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subject? Who can influence the minds of Christians in general to promote their faltilment? Who can raise up, and prepare, and duly qualify the labourers? Who can open their way before them, and prosper their undertakings? Who can give the Heathen eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel? And when the seed is sown in their hearts, who must give the increase ? In short, through whose power and mercy must all flesh see the salvation of God? We need not answer the questions. It must be evident how greatly, in any design to promote the kingdom of Christ, the fervent, general, continual, united, and persevering prayers of all the Church of God are needed in every step of our way. The effect to be produced manifests the necessity of a divine power. It is not a mere instruction in a particular system; it is not a mere change of sortiment; but an entire change of heart and life: the fulfilling of that proinise, “I will create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you.” Like the work of creation, it requires the hand of God. As it is only His power that makes the seed sown in the earth to shoot and spring up: so here, “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither is he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase.” And the fervency and ardour of prayer is here specially called for. Is it not a proof that the prayer, thy kingdom come, has been coldly uttered, when we look abroad and see the present state of the kingdom of Christ? May we not well suppose that it would have been very different had every Christian that used the prayer, fervently offered up there. with the desire of his heart unto God?
It pleases the Almighty generally to work through prayer, as it is PRAYER that GIVES GOD, who is jealous
of his honour, ALL THE GLORY. When blessings come in answer to prayer, the praise is more generally ascribed to him, to whom alone all praise belongs. The time is liastening on, when one vast song shall fill the earth " from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth;" when shall be lieard), “as it were the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Allelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth; let us be glad, and rejoice and give honour to him.” And, doubtless, when, through the prayers of many, this happy period arrives, the burden of the song will be, “ Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous works; and blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen."
May the reader lay these things to heart, and remember how small a sacrifice the thing desired calls for.You are not here asked to give your silver and gold, or your life, though these all belong to your Saviour; but the duty now pointed out is simply that of remembering a perishing world in your prayers. And in constantly, and faithfully discharging it, you are obeying the two great commands of love to God and love to. man. Never, then, think a prayer to be at all complete, which does not include the Heathen World. Never be satisfied with a prayer, either in your closet, in your family, in your walks, with your relatives and friends, or in the house of God, in which you have not asked of God something relating to his way being known on earth, his saving health among all nations. Pray for all the Societies engaged in this work, either at home or abroad; for all the Missionaries sent forth among the Jleathen ; and all preparing to go; and for all who conduct, or support Missionary efforts. As a real Christian, you will be an immense gainer by the enlargement of the kingdom of Christ, and the increase of the communion of saints.
And as this is the duty of individuals, so there seems a special efficacy in UNITED PRAYER.
Much that has been said on social, family, and public worship, applies here. Let Christian Assemblies, in every part of our land, come frequently together, to pray for the coming of Christ's kingdom ; and it would be one of the happiest signs of its approach.
Let love to your Saviour, benevolence towards man, your own interest in this promised and happy era, the remarkable signs of the times, and your plain and positive duty, all combine, and influence and excite you really and often to pray, thy kingdom come.
ON DISTRACTIONS IN PRAYER.*
WHEN the sun is above the horizon, all the stars, which appear so plainly, and in such number, during the night, are no longer visible; and though they are really still in the heavens, they are lost in the blaze of the sun's brightness. This may illustrate a difference often observable between the Christian striving to serve God in all things, and a worldly man who is living in
* See Steele's " Antidote against distractions in prayer," from whom the Author bas borrowed several ideas.
habitual sin. The Christian condemns himself for unnumbered faults. He sees defects more numerous than the stars of heaven, in every part of his conduct. Even his prayers appear full of sins; he discovers in them innumerable wanderings of heart, and perpetual distractiops; for there is no great sin in his life, in the blaze of which, all these daily infirmities are lost, as the stars are lost in the more dazzling light of the sun. But the man of the world, whose heart is unchanged and unrenewed, thinks that he performs a meritorious service in the outward worship of God, and is not troubled, though he never feel one holy inclination. Did he but watch his heart, and know its true state, he would have to say, 6 I was almost in all evil, in the midst of the congregation and assembly.” Prov. v, 14.
There are, indeed, many defects in our prayers ; there is often great coldness in our desires, much unbelief in God's promises, improper ends in our petitions; but one principal sin in all our devotion is, the wandering of the heart.
It being of main importance to the right performance of prayer, to attend upon the Lord without distraction, a fuller consideration of this subject may be useful.Distractions will not, indeed, be entirely cured in this life : but as a man who knows not how to swim, may gradually learn that art, so as to keep himself by degrees longer and longer above water; so here, improvements may be continually made. It is possible to be more and more freed from distractions, and more and more to rise above these troublous waves. Observe THE NATURE OF DISTRACTION.
It is the wandering of the heart from God. Some indeed manifest this in public worship by the wandering of the eye, the irreverence of their outward behaviour, unnecessary
whisperings, and salutations: but I would rather dwell on the root of the evil-the wandering of the heart.In the midst of a solemn prayer, the heart will be dwel. ling on an earthly business, or pursuing a vain pleasure. It will be engaged ir thoughts of doing good on a subject foreign to the prayer then offering up with the lips, or be led aside to circumstances relating to the subject of our prayers.**
There is a contest often carrying on in the Christian's breast, during worship, of which the mere formalist is wholly ignorant. His end is gained, his conscience is satisfied, it he has appeared in the house of God, or if he has repeated his prayers—he thinks this a meritorious service, and is well pleased with himself. Not so the watchful Christian. It is his continual internal struggle to worship God in spirit and in truth. He knows the task of raising an earthly mind to heavenly things. The strives not only against worldly thoughts, but also against good thoughts which often come thus unseasonably, to hinder him in attending to the present duty. In carrying on this contest, he finds the power of a carnal mind, continually sinking him to the dust. Jle repels idle and wandering thoughts, he labours against inattention, and, perhaps, after all, he has gained but a transient moment of devotion, and he returns humbled, abased, and depressed, smiling his
* A converted female among the liberated Negroes in Sierra Leone described this very expressively.-She said,
Wicked thing trouble me much : me want to do good, but my wicked beart will
My heart run away all this week; run all about." When asked what she meant by her beart running all about, she replied, Suppose me pray, my brart run to my country ; to Sierra Leone ; all about ; and then me can't say no more but Jesus Christ have mercy on me, poor ibing! my
bod heart. Me tink sometimes me have two hearts ; tle want to do good, but the other always want to do bad. O Jesus, bave mercy on me poor sinner!"
no let me.