Sermon CXV

SERMON CXV.

Luke xxxiii. 24.
Father forgive them, for they know not what they doi

The Word of God is either the co-eternal and co-essential Son, our Saviour, which took flesh (verbnm caro factum est) or it is the spirit of his mouth, by which we live, arid not by bread only; Arid so, itt a large acceptation, every truth is the word of God { for truth is uniform, arid irrepugnant, arid indivisible, as God. Omne verum est omni vero consentiens. More strictly the word of God, is that which God hath uttered, either in writing, as twice in the tables to Moses; or by ministry of ahgels, or prophets, ill words; or by the unborn, in action, as in John Baptist's exultation withiri his mother; or by new-born, from the mouths of babes and sucklings; or by things unreasonable, as in Balaam's ass; or insensible, as in the whole book of such creatures, The heavens declare the glory of God, &b. But nothing is more properly the word of God to us, than that which God himself speaks iri those organs and instrumerits, which himself hath assumed for his chiefest work, our redemption. For in creation God spoke, but in redemption he did; arid more, he suffered: And of that kind are these words. God in his chosen manhood saith, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

These words shall be fitliest considered, like a goodly palace, if we rest a little, as in an outward court, upon consideration of prayer in general; and then draw near the view of the palace, in a second court, considering this special prayer in general, as the face of the whole palace. Thirdly, we will pass through the chiefest rooms of the palace itself; and then insist upon four steps: 1. Of whom he begs, (Father). 2. What he asks, (forgive them). 3. That he prays upon reason, (for). 4. What the reason is, (they know not). And lastly, as into the back side of all, we will cast the objections: as why only Luke remembers this prayer: and why this prayer, (as it seems by the punishment continuing upon the Jews to this day) was not obtained at God's hands.

So therefore prayer is our first entry, for when it is said, Ask ahd it shall be given, it is also said, Knock and it shall be opened, . 'showing that by prayer our entrance is. And not the entry I only, but the whole house: My house is the house of prayer. Of all the conduits and conveyances of God's graces to us, none hath been so little subject to cavillations, as this of prayer. The sacraments have fallen into the hands of flatterers and robbers. Some have attributed too much to them, some detracted. Some have painted them, some have withdrawn their natural complexion. It hath been disputed, whether they be, how many they be, what they be, and what they do. The preaching of the word hath been made a Servant of ambitions, and a shop of many men's new-fangled wares. Almost every means between God and man; suffers some adulteratings and disguises: but prayer I least: and it hath most ways and addresses. It may be mental, I for we may think prayers. It may be vocal, for we may speak prayers. It may be actual, for we do prayers. For deeds have voice; the vices of Sodom did cry, and the alms of Tobias. And if it were proper for St. John, in the first of the Revelation to turn back to see a voice, it is more likely God will look down, to hear a work. So then to do the office of your vocation sincerely, is td pray. How much the favourites of princes, and great personages labour; that they may be thought to have been in private conference with the prince. And though they be forced to wait upon his purposes, and talk of what he will, how fain they would be thought to have solicited their own, or their dependents' business. With the Prince of princes, this every man I may do truly; and the sooner, the more beggar he is: for no I man is heard here, but in forma pauperis.

Here we may talk long; welcomely, of our own affairs, and be sure to speed. You cannot whisper so low alone in yoiir chamber, but he hears you, nor sing so loud in the congregation,

But he distinguishes you. He grudges not to be chidden and disputed with, by Job. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, and the venom thereof hath drunk up my spirit. Is my strength the strength of Stones, or is my flesh of brass, &c. Not to be directed and counselled by Jonas : who was angry and said; Did not I say, when I was in my country, thou wouldest deal thus? And when the Lord said, Dost thou well to be angry? He replied, I do well to be angry to the death. Nor almost to be threatened and neglected by Moses: Do this, or blot my name out of thy book. It is an honour to be able to say to servants, Do this: but to say to God, Domine fac hoc, and prevail, is more; and yet more easy. God is replenishingly everywhere: but most contractedly, and workingly in the temple. Since then every rectified man, is the temple of the Holy Ghost, when he prays; it is the Holy Ghost itself that prays; and what can be denied, where the asker gves? He plays with us, as children, shows us pleasing things, that we might cry for them, and have them. Before we call, he answers, and when we speak, he hears: so Isaiah Lxv. 24. Physicians observe some symptoms so violent* that they must neglect the disease for a time, and labour to cure the accident; as burning fevers, in dysenteries. So in the sinful consumption of the soul, a.stupidity and indisposition to prayer, must first be cured. For, Ye lust, and have not, because ye ask not, James iv. 2. The adulterous mother of the three great brothers, Gratian, Lombard, and Comestor1, being warned by her confessor, to be sorry for her fact, said she could not, because her fault had so much profited the church. At least, said he, be sorrj^thatjthou canst not be sorry. So whosoever thou be, that canst not readily pray, at least prayTthat thou mayest pray. For, as in bodily, so in spiritual diseases, it is a desperate state, to be speechless.

