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“We had fathers of our flesh which corrected instrument, touch upon every string, obey us, and we gave them reverence;" they might every commandment, or you cannot make correct out of an humour, but God doth it sweet melody in religion.' Obey your hea. for our profit, Heb. xii. 10; therefore say, as venly Father, though he commands things Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 18, “ It is the Lord, let him contrary to flesh and blood.-1. When he do what seemeth him good.” What gets commands to mortify sin, that sin which hath the child by struggling, but more blows ? been dear to you; pluck out this right eye, What got Israel by their murmuring and that you may see the better to go to heaven. rebelling, but a longer and more tedious -2. When he commands you to suffer for march, and at last their carcases fell in the sin, be ready to obey, Acts xxi. 13. Every wilderness!
good Christian hath a spirit of martyrdom 4. If God be our Father, let this cause in in him, and is ready rather to suffer for the us a childlike reverence, Mal. i. 6, “ If I be a truth, than the truth should suffer. Luther father where is my honour ?” This is a part said he had rather be a martyr than a mo of the honour we give to God, when we narch. Peter was crucified with his head reverence and adore him. If you have not downwards, as Eusebius. Ignatius called his always a childlike confidence, yet always chains his spiritual pearls, and did wear his preserve a childlike reverence. And how fetters as a bracelet of diamonds. This is to ready are we to run into extremes, either to carry it as God's children, when we obey his despond or grow wanton ? Because God is a voice, and count not our lives dear, so that Father, therefore do not think you may be we may show our love to our hearenly Fa. secure and take liberty to sin ; if you do, God ther, Rev. xii. 11, “They loved not their may carry it so as if he were no Father, he lives to the death." may throw hell into your conscience. When
6. If God be your Father, show it by your David presumed upon God's paternal affec- cheerful looks that you are the children of tion, and began to wax wanton under mercy, such a Father. Too much drooping and de. God made him pay dear'for it,-he withdrew spondency disparageth the relation you stand the sense of his love, and though he had in to God. What though you meet with the heart of a Father, yet he had the look of bard usage in the world? You are now in a an enemy. David prayed, Cause me to hear strange land far from home ; it will be shortly the voice of joy, Ps. li. 8. He lay several better with you, when you are in your own months in desertion, and it is thought he country, and your Father hath you in his never recovered his full joy to the day of his arms. Doth not the heir rejoice in hope! death. On keep alive holy fear! With a Shall the sons of a king walk dejected! childlike confidence, preserve an humble 2 Sam. xiii. 4, “Why art thou, being the reverence; the Lord is a Father, therefore king's son, lean ?" Is God an unkind Father? love to serve him; he is the mighty God, Are his commands grievous ? Hath be no therefore fear to offend him.
land to give his heirs ? Why then do God's 5. If God be our Father, let us walk obe- children walk so sad? Never had children diently, 1 Pet. i. 14, “ As obedient children.” such privileges as they who are of the seeds When God bids you be humble and self-royal of heaven, and have God for their Fa. denying, deny yourselves; part with your ther: they should rejoice, therefore, who are bosom-sin; be sober in your attire, savoury within a few hours to be crowned with glory. in your speeches, grave in your deportment, 7. If God be our Father, let us honour obey your Father's voice; open to God, as him by walking very holily, 1 Pet. i. 16, the Anwer 'opens to the sun; as you expect " Be ye holy, for I am holy.” A young your Father's blessing, obey him in whatever prince asking a philosopher how he should he commands, first and second table duties. behave himself, the philosopher said, MeA lutanist, that he may make sweet music, mento te filium esse regis - Remember thou toucheth upon every string of the lute: the art a king's son:' do nothing but what beten commandments are like a ten-stringed comes the son of a king: 80 remember you
are the adopted sons and daughters of the our Father, we love to see his picture of at you (223" high God, do nothing unworthy of such a holiness in believers,—we pity them for their 2. Obene relation. A debauched child is the disgrace infirmities, but love them for their gracese company of his father. “Is this thy son's coat ?" said we prize their company above others, Ps. 9.d.-15. they to Jacob, when they brought it home cxix. 63. It may justly be suspected that
dipped in blood, Gen. xxxvii. 23: so when God is not their Father who love not God's
we see a person defiled with malice, passion, children; though they retain the communion ear to m2 drunkenness, we may say, is this the coat of of saints in their creed, yet they banish the Els routes God's adopted son? Doth he look as an heir communion of saints out of their company.
