OR, A DISCOURSE, WHEREIN The Nature of Prayer is Opened, the Kinds of Prayer are Handled, and the Right Manner of Praying Disco­ver'd: Several Cases about this Duty are Resolved, From

EPH. 6. 18.
Praying Alwayes with all Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, and Watching thereunto with all Perseverance, and Suppli­cation for All Saints.

Unto which is Added, A Direction for the Attaining the Gift of Prayer, That Family-Duty may not be Omitted, nor Secret Duty discouraged, through In­ability of Utterance and Expression.

BY Nathanael Vincent M. A. Minister of the Gospel.

London, Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside near Mercers Chappel, and at the Bible on Lon­don-Bridge near the Gate, 1674.

To the Truly HONOURABLE LADY, Hester, LADY BLOƲNT, Mercy, and Grace, and Peace, be Multiplyed.

Much Honoured Madam,

WHen I had the happi­ness to belong unto your Noble Family; the Favours I recei­ved were Weighty ones, and have left too deep an impression upon me ever to be [Page] worn off. I never lived more free from Care & Trouble, then when I lived with your Ladyship. Your Civility, your Bounty, your being so much concerned when I went away, I must Remember, while I have Memory.

'Tis very pleasing to me to re­flect upon the Opportunities I had when I lived at Tittenhanger, your Stately House; not only of studying, but of performing those Secret duties of Prayer and Me­ditation; wherein Communion with God is so exceeding sweet, that all sensual delights and plea­sures are contemptible in compa­rison. At that time the World was presented to me in the Gayest dress: Your House Large, and bravely Furnished; your Gar­dens [Page] Delighful; your Park and Walks hardly to be Matched; your Table abundantly & sump­tuously Furnished. Yet I must needs tell You, That God was ten Thousand times more to me than all this. When I sought him with my whole Heart, and found him; when I begg'd his Grace, and had the Grace I begg'd for. This, This was it, which made my life happy; This made me Cheerful indeed, onely I was sorry to see others take up, and be so much trans­ported with lower Pleasures.

Believe me Madam, nay, be­lieve the Lord himself, Religion and Joy are not inconsistent. The wayes of Wisdom, are wayes of Pleasantness; and all the paths thereof, are paths of Peace. [Page] Though David had a Crown of pure Gold on his Head, though he was Lord of such a Country which was then the glory of all Lands, yet we find that God was his Joy; and that was his Lan­guage; Whom have I Heaven but Thee, and there is none on Earth that I desire besides Thee. Where­as Solomon his son, indulging his Fl [...]sh, and too much forgetting God, did but hereby contribute to his own disquiet. He made him great Works, he built Houses, and planted Vineyards; he made Gar­dens and Orchards, and planted Trees in them of all sorts of Fruit; he made Pools of Water, that the Trees might be the more Flourish­ing. He had Servants & Maidens, Possessions of great and small Cat­tel, [Page] above all that were before him in Jerusalem. He gathered Silver and Gold, and the peculiar Trea­sure of Kings, and of the Provin­ces. He had Men-singers, and Wo­men-singers▪ and the Delights of the Sons of Men; and Musical Instru­ments of all sorts. Nay, whatsoever his Eyes desired, he kept not from them; neither did he withold from his Heart, any Joy. How large an Inventory is here of what is gra­tifying to the Senses? Yet in the midst of all, he cryes out, Behold, all is Vanity and Vexation of Spi­rit, and there is no Profit under the Sun, Eccles. 2. 4, 11.

Madam, I earnestly desire your Eternal welfare; and also your present Joy: And truly, there must be Godliness not in the [Page] Form only, but in the Power also; or else you will be a Stranger to the pleasure of Christianity. God is the Souls centre. Rest is else­where in vain expected. The more you acquaint your self with Him, the more perfect your peace will be; & thereby good will come unto you.

These ensuing Sermons con­cerning Prayer, I hope, through the blessing of God, may be a means to make Devotion much more servent. And 'tis not in vain to seek Him that is so wil­ling to be sound, and whose Suf­ficiency is such, that he can sa­tisfie your desires when they are most Enlarged.

That the Lord of Heaven would bless You, and all the Branches of your Illust [...]ious Fa­mily, [Page] and make all eminent for Piety and Holiness, which will be your truest Honour, and greatest Dignity, is the Prayer of

Your Ladiships most humble, and most obliged Servant, Nathanael Vincent.

To the Readers, especially them that were Hearers of these Following Sermons.

Beloved Brethren,

BEing about to Read a Book concerning Prayer; how con­venient is it you should be­gin with Prayer, that you may read with profit? Lift up therefore your hearts unto God, and desire Grace to do what is made known to be your duty.

Gods Precepts are for your pro­fit; He is not capable of being ad­vantaged, for he is infinitely and eternally self-sufficient; but you your selves will be benefited by your Obedience. He requires you to come [Page] to the throne of Grace, that he may impart his Grace and Mercy unto you that so much stand in need of it. 'Tis the property of Good to be com­municative of it self: And the Lord who is the Summum Bonum, high­est and chiefest Good, does give most of all liberally.

Prayer is an Ordinance that He has appointed; and 'tis a great priviledge we are allowed, to pour out our Souls before him; His Hand is not shortned, His Ear is not heavy; we shall not be strait­ned in Him; if we are not strait­ned in our own Bowels.

You that never have pray'd with any seriousness of Spirit, should cry now with the greater fervency. You have not one Sin pardoned, not one Corruption mortified, not [Page] one saving Grace wrought in your Hearts; you have not the least part of your main work don; no provision at all made for Eternity and another World. It concerns you therefore to begg as for your Lives, that God would recon [...]cile you to himself in Christ, and make you new Creatures, and become a Father and a Portion to you.

Now is the accepted time; Now the Father of Mercies is upon the mercy Seat. Now the Lord Jesus is willing to be your Advocate, and to intercede for you. Now the spirit of Grace is ready to help our in­firmities; Now forgiveness of sin and life and Immortality are freely offer'd, nay you are intreated to accept them. But it will not be thus alwayes, shortly, God will be [Page] inexorable; the Advocate will be a judg to condemn, and the spirit will withdraw for ever, and the day of grace will be ended. Oh therefore pray now, for then 'twill be to late to pray.

And for you that make consci­ence of this duty, wrestle still with greater Vigour. Those are the strongest Christians that are migh­tiest in praier. He that prayes well, will do all wel besides; for by prayer strength is obtained for the performance of every Duty.

I have added a short treatise concerning the gift of prayer, be­because many are weak and unex­ercised in this Duty. and I have furnished them with Scripture ex­pressions which are without con­troversy, the best of all; and by [Page] practise and diligence their ability may be increased.

These Sermons were beggd from Heaven, I follow them with pray­er, that from thence they may be ef­fectual, not only to those that have desired the publishing of them, but unto all others, unto whose hands the providence of God shall bring them.

Nathanael Vincent.

Pray before you Read; Correct these ERRATAES.

PAge. 2. lin. 31. for dart, r. darts, p. 9. l. 18 for vow. r. voice. l. 19. blot out, and those things onely must be directed unto God alone. p. 12. l. 22. for God ever r. Gods ear. p. 18. l. 6. for in our directory r. is our di­rectory l. 9. for [...] p. 21. l. 4. blot out and. p. 26. l. 11 for price r. prize p. 33. l. 3. for which r. that p. 37. l. 14. for, or the rock r. for the rock p. 62. l. 29. for innumeration, r. ennumeration p. 69. l. 19. for thee r. this. p. 72. l. 25. for carnal desires r. carnal designs p. 73. l. 10. for veins r. reins p. 77. l ult. for Spirti r. Spirit, p. 97. l 19. for hirado r. hirudo p. 100. l. 9. for emfulness r. Sinfulness p. 122 l. 10. for is r. are p. 110. l. 7. for exalted r. excelled p. 146 for night. r. nigh p. 167. l. 13. for court r. coasts.

Eph. 6. 18.‘Praying always with all Prayer and Supplication in the Spirit, and Watching thereunto with all perseve­rance and supplication for all Saints.’

THe Apostle looking upon the Ephesians as militant Saints and fighting not against Flesh and Blood, but a­gainst the Principalities and Powers of Darkness; he instructs them towards the latter end of this Chap­ter, how they might become more than Conquerors. To this end he tells them first of all, where their strength lay; they must be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, v. 10. and then gives them a com­pleat Armour, which being put on, and the several pieces of it skilfully used, the wiles of Satan will be frustrated, and themselves enabled to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.

[Page 2]1. They must be girded about with the girdle of Truth. By Errour Satan has great advan­tage; how many, like Children, are tossed too and fro by every wind of Doctrin? but a judgment rightly informed and well settled, that buys the Truth, and will by no means sell it, has a great influence unto a Christians stedfastness and growth in Grace.

2. They must have on the Breast-plate of Righteousness; they must be Righteous in heart, Righteous in sincerity. A Conscience purged from dead works, is a better defence than a wall of Brass. Satan cannot so easily disquiet them that are sincere, neither is he able to corrupt them; their holiness being true, sin is hated, the allurements unto sin are contemned, and God is followed hard after.

3. Their Feet must be shod with the prepara­tion of the Gospel of Peace. They must be encouraged by that Peace which the Gospel publishes, to run the way of Gods Com­mandments; and that though those ways are never so difficult and unpleasant to flesh and blood, they must hold fast the profession of their Faith, and depart from Evil, and go in the path that is called holy; though by thus doing, they never so much expose, and make themselves a prey.

4. Above all, they must take the Shield of Faith, whereby they may quench the fiery dart of the Wicked. Satans Temptations are [Page 3] Darts; he does design our wounding, our pain, our death, in shooting of them: And these Darts may well be called fiery, they are shot from Hell, and an Hell in the Conscience they make, if they are not quenched; but Faith is a shield to repel and beat them back: Faith makes application of the Righteous­ness and strength of Christ, and by this means, not only former wounds are asswa­ged and healed, but the soul is more secured for the future.

5. The Helmet of Salvation must cover their heads in this day of Battel with evil An­gels. A lively hope of salvation is very en­couraging both unto patient continuance in well-doing, and also unto suffering for the sake of Righteousness.

6. The Apostle tells them that the Sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, must be made use of. If this word be understood, believed, thought on, loved, stood in awe of, if it thus abide in us, we shall be strong, and overcome the evil one.

These are the pieces of the Armour of God. But in this Combate with the Devil, is there not need of Auxilary forces? cer­tainly, there is a necessity of succour from Heaven. The Captain therefore of our Sal­vation, must be looked unto, and divine aide continually implored and begged for. By prayer we have power with God, and power against our spiritual Enemies. No wonder [Page 4] that the Apostle enjoyns Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, &c.

The Text may be divided into these parts:

1. Here is a Duty commanded, in the per­formance of which lies safety; and that is, Praying.

2. The extent of this Duty, it must be al­ways, and it must be with all Prayer.

3. The due qualifications of this Duty, which are these following.

1. It must be in the Spirit.

2. It must be with Watching.

3. It must be with all perseverance.

4. It must be with a publick spirit, we must pray for all Saints, as well as for our selves, since they are engaged in the same War.

That these words may be the better un­derstood, I shall answer these several questions.

1. Is there any difference between Prayer and Supplication? I answer, The word [...], which is translated Prayer, does in­timate we have to do with God in Prayer; to him we are to direct our Petitions as an Hearer, as an Helper. The word [...], which is translated Supplication, does inti­mate that there must be an acknowledg­ment of our own indigency and wants, and a looking to the Alsufficient Lord for sup­ply.

[Page 5]2. Another question is this: What is meant by Praying always? I answer, the Greek phrase which the Holy Ghost useth, is, [...], which signifies To pray every op­portunity that is offered. This Text does give no encouragement unto the fond Sect of the Euchites, who thought that prayer was to be their whole business: No, no, there are other Duties which God calls for, and which this of Prayer must not justle out. But all those opportunities which are afforded for Prayer, must be heedfully observed, joy­fully laid hold on, and diligently improved. This is to pray always: Its said of Mephibo­sheth, that he did eat always, or continually at the Kings Table, 2 Sam. [...]. 13. What shall we from hence infer, that he spent day and night in nothing but eating? no such matter; but when the season, or meal-time came, he was present. So to pray always, is to pray whenever prayer is seasonable.

3. A third question is, What is meant by all Prayer? Bullinger refers this to the inten­sion of the mind; saying, that in this Duty, there must be all possible devotion, and in­tentness, and servency of heart. But Mus­culus understands Prayer of every sort; and indeed all kinds of Prayer which God has ap­pointed, are needfull, and the Lord is ready by the Communications of his Grace, to en­courage to the practice of this Duty in the full extent and latitude of it.

[Page 6]4. Anotherquestion is this; What are we to understand by prayer in the spirit? Some refer this clause to the things asked, as if we should slight all worldly enjoyments, and ask only for those blessings that are spiritual. 'Tis confessed that spiritual blessings are to be most prized, and to be begged with the greatest importunity; but yet temporal mercies may also with submission be desired. Daily Bread we are allowed to ask for; and that Bread is sweetest, and most blest, that is the fruit of Prayer. Others observe, and rightly, that this passage, Praying [...] in the Spirit, may have relation both to the spirit of God, and the spirit of him that prays.

1. It may have relation unto the Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost makes intercession for Believers, according to the will of God; he helps their infirmities, who of themselves know not what to pray for as they ought, Rom. 8. 26, 27.

2. It may have relation unto the spirit of him that prays. Prayer must be the off-spring of the heart, or else 'twill In Religione non sit, quod cor non facit. not be of any value or effi­cacy. The spirit of a man must understand what, and the worth of what is prayed for, and the affections must be stirred in or­der to the attainment of it.

5. A fifth question is, what are we to un­derstand [Page 7] by watching unto prayer with all per­severance? We must watch over our hearts, and watch for God, and this must be with continuance; unless we continue to watch and pray, we may quickly enter and fall into temptation. And since all militant Saints are in danger as well as we, and stand in so near a relation to Christ and to us, we should be much concerned for them, so as to de­sire their safety and well-fare as our own.

There are six Doctrins which these words afford us.

1. A Christians security lyes very much in praying always.

2. All prayer is of concernment to be used.

3. Prayer, when rightly performed, is sup­plication in the spirit.

4. In prayer, Watching is a necessary ingre­dient.

5. We must persevere, if we would speed in prayer.

6. Our spirits must be so publick, as to sup­plicate for all the Saints as well as for o [...]r selves.

D. 1. I begin with the first of these Do­ctrines, That a Christians security lies very much in praying always. Although he be Armed from head to foot, with the Armour of God; which if any in the world, is Ar­mour of Proof, yet he is not safe without prayer. Saints in Scripture, have lookt up­on the Throne of Grace as their Asylum and Sanctuary, and have come hither for refuge and strength in their troubles and temptati­ons. David, when he perceived the deceit and hatred of his Adversaries, who fought a­gainst him without cause, says, 'twas his course, and truly 'twas a wise one, to give himself to prayer, Psal. 109. 4. When his soul was among Lyons, and he dwelt among those that were set on fire, he then crys unto God most high, unto God that performed all things for him, Psal. 57. 2. When the A­postle Paul was buffeted by the Messenger of Satan, he besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from him, and had this answer, my grace is sufficient for thee, 2 Cor. 12. 7, 8, 9. Nay, the very Captain of our Salvati­on, Christ himself, not only used the word of God in temptation, and overcome the Devil by Scripture-weapons, but also he was wonderfully servent in prayer, Heb. 5. 7. In the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.

I shall speak unto this Doctrin in this fol­lowing order. First, give you a definition of prayer, that you may know what 'tis. Se­condly, Inform you what it is to pray always. Thirdly, Shew you why a Christians security lies in prayer. Fourthly, Give you some rea­sons why he should be always praying. Fifthly, Answer some Objections that are made against this Duty. Lastly, Make Application.

In the first place I am to give you a de­finition of prayer, that you may understand the nature of it. Damascen. l. 3. de. orth. Fid. c. 24. give this description, [...]. Prayer is an assention of the mind unto God, and asking those things which are convenient from him. The mind must ascend as well as the vo [...] and both must be directed unto God alone; and those things only must be directed unto God a­lone; and those things only must be desired which the wise and gracious God sees Oratio est actus rationis practicae voluntatis deside­rium explicantis, & ab a▪ liis aliquid postulantis, A­quin. in. 2. 2. qu. 83. art. 1. convenient. Aqui­nus defines prayer, an act of the practical un­derstanding, explain­ing the desire of the will, and requesting something from another, which being applied unto God, amounts to thus much, that both the mind and will do act [Page 10] in prayer, the mind makes known what the will desires, Psal. 38. 9. Lord, all my desire is before thoe, and my groaning is not hid from thee; and then likewise, there is an earnest craving to have this desire satisfied, Psal. 90. 14. Oh satisfie us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoyce and be glad all our days.

But a more full definition of prayer is this. Prayer is a Duty performed unto God by sensible and believing Souls, in which they ask for things according to his will, in the name of Christ, with thanksgiving for what already has been re­ceived. This definition I shall take in pieces, and explain the parts of it.

1. Prayer is a Duty; 'tis part of that ho­mage and worship which we owe to God; this is evident by the light of nature, the Heathen Marriners cryed unto the Lord for preservation in a Storm, Jon. 1. but 'tis more evident by Scripture light, commands to pray, are frequent. And he that does restrain prayer, casts off the fear of God, and says unto the Almighty, Depart from me, Job. 21. 14, 15. Prayer is a Duty, for we are obliged to it by a precept; and that precept is for our profit: we need help from Heaven, and our wants that are of greatest concernment to be supplied, can be supplyed by none, but by him that is Alsufficient; and when we cry to him, we give him glory, for it argues we believe his power, and mercy, which prove him able, and ready to succour and relieve us.

[Page 11]2. Prayer is to be performed unto God, and to him only, Mat. 4. 10. Thou shalt wor­ship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve: Unto Thee my God, and my King, will I pray, says David, Psal. 5. 2. and v. 3. I will direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up. Gods Hand is not shortned, that it can­not save, neither is his Ear heavy, that it cannot hear. He is able to do, not onely to the uttermost of our desires, but exceeding a­bundantly, above all that we can either ask, or think, Eph. 3. 20. The Papists dangerously corrupt holy worship by their sinful prayers to Angels and Saints, and especially to the Virgin Mary. Cardinal Bonaventure has blotted out the name of Lord in the Book of the Psalms, and put in the name of Lady, and teacheth Christians to ask the same things of the Virgin Mary, which David asked for at the hands of God himself. Under the old Testament we find that Believers directed their supplications to God himself, and found him ready to hear and save; and under the Gospel, where the manifestation and com­munication of his Grace are more full and plenteous, is there need to go to any other? No, no, One God can supply our needs accor­ding to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus, Psal. 4. 19.

3. Those that pray, must be sensible: Ig­norance [Page 12] and unbelief, and hardness of heart, make the words of prayer a Mockery and A­bomination. They that pray, therefore must be sensible of their sins, of their needs, of their unworthiness, to have those needs sup­plyed; finally, they must be sensible that none can help them, but the God they are pray­ing to.

1. They must be sensible of their sins. I ac­knowledge my Iniquities says David, and my sin is ever before me, Psal. 51. 3. so Esa. 59. 12. For our Transgressions are multiplyed be­fore thee, and our sins testifie against us, for our transgressions are with us, and as for our Ini­quities we know them. Sin must be acknow­ledged with shame and sorrow, else 'twill se­parate between God and us, and prove a Cloud, through which our prayers will ne­ver pass. There must be such a sense of sin as implies an hatred and weariness of it; for if the heart out of love and liking of it, has a regard to sin, God ever will be deaf, and his mercies restrained, Psal. 66. 18. If I re­gard Iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer.

2. They that pray must be Sensible of their needs. All the posterity of Adam are needy, how rich and full soever they conceit them­selves. The first man being a publick person, had the whole stock in his own hand, and having lost it, has beggard his whole Progeny; we are all come shore of the glory of God, as [Page 13] descended from Adam; we are flesh, and in our Flesh dwelleth no good thing. This must be understood and believed poverty of Spirit Christ commends, and pronounces those that are thus Poor, Blessed, Mat. 5. 3. For they that perceive they are Wretched, and Misera­ble, and Empty, and Naked, will cry the louder to the Lord for gold try'd in the fire to enrich them; and white raiment that they may be cloathed. The poor man that is ready to starve for hunger, how does he cry out Bread, for the Lords sake Bread: for he sees his need of it. The condemn'd Malefactor how does he roar out for a Pardon, because he sees his life must quickly go without it. And were we but better acquainted with our wants, Oh what strong crys would come from us, that Sin might be forgiven, that Grace might be wrought, that Peace might be Spoken; that Spiritual Maladies might be healed! We all need these things as much and more then the hungry stand in need of Bread.

3. They that pray, must be sensible of their unworthiness to have their need supplyed. Paul crys out, he was less than the least of all Saints; and Jacob, that he was less than the least of mercies. Job says, Behold I am vile, and I abhor my self. We cannot lay claim to any thing as our due, but Wrath and the Curse. What-ever God bestows, it must be reckoned given not of debt, but of pure and free Grace, Rom. 4. Daniel in prayer dis­claims [Page 14] all merit in his Righteousness, ac­knowledges that Confusion of face belonged to him and to Israel, because of their Rebellions; and says expresly, we do not present our sup­plications to thee for our Righteousness, but for thy great mercies, Dan. 9. 18. We may beg indeed for the greatest mercles, and the grea­ter, the surer we are to speed; for God is most liberal of the greatest; but at the same time must be sensible that the least mercy is too good for such evil ones as we are.

4. They that pray, must be sensible that none can help them but the God they are praying to, Jer. 3. 23. Truly in vain is Salvation hoped for from the Hills and multitude of Mountains, (the firmest things on Earth, will fail and deceive our hopes) Truly in the Lord our God is the Salvation of Israel. There­fore David lays this charge upon his Soul to wait only upon God, and to have all its ex­pectation from him. God will be seriously sought unto, when we are under the power of this Conviction, that no other helper can be found.

4. It followes in the definition, that those that pray must be believing Souls. Faith is a Grace that is required in all their Duties, if this be wanting God will not be honoured by our Duties; nor our selves advantaged. Though we hear never so often, If the Word be not mixed with Faith, it will not profit us, Heb. 4. 2. and unless our Prayers are Prayers [Page 15] in Faith they will not be effectuall. Those that pray indeed, must be Believers.

1. They must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Heb. 11. 6. they must have right apprehen­sions of his gracious Nature, and of his good Will towards men. He is willing to be reconciled, and has himself without be­ing sought unto, contrived a way how Sinners Peace may be made: He sends Embassa­dours to them to treat about it: And intreats those that have offended him that they would be no longer enemies by wicked Works. He has declared, that fury is not in him to­wards those that are desirous of Mercy, and that he does delight in nothing more than in Compassion; and that if any do understand and seek him, he is more willing to be found, than they can be eager to find him. These things being rightly conceived, encourage Prayer; and Satan, by suggesting the clean contrary, staves off many from this Du­ty.

2. They that pray aright must by believing, be interested in Christ the Mediatour. Christ is the Way, and no man commeth unto the Father but by him, Joh. 14. 6. Christ must be by faith received as the Gospel offers him; that is, as a Prince and Saviour; and by this Faith being united to him, God looks upon believers as the Brethren of Christ, as the Spouse of Christ; nay, which is nearer, [Page 16] as Christs Members, and will deny them no­thing. Those that belong to Christ, God is a God to them, and a Father to them as he is to Christ himself, and loves them as he lo­ved Christ; Joh. 20. 17. Joh. 17. 23. surely he will then grant them their re­quests.

3. They that pray, must by Faith rely upon the Promises that God has made of Hearing. He has said, that they that ask shall receive, that they which seek shall find, and to them that knock it shall be opened. Mat. 7. 7. And for further encouragement, because the Spirit teaches what to ask, and how to ask; Christ assures us, that God will more readily give his Spirit to those that ask him, than earthly Pa­rents Bread unto their hungry Children, Luk. 11. 13. If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your Children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the holy Spi­rit unto them that ask him? How compre­hensive a promise is the promise of the Spi­rit! His work is to apply that Salvation which Christ has purchased: and is sent on purpose that he may endite such Petitions for the Saints as will find audience. How plainly has the Lord said, that his Eye is up­on the Righteous, and his Ear open to their Prayers, Psal. 34. 15. such words should be rested on when we engage in this Du­ty.

4. The more confidently they that pray con­clude [Page 17] the performance of Gods Promises, the more certainly they will be accomplished. Therefore we are commanded to ask in Faith, nothing wavering, Jam. 1. 6. and we are encouraged to draw near with a true heart▪ in full assurance of Faith, Heb. 10. 22. and hearken to our Lord himself, Mar. 11. 24. Therefore I say unto you, what ever things ye desire when ye Pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them. If we did but more firmly believe that God according to his Covenant for his Sons sake, has pardo­ned sin; and will heal our Souls of their distempers; and will give grace sufficient; and make us to grow and increase with the increases of God: verily his promises would appear to be real, and according to our Faith it would be to us. Thus you see how those that pray, must be Believers.

5. In Prayer things must be asked for accor­ding to the will of God. 1 Joh. 5. 14. And this is the con [...]idence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his Will, he heareth us. Christ tells his Disciples, Joh. 15. 7. If ye abide in me, and my Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be don to you: the Word abiding in us de­clares the will of God, and regulates our wills; and then what we will we shall have; Luther said, Fiat voluntas mea, Let my will be don, because my will O Lord is the same with thine.

