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house, O Lord, for ever, (Ps. xciii, 5.) and shall thus be led to see that a due preparation of heart is suitable and needful. If you can, then, obtain time and opportunity for this purpose, I would exhort you to prepare your hearts by secret prayer and reading the Scriptures. It has been found by some to be a good practice to read the Lessons of the day before the service. One eminently good man was accustomed to spend most of the Sabbath morning in secret prayer and meditation, and was wont to say,
We many times blame the minister, when the fault is our own, that we have not prayed for him as we should.”
BE WATCHFUL over your spirit in gning. Much of our spirituality and comfort in public worship depends on the state of mind in which we come. We should, as far as may be, abstain not only from worldly business, but wordly conversation, and thoughts on the sabbath. A dream cometh, says Solomon, through the multitude of business. Eccles. v. 3. If you are conversing or thinking on the things of this world till you enter the house of God, how is it possible that your heart can at once be raised to God ?
Earnestly aim at going thither in the SPIRIT OF PRAYER, looking upwards for the divine blessing to give life, efficacy, and unction to the outward service. It would be happy for us if we could always go in that spirit which David describes, “0 God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee : my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is ; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Ps. Ixiii, 1, 2.
When we come in any thing of this spirit, how different a service is public worship to what it is when we come carelessly. How humbling, how awful, how elevating!
Let us also go in the SPIRIT OF PRAISE. “ I was glad when they said unto me, let us go unto the house of the Lord.” Ps. cxxii, 1. We should come up to his house with a thankful, grateful spirit; with the feeling of children going to their parents; not in the spirit of bondaye, but in the spirit of adoption. A dutiful child, entirely dependent on the bounty, wisdom, and love of its kind father, after experiencing the contempt or unfriendly treatment to which a stranger in a foreign country is exposed, loves to go to the father's dwelling; and whilst we are in this hostile and ensnaring world, it is our privilege to “serve the Lord' with gladness, and come before his presence with joy. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.”
Yet let holy joy be ever connected with GODLY FEAR. The Jews were commandei, Reverence my sanctuary. Lev. xix, 30. And Solomon's directions should be often in our thoughts; Keep thy foot, (watch' and mark all the motions of soul and body, restraining all that would be unbecoming) “ when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear than to offer the sacrifice of fools. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to uiter any thing before God, for God is in heaven and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few." Eccles. v, 1, 2. We should endeavour to have that lively impression of the divine presence, which pervaded Jacob's mind, after his intercourse with his God; “ Surely the Lord is in this place-how dreadful is this place; this is none other but the house of Guil, and this is the gate of heaven" Gen. xsviii, 16, 17. The more just and lively views we have of God's character, presence, and glory, the more we shall seek to honour him. This reve:ence St. Paul urges; Let us have grace, (we cannot do without it) whereby we may
serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. Heb. xi, 33. Closely connected with this reverence will be DEEP
We may always observe this, when God's servants have had near approaches to bim, or a true view of his glory, they have been greatly humbled in the sense of their own sinfulness; as Abraham, « Behold, now I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes ;" (Gen. xviii, 27.) or as Job, “ Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth ;" (Job. xl, 4.) or, as Isaiah, “ Wo is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” Isa. vi, 5. We should come with that feeling which Daniel well expresses, “ We do not present our supplications before thee, O Lord, for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.” Dan. ix, 18.
II. A due behaviour in the house of God.
Those who come with the views and feelings which I have mentioned, will readily admit the propriety and follow the practice of the custom among us, first to seek in private the grace of God to help us in our worship. Let this be done briefly and fervently; constantly, but not formally.*
* I cannot here but quote an admirable prayer of Bonnel's ; bis Biographer says, “When he came early to i burch and could get to a retired plac+, be continued at bis privale devotions until the public strvice began, or a very little before ; and how he einployed those bapry njoments of privacy and devotion in the house of God, the following prayer, mentioned as used by bim in the Church before morning payer began, will
“ Bebold, O Lord, this portion of thy family, wbom in this place thou hast so otten graciously visited and favoured ; ard uho, haviog addicted and giveo up ourselves to thy service, are bere
The great thing is to keep our mind and affections fixed on the duty before us, so as to be able to say, this one thing I do. Aim, then, to have the mind engaged, and affections excited suitable to every part of the service. Protestants see at once the folly of praying in an unknown tongue; but, unless the heart join in the prayer-unless, when the minister “bless with the Spirit, he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say, Amen, (i. e. really join with his heart, at thy giving of thanks,” (1 Cor. xvi, 16.) it is as unprofitable as if he prayed in a foreign language. Prayers are not to be heard as sermons, but to be really offered up to God in the desire of the heart. In the word read and preached by the minister, let us hear God speaking, and receive it in faith. In joining the confessions of sin, let diet together in bebalf of ourselves and of the rest of our happy number, and of all our Christian brethren, even thy whole Church. We beseech thee to unite our hearts more and more in thyself, that we may have but one heart, and one mind, as we have but one design, one aim and hope. Let us now welcome each other, with hearts full of love and joy, into thy presence, as we hope one day to welcome each other into thy presence in glory. Let our civil respects before thy service begins, be such bearly and boly salutations as the blessed Elizabetb gave to the inother of our Lord, and may we bave leave to say to each other, “ Hail, thou that art favoured of God; tbe Lord is witb thee!" Behold, we come with united hearts, to beg of tbee the confirming of thy grace and favour to us; we come to present ourselves before thee, with most, thankful acknowledgments for thy mercies received, and to adore thee wbo bast so graciously visited us, We come humbly to implore of tbee strength against our respective temptations and difficulties in life ; to beseecb thee to supply all our weaknesses ; to make us happily victorious against all our corruptions; and more than conquerors through thee who hast loved us. But, o our bountiful Lord God! if it be such joy to meet those whom we love now in thy presence, wbat will it be to meet ten thousand glorifierd spirits, each of which we shall love infinitely more in thy kingilom of glory, than we can do any creature here! Glory be to thee, O Lord of glory and of love, who hast giver such present pleasure in thy service, and such comfortable hopes of those eternal good things which thou bast prepared for them that love thee. Amen."
memory bring before you your particular transgressions; and let your hearts confess, as well as your lips. In petitions for pardon ard a supply of necessities, let faith realize the power and willingness of God to give. In praying for others, remember, God's children are members of that one body to which you are united ; and those now in darkness may yet be fellowmembers of the same body. Truly desire their best good. In thanksgiving, call to mind your own particular mercies, and your utter unworthiness of them ; our hearts should overflow with gratitude, while our mouth is filled with praise. We should have David's feelings; "0 magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Ps. xxxiv, 3.
But in all have an especial reference to the mediation, intercession, and grace of Christ. Vain are all the foregoing rules and hints without the Spirit of Christ in your heart. You cannot really, or profitably, practise one of them, unless the Holy Spirit be in you ; for, however necessary rules and precepts may be, never yet was a Christian formed by rules alone, but by the Spirit of Christ giving life to the letter, and writing the rule in the heart. He is present, (Mat. xviii. 20.) By faith then, realize his presence. It spreads a savour-it imparts a life and beauty-it throws a glory upon Christian assemblies. Believe, then, the Lord Jesus Christ to be standing in the niidst of his people, giving power to the prayers, and efficacy to the blessing at the close, and offering up in heaven all those prayers which you have made on earth.
While the prayers which the minister has to read alone are repeating, do not accompany him by your voice, or in whispers : this well-meaning people sometimes do ; but it disturbs the devotion of others. The