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sistent with the filial spirit, and seems to imply that the life of God's family is stereotyped and unalterable, so that when they come together, the frank spontaneousness with which children express their wishes must be sternly repressed and the command made imperative. “Keep to the one approved set of expressions, nothing beyond that.' Surely the dreariest free prayer may show more of the filial spirit than this slavish monotony.

And, indeed, the mischief of misinterpreting our Lord's purpose and reducing to a form that which He gave only as a model, is painfully seen in the way in which this model is used in the Established Church. Frequently in one single service it is repeated four or five times over, as if the very enunciation of the words acted as a charm, and brought a blessing, however mechanically uttered. When it is urged in excuse that this was never intended, but arises from rolling two or three separate services into one, we can only answer, • The question is not what was intended, but what is actually done.' And depend upon it, that when one grand form of prayer is made imperative, and is always used, quite unconsciously to those who repeat it, it at last becomes an idol, is thought to carry a blessing in itself, and assumes much of the character of a talisman. I say that this is the tendency, this the great danger. God forbid I should affirm that many and many devout worshippers do not find it help them to worship in spirit and in truth.

Indeed, in reference to a service so widely used by my fellowcountrymen, I would not speak one word of needless disparagement. I would cheerfully acknowledge its many excellences of form and expression; I would allow what Keble claims for it, that it makes 'ample and secure provision' for the maintenance of 'a sober standard of feeling in matters of practical religion.' Yet, for all this, I am constrained to say that it is exceedingly defective as regards the filial spirit. There runs through it, as there does still more emphatically through all the appointments of the Roman Catholic Church, a tone of servile dread rather than of filial joy and confidence. The almost abject cry for mercy,' repeated again, and again, and again, as if in Christ we had not obtained mercy—the beseeching wail to God toʻspare us,' as if His hand were always lifted up to destroy, and His judgments could be averted only by a reiterated appeal to His pity; these and such things as these keep down the soul from the lofty heights of joyful worship, and foster a spirit of dread. Though we have reason always to make confession and ask forgiveness, let us seek to do both as God's children whom He is waiting to welcome and to bless, and say with the Apostle, ' We have access with confidence through faith in Him'— Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy

and find grace to help us in time of need.' 'We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. If this is the spirit in which we pray, how joyful will be the hour of service! How strong shall we and our people be as we go forth from it to the duties and struggles of life !

Again, if God is our Father, then all those who are born of God are our brethren; if we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul, and strength, and mind, because He is our Father, we are to love our neighbours as ourselves because they are our brethren; and, therefore, if we really pray in the filial spirit, we cannot but pray also in the fraternal spirit. We, who guide the devotions of the people, must seek to love our brethren in Christ with a self-sacrificing and ardent love; yea, we must love all men as Christ loveth them, then with deep earnestness we shall include them in our supplications, and with profound significance shall say Our Father, give us our daily bread.' We are all prone to become selfish even in our prayers, to think of ourselves exclusively, or at any rate mainly, either as individuals or as a Church, just as in our business or worldly vocation we make our own personal success the one aim, come what may to others. Or if we do not altogether overlook them, we just desire for them the crumbs which fall from our table after we have been fully blessed, rather than that they should sit with us and share all the dainties which we enjoy.

My dear brethren, God cannot look with approval on His children when they are selfish and greedy-seeking for themselves the first rank in His kingdom, the cream of all His mercies. Our prayers, when we express the mind of His people, must be as if we were expressing the very mind of Christ; they must be unselfish prayers-prayers for our brethren of every rank and name, as well as for ourselves. The fraternal spirit will naturally result from the filial, and if from the heart we cry 'Father! we cannot fail to add our Father, which art in heaven.'

Such will be the substance and style and spirit of our prayers, brethren, if we follow the instructions of our Lord.

I feel how very imperfectly I have executed my purpose; but I have no doubt whatever as to the importance of my subject. Indeed, it is not only important, it is vital. I am persuaded that one main cause of any failure we have to deplore in our work is the poverty of our prayers. Prayer alone brings us near to the secret place of power; effectual, fervent prayer alone calls down the fulness of that power on those to whom we minister. Oh, what might not our serions be in force and effectiveness if our prayers were mightier and more spiritual ! What might not our churches become if we could learn to 'pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit ! What victories might we not achieve in the world if, with united prayers like those which preceded Pentecost, we could win a Pentecostal blessing ?

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast sent us forth to feed Thy Church and preach Thy Gospel to mankind, look upon Thy servants in Thy vast love ! oh, teach us to pray !


SNOWSTORMS AND SNOW-CRYSTALS. CHRISTMAS-TIDE once more ! Bright, cold, clear, frosty Christmas! The time of the beautiful snow! Beautiful now, as in the olden time when Hermon and Tabor put on their robe of white while David watched his father's sheep at Bethlehem, or when the wakeful shepherds “abiding in the fields' heard far above the snows the notes of 'Peace on earth,' before 'the angel went away from them into Heaven.' The brightness vanishes, and the sky is saddened, and the storm gathers :

Through the hushed air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering, till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day

With a continual flow.' The flowers are gone for a season, and plant-life sleeps beneath its warm covering of earth and snow. The birds have all left us, save the friendly Robin who comes for food to our window, and

hopping o'er the floor, Eyes all the smiling family askance,

And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is.' Suppose we study the snow, and see if it will reveal its secrets, or teach us any hitherto unlearned lessons of the power of Him Who sends it to us. 'Oh!' says some one, snow! why, it is only frozen water! It's soft, white, and horribly cold. There's nothing else to be said about it! Hear what Mr. Ruskin says:

'In the range of inorganic nature, I doubt if any object can be found more perfectly beautiful than a fresh deep snow-drift, seen under warm light. Its curves are of inconceivable perfection and changefulness; its surface and transparency alike exquisite ; its light and shade of inexhaustible variety and inimitable finish, the shadows sharp, pale, and of heavenly colour, the reflected lights intense and multitudinous, and mingled with the sweet occurrences of transmitted light.

