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The PREFACE.

HE subje&t of the following dif Il courses requires very little apo

logy; one reason that induced me to the choice of it was, that the Lord's Prayer being of frequent use becomes through inadvertency too much a matter of course; so that it is too often said without fruit, because without seriousness and attention. I therefore hopid it would be of some service to Religion to remind men, both of that hope which they profess, and that obedience which they promise, as often as they use this Prayer. But I had likewise another reason for treating upon this subject ; because it gave me a fit opportunity of discoursing upon some forgotten principles of Christianity, which are so far from

being generally pursu'd at this time, that they are scarce understood. The greater part of the world needs frequently to be reminded that this Prayer was taught by our Lord Jesus, and that the several requests contain’d in it are only to be procur'd in and through him. The near relation to God our Father, and those blessings which are included in that relation, are so many ftipulations of the New Covenant; and are no otherwise to be obtain'd, but by performing the conditions of it. So that both the title to use this Prayer, and all the expectations of success from it, belong to us only as we are the faithful disciples of our Saviour. It was the custom of the primitive Church before baptism to instruct the new converts from hence in the principles of their Religion, which hath occasion’d many discourses of the primitive Fathers upon this subject. I have generally made these my guide, both in the sense of each

petition,

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petition, and in the practical observations from thence; because however they may seem to fall short in the folidity of their reasonings, though much might be faid in their vindication even upon this

1 am so unfashionable as to h. think, that they in their moral precepts ad exceed any writings of the moderns. I

thought fit however, for the convenience be

of common readers, to separate into 550 marginal notes fome citations from - them, which were deliver'd in the body afe

of the discourses. of

I cannot but take notice in this place zve of the common, and probably the only F: now remaining objection against the chl Lord's Prayer, which is, that none are 1) Lo good as to be fit to use it. The ob

ještion would be reasonable, if any less id

person than the Son of God had been author of this Prayer; without this encouragement it would have been presumption, either to have calld God Father,

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or to have beggd for so many instances of favour. But besides the words themselves in teaching us to beg for pardon, grace and protection, suppose us to be weak, insufficient, and finners; so that we do not profess by them a state of perfection, but the desires after it. If some therefore cannot come up to these desires, this is not so much an objection against the Prayer, as against the general obligations of the Christian Religion ; nothing more being requir’d to pray usefully as our Saviour hath taught, than fome tolerable disposition to obedience. However, let those who thus object know, that the omissions of the Lord's Prayer will be no lessening to their unrepented fins at the last day; but as the obstacles to the good use of it are laid by themselves, it concerns them to remove them by a speedy repentance.

SERMON

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After this manner pray ,

Our Father which art in beaven.

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EFORE I enter upon the body of this Prayer taught by our Saviour, it will be necessary to examine,

whether He, by commanding to pray after this manner, design’d to give only a general model or directory to all our Devotions, or a particular forin of words to be us’d by all Christians. The former of these opinions hath been espous’d by the modern affertors of extempore Prayer ; whơ herein form their judgment by their own

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