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pain, protection from danger, support under trials, and the supply of our real wants, we may implore; but if we cry for worldly wealth, power, or luxury, we are consulting self-will rather than the will of God. That suitable and comprehensive petition in our Lord's Prayer, “ Give us this day our daily bread,” is well adapted to limit and moderate our desires after earthly good.
But we are especially exhorted to ask for spiritual blessings. Here we have ample and unbounded scope. If we are straitened, it is not in God, but in ourselves. We are warranted to seek forgiveness, adoption, light, grace, and strength; to beg an increase of faith, love, peace, and joy; to solicit enlargement of mind, purity of heart, fellowship with God in ordinances, conformity to Christ our great Exemplar, the witness and seal of the Holy Spirit the Comforter.
As we are continually dependent on divine power and goodness, and deeply indebted to. them for all we enjoy, it is an essential part of prayer to offer up thanksgiving to God. Shall we acknowledge the small favours received from our fellow-creatures, and make no grateful returns to our heavenly Benefactor? The goodness of the Lord has often met us unsolicited, has followed us undeserved, and has flowed in abundant streams on every side. The
mercies of our God, have been free and undeserved, suitable and sufficient, valuable and various. Who can count the stars of the sky, and the sands on the sea-shore? Then how can we number the sparing, pardoning, supporting, refreshing, and soul-enlivening mercies of our God and Father? And shall they be all buried in the grave of oblivion?
Shall we undervalue them, or overlook the hand which bestows them? No: rather let every one ask, What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits towards me? Let us daily lay our tribute of thanks on the altar which sanctifieth every gift, and this shall be more acceptable to God than whole hecatombs of victims slain in sacrifice, or mountains of incense in a flame. Wherever,” says one,
the vital unadulterated spirit of Christian devotion prevails, its immediate objects will be to adore the perfections of God; to entertain, with reverence and complacence, the various intimations of his pleasure, especially those contained in Holy Writ; to acknowledge our absolute dependence on and infinite obligations to him; to confess and lament the disorders of our nature, and the transgressions of our lives; to implore his grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ; to intercede for our brethren of mankind; to pray for the propagation and establishment of truth, righteousness, and peace on earth: in fine, to
long for a more entire conformity to the will of God, and breathe after the everlasting enjoyment of his friendship. The effects of such a spirit, habitually cherished, and feelingly expressed before him, must surely be important and happy. Among these may be reckoned a profound humility in the sight of God; a high veneration for his presence and attributes; an ardent zeal for his worship and honour; a constant imitation of our Saviour's divine example; a diffusive charity for men of all denominations; a generous and unwearied self-denial; a total resignation to Providence; an increasing esteem for the Gospel, with clearer and firmer hopes of that immortal life which it has brought to light.”
Christian Reader, let it be your resolution to dedicate yourself to God by solemn prayer. Begin every new year, every month, every week, every day, with a renewed surrender of your soul, your time, your talents, your influence, into the hands of Him, whose you are, and whom you serve. Treasure up his words, , and imitate his example, who, amid the vicissitudes of life, said, “I give myself to prayer." (Ps. cix. 4.) Hence you may draw a rule of great value and use. If you have a tide of success, and a long season of prosperity in the world, do not give yourself to levity and ease and indulgence, by which you would be
self to prayer.
ensnared and injured, but give yourself to prayer. If you are slandered, wronged, defrauded, or persecuted, by men, do not give yourself to vexation and resentment, which, instead of removing, will aggravate the evil; but give your
If you are surrounded with difficulties and dangers, and your prospect is darkened with thick gathering clouds, do not give yourself to despondency, which sinks and overwhelms the spirit; but give yourself to prayer, the best remedy in sickness, the best refuge in trouble, and the best retreat and choicest comfort at all times, and in all circumstances. Prayer is never out of place, nor out of season; for the Sacred Writers exhort us to pray every where, and to pray always, without yielding to doubt, distraction, or weari
Turn often then to the Scriptures of trath, and ponder over those passages in which patriarchs and prophets and apostles poured out their souls to God, till you kindle into a similar flame, and make such language as the following your own. Oh! thou lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; thou art clothed with light and majesty, and exalted above all blessing and praise. The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; and thou, O Lord, preservest man and beast. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in thy sight; but all things are naked and open
unto thee. Thou art wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working; glorious in holiness, and fearful in praises; of purer eyes than to look on iniquity. And how shall a worm of earth, a lost, wandering, and guilty rebel, appear before thee? O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee; but to me, shame and confusion of face. Thou knowest my foolishness, and my iniquities are not hid from thee. Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified. If thou shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Blot out my transgressions as a cloud, and my sins as a thick cloud, for thy name's sake. O Father of mercies, and God of all consolation, deliver me from going down into the pit of perdition, seeing thou hast found a ransom! Look upon the face of thine Anointed, in whom thou art ever well pleased; and let the blood of Jesus Christ, thy Son, cleanse me from all sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew me in the spirit of my mind. Keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me; restore my soul to paths of righteousness, and lead me in the way of thy precepts. Hear me, o Lord, for thy loving-kindness is good; turn unto me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. Who can utter thy mighty