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do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my GoD: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. Dan. 9. 3-5, 8—10, 14, 18, 19. and 9. 1—23. (r)
Did you ever pray with such deep self-abasement? Have you like Daniel in youth poured out your heart to God?
110. What is the summary of Ezra's prayer?
And at the evening sacrifice I rose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my GoD. And said, O my GoD, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my GoD': for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. And now, our GOD, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our GoD hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O Lord God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day : behold, we are before thee, in our trespasses; for we cannot stand before thee because of this. Ezra 9. 5, 6, 10, 13—15.
Have you felt to loathe yourselves when in prayer, you have approached a holy God? Have you prayed like the publican?
111. How are we directed to pray? (s)
GOD is a Spirit: and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.- Take with you words, and turn to the Lord say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.- For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities: but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.- O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. John 4. 24. Hos. 14. 2. Heb. 4. 15, 16. Hab. 3. 2. || 2 Sam. 7. 18, 28, 29. 2 Kin. 19. 15, 16, 19, Hab. 1. 12, 13. 1 Chron. 4. 10. Heb. 10. 22.
Have you ever prayed in a sincere, spiritual, humble, and believing manner?
See Appendix, Note R. (5) See Appendix, Note S.
112. When are we to pray?
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. And shall not GoD avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?- Pray without ceasing. Ps. 5. 3. and 55. 17. Luke 18. 1, 7. 1 Thes. 5. 17. || Ps. 86. 3. and 119. 147, 164. Dan. 6. 10. Luke 6. 12. Ps. 22. 2. and 88. 13. and 130. 6. Is. 26. 9. Mark 1. 35. Jam. 5. 13.
Are you accustomed by prayer to acknowledge your dependance and God's goodness, when you lie down, and when you arise, in the house and by the way? Have you habitually a devotional spirit?
113. For whom are we to pray?
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable the sight of GoD our Saviour.Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.- Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.- Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. 1 Tim. 2. 1-3. Ps. 122. 6. Mat. 9. 38. Luke 6. 28. Eph. 6. 18. || Jam. 5. 14-18. 1 John 5. 16. Hab. 3. 2. Is. 62. 6, 7. Jer. 29. 7. Ps. 141. 5. 2 Thes. 3. 1.
Do you fervently pray for Zion's prosperity and for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles; bond and free? Can you even pray for your enemies?
114. In what name and through whose assistance, should our prayers be offered?
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.- Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth
what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of GoD. John 14. 13, 14. and 16. 24. Rom. 8. 26, 27. || Col. 3, 17. Gal. 4. 6. Rom. 8. 15.
Do you go to the throne of grace divested of self-righteousness and self-confidence? Do you ask, expect, and receive the aids of the Holy Spirit in prayer?
115. Whose prayers will be heard and answered?
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.- Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. John 9. 31. Ps. 34. 15, 17. Jam. 5. 16. || 1 Tim. 2. 8. Ps. 4. 3. and 26. 6. Prov. 15. 29.
Are you a doer of God's will? Have you ever received merciful answers to prayer?
116. What is said respecting the prayer and sacrifice of the wicked?
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to GoD must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Prov. 28. 9. and 15. 8. Heb. 11. 6. || Ps. 66. 18. and 109. 7. Is. 1. 10—17. Mat.
Are your ears open to instruction from the law of GOD? Have you never offered the sacrifice of the wicked?
117. Are not the carriage, the conduct, and even the thoughts of the wicked displeasing to God?
A high look, and a proud heart, and the ploughing of the wicked, is sin.- The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord; but he loveth him that followeth after righteousThe thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord but the words of the pure are pleasant words. Because the carnal mind is enmity against GOD: for it is not subject to the law of GOD, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please GOD. Prov. 21. 4. and 15. 9, 26. Rom. 8. 7, 8. || Prov. 1. 27-29. Is. 55. 7. and 59. 1, 2.
Is any thing done under the influence of an unholy heart, morally pleasing to God? Have you an unsanctified heart?
118. Are oaths before a magistrate lawful?
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. That he who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the GoD of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the GoD of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.- For men verily swear by the greater and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Deut. 6. 13. Is. 65. 16. Jer. 4. 2. Heb. 6. 16. Jer. 12. 16. 2 Chron. 15. 12, 14, 15. Ex. 22. 10, 11. Lev. 5. 1. Mat. 26. 63, 64.
Do you understand the nature of an oath? Can the moral obligations of an oath be felt by one, who denies the doctrine of future rewards and punishments?
119. Is not false swearing a very heinous and destructive sin?
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.- These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.- Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side, according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side, according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.- Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation AS THIS? Ex. 20. 16. Lev. 19. 12. Zech. 8. 16, 17. and 5. 1, 24. Hos. 10. 4. Jer. 5. 9. || Hos. 4. 1, 2. Jer. 23. 10. Mal. 3. 5.
Is there not much false swearing in this land? Should you
dare to call the Gon of truth to witness any thing which you did not know to be strictly true?
120. What saith the law and the testimony respecting blasphemy?
And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp; And the Israelitish woman's son blasphemed the name of the Lord, and cursed: And they brought him unto Moses. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his GoD shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him as well the stranger as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against GOD, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.- O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Lev. 24. 10, 11, 13-16. Rev. 13. 1, 5, 6. Ps. 74. 10. Rev. 16. 10, 11. Mark 3. 2, 3, 29. Jam. 2. 7.
If blasphemy once deserved the punishment of death, must it not be a very great sin? How cautious, how watchful ought you to be against its commissions!
121. Is not PROFANE CURSING AND SWEARING exceedingly criminal and highly offensive in the sight of God, as well as unnecessary, inexcusable, and disreputable in the estimation of every considerate man? (t)
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain : for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. But I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King: Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communica
(t) See Appendix, Note T.