THE Divine Art OF PRAYER: Containing the Most Proper Rules TO PRAY WELL.

WITH Divers Meditations and Prayers Suit­able to the Necessities of Christians, useful in every Family.

To Which Are annexed Seasonable Prayers for Souldiers, both in Their Majesties Army and Fleet.

By Marius D'Assigny, B.D.

LONDON, Printed by R. Everingham, and are to be Sold by John Everingham, at the Star in Ludgate-street, near the West end of St. Paul's. 1691.

Augustissimis Serenissimis, & OMNIBUS VIRTUTIBUS Pietate & Religione Ornatissimis Principibus GULIELMO & MARIAE D. G.

Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae, & Hiber­niae, Regi & Reginae, Fidei Defensoribus &c.

Hunc Libellum Reipublicae Anglicanae perutilem, in observantiae suae testimonium humillimè

Offert Consecrat & Dedicat, MAJESTAT. vest. Addictissimus

Marius D'Assigny.

THE PREFACE To the Devout Christian.

I Need not use any Ar­guments to recommend unto you the use of this Little Treatise; your Re­ligious Disposition will I hope (after a perusal) find that pleasure and be­nefit that is intended; for doubtless you will meet here [Page]with such considerable As­sistances to your Devotions, as will not suffer you to reject them, because of the smallness of the Book, the obscurity of the Author, or the frequency of the Subject: For here are per­haps some Observations, Di­rections, and Reasons, that are not usually met with, and proceed from a long Experience in the Service of God and Religion.

I confess, that I first designed these Meditations [Page]only for my Countrey Neighbours, at the Request of some Religious Per­sons, they being in a Wil­derness, at a distance from other like Books of Devotion, of which they were altogether ignorant: And I conceived they might more readily embrace my Advices in this kind, be­cause of their Acquain­tance with me, and esteem of my Person. The Lan­guage therefore, and Style was made the more easie and plain, that it might [Page]be levelled to their Capa­cities; for I design not Words, but Things; not to wrap them in a Cloudy Discourse, or Lofty Ex­pressions, but to lay them open to the apprehension of the Vulgar Sort.

And to the Helps and Encouragements of Prayer, I have purposely added divers Meditations and Prayers, that you might have here the Practice, as well as the Rules of De­votion. Let not therefore [Page]your Familiarity with the Works of other Divines, cause you to mistake this as useless, or a repetition of the Gift of Prayer; you will find the Design to be otherwise; to enable the Soul, not so much to speak the Words, as to recommend the Things that we want to the Divine Bounty, with that Decency, Humility, Respect, and Qualifications that are required from us, as Crea­tures and Servants of so Holy a Majesty.

Therefore, as I design nothing but your Assistance and Comfort, I doubt not but to meet with favour and acceptance from all Rational and Grateful Christians, whose business is Devotion and Reli­gion.

M. D.


  • A Discourse to encourage to Prayer, with the most proper Helps and Directions to Pray well. pag. 1.
  • A Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer. 127
  • Another Morning Prayer for a Family, when business is most urgent. 131
  • Another Prayer for a Family. 133
  • Another Prayer for a Family when business is urgent. 139
  • A Morning Prayer for a single Person. 143
  • A Morning Prayer for a young Person. 149
  • A Morning Prayer for a younger Person. 153
  • A Morning Prayer for a Child. 155
  • An Evening Prayer for a private Family, according to the Book of Common Prayer, with some new Collects for the time. 157
  • An Evening Prayer for a whole Family, suitable to the times. 165
  • An Evening Prayer for a single Person. 171
  • An Evening Prayer for young Persons, and Chil­dren. 176
  • Prayers before Meat. 179
  • A Profitable Meditation at the sight of a Table spread or covered with food for our Bodies. 180
  • Another Prayer before Meat, for a Child. 184
  • Ʋsefel Meditations and Prayers upon God, and his Divine Attributes. 185
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the incomprehensible Being and Presence of God. Ibid
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the immutability of our great God. 187
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the Eternity of God. 189
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon God's Almighty Power. 190
  • [Page]A Meditation and Prayer upon the Wisdom of God, and his infinite Knowledge. 192
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the goodness of God, manifested in Nature and Providence. 195
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the Mercy of God, in the Redemption of Man by the Lord Jesus Christ. 199
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the Justice and Holi­ness of God. 202
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon Plenty and Riches. 208
  • A Meditation and Prayer upon the consideration and sence of Poverty and Want. 211
  • A Meditation and Prayer at the enjoyment of Pro­sperity. 216
  • A Comfortable Meditation and Prayer for such as are in Adversity, and Afflicted with Crosses and Los­ses in the World. 219
  • A Meditation and Prayer in time of health. 233
  • A Meditation and Prayer useful in time of Sick­ness. 226
  • A Meditation and Prayer when the Symptoms of Death appear. 233
  • A Meditation and Prayer for such as are going to the Publick Assemblies to hear the word of God. 237
  • A Prayer for Souldiers before a Fight. 241
  • A Prayer for a Ship's Company, before an Engage­ment at Sea. 243
  • Seasonable Ejaculations, and short Prayers in the midst of a Fight, either by Sea or Land. 245
  • A Prayer for Mariners in a furious Tempest. 246
  • A Thanksgiving after a Victory either by Sea or Land. 247
  • A Prayer for the Preservation of the King's Person. 250
  • A Prayer for the Church Militant. 251
  • A short Prayer for such as are desperately wound­ed. 252

A DISCOURSE To encourage to PRAYER, With the most proper Helps and Di­rections to pray well.

THERE is no Duty of Religion more excellent, more divine, more beneficial, and of a great­er Concernment to us all, than that of Prayer. For in respect to God, it is an Adoration, and an open acknow­ledgement of all his glorious Attributes at once; and the best and onely return that we poor Men are capable of, for all the Expressions of his unwearied goodness; and in respect of Man the Petitioner, it is the most effectual means to supply our continual wants, to procure and in­crease the divine Graces in our Souls, to arm us against all the attempts of World­ly [Page 2]Misfortunes, and predispose us for an Eternal Communion with our great Crea­tor. So many and such real Advantages which we reap from the performance of this our Duty, are sufficient Encourage­ments to stir up our negligence, and to oblige us to present our selves very of­ten in Prayer to the Divine Majesty, whose power is answerable to his Good­ness, of an infinite extent, and may di­scover the folly of those frivolous Ob­jections, that men of corrupt minds and manners invent to disswade us from pray­ing. For when a considerable Benefit ap­pears, together with the express Com­mand of our God, if the Sense of Duty be not sufficient to move us, the expecta­tion of our own good should cause us to set aside all other considerations. Now in this case of Prayer, here is considerable, nay, assured and unspeakable Benefits mentioned before, arising from thence to our Bodies and our Souls. The prospe­rity, the Health, the Riches, the Ho­nours, Blessings, and the very breath of the former, with all other Temporal things relating to its good, are in the Hands, and at the disposal of our God; they proceed from his Bounty, and are commonly obtain'd by our zealous Prayer; for God, an unchangeable Truth, hath promised in his holy Word, to have a [Page 3]special regard to the Prayer of the De­stitute, to hear the groaning of the Pri­soner, to loose them that are appointed to Death. That he will cause him that asketh to receive, he that seeketh from him his Necessities, shall find them in due time. That he will grant whatsoever we ask in Christ's name. That he will hear the Prayers of all Flesh, and perform their desires. That he will open the Trea­suries of his Mercies, to such as call upon his Name, and grant them their requests. In a word, God promiseth that he will freely, bestow upon us all those earthly advantages which Men so highly esteem and stand in need of, in consideration of our devout and Constant Prayer, toge­ther with the more lasting and more ex­cellent Riches of the Soul Psalm 102.17. Luke 11.9. John 14.13. Psal. 65.2. Jer. 29.12. and Jer. 33.3. Zech. 13.9.

If some prophane Varlets that contemn God and Religion, and neglect this Du­ty, nevertheless seem to be so happy as to be loaden with these Temporal Bles­sings, they enjoy them not with that de­liciousness and content as a praying Soul: That which to the latter is a real Bene­fit, proves a present Curse to the former, and an aggravation and the f [...]wel of their Vices. Neither can they find that sweet­ness in good which naturally it yields, [Page 4]and a good Christian tastes; partly be­cause the fears and apprehensiens which commonly attend upon a disorderly be­haviour, with the gripings of an awa­ken'd Conscience, sour and poison all the Mercies of Heaven; and partly be­cause the secret Curse that accompanies the Wicked in the neglect of their Du­ty to God, changes the very nature of the greatest Blessings. Let therefore the Care, Diligence, and Frugality of our Fore-fathers make never so much provisi­on for us: Let God's Providence put into our hands a plentiful Estate, Ho­nours, Power and Authority, as soon as we are born, Prayer is as needful in such a Condition, as if we were daily to expect the continual Supplies of God's Bounty to entertain our beings, as if we had no such assurance of a livelihood in the World. Humane Greatness, if not supported and animated by Goodness and Piety, is like those unweildy Bodies, the sooner brought to ruine for want of Vi­tal Spirits, required to keep them in mo­tion, and preserve them from the en­croachings of the Diseases unto which their grossness and fatness are inclinable. Worldly promotion can never be well maintain'd and continued, but by that Providence from whence it first proceeds. Reason as well as Religion obligeth us [Page 5]to seek from God's mercy the preserva­tion of those Stores of good things which he hath bountifully bestowed upon us, seeing that without it they must needs decay, and shrink away to nothing. Think not thy self, O Man, less indebt­ed to thy God, because he hath given thee, by whole Sale, all the Riches of the Earth, which he distributes to others but by retail, and that therefore thou dependest not so much upon his Power, and needest not so much his continual assistance, as others of the lowest rank of Men. Sooner may the Moon and glit­tering Stars yield their light, and com­fortable Influences, without the Aspect of the Sun; sooner may the Earth bring forth its variety of Creatures, without the Celestial Globes, than that Man, tho' never so Rich and Powerful, should sub­sist without his God. When therefore Solomon, the wisest of all the Kings of Is­rael, built the famous Temple of Jerusa­lem, he placed the King's Bed-Chamber near to God's Sanctuary, and caused a door to lead into it, whereof the Key was transmitted with the Crown and Scep­ter of Israel, and always in the King's possession, that this might mind him of his dependency upon his God, and to seek from him those Blessings and the protection that he continually wanted in [Page 6]that lofty Station of Honour. If there­fore our Subsistance, the preservation of our Estates in the highest degree of Pow­er, and the continual assistance of our God, needful in the greatest abundance, proceed from his bountiful hand, and are obtainable by, and promised to our Prayers, should not this oblige us to draw near with Humility to the Throne of God's Grace, to offer up this cheap Sacrifice always ready and at hand, so acceptable to our good God?

I confess he is acquainted with our in­digencies, and his infinite knowledge needs not be informed of the things that we want in the World, for he knows our necessities before we ask, and our igno­rance in asking. He understands our most bosom thoughts. He sees and foresees what is most useful both for our Souls and Bo­dies. Tho' this Consideration may seem to render our Prayers frivolous, and not so needful as if God were ignorant of our Wants. Yet Christ and his Holy A­postles, require and advise us both by their Examples, and Commands, to lay open our Necessities in Prayer to our gracious God; and Nature it self calls upon us to seek from him a supply to our daily Wants. For we must not look upon Prayer as a simple information of our [Page 7]desires and estate, but as an open acknow­ledgement of God's Liberality and Rich­es; not as an increase to his knowledge, which is in it self Infinite, and can admit no augmentation, but as a means appoint­ed by his Wisdom, to increase and aug­ment our happiness. Neither must we look upon Prayer as an obligation laid upon God, to commiserate our poor Condition, but as a n [...]hod to dispose and render us fit to receive the Mercies of Heaven, and as that unto which God's promises of Earthly and Spiritual Bles­sings are annexed. Which the divine Wisdom hath so much the more cause to encourage, and we sinful Men to pra­ctice, because it is the most agreeable to God's magnificence and unlimited Boun­ty, and to Man's weakness and poverty. Because it is the most excellent Armour to strengthen us against the assaults of worldly Casualties, the safest shelter where we may retreat when pursued by Storms, and Tempests. The best Pourveyor, to procure us all things needful for our maintenance and beings: And because it is the readiest means to entertain and increase that familiarity with our God, which must of necessity precede that E­ternal Union and Communion with him, which we shall enjoy in the Estate of Glo­ry, God will have us draw nearer to him [Page 8]by degrees, and not leap from our vile Fellowship with Sin and the World, into an immediate fruition of his unspeakable Bliss. As there is a vast distance be­tween these two extreams, it is not pos­sible to pass from the one to the other in a moment, or without some mediums that are appointed to rid us of the in­disposition of the one, and prepare us for the acceptance of the other. It is for that good purpose that his Wisdom con­descends to send us the assistance of his di­vine Graces, by which our Souls are not on­ly cleansed from the filthiness of our sinful habits, but also enabled to this blessed Cor­respondency with God in Prayer, the Foun­tain of all spiritual Joy and Comfort.

Let not therefore any Perswasion or discouragement hinder thee, O Christian, from visiting often thy God in Prayer. Let not the sinfulness of thy Actions, the vitiousness of thy Disposition, the mul­tiplicity of worldly business, the Cares and Troubles of the World, nor any mi­stake of God or of thy self, cause thee to omit this beneficial Duty. What if thou art sinful, or naturally indisposed to so holy a Performance. Remember Christ in Heaven sits at God's Right Hand to intercede for thee, to render thy Prayers effectual, to sanctifie thy Groans, and offer them up to thy God. What [Page 9]if thou makest thy Addresses to a glori­ous Being, of an infinite Power and Ma­jesty: If thy disposition be suitable to the Duty, thou mayest draw near with confidence to the Throne of his Grace, for he is thine Heavenly Father, he desires nothing more than to render thee happy, and to bestow upon thee his Mercies. Con­sider his gratious invitations and many en­couragements in his holy Word. Come unto me all ye that travel, and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Matth. 11.28. Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee, and thou shalt glorifie me, Psal. 50.15. The Lord is good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon him, Psal. 36.5 Before we call he will answer, and while we are yet speaking he will hear, Isaiah 65.24. To all that turn to him, the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kind­ness, Joel 2.13. He will not break the brui­sed Reed, nor quench the smoaking Flax, Matth. 12.20. Shall his mercy be so ready to receive thee, and wilt thou be so unworthy to draw back? Shall his goodness long to bestow upon thee what thou wantest, and wilt thou be so unrea­sonable to contemn it? Shall his Love desire to be acquainted with thee by thy frequent Addresses, and wilt thou be so ungrateful to slight his offered kindness? [Page 10]Take notice of the just punishment of those ungracious Souls whom his Wisdom invites in vain to her self. Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded, but ye have set at naught all my Counsel, and would none of my Reproof. I also will laugh at your Calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer, they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me, &c. Prov. 1.25, 26.28.

Adversity may have that Power to a­waken many, who in prosperity from one year to another scarce think of praying to their God: But what can such expect in reason from his Bounty, which they in their flourishing Estate despise or neglect? Those Services can never be thought real and sincere, unto which ne­cessity drives Men; and those persons that make a mock of this Duty at any time, cannot probably receive from it, in their greatest urgencies, the benefits they expect. It is therefore Wisdom con­stantly to practice that which may stand us in good stead, and without which we shall assuredly be at a loss. Prayer may help and comfort thee, O Man, when all other helps and comforts forsake thee, when thy Riches and thy Guards, thy Treasure and thy Friends, thy Power and thy Glory shall leave thee to be Tor­mented [Page 11]with the Pangs of a Disease, or suffer thee to pass alone and naked through the dark and mournful Vale of Death. In a word, when all the World can yield thee no assistance, Prayer alone may as­sist and relieve thee. I cannot prescribe to any persons the times and moments for every one to make his Addresses to his God. There is no hour of the day nor night, but the divine goodness is ready to receive the humble Application of a dutiful Supplicant. No wonder there­fore that St. Paul adviseth us to pray with­out ceasing. Which words we must not so understand, as to spend all our time in this Duty, leaving all other necessary Employments of Life, as the antient la­sie Hereticks, sirnamed by the Fathers, Euthicks, taught by their Doctrine and Practice. But this Command may admit of a threefold interpretation, equally necessary for the observance of a Christian.

First, We may go far to the com­pleating of the Apostles Counsel, by sending up unto God without intermis­sion, our hearty desires, our sighs, and groans, when we are busie in our daily works to implore his needful assistance, and protection. The constant business of this Life should not hinder thee from this preparation for the next, nor the incumbrances of the World clog thy [Page 12]Soul from this elevation to its God, with whom an uninterrupted correspondence will wonderfully advance our present af­fairs, as well as dispose thee, O Man, for a more blessed Estate.

Secondly, in imitation of David, of Daniel, and of other Religious Men men­tioned in holy Writ, we may pray al­ways, by a constant performance of Pray­er at those times that chiefly require a divine assistance, and an acknowledg­ment of Gods continual Mercies. Even­ing, Morning, and at Noon will I pray, and cry aloud, and he shall hear my Voice, saith David, Psal. 55.17. And Daniel could not be frighted, with the sear of the Li­ons fury, from praying three times a day to his God. In the Morning when our Eyes are open again to behold the wonderful works of God's Power and Wisdom in the Creation and Preserva­tion of the World; it concerns us to praise his divine Attributes, that shine as bright as the Sun over our Heads. When we receive a fresh expression of God's goodness, in keeping us safe from the dangers of the preceding Night, in adding another day to our Lives, and a continuance of all his Temporal Favours, doth not Justice and Reason call upon us to be as mindful of God's Bounty, as he is of our necessities, and to be as li­beral [Page 13]of our thanks, as he is of his Rich­es? When in the Morning thou art going about thine Employments, and conside­rest that all thy labours will be to little purpose without God's Blessings, that thou art going through a world of dan­gers, Spiritual and Temporal, a World of Enemies subtle, malicious, and power­ful, that besiege thee on all sides, [...]s it not thine Interest to beg the favour and Pro­tection of that good Creator, that thy Soul and thy Body may be preserved in the midst of all their envious attempts, that thy designs and undertakings may be successful, thy labours fruitful, and all thy proceedings prosperous.

At Noon when thou seest thy Table covered with God's good Creatures, ap­pointed to strengthen thy Body, and tastest the sweetness of his Mercies at a distance, thou can'st do no less than lift up thy hands and thine Eyes, in prayer, to this bountiful Creator, as well to praise him for such a fresh expression of his liberality, at that time before thee, as to implore his Blessing needful to ac­company the means used to recruit thy strength and preserve thy weak Body.

In the Evening when the Curtains of the Night are spreading about thee, when thou art lying down to refresh thy wea­ried Body with rest, when thou knowest [Page 14]not the dangers that hang over thine head, and hast no other means to avoid them, but God's gracious protection, should'st thou not, for thine own safety, desire his favourable providence and all-seeing eye, to watch over thee, shelter, and defend thee from all spiritual and corporal E­nemies? Were we but sensible of the mischievous temper of some of those airy Spirts that fly about us, those many and subtle Devils that plot our destruction; did we but understand their Power, Ma­lice, and their unavoidable Assaults and propinquity, we should need no other Arguments to perswade us to arm our Selves with God's merciful protection when we lay our Heads down upon our Pillows. How soon should we perish, if God and his Holy Angels were not as watchful to keep us, as those Enemies of Mankind are watchful to destroy us! They wait continually for an opportu­nity to vent their Natural displeasure a­gainst us, and by the Evil Thoughts, fil­thy Dreams, unusual and unnatural di­sturbances, of the Mind, they discover themselves in our sleep, and their hatred against us. Who knows but that God, who holds them fast in Chains, as so many fu­rious Beasts, will let them loose to punish thy contempt of his Power and Provi­dence, and neglect of this Duty, if thou [Page 15]forgettest to call upon thy God. Remem­ber therefore, O Man, thy weak, thy frail and perillous Condition. Thy Life is but a Breath, thy Riches uncertain, thy Glory but a shadow, thy Power but for a time, thy Prosperity but like a Dream, thy Beauty but a fancy, and thy Health always besieged with many Diseases, thy Body and Soul surrounded with Ene­mies, and thy present Estate, let it be ne­never so flourishing, is in a continual want of God's favour, protection, and Blessings; whether thou risest or layest thy self down, lift up therefore thine Eyes and Hands in Prayer to this good God, to supply thee with those things that thou standest in need of, but chiefly in the Morning and in the Evening. Let these be the Solemn and constant times of thine Addresses to God. Offer up unto him the Morning Sa­crifice of Prayer, and the Evening of Praise. In the Church of the Jews, these were the appointed times to call upon God, 1 Chron. 16.40. 2 Kings 16.15. And Christ our Saviour, whose Example the Name and Profession of Christianity call upon us to follow, was wont to con­secrate these hours to Prayer and Devo­tion, Mat. 14.23. Luke 6.12. Mark 6.46.

Seeing therefore that Reason and Re­ligion binds us to this Duty of Prayer in the beginning and close of the Day, and [Page 16]oblige us then to renew our Correspon­dency with God, too often interrupted by our daily miscarriages, let not the mul­tiplicity of Business, the Cares and Trou­bles of the World, the frightful appre­hensions of Sin, discourage or hinder thee from this constant and necessary Fami­liarity with thy God.

When a sudden occasion calls thee away, so that thou art not able to offer up thy desires in such a solemn manner as is re­quired at these usual times; make use at least of the shorter Prayers of the compen­dious Ejaculations of the mind. Let thy Soul be with God, tho' the World hurry away thy Body. Spare a thought unto that merciful God, who hath spared thee to attend upon thy necessary Occasions, and who can render thine undertakings either prosperous or unhappy, as he sees convenient. Venture not out into the wide and troublesom World, with­out the safeguard of God's Protection. And enter not into the shadows of the Night, this Cousin and remembrancer of Death, without his merciful allowance, who hath the Keys of Death and of Hell.

The third Interpretation of the A­postles Advice, To Pray without ceasing, Is to be always in a disposition sit for Pray­er, to shake off all Impediments, all in­cumbrances of Sin, which hinder us, that [Page 17]the Soul may still be in a readiness with the Wings of Faith and Love, stretched towards Heaven, always ready to take its Flight.

The troubles and vexations of the World should rather animate thee, and inflame thy Devotion with an expectati­on, and certain assurance to find more favour in him than in all inferior enjoy­ments. His Holy Spirit can convey com­fort into thy Soul, when the World fills thee with Sorrow. He can send thee de­lights and sweetness to qualify all other bitterness; for by the means of Prayer, a Christian can keep himself in such an ex­cellent Temper, that will not suffer him to be sensible of many misfortunes and Crosses, and so secure his Soul, that all outward Accidents shall do him no harm.

I know that the sense and conscience of Guilt, is wont to estrange us from God, and interrupt all correspondency between his mercy and our Souls. And Reason seems to forbid us, together with the re­spect we owe to so holy a Being, when our hands are reeking with Blood, or our Body comes from the commission of any other grievous Offence wilfully acted, to presume to present our selves before the Throne of God's Grace immediately, without any delay. I confess that such unhappy Criminals ought to pause a while [Page 18]upon their woful Condition, and the sense of their Guilt ought to move them to Repentance and Sorrow, before they offer up their Prayers to God, for other­wise, this Sacrifice will meet with no better acceptance than that of Cain, or that of Hophni and Phineas, or that of Corah and his Rebellious Company, whose Offerings were so much the more distaste­ful, because they were encouraged by dis­obedience to God, and to his Servant Moses. But yet I would advise a Christian to spend and delay no more time, but only to prepare himself the better for this sacred Duty. Suffer not thy Sin to grow old, nor this Burden to lye too long upon thy Soul, for fear it should leave an Impression that thou wilt not be able to remove in haste. In such a case, tho' Guilt ought and will interrupt and break off our continued Prayers to God, yet it ought not to drive us fur­ther from him, but rather cast us into the Publicans Disposition in the Gospel. He would not lift up so much as his Eyes to Heaven, but smote upon his Breast, saying, God be merciful to me a Sinner: Or into the Blessed temper of the Prodi­gal Son, I will arise and go to my Father, and say unto him, Father I have sinned a­gainst Heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son, make me [Page 19]as one of thy hired Servants. A greater Humility in such a Case, ought to pre­pare our Persons and Prayers for God's acceptance. The more unworthy sin hath made us, the more lowly ought our ap­proa [...]hes to be to him. The alteration in our behaviours should cause an altera­tion in our Souls, before we present our selves before God. Instead of alienating our minds from him, the consideration of our weakness should, incourage us to fly to him by prayer, and seek from his all-sufficiency strength against future Temptations. In such a case, I would have a repenting Christian understand that God, our merciful Creator is not so soon estranged from us, as we are from him. The Sin that disorders our Souls, and causeth us to shun his presence, may cause him to correct us for our good, but it will never oblige him to cast us away, if there be any sense of our Guiltiness in us, accompanied with the hopes of his Mercy. Therefore this ought not to be long an impediment to our Prayers, or the cause to interrupt our daily correspondency with God, Morning and Evening; for we see it often happen by woful experience, that by such an omission of our Duty, many are insensibly brought into dangerous Snares. And God withdraws his prote­ction [Page 20]from such as were not mindful to take it along with them. To avoid such miscarriages and dangers, Prayer is as needful to a Christian in the beginning and close of the day, as Armour and Wea­pons to a Souldier, and Shoos and Cloa­thing to a Traveller, to defend him from the injuries of the Way and Weather.

It emboldens the Soul against all ac­cidents, it gives Life and Heart to a Chri­stian, and makes him walk every where, and lye down with David's Confidence. Tho' I walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear no ill, for thou art with me, thy Rod and thy Staff they comfort me, Psal. 23. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my Life, Psal. 4.6.

Likewise in the midst of a danger, at the Tidings of Losses or Successes, at the beginning of any Business of weight or moment, and at several other times and occasions, it concerns us to address our selves in Prayer to God, the chief and only Author of all Temporal and Spiritual happiness; for as this Devotion will disappoint the mischievous intent of Evils and Crosses, it will infallibly draw a Blessing upon all our undertakings. I have therefore endeavoured in this Book to furnish you, my Christian Brethren, with all the Prayers that are suitable for [Page 21]many Occasions, and Casualities, and Acci­dents, needful in these wicked and dange­rous times, in which we now live.

If you offer them up in the manner as you ought, you need not doubt of the Success. The Prayer of a devout Soul hath an invincible Power. The whole Creation is not able to resist or render in­effectual the religious Prayers of a Child of God. Joshua's Prayers arrested the Sun in the middle of its Course. Moses's Prayer dryed up the Waters of the Red Sea. The Israelites Prayers undermined the Walls of Jericho. Hezekiahs's prayer obtained fifteen years to his Life, alrea­dy condemned by the furiousness of a Disease naturally irrecoverable, and cau­sed an alteration in the common Course of Nature. David by his Prayers mar­ched safe through many dangers, and was secure in the midst of all the Risings and Tumults of his Enemies. Ahab's hu­mility, and prayers, suspended and put a stop to God's Judgments, that were going to fall upon his Idolatrous House. Manasses's Prayer freed him from the Chains of Babylon, and restor'd him, a­gainst all probability, to his Kingdom and Throne. Daniel's Prayer shut up the Lyons mouths, and disarm'd those furious Beasts. Esther's Prayers changed the Sentence of death, established against [Page 22]against the Jews, and caused the mischief to fall upon their Enemi [...]s Heads. The Churches Prayers unfettered St. Peter in the midst of his Guards, op [...]ned for him the Iron G [...]te, and set him at liberty. Elijah's Prayers shut and ope [...]'d th [...]. Win­dows of H [...]aven. The thu [...]dering Ro­man L [...]gion by Prayer reliev'd their fel­low Souldiers with fresh showers of Rain, and discomfi [...]ed their Enemies with strange Lightning and Thunder. So many and such strange Events, above all expe­ctation and humane Power, have been brought to pass by zealous Prayers; that we have good cause in the greatest diffi­culties to be full of hopes whilst we have liberty to pray. The Heavens, the Seas, the Earth, the Elements, and all the Crea­tures, animate and inanimate, seem to be at the Devotion of a devout Soul. For the great Author and preserver of all Created Beings, causeth them to yield help to the assistance of the humble and contrite Petitioner. As they are alway in his hand, and at his disposal; he employs them in their Relief, and for the accom­plishment of such desires as tend to the Universal good of his Creatures, and his own Glory. What is not Prayer able to bring to pass, when it int [...]r [...]sseth an Almighty Power and an infinite Good­ness in our Affairs, and fetches to its [Page 23]assistance that same Omnipotency that cre­ated the World out of nothing? Nihil for­tius, saith a Father, homine legitime Orante. There is nothing more powerful than a Man praying as he ought. For the efficacy of Prayer depends not upon the holiness of the Petitioner, but upon God's promises, that are unchangeable, Christ's Merits that are truly meritorious, and his intercession that is unresistable. At the right hand of God, where he sits above this unconstant World, he is employed in offering up the requests of his Members and S [...]rvants on Earth and there before the Mercy Seat, to perfume them with the Frankineense of his Passion, that they might be acceptable to our Heavenly Fa­ther. Whilst we have such a prevailing Mediator, never doubt of the success of a Prayer, procceeding from an humble Soul, sit for the acceptance and encou­ragement of our merciful Saviour.

And if at any time thou feelest thy self indisposed, or not able to offer up thy Prayers with that Devotion that is re­quisite, be not therefore discouraged, de­spair not of the success, know for cer­tain that it is not so much thy weakness as thy negligence, not so much thy inabi­lity as thy sloth and indisposition, that clogs thy Prayers, and stops them in their ascent to Heaven. Know for cer­tain, [Page 24]that God regards more humility, truth, and sincerity, than the flourishes of Wit, and the excellency of the language, or the vehemency of the expression in all thy Requests. That the Sighs and Groans of a broken heart, or of a devout Soul, are more powerful with God, than the strongest Arguments or the longest Pray­ers. God is not wont to proportion his mercies, only to our deservings or rea­sons, but rather out of his inexhaustible Treasuries, to take and bestow upon us Men, beyond all merits and expecta­tion.

Therefore slack not thine Endeavours to pray well, God's greatness and thine estate in relation to him, calls for the greatest Respect, the profoundest Humi­lity, the exactest care, the most fervent Zeal and earnestness that thou art capable of. God is not to be courted with ordinary Devotion. His Blessings are not to be ob­tained by a slothful hand, and a negli­gent Soul. The distance betwixt God and us vile Men, should be expressed by the humility of our Souls and Bodies, and our Prayers offered to so excellent a Ma­jesty, must have an excellency to recom­mend them to the Throne of his Grace. For that purpose we must take notice of, and observe these following directi­ons in all our Addresses to God.

First, let a short Meditation upon God, his Power, Glory, Sufficiency, infinite Presence, Goodness, Knowledge and Riches precede your Prayers; with some Reflecti­ons upon your selves, your sinfulness, vile­ness, and the former experience of God's goodness; that such Considerations as these may cause you to shake off all neg­ligence and sloathfulness, and help to banish from your Souls all undecency, carelesness and misapprehensions, usually found in the devoutest persons. We are naturally too much unmindful of the re­spect that we owe to our God; too care­less in the performance of our Duties; too fond of the World and its Vani­ties; Therefore this Meditation must stir us up, and pre-dispose us for this ho­ly Conference with our Maker. It must withdraw all our minds from all other intangling thoughts, that we may with more liberty set our selves entirely apart for this important Duty. We must rid our selves of those things that common­ly entangle us when we present our selves before our God, and draw near to him with such thoughts as these.

