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son of this kind : it reminds us of much in the who he thought preached rather too smoothly, with past, and leads us to anticipate still more in the too little application to the conscience. “Why," future, affecting equally ourselves and those said he," he seems to be a good man, but he will with whom we stand connected in life, whether rake with the teeth upwards.” Now this is very for weal or for woe. At such a season, it is not expressive; there is much meaning in it. Raking wonderful that we should be sensible of a with the teeth upwards is as bad as sowing in warmer glow of feeling, and a greater disposi- fallow ground without breaking it up. Raking tion to give utterance to it in words and deeds with the teeth upwards will never gather the hay. of kindness: but if we be Christians indeed, Raking with the teeth upwards, or harrowing in the these affections should flow in a spiritual chan- same manner, will smooth over the field, but will nel, and find expression in prayer and deeds of neither rake in the seed nor rake out the weeds. A Christian usefulness : we should seriously re- preacher knows not how to do his work who rakes flect how we have been acting towards our with the teeth upwards. The teeth of the Gospel are family and friends-what influence our conver- not set in this way, but point down into the heart sation and example have been exerting over and the conscience. Men of the world, and men them—whether it has been such as is fitted to after it, do not rake with the teeth upwards, but promote their real welfare, and to ripen them downwards. Politicians often rake with the teeth

the coming eternity; or, on the contrary, to upwards. Flatterers always do, but the work which diminish their reverence for God and their re- they do is not raking, but smoothing and covering gard for religion, and thus to accelerate and over. Raking with the teeth upwards, in a preacher, insure their everlasting ruin. Be assured your is handling the Word of God deceitfully. Raking! influence, small as you may suppose it to be, with the teeth upwards is Satan's work: “Ye shall has left some impression upon them, for good not surely die." Paul raked the Corinthians with the ; or for evil, during the by-past year; and be per- teeth downwards, and made them both sore and suaded now to consider seriously how you may sorry. They sorrowed to repentance; and in this best benefit them hereafter-how you may Paul rejoiced, for the Gospel rake in his hand bad counteract, or compensate for, the evils of for- done its work effectually. mer negligence or error, and show at once the sincerity and the strength of your love to them, by promoting the highest of all their interests WISDOM CONTRASTED WITH KNOW. —the welfare of their precious souls. Fathers

LEDGE. and mothers ! have you no duty to do towards

KNOWLEDGE and wisdom, far from being one, your children which has been neglected, or too

Have oft'times no connection. Knowledge dwells carelessly discharged during the past year!

In heads replete with thoughts of other men; Brothers and sisters ! can you do nothing more

Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own. for each other's spiritual welfare during the

Knowledge-a rude unprofitable mass, year that is now before you? The time is short

The mere materials with which wisdom builds, -the work is great. You may be taken away

Till smooth'd and squared and fitted to its placefrom them, or they may be taken away from

Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich. you, before the year is closed; and this double

Knowledge is proud that he has learn 'd so much; uncertainty gives a solemn interest to the ques

Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. tion : What can you do for them ? what will

COW PER. you do for them, before they or you are called to enter on the world of spirits ? Thus, the feelings and affections which are

BE NOT RIGHTEOUS OVER-MUCH. called forth by the return of this season may be sanctified and directed to a noble end; especi.

Eccles. vii. 15-19. ally if they lead you, as they led Moses, to the There have been various opinions on the admercy-seat, that you may there pray for your vice of the wise man,“ Be not righteous overselves, and those who are dear to you; for much,” &c. Great numbers have produced it prayer is the noblest expression of love, and with a view to censure religious zeal, and in the mightiest instrument of good, since it en- favour of a spirit of indifference. Others, who gages Almighty Power and Infinite Benevo-would abhor such an abuse of it, have yet lence on behalf of those for whom it is offered, thought it directed against intemperate zeal. and is indeed twice blessed, since it blesses him Others have thought righteousness and trisdor who prays, and those for whom he prays. You here to mean a spirit of self-righteousness, and a cannot go to God, asking a blessing for others, being wise in our own eyes. Others have thought and return without a blessing to your own

the verses to be a caution against presumption souls.

