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you do, how many efforts do you make ?!! This was an adhominemn thrust which himself had provoked and for which he was not prepared. The company saw his discomfiture and sympathized in his defeat-for his own conscience told him, as his actions told others, that he never made any efforts upon any principle to attain eternal life, but was living in those habits of levity and dissipation which utterly indisposed him to all religion, and perfectly disqualified him to judge in “ her magnificent and awful cause."
The foregoing is in substance a fact: and as it virtually occurs very often, it may be proper to accompany its recital with some reflections.
1. We see that the general haters of the doctrines of grace are not constituted such by regeneration. They ordinarily hate or neglect vital piety as cordially as they oppose the truth of God. Every man bates the gospel by nature, and human enmity never opens its "eyes to its own existence or the divine testimony. If the doctrine of election, were relished and discerned by “the natural man,” its claims to divinity must be surrendered, it could no longer approve itself as one of 66 the things of the Spirit of God.”
2. The objections of enemies in connexion with their characters and lives are edifying to the christian-they tend to confirm him in the truth of the gospel. What vacuity of evangelical knowledge, what antipathy to scriptural authority, what insensibility to the rights of the Supreme-to his presence—his frownhis veracity, characterize all they say and all they think in their sincere infatuation! What prayerless lives, what irreverent manners, what irresponsible pretensions do they evince! How great the moral difference between 6 him that serveth God and him that serveth him not!" How is this difference evoked by doctrineone hates, another loves the testimony of Jehovah ! The eternal divergency of their respective destinies commences in the present world! Hatred of truth is the index of perdition; the love of the truth is the dawn of blessedness: the former indeed may be superseded by the latter-the latter never will revert into
the former. Such is the glorious constitution of God. Neither chance, nor fate, nor Satan, participates the throne of the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the only wise God !"
3. Sinners are insincere in their objections to the truth. This is plain from their actions, which are more eloquent than their words, and better witnesses in the case. What wicked, inexcusable transgressors are they upon their own principles! They say they have allsufficiency of power, and yet-do nothing ! Nothing? they do much against Christ and their souls! They wish to continue in sin, to be blameless in the sight of God, and to hold their destiny in their own hands. Nothing will please them that honours religion, and viodicates God and depresses them as sinners! They hate mercy, and demand justice else why do they complain? Has God oppressed them? Would they object if they loved God?' Their enmity, caprice, and pride are the three unfailing springs whence all their objections flow! “ They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.” Lastly,
4. To yield the truth in controversy with God's ene. mies, is to lose every thing and to gain nothing. Those who know the value of the divine countepance will not tremble for the cause. The majority are on the right -side-because God and holy angels espouse it ! There is therefore no need of surrendering the truth. If we look only at the good of the objector, we shall see that we are debtors to him to maintain it. Unless error, alienation, and the curse are desirable, we must not allow him any advantage against the truth that-alone of instruments--can save him from them. If we regard our own interests, our personal dignity, our spiritual peace, our present usefulness, and ultimate vindication, we must adhere to the truth. If we keep it, it will keep us. “ I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, pul me not to shame. I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
The Apostle of the Gentiles has given us an interesting description of the Christian's armour. It is both offensive and defensive. He needs such armour in his conflict with spiritual enemies, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. The Christian needs his loins girded with truth, his heart covered with a breast-plate of righteousness, and his feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. He needs the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, successfully to fight the tight of faith. All prayer recommended in our motto is that wbich conjoins and cements together the whole of the armour. It is this which gives point to the Christian's sword, and impenetrability to his shield. In resuming the series on prayer, it is proposed in connexion with this passage, which recommends ALL PRAYER; to consider some motives to excite to devout and persevering prayer. In doing this we should observe,
FIRST, That there is a duty in prayer. Man is a being wholy dependant on a higher power. It becomes him habitually to feel and acknowledge bis dependance. But a feeling sense of this is the life and soul of prayer. Man is a daily recipient of the divine goodness. The favours which descend to him from the Father of lights are new every morning and fresh every evening. Every day brings new obligations of gratitude to God. And prayer embraces a suitable expression of thankfulness to him. Man is formed with a capacity to discern something of the perfections of that glorious Being whom all heaven adore and praise. This capacity in man imposes on him obligations to mingle his praises with those in heaven. And praise to Jehovah is an inseparable attendant on a praying temper of heart.
