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forth” the praise of our Maker, not only with “ lips, but in our lives ;” concluding the whole with a solemn doxology, or tribute of honour and glory to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Besides the forms of worship already examined ; on all Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the LITANY is appointed to be read ;-a composition in every point of view of the highest character, and singularly expressive of every sentiment which the most lively faith, the most exalted piety, and the deepest humility, can be thought capable of inspiring. The Litany, in fact, is a distinct and complete Service in itself; and, on that account, added to the consideration of the various topics which it embraces, demands a deliberate and careful examination. I shall therefore reserve my observations upon it for a future discourse.
1 TIM. II. 1.
I exhort, therefore, that supplications, prayers,
intercessions—be made for all men.
NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated protests of our blessed Lord against the doctrine and practice of those, who placed a reliance upon long prayers, and " expected to be heard for their much speakin," it appears, from his exhortations to his disciples on various occasions, and particularly, from the parable of the unjust judge and the importunate widow,' that neither fervour nor continuance in prayer was what he proposed by any means to discountenance.
Accordingly, we find his Apostles not only
1 Matth. vi. 7.
? Luke xviii. 2, &c.
themselves frequently assembling for the purpose of social prayer, but recommending to the disciples in all the churches, to “ continue instant in prayer,”1 and to “ watch thereto with all perseverance ;" or (as in the text before us) to "pray always,” and even, to “pray without ceasing.”3
No doubt, there was, at that time, as probably there ever will be, much more need to exhort and remind Christians, not to be neglectful, remiss, or inattentive, in prayer, than to guard them against the contrary excess.
Our Saviour's objection was not pointed against zeal or frequency in devotion, but against the error of those persons, who conceived that the efficacy of prayer depended upon the quantity of words uttered, or of the time thus consumed. It was intentness of mind, the devotion of the heart, and the consequent influence of prayer upon the conduct of men, that both our Lord and his Apostles had in view; and, in public worship, those forms, which best provide for the excitement and expression of the true spirit of prayer, must be allowed to be the best adapted to
Rom. xii. 12.
* Eph. vi. 18.
31 Thess. v. 17.
promote those great ends of all worship-a nearer approach to God, a firmer reliance upon his promises, and a more fixed resolution to obey his will.
Excellent as our entire Liturgy may justly be deemed, and the more excellent, from its universal regard to these essential purposes ; in no division of the Service are its merits more conspicuous, than in the composition of the LITANY;—the next portion of the Common Prayer which I proposed to contemplate.
The Litany, as I observed on a former occasion, was originally a distinct service, designed to occupy the second period of Morning-prayer: the first commencing, as is still customary in cathedral churches, at a very early hour; as, at six in the morning; the second, at nine or ten. That it was actually intended to be separate, might be suspected from its construction; being in itself a complete form of worship, no otherwise connected with the preceding form of Morningprayer, than by the custom, more recently introduced, of uniting it with that service.
The solemn and deep tone of humility which it breathes, when invoking the mercy of the holy Trinity upon the whole congregation, as altogether “ miserable sinners ;” the earnestness, with which it implores deliverance from every particular kind of sin, and from the dire consequences of all sin; the devout and grateful confidence, with which it appeals to all the incidents of the Redeemer's incarnation and life, to his sufferings and death, and, lastly, to his resurrection and ascension, as pledges, to the faithful Christian, of his own rescue from eternal death; its entire and exclusive hope in God, at every period and under all circumstances of life; the comprehensive charity of its intercessions for every rank and condition of men ; its pious supplications for peace and concord, for grace and truth, for help and succour in temporal and spiritual need; and, lastly, for true repentance and amendment of life ;-all these constitute such an assemblage of every authorised petition to the Almighty, and such a compendium of all Christian duties, that no one, who joins in it with serious attention, can fail to perceive, how admirably it is adapted either to give language to religious feelings, where they