on the one hand, and despair on the other. And some have considered the whole book as a dia

logue between a libertine and a moral philoRAKING WITH THE TEETH UPWARDS. sopher; and that the above passage is the We were amused with the account given by a sen. language of the former. It is not my design sible old farmer, of a minister of his acquaintance, to find fault with any except the first; though

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I acknowledge they have none of them afforded what they will, and let things go as they may me satisfaction. The following paraphrase is in the world, righteousness and wisdom shall submitted to the judgment of the intelligent be found best at last; and he that feareth God reader.

will not dare to sacrifice these excellences to Suppose Solomon to be addressing himself to obtain a few temporary honours-he will sooner young man, which he frequently does, under live and die in obscurity. the character of a son, not only in the Proverbs, “ Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than but in this book also (chap. xi. 9, xii. 1, 12); ten mighty men which are in the city.”— and suppose verses 16 and 17 to be an irony, Verse 19. or a cutting sarcasm upon the unrighteous and A consciousness of his being in the right, too, foolish taste of the world.

will wonderfully sustain his mind_far more “All things have I seen in the days of my than any popular applause could do, or even vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in the rewards and honours of the great. his righteousness, and there is a wicked man If the above be the sense of the passage, that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.”- then, it may be observed, how foreign as well Verse 15.

as foolish is that sense which some have put I have lived to see many strange things in upon it, as if it were intended to recommend my lifetime; things that have made me lose all a kind of mediocrity of virtue and vice; whereas liking to the present state. I have seen up- this is the very thing intended to be satirized ! rightness, instead of promoting a man in the A sensualist might as well plead for his pracesteem of those about him, only serve to bring tices from chap. xi. 9 : “ Rejoice, O young man, him to ruin. I have also seen wickedness, in- in thy youth,” &c., as a lukewarm professor stead of exposing a man to the loss of life or use this passage to plead for his indifference.estate, often go unpunished, yea, and even be Fuller. the means of his promotion. “ Be not righteous over-much, neither make

UNION FOR PRAYER, DURING EIGHT thyself over-wise : why shouldest thou destroy

DAYS, thyself ?"_Verse 16. My son, if you wish to go through the world From Sabbath the 3d to Sabbath the 10th of January,

1847. with applause, hearken to me. You must not be very righteous, I assure you ! nor yet very

ANOTHER Prayer Union has been proposed, and the wise. A man whose conscience will stick at period appointed is in the beginning of Januarynothing will get promoted before you; and a commencing with Sabbath the 3d, and concluding vain, confident fool will gain the popular ap- with Sabbath the 10th. We trust that this proposal plause; while you, with your sterling but modest may be cordially and universally responded to by all wisdom, will be utterly neglected. Be not who name the name of Christ, not only in Great over-much wise nor righteous, my son : why Britain, but throughout the world. Truly we need should you ruin yourself?

to pray! In these prayerless days we need to be “ Be not over-much wicked; neither be thou stirred up to prayer ! We need to learn what it is foolish : why shouldest thou die before the to pray in faith, and what it is to pray without time ?”—Verse 17.

ceasing. Only take care you be not too much wicked; I. Our Duty.-Pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. for, however mankind are averse to tender- v. 17.) Men ought always to pray, and not to faint. ness of conscience, they do not like an arrant (Luke xviii. 1.) Few Christians remember the comvillain. If you play too much at that game, mand thus laid on them to continue instant in prayer. you may lose your life by it. Neither must They acknowledge the privilege, but overlook the you be too much of a fool; for, however man- duty. Hence they do not consider the sin of nekind are not fond of sterling wisdom, yet bare glecting prayer. Yet who can calculate the weight faced folly will not always go down with them: of guilt at this moment lying on the Churches of

if you would please the world, and get honour Christ as well as on private Christians, for not prayamong the generality of men, you must be ing without ceasing? Hours, weeks, months, wasted neither a sterling wise man nor a stark fool. in folly, indolence, sleep, company, idle visiting,

