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ally called Calvinistic; and that a manual of prayers or a liturgy, on a strictly and consistently Anticalvinistic creed, in every expression contained in it, would be a very singular and curious production. But men often, formally, or from custom, or without accurately attending to the import, use words in prayer, which they strongly object to in preaching. Nay, truly pious persons, who argue against some of our doctrines, frequently lose sight of their previous sentiments, when humbly adoring God, and pouring out their praises before him.-As a friend observed to me, concerning one of this description; "While he is
disputing, his head speaks, but when he is praying “his heart speaks : and that accounts for the inconsistency which you notice.'
A few passages from our liturgy will fully illustrate my meaning. Prayers cannot properly be composed for the use of those who are not, in any measure or sense, desirous of praying ; so that the first source of a desire to pray, comes in our way at the opening of this subject. If the beginning were from ourselves, either wholly or in part, and not entirely from preventing grace,' “ simplicity “ and godly sincerity” would require some notice to be taken of this in our approaches unto God. But to whom are we led in our liturgy, to ascribe even the hearty desire to pray?' O Lord, we
beseech thee, mercifully hear us, and grant that 'we, to whom thou hast given a hearty desire to
pray.” When about to ask many other blessings, (for the first collect in the morning service intro
Third Sunday after Trinity.
duces all the prayers to the end of the litany ;) we are taught to begin by thankfully ascribing the hearty desire to pray exclusively to God. In the evening service, this collect is followed by a coincident acknowledgment: 'O God, from whom all "holy desires, all good counsels, and all just 'works do proceed.'! Can this consist with a beginning from ourselves, or with any doctrine which doth not unreservedly accord to the following words of another collect? 'We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us, thou dost put into our hearts good * desires, so by thy continual help we may bring 'the same to good effect.'? Now does not this uniform language of our prayers expound the words of the Article decisively in favour of the Calvinists in this one point, at least ? 3
It also accords to the language of scripture : “ Thou Lord, hast heard the desire of the humble; “thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause " thine ear to hear.”4 When a hearty desire to
pray,' and to pray for spiritual blessings, has been given; repentance will be considered as one thing indispensibly necessary to salvation, and man's bounden duty: “ God now commandeth all men
every where to repent. But how are we taught to take up this important topic in our liturgy? Let us beseech God to grant ús true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things máy please him, which we do at this present, and " that the rest of our life hereafter
3 Art. x.
1 2 Col. Ev. Serv. * Ps. x. 17.
? Coll. East. Sun.
Acts xvii. 30.
' and holy.'' ' That it may please thee to give us 'true repentance,' &c.2 But more particularly in the collect for Ash-Wednesday, which is appointed to be used every day in Lent: “ Almighty God' who dost forgive the sins of all them that are
penitent, create and make in us new and con'trite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins ‘ and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain
of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission ' and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Who can heartily use these words without recollecting the prophecy or promise in Ezekiel, “I “ will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, “and will give you a heart of flesh?” Again, in another part of the service for the same day, we are called on to pray, “Turn thou us, and we “ shall be turned.” Here the conversion, which is indispensibly necessary, is prayed for as the work of God. We have already considered the passages of scripture to which such requests refer; and it cannot reasonably be questioned, that they ascribe the beginning of good in us to the preventing grace of God. When any desire after good is excited, we are also taught to give the glory of it unreservedly to God; even as in prayer we are taught to begin as far back, so to speak, as possible; and to ask every thing of God, even those things which are most evidently our duty, and in which the willing mind in great degree consists. For how can we begin further back, than when we pray, ‘From all blindness of heart, -- from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy
word and commandment, good Lord deliver us!! I need not say, that this whole scheme of praise and prayer is altogether scriptural.
But the subject of intercession leads us still more directly to our conclusion. In praying for themselves against all blindness and hardness of 'heart,' men may be supposed to have a sincere desire of deliverance from it; while they experience, as well as are informed, how prone they are to it: but, in offering similar prayers for others, who at present are considered as blind and hard in heart, and despisers of the word of God, the case is far different. 'O merciful God,—have
mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels, and here'tics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness ‘of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch 'them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they
may be saved.'? If the beginning must be from themselves, either wholly or in part; and if it would interfere with free will, or free agency, for God to operate on the minds of those men, who were entirely unwilling to co-operate with him ; how could we consistently ask him to do it? Indeed, we could not properly supplicate for the conversion of our own children or near relations, while we considered them as wholly destitute of true godliness, and in the broad road to destruction. We must only pray that, when God should see them begin of themselves to be willing and desirous to return to him, and ready to co-operate with his grace; he would afford them all needful assistance: but not that he would quicken them
• Third Collect for Good Friday,
from the death of sin, open their blind eyes, change their corrupt hearts, incline their stubborn and rebellious wills, “ take away the heart of "stone, and give them a heart of flesh ;" and so * work in them both to will and to do of his good
It will hardly be said, that we are not bound to pray for these blessings, in this manner, for our nearest relations and friends; when we are so expressly commanded in scripture“ to pray for them " that despitefully use us and persecute us :” and when we are instructed to obey this command in our Litany, saying, “That it may please thee to 'forgive our enemies, persecutors and standerers, and to turn their hearts.'
It is not requisite to enlarge on this point. A liturgy, or manual of prayer, every expression in which shall be strictly Calvinistic, (as far as this publication is Calvinistic,) may be compiled ; and a great part of it, if not every clause, in the very words of scripture, and in those of our liturgy ; oniitting no one subject of prayer, intercession, or thanksgiving, of which the scripture gives us any example. Our liturgy certainly was not compiled with any such design, nor would that have been proper, even on the supposition that the formers of it were decided Calvinists. There are, however, very few things in it, which a well informed and sober Calvinist would judge inconsistent with his principles, though the consistency may not always be obvious at the first glance. But it would be no difficult thing to render the whole evidently and strictly Calvinistic, without any material alteration or omission. Now let our opponents try, whether