The Church's Request
To all her Faithful
That they would now pray for her, and stand by her, and help her what they can, and not forsake her in her desolate condition, and the dark time of popery that is coming upon her.
Written by Digby Bull M.A. and late Rector of Sheldon in Warwick-shire.
Printed for the Author; And are to be sold by J. Whitlock near Stationer-Hall. 1695
PUBLISHED FOR Digby Bull
Fifthly, We are to pray unto Almighty God for the Peace and Good of our Jerusalem in every respect. This we are taught by the Text, and what hath been said upon it. All our own endeavours will be but vain and fruitless without the divine help of Almighty God; and therefore we must address our selves unto him in earnest prayer, that he would be pleased to grant to us this blessing of Peace, who is the onely giver of it. For the peace and welfare of the whole Church of Christ upon earth are we to pray; That God would preserve and keep it in perfect peace, that it might be no ways annoyed, and that the Gates of Hell (as our Saviour hath promised, Matt. 16.18.) might not prevail against it; but that the Kingdom of God might come (as our Lord hath taught us to pray) and might every where prevail, and be firmly rooted in men's hearts: That God would enlarge the Kingdom of his dear Son, and give him the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, according to that promise, Psal. 2.8.
But more especially are we to pray for the good and welfare of our Church and Kingdom, that they may enjoy all manner of Peace and Happiness. We are to make supplication to [Page 26] Almighty God for the preventing of all judgments and calamities that may at any time befal them; and to pray according to Solomon's form, 1 Kings 8.29; That his eyes may be open day and night upon them, and that he would watch over them, and preserve them from all dangers and miseries that threaten them, and us therein: That he would look down from Heaven (Psal. 80.14.) and behold and visit this vine, and the vineyard which his right hand hath planted; that it may not be cut down, and burnt up with fire: That he would set watchmen upon the walls of our Jerusalem (Is. 62.6.) which should never hold their peace day nor night; but always give warning at the approach of any evil, that it might be prevented; and to make supplication to the Lord, that he would defend our beloved City therefrom. And now are we earnestly to pray unto Almighty God for the preventing, as much as may be, such judgments and calamities as do now hang over our heads, and which we have justly deserved: That our Candlestick may not be totally removed, and that God may not send such a famine upon us, as he threatens by the Prophet; Amos 8.11; Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: Such a spiritual famine of the word of God are we to pray to be delivered from; and that God would preserve his pure Religion to us, and keep us from all idolatrous practices, and sinful errors in Religion: That we may be delivered from the devouring Sword, and that our Land may not be turned into a field of blood, and a valley of slaughter: That we may not hear the sound of the Trumpet and Alarm of war, and be commanded (as it is Joel 3.10.) to beat our plowshares into swords, and our pruning hooks into spears: That our corn may not be given to be meat for our enemies; and the Sons of the stranger may not drink our wine, for which we have labored; but that they that have gathered it may eat it, and praise the Lord; Is. 62.8--: That we may not (as it is Is. 65.22) build, and another inhabit; and plant, and another eat the fruit thereof; and that we may not labor in vain, and bring forth for trouble: That violence may not be heard in our Land (Is. 60.18.) wasting nor destruction within our borders; but that our walls might truly be called Salvation, and our gates Praise. To God [Page 27] are we to make supplication that he would not cause the Pestilence to cleave unto us, nor smite us with any consuming sickness and disease: That he would not send a famine upon us, and cause us to be smitten with blasting and mildew, and make the Heaven that is over our head as brass, and the Earth that is under our feet as Iron; nor give our substance and labor to be consumed by the locusts and caterpillers and such Armies of his: That our Church and Kingdom may be preserved from these, and from all other Plagues and Judgments, that we have justly deserved, are we to make supplication to Almighty God, that we may endeavour to prevent them as much as may be.
