thine be done." It was the greatest oc- in what stage of our existence, whether in the casion that ever was: and the earnestness of our present or the future, or in both, is left open by Lord's prayer, the devotion of his soul, corres-the example: and both may, and must depend,