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might be produced ; but about God the Father's being the object of prayer, there is no question nor hesitation,
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, may be distinctly prayed unto, of which are many instances in Scripture. Sometimes he is prayed unto in conjunction with his father, as appears from all those passages m in the epistles, where grace and peace are desired from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ ; and from many others such as these”: Now God himself, and our Fatber, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way unto you; and the Lord, that is, the Lord Jesus, make you to increase and abound in love one towards another, and towards all men, even as we do towards you; and in another place °, Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good bope, through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablis you
in every good word and work. Sometimes Christ is prayed unto singly and alone ; as by Stephen at the time of his death, when he prayed, saying ', Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit. By the apostle Paul!, when he had a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him ; for this, says he, I befought the Lord thrice, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, as appears from the context, that it might depart from me: And be said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee ; for my strength is made perfeet in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I raiber glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. By the apostle John, when Christ said to him', Surely I come quickly, he replies, Amen, even fo, come, Lord Jesus. And by many others; such as those mentioned by Ananias to Christ, when he bid him arise, and go to Saulo; Lord, says he, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he bath done to thy saints at Jeru-, salem ; and here be bath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
God the Holy Ghost may be also prayed unto, as he is sometimes singly and alone, and as distinct from the Father and the Son'; The Lord dire&t your bearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. By the Lord, I understand the Lord the Spirit, whose work it is to direct the hearts of believers into the love of God, and to shed it abroad in their hearts; who is manifestly distinguished in this petition from God the Father, into whose love, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, into a patient waiting for of whom, the hearts of the saints are desired to be directed by him. Sometimes he is prayed unto
distinctly, * Rom. i. 7. 1 Cor. i. 3. 2 Cor. i. 2. Gal. i. 3. Eph. i. 2. Phil. i. 2. Col. i. 2. 1 Thess. i. 1. 2 Theff. i. 2.
2 Tim. i. 2. Tit. i. 4. Philem. 3. 2 John 3. Rev. i. 4, 5• 1 Thess. iii. 11, 12, o 2 Theff. ii. 16, 17.
P Acts vii. 59.
9. Cor. xii, 8, 9, ! Rev. xxii. 20.
1 2 Thess, iii. 54
$ Afts ix. 14.
distinctly, in conjunction with the other two Persons, as by the apostle Paul; Tbe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen". And by the apostle Jobn", Grace-be unto you, and peace, from him wbich is, and which was, and which is to come ; and from tbe seven Spirits which are before bis throne, and from Jesus Christ, wbo is the faithful witness. By the seven spirits cannot be meant angels'; for it cannot be thought that they, being creatures, should be put upon a level with the divine Being, and be with him addressed in such a solemn manner; but by them we are to understand the Holy Spirit of God, who is so called either in allusion to Isa. xi. 2. or on account of the seven churches of Asia, to whom Jobn wrote by his dictates, or to denote the perfection and fulness of his gifts
Now though each divine Person may be singly and distinctly addressed in prayer, and all Three together, being the one God, be considered as the object of it; yet, according to the order of the persons in the Deity, and suitably to their several and distinct parts, which they, by agreement, take in the affair of man's salvation, God the Father, the first Person, is generally addressed as the object of prayer, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit: Christ is the Mediator, by whom we draw nigh to God; and the Holy Ghost is the inditer of our prayers, and who assists in the putting of them up unto him.
The first Person is usually addressed in prayer under the character of a Father, and as our Father; so Christ taught his disciples to pray *, Our Father, which art in heaven, &c. and he is to be considered in this relation to us, either as the Father of our spirits, the Author of our beings, by whoin we are provided for, supplied, and supported in them. In this manner the church in Isaiah's time applied to him ', saying, But now, O Lord, thou art our Fatber ; we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are all the work of tby band. Be not wroth very fore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever : Bebold, see, we befeech thee, we are all thy people. Or he may be considered as the Father or Author of our mercies, temporal and spiritual, which he, in a kind and gracious manner, bestows on us, through Christ, and that as the Father of Christ, and as our God and Father in Christ. In this view the apostle addresses him, when he says?, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. And, in another place ", Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who barb blessed us with all spiri
u 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 1 2 Cor. i. 3.
* Matt. vi. 9.
y lla, Ixiv. 8, 9.
w Rev. i. 4. 50
tual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Now these several confiderations surnish out so many reasons and arguments to induce and encourage us to apply to him who is the God of all grace, and is both able and willing to supply our need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The second Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, is the Mediator between God and man. God, absolutely considered, is a consuming fire; there is no approaching to him as creatures, and especially as sinful creatures. Job was sensible of this, when he said, He is not a man as I am, that I should answer bim, and we should come together in judgment ; neither is there any days-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. Now Christ is the days-man, the Mediator, the middle Person, who has opened a way for us to God, even a new and living way, wbich be bath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, bis flesh. He bimself is the way, the truth, and the life; he is the way of access to God; through him we, borb Jews and Gentiles, have an accesi, by one Spirit, unto the Father ; he is the way of acceptance with God; our persons are accepted in the Beloved, and our spiritual sacrifices of prayer and . praise are acceptable to God by Jesus Cbris : The prayers of the saints are called odours °; they are of a sweet smelling favour to God; which is owing to the mediation of Christ, the Angel of God's presence, who stands continually at the golden altar before the throne, with a golden cenfer in his hand, to whom is given much incense, with which he offers the prayers of all saints, and which makes them a sweet odour to God. Our encouragements to prayer, and to the exercise of grace in that duty, are chiefly taken from, and our pleas for the blessings of grace, are founded on the person, blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and intercession of Christ. Seeing then, says the apostle', that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us bold fast our profession : For we bave not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities ; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without fin. Let us therefore come boldly to the ibronc of grace, tbat we may obtain mercy, and find grace to belp in time of need. And in another place', he exhorts and encourages to this work in much the same manner; Having, says he, an High Priest over the bouse of God, let us draw near with a true beart, in full afsurance of faith, having our bearts
Sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
The Job ix. 32, 33.
