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are faithfully desirous and obedient: and so this is a relative, or at least a denominative change. So that in prayer, faith and fervency, are so far from being useless, that they as much prevail for the thing desired by qualifying ourselves for it, as if indeed they moved the mind of God, to a real change even as he that is in a boat, and by his hook layeth hold of the bank, doth as truly by his labour get nearer the bank, as if he drew the bank to him.


Direct. III. Labour above all to know that God to whom you pray.' To know him as your Maker, your Redeemer, and your Regenerator; as your Owner, your Ruler, and your Father, Felicity and End; as all-sufficient for your relief, in the infiniteness of his power, his wisdom and his goodness; and to know your own dependance on him; and to understand his covenant or promises, upon what terms he is engaged and resolved either to give his mercies, or to deny them. "He that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him c." "He that calleth on the name of the Lord shall be saved but how shall they call on him, on whom they have not believed d."

Direct. IV. 'Labour when you are about to pray, to stir up in your souls the most lively and serious belief of those unseen things that your prayers have respect to; and to pray as if you saw them all the while: even as if you saw God in his glory, and saw heaven and hell, the glorified and the damned, and Jesus Christ your Mediator interceding for you in the heavens.' As you would pray if your eyes beheld all these, so strive to pray while you believe them : and say to yourselves, Are they not as sure as if I saw them? Are they not made known by the Son and Spirit of God?

Direct. v. Labour for a constant acquaintance with yourselves, your sins and manifold wants and necessities; and also to take an actual, special notice of your case, when you go to prayer.' If you get not a former constant acquaintance with your own case, you cannot expect to know it aright upon a sudden as you go to pray and yet if you do not actually survey your hearts and lives when you go to prayer, your souls will be unhumbled, and want that lively sense of your necessities, which must put life into your prayers. Know well what sin is, and what God's

c Heb. xi. 6.

d Rom. x. 13, 14.

wrath, and hell, and judgment are, and what sin you have committed, and what duty you have omitted, and failed in, and what wants and corruptions are yet within you, and what mercy and grace you stand in need of, and then all this will make you pray, and pray to purpose with all your hearts. But when men are wilful strangers to themselves, and never seriously look backwards or inwards to see what is amiss and wanting; nor look forwards, to see the danger that is before them, no wonder if their hearts be dead and dull, and if they are as unfit to pray, as a sleeping man to work e.

Direct. VI. See that you hate hypocrisy, and let not your lips go against or without your hearts; but that your hearts be the spring of all your words that you love not sin, and be not loath to leave it, when you seem to pray against it; and that you truly desire the grace which you ask, and ask not for that which you would not have: and that you be ready to use the lawful means to get the mercies which you ask;' and be not like those lazy wishers, that will pray God to give them increase at harvest, when they lie in bed, and will neither plough or sow; or that pray him to save them from fire, or water, or danger, while they run into it, or will not be at the pains to go out of the way. O what abundance of wretches do offer up hypocritical, mock prayers to God! blaspheming him thereby, as if he were an idol, and knew not their hypocrisy, and searched not the hearts? Alas, how commonly do men pray in public," that the rest of their lives hereafter may be pure and holy," that hate purity and holiness at the heart, and deride and oppose that which they seem to pray for? As Austin confesseth of himself before he was converted, that he prayed against his filthy sin, and yet was afraid lest God should grant his prayers. So many pray against the sins which they would not be delivered from, or would not use the means that is necessary to their conquest and deliverance." "Let him that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity f." "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Alas, how easy is it for an ungodly person to learn to

e Bias navigabat aliquando cum impiis, et quum navis tempestate, quateretur, illique Deos invocarent; silete, inquit, ne vos hic illi navigare sentiant. Diog. Laert. lib.i. sect. 86. p. 55..

f 2 Tim. ii. 19.

Psal. Ixvi. 18. See Ezek. xiv. 3, 4, 14.

say a few words by rote, and to run them over, without any sense of what he speaketh; while the tongue is a stranger to the heart, and speaketh not according to its desires.


Direct. VII. Search your hearts and watch them carefully, lest some beloved vanity alienate them from the work in hand, and turn away your thoughts, or prepossess your affections, so that you want them when you should use them.' If the mind be set on other matters, prayer will be a heartless, lifeless thing. Alas, what a dead and pitiful work, is the prayer of one that hath his heart ensnared in the love of money, or in any ambitious or covetous design? The thoughts will easily follow the affections.


