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ON LUKEWARMNESS IN DEVOTION.
HOSEA, CHAP. VII. VER. 14.
They have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds.
As rational creatures, conscious of our entire dependency upon God, it is natural that we should deprecate the visitations of his anger, and offer up our thanksgivings for those numerous and signal displays of his mercy, which the grateful heart cannot fail to acknowledge. The moral government of the Deity is by nothing more strongly marked than by the earnest and persuasive terms in which he condescends to invite us to hold communion with him, both in thought and in word. And so sensible of the efficacy of this communion were those inspired teachers who have left us written memorials at once of their inspiration and spiritual authority,
that prayer is recommended by them in the strongest terms which language can supply. "In every thing," says St. Paul, "by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." It is not only when we have any urgent appeal to offer, when we are bowed down by tribulation, prostrated by adversity, when our spirits are blighted by disappointed hopes, and our souls crushed under the weight of a morose despair, that we are "to make our requests known unto God;"it is not only when the aspect of the world is bright around us, when the fair face of nature smiles about our path and about our bed; when fortune wraps us in her mantle of down, and scatters her gay profusion at our feet, that we are to pour forth the tribute of an overflowing gratitude;-it is not only when our minds are buoyed up with the fervors of aspiring hope, when our hearts teem with the transports of holy love, when our spirits, purified from the grosser dross of sin, are filled with the raptures of pious joy, that we are to elevate our voices in solemn thanksgivings:-but it is at all times and in all seasons, whether in weal or in woe, whether under the visitations of God's chastisements or of his mercies, that we are to cry unto him, that we are to "offer unto him the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit our lips, giving thanks to his name."