I, poor wretched and weak Man, Dust and Ashes, am going to speak to, and petition a God, the Creator of the World, a Holy and Divine Majesty, an incomprehensible Spirit, which sills Hea­ven [Page 26]and Earth with his infinite presence. He is at my Elbows, and takes notice of my behaviour in my Soul; and observes all the wandrings of the Mind in every corner of this wide World, and sees and hears our wants and necessities. How careful must I be to appear with respect before him? He is Holy, and abhors all filthiness; I must therefore banish all sil­thy, polluted, and idle imaginations at this moment. He is as just as he is good, ready to punish irreverence, but much more inclinable to reward Humility and Devotion; how devout therefore should my Soul be in his presence? How cir­cumspect and humble before him, who is an all-seeing Majesty, and a consuming Fire. The indiscreet Devotions of the Sons of Aaron, caused the Fire from the Lord to fall upon and consume them. Ʋzzah's unseasonable officiousness, and the impudence of the men of Bethshemesh, in drawing near to God without re­spect, were severely punished; and shall I presume to draw near to my God with carelesness and indiscretion? Shall I escape if I venture before him, without due consideration? Shall I expect any gracious returns of those prayers that are offered up with so little grace and dread of God's Power, with so little sense of his glory and Majesty. O let [Page 27]my Soul be silled with the fear and reve­rence of so fearful and holy a Being. Let my mind be seasoned with such a dread of him, that may not fright me from him, but rather oblige me to draw nearer to him with more Devotion and Humility. If we entertain such thoughts as these, they will cleanse our. Souls from all that sapersluity, which will otherwise disgrace and spoil all our holy performances. A little pause therefore before Prayer, is needful for this purpose; however it is an Act of Wisdom, in so weighty a bu­siness, to proceed on with caution and wariness; and this little recollection of our selves, which I recommend to every devout Soul before Prayer, (chiefly be­fore the solemn and publick Prayers of­fered up to God in the publick Congre­gation) cannot but be of a great use, and very instrumental to prepare us for that Duty; for thereby we may see what there is in us able to impede us in our addresses to God, and what is likely to hinder a favourable return of our Petiti­ons; besides, it savours much of that re­spect that God's greatness requires from us, together with our Relation to him. Keep thy foot, saith the Wise man, when thou goest to the House of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the Sacrifice of Fools. Ecclesiast. 5.1. That is, when [Page 28]thou goest to appear before God's Ma­jesty, keep thy self with watchfulness and circumspection, and understand thy self, thy disposition, and what thou art, and what thou dost; that this sacred Frankincense of Prayer may be present­ed to God, with the Ingredients neces­sary, and from a. Soul rightly quali­fied.

Secondly, For that purpose, you must never come to God with any known sin unrepented of; that is, with any sin near and dear unto our Souls, which we en­tertain with a Resolution, never, or not yet to part with: For not only the sa­cred Word of God assures us, that God heareth not Sinners, John 9.31. but Rea­son also teacheth us, that it consists not with his Wisdom, to listen to the Pray­ers of such as will not hearken to his Commands; to bestow his Blessings and Mercies upon such unworthy Souls, as will not leave a sin for his sake; or, as prefer the filthy Pleasures of the Flesh to the sincere Joys of God's savour, and the real advantage which slow from thence in abundance. Therefore, by the Mouth of the Prophet Isaiah, he speaks thus to the Jews, and to all im­penitent Sinners; When you spread forth your hands, I will hide mine Eyes from you; when you make many Prayers, I will not [Page 29]hear. The cause of this severity is dis­covered in the next words; because your Hands are full of Blood. All other sins as well as blood guiltiness are wont to divert God's Mercies from us, and with­draw those good things, which other­wise we might enjoy. Our Prayers in such a case, without this due Preparati­on, savours of the greatest impudency, and Atheistical boldness; because we at­tempt the obtaining of God's Riches and Favours to our unworthy Beings, and present before his all-seeing Eye, Bodies distempered with Vice, Hands full of Sin, Eyes swelling with Pride; or bearing the marks of Contempt of his Divine Ma­jesty; and a Soul that would never re­gard him, were it not for our Wants, and God's Riches. The Prayers of such a Person will prevail no more upon God than the Sacrifice of Corah and his Con­federates; for he accepts not the Offer­ings presented by foul hands: Purity and Innocency are required in such as come before God: And tho' none of us can pretend to an absolute freedom from sin, and from those wicked propensities to vice, which render our Prayers inef­fectual; yet every one of us may cleanse our selves from all actual Transgressions by Repentance, and make some amends by a repeated resolution against our belov­ed [Page 30]Sins, and by an inward and hear­ty sorrow, before we appear in God's presence, for our past miscarriages; for unless we appear in that temper, our most just and excellent Prayers, will avail us nothing; they will not be accepted, if they proceed from a Soul bewitched with the deceitful Allurements of Sin. The Devil's Slave can never be fit to appear before the God of liberty, till the Bolts and Chains of Hell be shaken off: He shall never meet with acceptance with a Jealous God, who is already betroathed, and inseparable from sin, the great Ene­my of his Glory. How unseasonable and odious were the Devotions of Zimri, when in the publick Congregations of the Children of Israel, humbling them­selves for their Sins in God's presence, he had a Midianitish Woman at his side? How unwelcome were the Addresses of a proud Pharisee, whose Prayers were the expressions of his Pride and Vanity? Cain's Sacrifices were not pleasing to God, because there was a mixture of Wicked­ness amongst his Offerings; therefore such Prayers as proceed from impeniten­cy and vice, are odious to God.

Likewise, in such a Case, the Petitio­ner is not in a disposition fit to receive God's Mercies; for sin discomposeth us, and while we retain it in our Asse­ctions, [Page 31]both the Action and the Habit of sin conspire together, to intercept and deprive us of all gracious returns of our Prayers from God. It sills the Soul full of jealousies, fears, apprehensions, suspici­ons; and instead of Love, it begets an hatred of, and an aversion to God, which will never suffer us to draw near in that manner, as his infinite goodness and un­limited liberality require; so that unless true repentance intervene between our Sins and our Prayers to our Maker, they will rather provoke his Justice, than pre­vail with his Mercy.

Thirdly, If you will have your Pray­ers acceptable to God, you must offer them with that attention and intention of the mind, that so weighty an action, and the greatness of God's Majesty re­quire: For to what purpose is it to at­tend, and be present in a praying Con­gregation, if we be no more concerned in the Devotion, than the Timber and the Stones of the Fabrick; if our Bo­dies [...]e present without our Souls? God demands from his People spiritual Sacri­fices and Services; which are not to be performed with the outward part alone; the Mind and the Understanding must be active, and the Soul and all its facul­culties ought to be concerned in this Spiritual worshipping of our great God. [Page 32]As God is an Unity without Division, whatsoever is offered to him, must ex­press this Unity, by a total Consecration of it self, chiefly in that Christian Ser­vice, where all the divine Attributes are acknowledged, and wherein the Soul as well as the Body is to resign it self o­ver to God. Dead Sacrifices under the Law were abominable, and bodily De­votions alone under the Gospel, are dis­respectful to God, and injurious to our selves; for they commonly proceed from the multiplicity of Worldly business that possess the Soul, from an unmindfulness of God, and a want of an Holy fear of his Divine Majesty, from a carelesness of our Duty, or from the disturbances and lusts of the Flesh, that steal away our Thoughts as well as our Affections from God's Holy Worship, and de­prive us of the advantages that we might expect from a due performance of our Duty. To prevent such ill consequences, the Christian in Prayer ought to mind the weighty Business in hand, and not only at the close of every Petition, in imitation of the Primitive. Church of Christ, to subscribe and declare his ascent and consent to the Requests offered up to God, by the universal Amen, but al­so to express inwardly in the Soul, what is outwardly pronounced and spoken, and [Page 33]to be seriously attentive to every Peti­tion; for, as the rational Soul is able to express it self, as well as the animal part doth with the Tongue, and that by an internal Word and Faculty proper to it, that must speak, or else God will not hear; for that intent, it is necessary to hearken with a Religious attention to the Prayers which proceed from our own, or others Lips, and endeavour to hear that part in the Devotion which is appointed for us. It is necessary to set aside all other Worldy business, to dis­engage our selves and our minds from all other incumbrances, to six them to the Duty they are employed in, and to tye and settle them with the dread of God's presence; so that our thoughts may not take the liberty to wander up and down from this holy exercise: And when we are in Prayers, we must set a watch at the door of our Senses, forbid entrance to all sudden Accidents, and, in a word, summon all the thoughts of the Mind, and faculties of the Soul, to render their homage to God's Divine Ma­jesty, and not to suffer them to straggle from the weighty business in hand. Re­markable is the Example of that Noble and Couragious Youth of Macedon, whose Office it was to burn Frankincense be­fore King Alexander, when he sacrific'd [Page 34]to his Gods; tho' a burn­ing Coal was casually fal'n into his open sleeve, Val Max. l. 3. c. 3. and did there consume both his Vestment and his Flesh, lest he should ominously and unhappily interrupt the publick Sacrifice of his Prince, he persist­ed in his business to the end, through all the Torments, and would not so much as complain. How religious were such, and other Heathens, in the publick Wor­ship of their false Gods! Nothing was able to cause them to interrupt their Sa­crifice! And shall we Christians mingle in our Devotions to the true Lord of Hea­ven and Earth, vain, idle, wanton and lascivious thoughts and actions? Shall e­very accident and casualty be able to take us off from the Service we are about? Yet this we see most commonly happens both in our publick and in our private Addresses to God, for want of a due respect and dread of God's presence, of which we should at such times be really and most sensible.

Fourthly, The Affections of the Soul ought to be moved and concerned in the offering up our Requests, and our Petitions ought to receive that qualifica­tion from them as is suitable to the rea­sons, cause, and intent of our Address. Our praising of God must be performed with an holy and reverend freedom, and a [Page 35]real sense of our Obligations: Our re­quests must be sent up to God, with hu­mility, and an acknowledgment of our undeservings: Our Confessions of sin must be seasoned with sorrow, and a resoluti­on of amendment: Our Promises, Vows, and Engagements, must proceed from an hearty resolution, and a sense of our mis­carriages and weaknesses: In short, all our Prayers must be the outward expres­sions of the inward affections of the Soul, which ought to qualifie and animate them; for unless our Hearts be thus concerned, the Prayer is but from the Tongue, the Soul hath no part in it; 'tis but the Ef­fect and production of our Imagination, but no real Devotion of the mind; 'tis a Worship in jest and not in earnest, vi­sible to an Allseeing Eye. Such heart­less services are so full of Imperfections, that in reason we can never expect any gracious returns from a Just and Wise God, who would not admit neither the Blind nor the Lame to draw near to his Holy Altar, to offer Sacrifice, tho' of the Priestly Race, Levit. 21.18. If un­der the Law, the want of these Members excluded Men from God's Service, how much the rather under the Gospel, when the noblest Member is wanting, the Heart and its Affections? A Gospel Worship must be an hearty Worship, [Page 36]that only is sufficient to obtain accep­tance. It was God's Complaint of Israel, that they honoured God with their Lips, whilst their heart was far from him. They are guilty of the same Formality, who frequently attend at Prayers without cau­sing their hearts to be concerned in the Devotion; it should be therefore our care, to stir up our affections with all the considerations of want, necessity, fu­ture advantage, experience, duty, God's presence, and whatever may have the greatest influence upon us.

Fifthly, And that our Affections may be the more inflamed, we must kindle them with an Holy Zeal, which must burn, not so much with the sense of want, as with an earnest and unfeigned desire to Glorifie our Maker; however, both may very well contribute to inflame our Affections in the Divine Worship of our God in Prayer. Now this Zeal need­ful in all our Addresses, is that holy violence that strains our Affections in re­ligious Duties, and gives that perfection to the Action, which otherwise they would want; it is accompanied with a dissidence of our selves, and a strong resolution to worship God with the utmost of our en­deavours; it is quickned by the fears and apprehensions of being guilty of that pro­phane sloathfulness, which might displease [Page 37]our gracious God, and stop the current of his Mercy; it sills the Soul full of Jealousie, which awakens all its faculties and powers, to the performance of the present Duty: And as our great Saviour, when he expell'd the Merchants and Mo­ney-Changers out of his Temple at Je­rusalem, was animated by a Divine Zeal for God's Glory; so a Christian that is govern'd by the same Spirit, and Zealous Affection for his God, drives out of his mind all worldly Business, and conside­rations of Profit and Advantage, that God may be worshipped in this Spiritual Temple, the Soul, without the interruption and clamours of our sensual and secular In­terests, where Sin and the Devil commonly insinuate themselves too much, John 2.16.

Sixthly, As there is a care to be taken of our persons, and manner of offering up our Prayers, that they may be in some measure answerable to God's glorious Per­fections, and our own vile and mean Estate; we must likewise mind the things that we petition for, that they be not contrary to God's revealed, or secret Will: God's Will must regulate ours, in all our actions; for Christ our Saviour, teacheth us by his Blessed Example, to be instrumental in, as well as desirous of the performance of God's will on Earth; and Reason tells us, that God being the su­preme [Page 38]Agent, the great Maker and Pro­tector of the World, the Lord and Re­deemer of Mankin'd, that all our Incli­nations and Wills ought to yield homage to his Pleasure; in which submis­sion there is this advantage arising to our selves; thereby we compass and attain un­to the end of all our desires, an infallible happiness; for the best self-interest is a submission to that wise Agent, who is engaged to promote our Felicity and his Glory together, according to his promise, Rom. 8.28.

If in other actions of our life, God's Will should be the Rule of our desires, how much the rather in that weighty, and religious action of Prayer, where the Soul and the Body together, are to summon all their Faculties and Members, for the worshipping of their great Crea­tor and Benefactor? for the chief intent of this performance, is the magnifying of God's glorious Attributes, which we can never do, if we suffer any of our de­siers to oppose his Will, or contradict his Wisdom, or question his Alsufficien­cy and Goodness. The want of his Mer­cy should cause thee, O Man! to yield to his Wisdom and Power; if thou expect­est a favourable return from his Bounty, thou must learn to court it by a dutiful submission to his Wisdom and Governance, [Page 39]both in the things that thou desirest, and in the expectation of the time which he judges most seasonable to grant thee thy requests: All impatiency in Prayer is guilty of indiscretion, of prophane fol­ly, of disrespect, and disesteem of God's Wisdom and Mercy. In this, and in all other acts of Devotion, Men must learn to prefer his Glory, whose goodness they want to the satiating of their own craving and importunate Appetites, and to give a check to the furious desires of our corrupt Nature, when we find them proceeding beyond the Bounds limited by God and his Will, and our real hap­piness, which commonly are unseparable.

But there is a difference to be observed, according to the difference of the things that we desire from God. For Spiritual Mercies, for Faith, Grace, Regeneration, Strength against Sin, Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge, and other Blessings relating to God's immediate Glory, and our own Salvation, a Petitioner can never be too earnest, zealous and impatient. Such ad­vantages are to be wrested, if I may so speak, from our good God, by our con­tinual and fervent Prayers. Violence, con­demned in other things, is approved of by Christ himself, in such as intend to be partakers of Heaven's Kingdom; and an Holy importunity in Prayer, never re­turns [Page 40]without a grant of the Request, when we ask the divine Riches of God's Grace, unless we have, like Esau, for­feited before all pretensions to it; for God is as willing to bestow them, as we to seek them; and their excellency is such, that Men can never have, and desire them too much. As David therefore, whose Soul was insatiable on Earth, for Grace and divine Mercies, let us not give our selves any rest, until we have obtained these Riches and Ornaments of the Soul, and the assurances of God's favour.

But as Earthly prosperity and Blessings, relating to our better conveniency on Earth, are not of such a value and im­portance, our Requests for these things must be qualified accordingly; and because in some Rules they may be prejudicial to our everlasting Interest, we are to beg them always with a condescention to the Will and Wisdom of our great God, who knows what is best for us, and most conducing to our real good. To desire them too passionately, or without any such con­descention, is to Idolize the Creature, and to prefer it before the Creator; it is to give to those Earthly and mean things, that affection which is due to God alone, and his divine Mercies. Nature I confess, will be always craving, and the sense of our wants will cause us to cry a­loud [Page 41]for a relief and remedy; but a good Christian must give a check to those na­tural motions, in imitation of Christ our Saviour, whose Humanity was loth to taste of the bitter Cup that was prepa­red for him to swallow; therefore you may hear him desire that it may pass away, and that he may be excused to drink it; but immediately after he adds, not my will, but thy will be done. The fulfilling of this will, we must prefer to the things that we most passionately desire on Earth: As it ought to be our chief aim, it should be our most zealous request, and most ear­nest petition, to be placed at the close of all our Prayers which we offer up for these pleasant, glorious, and useful things on Earth, that draw away too much of our Affections. Likewise when we beg from God for the good things of this Life, we must take heed of two other intentions or affections of our corrupt Nature, that are able to render our requests most sinful and abominable in God's Presence.

The first may proceed from an un­just principle of Covetousness, when the Soul is possessed with an insatiable spirit, that craves more than is needful, and forces it to desire what is not really ours, to the prejudice of others; or from am­bition, vain-glory, and immoderate care of the World, that may cause us to pe­tition [Page 42]too passionately for its Vanities, as it may proceed from some Lust that governs the Soul. All these, and other Principles of the like nature, as they are irregular, the Devotions that proceed from them can never be good; for all our re­quests in such like Cases tend to procure to our selves those good things, that we purpose to abuse, in the satisfying of our unruly and base affections. Such Prayers are Sacrifices of the Devil, and not of God; His Blessings, never so mean, are too good to be prostituted to our shame­ful Lusts. We must not think to feed the Devil's Brats with the Milk and Mercies of Heaven. It is an ungrateful Conver­sion indeed, to convert that to God's dis­honour that proceeds from his Bounty. And it is the mark of a great indiscreti­on, and want of Piety, to seek from God the means to dishonour his holy Name, and to employ the chief part of Religi­on for such a prophane and unworthy purpose.

The second Affection is a Spirit of En­vy, Anger, Revenge and Hatred, which if we discover in that part of God's Ser­vice, where we are to implore his Bounty, we cannot probably expect any great suc­cess, or any favourable return; we can­not expect that the God of Mercy and Love, should be favourable to inhumanity [Page 43]and revenge, that he will grant such Pe­titions as proceed from that affection, which is direct contrary to his Divine Nature and Commands. God must not, nor will not be made the Executioner of our vengeance, nor receive the Commissions from us to punish our wrongs. Ven­geance belongs to God; it is a bold pre­sumption to prescribe to his Wisdom either the method, time, or measure of inflicting i [...] upon the greatest Offendors. Therefore let us always cast our selves upon him and his Justice, with a dispo­sition ready to forgive the greatest Ene­mies: Let us leave all our wilful Interests entirely to the disposal of his Wisdom, and not venture nor suffer our corrupt Nature to give him directions, how, and where to execute his wrath, chiefly in that part of his Service where our Business is to intreat him to suspend the execution of his Justice from us, justly due for our Offences committed against his continued goodness: If he shews so much favour to us, he expects that we should do the like to such as have offended us, and deser­ved our displeasure. Our Prayers there­fore must not be Imprecations and Curses, all Gall and bitterness must be cast away, and separated from this Sacrifice to the God of Heaven, as the Gaul of the Hea­then Victims was, when they offered them up to the superior Gods.

I confess that self preservation, God's glory, common justice, and the safety of our Friends, of the Church and Publick, may oblige us to petition Heaven for the disappointment of the unjust designs of Wicked Men, tho' it be to their utter overthrow. David in his Divine Psalms affords us many Examples to this purpose, Pour out thy Wrath upon the Ideathen, saith he, that have not known thee, and upon the Kingdoms that have not called upon thy Name, Psal. 79.6. Let them be blotted out of the Pook of the Living, and not be writ­ten with the Righteous, Psal. 69.28. Con­sume them in thy Wrath, consume them that they may not be, and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the Earth, Selah. Psal. 59.13. These and such like Prayers have an intent chief­ly to prevent the future Mischiefs, which the Malice of God's Enemies, and of his Church, was likely to draw upon his Ser­vants. They are intended to disarm them, and take from them the ability or power which they would infallibly a­buse oft to God's dishonour, and the Prejudice of God's People, and innocent Persons. They are intended to Petition God, that he would be pleased to vindi­cate his own Cause, and declare his Ju­stice in the punishment of vile Contemn­ers of his Power and Authority. For [Page 45]such intents as these, we may sometimes beseech God to send down his Judg­ments upon our Enemies, as well as his Mercies; but out of a meer Principle of Revenge, or of an implacable hatred, to desire the ruin of any that we disaffect, is to concern God too much in our fri­volous quarrels, and to cause him to withhold the favours, which otherwise he might be willing to grant us, For with the same measure that we mete, it shall be measured to us again. Let therefore Men be never so much alienated from us, and separated in judgments, designs, or Interests; let them purpose never so much our Ruin, if they be Christians or but Men, that Christian disposition which Christ our Saviour recommends to us, both by his Commands and Exam­ple, teacheth us to pray for their amend­ment, and the prosperity of their Souls and Bodies, so that it may be without a­ny notable prejudice to God, his Church, the publick or our private happiness: The Sacrifices of an implacable Spirit, will never find acceptance at the Throne of Grace. That good Saviour that prayed for his Murderers, teacheth us to suppress the sense of all personal Wrongs, and not suffer our displeasures to be vented in our Addresses to God.

In this particular, as well as in the for­mer, [Page 46]Nature will speak when it is op­pressed, and complain for the Evils that burden us; it will petition for help and justice when it is grieved; and I cannot think but that this natural motion may be allowable, if it be kept within the bounds of Christian Charity, and be ac­companied with a disposition ready to forgive the Injuries received, in case of amendment; and our Enemies become fit Objects of our Mercy and Forgiveness. But in such Cases we must take heed, that we suffer not our Resentment of former wrongs, to speak too loud in Prayer, and that we desire not from God, that which neither becomes God's Wisdom to grant, nor our modesty and Christian Charity to ask.

Seventhly, Faith must likewise be an ingredient in this part of God's Worship, as well as in the rest: This Grace is the Life and Soul of Devotion, without which all our Addresses are to no purpose, For he that comes unto God, must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.

Now there is a double Duty that our Faith is bound to perform in Prayer. First, it must make us sensible of God's presence and all-seeing Eye; it must cast the Soul into a dread of that divine Ma­jesty, who hears and sees every Petitio­ner [Page 47]all over the World; it must awaken all our abilities, and quicken us with the consideration of God's glorious Be­ing, unto whom we offer up our Requests; it must represent him present, and as he is a God, a just, a powerful, and a mer­ciful Creator, to our imagination; but let the good Christian take heed that he suf­fer not his fancy to give any visible shape to God's incomprehensible Being: Our minds are too apt to be extravagant in this Case, and to commit that Spiri­tual Idolatry, which the Heathens were outwardly guilty of: This infinite Spirit is to be represented inwardly to Souls, without any such contemptible appearance, unto which our imagination, instructed by our Senses, is wont to confine him. His incomprehensible Being must not be disgraced by our weak and shallow appre­hensions. Therefore in all our Addresses to him, our busie imagination ought to be entertain'd with the Thoughts of the things we want, and desire from God, and our Minds stopt with the notion of his Immensity, and our belief ought to make us as sensible of his Presence, as if he were visible before our Eyes; this will banish all careless, idle, and wandering thoughts and negligence, and quicken us in the performance of this important Duty. The sense of God's presence will [Page 48]cause us to summon all our abilities, and rid us of all those things that might be an impediment to our Prayers. And for want of it, Men are commonly sloath­ful and careless in their Addresses to God's Divine Majesty.

But there is another Duty that our Faith must perform in Prayer; that is, it must keep the Soul in an expectation of the grant of our requests, and assure us, that God is both willing and able to ful­fil our desires in his due time; that he hath Goodness and Power enough in store to reward us, and satisfie all our Wishes; nay, that he will give us the good things that we petition for, if they be conve­nient for us, and likely to be instrumen­tal in the promotion of his Glory on Earth. For that purpose Christ hath en­couraged us with this promise, Math 21.22. All things whatsoever ye shall ask in Pray­er, believing, ye shall receive. And else­where, he calls upon the sloathful to ask, and assures them, Math. 7.7. that they shall have; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. And immedi­ately before his Crucifixion, he reproved his Disciples for their backwardness in Prayer, John 16.24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my Name, ask, and ye shall receive, that your Joy may be full. By these and such like Promises, Christ of­fers [Page 49]us God's assistances and mercies, and desires us to send up our Prayers to him with a lively Faith, and a strong per­swasion, that he will grant us our re­quests, or so much of them as is needful for us. This Faith, or Perswasion must not be grounded upon such a deceitful Foundation, as our Vertues, good Qua­lities and Excellency; Men are too apt to flatter themselves with such proud mistakes, and to look upon their per­sons, as deserving the favours that they petition for; and that in consideration of their own Piety and Holiness, God will infallibly hear their Prayers: Though our innocency may be a means to draw the Blessings of Heaven upon our Heads; it becomes not our Christian Humility to rely upon our Merits, and claim God's mercies as due for our Services: If God is a Debtor to us, it is in regard of his Promises, and not of our deservings, which cannot be in any wise proportio­nable to his Blessings. God may reward our Piety with the good things of this Life, and with a prosperous success in all our undertakings, according to our de­sires; he may vouchsafe his mercies to his faithful Servants, as well as keep them from the smart and fury of his judg­ments, and that because of their Vir­tues, and abstinence from the publick [Page 50]Sins; but it becomes not the Humility of a Beggar, when he comes to the Throne of God's undeserved Grace, either to ex­pect or claim more gracious returns, be­cause of our former services due to his Soveraignty over us: Besides Men are commonly mistaken, and we are apt to think too well of our selves; but tho' our Virtues should be never so Heroick, and our lives never so exemplary, I would not advise any Petitioner to settle there­upon his Faith and Confidence of accep­tance of, and success to his Prayers; be­cause that perswasion claims God's Mer­cies as Debts, and deserves as severe a repulse as that boasting Pharisee in the Gospel, whose Prayer was but a provo­cation of God's displeasure against him, whereas the Publican's Humility obtain'd a gracious forgiveness. Self-conceited­ness in Prayer, is the worst disposition that we can bring, and discover in our Addresses to him, who knows the very bottom of our Souls; sooner will the scandalous Sinner, who is sensible of ha­ving render'd himself unworthy of Hea­vens Mercies, receive the effects of the tenderness of his Fatherly Love, rather than an over-confident and a proud Saint, that is ready to upbraid God with his continual Services.

But as our confidence in Prayer must not proceed from an high Opinion that we have conceived of our selves, of our perfections or actions, so it should be set­led upon the Merits and satisfaction of Christ our blessed Saviour, and our real Interest in him; our faith and assurance of God's acceptance, must eye his Pro­mises and infallible Truth, and look upon the deservings of an alsufficient Redeem­er, in whom, and by whom we are wel­come to a bountiful God; it must trust upon Christ's intercession, that sanctifies our imperfect Prayers, and offers them up for us to our Heavenly Father. Let his Mediation procure us admittance, and his Excellency purchase unto us a favou­rable return; then only we may expect success, when our Petitions are recom­mended by the Merits of a Crucified Christ.

All such requests, as our Saviour promi­seth, shall meet with acceptance, if we can be perswaded of an assured success, or if we believe. By which words he seems to encourage us to believe, that whatsoever we ask the Father in his name, we shall ob­tain it. Experience teacheth us, that this promise is not to be understood in as large a Sense as the words seem to inti­mate, without any exception or restricti­on; for many things we may ask of God, [Page 52]which becomes not his Wisdom and Fa­therly care over us to grant; and our ignorance is such, that we may petition for things with Confidence and Faith, which will be prejudicial to our selves, and God's glory on Earth. I cannot think that it is Christ's intent, to encou­rage us to offer up such Prayers, with an assurance of obtaining our irregular and inconsiderate desires; therefore for the better directions and comfort of a de­vout Christian, let him know that he may safely be confident, and fully per­swaded, that all Prayers tending to the salvation of his Soul, for the obtaining of grace, forgiveness of his sins, strength a­gainst temptation, God will in his time grant him his Request, if he be sincere, and affectionate in his Prayer, according to our Saviour's Words, Math. 7.11. What Man is there of you, whom if his Son ask Bread, will he give him a Stone, or if he ask a Fish, will he give him a Serpent? If ye then being Evil, know how to give good gifts unto your Children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven, give good things to them that ask him? And in the Gospel according to St. Luke, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? As God is as willing to bestow such divine Mer­cies, as Men to ask; they may be as cer­tain [Page 53]to obtain them, as God is free to grant: But for other things relating to our present and worldly Interest, we may ask with an assurance, that God if he sees them fit for our good, will doubt­less give them, but if otherwise, he will make us sensible of his Liberality in a­nother way, for it is the manner of God's proceeding with his Children and Servants, to send such returns to their Prayers, as are most for their advantage, not always answerable to their desires. He keeps back the Blessings which he knows will be hurtful to them, or prejudicial to the publick good; and instead of them, he heaps upon them others which will prove more really for their benefit. Men fore­see not the danger of God's inferior Mer­cies, good things may become hurtful to us through the Devil's malice, the prevalen­cy of Temptations, and our Corruption within. As many Diseases are fed and increased by that Food which God hath appointed to strengthen the Bodies of the healthful, so likewise many inclinations grow worse, by those very Blessings which are granted to some, as the rewards of their Piety: In things therefore that are not always turned to a good use, and that are neither for the benefit of Men, nor the Glory of God, I would not have a Petitioner gratifie his corrupt Humour [Page 54]so much, as to be confident of the grant of his Requests; nor to flatter himself in a vain expectation of that which agrees not with the Wisdom and Love of God for us. As therefore a devout Christian must offer up such Prayers, with this clause, (If it be God's good Pleasure) let him not be too confident of obtaining his Peti­tion in that very manner that he desires it, and with that improper limitation of the over-ruling goodness of our God, unless he is moved by some extraordinary impulse of his holy Spirit in his Soul, to assure him of the grant, and unless he can discover the events of the time to come, by some unusual Revelation. Some pious Souls often receive an answer to their Prayers before they rise up, and God is pleased to comfort their droop­ing Spirits with a speedy and a gracious return. As Hannah, who petitioned God for a Son, 1 Sam. 1.18. rose up with a joyful Countenance, and a full assurance that God the Author of Life, would give her a Child. She had unburthened her self of her sorrows in Prayer, and her heart and Countenance were no more so sad, because she had received some assurance of a favourable acceptance, of obtaining her Petition.

Eighthly, But there is one thing more that a devout Christian must observe in [Page 55]Prayer to God; that is, the Duty of Perseverance; slack not, nor be discoura­ged for the first repulse, or for a delay. God grants not his Mercies, always as soon as we begin to ask. His goodness is to be courted by our zealous endea­vours, for he grants many times to our perseverance, what he denys to our Pray­ers. The Woman of Syrophenicia met with a refusal, and had not her patience overcome this Obstacle, she had never returned with the glad assurance of her Daughters recovery: If Jacob had not contended with the Angel, he had never been honoured with a Blessing: An holy and devout importunity, seldom or never departs empty from God's unwearied Bounty. He suffers for several causes best known to himself, his Servants to live a while in expectation of those Blessings which he intends at last to bestow upon them, that his Mercies might obtain with them a right esteem, and be more high­ly valued: That their Faith, patience, confidence in him, and all their Graces might be exercised and tryed the more, and that their ability for Prayer might be increased, by a constanter exercise, and all impediments of a Communion with our God may be removed; for that purpose it is to be observed, that his Providence casts us into the want of [Page 56]many enjoyments, that when we seek them from God by Prayer, both the endeavour to obtain them, and the receiving of them, might turn to the everlasting advantage of our Souls and Bodies. Let not there­fore the devout Christian be discouraged, if God answers not his Request as soon as he expects or desires; for, besides that it is a bold and indiscreet Act, for us ig­norant Creatures to limit the Wisdom of our Creator's liberality, and to prescribe to him the time and place, of opening his bountiful hand unto us; it is an act of Cruelty to our selves, and of impiety to­wards God, to be so impatient for the enjoying of those things, which may, and doubtless will prove as prejudicial to us, as injurious to his honour. Take heed of murmuring for the want of Earthly con­veniencies. It was the great ruin of the Israelites newly escaped out of Pharaoh's Bondage, and drew several Plagues upon their heads. As perseverance, assisted by the vertues of patience and Faith, is a blessed means to obtain and sanctifie God's Mercies, both Spiritual and Temporal, so there is nothing that turns them sooner into Curses than impatiency, despair, and insolent Complaints against God's Love or Power. Lift up always, O Christian! thine Eyes and thine hands in expectation of God's time, as well as of God's Blessings. [Page 57]Be not weary to wait for the expressions of his Bounty, who is never weary to do thee good; he is not so unmindful as thou thinkest him to be; his delays or refusals are more for thine advantage, than the enjoyments of those mercies would be, which thou desirest with so much disrespect and impatience. As the knowledge of his power and goodness re­quires our confidence and reliance upon him; his infinite Wisdom demands from us, a resignation of our selves and inte­rests to his disposal, without distaste or insolent complaints of our proud nature, which grace teacheth us to check. The first ought to encourage our perseverance in Prayer, as the consideration of the last Attribute of God, should teach us to qui­et the irreverent dissatisfactions of our discontented minds.