Direct. VIII. Be sure that you pray for nothing that is disagreeable to the will of God, and that is not for the good of yourselves or others, or for the honour of God: and therefore take heed, lest an erring judgment, or carnal desires, or passions should corrupt your prayers, and turn them into sin.' If men will ignorantly pray to God to do them hurt, it is a mercy to them if God will but pardon and deny such prayers, and a judgment to grant them. And it is an easy thing for fleshly interest, or partiality, or passion to blind the judgment, and consequently to corrupt men's prayers. An ambitious or covetous man will easily be drawn to pray for the grant of his sinful desires, and think it would be for his good. And there is scarce an heretical or erroneous person, but thinketh that it would be good that the world were all reduced to his opinion, and all the opposers of it were borne down: there are few zealous Antinomians, Anabaptists, or any other dividers of the church, but they put their opinions usually into their prayers, and plead with God for the interest of their sects and errors: and it is like that the Jews that had a persecuting zeal for God, did pray according to that zeal, as well as persecute as it is like that Paul himself prayed against the Christians, while he ignorantly persecuted them. And they that think they do God service by killing his servants, no doubt would pray against them, as the Papists and others do at this day. Be especially careful therefore that your judgments and desires be sound and holy, before you offer them up to God in prayer. For it is a most vile abuse of God, to beg of him to do the devil's work; and, as most malicious and erroneous persons

b Rom. x. 2.

do, to call him to their help against himself, his servants and his cause.

Direct. ix. Come always to God in the humility that beseemeth a condemned sinner, and in the faith and boldness that beseemeth a son, and a member of Christ : do nothing in the least conceit and confidence of a worthiness in yourselves; but be as confident in every lawful request, as if you saw your glorified Mediator interceding for you with his Father.' Hope is the life of prayer and all endeavour, and Christ is the life of hope. If you pray and think you shall be never the better for it, your prayers will have little life. And there is no hope of success, but through our powerful Intercessor. Therefore let both a crucified and glorified Christ, be always before your eyes in prayer; not in a picture, but in the thoughts of a believing mind. Instead ofa crucifix, let some such sentence of Holy Scripture, be written before you, where you use to pray, as John xx. 17. “Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Or Heb. iv. 14. "We have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God :" ver. 15, 16. "that was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy," &c. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast, and that entereth into that within the vail; whither the fore-runner is for us entered," "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them i." "If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Christ and the promise must be the ground of all your confidence and hope.


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Direct. x. 'Labour hard with your hearts all the while to keep them in a reverent, serious, fervent frame, and suffer them not to grow remiss and cold, to turn prayer into liplabour, and lifeless formality, or into hypocritical, affected, seeming fervency, when the heart is senseless, though the voice be earnest.' The heart will easily grow dull, and customary, and hypocritical if it be not carefully watched, and diligently followed and stirred up. "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." A cold prayer sheweth a heart that is cold in desiring that which is prayed k John xiv. 13, 14. 1 James v. 16.

h Heb. vi. 9. 20. i Heb.vii. 25


for, and therefore is unfit to receive the mercy; God will make you know that his mercy is not contemptible, but worthy your most earnest prayers. Direct. XI. For the matter and order of your desires and prayers, take the Lord's prayer as your special rule; and labour to understand it well m.' For those that can make use of so brief an explication, I shall give a little help.

A Brief Explication of the Method of the Lord's Prayer.

1. Who he is: GOD: not Creatures, Saints, or Angels.

1. Our Crea-

2. Our Re-
3. Our Rege-
nerator, (to
the regene

1. Almighty; and able to
grant all that we ask, and
to relieve and help us in
every strait.

The Lord's prayer containeth, 1.

The address

or preface: in which are described or implied,

I. To whom
the prayer
is made.

II. Who are the petitionersWho are

2. How related
to us, he is OUR
which compre-
hendeth funda-
mentally, that

he is

3. What he 2. All-knowing: our
is in his at- hearts, and wants, and all
things being open to his
WHICH sight.
ART IN 3. Most Good: from
HEAVEN. whom, and by whom, and
Which sig- to whom are all things;
nifieth that the Fountain, the Dispo-
therefore he ser, and the End of all, on
whose bounty and influ-
ence all subsist. And
the present tense 'ART'
doth intimate his Eternity

1. Man: as to his Being.

2. By Rela-
tion, God's

3. By

And therefore

1. Depen

dant on God.
2. Necessi-

1. Our Owner, or Absolute Lord.

2. Our Ruler, or Supreme King.

1. By Creation: so all are:
and therefore all may thus far
call him Father.

3. Sinners.

3. Our Benefactor and chief Good, and so our Felicity and our End.

2. By Redemption: as all
are as to the sufficient price
and satisfaction.


In this one word is these attributes of not only implied all God, but also our hearts are directed whither to look for their relief and direction now, and their felicity for ever, and called off from earthly dependances, and expectations of happiness and rest;

and to look for all from heaven, and at last in heaven.

3. By Regeneration: and so
only the Regenerate are chil-

1. His Own; 2. His Sub


3. His Beloved and Beneficiaries, that live upon him and to him, as their End.


1. Loving God,
their Father.

2. Loving them-
selves, as men.
3. Loving others,
as brethren.

All which

is signified in the

word OUR

m of the method of the Lord's Prayer, see Ramus de Relig. Christ. lib. iii.cap. 3. and Ludolphus de vita Christi, Part i. cap. 37. and Perkins in orat. dom. and Dr. Boys on the Liturgy, pp. 5-7.

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