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high places of the field."-It has also been matter of earnest prayer, that the poor benighted heathen might be converted-that they might be led to renounce their idolatries and superstitions, and come to the knowledge of the truth. And the heathen in many places, and in great numbers, have been hopefully converted, We have seen whole nations burning and destroying their idols, renouncing the bloody superstitions of their fathers, and listening with attention and interest to the news of salvation by a Redeemer.-Real Christians have long been praying for the blinded, dispersed posterity of Abraham. They have been pleading for the conversion and restoration of the Jews. And their prayers in this respect have not been disregarded. Never was there so much zeal manifested in behalf of this wonderful people; and never since their rejection was there so fair a prospect of their speedy conversion, as there is at present.→→ Christians, in short, have been fervently praying for the dawn and the ingress of Millenial glory-that the happy day so often predicted in the Scriptures might be hastened, when "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters do the seas.' And has not this portion of their prayer been heard? Do we not already witness the dawning of a brighter day? Do we not behold indications in the signs of the present time, that the Millenial morning is even now spreading upon the mountains, and skirting the summit of the distant hills, ready to pour its cheering refulgence upon a long benighted world?
Do we not find therefore abundant evidence, in facts which are actually exhibiting around us-in events taking place before our eyes, that God has not forsaken the earth, or forgotten to be gracious, or ceased to be a God who heareth prayer? And ought not Christians to take high and strong encouragement
to persevere and increase in the duty of prayer, arising not only from the character and perfections of their heavenly Father-from his commands and promises-and from the fact that he has heard and answered the prayers of his people in other times ;-but from their very senses--from actually witnessing what he is doing in answer to prayer at the present moment?
If Christians have so great encouragements to prayer as we have seen, then their backwardness and negligence in respect to this duty are very strange and criminal. So truly pleasant is the faithful performance of it-so highly honorable must it be for dust and ashes like ourselves to be admitted freely into the presence of Jehovah to hold conversation and communion with him-and so important withal to be able in this way to have power with God himself and to prevail; that it might be supposed, if the door of the celestial palace was but opened-if the privilege of coming to a mercy seat was granted—if permission to pray was only given,-it might be supposed indeed, that the mercy seat would be encircled with crowds of suppliants, and the voice of prayer would never cease. Now the truth is, we are not only permitted, but commanded to pray; and not only commanded, but urged-by motives, promises, and all possible encouragements, to persevere and be faithful in this duty. And notwithstanding all this, prayer is greatly, awfully neglected. The mercy seat, instead of being thronged, is comparatively deserted; and the voice of humble, prevalent prayer, instead of falling in unceasing and delightful accents on the ear of heaven, there is reason to fear is comparatively but seldon heard. What folly and ingratitude, what a strange and criminal abuse of offered, urged privi
leges is this? How will the guilty children of men answer it before God at another day, that they have been so weakly and wickedly negligent in the duty of prayer?
I hope the subject to which we have attended may fall with its whole weight, to impress and urge the duty of prayer upon every hearer. If our God has af forded us not only the liberty of approaching him with our requests, but great and precious encouragement to do this; then certainly we owe it to our selves, our fellow immortals, and to him, to neglect this delightful and important service no more. If we are weak, and he is strong; if we are in need of all things, and he has all things needful to bestow; if he has encouraged and required us to come freely to himi and ask him for favors; if he has promised to hear and, so far as it can be consistent, to grant our requests; if he actually has heard and answered thou sands of our brethren in other ages, who have left behind them their testimony to his faithfulness; and besides all this, if we really behold him at the present time shaking the earth in answer to prayer, and overturning, overturning, and overturning, to introduce the kingdom of him whose right it is to reign; -what, my brethren, can we desire more? or what in a way of encouragement can we have more? If, after all this, we will neglect our closets, our family altars, our sanctuary privileges, our concert meets ings, and our various opportunities for public, private, and secret prayer; it certainly cannot be for lack of encouragement. It cannot be for lack of any thing which God can properly bestow. And if we will consider the many favors which have been poured upon us from the munificent hand of God, which it be comes us gratefully to acknowledge before him; and
the more numerous offences we have committed, which it is incumbent on us to confess in humble prostration at his feet; and the still more great and numerous blessings which we need, and without which we are undone for time and eternity; we shall find inducements in abundance from these sources, to continue instant and carnest in prayer. At the same time, the numberless necessities of our fellow men are pressing upon us, and all urging us to the mercy seat. The world is lying in wickedness around us. Many portions are literally covered with darkness, and filled with misery and death. The strong man armed keeps his palace, and his goods are in peace. The cruel god of this world reigns almost without a rival, and his infatuated servants choose to have it so. What then can be done? God alone can dispossess him, and he will be inquired of by his children to do this for them. Let them then approach his throne, in humble, fervent, persevering prayer. From the high encouragement which he has granted them let them take encouragement, and literally give him no more rest, until he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the whole earth.
"It shan't be said that praying breath
ON PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER.
Luke xviii. 1.
"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to fuint."
ONE of the greatest hindrances to prayer is the disposition so often manifested to become discouraged in it. Christians feel their need perhaps of a particular favor; feel that it must come from God; and go to him with humility and earnestness. But because for wise reasons he does not see fit immediately to grant their requests, and is pleased to try them with difficulties and delay; they become discouraged, lose their engagedness, and give way to the false and paralizing impressions that prayer is a vain
Our Saviour was well acquainted with this propensity of our fallen natures, and to counteract it, uttered the parable alluded to in the text. Under the similitude of an unjust judge, who was overcome by the importunity of a disregarded but injured widow, and induced to do her justice, he shews the certainty that the just Judge of all the earth will not be deaf to the importunate cries of his beloved people. "Shall not God avenge his own elect which cry unto him day and night, though he bear long with them ? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”
In my remarks on this subject, I propose,