Sermon XVIII

SERMON XVIII.

SECRET PRAYER.'

Matth. vi. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

The sense of this text is plain. The Savjour is reproving the ostentation and pride of hypocrites for the public manner in which tbey offered their prayers. In contradistinction from them he directs his disciples to go into a place where they would be alone with God; where no eye could see them.but his eye, and no ear could hear their, voice but his ear, and.there to pTay to him who dwells in a world unseen by mortals. The subject, therefore, which:is now before us is, Secret Prayer. In considering it, I shall direct your thoughts to the duty; to the proper times and modes of performing it; and to the rewards, or advantage of it.

1. I begin with the duty of secret prayer. You will observe the peculiar manner in which this is mentioned in the text. It is apparent that the Redeemer meant to be understood as expressing his conviction that .prayer should be offered to God. Yet he rather assumes as a matter of course that his followers would pray, than positively commands it; and he gives no direction as to the frequency with which the duty is to be performed. It is thus much unlike the. usual form of precepts in the Bible, and-wholly unlike the rules which men would have prescribed. Mohammed specified the number of times and the exact hours when his followers should pray; and perhaps some would be disposed to ask whether the apparently lax and indefinite manner in which the Saviour has left the subject, would not be attended with the consequence that his followers would seldom pray, or would perform the duty in a most hurried and heedless manner. Where it was so easv to command and to specify, was it the intention of the Saviour to leave it designedly indefinite? If so, what object did he propose to secure by this? These circumstances make it the more important to ascertain exactly in what way the duty is enjoined in the Bible. A few remarks will explain this part of our subject.

(1.) The text may be regarded as having all the form of a command. The frequency with "which prayer is to be offered is indeed not specified, but the duty of entering into the closet, and praying in secret to God, is- enjoined; and enjoined on the supposition that this would be dorie. The -same thing is implied in James v.'13': "Is any afflicted among" you? let him pray." Let him present 'his individual wants.and desires to God;-let him offer his secret and solitary supplications to him who hears prayer. So in Phil. iv. 6 :" In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to Ged.", Men have individual wants, and troubtes, and temptations. They have feelings which others cannot know, and which it is not desirable they should know, and which, therefore, are to be brought before God only in secret prayer. So in Epfr. vi. 18.' "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit ;*—that is, with all the usual modes of prayer, not limiting your "supplications to the sanctuary and the family, but using all. the ways of prayer in which you may present your wants before God.

(2.) But it is more by example than by express precept that the duty is enforced in the Scriptures; and that example was exhibited by all the holy men who walked with God on the earth. It will be sufficient to refer you to Jacob in his lonely wrestling with the angel of the Covenant when on his way to a distant land; fo Abraham who stood alone before the Lord and prayed for Sodom, (Gen. xviii. 22); to David who said, " Evening and morning, and noon will I pray and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice" (Ps. Iv. 17); to the author of the cxixth Psalm, who said, "seven times a day do I praise thee; because of thy righteous judgments" (ver. 164); to Daniel who "kneeled upon his knees three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God," (Dan. vi. 10), and to the example of the Redeemer himself. With the Saviour's habits on this subject we are not indeed made fully acquainted. He himself enjoined secrecy in prayer, and the whole record of his life shows that he sought it; and all that we can expect is some general intimation, showing that he was in the habit of secret prayer. We have just the record which we should anticipate. We are told, on one occasion, that "in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place and there prayed," Mark i. 35. On another occasion we are told, that "when he had sent the multitude away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray; and when the eyen was come he was there alone." Matth. xiv. 23. On another occasion we are told, " that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Luke vi. 12. His prayer also in the garden of Gethsemane was private, foT he was withdrawn from his disciples before he kneeled down, to pray (Luke xxii. 41); and the whole narrative, especially in regard to the closing scenes, of his life, shows that he was accustomed to retire from the busy city to some secluded part of the Mount of Olives that he might be alone with God.

