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ingly, that we might see your face, and
perfect that which is lacking in your 66 faith.” 2 Cor. xii. 8; 1 Thess. iii. 10.
3. Directions to pray for national or public blessings : Pray for the peace of • Jerusalem."-_“ Ask ye of the Lord rain, 66 in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord “ shall make bright clouds, and give them “ showers of rain, to every one grass in the “ field.”—“ I exhort, therefore, that first of
all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, “ and giving of thanks, be made for all men; “ for kings, and for all that are in authority, " that we may lead a quiet and peaceable “ life, in all godliness and honesty ; for this “ is good and acceptable in the sight of God
our Saviour.” Psalm cxxii. 6; Zech. x. 1 ; 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2, 3.
4. Examples of intercession, and exhortations to intercede, for others :-“ And “ Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, “ Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against
thy people ? Remember Abraham, Isaac, “ and Israel, thy servants. And the Lord “ repented of the evil which he thought to “ do unto his people.”—“ Peter, therefore, ,
was kept in prison, but prayer was made “ without ceasing of the church unto God
“ For God is my witness, that “ without ceasing I make mention of you always in
my prayers." -" Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's “ sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye “ strive together with me, in your prayers for me.”—“ Confess
faults one to ano“ ther, and pray one for another, that ye may 66 be healed: the effectual fervent
of a righteous man availeth much.' Exod. xxxii, 11; Acts xii. 5; Rom. i. 9. xv. 30; James v. 16.
5. Declarations and examples authorising the repetition of unsuccessful
66 And “ he spake a parable unto them, to this end, “ that men ought always to pray, and not to “ faint.”_" And he left them, and went
away again, and prayed the third time, say“ ing the same words.”_" For this thing I be
sought the Lord thrice, that it might de
part from me.” Luke xviii. 1; Matt. xxvi. 44; 2 Cor. xii. 8*.
* The reformed Churches of Christendom, sticking close in this article to their guide, have laid aside prayers for the dead, as authorised by no precept or precedent found in Scripture. For the same reason they properly reject the invocation of saints; as also because such invocations suppose, in the saints whom they address, a knowledge which can perceive what passes in different regions of the earth at the same time. And they deem it too
OF PRIVATE PRAYER, FAMILY PRAYER,
AND PUBLIC WORSHIP.
CONCERNING these three descriptions of devotion, it is first of all to be observed, that each has its separate and peculiar use; and therefore, that the exercise of one species of worship, however regular it be, does not supersede, or dispense with, the obligation of either of the other two.
I. Private prayer is recommended for the sake of the following advantages:
Private wants cannot always be made the subject of public prayer: but whatever reason there is for praying at all, there is the same for making the sore and grief of each man's own heart the business of his application to God. This must be the office of private exercises of devotion, being imperfectly, if at all, practicable in any other.
Private prayer is generally more devout much to take for granted, without the smallest intimation of such a thing in Scripture, that any created being possesses a faculty little short of that omniscience and omnia presence which they ascribe to the Deity.
and earnest than the share we are capable of taking in joint acts of worship; because it affords leisure and opportunity for the circumstantial recollection of those personal wants, by the remembrance and ideas of which the warmth and earnestness of prayer are chiefly excited. Private
prayer, in proportion as it is usually accompanied with more actual thought and reflection of the petitioner's own, has a greater tendency than other modes of devotion to revive and fasten upon the mind the general impressions of religion. Solitude powerfully assists this effect. When a man finds himself alone in communication with his Creator, his imagination becomes filled with a conflux of awful ideas concerning the universal agency, and invisible
of that Being; concerning what is likely to become of himself; and of the superlative importance of providing for the happiness of his future existence, by endeavours to please him who is the arbiter of his destiny: reflections which, whenever they gain admittance, for a season overwhelm all others; and leave, when they depart, a solemnity upon the thoughts that will seldom fail, in some degree, to affect the conduct of life.
prayer, thus recommended by its own propriety, and by advantages 'not attainable in any form of religious communion, receives a superior sanction from the au-, thority and example of Christ; 66 When thou
prayest, enter into thy closet; and when “ thou hast shut the door, pray to thy Father, “ which is in secret; and thy Father, which “ seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
." And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray.” Matt. vi. 6; siv. 23. II. Family prayer.
The peculiar use of family piety consists in its influence upon servants, and the young members of a family, who want sufficient seriousness and reflection to retire of their own accord to the exercise of private devotion, and whose attention you cannot easily command in public worship. The example also and authority of a father and master act in this way with the greatest force; for his private prayers, to which his children and servants are not witnesses, act not at all upon them as examples; and his attendance upon public worship they will readily impute to fashion, to a care to preserve appearances, to a concern for decency and character, and to