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the tongue; they give a natural elo we should avoid all glittering language quence to those who know not any rules and affected style. An excessive fondof art, and they almost constrain the ness of elegance and finery of style in dumb to speak. There is a remarkable || prayer discovers the same pride and instance of this in ancient history. vanity of mind, as an affection to many When Atys, the son of Cræsus the jewels and fine apparel in the house of king, who was dumb from his child- || God: it betrays us into a neglect hood, saw his father ready to be slain, hearts, and of experimental religion, by the violence of his passion broke the an affectation to make the nicest speech, bonds wherewith his tongue was tied, and say the finest things we can, inand he cried out to save him. Let our stead of sincere devotion, and praying spiritual senses be always awake and in the spirit. On the other hand, we lívely, then words will follow in a great should avoid mean and coarse, and too er or less degree.-2. We should trea- familiar expressions; such as excite sure up such expressions, especially, as any contemptible or ridiculous ideas; we read in Scripture, and such as we such as raise any improper or irreverent have found in other books of devotion, thoughts in the mind, or base and imor such as we have heard fellow Chris- pure images, for these much injure the tians make use of, whereby our own devotion of our fellow-worshippers.--4. hearts have been sensibly moved and We should seek after those ways of exwarmed.-3. We should be always rea-pression that are pathetical; such as dy to engage in holy conference, and denote the ferrency of affection, and divine discourse. This will teach us to carry life and spirit with them; such as speak of the things of God. It should may awaken and exercise our love, our be our practice to recollect and talk || hope, our holy joy, our sorrow, our over with one another the sermons we fear, and our faith, as well as express have heard, the books of divinity we the activity of those graces. This is the have been conversant with, those parts way to raise, assist, and maintain devoof the word of God we have lately |tion. We should, therefore, avoid such read, and especially our own expe- || a sort of style as looks more like preachriences of divine things. Hereby weing, which some persons that affect long shall gain a large treasure of language prayers have been guilty of to a great to clothe our thoughts and affections. degree: they have been speaking to 4. We should pray for the gift of utter- the people rather than speaking to God; ance, and seek the blessing of the Spirit they have wandered away from God to of God upon the use of proper means || speak to men; but this is quite contrary to obtain a treasure of expressions for to the nature of prayer, for prayer is prayer; for the wise man tells us, that our own address to God, and pouring á the preparation of the heart in man, out our hearts before him with warm and the answer of the tongue, is from and proper affections.-5. We should the Lord,” Prov. xvi. 1. The rules not always confine ourselves to one set about the choice and use of proper er- form of words to express any particular pressions are these: 1. We should request; nor take too much pains to choose those expressions that best suit avoid an expression merely because we our meaning, that most exactly answer used it in prayer heretofore. We need the ideas of our mind, and that are fitted not be over fond of a nice uniformity of to our sense and apprehension of things. words, nor of perpetual diversity of ex-2. We should use such a way of speak-pression in every prayer: it is best to ing as may be most natural and easy to keep the middle between these two exbe understood, and most agreeable to tremes. The imitation of those Christhose that join with us. We should tians and ministers that have the best avoid all foreign and uncommon words; | gifts, will be an excellent direction in all those expressions which are too phi- || this as well as in the former cases. losophical, and those which savour too As to the voice in prayer: in the first much of mystical divinity; all dark me- || place, our words should be all protaphors, or expressions that are used nounced distinct, and ought not to be only by some particular violent party- || made shorter by cutting off the last sylmen. 'We should likewise avoid length lable, nor longer by the addition of hems and obscurity in our sentences, and in and o's, of long breaths, affected groanthe placing of our words; and not in- || ings, and useless sounds, &c.—2. Every terline our expressions with too many sentence should be spoken loud enough parentheses, which cloud and entangle to be heard, yet none so loud as to afthe sense.-3. Our language should be fright or offend the ear. Some persons grave and decent, which is a medium have got a habit of beginning their between magnificence and meanness; || prayers, and even upon the most com
mon family occasions, so loud as to || surd, extravagant, or impious addresses startle the company; others begin so to God, as well as the confusion of exlow in a large assembly, that it looks temporary prayer; that forms were like secret worship, and as though they used under the Old Testament die forbid those that are present to join sation; and, in proof thereof cite land with them. Both these extremes are to vi. 24, 26. Numb, x. 35, 36. On the be avoided by prudence and moderation. other side it is answered, that it is —3. We should observe a due medium ther reasonable nor Scriptural to los between excessive swiftness and slow- for the pattern of Christian worship i ness of speech, for both are faulty in the Mosaic dispensation, which, thus their kind. If we are too swift, our its rites and ceremonies, is abroauto words will be hurried on, and be min- and done away; that, though fire gled in confusion ; if we are too slow, may be of use to children, and such 33 this will be tiresome to the hearers, and are very ignorant, yet restricta to will make the worship appear heavy forms, either in public or privat, does and dull.
