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from the several relations in which God stands unto men, particularly to his own people. "Lord, thou art my Creator, wilt thou not have a desire to the work of thine hands? Hast thou not made me and fashioned me, and wilt thou now destroy me? Thou art my Governor and my King, to whom should I fly for protection but to thee, when the enemies of thine honour and my soul beset me around? Art thou not my Father? and hast thou not called me one of thy children? and given me a name and a place among thy sons and thy daughters? Why should I look like one cast out of thy sight, or that belongs to the family of Satan? Are not the bowels of a father with thee, and tender compassions? Why should one of thy poor and weak helpless children be neglected or forgotten? Art thou not my God in covenant, and the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, by whom that covenant is ratified? Under that relation I would plead with thee for all necessary mercies.”

4. The various and particular promises of the covenant of grace, are another rank of arguments to use in prayer. "Enlighten me, O Lord, and pardon me, and sanctify my soul; and bestow grace and glory upon me according to that word of thy promise on which thou hast caused me to hope. Remember thy word is past in heaven, it is recorded among the articles of thy sweet covenant, that I must receive light and love, and strength and joy and happiness; and art thou not a faithful God to fulfil every one of those promises? What if heaven and earth must pass away? Yet thy covenant stands upon two immutable pillars, thy promise and thine oath; and now I have fled for refuge to lay hold on this hope, let me have strong consolation. Remember the covenant made with thy Son in the days of eternity, and let the mercies there promised to all his seed be bestowed upon me according to my various wants." This calling to remembrance the covenant of God, hath been often of great efficacy and prevalence in the prayers of the ancient saints.

5. The name and honour of God in the world, is another powerful argument. What wilt thou do for thy great name, if Israel be cut off or perish? Joshua vii. 9. If thy saints go down to the grave in multitudes, who shall praise thee in the land of the living? The dead cannot celebrate thee, nor make mention of thy name and honours, as I do this day." This was the pleading of Hezekiah; Isaiah xxxviii. 18. And David uses the same language; Psalm vi. 5. For thy name's sake, was a mighty argument in all the ancient times of the church.

6. Former experiences of ourselves and others, are another set of arguments to make use of in_prayer. Our Lord Jesus Christ in that prophetical psalm; Psalm xxii. 5. is represented as using this argument: "Our fathers cried unto thee, O Lord, and were delivered, they trusted in thee, and they were not con

founded; let me be a partaker of the same favour whilst I cry unto thee, and make thee my trust thou hast never said to the seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain; and let it not be said that thy poor servant has now sought thy face, and has not found thee. Often have I received mercy in a way of return to prayer: often hath my soul drawn near unto thee, and been comforted in the midst of sorrows: often have I taken out fresh supplies of grace according to my need, from the treasures of thy grace that are in Christ; and shall the door of these treasures be shut against me now? Shall I receive no more favours from the hand of my God, that has heretofore dealt them so plentifully to me?" Now how improper soever this sort of argument may seem to be used in courts of princes, or to entreat the favour of great men, yet God loves to hear his own people make use of it for though men are quickly weary of multiplying their bounties, yet the more we receive from God, if we humbly acknowledge it to him, the more we are like to receive still.

7. The most powerful and most prevailing argument, is the name and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ. And though there be some hints or shadows of it in the Old Testament, yet it was never taught us in a plain and express manner till a little before our Saviour left this world; John xvi. 23, 24. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name, ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. This seems to be reserved for the peculiar pleasure and power of the duty of prayer under the gospel. We are taught to make mention of the name of Jesus, the only begotten and eternal Son of God, as a method to receive our biggest requests and fullest salvation and in such language as this we should address the Father, "Lord, let my sins be forgiven for the sake of that love which thou bearest thine own Son, for the sake of that love which thy Son beareth to thee; for the sake of his humble state, when he took flesh upon him, that he might look like a sinner, and be made a sacrifice, though himself was free from sin; for the sake of his perfect and painful obedience, which has given complete honour to thy law; for the sake of the curse which he bore, and the death which he suffered, which hath glorified thine authority, and honoured thy justice more than it was possible for my sins to have affronted it: remember his dying groans; remember his agonies when the hour of darkness was upon him; and let not the powers of darkness prevail over me: remember the day when thou stoodest afar from thine own Son, and he cried out as one forsaken of God, and let me have thine everlasting presence with me; let me never be forsaken, since thy Son hath borne that punishment." Again, we may plead with God the intercession of Jesus our High-priest above: "Father, we would willingly ask thee for nothing, but

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what thy Son already asks thee for: we would willingly request nothing at thine hands, but what thine own Son requests beforehand for us: look upon the Lamb, as he had been slain, in the midst of the throne; look upon his pure and perfect righteousness, and that blood with which our High-priest is entered into the highest heavens, and in which for ever he appears before thee to make intercession; and let every blessing be bestowed upon me, which that blood did purchase, and which that great, that infinite Petitioner pleads for at thy right-hand. What canst thou deny thine own Son? for he hath told us, that thou hearest him always. For the sake of that Son of thy love, deny us not." Thus I have finished this fifth part of prayer, which consists in pleading with God.

SECT. VI.-Of Profession, or Self-Dedication.

The sixth part of prayer consists in a profession or self-dedication. This is very seldom mentioned by writers as a part of prayer; but to me it appears so very necessary in its nature, and so distinct from all the rest, that it ought to be treated of separately as well as any other part; and may be divided under these four heads:

1. A profession of our relation to God. And it is worth while sometimes for a saint to draw near unto God, and to tell him that he is the Lord's, that he belongs to his family that he is one of his household: that he stands among the number of his children that his name is written in his covenant: and there is a great deal of spiritual delight, and soul-satisfaction arises from such appeals to God, concerning our relation to him.


