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forego it. How will such reflect


themselves here. after-how execrate their folly! How will they wonder that they could have deliberately done their souls such a wrong! Then it will be too late to redress the wrong. They sought not the Lord while he might be found—they called not upon him while he was near. Yea, though he called, they refused. Now they may call, but he will not answer. If any one who is living in the neglect of secret prayer shall read this, will he not be persuaded to commence the practice the very day he reads it, aye, that same hour, if it be possible? If it be not convenient, let him make it convenient. Let other things give way for this, rather than this for any thing. Can he think his heart right in the sight of God, or his condition safe in prospect of eternity, while he neglects prayer? How dare he live without prayer? Without it can he have courage to die? At the mercy-seat of God we may decline to appear, but before his judgmentseat we must all stand. How a frequent access to the first would prepare us for final arraignment at the other! How it would familiarize us with the presence of God! How it would serve to break the shock of the entrance into eternity!

Does any one, who is not in the habitual and daily practice of secret devotion, pretend to be a Christian ? It is but pretence. He may believe the creed of the Christian, but certainly he does not pursue the praclice nor possess the spirit of the Christian. Breath

ing is essential to living, and prayer is the Christian's vital breath. Does he walk with God who never converses with him?

Some spiritualize the direction of Christ, making the closet to mean the heart, and the duty of private devotion to be discharged in mere mental prayer. But Christ did not so trifle. His closet was not his heart: he could not have meant that ours should be. He selected the still morning, and sought out the solitary place for prayer. May we be less attentive to the circumstances of time and place ? Shall we talk about entering into ourselves and there thinking prayer? Jesus, even in his most retired intercourse with his father, used his voice. That prayer, “ Let this cup pass from me," was vocaland that petition, “God be mercisul to me a sinner,” was expressed in words. Shall we reserve the voice exclusively for our intercourse with men, and not with it also supplicate and bless God?

Is any one inquiring after truth? What place more appropriate for asking " What is truth," than the closet ? Who so likely to be taught of God as they who ask of God? Some men carry that question to the Bible, and press it there, as indeed they should; but they carry it not to the throne of grace, and press it there also. They read to know what truth is, but do not pray to know it.

Oh, how an hour in the morning, spent with God, prepares us pleasantly and profitably to pass the other hours of the day with men; and at night, what so composing as communion with God! In resign. ing ourselves into the arms of sleep—that image of death, what security like that of prayer! It engages Him who never slumbers nor sleeps, to watch

over us.

Has any one become remiss in secret devotion ? What! tired of God? weary of communion with him? How sad the state of such a soul!

2. Do you Pray in your Family

There are families that call not on the name of the Lord. Nor is it a new thing. There were such so long ago as when Jeremiah lived. He takes notice of them. He has a prayer about them. It seems he was divinely inspired to call down the indignation of the Lord upon such families. “ Pour out thy fury,” he says, “upon the families that call not op thy name.'

I would not like to have been a mem. ber of one of those families; and much less the head of one of them. It must have been


offensive to the Lord that there were families in which he was not acknowledged and worshiped. And if there were such families among the heathen nations that offended him, how much more must it have dis


Pr. Thoughts.

pleased him that there should be such families even among his people Israel ! families that did not in the family capacity invoke him! I do not know why it should be less offensive now. I do not believe it is. Families are now under as great obligations to God as ever they were.

Some persons ask why we insist on family prayer as a duty. They say we cannot produce any precept enjoining it. That is true enough. But I wonder if that is not a duty, the omission of which is the subject of prophetic denunciation. I wonder if that is not by implication commanded, the neglect of which brings down the wrath of God on those guilty of the neglect. There are some things so manifestly reasonable, and of such self-evident obligation, that they need no law expressly enjoining them. It is not necessary that they should be taught in so many words.

But if we have no express precept on the subject, we have pretty good examples in favor of it. I suspect Abraham, who was so careful to instruct his household in the way of the Lord, did not neglect to pray with them. And David, I am quite confident, prayed in his family. It is said of him on one occasion, that " he returned to bless his household." No doubt there were both prayer and praise in that family. Certainly Joshua must have prayed in his house. How otherwise could he have fulfilled his resolution that his house as well as himself should serve the Lord ? What! resolve that his house should serve the Lord, and not join with them in supplication for the grace to serve him! That is not at all likely

Now I would ask if it is not proper and right that every head of a family should adopt the resolution of him who said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord ?” But can there be religion in a house without prayer? Is there not inconsistency in saying, “ I and my family will serve God, but we will have no family altar nor offering ?” Is not prayer an essential part of the service of God? I wonder if any one ever lived who supposed that family prayer was not more pleasing to God than the omission of it. I wonder if any one ever omitted it for fear of being guilty of will-worship, or through dread that it might for some reason offend God? I wonder if the practice of family prayer ever distressed any conscience. The omission of it has troubled many.

It is admitted, I believe, to be the will of God that we should pray to him socially. The Lord's prayer was constructed for social use. The disciples were directed to use it when they should pray together; and it is accordingly in the plural number: not my Father, but “ our Father.” Now, is God to be socially worshiped, and yet not worshiped in that first, most permanent, and most interesting form of society—the form of society instituted by God himself—the family? Is that to be believed? But the

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