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be fure, if you cannot reckon them, you are far lefs able to reckon for them. Do you wash your hands? think on the necessity of “ washing your hands in innocency, that fo ye may compass the altar of God :" For these that would " ascend the hill of God, and stand in his holy place, must have clean hands and pure hearts." Holiness both in heart and life is abfolutely needful, in order to our enjoying communion with God in ordinances.
V. A: soon as possibly you can, retire' this morning for the duties of secret prayer, praise, reading the word, meditation, and felf.examination. Much of the Sabb bath, and especially the morning of it, should be spent in praising and thanksgiving, upon account of God's goodness both common and special, manifested in the works of creation and redemption. It is a moft neceffary and proper duty, tọ “ shew forth God's loving kinda ness on the Sabbath morning," Psal. xcii. 2. Thankfgiving is the great end of the day, and of the mercies of it;" the redeemed of the Lord” ought this day to Ang " His mercy endureth for ever," Pfal. cvii. 2. for God fent his Son to redeem us for this very end, that he might have from us " the praise of the glory of his graee, Eph. i 6. 12. 14. And if you dény him praise, you do what you can to disappoint him of the defign of this wonderful work: Many serious fouls think the Sabbath should be spent only in prayer, mourning, mortification, &c. and almost wholly neglect the duty of praise, which ought to be the principal, and wherewith God is best pleased. Remember, that praife is not only the end of the day, but the end of your lives; yea, the delign of all God's works: God made man the - tongue of the creation, to trumpet forth aloud what the rest of the creation do but bilently whisper.'
Directions in performing the forefaid duties. BEFORE I proceed further, I shall give some special advices concerning the duties of secret reading, prayer, and self searching
n's I. Of reading the Word.. .. * I. As to the reading of God's word, if you would do it with profit, then, 1. Look up to God for his blessing upon it. When you begin, pray that he may open your eyes to see the wonders of it," and that he may u open your ears and hearts to hear and comply with it as the voice of God aj:
1.2. In reading the word, quicken yourselves to all possible attention. As children will rouze up themselves at the reading of their father's will, out of expectation of some portion or legacy bequeathed them therein by their father; so ought you to rouze up yourselves in reading of the word, in regard of the many rich and precious legaciea which our Saviour hath bequeathed to you, in that last will and testament of his, sealed by his own blood, 1-3. Read the word with holy reverence, as if Jehovah himself stood by, and spake these words unto you; for reading is a kind of holy conference with God, and therefore ought to be gone about with a holy awe and concern. I do not mean that this reverence is to be shown to the paper and print, but the matter contained therein ; though even these, as the dead bodies of saints, ought not to be used dilhonourably, as I have heard fome graceless merchants do, by rolling up their fmall wares in leaves of the bible. Is this like the prác. tice of the ancient martyrs, who made more account of a leaf of the bible than of a treasure ? And indeed the leaves of the bible, in some fense, are the field where the treasure is hid, and the pearl of price may be found; they are the swadling clothes of the holy Jesus, "And therefore, in the next place,
4. Have an eye to Christ in every thing ye read, for he is the end, scope, and substance of the whole bible, and every thing in it is reducible to him."
