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whereby he assists us in the discharge of this duty. There are several things in which they differ; as,
1st, The former of these oftentimes proceeds from a slavish fear and dread of the wrath of God; the latter from a love to, and desire after him, which arises from the view we have of his glory, as our covenant God, in and through a Mediator.
2dly, Raised affections in unregenerate persons, are seldom found, but when they are under some pressing affliction, in which case, as the prophet says, They will seek God early, Hos. v. 15. but when this is removed, the affections grow stupid, cold, and indifferent, as they were before his afflicting hand was laid upon them: Whereas, on the other hand, a believer will find his heart drawn forth after God and divine things, when he is not sensible of any extraordinary affliction that gives vent to his passions; or he finds, that as afflictions tend to excite some graces in the exercise whereof his affections are moved, so when it pleases God to deliver him from them, his affections are still raised while other graces are exercised agreeably thereunto.
3dly, Raised affections, in unregenerate men, for the most part, carry them forth in the pursuit of those temporal blessings which they stand in need of: Thus when Esau sought the blessing carefully with tears, it was that outward prosperity which was contained therein, that he had principally in view, as disdaining that his brother Jacob should be preferred before him; or, as it is said, made his Lord, and his brethren given him for servants, Gen. xxvii. 37. but he had no regard to the spiritual or saving blessings contained therein: Whereas, a believer is most concerned for, and affeeted with those blessings that immediately accompany salvation, or contain in them the special love of God, or communion with him, which he prefers to all other things: Thus the Psalmist says, There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us, Psal. iv. 6. And to this we may add,
4thly, Whatever raised affections unregenerate persons may have, they want a broken heart, an humble sense of sin, and an earnest desire that it may be subdued and mortified; they are destitute of self-denial, and other graces of the like nature, which, in some degree, are found in a believer, when assisted by the Spirit, in performing the duty of prayer in a right
From what has been said concerning the Spirit's assistance in prayer, we may infer,
1st, That there is a great difference between the gift and the grace of prayer: The former may be attained by the improvement of our natural abilities, and is oftentimes of use to others
who join with us therein; whereas the latter is a peculiar blessing from the Spirit of God, and an evidence of the truth of grace.
2dly, They who deny that the Spirit has any hand in the work of grace, and consequently disown his assistance in prayer, cannot be said to give him that glory that is due to him, and therefore must be supposed to be destitute of his assistance, and very deficient as to this duty.
3dly, Let us not presume on the Spirit's assistance in prayer, while we continue in a course of grieving him, and quenching his holy motions.
4thly, Let us desire raised affections, as a great blessing from God, and yet not be discouraged from engaging in prayer, though we want them; since this grace, as well as all others, is dispensed in a way of sovereignty: And if he is pleased, for wise ends, to withhold his assistance; yet we must not say, why should I wait on the Lord any longer?
5thly, If we would pray in the Spirit, or experience his help, to perform this duty in a right manner, let us endeavour to walk in the Spirit, and to maintain a spiritual, holy, self-denying frame, at all times, if we would not be destitute of it, when we engage in this duty. This leads us to consider,
II. The persons for whom we are to pray; and on the other hand, who are not to be prayed for.
1. As to the former of those: It is observed,
(1.) That we are to pray for the whole church of Christ upon earth; by which we are to understand, all those that profess the faith of the gospel, especially such whose practice is agreeable to their profession; and in particular, all those religious societies who consent to walk in those ordinances whereby they testify their subjection to Christ, as king of saints. The particular members of which these societies consist, are, for the most part, unknown to us; so that we cannot pray for them by name, or as being acquainted with the condition and circumstances in which they are; yet they are not to be wholly disregarded, or excluded from the benefit of our prayers: Thus the apostle speaks of the great conflict he had, not only for them at Laodicea; but, for as many as had not seen his face in the flesh, Col. ii. 1. This is a peculiar branch of the communion of saints, and it is accompanied with those earnest desires which we have, that God may be glorified in them, and by them, as well as ourselves; particularly we are to pray,
[1.] That they may be united together in love to God and to one another, John xvii. 21. That this may be attended with all those other graces and comforts which are an evidence of their interest in Christ.
[2.] That they may have the special presence of God with them in all his ordinances, which will be a visible testimony of his regard to them, and an honour put on his own institutions, as well as an accomplishment of what he promised to his apostles just before he ascended into heaven, that he would be with them always even unto the end of the world, Mat. xxviii. 20.
[3.] That they may be supported under the burdens, difficulties and persecutions which they meet with, either from the powers of darkness or wicked men, for Christ's sake, that so the promise may be made good to them, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against them, chap. xvi. 18.
[4.] That there may be added to particular churches out of the world, many such as shall be saved, Acts ii. 47. which shall be an argument of the success of the gospel: And when we pray, that God would magnify his grace in bringing sinners home to himself, we are to pray for the accomplishment of those promises that respect the conversion of the Jews: Thus the apostle says, Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved, Rom. x. 1. and, that there may be a greater spread of the gospel throughout the most remote and dark parts of the earth, among whom Christ is, at present, unknown: This the apostle calls The fulness of the Gentiles coming in, chap. xi. 25. and it is agreeable to what is foretold by the prophet Isaiah, in chap. Ix. which seems not as yet to have had its full accomplishment.