of glory? 'Tis a blaspheming the name of 9. If God be our Father, let us show God, to call him Father, yet live in sin. Such heavenly-mindedness; they who are born of as profess God is their Father, yet live un- God do set their “affections on things that holily, they will slander and defraud; these are above,” Col. iii. 2. Oye children of the are as bad to God as heathens, Amos ix. 7, high God, do not disgrace your high birth by “Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians to sordid covetousness! What, a son of God, me, O children of Israel, saith the Lord?" and a slave to the world! What, sprung The Ethiopians were uncircumcised, a base, from heaven, and buried in the earth! For ill-bred people; when Israel grew wicked, a Christian, who pretends to derive his pedi. they were no better to God than Ethiopians.gree from heaven, yet wholly to mind earthly Loose, scandalous livers under the gospel, things, is to debase himself; as if a king are no better in God's esteem than Pagans should leave his throne to follow the plough, and Americans; nay, they shall have a hot- Jer. xlv. 5, “Seekest thou great things for ter place in hell. O let all who profess God thyself?” As if the Lord had said, “ What! to be their Father, honour him by their un- thou Barak,--thou who art born of God,spotted lives. Scipio abhorred the embraces akin to angels, and by thy office a Levite,of an harlot, because he was the general of dost thou debase thyself, and spot the silver an army: abstain from all sin, because you wings of thy grace, by beliming them with are born of God, and have God for your earth! Seekest thou great things ? Seek Father, 1 Thess. v. 22, “ Abstain from all them not." The earth chokes the fire; earthappearance of evil.” It was a saying of liness chokes the fire of good affections. Augustus, an emperor should not only be free
10. If God be our Father, let us own our from crimes, but from the suspicion of them. heavenly Father in the worst times,-stand By a holy life you would bring glory to your up in his cause, defend his truths. Athaheavenly Father, and cause others to become nasius owned God when most of the world his children. Causinus in his hieroglyphics, turned Arians. If sufferings come, do not speaks of a dove, whose wings being per- deny God; he is a bad son, who denies his fumed with sweet ointments, did draw the father. Such as are ashamed of God in other doves after her: the holy lives of God's times of danger, God will be ashamed to children is a sweet perfume to draw others to own them for his children, Mark viii. 38, religion, and make them to be of the family “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of of God. Justin Martyr saith, that which me and my words in this adulterous sinful converted him to Christianity, was the be- generation, of him also shall the Son of man holding the blameless lives of the Christians. | be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of
8. If God be our Father, let us love all his Father, with the holy angels." that are his children, Ps. cxxxii. 1, " How have done with the first part of the preface, pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together
« Our Father." in unity?" "Tis compared to ointment, v.
II. The second part of the preface (which 2, for the sweet fragrancy of it; 1 Pet. ii. I shall but briefly touch on) is, “Which 17, " Love the brotherhood.” Idem est motus art in heaven.” God is said to be in heaven, anime in imaginem et rem. The saints not that he is so included there, that he is are the walking pictures of God; if God be no where else--for the "heaven of heavens
cannot contain him," 1 Kings viii. 27; but cannot be blocked
have the meaning is, God is chiefly resident in father living in foreign parts, but the way, the empyrean heaven, which the apostle both by sea and by land, may be so blocked calls “the third heaven," 2 Cor. xii. 2; there up, that there is no coming to him; but thou, God doth most give forth glory to his saints saint of God, when thou prayest to thy Father, and angels.
he is in heaven ; and though thou art ever so Quest. What may we learn from this confined, thou mayest have access to him. that God is in heaven?
A prison cannot keep thee from thy God; Ans. 1. Hence we learn that we are to the way to heaven can never be blocked up. raise our minds in prayer above the earth. So I have done with the word • Father: God is no where to be spoken with but in I shall next speak of the pronoun “ Our. heaven ; God never denied that soul his suit Father." In the first there is an appellation, who went as far as heaven to ask it. “ Father ;" in the second, an appropriation,
A. 2. We learn from God's being in hea- “ Our Father.” Christ, by this word Our, ven, his sovereign power. Hoc vocabulo would teach us thus much ; " that in all our intelligitur omnia subesse ejus imperio, prayers to God, we should act faith." Our CALVIN. Ps.cxv. 3, “ Our God is in the hea- Father: Father,' denotes reverence ; .Our vens, he hath done whatever he pleased.” God Father,' denotes faith. In all our prayers to being in heaven, governs the universe, and God we should exercise faith, “Our Father." orders all occurrences here below for the good Faith is that which baptizeth prayer, and of his children; when the saints are in straits gives it a name; it is called “the prayer of and dangers, and see no way of relief, he can faith,' Jam. v. 15. Without faith, it is speaksend from heaven and help them, Ps. lvii. 3, ing, not praying.
