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circumstances may require.- fied for a prayer-hearing God : Much has been said respecting | Yet, however, we are not to exthe propriety of written forms, pect that all our requests will and extempore prayer. Ei- | be answered. The matter, time, ther, if properly expressed and manner, and temper must be ataccompanied with the heart, tended to, in all our addresses to will doubtless be acceptable to the throne of grace. So far as God. A known and orderly ar- we are deficient in either of rangement is best adapted to so- these, we have cause to fear a cial prayer, because the audi- denial of our requests. This ence can more readily and under consideration brings us to enstandingly assent to, and join quire into the requisites of praywith the speaker. Yet, the spea- er. ker should not be confined to It is of high importance, that a form, so but that he may adapt we pay serious attention to what himself with propriety to occa- we ask of God in prayer. The sions and special occurrences. matter should be important and In private prayer, the regular solemn, suited to his character arrangement of the several parts and our own; and, our minds is not so necessary. Every one seriously attentive to whatever *may express his own personal we supplicate of him. We ought feelings and desires at the time, not to rush with inattention into and as in the presence of the the presence of the high and omniscient God. But not to en- lofty One, who inhabiteth eternilarge. The nature and designty ; nor address him with levity, of prayer are the same, both in oron trifling subjects. If our praypublic and private : It is a mak- er does not engage our own ating known our requests unto tention, we cannot reasonably God, and spreading our joys and expect it will engage the attensorrows before him, acknowl- tion of the great Jehovah, unedging his property in us and less, to punish us for insulting sovereignty over us.
him with solemn triling...! ** That God is a proper, and What then can be said, for the the only proper object of our conduct of most people, in their prayers needs no labored proof. social worship, in the family, and As omniscient and omnipresent, in the house of God? While he is always with us, knows ev- the master of a family reads a ery thought of our hearts, and chapter in the Bible, and addreshears every word of our lipsses the throne of grace, how we can never pray unnoticed. many members are permitted to As omnipotent, he can do every be absent? How many are buthing for us, which is fit to be sied in family concerns or amusedone. As infinitely wise, hements. There is no proper atcan do for us in the best possi- tention to religion in such conble time, and in the best possi- duct--We cannot serve God and ble manner. And, as infinitely | mammon.
.! just and good, he can and will. And no less reprehensible is hear and answer our requests; so the conduct of many, when they far as will promote his glory and go to the house of God. : With our good.
what trifling and inattention do & Thus God is perfectly quali-| they rush into the Divine pre
On the Duty of Prayer. sence? While the throne of To render our prayers acceptgrace is addressed, how many able to God, we must, also, enindulge wandering thoughts? | tertain an unwavering trust and And in some places there are confidence in him. We cannot those who allow themselves to seriously ask of God things, for laugh, talk, and gaze on various which, we trust in ourselves; or objects. Thus, they draw near which, we believe he is unwilling to God with their mouths, while to grant us ; nor, so long as we their hearts are afar off. These continue wavering and undeter things ought not so to be. Lip mined in our minds, can we pray worship and formality will never acceptably. Want of confidence bring us unto God.
