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Esther, when the peculiar people of God were on the point of destruction, sends to all the Jews to fast and pray with her and her maidens; and their united prayers are heard. Daniel's prayer for the Church, when in captivity, is well worthy of imitation. Dan. ix, 2, 16, 17. It is probable, that on the very evening of the day on which our Lord directed his disciples to pray for more labourers, he himself went into a mountain and continued all night in prayer to God; and after thus praying all night, on the following morning he chose his twelve Apostles; Matt. ix, 36-38. x, 1-5. compared with Luke vi, 12-16. The Apostles, after his ascension, "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" and at length, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost was given. "The Lord gave the word, and great was the company of those that published it." Ps. lxviii, 11. The Church of Antioch fasted and prayed, and then sent forth Barnabas and Saul on that great mission to the Gentiles, the benefits of which ultimately reached even to England. Acts xiii, 3.

And to come to more modern times. We find that holy men have ever, as they have more advanced in religion, felt more for the perishing state of mankind. Baxter thus expresses himself in some reflections at the close of his life: "My soul is much more afflicted with the thoughts of this miserable world, and more drawn out in a desire for its conversion than heretofore. I was wont to look little further than England in my prayers; but now I better understand the case of mankind and the method of the Lord's prayer. No part of my prayer is so deeply serious, as that for the conversion of the infidel and ungodly world." It is worth while reading the life of the Missionary Brainerd, only to observe the *See also the life of Henry Martyn,-just published.

*

constant ardour of his soul, in praying for the coming

of Christ's kingdom.

A BLESSING HAS EVER ATTENDED THIS MODE OF SEEKING THE WELFARE OF THE CHURCH.

"The cry of

Israel in Egypt came up unto God by reason of their bondage; and God heard their groanings" and he sent them a Deliverer. Daniel's prayer, (ch. ix.) was attended with an immediate answer. Who would have supposed that in the state in which Judea and the world were, when our Lord was crucified, that in so short a time such preachers should be raised up from the selfrighteous or worldly Jews, or the benighted Gentiles, as should carry the gospel into all the known nations of the earth, and almost convert the world. They prayed, and great was found to be the efficacy of prayer. In fact, every period of the revival of religion has been distinguished by the previous spirit of prayer. All the great Societies that have been raised in present times, and that fill and adorn our country, have been raised in prayer; and the way to obtain for them that full benefit to mankind of which, under the blessing of God, they seem capable, is, for those who support them to give them also their continual prayers. St. Paul urges a striking reason why Christians should thus pray : (2 Cor. i, 11.) "Ye also helping together by praying for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf:"—that thus, as he expresses it elsewhere, "the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God." 2 Cor. iv, 15.

The importance of this will be more seen, when it is remembered, that THE ENLARGEMENT AND BUILDING UP OF THE SPIRITUAL CHURCH IS ENTIRELY THE WORK OF

GOD. Who can accomplish all the promises on this

subject? Who can influence the minds of Christians in general to promote their fulfilment? Who can raise up, and prepare, and duly qualify the labourers? Who can open their way before them, and prosper their undertakings? Who can give the Heathen eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel? And when the seed is sown in their hearts, who must give the increase? In short, through whose power and mercy must all flesh see the salvation of God? We need not answer the questions. It must be evident how greatly, in any design to promote the kingdom of Christ, the fervent, general, continual, united, and persevering prayers of all the Church of God are needed in every step of our way. The effect to be produced manifests the necessity of a divine power. It is not a mere instruction in a particular system; it is not a mere change of sentiment; but an entire change of heart and life: the fulfilling of that promise, "I will create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you." Like the work of creation, it requires the hand of God. As it is only His power that makes the seed sown in the earth to shoot and spring up so here, "neither is he that planteth any thing, neither is he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." And the fervency and ardour of prayer is here specially called for. Is it not a proof that the prayer, thy kingdom come, has been coldly uttered, when we look abroad and see the present state of the kingdom of Christ? May we not well suppose that it would have been very different had every Christian that used the prayer, fervently offered up therewith the desire of his heart unto God?

It pleases the Almighty generally to work through prayer, as it is PRAYER that GIVES COD, who is jealous

of his honour, ALL THE GLORY. When blessings come in answer to prayer, the praise is more generally ascribed to him, to whom alone all praise belongs. The time is hastening on, when one vast song shall fill the earth "from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth;" when shall be heard, as it were the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Allelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth; let us be glad, and rejoice. and give honour to him." And, doubtless, when, through the prayers of many, this happy period arrives, the bur den of the song will be, "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous works; and blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and Amen."

man.

May the reader lay these things to heart, and remember how small a sacrifice the thing desired calls for.— You are not here asked to give your silver and gold, or your life, though these all belong to your Saviour; but the duty now pointed out is simply that of remembering a perishing world in your prayers. And in constantly, and faithfully discharging it, you are obeying the two great commands of love to God and love to Never, then, think a prayer to be at all complete, which does not include the Heathen World. Never be satisfied with a prayer, either in your closet, in your family, in your walks, with your relatives and friends, or in the house of God, in which you have not asked of God something relating to his way being known on earth, his saving health among all nations. Pray for all the Societies engaged in this work, either at home. or abroad; for all the Missionaries sent forth among the Heathen; and all preparing to go; and for all who conduct, or support Missionary efforts. As a real Christian, you will be an immense gainer by the enlargement

of the kingdom of Christ, and the increase of the communion of saints.

And as this is the duty of individuals, so there seems a special efficacy in UNITED PRAYER. Much that has been said on social, family, and public worship, applies here. Let Christian Assemblies, in every part of our land, come frequently together, to pray for the coming of Christ's kingdom; and it would be one of the happiest signs of its approach.

Let love to your Saviour, benevolence towards man, your own interest in this promised and happy era, the remarkable signs of the times, and your plain and positive duty, all combine, and influence and excite you really and often to pray, thy kingdom come.

CHAP. XI.

ON DISTRACTIONS IN PRAYER.*

WHEN the sun is above the horizon, all the stars, which appear so plainly, and in such number, during the night, are no longer visible; and though they are really still in the heavens, they are lost in the blaze of the sun's brightness. This may illustrate a difference often observable between the Christian striving to serve God in all things, and a worldly man who is living in

* See Steele's "Antidote against distractions in prayer," from whom the Author has borrowed several ideas.

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