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are either during our lives, or at our deaths. During our Sect. II. lives we particularly want the divine assistance, first in all times of tribulation, when we are usually.tempted to murmuring, impatience, sadness, despair, and the like: and these we pray against now, before the evil-day comes : not that God would deliver us from all such times, which would be an unlawful request, but that he would support us under thein whenever he shall please to infliet them. The other part of our lives which we pray to be delivered in, is all time of our wealth, i. e. of our welfare and profperity, which are rather more dangerous than our tiine of adversity: all kinds of prosperity, especially plenty and abundance, being exceedingly apt to increase our pride, to inflame our lusts, to multiply our sins, and, in a word, to make us forget God, and grow careless of our souls. And therefore we had need to pray that in all such times God would be pleased to deliver us. But whether we spend our days in prosperity or adversity, they must all end in death, in the hour of which the devil is always most active, and we least able to resist him. Our pains are grievous, and our fears many, and the danger great of falling into impatience, despair, or security: and therefore we constantly pray for deliverance in that important hour, which if God grant us, we have but one request more, and that is, that he would also deliver us in the day of judgment; which is the last time a man is capable of deliverance, since if we be not delivered then, we are left to perish eternally. How fervently therefore ought we to pray for ourselves all our life long, as St. Paul prayed for Onesiphorus 33, that the Lord would grant unto us that we may find mercy of the Lord in that day?
Sect. III. Of the Interceffons. IF the institution of God be required to make this part The inter. of our Litany necessary, we have his positive command ceffions. by St. Paul, to make intercession for all men 34 ; and if the consent of the universal church can add any thing to its esteem, it is evident that this kind of prayer is in all the Liturgies in the world, and that every one of the petitions we are now going to discourse of, are taken from the best and oldest Litanies extant. All therefore that will be necessary here, is to shew the admirable method and order of these Intercessions, which are so exact, curious, and na- • 33 2 Tim. i. 18.
34 1 Tim. ii, 1.
Chap. IV. tural, that every degree of men follow in their due place;
and, at the same time, so comprehensive, that we can think of no sorts of persons but who are enumerated, and for whom all those things are asked which all and every of them stand in need of.
§. 2. But because it may seem presumptuous for us to thod and pray for others, who are unworthy to pray for ourselves, order of
before we begin, we acknowledge that we are finners : them.
but yet, if we are penitent, we know our prayers will be acceptable : and therefore in humble confidence of his mercy, and in obedience to his command, We finners do beseech him to hear us in these our Interceffions, which we offer up, first, for the holy church universal, the common mother of all Christians, as thinking ourselves more concerned for the good of the whole, than of any particular part. After this we pray for our own church, to which, next the catholic church, we owe the greatest obfervance and duty ; and therein, in the first place, for the principa) members of it, in whose welfare the peace of the church chiefly consists : such as is the King, whom, because he is the supreme Governor of the Church in his dominions, and so the greatest security upon earth to the true religion, we pray for in the three next petitions, that he may be orthodox, pious, and prosperous 35. And though at present we may be happy under him ; yet because his crown doth not render him immortal, and the security of the government ordinarily depends upon the Royal Family, we pray in the next place for them (and particularly for the heir apparent) that they may be supplied with all fpiritual blessings, and preserved from all plots and dangers 36.
The Jews and Gentiles always reckoned their chief Priests to be next in dignity to the King 37; and all ancient Liturgies pray for the Clergy immediately after the Royal Family, as being the most considerable members of the Christian church, distinguished here into those three apostolical orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons ; though in all former Common Prayer-Books they were called the Bishops, Pastors, and Ministers of the Church, except in the Scotch Liturgy, which for Pastors had Presbyters.
35 In King Edward's Liturgies the · King James the I's time, for a reason Arft petition for the King was only given in the fe&tion upon the prayer this : That it may please thee to keep for the Royal Family in the daily ferEdward the Sixth, thy servant, our vice. King and Governor.
37 Alex. ab Alex. 1. 2. c. 8. . 36 This petition was not added till
Next to these follow those who are eminent in the state, Sect. III. viz. the Lords of the Council and all the Nobility, who by reason of their dignity and trust have need of our particular prayers, and were always prayed for in the old Liturgies, by the title of the whole Palace.
After we have prayed for all the Nobility in general, we pray for such of the Nobility and Gentry as are Magistrates, or more inferior governors of the People, according to the example of the primitive christians, and in obedience to the positive command of St. Paul, who enjoins us to pray for all that are in authority 38.
After these we pray for all the people, i. e. all the Commons of the Land, who are the most numerous, though the least eminent; and unless they be safe and happy, the Governors themselves cannot be prosperous, the diseases of the members being a trouble to the head also.
