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future misery. A little before he expired he was heard to say, “ My possessions amount to twenty-five thousand pounds. One half of this my property I would give, so that I might live one fortnight longer, to repent and seek salvation ; and the other balf I would give my dear and only son.”
Chap. xvii, ver. 21.-Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
The following instance will serve to show the efficacy of prayer in expelling Satan from his usurped dominion in the soul; and may, in a way of accommodation, illustrate the passage to which it is applied.
A minister from England happening some time since to be at Edinburgh, he was accosted very civilly by a young man in the street, with an apology for the liberty he was taking ;—“ I think, sir," said he, " I have heard you at Spa-fields chapel." " You probably may, sir, for I have sometimes ministered there.” “Do you remember," said he," a note put up by an afflicted widow, begging the prayers of the congregation for the conversion of an ungodly son ?” “I do very well remember such a circumstance." " Sir,” said he, “ I am the very person; and wonderful to tell, the prayer was effectual. Going on a frolic with some other abandoned young men one Sunday through the Spa-fields, and passing by the chapel, I was struck with its appearance, and hearing it was a Methodist chapel, we agreed to mingle with the crowd, and stop for a few minutes, to laugh and mock at the preacher and the people. We had only just entered the chapel, when you, sir, read the note, requesting the prayers of the congregation for an afflicted widow's son. I heard it with a sensation I cannot express. I was struck to the heart; and though I had no idea that I was the very individual meant, I felt that it expressed the bitterness of a widow's heart, who had a child as wicked as I knew myself to be. My mind was instantly solemnized. I could not laugh; my attention was riveted on the
preacher. I heard his prayer and sermon with an impression very different from that which had carried me into the chapel. From that moment, the truths of the Gospel penetrated my heart; I joined the congregation; cried to God in Christ for mercy, and found peace in believing ; became my mother's comfort, as I had long been her heavy cross, and through grace have ever since continued in the good ways of the Lord. An opening having lately been made for an advantageous settlement in my own country, I came hither with my excellent mother, and for some time past, have endeavored to dry up the widow's tears, which I had so often caused to flow; and to be the comfort and support of her old age, as I had been the torment and affliction of her former days. We live together in the enjoyment of every mercy, happy and thankful; and every day I acknowledge the kind hand of my Lord, that led me to the Spa-fields chapel.”
Chap. xvii, ver. 27.-Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money : that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
“For your taxes and tributes,” says Justin Martyr to the emperors, “we are above all other men, everywhere ready to bring them to your collectors and officers, being taught so to do by our great Master, who bade those that asked the question, Whether they might pay tribute unto Cæsar? to give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
Chap. xviii, ver. 4.-Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
The celebrated Dr. Franklin, of America, once received a very useful lesson from the excellent Dr. Cotton Mather, which he thus relates in a letter to his son, Dr. Samuel Mather, dated Passy, 12th May, 1781 :-“ The last time I saw your father, was in 1724. On taking my leave, he showed me a shorter way out of the house, through a narrow passage, which was crossed by a beam overhead. We were still talking as I withdrew, he accompanying me bebind, and I turping towards him ; when he said hastily, Stoop-stoop! I did not understand him till I felt my head hit against the beam. He was a man who never missed an occasion of giving instruction; and upon this be said to me,– You are young, and have the world before you. Stoop as you go through it, and you will miss many hard thumps. This advice thus beat into my head, bas frequently been of use to me: and I often think of it when I see pride mortified, and misfortunes brought upon people by carrying their beads too bigb.”.
Chap. xviii, ver. 20.-For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
His late majesty George the Third had heard of a poor man at Windsor, who had occasionally a prayer meeting at his house. He one day disguised bimself, and went to the door to inquire of the man the nature of the meetings, and to ask permission to attend. The poor man not knowing the illustrious individual with whom he was conversing, supposed bim to be a a person laboring under a concern about his immortal interests, and asked him to walk in; be then conversed with bim on the great subjects of religion, with which the apparent stranger was much pleased; and expressing his gratitude asked if he might be permitted to come again : this proposition was agreed to. He afterwards paid the man another visit, when the concerns of his soul and of eternity again occupied his attention. These visits were repeated, until one
day when the king was there, one of his attendants came to the door, with a loud rap, which brought the poor man to the door, when he was surprised on being asked, If his Majesty was there? To which the man innocently replied, No. On going in, he informed bis strange visitor of the singular inquiry that had been made. On this, bis Majesty explained the whole affair; thanked the good man for his kind attention and advice; and told him, that as he was found out, he could no more enjoy his company, but must bid him farewell. His Majesty's regrets on this occasion were extremely great, as he derived much pleasure from the simple and familiar piety of this humble disciple.
Chap. xix, ver. 14.—But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Elizabeth Gardner of Kendal, from her early infancy, was a child of a sweet and loving disposition, of a pious frame of mind, a lover of truth, and very dutiful and obedient to her parents and teachers. She was always patient under any asfiction that might befall her; and often showed her love to her Saviour. A few years since, she had a small book given her by a friend of her father's wbich she took much pleasure in reading; and very few days past without her repeating these words, which were in the first page, “ Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." In the autumn of 1827, she went on a visit to Shipton, in Yorkshire, where she remained till Christmas. The 28th of December was the day fixed for her return home, where she was very anxiously expected by her father, who had been confined to his bed a long time by a lingering illness. While her parents were thus looking towards the evening which was to bring their child to the arms of those she loved most on earth, the dear little girl was anxiously looking for the arrival of the coach which was to convey her home. But see the uncertainty of worldly prospects. Just as the coach drove up to the inn near where she had been staying, her clothes caught fire, and before it could be put out, she was so severely burnt, that it became impossible for her to be moved. And on the evening of the next day, with little pain she breathed her last, when not quite nine years old, and was interred at Shipton, on the 1st of January, 1828.
These lines are on her tomb-stone in Shipton church
“Her days on earth, sweet child ! were few,
They passed away like morning dew;
And early seek the God of truth.” Chap. xix, ver. 23, 24.—Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven: And again, I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“I had been known," says one, “ to Mr. Cecil as an occasional hearer at St. John's, and by soliciting his advice at my commencing master of a family; but some years had passed since I enjoyed the pleasure of speaking to bim, when he called at my house on horseback, being then unable to walk, and desired to speak with me. After the usual salutations, he addressed me thus:- I understand you are very dangerously situated !' He then paused. I replied, that I was not aware of it. He answered, ' I thought it was probable you were not; and therefore I called on you: I hear you are getting rich; take care, for it is the road by which the devil leads thousands to destruction!'
This was spoken with such solemnity and earnestness, that the impression will ever remain on my memory.”