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his free motions in those new-born souls, whom he hath savingly regenerated; who, notwithstanding all that human wisdom, and infernal malice, can either devise or practise to hinder the spirit of prayer in them, having received but the smallest measure thereof, in saving conversion; will occasion them to be so graciously supported from above, as that they will be enabled to break down or run over the highest banks of opposition, which the powers of darkness can raise before them, to hinder them from praying by the Spirit which formed the new creature in their souls.
And albeit the prayers which such weak believers put up to the throne of grace, be accompanied with such infirmities as may, by strangers to the new birth, be accounted no better than mere cant, yea, than nonsense, and which is far worse than blasphemy itself; yet by God's revealed will we are encouraged and commanded to believe, that such poor shattered prayers are not only pleasing to him, but that he will, in the appointed time, make the unbelieving deriders of praying by the Spirit to know, that those very men, whom they in pretence of serving the government and securing the interest of the church, do so causelessly hate and persecute for praying without the use of their imposed forms, are the only praying men whom he will hear; and for whose sakes he will visit these kingdoms with sore plagues; the worst of which will, it is to be feared,
be the plague of a heart so judicially hardened as that it shall not so much as feel its own obduracy.
If this worst of plagues, this side the infernal pit, once seize such men, they will be miserably convinced, that neither their zeal for the church, nor yet the favour of great men in the
government, will ever be able to heal their wounds. I would not be mistaken; as if I either disallowed civil government its due place in the nation, or disowned that God hath a true church in England; but that which I aim at, by the plainness here and elsewhere used, is to occasion England's magistrates, being made truly sensible, that no greater or more effectual means can be devised for laying nations and kingdoms waste, and to reduce the civil government thereof to a mere anarchy, than for governors to sheath the sword of that power appointed by God for the punishment of evil doers, and the protection and encouragement of such as do well, in the bowels of those people for whose sakes these kingdoms are as yet undestroyed; and to. convince them, that those very people, whom their laws would suppress and persecute for praying by the Spirit, are the best and most trusty friends the government hath in the nation, though the patrons of imposed forms of prayer represent them in another shape.
As for the church under whose very name persecution itself, the most baneful poison to the well-being of kingdoms, is frequently shrouded;
nothing can be more effectual to invalidate those arguments, whereby some would fain
themselves and their adherents to be the church and spouse of Christ, than their unscriptural zeal for human devisings in God's worship; and their ridiculing and persecuting those who worship and serve God in Spirit and truth without the use of their forms.
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth and love. He neither prompts to, or teaches any in whom he savingly dwells, to love any thing in religion that is not stampt as God's own institution; neither doth he approve of that Cain-like spirit, which teaches and allows men to persecute any for their conscience, especially such as in any measure bear the image of his Son. Where then these two, viz. blind zeal for men's inventions in God's worship, and a Cain-like spirit of persecution, bear the sway, and keep the ascendant in men's spirits, there is nothing which more effectually unmasks them, and discovers them to be haters and underminers of the church and spouse of Christ, of which they but vainly brag and profess themselves to be.
The most becoming epithet which a great divine, now with Christ, honours such with is, to style them Calvinian papists.
Calvinians, because they own and defend the gospel doctrine which Calvin owned and defended against Rome, &c.
Papists he likewise styles them, notwithstand
ing their soundness in Calvin's doctrine, because such are not more sound and zealous in maintaining the doctrine of Calvin, than they are in loving and pleading for a popish worship: they defend Calvin's doctrine against the church of Rome; and they as zealously defend Rome's superstitious worship against 'Calvin. See Mr. Samuel Mather on the Types.
It will be well for such demi-protestants as these, if time make it not manifest to the world, that revenge and worldly interest, not real love to and zeal for the doctrine which they seem to defend against their rivals in rich benefices, is the principle from which they act.
Objection 6. The spirit of extempore prayer, which is asserted to be the character of a heavenborn soul, may be lost, and the person who hath it may, notwithstanding that spirit, everlastingly perish.
Answer. To this I reply in the negative, viz. That the man who hath received the spirit of prayer, in effectual calling, can neither lose that spirit, nor he himself perish everlastingly. The common gift of
indeed be lost ; and the person who hath it may himself, being destitute of saving grace, be eternally damned; witness the scriptures following, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. Ezek. xviii. 24. Matt. yii. 22. Heb. vi. 4, 5. But that a true believer, who only is enriched with this rich gift, can either lose this spirit of prayer, or himself perish eternally; all the wit
and unsanctified learning of the popish Arminian world, will never prevail on me to believe, and that for the reasons here following.
Reason 1. Because of God's immutability: this very reason is by God himself laid for an everlasting foundation for true believers to build their comfort and assurance upon for ever, Mal. in. 6. “For I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” The apostle Paul likewise assures us, that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, Rom. xi. 29. The gifts here spoken of are not the common gifts of the Spirit, which are common to the reprobates as well as the elect: but the apostle here intends the saving special gifts of grace; which are peculiar to God's elect, and chosen in Christ, and that in the right of election.
The Spirit of prayer is the Spirit of adoption, which is freely bestowed on an elect sinner in effectual calling, that the renewed sinner might be enabled to know those things which are freely given him of God; and to call God Abba, Father, in truth, Rom. vi. 15. 1 Cor. ii. 12. Gal. iv. 6. The papists, arminians, and all such as hold and teach the doctrine of universal redemption; freewill, and falling from grace; measure the holy God by the shallow scantling of their own unsanctified vertiginous brain : conceiting the unchangeable Jehovah to be a mutable agent like themselves. Herein, notwithstanding all their sharp wit and admired parts, they fall vastly short