One thing more I would have a de­vout Christian observe, in publick and private Prayers to God's divine Majesty, to offer them with the humility of the Body, as well as the devotion of the Mind. I have observed that our Nation chiefly, and every Congregation is full of irreverent and disrespectful Clowns, when we make our Addresses to God, either in Prayer, or praising of his holy Name. They observe not that decency and re­spect, which is due to the Excellency of [Page 58]our heavenly Father in his Worship, but appear most scandalous and prophane in the Eyes of Men, whatever may be their inward disposition, which I conceive is to be gathered from the outward gesture of their Bodies. They come into God's presence in such a familiar manner, as if there were no difference between them and their great Creator, as if their Bo­dies were not as much obliged to wor­ship him as their Souls, as if their out­ward behaviour were not to be concerned in their Devotions to God; and at the times of Prayer, they shew forth so much contempt of God, and of the Religion they profess, that none would take them to be Christians, that understands not their Names, and knows not their Persons; and further, I have observed that some of the more religious sort, both in private and in publick, when they address themselves to God, omit sometimes out of a pro­phane and irreligious Custom, the out­ward humility which the Body is obliged to render to its Creator and Benefactor in his Worship.

For the redress of this open Prophane­ness, and for the prevention of the disho­nour that may reflect from hence upon God and our Religion, in the Eyes of the World: Let me intreat every de­vout Soul, never to offer to speak to God [Page 59]in Prayer, without observing and expres­sing that humility with his Body, which God's incomprehensible Majesty, and our vile condition requires indispensibly from us all; from the highest to the lowest: Reason as well as Holy Scripture enjoyns this observance; for if the whole man is bound to render Hommage to God, as he seems to intimate by those Sacrifices under the Law, which were to be offered intire, without any diminution; it con­cerns us to express the inward qualifica­tion and disposition of the Soul, with the outward action of the Body, and make the World sensible of the sincerity and piety of our intentions; justice and e­quity require this from us; for seeing we have received our Bodies as well as our Souls from the Almighty hand of God, it is but just that they should acknowledge his Soveraignty by some significant po­sture, when the Soul appears before him to do him reverence, or to crave his merciful assistance: It is but just, that this outward part of our selves as well as the inward, should make some re­turns for all the divine favours that re­late immediately to its subsistance; it is but just that this Body of ours, which is one day to be glorified in God's heaven­ly Sanctuary, should now glorifie God by the humblest and most devout po­stures and actions.

I confess 'tis the usual manner of Su­perstition to enjoin the cringings of the Body, more than the devout qualificati­on of the Soul; but I am sure that it is a clownish and unmannerly Religion indeed, that suffers Men to approach in holy Du­ties to God, without expressing any reve­rence with the Body. If you please to enquire into the behaviour of the holy Men of the Old and New Testament, you shall never find them praying in an irreverent posture, neither sitting nor leaning. Old Abraham worshipped before God, Gen. 22.5. This worshipping is an outward action of the Body, as well as the inward of the Mind; as may appear by Gen. 24.52. where Abraham's Servant is said to have worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the ground, when God had prospered his jour­ney. When the Israel [...]tes heard Moses's Message to them, and God's purpose to redeem them out of Egypt, they bowed their Heads and Worshipped, Exod. 4.31. King Hezekiah bowed himself before God in his publick Addresses, 2 Chron. 29.29. St. Paul likewise was upon his knees in prayer with the Elders of the Church of Ephesus, Acts. 20.36. And Christ our Saviour, whose Example should prevail upon our negligence, was never seen in Prayer to God the Father, but either prostrate, or kneeling upon the ground. This Humi­lity [Page 61]of the Body is so essential a part of the publick worship of God, that its observance alone, hath caused the Holy Scriptures to give the Name of Worship­pers of God, to the Vilest of Men, who were never acquainted with the internal and hearty Worship, as may be observed by what is recorded of Saul and of o­thers, 1 Sam. 15.31. And it is said of the Israelites, 2 Chron. 29.29. And when they had made an end of Offering, the King and all that were present with him, bowed themselves and worshipped. And in the next Verse, Moreover Hezekiah the King, and the Princes, commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord with the words of Da­vid, and of Asaph the Seer, and they sang Praises with gladness, and they bowed their Heads and worshipped. Likewise in the 8th. of Nehemiah and the sixth Verse. It is said, that Ezra blessed the Lord the great God, and all the People answered Amen, Amen, with lifting up their Hands; and they bowed their Heads and worshipped the Lord with their Faces to the ground. The publick Worship of our God, was never yet performed by any Primitive Church, without the outward humility of the Bo­dy, and the outward expressions of re­spect, as well as with the inward devotion of the mind; Reason and Religion re­quire it, and the constant practice of [Page 62]the People of God in all Ages, both in the Jewish, and the Christian Church, is an undeniable Evidence to prove the ne­cessity of it. What means therefore the negligence, the prophaneness, the irreve­rence and unmannerly behaviour of some that are stiled Christians? Is not the practice of Naaman the Syrian, who could bow himself in the House of Rimmon his false God, a reproach to us? Doth not the humility and the respect which the Hea­thens constantly pay to their Divinities, upbraid the Clownishness of some of our Country-men? There are three Postures of Humility very decent in Prayer, and other parts of God's Worship, Standing, Kneeling, or Prostration to the ground. When ever therefore we appear before God, either to pray to him, or to praise his holy Name, our Body must be in one of these postures, unless any natural or ac­cidental weakness or impediment may justly deserve a dispensation: Likewise the lifting up of the Hands and Eyes unto Heaven, are expressions of Devotion, as ancient as the first People of God. Think not that the honour of your Blood, the excellency of your Persons, or your emi­nent promotions, ought to excuse you from this outward humility of the Body. God requires it at your hands in the 99th. Psalm and the fifth Verse. Exalt ye the [Page 63]Lord our God, and worship at his footstool. And the Royal Prophet calls upon all de­vout Souls in the 95th Psalm. ver. 6. O come let us worship, and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker. In the next words, this Religious Prince labours to stir you up to this Humility, to this part of Piety, by reasons drawn from God's Soveraignty, his Power and Right over us, For he is the Lord our God, and we are the People of his Pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Hath thy God any Interest in thee, O Christian? Hast thou any respect for his Holy Name? Dost thou look up­on him as thy Creator, Protector, and Benefactor? Hath he received thee into his Church, and to the hopes of eternal Rewards? Is this Body of thine to be ad­mitted into his heavenly Sanctuary, in all the Company of his Holy Angels, to wor­ship and bow before him? Then prepare thy self for this future and happy Em­ployment. Express thy thanks for all his innumerable benefits, by thy Reve­rence and Devotion to him as thy God, with the outward Humility of the Body, in all thy Addresses to his glorious Ma­jesty, whether it be in publick or in pri­vate; but chiefly in the publick Prayers of the Church. There not only the Ho­nour of our God, the Credit of our Profession, the interest of our Brethren, [Page 64]whose Devotions are apt to grow cold by the sight and sense of our negligence; but your own Interest also as well as your Duty, calls you to this outward respect, for an unmannerly behaviour deserves the Curses, contrary to those Blessings which we are there to beg of God: However, you can never expect in reason to be be­nefited by the Churches Prayers, if you will not vouchsafe so much as to be out­wardly concerned. O Christians! let not any popular mistakes, nor any Schismati­cal prejudices rob you of the advantages which you might hope to obtain from God, by a devout, humble and affectio­nate attendance, at the offering up of the Excellent Prayers of our Church, for your good and happiness. But if all these Reasons cannot prevail upon some stiff, necked, and invincible Souls, so far as to cause them to be dutiful and humble in God's presence at the hour of Prayer, let them consider that in our civil Con­versation, the want or the omission of a due respect is a disgrace to the Person that should render it, for it causeth Men to be branded with the odious Names of Clowns, Ill-bread, Brutish and uncivil People. Now they are the worst of Clowns, that are so in Religion, that know not, or will not render the Hommage that is due from their Bodies to their God: If [Page 65]therefore the respect that we have for him, is not able to oblige us to a Civil Behaviour, and decent Postures and Ge­stures in Prayer; let the shame of Men, if we be not insensible to that likewise, cause us to behave our selves with decen­cy, with respect in God's presence, as be­comes Men of Reason, and Christians of good breeding and extraction, and not as Brute Beasts that have neither man­ners nor understanding. But of all Men, none are more engaged than such as Offici­ate publickly, and are the Mouths of their People, to offer up their Prayers with all the decency, humility, and out­ward Devotion, which might serve to excite the Auditors to a due respect; for as their Persons are eyed by the whole Congregation, their Example is not with­out followers. It hath a great influence upon all that are present, either to encou­rage or discourage them in their publick Worship: Therefore in their disrespect­ful offering up of the Prayers of the Church, they are not only scandalous in their own Persons, and guilty of disho­nouring God, disgracing their Religion, profaning the publick Worship, but they are likewise guilty of all the contempt, negligence and unmannerly behaviour of their Attendants, if it happens through their shameful and irreverent Praying. [Page 66]Let therefore my Brethren of the Cler­gy seriously consider the apparent danger they are in, by an omission of this Du­ty: I am perswaded that our Nation a­lone had never fall'n into that extrava­gant humour, to loath the Godly Forms of Prayer, which all good Men, both at home and abroad highly esteem, were it not for their disrespectful handling, and read­ing of them, whose Duty it is to recom­mend and grace them by their p [...]actices. Good things when they are delivered by a slovenly hand, are usually rejected; and it is the weakness of the Common people, to value things not according to their true intrinsick worth, but according as they appear outwardly to their Senses: A Prayer that shines with the gay cloaths of Wit and invention, and a good deli­very, shall meet with acceptance, and draw many sighs, and groans from an ig­norant Soul, tho' otherwise never so full of imperfections, when many will scarce afford an hearing to the solid and divine Prayers of the Church. How many in our late Days, have delighted to listen to the unadvised and blasphemous Prayers of the Sons of Tumult and Division? How many have spent their Days under the Pulpits of those bloody Saints, without any discovery of weariness, whereas they now Complain of tediousness, when in [Page 67]our ordinary Devotions we employ a few minutes to implore God's divine Mercies, according to the most approved and re­ligious manner? How comes it to pass that the extemporary productions of ma­ny idle and wicked Fancies, have been far more esteemed amongst many of us, than those wise and excellent Prayers, composed in the beginning of our Re­formation, by such as have sealed the Protestant and Christian Truths, with their Blood? Those Prayers, I say, which are fitted to all Capacities, recommended to us by the Piety and Practice of the An­tient, Catholick, and Othodox Church, and which are not to be mended by any humane endeavours. This question gives me an occasion to speak to thee my Chri­stian Reader, of some few particulars concerning Prayer, which the present dis­sentions amongst us render very season­able.

First, I shall speak in vindication of publick Forms of Prayer, against the new Modes of Praying ex tempore.

Secondly, I shall enquire into the true Causes of our unreasonable distastes at the publick Forms, injoyned by authority in our Church of England.

Thirdly, I shall offer to thee my Christi­an Brother some directions, how thou shalt use this Liturgy, with Comfort to thy Soul.

Fourthly, I shall examine what praying by the Spirit is in the sense of St. Paul, and of the Holy Fathers.

Amongst the ancient Hereticks, I find none so bold as to attempt the total sub­version of God's Divin [...] Worship, or to bring in any other mode, but that which was generally embraced in the places where they lived: They ventured to op­pose some certain Articles of our Chri­stian Belief, or to introdu [...] vitious and irregular practices in the Church. They made it their business to corrupt either the judgments or the manners of Christ's Disciples, and by that means, to render them more unsit for God's great design in our Redemption; but they never of­fered to overthrow the whole Service of God, or to thwart the common practices recommended to them, by the well-advi­sed Piety of their Predecessors. This strange attempt was reserved for these last and worst Ages of the World; and this kind of impiety which could never find enter­tainment amongst the Primitive Enemies of God, and of his Truth, hath been greedily embraced by some in these latter days, under the usual deceiving pretence of purity and Religion, as if they alone were to be esteemed Religious, who slander, condemn, blaspheme, and contradict the re­ligious Practices of the rest of Christians, [Page 69]as if irregularity, and an affected sigula­rity, were the best means to render them acceptable to God in his Worship. For that purpose we have seen them, to our great grief, cast out of the Church, all the godly Forms of Prayer, which the Wisdom and Piety of former Ages have recommended to us; and because they could not spie in them any sufficient cause to condemn and reject them, we have seen these over zealous brethren, gene­rally exclaim against all Forms, as un­lawful, irreligious, and Popish, leaving every one to the irregular dictates of their Passion, and presumptuous minds. A mi­stake of a most dangerous consequence, that opposeth the practice of Christ, and of the true Church of God in all Ages, since the beginning of the World; for if you please to examin Holy Scriptures, concerning Forms of Prayer, and praising of God, especially in the publick worship, you shall not find a Church, nor Con­gregation professing the Truth, without Set Forms, in the first Ages of Mankind, it is said when Enos Seth's Son was born, and that Men began to increase, they began also to call upon the Name of the Lord; Cen. 4.26. which words are [...] simply to be under­stood, of their addressing themselves to God's Divine Majesty, as if before that time, neither Adam nor Eve had ever [Page 70]minded to call upon him, nor none of their Children; for both Cain and Abel had been taught to worship God with the Fruits of their labour, and the increase of their Substance; which could not be done without calling upon God for a continuance of his Blessings; besides, it is very unlikely that Adam, a Man created in an Estate of Holiness, who could not be insensible of our dependency upon, and want of God's daily mercies, who had seen his wonderful Power in the Crea­ton of the World, should forget to teach his Children to call upon God's Holy Name. But these words are to be un­derstood, of their calling upon the Holy Name of God in a publick Society, and with set and prescribed Forms, and in a manner answerable to their condition. It is to be understood of solemnizing the publick Service and Worship of God, with Prayers, Praises, and Sacrifices, for the obtaining of God's Blessings, and the acknowledgments of his favours and protection, according to a certain man­ner appointed by the Religious Persons of those days; therefore in the Original, the word employed to signifie in this pas­sage, calling upon God, is [...] de­rived from the root [...] to meet toge­ther, and assemble, or from the root [...] publickly to read and declare, or cry out; [Page 71]because that this calling upon the Name of the Lord, of these first Men of the ancient World, was performed in their publick meetings, wherein there was a Service and ordinary Worship, appointed and observed by the distinct reading of Prayers and Praises; which infer sufficient­ly, that they had publick places appoint­ed, persons in whom the care of Religi­on was entrusted, and a common man­ner prescribed to them in writing, which they were to read in the audience of the People. Further, it may be worthy of our Observation, that the Prophet David when he speaks of calling upon the Name of the Lord, in many of his Psalms, he useth the same significant word [...] as in that most remarkable Verse of the 116 Psalm and the 13 Verse, where he speaks of that Cup of Salvation, which was usually taken by the Jews in the pub­lick Sacrifices, a Type of our Christian Eucharist, I will take the Cup of Salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. This calling, signifies meeting together in the publick Worship of God, and offering to him, reading those Forms of Prayers appointed by the Church: For it is the custom of God's Holy Spirit, in relating the passages of former times, to allude by the expression, to the manner and cir­cumstances of those Actions that are men­tioned. [Page 72]Thus David, in the 79th. Psalm Verse 6. desires God to send down his Judgments, and pour out his Wrath upon the Heathen that have not known him, and upon the Kingdoms that have not called upon his Name; he makes use of the same word, [...] derived from the same root; as if he should say, send down thy Judgments upon the Kingdoms which call not upon thee in publick Meetings; and where there is no set nor appointed Worship, for the Inhabitants to use in glorifying thy Name. And in many other Psalms, David useth the same Expression, which imports a publick Assembly, and the reading of the Praises and Prayers in his Divine Worship, when he was wont to call upon God. This Observation is con­firmed by the constant Practice of all the Heathens, in the Worship of their Gods. Both the Greeks and the Romans had their constant Forms of Prayers and Praises, which yet are extant in the Writings of their Poets. It seems that they had recei­ved this judicious and pious Custom from the first Men of the World. And what God's People were accustomed to do to the Honour of the true God; these Hea­thens did commonly practice the same in the service of their false Gods, as may be observed by their Hymns, and other Ceremonies in their Worship.

But this religious use of set Forms was in the Jewish Church, by the appoint­ment of Moses, and of the succeeding Pro­phets, as may be easily proved by the song of Triumph composed by Moses and Miriam, Exod. 15. after Pharaoh's overthrow in the Red-Sea; The 9th Psalm is a Prayer of Moses. by the words and Ceremonies to be used in the eating of the Paschal Lamb; by the other Insti­tutions and passages of the Ceremonial Law; and chiesly by the Psalms of David, which Hezekiah restored in the publick Worship of God; for it is said, 2 Chron. 29.25. That he set the Levites in the House of the Lord, with Cymbals, with Psal­teries, and with Harps, according to the Commandment of David, and of Gad the King's Seer, and Nathan the Prophet. Ob­serve what is added in the next words, For so was the Commandment of the Lord by his Prophets. It seems in the Jewish Church, the observing of a prescribed Form, was no Human institution, but proceeded from God's Holy Spirit. And in the 30 verse it is said, that Hezekiah the King, and the Princes, commanded the Levites to sing Prai­ses unto the Lord, with the words of David, and of Asaph the Seer. It was for that good purpose that David compos'd all his Divine Psalms, that they might be of a constant use in the praising of, and the [Page 74]praying unto our great God. And after the Jews return from Babylon, Nehemiah commands the same use to be observed, Nehem. 2.45.46. And as it was not law­ful to change these Forms, so likewise it may not be lawful for any, but such on­ly as were inspired of God, or were to take care of Religion, Man. de Mis­sa. Lib. 1. cap. 5. to in­troduce in God's Divine Ser­vice, any new Forms, as may be easily proved. But this use of Set Forms of Prayers and praising of God, is not Jewish, it is grounded upon such solid and moral Reasons, that have recommended it to the Christian Church. St. John the Baptist, in imitation of the Pharisees, gives a Set Form of Prayer to his Disciples. And Christ our Sa­viour, to comply with the desires of his Followers, teaches them a Set Form, opposite to the long and tedious Forms used by the Scribes and Pharisees, Luke 11.1, 2. And not only in this par­ticular, but also in the receiving of the Paschal Lamb, Christ shews himself to be no Enemy of Forms, and Humane Insti­tutions, when they tend to a Godly purpose, as may appear by the singing of the Hymn after the Celebration, and by the posture of leaning. And St. Paul like­wise, in imitation of his great Master, commands Timothy, 1 Tim. 2.1, 2, 3. That [Page 75]Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and gi­ving of thanks, be made for all men. That is, that he should appoint in the Church­es of his Diocess, such Set Forms of Prayer, as might be offered up to God, For Kings, and for all that are in authori­ty, that we may lead a quiet and a peace­able Life in all Godliness and Honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. That this was the in­tent of St. Paul, may appear by the pra­ctice of the Christian Churches in the next Age to the Apostles; for in the Ancient­est Fathers, we read of the Set Forms of Prayer, See Conc. Laodicea, can. 19.8. Miletan. Con. can. 2. com­monly used in God's Publick Worship. And we have yet extant some of those Primi­tive Liturgies of the People of God, differing in many things; for the Wisdom of God's Holy Spirit hath left the Composure of these Prayers, to the Rulers of the distinct Churches, that they should appoint such Forms as were most agreeable with the Tempers and Man­ners of their People, such as will en­courage Devotion and Piety, and serve best for the Promotion of God's Glory.

Likewise in these later Days, since the beginning of the Reformation, all the Churches of our Brethren beyond the Seas, have their Set Forms of Prayer, [Page 76]from which it is not lawful to vary, and which are appointed by the authority of their Rulers. Never any attempted the changing of them, their People never mutined against them, or against Forms in general. Never any person was allow­ed in publick, to prefer his own Fancies to these Prayers commanded to be used in the Church: But in the Churches of every Nation, there is a constant and an universal Uniformity in the Publick Wor­ship of our God. And this good Or­der is Religiously kept without any fear of Superstition. This Universal Pra­ctice of all Ages, Churches, and Nations, that have instituted, and constantly used Set Forms of Prayer in God's Pub­lick Worship, is sufficient to justifie the Religious Orders of our Church, from all scandalous aspersions of our mistaken Brethren.

But Reason and Religion, and the ge­neral good of Christian Societies, recom­mended this Practice and Use to us as well as to them: I suppose no person can deny, but set Forms are absolutely necessary for the information, instruction, and benefit of the more ignorant and younger sort, who must be taught how to ask their Conveniencies from God's Bounty, and in what Name to make their Addresses to his Divine Majesty, for with­out [Page 77]this information from Men, we find them not in a Capacity to pray and speak to God, as they should, unless they be inspired from above, which is not u­sual: To remedy their ignorance and weakness, the Church of England com­mands constantly the use of Set Forms of Prayer in publick; that by a frequent repetition, we might imprint them in the memories of Persons not able to read, and that otherwise have no means to learn them. Therefore generally to discourage or condemn the use of Set Forms of Prayer, is to deprive a great part of Christianity, from the comfort and ad­vantage of praying to God; and it is to discover an Enmity against Religion, which no good Disciple of Christ can possibly harbour. I could here shew ma­ny horrid inconveniencies that would hap­pen amongst us, had we no Set Forms of Prayer, but for brevity sake, I omit the mention of them, for I conceive it is not so much at Set Forms of Prayer, that our Zealots quarrel, as it is at their publick use in God's Divine Worship, and the exclusion of all others of their own, or other Mens Fabrick, at such solemn times and occasions: But let Mens abili­ties and gifts of Prayer be never so signal and extrordinary, I dare affirm, and can easily prove by Scripture and Reason, that [Page 78]they are not to be allowed to cause their own Inventions to justle out the usual Ser­vice of the Church. That Forms of Pray­er are to be preferred, whether they be declared memoriter, or read in a Book, to all the most excellent extemporary speech­es or Prayers; and that constant and setled Forms, in a well governed Church, are agreeable with the Word of God, and the common good. Were there no other reason to recommend them, but that decency which St. Paul desires to be ob­served in Christ's Church, in all its pub­lick Practices and Divine Worship; it would be sufficient to make us embrace an Uniformity both in manner, as well as matter; for how ridiculous would a Nation appear to all unbyassed Souls, if there were no order; if every Congre­gation should be differing in their acti­ons; if one Minister should read when the other sings; if one should spend the Sabbath in speaking, and another in pray­ing; or if one should pray for one thing, another for the contrary; or if the pray­ers were discrepant; if one Minister should pray in one manner; others follow the dictates of a Rubrick of another make; what a wide Gate would this deformity open to all kind of Errors, Heresies and Blasphemies? And how ridiculous should we appear to all Foreign Churches? We [Page 79]have already experienced sufficiently the danger of this general liberty allowed to all Men, to pray what they list in the Ears of the People. For, not to mention the Ex­travagancies that some have been guilty of; the Whimsies and Blasphemies that they have bolted forth; the Devil hath made use of this Engine to overthrow the Faith of many silly Souls, by insinuating the most dangerous and damnable Errors with the gift of praying extempore. In the late unnatural Rebellion, Men took occasion in their extemporary Prayers, to vent, not only the most pernicious mistakes, but also disobedience to the Civil Magistrate; and from the Pulpit have poisoned many, to our sorrow, with most horrid and Anti-Christian Principles, which to this day no Reason nor Remedy can cure.

But if no such danger were to be fear­ed from extemporary praying, if all Men so employed had the Integrity to intend it only to God's Glory, and the publick quiet; yet such Prayers cannot have that mature consideration, nor those ju­dicious expressions as a well Meditated Prayer, judiciously composed and Exami­ned. And doth it become the respect we owe to so wise a God, to be so bold as to present unto him any thing that comes first upon the Lips, the hasty productions of our unadvised Fancies, or the irregu­lar [Page 80]expressions of our minds, without considering before, whether the things we petition for, and the manner of ask­ing be acceptable to him, and agreeable with his revealed Will and Word? And in regard we are so apt to mistake, and are so full of infirmities; does it not be­come our Christian discretion, to weigh, and seriously to examine, what we are to say to so Wise and Divine a Majesty? that our weaknesses might not hinder the effects of our Prayers, especially in a publick Congregation, where our mi­stakes may have many ill consequences, where not only God and our selves are concerned, but also many of divers tem­pers, Capacities and Estates, whose In­digencies we represent to a merciful God? Now if Forms of Prayer are to be there­fore used, let any Man of Reason judge impartially, which are the most proper, our own or the Churches? the fond pro­ductions of our private Imaginations, or the judicious Prayers composed by the grave Rulers of our Christian Congre­gations? I doubt not but several have had, and yet have an extraordinary Gift in Praying, to move and stir up the Af­fections of their Hearers. This Gift therefore which proceeds from the Ho­ly Ghost, for the benefit of the Church, requires that we should suffer it to perform [Page 81]that good which is thereby intended. This may be done on certain occasions and times, and immediately before the Sermon. And I suppose that no moderate Christian will then prohibit such gifted persons, to employ that ability which they have received from God for the ad­vantage of the publick; if they make use of it discreetly, judiciously, and soberly, without affectation or vain glory, or o­stentation. But there is no allowance therefore to be given to the pride and vanity of others, to prefer the fond com­posures of their indiscreet Fancies to the pious and regular Prayers of the Church. And it may be justly feared in such Ca­ses, that voluntary and new Prayers ex­pressed with vehemency, may cause ignorant and foolish Men, who are quick­ly weary with the ordinary Devotions, to disesteem, slight and neglect them, and to be continually craving those extempo­rary Ejaculations of gifted Men, and that from persons insufficient; who may be thereby tempted to gratifie the others humour to their own and the publick hurt. However the gift of praying is not hindred by our publick Forms, from performing the benefit which is thereby intended; but foolish Men are thereby restrained from those mischiefs which they might bring upon themselves and others, [Page 82]by so great a Liberty as they have had during our Anarchy.

Moreover as it should be the intent of all Humane Constitutions in every So­ciety, to aim directly at the general good of all, and specially in the Church, to aim at the Benefit and Comfort of the weakest and dullest capacities, as well as of the quickest apprehensions; such pub­lick Prayers ought to be received, which sute with the meanest abilities. Now I dare affirm, that these extemporary Prayers are not of that nature. They may be so happy to please the Corrupt Humour of the Hearer with the novelty of the invention, with the vehemency of the expression, with the pleasantness of the affected Tone; but they are not so fit to be publickly offered up to God, as the known, approved and ordinary Pray­ers of the Church, and are not able to prevail so much upon our affections, were we but inwardly moved with a right zeal for God's Glory: Neither can we so rea­dily say Amen to such sudden Prayers, proceeding from these gifted Men, as to those with which we are perfectly well acquainted, and which we know to be a­greeable with God's will; for in such ca­ses we have need at every expression to make a judicious reflection whether what is said is true or false, right or wrong, [Page 83]before we can heartily subscribe to such Prayers; whereas there is no such need in the Publick Prayers of the Church, which we understand before: There we have nothing else to do, but to stir up the affections of our Souls, that we may join unanimously together, and offer them up to God. Therefore the gift of extem­porary praying, is not of such use, and carries not with it that real Benefit which some lightly imagine; I am certain that persons of a weak and slow apprehension, are not so able and apt to receive benefit from them as from the known Prayers of the Church. The unusual expressions of other new Prayers, may be better able to move their Fancy, but they are not so able to stir up the affections of such as bring an unprejudiced mind, and that look more upon the things, than the man­ner of expressing; for other dainty Ears, and of a quicker apprehension, it may be that a new and eloquent Prayer may be more acceptable and more beneficial than to the duller sort; but it requires from them a greater Labour and an extraordi­nary Motion and Activity of the Soul, as well as an extraordinary ability to joyn in such Prayers. And for the persons that utter them, if they be extempore, without any premeditation, and of a long continu­ance, I dare affirm, that they are full of [Page 84]imperfections and confusion in the com­posure, and that the persons that speak them, are far from the disposition needful in Prayer. Whilst their Hands and their Eyes are lifted up, their Souls and its Fa­culties are employed in seeking for fit words to declare the conceptions of the mind; and in the mean time it thinks not of, and is not able, as it should, to call upon God, and concern its incli­nations in the Requests that are presented to him. For sudden Ejaculations and E­missions of the Soul and Mind to God, the same reason holds not, because there is not the same order, contrivance and agi­lity of the Soul required. For these and other causes, Set Forms either before us in a Book, or recorded in our Memories, which may as suddenly supply us with the Words and matter, are the best me­thods of praying to God, chiefly in his Publick Worship.

But if we have any regard to God our merciful Creator, I think there is no per­son so simple as to imagine that the Elo­quency of the Tongue, or unusual expres­sions, can have a greater influence upon him, than the Common Prayers of the Church. It is not the Tongue but the Heart that God Eyes in all our Services. The whisperings and private Complaints of the one are heard, when the loud [Page 85]Cries of the other are rejected. The Door of Mercy flies open at the beatings of a devout Heart, when it remains bolted at the furious assaults of the most eloquent Tongue. Therefore as it should be our chief regard in Prayer, to examine that which is most pleasing to God, not that which gratifies our own Humour: We should chuse those Prayers to offer up to him, wherein our Hearts may be as well concerned as our Tongues. In order there­unto, as the Set Forms of Prayer are the greatest helps that we can procure, both to the learned and the unlearned, to the wise and the ignorant, I see no reason wherefore Men should be deprived of them, and extemporary Prayers set up. Those Forms I mean, where things are spoken, and not only words; where the Conceptions are plainly expressed, and the Prayers fit­ted for the use of the weakest Capacities. They can never be too plain, nor too easie; and the Wise and the Learned ought not to think it a trouble to con­descend in their Publick Worship, to re­quests worded in a manner answerable to the meanest abilities; for Christiani­ty requires from them an Union with the weakest of their Brethren, who is in as great a likelihood of God's mercy, and obtaining God's Glory, as persons of the greatest Reach and Judgment.

I know, that it is the common use of our Dissenting Brethren, to upbraid us in our Devotions, with too much Formality, in regard of our being so fond of Set Forms, with an exclusion of all new composed Prayers. I heartily wish that we our selves, the Clergy and the People, did not give cause for this aspersion; but that it may not deceive the ignorant with its first plau­sible appearance, let me tell them, that we are not guilty of Formality, nor to be condemned for it, because that we use set and prescribed Forms, but because we use them not right, with that Devotion, Respect, Humility, and inward Affection, as becomes Christians and Petitioners of the God of Heaven: Because in our Pub­lick Service, we repeat only the Words, and mind not the uttering them with the affections of the Soul; because some make it only a trade to go to Prayer, others run them over as a Task, and too many mind the Form, but few mind the Sub­stance of Prayer; that is, to express and offer them up to God with those inward qualifications and outward humility, that I have now recommended to the practice of our Christian Brethren. This cau­seth me to pass to the second particular, that I have promised to examine. The causes of the Peoples Contempt of our Liturgy, and their neglect of the Forms [Page 87]of Prayer, enjoined in our Church of Eng­land.

I could name a great many Causes that we our selves give; but I shall reduce them all, for brevity sake, to these six follow­ing.

