Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

to all who ask him,) whereby their souls are converted, comforted, and sanctified. *

Grace means favour freely bestowed, and it implies unworthiness in the person on whom it is bestowed. The salvation of the people of God is altogether of his grace: It springs from his grace, is carried on by his grace, and is completed by his grace, through Jesus Christ, who is Full of grace and truth. And of his fulness have all we rc

ceived, and grace for grace.-Grace and truth came by Jesus

Christ. John i. 14-17. Being justified freely by his grace. Rom. iii. 24. Tit. iii. 7. By, grace ye are saved. Eph. ii. 5. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, accord

ing to his purpose and grace. 2 Tim. i. 9. God giveth grace to the humble. 1 Pet. v. 5. What must you do to obtain the special grace of God ?

[ " must learn at all times to call for it by diligent prayer,” and by constantly making use of all the other means of grace; they are called the means of grace, because, in the right use of them, grace will be bestowed upon us. What is prayer ?

The offering up of our desires to God, and asking him in faith and patience, for such things as are agreeable to his will.

All our mercies must come to us from God; but he often makes us ask for them, in diligent persevering prayer, hefore he gives them to us; since we set very little value

* The special grace of the gospel consists, partly in the outward revelation, which it makes to us, of divine truths; partly in the inward assistance, which it bestows on us for obeying the divine will. The latter is the point here to be coonsidered.

That God is able, by secret influences on our minds, to dispose us powerfully in favour of what is right, there can be no doubt: for we are able, in some degree, to influence one another thus. That there is need of his doing it, we have all but too much experience; and that therefore we may reasonably hope for it, evidently follows. He interposes continually by his providence, to carry on the course of nature in the material world; is it not then very likely, that he should interpose in a case, which, as far as we can judge, is yet more worthy of his interposition ; and incline and strengthen his poor creatures to become good and happy, by gracious impressions on their souls, as occasions require ? But still,' hope and likelihood are not certainty: and God "whose ways are past finding out,” might have left all men to their own strength, or rather indeed their own weakness. But whatever he doth in relation to others, which is not our concern, he hath clearly promised to us Christians, that "his grace shall be sufficient for us :" his Holy Spirit shall enable us effectually to do every thing which his word requires.-Secker, page 256.

upon those blessings which we obtain without exertion. Ezek. xxxvi. 37.

Pour out your heart before him. Ps. lxii. 8. To whom should your prayers be addressed ?

To God, in the name of Christ, and trusting only in his merits and mediation; therefore we conclude our prayers, “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will

look up. Ps. v. 3. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Ps.

lxv. 2. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. John xiv. 6. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give

it you. John xiv. 13; xv. 16; xvi. 23. Through him (Christ) we both have access, by one Spirit, unto

the Father. Eph. ii, 18. There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ

Jesus. 1 Tim. ii. 5. Having, therefore, boldness to enter into the holiest by the

blood of Jesus—let us draw near with a true heart, in full

assurance of faith. Heb. x. 19–22. Are your prayers acceptable to God, when the heart is not en

gaged? No: unless the heart be engaged, the words can be of no avail. The Scribes and Pharisees for a pretence made long prayers,

while they devoured widows' houses. Matt. xxiii. 14. Prayer does not consist in repeating a mere form of words, though we say them over ever so often ; and a person may breathe out his desires to God with groanings that cannot be uttered, and yet be accepted. Such seems to have been the prayer of Moses. Exod. xiv. 15. Therefore, when we begin to pray, we should try to remember, that to the God we worship, “all hearts are open, all desires known, and from him no secrets are hid.”. May we feel truly ashamed to think how many mercies we have asked for, which we did not wish to have; and how many sins we have confessed, on account of which we have felt no sorrow. Let the words of my inouth, and the meditation of my heart be

acceptable in thy sight. Ps. xix. 14. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face: my heart said unto thee,

Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Ps. xxvii. 8. Rend your heart, and not your garments. Joel ii. 13. When thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and when thou hast

shut thy door, pray to thy Father which seeth in secret. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matt. vi. 6, 7.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honour

eth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me. Isa. xxix. 13. Matt. xv. 8, 9. Mark vii. 6. Prayer, if properly engaged in, increases our faith, and makes us more sensible of our wants. We must, therefore, pray, in order that we may be fitted to receive the mercies we stand in need of. It is not only the evidence of grace already communicated, but the means of obtaining more. Do we need any help in order that we may pray acceptably ?

Yes: we cannot pray aright without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. I will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace and of

supplications. Zech. xii. 10. The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities : for we know not what

to pray for as we ought. Rom. viii. 26. I will pray with the Spirit, &c. 1 Cor. xiv. 15. Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit.

