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BIBLE HISTORY OF PRAYER.

OLD TESTAMENT.

GENESIS.

THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF GOD BEGUN.

And to Seth, to him also there was born a son, and he called his name Enos; then

began men to call upon the name of the Lord.--Gen. iv. 26.

This is the first passage in the Inspired Volume, in which prayer is mentioned. But, was it the design of the sacred historian to teach us, that now, in the 235th year of the world, the date of the birth of Enos, men began for the first time since the fall, to worship God by prayer and other acts of devotion? This is incredible. The worship of the Supreme Being commenced, we must believe, in the garden of Eden. The morning stars” were not alone in their songs of praise in view of the new born world. Adam and Eve would naturally and instinctively lift their voices, in expressions of homage and praise to their Creator. Did their fall obliterate the remembrance of that homage and praise? Did their expulsion from that happy abode efface their sense of dependence upon Him, who had given them being? As

They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way-

Had they no desire to ask pardoning mercy at the hand of the Lord? Whatever may be the proper answer to these particular questions, it cannot be doubted, that the fallen and now unhappy pair were taught, where and in what manner to worship their displeased, but forgiving Sovereign. They

might not, indeed, again enter that beautiful temple of nature, where first they inhaled the breath of life; a flaming sword guarded its entrance; but, if the oriental writers be credited, a Shekinah, or visible manifestation of the Divine Being, revived their expiring hopes, and from that glory, softened by rays of mercy, they received instructions adapted to their circumstances of dependence and guilt. Learned Jews have affected to give us the several forms of prayer, which Adam addressed to God, for pardon.

To the same purpose, Milton introduces Adam, after a melancholy soliloquy, proposing to Eve this appropriate advice:

What better can we do, than to the place
Repairing, where he judged us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent; and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg; with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting?

I cannot say, that either Milton, or the oriental writers have given us the precise truth; but it were most unreasonable to conclude, that the parents of our race did not early and habitually pray. If circumstances of dependence and anxiety ever rendered prayer appropriate, and prompted to it, Adam and Eve must early have become praying persons. That they offered divine worship is apparent from the sacred narrative, which records a memorable instance, in which Cain and Abel presented an offering to Jehovah. This was no other than an act of worship, and an expression of dependence and obligation. Whether they were thus taught by their parents directly, or received instruction from God, is immaterial. Surely, the parents would not neglect a service, which had been enjoined, either by God, or by themselves, upon the sons.

Surprise, however, has been expressed by some, that a duty, thought to be so clear and important as that of prayer, should not have been enjoined in the earliest pages of the Divine Oracles. No such passage of injunction or institution, it is

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