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than beasts : and whatsoever other instrument, exercise or consideration, is of use to take our loves from the world, the same is apt to place them upon God.
« Do not seek for deliciousness and sensible consolations in the actions of religion, but only regard the duty and the conscience of it. For although in the beginning of religion, most frequently, and at some other time irregularly, God complies with our infirmity, and encourags our duty with little overflowings of spiritual joy, and sensible pleasure, and delicacies in prayer, so as we seem to feel some little beam of heaven, and great refreshments from the spirit of consolation ; yet this is not always safe for us to haye, neither safe for us to expect and look for : and when we do, it is apt to make us cool in our inquiries and waiting's upon Christ; when we want them : it is a running after him, not for the miracles, but for the loaves ; not for the wonderful things of God, and the desires of pleasing him, but for the pleasure of pleasing ourselves. And as we must not judge our devotion to be barren or unfruitful when we want the overflowings of joy running over; so neither must we cease for want of them. If our spirits can serve God chusingly and greedily out of pure conscience of our duty ; it is better in itself, and more safe to us.
6 Let him use to soften his spirit with frequent meditation upon sad and dolorous objects, as of death, the terror's of the day of judgment, fearful judgments upon sinners, strange horrid accidents, fear of Gods's wrath, the pains of hell, the unspeakable amazements of the damned, the intolerable load of a sad eternity. For whatsoever creates fear, or makes the spirit to dwell in
a religious sadness, is apt to entender the spirit, and make it devout and pliant to any part of duty. For a great fear, when it is ill managed, is the parent of superstition ; but a discreet and well-guided' fear produces religion.
“ Pray often, and you shall pray oftener ; and when you are accustomed to a frequent devotion, it will so insensibly unite to your nature and affections, that it will become trouble to omit your usual or appointed prayers : and what you obtain at first by doing violence 10 your inclinations, at last will not be left without as great unwillingness, as that by which at first it entered. This rule relies not only upon reason derived from the pature of habits, which turn into a second nature, and make their actions easy, frequent and delightful : but it relies upon a reason depending upon tlie nature and constitution of grace, wlose productions are of the same nature with the parent, and increases itself, naturally growing from grains to huge trees, from minutes to vast proportions, and from moments to eternity. But be sure not to omit your usual prayers without great. reason, though without sin it may be done; because af. ter you have omitted something, in a little while you will be past the scruple of that, and begin to be tempt. ed to leave out morc. Keep yourself up to your usual forms: you may enlarge when you will; but do not contract or lessen them without a very probable reason.
To these rules I would add the saying of some great man, “ That praying will either make us leave off sinning, or sinning will make us leave off praying."
This effect may not be immediately produced, but sooner or later it must take place.
One proposition I would now make to all who may chance to take up this book and read this part.
Set apart some portion of time, say one week, or one month, or one year, and seriously, and devoutly, and importunately every day, pray to God, make confession
your sins, pray for his grace, pray that you may be instructed in all things necessary to salvation, that you may see the sinfulness of your nature, and the necessity of a Redeemer, use the best helps for devotion, and to this add sacred reading and meditation ; and at the end of this period, set down and examine yourself, and compare yourself with what you were, and if you are not more serious, more solemnly impressed with tlie importance and excellence of religion, do not feel more attached to heavenly things, and less to worldly things, then you have leave to doubt the truth of those promi
Ye shall scek me, and find me. when ye seek me with your
whole heart. “ If my people will humble themselves, and pray unto me with fasting, and weeping, and mourning, I will have mercy upon them, and abundantly pardon them."
But of this much we are assured, that none ever did humbly, and faithfully, and anxiously, and perseveringly call on God, and God did not answer them.
God never sent one such poor sinner empty away.
6 None ever sought in vain, who sought the Lord aright.”
God and Christ command us to pray, and declare that they will hear and answer our prayers.
Matt. vii 7. “ Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall fiind, knock and it shail be opened unto you."
James iv 8. “ Draw nigh to God, and he will dray nigh to you."
Jer. xxix 19. “ Ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
xxxiii 3. “ Thus saith the Lord, call upon mc and I will answer thce."
Isaih Jxv 24. “ Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear, saith the Lord.”
Rom. x 12. .“ The Lord is rich in mercy to all that Gall upon him.”
Ps. xxxiv 10.. “ They that seek the Lord, shall not want any good thing."
Pro. viii 17. “ Those that seek me early shall find me."
Isaih xiv 19. “I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain."
Lam. iii 25. “ The Lord is good to them that wait on him, to the soul that sceketh him.”
Hebrew xi 6. bi God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Ps. “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."
We must pray with the heart, and out of a deep sense of the misery snd sinfulness of our natures, and with the sincere intention to forsake all manner of sin, and turn to righteousness, if we would expect to be heard, and answered and improved.
Deut. iv 89. “ Thou shalt find the Lord if thou scek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul."
Ps. cxix 2. 'Blessed are they who seek the Lord with their wholo heart."
Isaih xxvi 9. 6 With my soul have I desired thee in the night, yea, with my spirit within "me, will I seek thee early."
Ps. Ixüi 8, “ My soul followeth hard after thee."
cxlv 18. ^ The Lord is nigh to all who call upon him in truth."
John ix 31. " If any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”.
: Ist John îi 22. “ Whatsoever we ask we'receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Pro. xxviii 9. ^ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomina.. tion,"
2d Chron. vii 14. “ If my people shall humble them. selves and pray and seck my face, apd turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will for. give their sin, and will heal their land."
Prayer is to be made in the name, and through the mcrits of Christ.
John xiii 14. « Jesus said whatsoever ye sball ask in my name, that will I do unto you."
v. 14. “ That the Father may be glorified in the Son."
y. 24. “ Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask that ye may receive and your joy be full."
Col. iii 17. " Whatsoever ye. do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.".
Prayer must be made in faith.