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join so often. The fewer need it, the better: but those who do it, it is of Importance to assist. For with the more Understanding we pray, with the more Pleasure and Earnestness we shall pray. And as on our Praying, as we ought, depends our obtaining God's Grace and Blessing; so on that depends our only true Comfort in this World, and our eternal Happiness in the next.
i Cor. xiv. 15.
—I will fray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the Understanding also: I will Jing with the Spirity and I will Jing with the Understanding also.
FROM these Words I have proposed to discourse on the two following Subjects. I. That good Christians are assisted by the holy Ghost, in offering up their Petitions and Praises to God. I will pray with the Spirit: I will sing with the Spirit.
II. That we should be very solicitous rightly to apprehend the Sense and Fitness of what we say and do in his Presence. I will pray, I will jing, with the Understanding also.
The former of these Heads I have finished:
and after proving its Truth, I made it my chief
M 3 Endeavour Endeavour to prove further, that this Aid from above is not such, as to afford any Argument against using public Forms of Prayer; of which I (hewed you both the Lawfulness and the Expediency: answering, .aj th,e same Time* some general Objections against our own established Form; but reserving the. more particular ones for the second Head: under which I promised to vindicate the principal Things, which hav« been blamed in the state'd Offices of our Liturgy; to explain such as may seem hard to understand, Or liable to be misunderstood; and direct your Attention to such, as you may not otherwise observe. sufficiently. To this I shall now proceed, following the Order of the Book.
But it will be propcpfirst to take Notice of the laudable Custom, that every one, who comes to join in the Devotions of our Church, should perform, at his Entrance into his Place, a short preparatory Act of Worship in private. Now this, as well as every Thing else, ought to be done with Understanding; not to be an unmeaning Formality, in ignorant Compliance with common Practice; but a serious Address to God, that he would enable and incline us to attend in such Manner to what we are about to hear, and say* and do, that we may honour and
please please Him, edify our Fellow-Worshippers, benefit and finally save our own Souls. For which Purpose, either these very Words, which 1 have mentioned, may be used; or any others of the like Import, chosen by ourselves; or, as perhaps is more usual, those expressive and excellent ones, that conclude the 19th Psalm: Let the Words of my Mouth, and the Meditation of my Heart, be acceptable in thy Sights O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer. Only, whatever our Expressions are, we should be extremely careful not to make so very bad a Beginning, as to put up this previous Request: either thoughtlessly or insincerely. And the fame Care should employ our Minds throughout the whole. For that End, we sliould avoid, as much as we can, all needless, but absolutely all light and ludicrous Conversation, even before the Service begins. And after it is begun, the fewer of the more transient Intercourses of Civility are exchanged, the better. For surely they make a very unsuitable Mixture with the awful Words, which we are hearing, or perhaps repeating, at the same Time: and must in some Degree take off our Attention from them. Nor will it be a less Hindrance of our Devotion, to remark over curiously, what other Per