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broken forth? This is the womb that bare thee; hence has thy righteousness sprung forth; hence have thy dignities, thy astonishing hope and joys arisen to thee; this is it that yearned upon thee in thy misery, that reprieved thee from death, redeemed thee from darkness, rescued thee as a brand out of the burning; that pitied thee in thy blood, washed thee from thy blood, spared thee, pardoned thee, reconciled thee, and brought thee, an enemy, a rebel, a traitor, into a covenant of peace with the God of glory. Ah, contemptible dust; that ever there should be such compassionate contrivances, and such astonishing condescensions of the eternal Deity, towards so vile a thing! O love the Lord, all ye his saints. O bless the Lord, ye beloved, ye people near unto the Lord. Alas, that our hearts should be so narrow, that the waters should be so shallow with us. Where are our eyes, if we be not yet filled with wonders? What hearts have we, if we have not yet filled our lips with praise ? Open all thy springs, O my soul; let them flow forth in streams of love and joy; let every faculty be tuned and strained to the height; let heart and hands and tongue and eyes lift up their voice : be astonished, 0 heavens ; be moved, ye strong foundations of the earth; fall down, ye elders; strike up, ye heavenly choir; lend, poor mortals, your notes, to sing forth the high praises of God, who rideth on the heavens, and has caused us to ride on the high places of the earth, and made us sit together in heavenly places, showing forth the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Awake up, my glory, awake, psaltery and harp; I myself will awake right early: my soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour; for he that is mighty hath done for me great things, and holy is his name. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath visited and redeemed his people, who hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, who hath laid help on one who is mighty, and exalted one chosen among the people, and hath given him for a covenant to them. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name, who hath redeemed thy life from destruction, and crowned thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Salvation to our God that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and glory and honor and blessing; for thou livest, and wast dead, and art alive for evermore. Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and hast made us kings and priests unto our God for ever. Hallelujah, hallelujah!
RIGHT PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTY OF PRAYER.
EXTRACTED FROM VINDICIÆ PIETATIS, OR A VINDICATION OF GODLINESS,
BY THE REV. RICHARD ALLEINE.
1. Bring yourselves, and hold yourselves to a FREQUENT AND CONSTANT PERFORMANCE of this duty. There must be performance, or there cannot be a right performance. As to those that pray not, or pray but seldom, it is a plain sign that the root of the matter is not in them; they that can live without prayer, are dead while they are alive. Prayer is the first-fruits of Christianity : it was said of Saul, as a token that he was a convert, “ Behold, he prayeth.” The living child comes crying into the world ; and as it is a token of life, so it is a means by which this new life is nourished. Prayer is a Christian's key to unlock the storehouses and the treasuries of souls: to him that can pray, God has given a key to all his treasuries. Prayer will not only unlock the clouds, as Elijah's prayer did, and bring down rain to refresh the dry and parched earth, but it will unlock heaven too. It will unlock the ark and the mercy-seat, and bring down spiritual blessings on the soul. Praying is a Christian's knocking at the gate of heaven, that knocking to which the promise is made, “Knock, and it shall be opened.” Matt. 7:7. The word which the Lord speaks to us is God's knocking at our doors : “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Rev. 3:20. And praying is our knocking at the Lord's door, at the gate of heaven, that this may be opened. By the way, learn that if you will not hear God's knock, it is just in him not to hear yours. If God's voice may not be heard on earth, your voice will not be heard in heaven. Yet fear not, you shall be heard if you will hear; hear him that speaks to you from heaven, and your cry shall enter into heaven.
Our souls will never thrive or flourish, unless the rain and the showers of heavenly grace descend and fall upon them; and we cannot look that those showers should come down, unless we look up. Persons that pray not, may be classed among the heathen: “ Pour out thy fury upon the heathen, that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name," Jer. 10:25; and among the profane ones of the earth, who are described by this character: They are all together become filthy and abominable, there is none that doeth good; they call not upon the Lord. Psalm 14:3, 4.
"Be ye sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Peter, 4:7. Be ye instant as well as constant in prayer; set up your resolutions, and set your time; set your time, and keep your time. Do not put off this duty by pretending you pray always, every day and every hour: as the pretence of an every-day's Sabbath comes just to no Sabbath, so it is usually in the case of prayer; some carnal wretches' “ praying always," is not praying at all. “Get thee into thy closet,” saith Christ; get thee a place, set thee a time, wherein thou mayest make it thy business to seek the Lord.
II. Come to pray with an actual and great ExPECTATION OF OBTAINING HELP and grace from God. Do not barely impose this duty upon yourself, as your task, but excite and encourage yourself to it, by looking for a return; think what it is that you would have, and look to receive it. The reason why we obtain no more in prayer, is because we expect no
God usually answers us according to our own hearts: narrow hearts and low expectations receive usually as little as they look for or desire: large expectations are ordinarily answered with large returns. Expectation will put life into action: you will pray with most enlarged hearts, when you are most full of hopes; the reward that is looked for in the evening, will much encourage and quicken the labor of the day : fear not to expect too much from heaven. Be not straitened in your own heart, and you shall not be straitened in the God of compassion : open thy mouth wide, and he will fill it. God will never upbraid his beggars for looking for too great an alms; he has enough to supply them, and he has a heart to bestow it. God will never say to you, You are too bold, you ask too much-too much grace, too much