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fetter the mind of a praying | act of panting after greater nearman, to be always confined to one set of words in secret or social duties, whether the duties be long or short. If our table duties are uniformly the same, word for word, it will render them quite irksome to our families, whether it has that effect upon our own minds or
Here let me add, the duties of the table may be drawn out to such a length as to fatigue.When they are uniformly long, and at the same time very formal, the family around the table feel uneasy, as soon as the duty begins; for they already anticipate the full length of it, and know well every syllable which is to be spoken. Would it not be adviseable to vary as to the length of these duties? Sometimes let them be quite short; at other times, if more things rush into the mind, the duty may be protracted. The fervency of the petition at such times will arrest the attention of all, and it will animate the devotions of kindred souls. This remark will apply with much the same force to the morning and evening prayer. Some variety, as to the matter and length of our family prayers, is necessary to keep up the attention of our household; and to keep up their attention is a thing of more importance than is commonly supposed. If you ask, how you can have this variety in your duties? the answer is, Go to your duties with praying hearts. Keep your hearts full of religious exercises, and your table duties and your family prayers will know it.
If when you are called to the table, your heart is then in the VOL. V. No. 6.
ness and conformity to God, it will be easy and natural, before you ask the Lord to bless the food, to beseech him to bless your souls with his grace and the light of his countenance.If at another time, you are weighed down with a sense of your guilt, at the very moment table duties are required, it will not be difficult to begin with a confession of entire unworthiness. It is proper, that in table duties, we should always bring into view table mercies, but we are not obliged to confine ourselves to these. Á grateful heart, when giving thanks for the bounties of the table, will very naturally think now of this mercy, and then of that; and it is not unsuitable that they should have a place in our table thanksgivings.
1. They, who entirely neglect openly to give God thanks at their social meals, make their piety look quite doubtful."Whoso keepeth the whole law and offendeth in one point, is guilty of all."
2. They, who appear to perform this duty as a mere ceremony, without any life, do also make their piety look doubtful. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth."
3. Those subordinate members of a family, who do not seem to set their hearts to attend and unite in this reasonable service, but whose countenances and actions exhibit daily proof, that they wish table duties were dispensed with; such persons give us reason to fear that God is not in all their thoughts.
that this world is our own, and that we have no Lord over us? The very common neglect of table duties is a high proof of our awful departure from God: And our making so light of this neglect is a dreadful proof of our stupidity.
4. If piety will lead to open duties in our social meals, then it will lead to secret duties, at our solitary meals. We may have secret breathings of gratitude to God, without any visible signs of our being at prayer.But if God, who seeth our hearts, never discovers them ascending in grateful emotions, when we receive a morsel of bread, a draught of water, or some of those fruits which he has prepared to delight our taste, we give evidence to himceives us, when it promises plea
and to ourselves, that we are unholy and unthankful.
5. The tables of the pious poor are better furnished than the tables of the graceless rich Tho' the poor have not so many dainties, yet they have the blessing of the Lord, and that maketh truly rich, and he addeth no sorrow thereto. They who feed on a coarse and scanty fare, with a lively sense and acknowledgment of the divine munificence, do, no doubt, enjoy even their meals better than those who fare sumptuously every day; but who do not look to and adore the hand that feeds them. Let not any of the poor lose this privilege of having the blessing of God, to enrich their table. Some have said, that the thanksgiving of the table was worth more than the food.
6. What a proof of prevailing impiety is the general neglect of these plain, easy and reasonable duties? How many tables in this Christian land, where our heavenly Benefactor is no more acknowledged than tho' they were furnished independently of his Providence?
this denying the God who made and preserves us? Do we not manifest by this, that we feel
Deceitfulness of Sin.
LL the promises of sin are treacherous. It de
sure. This is a bait, which is frequently used to beguile men. There is doubtless a short and feverish pleasure which sinners taste; but it quickly passes and is immediately succeeded with languor and regret. The seat of sinful gratification is in the passions. From these solid satiafaction cannot arise. When irregularly indulged, they create a deep and lasting torment in the mind. Sin addresses itself to the passions, the weaker parts of human nature, and not to reason and judgment. Those are more easily deceived, and when once perverted prove dangerous. To them sinful pleasure is represented an important object. But, tho' the object in appearance be a bed of roses, experience finds it a bed of thorns. Ask the drunkard, when sober, whether he found unmixed pleasure in his cups; whether reflection can bear the brutish spectacle, which intemperance made him. Ask the libertine, in a calm moment, whether his pleasures are worth what they cost; the loss of a sound mind in a sound body.— Will a father, who has pursued the paths of sin in search of pleasures, advise his son to tread
will he encourage him as being in the way to happiness? A Christian country produced one such father,* who taught his son vice by precept and example; but such an unnatural father is both the wonder and detestation of the world. At first, they who seek pleasures from the gratification of sense, may glide in a smooth current, but soon will find themselves on a tempestuous sea, whose "waters cast up mire and dirt.”
in the same treacherous road; | When the belief of heaven and hell cannot be erased from the mind, being fixed there upon the fullest conviction, that they are both plainly, and equally plainly, revealed in the sacred scriptures; when this point cannot be gained, sin would persuade us that these eternal realities are very distant, and by their supposed distance, endeavor to diminish their restraining influence upon the mind.— In this it is deceitful; for the longest life throws them back but a little way; innumerable accidents may fix us in one of them immediately.
When sin promises wealth as a reward of pursuing it, poverty, disgrace or both, are the real inheritance acquired.Wealth gotten by iniquity proves a curse to its owner.
