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A Practical Discourse upon the Prayer for all con.

ditions of Men. S.III. God the Creator and Preserver of all span

kind, we bambig beseech thee foz all sozts and conditions of spen, that thou wouldet be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, the rating health anto all Pattons. ]

That the Church hath introduced every Prayer with those divinc Attributes, which are fittest to direct and encourage the Petitions thercof, hath been noted before: And the Observation may be renewed and confirmed from the Preface to this Collect, which being a Request for all men is begun with a Commemoration, that our God is the Creatoz, Rev.iv.1 1.and the Preserver of all Mankind, Job vii.20. from the Confideration whereof we learn two things. 1. That he is fit to be addrefsed to in behalf of all men, 2. That we are obliged to make the Address to him.

1. To whom should we pray for all men, but to him whose Power created them at first, and whose mercy preserves them ever since? Man is one of the noblest of his Works, and a principal part of his carc, so that we commend unto him the work of his hands, and those that are the objects of his daily Providence, and dear to him above all the rest of the Creation; for his Spirit rejoyceth in the habitable part of the Earth, and its delights are with the Sons of men, Prov.viii.31. And we may be assured he is able to do whatsoever we shall desire for them,or any of them, for he hath made, and doth preserve them all. Mankind is indeed of several sorts, inhabiting in several Countries, speaking different Languages, diftinguished by various Names, Complexi-ons,Humours, Customs and Laws. And in the same Natje' on, some are Princes, others Subjects; there are rich and

poor,

Dd 3

poor, young and old, males and females, bond and free, but in this they all agree , that God is the maker, and the keeper of them all, Prov.xxii.2. And all of them need his help; He also understands their feveral wants, and he only is able to relieve them; He therefore alone is fit to be addreffcd unto for all mankind.

II. And we are obliged to make this Address, for He is our maker and Preserber also, and all men are

our Brethren ; we are all infpired (1) si ab uno Deo

with the same breath of life (1), inspirati omnes do s. All made by the same hand; of the nimati, quid aliud fame matter, A&s xvij.26. And all quam fratres fumus? La&t.l.6.

sprung from the same common PaOmnes hominess

rents : So that we are obliged by welur jure quod.im nature to pray for all sorts of men. germanitatis connexi,. And when we do make such an uab uno patre conditi, niversal Request, what is more ne, do una matre, tanquam fratres uterini ceffary or more desirable to be asked editi.Amb. de Abra- for them, than for their Conversion? ham,lib,2,

And where can we have a better

form to ask this by, than in the holy Scripture? from whence we have taken David's words, Pfal.lxvii.2. That thy ways may be known upon Earth, and thy faving Health among all Nations: The next Petition is made for the Church, to whom God's wars are known already, but this is to be understood of the poor

Heathens and all Infidels, who are strangers to their matter and preserver ; for these therefore we pray that God who only can, may also please to make his ways known unto them; understanding by his ways, either the Methods of his Providence in the wife dispoSal of all things, and the course which his Mercy takes to save poor sinners, as Psil.xxv.4. Isai.lv.8. which are so lovely and admirable, that if the World did see them they would be converted by such a prospect: Or elfe by

his ways,may be meant his Commandements and Laws, as Psal.cxix.1,3,15,&c.which are the path that he hath marked out to lead us to eternal happiness (m). We desire these (m) que el via Paths may be made known to the tna ? quæ ducit ad te; Heathen World : And not only his Agnoscamus quò ca

mus, agnoscamus qua Laws, but his Gospel also, which is

eamus, Aug. in Pfal. the meaning of God's fading 67. Health , and is so called, because it is the bleffed way of faving Souls by Jesus Christ, Rom. i. 16. and chap. xi.11. We indeed are already happy in the Knowledg of both the Law and the Gospel, and we have abundant comfort and infinite benefit thereby, which may teach us to pity and

