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vants." But let us turn to the poor humble Publican.'

EMILY. 'He prayed indeed, Mamma.'


MRS. M. 'Yes; his was the prayer of a penitent, believing sinner, humbled in the dust by the consciousness of his own exceeding sinfulness; " yet trusting in the mercy of the Saviour, whom he addressed; not daring to raise his eyes to heaven, but assuming the attitude not only of humility but of sorrow, "He smote upon his breast as was the custom of the Jews in expressing grief.'

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EMILY. 'Mamma, I believe the Roman Catholics still make use of this mode of expressing sorrow for their sins.'

MRS. M. 'Yes, I believe they use it in their general confessions, and it is amongst all nations a token of deep affliction. How short, yet how expressive is the prayer of the Publican, "God be merciful to me a sinner." But, mamma, you called him a believer, yet he says nothing of his Saviour.' There is but the one way in



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which the pardoning mercy sought for by this

poor Publican can be granted; that is through the blood of Christ; and our Saviour's expressions shew that the words used were meant to convey that acknowledgment, for he says, "He went down justified (or pardoned) rather than the other." Dr. A. Clarke says, the words may be translated, "Be propitious to me through sacrifice," or "Let an atonement be made for me." By this Parable we learn from our Lord himself, that the man, who however moral his habits, however regular his observance of outward forms, seeks not salvation through the blood of Christ alone, but vainly boasts as if his own works had any share therein,-will be rejected; while the humble penitent, who knowing that he has no claim of his own to any thing but condemnation, casts himself in utter self-abasement upon the mercy of God through Christ, is accepted for the sake of him in whom he trusts.'

GEORGE. 'Mamma, though we have no Pharisees and Publicans now, such as those of the Jews, I believe there are many who have the spirit of each.'

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MRS. M. It is true, that there are but too many; and the Parable applies as well to this moment, as to the period of time when it was spoken. Many a person at the present day enters the Lord's house, apparently for the purpose of prayer, whose thoughts are more occupied in comparing themselves with those they see around them and inwardly boasting of their own superiority, than in offering up petitions to the Lord whilst on the other hand, we may hope that in our various congregations, there may often be found the humble contrite sinner, who, though not outwardly striking upon his breast, yet inwardly feels that his evil heart and imagination deserve chastisement, and entreats the Lord for that mercy of which he knows he is unworthy, except through the righteousness of Christ his Redeemer. Let us my dear children carefully examine our own hearts, and try whether there be any lurking self-approbation there, which, though not apparent to the eye of man, yet cannot be hid from an all-seeing God.'


May we, like the importunate widow, pray continually for grace, and cease not when we have obtained what we desire, "the Bread of life," but still pray for increase of faith. May we be enabled to feel our own utter helplessness, and say like the disciples, "Lord, teach us how to pray;" and let our humble earnest petition be, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner."



Matt. xx.

1-17. TEN VIRGINS. Matt. xxv. 1—13.

GEORGE. 6 Mamma, Did you hear how poor wicked Thomas Haly died yesterday? I was quite frightened when I heard he was dead, because I know he was such a wicked man.'

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MRS. M. Nothing truly can be more dreadful, more appalling to the mind, than the death of a person like him, if he is carried off without having given evidence of that change, without which no man can see the kingdom of Heaven;" but this, I thank God, was not poor Haly's case. Your father sat many an hour beside his dying bed; and nothing could be more deep, more touching, than his expressions of penitence; he not only acknowledged his own wickedness, but

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