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If the arguments employed by your Correspondent to get rid of " the petitionary part of devotion" be examined into , they will be found , to have very little solidity , and I cannot but regret
that the comfort and support of many pious , but , perhaps , not well-informed Christians , should be in any respect endangered by the promulgation of opinions which I deem so contrary to reason and Scripture .
The great error which your Correspondent appears to me guilty of , is , Ms taking it upon , himself to settle and limit the powers and modes of the operations of the Deity . Admitting
the premises he has laid down to be correct , his reasoning is fair , but believing them , as I do , to be false , I cannot attach the slightest importance to his conclusions .
After stating that all the phenomena of the universe depend upon certain laws fixed by the Supreme Being , he adds , " " These laws , however , excepting in miraculous times , seem to act uniformly , - regularly , and : without any interruption , even from any interference , direction or controul , of their
great Former himself : " and in reply to a remark of your Correspondent H . T ., ( XIV . 477 , ) that there is nothing irrational in praying for spiritual guidance , or that God would exercise his providence in placing in our way the means of improvement , and adapting our principles to our trials , L . J . J .
observes , " I confess it appears to me very irrational , and the more so , as * God has actually revealed his will to us in a supernatural manner , * that he should now ' so order his providence , ' that is , interrupt the action of his own laws , ' that this holy will may be understood by us /"
So ignorant as we are , and must in this sJtate of existence be content to remaiu , of the manner in which God has ordered the laws of nature , or chosen to accomplish the designs of his providence , it is presumptuous to assert that aiiy end may not be
prpduced without a departure from , or an interruption in those fixed laws . And what is there irrational in the supposition , that our j > rayers may be some of the means appointed by himself to bring about particular ends ? For reasons which we c ' smnot dwbt
arouthe jyiseet jmd the beat * the Ifaity ta 9 ; f t £ t permitted us to penetrate the
veil that * conceals the workings © f iris providence . We know not the influences which he c $ lls into action in the production of events , and it is not allowed us to conjecture to what extent he regards the supplications of his
creatures . But this ignorance should be a check to our presumption only , and not to our humble hope that our prayers may find acceptance in his sight . I should pursue this point farther , but it has been so ably treated in the chapter on " The Parental
Character of the Deity / ' in Dr . Cogan ' s Theological Disquisition on Christianity , that I cannot do better than refer your readers to that work . The whole of L . J . J / s arguments will be found there fully anticipated , and most satisfactorily answered .
I cannot well imagine how a person who peruses the New Testament , with a sincere desire to discover truth , and who believes in the Christian religion , can feel the doubt implied in L . J . J / s 6
question respecting prayer , if it be a duty enjoined upon us in the New Testament /* &c . There are , in my opinion , few duties more clearly defined and commanded than that of
prayer , and the arguments which may be employed to prove that it was only enjoined upon those of the apostolic age , will equally prove that all the other duties and obligations of Christianity were confined to its earliest professors .
To a believer in the authenticity of the New Testament , I should think that the first part of the sixth chapter of St . Matthew ' s Gospel , would be quite convincing of the duty of prayer in its petitionary , as well as in its other
forms . Christ has there given a model for prayer . Though in a preceding verse he says to his disci p les , " Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him / ' so i&r from discouraging them from presenting petitions to their Fatheir , he instructs
them to pray even for temporal blessings , " Give us this day our daily bread : " and because Christ has not informed us in what manner or degree it is
our prayers will be answered , no reason wh y we should be induced by any speculations of our , awn upon the mode in which God itt , ay please to act , \ o omit the performance of a duty so cleaorly defined . , But not Ditty tor rtfee iastnaclioas of
24 Mr . Estlin on Divine Influenced ,
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1820, page 24, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2484/page/24/