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The times, at which all peculiar blessings are bestowe are times of Prayer. Whenever we are successful in an tant concern, and are especially prospered, supported, forted: whenever we, or ours, are delivered from trouble pain or sickness: whenever we escape from peculiar tem are placed in safety; and furnished with strength, pea and joy, with the peculiar blessings of Christian fellow rectification of our views, and the improvement of our affections, we are especially summoned to the duties of thanksgiving.

In the same manner, is Prayer our especial duty at sons, in which we are peculiarly distressed in body or are in peculiar danger; are exposed peculiarly to top are sick; are bereaved of beloved friends ; are threa alarming evils ; or whenever we find ourselves the sub culiar sloth, reluctance to our duty, or ready to repine

ensations of God's Providence, or to distrust his fait his mercy.

Nor are we less obviously called to the duties of Thanksgiving by the peculiar prosperity or distresse gers or deliverances, of our Country. I speak not, duty, as performed in public. I refer immediately formances of the closet. No man can safely, or warr glect the interests of his country in his secret devoti interests ought ever to be near his heart; so they be remembered, when he comes into the presence of

In the same manner, the great concerns of the Ch ought continually to be subjects of fervent supplicati get thee, O Jerusalem, saith the Psalmist, let my right her cunning: if I do not remember thee, let my tongu. roof of my mouth. All the wants and woes, all the consolations of the Church of God, should be felt, as concerns of every Christian ; and, as such, should his daily devotions before the throne of his Maker. that both Reason and Revelation have made it our pray for all men. At the times also, when we oursely any important business, journey, or other undertaking particular consequence to our well-being, we are requ our efforts with humble petitions for the guidance, pr blessing, of God.

Retirement, likewise, and Solitude, the lonely walk of meditation, and the peaceful pillow, being pecul to this solemn employment, summon us to it with tives.

Of these occasions, generally, whether alluded to, it is to be observed, that they return more or less eve through life, and end only at death. All of them do silent or audible acknowledgments of our constant de

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God, and our absolute indebtedness to him for all good. They demand a lively sense of his Presence, Perfections, and Government, our supreme love, and unchanging confidence, to be exercised towards him; our daily communion with him, and our entire devotion to his service. Of all these, Prayer is the vehicle, the support, the soul. With it, they will live, and flourish; without it, they will die. According to these observations, the Text directs us to pray without ceasing. In the same manner, the Apostle elsewhere directs us to pray always with all prayer; and in every thing to make known our requests unto God, with supplication and thanksgiving. In this manner, the Prophets and Saints of the Old Testament, and the Apostles and Christians of the New, lived before God. Prayer was the breath, by which their piety was supported and preserved. Thus lived Christ himself; and thus by his example he has taught us to live. Immediately before he ordained his Apostles, he spent the whole night in Prayer; and this was a characteristical specimen of his life. Let the same mind be in you,

which was also in Christ.

III. I shall now briefly consider our Obligations to perform this duty.

1. To pray to God is a natural dictate of the human mind; a dictate of conscience and common sense.

We are absolutely dependent on God for all good. To know this, is to know a truth, of immense importance to the moral system at large, and to each individual, of which this system is composed. To feel it with acquiescence, and joy, is to conform in our feelings, to that state of things, which is agreeable to the Will of God, and of course to absolute rectitude. We are bound to delight in such a dependence on the glorious and perfect JEHOVAH ; infinitely great, and wise, and good, as he is; and able, and disposed, as he is, to supply all our wants, and to furnish us with every real blessing.

But a spirit of dependence is more awakened, cherished, and preserved, by Prayer, than by all things else. But to cherish, and preserve, it in our minds, is the indispensable duty, and the supreme interest, of man. Few things contribute, in the same degree, to render us excellent, amiable, or approved by God. Without it, we can neither be approved, amiable, nor excellent. In this view, therefore, the importance of prayer cannot be estimated.

Prayer is also the only method, which Nature points out, of obtaining blessings from God. To Prayer, as this method, we are directed by our earliest circumstances in childhood. By asking, we originally expect to gain, and actually gain, all the blessings, which are given to us by our Parents. What they grant to our petitions, common sense directs us to hope from God, in answer to similar petitions. From analogy, which is fairly presumed to be conclusive, we determine, that the mode of obtaining good,

which his Providence has formed for our direction with respect to earthly parents, and benefactors, is the mode, which we ought to pursue, whenever we seek to obtain good immediately from him, our Heavenly Parent, and Divine Benefactor. As this conduct is universal, it is justly concluded to be natural. For, we have no higher proof, that any thing is natural, than the fact, that it exists in all men, of all ages

and nations. The Heathen universally prayed. Of this service their worship was in a great measure constituted. From California to Japan we find this, every where, its leading feature; and from the first periods, recorded in history, to the present time. There are but two sources, whence this conduct can have been derived : the conclu. sions of Reason, and the dictates of Revelation. If it was derived from Reason, then it was demanded by Reason; if from Revelation, then it is required by God.

