« IndietroContinua »
1. Q. We have now done with the several branches of that duty which God requires of us; and which our Godfathers and Godmothers promised at our baptism that we should fulfil: Is there any thing yet remaining necessary to be known by us in order to our salvation ?f
A. Yes, there is; namely, to understand what those means are which God hath ordained for the conveying of his grace to us, and to enable us to fulfil that duty which he has required of us.
2. Q. By what means may we obtain the grace of God in order to this end.
A. * Chiefly by these two: hearty prayer to God for it; and a right use of the holy sacraments.
3. Q. What is prayer?
A. It is a religious "calling upon God; founded upon the belief of his infinite knowledge, power, and presence; and of his gracious goodness and mercy towards us in b Jesus Christ: and by virtue whereof he is not only always cpresent with us, to hear and receive our prayers, d throughly acquainted with all our needs, and fully able to supply them; but is also
t See the Preface to this Prayer, Ch. Cat.
most 'willing and ready so to do, if we call upon him as we ought to do.
Proofs Subjoined.—* Psalm iv. 1. Hear me when 1 call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. I. 15. Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. xcix. 6. Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. cxvi. 17. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Prov. xi. 28. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer: they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. Jer. xxix. 12. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I ivill hearken unto yeu. Rom. x. 12, 14. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? I Cor. i. 2. Paul, unto the church of God, which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs arid ours. 2 Tim. ii. 22. Follow righteousness, faith, cfiarity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. I Pet. i. 17. And if ye call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every mans work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.
b John, xvi. 24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
cPsalm Ixv. 2. O thou that heareth prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. xciv. 9. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? cxxxix. 7, &c. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall Iflee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there also. 1 Kings, viii. 29, 30, &c. That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day; even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou may est hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and, when thou hearest. forgive.
d Matt. vi. 8. Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him. 'Matt. vii. 7. Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. xxi. 22. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Luke, xi. 9. And 1 say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. John, xvi. 24. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name.' ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be ftdl. Jam. i. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.
4. Q. What do you mean by culling upon God? A. I understand thereby the elevation of the mind
to God, by what way soever it be made: whether we utter our requests to him with our mouths; or only lift up the thoughts of our hearts to him, both which are to God alike.
5. Q. Upon what is the necessity of our praying to God founded?
A. Besides that it is a part of that religious worship which it behoves us to pay to him, and being publicly performed, is one of the highest acts of outward honour that we are capable of giving to him; it is necessarily established upon these two principles: 'first, a due sense of our own weakness and wants: and, secondly, a firm belief that God is both able and willing to relieve us. - .
Proofs Subjoined.—Psalm v. 2. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King and my God: for unto thee will I cry. xliv. 20, 21. If we have forgotten the name of God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god, shall not God search it out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. I. 23. Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me. Isa. xlv. 20. Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a God that cannot save.
M Kings, viii. 28, 31. Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry, and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee to-day. If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him, to cause him to sivear, and the oath come before thine altar, in this house; then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. Psalm iv. 1, 3. Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer; know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. I.. 15. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. xci. 15. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. Ixxxvi. 5, 6, 7. For thou, Lord, art good and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee; for thou wilt answer me. cxlv. 18. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Joel, ii. 32. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. Matt. vii. 7, 8. Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. John. xiv. 13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. xv. 7. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. xvi. 23. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. James, i. 5. Jf any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 1 John, iii. 22. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing