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REVEALED RELIGION, &c.
OF THE SPECIAL ACTS OF WORSHIP REQUIRED UNDER THE GOSPEL.
SECT. 1. That God is the hearer of prayer. -2. He condescends to invite all to call upon him; and graciously assures them, that he will hear their prayers, when they rightly approach to him.-3. Our Lord's instructions relating to this holy duty. --4. Promises of being heard, stated as motives to importunity and assiduity in prayer.-5. General exhortations of the Apostles to this duty.-6. The qualifications of an acceptable worshipper, and of the prayers offered up by him.-7. We are to pray for others, and to pray in the spirit of diffusive benevolence.-8. The purpose of the Saints to call on God, their grateful acknowledgments of the benefits thereby obtained, and their supplications for his mercy and support, according to their circumstances of need.-Examples of Jacob, Hezekiah, Daniel, Cornelius, &c.
§ 1. Psalm lxv. 2.
SECT. 1. That God is the hearer of prayer. O THOU that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer'. For he hath looked down
Psalm cii. 17.
from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the
SECT. 2. He condescends to invite all to call upon
him; and graciously assures them, that he will hear their prayers, when they rightly approach to him.
The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun, unto the going down thereof. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; I am God, even thy God. Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. And
Psalm cii. 19, 20.
f Isa. lv. 6.
i Job, xxii. 23.
m Isa. lviii. 9. § 2. Psalm 1. 1.
d Psalm cxlv. 18, 19.
* Job, xxii. 26, 27.
Philip. iv. 6.
b Psalm 1. 7.
* Prov. xv. 29.
h Job, xxxiii. 26.
1 Isa. xxx. 19.
James, iv. 8.
upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain; or if I command the locust to devour the land; or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land. Mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made. Then shall ye call upon me, and
ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will go also. Yea many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts, and to pray before the Lord'. They shall call upon my name, and I will hear them; I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and whilst they are yet speaking, I will hear". Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house prayer. For mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people'. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication*.
SECT. 3. Our Lord's instructions relating to this holy duty.
And it came to pass, that as Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, as in
heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.--When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask bim c.
SECT. 4. Promises of being heard, stated as motives to importunity and assiduity in prayer.
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him; and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say. unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while; but afterwards he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet
b Matt. vi. 18.
c Matt. vi. 5-8.
§ 3. Luke, xi. 1—4.
§ 4. Luke, xi. 5-8.
because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest, by her continual coming, she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father,, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them d*.
SECT. 5. General exhortations of the Apostles to this duty.
Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. I will therefore, that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth unto all men liberally, and upbraideth not. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For ye have not received the spirit
Luke, xi. 9-13. b 1 Tim. ii. 8.
b Luke, xviii. 1—8. § 5. James, i. 17.
d Matt. xviii. 20.
"We have a striking example of importunity in prayer, in the address of the woman of Canaan to our blessed Lord. She" cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; for my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered, and said, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered, and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she saith, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee, even as thou wilt. Matt. xv. 22-28.