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purpose of effecting the more speedy and general
propagation of the Christian cause. Among these
gifts, that of praying by the spirit was confessedly
one. But, alas! through the infirmity of human
nature, these spiritual gifts, designed for the edi-
fication of the Church, were not always employed
fication of the
to that purpose. Vanity and ostentation in the
exercise of them, sometimes took place of better
To correct this notorious, abuse of
Divine grace, and to regulate the exercise of
spiritual gifts in such a manner, that they might
prove beneficial to the parties for whose sake
they were originally granted, was the object the
Apostle had in view in writing this part of his
epistle. "I
of botibo ad vedr. Albaydr
That attendants upon a Divine ordinance
e should
be benefited by the minister of it, it
was abso-
lutely necessary that they should understand what
they heard. To this end, he who had the gift of
tongues, if he prayed in a tongue unknown to his
hearers, is required by the Apostle, to interpret at
the same time, that his congregation might be
benefited as well as himself." I would," says the
Apostle, "that ye all spake with tongues (that
you all partook of that miraculous gift whereby
you might be enabled to speak languages, you had,
never learned;) but rather that ye prophesied;
for greater is he that prophesieth than he that
speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that
he Church may receive edifying." "Wherefore
let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue, pray
that he may interpret." And for the following
very evident reason: "for," continues the Apostle,

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"if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful; not unfruitful to myself, but to my unknown tongue, congregation. As if he had said, if I pra le pont



without at the same time interpreting my prayer,
the spirit within me prayeth, it is true; or I may
be said to pray by the spirit; but my meaning being
unintelligible must of course be unprofitable to my
hearers. What is
sit then?" I will pray with the
spirit, I will pray with the understanding also.” In
other words, if therefore I do make use of that
gift bestowed upon me, of praying by the spirit,
I will make use of it in a manner that I may be
understood by my hearers, that they, not less than
myself, may be edified by my prayer. That such
is the sense in which praying by the s
spirit is here
to be understood, we conclude from what the Apos-
tle has subjoined in the following verses: "Else
when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall
he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say
Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he under-
standeth not what thou sayest; for thou verily
givest thanks w well, but the other is not edified. I
thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye
all; yet in the Church I had rather speak five
words with my understanding, that by my voice I
might teach others also, than ten thousand words
in an unknown tongue.”* ·

Hence we see, that by praying by the spirit is here meant, praying in a language unknown to the congregation; and by praying with the understanding, praying in a language with which they are * 1 Cor. xiv. 5, 13, 14, 16, et seq.

acquainted. And to convince us of the little value the Apostle set upon this gift of praying by the spirit, compared with the more important consideration of edifying his hearers, he tells us that he had rather speak five words in the Church to be understood, that by his voice he might teach others, than ten thousand words in an unknown language, though that language were dictated by the spirit.

But praying by the spirit, in the sense in which enthusiasts now understand that phrase, is not one of those extraordinary gifts with which the primitive Christians were furnished, but something very different; for it is rather an acquisition of art, attained by habit and practice, and dependent, in a great measure, for its success upon the particular genius and abilities of the party, rather than an inspired gift.


Considering it in this light, in which sound sense has ever considered it, we do not hesitate to prefer a settled form to any extemporary exertion of the mental faculties, for the following obvious


In the first place, certain it is, that so far as the congregation are concerned, the extemporary prayer of the minister is to them as much a form as any other. If, then, the congregation must have a form in either case, it remains only to be considered, what form is best calculated for their edification. Upon this head, it is presumed, there can be little dispute. For, on the one hand, we have an excellent form of prayer, composed with great judgment and piety, which the congregation may, and which it is designed they should, make

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their own, by joining in it on the other, we have
(generally speaking) an imperfect and unconnected
forms, in which they cannot joins because on
account of its being strange to their ears they
hust in a great degree, be unprepared to accom-
pany its Without, meaning, therefore, to reflect
upon the abilities of teachers out of the Church, or
tarimpute to all the improprieties of which some
have been notoriously guilty, I think it may be
smaid, that, the only choice left to the hearers upon
this subject is, whether they will have a good form
vervag bad one; a form of sound words, with which
they are previously acquainted, on the one hand;
or on the other, a form, upon the propriety of
Takhich they cannot at any time depend; experience
having proved, that both the words and matter of
it are ofttimes ill-digested, sometimes indecent,
and occasionally unsound. ryntraban
1919 Faking the subject, then, in this light only, it
toappears, that, so far at least as the edification of
the congregation is concerned, the change that
enthusiasm has introduced into the public worship
of Christians, has been much for the worse; and
that the Christian, bin leaving the established ser-
vice of the Church, has gained nothing to balance
de against the essential advantage he has lost en
od oBut there is this further, consideration attached
ito an established form of prayer in preference to
91any other, namely, the promise of favourable atten-
vtion being paid to it by the Deity; a consideration
which it is probable, may never have been taken
into the account. If two of you shall agree
lon earthy (says our blessed Saviour) as touching





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any thing that they shall daske it shall be done for them of my Father which is in For wheren two or three are gathered togethersin my) named there I am in the midst of them "On whicho Origen makes this commerit :55 This is the cause we are not heard when we pray, in that we agreem not in all things. For as in music there must be a harmony and agreement of voices, or else it delights not the hearers, so in the Churcht an assent and agreement is necessary, or else God is not neither will He hear the voice of our prayers." eltui is to this agreement in prayer, that denominates d our public worship of God common-prayer, that Christ hath promised his presence. This promisera consequently seems to belong only to the public q prayers of the Church; ‹‹which, by being previously q composed for general use, become consequently){ the joint prayers of the congregation; a circum stance which furnishes a powerful argument inw



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You that are faithful

The unreasonableness of private prayer in public will appear, w by considering, that all prayers offered up to God in public must be publicly known, consented to, and agreed reed upon, by all them that join therein. Thus it ever was in the Church of Christ the faithful knew what they prayed for. (says > St. Chrysostom, Hom. vi. on Tim.) know what things w are to be desired in prayer, because all prayer (that is public)({} ought to be common. It is the exhortation of Ignatius, thatⱭI we assemble together in one place, and use one prayer comm to all," Epist. ad Magn. And the establishment of a form for public prayogy Got an effectual, is at least the best an effectus, mont of a publicit security that can be devised against false doctrine because itTM constitutes that public standard of the Church, to which an197 appeal is at all times to be made.t bazo fua et


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