图书图片
PDF
ePub

ning and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud.(m) se ven times a day will I praise thee.(n) I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be continually in my mouth.(0) How did Moses, Job, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, the apostles and primitive christians pray? How did Jesus Christ pray, night and day, while he tabernacled in fesh, offering up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save him?(p) Are ye not under indispensable obligations to follow these examples ? know ye not, that if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his? If ye will not be followers of those who inherit the promises, ye certainly can never inherit with them

But further, be persuaded to pray from a consideration of the advantages of prayer. These are not only great and numero!!s, but they are lasting as eternity. Prayer is a direct address to God, as omniscient and omnipresent, as directing and governing all creatures and things in heaven and in earth. It is an offering up of our desires to him, in the name of Christ for things agree. able to his will. It is an explicit acknowledgment of his being and perfections, and that he is the God of all grace and consolation. It is a fixed and solemn ineditation on him, his goodness and glory, as in his very presence. In this view, it is one of the most important of all means to impress the mind with a deep sense of the certainty of his existence, of the glory of his majesty, that he is always with us, that his eye is always upon us, and to keep him always in our minds, and before our eyes. By praying without ceasing, morning and evening, in secret and in private ; by, addressing him in short petitions and thanksgivings at noon, and by presenting the desires and feelings of our hearts before him, in mental ejaculations, an habitual sense of God, of our dependence on him, and obligations to him are fixed in

our minds, and we are led to the most venerable and adoring · ideas of his infinite majesty: While in this solemn manner, we

meditate on him and his infinite perfections, it is most happily adapted to bumble us before him, to beget confidence in his wisdom, power and goodness; a holy reverence of him, and a sense of the blessedness of having such a God for our eternal father and portion. At the same time, it is calculated to im. press the heart with an awful sense of the danger and dreadful consequences of his displeasure. In this way the saints 2cquaint themselves with God, advance in peace, comfort and sanctification, Beholding as in a glass the glory of God, they are changed into the samne image, froin glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord.(9)

(m) Psal. lv. 16. (n) Psal. cxix. 164. (0) Psal. xxxiv. 1. (n) Heb. 8.7.' (9) 2 Cor. iii. 18.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Further, prayer has a happy tendency to familiarize to our minds the principal doctrines of religion, and to establish us in the truth. While we confess our apostacy and exceeding sinfulness; wbile we pray for pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life, through the atoning death and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and ask all blessings, and offer all our praises in his name, the whole tendency of it is to fix deeply and habitually in our hearts, the belief of the great doctrines of original sin, of our inexcusable wickedness, of the necessity of regenerc.tion, of justification, adoption and sanctification wholly through a Redeemer. It confirnis us more and more in this, that Jesus is the Christ, that he is mighty to save, and that there is salvation in no other. While we supplicate divine help to perform the du. ties of piety, righteousness, charity, forgiveness, patience and sobriety, it is calculated to keep alive a sense of these duties in our hearts, and to establish us in the practice of them. Our supplications not to be led into temptation, but to be delivered from evil, have a powerful tendency to make us afraid, and cautious with respect to sin, and to make us flee the very appearance of evil. Our acknowledgments of the divine mercies are adapted to keep them in continual remembrance, and to make us always .thankful.

IRAyer is also an ordinance in which God's people obtain re.). lease from guilt, distress and sorrow, and experience great comfort and joy. The Psalmist bears witness that it is good to draw near to God.(r) What comfort and deliverance did Jacob obtain by prayer, when he had power with God and prevailed, and the Lord delivered him from his brother Esau ? What sweet release from girilt did David experience in prayer ? His bones waxed old by reason of his roaring all the day, but when he acknowledged his transgression, God forgave the iniquity of his sin. For this, says he, shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found.(s) How was Hannah comforted and bles. sed in prayer? She had been a woman of a sorrowful spirit; but in prayer she was comforted, and her countenance was no more sad.(t) What blessings did Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, the apostles and primitive christians obtain by prayer? How was Israel saved by prayer, when the Lord was about to come up into the midst of them, and consume them in a moment? What deliverance and victories did they obtain for the church of God? When Moses held up his hands, how was Amalek discomfited? When Samuel cried into the Lord, how didi He thunder upon the enemies of Israel, and save his people? How did they obtain victories, stay, and open the bottles of heaven, stop the mouths of lions, shake the foundations of prisons, and open the gates of iron ? What blessings have been obtained for individuals, for families and the church of God by prayer? Is it

(r) Psal. Ixiii. 38. (s) Psal. xxxii. 3, 4, 5, 6. (t) 1 Sam. i. 15, 18

not through prayer, that Zion prospers and enjoys peace? Is it not through this, that she is established ? That her righteousness shall go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth? That Jerusalem shall be made a praise in the earth ? The effectual fervent prayer of every righteous man availeth much. Whenever God's people draw near to him, he will draw nigh to them, in a way of special grace, to deliver them in danger, to comfort them in sorrow, to increase their faith, and love, and hope and joy, and all the fruits of their righteousness. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he will hear their cry and save them.(u) He gives all new covenant blessings, even eternal salvation in answer to prayer. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.(v)

The more christians pray with the spirit of adoption, the more they are habituated to it; the more sweet and sensible is their communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ : the more they edify themselves and grow in grace ; the more they edify their families, the Church of God, and all with whom they have occasion to pray: The more they avert the divine judgments, and turn away wrath from a people ; and the more they call down blessings upon themselves, and families, and the Israel of God, the greater also will be their reward in the day of the appearing and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. For every prayor offered in his name will receive a divine, an everlasting reward. Even the prayers which have been made in the most se. cret apartments shall be rewarded openly. How vast and numerous, in these views, are the advantages of prayer? They are not merely temporal, but spiritual and eternal. What motives does this sketch of the advantages of prayer exhibit, to engage all to arise without delay, and call upon the name of the Lord ? To pray always and not to faint ?

