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AN USEFUL TRACTATE TO Further Chriſtians of theſe dangerous and back-ſliding times, in the Practice of the moſt needful Duty of PRAYER.

Wherein are diſcover'd the nature, neceſſity and ſucceſſe of FERVENT PRAYER: Many Objections anſwered, ſeveral Practical Caſes of Conſcience reſolved; and all briefly applied from this Text, viz.

James 5.16.The effectual fervent-prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Being the ſubſtance of ſeveral Sermons Preached in the Town of Columpton in Devon.

By William Crompton M. A. Miniſter of that part of Chriſts Church there.

John 16.23. And in that day ye ſhall ask me nothing: Ve­rily, verily, I ſay unto you, Whatſoever ye ſhall ask in my name, he will give it you.

Coloſſ. 4.2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the ſame with thankſgiving.

London, Printed by J. H. for Philemon Stephens, at the Gilded Lion in S. Pauls Church-Yard. 1659.

ALthough there be many excel­lent Treatiſes already printed concerning Prayer, yet this enſu­ing Diſcourſe hath a peculiar excel­lency in it, for which it deſerves to be bought, and diligently peruſed. And let me aſſure the Reader, that he will neither repent of his mony, nor his pains; and that it will be his happineſſe to be transformed in­to the doctrine herein delivered.

Imprimatur, EDM. CALAMY.
〈1 page duplicate〉

I Have peruſed this Treatiſe of Prayer, from the beginning to the end; and I conceive it will be good ſervice to God and his Church in the making of it publick; not ſo much becauſe of the delight it will yield to thoſe that read it, as becauſe I hope the holy directions which are herein given, will be of much avail to teach men to pray ſo, that their prayers may be the Lords delight, Pro. 15.18.

ARTH. JACKSON, Paſtor of the Church of Faiths under Pauls.

TO THE VVORSHIPFUL ROBERT COCKRAM Eſquire, his honoured Patron; with the reſt of my conſtant Audi­tours in the Town and Pariſh of Columpton, The dew of Heaven be your portion, as the beauty and fatneſſe of the earth is your habitation: grace, mercy and peace be upon the heads and hearts of you all, that love Chriſt Jeſus in ſincerity.

BEſides my readineſſe to gratifie the deſire of ſome among you, and willingneſſe to give ſome ſignal of my unfeigned love to you all, I have been eaſily induced to publiſh the following Treatiſe, by theſe following con­ſiderations, viz.

1. That I might the better confirm theſe things wherein you have been inſtructed**Luke 1.4.: and not ſeem to labour altogether in vain, by beſtowing ſo much time on that which was to vaniſh in the hearing: a ſad lot which waits on the beſt things committed to leak­ing ears, as water poured into a veſſel full of chinks.

2. That I might benefit thoſe abſent, yea if it may be, the people that are yet unborn, Pſal. 102.18.

3. That I might leave a memo­rial with you, whenever it ſhall pleaſe the Lord of the Vineyard, whoſe I am, to call me off from you, and ſo ſupply my abſence, though by death, ſpeaking to you, when I cannot ſee you, yea li­ving with you, when dead and laid in the duſtSic Ma­thaeus cum prae­dicaſſet Hebraeis & ad gentes ire pararet, utile judicavit ſi iis quos corpore deſerebat, aliquid memoriale doctriae ſuae relinqueret. Ut Bel lib. 4. de verb. Dei non ſcrip. c. 4. notavit ex Euſebio..

4. Becauſe the matter thereof is weighty, and the deſigne of no ſmall conſequence: it is to guide you in your going to God, how to converſe with him, to manage well your performances; in which if you are defective, the whole will be unprofitable. Religion is curious clock work, if but one wheel fail, ſo wll all the reſt: and as one ſtring in a Lute diſſonant and unharmonious to the reſt corrupteth the whole Muſick. There is in every duty abſolutely required righteouſneſſe quoad ſub­ſtantiam operis, and no leſſe quoad modum: the matter and the man­ner are of equal concernment; the flie in the Apothecaries oint­ment, and miſcarriage in the Chri­ſtians performance, render both unſavoury. If you are reſolved to the duty (as I hope you are, and more, Practitioners in it,) ſee here what it is will adorn your ſacrifice; why it muſt be ſo accommodated, and how it may be diſcerned: beſides other things which occur for your information therein.

There are, its true, other more excellent Diſcourſes of this nature extant, ſome of the ſame metal bearing a better ſtamp: but this I commend to you ſooneſt, be­cauſe your own, it is hony that was gathered for your uſe, milk drawn from your own breſt, and therefore moſt proper for you; it is a ſheaf gathered out of your own field: a diſh taken from your own table, if it be not ſo well filled as might be expected, ſo circumſtantiated as the ſubject doth deſerve, you cannot deſpiſe it, except you blame your ſelves who choſe the Cook.

Accept it then with the ſame love it is offered: read it with the ſame diligence you heard it. If any among you may be in­formed, convinced, confirmed, reſolved, comforted, quickned, by any thing here preſented, I ſhall account a ſufficient recom­pence, and rejoice that I have not run in vain.

And now, my Beloved, ſince I have opportunity, ſuffer me in the eye of the world to exhort you. The publiſhing of theſe things was chiefly intended for you, let it be your care, to be the principal Proficients by it; here is a talent committed to your careful improvement, lay it not in a napkin, hide it not in the earth. Now be doing; move (Planet-like) uniformly; Covet grace rather then gifts, as to pray more fervently, though leſſe notionally; yet ſtrive to come behinde in no ſpiritual gift. Be men of excellent ſpirits: and ex­preſſe ſincerity by your fervent endeavours after communion with God and fellowſhip with Chriſt. Like the Eagle, ſoar aloft, but out of love to Heaven. Trade for grace, your trading on earth is ſlack, unprofitable. Let your converſation be now, where you would have it to be ſhortly, when you ſhall be here no more; be not ſlack in cloſet-ſervices; do not you as others that reſtrain prayer before God, but continue in prayer and watch in the ſame with thankſgiving; O pray continually, and that not out of form, but feeling. Serve God faithfully; keep cloſe to Christ your Cap­tain: Stand in your order, (O 'tis a ſtragling age!) fly not from your colours! quit your ſelves like men, and men of valour, ſouldiers in the ſpiritual war for Chriſt and his truth; manifeſt your actual memberſhip of the Militant Church, be mindeful of the yet ſuffering body of Chriſt; join your mutual forces for her help: fervent prayer will do it; be not weary nor wanting. But my-thinks I hear you reply, and ſay with Samuel, God forbid that we ſhould ſinne againſt the Lord in ceaſing to pray.

I will therefore diſmiſſe you with prayer to God for you, in the words of old Eli, Go in peace, and the Lord of Iſrael grant you your Petitions, which you have, or ſhall ſo ask of him for your ſelves or others! To his Grace I leave you, and remain

Your moſt affectionate Paſtor, Devoted to the ſervice of your faith. W. Crompton.

Mr FORD'S PREFACE TOUCHING The enſuing Treatiſe, and the Subject thereof.

I Need not commend the Subject of this Diſcourſe to any that confeſſes there is a God. He that hath but ſo much Divinity, as to acknow­ledge a Deity, muſt needs grant Pray­er to be a neceſſary duty. For the uſefulneſſe I appeal to all that have found the benefit of it by experience: And they are ſuch as count of no en­joyment, but what is the fruit, and return of prayers. It may be truly ſaid of Prayer; It is not more our duty, then our priviledge. Tis (as one ſaith) piae mentis cum Deo collo­quium, The converſe, and commerce that a gracious ſoul on earth hath with God in Heaven. A priviledge in­deed as great as we are here capable of, that we may come to God as chil­dren to a father, and ſpeak to him, as a man ſpeaketh to his friend.

Now he that hath but ſo much lea­ſure, and patience as will give him leave to peruſe this ſhort Diſcourſe, will finde many encouragements to preſſe the performance of this duty, and many helps to direct him in it. Its aim and ſcope is nothing elſe but to teach us to pray. It meddles with no controverſie, only reſoves a Caſe or two in order to practice; the deſign of it being only to learn us how to reaſon the caſe, and plead our cauſe with God. In one word; It ſhews nothing but the practice of Religion in one great and neceſſary part of it. And if thoſe who pretend moſt to godlineſs would fall cloſer to their work in the practice, and think more of expreſsing the life, and power of it in effectual-fervent-prayer, & the duties of perſo­nal relations, and particular callings, I am ſure they ſhould finde more ſound peace and comfort, then now they do in many frivolous controverſies, and perverſe diſputings. For fooliſh queſtions do but puff men up in pride, and ſelf-conceitedneſſe: whereas ef­fectual-fervent-prayer, and practical godlineſſe edifie, and establiſh in grace, render men approved to God, and ami­able in the ſight of all that have to do with them. Tis very remarkable what the reverend Authour obſerves in this enſuing Treatiſe; That whilſt we are quarrelling and striving one with another, we can never wreſtle, and strive with God, as we ought to do, in Prayer. And then what mar­vel is it if iniquity do abound, and the love of many wax cold as it doth? But I ſhall Preface no more, Let it ſuffice, to ſay of this Treatiſe, that it is ſhort and ſweet. Hath in it plenty with much variety, and all couched into a narrow compaſs, ſo as the Rea­der is in no danger of being cloyed, as ſome gueſts are wont to be at a great Feaſt, where the ſight of ſo much as is ſerved in, takes off their ſtomacks that they can eat little. Here is e­nough, and no more of what is ſingu­larly uſeful for all that have but a minde, and good will to pray. And in teſtimony hereof, I ſubſcribe my ſelf an hearty well-willer to the pub­lication of this Treatiſe, and the Rea­ders due improvement of it.

Tho. Ford.

Mr. SAUNDER'S PREFACE.

