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led to apply to him, and even in such a case he has heard and accepted them. But with a peculiarly filial confidence may those approach him, when they are in trouble, whose habit of mind, whose continual practice, whose whole life, is a drawing near to God. The command and the promise belong to them, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Indeed, what Christian has not found in his own experience, the truth of the declaration, “ God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When no cther ear could hear but his, no other arm save, no other power relieve or help; when we were destitute and almost in despair, then his ear heard, and through his mercy we were delivered. Prayer, like the precious metal, comes most pure from the heated furnace. Are you depressed under your guilt, your weakness, your ignorance, or your ingratitude? You may spread your distress, as Hezekiah did his letter, before God, and you need not fear but that God will help you. And what a comfort it is that we can never come unseasonably to him. A great man or a friend may be so circumstanced that we cannot interrupt him ; or he may soon be wearied hy repeated application; or lie may be so distant that we cannot gain access to him. But our God is very nigh unto ushe is always with us ; a very present help in trouble.” Other friends if willing, may not be able to help us—but he has both the will and power to give the greatest blessings. “Even our guilt, when confessed, becomes a plea for relief; and the worst condition becomes the strongest

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son to pray-all that is given, being given, not for our merits, but for Christ's sake.” The following affecting anecdote is related us of a poor colored woman. She was a pious slave in the West Indies, and was forbidden by her master to attend public worship, and threatened with severe punishment if she did. The only reply she made, was, “I must tell the Lord that;” a reply that so affected her owner, that he no longer refused her liberty

What a view does this give us of the blessedness of prayer, that a poor and friendless outcast may thereby obtain the aid of the great Governor of the universe.

8. In prayer we enjoy the presence of God.“ Draw nigh to God,' says St. James, and he will draw nigh unto you.” The devout soul, having found in the solitude of the closet the presence of God, is glad to withdraw itself from the distraction of the world, and retire to hold converse with him in secret. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. When shall I come and appear before God?” The Saviour assured his disciples, “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” There is an experience, therefore, of this presence, into whịch those only who love Christ can enter. Jeremiah seems to feel the loss of it when in so affecting a way, he exclaims, “O thou hope of Israel, thou Saviour thereof in the time of trouble, why shouldst thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?”

9. Prayer prepares us for the enjoyment of God hereafter.--He who has had this heavenly intercourse on earth, and has here been able to say, “truly our fellowship is with the Father and with bis Son Jesus Christ,” is prepared to enter into the blissful society above. God is not a stranger to him; he has long known him : his Saviour is his tried and constant friend. And just as a man who has been continually experiencing the bounty and goodness of a friend whom he has never seen, will rejoice in beholding his face, so will it be to the devout believer. He will enter heaven with the conviction, “In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.”

The devout believer, then, is the only truly happy man. What a delightful life does he live, whose prayers afford him constant communion with God! No fears and anxieties about future things need distract him, nor present difficulties and burdens weigh him down. He may calmly, steadily, and cheerfully pass through all the varieties of this life, living in the most exalted and yet endearing friendship with his Maker, having a constant support, and a hidden but solid joy from intercourse with him, possessing an ample resource in every circumstance here below, and an assured expectation of everlasting felicity with Him at whose right hand “ there are pleasures for evermore.” Let the happiness of the life of devotion induce you diligently to seek divine grace, to enable you to say with David, “I give myself unto prayer.”

SECTION IV.

OBJECTIONS TO PRAYER ANSWERED.

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1. Some who neglect prayer, say,

66 God knows what I want without my asking, and he is too wise and too good to need my information in order to relieve me.” This should be an argument to raise your faith and hope, and not to hinder your prayers. God is indeed wise, infinitely wise ; and, being so wise, he has in his word directed you to make known your wants to him by prayer. His knowledge is one reason why you should pray to him, and his goodness another, why you may confidently apply to him. Will you pretend to be wiser than he is? Whatever his design may be in it, your duty is clear—to obey his will. He knows when you will die, and might support you without food, and yet you daily eat. Remember that "it may be agreeable to perfect wisdom, to grant that to our prayers which it would not have been agreeable to the same wisdom to have given us without praying for.” What if prayer be his plan for making you humble, dependent, devout, believing, and thankful? In short, for impressing you with a sense and feeling of your wants, and for bringing you to a proper state of mind to receive his blessing? But whatever his design may be, it is your highest wisdom and interest to follow his directions.

2. A similar objection is, that God is unchange able, and prayer will not alter nor reverse his pur poses.-We do not say that prayer really changes the purpose of God, though it may be sometimes

so expressed in condescension to our infirmities; but we say his course of dealing is quite different with those who pray, and those who do not. We may think, indeed, that we are drawing God nearer to us, when in truth we draw nearer to him; as a person with a boat-hook which he fixes to the shore is ready to think when he draws the boat, that he is moving the land towards hiin, when in fact he himself is coming nearer the land. But you quite mistake the true design of this perfection of God, if you think it should keep you from praying. The unchangeableness of God, so far from being an argument against prayer, is the reason why you should pray, and secure to yourself the fulfilment of his promises.

You cannot tell what the secret purposes of God are ; but you know that God has appointed prayer as the means of obtaining good and averting evil. If you neglect the means which he has directed you to use, you have no reason to expect the blessing which you desire : but if you are induced by his grace to use the means, it is a good sign that you are likely to obtain the desired end. Remember, then, that though there be “no variableness nor shadow of turning” with him, yet the means are ordained as well as the effect, and pray to gain that which God ordains to he ob tained by prayer. Jesus Christ himself prayed, and commanded you to pray; and an excuse drawn from the unchangeableness of God will never avail you in answer to a plain command, sanctioned by such an example, and especially when there are such great and evident advantages in obtaining your desires through prayer.

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