· Heb. x. 20. John xiv. 6. Eph. ii. 18. and i, 6. 1 Pet. ii. 5. Rev. v. 8. and viii. 3, 4. • Heb. iv. 14-16. Heb. X. 21, 22.
The third Person, the Holy Spirit, takes his part, and has a peculiar place in this work; he is the author of prayer, the inditer of it, who forms it in our hearts, creates breathings, and desires after spiritual things, stirs us up to prayer, and asists in it. Hence he is called , The Spirit of grace and of supplications ; both the gift and grace of prayer come from him; he informs us of our wants, acquaints us with our necessities, teaches us, both in what manner, and for what we should pray; for what is most suitable for us, and agreeable to the will of God to bestow on us, and helps us under all our infirmities in prayer ; which is observed by the apostle, for the use, instruction, and comfort of believers, when he says", Likewise the Spirit also belpeth our infirmiiies; for we know not what we Mould pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be utlered, and be ibat Searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketb interceson for the saints, according to the will of God. As Christ is our Advocate with the Father, pleads our cause; and makes intercession at the righthand of God for the acceptation of our persons and prayers, so the Holy Spirit is our Advocate within us; he makes intercession for us in our own hearts; he puts strength into us; he fills our mouths with arguments, and enables us to plead with God. Christ is the Mediator, through whom, and the Spirit, the affifter, by whom we have access to the Father. God, as the God of all grace, kindly invites us to himself ; Christ, the Mediator, gives us boldness; and the Spirit of grace, freedom and liberty in our access unto him; and this is what the scriptures call' praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and praying in the Holy Ghost. But of this more hereafter. I proceed,
2. To consider the several parts of prayer ; in which I do not design to prescribe any precise form of praying, but to observe to you the method and matter of it, which may serve to direct and allist you in it. It is proper to begin this work with a celebration and adoration of some one or more of the divine perfections; which will at once have a tendency to strike our minds with a proper sense of the divine Majesty, glorify him, and encourage us in our supplications to him; all which is highly necessary in our entrance on it. All the perfections of God are instructive to us in this work, and serve to influence our minds and affections towards him, command our fear and reverence of him, engage our faith in him, strengthen our dependence on him, and raise in us expectations of receiving good things from him. The great
ness, & Zech. xii. 10. Rom viii, 26, 27.
Eph. vi. 18. Jude 20.
ness, glory, power, and majesty of God, the holiness, purity, and righteousness of his nature, oblige us to an humble submission to him, and reverential awe of him. The consideration of his love, grace, mercy, and goodness, will not suffer his dread to make us afraid. We learn from his omniscience, that he knows not only our persons, but our wants, and what is most suitable for us, when the most convenient season, and which the best way and manner to bestow it on us. It can be no small fatisfaction to us, that all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we bave to do; the thoughts of our hearts are not hid from him; the fecret ejaculations of our minds are known to him; the breathings and desires of our souls are before him; he understands the language of a sigh and groan; and when we chatter like a crane or a swallow, it does not pass unobserved by him. His omnipotence assures us that nothing is too hard for him, or impossible to him ; that he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think ; that we cannot be in such a low estate, or diftreffed condition, or attended with such Itraits and difficulties, but he is able to relieve, deliver, and save us. We conclude from his omnipresence, that he fills the heavens and the earth; that he is in all places, at all times ; that he is a God at hand, and a God afar off; that he is near unto us, whereever we are, ready to aslift us, and will be a very present help in trouble. His immutability in his counsel, and faithfulness in his covenant, yield the beirs of promise strong confolation. These give us reason to believe that not one of the good things which the Lord has promised shall ever fail; that what he has said, he will do, and what he has either purposed or promised, he will bring to pass : He will not suffer bis faithfulness. to fail; his covenant he will not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips. You see that the notice of these things is necessary, both for the glory of God and our own comfort. It is also very proper, when we begin our address to God, to make mention of some one or more of his names and titles, as Jehovah, Lord, God, 3c, and of the relations he stands in to us; not only as the God of nature, the Author of our beings, the Donor of our mercies, and the Preserver of our lives; but as the God of grace, the Father of Christ, and our Covenant God, and Father in Christ. After this manner our Lord directed his disciples to pray, saying, Our Father, which art in bea
In the next place, it highly becomes us to acknowledge our meanness and unworthiness, to make confession of our sins and transgressions, and pray for the fresh discoveries and manifestations of pardoning love and grace. When we enter into the divine presence, and take upon us to speak unto the Lord,