Chriſtian Reader,

IT was the reſpect I had to the Reverend Au­thour, and the content I took in the peruſal of this Tract (being therewith entruſted by him before it was committed to the Preſſe) ra­ther then expectation to adde repu­tation to it by prefixing my name, that drew this Epiſtle from me. But if the matter treated of meet with the better entertainment from any, by this means I ſhall count a little time and pains well ſpent. As for the ſubject, 'tis ſuch as needs not〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Letters of com­mendation,2 Cor. 3. or any Panegyrick to uſher it in to an honeſt heart. Yet in our giddy-headed times, 'tis its lot, with all other the ſacred inſti­tutions of Chriſt, to have its legi­timateneſſe made matter of diſpute, yea, zealouſly impugned. We read of Hereticks, very ancient, called Euchitae, that held men muſt be ever praying,Aug. de Haer l 1. De quibus etiam. Epiphan. but who ever heard before men ſhould never pray? Yes, (for there is no new thing un­der the Sun)**〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Clem. Alex. ſtrom. lib. 7. Clemens Alexandrinus mentions an old Hereſie,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. That men ſhould not pray at all. God gives bleſſings unaskt, Prayer therefore is〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſuperfluous. Our unhappy times have given a reſurre­ction to this mon­ſtrous conceit. I take thee, Reader, to be a Chriſtian; and if thou be ſo indeed, thou knoweſt, thou canſt no more be without Prayer, then thou canſt be without thy food. 'Tis not ſo much thy duty as thy priviledge. Wouldeſt thou pleaſe God? I know thou wouldſt. The Prayer of the righteous is his delight, Prov. 15.8. 'Tis like honey drops, Cant. 4.11. Sweet to his taſte. Incenſe to his noſtrils, Pſal 141.2. Dioniſ. Carth. in Matth.Carthu­ſian obſerves, that, of all other Chriſtian ſervices, Prayer only is compared to incenſe. In it we ſtrive with God; but he likes ſuch ſtriving. Haec vis Deo grata eſt, ſays Tert. This force is grateful to God. Wouldeſt thou glorifie God, and pay him the homage thou oweſt him? This is Cenſus ſubjectionis nostrae, our ſuit fine, or homage in which God has the glory of all his Attributes returned him:Solater on Pſa. 116. pag. 194. his All-ſufficiency, Omnipotency, Omni­ſcience, Love, Mercy, Dominion, Truth. Is Heaven ſhut againſt thee? This is Clavis Coeli, as Au­stin, The key of Heaven: Not of the aerial only; it opens that, as Elias prayed for rain and it came: yea, and an Heathen Emperour, M. Aurelius relates how that in the German Expedition,Tert. ed ſ••p. c. 4. & in apolog cap. 5. Juſtia. M••. Apol. 2. Eu­ſeb. l. 5. cap. 5. the Chriſtian ſouldiers by their prayers made the clouds to yield down water to his Hoſt, ready to die for thirſt. But 'tis Clavis Paradiſi, the key of Pa­radiſe too; by this key maiſt thou get into Gods preſence, and have what thou wilt of him. 'Tis Res omnipotentiſsima, Luthers devout Hyperbole, a kinde of omnipotent thing, which makes God himſelf to ſay, Sine me, Let me a­lone, Exodus 32.10. It does (with reverence be it ſpoken) ſtrangely charm the Majeſty of Heaven. The word which is ren­dred Prayer,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉••cantatio, Icanta­m mum Dus ipſqi nullis c••••ſe v••bus ſuperarpoteſt. P••icani p•••bus〈◊〉Hi•••on. Epist. Iſa. 26.16. ſignifies a charm. Feareſt thou the De­vils aſſaults? 'Tis Flagellum Satanae (as Auſtin) a whip for Satan, and a bulwark for thee, that is, (ſays Chryſ.) 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Not to be broken, not to be ſhaken. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the ſame Father, a ſtrong weapon. 'Tis both offnſive and defenſive. Deſireſt thou ſweeteſt communion with thy bleſſed Savi­our here on earth? This is Oſculum pacis, as an Antient ſtyles it, The kiſſe of peace, with which the ſoul kiſſeth the lips of her beloved. 'Tis Sabbathum animae, as another calls it, the ſouls ſabbath. Wouldſt thou viſit Canaan before hand, and get to Heaven once before thou come to ſettle there? Prayer is ſcala Coeli, a Ladder for thee. 'Tis Aſcenſus intellectus ad Deum. The aſcent of the minde to God, Damaſcen's definition. To be ſhort, 'tis a Ca­tholicon, good for every thing, and nothing good without it. All things are ſanctified by it, 1 Tim. 4.4, 5. Weems Chriſt. Synag. Sct. 3. Parag. 5All things upheld by it. The Jews have a ſaying, ſine ſtationibus non ſubſiſteret mundus. The world would not endure without Stand­ing. Gnammuda, ſtanding, is one of the ſeven names they give to Prayer; without this, the world would not ſtand. This rich trea­ſure, Reader, is here put into thine hand, with direction how to uſe it. Here is not Novum, any thing new, but perhaps Novè, good old truths in a new and delightful dreſſe. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. The Reve­rend Authour hath, in this little piece, well mixed utile dulci, thou canſt not mſſe deſired content in reading it; nor can I chooſe but heartily commend it to thy ſe­rious peruſal. Read, and practice: but remember, write over thy clo­ſet door what the Jews uſe to write about the doors of their Syna­gogues. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉i. e. They ex­preſſe it by this Abbrvi­ature〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉which is the firſt letter of each word. Bux. oſ. de Abbr. Heb. A Prayer without af­fection is like a body without a ſoul. Maintain inward warmth of devotion in thine heart; he that does not, Loquitur, non precatur (as ſays Salvian) he talks, he does not pray: if thou do,Gen. 32.28. Thou ſhalt be ca­led Iſrael, becauſe, as a Prince, thou ſhalt have power with God, and with men, and thou ſhalt prevail. That thou mayeſt is the hearty deſire of him, who is

Deſirous of the prosperity of thy precious and im­mortal ſoul RICH. SAUNDERS.

A TABLE OF THE CONTENTS.

  • THe Introduction and opening of the Text. pag. 1
  • Two Doctrines from it, viz. Firſt, That when we have to do with God in prayer, it is our duty to make uſe of fervency. Secondly, that righteous mens prayers are powerful and effectual. 5
  • The firſt point opened and proved. 6
  • Prayer deſcribed to be a fervent expreſ­ſion of holy deſires to God only, by Je­ſus Christ. 7
  • This deſcription of Prayer explained in the ſeveral branches of it, viz. 1. It is a fervent expreſſion] Wherein is en­quired, Firſt, What this fervency is? Anſwered in three particulars. Second­ly, When are men ſaid to be fervent in prayer? p. 10. Anſwered in ſeven things. Thirdly, Why men muſt be thus zea­lous? p. 19. Made good by eight rea­ſons following. 1. Not becauſe God like man ſtands in need of it. 2. Becauſe the Lord loves an importunate ſutor. 3. Be­cauſe he that asketh any thing coldly, asketh a denial. 4. The matter about which you are emploied, is weighty. 5. There are many and prodigious ſins crying. 6. By this means we declare at what rate we value Gods mercies. 7. Fervent-prayer is moſt effectual. 8. There are other reaſons why the Lord will have it ſo. Firſt, So much the more to aſtoniſh the Devil. Secondly, To give good example to the Church. Thirdly, To bring the hearinto a bet­ter temper. p. 26
  • The Doctrine farther cleared by Scri­pture-Preſidents. p. 27. Fourthly, How may a man keep his heart ithis height of heavenly fervor and thaconſtantly, for ſometimes it is ſo? Anſwered. 28
  • Uſe 1. To condemn the Roman ſociety: and too many formal Protestants. 33
  • A formal Chriſtian deſcribed in five par­ticulars. 1. He is deſtitute of ſpiritual life and heat. 2. He ſaith or repeats prayers often, but without zeal. 3. He is taken up with ſelf-ſeeking and variety of diſtracting cares. 4. He is oppreſſed with corruption, and carried away with a violent ſtream of wordly cares. 5. He is not in charity with his neighbour.
  • Uſe 2. To excite men to the duty of fer­vent prayer. p. 35
  • Directions for that purpoſe, in three things. To which are annexed three ſe­rious motives. 38
  • One weighty Objection anſwered, viz. Theſe fervent expreſſions are not always ſuc­ceſſeful, a time may come when a Mo­ſes and a Samuel may not be heard. 42
  • The ſecond branch of the deſcription of Prayer, viz. Of holy deſires] how to be underſtood. They muſt be holy for Perſon, Principle, Matter and End. 43
  • First, The Perſon muſt be holy: Farther explained by enquiring firſt, What an holy heart is? Secondly, Why prayer muſt come from an holy heart? 46
  • Secondly, The Principle muſt be holy. Ʋn­der which head is diſcovered, Firſt, Why Prayer muſt come from a ſpiritual prin­ciple? Secondly, How Prayer coming from the Spirit may be diſcerned? 49, 51
  • Thirdly, Deſires muſt be holy for the Matter of them, and that 1. In the ground. 2. In the matter, inſtanced in ſeveral particulars. p. 53
  • Fourthly, Deſires must be holy for the end. Where is diſcovered, 1. When a mans end is holy? 2. Why it muſt be ſo? To which reaſons are given, both Philoſophical and Theological. 56, 57
  • Uſe 1. For correction of thoſe that pray, but in a cold manner. ib.
  • Marks of ſuch indiſpoſedneſſe to prayer. 60, 61
  • Uſe 2. For instruction in two things 1. All prayer will not ſerve the turn. 2. Learn the art of praying. 62
  • The third branch of the dſcription of Prayer Ʋnto God] 65
  • Prayer muſt be directed to God only. Rea­ſons of it. 66
  • Only by Jeſus Chriſt.] 8
  • Where is enquired, Firſt, What it is to offer up prayers by Christ? Secondly, Why it muſt be ſo?
  • Uſe 1. Shews the miſery of graceleſſe per­ſons in that they cannot pry. See it diſcovered in two things.
  • Uſe 2. To ſhew the duty of all to amend their praying. 74
  • To wh•••are annexed Objections to be an­ſwered, viz.
  • Firſt, What need this ado? leſſe pains may ſerve the turn; God knows our wants, and he will do what ſeemeth good in his ſight. 75
  • Secondly, Some ſay they cannot pray, or at leaſt not according to this deſcription of Prayer. 76
  • Thirdly, Many that have uſed thus to pray, have proved counterfeits? Ergo, &c. 81
  • Fourthly, Many we ſee have bleſſings of all ſorts, who yet never did, nor could pray thus for them? 82
  • Fifthly, Should we practiſe this duty eve­ry day, as is preſſed, it would waſte and ſpend our ſpirits, hinder us in our callings, and expoſe us to the deriſion of others? 84
  • Caſes of Conſcience to be reſolved, viz. Firſt, What ſhould a man do that can­not utter his minde? he wants fit words for ſuch a preſence. 89
  • Secondly, What ſhould he do that findes his heart unfit and altogether indispoſed for prayer, especially with ſuch holy fervency. 92
  • Thirdly, I am diſtracted with vain thoughts, and terrified with ſtrange fears, especially when alone and in the dark: what ſhall I do? 98
  • Fourthly, I finde not any ſucceſſe in my prayer, but am rather croſſed in them, therefore I fear it is in vain to pray. 96
  • Fifthly, What ſhould a man ſettle his minde upon while he is framing and di­recting his prayer? 100
  • Sixthly, But when I do, mthinks my own unworthineſſe doth ſo much the more preſent it ſelf, and make me rea­dy through fear to ſink. 101
  • Conditions required that praer may be accepted. 103
  • First, The Perſon muſt be rihtly quali­fied; and that ſtanding in a threefold relation, viz.
    • 1. To God. ibid.
    • 2. To Men. 104
    • 3. To it ſelf. 104, 105
  • Five properties of perſons thus qualified. 105
  • Queſt. It ſeems by this that wicked, un­righteous perſons may nopray; or if ſo, their prayers wille to little or no purpoſe, ineffectual. 108
  • Secondly, All the graces mut be ſet on work, viz. Faith; where is enquired, how may a man know when he prayeth in faith? 110
  • Repentance, which gives occaſion to conſi­der, How true penitency in gracious ſouls may be diſcerned from feigned ſor­row in graceleſſe perſons? 114, 115
  • Humility. Q. How this grace may be diſcerned? 117
  • Motives to fervent prayer drawn
    • 1. From the Lord. 120, 121
    • 2. From Men. 125
    • 3. From prayer it ſelf. 130
  • Object. Anſwered with respect to ſuch perſons as were effectual in prayer. 132
  • Second Doctrine, 134
  • Proved by Scripture. ibid.
  • Explained by enquiring,
    • Firſt, Wherein they are ſo prevailing? 135
    • Secondly, Why they are ſo prevalent? 139
  • Uſe 1. To let us ſee what to expect from the prayers of too many among us, un­righteous, unholy. 142
  • Uſe 2. To ſhew us what to do that we may be powerful and effectual in pray­er, viz.
    • Firſt, get the qualification in the Text. 143
    • Secondly, Pray in a time while he may be found. p. 144
  • When theſe two are joined, prayer never failed.
    • 1. When they are joined in Perſons.
    • 2. When they are joined in a Nation. 145
  • Obj. When will that be? 146
  • A.
    • 1. It hath been often promiſed.
    • 2. This is the way wherebyll thoſe that belong to God may be brought in. ibid.
  • Cauſes diſcovered, why prayers have been ſo ineffectual. 147
  • Directions how to prevail more. 151
1

A TREATISE OF PRAYER.

JAMES 5.16.

The effectual fervenPrayer of a righteous man, availeth much.

