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tures, so as to take a different shape according as these creatures are earnest or remiss in approaching the mercy-seat. We must admit, that although, so soon as prayer is commanded, the Divine immutability is itself a reason for our expecting its success, yet, so long as the command is kept out of sight, this immutability seems opposed to the possible efficiency of our most fervent supplications. And you must all perceive, that, the more we can prove of prayer that it is obedience to a command, the more cause we give why it should be prevalent with God; for if s to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams," a clear reason is assigned why, if we ask, we may hope to receive ; and if we seek, to find. But there is more in the act of
than obedience, more than the submission of the understanding to the revealed will of God. Prayer is the solemn acknowledgment of our Creator as the universal Proprietor and Lord, and the fullest recognition of his most glorious attributes. The most highly wrought description of the everlasting God yields immeasurably to that practically given of him, by eyery one who offers up prayer. Prayer confesses that “the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof;" for it addresses God as having every thing at his disposal, so that both spiritual blessings and temporal must flow from his bounty. Thus the meanest of the children of men declares, by the act of prayer, his belief in the unlimited sovereignty of his Maker; and, professing himself dependent upon God, acknowledges in God the spring of all good, the source of all life, the disposer of all events. And when an unknown individual, who might strive in vain to gain audience of the noble and wealthy of his fellows, kneels down in full confidence that his voice will be heard by the creator and upholder of the heavens and the earth, oh! he bears a testimony to the greatness of God, which is not to be surpassed by any which issues from the loftiest orders of created intelligence. The poor man, who addresses himself to his Maker, and pours out in his solitariness the desires of his spirit, declares, by the act of prayer, his unflinching persuasion, that “ though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly;" and we challenge earth, and sea, and air, with all their multiform tenantry, to furnish a finer attestation to the stupendousness of Deity than that contained in the declaration, that nothing is too mean to be cared for, nothing so insignificant as to be overlooked by God. And prayer does yet more than this. There is to our mind something inexpressibly striking in the witness which prayer gives to the omnipresence of God. You ask me for a practical evidence of my consciousness that God is everywhere, and that the great First Cause pervades all space, as well as inhabits all time. I may have declared this consciousness, and have heaped together all the epithets which language affords, in order to convey an idea so august and overpowering. But now you ask a simple demonstration of my belief, a practical manifestation, that I know that God is always at my side. And how shall I give you this? We
We may be on the mountain when you make the demand; we may be in the crowded street, in one of the earth's deserts, or on the waters of the great deep : but wheresoever we are, and whatever the surrounding scene, if I do but breathe out the words, “ God, be merciful to me a sinner,” I have given you most emphatically the demonstration which you ask. Yes, that I can pray, with a firm persuasion that my prayer will be heard, in any place, and at any moment, there is my testimony to the omnipresence of Deity; and it is not when I have tasked your imagination to travel throughout boundless space, and have caused star upon star, and system upon system, to
pass before it, and have declared to you that each spot in this teeming immensity is equally the habitation of our Maker, that I have set before you, most vividly and most touchingly, my conviction that God is everywhere : oh! it is rather when I prostrate myself before God in full assurance that he sees me, and address myself to God in full assurance that he hears
And if it be indeed true that prayer is, what we have described, an act of singular obedience, a homage the most unqualified to the proprietor of all things, a testimony to those incommunicable properties which belong to the divine nature, who shall marvel at its prevalence with God? The prayer of Elijah shut and opened heaven. The prayer of Joshua caused the sun and moon to stand still. The prayer of Elisha—let a humane society never forget the example of the Prophet-brought back the soul of the dead child.
And we wonder not at these stupendous results. Prayer fulfils the end of our creation, which was, that we might commune with God, and yield him the honour due unto his name.
Prayer is the acknowledgment and adoration of those perfections, in whose contemplation God himself takes infinite delight. Prayer is the clearest recognition of the Divine sovereignty, and of our holding every thing at the will and pleasure of our Maker. And, therefore, might it be expected that prayer would be acceptable to