in the divine goodness, is want As we must pay solemn at- of sincerity in asking; and bars tention to God, and the things a probability of receiving. A. we bring before him in prayer, greeably to which, St. James so must we feel a hearty desire writes If any of you lack eisfor the things we ask. God de- dom, let him ask of God, and mands the heart ; he sees it, it shall be given him. But let him and will not be deceived. Pray- ask in faith, nothing wavering : er without the heart, is solemn l.for he that wavereth is like a wave mockery. Should a neighbor, of the sea, driven with the wind in solemn show, importune us and tossed. For let not that man for things, we knew he did not think that he shall receive any desire, we should resent it as a thing of the Lord. It is the will base insult : yet, how many do of God that we trust and confide thus treat the God who made in him ; but the fearful, the them ? How many in prayer, ask doubting, and the unbelieving for grace to live holy and godly are no friends to him and his lives for grace to deliver them cause they have no love to from evil, and keep them out of his character. temptation ; yet, immediately, Thus, trust and confidence in and even of forethought, allow God are indispensibly necessary themselves in the profanest to the acceptableness of prayer. vices ? Such persons lie unto But how shall sinners, condemGod; they do not mean what ned sinners, trust in a God of they say. And did they believe inflexible justice ! How can they God would answer their re- look to him, as a prayer-hearing quests, they would feel offended and sin-forgiving God-a God
they would view it a curse, of infinite mercies - Here then rather than a blessing. It is no we turn to the gospel provision, wonder such persons continue to Jesus Christ the great high stupid in the ways of sin. And, priest of our profession ; (God, have we not reason to fear, that out of him, is a consuming fire.) many such are left of God to Christ hath offered himself an strong delusion, to believe a lie? | atonement and sacrifice for sin, We should take heed how we and by his own blood, entered in attempt to deceive, and trifle once into the holy place, having with the omniscient God. He obtained eternal redemption ; requires truth in the inner parts, and having broken down the midHe is a jealous God, and will dle wall of partition between tiot give his honor to another. God and us, we now have access
to the throne of grace through , vine Will; for we have no right faith in his blood. All that come to claim any blessing from him. unto God by Him, will be accept-| Nor do we know what his glory ed. For this we have the words may require ; or, what may be of eternal truth ;-Seek and ye best for ourselves, and the genshall find ; and whatsoever ye shall eral good. We should always ask in my name, ye shall receive. set Christ's example before our This foundation is sure. The eyes. He was meek and lowly heavens and the earth shall pass in heart, and prayed, saying, away ; but not one jot or tittle Father, if thou be willing, remove of God's word shall pass till all this cup from me ; nevertheless, be fulfilled. Let us then draw | not my will, but thine, be done. near to God in prayer, with firm Such, always, should be our temtrust and confidence in him; for per and manner in prayerJesus Christ is able to save them God's will should be our will. to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liv
1. Under this article of submiseth to make intercession for
sion to the Divine Will, it should them.
be observed, that in our prayers, It is worthy of remark, again,
we are not to expect or aim to that a temper of humble sub
alter his purposes concerning mission to the will of God, is
us. He is of one mind, and who absolutely necessary to the right
can turn him? God is absolutely discharge of the duty of prayer.
unchangeable. Prayer has been The proud look and the hanghty compared to a key to unlock the spirit God hateth. Pride is nev.
door of heaven : it is necessary er becoining, in such sinners as
for us, though not for God. It we are our sins are an abomi.does not bring him down to us, nation unto God. And it is in-but raises us up to him. He will finite mercy and condescension |
be enquired of for his blessings ; in him, that he permits us, even
and we know it is his ordinary in the name of Jesus Christ, to
way to bestow mercies in the make our requests known to
use of means. . Our prayer does him, in prayer. To lie low at
not, indeed, change the purpose the footstool of sovereign grace,
of God, but it is an act of obediis the highest position sinners
ence to him, acknowledging his may take. That man who dares
sovereignty and our dependence; to thank God, that he is not so
and so puts us in a way of rehad as other men, thinks higher
ceiving, according to his will, of himself than he ought to what otherwise we could not rethink : and has vet to learn that ceive, because he had determinthe heart is deceitful above ali ed otherwise not to give it. things, and desperately wicked. It will not be amiss to observe
As our prayers should be of again, that in prayer, persever fered to God in deep humility, ance is necessary for the right so should they be in entire sub- discharge of that important du. mission to his will. We may ty. The apostolic direction is, not prescribe to him, either thc | Pray and faint not Pray without matter, the time, or the manner ceasing-Pray with all prayer. of the grace we ask. The whole to pray acceptably, we should should be submitted to the Di-I entertain a spirit of prayer at all
times, and actually pray on all | puts in motion this spirit ; and proper occasions.
thus, he grows in grace, and Private and public prayer in- finds a heaven begun in his soul. clude all prayers, and are ex- | Thus should we all persevere in pressly required of us; and, as this duty, for we are taught that public prayer is social, so it ex- the effectual, fervent prayer of tends its requirements to social | the righteous man availeth prayer of all kinds, and on all much with God. occasions. Family prayer is spe- I will conclude this essay with cially inculcated. By the eve- a few observations on the reaning and morning sacrifice, this sonableness and privilege of duty was taught to God's an- prayer. Our daily wants, both cient church; and our Saviour spiritual and temporal, teach us also taught his disciples a social | the reasonableness of prayer. prayer, and frequently prayed We cannot do any thing of ourwith them as his family. To selves, as we ought to do; and which we add, prayer with the have no claim on God, for any sick and afflicted. It is not enough needful good. We can néither that we pray for our families, and do, speak, or think any good, for the afflicted, but we must but by divine assistance. As pray with them ; it must be a sinnere, we deserve God's wrath, social prayer.