THE Spring-head of this Scripture doth ariſe at the 13th verſe of the Chap­ter, and the ſtreams run down to the 18th. The general ſcope of the whole, is to give direction in a matter of no ſmall concernment, viz. how the Flock2 of Chriſt ſhould demean themſelves in every condition Divine providence might cut out for them in the preſent evil world. According to our Apoſtle, whoſe pen was held and ruled by the Spirit of truth, the ſtate of the Church, and as here deſcribed, is two-fold, Proſperity and Adverſity, happineſſe and miſery, frowns and ſmiles; like the Sun which ſometimes appears bright and glorious, but ſometimes is hid under dusky clouds; now in health, then in an Hectick: weeping and joy; a ſummers day and a winters night, as ſhe gives her own motto, Pſal. 102.10. Thou haſt life me up and caſt me down: an uncertain cn­dition, and ſuch as wants peculiar di­rection, eſpecially if it be conſidered how eaſie it is to miſcarry in both.

He that runs may read the purpoſe of the Apoſtle, to ballaſt the people of God in this unequal condition, to help them walk ſteadily both in their up-hill and down-hill way; Is any afflicted? then, let him pray: Is any merry? then, let him ſing Pſalms. Needfull it is for Chriſtians to be doing in each con­dition.

My Text is a branch of the firſt di­rection,3 and is laid down as a Motive and Encouragement to the duty, drawn from the excellent ſucceſſe of it, which he proves by induction of particular ex­amples in the following verſe.

The words in themſelves are a good mans encouragement and teſtimoniall, ſubſcribed by God himſelf, which doth certifie, what he is, and what he muſt be, viz. Fervent in prayer.

They are eaſie in the ſenſe of them, clear and plain; it will be time and la­bour ſpent impertinently, to give ac­count what Interpreters ſay of them, how they differ or agree; this were almoſt to ſtrike fire and light up a candle at noon-day, to ſeek for that which is nei­ther hid nor loſt. As for part, to pre­vent confuſion, and to clear our en­trance, I ſhall divide the handling of them into three generals; In them we have to conſider,

Firſt, The〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or duty commen­ded and directed unto, viz. Payer. A neceſſary and uſefull duty, which nei­ther the decree of God in regard of its immutability, nor the promiſe of God in regard of its infallibility,Ezek. 36. v. 37. nor the effe­ctual interceſſion of Chriſt our Lord, who4 taught his Diſciples to pray, can diſpenſe with us for not doing it. The Goſpel commands it.

Secondly, The〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or quallifica­tion mentioned, which is two-fold, viz. Firſt, Of the duty; it muſt be fervent, ſuch as ſets the whole man on work, and ſuch as notes the moſt lively activity that can be. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is ardens, 1. fervent, as Piſcator renders it; Effi­cax, i. effectual, as Beza. It is both, effectual-fervent, as in the text. Second­ly, Of the perſon, he muſt be righteous, i. ſo made by the righteouſneſſe of Chriſt by faith: juſtified by righteouſ­neſſe impured, called the righteouſneſſe of God; ſanctified by righteouſneſſe im­parted, called ours, becauſe inherent in us. They muſt be men of penitent, re­newed hearts, men of faith, evangelically righteous.

Thirdly, The〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or effect, ſuc­ceſſe and good iſſue of prayer ſo quallifi­ed, and performed, It availeth much; they are prayers that carry force with them; thus quallified, they are a mighty engine to move heaven and earth, a key to open the door of the treaſury of God, to fetch mercies for our ſelves and o­thers;5 a Panecaea, a receipt for every di­ſeaſe, and a ſoveraign one too, it brings preſent eaſe and future health. God ne­ver ſaid to the ſeed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain.

The parts thus ſet, we mayaſily read the meaning of the Spirit in them. Sup­poſing the firſt, I ſhall handle the two later, and labour to condeſcend to the meaneſt capacity, and point out the full ſcope of the words in two uſefull Obſer­vations.

Firſt, That when we have to do with God in prayer, it is our duty to make uſe of ſtrength and fervency.

Secondly, That righteous mns prayers are powerfull and effectual.

Both theſe obſervations (God wil­ling) I ſhall labour to explain, laying them as the foundation of my intended Diſcourſe.

For the firſt, viz. That when we have to do with God in prayer, it is our duty to uſe ſtrength and fervency. I ſhall prove this Doctrine, firſt, by Scripture preſi­dents and precepts. We muſt put to our ſtrength, as Abraham did in his in­terceſſion for Sodom, Gen. 18. and as Jacob in wreſtling with the Angel,6 Gen. 32. v. 26. who held with his hand, when his thigh was lamed. Moſes in praying for the people, craving leave for himſelf to enter Canaan, how earneſt was he with God? how doth he work it out? The woman in the Goſpel was full of this heat, Matth. 15.25. She will not be ſaid nay, like another Gorgonia, ſhe threatens heaven, and is modeſtly impudent; and I think it was for that end Chriſt held her off ſo long. We may ſee it enjoyned in general, Deut. 6.5. Thou ſhalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy ſoul, and with all thy ſtrength; what we do to or for God, it muſt be done cum toto valdè, with all our might. Preſſed and practiſed in particulars, Iſa. 12.6. Cry out and ſhout thou inhabitant of Zion! Exod. 14.15. Moſes cried to the Lord. The Ninevites cry mightily to God, Jonah 3.8. It notes the ſtrength of af­fection. Elijah cried earneſtly to God, Jam. 5.17. Chriſt as Mediator ſent up ſtrong cries to his Father, Heb. 5.7. He prayed as he preached: He preached,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as one having authority, and he prayed likewiſe powerfully and effectually. Paul adviſeth the Saints,7〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to ſtrive together in prayer to God, Rom. 15.30. A military word he uſeth, noting ſuch fervency as is for life and deth; as he teſtifieth of himſelf, that he prayed night and day. The Primi••••Chriſti­ans at their ſervices and dvotions, with one ſhoulder were ſo earneſt, that they ſeemed to beſiege the Throne of grace, to raiſe a common force and ſtrength to invade and uſe violence with God in prayer; as it is related by Tertullian, Apol. 39.

In the proſecution of this point, I intend this method, viz. to••ew what prayer, and what fervent prayer i, open­ing and applying the deſcription fol­lowing:

Prayer is a fervent expreſſioof holy de­ſires to God, only by Jeſus Chriſt.

This is to pray fervently, Orationi inſtare, & fortiter incumbere Col. 4.2. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Continue in prayer, which implies both intention of minde, and aſſiduity in the exerciſe.

Firſt, I ſay, it is a fervent expreſſion] So much theſe ordinary tearms uſed in Scripture do import, as, calling out of the deep, pouring out of the ſoul, and8 crying to heaven; expreſſed alſo in other Scriptures: 2 Chron. 32.20. Hezekiah the King, and Iſaiah the Prophet prayed and cried to heaven, Luke 18-1. Men ought alwaies to pray, and v. 7. the elect cry day and night. I ſhall labour as fully as I can, to unfold what I have read and obſerved touching this fervour in prayer; and enquire.

Qu. 1Firſt, What this fervencie is?

A. We may conceive the nature of it in theſe three following branches,Anſ. viz.

Firſt, It is the very hat and height of all gracious affections, in a Zealous moving othe ſoul to God in prayer, and for God after prayer; where there is no Zeal for him, there is little to him: and again, where there is none to him in our prayers, commonly there is none for him in our actions; he that is cold in prayer, is not hot in any good cauſe, except where ſelf is principle or end. Though I do confeſſe diverſity of De­grees in Zeal to God, and for God, which are diverſly manifeſted, and ſome­times eclipſed in Gods deareſt ſer­vants, beſt skill'd, and moſt exerciſed in prayer.

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Secondly, Fervency, is the influence, and efficacy of the regenerating Spirit of Chriſt, helping his own needy members to pray, ſo as they may be he••d, Rom. 8.26. The ſpirit helpeth our infirmities, 1 Cor. 14.15. I will pray w•••the Spi­rit: Though you be we k, yet the Spirit is willing and ſtrong; And ſo much onely as cometh in our prayers from the renewed part, findes accept••ce with God; If the motion be good, he will not accept it from an ill mouth, nor own theſe prayers, which〈◊〉not in­dited by the Spirit of gracend ſuppli­cation.

Thirdly, It is a reverently-Zealous manifeſtation of both; the former, in words ſutable, for matter and manner, to a renewed mind, as may be moſt be­neficiall to the hearers, if it be publick; the heart is the fountain of this heat and life, the tongue is but an inſtru­ment, and God looks chiefly to the firſt; Moſes and Hannah prayed fer­vently to God, and yet ſpake little or nothing: The latter is for mans ſake.

Secondly, We enquire, when areQu. 2men ſaid to be fervent in p•••er, and10 in dealing with God to uſe their ſtrength?

Anſ. I anſwer in the enſuing particulars.

Firſt, When they are moved by the Spi­rit of adoption, Rom. 8.15. and 26. compared: Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Fa­ther, and, the Spirit helpeth our infirmi­ties. Then a man prayeth with ſtrength, when the Spirit helpeth. The ſame word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. e. Spirit, is attributed both to the Spirit of man, and to the holy Ghoſt, or Spirit of God, becauſe as that gives motion and operation to the body, which of it ſelf could never performe; ſo doth the Spirit of God to thoſe that partake of it. Hence of Stephen and o­thers, when they performed any nota­ble exploit of grace, it is ſaid, they were filled with the holy Ghoſt. The heart of man indeed is but as ſo much cold earth, till the Spirit of adoption inflame it, and when this is gone, all the ſtrength is gone; as a wheel that is turned about with an hand, if the hand be removed, the wheel ſtandeth ſtill. The duty is wek and empty till the Spirit overſha­dow the ſoul, and then it is a living bo­dy. We know, of old, the Symboles of11 the Spirit were fiery tongues, and where this fire is, it melts the co••ice, its heavenly flame appears inuty. As Eliahs body was carried up with a whirl­wind, and a fiery Chariot to heaven, ſo are gracious ſouls moved by the Spirit of God in prayer: for as its motions are regular, in regard of the object, ſo they are vehement in regard of the man­ner.

Secondly, When men are inwardly heated with a ſenſe and feeling of what they pray for. Noahs Ark roſe higher, as the waters grew higher; want will adde ſticks to the fire and make the flame more fervent. Hence coe groans unutterable, earneſt ejaculations, like darts ſhot up to heaven. David is an exact pattern for this, Pſal. 42.1, 2, 3. As the Hart panteth after the water-brooks, ſo panteth my ſoul after thee O God! my ſoul thirſteth for God, for the living God, &c. As a child, as ſoon as it comes in­to the world, begins with cries and tears, becauſe of its indigency: ſo where there is any ſpiritual life and heat, the firſt diſcoveries of it, are by ſighs and groans. Beggars cry earneſtly from ap­prehenſion of want, as the blind man12 did, Luke 18.41. O thou ſon of David have mercy on me! And as the Apoſtles did, Lord ſave or we periſh! When a man praies as Rachel whilſt ſhe ſpake to Jacob, Give me children or I die! or as Hannah, 1 Sam. 1.13. who ſpake in her heart, then he is fervent. For as many beams of the ſun meeting in a glaſſe do beget a burning, ſo are the ſpirits and faculties conjoyned and heated in prayer.

Thirdly, When tongue and tears are the index of a melting heart, then men may be ſaid to be fervent in prayer. Thus David diſcovers his work in pray­er, Pſal. 55.2. Attend to me and hear me; I mourn in my complaints and make a noiſe: he bent, as it were, all his nerves, and ſet up his note. So doth Hannah, 1 Sam. 1.10. when ſhe is ſaid to be in bitterneſſe of ſpirit, and prayed to the Lord and wept ſore. Mary Magda­len manifeſted her fervency, by thoſe ſtreams of tears that ran through her ſupplications. I do not ſay, that the ſtrength and work of prayer doth con­ſiſt in extenſion of the voice, or vehe­mency of pronunciation: Moſes and Hannah prayed fervently, and yet ſpake13 not a word;] neither do I judge tears unſeparable from effectual Prayer; But, this I ſay, that the voice may be much helpful to increaſe devotion and to move compaſſion, and when tears do accompa­ny, they are good ſymptomes, as Calvin ſpeaks, Lachrymae non ſunt vera poenitentia, at affectus & ſymbola poenitentiae. They have ſtrength and a voices well as words, Pſal. 6.8. The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping! (lachrymae, ponde­ra vocis habent.) As muſick on the wa­ters ſounds farther and more harmoni­ouſly then on dry land, ſo do prayers joyned with tears, cry louder in the ears of God, and make ſweeter melody, then when they be abſent.

