Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

92 THE SOUL DRAWING NEAR TO GOD. {SERA!. V. Rom. viii. M6. The spirit itselfntalceth intercession in us with groanings that canot be uttered. And thus it may be, while God hides himself, while there is a veil conceal- ing God from our eyes, while there is any special temp- tation like a mountain that separates between God and our souls, he may send his Spirit to work us up to ear- nest desires and longings after him. But when this SPIRIT OF PRAYER has brought the soul near, when God has been pleased to turn aside the veil, to remove the mountain, and to discover himself in all his glory, beauty, and love, then therewill bege- nerally the gift of prayer also in exercise by the assist- ance of the prgnhised Spirit; and such persons many times are able to address themselves to God with much freedom, and to pour out the soul before God in pro- per words, notwithstanding at other times they appear to have but weak capacities. When they have such af- fecting sights of their own sin and guilt, and such sur- prizing views of the mercy of Godmanifested to them in particular, and at the sanie time when they look upon all things round them with a design for the glory of God; they are both naturally and divinely taught to pour out their souls before God, and represent their cares and circumstances to him in affecting language. I will not say indeed, it is always so when any soul gets near to God ; there must be some allowance made for the different tempers and constitutions, as I shall shew immediately. There have also been some instances of holy men, whose voice has, at such a time, been over-powered with divine pleasure, all their powers have been transported and overwhelmed with rapturous si- lence; but for the most part holy souls have found an uncommon liberty of language at the throne of grace at such seasons. And this is one reason, I am persuaded, why the gift of prayer is not so common a thing asmight be wished, because there is so little nearness to God among the professors of our day. The gift of prayer abounds not among christians in our churches ; O that I could say it was found more gloriously among ministers, while in your name we speak to the great God ! But if there were a constant laborious diligence in the soul to get nearer to God, in all our secret as well as public ad- dresses to him, we shoulh find more abundance of the