First, I must accuse the Clergy, both high and low, great and small, for ha­ving given the greatest cause of the con­tempt of our Liturgy and Rubrick, by their indifferent Practices: By their over hasty reading of them, and by their omissi­on of that respect which they should out­wardly express, and that devotion which is due to God; they give occasion to ma­ny, to slight the very Prayers themselves. As they are the Peoples mouths to God, they should be the Peoples Examples and Patterns, to shew them how to beg God's Mercies, as well as to endeavour to ob­tain them for their relief. And the great­er care they should take to observe all the motions of reverence, because their pra­ctice hath so great an influence upon the Congregation, and is of so great a conse­quence, that they oblige Men to esteem those Prayers that are offered up to God. For this reason, a person that officiates in the audience of a Congregation, should read over the Prayers, not as we peruse a Story in a Book, but with his Hands and Eyes lifted up to Heaven, and upon his [Page 88]knees; he ought to pronounce the Pray­ers, as if he were speaking to God's Di­vine Majesty, visibly present, and to de­liver them with the most apparent signs of sincerity, of reverence and earnestness imaginable: Endeavour to grace the god­ly Prayers of the Church, with thy grace­ful and comely delivery, with thy de­cent and respectful postures and gestures, and let the Eyes of the Assembly learn from thee, my reverend Brother, the manner how to pray, as well as the words and expressions of Prayer; O! let not the negligence and sloathfulness of so ma­ny be laid to thy charge, but strive to be zealously affected thy self, that this disposition may be communicated to thy hearers. I speak to you chiefly, whose office and happiness it is, to sing daily praises to God, in Cathedral Churches. Think not that you have sufficiently dis­charged your Duty, if you have observed your distances, your tunes, and pleased the Auditors with your melodious Voi­ces: O! Remember, my Christian Bro­ther, that thou must likewise please thy God with the harmony of the Soul, and tune as well his praises with the inward affections, as well as with the outward concerts of Musick. Take heed lest thy behaviour, or thy negligent discharge of thy Duty, give scandal to our dissenting [Page 89]Brethren, who are too apt to be offended at the least sign of weakness, which thou may­est discover at such a time.

Secondly, Another cause of the contempt of our Liturgy, given by the Clergy, is the negligence of the Superior and wealthiest Clergy, who seldom read the Prayers of the Church themselves, unless it be some small portion, but commonly employ their Dea­cons, or the meanest persons of the Church, to offer up those Prayers that are of the greatest concernment to us, and the chief­est of the Rubrick. As if that Office were too mean for their Promotions and Dig­nity, whereas it is the most glorious Em­ployment that we Men can pretend to: It makes us like our divine and great Savi­our, who intercedes for us in the presence of God, and offers up our Requests. Is there any that nameth himself a Christian, that scorns to imitate the Author of our Salvation, and to offer up the Prayers of their Congregations to God? No per­son can be too worthy for so excellent an Employment; and because the usual me­thod observed in Cathedrals, cannot well be changed; I could wish that the Superior Clergy, the Bishop, the Dean, and the Ca­nons, would sometimes perform those parts of Devotion, which they have totally ap­propriated to the meanest of their Foun­dation and Society; that thereby they [Page 90]might remove from the minds of Men, the disesteem of our Prayers, which they are apt to conceive and entertain thereby. For as in the Days of Jeroboam, Men took occasion to contemn Religion it self, when he had made the lowest of his People, the Priests of his High Places, and the pro­moters of Religion; so likewise in our time, Men, especially our Enemies, are more inclinable to despise our excellent Prayers, because they are most employed to offer them up to God in the name of the People, who are in a mean station in the Church, and have but sorrowful a­bilities.

Thirdly, I must not forget another cause of the Peoples despising our Godly Pray­ers, which many Ministers who are too highly conceited of their parts do give. 'Tis in mangling, cutting short, and lea­ving out the Prayers of the Church, to make more room for the delivery of their own proud conceptions, either in Prayer or a Sermon, contrary to the Publick In­junctions of our Superiors; for by this action they declare openly their own dis­respect of the Forms of Prayer, their un­willingness to use them, that they are thereunto meerly compelled, and their too high esteem of their own inventions. And when the People see them hasten them over so speedily, they are wont to [Page 91]be prejudiced with strange conceits of these excellent Prayers, or at least, not to esteem nor use them as they ought. There­fore I would advise my Reverend Bre­thren, not to shorten the publick Prayers, but carefully, diligently, and constantly to observe the Rules commanded; and which they are the more engaged to o­bey, because their disobedience is apt to encourage and foment the Peoples disre­gard of these Prayers, which they might use with so much advantage to their Souls, had they that affection for them which they really deserve.

Fourthly, The publick behavior of ma­ny of the Nobility, Gentry, and persons whose Examples are regarded, is another cause of the Peoples disesteem of our Li­turgy. When Men of Learning, of Wealth, and of Honour, assist at the Devotions of their Brethren, without expressing any respect for them, and without bearing a­ny part in the Service of the Church, o­thers are discouraged from the use of it. This we see almost in every Congregati­on, some of the Chief are commonly dis­tasted at some part of our praying or praising of God, in which, they will shew no sign of devotion; or it may be, the Gentlemen of the Parish are not so religious as they should be, therefore they think it sufficient for them, if they [Page 92]bring their Bodies to the Publick Pray­ers, though they remain there in God's presence, as so many Stocks or Brutes, without expressing any Devotion for the Prayers, or any Worship to their Crea­tor. If these seasonable lines shall happen to fall into the hands of any of you, whose Nobility and Extraction deserves the e­steem of the rest of the Nation; consi­der how highly you your selves would be offended, if your Servants and Te­nants should appear before you, to de­mand your assistance in their wants, with as much disrespect as you appear before the God of Heaven, unto whom you are but Tenants for life, or it may be for a shorter time. Would you be ready to reward their contempt of your person, with the grant of their desires? Would not you be ready to check their impu­dency and sauciness, if they should treat you as they do their Labourers? And what think you, my Lords and Gentle­men, of your disrespectful and contemp­tuous approaches before God, your great Creator? Do not you stand in need of his assistance and blessings? And if you do, is this the means to obtain it, to slight those Prayers which are presented to God for the increase of your happi­ness and prosperity? For your own ho­nour, be not the greatest Clowns of [Page 93]your Congregation in God's presence; but as you excel the rest in Nobility of Blood, endeavour to excel them also in your respects to God, in your zeal and devotion to him; render to him publick­ly with your Bodies, that homage which he claims and deserves from you for all his favours. Interess your selves in our praising of his holy Name, and in our Prayers to him. Employ the credit of your Estates and Promotions which God's Pro­vidence hath given you to promote his Glory and Worship. Why should you be so unthankful to his goodness, to be a re­proach, to his Profession, and not to ho­nour him who hath bestowed so much ho­nour upon your persons? O! Remember that the higher you are exalted above o­ther Men, the lower you are ingaged to stoop to this good God, chiefly in pub­lick, in his Worship before the Eyes of the World, seeing that your neglect in this case, will not be only injurious to him, but disgraceful to your noble persons, and prejudicial to all the assistants.

Fifthly, Moreover the slanders, the fil­thy jestings, and the irreligious pastimes of prophane Persons, in these last corrupt days, upon the Book of Common-Prayer, have strangely filled many minds (religi­ously disposed) with strong prejudices a­gainst it: And when they have seen the [Page 94]the greatest pretenders to Religion, with the Authorty of the Nation, pass a sen­tence of Condemnation upon these Forms of Prayer, as well as the prophaner sort; when they yet see many Wise, Godly and Conscientious Men, stand stifly in oposition to their reception, the weaker sort of Men, that commonly judge of things and per­sons, by the general Vote, are ready to look upon them as superstitious and un­lawful. The schismatical scrupulosity of the one, and the wicked Blasphemies of the other, have discredited this excellent Book, among such as are not wont to examine the true worth of things; for the propha­ner sort, it is too well known, that there is nothing so sacred or holy, but they have offered Violence to it. God and his Sacraments, his Laws and Constituti­ons, Christ and our Redemption, Heaven and Hell, our present Enjoyments and su­ture Hopes, are all turned into Ridicule by those monstrous Wits, whose Religi­on and Faith is limited by their Senses. No wonder therefore, if they continue to abuse the constant Prayers and Service of the Church. But certainly the Religion of those persons is not well grounded, when they are to be scoffed out of it; and their belief is not well setled, if every prophane jest can oblige them to call it in question. If we may be perswaded by [Page 95]these frothy wits to change our religious Customs, Ceremonies and Prayers, we shall quickly become as wicked as them­selves, and banish Religion it self out of the Land. They are no competent Judg­es of our Devotions who were never de­vout, but rather their malicious expressi­ons should confirm Men of discretion, in their esteem of those pious things which they condemn, because they were never inclinable to Piety, and their Tempers are repugnant to it, and to those Godly Rules that reproach them for their licenti­ousness. Let these considerations there­fore strengthen the weakness of such as are apt to be thereby perswaded to a de­reliction of these Godly Forms.

And for the other Enemies of our Com­mon-Prayer, their Conversations seem to insinuate the equity of their Judgments, be­cause they are persons of a religious be­haviour, and good manners; their preju­dices therefore against our Rubrick, are more dangerous. But if a judicious and pious Soul would take the pains to sift them out, and examine the Causes of their invincible prejudices, they shall either find none, or such slender ones as may cause us to wonder at their stiffneckedness and strange fancies. Such, I am sure, as ren­ders them most ridiculous to all foreign Churches of Christ. Their most ordinary [Page 96]and popular Complaint is, that it is Po­pish, and taken out of the Mass-Book. An Error which any Man will acknow­ledge, if he will but compare our Pray­ers with the Popish Prayers of the Li­turgy of Rome. Can that be Popish which opposeth all the Errors and mistakes of the Papists? which teacheth us to pray for God's assistance and direction against all the Heresies, Plots and Conspiracies of the Pope? which was in use in the Chri­stian Church, before ever there was a­ny Anti-Christian Pope at Rome? Can that be reckoned to be Popish which is agree­able with the Revelations of the Holy Spi­rit, with the Doctrines and belief of the best Reformed Churches beyond the Seas, and which their most Orthodox Divines Embrace as most consonant with their Faith and Piety? The Creed, the ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer, may with as much likelihood be said to be Popish, or to be taken out of the Mass-Book, because the Papists have them in their Breviarium. To all unprejudiced persons this accusation appears a meer Calumny, unless any of those refined Souls could spy out, and shew us any par­ticular in the Common-Prayer which sa­vours of the Romish Errors, and tends to promote the Pope's Interest amongst us. But it is the usual practice of abusive [Page 97]tongues, when they cannot instance any certain Crime, to bring their accusati­on in gross, that their malice may be less discernable, and their charge may be more weighty. But let not the vain and groundless conceits of Popery and Superstition deter thee, my Christian Bro­ther, from making use, with Comfort to thy Soul, of these Godly Prayers. Let not these mistaken Brethren infect thy judgment with the same troublesom Er­ror. Examin and try, search into every Corner of this Book, and see whether thou canst find any colour of Popery; that is to say, any sign of those Errors which are in Controversie between us and the Papists. Let not their impostures prevail so much upon thy discretion, as to cause thee to take for Popery, what is agreeable with Christ's true Religion and Doctrines. It hath always been the glory of our Church of England, to be most confor­mable, of all other Churches, to the be­lief, Government, and Practices of the Primitive and first Churches of Christ. Therefore in this of the Liturgy, our Church recommends that manner of pray­ing which is most like that of the first A­ges, and which is most answerable to our Government and condition; as our glo­rious Martyr, and our late Soveraign of Blessed Memory, declares in vindication [Page 98]of the Prayers of the Church in his in­comparable Book.

All other accusations as well as this, savour more of malice and displeasure, than right Reason, and tend to this un­gracious end, to abolish Order and Me­thod in Prayer, and to introduce a sad and unreasonable Confusion in our Wor­shipping of God. Let therefore every good Christian take heed, if he himself hath such an invincible prejudice against these Forms enjoyned in our Church, that he cannot use them himself with a­ny Comfort to his Soul, that he disturb not others minds with the same Schisma­tical mistakes, and spread not abroad what I could wish were consined to the bottomless Pit. Let him not hinder o­thers from the Benefit which they may reap from a hearty and zealous Offering up of these Prayers to God. Abstain, my Christian Brother, from Blaspheming that which thou dost not perfectly understand, or that which thou hatest without a just cause. Draw not others into the same pre­judice, and be not uncharitable, to think our Devotions not acceptable to our good God, because thou hast an impla­cable displeasure against them. Think not that Piety is confined to thy Breast alone, and to those of thy Sect. Lay aside, I beseech thee, that bitterness, that [Page 99]peevishness and froward temper which makes thee fret at our good Order, and Christian Discipline: If thou perceivest any faults, coldness, dulness, or unhand­som Actions in private persons, charge not their miscarriages upon our Church, or Rubrick; but be so reasonable, not to proclaim thine unreasonable distastes, to the prejudice of others and thy self.

Sixthly, I cannot forget to mention a­nother Cause of Mens contempt of our Forms and Rubrick, which is, That they are brought up in the ignorance of that manner of presenting them to God, which might cause them to meet with true com­fort and real benefit. For I know some that have constantly attended at the Pub­lick Prayers of the Church, and have for many years scarce omitted any opportu­nity that did invite them; yet because they knew not how to use them as they should, they have not at any time found that inward content which they now think to receive from new Modes of Prayer; and at last have totally forsaken them, crying out most bitterly against their former Formality, luke-warmness, and in­differency in Prayer. As if that unfit tem­per proceeded from the Prayers, and not from the ignorance of their minds, which when it is strengthened by prejudice, E­ducation, or Interest, is the greatest cause [Page 100]of their dissatisfaction at our Prayers used in the Church; and that which deprives them of the advantages which they might receive from them. This Ignorance is the greatest Enemy of our Liturgy, and of our publick peace; which if any per­son be willing to expel, for his own, and the Churches benefit, let him seriously consider, and make use of these directi­ons, which will shew him how to offer up our Prayers with comfort to his Soul.

I have already set down general di­rections to pray well, which every good Christian ought to learn to practice in all Prayers pre­sented to God; Third par­ticular. but besides those which sute with all tempers and sorts of Men, I suppose that some advi­ces besides may be given more particu­larly, and more proper for those persons amongst us that are dissatisfied with our Prayers and Liturgy, and prejudiced a­gainst it. Some advices, I mean, that may have a special regard to their causeless mistakes and the Prayers of the Church. And truly I judge many stand in great need of these directions, who are well skilled in other kinds of Devotion; for prejudice here suffers them not to learn, or at least not to practice what their af­fection teaches them in other Cases to [Page 101]perform without a Teacher; if we may have the Charity to believe what they affirm, That they are truly and zealous­ly affected in the Prayers which are of their Ministers Composure, and that they can joyn their hearts in Devotion with them; for I very much question whether those persons that seem outwardly to be so disposed, are really so in their hearts, and whilst they are, or may be delighted with the Prayer, whether their Souls are truly in a praying temper.

First, Endeavour to be heartily recon­ciled with the Godly Forms of Prayer recommended in our Church, employ Rea­son and Conscience to perswade thy self, my Christian Brother, to embrace what Duty commands, that Duty which thou owest to Authority, and thy interest ob­liges thee to practice: Why should pre­judice keep thee always blindfolded? Why should Men of perverse judgments and corrupt designs, impose upon thy judgment such gross mistakes? Why wilt thou dote upon thine own Errors, and entertain them with so much stiffness, as if thy Salvation did thereupon de­pend; those Errors I mean, that cause thee to look upon our Prayers and De­votions as superstitious, and make so great a breach in the Church where we live? Make it thy business to under­stand [Page 102]the true ground of thine and o­thers displeasures at our Forms of Pray­er. Take not things of that high concern­ment upon trust, and captivate not thy discretion to the judgment of others ne­ver so learned, but with the assistance of Reason, and holy Scripture rightly inter­preted, labour to lift out the Truth. To these and such like endeavours, make use of Prayer to the God of peace, that he may expel and drive away all the Mists of Error, which keep thee at a distance from our manner of worshipping our great God. Consider the necessity of those things that are therein desired, the inte­grity of their first Composers, the appro­bation of foreign Reformed Churches, the Commands and Injunctions of the wise Governours of the Church and State, who have no other intent, in all their Laws relating to this purpose, but thy Salvation and the publick Peace and U­niformity. Is it possible that thou excel­lest them in discretion and judgment, and that they are all mistaken in the good end which they purpose to themselves? With­out this reconcilement, 'tis not possible for thee to receive any benefit from our Pray­ers by joyning with us, for thy Soul will never offer up heartily to God that for which it hath a strong aversion.

Secondly, Overcome in thy Soul all in­ward displeasure which thou hast concei­ved against the Person of thy Minister officiating, or distastes at his behaviour and actions. What if he be openly scan­dalous, or at variance with thee; Let not his guiltiness cause thee to be guilty of irregularity, or neglecting thy Duty to God, and the interest of thy Soul. Let not your mutual dissatisfaction cause you to be dissatisfied with God and his Worship. Such Wicked Varlets as Hoph­ni and Phineas, are too apt to cause ma­ny to slight the Offerings of the Lord; but they are not therefore excusable be­fore God, who requires an obedience to his Laws, from every distinct person, and allows not the vitiousness of the one to be pleaded for the disorderly behaviour of the other.

But certain it is, that whilst thou art inwardly displeased with thy Minister, thou canst never conjoyn thine heart with the Godly Prayers which proceed out of his mouth; whilst thou art offended with his person, his Prayers and his Words will never benefit thee much. I shall not examine the many frivolous causes of dis­tastes, which the Men of our days enter­tain against the Clergy; but this I dare affirm, That it is both the Duty and In­terest of a Parishioner to smother his [Page 104]anger and displeasure conceived against his Minister, specially at the time of Divine Ser­vice, when he is drawing near to God in Prayer, if he will be in a possibility of pray­ing right. Look not on him at that time as thine Enemy, but as thy Friend, who prays for thy necessities as well as his own; look not on him as one at a distance from thee, but reconciled in the common Du­ties of Religion. God forbid that the usual differences of Men about Worldly Interests, should separate us in God's pre­sence from one another, and cause our variances to be eternal. If therefore we are likely, notwithstanding our present debates, to meet unanimously to worship God's Majesty for all Eternity, and sing to him angelical Halelujahs hereafter, why may we not now suppress our displeasures, stifle our passions, and reconcile our selves in the Worship of our great Creator and common Benefactor? For that intent it concerns thee not to mind so much the Person, as the Petitions, not so much the Minister as God, for whose sake, and at whose command thou art ready to forget the most sensible wrongs, and check the strongest passions of hatred and displea­sure.

Thirdly, Think not that the vitious be­haviour of any in the Congregation, will be a prejudice to thy Prayers, or hinder [Page 105]their accptance. It is the common excuse of Men that are willing to excuse them­selves from the Duties of Religion, That in our publick Assemblies all sorts of per­sons are promiscuously admitted, and that they cannot join in Prayers with the o­penly debauched, or with persons that are known to be scandalous. But this vain pretence proceeds many times from a proud conceit of our own Sanctity, and favours of the Pharisees temper in the Gospel, who had so much of impudence in his Prayer to God, that the Publican's Humility was preferred before him. God that sees all our actions and tempers, knows how to put a disterence between thy re­legious behaviour, and the Vices of a wick­ed Christian. 'Tis not thy Neighbour's ungodliness that can prejudice thy Devo­tions. Why shouldest thou be offended with that which God allows; and the publick Unity and Peace of the Church requires? We could wish that in our publick Assem­blies all were Saints and Angels; but seeing that is not to be expected, to cull and pick out every vitious person, or such as may be thought to be so by some ill-willers, I am afraid scarce any would be left. We must therefore bear with that which is not to be avoided, and take heed that we disturb not the publick qui­et more than the vitious and the profane, [Page 106]by our indiscreet and Schismatical niceties.

Fourthly, If thou wilt offer up the Pray­ers of the Church with benefit to thy Soul, and with the affections of thy Heart, care­fully observe the motions of the Body en­joined in the Common-Prayer; who knows but that this submission, and this custom will have a speedy influence upon thy mind to cause thy Soul to join in the same respects to God. Certain it is, that the nearness of Relation between them, will beget a mutual compliance between the actions of the one and the affections of the other, so that the often practising of things must needs reconcile us to those performances, and remove the strongest prejudices that are not grounded in reason, nor strengthened by divine Revelation. If therefore any weak Brother cannot at present comply with the Devotions of the Church of England; if he finds an inward repugnancy for the publick Pray­ers, which hinders him from receiving the comfort and benefit thereby intended, let him follow and try my advice but a few Months. Let him force his Body to observe all the motions of Respect com­manded in the Rubrick. Let him stand up when we give glory to God, and sing forth his praises. Let him kneel in Pray­er, and outwardly observe a due reve­rence, and he shall find that his former [Page 107]aversion will insensibly wear away, and by degrees he will bring his Soul to a hearty and religious compliance with those godly Forms of Prayer, which be­fore he could never use with any satisfa­ction to his mind; he shall find his un­happy humour of discontent evaporate it self, and his Body draw after the Soul and its faculties, to a sincere worshipping of our good God, in the manner that is practised amongst us.

Fifthly, To use the Prayers of the Church with that devotion that is need­ful, a frequent meditation upon them is very requisite. A Meditation, I mean, upon the necessity of those things that are there desired; upon the advantage of Uniformi­ty and Unity in God's divine Worship; upon their agreeableness with holy Scrip­ture, its Doctrines and Expressions; upon the express Commands of the King and the wise Councils of our Nation, under four or five Kings successively, who una­nimously enjoin the use of these Prayers in the publick Worship of God; upon the decency and reasonableness of the Cere­monies, Order, and manner of our Service; upon the frivolousness and Folly of all Objections against it; upon the obstina­cy and invincible hatred of all Objections. A meditation also is requisite to this pur­pose, upon several matters suitable to these [Page 108]godly Forms of Prayer. Such Medita­tions, I mean, as may elevate the Soul to prepare and dispose it for a Holy Com­munion with God, and inflame our affe­ctions, in order to a more zealous offer­ing up of the publick Prayers of the Church to the Divine Majesty. Besides, to perswade the judgment and remove all mistakes, I recommend to thee the peru­sal of a Rationale upon the Common-Prayer; that if by any means thou mayest be per­swaded to a religious and devout confor­mity in publick to the Order of our Church.

But all this while methinks I hear a sort of Zealots amongst us, Extol and Cry up the Praying by the Spirit, 4. Par­ticular. and that in oppositi­on to the reading of the Forms prescribed by the Church. I must speak a word to rectifie their mistakes, and to prevent the mischiefs which are thereby intended. For this good purpose I shall, First, examine what Praying by the Spirit is, in the sense of St. Paul. Secondly, I shall prove that for the most part, in all Extem­porary fluencies of Prayer, though they be the gifts of the Spirit, such persons as use them at that very instant, can scarce be said to pray in the Spirit. Thirdly, I shall plainly demonstrate, that the easiest and surest way to Pray in the Spirit, is to take the assistance of well composed Forms of [Page 109]Prayer, and to have them either in a Book before our Eyes, or well imprinted in our Memories. They are in a grievous Error, that imagine that St. Paul's praying in or by the Spirit, opposeth the Practice of our Church of England, and strengthens the irregular Devotions of the gifted Bre­thren. For if you please to Examine the meaning of St. Paul, you shall find that he never intended any such matter. In the 6th. Chap. to the Ephesians, and 18 ver. he exhorts them to pray with all Prayer and Supplication in every Season, [...], in the Spirit, which he cannot understand of the Prayers proceeding from the ex­traordinary inspirations or abilities be­stowed upon us by God, the giver of eve­ry good gift; because such inspirations are not common to all, and every one hath not such a quick Fancy or voluble Tongue, to be able to pray in this man­ner; so that every Person is not in a ca­pacity to fulfil this Command, which, as all other Commands of God, is propor­tioned, and hath a special regard to Mens faculties and abilities. Therefore seeing these words are directed to every Christi­an, they relate not to the gift, but to that which is commonly styled the Spirit, or ra­ther to the Duty of Prayer, which every Christian may peform by using endea­vours. St Paul's meaning therefore is, [Page 110]that we should in our Prayers to God, not be content with the Lip Service, but inwardly heartily, and affectionately, to pray to him, and employ all the abilities of the Soul in offering them up to God; for in this part of our Devotions, we must observe the same method, as in the others, and act with the same abilities. Now St. Paul in the 5th Chap. to the Ephe­siens, and the 19th ver., adviseth them to make Melody in their Hearts to the Lord. Here is that spiritual Service required from us, a serious, real, and hearty Wor­ship, wherein the Soul is concerned as well as the Body. Likewise our Saviour Christ, in answer to the Woman of Sama­ria, tells her, that God is a Spirit, and that they that will worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in Truth. That is in opposi­tion to the Corporal appearances of the Jews at Jerusalem, an inward and soul Worship, without which all our most as­sidual attendances upon holy Duties, are frivolous and vain. In the same sense, we are to understand St. Paul's praying and singing with the Spirit, in 1 Cor. 14.14. for he expresly saith, if I pray in an unknown Tongue, my Spirit prayeth. He cal­eth it his Spirit, that is, his Soul, which must be concerned in all our Prayers to God, either by composing them and of­fering them, or else by presenting the [Page 111]Prayers already composed in such a man­ner, with the understanding and affecti­ons, that they may proceed from us as our own.

I confess St. Jude's words, ver. 20. seems to favour the contrary interpreta­tion, when he adviseth to pray [...], in the Holy Ghost. Which words the admirers of new Modes and extem­porary Prayers, understand of the gift of Prayer, that we should depend upon the Spirit of God, and expect from his se­cret inspirations, the matter and manner of our Prayers, without limitting our selves, and this unlimited Being, to any certain Form. That we should make use of those expressions as proceed immediate­ly from his divine suggestions. But this can never be the meaning of this wise A­postle; for though it were true, what this interpretation supposeth, that all the faith­ful have the gift of Prayer, and are in­spired with the Holy Ghost. That in that Duty he governs their Tongues and Fan­cy, and furnishes them with proper ex­pressions, words, and matter, which I confess may happen in extraordinary oc­casions; yet in our ordinary Devotions, to expect such extraordinary movings of God's Holy Spirit in our Souls, not to contribute any thing of our selves, but our weaknesses and unpreparedness, and [Page 112]wholly to depend upon the Holy Ghost, is a presumption and indiscretion which agrees not with God's usual methods, of acting with his Creatures, neither in Nature nor in Grace; for his Blessings and Power appear commonly in our Re­ligious endeavours, and if he gives the Form and Beauty to any thing, he takes the matter from those things that he hath already made.

But take notice, that St. Jude adviseth us to pray, not by the Holy Ghost, but in the Holy Ghost. That is, either in that method and manner, or according to those Rules which the Holy Ghost hath given us in his holy Word; for the Greek word [...] signifies according. The meaning therefore is, That we should pray for those things that agree with the Revela­tions of the Holy Ghost, that we should observe those particulars outwardly and inwardly, as may recommend our Prayers to God, and employ those graces which the Holy Ghost hath bestowed upon us, for a more zealous offering up of our Prayers to God. A true Christian may want the gift of Prayer, but no true and sincere Christian can want the Spirit of Pray­er in the state of regeneration, nor those inward abilities which are requisite for Prayer. For this inward breathing of the Soul towards Heaven, is the very life of [Page 113]a Child of God, and a principle of all Spiritual motion. Though he is not al­ways in the same disposition and a fit tem­per for Prayer, because these abilities may be hindred, and obstructed by some pow­erful impediments; nevertheless the work of regeneration is no sooner begun in us, but we are taught by the Holy Ghost, to call God Abba Father. Therefore St. Paul teacheth in his Epistle to the Romans, chap. 8. v. 26. That the Spirit helpeth our Infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit it self maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Observe Ro­mans 10. v. 1. This and all other passages that mention praying in, or by the Spirit, may en­courage us to take with us the assistance of God's Holy Spirit in our addresses to him, and imploy the abilities which he hath given us for that good purpose. They may take notice of our own natural im­perfections and weaknesses, and advise us to make use of the Spiritual helps that the Holy Ghost gives us; that we might pray to God in a manner acceptable to him. But there is none that forbids the use of those Forms, which God's holy Spi­rit hath Established in our Church. There is no passage nor Text of Scripture, that requires thee to wait for a sudden inspira­tion from above, that disallows of a judi­cious [Page 114]and religious preparation, or of prescribed Prayers, composed by Men as much enlightned by the Spirit of God, as any now alive. Why therefore may not the use of these Prayers, be called pray­ing by the Spirit, if I offer them up in that devout manner as God requires? Why shall I prefer the new Modes of Men, whose abilities and integrity I know not perhaps, to those that I am sure are agreeable with God's Will and Word? Why shall I re­ject the old Prayers of the Holy Ghost, and be so impatient to hear new, which I know not from whence they are, till I have taken the pains to examine them?

If therefore I am an auditor, what rea­son have I to refuse the Prayers of the Church, composed by the directions of the Spirit of God, to be of a constant use in the Publick Worship of our great Creator, to be so fond of new Modes and new Prayers of Men, that pretend to a divine inspiration, but how truly I know not? God's Holy Spirit is no favourer of the pride, presumption and sanciness of those persons that rush into God's Pub­lick Worship without a due preparation. And if they be prepared both for matter and expressions in the publick Prayers which they pronounce, what reason have I to prefer this Prayer composed by this private Person, tho' with the assistance [Page 115]of God's Holy Spirit, to the religious Prayers of the whole Church, allowed of by so many wise, learned, and Godly Di­vines, enlightned also doubtless with the same Spirit? Is that the Prayer, by, or in the Spirit? And is not this likewise, if I perform it in a Spiritual manner, and of­fer it up with my Soul and affections? O! how idle and frivolous! How vain and impertinent are these prejudices a­gainst our Set Forms of Prayer!

Secondly, But these persons that are so much admired by ignorant People for their pray­ing by the Spirit, in Prayers of any long continuance, are admired for that which they themselves cannot perform. For if they pray extempore without prepararation, some in the Congregation may perhaps really pray to God, but the persons, that pronounce the Prayers, whilst their fancy is so busily employed in seeking for mat­ter and expressions, can never oblige the affections of the Soul to offer their Prayers up to God in that devout manner as is required. This Prayer therefore, in re­gard of the Speaker, is but a Sp [...]ech and no Prayer, let it be never so Eloquent, and never so much able to stir up the Af­fections of the hearers. Our minds cannot be totally employed in two actions at once; whilst our apprehensions are di­stracted to seek for words, and fit ex­pressions; [Page 116]they cannot be fixed upon that Divine Being, unto whom we make our addresses; nor cause in the Soul that hu­mility and those affections, which at such a time are necessary; they cannot mind the greatness of their Wants, the necessi­ty of a speedy supply, and the usefulness of those things that are petitioned for. Their Souls cannot be at liberty to ex­press the homage due to God's greatness, and an earnest affection for those Blessings that they stand in need of. All their care is to move the Tongue and not the Heart, whilst the one is busily employed, the o­ther is unconcerned in the Service.

I cannot think that there are any of such an extraordinary, and quick appre­hension, as to be abe to furnish their Or­gan with plenty of matter and expressi­ons, and at the same moment, to mind all those things that are needful to keep our Souls in a sit disposition for Prayer. 'Tis not possible to divide this single Being into so many parts. Such an activity seems to me almost as great a miracle, as that of the Ubiquity of Christ's Humane Body, and is subject to the like absurdities. The Unity of the Soul, [...]d the Unity of all its Faculties, require [...] a single Object at once. It may be so quick as to sly to another in an instant; but this change, and this motion of the apprehension, inca­pable [Page 117]of two or three Objects at one single instant, plainly discovers the impossibili­ty of praying well, and keeping the Soul in a worthy disposition, and the affections in a sit temper, in extemporary and long Prayers; because the mind that should take this charge, and the care to summon the affections to the performance of their Duty, is busily employed in other matters. Now without this conjunction of the af­fections, and this concernment of the Soul, no Devotion nor Prayer can be said to be spiritual, or performed with, or in the Spirit; for tho' this should be understood of the holy Spirit of God, it is not to be imagined that he will act in us without our assistance and cooperation, and if he did, the Devotion is his, and none of ours.

