« AnteriorContinuar »
"a dayr," and prayed and gave thanks to God. And David says of himself, "at "evening, and morning, and at noonday "will I pray, and that instantly." It were well if we followed the example of these distinguished servants of the Most High; but, at least, every morning and evening we ought to direct our supplications to God, imploring the pardon of our sins, and his protection from dangers spiritual and temporal.
Besides our private devotions, those, who are fathers and masters of families, should observe the old and excellent custom of family prayer'; and none of us ought ever, without some very sufficient reason, to absent ourselves op the Lord's day from the public prayers of the Church.
It has appeared then, I trust, that it is both our interest and our duty to call upon
■ Dan. vi. 10.
* For this purpose, I would recommend either the Lord's Prayer, General Confession, Collect for the week, and morning and evening Collects; or Bp. Wilson's Fanaily Prayers; or Pp. Gibson's; or the selection of Family Prayers from the JJew Ma, nual, which is published by the Society for Promot. ing Christian Knowledge.
God in prayer, because prayer is the instituted means of obtaining his blessings, temporal and spiritual; because in itself it has a tendency to keep us from sin, to nou» rish in us a heavenly frame of mind, and because it is enforced by the precepts of holy writ, and recommended by the example of all the true servants of God.
It has appeared in the second place, that in order to their being accepted, they must proceed from a humble and penitent heart; must be offered up in faith, and in the name of Christ; must be preferred with attention, with earnestness, and with warmth; and that they must be not only fervent, but also frequent.
My friends, let us seriously examine our own conduct by what has been above urged. Are we in the habit of thus calling upon God, or, as it is in the text, of praying without ceasing? We read of men, who say in their hearts, " What is the Almighty, that "we should serve him; or what profit shall '< we have if we pray unto him;" and of others, who are branded with the censure, that "they have not called upon God." Are we liable to the same reproach? If we are living without prayer, we are living in a state of the utmost danger; from which we may indeed be recovered by .divine grace, but one of the first symptoms of our recovery will be found in our calling upon God. Or, though we do sometimes pray with our lips, do we pray without attention, without earnestness? While we outwardly seem to be engaged in our devotions, do we wilfully suffer our thoughts to wander - to earthly things, without lamenting and striving against this waywardness of spirit? In proportion as this is the case, we have reason to fear that our hearts are not right with God, that we are but little influenced by real piety, that we are still far from the kingdom of heaven. We must contend against this dulness of religious feeling to the utmost of our power; must beseech God to assist us in our prayers, and to pour into our hearts the genuine spirit of grace and supplication.
To conclude. Let us be frequent and earnest in private prayer; let us pray in our families constantly and devoutly; and let nothing but some real and weighty hindrance prevent us from taking part in the public service of the Church. In short, let us " pray without ceasing; let us continue "instant in prayer, praying always with all "prayer and supplication, and watching "thereunto with all perseverance."
Heb. x. 25.
Notforsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.
THE first teachers of our holy religion, and the servants of God in every age, appear to have laid peculiar stress upon the duty of " assembling together" for the purpose of public worship? For not only is it in itself a duty of great importance, the neglect of which seems, generally speaking, to imply no little disregard of our religion and of its divine Author, but because neither can doctrines be inculcated, nor other duties enforced with any prospect of success, while this continues to be neglected. For discourses upon subjects of whatever importance, are necessarily lost to those who refuse to come to hear them, who literally " set at nought their instruc"tion, and will none of their reproof." To