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make themselves merry with the homeliness of his style : nay, I must say further, that we some. times meet with persons whose language in prayer is so unspeakably superior to their abilities or performances of other kinds, as to how that they have an unction from the Holy One"; and that they are examples of the accomplishment of that promise, Psal. xxv. 14. " The se. 6 cret of the Lord is with them that fear him :. 66 and he will shew them his covenant."
4. I must conclude the subject at this time with earnestly exhorting you all to the diligent. exercise of this duty. And that it may be the more distinct and effectual, I shall briefly point: out to you the following objects of prayer.
1. Be fervent in prayer for the improvement of the spiritual life in your own soulso. Prayer is at once the security and the comfort of a Chri.. ftian. Hate, fear, prevent as much as in you lieth every thing that may obstruct your regula-rity and earneltness in this duty.
2. Be earnest in your fupplication, and importunate in your pleading for the church of Christ, and the glory of his kingdom, especially in your native country. The character of real Chri. ftians, in this respect, is well described by the prophet : If, lxii. 6. 7. “ I have set watchmen .
upon thy walls, O Jerufalem, which shall ne« ver hold their peace day nor night: ye that: “ make mention of the Lord, keep not silence; 4 and give him no rest, till he establish, and till “ he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." The languishing state of religion in this nation,
and the threatening aspect of Providence, should press us to this duty: and surely, in proportion as our belief of the truths of the gospel is real and prevalent, we must behold transgressions with grief, and be ready to intercede for a “time " of refiething from the presence of the Lord.”
3. Be earnest for a season of the power of God at this approaching communion. We serve an all-sufficient and unchangeable God, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever, who is able to pour down his Spirit in a large and plentiful measure, and make it a happy time for the espousal of many finners to Christ, and for edifying his faints, that they may go on their way rejoicing, and eat their bread with gladnels and singleness of heart. Let us plead his own promise, 11. xliv. 3. 4. “ For I will pour water upon him that is “thirsly, and floods upon the dry ground : I “ will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my “ blessing upon thine offspring : and they shall “ spring up as among the grass, as willows by o the water-courses."
4. Pray for the ministers of the gospel. The apostles often ask this affiltance of the faithful : Col. iv. 3. “ Withal, praying also for us, that “ God would open unto us a door of utterance, " to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am " also in bonds.” If you believe the efficacy of prayer, you must be sensible that your diligence. in this respect will prepare ministers for you, and you for them. This is to point the eye of faith beyond the servants to the master of the feast;
and you will probably both look for and receive your answer from himself.
5. In the last place, I would earnestly recommend to you the exercise of joint and social conference and prayer. There is great danger of extinguishing the heavenly flame, if while you are necessarily surrounded with a flood of ungodly men, you do not often associate with the excellent ones of the earth, and place your delight there : Malachi.iii. 16.." Then they that “ feared the Lord, spake often one to another, " and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a “ book of remembrance was written before him “ for them that feared the Lord, and that thought “ upon his name." There is a great advantage in society for every purpose. If we know the benefit of united bodies for business and trade, if we find the pleasure of joining together for mu. tual entertainment and social converse, must not as great a benefit result from a more sacred union? Serious persons, by associating together, direct each other by their counsels, embolden each o. iher by their examples, and afliit each other by their prayers. There is alfo a particular pro. mise of efficacy to social prayer : Maith. xviii. 19. 20.
“I say unto you, that if two of you “ shall agree on earth, as touching any thing " that they shall ask, it shall be done for them " of my father which is in heaven. For where * two or three are gathered together in my
name, there am I in the midst of them.”
gracious presence, and make you to say with Jacob at Bethel, Gen. xxviii. 16. 17. “ And he faid, “ Surely the Lord is in this place ; and I knew “ it not. And he was afraid, and said, How “ dreadful is this place ! this is none other but u the house of God, and this is the gate of hea 66 vcn."
S E R MON
Fervency and importunity in prayer.
GENESIS Xxxii. 26.
And he faid, I will not let thee go, except thou
Second fcrmon on the text.
II. E proceed now to the second thing
proposed in the distribution of the subject; which was, To show you the duty and reasonableness of wrestling and importunity in prayer. Here I am sensible, that a corrupt and impatient mind may be able to muster up objections against it. There is something wonderful and unsearchable in all the works of God, and in none more, as it is reasonable to suppose, than in the methods of his grace. In particular, it may appear surprising, that he should exercise his people with such conflicts and trials, that it should be necessary to overcome him, as it were, by importunity, before we can obtain those blessings which himself hath commanded us to alk, and which he hath promised to bestow. Why, will it be said, does a God of mercy, and of infinite fullness, to whom all our wants and