As it is the distinguishing mark of an irony frivolous conversation, unprofitable reading, useless to close seriously, and as such a close gives it occupations, that might have been redeemed for its edge and force (see 1 Kings xxii. 15, 17; prayer! What is half an hour, what is an hour, each Eccles. xi. 9), so now it is supposed the irony morning and evening? What is this to Luther's ends, and the serious style is resumed.

three hours, or John Welsh's eight? Lord, teach us “ It is good that thou shouldest take care of to pray! this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine II. OUR NEED OF PRAYER.—Oh, what need! hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth Words cannot set forth its greatness, nor would a of them all.”_Verse 18.

lifetime suffice to declare our manifold wants. What As if he should say, But hearken, my son; need to pray! another word before we part. Notice what I 1. Spiritual life is low. (Rev. iii. 1.) Compared say to you, and abide by it. Let the world say with the warmth of other days, it can scarcely be

called life at all. We have left our first love. (Rev. body crumbles into fragments. Unity cannot subsist ii. 4.) We have become lukewarm, neither cold nor when love has fled. What dishonour on the name of hot. (Rev. iii. 16.) Living religion is a lean and Jesus does this disunion bring! It seems as if he spectral shade. Zeal evaporates in form and bustle. had prayed in vain. (John xvii. 20–23.) Sad, strange Faith is languishing, and love is fallen into the sere spectacle to a scoffing world for these eighteen hun. and yellow leaf. What need of quickening! What dred years! Oh, what need to pray! need of vital warmth a warmth not produced by 6. Wickedness abounds. What are our large cities the mere friction of excitement, but glowing and but sinks of iniquity; and what are our country fresh from the altar above, the warmth of souls bap- parishes, even at the best, but so many barren tized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

wastes? The enemy has come in like a flood; error 2. We make little progress. Ever learning, and multiplies; superstition spreads itself; infidelity is never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. | leavening the multitude; intemperance overflows; (2 Tim. iii. 7; Heb. v. 12.) In the mighty business licentiousness pours itself out like a flood; ungodliof advancing in the Christian course, of growing in ness covers the land. The efforts of Christians to grace, we seem, alas! to dream. Five, ten, twenty, arrest the torrent, or dry up its waters, are unavailforty years fly on, and we seem only at the point ing. Perilous times have come. The shadows of the whence we started when first we believed ! Our world's evening are stretched out. The earth is light is not brightening, our holiness is not deepen- defiled under the inhabitants thereof. (Isa. xxiv. 5.) ing, our graces are not ripening! What a feeble, Oh, what need to pray! famished band of worn-out Christians are we! III. THE ADVANTAGES OF SUCH A UNION.-It Neither growing ourselves, nor helping others to would unite all real believers, removing the many grow! Oh, what need to pray!

interposing barriers of separation, and drawing them 3. There is much inconsistency. Our light does into one.

It would kindle love to each other among not shine before men. (Matt. v. 14, 16.) It is hid- God's people of every Church and clime; it would den and clouded. At the best, it has more of the tend to separate us from the world; it would present red blaze of the meteor than the fresh glad radiance a solemn spectacle to the world; it would fix our of the morning star. Christ expects us to be his hearts upon the obtaining of the promised blessings; representatives on earth; " as he was, so are we to it would awaken in us a more fervent spirit of prayer, be in this world.” Yet we are not. The mirror is and make us alive to the necessity of praying more. It not merely soiled and dim, but marred and broken, woul i honour God's ordinance of prayer, and Christ's reflecting the world more than Jesus from its thou- special promise regarding agreement in prayer; it | sand fragments. We have little of the mind of would draw down the blessing from above, so that Christ. (Phil. ii. 1-5.) We are not self-denied, in answer to our united cries, we should have the solemn, humble, lowly, gentle, loving; but full of Holy Spirit of promise poured largely down on us to self, pride, levity, malice, and envy. Miserable re- gather out a people prepared for the Lord. What presentatives of the altogether perfect One! Sad, might we not expect for ourselves, for our land, our shaded, mis shapen likenesses of the altogether lovely cities, our congregations, the world in which we live? One! Through us his name is blasphemed, and his Who can calculate the blessed, the infinite, the eterGospel hindered! (Ezek. xxxvi. 20.) Oh, what nal results of such a Union in Prayer! need to pray!