not seem Scriptural or lawful Fre As to gesture in prayer: all inde- look to the authority and example of cencies should be avoided. Prostration Christ and his apostles, every this is may be sometimes used in secret prayer, in favour of extempore prarer. Tx under a deep and uncommon sense of Lord's prayer, it is observed, was sin ; but kneeling is the most frequent given to be a set form, exclusive of exposture ; and nature seems to dictate | temporary prayer. See LORD'S P: 4Fand lead us to it as an expression of hu- Er.It is farther argued, that a in mility, of a sense of our wants, a sup- cramps the desires; inverts the tre plication for mercy, and adoration of order of prayer, making our words, o and dependence on him before whom regulate our desires, instead of our de we kneel.
sires regulating our words; has a teo“ Standing is a posture not unfit for dency to make us formal; cannot be this worship, especially in places where suited to every one's case ; that it looks we have not conveniency for the hum as if we were not in reality convinced bler gestures: but sitting, or other pos- of our wants, when we want a form to tures of rest and laziness, ought not to be express them; and, finally, in answer indulged, unless persons are aged or in to the two first arguments that it is firm, or the work prayer be drawn seldom the case that those who are out so long as to make it troublesome to truly sensible of their condition, and human nature to maintain itself always pray extempore, do it in an impious and in one posture The head should be extravagant manner; and if any who kept for the most part without motion; have the gift of prayer really do so, and the whole visage should be composed to run into the extreme of enthusiasm, ret gravity and solemnity. The eye should this is not the case with the generality, be kept from roving, and some think it since an unprejudiced attention to those best to keep the eyes closed. The lift- | who pray extempore must convince us, ing up of the hands is a very natural that, if their prayers be not so elegantly expression of our seeking help from composed as that of a set form, they are God. As to other parts of the body || more appropriate, and delivered with there is little need of direction. In se more energy and feeling. cret devotion, sighs and groans may be VII. The efficacy of prayer. It has allowed; but in public these things | been objected, that, "if what we reshould be less indulged. If we use our quest bé fit for us, we shall have it selves to various motions, or noise made without praying; if it be not fit for us by the hands or feet, or any other we cannot obtain it by praying." But parts, it will tempt others to think that it is answered, that it may be agreeable our minds are not very intensely en to perfect wisdom to grant that to our gaged; or, at least, it will appear so fa- prayers which it would not have been miliar and irreverent, as we would not agreeable to the same wisdom to have willingly be guilty of in the presence of given us without praying for. But what our superiors here on earth.