It were unmannerliness to hold you longer in the entry. One turn in the inner court, of this special prayer in general, and so enter the palace. This is not a prayer for his own ease, as that in his agony seems. It hath none of those infirmities, which curious schismatics find in that. No suspicion of ignorance, as there, (if it be possible). No tergiversation nor abandoning the noble work which he had begun, as there, (Let this cup pass). It is not an exemplar, or form, for us to imitate precisely, (otherwise

1 Concerning these ecclesiastical writers, see Mosheim, vol. ii. pp. 25G, 288; he, however, mentions nothing of their relationship: on the other hand, he says that Gratian was by birth a Tuscan, whereas Peter Lombard is said to have been born at Novara.—Ed.

I than in the doctrine) as that prayer, which we call the Lord's i j Prayer, not because he said it, for he could never say, forgive us our trespasses, but because he commanded us to say it. For though by Matthew, which saith, After this manner pray, we seem not bound to the words, yet Luke saith, When you pray, say, Our Father which art, he But this is a grayer of God, to God. Not as the Talmudist's Jews feign God to pray to himself,voluntas mea, ut misericordia mea superet iram meam; but as when foreign merchandise is misported, the prince may permit, or inhibit his subjects to buy it, or not to buy it. Our blessed Saviour arriving in this world freighted with salvation, a thing which this world never had power to have without him, except in that short time, between man's creation and fall, he by this prayer begs, that even to these despisers of it, it may be "communicable, and that their ignorance of the value of it, may not deprive them of it. Teaching that by example here, which he gave in precept before, Pray for them which persecute you*, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore, doing so now, he might well say, Father, forgive them, which is the first room in | this glorious palace. And in this contemplation, my unworthy I soul, thou art presently in the presence. No passing of guards, nor ushers. No examination of thy degree or habit. The prince ! is not asleep, nor private, nor weary of giving, nor refers to j others. He puts thee not to prevail by angels nor archangels.

But lest anything might hinder thee, from coming into his pre'sence, his presence comes into thee. And lest majesty should dazzle thee, thou art to speak but to thy Father. Of which word, Abba, the root is, to will; from which root, the fruit also must be willingness, and propenseness to grant. God is the Father of Christ, by that mystical and eternal inexpressible generation, which never began nor ended. Of which incomprehensible mystery, Moses and the ancient prophets spake so little, and so indirectly, that till the dawning of the day of Christ, after Esdras' time, those places seem not to be intended of the Trinity. B Nay, a good while after Christ, they were but tenderly applied to that \ sense. And at this day, the most of the writers in the reformed churches, considering that we need not such far fetched, and such

» Matt. v. 41.

VOL. V. C

forced helps, and withal, weighing how well the Jews of these times are provided with other expositions of those places, are very sparing in using them, but content themselves modestly herein, with the testimonies of the New Testament. Truly, this mystery is rather the object of faith than reason; and it is enough that we believe Christ to have even been the Son of God, by such genera-^ tion, and ourselves his sons by adoption. So that God is Father to all; but yet so, that though Christ say3, My Father is greater than all, he adds, / and my Father are all one, to show his eternal interest, He seems to put a difference, / go to my Father*, and your Father, my God, and your God. The Roman stories have, that when Claudius saw it conduce to his ends, to get the tribuneship, of which he was incapable, because a patrician, he suffered himself to be adopted. But against this adoption, two exceptions were found; one, that he was adopted by a man of lower rank, a plebeian; which was unnatural; and by a younger man than himself, which took away the presentation of a father. But our adoption is regular. For first, we are made the sons of the Most High, and of the Ancient of Bays, there was no one word, by which he could so nobly have maintained his dignity, kept his station, justified his cause, and withal expressed his humility and charity, as this, Father. They crucified him, for saying himself to bo the Son of God. And in the midst of torment, he both professes the same still, and lets them see, that they have no other way of forgiveness, but that he is the Son of that Father. For no man cometh to the Father but by the Son.