Now in regard to the Saviour's habits, We may remark that secret prayer with him was attended with all the difficulties which can ever exist in its performance. His professed followers often excuse themselves for neglecting it because they are away from home, and have no convenient place for retirement. Yet no small part of the Saviour's life was spent in travelling from place to place; and he had no home. We excuse ourselves because we find it difficult to retire from the gaze of man. But the Saviour was surrounded by multitudes who thronged his path; and he retired to the mountain that he might be alone with God. We excuse ourselves because we are oppressed with business and care, and because we have no time to pray. Yet the Saviour, with the burden' of redeeming the world upon him, felt so much the importance of secret prayer that he rose up a great while before day that he might secure time for secret devotion. • He was in a busy city; he was as incessantly occupied as we can be; he went from place to place as we often do, but he forgot not the duty of secret devotion, and he made it a matter 01 plan and study and self-denial that he might be alone with God. Fellow professor! He had not a dwelling like yours where at any time he might secure a place of retirement for prayer. Amidst all the difficulties which can encircle our path he prayed in secret; and he left a standing rebuke of the idle and the slumbering by his rising a great while before day for prayer. Let me ask of his followers, whether it would not be as easy for them to anticipate the dawning of the morning to pray as it was for their self-denying Saviour? Should they urge as-an excuse f6r neglecting this duty that they have wo time to pray when they spend the time which the Saviour sought for prayer in needless sleep? When you feel disposed to urge this, let me entreat you to call to mind the image of the Son of God before the morning had shed a ray of light in the east, treading' his lonely way to the mountain-side, -that he might be alone with Him who hears prayer. Your redemption was sought by one who loved the devotions of the morning, and who denied himself of repose that you might be saved.

(3.)' The duty of secret prayer is enforced by the fact that we have wants which can be presented before God in no other way. Our prayers in the sanctuary must be, to a great extent, such as will meet the common wants of the entire congregation; our prayers in the family, though not a* general, yet will scarce allow a reference to the circumstances of individuals. We all have easily besetting sins; we have thoughts and feelings which cannot with propriety be made known to others; we have temptations which are peculiar to ourselves; and we have sadnesses, and sorrows, and fears, and trials of which others do not know, and which cannot be met by public prayer. A true Christian, moreover, will feel the necessity of more frequent communion with God than he can enjoy "either in the family, the prayer-meeting, or the sanctuary. He" will have desires and feelings which can be gratified only by prayer; and he will feel his need of grace and strength that can be imparted only by direct communion with God.

Yet I admit here, that the true question is rather one of privilege than of stern and iron-handed duty. The enquiry is not so much whether I ovght, as whether I may pray. I am a lost sinner; a tempted, and a dying man. I have a heart that is by nature full cf evil. I am in a world where I am every moment liable to go astray; and the question is, whether I shall meet these temptations alone and single-handed, or whether I may go to a God of infinite power and grace and implore his aid? I am called to the discharge of great and arduous duties; and may I go to God and ask him to shine upon my understanding and my heart, and to furnish facilities for the discharge of those duties by the favoring events of his Providence? I am about to die, and my whole nature shrinks back at the word death. Shall I go to meet the king of terrors armed by the little philosophy which I can assume; and after all with no security that the dark valley will not be to me full of horrors, or may I now in the days of my health' and strength go. before God and ask him to prepare me far that dread hour, and secure his presence when I come to die? These are the questions to be asked on the subject of secret prayer; and if man has any right feelings, the answer to these questions cannot be difficult. t

(4.) It is observable that the injunction on the subject of secret prayer dors not specify the times when we are to pray. It does not say how often, nor at what time of the day, it is to be done. In this respect there is a strong resemblance between this command and that enjoining the observance of the Lord's supper. Both are to be voluntary services ; and in regard to both, the time when the duty is to be performed is left to eurselves. This was evidently not without design; and the Saviour meant to accomplish what could not be accomplished had he specified the times when the duty was to be performed, or the length of the service. Mohammed undertook to regulate this matter. He enjoined prayer a certain number of times each day, and the consequence is a formal, and cold, and heartless, and ostentatious prostration of the body all over the regions where the religion of Islam has spread. Christ meant that his religion should be voluntary. It was to be the religion of the heart. It was to be sufficiently powerful to secure the proper observance of his laws without needless particularity. It was designed to be such that a test might be furnished daily of our lave to him, and our readiness to obey him. It is like the expressions of confidence and affection which we expect in our children. We do not specify how often they shall come and ask for favors, or how often they shall be admitted to our society;—we cherish such a feeling, and expect from them such confidence in us, that they may come to us at any and at all times in their perplexities; and we rejoice far more in the voluntary expressions of their confidence in us than we could in any constrained and prescribed service. O.ur prayers to God are to be voluntary. Whether they are more, or less frequent, will be determined by the strength or feebleness of our religion; and -there is not to onrselve.s a better test of our attachment to God than the voluntary and frequent tribute which'we 'pay to him in our secret devotions. Christianity is freedom—the true freedom- In its duties we are not to be fettered-by set rules and formal services, but are to follow the promptings of a renovated mind, and to yield a service that is to be a service of love. Yet there are some circumstances determined by the principles laid down in the-Bible, and by experience, which may lead us in regard to the proper times and modes of performing this duty. They are such rules as would be desired by those anxious to know how they may most profitably engage in secret prayer; and as I wish to be useful to-those who are desirous of doing their duty, I shall proceed to consider these rules. This was my.' .' , . . - •