Fourthly, When a man borroweth ſtrength, and getteth hands to joyn with him. Wo to him that is alone; Society is uſefull both in preaching and in praying. Therefore our Saviour ſent out his diſciples by two and two; (vis unita fortior:) as the gathering toge­ther of waters make the ſtream ſtrong­er, and the voices of many together, the louder ſound; So it is here, ſingle prayer is like the ſingle hair of Sampſon, but thoſe of a Congregation like the14 whole buſh. Deus pluris facit preces in Eccleſiâ quàm domi factas, non ob locum, ſed ob conſiderationem multitudinis fidelium, Deus communi conſenſu invocantium, as Rivet notes. As thoſe uſe to do who would fain ſpeed in their Petitions to great men, they get hands, others to joyn in pleading and ſpeaking for them, ſo it is here; yet underſtand this inclu­ſively, you muſt pray your ſelves and for your ſelves: Not as Pharaoh and Simon Magus, who put it wholly on others, Orate pro nobis.

Fifthly, When men are frequent and conſtant in Prayer, ſo as to receive no deniall, diſcouragements and worldly impediments notwithſtanding. Impor­tunity carrieth fervency in its bowels. Jacob would not let the Angel go till he bleſſed him, and will ſtand to it though upon one leg. Hannah multiplied to pray, 1 Sam. 1.12. Paul ſought the Lord thrice, 2 Cor. 12.8. i. e. frequent­ly, fervently: He is adviſing men to pray continually; i. e. habitually, vitally. Coloſ. 4.2. Semper orat, qui bene ſem­per agit.Wait upon prayer, perſevere with ſtrength;〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: The word is attributed to the hunting of Dogs, which will not ceaſe follow­ing15 the game till they have got it: And Rom. 12.12. continuing, watching in prayer, it imports conſtancy with vehe­mency. And this was the practice of that poor woman, Mat. 15.22. Have mer­cy on me thou ſon of Daevid, &c. And after denials ſhe riſes higher, and locks her ſelf within the deniall, and pleads Gods truth and juſtice, if mercy will nor ſerve, let thy words be true, I am a Dog, and there is ſomething for Dogs, let me have a Dogs portion, crumbs, I crave no mo e. David and Daniel prayed thrice a day, and o­therwhiles ſeven times: Of ſaous Bol­ton it is reported that he conſtanly pray­ed ſix times a day, viz. twice by himſelf alone, twice with his wife,nd twice with his family. And of Theodoſius that pious Emperour, (Cujus regia non diſſimilis crat monaſterio) that his Court was like a Church for piety and devotion; Of Conſtantine the great, that he converſ­ed more with God then with men. All men of might in Prayer. Conſtancy be­ſpeakes fervency.

Sixthly, When in Prayers men do heat others by the beauty and livelineſſe of a well-order'd working prayer. A living coal will inliven others, and one candle16 lighteth others. Grace where it is, endea­vours to kindle where it is not: as where is life, there is alſo a ſeminary of propa­gation, and the more excellent the life is, the more pregnant is it to propagate in its kinde: like the glow-iron on the Smiths Anvill, cſting light and heat round about it. But becauſe this may be brought about by one who is not formally fervent, effectively (as the Phi­loſopher ſpeaks of the ſun) there are ſome cautions to be added to this mark: In ſuch a zealous petitioner, who heat­eth others with the fervency of his De­votion, there is required, Firſt, a ſenſe of that miſery which the voice decipher­eth, both in confeſſion of ſin and de­precation of judgements. Secondly, A grounded hope of relief upon experi­ence of ſome promiſes. Thirdly, Sin­cerity in the Petitioner: the truth ſpo­ken muſt be in the inward parts, that what is asked of God, be for God, for his ſervice and glory; as Hannah in her Samuel. There may be an inward cold­neſſe and yet an outward heat, (the na­ture of the Amber-ſtone) as in hypocrites who know much of God, bur do little for him; this may heat and benefit o­thers,17 though not themſelves. Again, there may be an inward hea, and for ſome time in ſome duties, yet no audible expreſſions, as in Moſes and Hannah, they cryed to the Lord and yet ſaid nothing: their heat was as a flame kept in, encrea­ſing. This zeal in prayer is moſt ac­ceptable to God, as the prime object of his eye, and ear, although noſo bene­ficiall to men; for unleſſe the Petitio­ner burn with zealous heat and expreſſe it, he ſhall never enflame the heart of the hearers nor quicken their devotion: as Auſtin ſpeaks, Enar. in Pſal.

Seventhly, When men joyn endea­vours, and other things ſeaſonable and uſefull together with Prayer. As the wiſe mariner who hath not onely an eye to the Star, but an hand to the Helm: and as the Plowmen of Sparta, who had one hand held up to Ceres, whom they feigned the Goddeſs of corn, and the o­ther on the ſtilts of the plow: they joyn­ed plowing and praying. The good man not onely lifts up his heart to heaven, but puts his hand to the work, to compaſſe what he prayes for. The Heathen could ſay, admota manu, invocanda eſt Minerva: and they noted him for a fooliſh Carter,18 that when his Cart ſtuck faſt, cried to God, and moved his lips, but not his hands to help himſelf. Semper orare, eſt ſemper operari, Aug. If thou calleſt for know­ledge (ſaith Solomon) and crieſt for un­derſtanding: there is Prayer to God; If thou ſeek her as ſilver, and ſearcheſt for her as for hid treaſure, there is mans endea­vour in the uſe of means. Many things are requiſite to prayer, according to the nature of the bleſſing: if Spiritual, then faſting and almes, as Cornelius practiſed, Acts. 10. Repentance and Prayer, as the Ninevites did, Jon. 3.8. Hearing the Word and uſe of the Sacraments, which are inſtituted meanes for accompliſhing great and ſaving ends. And ſo, if the bleſſing be temporall; Vain are deſires not produced to action. Ariſtotle writeth of the Bathes in the Parthecuſian Iſlands, that they are fiery hot, but ſend forth no flames; that fervency cannot be com­mended, which is ſmother'd and pent up in the heart, gets no vent, hath no ex­trinſecall operation. Auguſtine relates it as a vanity of his youth, that he prayed God againſt ſome ſins whereunto he was ſtrongly addicted, but ſhould have been full ſorrowfull if God ſhould have heard19 him, becauſe he was loth to part with them; how much better was that pray­er, Domine Deus fac me in conſequendis iis operam collocare, pro quibus obtinendis, ſoleo ad Te orare; i. O Lord help me to beſtow pains in getting thoſe things, for obtaining of which, I uſually pray unto thee.

Confeſſe ſin you muſt and not ſleight, pray for pardon and power, with deſire and longing after them; not as Auſtin did with a ſecret reſervation; or as Spira and the hypocrite, who pray for grace, but ſaw no beauty in it why it ſhould be deſired; ſaved without it they cannot be, that they only appre­hend: But rather ſay with David, My heart is prepared, O God, my heart is pre­pared; and with Paul, I will pray with the Spirit and with underſtanding. This is to work in prayer, to uſe ſtrength and fervency. Now is the ſoul on the mount of transfiguration, this is to pray in prayer, and the ſecond Queſtion an­ſwered.

Thirdly, Why muſt men be thusQu. 3zealous and fervent in prayer?

I Anſwer, Firſt,Anſ. Not becauſe God (like men) ſtandeth in need of a Com­mittee20 of Examination for diſcovery: nothing is hid from him: he is omni­ſcient: as he heareth without ears, ſo he underſtandeth without words. And yet it muſt be ſo for theſe reaſons, viz. Firſt, That you may acknowledge his Propriety (even as children do their fa­thers, when they come for food) in the good things you want, and receive them with more joy and thankfulneſſe. God will be owned, and have his Lordly-right acknowledged; If we take any thing that is our neighbours without asking them leave, we ſhall be accounted theeves, ſo, to take and poſſeſſe the things of God, without asking his leave, will be accounted felony of the higheſt nature. Secondly, That you may learn to diſtinguiſh between gifts of promiſe, and of common providence: the firſt are effects of ſpecial grace, requiring faith and prayer, (I will be ſought unto by the houſe of Iſrael:) the latter are fruits of common goodneſſe, flowing from that fountain according to his unchangeable purpoſe, for the ſupportance of creatures, till they attain their pre-ordained ends; the firſt are peculiar to the good only; the ſecond common (as the ſun) to good21 and bad. Thirdly, That by this famili­ar entercourſe between God and the ſoul, your graces may be both exerciſed and increaſed; that hereby, I ſay, we may have communion with God, and grow into acquaintance with him, where­by the ſtock of grace is much augmented; as good company doth increaſe it, ſo doth converſe with God much more: ſet this duty aſide, and man becomes a ſtranger to God, his graces decay, and he becomes cold and looſe. This is the firſt reaſon.

Secondly, Becauſe the Lord loves an importunate ſutor. Fervency, like roſin to the ſtrings of a muſicall inſtrument, makes the ſound pleaſant. Haec vis gra­ta Deo eſt, ſaith Tertullian. It doth, as it were, charm God: it is a weapon well managed that overcomes the in­vincible: a cord that binds the Almigh­ty, as Jerom phraſeth it. It is a ſtrength he hath promiſed to yield unto, Iſa. 45.11. Command ye me; as ſome gloſſe the place. As they write of Proteus, that when any came to conſult with, and to receive Oracles from him, he would firſt turn himſelf into a thouſand ſhapes and varieties of colours, but if they22 preſſed him with importunity, and held him cloſe to it, he then would give them ſatisfactory Oracles. God may indeed ſeem to ſlight the prayer of his people (as we ſlight a confuſed noiſe) and wind himſelf from them, but when they grow fervent, then he lets them to be their own carvers. It will bow down his ear, and pull the hand out of his boſom; to ſpeak with the Pſalmiſt, Pſal. 145.18. He is nigh to them that call upon him in truth. The Canaanitiſh woman is put off three times, and her fervency is crowned with ſucceſſe. It is recorded to the everlaſting renown of Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 31.37. that in every ſervice of God he acted with all his might, and he proſpered.

Thirdly, Becauſe he that asketh any thing coldly, doth but teach a deniall. Careleſſe, heartleſſe prayer, is one of the moſt unſavoury parts of formallity, diſ­honourable, unpleaſing to God; as a body without a ſoul, as incenſe without fire, ſay the Jews. Yea and to men unprofitable: as a Diamond that is not right, and as a Picture not drawn to the life, are of no value. Formall cold de­votion, like Caeſars heartleſſe ſacrifice,23 will never finde acceptance. Painted fire as it hath no heat, ſo it is of no uſe. We may as ſoon cleave a rock with a wedge of wood, graſp the winde in our hand, as make carnal cold affections to draw any thing from God. There is no great odds between the omiſſion of duty, and the careleſſe performance of it, man is loſer both ways. The Bow that is ſlack bent, carries not the Ar­row to the mark; formality and cold­neſſe deſtroy the very vertue of prayer, as doth Garlick the drawing vertue of the loadſtone, applyed to it. Therefore we muſt be fervent. We muſt be fer­vent ſeekers, before we can be happy enjoyers; God will have us Jacobs, be­fore we ſhall be Iſraels.

