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Yes; we, as well as all the rest of mankind, have broken them in thought, word, and deed, and are justly condemned.
There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. Eccles. vii, 20.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom. iii, 23. By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Gal. ii, 16. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. Gal. iii, 10. Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. James ii, 10.
In many things we offend all. James iii, 2.
What ought we then to do?
We ought to pray that God would make us deeply sensible of the greatness and number of our sins, and cause us to flee to Christ for pardon and salvation.
For thy name's sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. Ps. xxv, 11.
By him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Acts xiii, 39.
Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Rom. x, .
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Gal. iii, 13.
We see, then, that the Bible is a rule of life. It is of little use to be able to read it, unless our lives be regulated by it, and unless we bring its holy precepts into our daily practice.
Remember, (2 Pet. ii, 21.) It had been better not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after you have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto you.
Apply the scriptures, and bring them home to your selves. Knowledge puffeth up. You may have read a great deal, and you may recollect a great deal, but this will do you no good, unless you order your life by its precepts. Try yourselves by your obedience. You must obey one of two masters. (Matt. vi, 24; 1 Kings xviii, 21.) Are you serving God? You perhaps shrink from the question. You feel you are bad. But do you wish to be better? Did you ever try to be so? Did you ever pray for a new heart-a heart to love and serve him? No man ever kept God's commandments while in a state of nature. Our hearts are by nature so wicked, that we are not
able to do any good thing, nor even to wish to do right, in order to please God. Rom. vii, 23; Phil. ii, 13.
Pray earnestly to God that he would overcome your evil heart, and give you power to resist sin. The promise recorded in his word, (Luke xi, 11--13;) is intended to encourage you.
Communion Service.-Lord have mercy upon us, and write all these thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee,
1st Sunday after Epiphany.-Grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same.
On the Lord's Prayer. No. 1.
You have now been instructed in the three branches of your baptismal vow. But, my good child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve him ; how then may you be enabled to perform them?
Through God's special grace, without which I can neither repent, believe, nor obey.
Without me ye can do nothing. John xv, 5.
In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing. Rom. vii, 18. By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 Cor. xv, 10.
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of our selves; but our sufficiency is of God. 2 Cor. iii, 5.
My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor. xii, 9.
I can do all things, through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. iv, 13.
Art. 10. "The condition of man after the fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God: wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God, by Christ, preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.”
If, then, our hearts are wicked, and we are unable to change them, and if we must sink down into hell if we should die in our sins; we see that unless God help us, no other power can save us from perishing.
What do you mean by God's special grace?
The influences of his Holy Spirit, (which God will give to all who ask him,) whereby their souls are converted, comforted, and sanctified.
Grace means favor freely bestowed, and it implies unworthiness in the person on whom it is bestowed. The salvation of the people of God is altogether of his grace: It springs from his grace, is carried on by his grace, and is completed by his grace, through Jesus Christ, who is, Full of grace and truth. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.-Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John i, 14-17.
Being justified freely by his grace. Rom. iii, 24; Titus iii, 7.
Who bath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, according to his own purpose and grace. 2 Tim. i, 9.
God giveth grace to the humble. 1 Pet. v, 5.
What must you do to obtain the special grace of God?
I must learn at all times to call for it by diligent prayer, and by constantly making use of all the other means of grace; they are called the means of grace, because, in the right use of them, gruce is bestowed upon us.
What is prayer?
The offering up our desires to God, and asking him, in faith and patience, for such things as arc agreeable to his will.
All our mercies must come to us from God; but he often makes us ask for them, in diligent persevering prayer, before he gives them to us; since we set very little value upon those blessings which we obtain without exertion. Ezek. 36, 37.
Pour out your heart before him. Ps. lxii, 8.
To whom should your prayers be addressed?
To God, in the name of Christ, and trusting only in his merits and mediation; therefore we conclude our prayers, "Through Jesus Christ our Lord."
In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Ps. v, 3.
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Ps. lxv, 2. No man cometh unto the Father but by me. John xiv, 6.
Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, John xiv, 13; xv, 16; xvi, 23.
Through him (Christ) we both have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father. Eph. ii, 18.
There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. ii, 5.
Having, therefore, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith. Heb. x, 19-22.
Are our prayers acceptable to God, when the heart is not engaged?
No: unless the heart be engaged, the words can be of no avail. The Scribes and Pharisees, for a pretence, made long prayers, while they devoured widows' houses. (Matt. xxiii, 14.) Prayer does not consist in repeating a mere form of words, though we say them over ever so often: and a person may breathe out his desires to God with groanings that cannot be uttered, and yet be accepted. Such seems to have been the prayer of Moses, Exod. xiv, 15. Therefore, when we begin to pray, we should try to remember, that to the God we worship, hearts are open, all desires known, and from him no secrets are hid." May we feel truly ashamed to think how many mercies we have asked for, which we did not wish to have; and how many sins we have confessed, on account of which we have felt no sorrow.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight. Ps. xix, 14.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face: my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Ps. xxvii, 8.
Joel ii, 13.
Mark vii, 6.
Rend your heart, and not your garments. When thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which seeth in secret. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matt. vi, 6,7. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me. Isa. xxix, 13; Matt. xv, 8, 9: Prayer, if properly engaged in, increases our faith, and makes us more sensible of our wants. We must, therefore, pray, in order that we may be fitted to receive the mercies we stand in need of. It is not only the evidence of grace already communicated, but the means of obtaining more.
Do we need any help, in order that we may pray acceptably? Yes: we cannot pray aright without the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
I will pour upon the house of David, the spirit of grace and of sup plications. Zech. xii, 10.
The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what to pray for as we ought. Rom. viii, 26.
I will pray with the Spirit, &c. 1 Cor. xiv, 15.
Praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit. Eph. vi, 18.
We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. Phil. iii, 3. Praying in the Holy Ghost. Jude, 20.
What are the dispositions which are necessary to true prayer, and which are produced in the heart of the Christian by the Holy Spirit?
The prayer of the upright is his delight. Prov. xv, 8.
Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jer. xxix, 13,
We should endeavour to get solemn views of the majesty of that God, before whom angels veil their faces. He forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Ps. ix, 12.
Thou hast heard the desire of the humble. Ps. x, 17.
Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matt. xxi, 22.
What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark xi, 24.
Fervent in spirit. Rom. xii, 11.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James v, 16.
Continuing instant in prayer, Roin. xii, 12.
Watching unto prayer with all perseverance. Eph. vi, 18.
There is nothing we so easily tire of as prayer: whatever earnestness we may sometimes feel, we are very apt to faint, when the sins we complain of are not subdued, and when the mercies we want are not immediately granted therefore, Jesus spake the parable of the unjust judge,
That men onght always to pray, and not to faint. Luke xviii, 1.
What are the different kinds of Prayer?
1. Public prayer, or the worship of God with the con