IV. THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS TO BE DONE. 4. There is little power in the ministry. Of Luther 1. Each Christian should endeavour to set apart it was said, “ each word of thine was a thunderbolt.” as much of the proposed time as possible for private Of Venn we are told, that when he preached prayer. It is one of the chief ends of this concert to fell before him like slaked lime." Baxter tells us, send each individual to his closet, and to summon that he had reason to believe that he never preached them to more fixed earnestness of soul in wrestling one sermon in vain. How different now! Our ser- with the prayer-hearing, promise-keeping God. mons fall pointless and powerless. Consciences are 2. Besides directing the minds of the household to not pricked, hearts are not broken, souls are not the objects of the Prayer Union at family worship, saved! The sleepers awake not, the dead arise not, small temporary prayer-meetings might be formed the dark world remains a dark region still; the dry among Christians, who may have it in their power bones still lie whitening along the valley, unquickened to meet with each other. and unshaken! What a palsied ministry is even 3. There should be public congregational meetings that of those who have been most blessed in our day! during the whole period. These ought to be freWhere are the pentecostal sermons? where the pen- quent; once each day would not be too often in most tecostal shower ? What desolate districts, what cases. This, however, must be left to the judgment lifeless congregations appal the eye and sadden the of each minister. These public meetings ought by believing soul! Oh, what need to pray! (Hos. X. no means to trench upon the hour set apart for 1-12; Zech. x. 1-3.)

private prayer. 5. Disunion prevails. Instead of being one, the 4. The previous Saturday should be spent as a day Churches of Christ are rent in a thousand pieces. of fasting and humiliation. Let there be heard all Instead of being bound together in loving union, that day a cry from the depths. (Ps. cxxx.) Christians keep far asunder, and allow their love to- 5. The hour between eight and nine each morning ward each other to be chilled. The cement of charity and evening, in so far as lies in our power, should be which binds souls together being removed, the whole strictly set apart for prayer.

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JAMES NIVISON OF CLOSEBURN MILL.

537

What things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe tical instructions and directions on the concluding that

ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark Sabbath; and resolutions might thus be formed, and xi. 24.)

works entered upon, which would not otherwise be Passages for our warrant and encouragement - thought of, and they would thus, moreover, be Deut. iy. 29-31; Hos. xii. 3-6; Zech. x. l; Mal. iii.

“ sanctified by the Word of God and prayer."
16; Matt. xviii. 19; Mark xi. 22-24; John xiv. 13, 14;
Rom, viii. 26.

THE THEATRE.
Kelso.

PUBLIC spectacles and stage entertainments, so al

luring to the eye, and so curiously provided, are alThe Free Church Committee on the state of ways dangerous, and often fatal; for by indulging religion have issued an address, suggesting the the luxurious and insatiable appetite of the eye, disfollowing arrangements in connection with the tempers are introduced into the mind, of which it is

never cured: the objects there presented to the sight Prayer Union :

are either corrupting in themselves, or made so by Supposing some part of the Lord's-day, which is on art and circumstance. Piety, goodness, and virtue, the 3d of January, to be employed in laying

open noise or figure : but the spirit of intrigue is active

are quiet and obscure; they pass through life without some of the aspects of Divine Providence, some of and busy, productive of plot and incident. Vice is the provocations prevalent in society, and the duty enthusiastic, impetuous, and picturesque, and furnishes of the Church in these circumstances, the following matter of grand effect, fit for stages and theatres. subjects might be suitably brought under considera- When good and evil are both misrepresented, which tion, and form the chief matters of prayer on each of mostly happens, the mind of an unguarded spectator the following days.