II. Second object. In the text but a.single circumstance is mentioned. It k, that we are to go into our closet, and that we are to .be alone, or to secure secresy. In illustrating this, I would call your attention to a few points suggested by the circumstances of the case, or by what is obviously proper.

(1.) There should, if possible, he.a place to which we may retire where we may be alone with God. It was a custom among the Jews to prepare such a place in all their dwellings as an essential part of the arrangement of a house. There was with them, perhaps, somewhat of ostentation in this, but the principle was a good one ; and he who builds a house should secure some room where he may retire alike from his family and from the world, and be alone with God: There are times in the lives of all men when they wish to be alone; there should be times every day when we should withdraw wholly from the world; and unless such a place of retirement can be secured, I see not that there can be the appropriate performance of this duty of secret prayer. To breathe forth a short and silent petition when lying in-your bed, does not meet the case supposed by the Saviour, w"hen we are to enter into the closet, and shut the door, and pray. With the Redeemer, a grove, a mountain, a garden, constituted such a place. Rather than forego it, he went before day to the mountain-side; he walked at deep night to the grove; he left the city, and sought out a garden where he might be alone. And we may as well do it "as he. There need be no difficulty on this point. The love of secret prayer would create' such places in abundance; and no -one need pass a. single day without securing retirement to pray to God. If there be not such a place, it is not difficult to foresee what will be the effect. There will be no regular secfet prayer; as I fear there is.not by many who are members of the Christian church.

(2.) There should be set times for secret devotion. It is true that the Saviojir did not prescribe such times, but that does not make it improper that we should form rules by which to regulate our personal habits in this matter. When the times shall be; how numerous; or at what periods of the day, must be left, of course, to each individual. No one can give laws in religion where- Christ has given none; and the whole arrangement must be one that is voluntary on our part. The reasons why there should be set times for secret devotion are almost too obvious to be specified. The world crowds hard upon us, and unless there is a-time sacred to God in our estimation, it will all be stolen away by the cares of this life. We defer it, intending to secure time for the duty, but company, and care, and pleasure, and light-reading, steal -away the hours, and the day glides on, and this duty is forgotten. Of all things, our religious duties are most easily crowded out of their place; and in not a few instances, it is to be feared, the duty of secret prayer is deferred from day to day, until the Sabbath is almost the only period when there is even the form of secret devotion. If only on that day, I may remark also, it will be mere form, and will be most heartlessly done. He who suffers the week to be passed without secret devotion, will usually not find it difficult to devote the Sabbath morning hours to protracted slumbers, and the entire day to other matters than secret prayer. He does not mean always so to live; but day^crowds on day, and week on week, and his prayers are of the briefest nature, and of the most heartless kind.

