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tains and hills will sooner depart, than God go back from his word. His covenant is as sure as the ordinances of heaven, sun, moon, and stars; as sure as day and night.* Lord, my soul having got such good hold of thee by faith, I will not let go this hold, but adhere to thee till thou make good thy promise to me and my offspring; I am resolved to plead thy bond, by faith and prayer, till thou pay this debt.
(3.) Lord, thou hast made this covenant good to others; thou hast performed the mercy promised to our fathers, and remembered thy holy covenant; there hath been a performance of the things spoken by the Lord;† never could any stand forth, and charge thee for breach of promise, from the beginning of the world to this day; and I humbly hope thou wilt not begin with me. Thou madest a promise to Abraham of a numerous offspring and the possession of Canaan;‡ and thou didst perform all to a tittle, yea, to a minute, the least iota did not fail or fall to the ground; and thou art as great, as good, as powerful, as merciful now as ever. Thou sayest, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" My soul echoes, no: I know that thou canst do every thing. With God all things are possible, "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief;" thou art able to bring back my prodigal child, to convert my stubborn child; oh give a proof of thy power in this great concern.
(4.) Lord, thou hast made good the promise to my own soul; my parents improved and pleaded thy covenant for me, a sinful creature, and wilt thou not make the same good to mine? I must say as once Solomon did, "Thou hast kept with thy servant David my father, that which thou promisedst him; thou
* Isa. liv. 9, 10. Jer. xxxi. 35-37. + Luke i. 45, 55, 72. Gen. xiii. 16. xvii. 6-8. || Gen. xviii. 14. Job xlii. 2.
spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thy hand, as it is this day."* Blessed be the God of my fathers, that hath not cut off his kindness from me, who am the seed of those faithful ones that are now at rest with thee. I myself can rise up and bear witness to thy faithfulness. Behold a testimony of divine love; thou hast "shewed me a token for good,” who am "the son of thy handmaid;"† and I take this as a pledge of more kindness to mine; thou hast loosed my bonds, wilt thou not also knock off the fetters of sin from my poor child? I was as wicked as any, and cost my father and mother many a groan, but thou heardest their prayer, wilt thou not also hear me?
(5.) Lord, I do find all that I want for myself and children within the compass of the covenant; for as thou hast promised to be my God, and to pardon sin, so thou hast undertaken to work the conditions thou requirest, as absolutely necessary for obtaining the privileges of the covenant. Thou sayest" They shall all know me from the least to the greatest of them ;"|| that is, as I understand it, young as well as old. Thou sayest, "The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God." Again thou sayest, "They that dwell under his shadow shall return;"¶¶ amongst whom are children; and that "He will turn the hearts of the fathers with the children."** This is enough Lord; may my children be savingly converted, I have all my desire, for this shall be their salvation; and I have these promises under thy hand, and surely they are not insignificant.
(6.) Besides, Lord, thou hast converted some whose
immediate parents were not in covenant, and whether their remote parents were so, who can tell? I plainly discern thou sometimes steppest out of the ordinary course, reaching over the heads of some more nearly related, to lay hold on strangers' hearts, and I do not grudge them this mercy, but adore the freeness of divine grace; only my soul fetcheth some encouragement thence, will my Lord "graft into the true olive" some "wild branches," and not take in those which are natural? Wilt thou say, ammi my people, to them that were not thy people,* and wilt thou say lo ammi,† to such as cling to thee, and are resolved not to let thee go? O my Lord, the exuberancy of free grace to strangers is an encouragement to me; and thus I say, will my father give such large portions of bread to dogs, and can he not afford a crumb to a child? I see some, whose parents never spake a word to God for them, eminent in religion, and monuments of free grace, and shall any of my children, which thou hast taken into thy family, be shut out of thy doors? I hope not.
(7.) Lord, if thou hadst a design to deny my suit thou wouldst have shut my mouth in prayer; for thy word saith, "Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear."+ An enlarged heart in prayer is not only a means, but a pledge of gracious audience; surely thou wilt not send thy Spirit into my heart, and draw out my heart to thee in vain; when a father bids his child ask, he designs to give thou wilt not let this blessed Spirit breathe in vain in my soul. Wilt thou enlarge my heart, and not grant my request? Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hid from thee." In thee, O Lord, do
Hos. ii. 23.
* Rom. xi. 17, 23. + Psal. x. 17.
+ Not my people.
I hope; thou wilt hear me, O Lord, my God." Thou hast raised my heart in expectation, wilt thou not give me the mercy I expect?
(8.) Lord, is not thy glory concerned in this affair as well as my comfort? and even my comfort is something in thine eye; for thou sayest, "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous."* And alas! what joy can there be in a family, when a foolish son is heaviness both to father and mother, and a disturbance to the whole house?† But oh! thy name is dishonoured by my own flesh; wicked men hardened; some scandalized by the miscarrying of the children of the covenant. And on the other hand, if covenant grace be spread upon my child's heart, by converting grace, many will "glorify God.”‡ His own soul will be the lively trumpet of divine glory, by confessing sin, and turning to God; thy omniscience, grace, and omnipotence, will be made glorious. And who can tell how many may be won to God by his example? and every convert "glorifies God in the day of visitation," and at the great day God will be "glorified in his saints." || Lord, consult thy glory!
(9.) Lord, thou hast given me some encouragement concerning this child I am praying for. When my child was young he was very hopeful; now he is grown up, my hopes are obscured; he hath now embraced the world, he hath fallen into bad company and courses; the less are my hopes now, because he is a criminal apostate, and sins against more light than others, this daunts and damps my spirit. However, I will pray and wait still, for what is discouraging to me, is rather an opportunity for thee. "In the mount of
Gal. i. 24
* Psal. cxviii. 15.
|| 1 Pet. ii. 12. 2 Thess. i. 10.
+ Prov. x. 1.
the Lord it shall be seen," when the knife is at Isaac's throat; "the valley of Achor is a door of hope."† When men say, "our bones are dried, our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts, then the graves are opened," and there is life from the dead. The case is mine; I am saying as Jonah, "I am cast out of his sight; yet will I look again toward thy holy temple." The other look may fetch the mercy; there is a may be in the case. Can a child of so many prayers and fears miscarry?
This brings to mind a passage in Melchior Adamus, De vitis Theol. Germ. pag. 724; it is this, the mother of Hunnius, being with child of him, had a vision, she thought she was in the church, and took up a reed, or a straw, or such a small thing; while she held it in her fingers, it so increased, that she was almost oppressed with its weight, even to death; she again presently saw it turned into a pillar of the temple, then she was eased of her burden. This was verified in her son Hunnius, who though religiously educated, and hopeful in childhood, yet fell into bad company, and then into horrible temptations, and a sad apprehension that he had committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, but by grace was recovered, and proves an excellent instrument in the church of God. This may be of use to poor afflicted, desponding parents.
(10.) Lord, if thou deny my suit, and glorify thy justice, in the rejection and condemnation of my child; I must and will acquiesce in thy sovereign, righteous will. It is hard to bring my heart to do it, but I will say, Thy will be done. "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are thy judgments, and thy ways past finding out?" || I myself deserve to be forsaken and cast * Gen. xxii. 14. ↑ Hos. ii. 15. ‡ Ezek. xxxvii. 11, 12. || Rom. xi. 33.