I do not wonder that many of the Heathens reasoned against Prayer; they, being unacquainted with the mind of God, knew not what to ask for. But in the Scrip­ture God has declared his mind to us, and that in our Directory. (Dissertat. 30.) Maximus Tyrius tells us, that if you take away Phylosophy out of the world, you take away [...], that which alone knows how to pray. For says he, the Phi­losophers pray'd for Vertue, for tranquility of Conscience, for an unblamable Life. And a Death full of good Hope. But how much more truly may this be said concerning Christiani­ty? 'Tis the Christian Religion that informs many degrees beyound Philosophy, con­cerning the Will of God; and what he is willing to bestow on us.

There is a threefold Will of God which we are to regard in Prayer; his Will of Purpose, of Precept, and of Promise.

1. His Will of Purpose. Gods Purpose concerning his People, is Wise and Graci­ous, therefore 'tis called the good pleasure of his Goodness by the Apostle, 2 Thes. 1 [...]1. and 'tis but reason that this Purpose should be submitted to. We may ask sometimes for that which it may not be fit for us to receive. In Temporals espe­cially we are at a loss; and are not able to determine what measure of such kind of Mercys is most meet for us. When there­fore [Page 19] we beg for the continuance of Life, the prolonging or restoring of Health, the enjoyment of outward Comforts: All must be done with this Proviso, that the Will and Purpose of God may stand and be accomplished; for we may conclude, that when the Lord denies outward Mercys which we with sub­mission begg for, he intends kindness in that very denyal.

2. In Prayer, Gods Will of Precept is to be regarded; whatever he commands us to do, we may with boldness go to him for strength, which may enable us for the per­formance. The Lord calls and commands Israel to turn. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die O House of Israel. Ephraim turns this into Prayer, Jer. 31. 18▪ Turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God. God commanded Da­vid to keep his Precepts diligently. David takes hold of this, and cries out, Oh that my ways were directed that I might keep thy Statutes! Psal. 119. 4, 5. He requires that we should love and fear him; vve may with­out presumption beg that he would circumcise our Hearts to love Him, and put his fear into our hearts, that we may not depart from him.

3. In Prayer, Gods Will of Promise is also to be eyed. And though the Promises of the life that now is, belong to believers; yet especially they prize and plead the promises [Page 20] of spiritual, and everlasting Blessings. These we are to look upon as exceeding great and precious, and sure promises; and to beg, that by them we may be made partakers of the Di­vine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through Lust, 2 Pet. 1. 4. What can the Lord promise more than he does? Psal. 84. 11. The Lord God is a Sun and Shield, the Lord will give grace and glory, no good thing will he with-hold from them that walk uprightly. When we intreat him to make good his promises, we do in effect but intreat him to glorifie his power and love, his truth and faithfulness.

6. Prayer must be in the name of Christ; what name more prevalent? Job. 16. 23. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. When we make use of the Mediation of Christ, we go the way to speed. The Papists make use of the Mediation of Angels and Saints departed. But the Apostle tells us as of one God, so of one Mediator between God and Men, the man Christ Jesus. Saints in­deed, on Earth, may pray one for another, because God has commanded it, it maintains love among them, and the Strongest need the prayers of the Weaker. How earnestly does the Apostle Paul beseech the believing Ro­mans, that they would strive together with him in their prayers to God for him, Rom. 15. 30. [Page 21] But not a word of prayer directed to any de­parted Saint in Scripture. And when Jacob was in distress, and the Angels of God met him, and he said, this is God's Host; but he begg'd nothing of them, but wrestles with God himself, and as a Prince prevailed.

'Tis a silly Objection, that we use the me­diation of great men when we have to do with Princes; and therefore the Mediation of Angels and Saints is to be used when we have to do with God, for the Lord grants free access unto all, if they use Christ as a Mediatour; and therefore the Mediation of Angels and Saints is needless.

We must pray you see in the Name of Christ; and there are four things which we are to have an eye to.

1. The satisfaction of Christ; he has been wounded for, Transgression, he bare the Curse; so that we may beg with confidence to be de­livered from it: He has made Peace by the blood of his Cross, we have encouragement to beseech the Lord to be reconciled, and that he would no longer be a Foe, but a Father to us.

2. We are to eye the purchase of Christ. He has purchased all the blessings of the new Covenant. Heaven it self is called a pur­chased Possession, Eph 1. 14. Christ payd a price for it, that it might be ours. 'Tis not only an act of Grace, but an act of Righte­ousness [Page 22] in God, considering what Christ has paid for, to forgive Sin, and to give Sal­vation.

3. We are to eye the intercession of Christ, Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save them to the ut­termost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. Our great high Priest is passed into the Heavens, and his work is there, to pray for Believers, and his Father hears him always. How can prayers miscarry that are backt with the in­tercession of such a one?

4. We are to eye the strength of Christ, and his assistance. Rightly to pray, is a mat­ter of difficulty; Christ, by his Spirit, is ready to help the infirmities of Believers; so that notwithstanding all discouragement, and opposition from within, and from be­neath, they shall make something of this du­ty of prayer, and obtain the blessing.

7. In prayer, there must be Thanksgiving for what has been already received. Praise is the sublimest part of prayer: Praise is a debt; and how vast is the debt, if we consider the multitude, greatness, freeness, and conti­nuance of mercies? Praise sweetens prayer, nothing more pleasing to God; nothing more pleasant to our selves. And to give thanks for benefits received, is as effectual a way to prevail for more mercy, as the most vehement and strongest cryes. Oh there­fore, [Page 23] that all who pray, would also praise the Lord for his [...]oodness, and for his wonderful works to the Children of men? Psal. 107. 8. Thus have I explained the definition, and o­pened the nature of prayer to you.

In the second place, I am to inform you what 'tis to pray always; this I have touched upon already, but shall more fully speak to in these particulars:

1. To pray always, implies, being always in a disposition, and frame to pray when God re­quires it. The heart must be reconciled to this duty, and fall in love with it, & go to the Throne of Grace with alacrity; much may be gotten at the mercy seat, the unsearcha­ble riches of Christ are unlocked, and we may take as much as the hand of faith can grasp, without being checked or upbraided. The God whom we have to do with, gives liberally, and like himself, Jam. 1. 5. The heart should be forward to pray, and be weary of, and through grace, subdue move and more that evil, which alas is present when good is about to be performed, Rom. 7. 21.

2. To pray always implys, laying hold of all opportunities to pray, that are graciously vouchsafed to us. Whenever there is a meet season, and a motion to pray, we should catch such an occasion by the fore-lock, for when once 'tis past, 'tis past recalling. Stated times of prayer ordinarily, should in no wise be [Page 24] neglected; and when there are extraordina­ry calls to this duty, they should by all means be heeded. But here you must take heed of being imposed upon by Satan. He is clear­ly for wearying you by spiritual extortion, and pressing you to more of the external part of duty then God requires. 'Twill not be a­miss to shew you the difference between Sa­tans motions to pray, and the Lords calling you thereunto.

1. Satans motions are unseasonable, when God calls to other duty. When we in obe­dience to the Divine command, are diligent in our calling, of a sudden Satan will move to pray; but by the unseasonableness of the motion, we may discern whence it comes, but the Spirits motions are regular.

2. Satans motions to pray are unmerciful; he would fain have Sinners not pray at all; but if they will needs fall upon the duty, he urges them to over doing, and exacts so much as is apparently to the wasting and expending, and destruction of nature; and his design is to render prayer burthensome, and at last, to make it totally neglected. But the Lord is merciful in his motions, he re­quires that which is infinitely beneficial to the Soul; and destructive austerities towards the body, he no where requires.

3. Satans motions to pray, are commonly followed with some direful injections, if they are not obeyed; and what he injects has no [Page 25] Scripture-foundation. He tells souls that they are Reprobate, and will be damned, if they do not what he unreasonably perswades, whereas the word of God speaks no such matter. Well then, Satans motions are not to be minded.

3. To pray always, implies, praying in every state and condition; in Sickness, in Health, in Prosperity, in Adversity; prayer is to be used; without prayer Sickness will be unsanctified, and an uncomfortable load; and if it be taken off, 'twill be in anger; without prayer, Health will be a judgment, and only serve to encourage a neglect of the soul, and another world: Without prayer, Adversity will be intolerable, and Prospe­rity will be a snare, and occasion forgetful­ness of God, and a daring to rebel against him. No condition should cause a cessation of prayer; for the Apostle says, Pray with­out ceasing, 1 Thes 5. 17.

4. To pray always, implies, Not to let fall any holy suite till it be granted. We must not faint in prayer, nor give over, though we do not presently speed, Luk. 18. 1. He spake a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Impor tunity prevailed with an unrighteous Judge, surely then 'twill be prevalent with the Fa­ther of mercies. God does not presently grant sometimes, to try whether we duly e­steem mercies; and if we do, we shall think [Page 26] them worth our while to pray still for them, and wait till they are given.

5. To pray always, implies, Not to give over praying while we are on Earth. This Or­dinance, we must never be above; for we always need to engage in it. Our life is a continual warfare, we have need to pray for defence and victory; our knowledge and grace is imperfect, we have need to pray for the increase of both, and that we may be helped to press towards the mark for the price of the high calling of God, Phil. 3. 14.

In the third place, I am to tell you Why a Christians security lies in prayer.

1. Prayer engages God on a Christians side. He promises to hear the cry of the Righte­ous ones; and hearing their cry, implies the engaging of his power and goodness for their supply and safety. In prayer there is an acting of holy desires, unto which satisfacti­on is assured; and there is an acting of trust and faith, and God will shew himself strong in the behalf of them that flie unto his Name, as to a Tower of defence, and rely upon his everlasting Arm. He that believes, and has his expectation from the Lord, shall not be ashamed. The Apostle sticks not to say, Whosoever calleth on the Name of the Lord, shall be saved, Rom. 10. 12. that is, who­soever calls with faith and fervency. Such [Page 27] calling engages God for us, & if He be for us, who can be against us? Rom. 8. 31. Our Iniquities, though never so strong, he can easily subdue; the world, and the God of the world, are weak, compared with the Al­mighty. He can deliver from the evil world, from the evil one, from every evil work, and preserve us to his Heavenly King­dom.

2. Prayer, Weakens the flesh with the af­fections and lusts of it. Our great danger is from these homebred Enemies; Our Lusts do war against our Souls, 1 Pet. 2. 11. And the Apostle threatens Believers, If ye live after the flesh, ye shall dye, Rom. 8. 13. What course does David take to obtain the Victory over his Corruptions? he prays a­gainst them. Cleanse me from secret faults! Keep back thy Servant from presumptuous sins. Let no Iniquity have the dominion over me! Create in me a clean heart, and uphold me with thy free Spirit! These and such like were his crys, and he did not cry in vain. The Be­liever, in prayer, pleads that 'tis for God's Honour to kill Corruption, that 'tis His de­clared Will, even man's Sanctification; that 'tis His work to Sanctifie; that He has pro­mised to Sanctifie throughout, in body, Soul, and spirit; and he is faithful, and therefore will do it, 1 Thes. 5. 23, 24. He pleads that Christ died that he might Redeem and Purifie from I­niquity, that he might cleanse his Church; [Page 28] and present it unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it might be holy, and without blemish, Eph. 5. 27. and such pleas are effectual to the obtaining of grace, and mortifying the deeds of the body.

3. A Christians security lies in prayer, for prayer obtains better things than the world can boast of. Let the world allure by its strong­est baits, and present unto the Christian, the greatest gains, the sweetest pleasures; yet Blessings more valuable, are to be gotten at the Throne of Grace. The heart, in prayer, is taken up with the thoughts of, and eagerly desires after the priviledge of Reconciliation and Adoption, Communion with God, and the Communications of his Grace and Spirit, an eternal weight of glory, a Crown of life, an enduring substance, fulness of joy and pleasures for ever-more, Psal. 16 ult. These are the things above that in prayer are sought; and what are things below in com­parison? The heart that is placed on these, is the better armed against the world, as long as spiritual and eternal blessings are sEcured, the world is neither desired, nor dreaded by it.

4. Prayer is an undermin [...]ng of Satan. The powers of Hell, have felt the force of this duty. Christ commands his Disciples to pray when he perceived the Devil about to winnow them, Luk. 22. 40. Pray that ye en­ter [Page 29] not into Te [...]pta [...]ion. If as oft as we are assaulted by the Tempter, we did but look unto the Lord for grace to help in the time of need, temptation would be very unsuc­cesful. Two things are done in prayer against Satan; By our confession of sins, this Accuser is silenced; by Petition, Grace is obta [...]ned [...]o withstand him.

1. By confession of sin this Accuser is si­lenced. Satan is styled the Ac [...]user of the Brethren; and to shew how malicious and eager he is in his Accusations, he is said to acc [...]se them day and night before God, Rev. 12. 10. But in prayer, Believers bring bills of Indictment against themselves; not only all that Satan can truly lay to their charge, do they also lay to their own charge; but also all that God has against them, they ac­knowledge; they cover not their sins, but confess and aggravate them; they blame and judge themselves, and how earnest are they that sin confessed may be pardoned and purged away by the blood of Christ? Now Satans mouth is stopt, his charge signifies no­thing; for thus confessing sin, and looking unto Jesus for Clensing as well as Atone­ment; God is faithful and just to forgive them their sins, and to cleanse them from all unrigh­teousness, 1 Joh [...] 1. 9.

2. By Petition, Grace is obtained to with­stand Satan. The Apostle Paul, when buf­feted by the Devil, falls to prayer, and what [Page 30] answere has he? The Lord said unto him, my Grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. And the Apostle is satified in this, that the power of Christ did rest upon him, 2 Cor. 12. 9. Prayer brings us to the God of Peace, who has promisEd to tread Satan under our Feet short­ly, Rom. 16. 20. By Prayer Wisdom is de­rived from God; and the more wise the Father of Lights makes us, the better we understand the Devils wiles, and his de­sign is seen thorow, which is to deceive, to defile, and at last to murther Souls. And as Wisdom is increased, so Faith, and Love, and Fear, and other Graces, by Prayer; and the more we believe God, the less credit shall we give the evil one; the more we love God, the more we shall hate that evil which we are tempted to: The more we fear the Lord the more will our hearts be united to him and 'twill be a matter of the greater difficulty to perswade us unto a departing from him.

5. A Christians security lies in Prayer, for Prayer is a great means to make every other Ordinance effectual for our safety, and spiritu­al advantage. The word of God and prayer are coupled together, Acts. 6. 4. But we will give our selves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word. Our Sermons which we preach unto you, should be begg [...]d from Heaven; they should be begun, en­ded, [Page 31] followed after with Prayer; And if you that are hearers would but help us here­in by prayer, 'twould be in effect to help your selves. If there were but more pray­ing before you come to the Sanctuary, that you might be taught to profit; so ma­ny sermons would not be lost; so much seed would not be sown in vain. Prayer sets an edge upon the Word, and makes it quick and powerful to kill Sin, and keep off Satan. Prayer works the Word into the Heart, and being hid there, 'tis a mighty preservative a­gainst iniquity. There is a Spiritual instinct in Believers to joyn Prayer with every Or­dinance of God: Because they know that Ordinances cannot secure or benefit them, except the Lord concur and work along with them. I have proved, that a Christians security lies in Prayer.

In the fourth place, I am to give you some Reasons why we ought to pray always.

1. We should pray always, because God is always ready to hear. The Lords Ear is not heavy that it cannot hear, Esa. 59. 1. He hearkens after Prayer, and looks down from Heaven upon the Children of Men, to see if there be any that understand and seek God, Psal. 14. 2. The Father is said to seek for right worshippers, namely those that worship him in Spirit and in Truth, Joh 4. 23. we have therefore encouragement, as at all times [Page 32] to trust in him; so at all times to poure out our Souls before him. God is a Refuge for us, Selah, Psal. 62. 8. Verily, seeking of God in sincerity, never was yet in vain, and ne­ver will be. God has heard sinners then, when they perhaps have little thought he minded them. When Ephraim bemoaned himself, was as a Bullock unaccustomed to the Yoak, was ashamed, and confounded because of his evil ways, and cry'd, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; says God, I have heard him, I have surely heard Ephraim, Jer. 31. 18, 19. [...] and gives him to understand that he was a dear Son, a pleasant Child, and that he would surely have Mercy on him. There is not a Tear but God has a Bottle to put it in, nor a sigh but God observes it, nor a true desire, but he is ready to satisfy.

2. We should pray always, because Christ always intercedes, Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. The prayers of Believers will be vvell seconded. This Angel of the Co­venant has incense sufficient to perfume, and to make the Prayers of all the Saints at all times acceptable. Christ in Heaven is alvvays presenting to his Father his Suf­ferings, and by his Sufferings all that we pray for has been purchased. His Blood therefore is said to speak in Scrip­ture, and it speaks better things than that of [Page 33] Abel, Heb. 12. 24. The Blood of Christ cryes in Gods Ears, on the behalf of those that pray, which the Curse that Christ has born may be removed from them, that the Sins for which Christ was wounded, may be forgiven them; and that out of the fulness of Christ they may receive, and Grace, for Grace.

3. We should pray always because the Spirit is always ready to help our infirmities. This Spirit Christ promised; and according to his promise sent him; and this Spirit is sty­led the Spirit of Grace and of Supplications, Zach. 12. 10. for he gives grace and ability to make supplications acceptably. And this Spirit abides with Believers alwaies, Joh. 14. 16, 17. I will pray the Father; and he shall give you another Comforter, which shall abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you. The Spirit is ready to instruct us what to pray for, to remove the load of indisposition to this Duty, to quicken our deadness therein, to enlarge our hearts in desires after the God of all Grace, to strengthen us to wrestle for a Blessing. And truly God is not to be prevailed with, but by the mediation of his Son, and by the strength of his own Spirit.

4. We should pray always, because Sa­tan [Page 34] is always forward to assault us. Satan is compared to a Lyon in Scripture. And E­lian observes concerning the Lyon, that if at any time he is beaten back, he retires [...], with his face to­wards you, as being readyupon the least encou­ragement, to make another attempt. In like manner Satan watches; has his Eye al­ways upon us, and is ever forward to tempt: and should not we be ever forward to pray? Our whole Life is a time of Temptation. Wicked Spirits are continually engaged a­gainst us. We wrestle, sayes the Apostle, with Principalities and Powers, with the Ruters of the darkness of this World, with spiritual wickednesse in high places. These Enemies are invisible, so 'tis more dificult to with­stand them; they are too subtile and too strong for us: We had need therefore to pray without ceasing, since they cease not endeavoring to bring us both to sin and ru­ine.

5. We should pray always, because cor­ruption will quickly recruit, and recover strength upon the least neglect of prayer. Had David been praying when he was sleeping so long in the day time, or after his nap had been ended; had he gon to the throne of grace, instead of idlely walking upon the roof of his palace; nay, when first he cast his eyes upon Bath­sheba, if he had then immediately lookt up to Heaven, and cryed, that that spark of con­cupiscence [Page 35] might have been extinguish'd be­fore it set him in a flame: his foul fall, and the dolefull consequents of it, might have been prevented. But duty was neglected, and lust took the advantage of that neglect, and he was hurried into two as heinous Sins almost as can possibly be committed: 2 Sam. 11. Experience shews us, that if we omit, or are slight in Prayer, that day our passions are more easily stirred, and our lusts get ground. Thus Amaleck prevail'd when Moses hands be­gan to hang down, but when they were held up towards Heaven, Israel had the better.

In the fifth place I am to Answer the Ob­jections that are made against this duty of Prayer.

Obj. 1. The first Objection is this: God knows our wants and dangers without our telling him. What need is there then that we should make them known by Prayer?

Ans. I Answer, God may be said to know our Wants and Dangers two wayes:

1. By the eye of his Omniscience, and with this eye he sees all things; and whether we pray, or no, he perfectly understands us, and all the circumstances we are in; He [...] our path, knows our thoughts after off, and is acquainted with all our wayes, Ps [...]l. 139, 2, 3.

2. God may be said to look upon, our wants so as to have compassion upon us: and without intreating this compassion; how can it be ex­pected? [Page 36] Heark unto David, 119. 132. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Now though God be acquainted with our wants without our mentioning of them; yet he will not look upon them, so as to pitty and supply them, unless we beg this pity, unless we beg this supply. When Israel groaned by Prayer unto God, says he, I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt; that is, I have lookt upon it with Sympathy and compassion, and it follows, I am come down to deliver them. Act. 7. 34.

Obj. 2. A second Objection is this. Why should we pray, since the God whom we have to do with is unchangeable? can we work any alteration in him by our requests? No, the Scripture sayes, with him is no variablenesse, neither shaddow of turning.

Ans. I answer, Prayer makes not a change in God, but a change in us: it does not make him more mercifull and bountifull, but dis­poses us for the receiving of his mercy and grace. This notion you must all well under­stand, that the design of prayer is not to make any alteration in God, but to make an al­teration in us, that we may be fitted and made meet for those blessings which God has promised to give. When God pardons any, the change, to speak properly, is in the per­son pardoned; he that before was an enemy, [Page 37] is become a child. Gods wrath is the same that 'twas, and his love the same that 'twas; only the person that before was out of Christ, is now in Christ; and is now loved, whom before wrath did abide upon. When we pray for grace and holynesse, hereby we are more fitted for the receiving of it. God al­ters not, but we are altered; oh much for the better when we are Sanctified! This matter may be made more plain by this similitude. Suppose a man ready to be drowned in the Sea, a rope is cast out to him from a rock on the shore; the man does not pull the rock nearer to himself, or the rock stirs not; but he pulls himself nearer to the rock and hereby he is saved. God is our rock, Prayer is our cord, whereby we are drawn to him, from whom alone Salvation is to be expected.

Obj. 3. A third Objection against prayer is this. God has decreed what he will give, and his decrees shall certainly stand firm and be accomplished. He being infinitely wise in making them, there cannot be imagined a reason why he himself should alter them; and they cannot be altered by any other.

Ans. I answer. It must needs be granted, that Gods decrees shall stand unmoveable, but withall I add, that, he who has decreed to give grace and mercy, has appointed prayer as a means to obtain them. The means is subor­dinate to the end, and comes under a decree [Page 38] as well as the end. Therefore we are said to be elected or chosen to Holiness, which does in­clude the dutys of Holiness, Eph. 1. 4. as well as to be ordained to eternal Life. If God decrees a man shall live till he is 60 years of age, he decrees that he shall use those means, as food and the like, which are necessary to the prolonging of his days. And so God that does decree to give grace, and pardon, and glory, decrees and appoints prayer and other du­ties to be performed. After the Lord had promised much, and declared his gracious purpose towards Israel, to pardon, renew, heal, and restore them; He adds, For all this, will I be enquired of by the House of Israel to do this for them, Ezek. 36. 37.

You shall find that God's decree has not made the Saints esteem prayer needless, but en­couraged them to fervency therein. Daniel un­derstanding by Jeremiahs Prophecy, that af­ter seventy years, Judah should be brought back from the Babylonish Captivity, prays the more earnestly, that they might be set at liberty, and that the Sanctuary might be shone upon which lay desolate, Dan. 9. 2, 3. And David, when he understood, that God pur­posed to build him an Hous, pray'd, that God would do as he had spoken.

Obj. 4. Another Objection is this. Wick­ed men have small encouragement to pray, since their prayers are styled an abomination.

Ans I Answer.

1. Wicked men are blamed for not p [...]aying however, Psal. 14. 4. Have all the workers of Iniquity no knwoledge, who eat up my People as they eat Pread, and call not upon the Lord. Prayer is a duty which Wicked men have an obligation to, and they sin in the omission of it.

2. If Wicked men totally cast off Prayer, 'tis apparent whether they are going; they are go­ing further and further from God, and making hast in the broad way that leads unto destruction.

3. While they are praying, though they pray sorri [...]y, yet they are using God' Ord­nance; and there is the greater likelihood, that God may pitty them, and give his spirit to work upon them.

Object. 5. Another objection is this; God himself says, I am found of them that sought me not; I am made manifest to them that asked not after me, Rom. 10. 20

[...]ns. I Answer.

1. This place is to be understood concern­ing the Gentiles call; to whom, without their seeking, the Apostles were sent to publish the glad tidings of Salvation.

2. Though the Lord does prevent us by his goodness, and does first offer himself to us, yet always, when he gives himself, he gives an heart to desire after himself: First, He makes [Page 40] us to open our mouths wide, and then fills us, Psal. 81. 10. First He causes a spiritual thirst, and then he gives us to drink of the water of Life freely. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the Waters, come buy Wine and Milk without money, and without price, Isa. 55. 1. No price is required, only prayer and en­treaty is to be used.

I come in the last place to the Application. And if the Christians security lies so much in Praying Always,

The first Use is of Instruction, concerning the extreme danger that Prayerless Souls are in. 'Twill be faithfulness and kindness to make such sensible of their danger; there­fore I shall a little stay upon it, and manifest their peril in these particulars.

1. Those that are strangers to prayer, God is against them. O dreadful! what is God! and who are they! who can stand before his indignation? who can defend himself against that Arm that is Omnipotent? The Moun­tains quake, the Hills melt, the Devils trem­ble before this God; the whole world compared with him, is but as the drop of the Bucket, and the small dust upon the ballance, and all the In­habitants of the world are nothing, less then no­thing, and vanity, Esa. 40. 15, 17. Surely 'tis fearful to have so glorious and great a God an Enemy. But an Enemy he is unto all that count not his love and favour worth the [Page 41] praying for. Those that will not intreat him to be reconciled, 'tis a sign they neither value his love, nor fear his wrath, and un­der wrath they are unquestionably.

