Friday, 15 January 2016



“3. He is such a Father as is not unwilling to relieve us. Your heavenly Father is very ready to give you such things as you stand in need of, as Christ expresseth it, Mat.  vii. 11, ‘If ye, being evil, know how to give good things unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him?’ And Luke xi. 13, it is, ‘How much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit?’ When you come to beg for grace, consider what earthly parents would do for a child. Their affections are limited, they are in part corrupt; and poor straightened creatures have not such bowels of compassion as God; and yet, when a child comes to them with a genuine cry, with a sense of his want and confidence of his father, he cannot harden his bowels against his child. This also checks much speaking; for we do not pray to stir up mercy in him, as if he needed much entreaty, and were severe, and delighted to put the creature to penance. No, he is ready before we ask; he knows our wants and needs, and is ready to supply us with those things we stand in need of, only will have this comely order observed. Sometimes he prevents our prayers before we ask: ‘Before they call, I will answer; and I am found of them that sought me not.’ Before we can have a heart to come, the Lord prevents us with his blessing. And sometimes he gives us what we ask. This is the condescension of God, that when you call he will answer; and when you cry, he doth in his providence say, ‘What will you have, poor creatures?’ And he gives more than we ask; as Solomon asked wisdom, and God gave him more than he asked—wisdom, riches, and honour.

“Object. But here is an objection. These notions seem not only to exclude long prayer and much speaking, but all prayer. If God know our wants and is so ready to give, whether we ask or no, what need we open them to him in prayer at all?

“I answer, it is God’s prescribed course, and that should be enough to gracious hearts that will be obedient to their Father. Whatever he intends, though he knows our wants and resolves to answer them, yet it is a piece of religious manners to ask what he is about to give: Jer.  xxix. 11, ‘I know my thoughts towards you, thoughts of peace, yet will I be inquired of you for these things.’ God knows his own thoughts, hath stated his decrees, and will not alter the beautiful course of his providence for our sakes, yet he will be sought unto. So Ezek.  xxxvi.: God purposed to bless them, and therefore promiseth, ‘I will do thus and thus for you’; yet, verse 37, ‘I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.’ I will do it, but you shall milk out the blessing by prayer. This course is also necessary, and that both for his honour, and our profit and comfort.”   

-From The Works of Thomas Manton; Volume 1 (The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh and PA; page 29)

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