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BY JAMES SMITH
Save me for thy mercies' sake. Ps. xxxl. 16. SOME persons tell us they know not now to pray This proves that they #re not accustomed to pray, and are therefore in a very dangerous state : and that they do not understand the nature of prayer, and are therefore very ignorant of God's word. Prayer is the exercise of the heart. It is the soul speaking with God. It is just telling the Lord what we feel, what we fear, and wh?.t we desire. It is exceedingly simple. To the true Christian it is quite natural. He prays for all he needs, whenever he is troubled, tried, or put to pain. There can be no religion without prayer, or prayer without the knowledge of God. If we know God, we shall draw near to him, speak with him, pour out our hearts before him, ask favours of him, and receive blessings from him. My friend, do you pray ? DC you pray regularly P Do you pray because you feel that you cannot live without it ? Do you pray because you love it ? Is praying to you as natural as breathing ? It should be so. It will be so, if you become a real Christian, and walk closely with God. Scriptural prayers are generally short prayers, they are fun of meaning, there are no waste words in them, but every word tells.
THE SOLDIER'S PBA.YER/ 175 Here is such a prayer at the head of this article,
let us look at it for a minute or two it is a soldier's prayer, for David was a soldier, and a great one too. Observe, First, it is a sinner praying j for he prays for salvation. o one needs salvation but a sinner. It is a sinner taught of God ; for no one seeks salvation until taught hjf the Holy Spirit that he is lost, ruined, and undone. It is a sinner drawn by God, for no one goes to God for salvation until attracted by_ the secret power of the Most High. It is v a sinner pleading with God. He feels he is in the presence of God he feels that he must be saved by God, or be lost for ever. It is a sinner asking a great favour of God, the greatest favour he could ask ; or that God could give. othing trifling fills his thoughts. othing mean engages his attention. He wishes to make sure work. He wants to get God on his side. He pleads as one in earnest, as one that is sincere, as one that will not easily be put off. His life, his eternal life, defends on his obtaining his suit. He feels that this is his opportunity, and he must not let it slip ; but he must improve it for the most important purpose. He knows what he is about. He feels the importance of his employment. He prays as if he meant every word he utters, as if every word came up from the very bottom of his heart. " Save me for thy mercies' sake." ow, my dear friend, you are a sinner, joii need salvation, but do you/eeZ your need of it ?
176 THE SOLDIER'S PBAYER. Do you go to God on purpose to entreat him to save you ? Do you pray in downright earnest,
as if you really meant to obtain salvation, if God will bestow it upon such a one as you are ? If so, blessed are you ; if not, your state is truly dangerous. God's own children, his beloved ones, can never rest satisfied until they obtain the salvation which is % Christ Jesus. Secondly. It is a sinner seeking a great blessing, even salvation. ow what is salvation? It is deliverance : deliverance from all real evils both temporal and spiritual. A present deliverance. A perfect deliverance. An eternal deliverance. A deliverance from the guilt of sin, by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus upon the conscience. A deliverance from .the power of sin, by the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. A deliverance from all present evils, by the certain 'working of a special providence ; and a deliverance from the wrath of God and the flames of hell, by the mercy of God, the merit of Christ, and the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is oi' the Lord alone. o one can save but the Almighty. o works of the creature, no ceremonies of men, no sufferings in the flesh, will ever save a sinner ; or go any way toward his salvation. It is God's work. The heart must be changed, and no one can change it but God. The sins must be pardoned, and no one can forgive sins but God. The person must lie protected from Satan and other foes, and no one can protect it but God. God glories in
THE SOLDIER'S PRAYER. 177 saving sinners. He will get eternal honour by it, and he will not give his glory to another, or his honour to any of his creatures. Friend, God can save yon. He must save you, or you will be
for ever lost. But if you wish God to save you you must ask him. You must go to him, you must plead with him, nor must you give over until you prevail, Success is certain if prayer is hearty, earnest, and importunate. Thirdly. It is a sinner seeking a great blessing on God's own terms. Salvation is of grace, or it is a favour. o one deserves to be saved. o one can purchase, or procure salvation by any thing he can do or suffer. If man has it, God must give it. If God give it, he will give it freely. He delights in mercy. He. is never backward to show mercy. But he will have us feel our misery, our poverty, and our obligation., to him. He will save us on the ground of his inercy, but on no other ground. Out of pure pity to us. Out of tender compassion for us, For the sake of his own mercy, that is,, to prove it, to display it, to exalt it, to bring honour to it. God's mercy is infinite, and cannot be exhausted, [t is everlasting, and cannot change. It is free, and cannot be purchased. It is glorified in sinners, and therefore we may with confidence pray " Save me for thy mercies' sake." Fellow soldier, are you saved? Has God saved you for his mercies' sake? If so, you have felt yourself lost, you have despaired of ail help in yourself, or from any creature, you have at
178 THE SOLDIER'S PBAYEB. fled for refuge to Jesus ; and in answer to prayei ymi have obtained mercy. Is it so? Then I give you joy. I own you as my brother in
Christ. I exhort you to cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart. I beseecli you to tell your comrades what God has done for you. ever inhid a sneer, or even a profane oath ; but pity, pray for, and plead with them. As they are you were once ; and as they are, you would be this day but for sovereign and distinguishing grace. Praise God for what he has done for you, and endeavour to -bring others to him. Fellow soldier, are you careless about salvation? Are you going down the stream ? Are you doing as your comrades do, and leaving the future to take care of itself ? I beseech you, reflect for one moment. You are an immortal being. You must live for ever. You may live in glory, honour, and unspeakable happiness. You will live in shame, pain, and inconceivable torment if you" pursue your present course. Stop ! I beseech you stop ! Think ! I beseech you think ! ! God in his mercy will save you if you seek him. God in his justice will damn you if you neglect him. His mercy is infinite, but his justice is infinite top. There are thousands of soldiers in hell at this moment ; because they despised and slighted God's mercy, will you increase the number ? There are many, very many soldiers in heaven, because they sought and found God's mercy will you go and unite with them ? Will you ? Say, will you ? Which shall it be, heaven or hell?
THE SOLDIER'S PRAYEII. 379 Which. ? Which ? Infinitely gracious God, have mercy upon the soldier, who is now reading these lines save, " save him for thy mercies' sake." "Deliver him from going down to the n't," and raise him to a state of grace here, and
glory hereafter, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. A Wake, my soul ! lift up tliine eyes ; See where thy foes against thee rise ; fa long array, a numerous host ; Awake, my soul ! or tliou art lost. Here giant danger threatening- stands, Mustering iiis pale terrific bands ; There pleasure's silken banners spread, And willing souls are captive led. See where rebellious passions rage, And fierce desires and lusts engage ; The meanest foe of all the train Has thotisands and ten thousands slain. Thou tread'st upon enchanted ground ; Perils and snares beset thee round j Beware of all, guard every part, But most the traitor in thy heart. Come then, my soul ! now learn to wield The weight of thine immortal shield ; Put on the armour from above Of heavenly truth, and heavenly love. The terror and the charm repel, And powers of earth, and powers of hell ;. The Man of Calvary triumphed here : Why should his faithful followers fear !
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