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Christ your concern? the dishonor of Christ, your affliction, the cross of Christ your glory? If so, you are not strangers to the spirit of self-denial. You are not without conclusive evidence, that you are born from above. The more you forget yourselves in a supreme regard for God's glory, the more will you advance your own interest, both in this world and that which is to come. But the more you seek a selfish, private, separate interest, in opposition to the glory of God, the more are you seeking an interest which God has determined to destroy.
SPIRIT OF PRAYER.
SAUL of Tarsus was once a hardened obsti. nate sinner. He styles himself the chief of sinners, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious. But he was a chosen vessel. It pleased God, who separated him from his mother's womb, suddenly to arrest him in his career; and near the spot where he had anticipated the success of a commission armed with the most unrelenting virulence against the trembling Christians, to humble him to the dust. He had in all its strength and prominence, borne the image of the earthly; but now he bears the image of the heavenly, Behold, saith the testimony of the faithful and
true vitness, Behold, he prayeth! He is not now the persecuting Saul; but the heavenborn, praying Paul. The proud Pharisec has become the humble suppliant; the stub. born rebel the meek child of Jesus. "No sooner is the soul born than it breathes; no sooner is Paul converted, than Behold, he prays."
When we say that the spirit of prayer is conclusive evidence of Christian Character, we feel under obligation to point out wherein that spirit consists. We are not to forget that there is such a thing as drawing nigh unto God with the mouth, and honoring Him with the lips, while the heart is far from Him. The hearts of men may be as stapid and unfeeling, as proud and as self-righteous; they may be in the exercise of as sensible opposition to the character of the Most High, to the law and the gospel, while offering up the most solemn expressions of homage, as they are when God is not in all their thoughts. But it is not so with the righte
His prayer goeth not forth out of feigned lips. With the spiritual worshipper, the heart feels what the lips express.
The spirit of prayer is humble. It flows from a broken and contrite heart. The publican could not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner! Before Him who is so great, that the nations are as the drop of the bucket in His presence; and so holy, that the heavens are impure in His
sight; the suppliant feels as a man of unclean lips. Every sentiment of his heart constrains him to make the affecting confession, “() my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to Thee, for my iniquities are increased over my head, and my trespass is grown up unto the Heavens!" Sometimes a sense of guilt so overwhelms the soul, as to prevent its free access to the throne. Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me," says the Psalınist, “so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head, therefore my heart faileth me."
The spirit of prayer is also believing. Numerous and aggravated as his sins appear; much as they attempt to discourage the believer from daty, he does not yield to the discouragement. He has respect unto the sacrifice of the Son of God. “He believes that God is, and that He is, a rewarder of all wlio diligently seek Him." He looks to Jesus, the Mediator of the better covenant, as the way of access to the Father. The efficacy of His blood, the virtue of His righteousness is his only plen. He has an unshaken confidence, that God can glorify Himself by answering his requests for Christ's sake, and he is therefore emboldened to press them in Christ's name, Though he has a lively sense of his own unworthiness, yet he knows that he has a Great High Priest that has passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, who is touched with a feeling of his infirmities, and he therefore comes boldly to the throne of grace,
that he may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Until the work of redeeming grace shall cease; until the Father shall forget the Son of His love; until the name of Christ shall cease to be precious, and His intercession shall be no longer prevailing-faith in the blood of the spotless sacrifice will appertain to the nature of prayer.
But the spirit of prayer is also submissive. The suppliant prefers God's will to his own. This was the disposition which our Blessed Lord manifested in the Garden. It was an awful thought to Him to die; but it was a still more awful one, that His Father's will should not be accomplished. Though Christ viewed the death of the crossin its own nature dread. ful, yet he viewed the will of His Father delightful. He chose that His Father's will should be done rather than His own. "The cup which my Father hath given me, shall ? not drink it?" His will was absorbed in the will of God. “1) my Father, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, let this cup pass from me; neverthe lese, not my will, but THINE be done!" This, in a greater or less degree, is the spirit of every genuine suppliant. He pours forth the fulness of his heart in the affectionate language of a child, and the submissive language of a servant. He is prepared to be accepted, or to be rejected in his petitions, He approaches the mercy-seat with the desire that God would exercise His wisdom and grace in granting or denying his requests.
** This is the spirit of prayer; sincere, humble, believing, submissive. Other prayer than this the Bible does not require, God will not accept. This is the spirit of genuine devotion; a spirit which you cannot be conscious of possessing, without the consciousness of your reconciliation to God.
6 Be. cause ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.” If you possess this spirit, though it be in a very imperfect state, you enjoy the high privilege of being adopted into God's family, and of occupying the place, not of strangers, not of foreigners, not merely of servants, but of children, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. When the Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, how high the pleasure to utter our acknowledgments, to lisp our praise, to breathe forth our complaints toward Heaven! What tongue can express the sweetness of these seasons of refreshing! How is the heart enlarged! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. No slavish fear perplexes the mind; no frown of divine displeasure guards the throne of mercy. The children of the common Father come near even to His seat. There they taste and see that the Lord is gracious; there, they are assimilated into the likeness of the Holy One; there they see the clearest manifestations of the divine beauty; and ssbeholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from