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NEW JERUSALEM MAGAZINE.
VOL. XV.-ENLARGED SERIES.
AND SOLD BY
" The ultimation of worship is in a life of uses.” “All religion has relation to life, and the religious life consists in doing good.” These are golden sentences ; but they may be misunderstood. I propose to inquire to-night, whether piety in general, prayer in particular, is not conducive to “a life of uses ;”—whether that “ doing good,” in which the religious life consists, should not include as part of itself, the works of piety; and especially whether it may not, and must not, receive signal furtherance from the practice of prayer? By prayer, however, I do not mean internal worship deprived of its external; neither, of course, do I intend external worship without internal. By prayer, I understand the genuine worship of the heart “brought into fulness by a union with the open worship of the lips.” And by the open worship of the lips, I mean conscious and verbal discourse with God. And by discourse, not solely or chiefly the reading of something out of a book, or repeating of words retained in the memory. Forms of prayer, indeed, are often convenient and useful; but I regard it as a great misfortune if people are accustomed to use only these. By prayer, I mean conscious talking with the Lord, by formula, or by free prayer, and especially by the free. For then only is prayer in its perfection, when it is spontaneous, unpremeditated—the translation into outward utterance at the moment, of whatsoever the Lord puts it into the heart to render or to desire.
As fully as the limited time will permit, I purpose to invite you to-night to dwell upon the fact that prayer, thus understood, is signally conducive, and indeed, an essential part, of a life of high Christian use:
* Read at Quarterly Tea Meeting, Manchester New Church Society, Peter-street, September 29th, 1867.