and that only--we lie wholly at Innumerable are the occasions his mercy, whether we shall for secret and social prayer ; have any happiness here, or hence, said the apostle, in every | hereafter. How reasonable then thing, by prayer let your requests is it, that we should, with all be made known unto God. We diligence, address the throne of can be in no situation, nor under grace, in the name of Jesus any circumstance in life, but Christ, for divine influences and some kind of prayer will be pro- saving inercies? There can be per for us. It is, therefore, of no help from any other quarter, high importance that we main- and without help, we must pertain a spirit of supplication at all ish. This privilege God gives times; and persevere in its ex- us, and no creature can deprive ercises, both secret and social, us of it; which is not the case as occasions shall require. This with other means. How then will afford us a good evidence of should we prize this ! How dilia right temper of mind; but he gent should we be in the use of who prays only on particular oc- | it! A little delay may be our casions, will discover his defi- ruin : God may say, they are ciency, let his gifts of expres- joined to idols, let them alone ; and sion be as they may, for the very | I will see what their end shall be. ' spirit of prayer is wanting. The As our spiritual, so our temlife of a real Christian, is a life poral wants should excite us to of prayer. He not only has set the duty of prayer. “ In God seasons for secret and social we live, and move, and have our prayer; but breathes out to God being." All things come from ejaculations all the day long, in the Lord of Hosts, who is wonadoration, confession, petition, derful in counsel, and excellent thanksgivings, or intercessions. I in working. God is the founAlmost every occurrence in life tain of all our blessings. How
reasonable then is it, that in ev- 1 Finally, Prayer, always puts ery thing, by prayer und sup- us in the way of a blessing. It plication, with thanksgiving, we is Gods appointment.--He is make known our requests unto with us, while we are careful to him?
| be with him ; and it is his orI will only add–Prayer is a dinary 'way to bestow blessings great and high privilege. There | in the use of means. This duty is no mean of salvation exceeds has been wonderfully followed it. In prayer, we have the with spiritual and temporal mernearest approach to God we cies, which is evident from the can have on earth ; and the word of God; and from the exsweetest communion and fel-perience of men. But where lowship with the Father and the | people have not a spirit of praySon. It is a powerful mean to er, they appear to have little humble man, and exalt God sense of religion; and soon grow to restrain us from sinning, and corrupt in faith and morals.draw down divine blessings. The We should, therefore, prize this habitual practice of prayer, will as one of our best and highest keep up a feeling sense of our privileges; and daily exercise dependence on God, and of his ourselves in it before the throne goodness towards us. And such of grace. a solemn sense of divine good. Let us remember we are sinness, notwithstanding our ill de- ners on probation, and shall soon sért, will tend to excite our grat- be called to account for the things itude, love, and obedience. Pray- done in the body. All our good er will lead us so to contemplate things for time and eternity the attributes of the Deity, that must come from God. Let us, we shall be ready to cry out with therefore, constantly look to him David, How excellent is thy | for them, in the name and for the name in all the earth ! Or else, sake of Jesus Christ ; and alwith Job, Our heart will tremble, ways depend upon the aids of and be moved out of his place, the Holy Spirit, for without him because we are as nothing before we can do nothing. This will him. Thus it tends to set God be our only sure way to happi. on the throne, and to keep us in ness here, and glory hereafter. our proper place, low at the foot
ISRAEL. stool of his grace. " Prayer will also excite us to the exercise of charity and for- Duty of seeking Religious Knowgiveness. How else shall we
ledge. pray, Father, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors ? If we | MESSRS. EDITORS, forgive not men their trespasses, IF the following observawe shall ask a curse rather than tions on the obtaining of relia blessing. The spirit of pray- gious knowledge, be thought er, is a spirit of forgiveness; and worth inserting in your Magathe more we have of it, the more zine, they are at your disposal. readily we shall forgive one another ; and so obtain an evidence, IT is no uncommon thing to that we are children of our Fa- I hear people alledging, in exther who is in heaven.
I culpation of their deficiency in