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shews that you have none of the real feelings of evangelical truth, which, working by love, ever influences the soul to seek the presence of him we love.
Is there not at the bottom of all these objectioas, a reason of this kind, I DISLIRE PRAYER-It puts a restraint upon all my ways— It compels me to think of that which I had rather forget?--But what are you thus owning yourself to be? It is the character of the wicked, God is not in all his thoughts; they dislike to retain God in their knowledge. Ab! remember, at one time, or other, all flesh must come before God; he now sits on a throne of grace, where you may obtain mercy; he will hereafter sit on a throne of judgment, where he will for ever condemn those who have not sought and found grace to help in time of need.
This neglect of prayer is the fault of many, but there is a generation who are righteous in their own eyes, who TRUST IN THEIR PRAYERS.--They reason, little as they think it, on the supposition that for every prayer they make, God is, as it were, so much in debt to them, and thus that by the multitude of their prayers they deserve heaven. This is a common but a strange mistake. What merit can there be in begging and seeking that, which if we obtain, lays us under increased obligations? Israel of old followed after the law of righteousness, but did not attain it, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. Is not this too much your case,? Be not mistaken; though prayer is good in its proper place; it is not good in the way of meriting any thing from God. It is not good in the way even of disposing God to give. He is ever ready to give abundantly anto us, “ more ready to hear than we are to pray, and wont to give more
er than either we desire or deserve.” But it is good, as ces de it is pursuing the plan wbicb God has appointed for
obtaining his blessings;-it is good, as it is the way in 100S, which he bestows them. Renounce, then, your own stras
righteousness; and thus humbly and believingly seek, and you shall find.
If you did but know. the true character of your fancied righteousness, you would say with Isaiah, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, as a rejected garment. You would enter into the feelings of the excellent
Bishop Beveridge, who declares,* "I know not how.it er is with others, but for my own part I do not remember,
neither do I believe, that I ever prayed in my life-time
* See Beveridge's Private Thoughts, a most useful practical Book for the young Christian.
time of my conception to this very moment, to be but as one continued act of sin.”..
With these feelings; you would be sensible at once, · that Jesus Christ is the only and complete Saviour of sinners, and that it is only by his obedience many are made righteous. Instead of trusting in your prayers, you would mourn over their imperfections, and be led to trust simply, wholly, and entirely in Christ and him crucified. An old writer, Scudder, observes, “God uses, when he is overcome by prayer,” (alluding to Jacob, Gen. xxxii, 28.) “ to work in them that do overcome, some sense of weakness, to let them know that they prevail with him in prayer, not by any strength of their own, not by any worthiness of their prayers, when they have prayed best, but from the goodness of God's free gruce, from the worthiness of Christ's. intercession, by whom they offer up their prayers, and from the truth of his promise made unto them that pray. If it were not thus, many, when they have their heart's desire in prayer, would ascribe all to the goodness of their prayers, and not to the free grace of God; and would be proud of their own strength, which is in truth none at all."
I have thus endeavoured to shew you the nature and privilege of prayer;- may you be so convinced that it is your duty, as to be desirous of farther instruction on this subject.
SUPPOSE the case of a calm at sea. The ship in
Thus it is sometimes with the Christian.. He needs.
God. But he is waiting for the breeze, and at length
We are by nature. AVERSE TO PRAYÈR.–f prayer were natural to us, we should find no difficulty in having our hearts engaged in an intercourse so advan. tageous and so honourable. But who that has attempted this duty, has not found an averseness of heart, a distaste or disrelish, when about to engage in secret prayer? The soul is often straitened, shut up, and closed. Though the Christian knows it to be both his duty and his privilege to pray, he sometimes fiods an insuperable impotency and unwillingness. His inind is perhaps filled with worldly cares and anxieties;. bis affections are wandering after a thousand vanities, and he finds it a laborious effort to drag his soul to the throne of grace.
We are also' IGNORANT AS TO THE SUBJECTS OF PRAYER.–We know not what to pray for as we ought. Rom. viii, 26. We indeed feel our misery, but are not fully acquainted either with the cause or the remedy. Blind men may be conscious of the evil which sur. rounds them, but cannot see the way to avoid it, nor know how to obtain that which will be for their good. If we know at all what to pray for, yet we have not adequate views of our original depravity, and our exceeding sinsulness and unbelief; nor of the fulness and power of Christ the Saviour. We do not regard the glory of