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sixteenth Psalm-"I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications; because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul." And it seems in the next verse, as if he had such a display of God, such an unfolding of God, as if God did reveal Himself in the very act of his praying. He seems to burst forth-" Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and He helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." It was this that was the means of giving solace to the self-condemned soul of the poor publican, when he cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" It was this that cheered the heart of the dying thief, when he said, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." Ay, and as we soar to higher ground, it was this that comforted the soul of the Lord Jesus himself, when he was expiring on the cross, when He commended His spirit to His heavenly Father. In short, beloved, a prayerful soul, let him be what he may, let him be tried however he may, let him be tempted to the very uttermost, and in nothing perhaps so much as in prayer, yet he is a blessed man. And a prayerless soul, what shall I say of him? It is a common sight, but it is a horrid sight. A prayerless soul-it is very common, but it is not the less shocking on that account. Ah! the commonness of our suicides I suppose that does not render them the less shocking. The world teems with prayerless souls; and, I would say it in love, this chapel teems with prayerless souls. I do not mean by this, that they never bend the knee; I hope there are few such that hear me at this moment, that never bend the knee. But where is the brokenness? where is the humility? where is the lowliness? where is the smiting on the breast with "God be merciful to me a sinner ?" How many of you (you know it) rise in the morning without any such thing, and go through your day without any such thing. You have passed hitherto your whole life without any such thing. Oh! it is a piteous sight! A prayerless soul-shall we not pity him? a Christless soul, a godless soul, a hopeless soul, because he turns his back on the only hope-a miserable soul! And yet, it is not mere pity that we feel; we ought not to feel merely pity, we ought to grieve for his sin. I think sometimes in our expressions of pity for sinners, we forget that they are in a state of enmity against the best of beings; alienated from the best of beings. And so we tel you, this is your case, ye that are prayerless souls. I dare to say lf


we speak to you, you think you have found some favourable aspect in your conduct. 'You are not so thoughtless as some, you read your Bibles sometimes.' Oh! my brother, the root of the matter is this, you are alienated from God. It may not show itself in direct hostility to Him, but it is in not liking Him; it is a self-deception, it is alienation from God. And ye are no less the subjects of pity, because with the pity ye are the subjects of sadness and grieving at the hardness of your hearts. Oh! did ye but see the hosts around you; did ye but see the host of sins, the host of enemies, the host of devils ! Did ye but see them, ye would think, how can I go on another day without prayer? Here ye are ; where is your armour ?" none! "girdle?" none ! "shield ?" none! "sword?" none! "helmet?'' none! And then prayerless too! Oh! that this day ye did remember, that an apostle, who was "not behind the very chief of the apostles," told Simon Magus to pray. Oh! that this day, through the power of the Spirit, it might be said of you, 'behold her, behold him-" he prayeth !"—this day she prayeth, this day he prayeth!' What a day of mercy would that be to thy soul! But if ye still turn back to your own wickedness and heedlessness, hearken to the words of God-ye shall call upon God! How will it be? when will it be? where will it be? God himself tells you. These are His own words, spoken as by the trump of an archangel. In the first chapter of Proverbs and twenty-fourth verse-" Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel❞—heard sermons, heard prayers, heard warnings, heard rebukes, heard entreaties-" but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh"-when ye shall "say to the hills, cover us; and to the mountains, hide us"-" when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me; for ́that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of My counsel; they despised all My reproof." My brother, take that thirty-first verse, take it home and pray over it— "therefore, shall they eat of the fruit of their own way"-their church going, their chapel going, their determinations ending in self, and issuing in nothing; "therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way"-they chose sin, they chose the world, they loved sin, they died in sin, and they are lost in their sins; "and they shall be filled with their own devices." May the Lord lay this solemn portion of my sermon on your heart by the power of His own blessed Spirit.

Such is the stress that the holy Word of God lays upon prayer.

II. Now let us observe, secondly, the especial stress that is laid upon it in this passage. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance." It is such a comprehensive text, one seems quite lost in its very comprehensiveness. It is like counting the sand, it is like measuring the ocean. It appears to me the most comprehensive passage on prayer in the Word of God—at least, that now addresses itself to my memory.

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'Praying always"-what does it mean? Being always on our knees? always engaged in the very act of prayer? This I believe to be one of the grossest glosses that Satan casts on that text. He has often given that gloss; monkery, nunnery, abstraction from the world in order to give oneself up to prayer, are but the effects of that false gloss. My dear hearers, God has, in infinite wisdom and in infinite love, placed us in the midst of the world. It was not the will of Jesus, when He prayed for His Church, that they should be "taken out of the world;" it was not His wish, it was not His desire, it was not His prayer that they should be taken out of it. We are surrounded by the cares of life, by the needful avocations of life; they require much thought, much care, much prudence, much forethought, and they ought to have them. I know there is much danger of excess-great danger; I believe, many of the saints of God in London are finding it out to their great loss, that there is great danger of excess, drying up the spirit so dry, that they cannot perceive their dryness. But while there is a danger of excess, there is a danger, also, of forgetting this truth-that we are never to look with dislike, or alienation, or contempt, on that vocation in life in which God has placed us. The very cares, and trials, and temptations of this world, are so many causes for prayer; and the more you find them, the more cause there is to go to Jesus in the midst of them. They are permitted and ordained for this very end-that we may find out our own weaknesses, and find in Jesus enough for them, not only when on our knees, but when on our feet. It is great forgetfulness, beloved, when this is overlooked; it makes many men dissatisfied with their position, their business, their profession, their peculiar position in their families, or their position in the Church. These are things that ought to drive us to Jesus; not drive us out of the world, but drive us to God in the world. He is a happy man, who, through grace, sees God in all things here below. The world around see nothing but themselves; the man of the world sees himself, his own comfort, his own skill, his own influence, his own family, but he sees

