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and love to pray.” After a few days' interval he has returned to us, and said, "Alas! I have fallen into the same state of mind where I was before.” Again we have conversed with him as before, and again he has found relief from the burthen of superstitious bondage. We may be pardoned, we hope, for this personal reference; for this really is the method of relief. There must be reflection. The Infinite Glory and Loveliness must rise before our contemplation, enthroned in the heavens, beaming in the light of day, breathing life through the creation, incarnated in the Son of God, flowing out in the ineffable mercy of the Gospel ; and then our hearts will be drawn to it — not driven to it as by the fear of hell, not dragged to it as by any arbitrary necessity - but drawn to it as the sum, the consummation of every moral, divine, inexpressible charm and beauty — drawn to seek after it, perhaps dimly, but earnestly — drawn, as if there were something infinitely precious, to seek after it as gold and to search for it as for hid treasures.

If the scientific inquirer suspected that there lay hidden among the forms of matter some essence, more beautiful than the light, more wonderful than the electric fire; something which would explain all, spread a new light over all the fields of knowledge, and unfold the universal plan in new order and beauty; with what eagerness would he examine, with what intensity would he study, with what delight would he pursue the wondrous discovery! To the eye that has not seen God, to the heart that has not felt his presence, such would be the revelation of him in all nature, in all life, in the yet sealed Gospel, in the inmost depths of his being.

But there are still other and greater difficulties than these which we have now mentioned. They are of a more speculative character.

Scarcely perhaps deserving of such a rank is a certain state of mind, which we hardly know how to express, made up of pride and worldliness and strangeness to the subject altogether, - a kind of miserable affectation it surely is for a rational being, -- which holds prayer to be above it, or below it, or at any rate quite out of its sphere; which regards the offerings of piety as very proper for ministers of religion or for church officers, or for certain grave and VOL. XXXVII. - 4Th S. VOL. III. NO. I.


godly persons, but for the young and the gay and the fashionable it looks upon prayer as a mistake, a mis-alliance, a something quite out of the way. There are those, who imagine that if they were to pray in their families or in private, they must forthwith become very sober, demure and precise persons; they must lose caste in the world's fashion or in the world's honor. We cannot regard this as the error of any good nurture or of any truly dignified position in society, but as belonging to a much humbler grade of feeling. When the noble Sir Walter Scott proposed to offer prayer in his house, he did not treat the matter as if he were ashamed of it, but he said to his family and a large company of guests beneath his honored roof at Abbotsford, “I shall read prayers to-morrow morning at eleven o'clock, and I expect you all to be present.” Perhaps there is something in an Establishment of religion, thus clothing it with all dignity and honor of a country, that gives it in this matter some advantage. Certain it is, we think, that religion is more generally and openly recognized in the families of England than it is in ours.

Religion with us is bearing heavy burthens from past fanaticism and error; and many are ashamed to be connected with it, and afraid to be compromised by it, and they look upon its goodly and beautiful offices as chains upon their freedom and enjoyment.

But let us look at deeper difficulties. There is then a tendency, observable in the general mind at the present day, to lose the sense of a personal relation to God. It is not the tendency to pantheism of which we now speak, and which can never affect but a few minds, but it is one of a more vague and general character. Pantheism, however, is the extreme of this general tendency, and both result from the same causes. What are these causes ? To state them would be to unfold the difficulty. Let us then briefly notice them.

One is the extreme to which men's minds have gone the other way. We are in the midst of a reaction from past errors. The personality of God has been presented in forms offensive to the growing reflection of the age. Theology has not kept up with the cultivation of the day, and therefore has not taken the guidance of it. Cultivation is partly in a state of revolt against theology. God has been worshipped as if he were the God of a certain place, of a certain church, of a certain sect. Not personality alone has been ascribed to him, but a kind of anthropomorphism has mingled with men's devotions. They have pleaded with God the cause of their human passions, as if he were possessed of like passions. They have often addressed him with weak and childish cries for aid, in forgetfulness of the work. which they themselves have to do. They have approached him with irreverent familiarity, and pleaded with him as if they expected incessant miracles at his hand, incessant interferences with their daily affairs and their visible condition.

Now it is impossible that reflecting men should not shrink back and withdraw themselves from such representations. They dare not, they cannot believe that the Infinite Thought, which taketh care of ten thousand million worlds, is concentrated with absorbing attention upon a single point in time or space; and they forget, that still it is there in all the grandeur and awfulness of its nature. They misconceive the greatness of God. He who is everywhere, must be here; and he who taketh knowledge of all beings must take knowledge of me! Philosophize as we will, we cannot escape from this. And must not his agency be as universal as his presence ?

