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acted, in the face of the greatest danger; dreading the displeasure of God, more than any evil which men could inflictb.

It is desirable, then, that we should pray regularly at these appointed seasons; otherwise, if we have no fixed hours for our devotion, there is danger lest we should soon be tempted to neglect the duty altogether.

But we ought not to confine the exercise of this Christian privilege to three times a-day. Many circumstances may occur to call for more frequent addresses to the Throne of Grace. In health and prosperity,as well as in sickness, adversity, temptation, affliction, and sorrow, we should often lift up our hearts to God, that he may relieve us from the distress which we suffer, or give us patience to bear it with Christian resignation; and that he may bless us with every needful good, and preserve us froin every injury.

9. The great utility of prayer cannot be questioned.

every age, earnest supplication has succeeded in drawing down the benediction of the Almighty.

Moses averted the anger of God from the Israelites by his powerful intercession in their behalfo.

Hezekiah entreated the Lord to deliver his kingdom from the destruction with which it was menaced by the invasion of Sennacherib; and his prayer was answered .

David has recorded the goodness of God, who frequently listened to his cry, and helped himo.

In

Elijah prayed for rain to refresh the land from the ill effects of a long-continued drought, and God granted his request": • Dan, iji. 16-19. c Ex. x. 6—23. 2 Kings xix. 20. • Ps. cxviii. 5--21.

i James v.

17--19.

10. It is not to be expected, however, that prayer will induce God to alter his fixed determination, or prevail on hiin to bestow upon us whatever we choose to solicit : for if men could be sure of obtaining any thing which they thought proper to ask, some of them might seek after objects, the grant of which would be the greatest curse with which they could be visited.

God has wisely, therefore, set a limit to our petitions, beyond which it will be wrong for us to pass, in our approaches to him. “ And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." All those spiritual mercies which relate to our comfort and salvation, such as forgiveness of sins, and a new heart, by which we are enabled to do the righteous will of God, may be supplicated with a rational expectation of our receiving them.

The encouragement held out to the performance of the duty is sufficiently strong to induce us to en

Our Lord prompts us to it by a view of the superiority of God over earthly parents. "If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.”

“Men ought, therefore, always to pray, and not to fainti.” The grant

The grant of every one of those benefits, which we need to render us everlastingly happy, is suspended on the condition of our being diligent in seeking them. “ For this will I be inquired of, to do it for them.”

Ask, then, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. " | John v. 14.

1) Luke xi. 13. • Luke xviii. 1.

* Ezek. xxxvi. 37.

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every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to every one that knocketh, it shall be opened'.'

Will not these assurances embolden you to come and spread your wants before the Lord? What more can he do to draw us into his presence i Shall he, then, solicit us in vain to be happy ? . When He says, “ Seek ye my face ;" let us reply, in sincerity, " Thy face, Lord, will we seek m.” 11. But, “ to cast off fear, and to restrain

prayer before God",” is the certain characteristic of an ungodly man, who sets the Lord at defiance, and is alike disregardful of his smile or his frown. And what will be the end of those who neglect prayer? God avers, that

upon such he will finally “pour out his indignation, and upon the families that have not called upon his nameo.”

On the other hand, God is pleased with the devotions of his people, and plentifully showers his blessing upon them.

“ The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers P. “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him ; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him

my

salvation." Mat. vii. 7, 8. Ps. xxvii. s.

* Jób xv. 4. • Jer. x. 25. p Ps. xxxiv. 15. 9 Ps. xci. 14-16.

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ON THE NATURE AND ADVANTAGE OF THE

SACRAMENTS.

LECTURE LXXVI.

ON BAPTISM. Rom. vi, 3, 4. Know ye not, that so many of us as were bap

tized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death ; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Pas

ther, even so we also should walk in newness of life. From the very infancy of the Christian Church, the two Divine Ordinances which Protestants account the only Sacraments have been generally designated by that name. The Latin word which is translated

Sacrament' signifies an oath, which was usually taken by the soldiers of the Roman armies ; by which they bound themselves to be true to their country and commanders. Hence the same term has been applied, with the strictest propriety, to Baptism and the Lord's Supper; as being two solemn engagements, into which all professed Christians enter, to live devoted to Christ, the Captain of their Salvation ; under whose banners they pro-mise “ to fight manfully against sin, the world, and the devil ; and to continue his faithful soldiers and servants unto the end of their lives a.'

The Sacraments exhibit Divine truths to our senses, and render them more familiar and intelligible to our minds by the outward . signs and figures of water, bread, and wine ; and the reception of grace and spiritual benefits is represented by significant actions. By Divine appointment, they become means of grace and acts of worship, honourable to God, and profitable to us; binding us to the performance of certain duties, which, if conscientiously discharged,

* Public Baptism of Infants.

our

will be attended with the blessing of Almighty God upon

souls. 1. We are taught by our Lord to consider Baptism as the initiatory ordinance of Christianity. When he sent his Apostles and Disciples to convert the nations to the obedience of faith," he directed them, by the application of water, “ to baptize thein, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.". This solemn rite was intended to be the door of admission into the visible Church, by imposing on the baptized person the Christian name, and by granting him the privilege of the appointed means of grace and salvation; through the right use of which, under the Divine blessing, he might really become a Child of God, walk agreeably to so high and holy a relation, and, finally, inherit his kingdoin for ever.

Waler, on account of its purifying effects and general, usefulness, is constantly employed' by the inspired writers as an emblem of the satisfying blessings of the Gospel, and especially of the enlivening, sanctifying, fertilizing, and consoling influences of the Holy Ghosto.

The use of it was appointed in several of the rites and ceremonies of the Law, as well as in the preparatory baptism of John,

That holy and happy change which Christ denominates a “ being born again," and which is essentially necessary to the felicity of mankind, is outwardly. shadowed forth by the water of baptism, but can only be truly wrought on our souls by the effectual operation of the Spirit of God". Conformably to this view of the subject, Jehovah makes the follow, ing promise to the Children of Israel, which is to be Mat. x.xviii 19. • Isa xliv. 3, 4. lv. 1-4. John iji. 5-9.

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