2. Those that are strangers to prayer, their mercies are not mercies indeed to them, that threatning is fulfilled upon them, Mal. 2. 2. I will send a Curse upon you, and will Curse your Blessings. Prayer will turn Curses into Blessings; afflictions are part of the Curse inflicted because of sin, but prayer al­ters the nature of them; for the Sanctifica­tion of them being beg'd and granted, they work together for the good of them that feel them. Affliction yeilds the peaceable fruits of Righteousness to them that are exercised there­by, says the Apostle: On the other side, where prayer is not, blessings are a snare, and the good things which are received work together for the harm and ruine of those that do enjoy them. There is a spirit of slumber which has seized on them in the midst of their enjoyments, and their Table, their plenty, their abundance, becomes a snare and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence to them, Rom. 11. 8, 9.

3. Those that are strangers to prayer, Sa­tan is endeavouring their Ruine, and there is none to hinder him. Satan is said in Scripture to fill the hearts of the ungodly, to keep pos­session of them, and to work in the Children of disobedience. The Devil is come down with [Page 42] great wrath, and like a roaring Lyon he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pet. 5. 8. and truly he finds abundant prey; for most watch not at all, pray not at all against him. Those that pray not, are led Captive by Satan at his pleasure, and they do not care or desire to have his snare bro­ken, nor themselves recovered.

4. Those that are strangers to prayer, how certain is it, that continuing as they are, they will miss of those great things revealed in the Gospel, since they count them not worth their seeking? The Gospel informs us of the one thing necessary, of the Pearl of price, of the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and this is the Law that is established, that they, who would have these things must seek them. They that seek them not, understand not their worth, nor their own need, and there­fore certainly and justly go without them.

5. Those that are strangers to prayer, are in danger of meeting with a deaf ear, when crys are extorted by Calamity. Oh read and trem­ble, Prov 1. 26, 27, 28. I will laugh at your Calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh, when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction as [...] [...]hirl-wind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you, then shall they call up­on me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. The meaning is this, that when crys are extorted meerly by distress, and only the removal of Ca­lamity [Page 43] is desired, there being no true humili­ation for sin, nor desire to be reformed, all such crys will be neglected. If you will not seek the Lord while he may be found, nor call upon him while he is near, Isa. 55. 6. when you cry in extremity, he may be far off from you.

6. Those that are strangers to prayer, should consider, that quickly the accepted time, which they improve not, will be past, and then they shall beg, but most certainly be denied. We read in Scripture of Calls that no heed was given to. When the foolish Virgins came after the door was shut, and said Lord, Lord, open unto us. Alas, they speak too late, the door was not opened; but the re­ply is, I know you not whence you are, Mat. 25. 10, 11, 12. When the Rich man beg'd for a drop of water to cool his tongue, being tormen­ted in the flame; this was not granted, Luk. 16. 24, 25, 26. to intimate that not the least mitigation of torment in Hell is to be lookt for. All at last will be ready to pray, Lord open the door that lets into thy Kingdom and Glory! Lord vouchsafe a little ease and respite in the midst of our excessive agonies and sorrows! Oh but then God's ear will be shut eternally as well as Heaven gate, and his mercy clean gone for ever. What mad­ness is it then to wast all our accepted time, and not to come to the Throne of Grace, before the day of grace comes to an end!

The second Use shall be of Caution. Two things you are to be cautioned about.

1. Take heed of resting in prayer it self, in th [...] bare duty done. Prayer is your security, not in it self considered, but because it leads you to the Rock that is higher then you, Psal. [...]. 2. Prayer puts you under the Lord's Wing and you are covered with his Feathers, and his Truth becomes your Shield and Buckler. They that rest in opere operato, vainly imagining, that speaking the words of prayer will help them; they use prayer like a Charm, and are unacquainted with the right manner of praying.

2. Take heed of thinking that any kind of prayer will secure you, and engage God for you. Unbelieving prayers, where Christ is not relyed on for Audience; cold and care­less prayers, where the things pray'd for, are not prized; Hypocritical prayers, where the heart is not indeed engaged, will not reach God's ear, will not fetch the blessing. Sins bow will abide in strength, notwith­standing these prayers; nor will the strong holds of Satan be thrown down by them.

The third Use shall be of Exhortation un­to this duty of prayer. The Arguments to perswade you, are these following.

1. Scripture-Commands are very frequent, which require this duty. How often is prayer called for? And not only the Lords Autho­rity [Page 45] in these commands is to be regarded, but also his goodness; he does not require prayer, that he may receive from us, for he is so much above us, that he needs us not, nor our performances; and so infinitely per­fect, that there can be no addition to the per­fection of his being, or his blessedness; but therefore Lord call us to pray always, Luk. 21. 36. to pray every where, 1 Tim. 2. 8. to continue instant in prayer, Rom. 12. 12. in every thing by prayer and supplication, to make our requests known unto God, Phil. 4. 6. be­cause he is willing to give what we need, and to communicate that mercy, without which, we must needs be miserable.

2. The efficacy of prayer, should perswade to prayer. He that bids you seek his face, if your hearts eccho back. Thy face Lord, will we seek, will in no wise hide his face from you, nor put you away in anger, Psal. 27▪ 8, 9. By prayer, you may prevail with God for his love, and being interested in that, no­thing will be denyed. That the efficacy of prayer may be evident, I shall imitate the Apostle, speaking concerning Faith, Heb. 11. and reckon up the wonders that have been the effects of prayer.

By prayer Abraham had saved Sodom, though the cry of their sins was so loud and great, if there had been ten Righteous persons in it: by prayer he obtained a Son from God, when his Wife Sarah was past Child-bearing. [Page 46] By prayer, Jacob was delivered from the wrath of his Brother Esau. Jonah by prayer, out of the Whales belly, and the three Children out of the seaven-times heated Babylonish Furnace.

By prayer, David stayed the Plague, so that it seized not on Jerusalem, and caused the Sword of the destroying Angel to be put up into the Sheath again.

By prayer, Elias stayed the Rain for three years and six moneths, and by the same means, opened the Bottles of Heaven, that the Earth brought forth her Fruit: By prayer he brought down fire, which consumed the two Captains, and their fifties that came to take him.

By prayer, Joshua commanded the Sun, and it stood still in Gibeon; and the Moon in the Valley of Aijalon, for the Lord hearkened to the voyce of a man, and fought for Israel.

By prayer Daniel stopped the mouths of Ly­ons, and came untouched out of the Den; and by prayer Peter, and Paul, and Silas, were de­livered out of Prison, Shackles, Iron gates, be­ing but weak things to the power of supplica­tions.

And what shall I more say, for time would fail me, as the Apostle speaks, if I should tell of Samuel, of Sampson, of Jehoshaphat, of the Prophets also, and of the Apostles, who by prayer procured thunder to destroy their Ene­mies; out of weakness, were made strong; turned to [...]ight the mighty Hosts of Adversa­ries; the Dead they raised to life again; made [Page 47] the Lame from the Womb, to walk and leap; healed Discases beyond the skill of art of Cure. Behold prayers efficacy, though performed by men of like passions with our selves! this should perswade us to the love and practice of the duty.

3. Who is it that would hinder you from prayer? Who stands at your right hand to resist you? certainly 'tis an Enemy, who is unwilling you should draw nigh to God, be­cause he knows 'tis so good for you, Psal. 73. ult. Your own hearts also are ready to draw back, but this argues their egregious folly and desperate wickedness.

4. What has followed upon the omission of prayer? Has not this Omission ushered in sins of Commission? have you not, when you have neglected to cry for strength in your souls, found your selves like Reuben, unstable as water? have you not easily been induced to do that which has fill'd the face of God with frowns, and the mouth of Consci­ence with Reproaches? On the other side, has not prayer been with success sometimes? have you not found encouragement & grace at the mercy seat? Oh do that, which both bitter and sweet experience prompts you to.

5. Prayer is an honourable employment; in this duty you have admittance to the ear of the King of Heaven; how high is your Company? your fellowship is with the Father, [Page 48] and with his Son Jesus Christ, 1 Joh. 1. 2. Though the Lord be high, yet he hath re­spect unto the lowly, he will regard the prayer of the most destitute, and not despise it; he allows you a freedom to pour out your complaints, and to make known be­fore him your troubles. And what honour is this, to have to do immediatly with God, to have him so nigh to you in all that you call upon him for? Deut. 4. 7.

6. Frequency, and fervency in prayer, will be a great evidence of your Regeneration and Adoption. The Child, when born, crys; and the Sinner, when born again, prays. Of Paul, 'twas said as soon as he was Conver­ted, behold he prayeth, Act. 9. 11. 'Tis the Spirit of Adoption that makes us cry, Abba, Father. If we cannot be satisfied unless we approach unto God, and value his favour and fellowship above all Earthly things; and are chiefly desirous of those blessings which he never gives in wrath; and having given, never takes away again; we may conclude from our spiritual breathing, our spiritual life. Now a good evidence of Regeneration, what will it be worth in a day of trouble, in a dy­ing hour.

The last Use shall be of Encouragement to Believers.

1. Their prayers are Gods delight, Prov. 15. 8. The Sacrifice of the Wicked is an abo­mination [Page 49] to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright, is his delight: so Cant. 2. 14. O my Dove, that art in the clefts of the Rock, in the secret place of the stairs, let me see thy Counte­nance, let me hear thy Voyce, for sweet is thy Voyce, and thy Countenance is comely. We are pleased with the talk and requests of our Children, though their language be lisp'd and broken. And God is infinitely more in­dulgent then earthly Parents are, or can be; and much more willing to give good things than they, Mat. 7. 11.

2. There are many reasons why the God, whom Believers pray to, should secure them.

1. They are his chosen ones. God pitch'd his love on them, before the foundation of the world was laid.

2. They are his Sons purchase; he has bought them with a price, shed his Blood for the Remission of their sins, gave his Life for their Ransom.

3. They are in Covenant with God; he has engaged to be their God, and surely he will be their Guard also.

4. They are Vessels of mercy, in whom he does design to glorifie his grace and love for ever.

Surely then, he will heed these when they pray; he will give them the good they need, and save them from the evil which makes them flye to him for shelter. I have done with the first Doctrine, That a Chri­stians [Page 50] security lyes very much in Praying Al­ways.

D. 2. All prayer is of concernment to be used. praying always with all prayer, says the Text. Prayer is a duty of very great extent, and the parts of it are admirably suited unto the present State and condition of a Christian, and the divers kinds of prayer very well a­gree with the various circumstances wherein we are. All the ways of seeking God shall be to purpose, if he be but sought diligently, and according as he himself has appointed; for he tells us plainly that he sayes, Not to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain. Esa. 45. 10.

Two things I shall here insist on. First, I shall speak concerning the parts of prayer, and shew you how all these parts are to be used. Secondly, I shall give you the several kinds of prayer, and so perswade and direct you unto each kind, that this duty may be performed in its utmost latitude.

I begin with the parts of Prayer, and they are these.

1. One part of Prayer is an humble compel­lation or naming of God. Those titles that are given him in Scripture we must be acquainted with, and such should be used as are most suitable unto the matter of our prayers, and which have the greatest tendency to excite those gracious and spiritual affections, which [Page 51] are required in our Supplications. If we con­sult the prayers of Saints, which are recor­ded in the Bible, we shall find, that God is called sometimes Lord, sometimes Father, sometimes the great and mighty and terrible God, sometimes the King of Glory, sometimes the high and lofty one that inhabits eternity whose Name is Holy; sometimes, the God and Father of Christ, and likewise the Father of Mercys, and God of all Comfort. 'Tis not a­miss to add unto Gods Title those Attributes, the consideration whereof may help towards such a frame of Spirit as becomes Prayer.

Would we have our heart in an holy awe, and fill'd with reverence and Godly fear? mention then his omnipresence, greatnesse, his holyness, and his jealousy. Would we have our hearts broken for sin? Mention his anger and hatred of Iniquity; and withall, his goodness, and forbearance, and readiness to be reconciled, for the riches of his goodness, and long-suffering strongly lead unto repentance. Rom. 2. 4. finally, would we in our requests, have our desires enlarged, and our faith en­couraged, and be also forward to praise? Mention then the freeness of Gods love, the Superabundance of his grace, as he is the Father of Jesus Christ. As of old he was stiled, The Lord that brought Israel out of Egypt, and afterwards, the Lord that deli­vered Judah from the north Country, namely, out of the Babylonish Captivity: so likewise [Page 52] in the new testament, he is called the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 1. 3. 1 Pet. 1. 3. 2 Cor. 1. 3. Christ is the only prevailing advocate in Prayer, and his rela­tion to God, the ground of our hope and expectations.

2. A Second part of Prayer is acknowledg­ment and confession of sin. This confession God requires. Jer. 3. 13. Only acknowledge thy Iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God. To confesse sin, has been the practice of the Penitent. God has been honoured when offending of him has been acknowledged most unreasonable, and hei­nous; and confession has had a great influence unto the making of Sinners humble and a­shamed, and upon it how quickly has for­giveness followed: Psal. 32. 3, 4, 5. While I kept Silence (i. e. while I excused and exte­nuated my sin, and refused ingenuously to acknowledg it) my bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long, for day and night thy hand was heavy upon me, my moisture was turned into the drought of Summer, Selah. I ac­knowledged my sin unto thee; my iniquity have I not hid; I said, I will confess my Transgres­sions unto the Lord, and thou for gavest the ini­quity of my Sin, Selah.

This confession of sin, in Prayer should be Particular; generall acknowledgments move but little; The very root of sin must be dug unto and bewailed. Paul crys out he was a Blas­phemer, [Page 53] and Persecutor, and Injurious, 1 Tim. 1. 13. and laments the law in his members, the body of death, that made him so forward unto evil, Rom. 7. David particularizes his un­cleannesse and blood-guiltiness, and traces these abominable streams, unto the fountain whence they issued forth, the Corruption of his Nature. Psal. 51. 5. Behold I was shapen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me. Our despising the remedy which Christ offers in the Gospel, should also be confessed with Special Sorrow; for herein we go beyond the very Devils, who never had one offer of pardon and grace made to them. And finally, as there is abundant cause, we should fall to Judging and Condemning of our selves. One that is truly penitent, is as Guiliel. Pariciensis says, Fidelis Dei orator contra Seipsum, a faithful pleader for God against himself. We must unclasp the Book of Conscience and Spread it before the Lord, we must hold up our hands, and cry Guilty, guilty; and say we can lay claim to nothing as our due, but severity and Punishments.

3. A third part of prayer is Deprecation, or praying against what we have deserv'd and are afraid of. We ought with great solicitous­nesse to pray against the anger and hatred of God. He, even he, is to be feared, who can stand in his sight when once he is angry? Psal. 76. 7. The anger of God expresse it self Several ways: the lightest expression of it, namely [Page 54] in temporal and outward calamities, are sometimes very terrible, Pestilences, Famines, the sword of War which devours flesh, and drinks blood; how intolerable are they lookt upon? but spiritual judgments are worse than these, and argue hotter displeasure; when the Lord gives sinners up to blindness of mind, searedness of conscience, strong delusions, vile affections, hardness of heart; this shewes he is exstreamly angry. The o­ther may, but these judgments especially should be deprecated.

But the worst of all is to come in the other World, and thats the vengeance of Eternal Fire: Oh how importunate should we be to be delivered from Wrath to come That we may not be sentenced to depart with a Curse at the great Day! that Hell may not be our Eternal home! How impor­tunate should we be, that we may not in utter Darkness be gnawed by the Worm that never dyes, that we may not dwell with devouring Fire, nor inhabit Everlasting Burnings.

4. A fourth part of Prayer, is Petition, here God gives us leave to be bold and large, and when we have asked never so much, he is ready to do exceeding abundantly a­bove all that we can ask, or has entred in­to the heart of Man to conceive. Pardon we should petition for, for we highly need it: And the Lord has said, though we have made him to serve with our sins, and wearied [Page 55] him with our iniquities, yet he will blot out transgressions for his own sake, and remem­ber our sins no more, Esa. 43. 24, 25. Till a Pardon be obtained, nothing else can be ex­pected; but when once God in Christ is re­conciled, and become a Father, nothing will be denied. His Love therefore, and the sence of it should be intreated with our whole heart. And since the Lord has pro­mised to give both Grace, and Glory, Psal. 84. 11. we may be bold to be petitioners for both. We should be earnest, that grace and holiness may be wrought in truth in our hearts, that Grace may be continually increased, and that we may persevere, and be faithful to the very Death; and at length uttain that Glory, Honour, and Immorta­lity, which is promised unto patient conti­nuance in well doing. Temporal Blessings also, we have leave to ask, for the Lord considers our frame, and every way is ready to encourage us unto our Duty.

5. A fifth part of Prayer is Intercession for others. Not only those should be remem­bred by us, that stand in a near relation to us: But we should be concerned for the whole City, for the whole Nation; nay for the whole Church of Christ militant up­on Earth. We should prefer Jerusalem before our chief joy, we should not keep silence, we should give the Lord no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the Earth, [Page 56] Esa. 62. 6, 7. we should in no wise hold our peace, till the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness: And the Salvation thereof as a Lamp that burneth. That is, till the Church is both reformed, and delivered from op­pressing adversaries. In Prayer we are to have regard to our selves, to others, nay to the Lord himself, and Christ his Son. We are to beg that His Name may be Hallowed, from the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same; that his Kingdom may come: And that all on Earth may do his Will; and submit unto the Scepter of his Word.

6. Another part of Prayer is Imprecation. Some are such, that we are to desire the Lord would fight against them. The evil Angels, we may pray that the Lord will re­buke them: and pull down that Kingdom of darkness under which the most of men are held in Bondage. In reference to men, we must be more sparing in our imprecations, or wishing evil to them. David, and the o­ther Prophets are not examples for us to follow in this matter; for they knew by a prophetick Spirit Gods intensions concer­ning the persons that they pray'd against. The general Rule which we ought to follow, is this, Mat. 5. 44. But I say unto you, love your Enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you; pray for them that despightfully use you and persecute you; this is [Page 57] to resemble God, Who maketh his Sun to rise on the Evil and the Good. We are to beg rather the conversion than the confusion of our Enemies; and supposing they are im­placable, and incorrigble, we must desire rather that they may be hindered from doing harm by their designes and power, than that harm may come to them, even when we pray against Antichrist, whom we find devoted in Scripture to destruction; we must have no private grudg against the per­sons of any; but our Eye must be at Christs Honour, that in Popery is so much struck at, and at the advancement of the Gospel, and of Zion.

7. A seventh part of Prayer is Thanks­giving. The Lords prayer ends with a dox­ology or giving Honour unto God, Mat. 6. 13. for thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory for Ever. To praise, is to speak [...], with the Tongues of Angels. All the Creatures that are visi­ble, are mute, besides man; He is the Worlds high Priest, that should offer this Sacrifice of praise for all; He is the Tongue of the Creation, which should be sounding forth Gods goodness towards all. How much does the Lord let forth unto us! And shall we deny him the revenue of praise? His Mercys are without number; and his Love without motive, and without measure: When praise is offered he accounts himself Glori­fied, [Page 58] Psal. 50. ult. therefore in every thing we should give Thanks, for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us, 1 Thes. 5. 18. Thus have I gon over the parts of Prayer, and none of these parts are needless.

In the second place I am to give you the several kinds of Prayer: prayer is twofold, Vocal, when the Voice and Heart are joyned together; Mental, when the heart only is en­gaged.

1. I shall speak of Vocal prayer, when Tongue and Heart go together in this Du­ty.

There are several reasons why the Tongue is to be made use of in Prayer.

1. With our Tongues we are to honour God, and when they are thus employed speaking to him, or of him, or for him, then they are our Glory. As there are sins of the Tongue, so duties of the Tongue too; and as the Tongue of the Swearer, Blasphemer, filthy and foolish Talker, is harsh and hate­ful to God; so the Tongue of him, that prays sincerely, is pleasant. Christ tell his Spouse, that her Voice was sweet, and her coun­tenance comely.

2. In praying with others words, are ne­cessary. Some must be the mouth of the rest unto God.

3. Words; especially Scripture Language, help to excite, and stir up our affections, and [Page 59] they serve to keep the Heart more intent upon the Duty.

This Vocal Prayer is threefold, first, Prayer in the Closet, secondly Prayer in the Family, thirdly Prayer in the publike Con­gregation and Assembly. Of all these I shall speak in order.

1. Prayer in the Closet. That secret Pray­er is the Lords Ordinance is very evident, Mat. 6. 6. But thou when thou prayest enter into thy Closet, and when thou hast shut the Door, pray unto thy Father which is in secret. And as our Lord gave this Precept, so he is our example, in regard of secret Prayer, Mar. 1. 35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before Day, he went out and de­parted into a solitary place and there prayed. Jacob was left alone, and wrestled with God, and had the name of Israel given him, for as a Prince, he had power with God and prevai­led, Gen. 32. 24, 30. Now if you would be fully informed, what this wrestling was, compare the forecited place, with Hos. 12. 3, 4. By his strength he had Power with God, yea, he had power over the Angel, i. e. the Angel of the Covenant, and prevailed. He wept and made Supplication to him.

Now for the better managing of this sort of prayer, lot these rules be observed di­ligently.

1. Affect privacy, be as secret as possible, though we are not to be ashamed of any du­ty; [Page 60] and though our light is to shine before men, that they seeing our good works, may glorifie our Father in Heaven, yet a Christi­an is to do much out of the sight of others. As long as God's Ear is open to the most whispering prayers, what need is there that any other ear should hear a word which we speak? When there is a desire that men should take notice of our prayers, God takes no notice of them, unless of the Hypocrisie in them, to abominate them; therefore we have that caution from the Lord Jesus, Mat. 6. 5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the Hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the Synagogues, and in the corners of the Streets, that they may be seen of men; verily I say unto you, they have their re­ward.

2. Take the fittest time for secret prayer; the morning especially is to be chosen, though once more in a day at least, it should be your ordinary practice to pour out your hearts in private before the Lord. My Voyce shalt thou hear in the Morning, says David. In the Morning O Lord, will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up, Psal. 5. 3. If the Soul be serious in its address unto God, in the beginning of the day, 'tis likely to have the more grace, and strength to resist temptations, and to walk with God all the day long. 'Tis better to be shorter in the E­vening duties, and larger in the Morning, [Page 61] then the spirits are fresher and more abun­dant, and the soul has not such clogs in its actings, as it meets with when the body is spent and tyred. But if something unavoid­ably fall out, that you cannot pray at the time you desire, and were wont; be sure lay hold of some other opportunity, and neglect not the duty altogether.

3. Let the Word of God be lookt into, and meditated on when prayer is made: The Word will direct you, quicken and encourage you unto prayer. By the Word, God speaks to you, as by prayer you speak to him; if you regard not Gods voyce, how can you expect he should mind yours? If you will not hear, and obey [...]he will not hear and grant what you request of him. The Word should dwell richly in you, Col. 3. 16. your delight should be in the Law of the Lord, and in that Law should you meditate day and night, Psal. 1. 2. The Scriptures should be searched, which shews they are a depth, and all is not at first looking into them discovered: you must seek here as for silver, and search here as for hid treasure, if you would understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God, Prov. 2. 4, 5. How enlightning, how enlivening, how cleansing, and transforming is the word of God? How sweet and desirable are the Lords testimonies? When the Spirit be­comes the expositor of Scripture, and o­pens the eyes too, to behold wondrous [Page 62] things out of Gods Law, and affects the heart! oh then there is such efficacy, profit, and sweetness as is beyond comparison.

4. Be liberal in this duty of secret prayer: Pray with a forward, and with a free spirit; grudg not the time you spend here, for this is the best way of turning time unto a good account. Be sensible how good it is to draw nigh to God, for the promise is, if you draw nigh to God, he will draw nigh to you, Jam. 4. 8. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you; cleanse your hands ye Sinners, pu­rifie your hearts ye double-minded. Now Gods drawing near, implies his being reconciled to us, his manifesting his power and grace for our help and supply. Oh the [...]fore go un­to God with an holy eagerness, who is so ready to meet you, and to satiate the weary soul, and to replenish every sorrowful soul, Jer. 31. 25. We must be much and often with God, for this is the way to come to an ac­quaintance with him; and the better we are acquainted with him, the more we shall love him, and be sensible of his love to us. Hark to what is said, Job 22. 21. Acquaint now thy self with him, and be at peace thereby, good shall come unto thee.

5. In secret prayer, be very particular; ease your Consciences by a particular innu­meration of your Iniquities, and the aggra­vations which have heightned them. Make known all your wants, before that God, who [Page 63] has styled himself God All-sufficient; fear not that the Lord will be weary of hearing, or be backward to give a gracious return. When you are alone with God, you may use the greater freedom of speech; this being parti­cular, will contribute much unto your bro­kenness of heart, with which the Lord is well­pleased, and also unto your own sensing of your manisold wants, and making of you meet to be supplied.

