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of the Lord, has been a very pleasing and useful part of religious and social worship in the church of God, probably from the beginning of the world; commercing in Paradise. And - Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me," saith the Lord. Where true love to God, and cordial fellowship with the saints exist in the heart, they are greatly cherished and promoted, by the aid of sacred melody. By this exercise of religious devotion, David was excited to raptures and transports of joy. It was also a devout and delightful exercise of the Saviour and his disciples. In this they united, at the first celebration of the sacramental supper. And in this, the church has always persevered. The Apostles, by example and precept, have urged the duty of singing God's praise. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight, bound in the inmost prison, and mangled with stripes. No situation on this side of the infernal world, is too deplorable for such men to sing the praises of the Lord. David resolved to sing his praises, while he had a being. Paul, having exhibited to the Hebrews, Jesus Christ, as the great High Priest of their profession, says, “ By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.” In the view of the Apostle, it appears, that vocal music, has the preference. This is the kind of music, with which the heavens resound forever. 66 But who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord ? who can shew forth all his praise ?” Our duty is to praise the Lord with all our might; and to praise him for all his works, whether of mercy, or of righteous judgment. So important was the praise of God, in the Saviour's view, that when the little children sung Hosannas in the temple, at his triumphant entry, he declared, “ that if these should hold their

peace, the stones, even the stones of the temple would immediately cry out."

3. In a review of what has been said, on the subjects of prayer and praise, we perceive, that they are very humble and devout exercises of heart. They look above all selfish considerations : for their object is in the highest heavens. God is the supreme object, and his glory

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is the leading motive of all sincere and pure devotion. Confidence in the divine government, and in the divine promises, are the mainspring of prayer and praise. 16 Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed. Othou that hearest prayer ! unto thee shall all flesh come.? 66 Rejoice evermore: Pray without ceasing: In 'every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you."....AMEN.

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Duties of the Unregenerate, and the Means of Grace.

On the practical part of the system of divine truth, we have briefly considered the duties of self-denial and true benevolence of humility and submission to God ; and of prayer and praise. While it is granted by all who profess to believe the holy scriptures, that these duties are highly incumbent on every christian; and are essential to the christian character; yet, with many,

it is a very interesting enquiry, whether these, or any other religious duties, are incumbent also, on impenitent, and unconverted sinners ? On this point the scriptures speak a language, which, in the view of many, is awfully forbidding: The scriptures declare plainly, that the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, inasmuch as they bring it with a wicked mind.” This is said to be the correct translation. Again it is written, by way of contrast, “ The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord; but the prayer of the upright is his delight." And again, “ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even bis prayer shall be an abomination." The meaning of all these declarations appears to be one and the same; that a wicked ınan, or an impenitent sinner, does not, in any measure, offer to

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the Lord acceptable sacrifices. Proceeding from a self-
ish heart, and being performed with no regard to the
glory of God, nor to the good of his kingdom, they are
vain oblations ; and the command of the Lord is, “ Bring
no more vain oblations." Your offering of incense,
however precious, is an abomination. External devo-
tions, without the concurrence of the heart, are mere
hypocrisy, which is considered as one of the baser kinds
of iniquity. The bible appears to testify strongly against
the external duties and religious services of impenitent
sinners. Sinners, however, do not see fit to renounce
all the external duties of religion. In many duties, they
are constant and persevering. In external devotions,
especially the devotions of the sanctuary; in the observ-
ance of the holy sabbath ; in reading the scriptures, and
attending to the gospel ministry, statedly and occasion-
ally; and in attending the variety of meetings for prayer
and religious improvement ; sinners seem to go, almost
hand in hand, with the saints. They embrace, and de-
fend the doctrines of the bible; and “ Almost they are
persuaded to be christians.” Many, who make no pro-
fession of religion, statedly attend to the external per-
formance of family worship, and the religious instruction
of their children; well knowing, that these things are.
matters of infinite importance to their dear children, as
well as to themselves. It would be extremely difficult
to restrain the greater part of the people from attending,
more or less, to the external duties of religion. Their
consciences, their hopes, and their fears prompt them to
many such duties. But from the word of God, we are
assured, that all these external duties and sacrifices of
the wicked, are an abomination to the Lord; because
they are performed with a wicked mind, or a selfish heart.
“God looketh on the heart." And the heart being cor-
rupt, the motives of the gospel are perverted. Not only
the religious sacrifices of the wicked, but all their moral
actions, of every name and nature, are corrupted, and
are an abomination to the Lord. All their deeds of jus-
tice, of mercy and charity, proceeding from a wicked
mind, are perfectly odious in the sight of a holy God.