Faith is the breath of " He shall send from heaven, and save me.”
prayer; prayer is dead unless faith breathe in A. 3. We learn God's glory and majesty; it. Faith is a necessary requisite in prayer. he is in heaven, therefore he is covered with The oil of the sanctuary was made up of light, Ps. civ. 2,—"clothed with honour,” several sweet spices, pure myrrh, cassia, cinPs. civ. 1,-and is far above all worldly namon, Exod. xxx. 23. Faith is the chief princes as heaven is above earth.
spice, or ingredient in prayer, which makes A. 4. We learn, from God's being in hea- it go up to the Lord, as sweet incense, Jam. ven, his omnisciency. “ All things are naked, i. O, “Let him ask in faith," Matt. xxi. 2% and opened to his eye,” Heb. iv. 13. Men“ Whatsoever ye shall ask in
prayer, plot and contrive against the church; but God ing, ye shall receive.” Invoco te, Domine, is in heaven, and they do nothing but what quanquam languida et imbecilla fide, tamen our Father sees. If a man were on the top fide, — Lord, (said Cruciger) I pray, thouga of a tower or theatre, he might thence see all with a weak faith, yet with faith.” Prayer the people below: God is in heaven, as in a is the gun we shoot with, fervency is the fire high tower or theatre, and he sees all the that dischargeth it, and faith is the bullet transactions of men, The wicked make which pierceth the throne of grace. Prayer wounds in the backs of the righteous, and is the key of heaven, faith is the hand that then pour in vinegar; God writes down their turns it; pray in faith, Our Father.' Faith cruelty, Exod. iii. 7, “ I have surely seen the must take prayer by the band, or there is no afflictions of my people.” od is in heaven, coming nigh to God; prayer without faith 19 and he can thunder out of heaven upon his unsuccessful.
If a poor handy-craftsman, enemies, Ps. xviii. 13, 14, “ The Lord also that lives by his labour, hath spoiled his thundered in the heavens; yea, he sent out tools that he cannot work, how shall be arrows, and scattered them, and he shot out subsist? Prayer is the tool we work with, lightnings, and discomfited them.”
which procures all good for us: but unbeA. 5. We learn from God's being in hea- lief spoils and blunts our prayers, and then ven, comfort for the children of God; when we can get no blessing from God; a prayer they pray to their Father, the way to heaven that is faithless is fruitless.
said, " You shall not see my face, unless you Quest. 3. How may we know that we do
God will hear his prayer; see an instance, Quest. 1. What doth praying in faith Luke xviii. 11, 12, “The Pharisee stood and imply?
prayed thus, God, I thank thee, that I am Ans. Praying in faith implies the having not as other men are, extortioners, unjust: I of faith ; the act implies the habit. To walk fast twice in the week; I give tythes of all implies a principle of life ; so to pray in faith that I possess.” This was a presumptuous implies a habit of grace. None can pray in prayer; but a sincere heart doth as well act faith but believers.
humility in prayer as faith ; Luke xviii. 13, Quest. 2. What is it to pray in faith? “ The publican standing afar off would not
Ans. 1. To pray in faith, is to pray for lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but that which God hath promised; where there smote upon his breast, saying, 'God be mer. is no promise, we cannot pray in faith. ciful to me a sinner!'" “ God be merciful!"
A. 2. To pray in faith, is to pray in Christ's there was faith ; “ to me a sinner," there was meritorious name, John xiv. 13, “ Whatso- humility and a sense of unworthiness. ever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” A.2. We may know we pray in faith, when, To pray in Christ's name, is to pray in the though we have not the present thing we pray hope of confidence in Christ's merit. When for, yet we believe God will grant it, therewe present Christ to God in prayer,—when fore we will stay his leisure. A Christian we carry the Lamb slain in our arms,—when having a command to pray, and a promise, we say " Lord, we are sinners, but here is he is resolved to follow God with prayer, and our surety, for Christ's sake be propitious,” not give over; as Peter, he knocked, yet the this is coming to God in Christ's name, and door was not opened, but he continued this is to pray in faith.
knocking, and at last it was opened, Acts xii. A. 3. To pray in faith is, in prayer to fix 16. So a Christian prays and prays, but hath our faith on God's faithfulness, believing no answer ; but he will continue knocking at that he doth hear, and will help; this is a heaven's door, knowing an answer will come, taking hold of God, Isa. lxiv. 7. By prayer Ps. lxxxvi. 7, “ Thou wilt answer me.” Here we draw nigh to God, by faith we take hold is one that prays in faith. Christ saith, of him ; 2 Chron. xiii. 14, the children of Pray and faint not,” Luke xviii. 1. A beJudah cried unto the Lord; and this was the liever, at Christ's word, lets down the net of crying of faith ; v. 18, they “ prevailed, be- prayer, and though he catch nothing, he will cause they relied on the Lord God of their cast the net of prayer again, believing that fathers.” Making supplication to God, and mercy will come.