6. Look after secret prayer: Stand upon your Watch-Tower, and observe what an­swer is given. The Merchant hearkens af­ter the Ships that he sends to Sea: When a Petition is presented to a Prince, you wait what Answer will be returned. Be thus wise in prayer; if you speed not, find out the Impediment: if you do speed, be encou­raged by answers to act Faith in God, and to persist in prayer. Because he has inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live, says David, Psal. 116. 1. And let answers of prayer be matter of praise, that Satan and Conscience may not accuse you of, and God may not be angry at your ingratitude.

Thus of the Rules concerning secret prayer. Now follow the Arguments to per­swade unto it.

1. Consider, God sees in secret; in secret places God sees, for he fills both Heaven [Page 64] and Earth, his Omnipresence is an evident demonstration of his Omniscience; as he can­not be confined to any place, so neither can he be excluded. All things are open and naked before him, Heb. 4. 13. And as his seeing in secret, is matter of terrour to the Ungodly, so of joy unto the Righteous. David speaks both with wonder, and with gladness, Psal. 139. 7, 8, 9, 10. Whithef shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy Presence? If I ascend up into Heaven, thou art there; if I make my Bed in Hell, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter­most part of the Sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. In what secret corner soever you are, God is with you; all your sighs and groans, your complaints and desires are taken notice of.

2. Frequency in secret prayer, is a great ar­gument of Uprightness and Sincerity. 'Tis a sign you seek God himself, when none but God knows of your seeking him. What the Apostle speaks of the Jew, may be applied unto the Christian: He is not a Christian, that is one outwardly, but that is one in­wardly, not [...] but [...]. not so much openly, as in secret, Rom. 2. 28, 29. The praise of such is not of men, but of God.

3. Secret prayer is a marvellous way to thrive in grace, and to grow rich towards God. [Page 65] By this means Faith will grow exceedingly, Love will abound, and our Souls will pro­sper. Some Trades-men keep a Shop, and drive a Trade there, and gain thereby; but they have a secret way of trading, which is not observed, and by this they grow weal­thy in a short space. A Christian that is much in secret with God, O how much does he gain! such an one, how good does he find the Lord, how ready both to forgive, and to give; and he can set his Seal unto that truth that God is plentious in mercy unto all that call upon him, Psal. 86. 5.

4. Secret prayer is a means to fit for pub­lick Ordinances. They that are most upon their knees in the Closet, will get most, be­nefit in the Sanctuary. The preparation of the heart is from God, and he must in secret be sought unto, to fit our spirits for solemn worship. Those that, before they come to hear, pray that Gospel may come to them, not in word only, but in power also, and the Holy Ghost, and much assurance; these are likely to find the Gospel working effectually, and that 'tis the power of God to their Salvation, Rom. 1. 16. Those that before, they come to the Table, examine themselves alone, beg that God would search them, and are im­portunate for strength against every Cor­ruption, for all the fruits of Christ's suffer­ings, for all the graces of the spirit, are not likely to be sent away empty.

[Page 66]5. Secret prayer is a means to keep the im­pression of publick duties upon the heart, after the duties themselves are ended. Your work is not over when publick Ordinances are over. Has any sin been discovered and reproved; you must go in secret, and bewail it, and cry out, Lord, let not this, nor any iniquity have the dominion over me, Psal. 119. 133. Has any duty been made manifest; you should go in secret, and cry, Incline my heart unto thy Testimonies, and make me to go in the path of thy Commandments, Psal. 119. 35, 36. Have any gracious and holy resolutions, by the motions of the spirit, with the word, been made; you must go alone, and beg, Keep this O Lord, for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of my heart, and establish my heart unto thee, 1 Chron. 29. 18.

6. Secret prayer, is the way to have special tokens of Gods love, and those joys that a stran­ger does not intermeddle with. Oh the sweet meltings and thawings of the heart for sin, as 'tis an abuse of mercy, that are experi­enced in secret prayer! Oh the visits that then the great Physician of Souls does make! How suitably and gently does he deal with the wounded spirit! what assurance does he give, that he will in no wise cast out, but give rest unto the weary and heavy-laden! Mat. 11. 28. Oh what peace is spoken to the Saints in answer to prayer! what sweet inti­mations are given, and sometimes a plero­phory [Page 67] and full perswasion of their interest in that love which is unchangable and ever­lasting? Surely the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his Covenant, Psal. 25. 14.

7. Consider, God will reward openly: This Argument Christ uses to enforce secret pray­er, Mat. 6. 6. Thy Father which seeth in se­cret, shall reward thee openly. As all secret wickedness shall at last be detected and punished, so all secret piety and godliness shall be made manifest before the whole world at the Judgment day, and the reward will be exceeding great and everlasting.

So much be spoken concerning prayer in the Closet.

2. Prayer in the Family is to be insisted on. And that Family-prayer, is a duty may be evidently proved by these Arguments.

1. The Apostle in the Text, enjoyns all prayer, and Family-prayer is one kind that ho­ly men have used. Joshua resolves that he, and his House would serve the Lord, Josh. 24. 15. and prayer is so principle a part of Divine Service, that in Scripture, 'tis some­times put for the whole, Gen. 4. ult. Then be­gan men to call upon the Name of the Lord; that is, in a more publick manner to wor­ship him. So of Cornelius 'tis said, that he feared God with all his House, and pray'd unto the Lord always, Act. 10. 2.

[Page 68]2. Families of Believers are styled Churches in Scripture, and in a Church there is a joyning to­gether in prayer & other exercises of Godliness. The Apostle Paul wishes grace and peace to the Church in Philemons House, Phil. 2. 3. and v. 22. speaks of their joynt-prayers, through which he trusted he should be given to them.

3. The Family stands in need of blessings, which they are together to beg for, and to depre­cate Family evils; And for encouragement, Christ has promised, that where two or three are gathered together in his Name, he will be in the midst of them, Mat. 18. 20. Now in Families-duties, two or three are gathered to­gether in Christs Name, and his prefence may without presumption be expected.

4. Wrath is threatned upon prayerless Fa­milies. Pour out thy Fury upon the Fami­lies that call not upon thy Name, Jer. 10. 25. I grant indeed that the word Families is of such a Latitude, that it extends unto Countries and Kingdoms; but if there be an obligation upon Countrys and Kingdoms to joyn in calling upon God, surely then Familys more strictly taken, are in no wife Exemp­ted.

Having proved Family-Prayer a Duty, I shall lay down some directions as to the performance of it.

[Page 69]1. Be sensible that Prayer is a business of greater concernment, than any wordly business whatsoever. You are indeed to be diligent in your Callings that are particular; but your general Callings is of greatest weight. The general Calling is that which all are called to; and what are all called to? They are called to serve and glorifie God; and to work out their own Salvation. Prayer is a part of your Homage to the King of Heaven. Much Spiritual and Eternal benefit is to be obtained by it, therefore do it not as a by-bu­siness, neither let every small matter cause the omission of it.

2. Believe that success in your Callings de­pends upon the Lords Blessing, the blessing of the Lord maketh Rich says Solomon, and he addeth no Sorrow with it, Prov. 10. 22. with­out thee tis in vain to rise up early, and to sit up late, and to eat the Bread of carefulness. Now Prayer for this blessing, is the way to fetch it. I grant indeed that many thrive in the World without Prayer; but then Wealth is a Curse and a Snare to them; 'tis a weight that hinders them from ascending into the Hill of the Lord, and helps to sink them in­to destruction and perdition.

3. Let Prayer ordinarily be twice a day, as under the old Law there was a morning, and evening Sacrifice, and let the whole Family joyn in it if it be possible; since there are none but need prayer, and may receive ad­vantage by it.

[Page 70]4. Let the Word of God be read when Pray­er is made, that not only you, but your housholds after you may be acquainted with the Misterys of the Gospel, and with the will of God. Abraham communicated what he had learned from the Lord unto his Fami­ly, he used his Authority, and commanded his Children, and his Houshold after him, to keep the way of the Lord, Gen. 18. 19.

5. Take heed of customariness, and forma­lity in family-Worship, engage always with a serious Spirit, and in every Duty stir up your selves, to take hold on God.

I conclude with the motives to perswade you to Family-Prayer.

1. You that are Governours have a charge of the Souls that dwell under your Roof, and must answer for them. Therefore you are to pray with them; to pray for them: Else you will incur the guilt of the Blood of Souls and that will lie heavy. You provide food for your Housholds, for you are unwilling it should be said, you are so much worse than Infidels, as to suffer any to starve that dwels with you. Oh what unmercifulness is it, patiently to suffer those of your Hou­shold, to go on in the way that leads to Damnation: And not to call upon the Lord, in their hearing, that they may be saved!

2. Families are the Seminaries both of Church and State. And therefore as you de­sire [Page 71] the Church may be pure, and the State Righteous, look well unto your Families; and let Religion flourish in them. Reforma­tion indeed must begin at Persons, and if e­very one would mend one; all would be re­formed. But from persons it must proceed to houses: And if these were but once lea­vened with godlyness; what holy Citys, and what an happy Nation would there be!

3. Consider Family-Worship, has wofully been neglected of late in these declining times. How many large consciences, loose principles, and loose practises, are there to be found among us! We match Laodicea in Luke-warmness; and what was said of langushing Sardis, may be applied to us, that we have a name to Live, but are Dead, Rev. 3. 1. In many Fa­milies all are stark stone Dead, and there is a most impious, and gross neglect of God and Duty: and in other Families all are ready to dy, lively services are rarely to be found. Oh 'tis high time to awake, and vigo­rously to endeavour, that in our houses the Lord may be served by all, and that with all their Heart, and all their Soul, and all their mind, and all their Strength.

I have done with Family-Prayer.

3. Prayer, in the publick Congregation and Assembly is to be spoken to. Gods Temple of old was styled the House of Prayer, Luk. 19. 46. because there his people met toge­ther, to seek his Face; Publick prayer is a [Page 72] great Ordinance, and when rightly mana­ged of great efficacy.

Now, the Rules concerning publick pra­yer are these.

1. These Prayers must be performed in a known Tongue, that all may understand and be edified, 1 Cor. 14. and they should be well expressed, nothing that is raw, unseemly, or that borders upon non­sence, or Blasphemy, should be brought forth in the Assembly.

2. Come at the very beginning. To come late is both offensive to God, and to serious Spirits; and 'tis to cheat and defraud your own Souls; and when you are here, let your gesture be reverent; for God expects Wor­ship and adoration from your whole man; internal from Soul, and external from the Body.

3. Take heed of distraction, when there are so many objects to divert you, and your hearts are so exceeding slippery. Remember Gods jealous Eye is fixed upon you; and as he cannot be deceived, so he cannot endure to be mocked by you, Gal. 6. 7.

4. Take head of carnal desires in your pub­like Duties. Let not your supplications be like [...]hose of the Pharisees and Scribes, of whom Christ sayes they made prayers onely for a pretence & shew, Luke, 20. 47. The hypo­crite is like the Birds of Prey, which though they sore never so high towards Heaven, [Page 73] yet their eye is still downward, that they may catch something. Be not seemingly de­vout in the Congregation, that you may the more unsuspectedly be unjust in shops, and secretly intemperate and unclean. But be very sincere in your publick addresses un­to God; as knowing you have to do with him, that sees not as man sees, that judges not according to outward appearance; but tries the heart and veins.

And to perswade you to this publike Pray­er, consider,

1. God is hereby Acknowledged and Ho­noured. His people hereby testify to the World, that there is a Lord in Heaven, whom they worship, and from whom they have their expectation. And indeed this is one reason of publick institutions, that we may make a profession to the world whose we are and whom we serve.

2. The Lord vouchsafes something to his peo­ple in the Sanctuary, that elsewhere is not to be found. David was in an admirable frame when he was in the Wilderness of Judah; God was liberal to him both of Grace and Comfort: but he is not satisfied, because de­prived of publick ordinances that were ad­ministred in the tabernacle: therefore he crys out, My Soul thirsteth for thee, my Flesh lon­geth for thee, to see thy power and thy glory so as I have seen thee in the Sanctuary, Psal. 63. 1. 2.

[Page 74]3. The united prayers of many Saints toge­gether, is stronger, and more apt to pravail. Uis unita fortior, much fire together gives the greater heat; and many waters joyned, run with more violence: and in like manner, when a great congregation joyns together as one man to wrestle with God in prayer, how Successful are they like to be! Abraham a­lone had like to have prevail'd for Sodom; but put the case there had been an assembly of righteous ones, belonging to Sodom, that had joyned with Abraham in prayer, surely the City had been spared.

I have dispatched vocal Prayer, which I divided into three kinds, secret, family, and publick.

2. In the second place I come to speak of Mental Prayer, when the heart alone with­out the tongue is engaged. Now this Mental prayer is two fold; first, more Solemn; Secondly, more Sudden and Ejaculatory. 'Tis lawfull and possible to pray alone with the heart in a more solemn manner, & truly in some places and in some circumstances, words may not be so convenient to be uttered; but where 'tis convenient, words should be used, be­cause 'tis difficult to pray any while only in the heart; and do it without roaving.

But Mental prayer, that is more sudden and ejaculatory, I shall a little dilate upon. In this kind of prayer, the Soul lifts up it self [Page 75] to God, in some short desire and request. Thus Moses cryed unto God, Exod. 14. 15. and yet we read not of a word, uttered. Thus Nehemiah prayed, when King Artax­erxes was speaking to him, Neh. 2. 4. These holy ejaculations are the very breathings of the new creature; they mightily help to keep down the lustings of the Flesh; and to preserve us unspotted by the world, or the unclean God of it; but the heart hereby is kept close to the God of heaven.

Concerning this mental ejaculatory Pra­yer let these directions be observed. 1. Let the heart frequently be sending up desires to God, all true desires are observed, are plea­sing to him, and shall be satisfied; let these desires therefore be strong, and principally after the greatest; that is to say, Spiritual blessings.

2. In all your civil employments, let your hearts ever and anon be thus engaged; this will make, and keep you Spiritual; 'twil hinder your estrangment from God, and your being ensnared by the unrighteous Mammon.

3. Let every temptation at the very first be resisted by this kind of prayer: thus watch and pray, that ye enter not into Temptation, Mat. 26. 41. Oh sigh and groan to the God of all grace, when you find Satan assaulting, and a sinful and deceitfull heart ready to yeild, that you may have grace to help in the time of need, Heb. 4. ult.

4. Let this sort of Prayer, begin and end every duty; sigh before for assistance, and sigh afterwards for acceptance; and that infir­mities through Christ Jesus, may be passed by, and that you may obtain some Spiritual advantage by every ordinance.

5. Begin and end every day with mental Prayer; assoon as ever you awake, there are many watching for your first thoughts; Sa­tan, and sin, and the world will have them, if your Souls are not lifted up to the Lord. Let him be last likewise in your thoughts: this is the way to lie down in Peace and Safety, Psal. 4. ult.

6. Especially upon the Sabbath day, ejacula­tory prayer should be abundant: you must not then think your own thoughts, nor find your pleasures. Holy desires should issue forth continually, Sabbaths would be gainful sea­sons indeed, were they but thus improved.

7. Mix mental Praise and Prayer together. Let your Souls, and all that is within you, blesse the Lord upon every manifestation of his goodness, as well as desire blessings from him.

And thus have I gon over the parts, and kinds of Prayer, much work, indeed I have told you of, but the more work the better; for the more grace is to be expected, in order unto the performing of what is required. I shall conclude with a very brief Application in two words.

[Page 77]1. How sharply are they to be reproved, that instead of praying with all prayer, use no prayer, but live in the almost total neglect of this duty.

2. Be perswaded to pray with all Prayer. All prayer that God has appointed, he is ready to hear; in all prayer the name of Christ may be used, and the promises of God which are sure, exceeding great and precious, may be pleaded: and how glad may we be that the Lord has appointed so many successful wayes of seeking him, wherein he has con­sulted the variety of our conditions and ne­cessitys? So much for the second Doctrine, That all Prayer is to be used.

D. 3. Prayer when rightly performed, is Sup­plication in the Spirit. Indeed all our worship of God who is a Spirit, must be in Spirit and in truth, Joh. 4. 24. else 'tis in truth, no wor­ship. As the body without the Spirit is dead, so dutys without Spirit are dead also.

In the handling of this point, I shall first open to you what 'tis to pray in the Spirit. Se­condly, Lay down the reasons of the Doctrine. Thirdly, Answer some cases of conscience about praying in the Spirit. Lastly, make applica­tion.

First, What 'tis to pray in Spirit. This, as I have already intimated, refers both to the Spirit of him that prays, and also to the Spirit of God, who helps to pray.

1. This praying in the Spirti refers unto [Page 78] the spirit of him that prays, and several things are here included.

1. To pray with our spirit, implies, to pray with understanding. I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with understanding also, 1 Cor. 14. 15. we must not only understand the words that are spoken, but also, and that principally, the worth of those things which we Petition for; we must likewise in some measure be acquainted with the All-sufficien­cy and Faithfulness of that God whom we pray to, and with our own indigency that are the Petitioners. The Athenians had an Altar dedicated, [...], to the unknown God, Act. 17. 23. and they are said ignorant­ly to worship him; and truly all their worship degenerated into superstition. We must know the Lord and our selves, what his pro­mises and our own Needs are, else prayer will be of no account.

2. To pray with our spirit, implies, to pray with judgment, discerning between things that differ. There is as vast a difference be­tween Sin and Holiness, as there is between Deformity and Beauty: There is as vast a difference between the Creature and the Creator, as there is between the broken Cistern that can hold no water, and the Foun­tain of living waters, Jer. 2. 12, 13. Be a­stonished O ye Heavens, at this, & be horribly a­fraid; be ye very desolate saith the Lord, for my people have committed two evils, they have [Page 79] forsaken me, the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out Cisterns, broken Cisterns that can hold no water. There is as vast a difference between a state of Grace, and a state of Wrath, as there is between Heaven and Hell. Now he that prays, must be ap­prehensive of all this; and a believing ap­prehension of it, will make him earnest for the loving kindness of the Lord, and that he may taste more and more of the Fountain of living waters, and be cleansed from all de­filements.

3. To pray with our spirits, implies, to pray with intention of mind. Abraham drove away the fowls that did light upon his Sacrifice, Gen. 15. and so should we drive away the imper­tinent and sinful, and troublesome thoughts that arise, or are injected into our hearts, when we engage in sprayer. Our hearts cannot wander in the least, but they are espied by him, whose name is jealous. We should therefore desire that the Lord himself, who holds the wind in his Fists, would seize upon our more unruly hearts, and keep them close to himself in duty, especially consider­ing there are some kind of distractions that nullifie and make void, prayer; distractions that are not regarded, not lamented, not watched, or striven against.

4. To pray with our spirits, implies, to pray with spiritual affections. The affections are the wings of the Soul; and the Soul is [Page 80] carried either to, or from any thing, accor­ding as the affections are inclined. The Apo­stle exhorting to seck the things that are a­bove, presently adds, set your affection on things above, Col. 3. 1, 2. intimating, we shall never seek the things above in good ear­nest, unless our affections be placed on them. Those affections that have evil for their ob­ject, must spend their strength upon sin, which is the worst of all evils. Sin must be hated most perfectly; sin must cause the deepest sorrow; sin must be most feared; and a­gainst sin, the heart should rise with the great­est indignation. Those affections that have good for their object, as love, desire, and the like, should run with a full stream towards God, and those great things that are brought to light by the Gospel, and promised in the covenant of grace. The stronger and more spiritual our affections are in prayer, the better success will follow, 2 Chron. 15. 15. 'Tis said of Judah, that they sought the Lord with their whole desire, and he was found of them.

2. This praying in the spirit, refers to the Spirit of God who helps to pray. The Apostle Jude exhorts to build up our selves on our most holy Faith, and to pray in the Holy Ghost, Jud. 20. and so to keep our selves in the love of God; looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto Eternal life. Now [Page 81] the operation, or working of the spirit of God in prayer, I shall explain in these par­ticulars.

1. The Spirit of God teaches Believers for what to pray; he opens their eyes to under­stand the Word, and to know what the Will of the Lord is. W know not, says the Apo­stle, what we should pray for as we ought, but the spirit mak [...]th intercession for the Saints, ac­cording to the Will of God, Rom. 8. 27.

2. The spirit removes impediments to prayer; he turns that love, that naturally is in the heart to sin, into hatred; he causes the World that was Idolized, to be contemned; he cures that infidelity, in reference to the excellency of spiritual things, that the un­renewed Soul is full of; as also that enmity against God and Holiness, which was in the mind all the while 'twas Carnal. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, 2 Cor. 3. 17. the Fetters are knockt off, the Clogs removed, the Soul is brought out of Prison, and is made free, both unto the performance of duty, and free in the performance of it.

3. The Spirit encourages unto prayer; he lets Believers understand, that now is the ac­cepted time, that now is the day of Salva [...]ion, 2 Cor. 6. 2. Wherefore, he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, in a day of Sal­vation have I succoured thee; behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of Salva­tion. [Page 82] Though the Lord should have been sought much sooner, yet 'tis not too late to seek him now, he will be found by the hear­ty seeker: such seeking shall not be in vain, Deut. 4. 29. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

4. The Spirit enables Believers to act those graces that are required in prayer. There are four graces especially that should be ex­ercised in our supplications, Humility, Faith, Love, Patience.

1. Humility. The Lord has a special re­gard to the Humble; whereas the Proud he knows afar of, and has threatned to resist the Proud. The humble soul has high and awfull apprehensions of God in prayer, and mean, very mean thoughts of it self. Abraham was humble, when he said, Behold I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes, Jer. 18. 27. Job was humble when he said, Mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor my self. The good Angels themselves are humble, though never in the least offen­ders; the Cherubins cover their faces with their wings, and cry out, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the whole Earth is filled with his glory. How vile then should we be in our own eyes, who by our guilt are so ob­noxious; who have so many soul spots and stains upon our souls, which are the effects [Page 83] of sin, nay, whose very Righteousnesses are but as filthy raggs? Isa. 64. 6.

2. Faith is to be acted in prayer; and truly we may come with confidence to the Throne of Grace, if we consider the power of God, which is not only most Mighty, but Al­mighty. I am God Almighty, saith the Lord to Abraham, the Father of the Faithful. He can do more for us, than we can desire should be done for us. Nothing is too hard for him; and although all other helps fail, he needs them not, his Arm, when alone, can bring Salvation, Isa. 59. 16. This power of God may safely be relyed on, for he is also full of mercy, Psal. 62. ult. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God, also unto thee belongeth mercy. Da­vid was encouraged by this in his supplicati­ons, Psal. 25. 6. Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses, for they have been ever of old. And we have not only an intimation of Gods merciful nature, but in his Covenant, he has promised to shew mercy, for this he delights in; and Christ is the Mediatour of this Covenant, so that 'tis most sure. Hark to the Apostle, Heb. 8. 10. 12. This is the Covenant that I will make, saith the Lord, I will put my Laws in their minds, and write them in their hearts: I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; [Page 84] for I will be merciful to their Unrighteousness, and their Sins and Iniquities I will remember no more.

3. Love is to be acted in prayer; there must be a love to our Neighbour, and they must from the heart be forgiven, that have Tres-passed against us; shall we think much of a few Pence, when we are Debtors many thousand Talents? But principally, there must be love to the Lord expressed in prayer, his favour and fellowship with him must be longed for; the s [...]ul must thirst for God, for the livi [...]g God, as the chased Hart after the water-brooks, 42. 1, 2. And when he does manifest himself, he must be rejoyced and delighted in, and his grace admired, what­ever is received.

4. Patience is also to be acted in prayer: there must be a patient waiting in this duty, a right understanding of Gods Wisdom and Faithfulness, that he knows what, and when to give, and will do it in the best; both time and measure, will be a great means to cure our over-hastiness. David is to be imitated, who said, I waited patiently for the Lord, and he lost nothing by it; for it follows, He in­clined his ear unto me, and heard my cry, Psal. 40. 1. These are the graces which the Spirit enables Believers to act in prayer.

5. The Spirit directs Believers unto Christ, as the alone prevailing Advocate. We are said to have access to the Father, by the Spi­rit, [Page 58] and through the Son, Eph. 2. 18. The Spirit leads us to Christ as the Mediator, who is the way unto God. The Spirit shews, that God having given Christ, has opened through him, the treasur [...]s of his grace, and for his sake will give freely all things. The Spirit still is turning the eye of the Believer towards the Lord Jesus, and in prayer in­structs us how to improve his relation to us; who is bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, and is become an Head and Husband to us: How to improve his sufferings, by which, all that we need has been procured: How to improve his Intercession, which as 'tis inces­sant, so 'tis never denyed; and finally, How to improve his Power and Authority; for he can do what he will, both in Heaven, and in Earth. He is the Prince of Peace, and the Lord of Life and Glory; he can give Peace, and Life, and Glory to whom he pleas­eth.

6. The Spirit makes Believers sincere in their aimes when they pray. They design the Hallowing, and Honouring of Gods Name, as well as their own welfare. They beg for pardon and grace, not only because 'tis good for themselves to have these, but likewise, because the Lord glorisies his grace, and mer­cy, and goodness, in forgiving, and healing, and saving those that cry and fly to him.

Thus you see what 'tis to pray in the Spi­rit; and consequently it does not lye barely, [Page 86] either in fluency of utterance, or in variety of expressions, or in multitude of words.

Now follow the Reasons of the Doctrine, and they are of two sorts: First, Why our own spirits should engage in prayer.

1. Because God is a spirit, our Lord as­signs this as a Reason why worship should be in spirit, because God is a Spirit, who is worshipped.

