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us, by the most touching and beautiful similitude, to pray for the Holy Spirit, by whom alone Christ is revealed in our hearts as the hope of glory, and by whose sweet influences we obtain “joy and peace in believing."
And there are numerous gracious assurances, that, in answer to fervent and united prayers, there shall be a very abundant out-pouring of the Holy Spirit.
The restoration of the Lord's ancient people will be ushered in by prayer; for the Lord has promised that he will "set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, and gather them from all nations whither he hath scattered them," and that he will again "have mercy upon Zion." The language of all who tenderly mourn over the desolations of Jerusalem, who" take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof," will be, "our hearts desire and prayer for Israel is, that they may be saved." O Lord, look upon thine ancient people. Remember thy promises made to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. "Turn again, O Lord, the captivity of Zion. Turn again their captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south," that she who is now desolate and sitteth on the ground, may arise, "shake herself from the dust," and lift up her head with joy!
Prayer will usher in that bright and glorious morning-that morning without clouds, when the Lord shall come to be glorified in his saints in the great millenial day,-when the wonders of redeeming grace shall shine forth in all their splendour and glory,-when our eyes shall" see the king in his beauty: when the glorious Lord will be untó us a place of broad rivers and streams." Yes, that bright and glorious day will be preceded by a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, teaching all the families of the earth to call upon the Lord for the manifestation of his grace and of his glory. It will not be as in the day of Pentecost, when a few were met together in one place, and with one accord; but there will be a multitude who will meet together in all places, in the unity of the Spirit, who shall call upon the name of the Lord. Then "shall be revealed the abundance of peace and truth," and the " kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ;" and the unceasing prayer of all who look for his appearance is, "Even so, Come Lord Jesus."
As the advantages of prayer are so numerous, and the blessings which it obtains are so extensive, how highly ought we to appreciate the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit who can alone teach us to pray. And let those who are
living in neglect of prayer know that they are despising the riches of his grace, who by precept and example taught, that "men ought always to pray and not to faint." And those who are restraining prayer before God, that they are wounding their own souls and causing their spiritual enemies to triumph over them. Let us remember that if there be any known guile in our hearts God will not hear us. Amalek will assuredly prevail, unless the polluted garment, and the wedge of gold be removed away from us. May we cultivate a spirit of prayer, and then we shall find ourselves on all occasions turning to our God, and holding sweet communion with him.
The advantages of prayer are so admirably described by Bishop Hall, that they are here given in his own words :
"He, that can truly pray, can never be truly miserable. Of ourselves, we lie open to all evils : our rescue is from above: and what intercourse have we with heaven, but by our prayers? Our prayers are they that can deliver us from dangers, avert judgments, prevent mischiefs, procure blessings; that can obtain pardon for our sins, furnish us with strength against temptations, mitigate the extremity of our sufferings, sustain our infirmities, raise up our dejectedness, increase our graces, abate our corruptions, sanctify all good
things to us, sweeten the bitterness of our afflictions, open the windows of heaven, shut up the bars of death, vanquish the power of hell. Pray; and be both safe and happy."
From a careful examination of the numerous examples which are presented to us, of the power and efficacy of believing prayer, and of the inestimable blessings which (through the Redeemer's intercession) it has obtained, we are taught that in answer to our earnest supplications, the Lord invariably bestows (though not always according to our hopes and anticipations) abundantly more than we ask or think; and that by attentively watching the operations of his hand in answer to our supplications, by observing these things, even we shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.
When we think how considerable a portion of the Word of God is exclusively on the subject of prayer, and when it is remembered that the Prayers of Enoch who walked with God, of Joseph whose "bow abode in strength," and of a numerous company of the holy and honourable of the Lord, which are not recorded, we may be allowed to adopt that grand and sublime figure which St. John employed in reference to the works of our gracious Redeemer, that there are also many other prayers, the which if they should be written every one, I sup
pose that even the World itself would not contain the books that should be written."
In concluding these few remarks, it is fervently hoped that the divine blessing may crown the sending forth of "the Achievements of Prayer," that it may refresh and animate the Lord's people, that it may have a tendency not only to enkindle the flame of personal piety, not only to confirm and strengthen the feeble knees; but to expand and brighten that flame of devotion which still burns but dimly on the altar of many a heart which has been presented as a sacrifice to the Lord; and of establishing the Believer in the delightful assurance that the Lord is the hearer and answerer of believing Prayer. And above all, that it may be instrumental in awakening an earnest desire, which shall cause us to cry mightily unto the Lord for that abundant out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, which shall " fill the Earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the Waters cover the Sea."
As the first thought of this work was suggested to the mind of the compiler several years ago, when hearing a Sermon on Prayer, surely to the Lord alone the praise should be given. Now therefore, O gracious Lord! as thou hast not permitted this thought to return to thee void, but hast accomplished with thy hand what thou hast caused to be