IAnd at this voice (Father) O most blessed Saviour, thy Father, which ia so fully thine, that for thy sake, he is ours too, which is so wholly thine, that he is thyself, which is all mercy, yet will not spare thee, all justioe, yet will not destroy us. And that glorious army of angels, which hitherto by their own integrity maintained their first and pure condition, and by this work of thine, now near the consummation est, attend a confirmation, and infallibility of ever remaining so; and that faithful company of departed saints, to whom thy merit must open a more inward and familiar room in thy Father's kingdom, stand all attentive, to hear

3 John x. 29, 30. 4 John xx. 17.

what thou wilt ask of this Father. And what shall they hear? What dost thou ask? Forgive them, forgive them? Must murderers be forgiven? Must the offended ask it? And must a Father grant it? And must he be solicited, and remembered by the name of Father to do it? Was not thy passion enough, but thou must have compassion? And is thy mercy so violent, that thou wilt have a fellow-feeling of their imminent afflictions, before they have any feeling? The angels might expect a present employment for their destruction: the saints might be out of fear, that they should be assumed or mingled in their fellowship. But thou wilt have them pardoned. And yet dost not out of thine own fulness pardon them, as thou didst the thief upon the cross, because he did already confess thee; but thou tellest them, that they may be forgiven, but at thy request, and if they acknowledge their advocate to be the Son of God. Father, forgive them. I that cannot revenge thy quarrel, cannot forgive them. I that oould not be saved, but by their offence, cannot forgive them. And must a Father, Almighty, and well pleased in thee, forgive them? Thou art more charitable towards them, than by thy direction we may be to ourselves. We must pray for ourselves limitedly, forgive us, as we forgive. But thou wilt have their forgiveness illimited and unconditioned. Thou seemest not so much as to presume a repentance; which is so essential, and necessary in all transgressions, as where by man's fault the actions of God are diverted from his appointed ends, God himself is content to repent the doing of them. As he repented first the making of man, and then the making of a king. But God will have them within the arms of his general pardon. And we are all delivered from our debts; for God hath given his word, his co-essential word, for us all. And though, (as in other prodigal debts, the interest exceed the principal) our actual sins exceed original, yet God by giving his word for us, hath acquitted all.

But the affections of our Saviour are not inordinate, nor irregular. He hath a for, for his prayer: Forgive them, for, &c. And where he hath not this for, as in his prayer in his agony, he quickly interrupts the violence of his request, with a but, Father, let this cup pass; but not my will: in that form of prayer which

himself taught us, he hath appointed a for, on God's part, which is ever the same unchangeable; For thine is the kingdom; therefore supplications belong to thee: the power, thou openest thy hand and fillest every living thing: the glory, for thy name is glorified in thy grants. But because on our part, the occasions are variable, he hath left our for, to our religious discretion. For when it is said, You lust and have not, because you ask not5; it followeth presently, you ask and miss, because you ask amiss. It is not a fit for, for every private man, to ask much means, for he would do much good. I must not pray, Lord put into my hands the strength of Christian kings, for out of my zeal, I will employ thy benefits to thine advantage, thy soldiers against thine enemies, and be a bank against that deluge, wherewith thine enemy the Turk threatens to overflow thy people. I must not pray, Lord, fill my heart with knowledge and understanding, for I would compose the schisms in thy church, and reduce thy garment to the first continual and seemless integrity; and redress the deafnesses and oppressions of judges, and officers. But he gave us a convenient scantling for our fors, who prayed, Give me enough, for I may else despair, give me not too much, for so I may presume. Of schoolmen, some affirm prayer to be an .act of our will; for we would have that which we ask. Others, of our understanding; for by it we ascend to God, and better our knowledge, which is the proper ailment and food of our understanding; so, that is a perplexed case. But all agree, that it is an act of our reason, and therefore must be reasonable. For only reasonable things can pray; for the beasts and ravens, (Psalm cxlvii. 9.) are not said to pray for food, but to cry. Two things are required to make a prayer. 1. Pius affectus, which was not in the devils' request, Let us go into the swine6, nor Stretch out thine hand, atid touch all he hath1; and, stretch out thine hand, and touch Ms bones, and therefore these were not prayers. And it must be rerum decentium: for our government in that point, this may inform us. Things absolutely good, as remission of sins, we may absolutely beg: and to escape things absolutely ill, as sin. But mean and indifferent things, qualified by the circumstances, we must ask

conditionally and referringly to the Giver's will. For when Paul begged stimulum carnis to be taken from him, it was not granted, but he had this answer, My grace is sufficient for thee0.