[5.] We are to pray that the life of faith and holiness may be daily promoted in all the faithful members of the church of Christ, that they may be enabled more and more to adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, and be abundantly satisfied, and delighted with the fruits and effects of his redeeming love.
[6.] That God would accept of those sacrifices of prayer and praise that are daily offered to him by faith, in the blood of Christ, in every worshipping assembly, which will redound to the advantage of all the servants of Christ, whom they think themselves obliged to make mention of in their prayers, as well as to the glory of God, which is owned and advanced thereby.
[7.] That the children of believers, who are devoted to God, may be under his special care and protection, that they may follow the footsteps of the flock, and fill up the places of those who are called off the stage of this world; that so there may be a constant supply of those who shall bear a testimony to Christ and his gospel in the rising generation.
[8.] That the members of every particular church of Christ may acquit themselves so as that they may honour him in the
eyes of the world, and be supported and carried safely through this waste howling wilderness, till they arrive at that better country for which they are bound; and that they may not be foiled or overcome while they are in their militant state, but may be joined with the church triumphant in heaven.
(2.) We are to pray for magistrates. This is not only included in the general exhortation given us to pray for all men ; but they are particularly mentioned by the apostle, and it is intimated that it is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 1 Tim. ii. 1-3. This also may be argued from hence, that magistracy is God's ordinance, Rom. xiii. 1, 2. and there is no ordinance which is enstamped with the divine authority, though it may principally respect civil affairs; but we are to pray that God would succeed and prosper it, that it may answer the valuable ends for which it was appointed.
Now there are several things that we are to pray for in the behalf of magistrates, viz. that they may approve themselves rulers after God's own heart, to fulfil all his will, Acts xii. 26. as was said of David; that their counsels and conduct may be ordered for his glory, and the good of his church; that they may not be a terror to good works; namely, to persons that perform them, but to the evil; and so may not bear the sword in vain, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. Accordingly we are to pray, that they may be a public blessing to all their subjects, and herein that promise may be fulfilled; Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers, Isa. xlix. 23. and, as an instance hereof, that under them we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, 1 Tim. ii. 2. And, as to what concerns their subjects, that their authority may not be abused and trampled on by them, on the one hand, while they take occasion to offend with impunity; nor be dreaded as grievous to others who feel the weight thereof, in instances of injustice and oppression.
(3.) We are to pray for ministers. This is a necessary duty, inasmuch as their work is exceeding great and difficult; so that the apostle might well say, Who is sufficient for these things, 2 Cor. ii. 16. And, indeed, besides the difficulties that attend the work itself, there are others that they meet with, arising from the unstable temper of professed friends, who sometimes, as the apostle says, become their enemies for telling them the truth, Gal. iv. 16. or from the restless malice and violent opposition of open enemies; which evidently takes its rise from that inveterate hatred that they bear to Christ and his gospel. Moreover, as they have difficulties in the discharge of the work they are called to, so they must give an account to God for their faithfulness therein; and it is of the highest importance that they do this with joy, and not with grief,
Heb. xiii. 17, 18. as the apostle speaks; and immediately he intreats the church's prayers, as that which was necessary in order hereunto. Now there are several things which ought to be the subject-matter of our prayers, with respect to minis
[1.] That God would send forth a supply or succession of them, to answer the church's necessities; inasmuch as the harvest is plenteous, as our Saviour observes, but the labourers are few, Matt. xi. 37, 38.
 That they may answer the character which the apostle gives of a faithful minister; and accordingly study to`shew themselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, 2 Tim. ii. 15.
[3.] That they may be directed and enabled to impart those truths that are substantial, edifying, and suitable to the circumstances and condition of their hearers.
[4.] That they may be spirited with zeal, and love to souls, in the whole course of their ministry; that the glory of God, and the advancement of his truth may lie nearest their hearts, and a tender concern and compassion for the souls of men, may incline them to use their utmost endeavours, as the apostle speaks, to save them with fear, pulling them out of the fire, Jude, ver. 23.
[5.] That their endeavours may be attended with success, which, in some measure, may give them a comfortable hope that they are called, accepted, and approved of by God, which, from the nature of the thing will tend to their own advantage, who make this the subject of our earnest prayers on their behalf; and, indeed, the neglect of performing this duty, may. in some measure, be assigned as one reason why the word is often preached with very little success; so that this ought to he performed, not barely as an act of favour, but as a duty that redounds to our own advantage.
(4.) We are to pray, not only for ourselves and our bre thren, but for our enemies. That we are to pray for ourselves, none ever denied, how much so ever many live in the neglect of this duty; and as for our obligation to pray for our brethren, that is founded in the law of nature; which obliges us to love them as ourselves, and, consequently, to desire their welfare, together with our own.
However, it may be enquired, what we are to understand by our brethren, for whom we are to express this great concern in our supplications to God? For the understanding of which, let it be considered, that, besides those who are called brethren, in the most known acceptation of the word, as Jacob's sons tell Joseph, We be twelve brethren, sons of one father, Gen. xlii. 32, it is sometimes taken, in scripture, for any near kins