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fession he may make, he can only be considered either as a deceiver of others, or one who is deceived himself. 0 let us often
pray to the unseen God, when retired from men, and from the busy scenes of this perishing world!
10. Secret prayer will prepare us for that which is public. We should call our families together, and pray with them, lest the fury of God should be poured out upon
“ Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name.
thy name." We should join the assemblies of God, and pray with them, that our prayers may go up as holy incense before the Lord.
How encouraging is the following passage in the book of Revelations: “And another angel came, and stood at the altar, having a golden censer: and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came up with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out of the angel's hand.”
11. We should endeavour to pray with suitable words. Some, that they may do so, make use of pre-composed forms.
We do not absolutely condemn all forms of prayer; but they are in general unnecessary. The real desire of the heart will direct a
man to suitable words, at least to such as will please God. Forms cannot suit all cases; and, therefore, no man should be bound to use them upon all occasions. They may be advantageously used by a man in his family who has not the gift of prayer; for it is better to use a form than to neglect the duty. But all who pray in public, as the mouth of the people, should be able to express themselves in such words as may not be liable to just objection.
12. In prayer we should pay some attention to the posture of our bodies. Three postures, in prayer, are mentioned in scripture, namely, standing, kneeling, and prostration on the ground. Let us mostly kneel. : It is an humble posture, and more proper in public than prostration. In private, upon particular occasions, we may fall down before the Lord. To sit at prayer is an irreverent posture. If we cannot kneel, let us stand up before our God.
II. WE SHOULD PRAY WITHOUT CEAS
1. This does not imply that we should always be engaged in devotion. Other duties of great importance frequently demand our attention. At the same time, let us not forget to mix prayer with other duties. Mental prayer, or the prayer of the mind, may
be engaged in, without vocal prayer, or the prayer of the voice; and short ejaculations may be offered up to God even in the midst of business and company.
2. But the precept in our text implies perseverance in prayer. Every new day should find us still engaged, at proper intervals, in this important duty; and every hour should find us in à devout temper, or what is commonly called the spirit of prayer. Having once engaged in this duty, we must hold out to the end. We shall have as much need of prayer tomorrow as to-day. The daily sacrifices, in the Jewish worship, accompanied with the prayers of the people, were to be kept up without ceasing. O let us ever be found attending to this duty till God calls us up to heaven, where prayer will end in everlasting praise. Thus we shall daily have a full supply of blessings; and enjoy a perpetual union and communion with our heavenly Father. Amen.
The Nativity of Christ.
Luke ii. 10, 11. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for be
hold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is børn this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
THE birth of Jesus had been clearly foretold by the jewish prophets, and long expected by all nations. At length, when the fulness of time was come, he appeared in human nature. An angel from heaven announced his birth to certain poor shepherds, who were watching their flocks by night. Every thing relating to the invisible world is awful, and the appearance of an angel or spirit is calculated to inspire the boldest mortal with terror. der, therefore, that the shepherds were
sore afraid” when “ the angel of the Lord came upon them” and “the glory of the Lord shone round about.” But they were greatly encouraged by the message which
he instantly delivered: “Fear not; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy." .
This passage contains two parts: first, a Saviour was born in the city of David, who was Christ the Lord; secondly, the proclamation of his birth was good tidings of great joy to all people. We shall add a few remarks upon the festival of Christ's nativity.
I. A SAVIOUR WAS BORN IN THE CITY OF DAVID, LORD.
1. A Saviour was born. Our Saviour was born at the time foretold by. Daniel, whose seventy weeks were nearly accomplished. Commentators are generally agreed that those were weeks of years; and seventy multiplied by seven makes four hundred and ninety, the exact number of years from the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the time when the Messiah was cut off. --He was born of a virgin, by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, that he might not be infected with human depravity. He was born in mean circumstances. The Jews expected a temporal kingdom; but the kingdom of Jesus was to be spiritual. They looked for a temporal prince, clothed with earthly gran