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determined before to be done. The most gloomy and calamitous circumstances may be pregnant with blessings. Their pious labours may win over a prejudiced relative, may sooth an irritated opponent, may gain, and even save, an enemy. The omnipotent grace of God can convert the most obstinate characters, and can arm the wavering with courage for the day of trial. And what a recompense is this for all the solicitude of pious parents! Who would not pass through, Naomi's troubles to share her joy in the converşion of her daughter-in-law, and to partake, of the calm serenity of her closing days? Yes, if parental duties are of all obligations the most difficult, they are also the most delightful. If these were more attended to, we should have happier families, and should behold more young people, like Ruth, determined for Christ and beaven. And then, what delight would fill the devout parents' hearts! What gratitude to God would expand their bosoms! An union would be formed in families, not merely such as Ruth vowed with Naomi, which nothing but death should part, but which even the grave itself will only cement and perfect, which will stretch beyond the valley of the shadow of death, be continued through endless ages, and constitute in no'small degree the ineffable bliss of heaven.'
SERMON XIII. '
ROMANS, viii. 26. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities;
for we know not what we should pray for as
we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh inter· cession for us with groanings which cannot be · uttered.
There is no duty of the Christian life more important than prayer. It is by prayer that true religion begins in our hearts, that all evil is averted, and that every real blessing is attained. It is by prayer that we draw nigh to God, that we approach a Saviour, that we receive the graces of the Holy Ghost. Prayer strengthens us and enables us to love our neighbour, and to keep the divine commandments; and from it we obtain support and consolation under the innumerable trials and temptations of this probationary state. It must be a matter, then, of great moment not only to pray, but to know how to pray aright : for, as so much depends on this duty, grace and help to pray must in fact be immediately connected with all the blessings which we require for our bodies and for our souls. If only we be assisted to pray with spirituality of mind and importunity of affection, all is gained ; for God gives every thing, even heaven itself, to prayer. The encouraging de claration, then, of the Apostle in my text, deserves our most attentive consideration.... dişi “ We shall endeavour to explain, : ,'
I. The Christian's infirmities in . II. That assistance of the Holy Spirit by which he is relieved under them.'"
We notice, .
Prayer is the offering up our desires to God for the blessings we need. It is, then, the expression of the heart; the pouring out the soul to God, the lifting up the mind, and the drawing nigh to him in holy affection. It includes invocation or calling on the name of the Lord, adoration of his perfections, humble confession of our sins, the imploring of his grace, the pleading of his promises, the dedicating of ourselves to his service, the praising of him for the. blessings which he has bestowed on us, and the ascribing of glory and power and dominion to - him only. .
Prayer is our INDISPENSABLE DUTY. The proofs of this are various. We all are sinners,
and need mercy and salvation, ::We are also rational and accountable creatures, and have the invitations of the Gospel proposed to us. We have the mediation of the Son of God to encourage pur approach, God deseryes our gratitude and praise. Our necessities perpetually require his aid. We must perish, if we call not on God. We are also expressly commanded, to pray without ceasing; to continue in prayer; to pray always with all prayer and supplication; to pray and not faint ; to be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication to make our requests known unto God. These directions, connected with numerous other passages of Scripture, make it obyious that solemn prayer in the church, and in our families, together with earnest supplications in private, are the bounden duty of every Christian. The obligation of public prayer:; has never been .doubted. Nor can that of family devotion be for a moment called in question by those who feel duly impressed with the holy examples of Abraham, Joshua, and David, jor who understand the extent and spirit of all the injunctions of the word of God that may be applied to this subject. As to private prayer, our Lord's express words are, Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door pray to thy Father, which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. No man, therefore, can be a true Christian without the habitual practice of secret devotion, and an attendance, where he has the opportunity, on the public worship of Almighty God. Nor, I conceive, can any head of a family be a sincere and well-informed servant of Christ without superadding his constant prayers with his own household. i Our INFIRMITIES IN PRAYER are many. The word infirmities here used is emphatical. It properly means diseases or sicknesses; for the corrupt state of our nature has debilitated and weakened all our spiritual powers. Even after receiving the grace of Christ and partaking of the inspiration of his Spirit, we still remain greatly disordered, and suffer much from the agency of this latent contagion, though some of the more noxious effects of it have been healed. Our moral frame is neither sound nor vigorous; and we are subject to relapses and vicissitudes in our spiritual health. These infirmities, though apparent in all we do, are yet most of all evident. in prayer. The reason is obvious; for this duty places us immediately before God : it tries the whole state and temper of our souls ; and it admits of little external help. It is an effort of principles and feelings which have been divinely implanted; and hence it is the most opposite to the fallen heart of a sinner, which is by nature