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zdly, The Exercise of Prayer is of infinite Service towards our living comfortably in all Circumstances of Life. That we ought to be satisfied and easy under the different Dispensations of Providence, is so plain a Truth, that I think no body can be ignorant of it. Our blessed Lord * teaches us to pray that God's Will may be done , on Earth, as it is in Heaven; and, consequently, we are indispensably bound to submit to all the Disposals of our heavenly Father; not only to be contented, but cbearful under them. Now, in order to this State of Mind, two Things are necessary.—First, That we be not over anxious about the Success of our Affairs.—Secondly, That we be not displeas'd with such Evils as are actually come upon us; and in both these Cases the constant Exercise of Prayer, when rightly performed, will be very helpful.

Firji, I say, it makes Men perfectly easy with respect to future Contingencies; with respect to what may happen in the Changes os this uncertain Life. It is evident that an owr-careful Temper is a great Misfortune, it robs a Man of all present Satissaction, and makes his Life a Bur- . den to him; but Prayer removes this great Evil: He that is accustom'd to converse with . his Creator, the wife and good Governour of the World, by so doing practises Resignation, gives himself up wholly into God's Hands, and thereby acquires the Habit of being without Carefulness; because, having trusted all Things in the Hands of a good and gracious Master, of a kind and tender Father-, he cannot but be assured that all

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his Affairs shall be5 so order'd as, in the final JA sue of things, shall be best for him; and Anxiety is so utterly inconsistent with this absolute Resignation, that the Practice of the one must necessarily destroy the other. Besides, he that does rightly perform the Duty of Prayer, does always pray for a Blessing upon all his Endeavours j and whenever he sets about any partial-: lar Business, he begs God's peculiar Providence over him in it 5 when he has done this he cannot doubt of as much Success as is consistent with his own real Good, tho', perhaps, not always what is most agreeable to him: And, therefore, every good Man, thus imploring the Blessing of God upon his Endeavours, may depend upon Success whenever it is not better for him to be without it. For which Reason, he that thus practises Prayer, can never be solicitous about Futurity; he is absolutely certain that, upon the whole, every thing shall turn out to his Advantage: This gives him a Tranquillity of Mind to which others must be Strangers. They are divided and torn to Pieces by perplexing Thoughts; their Minds, like the troubled Sea that casteth up Mire and Dirt, is frequently foreboding Disasters; and, having placed no Confidence in God, the great Disposer of all Things, they have no Security that any real Calamity which they dread shall not happen, thwart their Designs, and bring them into Distress. But,

Secondly, the Exercise of Prayer can make Men easy under all those Calamities, which are


actually fallen upon them. The best Man upon Earth cannot promise himself an absolute Security from temporal Evils and Afflictions, because God oftentimes sees it convenient to lay Sorrows upon, his choicest and most favourite Servants for their Good; so that they must taste of That which, to Flem and Blood, is a bitter Cup. Now, when these Calamities do befal us, certainly they are very burthensome to human Nature; and, if we have not Assistance from Religion, we know not how to bear them with any Temper. We may be but too plainly convinced of this by observing what many Persons will do, how they will facrifize their Conscience, and risk their eternal Happiness, to avoid them, or to get rid of them; and, therefore, it must needs be a great Happiness to be delivered from the Burden of such fad Accidents as human Foresight cannot teach us to stiun, nor human Power enable us to re-' move: Nor, is it only our Happiness, but our Duty also, thus patiently to submit, and take off our bitter Portion with a chearful Resignation: God has positively commanded us not to murmur, or repine, but with all Readiness and Alacrity to receive his Chastisements, and to count it all yoy when we fall into diverse Temptations, knowing that the Tryal of our Faith worketh Patience. This was the Practice of the blessed Apostles, who were transported by their Sufferings for Christ; not into Despair, nor an inveterate Hatred of the Rod that smote them, but into triumphant Exultation, and the most / flaming Love of their Master, who counted them '* worthy

worthy to suffer in his Name. This must be cur Practice too, if we expect to arrive at those happy Regions, where^They who suffer for the chrijiian Faith," or, any ways, in the Discharge of their Duty, shall be glorified together with Christ. But, how is this absolute Resignation, this necessary Duty, possible to him that does not practise the Duty of Prayer? He kicks against the Pricks; he makes his Misfortunes gall him the more by bearing the Yoke with Impatience: Whereas, he that prays to God in his Distress, knowing, that it is the Will of his heavenly Father that he should be afflicted, submits his Saul and Body to his Disposal; begs his Assistance to enable him to bear the Cross, and, then, is heartily willing to take it upon his Shoulders: Me considers that God is his Friend, who intends, and acts, for his Benefit; and, by frequent Converse with his Friend in Prayer, he becomes so thoroughly satisfied of his real Love, and Kindness towards him, that he never utters a. repining Word, or entertains a discontented Thought. Knowing that he has used his best Endeavours, if God sees fit that he should be disappointed, he does not desire that the Ends of infinite Wisdom should be defeated: And, if at any time his Fortune be blasted, his Family visited with Sickness, or himself cast upon a Bed of Sorrows; why, he is assured that Afflictions do not rise out the Dust, but are sent for wife Purposes, by the supreme Governour of the World; and, therefore, he retires within himself; converses with that God who laid the

Trouble tirely fanned, begs such a Measure of his Grace as may sustain his loaded Mind from sinking under the W eight of its Burden.—Every one knows what a Relief it is to a Person in Afflic-r tion to have a faithful Friend, to whom he can fieely unbosom himlelf, especially if he be such a one as he knows to be bo>h able arid willing, to assist him. What infinite Satisfaction and Comfort, then, must it be to an afflicted Soul to unbosom itself to its dear Redeemer and omnif potent God, who, alone, is able, and who is most certainly willing to help it, either by removing the Complaint, or turning it to a spiritual Advantage, and amply rewarding it in another World, Under these Circumstances of Distress, let us imagine some such Conversation as this, between God and the afflicted Soul. "The Soul, by Prayer, laments its fad Condi"tion, lays open all its Complaints and Griev"ances, acknowledges the Justice, and mag"nifies the Love of God, in thus dealing with "him, humbly imploring the divine Assistance "to comfort, support, and relieve it." In answer to this Address, God, by the Holy Scriptures (which the Soul by Faith applies to itself) and the lecret Suggestions of his Spirit, " Testifies "his sincere Affection; kindly declares the "Reasons of his laying on the Burden, with an Assurance that it shall continue no longer than Mercy itself shall see necessary; comforts it *' with Promises of sufficient Assistance, and [f shews it the Glory pf thai Crown which shall

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