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Jehovah pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, Jehovah God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary : and Jehovah hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.' John vii. 14. now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught.'
The parts and circumstances of true religion, or of the worship of God, are next to be considered...
The parts into which religion is divided, are the invocation or adoration of God, and the sanctification of his name in all the circumstances of life.
Under invocation are included, first, supplication and thanksgiving ; secondly, oaths and the casting of lots.
Supplication is that act whereby under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we reverently ask of God things lawful, either for ourselves or others, through faith in Christ. Psal. l. 15. call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' lxxxvi. 4, 5. unto thee, O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul ; for thou, Jehovah, art good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Matt. vii. 7--10. ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Philipp. iv. 6. "be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God.
Through faith. Mark xi. 24. what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.' Rom. X. 14. how then shall they call on him in whom they have not believ
ed ? 1 Tim. ii. 8. without doubting.' James i. 6, 7. let him ask in faith, nothing wavering ; for he that wavereth,' &c. • In Christ. John xiv. 13, 14. whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. xvi. 23. whatsover ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.' Rev. V. 8. “having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.' viii. 3, 4. there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne ; and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God.'
Things lawful; and above all, the best things. 1 Kings iii. 11, 12. because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment ; behold, I have done according to thy words. Matt. vi. 33. seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.'
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Zech. xii. 10. “I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications.' Rom. viii. 26, 27. likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.' Ephes. vi. 18.
praying always ....... in the Spirit.' Jude 20. praying in the Holy Ghost;' that is, quickening and calling into action, as much as possible, the gift of the Holy Ghost within us.
The Lord's Prayer was intended rather as a model of supplication, than as a form to be repeated verbatim by the apostles, or by Christian churches at the present day,* Hence the superfluousness of set forms of worship; seeing that, with Christ for our master, and the Holy Spirit for our assistant in prayer, we can have no need of any human aid in either respect.f
Reverently. Reverence comprehends, first, the internal affection of the mind, and secondly, the voice and outward deportment of the body.
Under the former is included, first, that we ask every thing aright, that is to say, to a right end. James iv. 3.'ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Secondly, that our supplications proceed from a pure and penitent heart. Hence 2 Sam. xxii. 42. they look
*If the Lord's Prayer had been " the warrant or pattern of set liturgies," as is bere affirmed, why was neither that prayer, nor any other set form ever after used, or so much as mentioned by the apostles, much less commended to our use?' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 37.
+ Conformably with his opinions on this subject, Milton ascribes extemporaneous effusions to our first parents :
Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began
Unmeditated. Paradise Lost, V. 144. It is not the goodness of matter, therefore, which is not, nor can be, owed to the liturgy, that will bear it out, if the form, which is the essence of it, be fantastic and superstitious, the end sinister, and the ir position violent.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, 1. 173. Neither can any true Christian find a reason why liturgy should be at all admitted, a prescription not imposed or practised by those first founders of the church, who alone had that authority,' &c. Answer to Eikon Basilike, III. 36. Compare also the whole of the chapter entitled « On the Ordinance against the Common Prayer Book,' from which the last quotation is taken.
ed, but there was none to save ; even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not.' Psal. lxvi. 18. if I regard iniquity in my heart, Jehovah will not hear me.' Isai. i. 16–18. "wash you, make you clean.... come now, and let us reason together—. Ezek. viii. 18. though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.' xx. 30, 31. “are ye polluted, after the manner of your fathers ?....and shall I be inquired of by you .? John ix. 31. • God heareth not sinners. Thirdly, that we pray in a spirit of kindness and forgiveness towards our brethren. Matt. v. 24. leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be reconciled to thy brother-, vi. 12..forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. See also xviii. 23. the parable of the two debtors. 1 Tim. ii. 8. 'I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. Fourthly, that we seek the Lord early. Prov. i. 24-28. because I have called, and ye refused.... they shall call upon me, but I will not answer.' Psal. xxxii. 6. for this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found.' Isai lv. 6. seek ye Jehovah, while he may be found.' Fifthly, that we pray with all humility. Luke xviii. 9, &c. 'standing afar off ...... saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.' Sixthly, that we pray earnestly ; see the parable of the man who came to borrow bread of his friend, Luke xi. 5. and of the unjust judge, xviii. 2, &c. Lastly, that we persevere in prayer. Coloss. iv. 2. continue in prayer.'
It is not necessary that our prayers should be always audible ; the silent supplication of the mind, whispers, even groans and inarticulate exclamations in
private prayer, are available.* Exod. xiv. 15. Jehovah said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me ?” though he was saying nothing with his lips, and only praying inwardly. 1 Sam. i. 13. now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Thus, too, our devotions will be less conspicuous; according to the command, Matt. vi. 6.
Prayer may be offered either alone, or in company. Christ appears seldom to have prayed in conjunction with his disciples, or even in their presence, but either wholly alone, or at some distance from them. It is moreover evident that the precepts, Matt. vi. have reference to private prayer alone. When however he inculcated on his disciples the duty of prayer in general, he gave no specific direction whether they should pray alone, or with others. It is certain that they were in the frequent practice of praying in assemblies; and that either individually, each framing within himself his own particular petition relative to some subject on which they had agreed in common, Matt. xviii..
........ Sighs now breath'd
Ev'n to the seat of God. Ibid. 146.