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II. The Prayer, or Petitions, in two parts: of which,

1. For the end simply, which is GOD; in the word "THY’ repeated in every petition.

(1. The highest or ultimate, that is, the glo

ry of God; “HALLOWED BE THY

NAME:

II. The highest means of his glory, 'THY 2. For the end

KINGDOM COME:' that is, let the respectively in

world be subject to thee their Creator and the interest of

Redeemer; the universal King. God, and that III. The next means, being the effect of is in

this; 'THY WILL BE DONE,' that

is, let thy laws be fulfilled, and thy disI. The first

posals submitted to. Part is ac

3. For the lower end, even the subject of these means; cording to which is the public good of mankind, the world and the order of church : ' IN EARTH,' that is, let the world be subestimation,

jected to thee, and the church obey thee ; which will be intention,

the greatest blessing to them : ourselves, being included and desire ;

in the world. And the measure and pattern is added,

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN,' that is, let the earth be conformed as near as may be to the heavenly pattern. So that this part of the Lord's Prayer, proceeding in the order of excellency and intention, directeth us i. To make God our ultimate, highest end; and to desire his interest first, and in this order, (1.) His glory, (2.) His kingdom, (3.) Obedience to his laws. II. To make the public good of the world and the church, our next end as being the noblest means.

III. To include our own interest in and under this, as the least of all ; professiog first our

own consent to that which we desire first for others. 1. For the support of our nature by necessary means :

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD: this being God's first gift, presupposed both to grace and glo

GIVE,' signifieth our dependance on God for all. 'US,' our charity, that we desire relief for ourselves and others. "DAILY' (or substantial) . BREAD,' our moderation; that we desire not unnecessaries or superflui

ties. "THIS DAY,' the constancy of our dependance, II. The se

and that we desire not, or care too much for the future, and

promise not ourselves long life. cond Partis 2. For clearing us from the guilt of all sin past (repentance according to

and faith being here presupposed); where is (1.) The the order of

Petition : “AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS' (tresexecution,

passes or sins).' (2.) The motive from our qualification and is for

for forgiveness: 'AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS.' ourselves,

Without which God will not forgive us. beginping at 3. For future preservation: (1.) From the means,

• LEAD the lowest,

US NOT INTO TEMPTATION :' that is, though thou and ascending, till the

mayst justly try us, yet pity our frailty, and neither

cause or permit us so to be tried, as may tempt us to sin end first in

and ruin. (2.) From the end, ‘BUT DELIVER US tended, be last attain

FROM THE EVIL:' that is, 1. The Evil One, Satan ed: and it

(and his instruments). 2. The evil thing: 1. Sin. 2.

Misery, which are Satan's end. He that would be saved is,

from hell and misery, must be saved from sin; and he that would be saved from both, must be saved from satan and from temptation. Quest. But where are the requests for positive holiness, grace and heaven? Answ. 1. Repentance and faith are supposed in the petitioner. 2. What he wanteth is asked in the three petitions of the first Part, that we with others may sanctify God's name, and be the subjects of his kingdom, and do bis will, &c. Christ and a state of grace, are finally in the first petition, formally in the second, and expressively in the third.

ry.

III. The I. What conclusion : we praise ; the reason

or the mat. and termi- ter; or intenation of our rest of God : desires, in their ultimate end : here prais-) II. Whom ed: begin

we praise: ning at the lowest, and ascending to the highest:

III. The containing,

duration :

1. His universal reign, 'FOR THINE IS THE KING*

DOM, administered variously, agreeably to the sub jects : all owe this absolute obedience : who command

est and executest what thou wilt. 2. His own perfections, 'THE POWER:' both right and

all-sufficiency: including his omniscience and goodness,

as well as omnipotence. 3. His incomprehensible excellency and blessedness, as he

is the ultimate end of us and all things ; ' AND THE

GLORY. Rom. xi. 36. i Cor. x. 31.
GOD, in the word “THINE:' in him, the first efficient

cause of all things, we begin : his help as the dirigent
cause, we seek : and in him as the final cause, we ter-

minate. *FOR EVER AND EVER,' to eternity : and ' AMEN'

is the expression of our consent. For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to Him be glory for ever, Amen. Rom. ix. 36.

So that it is apparent that the method of the Lord's prayer is circular, partly analytical, and partly synthetical: beginning with God, and ending in God: beginning with such acknowledgments as are prerequisite to petition, and ending in those praises which petition and grace bestowed tend to: beginning our petitions for God's interest and the public good, according to the order of estimation and intention, till we come to the mere means, and then beginning at the lowest, and ascending according to the order of execution. As the blood passing from the greater to the smaller numerous vessels, is there received by the like, and repasseth to its fountain; such a circular method hath mercy and duty, and consequently our desires.

Tit. 2. Some Questions about Prayer answered.

The rest of the general questions about prayer, I think will be best contrived into the resolving of these following doubts.

Quest. 1. - Is the Lord's prayer a directory only, or a form of words to be used by us in prayer?

Answ. 1. It is principally the rule to guide our inward desires, and outward expressions of them; both for the matter, what we must desire, and for the order, which we must desire first and most. 2. But this rule is given in a form of words, most apt to express the said matter and order. 3. And this form may fitly be used in due season by all, and more necessarily by some.

4. But it was never in.

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tended to be the only words which we must use, no more than the creed is the only words that we must use to express the doctrine of faith, or the decalogue the only words to express our duty by m. Quest. 11. • What need is there of

any

other form of prayer, if the Lord's prayer be perfect?'