' So much for its being only frozen water ! Let us seek its home, ask how it got there; how it gets to our earth ; what it really is; what forms its flakes and crystals, and how it acquires its exquisite purity of whiteness. We can trace all these step by step To begin with, look at the very origin of the snow. It starts first of all from the earth, to which it finally returns. According to the wave-theory' of light, now universally acoepted, the light and heat of the sun travel to us by the agency of two sets of waves—the light-waves and the heat-waves. The former do not sensibly warm the earth, or ourselves; the latter do not come as light, but as heat. We can separate the two kinds, and allow them to act singly on a vessel of water. The light-wares leave the water as they found it; the heat-waves will cause it to boil. Watch the clouds coming at every puff from a locomotive, and note that the cloud in each case is formed « little distance above the funuel; between cloud and funnel is a clear space apparently. It is not a space. It is tilled by an invisible substance, which a little higher up, becomes a visible clouch What is this? It is ‘vapour' unseen and transparent, as it was inside the boiler. The force called Houst has produced it from water, and only its intrinsie heat keeps it invisible; when it gets tår enough from the funnel to get a little coeter it, or rather its partieles lessen greatly in size, and become what Tywall calls watenuse, seen as a cloud. Watch it, and it the weather be fine and warm it very quickly gues alort and disappears. Why? It has been rianged, dissolved into uuzeu vapour again by the diry, hot air. The air could not disolve it ut er, oecause it existed in teo large & quantity: hispersey, it feil su easy pry to the power of she air. You may ve a similar effect produced by boting water eaping from a kettle as steam, and forming a cloud, watch is tinarily waived. Now the sun striking the earth ami the water anders them but, and the heat-waves redeutet from seir surfaces mase the air ireetiy in wontact with these guraces hvin This huc air expanus and tereture becoming vir venus Phis air aiways contains a certain quantity of testery ne peur, which being pain guter than the ar hips it so ise.

À you se nese cui-waves from the sun ne ustantiv awing up, yuedy anu nvisbiy, že musure from our earth. It is wat in the Indian Ocean is much as three-quarter ut an inch vi vader's carried away in this manier is de jay zmi ziyat. Thus we see the iN meat eat in the stunnut sowse an tseit: sie ungu v zne spow she misture i the arth's surface Vow for de text tep I have winac the sir expabis siis its ceciler de Xue, mi this sesa me puree of the vicinitie apper suspuere, which is £ Iseif wisier han til kar ti , turn helps to chill the rising air. This air is mixed with watervapour. What is the result? The second agent comes into play, i.e., 'Condensation. That is, the water-vapour is turned by cold into a visible thing, or cloud. Pour some cold water into a glass, and put it in a warm room in summer. A deposit of moisture from warm air is seen outside the glass. The windows of a railway-carriage in winter show a similar deposit on the inside during a journey. Let a draught of cold air into a crowded room. The air hitherto clear becomes dim by deposit of fog from the water-vapour coming from the lungs of the people.. Snow has been seen to fall in a Russian ball-room under these conditions! Condensation' is the agent in each case. So the glorious clouds are formed, and they rest on a tall, unseen column of water-vapour reaching from the earth to them. They are great masses of 'water-dust'! Now, let a wind full of vapour, or a cold wind come along; it fills the cloud; the 'water-dust' particles are drawn closer together by a third agent, 'Cohesion, which forms them into tiny watermasses known as 'drops;' the cloud has more of these than it can hold together; they are heavier than the air, and instantly our fourth agent, 'Gravitation,' seizes hold of them, and down they come as a 'shower' of rain. The moisture has come back to the earth whence it set out on its journey! Now, the vapour was 'condensed'into cloud-form by cold, i.e., a certain degree of cold. Suppose the rain-drops meet up aloft with a blast of cold air below freezing-point,' as it is called, i.e., 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Each drop freezes, and we get ‘hailstones, which are simply tiny (not always tiny !), roundish drops of ice, such as are seen sometimes even in summer. Suppose that still earlier, before the vapour has been turned into a visible cloud, i.e., while it is yet invisible vapour, it meets with a freezing atmosphere. What then? 'Cohesion' has not any chance to act, but a different agent, called Crystallization ' takes its place. It would take too much space here to go into the laws of this process. Many substances easily .crystallize.' Dissolve sugar in water, and evaporate all the water by heat: crystals of sugar-candy' are formed! Melt salt, and evaporate the water : crystals of salt are formed in 'cubes. Diamonds are only crystals of carbon! The well-known 'stalactite-grottos' are lime-crystals. Saltpetre (nitre) is a salt of potash containing beautiful crystals like needles. Many 'precious stones' are really crystals. So when water vapour is frozen as vapour, it forms crystals of solid snow, coming down as a 'snow-shower' by the force of gravitation. Snow-flakes are masses of these crystals, few or many in number. So you see snow is watervapour frozen at an earlier period than that at which it becomes

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