Let us now (not in curiosity, but for instruction) consider the

! reason: They know not what they do. First, if ignorance excuse:

1 and then, if they were ignorant.

Hast thou, O God, filled all thy Scriptures, both of thy recorders and notaries, which have penned the history of thy love, to thy people; and of thy secretaries the prophets, admitted to the foreknowledge of thy purposes, and instructed in thy cabinet; hast thou filled these with praises and persuasions of wisdom and knowledge, and must these persecutors be pardoned for their ignorance I Hast thou bid Esay to say, It is a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them, shall not have compassion of them9. And My people are destroyed for lack of'knowledge1"'; and now dost thou say, Forgive them because they know not? Shall ignorance, which is often the cause of sin, often a sin itself, often the punishment of sin, and ever an infirmity and disease contracted by the first great sin, advantage them I Who can understand his faults, saith the man according to thy heart; Lord cleanse me from my secret faults": he durst not make his ignorance the reason of his prayer, but prayed against ignorance. But thy mercy is as the sea: both before it was the sea, for it overspreads the whole world; and since it was called into limits: for it is not the less infinite for that. And as by the sea, the most remote and distant nations enjoy one another, by traffic and commerce, East and West becoming neighbours: so by mercy, the most different things are united and reconciled; sinners have heaven; traitors are in the princes' bosom; and ignorant persons are in the spring of wisdom, being forgiven, not only though they be ignorant, but because they are ignorant. But all ignorance is not excusable; nor any less excusable, than not to know, what ignorance is not to be excused. Therefore, there is an ignorance which they call nescientiam, a not knowing of things not appertaining to us. This we had had, though Adam had stood; and the angels have it, for they know not the latter day, and therefore

for this, we are not chargeable. They call the other privation, which if it proceed merely from our own sluggishness, in not searching the means made for our instruction, is ever inexcusable. If from God, who for his own just ends hath cast clouds over those lights which should guide us, it is often excusable. For Paul saith, / was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and an oppressor, but I was received to mercy, for I did it ignorantly, through unbeliefTM. So, though we are all bound to believe, and therefore faults done by unbelief cannot escape the name and nature of sin, yet since belief is the immediate gift of God, faults done by unbelief, without malicious concurrences and circumstances, obtain mercy and pardon from that abundant fountain of grace, Christ Jesus. And therefore it was a just reason, Forgive them, for they know not. If they knew not, which is evident, both by this speech from truth itself, and by 2 Cor. ii. 8., Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; and Acts iii. 17., I know that through ignorance ye did it. And though after so many powerful miracles, this ignorance were vincible, God having revealed enough to convert them, yet there seems to be enough on their parts, to make it a perplexed case, and to excuse, though not a malicious persecuting, yet a not consenting to his doctrine. For they had a law, Whosoever shall make himself the son of God, let him die. And they spoke out of their laws, when they said, We have no other king but Cwsar. There were therefore some among them reasonably, and zealously ignorant. And for those, the Son ever welcome, and well heard, begged of his Father, ever accessible, andexorable, a paraon ever ready and natural.

We have now passed through all those rooms which we unlocked and opened at first. And now may that point, why this prayer is remembered only by one evangelist, and why by Luke, be modestly inquired: for we are all admitted and welcomed into I the acquaintance of the Scriptures, upon such conditions as travellers are into other countries: if we come as praisers and admirers of their commodities and government, not as spies into the mysteries of their state, nor searchers, nor calumniators of their weaknesses. For though the Scriptures, like a strong recti'' 1 Tim. i. 13.

