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Matt. xiv, 23. Peter's closet was the house top. Petersen went up upon the house top to pray, about the sixth hour. Acts x, 9. Hezekiah's closet was turning his face towards the wall and praying unto the Lord. Isaiah xxxviii; 2.
But there is a retiredness of heart and a self-recollection which is of greater importance, than any particulars place of prayer. This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as has already been shewn; let us then continually look for and solely depend on his aid, which alone can. enable us to give our whole hearts to this great work. Some have found it a happy means of assisting in gain. ing self-recollection, to have nothing to do but to pray.-“We must,” says Bonnel, “ shut all other businesses from our minds at that time, and say, I have nothing to do this half hour, but to wait on my God. For if we de.. termine ourselves no time, but are in haste to do some.. thing else, as soon as we have done our prayers, it is a great hazard if we are recollected at all during our wor ship,”
Sect. II.-On the Being to be worshipped.
It is evident that the Being whom all men are to worship, must be every where present, have all power, :: and know all things. Many prayers being offered up, at the same time, by many persons, and for different things, an assurance that he possesses these attributes is necessary, in order to our placing confidence in him, that he will answer all, and give to each that which is best in his particular sitgation. Hence the absurdity of praying to Saints and Angels, or through their mediation.
But when to this power, presence, and knowledge,
we can add the attributes of tenderness and love, we
lo praying to God the Father, we do not exclude
ping them, we only worsbip the one God; yet the general way of approaching the Almighty in prayer, is to God the Father, through the mediation of the Son, and by the aid of the Spirit.
How delightful is the relation subsisting between God and the Christian as father and child! The child receives every thing freely from paternal love; it does not come to the father as a purchaser, or as the merchant with an 'equivalent. When a desire for any good arises in the child's inind, it does not offer to buy it at a price, but sinply expresses its feelings and asks it as a gift." In its earliest years the child cannot speak its wants plainly;. yet even in infancy, they are made known by looks and cries, and the father understands these expressions of its wishes. As the child grows up, all that the father requires of it, is an affectionate and dutiful.conduct, a reverence, and honour, and obedience, totally distinct from slavish fear, and which in effect only tends to promote its real happiness. . . .
. It is under the influence of these feelings that we should come to God, and though we only learn to cry Abba, Father, by slow degress, let us persevere in faith and love, till we receive the full Spirit of adoption. .
In worshipping God we need not be anxious to comprehend the particulars of his nature except as he has revealed himself. Job xi, 7x Beware of any fanciful representation, or figure of him. All such things only tend to degrade him in our minds, and to fill us with unsuitable ideas of his Majesty. They are also directly prohibited in the word of God. Deut. iv, 12–25; Isa. xl, 18—25. Jesus Christ is our only Mediator and ground of access to God the Father; and his Holy Spirit, the purchase of the blood of Christ, and sent by him to help our infirmities, our great Assistant. The view
we should endeavour to have of God, is that which our Lord gires; God is a Spirit: and that which was revealed to Moses, the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgressions, and sin, and that will *by no means clear the guilty. Exod. xxxiv, 6, 7: · Keep fast hold then of this view of the character of God; it is exactly suited to the wants of sinners.
The consideration that the Eye OF GOD IS UPON US, that our heavenly Father is in secret, and there beholds us, should be continually on our minds as a. mó. tive for continual watchfulness, and a source of the greatest comfort. · Thou God seest me, should be written on the walls of our closet; or, rather, deeply engraven on our hearts. Before an earthly superior we are carefal and circumspect in all our expressions and actions: how careful then should we be when we approach unto onė, whiò, though he is our Father, is yet the KING OF KINGS, and the LORD OF LORDS?: “If an angel in all his heavenly brightness were to be with us, surely our hearts would feel awed by bis glorious presence. How much more then should it affect us, and fill us with a holy fear, to think, 'I am with God; he is present in the room with me! that God is now about me, whose glory stains and sullies the beauty, and extinguishes the light of angels! " . .
.. Rush not hastily, then, into the presence of God. Pause for a few moments. Meditate on his character. Consider bis goodness, he is our Father; consider his greatness, be is in heaven.
Recollect THE GLORIOUS MAJESTY OF THAT Being WHOM YOU ADDRESS. He is in heaven, and we are upon earth. It is with reflections of this kind, that
David best psalm, wed with.
David 'begins many of his Psalms. Thus be says in the '104th Psalm, 0 Lord my God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with, majesty and honour. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain, whoʻlayeth the beams of his chamber.. in the water, who maketh the clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind. These recollections of his majesty are calcu. lated through the grace of the Holy Spirit, to bring your mind to a state of solemnity and devotional feeling. But lest this view of his awful grandeur should discourage you,
Recollect His WONDERFUL GRAČE AND MERCY. How he endears. himself to you by characters of the utmost tenderness, compassion, and love. Thy Maker is thinehusband, the Lord of hosts is his name. Isaiah liv, 5. Return, suith the. Lord, for I am married to you. Jer.. iii, 12–14. What affectionate wife will not rejoice in an opportunity of meeting a kind and faithful husband! What child, in a proper state of mind, will not willingly run to the arms of a tender father inviting it to come to him! It is our want of faith and love that makes our prayers a task and a burden. How often God invites us to pray! how much he promises, in order to encourage us: to come to him with a holy boldness and confidence, freely and unreservedly! We need not fear to ask, when God himself commands us to do so. . ir
Sect. III.--On the Subjects to be mentioned in Prayer.
"The feeling of our wants,” says Mrs. Moore, "the confession of our sins, the acknowledgment of our dependence, the renunciation of ourselves, the suppli