virtue, you will ask, is there in prayer, VI. "As to forms of prayer. We find which should make a favour consistent this has been a matter of controversy with wisdom, which would not hare among divines and Christians, whether been so without it! To this questing such ought to be used, or whether ex- which contains the whole difficuity attempore prayers are not to be prefer- || tending the subject, the following possired. We shall state the arguments on bilities are offered in reply:1. A faroor both sides. Those who are advocates granted to prayer, may be more apt on for forms, observe, that it prevents ab- ll that very account to produce a good ef
fect upon the person obliged. It may Enoch prophesied, Jude, 14, 15. We hold in the divine bounty, what expe have a very short account of this prorience has raised into a proverb in the phet and his doctrine; enough, howcollation of human benefits, that what ever, to convince us that he taught the is obtained without asking, is oftentimes principal truths of natural and revealed received without gratitude.-2. It may religion. Conviction of sin was in his be consistent with the wisdom of the doctrine, and communion with God was Deity to withhold his favours till they exemplified in his conduct, Gen. v. 24. be asked for, as an expedient to encou Heb. xi. 5, 6. From the days of Enoch rage devotion in his rational creation, in to the time of Moses, each patriarch order thereby to keep up and circulate worshipped God with his family; proa knowledge and sense of their de- bably several assembled at new moons, pendency on him.-3. Prayer has a na and alternately, instructed the whole tural tendency to amend the petitioner company.-Noah, it is said, was a himself; it composes the mind, hum preacher of righteousness, 2 Pet. ii. 5. bles us under a conviction of what we | 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20. Abraham commanded are, and under the gracious influence of his household after him to keep the the Divine Spirit assimilates us into way of the Lord, and to do justice and the divine image. Let it suffice, there judgment, Gen. xviii. 19; and Jacob, fore, to say, that, though we are cer when his house lapsed to idolatry, retain that God cannot be operated on, or || monstrated against it, and exhorted them moved as a fellow-creature may; that and all that were with him to put away though we cannot inform him of any strange gods, and to go up with him to thing he does not know, nor add any Bethel, Gen. x. Gen. xxv. 2, 3. Melthing to his essential and glorious per chisedek, also we may consider as the fections, by any services of ours; yet father, the prince, and the priest his we should remember that he has ap- || people, publishing the glad tidings of pointed this as a mean to accomplish an | peace and salvation, Gen. xviii. Heb. vii. end; that he has commanded us to en Moses was a most eminent prophet gage in this important duty, 1 Thess. v. | and preacher, raised up by the authority 17, that he has promised his Spirit to | of God, and by whom, it is said, came assist us in it, Rom. viii. 26; that the the law, John, i. 17. This great man had Bible abounds with numerous answers much at heart the promulgation of his to prayer; and that the promise still || doctrine; he directed it to be inscribed relates to all who pray, that answers on pillars, to be transcribed in books, shall be given, Matt. vii
. 7. Psal. 1. 15. and to be taught both in public and priLuke, xviii. 1. &c. Phil. iv. 6, 7. James, vate by word of mouth, Deut. xxviíi. 8. v. 16. Wilkins, Henry, Watts, Deut. vi. 9. Deut. xxxi. 19. Deut. xvii. Prayer; Townsend's Nine Sermons on 18. Numb. v. 23. Deut. iv. 9. Himself Prayer; Paley's Mor. Phil. vol. ii. p. set the example of each; and how he 31; Mason's Student and Pastor, p. and Aaron sermonized, we may see by 87; Wollaston's Rel. of Nat. p. 122, || several parts of his writings. The first 124; H. Moore on Education, ch. 1. | discourse was heard with profound revol. ii.; Barrow's Ilorks, vol. i. ser. 6; verence and attention; the last was Smith's System of Prayer; Scamp's both uttered and received in raptures, Sermon on Family Religion.
Ex. iv. 31. Deut. xxxiïi. 7, 8. Public PREACHER, one who discourses || preaching does not appear under this publicly on religious subjects. See ar- |æconomy to have been attached to the ticles DECLAMATION, ELOQUENCE, priesthood : priests were not officially MINISTER, and SERMON.
