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and what is your requeft, and they fhall not be rejected. Is it temporal bleffings that you want, feek the Lord and fear be fore him, "He will bless your basket and your store. He "will open unto thee his good treasure; the heaven to give "the rain unto thy land in his feason, and to bless all the "work of thy hand. The mercy of the Lord is from ever"lafting to everlafting upon them that fear him, and his ❝righteousness unto children's children. Wealth and riches "fhall be in his house, and his righteousness endureth forever."

Is it fpiritual bleffings that we need? God knows of these we are extremely deftitute. And what is still worse, we are not duly fenfible of our lamentable condition; neither are fervently petitioning the throne of grace for ourselves, our families, our children, or others. How many among us are living under the load of all their guilt, and absolutely insensible that they carry a weight fufficient to fink them to utter deftruction. Let all fuch after fo long a time hear the word of the Lord, lay your fins to heart, and repent and pray that your fins may be forgiven you. "Awake thou that fleepeth and arise from "the dead, and Chrift fhall give you light. Call upon me "faith the Lord, and will anfwer and fhew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”

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How many doubting christians are there among us, fufpended between hopes and fears with regard to their immortal intereft. Let all fuch be more diligent, faithful and fervent in prayer, and if you are the children of grace, you shall surely be comforted, "Ye fhall feek me and find me, faith the Lord, "when you fearch for me with all your heart. Call upon me "in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, and thou fhalt "glorify me."

Finally, all who have any regard for the profperity of Zion,

who defire a revival of practical and experimental religion in this day of fmall things, let them be exhorted to be earnest and abundent in prayer to God, with whom the refidue of the fpirit is. Be affured if ever there be a revival of vital piety, it will be ufhered in by an outpouring of a fpirit of prayer and fupplication. "Therefore, for Zion's fake, let us not hold our "peace, and for Jerufalem's fake, let us not reft, until the " righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation "thereof as a lamp that burneth." And may our hearts ever be directed into the love of God and the patient waiting of Chrift Jefus.

SERMON III

The Duty of Secret Prayer.

Matt. vi. 6. But thou, when thou prayeft, enter into thy closet, and when thou haft fhut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in fecret, and thy Father which feeth in fecret shall reward thee

openly.

: ཏི,* ༈ * ·》

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WHEN Jefus Chrift, the Saviour of the world, entered upon his public miniftry, the Scribes and Pharifees were the moft distinguished characters in the Jewish church. They were confidered by the mafs of the people as perfons of extraordi nary piety and goodnefs. They were admired for the orthodoxy of their principles, the ftri&nefs of their morals, and the zeal and fervency of their devotions. But all that for which men highly esteemed them was an abomination in the fight of an heart fearching God. Thus our Lord views them in these very points for which they were held in admiration, and on which their reputation was established. He affures his hearers "That except your righteoufnefs fhall exceed the righteoufnefs

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"of the Scribes and Pharifees, ye fhall in no cafe enter inte "the kingdom of heaven." In the preceding chapter he expofes and refutes both their doctrines and morals, clearly pointing out the dangerous fallacy of the one and the bafe hypocrify of the other.

In this he confiders their conduct and the oftentatious ends

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they acted from, in religious duties. When they gave alms, it was not from love to God, or charity to the poor, but merely 10. be feen and catch the empty applaufe of men. When they prayed it was for the fame purpofe; they stood in the Synagogues or in the corners of the streets, but all was for mere show and to obtain a name as persons of high distinction in religion. Chrift declares his abhorrence of all fuch abominations and commands his disciples to perform their alms without of tentation, and their fecret prayers in a private manner. It is fecret perfonal prayer made publicly before spectators, that our Lord here condemns in these Pharifees, and enjoins both the duty and the mode of performing the fame in the words of our text; "But thou, when thou prayeft, enter into thy closet, " and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which "is in fecret, and thy Father which feeth in secret shall reward thee openly. How beautiful is this divine direction, it charms the pious heart, and gives pleasure to the foul of fincerity.

Prayer may be contemplated as of two kinds, public or focial, and perfonal or fecret. The former will be attended to in its proper place, the latter is to be the fubject of our prefent confideration.

Perfonal or fecret prayer is that wherein none joins or is prefent. The perfon is alone by himself, feparated from the view and fociety of others. None is prefent but the omnifcient, and omniprefent God to whom he offers his addreffes. He

reprefents what are his perfonal feelings, views, wants and defires. And this is the kind of prayer taught us in our text. In this duty we are to be as fecret and as much unobserved as may be. By closet and fhutting our door, is evidently intended any place of privacy or retirement, whether it be the house, chamber or barn, the field or woods. The direction to us is to be alone. To affect obfervation in this fervice is finful and edious in the fight of God, and an evidence of grofs hypocrify. This was the condemnation of the Pharifees, and the command. ment of our Lord is to his difciples, "Be not ye as the hypo crites."

This discourse of Chrift about prayer, plainly implies that it is the indifpenfable duty of all to pray to God, and that it is particularly incumbent upon every one to pray by himself. The Pharifees are no where blamed for praying, but for their oftentation or affecting obfervation in their perfonal devotions. When the manner of performing a duty is directed and enjoined, furely the duty itself is commanded.

Prayer in general whether private or public is a moft folemn act of adoration, in which we represent to God our abfolute dependence upon him, a sense of our wants and neceffities, a belief of his all-fufficiency to fupply them, and wherein we humbly implore him for this purpose. In fome of thefe particulars, prayer differs from praife which is an act of adoration alfo. Praise is an act of adoration in which we afcribe to God, his names, titles, attributes and works, and all his glory; but prayer is a representation of our wants before God, and offering up in faith the defires of our fouls for a fupply of the fame.

The fenfe and feeling of our wants at beft is bet very weak and imperfect, both in regard to the things we need and the

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