nought but himself. He is a happy man, who through grace pierces through the cloud, pierces through every mist, whose eye penetrates the fog, and, through grace, sees God-God in the bitter as well as in the sweet-God in that which tries him, as much as in that which blesses him; who is enabled, through grace, to rise above his circumstances, and see a Father; who leans on the arm that never tires, finds the love that never exhausts, the true wisdom that never fails, and finds in God a remedy-God in Christ; who knows the grace of God is enough for him; who trusts in God in Christ as a refuge in every storm, and a covert in every danger.

66 Praying always" doth seem to have this extent-it seeks a praying spirit in everything that I do; in all the means of grace to rise above them, because I want God in them, and never to be satisfied but with God in them. The means of grace do not satisfy me; it is God in Christ that I want, and my soul seeks hard after Him. Happy is he amongst us, that seeks the hardest after Him.


Praying always" doth imply, that in all the occasions of life I seek after God; in all my frames, I seek after God. Whether high or low, depressed and sad, or joyous and bright, still to seek after God in them; and to find Him, even if called to go out as David was, when he went with a sling and a stone against Goliath ; and to say, as he did, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts ;" and to say, too, as Jehoshaphat said, though he had a million of men, and more than a million of men, (for he had eleven hundred thousand fighting men)-yet with him in his prayer "We have no might, neither know we what to do, but our eyes are upon Thee." Oh! blessed state, when we find, whereever we are and whatever we are, that we are sufficient for nothing, and cast ourselves on God!

But the precept widens out :

"with all prayer.'

We know, that prayer consists of various exhibitions and various modes of utterance; occasional prayer, stated prayer, prayer at home and prayer abroad. Happy would it be for the saints of God, if when they mingled the one with the other, they were more accustomed to pray the one with the other! There would be less of the world in their mingling, and more of God in their mingling, and more of heaven too. No one ever lost by prayer, and no one ever gained by sinning. Prayer sometimes is in the family, sometimes it is with our friends-social prayer; sometimes it is private prayer, and sometimes it is public prayer.

I think, "praying always with all prayer," involves just so much as this-do not despise one; do not neglect God in any of these;

use them all, pursue them all, thank God for all, value them all, for God is to be sought in all. God will have us, beloved, to wait in all the means that He has appointed; and He shows it sometimes by withholding from us one channel that He may fill another. There is sometimes in public prayer the channel full; sometimes in family prayer the channel is full; sometimes in social prayer, a man's words are to me as life from the dead, light in the midst of darkness to cheer my soul. But, above all, in private prayer, in real intercourse with God-I trust, we can say those are happy moments, compared with which all we have ever known on earth are as nothing. But there is, besides all these, ejaculatory prayer-the prayer of ejaculation. I believe, London, with all its turmoil and bustle around us, can bear witness to this truth, that many a man of God as he goes through the streets hears the "still small voice;" and as he traces the dreaded difficulty removed, the rough place become a plain, he sees God, and he is happy. Of all sorts of prayer, I would say, that this appears to me the most costly. Ye ought not to neglect the others; for if ye neglect the others, their channels will soon be dried up; but of all sorts of prayer, this does seem the most spiritual prayer without anything to fetter, without any medium whatsoever, but dealing at once with God: my soul rises up to heaven, and finds my God, and my Father, and my portion there. "Praying with all prayer."

But the precept widens out still. Here is "supplication in the Spirit." In some Bibles, you will find the small "s;" thereby meaning to say, in the spirit of a man-that new and Divine nature wrought in him by the Holy Ghost, wherever true spiritual prayer is ever found. Here it is with the large "S," signifying the Holy Spirit. In reality, it means nothing that is quite diverse, whichever way we read it; for if it is in our spirits, it is by the Holy Spirit; and if it be by the Holy Ghost, it is in our spirits.

My dear hearers, the passage shows a sort of intenseuess, an earnestness, a longing desire; for where there is no intenseness of desire, there can be but little prayer. It seems essential to the true character of prayer, that there should be intenseness of desire. Perhaps there may be no fluency, no nice adaptation of Scripture phrase; perhaps there may not be much felt of prayer in the hearers; perhaps in the suppliant himself may be found great confusion, many misgivings, little of what is commonly called eloquence, but what eloquence there is is the eloquence of felt want, is the eloquence of experienced desire, is the eloquence of conscious povertythat eloquence, that none can teach but He," in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"-that eloquence, that He


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