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ADDRESS TO THE CHRISTIAN ON and pleasures of earth and time? and to flee more earnestly from an unseen world of ruin, than you would from
“Hunger, poverty, and pain,
“ And all the transitory ills below ?” Does faith cause you, with Enoch, to walk with God? with Noah, to dread God's threatened judgments ? with Abraham, to forsake an earthly, and seek a better country? with Moses, to esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt ? with Paul, to count all things but loss that you may win Christ, and be found in him? and with all the holy host of martyrs, whatever you may lose, whatever you may suffer here, still to persevere, looking for a better resurrection ?
In short, does faith thus govern your heart, thus direct your choice, thus rule your conduct, thus fire your love, thus wing your desires, thus strengthen your hopes, and thus enable you to live on earth as a stranger travelling to heaven ? If it be genuine, if it be saving, these will be its effects; and if effects of this kind are not produced, you have but the shadow, instead of the substance.
Make it your study and prayer to bring faith into daily and hourly exercise. You believe in a gracious, an all-seeing and almighty God: act as in his sight. You believe in an atoning Saviour: look daily to him as your life, your all. You believe in eternal judgment: now live as one whose actions and thoughts must then be scrutinized ; live as you will wish to have done, when standing to receive the sentence of your Judge. You believe that there is a happy heaven : pursue it with that earnestness which eternal life demands. You believe that there is a miserable prison of eternal punishment: watch and pray against sin, the source of misery, the cause of the creation of hell. You believe that your way to eternity is beset with snares: watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. You believe that you are dark in your reason, and weak in your powers : listen then with all humility to him whose knowledge is as boundless as yours is confined. Receive implicitly whatever Jesus has revealed; and let it be enough to engage your belief, that he has said it. You believe that you are weak: let frequent daily prayer implore the guidance and strength of your God and Saviour, to attend you through the world, down to death, and up to
CHERISHING AND EXERCISING PRAYER. 93 glory. Thus live as a believer. And when a few more suns have risen and set; when a few more days, and weeks, and months have rolled away; when you have suffered a few more of the pains, and enjoyed a few more of the pleasures, of life; your days will be numbered, your time will be no longer, your farewell must be taken of earthly comfort, and your freedom from earthly pain will be complete. Then will you see what you now believe. Death, when it closes your eyes upon this world, will open them on the next; there to see all that is now unseen, to know what is now unknown; there to change faith for sight, and fleeting comforts for eternal life. Blessed are those servants that, when the last great change approaches, are found watching ! Be not slothful, but
a follower of them who through faith and patience inherit the * promises. Persevere, is the direction of the Saviour; and let in it animate you to think that perseverance will not long be
requisite. Let faith direct your thoughts to future scenes. Like the watchmen on the mountains of Judea, watching the first glimmerings of the moon, let faith look for its returning Lord. In pleasing meditation, let faith descry the events of other years, and tell us the language of his saints in distant days. Ah! let it say to us, He comes—one star is blazingthe firmament is catching fire from its flames—He comes the lightning spreads before him-again it spreads and turns
midnight darkness into awful day-He comes — the last trumis pet speaks him near-He comes—let us go hence! let us leave
this ruined world! this perishing creation! Ah! Saviour, Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, and God! thus wilt thou come!
thus wilt thou visit earth a second time! but we—ah weE must we wait those distant years! Ah no! long ere that time
arrive, all who love thee here now, shall love and adore thee in the dwellings of unfading life.
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE A LIFE OF PRAYER.
$ 1. PRAYER is a sacred privilege. By it the Christian
I maintains intercourse with his God and Saviour. Prayer brings down numberless blessings upon man. It is the breath of the soul. It is the life of religion. A Christian cannot live without it. A corpse maintains for a while the form of man, but the spirit is fled, it is destitute of life. The form of religion may be assumed where the life is wanting. Without prayer it is a dead corpse; the breath, the vital spirit, are wanting. Religion begun leads to prayer. Of every awakened sinner, it may be said, as it was of St. Paul, Behold, he prayeth. Religion strengthens, matures, and lives by prayer; and closes its course below with prayer, when the dying believer breathes out his soul and his desires together with Stephen's petition, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit !
