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make themselves merry with the homeliness of his ftyle: nay, I must fay further, that we fome. times meet with perfons whofe language in prayer is fo unfpeakably fuperior to their abilities or performances of other kinds, as to show that they have an unction from the Holy One';: and that they are examples of the accomplish-ment of that promise, Pfal. xxv. 14. "The fe"cret of the Lord is with them that fear him :"and he will fhew them his covenant."
4. I must conclude the subject at this time with earnestly exhorting you all to the diligent exercise of this duty. And that it may be the more distinct and effectual, I shall briefly point: out to you the following objects of prayer.
1. Be fervent in prayer for the improvement. of the fpiritual life in your own fouls.. Prayer is at once the fecurity and the comfort of a Chriftian. Hate, fear, prevent as much as in you lieth every thing that may obftruct your regula-rity and earnestnefs in this duty.
2. Be earnest in your fupplication, and importunate in your pleading for the church of Chrift, and the glory of his kingdom, especially in your native country. The character of real Chriftians, in this refpect, is well defcribed by the prophet: If, lxii. 6. 7. "I have fet watchmen 66 upon thy walls, O Jerufalem, which fhall ne"ver hold their peace day nor night: ye that: "make mention of the Lord, keep not filence; "and give him no reft, till he establish, and tili "he make Jerufalem a praise in the earth." The languishing state of religion in this nation, and:
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and the threatening aspect of Providence, should prefs us to this duty: and furely, in proportion as our belief of the truths of the gospel is real and prevalent, we must behold tranfgreffions with grief, and be ready to intercede for a "time "of refreshing from the prefence of the Lord."
3. Be earnest for a feafon of the power of God at this approaching communion. We serve an all-fufficient and unchangeable God, the fame yesterday, to day, and for ever, who is able to pour down his Spirit in a large and plentiful meafure, and make it a happy time for the efpoufal of many finners to Chrift, and for edifying his faints, that they may go on their way rejoicing, and eat their bread with gladness and singleness of heart. Let us plead his own promise, If. xliv. 3.4. "For I will pour water upon him that is thirty, and floods upon the dry ground: I "will pour my spirit upon thy feed, and my "bleffing upon thine offspring: and they fhall fpring up as among the grafs, as willows by "the water-courses."
4. Pray for the minifters of the gospel. The apostles often afk this affiftance of the faithful: Col. iv. 3. "Withal, praying alfo for us, that "God would open unto us a door of utterance, "to speak the mystery of Chrift, for which I am "alfo in bonds." If you believe the efficacy of prayer, you must be fenfible that your diligence. in this refpect will prepare minifters for you, and you for them. This is to point the eye of faith beyond the fervants to the mafter of the feaft;
and you will probably both look for and receive your answer from himself.
5. In the last place, I would earnestly recom mend to you the exercife of joint and focial conference and prayer. There is great danger of extinguishing the heavenly flame, if while you are neceffarily furrounded with a flood. of ungodly men, you do not often afsociate with the excellent ones of the earth, and place your delight there: Malachi iii. 16." Then they that "feared the Lord, fpake often one to another, " and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and "book of remembrance was written before him "for them that feared the Lord, and that thought
upon his name." There is a great advantage in fociety for every purpose. If we know the benefit of united bodies for bufinefs and trade, if we find the pleasure of joining together for mu tual entertainment and focial converfe, muft not as great a benefit refult from a more facred union? Serious perfons, by affociating together, direct each other by their counfels, embolden each other by their examples, and affift each other by their prayers. There is alfo a particular promife of efficacy to focial prayer: Matth. xviii. 19. 20. "I fay unto you, that if two of you "fhall agree on earth, as touching any thing "that they shall afk, it shall be done for them "of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midft of them."
Now, may the Lord himself visit you with his gracious
gracious prefence, and make you to say with Jacob at Bethel, Gen. xxviii. 16. 17. "And he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew And he was afraid, and faid, How "dreadful is this place! this is none other but "the house of God, and this is the gate of hea ❝ vcn."
< it not.
Fervency and importunity in prayer.
GENESIS XXXii. 26.
And he faid, I will not let thee go, except thou blefs me.
Second fermon on the text.
Woofed in the diftribution of the
E proceed now to the fecond thing proposed
fubject; which was, To fhow you the duty and reasonableness of wrestling and importunity in prayer. Here I am fenfible, that a corrupt and impatient mind may be able to muster up objections against it. There is fomething wonderful and unfearchable in all the works of God, and in none more, as it is reasonable to suppose, than in the methods of his grace. In particular, it may appear furprifing, that he should exercife his people with fuch conflicts and trials, that it fhould be neceffary to overcome him, as it were, by importunity, before we can obtain those bleffings which himself hath commanded us to afk, and which he hath promised to beftow. Why, will it be faid, does a God of mercy, and of infinite fullnefs, to whom all our wants and weaknesses