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II.

It is the Lord, let him do what

seemeth him good. i Sam, mi. 18.

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THIS

HIS was the submissive answer of the pious Eli, on his receiving a threatening message from the Lord, for not fufficiently restraining the wickedness of his fons. It is one of those aphorisms of whích scripture is full ; and which are so well calculated to be always carried with us, for conftant use. The world is full of affliction. A state of trial must necessarily be fupported by afflictive circumstances. Adversity is equally necessary as prosperity, to try the hearts of men.. But it is a happy thing that we have here a rule which is fufficient, if we would piously attend to it, to support us under the worst of our affli&tions ; It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good: he knows, with unerring certainty, what is best for all his creatures : he doth not willingly affli& the children of men ; but tempers the affliction

always

always with a view to their good. What a happiness therefore ought we to think it, to be al. ways under the care of so righteous a Master, who will treat us, we may be assured, like a father. We may be reminded also, that fubmission is even naturally the best way to make suffering easier; for, in spite of us, the Lord will do what seemeth him good. We may kick against the pricks; but we shall only hurt ourselves,

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III.

Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his dis

ciples.-Luke, xi. 1.

ONE should think, that creatures situated as men are, in the midst of difficulties, and deficiences of various kinds, might know what to pray

for without being taught ; especially when assured, as we are, that we are under the protection of an omnipotent Power, whose command is, Ask, and ye søall receive. But men are na. turally blind and ignorant, and uniacquainted with their own wants, both temporal and fpiritual. We, indeed, under the influence of the gospel, are better taught; but ask the wild native of any country on this fubject, and he will give you such an answer, as shews how much 'he stands in need of being taught. The disciples of Jesus were not in fo low a state of religion as is here described; but as they were yet only young in their profession, it may be supposed a lesson on this subject could not have been unwanted by them.

The Lord's Prayer, which our Saviour gave them on this occasion, may be detailed, though not methodically, into all the offices of devotion.

The first object of prayer is, to praise God for his great attributes; particularly those of power, wisdom, and goodness. These are the foundation of all prayer.

Our own fpiritual wants seem properly to be the next objects of our prayers.

When we look into our own breasts, instead of meeting that calm and joyous sunshine that should always accompany a good conscience, we find, too often, turbulent and unruly passions and appetites-we find little of the love of God, but much of the love of the world : the joys of heaven are seldom thought of, but the pleasures of life are spread in lively colours. Of charity, and love to man, we find very little ; but a strong propensity often to envy and malice: little humility, but much pride and self-conceit ; moch felf-indulgence, but little self-denial; little resignation, but much difcontent: a disposition to falsehood and knavery, but no great love for træth. Now what an infinity of subjects does all this corruption open

for

for prayer!--for the assistance of God's Holy Spirit to lead us out of temptation, and deliver us

from evil.

And as our own breasts furnish us with all this variety of subjects for prayer; fo alfo do external objects around us. Every thing we meet with is a temptation; and, without the affiftance of God's grace, may lead us into fin. The bufinefs we are enaged in the company we keepwathe clothes we wear-mour meat and drink our amusementsumour wealth, or poverty; in fhort, all the varied circumstances and conditions of life have a tendency to lead us into fin. Our passage, therefore, through a world of so much trial, must either be assisted by the grace of God, which earnest prayer alone can procure; or we must be continually betrayed by the temptations around us, and drawn into fin.

Besides all these subjects of our prayers, the necessaries of life may in a degree be the objects of them: Give us, day by day, our daily bread, is among the petitions that are allowed.

In the same way, in dangerous circumstances, we may pray for the divine assistance in carrying us through them.

We

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