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a life of piety, you will need a friend and helper. You will want sympathy both in your sufferings and in your strug gles with temptation. Our Lord Jesus Christ will sympathize with you and help you in both.


I once knew a benevolent gentleman whose fortune rendered him independent, but whose medical knowledge and skill were of a very high order, and he practised constantly without fee or reward, for the simple purpose of relieving suffering. The only things necessary to secure his attention were to be sick, to need his aid, and to send for him. did not wish his patients to become convalescent before he would visit them; nor did he inquire how often they had been sick before. There was one poor lad who took cold, 1 believe, by breaking through the ice in the winter, and he was rendered a helpless cripple for years, and yet this gentleman or some of his family visited him almost daily during all this time, and instead of getting tired of his patient, he became more and more interested in him to the last. Now our Redeemer is such a physician. He does not ask any preparation before we send for him; nor does he get tired of us because he has helped us back from our wanderings to duty and happiness a great many times. Some one asked him once how often he ought to forgive his brother after repeated transgressions. "Shall I forgive him seven times?" was the question. "Forgive," said the Saviour, "not only seven times, but seventy times seven.” How strange it is, that after this a backsliding Christian can ever hesitate to come back at once after he has wandered, with an assurance that God will forgive.

'A bruised reed he shall not break." How beautiful and striking an illustration of our Redeemer's kindness to those who have sinned. A planter walks out into his grounds, and among the reeds growing there, there is one, young, green, and slender, which a rude blast has broken. Its verdant top is drenched in the waters which bathe its root;

and perhaps he hesitates for a moment whether to tear it from the spot and throw it away. But no; he raises it to its place, carefully adjusts its bruised stem, and sustains it by a support till it once more acquire its former strength and beauty. Now Jesus Christ is this planter. Every backsliding, humbled Christian is a bruised reed; and O how many are now thriving and vigorous, that in the hour of humiliation have been saved by his tenderness.

Come then to this Friend, all of you. Having intrusted your soul to him as your Saviour, bring all your interests and hopes and fears to him; he will sympathize in them all. And whenever you have wandered, never hesitate a moment

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"Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will do it."

As I have on this subject many separate points to discuss, I shall arrange what I have to say under several distinct heads, that the view presented may be the better understood and remembered.

I. The power of prayer. This subject may be best illustrated by describing a case.

A kind and affectionate father, whose son had arrived at an age which rendered it necessary for him to prepare for the business of life, concluded to send him from home. Their mutual attachment was strong, and though each knew it was for the best, each looked upon the approaching separation with regret. The father felt solicitous for the future character and happiness of his boy, as he was now to go forth into new temptations and dangers; and the son was reluctant to leave the quiet and the happiness of his father's fireside for the bustle of business and the rough exposures of the crowded city where he was for the future to find a home. The hour of separation, however, at last arrives, and the father says to him at parting,

"My son, be faithful, do your duty, and you will be happy. Remember your parents, the efforts they have made, and the affection they feel for you. Watch against temptation, and shun it. I will supply all your wants. When you wish for any thing write to me, and you shall have it. God bless you, and keep you safe and happy."

And may

My reader will observe that this language, which is not fiction, but fact, for it has in substance been addressed in a thousand instances under the circumstances above described,

contains a promise to send the son whatever he shall ask for. But the meaning of it is not—and no boy would understand it to be that every possible request which he might make would be certainly granted. Although the promise is made in the few simple words, "whenever you want any thing, write to me and you shall have it," yet the meaning expressed fully would be," whenever you wish for any thing which as far as you can see is proper for you, if you will let me know it I will send it, unless I see that it is better for you not to have it, or unless there are other special reasons which prevent my complying."

Now a boy may in such a case make a great many requests which the father might refuse without being considered by any one as breaking his promise.

1. He may ask something which the father knows would, in the end, injure him. Suppose he should request his father to supply him with double his usual amount of pocket money, and the father should see clearly that the effect of granting the request would be to cultivate in him careless and extravagant habits of expenditure, and to divert his attention from his business. In such a case the father would undoubtedly refuse, and no one would imagine that he was breaking his promise. The boy, if he had done right, would not have asked.

2. He may ask something which, if granted, would interfere with the rights or happiness of others. There was a watch, we will imagine, hanging up in his father's house, used by all the family--the only timepiece accessible to them. Now supposing the boy, growing selfish and vain, and thinking that his importance among his comrades would be a little increased by a watch, should write to his father to send that to him. Who would think that his father would be obliged to comply on account of his parting promise to his son to supply all his wants? Even Christians very often make such selfish requests, and wonder why their prayers

are not heard. A farmer who has one field which needs watering, will pray for rain with great earnestness, forgetting that God has to take care of the ten thousand fields all around his own, and that they perhaps need the sun. A mother who has a boy at sea will pray for prosperous winds for him, forgetting that the ocean is whitened with sails all under God's care, and that the breeze which bears one onward must retard another. But more on this subject presently.

3. He may ask in an improper manner. Suppose the father should take from the post-office a letter in his son's handwriting, and on breaking the seal, should read as follows:

"DEAR FATHER-You must let me come home next week to Christmas. I wanted to come last year, but you would not let me, and now I must come. I want you to write me immediately, and send it back by the driver, telling me I may come.

"I am your

dutiful son,

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Who would think that a father ought to grant a request made in such a way as this? It is to be feared that Christians sometimes bring demands, instead of requests, to God.

I have mentioned now three cases in which the father might, without breaking his promise, refuse the requests of his boy where it would be injurious to him, unjust to others, or where the request is made in an improper manner. All promises of such a sort as this are universally considered as liable to these exceptions.

Our Saviour tells us, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will do it." This is common language, such as men address to men, and is doubtless to be understood according to its most natural and familiar import. It evidently implies that our requests, humbly and properly presented in the name of Christ, through whom alone we

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