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clusion of prayer, but with a marked preference to it. Rightly understood, and rightly performed, both are, I allow, very proper instruments for our spiritual edification. But if their comparative importance should ever become a matter of discussion, the superiority of claim must be due to prayer; due to that in which every man can join; due to that in which every man can deplore his own sins, explain his own wants, and acknowledge the mercies conferred on himself.

Now prayer, as prepared for us by the well-weighed counsels and well-directed co-operation of wise and pious men, brings immediately before us, not the peculiar tenets of this or that favourite church, or this or that idolized preacher, but the attributes of our God. Sermons contain the language of man addressed to man—the language of individuals more or less enlightened, and more or less discreet-the language, perhaps, of good meaning, unassisted at the moment by good sense-the language of preachers more earnest to persuade than skilful to interest; and therefore language not always corrected by laborious effort, nor always purified by calm and intense meditation. All men are commanded to pray. the exhortation which stands at the opening of our morning and evening service, and which the people are instructed to hear attentively, but not to read, there may be found a compression of matter and a justness of thinking, which, from frequent recurrence, may in some degree escape your notice, but which every intelligent pastor ought to point out occasionally to every serious congregation. You


are there represented as assembling to "render thanks for the great benefits" which you have received at the hands of your Maker, to "set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul." Now, from what writings of antient sages, or modern religionists, can the objector produce a passage in which the various duties of devotion-at once satisfactory to the learned and profitable to the unlearned-are selected more judiciously, brought together more fully, or stated in a manner more luminous or more impressive? Doubtless you are called upon to hear the word of God, and presumed it is that they who expound it to you are qualified for their office by accuracy of knowledge and purity of faith. But are you not also directed to "render thanks for the great benefits which God has bestowed upon you?" Yet persons there are who, as I told you, assign little or no merit to all the acknowledgments of dependence, and all the effusions of gratitude, to which you are impelled, as creatures conscious of being indebted to the Deity for the refreshing air you breathe-for the invigorating health you enjoy for the bodily strength which sustains you in procuring support to yourselves and your families-for the intellectual faculties which enable you to contemplate the works of nature as the effects of an omniscient and omnipotent cause, ever operating in your favour-for the opportunities you have to cultivate the useful and ornamental arts of civilized life; and for the salutary influence of re

flection, not only in purifying the gratifications of our grosser senses, but exalting them almost into virtues by the salutary discipline of temperance and chastity, and the amiable endearments of social intercourse. Avowedly slighting all these objects, and indirectly condemning our attention to them, the Evangelical Christian would confine your petitions to certain spiritual graces, which he describes as the privileges of the regenerate, and therefore denied to innumerable multitudes of moral agents, past, present, and to come, who, like you and me, suppose themselves candidates for immortality—some from the attributes of the Deity, as discernible by the light of natural religion, and others from his mercy, as covenanted to us by the authority of Revelation. But, in opposition to the fantastic and unscriptural tenets of these illuminated teachers, let me remind you that the Founders of our Church include all the benefits granted to us from above, under the general and just appellation of "great;" and that they expect you to look up to God, as the giver of that which is requisite for your present welfare, as well as that which is necessary for your future salvation. Deeply impressed with this fact, I resume the subject, which, as I explained to you, is become highly interesting by the peculiar occurrences of our own times.

My objection to the tenets of these self-appointed, and perhaps self-deluded reformers, is, that they have a tendency to make you impassioned hearers, rather than devout worshippers. I do not, indeed,

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impute to them the total disuse, but I do censure them for the negligent use, of public prayer. Let us, then, for a moment, suppose that the sympathies which warm our bosoms in acts of personal devotion, performed among numbers, were not called into action, and that we were under the strongest feelings which are usually excited within us as hearers only.

If the House of God were not a house of prayer, but a house for instruction solely, you might have the advantage of receiving it from a preacher earnest in his delivery, sound in his doctrines, acute in his arguments, judicious in his topics, perspicuous in his statements, and in his style sometimes elegant, often energetic, and always correct. Your understandings might be enlightened, your faith might be confirmed, your piety might in some degree be exercised. Can you perform all duties of worship so well, while you are listening to a favourite minister, as you might do if, with a penitent heart and humble voice, you were immediately engaged in direct and continued addresses to Heaven, and thanksgivings to your Maker? After leaving the sanctuary, and reflecting upon what had been not done, as well as what had been done, while you were in it, would you be quite satisfied if, prostrate before the Searcher of all hearts, you had not with your own lips lamented your own sins, acknowledged your own wants, and set forth the most worthy praise of that God who again and again had supplied them abundantly?

I do not mean to misrepresent the meaning of other men, and I wish not to have my own misunderstood. I have no desire to depreciate the usefulness of preaching; but it is my duty not to let the advantages of it be thought superior to those of prayer, uttered, I mean, in the spirit, and with the matter, according to which every member of the Established Church has every necessary aid and every proper encouragement to pray.

Let prayer be done well, and let not preaching be left undone. Prayer, doubtless, may produce that seriousness which prepares you for receiving instruction-that instruction too itself will be understood more readily, and felt more deeply, when it relates to the supplications and the thanksgivings which, together with your fellow Christians, you have just before offered up to the Throne of Heaven -to the offences which on your bended knees you have just now confessed, to the forgiveness which you have implored, to the succour which you have asked, to the mercies which you have thankfully acknowledged. The preparatory efficacy of public prayer is indeed wholly admitted, even by those evangelical preachers, who deliver forms composed by themselves before the sermon. But the difference between their hearers and the worshippers in the Church lies here: during the discourse, a hearer may be irresistibly drawn aside from the subject by the rapturous admiration of the ingenuity and eloquence displayed by the preacher. But in seasons of prayer, with the members of our Church, he remembers not, he inquires not, he cares not, by

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