Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

And hence it is, that our bleffed Lord in that abfolute form of Prayer which he hath taught us, promifeth the first and greatest petition of the hallowing or glorifying of the name of God; and the first, the great, the regnant' petition, that is to influence all the rest that follow, especially thofe that are for the fupplies of our

own wants.

5. Whereas in prayer we afk that we may receive from God, Almighty God hath been pleased to honour and dignify our duty of Thanksgiving with fo much condefcenfion of his Majefty, that he receives, or at least interprets it as a receipt from his poor creature. It is true, our praises add nothing to his perfection and felf-fufficiency; nay, our very Thanksgiving and Praife is but a gift that he gives to himfelf; he gives us a being that may be capable to praife him, gives us hearts and affections that may be willing to praife him, gives us grace that may enable us to praife him, gives us benefits that may excite us to praise him, gives us directions how to praise him, gives us laws, commands, promifes, encouragements to praife him: So that in truth our very Thanksgiving and Praises to him are but his own work; and yet fuch is his goodness, that he takes, and accepts, and rewards our Praises and Thanksgivings, as if they were our own actions. And whereas in prayer we receive from him, in Thankf giving he is pleafed fo far to honour this duty, as if he received fomewhat from us, and accordingly accepts and rewards it.

1 reigning.

MEDITATIONS

MEDITATIONS

UPON

THE LORD'S PRAYER,

MATTH. VI. 9.

AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE: OUR FATHER, &c.

By the fin of Adam, and the corruption and obliquity that thereupon entered into human nature, mankind had contracted a threefold mischief. 1. Guilt, that needed an expiation. 2. Blindness, that needed an illumination. 3. Perverfenefs and rebellion, that needed power and victory to fubdue it. In the fullness of time God fent his Son into the world with healing for all these diseases.

1. He fent his Son to be our facrifice and our priest. And not only fo in his own perfon, but by derivation unto thofe that believe on him, he hath imprinted upon them, and communicated unto them a participation of his own office, and hath made them kings and priests.

I

1. By making an atonement for them with his Father, whereby they are accepted: I fay not unto you, will pray the Father for you; for the Father himfelf 'loveth you; not to exclude the continuance and efficacy of his interceffion, but to intimate the fulness of our reconciliation, that having made us of his houfehold, we may have accefs to the Master and Father Ephes. ii. 19.

@

John xvi. 26, 27.
2 G2

of

of the family. For through him we have accefs ' unto the Father.' 2. By fending his own Spirit to inftruct, and warm, and fit our fpirits to come into the prefence; For through him we have accefs by one fpirit,' teaching what to afk, and enabling us to afk as we fhould. For we know not what we should

(

C

C

pray for as we ought 3.'

2. As he made him a facrifice for our guilt, fo he fent him to be a light for our darkness 4.' The world was all in darknefs and error; the moft exact fublimate wits infcribed their altar, to the unknown God. They were ignorant of things to be known, and of things to be done. The Son of God that came out of the bofom of his Father, and knew all his mind, received a commiffion from him to inftruct mankind in the way to life: I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me:" He whom God hath fent fpeaketh the words of God 6:' 'No man knoweth the will of the Father, fave the Son, and him to whom the Son revealeth it 7.'

(

3. As he came with light to inftruct us, fo he came with power to conquer in us. Thy people fhall be willing in the day of thy power,' and to conquer for us Death and Hell.

The bufinefs that we are to confider, respecteth principally the first and fecond part of his meditation; viz. In bringing the Will and Mind of God to us, to teach us what to afk, which concerns his Prophetical Office: And again, having formed defires in us according to that Will of God, to prefent them unto his Father, which concerns his Prieftly Office.

After this manner pray. One of his disciples 'faid unto him, Lord, teach us to pray. And he said, When ye pray, fay 8,' &c. In general we may learn,

C

1. That Chrift doth not exclude other prayers; the injunction of this excludes not all other prayers. Our Saviour himself, and thofe that were acquainted

Ephes. ii. 18.
John xvii. 18.