2. A profession of our former transactions with God. "Lord, we have given ourselves up unto thee, and chosen thee for our eternal portion, and our highest good: we have seen the insufficiency of creatures to make us happy, and we have betaken ourselves to a higher hope; we have beheld Christ Jesus the Saviour in his perfect righteousness, and in his all-sufficient grace; we have put our trust in him, and we have made our covenant with the Father, by the sacrifice of the Son; we have often drawn near to thee in thine ordinances; we have ratified and confirmed the holy covenant at thy table, as well as been devoted to thee by the initial ordinance of baptism; we have given up our names to God in his house; and we have as it were subscribed with our hands to be the Lord's.

3. A present surrender of ourselves to God, and a profession of the present exercise of our several affections and graces towards him. And this is sweet language in prayer, when the soul is in a right frame. "Lord, I confirm all my former dedications of myself to thee; and be all my covenantings for ever ratified. Or if I did never yet sincerely give my

self up to the Lord, I do it now with the greatest solemnity, and from the bottom of my heart: I commit my guilty soul into the hands of Jesus my Redeemer, that he may sprinkle it with his atoning blood, that he may clothe it with his justifying righteousness, and make me, a vile sinner, accepted in the presence of a just and holy God: I appear, O Father, in the presence of thy justice and holiness, clothed in the garments of thine own Son, and I trust thou beholdest not iniquity in me to punish it. I give my soul, that has much corruption in it by nature, and much of the remaining power of sin, into the hands of my almighty Saviour, that by his grace he may form all my powers anew; that he may subdue every irregular appetite, and root out every disorderly passion; that he may frame me after his own image, fill me with his own grace, and fit me for his own glory. I hope in thee my God, for thou art my refuge, my strength, and my salvation; I love thee above all things; and I know I love thee. Whom have 1 in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire in in comparison of thee: I desire thee with my strongest affections, and I delight in thee above all delights: my soul stands in awe, and fears before thee: and I rejoice to love such a God who is almighty, and the object of my highest reverence."

4. A profession of our humble and holy resolutions to be the Lord's for ever. This is what is generally called a vow. Now, though I cannot encourage christians to bind themselves in particular instances by frequently repeated vows, and especially in things that are in themselves indifferent; which oftentimes prove a dangerous snare to souls: yet we can never be too frequent, or too solemn in the general surrender of our souls to God, and binding our souls by a vow to be the Lord's for ever: "to love him above all things; to fear him, to hope in him, to walk in his ways," in a course of holy obedience, and to wait for his mercy unto eternal life. For such a vow as this is, is included in the nature of both the ordinances of the gospel, baptism, and the Lord's-supper. Such a vow as this is, is comprehended almost in every act of worship, and especially in solemn addresses to God by prayer. I might add,

In the last place, that together with this profession or selfdedication to God, it is necessary we should renounce every thing that is inconsistent herewith, and that under each of these four preceding heads: "As I am thine, O Lord, and I belong not to this world I have given myself to thee, and I have given myself away from sin and from the creature: I have renounced the world as my portion, and chosen the Father. I have renounced all other saviours, and all my own duties and righteousnesses as the foundation of my interest in the favour of God, and chosen Christ Jesus, as my only way to the Father. I have renounced

my own strength as the ground of my hope; for my understanding is dark, my will is impotent, and my best affections are insufficient to carry me onwards to heaven: I now again renounce dependance upon all of them, that I may receive greater light and strength and love from God. I am dead to the law, I am mortified to sin, I am crucified to the world, and all by the cross of Jesus my Saviour. I bid Satan get him behind me; I renounce him and his works: I will neither fear him nor love him; nor lay a confederacy with the men of this world, for I love my God, for I fear my God, in my God is my eternal help and hope: "I will say, what have I to do any more with idols?" and I will banish the objects of temptation from my sight. Thus I abandon ever thing that would divide me from God, to whom I have made a surrender of myself. And shouldest thou see fit to scourge and correct me, O my God, I submit to thine hand; shouldest thou deny me the particular requests I have presented to thee, I leave myself in thy hands, trusting thou wilt chuse better for me. And because I know my own frailty of heart, and the inconstancy of my will, I humbly put all these my vows and solemn engagements into the hands of my Lord Jesus to fulfil them in me, and by me, through all the days of my infirmity and this dangerous state of trial."

SECT. VII-Of Thanksgiving.

The seventh part of prayer consists in thanksgiving. To give thanks is to acknowledge the bounty of that hand whence we receive our blessings, and to ascribe honour and praise to the power, the wisdom and the goodness of God upon that account. And this is part of that tribute which God our King expects at our hands for all the favours we receive from him. It very ill becomes a creature to partake of benefits from his God, and then to forget his heavenly Benefactor, and grow regardless of that bounty whence his comforts flow. The matter of our thanksgivings may be ranged under these two heads: we must give thanks for those benefits for which we have prayed, and for those which God hath conferred upon us without praying for.

1. Those benefits which God hath bestowed on us without asking, are proper to be mentioned in the first place, for they are the effects of his rich and preventing mercy: and how many are the blessings of his goodness with which he hath prevented us! "We praise thee, O Lord, for thine original designs of love to fallen man; that thou shouldest make a distinction between us and the angels that sinned: what is man, that thou art thoughtful about his salvation; and sufferest the angels to perish for ever without remedy: that thou shouldest chuse a certain number of the race of Adam, and give them into the hands of

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