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We have been speaking of praying for particular favours by name, and have remarked that the Scriptures authorize these prayers by example. This they do moșt explicitly. Hear Saint Paul: “For this thing (some bodily infirmity, which he calls “a thorn given him in the flesh,' and the example applies to any other sore grief under which we labour), for this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” Also, for the future success of any honest intention or just undertaking, in which we are engaged, we have the same authority for imploring, and with earnestness, the aid and blessing of God—“Night and day praying exceedingly, that we might see your face.”

Nay further, it is to be remarked, that we are not only authorized, and even directed by Scripture example, to pray for particular favours by name, but to do so repeatedly and renewedly, even in cases ultimately unsuccessful. We are to do our duty, by addressing ourselves to God under the several difficulties in which we are placed ; and having done this, to resign both ourselves and them to his disposal. “I besought the Lord thrice,” saith Saint Paul, “ that it might depart from me.” But yet it was not departed at the time of his writing, nor have we any information that it ever did. Our Lord himself drank the fatal cup to the dregs : it did not depart from him, though his prayer surely was

and was urged, and renewed, and reiterated, even in the same words. But this, viz. the renewal of unsuccessful prayer,

is with our Lord not only a point of practice, but of doctrine: he not only authorizes it by his example, but enjoins it by his precepts. “ He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to

pray

and not to faint.” He would not have delivered a parable

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it if he had not meant both to authorize, recommend, and enjoin it.

But although our own distresses may both excite and justify our own prayers, yet we seem, it is said, to presume too far, when we take upon us to intercede for others, because it is allowing ourselves to suppose that we possess an interest, as it were, in the divine councils. Turn however to the Scripture, and we find intercession or prayers for others both preached and practised. “Pray for one another, that ye may be healed : the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” “God is my witness,” saith Saint Paul, “ that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers. “ Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers for me."

. "Saint Peter was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” These are strong and decisive examples of intercession, and of one individual interceding for another. The largest and farthest advance in this species of worship is when we take upon us to address the supreme Governor of the universe for public blessings in behalf of our country, or touching the fate of nations and empires." "I have taken upon me to speak unto the

. Lord, who am but dust and ashes.” Surely this humiliating sentiment belongs to us all. Who feels not, as it were, a check to his prayers when he compares the vileness and insignificance of the petitioner with the magnitude of the favour asked, and with the infinitely exalted nature of the being from whom we ask it ? Nevertheless, "intercessions for the community, for blessings upon them—for national blessings, both natural and civil -- are amongst the conspicuous parts of

both Testaments; not only in examples, which is authority, but in precepts, which is obligation. Are we, as all are, concerned that the blessings of nature may be imparted to our land? "Ask yet of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field." Or are we more especially interested in the continuance of those civil blessings, which give, even to the bounty of nature, no small share of its value and enjoyment?" I exhort that first of all supplication, prayer, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority;" and this is in order that "we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." The meaning of this passage is clearly--Pray for them, not for their sakes, either alone or principally, but for the common happiness, that under the protection of a regular government we may practise religion and enjoy tranquillity. "This is good," saith the apostle, "and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour." O pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for there is the seat of judgement, even the seat of the house of David: for my brethren and companion's sake I will wish thee prosperity, yea, because of the house of the Lord God, I will seek to do thee good." Jerusalem was to the Psalmist what our country is to us, the seat of his affections, his family, his brethren, and companions, his laws, religion, and his temple. But again, must we look to seasons of calamity and visitation; have we not the father of the faithful interceding face to face with the divine messenger for a devoted land? "O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this time." Or rather, because the piety of the patriarch was unsuccessful, hear the leader and lawgiver of the Jewish

nation effectually supplicating for his threatened and offending, but now penitent followers: “Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people ? remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants. And the Lord repented of the evil which he had thought to do unto his people.” Or, lastly, let us attend him in the most solemn of all devotions, which seem to have been performed in the history of the world, in that sublime prayer which he offered up in behalf of his country : “ If they pray towards this place and confess thy name, and turn from their sin when thou afflictest them, then hear thou in heaven, thy dwelling-place ; and when thou hearest, forgive : forgive the sin of thy servants and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way, wherein they should walk. If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name, then hear thou in heaven their

prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause."

XVI.

FAST DAY.

PROVERBS XIV. 34.

Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

THERE are many propositions, which, though they be reasonable and true in themselves, and acknowledged to be so, make very little impression upon our minds. They glide through our thoughts without effect, and without leaving a trace behind them. Yet, the selfsame propositions, when they are brought back to our reflection by any experience, or by any incident that falls under our observation-especially any in which we ourselves are concerned-shall be found to have a weight, a justice, a significancy in them which they never appeared to possess before. This seems to be the case with the words of Solomon which I have now read to you. That "righteousness exalteth a nation" is one of those moral maxims which no man chooses to contradict. Every hearer assents to it; but it is an assent without meaning-there is no value or importance or application perceived in the words. But when such things happen as have happened; when we have seen, and that at our doors, a mighty empire falling from the summit of what the world calls grandeur to the very abyss and bottom, not of external weakness, but of internal misery and distress, and that for want of virtue and of religion in the inhabitants, on one side

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