Fourthly, The matter about which you are employed is weighty, and of great concernment; viz. to procure pardon and power over ſin, ſupportance under temptations; Giant-like corrup­tions, ſons of Anack to prevail over: removal of Judgments, renewed peace after much treachery and hoſtility. Now theſe are not matters of an inferiour alloy: they are things not to be obtai­ned with a ſingle ſigh; oppoſition from24 earth and hell is not to be conquered with a ſleight breath. It is not a dull wiſh, a languiſhing velleity, an heart­leſſe endeavour that will win the day. There muſt be paſſionate longings and breakings of heart, with continual de­ſires after God. Great ſtones (you know) are not to be turned over with­out great ſtrength: and great mercies are not to be obtained without great ſtrivings. The matters we pray for, require fired affections, enlarged peti­tions; as the Heathen ſaid, Imperia quolibet pretio conſtant lenè: a Kingdom cannot be bought too dear; Agrippina thought the Roman Empire a good pe­nyworth, paying her life for it, though for her Nero. We cannot lay out too much ſtrength, in obtaining objects of ſo great worth.

Fifthly, There are many and prodigi­ous ſins cry aloud to God, in your own breaſts, families, place and Country, ye, Nation wherein you live; we are like the land of Egypt, which though it bring forth multa ſalubria, yet with­all it brings forth plurima venena: in our Garden are many pleaſant Flowers, but withal more poiſonful, unſavoury25 weeds; if we look within or without, almoſt all things are to be ſound as the Phyſitians facies hypocratica of a dying man, very gaſtly, and tantum non deadly; the whole head is ſick; ſin cryes aloud, and, if you be not earneſt indeed, will out-cry your prayers.

Sixthly, By this means we declare at what rate we value Gods ſavour and mercies. A fervent requeſt doth ad­vance the perſon and thing petitioned for. It is an argument we diſeſteem and undervalue the bleſſing, that we think may be obtained by ſlender peti­••ns, as if the purchaſe we were about, would not quit the coſt, nor be worth the pains that is required for it. When Callidius the Roman Oratour pleaded a cauſe but faintly, and expeſſed lit­tle or no affection, Tully told him, that ſure he was not in earneſt, otherwiſe the tide of affection would have been up; in like manner, it is an argument we reckon not much the bleſſing, when we are faint in our purſuits after it.

Seventhly, Fervent prayer is beſt and moſt effectual: like an arrow ſhot with full ſtrength, and a ſhip carryed on with full ſails. Powder and ſhot in the26 Muſquet will do no execution, unleſſe the Souldier gives fire well: Prayers without fervency are but as powder and ſhot without fire, they will never go off ſo as to reach Heaven or our wants. Of all elements that of fire is neereſt Heaven, and the more fire in any thing, the higher it aſcends Heaven-ward; cold and ſluggiſh prayers have ſo much earth in them, that like the Graſhop­per, if they mount a little upward, they are preſently down again, fall ſhort of Heaven. Of all warlike Engins, your Granadoes and Fire-works are of moſt force; and of all prayers, thoſe that have moſt fervency, are moſt effectual.

Laſtly, The Lord will have you to be fervent; Firſt, To the end you may ſo much the more anger and aſtoniſh the Devil, who is eaten up with envy to ſee God ſo much honoured; the inward heat and voice of the heart he cannot hear, divine at it he may: but outward expreſſions he doth note and obſerve. Secondly, To give good example to the Church, who are much moved and ſtir­red up by prayer, eſpecially if it be fer­vent; as in the body of an Army, con­current ſhoutings of Souldiers do as it27 were infuſe mutually ſpirits into one a­nother. Thirdly, To bring the heart into a better temper, which is enlarged and made more capable of ſpiritual bleſſings by this fervency. A zealous petitioner is but preparing and enlarging his rooms to ſtore up the return of his holy ad­ventures. Thus you may anſwer the queſtion of the rich man, What ſhall I do, becauſe I have no room to beſtow my fruit? A manifeſt ſign they were never gotten by prayer; it makes room before the bleſſing comes; he that is much in fervent prayer, ſhall never be brought into ſuch a ſtreight of vexing cares. And thus you have the third Quere diſpatch­ed, and it ſhall now ſuffice, onely a lit­tle to clear your judgments, and help you in practice by ſome preſidents.

I refer you to Moſes, Exod. 32.11, 12, 13. he doth as it were put God to it, to free himſelf: as if Moſes his Devo­tion were ſtronger then Gods indigna­tion. To Joſhuah c. 7. v. 6, 7, 8, 9. he rent his cloaths, fell to the earth on his face before the Ark of the Lord, &c. there is fervency in the very man­ner, and ſo in the matter of his prayer; Alas, O Lord God, wherefore haſt thou28 at all brought this great people over Jor­dan, to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites? What ſhall I ſay when Iſ­rael turneth their back before the enemy? What wilt thou do unto thy great Name? To David in moſt of his Pſalms. To Ezra c. 9.56. O Lord God of Heaven, the great and terrible God, &c. Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou maiſt hear the prayer of thy ſervant which I pray before thee day and night. And to Daniel c. 9. v. 3, 4. He ſet his face to ſeek the Lord by ſupplica­tion and prayer, with faſting, ſackcloth and aſhes, ſaying, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping Covenant and Mercy, &c. we have ſinned and commit­ted iniquity, and have done wickedly, &c. as you may farther read. I come to a fourth Quere, viz.

Qu. 4Fourthly, How may a man keep his heart in this height of heavenly fer­vour, and that conſtantly, for ſometime it is ſo?

Anſ. I anſwer, Firſt, By ſoundneſſe and depth of ſpiritual union between Chriſt and the ſoul; (who is the Fountain of ſpiritual life and heat, as the Sun is the Fountain of all life and heat to ſub­lunary29 things) as alſo, between you and the members of Chriſt where you live: they pray moſt fervently, that love moſt entirely; therefore S. Pter advi­ſeth men and their wives to live lovingly together, leſt their prayers ſhould be hin­dred. How much enmity and ſtrange­neſſe do hinder prayers, the common enemy of mankind knoweth well e­nough; he is buſie in ſowing cares, and glad to ſee men divided, for, then they cannot uſe this ſpiritual weapon againſt him, nor weild this inſtrument, one of the chiefeſt Engines to batter down the gates of Hell. To make much of thoſe that are godly, is a ready way by allurement to make others good: let this band be ſtrong, and your prayers cannot be weak.

Secondly, By dependance on the ſtrength of God, and not upon your own abilities or graces; this is to fetch fire from Heaven, becauſe no ſacrifice muſt be offered up with common fire. Our ſtrength is weakneſſe, and it is one of Gods names, the Strength of Iſrael, 1 Sam. 15.19. When the wheel is ſet on going, the ſoul ſet on work, how long will it hold to its motion? No30 longer then turned by the ſame hand that firſt moved it. We ſhall ſoon work out the ſtrength received; and therefore to maintain the vigour of a fervent courſe, there muſt be renew­ing ſtrength from Heaven every day. This David knew, and therefore when his heart was in good frame as ever he felt it, and his people likewiſe by their free-will-offering declared ſo much in themſelves; yet even then he prays, that God would keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of his people, and eſtabliſh their heart in them, 1 Chron. 29.18. He adored the mercy that made them willing, and then implores his farther grace to ſtrengthen them. Would a Chriſtian pray? Where elſe will he finde mate­rials for his prayer? Alas! he knows not how, or what to pray for as he ought. God puts words into his mouth, and theſe would freeze there, and ne­ver vent, did he not by the ſame influ­ence of ſome heart-heating affections prevail to thaw the tap. In a word, a Chriſtian hath not a ſpark of this fire on his own hearth, except ſome that is ſtrange fire, which will not ſerve the31 turn, he muſt fetch it from Heaven continually.

Thirdly, By a continual ſuppoſal that the preſent opportunity may be the laſt; how earneſt would you pray, how fer­vent would you be, were you to dye preſently? provided this be in earneſt, ſettled on a grounded knowledge of your mortality, the uncertainty of the laſt hour: elſe this alſo will degenerate in­to formality.

Fourthly, By weighing the cauſes mo­ving unto and requiring this fervency; as, fear of Gods diſpleaſure, of the curſe, of the ſentence of death, and of Hell following. Want of Gods image and love of Chriſt, and his grace; immi­nent judgments hanging over our heads, ready to fall every moment, with ſome hope of ſpeeding in our requeſts, know­ing who hath ſaid, Ye ſhall reap if you faint not.

Fifthly, By a true love unto that we pray for. Strong affections cauſe fer­vent prayers. True love makes weak things ſtrong: it is as an addition of fire to the flame. It was love to God that made Moſes ſo fervent: Mary Magdalen ſo earneſt. It hath a con­ſtraining32 vertue: it made the dumb ſon to ſpeak. Love if true, will make a man do that's beond his power; as the Corinthians, when they were poor in eſtate, yet were rich in liberality. Chriſt loving Lazarus well, wept and groaned in ſpirit, when he prayed for him: and ſo did David for his ſon. Where affection is wanting, there will be cold praying; we ſee it in ſutors a­mong men.

Sixthly, By a propoſal of ſome mo­ving preſidents; as of a poor man that comes to your door for an alms; hear how he cries, with hands and eyes lift up, he multiplieth and continueth Pe­titions, For the Lords ſake, for Chriſts ſake ſome relief! Of one naked and al­moſt ſtarved, ſee and behold he will have no denial. Or of a condemned priſoner at the bar, his knees are bowed to the ground, as if his heart would touch the Judges feet, his hands elevated, his looks ruful, his eyes full of diſtilling tears, his words earneſt and conſtant, Mercy, O Merciful Judge, ſave or I periſh! Set theſe patterns before you, and make their caſe your own. Be earneſt, the matter is weighty, you muſt either33 ſpeed there, or no where, now or ne­ver.

I ſhall apply this in a few things. Uſe 1Firſt, The Uſe may ſerve to condemn, as the ſociety of Rome, requiring and reſting in the work done; whether mighty or weak, hot or cold, they en­quire not, ſo the number and tale be up: So, too many among our ſelves, that content themſelves with a cold and careleſſe form of praying, a bedulling ſtrain, like the pace the Spaniard is ſaid to ride. Let us take a character of them: Firſt, Such as are deſtitute of ſpiritual life and heat, who have no grounded hope in any promiſe of ſpeeding. How ſhould they pray lively that want life? When life goeth out of the body it groweth cold, and ſo where the life of grace is not, all is cold, no vigour, no zeal, in the diſcharge of duty. The dead do not praiſe thee, neither can they pray unto thee, O Lord! Secondly, They are meerly formal in Prayer, who ſay or repeat Prayers often, but without any zeal, or ſerious bent of minde to the paſſages thereof, as if they cared not whether they were heard or no. Negare docent, qui frigide rogant. Such perſons34 do far rather ſuggeſt a denial then move pitty; it was hinted before. Thirdly, All they who are wholly taken up with ſelf-ſeeking and variety of diſtracting employments, ſo that they ſpend moſt of their ſtrength about the periſhing comforts of this life; ſuch are the ma­licious, envious, covetous and voluptuous men and women. Moſes was fervent in Prayer, hot in the cauſe of God, but in his own, the meekeſt man on earth: his heat was not ſpent for himſelf, it was reſerved for God. Therefore our Saviour checks his Diſciples when they would pray down fire from Heaven up­on the Samaritans, telling them, they knew not what ſpirit they were of. In our own buſineſſe and wrongs our heat ſhould be hid, and as it were wrapt up in the embers, but when Gods honour is endangered, or obſcured, then ſhould our fire break forth, (nay, it will, if we have any) as Cyril ſometimes adviſed Theodoſius. Fourthly, They are cold in prayer, who are oppreſſed with corrup­tion, or are carried away with the vio­lent ſtreams of worldly cares for the preſent, (they are all choaking and quenching, as water abateth the heat of35 the fire;) or elſe lie under deſer­tion, or a divine reſtraint, as Jeremiah was often forbid, if not diſabled to pray in ſome caſes, and for ſome people. Fifthly, They that are not in charity with their neighbours. Loves the bond of perfection, and the heat of the ſoul; no love, no heat; ſo much want of heat as is want of love. Forgive, and it ſhall be forgiven; Confeſſe your fults one to another, and pray one for another, James 5.16. Be reconciled, then come and offer, Matth. 5.24. God will not appear to Abraham till Lot and he be agreed. Jacob being reconciled to hibrother, firſt, builds an Altar. Prayer offer'd up with uncharitable hands, though other­wiſe moſt excellently accompliſhed, is but as ſounding braſſe and a tinkling Cym­ball.

