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God, that the thing which we ask of him is founded in truth and equity ; else he will not hear us, nor grant our petition ; for God is just.-Hience it is plain that no man (for all bave finned) must presume to come unto God for mercy, or seek to be justified in his fight, except thro' Christ onk ; for God cannot justify the wicked : But in Cbrift be is just in justifying even the ungodly that believeth in Jesus; for be bath made bim sin for us wbo knew no fin, that we might be made tbe righteousness of God in him. Therefore I observe,
1. That the objeet of prayer is the living and true God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Of him the Pfalmift fpeaks, when he faith; O thou that bearest prayer ! unto thee fball all flesh come: And himself allo faith, call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will bear thee; and thou shalt praise met. Thus Paul prayed for believers unto the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory I.
Now God who hath made the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, is able to bestow upon us all good things, and to deliver us from all evil ; Yea, he is both able, gracious, and faithful, to . supply all our need, according to his riches in glory, by
Jesus + Pf:1. I. 15.
Eph. i. 17.
Fesus Christ : And therefore, none of them that trust in him shall be destitute. Whatever good thing, or help any one receives, from men or angels, yet they are not the proper objects of our prayers; because they are not God, but only instruments in his hand. Neither can any creature, by his own absolute will and power, do us either good or evil: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I beal; faith the Lord: And again ; I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things t. Therefore also wicked spirits, and wicked men, are not to be feared, as if of themselves they could hurt or destroy us : Satan could not touch Job, till the LORD gave him leave; nor could Saul destroy David, because the LORD delivered him not into his hand : Therefore when men or devils would tempt, or perfuade us to fin against God; they must not be feared by us, but refifted, and abhorred. And on the other hand, when good angels, or saints instrumentally help us, or minister to our wants; they are not to have divine honors paid them, nor will they receive such worship at our hands ; for they are not the cause but means only of those blessings which they minister unto us : For the good that is done upon earth, God doth it bimself.
2. The manner in which God is to be addressed, and prayed unto by us, is carefully to be noted. We are not only his creatures, but guilty and rebellious creatures ; therefore we may not think to
receive + Isa, xlv. 7.
receive any thing of God, and consequently must not in prayer draw nigh unto him, without a Mediator : For God, who is of purer eyes than to be. bold iniquity, cannot look upon us with pleasure, nor receive our prayers when we cry unto him, unless he beholds us in, and we call upon him thro' a Mediator ; which Mediator, whom he hath chosen and established in the heavens, is but one, not man'; not saints and angels as the papists teach, but only the man Jesus CHRIST ; as it is written, there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus* : Who, becaule he is both God and man in one person, he is able to make peace betwixt God and man; by whom we draw nigh unto God: None in heaven, in earth, or under the earth, was found worthy to reconcile us to God, but this perfon only; whose name is wonderful, even IMMANUEL! that is, God with us : Therefore all our prayers which God doth and will hear, muft be made in the name of Christ: Neither must we blafphemoully exalt the Virgin Mary above the Lord Jesus, as the papists do ; nor wickedly suppose that we may not come to Christ immediately by faith, and to the Father by him, without the in- , tervention of a secondary or inferior Mediator: But we may, and are commanded to come directly to CHRIST ; and, by him only, to God even the Father : Wherefore he saith, whatsoever ye do, in word
OT • Tim. ii. 5.
or deed, do all in the name of our Lord Jesus Chrift; giving thanks unto God and the Father by him I.
3. We read of divers kinds of prayer : 1 exbort, faith the Apostle, that supplications, prayers, intercefrons, and giving of thanks, be made for all men ; and in the Text he faith, praying always with all prayer ; that is, with all manner of prayer; whereby he teacheth us, that we should not only pray both in private and public, but for others as well as ourselves; and especially for all faints, even for them that are of the houshold of faith : And what we are to pray for is manifest, viz. the procuring, and preserving of good things, both to ourselves and others; as also for the prevention and removal of all evil things. But we must always remember that there is but one God, who can hear and answer our prayers; and but one Mediator, even Jesus CHRIST, by whom and thro' whom we have access to God, our prayers are heard, and our petitions granted: Therefore we must not pray to faints departed or to angels, because they are not God; nor make any of them mediators unto God for us, (as the papists do) for they have not died for us : He there. fore that doth these things, is guilty of idolatry, and denieth both the Father and Christ: But whatsoever good thing we ask for, or evil thing
we pray against, whether it respect our neighbours or ourselves let our prayers be to God only, by one Mediator as he hath appointed ; that God in all things may be glorified by us, thro' JESUS Christ, and that continually. It must also be çarefully observed that the things we are praying for be not only lawful, but also needful for us, else we may not with importunity petition for them, whether they respect our fouls or bodies ; for there are many things that are lawful which God hath not promised to give, nor will give to many of his saints, because they are not expedient for them.
The good things of this life, as far as they are absolutely necessary for thy subsistance in the earth, until God call thee hence, thou mayest ask for with boldness, and confidence of being heard ; for Godliness hath the promise of this life, as also of that which is to come: Moreover, be barb said, I will never leave thre, nor forsake thee *: And again, he faith, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and bis righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto yout. But in what measure, time, and manner, thou art to receive them, leave that with thy hea. venly Father ; for he knoweth what things thou haft need of, better than thou canst tell him:Only believe that he is true to his word, and will
sell take Heb. xii. s. .. Matth. vi. 33..