For these and other Reasons, it is a matter of great difficulty, to keep the unruly and wandring thoughts of the mind, and the several affections of the Heart, with the other parts of the Soul, in a praying temper, in all extemporary and long Prayers: Thirdly, Therefore the easiest and surest way to pray in the Spirit, is to take the assistance of well composed Forms, and to have them ei­ther in a Book before us, or well im­printed in our Memories. This is a Con­sequence deducible from what we have [Page 118]already said concerning that praying in, or by the Spirit, intended by St. Paul and St. Jude. But if there be any so strongly prejudiced against Set Forms, and so much bewitched with the pretended pray­ing in, or by the Spirit, as to refuse to acquiesce to what we have already alledg­ed, let him seriously consider, That there can be no praying in the Spirit, whatever interpretation we give to the passages of Holy Scripture concerning that purpose, whether we understand them concern­ing the Gift, or in relation to the Duty and Spirit of Prayer, without a real and hearty compliance of the Soul with eve­ry expression; without an inward sense of the things petitioned for, and without a devout composure of all the parts of the Soul. Now if you enquire how this is produced in us? I must tell you that it is not without our assidual endeavours, for the mind ought to have a continual eye upon the Soul and disposition, it ought to recollect and call back our wandring thoughts, and labour to express both a feeling of its wants, and a dutiful reverence for the Majesty of God. This being of an absolute necessity, in order to a zealous offering up of our Prayers in the Spirit, it is needful that the mind should be at liberty for that purpose. Now let any Man of Reason, seriously [Page 119]sider whether it hath not more freedom in the use of Set Forms, imprinted either in our memories, or our Books, than in extemporary praying; whether it is not easier for the Soul in such a case to act its part, and contribute to the Devotions, than in such Prayers where it hath so ma­ny Offices to perform? Grant it possible, that some of an extraordinary ability, learning, and natural parts (which I can­not imagine to be) should be able to dis­charge the inward Duty of the Soul in Prayer, as well as the outward, in extem­porary Prayers. Consider whether they cannot with more ease, pray with the assistance of Set Forms. And why shall they be denyed of those helps in a business of so much weight and difficulty, where­in the holiest and most devout Soul comes far short of that perfection and exactness which God's greatness requites at our hands?

Secondly, That must needs be the ea­siest and surest way of praying by the Spirit, which is offered to the weaker sort of Christians, as the readiest help to their Devotions; for the duties of Religion are always proportioned to the slender abili­ties of such persons: both God and the Church are wont to condescend to their mean gifts, and furnish them with such assistances as they want for the discharge [Page 120]of the Offices required from them. Now from the beginning, Set Forms of Prayer have been allowed in the Churches of God to these persons, because it is well known, that they are not able to express them­selves and their several wants to God as they should, and in that manner as be­comes us mortal Men. If therefore this manner of praying is, as it is generally confessed, an help to the weaker kind of Christians, why may it not be also to the stronger? No doubt but such a one may use these helps with more advantage: A staff is good in the hand of a feeble body, to make it walk with more assu­rance, and is likewise as beneficial to a strong person that undertakes a long jour­ney. The difference is, that the one cannot possibly walk without it, and the other may march a few steps, and it may be, proceed on in his way without it, but for more ease and better conveniency, it is sit in a tedious march, that he should have the assistance of a Staff, which may succour his infirmities, and may comfort his wearied Limbs. Therefore it is not a sufficient cause to oblige us to reject useful things, to say Men may be with­out them. I think it wisdom not to cast away such beneficial helps to our Devo­tions, as are Set Forms, because we may be so fond of our abilities, as to think [Page 121]our selves able to compose some of an higher strain, and more passionate; some that may gratifie our own and the Peoples corrupt humour, which usually despiseth things that are common, when they have not well considered their worth.

Thirdly, Consider how apt our thoughts are to be wandring, and our minds to be drawn aside from our Devotions. Therefore that is the easiest and surest way of praying well, which sixeth our minds, and settles our thoughts upon the weighty business in hand. Now I dare affirm, That there is nothing so well able to do this good office to us, as Forms of Prayers judiciously composed, either im­printed in our memories, or before us in a Book; for in the former method of praying, the Soul is kept from wandring to and fro; and in the latter it is tyed and limited by the sense of seeing; and though in such cases it may take the li­berty to step aside, and escape out of the other senses, yet we must all acknow­ledge, that a Judicious Christian can, by the assistance of his Senses, be better able to limit and stop the wanderings of his mind, and the unruliness of his thoughts, than when he hath little or no use of them. To conclude, Nothing but the pride and self-conceitedness of some, the pre­judices and foolish humours of others, [Page 122]have taught men to reject and contemn our set Forms of Prayer, establish­ed in our Church of England; which, both for matter and manner, are the best Li­turgy that ever was used either in the Primitive or Modern Churches of Christ: And there is nothing that hinders Men from using them with comfort and ad­vantage to their Souls, but their strong displeasures, their frowad tempers, and their itching Ears; a Disease which hath infected the heart and fountain, as well as the Sense and Organ of hearing.

Let me therefore intreat thee, my Chri­stian Reader, seriously to peruse these Reasons that I have mentioned, and let not any popular Mistake, nor the pre­tended Inspirations of the Spirit, discou­rage thee in the devour use of the Pray­ers of our Church, chiefly in the publick Worship of thy God; where Reason and Religion require from thee Uniformity, and Unity with the rest of thy Brethren. And in thy private Family I would have thee to use the same Prayers; such, I mean, as are proper for that place and purpose.

I know that several Pious and Learn­ed Men have lately, and in the former Age, furnished our Nation with Books of this kind; but I think that their reli­gious labours, fitted for those times, and [Page 123]answerable to their private designs, will not hinder this present Treatise from being useful in its kind, for the preven­tion of the Mistakes lately crept in a­mongst us, and the mischiefs that are in­tended by our Enemies at home and a­broad. I find them busily employed in contriving our ruine, and in poisoning our people with strange Principles, by spreading in the Country new Pamphlets, printed for that evil purpose. I wish that we were as watchful for our own preser­vation. The best means for that intent, is to employ the same policy, and to fur­nish our People with new and fresh ad­vices, which may serve as Antidotes a­gainst the Venom of their Enemies and ours. Such Treatises therefore as this, I think to be very seasonable for our di­vided times. I am certain that it is much wanting in the place where I live, and to the people committed to my Charge. My first design was only to have a regard to their private wants, at the requests of one of my Parishioners; but when I considered, that tho' Providence hath given me a particular inspection over the Inhabitants of a small division in a Wilderness, it is my Duty to aim in all my actions at the general good, I resolved to recom­mend to the publick, such a Treatise as might serve, and be useful to all Fa­milies [Page 124]in our Reformed Church; and in it to have a general aim at the benefit of all Christians; for I think that there is none in the state of Grace, or within the limits of Christ's Church, but he shall in this short Tract find Prayers and Ad­vices which may sute with the condition and temper of his Soul.

You therefore that desire that Religion should flourish amongst us, neglect not its chief Duty, but see that it be care­fully observed in your own practice, and that of those recommended to your care. As soon as your Children begin to speak, teach them to cry Abba Father, which art in Heaven. Call upon them Morning and Evening, to implore Protection and Assistance. Let their Tongues be used betimes, to tune forth the Praises of their Maker, and acknow­ledge the Providence of God. Remember that Piety, with the Blessings of Heaven, is the best and most durable portion which you can procure to your little ones. And the only means to obtain it, is carefully to practise this and all other Duties of Religion. As they grow to years of Understanding: Let them pro­ceed on in learning the Prayers that are sit for their capacity, and suitable to their Abilities. Let them know that their chief dependency is upon that Almighty [Page 125]Being, who hath created the World, and put them into it, to serve and worship him. This daily practice of seeking to God in Prayer, will keep youth from all those extravagancies and vitious actions, by which the Gallants of our time are become a reproach to Christianity and Humanity it self. Thou shalt never have the displeasure to see thy Son and thy Daughter either unruly in their behaviour, or prophane in their discourse, or cor­rupt in their Lives; if thou wilt, when they are young, train them up in the con­stant and continual observance of this Du­ty of Prayer; for there is nothing more proper, and of a greater force, to keep the Souls of Men from the temptations of our days, and from all disorders, as this Correspondency with God in Prayer. Man therefore, in this respect, is like a Watch or a Clock, the least neglect di­sturbs the Motion, and steals him insen­sibly into improficiency or an ossence. Pray therefore, O Christian Man or Wo­man! and pray without ceasing: In prosperity and adversity, let your requests be made known unto God: Be not silent when God requires you to speak: In what­soever estate Providence may cast you, make use of those Prayers that are answer­able to your condition. If you can offer up the Prayers of our Church with [Page 126]any satisfaction to your minds, use them rather than others. But if your prejudices be so strong, and your aversion so invin­cible, that you cannot yet relish them, use the other Prayers more agreeable to your affections. However, neglect not this most important, this most weighty, and most indispensible Duty, but perform it with all the Care and Devotion that God's greatness, and thy mean condition requires from thee.

And I beseech the God of all Goodness, to hear thy Requests, to grant thy Petitions, to comfort and refresh thy Soul and Body with Spiritual and Temporal Mercies; and that this Treatise may be as useful to the Publick, as it is intended by

M. D.

A Morning Prayer FOR A FAMILY. According to the Book of Com­mon-Prayer.

O! Lord, who hast promised that be­fore we call, thou wilt answer, and whilst we are yet speaking, Isa. 65.24. Psal. 6.1. Psal. 25.1 [...]. Psal. 51.10. thou wilt hear. Rebuke us not in thine indignation, neither cha­sten us in thy displeasure. For thy Names sake, be merciful to our sins. Make us clean Hearts, O God, and renew a right Spi­rit within us.

O! Lord, we beseech thee, mercifully hear our Prayers, and spare all [Page 128]those who confess their sins unto thee, that they whose Consciences by Sin are accused, by thy merciful pardon may be absolved through Christ our Lord. A­men.

O! Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctifie, and govern both our Hearts and Bodies, in the ways of thy Laws, and in the works of thy Command­ments, that through thy most mighty protection, both now and ever, we may be preserved in Body and Soul, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

PRevent us, O Lord! in all our do­ings, with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help, that in all our Works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorifie thy holy Name, and finally, by thy Mercy, obtain everlasting Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BLessed be thy Holy Name, O Lord, for thy continual and daily Mercies granted to us, for thy Protection and Preservation till this time, for the safety and quiet. Repose of the last night, for the welfare and Health of our Bodies, [Page 129]and for all thy Temporal Blessings which thou heapest upon us. Gracious God, we acknowledge these and all other Mercies which we enjoy, to be undeserved Favours proceeding from thy bountiful hand, and fatherly goodness: Continue them we beseech thee to us, and all other things needful for our Souls and Bodies; and give us grace, in the use of them, to glo­rifie thy great Name, and to be truly thankful in our Hearts and Lives for all expressions of thine unwearied Liberali­ty. All this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

O God, the Protector of all that put their trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy, in­crease and multiply in us thy Mercy, that thou being our Ruler and Guide, we may so pass through things Tempo­ral, that we finally lose not the things Eternal, for Jesus Christ his sake, our Lord. Amen.

GRant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that the Course of this World may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that we and thy whole Church, may joy­fully serve thee in all Godly quietness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

LOrd of all Power and might, who art the Author and giver of all good things: Graft in our Hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true Religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great Mercy keep us in the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Merciful God, bless and preserve we pray thee, our Princes, defend them from all their Enemies, direct them in all their Counsels, assist them in all their re­ligious purposes, grant them and the Church amongst us, peace and prosperity in this Life, and everlasting Happiness in the life to come. Bless all the Royal Fa­mily, the Nobility, the Magistrates, the Gentry and People of this Land. Grant us Pea [...]e and Truth, and preserve us from Heresie, Schism, Superstition, and Idola­try, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

OUR Father which art in Heaven, hal­lowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Trespasses, as w [...] forgive them that Trespass against us. And lead us not into Temptation. But de­liver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fellow­ship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all ever­more. Amen.

Another Morning Prayer for a Family, when Business is most urgent.

TUrn thy Face away from our sins, O Lord, and blot out all our Offences.

Make us clean Hearts, O God, and renew right Spirits within us. Ps. 51.

Almighty and Everlasting God, merciful­lly look upon our Infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities, stretch forth thy Right Hand to help and defend us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, whose Blessed Son was ma­nifested, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil, and make us the Sons of God, and Heirs of Eternal Life, Grant us, we beseech thee, that having this Hope, we may purifie our selves, as he is pure, that we may walk in newness of life, and follow the Examples of his Patience, Piety and Holiness, that when he shall appear with Power and Glory, we may be made like unto him, in his glo­rious Kingdom. Amen.

O Lord, be merciful to us and our Nation, bless the King's Majesty, and our Queen, with Life and happiness, their Counsellors with Wisdom, their Armies with Victory, their Subjects with Peace and Prosperity. Bless the Nobili­ty, the Clergy, and Commonalty in their goings out and comings in. Bless us, we beseech thee, and all our Relations, with Spiritual and Temporal Mercies, And all these Blessings we beg for Jesus Christ his sake, in whose perfect Form of Prayer we sum up all our desires, as he hath taught us,

OUr Father which art in Heaven, Hal­lowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this Day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Trespasses as we forgive them that trespass, against us. And lead us not into Temptation. But de­liver us from all Evil. For thine is the King­dom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the Fel­lowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all. Amen.

Another Morning PRAYER for a Family.

O Gracious God, the Creator and Protector of Mankind, whose con­tinued goodness we have lately experien­ced in the safety and preservation of the last Night. We bless thy Holy Name, for this and all other expressions of thy Mercy to us; we acknowledge, that as thou art the Author of our Beings, it is thy good Providence that maintains and defends them from all dangers and Enemies that incompass us about. It is thy watchful Eye that sees all their contrivances to destroy us: It is thy Wisdom that knows how to defeat their Craftiest purposes: It is thy Power alone, that can disappoint and oppose their wicked and hellish Plots. We are not ignorant, O Lord, of their ma­lice, and our continual dangers, dangers that proceed from the contrivances of Spiritual and Temporal Enemies; we desire therefore to be heartily thankful, for we are really sensible of thy mer­ciful protection hitherto, and to ascribe all the Honour and Praise of our preser­vation and deliverance, to thy Wisdom and Providence alone. But, O merciful Father, let this expression of thy good­ness, the foundation of all thy Blessings, [Page 134]be still continued to us; we are sensible of our undeservings, our sins and wicked­nesses are multiplied, our provocations and ingratitudes have been many; our many deficien ies in all our Duties, might justly cause thee to leave us to our selves for the future, and expose us naked to the subtilties and power of our Enemies, who would quickly devour us. But we implore thy mercy at this time, and in­treat thee to forgive us our Trespasses, to pardon our Infirmities, and to pass by all our Transgressions, for the Lord Jesus his sake. In his Name, and through his Merits, we approach with all humility to the throne of thy grace, to beg the forgiveness of all our Iniquities, and the continuance of thy protection and Mer­cies, Temporal and Spiritual. How weak are we of our selves? How soon cast in­to our Graves? and what is Man, that he should be able to defend us, when the least blast deprives him of Life and Being? Thou art therefore, and thou alone, O great God of Heaven! thou art only able to defend us in the following course of our Life, from visible and invisible pe­rils: Let thy Mercy be continued to us, shelter us from the malicious designs of all our Enemies, frustrate their wicked purposes; lead us in all our ways, direct us in all our paths, bless us in all our [Page 135]undertakings; we live in a crooked Ge­neration, in a world that overflows with sin and wickedness, and our Conversa­tion is amongst evil-doers, let therefore thy Wisdom and thy fear so possess our Souls, that we may not be drawn away by the Vices of the Age, nor intangled in such Labryinths of Sin, as might indanger our eternal welfare. Suffer us not to be inticed with the allurements of unlawful Pleasure and Profit. We trust not to our selves, O Lord, and our own frail reso­lutions, because we have broken them so often, that we have cause to mistrust our selves, and to rely chiefly upon thy mer­ciful guidance. Let thy Truth direct us, and thy Spirit lead us, as well as thy Power protect us, from the invasion of Error and Vice; give us a right understanding of thy Will, an unchangeable resolution to practise it; suffer us not to be drawn aside neither by fear nor by profit, from the profession of that pure Religion, in which we have had the happiness to be instructed. Give us all grace to value and prize this thy great Mercy, that we are Christians, and such Christians as have the benefits of thy sacred Oracles. O let us not be so unworthy to forsake that Reli­gion, in which only we are to expect Sal­vation. Give us Grace to follow the Blessed Rules of good living that we [Page 136]have learned; keep us from sin, and of all sins, chiefly from the sins against our own Consciences and knowledge. Give us peaceable Minds, quiet dispositions, with a willing resignation of our selves to thy Wise Providence in all things, wean our Hearts and Affections from the World; let not its Vanities possess any longer our affections. Let the knowledge that all things shall work together for our good, cause us to submit without murmuring, to all the Crosses that we may meet with. And as our time here be­low is but of a short continuance, give us grace to mind our latter end, to pre­pare for our dissolution betimes, to live always in expectation of another, and a more happy life, where we shall ne­ver see neither Sorrow nor Pain.

Bless us, we beseech thee, in our Cal­lings; prosper us in all our lawful en­deavours to serve our Generation: And let us so demean our selves in our bo­dily and daily Employments, as that we may not forget in them to serve and glo­rifie thee, our God, which is the great and chief Employment of our lives: Suffer us not to mispend our precious Ta­lents, but, according to our Abilities and thy Mercies, let us so dispose of them, of what kind soever they be, that thy Truth and Holy Name may be glorified [Page 137]thereby, and the ends for which thou hast given them answered.

Bless this Family now prostrate be­fore thee; with our years increase all our Graces, sanctifie and prepare us for thy Enjoyment; purifie and cleanse our Hearts, and mercifully continue and augment all thy Blessings upon us. Take into thy protection and favour, the ten­der and weaker part of it, the Infants and Children; provide, we beseech thee, for the welfare of their Souls, as well as for their Bodies, imprint thy holy fear in their Hearts, that they may glorifie thee in their Lives.

Bless all our Relations wheresoever they be dispersed; let thy Mercy and Truth guide them all the days of their Lives: Bless this Nation unto which we belong, punish us not according to our just deser­vings and provocations; lay not upon us the guilt of innocent Blood. But pardon the extravagancy of our lives, and cause a real Reformation to be practised, as well as professed amongst us; thou givest us Temporal Mercies in abundance, con­tinue thy Spiritual to us; suffer not our Enemies to deprive us of thy Truth and Gospel; watch over us, and disappoint all their wicked purposes for our Ruine, and give us all Hearts to be truly thank­ful for the many Favours, Blessings, Mer­cies [Page 138]and Deliverances, which from time to time in all Ages thou hast heaped upon us and our Forefathers.

Bless more especially, the person of our gracious Prince, and thine anointed, grant him a long and a prosperous reign, guard him from the barbarous purposes of all Murderers; save him from all their Plots and Conspiracies; direct him in his Coun­cils; prosper him in his Designs; and give him and us all Grace, to lay se­riously to heart thy merciful proceedings towards us.

Bless all his Relations, enlighten them with thy Truth, sanctifie them with thy Grace, and direct them by thy Spirit, that they may embrace, as well as know thy Sacred Truth, and govern themselves according to its Holy Precepts. Bless thy Church dispersed throughout the whole World, preserve every Member of it from the Malice of the Devil and his Agents, increase daily the number of its true Pro­fessors. Let thy Gospel and thy Salvati­on be published in all Nations, bring back the Jews, and accomplish the number of the Gentiles; and open the Understandings of all Men, that they may see the rea­sonableness and excellency of that Re­ligion, which Christ hath recommended to us; and not only see it, but embrace and practise it, setting aside all prejudice and partiality.

Turn the Hearts of our greatest Ene­mies, subdue our unruly Affections, re­concile our Differences publick and pri­vate, and give us all Grace, that we may truly serve and glorifie thee in our Lives. All this we beg for the Merits and by the Mediation of our most Blessed Lord and Saviour, in whose Words we sum up all our imperfect Petitions, in that most perfect Form which he hath taught us.

OUR Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Trespas­ses as we forgive them that trespass, a­gainst us. And lead us not into Temp­tation. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father, and the comfor­table Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Another Morning Prayer for a Family, when Business is urgent.

O Merciful God and Heavenly Father, by whose goodness we are yet alive; [Page 140]Thy Holy Name be praised for the safe­ty and quiet repose of our Bodies the last Night, and for our preservation until this moment, which we acknow­ledge to be a Mercy proceeding from thy Power and Providence. We are sen­sible, O Lord, of our own weakness and frailty, unable of our selves to withstand the assaults of our Spiritual and Corpo­ral Enemies; from thy Mercy therefore we humbly Beg this, and all other Bles­sings needful for our Souls and Bodies; that thou wouldest be pleased to be graci­ous to us, and forgive us our Sins, and protect us from all dangers in the follow­ing course of our lives, defend our Souls from all assaults of Sin and Satan, keep us in the Profession and Practice of thy Holy Religion, without wavering; strengthen our Mindes with a Divine Knowledge, and our Wills with thy Ce­lestial Grace, that neither Error nor Vice may be able to prevail upon us. Defend also our Bodies from all the Snares that are laid for us. Let our lives be preci­ous in thy sight, sanctifie all thy Mercies to us, and the more we are loaden with thy Temporal Blessings, let us be so much the more thankful, and ready to obey thy Holy Laws; send down thy Blessing upon all our actions and endeavours, in the Callings in which thy Providence hath [Page 141]placed us: As our chief aim is the Promo­tion of thy Glory, be pleased to assist us in the advancing of it. Preserve our Minds from all inward troubles, mur­murings and disturbances, and arm us we beseech thee with that unchangeable Spi­rit, as may contemn the Losses and Crosses of the World; for that purpose capti­vate our affections to thee and thy Ser­vice; take possession of our Hearts, and suffer them not to dote too much upon these lower Vanities. O Lord, as our Treasure is in Heaven, let there be the end of all our desires, and the centre of all our Actions.

Gracious God, we pray thee not only for our selves, but for the whole Catho­lick Church, and for that part of it planted in these three Nations. O! let not our Enemies triumph over us, but watch over and preserve thy Son from all the Conspiracies of the Devil and his A­gents: Reunite our Divisions, and make us all of one Heart, and of one Mind: Pre­serve the King and Queen's Majesty in Health, Peace, and Prosperity: Give his Counsellors Wisdom, his Army Victo­ry, and all his Subjects Happiness and Plenty.

Take into thy Protection, all our Kin­dred and Friends, defend their Bodies from dangers, and their Souls from [Page 142]Schism and Error. Be merciful to all Men, as thou hast Created Mankind for Happiness, discover to them the Means appointed by thy Wisdom, to bring them thither, and give them Grace to embrace the gracious offers of thy Providence.

All these Mercies, and others which thou knowest most needful for our well­being here, and our Glorious Being here­after, we humbly beg by the Merits and powerful intercession of thy Christ, and our Saviour, who hath taught us thus to Pray,

OUR Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dome come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tres­passes, as we forgive them that Trespass against us. And lead us not into Tempta­tion. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glo­ry, for ever, and ever. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Loveof God the Father, and the Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

A Morning Prayer for a single Person.

ALmighty God, by whose Gracious Providence I am yet alive, and e­scaped out of all the dangers and difficul­ties of this mortal life, by whose mer­ciful Protection I have been preserved the last Night from all Corporal and Spiritual Enemies: I adore thy Divine Mercy and Goodness, so visibly expressed in every moment of my life. I praise thy Holy Name for this, and all other favours received from thy Wisdom and Power; I glorifie thine infinite Majesty, and ac­knowledge thee, O! my God, to be the Author of my Preservation, as well as of my Being; of my self I am not able to resist the least danger or Enemy; were it not for thy watchful Eye and Power, I had been long ago in my Grave; but thy goodness hath yet spared me, not­withstanding my unworthiness, and the many Provocations of my Life: O Mer­ciful Father, thy Blessings have been heap­ed upon me in abundance, though I have returned thee for them all, nothing but ingratitude and Sin; when I make a Re­slexion upon my self, and thy liberality, upon my past behaviour, and thy manifold Blessings bestowed upon me from day to day; I cannot but wonder at the infinite­ness [Page 144]of thy Mercy, which could not yet be exhausted, nor discouraged by my un­thankfulness; but let the Sense of thy Love to me, change and alter the tem­per of my Soul, the resolution of my Mind, and the Actions of my Life; suffer me not to presume upon these outward Expres­sions of thine Affection to me; but let them inflame my Soul with a sincere Love for thee my God, and with a fervent zeal for thy Glory: Suffer me not to be over­come by the powerful temptations of the World, nor to be drawn aside by the al­lurements of Sin. I am so sensible, Lord, of the weakness of my own Nature, as not to trust upon my strength, which hath so often yielded to wicked entice­ments; assist me therefore, my God, with thy Divine and Holy Spirit, defeat the Devil's Power, disappoint all his malici­ous purposes, and lead me through this wicked World in thy Faith and Fear. Continue also thy Protection to my weak Body, preserve me from all dangers and Enemies, defend me from all Bloody and Cruel Souls, that I may live here below in the Service of my Generation, and in glorifying thee my Creator. Bless me in the Works of my Calling, give me a contented Mind, satisfied with the Events of thy Providence; that I may not com­plain of any thing that shall happen con­trary [Page 145]to my desire, and expectation, and a full resignation to thy Will and Plea­sure. Suffer not my Soul to be too much in love with my self, nor with any thing here below, that I may avoid the per­nicious Vices of Pride, self-conceitedness, Covetousness, Ambition, Lust and Vani­ty, which in these latter days possess Mens Minds, and hurry them into the Labyrinths that lead to Hell and Damna­tion. O Lord, I resign my self into thy hands; I desire to depend upon thee, to be govern'd by thee, and to live for thee. Enlighten therefore my Understand­ing with thy sacred Truth, sanctisie my Will and Affections with thy Blessed Spi­rit, and the longer I live, let me draw nearer, to thy likeness. Strengthen my Soul with an assurance upon thy Love and Protection, and pacifie all the dis­orders of my Passions, that whatsoever in­conveniency I meet with in my conversa­tion here below, I may enjoy a quiet and peaceable Temper of Spirit, which is so acceptable in thy sight; in Prosperity and Adversity, in Sickness and in Health, grant me an equality of Mind, not pust up with the one, nor cast down with the other; but give me Grace, that bearing willingly my Cross after Christ my Savi­our, I may press forward towards that Immortal Reward, which thou hast pre­pared [Page 146]for them that love and fear thee. In whatsoever condition thy Providence shall be pleased to bring me, give me, I beseech thee, a disposition suitable to it, that in following the Holy Example of my Glorious Redeemer, and imitating his Goodness, Piety, Charity, Patience in suffering, Holiness and other Vertues, I may glorifie thy Name on Earth, grace the Profession of thy true Religion, and prepare my self for Eternity; for that purpose, grant that I may employ all my Talents in those good uses for which they are designed, that when I shall render up my accounts to thee, I may not be ashamed of my Actions. O let my mind be fixed upon that terrible day, that I may live in expectation of it, and order my Soul and Body ready for my dissolution.

I humbly beseech thy Divine Majesty, to be gracious, not only to my self, but also to all my Relations; receive into thy Favour and Protection, all those that are committed to my Care, or that are near or dear unto me in Blood and Af­finity; preserve their Souls from the Vi­ces and Infection of the times, and their Lives from dangers and Enemies, and give them all Grace, to serve and Glori­fie thee their God on Earth.

Send thy Blessings upon the Societies and Kingdom unto which I belong, for­give [Page 147]our National sins, suspend thy judg­ments that we have deserved, and if in thy Wisdom, thou thinkest fit to chastise us, destroy us not utterly; set bounds to the rage of our Enemies, and let all thy proceedings towards us, make a sincere Reformation in the Land: Deprive us not for every of the Comfort of thy Word and Ordinances, but protect this thy Church from the incroachings of Schism and Idolatry.

Be merciful, O Lord, to our King, de­fend his Person from all his Enemies, and let not their wicked Designs prosper a­gainst him, but give Wisdom to his Coun­sellors, Success to his Undertakings, Vi­ctory to his Armies, Grace and Fidelity to his Officers, Truth and Loyalty to all his Subjects, and Health and long Life to his Majesty: Be gracious to all his Re­lations, make them Examples of Piety and Godliness, discoverr to them the truth of thy Gospel, and give them all Grace to employ their Credit and Au­thority in promoting thy Glory, and in­couraging thy true Religion against Er­ror and Vice amongst us: Give us a Learned and Religious Clergy, a Wise and Pious Nobility, a sound and Vertuous Gentry, and let all such as are in any Of­fices of Trust, remember their Duty to thee, O God; their Obligations to their [Page 148]Prince and his Subjects, and act with that Faithfulness and Integrity, that they may discharge a good Conscience, and approve themselves before thee as well as before Man.

Be gracious to all Nations, send them the light of thy Gospel, banish from them all Mists of Error and Heresie, pacifie the Tumults of the World, and give them grace to acknowledge thee the true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, to be the Universal Saviour.

These and all other Mercies, for them and thy whole Church, I humbly beg for his sake and Merits, who is dead, risen a­gain, and sits at thy Right hand, to make intercession for us.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hal­lowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this Day our daily Bread; and forgive us our Tres­passes, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into Temp­tation. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

Let thy Grace, thy Power and thy Truth, preserve and accompany me all the days of my Life.

A Morning Prayer for a young Person.

O Heavenly Father, my great Crea­tor and Protector, thy Holy Name be praised for all thy Mercies, chiefly for the quiet rest of the last Night. At every moment I feel the expressions of thy goodness; thou ceasest not to shew me some tokens of thy Liberality, since thou hast given me this Being. O merciful God, how great and many are thy Mer­cies to me in these few Minutes that I have spent in the World; I perceive that thou art the inexhaustible Fountain of all good, and the boundless Ocean of all per­fections: To thy Divine Majesty there­fore, I make my Address, to supply the daily necessities of this weak Body and sinful Soul, which proceed from thee. Forgive, I beseech thee, O my God, the mistakes and frailties of my youth. As I am sensible of my frequent miscarria­ges, cause me also to be sensible of thy Mercy and Pardon. I am entered into the World in a state of imperfection, I carry about me strong Inclinations to Sin, and the breach of thy Sacred Laws, which I cannot shake off in a moment; but gra­cious God, blot out all mine Iniquities, and assist with thy Divine Spirit, the pi­ous Resolutions, and Religious temper of [Page 150]my Soul, Thou hast promised not to quench the Smoaking Flax, nor break the bruised Reed, not to cast away a Creature for some imperfections, but to encourage the hopeful beginnings of Piety in Man: Per­form this thy Promise, O my God, in my sinful Soul increase what is good; rectifie what is amiss; sanctifie and pu­rifie this inner part of my self, from all the fleshly Pollutions that I may be guilty of; enlighten my Understanding with a right knowledge of thy Will and Word, give me thy heavenly Wisdom, and a clear apprehension of those things thou requirest from my Faith and Practice. Suf­fer me not to be carried away by the in­ticements of Heresie and Error; but as thou hast caused me to be born, and ini­tiated by Baptism into the profession of thy true Religion; give me grace to re­sist all the Temptations that may endea­vour to draw me from it, and to con­tinue in it to the last moment of my days. Sanctifie my Will and Affections more and more, keep me from the Infectious air of wicked Company, and vitious Conversation; suffer me not to be carried away with the Vices of the Age, but strengthen my Resolutions in thy Faith and Fear, grant me that discretion and prudence, that I may perceive the Snares laid for me, and know how to shun and [Page 151]avoid them, that I may lead an innocent harmless, and righteous Life; keep me out of the Labyrinths of sin and wick­edness, in which many are insensibly in­tangled; and as my great Task in the World is to serve thee, inable and assist me in the Prosecution of that design; make me to see the Vanity of the World, and all Worldly advantages, that my in­experienced Soul may not be bewitched with any deceitful enjoyments, but that I may settle my affections upon thee, my God, and live continually in expectati­on of my approaching Change, and of the immortal Possessions, where true Joys are to be found.