The wreath of laurel promised by sinful ambition proves but a fading flower, or a stigma of foul disgrace. All the wealth, pleasure or honor, obtained through its influence, is transitory and vanishes like the morning cloud or early dew.
But the great point, in which sin is most deceptive, is the making light of future realities. The cheat, which it practises upon men in this life; all the true pleasure of which it robs them; all the pain of body and anguish of mind, into which it plunges them here, are the dust of the balance. We can lose or suffer but little in this world. But when sin represents the joys of heaven and the sorrows of hell of trifling consequence; when it persuades us the former is easily attained, and the latter easily avoided, it is most of all deceitful. If sin can gain this point, nothing can raise a mound to stop its progress.
Sin affects to be less criminal
than it is; bids the passions plead their natural propensity; calls their indulgence infirmity; begins with those acts which are less flagrant, establishes a habit; then proceeds one step further, which is likewise secured.Thus an imperceptible progress is ultimately made to a point, which would have startled the young offender. If the mind, for a moment, be alarmed by its situation, sin has a delusive opiate; it represents danger as distant, and future time more than enough to set all right.But if the time be too surely short, and the soul be just launching into eternity, sin still has its quieting draught, and the sinking soul is braced to the last with a false representation of the divine benevolence. As future punishment is the strongest restraint upon sin, next to the animating hope of future glory, sin would persuade us that there is some escape from it, otherwise than by holiness.--Its language to the tempted is, "Ye shall not surely die."And if, like our first parents,
they give heed to it, they must | as the darkness and inclemency
be awfully undeceived in the future world.
Sometimes, however, the prisoner is thought so secure in the shackles of sin, that the mask is dropped, and sin itself declares, there is no hope, and delivers over its captive to immediate despair.
Wherefore, exhort one another daily, lest any of you be hardened thro' the deceitfulness of sin.
For the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine.
of the times, when affairs of importance cannot be well concerted and effected: Nor as the scorching heat of the sun at noon, distressing and destroying his subjects by tyranny and persecution. And, as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear and influential shining after rain; so, under his benevolent, gentle and efficacious administration, shall his subjects flourish, prosper and increase.
And David said, Although my house, i. e. my descendants, who shall, in succession, sit on my throne, will not, all of them,
A Paraphrase and Note on 2 Sam. sustain such an excellent, prince
xxiii. 3, 4, 5.
HE God of Israel said, the rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men, must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the clear shin- | ing after rain. Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: For, this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."
ly character with God; yet, under the afflictive prospect, I have this consideration for my support : He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, so wisely and graciously ordered, that whatever cometh to pass shall subserve its accomplishment. He hath engaged, with an oath, that my house and my kingdom shall be established to all generations; and that, of the fruit of my loins, according to the flesh, he will raise up the Messiah, to sit on my throne, (2 Sam. vii. 16. Psal. lxxxix. 3, 4. Acts ii. 30) even the great Prince of Peace, the true and everlasting Redeemer, under whose auspicious government, his subjects shall yield cheerful submission, shall be exceedingly numerous and un
The God of Israel, who like a rock, is their strength and refuge, spake to David, saying, Whoever is advanced to the high and important office of ruling over men, must be just, rul-speakably happy; and through ing in the fear or reverential re- whose meritorious and efficient gard of God. And he shall be grace, I, and all who trust in as the light of the morning, and obey him, shall receive eterwhen the sun riseth, even a nal salvation. God hath made morning without clouds; i. e. with me this covenant; for, it he shall be discerning, wise, is so well adapted for the manimerciful and prosperous: Not festation of his own glory, and
for the security of my present and everlasting salvation, that I expect and desire no other favors, than those which result from it. And altho' he make it not to grow; i. e. though there be times, in which his providential dispensations be so dark, that his covenant does not, by sensible objects, flourish, or appear to my perception; yet, even then, do I confide in his truth and faithfulness; trusting that he will accomplish it in his own appointed way and time.
IT is the character of true faith, to prevail and live under the pressure of trial. The good man's faith, oftentimes, appears more conspicuously in adversity than in the sunshine of outward prosperity. The stars, which cannot shine, through the effulgence of day, discover their brightness and beauty at night. We admire the firmness and constancy of an hero, in battle, and the skill and exertion of a pilot, in a storm, at sea. Previously to the remarkable trial, through which he called his faithful Abraham to pass, God had established with him his covenant; and said, "Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect." And the divine power and goodness were admirably manifested in the firmness and endurance of his faith. His eye of sense could not perceive how he could sacrifice his Son, in a consistency with the Messiah's advent and kingdom. Nevertheless, he staggered not at the promise thro' unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
being fully persuaded that he was able to fulfil his promise, and would even raise Isaac from the dead, or intervene some other way, to prove himself unchangeably true in his covenant engagement.
Notwithstanding David's piety, and the success and prosperity of his reign; yet, in the course of events of divine `dispensations to him, he had many pressing afflictions to endure : His prospects of the fulfilment of the divine promises were, no doubt, often obscured. But, to adduce and particularize the many passages of scripture, which lead us to this conclusion, would far exceed the intended brevity of this note. One pas
sage, however, I may quote, in which it appears, that his mind was touched with melancholy, or distrust, and his spiritual views were much darkened."My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. But thou hast cast off and abhorred; thou hast been wroth with thine anointed; thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant; thou hast profaned his crown, by casting it to the ground." (Psal. lxxxix. 35, 36, 38, 39.) But, though this passage indicates, that his lively exercise of faith was much deadened; yet there are other sentences, in the same Psalm, which express the vigor of his gratitude and hope, in his celebrating the divine faithfulness and pleading with God, for the renewal of his loving kindnesses. And though he uttered these