Some say they have no time for secret devotion. The men of the world have no time. Their hours are too much occupied with the important business of making money, and of dress, and pleasure, in the countingroom, and in the gay and brilliant party, to attend to such trifles as the soul's salvation, and to preparation for eternity. Nothing would be more unreasonable than to disturb so important purposes by asking them to devote their time to prayer. But I marvel that a professor of the religion of Christ should ever make this remark. For. what do we live? Whose is our time? Who gave it to us? To what have we devoted our lives? What is the purpose for which we have a being? What is to be our employment for eternity? 0, professing Christian, the Saviour would have taken some portion of that time which you now spend in needless sleep, for secret prayer. He would have anticipated the dawning of the morning, rather than forego this- privilege. He would have taken some of that time which you. spend in dress, or in business, or in plans pertaining to this life, rather than neglect this duty. I add that the Saviour would have taken some of those moments which you spend in conversation of no profit, rather than forego the privilege of secret prayer. Nor think that this would be lost time. "Since I began*" said Dr. Payson when a student, "to beg God's blessing on my studies, I have done more in one week than in the whole year before." This accords, I apprehend, with the experience of all Christians.- He who wishes for a clear head in pursuing business or.study; for an understanding quick to perceive truth, and a memory attentive to retain it; for ability to spend his time profitably—not wasting his energies in fruitless pursuits, nor exhausting them in profitless speculations, will not find the time lost that is spent in prayer to that God who made the understanding, and who can give it just views of the proper proportion and value of things.- He who wishes in business or in study for a heart justly balaneed and pure, estimating objects according to their real value, superior to temptation and allurement, will not find his time lost that is spent in seeking that a heavenly influence may reign in that heart, and that God would preside over and direct all its feelings.

(3.) In regard to the frequency of our secret devotions, without attempting to give rules where Christ has given none, I would observe that the following are among the seasons when a true Christian, desiring to maintain a steady walk with God, and to become as eminent in piety as possible, will regard it as a privilege to pfay.

(a) In the morning—the early morning hour. So the Psalmist prayed: "I prevented," that is, I anticipated "the dawning of the morning, and cried; I hoped in thy word." Ps. exix. 147. So the Saviour prayed—rising a great while before day. What more appropriate season for prayer? When just rising from a bed of repose, having been guarded through the -silent watches of night, what more natural and appropriate than to go before God and render him thanks that the sleep has not been the sleep of death? When the light again shines upon a darkened world, what more appropriate than to go to the Great Source of light, and ask that he will shine upon our path? When we enter upon the duties, the trials, the toils of a new day, not knowing what shall befall us, what more proper than to commend ourselves to him who can guide our feet, and lead us in the way in which we should go? The sun which dawns upon you in the new day, may be the last that will ever rise to your eyes; the journey which you then enter upon maybe the closing day's journey of your life; and as that sun sinks in the west, your light may have gone' out forever. How can a Christian answer it to his conscience and to God, to begin the day and offering no thanksgiving, and imploring no guidance? He will find it impossible, I believe, to lead a life of very devoted piety, who does not begin each day with God; and every man will find the peace, the purity, the usefulness, and the comforts of each day to be determined with almost unerring accuracy by the nature of his early communion with God.

(b) Not less appropriate is secret prayer in the evening. Our preservation through the day demands thanks. The possibility that we have sinned, even where we have aimed to do our duty, (compare Job i. 5;) the consciousness of our infirmity and error, makes it proper that we should seek pardoning mercy. About again to be locked in the embrace of sleep, "the kinsman of death;" to close our eyes with no assurance that they will be opened again till they are opened on the. burning throne of God, what can be more appropriate than to commend ourselves to the fatherly car-e of Him "who never slumbers nor sleeps?" And how will that Christian answer it to conscience and to God who sleeps and wakes; who rises and retires to rest; who walks in the light of God's sun, and who is guarded by him in the shadows of his night, without any -recognition of his hand?

(c) Equally proper is it to pray in time, of perplexity and embarrassment. We. all have .secret troubles.. • Our way is hedged up. Our intellect is clouded, and our views of truth and duty are obscure. Deepening darkness settles on our path, and we know not what to do. Many such times will occur in each man's life; and they are appointed, among other reasons, to see whether we will then look to God. In the most dark and .distressing season-of the American revolution, the commander-in-chief of our armies was observed to retire each day to a grove in the vicinity of the camp. ;It. was at the Valley Forge. A series of disasters had disheartened the army, and the sky was overcast with a deep cloud, and distress and anxiety pervaded the nation. The army was in want of the comforts and almost of the indispensable. necessaries of life, and disaffection was spreading in the camp. Curiosity prompted an individual to follow the commander-in-chief, and to observe him. The father of his country was seen on his knees, supplicating the God of hosts in secret prayer. With an anxious and a burdened mind; a mind conscious of its need of heavenly support and devotion, he went and rolled these mighty burdens upon the arm of Jehovah. Who can tell how much the liberty of this nation is owing to the answer to the secret prayers of Washington at.the Valley Forge? Or rather, who can doubt that that spot where he plead with God was a place as closely connected with American freedom as the Hall of Independence? So Wheredifficulties cluster around us, and We are perplexed and embarrassed, shall we be ashamed to go and pour out our hearts before God? An arfcient monarch, a distinguished warrior, and a most beautiful poet, as well as an eminently holy man, once used this language. • "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. The angel of the Lord encampeth rQund about them that fear him, and delivereth them. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles." Ps. xxxiv. 4. 7. 17.. When such men have felt it a privilege to pray, shall we regard it as humiliating- for us?

