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Ghost is given, then, and then only,' we shall belong to that company, of which the Apostle says, “we are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the fleshi'Phil. iii, 3. The Holy Spirit alone can enable us to pray spiritually and constantly: : . . '. Thus reconciled to God by Christ, thus aided by his
Spirit, you have the first principles of this babit of prayer, which must be cultivated by continual watchfulness, determined resolution, and patient.persever
On the Spirit of Prayer for the Enlargement of the
Kingdom of Christ. i.
AMID all that sin and sorrow which the Christian sees in the world;: observes in his family, or feels in his own heart, there is one. bright prospect on which his eye can dwell with unmingled satisfaction, in the anticipation of which 'his heart can exult with unbounded joy;--the promised time when truth, and righteousness, and peace shall universally prevail,
That such a time will come, a simple-minded and i humble reader of the Scriptures can have no doubt. Such passages as the following plainly point out an exteusion of the Gospel which has never yet taken place. . Ps. xxii, 27. • All the ends of the earth shall remember,
and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations sball worship before thee.'
Ps. Isxii, 11. "All kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.', .
Ps.1xxxvi, 9. - All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, and shall glorify thy name.' · Isa. xi, 9. "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' . - Rom. xi, 25, 26. Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.'
Rev. xi, 15. • The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever.' · Observe the fulness of each of these expressions.Surely they foretel the universal spread of Christianity. To deny this, would, as Edwards has observed, be in effect to say, that it would have been impossible for God, if he had desired it, plainly to have foretold any thing that should absolutely have extended to all the nations of the earth. To suppose that these are merely highwrought figures, and that events answerable to them are not likely to take place, is little short of supposing an intention to mislead others.
We may, then, rejoice in the delightful prospect which the Bible. thus opens before us.
But these promises involve a duty, as well as convey a cheering prospect; the duty of exerting ourselves to promote the coming of this kingdom. . '
Among other means of doing so, the duty of prayer is of the first importance.
This subject is so little noticed in general, and yet: forms so large a part of that prayer which our Lord
teaches his disciples daily to use, that, though it has already been in some measure anticipated, when stating the subject of Intercession in the chapter on Private Prayer, it justly, calls for distinct consideration.
While it is clear from various promises, that the kingdom of Christ shall universally prevail, it is no less manifest that there are diffiCULTIES WHICH ONLY A DIVINE POWER CAN OVERCOME.,
. - There are many opposing powers of a nature that no arm of flesh can subdue. Man may contend with man, with some hope of success; but in contending with principalities and powers, zöith the rulers of the darkness of this world, wird, with spiritựal wickedness in high places, we Want divine aid. We must pray with the prophet, Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord. How can Satan be dethroned from his palace, the heart of man, till a stronger thùn he shall come upon him, and overcome him?
All men's natural inclinations and corrupt opinion's al:o oppose the reception of the gospel. Nothing is more absurd to him who knows not the Bible, and the power of God, than to imagine that the blinded Hindoo enchained in bis caste; the acute and licentious Micho. medau, reverencing his false prophet; the savage and degraded African, and the barbarous New Zealander, should give up their various notions, and embrace the pure, holy, and humbling truths of the Gospel of Christina
The means also by which this change is to be effected appears to man utterly inefficient. The preaching of the cross of Christ is still unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; and it is evident. to make these means effectuil, we must look for the
power of God, and the wisdom of God. No arm of flesh ** 31 can help us here: Not by might, nor by power, but by my. *** Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. i . .
MANY OF THE GREAT PROMISES of Scriptore relative to that happy period of which we have been speak: ing, seem to CALL FOR THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER. :
Observe the determination of the Saviour and his di: Church-'For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and ! for Jerusalena's sake I will not rest, until the righteous. ness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation is thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: (Isa. Isii, 1, 2.) and then notice how bis determined: żeal ini seeking to promote the light and glory of the Church is y approved and required; «Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; and give him no rest till he es: tablish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. ver. 6, 7.
THE INTERCESSION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN is much on this subject. It is one part of his prayer, 'that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.? John xvii, 21. And he so earnestly desires the salvation of man, that it is called the travail of his soul. In the 2d Psalm, the Father is described as addressing the Son thus: “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Ps. ii, 8. Doubtless the Son has fulfilled this, as he has fulfilled every other part of his blessed office as an intercessor, Hence we have more encouragement from his intercession to pray for the conversion of the heathen, than for almost any other object. We are sure that the Son of God intercedes for us in this particular thing, and offers up our prayers.
And as our Lord thus intercedes himself. for the enlargement of his kingdom, so his word is full of directions and examples to encourage us to do the same. . . .
. . . . OBSERVE THE DIRECTIONS TO PRAY.–Our Lord seeing the barrest to be great, and the labourers few, instracted his disciples to use this means of obtaining thein;-Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into the harvest. Matt. is, 35. One half of the prayer which he has taught us duy to use, relates to this: 'Hallowed be thy namne, thy kingdomn come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.' Doubtless when all the ends of the world shall remember and turu unto ine Lord, and all the kiadreds of the nations, shall worship before hiin,' (Ps. xxji, 27.) those petitions in the Lord's prayer, with its simple, but subliine and magnificent couclusion, "Thine is the kingdom, and thie power, and the glory, for ever and ever,' will receive a more manifest accomplishment than ever they have.yet done. We are tüld in isa. xlv, 11, “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One. of Israel, and his Maker, Ask of me things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands. command ye me.' St. Paul thus earnestly presses tbis duty : 'I exhort, therefore, that first of all, as a matter of chief importance,) supplications, -prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be inade for all men:' and he afterwards adds, 'for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: (1 Tim, ii, 1-4.) and again he says, 'Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, as it is with you.'