2. He principally requires our spirits. My Son, give me thy heart, Prov. 23. 26. And truly he does narrowly observe where our hearts are, when we are at prayer; and no wonder, for our spirits are most capable of serving him. To admire, fear, love, trust in him, these are the principal ways of worshipping him, and this is done with the heart.

3. Without our spirits, prayer is but a mocke­ry. If when the Lord is honoured with the mouth, the heart be far from him, God says, in vain do they worship me, and I will not hold them guiltless. And this you may observe, that when our hearts are not engaged in prayer, they are commanded by the Lords Enemies: Sin, the world, and Satan, do de­tain them.

The second sort of Reasons are, why we must pray by the help of the Spirit of God; His assistance is necessary.

[Page 87]1. Because of our darkness, we of our selves know not God, nor his Will, nor our own greatest Needs, nor wherein lyes our great interest and truest happiness.

2. Because of our deadness; active we are as to sin, but unto prayer indisposed; the dead man must be lifted and carried, for of himself he cannot stir: We that naturally are without strength, nay without life, can­not lift up our souls to God, unless the spirit lift them up to him.

3. Because of the opposition that is made by the evil one. When we come to the Mercy­seat, the Devil makes nothing of taking the right hand of us, he is ready to resist us, as he did Joshua the high Priest, Zach 3. 1. and we are not able to withstand him, unless the Spirit of God, who is infinitely stronger, re­buke him for us.

4. The Spirits assistance is necessary in prayer, because of that natural aversness i [...] our own hearts unto what is good; whereas we should hate the evil, and love the good; we hate the good, and love the evil; nay in the very best, there is a law in the members, which wars against the law of the mind, and evil is present. If the Spirit were not also mightily and graciously present, there would be an utter inability as to prayer, or any du­ty which God requires.

In the third place, I am to answer some [Page 88] Cases of Conscience concerning the Spirit of Prayer.

1. Whether all Believers have the Spirit of Prayer?

I answer, that all true Believers have this Spirit. For the spirit of Grace, which all Saints have received, is also a spirit of sup­plication, Zech. 12. 10. and the Apostle ex­presly sayes, if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his

2. Whether only Believers have the spirit of Prayer?

I answer, The spirit of prayer is peculiar to Believers; for where the holy Ghost does help the heart to pray, he cleanses the heart from what before defiled it, and turns the heart and the desires of it towards God; so that thats now the Language, Psal. 73. 25. Whom have I in Heaven but thee, and there is none on Earth that I desire besides thee.

3. Whether the Spirit of Prayer may not be lost?

I answer, that the Spirit may be grieved, by our corruptions, when they prevail, and when we grovv slothful and heedless hovv vve enter into Temptation; and being grie­ed, may withdraw his quickning and assisting influences: But the Spirit is never quite lost by those that have been truly renewed by him. He abides for ever where he has con­seccrated any to be his Temple, Joh. 14. 16. [Page 89] David after his fall, says, Restore unto me the joy of thy Salvation, to shew that his joy was lost; but he prayes Take not thy holy Spirit from me, to signifie that the Spirit was not quite departed, though that departure was deserved and feared.

4. May not persons excel in the gift of pray­er, that yet are void of the Spirit? I answer in the affirmitive. The gift of prayer may only serve to puff up professours with Pride; how are such pleased in reflecting upon the repute they have gained by their enlarged­ness in expression! And this pride is not check­ed, is not abhorred. The words of pray­er may be used, and a carnal worldly designe carried on. Hypocrites aime at an eminen­cy in gifts, that they may pass for godly; and under the cloak of Religion, cover their wickedness: and in their most enlarged sup­plications, they aime at their own profit, fame, and are prodigiously destitute of the fear of God. 'Tis certain the gift of Pray­er may be in the unsound hearted; for even the gift of Prophesie, which the Apostle pre­fers before other gifts, we find in wicked men, Mat. 7. 22, 23. many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name? Then will I profess unto them I never knew you; depart from me ye workers of iniqui­ty.

5. May not some that have the Spirit of Pray­er, be very weak in the gift of utterance? [Page 90] I answer yes, There was much of the spi­rit of prayer in Hezekiah, when he chatte­red like a Crane or Swallow, and mourned like a Dove, Esa. 38. 14. The Lord regards not so much the expression as affection: and the heart may be sincere in its desires; when not onely because of the strength of those de­sires, but also through confusion, there wants utterance. Let not those therefore that are but weak in expression be discouraged; for the heart may highly value Mercy and Grace, and obtain both when prayer is but lisped, and stammered forth by the Tongue.

Now follows the Application,

And Use 1. is of reproof, which belongs

1. To them who pray indeed, but their Hearts and Spirits pray not with them. They put the Lord off with the bended knees; the stretched forth hands; the lifted up eyes; the labour of the lips; the fruit of their in­vention: but all this while their hearts are not with him; and their affections run a who­ring after their vanities and iniquities. The prayers of such dissemblers are dead prayers: and truly are to be numbred among their dead works: and their prayers being not minded by themselves, how should God have regard to them, unless it be to hate and punish them?

2. They are to be reproved, who make light of the Spirit of God, and of his assistance in [Page 91] this duty of prayer. They account the aid of the holy Ghost, a needless, a notional, and imaginary thing. Such never knew what 'tis to wrestle with God, what 'tis to sigh, and groan, and be as it were in Travel: till the blessings beg'd for are obtained. Oh how impossible is it, that Nature should rise thus high, till the Spirit do renew and elevate it?

Use, 2. Of Trial, whether we have the Spi­rit of Prayer or no? And this may be dis­cerned by these following signs:

1. Those that have the Spirit of Prayer, by the Spirit have been convinced of sin, Joh. 16. 8. he has discovered sin, broken their hearts for it; and 'tis now become a load to them, though before they loved it never so extreamly: Before they hid sin, now they lay it open in prayer; before they excused it, now they aggravate it; and judg them­selves worthy of Hell and Wrath, because of it.

2. Those that have the Spirit of Prayer, are made to look unto Christ crucified, Zach. 12. 10. I will pour out upon the House of Da­vid and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spi­rit of supplication: Then shall they look upon him whom they have peirced and mourn for him, and be in bitterness as one is in bitterness for the loss of a first born. Christ crucified is lookt upon by such with a weeping Eye; because [Page 92] their sin was the cause of his sufferings; and with an eye of dependance, for all their ex­pectation of Grace, and Peace, and Life, is through Him alone.

3. They that have the Spirit of Prayer, are earnest for the fruits, and graces of the Spirit; that Love, [...]oy, Peace, Long suffering, Gentlenesse, Goodness, Faith, Meck [...]sse, Tem­perance. All which the Apostle enumerates, Gal. 5. 22. 23. may be in them, and abound: and they are restless in prayer for the mortifi­cation of the deeds of the flesh; for they con­sider what is said, Rom. 8. 13. If ye live after the flesh, ye shall dye: but if ye through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

4. They that have the Spirit of prayer; are enabled to go unto God as unto a Father, Gal. 4. 6. And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Not but that doubts and fears may be in those that have the Spirit: witnesse the Psalmist, who cryed out, will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favoura­ble no more? is his mercy clear gon for ever? And doth his promise fail for evermore? hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercyes? Psal. 77. 7. 8. 9. But at length, and truly it may be long first, [...]aith gets the better of unbelief. Many that are the Children of God cannot always call him Father, yet even then they go to him, and are no [...]quite beat off from him; and [Page 93] there is a Secret Trust, that he has some gra­cious respect to them: and by this they are encouraged still to persist in prayer.

Use 3 of Exhortation. Prize and value the Spirit of Prayer; as without his help you cannot pray to any purpose; so he can make prayer mightily pravailing. The Spirit will create an holy boldness in your accesse to the throne of grace: he will enlarge your hearts in this duty; which enlargements are not without sweetness, and great satisfaction. The Spirit will draw up and indite such pe­titions for you, as will not be denyed: and give some encouraging intimation of your being accepted, and answered, in the be­loved.

Now, if you would have the Spirit of Pra­yer, follow these directions: 1. Rest not in the bare gift of Prayer; let it not satisfy you, that you have a praying tongue, and no more: all your Supplications are but a flattering the Lord with your lips, and a lying unto him with your tongues, while your hearts are not right with him, Psal. 78. 36, 37.

2. Be sensible of your need of the Spirit: light and liberty, life and liveliness, are the effects of the Spirit; good motions, holy af­fections, are his off-spring: without him you will be like Pharaohs Chariots, when the wheels were taken off, and drive on hea­vily; [Page 94] but he can make your Souls like the Cha­ri [...]ts of Amminadib, Cant. 6. 12.

3. Part with every thing that grieves the Spirit; foster not any lust or inordinate af­fection, that may render your hearts an un­pleasant habitation to him.

4. Frequently beg for the Spirit; and Espe­cially in secret; this will be a sign that you in­deed desire him. Plead the promises which you find, Luk. 11. 13. If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your Children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit unto them that ask him? And what God has promised, Christ died that he might purchase: nay, Christ has prayed that the Spirit might be bestowed, Joh. 14. 16. And therefore you may pray with the greater encouragement and assurance. Thus con­cerning that third doctrine; that Prayer, when rightly performed is Supplication in the Spirit.

D. 4. In Prayer, Watching is a necessary ingredient. Watching is a duty which the great Prophet Christ himself frequently pressed, and the injunction is general, What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch, Mar. 13. 37, He knew that a Spiritual Lethargie, is a dis­ease most incident. But if at any time, sure­ly in holy duties this heedlesness and sleepy­ness, does discover it self; we had need there­fore to rouse up our Spirits, that are so slug­gish naturally. Deborah speaks to her self [Page 95] four times, Awake, awake; Deborah, Awake, awake, utter a Song, Judg. 5. 12. We have need thus again and again to call upon our Souls to Awake, and be Watchful, when a­bout to utter a prayer. Watching and pray­ing are joyned in Scripture; and not only so, but Watching is required in Prayer, Col. 4. 2. Continue in Prayer, and Watch in the same with Thanksgiving: so 1 Pet. 4. 7. But the end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore So­ber, and Watch unto Prayer.

In the handling of this doctrine, I shall first shew what we are to Watch against in Prayer. Secondly, What we are to Watch over; Thirdly, What we are to Watch for; Fourthly, What man­ner of Watching is required in Prayer: Fifthly, Give the reasons why Watching is so necessary; Lastly, make Application.

In the first place, I am to tell you, What we are to Watch against in Prayer.

1. We must watch against indwelling cor­ruption. There is a Law in our Members that wars against the Law of our minds; and this Law in our members commands quite contrary to the Law of God. This Law says, pray not at all; but especially forbids seriousness and fervency in Prayer; and if not watchful, this Law will sway and over-rule us, and bring us into captivity to the Law of sin: VVe had need look to our selves, for when we have thoughts of doing good, evil will be present with us, Rom. 7. 21. and [Page 96] if care be not taken, the evil will hinder our doing of the good. Oh how deep is the cor­ruption of our Nature! How desperat [...]ly wicked is the heart of man! How great are the remainders of sin, in those that are most renewed! And since the remaining Flesh still does lust against the Spirit, this Flesh is to be narrowly eyed, that it may be weak­ned, checked, else 'twill spoil all our services.

2. When praying, we must watch against the evil One. Satan likes not to see us at the Throne of Grace, because he knows & has felt the suf­ficiency of that grace, that believers obtain there: I besought the Lord, says the Apostle, when buffeted by the messenger of Satan, 2 Cor. 12. 8. and the power of Christ so rested upon him, that Satan had no power unless it were full sore against his will, to keep him humble, and to hinder his being exalted above measure. The Devil therefore might and main with­stands us in Prayer▪ and how many are his wiles, that he may keep us off from this most advantagious Duty! Sometimes he objects the difficulty of Prayer, somtimes he says, 'tis needless to spend so much time therein; sometimes, 'tis fruitless; and that little comes of all our Cryes and Tears; sometimes he proposes other business to be don, that we may be diverted; sometimes he threatens to appear to us, that he may affright us from the Mercy Seat. How busy is our adversary the Devil, we should be acquainted with, [Page 97] and watch against his wiles; and do our du­ty without crediting or regarding his insti­gations.

3. When praying, we must watch against the cares of this world. Our Lord cautions a­gainst over solicitousness, What we shall eat, what we shall drink, wherewithal we shall be clothed: as that which would hinder us from secking the kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, Mat. 6. 32, 33. Earthly care will allow but little or no time to Prayer, and does very much distract the Heart in that duty. Worldly projects make bold to come into the thoughts; and secular busi­ness and imployments are minded, even then when the Lord seems to be Worshiped. Sure­ly tis our wisdom to heed the Apostle, Phil. 4. 6 Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known un­to God. Prayer is an Antidote a­gainst Preces hira­do curarum. Luther. this care, as this care is an impediment unto Prayer.

4. When Praying, we must watch against the pleasures of this Life; there is a strange proneness to those pleasures wherewith the senses are gratified, to bewitch the heart; and if these are loved and admired, prayer will be irksome and unpleasant; and we shall easily be drawn wholly to neglect that which we do not at all like She that conti­nued in prayer and supplication, was not one [Page 98] that lived in pleasure, 1 Tim. 5. 5▪ 6. Watch against pleasures, which are but for▪ a season, and when they are ended, Torments follow that will never end. We read of that rich man in the Gospel, that was clothed in Pur­ple and fine Linnen, and fared sumptiously, and diliciously every day! we read I say that he feasted, but not that he prayed, till be was in the place of torment. Pleasure before hindred prayer; torment forced him to pray, but alas, it was then too late. Despise sensual pleasures, and when they are pre­sented to entice thee, scorn them. In the Lord, and Prayer, infinitely truer and more solid delight is to be found.

5. When praying, we must Watch against deceitful Riches. Christ sayes, we cannot serve God and Mammon, Mat. 6. 24. If the Love of Money be the root of Evil, as the Apostle affirms, then it must needs be an hindrance to Duty. Moses had low thoughts of the Treasures of Egypt, nay, lookt upon the very reproach of Christ as greater Riches, Heb. 11. if any are deceived by such treasure, and grow eager after it, 'twill certainly hin­der them from seeing him that is invisible, and from diligently seeking him. One great reason why many pray so seldom and so cold­ly, is worldly mindedness; they are altoge­ther for growing rich in the world, so their desires are simall of growing rich towards God. Luther was a man much and mighty [Page 99] in prayer, he spent three hours a day constant­ly herein; But he was also eminent for his contempt of riches. And therefore, when one said, Why dont ye stop Luthers mouth against the Pope, by some preferment; 'twas answered, That German- [...]east, Melc. Ada­mus in vitâ Lu­theri. he should have said, that Ger­man-Saint, does not care for Sil­ver.

6. When praying, we must watch against the sins that do most easily be set us. The sin of our Constitution, the sin of our Calling, the sin which has naturally the greatest interest in our love, is the Arch-rebel against God, and our chief Enemy; and upon the least un­watchfulness, this sin will prevail, and upon its prevailing, backwardness to prayer, and deadness in it, will be the consequent; and not only the sin, that doth so easily beset us, but every weight must be laid aside, Heb. 12. 1. If we would with freedom converse with God in prayer, every Iniquity allowed of, defiles the soul, and separates between the Lord and us, and unfits for communion with him; therefore we must Watch and strive a­gainst all sin without exception.

In the second place, I am to inform you, what in prayer we are to Watch over.

1. In prayer, we are to watch over our thoughts. 'Tis a Proverb, but none of Solo­mons, nor a wise one, that thoughts are free. [Page 100] God sees the thoughts, and the wicked must forsake not his way only, but his thoughts, if he will return to the Lord, and partake of mer­cy, Esa. 55. 7. If the thoughts are not watch­ed over, there may be so many thoughts, so many sins, and guilt hereby, vastly increased. Thoughts are very quick and fleet things, and great is the natural Vanity, Impertinen­cy, and Confusedness, and [...]infulness of them. If there be no eye to them, nay, if the eye be not very careful, prayer may be made, and the God pray'd to, not thought on all the while. Right prayer, is hard la­bour, and the labour lies very much about the thoughts, in fixing them upon God, in keeping out vain imaginations, and expelling them as soon as notice is taken of their in­trusion.

2. In prayer, we are to watch over our reasoning faculty. There are certain reason­ings which the Apostle calls high things that exalt themselves against the knowledg of God, which must be brought into Captivity, 2 Cor. 10. 5. We must not be peremptory in arguing & determining that, this and that, and t'other is good for us, but refer our selves to his Wisdom and good pleasure, who does all things for his people bene & sapienter, both well and wisely. And as we must not lean to our own understandings, in judging what temporal mercies are most convenient; so neither are we to grow so bold and presump­tuous, [Page 101] as to reason against any of the attri­butes or promises of God, nor any part of his will which he has revealed.

The Lord has proclaimed himself gracious to his People, terrible to his Enemies; we must pray on, and believe this, though Ene­mies are high, and his Church never so much oppressed; though providences do seem ne­ver so much to thwart Gods promises, yet we must believe that God is faithful in his promises, and pray, and wait for their ac­complishment: Finally, we must not reason against any part of his will, but though his commands are never so strictly holy, we must approve of them, and beg grace to keep them.

3. In prayer, we are to watch over our hearts. Keep thy heart with all diligence, Prov. 4. 23. Heed must be taken, that there be no jarring between our wills, and the Will of God; for his Will is holy, just, and good; ours therefore should always comply with his. As the Eccho answers, and returns the Voyce, so should our wills complying, an­swer Gods Will commanding. This you may observe in David, a man after Gods own heart, Psal. 27. 8. The Lord says, seek ye my face; Davids heart ecchoes back, Thy face, Lord will I seek: so Psal. 119. 4, 5. the Lord Commands to keep his precepts dili­gently; Davids eccho is, Oh that my ways were directed, that I might keep thy Statutes! [Page 102] We must see to our hearts in prayer, that they be sincere in hating what the Lord ab­hors, and in chusing what he offers in the Gospel, and also promises to bestow.

4. In prayer, we are to watch over our Consciences, that they perform their Office faithfully. Their Office is to observe and condemn every miscarriage, to urge unto a more spiritual manner of praying, and to be restless and unquiet; if prayer be omitted upon any slight pretence, or the Male in the Flock be not offered to the Lord, but a corrupt thing. A tender Conscience is a blessing that can never be sufficiently valued; this will cause the best to be given unto God; this will not be satisfied till God approves and commends; and what a Heaven follows up­on prayer, when the Lord himself, and his Officer, Conscience, are both pleased. But if you grow unwatchful over our Conscien­ces, and suffer them to fall asleep and become feared; a thousand faults, in prayer, will be winkt at, nay, we shall be but little reproach­ed for the total omission of it.

5. In prayer, we are to watch over our af­fections; the more of affection in prayer, the more pleasing the duty will be to God, and the more pleasant to him that performs it. There is enough in the Lord, to draw forth the very strength of our affections. How great is his goodness! how able and power­ful is his Hand to save! how unsearchable [Page 103] are the riches of his grace? Eye has n [...]t seen▪ ear has not heard, neither has [...] entred into the heart of man, what he has prepared for those that wait upon him, Isa. 64. 4. We are inex­cusable, if all this move not our affections. We should watch, and observe when our af­fections do but begin to incline towards for­mer Lovers, and then compare those Lovers and the Lord together, that other things may be contemned, and our souls may even break for longing after God.

6. In prayer, we are to watch over our out­ward man; our tongues and sences must be lookt to; our tongues must speak reverently, considering God is in Heaven, and we on Earth, Eccles. 5. 2. and we must have war­rant from Gods own word, for the words we utter before him. Our sences must be guarded, else at the ear, or eye, especially something or other may enter that may di­sturb prayer, and hinder it from being so fervent and effectual.

You see what we must watch over.

In the third place, I am to shew what we must watch for in prayer.

1. We must watch for fit seasons to pray. There are some times and seasons in which God is neerer than at others, and more rea­dy to be sound of them that seek him; this the Prophet intimates, Esa. 55. 6. Seek [...]e the Lord, while he may be found; call ye upon [Page 104] him, while he is near. These seasons of grace and love, are carefully to be observed, and improved to the uttermost. When the Lord came so near to Jacob, as to suffer him to take hold of him, that was a special season; and Jacob was sensible of it, and wrestles lon [...], and with an holy vigour; he keeps his hold, and would not let go till he had got the blessing, Gen. 32. 29. That also was a special oppor­tunity, when the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend, Exod. 33. 11. Moses improves this, and beggs for the Lords presence with him, and with the people of Israel; and having prevailed for this, he adds further, Lord, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory, v. 18. Hereupon, the Lord made his goodness to pass before him, and proclaimed, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, abundant in goodness and in truth, keeping mercy for thousands, f [...]r­giving Iniquity, Transgression, and Sin.

2. We must watch for Admonitions from Conscience unto Prayer. When Conscience says, Thou hast not yet prayed in secret; now go and pour out thy heart before him that sees in secret. Thou hast not yet pray'd in thy Family; Call all of thy Houshold together, and joyn in begging, that the Lord would have mercy upon all. Conscience is by no means to be dis-regarded, but its admoniti­on should be taken.

The Authority which the Lord allows to Conscience, is great, and its office is of a large extent; Conscience is a Witness, and a Judge, and a Monitour. As a Witness, it takes notice of the evil which we do, of the good which we refuse to do, and likewise observes when we are careful of our duty. As a Judg, it acquits, or condemns, accor­ding as we have been either good and faith­ful, or evil and sloathful Servants. As a Monitour, it tells us before hand of our du­ty, and as we would avoid its Accusations and Reproaches, we should not venture upon a­ny sin which it crys out against, nor neglect prayer, or any other duty, which it charges us to perform, as we will answer it before God.

3. We must watch, for the motions of the spirit unto prayer. When the Holy Ghost moves to this duty, and his motions are heeded and obeyed, we are to conclude, that the same spirit which moves to prayer, will assist in prayer. 'Tis a wonderful privi­ledge that the Spirit is sent unto the Churches, and is speaking, and striving for their good. Every one should have an ear to hear what the spirit says, Rev. 3. ult. When the Spirit speaks concerning sin, this is not the way, therefore avoid it: Oh do not this abominable thing which God ha [...]es; we must by no means consent to evil. When the Spi­rit says concerning duty, this is t [...]e way, walk [Page 106] in it, Esa. 30. 31. we must by all means, yeild unto that which is good. If the Lord, by his Spirit, says, Seek my Face, with the greatest forwardness we should reply, Thy Face Lord, will we seek; and he will not then hide his Face from us, nor put his Servants away in anger.

The motions of the Spirit unto prayer, are twofold, Ordinary, Extraordinary.

1. There are more ordinary motions unto prayer. 'Tis the mind, and will of the Spi­rit, that our usual times for prayer of all sorts, should be observed; and though dead­ness, and indisposition be never so great, and our hearts draw back from the Throne of Grace, yet we must go thither. Experi­ence teaches, that where deadness, at the beginning of prayer has seemed invincible, yet of a sudden it has been removed, and the duty has been carried on, and concluded with more than ordinary enlargements. The Israelites were commanded to go forward, when they came to the red Sea; they might have answered, what, would you have us march into the water and be drowned? Well, but forward they go, and the water is dried up before them, Exod. 14. So tru­ly, many times, when about to pray, there is great listlesness, and many discourage­ments; Yet we must go forward, and engage in our duty, and the Sea is dryed up before us, these discouragements are removed.

2. These are more extraordinary motions of the Spirit unto Prayer. Upon some remarka­ble Providence, either cross, or kindness; upon the hearing of some more than ordinary affecting Truths: upon some special manifest­tions by way of quickning and peace; the Spirit may move unto more then ordinary plying of this work of Prayer. And the Iron is by all means to be struck while 'tis thus hot▪ An extraordinary motion of the Spirit, raised David out of his bed at midnight, Psal. 119. 62. At midnight I will arise, to give thanks unto thee, because of the righteous judgments. So Act. 16. 25. at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them.

But here you must have a caution lest Satan get an advantage. When the Spirit of God, thus extraordinarily moves to pray, he does sweetly and strongly incline the heart to com­ply with his motion; there is a quickning heat goes along with his perswasions. But Satans motions to pray at unwonted times, come with a perplexing violence and burthen­someness upon the spirit; but there is no dispo­sing or enlarging of the heart unto supplica­tion. Thus the Egyptians of old required the tale of Bricks from the children of Israel, but allowed not straw to make them with.

4. We must Watch for all manner of En­couragements in Prayer: and truly the Lord [Page 108] is not backward to give, if we are heedful and forward to take encouragement. The Lord encourages to prayer various wayes.

1. By making us sensible what a priviledge access to the Mercy-seat is, He causes us to be satisfied and delighted in his Presence; and our hearts cry out, Oh how good is it for us to be here! This is none other then the Throne of Grace, and this is indeed the Gate of Heaven. 'Tis good for me to draw nigh to God, sayes holy David, Psal. 73. ult.

2. The Lord encourages to Prayer, by melt­ing of the heart for sin; he thaws the ice by the beams of his love. Sense of unkindness, and unsuitable carriage towards the Father of mercies, causes plenty of Godly Sorrow, and the heart hereby is exceedingly alienated from its iniquity.

3. The Lord encourages to Prayer by en­larging the desires after himself, makeing the Soul enamoured of him, and altogether un­satisfied till it tast and see his goodness.

