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SERM. rious Hopes they had conceived, must have
of Grief, and Fear, and Disappointment.
the Interest and Virtue of his Name, who SERM. had chosen them, and whom they had loved VIL and believed.
Nevertheless, this and other Declarations were only thus tim’d for their Sakes, but made with a common Regard to the Direction and Benefit of all other Persons and Ages of the Church they were to establish; which Thing appears from the Prayer contained in the following Chapter, (the xviith.) wherein our Lord most folemnly commending the Disciples, after his Departure, to the Protection and Sanctification of his father ; explains his Will to place all future Christians also in the like Degree of Divine Love, and an equal Hope of Communication of Divine Blefhings. Verse 20, and 21. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their Word: that they all may be one ; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may
be one in us.' Accordingly, we see, the Christian Church embraces the Direction above, and in her Litany closes all Addresses to the Throne of Grace with the
pre vailing Name of her Lord Jesus Christ.
SÉRM. And, I would to God, every Part and VII. Member of it had contented themselves
with this all-fufficient Pledge for obtaining their Petitions ; had not dishonour'd THAT, and weaken'd their Interest, instead of fo:tifying it, with other Names and Mediations. But the excellent Use of that Form, prescrib'd by God, which shews itself in directing the Matter of Prayer, qualifying the Petitioner, and securing the Success, will - best infer, how absurd in it-felf, pernicious to real Piety, and injurious to our One Lord, this other Practice of human Invention deserves to be esteemed. 4. The Confideration of the Promise, made in the Text, will lead us to the Use I have mentioned. Every reasonable Man, upon View of the Generality of that, or any other like Propofition, immediately enquires, if there be not fome Limitations included or intended, though not directly exprefs’d. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you. · The scommon Sense of a moral Man will con-fine the Interpretation to Things fit to be asked by the one, and given by the other: And the Knowledge of a Christian Man
instructs him from other Scriptures, what SERM, are the Particulars necessary to be observ'd, VII
. as well in the Subject Matter of the Petition, as in the Person and Spirit of him that makes it. And if our asking in the Name of Christ, ferves naturally as a perpetual Monitor, and most powerful Regulator to those Purposes, the Excellency of the Appointment will thereby appear ; which I design for the firft Part of this Discourse ; as I do for the latter, the com, fortable and evident Assurance of Success, which undeniably springs from the same.
The principal Limitations to the Promise, Whatsoever ye fall ask, we shall find to be, first, that we ask Things good, and to good Ends : secondly, that we be ourselves in a State of Repentance, and Disposition of Obedience' : and thirdly, that we ask in Faith and full Trust on the Divine Goodness. The several Proofs of these Points, from Reason and Revelation, being first touch'd, I shall insist upon the fame Consequence as maintain'd with a fpecial Force and Effect, by the Christian Manner of Praying recommended in the Text.
SERM The firf Limitations concern, as I said, VII. the Things prayed for ; that they be theme
felves good, and fought by the Supplicant for good Ends. In the former Part, as far as we ourselves are alone concerned, there would be no Need of the Rule, wero it not for our Ignorance of the Matter ; for no Man can defire nor ask for what he knows to be immediately prejudicial to himself; yet in Fact we are sure there is great Need of it. But how can it be apply'd, Unce our Ignorance is such, that unless we forbear almost all particular Petitions, especially in Things temporal, we fhall most frequently fall into the Abfurdity of praying against ourselves ? Reafor prescribes the Remedy, that thefe Requefts must ever be accompanied with that Exception, express’d, or lodg'd in the Han bit of our Minds s. if the All-feeing Eye difcerns it to be finally good for us. And hereby we do not only avoid the Evit we pray for, but obtain the Good we pray not for's the Goodness of our Father, which is in Heaven, giving us upon this Condition,
Bread, when we ask Stones, and Fish, when we ask Serpents.