A DISCOURSE Concerning the GIFT of PRAYER SHEWING What it is, wherein it consists, and how far it is attainable by In­dustry, with divers useful and proper directions to that purpose, both in respect of Matter, Me­ [...]od, Expression.

By John Wilkins, D. D.

Whereunto may be added ECCLESIASTES: OR, A Discourse concerning the GIFT of PREACHING by the same AUTHOUR.

London, Printed by T. R. and E. M. for SAMUEL GELLIBRAND, at the BALL in Pauls Church-yard. 1653.

TO THE Reader.

IT may justly seem a wonder, that amongst the vast multi­tude of Books, wherewith the world does abound, there should be so little written of this subject here insisted upon, being in it self of such great consequence, and general con­cernment.

There is scarce any kinde of skill, or ability which may be taught and learnt, but it hath been reduced to an Art, and laid down according to some rules and method, for the more facil and full com­prehension of it.

[Page]How copious are the Treatises con­cerning humane Oratory? and divers have written particularly of the Gift of Preaching, besides the many Examples of it in Homilies, or Sermons. And so likewise for the models or patterns of devotion, which are very numerous, al­most in all Languages But for the Gift of Prayer, or the rules whereby a man may be directed to an ability of expres­sing or pouring out his soul in this duty; there is (for ought I can finde) but lit­tle written of it in any [...]anguage, though it be of such general use for all kinds, and professions of men, and though the Gift be as much better then the Pattern, as the Receipt is better then the Medi­cine.

I am very sensible that the perfor­mance of this duty in a spiritual man­ner, is by infusion from above, and does not fall under the rules of Art, but yet [Page] there are some special advantages in the performance of it, both for the furnishing of the judgement, and the exciting of the affections, which a man may be sup­plied with by study and premeditation; and the enquiry after these is the proper subject of this discourse.

Every one will be ready to acknow­ledge it for an excellent ability, when a man can readily sute his desires unto se­veral emergencies, and upon any occa­sion pray without book; but many look upon it as being extreme difficult, and not for an ordinary person to attaine. That which is here endeavoured, is to make it plaine and facil.

There are three special hinderances which do indispose men for this service; want of Matter, and Order, & Words; for the supply of which, here is propo­sed a copious feild of Matter, a regular frame for method, and Scripture [Page] phrase for Expression, which no man need be ashamed to imitate or borrow.

The knowledge and consideration of these things, must needs be very usefull for all callings of men, (every one be­ing concerned to performe the duty, and consequently to labour after the Gift) Especially for such whose businesse it is, after a more peculiar manner to give themselves unto Prayer, Acts 6.4. and the Mi­mistery of the Word. And amongst these cheifly, for such younger, unex­perienced men who have not their sen­ces exercized to discern what is proper and fitting.Heb. 5.14. And therefore when they are put upon this service, may be apt by their ignorance in this kinde to prostitute the solemnity of this duty.

This discourse was at first intended only for private use and direction, it was for the substance of it drawn up divers yeers since, as it is now represented, be­fore [Page] I knew so much as any one Author, who had formerly attempted this sub­ject; Since that, I have met with and perused the profitable labours of some o­thers in this kind. Mr. Elnath Abba Father. Parre, Holy Incense. Mr. Clarke, De Pre­catione. Guil. Pa­risiensis de Rhetorica divina. Wesselus Geonin­gensis de Oratione. Alfonsus Rodericus Exercit. Perfectio­nis. Tract. 5. de Ora­tione. Scultetus. I have l [...]ke­wise consulted such other Treatises as did seem most neerly to border upon it; Not neglecting the discourses of those who are stiled Magistri rerum spiritu­alium, concerning the Rules they pre­scribe for Mental prayer.

I have formerly published some other preparations of a like nature, upon an­other subject, by which I am encouraged unto some hope that this likewise may be acceptable.

A DISCOURSE Concerning the GIFT of PRAYER.

CHAP. I. What this Gift is, why ascribed to the Spirit; the ingredients required to it.

THe true happinesse of every Christian, does properly con­sist in his spiritual communion with God.

This Communion is cheifly ex­ercised in those two acts of Religion

  • Prayer.
  • Hearing the Word.

Prayer may be considered under a two-fold notion, either as a

  • Duty.
  • Gift.

It is of very great concernment for every man [Page 2] to be rightly acquainted with it in both these re­spects: How it must be performed as a Duty, and how it may be attained as a Gift.

I am at this time to discourse of it only in this latter sence: The Gift of Prayer may be thus de­scribed-

It is such a readinesse and faculty proceeding from the Spirit of God whereby a man is inabled upon all occasions in a fitting manner to expresse and to enlarge the desires of his heart in this duty.

Unto the attaining of this Gift in its true lati­tude and fulnesse, there are three sorts of ingre­dients required.

1. Something to be infused by the Spirit of God, who must sanctifie, and spiritualize the judgement and affections, before we can ei­ther apprehend, or desire any thing as we should.

2. Some natural endowments and abilities disposing us for this Gift, as Readinesse of Ap­prehension, Copiousnesse of Phancy, Tendernesse of Affection, Confidence, and volubility of Speech, &c. which are very great advantages to this purpose, being naturally much more eminent in some then in others.

3. Something to be acquired or gotten by our own industry. Namely, such a particular and di­stinct apprehension, both of our sins and wants, and the mercies bestowed upon us, that we may be able to expresse the thoughts and dispositions of our minds concerning them, in such a decent forme, as may excite both in our selves and others sutable affections.

[Page 3]The first of these is by some stiled the Spirit of Prayer: the two later the Gift of Prayer: the two first of these do not fall under the rules of Art, being not to be taught or learnt, and therefore to these our endeavours cannot of themselves contribute, the one being a special grace, the other a common gift of the Spirit grounded up­on innate propensity of temper or constitution; and so tis the third cheifly that concerns our pre­sent inquiry.

Each of these may be separated from one an­other. There may be true grace in the heart, where there is but a very small measure either of this natural or acquired ability. And on the o­ther side, a man may have the Gift of Prayer, who has not the Spirit of Prayer; that is, there may be a great degree of these common gifts in such as are altogether estranged from the life of grace.Psa. 68.18 'Tis probable that Judas was eminent for these, and therefore was chose an Apostle; and so those others, who at the last day shall plead for them­selves, Lord have not we preached in thy name, and cast out Devils, &c. they did all this in his Name;Mat 7.22. that is, they were by him both outwardly called and gifted for these services.

Such as have onely the second of these may sometimes exceed those that have the third, whence it comes to passe that men of very ordi­nary parts in respect of any acquired abilities, may be more ready and copious in this service, then those who in respect of other knowledge are much beyond them.

But then only is this Gift compleat, when there [Page 4] is a joynt concurrence of all these three ingredi­ents, when the heart is sanctified, and the natu­ral abilities improved by industry.

That is a very apposite text to this purpose, and does treat particularly concerning this subject Prayer, under the notion of a Gift, Rom. 8.26. 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.

The cheif Scope of that place may be compri­zed in these three Propositions.

1. That of our selves we are very ignorant, and impotent in this businesse of Prayer, having many infirmities, not knowing what to pray for as we ought. Not but that a meer natural man upon the sence of any present want or danger, may ap­ply himself unto this duty for remedy (as the Mariners in Ionah) this being a common in­stinct of nature; But to performe it acceptably, either for the matter, what we should pray for, or the manner, as we ought; this is a businesse of much greater difficulty, because 'tis required to be according to the will of God. vers. 27. And the natural man understands not the things of God, 1 Cor. 2.14 neither can he know them, because they are spiritu­ally discerned. But is disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate, Tit. 1.16 [...], void of judgement; being alienated from the life of God, Eph. 4.18. through the blindnesse that is in him.

There is naturaly in every man▪ both an impo­tency of judgement, an enmity and aversnesse of desire towards all holy duties in general, and [Page 5] particularly to this of Prayer: We cannot order [...]ur speech to God by reason of darknesse, Job 37.1. saith Eli­ [...]u; and therefore the Disciple upon their first conversion, being sensible of their own disabili­ty in this kinde, they made their addresses to our Saviour, that he might teach them how to pray.

2. The Spirit of God must be our guide and assistance in this duty;Luk. 11.1. He must help our infirmi­ties, and make intercession for us. Not that the Holy Ghost is our Mediator of intercession, that is properly the office of the Sonne, who is therefore stiled our Advocate. There is one Me­diator betwixt God and Man, 1 Joh. 2.1 1 Tim. 2.5 the Man Christ Je­sus. 'Tis He onely that in respect of his merits and sufferings does make intercession for us, Rom. 8.34. But now because the Spirit of God does excite our hearts to prayer, and infuse into us holy desires, stirring us up, and instructing us in this duty; therefore is he said to intercede for us. So Gal. 4.6. there the Spirit is said to cry Abba Father: Rom. 8. God hath sent the spirit of his Sonne into your hearts, crying Abba Father; and yet vers. 15. of that forecited place, 'tis said, We have received the spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father. In which places being compared, the Spirit is said to cry Abba Father, because it makes us to do so: So is he said to pray for us, because he does informe and quicken us to pray for our selves.

'Tis one of his peculiar titles to be stiled the Spirit of Supplication;Zach 12.10. because of that special in­fluence which he hath in the bestowing of this [Page 6] gift.Psal. 51.15 He must open our lips, before our mouths can shew forth his praise.

Not that the other persons of Trinity are ex­cluded from a joynt concurrence in this work. Opera Trinitatis ad ex [...]ra sunt indivisa. All the actions of the blessed Trinity (excepting onely those that are of intrinsecall [...]elation) being the undivided works of all the three. But now be­cause our grosse understandings are not able to conceive of this Trinity without some distinction of their offices and operations in reference to us,Dr. San­derson in 1 Cor. 12.7. therefore does the Scripture condescend so farre to our capacities as to speak of these common works by way of appropriation. Thus Power and Creation is commonly ascribed to the Father: Wisdome and Redemption to the Sonne: Goodnesse and all habituall graces, or gifts to the Holy Ghost.

These general operations of the Spirit are usu­ally distinguished into two sorts.

Either

[...].
Grace.
[...].
Gift.

Or in the common expression of the Schooles there is: 1. Gratia gratum faciens, which re­ferres to those gifts of Sanctification, that do more especially concerne our own happinesse: 2. There is gratia gratis data, which concernes gifts of Edification, whereby we are made usefull to o­thers, according to our severall stations.

Of the first kind are all those spiritual Graces, Faith, Repentance, Humility, &c. infused into us in our regeneration.

[Page 7]Unto the other are reducible all kinde of se­condary endowments, or abilities whatsoever that belong to the reasonable soul (excepting onely those first faculties, that flow immediately, à principiis speciei, Dr. San­derson. ibid. and are in all men alike) I say all kinde of abilities or good habits, are redu­cible under this head. Whether or no they are by extraordinary and immediate infusion, as were those gifts in the Primitive times of tongues, mi­racles, healing, &c. 1 Cor. 12.

Or whether they are naturall abilities, arising from mens severall tempers and dispositions; as strength of judgement, quicknesse of fancy, warm­nesse of affection, readinesse of speech.

Or else whether they are intellectuall habits which are acquired, and perfected by Education, Industry, Experience, as when men become skil­full in any particular Art, or profession. That skill of Bezaliel and Aholiab for those curious artificiall works of the Tabernacle, to work in gold, and silver, and brasse, and cutting of stones, and carving of wood, was from the Spirit of God, Exod. 35.31. The secular policy of Achitophel; The natural wisdome of Solomon; The skill of the Plowman, both in sowing, and threshing does proceed from the same Spirit;Isa. 28.26, 29. from whom every good and perfect gift does come. In breif, when men become skilfull and expert in any faculty, whether, Disputing, Ora­tory, Preaching, Praying, &c. each of these does proceed from the Spirit of God, as the prin­cipall Author of them; dividing to every man seve­rally as he will. All other helps,1 Cor. 12.11. whether from [Page 8] nature or industry; being but secondary, subor­dinate Aides, which are by Him made effectual for the accomplishing of these ends. That Que­stion of the Apostle being fitly applyable unto all preheminences of this kinde. Who made thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou hast not received? 1 Cor. 4.7.

So then all kinde of good habits or abilities, and particularly this gift of Prayer, with the se­veral degrees, or ingredients of it are to be ascri­bed unto the Spirit of God, as being the cheif donor of them.

3. This gift of the Spirit is not barely by infu­sion, but by assisting our endeavours, by help­ing together with us, [...]. collabo­rantes adjuvat. He helpeth together with, and over against us, (so the Original word does pro­perly signifie) as when another man sets to his shoulder, to bear a part with us in the lifting of any burden: We must put forth our best en­deavours; and then we shall not want his assi­stance. The Spirit of God do's ordinarily work by means, and 'tis an old rule in Divinity. Ha­bitus infusi infunduntur per modum acquisitorum. Infused habits are usually wrought in us after the same manner as acquired; that is, gradually, and not without humane endeavour and coopera­tion.

In the Primitive times indeed when the Church was in its Infancy, then the teat was put into their mouthes, they were extraordinarily inspi­red with these gifts by immediate infusions, with­out the usual means of study and labour; but [Page 9] that Mannah was only for the Wildernesse, when other common wayes could not be made use of; whereas, when the Church is grown up to the estate of Manhood, and is possessed of the Land, God does now expect that we should plow and sowe, and eat the fruit of the Earth in the sweat of our browes; that we should serve his Providence, and depend upon him only in the use of means; and as children do not learne to speak distinctly, but after many trials; so neither can a Christian be able (as he should) to cry Abba Father, till he has bestowed some time and ex­perience in the learning of it.

CHAP. II. Two extreams that make men defective in this Gift. Confining themselves wholly to set-formes. Depending wholly upon sudden suggestions.

FRrom what hath been already said, 'tis easie to inferre that there are two ex­treams which usually hinder men from a proficiency in this Gift.

1. When they so confine themselves to the help of books and particular set-formes, as not to aime at or attempt after any farther improve­ment [Page 10] of their own knowledge and abilities in this kind.

2. When men depend altogether upon sud­den suggestions, as if it were a quenching, or confinement of the Spirit, to be furnished be­forehand with matter or expressions for this service.

Unto those that erre in the first kinde, I would suggest these considerations.

First, by way of concession: As for those weaker Christians and new Converts, who have not their hearts enlarged with an ability to ex­presse their own wants and desires, 'tis both lawful, and convenient for such to help them­selves, not onely in their families, but even in their secret performance of this dutie, by the use of some good book or prescribed form, un­till by farther endeavour and experience, they may attain unto some measure of this gift.

Such persons may perhaps finde oftentimes their own case and condition more pithily and affe­ctionately set down in a prayer penn'd by ano­ther, then they are able to expresse it themselves. And if the use of such a form do prove a means to warm their affections, and enkindle their graces, certainly then it cannot be justly stiled a quenching of the Spirit. 'Tis not essential unto the nature of prayer, that it be either read, or rehearsed by memory, or by immediate and sud­den suggestion; (these things being such cir­cumstantiall adjuncts, as have not any absolute intrinsecall necessity or unlawfulnesse) but ra­ther that it be delivered with understanding and [Page 11] suitable affections, with humility and confi­dence, and an inward sense of our conditions. Nor is there any great difference (as they are considered in themselves) betwixt repeating by memory, and reading out of a Book; the me­mory being but a kinde of invisible Book for the register of our thoughts, though in this case it should be specially remembred, that in the use of such prescript formes, to which a man has been accustomed, he ought to be narrowly watchfull over his own heart, for fear of that lip-service, and formality, which in such cases we are more especially exposed unto. This I thought good to premise for the removall of prejudice on the one hand.

But now in the second place, for any one so to set down and satisfie himself with his Book-Prayer, or some prescript form, as to go no farther, this were still to remain in his Infancy, and not to grow up in his new nature: This would be as if a man who had once need of crutch­es, should alwayes afterwards make use of them, and so necessitate himself to a continual impotence. 'Tis the duty of every Christian to grow and increase in all the parts of Christiani­ty; as well gifts as graces, to exercise and im­prove every holy gift, and not to stifle any of [...]hose abilities wherewith God has endowed them. Now how can a man be said to live suit­able unto these rules, who does not put forth himself in some attempts, and endeavours of this kinde? and then besides, how can such a man suit his desires unto several emergencies? What [Page 12] one sayes of counsel to be had from books, may be fitly applied to this Prayer by book; That 'tis commonly of it self, something flat and dead, floating for the most part too much in generalities, and not particular enough for each severall occasion. There is not that life and vi­gour in it, to engage the affections, as when it proceeds immediately from the soul it self, and is the natural expression of those particulars, whereof we are most sensible.

And if it be a fault not to strive and labour after this gift, much more is it to jeer and despise it by the name of ex tempore Prayer, and praying by the Spirit; which expressions (as they are fre­quently used by some men by way of reproach) are for the most part a sign of a prophane heart, and such as are altogether strangers from the power and comfort of this duty.

Whereas 'tis commonly objected by some, that they cannot so well joyn in an unknown form, with which they are not beforehand acquainted; I answer; that's an inconsiderate objection, and does oppose all kinde of formes that are not pub­likely prescribed. As a man may in his judgement assent unto any divine truth delivered in a Ser­mon, which he never heard before; So may he joyn in his affections unto any holy desire in a Prayer, which he never heard before. If he who is the mouth of the rest, shall through im­prudence deliver that which we cannot approve of, God does not look upon it as our Prayer, if our desires do not say Amen to it.

If it be again objected, that this ability of [Page 13] praying without Book, may perhaps be fit for Ministers, and such as are of more eminent learn­ing and knowledge, but is not to be expected from others.

I answer, 'tis true, such persons are more e­specially concerned in this Gift, and 'tis the great­er fault and shame for them to be without it; but yet others are not exempted from labouring after it, no more then they are from the occasi­ons, or need of it, or performing the Duty. And as for the pretended difficulty of it, I shall in this discourse make it evident, that if it be but seri­ously attempted (as all religious businesses ought to be) 'tis easie to be attained by any one that has but common capacity.

Unto those that are in the other extream, de­pending altogether upon sudden infusion, and neglecting to prepare themselves for this service, by study and premeditation, unto such I would propose these considerations.

1. By way of Concession. 'Tis true, a man ought not to tye himself, so precisely unto any particu­lar form of words (though of his own compo­sing and fitted to his condition) but that he may either adde or alter, according as any emergent occasion, or some new affection suggested shall require. Sometimes perhaps he shall feel his heart more warm, his desires more vigorous, and his expressions more copious and ready. And in this case he should not suffer himself to be streightened, or confined within any old form, but may expatiate more freely according as he findes his inward inlargements.

[Page 14]But then to the second place, this do's not hinder, but that generally 'tis both lawful and necessary to prepare our selves, as for this gift in generall, so for every particular act of it, by premeditating; (if we have leisure for it) both matter, and order, and words. For though it be a gift of the Spirit, yet 'tis not to be expected, that it should be suddenly infused into us, with­out any precedent endeavours of our own, no more then the Gift of Preaching, for which the ablest Ministers are bound to prepare themseves, with diligence and studie, there being not any ground for a man to expect more immediate sup­plies from above in the duty of Prayer, then in that of Preaching.

But here it should be considered, that there is in this businesse of preparations great difference to be allowed for, in respect of

  • Persons.
  • Times.

1. There is a vast distance betwixt the abili­ties of severall persons, even those that have been practised and experienced in this kind, some being naturally of a warmer temper, more easie affections and ready expression; others more cold and slow in each of these. Now the same [...]udy and strictnesse in the preparation of mat­ter and words, is not alike required from each of these. The proportion of gifts, which any man hath received, is the measure of his work and duty: To whom much is given, of him much will be required, in respect of preheminence and abilitie: And when the iron is blunt, a man [Page 15] must put to the more strength, in respect of care and diligence; one of these ought to be the more able and eminent, the other ought to be the more studious.

The measure of one mans gifts is not a rule for another man to work by, or to be censured by. And therefore (by the way) 'tis a great mistake in those who are apt to judge one man as com­ing short in his duty, because he has not the same eminency of gifts with another; though such an one perhaps, can with fitting, proper expressions, inlarge himself in this duty upon any sudden occasion, yet he should not con­demne another that cannot. Our abilities are not rules for other mens actions. God accepteth according to what a man hath, 2 Cor. 8.12 and not according to what a man hath not. In respect of duty we should labour to emulate the best, but in matter of Gifts, as we must not neglect the means of improving them; So we must be content with our portion, though we come behinde o­thers.

'Tis true, if our affections could alwayes lead our prayers, then the expression would be more facil, and the premeditation might be the lesse. But because there will be sometimes a necessity that our affections should follow, and be stirred up by our expressions, (which is especially to be aimed at, when we pray in publick, in reference to those that joyn with us) and will very often fall out likewise in our secret devotions; there­fore 'tis requisite that a man should be alwayes furnished with such premeditated formes, as may [Page 16] be most effectual to this end, namely to excite the affections.

And to this purpose, if those heads, which will be alwayes pertinent, and of continual necessity, were comprehended in some set forme, studied with care and diligence, they might perhaps be more serviceable for the stirring up of our faith, and affections, then they could o­therwise be, if they did proceed onely from our own sudden conceptions.

2. We should likewise distinguish betwixt the several times, and occasions of performing this duty, when we are call'd to it, either publickly with others, or secretly betwixt God and our own souls. Now there is not the same degree of premeditation and study required for each of these; A man may in secret take a greater liber­ty, to inlarge himself in such sudden expressi­ons, as are not in themselves perhaps so proper, and significant, which yet may be suitable to the present intention, because they set forth his own immediate thoughts. But now when we are to be the mouth of others, then our businesse must be to engage their affections that joyn with us, and therefore our expressions here should be so proper, and deliberate, as may be most effectual to this end; now such kinde of unpre­meditated formes; as may serve well enough to set forth our own desires, will not perhaps be so proper to excite anothers.

That is certainly the fittest forme, which does most adequately answer the chief end of Prayer, namely, to stirre up the affections, and expresse [Page 17] the desires: Now this in our publick devotions, where we are to joyne with others, and to make impression upon them, I say in such cases this may generally better be done by study and premeditation, then by leaving it to sudden con­ceptions. Such crude notions, and confused matter, as some men by their neglect in this kinde will vent, does rather nauseate and flat the devotion then excite it.

And therefore upon such occasions we should take care that our expressions be so weighty, and serious, as may be suitable to the end, and the so­lemnity of this service; and the lesse any mans former practice and experience hath been, by so much the greater ought his warinesse and study to be at such times.

And here I cannot but observe two kinde of imprudencies, with which good men are some­times apt to be overtaken, an affectation of length, and an affectation of continual varying their phrase, when as their inward inlargements do not perhaps fit them for either.

And by this means, they become exposed un­to some empty, impertinent, unseemly expressi­ons. They should consider, that though it be in it self very useful, and argues an excellent abili­ty to do these things well, yet there may be too great an affectation of them. And then besides, neither is every man, nor perhaps any man at all times fit for them; I mention these onely as right­hand infirmities, upon which profane men will be apt to take great advantages, and to confirme themselves in their prejudices, and therefore eve­ry [Page 18] prudent Christian should be watchful against them.

There is nothing more unsuitable to the solem­nity of this duty, to that reverence which we owe unto the divine Majesty, then to bespeak him in a loose, carelesse, empty manner, though God is not bettered by any thing we can give or do; All our services being to him as nothing; yet he is pleased to esteem of them by their commen­suration to us, if in respect of our abilities they are the best, and with any thing below our best, we cannot expect he should be satisfied. All kinde of worship should proceed from a desire, and study to honour God, and therefore ought to be performed with our utmost care and abili­ties. Under the Law men were bound to Sacrifice unto God the best of their substance; and if sacri­fice be a type of Prayer, then also we are bound to pray unto him in the best manner and forme that we can invent; and consequently in a pre­meditated form, when that may be most effectu­all to direct us in our desires, and to stirre up our affections. The multiplicity of our wants, the unfaithfulnesse of our memories, the dulnesse and slownesse of our apprehensions, the common ex­travagancies of our thoughts, will all require our best care for the remedy of them and premedita­tion may be a very proper means for this purpose.

Job 9 14. Mr Caryll Job speaks of chusing out his words, to reason with God. As it is amongst persons and things, so it is amongst expressions too; some are choise and beautiful, others refuse and improper. Now a man should be careful to select the fittest [Page 19] words to expresse himself in this duty. And 'tis a very solemn Caveat which the Wiseman gives, Eccles. 5.2. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hastie to utter any thing before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth, therefore let thy words be few; as if he should have said, when thou dost approach before the Divine Majesty in the duty of Prayer, be sure that thou first ponder with thy self the greatness of that businesse; settle and compose thy [...]houghts to the solemn performance of it. Be­tware of crude, tumultuary meditations; of idle, impertinent, wilde expressions; Take heed of all empty repetitions, digressions, prolixity; for God is most glorious and wise, whereas thou art a poor unworthy creature, and therefore should­est not dare to bespeak him, without a great deal of fear and preparation. Let thy words be few; Not that brevity, or fewnesse of words is the proper excellency of Prayer; God is as little ta­ken with that, as with the length of them; He is not wearied and tired, as men are: But be­cause those that speak little, do probably study, and ponder more upon what they say.

And to this purpose 'tis said, that the wise Preacher sought out, and gave good heed to find, and to set in order acceptable words, Eccles. 12.10. and of such words 'tis said in the next verse, that they will prove as goads and nails fastened by the Masters of Assemblies, that is, when they are deliberate and proper, they will leave a strong and lasting impression upon the hearers.

If it be objected, that set forms are properly [Page 20] helps of insufficiency, and therefore should not be used by those that have abilities of their own.

It may be answered, though set forms made by others be as a crutch or help of our insufficien­cy, yet those which we compose our selves are a fruit of our sufficiency; and may likewise prove a very great advantage, for the more solemn performance of this duty, (especially in publike, and with others) both for the direction of our desires, and exciting of our affections: Though a man ought not to be so confined by any preme­ditated form, as to neglect any special infusion. He should so prepare himself, as if he did expect no assistance; and he should so depend upon di­vine assistance, as if he had made no preparation.

If it be objected again, that men ought to rely upon that promise, Dabitur in illa hora, Matth. 10 19. Take no thought what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same houre.

I answer, 'tis true, when God does call men to extraordinary services, of which that Scripture speaks, he does accordingly fit them with extra­ordinary assistance. But yet when men may use the common means, 'tis there a great presumpti­on to depend upon extraordinary help. That's a remarkable saying of the son of Syrach: Before thou prayest, prepare thy self, and be not as one that tempts the Lord. Ecc. 18.23 He that rushes upon this duty, without using the common means of fitting him­self for it, does tempt God; for to tempt God, is to expect any thing from him without using the ordnary helps. So our Saviour answered [Page 21] the Devill, when he would have perswaded him to fling himself from the Temple, when as there were stairs for descent, Matth. 4.7. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And of this fault are those guilty, who depend so much upon immedi­ate infusion, as to neglect all premeditation or previous studie.

If any should think that that phrase of the A­postle, of praying with the Spirit, does imply a to­tall resignation of a mans self to his immediate suggestions; That may easily appear to bee a grosse mistake, for in the very same place, 1 Cor. 14.14, 15. He speaks likewise of singing with the Spirit. And I presume no man would think it fitting, to rely wholly upon his bare infusions, in the duty of singing without preparation both of matter and words too.

I have been the longer upon this subject be­cause I would willingly remove those inconside­rate prejudices, which some of good affections may be transported with in this point; And that this holy duty might not so often suffer in the solemnity of it, by mens presumptions, and neg­ligence in this kinde.

CHAP. III. Arguments, or motives to excite men un­to the labour after this Gift.

HAving thus discoursed concerning the na­ture of this Gift, together with the two ex­treams which on either hand do so much hinder mens proficiency in it; I shall in the next place briefly suggest some few arguments or motives to engage us upon the diligent enquiry after it.

1. From the excellency of it in comparison to those other abilities, which are so much valued, and sought after in the world. As for Manual trades, men are content to bestow the labour of seven yeers in the learning of them. And so for the Liberal Ar [...]s, you know what numerous and large volumes are written concerning them: how much time and pains men will lay out in the stu­dy of them, counting their labour well bestow­ed, if after many tedious watchings they can at­tain to any kind of eminency in these professions; And yet these things can onely accommodate us with some outward conveniencies, and help us in our conversing with men; whereas this Gift of Prayer is of much higher, more universall effi­cacy, and does enable us to converse with God, and therefore may much better deserve our enquiry. 'Tis counted a commendable thing for men to have any special skill in Arts that are meerly for recreation and diversion of the minde▪ How much [Page 23] more in this Gift, which is the chief refuge, and refreshment of the soul in all its dejections? 'Tis a desirable thing to be expert in humane Orato­ry, whereby we are able in ordinary affaires, to perswade and prevail with men: How much more in this divine Oratory, which in matters of nearest and greatest concernment does give us power to prevail with God?

2. From the suitablenesse, and necessity of it, in respect of that Religion which we professe; un­to which this gift is of such great consequence, and has such immediate relation. An ingenuous man would be ashamed to pretend unto any Art or faculty, wherein he is grossely ignorant: So may that man be to professe Religion, who neg­lects to attain this Gift. A Christian that can­not pray, is like an Oratour that cannot speak, or a Travellour that cannot go; there being no other ability more necessary for us in our parti­cular callings▪ as we are Artists, then this is for our general callings, as we are Christians. Now as a man would be loth either to be, or to be ac­counted ignorant in the mysteries of his pro­fession, so should it be a shame to us to be very defective or negligent in this gift. 'Tis part of our spiritual Armour; and for a Souldier to be without any skill in the use of his armes, is both an unsuitable and a dangerous condition.

3. From the special advantages and fruits of this Gift, enabling a man upon all occasions to relate his condition, according to the special cir­cumstances of it; to suite his desires and expres­sions according to several emergencies, which in [Page 24] the midst of all our dejections and tumultuous thoughts, will be a meanes to induce a quietnesse, and Serenity of minde, if a man can but pour out his soul, and lay open his case before God. So that by this meanes he may have a continual supply of comfort upon every occasion; besides those special raptures and elevations of spirit, which men that are much conversant in this du­ty, and inquisitive after this gift, shall sometimes be affected with.

4. From the inconveniencies that a man shall be exposed unto by the want of it, when he is surprised by any sudden exigence, or lies under any great strait, wherein he cannot expect any help, but from the hand of God; (as who is there that can promise himself a continual freedome from such extremities, but that they may at some time or other befall him?) I say, that in such a case a man should not know how to relate his own condition, or to bespeak Gods assistance without having recourse to some prescribed forme, which perhaps hath no proper reference to the particu­lar occasion; How inconvenient and prejudici­all would this be? Our liberty of recourse to God in such cases, is one of the greatest priviledges of a Christian, and therefore our ignorance in the due manner or proper way of this addresse, must needs be a great disadvantage; there being but little difference betwixt not having a medicine, and not knowing how to apply, or make use of it.

True indeed, the best men have sometimes found such a straitnesse upon their spirits, and such unaptnesse for expressions, that they have not [Page 25] been able to pour out their souls in this duty, but then they have still complained of this, as being a great discomfort and unhappinesse.Isa. 38.14. So Heze­kiah, I did chatter as a Swallow, and mourn as a Dove, mine eyes fail with looking upwards. And David, Psal. 55.2. Behold, how I mourn in my prayer, and make a noise. And therefore it must needs be a much greater unhappinesse to be alwayes in this condition, and under a continuall disability of expressing our own wants and desires in this duty.

These particulars rightly considered cannot but inflame our hearts unto an earnest desire of this Gift.

CHAP. IV. The general directions for the attain­ing of this Gift. Namely Rules and Practice. Some particular Rules to engage the affections in this service. What we are to do upon any invinci­ble indisposition or aversness from it.

THe next thing to be discussed is concern­ing the means, or directions, for the more facill attaining of this Gift▪ where there are these two general things to be prescribed; Namely Rules and Practice, which [Page 26] are likewise necessary for all other acquired ha­bits.

1. Without Rules a man will be apt to go compasse, and roving in the enquiry after this Gift, not the shortest and most proper way.

2. Without frequent Practice, according to these Rules, he shall never attain this habit. 'Tis not the bare knowledge of a way, without walking in it, that will bring a man to his jour­neys end. Habits are both acquired and improved by exercise. Those things that we learn for pra­ctice, we learn by practice (saith the Philosopher.) And that is one reason why many ignorant men do sometimes in this Gift excell those that are much more eminent for learning and knowledge; because though these do better understand the Rules, and Theory, yet the other do practise more; and by that means attain to a greater readiness and facility in this gift, and this like­wise is the reason why in these later times, di­vers men have attained to a greater prehemi­nence this way, then was usuall heretofore, because formerly this kinde of study and endea­vour was lesse in use: Men did generally confine themselves to particular forms, and did not make it their businesse to improve in this abi­lity.

The Rules to this purpose are chiefly of two kindes. Namely such as concern,

  • 1. The stirring up of the affections.
  • 2. The informing and furnishing of the judgement

1. 'Tis convenient that the affections should [Page 27] be so engaged in this service, as that they may lead the way and guide us both in our matter and expression, to which purpose the most proper means wil be to get a clear and distinct appre­hension of our own conditions in these two re­spects.

1. In respect of that necessity that lyes upon us,

2. In regard of that possibility which there is of obtaining by this means help and supply. These two arguments will be of greatest efficacy to excite the affections.

1. We must labour to work in our selves a true sense of our own necessity. A Malefactor that is presently to be sentenced, and executed▪ will not need any prompter to quicken his desire of pardon. Men that are in such a condition, (saith Parisiensis) Nullum habent Doctorem, De [...] cap. 26. qui illos supp [...]icare doceat, & precari; non habent librum, quem inspitientes, accipiant inde disertitudinem il­lam deprecationis) will not need any Master to teach them how to supplicate, nor any book out of which they might learn a set forme of petitio­ning. The apprehension of their present dan­ger will make them both importunate and elo­quent, in the desire of mercy. And thus will it be in proportion, with every one as he does apprehend his own necessity, in respect of any want, or danger. To which purpose that g [...]ace of Humility, will be of special advantage, which is alwayes sensible of it's own need and poverty; and the more it does receive, by so much the more does it bemoan it's own indigence.

Now, when a man has brought his heart to [Page 28] this temper, it will be most proper for him to lay aside all needlesse artifice, or affectation, be­having himself in his addresses unto God with the same plainnesse, and simplicity▪ as we use to do with men. Let him seriously consider. 1. What sins those are which (if he were now to die) would most affright his conscience. Con­fesse them in particular, aggravate, and bewaile them▪ 2. What that is he would chuse above all other things to desire of God, if he were sure to have his wish; Pardon, Grace, Perseve­rance, Contentment, Heaven, Protection▪ &c. and let him beg each of these, urging the pro­mise to this purpose. 3. How his condition does differ from others below him. What blessing there is that he could least spare. Others, per­haps, are wretchedly ignorant, prophane, ne­cessitous, sick, &c. whereas he is exempted, and therefore ought to give thanks for each of these enjoyments.

And in in the mention of these, he may poure out his thoughts in the most obvious expressions, As suppose after this manner. O Lord my God, I am at this present guilty of such or such a sin, which I have relapsed into, notwithstanding my conviction and promises; I desire to be humbled for it, and to renew my resolutions against it; and do earnestly beg thy mercy in pardoning of it, thy grace to strengthen me for the future. There is such a blessing I stand in great need of: 'Tis not in mine own power to procure it, thou can'st easily, and thou hast promised to bestow it, &c. There is such a mercy which I see other [Page 29] men want, and this makes their condition sad and miserable; and therefore I desire to be tru­ly sensible of thy favour in my enjoyment of it.

Thus going over particulars, in the most facil natural expressions, and if new matter does not presently occurre, a man need not therefore break off this exercise, but may take some time to meditate and consider of his condition, to re­collect some other particulars.

'Tis not necessary that he should still keep on in this duty, in a continued frame of speech (I speak of our secret, Closet-devotions betwixt God and our own soules; for as for publick pray­er, wherein we are to joyn with others, though but in a family, we ought there to be more close and exact in our preparations, as being to work upon the affections of those that joyn with us) But I say in these private devotions a man may take a greater freedome, both for his phrase and matter, he may be sometimes at a stand, and make a pause, there may be many intermissions and blanck spaces, in respect of speech, wherein by meditation he may recover some new matter to tontinue in this duty.

Now to him that shall attempt it after this manner, it will not be very difficult to pray in private, without the help of books, or prescribed formes. And 'tis not easie to expresse what a vast difference a man may finde in respect of inward comfort and satisfaction, betwixt those private prayers that are thus conceived from the affections, and those prescribed formes, [Page 30] which we say by wrote, or read out of books.

This will be one good way so to ingage the af­fections upon this service, that they may go be­fore and lead us on in the particular subject of our prayers, in which frequent practice will make a man very expert; especially if by observation he be furnished with a t [...]easury of the most pro­per matter and expressions to this purpose; wher­by when his affections are dull, and indisposed, he may be able to quicken them. For as the af­fections when they are vigorous, will guide us unto matter and expression: so when they are heavy and dull, then premeditated matter and expression will help to excite them, these being of mutual efficacy and advantage. But of this I shall have occasion to speak afterwards.

