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ment, that he could only give vent to his feelings in half unfinished sentences, and cry out, "Is this the manner of man, O Lord God? And what can David say more?"
And now let the regenerated child of God (for it is of such only I speak) pause and ponder well what God the Holy Ghost hath here set before him; and then ask his own heart whether, if the Lord at any time should lead him to go in and sit before the Lord, and under the review of past mercies, and the assured promise of future covenant blessings in Christ, should open his mouth to speak to the Lord, what form of words like these words could suit his case and circumstances? Oh! what a melting subject doth the life of every one of God's children open to him in the looking back upon it, when the Lord by sovereign grace hath called him "from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan to the living God!" "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that thou hast brought me hitherto ?" is and can be but one and the same sentiment, which equally suits all the redeemed of the Lord. Where the Lord found his people; how he found them employed; what their pursuits; and when their state at the time the Lord "passed by and bid them live, when cast out to perish in their blood," and altogether "dead in trespasses and sins," Ezek. xvi. 5, 6. Eph. ii. 1. This opens an everlasting subject in all the various departments of life, to speak the language of David, as we contemplate the divine mercy, and our undeservings. And as the volume of life goes on to relate the Lord's dealings of grace to his people, and their returns of forgetfulness, backslidings, and departures from him; and amidst the whole, the mighty streams of the everlasting covenant running on free and uninterrupted by all our provocations, transgressions, and sins; every word in David's prayer comes home suited to all the circumstances of the children of
the Lord like David, concerning whom in every individual instance as his, the Lord hath said, "if his children (that is, Christ's children) forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes; nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail; my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David," Psalm lxxxix. 30 -35.
One pattern more from the old testament scripture shall be all that I will trespass in bringing into view, namely, that of the prophet Daniel. The Holy Ghost hath been pleased to provide the church with so gracious a relation of this man of God at prayer, and treasured up the very blessed words so largely, as should seem to intimate the Lord's intention for its becoming a sample to the Lord's people to follow after in all ages of the church. And I the rather subjoin it to the foregoing one of David, from the different occasion in which it was used. The prayer of David manifested the state of the regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) when in the review of the Lord's grace he was overwhelmed in the recollection of his own unworthiness. The prayer of Daniel appears to have been awakened in his soul after the work of grace upon his heart, in the contemplation of the desolations of Jerusalem! Daniel ix. 2.
"And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth and ashes. And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and them that keep his commandments. We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by
departing from thy precepts, and from thy judgments; neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee; but unto us confusion of faces as at this day. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he set before us, by his servants the prophets. Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth, for we obeyed not his voice. And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city, Jerusalem, thy holy mountain, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now, therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate; for the Lord's sake, O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name; for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hearken, and do! defer not for thine own sake, O my God, for thy city and thy people are called by thy name!" Daniel ix. 3-19.
Now here again, as in every former instance, let the regenerated child of God, (for it is of such only I speak) observe the several ponderous things contained in this prayer. And as the one great and leading
point of it had respect to the church of God-so the church of God, like her glorious Head and Husband, is "the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever." What the Lord the Spirit taught Daniel then, he teacheth now. And whenever the Zion of God is brought under humbling dispensations, either in the whole body of the people, or in the case of any individual of Christ's mystical members, here is a pattern, and of God's own providing to go by. And first Daniel began his prayer, by addressing God as the Lord God in covenant revelations. We take a most effectual method of engaging God on our behalf, when we remind God of his covenant relations to us in Christ. The Lord my God, is of all other arguments the most blessed, and successful to take hold of at the mercy-seat. God, even our own God, shall give us the blessing," said the church. Ps. Ixvii. 6. Secondly. To this unanswerable appeal there is immediately added, the humble acknowledgment of the church of utter undeservings. "We have sinned, and done wickedly;" here is an universal confession in the soul, that in the very moment of seeking mercy, and pardon, and peace, in the blood of the cross, not a soul in the church merits it. This is a precious token of the love of God in the heart, and never capable of being exercised by any but the Lord's people. Thirdly. The man of God is led to see, and at the same time acknowledge, the righteousness of God in all that is come upon the Lord's people; "O Lord! thou hast done right; but we have done wickedly." Hence the prophet justifieth God in all his ways, while in the same breath he condemns himself and the people. Fourthly. He rolls himself wholly upon God's promise, and God's covenant relationship to his people in Christ. O Lord our God! O my God! And more than once, he repeats this strongest of all arguments, intimating that God's name, and God's covenant engagements, are far above all other
considerations, wherefore the Lord shall answer prayer. He follows up one argument close upon another, to this end, and crieth out, “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hearken and do; defer not for thy own sake, O my God! for thy city and thy people are called by thy name." This was the very argument both Moses and Joshua used on like occasions! See Exod. xxxii. 11, &c. Joshua vii. 9. "What will thou do unto thy great name?" And what shall the child of God say, but plead God's great name, and God's own covenant promises? Surely, the one is an everlasting security; and the other, the strongest plea in prayer! And did not God the Holy Ghost record such things for his church in all ages, and intend them for our examples and use in all communion with God in prayer?
Having finished my selection of prayers and praises, of the saints of God, from the old testament scriptures, I might go on to gather also from the new. But indeed, under the gospel dispensation and the gospel church, these things are so many, and interspersed so largely over the sacred word, that it would swell this little volume to too great a bulk even to cull out a few. And after all, the gathering that might be made, would leave so many behind, as would still render necessary a reference to all the books of the new testament, in order to do justice to the subject. I rather therefore leave the whole, for the selection of the godly themselves; convinced as I am, that if the regenerated child of God, (and it is of such only I speak) under divine direction, will take the book of God in both testaments for his guide, in forming his prayers and praises, upon these inspired models, he cannot fail of discovering some of the most sweet and precious words as are suited for every occasion, and corresponding to all the wants and exercises in which he may be placed while here below. And when the man of God can say with one