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while engaged in his peculiar avocation, will send up his ardent aspirations for heavenly guidance and protection. The physician, when unwillingly absent from the assembly of the faithful, to attend the sick bed and to relieve the afflicted, may send up his prayer to the Physician of souls, for pardon to his own offences, and the Divine blessing on his labours of love to the sons and daughters of misery. In short, in whatever place the good man may be residing, or wandering, or sailing, or fighting, there he may send up the ejaculatory wish to Heaven.
J. A. James.
WITHOUT prayer, our graces would soon languish and die, and our spirituality in a little time wither and decay; our acquaintance with heaven could not be maintained, nor likeness to it improved or preserved. We sensibly decline or improve, in proportion to the neglect or due practice of this duty; there is not a truth more evident in practical religion than this, "that the praying Christian is the most thriving Christian." A composed attention to the perfections of God, raises high thoughts, and fixes our adoration of him. Confession of sin pours out before the Lord a "broken heart, and a contrite spirit, which he will not despise;" and has often melted down that soul which nothing else has been able to move. Prayer is the proper channel wherein these kindly sorrows flow; we never more clearly discern the evil of sin, never more heartily bewail its power, defilement, and guilt, never more steadily resolve against it, nor by any means more effectually destroy the dominion of it, and the kingdom of Satan in it, than by a bending knee, a weeping eye, and a bleeding heart. Earnest petition exercises a sense of our dependence, of the value of his favours, and the worth of his mercy. By thanks
giving, we raise our gratitude for mercies received, and our hope for those we expect, and we make ourselves feel our obligations. Such employment as this is to the soul, what regular exercise, diet, and air, are to the body, in order to its confirmed health. Frequent acts are known to confirm their habits; and the gracious habits of faith, hope, love, joy, patience, humility, repentance, knowledge, peace in believing, are to that degree strengthened, increased, and improved by prayer, that we have beheld with wonder, some persons of the meanest consideration in other respects, who have been the brightest ornaments of their profession, the patterns of Christianity in all the "beauties of holiness," and the "power of godliness;" because they were men very much "given to prayer." Conversing with God in the mount, made "Moses's face to shine; (Ps. cix. 4.) And conversing with God in prayer has the like assimilating efficacy upon our souls. For, "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; and while in that liberty of access "we do all with open face behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
WE are to sing the praises of Creating Power. To this purpose many of the psalms of David are particularly directed; that recount the glories of the great Creator, and celebrate his praise, in the stately fabric of heaven and earth, in the rich furniture and vast variety of beings, in all the impresses of his glory upon the creation, and all the instances of his eternal power
and godhead. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work." (Ps. xix. 1, 2.) "Thou art very great, and clothed with majesty and honor; thou coverest thyself with light as with a garment; thou stretchest out the heavens as a curtain; thou layest the beams of thy chambers in the waters; thou makest the clouds thy chariots, and walkest upon the wings of the wind. Thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever, and coveredst it with the deep as with a garment." (Ps. civ. 1, 6.)
And so in the frame of our own nature; the curious and wonderful workmanship of body and soul, that carry a lively resemblance, and bear a strong impres sion of the Divine being and perfection, in every member of the one, and faculty of the other. "Thou hast possessed my reins; thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eye did see my substance yet being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written; which in time were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps. cxxxix. 13-16.)
Again, we sing the praises of redeeming love. To this several of the noblest psalms of David expressly refer, that foretel the coming of the Messiah, and describe the glories of his person, and the fruits of his death. The Psalmist, (Ps. xlv.) sings of the excellency and glory of the king; and particularly describes, in lofty numbers, the kingdom and priesthood, the sufferings and triumphs of the Redeemer. (See Ps. cx. throughout.) So, the great Hallel (Ps. cxiii. cxviii.) sung by the Jews at the solemnity of the Passover, and
is thought by learned men (Lightfoot, vol. ii. p. 206,) to be the hymn sung by our Lord at the institution of his last supper. I might mention the penitential psalms (Ps. li. &c.) that describe his mercy to humble penitents, and abound in expressions of the tenderest kindness, as well as the lowest abasement.
The Song of Solomon is a divine, as well as a lofty piece of poetry; describing at once the beauty and excellency of the Redeemer's person, and the tenderness of his affection and care; the intercourses of divine love in all the various tokens of kindness and respect between Christ and his church.
And if you look into the New Testament, you have the song of Mary upon the message of the angels, and the salutation of Elizabeth; (Luke i. 46;) where she celebrates the condescending favour of the Almighty to her low and humble state, when he "abased the mighty and the proud," and his "faithfulness and mercy" to his people of Israel. There is the song of Zacharias; (Luke i. 67;) where he recounts at large his faithfulness to his promise in sending the Messiah, and the mighty benefits to the world by his appearance; and the rapturous song of good old Simeon (Luke ii. 24,) at the sight of the Infant Jesus.
Again, we sing the praises of providential care, his regular government and particular notice of all his creatures. He daily supports the being, and supplies the wants of innumerable creatures, and exercises a wise and equal care of every one. He directs the course of public affairs by a sure and unerring hand, and overrules the disorders of them by seasonable interpositions and powerful influences. Many of the psalms of David are dedicated to the praise of his providence. He describes his omnipresence and particular observance of every thing: "Whither shall I flee from thy presence? or whither shall I go from thy
and godhead." The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work." (Ps. xix. 1, 2.) Thou art very great, and clothed with majesty and honor; thou coverest thyself with light as h with a garment; thou stretchest out the heavens as a curtain; thou layest the beams of thy chambers in the waters; thou makest the clouds thy chariots, and walkest upon the wings of the wind. Thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever, and coveredst it with the deep as with a garment." (Ps. civ. 1, 6.)robino Jesse de
And so in the frame of our own nature; the curious and wonderful workmanship of body and soul, tha carry a lively resemblance, and bear a strong impres sions of the Divine being and perfection, in ever member of the one, and faculty of the other. bo Tho hast possessed my reins; thou hast covered me in desc m mother's womb. I will praise thee, for I am fearful and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works, a