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to God's will, "casting all 'our care upon him, for he careth for us,” and persevering in our exertions, because we know that all things, however seemingly adverse, will at last work together for good to those that love Him.
Lastly. The object of prayer is promoted, by its being required frequently.—“Pray without ceasing.” Thus all those dispositions and requisites, which we bave shown to be so useful, will become habitual. Our heart being constantly, thus cheered and strengthened, our minds filled with knowledge by frequently speaking to God in prayer, we shall not only pray, but “not faint:" we shall pray not as matter of labour, but as indulging our ruling passion, and promoting our most engrossing pursuit, and that in which we most desire and labour to succeed. And as prayer also is the appointed means of grace, God will not Himself be wanting to crown His own appointed means with success. The prayer often offered, though it be short, and though it be silent, yet will ascend to the “Father who seeth in secret and will reward openly."
THE SOCIAL PRINCIPLE OF PUBLIC WORSHIP.
Almighty God, who hast given us grace with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name, thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them ; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting; through thy Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Tim. ii. 1.
I EXHORT THEREFORE, THAT, FIRST OF ALL, SUPPLICATIONS,
PRAYERS, INTERCESSIONS, AND GIVING OF THANKS, BE MADE
FOR ALL MEN.
St. Paul, in the portion of his Epistle from which the text is taken evidently intends his instructions to Timothy, as directions for the conduct of the Church, over which the latter presides ; and points out the subjects which ought to be embraced, and the principles which should prevail, in their public prayers. The “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks,” are to be “made for all men. And the reason he gives for which Christ, who is the head of the body of the Church, requires this, is because Christ desires all to be saved, and has made us one in our hopes and interests, that all should be concerned in each other's welfare and salvation; that no member of the body should have life or interest separate from the other members; but that each should bear in affectionate remembrance their union and connexion under one God and one Mediator, who set us the example of loving all, and gave Himself a ransom for all.
It was observed, in the preceding Sermon, that no comparison could be instituted between private and public prayer; that they are each, in their respective provinces, and for their respective purposes, excellent; and however excellent each may be in that province, and for those purposes, the Christian's duty to God and his own soul will not be done, unless he shall carefully attend to both. Indeed so far will the man, who is diligent in the use of private prayer, be from supposing that he has thereby done the whole of his devotional duty, or from wishing to plead that diligence as an excuse for neglecting public prayer, that he will find his reverence and his love of public prayer continually heightened by his practice of private prayer. He will find in it not only the call of duty, but the source of pure and exquisite pleasure and enjoyment. It will be viewed as his privilege and his joy. He will, as the Psalmist did, delight to enter in the courts of the Lord's house; he will regard it as a gracious and happy invitation; he will be glad when his brethren say unto him, “ We will go up into the house of the Lord.” It will be the outbreak of his heart longing to enter into that sacred place, rejoicing in that holy company, that “goodly fellowship,” and with joy and gratitude giving utterance to its feelings. It will be to him, as it was to the first disciples, a sweet solace in trouble, a strength under oppression and persecution, a joy even in adversity: in all circumstances, he will be drawn into close union and sympathy with his brethren to continue “ with one accord in prayer and supplication."
I have said, rejoicing in that holy company, that goodly fellowship,” for the Christian cannot look upon himself as a solitary and unconnected being. We have already shown? how we depend upon each other for our comforts, our advantages, our very existence; and how evidently the Almighty has designed us for society. But if man, in other respects is a social being, if he has common interest in all other things with his fellow-creatures, surely in matters of religion he is especially connected with them. “ If,” argues Stillingfleet, ture be sociable in all other things, then nature will tell men, they ought to be so in things of common
66 man's na
1 Sermons IX. & X.
concernment to them all, and which are every one's work and duty, as religion is. If in other things men are sociable, much more in this: for religion gives a great improvement to man's sociable nature, and therefore Plutarch well calls religion, a cemented foundation, the bond of all communion and constitutions."
The practice of all the most enlightened heathen nations acknowledging both this principle, and also the utter impossibility of a religious society (whether professing true or false religion) being able to exist without public worship, is too well known to need the citation of any examples or proofs. But under both the Jewish and the Christian dispensations this principle of association in public worship is most remarkably conspicuous. The ministrations of the patriarchs in sacrifice, the promises figured under the sacrifices, the public nature of the blessings promised, the frequent communications of the heads of the family with God Himself, the prophecies revealed to them, showed that the patriarchal government was essentially religious, that the solemn acts of devotion related as having been performed by the patriarchs, were acts of religious homage from the family, or rather the congregation of families, the church, over which they presided. The family, or people, took the name of those fathers who were distinguished for piety; and God calls Himself their God. Their avowed bond of union was profession of the same faith, partaking of