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less mercies ; if our dependence on him, our guilty helpless condition and need of his help ; if the honour of God, our own edification and comfort, or the instruction and edification of others render public worship a duty, they all equally bind meti to the worship of God in their families. If the examples of the saints, and of our blessed Lord, teach the one, they also teach the other.
Indeed the common sense and feelings of mankind teach them that when a family or community have offended a prince or benefactor, jointly, by the head of the family or some other person in their name, to confess their faults and seek reconciliation. When Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon, they came with one accord to him, and having made Blustus, the king's chamberlain, their friend, desired peace ; because their country was nourished by the king's country (y) When families, or particular communities, have received rich and repeated favors from a prince, or some noble benefactor, their natural feelings and good sense teach them to acknowledge such favors. How much more do they teach families to confess their faults, and seek reconciliation to God, and to bless him for his countless mercies ? is he the only being to whom guilty, dependent families are not obliged to confess their faults > With whom they are under no obligations to be reconciled ? And to whom they are not bound to give thanks for all his benefits? An appeal is made to your reason and conscience. Let them seriously determine the point.
Praying always with all prayer, comprises all public prayer in the house of God, and in the assemblies of his people, wherever they may be convened. It implies your being instant in season and out of season, to offer your prayers and praises to God, and to supplicate his mercies, as well as to hear his word: and that you, by no means neglect the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.(z) God has commanded his ministers to preach the word, to be instant in season andout of season ;(a) and this implies the duty of the people constantly to attend to offer their public prayers and praises to God, and hear the word dispensed. Whenever it is the duty of ministers to pray and preach in public, it is the duty of the people to hear. Public social worship has been sanctioned by divine institution, and the example of the saints from the commencement of the' Jewish and Christian churches unto the present time. Good men have always been remarkable for their love to the house of God, and attendance on the public worship. This was the language of David and the pious Jews, One thing have I desired met the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house •/' the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.(b) How amiable are thy tab
(y) Acts xii. 20. (z) Heb. x. 25, (a) 3 Tim. iv.24. (b) Psalm xxvii. 4.
Wnatles, 0 Lord of hosts ! My soul longeth, yea, even faintetk for the courts of the Lord; For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they tviU be still praising thee .(c) This was their resolution, Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.(<l) The prophets Isaiah, Micah and Zechariah, represent, that in the days of the Messiah, when the spirit shall be poured upon mankind, there will be an uncommon zeal for the public worship. All nations shall flow together to the house of God (e) The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go a/»o.(f) This is the very spirit of God's children towards his house and worship. How abundant were the primitive christians in their public prayers and praises > And were continually in the temple praising and blessing .Goii.(g) They continued steadfastly m the apostles doctrine, and in prayers ; and were continually in the temple praising God.(h) This was remarkably the spirit of Christ. Where was he found at twelve years old, but in the temple, attending its public instructions? It is written of him, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me w/,-(i) No person who does not love the public worship has his spirit, nor can be his disciple. No man who does not delight in the public worship, and the communion of the saints in this world, can ever be qualified for the worship of God's temple above, or be admitted to the society and blessedness of the church of the First Born, whose names are written in heaven. Public worship is one of the most important means of instruction, edification, communiorT with God, and of all divine consolation, in the house of God it is that his people see his power and glory, and are satisfied as with marrow and fatness. This is the birthplace of the saints. When God writeth up the people it shall be said of Zion, that this and that man was born in her. Faith comes by hearing. By the foolishness of preaching it pleased God to save them that believe. The public worship is the brightest emblem of heaven, and most wisely adapted to prepare those who will devoutly attend upon itfor that blest abode. The blessing of the Lord is upon those who attend the public worship; and his curse is denounced upon all those who neglect it, in the days of the Messiah. Ps. lxxxiv. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thine house : they will be still praising thee. Prov. viii. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, and waiting at the posts of my doors. On the other hand, those who' will not publicly worship God are threatened with drought, famine and death. Zee. xiv. 17, 18. And it shall be that whoso will not come up, of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts, even upon them shall be no
(c) Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 2, S, 10. (d) Psalm exxii. 2. (e) Isaiah ii.2,3.andMicahiv. 1, 2. (f) Zech. viii. 20, 21, 22. (g) Luke xsiv. 53. (h) Acts ii. 42, 46. (i) Psalm bax. 9.
rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall smite the heathen, that come not up to heep the feast of tabernacles. With what constancy, zeal and devotion should all go to pray before the Lord . ' How should every one resolve, I will go also?
Praying always with all prayer and supplications, as the divine precept enjoins, comprises «jaculatory prayer; or an offering up of short mental petitions and praises to God, as occasions may require: when journeying or labouring, when sitting or walking. They may be offered at all times, and in all places. This is a constant recollection, that we are in the presence of God; and it greatly contributes to keep us always in his fear. Many are the examples of it in the scriptures, especially in the Psalms. I am persuaded that all persons, who have attained to any considerable degree of piety have been much exercised in this kind of prayer. They will rarely close their eyes in the evening, or open them in the morning without it. Immediate dangers, temptations, unexpected mercies, or deliverances, will engage the soul in short prayers and praises. Prayer is the very breath of the'christian's heart, by which he maintains a constant course of communion with God. His eyes, like David's, are ever towards the Lord')
In a word, praying always with all prayer and supplication, includes the acknowledgment of God at your tables. Our dir vine Master has taught us to pray, give us this day our daily bread; and by his example, to ask his blessing in the participation of it. It is also expressly commanded, that we should give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord yesus Christlike) This is that life of prayer which all true christians live. They not only pray with all prayer and supplication, with all perseverance therein, but they pray in the spirit, worshipping the Father, in spirit and in truth. They are all the seed of Jacob, and know how to wrestle with God in prayer. They have all the spirit of Christ, and delight in drawing near to God. Because they are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.(\) This is that life of prayer which the scriptures enjoin, which the examples of the saints, and the perfect example our our Saviour recommend. It is that life which every good man desires and determines, by the grace of God, to live, and which is most earnestly recommended to you, and to all persons to whom this address shall enme.
