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Letter; because, it never was a Question with' me, whether Prayer be a Duty of natural Morality ?—'Whether an Obligation to the Performance of it, will not arise from the natural Relation and Fitness of Things f—Whether we be obliged, from such a Relation and Fitness, as rational Creatures, to perform it?—If the Duty be, what I readily acknowledge it to be, in itself, a natural Means of promoting Religion and Virtue; thence necessarily follows its natural Morality, its natural Fitness, and its natural Obligation upon us, as rational Creatures. Thus sar, my good Friend, you and I are at a perfect Agreement;—But, now, we must differ j not a little, but widely;—For, in a another Part of your Letter, you wave the Consideration of its natural Fitness, as a Means of Religion and Virtue, and state the Question exactly as I have done, but have not, as 1 conceive, prov'd the Point in Question. —You there say you will not consider the natural Fitness of Prayer, as a Means to an End, but as having in it a Fitness of Congruity, arising from the natural Relation between God and Man, or, (as I express'd it) between us dependent, and sinful Creatures, and God the Creator and Judge; affirming, that it is fit and congruous that we should acknowledge to Him, our Dependency and Sinfulness; and that, without making such an Acknowledgment, we should not act as it naturally becomes Beings to do, who stand in such a Relation. This is the Thing that I wanted, and do still want,


'to see prov'd.—But, good Sir, I must first

* take the Liberty (I wish you may not think

* that I take too much Liberty1) to deny your 'Distinction between a Fitness of Means to an

* End, and a Fitness of Congruity, they being,

* according to my Apprehension, synonymous

* Terms. .Whatever has a Fitness in it as a 'Means to an End, must, likewise, have a Fit

* ness of Congruity: For, pray Sk, consider, at

* teatively, what you mean by Congruity: If

* you mean any thing, certainly you must mean 'an Aptness, or Suitableness, in such an Action,

* to answer such a Fur pose, or to produce such an 'Effect. If there be a Congruity (for Instance) 'between a State of Dependence upon the

* j^rawe Being, and an Acknowledgement, to

* of that Dependence, it must be for some Rea

* Jbn that it is Jit for us so to behave. Now, 'what is this Reason, which constitutes the Fit

* ness of Congruity in this Cafe? It can be

* nothing different from the End, or Design, in

* tended to be answer'd by such an Action; they 'are the same Thing. This Reason, then, or 'End, for which the Action ought to be per'form'd, must relate to God, or to us; that is,

* if it be fit and congruous that dependent Crea

* tures mould acknowledge such their Depen

* dency, to Him, on whom they depend, it 'must be for one of these Reasons, i. e. for one 'of these Ends, or Purposes, either, that vie

* may be benefited, or that God may receive

* some Advantage, or Pleasure, from our De

* votions, simply consider'd. • Your Argument

'excludes 'excludes all Regard to the Influence that Prayer

* may have upon us, or any Good that it may 1 do us; and, consequently, in this way of Rea'soning, from our Relation to God, Jimply con'sidered, whatever Fitness there is in it, what

* ever good End can be anfwer'd by this Act,. Vit must wholly respect him to whom we pray;

* and if it respects God (which the present Ar

* gument supposes) he must be some way, or

* other, benefited by it; which, in my Opi

* nion^ is a most blasphemous Supposition. The

* Thing appears to me in so very clear and 'strong a Light, that it requires no Authorities 4 to support it j but I shall call in three great 'Writers to my Assistance. The great and 'good Dr. Scott, in his Christian Life, Vol. I. 'p. 4. Expresses himself thus, "God's essential '' Glory is so immense and secure, that we can '' do nothing to encrease, or diminish it j and no 4' other Glory can redound to him from with'' out, but what is the Reflection of his own li natural Rays. He understands himself too *' well to value himself either more, or less, for "the Praises, or Dispraises of his Creatures. He "is enough of Stage and Theatre to himself, '' and hath the same satisfying Prospect of his "own Glory in the midst of all the loud Blaf"phemies of Hell, as among the perpetual Hal'' lelujahs of Heaven. And, having so, it can'' pot be supposed that he should enjoin us to ft praise and glorify him for the sake of any '' Good, or Advantage, that may accrue to himfJ self by it, or out of any other Pleasure that

"he "he takes in hearing himself applauded by us, ** than in any other Act that is reasonable in "its own Nature; but it is therefore he will ** have us praise him because he knows that it w is for Our Good, and highly conduces, as it "is a most reasonable Action, to the Perfection 'c anfl Happiness of our reasonable Natures; betc cause our praising him naturally excites us to "imitate him, and to transcribe into oar own u Natures those adorable Perfections' which we "do admire and extol in his.—c Archbishop

* Tillotson shall be my next Voucher—Speaking , * of the goodness of God, p. 681, he fays, " It

'' is great Condescension and Goodness in God to ** accept of our Acknowledgements of his Benesits, of our imperfect Praises, and ignorant "Admiration of him; and were he not as won'' derfully good, as he is great and glorious, he "would not suffer us to fully his great and glo** ribus Name, by taking it into our Mouths.:—

* The other is Dr. Clagget, on the Lord's Prayer,

* the Introduction to it, where he fays,God "is so infinitely above us that it seemeth to look "like Arrogance and Pride for us, so much as "to presume to speak to him." 'And this seems "* to hold still stronger, when we consider our'selves as Sinners. Our natural ImperfccJions,

* when compared with the infinitely glorious "* and persect God, throw us at such an im

c mense Distance from him, as cannot avoid c striking us with such an awful Reverence as 'may make us fearful of approaching him; but,

* when we consider ourselves as Rebels, as havt ing offended against so much Goodness, and 'provok'd so much Power, instead of thinking 4 it fit and congruous, from this our dreadful 'Relation to him, to appear before him, it would 'more naturally overwhelm our guilty Minds 'with Confusion and Terror, that, like Adam

* and Eve in Paradise, we mould ichujp, rather, to hide ourselves from his Presence. To which

'purpose I (hall quote another very pertinent

* Passage from Dr. Scot, p. 204. "Next to ba"nijhing us from his Presence for ever, the "most effectual Course that God could take to "abase u$, was to exclude us from. all immediate "Intercourse with him, and not to admit of "arty Addresses, or Supplications from us, but "only thro' the Hands of a Mediator; which "is a plain Demonstration how infinitely pure "he is, and how base and vile our Sists have "ren3er'd us; insomuch, that he will not suffer "a Sinner to come near him, but by a Proxy; "that he will not accept of a Service from a "guilty Hand, nor listen to a Prayer from a sin"ful Mouth, 'till it is first hallowed and presented "to him by a pure and holy Mediator.". * It is c not only justifiable, but commendable, in us, 'to enquire into the Reasonableness and great

* Usefulness of the Duty of Prayer, in exciting, 'and improving, and propagating proper Senti* t ments and Dispositions. This may help to 'recommend the Practice of it, and make us . the more. constant and earnest in such holy *. Exercises. But, our principal Care must be

* toi possess our Minds with the strongest Sense

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