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On this supposition we proceed to pray that “ God would keep ús under the protection of “ His good providence, and make us to have a o perpetual" fear and love of His holy name, " through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We consider ourselves to be under His protection as His people, and pray that we may remain under it; we assume that the “ fear and love of His name" have been implanted in our hearts, and pray that these graces may be perpetuated.
We pray that God would " keep us under the “ protection of His good providence;" inferring, as the result of close self-examination, that we are under His care “ who never fails to help “ and govern them whom He doth bring up in “ His steadfast fear and love." “ The protec« tion of God's good providence” is that “ help “ and government” which He never fails to afford to His people. The propriety of praying for a continuance of Divine protection, both for our souls and bodies, is evident from a consideration of the many and imminent dangers to which we are ever exposed. . We are only safe, either from ghostly or bodily dangers, while God keeps us. And His promise to keep us does not supercede the necessity of prayer, but implies dependence on our part, and is the motive and encouragement to its vigorous exercise. And we are also to remember, that although God's promise cannot be broken, and consequently His help and government cannot fail, yet we daily and hourly forfeit, by our fai. lure in the duty which we owe to our sovereign Lord, the benefit of His protection, and therefore are bound humbly and earnestly to pray for a renewal and continuance of it. :
As's the protection of God's good providence" is confined to those whom He is « bringing my “ in His steadfast fear and love," and as we cannot maintain in our hearts is the fear and “ love of His holy name;" we therefore proceed to 'beseech Him, that He would make us to “have a perpetual fear and love of His holy “ name." We pray for persevering grace, that the holy temper of mind which He hath produced within us may be subject to no interruption, but may increase more and more until it is perfected. And Oh, Christian reader, how needful a petition is this! When we consider how inadequate our “ fear and love” are to the cause that produces them, to the object that claims them; how often their exercise is in a great measure interrupted; how, at times, they languish and seem ready to expire; how needful is the concluding petition of our collect, « Lord, we beseech thee, make us to have a “ perpetual fear and love of thy holy name!" Our frequent past backslidings, our present consciousness of imbecility, our enemies, and our dangers, all concur in exciting us to importunity in the use of this prayer.
Let every one examine himself closely, whether he can honestly unite in it. No one can, in whose heart the fear and love of God are not predominant; for no one else can desire to have these holy dispositions perpetuated. O let those who are unconscious of being under His tuition who " brings up His people in His steadfast “ fear and love," tremble for themselves! They have no reason to expect Divine help and governance. They are without God in the world, outlaws of His kingdom, and liable to His wrath. Oh, how awful a state! May they come and implore pardon of their offended Sovereign, and swear allegiance to Him.
Let the nature of genuine Godliness be gathered from our collect. It is a supreme regard to God. All who are without it are ungodly. They are of the world, and will perish with the worli.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to hear usy. and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may by thy mighty aid be defended and comforted in all dangers and necessities, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
DRAYER is the key which opens the repo
I sitory of spiritual food, the wardrobe and the armoury of heaven. It is the bolt which excludes the thief and the robber, the stormy wind and tempest. It is “ the outlet of trouble, " and the inlet of consolation."
The advantages, however, which result from prayer, vast and manifest as they are, lie concealed from the world. But they are known to a favoured few, the genuine members of Christ's holy catholic church, to whom the secret of true happiness hath been disclosed. • The mysterious commerce of the human soul os with the Divine Spirit" is that “ secret of the “ Lord which is with them who fear Him.”
In the work of prayer, as in every other act of the Divine life, “ all is of God, who hath s reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.” It is His “ Spirit that helpeth our infirmities; “ for we know not what we should pray for as “ we ought: but the Spirit Himself maketh “ intercession for us with groanings which can“ not be uttered.” In our natural state, while we continue « sensual, not having the Spirit," we feel no spiritual necessities, and are conscious VOL. II.
of no spiritual desires. A dead body has no wants, no sensations; and a soul that is “ dead “ in trespasses and sins” is equally void of spiritual sensibility. And even after that we have been “ quickened to newness of life," so great is our ignorance, that although we are become conscious of many and pressing needs, know that there is a provision made for their supply, and have learned from whence and in what man. ner relief is to be derived; yet " we know not “ what to pray for as we ought." Left to ourselves, we should make requests, a compliance with which would prove injurious to our own souls and dishonourable to God, as children often prefer petitions to their parents which cannot be granted. Our ignorance respects not only the blessings which we implore, but also the manner of seeking relief. Our infirmities are many and great. Sometimes guilt stops the mouth. Sometimes trouble overwhelms the spirit. Sometimes worldly cares distract the mind. And sometimes languor or obduracy disqualifies us for drawing near to God.
It is happy for the people of God hat.“ the “ Spirit helpeth their infirmities and maketh “ intercession for them;" and they know it. He discovers our spiritual wants, awakens our sensibilities, kindles our desires, exhibits to our view the throne of grace sprinkled with atoning blood, creates and increases faith, and enables us to cry, “ Abba, Father.” The emotion of holy desire within us is His “ intercession for
us." And those fervent desires which He kindles are sometimes productive of inexpressible 'groans; the desire is too big and strong for utterance by words. But the groan of unutterable desire is clearly intelligible to the Searcher