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We know indeed, that what has been meant to be done, has not always, and we fear not often, been done. The service has too often been like the Mass in Popish worship, when the priest sometimes receives the Sacrament for the people, and they are to consider that they have received it. Too often such Protestant Popery has been found in our Churches here, when the people's worship has all been done by deputy-the minister praying for them-the clerk responding for them-the children singing for them-and they scarcely even listening for themselves. Too often, instead of the warmth, and life, and spirit which our services present, when the praying minister is answered by the praying people, and the voices of countless worshippers almost drown the organ-instead of such worship as this, which is like a 'little heaven below', the solitary voices of the minister and the clerk have alone been heard, while a body of careless and heartless listeners filled the church; or rather did not fill, but left it, as it were, empty.

We rejoice that it is not so with us, brethren ; in this church, there is much heart, and much life, in our Public Prayer; yet not so much as we could desire.

Do you not feel, brethren, when your ministers pray the prayers, and not merely read them, that it seems to kindle your prayers?-that you seem to catch something of the fire that gives warmth and fervour to their petitions? when your thoughts are perhaps wandering, (for which of us is there who has not to mourn over much wandering thought each time we pray?) have you not found that the tone of deep and heartfelt prayer in him who leads the service, has called back your wandering thoughts, fixed your attention, and brought


you up to join in the 'amen', by which each person in the church makes that prayer his own? We are quite sure that you have felt this. But you do not know, dear brethren, how much your ministers also are encouraged and inspirited in their part of the worship, when you, by your distinct and devout responses, shew that your attention and your hearts are in the service. We are men of like passions with yourselves"-our hearts as ready to wander as your's-the enemy of all prayer and devotion is as busy to make us wander as you, nay more, since when the minister faints, and is weary in prayer, "it is as when the standard-bearer fainteth"-it is as when Moses' hands grow slack and fall down, and then Israel is worsted in the battle.

Let me, then, here earnestly entreat you to consider, that when you come to worship in the church, you have each a part to perform in the service; it is as imperfect unless you each do your part, as harmony is imperfect when one of the voices is away. If indeed there should be one present who has no sins to confess-no need of the Saviour's pleading; if there should be one who is so wise, that he needs no instruction-so strong, that he requires no grace-so innocent, that he wants no pardon, then, that one may be silent, but no other may. Let me, then, hope that you will all join more heartily than ever in the Scriptural Prayers of our Church-that the devotion, which we do mark, with joy and thankfulness, will be increased many fold-that no one voice will be silent, when blessings are to be had for the asking.

It is said of the first Christians, that after each prayer repeated by the minister, their 'amen' rose like thunder! Why should it not be so with us now? It would be, if our hearts equally felt, and


our minds understood the value of those 'amens.' Let me endeavour to shew you their value. When a law-paper is drawn out, at the bottom of it are placed several small seals of wax; all the persons who are to engage themselves by that paper to do something, must sign the paper and touch one of the seals, by which they deliver that as their act and deed: so that what is promised by them, becomes as effectually promised, as if each had a separate paper drawn out for himself alone, and not for any other. Now each prayer that the minister repeats, is like a paper containing a petition ready drawn out, which is about to be presented by the great Friend of man, before the Sovereign Majesty of heaven. And every one, who wishes to share in the blessings asked for in that prayer, must (as it were) set his seal to itmust write his name to it-must put his amen to it, that it may be his prayer. So then every prayer, which goes up without your name-without your amen-will bring no blessing on you who are silent, because you have no part in it. Whereas, each prayer, to which you fix your amen not only from the lip, but from the heart, is like a parchment roll, containing your petition-it mounts to heaven-it is carried by angels into the hand of the Mediator--it will bring down the answer of peace to each soul that joined in signing it. Again, if there were a rope let down from heaven for each soul of man to fix a letter to, and draw up those letters to heaven, and bring down help, would it be enough for men to say, I am in want, indeed, but I will not write to tell it; would these men obtain the help of which they stood in need? No. Now each prayer is like a rope, which will carry up ten thousand letters to heaven, if need be, where each one will be read, and each obtain a certain answer; let each of us,

then, fix our letter-tie our petition to the ropelet us each follow the prayer spoken by the minister with our hearts, and by a loud 'amen' make each prayer our own.

Let no one say, these things are of no importance. If Public Prayer is to be Common Prayer -common, so that all are to bear their part in it, then it cannot be unimportant that each should be admonished and exhorted to bear that part; and if the habit of attention, which would be formed by each one in the congregation feeling that he had a part to take in the service, and carefully endeavouring not to neglect his part-if such a habit of attention would tend to keep alive the spirit of prayer (as it surely would)-if it would greatly cheer and encourage the minister in his prayers, to hear the people's prayers-if his devotion would be kindled and increased by the feeling of their fervency, and their devotions aroused by his earnestness-then surely to urge you, brethren, to join more heartily and universally in the prayers of our church, is not unimportant either for you or for us, or for God's glory.

There is another point to which we would draw your attention.


You know, brethren, that while we are in sin, we cannot please God. A disobedient child, who has insulted and refused to obey his father, will not be admitted to favour till he has acknowledged his fault-a rebel against his sovereign will not find entrance to his palace, nor approach to his throne, till he has thrown away

his weapons, and obtained pardon: so, while we are in unconfessed sin, we cannot please our Heavenly Father, nor approach the insulted Majesty of heaven. And which of us is there that can enter the house of prayer any sabbath-day, and say, 'during the past week I have no fresh sin to repent of or confess-this week I have loved the Lord with all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength-I asked pardon last Sunday, and I hope my sin is forgiven-to-day I need not to ask forgiveness;' tell me, brethren, is there one who ought to feel thus? If not, we all need to confess our sins each sabbath-day-then it behoves us to come in time to confess them. The Services

of our Church begin with this act, with which every sinner should draw near the Majesty on high. The Sentences out of Scripture are read first to prepare the mind for this act of confession. The Exhortation read by the minister is for the same end. The whole Word of God joins in bearing witness to this—that until sin is forgiven no praise can be acceptably offered, and it must be confessed before it can be forgiven.

It may indeed be doubted, and that with much reason, whether those, who through any carelessness, or through any but a most urgent cause, do not come into church till after the Confession of Sins has been made, offer any acceptable service that time to God. This however is certain, they who do so, treat the courts of the King of Glory with a slight and disrespect, that they would not dare to shew to any earthly sovereign. This is certain, that they presume to approach the Throne of Him who 'is a jealous God,' without applying to that blood of atonement, which alone can make His Throne of Justice, a Throne of Grace to guilty sinners. This is certain, that they shew less love to the house of God, than the sons of folly shew to the

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