Imágenes de páginas

Examples of intercession, and exhortations to intercede for others : “ And Mofes' besought the “ Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy " wrath wax hot against thy people? Remember “ Abraham, Isaac, and Ifrael, thy servants. And “ the Lord repented of the evil which he thought “ to do unto his people.” Peter therefore was “ kept in prison, but prayer was made without “ ceasing, of the church unto God for him.“ For God is my witness, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” “ Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord “ Jesus Christ's fake, and for the love of the “ spirit, that ye strive together with me, in your “ prayers for me.“ Confess your faults one to “ another, and pray one for another, that ye may “ be healed: the effectual fervent prayer of a * righteous man availeth much.” Ex. xxxii. 11. Aěts xii. 5. Rom. i. 9. xv. 30. James v. 16.

Declarations and examples authorizing the repetition of unsuccessful prayers: “ And he “ spoke a parable unto them, to this end, that “ men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” “ And he left them, and went away again, and “ prayed the third time, saying the same words.« For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that

“ it might depart from me.” Luke xviii. 1. Matt. xxvi. 44. 2 Cor. xii. 8*

* The reformed churches of Christendom, sticking close in this article to their guide, have laid aside prayers for the dead, as authorized by no precept or precedent found in scripture. For the same reason they properly reject the invocation of saints; as also because such invocations suppose in the saints whom they address a knowledge which can perceive what passes in different regions of the earth at the same time. And they deem it too much to take for granted, without the smallest intimation of such a thing in scripture, that any created being possesses a faculty little short of that omniscience and omnipresence which they ascribe to the Deity.

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NONCERNING these three descriptions

w of devotion, it is first of all to be observed, that each has its separate and peculiar use; and therefore, that the exercise of one species of worship, however regular it be, does not supersede, or dispense with the obligation of either of the other two.

I. Private prayer is recommended for the sake of the following advantages:

Private wants, cannot always be made the subjects of public prayer ; but whatever reason there is for praying at all, there is the fame for making the fore and grief of each man's own heart the business of his application to God. This must be the office of private exercises of devotion, being imperfectly, if at all, praậicable in any other.

Private prayer is generally more devout and earnest than the share we are capable of tak

ing in joint acts of worship ; because it affords leisure and opportunity for the circumftantial recollection of those personal wants, by the remembrance and ideas of which, the warmth and earnestness of prayer is chiefly excited.

Private prayer, in proportion as it is usually accompanied with more actual thought and reflection of the petitioner's own, has a greater tendency than other modes of devotion to revive and fasten upon the mind the general impressions of religion. Solitude powerfully assists this effect. When a man finds himself alone in communication with his Creator, his imagination becomes filled with a conflux of awful ideas concerning the universal agency, and invisible presence of that being; concerning what is likely to become of himself; and of the superlative importance of providing for the happiness of his future existence, by endeavours to please him, who is the arbiter of his destiny: reflections, which, whenever they gain admittance, for a season overwhelm all others; and leave, when they depart; a folemnity upon the thoughts that will seldom fail, in some degree, to affect the conduct of life.

Private prayer, thus recommended by its own propriety, and by advantages not attainable in VOL. II. . E

any any form of religious communion, receives a fuperior fanction from the authority and example of Christ. “When thou prayeit, enter into thy “ closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, “ pray to thy father which is in secret; and thy “ father, which feeth in secret, shall reward thee “ openly.” “ And when he had sent the multi“ tudes away, he went up into a mountain apart " to pray.” Matt. vi. 6. xiv. 23.

Il. Family prayer.

The peculiar use of family piety consists in its influence upon fervants, and the young members of a family, who want fufficient seriousness and reflection to retire of their own accord to the exercise of private devotion, and whose attention you cannot eafily command in public worship. The example also and authority of a father and master act in this way with the greatest force; for his private prayers, to which his children and servants are not witnesses, act not at all upon them as examples ; and his attendance upon public worship they will readily impute to fashion, to a care to preserve appeara ances, to a concern for decency and character, and to many motives beside a sense of duty to God. Add to this, that forms of public worfhip, in proportion as they are more compren


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