Thou, good Lord, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is therein, (Gen. i.) together with thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and with thy Holy Spirit: thou, the same God which opened thyself to Adam by thy promise; (Gen. iii. :) thou, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; (Gen. xii. xxii. xxiii. xxiv. xxv. :) thou who brought thy people of Israel forth of Egypt with a mighty hand and a stretched-out power; (Exod. xiii. xiv. xv. &c. :) thou, who gave thy law upon mount Sinai; (Exod. xix. xx. :) thou, who spoke by thy prophets, and, last of all, in these latter days by thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, (Heb. i.) whom thou would should be made a second Adam; (1 Cor. xv.) that as by the first we are children of wrath, carnal, and full of concupiscence, so by him we might be made children of grace and spiritual; (Rom. v.) by communicating with him the quality, merits, virtues, and grace of his flesh, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, as he communicated with us the substance of our flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, (Watt. i.) by the operation of the same Holy Spirit; (Luke i.) being that blessed Seed which was promised to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, which should bruise the serpent's head, (Gen. iii. xii. xxvi. xxviii.) which should bring the blessing on all nations, which should reign over thy house for ever, (Psalm lxxxix.) and mightily overcome thine and our enemies; as indeed he did by his incarnation, nativity, circumcision, exile, baptism, fasting, temptation, doctrine, deeds, miracles, workings, agonies, bloody prayer, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension; (Luke i., Ps. cx.;) and he yet still does by his mediation and intercession for us; (Rom. viii.) and at the length he will on all parts fully accomplish by his coming to judgment; (Matt. xxiv.) which will be suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, with the blast of a trumpet, and shout of an archangel; (1 Cor. xv., 1 Thess. iv., 2 Cor. v.) when he shall be seen with thousands of saints, and innumerable thousands of angels all the whole world being on fire, and all people that ever were, are, or shall be, then standing before his tribunal or judgement-seat, to render an account of that they have done in this body, be it good or bad. (Exod. xxxii. xxxiii., Psalm v., Joel, ii ) Thou, I say, this God who art holy, righteous, true, wise, pure, mighty, merciful, good, gracious, a hater of sin, an avenger of unrighteousness &c., would that I which am born in sin, and conceived in iniquity, which by nature am a child of wrath, (Psalm li., Eph. ii.) (for my heart is so unsearchably evil, that out of it springs corrupt concupiscence, so that the inclination thereof is prone to evil, always even from my youth up; Gen. viii. ix., Jer. xvii. my understanding and mind are so darkened, that I cannot perceive those things that are of God, (2 Cor. ii. iii.) of myself, or by all the wisdom which I receive from Adam naturally or otherwise attain by labour or study before regeneration; I cannot think a good thought, much less wish it, or consent unto it, and least of all do it,)othou, I say, yet would that I, being such a one, in whom dwells continual enmity against thee; (Rom. viii.) that I, which am nothing but sin, and one that does evil always before thee, should call thee and believe thee, this God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to be in very deed my Father, that is, thou would I should be most assured, that thou of thine own good will which thou bare towards me before I was, yea, before the world was, hast in Christ chosen me to be thy child, and through him art become my most loving Father. (Eph. i.) From whom I should look for all good things, and be most certainly persuaded, that by how much thou art more than man, so much thy love and fatherly providence towards me passes the love and providence of any father towards his child, in loving me, caring how to help me, providing for me, nurturing me, and helping me in all my needs. So certain thou wouldst have me to be of this, that to doubt of it, does most displease thee and dishonour thee, as if either thou art not true, or not able to do these things, or else became not my father in respect of thine own goodness in Christ only, but also in respect of my worthiness and deserts. And that I should not waver or doubt of this, that thou art my dear Father, and I thy child for ever through Jesus Christ, is required in the first commandment, which says, "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt hare none other gods but me." Again, thy Son here commands me to call thee by the name of Father, moreover, in the first article of my belief, I profess the same in saying, I believe in God, the Father Almighty. Besides this, there are many other things to confirm me herein, as the creation and government of the world generally, and of every creature particularly; for all is made and kept for maw and so for me, to serve me for my advantage, necessity, and admonition. Again, the creation of me, in that thou hast made me after thy image, having a reasonable soul, body, shape, &c., whereas thou might have made me a toad, a serpent, a swine, deformed, frantic, &c.: moreover, thy wonderful preservation, nourishing, and keeping of me hitherto in my infancy, childhood, youth, &c.oall these, I say, should confirm my faith of thy fatherly love. But of all things, the opening of thyself by thy word and promise of grace, made after man's fall, first to Adam, then to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and so to others, being published by the prophets from time to time; and, last of all, accomplished by thy dear Son Jesus Christ, in whom thy promises are yea and amen. (2 Cor. i.) The opening of thyself thus, I say, in and by Christ, is the chief and most sure certificate, that thou art my Father for his sake, and I thy dear child, although of myself I am most unworthy. For thou, according to thy promises, hast not spared thy dear Son Jesus Christ, but hast given him to the death of the cross for my sins. (John iii.) Thou wouldst that he should be made flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, by the operation of the Holy Spirit; (Eph. v.) that we, by the working of the same Spirit, through the merits of his flesh and blood, might be made flesh of his flesh, and blood of his blood. That is, as he has the substance of our flesh and blood, even so we might have and for ever enjoy in him, and through him, the qualities, virtues, and gifts of righteousness, holiness, innocence, immortality, and glory, wherewith he has endued our nature in his own person for us all; that as now in faith and hope we have the same, so in his coming we might fully enjoy them in very deed; for then shall our bodies, now vile, be like to his glorious body. (Phil. iii.) Herein appears thy love, not that we loved thee, but that thou loved us, and hast given thy Son for us. (1 John iv.) Herein dost thou commend unto us thy love, that when we were yet sinners, Christ thy dear Son bled for us; (Rom. v.) so that nothing should separate us from thy love in Christ Jesus, neither life nor death, nor any other thing. (Rom. viii.) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled unto thee by the death of thy Son, much more we, being reconciled, shall be saved by his life. (Rom. v.) And that I should not doubt hereof, but certainly be persuaded that all things pertained to me, whereas I might have been born of Turks, lo, thou wouldst I should be born of Christian parents, brought into thy church by baptism, which is the sacrament of adoption, and requires faith as well of remission of my sins as of sanctification and holiness, to be wrought of thee in me by thy grace and Holy Spirit. Whereas I might have been born in an ignorant time and region, thou wouldst that I should be born in this time and region, wherein is more knowledge revealed than ever was here before, or in many places is now. Whereas I might have been of a corrupt judgment, and entangled with many errors, lo! thou of thy goodness, as thou hast reformed my judgment, so thou dost keep it, and now for the same judgement's sake dost vouchsafe somewhat by the cross to try me. By all which things I should confirm my faith of this, that thou hast always been, art, and wilt be for ever, my dear Father; in respect whereof I should be certain of salvation and of the inheritance of heaven for ever, and be thankful, cast my whole care on thee, trust in thee, and call on thee, with comfort and certain hope, for all things that I want. For since thou hast given to me this benefit, to be thy child, undeserved, undesired on my behalf, simply and only in respect of thine own goodness and grace in Christ, lest at any time I should doubt of it, how should I but hope certainly that nothing profitable to me can be denied, since thy power is infinite? For as thy good will is declared in adopting me, so nothing can be finally wanting to me which may make for my weal (benefit, welfare, editor), (for that should disprove thy power to be almighty,) in that thy will already is so boundlessly declared; whereas my belief requires to believe in thee the Father Almighty, in consideration whereof I should in all things behave myself as a child, rejoice in thee, praise thee, trust in thee, fear thee, serve thee, love thee, call upon thee, &c. But, alas! how heavy-hearted am I! how unthankful am I! how full of unbelief, and doubting of this thy rich mercy! how little do I love thee, fear thee, call upon thee! &c. Oh! be merciful unto me forgive me, good Father, for thine own sake, and grant me the spirit of thy children, to reveal thyself unto me, and Jesus Christ thy dear Son our Lord, by whom we are made thy children, that I may truly know thee, heartily love thee, faithfully hang upon thee in all my needs, with good hope call upon thee, render faithfully this honour to thee, that thou art my God and Father, and I thy dear child, through thy grace in Christ, and so always be endued with an assured hope of thy goodness, and a faithful obedient heart in all things to thy holy will. At thy hands, and from thee, as I must look for all things, so come I unto thee, and pray thee to give me those things which thy dear children have; and thou require of me, that I might come and ask them of thee, as now I do through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As by this word Father I am taught to glory of thee and in thee, and all that ever thou hast, for thou art wholly mine, my Lord, my God, and my Father; so by this word our I am taught to glory of all the good, that all and each of thy servants that ever were, are or shall be, had, have, and shall have. For now I am taught to believe that thou hast called me into the communion of thy church and people, whom hereby I perceive thou hast commanded to be careful for me, as for themselves, and in all their prayers to be as mindful of me as of themselves. Again, as by this word Father I am taught to remember and render my duty which I owe towards thee, faith, love, fear, obedience, &c., so by thy word our I am taught my duty towards thy people, to be careful for them, and to take their sorrow, poverty, affliction, &c., as mine own; and therefore to labour to help them in heart and hand, after my vocation and ability, utterly abhorring all pride, self-love, arrogance, and contempt of any. By reason whereof I have great cause to lament and to rejoice. To lament, because I am so far from considering, much more from doing, my duty to thy people, in thoughts words, or deeds. To rejoice, because I am called of thee, and placed in the blessed society of thy saints, and made a, member and citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem; and because thou hast given in commandment to all thy church to be as careful for me as for themselves.
But, alas! how far am I here from! As I am guilty of unthankfulness for this thy calling me into the blessed communion of thy dear Son and church, yea, of thyself; so am I guilty of self-love, unmercifulness, pride, arrogance, forgetfulness, contempt of thy children; for else I could not but be otherwise affected, and otherwise labour than I do. Oh! be merciful unto me, good Father, forgive me, and grant for Christ's sake, that as my tongue sounds this word our, so I may in heart feel the true joy of thy blessed communion, and the true love and compassion which thy children have and feel towards their brethren; that I may rejoice in all trouble, in respect of that joyful communion; that I may deny myself, to honour thy children upon earth, and endeavour myself to do them good, for thy sake, through Jesus Christ our Lord. I come only to thee to give me that which I cannot and must not have elsewhere, and thou require it of me, that therefore I should, as thy child, come and crave it to thy glory.