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great delight, as any now in hell; or as those poor besotted debauchees who are now ripening themselves for ruin; and not only so, but who are contending and striving which of them shall first arrive in hell: but, to the praise of God, I am forced now to say, and that in truth, I find such a change in my nature, that, to gain the world, I cannot now do as I was wont to do formerly; those immoralities, wherein I sometimes pleased and delighted my very heart, I now abhor and loath; yea, I abominate and abhor myself to think of them. And the acts of religious duties, which before I scorned and laughed at, now I prize and value, accounting them more desirable than my daily bread. And from what principle this so great and wonderful change should spring, except that seed of God communicated in effectual calling, cannot be devised; that seed called the new creature, or the divine anointing, poured forth on the elect soul in conversion. It is a living spring flowing from Christ, that living fountain of all grace and life, into the soul of the effectually called sinner. And, like as in nature, a right natural spring will purge and purify itself from whatever dirt or filth is cast or fallen into it; even so that living spring of grace in the regenerate soul, which took its first rise or origin from the inexhaustible fulness of Christ its fountain, and which is continually fed by the renewed supplies which flow from Christ into the believer's soul, will not, nor ever can be reconciled to any
sin, though never so pleasing to the unregenerate part in the believer : but, when the believer is surprized by a temptation to act folly, that living spring of
grace in the soul falls on purging out the filth and guilt contracted by that sin fallen into; and can never be quiet until the believer, by renewed acts of faith on the blood of Christ, and godly sorrow and repentance for such a sin, recovers again the sense and perception of God's favour; and not only so, but until the believer feels in himself that by that very fall he hath got more strength against indwelling sin than he had before, whereby his hatred of, and antipathy against, all sin are increased and strengthened. This may be looked on, by those whose principles and practices bespeak them children of the bondwoman, to be Antinomian doctrine. But, whether they re'ceive or reject it, sure I am that the word of God warrants the believing it for undoubted truth; and I doubt not but the experience of the most judicious Christians will readily subscribe the same.
Neither do I mean, in the second place, that the truly regenerate soul doth, in his living to God, come up to that perfect conformity to the law of God as is his duty; but my meaning is, that the really converted soul doth as truly aim at, design, and endeavour to give and perform, sincere and universal obedience to the law, as the old Adam's nature in him leads and stirs him up to violate and transgress God's holy law, both negatively and positively,
"And wherein he finds himself short of that obedience which God's most holy and righteous law requires, he confesses and bewails, with shame and sorrow, his shortness in duty; and, by renewed acts of faith and fervent prayer to the throne of grace, he flies to the perfection of Christ, his surety's perfect obedience to the moral law, laying hold thereon, and by faith appropriating and applying the same to himself as his own; and under that shadow he finds himself safe and secure.
Having thus, as plainly and briefly as I could, described the person whom God will vouchsafe to hear in prayer, I come, in the next place, to discover what kind of prayer that is which he accepts.
As the word dikaios, just, or righteous, properly signifies a person who is by the judge declared or pronounced to be just or innocent; or to be absolved or acquitted in judgment; and so marks out, by way of distinction, the person whom God will hear, excluding all others whatsoever, be their birth and qualifications what they will according to fleshly generation; so, the words dinois ivepyovuévn, “deesis energoumene,' signify and import an inwrought prayer, or a prayer wrought by the Holy Ghost within the soul of the person so declared or pronounced just and innocent. And, as the term just, or righteous, distinguisheth between the person whom God will hear, and the person whom he abominates, so the terms inwrought prayer distinguisheth between that
pleaseth God, and the prayer or prayers which will stink in his nostrils, how pleasing soever such prayers seem to unjustified and self-pleasing zealots. From the import and signification of the word in the original, I shall observe three things by way of remark.
First, That the inwrought prayer mentioned in the text is the work of God's Spirit in the soul of a justified, pardoned sinner, in producing which the pardoned sinner himself hath no hand, but is effected by the immediate efficiency of the Holy Ghost, and is therefore a material part of the new creation, wrought in the elect sinner in effectual calling. 2 Cor. v. 17. Ephes. ii. 10.
Secondly, That the inwrought prayer in the text is the gift of God, peculiar to the elect, and to none else, and that in the right of election. God never sends forth the Spirit of his Son into the heart of any sinner, to enable such a one to call him, Abba, Father, but into that sinner whom the Father elected and chose to himself in Christ his Son. Gal. iv. 6.
Thirdly, That, to mock and persecute those, who have received this inwrought prayer in their souls, is the infallible brand or character of a scoffing Ishmaelite, who is a stranger to the spirit and grace of God's covenant. Gal. iv. 29. 2 Pet. iii. 3. Jude 18.
Fourthly, That every prayer, which is not wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost, but devised by human wit, and by compulsion imposed
on the conscience, is offensive to, and will be rejected of God, how plausible soever the arguments for devising and imposing such prayers may be. Isa. xxix. 13.
Having thus plainly discovered that the person whom God will vouchsafe to hear is, and must be, a justified, pardoned sinner ; not one wlio is yet in a state of enmity against and alienated from God; and likewise that the only prayer God will accept is that which is wrought in the soul of a pardoned and justified sinner by the Holy Ghost; I proceed to speak to the several other questions propounded to be resolved about
prayer. And the third question is, Whether it be lawful for, or the duty of, an unregenerate man to pray unto God, seeing that the best actions of such a man are an abomination unto God?
I answer in the affirmative, that it is not only lawful for, but the undoubted duty of, an unregenerate man to pray unto God. The reasons hereof are as follow.
First, Because prayer, as it is a part of natural worship, is a duty incumbent on all Adam's children ; and, although such is the depraved state and condition of Adam's children that they cannot pray without sinning in what they do, yet it still remains their duty.
Secondly, Because of two evils the less is always to be chosen.
It is a great evil to offer that as sacrifice to a holy God which is polluted with sin, as all the