And though we may be allowed to pray for our own Nation first, yet our prayers must extend to all mankind; and therefore in the next place we pray for the whole world, in the very words of ancient Liturgies, viz. that all nations may have unity at home among themselves, peace with one another, and concord, i. e. Amity, Commerce, and Leagues. .
Having thus prayed for temporal blessings both for ourselves and others, it is time now to look inward, and to consider what is wanting for our souls : and therefore we now proceed to pray for spiritual blessings, such as Virtue and Goodness. And, first, we pray that the principles of it may be planted in our hearts, viz. the love and dread of God, and then that the practice of it may be seen in our lives, by our diligent living after his commandments.
But though we receive grace, yet if we do not improve it, we shall be in danger of losing it again ; and therefore having in the former petition desired that we might become good, we subjoin this that we may grow better : begging increase of grace, and also that we may use proper means thereunto, such as is the meekly hearing God's word, &c.
From praying for the sanctification and improvement of those within the church, we become solicitous for the conversion of those that are without it; being desirous that all should be brought into the way of truth who have erred or are deceived.
But though those without the church are the most mi
Chap. IV. serable, yet those within are not yet so happy as not to
need our prayers; some of them standing in need of strength, and others of comfort: these blessings therefore we now ask for those that want them.
Having thus considered the souls of men, we go on next to such things as concern their bodies, and to pray for all the afficted in general ; begging of God to fuccour all that are in danger, by preventing the mischief that is falling upon them ; to help those that are in necessity, by giving them those blessings they want; and to comfort all that are in tribulation, by supporting them under it, and delivering them out of it.
And because the circumstances of some of these hinder them from being present to pray for themselves; we particularly remember them, since they more especially stand in need of our prayers, such as are all that travel by land or by water, and the rest mentioned in that petition.
There are other afflicted persons who are unable to help themselves, such as are fatherless children and widows; who are too often destitute of earthly friends; and such as are defolate of maintenance and lodging; or are oppressed by the false and cruel dealings of wicked and powerful men: and therefore these also we particularly recommend to God, and beg of him to defend and provide for them.
And after this large catalogue of sufferers, as well in spiritual as temporal things; lett any should be passed who are already under, or in danger of, any affliction, we pray next that God would have mercy upon all men.
And then, to thew we have no reserve or exception in our charity or devotions, we pray particularly for our enemies, persecutors, and Nanderers; who we desire may be partakers of all the blessings we have been praying for, and that God would moreover forgive them, and turn their hearts.
After we have thus prayed first for ourselves, and then for others, we proceed to pray for them and ourselves together : begging, first, whatsoever is necessary for the sustenance of our bodies, comprehended here under the fruits of the earth.
And then, in the next petition, asking for all things necessary to our souls, in order to bring them to.eternal happiness, viz. true repentance, forgiveness of all our fins, &c. and amendment of life. Which last petition is very proper for a conclusion. For we know that if we do not amend our lives, all these Intercessions will fignify nothing, because God will not hear impenitent finners. Sect. III. We therefore earnestly beg repentance and amendment of life, that so all our preceding requests may not miscarry.
And now having presented so inany excellent supplications to the throne of Grace; if we should conclude them here, and leave them abruptly, it would look as if we were not much concerned whether they were received or not: and therefore the church has appointed us to pursue them still with vigorous importunities and redoubled intreaties. And for this reason we now call upon our Saviour, whom we have all this while been praying to, and beseech him by his Divinity, as he is the Son of God, and consequently abundantly able to help us in all these things, that he would hear us : and then afterwards invocate him by his Humanity, beseeching him by his sufferings for us, when he became the Lamb of God, and was sacrificed to take away the fins of the world, that he would grant us an interest in that peace, which he then made with God, and the peace of conscience following thereupon; and that he would have mercy upon us, and take away our fins, so as to deliver us from guilt and punishment. And lastly, we beg of him, as he is the Lord Chrift, our anointed Mediator, to hear us, and favour us with a gracious answer to all these Intercessions.
Finally, that our conclusion may be suitable to our beginning, we close up all with an address to the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for that mercy which we have been begging in so many particulars : this one word comprehends them all, and therefore these three fentences are the epitome of the whole Litany; and confidering how often and how many ways we need mercy, we can never ask it too often. But of these fee more in the former Chapter, Sect. XVI.
Sect. IV. Of the Supplications.
THE following part of this Litany we call the Suppli- The origi. cations, which were first collected, and put into this nal of the form, when the barbarous nations first began to over-run Supplic
utions. the empire about fix hundred years after Chrift: but confidering the troubles of the church militant, and the many enemies it always hath in this world, this part of the Litany is no less suitable than the former at all times whatsoever. §. 2. We begin with the Lord's Prayer, of which we The Lord's