God

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For, it is written, and testified, of all the wicked, thať si every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts is only evil continually.”

The interesting question is now fairly introduced ; Is it the duty of impenitent sinners to pray? or to attempt the performance of any religious duties

Previous to giving a direct answer to this question, it must be admitted fully and without any reserve, that the sacrifices, and all the religious duties of the wicked and impenitent, are, indeeil, an abomination to the Lord. To attempt to construe away the plain sense of the scriptures, wliich have been introduced in confirmation of this truth, is a vain attempt. No reasonable and candid man will undertake this thing. It ouglit to be realized by all the impenitent and unregenerate, that, in their best duties, their hearts are totally corrupt, and their external services flowing from such fountains of corruption, are, according to the letter of God's word, an abomination to the Lord. 66 With their mouths, they may shew much love ;” and with their hands, they may perform many deeds of charity ; " but their heart goeth after their covetousness." Sinners are not only covetous, but carnal: and “ the carnal mind is enmity against God." Solomon goes so far as to say,

66 The thoughts, or designs of the wicked are an abomination.” Truly, “ they that are in the flesh cannot please God."

To say, as some do, that sinners can perform the matter of their duty acceptably, though the manner and spirit of it may be ever so defective, is grossly absurd. For the manner and spirit of duty constitute it what it is. In these consist the essence of duty.

66 God is a Spirit, and they that worship hin, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” All worship but this is an abomination. Sinners who have gone the whole circuit of external duties, during the longest life, ought not to imagine, that, in a single instance, from first to last, they have ever performed one duty acceptably in the sight of God.

But notwithstanding all this, the answer to the question before us must be in the affirmative. Unregenerate

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sinners ought to pray always, with all prayer and sup-
plication. They ought to abound in secret prayer, and
persevere therein. They ought to attend constantly to
the religious devotions in the sanctuary, and to all other
appointments for social prayer and praise. They ought
to neglect no branch of religious worship, nor of religious
instruction. They ought to keep God's sabbaths, and to
reverence his sanctuary. If they are heads of families,
they ought to maintain the worship of God in their houses,
according to the divine requirement, and the practice of
the saints, in all past ages and generations. Those who
neglect the morning and evening sacrifices, and prayer
and thankgiving at their tables, give sad evidence of a
reluctance of heart to the duty of prayer. But let sin-
ners be ever so conscious to themselves, of a hard and
wicked heart, yet this is no excuse; but, on the other
hand, it should serve as a stimulus to religious sacrifi-
ces; especially to the sacrifices of a broken heart, and a
contrite spirit. A hard and impenitent heart is no more
excuse for the neglect of religious duty, than sloth and
indolence are for the neglect of plowing and sowing.
And we read, that, “ the plowing of the wicked is sin.
But how is this sin to be avoided ? Shall a sinner be ad-
vised, on account of his indolence, or on any account, to
cease from plowing? We ought, indeed to inform the
wicked, as we have opportunity, that their plowing and
planting, and all their labors and occupations, are sin,
and abomination; inasmuch as they perform them all,
66 with a wicked mind.The divine requirement is this,
" Whether therefore, ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye
do, do all to the glory of God.” In all our selfish pur-
suits, therefore, we commit an abomination. But how
shall we remedy the evil ? And how is this command of
God, to do all things to his glory, most wickedly and per-
versely violated ? Is it by doing all things required of us
with selfish views? or by stubbornly refusing to do them
at all ? Certainly, by stubbornly refusing to do them at all.
The same is true, respecting prayer and religious sacri-
fices. No state of sin and guilt, however aggravated,
affords the least excuse for the neglect of prayer, or any

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