2. Besides the sense of our own necessity, 'tis requisite likewise that a man should apprehend the possibility of receiving help and supply by this means. A poor begger will with much pati­ence and diligence attend that door, where he is confident of obtaining an alms; and till a man be thus perswaded he can never be earnest in his de­sires. To this purpose that grace of faith is so often required for the right performance of this duty; and for the strengthening of this, God is pleased to give us leave to argue with him, Isa. 1.16, 18. He invites those that are washed and re­formed to reason with him,Ply [...]. Epist lib. 2. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, &c. Rogat efficacis­simè, qui causas rogandireddit. That man does beg most powerfully, who backs his requests with ar­guments. And the Scriptures do afford us fre­quent [Page 31] examples of such humble and reverent ex­postulations, wherein holy men have with many reasons pleaded their cause before God. So Ja­cob, Gen. 32, 11, 12. And Moses, Exod. 32.11, 22 And David very frequently. Not that any of our arguments are able to move, and alter him in whom there is no shadow of change: But they may be effectuall in the strengthening our own faith and fervency, which is the proper scope and end of them

The usuall Topicks to this purpose do con­cern either

  • God.
  • Our selves.

1. The Arguments from Gods nature and Attri­butes are reducible to some of these heads.

1. From his Power. So Moses argues with him: O Lord God, Deut 3:24 who hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatnesse, and thy mighty hand; for what God is there in heaven, or in earth, that can do according to thy wo [...]ks, and according to thy might? I pray thee, Psal. 86.8, 10. &c. Thus Jehosaphat pleads, 2 Chron. 20.6. O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the Kingdoms of the Heathen? and in thine hand is there not power, and might? so that none is able to withstand thee.

2. From his Wisd [...]m and Providence, Job 365. God is mighty in strength and wisedome, Psal. 59.13. Let it be known that God ruleth in Jacob,Jer. 10.12. Dan. 2.20, 21. and unto the ends of the earth. He is the only wise God, 1 Tim. 1.19. who maketh every thing beautiful in his time, Eccles. 3.11.

3. From his Justice, Psal. 5.3, 4. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord, for thou art [Page 32] not a God that hast pleasure in wickednesse, neither shall evill dwell with thee, Psal. 143.1. Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplication, in thy faithfulnesse answer me, and in thy righteousnesse.

4. From his Truth, Psal 69.13. O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation, 2 Sam. 7.28. And now, O Lord God, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast pro­mised this goodnsse unto thy servant, therefore now let it please thee, &c.

5. From his Mercies, Psal. 6.4. O save me for thy mercies sake. Psal 86.5. & 15. Psal. 25 6. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses, for they have been ever of old. Isa. 63.15. Look down from heaven, Dan. 9.18. and behold from the habitation of thy holines, and thy glory, where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies towards me? are they restrained?

6. From his Glory, Josh. 7.9. What wilt thou do unto thy great Name? 2 Kings 17.19. Now there­fore O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hands, that all the Kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou onely. Pal. 79.10 Wherefore should the Heathen say, where is their God? Vers. 9. Psal. 10 [...]. Vers 21. Jer. 14.21. Do not abhor us for thy names sake, do not disgrace the Throne of thy Glory.

7. From his Covenant and Promise, 1 Kings 8.25, 26. O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy ser­vant David my father, Neh. 9 8. that thou promisedst him, &c. And now, O God of Israel, let thy word I pray thee, be verified, Numb. 23 19. which thou spakest unto him, &c. Psal. 74.20. O deliver not the soul of thy Turtle unto the multitude of the wicked, forget not the Congre­gation [Page 33] of the poor for ever. Have respect unto the Covenant, &c. Jer. 14.21. Remember, break not thy Covenant with us.

8. From his Command of calling upon him, and appointing this Ordinance, as the means of our help and supply in any condition, Psal. [...]7.8. Thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart answered, Thy face, Ps. 31.17. Lord, will I seek, Psal. 50.5. Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me. Psal. 86.5. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

2. The second sort of arguments, from our selves, are derivable from some of these heads.

1. From our Relation to him as being his peo­ple, servants, children, Psal 74.1, 2.Exod. 9.29 Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? remember the Congregation which thou hast purcha­sed of old, the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this Mount Sion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Psal. 116.16. O Lord, truly I am thy ser­vant, I am thy servant, Ps. 86.16. and the son of thine hand­maid, thou hast loosed my bonds. Psal. 143.12. Of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul, for I am thy servant. Isa. 63.16. Doubtlesse thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not; thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer. Isa. 64.8. But now, O Lord, thou art our Father, we are the clay, and thou our Potter, we are all the work of thine hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, nei­ther remember iniquity for ever. Behold, see we be­seech thee, we are all thy people. Jer. 14.8, 9. O! the [Page 34] hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldst thou be as a stranger in the land? and as a wayfayring man, that turneth aside to tarry for a night? Why shouldst thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.

2. From our own sincerity, Psal 40.16. Let all those that seek thee, Psal. 5.12 Psal. 25 21 Psal 86.2. Ps. 44.18. rejoyce and be glad in thee; let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified. Psal. 119.38. Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. vers. 94. I am thine, save me, for I have sought thy precepts. vers. 159. Consider how I do love thy prece [...]t, quick­en me, O Lord, according to thy loving kindnesse. Isa. 38.3. Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.

3. From our present Dependance upon him, Ps. 7.1.2 Chron. 14.11. O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust, save me from all them that persecute me. Psal. 2 [...].2. O my God, Ps. 31.1.3.86.2.71.5. I trust in thee, let me not be ashamed. vers. 20. Keep my soul, and deliver me, let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in thee. Psal. 57.1. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee, yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, untill these calamities be over-past.

4. From the greatnesse of our Need and suf­ferings, Psal. 25.19. Consider mine enemies, for they are many, Ver. 17, 18 and they hate me with a cruel hatred. Psal. 60.1, 2, 3.Psal. 6.2, 3 & 7.6. O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been d [...]spleased; O turne thy [Page 35] self to us again; thou hast made the earth to trem­ble, thou hast broken it, Ps. 80.1, 2. thou hast shewed thy people hard things, thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Psal. 79.8. Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us, for we are brought very low. Ps. 86.1, 14. 123.3, 4. Psal. 142.6. Attend unto my cry, for I am brought ve­ry low; deliver me from my persecutors, Isa 64.10, 12. for they are stronger then I.

5. From the Benefit of his hearing, and grant­ing our requests, Psal. 80.18.Psal. 9 14. So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. Psal. 102.15.35 18, 28. So the Heathens shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the Kings of the earth thy glory. vers. 18.43.4.61.8 This shall be written for the genera­tions to come, and the people which shall be created, 79.13. shall praise the Lord. Psal. 106 47. Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the Heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.

6. From our Experience and former examples, Judg. 15.18. Thou hast given this great deliver­ance into the hand of thy servant, and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircum­cised? Psal. 22.4, 5. Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them. They cryed unto thee, Ps. 71.5.6. and were delivered; they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. Psal. 27.9. Thou hast been my help, Ps. 80.8, 9 143 5. Is. 51.9.10 leave me not, neither forsake me O God of my salvation.

To these may be added in the businesse of Im­precation another Topicke, from the insolence, Deut. 9.28 Psa. 74.10 22.23. Psal. 83.2.139.20. and impiety of Gods enemies, Exod. 32.12. Wherefore should the Egyptians say, for mischief did he bring them out, to stay them in the mountaines, and to con­sume [Page 36] them from the face of the earth? Psal. 140.8. Grant not, Psal. 10.13. Deut. 9.28 O Lord, the desires of the wicked, further not his wicked device, lest they exalt themselves.

From some of these heads a man may fetch ar­guments, to quicken and confirme his faith, to perswade the possibility of obtaining help by this duty. And that is another good means of enga­ging the affections upon this service.

Sometimes indeed, the Spirit of God may raise in a man such vigorous inlargements of heart, that he shall not need any distinct application of his thoughts to these rules; but at other times when he is more heavy and indisposed, then ought he to be the more careful in using these means; when the winde does not blow to help us by the sailes, we must ply the oares so much the harder.

But now, if notwithstanding all our endeavours in this kinde, we do still finde in our selves a bar­rennesse, distraction and aversnesse from this ser­vice (as that may be frequently our condition) in this case there are these two remedies to be con­sidered.

1. Bewaile, and pray against that indisposition in particular, and though you can say nothing else, yet say this, O Lord, as this coldnesse and deadnesse of heart, is my fault, so I desire to re­pent of it, and to be humbled for it; but as it is thy will and chastisement, most justly inflicted for my former negligence, and formality, so I desire to submit unto it, thy will be done; but yet I will not cease to beg pardon for it, and power a­gainst it.

A man does not only then pray well, when his [Page 37] devotions are accompanied with some special comforts and inlargements; but then also when he is sensible of much coldnesse and indispositi­on. The right performance of this duty, does not so much consist in the acts of the sensitive appe­tite, as in the regulating of the will. As God takes the Will for the deed in sinful actions, so much more in good duties, as being more ready to re­ward then to punish,

2. What you want in the degrees of your duty, be careful to make up in your humility, and this will be the most proper improvement of all our failings, when we can strengthen our selves by our very infirmities. O Neminem à Deo derelictum, quando etiam vilitas ipsum seminarium est sublimi­tatis, (saith one of the Ancients.Wesselus Gronigen­sis de orat. c. 3.) That man has no great reason to complain of desertions, who can by them take advantage to improve his gra­ces, and raise himself by his very falls. Our most inlarged devotions are nothing worth, without this fruit of humble and upright conversations; and with this consequent, our coldest, most re­strained prayers, may be looked upon as succes­full.

Thus much for the first sort of rules that con­cern the stirring up of our affections.

CHAP. V. Other Rules to furnish the Judgement in respect of Matter, Method, Ex­pression.

THe second kinde of Rules for the attaining of this Gift, are such as concerne the fur­nishing the Judgement both in respect of

  • Matter.
  • Method.
  • Expression.

Answerable to these three defects that men u­sually complain of, Namely

1. Drynesse, or emptinesse for want of Matter,

2. Confused, tumultuary repetitions, or digres­sions for want of Order.

3. Crude, unseemly, improper phrase, for want of fitting Expression.

Whereas on the contrary each of these may be remedied if a man be furnished with

1. A treasury of Matter. This will help us in the inlarging of our affections, preventing empty and needlesse repetitions, making the mouth to speak, from the abundance of the heart.

2. A fitting Method will teach us how to guide and regulate our thoughts, that they may be de­livered in their true place and order, without un­seemly hudling, or impertinent digressions.

3. An expertnesse in proper phrase and expres­sion will inable a man so to deliver his thoughts, [Page 39] as that they shall make reflexion back upon his own heart, and have more powerful efficacy up­on others.

Now for the fitting of the judgement in these respects, there are these directions to be observed.

1. For the supply of Matter; a man should be carefull to keep by him, some register of the most rem [...]rkable passages of his life, both in re­spect of Gods dealing with him, amd his carriage towards God. Having severall Catalogues, or Common-place-heads, unto which the emergen­cies of these divers natures may be distinctly re­duced. This I conceive to be the meaning of those places that speak of watching unto prayer and thanksgiving;Eph. 6.18 Col. 4.2. 1 Pet. 4.7. which do not only signifie a di [...]i­gence in respect of the act or exercise of this du­tie, but likewise a care of improving in the habit, or gift of it; A vigilancy in observing and ga­thering up fit matter for our Confessions, Petiti­ons, Thanksgivings, according as our daily oc­casions, and the severall conditions of our lives may require. Mark your sins and defects, your sufferings and wants, your mercies and enjoyments; make a distinct register of them that you may have them in readiness upon any special occasion.

'Tis usuall for younger students to be very carefull in gathering of Common-place books, for other matters, (of which notwithstanding, when they come to riper judgements they will finde but very little use.) But now of how much greater advantage would it be, if they were but diligent to collect under proper references any such par­ticular matter, or expressions in Prayer, where­with [Page 40] at any time they finde themselves to be more especially affected?

It would very much conduce to the promoting of this gift, if men would first propose to them­selves, some brief Systeme or Logicall frame (as suppose this that follows, or the like) con­taining distinctly, the chief parts to be insisted upon in prayer. And then use each of these as a severall head of reference by way of common-place, to which they might reduce any more pertinent observable passage which they shall either hear or read. This course industriously observed, might probably in a short space raise a man to a great abilitie in this kinde, and would be a good meanes to preserve the memo­ry of such passages, as we have at any time ex­perimented, to be more especially quickning and efficacious upon our own hearts, which otherwise we are so easily apt to forget.

If any shall object that this course will require much studie and care; 'Tis considerable that no eminent gift in any kinde, is attained without pro­portionable diligence. He that would be expert in any other common ability, whether pleading, disputing, &c. must apply himself to those Arts and exercises whereby they are to be learnt; and therefore much lesse should a man grudge his pains in such a weighty businesse, of more then ordinary consequence.

Men that would be thought wary and thriving in the world, are thus observant of their tempo­rall estates, keeping Books of accompt for their revenues and expences. And why should not [Page 41] those who would be thought truly religious, be as watchfull and observant of their spirituall conditions?

2. For Method, though there may be several kindes of it, yet that is to be esteemed the best, wherein these rules are most closely observed. Namely, 1. That it be Comprehensive, and take in all the parts▪ 2. That generals be mentioned first, and particulars after. 3. That things of the same kinde and nature be put together; and this should be observed in all the parts of Prayer.

Now the parts of Prayer may be Generally distinguished into these two kinds.

  • 1. Lesse principal
    • Preface.
    • Transitions.
    • Conclusion.
  • 2. More principal
    • Confession.
    • Petition.
    • Thanksgiving.

The first thing in a form of Prayer is the Pre­face, which does chiefly consist of these particu­lars. 1. The titles of invocation. 2. Some general acknowledgement of our own unworthinesse. 3. An expression of our purpose and desire to make our addresses to him in this duty. 4. With the impetration of his assistance and attention.

Next unto the Preface, any one of the three principall parts of Prayer may succeed, either Confession, Petition, or Thanksgiving, according as severall occasions shall require. But in general, and common use, 'tis most convenient that Con­fession [Page 42] should precede the other, because it pre­pares for them, and may serve to stir us up unto a true sence, both of those mercies which we want, and those which we have received.

Confession, according to its proper latitude and extent, does imply in it an acknowledgement both

Of

  • Sins by
    • Enumeration
      • Original, in our
        • Inward Man.
        • Outward Man.
      • Actual, against the
        • Law
          • National:
          • Personal.
        • and
          • Omission.
          • Commission▪
        • Gospel
          • Thought,
          • Word▪
          • Deed.
    • Aggravation of them, in
      • General
        • Multitude.
        • Greatnesse.
      • Special, the kindes of sin.
      • Particular, the circumstances.
  • Punishments
    • External, in our
      • Bodies.
      • Friends.
      • Estates.
      • Names.
    • Internal, in respect of blessings
      • Natural.
      • Spiritual.
    • Eternal, of
      • Losse▪
      • Pai [...].

[Page 43]Next to Confession, Petition may succeed; but for the better connexion of these two, 'tis requi­site that they be joyned together by some fitting Transition. The most natural, and genuine matter for which may referre to some one of these heads. Either, 1. A Profession of our shame and sorrow, in the consideration of our many sinnes, and the punishment due unto them. 2. An Expression of our desire to renounce our own righteousnesse, to fly utterly out of our selves. 3. A promise of greater care and strictnesse in our wayes for the future. 4. A brief Application unto our selves, of such mercies and promises, as do belong unto those that believe and repent.

For the chief heads of Petition, we are directed in the Lords Prayer, that being given us as a Summary, or brief Model, wherein are conteined the most principal and necessary materials of all our desires.

That which is accounted the first Petition, Hallowed by thy name, doth more especialy con­cerne the chief end of all our desires, namely, the glory of God; and is there set down to teach us what we are principally to intend and aime at, in all those prayers that we make, either for our selves or others.

The three next clauses do concerne the obtain­ing of good. The first of them for the sanctifying of our hearts and natures, into which we wish that his Kingdome may come. The second for the obedience of our lives, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The third for the necessities of this present life, Give us this day our daily bread.

[Page 44]The three last Petitions do concern the remo­val of evil. The first of them being against the evil of Sin, Forgive us our trespasses. The second against the evil of Tentation, Lead us not into tentation. The last against the evil of Punish­ment, Deliver us from evil.

All of them being in the plural number, Our Father, and Give us, and Forgive us, &c. which shews our duty to petition for others, as well as our selves, and then the whole Prayer is sealed up with this Argument: For thine is the King­dome, the Power, and the Glory for ever and ever, Amen. Wherein we acknowledge that it is he alone who is able to grant our requests, there­by teaching us to back our Petitions with such arguments, as may serve to strengthen our be­lief concerning the successe of them.

So that according to this pattern, the chiefe materials of our desires (the order only being made more suitable to the precedent method ob­served in our Confession) may be thus analy­zed.

[Page 45]All Petition is either

  • For our Selves: Supplication
    • Deprecation against the evill of
      • Sin in respect of its
        • Guilt
          • Pardon.
          • Evidence.
        • Power.
      • Temptation by
        • Our corrupt natures.
        • The Devill.
        • The World.
      • Punishment.
    • Comprecation for good
      • Spiritual
        • Sanctification of our natures, in the
          • Inward Man.
          • Outward Man.
        • Obedience of our lives, by our
          • Performance In all duties of
            • Law.
            • Gospel.
          • Continuance In all duties of
            • Law.
            • Gospel.
          • Increase In all duties of
            • Law.
            • Gospel.
      • Temporal
        • Provision for us.
        • Protection of us.
  • For o­thers: Inter­cessi­on
    • In General. The Catholike Church.
    • In spe­cial
      • Ordina­ry for
        • the Na­tions Vncalled
          • Infidels,
          • Jews, &c.
        • the Na­tions Called
          • Allies.
          • O [...]rown
          • Nation.
      • Occasional
        • in times of
          • Warre,
          • Famine,
          • Pestilence
    • In particular.
      • Ordinary for all relati­ons of
        • Order
          • Publike, and Political.
          • Private, or Oecono­mical.
        • Freindship, and Enmity.
        • Neighbourhood.
      • Occasional, for the afflicted in
        • Minde.
        • Body.

[Page 46]This part should be connected to the next by some such Transition, as may fitly serve to seal up the one, and begin the other, which may be ta­ken either. 1. From our Confidence of obtaining the things we desire, by our experience of those former mercies we have already enjoyed. 2. From the danger of ingratitude in hindering the successe of our Petitions.

The cheif materials to be insisted upon in our Thanksgiving, are reducible under these two gene­rall heads. Either

  • Enumeration, of mercies.
  • or Amplification of mercies.

Mercies to be

  • Enumerated are either
    • Ordinary
      • Temporall.
        • Private concerning
          • Generally the whole mans
            • Being, Nature.
            • Birth, Education.
            • Preservation.
          • More particularly our
            • Soules, Bodies.
            • Freinds, Names.
            • Estates, &c.
        • Publick, in respect of
          • Healthful seasons.
          • Fruitfull seasons.
          • Peaceable seasons.
      • Spirituall
        • Election.
        • Redemption.
        • Vocation.
        • Justification.
        • Sanctification.
        • Hope of Glory.
    • Occasionall, for some particulars
      • Preservation of
        • our selves in
          • soule.
          • body.
        • others in
          • soule.
          • body.
      • Recovery of
        • our selves in
          • soule.
          • body.
        • others in
          • soule.
          • body.
      • Deliverance of
        • our selves in
          • soule.
          • body.
        • others in
          • soule.
          • body.
  • Amplified
    • Generally, by their
      • Multitude.
      • Greatnesse, in respect of
        • Giver.
        • Receiver.
      • Continuance.
    • Particularly, by their
      • Circumstances.
      • Degrees.
      • Contraries.

[Page 47] The Conclusion should consist of some such Doxologies as may help to strengthen our Faith, and leave some impression upon our affecti­ons.

This may serve for a Scheme of Method, com­prehending all the chief parts according to a fit­ting order, for the regulating of our thoughts in this duty.

If there be any that should deny the use of Me­thod, and the like helps, as being humane inven­tions; such persons will not deserve an answer. They may as well account the rules of reasoning and dispute to be unlawful, reducing all to their own Enthusiasmes; and so are not capable of be­ing dealt with in any way of debate.

3. The third thing to be enquired into, is Expression, which will of it self naturally follow upon such a preparation of matter and method. But because the language of Canaan, the stile of the holy Ghost is undoubtedly the fittest for holy and spiritual services; with which, for divers reasons we should labour to be familiarly acquainted; therefore we should rather chuse, (where we may) to speak in Scripture-expression. To which purpose, there are divers instances for each of the foregoing heads, that may be observed and collected from severall books in Scripture. All prohibitions and threats, will administer both matter and phrase unto Con­fession and Deprecation: All precepts and promi­ses unto comprecation and thanksgiving. Besides that, it is easie to reduce the usuall expressions of other kindes, to be proper and helpfull unto this purpose.

[Page 48]There are two extreams to be avoided in our Expression. Namely,

  • Negligence.
  • Affectation.

1. Negligence, when men vent their thoughts in a rude, improper, unseemly phrase; as if they had no awe upon their spirits, and did not care how they spake.

2. Affectation, either of too much neatnesse and elegance, or else of a mystical kind of phrase, not to be found either in Scripture, or any sober writer (though much in fashion amongst some men in these times) which, it may be, sounds well to vulgar ears; but being reduced into plain English, will appear to be wholly empty, and to signifie nothing, or else to be full of vain repeti­tions.

Each of these extreames will be apt to nauseat an intelligent hearer, and is very unsuitable to the solemnity of this duty.

There are some Rhetorical ornaments and va­rieties in the manner of expression, which may be very proper, and powerful, both for the ex­pressing and exciting our affections, such are these four.

1. Exclamations; which serve to set forth an affectionate wonder, Psal. 31.19. O! how great is thy goodnesse which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Rom. 7.24. O wretched man that I am! who shall, &c.

2. Expostulations; which are fit to expresse any deep dejection of minde. So Psal. 77.8. [Page 49] Will the Lord cast us off for ever, and will he be no more intreated? Is his mercy clean gone? Psal. 13.1. &c. Psal. 80.4. O Lord God of Hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against thy people that prayeth? Isa. 63.15. &c. Psal. 44.24. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction, and our oppression?

3. Option, Fit to set forth serious and earnest desires, Job 6.8. O that I might have my request, and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! that it would please him, &c. Psal. 119.5. O that my wayes were so directed, that I might keep thy statutes!

4. Ingemination; which argues eager and in­flamed affections, Psal. 94.1, 2. O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thy selfe, lift up thy self thou Judge of the earth, &c. Dan. 9.19. O Lord hear, O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken and do: deferre not for thine own sake, O my God.

He that will seriously endeavour and accu­stome himself to deliver his thoughts in a proper, full, significant expression, and to be well ac­quainted with those many examples, which the Scripture does afford to this purpose, such an one may by practice and experience arrive to a good ability and readinesse in this kinde.

CHAP. VI. Concerning the most proper materials for the Preface.

HAving in the former Chapter laid down some directions in reference to the Order and disposition of parts to be observed in this duty, I come in the next place to treat concerning the amplification of these severall parts; and to shew how the Scripture will afford various matter for the enlargement of each of them. So that any one, who will be but carefull to collect any other apposite matter, or observation that he shall meet with, and amongst these to refer it under its proper head; such a one may quickly be furnished with a very copious Treasury to this purpose.

The first thing to be thought of in composing a form of prayer, is the Preface. The most ne­cessary and chief materials for a Preface, were formerly specified to be four.

I.I. The titles of Invocation, or the stile of sa­lutation, wherein we bespeak the person whom we pray unto; who should be expressed by such divine compellations as may excite in our hearts either some, or all of those affections that are more especially required in this duty.

These Compellations may consist either of. 1. Gods Names, or Titles. 2. His Attributes, or Properties. 3. His Promises, or Threats. 4. His [Page 51] Works, or wayes; By all of which he hath been pleased after a more special manner to declare, and make himself known.

In the choice of these, we should select such as may be most suitable unto that frame and tem­per of minde, required in that kinde, or part of Prayer, which we have occasion to insist more largely upon. As the matter of fire is, Eccles. 28.10. so it burn­eth. (saith the son of Syrach,) so from the divers meditations of God will arise divers affections towards him.

1. The consideration of his infinite Power, Wisdome, Holinesse, Justice, Omnipresence, Ma­jesty, &c. is apt to produce in us reverence, shame, fear, sorrow, and the other affections of this nature, which are most suitable to the busi­nesse of Confession.

2. The thought of his Mercy, Truth, Patience, is fit to excite Faith and Hope, and consequently is proper for the duty of Petition.

3. The meditation of his bounty and goodness, will provoke Love and Gratitude, and is there­fore fit to prepare us for Thanksgiving.

According as our thoughts are severally fixed upon any of these; so may our affections be dis­posed and qualified in our prayers unto him. To this purpose 'tis convenient that we take spe­cial notice of those divine Titles and Attributes in Scripture, which may be most suitable to such various occasions.

1. Of the first kinde are such as these.

Ps. 24.7.10 The King of glory.

Isa. 1.24. The Lord, the Lord of Hosts, the mighty one of Is­rael.’

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Rev. 19.16

The King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Exo. 15.11 Who is glorious in holinesse, fearful in praises, do­ing wonders.

Num. 16.22 ‘.The God of the spirits of all flesh.

Deut. 4.24 Who is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Deut. 10.17. The God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, mighty and terrible, which regardeth not persons, nei­ther taketh rewards.

Deut. 32.4 Whose works are perfect, and his ways judgement; A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right.

1 Sam. 4.4 1 King. 8.27. The Lord of Hosts, who dwelleth between the Cherubims; whom the Heaven of Heavens cannot containe.

1 King. 19 15. O Lord God of Israel, which dwelleth between the Cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone of all the Kingdomes of the Earth: thou hast made Heaven and Earth.

2 Chron. 20.6. Who ruleth over all the Kingdomes of the Earth; in whose hand there is power and might, so that none is able to withstand him.

Before whom no unclean thing should enter.

2 Chron. 23.19. 1 Chron. 28.9. Who searchest all hearts, and understandest all the imaginations of the thoughts.

1 Chron. 29.11. The Lord God of Israel, to whom belongeth great­nesse, and power, and glory, and victory, and Majesty; for all that is in the Heaven and in the Earth is thine; thine is the Kingdome, O Lord, and thou art exalt­ed as head above all.

Vers. 12. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power, and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.

1 Chron. 16.27. Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and [Page 53] gladnesse are in his place.

Neh. 9.5. Whose glorious name is exalted above all blessing and praise.

Vers. 6. Thou, even thou art Lord alone, thou hast made Heaven, the Heaven of heavens with all their Host; the earth, and all things that are therein; the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all, and the Host of Heaven worshippeth thee.

Vers. 32. The great, and mighty, and terrible God, who keepeth Covenant and mercy.

Job 4.18. Who chargeth his Angels with folly.

Job 5.9. Who doth great things, and unsearchable, marvel­lous things without number.

Vers. 10. Who giveth raine upon the Earth, and sendeth wa­ters upon the Fields.

11 To set up on high those that be low, that those which mourne may be exalted to safety.

12 Who disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot performe their interprize.

13 Who taketh the wise in their own craftinesse, and the counsell of the froward is carried headlong.

14 So that they meet with darknesse in the day-time, and grope in the noon-day, as in the night.

15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, and from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.

Job 9.4▪ He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, & hath prospered?

Vers. 5. Which removeth the mountaines, and they know not, which overturneth them in his anger.

6 Which shaketh the Earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

7 Which commandeth the Sun, and it riseth not, and sealeth up the starres.

[Page 54]

Vers. 8.

Which alone spreadeth out the Heavens, and treads upon the waves of the Sea, &c.

Job 15.15. Who putteth no trust in his Saints; yea, the Hea­vens are not clean in his sight.

Job 26.6. Before whom Hell is naked, and destruction hath no covering.

Vers. 7. Who stretcheth out the North over the empty place, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing.

8. Who bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them.

9. Who boldeth back the face of his throne, and spread­eth his cloud upon it.

10. Who hath compassed the waters with bounds, untill day and night come to an end.

11. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at his reproofe.

12. Who divideth the Sea by his power, and by his un­derstanding he smiteth through the proud.

13. Who by his Spirit hath garnished the Heavens, and his hand hath formed the crooked Serpent. Who is perfect in Knowledge.

Job 37.16 Vers. 22.23. With whom is terrible Majesty.

We cannot find him out, he is excellent in Power; and in Judgement, and in plenty of Justice: He re­specteth not any that are wise of h [...]art.

Psal. 8.1. Whose Name is excellent in all the Earth, who hath set his glory above the Heavens.

Psal. 33.6. By whose word the Heavens were made, and all the Host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Vers. 7. Who gathereth the waters of the Sea together as an heap, and layeth up the deeps in store-houses.

8. That all the Earth might fear him, and all the in­habitants of the world stand in awe of him.

[Page 55]

10.

Who bringeth the counsel of the People to nought, and maketh the devices of the people to be of none effect.

11. Whose own counsel standeth for ever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

13. Who looks down from Heaven, and beholds all the sons of men.

14. From the place of his habitation, he looks upon all the inhabitants of the Earth.

15. Fashioning their hearts alike, and considering all their works.

Psal. 47▪2. Who is the Lord most high, and terrible, a great King over all the Earth.

Psal. 57.5. Who is exalted above the Heavens, and his glory a­bove all the Earth.

Psal. 65.6. Who by his strength setteth fast the mountains, be­ing girded with power.

Vers. 7. Who stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, an [...] the tumult of the people.

Psal. 66.5. Who is terrible in his doings towards the children of men.

Vers. 7. Who ruleth by his power for ever, and his eyes behold the Nations.

Ps. 68.33. Who rideth upon the Heaven of heavens, which were of old.

Psal. 72.2. Who shall judge the people with righteousnesse, and the poor with judgement.

Vers. 11. All Kings shall bow down before him, and all Nations shall do him service.

17. Whose name shall endure for ever, and be continu­ed as long as the Sun, and men shall be blessed in him, and all Nations shall call him blessed.

18 Who onely doth wondrous things.

Ps. 83.18. Whose name alone is Jehovah, who is the most high over all the Earth.

[Page 56]

Psal. 89.6.

Who in the Heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?

Vers. 7. Who is greatly to be feared in the Assembly of his Saints, and to be had in reverence of all those that are about him.

8 O Lord God of Hosts, who is a strong God like unto thee? or to thy faithfulnesse round about thee?

9 Thou rulest the raging of the Sea, when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

10 Thou scatterest thine enemies with thy strong arme.

11 The Heavens are thine, the Earth also is thine, as for the world and the fulnesse thereof, thou hast founded them.

13 Thou hast a mighty arme, strong is thine hand, and high is thy right hand.

14 Justice, and Judgement are the habitation of thy throne, mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Psal. 95.3. Who is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Vers. 4. In whose hands are the deep places of the Earth, the strength of the Hills is his also.

5 The Sea is his and he made it; his hands formed the dry land.

Psal. 96.6. Before whom are Honour, and Majesty; and in whose sanctuary are strength, and beauty.

Psal. 99.2. Vers. 3. Who is great in Zion, and high above all people.

Whose Name is great and terrible, for it is holy.

4 Who loveth judgement, and doth establish equity; executing judgement, and righteousnesse in Jacob.’

Psal. 103.19 Who hath prepared his throne in the Heavens, and his Kingdome ruleth over all.

[Page 57]

Ps. 104.1

O Lord my God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with Honour and Majesty.

Verse 2. Who coverest thy self with light as with a gar­ment. Who stretchest out the heavens like a cur­tain.

3. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, and maketh the clouds his charet, and walketh upon the wings of the winde.

4. Who maketh his Angels spirits, his Ministers a flaming fire.

5. Who laid the foundations of the Earth, that it sheuld not be removed for ever.

9. Who hath set a bound to the waters of the Sea, that they may not passe over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10, Who sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11, To give drink unto every beast of the field: the wilde asses quench their thirst.

13. Who watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of his works.

14. Who causeth grasse to grow for the cattel, and herbe for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth.

19. By whose appointment the Moon hath her sea­sons, and the Sun knoweth his going down.

24. O Lord, how madifold are thy works! in wis­dom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches.

Ps. 111.9. Ps. 113.4. Holy and reverent is his Name.

Who is high above all Nations; and his glory is above the Heavens.

Verse 6. Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in Heaven.

[Page 58]

Ps. 139.2.

Who knows our down-sitting, and our up-rising, and understandeth our thoughts afar off.

Verse 3. Who compasseth our path, and our lying down, and is acquainted with all our wayes.

Psal. 145.13. Whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and his dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Verse. 17. Who is righteous in all his wayes, and holy in all his works.

Ps. 146.6. Who made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that therein is, who keepeth tru [...]h for ever.

Act. 4.24. Verse 7. Who executeth judgement for the oppressed, and giveth food for the hungry.

Prov. 21.30, 31. Against whom there is no wisdome nor under­standing, nor counsel; from whom alone safety must come.

Eccles. 12.14. Who will bring every work unto judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.

Isa. 2.17. Before whom the loftinesse of man shall be bowed down, & the haughtines of men shall be made low.

Verse 19. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his Majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

Isa. 6.2. Before whom the Seraphims do cover their faces.

Isa. 28.29. Who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

Isa. 40.12. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a mea­sure, and weighed the mountaines in scales, and the hills in a ballance.

Isa. 40.15. Before whom the nations are as a drop of a buck­et, and are counted as the small dust of the bal­lance, [Page 59] who taketh up the Isles as a very little thing.

Verse 17. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him lesse then nothing and vanity.

22. Who sitteth upon the Circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as Grashoppers, that stretch­eth out the heavens as a Curtaine, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.

23. Who bringeth Princes to nothing, and maketh the Judges of the earth as vanity.

Isa 41.14, 15. Who can make the worme Jacob to thresh the mountaines, and beat them small, and make the hills as chaffe.

Isa. 42.5 Who created the Heavens, and stretched them out, who spreadeth forth the earth and that which com­eth of it, who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.

Isa. 44 24. Who formed us from the wombe, who maketh all things, who stretcheth forth the Heavens alone, and spreadeth abroad the earth by himselfe.

Verse 25. That frustrateth the tokens of liars, and maketh diviners mad, that turneth wise men backwards, and maketh their knowledge foolish.

26. That confirmeth the word of his servants, and performeth the counsel of his messengers.

Isa. 46.10. Who can declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times, the things that are not yet done, whose counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure.

Isa. 48.12· Who is the first and the last, whose hand hath laid the foundations of the earth, and his right hand hath spanned the Heavens.

Isa. 50.2. At whose rebuke the sea is dried up, and the [Page 60] rivers become a wildernesse, their fish stinketh, be­cause there is no water, and die for thirst.

Vers. 3. Who cloatheth the heavens with blacknesse, and maketh sackcloth their covering.

Isa. 57.15· Who is the high and lofty one inhabiting eternity, whose name is holy, who dwelleth in the high and holy place.

Isai. 66.1. Who hath the heaven for his throne, and the earth for his foot stool.

Jer. 10.10. The onely true and living God, the everlasting King, at whose wrath the earth doth tremble, and the nations are not able to abide his indignation.

Vers. 12. Who made the earth by his power, and hath esta­blished the world by his wisdome, and stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

Jer. 11. [...]0. The Lord of Hosts that judgeth righteously, that tryeth the reins and the heart.

Jer. 17.10 Who giveth to every man according to his wayes, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jer. 23.24. From whom no man can hide himself, that he shall not see him who fils heaven and earth.

Jer. 31.35. Who giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the Moon, and of the Stars for a light by night; who divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar, the Lord of Hosts is his name.

Jer. 31.17. Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched-out arme, and there is nothing too hard for thee.

Vers. 18. Thou shewest loving kindnesse unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquities of the fathers into the bosome of their children after them. The great, The mighty God, the Lord of hosts is his name.

19. Great in counsel, and mighty in work, for thine [Page 61] eyes are open upon all the wayes of the sons of men, to give to every one according to his works, and ac­cording to the fruit of his doings.

Jer. 51.15 Who made the earth by his power, and established the world by his wisdome, and hath stretched out the heavens by his understanding.

Dan. 5.23 In whose hands our breath is, and whose are all our wayes.

Dan. 7.10 Whom there are thousand thousands that minister unto, and ten thousand times ten thousands stand be­fore him.

Am. 4.13. The Lord God of Hosts, who formed the moun­tains, and created the winde, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darknesse treadeth upon the high places of the earth.

Am. 9.5. When he toucheth the land, it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourne.

Vers. 6. Who buildeth his storehouse in the heavens, and hath sounded his troop in the earth, that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth.

Hab. 1.13. Who is of purer eyes then to behold evil, and can­not look upon iniquity.

Rom. 4.17 Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were.

Rom. 11.33. Whose judgements are unsearchable, and his wayes past finding out.

Who is over all, God blessed for ever.

Rom. 9.5. 1 Cor 4 5. Who will bring to light the hidden things of dark­nesse, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart.

Eph. 1.11. Who doth every thing according to the counsel of his own will.

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Eph. 3.20.

Who is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask or think.

