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ready writer. But this is a case that rarely happens, and ordinarily there is need of propofing to ourselves a certain method to go by in prayer, that the service may be performed decently and in order, in which, yet one would avoid that which looks too formal. - A man may write straight, without having his paper ruled.
Some few forms of prayer I have added in the last chapter, for the use of those who need such helps, and that koow not how to do as well or better without them; and Therefore I have calculated them for families. think them too long, let them observe that they are divided into many paragraphs, and those mostly independent, so that when brevity is necessary, fome paragraphs may be omitted.
But after all, the intention and close application of the mind, the lively exercises of faith and love, and the out. goings of holy defire towards God, are so effentially necefsary to prayer, that without these in fincerity, the best and molt proper language is but a lifeless image. If we had the tongue of men and angels, and have not the heart of humble serious Christians in prayer, we are but as a found
ing brass, and a tinkling cymbal. 'Tis only the effectual • fervent prayer, the Deesis energumene, the inwrought, in
laid prayer that avails much. Thus, therefore, we ought to approve ourselves to God in the integrity of our hearts, whether we pray by or without a pre-composed form.
When I had finished the third volume of Expositions of the Bible, which is now in the prefs, before I proceed, as I intend, in an humble dependence on the Divine providence and grace, to the fourth volume, I was willing to take a little time from that work to this poor performance, in hopes it might be of some service to the generation of them that seek God, that seek the face of the God of Jacob ; And if any good Christians receive assistance from it in their devotions, I hope they will not deny me one request, which is, that they will pray for me, that I may obtain mercy of the Lord, to be found among the faithful watch. men on Jerusalem's walls, Who never bold their peace day nor night, but give themselves to the word and prayer, that ar length I may finiss my course with joy.
CHESTER, March 25th, 1710.
PRAY E R.
Of the firft Part of Prayer, which is Address to God,
Adoration of him, with suitable Acknowledgments,
UR spirits being composed into a very reverend
and serious frame, our thoughts gathered in, and all that is within us charged in the name of the great God, carefully to attend the folemn and awful service that lies before us, and to keep close to it, we must with a fixed attention and application of mind, and an active lively Faith, set the LORD BEFORE US, see his eye upon us, and set ourselves in his special presence, presenting ourselves to him as living facrifices, which we defire may be holy and acceptable, and a reasonable service; and then bind these sacrifices with cords to the horns of the altar , in fuch thoughts as these :
a Rom, xii. 1.
b Psal. cxviii, 27.
Let us now lift ap our hearts, with our eyes and hands unto God in the heavens d.
Let us ftir up ourselves to take hold on Gode, to seek his face, and to give him the glory due unto his name f.
Unto thee, O Lord, do we lift up our fouls 8. Let us now, with humble boldness, enter into the holieft by the blood of Jesus, in the new and living way), which he hath consecrated to us through the Veil i.
Let us now attend upon the Lord without distraction, and let not our hearts be far from him, when we draw nigh unto him with our mouths, and honour him with our lips k.
Let us now worship God, who is a SPIRIT, in spirit and in truth : for such the Father seeks to worship him!.
Having thus engaged our hearts to approach unto Godm
1. We must folemnly address ourselves to that INFINITELY GREAT and GLORIOUS Being with whom we have to do, as those that are pofleffed with a full belief of his PRESENCE and a holy aue and reverence of his. MAJESTY ; which we may ao in such expressions as these:
Holy, Holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come ".
O thou whose name alone is JEHOVAH, and who art the most High over all the earth o !
O God, thou art our God, early will we seek theep our God and we will praise thee; our father's God, and we will exalt thee 9.
O thou who art the true God, the living God, the
& XXV; I.
h Heb. x, 19.
c Lam. iii, 41.
e Isa. 1xiv, 7. f Psal. xxvii, 8. xxix, 2. i i Cor. vii, 35.
k Mat. xv, 8. 1 John iv, 23; 24. m Jer. xxx, 21. n Rey.iv, 6. o Psalm lxxxiii, 18, p lxxxiii. 1. . Exod, xv, 2.
only living and true God, and the everlasting King! The Lord our God who is one Lord'.
And we may thus distinguish ourselves from the worshippers of false gods.
The idols of the leathen are filver and gold, they are vanity and a lie, the works of men's hands; they that make them are like unto them, and so is every one that trusteth in them'. But the portion of Jacob is not like them, for he is the former of all things, and Ifrael is the rod of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name v, God over all, blessed for evermore w.
Their rock is not our rock, even the enemies them. felves being judges; for he is the rock of ages *,
the Lord Jehovah, with whom is everlasting strength' : whose name Mall endure for ever, and his memorial unto all generations 2, when the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from off the earth, and from under those heavens a.
2. We must reverently adore God, as a Being trana scendently bright and blessed, self-existent, and self-sufficient, an infinite and eternal Spirit, that has all perfečtions in himself, and give him the glory of his titles and attria butes.
O Lord our God, thou art very great, thou art clothed with honour and majesty, thou coverest thyself with light, as with a garment, and yet as to us makest darkness thy paviliono; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darknefs d.
This is the meffage which we have heard of thee, and we set to our seal that it is true, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all e: and that God is love, and they that dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in them f.
Thou art the Father of light, with whom is no varia
qs Jer. x. 10. / Deut. vi. 4. Psal. cxv. 4. Jer. x: 15,16. w Rom. ix. y.' x Deut. xxxii. 31. y Ifa. xxvi. 4. % Psal. cxxxv, 13.
a Jer. x. II. b Pfal.civ. 1, 2. cxviii. 11. d Job xxxvii. 19. e 1 John i. 5. fiv. 16.