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Father,” all that devotional fervour, that glowing philanthropy, that love, and charity, and humility, which social worship was intended to convey.

It is, in fact, whilst thus surrounded by those who are, like himself, engaged in the adoration and supplication of the Author of all things, that the Christian, whatever be his station in this life, may imbibe the most delightful, satisfactory, and correct views of the paternal goodness of the Deity, and of the feelings which should regulate his own conduct, and that of his fellow-worshippers, with regard to each other.

Assembled together as the children of one common parent, and in the act of imploring his forgiveness and protection, of which we all alike stand in need; conscious that in a few years all that now serves to mark the distinctions of rank, and wealth, and power, will be no more; that before Him from whom we issued, and who made us what we are, we shall soon be called, stripped of every thing adventitious, and with no claim save that which faith and piety can prefer; how, on considerations such as these, must all the emotions of pride and envy, of vanity and ambition, sink within us! We look around and behold the young and old, the rich and poor, the strong and weak, alike prostrate before the throne of Him who views his offspring with an equal eye; who formed us from the same dust, who breathed into our nostrils the same breath of life, and who receives us as the children of the same redemption. Is it possible that, believing this, and engaged, as we must then be, in mutually praying for the temporal and eternal welfare of each other, we can suffer any emotions but those which spring from love and gratitude, to enter within our breasts?

Can the lowly man who reflects on these things, and who feels that, here at least, in the house of prayer, and in the presence of Him who descended to preach the Gospel to the poor, he is on a level with the rich and lordly of the earth, can he any longer repine at distinctions thus transient in their nature, and which, while necessary here for the very trial of his faith and love, are to vanish with the world which gave them birth? Or can he, the associate in his petitions, the man of wealth and title, who is kneeling at the same altar, and preferring the same form of supplication, and who must, therefore, be conscious of the same truths, any longer look down with fastidiousness and pride upon one who, though bowed to the very earth by want, may shortly be his companion before the judgment-seat of God, and with claims to mercy far transcending those, perhaps, which he shall ever offer?

No: it is here, if any where, that that humility of spirit to which the kingdom of Heaven has been promised, is to be found and cherished; it is amid the assembly of persons of all ranks and conditions, prostrate before the throne of Grace, with one common sense of their mutual wants and infirmities, and kneeling together as “ fellow-servants of the Lord,” that it is felt in all its purity and power; and it is of the blessed effects of prayer thus meekly, and with the united fervour of thousands, presented through Him who has promised to be " where two or three are gathered together,” that we may say, in the beautiful enthusiasm of the poet, and in the heart-felt conviction of every humble partaker of social worship:

Oh PRAYER ! thou mine of things unknown,

Who can be poor possessing thee? Thou wert a fount of joy alone,

Better than worlds of gold could be:
Were I bereft of all beside,

That bears the form or name of bliss,
yet were rich, what will betide,
If God in mercy leave me this!


Such, indeed, are the unspeakable comforts which have been felt to flow from rightly participating in the spirit of public worship, that, in the best and purest ages of Christianity, he who would not rather lose life itself than relinquish the blessings of this communion, was held to have forfeited the very name of a disciple. “ Even in the sharpest persecutions," says Archbishop Potter, “ whoever did not chuse to endure the most cruel death rather than preserve his life by absenting himself (from public worship), was thought unworthy to be called a Christian.”

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* Sacred Lyrics, by James Edmeston, 12mo. London, 1820, vol. i. p. 47.

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Nor even in the present times, stained as they are with a wide-spreading deluge of scepticism and impiety, are there wanting thousands, nay, I would fain hope millions, who, having habitually enjoyed the hallowed sympathies and consolations which attend on public prayer, would consider the deprivation of its rites as the greatest misfortune which could occur to them on this side the grave; who, in allusion to that resigned tone and temper of mind, and that sweet influence of devotional gratitude and unswerving faith, which they have so often experienced in the temple of their Saviour, may truly and from heart-felt con

viction say,

There is a calm, the poor in spirit know,
That softens sorrow, and that sweetens woe;
There is a peace, that dwells within the breast,
When all without is stormy and distrest;
There is a light that gilds the darkest hour,
When dangers thicken, and when troubles low'r:
That calm to faith, and hope, and love is given;
That peace remains when all beside is riven;
That light shines down to man,

direct from Heaven.


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