(d.) We should pray when we are beset with strong temptations. Who has not had such temptations, when sin seemed to have armed itself with all its power, and when it made an onset on his piety which he felt unable to resist? Then we should pray. It was at such a period that the Saviour prayed in the garden of Qethsemane; and he who is thus beset by the tempter should go and plead with God.

(e.) We should pray when the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray. I mean this. There are times in the life of a pious man when he desires communion with God. He feels just like praying. His mind and heart can be satisfied with nothing else. Prayer to him then is just as congenial as conversation with a beloved friend when his heart glows with love; as the society of father, mother, sister, wife or child is when the heart is full of attachment; as strains of sweet music are to the ear best attuned, and to the solil most filled with the love of harmony; as an exquisite poem is to a heart most enamoured with the Muses; as the most copious draughts from the fountains of Helicon are to the lover of classic scenes; nay, as the most delicious banquet to the hungry. It is then the element of being; the breath; the vital air. Such times there are in the life of every Christian; and such times should not be suffered to pass by unimproved, They are the spring-times of our piety; favoring gales from heaven designed to waft us onward to a world of glory. He is the most eminent Christian who is most favored with such strong desires urging him to prayer. The heart then is full. The sun of glory shines with unusual splendor. No cloud intervenes. The Christian rises from the earth, and pants for glory. Nothing then will satisfy the mind but communion with God; and then we should pray. Christian, have you never felt such times, or is all this to you unintelligible language? Does it seem to savor of enthusiasm or mysticism? Has your mind never been pensive; have you never seen a deepening gloom coming over the world; have you never felt a growing distaste for the things of this life and the usual objects of pursuit; have you never felt your mind unusually pressed down with the condition of your unconverted relatives, your children, your partners in life, with the state of the church, and with the danger of perishing sinners? These were times when the Spirit of God prompted you to pray. , Such feelings pervading a church constitute in fact the beginning of a revival of religion. Such feelings resisted are the resistance of the Holy Ghost; and such resistance, when it arises from the love of vanity, of gain, and of fashion causes that Spirit to depart, and leaves the church to the chilly shades of spiritual night.

III. I proposed in the third place to show what are the rewards and advantages of secret prayer. "And thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." I will just suggest a thought or two, and then close.

I might observe that the habit of secret prayer furnishes to ourselves the best test of piety. There is the least temptation to its performance from improper motives of all the duties of religion. A man may preach merely to be seen of men; for the same reason he may give largely to objects of benevolence; and for the same reason he may be abundant, and loud, and long in public prayer. Such men were the Pharisees. But no such motive can reign in the closet. And though, with hearts such as ours are, no one can doubt that there may be improper motives even there, yet no where else is there so little danger of being influenced by improper motives as in that duty.

