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Adoration is the noblest employment of created beings; confession the natural language of guilty creatures; gratitude the spontaneous expression of pardoned sinners. Prayer is desire: it is not a mere conception of the mind, not an effort of the

intellect, not an act of the memory, but an

elevation of the soul towards its Maker; a

pressing sense of our own ignorance and infirmity, a consciousness of the perfections

of God, of his readiness to hear, of his power to help, of his willingness to save. It is not an emotion produced in the senses, nor an effect wrought by the imagination;

but a determination of the will, an effusion

of the heart.

Prayer is an act both of the understand

ing and of the heart. The understanding must apply itself to the knowledge of the Divine perfections, or the heart will not be

led to the adoration of them.

It would

not be a reasonable service if the mind

were excluded. It must be rational wor

ship, or the human worshipper will not bring to the service the distinguishing faculty of his nature, which is reason. It must be spiritual worship, or it will want the distinctive quality to make it acceptable to Him who is a spirit, and who has declared that he will be worshipped “in spirit and in truth."

Man is not only a sinful but also a helpless, and therefore a dependant being. This offers new and powerful motives to prayer, and shows the necessity of looking continually to a higher power, to a better strength than our own. If that Power sustains us not ve fall; if He direct us not we wander. His guidance is not only perfect freedom, but perfect safety. Our greatest

danger begins from the moment we imagine

we are able to go alone.

He who does not believe this fundamen

tal truth, “the helplessness of man,” on

which the other doctrines of the Bible are

built--even he who does nominally profess

to assent to it as a doctrine of Scripture, yet if he does not experimentally acknowledge it-if he does not feel it in the con

victions of his own awakened conscience,

in his discovery of the evil workings of his own heart, and the wrong propensities of his own nature, all bearing their testimony

to its truth,--such a one will not pray

earnestly for its cure—will not pray with that feeling of his own helplessness, with that sense of dependance on Divine assist

ance which alone makes prayer efficacious.

Nothing will make us truly humble, nothing will make us constantly vigilant, nothing will entirely lead us to have recourse to prayer, so fervently or so frequently as this ever-abiding sense of our corrupt and helpless nature, as our not being able to ascribe any disposition in ourselves to anything that is good, or any power to avoid, by our own strength, an thing that is evil.

Prayer is right in itself as the most powerful means of resisting sin and advancing in holiness. It is above all right, as everything is which has the authority of Scripture, the command of God, and the

example of Christ.

There is perfect consistency in all the

ordinances of God; a perfect congruity in

the whole scheme of his dispensations. If

man were not a corrupt creature, such prayer as the gospel enjoins would not have been necessary. Had not prayer been an important means for curing those corruptions, a God of perfect wisdom would

not have ordered it.

He would not have

prohibited everything which tends to inflame and promote them, had they not existed; nor would he have commanded

everything that has a tendency to diminish

and remove them, had not their existence

been fatal. Prayer, therefore, is an indis

pensable part of his economy and of our


We cannot attain to a just notion of

prayer while we remain ignorant of our

own nature, of the nature of God as re

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