Col. 1.16. By whom all things were created that are in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether they be Thrones, or Dominions, or Principalities, or Powers.

1 Tim. 1.17 Who is the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.

Ch. 6.15. The blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Vers. 16. Who only hath immortality dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen or can see.

Heb. 4.13. In whose sight there is no creature that is not ma­nifest, but all things are naked and opened unto the eye of him to whom we have to do.

Heb. 13.8. Rev. 6.15. Who is yesterday, to day, and the same for ever.

At whose dreadful appearance the Kings of the earth▪ and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief Captains, and the mighty men shall be willing to hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountaines.

Vers. 16. Crying to the mountaines and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits upon the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.

II.

Invocations of the second sort, are such Scripture-expressions as these.

Ex. 34.6. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodnesse and truth.

Vers. 7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

Neh. 9.17. Who is a God ready to pardon, gracious and mer­ciful, [Page 63] slow to anger, and of great kindnesse.

Psal. 9.9. Who is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble.

Verse 10. Who will never forsake them that seek him.

Psal. 33.4 Whose word is right, and all his works are done in truth.

Verse 18. Whose eye is upon them that fear him, and upon them that hope in his mercy.

Verse 19. To deliver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

Psal. 34.8, 9. Who will not suffer them to want that fear and trust in him.

Verse 15. Whose eyes are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.

Verse 17. To hear & deliver them out of all their troubles.

Verse 18. Who is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit

Verse 22. Who will redeem the soul of his servants, and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Psal. 36.5. Whose mercy is in the heavens, and his faithful­nesse reacheth to the clouds.

Verse 6. Whose righteousnesse is like the great mount­ains, and whose judgements are a great deep, who preserveth man and beast.

Psal. 46 1. Our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psal. 65.2. The God that heareth Prayers, unto whom all flesh should come.

Verse 5. The confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea.

Psal. 72.12. Who delivereth the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

Verse 14. Who shall redeem their soul from deceit and [Page 64] violence, and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Ps. 103.8. Who is merciful and gracious slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.

Verse 9. Who will not alwayes chide, neither will he keep his anger for ever.

Verse 10. Who does not deal with us after our sins, nor re­ward us according to our iniquities.

Verse 13. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that feare him.

Verse 14. He knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust.

Verse 17. Whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that feare him, and his righteousnesse unto childrens children.

Verse 18. To such as keep his Covenant▪ and to those that remember his Commandments to do them.

Ps 145.8. Who is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy.

Verse 9. Who is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Verse 18. Who is nigh unto them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

Verse 19. He will fulfill the desires of them that fear him, he also will hear their cry and will help them.

Isa. 51.6. Though the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall waxe old like a gar­ment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner. Yet his salvation shall be for ever, and his righteousnesse shall not be abolished.

Isa. 66.2. Who hath great regard to them that are poor, and of a contrite spirit, and tremble at his Word.

Jer. 14.8. Who is the hope of Israel, and the Saviour there­of in time of trouble.

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Ezek. 33.11.

Who hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he should turn from his way and live.

Mich. 7.18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth ini­quity, and passeth by the transgression of the rem­nant of his heritage, who retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy?

Verse. 19. Who will turn again and have compassion upon us, subduing our iniquities, and casting all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Mat. 18.20. Who hath promised where two or three are ga­thered together in his name, to be in the midst of them.

Rom. 2.4. Who does abound in riches of goodnesse and for­bearance, and long sufferance, which should lead us to repentance.

Who is rich unto all that call upon him.

Rom. 10.12. 2 Cor. 1.3. Eph. 1.17. Who is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.

Jam. 1.17. The Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift doth come, with whom there is no variablenesse, neither shadow of turning.

2 Pet. 3.9. Who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

III.

Divine compellations of the third sort may be derived from such Scriptures as these.

Neh. 1.5. Who keepeth Covenant and mercy for them that love him, and observe his Commandments.

Job. 5.19. Who will deliver us in six troubles, yea in seven there shall no evill touch us.

Verse 20. Who in famine shall redeem us from death, and in war from the power of the sword.

[Page 66] O thou Preserver of men.

Job 7.20. Psalm 8.1. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the world.

Psalm 18.2 My rock, my fortresse, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buck­ler, the horne of my salvation, and my high tower.

Verse 3. Who is worthy to be praised.

Ps. 19.14 Ps. 22.9, 10 My strength, and my Redeemer.

Who tookest me out of the wombe, and hast been my hope and my God, since I was upon my mothers breast.

Psal. 27.9. The God of my salvation.

Psal. 33.5. Who loveth righteousnesse and judgement, and the earth is full of his goodnesse.

Verse 12. Blessed is the Nation, whose God is the Lord, and the People whom he hath chosen for his own inhe­ritance.

Verse 20. Ps. 35.27. Ps. 36.7. Our help and our shield.

Who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

How excellent is thy loving kindnesse O God, therefore shall the sons of men put their trust un­der the shadow of thy wings.

Verse 8. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fat­nesse of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

Verse 9. For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light.

Psal. 46.1. Our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psal. 63.3. Whose loving kindnesse is better then life.

Psal. 65.8. Who maketh the out goings of the morning and evening to rejoyce.

Verse 9. Who visiteth the earth and watereth it, and [Page 67] greatly enricheth it with the river of God.

Vers 10. Who maketh it soft with showers, and blesseth the springing thereof.

Vers. 11. Who crowneth the yeare with his goodnesse, and his paths drop fatnesse.

Vers. 13. Who cloatheth the pastures with flocks, and covers the valleys with corne.

Psal. 66.9. Who holdeth our soul in life; and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

Psal. 72.4. Who shall judge the poore of the people and save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressour.

Vers. 12▪ He shall deliver the needy when he cryeth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

Vers. 13. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

Vers. 14. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence, and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Ps 37.25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.

Ver. 26. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Psal. 80.1. The shepherd of Israel.’

Psal. 89.17 Who art the glory of our defence, and in whose fa­vour our horne shall be exalted.

Vers. 18. For the Lord is our defence, and the holy one of Israel is our King.

Psal. 91.2. He is my refuge and my fortresse, my God, in him will I trust.

Vers. 4. He shall cover me with his feathers, under his wings will I trust, his truth shall be my shield and buckler.

Ps. 103.3. Who forgives all our iniquities, and heals all our diseases.

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Vers. 4.

Who redeemes our life from destruction, who crowneth us with loving kindenesse and tender mercies.

Vers. 6. Who executeth righteousnesse and judgement for all that are oppressed.

Thou art good, and thou dost good.

Ps 119 68 Ps. 145. Who is greatly to be praised, and whose greatnesse unsearchable.

Who preserveth all them that love him.

Vers. 20. Isa. 40.11. Who shall feed his flock like a Shepherd, and shall gather his Lambs with his armes, and carry them in his bosome, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Isa. 51.3. Who will comfort Sion, and build her waste places, making her wildernesse like Eden, and her Desert like the garden of the Lord, so that joy and gladnesse shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

Vers. 5. Whose righteousnesse is near, and his salvation gone forth, whose armes shall judge the People, the Isles shall wait upon him, and in his arme shall they trust.

That pleadeth the cause of his people.

Vers. 22. Jer 14.8. The hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble.

Jer. 16, 19. O Lord, my strength, and my fortresse, and my re­fuge in the day of affliction, to whom the Gentiles shall come from the ends of the earth; and shall say, sure­ly our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Besides whom there is no Saviour.

Hos. 13.4. Acts 14 17 Who leaveth not himselfe without a wit­nesse unto all the Nations of the world, doing them good, giving them raine from heaven, and [Page 69] fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladnesse.

Act. 17.28. In whom we live, move, and have our being.

Eph. 1, 3. Who hath blessed us with all spirituall blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Eph. 2.4. Eph. 3.14. Who is rich in mercy.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named.

2 Thes. 2.16. Our Father who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace.

1 Tim. 4.10. 1 Tim. 6.17. Hebr. 13.20. Who is the Saviour of those that believe.

The living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of his sheep, through the blood of the everlasting Cove­nant.

1 Pet. [...].10▪ The God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.

Rev. 15.3. The King of Saints, whose works are great and marvellous, and his wayes just and true.

‘There may be divers the like expressions of each kinde collected from severall places of Scri­pture: Of some or more of these the first and chief material of a Preface should consist.’

‘These several kinds may be variously intermix­ed according as divers occasions shall require: The Scriptures do afford sundry examples to this purpose.’

Neh. [...].5. Dan 9.4. O Lord God of Heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth Covenant, and mercy for them that love him, and observe his Commandments.

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Psal. 46.7. Isa. 43.3.

The Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob our refuge.

The Lord our God, the holy one of Israel our Saviour.

Verse 14. The Lord our Redeemer, the holy one of Israel.’

Isa 45.21. Who is a just God, and a Saviour, and there is none besides him.

Isa. 49.26. The Lord who is our Saviour and Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob.’

Isa. 54.5. Our Maker, and our Husband; whose Name is the Lord of Hosts, our Redeemer, the holy one of Israel, the God of the whole Earth.

Our Father, which art in Heaven.

Mat. 6.9. ‘I have been the larger in the recital of such pas­sages, because they will not only afford us matter for a Preface, but supply us likewise with divers proper Arguments, upon several occasions for the exciting of our faith, and fervency in the bu­sinesse of Petition.’

II.

The second Material in a Preface, to be joyn­ed with the former, is some general acknow­ledgement of our own unworthinesse, as, that

Gen. 18.27 we who are but dust and ashes.

Gen. 32.10 Lesse then the least of all his mercies.

Job 13.25 As leaves driven to and fro, and as dry stubble.

Psal. 14.3. Altogether abominable and filthy,

Psal. 22.6. Wormes, and no men.

Psal. 95.7. The people of his pasture, and sheep of his hands.

Ps. 103.15 Whose d [...]yes are as grasse, as the flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

Verse 16. When the winde passeth over it, it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more.

Psal. 144.3 Lord, what is man that thou takest knowledge of him? or the sonn [...] of man that thou makest account of him?

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Verse 4.

Man is like to vanity, his dayes are as a shadow that passeth away.

Isa. 2.22. Whose breath is in his nostrils, and wherein is he to be accounted of?

Isa. 40.17. All Nations before him are as nothing, and counted to him lesse then nothing.

Prodigal children, unprofitable servants, of polluted lips, and uncircumcised hearts, &c.

1 Tim. 1.15. The chief of sinners.

III.

III. An expression of our purpose to approach unto him, in this duty. That we do desire

Psal. 95.6. To worship, and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

Num. 5.15 Num. 29.7. Jer. 17.17. To bring our iniquity to rememberance.

To afflict our souls in his sight.

To make him our hope and refuge in the day of evill.

To seek his face, to meet him in his wayes: To speak good of his Name: To wait upon him in his Ordinances.

Psal. 65.4. To approach before him in his courts, that we may be satisfied with the goodnesse of his house, even of his holy Temple.

Psal. 66.2. To set forth the honour of his Name, and make his praise glorious.

Verse 8. To blesse our God, and make the voice of his praise to be heard.

Psal. 96.8. To give unto the Lord the glory due unto his Name, to bring an offering, and come into his Courts.

Verse 9. Psal. 99.5. To worship the Lord in the beauty of holinesse.

To exalt the Lord our God, and to worship at his footstool.

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Psal. 116.17. Verse 18.

To offer unto him the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and to call upon the name of the Lord.

To pay our vowes unto the Lord in the presence of his people, in the Courts of the Lords house.

Ps. 138.2. To worship towards his holy Temple and to praise his Name for his loving kindnes and for his truth.

Ps. 145.5. To speak of the glorious honour of his Majesty; and of his wonderous works:

IV.

IV. A desire of his assistance, acceptance, and attention; that we may be enabled to performe this duty in an acceptable manner; with such holy affections as he hath required.

Rom. 8.26. Rom. 5.5. Isa. 64.7. That his good spirit may help our infirmities, and make intercession for us.

That he would shed abroad his love in our hearts, and stir up our souls to lay hold of him.

Ps. 51.15. That he would open our lips, that our mouthes may shew forth his praise.

Isa. 45.19. That we may not seek his face in vain.

Ps. 80.18. That he would quicken us to call upon his name.

Verse 19. That he would cause his face to shine upon us, and lift up the light of his countenance.

1 Kings 8.28. Have thou respect unto the prayer of thy ser­vant, and to his supplication, to hearken unto the cry and to the Prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day.

Verse 30. Hear thou in Heaven thy dwelling place, and when thou hearest, forgive.

2 Kings 19.16. Lord bow down thine eares, and hear; open Lord thine eye and see.

Neh. 1.6. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes o­pen, that thou mayst hear the prayer of thy servant

Psal. 5.1. Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my me­ditation.

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Vers. 2.

Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King, and my God, for unto thee will I pray.

Psal. 18.6. That he would hear our voice out of his holy Temple, and let our cry come before him even into his ears.

Ps. 19.14. That the words of our mouths, and the meditations of our hearts may be alwayes acceptable in his sight.

Psal. 27.7. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

Ps. 55.1.2. Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not thy self from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me.

Psal. 88.2. Let my Prayer come before thee, incline thine ear unto my cry.

Psal. 130 2 Lord, hear my voice, let thine ear be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

Psal. 141.2 Let my Prayer be set forth before thee as Incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sa­crifice.

Psal. 143.1. Hear my Prayer, O Lord, give ear to my suppli­cations, in thy faithfulnesse answer me, and in thy righteousnesse.

Vers. 7. Hear me speedily, O Lord, my spirit faileth; hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Isa 63.15. Look down from Heaven, and behold from the ha­bitation of thy holinesse, and of thy glory.

Some one, or more of these Particulars, may upon several occasions afford fitting matter for a Preface; which is the first thing to be considered and inlarged, in conceiving a form of Prayer.

CHAP. VII. Confession of sins, by enumeration of them, and first of Original sin.

NExt to the Preface, Confession does, accord­ing to the more usual, and ordinary course, succeed.

The first thing to be confessed in the Enume­ration of sin (as is before expressed in the scheme of Confession) is Original sin.

Whereas God at first made man upright, he hath since corrupted himself, Eccles. 7.29. by seeking out many inven­tions.

He planted our first Parents a noble Vine, a right seed; but they quickly turned into degenerate plants of a strange Vine. Jer. 2.21.

So that we are transgressors from the wombe.

Isa. 48.8. Psal. 51.1. Isa. 1.4. Rom. 11.17. Eph. 2▪ 1. Vers. 3. Rom. 6.6. Rom. 7.24 Vers. 23. John 3.6. Rom. 7.17. Vers. 21. Heb. 12.1. Being shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin.

A seed of evill doers, children that are corrupters,

Branches of the wild Olive.

Being naturally dead in trespasses and sins.

Children of wrath, bearing about us, the old man.

A body of sin, and of death.

A law of our members.

Being born only of the flesh.

Having sin that dwels in us.

And is alwayes present with us.

And doth so easily beset us.

This Originall sin hath been propagated to us, [Page 75] both by

  • Imputation.
  • Real Communication.

1. By Imputation of Adams particular trans­gression, in eating the forbidden fruit; for we were legally parties in that Covenant, which was at first made with him, and therefore cannot but expect to be liable unto the guilt which followed upon the breach of it. By one man sin entred into the world, and death by sin, Rom. 5.1 [...] and so death passed upon all men.

2. By reall Communication of evil concupis­cence, and depravation upon our natures, which was the consequent of the first rebellion; We were all of us naturally in our first Parents, as the streams in the fountaine, or the branches in the root, and therefore must needs partake the same corrupted nature with them; For who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? And what is man that he should be clean? Job 14.4▪ Job 15.14 or he that is borne of woman that he should be righteous? This might justly make us more loathsome and abo­minable in Gods eyes, then either Toads or Vi­pers, or any other, the most venomous, hurtfull creatures are in ours: and for this alone, he might justly cut us off, and condemne us, though it were meerly for the prevention of that mis­chief and enmity against him, which the very principles of our natures are infected with.

Though man were at first made little lower then the Angels, being crowned with glory and honour, Ps▪ 8.5.6. having dominion over the other creatures, all things being put under his feet, yet this corru­ption of our nature hath now made us become [Page 76] more vile then the beasts that perish. Psal. 49.20

'Tis the root and the fountaine of all other sin, from whence every actual abomination does pro­ceed. Atheisme, and Pride, and basenesse, and cruelty, and prophanenesse, and every other vice, which the most wicked wretch in the world is guilty of, doth proceed from hence. Hell it self which is the proper place of sin, is not more full of sin, for the kinds of it then our natures are. If there be any particular sin which we have not fallen into in our lives, 'tis not for want of cor­rupt principles and dispositions in our natures, which do incline us to all, but by reason of Gods restraining or renuing grace, which hath as yet with-held us from them; without which we should break out into as great abominations, as were ever committed by the vilest of the sons of men.

All that pravity and basenesse, which fils up every part and power about us, are but diffusions of our Original corruption: what a world of mischief is there in our several parts, our Wills, Affections, our Tongues, Eyes? And yet all these are but as little rivulets: The fountaine, or rather the Sea that feeds them, is our corrupted nature.

'Tis this that fils us with enmity against all spi­ritual truths and Ordinances; makes us (what we should tremble to think of) haters of God, though he be the God of our life, and of our hap­pinesse; in whom we live, and move, and have our beings.

Rom. 7.21 Vers. 13Hence is it, that when we would do good, evil is present with us; that we have a law in our [Page 77] members, rebelling against the law of our mindes, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin.

'Tis this that makes us like corrupted vessels, to pollute all the gifts that are poured into us; those graces and abilities which from God are bestowed upon us, pure and excellent, when they are by us put forth in duties, are not without some favour of our own corruption.

This containes in it, not only an utter deficien­cy of all good, but also a loathing and disliking of it: Not only a liablenesse to evil, but also an inherent propension, and strong desire to it. All which is as natural to us, as blacknesse to an E­thiopian; and like the fretting Leprosie, adheres to our natures with so much pertinacy,Levit. 14.45 that it can­not be utterly removed while we are on this side the grave, till these our earthly tabernacles shall be dissolved. No sope or nitre can purge it. Jer. 2.22. The general deluge could not wash it away; that swept away sinners indeed, but not one sinne. Neither shall the fire of the last day cleanse it.

It does totally overspread both our

  • Inward man.
  • Outward man.

1. Our Inward man is hereby depraved both in respect of

  • 1. Understandings.
  • 2. Consciences.
  • 3. Affections.
  • 4. Wills.
  • 5. Memories.

1. Our Vnderstandings are hereby become full of vanity, inconsideratenesse, ignorance;Rom. 3 11 Gen. 6. [...]. neither knowing nor enquiring after God: Every thought, and imagination of the heart being only evil, and that [Page 78] continually. So that we are not of our selves suffi­cient to think any thing that is good, 2 Cor. 3.5. being given o­ver to a reprobate minde, [...], a minde void of judgement, not liking to retaine God in our know­ledge. Rom. 1.28 Becoming vain in our imaginations, having our wicked hearts darkened. Vers. 21. Jer. 4.24. 1 Cor. 2.14 Rom. 8.5. Vers. 7. Being wise to do evil, but foo [...]ish to that which is good. Counting the things of God foolishnesse. Being carnally minded, which is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Full of pride, prejudice, and contradiction a­gainst all sacred truths, setting up our own ima­ginations, and fleshly reasonings against the spi­ritual notions that are dictated to us. Being alien­ated from the life of God, Eph. 4.18. through the blindnesse that is in us.

2. Our Consciences are hereby become full of stupidity, and insensiblenesse, past feeling, being feared as with an hot iron;Eph. 4.19. Altogether defiled; Not performing their office of bearing witnesse, 1 Tim. 4.2 Tit. 1.15. Rom. 2.15. accu­sing, or excusing us rightly according to several occasions. Being deaf unto every holy sugge­stion of Gods Spirit, secure against all the threats, and judgements of the Law.

Gen. 8.21.3. Our Hearts and Affections being evil from our youth: full of wicked policies, and un­searchable deceits.Jer. 17.9. Deceitful above all things, and desparately wicked, who can know them? Full of lustings against the Spirit of God: Gal. 5.7. Sending forth evil thoughts, murthers, adulteries, fornications, thefts, Mat. 15.19 false witnesse, blasphemies, full of folly and madnesse; preferring empty, transitory con­tentments,Eccles. 9.3 before those great matters that con­cerne [Page 79] our eternity. Altogether obdurate against the means of grace; not to be wrought upon ei­ther by hopes or feares, by mercies or judge­ments; slighting the threats of God; underva­luing his promises; distrusting his power; abu­sing his patience; quickly revolting, Jer. 5.23. Pro 14.14 and back­sliding from every holy desire.

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sins? Pro. 20.9.

4. Our Wills have now lost their first native free­dom, making us become servants unto sin:Joh. 8.24. 2 Pet. 2.19Bringing us into bondage unto corruption: Being full of loath­ing and aversnesse, full of enmity, and obstina­cy against any thing that is good.

Casting Gods laws behinde our backs, Psal. 50.17 and hating to be reformed.

5. Our Memories being naturally very un­faithful,Heb. 2.1. and slippery in letting out things that are good, but very tenacious in evill matters.

II. Our outward man, II. which was at first created with a kinde of divine Majesty above the other creatures, is now become weak and vile, expo­sed to all manner of infirmities, diseases, sins. So that we are all over nothing else but a body of sin, Rom. 6.13 and of death, our members being instruments of un­righteousnesse.

Eyes full of Adultery, Pride, Envy. 2 Pet 2.14 Act. 7.51.

Eares uncircumcised, deaf unto every holy suggestion, easily open and attentive to vanities, lies, slanders.

Tongues unruly, and full of deadly poyson, Jam. 3.8. con­teining a world of iniquity; defiling the wh [...]le bo­dy, setting on fire the course of nature, Vers. 6. being them­selves [Page 80] set on fire of Hell. Given to unsavory, un­edifying discourses, revilings, prophanenesse, blas­phemies.Psal. 57.8. Psal. 108.1 That which should be our glory, the best member that we have, is by this Original cor­ruption, become the worst, defiling all the rest.

Our Throat being as an open sepulchre; with our tongues we use deceit, Rom. 3.13 the poison of aspes is un­der our lips. Vers. 14.15.16.17.18. Our mouth is full of cursing and bit­ternesse; our feet are swift to shed blood; destructi­on, and misery are in our wayes: and the way of peace have we not known; there is no fear of God before our eyes.

All which will yet appear more deformed and loathsome, if we look upon our own natures in the rage, blasphemies, basenesse, madnesse of o­ther mens lives: There being not any kinde of evil, which either man, or devil hath commit­ted▪ but there are in our natures the principles and inclinations to it; The best of us being by nature as bad as the worst of sinners.

To which may be added our aptnesse to slight and undervalue the thought of this Original cor­ruption, though it hath already brought so much mischief upon all mankinde, wholly depra­ved us in our faculties, and principles, and spread a curse and deformity upon the whole creation,

CHAP. VIII. The enumeration of actuall sins, both Nationall and Personal, against the Law and Gospel, and particularly against the first Commandment.

IN the Enumeration of sins, next to Originall, we are to acknowledge our Actual transgressi­ons, which flow from the other, as acts do from their habits.

These in the generall are distinguishable into sins National, and Personal; of Omission, and Com­mission; in thought, word and deed; the particu­lars of which do referre to some kinde of breach against the

  • Law.
    • First Table.
    • Second Table.
  • Gospel.

and may properly be enumerated under those heads to which they appertain. Every command­ment having in it both a

  • Positive
  • Negative

part, and comprehending the obedience of the whole man.

But now because it may be sometimes conveni­ent to make a distinct recitall of National sinnes, therefore we ought to be observant, and prudent, in the choise of fitting matter to this purpose.

There are three things that will raise a sin to a publike guilt, and make it become National.

  • [Page 82]1. Common practice.
  • Heb. 2.12
    2. Publick establishment or connivance.
  • 3. General insensiblenesse.

These are variously applicable (according to the condition of several times) both to offences against the first and second Table.1. As Idolatry, Superstition, Heresie, Prophanenesse, Incourage­ment to wilde and desperate errors, Ingratitude and unfruitfulnesse under publike and common mercies; security and inadvertency under all those various dispensations that befall us, incon­sideratenesse of the day of our visitation, and the things that concern our peace, loathing of our spiritual Manna, breach of our publike and so­lemn Engagements.

Blood-guiltinesse, Cruelty, Injustice, Oppres­sion,2. Perfidiousnesse, Bitternesse; A spirit of Dis­obedience, Confusion, Giddinesse, in respect of Civil order, &c.

Hitherto appertain the iniquities of our fathers, and of all publike orders and degrees of men;Dan. 9.17. Our Kings, our Princes, our Priests; which ought upon some special occasions to be acknowledged and bewailed.Neh. 9.34 But these are not reducible unto any particular Catalogue, because they do con­tinually vary according to several times.

In the enumeration of Personal sins, a man ought chiefly to insist upon those particulars, whereof he is more especially guilty; But withall he should know (and upon severall occasions) be able to reckon up the species and kindes of all sins.See Bishop Downhams Abstract.

These may best be discovered by looking upon [Page 83] the divine law, according to its latitude and ful­nes,Bishop Andrews Catechis. Master Brinsley's Watch. 1. Part. examining what is therein

  • Injoyned
  • Forbidden

con­cerning either the duties of Piety towards God in the first Table, or the duties of Charity, to­wards our Neighbour in the second Table.

The first Commandment does forbid the not having Jehovah alone for our God, and conse­quently the not knowing, not believing, not adhering, not submitting to him; The not be­having ourselves towards him in all respects, as our God.

So that we sinne against this by ignorance, when we do not labour after such a measure of knowledge in divine truths,Ignorance as is proportion­able to the callings wherein we are,Heb. 5.12. the time and means, which we have had. When we do not desire the knowledge of Gods wayes;Job 21.14 Mat. 4 16 Being content to sit in darknes and in the region and shadow of death.

Not endeavouring to acquaint our selves with his Power, Majesty, Justice, Mercy, Wisdome, Unchangeablenesse, and those other Attributes of the Divine nature. Not searching the Scri­ptures, proving the things that are more excellent. Phil. 1.10.

When our knowledge is only literal and un­effectual, Luke 12.47. not working answerable obedience in our lives; when we are not careful to observe and consider, and treasure up in our hearts those holy truths, which at any time have been discovered to us; But suffer them to slip from us, by inadvertency or forgetfulnesse;Heb. 2.1. Not ruminating upon them, or recalling them to minde, according to our several occasions.

[Page 84] Infidelity.By Infidelity, when we do not assent unto his law, as being holy, just and good; Not labour­ing to strengthen our faith in his holy Attributes and Word. Not so firmly believing his threats and judgements as to be humbled therby; Or his Promi­ses, as to be invited by them unto newness of life.

DiffidenceBy Diffidence, not adhering to him with all our hearts, not casting our burden upon him; Not trusting him in the want of outward means,Ps. 55.22. full of carking and solicitous thoughts; Apt to put our confidence in armes of flesh, Jer. 17.5. broken reeds, lying vanities.

Want of Love,By want of Love, not loving of him with all our affections and might, preferring the love of our selves, of pleasure, riches, honour, and the like earthly vanities, before the infinite, and abso­lute good that may be found in him. Suffering our shame, worldlinesse, security, hopes, fears, de­pendancies, want of leisure, and such like poore respcts, to seduce our affections from him, and to hinder our communion with him. Loving his creatures, his enemies, any thing, rather then himself, forsaking the Fountain of living waters, and hewing out unto our selves broken Cisterns that will hold no water. Jer. 2.13. Spending our time, and our money for that which is not bread, and our labour for that which satisfieth not. Isa. 55.2.

By want of zeale, not being zealous for his glory in the forward and cheerful use of such meanes whereby it may be promoted;Want of zeale. in a fervent and resolute opposition of those things that may hinder it; in an hearty sense and sorrow for those reigning corruptions, either publike in the times, [Page 85] or private in our own souls, whereby it hath been abused; wronging good causes, either by our lukewarmnesse, or else by our blinde, indis­creet zeale.

By want of rejoycing in him, not serving him with gladnesse of heart: Not rejoycing in the Lord;Want of joy. Deut. 28.47. Is. 61.10. Not finding any such relish in his holy Word and Ordinances, whereby they may seem sweeter then the honey and the honey-combe, but rather counting his wayes grievous and burdensome unto us.

By Vnthankfulnesse for those great mercies which are freely bestowed upon us;Unthank­fulnesse. 2 Chron. 32.25. not rendering unto the Lord according to the benefits we receive, fai­ling in the acknowledgment of them, letting them slip by us without any regard or notice; Being too apt to ascribe Gods blessings unto our owne de­serts and endeavours; Sacrificing to our own nets;Hab. 1.16 Subject to forget his favours, though he doth renew them every moment: And amongst those few that we do take notice of, and remember, yet our thankfulnesse for the receipt of them, is no way proportionable to our importunity in the want of them: Expressing our slighting of them, even in our very thanksgiving for them: Not mentioning them with any hearty sense or af­fection: Not willing to acknowledge them by charity towards his distressed members, accord­ing to our abilities and opportunies; But rather returning evil for good, and hatred for his good will. Ps. 109.5. Deut. 32.15 Like Jeshurun, waxing fat and kicking with the heele. Abundance making us wanton, and con­temptuously to spurne at his laws. Lading and [Page 86] wearying him with our sins, whilest he does con­tinually heap upon us his unwearied mercies.

Impati­ence.By our Impatience under those small crosses that are justly inflicted upon us. Not behaving our selves humbly and cheerfully under Gods father­ly chastisements.Levit. 26.41. Ezra. 9.13 Mich. 7.9 Not accepting the punishment of our iniquity, though it be much lesse then we have deserved. Not bearing the indignation of the Lord, as considering how we have sinned against him. Being subject to murmuring, and repining, to fainting and despaire, to seek help and deliver­ance by unlawful means.

Disobedi­ence.By want of submission and obedience unto him, according to our duty and profession, very in­constant in our holy services, temporary, and by fits, subject to backslide, and revolt upon every slight temptation.Hos. 6.4. Our goodnesse being as the morn­ing cloud, and as the early dew which passeth away. Not Vniversall in our obedience, but partial, and by halves, apt to pick and chuse in our duties, according as they may best suite with our own humours, and the course of the times, not ha­ving respect to all his commandments. Ps. 119.6. Vers. 128. Not hating every false way. Not hearty and sincere in our performances, doing them with all our might, but Hypocritically, Perfunctorily, Negligently.

Security and Pre­sumption.By our not fearing of God, according to the infinite power, justice, majesty, of the divine Nature; or according to those manifold sinnes whereby we have provoked his wrath: Behaving our selves with much security, and inadvertency, under all the various dispensations of his provi­dence, as if we our selves were not at all concerned [Page 87] in them. Not regarding the works of the Lord, nor considering the operation of his hands, Isa. 65.2: still going on after the imagination of our own hearts, as if we had made a Covenant with death, Isa. 28.12. and with hell were at an agreement; very apt to promise to our selves peace and impunity, though we do still persevere in our wonted rebellions; very subject to slavish worldly fears, of men that shall die, and the sons of men that shall be made as grasse: Isa. 51.12, 13. Forgetting the Lord our Maker, who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth: Not grieving when he strikes us, refusing to receive correction, though he does consume us, making our faces harder then a rock, and refusing to return.

By not demeaning our selves humbly before him, according as our own vileness,Jer. 5.3. Pride. and the great­nesse of his mercy does require.

Behaving our selves in our general course, as if we were desirous to live without God here, and content to be annihilated hereafter, so we might but in this world enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

CHAP. IX. Sins against the second Commandment.

THE Second Commandment does concern the Manner, and Means of Gods worship. Against this we sinne, not onely by represent­ing [Page 88] and worshipping of him in Images, but al­so by entertaining grosse mis-conceits of the di­vine nature, by mixing any will-worship, super­stition, or our own inventions with his service, when we do not serve him after such a way as is agreeable to his nature, and required in his word, that is, not in spirit and truth; Not with upright­nesse,Joh. 4.24. sincerity, cheerfulnesse.

1. It will here concern us to examine how exceedingly we have failed in the manner of those good duties which we have attempted;Manner. How much aversenesse there is in us from setting about them: How much distraction, and benummednesse of spirit in the performance of them: How much impotency and wearinesse in the Continuance of them: How much pride, unspiritualnesse, forma­lity, want of relish, deadnesse, uncomfortable­nesse there is mixed with our best services: Ser­ving God with feigned lips: Drawing neer to him with our mouthes, and honouring him with our lips, when our hearts are far from him:Psal. 17.1▪ Resting our selves in the meer outsides of duties,Isa. 29.13. when we do not enjoy any Communion with God in them.

2. We ought to examine our failings, in re­spect of the means or kindes of divine worship. Our carelesnesse to keep our selves close in a con­stant holy communion with God by the right use of all his sacred Ordinances.Means.

  • 1 Prayer, both
    • Private.
    • Publike.
  • 2 Ministery of the Word.
  • Our fail­ings in Prayer.
    3 Receiving of the Sacraments.

1. Our Negligence in setting any solemn time [Page 89] apart for our secret devotions betwixt God and our souls. Omitting them upon every trivial oc­casion, or slight pretence of businesse. Our care­lesnesse in the private observance of this duty with our families, and neer relations, and in pub­like with the Congregation. Our approaching be­fore God without that preparation, reverence, or attention, as becomes such vile creatures speaking to so great a Majesty, Regarding iniquity in our hearts, not calling upon him in truth: Ps. 66.18. Ps. 145.18 Ps. 78.36. Flattering him with our mouthes, and lying to him with our tongues, when our heart is not right with him.

Not Confessing our sins with that sorrow, shame, Dan. 9.8. and confusion of face, as having thereby so much dishonoured his glorious name, and endangered our own salvations: Being rather apt to cover our transgressions with Adam,Job 31.33. by hiding our iniquity in our bosome. Or if we do acknowledge them, yet we are not careful to forsake them, but do still go on in a continuall round of confessing, and com­mitting, committing and confessing again.

Failing very much in the Matter of our Petiti­ons,1 Joh. 5.14▪ not asking those things which are according to his will. Apt to make our prejudicate opini­ons, and passionate wishes, the subject of our Prayers, instead of the holy, and unchangeable will of God. For the manner of them, not with faith and fervency, as being truly sensible of our own wants, or as if we did really beleeve this duty to be an effectuall means for the supply of them. Not tenderly affectionate in our forgiving of others, or our interceding for them.

In our thanksgiving, not mentioning the fa­vours [Page 90] we have received with any such hearty sense of them, as may stir up in our souls, cheer­fulnesse, love, gratitude. Not praising God with our whole hearts, Psal. 9.1. Ps. 103.1. and all that is within us.

Coming before him with customary devotion, rather to satisfie the scruples of a natural consci­ence, then out of any true love to this duty it self, or experimental evidence of comfort to be had by it, our hearts being apt to wander from him, even whilest we are speaking with him, to think but lightly of him, whilest we pretend much ho­nour to him.

Not retaining any taste or relish of these du­ties, after they are ended; Not living suitably to them; Not taking notice how God does answer our Prayers in the several passages of his Provi­dence towards us.

2. For the Ordinance of Preaching, the Mi­nister does herein offend,Failings in respect of the Mini­stry of the Word. by being negligent and slothful in his calling, not preaching with that constancy, faithfulnesse, simplicity, judgement, authority, courage, demonstration of the Spirit as he should; The People by neglecting to hear and read the Word, according to their severall opportunities.Before. By not preparing themselves for this holy exercise. Not coming unto it with hun­gring and thirsting desires, and loving, belee­ving, prizing it, as being of such great efficacy, and necessity for our everlasting well-beings, able to save our souls; Bringing with them much carnal security, which makes them without any desire or care to profit by it; much impenitence and hardnesse of heart; Not without some se­cret [Page 91] resolutions of continuing in their former courses, whatever shall be said to the contrary; Many worldly cares and thoughts with high con­ceits of their own sufficiencies, prejudice against their Teachers, curiosity, not to learn, but to cen­sure, itching ears, rather to please the fancy, then reforme the life.

Not hearkning to it without much irreverence,At. distraction, infidelity, misapplication, obstina­cy, dulnesse, wearinesse; Not receiving it in­to a good and honest heart, with desire to retain and practise it.

Not careful (after they have heard it) to root and fix it in their hearts by Prayer, Meditation,After. Conference; Not expressing the fruits of it in their conversation, slighting those many gra­cious opportunities, wherein God hath reach­ed forth unto them the proffers of mercy and salvation; and though he hath with much pa­tience waited for their amendment, yet they have still hardened their hearts, and notwith­standing the former and the latter raine, do remain like dry stakes in an hedge, barren and fruitlesse, without any spiritual life or growth, answerable to the means which they have had.

3. For the Sacraments,

  • Baptisme.
    Failing in the Sacra­ments. Baptisme.
  • Supper of the Lord.

Our slighting, and renouncing that Cove­nant which we made in Baptisme, abusing that good profession, 1 Tim. 6.12. which we have professed before many witnesses. Not walking as those that have been received into the bosome of the Church, and distinguished from others that are without. Not [Page 92] fighting against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, as becomes such, as are listed into the number of Christs faithful souldiers, and servants.