catches the misrepresentation, and makes it a rule of

action, Let the self-murderer appear with dignity, On Monday, the fruitfulness or barrenness of the

and the robber be merry and successful upon the Gospel in congregations, and especially in the con- stage, suicides and thieves will be increased and mulgregation to which the parties belong. “ ( thou that tiplied.--Jones. art named the house of Jacob, is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? are these his doings ? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?” JAMES NIVISON OF CLOSEBURN MILL. (Micah ii. 7.) On Tuesday, the growth or decay of practical god

(From Simpson's Traditions of the Corenanters.") liness among such as believe. “() generation, see The farm of Closeburn Mill was, in the times ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness of persecution, tenanted by James Nivison, a unto Israel? a land of darkness? Wherefore say my man of a saintly character and of unbending people, We are lords; we will come no more unto integrity. His house was an occasional resort thee ?” (Jer. ii. 31.)

to the wanderers that frequented the district. On Wednesday, the condition of the young, and The curate of Closeburn had no good-will to the means employed for their instruction and spiri- this worthy man, and he sought every opportutual well-being. “Suffer the little children to come nity to injure him. James refused to attend unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the his church---a circumstance which gave unparkingdom of God.” (Mark x. 14.)

donable offence to that Prelatic underling--and On Thursday, prevailing sins, and especially intem- he failed not to lodge information against him, perance, as hindrances to the progress of the Gospel. as being a disaffected and disloyal person. Ile

Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it had one friend in the parish, however, in the cannot save; neither is his ear heavy, that it cannot person of Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick, whose lenity hear: but your iniquities have separated between to the sufferers that crept into the woods and you and your God, and your sins have hid his face glens near him was displayed on various occafrom you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. lix. 1, 2.) sions. When the worthy knight learned the

On Friday, the condition of large towns aud popu- determination of the curate respecting James lous districts, containing very many who make no | Nivison, and knowing the vindictive disposition profession of religion. "The hand of the Lord was of the man, he entreated James to yield so far upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the as to consent to enter the church, though it were Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley only to go in by the one door and out by the which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by other. With this, however, he would by no them round about: and, behold, there were very means comply; alleging that it would be a commany in the open valley: and, lo! they were very promise of his principles to yield even this (Ezek. xxxvii. 1, 2.)

apparently trifling matter. The knight could On Saturday, the proper observance of the Lord's- not but admire the firmness and honesty of day, and how to begin it so as to enjoy it aright. purpose displayed by this virtuous man, in a “ I was in the Spirit on the Lord's-day.” (Rev. i. case in which he deemed his conscience con10.)

cerned. Anxious, however, to protect his If some such topics as these were to occupy the tenant, he made another proposal, and assured attention and form the special subjects of prayer him, if he would come only to the “ kirk-style," during the week, the way would be opened for prac- it might still be in his power to save him; bút

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Nivison continued firm in his determination, that the man who was working at the mill was and even went so far as to declare, that if the the individual whom they were seeking, and turning of a straw, in obedience to the unprin- therefore they paid no attention to him. When cipled rulers of the time, would save him from they found that all their efforts to find the fugi. trouble, he would not comply. Ile was resolved tive were fruitless, and probably supposing that to follow what he conceived to be the plain line he had left the building by some way unknown of his duty, and to preserve a good conscience, to them, they were about to retire, when one of whatever might betide. This decision of mind, the party, looking in the miller’s face,exclaimed, which some may probably be inclined to call “Here he is !--the very man we have been seekobstinacy, did not lessen him in the estimation ing!” On hearing this, James, who seemed to of the laird of Closeburn, who determined, since the soldiers to be entirely absorbed in his emhe could make no more of it, to communicate ployment, turned round, and, with a dauntless to his honest tenant whatever he knew of the countenance and apparent surprise at the affir. designs of the enemy respecting him, and by mation, said, with a firm and deliberate tone, this means to afford him opportune warning of “I think the devil seems to be in these men." the danger that threatened him.