5. Read it with application to yourselves, as if God spoke to you by name and firname in every line of
it. Read it as if it were a letter fent straight from · heaven to you, to warn you against fin, and to per
fuade you to faith and Holiness. Let us accept af its reproofs and admonitions with thankfulness, and
fay, What a mercy is it that we may read our Father's will in our mother-tongue, and that God speaks his mind fo plainly to us in his word? lil xan h 116. Mark the special passages of the word, either these that are most important in themselves, or moft applicable to you.: Mark the duties injoined, and fins forbid. aden; with the promises to the one, and threatenings against the other : Faften these upon your memories, and hide them in your hearts; meditate on them, and pray that God may keep them in your minds, ready for use against the time of need to 010399 lintw folia · Poses vi ingles A VS TO
11. Of Secret Prayer. e strue As for secret prayer, take these directions, if you would speed in it." , C, D pe ? Da bo V6I run to
I. See that you be new creatures, and born again, if you would pray aright. A child, while in the womb, cannot cry; fo no more can you cry; Abba, Falber, while in the womb of a natural state. An unconverted man's prayers are not'accounted prayers before God; The long prayers which Paul had, while sa Pharisee; were not reckoned prayer at all; but, when he is a converted man, we are told then, with a Behold, that he prayed, Ads ix. un beau mais net547 015
II. Be frequent in this duty, for your needs are many. God hath erected the " throne of grace for the time of need," Heb. iv. 16. And he hath left the more needs upon us, that he may the oftener hear from us ; he loves to hear his people's voice, and great need have we to let him oft hear it; for we have many lufts to be subdued, many graces to be strengthened, many doubts to be refolved, and many grievances to be redreffed : Therefore be frequent in your addresses to God. Fre- ' quency begets familiarity, and familiarity confidence ; we go boldly to his house, we often visit. Eusebius tells * Üs of the apostle Jamés, firnamed the Juft, that he kreeled so oft and so long in secret prayer, that his , knees became as callous and insensible as a camel's. And he tells us of the first Christian emperor, Constan. tine the Great, that he kneeled very much in secret prayer: And, for an example to others, that he had his
image in his coins, pictures, and statues, represented in the fame praying posture, with his hands spread abrond, and his eyes lift up to heaven. King David was frequently in this exercise, Pfal18. 27. Evening, morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud." And, if that be not enough, he says, Pfal cxix. 16406 Seven times a-day will I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgmentsilly man. 1971, 47, y fue hillI. Affect privacy and retirement in it. Strive to let no ear hear but God's; for his ears are open to the most whispering prayers that can be put up: Not that we should be ashamed of our duty, but that we may evite misconstruction, and hide pride from our eyes; cfor, when there is a desire that men should take notice
of our prayers, God takes no notice of them, unless it be to abhor and reject then. But if you be so circumItanced, that you cannot pray without being observed, You cannor help it ; forrit is better to hazard the cen. fure of others, than the negiect of prayer: Only take care there be no oftentation in the doing of it., van , IV. Pray with holy awe and reverence of God, before whom you fist yourselves. Labour for as much devotion and seriousness in prayer, as if you were taken up and presented before God on his royal throne, with millions of glorious angels ministering to him; or, as såf you faw death and the grave on the one hind, and heaven and hell on the other or, as if you heard the faints fingiog in heaven, or the damned roaring in hell. Do you not believe these things as well as if you faw them and why are you not as serious as if you did a fée them on juuri si vo r mi, bank 1. Va Study to pray in faith, eying the power, mercy,
and promise of God, and relying upon the mediation : and righteousness of Jesus Christ, for these who pray thus, thall not seek God in vain. This kind of prayer is like Jonathan's bow, 2 Sam. i. “ that never returns empty.”...; ".. . ., ; : i !!! 2, VI. Pray with fervency and importunity: Why?
for ought you know, this may be the last Sabbath you may fee, the last sermon you may hear, and the last prayer you may put up. Pray therefore as a dying
man would and should do. Remember how fervent you have seen some dying persons in prayer, and labour for the same frame and fervency. You thould seek this day, to have such a feeling of spiritual wants, and to have your bowels fo pinched with a sense thereof, that, like the hungry and almost starved beggars, you may cry aloud for the bread of life. Let your prayers be the travail of your fouls, and not the labour of your lips Let your hearts be suitably affected in all the parts of prayer; never leave confession without some forrow for fin, nor petition without some sense of the worth of mercies, nor thankfgiving without some solace and joy in God, the Author and Fountain of all our happiness, Let your affections correspond with your expressions, and continue inftant in prayer. You ought this day, like Sampson, Judg. xvi. to bow yourselves with all your might” in prayer, to pull down the pillars of Dagon's temple, and the strong holds of fin in your souls. • Lift up your hearts with your hands to God in the heavens, and stir up yourselves to take hold of him:” Cast yourselves down at his feet, and say, as once a great man did to his prince,I am resolved never to. rise till I obtain mercy.”. o
VII. Use arguments with God in prayer, either taken from God's power and mercy, or from your mifery and necessity. Dost thou doubt, О man, if thou be converted ? then lie robbing before God, like that leper, Mat. viii. “ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;" 9.d. Lord, thou mayest do as thou wilt ; but this I know, though thou should never help me, that thou can do it. Thou haft power enough, yea, it is easy for thee, and will be no manner of trouble to thee, to change my heart, and give me an alms of mercy. Thou hast mercy as well as power; I have heard a good report of thy mercy, that “ the King of Israel is ä merciful King, and delights not in the death of a finner," and that “ his mercy endures for ever." Lord, here a poor condemned rebet comes in upon the proclamation, to accept of the King of Heaven's indemnity: I lay myself at thy feet, content to accept of
a som si mercy