4. By Intimations of audience. The Lord said unto Daniel at the close of his Prayer, O man greatly beloved, Dan 9. 23. Christ answers the Woman of Canaan, Great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt, Mat. 15. 28. When God, after we have been ear­nest for pardon, for Sanctification, for grace to honour and to please him, causes a peace and calmnesse in our Spirits, and we have an hint, that our petitions are according to his [Page 109] will, and will be granted: here is great en­couragement in Prayer. Now such encourage­ments should be watched for, and laid hold on with the greatest thankfulness.

5. We must watch for the returns of Pra­yer. The Psalmist had been praying, and he resolves he would hearken what God the Lord would speak, that is, by way of answer, Psal. 85. 8. In like manner the Church, conclud­ing that the Lord would at last hear, resolves to wait for him, Mic. 7. 7. Therefore will I look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my Salvation, my God will hear me. If you watch not for returns of prayer, you do not consider what you do, or with whom you have to do in Prayer: when you pray, you take the name of God into your mouths; and shall that be taken in vain? when you pray you engage in an ordinance of God, and shall that be used in vain? What, do ye imagine that Gods hand is shortned, or his ear heavy, and his bowels straitned? Not looking after your Prayer, dishonours him more then you are aware of. He speaks to you; and does for you in vain. And this is the ready course to provoke him to keep silence, and to shut his hand: You are therefore with the prophet, to stand upon your watch tower, and to observe what God sayes to you, Hab. 2. 1.

Here one grand case of conscience is to be [Page 110] proposed and resolved. How we shall know whether prayer be answered Ye, or No? and the blessings we have begged, given as a return to our requesting for them?

I answer that Blessings are of two sorts. Those that are peculiar to Saints, those that are commune to the ungodly.

1. There are blessings that are peculiar to the Saints. Such as the sense of Gods love, strength against corruption, righteousness and true holyness, peace of conscience; power to run in the wayes of Gods commands, without weariness, and to walk without fainting. If such blessings as these are prized, and earnestly desired in prayer, and after prayer are bestowed, they may be concluded the fruit of Supplication. In the day when I cryed thou answeredst me, sayes David, and strengthned'st me with strength in my Soul, Psal. 138. 3. he prayed for grace and spiritual strength, and had it, and concludes his prayer was answered. Onely the Children of God long and beg for such blessings; and if the Lords hand be open & gives the blessings beg'd, we may also con­clude that his ear was open to the begging.

2. There are Blessings that are commune to the ungodly, as health, food, raiment, re­lations, prosperity, removing afflictions; and mercies of the like nature. 'Tis more dif­ficult to know when these are given or continued, as a return to Prayer; but [Page 111] yet this-may be known in these particulars.

1. Temporal Blessings are the fruit of prayer, when they were begged not only of God but for God, that they might be employed in his service and to his praise. Joshua begged for victory over the Cananites, but he had an eye to Gods great name, which he knew would be dishonoured if Israel were over­thrown, Josh. 7. 9. When we desire some estate that we do good with it, and honour the Lord with our substance; when we desire health and strength that we may be the more use­full, and serve our generation arcording to the will of God, and what we desired is be­stowed, surely Prayer is heard.

2. Temporal blessings are the fruit of prayer when they are begg'd with an humble and holy submission, and not asked as the principal things. When we pray for daily Bread, and the meat that perishes, in such a measure as the Lord sees meetest to deal forth to us; but our greatest hunger and thirst is after higher things, even that meat which endures to e­verlasting Life; and the waters of that Foun­tain, that is alwayes flowing, & yet ever full.

3. Temporal blessings are obtained by Prayer when they prove as cords to draw the heart neerer to God, and effectually engage un­to obedience: David was brought very low, the sorrows of Death compassed him; he cals upon the Name of the Lord for deliverance, Psal. 116. 3, 4. well, deliverance is granted, and [Page 112] what effect had it? it makes him admire divine Mercy, it strengthens his Faith, it makes him cry out truly I am thy servant, and resolve to walk before God in the Land of the Living. Surely this deliverance came by Prayer; and so himself was perswaded, v. 1, 2. I love the Lord because he hath heard my Voyce and my supplication, because he hath inclined his ear to me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

I have shewed you what we are to watch for in prayer.

In the fourth place I am to shew what man­ner of watching is required.

1. Our watch must be very strict, and this strictness will be acknowledg'd reasonable, if we consider, that prayer is a business of weight; Life or Death, Blessing or Cursing, will fol­low according as we speed well or ill in prayer. VVhen we come to the Throne of Grace, we entreat for no less then the for­giveness of millions of offences; the least of which if unpardon'd, is sufficient to expose us to eternal condemnation: we entreat for no less then grace and glory, we deprecate no less then the anger of the Almighty, and everlasting torments. Surely we should be watchfull and full of care by all means, to speed in a duty of such vast concernment.

2. Our watch, must be continued, it must be before, and in, and after Prayer, and all little enough.

[Page 113]1. We must watch before prayer, that every thing may Dimidium facti, qui coepit habit, Hot at. be avoided and removed, that may hinder the heart from preparing to have to do with God; 'tis not easie to enter rightly upon this duty.

2. We must Watch in prayer. Prayer is expressed in Scripture by the Metaphor of wrestling. If the Wrestler watch not, he pre­vails not, but is easily foyld. If we are not very vigilant all the while we are praying, God, whom we wrestle with, will with­draw, and we shall miss of the blessing; and Satan that wrestles against us, will presently fling us.

3. We must watch after prayer. We must trace our hearts, and mark how they have behaved themselves; we must observe and bemoan our failings, and be thankful for assisting grace; we must be the same upon our Leggs that we were upon our Knees, and live according to our prayers.

In the fifth place, follow the reasons why Watching is so necessary in prayer.

1. God watches how this duty is performed, and has denounced a Curse on those that do the work of the Lord negligently; He nar­rowly observes where the thoughts are, and how much of the heart and affection is in eve­ry prayer. Hark to the Apostle, Heb. 4. 13. [Page 114] Neither is there any Creature that is not mani­fest in his sight, but all things (even the thoughts and intents of the heart, where of he had spoken in the verse fore-going) are naked and opened unto the eyes of him, with whom we have to do.

2. Satan Watches; in [...] Isider. Pelus. l 2. E­pist. 24. a time of War there is the stricter watch: Now our life is a warfare, therefore we should be ever vigilant, 1 Pet. 5. 8. Our Adversary the De­vil goes about, endeavouring to do all the mischief, and to hinder all the good he can possibly. Satan is very busie about us in prayer, and if our unwatchfulness gives him but the least encouragement and advantage, he presently spyes and takes it.

3. Ʋnless we watch, our hearts will deal treacherously; they will start aside from God like deceitful Bows, and the Arrow of Prayer will be far from hitting the mark; but our Supplications will degenerate into meer formality; whereas, if we are intent and serious, and do, hoc agere, mind our business while we are at prayer, we shall undoubt­edly make something of it. I come at last to the Application.

Use 1. is of Reproof. Two sorts of per­sons deserve, and highly need, as well as de­serve a reprehension.

1. The careless Hypocrite is to be Reproved. The Scripture, which has this preheminence above all other Laws, that it binds the very Heart and Conscience, does speak very ter­ribly against Hypocrisy, which is the hearts dissimulation, and going away from God, e­ven when the external part of devotion is yeilded to him. The folly of the praying Hypocrite will appear in these things.

1. His Conscience is fast asleep in prayer, and lets him even do what he pleases; but this sleeping Lyon, will at length awake; at far­thest, Hell will awaken his Conscience, and then 'twill bitterly reproach him, and never cease reproaching.

2. The Hypocrite regards not the God he is praying to; he is not awed by the Lords Majesty, nor affected with his Mercy; nei­ther is he afraid of provoking him to jealou­sy, but presumes upon God, as if he were altogether such an one as himself, Psal. 50. 21, 22. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence, and thou thoughtest I was altoge­ther such an one as thy self, but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deli­ver.

3. The Hypocrite regards not the things he is praying for, nor himself that is concerned in prayer. He is not Animus cujusque, est quisque. concerned for his soul, which [Page 116] is most truly himself; and though he prays for the favour of God, for the Kingdom of God, and deliverance from everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels; yet he is so cold and heedless, as if he were in­different whether Heaven or Hell were his e­ternal abode.

2. The drowsie and declining Saints are also to be reproved. These having been once so thorowly awakened, are more without A­pology, if they grow again unwatchful.

1. The prayers of unwatchful Saints have very bad mixtures. Oh the forgetfulness, and fearlesness, and weariness, and mocking of the Lord, that Believers under their decli­nings are to be charged with! How neer do they come to the borders of unregeneracy; how like are they to the unsound-hearted.

2. The prayers of unwatchful Saints are very unprofitable; Children they are, but a­las, they improve not their Relation, nor make▪ serious application to their Father. The Spirit is in them, but they accept not of his strength and grace. Prayer is not to­tally laid aside, but little comes on't, because they do not vigorously engage in it.

3. The prayers of unwatchful Saints are uncomfortable. The Spirit is grieved by their carelesness, and how can it be expected he should be a comforter to them? Conscience is dis-satisfied, and is continually grudging, because they do not stir up themselves to lay [Page 117] hold on God, when they call upon him, Isa. 64. 7. Much fear, much bondage, many se­cret gripes of spirit follow upon careless pray­ing.

4. The prayers of unwatchful Saints are so offensive, that they may justly fear some stroke from God, some smarting Rod to awaken the spirit of prayer in them, Hos. 5. 14. I will be unto Ephraim as a Lyon, and as a young Lyon to the House of Judah; I, even I will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him Now what was the reason of this seve­rity? it follows, v. 15. In their affliction they will seek me early. He thrust the Spur into their side, and made them bleed, to make them mend their sluggish pace in duty; he chastned them, that he might hear lou [...]er crys, and have more serious prayers from them.

Use 2. shall be of Exhortation. Be per­swaded to watch in prayer. Those that watch not at all, pray not at all in Gods account; those that watch most, make most of prayer. These Arguments I shall further use to se­cond this Exhortation.

1. The more watchful you are in prayer, the better you will understand the De [...]ils En­mity; you will perceive his envy and his ha­tred, and how loath he is that you should re­ceive any distinguishing mercies, especially at the Hand of God; therefore he does so [Page 118] bestir himself, that he may resist you; and the better you know this Enemy, the better armed will you be.

2 The more watchful you are in prayer, you will be more acquainted with your selves, and with your own hearts; you will more fully un­derstand your wants, and your spiritual plagues; and the understanding of these is one good step to the supply and cure.

3. The more watchful you are in prayer. the more experimentally will you understand the loving kindness of the Lord; you shall find that he deals bountifully, Psal. 116. 7. Re­turn unto thy rest O my Soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with thee. God is certainly willing to give; they that watch in prayer, take notice what they receive; and great joy 'tis to behold the prayers, which as Mes­sengers we dispatched to Heaven, return loaded with mercy, Joh. 16. 24. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. So much for that fourth Doctrin. In Prayer, Watching is a necessary Ingredient▪

D. 5. we must persevere, if we would speed in prayer, or prayer must be with all perseve­rance; the words of the Text are not with­out Emphasis; not only perseverance, but all perseverance is required by the Apostle. There should not be the least fainting, but a vigo­rous persistance in our supplications. Hark how the Apostle speaks in other places, Col. [Page 119] 4. 2. Continue in prayer, and Rom. 12. 12. Rejoycing in hope, patient in Tribulation, con­tinuing instant in prayer.

In speaking to this Doctrin, I shall first tell you what 'tis to persevere in prayer. Secondly, What kind of perseverance is required. Thirdly, Give you the Reasons of this perseverance: Lastly, Make Application.

In the first place, what 'tis to persevere in prayer.

1. This perseverance in prayer, implyes, Resolvedness of Spirit against all opposition; the resolution is not to be made in our own strength, but in the power of Grace, and then it will be firm, and hold. He that perseveres in prayer, resists Satans endea­vours to hinder him in this duty. Though this Lyon roar upon him, by fearfully Blas­phemous thoughts, though this Adversary buffet him by confused, amazing and af­frighting imaginations; yet all his skill does not beat him off from prayer; the more bu­sie he finds Satan, the more need he per­ceives of calling upon God. And as the De­vil cannot prevail by his more irksome temp­tation, so as to cause an omission of prayer, in like manner on the other side, the more pleasing temptations are withstood: When he speaks big words concerning sports and pastimes, and the pleasures of sense; when he talks at an high rate of worldly advanta­ges, that are to be pursued, that he may di­vert [Page 120] and draw away the heart from prayer; yet he that perseveres in this duty, believes this lying and deceitful spirit in nothing.

Nay, he retorts upon him, and answers, that therefore he prays that he may find true joy, and greater sweetness in God than the Creatures can possibly yeild; that therefore he prays, because he has a mind to be rich in­deed, and to have a treasure in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where Thieves cannot break thorow, nor steal, Mat. 6. 20.

And as for that opposition he meets with from within, from the corruption of his heart, which is indeed the greatest; he be­wails it, struggles with it, and crys out for the spirit of life to quicken and help him. He is convinced of the necessity of prayer, and the excellency of what is prayed for; and op­position is but a whet to him, that he may stir up himself to lay hold on God.

2. This perseverance in prayer, implies, getting through all discouragements. The more blind Bartimeus was discouraged by the peo­ple, he cryed the louder, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me, Mar. 10. 48. and his cry was heard, according to his de­sire, he had his sight restored. The Woman of Canaan, who came to Christ, that her Daughter might be dispossessed of a Devil, met with great discouragements, but over­come them all, Mat. 15. 21. 29. When [Page 121] first she utter'd her request Christ answered her not a word; this, one would have thought, might have struck her dumb, and made her conclude it vain to have spoken any more. Oh no, still she cryed after him; whereupon the Disciples intercede for her; Christ an­swers, he was sent to the lost Sheep of the house of Israel: here was a second repulse, but neither did this discourage; she comes and worships him, and sayes, Lord help me! Christ replys, it is not meet to cast the Childrens bread unto the dogs: This was a third repulse, and worst of all: And yet she gives not over, but pleads, that though she were indeed no bet­ter then a dog, yet crumbs might be given her. And now she speeds: and whatever she had a mind to, was granted.

He that perseveres in prayer, will not be discouraged. Is his guilt great? he replys, that the Lords mercy will be the more mag­nified, if he obtains a Pardon. Is he much distemperd? he replys; the more will the skill of the great Physician be shewn in heal­ing his Spiritual plagues. Is he very unwor­thy? he replys that the Prodigal upon his returning, found his Fathers doors, and his Fa­thers arms open, though he came home in raggs; having before wasted all his Substance among the harlots, and in riotous living. Though he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; yet he says, That Christ has ey-salve to make him see, gold tried [Page 122] in the fire to make him rich, and white raiment to cover him, Rev. 3. 17. 18. 'Tis a Mercy Seat, 'tis a Throne of grace he goes to; and therefore discouragements are not invinci­ble.

3. This perseverance in prayer implies con­tinual importunity. Importunity is many times troublesom to Man, but God is delighted with it. Humility indeed becomes us in our addresses to him, but yet we are allowed to be urgent, to be instant, to be pressing in these things which is according to the will of the Lord; and he loves to see us so; for it argues, we value highly what we begg with importunity. The unjust judg was prevailed with, by the widdows importunity. And will the Lord neglect importunate Prayer, that has commanded, and encouraged importunity, and that is so righteous and so gracious? He that perseveres in prayer follows the Lord with his request; he will not let him alone, till he has a pardon, and that pardon Sealed: He will not let him alone till his lust, which are the worst of Spiritual enemies, are kill'd; till more grace is granted, of which he can­not have too great a measure. Take notice of Davids importunity, Psal. 119. 145, 146, 147. I cryed with my whole heart, hear me O Lord, I will keep thy statutes. I cryed unto thee, save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies; I pre­vented the dawning of the morning, and cryed, I hoped in thy word; my eyes prevent the night­watches, [Page 123] &c. He cryed, and cryed, and cryed again, before the dawning of the morning, and in the night watches. Behold how urgent he was in prayer.

4. This perseverance in Prayer, implies an holy insatiableness after God; and desiring still more, though never so much be obtained. Indeed there is a great obligation upon us to be thankful for the least measures of grace; but we are not to be contented with the greatest, but still longing for more. Though David enjoyed so much of God, and had such a sense of his loving kindness which was better then life, and experienced that commu­nion with the Lord, which was more satisfy­ing then marrow and fatness: Yet we find him still following hard after God, Psal. 63. 8. My Soul followeth hard after thee, thy right hand upholdeth me. And indeed the more we taste and see how gracious the Lord is, it can­not but increase our longing; and raise our thirst to a greater vehemency. The Apostle Paul though he had attained to so much, Yet he says, I forgot those things that are behind; and reach forth unto those things that are be­fore, and presse towards the marke, for the prize of the high calling of God, Phil. 3. 13, 14.

5. This perseverance in Prayer, implies, a continuing to engage in all the kinds of Prayer▪ There should be a constant and daily course of Prayer even unto the end of life; and if at any time by weakness or otherwise, the [Page 124] course be necessarily interrupted; Our hearts at least then should be working towards God; as being sensible that He is our all, all our hope is in him, and all our help is from him. 'Tis an happy thing, so to habituate, and accustom our selves to prayer, as to make it become natural to us, and to esteem it as necessary as our very breath.

In the Second place, I am to tell you, what kind of perseverance, is required.

1. In this perseverance, there should be no interruptions. Daniel, rather then his course of praying before his God and giving thanks, should be interrupted, chose to adventure the losse of dignity, his Princes favour, and his own life besides. And that God whom he served continually did deliver him, Dan. 6. Daniel resolves to open his mouth in Prayer, God sends his Angel, and stop the mouths of the Lyons, that they did not hurt him. And as carnal fear should not cause the omission of prayer, so neither any prevailing corrup­tion, and deadness: Still the Lord is to be sought unto, and served.

2. In this perseverance there should be a continua [...] endeavour to excel, and do better; to pray with more and more Spirituality and liveliness. 'Tis a sad sight to see children as weak now, as they were several years ago: We conclude there is some bad humour that oppresses nature, and causes that Weakness, [Page 125] and is an impediment to their growth. 'Tis thus, and more Sad, to see Christians stand at a stay, and perform duties no better now, then some years ago they used to perform them. If there is still the same deadness, the same unbelief, the same wordly-minded­ness, & distractions, which were wont to be, it argues, the Spirit is kept under by the flesh & its prevalency. We are not only to do more then others, but to do more then our selves. The Lord requires us, and truely gives ample encouragement to be not only stedfast, and unmoveable, but also to abound in the work of the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58. The path of the just should be like the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day, Prov. 4. 18. All our duties are motions homeward, and Hea­ven is our home: And the nearer home, the swifter should our Spiritual motions be.

In the Third place follow the Reasons why prayer should be with perseverance.

1. Divine commands are very expresse, not only to perform the duty, but to continue in the duty. In the text, not only praying is injoy­ned, but praying always, and with all perse­verance: and 1 Thes. 5. 17. Pray without ceasing: Gods word of command should cause us perpetually to stand in awe: we must not dare to cease doing that, which he would have us without ceasing employed in.

[Page 126]2. The Lord perseveres in attending and en­encouraging, therefore we should persevere in praying. His eye is continually upon his people; eye, and ear, and heart, and hand are all open, and if we open our mouths wide we shall be filled, Psal. 81. 10.

3. The Lord is as worthy to be sought unto still, as sought to at all; therefore we should continue in seeking him. Though our expecta­tion from other things be never so high, yet upon trial we shall discover their empti­nesse and vanity; but the more we know God, and the greater experience we have of him, the more we shall behold his fulnesse, and how good 'tis to draw near to him. Israel went a Whoring after other lovers; but found her mistake, and resolves to return to her first husband, for then 'twas best with her, Hos. 2. 7. Gods service is such as no fault at all is really to be found therein; and there­fore to leave that Service is very unreasona­ble.

4. We are far from attaining all that is attainable by Prayer: Clearer discoveries there may be of God; there may be much larger communications of Grace; there may be more of peace and joy; therefore it con­cerns us to wait on the Lord still, and not to grow weary of our attending.

5. This present world is full of enemies and snares: Therefore we should continually have recourse to the God of all Grace; that [Page 127] grace may be proportioned to our work and to our danger. The world is evil; and the evil one is very active to draw us to evil; and he has a strong and numerous party with­in our own Souls, even all the remainders of corruption; surely unlesse we persevere in prayer, and thereby engage him for us who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultlesse before the presence of his glory with ex­ceeding joy, Jud. 24. we shall not persevere to the end, and be saved. The Application follows.

Use 1 of reproof, which belongs,

1. To them that pray in a time of di­stresse and affliction; but after that is removed, and their slavish fear allayed, they quickly give over. Thus the children of Israel when God slew them then they sought him; they returned and enquired early after God, they remembred that God was their Rock and the high God their Redeemer: but as soon as the Lord cea­sed smiting, they ceased crying; they flattered with their Tongues and were unstedfast in his Covenant, Psal. 78. 34, 37. This is the way to have affliction quickly return again; and that with more of Gall and Wormwood, or to have spiritual Judgments, which are a great deal worse, succeed temporal.

2. Reproof belongs to them that pray for a little while, while the Conviction is fresh and strong; and the exhortation to this duty is [Page 128] still sounding in their ears; but by degrees the Conviction wears off, and the Exhor­tation is forgotten: and then oh how do their hearts depart from God, and what a task, and tedious thing is Prayer to them? But those foregoing convictions will very much aggravate their after omissions; these omissions being given way to, especially at first, with such violence offer'd to their own consciences; and resisting of the Holy Ghost, who strives to make them persevere in Sup­plication.

3. Reproof belongs to Apostates, that some­while made a great Profession, none more for­ward to Pray than they; but now they have thrown off this, and other Ordinances of Christ, being carried away either by a prophane, or by an erroneous spirit.

1. Many are carried away by a prophane spirit: and having restrained Prayer, even restraining Grace is taken from them; they run out to all excess of Riot; they are abo­minably vitious, intemperate, unclean, un­righteous; they declare to all, that seven un­clean spirits are entered into them; and that their last end is likely to prove worse than their beginning. They once indeed did know the Holy Commandment, but are now turned from it, and 'tis happen'd to them according to the Proverb, The Dog is turned to his own Vomit again, and the Sow that was washed, to to her wallowing in the Mire, 2 Pet. 2. 21, 22.

2. Many are carried away from Prayer by an Erron [...]ous spirit: These not onely break the Lords Commands, but perswade them­selves they do well in it, and endeavour to draw others to the like Transgression: and hereby their guilt and danger is the greater. Every one that speaks against Prayer, or any other Ordinance of Christ; as he strikes at Christs Authority, who is King of the Church; so he is deceived, and made use of by the Devil▪ to injure Souls, by drawing them away from God and their Duty. But it may be Objected, that the Apostle him­self sayes, Col. 2. 20. Why are ye subject to Ordinances? I answer, the 21 ver. following shews what Ordinances the Apostle speaks of, namely, the Ceremonial Ordinances: Touch not, Taste not, Handle not; he is not to be interpreted concerning the Ordinances of Christs Institution; for in this very E­pistle he does command, that the Word of Christ should dwell richly in them, Col. 3. 16. and that they should Sing [...]salms with Grace in their Hearts to the Lord; and that they should continue in Prayer, Col. 4. 2.

4. Reproof belongs to them that limit God, and conclude if they are not heard pre­sently that they shall never be answered; and so in effect say why should we seek the Lord a­ny longer? Vile and sinful creatures should not be so quick with God: What if we tarry some time before we have the grace [Page 130] and comfort we beg; If it comes at last, is not the Lord gracious to a wonder? Be­sides, the Lord knows when 'tis fittest to an­swer Prayer; therefore it becomes us pa­tiently to wait; for his rightly timeing of his benefits, is not the smallest part of them.

Use 2. of Direction, how you may per­severe in Prayer.

1. Be exceeding jealous and afraid when­ever you find deadness and formallity seizing upon you: You know not whether it may grow; The prognostick signs of an appro­ching distemper easily perswade you to take preventing Physick; Oh when you find your hearts out of order; fear, and go to your Physician to heal your hearts, and re­duce them to the right praying frame.

2. Take heed of quenching the Spirit: let your Ears be open to hear what he sayes to the Churches Rev. 2. ult. Deliver up your selves wholly unto the Spirits conduct and guidance; be lead by him, from what wayes, and in what wayes he pleases, else he will be grieved and withdraw: and if he does so, alas your helper will be gon, and your infir­mities will hinder your perseverance in Prayer.

3. Be sensible that all your prayers will be lost, if now you should totally and finally give over, that righteousness will be reckoned as none [Page 131] at all; that is, but like the morning Cloud, and as the early dew vanishes away; pray on therefore, that all may not be in vain.

4. Labour to be acquainted with the sweet­ness of prayer, that you may have experience of those quickenings, those enlargements, those supports, those ravishing delights, that the Saints have found sometimes in prayer; and then you will like the duty so well, that you will not easily be drawn off from it.

5. Depend upon Him that gives power to the faint, and increases strength in them that have no might, Isa. 40. 29. He faints not, neither is he weary, and he alone can keep you from being weary in wel-doing. As he only can help you when you cry, so he alone can help you to hold on in crying.

6. Cheer up your selves with this conside­ration, that if you pers [...]vere in prayer but a little while longer, in Heaven all your pray­ers will be fully answered. Remember, that if prayer lasts as long as time lasts, time will quickly be succeeded by Eternity, and pray­er will end in everlasting praises. So much for the fifth Doctrine, That prayer must be with all perseverance.

