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it, the best counsel will become foolishness, and the wisest plans be frustrated. Except the Lord build the city, they labor in vain who build, or who attempt to build it. The husbandman may prepare his ground, and cast in the seed, but only the Lord can cause it to grow. The minister may choose his text, arrange his thoughts with care, deliver his discourse with freedom, fidelity, and earnestness, but he cannot convert one sinner, nor comfort one saint, nor reclaim one backslider from his wanderings. “Neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” Philip II, of Spain, fitted out a large number of vessels, and sent them forth, under the name of the Invincible Armada," against England. The hearts of the inhabitants were dismayed, fear took hold upon them; they looked unto God; he heard their prayers; he blew with his winds; they were scattered, and England was saved. Sennacherib collected a large host to invade Judah, under the command of Rabshakeh the general of his forces; prayer called down the divine blessing upon Judah, and Rabshakeh eventually raised the siege of Jerusalem, and drew off his army. An angel of Jehovah went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians, one hundred and eighty-five thousand men!
The blessing of God includes all temporal good things. “The Lord blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had, on account of the ark.” Jacob was blessed in his temporal affairs during his residence with Laban. • The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”—Prov. x. 22. It is worthy our observation, that those who have devoted themselves to God in their early days, have generally been prosperous through life, and in them the promise has been fulfilled, “Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”—Psalm xxxvii. 3. Of this, ancient as well as modern history, furnishes numerous examples.
The prayer of Jabez appears to be characterized by an ardent desire for spiritual blessings. He says, • O that Thou wouldest bless me indeed ;” and spiritual blessings are “ blessings indeed." Riches are the blessings desired by many, but they are not
The word angel siguifies literally, a Messenger, and it is generally agreed, that the army of Sennacherib was destroyed by the blasting wind, called the Simoom, of which Bruce gives an account in his Travels.
blessings "indeed.” The good they procure is confined to this life; their possession often creates anxiety; they induce pride, arrogance, and forgetfulness of God; unsanctified, they are a curse rather than a blessing. Honors are not blessings "indeed." A Marlborough, though loaded with earthly honors, sinks into the grave, his honors faded, and his name, except on the page of history, almost forgotten. The libertine endeavors to think himself blessed when luxuriating in the pleasures and dissipations of life. Wine is the drunkard's blessing; riches are the miser's blessing; honor is the warrior's blessing; but these are not blessings " indeed.” No; the youth that fears God would not pursue them to the neglect of the blessing, which, emphatically, cometh from God. His language is, “O that Thou wouldest bless me indeed!”
It is impossible to contemplate this petition, without being struck with the earnestness of Jabez, “O that Thou wouldest' bless me!” It is the Spirit making intercession by unutterable groanings; earnestness is an important feature in prayer; it lays hold of the strength of God, and seems to say,
Nay, I cannot let Thee go,
Till a blessing Thou bestow;
Mine's an urgent pressing case." This earnestness, however, can be manifested only where there exists a deep sense of the value of the thing requested. Let a mother sue for the life of her child, and she will cling to the sovereign's feet, and bathe them with floods of tears, while she cries, “O, spare my son!” The woman of Canaan besought Jesus on behalf of her daughter. The divine Redeemer, at first, answered her not a word, yet she presses her suit; she approaches nearer and nearer still, and even turns the discouraging language of the Saviour to her own advantage. Her importunity prevails; she departs a successful and commended suppliant. Matt. xv. 21.–28. When a youth, desirous of learning, applied to a philosopher to receive him as a pupil, he was refused. Not at all daunted by the repulse, he went to him again and again, and though severely reproved, and even beaten, and driven from the. door, he came again and entreated the philosopher to instruct
him. The master at length yielded, observing, that a disciple who was so determined, and who displayed such a love for learning, deserved to be instructed. No example of earnestness and perseverance in prayer can exceed that of Jacob, who wrestled with the angel and prevailed.—Gen. xxxii. 24-29. After a long and difficult struggle, he was commended as one who had power with God and with man, and prevailed. He was rewarded upon the spot for his valour; a patent of nobility was made out for him, and he was created "a prince of God.” And such is the prevailing suppliant at the throne of grace. No longer amongst the “commoners” of the world; he is, by grace, called to the upper house in heaven. His title, one of the sons of God; his inheritance, ample and extensive; his glory, inconceivable; his renown, everlasting. This is being blessed “indeed.”
