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spirit of religion can be maintained and advanced without any external profeffion, rites or ordinances: While we dwell in flesh, we need external symbols, and external worship. The perfected spirits of the just have no occasion for ordinances. Present with the Lord, purified from sense and sin, they stand in no need of a memorial of him.

Lord, revive thy work. The ways of Zion mourn, because few come to her folemn feasts. Pour out thy Spirit upon the youth of this society; that one and another may set their faces toward Zion, and subscribe with their hand to the Lord. It will be a pleasing reflection, in years to come, should they be able to make the folemn appeal, O Lord God, thou art my hope, my trust from my youth. The privilege of those youths who yield themselves to God as alive from the dead, may be estimated from the words of our apostle, Being made free from fin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Whether they live, they live unto the Lord; and whether they die, they die unto the Lord: Whether they live therefore, or die, they are the Lord's.


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HE context and other scriptures represent the Christian life as a warfare. The foes are enumerated at the 12th, verse, and the arms in the verses fucceeding. These arms, or weapons, are called the armour of God; of which prayer is a part. Praying always with all prayer. Every part of the Christian armour is essential.

The exhortation of the text doubtless comprehends social worship as well as personal family and public prayer as well as secret devotion. But I would call your present attention to personal prayer. This is of two kinds ; viz. that of the closet, and mental or ejaculatory prayer. We will give each of these a distinct confideration. It may be proper to introduce the dif. , cussion with a few observations on the general subject.

Prayer is an acknowledgment of the infinite perfections of God, of our own insufficiency and absolute dependence. Were we self-sufficient, prayer would be unnecessary. Were not God all-sufficient and immutable, it would be ufeless. To maintain prayer is to confess that we are dependent and unworthy; to profess our faith in God as wise, powerful, good and merciful. To neglect prayer is practically to say, that man is independent ; or that God doth not know our wants, or is unable or unwilling to do for'us.


Were there really no object, to whom we might repair, or whom we might make our confidence, we should unavoidably frame one to ourselves. Mankind, prompted by nature or necessity, manifest, in various ways, a feeling of their own indigence-fome by impatience, or by recourse to external objects—some by the invocation of idols—some by addressing the hearer of prayer. All nations have consented in the acknowledgment of a God. Idolatry is a proof of this. Observe the zeal of the pagans for their superstition. “ Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no

gods!” Christianity hath revealed the only living and true God, that we might be kept from idols. Christ hath abolished death, and brought immortality to light. Through him, as the only Mediator, “ we have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father.” We

may “ boldly, that we may obtain mercy, and grace to “ help.” Are we, notwithstanding, at a loss whether this is a reasonable service-a privilege ? whether it is incumbent on us to express before God a sense of our dependence, our unworthiness ? whether the gifts of nature and providence, and the superior gifts of grace, call for our explicit thanks ? We feel our own poverty and misery. Is it yet a question, whether it behoves us to apply to HIM “ who is able to do for us ex

ceedmg abundantly above all we ask or think?” who; in his fuperabounding grace, hath made full provision for all the necessities of our fallen nature ? Barbarous nations, in acknowledging a fuperior power, condemn many in polished nations, who practically declare, that there is no God who governeth the world, and weigheth the actions of men.

We proceed to apply these general remarks, first, to the devotion of the closet.

The public offices of religion are not more necessary to the public weal-family devotion is not more important to these smaller societies, than secret prayer is to individuals. The last is founded in the fame general

reasons as each of the former. Individuals have concerns appropriate to their own state and character, proper to be mentioned only before Him who knoweth the secret groanings of the foul. It is fit that they should pour out their hearts before him. The breath in your nostrils is his. Acknowledge him at all times, in all things, as long as his breath is in you. Observe regular seasons of retirement for converse with him, for self-communion. Your secret fins are in the light of his countenance. Confess them before him in whose fight they have been committed—with whom you have to do. Your wants, outward and spiritualyour temptations, dangers and distresses, are various and constant. Seek supplies and succour from him who knows them all, and hath all fulness. Let a man worthip with the greatest apparent devotion in his family and in public, if he yet neglects secret devotion, there is reason to suspect, that his family and public worship proceed not from a pious principle. Secret prayer may indeed he attended merely from the compulsion of conscience. A formal discharge of it should fatiffy no one. It should proceed from the abundance of an heart impressed with a sense of its condition, and of the perfections and mercies of God.

The scriptures supply matter adapted to every occasion, to persons of every description and character, and to all circumstances. The spirit of prayer is the principal thing in the view of God who is a Spirit, and requireth that we worship him in spirit.

Such as find their devout affections most excited, and in the best exercise, by means of a stated form, would do well to use it. But the best form may be varied from to advantage, on some occasions and emer. gencies. A present sense of our own necessities will dictate seasonable, pertinent expressions—more expressive language, perhaps, than any studied form-especially if the language of fcripture has become familiar by frequent reading and meditation.

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