I beseech thee also, Merciful Father, to send and continue to me all things needful for my weak Body, grant me Life and Health, that I may glorifie thee on this side the Grave, as thou wilt glo­rifie me on the other side. Enable me to serve my Generation, and to do good in the World, that I may not be said to live in vain: Increase my Gifts and Ta­lents and thy Temporal Blessings, and give me a Heart to dispose of them accord­ing to thy Will. Preserve me from all dan­gers and Enemies; suffer them not to pre­vail upon me, but limit their malice and rage. I trust upon thy Power and Prote­ction; let me have the experience of it [Page 152]at every step that I shall make, and ac­company all my endeavours and actions with success and blessing. Strengthen my Soul with a reliance upon thee, and a submission to thy Will in all things; pre­pare me to bear the Crosses that thou wilt lay upon me, and assist me through the troubles of the World, by thy divine Spirit; imprint thy fear in my tender Soul, give me a sense of thy all-seeing Eye and infinite Presence, that I may dread thy justice and Power, as well as I love thy Mercy and goodness, and be kept from any extravagancies of Life; that I may walk continually as in thy presence, and in expectation either of Rewards or Punishments, according to my actions. Grant me, I beseech thee, O overflowing Goodness, all the conveniencies of this Life; sanctifie what thou hast already given, and make me useful, and a Comfort to all my Relations. Be merciful to them also, I pray thee protect, preserve, and keep them in these troublesom times; defend their Bodies from Death and danger, and their Souls from Error and Vice; pre­serve the King's Majesty and all the Roy­al Family, in Health and happiness. And send to all this Nation a continuance of Peace and Prosperity, with a real Re­formation of their Lives. Grant these and all other Mercies, necessary for them and [Page 153]thy whole Church, through and by the Mediation and glorious intercession of my Blessed Saviour, who hath thus taught me to sum up all my imperfect Prayers.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Trespas­ses, as we forgive them that trespass a­gainst us. And lead us not into Tempta­tion. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glo­ry, for ever and ever. Amen.

Let thy merciful kindness, O Lord, be up­on me, like as I do put my trust in thee. Psal. 33.21.

A Morning Prayer for a younger Person.

O Almighty God, who hast saved me alive till this time, preserved me from my Mothers Womb, and guarded me from the dangers of the last Night, thy Holy Name be praised for this and all other expressions of thy Mercy and Goodness to me; give me grace to em­ploy this Life which thou sparest me to thy Honour and Glory; keep me from [Page 154]Sin and Temptations, and whatsoever might prejudice my Soul or my Body. I recommend my self into thy hands and protection; save me from the Dangers and inconveniencies of this Life; grant me thy Wisdom and thy Fear, increase in my Soul all knowledge, give me a right understanding of thy Will, and Grace to practise it. Preserve me from the Vices of the Age, from the Allure­ments of Sin, and the Corruptions of the Times: Season my tender Soul with a Love for thee, my God, and a sincere dread of thy Power and Divine Majesty. Protect me in the Profession of thy true Religion, and Bless me with Spiritual and Temporal Blessings; and grant me that holy Resolution and Temper, that I may so live in this Life, and so spend my days, that I may attain at last to E­verlasting Life.

Preserve my Parents, Relations, and those whom thou hast placed over me, in Health and Prosperity; send them an increase of all thy Blessings; save the King's Majesty from all his Enemies, grant him Health and Prosperity, and the whole Nation peace and happiness, for Jesus Christ his sake.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom [Page 155]come. Thy Will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into Temptation. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

The Lord preserve my going out, and my Coming in, from this time forth, and for evermore. Amen. Psal. 121.8.

A Morning Prayer for a Child.

UNto thee, lift I up mine Eyes, O thou that dwellest in the Heavens. Psal. 123.1.

Thy Holy Name be praised, for the last Nights Rest and Preservation, pro­tect me also this day from all dangers, Bodily and Spiritual, keep me from sin, teach me thy Ways, grant me thy true Wisdom; increase my abilities to serve thee; bless me in my endeavours and actions, sanctifie my Soul and Body; give me the understanding of thy Word and Laws, and a Heart to practise them; keep me in the Profession of thy true Religion, and from the Wicked designs of Schism and Idolatry; imprint thy [Page 156]fear in my tender Soul, and a sense of thine infinite Presence, that I may glori­fie thee here on Earth, O my Creator and Heavenly Father, and at last, attain to that Glory which thou hast promised to those that shall obey thy sacred Com­mands. Bless and preserve my Parents, Kindred and Relations; save the King's Majesty, and grant him Health, and Pro­sperity. All this I beg from thine in­finite goodness, for Jesus Christ his sake, my only Saviour and Mediator, who hath taught me thus to Pray.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tres­passes, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into Temp­tation. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

Blessed be the Lord God of our Israel, from everlasting, and World without End. Amen.

An Evening Prayer for a private Family, according to the Book of Common-Pray­er; with some Collects for the Times.

O Lord, correct us, but with judg­ment, not in thine Anger, lest thou bring us to nothing. Hide thy Face from our Sins, and blot out all our Iniquities. Jer. 10.24. Psal. 51.9.

ALmighty and most Merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from thy Ways like lost Sheep. We have fol­lowed too much the devices and desires of our own Hearts. We have offended a­gainst thy Holy Laws. We have left un­done those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and there is no Health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable Offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are peni­tent; according to thy Promises decla­red unto Mankind, in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Fa­ther, for his sake; That we may here­after live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy Name. A­men.

Lord, Let this be repeated by all the Fa­mily. have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us. And forgive us all our Sins.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this Day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tres­passes, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into Temp­tation. But deliver us from all Evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.

And grant us thy Salvation.

O Lord, save the King and Queen.

And mereifully hear us, when we call upon thee.

Endue thy Ministers with Righteous­ness.

And make thy chosen People joyful.

O Lord, save thy People.

And bless thine Inheritance.

Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Because there is none other that fight­eth for us, but only thou, O God.

O God, make clean our Hearts within us.

And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.

ALmighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent; create and make in us new and contrite Hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee the God of all Mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, from whom all Holy Desires, all good Counsels, and all just Works do proceed, give unto thy Ser­vants that peace which the World can­not give, that both our Hearts may be set to obey thy Commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our Enemies, may pass our time in rest and quietness, through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

LIghten our Darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord, and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night, for the Love of thy only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

ALmighty God, who seest that we have no power of our Selves to help our selves; keep us both outwardly in [Page 160]our Bodies, and inwardly in our Souls; that we may be desended from all Adver­sities which may happen to the Body, and from all evil Thoughts which may assault and hurt the Soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Almighty God, who alone canst or­der the unruly Wills and Affections of sinful Men, grant to thy People that they may love the thing which thou com­mandest, and desire that which thou dost promise, so that among all the sundry and manifold changes of the World, our Hearts may surely there be sixed, where true Joys are to be found, through Je­sus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, who never failest to help and govern them, whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast Fear and Love, keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good Providence, and make us to have a perpetual Fear and Love of thy Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, whose never failing Provi­dence ordereth all things, both in Heaven and Earth; we humbly beseech thee, to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which [Page 161]be profitable for us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BE merciful, O Lord, to this Church and Nation; punish us not accord­to our deservings, but let thy Mercy pro­tect and save us from the Evil hands of all our restless Enemies; continue thy Word and Gospel amongst us, remit our senseless Divisions; open the Eyes and Hearts of all our Dissenting and disaffect­ed Brethren; that they may embrace thy Truth; set aside all Prejudice, and joyn with us thy Servants in the sincere Wor­ship of thee the true God: All this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

O God, for as much as without thee, we are not able to please thee, mercifully grant, that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our Hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Almighty God, who art a strong Tower of defence unto thy Servants, against the face of their Enemies: We yield thee Praise and Thanksgiving, for our Deliverance from those great and apparent Dangers wherewith we have been compassed. We acknowledge it thy good­ness, that we are not delivered over [Page 162]as a Pray unto them; beseeching thee still to continue such thy Mercies towards us, to discover all hellish Plots contrived against our King, Religion, and Country, and to disappoint all the black Designs of our Bloody Enemies; that all the World may know that thou art our Saviour and mighty Deliverer, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord our God, who upholdest and governest all things in Heaven and Earth, Receive our Humble Prayers for our Soveraign Lord and Lady, the King and Queen, set over us by thy Grace and Providence. And so together with them, Bless the whole Royal Family, with the Dew of thy Heavenly Spirit, that they ever trusting in thy goodness, protected by thy Power, and Crowned with thy gracious and endless Favours, may conti­nue before thee in Health, Peace, Joy, and Honour, a long and happy life upon Earth, and after Death obtain everlasting life and glory in the Kingdom of Hea­ven, by the Merits and Mediation of Je­sus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

BLess, we beseech thee, O Lord, our Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, with true Knowledge and understanding of thy Word, and that both by their Preaching and living, they may set it forth and shew [Page 163]it accordingly, enable them all to be faith­ful in their great trust, in the mainte­tenance of thy true Religion, against the Incroachings of Popery, Heresie, Schism, and Prophaneness. Bless the Lords of the Council, and all the Nobi­lity, Magistrates and Gentry, with Grace, Wisdom, and Understanding of thy Will and Word. Give to all Nations Quiet­ness and Peace, and to this thy People give Unity and Happiness; help the weak­hearted, raise up them that fall, subdue Satan under our Feet: Comfort all that are in Tribulation; preserve all that are in danger; shew thy pity to Prisoners and Captives: Provide for the Fatherless, the Widows, and all that are Oppressed. Have mercy upon all Men. Forgive our Enemies, and turn their Hearts. Preserve for our Use the kindly Fruits of the Earth. And endue us with the Grace of thy Holy Spirit, and amend our Lives according to thy Holy Word. All this we beseech thee to grant us, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

From our Enemies defend us, O Christ.

Graciously look upon our Afflictions.

Pitifully behold the sorrows of our Hearts.

Mercifully forgive the Sins of thy People.

Favourably with mercy hear our Prayers.

O Son of David have mercy upon us.

Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.

Graciously hear us, O Christ, graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.

O Lord let thy mercy be shewed up­on us.

As we do put our Trust in thee.

WE humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our in­firmities, and for the Glory of thy Name, turn from us all those Evils that we most righteously have deserved; and grant that in all our Troubles, we may put our whole Trust and Confidence in thy mer­cy, and evermore serve thee in Holiness and pureness of Living, to thy Honour and Glory, through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PRevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious Favour, and further us with thy continual help, that in all our Works begun, continued and end­ed in thee; we may glorifie thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain eversasting Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

ALmighty God, who hast given us Grace at this time with one accord, [Page 165]to make our common supplications unto thee, and dost promise, that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name, thou wilt grant their Requests: Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and Pe­titions of thy Servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this World knowledge of thy Truth, and in the World to come life everlasting. Amen.

THe Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Fel­lowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all e­vermore. Amen.

An Evening Prayer for a whole Family, su­table to the times.

O Merciful God, here we thine un­worthy Servants are prostrate be­fore thee, at the close of this day, loaden with thy manifold Mercies, to acknow­ledge the Weaknesses and miscarriages of our Lives, and to bewail the linfulness of our Natures. Our Iniquities are many, and our Transgressions are multiplyed e­very day. We feel within us a forward inclination to that which is unlawful; we carry about us a Body of Sin, and the least Temptation draws us aside from thy [Page 166]holy Ways. How negligent have we been of thy Commands? How vitious in our Lives? How careless in our Duties? How unthankful for all thy Mercies? We can give no account of the number of our mi­stakes, for they are numberless. Therefore we humble our selves before thee in a deep sense of our own sinfulness and unworthi­ness; we cast away all confidence and re­liance upon our own Merits. But we come to thee with a Confidence upon Christ's Merits, trusting upon his promi­ses and gracious invitations; For his sake, O merciful Father, forgive us all our Trespasses, magnifie thy Divine goodness, by the pardon of our great and hainous Offences: Look upon the Atonement made for us, and in consideration of the pre­cious Blood of our great Saviour, spilt for our Redemption; accept of our Per­sons, and Prayers at this time. Take not away from us only the guilt, but also the Corruption of Sin, that we may not con­tinue in our Provocations against thy Di­vine Majesty. As thou hast given us a sense of our Ignorance and Weakness; give us the proper Remedies to these two Evils, enlighten our Understandings more and more with thy Blessed Truth; purifie our Wills from all unregenerate affecti­ons; sanctifie and change the whole frame of our Souls according to thy revealed [Page 167]Will. For that purpose, grant us we be­seech thee, good God, an increase of all our Graces, give life and growth to these Seeds of Holiness and Immortality; strengthen the Interest of Piety in every one of us, with a holy dread of thy Pow­er and Justice, and a blessed Love for thee our God, who only art lovely. Open our Eyes, that we may perceive the Beauty, and Excellency of Vertue, and the filthi­ness and danger of those sins we have been most inclinable to practise. Let the woful circumstances of our Bosom Lusts, visible by our own experience and others Examples; reclaim us betimes to an O­bedience to thy Sacred Laws; make us truly sensible both of the shame that at­tends upon Sin, and of the misery that consequently follows it, that we may be­gin the great Work of Repentance be­times, and vigorously prosecute it, till we have brought under all our irregular inclinations, which are so imperious in the Children of disobedience. Make us clean Hearts, O God, and renew a right Spi­rit within us: Purifie our sins from all Infection, from all Evil Thoughts, wick­ed Affections, and sinful designs; above all, keep us from the reigning sin of Hy­pocrisie, that we may be sincere in our Profession, and that we may not deceive our selves, by thinking to deceive others. [Page 168]As our great business on this side the Grave, is to serve thee our great Crea­tor, and prepare our selves for Eternity; assist us mercifully in our endeavours re­lating thereunto, direct, comfort, and succour us against all Temptations; give us Hearts and Lives, that we may adorn the Gospel of our Saviour Christ. Let neither the inticements of Sin, nor the suggestions of the Devil, nor the allure­ments and Vanities of the World, draw us away from thee, our good God, nor from the Profession of thy sacred Truth. Keep us from evil Examples and wicked Company and Perswasions, and from the Corruptions of the time. As thou hast been gracious to our Forefathers in this Land, in preserving them and their Reli­gion from all bloody designs and attempts; continue thy protection to us their Chil­dren: Preserve thy Gospel in this Nation; defend us from Heresie, Idolatry, and Schism: Unite us all in love and affecti­on one towards another, and in confor­mity to thy Will in all things. Remove the differences and prejudices that are a­mongst us, that we may embrace one a­nother, as Bretheren designed for the same Happiness; sanctified by the same Spirit, and redeemed by the same Christ.

O gracious God, watch over us we be­seech thee, let not the Craft and Power [Page 169]of our Bloody Adversaries prevail, or overcome the Professors of thy Gospel. Defeat all their wicked endeavours against our Prince and his People, and discover and disappoint all their Plots. Let Re­ligion and Truth flourish in our days, and keep us all from Prophaneness and Er­ror. Send thy Blessings to this Family, here humbled before thee, and to every member of it. As thou hast received us into thy Protection, grant us a continu­ance of it this Night especially; Let the Eye of thy Providence be awake over us, to shelter and preserve us when we shall be asleep. Keep us all from fearful Dreams and Apprehensions, and sinful Fancies. Let nothing injure either our Souls, or our Bodies; bring us safe through the shadows of the Night, to behold the Glo­ry of another day, and feel again the ma­nifold expressions of thy great goodness to us. O Lord, we depend upon, and trust only in thee. Thou alone hast been the Saviour of our Persons that belong to thee, defend them we beseech thee from the malice of the Devils, and the at­tempts of Bloody-minded Men, and from all accidents and dangers whatsoever, that we may yet live to praise and glorifie thee here on Earth, and do service to our Generation.

Send thy Blessing to all Princes and [Page 170]Magistrates, especially to our King and Queen, and all Governours under them in Church or State; preserve them from all Rebellious Designs and Attempts of our Enemies, and give them grace to em­ploy their Credit, Power, and Authority in the maintenance of thy Truth and Ho­nour; and in the suppression of Atheism, Vice, Prophaneness, and whatsoever a­grees not with sound Doctrine. Give suc­cess to their pious endeavours, Victory to our Fleets and Armies, Life and safety to all the Noble Souls that watch over us, or fight for us. Disappoint all the Wick­ed designs of Antichrist, scatter and subdue all his Bloody Agents, and let thy Gospel and will be known to all the Nations under the Sun.

These and all other Mercies conveni­ent for our Souls and Bodies, we humbly beg, for the sake and Merits of that im­maculate Lamb, who is dead for us, and now makes intercession at thy right hand; and we conclude these our imperfect Pray­ers, with this most perfect Form.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this Day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tespas­ses, as we forgive them that Trespass a­gainst [Page 171]us. And lead us not into Temp­tation; But deliver us from Evil; For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

THE Peace of God which passeth all Understanding, preserve our Hearts and Minds in the Knowledge and Love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The Blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

An Evening Prayer for a single Person.

O Being of Beings, the great Creator of the World, and preserver of Mankind, by whose gracious goodness I am now alive, and brought safe through the many dangers and inconveniencies of this mortal Life, to the close of this day. I humbly acknowledge thy Providence, and merciful Protection: Thou hast fed me with thy Creatures, defended me by thy Power, instructed me in thy Truth, admitted me into thy Church; for these, and all other Mercies received from thy Bountiful hand, I return thee my ho­mage and Thanks, and confess my self unworthy of the meanest of thy Favours, by reason of the many Provocations [Page 172]that I am guilty of. O Lord, I have sin­ned against Heaven, and against thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son; my Transgressions are multiplyed every day, and mine Iniquities are without number. How easily have I yielded to the Power of Temptations! how often have I broken thy sacred Laws! Gracious God, be merciful, be merciful to me a Sinner; blot out all mine Iniquities, and forgive me for the sake of my dear and only Saviour, who is dead, and inter­cedes for me. Accept his Sacrifice and Mediation for my poor Soul, grieved with the sense of Sin. Give me true Repen­tance, and that Frame of Spirit and Ho­ly Resolution, unto which thou hast pro­mised in thy Holy Word, mercy and forgiveness. As thou hast begun the Work of Reformation in me, perfect it, I be­seech thee, by the continual influences of thy Holy Spirit; forsake me not, good God, nor leave me to my wretched self, but let thy Truth and Wisdom direct my Understanding, and thy grace govern my Will in the practice of Piety. Suffer me not to be overcome by the mistakes and inticements of Sin and Satan; de­fend my Soul from all wicked impressi­ons and infections of the World. As thou hast redeemed me for thy self, let not Vice nor Error draw me from thee, [Page 173]nor the dangerous Allurements of Earthly Vanities; but as my dependency is upon thy Power, let my expectation of Hap­piness be from thy Bounty, and my delight be in fulfilling thy holy Will. Strength­en and increase in me all goodness. Let every day bring me nearer to thee, and to that Purity and Holiness, without which no Man shall see thy Face. Time, that carries me apace to my cold Tomb, minds me of an Eternity, of a Resurre­ction, and the last Judgment. Prepare me, I beseech thee, for this last Account, and that terrible Day, wherein every Man shall give up an account of his Actions, before a Righteous and Impartial Judge. Grant that I may find Mercy and Favour at the hands of my great Redeemer, and be admitted into the Joys of his Paradise.

And as I am now going to lye me down to refresh my weary Body with rest, bles­sed God, be merciful to me this Night, protect me from all dangers and Evils. Suffer not the Malice of the Devils, nor of Wicked Men, to hurt this outward Tabernacle, nor the precious Soul that is within; keep from me all troublesom Dreams, and Thoughts; and whether sleeping or waking, let my Soul be armed with a reliance upon thy Goodness and Power; grant me a moderate Rest, that I may be better enabled to serve thee in my Gene­ration, [Page 174]and proceed on in the Employ­ment, unto which thy Providence hath called me. In which, let my chief aim be to advance thy glory, rather than my own fordid Interest, and to mind the careful management of all the Talents which thou hast put into my hands, that I may, as a good Servant and Steward, improve and increase them.

Look in mercy upon all my Relations, wheresoever they be; let thy Grace, thy Truth and Goodness, accompany and protect them, during their abode here below. Crown with the choicest of thy Blessings, our Religious King and Queen, shield them from the wicked attempts of all their Enemies, and give them long Life, Health and Prosperity now, and at last receive them into everlasting hap­piness. Bless all their Royal Re­lations, give them all Grace to be in­strumental in promoting the Interest of thy Truth, Godliness and Virtue; that they may answer the good ends for which thou hast put much into their Hands. Bless all Governours and Magistrates, give them Grace to prefer thine Honour and Glory to all other Corrupt purposes whatsoever. Defend this Nation from all Plots and Conspiracies, defeat the De­signs of all our Enemies, and disappoint all Combinations against it. If thou wilt [Page 175]afflict us, good God, let it be for a time; take not thy Truth and Gospel from us and our Posterity; and sanctifie all thy Judgments and Mercies to us, that they may effect and produce in us that Refor­mation, and those Graces for which they are intended. Spread thy Gospel and Truth all over the World, pull down Antichrist, let all Nations understand thy Will, and readily submit unto it. Be merci­ful unto all Sons and Daughters of Affliction; comfort and succour all sick Persons, and such as are grieved with the loss of Goods, Friends or Relations. Be thou their good God and Saviour in thy due time, giving them grace to submit to thee, to trust upon thee, and to expect from thy mercy alone, a seasonable and proper Remedy to all their pressures and troubles. And now, blessed Lord, I re­commend my self again into thy merci­ful hands, and conclude these my im­perfect Prayers with that most perfect Form recommended to us by my good Saviour, in whose Name I beg, a [...] for whose sake I intreat thee, O merciful Father, grant me these my Requests, and all other Mercies which thou knowest needful for my Soul and Body.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; Hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dom come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tespas­ses, as we forgive them that Trespass a­gainst us. And lead us not into Temp­tation; But deliver us from Evil; For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

An Evening Prayer for young Persons and Children.

O God, who hast received me amongst thy Children, instructed me in thy Truth, and called me to be a Professor of thy Holy Religion; Great and merci­ful Creator, who hast been my Prote­or and Defender from all dangers, look down in mercy upon me, and continue thy Favours to me, the remaining part of my Life. I see and experience every day the manifold expressions of thy goodness. Thy Holy Name be praised for them all. Give me more and more a Sense of thy mercifulness, and a grate­ful heart; that in these tender Years I may learn my great Duty, to serve and glorifie thee on Earth, and prepare my [Page 177]self for an Eternity; for this purpose in­crease my knowledge, and the graces thou hast been pleased to bestow upon me, through a good Education of my Reli­gious Parents. Bless all my endeavours and theirs; imprint thy holy Fear in my tender Soul; preserve me from ill Com­pany, from the Vices and Errors of the Times; make me truly constant and faithful in the Professionof that Holy Religion unto which I am called. Give me a right Understanding of its divine Precepts, and grace to practise them in my Life. Let thy Word be my Rule, thy Truth my guide, thy Spirit my Comfort­er, and thy Glory my Reward. Preserve me, I beseech thee, my good God, from the Evils unto which I am subject; and let my Soul and Body be precious in thy Sight; especially this Night, into which I am entring, let the Merciful Eye of thy Providence preserve me, during its mourn­ful shadows, from all Spiritual and Tem­poral Enemies. Let thy Holy Angels guard and protect me, and bring me safe to the next day, to behold and ad­mire the Wonders of thy Creation and Providence in the World. Make me use­ful in my Generation, bless all my un­dertakings and endeavours in my Calling, that I may by it advance thy Glory, and do good both to my self and others. [Page 178]And because our natural Poverty is such, that without thee, and a continual supply from thy Bounty, we cannot possibly sub­sist; gracious God send me all things needful for my Soul and Body; let me not depend too much upon the plentiful Provision of these earthly things already made for me; but as thou art the Life and Soul of all thy Creatures, and with­out thy Blessing, our greatest plenty of good things is altogether unprofitable, let the expectation of this Blessing in­courage me to depend wholly upon thy favour, and stir up my industry in the duties of my Calling, and in the service of my Country.

Bless all my Relations and Parents, more especially [here name such as are in Affliction] grant them long life, health and happiness, preserve the King's Ma­jesty, all my Governours and Teachers, inable them all in their places to glori­fie thee their God, and do good to this Nation and People: Defend us all from our Enemies at home and abroad, and suffer them not to triumph over us, but continue in our days Peace, Truth, Ju­stice, Plenty and Prosperity. These and all other Mercies I humbly Beg for Christ Jesus his sake, my only Saviour and Me­diator, who taught us thus to pray.

OUR Father which art in Heaven; hallowed be thy Name. Thy King­dome come. Thy Will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And forgive us our Tres­passes, as we forgive them that Trespass against us. And lead us not into Tempta­tion; But deliver us from all Evil; For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glo­ry, for ever, and ever. Amen.

LEt thy grace, thy Truth and Goodness be with me, preserve and keep me now and for evermore. Amen.

Prayers before Meal.

SEnd down thy Blessing, good God, up­on these thy Creatures that we are now to be partakers of; inable them to feed our Bodies, and recruit our weakness, and strengthen us to serve and glorifie thee on Earth, that we may receive from thee the Rewards of thy Servants in Heaven. This we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

Another Prayer before meat.

GRacious God, we see by these fresh Expressions of thy Bounty, that thou art never weary to load us with thy good things. Sanctifie them unto us at this present time, and us to thy Service, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Profitable Meditation at the sight of a Table spread or covered with Food for our Bodies.

HOw often have I tasted and felt the goodness of my God! He is that full Ocean of Mercy and Sweetness, from whence these Streams proceed by vari­ous dispensations and Methods. He is that bottomless Fountain that never will be exhausted. Here, here are tokens of his Love to us, and care of our preser­vation, before our Eyes: These Creatures are sent to mend the daily breaches of this outward Tabernacle, to recruit our Mortal Weaknesses with a fresh supply, to corroborate the decaying strength of Nature with new Spirits: We see, by experience, that these Bodies that God hath made, he is careful to maintain, [Page 181]and by the Influence of the Heavens, and the Fruitfulness of the Earth, to fur­nish with all their Wants. O wonderful Providence! How full and plentiful are thy Stores! that so great a share is ap­pointed for me. How rich is that Boun­ty, that when all my Fellow Creatures, so many Millions in Number, are provi­ded, vouchsafes me so great a Lot and large Portion. He can never want, that entertains a good Correspondency with the great Purveyor of Mankind, whilst the Avenues and Conveyances are open. O shut not up thy mercy from us; for let my Estate be never so great, and the Provision for my Body be never so large, alas these poor senseless Crea­tures cannot benefit me without thy Blessing accompanies them; these mor­sels may as soon choak as feed me; with­out that invisible Vertue which thou alone canst send along with them; I humbly crave it at thy good hands, my good God; let not my Sins sower or poison these thy Mercies; let me not trust too much upon these outward assistances of Life and Health, but as by thy daily pro­ceedings, thou hast taught me to depend chiefly upon thy Liberality, let me look up to, and expect from thee daily food and nourishment; grant me a thankful Heart, never to forget so great a good­ness.

But the sweetness that I am going to relish, minds me of the sweetness of that Bounty from whence it proceeds, and of the greatness of thy Divine Wisdom, that hath baited all necessary actions of our Life with a natural delight and plea­sure. How ravishing must the Fountain of Goodness be, seeing these drops con­veyed unto us, at such a distance, are so pleasing to our Palats. God that now entertains my Being so far from his im­mediate presence, intends one day to draw me nearer to himself, to live with him for ever; then the Divine Goodness shall refresh and comfort me without the cold assistance of inferior things; then the smiles of God's Countenance shall be conveyed to us, not by Reflections and at second hands, but more immediately; we shall then see as we are seen, and solace our selves (during the numberless Ages of an Eternity) in the presence of this good God, where we shall want nei­ther Food nor Raiment, but these cor­rupt Bodies shall be freed from all the slavery of the Elements and dependency upon them; for we shall depend upon our God alone, and him only shall we serve. For this Corruption must put on In­corruption, and this Mortal must put on Im­mortality. O that I might have always in mind that final end of Mankind, and [Page 183]use these thy Comforts, but not abuse them by excess and gluttony. These Bo­dies which thou hast so wonderfully made, and preserves with such care, are of that Excellency, and designed for those Noble and Divine purposes, that they must not be disgrac'd nor polluted with Vice. These Creatures thou hast appointed for our Refreshment, not for the dishonour or ruine of our Bodies. If our Tables o­verflow, how many of our poor Neigh­bours are in want? Hast thou sent this plenty for me alone? Is it not that I should praise thee in the use of so much as is needful for my self and Attendants, and that I should distribute the rest to such as are in need? I will imitate this thy Liberality, my good God, and be a faithful Steward of these inferior Mer­cies.

But this Food of my Body minds me of that of my Soul. I have another more Spiritual and Divine Being that I must feed and cloath. Gracious God, forget not that Immortal and better part of my self, but nourish it with Wisdom and Truth, that I may grow in Grace and in the knowledge of thee my God. Remove not the Candlestick of thy Gospel from us; suffer not Schism and Idolatry to prevail and smother thy true Religion in their horrid Abominations, [Page 184]but let Truth and Innocency overcome at last; maugre the furious attempts of Men and Devils; feed this precious Soul with that Bread which comes down from Heaven; increase in me all Virtue and Goodness, and preserve both my Soul and Body to thine Eternal Kingdom. Amen.

Another Prayer before meat for a Child.

GOOD God bless me and these Creatures that we are to receive, that in a moderate use of them we may be enabled to serve and glorifie thee on. Earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Useful Meditations AND PRAYERS, Upon GOD and his DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Incom­prehensible Being and Presence of God.

O Adorable Majesty! Being of Beings, Creator and Supporter of this Great World! How wonderful must be the source of all these visible Wonders! How glorious the chief Lord of so large an Empire, and of so many differing sorts of Creatures, that fill all the Elements and every Corner! We are sensible of thine infi­nite Presence, yet can conceive no shape nor being like thy Divine Majesty. The Pictures of all thy Perfections are scat­tered and represented in every thing that is made, and thou hast left an impression [Page 186]of thy Wisdom and Power in every part of this large World; yet none can re­present thee, O great God, as thou art. We see, fell, and are perfectly sensible of thy Divine Footsteps left upon every Creature; yet our weak apprehensions cannot entertain any Idea that may an­swer thy Greatness. O Spirit of Spirits, how is it possible that so weak a Creature as I am, who can understand nothing but by the Ministry of these weak Senses, should be able to comprehend the infinite and incomprehensible God, whose glori­ous Presence dazles the Eyes, and sur­passes the Understandings of the perfect­est and noblest Creatures that are above. O my God, fill my Soul with an holy dread of thy greatness and Power. Suffer me not to receive any base impression or filly Imagination of thy Divine Being; and as thou art Incomprehensible, let me not presume to form in my mind any Image, nor to have before mine Eyes a­ny Picture, with a design to represent thee. Let thine Universal Presence be always present with me, but in such a manner, as I may not be guilty of Spi­ritual Idolatry, or of harbouring any mean thought of thy Glory. O merciful God, thou requirest these Services from us, poor Creatures, and hast promised thine assi­stance to us in time of need; put there­fore [Page 187]my Soul into an Holy Temper, fit for thine acceptance, and let these Eja­culations and Emissions of my Heart and Mind, proceed from an Humility and Fear of thy presence, that they may not be un­worthy of thy Grace and Favour. And the nearer I approach unto thy Mercy-Seat, vouchsafe to look upon the necessi­ties of my Soul and Body, and grant me those Requests that thou, O my God, in thine infinite Wisdom, knowest most needful for me, for the sake, and by the mediation of my Great Saviour, whose intercession for me I humbly implore. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Immu­tability of our Great God.

