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hortations given us by the Spirit of God in holy • Scripture,' 'tis to be consider'd, that there can be no true Obedience to the Commands of God in Scripture, without his Holy Spirit first inwardly moving and inclining us to obey ; without which Motion and Inclination, a meer out, ward Conformity to outward Commands, and a meer external following other Men's Examples in saying over certain Words after them, would be meer Will-Worship, and far from the Nature of irue Prayer, which is the Sacrifice of the Heart, the Offering of a broken and of a contrite Spirit, the pure Breathings of a Soul in some measure quickned by the Spirit of God, and touch'd with a Sense of his Divine Love, and of its own Infirmities, which are such that we know not what to pray for as we ought, but as the Spirit it self helpeth our Infirmities, and maketh Intercession for us, not always enabling to the Use of outward vocal Prayer, but with Groanings which cannot be uttered. Rom. viii. 26. And faith the Apostle, be that searcheth the Hearts, knoweth what is the Mind of the Spirit, because he maketh Intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God. ver. 27. Now if we know not what to pray for as we ought, and 'tis the Spirit only which knoweth the Mind of God, and maketh Intercession according to his Will, what can be more evident, than that all vocal Pretences to Prayer, without the Motions and Inspirations of the Spirit teaching us both what to pray for, and how to do it acceptably, are lifelejs Performances, Fruits of Ignorance, and Sacrifices in no wise well pleasing to God. And this our Adversary himself, notwithstanding all his Efforts in Defence of meer formal Prayer, seems not wholiy insensible of ; when he tells us, pag. 181. of the gracious Afistances of the Spirit to enable us to pray in an acceptable manner, and that a Disposition to Prayer is always owing to God's Holy Spirit. We may in this Place reasonably require from him an intelligible Distinction between the Holy Spirits working in Men a Disposition to Prayer, and the Spirit's immediately moving us to pray, because while he asserts the one, he would seem to deny the other. Till he shall therefore demonstrate the Difference, between the Spirit's immediate moving us to Prayer, and disposing us thereto, we must think his Discourse on this Head to be confused and self-contradictory.
He says, pag. 181: “And why may not the < serious and earnest Prayers, even of an unrege• nerate Man, in compliance with the preventing • Grace of God, that accompanies the external - Word, be accepted, for his obtaining the Grace of Regeneration, or that honest and
good • Heart that may prepare and dispose him for it ;
feeing to him that hath, or that maketh Use of " that Measure of Grace he hath already, fall • be given more. Mat. xiii. i 2;
That even an unregenerate Man may have a measure of Gràce, or of the Spirit of God in him, reproving him, and convincing him of Sin, and at Times raising in him some Desires and Prayers for Deliverance, we doubt not: But then such Desires and Prayers do really proceed from the Motions of the Grace or Spirit of God in him : Which Grace or Spirit would also, if he continued Obedient to its Motions, perfect in him che Work of Regeneration. So that when such Desires and Prayers are so raised, he is as it were departing from his Wickedness, and entring into a better State, from which yet he may soon fall away again. So that we admit of praying accordto the measure of Grace or Spirit received, but not
without any Measure of it. For it seemeth to us, that if a wicked Man, without any Motion of the Spirit of God preceding, do repeat a customary Form of Words, under Pretence of Prayer, he offers but that Sacrifice which, Solomon says, is an Abomination to the Lord, Prov. xv. 18.
His Instances of David and Daniel, and other pious Perfons, whom he mentions as praying at îtated Times, make nothing against us; seeing we doubt not but they prayed by the immediate Motion of the Spirit of God, which is the Thing we contend for. We never oppos'd stated Times for Worship, nor praying by the Motions of the Spirit at such Times; what we gainsay, is Men's resolving beforehand to use vocal Prayer at such Times, though without any Motion of the Spirit thereto.
Our Opponent fays, pag. 182. “And contant daily Family-Prayer, is a Duty exceeding uir• ful and necessary, to keep up a lively Sen e and
Spirit of Religion in a Family ; that with good Foshua, we and our House may serve the Lord
and with faithful Abraham, command our Child • dren and Housbold after us to keep the Way of the
Lord; and that his Fury may not be poured it 12 us, as upon the Heathen that know burn 1101, inz " the Families that call not upon his N - 92• not the Quakers waiting for the ento
ry Motion of the Spirit to a know it
ry Duty, (for which the Motion of : - in the Scripture is sufficient) the Real
very few of them ever pray in their " or give Thanks for their Food; or but
rarely? And if they are never to do'i" i ( when they have a particular immediate "}
of the Spirit to it, how come they and the 37
• rit to be such Strangers, as never, or so rarely, • to have any such Motion of the Spirit, to such ' a necessary Duty ??
This Passage we have largely transcribed, because it carries with it a popular Objection, frequently thrown at us by Persons who have exercis’d themselues in a cursory Formality of faying Prayers, till they seem scarce to know what True Prayer is. But that it has far less weight, than at first Appearance fome may think, we shall endeavour to demonstrate.
(t) 1. We freely confess, that Prayer is both very profitable, and a necessary Duty com« manded, and fit to be practised frequently by
all Christians. But, it is to be considered, that
Prayer is twofold, inward and outward: In' ward Prayer is that secret turning of the Mind i towards God, whereby being secretly touched
and awakened by the Light of Christ in the Con« science, and so bowed down under the Sense of • its Iniquities, Unworthiness and Misery, it • looks up to God, and joining Issue with the se- cret Shinings of the Seed of God, it breaths to« wards him, and is constantly breathing forth • some secret Desires and Aspirations towards « him. It is in this Sense, that we are so fre
quently commanded to pray continually, Luke < xviii. 1. I Thef. v. 17. Eph. vi. 18. Luke xxi.
36. Which cannot be understood of outward
Prayer, because it were impossible, that Men · should be always upon their Knees, expreffing · Words of Prayer; and this would hinder < them from the Exercise of those Duties no less positively commanded,
(1) See R. B's Apol. p. 392, 393.
The like may be said of Giving Thanks ; 'tis when the Soul touched with a deep Sense of the Mercies and Favours of God, doth lift up it self by the Assistance of his Spirit, in an holy Admiration of his Goodness and loving Kindness, tho' without the Use of Words or vocal Expressions. This inward Prayer of the Mind, this internal Thanksgiving of the Heart and Soul, we confess to be a necessary Duty at all Times, for the Practice of which, every Member of a Family is not without some Influence of the Spirit of God, fufficient, if regarded, to keep up a lively Sense and Spirit of Religion ; without which this true inward Prayer cannot be performed; though 'tis too evident, that a meer customary formal Repetition of Words may be us'd, where the true Spirit and Sense of Religion is absent ; which therefore comes under our Saviour's express Prohibition, Mat. vi. 7. But when ye pray, use not vain Repetitions, as the Heathen do ; for they think they fall be heard for their much speaking.
2. We find not that Jesus Christ, the Author of the Christian Religion, enjoyns any ser or stated Times for the Exercise of outward or vocal Prayer, but in Opposition to the Hypocrisy of such, as loved to pray standing in the Synagogues, and in the Corners of the Streets, that they might be seen of Men, enjoyns his Followers a very different Practice. Mat. vi. 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into tby Closet, and sout thy Door, and pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. This inward and secret Prayer and Thanksgiving of the Heart, is, in our Esteem, a known and ordinary Duty; to be constantly exercised, as well in our Families, as other Places, where our Converse is, and as well when we receive any of the Mercies of