We are also to make our humble and hearty prayers to Almighty God for the removing and taking away of such Calamities and Evils as our Church and Kingdom now do, or at any time hereafter shall ly under: That he who is the God and Father of mercies would at all times look down in mercy upon them, and in his good time deliver them from all their distress and misery: That there may not be such a time, when the children shall be come to the birth, and there shall not be strength to bring forth, (2 Kings 19.3.) when we shall call upon God for succour and help, and he will not hear us; but that (according to Solomon's prayer 1 Kings 8.52.) his eyes may be open unto the supplication of his servants, and of his people, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto him: That his Church and Faithful Servants may be preserved in this, and in all other fiery Tryals that shall befal them, and from falling away from him; and that they may not be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow and misery; but may find help and comfort from above, when they can meet with none here below: That God would remove from us all spiritual blindness and carnal security, that we may know and mind the things which belong to our Peace, before they are quite removed from our eyes, and it be too late: That we may not be like the Church of the Laodiceans, of whom it is said, Rev. 3.17, Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; that we may not be in such an insensible and miserable condition as this; [Page 28] but may see what great need we have to repent and amend: That God would do good, in his good pleasure unto our Zion (Psal. 51.18.) and build the walls of our Jerusalem: That he would heal all our dismal Breaches and Divisions, and reconcile all our Dissensions, which so much disturb our Peace, and threaten us with farther misery: That he would not prepare more work for the greedy and devouring Sword; but that we may all study and practise his Gospel of Peace and Love, and that every man may dwell safely under his vine, and under his Figtree, as it is said that Judah and Israel did all the days of King Solomon, 1 Kings 4.25. For the removing of these, and all other afflictions and miseries that we are sensible that our Church and Kingdom do now, or hereafter may ly under, are we to make supplication to Almighty God, and to intreat him that he would look down in mercy upon them, and heal all their wounds and maladies in his good time. And these things we are to pray for according to the Prophet's form, Jer. 14.7: O Lord, tho' our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy Name's sake; for our backslidings are many, we have sinned against thee: And not for our own sakes, but for his great mercy's ake, and for his dear Son Christ Jesus's sake, are we to intreat him for the preventing of Judgments, and for the removing of such miseries and and sufferings as do at any time befal our Church and Kingdom.
We are also to supplicate the divine Goodness of Almighty God for our Church and Kingdom that he would be pleased to continue to them such Mercies as they enjoy; and that he would grant to them such Blessings and good things as they want and stand in need off; That our Church and Kingdom may enjoy all manner of Peace and Prosperity in such a full manner as I have before described: That God would make good to the Christian Church that in the Prophet Isaiah, 62.1, That for Zion's sake he would not hold his peace, and for Jerusalem's sake he would not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth: That the Gentiles might see the righteousness thereof, and all Kings it's glory: That it may be a Crown of Glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of our God: That as a young man marrieth a Virgin, so her Sons might marry her; and as a Bride-groom [Page 29] rejoyceth over the Bride, so her God might rejoyce over her: That God would create our Jerusalem a rejoycing, and her people a joy; Is. 65.18: That he would rejoyce in our Jerusalem, and joy in his People; that the voice of weeping may no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying: That (ver. 25.) the Wolf and the Lamb may feed together; and the Lion eat straw like the Bullock, and dust may be the Serpent's meat; that they may not hurt, nor destroy in all this holy Mountain: That such universal Peace and Love may every where prevail, that men of the most perverse spirits may be overcome by them, and lay aside all their malignity: That the Lord of Hosts (Zac. 1.14.) would be jealous for our Jerusalem, and for our Zion with a great jealousie: That God would be gracious to our Land, and cause the Gospel to flourish amongst us, and to take deep rooting in our hearts: That God would cloath the Priests of our Zion with Salvation (Psal. 132.16.) and make her Saints to shout aloud for joy: That the mountain of the Lords house (Is. 2.2.) might be established in the top of the mountains, and be exalted above the hills: and that all nations may flow unto it: That there may be such an universal willingness and readiness in all to know and practise their duty, that they shall say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: That our Ministers and Pastors may be orthodox and sound in the Faith; true and faithful in the discharge of their offices; and of an upright life and conversation, and so adorn the Gospel of the blessed Jesus and that holy Religion which we profess: That God would abundantly bless the provision of our Zion (Psal. 132.15.) and would satisfy her poor with bread; and give us all kind of plenty and store in our Land: That there may enter in by the gates of our City Kings sitting upon the throne of their Ancestors (Jer. 17.25.) and riding in Chariots and on Horses; and Ruling in justice righteousness and mercy: That he would fill our hearts with food and gladness, and grant us health and prosperity in our Land: That God would make our Zion an eternal excellency (Is. 60.15.) a joy of many generations: That our People also (ver. 21.) might be all righteous, and inherit the Land for ever, and that in all Peace and Quiet: That there may be heard [Page 30] in our Land (Jer. 33.11.) the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness; the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; the voice of them that shall say, praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord: That our Land may be blessed with all manner of blessings; and that we may not be unmindful to return Almighty God, his due Laud and Praise for the same. Such promises have been made to, and such petitions have been put up for Jerusalem; and by such may we be instructed how we are at all times to address our selves to Almighty God in prayer for our Jerusalem, for the Church of Christ in general, and more particularly for our own Church and Kingdom. But at this time we have great reason to make our earnest prayers to Almighty God for the Protestant Church, especially that part of it with us; and for our own Nation, that they may be preserved from such judgments and miseries as now threaten them and us, and we have justly deserved for our great wickedness and abuse of mercies.