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prayer is of no use. Let not Satan so tempt you. A-. gain seek the presence of God, and it will be a proof that you are not yet given up to a reprobate mind. Even in the wicked city of Nineveh, when they cried mightily unto the Lord, they were spared. Now if God heard the Ninevites crying for temporal blessings, doubt not but he will hear you, when you earnestly implore pardon, peace, and salvation. Yet there is a way open to the throne of grace; and so long as it is open, you need not be miserable, you need not be unhelped.
4. Others are ENDEAVORING TO LIVE IN CONSTANT PRAYER. They need no proof of the obligation, no additional argument, to shew them that it is their duty. But perhaps they are often discouraged and cast down by their difficulties in attaining a constant spirit of devotion. If, however, you are desiring and seeking, Augustine justly says, "If he seeks, let him not doubt but that the desire of seeking has been received from him whom he seeks." And may I not say, when you really attain a good measure of the spirit of devotion, you enjoy a peace of God which passeth all understanding; it is your privilege-your happiness. You have free communication with the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings -You are permitted to come near to him on all occasions. He grants all your requests, and supplies all your wants. On account of our corrupt nature it requires indeed watchfulness, patience, and perseverance to maintain this spirit of prayer, but you find it to be its own reward. Let us not then be content with small measures of the grace of supplication, let us seek to attain more and more of this gift, and soon, the work of prayer ended, the never-ceasing song of praise will com
mence, which will endure throughout the boundless ages of eternity.
But let me speak to every reader.
CHRISTIAN MINISTERS! we should be men of prayer, it is the half of our duty, and that by which we carry on the rest. We will, say the Apostles, give ourselves continually to prayer, and the ministry of the word.The prayers of ministers avail much. We may expect more assistance than others. It is the divine direction for our people-"Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him." When Abimelech was threatened with death, he was told to send for Abraham; and the reason given was, "for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live." Should not we, then, abound in prayer?
CHRISTIAN PARENTS! we next address you. Pray for your children. "Whenever," says Bishop Hopkins, "thou comest unto the throne of grace, bring these thy dear pledges upon thy heart with thee. Earnestly implore of God that he would own them, and provide for them as his own children: that he would adopt them into the family of heaven, make them heirs of glory, and coheirs with Jesus Christ: that he would give them a convenient portion of good things for this life, that they may serve him with the more cheerfulness and alacrity ; and a large portion of spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ Jesus; and at length bring them to the heavenly inheritance. And know assuredly, that the prayers of parents are very effectual, and have a kind of authority in them to obtain what they sue for." This is the blessing which holy fathers in Scripture have bestowed on their children. Thus Abraham asked, O that Ishmael might live before thee. Thus Jacob prayed for
and blessed his children, and his grandchildren. Thus Job remembered his children, and "offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all." Bring them up, also, in the practice of prayer. They cannot too early begin to seek their Saviour and to lisp his praise. No habit will be more profitable to them than that of daily prayer. Teach your children this, and they will then rise up and call you blessed. Store their young minds with the Scriptures, furnish them with short portions for all occasions. This will arm them with invincible strength against their enemies. They are about to journey through a dangerous wilderness; teach them to pray, morning and evening, and it will direct their way like that pillar which guided Israel through the wilderness, as a cloud by day to shadow them, and as a fire by night to comfort them."
Prayer is a duty at all times and in all seasons of life.
ARE YOU IN PROSPERITY? Let prayer and praise sanctify all your enjoyments. Great is the snare of outward prosperity. How "hardly shall they that are rich enter the kingdom of heaven." You have need to pray much, lest that which was designed as a talent for greater usefulness, occasion your eternal ruin. Let nothing hinder you from giving regular and full time to devotion. The days of health and strength should be given to God, "while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them."
Are you AFFLICTED? That is the time for special prayer. "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee, and thou shalt glorify me." In the absence of the sun the mild and peaceful radiance of the moon illumines our path. Let devotion spread a cheering light over your darker hours. "The Queen of
night," says Bowdler, "unveils its full beauty when the hours of joy and lustre have passed away, pouring as it were a holy light through the damps and darkness of adversity." Thus will constant prayer cheer the darkest season of affliction.
Are you YOUNG? Let that rapid torrent of youthful stength and vivacity, which, if left to itself, would only be wasted and dashed against rocks, from precipice to precipice, be turned into a profitable course. Let this stream be brought into the channel of devotion, and it will move the machine of the Christian life, and communicate innumerable blessings to man. Those that seek me early, shall find me. Prov. viii, 17. Nothing is more pleasing, nothing more profitable, than early devotion. Slight not him in your strength, who will be the only protector of your weakness.
Are you in MIDDLE LIFE? In the midst of this world's engagements, how are you encompassed as in a maze of temptation! Let prayer be the secret thread which leads you safely out of this labyrinth. How are you surrounded with duties of the first importance! What a happy influence, then, would devotion have in making you a general blessing to your family, your neighbourhood, and your country! Like the regulator in the watch, though unseen outwardly, it would keep the spring of your actions in order, it would make all your movements certain and useful. Give the strength of your years to God, and you will have a good name, better than precious ointment. Eccles. vii, 1. Remember," the prayer of faith," as Bishop Porteus says, "moves the hands of Him that moveth all things."
Are you in DECLINING YEARS? And will you not hold converse with Him, whom you are so soon to meet and see face to face? Why should you enter the eter
nal world a stranger to the great King who rules there, when you have an opportunity of being adopted into his family, enjoying his presence here, and sharing the splendours of his crown, and of his glory hereafter."What," says one, can be more truly desirable than to attain to a measure of that light and peace, which, in their full measure belong to a higher condition? and what more excellent than that occupation which connects the service with the enjoyment of God, the duties of this life with the glories of the better "
To every class of my readers, I say,
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.
HYMNS ON PRAYER.
PRAYER is the soul's sincere desire,
Prayer is the simplest form of speech,
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,