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let their meditation be on the Lord's word and grace ; let their habits be temperate, retired, holy.Let ber prayer of faith be, that her child may be an offering to the Lord from the womb.-Let her manifest her devotion to the Lord by constant humility of soul before him ; knowing ber own unworthiness, “Whence is this to me!” but confident in the great grace of the Lord, let her soul magnify the Lord, and her spirit rejoice in God her Saviour. Such dispositions sought for will be granted-granted, they must be exercised- and exercised we have as much reason to expect that the Holy Spirit will prevail, and influence the yet unborn babe, as that the natural affection and desires should influence. Both the natural and the spiritual formation is a mystery to us, how the faculties are imparted and the impression of good or evil conveyed; but the certainty of this should lead mothers to a special attention-the subject is most important, and the happiness of themselves and offspring intimately connected with it.
To see so much indifference to this momentous period in a child's existence, and a parent's responsibility, is disgraceful to human nature, as though unconscious of the high destination of man, and of the wonderful creation of the image of God. Nor let parents wonder, when themselves unmindful of their duty, that their children should be as thorns in their side, and bring down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave; or, if they escape, through preventing mercy, the more acute afflictions through their ungodliness, yet they need not wonder if their children, contented with their portion in this world, shall be, in the future, in vain sought for among the heirs of glory.
Whilst engaged in writing these reflections, I meet
with an interesting passage in an author, which bears so directly upon the point I wish to enforce, that I cannot forbear giving the extract here. (See Christian Theology, translated from the Latin of Benedict Pictet, by Frederick Reyroux, B. A. pages 209, 210.) • An infant, while in the womb of its mother, and, therefore, most intimately united to her, has the same impressions made upon its brain and heart, by different objects, as are made upon the brain and heart of its mother. We know that the soul and body are so closely united, that the ideas of the former and the motions of the latter mutually affect each other; whence it may follow that the motions which take place in the brain of infants and make impressions on it, have the same influence on them as they have on their mothers, namely, to bind down their newly created souls to sensible and carnal objects. This may be illustrated by the following example: Supposing God to place a body, into which he intended to breathe also a soul, in the midst of some burning liquid; the very moment the soul entered that body, it would be sensible of a very grievous pain. Thus it is that the body of the infant in its mother's womb is moved in the same way as the body of its mother, who sins every moment; and, therefore, from the time that the soul enters the body so affected, the same affections or inclinations are stirred up within it as are stirred up in the mother, according to the corresponding motions of the body : in some such way as this we imagine sin to be propagated. We shall only add, that it is no wonder that man, from the time of his birth, becomes continually more and more corrupt, for he sees nothing but bad examples, which surround him on every side, and by the most
powerful influence urge him to what is sinful; while he himself, possessing no resources within his own heart, becomes as it were the spirit of every sin.'
This affecting account is, indeed, altogether on the subject of the awful influence and propagation of sin; but, by analogy, we may derive a powerful lesson on the subject of the influence of gracious dispositions, and sentiment, and practice, when spiritual motions are stirred up in the mother, instead of sensible and carnal objects engrossing her thoughts. Although the gift of grace is purely and entirely from on high, and is the work of divine power, yet the sovereign Disposer of every good thing we know uses the instrumentality of the creature; and though the Spirit, as the wind, bloweth where he listeth, yet he is pleased to give this heart-affecting bond, in the associations of his people, as to make them the ministers of the word of grace, and to appoint unto them the duty of interceding prayer in their behalf; and He who loves to hear the prayer of faith, and to behold the labour of love, will not frustrate the one nor deny the other; but, delighting to give more than we can ask, and even before we ask is ready to answer, will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. What more ardent prayer could be breathed, than a mother's for the fruit of her body? What more constraining object for her soul's entreaty than for the child to which she is about to give birth? If this be the desire of the mother's heart—this the occupation of her soul--this the object for which her maternal eye is uplifted, will not the state be an earnest of grace prepared ? and will it not be permitted her to impart the same impressions on the unborn infant, as are upon the brain and heart of the mother.'
I have thought it right to preface my little narrative with these serious and important considerations, in order to prepare the mind for the evidence of the truth I advance, and to afford the most constraining argument, by the witness this babe of grace exhibits, that it is no speculative theory, but practical positive evidence. And with this purpose let us now look into the history of a three years' pilgrimage of Annie I
[To be continued.]
THE REDEEMER THE ROCK OF AGES.
O Thou the Rock of ages! still
My soul shall seek thy mighty aid,
Can conquer, when heneath thy shade.
Loudly the storms of life may beat,
Deep, deep the waves of sorrow roll;
They cannot whelm the contrite soul.
For holy is the ground, and far
From Thee recoils guilt's stormy sea ;
That trusts in Thee, and only Thee.
My little flower-my tender flower ;
Lamb of the Saviour's precious fold-
I cannot write as poets write,
M. A. S.