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afflictions in the discharge of our duty; at comparing ourselves with those who yielded up their lives for his doctrine: in his presence we shall blush to be tempted to lay down our arms, before we have begun the combat; to be deterred and discouraged, in our perseverance in the holy warfare, by such easy exertions, whilst those righteous Ministers set at nought tribulations, hunger, thirst, persecutions, and all the fury of tyrants, which were designed to "separate them from the love of "Christ:" from his presence, we shall depart, with a greater delight in our ministerial calling, with an additional zeal for the salvation of our flocks. No! my Brethren, let us not deceive ourselves: without prayer, we feel all the disgust and chagrin attendant upon our sacred vocation; we bear a yoke which overpowers us: with prayer every thing is made easy; the yoke is no longer grievous; our labours increase, but the troubles accompanying them vanish. You, sometimes, complain of the weight, with which the difficulty of your situation oppresses you, and of your feebleness to sustain it: address yourself often to him, who changes our weakness into strength; continue instant in prayer; these difficulties will disappear; these mountains will be made plain; you will feel yourself a new man; and you will no longer complain of having too much to do, and too much to suffer, for "the furtherance of the Gospel."
But if prayer, alone, can remove the troubles attached to our calling, it, alone, can likewise prevent the dangers to which we are exposed. It is but too true that the inward man, when we neglect the duty and the exercise of private prayer, insensibly becomes weak and feeble, even whilst we are engaged in our professional avocations. In directing our thoughts, and devoting our time, to the salvation of other men, we lose that secret and hidden life of faith, which is the vigour and the energy of piety. In expressing our solicitude for others, and never for ourselves, the powers of the soul wear out, and we "no longer delight ourselves in the Lord." In the eyes of men, we are holy and pious, but not so in the sight of God*. The Almighty, whose support we
. * " A Christian Temper consists of various Parts: but the first Impression, which a genuine Faith in the Gospel makes on the Soul, and the ruling Principle, which it fixes there, is a deep Sense of Love to. God and our Fellow-crea- . tures, producing an earnest Desire that we and they may be for ever happy in his presence. Whoever, therefore, is destitute of this Feeling, ought not, though free from gross vice, to become a Clergyman; and without obtaining it from the Giver ©fall good Things by fervent prayer, no man is qualified to fill the place of one. For, notwithstanding that he may preserve some Form of Godliness, without which he would be mischievous- and shocking in the highest degree, yet, not having the reality and /tower thereof, he must profess, and seemingly attempt, to make others what he is far from being himself. Consequently his endeavours out of the pulpit will be infrequent, reluctant, faint: and in it they will at best be unnatural and ungraceful, whatever pains he may take in his compositions, or whatever vehemence he may affect in his delivery..
have not supplicated, leaves us to ourselves, and generally, humour, dissatisfaction, vanity, hold an higher place in the discharge of our several obligations, than a sense of duty, and a love of our brethren. From these rocks we can be preserved only by the exercise of prayer.
Another reflection, no less worthy your attention, is, that prayer is not merely indispensable to preserve us from those evils " which may assault and hurt the soul," but even to assure us of the advantage and usefulness of the duty. For it is by the practice, that we know the utility, of prayer. We plant, we water; but God alone giveth the increase; and how can we expect it, if we are not diligent to supplicate it of him? We do not invoke him, who alone can render our labours efficacious to our flock, and our solicitude acceptable to himself. The want of prayer is the principal cause of the little good the generality of Pastors do, in their parishes, notwithstanding they may exactly fulfill all the other duties of the ministry. . They think they have performed their part well, when they have performed what is commanded, but by the small advantage ac
Hence he will be dissatisfied within, detected and disesteemed by the judicious part of his hearers, and of little use to the rest, if he is not even hurtful by misleading them. Or whatever his case may be amongst men, his inward want of the piety, which he outwardly pretends to, must render him uncommonly guilty in the sight of God. Heaven forbid that I should have need to enlarge on such a character in this audience."—Abp. Secker.
cruing from it, they might perceive that there is a something wanting; and so long as their prayers shall not interest the goodness of God, in the success of their labours; they will, like the apostles, pass their days and nights in casting the net, and in taking nothing: they will run a long and melancholy course, and will die without having brought one soul to Jesus Christ—without having reclaimed a single being from vice, or establised him in virtue and religion.
And indeed, what success can a Pastor, so little accustomed to prayer, promise himself from his instructions? What success can a Pastor promise himself in speaking of God, who never, almost, speaks to him? What barrenness in his discourses? He declares the truth, but it proceeds only from his mouth, and not from his heart. I appeal to yourselves; is it not true, that a holyPastor, a man of prayer, with only moderate talents, does more good, leaves his auditors more affected with his discourses, than many others, who, with shining abilities, have not derived, from an intercourse with Heaven, that genuine piety, which can, alone, speak to the heart? A Minister, who does not habituate himself to devout prayer, may deliver an animated discourse, and substitute address and elocution for zeal and piety; but you will always see the man; you will perceive, that it is not a fire which descends from heaven. For what impressions can his instructions make, if unaccompanied with prayer to
draw down upon them that grace, which alone can render them useful to those who hear him? He will speak only to the ears of his people, because the spirit of God, who alone knows how to speak to the heart, and who, through the neglect of prayer, not having taken up his abode within him, will not speak by his mouth. The Ministry of the word, will be a duty, not of choice, but of necessity; or he will make of it a theatre of vanity, where he will rather attract the notice, and obtain the applause of his hearers, than effect their amendment, and promote their salvation.
But although prayer were not so indispensable, as we are taught to believe it is, in order to accompany our labours with a blessing—is it not our bounden duty, to pour out our souls, in our closet in secret, for the salvation of those, for whom we must give an account? Are we not commanded, in the character we sustain, "to pray for "them without ceasing?" We are to lay before God their wants: we are to lament before him, over the vices in which we see them indulge themselves, and which our solicitude cannot prevent, nor our zeal correct, we are to supplicate strength for the weak, remorse for the hardened, and perseverance for the righteous. The more numerous their wants, the more ought our prayers, in their behalf, to be lively and fervent: when we appear before God, it should always be like the High Priest under the law, carrying, written upon our