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to cry, Abba, Father': to seek to him as children to tender parents, for a supply of all our needs-for life for breath-for health-for food- for raiment for all temporal favors especially for sanctifying grace-forgiving mercy-inward peace and every thing necessary to enable us to serve him to his acceptance in this world, and to qualify us to serve him without any imperfection, in the next state of existence. He has expressly appointed and ordained prayer, as the channel, on account of the infinite merits of his Son, in which his mercies are to flow down to us. It is the only way, in which it is constituted for us to go to him-the only way appointed to bring favors and blessings to us; and therefore obligatory on all mankind, on all classes of people, high and low, rich and poor, old and young, and in all ages of the world. What duty can be more rational, or becoming our station as creatures, and condition as sinners--and to which, in distress, man naturally resorts ? As creatures we need the power of God to protect and defend us, and goodness to preserve and bless us. As. sinners we need his grace to sanctify us, and his mercy to wash away the guilt of all our transgressions through the precious blood of his own eternal Son-grace to fit us to live, and to prepare us to die.
It may not improperly be subjoined, that anoiher end and design of the duty is to accus
tom us before hand to the exercises of heaven. All the blessed inhabitants of that world of light and perfection encompass the throne of the triune God, with their thanksgivings and songs of praise. They prostrate themselves hefore the eternal Majesty, in the most lowly reverence. The worship of God on earth, is to prepare us for the homage and adorations of heaven. “ Above it stood the seraphims, each one had six wings, with twain he covered his face, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.”
In the Revelation of St. John, we have the most magnificent descriptions of the devotions and adorations of the church triumphant. « And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the Elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said amen, and the four
and twenty Elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
The work of heaven is chiefly loving, fearing, adoring, and praising God and the Redeemer. The principal employment is divine homage. « Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.” Would we be fitted for the work of heaven, we must be initiated into it, in this world. And as loving, adoring, and praising the Creator and Redeemer is the chief exercise of angels and saints above, so we must be accustomed to this devotional exercise, in this state, if we would be prepared for the society of the blessed in the realms of peace. One end of the devotions of the church militant is to fit us for the devotions of the church triumphant. We are to worship and serve God, in all the forms of worship, that we may be prepared in the temper of our minds for the worship and service of him in heaven.
Prayer to God is designed to train us up for the sublime services of the heavenly world. If we do not accustom ourselves to the performance of it here, in its several kinds, how shall we be able to join in it hereafter ? It seems, then, that one important end and design of worshipping the Supreme Being here below is to train us up for his worship, in a state of perfection above : “ When we shall come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the church of the firstborn which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” Such are the ends and design of prayer.
THE manner in which prayer is to be performed.
We are to pray with an awful apprehens. sion of the majesty of God, and a due sense of his glorious attributes. He is clothed with majesty, and decked with light, as with a garment. He rideth upon the wings of the wind; and his angels he maketh as a flame of fire ; before him angels bow, saints adore, and the pillars of heaven quake. The greatest solemnity and deepest reverence, therefore, become all his worshippers. We are to come before him, as a Spirit, infinite uņchangeable, eternal, and self-existent., Impressed with a sense of our own nothing. noss, and his transcendant excellence, having high, adoring, and reverential thoughts of him, and low and abasing thoughts of ourselves, are we to address the throne of grace. We must consider him, as omnipresent and onniscient to whom our secret thoughts and
the principle whence our actions flow, are better known than they can be to ourselves. He is infinitely holy, and of course, must be displeased with that worship which proceeds from a conscience defiled with sin, or is performed in an unholy, irreverent manner. Thus the prophet says, addressing himself to God, “ Thou art of purer eyes than to behold eyil, and canst not look on iniquity ;” that is, thou canst not behold it, without the ut. most detestation, and therefore “ if we regard it in our hearts, he will not hear our prayers." We must address ourselves to him, under a proper sense of the spirituality of his nature, entertaining no gross ideas of him like what we have of finite and corporeal beings. While our deportment is grave and reveren. tial, our hearts must be engaged in the duty and be disposed to give him the glory due unto his name. We are also to look up to him as a God of infinite goodness, mercy, and faithfulness, with whom is plenteous redemption through a Mediator, the Saviour of man, and a God of infinite power, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we are able to ask or think. Again, · Our supplications are to be offered to heaven with the deepest humility or affecting sense of our own unworthiness. A deep sense of unworthiness naturally flows from high, adoring, and reverential thoughts of the divine excellence and greatness. If we have any