Secondly, The Uſe ſerves, to adviſe,Uſe 2excite and quicken you. When you pray, do it with all your might. Wa­ter runs moſt ſwiftly and ſtrongly, when it ſwells over its own banks, and is mounted above its chanel; ſo will our ſouls move and apprehend with moſt ſtrength, when they are lifted on high and tend to God. Be not like the glow-worm,36 fervent in appearance onely, take you heed of Jehu's countenance, full of fluſhing heat, and Nabals heart as cold as the ſtone. Bid defiance to Laodicean luke-warmneſſe. Remember the ſweet perfumes under the Law, were burnt before they aſcended. Hoc agite! At­tend on your ſelves, when you call upon God to attend you, leſt frequency di­miniſh fervour, which ſhould encreaſe it: and cuſtome take away the ſenſe. When you are to go with a Petition to Chriſt, to be preſented to the Father, Firſt, Let the minde be withdrawn from all prevalency of luſt, though from the preſence it cannot. Of worldly em­ployments, ſay as Abraham to his ſer­vant with the aſſes, Stay here, while we go yonder and worſhip. Theſe Birds would rob Abraham of his Sacrifice. Call in and concenter your thoughts as men do the Sun-beams into a burning glaſſe. Have your hearts at your right hand, with Solomons wiſe man; or elſe be ſure of this, that which is upmoſt will be out ever and anon, diſtracting, dragging downward, and cooling your prayers. Secondly, Be well verſt with that Divine Rhetorick in the holy Scri­ptures,37 to move attention, and to pro­cure compaſſion: Setting forth your own miſery, and uſing arguments for mercy, out of Gods own Word. God loves to be ſued on his own bond. Thus did Heſter with the King, and ſo muſt we if we will ſpeed in Heaven. Pro­duce Gods own words, and ſay, (as ſhe did to Judah) Whoſe are theſe? It is acceptable to God to be preſt with his promiſe; this David knew, and therefore cries, Unite my heart to fear thy Name, Pſ. 86.11. which is as if he had ſaid, thou haſt promiſed to give me one heart, behold, I find my heart divided, my thoughts diſ­ſipated, and my ſelf diſabled for duty, (anima diſperſa ſit minor.) Unite it I beſeech thee. This is a ready way to have our prayers nigh to the Lord day and night. Thirdly, Though your own Conſcience ſhould trouble and check you, though Satan labour mightily to hinder you; yea, ſay the Lord ſeem to turn away his face from you, as he did once to David, and to ſhut the door of mercy againſt you, yet faint not, cry ſtill, plead free grace, and look on Chriſt a­gainſt all replies; remember who ſaith, You ſhall reap if you faint not.

38

And great cauſe you have to improve your ſtrength this way: For, 1. The Lord is greatly incenſed againſt us, and others round about us; we may ſay as Moſes ſometime did in a caſe not much different, Numb. 16. v. 46. Wrath is gone out from the Lord, the plague is be­gun: it is a time now eſpecially, to be ſtrong in Prayer, the onely way to heal the Land, 2 Chron. 7.14. Beſides, a multitude of ſins are between God and you, and therefore great need of fervent praying; the Lord will be intreated if you be earneſt; what father ſeeing his indigent childe, though a Prodigal, on his knees, with hands lift up, with tears in his eyes, can forbear to embrace him, and to grant him his requeſt? If you who are evil know how to give good things to ſuch children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Spirit to them that ask? 2. You may hear and ſee the poor Church of Chriſt, lying and languiſhing before you, withering in her cadency like a May-flower. Jeruſalem is become an heap of rubbiſh, our fair hopes of her eſtabliſhment almoſt blaſted, her enemies potent, and we cannot rationally conceive her ever able39 to wreſtle through her difficulties; and if the Church wither, the Commonwealth cannot grow; like Hippocrates his twins, they ſmile and weep, live and die toge­ther: the children of both have cauſe to pray, if either languiſh, yea, to pray fervently for both. Surely if we have any bowels of compaſſion, we cannot hold our peace for the miſery of Zion; the Gangrene of Hereſie hath over­ſpread her, more then the preſent ſick­neſſe on the Nation: the raging billows of prophaneneſſe is ready to overwhelm her; hell and the bottomleſſe pit are open: home-bred vipers and forrain enemies, like the children of Edom, cry out and gape for her deſtruction: ſhe is in great bitterneſſe, and is it nothing to you that paſſe by? When one of Darius King of Perſia's Eunuchs ſaw Alexander the great ſet his feet on a low cable that had been highly prized by his maſter, he wept; and being asked the reaſon by Alexander, he anſwered, I mourn to ſee that thing my maſter ſo highly eſteemed, to be contemned, and made a foot-ſtool. What pious heart cannot bleed and weep to hear and ſee in theſe degenerate times, the deſpiſings of40 thoſe things which God ſo highly pri­zeth, (Jeruſalem the perfection of beau­ty, and joy of the whole earth) ſhould not this make a dumb man to ſpeak, to pray, to uſe ſtrong cries? Let every ſon of Zion conſider this. 3. You have many, and thoſe mighty enemies; with­in you, original ſin which never reſteth to draw you to evil in act; without you, Satan and his Agents, either to tempt, terrifie, or perſecute you; this ſhould make your hearts boil up in devotion. But be ſure to pray aright: Some of old cryed our (like a wind-inſtrument) loud enough on their beds, but could not be heard, and were turned off, with the cenſure of howling on their beds; like Balaam, who had words e­nough in his mouth, without any heat in his heart. A man may pray for par­don, as Joſephs brethren did, and yet not be ſorry for what is paſt, nor reſolve to amend for time to come. A man may pray for power over luſt, as Auſtine confeſſeth of himſelf, and yet fear as unwilling to be heard. A man may pray for removal of judgments, and when on the rck, roar out a confeſſion, as Pharaoh, Ahab and Simon Magus did,41 (like the mill-wheel driven by the force of waters) and yet not think of, much leſſe be ſorry for the cauſe, and perhaps, repent of their repentance, thawing in the Sun, and freezing in the ſhade. As the Hiſtorian relates of William Rufus, that in a great ſickneſſe he vowed a­mendment, to reform his hard laws and taxes, to give ſpiritual livings free­ly: but recovering, repented of his promiſe. And as the captivated Jews faſted and prayed for ſeventy years, but, to get off their chains, more then their ſins, and ſo like melted metal, held no longer then the fire laſted, Iſa. 26.16. They poured out prayer when thy chaſten­ing was upon them. A man may pray for grace, as Spira ſaid he did, and yet have no love to it for its excellency and beauty. All this men do, and yet not pray fervently to God. Pauci quaerunt Deum propter ſe, ſed propter aliud. He onely that is mighty in Scripture, that is mighty in the Spirit, that is mighty by Chriſt to do all things, can thus pray; O God, create in me a clean heart, and re­nue a right ſpirit within me.

Object. Theſe fervent expreſſions are not alwaies ſucceſsful; a time may42 come, when a Moſes and a Samuel may not be heard.

A. 1. Fervent expreſſions, though they be one and chief, yet not the one­ly means, ſomewhat elſe muſt be done, viz. ſubmiſſion in Petitioners, and re­formation in thoſe for whom it is peti­tioned. 2. Theſe fervent expreſſions are alwaies, Firſt, According to the di­vine purpoſe, though not alwaies to your intents and ends. Secondly, For your ſelves and own good, though not alwaies for others; your prayers ſhall return into your own boſome. Third­ly, it may be your Petition is heard and granted, but the time of manife­ſtation is not yet come; be conſtant and wait a while, you ſhall reap. Za­charies prayers for a childe were gran­ted long before it was diſcovered to him. Fourthly, Elſe you may be out in the thing deſired; either for the matter, it may not be good in it ſelf, or not for you; or not for the meaſure, not ſo much as is deſired; or for the time, it may not be good now: and then no wonder if you be not heard; which is the ſecond branch in my de­ſcription of Prayer, viz. Fervent expreſ­ſions.

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Secondly, Of holy deſires.] Theſe are the feet on which the ſoul runs, the wings on which it mounts toward the object deſired.

Holy they muſt be for Perſon, Prin­ciple, Matter and End.

Firſt, The Perſon muſt be holy. Un­der the Law the Swan which was white in feathers, was yet reputed unclean and unmeet for ſacrifice, becauſe the skin under them was black. Religi­ous workings ſtand in Gods account, according to the qualification of the workman, either for acceptance or re­jection.

Theſe fervent expreſſions muſt come from an holy heart: they are not the childe of wit and phantaſie, but the rapture of an elevated ſpirit, the hea­venly dew of a good heart, Pſal. 66.18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer.

To explain this branch, we may en­quire fitly,

Firſt, What this holy Heart is? Qu. 1

I Anſwer, 1. Anſ. It is in Scripture diſ­covered to be a broken contrite heart, a ſelf-condemning, ſelf-crucifying, ſinne mortifying-heart. Prayer comes for44 mercy, and muſt bring a veſſel to hold it, and that is a broken heart; a paradox in nature but not in grace. Deus non in­fundit oleum miſerecordiae niſi in vas con­tritum; the ſacrifices of God are a bro­ken ſpirit. An heart that by paſſing under the hammer of the Law, and through the melting fire of the Goſpel, is divided from the band of ſin, which is a fruit of that ſweet Spirit of grace promiſed, Zach. 12.10, 11, 12. The Spi­rit of grace and ſupplication; and where­by they ſhall look on him whom they have pierced, and they ſhall mourn for him, &c. It hides nothing, like a broken veſſel, lets all run out; opens and ſpreads all its vileneſſe before the Lord: As water, mire, ſtones, heterogeneals, which were inſeparably congealed in a hard bound froſt, yet they all lie looſe when there comes a kindly thaw; ſo in the heart that was once congealed in the mire and dregs of ſin, &c. and with peniten­tiall brokenneſſe is kindly thawed and diſſolved, the ſins that before ſtuck faſt in the ſoul, now lie looſe, the ſpirit longs to be rid of them all, and ſo becomes more capacious. Broken language, if from a broken heart is acceptable. 2. It45 is an humble flexible heart, waiting for, and ready to receive divine impreſſions, like ſoftned wax; and as melted mettle, will run into any mould; an holy heart will be ready to bend and bow as God will have it: Acts 9.6. What wilt thou have me to do? As if he ſhould ſay, Lord, do but thou command me and I am ready to obey: Lord, give me ability to do what thou commandeſt, and then command me what thou pleaſeſt; as Auſtin once of him­ſelf. A carnal heart waits for, and em­braceth the commands of ſin; and an holy heart waits for, and is ready to re­ceive the commands of Chriſt; to ſtoop to that ſervice which bears Gods ſuper­ſcription on it. 3. It is a chaſte, clean heart, wholly dedicated to God, that loveth no evil in motion or action; Create in me a clean heart, Pſal. 51.10. Holineſſe is a cleanſing thing 2 Cor. 7.1. As a good wife is towards her huſ­band, ſuch is the holy heart to Chriſt; eſpouſed it is to him: The carnal heart hath many lovers, but the holy heart hath one whom it loveth, even Chriſt, 2 Cor. 11.2.4. It is an heavenly heart. Words, deeds, behaviour, not onely in ſacred but in ci­vil affairs, are heavenly,Phil. 3.20. Our converſation46 is in Heaven: (i. e.) Habitually. Corpore ambulamus in terra, corde habitamus in colo, ſaith Auguſtine. The body is on earth, but our heart in Heaven; as the pearl that grows in the Sea, but ſhines as the sky. O the preciouſneſſe of an holy heart. A perſon thus rightly qualified for prayer, is more honoura­ble, more excellent then his neighbour.