The Lords Supper.And so for the Sacrament of Christs body and blood, our not hungring and thirsting after it, not partaking of it so frequently as our necessities, and opportunities have required.

Before.When we have approached unto it, have we been careful beforehand to set any solemne time apart, for the fitting of our selves unto so holy a work? have we not been unwilling to ransack and ex­amine the secret corners of our hearts;1 Cor. 11.28. to finde out, and to purge out those particular bosome-sins, unto which our natures do most incline us? after a more especial manner, to excite and stir up in our selves the graces of Gods holy Spi­rit to renue those conditions of the Covenant, required on our parts, Faith and Repentance?

A [...]. In the receiving of the Sacrament, have we no [...] been too apt to slight and dis-esteem it, as if i [...] were but an empty common ceremony? have we behaved our selves with so much fear and reverence, as might become such a sacred my­stery, with such spiritual joy and delight, a [...] should be in those who are fit guests for tha [...] table?

After. After the receipt of it, have we not quickl [...] forgotten our good resolutions, relapsed int [...] our old sins again, not feeling or regarding an [...] such comfort or profit as is promised to th [...] right partaking of this ordinance? have we no [...] often eat and drunk unworthily? and consequen [...]ly eat and drunk judgement to our selves? 1 Cor. 15.27. Vers. 29. becom­ing [Page 93] guilty of the body and blood of Christ, doing that horrid act which we so much detested in the Jews, crucifying again our blessed Saviour,Heb. 6.6. and by slighting the proffers of mercy in this Sacra­ment,1 Cor. 1.17. doing as much as in us lies to make his Passion of none effect?

CHAP. X. Sins against the third and fourth Com­mandment.

THe third Commandment does forbid the abuse of Gods name. By the Name of God we are to understand any thing where­by he may be known, as his Titles, Attributes, Or­dinances, Works.

So that we sin against this Commandment by wicked Oaths, Cursed execrations, unlawfull Vowes, every light irreverent mention of God, all such idle words as do no way tend to the san­ctifying of his name.

By breaking the Vow of our Baptisme, neglect­ing all those good promises and resolutions which since we have made.Psal. 78.8. Dealing falsly in our Covenants, when our heart is not set aright, and our spirit not stedfast with God.

By our not acknowledging, and effectual re­membrance of his holy titles and attributes as we have had occasion. Not delighting to speak good [Page 94] of his name, and to make his praise glorious.

By an irreverent and customary mention of his great and glorious name, upon trivial occa­sions.

By our not thinking and speaking of his word, so frequently with that holinesse and reverence as we should; sometimes pretending to declare his statutes, and to take his Covenant into our mouths, whereas we hate instruction, Psal. 50.16 and cast his Law be­hinde us.

By our Carelesnesse in vindicating the glory of his Name and truths, when they are vilified by others.

By prophaning our profession of Christianity, with an unholy conversation; Not behaving our selves so sincerely in regard of God, nor so inof­fensively in respect of men as we should.

By defacing his glorious image instamped upon us, in our Creation: Becoming more vile and foolish then the beasts that perish In our regeneration, Ps. 49.20. re­lapsing into the sins of our unregeneracy. Not walking worthy of that vocation whereunto we are called. Eph. 4.1.

By our carelesnesse in discovering, and acknow­ledging the divine power, and wisdome, in those special passages of his providence which befal us.

The fourth Com­mandment The fourth Commandment does forbid all carelesnesse, in sanctification of Sabbaths,

  • Ordinary.
  • Extraordinary.

So that we sin against this when we do not re­member to keep the Lords day holy, that is, when we are not mindful beforehand to prevent and [Page 95] avoid all such businesses as may distract us in those duties that belong unto this day.

When we our selves do not rest from our usual works and sinful desires, but mis-spend much of that precious time in idlenes and vanity; or else sa­tisfying our selves in a superstitious, customary observation of the outward rest, without regard­ing the means or the works of sanctification.

When we are not careful to prepare our selves for publike duty, by praying for Ministers in ge­neral, that God would endow them with fitting gifts and abilities, prospering their endeavours, by giving happy successe unto their Ministery: More particularly for the Pastor to whose charge we belong, that God would direct him to speak unto our hearts and consciences.

When we are careless in the performing of our publike duties, not with so much reverence, sin­cerity, spiritualnesse, attention as we should.

When we are negligent in looking to those that are under us, who by our carelesness or connivance, may be incouraged to the Propha­nation of this day.

When we faile in those private duties th [...] concern the Sanctification of the Sabbath, Me­ditation of the Word we hear, Searching the Scriptures, to prove the truth of it, Application of it to our selves, examining our own hearts, private prayer, conference, whetting the Law upon one another, mutually exhorting and stirring up each other unto holy duties, con­templating the creatures and the Providence of God.Deut. 11.19. Psal. 92.

[Page 96]When we are weary of the Sabbath, and wish it were gone, Amos 8. [...]5 and cannot call it a delight.

Isa. 58.13.And so for extraordinary dayes, lawfully set apart for solemn

  • Feasts.
  • Fasts,
    • Publike.
    • Private.

When we mispend our occasional Festivals, altogether in outward carnall mirth, without those inward spiritual duties of love and thank­fulnesse which God requires; not keeping them holy unto the Lord, Neh. 8.9. as we ought to do; Not thereby taking occasion to enlarge our bounty to our poor brethren.

And so for dayes of humiliation, which are cal­led Sabbaths in Scripture;Levit. 23.28. Our neglect of these when there is any special occasion for them, ei­ther publike or private; our insensiblenesse of dangers and judgements, like the old world, keeping on in the road of our secular employ­ments,Matth. 24.38. eating and drinking, buying and selling, &c. putting far away the evill day, chanting to the sound of the Viol, Amos 6.3, 6. drinking wine in bowls, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph; Not sighing and weeping for the abominations that are committed in the midst of us. Ezek. 9.4.

When we do observe these dayes, we are ready to rest our selves in bodily abstinence, outward mortification, hanging down the heads, sad countenances, without inward afflicting of the soul;Jer. 14.10. Not breaking, bruising, renting of our hearts; Refraining not our feet, but loving to wan­der;Jonah 3.8. Not turning from all our evil wayes, and the violence in our hands.

CHAP. XI. Sins against the second Table.

THe second Table doth enjoyn the duties of Charity and Justice towards our neighbour.

Against this we sin when we do not love our neighbours, with such true, unfeigned love as our selves, when we do not deal so with others,Mat. 7.12. as we desire they should deal with us; when we do not pray for them, and endeavour their good as our own.

In the fifth Commandment are forbidden the Vices which concerne the relations of

  • Superiours.
  • Inferiours.

So that we sin against this by not behaving our selves answerably to our several relations; Not modestly and gravely to our Inferiours, going before them in an example of good life; Not humbly and dutifully to our Superiours, 1 Pet. 2.13. not sub­mitting to them for conscience sake, Rom. 23.1, 2. as being or­dained of God; Not thankfully to our Benefactors, either not remembring, or not acknowledging, or not esteeming, or not requiting them as we might.

Subject to envy, and extenuate those special gifts of others, whereby they have attained any preheminence above our selves.

Hitherto likewise appertain the vices which do more particularly concern the relations of

[Page 98] Parents: Not educating, instructing, chasti­sing their children so carefully; Not providing, and praying for them as they should.

Children: Not loving and reverencing their Parents, not submitting to them, not being so thankful towards them as they might.

Husband: Not behaving himself as a Head to govern, instruct and cherish his wife.

Wife: By being irreverent, unquiet, not an helper, but an hinderer of her Husbands good.

Masters: Not careful in directing, govern­ing, punishing, rewarding their servants.

Servants: Disobedient, slothful, unfaithful, answering again, murmuring.

Aged: Not sober and grave, not wise and ex­emplary in their carriage.

Younger: Irreverent towards the persons of the Ancient, neglecting of their good counsels and examples.

Superiours; in gifts, whether inward of the minde, or outward of the estate, in respect of No­bility, Riches, &c. abusing of their gifts unto scorn, pride, oppression; Not doing so much good as the advantage of their abilities and pla­ces does require.

Inferiours; Either too much disdaining, or too much flattering those above them.

Magistrates: Want of diligence and upright­nesse in the discharge of their places.

Subjects: Not so respective, serviceable, sub­missive, as they should.

Teachers: Negligent in taking all occasions [Page 99] of instructing, reforming others by

  • Counsel.
  • Example.

Learners: Not teachable, inquisitive, &c.The sixth Com­mand­ment. The sixth Commandment doth forbid all those sins which are against the health and welfare of our own, or our Neighbours

  • Bodies.
  • Souls.

So that we sin against this, not only by out­ward acts of violence ▪ but also by an aptnesse to entertain prejudices and misconceits against o­thers; By rash, immoderate anger, injurious,Mat. 5.22▪ revengeful thoughts, secret grudges, hatred, and implacablenesse.1 Joh. 3.15

By failing in those particulars which concern the maintenance of mutual peace and friendship amongst one another; By haughty, insolent car­riage; Reviling, scoffing, provoking speeches.

Being senselesse and hard-hearted in the mise­ries of our brethren; not weeping with them that weep; not being heartily affected at those publick evils wherein we our selves are not more immediately and particularly concerned.

By wounding and murthering the souls of o­thers through scandal

  • Active, misguiding them,
  • Passive, grieving them,

when we encourage them in their evil courses, ei­ther by Provocation, Counsel, Example, Con­nivance.

By the levity and unprofitablenesse of conver­sing amongst others; when we do not labour to stirre them up unto holinesse, according to our several opportunities and relations; Not instruct­ing the ignorant, comforting the weak; ad­monishing, [Page 100] exhorting, encouraging others unto well-doing.

By neglecting our own bodily health and welfare, through intemperance, immoderate passions, &c.

By being carelesse of our own souls, not pro­viding for the dayes of death and judgement, but thrusting them farre from us, bidding those dayes care for themselves. By quenching and suppressing those holy motions that are at any time suggested unto our hearts, preferring the base things of this world before those great mat­ters that concern eternity.

The seventh Commandment does forbid all kindes of uncleannesse, The se­venth Cōmand­ment. both of body and soul, toge­ther with the means and signes of it.

Against this we sin, not only by committing any outward act of uncleannesse either by our selves or with others; But also

By the Adultery of the heart, by having our minds full of unchast desires,Mat. 5.28. by cherishing in our selves any lustful, unlawful affection: By delight­ing our thoughts in the fancy and speculation of those lusts which we have not opportunity to act.

When we do not labour to quench our fleshly concupiscence, by vigilancy over our own hearts and wayes, by avoiding all evil company, and such other occasions as may inflame us; when we are not moderate in our delights; modest in our carriages; temperate in our diet; diligent and painful in our callings.

When our eyes are full of adultery, when our eares are willingly open to filthy and uncleane [Page 101] communication, when our tongues are given to rotten and unsavory speeches.

When we are not wary and circumspect in a­voiding all suspitions and appearances of this evil.

The eighth Commandment does forbid all those vices which do concerne our own,The eighth Cōmand­ment. or our neighbours outward estate; as Theft, Oppression, Deceit, Sacriledge, Usury, Bribery, Prodigality.

We offend against this, not only by those ex­ternal acts of theft and injustice, which humane law does take notice of, but also

By the Love of money, 1 Tim. 6.10. which is the root of all evil, by being discontent at our estates, greedy of gain, full of restlesse and insatiable desires after these earthly profits.

When we are not so strict, and conscionable in the means of getting wealth, either negligent and idle in those callings, wherein we should provide for our selves and our families; or else too much hastening to be rich, by violence and oppression,Prov. 28.20. craft, or over-reaching, by being unfaithful in our words and promises; Not so upright and sincere in our dealings with others, not conscionable in paying their dues.

When we are not wise and moderate in the use of these outward things; Not so discreet in laying out the Talents committed to our steward­ship; too sparing, and parsimonious unto good purposes; too lavish about dishonest and unne­cessary occasions.

The ninth Commandment does forbid those vices, which concern our own,The ninth Cōmand­ment. or our neighbours reputation, as Slander, Credulity, Hearing of tale-bearers, [Page 102] Censuring, Sinister suspitions, Flattery, Silence in defending, &c.

Against this we sin, not only when we do pub­lickly concur with others in false judgement a­gainst our neighbours; But also

When we are not charitable in our speaking, hearing, thinking of others.

Subject to reviling, scornful, slanderous speech­es, very ready to speak ill, and to spread the faults of our neighbours, when it does no way concern us, or is like to benefit others.

Willing to entertain Back-biters, Tale-bearers, Scoffers, ready to listen unto any report that tends unto the defamation of others, too much affected unto flattering tongues and deceitful lips; Busie, and medling in the affairs of others where we are not concerned.

Full of Credulity, and rash belief, in judging of ill rumours, too liable unto uncharitable suspi­tions, apt to interpret good things ill, and doubt­ful matters in the worst sense.

Not so careful in upholding our neighbours credit, by admonishing, exhorting, rebuking him, according to our Callings and opportunities.

Subject to arrogant, high conceits of our selves, and yet very negligent in those ways wher­by we may establish our reputations; Not labour­ing to be such as we would seem to be; Not en­deavouring to keep a good conscience before God, and a good report before men; Not avoiding all appearances of evil.

The tenth Com­mandmēt. The tenth and last Commandment does forbid any concupisence against our neighbour, though [Page 103] before the consent of the will; whether by co­vetousnesse, self-love, evill thoughts, envie.

Against this we sin, when we have not such a holy disposition in our mindes unto the duties of charity, as God hath required.

When we are apt to favour and entertain the temptations that are suggested to us.

When our mindes are full of evill fancies and wicked perturbations, arising from our corrupted natures.

When we delight our selves in any evill imagi­nation, keeping it close, Job 20▪12, 13. and rolling it in our thoughts, though our mindes (perhaps) do not consent to the acting of it.

CHAP. XII. Sins against the Gospel.

NExt to these transgressions against the Law, we ought to enumerate our sins against the Gospel, which for the general kindes of them are reducible to these two heads

  • Unbelief.
  • Impenitence.

1. Our Vnbelief, in the several degrees of it.

Not labouring to acquaint our selves with the duties, promises, priviledges of the Gospel,1. Unbe­lief. though it does contain the best glad tidings, and of the greatest consequence that can possibly be ima­gined.

Our not assenting to it, according to its full la­titude, [Page 104] being easily carried about with every winde of doctrine, any wilde erroneous fancie, apt to turn aside unto our own crooked wayes; And to have our minde corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ;Ps. 125.5. 2 Cor. 11.3 Tit. 1.13. Not being sound in the faith.

Our not loving and esteeming of it. Not suf­ficiently admiring that miracle of divine bounty wherein the Love of God was more especially commended and manifested towards us,Rom. 5.8. in that he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 1 Joh. 4.9.

Our too much slighting and under-valuing the great love and merits of our blessed Redeemer. Treading underfoot the Son of God, Heb. 10.29. prophaning the blood of the Covenant, and doing what we could to make Christs passion of none effect. Being apt to prefer drosse and dung before the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. Phil. 3.8. Not counting him all in all. Not rejoycing in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Col. 3.11. Rom. 5.11 by whom we have received the Attonement. Not glorying alone in Christ, and him crucified. Gal. 6, 14. Not counting his favour and loving-kindnesse to be better then life. Psal. 119.115. Not claiming his promises as our heritage, esteeming them the joy of our hearts. Not looking upon them as being un­searchable riches, Eph. 3.8. 2 Pet. 1.4. exceeding great and precious.

Our not living by faith, in all estates and con­ditions; Not embracing the promises of the Go­spel with so much readinesse, nor adhering to them with so much stedfastness, as the excellency and cer­tainty of them does require.

Not improving and applying this rich treasure of Gospel-promises unto the various changes of [Page 105] this temporal life, in respect of

  • Prosperity.
  • Adversity.

being very apt to be altogether immersed in sen­sitive, external things; without reflecting upon those advantages we might from thence enjoy in this regard.

And so for our spiritual life, being apt to rely on our own righteousnesse, and self-justificati­ons, thereby endeavouring (as much as in us lies) to deprive Christ of his Saviour-ship.

Not owning of Christ in all his offices, not wil­ling to accept of him as well for our Lord, as our Saviour.

And this heart of unbelief does prove unto us a root of Apostasie, Heb. 3.2. making us to depart from the li­ving God.

2. Our Impenitency, 2. Impeni­tency. in that when God had in some measure discovered unto us our own mise­rable condition, by reason of the Covenant of Works, we have not yet humbled our selves in any proportion to the multitude or greatnesse of our sins; Nor applied our selves with any fervency of heart unto the onely means of pardon and re­concilation in the Covenant of Grace.

Not being inquisitive after our sins, not endea­vouring to examine and finde out our particular failings, but rather to hide and excuse them.

Not being humbled and grieved for them, as considering that wretched injustice, folly, unkind­nesse, that we have expressed by them.

Not resolving and striving against them, not improving all advantages for the avoiding and subduing of them.

[Page 106]Refusing to repent, though God has vouchsa­fed us time and means. Rev. 2.21. Joh. 3.19. 2 Cor. 6.1. Though light be come into the world, yet loving darkness rather then light. Receiving the grace of God in vain. Turning it into wantonness. Jude v.4. Tempting, grieving, quenching the holy Spirit of God, whereby we should be sealed to the day of redemption. Eph. 4.30

Hardning our selves, by a custome and delight in sin, and by this means, Treasuring up for our selves, wrath against the day of wrath, and reve­lation of the righteous judgement of God. Rom. 2▪ 5.

'Tis here to be observed, that though these two sins be more immediately and directly against the Gospel, yet the other breaches of the Law before mentioned, are in some sense reducible also under this head, Evangelical obedience including Le­gal, as subordinate to it; and the Law being the rule of Gospel conversation. And for this reason I am the more brief upon this head.

We should here likewise remember that all these offences before enumerated, are but the ge­nerals and kindes of our sins. The particular acts of them being past our numbring. To all which may be added, our pronenesse to maintain, justi­fie, extenuate our offences.

CHAP. XIII. Concerning the aggravation of sins.

BEsides the Enumeration of our sins, it is al­so requisite that we understand somewhat concerning the aggravation of them, whereby [Page 107] they may appear exceeding sinful, that so we may be the better affected with a selfe-abhorrency and humiliation for them.Rom. 7.13.

Aggravation may be either of

  • Sinne in General.
  • Kindes of sin.
  • Particular sins.
    Ma [...]ifold transgres­sions and mighty sins

1. Sinne in general may be aggravated, either by its

  • Greatnesse
  • Multitude

in both which respects it is eminent above any thing else; as for other matters if they be great they are but few; if many, Am. 5.12. they are but small. But sin exceeds in both these.

1. The greatnes of its evil may be discerned in its

  • Nature
  • Effects,

both in regard of

  • Christ.
    Mr. Good­win's ag­gravation of sinne.
  • Our selves.
  • Other creatures.

1. All sinne in its own nature and essence is enmity against God, Rom. 8.7. Now as he that hateth his brother is a murtherer: So he that hateth God,1 Joh. 3.15 may be said to be a murtherer of him. Because in his heart he wishes that he were not. The holy Ghost fitly stiles it, The excrement, [...]. Jam. 1.21. The super­fluity of naughtinesse, implying, that if all other evils were to have a scum, a superfluity, 'tis sinne must be it. 'Tis worse then the Devil himself, it made him to be so. 'Tis worse then Hell, that is but opposite to the good of the creature; this of the Creator. And if the greatnesse of the malady may be judged by the cost and difficulty of the Cure; It will easily appear that no evil is so great as this, because nothing could serve for the re­medy of it, but the infinitely precious blood of Je­sus Christ: 'Tis so great an evil, that there can [Page 108] be no greater punishment of it, then by it self; when God would deale with a man as a most desperate enemy, he give him up to sin. There can be no worse epithite or expression for it, then it self. When the Apostle would speak the worst of it he could, he calls it by his own name, sinful sin.

Rom. 7.132. For the effects of it, in regard

1. Of Christ, who had it only by imputation as our Surety. It was the cause of all his bitter Ago­nies; It afflicted his soul and broke his heart, making him to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

2. In respect of our selves; it hath utterly undone all mankinde, debased our souls which were fit companions for God himself, unto a servile, shameful condition: Deprived them of that glo­rious Image, wherein all our happinesse and ex­cellency did consist; and made us more vile then the beasts that perish.

3. In respect of the other Creatures; it hath brought a vanity and curse upon the whole Cre­ation,Rom. 8.23. Gen. 3.17. Hag. 2.13. causing all the miseries and sorrows in this world, and those eternal torments in the world to come.

All which mischief is contained in the nature, and might be effected by any the least particular sin. Now if every sin have in it so much defor­mity and danger; if our least offences do contain in them more enmity and injustice against God, then could be expiated by the whole Creation, and of themselves would be enough to sink us in­to eternal perdition: how desperate then are those greater abominations,Is. 1.18. those crying sins, [Page 109] of a scarlet and crimson dye, wherewith our lives have been defiled?

If an infinite wrath be due to our idle thoughts, what may we expect then for our unclean, cove­tous, malicious, proud, Atheistical, Blasphemous thoughts?

If every vaine word does deserve hell, what depth of damnation then shall be inflicted for those many cursed oaths, lies, bitternesse, rail­ings, and other unsavory discourses, whereof we have been guilty?

If our Righteousnesse be as filthy rags; if the ini­quity of our holy things be enough to condemne us, what dregs of indignation may we then ex­pect, for our many rebellions, prophane, hypo­critical, actions? if our sacrifice and obedience may be counted abomination, what shall be thought then of our Sacriledge and Rebellion?

2. For the multitude of our sins; who can tell how oft he offendeth? Ps. 19.1 [...]. Ezra 9.6 Ps. 40.12. Our iniquities are increased over us, and our trespasses are grown up unto the heavens. They are more then the haires of our head. Neither the tongue of men or Angels is able to reckon them up; if there be any impiety which we have not fallen into, 'tis not for want of sin­ful inclinations in us: but rather because we had not temptations, means, opportunities for the acting of it. To which may be added our continu­ance in sin, as a fountain casteth out her waters, Jer. 6.7. with­out intermission.

Now if one sin alone be enough to expose us to damnation; O then how shall we be able to stand before so many sins, which we know by our [Page 110] selves, besides those many secret sins which we have not known? many that we never consider­ed, and very many that we have quite forgotten.

If all the plagues and curses of the law be due unto those who continue not in all things written in that book to do them;Gal. 3.10. What fury and wrath then may they look for, who have persevered in a continual rebellion against all Gods holy Laws and Commandments?

If one sin in Adam were enough to condemn the whole world, what then may a world of sins in every one of us?

All which sins will yet appear more heinous by comparing them with those many and great favours which we have received.

2. The Kindes of sin may be aggravated.

Kinds of sinne.1. By comparing them with others which are lesse evil. 2. By examining them according to their full latitude, shewing how many impie­ties are involved in every one. 3. By distinguish­ing them into their several degrees.

1. By comparing them; for example, sinnes of Commission are in themselves more hainous then sins of Omission. Heb. 10.28, 29. 2 Cor. 3.8. Sins against the Gospel are in some respects much worse then sins against the Law, because they are against greater light and mercy; and the more means any have injoyed, the greater shall their condemnation be. Co­razin and Bethsaida, Mat. 11.21, 22. being upon this ground pronounced by our Saviour to be in a worse con­dition then Tyre and Sidon. As in matter of grace, God does not weigh it by the Scales, but try it by the touchstone; not so much regarding the num­ber [Page 111] as the truth of duties. So it is likewise for sins; a lesser sin against light and love does more provoke him, then a much greater with reluctan­cy, or from surprisal.

Transgressions against the first Table, are worse then those against the second. If one man sin against another, the Judge shall judge him: 1 Sam. 2▪25. But if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? and for this reason the first Table is called The great Commandment. Mat. 22.38.

Neglect of a principal duty of the first or se­cond Table, is a greater sin then the neglect or omission of that which is circumstantial or cere­monial: Obedience and Mercy being better then sacrifice. 1 Sam. 15.22.

Sins against the clear light of nature or reason, are in many respects worse then those that are discovered to us by the written Word. The more obligations are broken, the greater still is the sin, as when our offence is not onely against the Word of God, but likewise against the Law of Nature, Conscience, particular Promises and Vows.

2. By examining the latitude and comprehen­siveness of any kinde of sin, though it may more especially referre to the breach of some one Commandment, yet if we search into its utmost compasse and extent, we shall finde that it does also refer unto divers others; So the sins of the second Table, do not only intrench upon one another, but also upon those of the first Table, by reason of that disobedience which is in them, unto the Command of God.

[Page 112]3. By distinguishing the degrees of sin, the first Consent being not so bad as the Act, nor the Act so bad as the Custome and delight; A particular offence being not so bad as an habitual reign­ing sin, that wastes the conscience.

Particular sins.3. That which does more especially concern us in our Confessions, is the aggravation of parti­cular sins. Because a general view of them, is more apt to produce a confused stupor and a­mazement, rather then any proper and genuine humiliation. Every man hath some black dayes in his Calendar, some more notorious sin, whereof he hath been guilty. He should in his private humiliation endeavour to call those to fresh re­membrance,Ps. 51.3. and set them before him. Not for­getting that horrour and dread which appeared to him, when God did first discover them to his conscience. And therefore it will concern us to labour after a more distinct discovery of the heinousnesse of our particular offences, which will best appear by examining them according to their divers circumstances. Quis, ubi, quid, qui­bus aux­illis, Cur, quomodo, quando.

Now the Circumstances of actions are usually reckoned to be these seven. 1. The Person. 2. The Place. 3. The Thing. 4. The Means. 5. The End. 6. The Manner. 7. The Time.

1. The Person.1. The Person is considerable under a twofold capacity, either for the Person

  • Offended.
  • Offending.

1. The Person offended, the Creator and Go­vernour of the world;The Person. so eminent for his Great­nesse and Majesty, which does adde much to the offence; An ill word against the King, being [Page 113] high Treason, whereas the greatest offence a­gainst another is not so much. So that it may be very helpfull to set forth the heinousnesse of any sin, to consider who it is that is offended by it. Not only our Brethren, Superiours, Equals, In­feriours, or our selves; but the great God, who is able with the blast of his mouth, with a frown of his countenance to ruine us eternally, and cast us into hell. And it must needs argue extream folly for men to contend with their Maker, 1 Cor. 10.22. to pro­voke him to jealousie, as if they were stronger then he.

So infinite in holinesse, and knowledge; of pure and piercing eyes; abhorring sin infinitely, and yet necessarily beholding it. Though men may stop their eares, or shut their eyes against what they dislike, yet God cannot go out of the hearing or seeing of sin. He hears every one of our vain and sinful words. He sees into the se­cret corners of our hearts, the least glimpse of a­ny sinful contrivement, which we our selves can scarce take notice of; and should we provoke the eyes of his glory?

So terrible in his Justice and Majesty,Isa. 3.8. who shall one day come with thousands of his glori­ous Angels, in flaming fire to render vengeance upon all those that know him not, or obey him not.

So merciful and gracious unto us; The Lord our Redeemer, the holy One of Israel our King; Our Father who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, 2 Thes. 2.16▪ Ps. 109.5. and good hope through grace. And shall we return evil for good, and ha­tred [Page 114] for his good will? Shall we thus requite the Lord? Is not he our Father that bought us? hath he not made us, and established us? Deut. 32.6

The Person offending; a frail creature, of a dependant being; preferred out of nothing, to the noble condition of the humane nature. One that hath taken upon him the Profession of Re­ligion, ingaged himself to the duties of Chri­stianity by a solemn Vow in Baptism, participa­ted the means of Grace in a greater measure then others; and hath had so much experience of Gods more especial favour towards him. One who is called a Christian, and rests in the Gospel, and makes his boast of Christ, Rom. 2.17 18. and knows his will, and approves the things that are more excellent, &c.

2. The Place. Isa. 26.10.2. The Place, where we have enjoyed the li­berty and sunshine of the Gospel; In the land of uprightness dealing unjustly. In that very place which hath so much abounded with temporal and spiritual blessings; flowing with milke and honey, and that which is more nourishing and pleasant to the soul, then either of these to the body; The Word and Ordinances of God in sincerity and power: 'Tis recorded of the Israe­lites, Psal. 106 7. that They provoked God at the sea, Ps. 106.7. even at the red sea; which is repeated with an Emphasis, as being the place of mercy where they had lately seen so miraculous a deliverance, which circumstance did adde a great aggravation to their rebellion.

3. The Thing.3. The Thing; that which we have so often relapsed into, against which we have so frequent­ly resolved, being in it self (it may be) of a more [Page 115] foule and scandalous nature, &c. Hitherto does belong the aggravations which concern the kinds of sin, which were mentioned before.

4. The Means; with hypocritical pretences,4. The Means. ma­king Religion the veile for our unlawful desires, fighting against God with those abilities, with which we should serve him. Abusing that health, wealth, strength, wit, and all the other Talents we have received; not only neglecting to improve them unto the glory of the Giver, but wastefully lavishing of them, so that we cannot with the foolish servant give God his own again; using them as weapons against him, thereby re­sisting his Spirit and Ordinances.

5. The End; for lying vanities,5. The End. the short plea­sures of sin, which are not without some mixture of sorrow, in the very injoyment of them, and do afterwards fill the soul with guilt and fear. For­saking the Fountain of living waters, Jer. 2.13. and hewing out unto our selves broken Cisterns that will hold no wa­ter. Spending our money for that which is not bread, Is. 55.2. and our labour for that which satisfieth not. Prose­cuting those things whereof we might be ashamed; the end of which will be death. Rom. 6.2 [...]

6. The Manner how;6. The Manner. which is capable of much amplification, it being a great addition to the heinousnesse of any sin, when it is committed, either,

Out of ignorance, when we have had means of being better informed; Out of impudence, against the dictates of nature;Heb. 10.26. the light of reason and e­ducation; some taste and relish of spiritual things; the checks of conscience; former pro­mises [Page 116] and resolutions. After much considera­tion and debate with our own hearts. Against our own experience and observation of many judgements that have been inflicted upon such a sinne. Against many examples, much patience, the means of remedy, in which respects the sins of men are much worse then those of the devil: for he never sinned against example, being the first offender; nor against patience, being imme­diately upon the first offence cast into hell; nor against remedy, there being no possible means allowed him for his recovery. Out of base ingra­titude, against the frequent and favourable mo­tions of the blessed Spirit: Despising the riches of Gods goodnesse, Rom. 2▪ 4 and forbearance, and long-suffering, whereby we should have been led to repentance. Af­ter frequent relapses, which do multiply the guilt of sin,2 Pet. 2.22 like the increase of figures; though the first fault be but as one, yet the second re­lapse makes it as ten, the third as an hundred, the next as a thousand, and so on, according to this multiplied proportion. Out of presumption and forestalling of pardon, making the mercy of God to lead us unto sin.Ps. 50.17 Out of much obdurate­nesse and pertinacy, casting his laws behinde our backs, Isa. 5.18. Rom. 2.1. Isa. 43.24 and hating to be reformed. Drawing ini­quity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with cart-ropes: Treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath, as if we would weary God with our ini­quities; with much forwardnesse, and constancy, notwithstanding the great trouble and difficulty there hath been in the service of sin; without any, or with very small temptation; with much cheer­fulnesse [Page 117] and delight,Job 15.16 Eph. 4.19. Num. 15.30. Jer. 5.3. Isa. 65.3. 1 Cor. 10.22. as if there had been plea­sure in destruction; with much eagernesse, and desire, drinking inquity like water; working all uncleannesse with greedinesse; with an high hand, as if we would reproach the Lord, refusing to return unto him; with mad impudence, provoking God to his Face, as if we were stronger then he.

7. The Time when:7. The Time. Not only in our childe­hood, but in our man-hood; not only when we sate in darknesse, in the dayes of our unregene­racy; but since he hath called us into his marvel­lous light, since the glorious Gospel hath shined into our hearts, having, (perhaps) but lately suf­fered under such an affliction, and received such a special deliverance, upon which we did renew our Covenant with God by fresh resolutions of strict and circumspect walking.

Each of these circumstances may be otherwise more largely amplified, according to the several natures of those sins to which they are applied in our confessions; but by that which hath been already said, it may sufficiently appear how the distinct understanding and consideration of them may be very useful in this businesse.

CHAP. XIV. Of our acknowledging the punishments that are due to sin.

WHen we have thus acknowledged our sins by an Enumeration and Aggravation of them; we are in the next place to own the pu­nishments that are due unto them, thereby the better to affect us with sorrow and indignation at those evil courses, which will expose us to so many fearful dangers. That thus remembring our doings which were not good, Exek. 36.31. we may loath our selves for our abominations: Acknowledging that we are not worthy the least of his mercies, Gen. 32.10 or truth, that he hath shewed unto us; Desiring to abhorre our selves, Job. 42.6. and repent in dust and ashes.

Thus the Prodigal in his submission to his fa­ther; first he acknowledges his offence, I have sinned against heaven, Luke 15.18, 19. and against thee; and then he ownes the punishment, And am no more worthy to be called thy son. There being a natural conse­quence betwixt these two. For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, 2 Pet. 2.4, 5, 6. but delivered them into chaines of darknesse to be reserved unto judgement; if he spared not the old world, but brought a flood up­on them; if the cities of Sodom, and Gomorrah were turned into ashes, being condemned unto a dreadfull overthrow, that they might be examples to those that after should live ungodly; Rom. 11.21. if God spared not the na­tural branches, but cut them off for their disobe­dience [Page 119] and unbelief; we may certainly then con­clude, that though sentence against other evill works be not executed speedily, Eccl. 8.11. yet they shall not go unpunished;Ps. 140.11 But evill shall hunt the wicked per­son to overthrow him. And therefore besides the confession of our sins, it is also requisite that we own, and acknowledge the punishments that are due unto us for them.

Now these punishments are either

  • External.
  • Internal.
    1. External.
  • Eternal.

1. The External are those that concern the outward man; either in Body, Friends, Name, Estate.

1. In our Bodies: 'Twere but justice if God should deprive us of our health; if he should smite us with a consumption, and a feaver; Deut. 28.22. Vers. 27. with an inflammation, and an extream burning, with the botch of Egypt, with the Emrods, and with the Le­prosie, whereof we cannot be cured; if he should send upon us sore sicknesses, and of long continuance;Vers. 59. if he should suffer us with Job to be so wholly over­spread with sores,Job, 7.5. Vers, 15. that we should become loathsome to our own selves. That we should chuse strang­ling and death rather then life.

It were but justice if he should strike us blinde, or deaf, or lame; if he should take from us those senses by which we have so much dishonoured, and provoked him; if he should deprive us of those limbs and members, which we have used as instruments of sin, and weapons of unrighte­ousnesse.

2. In respect of our Friends: We might justly [Page 120] expect that God should cast us into a forlorn, de­stitute condition, when there should be none to relieve or pitty us. He might take from us the help and comfort of our Friends, either turning their hearts against us, or depriving us of them by death.

3. In regard of our Names and Credit: He might give us over to those notorious, scandalous censures, by which we should be made ashamed to live, and afraid to die. He might justly make us an astonishment, Deut. 28.37 [...]. Psal. 44.13, 14. Deut. 29.20. Isa. 28.7. and a proverb, and a by-word amongst all Nations; To be laughed to scorn, and had in derision of them that are round about us. He might blot out our names from under heaven.

4. For our Estates: If God should lay judgement to the line, and righteousnes to the plummet; he might number every one of us to the sword, and to cap­tivity, and to ruine: Depriving us of our liber­ty, Liberty. peace, plenty. It were but justice if he should suffer us to be shut up in some prison or dun­geon, where we could not enjoy the mercies that we possesse: If he should lead us into captivity, sell us unto some cruell slavery, and bondage; Scatter us abroad amongst all the Kingdoms of the earth;Deut. 28.25. Heb. 11.37 Causing us to wander about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, torment­ed;Vers. 38. Being dispersed in the deserts, and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

If he should take from us that peace, quietness, comfort, which we have formnrly enjoyed, fil­ling us with confusion and trouble;Peace. giving us over to the rage and malice of our enemies: Cau­sing the Sun to go down at noon, Amos 8.9 and darkning the [Page 121] earth in the clear day; Surprizing us with sad con­fusions when we think our selves most secure and happy. Turning our feasts into mourning, and our songs into lamentation; Vers. 10. bringing sack-cloath upon all loines, and baldnesse upon every head; making us to eat our bread with carefulnesse, Ez. 12.19. and to drink our water with astonishment.

If he should deny us his creatures, when we want them;Plenty. take them from us when we have them; withhold his blessing from attending them; debarre us from the comfortable enjoy­ment of them; sending upon us cleannesse of teeth: Amos 4.6 Ezek. 5.16 The evil arrows of famine; breaking the staffe of our bread; taking away our corne in the time thereof; making the heaven over us to be brasse, and the earth under us to be iron;Hos. 2.9. Deut. 28.23. If he should raine fire and brimstone down upon us; if he should afflict us with hunger, and thirst, and nakednesse, and the want of all things; if he should send a rust, Vers. 48. Jam. 5.3. Hag. 1. [...]. and canker upon our estates, making an hole in the bottome of our bags; by which our gaines should insensibly drop away, and slip from us; if he should curse us in the city, and in the field, Deut. 28.16, 17, 18. in our basket and in our store; in the fruit of our land, and the increase of our cattel, in all our endeavours▪ and the works of our hands: Feeding us with the bread of affliction, and with the water of affliction: 1 King. 22.27. Gi­ving us to drink the cup of trembling and the dregs of the cup of his fury: Stretching out upon us the line of confusion, and the stones of emptinesse;Isa. 51.22. Isa. 34.11. Psal. 11.6. if he should make the portion of our cup to be snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.

