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we should own with Abraham", that we are but dust and ashes; and with Jacob', that we are not worthy of the least of all the niercies, and of all tbe truth which God bas sewed unto us. Confession of sin, both of our nature and of our lives, is a very proper and necessary part of this work. This has been the practice of the saints in all ages ; as of David, which appears from his own words"; I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity bave I not bid : 1 said, I will confess my transgreffions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest ibe iniquity of my fin. So Daniel, when he set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, made confeffion both of his own and of the lins of others; I prayed unto the Lord my God, says he ", and made iny confeffion, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant, and mercy 10 tbem ibat love him, and to ibem that keep his commandments. We have finned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and bave rebelled, even by departing from tby precepts, and from tby judgments ; neither have we bearkened unta thy fervants the prophets, which spake in tby name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. And the apostle John, for the encouragement of believers in this part of the duty of prayer, says', if we confess our fins, be, that is, God, is just and faithful to forgive us our fins, and to cleanse us from all unrigbteousness : Not that confession of sin is either the procuring cause, or means, or condition of pardon and cleansing, which are both owing to the blood of Christ; in justice and faithfulness to which, and him that shed it, God forgives the sins of his people, and cleanses them from them; but the design of the apostle is to shew that sin is in the saints, and is committed by them, and that confession of sin is right and acceptable in the sight of God; and, to animate and encourage them to it, he takes notice of the jur. tice and faithfulness of God in pardoning and cleansing his people, through the blood of Christ, which, as he had a little before observed, cleanserb from all fin. Nay, we are not only to make confession of fin in prayer, but to pray for the pardon and forgiveness of it. Christ directed his disciples to this part of their duty, when he bid them pray after this manner?; Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This has been the constant practice of the saints, as of Moses?; O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go amongst us, and pardon our iniquity and our fin, and take us for thine inberitance. Of David' ; For thy name's fake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. Yea, he says to the Lord', For this, shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time wben tbou mayest be found. And of Daniel', O Lord, bear ; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, bearken and do, defer not, for thine own sake, O my God; for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. Now it ought to be observed, that very frequently when the saints pray, either for the forgiveness of their own, or others fins, their meaning is, that God would, in a providential way, deliver them out of present distress, remove his afflicting hand, which lies heavy on them, or avert such judgments which seem to hang over their heads, and very much threaten them ; which, when he does, is an indication of his having par-, doned them. We are to understand many petitions of Moses", Job", Solomon", and others, in this sense: Besides, when believers now pray for the pardon of fin, their meaning is not that the blood of Christ should be shed again for the remission of their fins ; or that any new act of pardon should arise in God's mind, and be passed by him ; but that they might have the sense, the manifestation, and application of pardoning grace to their souls. We are not to imagine, that as often as the saints sin, repent, confess their sins, and pray for the forgiveness of them, that God makes and passes new acts of pardon ; for he has, by one eternal and compleat act of grace, in the view of his Son's blood and sacrifice, freely and fully forgiven all the trespasses of his chosen ones, all their sins, past, present, and to come ; but whereas they daily sin against God, grieve his Spirit, and wound their own consciences, they have need of the fresh sprinklings of the blood of Jesus, and of renewed manifeftations of pardon to their souls ; and it is both their duty and interest to attend che throne of grace on this account.
mayeft Gen. xxxii. 10. m Pfal. xxxii. 5.
n Dan, ix. 4-6. • , John i. 9. P Matt, vi, 12. 9 Exod. xxxiv, 9. • Plal. xxv. 11. • Pfal. xxxii, 6.
* Gen. xviii. 27.
Another part and branch of prayer lies in putting up petitions to God for good things, temporal and spiritual mercies, the blessings of nature and of grace. As we ought to live in a dependance on divine providence, so we should daily pray for the common sustenance of our bodies, the comfort, support, and preservation of our lives; as our Lord has taught us, saying, Give us this day our daily bready. Our requests in this way ought, indeed, to be frequent, but not large ; we should not seek great things for ourselves. Agur's prayer ? is a proper copy for us to follow : Two things, says he to the Lord, bave 1 required of thee, deny me tbem not before I die; Remove far from me vanity and lies : give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me, left I be full and deny thee, and say, Wbo is the Lord? Or left. I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. The spiritual blessings we should ask for,
4 D 2 + Dan. ix. 19.
• Exod. xxxii. 32. Numb. xiv. 19, 20. Job vii. 21. Kings viii. 30, 34, 36, 39, 50,
y Matt. vi. 11.
2 Prov. xxx, 7-9.
are such as God has laid up in the covenant of grace, which is ordered in all things and sure, Christ has procured by his blood, the gospel is a revelation of, and the Spirit of God makes intercession for in our own hearts, according to the will of God; for these things we should pray in faith, nothing wavering ~; for this is the confidence that we bave in bim, that is, God, that if we ask any ibing according to his will be beareth us; and if we know that be bear us, whatsoever we afk, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of bim. When we pray for special mercies, spiritual blessings, such as converting grace for unconverted friends and relations, we ought to pray in submission to the secret will of God.