Patience in prayer is nostaying the soul on God, is praying in faith. thing but faith spun out. To pray, and not rely on God for the grant Use 1st. It reproves them that pray in ing our petitions, irrisio Dei est, saith Peli- formality, not in faith ; they question whether can; “it is to abuse and put a scorn on God.” | God hears or will grant, James iv. 3, “ Ye By praying, we seem to honour God; by not ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss." believing we affront him. In prayer we say, He doth not say, ye ask that which is unlaw,
Alınighty, merciful Father ;" by not believ- ful ; but ye ask amiss, and therefore ye reing, we blot out all his titles again.
ceive not. Unbelief clips the wings of prayer,
that it will not fly to the throne of grace; the the sweetness of his relation, he is a Son. rubbish of unbelief stops the current of what encouragement is here, to pray in prayer.
faith! Our prayers are put into the hand of Use 2d. Of exhortation. Let us set faith a Mediator. Christ's prayer is mighty and a-work in prayer, Our Father.' The hus- powerful. bandman sows in hope : prayer is the seed 3. We pray to God for nothing but what is we sow; when the hand of faith scatters this pleasing to him, and he hath a mind to grant ; seed, it brings forth a fruitful crop of bless- | if a son ask nothing but what his father is ing; prayer is the ship we send out to hea- willing to bestow, this may make him go to ven: when faith makes an adventure in this him with confidence. When we pray to God ship, it brings home large returns of mercy. for holy hearts, there's nothing more pleasO pray in faith! Say, 'Our Father.' Anding to him, 1 Thess. iv. 3, “This is the will that we may act faith in prayer, consider, of God, even your sanctification.” We pray
1. God's readiness to hear prayer. Deus that God would give us a heart to love him, paratus ad vota exaudienda, Calvin. Did and there is nothing he more desires than God forbid all addresses to him, it would put our love. How may this make us pray in a damp upon the trade of prayer; but God's faith, when we pray for nothing but what is ear is open to prayer. It is one of the names acceptable to God, and which he delights to by which God is known, Ps. Ixv. 2, “ () thou bestow! that hearest prayer.” The Ædiles among 4. To encourage faith in prayer, consider the Romans had their doors always standing the many sweet promises that God hath made open, that all who had petitions might have to prayer. The cork keeps the net from free access to them: God is both ready to sinking: the promises are the cork to keep hear and grant prayer; this may encourage faith from sinking in prayer. God hath faith in prayer. And, whereas some may bound himself to us by his promises. The say, they have prayed, but have had no an- Bible is bespangled with promises made to swer: 1st. God may hear prayer, though he prayer: Isa. xxx. 19, “ He will be very grado not presently answer. We write a letter cious to thee at the voice of thy cry.” Rom. to a friend ; he may have received it, though x. 12, “ The Lord is rich unto all that call we have yet had no answer of it. Perhaps upon him.” Jer. xxix. 13, “Then shall ye thou prayest for the light of God's face; God find me, when ye search for me with all your may
lend thee an ear, though he doth not heart.” Ps. cxlv. 19, “ He will fulfil the show thee his face. 2d. God may give an desire of them that fear him.” The Tyrians answer to prayer, wh we do not perceive tied their god Hercules with a golden chain it. His giving a heart to pray, and inflam- that he should not remove: God bath tied ing the affections in prayer is an answer of himself fast to us by his promises. How prayer, Ps. cxxxviii. 3, “ In the day when I should these animate and spirit faith in cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthen- prayer ? Faith gets strength in prayer by edst me with strength in my soul.” David's sucking from the breast of a promise. inward strength was an answer of prayer, 5. That we may act faith in prayer, consider, therefore let God's readiness to hear prayer Jesus Christ hath purchased that which we encourage faith in prayer.
pray for; we may think the things we ask for 2. That we may act faith in prayer, con- in prayer too great for us to obtain, but they sider we do not pray alone. Christ prays are not too great for Christ to purchase. We over our prayers again; Christ's prayer is pray for pardon, Christ hath purchased it with the ground why our prayer is heard. Christ his blood; we pray for the Spirit to animate takes the dross out of our prayer, and pre- and inspire us, the sending down of the Holy sents nothing to his Father but pure gold. Ghost into our hearts is the fruit of Christ's Christ mingles his sweet odours with the death, John xvi. This may put life into prayers of the saints, Rev. v. 8. Think of our prayers, and make us pray in faith ; the dignity of his person, he is God; and because the things we ask in prayer