Man is a sinner, and as such it is his duty to confess his sins to God, with ingenuous shame and with heart-felt abhorrence of sin. And confession of sin is a conspicuous part of the acceptable prayer recorded in Scripture.
Man is a needy creature. He should feel his necessities and bear them to that throne of grace from which he may be relieved. Man is a social being. He ought therefore to feel for the welfare of others and commend them to God.
Thus the constitution and circumstances of man prove it his duty to use ALL PRAYAR. Holy men of God have always viewed prayer a duty. Besides, the authority of God has made it man's duty.
It is bis pleasure that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting. He has commanded us to pray without ceasing, in every thing by prayer and supplication, together with thanksgiving, to let our requests be made known to God. And in our motto we are required to be s praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverence and supplication for all saints.” The scriptures here cited with a multitude of others prove it our duty to be always in a devotional frame of mind, and prepared to engage in all the kinds of prayer, at their proper seasons.
Secondly. There is a PRIVILEGE in prayer. How great ihe privilege, that worms of the dust are encouraged to commune with the King of kings and Lord of lords ! Is it a privilege for children to have access to a parent's presence and a parent's heart? Is it a privilege for subjects to have access to the throne of a gracious earthly sovereign; how much greater the privileges of the children of God, the subjects of his spiritual kingdom in having access to the Father of their spirits, the gracious Sovereign of the universe. Is it not a privilege to the pious mind to enumerate and dwell in contemplation on the perfections of God, the manifestations of his goodness, and his grace? Is it not a privilege for sinners who are condemned by a holy law, to have access to a mercy seat, where they may seek and obtain the par. don of their sins ? Is it not a privilege for the ignorant
to have intercourse with Infinite wisdom, with an assurance that if any lack wisdom and ask it of God, in faith, it shall be given them? Is it not an intinite priviiege for polluted souls to have access through a Mediator to the Fountain of all purity ? to be made partakers of his holiness? Is it not a privilege for weak and helpless worms to repair to God, that the everlasting arms may be put under them; that they may have grace to help in every time of need? Is it not an invaluable privilege for the sons of wretchedness to have access where everlasting consolation may be obtained ?
Yes, my brethren, the privilege of prayer is indescribably great. The pious soul often feels it to be so. He rejoices in the reflection that the God whom he worsbips is every where present, that he may have access to his heavenly Father at home and abroad, in the house and by the way. He rejoices that this God is ready to hear the cry of the humble, and able to do for them even more than they can ask of him. He rejoices that in seasons of prosperity he may gratefully make mention of the divine goodness ; and that in seasons of adversity he may pour his sorrows into the bosom of his God. He finds it his highest privilege when he has nearness of access to the mercy seat. Compared with the privilege of communion with the Father, and with bis Son Jesus Christ all other privileges in time dwindle to insignificance. Of this privilege none can deprive the Christian.
THIRDLY. There is PROFIT in prayer. It has a powerful tendency to abstract the mind from worldly thoughts and distracting cares; it tends to detach the affections from earthly objects and elevate them to things heavenly and divine. It produces the highest degree of attention in the soul which it is capable of giving to religious subjects. It renders the understanding accessible to the light of truth. It tends to produce tenderness of conscience. It tends to warm and soften our cold and obdurate hearts. It secretly bows and conforms the will of the creature to the will of the Creator.
ALL PRAYER, rightly offered, tends to assimilate the soul to the moral likeness of God; to communicate to it