fied state, be not endangered by such a curious malice of any, yet he which brings that, deserves no admittance. When those great commissioners which are called the Septuagint, sent from Jerusalem, to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, had perfected their work, it was, and is an argument of Divine assistance, that writing severally, they differed not. The same may prove even to weak and faithless men, that the Holy Ghost superintended the four evangelists, because they differ not; as they which have written their harmonies, make it evident: but to us, faith teacheth the other way. And we conclude not, because they agree, the Holy Ghost directed; for heathen writers and malefactors in examinations do so; but because the Holy Ghost directed, we know they agree, and differ not. For as an honest man, ever of the same thoughts, differs not from himself, though he do not ever say the same things, if he say not contraries; so the four evangelists observe the uniformity and sameness of their guide, though all did not say all the same things, II since none contradicts any. And as, when my soul, which enables all my limbs to their functions, disposes my legs to go, my whole body is truly said to go, because none stays behind; so when the Holy Spirit, which had made himself as a common soul to their four souls, directed one of them to say anything, all are Well understood to have said it. And therefore when to that place13, where that evangelist cites the prophet Jeremy, for words spoken by Zachary, many medicines are applied by the fathers; as, that many copies have no name, that Jeremy might be binominous, and have both names, a thing frequent in the Bible, that it might be the error of a transcriber, that there was extant an Apocryphal Book of Jeremy, in which these words were, and sometimes things of such books were vouched, as Jannes and Jambres by Paul; St. Augustine insists upon, and teaches rather this, that it is more wonderful, that all the prophets spake by one Spirit, and so agreed, than if any one of them had spoken all those things; and therefore he adds, Singula sunt omnium, et omnia sunt singulorum, All say what any of them say; and in this sense most congruously is that of St. Hierome appliable, that

the four evangelists are quadriga Divina, that as the four chariot wheels, though they look to the four corners of the world, yet they move to one end and one way, so the evangelists have both one scope, and one way.

Yet not so precisely, but that they differ in words: for as their general intention, common to them all begat that consent, so a private reason peculiar to each of them, for the writing of their histories at that time, made those diversities which seem to be for Matthew, after he had preached to the Jews, and was to be transplanted into another vineyard, the Gentiles, left them written in their own tongue, for permanency, which he had preached transitorily by word. Mark, when the Gospel fructified in the West, and the church enlarged herself, and grew a great body, and therefore required more food, out of Peter's dictates, and by his approbation published his Evangile. Not an epitome of Matthew's, as St. Jerome (I know why) imagines, but a just and entire history of our blessed Saviour. And as Matthew's reason was to supply a want in the Eastern church, Mark's in the Western; so on the other side Luke's was to cut off an excess and superfluity: for then many had undertaken this story, and dangerously inserted and mingled uncertainties and obnoxious improbabilities: and he was more curious and more particular than the rest, both because he was more learned, and because he was so individual a companion of the most learned St. Paul, and did so much write Paul's words, that Eusebius thereupon mistaketh the words, Christ is raised according to my Gospel", to prove that Paul was author of this Gospel attributed to Luke. John the minion of Christ upon earth, and survivor of the apostles, (whose books rather seem fallen from heaven, and writ with the hand which engraved the stone tables, than a man's work) because the heresies of Ebion and Cerinthus were rooted, who upon this true ground, then evident and fresh, that Christ hath spoken many things which none of the other three evangelists had recorded, uttered many things as his, which he never spoke: John I say, more diligently than the rest handleth his divinity, and his sermons, things specially brought into question by them. So therefore all

14 2 Tim. ii. 8.

writ one thing, yet all have some things particular. And Luke most, for he writ last of three, and largeliest for himself, saith I have made the former treatise of all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day that he ieas taken up; which speech, lest the words in the last of John, If all were written which Jesus did, the world could not contain the books, should condemn, Ambrose and Chrysostom interpret well out of the words themselves, Scripsit de omnibus, non omnia, He writ of all, but not all: for it must have the same limitation, which Paul giveth his words, who saith, Acts xx., in one verse, / have kept nothing back, but have showed you all the counsel of God; and in another, I kept back nothing that was profitable. It is another peculiar singularity of Luke's, that he addresseth his history to one man, Theophilus. For it is but weakly surmised, that he chose that name, for all lovers of God, because the interpretation of the word suffereth it, since he addeth most noble Theophilus. But the work doth not the less belong to the whole church, for that, no more than his master's epistles do though they be directed to particulars.

It is also a singularity in him to write upon that reason, because divers have written. In human knowledge, to abridge or suck, and then suppress other authors, is not ever honest nor profitable: we see after that vast enterprise of Justinian, who distilled all the law into one vessel, and made one book of two thousand, suppressing all the rest, Alciate wisheth he had let them alone, and thinketh the doctors of our times would better have drawn useful things from those volumes, than his Trebonian and Dorothee did18. And Aristotle after, by the immense liberality of Alexander, he had engrossed all authors, is said to have I defaced all, that he might be instead of all: and therefore, since they cannot rise against him, he imputes to them errors which they held not: vouches only such objections from them, as he is able to answer; and propounds all good things in his own name, which he ought to them. But in this history of Luke's, it is otherwise: he had no authority to suppress them, nor doth he

15 Acts i. 1.

"Tribonian, Theophilus, and Dorotheus were the persons selected by Justinian to compile the Institutes.—See Gibbon, chap. Xliv.Ed.

