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BY THE REV. W. HENDERSON.
PRAYER is that approach which a sinner makes to his Creator, through the mediation of a Redeemer; confessing his sinfulness, deploring his weakness, asking forgiveness, soliciting the supply of his various necessities, and praising the Author of all his mercies. It is the voice of weakness addressing Omnipotence; the sigh of contrition poured out into the ear of Mercy; the groan of misery penetrating even to the heart of Compassion; the petition of want making known its necessities unto Him in whom all fulness dwells; or the song of gratitude rising from the overflowing heart unto Him, from whom every good descends.
Considering, then, the pure and holy character of that Being, before whom we thus
appear; and our own character, as lost and perishing sinners; it becomes us ever to approach His throne with feelings of the deepest awe and reverence. Unworthy in every respect of his regard, and justly exposed to his displeasure, it behoves us not to approach in our own name; but to seek the acceptance of our persons through the merits of Him in whom the Father is always well pleased. But, trusting to Him as our Advocate and Intercessor, it becomes not only a privilege, but a duty, to draw near unto the throne of grace with a holy boldness, to pour out before our God our supplications.
Dependent as we are continually on Him, who is the Framer of our bodies, and the Father of our spirits, for the supply of all our wants, temporal and spiritual, it is our duty to ask from him the supply of our daily returning necessities; for though he is intimately acquainted with the wants of
his people long before they ask of him, yet he requires that they should wait upou him in prayer; and his word promises a gracious acceptance of their petitions. Since, then, he has commanded us to ask, we may be assured that he will not fail to fulfil to his people every expectation which his promises have excited. "He never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain." Though, to try the faith of the petitioner, he may for a time keep back the blessing asked, yet earnest, persevering prayer, like Jacob wrestling with the angel, shall at last have power with God. The feeble cry of weakness shall be heard in Heaven, and prevail even with Omnipotence itself. Importunate prayer, rising upon the wings of faith, bursts open the everlasting portals, penetrates even to the throne of God; and extorts from the compassion of a Saviour the boon which he would otherwise deny. The kingdom of Heaven thus." suffereth
violence; and the violent are graciously permitted to take it by force."
Prayer is the noblest exercise in which the soul of man can be engaged. The praying Christian takes his station close by the throne of the Eternal; and, filled with rapture and delight, he contemplates the unseen glories of the Creator. He not only surveys the treasures of the heavenly land; but through the prevailing energy of prayer, he appropriates to himself and enjoys, even on earth, delightful foretastes of those pleasures which are at God's right hand for ever. Yea, he is even permitted in prayer to rise above the angels, and to claim kindred with heaven's eternal King. He is taught with holy reverence to approach the throne; and claiming brotherhood with the Son of the Highest, to address the Lord of Lords by the endearing and venerable title of "Father."
THE TEAR OF GRATITUDE.
THE little trembler, as it fell,
With Nature's uncheck'd force, Could best the quick emotion tell, And whence its sacred source.
From Gratitude-that fount divine,
The debts from such a source that rise
Though the heart's treasury supplies,
The hoarded debt in silence own'd,
And still uncancell'd must be found
The balance is on high !