2. Internal punishments are those that con­cern2. Internal [Page 122] the soul, and inward man; either in re­spect of blessings

  • Natural.
  • Spiritual.

It were but justice if God should take from us our wits,Deut. 28.28. reasons, memories: If he should smite us with madnesse, Dan. 4.16 and astonishment of heart: Giving us the hearts of beasts, making us become raving and desperate, or stupid and brutish; if he should deprive us of our inward peace and quietnesse, giving us a trembling heart, and sorrow of minde: Deut. 28.65. Job 7.14. Scaring us with dreams, and terrifying us with visions: Making our guilty consciences to fly into our faces; to gnaw upon the soul with fierce and restlesse accusations, to fill the thoughts with terrours and amazement.

It were but justice if he should deprive us of all his holy Ordinances; sending upon us a fa­mine of the Word: Am. 8.11. Isa 30.20. Mic. 3.6, 7 Removing our Teachers into cor­ners▪ so that our eyes cannot see them; making the night to come upon us, wherein we should not have a vision, that it should be dark unto us, that we can­not divine; that the Sun should go down over our Prophets, and the day be dark over them, that the Seers should be ashamed, and the Diviners confound­ed, all of them covering their lips, because there is no answer of God.

If he should reject all our holy services, hide himself from us when we seek his face; stopping his ears when we cry unto him; laughing at our calamities, Pro. 1.26▪ and mocking when our fear cometh; if he should fling our Prayers back into our faces; with a curse in stead of a blessing; if he should [Page 123] take our confessions as an evidence against our selves, and condemne us out of our own mouths.

If he should subtract the means of grace, and not any longer, continue the proffers of mercy to those who have so much undervalued and abu­sed them▪ If he should cause his grieved Spirit to retire from us, and finally give us over to our own desperane hardnesse, and impenitency, to vile affections, to a seared conscience, and a repro­bate sense, whereby we might be continued in our evil courses till the day of his vengeance.

3. Eternal punishments are such as concerne our immortal conditions after this life;3. Eternal. They are either of

  • Losse.
  • Paine.

1. The punishment of losse does consist in be­ing for ever banished from the blessed pre­sence of God, and the joyes of heaven. In being punished with everlasting destruction, 2 Thes. 1.9 from the pre­sence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

2. The pain of sense does consist in those most exquisite and unexpressible torments, which shall be inflicted on the damned, set forth in Scripture by everlasting fire; utter darknesse; the worme that dyes not, ond the fire that is not quenched; Matth. 15.41.22.13. Mar. 9.40.2 et. 2.4. Jude 13. Rev. 19.20 2 Pet. 2.1. Chaines of darknesse: The blacknesse of darknesse for ever: The lake of fire, burning with brim­stone.

It were but justice if God should cut us off with swift destruction; snatching us out of the land of the living, with our sinnes, and feares upon us; and cast us into those regions of darknesse, those [Page 124] black and cruel habitations where there is no­thing but weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2 Thes. 1.8If he should take vengeance upon us in flaming fire; making us to drink the wine of his wrath, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation: Rev. 14.10 Tormenting us with fire and brimstone in the presence of his holy Angels.

Should God deal with us according to our deserts, it would have been much better for us that we had never been borne. He might justly inflict upon us all the plagues of this life, and e­ternal torments in the life to come. There is no­thing could remaine for us to expect, but a cer­tain fearful looking for of judgement, and fiery in­dignation to devour us.

It were easie to amplifie each of these heads, from those many curses, and judgements denounced in Scripture, which are all of them appliable to this purpose, as being the desert of sinne.

The serious consideration, and application of these things, will very much conduce to the exciting of such affections in us, as do become the duty of confession.

CHAP. XV. Of the proper materials for a Transition, whereby Confession and Petition may be annexed.

THus much briefly concerning the Matter and Method to be observed in our Con­fession.

That which should succeed next unto it, is Petition. But for the better connexion of these two 'tis requisite that they be joyned together by some fitting Transition. The most natural materials for which, may be referred unto some of these heads.

1. A profession of our shame and sorrow in the consideration of our many sins, and the pu­nishments due unto them.Eze. 36.31 A readinesse to loath our selves for our abominations. To judge and condemne our selves, that we may not be con­demned of the Lord. A willingnesse to set our sins ever before us, as considering that though the acts of them be past, yet the guilt, and the danger may be present; and that there may be many now in hell, who have not been so great sinners as we. Of this kinde is that speech of Ez­ra: O my God, I am ashamed, Ezra. 9.6. and blush to lift up my face to thee. And Job: I abhorre my self, Job 42.6. and repent in dust and ashes. And Daniel: O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, Dan. 9.8. because we have sinned against thee.

[Page 126]2 An expression of our desire to fly utterly out of our selves, to renounce all our own righ­teousnesse; How should man be just with God? if he should contend with us, Job 9.2, 3 we could not answer for one of a thousand. If thou shouldst be extreame to mark what is done amisse, Ps. 130.3, 4 O Lord, who may abide it? but there is mercy and forgivenesse with thee that thou mayest be feared, thou knowest our frame, and considerest that we are but dust;Psal. 103.4 frail, infirme creatures, and therefore thou dost not expect perfection from us; if we could have no sin, we should have no need of a Redeemer, we are of our selves altogether impotent, and unclean, and our righteousnesse as filthy rags. Isa. 64.6.

3. A promise of amendment for the future; Renuing our Covenant with God by fresh reso­lutions of astrict and holy conversation;Neh. 9.38 Chap. 10. vers. 29. Profes­sing our desire to fear his name, and to be en­gaged to him, by an everlasting Covenant, ne­ver to depart from him again. O that my wayes were so directed, Psal. 119.5 that I might keep thy Command­ments alwayes! O that thou would'st inable us to repent and be converted; that our sins may be bletted out, Acts 3.19. when the times of refreshing shall come! It is the desire of our soules to walk more holily and humbly before thee for the future; to keep a stricter watch over our own hearts and wayes.

4. A brief application unto our selves of such mercies and promises, as belong to those that believe and repent. Though we have not ex­pressed the dutiful affections of children, yet God cannot renounce the tender compassions of a Fa­ther; and if earthly Parents can give good things [Page 127] to their children, will not he be much more rea­dy to be gracious to his? With the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. Psal. 130. [...] Jo [...]. 2.1 And we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins. He hath promised to hear, and grant the requests, that are put up in faith; that he will have respect to those of an humble and contrite heart; that those who do not hide their sins, but confesse and forsake them, shall finde mercy;Ez [...]. 33.11 That he delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted, and live. Ps. 51.17. That the sa­crifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart he will not despise. And now, O Lord, thou art that God, and thy words be true, 2 Sam. 7.28. and thou hast promised such mercies unto thy servants; therefore now let it be unto us according to thy word. We desire to lay hold on that word of promise, that thou wilt heal our backslidings, Hos. 14. [...]. and love us freely; that thou wilt not turn away from us, to do us gond; but wilt put thy fear into our hearts, Jer. 32.40. that we shall not depart from thee. O think upon thy servants, as concerning this word of thine, Ps. 119 49 wherein thou hast caused us to put our trust! Truly our hope is even in thee. 'Tis the desire of our souls to seek after thee, and to come unto thee, and thou never failest them that se [...]k thee: Of those that come unto thee, thou puttest away none. Psal. 9.10. Joh. 6.37. O be pleased to establish this word of thine unto thy servants, and let them not be disappointed of their hope!

Though the wages of sin be death, yet this is our comfort, that the gift of God is eternall life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[Page 128]The Scripture is very copious in other perti­nent expressions for each of these heads, and to some of these the most proper matter for Transi­tion is reducible.

CHAP. XVI. Conrerning Deprecation of evill, with several Arguments to back our re­quests of this nature.

THe chief heads of matter for Petition are summarily comprehended in the Lords Pray­er, as hath been shewed before.Chap. 5.

All Petition is either for

  • Our selves.
    • Deprecation.
    • Comprecation.
  • Others. Intercession.

In petitioning for our selves, the first thing to be explained, is Deprecation, which concerns the prevention, or removal or lessening of evill.

1. Sin.The first evill to be prayed against, is that of sin, and therein we should deprecate both the

  • Guilt.
  • Power.

1. The guilt of sin is that imputation whereby we are obliged to the wrath of God,1. The guilt of sin. and all the curses of the Law, and therefore we have great need to pray that he would forgive us our debts; Isa. 44.22.That he would blot out our Transgressions as a [Page 129] cloud; That he would open unto us the fountain for sin, and for uncleannesse;Zach. 13.1 That he would have compassion upon us, subduing our iniquities, and casting our sins into the depths of the sea;Mic. 7.19. That we may be justified freely by his grace, Rom. 3.24. through the re­demption that is in Jesus Christ; That he would cleanse us from all filthinesse both of flesh and spirit;2 Cor. 7.1. That he would blot out the hand-writing that is a­gainst us, and take it out of the way, Col. 2.14. nailing it to the Crosse of Christ.

Of this kinde we have sundry Deprecations in Scripture; So David, Remember, O▪ Lord, Ps. 25.6, 7. thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses, for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: for thy names sake, O Lord, Vers. 11. pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.

Lord, be merciful unto me, heal my soul, Psal 41.4. for I have sinned against thee.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindnesse, Ps. 51.1, 2. according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions; wash me throughly from mine iniquities, and cleanse me from my sin. Purge me with Hysope, and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter then Snow. Vers. 7. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Vers. 9.

O remember not against us our former iniquities, Ps. 79.8, 9 help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name. Deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy names sake.

Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, Psal. 119.132. as thou usest to do unto those that love thy Name.

Take away all our iniquities, and receive us gra­ciously. Hos. 14.2.

[Page 130] Heal our back-slidings, and love us freely.

Vers. 4.Now because this is one of the chief wants, a­gainst which we should petition; therefore we should endeavour to back our requests in this kinde, with such Arguments as may serve to stir up our fervency, and strengthen our faith in this de­sire.

1. From the mercy of God, who desires not the death of a sinner, but at what time soever he shall truly repent, hath promised to forgive him. He hath commanded us to ask daily pardon, Ezek. 18.21, 22. as well as daily bread, shewing thereby that as the best man shall continually need pardon, so he is more ready to give it, then we are to ask it. He has in­treated us to be reconciled unto him. He does in­vite, and call us, when we are impenitent, and therefore he will be much more ready to embrace and accept of us, when we desire with repentance to return unto him. He would not have us send our neighbour away empty, when that which he would borrow is with us;Prov 3.8. How much more then shall he who is the Father of Mercies, in respect of whom all the compassion in man is not so much as a drop to the Ocean? How much more shall he accept and grant the desires of his children? for with the Lord there is mercy, Psal. 130.7 and with him there is plenteous redemption. He hath enjoyned us to help our enemies Oxe or Asse,Exod. 23.5. when they are in dan­ger. And doth God take care for Oxen? hath he not a farre greater esteem of his own Image in man?1 Cor. 9.9 Will he not much rather extend his boun­ty and goodnesse unto such as are oppressed un­der the burthen of their sins? Though no sin be [Page 131] little in it self, yet the greatest sinne is but little in comparision to his mercy. The more our offences have been, the more may he glorifie himselfe in the pardon of them.

2. From the merits of Christ, 1 Joh. 2.2. who is the propi­tiation for the sins of the whole world. He came to save that which was lost:Mat. 18.11 To quicken those that were dead in trespases and sins. To this end was he borne, and for this [...]nd came he into the world, Eph. 2.1. that he might save sinners. He was wounded for our transgressions, Joh. 18.37 he was bruised for our iniquities, Isa. 53.5. the chastisement of our peace was upon him, that with his stripes we might be healed. He hath satisfied for us as our surety, and hath suffered the punishments that were due unto our sins; and it cannot stand with the justide of God, to require a debt twice over, to punish them again in us, when he hath already punished them in Christ.

3. From our own frailties; Job 15.14 What is man that he should be clean and he that is borne of woman that he should be religious? God will pitty those that feare him, because he knows their frame, Ps. 103.14. he considers that they are but dust. He remembers that they are but flesh, and no flesh can be righteous in his sight.Ps. 78.39.Be­fore him no man living can be just [...]fied. The great­nesse and the sense of our unworthinesse does make us the fitter objects for his mercy.Ps. 143.2. Mat. 9.12. The whole have no need of the Phisician, but the si [...]k.

And as we are to pray for the pardon of our sins, against the guilt of them; so likewise for the sense and evidence of this pardon, against our own doubts, that being iustified by faith we may have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;Rom. 5.1. that [Page 132] we may be sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, Eph. 1.13, 14. until the re­demption of the purchased possession; of this kinde are those Petitions of David.

Psal. 35.3. Ps. 51.12. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and esta­blish me with thy free spirit.

Ps. 4.6. Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance up­on us.

Ps. 90.14. O satisfie us early with thy mercies, that we may be glad and rejoyce all our dayes.

Ps. 119.135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes.

The reasons to back this request, may be,

1. From the justice of it, we do but ask an ac­quittance, where the debt is paid, (Christ having already satisfied for our sins.Gen. 18.25) And shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? He hath promised to be found of those that do not seek him, and to seek after those that go astray from him; and will he not much rather accept, and be favourable to such as desire to seek after him, and to wait upon him in the observation of his own Ordinances? He hath said that we shall not seek his face in vaine. Isa. 45.19.

2. From the facility of it; 'tis but saying the word only, and we shall be whole; if we could relieve all those that beg of us, with meer words, there is none should ask without successe. But now with God, 'tis all one to do a thing as to speak it.Ps. 85.8. 'Tis but speaking peace to our souls, and we shall have it.Jer. 32.27. Behold thou art the Lord, the God of all flesh, there is nothing too hard for thee.

[Page 133]2. Next to the Guilt of sins,2. The power of sin. we should pray against the Power of them, that we may not re­lapse into them again for the future, that sinne may not reigne in our mortal bodies;Rom. 6.12 Vers. 23. That we may not be brought into captivity unto the law of sinne, which is in our members; That God would redeem us from all our iniquities, Tit. 2.22. Heb. 9.14 and with the blood of Christ, purge our consciences from dead works to serve the living God; That he would inable us to put off, Eph. 4.22. concerning our former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to decei [...]ful lusts; Gal. 5.24. to crucifie the flesh with the affections, and lusts of it: That we may have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darknes:Eph. 5.11. Heb. 3.13. Eph. 2.2, 3 That our hearts may not be hardned through the deceitfulnesse of sin: That we may not walk ac­cording to the course of the world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh:2 Cor. 10.5. That he would cast down every imagi­nation, and high thought that exalteth it self against the knowledge of God; and bring into captivity e­very thought unto the obedience of Christ.

Of this kinde is that Petition of David, Psal. 19.13 Psal. 119.133. Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominon over me. Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

'Tis not here necessary to make any large reci­tal of the kindes of sins, mentioned before in con­fession; but to insist more fully and particularly in such to which we are more especally inclined, that they may be mortified and subdued.

The Arguments to strengthen our faith and fervency in this desire, may be such as these.

1. From the fitnesse of it in respect of his glory▪ [Page 134] it is not for his honour that his servants should be under the yoke of his enemies.

2. From our own impotency for it evil, being al­wayes present with us, and sin so easily besetting us. And of our selves we are no more able to lay aside these weights, and to cast off our sins, then an Ethiopian is to cast off his blacknesse, or a Leopard his spots.

3. From the facility of it to God, he is stronger then the strong man,Phil. 3.21 and can subdue all things to himself.

4. From his Promise and Covenant, whereby he hath ingaged himselfe to subdue our iniquities, and to keep us from departing from him.Mich. 7.19

2. Tem­ptation.2. Another evil to be prayed against, is Tem­ptation, according to that in the Lords Prayer, Lead us not into temptation; That we may be freed from Trials themselves, so farre as may stand with Gods good pleasure; especially the evil of them, that we may not be overcome by them, nor faint under them.

Temptation is of three kindes.

1. From our own corrupted natures, by which we are very apt to be drawn aside and inticed to all manner of sins;Jam. 1.14. there being no kinde of impiety, but what this does make us capable of; and will (without Gods restraining or renew­ing grace,) at some time or other dispose us unto. And herein more particularly, the blindenesse of our understandings, our wicked imaginations and fleshly reasonings, the perversnesse of our wills, the hardnesse and earthinesse of our affe­ctions, the insensiblenesse of our consciences, the [Page 135] depravation of all our faculties.

2. The malice and subtilty of the Devil, who as a roaring lyon walks about, 1 Pet. 5.8. seeking whom he may devour; and is still provoking us to those evils which are most suitable to our particular occasi­ons and dispositions:2 Cor. 2.11. Luk. 22.31 Watching for advantage against us, desiring to fift and winnow us as wheat; and therefore we had need to pray, that we may be sober and vigilant, having upon us,Mat. 26.41 Eph. 6.11. the whole armour of God, whereby we may withstand the wiles of the Devil; that we may constantly resist him, 1 Pet. 5.8. Rev. 2.24 1 Tim. 3.7. Rom. 16.20. being stedfast in the faith, taking heed of the depths of Satan: That we do not fall into reproach, and the snare of the Devil, That the God of Peace would bruise Satan under our feet.

3. The allurements, or terrours of the world, either by profits, pleasures, honours on the one hand; or losses, dangers, troubles, disgrace, perse­cution on the other. The rain descending, the floods coming, the windes blowing, and beating upon us. Mat. 7.27. The evill customes and examples of the generation wherein we live, the slavish hopes and fears of men.

Besides these kindes of temptation, we are likewise to pray against the degrees of it, suggesti­on, consent, practice, delight,Jam. 1.14. habitual custome and necessity.

That God would enable us always to watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation. Mat. 26.41

And because every man hath some particular sin, or temptation, to which he is more especi­ally exposed, belonging either to his age, tem­per, calling; therefore he should endeavour to [Page 136] observe and finde out, and more fully to inlarge himself in his deprecation against that.

3. The last sort of evil to be prayed against, is that of Punishment;3. Punish­ment. The kindes of which were mentioned before, under the head of Confession, and are likewise reducible under that other head concerning Protection; and therefore it will be needlesse here to make any particular re­cital of them.

In the general, we are to pray against all those judgements which may be inflicted upon us, ei­ther in our bodies, friends, names, estates. Against those more eminent miseries of Sword, Famine, Pestilence, (which three being of a publike na­ture, concerning the Nation and community in which we live, may be more particularly insisted upon under the head of Intercession) against distraction and sorrow of minde, trouble of con­science, the losse of Gods holy Ordinances, and eternal damnation.

That no evil may befal us, neither any plague come nigh our dwellings. Ps. 91.10.

That he would not rebuke us in his anger, neither chasten us in his displeasure. Psal. 6.1.

Ps. 51.11. That he would not cast us away from his presence, nor take his holy Spirit from us.

Those judgements ought to be more particu­larly deprecated, with which we are at any time frighted or afflicted.

CHAP. XVII. Of comprecation for spiritual good things▪ The sanctification of our Natures, the obedience of our Lives.

NExt to Deprecation against evil, may suc­ceed Comprecation for that which is good.

Now because good things may be wanting, ei­ther in whole, or in part, or in respect of Dura­tion, and some intermissions; therefore we should petition not onely for the things themselves, but also for the increase and continuance of them.

Good is either

  • Spiritual.
  • Temporal.

In asking of spiritual good things,1. The san­ctification of our na­tures. Ez. 36.26. the first and chief matter to be prayed for, is the sanctificati­on of our natures, That Gods Kingdome may come into our hearts; That he would give unto us a new heart, and put a new spirit within us; That he would take from us our stonie heart, and bestow upon us hearts of flesh; That he would put within us the law of the Spirit of life, Rom. 8.7. which may make us free from the law of sin and death; That we may put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousnesse and true holinesse;Eph. 4.24. That we may be regenerate and become new creatures,1 Pet. 1.23 being born again of that incorruptible seed, the Word of God.

That God would grant us according to the riches Eph. 3.16. [Page 138] of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spi­rit in the inward man.

1 Thes. 3.13.That he would establish our hearts unblamea­ble in holinesse before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all his Saints.

That the Spirit of Christ may dwell in us.

Rom. 8.11 Act. 13.43 Col. 1.13That we may continue in the grace of God, and in the faith, grounded and setled, and may not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel.

Of this kinde is that Petition of David for him­self,Ps. 51.10. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and re­new a right spirit within me. And the Apostle for others: The God of Peace sanctifie you throughout, that your whole spirit and soule and body may be preserved blamelesse unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes. 5.23.

Here we are more particularly to insist on the renovation of our several

  • Faculties.
  • Parts.

answerable to what we did acknowledge,1. Our in­ward man. concerning the Depravation of them, in the Confession of our Original sin.For our understan­dings. Rom. 12.2 1 Cor. 2.14 Rom. 16.19. As first for our faculties.

1. That we may be transformed by the renuing of our mindes, that we may be able to have a spiritual discerning of the things of God, being wise to that which is good, but simple and harmlesse to that which is evil.

2. That he would purge our consciences from dead works to serve the living God;Our con­science. Heb. 9.14 that they may be tender of his glory, and our own good, truly performing the offices which belong unto them, both in accusing and excusing us according to several occasions.

[Page 139]3. That he would circumcise our hearts, Our affe­ctions. Rom. 2.20 Colos. 3 2 Phil. 1.10. that we may set our affections on things above, and not on earthly matters, that we may not be deceived with false appearances, but may approve the things that are most excellent.

4. That he would reforme and sanctifie our wills, that we may in every thing submit them un­to his, delighting to do his will. Psal. 40.8 Joh. 5.30. Not seeking our own wills, but the Will of him that sent us.

5. That he would rectifie our memories, Our me­mories. making them more faithful in retaining all such ho­ly Lessons as we shall learne, in recalling them to minde according to several opportunities, that we may be alwayes ready to stir up our mindes by way of remembrance, 2 Pet. 3.1. Deut. 8.11 that we may never forget God.

And so for our Parts, or outward man,2 Our out­ward man 1 Cor. 3.16 Rom. 12.1 that we may become the Temple of God where his Spi­rit may dwell; That we may present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service; That all our parts and members may be instruments of righteousnesse unto holinesse. Rom. 6.13 19

In which desires we may strengthen our faith with such arguments as these.

1. God only is able for this great work; Rom. 7.18 In us dwelleth nothing that is good; It is he that must work in us both to will and to do of his good plea­sure. Phil. 2.13. 'Tis not in our power to regenerate our selves, for we are not borne of blood, nor of the Will of the flesh, John 1.13 nor of the Will of man (that is not of any natural created strength) but of God. Eph. 3.20. And he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all [Page 140] that we can ask or think. 'Tis as easie for him to make us good, as to bid us to be so.

2. He is willing and hath promised to give un­to us a new spirit:Ez. 36.26. Jer. [...]1.33. Luk. 11.13 To put his law into our inward parts, to write it in our hearts. And if men that are evil know how to give good gifts to their chil­dren, how much more shall our heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that aske him? He hath pro­fessed it to be his own Will, 1 T [...]es. 4.3 even our sanctificati­on; And he cannot deny us the performance of his own Will. He hath promised that those who hunger and thirst after righteousnesse shall be filled. Mat. 5.6. And therefore if he hath in any measure given us this hunger, we need not doubt but he will give us this fulnesse likewise. He hath said that he delights to dwell with the Sons of men; and what reason have we to doubt the successe of our desires,Prov. 8.31 when we do beg of him to do that which he delights in?

2 The obe­dience of our lives.2. The next thing to be prayed for, is the obe­dience of our lives, answerable to that in the Lords Prayer: Thy will be done one earth, as it is in heaven. And here likewise we are to petiti­on for spiritual grace and ablities, both to per­form, and to continue, and to increase in all holy duties.

Psal. 23.3. 2 Cor. 1.121. For the Performance of them, that he would lead us into the paths of righteousnesse; That with simplicity and godly sincerity we may have our con­versation in this world; That denying all ungod­linesse and worldly lusts, Tit. 2.12. we may live soberly, righ­teously, and godly in this present world; That God would give us grace, Heb. 12.28 whereby we may serve him [Page 141] acceptably with reverence and godly feare; That we may not any more be conformed unto this world; Rom. 12.2 That being dead unto sin we may live unto righteousnesse: 1 Pet. 2 21 Not any longer spending the rest of our time in the flesh, to the lust [...] of men, 1 Pet. 4.2, 3 but to the Will of God; That the time past of our lives may suffice to have served divers lusts; That for the future we may walk as obedient children, not fashion­ing our selves according to the former lusts of our ig­norance, but as he that hath called us is holy, 1 Pet. 1.14 so we may be holy in all manner of conversation.

To this purpose is that desire of David, Ps. 119.5. O that my wayes were directed to keep thy statutes! and in another place, Teach me to do thy Will, for thou art my God, Ps. 143.10 let thy good Spirit lead me into the land of uprightnesse; and elsewhere, Shew me thy wayes, O Lord, and teach me thy paths, Ps. 25.4, 5. lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; Teach me thy wayes, O Lord, Ps. 86.11. and I will walk in thy truth, unite my heart to feare thy name.

2. For our continuance in them.Luk. 1.74, 75. That we may serve him without fear, in holinesse and righteous­nesse before him all the dayes of our lives. Being sted­fast and unmoveable, 1 Cor. 15·58. 1 Tim. 1.19 alwayes abounding in the work of the Lord: Holding faith and a good conscience: Patiently continuing in well doing, without wearines, as knowing that in due time we shall reap if we faint not: Rom. 2.7. Gal. 6.9. Heb. 10.23 Heb. 13.9. Job 2.3. Holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering, that our hearts may be established with grace; that amidst all outward changes, and los­ses we may still hold fast our integrity.

Thus the Apostle prayes for the Thessalonians, [Page 142] that God would stablish them in every good word and work. 2 Thes. 2.17.

3. For our Increase in them, That God would make all grace to abound towards us:2 Cor. 9.8 1 Thes. 4.1 That we al­wayes having alsufficiency to all things, may abound to every good work: That we may be strong in the Lord, Eph. 6.10 Phil. 1.11 and in the power of his might: Being filled with the fruits of righteousnesse, unto the glory and praise of God:Phil. 3.14 That forgetting those things which are be­hinde, and reaching unto those things which are be­fore, we may continually presse towards the mark, for the price of the high calling of God.

Heb. 13.20, 21.Thus doth the Apostle pray for the Hebrews. The God of peace make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight. And Epaphras for the Collossians; that they might stand perfect, Col. 4.12. and compleat in all the will of God.

CHAP. XVIII. Of the several graces and duties injoyn­ed in the first Commandment.

THe graces that we should pray for, are many of them briefly summed up together, in se­veral Scriptures. But for our more full and distinct apprehension of them,Gal. 5.22 1 Tim. 6.11 Tit. 2.12 they may be more par­ticularly considered, according to their distinct [Page 143] relations, either to the

  • Law.
  • Gospel.

The duties enjoyned by both these, may be easily collected from those vices, and failings mentioned in our Confession.

The first Table in the Law, doth concern our duty to God.

The first Commandment doth enjoyn us to have Jehovah alone for our God; that is, in all respects to behave our selves towards him as our God. So that by this we are directed to pray for these graces and duties, viz. Knowledge and Belief of him, Trust and Hope in him, Love towards him, Zeal for him, Rejoycing in him, Gratitude towards him, Patience under him, Obedience to him, Fear of him, Being humble before him.

Because it is not good that the soul should be without knowledge, Knowledg. Prov. 19.2 Prov. 2 2. we should therefore pray that he would be pleased to incline our ears unto wis­dome, and apply our hearts to understanding: That he would open our eyes to behold the wonderous things of his Law:Ps. 119.18 That he would give unto us the spirit of wisdome and revelation in the knowledge of him; Eph. 1.17.18. that the eyes of our understandings being inlightened, we may know what is the hope of his cal­ling, and what the riches of the glory of his inherit­ance in the Saints, and what is the exceeding great­nesse of his power to us-ward, who believe according to the working of his mighty power: That he would enable us to be more inquisitive after those sacred truths revealed in the Word; more diligent to acquaint our selves with his holy attributes, and [Page 144] works; more mindefull of his Holinesse, Justice, Truth, Power, Omnipresence; that he is about our paths, Psal. 139.3. and beds and acquainted with all our wayes. He does search and know us, understanding our thoughts afar off, all things being naked, and o­pen in his sight.

Col. 1.9, 10.That we may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisedome, and spirituall understanding; that we may walk worthy of the Lord, unto all plea­sing; being fruitfull in every good work, and in­creasing in the knowledge of God, that we may fol­low on to know the Lord.

Hos. 6.3.That he would sanctifie to us the knowledge we have already attained, that it may not be idle, and ineffectual; but may produce in our lives answerable obedience, that we do not with-h [...]ld any truth in unrighteousnesse. Rom. 1.18

That he would open our hearts to believe all those truths revealed in his Word;Belief. that he would inable us to take diligent heed, Heb. 3.12. lest there should be in any of us an evill heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; That we may firmly assent unto his promises and threats; and as we do professe our selves to believe in God, so we may be carefull to maintain good works. Tit. 3.8.

Trust.That we may not rely on such outward means as cannot help us; but in all our wants and troubles, we may place our chief confidence on him, as knowing that he is infinitely wise, pow­erful, merciful, both able and willing to suc­cour us; that when we know not what to do, our eyes may be upon him:2 Chron. 20.12. That in our greatest exi­gences, when we are in a state of darknesse, and [Page 145] can see no light, we may then trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon our God. Isa. 50.10. That we may still cast our burden upon him, Psa. 55.22 Psal. 91.1. Psal. 37.5. Phil. 4.6. and abide under the shadow of the Almighty: Committing our wayes unto the Lord: Being careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplications, make our requests known unto God, who careth for us, and will never leave, or forsake us.

That we may labour to stirre up, and strength­en our hope in him,Hope. such hope as may be well grounded, and will not make us ashamed, of which we may be alwayes able,Rom. 5.5. 1 Pet. 3.15 and ready to give answer to every man that asketh us a reason. That we may look more at the things which are not seen, 2 Cor. 4.18 then at those things which are seen. That in times of fear and danger we may fly for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us;Heb. 6.18 Vers. 19. which hope may be as an An­chor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. That no condition,Heb. 10.35 2 Pet. 1.10 or temptation may make us cast away our confidence; That we may give all dilligence to make our callings and elections sure; To clear un­to our selves, the evidences of our own everlast­ing well-beings.

That we may love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might, Love. Deut. 6.5. so farre above that natural affection which we do bear to those other things, whether father or mother, wife or children, brethren or sisters, Luk. 14.26 yea and our own lives also, that we may be said to hate, and despise them in comparison of him. Phil. 1.9, 10. That our love may abound yet more and more in know­ledge, and in all judgement, that we may approve the things that are excellent; That we may delight [Page 146] in all those holy duties, whereby we may enjoy communion with him. That we may earnestly long and thirst after the enjoyment of him,Psal. 42.2. when we shall come and appear before him.

Zeal.That he would make us Zealous, and fervent in all holy duties; resolute, and couragious in standing to the truth,Tit. 2.14. not to be deterred by hopes or fears: Not wronging any good cause, either by our cowardize or indiscretion. Not resting our selves in a luke-warm profession, being neither cold nor hot, Rev. 3.16 Jer. 9.10. Rom. 12.11. Gal. 4.18. Rom. 1.6. but being valiant for the truth, and fervent in spirit; Alwayes zealously affected in a good thing: Not being ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, which is the power of God to salvation, con­sidering what he hath said; That if we shall be a­shamed of him in this adulterous generation, he also will be ashamed of us when he comes in the glory of his Father, Mar. 8.38. with his holy Angels.

Rejoycing in him. Psal. 37.4. Jer. 9.24. Deut. 28.47. Psal. 4.6, 7 Psal. 63.3.That we may rejoyce and glory in the LORD, placing our chief happinesse in a spiritual commu­nion with him; Serving him with joyfulnesse and gladnesse of heart; Delighting greatly in his Com­mandments; Finding more happinesse in the light of his countenance, then in the increase of corn and wine: preferring his loving kindnesse before life it self.

That he would make us more heartily sensible of those many great favours which are continu­ally multiplied upon us.Gratitude. That he would draw up our hearts to heaven, in the acknowledge­ment of his bounty and goodnesse; that our souls may blesse him, and our desires may be alwayes towards him;Ps. 40.10. that we may be ready to talk of his [Page 147] loving kindnesse, and to speak good of his name; endeavouring to expresse our gratitude, by the readinesse, and cheerfulnesse of our obedience; Seeking to glorifie his name by bearing much fruit unto him. Joh. 15.8.

That we may be patient under his afflicting hand,Patience. as considering that he is the Author as well of the evil we suffer, as of the good we enjoy. And shall we receive good from the hand of God, Job 2.10. and shall we not receive evil? The greatest judgement that can befal us in this life, is farre lesse then our deserts; 'Tis the Lords mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions faile not:Lam. 3.22 And then besides, he hath promised that all things shall work together for the good of them that love him. And though the cup may be bitter,Rom. 8.28 yet it proceeds from the hand of a Father. That we may count our selves happy in what we suffer for righteousnesse sake; because the Spirit of God, Joh· 18.11. 1 Pet. 3.14. and the Spirit of glory resteth upon us. That we may rejoyce and glory in our tribulations; Rom. 5.3, 4, 5. as knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience ex­perience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed. Reckoning with our selves, that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8.18 That in all our sufferings we may trust in the living God; committing our souls unto him,1 Tim. 4.10 who is their faithfull Creatour, and righteous Judge. 1 Pet. 2, 23.4.9. Levi. 26.41 Isa. 26.8. Lam. 3.29

That we may accept the punishment of our iniqui­ty; waiting upon God in the way of his judgements. Being willing to put our mouths in the dust, rather then to open them in murmuring against him. [Page 148] Considering how unjust and unreasonable it is for a living man to complaine, Lam. 3.39 a man for the punish­ment of his sins. And that it is rather meet to be said unto God, Job 34.31, 32. I have borne chastisement, I will not of­fend any more; that which I see not teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more; I will bear the indignation of the Lord, Mich. 7.9. because I have sinned against him. Ez. 9.13. He does punish us lesse then our iniquities deserve. Not dealing with us after our sins, nor rewarding us according to our iniqui­ties; and we have no reason to repine at kinde and moderated corrections. Though in some respects he hath chastened us sore, yet he hath not given us over to death. Ps. 118.18 He doth not afflict willing­ly, Lam. 3.33 nor grieve the children of men; and therefore we have great reason totally to submit and resigne up both our selves and affaires, to be governed by his wise providence;2 Sam. 15.26. 1 Sam. 3.18 Obedience. 2 Kin. 20.3 and to let the Lord do with us what seemeth good unto him.

That we may be constant, universal, sincere in our obedience; Walking before him in truth, and with a perfect heart; and may do that which is good in his sight. That in the generall course of our lives, we may demean our selves in a setled, regular way of submission, and obedience; ha­ving respect to all Gods Commandments; Obeying from the heart the forme of doctrine delivered to us; Psa. 119.6. Rom▪ 6.17 Num. 14.24▪ 2 Tim. 3.5 Following the Lord fully, walking exactly, and precisely before him. That we may have not on­ly the forme of godlinesse, but the power also.

That we may sanctifie the Lord God of Hosts, making him our fear and our dread;Feare. Isa. 8.13. 1 Pet. 4.7. considering that the end of all things is at hand, when we must [Page 149] all appear before his dreadful tribunal, 2 Cor. 5.10 every one to receive according to that he hath done in his body, whether it be good or bad. That we may be lesse afraid of other matters that cannot hurt us, men that shall die, and the sons of men that shall be made as grasse;Isa▪ 51.12. Mat. 10.28 but may chiefly fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Behaving our selves, as being alwayes in his sight and pre­sence; as considering that our most secret, bo­some-sins, which with such Art and care we have endeavoured to conceal from men, are all of them naked and open in his sight, before whom we must be judged at the last day.

That we may be humble before him,Humility. ascribing nothing to our own power, or merit. That our hearts may not be lifted up to forget the Lord, Deut. 8.14 Dan. 5.20. Hab▪ 2.4. nor our mindes hardened in pride; as considering, that his soul which is lifted up, is not upright in him. And that if any man think himself to be something, when indeed he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal. 6.3. That we may be clothed with humility; counting it our safest defence, and most comely ornament.1 Pet. 5.5. That we may not mind high things, Rom. 12.16. nor be wise in our own conceits. Considering the basenesse of our Ori­ginall, the many diseases and miseries which our bodies are liable unto, the sinful and slavish condition of our souls, our nothingnesse as crea­tures, our vilenesse as sinners.

CHAP. XIX. What are we directed to pray for out of the second Commandment.

THe second Commandment does enjoyn us to worship God, after such a spiritual man­ner, and by such holy means, as is agreeable to his Nature, and required in his Word.

