Imatges de pÓgina
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A Prayer upon any Saint's Day,

A Prayer at our first Entrance into the Church,
A Prayer at Church after the Service is ended,

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AN INTRODUCTORY

DISCOURSE

CONCERNING

PRAYER.

THE Reasonableness as well as Neceffity

of frequent Prayer, is a Truth fo well established among Chriftians, that 'tis hard to account how a Duty, attended with fo many Advantages, fhould be fo much neglected as it is: One would be apt to think, that fome Men, who profefs to believe that God is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently feek him, are not in earneft, fince they are fo negligent in paying him that Duty of Homage and Adoration, which even Nature itself, without the Help of Revelation, would teach them to be due from a Creature to his Creator.

It is indeed a melancholy Reflection, to think with what paffionate Eagerness Men pursue their several Interests in this World, (when they know, that the Fashion of this World paffeth away, and that all their Attainments muft in a fhort Time have an End) and how cold and heartless they are in profecuting that Happiness which is to laft to all Eternity. No Pains, no Solicitations are thought too much for the one: but little, very little, is thought enough for the other! But if we will attend to the Reason and Nature of Things, and to the Voice of Jefus Chrift in the Gofpel, who came down from Heaven to conduct us in the Way that leads thither, we fhall foon alter our Sentiments and Opinions.

I do not fay this is the Practice of all People; God be praised, there are many who make Religion the chief Business of their Lives; whofe Devotions are as constant and regular as the rifing and fetting of the Sun; and who, not content with offering up a daily Morning and Evening Sacrifice of Prayer and Praise to God, do (as Daniel did) pray Three times a Day; and befides, are continually fending up pious Ejaculations to Heaven; fo that in the ftrictest

ftrictest Sense of the Apostle's Meaning, they may be faid to pray without ceafing.

But alas! how many are there, whose Lives are the very reverse of all this; who feem to live without God in the World, and to own no Dependence on his Providence, nor to have any regard to a future Life; who feldom retire into their Closets, unless to form Projects and Defigns of worldly Advantage, or to fee how their Accounts ftand in refpect to the Affairs of this Life! How many Families are there, where the very Form and Appearance of Religion is almoft loft! where Children and Servants, inftead of being called to daily Prayers in the Family, have hardly the Example fet them of retiring in pri

vate!

What Methods those that profess to be Christians, take to fatisfy themselves in a constant Neglect of so plain and necessary a Duty, as that of Private and Family Prayer, I know not; but fure they have little Thought how they will be able to anfwer it at the Laft Day, when they shall appear before the Judgment-feat of Chrift, there to give an Account how they have obferved the Precepts of Christianity, of which they cannot but know this is one, B 2 That

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