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made themselves oile, and he restrained them not. And therefore ,
But how can you avoid this guilt, and escape the eternal ex. ; ecration of your own dear offspring, and of ages to come ? How
will you instruct and educate them for God, while you neglect
(x) Exod. xx. ..
with them? What other method can so effectually teach them
It may further be observed, that family prayer may be urged. upon the same principles that any social or public worship can be. If the perfections of God, his creating goodness and count.
less mercies ; if our dependence on him, our guilty helpless condition and need of his help ; if the honour of God, our ownedification and comfort, or the instruction and edification of others render public worship a duty, they all equally bind meil to the worship of God in their families. If the examples of the saints, and of our blessed Lord, teach the one, they also teach the other..
INDEED the common sense and feelings of mankind teach them that when a family or community have offended a prince or benefactor, jointly, by the head of the family or some other person in their name, to confess their faults and seek reconcili. ation. When Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon, they came with one accord to him, and having made Blastus, the king's chamberlain, their friend, desired peace ; because their country was nourished by the king's country-(y) When families, or particular communities, have received rich and repeated favors from a prince, or some noble benefactor, their natural feelings and good sense teach them to acknowledge such favors. How much more do they teach families to confess their faults, and seek reconciliation to God, and to bless him for his countless mercies? Is he the only being to whom guilty, dependent families are not obliged to confess their faults ? With whom they are under no obligations to be reconciled ? And to whom they are not bound to give thanks for all his benefits ? An appeal is made to your reason and conscience. Let them seriously determine the point.
PRAYING always with all prayer, comprises all public prayer in the house of God, and in the assemblies of his people, wherever they may be convened. It implies your being instant in season and out of season, to offer your prayers and praises to God, and to supplicate his mercies, as well as to hear his word: and that you, by no means neglect the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.(2) God has commanded his ministers to preach the word, to be instant in season and out of season ;(a) and this implies the duty of the people constantly to attend to offer their public prayers and praises to God, and hear the word dispensed. Whenever it is the duty of ministers to pray and preach in public, it is the duty of the people to hear. Public social worship has been sanctioned by divine institution, and the example of the saints from the commencement of the Jewish and christian churches unto the present time. Good men have always been remarkable for their love to the house of God, and attendance on the public worship. This was the language of David and the pious Jews, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Loril, and to enquire in his temple.(b) How amiable are thy tab.
(y) Acts zii. 20. (2) Heb. x. 25. (a) 2 Tim. iv. 24. (b) Psalm Xxvii. 4.
nasles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even faintetk for the courts of the Lord; For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be etill praising thee.(c) This was their resolution, Our feet shall stand within thy gates, o Jerusalem.(d) The prophets Isaiah, Micah and Zechariah, represent, that in the days of the Messiah, when the spirit shall be poured upon mankind, there will be an uncommon zeal for the public worship. All nations shall flow together to the house of God (e) The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts : I will go also.(t) This is the very spirit of God's children towards his house and worship. How abundant were the primitive christians in their public prayers and praises ? And were continually in the temple praising and bles. sing God.(g) They continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine, and in prayers ; and were continually in the temple praising God.(h) This was remarkably the spirit of Christ. Where was he found at twelve years old, but in the temple, attending its public instructions? It is written of him, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.(i) No person who does not love the public worship has his spir. it, nor can be his disciple. No man who does not delight in the public worship, and the communion of the saints in this world, can ever be qualified for the worship of God's temple above, or be admitted to the society and blessedness of the church of the First Born, whose names are written in heaven. Public worship is one of the most important means of instruction, edifica. tion, communiors with God, and of all divine consolation, in the house of God it is that his people see his power and glory, and are satisfied as with marrow and fatness. This is the birth. place of the saints. When God writeth up the people it shall be said of Zion, that this and that man was born in her. Faith comes by hearing. By the foolishness of preaching it pleased God to save them that believe. The public worship is the brightest emblem of heaven, and most wisely adapted to prepare those who will devoutly attend upon it for that blest abode. The bles. sing of the Lord is upon those who attend the public worship; and his curse is denounced upon all those who neglect it, in the days of the Messiah. Ps. lxxxiv. 4. Blessed are they that dwell in thine house : they will be still praising thee. Prov. viii. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, and waiting at the posts of my doors. On the other hand, those who' will not publicly worship God are threatened with drought, fam, ine and death. Zec. xiv. 17, 18. And it shall be that whoso will not come up. of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts, even upon them shall be no
(c) Psalm Ixxxiv. 1, 2, 5, 10. (d) Psalmi cxxii. 2. (e) Isaiah ii. 2, 3. and Micah iv. 1, 2. (f) Zech: viii. 20, 21, 22. (g) Luke xxiv. 53. (h) Acts ii. 42, 46. (i) Psalm lxix. 9.
rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall smite the heathen, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. With what constancy, zeal and devotion should all go to pray before the Lord ? How should every one resolve, I will go also
Praying always with all prayer and supplications, as the divine precept enjoins, comprises ejaculatory prayer; or an offering up of short mental petitions and praises to God, as occasions may require : when journeying or labouring, when sitting or walk. ing. They may be offered at all times, and in all places. This is a constant recollection, that we are in the presence of God; and it greatly contributes to keep us always in his fear. Many are the examples of it in the scriptures, especially in the Psalms, I am persuaded that all persons, who have attained to any considerable degree of piety have been much exercised in this kind of prayer. They will rarely close their eyes in the evening, or open them in the morning without it. Immediate dangers, temptations, unexpected mercies, or deliverances, will engage the soul in short prayers and praises. Prayer is the very breath of the christian's heart, by which he maintains a constant course of communion with God. His eyes, like David's, are ever towards the Lord.(j)
In a word, praying always with all prayer and supplication, includes the acknowledgment of God at your tables. Our di. vine Master has taught us to pray, give us this day our daily bread; and by his example, to ask his blessing in the participation of it. It is also expressly commanded, that we should give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.(k) This is that life of prayer which all true christians live. They not only pray with all prayer and supplication, with all perseverance therein, but they pray in the spirit, worshipping the Father, in spirit and in truth. They are all the seed of Jacob, and know how to wrestle with God in prayer. They have all the spirit of Christ, and delight in drawing near to God. Because they are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Futher.(1) This is that life of prayer which the scriptures enjoin, which the examples of the saints, and the perfect example our our Saviour recommend. It is that life which every good man desires and determines, by the grace of God, to live, and which is most earnestly recommended to you, and to all persons to whom this address shall come.
To engage you in such a pious and happy life, ye are most seriously intreated to contemplate, not only the commands, but the example of Christ, and the resolutions and examples of the saints. As for me, saith the Psalmist, I will call upon God: eve(j) Psalm xxv. 15. (k) Eph. v. 20 (1) Gal. iy. 6.