pray

for those millions of poor Men and Women, that are as yet Pagan, and worship stocks and stones, and serve the infernal Spirits instead of God; and those that are Mahumatan who believe in an Impostor, and take an infamous cheat for their grand Prophct ; as also those obstinate Jews, who yet reject their promised Meffiah. All these have rational and immortal Souls as well as we ; and oh! what pity is it they should live and dye in this miserable Delution, and run such a desperate hazard of their eternal Damnation ? If we have any compassion for our own flesh and blood, any value for their poor Souls, or any fenfe of their miferics, let us thew it in our most hearty Prayers for their Conversion, which will advance the glory of God, enlarge the Kingdom of Jesus, and rescue innumerable poor Souls from a sad and intolerable ruine.

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S.IV.99 Die espectalle we pray for the good éftate

of the Catholick Church, that it may be ro galded and governed by the good Spirit, that all who pzofels, and call themselves Cyridians, may be led into the way of Trutb.]

We are commanded to do good to all men , especially to such as are of the boushold of Faith, Gal.vi.10.which precept may serve for the Rule of our Prayers, as well as the Direction of our Charity, and teach us, when we pray for all men, especially to pray for the Catholick Charcb. S. Augustine saith, that in his time they pray

ed for the Improvement of good (n) Orantes ut qui men, as well as the Conversion of boni surt meliores fit. the evil (n); In like manner, when ant do opere bono per

we have expressed our Charity aqui mali sunt cirò se currig int.

broad, in desiring that Heathens Aug. Homil.6. tom: may be converted, we must not forX.p.92.

get to take care nearer home, but

must Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, Pfal.cxxii.6. that is, for the good Estate of the Catholick Church, that it may be in a prosperous and safe Condition in every part of the World, free from Violence and Persecution, that it may be honoured and defended, fair and flourishing, quiet and abounding in all good things. This we may account the good Etate of the Church; although we may observe this Prayer seems not to look so much at the external Prosperity of the Church, nor doth it reckon its good Eftate to conlist so much in outward good things ; for it follows, that it may be so gutbed, &c. T'he Inspiration of the spirit and the Profession of the Truth, the Unity and Piety of the Members thereof, are more really the good Estate of the Church,than riches or any worldly fplendor, as is evidenced from the first ages, wherein it was

morc

more glorious in its Poverty and Persecution, than it was afterwards in its Peace and Plenty (O). We wilh therefore, that

Co) Fa&ta eft qui the Church may flourish as well dem opibus major, fed

virtutibus minor, Hioutwardly as inwardly, but espe- eron.in vit.Malch. cially we pray for the internal happiness thereof, viz. That the whole body thereof may be animated by God's good Spirit, which is as it were, the Soul of the Church, by which Jesus our Head quickens the whole Body, and orders every part. Now we have a gracious Promise from our Lord, that his Spirit {hall be with his Church to the end of the World, John xiv. 16. And shall guide it into all Truth; chap.xvi.13. So that as to the whole Church we are sure it shall never be forsaken by God, nor suffered to fall into any notorious Errors : But we know, that particular persons may fall into Errors and Impieties. There are many who profess the Religion of Chaitians in general, and call themselves by that Name, and are called so by others, which are but dead Limbs and withered bran. ches, being in a worse condition than the Heathens, because these think themselves safe, aud imagine their bare Profession will save them, when in Truth it will more surely and sadly condemn all such as dishonour it, and live contrary to it (P). Such as these therefore we ought to pity (D) Atrocijs enim and pray for wishing if it were pof fub sancti nominis profible, that Heresies and Schisms,im- sublimior eft prero

feffione peccamus, ubi piety and injustice might never be gativu major efi culpa. masked under the holy Name of Salv.gubol.4. Christian ; But first,that every Chriftian in Profession may by the good Spirit be led into the way of Truth, that none among us may revive any old Herefies, or invent any new ones, That none may deny antient and fundamental Articles,nor yet introduce

new

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