Such an expression, they thought, could never Sir Thomas had a domestic servant, whose proceed from the mouth of a douce Covenanter, leanings towards the Covenanters were no secret and therefore they interfered no further, beto his master, and him he instructed to under- lieving, at the same time, that his habiliments stand the import of certain signs, by which, indicated the presence of an entirely different when he could not hold conversation with him, person from him of whom they were in quest. he wished to communicate the designs formed What James said was true; they were actuated against the Covenanters who at the time might by the spirit of evil in promoting the interests happen to be lurking in the neighbourhood, and of Satan, to whose service they seemed to have especially against his friend James Nivison. sold themselves; and when these worthless men When, therefore, any proposal was made to Sir heard any one use the name of their master in Thomas to lend assistance to the persecutors conversation they thought they recognised in in searching the woods and linns on his estate him a fellow-servant. On the present occasion for persons under hiding information of the they left the mill without having accomplished circumstance was instantiy communicated, by their purpose. means of the servant, to Nivison, and others James Nivison, notwithstanding the hints concerned, In this way much mischief was which he occasionally received to provide for prevented, and the purposes of the enemy in his safety, was often surprised by the visits of many instances defeated. When these occa- the soldiers who came in quest of him. One sional warnings were given to Nivison, he had day, when he was least expecting it, a party of one place of resort to which he generally fled, troopers approached his house; and be, having and this was the darkly wooded sides of Crichope no other place to flee to, darted through a window Linn. Crichope Linn is, perhaps, one of the in a back part of his cottage, and sought refuge most striking scenes of the kind in the south in the garden. The little plot of herbs was at of Scotland, and the caverns in its precipitous this time in its most luxuriant state, and the banks are well calculated to afford a conceal- large stocks of green kail-a vegetable indisment, which few who know the danger of the pensable in the gardens of the Scottish peasanattempt will care to invade.

try-meeting at the tops in lengthened rows, One day, however, the dragoons came upon formed a long vaulted cavity so large as to James without warning, and on his first view admit, underneath the broad and verdant Hades,' of their approach he saw that they were too the body of a full-grown man without being near the house to admit of his making an escape perceived. It was into one of these deep furto the woods. In his perplexity he ran into rows, and beneath the green arch, that James, the mill, crying he was now in the power of Nivison crept, that in this earthly bed he might, his enemies, as the soldiers were just at hand. lie secure from the prying eyes of the soldiers. “ Not so fast,” replied the miller; "doff your The dragoons arrived, and proceeded to the coat, and here is mine in exchange.” The miller search as formerly; and, as formerly, were un- 11 having hastily arrayed his master in his dusty successful. Having questioned his family re

1 coat, next took a mealy sack, and powdered specting his place of concealment without expishim all over from head to foot, and left him cating anything satisfactory, they departed, busily engaged in his own occupation. The expressing their determination to repeat their soldiers who saw him enter the mill soon fol- visits till they found him. Had the dragoons, lowed in the pursuit. Having entered the entered the garden with the slightest suspicion lower apartment, they examined every corner of his being concealed within its precincts, there with the closest scrutiny; they next ascended is little doubt that he would have been disthe upper storey in quest of him who, they were covered. It is wonderful to think how narrowly certai:), was somewhere within. This place those good men sometimes escaped, when almost they searched with equal care, and with equal the turning of a straw would have revealed want of success. It never occurred to them their retreat. Wodrow gives a striking instance

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