Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Puritan Passages

Psalm 23:6

Helps to Prayer—Gervase Babington

Have an eye to the sweet promises of God, concerning the suits of His children to Him, which are so many and so entire, as no heart, if it be not flint or steel, but must receive comfort and courage to speak unto such a Lord. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you” (Matt 7:11; John 16:23), and a thousand such like.

Muse upon them until the fire kindle within you, and then speak with a spirit to so sweet a God as so cheers His children to pray heartily. And remember it often what once was said: “I will come into thy house even upon the multitude of thy mercy, and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple” (Psalm 5:7).

The multitude of God’s mercies make a sweet entrance into the house of prayer: yes, say you with David joyfully and comfortably, “In God’s word will I rejoice, in the Lord’s word will I comfort myself, in God have I put my trust, I will not fear what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:10-11).

Sometimes our weakness is great and our minds begin to strap from our prayer conceived in silence, and then it shall be good to speak out, yes even to cry out that which we but thought before, to the end that so we may stay a straying mind and bring it to the sound of the tongue.

This has been the wisdom of the godly ever, and a means as we read to help them. The prophet David says, “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and I said, thou art my hope and my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:1,5). So that he uses the pronounciation of words happily even for this cause that we speak of. Augustine says, “Our devotion and affection is stirred up and quickened by the voice.” And experience serves for longer proof in this matter.

The gestures of body, as kneeling, lying prostrate upon the earth, knocking of the breast, and covering the face, or turning to the wall, lifting up the eyes, and such like, they are helps also of affection. Yea, then are they lawful, and right in deed, when they serve to this purpose in sincerity, and not to any outward show in hypocrisy.

Readings taken from Day by Day with the English Puritans


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