Answ. Because it is only a perfect summary, containing but the general heads : and it is needful to be more particular in our desires; for universals exist in particulars ; and he that only nameth the general, and then another and another general, doth remember but few of the particulars. He that shall say, " I have sinned, and broken all thy commandments," doth generally confess every sin ; but it is not true repentance, if it be not particular, for this, and that, and the other sin; at least as to the greater which may be remembered. He that shall say, “I believe all the Word of God, or I believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," may know little what is in the Word of God, or what these generals signify, and therefore our faith must be more particular. So must desires after grace be particular also: otherwise it were enough to ask for mercy in the general. If you say, that God knoweth what those general words signify, though we do not; I answer, this is the Papists' silly argument for Latin prayers, God knoweth our desires without any expressions or prayers at all, and he knoweth our wants without our desires. But it followeth not that

prayers or desires are unnecessary. The exercise of our own repentance and desire doth make us persons fit to receive forgiveness, and the grace desired; when the impenitent and those that desire it not are unfit. And it is no true repentance, when you say, "I am sorry that I have sinned,” but you know not, or remember not, wherein you have sinned, nor what

your sin is ; and so repent not indeed of any one sin at all. And so it is no true desire, that reacheth not to the particular, necessary graces, which we must desire; though I know some few very quick, comprehensive minds

m Selden in Eutychii Alexandr. Orig. p. 42, 43. sheweth that before Ezra the Jews prayed without forms, and that Ezra and the elders with him, composed them a form which had eighteen benedictions and petitions, that is, the three first and the three last for the glorifying God, and the rest intermediate for personal and public benefits. And page 48. That they might omit none of these, but might add others.

can in a moment think of many particulars, when they use but general words: and I know that some smaller, less necessary things, may be generally passed over ; and greater matters in a time of haste, or when we, besides those generals, do also use particular requests.

Quest. 111. . Is it lawful to pray in à sét form of words ?

Answ. Nothing but very great ignorance can make you really doubt of it". Hath God any where forbid it? You will say, that it is enough that he hath not commanded it. I answer, That in general he hath commanded it to all whose edification it tendeth to, when he commandeth you, that all be done to edification ; but he hath given no particular command, nor prohibition. No more he hath commanded you to pray in English, French, or Latin; nor to sing psalms in this tune or that; nor after this or that version or translation; nor to preach in this method particularly or that; nor always to preach upon a text; nor to use written notes; nor to compose a form of words, and learn them, and preach them after they are composed, with a hundred suchlike, which are undoubtedly lawful; yea, and needful to some, though not to others. If you make up all your prayer of Scripture sentences, this is to pray in a form of prescribed words, and yet as lawful and fit as any of your own. The psalms are most of them forms of prayer or praise, which the Spirit of God indited for the use of the church, and of particular persons. It would be easy to fill many pages with larger reasonings, and answers to all the fallacious objections that are brought against this; but I will not so far weary the reader and myself.

Quest. iv. • But are those forms lawful which are prescribed by others, and not by God?'

Answ. Yea; or else it would be unlawful for a child or scholar to use a form prescribed by his parents or master. And to think that a thing lawful doth presently become unlawful, because a parent, master, pastor, or prince doth prescribe it or command it, is a conceit that I will not wrong my reader so far, as to suppose him guilty of. Indeed if an usurper, that hath no authority over us in such matters,

" See Seldeu ubi supra, proving that the Jews had a form of prayer since Ezra’s time; therefore it was in Christ's time. Yet he and his apostles joined with them, and never contradicted or blamed them for forms.

do prescribe it, we are not bound to formal obedience, that is, to do it therefore because he commandeth it; but yet I may be bound to it on some other accounts; and though his command do not bind me, yet it maketh not the thing itself unlawful.

Quest. v. ' But is it lawful to pray extempore without a premeditated form of words ?'

Answ. No Christian of competent understanding doubteth of it. We must premeditate on our wants, and sins, and the graces and mercies we desire, and the God we speak to; and we must be able to express these things without any loathsome and unfit expressions. But whether the words are fore-contrived or not, is a thing that God hath no more bound you to by any law, than whether the speaker or hearers shall use sermon-notes, or whether your Bibles shall be written or in print.

Quest. vi. If both ways be lawful, which is better?

Answ. If you are to join with others in the church, that is better to you which the pastor then useth: for it is his office and not yours to word the prayers which he puts up to God. And if he choose a form, (whether it be as most agreeable to his parts, or to his people, or for concord with other churches, or for obedience to governors, or to avoid some greater inconvenience,) you must join with him, or not join there at allo. But if it be in private, where you are the speaker yourself, you must take that way that is most to your own edification, (and to others, if you have auditors joining with you). One man is so unused to prayer (being ignorantly bred,) or of such unready memory or expression, that he cannot remember the tenth part so much of his particular wants, without the help of a form, as with it; nor can he express it so affectingly for himself or others: nay, perhaps not in tolerable words. And a form to such a man may be a duty; as to a dim-sighted man to read by spectacles, or to an unready preacher to use prepared words and notes. And another man may have need of no such helps ; nay, when he is habituated in the understanding and feeling of his sins and wants, and hath a tongue that is used to ex

- Three or four of these cascs as to church-prayers are more largely answered afterward, Part iii. Socrates alius Cous deorum precationes, invocationesque conscripsit. Diog. Laert. in Socrate. lib. ii. sect. 47. p. 109.

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