So that from hence we are taught to pray for the direction and asistance of his Spirit in all our holy duties; that he would work in us an holy frame and temper of heart, without which 'tis not possible for us to performe any acceptable service; That he would quicken our affections to a greater fervency, and delight in our attendance upon him.

That he would make us more careful in enjoy­ing and increasing our communion with him, by a conscionable observance of all those holy ordi­nances which he hath appointed; particularly,

  • 1. Prayer.
  • 2. Ministery of the Word.
  • 3. Receiving of the Sacraments.

1. Prayer. Zach. 12.101. That he would poure upon us the Spirit of pray­er and supplication; make us diligent and constant in our

  • Publick
  • Private

devotions, that we may ac­custome our selves to them with a greater for­wardnesse and delight, as being the chief means to ease our hearts of all troubles and sorrow,Joh 16 24 to fill up our joy.

[Page 151]That we may be more solemn and reverent in our approaches before him, as considering that we who are but dust and ashes, vile, despicable creatures, are to speak unto that dreadful Maje­sty, before whom all the world shall be judged at the last day.

That we may be more vigilant over our own hearts, in respect of roving, distracted thoughts, which are so apt to interrupt us in this duty. That we may stir up our selves to lay hold on God, Isa. 64.7. and set our faces to seek him: Not pouring out words onely, but our souls before him: Rom. 1.9. Heb. 10.22 Serving him in our spirits: Drawing near unto him with a true heart, sprinkled from an evill conscience.

That he would be pleased to assist us, and to accept of us in this duty:Rom. 5.5▪ Psal. 51.15 Shedding abroad his love in our hearts: Opening our lips, that our mouths may shew forth his praise. And then that the words of our mouths, Psal. 19.14 and the meditations of our hearts may be alwayes acceptable in his sight.

That we may confesse our sins with a greater sense and sorrow for them,Confession. feeling in our selves a greater loathing and detestation of them; Ac­knowledging our transgressions, Psal. 51.3. and setting our sins before us; Abhorring our selves for them,Job 42.6. and re­penting in dust and ashes.

That we may put up our petitions with a great­er faith and fervency,Petition. as being truly sensible of our own wants, and those gracious promises which he hath made for the supply of them: Drawing near in the full assurance of faith nothing wavering: Heb. 10.22 Jam. 1.6. 1 Joh. 5.14 Asking such things as are according to his will. That his Spirit may help our infirmities, [Page 152] and make intercession for us; and that he would remember the promise which he hath made to be nigh unto them that call upon him in truth, and to fulfill the desire of those that fear him. Ps. 145.18

That we may give thanks with greater chear­fulnesse,Thanksgi­ving. and love, and sense of his favours, with such heartinesse, and fervency, as may be in some measure proportionable to our importunity▪ in the want of mercies. That we may be ready to speak the praises of our God, whilest we have any being; Psal. 104.33, 34. that our meditations of him may be sweet, and we may be glad in the Lord.

That we may retain a relish and taste of this holy duty in our mindes after the performance of it; behaving our selves answerably in the course of our lives, observing what return is made to our prayers. Hearkening what God the Lord will say. Psal. 85.8. Considering the several wayes and dispen­sations of his providence towards us; that we may understand the loving kindnesse of the Lord. Ps. 107.34.

This Commandment does likewise concerne the duties which belong to that other Ordinance,2. Ministery of the Word. the Ministery of the word, in reference both to

  • Minister.
  • People.

The Minister may hereby be directed to pray that God would endow him with all those graces and abilities, which may fit him for the dis­charge of his calling, both in respect of his

  • Life,
  • Doctrine,

that he may both save himself, and them that hear him. 1 Tim. [...]4.16.

Tit. 2.7.1. For his Life; That he may shew himself as [Page 153] a pattern of good works; Of a blamelesse conver­sation; not self-willed, not soon angry. Tit. 1.7, 8. Not given to wine, no striker; not given to filthy lucre, but a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, 2 Tim. 2.24. gen­tle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. Renouncing the hidden things of dishonesty; 2 Cor. 4.2 Not walking in craf­tinesse, but by manifestation of the truth, commend­ing himself unto every mans conscience in the sight of God. 1 Cor 4.1. Behaving himself as a steward of the mysteries of God. Not seeking so much his own profit, as the profit of many, that they may be saved, 1 Cor. 10.33. 1 Cor. 9.27 that af­ter he hath preached unto others, he himself may not become a cast-away.

2. For his Doctrine, that he may study to ap­prove himself unto God, 2 Tim. 2.15. a workman that needeth not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the Word of truth. That he may preach the Word, 2 Tim. 4.2 being instant in sea­son and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and Doctrine; 2 Tim. 2.25. with meeknesse instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the ac­knowledgement of the truth. 1 Pet. 5.2. Feeding the flock of God, not by constraint, but willingly; Not for filthy lucre, but of a ready minde: That he may speak as the Oracles of God: 1 Pet. 4.11 1 Cor. 2.4. Tit. 2.7. 1 Thes. 2.4 That his doctrine may be in demonstration of the spirit, and of power; with un­corruptnesse, gravity, sincerity, not as pleasing men but God, who tryeth the hearts.

The People or hearers may be hereby directed to pray for a greater love and esteem of his Word,1 Love and p [...]izing of the Word▪ as being the Ordinance of his infinite wisdome, which he can make effectual for the Conversi­on and salvation of souls. Considering that the [Page 154] fashion of this world passeth away. Pleasures shall die and vanish, Honours shall be laid in the dust, gold and silver shall rust and canker, but the word of God abideth for ever; This alone is able to make us wise unto salvation, 1 Pet. 1.23. 2 Tim. 3.15. Joh. 12.48 and to save our soules, being that word by which we shall be judged at the last day. That therefore we may value it above gold and silver, finding a relish in it sweeter then the honey and the honey-comb. That we may alwayes love the beauty of his house, Psal. 19.10. Psal. 26.7, 8. and the place where his honour dwelleth; To publish with the voice of Thanks­giving, and to tell of all his wondrous works. This one thing have I desired of the Lord, Psal. 27.4. that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the dayes of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his Temple. Psal. 96.6. Strength and beauty are in his Sanctuary.

That we may have a greater care to know and practise his will: As new borne babes desiring the sincere milk of the Word, to grow thereby. That he would teach us so to prize and improve the pre­sent liberty and Sun-shine of the Gospel,1 Pet. 2.2. that we may be carefull in this our day, to lay up for our selves a good foundation against the evil time.

2 Due pre­paration for it▪ and a blessing upon it.That we may approach unto this Ordinance with such reverent and prepared affections, as may become his more especial presence amongst us; Considering our feet, when we draw neer be­fore him; that he would over-awe our spirits with an holy fear and reverence in the apprehension of his presence, and beholding of us, who is a God of infinite holinesse, and glorious Majesty; that we may bow down our souls with a willing sub­jection [Page 155] unto every sacred truth; That he would subdue the pride of our hearts,2 Cor. 10.5 Cast down every imagination that exalteth it selfe against him, and bring into subjection every thought, unto the obedi­ence of Christ: and because the Word of it selfe is but a dead letter, and it is not in the power of any outward means, the wisdome or preparation of weak sinful man, to subdue the power of sin, the Kingdome of Satan, or to create men in Christ Jesus unto good works:Eph. 2.10. that therefore he would be pleased to accompany the outward means, by the inward efficacy and operation of his Spirit. Man can speak only unto the ear, but he can speak unto the heart, and 'tis as easie for him to make us good, as to bid us be so; and he hath promised to meet such as desire to wait upon him, and to re­member him in his wayes:Isa. 64.5. That he would remove from our understandings the veile of ignorance and infidelity, whereby we are made incapable of spiritual truths; that he would take from our affections that natural pravity and malice, where­by we are made enemies to spiritual notions, that we may receive the truth, not only in the light, 2 Thes. 2.10 Rom. 1.18 but in the love of it; not with-holding any truth in unrighteousnesse: That he would strengthen us a­gainst all temptations of Satan, cares of the world, hardnesse of our own hearts, or what ever may hinder our profitable and saving hearing: That he would take from us all irreverence, distracti­on, prejudice, dulnesse in hearing of his Word; and because it must redound either to the glory of his justice in our farther hardening, and final condemnation; or to the glory of his mercy, in [Page 156] our conversion and salvation; that he would therefore sanctifie it to our good, that as the rain cometh down from heaven, Isa. 55.10, 11. and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it fruitful, so the Word that goeth out of his mouth may not return un­to him void, but accomplish his good pleasure, and prosper in that to which it is sent: That it may be unto us sharp as a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, Heb. 4.12 the joynts and marrow, discovering the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. And because Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, 1 Cor. 3.6. but he only can give the increase; That therefore he would be pleased to give a blessing and successe to his own Ordinance: That his Word may be unto us a word of power, converting the soul, Psal. 19.7· and making wise the simple; that he would give unto us hearing ears and understanding hearts, that we may believe and be saved:Pro. 20 12 That he would write his laws in our inward parts: That he would open our eyes to behold the wondrous things of his law: Jer 31.33. Ps. 119 v. 18, 36.133 Incline our hearts, to affect, direct our steps, that we may walke in the paths of his precepts. Shew us thy wayes, O Lord, and teach us thy paths; lead us in thy truth, Ps. 25.4, 5. and guide us, for thou art the God of our salvation.

Teach us thy wayes, O Lord, and we will walke in thy truth, Ps 86.11. unite our hearts to fear thy name. Shew us the way that we should walk in, for we lift up our souls unto thee; Psal 143.8, 10 Teach us to do thy will, for thou art our God. Let thy good Spirit lead us into the land of uprightnesse.

3. Our de­meanour.That we may behave our selves with humility, attention, alacrity, laying down all high thoughts, [Page 157] fleshly reasonings, stubborne resolutions, being ready to receive with meeknesse the ingraffed word, Jam. 1.21 which is able to save our souls. That we may en­joy communion with him in his Ordinances, that he would fill us with all joy and peace in believing;Rom. 15.13. That he would sanctifie our judgements, affecti­ons, memories, that we may apprehend and be­lieve, and affect and retain those sacred truths that shall be delivered. That he would inlighten our mindes, open our hearts, soften our conscien­ces, compose our thoughts to attend unto his Word with meeknesse and faith,Luke 8.15. receiving it into good and honest hearts, with full purpose to walk answerably to it in our conversations. That Christ may be formed in us, that our hearts may be esta­blished in every good word and way. That our meeting together may prove for the better, and not for the worse.

That we may after the hearing of it, digest and settle it in our mindes, by prayer, meditation,4 Profiting by it after­wards. con­ference, practice: Expressing the power of it in our lives, in all well-pleasing conversation, and godlinesse: Having our fruit unto holinesse, that our ends may be everlasting life. Rom. 6.22 That he would prosper unto us the precious seed sown amongst us, that neither the fowls of the aire devoure it,Luke 8.5. nor the thornes choak it, but that it may sinke down into our hearts, and spring up in our con­versations, bringing forth in us the fruit of re­pentance and amendment of life; that it may be effectual for the subduing of our sins, the strength­ning of our graces: Transforming us daily into his Image, from glory to glory. 2 Cor. 3.18 That we may lead our [Page 158] lives, in some measure answerably to the know­ledge and means we have had, as considering that to whom much is given, of them much will be required:Luk. 12.48 That we may not receive his grace in vain: Not being forgetful hearers, but doers of the word. 2 Cor. 6.1. That we may be able to say by experi­ence,Jam. 1.25. It is good for us to be here, and to wait upon God in his Ordinances: That we may grow in grace, 2 Pet. 3.18 and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

That he would lead us forward to perfection, guiding us by his grace, and after bringing us to his glory; that in this life beholding his face in righteousnesse, when we awake up in the resurre­ction,Ps. 17.15. we may be fully satisfied with his Image.

3. Sacra­ments.3. Under this Commandment likewise, are com­prehended the duties that concern our reverent esteem and use of the Sacraments.

Baptisme.1. For that of Baptisme. That we may be truly sensible of the free mercy of God, in making a gracious Covenant to us and our posterity, and condescending so far unto our humane frailties, as to afford us outward & visible signes and seals of this Covenant, to present that to our senses, which ought to be apprehended by our faith. That we may more frequently consider, and e­steem of this singular prerogative, of our being actually admitted into his family, and having his name put upon us. That therefore we may resign up our selves wholly unto his good pleasure, chu­sing him to be our Governour, and our portion for ever; that we may be more careful in obser­ving that solemne Covenant, which our Baptisme [Page 159] did engage us unto. To forsake the Devill and all his works, the vanities and lusts of the world, and to continue faithfull in our service to him; That this Ordinance may not be unto us onely an out­ward washing away of the filth of the flesh, but the laver of regeneration,1 Pet. 3.21 working in us a good con­science towards God; and may effctually seal unto us our adoption, remission of sins, and eternall life; with all those promises that are contained in the Covenant of Grace; that as we are recei­ved into the bosome of the visible Church, and distinguished from those that are without, so we may labour to walk as becomes this relation, that the body of sin may be destroyed in us, and his Image may be renued in us daily: That we may serve him in holinesse and righteousnesse all the dayes of our lives,

2. For the Lords Supper:The Lords Supper. That he would con­tinue unto us our liberty unto that precious Or­dinance, raising our hearts to an higher esteem and love of it; Quickening us to a more frequent attendance upon him in it, with fervency and de­light: That he would prepare us for it, assist us in it, and make it effectual to us afterwards.

That he would furnish us with all those graces which may make us worthy Communicants at his holy Table: Affecting our hearts with an holy awe and reverence, upon our neer approaching unto him in this solemn Ordinance, left we should be found amongst the guests at his Table, without having the wedding garment; That we may after a more special manner stirre up in our selves the graces of his holy Spirit, impartially examining [Page 160] the condition of our own hearts, how we stand to him in regard of knowledge, repentance, faith; to men, in respect of our love and chariity, that we may renew our Covenant with him, by fresh re­solutions of strict and circumspect walking, and that he would make good his Covenant with us in taking from us the guilt and power of our sins, and in giving unto us a new nature, with all those other priviledges that were purchased for us by the death of Christ, which is herein represented.

At the receiving of this Sacrament, that he would inable us to behave our selves with reve­rence and true devotion; to use it as a sacrifice of praise unto him, a memorial of Christs death for us, and a means to confirme our faith in him. That as we do by our senses receive the common element of bread and wine to our corporal nourish­ment, so we may by our faith receive the body and blood of Christ to our spititual nourishment, that he may live in us, and we in him; that this may renew in our thoughts, the remembrance of Christs Death and Passion for us, and our own duty of love and obedience to him; that it may be a means to weaken our corruptions, to strength­en our graces, to renew us in the spirit of our mindes, according to the Image of him that crea­ted us.

That we may afterwards labour to feel the be­nefit of it in our lives, and conscionably to per­form all those good resolutions, which in the time of our preparation we have purposed and promised. That we may be careful to examine our improvement by it in respect of growth in grace, [Page 161] power against corruption, comfort and inlarge­ment of heart, labouring to walk worthy of the grace of God herein profered and represented, as becomes those who have received so great pledg­es of salvation.

CHAP. XX. Of the duties required in the third and fourth Commandment.

THe third Commandment does enjoyn the sanctifying of Gods Name.

By this we are directed to pray that he would enable us to bear a reverent and high esteem un­to all his glorious Titles and Attributes; his holy Word, the Religion we professe, his mighty works.

That we may fear that glorious and fearful name the Lord our God, Deut. 28.58. 1 Pet. 3.15 that we may sanctifie the Lord God in our hearts; being more careful to observe and meditate upon his holy Attributes and Ti­tles, more solemn and reverent in mentioning his names and word upon every good occasion.

That we may be more conscionable in obser­ving all those good promises and resolutions which we have made.

That we may walk worthy of that vocation wher­with we are called, Eph. 4.1. labouring by an holy life to adorn our profession, and bring glory to his name. That we may be blamelesse and harmlesse, the sons of God, without rebuke, Phil. 2.15. in the midst of a [Page 162] crooked and perverse generation, amongst whom we may shine as lights in the world: That he would make our light so to shine before men, Mat. 5.16. that they seeing our good works may glorifie our Father who is in Heaven.

That we may never grieve the hearts, or shame the faces of true Professors.

That we may walk honestly to those that are with­out, 1 Thes. 4.12 behaving our selves so warily, that we may never occasion his name to be blasphemed. That with well-doing we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Rom. 2.24. 1 Pet. 2.15 1 Pet. 3.16 That they may be ashamed who speak evil of us, and falsly accuse our good conversation.

That we may be more ready to observe, and extoll his great power, wisdome, goodnesse, so evident,Psal. 145.5 both in his making and governing of the world; His various, and manifold works, that are done in wisdome;Ps. 107.24 More especially those particular passages of his providence, which con­cern our selves;Vers. 43. Ps. 92.5, 6. That we may understand the lo­ving kindnesse of the Lord: O Lord, how great are thy works? and thy thoughts are very deep; a bru­tish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this.

The fourth Commandment does enjoyn us to remember,The fourth Command. and to sanctifie the Sabbath

  • Ordinary.
  • Extraordinary.

So that from hence we are taught to pray, that God would teach us to esteem of the Sabbath, as an holy honourable day, Isa. 58.13. set apart from common use, consecrated to his peculiar worship and ser­vice; that we may call it a delight, finding a [Page 163] great pleasure and sweetnesse in those sacred du­ties that belong unto it. That they may not seem tedious and irksome unto us; especially since we all professe to wish, and hope for such a bles­sed Eternity hereafter, as shall be nothing else but Sabbath.

That we may always remember to fit our selves for the sanctifying of this day, by laying aside all secular businesses and diversions, endeavour­ing by Prayer and Meditation to put our hearts into such an holy frame, as is required of those that desire to wait upon him in his Ordinances.

That he would be graciously present with all those assemblies of his Saints, which do on that day meet together for his worship and service, in any part of the Christian world: That he would be pleased to assist and direct his Ministers, that they may deliver his Word with plainnesse, and power, to the capacity of the weakest, and con­viction of the wisest; That the people may receive it with meeknesse and faith, that so it may ac­complish that good work for which it is sent;Isa. 55.11. and mightily prevaile to the casting down the strong holds of sin, the edifying of his Church, and the making up the number of his Elect.

That he would more especially direct and as­sist the Minister unto whose charge we belong, to speak unto our consciences, giving unto him the tongue of the learned, Isa. 50.4. that he may know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Being care­full to feed the flock, strengthening the diseased, Ezek. 34 4 healing that which is sick, binding up the broken, seeking that which is driven away, and lost. That [Page 164] he would give unto us Pastours after his own heart, who may feed us with knowledge and understanding;Jer. 3.15 and that the work of the Lord may prosper in their hands. Isa. 53.10.

That he would remove from us all irreverence, distraction, dulnesse, prejudice in hearing of his Word: That he would enlighten our mindes, quicken our affections, and strengthen our me­mories for the receiving, and retaining of it.

That we may be careful of all those publick and private duties, which concerne the sanctifi­cation of this day, both in respect of our selves, and those comitted to our charge. Not doing after our own wayes, Isa. 58.13. nor finding our own pleasures, nor speaking our own words: But may consecrate our whole selves, both souls▪ bodies and services to his more especial Worship; spending the whole day with chearfulnesse in the duties of Re­ligion, necessity and mercy.

And so for extraordinary Sabbaths

  • Festivals.
  • Fasts.

1. For occasional Festivals, the solemne times of Joy and Thanksgiving; That we may be careful to keep such times holy unto the Lord; not resting our selves in external jollity,Neh. 8.9. and free­dome, but may seriously ponder the mercies which we celebrate, endeavouring to have our hearts affected and inlarged with love and grati­tude: That our mouths may be filled with his praise; that by our experience of his goodnesse, we may learn to depend upon him, and to be more confident in him, in all future exigences, exciting others unto this duty.Psal. 34.3. O magnifie the [Page 165] Lord with me, and let us exalt his Name together. Endeavouring to expresse our thankfulnesse to him, by our readinesse to relieve and supply his poor members: Sending portions to those that have nothing;Hest. 9.22 Neh. 8.10 that we may make the joy of the Lord to be our strength.

2. For dayes of Fasting, which are stiled Sab­baths in Scripture; that we may not neglect this duty, when we have any extraordinary call unto it; that we may not satisfie our selves in the outward observance of it, but may be most care­ful of the inward duties, Renting of the heart, afflicting of the soul; Abhorring our selves, and re­penting in dust and ashes: Job. 42.6 Ez. 36.31 Remembring our evil wayes and doings which were not good, and loath­ing our selves for them:Rom. 6.21 Neh. 9.31 Being ashamed of our for­mer works of darknesse: Renuing our Covenants with God; expressing a readinesse and zeale in the works of mercy and righteousnesse;Isa. 58.6. loosing the bands of wickednesse, undoing the heavy burdens.

CHAP. XXI. What we are directed to pray for in the second Table.

THe second Table does enjoin us to love our neighbours as our selves, that is. 1. We should not wish any evil more to others, then to our selves▪ 2. We should desire, (and as much as [Page 166] we can) endeavour all good

  • Natural,
  • Spiritual,

for o­thers, as we ought for our selves.

So that by this we are directed to pray, that we may be kindely affectioned one to another, with bro­therly love, Rom. 12.10. Vers. 9. 1 Joh. 3.18 1 Pet. 1.22 Heb. 13.1 1 Thes. 3.12 Phil. 1.9. Gal. 6.10. without dissimulation; Not in word onely, and tongue; but in deed, and truth; Loving each other with a pure heart fervently; That our love may continue and increase, abounding more and more towards one another, and towards all men; in knowledge and in all judgement: As we have op­portunity, doing good unto all men, but especially to the houshold of Faith. That we may love our ene­mies and blesse them that curse us, Mat. 5.44. and pray for them that despitefully vse us, and persecute us; Con­sidering one another, Heb. 10.24 to provoke unto love, and good workes.

The sixth Command.The fifth Commandment does injoyn the duties which concern the degrees and relations amongst men, whether

  • Superiours.
  • Inferiours.

By this we may learn to pray for all those gra­ces and abilities, whereby we may be fitted for the filling up of our several relations; that we may be careful to acknowledge and observe that order which God hath appointed amongst men, and to demean our selves towards them, accord­ing to their places and degrees; Gravely and modestly towards our Inferiours; Reverently and dutifully to our Superiours; Humbly and thank­fully to our Benefactours; Being kindly affe­ctioned towards our Equals; in honour preferring one another. Rom. 12.10▪

[Page 167]More particularly, we may hence learn to pray for those graces which concerne the relation of

Parents; That they may be carefull in provi­ding for the wel-fare of their childrens souls and bodies. Teaching of them diligently, admonishing, and correcting of them seasonably,Deut. 6.7. Eph. 6.4. bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Children; That they may love, honour,Levit. 19.3 Col. 3.20. and fear their Parents, obeying them in all things; stri­ving upon all occasions to expresse their thank­fulnesse to them.

Husbands;Col. 3.19· Eph. 5.28. 1 Pet. 3.7. That they may love their wives as themselves; Not being bitter unto them; Giving honour to them as to the weaker vessels, and as being heires together of the grace of life; Bearing with their infirmities, providing for them, protecting of them, delighting in them, behaving them­selves with much prudence and tendernesse to­wards them.

Wives; That they may help, reverence, and be in subjection to their husbands;Eph. 5.33. labouring chief­ly to be adorned with a meek and quiet spirit; con­tinuing in faith, and charity, and holinesse, 1 Pet. 3.1, 4. with so­briety; Being careful, and helpful in all those familie-duties, that concerne their relations, stu­dying to be content, in the midst of all marriage-cares, and troubles.

Masters; That they may behave themselves prudently, justly, gently to their servants, as considering that they also have a Master in Hea­ven. Col. 4.1. Eph. 6.9.

Servants;1 Pet. 2.18 That they may be subject to their Ma­sters with all fear, not only when they are good [Page 168] and gentle, but when they are froward; Not with eye-service as men-pleasers, Eph. 6.6, 7 but willingly, and from the heart, shewing all good fidelity.

Tit. 2.10. Pro. 16.31 Tit. 2.2. Ancient; That they may be found in the way of righteousnesse. Being sober, grave, temperate, sound in the faith, in Charity, and Patience; that so they may behave themselves worthy of that crown of old Age, and the honour due unto it.

Tit. 2.6. 1 Tim. 5.1 Younger; That they may be sober-minded, reve­rencing the aged as Fathers; being ready to be taught by their wisdome, experience, and to fol­low their good

  • Counsels.
  • Examples.

Superiours in Gifts; That they may acknow­ledge all their abilities to be the free gifts of God, being willing to improve them unto his glory and the good of their inferiours. 1 Cor. 4.7 Not despising those below them, bearing with the infirmities of the weak;Rom. 15.1, 2. using their liberty for edification, and not for offence.

Inferiours in Gifts; That they may acknowledge every gift of God in those above them, not either judging, envying, or flattering, but truly reve­rencing and esteeming them for it.

Magistrates; That they may be upright, and conscionable in the establishment of justice, and peace, and Religion; Behaving themselves as Gods Vicegerents; Remembring that those who rule over men must be just, 2 Sam. 23.3. Rom. 13.3 ruling in the fear of God; using their power for the encouragement of those that do well, and the terror of evill doers. Having respect to the faithfull in the land, and those that walk in a perfect way. Ps. 101.6▪ 7 Being severe towards de­ceitful [Page 169] and wicked doers; being diligent in the discharge of their places with piety, wisdome, courage, clemency, &c. that those under them may lead a peaceable and quiet life, 1 Tim. 2.2 in all godlinesse and honesty.

Subjects; That they may be endowed with humble and peaceable affections;Heb. 13 17 Obeying them that have the rule over them: Submitting unto the higher powers out of Conscience, as being or­dained of God.

Teachers; That they may be careful, and con­scionable, both in their examples, and counsels; watching for the souls of those who are committed to their charge, that they may give an account with joy, Heb. 13.11 and not with grief.

Learners; That they may esteem highly of their Teachers in love, for their works sake;1 Thes. 5.13 improving all opportunities of benefiting by them.

The sixth Commandment does enjoyn all those duties which concerne the health and well-fare of our Neighbours,The sixth Command. and our own

  • Bodies,
  • Soules,

and consequently the graces of friendship, mer­cy, peaceablenesse, meeknesse, temperance, &c. By this we are directed to pray

That we may be restrained from all acts of vio­lence, either on our selves or others; avoiding the company of angry, contentious persons.

That God would give unto us milde,Pro. 22. [...] and peace­able spirits, that we may be slow to anger, putting on bowels of mercy, kindnesse humblenesse, of minde, Jam. 1.19. Colos. 3.12, 13. Eph. 4.32 meeknesse and long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as God for [Page 170] Christs sake, hath forgiven us.

That we may be careful in observing the du­ties of mutual friendship and peace; more milde and courteous in our behaviour;Eph. 4 31 putting away all bitternesse, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking. Rom. 12 18. That as farre as it is possible, and as much as in us lies, we may have peace with all men.

That we may have a mutual sense, and com­passion of one anothers conditions, as being fel­low-members of the same body,1 Cor. 12.26. Rom. 12.15. Gal. 6 2. rejoycing with them that rejoyce, and weeping with them that weep; bearing one anothers burdens: Relieving the nee­dy, visiting the sick, delivering the oppressed; being innocent, and helpful towards all.

That we may be wary, and inoffensive in our carriages, not wronging the soules of others, but endeavouring as much as we can, to promote their spiritual well-farre,Rom. 14.19. by following the things whereby we may edifie one another. Instructing the ignorant, reproving offenders, comforting the weak, quickening, and incouraging the back­ward.

That we may be careful to preserve our own bodily health, by wise preventing, and avoiding of dangers. Being sober in our diet, moderate in our care and passions, temperate in our recreati­ons, chearful in our businesse.

That we may be diligent in working out our own salvations, and providing for the wel-fare of our souls, against that time, when all earthly contentments shall vanish away.

The 7th. Command.The seventh Commandment does concerne the [Page 171] duty of chastity in the

  • Kindes
  • Meanes
  • Signes

of it, and that both in respect of our selves, and others.

By this we may learne to pray, that God would enable us to possesse our vessels in sanctifica­tion and honour;1 Thes. 4. [...] 1 Cor. 6.18, 12. Vers. 15. Colos. 3 5. that we may not sin against our own bodies, but may keep them undefiled, as be­ing Members of Christ, and Temples of the holy Ghost; mortifying our members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleannesse, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence.

That we may be pure, and chaste in all the thoughts of our hearts; abstaining from fleshly lusts, 1 Pet. 2. [...] which fight against the soul.

That we may make a strict Covenant with our eyes, lest they should insnare us,Job 31.1▪ by beholding vanity, that we may set a watch before our mouths and ears,Colo [...] that no filthy communication do proceed from us, or enter into us; that we may be watchful, and sober in our conversations; avoid­ing idlenesse, intemperance, evil company, and all other such occasions, whereby we may be tempted to this sin; Keeping under our bodies, and bringing them into subjection. Rom. 9.27.

That we may endeavour, according to our several opportunities, to promote this grace of chastity in others, by our prayers, counsels, ex­amples.

The eighth Commandment does enjoyn those duties which concerne our owne,The 8th Command. or our neigh­bours outward estate: Referring to justice, dili­gence in our callings, frugality, liberality, [Page 172] Almes, Hospitality, Restitution.

By this we are taught to pray, that we may not wrong or defraud our brethren, 1 Cor. 6.8. by any outward act of oppression, injustice, or deceit.

That our hearts may not be troubled with any sollicitous, or carking cares; that our conversa­tion may be without covetousnesse, Heb. 13.5 being content with such things as we have, trusting in his promise; that he will never leave us, nor forsake us; that they who seek the Lord shall lack nothing that is good:Psa. 34.10 Remembring how he hath commanded us to cast all our care upon him, and how he pro­vides for the fowles of the aire, and the beasts of the field; and that in our greatest discontents, we are in much better condition for the world, then many of his blessed Saints and Martyrs, who were forced to wander up and down in sheep-skins, H [...]b. 11.37 and goat-skins; and that we enjoy more then our blessed Saviour himself did, who though he were Lord of the world, yet had not whereon to rest his head.

Phil. 4.11, 12.That he would teach us how to abound, and to want, and in all estates to be content: That he would moderate our desires to these earthly things;1 [...]oh. 2.15 1 Cor. 1 [...].31. Luk. 12.31 that we may not too much love the world, nor the things of the world; that we may covet earnestly the best things, seeking first the Kingdome of God, and the righteousnesse thereof; expecting other matters as additions thereunto: To esteem godlinesse for the greatest gain, and as for these outward things, not to desire any abundance of them; but if we have food and rayment, to be therewith contented. 1 Tim. 6.6, 8.

[Page 173]That we may be just and upright in the wayes of getting wealth; that we may not go beyond, 1 Thes. 4.6 or defraud any one, as knowing that the Lord is the revenger of all such; being diligent in our callings, working with our own hands the thing which is good, Eph. 4▪28 that we may be able to give to them that need: Be­ing consciencious in repaying that we owe, in making restitution of that wherein we have wronged any one.

That he would give us hearts to use, and en­joy the estates which we possesse;Ecc. 5.19 Power to eat thereof, and to take our portion, and to rejoyce in our labour.

That we may be wise and faithful in laying out the talents committed to our trust: Not la­vishing of them by any idle and vaine expences, as knowing that we are but stewards of our e­states, being to give an account of them to our Lord and Master: Not niggardly and sparing towards any work of charity:1 Tim. 6.17, 18, 19. Not trusting in uncertaine riches, but in the living God; that we may do good, be rich in good works; ready to distribute willing to communicate; laying up in store for our selves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life: Making our selves friends of unrighteous Mammon, Luk. 16 9. which may hereafter receive us into everlasting ha­bitations: Laying up for our selves treasures in hea­ven; Considering that he who soweth sparingly, Luk. 12.33 2 Cor. 5.6. shall reap sparingly; and he who soweth bountifully, shall reap bountifully.

The ninth Commandment does referre to du­ties which concerne our Neighbours,The ninth Command. or our own reputations.

[Page 174]From this we may learne to pray that we may be tender and charitable, in upholding the cre­dit of others: willing to speak, and hear, and judge the best of them:Prov. 17.9 Covering their infirmities in love.

Psal. 15.3Not back-biting with our tongues, nor taking up a reproach against our Neighbours. Tit. 3.2. Not speaking e­vil of any one, but being gentle, shewing all meeknesse to all men.

That we may not be willing to listen unto, and hearken after any rumour, which tends to the defamation of our Neighbour, but may rather rejoyce in their good report: Disliking all flat­terers▪ Tale-bearers and such other persons, as do usually raise, and spread ill rumours.

That we may not be pragmatical, or censori­ous in the affaires of others, where we are not concerned: But may study to be quiet, and to do our own businesse;1 Pet. 4.15 1 Thes. 4.11 Mat. 7.5 being careful to pull the beam out of our own eyes, before we find fault with the mote in others: Doing nothing through strife, or vain-glory, Phil. 2.3. but in lowlinesse of minde, each one esteem­ing of others, better then of himself.

That we may be lowly in our own eyes; Not thinking of our selves more highly then we ought to think;Rom. 12.3 that we may be careful by all good means to advance our own reputations; Valuing a good name above great riches;Prov. 12.1 Eph. 5.15. labouring to be such as we would seem to be, walking circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, approving our selves un­to him who trieth the hearts: Avoiding all ap­pearances of evill, 1 Thes. 5.22 Phil. 4.8. and following matters of good report.

[Page 175]The tenth Commandment does require a sin­cere, and upright heart, to our selves,The tenth Command. and our Neighbours.

By this we are directed to pray, that God would cleanse our souls from that evill concupis­cence so natural unto them, endowing us with a sincere inclination to all the duties of charity.

That he would make us more watchfull over our own senses, and hearts, in keeping out and extinguishing all those evill fancies and imagi­nations, which may arise within us. And to this purpose, that he would bestow upon us the whole Armour of God, whereby we may cast down all fleshly reasonings, and imaginations, 2 Cor. 10.5 and bring into subjection every thought unto the obedience of him­self.

That we may make a Covenant with our thoughts, not to please our selves in the specu­lation of any sins, not to think of them without soathing and detestation; That we may never make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof,1 Cor. 7.29, 30. that our hearts may be dis-ingaged from the world.

That he would give unto us the Spirit of wis­dome to discern in what things we are most ob­noxious to temptation, and to be most vigilant over our hearts in respect of those particulars: That we may keep our hearts with all diligence.

That we may never envy our neighbours well-being; nor rejoyce at his sufferings. Prov. 4.13 Job 31.29

CHAP. XXII. Of the graces that are more particular­ly required in the Gospel.

NExt to the Precepts of the Law, we are to consider the duties which the Gospel does require of us, namely that we should repent and believe; That we should be careful to perform, to continue, and increase in all those particular duties and graces, which are comprehended un­der these two general heads.

So that from hence we are directed to pray

1. For Repentance; That since God hath in love to our souls, vouchsafed unto us in his Go­spel this Priviledge of repentance, which the Co­venant of Works did not admit of, that he would also give us hearts for it, Act. 11.18 granting us repentance unto life; That he would convince us of the danger and folly and pollution of our sins, en­abling us to mourn over them, bestowing upon us broken and contrite spirits: Dissolving our stony hearts into that godly sorrow which worketh repentance to salvation,Psal. 51.17 2 Cor. 7.10 not to be repented of. That we may search and try our wayes, and turn unto the Lord:Lam. 3.40 Mat. 3.8. Bringing forth fruits meet for re­pentance: Labouring to draw nigh unto God, by cleansing our hands and purifying our hearts.James 4.8.

2. For faith; that God would discover to us the great need of a Saviour, and since he hath set forth his Son to be a Propitiation through faith in his blood;Rom. 3.25 Heb. 5.9. and hath made him the authour of e­ternal [Page 177] salvation to all that obey him: That he would win over our souls to an earnest endea­vour of acquaintance with him, and high esteem of him.

That God, who commanded the light to shine out of darknesse, would shine into our hearts,2 Cor. 4.6 to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; That he would make us more especially inquisitive after the saving, experimental knowledge of him, in whom are laid up the treasures of wisdome and knowledge,Col. 2.3. whom to know is perfect wisdome and eternal life.

That he would count us worthy of his holy cal­ling,2 Thes. 1.11, 12. and fulfill in us all the good pleasure of his goodnesse, and the work of faith with power, that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us, and we in him. That Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith,Eph. 3.17, 18. that we being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all Saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulnesse of God.

That we may truly value the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindnesse towards us through Christ Jesus: Glorying in his Gospel, Eph. 2.7. as being the power of God to salvation: Counting all things but losse and dung for the excellency of the know­ledge of Christ Jesus;Rom. 1.6 Phil. 3.8, 9. that we may win him and he found in him, not having our own righteousnesse, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ.

[Page 168] That in all estates and conditions we may learn to live by faith.

1. In regard of our temporal life, with all the various uncertainties of it, whether Prosperity, that by this grace of faith we may keep our hearts in an holy frame of humility, meeknesse, dis-ingage­ment from the world, and all outward confiden­ces; or Adversity, wherein this grace may serve to sweeten our afflictions, to support us under them, teaching us to profit by them, to bear them meekly, to triumph over them; assuring the heart that nothing befals us but by the dis­posal of Gods Providence, who is infinitely wise, and merciful, and faithfull.

