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incompetency to offer him, at best, a just tribute of homage.

When we contemplate the infinite perfection and goodness of that God at whose throne we are prostrate-the loving-kindness of him in whom we live, and move, and have our being—the numberless temporal and spiritual mercies bestowed upon us by that gracious Benefactor, who ever watches over us for good-above all, when we contemplate the glorious privileges of that redemption wrought for us by his eternal and well-beloved Son, our souls and all that is within us must be awakened with holy fervour to praise the Lord, and to magnify his holy


And alas! when we consider our frailty, and infirmity, and review the many formidable evils which assail our feeble frames-the terror by night, the arrow that flieth by day, the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the destruction that wasteth at noon-day; when our spiritual enemies encompass us—the world alluring, the flesh seducing, the great adversary assailing us; when the lake that burneth for ever opens beneath our wandering and guilty footsteps, whither shall we fly in fervent supplication, but to him who is the Father of our spirits, and beseech him to grant us health, and life, and strength, and salvation ?

From thee alone, God of power and of goodness, cometh our help. Thy throne will we approach, and with holy earnestness invoke thy guidance, until thou bring us to thy holy hill, and to that eternal rest, from which, as the everlasting portion of thy saints, thou hast excluded sickness, and sorrow, and temptation, and sin.

5. But the earnestness of our supplications must be chastened by reverence. .

We must be earnest, because our wants are manifold; we must be earnest, because many of the evils wbich we deprecate, and the blessings which we implore, are infinite ; and we must be earnest, because the Being whom we worship is worthy of our warmest praises. But we must also be reverent; because Jehovah is a great God and terrible, clothed with majesty and honour. It would be a mockery of the High and Holy One, for creatures who, deprived of his sustaining power, would perish, to approach him with insincerity: and it would be an insult to the Sovereign Jehovah, for worms of the dust, for sinners laden with guilt, to approach him with bold familiarity, with careless and unadvised lips. Oh! let us not insult that Being, before whom angels cast their crowns and cherubim and seraphim vail their faces, with the light effusions of a frivolous heart: let us not dishonour him with the unhallowed language of a heated imagination : let us not provoke him by our bold expostulations, our familiar addresses, as if we were his equals. Great God! let us not thus profane thy name, lest thou punish us in thy wrath: let thy fear fall upon us, let thine excellency make us afraid.

6. And that our prayers may be accepted, we must pray with constancy.

It is the apostolic injunction, Pray without ceasing ;"* that is, we must constantly cherish the spirit of prayer, habitually lift up our souls to God in devout and humble aspirations, and persevere in

1 Thess. v. 17.

the regular discharge ef the stated exercises of devotion in public and in private. Prayer which is inconstant and irregular, is unworthy of the name, insulting to the great and glorious Being to whom it is offered, and incompatible with that sincerity and earnestness which are the indispensable characteristics of true devotion. Under all discouragements and trials we should pray and not saint; for though God may for a while delay, yet he will finally come, and will not tarry. The Lord is the hope of his people; there is no Saviour beside him. On him therefore let us wait; let us tarry his leisure ; let us be strong, constant, and persevering in our supplications, and he will finally comfort our hearts.

7. To insure the acceptance of our prayers, they must also be accompanied with holy resolutions and endeavours.

To come before the Most Holy One with hearts and hands defiled with iniquity; to adore his majesty, his power, his justice, and his mercy, while we discover in our lives no sense or acknowledgment of his glorious perfections; to implore from him the forgiveness of our sins, and to deprecate his displeasure, while we are continually adding to the catalogue of our iniquities; to beseech him to create a clean heart and to renew a right spirit within us, while we discover no solicitude and exert no endeavours to serve him in newness of life -oh! this surely is that hypocrisy which is hateful in his sight, and which renders the prayers of the wicked an abomination unto him. No; watchfulness must be united to our prayers, to render them acceptable and efficacious. While we humbly

implore the God of our salvation to redeem us from iniquity, we must exert our earnest resolutions and endeavours to cease to do evil, and to learn to do well; to put from us our evil doings, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Then only will our prayers and praises ascend as acceptable incense to that Almighty Jehovah who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and who cannot look on sin but with abhorrence.

8. But, lastly, vain will be our prayers, unless offered in faith.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God: for it is a self-evident principle, that “ he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him."* To offer our supplications to a being insensible to our wants, or indisposed and unable to supply them, would be folly; and to offer our prayers to the ever-living God, without realizing those perfections which are the object of our homage, and those infinite merits of his eternal Son which are the foundation of our confidence, would be an idle and unprofitable service, and a mockery of his holy name. Faith then must animate and direct our prayers.

By faith we must realize the eternal Jehovah in all the fulness of his perfections, in his infinitely interesting relations to us, and in the resistless extent of his dominion. We must view him as that first of Beings, who laid the foundations of the earth, stretched forth the heavens, and still ruleth. in that earth and heavens which are the work of

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his hands. We must believe that this infinitely wise and gracious Being, whose is the whole earth, who knoweth all the fowls upon the mountains, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, is ever ready to open his hand and to satisfy the desires of those who humbly call upon him. Especially we must believe, as the only foundation on which, as sinners, we can stand, that this righteous Governor of the universe, whom by our sins we have offended, is in Christ reconciling us unto himself, not imputing unto us, truly penitent, our trespasses and sins, Adoring his mercy in the plan of redemption through his eternal Son, we must bring down every high imagination, and renouncing all confidence in our own merits, present our supplications only in the name and mediation of the great Redeemer. Whatsoever we shall ask which is necessary and proper for us, thus believing, we shall receive ; for “ the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, yea, all such as call upon him faithfully."*

Behold then, brethren, the dispositions which alone can render our prayers acceptable to God. Cherish correct and lively views of the eternal and glorious perfections of the Being whom you worship, and a deep and constant sense of your own weakness, unworthiness, and insufficiency; and offer your supplications with penitent, submissive, and obedient hearts, with lively, earnest, and persevering faith, to the Author of your being, the Benefactor of your lives, the God of your salvation, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift. Thus " ask, and ye shall receive; thus seek, and ye

shall find; thus knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

Psalm cxlv. 18.

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