2

Ephes. ii. 19. • John iii. 34.

4

9 Rom. viii. 26. 1 John i. 5. 7 Matth. xi. 27.

Luke xi. 1, 2.

[ocr errors]

with his mind and practice, ufed variety of prayers, according to the feveral occafions, differing from this form, and therefore the Apoftle commands, Praying

always with all prayer and fupplication 1. Prayers formed for every occafion. And that fpirit that maketh interceffion for us with groans that cannot be uttered, is not confined to any particular form, not to vary from it.

2. Though thou art not reftrained to this form only, yet in all thy prayers pray after this manner. There is fomewhat in this prayer that must be ingredient to all thy prayers.

1. Be fure thou haft a commiffion, a promife for what thou prayeft; defire those things that are warrantable by the Will of God revealed in his Word. Chrift was acquainted with the mind of God, and gives us a pattern to afk thofe things which are warrantable: Afk for thy good, but afk not for thy luft 2.

2. Though the things thou afkeft be warrantable and agreeable to the revealed Will of God, yet in the particularity of thy defires refer thyfelf, and fubmit unto the will of God; becaufe thou art not wife enough to know what is fit for thee in particular, efpecially in the measure, time, and manner, of the thing thou afkeft. The Son of God hath taught us to pray for the fulfilling of the Will of God before the fupply of our wants: and in his own prayer in the garden, Nevertheless not ' as I will, but as thou wilt. Whatfoever thou defireft, yet confine not God. Thou fhall be fure thy prayer fhall not lofe its fruit, though the thing defired feem not to be granted. The cup did not pafs from our Saviour, though he afked it, yet he was heard in that ' he feared.'

3. As much as thou canft, let thy prayer be a rea Jonable fervice, a work of thy fpirit and understanding, not only of thy lips and tongue; for thou haft to do with the God of the fpirits of all flefh, that will be

Ephes. vi. 18.
Matth. xxvi. 29.

2 James iv. 2. Heb. v. 7.

2 G3

Matth. xxvi.
1 Cor. xiv. 15.

worshipped

worshipped in spirit and in truth. Pray with thy lips, that thou mayeft by that means fix thy mind the bet-ter to the work; but let thy words be the production of thy foul. Let thy heart pray as well as thy tongue. And this was one of the reafons of our Saviour's inditing this prayer in this fhort and pithy form, to condemn the vanity of the Gentiles, who had confidence in their vain repetitions of words, without the intention and application of the heart 1.

4. Here we fee Chrift, the Wisdom of the Father, delivers out a Form of Prayer, framed with a great deal of wisdom, containing very much matter in a few words learn that, though thou art not to put confidence in ftudied devotions, nor to make thy prayers the work of thy invention or wit, but of thy heart and foul; yet let the reverence and awe thou bearest to him before whom thou comeft in thy prayers, the feriousness of the bufinefs about which thou goeft, put thee in mind to prepare thyself and thy foul, and to turn it, by these confiderations, to an humble frame of fpirit; to a forecafting of thy defires; to an humble approach to the prefence of God; to all befeeming reverence both in thy words and gefture. The heart, it is true, fhould be in a continual frame of prayer, and almost every occurrence of our life requires a lifting up of the heart to God in prayer, or in thankfgiving, which cannot be fo ordered with preparation; but folemn prayer, though in private, requires a juft preparation of the heart, and a performance of it with the whole contribution of the whole foul, and strength, and understanding, and affection.

3. Though thou art not bound to use no other form, yet ufe this frequently, upon these confiderations:

1. It is the Command of thy Lord and Mafter. There is fomewhat of command in thefe words. He that commands to pray after this manner, meant not that this prayer fhould be forgotten. That which was made a pattern to thy other prayers, was not intended to be a

1 Matth. vi. 7.

« PoprzedniaDalej »