preachers; and we have innumerable PREACHING is the discoursing instances of discourses delivered in relipublicly on any religious subject. It is | gious assemblies by men of other tribes impossible, in the compass of this work, besides that of Levi, Ps. lxviii. 11. to give a complete history of this ar- Joshua was an Ephraimite; but being ticle from the beginning down to the full of the spirit of wisdom, he gathered present day. This must be considered the tribes to Shechem, and harangued as a desideratum in theological learning. the people of God, Deut. xxxiv. 9. Mr. Robinson, in his second volume of Joshua, xxxiv. Solomon was a prince Claude's Essay, has prefixed a brief of the house of Judah, Amos a herdsman dissertation on this subject, an abridg of Tekoa; yet both were preachers, ment of which we shall here insert, and one at least was a prophét, 1 Kings, with a few occasional alterations. ii. Amos, vii. 14, 15. When the igno
From the sacred records we learn, rant notions of Pagans, the vices of their that, when men began to associate for practice, and the idolatry of their prethe purpose of worshipping the Deity, || tended worship, were in some sado por
riods incorporated into the Jewish reli- | the law, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 29, 30. XXXT gion by the princes of that nation, the 15. Hence false prophets, bad men prophets and all the seers protested who found it worth while to affect to be against this apostacy, and they were good, crowded the courts of princes. persecuted for so doing. Shemaiah Jezebel, an idolatress, had four hundred preached to Rehoboam, the princes, prophets of Baal; and Ahab, a pretendand all the people, at Jerusalem, 2 ed worshipper of Jehovah, had as many Chron. xii. 5. Azariah and Hanani pretended prophets of his own profespreached to Asa and his army, 2 Chron. sion, 2 Chron. xviii. 5. xv. 1, &c. xvi. 7. Micaiah to Ahab. When the Jews were carried captive Some of them opened schools, or houses into Babylon, the prophets who were of instruction, and there to their disci- with them inculcated the principles of ples they taught the pure religion of religion, and endeavoured to possess Moses. “At Naioth, in the suburbs of their minds with an aversion to idolatry; Ramah, there was one, where Samuel and to the success of preaching we may dwelt; there was another at Jericho, attribute the re-conversion of the Jews and a third at Bethel, to which Elijah to the belief and worship of one God; a and Elisha often resorted. Thither the conversion that remains to this day, people went on Sabbath days and at The Jews have since fallen into horrid new moons, and received public lessons crimes; but they have never since this of piety and morality, 1 Sam. xix. 18. period lapsed_into idolatry, Hosea, 2d 2 Kings, ii. 3, 5. 2 Kings, iv. 2, 3. and 3d chap. Ezekiel, 2d, 3d, and 34th Through all this period there was a dis- chap. There were not wanting, howmal confusion of the useful ordinance of ever, multitudes of false prophets among public preaching. Sometimes they had them, whose characters are strikingly no open vision, and the word of the delineated by the true prophets, and Lord was precious or scarce: the peo- which the reader may see in the 13th ple heard it only now and then. At chapter of Ezekiel, 56th Isaiah, 23d other times they were left without Jeremiah. When the seventy years of a teaching priest, and without law. And, the captivity were expired, the good at other seasons again, itinerants, both prophets and preachers, Zerubbabel, princes, priests, and Levites, were sent | Joshua, Haggai, and others, having conthrough all the country to carry the fidence in the word of God, and aspiring book of the law, and to teach in the after their natural, civil, and religious cities. In a word, preaching flourished rights, endeavoured by all means to exwhen pure religion grew; and when tricate themselves and their countrythe last decayed, the first was sup- men from that mortifying state into pressed. Moses had not appropriated which the crimes of their ancestors had preaching to any order of men: per- brought them. They wept, fasted, sons, places, times, and manners, were prayed, preached, prophesied, and at all left open and discretional. Many of length prevailed. The chief instruthe discourses were preached in camps ments were Nehemiah and Ezra: the and courts, in streets, schools, cities, first was governor, and reformed their and villages, sometimes with great com- civil state; the last was a scribe of the posure and coolness, at other times with law of the God of heaven, and addressvehement action and rapturous energy; ed himself to ecclesiastical matters, in sometimes in a plain blunt style, at other which he rendered the noblest service times in all the magnificent pomp of to his country, and to all posterity. He Eastern allegory. On some occasions, collected and collated manuscripts of the preachers appeared in public with the sacred writings, and arranged and visible signs, with implements of war, published the holy canon in its present yokes of slavery, or something adapted form. To this he added a second work to their subject. They gave lectures on as necessary as the former: he revived these, held them up to view, girded and new-modelled public preaching, them on, broke them in pieces, rent and exemplified his plan in his own their garments, rolled in the dust, and person. The Jews had almost lost in endeavoured, by all the methods they the seventy years' captivity their origicould devise agreeably to the customs nal language: that was now become of their country, to impress the minds dead; and they spoke a jargon made up of their auditors with the nature and of their own language and that of the importance of their doctrines. These Chaldeans and other nations with whom men were highly esteemed by the pious they had been confounded. Formerly part of the nation; and princes thought preachers had only explained subjects; proper to keep seers and others, who now they were obliged to explain words; were scribes, who read and expounded | words which, in the sacred code, were
