« PreviousContinue »
The Rev. GEORGE LEWIS, D. D.
TUTOR OF THE NORTH WALES ACADEMY.
THE Rev. THOMAS BROOKS, the Author of the following Treatise, was one of the Ministers ejected from the Church of England in the year 1662. He was a plain, affectionate Preacher of the Gospel; and his ministry was rendered eminently useful to many souls. His Publications were numerous ; and several of his works have beep frequently reprinted. His Heaven upon Earth, The unscarchable Riches of Christ, Apples of Gold, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, and The Privy Key of Heaven, are some of the most considerable of his Works.
In the following Treatise the Author calls the at, tention of the Reader to a very important, but too much neglected Duty. To enlarge upon this Subjcet here would be nothing but detaining the Reader, who has now an opportunity of attending to what the Author states on the nature and importance of the Duty. May the present Edition be the means of exciting and encouraging every Reader, with humble boldness to approach the Throne of Grace.
Llanfyllin, 20th Sept. 1820.
THAT various hind'rances we meet
In coming to a mercy seat !
Pray'r makes the darken'd cloud withdraw, Pray'r climbs the ladder Jacob saw, Gives exercise to faith and love, Brings ev'ry blessing from above.
Restraining pray'r, we cease to fight; Pray'r inaķes the Christian's armour bright; And Satan trembles when he sees The weakest saint upon his knees.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
Have you no word ? Ah ! think again,
Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
OR A DISCOURSE
ON CLOSET PRAYER,
MATTHEW vi. 6.
But thou when thou prayest, enter into
thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
THESE words of our Saviour are plain, and to be
taken literally, and not allegorically, for he speaketh of shutting the door of the chamber. In this chapter there is a manifest opposition between the Pharisees praying in the synagogues and corners of the streets, and others praying in secret.
In the text you have a positive precept for every christian to pray alone; But thou, when thou prayest : he saitb not, when you pray, but thou when thou prayest enter into thy closet, as speaking not so much of a joint duty of many praying together, as of a duty
which each person is to do alone. The command in the text sends us as well to the closet as to the church ; and he is a hypocrite in grain that chooses the one and neglects the other; for thereby he tells the world he cares for neither, he makes conscience of neither. He that puts on a religious habit abroad, to gain himself a great name ainong men, and at the same time lives like an athiest at liome, shall at the last be uncased by God, and presented before the world for a most egregious hypocrite.
Bellarnine, and some others, turn the text into an allegory; they say that in these words there are two allegories. First, the chamber door is the sense ; shut the door, that is (say they) the sense, lest vain imagiuations, and worldly thoughts distract thy mind in prayivg. Secondly, The door, say they, is our mouth. Shut thy door, that is, thy lips (say they) and let thy prayer be like the prayer of Hannah, conceived in thy mind, but not uttered with thy mouth. 'Tis usual with papists and other moukish men, that lie in wait to deceive, to turn the blessed scr tures into a nose of wax, under pretence of allegories and mysteries. Origen was a great admirer of allegories; by the strength of his parts and wit, he turned most of the scriptures into allegories; and by the just judgment of God upon him, he foolishly understood and absurdly applied Mat. xix. 22. literally, "some have made themselves chaste for tbe kingdom of heaven," and so mangled himself. And indeed he might as well have plucked out one of his eyes upon the same account, because Christ saith, “it is better to go to heaven with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast inte hell fire.” Mat. xviii. 9. In all