2. Ihat Nature has thus dictated, and pursued, the Scriptures have expressly enjoined.

It will be unnecessary for me to multiply quotations on this subject. The Text, and the other passages already recited, are more than sufficient to settle the point, were it at all in dispute. But no truth is better known, or more abundantly acknowledged. I shall, therefore, only observe, that these commands are invested with all the authority of God.

3. The Example of Christ is of the same obligatory force.

Christ, as is well known, lived a life of continual and extraordinary Prayer; and thus accorded with that general prediction in the 89th Psalm, He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, and my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Accordingly, St. Paul testifies of Him, Heb. v. 7, that in the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him, that was able to save him from death ; and was heard in that he feared. This Example, you know, is not only a pattern, and a motive; but a law also, binding us with divine authority. 4. Our own Well-being may with strici

propriety be added to these Obligations, as a reason of high and commanding import.

God has taught us, that he will be inquired of by mankind for the good, which he is pleased to bestow upon them. The only promise, that he will give, or that we shall receive, blessings, is made to such as ask. Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find;

; knock, and it shall be opened to you ; is the only language of Revelation concerning this subject. Supplication for good, therefore, is the only condition, upon which it can be hoped. But we entirely need, and God is infinitely able, and disposed, to give, all that is really good for us. To such as ask, he will give : from such as ask not, he will withhold. Of course, those, who will not pray, will never receive.

On our Prayers, then, according to the only ordinance of God with respect to this subject, all our good depends in one important

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sense, both for time and eternity. We may, indeed, and we actually do, receive many things in this world, really good in themselves, for which we do not pray. But they are not, and, so long as we neglect to pray, will not be, good to us. To those, who omit this duty, even the blessings, bestowed by God, cease to be blessings. Prayer purifies the heart for the reception of them and removes the temptations, which, good as they are in themselves, they cannot fail to present to the passions and appetites even of a religious man.

In eternity, those, who in this world neglect to pray, will experience nothing, which is in itself good; but will find, that as they refused to ask here, God will refuse to give for ever.

All these sources of obligation lend their whole force to all the seasons, occasions, and kinds, of prayer; to the public worship of the Sabbath, and of authorized fasts and festivals; to the morn

; ing and evening sacrifice; to the religious service at our meals; and to the prayers, offered up on the numberless occasions, presented by our daily returning wants, sufferings, and enjoyments. On all these occasions, they are accordingly to be felt, acknowl. edged, and obeyed. Of course, we are to remember, to feel, and willingly to feel, nay, to feel with delight and gratitude, that it is our indispensable duty, our highest interest, and our glorious privilege, to pray always, with all prayer and supplication, with giv. ing of thanks : for this is good and acceptable in the sight of Goch our Saviour. Amen.

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SERMON CXL.

THE ORDINARY MEANS OF GRACE.—THE USEFULNESS OF F

TO INDIVIDUALS.

I TRESSALONIANS v. 17.--Pray without ceasing

In the preceding discourse, I considered the Nature, an sons, of Prayer, and the Obligations which we are under to pr shall now discuss, at some length, the fourth subject prop that time ; viz. the Usefulness of Prayer.

The observations which I shall make concerning this s will be included under the following general heads: The Usefulness of Prayer

by its own proper Influence ; an Its Eficacy in procuring Blessings of God.

The first of these heads, viz. The Usefulness of Prayer by proper Iufluence, I shall consider, as it respects

Individuals;
Families; and,
Public Societies.

In this discourse, it is my intention, to exhibit the Useful Prayer to Individuals by its proper Influence on themselves.

Before I proceed to the direct discussion of this subject be useful to observe, that the personal concerns of an ing are the proper subjects of secret prayer. The propriety Prayer is wholly derived from the fact, that we have many tant interests, which are only personal, and require to be tr ed between us and our Maker. In their very nature, they capable of being disclosed to our fellow-creatures, without disadvantages. Often they are such, as we would not, account, reveal to any human being whatever. Often closure, although not injurious to our moral or intellectual ter, would wound our delicacy, or involve us in other ki distress. In a multitude of instances, where they are partially known, we are still unable to disclose them entire with that freedom, which is indispensable to the due perfo of this duty. Before our Maker, strange as it may seem, use a freedom of communication, which cannot be exerci wards any created being. We know, that he is already acg with whatever we have experienced, done, or suffered, eith in or without the mind. We know that he is infinitely from all the partialities, and prejudices, from all those cold, and contemptuous sentiments, which are so generally cheri

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