Imatges de pÓgina
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the price of his most facred blood. Every act of virtue forwards us in our journey, and perfeverance purs us in poffeffion of our inheritance: Our fouls will mount thither at our death, and our bodies at the general refurrection; from whence alfo we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jefus Chrift; who will defcend in glory, to inveft our bodies, turned into duft and afhes, with immortality; they will be then more glorious than the fun, no more fubject to corruption, but full of vigour, and fhining in glory.

O happy ftate! It is in our power, O God, with the help of thy grace, one day to be placed in this happy region, and to enjoy thee there: Thou doft require nothing but to love thee here; who can refufe fo eafy a condition? Thy own perfections deferve love, and thy goodness, thy bounty to me, demands it.

GOSPEL of St. Matthew, Chap. ix. Verse

18. While he spake these things unto them, behold there came a certain ruler and worshipped him, faying, My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

19. And Jefus arofe, and followed bim: and fo did his difciples.

20. (And behold, a woman, which was difeafed with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.

21. For fhe faid within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I fhall be whole.

22. But Jefus turned him about, and when he faw her, be faid, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith bath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour)

23. And when Jefus came into the ruler's house, and faw the minstrels and the people making a noise, U 3 24. He

24. He faid unto them, Give place, for the maid is not dead, but fleepeth. And they laughed bim to fcorn.

25. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the band, and the maid arofe. 26. And the fame thereof went abroad into all that land.

The MORAL REFLECTION.

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HE chief of the fynagogue approach'd our Saviour and adored him, faying; Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, and lay thy hand upon her, and fhe fball live. He approaches with reverence, he adores him with refpect, he prefents his requeft, and implores his affiftance, and our Saviour grants his defire: There are requifites for a profitable prayer, neceffary conditions to draw down favours upon us in prayer we treat with God, the dreadful and infinite Majefty, Creator of heaven and earth, in whose presence the pillars of heaven and earth tremble: with what modefty, circumfpection, and reverence, ought we to appear before this awful Being? With what refpect ought we to prefent him our requests?

In the prefence of a prince, we regulate every gefture, and if we pretend to a favour, we pen our petition in the most strong and refpectful terms, thought and ftudy are able to fuggeft. Yet, what is he, but a man of the fame make with us? His ftation is different, but his nature the fame with that of his loweft fubject; and what do we expect? At moft, fome place, fome employment, that has nothing valuable, but a vain appearance: they indeed render us great in the eyes of the world, but are unable to make us good.

Let us therefore enter into the prefence of God, with the fame refpect; let us begin, continue, and end

end our prayer in this difpofition; it will fix our attention, and hinder our thoughts from fettling on other objects; it will keep us in God's prefence, and move him to continue in ours, and to communicate his favours with more liberality. Before prayer, raise your thoughts to God, and take fome moments for recollection; propofe your request with humility, but yet with confidence: both are neceffary; tell almighty God your infidelities, that you deserve no favours, but his goodness animates you to hope for the greateft. Pray with attention, and fanfy not devotion confifts in running over many prayers; a few fuffice, if they are faid well.

O God! how often have I complained, thou wert deaf to my prayers, without confidering, my carelefnefs and infenfibility rather deferved punishment than a favour: I fcarce knew where I was, much less what I demanded: Whilft I fpoke to thee, my thoughts fettled on other objects, always vain, and I fear fometimes criminal. Oh! let me know thy greatnefs, and my indigence; that will awe me into respect, this will force me to importune thy goodness with fervour and confidence.

Whilft our Saviour went with the chief of the fynagogue to work one miracle, on his way he wrought another. And behold a woman, which was difeafed with an issue of blood twelve years, came bebind him, and touched the bem of bis garment. Christ rewarded her faith and humility with a perfect cure; and the woman became whole from that hour.

This diftreffed woman is a lively picture of an inveterate finner, and her conduct teaches us by what fteps we muft recover that grace, we have loft by our offences. She had recourfe to doctors, according to St. Mark, chap. v. and bad spent all that he had: but their remedies only ferved to increase her fufferings, and the disease, and when

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the had spent all her means, fhe found the expence unprofitable, and her evil incurable.

In vain does a finner hope to quiet his confcience, by human means, or to obtain pardon. God alone cin call us to repentance, the fole balfam of a wounded confcience; and to obtain it, we must imitate this poor woman: She has an extreme confufion, fhe dares not prefent herself before our Saviour, the hides herself in the crowd to draw near unto him, and fcarce has the boldness to touch his garment. Oh! what a pattern is here of humility! notwithstanding she is animated with a strong confidence, the fhall obtain her desire, if she can but touch his garment. Confidence without humility is ineffectual, humility without confidence is vain; but both together difarm God's justice, and turn it into mercy.

O God! how many years has my foul been fick of a mortal disease, and how unadvisedly have I begged a cure of creatures? How can I expect a remedy from thofe very objects, that have caufed my misfortune, and caft me into this deplorable diftemper? Creatures may draw me into the precipice of fin, but thou alone canft difengage me. I blufh at my infidelities, but confide in thy goodness: And altho' I fcarce dare afk pardon, when I behold the greatness of my ingratitude, I firmly hope it when I confider thy mercy: Thou defireft not the death of a finner, but his converfion; not his damnation, but his repentance. I repent from the bottom of my heart; I deteft my former diforders; I refolve, with thy grace, never to abandon thee, but rather to forfeit my life than thy favour.

Our Saviour followed the ruler of the fynagogue, and when he was come into the house, He said, Give place; for the maid is not dead, but fleepeth. And they laughed him to fcorn. They understood not our Saviour's meaning, and so turned his words

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into fport and raillery. Good God! how many, even chriftians, make as bold with the maxims our Saviour has left us in the gofpel? How exactly do they imitate thefe prophane maxims, and ridicule thofe virtues they will not practise ? Humility, fo much recommended by our Saviour, paffes in the world for meannefs of fpirit; fincerity for fimplicity; pardon of injuries for cowardice. Notwithstanding, the opinion of the world cannot repeal God's commands; and thofe, who laugh at his precepts, muft either repent, or will hear the fatal Depart, and will be forced to weep eternally.

When the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the band, and the maid arofe. Have you a mind to be raised to a new life; retire from the world, from the noife and tumult of affairs, and enter into folitude. The impulse of grace is not perceived in a crowd and hurry; whilft your heart is filled with earthly concerns, there is no room for God.

O dear Saviour! what have we to do with this world, who were made for another? This is not our dwelling, but a paffage. Why then fo much. care to lay up provifion here, without concern for any hereafter? Why fo much folicitude to put in order our eftates, for fear of furprise, and fo little to fecure our fouls?

Oh! how foolish are those we call wife! My concern is to procure heaven: This is my business, my only bufinefs; and this fhall be my only care.

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