Qu. 2Secondly, Why muſt Prayer come from an holy heart?

Anſ. Firſt, Becauſe a carnal heart deſti­tute of renewing grace and ſpiritual life, cannot riſe to cloſe with ſuch a ſpiritual duty. A natural man recei­veth not the things of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 2.14. Light and darkneſſe may as ſoon come together and agree. An holy heart may make a carnal prayer, but a carnal heart can never make an holy prayer, ſo as to aſcend high enough. Nothing can work beyond the activity of its own principle. A bullet flyeth no farther then the force of the powder carrieth it: and where prayers come from nature onely, they go no farther then nature can carry them. Secondly, Reigning ſin in the heart, out-cryeth your prayers: eſpecially the ſins of pride47 and anger, Jam. 4.6. God reſiſteth the proud, 1 Tim. 2.8. I will that men every where pray, lifting up holy hands without wrath. If your ſins be hearty, your prayers cannot be hearty. If the ſin of one man may hinder the prayers and endeavours of many; how much more will many ſins hinder the prayers of one. Reigning ſin is like many great Ordnance charged and planted on high mountains, they make a great noiſe; like thunder which confounds and ſwal­lows up lower and ſmaller cries. Sin unto prayer is as Garlick to the Load­ſtone, renders it flat and dead. Third­ly, The perſon muſt be accepted before the prayer, and none are accepted but ſuch as are ſanctified by faith in Jeſus Chriſt. Therefore prayers muſt come from an holy heart. John 15.5. He that abideth in me bringeth forth much fruit. Gen. 4.4. The Lord had reſpect to Abel, and then to his offering. Prayer from a wicked heart, is like a jewel put into a dead mans mouth, loſeth all its vertue**The Natura­liſt ſaith, a precious jewel put into a dead mans mouth, loſeth its worth and vertue; ſo doth prayer in the mouth of a man ſpiritually dead.. The prayer of the wicked is a­bominable,48 Prov. 21.27. But if the tree be good, the fruit will be good. You muſt be in Chriſt before you can do or obtain any good this way. Through him we have acceſſe with confidence unto the Fa­ther, Epheſ. 2.18. Fourthly, Becauſe the Lord is holy and cannot endure ſin, eſpecially in Petitioners. God hates ſin naturally where ever it is: (like as we hate poiſon, whether it be in a Toad or Princes Cabinet.) Yea, he hateth it more then the Devil. Can a Prince en­dure a Petitioner that ſhall bring his greateſt enemy with him in his hand, even into his preſence? Or can any Petitioner think ſo to prevail. No: As in a wound the plaiſter prevails not whileſt the iron remains within, ſo nei­ther can prayer while ſin rankleth. God will not hear a good motion from a bad mouth. He will hide his eyes while your hands are full of blood. You love my profeſt enemies more then me, will God ſay, your boſome ſins above your requeſts. Therefore go and be re­conciled, put away your ſins, and then come and offer. Thus much for the firſt branch, the Perſon muſt be holy. Again,

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Secondly, The Principle muſt be holy. Your deſires muſt be the iſſues of grace, dictated by the Spirit of Christ; we know not how or what to ask without his aſſiſtance, Rom. 8.15, 26.

Here alſo may be profitably enquired two things.

First, Why our prayer muſt comeQu. 1from a ſpiritual principle?

The Reaſons will appear to be ſuch as theſe; 1. Anſ. Becauſe it is directed to the Father of Spirits, who is delighted with ſpiritual ſervice, and accepts no­thing in this kind from men, but what comes from a ſpiritual principle. It is therefore we hear the Apoſtle enjoining prayer in the ſpirit, Epheſ. 6.18. and praying in the Holy Ghoſt, Jude v. 20. This is the wind muſt ſet youmill on work: and the poiſe that ſhould cauſe your clock to ſtrike. 2. It is to diſtin­guiſh prayers, First, Becauſe many prayers are but natural deſires, or hy­pocritical expreſſions of counterfeit de­votion. The Ravens call upon God, and ſome we read of, did howl on their beds, and were importunate for corn, wine and oil, but from a natural princi­ple, which as the Graſhopper, hope50 not much above the earth, and as a va­pour exhaled by the Sun doth ſoon fall down again; when ſelf doth ſeek and is ſought for, as the people did Chriſt for the loaves, and Judas for the purſe. And this not onely in carnal perſons, I mean ſuch as for the preſent are deſti­tute of actual grace, and the ſpirit of holineſſe: but even in the regenerate. Moſes his prayer was very earneſt to enter Cnaan, and yet it was but a natu­rall deſire. Secondly, Becauſe men living under the means of grace, may go far by their own ſpirits; as, to read, repeat Ser­mons, and frame prayers very exactly, as if they were full of ſpiritual life and heat. We know great wants may and do produce earneſt entreaties; terrours of God, and frights of Conſcience may make men fervent: they may deſire pardon, and removal of judgments, me­rited, inflicted, or threatned; nay, they may pray for grace when they ne­ver heartily deſire it, becauſe they look upon it as a means of ſafety, (as a Bridge to help them to Heaven) not becauſe they love and deſire ſanctity, and ſo all this while may be deſtitute of a gracious principle.

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Therefore Secondly, We may fartherQu. 2enquire how prayers coming from the Spirit may be diſcerned?

The Anſwer may be thus, 1. Anſ. By that liberty, light and heat following the preſence of that Spirit. (See Luke 2.25. 2 Cor. 3.17.) Light to diſcern what to ask, Liberty and heat to order and ſend up your Petitions. It removeth impediments, freeth from the inviſible chains of the Kingdome of darkneſſe, enlargeth the heart, and helpeth to pray with fervency, ſuch ſighs and groans as cannot be uttered. 2. By an hearty, free and full ſubmiſſion of our ſelves and re­queſts to the God of prayer, for the matter and meaſure. Not my will, but thy will be done. As Heſter ſubmitted to the good pleaſure of the King in her requeſts. And as the mother of Chriſt doth not over earneſtly in words preſſe him to do that ſhe deſired, but onely laies open the caſe, they have no wine, referring all to his diſcretion. It is re­ported of Socrates, that heaught his Scholars to ask no more of God but this, that he would do them good: but how, and how much, they would leave that to him, as beſt underſtanding what is52 beſt and fitteſt for us. It comes not from the holy Spirit, to drive men upon inden­ting with God. 3. By a patient expe­ctation in the uſe of all other means, till the Lord be pleaſed to manifeſt his an­ſwer in ſoe gracious return. This diſ­poſition flows from faith. He that be­lieveth ſhall not make haſte, Iſa. 28.16. As the husbandman waiteth for the pre­cious fruits of the earth, and waits pa­tiently, by a natural faith he ſeeth the hrvet in the ſeed, and ſo bears up himſelf by that faith in expectation of an harveſt. So much more doth a ſpiri­tual faith enable ſouls to do much more; waiting is nothing elſe but faith ſtretch­ed out into patience. 4. By ſpiritual cheerfulneſſe after prayer, with care to improve and apply all you get by pray­er to ſome ſpiritual ends, 1 Sam. 1.18. Hannah prayed for a ſon, and went a­way and was no more ſad, and after, de­dicated her Samuel to the ſervice of God. Thus the principle muſt be holy.

Thirdly, Deſires muſt be holy for the matter of them. [Whoſoever ſhall ask any thing according to his will believing, 1 John 5.14.] And that 1. In the ground: You muſt have a promiſe for53 what you ask, in particular, or at leaſt in general, diſtinctly apprehended, and rightly applied; no way repugnant to the Analogy of faith, nor to any paſ­ſage of Divine Providence; otherwiſe we can have no hope to be heard; For, no faculty can or ought to extend it ſelf beyond its adequate and proper object: it is limited by peculiar rules. He that prayeth without a promiſe, denieth his own requeſt. To make our fancy the higheſt rule is a preſumptuous folly: and to ask according to our own luſts, is an im­plicit blaſphemy. 2. Prayer muſt be holy in the matter, this muſt alſo bear the ſtamp of God. Whenever, your Cen­ſers are fired, the coal muſt be taken from the Altar, nor from the Kitchin. The matter muſt be ſpiritual, or ſpiri­tually deſired. For inſtance: Firſt, You may and muſt pray for the apprehenſion of Gods love, promiſed Hoſ. 14.4. I will love them freely. Secondly, For par­don of ſin, promiſed Iſa. 43.25. I, even I am he that blotteth out thy traſgreſſions for my own ſake, and will not remember thy ſins. Thirdly, For ſanctification of nature, promiſed Deut. 30.6. And the Lord thy God will circumciſe thine heart,54 and the heart of thy ſeed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart. Ezek. 36.25. Then will I ſprinkle clean water upon you, and you ſhall be clean. Fourthly, For the removal of judgments, ſpiritual or corporal, promiſed Pſal. 50.15. Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, &c. At leaſt for the ſancti­fication of them, and ſupportation un­der them.

Q. May not we pray for temporal bleſſings?

A. Yes; As ſome men pray for ſpi­ritual things in a carnal way: So o­thers may pray for carnal bleſſings in a ſpiritual manner. Provided 1. It be done in order, and that they have their due place. Spiritual things muſt be firſt and principal, theſe ſecondary and ſub­ordinate. Matth. 6.33. Firſt ſeek the Kingdome of God and the righteouſneſſe thereof, &c. 2. Upon condition that you ſubmit to God, both the things themſelves, and the meaſure and time. John 12.27, 28. Save me from this hour Father glorifie thy name! It is enough to a gracious heart, if God will glorifie his own name; carnal hearts are impetuous and impatient of a check,55 delay, or denial: Rachel muſt have children or die. 3. With caution, that you deſire and uſe them to the Lord. Whatever you deſire for this life, make it ſerviceable towards the oter; de­ſire not mercies for, nor abuſe them to exceſſe, revenge, luxury. Luſt is an ear­neſt craver, but when it receveth any comfort, it conſumeth it in eaſe and pleaſure. This muſt be obſerved, elſe you may ask and receive not, becauſe you ask amiſſe, Jam. 4.3. Your re­queſts may not terminate in ſelf. That was but a brutiſh requeſt which we find related, Exod. 17.2. Give us water that we may drink: A beaſt can aim at ſelf-preſervation. This branch of Prayer muſt have an ordination to God. There­fore,

Thirdly and Laſtly, Deſirs muſt be holy for the end. As may well be col­lected from the beginning and end of the Lords Prayer; the beginning is, Hallowed be thy Name: the end is, For thine is the Kingdome, Power and Glory, for ever! As the ſuperiour Orb carries all the inferiour about with is own mo­tion: So muſt this great and noble end wheel about all our deſires, and, though loweſt actions.

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Enquire we may for the clearing of this laſt branch after two things. Firſt, When is a mans end holy? Secondly, Why our ends muſt be holy?

Qu. 1For the firſt, When is a mans end holy?