O Unchangeable Being, the Author of all these changeable things that appear before our Eyes, Thou art that immutable God, upon whom we may safe­ly depend. Every thing that thou hast made directs our Eyes and Contemplati­ons to thee, as the surest foundation of all our hopes and expectations; and the nearer the Creatures have the Ho­nour to approach thy glorious Throne, the more they are fixed and secured by [Page 188]their Rights of Creation from all Un­constancy and Mutability. This wide World and all Sublunary things are un­setled, and rowling from one State to ano­ther, tumbled and tossed, changed by many Accidents, so that we cannot rest nor settle our expectations upon them. But the Heavenly Globes continue since their first make, unchangeable through so many Revolutions of Ages; tho' they also, for the sin of Man, shall suffer an alteration by thine overruling Power. But those Spi­ritual Beings that inhabit beyond and a­bove our Prospect, are yet less subject to mutation; all their Perfections pro­ceed from thine overflowing abundance: Thou only, O my God, art the Creator and Benefactor of their Immortal Na­tures: They are all subject to some weak­ness, and are circumscribed and limited, but thou alone art the unlimited and un­changeable God, always enjoying an hap­piness never to be obscured or lessened by the most violent endeavours of all thine Enemies. Thou art always continu­ing in that Glorious state, that nothing can possibly Eclipse. Thou art immutable in thy self, immutable in thy Designs and Resolutions, immutable in thy Promises and Truth, and immutable in all thy Divine Perfections. O my God, give me grace that I may settle upon thee [Page 189]my Faith and hope, and rest upon thee alone, for all my present and future ad­vantages. I have no other Rock to build upon, but thy Power and Mercy; no o­ther Truth to trust to, but thy reveal­ed Word. O that I may embrace it with that immutable Resolution, that may admit of nothing contrary to the same, that my Soul may be fixed only upon thee my good God, and look with con­tempt upon all other Objects. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Eter­nity of God.

O Eternal and Everlasting God, before the Heavens and the Earth, before the Sun and all the rest of the Lumina­ries that are above had a Being, thou didst subsist of thy self in a full enjoy­ment of an unchangeable Felicity. From all Eternity to all Eternity, thou art the same glorious and Incomprehensible Be­ing, who never fails them that seek thee in Spirit and in Truth. Let the World change and alter, and the Generations of Creatures succeed one another in their appointed times. Let all inferior things rowle and pass away. Let them have their beginnings, their growth, perfecti­ons [Page 190]and decay; thou art the same and Eternal God, who never had any begin­ning, nor never can have any end. Thou alone art that independent Majesty, upon whom all other things lean, and from whom they expect the Supplies and Re­cruits to their decaying and failing Na­tures. Thou art the first Source and Spring of all Motion and Power. O my God, thou hast granted to my Soul and Spirit an immortal Nature to continue for ever, as thy self, and I am going a­pace to this boundless Eternity; and as I am thine Image and Creature, O that I may live with thee for ever; cast me not away into endless Torments, make me an Eternal Monument of thy Mercy and goodness, receive me into thine e­verlasting Rest, for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon God's Al­mighty Power.

O Dreadful Majesty of Heaven, where­ever I cast my Eyes, thy Power shines before me clearer than the Sun at Noon-day. In the make of this great Fabrick of the World, and in the dispo­sal and continuance of all the several [Page 191]Parts, how visibly doth thine extraor­dinary Power appear! the Heavens and all the Elements are Witnesses and Trum­peters of thy glorious Power, which no­thing can oppose or stop. The Devils that are revolted from thee, do yet own, and are subject to thine Omnipotency; they are held fast in Chains, and are so restrained by thine Almighty Hand, that they cannot possibly move without thy permission. When I cast mine Eyes upon the Seas, and consider the vastness and fury of the Waves: When I look up to Heaven, and see the many glorious and large Globes of Light, some settle­ed and fixed, others rowling in their several Spheres, O my God, how won­derfully doth thy Power appear to me in all these things. And as thou art the only Original of all Virtue and Power, I have reason to conclude, that all Crea­tures together cannot stop thine hand, and that there is nothing impossible with thee; as thou hast been able to Create all things, thou art able to govern and rule their unruliness and greatest Fury, to the setting forth of thy Glory; and what­soever thou hast promised thou wilt sure­ly perform, and art fully able to accom­plish. O Almighty Creator, give me a real sense of thy Power, that I may stand in awe of it, that I may trust upon it [Page 192]in time of need, that I may believe in thy Word and Promises, that my Soul may rest and rely upon thee alone, and never doubt of thy Protection, and of thy Power to save me, Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Wisdom of God, and his infinite Knowledge.

O Infinite Being, thy Wisdom is an­swerable to thine Almighty Pow­er, and hath the same Creatures to ma­nifest and set it forth. Wherever I see the one, I must needs take notice of the other that is obvious to every Eye, in the disposition of all things that are made in their fashion, and composition; in their Inclinations, and tendencies; in the design and purpose of their Crea­tion; in their mutual Correspondencies and Government, and in the Laws and Rules that they observe. Is there any of so dull an apprehension, that cannot ob­serve a more than ordinary Wisdom in all these particulars? Can we see the Sun, Moon and Stars, observe their appoint­ed and annual Motions and Stations, without variation, and not think upon thy Wisdom? O Almighty God, who hast stretched forth the Heavens like a [Page 193]Curtain, and rulest over all. Well may I cry out with the Blessed David, in admiration of all these Blessed Won­ders. In Wisdom hast thou made them all. But what need have I to look at such a distance for the Foot-steps and Evi­dences of Divine Wisdom. In my Bo­dy and Soul, and in every Member, wherein the Great World is Epitomi­zed, and the Incomprehensible Attributes of the Unity and Trinity shadowed out, here are wonderful and surprising ex­pressions of thy Wisdom, that I carry about me. Wherefore, O my God, hast thou opened mine Eyes, and bestowed upon me an understanding Nature, to observe all these things; but that I should meditate and admire thy great Wisdom that shines before me brighter than the Sun. O Eternal Wisdom of Heaven, as I am thine Image, grant me a share of this Wisdom; imprint in my Soul such Habits of Wisdom and Knowledge, that I may fear and ad­mire thy Divine Majesty, and the rather, because thine all-seeing Eye is every where, to take notice of my behaviour and actions. There is no darkness nor shadow of Death, where Iniquity may hide or retreat from thy Knowledge. All things are naked and open before thee; thou hast a perfect insight into [Page 194]all the Inclinations of my Heart and Soul, and fore-seest what shall happen in this great World, with the several Causes. O wonderful Knowledge, that comprehends the Sparrows in the Mar­ket, and the Lillies of the Field, and the meanest Beings, that owe all to thee a subsistence. O wonderful Wisdom and Knowledge, that extends it self over all the parts of this great Fabrick, and nothing is exempted from the benefits that are procured thereby. Give me, O my God, such an understanding of this infinite Knowledge, and of thine All seeing Eye, that I may stand in awe of thy Divine Presence; that I may fear to displease thee; that my Soul may be always in such a disposition, as becomes a Creature and a Servant of so Holy, so Powerful, and such an All-seeing Majesty. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer UPON THE Goodness of God Manifested in Nature and Providence.

O Universal Goodness, that opens thy Hand to all things that have a Being, and furnishest so many Sorts of Creatures out of thine overslow­ing abundance, with so much sweetness and variety of Pleasures: How full must be the Stores, out of which so many Mil­lions are continually supplyed! From what overflowing Ocean of Delight and Joy, proceed so many Streams that yield a sufficiency to all, and yet there is an overplus left for more! O wonderful Goodness, that knowest how to supply e­very [Page 196]Creature with that which is most suit­able to its Appetite and Nature, and givest a contentment to the several spe­cies, according to their Capacities and Tempers. Through how many differing Channels does this inexhaustible Goodness convey to us the necessaries and con­veniencies of Life. Man, of all subluna­ry subsistencies, seems to be the chief Fa­vourite of the Divine Goodness, other things and Creatures have their short al­lowances, in comparison of Man. It is upon him that thou dost heap the Riches and Satisfactions of the Earth. It is to him thou hast granted thy most sig­nal Favours. It is in his Bosom that thou dost empty all varieties of sweetness and Earthly Comforts, without any regard to his deservings. O Impartial and disinte­rested Goodness, that expects no returns, but such as may give thee the Glory, and us the Benefit, and may be a means to sanctifie and increase our Blessings. How ready should we be to comply with this inexpressible Goodness, and answer the Expressions of thy Favours, with such ea­sie, cheap, and profitable returns! Should we be backward to acknowledge that which every moment we may be sensible of, and when the bare acknowledgment will produce unto us fresh Recruits, and great­er tokens of Love from thine unwearied [Page 197]Bounty. O let me never forget thy goodness, my good God, expressed and experienced in my Creation, & thy Providence in making me a rational Creature, and giving me an immortal Soul, with all the Endow­ments and Faculties which cause me to excel all other visible Species; in provi­ding so well for me, and defending me in my Infancy, from the dangers unto which its infirmities are exposed; in bring­ing me to an age of discretion, and sup­plying all my Wants with fresh and con­tinual Blessings; in preserving my Body and Soul from all Evils, and Enemies, unto this Moment; in blessing my Labours and augmenting the Provisions for my sub­sistence. I am not able, O Celestial Good ness, to reckon up the chief Heads of thy continual Favours. O that I may learn to imitate this Heavenly Goodness, and to express it in my behaviour and actions to my fellow Creatures. Is it for me a­lone that thou hast given so many and so great Blessings? should I not impart and bestow them upon those that want Supplies? Must I ingorge and swallow all? Must I keep with a tenacious hand what thou sendest to me, that I may convey it further with discretion to such as are not so plentifully stored, that they also may have cause with me to praise thy Holy Name and liberality. Give me not [Page 198]only good things, but also as good and distributive a mind, and as liberal a hand to send them abroad, that other my fel­low Servants may likewise feel and have a sense of thy bounty to me and them.

O! Divine Goodness, make me to be like thy self, and bring me nearer to thy self, that what I now experience at a di­stance, I may find in thee, in a nearer ap­proach unto thine Eternal Presence. This sweetness that I relish in thy Creatures in­vites me, and promiseth greater and more unspeakable delights, when I shall appear before thee my God, who art the only Source and inexhaustible Fountain of all sincere pleasure and joy. Give me such an heart to manage and behave my self a­mongst these Earthly Comforts, that I may not forfeit my right to the Heavenly; but that I may lay up in store for my self such a good Foundation against the time to come, that I may lay hold on Eternal Life. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Mercy of God, in the Redemption of Man, by the Lord Jesus Christ.

O Supernatural Goodness, it is in this Action that thou hast discovered to all intelligent Beings the unfathom'd depths of Love, Kindness, Mercy, Libe­rality, and Compassion. Here it is that the Divine Bounty appears in its greatest Splendour. Is my God come to visit me in my decayed Estate? Doth his mercy stretch forth a hand to fetch me out of that Abyss of Misery, into which I was with the rest of Mankind falling irrecoverably? Has he so much love and humility as to cloath himself with the rags of my mor­tality, that I might be lifted up, and one day adorned with the Crown of his Glory. O blessed exchange, that bespeaks a mercy and love in my Saviour, beyond my ap­prehension! What wonderful and surpri­sing Methods appointed by the Divine Wisdom, to bring to pass this happy end! Give me leave, with the Wise Men of the East, and the Shepherds of the Fields, my merciful Saviour, to visit thee in thy Na­tivity, and from thence to view the foot­steps and proceedings of this stupendious Mercy, as they appear in every part and passage of thy Life and Death, of and our [Page 200]Redemption. O Merciful God, the won­der of thy mercy in thine Incarnation is clearly seen in the greatness of thine abasement, in the conformity to such an apostate, and offending Nature, in sub­mitting to the weakness of our Humanity, and ingaging thy self in a Race full of the most grievous Sufferings, without the or­dinary conveniencies of Life to sweeten the bitterness of thy griefs, and mitti­gate thy sorrows. How merciful dost thou shew thy self to such as wanted thine assistance. Thy mercy gave eyes to the Blind, feet to the Lame, health to the Sick, soundness to the Distemper'd, deliverance to the Possessed, pardon to the troubled in mind, and life to the dead. Never any did seek unto thee for help, but thy compassion did as soon grant it as it was desired, unto them also whose estate rendred them incapable of thy most signal favours: Not only thy Friends, but thine Enemies too have felt and experienced the tenderness of thy mercy. What tears of compassion didst thou not shed at the sight of Jerusalem's Sins, and at the con­sideration of its approaching Judgments! How full of mercy was thy just indigna­tion, to behold the hardness of the Jews hearts, after so many, and such aparent Miracles, the Evidences of a Divine power and approbation! How full of mercy was [Page 201]this dying Saviour, to pray for his Ene­mies, at the very moment of loading him with affronts and contempt!

O Divine Sacrifice of Mercy! to live such a painful Life for our sakes, was a great expression of thy love and mercy; but to dye for us, to pay for the price of our Redemption, and suffer such an ig­nominious and grievous Death, was a far greater. Mercy, O my Saviour, leads thee through Death and the Grave, to a joyful Resurrection. Every step is a step of Divine Mercy relating to us; it shines most visibly, in releasing our great Surety out of the Grave, where our Enemies had shut him up; in affording us such an assu­rance of the accomplishment of our Re­demption, and in admitting our Nature into the Coelestial Mansions. Blessed be this wonderful Mercy, in that it hath called us to, and made us partakers of the Benefits of our Redeemer's Death and Passion, and giveth us such fair hopes and assurances of a Glorious immortality with and by him. I beseech thee let me never be unworthy of so much goodness. And seeing thy mercy, O my God, hath look'd upon the greatest of Sinners, shall I doubt of; or question whether it will be extended to me? Seeing it was designed for my benefit, and this good Saviour bore my Sins upon his Cross, shall I ex­clude [Page 198] [...] [Page 199] [...] [Page 200] [...] [Page 201] [...] [Page 202]my self by my unbelief? shall I lessen that which is infinite and unspeak­able, and that which I ought to magnifie by my confidence upon it? Prepare me for the reception of it, forgive and pardon all my Sins, admit me into thy favour, and into the number of thine Elect. Give me such visible Evidences, that I may rejoyce in thy Salvation; confirm my faith, and strengthen my reliance upon the tender­ness of thy Compassions; and as thy Mercy is extraordinary to my Soul, let me not be cruel to my fellow Servants, but cour­teous, compassionate, kind, and merciful to them; that I may be a real imitator of thee my great God and Saviour, and copy out in my actions the expressions of thy wonderful mercy to my Soul. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Justice and Holiness of God.

O Dreadful Majesty! as we gratefully acknowledge thy mercy and good­ness to be infinite and unspeakable to us, poor men; so we humbly adore thy Di­vine Justice, and know it to be most ter­rible to such unworthy Creatures as pro­voke thy Displeasure. Thy forbearance [Page 203]may suffer the wicked to Flourish and Triumph in impiety; but certainly, as thou art a wise God, thou hast appointed a time for a retaliation, and to render un­to every one according to their deeds. Shall men live and act in defiance of thine Almighty Power? Shall they violate thy Sacred Laws, and tread under foot thy Divine Authority? and shall not thine All-seeing Eye take notice, and thine af­fronted Majesty be sensible of such hainous Crimes. I appeal to the Consciences of the most obdurate Wretch, and vilest Contemner of a Deity, whether the fears and disquietness of their inward Being, which we call the Soul, the Spirit, or the Mind, do not suffiently witness, and tell them there is a Superior Justice to which they are answerable for their offences. In Nature this Divine Wisdom and Justice shine together in the great Fabrick of the World, in that excellent order of the se­veral pieces, in the disposition and ten­dencies of the Created Beings, in the Laws Rules and Orders that preserve them from decay: And thine Almighty Power, O my God, is seen in the preservation and support of all these things, in the midst of so much, and such violent Commotions, as well as in their Creation; and shall thy Divine Justice be wanting in this, in suf­fering the Rational Beings to break thy [Page 204]Laws, to contemn thy Power, and spurn at thy Majesty, without a check? shall they disorder the humane World, and over­throw thy Sacred Constitutions unpunished for ever? Look back, O my Soul, into former Ages, and see whether thou canst find in the Records of Antiquity any for­mer footsteps of this Justice: I see it ap­pear visible in the overwhelming the first World, and commanding the waters of the Seas, and the Heavens, to wash away the first Generations of Men. How ter­rible and impartial in drowning so many millions of all sorts of Creatures for the Sins of mankind! How hot and dreadful was thy Justice, when that delicions Pa­radise of Sodom and Gomorrha was by fire and brimstone from above, turned into a stinking and noisom Lake, that yet to the World's end shews the Signs and To­kens of a Divine Displeasure! How grievous was thy Justice in punishing the Nation of the Jews, and that rebellious City Jerusalem, for the Crimes of its Inha­bitants, when hundreds of thousands were destroyed, their Glory levelled in the dust, and the rest scattered among all Na­tions! But what need we search so far for the declarations of thy Justice? Are not those Scourges of War, Famine, and Pestilence, that sweep away thousands in a moment into their Graves, without any [Page 205]regard of Crowns and Dignities; suffi­cient and visible expressions of thy Di­vine Justice, O my God! I see it in the punishment of many vile wretches, in the destruction of States and Empires, in the overthrowing of Towns and Cities, in the Earthquakes and Hurricanes, in the won­derful Alterations and Revolutions of the World. I hear it denounce Death and Destruction to wickedness and iniquity in thy Holy word: ‘The light of the wicked shall be put out, terror shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet; his strength shall be hunger­bitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side; his confidence shall be rooted out, and it shall bring him to the King of terrors, his remembrance shall perish from the Earth, and he shall have no name in the street, Job 18. ‘The wicked man shall be turned into Hell, and all the Na­tions that forget God, Ps. 9.17. ‘The Lord preserveth all them that love him, but all the wicked will be destroyed. Though hand joyn in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished, Prov. 11.21. Hath thy Truth, O my God, pronounced these dreadful Threatnings, and many more, and shall not thy Power and Justice execute them? All the World is at thy devotion, thou can'st command the Hea­vens, the Earth, and all the Elements, [Page 206]to accomplish thy Will. O Divine Ju­stice, thou art a Consuming Fire, and no respecter of Persons; the Prince, and the Subject, the Rich, and the Poor shall be treated all alike, and thou art not to be deceived with the paint of Hypocrisie and Dissimulation, nor to be cozened with the impudent pretences of deceitful men. Thou seest, O my God, into the very heart and soul, and canst not be imposed upon, or deceived in the examination of our actions. When therefore I consider the excellency of thy Sacred Laws, and the aversion that thou hast declared against Sin, and the severity of thy Justice: O Holy and Dreadful Majesty, I cannot but tremble to think upon my guilt, and the number of mine offences; to think that I must appear before thy last Tribunal, be­fore a Glorious and Impartial Judge, when so many Creatures that I have abu­sed, shall all witness against me; when my Conscience shall lay before me all my Crimes, and the most secret Contrivances shall be disclosed, with all the aggrava­tions of thy mercies, forbearance, and goodnesses. What shall I answer? how shall I escape, when the Executioner shall be there ready, to drag me away into endless Torments, from whence there can be no Reprieve? How grievous will it be, to lye under the heavy strokes of thy severe Vengeance for ever.

O my God, that I may be now so sen­sible of thy Justice, that I may never ex­perience it. Make me an eternal monu­ment of thy mercy, that I may never feel the severity of thy wrath and Justice: Grant me that exemption which thou hast provided, and promised to thy chosen; an interest in my great Saviour, in his Death and Passion, for his sake spare me, and forgive all my Crimes. Accept of his Sacrifice. I flye from the Terrors of thy Justice, to thine unspeakable Mercy in Christ, at his Death, and at his Re­surrection: Thou hast proclaimed Par­don to all believing Sinners, Lord I be­lieve, help thou mine unbelief. I lay hold on thy favourable Promises, and though I have deserved thy wrath, pro­voked thine indignation, stirred up thy vengeance; I expect through the me­rits and mediation of my merciful Sa­viour, who hath been a sufficient Pro­pitiation for all our Sins, to obtain forgiveness, and thine Eternal favour, with an admittance into thy Coelestial Paradise. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon Plenty and Riches.

O Heavenly Father, how great is thy goodness to me, in bestowing upon me these Possessions, and Blessings of this Life! in granting to me this Plenty, and these Conveniencies! my Lott and mine Inheritance declares what regard thou hast to me, above all other thy Servants and Creatures; this comes not to me by chance, neither is it my Labour and Industry that have procured it, but thy Divine Appoint­ment, and thy Liberal hand, to thy holy Name be ascribed the praise and the glory of all these things. I hold them with a relation to thee, my great Lord, unto whom they do really belong, and to whom I must pay my Tribute, as the acknowledgement of thy Propriety. I look upon my self only as thy Steward, bound to mannage and dispose of these Blessings according to thine Orders. O that I may be true and faithful, and not alienate to the service of Sin, to the gratifying of my Lusts, or the pleasing of the Devil, what appertains to thee my God. As thou hast increased my stores, increase in me thy grace and wisdom, that I may mannage these Talents to thy ho­nour and service: Humble my Soul under [Page 209]such a load of earthly Blessings; am I more deserving than so many thousand others, who are not so well supplied and furnished! what obligations have I laid upon thee, my God, to lift me up above so many that I see below me? to favour me more than thousands who are in want! to fill me with all these good things, when others are empty! how greatly am I in­debted to thy Bounty! how shall I dis­charge my self, and make suitable re­turns? with these earthly Comforts, be­stow upon me thy heavenly blessings; sanctifie them to me, that they may not be an increase to my guilt, but rather a a means of Salvation: Bestow upon me a contented mind, a poverty of Spirit in the midst of all this plenty, that I may enjoy it with moderation, and dispose of it with discretion. Wean mine affections from the World, and all these Vanities, that they may be a preparation for greater and more lasting Riches, which thou hast laid up in thine Heavenly Sanctuary, for them that love and fear thee. If these things are so sweet and pleasing to us now, conveyed to us at such a distance off, and attended with much labour and sorrow, how sweet and ravishing will that plenty, and those riches be, which thou wilt grant at a nearer approach! when thou shalt wipe away all tears from our eyes, and there [Page 210]shall be no more labour to get and pre­serve them, no fear to lose them, nor trouble in the enjoyment. What a glo­rious prospect hast thou given us in thy holy Word, of greater and more excel­lent Possessions, of an Inheritance far more worthy of mine acquisition, if I now ren­der not my self unworthy of so wonderful a bounty, by ill actions, or too great a fondness of this present World. I am certain, my good God, what thy Truth hath declared, thy Power and Liberality will one day perform in us, and for us; for thou hast created me for happiness. If I will accept of it, thou hast designed, provided, and purchased happiness for me. Whilst I live in this World there is but a shaddow in the midst of all these good things that I embrace of true feli­city. The Cares and Incumbrances, the Miseries and Calamities, the Pains and the Aches, and the Fears and Apprehen­sions are continually disquieting our minds in the greatest plenty of outward enjoyments, and the temptations of Sin and the World, will not suffer me to be truly happy: Neither can my Soul, an Immortal and Heavenly Being, Created for the Vision of God, be content with­out thee, O my Maker. The joy that I now feel is in that relation and interest that I have to and in thee for all these [Page 211]possessions, and these enjoyments; I look upon my self but as a Stranger and a Pilgrim, my Country is Heaven. When thou shalt call me thither, let not these Honours and Dignities, these Riches, and this outward Splendour, these vain and de­ceitful Pleasures incumber my Soul, or cause it to look back upon these deceitful appearances; that I may be ready to shake them off, and willing to depart, to visit thine Eternal Presence; where my blessed Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ will receive and welcome my Soul in the Companies of immortal Spirits and Angels, and be­stow upon me the Heavenly and ever­lasting Riches, and true Honours, Things that eye hath never seen, ear hath never heard, and can never enter into the heart of man. Preserve I beseech thee, my good God, my Soul and Body to thine Eternal Kingdom, where all these wonders of thy Power and Bounty are carefully laid up. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer upon the Con­sideration and Sense of Poverty, and Want.

O My Creator and Redeemer, my God who hast granted me a Being, and placed me in this station of Life, de­stitute [Page 212]of all Worldly Comforts; I a­dore thy Divine Wisdom, and am content to undergo all the troubles and inconve­niencies that thou shalt think sitting to put upon me: I doubt not, but as I am thy Creature and Servant, as my good Lord and Master, thou wilt provide for my subsistence; and if the allowance be but small, it is more than I deserve at thy hands; however, it is enough, if I can have but a satisfied mind. Thou hast pro­mised to supply my wants from day to day, and give me meat, drink, and rai­ment, without which I cannot continue in this Life, why shall I doubt of the per­formance of this thy declaration? thy stores are full, and thou art rich in bounty, able and sufficient by various means to re­cruit all my wants; if the supplies come but sparingly, and thou dost allow me but a small pittance; if I receive from thee by Retail, what others have from thee by Wholesale, it is thy will and plea­sure that my dependance might be more upon thy Goodness and Providence, and that I may be always looking up to thee for the Conveniencies and Necessaries of Life. Thy Wisdom, O my God, knowest what is best for me, what is most proper to exercise my patience, saith, reliance upon thee, and my submission to thy holy and heavenly will. Who knows, but if [Page 213]I were placed in the midst of plenty, I should abuse thy temporal mercies, and employ them in my own Damnation; now I have no such debt to answer for. Thou hast recommended unto me contentment in this estate, by teaching me to pray only for my daily bread; if it be but course, it is such as proceed from thy liberal hand, and fine enough to maintain this Earthly Tabernacle, that must short­ly become food to the Worms of the Earth. O my God, by these troubles of Life it is thy pleasure to wean mine af­fections from the World, and that I may place my chief happiness beyond the Grave, that I may live in expectation when thou wilt call me out of this painful and laborious Life, to mine Eternal Rest, where I shall be no more exercised but in the praising of thy Glorious Majesty, in the Quires of Heavenly Spirits. I am satisfied, O my Heavenly Father, in thy Love and Goodness, which has never been wanting to me since I was in this World. I look upon my mean estate and poverty, to be an argument of the reality of thy love and kindness, seeing a Lazarus upon a Dunghill, was as dear unto thee, as the richest and noblest of thy Children; seeing so many of thy chosen Servants, of the Worthies of former Ages, have in this present Life wandered about in Sheep [Page 214]Skins, and Goat Skins, being Destitute, Afflicted, Tormented; and have suffered greater wants, and more pressing necessi­ties than I am reduced to. But shall I murmur at thy wise and good Providence, when I am reduced to the Condition of my great Saviour, mine Emanuel, who humbled himself to the form of a Servant; my God, who was contented to lead a Life on Earth, without having any place to lay his head; a man of grief, and ac­quainted with sorrow, despised and re­jected of men. It is an honour for me to be made conformable, in some respects, to my Redeemer; and a sign that thou wilt not give me all my good things in this Life, but in another: The more thy Bounty is sparing of thy mercies to me, the more I expect it will be liberal, when I shall depart hence, into another estate. They wisdom will mannage thy liberalities to me, because thou seest that I have not yet discretion to mannage them my self, and because, perhaps, I should not be able to encounter with, and resist the strong temptations unto which a greater plenty would infallibly expose me. I submit in all humility, O my gracious God, to the Wisdom of thy Providence, give me an heart and mind answerable to this Estates sanctifie all thy dispensations to me, that knowing that I have no other friend but [Page 215]my God, I may put my whole trust and confidence in him; that having nothing of Worldly wealth to intangle and incum­ber me, I may march the more ready and speedier to my Heavenly Country; now I see that I have no Earthly Pleasures and Delights to embrace, I may lift up my Soul to thee, and embrace thy promise of a better Estate hereafter. Keep me from craving too eagerly more than is thine allowance, or from murmuring at mine hard Condition in this Life, or complaining of my Sufferings: Keep me from seeking, by indirect means, to re­medy my wants, from invading other mens Rights, from Thievery and Steal­ing. Let me, as my whole dependance is upon thee, wait thy leisure, O my good God, and stay till it shall please thee to increase my Provisions; and let my Estate be never so low and mean, and my ne­cessities be never so pressing and urgent, let me know how to want, and how to abound; let me never be deprived of thy favour, and heavenly mercies, let me ne­ver lose the sight of thy gracious Counte­nance; let me enjoy, and have well se­cured to me an interest in my Christ and Saviour, and in thy Celestial Paradise, whither he is gone to provide and pre­pare a place for me. There is riches enough for me, and true honours, not [Page 216]subject to Worldly Casualties; there are pleasures at thy right hand, that will make me quickly forget all the toil and labours of this earthly Estate. Bring me, in thy good and due time, out of this troublesom Life; and receive my Spirit into thine heavenly Sanctuary. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer, at the enjoyment of Prosperity.

O Divine Wisdom, and Almighty Creator and Preserver of my Soul and Body; I bless thy Holy Name for all these Prosperous Successes, for an­swering my Prayers and Expectations with plentiful and gracious Returns. I acknowledge them to proceed from thee my good God, and to be expressions of thy great and unwearied mercy. Not un­to us, not unto us, but to thy holy Name be ascribed all the honour and glory. What could my industry, labour or care do, if thou didst not accompany them with thy continual Blessings? Thy hand hath been visible in acting for me, in de­livering me from dangers, and giving me such a prosperous Career to run in; thou my God art my Rock, my Fortress, and [Page 217]my Saviour, unto whom I am indebted for all these Temporal Favours. I am not worthy of the least of thy Mercies; the more therefore thy Goodness is ex­pressed to me, so much the more let my Soul be humbled before thee, that I may not soon forfeit nor misconster these gra­cious proceedings of thy wise Providence to me. What little dependance is there upon this Sun-shine? How soon may the Clouds of adversity, deprive me of all this Comfort? What a folly is it for me to presume too much upon in­constancy. There is a continual revolu­tion in all worldly Affairs, and nothing is settled upon a sure Basis; but seeing the greatest Empires and Kingdoms have had a succession of Adversities that have follow'd their greatest Prosperities close at the heels, what reason have I to build upon that which is not secured to me, but may vanish in a night, or disap­pear in a moment? O my God, I ac­knowledge that there is nothing assured to me, but thy Grace and Mercy, which will never leave nor forsake me, either in Prosperity or Adversity. Let me not therefore betoo fond and enamoured with my present glorious condition; but, as I am bound, receive it with thankful­ness and humility, and acknowledge thy undeserved Bounty to me. I must be [Page 218]always ready to embrace willingly the changes and alterations that thy Wisdom shall send to this flourishing Estate. Let me not be surprised at a bitter Cup that thy Providence may give me to drink. It is impossible and contrary to our daily experience, that every thing should con­tinue to us sweet and pleasant for ever. As the most fragrant Roses have their Prickles and Thorns, and the most se­rene Air is subject to be darkned with Clouds, as the clearese Sun to be cover­ed over with an Ecclipse, and the per­fectest Health to be interrupted with Di­stempers and Aches; so the greatest worldly Successes and Prosperities have their Interruptions, their Thorns of Cares and Disturbances, their Clouds and Eclipses to darken them. I am there­fore sensible that all these Favours are but for a little time, while it shall please thee to continue them: O let me not lose them by Pride and Insolency, or by a wanton abuse of thy temporal Blessings. Let not these thy Mercies corrupt my Mind, and aggravate or encrease my Sins, or cause any disorder in my Behaviour; but rather let this Earthly Prosperity make me truly sensible of the many and great Obligations that I owe to thee, my good God; and cause me to be more ready and more resolved to serve thee [Page 219]in my Generation, and advance the Ho­nour and Interest of my Lord Jesus Christ. But in this flourishing Estate, let me not forget the Tears and Afflictions of Sion; in this Peace and Plenty let me be mindful of my distressed and per­secuted Brethren; that, if I am able to relieve and comfort them, others of thy Members and Servants may be the better for thy Mercies to me; that these tem­poral Blessings may make way for, and prepare me for the reception of the E­ternal; and that when it shall please thee to remove me by Death, I may not be degraded, but rather promoted in thine Eternal Kingdom, according to thy gracious Promises. Amen.

A Comfortable Meditation and Prayer for such as are in Adversity, and afflicted with Losses and Crosses in the World.