To engage you in such a pious and happy life, ye are most seriously intreated to contemplate, not only the commands, but the example of Christ, and the resolutions and examples of the saints. As for me, saith the Psalmist, I will call upon God '• eve
(j) Psalm xxv. 15. (k) Eph. v. 20. (1) Gal. iv. 6.
ving and morning, and at noon viill I pray, and cry aZoutl.(m') Seven times a day will I praise thee.(n) I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be continually in my moKfA.(o) How did Moses, Job, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, the apostles and primitive christians pray? How did Jesus Christ pray, night and day, •while he tabernacled in flesh, offering up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save him .?(p) Are ye not under indispensable obligations to follow these examples? know ye not, that if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his? If ye will not be followers of those who inherit the promises, ye certainly can never inherit with them.
But further, be persuaded to pray from a consideration of the advantages of prayer. These are not only great and numerous, but they are lasting as eternity. Prayer is a direct address to God, as omniscient and omnipresent, as directing and governing all creatures and things in heaven and in earth. It is an offering up of our desires to him, in the name of Christ for things agreeable to his will. It is an explicit acknowledgment of his being and perfections, and that he is the God of all grace and consolation. It is a fixed and solemn meditation on him, his goodness and glory, as in his very presence. In this view, it is one of the most important of all means to impress the mind with a deep sense of the certainty of his existence, of the glory of his majesty, that he is always with us, that his eye is always upon us, and to keep him always in our minds, and before our eyes. By praying without ceasing, morning and evening, in secret and in private ; by addressing him in short petitions and thanksgivings at noon, and by presenting the desires and feelings of our hearts before him, in mental ejaculations, an habitual sense of God, of our dependence on him, and obligations to him are fixed in our minds, and we are led to the most venerable and adoring ideas of his infinite majesty. While in this solemn manner, we meditate on him and his infinite perfections, it is most happily adapted to humble us before him, to beget confidence in his wisdom, power and goodness; a holy reverence of him, and a sense of the blessedness of having such a God for our eternal father and portion. At the same time, it is calculated to impress the heart with an awful sense of the danger and dreadful consequences of his displeasure. In this way the saints acquaint themselves with God, advance in peace, comfort and sanctification. Beholding as in a glass the glory of God, they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the £or</.(q)
(m) Psal. lv. 16. (n) Psal. cxix. 164. (o) Psal. xxxiv. 1. (p) Heb. v. 7- (q) 2 Cor. ill. 18.
Further, prayer has a happy tendency to familiarize to our minds the principal doctrines of religion, and to establish us in the truth. While we confess our apostacy and exceeding sinfulness; while we pray for pardon, adoption, sanctification, and eternal life, through the atoning death and perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and ask all blessings, and offer all our praises in his name, the whole tendency of it is to fix deeply and habitually in our hearts, the belief of the great doctrines of original sin, of our inexcusable wickedness, of the necessity of regeneration, of justification, adoption and sanctification wholly through a Redeemer. It confirms us more and more in this, that Jesus is the Christ, that he is mighty to save, and that there is salvation in no other. While we supplicate divine help to perform the duties of piety, righteousness, charity, forgiveness, patience and sobriety, it is calculated to keep alive a sense of these duties in our hearts, and to establish us in the practice of them. Our supplications not to be led into temptation, but to be delivered from evil, have a powerful tendency to make us afraid, and cautious with respect to sin, and to make us flee the very appearance of evil. Our acknowledgments of the divine mercies are adapted to keep them in continual remembrance, and to make us always .thankful.
Prayer is also an ordinance in which God's people obtain release from guilt, distress and sorrow, and experience great comfort and joy. The Psalmist bears witness that it is good to draw near to God.) What comfort and deliverance did Jacob obtain by prayer, when he had power with God and prevailed, and the Lord delivered him from his brother Esau? What sweet release from guilt did David experience in prayer? His bones waxed old by reason of his roaring all the day; but when he acknowledged his transgression, God forgave the iniquity of his sin. For this, says he, shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found.(s) How was Hannah comforted and blessed in prayer > She had been a woman of a sorrowful spirit; but in prayer she was comforted, and her countenance was no more sad.(t) What blessings did Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Daniel, the apostles and primitive christians obtain by prayer? How was Israel saved, by prayer, when the Lord was about to come up into the midst of them, and consume them in a moment! What deliverance and victories did they obtain for the church of God? When Moses held up his hands, how was Amalek discomfited ,. When Samuel cried unto the Lord, how did He thunder upon the enemies of Israel, and save his people? How did they obtain victories, stay, and open the bottles of heaven, stop the mouths of lions, shake the foundations of prisons, and open the gates of iron? What blessings have been obtained for individuals, for families and the church of God by prayer , Is it
(r) Psal. Isiii. 38- (s) Psal. xxxii. 3, 4,5, 6. (t) 1 Sam. i. 15, IS