(reprehend or calumniate them, but writes the truth simply, and leaves it to outwear falsehood.: and so it hath: Moses's rodHath devoured the conjuror's rod, and Luke's story still retains the majesty of the maker, and theirs are not.

Other singularities in Luke, of form or matter, I omit, and end with one like this in our text. As in the apprehending of our blessed Saviour, all the evangelists record, that Peter cut off Malchus's ear, but only Luke remembers the healing of it again: (I think) because that act of curing, was most present and obvious to his consideration, who was a physician: so he was therefore most apt, to remember this prayer of Christ, which is I the physic and balsamum of our soul, and must be applied to us I all, (for we do all crucify him, and we know not what we do) and therefore St. Hierome gave a right character of him, in his epistle to Paulinus, Fuit medicus, et pariter omnia verba illius, Animw languentis sunt medicinw, As he was a physician, so all his words are physic for a languishing soul.

Now let us despatch the last consideration, of the effect of this I prayer. Did Christ intend the forgiveness of the Jews, whose I utter ruin God (that is, himself) had fore-decreed? And which he foresaw, and bewailed even then hanging upon the cross? For those divines which reverently forbear to interpret the words, Lord, Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? of a suffering hell in his soul, or of a departing of the Father from him; (for John xvi., it is, / am not alone, for the Father is with me) offer no exposition of those words more convenient, than that the foresight of the Jews' imminent calamities, expressed and drew those words from him: In their afflictions, were all kinds, and all degrees of misery. So that as one writer of the Roman story saith elegantly, He that considereth the acts of Rome, considereth not the acts of one people, but of mankind: I may truly of the Jews' afflictions, he that knoweth them, is ignorant of nothing that this world can threaten. For to that which the present authority of the Romans inflicted upon them, our Schools have added upon their posterities; that they are slaves to Christians, and their goods subject to spoil, if the laws of the princes where they live, did not out of indulgency defend them. Did he then ask, and was not heard I God forbid. A man is heard, when that is given which his will desired; and our will is ever understood to be a will rectified, and concurrent with God. This is voluntas, a discoursed and examined will. That which is upon the first sight of the object, is velleitas, a willingness, which we resist not, only because we thought not of it. And such a willingness had Christ, when suddenly he wished that the cup might pass: but quickly conformed his will to his Father's. But in this prayer his will was present, therefore fulfilled. Briefly then, in this prayer he com* mended not all the Jews, for he knew the chief to sin knowingly, and so out of the reach of his reason, (for they know not). Nor any, except they repented after: for it is not ignorance, but repentance, which deriveth to us the benefit of God's pardon. For he that sins of ignorance, may be pardoned if he repent; but he that sins against his conscience, and is thereby impenitablo, cannot be pardoned. And this is all, which I will say of these words, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

O Eternal God, look down from thy throne to thy foot-stool: from thy blessed company of angels and saints, to us, by our own : faults made more wretched and contemptible, than the worms | which shall eat us, or the dust which we were, and shall be. O Lord, under the weight of thy justice we cannot stand. Nor had any other title to thy mercy, but the name of Father, and that we have forfeited. That name of sons of God, thou gavest to us, all at once in Adam; and he gave it away from us all by his sin. And thou hast given it again to every one of us, in our regeneration by baptism, and we have lost it again by our transgressions. And yet thou wast not weary of being merciful, but didst choose one of us, to be a fit and worthy ransom for us all; and by the death of thy Christ, our Jesus, gavest us again the title and privilege of thy sons; but with conditions, which though easy, we have broke, and with a yoke, which though light and sweet, we have cast off. How shall we then dare to call thee Father? Or to beg that thou wilt make one trial more of us? These hearts are accustomed to rebellions, and hopeless. But, O God, create in us new hearts, hearts capable of the love and fear, due to a Father. And then we shall dare to say, Father, and to say, Father, forgive us. Forgive us O Father, and all which are engaged, and accountable to thee for us; forgive our parents, and those which undertook for us in baptism. Forgive the civil magistrate, and the minister. Forgive them their negligences, and us our stubbornnesses. And give us the grace that we may ever sincerely say, both this prayer of example and counsel, Forgive our enemies, and that other of precept, Our Father which art in heaven, &c.