2. In regard of Spiritual life, both for our Ju­stification, that we may not expect it from our own services or graces. Phil. 3.9. Not having our own righ­teousnesse, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousnesse which is of God by faith. And so for the life of Sanctification, that we may not live unto our selves,2 Cor. 5.15 but unto him who died for us,Phil. 1.27 and rose again. That our conversation may be as becometh the Gospel of Christ, standing fast in one spirit with one minde, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. Alwayes remembring that we are not our own, 1 Cor. 6.20 but bought with a price, and therefore should make it our businesse to glori­fie Christ with our bodies and spirits, which are his.

Jam. 2.20. That he would work in us such a lively faith, as may make us rich in good works, that we may demean our selves, as becomes our professed sub­jection to the Gospel of Christ; walking worthy of that vocation wherewith we are called,2 Cor. 9.13 Eph. 4.2. as becomes [Page 179] children of the light:Ch. 5. v. 8. 1 Pet. 1.15 Rom. 13.14. 1 Tim. 4.7 Gal. 2.14. 1 Tim. 5.10 Jam. 3.13. Tit. 2.10. Being holy in all manner of conversation: Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ: Ex­ercising our selves unto godlinesse: Walking upright­ly, according to the truth of the Gospel: Diligently following every good work: Shewing out of a good conversation our works with meeknesse and wisdome: That we may adorne the doctrine of God our Savi­our in all things; Considering that we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that we should walk in them: Having our conversation in heaven,Eph. 2.10. Phil. 3.20 walk­ing worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruit­full in all good works.Gal. 1.10. That every one of us who pro­fesseth the name of Christ, may depart from iniquity: Because for this reason was the Gospel preached to those that are dead in sin,2 Tim. 2.19 that they might live ac­cording to God in the Spirit.1 Pet. 4.6.

That we may give all diligence to adde to our faith, vertue; and to vertue, knowledge;2 Pet. [...].5, 8▪ and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godlinesse; and to godlinesse, brother­ly kindnesse, and to brotherly kindnesse, charity; that these things being in us, and abounding, we may not be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, but may hereby clear up unto our selves the evidences of our calling and ele­ction.

That we may deny all ungodlinesse and worldly lusts, living soberly,Tit. 2.12, 13, 14. righteously and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and that glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works: Consider­ing [Page 180] that he shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty Angels in flaming fire,2 Thes. 1.7. to take vengeance on those that obey not his Gospel, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired of all them that believe in that day:Heb. 10.28 For if he that de­spised Moses law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the Co­venant an unholy thing, and hath done despight to the Spirit of grace?

1 Pet. 5.10. That the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory, by Christ Jesus, would make us perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle us.

Col. 1.23 That we may continue in the faith, grounded and setled, and not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel,Col. 2.7 being rooted, and built up, and stablished in the faith: Laying aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us,Heb. 12.1, 2. and running with patience the race that is set before us: Holding fast our profession without wavering; that we may abide in Christ, and his words may abide in us:Heb. 10.23 John 15.7 2 Tim. 3.14. Rev. 2.10. Col 3.16. 2 Pet. 3.18 Continuing in the things which we have learned. Being faithful unto the death, that then he may bestow upon us a crown of life.

That the Word of Christ may dwell in us richly, in all wisdome: That we may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Being filled with the fruits of righteousnesse, which are by Jesus Christ,Phil. 1.11. unto the glory and praise of God: That we may be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.2 Tim. 2.1

[Page 181]That having fought a good fight, and finished our course, and kept the faith,2 Tim. 4.7, 8. we may receive that crown of righteousnesse, which at the last day, the Lord, the righteous Judge will bestow upon all those that love his appearing: That he would carry us on, through faith unto salvation.

And because, when we have reckoned all the duties we can, we shall leave out many particu­lars, therefore for the supply of those which we cannot specifie, we may use some general forme answerable to that exhortation of the Apostle,Phil. 4.8. that whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, what­soever things are of good report, if there be any ver­tue, and if there be any praise, that we may think of, and do these things.

Being blamelesse, and harmelesse,Phil. 2.15. the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and per­verse nation, among whom we may shine as lights in the world.

CHAP. XXIII. Of petitioning for temporal good things, Provision and Protection.

NExt to spiritual good things, we are permit­ted to pray for those matters which con­cerne our Temporal well-fare, answerable to tha [...] Petition in the Lords Prayer, Give us this day our [Page 182] daily bread; under the expression of daily bread, we are to understand all those particulars that are either necessary or convenient for our natural life in respect

Both of

  • Provision for us in our
    • Soules.
    • Bodies.
    • Callings.
    • Names.
    • Friends.
    • Estates.
  • Protection of us in our
    • Soules.
    • Bodies.
    • Callings.
    • Names.
    • Friends.
    • Estates.

1. For our Souls; that God would be pleased to blesse and continue to us the use of our wits and memories, that he would give us power to enjoy these temporal blessings; filling us with gladnesse of heart, Act. 14.17 with peace and serenity of mind, expelling from us all unnecessary cares, earthly sorrows, unprofitable dejections.

2. For our Bodies; that he would continue to us our health and strength, the free use of our senses and limbs, supplying, directing, blessing us in the use of all such means as shall conduce to our preservation and well-being.

3. For our Callings; that he would furnish us with wisdome and abilities suitable to our several vocations, making us diligent and industrious in them, whereby we may be enabled in our places to promote his glory,1 Thes. 2.10. Gal. 5.13. and to be instrumental for the good of others. Being just towards all men, and ready to serve one another in love; and because with­out his blessing it will be in vain for us to rise up early, Ps 127.2. and to sit up late, and to eat the bread of care­fulnesse; Therefore we should likewise pray that he would blesse our endeavours, and all that we set our hands unto: Deut. 28.8 Ps. 90.17. Prospering the work of our hands upon us.

[Page 183]4. For our Names; that he would take care of our reputations, restraining others from re­proaching and slandring of us, and restraining us from scandalous sinnes; and appearances of evil; that he would teach us to behave our selves so wisely and circumspectly, that we may bring cre­dit to our persons and professions, growing in fa­vour both with God and man. That he would deliver us from those,Psal. 57.4. whose teeth are speares and arrowes, and their tongues a sharp sword.

5. For our Friends; that he would raise up for us such as may be kindly affectioned to us, bles­sing us in all our neere relations, kindred, fami­lies, friends, neighbours, acquaintance, continuing to us the help and comfort that we have by them.

6. For our Estates; in respect. 1. Of Liberty, that he would still preserve us in our wonted free­dome, from bondage, captivity, imprisonment. 2. That he would be pleased to restore and con­tinue that precious blessing of Peace, both in our Nations, Towns, Families, Conversations. 3. That he would make us Plenteous in the fruit of our ground, and in the increase of our cattel;Deut. 28.4. Crowning the yeare with his goodnesse,Verse 11. opening to us his good treasures, the heavens; Putting a force and efficacy into their influences,Verse 12. and fruitfulnesse into the earth, that it may yeeld us the staffe of bread, to strengthen our hearts. Hos 2.21. Ps. 104.15. Prov. 30.8 That he would al­wayes supply us with food convenient for us; so much as may with sobriety serve to conveigh us through this earthly Pilgrimage.

In brief, that he would be pleased to blesse un­to us the things we have, and bestow upon us the things we want.

[Page 184]And as we should beseech God to provide for us, so likewise to protect us in all these respects; more especially according to those divers seasons wherein our prayers are to be framed, whether for the Day, or Night: For the Day is his, the Night also is his, Psal. 74.16 he hath prepared the light, and the Sun; They continue still according to his Ordinances, for all things serve him. Ps. 119.91. 'Tis he that turneth darknesse into light, Ps. 104.30. and renues the face of the earth.

1. For our morning addresses, O God thou art my God, Ps. 63.2. early will I seek thee, my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh also longeth after thee; we should herein petition for his protection of us the day fol­lowing, that he would watch over us for good, by his fatherly providence; and defend us from all those sins and dangers to which we are expo­sed, that we may not be insnared by any of those temptations which we shall meet with: That he would give his Angels charge over us, to keep us in all our wayes. Ps. 91.11.

That he would be pleased, so far to afford us his assistance and direction, that we may glorifie his name, both in our Thoughts, Words, & Actions; and to this end, that he would put good medita­tions into our mindes, and holy desires into our hearts, truth into our inward parts: That he would set a watch before our mouths, Psal. 51.6. and keep the door of our lips, Ps. 141.3· that we offend not with our tongues: That no corrupt communication may proceed from us, Eph. 4.29. but such as is good to the use of edifying, and may administer grace to the hearers: That amongst our other businesses and employments, we may not forget that one thing which is most necessary: [Page 185] But may be more especially careful about all such matters as may prepare us for our appearance be­fore him, and farther us in that reckoning which we are to make at the great day of accounts.

That we may walk circumspectly, not as fools, Eph. 5.15 but as wise. Considering that God is about our paths, and is acquainted with all our wayes; Ps. 139.3 Heb. 4.1, Every thing being naked and open unto the eyes of that dread­ful Majesty, before whom all the world must be judged at the last day. That we may redeem the time, because the dayes are evill; [...] improving the pre­sent opportunity of our health, peace and prospe­rity, unto the best advantage of our spiritual wel-being. In this our day considering the things that belong unto our peace.

That we may be wise and modest in our carri­ages, humble and moderate in our passions, tem­perate and sober in our diet, diligent and cheerful in our businesse.

That he would give us successe in all our honest undertakings, making us wise and prosperous [...] them. That the glorious Majesty of the Lord our [...] may be upon us, prospering the work of our hand, [...] [...] Abrahams servant, O Lord my God, I beseech [...] send me good speed this day, and shew kindnes unto me, &c. It is he alone, that must work all our works [...] us, and for us: The way of man being not in himself, [...] neither is it in him that walketh to direct his steps; that he would therefore lead us in the way that we should go; teaching us to make straight paths to our feet, and the rather because we are now fal­len under a crooked and perverse generation; that he would counsel and guide us in all our doubts and difficulties.

[Page 186]That he would enable us every day to poceed somewhat forward in our spiritual growth, to get the mastery over our own evil hearts and affecti­ons: To renue and practise all those holy purpo­ses and resolutions which we have formerly made, that proceeding from grace to grace, we may at length come to be perfect in Christ Jesus.

2. In our evening prayers we should likewise pe­tition him for his particular protection over us the night following. Because he hath commanded his loving kind [...]esse in the d [...]y time, Ps. 42.8. therefore in the night shall our song be with him, and our prayer un­to the Go [...] of our life.

It is the frailty of our natures to need a conti­nual reparation of our strength by sleep. But God is the Keeper of Israel, Ps. 122.4. who neither slumbreth nor sleep­eth, and therefore we should beseech him that he would wake for us, watch over us for good. Com­manding his Angels to incamp round about us, that we may not be afraid of any terrors by night, Ps 34.7. Ps 91.5. Psal. 48. Psal. 127.2 but may lie down in peace, and sleep, and that he would make us to dwell in safety: That he who gives his beloved sleep, would refresh us with quiet rest: That we may hear of his loving kindness betimes in the morn­ing, Ps. 143.8. for in him is our trust

That in the time of our waking he would fill our souls with the meditations of himself, that he would teach us to commune with our own hearts upon our beds, and be still: To remember his all-seeing eyes, that the darknesse hideth not from him, but the night shineth as the day, Ps. 139.12 the darknes and light to him are bo [...]h alike.

That though perhaps we have foolishly wasted [Page 187] the day past amongst the many other dayes of our lives which he hath alotted for our repentance and amendment; yet that he would still be graci­ously pleased out of his free bouty to continue his former protection and care over us, to refresh us with sufficient rest, that therby we may be ena­bled to do him better service in the duties of the following day:Psal. 31.5. Expressing our desires of commend­ing our spirits and bodies into his hands who hath re­deemed us, and is the Lord God of truth.

That by our sleep this night we may be put in mind of our last sleep by death, of the days of dark­ness, which shall be many;Eccl. 11.8 of that time which will shortly come, when these our bodies shall be stretched on a bed of earth; That when a few days are come, Job 16.2 [...] we shall go into the place whence we shall not return: That many go well to bed and never rise again till the day of judgement: That every day which passeth over us does bring us neerer to our last day, our dissolution; and that dreadful judge­ment, when we must give a strict account of all our actions, and receive an eternal doom, accord­ing to the works which we have done: That these considerations may make us walk warily, as being in continual expectation of the time of our depar­ture: That we may labour to grow better, as we grow older; that the neerer we come to our lat­ter ends, the neerer we may approach to him and his glory.

That if he hath determined to take us out of the world, before we have another opportunity of ap­proaching unto him in this holy duty, that then he would be pleased to pardon our sins, and save our souls.

CHAP. XXIV. Concerning Intercession, more General, both Ordinary and Occasional.

NExt to praying for our selves, we should likewise be careful to intercede for others, be­cause we are all fellow-members of one body; And the members should have the same care one of another. 1 Cor. 12.25.

These Intercessions are either

  • General.
  • Special.
  • Particular.

1. General. For the whole Catholick Church Militant here on earth,Ps. 122.6. dispersed over the face of the whole world:Eph. 6.18. That peace and mercy may be upon the Israel of God, that he would give his Gospel a free, 2 Thes. 3.1.2. and an effectual passage, prospering it where it is, and sending it where it is not; that it may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: That his delight may be in mount Sion: That he would grave her on the palmes of his hands, and let her walls be continually before him; Isa. 49.16, 17. that her builders may make haste, and that he would cause her destroy­ers, and such as would lay her waste, to depart from her: That he would be merciful unto all his elect people, and blesse them, and cause his face to shine up­on them; Ps. 67.1, 2. that his way may be known upon earth, and his saving health among all Nations.

That he would enlarge the borders of Christs Kingdom,Act. 2.47. Luk. 1.79. and adde daily to the Church such as shall be saved: Enlightening those that sit in darknesse, and in the shadow of death, and guiding their feet into the way of peace.

[Page 189]And here we may derive arguments from those many promises that are made in Scripture to this purpose that he would give unto Christ the hea­then for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Ps. 2.8.

That the mountain of the Lords house shall be esta­blished on the top of the mountains, Isa. 2.2. and shall be exalt­ed above the hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it.

That the whole earth shall be filled with the know­ledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the Sea. Isa. 11.9.

That the worme Jacob shall thresh the mountains, Isa. 41.14, 15. and make the hills as chaffe: Speaking of the King­dom of Christ under he Gospel.

That all the ends of the earth should see the salva­tion of God. Isa. 52.10

That all the Kingdomes of the world should become the Kingdomes of the Lord, and of his Christ. Rev. 11.15.

And to this purpose that he would afford the means that are requisit to this end; that he would informe the ignorant, reclaim the erroneous, en­courage the backward, strengthen the weak, binde up the broken, succour the tempted, comfort the sorrowful, restore the sick, deliver the prisoners, relieve the needy, break every yoke of the oppres­sour, and hasten the coming of his Kingdome.

That he would sanctifie the several gifts distri­buted in the Church,Eph. 4.11, 16. for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministery, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, un­to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature, of the fulnesse of Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joyned together, and compacted by that which every [Page 190] joynt supplyeth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, may increase, and edifie it self in love.

2. Special Intercession may be either

  • Ordinary.
  • Occasional.

1. In Ordinary, or common we are to pray for the Nations uncalled, whether

  • Jewes.
  • Infidels.

1. For Jewes, that God would perswade Sem to dwell in the tents o [...] Japhet;Gen. 9.27. that he would not forget his old loving kindnesse to his first-borne, the seed of Abraham his friend; that he would raise up the Tabernacle of David which is fallen, Am. 9.11. and close up the breaches thereof: And make Jerusalem a praise upon the whole earth: That he would do good in his good ple [...]sure unto Sion,Ps. 51.18. and build up the walls of Jerusalem; that he would open their eyes to see him whom they have pierced;Zach. 12.10. Mat. 27.25 that the merit, and not the guilt of his blood may be upon them and their children.

2. For the uncalled Gentiles whom he hath de­creed to salvation, who are without the pale of the visible Church; that God would wisit them with the Day-spring from on high, send forth his everlasting Gospel amongst them, and bring in the fulnesse of the Gentiles;Rom. 11.25. See before. and make us all one sheep­fold, under one shepherd according to those ma­ny promises which he hath made to this purpose.

Amongst the Nations that are called, we are to pray more especially for them to whom we are allied by Neighbourhood, League, Religion, &c. But chiefly for those of the houshold of faith; the Nations and Families that call upon his Name.Gal. 6.10 [Page 191] Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoyce, Ps 5.11, 12 let them shout for joy, because thou defend [...]st them; let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee: For thou, Lord, wilt blesse the righteous, with favou wilt thou com­passe him as with a shiel [...].

O continue thy loving kindnesse to them that know thee, and thy righteousnesse to the upright in heart. Ps 36.10.

Let all them that seek thee, Psal. 40.16 rejoyce and be glad in thee, let such as love thy salvation, say continually, The Lord be magnified.

Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, Psal. 1.5, 4. and to them that be upright in their hearts & let peace be upon Israel.

But above any other, we are to pray more especi­ally for our own Nation, the land of our nativity; to which as we have a neerer relation▪ so ought we to have a greater affection; That God would pardon our crying sinnes, purge out our corruptions, heal our distempers; that he would remove the judge­ments under which we suffer, and prevent those which we have most justly deserved; that he would continue to us the mercies we enjoy, and bestow upon us the blessings we want.

That he would teach us to observe, and under­stand his meanings towards us in all his publick dis­pensations, that we may accordingly apply our selves to meet him in his wayes.

That he would sanctifie unto us every condition, and make us wise by the example of others, that we may be willing to learn righteousnesse, Isa. 26.9 when his judge­ments are abroad in the world: To hear his rod, and who hath appointed it;Mich, 6.9. as knowing that every judgement hath as well a noise to informe, as a blow to correct, and that if we will not amend by the sound of them [Page 192] upon others, we shal feel the smart of them our selves·

These are some of the general heads, which ordi­narily, may be insisted upon, and inlarged, in our in­tercessions for National mercies; upon occasion of any extraordinary want, or judgement. We ought in a more particular manner to frame our petitions, ac­cording to the present condition of a people, in re­gard of any publick necessity; but chiefly in respect of those three principal judgements, Warre, Fa­mine, Pestilence.

Against Warre.1. In times of Warre, that he would take care for the interest of his own people, and cause, in the midst of all confusions: That he would behold the tears of those that are oppressed, and have no comforter; that he would be strength to the poor, and to the needy in their distresse, Isa. 25.4. a refuge from the storme, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storme against the wall; That upon all the glory there may be a defence. Isa. 4.5. Psal. 31.7, 8. That he would consider their trou­bles, and know their soules in adversity, and not shut them up in the hand of their enemies. That they may not any longer hear the sound of the Trumpet, Jer. 4.19. and the alarm of Warre.

That he would remove that judgment from them, and let them not fall into the hands of men, 2 Sam. 24.14. Psal. 49 9. whose mercies are cruel. He can make warre to cease in all the world, breaking the bowe, and cutting the spear in sunder. Isa. 2.4. And he hath promised a time when men shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, when Nation shall not lift up sword a­gainst Nation, neither shall they learn Warre any more. He is the great Peace-maker, the Prince of peace, who did finde out away hidden from ages, Col. 1.26. and generati­ons, [Page 193] to reconcile the sinful world unto himselfe. He can bring light out of darknesse, and settlement out of confusion. He can with a word of his mouth re­buke, and alay the tempestuous windes and sea. He can still the raging of the seas, the noise of his waves, and the madnesse of the people. Psal. 65.7. He can create peace where there is no pre-existent disposition, or prepa­ration towards it. He can make the wrath of man turn to his praise, and when he please he can restrain it. That he would think thoughts of peace towards us, and not of evil, to give us an expected end. Jer. 29.11.

That he would repaire the desolations that have been hereby occasioned;Jer. 31.27. that he would sow the wast places with the seed of man and of beast; and as he hath formerly watched over them, to pluck up and to destroy, so he would now watch over them to build & to plant.

To this purpose the book of Psalmes does abound with many petitions and complaints.

O let the wickednesse of the wicked come to an end, but establish thou the just. Psal. 7.9.

Shew thy marvellous loving kindnesse, Psal. 17.7. O thou that savest by thy right hand them that put their trust in thee, from such as rise up against them.

Let not those that waite on thee be ashamed. Psal. 25.3, 22. Psal. 66.1, 2. Re­deem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast been displea­sed, O turne thy selfe to us again. Thou hast made the land to tremble, thou hast broken it; heal the breaches thereof, for it shaketh. Thou hast shewed thy people hard things; thou hast made them to drink the wine of astonishment. Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man. Verse 11.

Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him, fly before him. Psal. 68.1.

[Page 194] Ps. 74·19, 22. O deliver not the soul of the turtle unto the multitude of the wicked; forget not the congregation of the poor for ever. O let not the oppressed return ashamed, let the poor and needy praise thy name. Arise, O God, plead thine own cause, &c.

Ps. 79.4, 5. We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. How long, Lord, wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousie burn like fire? O remember not against us our former iniquities, let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name, deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy names sake.

Ps. 86.14. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assem­blies of violent men have sought after my soul, and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art our God, full of compassion & gracious, long-suffering & plenteous in mercy and truth. O turne unto me, and have mercy up­on me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the sonne of thine handmaid. Shew me some token for good, that they which hate me may see it, Psal. 94.2. and be ashamed, be­cause thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

Ps. 102.13 Arise, O Lord, and have mercy upon Sion, for the time to favour her, yea the set time is come.

2. Against Famine.2. In times of Famine; We should pray that our land may yield us bread without scarcenesse: That he would not send upon us the evil arrowes of famine, Deut. 8.9. Ezek. 5.16 Hos. 2.9. Amos 4.6 Isa. 9.20. nor break our staffe of bread: Nor take away our corne in the time thereof, nor afflict us with cleannesse of teeth; When men shall snatch on the right hand, and be hun­gry, and shall eat on the left hand, and shall not be satis­fied: but every man shall eat the flesh of his own arme: When we shall pine away, Lam. 4.9, and be stricken through for [Page 195] want of the fruits of the earth: When we shall eat bread by weight, and with care, and drink water by measure, Ez. 46.16. and with astonishment: When the land shall mourne, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, Hos. 4.3. with the beasts of the field, and the fowles of the Heaven: When the husband-man shall be ashamed, Joel 1.11. and the vine-dressers shall howle, because the harvest of the field is perished: The fig-tree shall not blossome, Hab. 3.17 neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labour of the Olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no heard in the stalls: When we shall sowe much and bring in little, when we shall eat and not have enough, drink and not be filled, Hag. 1.6. cloath our selves and not be warme.

That he would according to his promise, abun­dantly blesse our provision, Ps. 132.15 Ps. 144.13 and satisfie our poore with bread: That our Garners may be full and plenteous, af­fording all manner of store; That he would hear the Heavens, and let them hear the Earth, Hos. 2.21, 22. and the Earth hear the Corne and the Wine and the oyle, and that they may hear his people.

Now because Famine is usually occasioned, either by immoderate raine, or drought, therefore in our in­tercessions against this National judgement, we may frame our Petitions more immediately against each of these, as necessity shall require.

1. Against immoderate raine: That God would remember the Covenant which he hath made, and though our wickednesse be very great upon the earth, Gen. 6 5.6 so that he might justly repent that he hath made us; and now again resolve to destroy us from the face of the earth; yet he hath promised that he will not any more cut off all flesh by the waters of a flood, Gen 9.11. neither shall [Page 196] there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

Joel. 2.23. Prov. 28.3That he would give us the former and the latter rain moderately, and not punish us with a sweeping rain, which leaveth no food.

Gen. 7.11. Job. 5.10. Isai. 50.3.'Tis he alone, by whom the windows of Heaven are opened, who giveth raine upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields; Who cloatheth the Heavens with blacknesse, and maketh sack-cloth their covering; Who calleth for the waters of the Sea, Am. 5.8. Job 36.27 and poureth them out upon the face of the Earth; He maketh small the drops of water, they poure down raine according to the vapor thereof, which the clouds do drop, and distill upon men abundantly: He covereth the light with clouds, and commandeth it not to shine: Ps. 78.23 He commandeth the clouds from above, and openeth the doors of Heaven.

That he would so order all those things which are at his disposal, as that the earth may yield her in­crease, Ps. 97.6, 7 and all the ends of the earth may fear him.

2. Against Drought; That he would open to us the good treasures of Heaven, Deut. 28.22. Job 38.28 Vers. 37. Job. 26.8. and give rain to our land in its season, and blesse the labour of our hands: He is the Father of the rain, and does beget the drops of dew: The bottles of heaven are at his command to open, and shut them as he pleases: He bindes up the waters in thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them: 'Tis he that does stay the heaven over us from dew, Hag. 1.10. Amos 4.7 and the earth from his fruits: Who doth with-hold the raine from us, causing it to rain upon one City, and not upon another: It is by his command that the Vine-tree is dryed up, Joel 1.12. and the Fig-tree languisheth, and all the trees of the field are withered: The seed is rotten under the clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barnes are bro­ken down, Verse 17. for the corne is withered; the beasts groan, and [Page 197] the herds of cattel are perplexed, because they have no pasture, and the flocks of sheep are made desolate. Vers. 18.

'Tis at his command that the clouds do not raine up­on us; He makes the heavens over us to be brasse, Isa. 5.6. Deut. 28.23, 24. and the earth under us to be iron, and the rain of our land to be powder and dust: He causes the land to mourne, and the herbs of every field to wither;Jer. 12.4. chap. 14.4· When the ground is chapt for want of rain, when the plowmen are ashamed, and cover their heads; when the wilde Asses do stand in the high places, and snuffe up the winde like Drag­gons, and their eyes do faile because there is no grasse. Vers. 6.

And therefore unto him it is that we must make our addresses, for help and supply in all such exi­gences; That when heaven is shut up, 1 Kin. 8.35, 36. and there is no rain, because of our sins against him; Yet if we shall pray unto him, and confesse his name, and turne from our sins when he afflicts us; That then he would hear in hea­ven, and forgive the sins of his servants, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain unto the land, which he hath bestowed upon them for an inheritance.

Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? Jer. 14.22. art not thou he, O Lord, our God? therefore we will waite upon thee, for thou hast made all these things.

That he would open the windows of heaven, and cause the rain to come down in his season, and let there be showers of blessing; Ez. 34.26 Ps. 104.14 making grasse to grow for the cattel, and herbs for the service of men: That we may fear the Lord our God, who giveth us rain, Jer. 5.24▪ both the for­mer and the latter in its season, reserving unto us the pointed weeks of harvest.

3. In times of Pestilence: 3. Against Pestilence. That he would (accord­ing [Page 198] to his promise) deliver us from the noysome Pe­stillence; Psal. 91.3, 5, 6. that we may not be afraid for the terrour by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the Pe­stilence that walketh in darknesse; nor for the destructi­on that walketh at noon-day; that no evil befall us, nor any plague come nigh our dwellings:Vers. 10 That he would command his destroying Angel to put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. 1 Chron. 21.27.

That he would teach us to see the plague of our own hearts, 1 King. 8.38. and to returne unto him with unfeigned re­pentance, that he may returne unto us in mercy and compassion, and pardon our sins, and heal our land.

Jer. 47.6. O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thy self into thy scabberd, rest, & be still.

Job. 6.4.That the arrows of the Almighty may not be any long­er within us, nor the poison thereof drink up our spirits.

Jer. 9.21.That death may not come up into our windows, nor enter into our palaces, to cut off the children from with­out, and the young men from the streets; that he would not sweep us away with the besome of destruction;Isa. 14.23. but would be pleased now at length to heal us, and to re­store comfort unto us, Isa. 57.18. and to our mourners.

We are consumed by thine an [...]er, and by thy wrath we are troubled; Ps. 90.7, 8 thou hast set our iniquities before thee, and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance: Re­turne, Ver. 13.14 O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concern­ing thy servants: O satisfie us early with thy mercies, that we may rejoyce and be glad all our dayes.

For the better strengthening of our faith and fer­vency in our intercessions for any National mercy, we may back our requests with some of those Ar­guments which the Scripture does afford to this pur­pose

[Page 199]God hath stiled himself a refuge for the oppres­sed, a refuge in times of trouble, Ps 9.9, 11 and that he will ne­ver forsake them that seek him.

He is a present help in trouble, Ps. 46.1. Ps. 35.27. and hath proclaim­ed himself to be a God that hath pleasure in the pro­sperity of his servants.

He hath promised that the poor shall not alwayes be forgotten, Psal. 9.18. Ps. 72.14. the patient abiding of the meek shall not perish for ever. But he will redeem their souls from deceit and violence; He heareth the poor, Ps. 69.33. and despiseth not the prisoners.

He hath said, that he will not alwayes contend with the children of men, lest their hearts should faint, Isa. 57.16. and their spirits fail within them. Deut. 32.36 Isa. 63.5.5. But when their power is quite gone, then it shall repent him for his servants; when there is no other help or uphold, then the arme of the Lord shall bring salvation.

He hath assured us,Psal 37.5, that if we commit our way unto the Lord, and trust in him, he will bring it to passe; That the m [...]ek shall inherit the earth, Verse 11. Verse 19. and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. That the upright shall not be ashamed in the evill time, and in the dayes of famine they shall be satisfied; that though the wicked doth watch the righteous, and seek to slay him, Verse 32. yet the Lord will not leave him in his hand, Verse 33. nor condemn him when he is judged. But if we wait on the Lord, and keep his way, he will exalt us to inherit the land. Verse 34. That the sal­vation of the righteous is of the Lord, who is their strength in tim [...] of trouble. Verse 39. The Lord shall help them and deliver them, he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. Verse. 40.

He has promised that the rod of the wicked shall not alwayes rest upon the lot of the righteous. Ps. 125.3.

[Page 200]The Scripture is very copious in such expressions as may afford Arguments to this purpose, besides those that were mentioned before in the fourth Chapter, which are properly reducible to this place.

CHAP. XXV. Of Particular Intercession for our several relations.

PArticular Intercession may be distinguished into two sorts,

  • Ordinary.
  • Occasional.

By Ordinary I understand our prayers for those particular persons, whom we are bound in our com­mon and usual course to remember, as we should all those to whom we are tied by any neer relation, whether of

  • See fifth Com. be­fore.
    Order.
  • Friendship, or Enmity.
  • Neighbourhood, or converse.

1. For the relations of Order. These are either pub­like and Politicall, or private and Oeconomicall.

1. Concerning our Publike relations, the Apostle does enjoyn us to pray for Kings, and all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty;1 Tim. 2.2 that he would give unto them wise & understanding hearts, to judge their peo­ple and to discern between good and bad. 1 King. 3 9 Rom. 13.3. Isa. 49.23. That they may be a terror only to evil doers; but an encouragement to those that do well. That he would (according to his promise) make them nursing fathers unto his [Page 201] Church and People, that they may prove friends to his friends, and enemies to his enemies. Considering that those who rule over men must be just, 2 Sam. 23▪ 3. ruling in the fear of the Lord.

That they may know the God of their fathers, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind;1 Chron. 28.9. that it may be well with them, and their posterity af­ter them.

That he would make them to beleeve, and to con­sider, that 'tis not only their duty, but their honour, and their interest, to promote the power, and the re­putation of Religion.

For all publike Counsellours and Judges, that he would make them wise, and upright, and successefull in the discharge of all those difficult businesses that they are called unto. That they may not turne judge­ment into wormwood, by unjust decrees, nor into Vine­ger, by long delays; that he would be unto them,Amos 5.7 both a Sun and a Shield. A Sun to direct them, and a Shield to protect them in all their ways.Pro. [...]0.26 'Tis he alone who is able to instruct Magistrates, Ps. 84.11. and teach Senators wis­dom;Ps. 105.22. that he would remove from them all negli­gence, cowardize, prejudice, self-ends▪ or whatever may hinder them in the free and equal administra­tion of justice.Am. 5.24. That judgement may run down as a river, and righteousnesse as a mighty stream.

For the Nobility and Gentry, that he would en­dow them with such vertue and spiritual graces, as can alone truly ennoble them, whereby they may be made the children of God, and heires of Heaven; that they may strive to become as eminent mem­bers in the mystical body, as they are in the civil.

For all inferiour Magistrates, those more especi­ally [Page 202] under whose Jurisdiction we live, that they may be men of courage, Exod. 18.21. fearing God, wise and faith­ful in their places, Haters of reward, and without re­spect of persons.

For Ministers, more particularly those to whose charge we belong,See before in the du­ties of the 2. and 4. Com­mande­ment. Mat. 9.38. Jer. 3. [...]5. that God would root out of the Church all ignorant, scandalous, factious Ministers, and send forth faithful labourers into his harvest; that he would give unto all his people, Pastors after his own heart; such as may be peaceable and gracious in their lives, painful and powerful in their doctrine, such diligent watchmen, as may with wisdom & fi­delity discharge the office cōmitted to them, taking heed to their ministery to fulfil it. Col. 4·17. That they may not prostitute their holy callings, to serve the interests of men, but may be truly conscionable both in their lives & ministery, that they may save themselves, and them that hear them; that he would support thē under all that opposition & contempt that they meet with.

For all Nurseries of good learning and true Reli­gion, that he would purge & reform them from all their corruptions, uphold and encourage them a­gainst the opposition of all unreasonable men. That he would root up every plant which our heavenly Fa­ther hath not planted. Mat. 15.13 Joh. 15.2. That he would take away those branches which bear no fruit, and purge those which do bring forth fruit, that they may bring forth more; that those places may abound in trees of righteousnesse; which being planted by the rivers of water, Is. 61.3. Psal. 1.3. may bring forth their fruit in due season. That he would blow up­on those gardens, Cant 4.16 that the spices thereof may flow out. That he would water them with the dew from hea­ven, and make them flourishing and fruitful.

[Page 203]That he would cast salt into those fountains, and heal waters therof both from death and barrennesse: 2 Kin. 2.23 That from thence may proceed such wholsome streams, as may refresh the thirsty corners of the land, that those fountains may never be dried up, Hos. 13.15 Jam. 3.11. and that they may not send forth bitter waters.

For the Common people, that he would make them humble, peaceable, charitable, stedfast in the faith; not so easily carried about with every winde of Do­ctrine: Zealous for the establishment of peace and truth, that he would dispel those mists of ignorance and prophanenesse which do so much abound in many corners of the Nation.

That all orders and degrees of men, in their seve­ral places & callings may joyn together for the glo­rifying of his name, the establishment of peace and justice, and the propagation of his truth and Gospel.See before in the 5th Cōmand­ment. Rom. 9.3.

2. We should intercede for our private or dome­stical relations, for those to whom we are tied by blood and affinity, for our brethren and kindred ac­cording to the flesh; that God would make them neer unto him by grace, as they are unto us by nature; that they may be all careful to do the will of our heavenly Father, Mat. 12.50 and by that means become the brethren and kindred of Christ; that we may be ready to express our mutual affections to one another, by a special care and endeavour, to promote our spiritual wel-beings.

Besides the relations of Order, we should likewise pray for those to whom we are related.

By any special friendship or kindnesse, for those that do remember us in their prayers; for such as have been any wayes instruments of our good, either in our souls, bodies or estates; That God [Page 204] would remember them for good in the day of their trouble, and recompence them an hundred fold in­to their bosomes, for all the kindnesse that we have received from them.

And so on the contrary for our Enemies, because their sins do particularly concern us:Psal. [...]5.13, 14 Mat. 5.4. Acts 7.60. That their of­fences against us may not be laid to their charge: That he would take pitty on such as hate us without a cause, and convert their souls unto himself: And that we may consider them as his instruments, in all the wrongs and oppositions which we suffer from them.

And lastly, for those that are neer unto us by neigh­bourhood and familiar converse: The Towns, Socie­ties, Families to which we belong, that we may live at peace and unity amongst our selves, faithfully dis­charging our several duties, adorning our professi­ons, considering one another to provok unto love & good works: And that he would be pleased to dwel with us, to manifest the tokens of his presence, a­mongst us: To let the light of his countenance shine ever upon us, whereby we may be filled with righte­ousnesse, and peace, & joy in the holy Ghost; that we may be able cheerfully to serve him in our places, and patiently to wait for his glorious appearing.

CHAP. XXVI. Of occasional intercession for those who are afflicted either in • Minde. , and • Body. 

OCcasional intercession is when we pray for such persons as suffer under any special trouble [Page 205] or affliction in whose behalf we may petition in the general;Of patience See before in the first Command­ment. That God would give them patience under their afflictions, Profit by them, and in his good time ease and Deliverance from them.

That God would enable them with quietnes and contentment to submit themselves unto every con­dition which he shall think fittest for them, as belee­ving and considering

1. That he is the author of all the miseries which we suffer. Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, Job 5.6. nei­ther doth trouble spring out of the ground.

2. That he makes every thing beautiful and season­able;Eccl. 3.11. whatsoever comes to pass by his wise provi­dence, is far better then human wisdom could possi­bly contrive it, even those events which do most of all thwart our private hopes and desires (could all circumstances be duly considered) would appear to be most comly and beautiful, and therefore we have reason, with lowlines & humility to submit unto his wise providence, and in all our troubles and confu­sions, to acknowledge, that great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just & true are thy ways, Rev. 15.13 thou King of Saints. I know, O Lord, that thy judgments, are right, and that thou in faithfu [...]nes hast afflicted me.