become obsolete, equivocal, or dead. || public preaching was universal: synaHouses were now opened, not for cere- gogues were multiplied, vast numbers monial worship, as sacrificing, for this attended, and elders and rulers were was confined to the temple; but for mo- appointed for the purpose of order and ral obedience, as, praying, preaching, instruction. reading the law, divine worship, and so The most celebrated preacher that cial duties. These houses were called arose before the appearance of Jesus synagogues; the people repaired thither Christ was John the Baptist. He was morning and evening for prayer; and commissioned from heaven to be the on sabbaths and festivals the law was harbinger of the Messiah. He took read and expounded to them. We have Elijah for his model; and as the times a short but beautiful description of the were very much like those in which manner of Ezra's first preaching, Ne- that prophet lived, he chose a doctrine hemiah, viï. Upwards of fifty thou- and a method very much resembling sand people assembled in a street, or those of that venerable man. His sublarge square, near the Water-gate. Itjects were few, plain, and important. was early in the morning of a sabbath His style was vehement, images bold, day. A pulpit of wood, in the fashion his deportment solemn, his actions eaof a small tower, was placed there on ger, and his morals strict; but this purpose for the preacher; and this tur- bright morning-star gave way to the ret was supported by a scaffold, or tem- illustrious Sun of Righteousness, who porary gallery, where, in a wing on the now arose on a benighted world. Jesus right hand of the pulpit, sat six of the Christ certainly was the prince of principal preachers; and in another, on preachers. Who can but admire the the left, seven. Thirteen other princi- simplicity and majesty of his style, the pal teachers, and many Levites, were beauty of his images, the alternate softpresent also on scaffolds erected for the ness and severity of his address, the purpose, alternately to officiate. When choice of his subjects, the gracefulness Ezra ascended the pulpit, he produced of his deportment, and the indefatigaand opened the book of the law, and the bleness of his zeal? Let the reader whole congregation instantly rose up charm and solace himself in the study from their seats, and stood. Then he and contemplation of the character, exoffered up prayer and praise to God, cellency, and dignity of this best of the people bowing their heads, and wor- preachers, as he will find them delineashipping the Lord with their faces to the ted by the evangelists. ground; and, at the close of the pray The apostles exactly copied their dier, with uplifted hands, they solemn- vine Master. They formed multitudes ly pronounced, Amen, Amen. Then, of religious societies, and were abunall standing, Ezra, assisted at times by dantly successful in their labours. They the Levites, read the law distinctly, confined their attention to religion, and gave the sense, and caused them to un- left the school to dispute, and politicians derstand the reading. The sermons de- to intrigue. The doctrines they preachlivered so affected the hearers, that they | ed, they supported entirely by evidence; wept excessively; and about noon the and neither had nor required such assorrow became so exuberant and im- sistance as human laws or worldly pomeasurable, that it was thought neces- licy, the eloquence of the schools or the sary by the governor, the preacher, and terror of arms, the charm of money or the Levites, to restrain it. Go your the tricks of tradesmen, could afford way, said they; eat the fat, drink the them. sweet, send portions unto them for whom The apostles being dead, 'every thing nothing is prepared. The wise and be came to pass as they had foretold. The nevolent sentiments of these noble souls whole Christian system underwent a were imbibed by the whole congrega- miserable change; preaching shared tion, and fifty thousand troubled hearts the fate of other institutions, and this were calmed in a moment. Home they glory of the primitive church was now returned, to eat, to drink, to send por- generally degenerated. Those writers tions and to make mirth, because they whom we call the Fathers, however, had understood the words that were de- | held up to view by some as models of clared unto them. Plato was alive at imitation, do not deserve that indiscrithis time, teaching dull philosophy to minate praise ascribed to them. Chriscold academics; but what was he, and tianity, it is true, is found in their what was Xenophon or Demosthenes, writings; but how sadly incorporated or any of the Pagan orators, in compa- with Pagan philosophy and Jewish alrison with these men? From this period legory! ”It must, indeed, be allowed, to that of the appearance of Jesus Christ, that, in general, the simplicity of Chris