Page images
PDF
EPUB

titude away, he went up into a moun tain apart to pray, and when evening was come he was there alone. Mark I. 35. And in the morning rifng up a great while before day, he departed into a sohitary place, and there prayed. Luke V. 16. And be withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed. Luke VI. 12. And it came to pass in those days that be went out into a mountain to pray, and be continued all night in prayer to God. Some persons indeed translate the latter part of this verfe differently; and what our translators have rendered, he continued all night in prayer to God, they render he continued all night in a profeucha of God, i. e. in a house of prayer, dedicated to the fervice of God. Perhaps this may be the truer rendering; and supposing it is, it will not prejudice my argument; for if our Saviour was all night in a house of prayer, 'tis reasonable to fuppose that he employ'd a great part of that time in prayer. Therefore, fince our bleffed Lord exercised himself so much in this duty, let us go and do likewife. He hath left us an example that we should follow bis fteps. We cannot pretend that we have less reason to pray than he. Our

necessities perhaps may not equal those of our blessed Saviour ; for he having an extraordinary work to go through, needed an extraordinary affiftance. Yet I cannot but take notice, that there is one thing which he never wanted and we always want; and that is pardon of fin. However, whether our neceffities are greater or less than those of our blessed Lord were ; this I am sure of, that our power to relieve them is vastly inferior,

Therefore if the Son of God pray'd, much more should we. But we must not rest here. If prophesying in Chriff's name, and casting out devils in his name, will not bring men to heaven ; much less will the mere praying in his name. We must watch as well as pray, that we enter not into temptation. And if we do both thefe, we need not fear obtaining the victory over our spiritual enemies; and at last we shall receive the reward of our labours in a glorious immortality.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

i Theff. V. i 8. In every thing give thanks : for

this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

O reasonable man will deny

that it is his duty to give N

thanks ; for this is a law of nature : but that he Thould

give thanks in every thing, may perhaps seem strange and unaccountable. Nature itself dictates to us

to

to be thankful for blessings and favours; but to be thankful for afflictions and calamities, seems to contradict our natural notions of things. 'Tis natural to thank God for a sound and healthful constitution of body, and for any happy endowments of mind ; for a plentiful fortune and a fair character and reputation; for comfortable relations, and kind and faithful friends: but it seems contrary to nature to thank him for sickness of body, and meanness of parts, for poverty and reproach, and for the death of relations and friends. These things are matter of deprecation rather than of thanksgiving. We are by nature so strongly averse from them, that 'tis impossible we Tould give thanks for them. The apostle Paul himself did not thank God for afflictions. When there was given unto him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, he did not thank God for it on the contrary, he befought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from him ; 2 Cor. XII. 8. What then can be the meaning of this precept: In every thing give thanks ? I answer :

[blocks in formation]

1. That there is no necessity of reading the words as they are in our translation: for the word thing is not in the original ; that is supplied by the tranflators. And, I think, we may supply another word as well ; viz. the word time or season. In every time give thanks, will be as just a translation as, in every thing give thanks. And if this is admited, then there is no great difficulty in the precept: for most certainly it is our duty to give thanks at all times and seasons, not only in prosperity, but even in adversity; for there is no man so wretched and miserable, but he hath still some mercies to bless God for. If we receive evil at the hand of God, we also receive good : and we may, and ought to thank him for the good, tho we cannot for the evil.

But, 2. If we take the words as they are in our translation, yet still they will bear a very good meaning. In every thing give thanks : that is, for every mercy both temporal and spiricual; and tho not for affliction itself, yet for the benefit and advantage that accrues to you from it. It would be absurd for me to thank God because I am sick, and because I am poor ; but

if

« PreviousContinue »