D. 6. The sixt and last Doctrin is this. Our spirits must be so publick, as to supplicate for all Saints, as well as for our selves; there­fore the Apostle adds in the Text, and suppli­cation for all Saints.

Here I shall first shew what Saints the A­postle speaks of; and secondly, why we should pray for them all, and then give you the Uses.

First, What Saints the Apostle speaks of. The Saints are of two sorts, Triumphant in Heaven, Militant on Earth.

1. Triumphant in Heaven, and these do not need our prayers. We need not pray that they may be eased of their loads, for their burthens are removed, and they are entred into perfect rest; we need not pray that God would manifest himself to them, for they see him as he is, and not as here in a glass darkly; nor that they may be freed from sorrow, and defended from Enemies, for their joy is full, all tears are wiped away, and they are past all danger: They are made Pillars in the Heavenly Temple, and they shall go no more out, Rev. 3. 12 In all the Bible, we find not one Petition for departed Saints. They are with the Lamb, Crown'd above, and are above our supplications.

2. Militant Saints on Earth, and of these the Text speaks, and to these the words are to be confined; and truly all of them claim a share in our supplications.

1. We are to pray for Saints of all Nati­ons: Prayer may reach them, though never so far, and the God we pray to, is acquain­ted with every Saint in particular, through­out the Universe, knows what they all want, and how to supply all their needs.

[Page 133]2. We are to pray for Saints of all Perswa­sions, as long as they hold the head, and are dear to Christ, notwithstanding their diffe­rence from us in opinion: Surely, notwith­standing this difference, they should be upon our hearts to desire their good. Oh that there were less quarrelling and disputation, and more praying and supplication one for a­nother! and this would be a great means to unite, and to heal breaches.

3. We are to pray for Saints of all Condi­tions, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, Male and Female. Every Saint is a Jewel, and a Jewel is not to be contemned, though it lye upon a Dung-hill. The mean­est Saints are precious in the Lords eyes, and we should have regard to them.

4. We are to pray for Saints that are to be, as well as those that are already. The Jewish Church prayed for that of the Gentiles, be­fore it was gathered, for their little Sister that had no Breasts, Cant. 8. 8.

The reason why our supplications should be for all Saints, are these.

1. Because of their relation to God. They are all his Children, and he has the love of a Father to them; nay, he is a thousand times more full of affection, than earthly Pa­rents can be. If God love them, we should, and shew our love by our wishing their good, especially considering how much the honour [Page 134] of God is concerned in them, and how much his Name is glorified in their preservation.

2. Because of their Relation to our Lord Je­sus. Should not we pray for them, since Christ died for them? He bought them with the price of his own blood, Act. 20. 28. 1 Cor. 6. ult. and they are all Espoused to him, nay, they are his Members; those for whom he e­ver lives to make intercession, surely then we also should intercede in their behalf.

3. We should pray for all Saints, because of our Relation one to another: We are all be­gotten by the same Seed, we are all be­gotten by the same Seed, we are all Mem­bers one of another, Rom. 12. 5. So we being many, are one Body in Christ, and every one, Members one of another. We are all ani­mated by the same Spirit, one of whose prin­cipal fruits, is Love; and Love should be expressed in prayer; finally, we are all Heirs to the same Inheritance. Oh how importu­nate should we be, that we may come all safely thither.

4. We should pray for all Saints, because all are engaged in the same War, and are wrest­ling with the same Enemies: We should beg therefore that all may be kept from the evil of the world, that Satan may be trod un­der the feet of all; that sin may be subdued in all; and that all may at last be made more than Conquerours.

5. All Saints are carrying on the same de­sign; the glory of God, and the advancement [Page 135] of the Kingdom and Interest of Christ; we should help one another by prayer, that this great end may be attained.

Use 1. Of Consolation. Saints have more prayers going for them than they are aware of. Those that you never saw, nor shall see in this world, are concerned for you, and are desiring that you may have that grace and strength which you need, considering the difficulty of your work, and your many Adversaries. As every one should pray for all, so all are pray­ing for every one: and this is matter of great encouragement.

Use 2. of Reproof to those that are of a private spirit, who are all for themselves, but Zion they look not after. These have neither love to Christ, nor to their own Souls upon a right score. If they loved the Head, they would be sollicitous for the welfare of the Body; and if they truly desired the good of their own Souls, they would have pitty to other Souls that are of equal value.

Use 3. Of Exhortation. Be more frequent and fervent in praying for all the Saints. This will be a great Argument that you are indeed Members of the Body of Christ, when all your fellow-members are loved, when you feel their sorrows, and are concerned for their wel-fare.

[Page 136]1. Pray for the Saints Ʋnity, that they may be knit together in love; their Beauty lies much in their Agreement, and their strength in their being United. But if a House, or Kingdom be divided, Division has a tendency to Destruction. Christ prayed that his Disci­ples might be One, as that which would serve very much to convince the world that God had sent him, Joh. 17. 23. for the divisions of Saints is not the least cause of prevailing Infidelity, and of mens questioning the very truth of Christianity.

2. Pray for the Saints purity, that the Church may be more and more cleansed, and conformed to the holy Doctrin of the Gos­pel, and like her holy Head the Lord Je­sus.

3. Pray for the Saints prosperity, especially for those glorious and peaceable times, after Antichrists ruine, the calling home of the Jews, when the Kingdoms of the world shall become the Kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ.

4. Pray for the Saints increase, and in thus doing, you are kind unto the world. Beg that the Prince of darkness may lose, and that Christ may gain more and more Subjects e­very day, and that out of the quarry of man­kind more may be taken, which may be made lively Stones in the Lords Temple.

5. Pray for the Saints support under all Op­pressions, for their perseverance to the end; [Page 137] and that the Lord Jesus would hasten his second appearing, when all his Church shall be Tri­umphant, when Devils, and the Reprobate world shall be confined to Hell, and all the Elect shall joyn together in shouting forth Hallelujahs unto him that sits upon the Throne, and to the Lamb for ever.

Thus have I finished this Argument of Prayer. What are now your resolutions? Shall there be prayerless Families still? and any Strangers unto secret duty, notwithstand­ing all that has been spoken? May Pardon, and Grace, and Life, and Salvation be all obtained for asking; and will you not do thus much? will you neither be earnest for others, nor your own selves? Shall none of the directions that have been given, be fol­lowed? Shall all the Arguments that have been used, be unsuccessful?

Oh thou that commandest and hearest prayer! O thou that helpest thy people to pray, pour out the spirit of Grace and Supplication! That thy Throne of Grace may be surrounded with Sup­pliants, that there may be a great flocking to thy Mercy-seat, and grace may be imparted a­bundantly to thy own glory, through Jesus Christ the great High Priest, that is passed into the Heavens, and is at thy right hand for e­ver. Amen, and Amen.


OF what an easie quick access,
My blessed Lord, art thou! how suddenly
May our requests thine eare invade!
To shew that state dislikes not easiness.
If I but lift mine eyes, my suit is made:
Thou canst no more not hear, then thou canst die.
Of what supreme Almighty power
Is thy great arm, which spans the east and west,
And tacks the centre to the sphere!
By it do all things live their measur'd hour:
We cannot ask the thing which is not there,
Blaming the shallowness of our request.
Of what unmeasurable love
Art thou possest, who, when thou couldst not die,
Wert fain to take our flesh and curse,
And for our sakes in person sin reprove;
That by destroying that which ty'd thy purse,
Thou mightst make way for liberalitie!
Since then, these three wait on thy Throne,
Ease, Power, and Love; I value Prayer so,
That were I to leave all but one,
Wealth, Fame, Endowments, Vertues, all should go:
I and dear Prayer would together dwell,
And quickly gain for each Inch lost, an Ell.
Herb. pag. 95.

Directions how to attain unto the gift of prayer, and readiness of expression in that duty.

ALthough spiritual Gifts are granted un­to Hypocrites and unsound Profes­sors, as well as to sincere Believers, yet according to the Apostle, we are earnest­ly to covet them, 1 Cor. 12. ult. Even these more commune gifts are imparted by the Holy Ghost himself, and may be very profi­table both to our selves and others. Neither should it be the endeavour of Ministers only to excel in gifts, but private Christians are also to labour after them, and in a more pri­vate way to use them. The gift of prayer I am now to speak of, and this no Christian should be without. Prayer is the Saints dai­ly exercise, therefore they should all be well skilled in the performance of this duty, not only as to the internal, but also external part of it.

As length of prayer is not to be affected (for God has a regard not to the length, but the life of it); so neither are we to affect a constant variety of expression. If we use al­ways the same form, we are in danger of formality; and if we always endeavour af­ter new words, which we never before used, [Page 140] as 'tis a thousand to one whether we shall speak so properly; so 'tis to be feared that our prayers will be only the fruit of our phancy and invention, and no more. 'Tis good to be in the middle, between both ex­treams.

Many have exalted in this gift of prayer in these latter days, and I know that many are troubled through the want of it. Secret prayer upon this score, partly, is much dif­couraged, and prayer in the Family, hin­dred; wherefore, having discoursed at large concerning the duty of prayer, I thought it a piece of service unto Souls, to direct them how this gift might be attained.

1. Be well Catechized and instructed in the principles of the Christian Faith. You must know the only true God, and understand his Greatness, and Holiness, and Power, and Mercy, and Grace, and Truth, with his o­ther Attributes and Perfections which are discovered in his word. You must not be Strangers to your selves, but be acquainted with the fall of Man into sin and misery, and how you, as well as others, are by Nature the Children of wrath, and in danger of be­ing lost and undone for ever, except you Re­pent and Believe the Gospel.

You must know the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God has sent, and understand the mystery of Redemption & Salvation by him, and it should be your endeavour still to know [Page 141] more and more of the Lord, and of his will; and the more understanding you are, the more agreeable will your supplications be unto the word of God, and you will be the better furnished with matter for your pray­ers.

2. Take pains that your affections may be excited; the more warm your hearts are, your tongues will be the more like unto the Pen of a ready Writer. Let your affections be stirred by the necessity and value of the things you ask, and the infiniteness of those evils which you pray against. Besides, the God whom you direct your prayers to, is nigh, is ready to be found. Nothing is too hard for him, such is the Almightiness of his power; his tender mercyes are a vast multitude; he stands related and engaged to his people by a sure and everlasting Covenant.

3. Pray for the gift of utterance, for this very ability is from the Father of lights; but after 'tis obtained, you must beware,

1. Of Pride. Herod, after an elegant O­ration, giving not glory to God, was struck dead by an Angel, and eaten up of Worms; and if you are pufft up after enlargedness of expression of prayer, you know not what way the displeasure of God may break forth against you.

2. Despise not those that want this utte­rance; your tongues possibly may be better hung, but their hearts may be in a far bet­ter frame than yours.

[Page 142]3. Envy not them that excel you in the gift of Prayer. Envy will grieve the spirit, and dead your ownhearts, & be a torment to you. If one member in the natural body do some­thing that is excellent, and be honoured, all the members, sayes the Apostle, rejoyce with it, 1 Cor. 12. 26. And as it is in the Natural body, so it should be in the Mystical body of Christ. Since we are members of the same body, we should rejoyce when any of our fellow-members do worthily; and count our selves honoured in their honour, and especi­ally be glad to see Christ lifted up, though upon others shoulders.

4. Let not any Carnal design be carryed on. If you aime at your own ends in your most enlarged prayers, and are secretly covetous and selfish, and impure; as this shews you are abominably Hypocritical, so 'tis the way to have either your gifts blasted, or to have a curse upon them, so that you shall only di­sturb the Church of Christ, and do harm, not good by them.

4. Frequency in prayer, will bring you to a readiness therein. As by writing, you learn to write; so by praying, you will learn to pray. Gifts are increased and augmented by the exercise of them, as grace it self also, by being acted, grows more strong.

5. Be well acquainted with Scripture ex­pressions; that language is best to be used in Gods ears, which is the language of his own Spirit.

6. Let there be an order and method in prayer; for confusedness, as it will be irk­some to others, with whom you joyn, so 'twil have a great tendency to dead and discou­rage your own hearts.

Here I shall speak to all the parts of pray­er, and furnish you with expressions in refe­rence to every one of them. Seven parts I have mentioned.

  • Compellation of God.
  • Acknowledgment of Sin.
  • Deprecation of punishment.
  • Petition for Grace and Mercy.
  • Intercession for others.
  • Imprecation against others.
  • Thanksgiving and Praise.

1. Begin prayer with Compellation, or naming of God; let his Attributes also be men­tioned.

O Lord, thou art God alone, and there is none besides Thee.

The God of the spirits of all flesh, there is nothing too hard for thee.

The living God, the everlasting King, who dost what thou wilt in Heaven above, and in the Earth beneath.

The high and lofty one inhabiteth Eternity, whose name is Holy, who dwellest in the high and holy Place; and yet with him also that is of an humble Spirit, to revive the Spirit of the hum­ble, and to revive the heart of the Contrite ones.

The God in whose hand our Breath is, and whose are all our Wayes.

Thou madest the Earth by thy Power, and hast established the World by thy Wisdom, and stretched out the Heavens by thy Discre­tion.

Thou art very great, thou art cloathed with Honour and Majesty, and coverest thy self with light as with a Garment: Thou only hast im­mortality, and dwelleth in the light, that no man can approach unto.

To thee belongeth Power, and Glory, and Majesty; for all that is in the Heaven and in the Earth, is Thine; thine is the Kingdom O Lord, and thou art exalted as Head above all.

Thou madest the Heavens and all their Hosts, the Earth and all the things that are therein, the Seas and all that therein is, and thou pre­servest them all, and the host of Heaven Wor­shippeth thee.

Thou art wise in Heart, and Mighty in Strength, who ever hardned himselfe against thee, and prospered?

A God glorious in holiness, of Purer eyes then to behold evil with delight, and canst not look upon iniquity with any approbation.

The Devils tremble before thee, and the An­gels cover their Faces, and cry out, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of the majesty of thy Glory.

Thou art the Lord God merciful and gracious, long suffering, abundant in loving kindness, [Page 145] goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.

Thou delightest not in the death of sinners, but hadst rather they should turn from their evil wayes and live.

The God and Father of Jesus Christ, and in him the Father of Mercyes, the God of all Grace and Comfort.

A God ready to forgive, and plenteous in Mercy, unto all that call upon thee; thou hearest Prayers, unto thee shall all flesh come.

Thy eye is upon them that fear thee, and upon such as hope in thy Mercy; a very present help in time of trouble.

Thy Mercy is in the Heavens, and thy Faith­fulness reacheth unto the clouds.

As a Father pittyeth his Children, so thou pittyest them that fear thee.

Thou wilt not always chide, neither wilt thou keep thine anger for ever.

Thy mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear thee, and thy righteousness unto childrens children.

Thou art the hope of Israel, and the Saviour of them in the time of trouble, thou keepest truth forever.

The heavens shall vanish away like Smoak, and Earth shall wax old like a Garment, but thy Salvation shall be for ever, and thy righteous­ness shall not be abolished.

Who is a God like unto thee that Pardonest Ini­quity, and passest by the Transgression of the rem­nant [Page 146] of thine heritage, thou wilt not always chide, neither wilt thou keep thine anger for ever, because thou delightest in mercy: Thou wilt turn again, thou wilt have compassion upon us, thou wilt subdue our Iniquities, thou wilt cast all our Sins into the depth of the Sea.

A God to whom vengeance belongs, who wilt reward them that hate thee, whose power, and whose wrath is against all that forsake thee.

A jealous God, who canst not be deceived, who wilt not be mocked.

Thou wilt ease thee of thine adversaries, and avenge thee on thy enemies.

Who can stand before thine indignation, who can abide in thy sight when once thou art angry?

Can our hearts endure, or can our hands be strong when thou shalt deal with us? let the pot­sherds strive with the potsherds of the Earth; wo be to him that contendeth with his Maker.

Thou searchest the heart, and triest the reins, and hast pleasure in uprightness.

There is not any creature that is not manifest in thy sight, but all things are open and naked unto the eyes of that God with whom we have to do.

Oh that thou wouldst bow the heavens and come down, draw night to us while we draw nigh to thee.

Thou humblest thy self to behold things don in Heaven, the heaven of heavens is not able to contain thee, and yet thou wilt dwell with Men.

Thou art nigh unto us in all that we call upon thee for. Let us find favour in thine eyes, suf­fer us not to seek thy face in vain.

Lord hear my voice, and let thine car be at­tentive unto the voice of my Supplication.

I have taken upon me, to speak unto the Lord Jehovah, who am but dust and ashes: what is man that thou art mindful of him! whose dayes are as a shaddow, whose breath is in his nostrils, and wherein is he to be accounted of?

Oh quicken us that we may call upon thy name, and have a gracious regard unto us, though we are prodigal children, unprofitable Servants of polluted lips and hearts uncircumcised.

2. Confession of Sin is to follow, by which God is honoured, our selves humbled and a­based. Original corruption is thus to be ac­knowledged.

What is man that he should be clean, or he that is born of a woman that he should be righteous: thou mightest abhor the sight of us, and we have infinite reason to loath and abhor our selves.

Thou madest man upright, but he hath sought out many inventions.

We were at first planted a noble Vine, a right seed; but now our fruit is evil, the root bit­ter, our grapes are grapes of Sodom, and clust­ters of Gomorrah.

Our first Parents were created in thine I­mage, which does consist in Righteousness, and [Page 148] true Holiness, but they were beguiled by the Serpent, and forsock the Lord, and we being in their Loyns, sinned in them, and fell with them in their first transgression.

Behold I am shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. We are born the children of VVrath, the sons of Death, the heirs of Hell; and are dead in trespasses and sins.

There is a Law in our Members that warrs against the Law in our mindes, and is quite contrary unto the Law of God. And whenso­ever we would or should do good, evil is present with us.

Our carnal mindes are enmity against God, they are not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can they be.

VVe are wise to do evil, but to do good we have no knowledge; the blindness that is in our minds does alienate us from the Life of God.

Our Consciences are sleepy and unfaithful: where is their tenderness and Authority? they seldom check us; and if they do, such is our eagerness to sin, we do not mind, but disobey them.

Our hearts are the worst part in us, they are deceitful above all things, and desperately wick­ed, who can know them?

As a Fountain sendeth forth water, so our hearts without intermission are casting forth their wickedness; from hence proceed those evils that defile the man.

Our hearts are disobedient, and unto every good work Reprobate; Mercies do not melt them, judgments do not break them; and Oh how little have all the means of Grace mended them?

There is so much of pride, of atheisin, infi­delity, impurity, earthlyness, hatred of the Lord and Holiness, stubornness, obstinacy by nature in our hearts; that we are not able to mention, or conceive the thousandth part of it.

Oh what cause have we to be earnest for that new heart, and that new spirit, which is pro­mised in thy new, new Covenant!

We are all as an unclean thing, and all our Righteousness are but filthy Raggs; the cor­ruption of our natures defiles our very best Du­ties: Satan is not to be blamed so much for tempting, as our hearts for yeilding unto his Temptation.

The best of us, have as sinful natures as the worst of men.

Actual sin is to be confessed after this man­ner.

VVho can tell how oft he has offended? who can understand his errours? O Lord I am a­shamed, and blush to lift up my face unto thee, for my iniquities are increased over my head, and my trespass is grown up unto the Heavens.

VVho can number the Stars of the Sky, the sands of the Sea, or the days of Eternity, or [Page 150] reckon up his sins in order before thee.

I was an early sinner, a transgressor from the VVomb, and have not left off sinning to this very day.

I have broken thy Laws, though they are so holy, just, and good.

I have counted the yoak heavy, though thy Commandments are so far from being grievous, that they are more to be desired than the finest Gold, and sweeter than the Hony and the hony Comb.

How far have I been from loving the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, with all my strength? Nay, insteed of this, I have been an hater of God; and secretly wished there were no God to punish sin, that I might have sinned with greater freedom; I have been a lo­ver of pleasure more than a lover of God.

Be astonished O ye Heavens at this, for I have committed two great evils; I have forsaken the Fountain of living waters, and have hewn out unto my self Cisterns, broken Cisterns that can hold no water.

I have not worshipped thee in Spirit and in Truth; without fear of thy jealousie, I have mocked thee to thy Face.

I have been a meer Idolater, for I have ido­lized the world, and the things of the world, which are vanity, and have forgotten the alsuf­ficient God, days without number.

I have taken thy Name in vain, and pro­phaned thy Sabboths which thou hast so strictly [Page 151] commanded I should remember to keep holy.

I have wofully failed in my Duty to my Neighbour, though I ought and was bound to love him as my self.

I have sinned against the Gospel it self, though it contain the best tidings that ever were brought unto the sons of men.

How shall I escape, who have neglected so great Salvation?

I have out-done the very Devils themselves, they never rejected mercy, for 'twas never of­fered to them; they never refused a Saviour, for no Saviour was ever sent to visit and reco­ver them.

Lord I have not believed as I ought the re­port of the Gospel, though it be so faithful, and worthy of all acceptation.

How long have I lived without Christ, with­out Hope, and without God in the world.

Thou hast out-bid all others, and hast offered infinitely better things than the world can; thou hast offered pardon, grace, nay glory, ho­nour, and Immortality, and yet the offer has been despised.

I have been apt to count the Gospel foolish­ness, though it be the wisdom of God, and a Mystery which the Angels admire and desire to look into.

I have not hearkned to the Voyce of the great Prophet, I have not reverenced thy Son who has spoken to me; and therefore deserve to be cut off from among thy people.

Thy Son, is a merciful and faithful high Priest in things pertaining to God, to make re­concilation for the sins of the people; He has called upon me to come to him for rest; but I would not come that I might have life.

His Righteousness is a perfect and everlast­ing Righteousness, yet I have gon about to e­stablish my own righteousness, and have not submitted my self to the righteousness of God.

I have placed a carnal confidence in my own strength, though it be but meer weakness; and relied upon my duties, though God might damn me for the best of them, if he should be extream to mark whats amiss in them.

The Lord Jesus is incomparably the best ma­ster, but I have refused to obey; I have called him Lord, Lord, but have not don the things that he sayes.

I have refused to take his Yoak upon me, though his yoak be an easie yoak, and his bur­then so light a burthen; his service I have not liked, though 'tis perfect freedom. I have broke his bands asunder, and cast away his cords from me.

I deserve to be dash'd in peices by his iron Rod, who refused to submit unto the scepter of his word

I have been called to repent, and encouraged thereunto, but have remained impenitent; I have made my heart like an adamant stone, and re­fused to be ashamed.

Sin was the cause of Christs sufferings, it makes the whole creation groan; 'tis that which has murthered millions of Souls: 'tis the cause [Page 153] of all the horrour and despair, and sorrows, and torment, which the damned undergo, and yet how light a matter have I esteemed it? Ah! fool that I have been to make a mock of sin, and count it a pastime to do wickedly.

My sins O Lord are highly aggravated.

Light is come into the world, but I have lo­ved darkness more then light, because my deeds are evil.

Thy will has been plainly told me, and I have known my duty, and yet have done the contrary, and deserves to be beaten with many stripes.

I have had experience of the riches of thy goodness and forbearance, and long suffering, and yet all has not lead me to repentance.

When fair means prevailed not, thou hast tried foul. But though then hast smitten me, I have not grieved; thou hast even consumed me, but I have refused to receive correction: I have made my Face harder than a Rock, and have refused to return.

The Spirit has striven with me, but like a stif­necked wretch I have resisted the holy Ghost, and thou mightest justly resolve he should strive no more with me.

We judg O Lord, and condemn our selves in thy presence.

Thou really and truly hatest sinne in us as well as others; Thou sparedst not the An­gels that sinned against thee. Thou spar­edst not the Old World, but didst bring the Floud upon them. Thou didst turn the Cities [Page 154] of S [...]dom and Gomorrah to ashes. Nay, thy Son himself was not spared, when sin was laid to his charge. Oh what a wonder of mercy is it, that we are spared to this day.

We deserve the sorest of temporal Judgments.

Thou mightest appoint over us Terrour, Con­sumption, and the burning-Ague; we have de­served sore sicknesses, and of long continuance, and to fall by the Arrow of the deadly Pesti­lence.

Thou mightest make the Heaven as Iron, and the Earth as brass, and curse the Land, that it shall not yeeld her increase, and break the staff of bread, whereby our lives are sustained.

Thou mightest bring the Sword that should avenge the quarrel of thy broken Covenant, and cause them that hate us, to rule over us.

We have deserved spiritual Judgments, that the golden Candle stick should be removed out of its place, that the light of the Gospel should be put out in obscurity, and that the Sun of Righte­ousness should go down at Noon-day.

Thou mightest curse such barren Trees as we have been, and say, Never fruit grow on you more.

Thou mightest give us up to our own hearts lusts, and say, because I would have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, therefore thou shalt not be purged any more, until I cause my fury to rest upon thee.

The very Vengeance of eternal fire is no more than our due. We have deserved Hell, and one of the hottest places there. For Tyre and Si­don, Sodom and Gomorrah, had they heard what we have heard; had they enjoyed what we have enjoyed, would have repented long a­go in sackcloath and ashes.

3. A third part of prayer is Deprecation of punishment. It highly concerns us to pray against the evils that we fear, and have me­rited by our sins.

Lord enter not into Judgment with thy Ser­vant, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

If thou Lord shouldst mark Iniquity, O Lord, who should stand? but there is forgive­ness with thee, and plenteous redemption that thou mayst be feared.

