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In a word: we are frail, impotent, helpless, sinful creatures; labouring under manifold wants and infirmities; encompassed with innuinerable dangers; obnoxious to the Divine wrath and vengeance; and utterly unable of our. selves to do any thing for ourselves : our only hope is in God's mercy through Christ; His promises are our only comfort and security; these we must implore by incessant and earnest prayer : but as these are all of them conditional, it is certain that the success of our prayers will depend upon our faithful endeavours to perform the conditions on which God has promised the things we pray for. Though we ask ever so fervently, ever so importunately, ever so devoutly, if we do not ask according to the terms of the Gospel, the Gospel gives us no encouragement to believe that we shall receive what we ask.
This is a truth that well deserves our most serious consideration : and I have insisted the longer upon it, because a mistake in this point must needs be of very dangerous and fatal consequence.
What the apostle says of godliness in general, may truly be affirmed of this single instance of it, prayer, if rightly performed; viz. that it is profitable unto all things; having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. There is not any one thing necessary either to our temporal or eternal happiness, but what the pious Christian may procure to himself by diligent and faithful prayer to God for it. So that as much as we value our present and future welfare, so much it concerns us to take heed that our prayers be such as God for Christ's sake has promised to accept.
I am not unmindful that there are other qualifications necessary to the rendering our prayers successful; but for these I must here content myself with referring the devout reader to the preliminary instructions prefixed to the Daily Office, where he will find the qualifications, requisite to entitle our devotions to the Divine acceptance, distinctly enumerated, and the necessity of each of them proved at large by express citations out of the Holy Scriptures.
God of His infinite goodness give us all grace so to pray, and so to live, that our prayers may derive a happy influto our prayers; and both jointly contribute to our daily increase in those divine graces and virtues, which will through His mercy in Christ Jesus entitle us to God's peculiar favour and blessing in this world; and to that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which is reserved in heaven for all those, who, at the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, shall be found meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Amen.
OFFICES OF DEVOTION,
DAILY AND OCCASIONAL;
1. DEVOTIONS FOR THE MORNING. II. DEVOTIONS FOR THE EVENING. III. DEVOTIONS FOR THE NOON. IV. DEVOTIONS FOR THE AFTERNOON
taken out of the Holy Scriptures;
WITH SUITABLE PRAYERS.
To be frequent in prayer is a duty incumbent upon all: which as it is very strictly enjoined in Holy Scripture, so it has many very gracious and ample promises made to it, in order to encourage and enforce the practice of it. p. 2-3.
The qualifications necessary to entitle our prayers to the favour and acceptance of God are
1. a conscientious care and endeavour to serve God in purity of heart, and uprightness of life :
2. such a calm and peaceable, such•a charitable and beneficent temper, as can easily overlook, and readily forgive the indiscretions, and even the affronts and injuries of those we converse with; and upon all proper occasions will contribute cheerfully, and where God has given ability liberally, towards the relief of those who are in calamitous or indigent circumstances:
3. an attentive consideration of the nature and importance of the duty of prayer; and such an intense application of mind, and fervour of spirit, as may manifest an inward sense of our innumerable wants and miseries; and a just value for those inestimable mercies we pray unto God for: p.