Anſ. The Anſwer ſhall lie in theſe two things: 1. When neither himſelf, nor any other creature is the laſt end of a mans prayer: For either of them make it eccentrick, irregular. The motion muſt needs be lame, when a man ſhall make God a meer ſervant to himſelf, and move wholly on a private center of his own: and is viſibly for God, but underhand for himſelf. The Phariſees were glorious in prayer, but what they did was〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to be admi­red by others. The Spring was not Gods grace, and the end was not Gods glory. Glorious actions without holy and pure ends, are like ſweet herbs on a noiſome dunghil. 2. When God is the end (ultimus, though not proximus) laſt, though not the very next or imme­diate end of our deſires: As in Jacobs, and Hannahs prayer, 1 Sam. 1.11. When men aim at his glory, the enlr­ging of Chriſts Kingdome, and reſolve57 what they get in prayer to ſpend for God, and the good of his Relations, with the ſanctification and ſalvation of their ſouls: then the end is holy. The want of this, was that did ſo diſcolour the (otherwiſe) excellent works of the Hea­then, which are almoſt incredible, they looked not to God in their great ſervices and brave exploits. So thatheir acti­ons were good Bullion (as one ſpeaks) but carried not a good ſtamp upon them, and therefore would not paſſe with God. So that it is well maintained by our Divines, yea, ſome of the School­men, that their works were not morally good, becauſe though the proxime end might be good, yet they knew not the ultimate end which was Gods glory.

Secondly, Why muſt our ends be holy? Qu. 2

Divers Reaſons may be rendred. Anſ. Some Philoſophical, and ſome Theologi­call. Of the firſt, I will mention theſe three, viz. 1. Becauſe every operative intellect doth begin with the end; that is firſt in intention, and that which doth both move the agent and denomi­nate the action. Which appeareth to be truth from two reaſons. Firſt, Be­cauſe the end ſupplieth the room and58 place of the form, in all thoſe agents and acts whoſe eſſential perfection conſiſts in operation. Secondly, Becauſe the laſt end doth perfect both the actor and the action; juſtly therefore doth it begin with the end, and take denomination from the end. 2. The end muſt be holy, becauſe the laſt end eſpecially doth give beauty and amability to all the means conducing thereunto: and becauſe the appetite is terminated and quieted in the laſt end. Needs muſt his deſires be holy whoſe end is holy. 3. Becauſe the end and the means leading thereunto, are proportioned and diſpoſed together; Poſito ſine ponuntur & diſponuntur media omnia, &c. if a mans end be not holy, the means leading thereunto cannot be holy.

The ſecond ſort of Reaſons are Theo­logical, I ſhall give theſe two; viz. Firſt, Becauſe the Lord looks mainly to the end, and ſpecially noes wherefore we pray. He regards not ſo much the A­rithmetick of Prayers, how numerous they are: nor the Rhetorick of them, how neat they are: nor their Geometry, how long they are; not ſo much their Muſick, how melodious, nor their59 Logick, how methodical; but their Divinity, how heart-ſprung they are, how they tend to his glory, how much holineſſe is twiſted about them.

Secondly, The end if it be holy, will ſtrengthen the Petitioner to peſevere in the uſe of all good means. When a man with a free Conſcience can ſay, Lord, thou knoweſt my ends, they are not meerly ſelf, nor biaſſed with car­nal intereſts, but holy and ſpiritual, ac­cording to the beſt of my knowledge and power, (as did Hezekiah, I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done tht which is good in thy ſight) is a good ground to reſt faith upon, for a graciousnſwer in due time.

This may be uſeful to us all, by wayUſe 1of correction and inſtruction. Firſt, For correction: there be many among us that pray, at leaſt that read or ſay prayers, (like the Parrot at Rome, that could repeat the whole Creed. ) but very few that ſend up fervent expreſſions of holy deſires. Some know nowhat it is to pray, they cannot diſtinguiſh be­tween oro and credo. Others think not of it, that they are going into Heaven,60 into the Preſence-Chamber, before the Throne of a great and glorious God, when they do pray. And too many there are who reſt on the work done, numbring rather then weighing their prayers. So it cometh to paſſe, that moſt are indiſpoſed for this holy exerciſe, in all or ſome of theſe following caſes; 1. If your hearts be impure; which may be diſ­cerned by your thoughts, now good, and then bad, and both diſregarded; by your words, the very off-ſpring of the heart, Matth. 12.34. falſe, corrupt imperti­nent; by your companions choſen for in­timacy, and that you moſt delight in; and by your life, if that be impure, through the reign of any one ſin: You regard iniquity in your heart, and the Lord will not hear. But obſerve, there is a two-fold impurity, one in the dominion, another from the inheſion of ſin, un­derſtand the firſt here. 2. If you have and bring nothing but natural deſires, (ſuf­ficient knowledge, a good memory, a quick invention, and eaſie elocution) ſo tht your praying is nothing but a mat­er of wit and parts, rather for oſtenta­tion then devotion; which may be thus diſcerned, Firſt, If your heads are bet­ter61 then your hearts, you have more abi­lities then will, to do good and glorifie God. Secondly, By ſuch prayers the head may be better'd but not the heart. It is a clear caſe, the more any man prayeth ſpiritually, the more is Gods image renewed in his heart and ſoul, the heart is more benefited then the head. Thirdly, If the matter oman­ner of your prayers be carnal; as, if you ſhould crave bleſſings of the le••hand only, for corn, wine and oil, meat that periſheth, the bona ſcabelli,nd not throni, as Auſtine ſpeaketh; oſhould ask theſe things in the firſt plac: the matter and manner is then carnal. Fourthly, if your ends be evil which move you to pray; and may be known from theſe three companions, Frſt, Hy­pocriſie, when men neither oit the duty wholly, nor go through with it, in an hearty and chearful performance. Secondly, Vain-glory, praying to be heard and praiſed, Matth. 6.5. A thing hateful among Heathens. Tlly taxed Gracchus for this, that he referr'd all his actions, not to the rule overtue, but to the favour of the people, that he might have their eſteem and applauſe. 62And as Pliny telleth, the Nightingale ſingeth far longer and ſweeter, when men are by, then at other times. Third­ly, Self-love, which keeps men at home to look only or chiefly to their own good. If thus you pray, ſee what follows; Your outward groſſe ſins are daily in­creaſed, by this addition of ſpiritual ſins. An unprepared, irreverent Peti­tioner takes Gods Name in vain. Be­ſides, your pains and labour upon the matter are loſt, the Lord will not heat ſuch prayers; the grunting of Hogs in the ſtye, ſaith Hierom, is as pleaſing to God, becauſe he expects no more then he hath given or offered.

Uſe 2The ſecond Uſe is for Inſtruction1. Know then, every kind of praying will not ſerve the turn. Every ſound is not Muſick. The followers of Baacalled on his name from morning even until noon, but there was no voice, nor any thing that anſwered, 1 Kings 26.28. Yea, and they cryed aloud, and cut them­ſelves aftr their manner, &c. and no voice, nor any to anſwer, &c. Papiſts ſay over abundance of compoſures which they call prayers, in ſo much as they need beads to help them keep nu­ber,63 yet Saint James his Prayeis to be deſired among them. So too many a­mong our ſelves, who reſt on the Idol opus operatum, or, work wrought. If they be frequent in ſome common forms, they think themſelves boon-Chriſtians, though they do nothing leſſe then pray. Take heed of this, God is in Heaven and thou on earth, Eccleſ. 5.2. et your expreſſions be heated with reveent fer­vency. 2. Learn the Art of Praying. He is a good Chriſtian that can pray well, not contenting himſelf with the form without the power. My Brethren! It is not the labour of the lips, but the travel of the heart. Common beggary is the eaſieſt and pooreſt trade, but this beggary is the richeſt and the hardeſt. Then to the work, redeem the time. It is obſerved of the Camel, that having long travell'd through ſandy deſartwithout water, impletur cum bibendi eſt occaſio, & in praeteritum & in futurum: (i. e. ) drinks for the time paſt, and for the time to come; ſo do you: for paſt neglects, act with more diligence; now, do for what is paſt and to come. And for your direction herein, know, that he that would pray well, muſt have, firſt, Abi­lity, conſiſting in knowledge of his own64 wants, and Gods treaſury in his word and promiſes. Blind devotion cannot pleaſe God. I will pray with underſtand­ing. In aſſent, not only to the verity, but alſo to the equity and congruity be­tween the deſire and the offer. In a fidu­cial reſting on the fidelity of the promi­ſer, with reference to his own caſe. All which is ordinarily got, by hearing of the Word, and former experience of Gods goodneſſe. An humble hearer, is al­waies a zealous Petitioner. Secondly, He muſt have flexibility, or a bending of the mind to or with the duty. He muſt not be content to be down on his knees, if his heart be not up: to have his hand in the work, if his ſoul be not alſo in it. It was the ſaying of holy Bradford, that he would never leave a duty, till he had brought his heart into the frame of the duty. He would not leave confeſſion of ſin, till his heart was broken for ſin. He would not leave Petitioning for grace, till his heart was quickned in deſire. A property of a good, honeſt, ſoft and humble heart, which is a jewel, an ornament of great price in the ſight of God. Thirdly, He muſt have dignity or worth, both for compoſition and preſentation. The Spi­rit65 of Prayer to compoſe it, and the per­ſonal merit of Chriſt to preſenit. Pray alwaies with all ſupplication in the Spirit, Epheſ. 6.18. 3. Be inſtructed: when you are about to pray, call theſe things to mind: Prayer is a fervent expreſſion of holy deſires: holy for perſon, principle, matter and end. And ſo I come to the laſt part of the deſcription, that theſe holy deſires with ſpiritual fervency, muſt be preſented

Unto the only true God by Jeſus Chriſt.] To God only, Prayers muſt be directed, not to creatures, Angel or Saint. In every thing by prayer and ſupplication with thanks­giving, let your requeſts be made known to God, Phil. 4.6. This will be cleared with a little labour. For, firſt, he only can hear and relieve you, Pſal. 65.11. O thou that heareſt prayers, to thee ſhall all fleſh come. Iſa. 63.16. Doubleſſe thou art our Father, though Abraham be igno­rant of us, and Iſrael acknowledge us not: thou art our Father, O Lord, our Redee­mer. Look as nature teacheth our chil­dren to come to their parents for every thing, and to give thanks to them; ſo grace teacheth the children of God, to cry Abba, Father, to reſort to him in66 every condition (as they did to Joſeph in Egypt) and to praiſe him for every bleſſing. As it is one of the Royalties of the King to be petitioned unto as a common parent for grace in ſundry caſes, ſo is this a divine Royalty of God, that all fleſh ſhould come to him in their ſeveral neceſſities, abaſing themſelves in confeſſing their indignity, exalting him with whom is all fulneſſe of good things, and uncontrolable power to effect for us, whatever is good accor­ding to his own pleaſure. Secondly, For this you have a command, Pſal. 50.15. Call upon me in the day of trouble. Acts 8.22. Pray God if perhaps, &c. Yea, and a promiſe, Whatſoever ye ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you. And God complains of ſuch who for­ſake the fountain of living waters, and dig to themſelves pits that can hold no water. Thirdly, We have preſidents for it. The Church directs her prayer to God, Lam. 5.1. And herein ſhe is like to John Baptiſt, a ſhining and a burning light. She ſhines as knowing the rich ſtorehouſe where, in her exigence to fetch relief, and ſhe goes to none below God. She burns, the fire of her zeal is kindled in67 her breaſt, and therefore goes not with cold, luke-warm affections. In that Prayer our bleſſed Saviour taught his diſ­ciples, we are taught the ſame; Look over the form, obſerve the phraſes, and ſee whether you can imagine, that pray­er ſhould ever be directed to any other. Read through all the Records of the world, and ſhew if you can, where any Saint of God made ſuppica ion unto any but to God only! You cannot; no, not to the Virgin the Mother of Chriſt, nor to any other Saint or Angel. And in all the preſidents recorded in the ſacred Scriptures, not only in the Old Teſta­ment, (while the Fathers are fondly ſuppoſed to be in Limbo, as Bellarmine gives the reaſon why we do not then read of any praying to Saints. ) but in the New, after our Saviours aſcenſion. And if there be neither command, pro­miſe nor preſident in the Old or New Teſtament for invocation of Saints, is it not a wonder, it hath been ſo much preſ­ſed and practiſed. To the contrary we have, viz. Matth. 4.10. Coloſ. 2.18