But there are still other motives of great consideration, by which I would persuade and press you to the duty of prayer. These are the encouragements which God hath given you to pray. These are indeed many and great beyond calculation.All the advantages of prayer are so many encouragements to pray. The goodness of God is a vast encouragement to pray to him always. The greater the goodness of a prince, or benefactor is, the more easy of access, the greater is the encouragement to ask his favour. But God is infinitely and unchangeably good, and most easy of access. He is always nigh unto them who call upon him in truth. The poorest, the vilest, the most helpless and forlorn may approach unto him, through Jesus Christ, and be accepted in him. They may pray to him at all times, in all places, and upon all emergencies. They may make known unto him all their wants, and he will supply them. He is rich unto

[blocks in formation]

in the

. all who call upon him. What encouragements are these to pray!

Moreover, God's erecting a throne of grace, and opening a way to the mercy seat, at the expence of the precious blood of his own Son, is a further encouragement. He, who hath done

so much that sinners might have access to him, must be most Tan SE

ready and willing to hear their prayers, and to communicate all be this

blessings to them through a Redeemer. He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? (w) Further, that if any man sin, we have such an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous, is of vast encouragement to pray. But as though all these encouragements were not sufficient to shew his wila lingness to hear, he has represented himself as a God who heareth prayer; as though it were his very name and nature to hear

prayer. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh 3192

come.(x) With this representation his promises perfectly correspond. This is the general tenor of them, And shall it come to pass that before they call I will answer, and whilst they are yet speaking I will hear.(y). Ask and it shall be given you : for every one that asketh receiveth: and he that seeketh firdeth; and to him that knockcth it shall be opened.(z) Not one humble, praying soul ever once prayed in vain. No, not one ; however guilty, and despised in this world, ever went, in the name of Jesus, to the throne of grace, and departed unheard and unblest. It is written, I said not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain.(a) if ye shall ask any thing in my tume, I will do it for you.(b) God is more ready to give his holy Spirit, heaven with all its digni. ties, to those who ask him, than the kindest parents are to give bread to their dearest offspring. If ye then, being evil, know how. to give good sifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heuvenly Father give the holy Spirit unto them that ask hiin (c) He giveth libercilly, and upbraideth not.(d) He does for his people exceeding abundantly above all that they ask or think.(e) What encouragements are these to pray? To pray always and not to. faint ?

HAVING thus laid before you the Anty of prayer and family religion, your duty to pray always with all prayer and supplica. tion, and to be abundant in the religious instruction of those Hommitted to your care, the advantages of doing these duties,

[ocr errors]

(w) Rom. viii. 32. (1) Psalm Ixv. 2. (y) Isa. Ixv. 24.
(2) Matth. vii. 7, 8. (a) Isaiah xlv. 19.
(b) John xiv. 13, and xv. 16. (c) Luke xi. 13.
(d) James i. 5. (e) Eph. iii. 20,

Aaa

[ocr errors]

to yourselves, to your families and the church of God; and the encouragements which he hath given you faithfully to discharge them, what shall be said more to persuade and engage you in the practice of these duties! Will ye rebel against the light of reason and the express and repeated commands of God? Is he not your king and lawgiver? Are ye not his creatures; and hath he not a most perfect right to command you, and to receive your entire obedience ? Be intreated to consider how ye can an. swer it, if ye will disregard his commands and infinite authority? Can ye endure the penalties of his Law? Who hath har. dened himself against him, and hath prospered? Are neither the wrath nor the favour of God, worthy of your regard ? Hath he nothing to give; is there nothing which he can do for you, and your fanilies, worth your seeking? Is there nothing in kim, nuthing which he hath done for you, or yours, which demands your love, thanksgiving and obedience? Shall his wondrous goodness and condescension in erecting a throne of grace, and allowing sinners to lift up their faces before him, in giving you all your family blessings, and in all the promises he hath made to the supplicants of his mercy, have no effect upon you ? Shall the love of Jesus in dying for us, so that if any man sin, he might have an advocate with the Father, bave no constraining influ. ence upon your hearts? Shall I plead this infinite love with you in vain? Shall all the advantages of prayer, and all the encour. agements given you to pray, the examples of the saints, and even the examples of our blessed Saviour stand for nothing with you? I beseech you, and pray Gud, of his infinite mercy, that they may not. I beseech you by the united weight and influence of all these considerations, that none of you, whether old or young, would cast off fear, and restrain prayer before God. Be persuaded most seriously to consider this address, those scripiure passages to which I have referred you. Consider them as the wcrds and commands of God which shall judge you at the last day. Consider the clear light and weighty motives which are here set before you, and let them command your hearts and conduct. This address will doubiless come to thousands of you without money and without price. * It will come to you from those who have been long labouring, watching and praj. jug for your souls: from those who have nerer seen most of you, but hare for many years been employing their money, time and labours for the best interests of vourselves and of your chik dren, and are longing for your salvation in the bowels of Christ: from those who nerer espect to see you until we shak meet together before his judgment seat. It will come to yea from those who can expect no worldly compensation for all their

This address was published in a parphlet in the year 18045 addressed odtieniarly to the inhabitarts of the new setilements; 13 A large numer of whom they have been gratuitously distributed

DIT:

« 上一页继续 »