God granted Jabez that which he requested. Sincerity, earnestness, and perseverance with God, are irresistible ; for, on the front of the throne of grace is written, in distinct and legible characters, “ Ask, AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN You.”
Whoever asked in vain? Whoever sought the blessing and was refused ? Whoever came to Jesus and was cast out? Reader, what is your language ? what the first wish of your heart ? Has the language of Jabez been wrought into your prayers. Another
year is departed; what is the state of your soul? Are you for God, or for Satan; for Christ, or the world; for heaven, or hell? Some amongst our readers have been deprived of a sister or brother, perhaps a parent! They have been removed to heaven; they loved and served God; they sought the blessing, found it, rejoiced in it. Religion was their consolation, their support, their song. Have you the hope they possessed ? Have you the Saviour they loved ? When you parted from them, was it under the impression, that you
should see them again? Can you be satisfied with the thought that they are in heaven, but as to you, you have no real hope of being there? Why do you linger? Why defer to seek the Lord? Can the world make you happy here, and safe for eternity? Flee-flee to the Cross! Unite yourself to them that fear God! Hark! the silver trumpet calls you to the Saviour-hear its sweet inviting sound.
“Why, O why, should you delay,
THE WHEEL, THE PITCHER, AND THE FOUNTAIN.
(From Jamieson's “Paxton's " Illustration of Scripture.*)
• We have before had occasion to notice this cheap and beautiful edition of
plunge, when filled, ascend with their aqueous burden on the other side. On passing their zenith altitude, so to speak, they are again turned upside down, and discharge their contents into a large wooden trough, or cistern, which, communicating with the main trunk of the small irrigating canals, maintain an uninterrupted -supply through a thousand wide-spreading branches.” To this practice Solomon is supposed to allude, when he so graphically pourtrays the dissolution of our earthly tabernacle, (see Eccl. xii. 6,) and speaks of the pitcher broken at the fountain, and of the wheel broken at the cistern. “In the process of irrigation in a country like Egypt,” says Mr. Duff, “suppose the pitcher and the wheel to be literally broken at the cistern and fountain, what must follow? In many places, it was our lot actually to witness a broken wheel and pitcher-broken and deserted, through neglect or oppression. What was the visible effect ? Deprived of its moisture, and, consequently, of its vegetative powers, the land became an easy prey to the loose drifting sands of the Desert. All annual and biennial products had disappeared ; the spaces between the irrigating furrows were completely filled ; where even the more sturdy perennials, such as the sycamore, half-buried in wreaths or knolls of sand, began to exhibit a withered and drooping aspect. What a striking picture of the melancholy aspect of the human frame; once mantled over with the verdure of youth, and the increasing fruitfulness of riper years, when the fountain of the heart, with its cistern, and wheel, and pitcher, its ventricles, tubes, veins, and arteries, for the reception, propulsion, and distribution of that blood which is the life of man,when all, all, emptied and broken, cease to discharge their lifesustaining functions! How happy, beyond all previous conception, did the graphic imagery of the sacred penman appear
amidst the broken wheels and broken pitchers, which occasionally exhibited to the eye such death-like desolation, even on the banks of the Nile."
RELIGIOUS NOTIONS OF THE KROOMEN. The following questions were addressed to a native of Grand Sesters, in the Kroo country, on the western coast of Africa, and the answers are taken down in his own words. They are copied from the Appendix to Dr. Madden's Report, dated 31st