3. We have most justly deserved all that we suffer.Ps. 119.75 Thou, O Lord, art just in all that is brought upon us, Neh. 9.33 for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly. The least mercy we enjoy is far greater then our deserts, and the greatest misery we suffer is far lesse then our sins. Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evill? Job 2.10.

4. That these afflictions are the signs and effects of his love for whom he loveth he chasteneth, Heb. 12.6 and correct­eth [Page 206] every sonne whom he receiveth.

5. That every thing shall in the issue prove for the best to them that love him. And that though all chastening for the present be grievous, Ver. 11. neverthelesse af­terwards it yeeldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousnes to them that are exercised thereby.

That they may labour to make the right use of their troubles, to search and try their ways and turn to the Lord. Lam. 3.40. To humble themselves under his mighty hand, that he may exalt them in due time. 1 Pet. 5.6, 7. To cast all their care upon him, because he careth for them. To finde out those particular failings, which he aims at in his cor­rections. To observe and understand his meaning in the troubles that befal us, that we may accordingly apply our selves to meet him in his ways.

These occasions for particular intercession, are di­stinguishable into several kindes, comprehending all manner of inward or outward exigences, all difficul­ties and doubts, in respect of any weighty businesse, or temptation, but the two chief kinds of them are troubles of conscience, sicknesse of body.

1. If the occasion be trouble of Conscience, and spi­ritual desertions, in such cases the petitions & argu­ments before-mentioned in our deprecation against the guilt of sin are fitly applyable,See before Chap. 16. to which may be added such other desires as these.

That God would inable them to beleeve and con­sider, that feares, and doubts, and temptations are an unavoidable part of our Christian warfare, that not only his dearest servants, Job, David, &c. but also his only Sonne Christ himself hath suffered under them. That he being touched with a feeling of our in­firmities, Heb. 4.16. might be ready to help us in the time of need.

[Page 207]That God is faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempt­ed above what we are able, 1 Cor. 10.13. but will with the temptati­on also make away to escape, that we may be able to bear it. He hath promised that he will not contend for ever, Isa. 57.16. nor be alwayes wroth, lest the spirits of men should fail before him, & the souls which he hath made;Is. 54 7, 8. that though for a small moment he doth forsake us, yet with great mercies will he gather us; though in a little wrath he doth hide his face from us for a moment, yet with ever­lasting kindnes will he have mercy upon us. Ps. 145.14 The Lord up­holdeth those that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. Ps. 34.18. He is nigh unto them that be of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

That as for our infirmities, the best men in this life are not without them, nor shall they be imputed to us, If we do that which we would not, Rom. 7.20 it is no more we that do it, but sin that dwelleth in us; & as for our wilful sins if they be particularly repented of, and forsaken, though they be as red as scarlet, yet he will purge us from them; if we do count them as a burden, Isa. 1.17. Mat. 11.8. and come unto Christ for help, he will ease us of them.

That God in the New Covenant does undertake for both parts, that our hopes are not now to be grounded upon our own works or sufficiency, but upon the infallible promise of God, and the infinite merits of Christ; that if we were without sin, or could do any thing perfectly, we should not in that respect have need of a Mediatour.

From all which considerations, those who are af­flicted with spiritual desertions, may receive suffici­ent comfort, in respect of their sins past, and for the future we should pray in their behalf;

That God would inable them to put on the [Page 208] breast-plate of faith, and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thes. 5.8 1 Tim. 1.19. That they may labour to keep a good conscience, to be observant of all those experimenss which they have had of Gods love unto them, for experience worketh hope. Rom. 5.4

Unto this head, concerning comfort against the dejections of mind, and trouble of conscience, those expressions of the Psalmist may be fitly applied.

Psal. 6 3, 4. My soul is sore vexed, but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lo [...]d, deliver my soul, O save me for thy mer­cy sake.

Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me, for I am desolate and afflicted, Ps. 25.16, 17. the troubles of my heart are enlar­ged, O bring thou me out of my distresses: look upon mine affliction, & my pain, & forgive me all my sins. O keep my soul and deliver me, let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightnes preserve me.

Ps. 27.9. O hide not thy face from me, neither cast thy servant away in displeasure.

Ps. 31.16. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant, O save me for thy mercy sake.

Ps. 40.11. Withhold not thou thy tender mercy from me, O Lord, let thy loving kindnes & thy truth continually preserve me, for inumerable evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not a­ble to look up; they are more then the hairs of my head, therefore my heart faileth me. Be pleased, O Lord, to de­liver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Ps. 57.1. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, be merciful unto me, for under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, until my calamities be overpast.

Ps. 94.19. In the multitude of the sorrowful thoughts within me, let thy comforts, O Lord, delight my soul. [Page 209] Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bear­est unto thy people, O visit me with thy salvation. Ps 106.4, 5 That I may see the good of thy chosen, and rejoyce with the gladness of thy people, and glory with thine inheritance.

Do thou save me, O Lord, for thy name sake, Psal. 109.21, 22. for I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.

2. If the occasion be Sicknesse of Body, in this case we ought to intercede for others.

That God would teach them quietly to submit unto his afflicting hand, as considering, that diseases do not arise meerly from naturall, or accidentall causes, without the particular appointment and dis­posal of his wise providence, which doth extend to the very hairs of our head, much more to the dayes of our lives, and the health of those dayes; and that he is faithful, and true, having ingaged his promise, that all conditions, (though never so troublesome, Tribulation, and anguish, and sicknesse, and death it self) shall work together for the good of those that belong unto him.

That he would sanctifie their pains, and troubles unto them, giving them a true sight of their sins, an unfeigned sorrow for them, and a steadfast faith in the merits of Christ, for the remission of them: That he would recompence the pains, and decays of their bodies, with comfort and improvement in their souls: That as their outward man does decay, 2 Cor. 4.16 so their in­ward man may be renued daily.

That he would fit them for whatever condition he shall call them unto: That Christ may be unto them both in life and death advantage.

That if it be his will, he would recover them from their paines and diseases, and restore them to their [Page 210] former health. That he would direct them to the most effectual means for their recovery, and blesse unto them those that have been, or shall be used to that end.

Of this kinde are those petitions of the Psalmist for himself.

Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak, O Lord, Ps. 6.2, 5. heal me, for my bones are vexed; for in death there is no remembrance of thee, and who will give thee thanks in the pit?

Psal. 31.9. What profit is there in my bloud, if I go down into the pit? shall the dust praise thee? shall that declare thy truth? Shall thy loving kindnesse be declared in the grave, Psal. 88.11, 12. or thy faithfulnesse in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark, or thy righteousnesse in the land of forgetfulnesse?

Psal. 39.12, 13. Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear unto my cry, hold not thy peace at my teares, O spare me a little, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more seen.

Psal. 119.75, 76.I know, O Lord, that thy judgements are right, and that thou in faithfulnesse hast afflicted me. Let I pray thee, thy merciful kindnesse be my comfort, let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live.

Job 10.20.21.Thus does Job petition for himself, Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take com­fort a little, before I go, whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death.

And thus the Prophet Jeremiah, Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Jer. 17.14. save me, and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.

For the better strengthening of our faith and fer­vency in this desire, there are such considerations as these.

[Page 211]He hath commanded us to call upon him in the time of trouble, and hath promised to deliver us;Psal. 50.15 'tis in his power alone to kill, & to make alive; to bring down to the grave, and to raise up again. 1 Sam. 2.6. He hath sti­led himself the God of Salvation, to whom belong the issues of death. He can give pow [...]r to the faint, Ps. 68.20. and to them that have no might, increase of strength. Isa. 40.29. He has profest, that the death of his Saints is dear and precious in his sight. Ps. 116.15 He hath promised to strengthen them upon the bed of languishing, Psal. 41.3. and to make their bed in their sicknesse. He hath said, that the prayer of faith shall save the sick. He hath permitted us,Jam. 5.15. concerning his sons & his daughters to command him, Isa. 45.11. thereby im­plying, that in our intercessions for one another, we may be as sure of successe, as we are of those things which are in our own power to command. To which may be added our former experience of his truth & mercy in the like cases; from all which we may be encouraged to come with boldnesse to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy in the time of need. Heb. 4 16.

But if he hath otherwise determined, and the days of their warfare be accomplished, that then he would fit them for death, and make them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of his Saints in light; that they may be willing to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better, Phil. 1.23 Isa. 57.1. then still to be exposed to the evil to come; to sinful temptations, paines and diseases of the body, troubles and vexations of the vain world; especially considering that now death hath lost its sting, and is swallowed up in victory. And that it was the end of our Saviours passion to deliver them, who through the fear of death, 1 Cor. 15.54. Heb. 2.15. Rom. 8.38. have been all their life-time subject to bondage. That neither death nor life, nor [Page 212] things present, nor things to come shal be able to separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. That by this means we must be brought to enjoy the bea­tifical vision of God, the blessed company of innu­merable Angels, Heb. 13.22 and the spirits of just men made perfect.

That he would be pleased to shine graciously upon them with his favour, and reconciled countenance, to fill their hearts with such divine joyes, as belong unto those that are heires of a celestial kingdome, and are ready to lay hold on everlasting life.

2 Cor. 4.17That this light affliction, which is but for a moment, may work for them a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory.

2 Cor. 5.1.That when this their earthly tabernacle shall be dis­solved, they may have an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

That his blessed Angels may convey their soules into Abrahams bosome.

Now as in such cases we should thus intercede for others, so likewise may we hence take fit occasion to pray for our selves.

That in the diseases and paines of others, we may consider the frailties of our own conditions; the de­sert of our own sins, and may magnifie his special mercy in sparing of us so much, and so long.

That we may be more seriously mindful of our later ends, as knowing that he will bring us also to death, Job 30.23 and to the house appointed for all the living; and that,Job 16.22 when a few dayes are come, we shall go the way whence we shall not returne: That we are but stran­gers, and pilgrims in this world, dwelling in houses of clay, being here to day, and not to morrow, in the morning and not at night, that our dayes on earth [Page 213] are as a shadow and there is none abiding, our years passe away as a tale that is told; Our life is but as a vapour that appears for a while, and then vanish­eth away; coming forth as a flower that is suddenly cut down; flying as a shadow, that continueth not; Our times are in the hands of God, all our dayes are determined, the number of our moneths is with him: Job. 14.5 He hath appointed our bounds that we cannot passe.

Lord, let me know mine end, Psal. 39.4 and the measure of my dayes, that I may know how fraile I am.

So teach us to number our dayes, Ps. 90.12. that we may apply our hearts unto wisdome.

That he would give unto us the Spirit of judge­ment, whereby we may discerne the true difference betwixt this spanne of life, and the vast spaces of im­mortality: Betwixt the pleasures of sin for a season, and that everlasting fulnesse of joy in his presence: Be­twixt the vain applause of men,Ps. 16.11, and the testimony of a good conscience.

That in the present days of health, and peace, and prosperity, we may treasure up for our selves such spiritual strength & comforts, as may hereafter stand us in stead, when we come to lie upon our death-beds, when all other contentments shall vanish a­way, and prove unable to help us; when the con­science of well-doing in any one action, shall admi­nister more real comfort to the soul, then all our outward advantage, or enjoyments whatsoever.

That our conversations may be in heaven, Phil. 3.20. from whence we may continually expect the coming of our Lord and Saviour: Job 14.14. That all the dayes of our appointed time, we may wait till our change shall come.

That since we all know, and cannot but be amazed [Page 214] to consider of that dreadful day of judgement, when every one must appear before the Tribunal of God, to receive an eternal doome according to his works, that therefore he would make us such manner of per­sons as we ought to be in all holy conversation, and god­linesse, 2 Pet. 3.11, 12, 14. looking for, and hastening unto the coming of the day of God; wherein the heavens, being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, that we may labour diligently to be found of him in peace, without spot, and blamelesse.

CHAP. XXVII. Concerning Thanksgiving by enumeration of Temporal favours.

THe third, and last part of Prayer is Thanksgi­ving: This (according to the method propo­sed) may be connected with the former, by some fitting Transition, which for the matter of it, may consist of some such considerations as these.

1. Our confidence of obtaining the things we pe­tition for, by our experience of former mercies; though they are many and great things, which we are suiters for, yet when we reflect upon Gods con­tinual bounty towards us, and how much we do e­very day receive from him, we have no reason to doubt of his favour, but still to depend upon him in every condition.

2. The danger of ingratitude, in hindering the suc­cesse of our petitions: He that is not careful to pay [Page 215] his old debts, cannot expect so much credit, as to run upon a new score. Under the Law, when any one came before God, to make any special request for himself, he was to bring with him a peace-offering, that is, an offering of thanks for the favours he had already enjoyed, thereby to prepare himself for what he expected.

The matter of our Thanksgiving is reducible to these two general heads. 1. The Enumeration of mer­cies. 2. The Amplification, or heightning of them.

1. In our Enumeration of mercies, those particu­lars before mentioned in our Confessions, Deprecati­ons, Petitions, will each of them administer some help, both in respect of matter & expression, accord­ing as our conditions may be in respect of freedom, or deliverance from those evils which we confesse, or deprecate, or the enjoyment of those good things which we have petitioned for, and upon this ac­count, I shall not need to be so large upon this head as the former.

2. The Amplification or heightning of mercies may be either in General, by their multitude, great­nesse, continuance, which is capable of a distinct enlargement by its self. Or else in particular, by their circumstances, degrees, contraries, which are to be insisted upon in the mention of those particular mercies to which they belong.

In the Enumeration of mercies, we are to take no­tice of those that are either

  • Ordinary.
  • Occasional.

By Ordinary I understand such as we enjoy in our common course, without relation to any particular necessity, or deliverance; these again are either

Temporal, are those which concern our well-beings in this life, as we are men, whether in our

  • Private
  • Publick

capacities.

The Private, or personal favours, which we are to acknowledge, do belong, either Generally to the whole man, in respect of his being, nature, birth, edu­cation, preservation; or more Particularly in regard of his Soul, Body, Friends, Name, Estate.

In the recital of the mercies which we enjoy, we are not to be unmindeful of those common favours which are bestowed upon us; in respect

1. Of our Creation and Beings, that God did not suffer us to beswallow'd up in our primitive nothing

2. Our noble Natures, that we were not made sens­lesse things, but endowed with living souls, Men, and not beasts. He might have made us wormes and no men; of a despicable, perishable condition, whereas he hath created us after his own image, but little lower then the Angels, Ps. 8.5, 6. capable of injoying eternity with himself in the heavens; Crowning us with glo­ry and honour, putting all things in subjection under our feet.

3. Our Birth, that we are free-born, not slaves; of generous, not base and ignominious parentage; that we were brought forth in a place and time of Religion. He might have sent us into the world without the pale of the Church, in some place of i­dolatry, or ignorance; amongst the blaspheming Turks, or wilde Americans; We might have been born in those bloody times of persecution and mar­tyrdom: And therefore we have reason to acknow­ledge [Page 217] it for a great mercy, that he hath brought us into this world, both when and where his Gospel hath been professed and flourished.

4. Our Education, by honest, loving, careful Pa­rents and Tutors; under good Magistrates, pious Ministers, in Religious families: We might have been forlorn, & exposed to the wide world, as many others are, following the dictates of our own cor­rupt natures, without any restraint upon us: We might have been put under the Tuition of such Governours, as by their Negligence, Example, Ad­vice, would have encouraged us in evil courses; and therefore we ought to acknowledge it for a great mercy, that we have had such Religious, and inge­nuous education.

5. Our Preservation: God might have cut us off in the womb, and being children of wrath, he might from thence have cast us into hell, and therefore we have reason to praise him; in that he hath covered us in our mothers womb, Psal. 139.13, 14. where we were fearfully and won­derfully made, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the Earth: Being cloathed with skin, and flesh, fenced with bones and sinews:Job 10.1 [...], 12. Where he granted us life and favour, and by his visitation hath preserved our spirits. He took us out of the womb, Ps. 22.9, 10 and made us hope when we were yet on our mothers breasts; We were cast upon him from the womb, and he is our God from our mothers bel­ly: He might many times since justly have snatched us out of this world, with our sins, and fears upon us: It is from the Lords mercies that we are not yet consumed, because his compassions faile not. Lam. 3. [...]

There may be many now in hell, who have not been so great sinners as we, and therefore we are bound to magnifie his name for his good providence [Page 218] over us through the whole course of our lives: That he hath hitherto made us to dwell in safety;Psal. 4.8 and watched over us in journeys, sicknesses, and com­mon dangers, whereby so many others have been surprized and swept away round about us: For de­fending us under the shadow of his wings, Ps. 91.4, 11 and protecting us by his blessed Angels; more particularly for his pre­servation of us the

  • Night
  • Day

past.

1. The Night past, for refreshing our bodies with rest and sleep: For lightening our eyes, that we slept not to death:Psal. 13.3. For bringing us to the light of another day; and that notwithstanding those many oppor­tunities which we have formerly abused. It is a good thing to give thanks unto thee, Psal. 92.1 O Lord, and to sing praises unto thy Name, O thou most high: to shew forth thy, loving kindnesse in the morning, and thy faithfulnesse e­very night. He might have made our beds to be our graves, & surprized us with our last sleep. He might appoint wearisome nights for us; Job 7.3, 4. so that when we lie down, we should say, When shall we arise, and the night be gone? and should be full of tossings to and fro, unto the dawning of the day: When we expect that our bed should comfort us & our couch ease our complaint, Ver. 13, 14 then he might scare us with dreams, and terrifie us through visions; and therefore we have very great reason to praise him for our freedome in this kinde, that when we lie down, Prov. 3.24 he makes our sleep sweet unto us.

2. The Day past, that he hath not given us over to the sinfulnesse of our own natures, the subtiltie and malice of the Devil, the temptations of the world; but hath by his good providence with-held us from many of those sins and dangers, to which of our selves we were exposed: There are many others in the [Page 219] world, who have this day (perhaps) been surprized by some mischief, or have fallen into some great sin, and the same might have been our condition: and therefore we have reason to be sensible of his favour in exempting us from it; that he hath in any mea­sure afforded us direction, and successe in our af­faires, and not blasted our endeavours; accom­panying us in our goings out and comings in.Psal. 42. [...]. Be­cause the Lord hath commanded his loving kindnesse in the day, therefore in the night shall my song be unto him, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Next to these, we may recite those temporal fa­vours which do more particularly concern us, either in our

  • Soules.
  • Bodies.
  • Friends.
  • Names.
  • Estates.

1. Our Souls, in respect of our Vnderstandings, Me­mories, Consciences, Affections; that we were not made idiots or blockish;Deut. 28, 28. we might have been possessed with stupidity, and forgetfulnesse; with madnesse and astonishment of heart: with wilde and raving passions. And therefore we have reason to be sensible of that great favour we enjoy, in respect of the clearness of our understandings, strength of our memories, peace in our cōsciences, moderatnes in our affections, &c.

2. Our Bodies, in regard of Health, Senses, Limbs; That he doth not send upon us sore sicknesses, Deut. 28.50. Job 33.19 20. and of a long continuance, and make us Prisoners to the bed of languishing. That he does not chasten us with strong, pain upon our beds, so that our life should abhor bread, and our soul dainty meat. That we are not tormented with grievous aches, with loathsome diseases, and [Page 220] sores, that we have the free use of our senses; not blinde, or deaf, or dumb, &c. that we are sound and perfect in our limbs, not maimed or deformed, as many others are, whereby their condition is made very uncomfortable, in comparison to ours.

3. Our Friends, that God hath inclined the hearts of others to shew us any favour; that we do enjoy the acquaintance of such, in whose society and con­verse we may relieve and refresh our selves, amidst the ma [...]y perplexities that we shall meet with. 'Tis the case of many others, to be left in a forlorn, and friendlesse condition, with Ishmael to have every mans hand against them; and therefore we have great reason to blesse God for raising us up friends and benefactors, and continuing them to us.

4. Our Names, that he hath bestowed upon us any reputation in the hearts, and reports of others, and not given us over to such scandalous sins, as would have made us a proverb and reproach; that we are not Cains to kill our Brethren; nor Amnons, to commit incest; nor Absaloms, to attempt the ruine of our Parents; nor Judases to murder our selves. The seeds and principles of all these abominations being in our natures, it must needs be acknowledged for a great mercy to be withheld from them. That he hath in any measure restrained the malicious tongues of others from aspersing of us

5. Our Estates; and therein for plenty, liberty, quietnesse, suitablenesse. God might have placed us in some needy, slavish▪ unquiet condition; in some calling disproportionable to our inclinations, and gifts; and therefore we have reason to acknowledge his mercy, in bestowing upon us competency of [Page 221] means, freedom, and seemlines of condition, wherin we are not forced to flatter, or borrow fitnes of cal­ling, &c. That we have opportunity to serve the Lord our God, with joyfulnesse and with gladnesse of heart in the abundance of all things;Deut. 28.48. Whereas 'tis the case of many others that they are forced to serve their ene­mies in hunger, & in thirst, & in nakednes, and in want of all things. There may be some poor Christians perhaps at this time under cruel restraint, and impri­sonment; others it may be wallowing in their blood, by reason of bitter and fierce persecutions for their bearing witnesse unto the truth of Jesus. Eph. 4.21. Heb. 11.37, 38. Other pre­cious Saints, of whom the world is not worthy, may be now under great necessities, wandering up and down, in deserts, and mountains, being destitute, afflicted tor­mented; having not a place whereon to rest their heads. Whereas 'tis our happinesse, that we are sup­plied with all things convenient for us; having bread to eate, and clothes to put on, Gen. 1.20. and many other parti­cular favours, which are renewed to us every mo­ment; the very continuance, and commonnesse of which doth take away their observation.

And as we are thus to remember private mercies, so likewise should we take notice of those temporal favours, which concern the publike, the peace, plen­ty, strength, safety of the Nation wherein we live. For that every one may sit under his own vine and fig-tree, there being none to make us afraid. Mich. 4.4. 2 Chron. 29.8. That he hath not delivered us to trouble and astonishment, and to his­sing. Jer. 7.20. That whereas his anger and his fury hath been poured out upon other places, upon man and upon beast; upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; yet the overflowing scourge hath not come near [Page 222] us. He might make us a reproach, and a taunt, and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about us: Isa. 28.15. Executing upon us judgment in anger, Ez. 5.15. and in fury, & in furious rebukes. He might infatuate our Governours, and mingle a perverse spirit in the midst of them. Is. 19.13.14 This is the condition of other places, and we have reason to praise him if it be not so with us.

In a more especial manner we ought to take no­tice of our freedom or deliverance from those sore judgements, Ez. 14.21. the sword, the famine, and the pestilence.

1. For our Peace, for delivering us from the hurtful sword, Psal. 144.10, 14. Deut. 32.42. that there is no breaking in, nor going out, nor any complaining in our street; whereas he might whet his glittering sword, and make his hand take hold of judge­ment, till his arrows he drunk with blood, and his sword to devoure flesh: Ps. 147.14. Yet he hath made peace in our borders; so that violence is not heard in our land, nor wasting or dest [...]uction within our borders. Isa. 60.18. Judg. 5.6, 7 Whereas other coun­treys are made desolate, so that their high wayes are untrodden and the travellers walk through by-ways, & the inhabitants of the villages cease: Yet he hath been pleased to make us like the garden of Eden, Eze. 36.35 our Cities being fenced and inhabited; and hath not taken away our peace from us, Jer. 16.5. his loving kindnesse and mercies.

2. For our Plenty, that he hath (according to his promise) called for the corne and wine, Ez. 36.29 and increased it, and layed no famine upon us, multiplying the fruit of the trees, and the increase of the field, that we do not receive the reproach of the famine amongst the heathen. For crowning the year with goodnesse, Ps. 65.11. and making his paths to drop fatnesse.

Jos. 2.23. Jer. 15.241. For bestowing upon us the former and the later raine moderately, and in his season; that he does not [Page 223] persecute us with his tempests, and make us afraid with his stormes;Psal. 83.15 nor sweep us away with a generall de­luge, as he did the old world.

2. For visiting the earth, and watering it, Psal. 65.9. and greatly enriching it with the river of God, providing for the corn, setling the furrows thereof, and making it soft with showers, and blessing the springing thereof; so that the pastures are cloathed with flocks, and the vallies are covered over with corn; for that he hath sent us a plen­tiful rain, whereby he hath confirmed, Psal. 68.9. and refreshed his inheritance when it was weary.

3. For healthful seasons; that he hath delivered us from the noysome Pestilence, that walketh in darkness; and from the destruction that walketh at noon-day, Psal. 91.3. so that no evil doth befall us, Vers. 10. nor any plague come nigh our dwellings, but hath satisfied us with long life, and shew­ed us his salvation; Vers. 16. Lev. 18.25. That he hath not made the Land to spue out her inhabitants.

CHAP. XXVIII. Of the kindes of spiritual mercies to be enumerated.

THese Temporal favours which we ought thus to enumerate, though they are very excellent in themselves, and far beyond our deserts, yet are common with us, to Hypocrites, and such as shall hereafter be damned, and therefore 'tis requisite that we should after a more especial manner, magnifie his glorious name for those spiritual mercies that con­cern our eternity. Chiefly for the Lord Jesus Christ, the author, and finisher of our faith, the fountain of all the other mercies which we enjoy. For his Birth, Incarnation, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection, [Page 224] Ascension, Intercession, with all those unspeakable benefits that we receive by them; for blessing us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Eph. 1.3.More particularly for those remarkable effects of his love and merits in our

1. Election: For that God hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, Eph. 1.5. accordng to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, whereby he hath made us accepted in the beloved;2 Thes. 2.13 and hath from the beginning chosen us to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and be­liefe of the truth. He might have designed us for ves­sels of wrath, as he did the fallen Angels, and then we had been eternally undone, without all possible remedy. There was nothing to move him in us, when we lay altogether in the general heap of mankind. It was his own free grace and bounty, that made him to take delight in us, to chuse us out from the rest, and to sever us from those many thousands in the world, who shall perish everlastingly.

2. Redemption: For that incomprehensible mira­cle of his wisdome and mercy, in the contrivance of our redemption by the death of Christ. For he hath redeemed us by the precious blood of his dear Son, Eph. 1.7. Colos. 1.13, 14. 1 Tim. 2.6 2 Thes. 2.14. 2 Tim. 1.9. who is the Image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, who gave himself a ransome for all.

3. Vocation: That he hath called us by the Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ: And that with an holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

4. Justification: For pardoning our sins, the least of which would have been enough to have undone [Page 225] us to all eternity.Col. 2.13, 14. For that he hath forgiven our tres­passes, blotting out the hand-writing of Ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the crosse. Eph. 1.7, 8 For the remission of our sins, through the blood of Christ, according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdome and prudence.

5. Sanctification: For renuing upon our souls in any measure the blessed Image of the Lord Jesus Christ, the least glimpse whereof is infinitely more worth then the whole world: For that he hath changed our vile natures, and made us partakers of the divine nature; Of strangers and forreigners, Eph. 2.19. Col. 1.12, 13. 2 Pet. 1.3. raising us up to be fellow-Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God: Making us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light; delivering us from the power of darknesse, and translating us into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

And because our Sanctification is considerable, both according to the

  • Parts
  • Means

of it, therefore it may be further amplified from each of these.

1. For the Parts of it, both in respect of our Judge­ments, Affections, Conversations.

1. For our Judgements, that he hath not given us over to blindnesse of minde, a reprobate sense, to wilde and desperate errors, by which we see so ma­ny others deluded, but hath in some measure reveal­ed unto us those mysteries of godliness, which are hid from many wise and great ones of the world; and hath, according to his divine power, given us all things pertaining to life and godlinesse, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and vertue,

[Page 226]2. For our Affections: That he hath not given us over to hardnesse of heart, slightnesse of spirit, that he hath in any measure weaned our souls from look­ing after solid contentment in the creatures, and raised them up to any love of holiness, any desire of a neerer communion with himself.

3. For our Conversations: That he hath in any mea­sure enabled us to do him service, to renounce the hid­den things of dishonesty; to walk in some degree, as be­comes children of light;2 Cor. 4.2. Having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darknesse; not allowing our selves in any course,Eph. 5.11. which we know to be unlawful.

The Means of our Sanctification, are principally these five.

1. His Spirit, to convince, direct, assist, comfort us, to prevēt, & follow us with his grace▪ to support us in afflictions, to strengthen us in tēptations, to quicken us to duty, & to seal us up unto the day of redēption.

2. His Word, so powerful in discerning the thoughts, & intents of the heart, Heb. 4.12. able to make us wise unto sal­vation being profitable for doctrine, 2 Tim. 3.16 for reproof, for cor­rection, for instruction in righteousnesse, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good work; for his holy and righteous Law; for the many gracious invitations, and promises in his Gospel.

3. The Sacraments; That he hath not left us as strangers, without the Covenāt of promise, but hath ordained visible signes and seals, to represent that to our senses, wch we ought to apprehend by our faith.

4. The Sabbaths and publike Ordinances, that we have liberty to behold the face of God in his sanctu­ary, and to enquire in his Temple that amidst some outward troubles,Isai 3 [...].20. the bread of adversity, and the water [Page 227] of affliction, yet our Teachers are not removed into cor­ners, but our eyes may see them. 1 Sam. 3.1. That vision does not fail in our days, that we are not punished with a famine of the Word;Am. 8.11. that the Sun does not go down upon our Prophets. Mich. 3.6.

5. The Communion of Saints: for the benefit that we enjoy by their examples, counsels, experience. For all those who have been instruments of our good by their Prayers, Writings, Preaching, &c.

6. For Hopes of Glory, 2 Pet. 1.4. for giving unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature. Having according to his abundant mercy begotten us again unto a lively hope of an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, 1 Pet. 1.3, 4 and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. For lifting up the light of his countenance upon us, which is better then life it self; for any comfortable eviden­ces of our own salvation.

CHAP. XXIX. Of Occasional thanksgiving, either for inward, or outward mercies.

BEsides these several heads of thanksgiving, by which we should be directed in our ordinary, and usual course, there are others likewise not to be ne­glected, which are extraordinary and occasional, ac­cording as our particular wants & exigences may be.

In the Generall we are to be thankful for the successe of our prayers, whenever God doth vouch­safe to hear and grant our requests, either in the behalf of our selves, or others; that instead of [Page 228] rejecting of our services, and casting them back as dung into our faces (which we might justly expect) He does vouchsafe to accept of them, and to return them with a blessing; more particularly upon any special

  • Preservation, either of the
    • Soul.
    • Body.
  • Recovery, either of the
    • Soul.
    • Body.
  • Deliverance, either of the
    • Soul.
    • Body.

1. In case of inward fears, desertions, temptations. For that in the multitude of our sorrows his comforts have refreshed our soul [...]. Ps. 94.19. For that he hath restored unto us the joy of his salvation, Ps. 51.12. & established us with his free spirit: Ps. 18.16. Delivering us from those deep waters, that were ready to overwhelm our souls; for bringing us out of an horrible pit, Ps. 40.2. out of the miery clay, and setting our feet upon a rock; freeing us from darknes and the sha­dow of death, Ps. 107.14. and breaking our bonds in sunder: for keeping us in the houre of temptation.

Rev. 3.10.2. In the case of outward exigences and troubles for delivering us in journeyes, that he hath been with us, and kept us in our places whither we did go, and brought us again in safety;Gen. 28.15 whereas many others have been overtaken with desperate mischiefs. For defending us in common dangers, oppressions; for hedging us about with his favour and protection, that he hath not called us away in the midst of our days, but hath hol­den our soul in life, Ps. 102.24. Ps. 66.9. Deut. 33.27. 1 Sam. 25.29. Ps. 27.5. & not suffered our feet to slip; for be­ing our refuge in distresse, and putting his everlasting armes under us; for binding up our souls in the bundle of life, for hiding us in the time of trouble in his pavilion, in the secret of his Tabernacle, under the shadow of his wings; for being a strength to the poor, & to the needy in their distress, Isa. 25.4. a refuge from the storm a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is a storm against [Page 229] the wall; for breaking the bands of the yoke, and the rod of the oppressors, Ez. 34.27. and delivering us out of the hands of them that served themselves of us; for the comfort that we have had in all our tribulations. 2 Cor. 1.4.

For delivering us from sore paines, and desperate sicknesses of body, when we had reason to think and say, that we should go down to the gates of the grave, and be deprived of the residue of our years, Isa. 38.10, 11. & not see the Lord in the land of the living, nor see man any more, with the inhabitants of the world; but our age is removed from us as a shepherds tent, and we shall be cut off with pining sicknes, from day even to night will he make an end of us: yet then did he, in love to our souls, Verse. 17. Verse 20. deliver us from the pit of corruption; therfore will we sing songs unto him all the dayes of our life.

I will extoll thee, O Lord, for thou hast lifted me up, Ps. 30.1, 3. thou hast brought up my soul from the grave, and hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Ver. 11, 12 Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing, thou hast put off my sackcloth, & girded me with gladnes. To the end that my glory may sing praise unto thee, and not be silent, O Lord, my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

I love the Lord, Ps. 116.1, 2. Verse 8. because he hath heard my voice and my supplications, because he hath inclined his eare unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live; He hath delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. Ver. 12, 13 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I will take the Cup of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, Verse 17.18, 19. I will pay my vowes unto the Lord, now in the presence of all his people, in the court of the Lords house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.

[Page 230] Ps. 118.5. I called upon the Lord in distresse, the Lord answered me, & set me in a large place. He hath chastned me sore, but he hath not given me over to death. Verse 18. Verse 21. I will praise thee, for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

Ps. 103.2. Verse 4. Blesse the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his be­nefits, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving kindnesse and mercy.

CHAP. XXX. Of the Amplification of mercies. The Conclusion.

BEsides the Enumeration of mercies, we may likewise finde abundance of matter for the Amplification, or heightning of them; which may be either in

  • General.
  • Particular.

1. In the general, by their

  • Multitude.
  • Greatnesse.
  • Continuance.

1. From their multitude; Many O Lord, my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward, Ps. 40.5. they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee. If I would declare, and speak of them, they are more then can be numbred. How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them! Ps. 139.17, 18. If I should count them, they are more in num­ber then the sand.

2. From the greatnesse of those mercies we re­ceive, which may appear by consideration of the

  • Giver.
  • Receiver.

1. The Giver, the great God, who is of infinite, in­comprehensible power. The heavens are full of the [Page 231] Majesty of his glory, of absolute perfection, and al­sufficiency in himself, and cannot expect any additi­on from mans love, or gratitude. My goodnes extend­eth not unto thee. Now the greatnesse of the person,Psal. 16.2 doth adde a value to the favour; 'tis counted an ho­nour but to kisse a Kings hand.

2. The Receiver: So vile, and despicable in compa­rison of him, as creatures; So loathsom and abomina­ble before him, as sinners: When we were nothing, Rom. 9.11 he took care of us, & since we have been worse then no­thing, Enemies, Rom. 5.10 he hath been pleased to pay a price for our reconciliation to him:Luke 6.35 Rom. 10.20. He is kinde to the un­thankful and to the evil; to those that do neither seek nor ask after him; and at the best [...] return nothing to him again, but some poor words or thoughts, which bear no commensuration to those real infinite mercies which we receive from him:Job 22.2, 3 Can a man be profitable unto God? Is it any benefit to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? Or is it gain to him, th [...]t thou makest thy ways perfect? Lord, what is man, Ps. 8.4. Gen. 32.10 that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him? Behold, I am lesse then the least of thy mercies. Now the vileness & unworthines of the receiver, may be ano­ther argument to set forth the greatness of the gift.

3. From their Continuance: Ps. 103.17 The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him: He had thoughts of love to us, before ever the world was made, and his mercy endureth for ever, till time shall be no more. His favour is renued to us eve [...]y moment; and that notwithstanding our continual provocations against him.

From these and the like considerations, we should labour to affect our souls with wonder, and thanks, [Page 232] to quicken and raise up our hearts in offering up un­to God the sacrifice of praise, that we may come be­fore his throne with Halelujahs, loud voices of joy and thankfulnesse.

2. The Particular amplification of mercies from their Circumstances, Degrees, Contraries, hath been touched upon already, in the Enumeration of their several kindes and acts of favour, to which the argu­ments of this kinde may be properly annexed.

The conclusion should consist of some brief affe­ctionate Doxologies, which may both expresse and excite our love and confidence, such are those Scrip­ture-expressions.

My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousnesse, & sal­vation all the day long, Ps. 71.15. for I know no end thereof.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only doth wondrous things, Psal. 72.18 and blessed be his glorious name for e­ver, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory: A­men, Amen.

Ps. 103.2 While I live, will I praise the Lord, I will sing praises to my God whilest I have any being.

Ps. 145.1, 2 I will extoll thee, O God, my King and I will blesse thy name for ever and ever: Every day will I blesse thee, and praise thy name for ever and ever.

Ephes. 3.20, 21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundant­ly, above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the Church of Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, and salva­tion, Rev. 5.13. Ch. 7.12 Ch. 19.1 and thanksgiving be unto the Lord our God, for e­ver and ever.

FINIS.

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