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vency of Prayer, so that you might have Recourse to a full View of them, as often as your Mind wanted such Assistance, you would soon find a Benefit, that would well Reward your Labour. On the contrary, whenever you have found your self very much Indisposed for Prayer, reflect with your self, what State you was then in, what had happen'd unto you, what Thoughts you had in your Head, what Pasions were then awakened, what you had been doing, or were intending to do ; for when you have found out the State that you was then in, you have found out the real Hindrances of your Devotion, and are made certain what things you are to avoid, in order to keep your self in a Temper of Devotion.

If you was here again to make short Remembrances in Writing, of the chief

Things which at such times rendered you indisposed for Prayer, and oblige your self frequently to read them and reflect upon them, you would by this Means, fet a Mark upon every thing that did you any Hurt, and have a constant, faithful Information of what Ways of Life, you are most to avoid. If in Examining your State, you should find that sometimes impertinent Visits, foolish Conversation, or a Day idly Spent in civil Compliances with the Humours and Pleasures of other People, has rendered your Mind dull and indisposed, and less aff:Eted with Devotion, than at other times, then you will have found, that impertinent Visits, and ceremonious Compliances in spending our time, are not little, indifferent Things, but are to be numbered amongst thole Things which have a great effe&t upon our Minds, and such as are to be daily watched and guarded against, by all those who are so wise as to desire, to be daily alive unto God in the Spirit and Temper of Devotion.


I PASS now to another Observation upon the Benefit of frequent Prayers.

THIRDLY, Frequent and continued Prayer is the best Remedy against the Power of Sin. I do not mean as it procures the Divine Grace and Assistance, but as it naturally Convinces, Instructs, and Fortifies the Mind against all Sin. For every, endeavour to pray, is an endeavour to feel the Truth of our Prayers, to convince our Minds of the Reasonableness and Fitness of those Things, that are the Subje&t of our Prayers, so that he who prays most, is one that most labours to convince his Heart and Mind of the Guilt, Deformity, and Misery of Sin. Prayer therefore confidered merely as an Exercise of the Heart upon such Subjects, is the most certain




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way to destroy the Power of Sin ; because so far as we pray, so far we renew our Conviâions, enlighten our Minds, and fortify our Hearts by fresh Resolutions. We are therefore to consider the Necessity and Benefit of Prayer, not only as it is that which God hears, but also as it is that, which by its natural Tendency alters and corrects our Opinions and Judgments, and forms our Hearts to such Ways of Thinking, as are suitable to the Matter of our Prayers.

Now this is an unanswerable Argument for frequency and continuance in Prayer, since if Prayer at all convinces the Mind, frequency and continuance in Prayer, must be the most certain way to establish the Mind in a steady well-grounded State of Conviction. They therefore who are for short Prayers, because they suppose, that God does not need much intreaty, ought also to Thew, that the Heart of Man does not need Alistance of much Prayer, that it is so regular and uniform in its Tendency to God, so full of right Judgments and good Motions, as not to need that Strength and Light, and Help, which arises from much praying. For unless this be the State of our Hearts, we shall want much Prayer to move and awake our felves, though but little was necessary to excite


the Goodness of God. If therefore Men would consider Prayer, not only as it is an Invocation of God, but also as it is an Exercise of holy T oughts, as it is an endeavour to feel and be affected with the great Truths of Religion, they would soon see, that though God is so good, as not to need much calling upon, yet that Man is so weak as to need much Assistance, and to be under a constant Necessity of that Help, and Light, and Improvement which arises from praying much.

It is perhaps for this Reason, that God promises to give to those who are importunate and ask without ceasing, to encourage us to practice that Exercise, which is the most natural Cure of the Disorders of our Souls. If God does not give to us at our first asking, if he only gives to those who are importunate, it is not because our Prayers make any Change in God, but because our Importunity has made a change in our selves, it has altered our Hearts, and render'd us proper Objects of God'sGifts and Graces. When therefore we would know how much we ought to pray, we must consider how much our Hearts want to be altered, and remember that the great Work of Prayer, is to work upon our selves; it is not to move and affect God, but it is to move and affect our own Hearts, G84


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and fill them with such Tempers as God de lights to reward.

PRAYER is never so good a Preservation againsi Sin, it never so corrects and àmends the Heart, as when we extend it to all the Particulars of our State, enumerating all our Wants, Infirmities, and Disorders, not because God needs to be informed of them, but because by this Means we inform our felves, and make our Hearts in the best Manner acquainted with our true Condition.

When our Prayers are thus particular, descending to all the Circumstances of our Condition, they become by this Means a faithful Glass to us, and so often as we pray, lo often we see our selves in a true Light.

This is the most likly Means to raise in us proper Affections, to make us feel the Force and Truth of such Things, as are the Subject of our Devotions. Don't be content therefore with confeffing your self to be a Sinner, or with praying against Sin in general, for this will but little affect your Mind, it will only fhew you to your self in such a State as all Mankind are in ; but if

you find your self out, if you confess and lay open the Guilt of your own particular Sins, if you pray constantly against such particular Sins, as you find most subject to, the frequent Sight of your


your self

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