Let not thy anger wax hot, let not thy jea­lousy smoak against us.

We lye at thy foot, and lay down our wea­pons, and cry out for mercy.

The returning Prodigal was embraced by his Father; he rejoyced, saying, This my Son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. O let the arms of thy Love, O Lord, be open to embrace us, though we are not wor­thy to be called thy Children.

We pray against outward Calamities; and if these are brought upon us, let them be sanctified, [Page 156] and then they may be reckoned among our choy­cest mercies.

But especially we deprecate spiritual judg­ments. Do not punish sin with sin; do not say, let him that is filthy be filthy still; let him that is unjust, be unjust still; Ephraim is joyned to Idols, let him alone.

Do not give us up to blindness of mind, to hardness of heart, to a reprobate sence, to strong delusions, to vile affections. Do not swear in thy wrath that we shall never enter into thy rest.

O Lord leave us not, for woe unto us when thou shalt depart from us.

Do not abhor us O God, for as thy loving kindness is better than life, so thy displeasure is more bitter than death it self.

Oh deliver from future wrath, which is most of all intollerable!

How shall we dwell with devouring fire, how shall we be able to inhabit everlasting burn­ings?

How shall we be able to stand before the Lord, when he shall be revealed with his mighty Angels in flaming fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and disobey the Gos­pel; who shall be punished with overlasting de­struction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

Oh Lord grant that we may find mercy of thee in that great approaching, when the wick­ed [Page 157] shall be turned into Hell, and all the Nations that forget God.

Thou that hast the keyes of Hell, and of Death; Oh, unsting death, and suffer me not to fall down into that lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

Let me never feel the gnawings of that Worm that dyes not, nor be tormented in that flame that never shall be quenched.

Oh be not angry, if I am importunate to have thy anger removed; an eternity of misery is a­stonishing. Oh save me from everlasting Dam­nation.

4. A fourth part of prayer, is Petition for Grace and Mercy.

Remember. O Lord, thy tender mercies, and thy loving kindnesses, for they have been ever of old.

Have mercy upon me O God, according to thy loving kindness, and according to the mul­titude of thy tender mercies, blot out my trans­gressions. Wash me thorowly from my Iniqui­ties, and cleanse me from my sins. Take away all our Iniquities, and receive us graciously; heal our back-slidings, and love us freely, and let thy anger be turned away from us. Though we have made thee to serve with our sins, and wearied thee with our Iniquities, yet according to the Word that thou hast spoken, blot out our [Page 158] Transgressions for thy own sake, and remember our sins no more.

For thy name sake, O Lord, pardon my ini­quity, for it is great.

O Lord, behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

All we, like Sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, but thou hast laid on him the iniquities of us all.

He was wounded for our Transgressions; he was bruised for our Iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was laid upon him. Oh that by his stripes we may be healed.

He poured out his Soul unto the death, and made intercession for the Transgressors. Oh let transgressors be received into favour.

Justify us freely by thy grace, through the Redemption of Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent forth to be a propitiation through Faith in his blood.

Our sin has abounded, let thy grace much more abound.

Beg for Adoption

Oh that thou wouldst become a God in Cove­nant with us, and a Reconciled Father to us, and let us be the Sons and Daughters of the Lord Almighty.

Let us be no more Strangers and Forraigners, but fellow-Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God.

Send forth the spirit of thy Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Deliver us from fear and bondage, and seal us up unto the day of Redemption. Say unto us, Souls I am your Salvation.

There be many that say, who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy Coun­tenance upon us.

Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce. Sa­tisfy us early with thy mercy.

Let thy spirit bear witness with our spirits, that we are the Children, and not only Chil­dren, but Heirs, Heirs of God, joynt-Heirs with Christ unto the Inheritance that is undefi­led, and will never fade away, reserved in Heaven for us.

Intreat that Repentance unto life may be granted.

Oh take away the heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh. Let thy goodness lead us to Re­pentance.

Let us not only have space, but also grace to repent of the evils of our ways and doing [...] ▪ Cause us to remember them so, as to loath our selves, and turn to thee.

Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and so shall we be turned; draw us, and we shall run after thee.

Renew us in the spirit of our minds, and help us to put on that new man, which after God, is created in Righteousness and true [...]oliness.

Make our hearts just, after thy own heart, and let them be inclined to keep thy Testimonies.

Put thy laws into our minds, and write them in our hearts, and be to us a God, and make us a willing people in the day of thy power.

Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Pray for Faith.

Faith is the gift of God; Oh let us obtain precious Faith from thee, which is much more to be valued then gold that perishes.

Strengthen my assent unto every word that thou hast spoken, that I may as firmly believe every threatning, every promise, every part of thy revealed will, as I believe when the Sun sets, 'twill rise again the next morning.

Let me tremble at thy threatnings, and not dare to venture upon any thing thou hatest.

Let my heart stand in awe. of thy Word, and let it be my constant inquiry.

Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?

Open my heart, to give entertainment to the Lord of life and glory.

Oh that I may look unto Jesus as the Isra­elites stung in the Wilderness, did unto the bra­zen Serpent; and looking, may be healed and saved.

Let me hear, and be taught of the Father, and come to Christ, and receive him to be a Prince and Saviour to me.

Oh that Christ may be truly precious to me, that I may count all things but loss, that I may win the Lord Jesus. Help me to value the ex­ceeding riches of thy grace in thy kindness, through Christ Jesus.

Be earnest for Love and other graces of the spirit.

Let my faith work by love, and love con­strain me to live unto thee.

Give me an heart to know thee more, and circumcise my heart to love thee above all.

Whom have I in Heaven, but thee? and there is none on Earth that I desire besides thee.

Let not my heart run a Whoring from thee▪ thou art infinitely worthy of my strongest love.

That I may love thee, let me know I am belo­ved of thee.

Ʋnite my heart to fear thy name. Oh that I may set thee alwayes before me, and have an awful sence of thy power, and presence, and holiness and goodness upon my heart.

Never turn away from me O Lord to do me good, and put thy fear into my heart that I may not depart from thee.

Fire my heart with zeal for thy glory, let me stand up for God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse Generation, let me never live ei­ther to be a shame to the Gospel, or ashamed of the Gospel.

Deliver me from lukewarmness in Religion, let me take heed of being neither hot nor c [...]ld, least I provoke thee, to spew me out of thy mouth.

Make and keep me good, even in bad times, and because others dishonour thee without fear; let me be the more careful to do that which plea­ses thee.

Thou didst preserve Lot in Sodom, Noah in the old world, the Saints that were in Nero's houshold. Oh help me to keep my self unspotted from the world, and let me chuse rather to go to Heaven with a few, then to go in the broad way that leads to destruction, with the greatest multitude.

Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.

Lord make me Sincere, and keep me Sin­cere, and without offence until th [...] day of Jesus Christ.

Let me be upright before thee, and keep my self from mine Iniquity.

Oh help me to lay aside every weight, and the Sin that does so easily beset me.

Let this be our rejoycing even the testimony of our Conscience; that in simplicity and godly [Page 163] Sincerity not with fleshly Wisdom, but by the Grace of God we have had our Conversations in the World.

In all Estates, let us learn therewith to be contented: Let us consider that Godliness with Contentment is great Gain.

Oh that we may know how to want, and how to abound; how to be sick, and how to be well; how to Live, and how to Die. Let us be able to do, and suffer all things through Christ strengthening of us.

Let our Conversations be as becomes the Gos­pel; help us to follow thee as dear Children, to Live as the Redeemed of the Lord, and to glori­fie thee in our Bodies and in our Spirits: For we are not our own, but are bought with a price. We profess Christ; let us depart from Iniqui­ty, and walk even as he walked. Not content­ing our selves with the Form of Godliness with­out the Power of Godliness.

Let us not profess to Know thee, and in Works deny thee; but make us Zealous of good Works, considering we are Created unto good Works, which God has before o [...]dained, that we should walk in them.

Help us to do Justly, and to love Mercy, and to walk Humbly with God.

Cleanse us from all Filthiness both of the Flesh and Spirit, and help us to perfect Holiness in thy Fear.

Make us Consciencious in all our Relati­ons; [Page 164] and let it be our continual Exercise, to keep a Conscience void of Offence towards God and towards Man.

Arme us against the Evil day; let us never faint in Adversity, nor be discouraged from fol­lowing God by Persecution.

Let Christ and Truth be Dearer to us than our very Lives, and let us count it both Wisdom and our Interest, to throw all our outward En­joyments Over▪ board, rather than make Ship­wrack of Faith and a good Conscience.

Petitions in reference to the Word.

O let thy Word be a Light unto my Feet, and a Lamp unto my Path: When I go, let it lead me, when I sleep, let it keep me, when I a­wake, let it talk with me.

Give me the seeing Eye, the hearing Ear, the understanding Heart: Make thy Word like Fire, and like a Hammer that breaketh the Rock in pieces.

Oh let thy Word he powerful to kill sin, and to Convert the Soul unto thee.

Give the Preacher the Tongue of the Learn­ed, and let him divide the Word aright; and let the Pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hand.

Let Sinners be startled and converted, and let Saints be edified and comforted, and built up by the Word of thy Grace.

Let thy Spirit accompany Prophesying, that [Page 165] dead Bones may live, and they who have Life, may have it more and more abundantly.

Make us Doers of thy Word, and not Hear­ers only, deceiving our selves.

Petitions in reference to the Sacrament.

We were given up to thee when Baptized in thy Name. Oh break our Hearts for our Ʋn­fruitfulness, and help us now to be stedfast in thy Covenant.

We have been baptized with water; Oh that we may be washed, and sanctified, and justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Let the Ordinance of the Supper be earnestly desired; let not thy Table be Contempti­ble.

Oh that we may prize that Bread of God that comes down from Heav [...]n, and gives Life unto the World; let us not labour for the Me [...]t th [...]t perisheth.

Wherefore should we spend our Money for that which is not Bread, and [...]u [...] Labour for that which cannot satisfie.

Let u [...] look u [...]to Christ whom we have peir­ced, and mo [...]rn. Let us [...]t [...]rnally fall out with Sin b [...]hol [...]ing it b [...]sme [...]red wi [...]h the Bloud of Jesus.

Help us to b [...]lieve that Christ was made sin, and bear the Curse that was due to us; and to conclude that the Lord Jesus is as really [Page 166] given to us, as the outward Elements.

Make us eager to Receive whole Christ, and all his Benefits, and to give up our selves wholly, and immediately to him.

O thou God of all Grace, make us perfect, establish, strengthen, settle us, and cause us to cleave unto the Lord with full Purpose of Heart.

Let Sabbaths be prized and improved; lets rejoyce when they come, for then we have Op­portunity to enter thy Sanctuary, and approach thy Table.

Petitions for Perseverance.

Ʋphold me with thy free Spirit. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe, so shall I have Re­spect unto thy Precepts continually.

Thou art the Author, be the Finisher of my Faith: Fulfill all the good pleasure of thy Goodness, and the work of Faith and pow­er.

Thou givest Power to the Faint, and to them that have no Might, th [...]u [...]n [...] easeth Strength. Oh strengthen me with strength in my Soul that I may Run and not be weary, that I may Walk and not Faint.

Preserve me by thy mighty Power through Faith unto Salvation.

Let us not be of them that draw back unto Perdition, but of them that Believe unto the Sa­ving of the Soul.

O Lord, who art of Power to establish us, keep us from Falling, and present us Faultless before the Presence of this Glory, with exceed­ing Joy.

Petitions for Temporal Mercies.

Give us this day our Da [...]ly Bread: Give [...]e neither Poverty nor Riches; feed me with Food convenient for me.

Let not our Table be a Snare, and that which should have been for our VVelfare, let it not be­come a Trap unto us.

O that thou wouldest Bless me indeed, and enlarge my Court, and that thy Hand may be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from Evil, that it may not grieve me!

Make me in all my ways to Acknowledge thee, and do thou direct my Paths.

'Tis in vain to rise up Early, to sit up Late, and eat the Bread of [...]rrows.

Thy Blessings O Lord maketh Rich, and thou addest no Sorrow with it.

Be a Sun to Enlighten, a Shield to De­fend me, and no good Thing with-hold from me.

Make thy Light to shine upon my Taberna­cle, and set an Hedge about me, and cause the VVork of my Hands [...]o prosper; and let me have an Heart to Honour thee with the Substance thou hast given me, and to make a Friend of the Mammon of Ʋarighteousness.

Watch over me perpetually, and that none may hurt me, O Lord keep me nig [...]t and [...]ay.

Preserve my going out and my comming in, lead me not into Temptation, but deliver me from evil, and especially from sin which is of [...]ll the greatest.

Petitions in reference to Death.

Oh that we were wise to consider our latter end. Teach us so to number our dayes that we may apply our hearts unto wisedom.

All the dayes of our appointed time let us wait till our change comes: let us die dayly to sin and to the world, and live to God through Christ Jesus.

Help us to make sure work for Eternity, liv­ing the life of the Righteous that we may also die the death of the Righteous.

Oh that we may pass the time of our sojour­ning here in fear, and as strangers and pil­grims abstain from fleshly lusts which war a­gainst our Souls.

What is our life? 'tis even a vapour which appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away, let us not defer our beleiving and repen­tance, but while 'tis called to day, hear thy Voice, and not harden our hearts any lon­ger.

Let death be ours as well as life, and let the sting of death be taken out before we feel it. Deliver us from the fear of death, and suffer [Page 169] us not all our life time to be subjected unto bon­dage.

Put us in mind of our great account, for shortly we must be no longer stewards.

Let us act as those that believe, God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing; whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Here we have no continuing City, there­fore, let us mind that City that hath foundati­ons whose builder and maker is God.

Let our Heart and Treasure be above, let our Loyns be girded about, and our Lights burning, and our selves as those that are watch­ing and waiting for our Lords appearing.

Let the prize of the high calling be in our Eye, that we may press towards the mark, and more and more abound in the work of the Lord.

Let us groan to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven; desiring nothing more than to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord. And labour exceedingly that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

5. The fifth part of Prayer is Intercessi­on for others. The Church is to be prayed for.

Save thy People, bless thine inheritance, rule them also, and lift them up for ever. Be a wall [Page 170] of fire round about Mount Sion, that it may stand fast continually.

Preserve that little Flock unto whom thoou hast promised to give the kingdom.

Let thy delight be in Jerusalem, grave her on the palms of thy Hands, let her walls be continually before thee, let her builders make hast and cause her destroyers to depart from her.

Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy Pasture? look down from Heaven the habitation of thy Holiness and of thy Glory. Where is thy zeal and thy strength, and the ear­ning of thy bowels, and of thy mercies? are they restrained?

Awake, awake, put on strength, O Arm of the Lord; Awake as in the ancient dayes in the ge­nerations of old. Art not thou he that hast broken Rahab, and wounded the Dragon? Shew thy marvellous loving-kindness, O thou that sa­vest by thy right hand, those that put their trust in thee, from them that rise up against them.

Ʋnite thy people together, let them not bite and devour one another, but endeavour by all lowliness and meekness, longsuffering, and for­bearing one another, in love to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace.

Let Truth shine forth, and mistakes be disco­vered; Oh let the light of the moon be as the light of the Sun, and the light of the sun seven­fold [Page 171] as the light of seven dayes; and at last bind up the breach of thy people and heal the stroke of their wound.

Bring home Jews and Gentiles that belong to the election of thy Grace.

Make thy way known upon earth, and thy saving health among all Nations.

Raise up the Tabernacle of David which is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and be gracious to the remnant of Joseph, and let the kingdoms of the world, become the King­doms of the Lord and of his Christ.

Bring in those sheep that are not yet of thy fold, and cause them to hear the voice of the great Shephard.

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so be thou round about thy people from hence­forth and for ever. And let not the gates of Hell ever be able to prevail against them.

Petitions for the Nation in which we live.

Let Truth and Peace, be in England, Scot­land, and Ireland. Let the Gospel be continued, and be made effectual to the turning of many unto righteousness. Let Souls fly as a Cloud to the Lord Jesus; and as Doves to the Windowes.

Let judgments be all sanctified, let not Sword, and Plague, and Fire, be all in vain; but oh let our uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and help us to accept of the punishment of our iniquities, and to turn unto him that has been [Page 172] smiting us; that thou mayest send abundant plenty and prosperity.

Let the King, and our Rulers be blessed, and Favour Religion, and thy People, and under them let us live quiet and peaceable lifes in all godliness and honesty.

Petitions for relations, and those that are afflicted.

Oh that our brethren, and kindred, accor­ding to the flesh, may have an interest in that love which thou bearest to thy people.

'Tis terrible to think of Children or yoak­fellowes, or brethren their miscarrying to Eter­nity. Oh therefore give grace where there is none, and work more and more, where thou hast already in some degree wrought it.

Sanctify outward affliction to all that are exer­cised thereby: let them know thou chastizest them because thou lovest them, and let it be their principal desire, to be made partaker of thy Holiness. Let them cast all their burthens upon thee; and do thou sustain them.

Let the Fatherless find mercy with thee, and make the widows heart to sing for joy, because their Maker is their Husband, the Lord of Hosts is his Name.

Binde up the broken in heart, and heal the Wounds which sin has made.

Do not contend for ever, neither be alwayes wrath, lest the Spirit fail before thee.

Succour them that are tempted, and sho ten the chain of the evil One.

Shine into the souls of them that refuse to be comforted, that sit in darkness and see no light, and are ready to say, will the Lord cast off for ever; and will he be favourable no more?

Many are the afflictions of thy people O Lord, deliver them out of them all. Suffer none to be tempted above what they are able.

Petitions for them to use that are wounded in their Spirits.

How long wilt thou forgot me O Lord; for­ever? Oh do not still hide away thy Face from me. Turn thee unto me and have mercy upon me, for I am desolate and afflicted; the troubles of my heart are enlarged; O bring thou me out of my distresses.

Oh that my griefes were throughly weighed, and my calamities lay'd in the ballances toge­ther! for now they would be heavier then the sand, therefore my words are swallowed up, for the arrowes of the almighty are within me, the poyson whereof drinketh up my Spirits, the terrours of God do set themselves in array a­gainst me. Oh do not cast me quite away from thy presence, but heal those wounds which thou hast made; and cause a calm where now the storm is so exceeding dreadful.

I have sinned, what shall I do unto thee; O thou preserver of men? Oh do not set me as a [Page 174] mark against thee, do not make me a burthen to my self.

Out of the depths, have I cryed unto thee; O Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee.

Let not thy wrath still lie hard upon me, do not afflict me with all thy waves.

Oh draw a weary and heavy laden Soul, to the Lord Jesus, who alone can give rest unto me.

Lord encourage my hope, and help one to be­lieve. Christ was wounded that I might be healed, he was bound that I might be set at li­berty, he was forsaken and deserted that thou mightest return to me: He was exceeding sor­rowful even unto death, that I might partake of the joy of thy Salvation.

I fly not unto carnal means to divert, and remove my sorrows; the pleasures of the world, and the advantages of it, I perceive are empty and low things.

I mourn after God, I long for God, as the chased hart after the water brooks.

Oh satiate a weary Soul, and replenish a Sor­rowful Soul, that will certainly sink unlesse thou support, and dye away, unlesse thou speak com­fort.

6. The Sixt part of Prayer is Imprecation against others.

Let the works of the Devil be destroyed, and [Page 175] the Kingdom of the prince of darkness be thrown down.

Why should Satan lead captive at his plea­sure, the greater part of mankind, and com­mand so great a multitude of those Souls, that are capable of honouring and serving thee?

Hast thou not spoyled principalities, and powers, and made a show of them, openly tri­umphing over them? Oh let not conquered ene­mies insult and prevail; but let the Prince of this world be judged and cast out, and let Souls by thousands and by millions be made free in­deed.

Let Satans instruments have a rebuke given them, and let no weapon prosper that is formed against Zion.

We desire not the woful day for thy enemies, but we intreat that their hands may not be able to perform their enterprize against thy people, and all their counsels may be carried head­long.

O Lord God to whom vengeance belongeth, O God to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thy self, lift up thy self, thou Judg of the earth render a reward to the proud. Lord how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked tri­umph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things, and all the workers of Iniquity boast themselves? They break in peices thy People, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. The plowers plow upon thy peoples backs, and make long their [Page 176] furrows. O Thou that art the righteous Lord, break asunder the cords of the ungodly.

Let great Babylon come into remembrance, and give that Scarlet-colour'd whore, who has been drunk with the blood of Saints, blood to drink, for she is worthy. Her sins have reached unto Heaven, Oh remember her iniquities. She sayes in her heart, I sit as a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow; therefore let her plagues come in one day; Death, and mourn­ing, and famine; and let her be utterly burnt with fire; for thou art strong O Lord that judg­est her.

Let not Popery prevail, but all abhor that Re­ligion which pleads for Idolatry, and that is so exceeding bloody.

Oh when shall that prophecy be fulfilled; Ba­bylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is be­come the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul Spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird? When shall the heavens re­joyce over her, and the holy Apostles and Pro­phets, because God hath avenged them upon her?

Let enemies to thy people become friends, both to thy people and their own selves; but if they are implacable, make them to know they are but men; and wherein they deal proudly, shew thy self above them.

Arise O Lord, and plead thine own cause; and let all thy foes be made thy foot stool.

7. The last part of prayer is Thanksgiving and Praise.

Lord thou art infinitely exalted above all blessing and praise. Oh how great is thy goodness 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!

How precious are thy Thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them? If I should count them, they are more in number than the Sand.

'Tis thou that hast made us and not we our selves; our Bodies were curiously wrought by thee, and all our Members were written in thy Book, and thou hast been the former of our Spirits.

Thou hast given me a Tongue to speak, and therefore it shall shew forth thy praise. Thou hast given me a Soul capable of love and joy▪ therefore it shall love thee and rejoyce in thee.

Bless the Lord O my Soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Name; bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all his bene­fits.

I have been cast upon thee from the Womb, and have hung on thee ever since I hung up­on the Breasts.

How many unknown and passible and de­served [Page 178] evils have I been preserved from? How many undeserved Mercyes have been showred down upon me? Thou hast been my Shepheard O Lord, so that I have wanted no­thing all my days.

Many are blind that I meet withal, but I see; many are deaf, but I hear; many are dumb, but my Tongue can speak; many have lost their Limbs, but all my Bones have rea­son to say, who Lord is like unto thee? my Limbs are sound, and Sences perfect; and I have the use of Reason when many are di­stracted, and raving in Bedlam.

I see not the hurtful Sword, neither do I hear the alarm of War; when others are terrified, and behold Garments roulled in Blood, and their Souls are wearied, because of Murtherers.

Thou sendest fruitful seasons, and fillest our hearts with Food and gladness: Thou Crownest the Year with thy goodness, and they Paths drop fatness.

We are less than the least of Mercies, therefore thy goodness O Lord is the great­ter, and more greatly to be admired.

Thanksgiving for spiritual Mercyes.

Oh the height, and length, and depth, and breadth, of the love of God, in [Page 179] sending Christ into the World to be a Savi­our.

Glory be to God in the highest, on Earth Peace, good will towards Men.

O Wonderful, that the Word should be made Flesh; that He who was in the form of God, and thought it no Robbery to be equal with God, should take upon him the form of a Servant, and become obedient to Death, that we might not die and perish for ever.

We blesse thee that our Ears do hear the joyful sound of the Gospel; and that the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to guide our Feet into the way of Peace.

Thy Sabbaths, and thy Ordinances, and the means of Grace, are priviledges which we can never sufficiently value.

Thou callest upon us to turn and Liv [...], and some can say thou hast made the Call effectual. We were sometimes darknesse, but now are we light in the Lord; we were stran­gers, but now Children; we were dead in trespasses and sins, but God who is rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved us, hath quickned us together with Christ. Thou hast cast all our sins behind thy back, and we may rejoyce indeed, because our names are written in the book o [...] Life.

Thou hast made a new Covenant with us, [Page 180] ordered in all things, and sure, and all that we can desire, or need, is here promised. The blessings of both Worlds thou hast en­gaged to bestow; and this covenant is more firm thon the Ordinances of the Heavens: The mountains shall depart, and the Hills be removed; the Heaven and the Earth shall passe away, but thy kindness shall not depar [...] from us, nor the Covenant of thy Peace be removed, but abide for evermore.

Thanksgiving for Eternal Mercies.

Thy Salvation is near O Lord; and he that shall come, will come; and will not tar­ry. Time is wearing away apace, and the Everlasting Kingdom is at hand.

'Tis but a little while, and we shall be in thy presence where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.

Then our hope will be swallowed up in Fru­ition, and our Faith in seeing of thee Face to Face. We shall be made perfectly holy and compleatly happy; we shall sin no more, we shall sorrow no more, but be at rest Eternal­ly.

We shall be Crowned with Life and Righ­teousness, and Reign with God in his Ever­lasting Kingdom.

Blessed be the Lord who hath given us E­verlasting [Page 181] consolation, and good hope through Grace of such an Inheritance; where we shall to Eternity be admiring free Grace, and making Heaven Ring with Everlasting Hal­lelujahs.

While I live, I will praise the Lord, and after Death I will begin to praise him in a better manner; and never, never, give o­ver praising.

Now unto Him that is able to do ex­ceeding abundantly above all that we ei­ther ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us, Ʋnto Him be Glory in the Church by Christ Jesus through­out all Ages, and World without End.



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