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speech, is assertory of the undoubted truth of it: so, when it is subjoined and used at the end of it, it is precatory; and signifies our earnest desire to have our prayers heard and our petitions granted : Ps. xli. 13. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen, and amen. Ps. lxxii. 19. Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, und amen. Ps. cvi. 48. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting : and let all the people say, Amen.
In the former sense of the words, as it is prefixed to a speech, it signifies so it is : in this latter, as it is added to a petition or request, it signifies so be it.
Now this teacheth us to put up all our petitions,
First. With understanding : duly weighing and considering what it is we ask of God. For when we use vain and insignificant babbling, how can we seal and close them up with a hearty Amen? And this condemns the mockery of the Papists; who, because God understands what is uttered in a language to them unknown, think that they may lawfully pray to him in a tongue which they themselves understand not. But, with what zeal, with what affection, can they close up such prayers with an Amen? This is like setting a seal to an instrument, which they know not what it contains; and is expressly condemned by the Apostle : I Cor. xiv. 16. How shall he, that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen, at thy giving of thanks ? seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest.
Secondly. It teacheth us to present all our requests to the Throne of Grace, with fervent zeal and affection. Amen is a wing to our prayers : it is the bow, that shoots them up to hea. ven. And, although every petition, as we utter them before God, should be accompanied with an earnest and hearty desire to have them heard and granted; yet, at the close of them all, we are to redouble and repeat this our desire in the word Amen. Wherein we do, as it were, briefly and succinctly pray over again all that we had prayed before; and, in one word, beg of God, that he would give us all that we had before asked of him.
And, therefore, whether we pray ourselves, or join in prayers with others and make their petitions ours, we ought to attest our understanding of, our assent unto, and our earnest desires after the mercies that are begged by sealing up the prayers with an Amen.
And, certainly, it would be a very beseeming thing, if Amens were audible and sounding: unless we are ashamed to be thought to pray, when others pray; and to make use of others' expressions, to present our petitions. When we come to the public worship, we are not to look upon the minister only as praying for the people; but he is the people's mouth unto God: and it is or ought to be the prayer of the whole congregation which he presents. They pray with him, and by him; and every petition, that he makes to God, ought to be ratified with an Amen sent from our very hearts : which if we sincerely and affectionately perform, we have abundant assurance, that what is confirmed by so many suffrages on earth, shall likewise be confirmed by our Father which is in heaven. And how beautiful, how becoming, would this be, when the whole Church shall thus conspire together in their requests! St. Jerome tells us, it was the custom in his days, to close up every prayer with such an unanimous consent, that their Amens rung and echoed in the Church; and sounded like the fall of waters, or the noise of thunder. This would be a testimony of our hearty consent to the things we pray for. And, if any two, that shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, shall have it granted them, as our Saviour hath promised, Mat. xviii. 19. then, certainly, the joint prayers of a whole multitude of Christians must needs have a kind of Omnipotency in them, and be able to do any thing with God.
And thus I have, with God's assistance, given you a brief Exposition of this most Excellent Prayer of our Saviour. The Lord sanctify it unto you; and make it a means to help you to pray with more understanding, with stronger faith, and with greater fervency!
THE END OF THE LARGER EXPOSITION.
BY THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD, EZEKIEL, LORD BISHOP OF DERRY; By which he examined the Youth each Lord's-Day, during the whole time
he preached upon the Lord's Prayer.
Quest. Is the Lord's Prayer a Form of Prayer, or only a Pattern · for Prayer?
Answ. It is both. That it is to be used as a Form, appears, Luke xi. 2. When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, &c. That it is a Pattern, Mat. vi. 9. After this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our Father, which art in heaven, &c.
Q. What are the Parts of this prayer?
1. The Preface, or Introduction.
Q. What is the Preface to this prayer?
to consider and reverently to express the glorious attributes of God, as an excellent means to compose us into a holy fear of his Divine Majesty.
Q. How many are the Petitions contained in this prayer ?
A. Six: whereof the three first respect God's glory, and the three last our own good.
Q. What learn you from this Order and Method ?
A. That we ought first to seek God's glory, before any' interests and concerns of our own.
Q. How are those petitions divided, which immediately concern the glory of God?
A. In the first of them, we pray that God may be glorified; in the other two, for the means whereby he is glorified.
Q. How divide you those petitions, which concern our own good? A. One relates to our temporal, the other two to our spiritual
Q. What observe you, from placing the petition for our temporal good, in the midst of this prayer?
A. That we are only to bait at the world, in our passage to heaven; and only refresh ourselves with our daily bread, in our way and journey thither.
Q. What are the petitions, which relate to our spiritual good?
A. They are two: one, whereby we beg the pardon of our sins; the other, whereby we beg deliverance from them.
Q. What ascribe you to God in the Doxology ?
1. His Sovereignty: 'Thine is the Kingdom.
are thine for ever. Q. What signifies that particle, “ Amen,” at the end of this prayer ? A. It signifies two things.
So be it: which notes our desire for the obtaining of what we ask.
So it shall bei which notes our assurance of being heard.
Q. What is the preface to the Lord's Prayer?
. A. “ Our Father, which art in heaven.”
Q. What doth this teach us?
A. That, in our entrance into prayer, we should seriously consider both the Mercy of God as he is our Father; and likewise his Majesty as he is in Heaven: that the one may beget in us filial boldness, and the other aweful reverence; and, by the mixture of both, we may be kept from despair and presumption.
Q. In what respects may God be styled Father ?
1. In respect to the Eternal Generation of his Son: and so this title is proper only to the First Person of the Trinity.
2. In respect of Creation and Providence: and so he is the Father of All: Mal. ii. 10, Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?
3. In respect of Regeneration and Adoption: and so he is the only Father of the Faithful: John i. 12, 13. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name : which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Rom. viii. 15, 16. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again, to fear: but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
Q. In what respects do we call God Father, in this prayer?
A. In the two last: as he hath created us and doth preserve us, and as he hath regenerated and adopted us.
Q. When ye style God, The Father, do ye mean only God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity ?
A. No. For God, the First Person, is eminently called, The Father, not in respect of us, but in respect of Christ. In respect of us, the whole Trinity, both Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is our Father which is in Heaven: Isaiah ix. 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his nume shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace: John iii. 5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'
Q. What is implied in this particle “ Our,” Our Father?