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may deem it,—to pray with the spirit, and to pray also with the understanding, cannot apply to us? Shall we fancy that it belongs only to a state of things which has gone by, that it is out of date, and that we have no concern with it? My brethren, the truths of the Bible can never be out of date. The state of things, which led Jesus and his apostles to set forth certain principles, will of course change; for every thing earthly does: but a new state of things arises in its room, on which the same principles bear. The true Christian therefore, feeling that the principles delivered in the New Testament are a solemn trust, which he is to use to the best of his judgement, according to the circumstances he is placed in, will not be satisfied with learning how St Paul applied a principle in the times wherein he lived, but will rather ask himself, how would St Paul have applied the same principle now, if he had been living in these days? For that is the point which concerns us. What was meant by praying with the spirit and with the understanding eighteen hundred years ago, is in great measure a question of curiosity. But how to pray with the spirit and with the understanding now, is a question of plain practice. For surely no one will imagine that it is of less consequence for us, than it was for the first Christians, to employ our minds and our hearts, as well
as our tongues, in God's service. No one who knows anything of the New Testament, can fancy it possible for us to serve God acceptably, unless we worship him in spirit and in truth, and serve him with a reasonable service. Nay, even before the coming of Christ, it was the same. Thus we read at the beginning of the 103rd Psalm, "Praise the Lord, O my soul!"-not my tongue, or my voice, but my soul: here you have David praying with the spirit-and what comes next? " And all that is within me praise his holy name." see, according to David, a man should praise God with all that is within him. Is his understanding within him? He ought to praise God with his understanding. Is his memory within him? He ought to praise God with his memory, by remembering all his benefits. In a word, whatever powers of mind and heart and soul he may be gifted with, David in the 103rd Psalm, and in many other places besides, teaches him to exert them all, when he is praising, and of course also when he is praying to God. But if this was the duty of God's faithful servants even before Christ's coming, how much more must it be so now that Christ is come, and has set us free from the yoke of rites and ceremonies, and, instead of all those burthensome sacrifices and observances, which pressed so heavily on the Jews of old, requires nothing of us save
that we should worship God in spirit and in truth, and serve him with a reasonable service.
What, I say, is the change which has taken place in the application of St Paul's principle, that men should pray with the spirit, and also with the understanding, to the present state of our Church? The main change is this. When St Paul wrote the words, he addressed them to the prayer-utterers, to warn them against uttering prayers which the people did not understand. That fault has been corrected in the simplest manner, by doing away prayer-utterers, and establishing prayerreaders. Instead of persons getting up and praying without book, as it is called, which was the practice in early times, and led, as we have seen, to great abuses, our Church in its wisdom, has appointed regular forms of prayer, which are to be read out of the Prayerbook, so that the people may bear a part in the service, if they will only attend to it. St Paul's words therefore are now addressed not to the prayer-utterers, who in our Church are not to be found, but mainly to the prayer-hearers, that is, to you. It is to yourselves that you are to apply the command to pray both with the spirit and with the understanding: for it is to you that St Paul himself would mainly apply it, were he to come to life again and preach on it.
In the first place you should pray with the spirit: that is, you should feel what you say, and should wish for what you ask. If you do not, your prayers will be a mere pretence. When you pray to God to pardon your sins for instance, it is clear that you acknowledge yourselves to have sinned in such a way as to need pardon. Else why do you ask it? Does any one ask for what he does not want? Praying too is more than common asking. Praying is asking earnestly, as we do when we greatly desire what we ask for. Do we then, when we pray for God's forgiveness, beg hard for it, as for some boon that we really long for? If we do not,—and alas! how few do!-we cannot be said to pray with the spirit.
But you may ask me, how is a man to get to feel such a longing for God's forgiveness, as shall make him pray for it with his heart, or with his spirit, as well as with his tongue? Some of you may be tempted to say within yourselves: "It is not my fault that I do not feel all this: I have tried to do so, and cannot." To such a man I answer, I believe it, I believe it fully. Nothing is more certain than that we cannot of ourselves call up spiritual feelings in our hearts at pleasure. Man in his natural unassisted state, man without the help of the Holy Ghost, cannot love the things of God. St Paul's language on this point is clear
and positive and even if he had never written a word about the matter, one could hardly look round the world, one could not look into one's own heart, and not perceive, that it is not natural for man to love the things of God. Many of God's laws we can keep naturally, or at least with no more than that ordinary and scant measure of divine grace, which must have been vouchsafed even to the heathens. For example, the light of conscience and the checks of laws and education are enough to hold most men back from the grosser offenses against their neighbours, such as murder and adultery. Again, a man may be induced to eschew certain vices, by observing their evil consequences in this world. He may see that brawls abroad and sickness at home often follow after strong drink, and for this reason may shun drunkenness. In like manner he may be led to thrift and industry, by noticing how surely waste and sloth bring a man to rags and hunger. Or he may be rendered cleanly and regular by remarking the discomforts and troubles of dirt, untidiness, and disorder. Further, a man, without being a Christian, may do many kind and praiseworthy actions, out of a regard for public opinion,—from the principles to be met with even in such books as have no concern with religion, or through an easy, cheerful temper, and a compassionate heart. To this