§ 2. Consider the solemnity of prayer. The most solemn change that will ever take place in our situation, is that made by death ; when we at once leave all the scenes of mortality for the more important scenes of eternity ; quit the society of our nearest relatives and dearest friends to enter on the presence of Jesus and of God; and from being inhabitants of this changing world are, in the twinkling of an eye, removed to eternal abodes of unchanging misery or bliss. This is a change whose terrors the wicked must dread; and whose solemnity the righteous must feel. But on earth there is a change which we may justly deem next in solemnity to that of death. It is the change made in our circumstances by prayer ;-often as unthought of as it is solemn. In death, we leave time for eternity ; the converse of mortals for the presence of God. In prayer, we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with man for intercourse with God. One minute our attention is occupied with those dying creatures, who, like
in elves, are hastening to the grave, the next our business is
THE SOLEMN NATURE OF PRAYER.
95 with the great God, who made heaven and earth. To him, though we behold him not, we speak, and are as really in his presence, as if death had dismissed us hence, and our separated spirits stood before him. You would not trifle in a dying hour; and if you feel aright the nature and solemnity of prayer, you will no more trifle in prayer than trifle in
Pursue this thought a little further. In prayer you speak | to God—that awful Gud, whom you must shortly meet, with This whom you must have a most solemn interview when a few and Sari
years at most have rolled away ;-that God, in whose kingdom you will rejoice ten thousand millions of ages hence, or whose
displeasure you will then be lamenting as your bitterest curse. Anthly Prayer is not the mere repetition of a few words, uttered by
us where none can hear. The faintest whisper of real prayer
passes beyond the limits of this world, and goes where we they cannot at present fly; it enters the skies, and God hears it.
Suppose you could discern the glory and majesty of him
who is invisible, how would you pray then! While looking e, and by up to the throne of his glory, small would seem the value of
earth and time appear! The sun, the moon, and stars glowing Dest in the sky, would vanish into nothing compared with him zy so who fixed them there! With eyes fixed on heaven, and hearts
sinking to the earth, overwhelmed with astonishment and rapture, might we view the glory of that God whom we must shortly meet. The splendours of eternal day might delight, the rewards of blessed spirits enrapture, the astonished soul, but what would be the feelings these excited, compared with those, springing from the view of his majesty, whose presence is the source of that glory, and the spring of that happiness ! What would be your thoughts and feelings could you gain a glimpse of his Majesty! Would you see the sun? ah, no!
the sun would shine unseen. Would you look upon the on earth ? ah, no! its bustles and its tumults, its pleasures and ein its sorrows, would pass unnoticed by.
di Suppose then, whenever you pray, you could quit the earth tea for a short time, and enter the presence of this holy God, and
after pouring out your desires and thanksgivings before hirn, e could return to this world,--how solemnly would you enter
w his presence, how fervently, yet with what awe, call upon his USIDEN
96 WATCHFUL CARE NECESSARY FOR PRAYER.
Another consideration that should add solemnity to prayer is, that it cannot be an indifferent thing. You cannot rise up from your knees as you knelt down. You have either gained a blessing or incurred guilt. If offered through Jesiis, ke in sincerity, the continuance of former blessings, or the bestowment of new ones, is surely obtained. But if it be a formal lip-service, it is a mockery of the divine Majesty. When you rise from prayer you must rise possessing the favour, or labouring under the displeasure, of the Almighty
§ 3. To have such impressions as these on your mind in the hour of prayer, is of no little moment; for fervent prayer, though the most inestimable of privileges, is often a difficult duty. To repeat a few lifeless words is indeed an easy thing, but to pray in sincerity a very different one. To push the world aside; to place ourselves as in the presence of God; surrounded by earthly things to forget all that is earthly; and far from heavenly scenes to have our hearts engaged among them; to bow down as before the throne of the Most High; to address an invisible God as if he were visible; to have our thoughts, our hearts, our desires engaged in his service, and thus to hold communion with him ;this is effectual fervent prayer, but this is no easy thing. Address the blessed God as in his immediate presence, pray to him, praise him, as if he were visible, and this is communion with him; but words repeated without thought, offend God, and bring no blessings down upon the thoughtless creature that utters them.
§ 4. The subjects of prayer should chiefly be those blessings which respect God's glory and our own eternal welfare. The blessed Jesus has taught this in that form which he gave is a as a pattern for the devotions of his followers. The first three Kiche petitions respect the divine glory : “ Hallowed be thy name: Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is heaven." Thus he teaches us that this is the subject which should lie nearest to our hearts, and take the lead in ou