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make themselves merry with: the homeliness of his style: nay, I must say further, that we some, times meet with persons whose language in prayer is so unspeakably superior to their abili- . ties or performances of other kinds, as to show that they have an unction from the Hnly One; and thai they are examples of the accomplishment of that promise, Psal. xxv. 1-4. "The se"cret of the Lord is with them that fear him; "and he will shew them his covenant."
4. I must conclude the subject at this time . with earnestly exhorting you all to the diligentexercise of this duty. And that it may be the more distinct and effectual, I shall briesly point out to you the following objects of prayer.
1. Be fervent in prayer for the improvement of the spiritual life in your own souta. Prayer is at once the security and the comfort of a Christian. Hate, fear, prevent as much as in you Heth every thing that may obstruct your regula-- . rity and earnestness in this duty.
2. Be earnest in your supplication, and impoftunate in your pleading for the church of Christ,. and the glory of his kingdom, especially in your native country. The character of real Christians, in this respect, is well described by the prophet: Is. lxii. 6. 7. "I have set watchmen "upon thy walls,. O Jerusalem, which shall neM ver hold their peace day nor night: ye that: 44 make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; u and give him no rest, till he establish, and till "he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."" The languishing state of religion in this nation,.
A a 3 and'.
and the threatening aspect of Providence, should press us to this duty: and surely, in proportion as our belief of the truths of the gospel is real and prevalent, we must behold transgressions with grief, and be ready to intercede for a "time "of refreshing from the presence of the Lord."
3. Be earnest for a season of the power of God at this aprroaching communion. We serve an all-sussicient and unchangeable God, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever, who is able to pour down his Spirit in a large and plentiful measure, and make it a happy time for the espousal of many sinners to Christ, and for edifying bis saints, that they may go on their way rejoicing, and eat their bread with gladness and singleness of heart. Let us plead bis own promise, Is.
3. 4. "For I will pour water upon him that is "thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I "will pcur my spirit upon thy seed, and my "blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall "spring up as among the grass, as willows by "the water-courses."
4. Pray for the ministers of the gospel. The apostles often ask this assistance of the saithful: Col. iv. 3. " Withal, praying also for us, that *' God would open unto us a door of utterance, "to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am "also in bond'." If you believe the essicacy of prayer, you must be sensible that your diligence in this respect will prepare ministers for you, and you for them. This is to point the eye of fiiM beyond the servants to tbe master of the feast; and you will probably both look for andreceive your answer from himself.
5. In the last place, I would earnestly recom* tnend to you the exercise of joint and social conference and prayer. There is great danger of extinguishing the heavenly flame, if while you are necessarily surrounded with a flood of ungodly men, you do not often associate with (he excellent ones of the earth, and place your delight there: Malachiiii. io\ " Then they that "feared the Lord, spake often one to another, "and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a "book of remembrance was written before him "for them that feared the Lord, and that thought "upon his name." There is a great advantage in society for every purpose. If we know the benesit of united bodies for business and trade, if we sind the pleasure of joining together for mutual entertainment and social converse, must not as great a benessit result from a more sacred union? Serious persons, by associating together, direct each other by their counsels, embolden each oiher by their examples, and assist each other by their prayers. There is also a particular promise of essicacy to social prayer: Maith. xviii. 19. 20. "I say unto you, that if two of you "shall agree on earth, as touching any thing "that they shall ask, it shall be done for them "of my Father which is in heaven. For where * two or three are gathered together in my *' name, there am 1 in the midst of them." Now, may the Lord himself visit you with his
gracious gracious presence, and make you to say with Jacob at Bethel, Gen. xxviii. 16. 17. "And he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew '' it not. And he was afraid, and said, How "dreadful is this place! this is none other but "the house of God, and this is the gate of hea»
Genesis xxxii. 26.
And he said, Iwill not let thee go, except thou bless me.
Second sermon on the text.
II."fT 7"E proceed now to the second thing VV proposed in the distribution of the subject j which was, To show you the duty and reasonableness of wrestling and importunity in prayer. Here I am sensible, that a corrupt and impatient mind may be able to rstuster up objec» tions against it. There is something wonderful and unsearchable in all the works of God, and in none more, as it is reasonable to suppose, than in the methods of his grace. In particular, it may appear surprising, that he should exercise his people with such conflicts and trials, that it fliould be necessary to overcome hirn, as it were, by importunity, before we can obtain those blessings which himself hath commanded us to ask, and which he hath promised to bestow. Why, will it be said, does a God of mercy, and of insinite fullness, to whom all our wants and