Eph. vi. 18. We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. Phil.

iii. 3. Praying in the Holy Ghost. Jude 20. What are the dispositions which are necessary to true prayer,

und which are produced in the heart of the Christian by

the Holy Spirit. 1. Sincerity. The prayer of the upright is his delight. Prov. xv. 8. Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with

all your heart. Jer. xxix. 13. 2. Humility.

We should endeavour to get solemn views of the majesty of that God before whom angels veil their faces. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Ps. ix. 12. Thou hast heard the desire of the humble. Ps. x. 17.

3. Faith. Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believ ye shall receive.

Matt. xxi. 22. What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye re

ceive them, and ye shall have them. Mark xi. 24. 4. Fervency. Fervent in spirit. Rom. xii. 11. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James v. 16.
5. Perseverance.
Continuing instant in prayer. Rom. xii. 12.
Watching unto prayer with all perseverance. Eph. vi. 18.

There is nothing we so easily tire of as prayer: whatever earnestness we may sometimes feel, we are very apt to faint, when the sins we complain of are not subdued, and when the mercies we want are not immediately granted : therefore Jesus spake the parable of the unjust judge. That men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Luke xviii. 1. What are the different kinds of prayer ?

1. Public prayer, or the worship of God with the congregation of his people, on which occasions public forms of prayer were used by the Jews. The Israelites had a form of thanksgiving, when they offered

the first-fruits of the ground. Deut. xxvi. 3—15. The prayer used by Solomon at the dedication of the temple,

when all Israel were assembled. 1 Kings viii. 54–56. David's prayer, when the ark is brought back. 1 Chron. xvi.

7-36. Jehoshaphat's prayer, when his country was invaded. 2 Chron.

xx. 5-13. King Hezekiah commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the

Lord, with the words of David and Asaph. 2 Chron. xxix.

29, 30. A form of prayer was used when the foundation of the second

temple was laid. Ezra iii. 10, 11. The whole multitude were praying without the time of in

cense. Luke i. 10. Peter and John went into the temple at the hour of prayer.

Acts iji. 1.

2. Social prayer, the worship of God with our families or friends. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am

I in the midst of them. Matt. xviii. 19, 20. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.

Acts i. 14. He came to the house of Mary, where many were gathered to

gether, praying. Acts xii. 12.

3. Private prayer, or the worship of God in secret. All good men have agreed in the necessity of this. Religion consists in walking with God, and trying to please him; in striving against sin, and making progress in holiness. A life of prayer alone will enable us thus to devote ourselves to his service, and we therefore find that all the saints of God have been men of prayer.

We have a great many instances of our Saviour's retiring to pray alone. Mark' i. 35. Luke xxii. 44. Abraham, Gen. xvii. 18. 20.-Eliezer, Gen. xxiv. 12.56.-Jacob,

Gen. xxxii. 24–30.-Moses, Exod. xvii. 11; xxxiii. 13, 14.
Hannah, 1 Sam. i. 10.-Samuel, 1 Sam. viii. 6.-David, 2 Sam.

xv. 31.- Solomon, 1 Kings iii. 9. — Jabez, 1 Chron. iv. 10.Daniel, Dan. vi. 10.-The woman of Canaan, Matt. xv. 25.

Cornelius, Acts x. 2.-Paul, 2 Cor. xii. S. Should we not often be employed in the holy exercise of

prayer ? Yes, particularly in private prayer. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Isa. lv. 6. Continuing instant in prayer. Rom. xii. 12. Praying always with all prayer. Eph. vi. 18. In every thing, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be

made known unto God. Phil. iv. 6. Continue in prayer and watch in the same. Col. iv. 2. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess. v. 17. I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands. 1 Tim.

ii. 8. Be ye sober and watch unto prayer. 1 Pet. iv. 7. What authority have you to expect that God will hear prayer ?

The Bible is full of encouragements to pray. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee.

Job xxii. 27. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are

open unto their cry. Ps. xxxiv. 15. 1 Pet. iii. 12. Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou

shalt glorify me. Ps. 1. 15. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him. Ps. xci. 15. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear

their cry, and will save them. Ps. cxlv. 19. Before they call I will, answer, and while they are yet speaking,

I will hear. Isa, lxv, 24. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me,

and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jer. xxix. 12, 13. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. Zech. xiii. 9. Ask, and it shall be given you—if ye then being evil, know how

to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them

that ask him ? Matt. vii. 7. 11. Luke xi. 13. All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall

receive. Matt. xxi. 22. If any man be a worshipper of God, and doth his will, him he

heareth. John ix. 31. If ye abide in me, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done

unto you. John xv. 7. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

Rom. x. 13. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to

all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given

him. James i. 5. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James v. 16.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »