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Divine Favour, while we frustrate his SERM. whole Ministry, and will be prevailed up
VII. on ourselves neither by his Love nor his Commands.
That this may have its proper Weight, we may add to our own natural Conception of the Case, the just Construction of it in the Holy Scripture ; where it is not treated as meer Disobedience, but Enmity, and malicious ingrateful Enmity, So the Epistle to the Hebrews, vi. 6. says of fuch Men, They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open Shame. And the xth Chapter, the 26th and following Verses, more largely ; If we fin wilfully after that we have received the Knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more Sacrifice for Sins, but a certan fearful looking for of Judgment, and fiery Indignation, which shall devour the Adversaries. He that despised Moses Law, died without Mercy, under two or three Witnesses : Of how much forer Punishment, suppose ye, shall be be thought worthy, who hath trodden under Foot the Son of God; and bath counted the Blood of the Covenant, wberewith be was fanétified, an unboly Thing ; and bath done Despite unto the Spirit of
SERM. Grace? Here then offers itself the Use of · VII.
our Manner of Praying, Let every one that nameth the Name of Christ, depart from Iniquity. And this is continually inforced upon our Thoughts every Time we open our Lips to beg or acknowledge, the daily Gifts of Heaven ; and the Extremity of the contrary Abuse presses it with undeniable Conviction, and a Vehemence irresistible. For what does the Prayer of the impenitent, unreform'd Sinner, according to the Scriptures just cited, but plead the Merits of that Blood which he daily profanes ; and offer to propitiate God by the Mediation of his Son, whom he hath trodden under Foot?
The last Condition we are obliged to, if we would have our Prayers and the Promises made to them available, is Faith ; that is, we are to depend on the Truth and on the Goodness of God, that, we performing our Parts before laid down, he will grant us, either what we directly ask, or what is yet more beneficial. This appears in the Words of our Lord, St. Matthew xxi. 21, 22. Verily I say unto you, If you have FAITH, and doubt not,
ge mall not only do this which is done to the Serm. Fig-tree; but also, if ye shall say unto this VII. Mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the Sea ; it shall be done. And all Things whatsoever ye fall ask in Prayer, believing, ye shall receive: To which we may add those of St. James, since it will be plain by the former, that they are equally applicable to all Petitions. Let bim, faith he, i. 6,7. ask in FAITH, nothing wavering. For be that wavereth is like a Wave of the Sea, driven with the Wind and toffed. For let not that Man think, that be hall receive any Thing of the Lord. The Ground of this, in the Reason of the Thing, seems to be twofold. The first Part this ; that all Want of Trust in the Goodness of God, and the Security of his Promises, puts Men in the Rank of great Offenders, that of Dishonourers of God; and so renders them unworthy of his Goodness, and incapacitates them to claim any Benefit by those Promises. The second Part is, that the same Diftruft is destructive of a main End of Prayer, namely, to keep us ever sensible of our perpetual Dependance on the so
SERM. vereign Power and Bounty of our Creator VII. and Preserver. This indeed is the fureft
Foundation of all Religious Worship; from which we may be convinced, how reafonably and necessarily that which is inconsistent with it, will render our pretended Devotions vain and unacceptable.
Now I should proceed to Thew, what Powers there are in the Method of the Text to cure 'this Defect;' what Encouragement and enlivening must accrue to our Faith from the Name of the Great Author and Finifher of it. But since this falls in with what I propounded for my Second Part of this Discourse, that is the evident Affurance of obtaining our Petitions, which springs from the gracious Appointment of making them in so prevailing a Name ; and since the Time is near spent, I shall refer them both together to the Opportunity of another Day.
JOHN xvi. 23.
foever ye fail ask the Father in
Spoke the last Lord's- Serm.
dy to sink under the Apprehension of their Lord's Departure ; and proceeded to the general Application of them, no less intended, for the Benefit of