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heart, and who requireth “ truth in the in. 56 ward parts.” Nay, we appeal to him as the Searcher of hearts, for the truth of every word which we utter before him, and challenge his omniscience to take cognizance, whether what we say doth not express the real sentiments and desires of our hearts. I

fay, the desires of our hearts; for these, and · not the language in which we clothe them,

are our prayers to God. Nay, the better the words are which we use in prayer, the more infolent is the profanation, if they are ñot” animated by the desires which they ought to express. Too many are apt to imagine, that they have succeeded well in the exercises of devotion, if they have been able to address God by his proper- titles, and to recollect those words, indited by the Spirit of God, in which holy men of old expressed their desires, and which they committed to writing for the use of the church. But they do not consider, that the very end for which those accepted prayers were recorded, was, to regulate our hearts instead of directing our lips; and that it is our most iminediate business, when such peti- ,

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tions occur to our minds, to try our hearts
by them, that we may truly feel what they
express, before we adventure to present them
to God.

It is the character of hypocrites, whom
God abhorreth, that they “ draw near to

him with their mouths, and honour him “ with their lips, while their hearts are far “ from him.” This is to add abuse and infult to all their other fins; and those prayers which have proceeded from feigned lips, will in the great day of judgement, stop the mouths of transgressors more effectually, than all the other offences with which they jhall be found chargeable. : )

The articles of a man's belief may not always be present to his mind ; or at least the practical inferences which may justly be drawn from them, may not be all so obvious, as to command his uniform attention. To counteract indeed a plain and pofitive law, is such flagrant rebellion as admits of no excuse: and yet even in this case, the finner may pretend to plead, in alleviation of his crime, that the law appeared to him so strict and rigorous, that he could Vol. III. : S

not

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not bring his mind to consent to its demands.

But what evasion can å man find for contradicting his own prayers ? Or what shall he be able to answer, when God shall-fay to him, “ Out of thine own mouth do I * condemn thee, thou wicked fervant ?" Every request which we make to God, is not only ani explicit declaration, that we highly esteem, and ardently desire the beTiefits we ask, but likewise implies an obligation on our part, to put ourselves in the way of receiving what we ask, and to ufe all the means in our own power to obtain it. When therefore we do not endeavour to obtain the blessings which we ask, we plainly declare that we do not heartily defire them." And by asking what we do not desire to obtain, we make it evident that we are presumptuous dissemblers, who use greater freedom" with the all-perfect Being, than we dare to use with any of our fellow mortals, who is pofleffed of fufficient power to resent such unworthy and abusive treat

ment.

I have just now read to you a prayer of

it is the

the Royal Pfalmift, which none of us, I fuppofe, will hesitate to adopt. It consists of two distinct petitions ;' the one respecting the spiritual, the other the temporal, prosperity of the people overi which the providence of God had placed him. And it will readily occur to you, that both thėse inportant interests of the nation to which we belong, are recommended to our attentidnin the royal proclamation which hath brought us together this day * What { propofe in the following discourse, is to make a few res marks, ".. .'

n

i n suf: Firsi, On the matter of David's prayer.'s

Secondly, On the order observed in the petitions contained in it.

Thirdly, On the temper of mind with which this prayer appears to have been accompanied. I will then shew what is incunibent on those who address the same requests to God, in order to prove the uprightness of their hearts, and that they sincerely wilh to obtain what they alk.

? S 2 . ." I

.! * Preached December 12. 1976, being the first public 'Fast after the commencement of the American war.

- I begin with the matter of David's prayer : “ Do good in thy good pleasure unto « Zion : build thou the walls of Jerusa6 lem.”

The first of these petitions hath an obvi. ous reference to the tribes of Israel, consdered in their spiritual state, as a religious community, or the true church of God. To thofe who are acquainted with the language of Scripture, it will not be needful to prove, that this is the common acceptation of the term Zion, when it is used in di. stinction from Jerusalem. Zion was the unalterable station of the tabernacle, the city of David, and the emblem of that fpiritual kingdom which David's Son and Lord was to erect in future times. The blessing prayed for by the Psalmist is, that it would please God to do good unto Zion.

This short, but comprehensive request, in the mouth of a British and Protestant Christian, includes more particulars than the limits of one discourse will permit me to enumerate. I shall select a few leading petitions, in which all who come under this description will cordially unite ; namely,

· That

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