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the sanctifying influences of the eternal COMFORTER, free access into the city of God the Father.

To whom, three divine persons, in the unity of one only eternal Godhead, be ascribed, by the Church militant on earth, and by the Church triumphant in heaven, all honor, power, might, majesty, and dominion, henceforth and for ever! Amen.

H Y M N.

Great LORD of all thy churches, hear
Thy ministers' and people's prayer;
Perfumed by thee, O may it rise
Like fragrant incense to the skies.

May every pastor from above
Be new inspired with zeal and love
To watch thy flock, thy flock to feed,
And sow with care the precious seed.

Revive thy churches with thy grace,
Heal all our breaches, grant us peace;
Rouse us from sloth, our hearts inflame
With ardent zeal for Jesus' name.

May young and old thy word receive,
Dead sinners hear thy voice and live,
The wounded conscience healing find,
And joy refresh each drooping mind.

May aged saints, matured with grace,
Abound in fruits of holiness;
And when transplanted to the skies,
May younger in their stead arise.

Thus we our suppliant voices raise,
And weeping, sow the seed of praise,
In humble hope that thou wilt hear
Thy ministers' and people's prayer.


What contradictions meet,
In ministers' employ!
It is a bitter sweet,

A sorrow full of joy:
No other post affords a place
For equal honor or disgrace!

Who can describe the pain
Which faithful preachers feel,
Constrain’d to preach in vain

To hearts as hard as steel !
Or, who can tell the pleasures felt,
When stubborn hearts begin to melt!

The Saviour's dying love,
The soul's amazing worth,
Their utmost efforts move,

And draw their bowels forth:
They pray and strive, their rest departs,
Till Christ be form'd in sinners' hearts.

If some small hope appear,
They still are not content;
But with a jealous fear

They watch for the event:
Too oft they find their hopes deceived,
Then how their inmost souls are grieved.

But when their pains succeed,
And from the tender blade
The ripening ears proceed,

Their toils are overpaid :
No harvest joy can equal theirs,
To find the fruit of all their cares.

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WHATEVER views we may be led, by these words, to entertain of the exact extent to which we are bound to carry our devotion, they can at least leave no doubt upon our minds as to the importance of prayer in general. Language so strong must mean something. Prayer is the great appointed channel of divine communication to man. To every one who understands the connexion between a devout and a holy life, or who casts an eye of faith upon the pages of the New Testament, its necessity, both as a source of spiritual life, and an act of commanded duty, will readily appear. It is through this principally that the Christian has any reason to expect the aid of the Holy Spirit, or any other of those good and perfect gifts which come alike from the Father of lights; but only come in connexion with our embracing and acting upon the promise, “ Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find.” God, who alone is perfectly acquainted with all the wants and necessities of man, has likewise, in his holy word, commanded us to pray. He has enforced the duty with a clearness and decision which must satisfy us it can be neglected only at the peril of the soul. How forcible also on this subject are the example and the precepts of our blessed Saviour. He who said, that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint ;" who has taught us the value of prayer by the very encouragement he held out to the

VOL. IV.-6

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in grace.

practice of it, embraced himself every opportunity of holding communion with heaven. He went up, says the Apostle, “into a mountain to pray;"_" he went out and continued all night in prayer” to God.

It would appear, therefore, that prayer is at once the privilege and the duty of a Christian. By every consideration he is obligated to pray. It is his only unfailing means of growth

It is in this way alone he can send forth those grateful acknowledgments of mercies received, without which the heart would be oppressed with its confined emotions. It is a service wbich reason and religion alike teach him he owes to God and his own soul; and when in connexion with this, we consider the entire dependence of man upon his Maker for every temporal blessing, it cannot surprise us, that one whose mind was so thoroughly instructed in divine things as that of the apostle, should have made use of the strong language before us, “ Pray without ceasing." Undoubtedly, however, the will has its limitations. It will be my object, therefore, in the following discourse,


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I. I am to explain this language, --“ Pray without ceasing.” What does it mean? Not surely that we are always to continue in the act of prayer. That were impossible. It would render us liable to those vain repetitions condemned by our Saviour. It would expose us to weariness of body and mind; and result, it is to be feared, but too often in impious, because useless and unmeaning petitions.

Besides, such a course would be inconsistent with duty, mercy before sacrifice. To be continually engaged in prayer would necessarily lead to the abandonment of every other concern of life; every duty to God, to the world, and ourselves. There is on this subject a prevailing error. Mady suppose, that unless they are uninterruptedly engaged in devotion, they do not serve their Maker. This is a great and dangerous mistake. We serve God always when we act from conscience and principle ;-we serve him even when we serve ourselves with right motives ; —we serve him in our labor, our recreation, our rest. One principle, in the heart of a good man, sanctifies the every action of his life, viz. a constant reference in all that he does to his Maker's will.

It could not have been the intention of St. Paul, therefore, that we should never cease praying in the literal sense of the terms. They may be taken in a broader acceptation. There are those who depart from the widest latitude of their meaning ; there is an unsoundness in the religion of some professing Christians, which admits of trifling with the most sacred obligations; there are those who not only cease to pray without intermission, but who go so far as to omit the duty of prayer for seasons together, or even finally abandon it. To either of these the language of our text is strongly opposed.

“ Pray without ceasing,”—we may at least safely regard it as an exhortation to regularity and perseverance. Appoint your regular hours of religious exercise, and never neglect them; much less, never finally and entirely relinquish the practice. You would not, for days or weeks in succession, refuse sustenance necessary to the support of animal life ; with what propriety, then, can you reject the nutriment of the soul ? “ What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the LORD.” Our right to trifle with the body is certainly greater than our right to trifle with the immortal and better part. If we are not justified in exposing the visible man to a destruction that is merely temporal, surely we are making a wider departure from the will of God, when we deliberately jeopardize our never-dying spirits, with which all our real, because our eternal interests stand connected. How then is it possible we should ever cease to pray in the sense of a partial, temporary, or final abandonment of the practice? Never in either of these senses can man safely do it. So long as, either in a temporal or spiritual point of view, he continues á dependent creature ; so long as there exists a God, able and willing to supply his wants, but without

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