Thanksgiving for mercies received, is another thing which we should not be forgetful of at the throne of grace ; In every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, says the apostle, let your requests be made known to God. As we have always mercies to pray for, fo likewise to return thanks for; it becomes us to continue in prayers, for constant supplies from heaven, and to watcb in the same with thanksgiving, that is, to wait for the blessings we have been praying for; and when we have received them, to watch for a proper opportunity, and make use of it, to offer the sacrifice of praise to God, ibat is, ibe fruit of our lips, giving thanks to bis name. When this part is neglected, it is highly resented by the Lord; as appears from the case of the ten lepers, when one of them saw ibar be was bealed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on bis face at bis feet, giving bim tbanks : and he was a Samaritan; upon which our Lord says, Were ibere not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God save this Stranger.
Before we conclude the exercise of this duty, it is proper to deprecate such evils from us, which are either upon us, or we know we are liable to, or may befal us; such as the temptations of Satan, the snares of the world, the diftresses of life, public calamities, &c. This was in part practised by Daniel : O Lord, says he', according to all tby rigbteousness, I befeech thee, let tbine anger and thy fury be turned away from tby city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain ; because for our fins, and for the iniquities of our Fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all tbat are about us. And this is intimated by Christ to his disciples, in that excellent directory of prayer he gave them, part of which was this ; Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil'.
At At the close of this work of prayer, it is necessary to make use of doxologies, or afcriptions of glory to God; as we begin with God, we should end with him; as in the entrance on this duty, we ascribe greatness to him, so at the conclusion of it we should ascribe glory to him. Such an afcription of glory to God, we find, was used by Christ at the end of the prayer he taught his disciples, in this manner : Tbine is the kingdom, and the power, and ibe glory. By the apostle Paul in this form ; Unto bim, that is, God, be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throug bout all ages, world witbous end. And in ano: ther place thus '; Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wife God, be bonour and glory, for ever and ever. By the apostle Jude in these words; Now unto bim that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before tbe presence of bis glory, with exceeding joy; to the only wise God, our Seviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and everk. And by the apostle Jobn after this manner!; Unto him that bath loved us, and washed us from our fins in bis own blood, and bath made us kings and priefis unto God and bis Father ; to bim be glory and dominion for ever and ever. These, and such like ascriptions of glory to God, Father, Son, and Spirit, are necessary at the finishing of our supplications, since the mercies and blessings we have been either petitioning, or returning thanks for, come from him ; besides, they serve to Thew forth the praises of God, and to express our sense of gratitude to him, our dependance upon him, and our expectation of receiving good things from him.
* James i. 6. 1 John v. 14, 15.
• Phil. iv. 6. c Col. iv, 2. Luke xvii. 15-18. e Dan. ix, 16.
Matt. vi. 13
The whole of this exercise of prayer should be concluded with pronouncing the word Amen ; as a testification of our hearty assent to what we have expressed, and of our sincere desires and wishes, that what we have been praying for might be accomplished, and of our full and firm persuasion and assured belief that God is able,' willing, and faithful to perform all that he has promised, and give whatsoever we have been asking of him, according to his will.
But I proceed,
3. To consider the several forts and kinds of prayer, or the various distri. butions into which it may be made, or the different views in which it may
Prayer may be considered either as mental or vocal. Mental prayer is what is only conceived in the mind; it consists of secret ejaculations in the heart, which are not expressed with an audible and articulate voice. Such was the prayer of Hannah, of whom it is said "; that as he continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannab soe Spake in ber beart, only ber lips moved ; but ber voice was not heard, therefore Eli thought she bad been drunken. Vocal prayer is that which, being conceived and formed in the heart, is expressed by the tongue, in words, with an audible and articulate voice, so as to be heard and understood. This the prophet intends, when he says ", Take with you words, and turn unto the Lord, say unto bim, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we render the calves of our lips.
prayer b Eph. iii. 21. i a Tim. i. 17. Jude 24, 25.
Jude 24, 256 "Rev. i. 5, 6.
& Matt, vi, 13.
Again, Prayer may be considered either as private or public. Private prayer is that which is either performed in the family, by the head or master of it, the rest joining with him in it, or by a society of Christians in a private house, or by a single person in secret and alone ; concerning which Christ gives these directions and instructions o: When thou prayest, says he, 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 bave their reward. But thou, when thou frayest, enter into tby closet; and wben ibou haft shut thy door, pray to tby Father, which is in secret, and thy Fatber which feetb in secret, hall reward thee openly. Public prayer is what is used in the house of God, which is therefore called ', an house of prayer ; where the people of God meet together, and, with the other parts of divine, public, and social worship, perform this. The first Christians, in the early days of the gospel, are commended, among other things, for their continuing stedfastly in prayers, that is, in public prayers, they constantly met where prayer was wont to be made ; and God was pleased to give a signal testimony of his approbation of this their practice ; for, at a certain time, they had prayed, the place was Maken, wbere they were assembled togetker ; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God will boldness'.
Once more : Prayer may be considered either as extraordinary or ordinary. Extraordinary prayer is that which is made use of on particular and special occasións; as that exercise of prayer, which was kept by the church on account of Peter's being in prison. The divine historian says “, that Peter včas kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for bim; which instance of extraordinary prayer was followed with an extraordinary event; for whilst they were praying, an angel was dispatched from heaven, and loosed Peter from his bonds, who came to the place where the church was assembled, before they had broke up their exercise. Such also were che prayers of