But what is meant by the "open reward" referred to by the Saviour? Not wealth ; not honor; not a gorgeous retinue of servants; not a splendid equipage; not crowns and sceptres. These are not the rewards of piety. Perhaps he refers to such things as the following. That humble piety which you see in some very obscure Christian with half your advantages, with little of your learning, and with none of your wealth. You know not how to account for it that he enjoys and manifests so much more religion than you are able to do. It is the "open reward" of much secret prayer.—That power which you see others have to gain a victory over the world; to resist its bad influences, and to subdue their own passions. You wonder how they do it, and wonder why such a victory is not yours. It is the "open.reward" of much secret prayer.— That calm and much subdued temper which you see in others; that'superiority to passion and raging lusts; that equability of mind when provoked and injured. You wonder how other minds can be so calm while you are ruffled, and irritable, and excited, a*nd revengeful. Their calmness and composure is the "open reward" of secret prayer.—That patience which others evince in trial; that meek and quiet resignation; that readiness to bear many sufferings and to bear them long, .and that holy triumph on the bed of death which you often see, is the "open reward" of secret prayer. Your mind is disturbed. You dread to die. You have no resignation when you lose your friends, and when you lie on a bed of pain. The reason is plain. You haye not prayed in secret as you should have done, and there is to you no " open reward" of secret prayer. In one word, that holy, humble, calm, submissive life; that life of cheerful piety, of-self-denial, and of practical benevolence; and that resigned and peaceful death which you often see in others, is the "open reward" of secret prayer. But further still. In the great day, when light shall blaze over countless millions assembled before God revealing all things, then the bright crown of glory which God the Father shall place on the head of the humble Christian, shall be the "open reward" of secret prayer.

REMARKS.

1. It remains only to ask of you who bear the name of Christ, whether you are in all honesty and good conscience obeying the command of Jesus Christ? Here, every individual must act and answer for himself. No one can know your habits on this subject but yourselves and God. Yourselves and God too are those, most interested in knowing; and I may add your habits on this subject are known both to yourselves and to God. You know whether in all good conscience you are in the habit of entering into your closet and praying to your Father who is in secret, and God knows whether this is habitually done. 0 should his hand slowly pencil on these walls in letters of living light the names of those who He knows do not pray, how many names, of professing Christians would stand thus revealed? My hearer, I hold it to be an indisputable truth that the man who does not in all fidelity pray in secret cannot be a Christian; and further, that the best evidence of your personal piety is not your attendance on the sanctuary—which in itself is no evidence; nor in celebrating the Lord's supper—which in itself is no evidence; nor in much alms-giving—which in itself is no evidence; but-in that conscious love to God and to Jesus Christ which prompts you to pray to him who sees in secret. I may ask you then, whether you pray in secret? If you do, I may ask farther, what is the character of your prayers there? Are they infrequent, short, rapid,.hurried, without heart, or feeling, ox care; are they set and formal, hollow and insincere;—or are they the breathings of a heart that loves to pray, and that cannot but call upon God? .

2. Finally, I would address one word to another interesting class of my audience. I allude to. those who were early taught to pray, but who have now no "closet;" no secret place where they retire; no daily communion with God. Light returns to you in the morning, but not to you returns the secret wish to go and thank your Great Preserver. Night throws his shades around you and you lie down—perhaps to sleep the sleep of death, and you commend not yourself to his fatherly care. Troubles come, and temptations arise, and disappointments thicken, but none of all your troubles has power to induce you to go to God and cast your care upon him. You see days, and weeks, and years roll away, and the judgment lessens its distance each moment, and death, '• king of terrors," draws nearer, and still you do not pray. Once you prayed. Your mother taught you to kneel before your Maker, and put your little hands together, and say, "Our Father who art in heaven." But that mother may now slumber beneath the clods of the valley, or immersed in the business or the gaiety of the world you have forgotten her counsel, and now live without prayer. A traveller to eternity; a dependent being; a sinner; with a soul that can never die, you are going to the grave, and you seek not your Maker's blessing; you ask not his guidance and his salvation. Let me entreat of you one thing. It is to resume that forgotten-habit of secret prayer. Go once to-day, if it be the last time, and ask of God to save you. Go and seek the face of your longforgotten God. Let it be, if you will it should be so, the last time. Enter the closet with this feeling—' This is the last time that I shall call upon God?' Yet let it once be done. Stand not, I conjure you, at the bar of God with this feeling, 'I asked not to be saved. I sought not to enter into heaven.' Turn not away from the gates of glory at the close of the scenes of the judgment, with this feeling, 'I go to a world of wo from which I did not ask to be delivered; to everlasting despair, to be saved from which I raised not a feeble cry.' Sinner, pray! Deathless being, pray! Aged man, soon to go to the judgment, pray! Young man, amidst the snares of the world and the temptations of this life, I entreat you to pray! Child of pious parents, baptized in the Saviour's name, pray! O pray, ye travellers to eternity; pray that you may enter into the kingdom of God!