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Treasury os warm and tender Devotion that eves was conceived, and most of them by the devoutest, mere Man, that ever lived; I mean, the royal Prophet, holy David. He took occasion from almost every Circumstance of his Life to strike out sudden Flashes of Devotion, which kept his Heart continually warm. When he was in Distress, we find him comforting himself after this manner; Why art thou cast down, O my Soul, put thy Trust in God. Upon the Receipt of an unexpected Mercy he would say, Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his Benefits. When he was in Heaviness, he would think upon God; when his Heart was vexed, he would complain, in some such short Address as this; The Sorrows of my Heart, O God, are inlarged, O bring thou me out of my Troubles. As soon as he was freed from his Trouble, he would cry out, Turn again then unto thy rest, for the Lord hath sustained thee. Every thing that presented itself to his View raised his Affections, and discovered the Breathings of his Soul towards God and Goodness: The Ground bringing forth its Fruit in due Season put him upon praising the Wisdom and Goodness of God j O Lord how manifold are thy Works, in Wisdom bast thou made them all, the Earth is full of thy Riches, so is the great and wide Sea also. The Heavens, the Structure of his own Body, the Dispensations of Providence; every Observation that occured to his Mind, upon God, upon Nature, upon his own Condition, -made him break forth into pathetick Starts of Devotion: His habitual Piety generated these rapturous Exclamations, and the habitual Exercisc of them made his Piety still more ardent, and blaze out the more strongly. Let us imitate this good Man with Sincerity, and we shall daily grow more and more like him.—Neither are there wanting Instances of this Sort of Prayer in the New Testament: The Publican, in a deep Sense of his Guilt and Unworthiness, smote upon his Breast and said, God be merciful to me a Sinner: In the like compendious Manner, St. Stephen, under the Hands of his Murderers, prays, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit, lay not this Sin to their charge: Likewise our Saviour in his Agony, and, upon the Cross, expressed himself in Petitions mort and ejaculatory, making considerable Stops and Intermissions between them; Fathert if thou be willing, remove this Cup from me, &c. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do j my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, &c. Such Instances, as these, should inflame our Hearts, and make us ready, as Occasions offer, to shoot forth our Addresses to Heaven. Such short and fervent Ejaculations must needs be very prevalent with God, and have a strong Influence upon the Mind ; it is not the Length of the Prayer, but the Temper of the Soul which God chiefly regards: The short Ejaculation of the Publican was more acceptable than the long Prayer of the Pharisee: Such sudden Ejaculations must needs be full of Ardor and Fervency, being darted from the Heart with great Quickness and Vehemence. I speak what every pious Breast has felt, and earnestly recommend this Practice to every one who sincerely desires to grow in Piety and Goodness. But it is not necessary, that, in these ejaculatory Addresses, we should use Words. Prayer, as I have observed, consists in lifting up our Souls to God: The Conceptions of our Mind may be too sudden, and too big for Utterance; but the Mind at the feme Time may be addressed, or direBed, to God in the same manner as when our Thoughts are clothed with Language. This kind of Prayer, for the Excellency of it, exceeds the Power of Words, and is beyond all Expression. And this kind of Prayer it is in our Power to make use , , of in all Places, and at all Times; wherever we are we may sometimes think upon God, and his Providence; in whatever manner we are employed, or engaged j in Business, in Recreations, upon the Road, or in our private Walks, we may now and then put up an ejaculatory Prayer to God; when we cannot lift up our Hands, we may lift up our Hearts to Heaven 'j and by thus intermingling our Prayers with our worldly Concerns, we may not only exercise and increase our Piety, but bring down a Blessing upon our honest Industry, and preserve our Innocence in the midst of Business, or Amusements: By this means we may almost, in a literal Sense, pray < without ceasing; and, by thus often looking up to Heaven, make our whole Life, as it were, one continued Act of "Demotion. To qualify ourselves for this holy Exercise, and by this Exercise for Heaven, we should be daily conversant with the Bible, especially the Psalms: This will not only beget in us a pious Disposition, which
will gradually improve into a Habit, but furnish us with proper Sentiments and Expressions, for such Ejaculations as I have been recommending.
And thus having considered the scriptural Acceptation of the Word Prayer, or praying j the Nature of Prayer, or wherein it consists; the proper ObjeSi of our Prayers; our Obligations, both from Reason and Revelation, to pray; the advantageous Effects of Prayer upon our Minds j the distinct Advantages peculiar to private and fublick Prayer; the Place where God may most acceptably be worshipped; the limes, or Frequency of Prayer; there is but one Head left, and that is, to consider the right Manner of performing the Duty.
The right Manner of performing the Duty of Prayer*
THE Success of every Thing depends upon the right Manner of performing it j and if it be not performed in such a Manner as to answer its proper Ends, an Action, tending in its natural Consequences, to produce the most beneficial Effects, may be attended with the most pernicious ones: This is the Cafe in all the common Affairs of Life: We may not only be frustrated in our Purposes, but do ourselves great Mischief by an Application of unfit Measures, or a wrong Application of right ones: If we stand in need of the Assistance of others we may use
Friendship, as may procure their Enmity. If we address ourselves to them under the Notion of paying them RespeSt, we may do it in such an unmannerly Way as implies DisrespeB, rather than Efleem; and, instead of payingThem a Compliment, it may carry an Affront, and for FaDour procure the highest Marks of Displeasure. And the more excellent the Person to whom we make our Addresses, the more exalted his Station and Character, the greater our Dependance upon him for Success and Happiness, the greater Care is required in our Deportment to him, because if we misbehave ourselves the Affront riles in proportion to those Circumstances. God Almighty, the most excellent in Perfections, to whom we owe ourselves, all our Enjoyments in this Life, and all our Expectations in a better; this great, this awful and tremendous Being, the High and Holy One that inhabiteth Eternity, this is the Object of our Prayers. What great Reason, therefore, have we to use our utmost Caution, in all our Addresses, what we fay to him, how we express ourselves, and how we behave whenever we approach his Presence. I know no Writer that has expressed himself more significantly and handsomely on this Head, than the celebrated Dr. Watts in his Treatise of Prayer. What I have to offer, will fall under the following Heads:
i. The Prayers themselves.