But then again — to mention another cause - this universal agency ceases to be a personal agency through the contemplation of it as governing itself by general laws. The more men look upon the physical creation with the eye of science, and the less they look upon it with the eye of superstition, that is to say, the more intelligent they become, the more do they mark the regular sequences of cause and effect. An admiration springs up, in the mind, of an infinite order. But surely the tendency in question goes too far, when this order, like the fate of the ancients, becomes the absolute sovereign from which there is no appeal; when general laws are deified; when they stand in the place of God, declaring that they are God.

Yet in some such form comes the difficulty, the doubt. Millions of creatures in millions of worlds are saying at the same moment, · Help me!' It is the irresistible impulse, we may observe, of conscious, of created weakness, so to pray; and it would be strange, since this is the law of created natures, if there were no law nor provision in the Creator's plan to meet it. It would be strange if prayer, the breath of all consciously needing souls, could not be answered. It would be strange, if the skepticism that denies the possibility of aid could be vindicated. Yet there is such a skepticism; and it lies deeply imbedded in the mind of the present day. The scientific tendency, running too far, has overrun and crushed, to a lamentable extent, the true religious aspiration. Is it not derogatory to the Supreme Being, says this skepticism, to suppose that he attends to wants, so infinitely numerous, varied and minute? Can it be believed, that he watches over the personal condition of innumerable souls, that he touches the secret springs of unnumbered minds at their call ?

But now, we ask, why cannot this be believed ? The knowledge of all these prayers is implied in omniscience. Is the power of God any less? Is his goodness any less ? If your son implores your help and guidance, you give it. Cannot the Infinite Being do that for all minds, which you can do for one ? And how would you give it? You would, perhaps imperceptibly and indirectly, touch some spring in your child's mind which you saw and the way to which you saw, and he did not see; and prayer may have been the very act that prepared that spring for your touch. Cannot the Almighty do that for every mind ? Could he not create an attendant spirit for every mind, like the imaginary genius of Socrates, which should do that? And can he not directly do what he can cause to be done? Suppose that you conceived of God as existing in the form of many-fold, of infinite-fold spirits, of spirits as many as the souls that are in the universe. Could not each spirit watch as its guardian angel over each soul? But is the sum of infinity less than its parts?

We conceive that this doubt is altogether presumptuous; that it errs, not by thinking too highly of God, but too poorly ; that it really does not attribute that greatness to God, which belongs to him. It is the pride of philosophy. But humility is something greater. From its lowliness looking up, it takes a larger view than pride from its loftiness looking down. Prayer we cannot help. It is our nature's cry for aid. And we believe that He who has made us to pray, can answer our prayer.

We would learn of Jesus rather than of any “philosophy, falsely so called.” “ If ye, then, being evil,” says he, “know how to give good

gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him?" We are content to make the Psalmist's wisdom ours; and to say, with him, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear unto my supplications; hear my voice, according to thy loving-kindness; O Lord, quicken me according to thy mercy; bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me; for I am poor and needy.” And we believe -- solemn as it is so to believe we believe that He hears us now!

In speaking thus of those things, whether in speculation or in ritual, that have created difficulties in the way of devotion, we have naturally adverted to those considerations that may afford relief. To state causes is itself, to a certain extent, to apply remedies. But we wish to offer some further thoughts to this purpose.

There must be, - may we not say, a new view of God. That word, so dead - so dead that many use it in oaths and prayers alike mechanically — must become a living breath; living and life-giving. All the words that ever were uttered concentrate their meaning in that one word. All the thoughts of all living creatures gather up their fervor and intensity in that one boundless Wisdom and Goodness. What do we say? They are all but vanishing shadows in the presence of that Life and Light. In infinite streams they forever flow from that one Source. Surely this cannot be believed, if prayer and praise are irksome. We would even that we could bring back something of the ancient reverence for God; something of that real respect and veneration for his nature, that made it the special study of philosophers and sages; that we could dismiss from this theme that half worldly, half superstitious awe which essentially degrades it, and causes many to feel as if there were subjects far more dignified than this, or as if this were no subject for them. Do we not respect wisdom? And here is infinite wisdom! Do we not admire beauty, whether of thought or action? And here is infinite beauty! Do we not revere greatness? A great man, a being of a powerful and noble nature, how do we follow after him. And here is an infinite grandeur! And then, if this Being taketh interest in us, what thought can move us, thrill us, like that? How touching is it to me, if one but sendeth word in mine affliction, that he grieves for

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