O Eternal God, and Admirable Ma­jesty, whose wise Dispensations and Orders of Providence are various; it is thy will that I should be encompassed a­bout with Evils and Troubles. Hast thou appointed to try my Patience and Obedi­ence by these Afflictions? Wilt thou lead me through these Briars and Thorns? [Page 220]Must I suffer all these Losses and Crosses, and drink this bitter Cup of thy displea­sure? I am content to do it, seeing it is thy Holy Will; and am perswaded, that all these things shall turn to mine advan­tage at last. My Griefs indeed are en­creased, and my Sorrows are multiplied. Nature cannot but complain at the sight and sense of so much Misery; but I will give a check to my natural Affections, and will bring them to yield submission to thy Heavenly Wisdom. What Noble Examples have I before me of those Wor­thies of former Ages, who have been as severely treated and tryed as I am, or like to be, and yet these were thy chosen and thy dearest Children; and shall I misinterpret these Corrections from thy Hand, and think them to be signs of thy Wrath? Shall I murmur to be handled as my great Saviour was, and drink in the same Cup of Affliction with him. He swallow'd the very dregs of Bitterness and Grief, but thy Mercy and Goodness has sweetned my Cup with an infusion of some contentments that are yet left me. Thou hast not removed all my Delights, thou hast not taken from me all the for­mer Expressions of thy Bounty; if thou afflictest me in one part of my self, thou dost comfort me in another, and thy Corrections are not so grievous as to de­prive [Page 221]me of all help and satisfaction. O, my God, I humbly acknowledge that I deserve a severer treatment from thy Ju­stice than I have yet experienced, and find that thy Mercy does spare my weak­ness, and alleviate the burden that thou hast laid upon me. I trust that thou wilt not send greater Afflictions than I am able well to bear; and in due time thy Wisdom will give me ease and delive­rance. But I see by these proceedings the Sins and Provocations that I am guil­ty of; by these Losses thou dost mind me of that Idolatrous Affection that I gave away to these vanities. By these de­privations I perceive I abused these tem­poral Mercies; by this Adversity thou dost render my abode in the World un­easie, that I might long and seek for Heaven, and prepare my self for thine Eternal Rest. Blessed God, grant that I may rightly understand these excellent Admonitions of thy Providence; but ne­ver suffer me to be so weary as to hasten, or be any ways instrumental in procuring my departure: I will wait thy leisure and time, and suffer thy Divine Hand to dispose of my Soul and Body. I re­verence, O my God, all thine Orders, let them be never so grievous, and let them take from me never so many worldly Comforts; I received them first from thy [Page 222]Liberality, and it is but just I should re­sign them to thee again when thou re­quirest. Naked I came into the World, and naked I must return back again. Whatever, O Heavenly Father, thou dost condemn me to lose, let me never lose thy Favour; that will make a sufficient amends for all my other Crosses, and pro­cure me greater advantages than the World can afford. Sanctifie, I beseech thee, all the Actings of thy Providence to me. Cause me to make that improve­ment that is design'd. Wean my Heart and Affections from the World. En­crease and strengthen thy Grace in me, that my Soul may be supported by Faith and Patience; and in the midst of the greatest Calamities, enjoy a Divine Con­tentment. O, my God, I know thou canst remove this Affliction from me, and bring a Remedy to my most sensible Griefs. I am perswaded that in thy due time I shall see an alteration, I shall see my Sorrows turn'd into Joys, my Sufferings into Ease, my Losses repaired, and all these Clouds of Affliction vanish and give way to the Sun-shine of Prospe­rity. However thou art pleased to di­spose of me, I beseech thee, cast me not away from thine Eternal Presence. Sup­port me with thy Grace and Goodness in the midst of all my Troubles. Lead [Page 223]me in the Paths of Truth and Righte­ousness. Sanctifie my Soul, and prepare it for a departure hence; and when thou shalt loose it from my weak and infirm Body, receive it into thine Heavenly San­ctuary. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer in time of Health.

O My Mercisul Creator, who hast bles­sed me with a perfect Body, and a healthy Constitution, free from the pains and aches that I see other men groan un­der; thy Holy Name be praised for this great Temporal Mercy, by which I am enabled to tast and relish a greater sweet­ness in all my Enjoyments. How un­worthy should I be, if I should misemploy this strength, and this health, in sinning against thy Divine Majesty! if I should cast it away in the service of the Devil, and the gratifying of my Lusts! What a folly is it for me to run into such De­bauchery and Extravagancies of Life, as to undermine my Health, and willingly to part with this rich Jewel, and great Blessing! How shall I answer for the loss of this Talent, if I take no care to pre­serve it! and what shall I say to my [Page 220] [...] [Page 221] [...] [Page 222] [...] [Page 223] [...] [Page 224]great Lord, if I wilfully cast it away! and if I abuse the Creatures that he hath given me to strengthen it, in ruin­ing my Body, and advancing my Death how Criminal shall I appear! Thou, O my God, art my best Physician, and the Precepts of good living recommended to me in thy Holy Word, the most effectual Cordials to corroborate and confirm my health. Thy Goodness hath not only granted it to me, but afforded in Nature means, in thy Divine Oracles Rules to maintain it. Shall I be so indiscreet not to follow thy wholsom Directions? shall I slight thy Sacred Advices and Com­mands? Without thy Blessing this strong Body will soon decay, and will it not be just for thee to withdraw it from an un­worthy Contemner of thy Holy Laws? shall I rather listen to the whisperings, and pernicious suggestions of my vile Lusts, and to the Devil's Temptati­ons, than to thee my good and mer­ciful Creator, who desirest, and hast en­deavoured to encourage my real happiness here and hereafter? What a madness for a moment of sinful and deceitful pleasure to ruine my health, to spoil my sou [...]d Body, and cast into it the Seeds of Dis­eases, Distempers, Pains, Aches, and Death also! Whilst I continue in thy fear, and in the practice of thy Com­mands, [Page 225]in the Rules of Sanctity, Sobri­ety, and Temperance, I have the assu­rance of thy Blessing to accompany and continue this great advantage; but if I run out extravagantly, and follow the evil Customs of this wicked World, I shall infallibly meet with Plagues, Tor­ments, and Death. My Body is sur­rounded by many Enemies, and I carry about me that which naturally will under­mine its strength and vigour; besides, Old Age will bring me at last to my Grave, and cast my health and beauty into the dust. How weak is this Earthly Ta­bernacle, made up of Clay! how soon is it destroyed by the meanest Things! what reason have I to trust upon my natural strength, when so many young and lusty Persons are lying before me in their Tombs! and have I not often felt Death knocking at my doors, sending its usual Summons before hand, to warn me for a preparation, by frequent Aches and Weaknesses that have seized upon me. O Lord, as thou hast vouchsafed me health, give me grace to preserve it, by avoid­ing all those Vices that are apt to ruine it. Let me never depend too much upon it, but upon thy Sacred Will; sanctifie all the means for my preservation, keep me from falling into mischiefs and dan­gers: O that I may employ this Body [Page 226]and Health in thy Service, and to thy Glory. Thou hast admitted this Body of mine to be a Member of the Mystical Body of thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is now to be the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Let me not therefore pro­phane what thou hast Consecrated to such an excellent purpose, and design'd for a Glorious end, to be a Vessel of Honour in thy Celestial Sanctuary. O, my God, let me have always before mine Eyes my departure hence, and the sinal Resurrecti­on of my Body, when thou shalt grant unto me a Health that shall never be in­terrupted, a Strength that shall never de­cay, a Life that shall continue for ever, and these dark and infirm Bodies shall rise Immortal, Splendid, Spiritual, Vi­gorous, Transparent, Incorruptible, and Glorious. Amen.

A Medittaion and Prayer useful in time of Sickness.

O My Merciful God and Preserver of my Being; I acknowledge this Sickness to come from thy divine Appoint­ment; these Pains and Aches have their Commission from thee to torment my weak Body, and render my present a­bode [Page 227]in this Life so uneasie. I have just­ly deserved a severer treatment from thy Justice. I acknowledge my Transgressi­ons, and my Sins are ever before me; my provocations are many and great; I have now time to look back upon the sinful Extravagancies of my former Con­versation, I perceive how vainly and foolishly I have spent my days, how wickedly I have acted in the World, without any regard to thy Divine and Sacred Laws. These Torments of Body inflicted upon these Members, mind me sufficiently how I have employed them formerly to dishonour thy Glorious Ma­jesty. I see that thou hast taken notice of my Actions, and dost punish me in that very part that hath offended most. O ungrateful Creature, that didst re­ceive from thy God these entire and perfect Members, and from his un­wearied Liberality their Growth, Sup­port, and Maintenance; and wert thou so vile as to make them instrumental in serving the Devil, and thy base Lusts a­gainst thy God, in sinning against his Authority! Well may thy Justice, O my Creator, take me to task, and cast me into greater Tortures than these that I now suffer. I have experienced thy Mercy and Forbearance in every mo­ment of my days. When I added one [Page 228]Transgression to another, and multiplied my Crimes without number. How ma­ny gracious Calls and Invitations had I from thy Goodness to repent and amend? How mercifully hast thou always treated me? And now this disorder of my Body proceeding from the irregularities of my life past, might draw upon me an heavier Burden, and more unsufferable Torments, were it not for thy gracious forbearance. I understand, O my God, this language of thy Mercy. Thou art not willing to cast me into the bitter and everlasting Torments of that Lake that burns with Fire and Brimston; therefore these gentle Flames are kindled in my Body to make me sensible of thy Justice, that I may prevent it by a seasonable Repentance. This Fever and these Aches admonish and speak to me in that manner that thou, O my Heavenly Father, usest to speak to thy dearest Children, in that manner that is most proper for me, and suitable to thy Grace and Wisdom. Thou art willing to correct, and not to destroy me. Thou dost punish my Body that my Soul may be spared, and live with thee for ever, that the Sickness of the one may be the Health of the other. I am content to bear all these strokes of thy Mercy, O my God; I submit with all humility to thy sacred Will. Thou art my good and most skilful Physician. Thou [Page 229]knowest what Corrosives and Remedies are best to be applied to my Soul and Body: Vain is the help of Man without thy blessing and operation. And though I seek for ease and for my recovery from these Pills, Potions, Cordials, Recipe's, and Medicines, and from the skill of the Learned, I must first look up to thee, my God, before I can find any benefit in these outward means, I crave thine assistance to influence and sanctifie these methods appointed in thy Providence to restore me to Health again; for I know that my Life depends wholly upon thy Will and Word; and thou canst raise me again from the lowest Estate, from the Gates of Death; and when all other skill and means forsake me, thou art my God, my best Friend, and most experienced Phy­sician, who hast in thy hands and power the issues of Life and Death, able to re­live, heal, and remedy all my Wants. To thy Power and Mercy I flee in this time of my distress. I have little other comfort but in thine unspeakable Good­ness, which I beseech thee not to deny to thy poor afflicted Creature and Servant. Lay not upon me a greater burden than I can well bear; and with these griefs of Body administer inward Comforts to my precious Soul. Pardon and forgive all my Sins; reveal to me some assurances of [Page 230]thy Favour; discover to me some tokens of thy Love in these my bodily Sufferings. Give me a real interest in my Redeemer, who hath suffered much more for me. Increase my Faith in his Merits and Pro­mises. However it shall please thee to dispose of this decaying Tabernacle of my Body, have compassion upon my poor Soul, which thou hast created after thine own image; and purchased to thy self with the invaluable Blood of thy dear Son. After so great an expression of thy tender Love for me, let me not be dis­appointed in the future expectations that in Reason and Justice I ought therefore to entertain, and have of thy divine Mercy. O my God, restore me to my former Health, that I may yet live in my Generation to praise and serve thee: Bless all the means used for my recovery; direct my Physicians in prescrcibing Re­medies; and give power to the Physick to operate and do me good, if thou art willing that I should continue any longer in this troublesom life. But why should I be desirous to abide in this World of misery, in this painful and sinful Estate, seeing thou hast given me so clear a pros­pect of an immortal Life, of a far better and a more glorious Estate, provided for me with thee, where none of these Di­stempers and Torments shall come to di­sturb [Page 231]my quiet and happiness! O prepare me for this blessed Rest, wean my heart and affections from this vain and troublesom World; give me an entire resignation of my will and desires to thy good pleasure. If thou designest yet to continue me some time longer in this Earthly Tabernacle, grant me a resolution to live with more circumspection, that I may be more care­ful of my behaviour, a more religious observer of thy Holy Laws, more zealous and mindful to work out my Salvation with fear and Trembling. That I may emprove the few moments that I have yet to live, to prepare for a long Eternity, and not waste my precious time in vanity, as I have formerly done, mitigate I be­seech thee my great pains, take away thine heavy hand from me, and give me ease, or a sufficiency of Patience to endure what thou shalt think convenient to lay upon me; let me receive these admonitions from thee in that dutiful manner as be­comes me thy poor diseased Servant, that I may never depend too much upon my present being, but always think upon, and look for my departure, that I may be al­ways prepared for a removal out of this in­commodious Inn, into that House that is not made with hands, out of this life checker'd with so many Sufferings, into an uniform and blessed Estate, where all these Sor­rows [Page 232]shall be swallowed up in everlasting Joy and Pleasure. O my God, let not thy grace and goodness forsake me, or leave me to my self, suffer me not through impatience to hasten my death, or to de­sire it, before it be thy will to take me hence. Let me never be guilty of so great a Crime to dispose of my own Life which thou hast reserved to thy self alone, but strengthen my resolution, and courage to bear, without murmuring or complaining, with a quiet and contented Spirit what thy wisdom shall judge convenient for me, and to wait with a Christian temper for my appointed time, when thou, O my God shalt put an end to all my pains, re­lease my Soul out of this crasie and pol­luted Prison, and take this immortal Being out of this decaying House, whereof the Pillars and Foundations have been so terribly shaken by my present Dis [...]ase, that I have justly thought it would before this time fall into ruine. Prepare me for thy self, O my God, and when thou shalt call me away, receive me into thy Holy and Heavenly Sanctuary, where my ever blessed Saviour sits at thy Right hand, to intercede for me. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer when the Symp­toms of Death appear.

O Almighty God, and Heavenly Fa­ther, I perceive it is thy will to remove me out of this Earthly Taberna­cle, to call me from my present station, out of thy Vineyard, where I have been employed in thy Service. Lord, I confess my negligence and carelesness, that I have not been so diligent as in Justice and Rea­son I ought: The Task that thou hast given me to end, I have but begun; the World and its Vanities have stole away my Cares, and employed too much of my precious time; and the pleasures of Sin have bewitched my Soul, so that I have been, to my great grief, an unprofitable Servant. But, O my God, there is mer­cy with thee, and a sufficiency of mercy, to pardon my greatest and most hainous Offences. Declare, I beseech thee, the Infiniteness of thy Mercy; in the forgive­ness of my notorious Transgressions; thou art able to save to the uttermost, all that come unto thee through my Re­deemer the Lord Jesus Christ. Hast thou been merciful to a Thief upon the Cross, to a David and a Peter, to a Mary Mag­dalen, and the greatest of Sinners, and wilt thou deny me a share in this Divine [Page 234]Mercy! O strengthen my Faith in thy Gracious Promises. I Believe, help thou mine Unbelief. I seek not unto thee with any confidence upon any merits or ver­tues in my self or actions, but as the Pro­digal Son, or poor Publican, with an as­surance upon thy pure and disinteressed Love, and the Blood of my Saviour, that speaks better things than that of Abel. Cast me not away from thy presence now in the time of my distress, look upon my groans, my tears, and sufferings. The pangs of death have already seized upon me, I am departing out of this miserable World, my Soul is weary of this loath­some Tabernacle of my Body, I feel my strength decaying more and more, I see the Grave is ready to receive my Carcass, and the Worms to devour and feed upon it; let mine immortal Soul be precious in thy sight, wash and cleanse it in the blood of the immaculate Lamb, slain and buried for my Sins, and risen again for my Ju­stification.

Farewell vain World, that I have too much adored, and served, thou art not able to assist me with any comfort or ad­vice in my need, but my dependance is upon my God, to his mercy alone I seek for shelter and relief. I now perceive the emptiness of all those things that worldly minds so highly esteem; what advantage [Page 235]can I receive from my former Riches, from my Attendants and Friends! The Preferments, Grandure, and Titles of Honour cannot benefit me in my present Estate. Death is going to strip me naked, and deprive me of all present Comforts; I see the folly of my past Labours, and extraordinary earnestness after these Va­nities. Had I but any longer time to continue on Earth, I would flight these deceitful shadows of happiness; I see a­nother, and more lasting happiness be­yond the Grave, O my God, an Eternal happiness in another Estate, not subject to any casualty or change, secured to the owners by thine Almighty Power; grant me that I may attain unto it, that I may be admitted into thy Holy and Heavenly Sanctuary, that with the rest of thy cho­sen, I may be an Eternal Monument of thy Goodness and Mercy. Remove from me all disorderly affections, compleat the good work that thou hast begun in me, and accept of the groans and prayers that I shall breath out unto thee my Heavenly Father at my last gasp; send thine Angels to Comfort and secure my Soul, and re­ceive this precious Being into thy Custo­dy and Protection. Defend and preserve me from the malice and temptation of all Evil Spirits, at this Critical and last mo­ment: Look in mercy upon all my Rela­tions [Page 236]that I leave behind me, supply the want of my Presence, with the continual favours of thy good Providence; be thou a Father to the Fatherless, and a Husband to the Widows, a true Friend to such as are forsaken; moderate their grief for my departure, with the assurance of a sinal Resurrection: Keep them all in thy fear and favour, from the Corruptions of the Age, and bring them to thine Eternal Kingdom.

O my merciful God, I am weary of this wicked World, and painful Life, release me at thy good and due time; and though I see a mournful Spectacle in the dissolu­tion of my Body into loathsom dust, I can see further, beyond my Grave, to the great and joyful Morning of the Resur­rection, when thou shalt awaken this sleep­ing dust of my Body, when thou shalt find out every Grain and Particle of this Earthly Tabernacle, to joyn it again to­gether, to live with thee for ever and ever. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, receive me into thy Sacred Embraces; I will wait thy leisure, send thine Holy Angels to convey my Soul into thy gra­cious presence, that I may rejoyce for ever with thine Elect, and glorifie thy Mercy. Ease me of my grievous pains, relieve my sorrowful Soul, comfort it with a Beam of thy Countenance: Thou hast redeemed [Page 237]it, O my sweet Jesus, receive it as thine own purchase; I yield it up unto thee. Turn my sorrows into joys, my sufferings and agony into pleasures laid up at thy right hand: Assist me with thine inter­cession, and plead for me, O my Heavenly Advocate. Amen.

A Meditation and Prayer for such as are going to the Publick Assemblies, to hear the word of God.

O Eternal Wisdom, what a mercy is this! to Instruct and Teach us at our Doors, to enable, enlighten, inspire and send Messengers so near our Dwellings, to direct us in the right way of Eternal Happiness. What a condescention is this, to speak to us in our own Language, ac­cording to our Capacities; by Men, whose presence express nothing but meekness and love! was it not sufficient, O blessed God, that thou shouldest open to us the large Book of Nature, to inform us of thy Will and Sacred Laws, by so many Characters imprinted in every thing that is made? was it not sufficient for our Learning, to shew us thy pleasure in the several leaves of another Book of Providence, opened to us wide every day of our Life! but [Page 238]must thy tender compassion of our Natu­ral ignorance, unmindfulness, and wilful corruption, teach us by such plain easie and excellent methods, so full of kindness and love! Must the repetition be so fre­quent? must thou so often visit and call upon us to study and meditate upon the Divine Matters! Certainly our minds are too much wedded to the World, and too much enclined to irregular actions, seeing thou hast judged needful to repeat so often to us our Duties, and we want every weeks instruction to withdraw our con­templation from Evil and Vanity. Should not our diligence answer in some respect thy continual Care, O Merciful Wisdom, and as frequently meet thee, as we are called upon by these Publick Summons! Doubtless the business that we are to mind is of importance, seeing my Creator thinks necessary to interpose his Divine Authority, and to speak to us himself, though by the tongue of a Mortal Man. With what reverence and dread ought I to approach the gracious presence of my God, who vouchsafes to speak and in­struct me in such a loving manner. His Word and Laws should not in reason have the less power and impression upon me, be­cause of his condescention to my weakness and Capacity: Should I despise the mer­cies of my God, that are so great and [Page 239]wonderful, delivered to me in earthen vessels? O Blessed and Heavenly Wisdom, I am called away from my Temporal Af­fairs to wait upon thee, and hearken to the Divine Matters that shall be proposed, which relate to my Eternal Interest. Their excellency requires my attention and di­ligent enquiry for this supernatural know­ledge, which is able to save my Soul. Here thou dost reveal unto me what I am, and what I should be, and what I shall be: Here are discovered the admirable Myste­ries of the Holy Trinity and Unity of the Incarnation and Redemption. Here thou dost unbosome thy self to mortal Crea­tures, and shewest the tenderness of thine affection to us: Here I may have a pros­pect of the unspeakable riches of Heaven, and see the Glories that are laid up for me in thine Eternal Sanctuary. These are Matters worthy of the Angels prying in­to; these are Meditations fit for the Hea­venly Spirits; and shall I neglect or de­spise them, shall I idle away this precious moment designed for the benefit of mine immortal Soul? My gracious God, cause me to increase in Grace, and in the Di­vine knowledge of my Redemption, en­lighten mine Understanding with a clear apprehension of the Heavenly Truths, Sanctifie the outward preaching of thy word, that it may be effectual, and able [Page 240]to work upon my will. Give me an at­tentive ear, and an obedient heart, willing to submit to, and practise whatsoever thou shalt command. Deliver me from the ill consequences of Errors, Partiality and Prejudice, and make me truly thank­ful to thee for this great Blessing. Re­move not thy Gospel from us, but save us from the pernicious Plots of the Anti­christian Heresie. Unite all of us in our Worship and Church, that we may study to preserve the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. And being all together united now in the Church Militant, we may be all the more ready and prepared to enter in due time into the Church Triumphant, into that Glorious King­dom of Love and Peace, where our Sancti­fication shall be compleated, our Know­ledge perfected, and our Employment for ever shall be to Celebrate and Sing forth thy Praises with the Chorus of Heavenly Spirits. Amen.

A Prayer for Souldiers before a Fight.

O Lord of Hosts, Creator and Preser­ver of the World, look upon us in mercy at this time that we are going to hazard our Lives for the Honour an Inte­rest of our King and Kingdom, and for the Glory of thy Name, and the Preser­vation of thy true Religion amongst us. We are confident in the Justice and E­quity of our Cause against these disturbers of the peace and happiness of Mankind. Good God assist us with Victory and Suc­cess, strengthen our Courages, give us Undaunted Spirits, stand by thine own Cause, and such as Fight for the Preser­vation of thy Church and Kingdom. We trust not upon our selves, nor upon our numbers and resolutions, but upon thy Providence and Celestial Vertue, which we beseech thee to send unto us in the midst of danger, suffering us not to betray the trust repose in us, by any weakness or fear; we know that thine Almighty hand, and all-seeing eye disposes of all things, and that no violence can hurt us without thy Commission. O Merciful God, let our Lives be precious in thy sight, pre­serve our Persons from the violence of the shot, and sharpness of the Enemies Weapons, that we may yet live to praise [Page 242]thee, and serve thee in our Generations, in that station of Life unto which we are called. We trust it is not unpleasing to thee, who vouchsafest to be named the God of Armies, and seeing the necessity of the Kingdom, unto which we belong, requires it, Bless us therefore we pray thee, O merciful Saviour in these our un­dertakings, assist our General and Offi­cers with Wisdom and Skill, and all of us with an undaunted Spirit, and entire de­pendance upon thy will and disposal: Whatever happens to these Bodies of Clay, which we are willing to Sacrifice for thy Glory; look in mercy upon our precious Souls, pardon and forgive the former weaknesses of our lives, accept of the blood of our Surety and Redeemer for us, and for his sake receive our immortal Beings into thy favour and Celestial King­dom, when ever it shall please thee to call them out of these Tabernacles of mi­sery and affliction. Good God we resign our selves into thy hands, dispose of us as it shall seem good in thy Divine Wis­dom. O Blessed Jesus, unto whom all Power is committed in Heaven and in Earth, receive us into thy Protection and Mercy, we pray thee, and intercede for us to thy Heavenly Father. Amen.

A Prayer for a Ship's Company, before an Engagement at Sea.

O Merciful and Great God, whose Power, Wisdom, and Providence is so visibly seen upon this unconstant Ele­ment, we humble our selves before thee at this time of danger, to implore thine Assistance, Protection and Blessings to our necessary Endeavours, for the Preservation of the Rights of the Nation unto which we belong. We acknowledge our selves to be miserable Sinners, and guilty of many provocations against thy Divine Laws; but it belongs to thee, O Heaven­ly Father, to have mercy upon thy poor Creatures and Servants: Lay not to our charge our hainous Offences, but pardon we beseech thee all our former Sins, and give us true Repentance; that if thou shalt yet spare our Lives, we may amend. Let not our Guilt and Crimes hinder the Blessings of Victory and Success, which we beseech thee to grant to our present Fleet and Arms. For that purpose, com­mand the Seas and the Winds to yield unto us all needful assistance, and let thy Holy Angels protect our Persons, and our Ships from the fury of the Enemies shot, and all Casualties. Good God we de­pend not upon our selves, our Skill or Pro­visions, [Page 244]or humane strength, but upon thy Power, upon thy Mercy, O Holy Sa­viour, upon thy protection and favour; grant unto us we beseech thee Safety and Victory, that we may live to admire thy goodness in our deliverance, and learn by these instances of mercy to honour and praise thy Holy Name, when we shall be escaped out of so great dangers. Save us we intreat thee, O merciful God, save us, our Bodies and our Souls, that they may be employed again in thy Ser­vice; but let our immortal Souls be dear in thy sight, whenever, or however thou shalt be pleased to call them out of these Earthly Vessels; receive them, we pray thee, into thine Heavenly Sanctuary. This we beg, and all other things which thou knowest needful for us, through the me­diation of our Divine Saviour, who sits at thy Right hand, and whose interces­sion we humbly implore, in the words that he hath taught us, saying, Our Father, &c.

Seasonable Ejaculations, and short Prayers in the midst of a Fight, either by Sea or Land.

LOrd have Mercy upon us, Save and Deliver us.

Good God, abate the Pride and Fury of our Enemies.

Merciful Saviour Protect us by thine Almighty Power.

Lord Jesus Strengthen and Defend us.

O Blessed Saviour, receive our Bodies and Souls into thy Favour and Mercy.

Good God Deliver us.

O Holy Jesus, our Dependance is upon thee.

O Lord of Hosts, we trust upon thy goodness, and Protection, and not upon our selves.

Save us, Good Lord, Save us, that we may live to praise thee in our Gene­ration.

Have mercy upon our Souls.

We recommend our present and future Beings into thy Hands, O Merciful Cre­ator.

Give us Victory we pray thee, for Christ his sake, that we may Glorifie thee and thy Mercy. Amen.

A Prayer for Mariners in a furious Tem­pest at Sea.

O Almighty and Eternal God, at whose disposal are all the parts of this great World, and these violent Waves upon which we are tossed. Look down in mercy upon us, and give a check to the fury of these Seas. We see before us nothing but Death, the Deep is open to swallow us up, our only help is in thy Providence and Protection; Save and Preserve us, we humbly beseech thee, lay not to our charge our former Sins; let not this heavy load and burthen sink us now into Eternal destruction, but deliver us for thy mercies sake; still the rage of the Sea, stop these boisterous Winds, and calm this mighty Tempest. As thou hast manifested thy great Power to us in this occasion; let us be likewise sensible of thine extraordinary mercy in our Delive­rance. Thou hast promised that not a hair of our heads shall fall without thy Heavenly permission. O suffer us not to perish, but rescue us we pray thee in this our great necessity, and let us live yet longer to glorifie thy Holy Name. Send us such favourable Gales as may bring us to our desired Havens: and give us all grace to learn by this, and other instances [Page 247]of thy Power and Providence, that our whole dependance is upon thee our God, and that thou canst quickly deprive us of Life and Being, if we offer to forget our selves, and thy former Mercies, if we extravagantly abuse either in word or deed thy dreadful Name, and holy Pro­fession. Spare us, good Lord, spare us at this time, and we vow unto thee all sub­mission and obedience, and a sincere re­formation of our Lives for the time to come. To this purpose, assist our good resolutions with thy heavenly Grace, that all these accidents and dangers may turn to our Eternal benefit, to the safety and security of our immortal Souls: And all this we beg for Jesus Christ his sake, our only Mediator, whose intercession we humbly implore; and conclude these our imperfect Prayers with his most perfect Form, Our Father, &c.

A Thanksgiving after a Victory by Sea or Land.

NOT unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy holy Name be ascribed, O blessed God, the honour of this Victory and Success! We Praise thee for having spared our Lives, and suffered us yet to [Page 248]enjoy the light of the Living. We ac­knowledge thy Power and Providence in this great preservation of our Persons from the fury of our Enemies, whom we see lying before our eyes breathless and senceless; whereas thou hast been gracious to us, our good God, and sheltred us in the midst of those dangers that have swal­lowed up so many of our fellow Creatures. O let us never forget this great deliver­ance, but let these Bodies which thou hast made and preserved at this time, be em­ployed for the time to come in thy ser­vice, and for thine honour. Let these Members which have been secured by thy Providence from wounds and maiming, be consecrated to Holiness and Piety, and to advance thy Gospel & Religion. O Let us all make a right improvement of this great Mercy and Salvation! Let it not become an aggravation of our Crimes and ungratitude. Give us, with all thy Mercies, thankful hearts, humble and dutiful Souls, that in the midst of all this World­ly Prosperity and Successes, we may be­have our selves as becomes true Christians. Sanctifie therefore this great Blessing to us all; let us not demean our selves too insolently over our fellow Creatures, but treat them with compassion, as thy Subjects and Servants as well as we. O Let this Deliverance and Safety be so recorded in [Page 249]our hearts and minds, that we may ever glorifie thee our God for it, and oblige thee to a continuance of thy favours, to grant to us and our Endeavours, such Suc­cess and Prosperity, that we may be a Safeguard and Security to our King and Kingdom, to preserve them from the vi­olent attempts of all their Enemies and ours, 'till it shall please thee out of thine infinite goodness, to put a stop to this raging War, and grant us a lasting and honourable Peace. These, and all other Mercies which thou knowest needful for us, our King, and Kingdom, we humbly beg, through the Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ our only Saviour, to whom with the Father and Holy Spirit, Three Persons and One God, be ascribed from this time forth, and for evermore, all Honour, Glory, Dominion, and Praise. Amen.

A Prayer for the Preservation of the King's Person.

O Gracious God, King of Kings, and Supream Monarch of this inferiour World, we humbly beseech thee to take into thy merciful Pro­tection the Sacred Person of our King. Save him from the Power and Designs of all his Enemies, frustrate all their Plots and Conspiracies, Preserve Him in the midst of the greatest Dangers, that He may always prove an happy Instrument to promote thy Glory, and true Religion amongst us. For that purpose, assist His Fleets and Armies, bless us that Fight for Him, and the Publick Interest: Crown all His En­deavours with Victory and Success here, and with everlasting felicity hereafter; and all we beg for Jesus Christ his sake. Amen.

A Prayer for the Church Militant.

GOod God, look down from Heaven upon all thy Servants, dispersed all over the Dominions of Antichrist, and elsewhere; deliver them from their grievous Oppression, give a check to the unmerciful Enemy, preserve them from Sin and Apostacy, assist them with the Directions of thy Holy Spirit, Sanctifie all their Afflictions and Crosses to them, and in thy due time rescue them out of the Cruelties and Barbarous usage of their implacable Enemies. For that intent, bless all those Worthies that design to do them good, and open the eyes of all men to understand, and give them Grace to profess thy true Religion; call the Jews, Turks, and Infidels into thy Sacred Fold, compleat the number of thine Elect, and bring us all to that Eternal Kingdom, which thou hast provided and promised to thy chosen People. Amen.

A Short Prayer for such as are desperately Wounded.

HAve Pity and Compassion upon me, O Merciful God! I submit to thy Will; if my Body be destroyed, save mine immortal Soul. Pardon all my Sins for Christ his sake: Receive me into thy favour, support my Spirit under all my torments. Give me an assurance in thy love, by a reliance upon thy gracious Promises; and deliver me out of this World of Sorrow and Suffering, and ad­mit my Soul into thy Kingdom of Peace. Lord Jesus receive my Spirit. Amen.


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