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religion, but ordinarily have a far more extensive acquaintance and influence abroad, than private christians in common have.
And I hope, that such as are convinced it is their duty to comply with and encourage this design, will remember we ought not only to go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek his mercy, but also to go constantly. We should unite in our practice these two things which our Saviour unites in his precept, praying and not fainting. If we should continue some years, and nothing remarkable in Providence should appear as though God heard and answered, we should act very unbecoming believers, if we should therefore begin to be disheartened, and grow dull and slack in seeking of God so great a mercy. It is very apparent from the word of God, that he is wont often to try the faith and patience of his people, when crying to him for some great and important mercy, by withholding the mercy sought for a season; and not only so, but at first to cause an increase of dark appearances. And yet he without fail, at last, succeeds those who continue instant in prayer with all perseverance, and “will not let him go except he blesses." It is now proposed that this extraordinary united prayer should continue for seven years, from November 1746,Perhaps some who appear forward to engage, may begin to think the time long, before the seven years are out; and may account it a dull story, to go on for so long a time, praying in this extraordinary method, while all yet continues dark without any dawnings of the wished-for light, or appearance in Providence of the near approach of the desired mercy. But let it be considered, whether it will not be a poor business, if our faith and patience is so short-winded, that we cannot be willing to wait upon God for seven years, in a way of taking this little pains, in seeking a mercy so infinitely vast. For my part, I sincerely wish and hope, that there may not be an end of extraordinary united prayer, among God's people, for the effusions of the blessed Spirit, when the seven years are ended, but that it will be continued, either in this method, or some other, by a new agreement, that will be entered into with greater engagedness, and more abundant alacrity, than this is ; and that extraordinary united prayer for such a mercy will be further propagated and extended, than it can be expect. ed to be in seven years. But, at the same time, I hope God's people, who unite in this agreement, will see some tokens for good before these seven years are out, they shall give them to see, God has not said to the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain ; and shall serve greatly to animate and encourage them to go on in united prayers for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, with increasing fervency. But whatever our hopes may be in this respect, we must be content to be ignorant of the
times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his power ; and must be willing that God should answer prayer, and fulfil his own glorious promises, in his own time ; remembering such instructions, counsels and promises, of the word of God as these, Psal. xxvii. 14. “ Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. Hab. ii. 3, 4. “ For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it shall speak, and not lie : though it tarry, wait for it ; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Micah vii. 7. “I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvation : my God will hear me." Isai. xxv. 8,9. “God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God! we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is Jehovah! we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Amen.
OF A WORK OF
THE SPIRIT OF GOD,
APPLIED TO THAT
UNCOMMON OPERATION THAT HAS LATELY APPEARED ON THE
MINDS OF MANY OF THE PEOPLE OF NEW-ENGLAND:
EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES WITH WHICH
THIS WORK IS ATTENDED.
MR. COOPER'S PREFACE
TO THE READER.
THERE are several dispensations or days of grace, which the Church of God has been under from the beginning of time. There is that under the ancient Patriarchs : that under the Law of Moses ; and there is that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, under which we now are. This is the brightest day that ever shone, and exceeds the other for peculiar advantages. To us who are so happy as to live under the Evangelical Dispensation, may those words of our Saviour be directed, which he spake to his disciples, when he was first setting up the Messiah's kingdom in the world, and Gospel-light, and power began to spread abroad : “ Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see. For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them ; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."*
The Mosaic Dispensation, though darkened with types and figures, yet far exceeded the former ; but the Gospel Dispensation so much exceeds in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the Legal, as the stars disappear when the sun ariseth, and goeth forth in his strength.
And the chief thing that renders the Gospel so glorious is, that it is the ministration of the Spirit. Under the preaching of it, the Holy Spirit was to be poured out in more plentiful measures ; not only in miraculous gifts, as in the first times of the Gospel, but in his internal saving operations, accompanying the outward ministry, to produce numerous conversions to Christ, and give spiritual life to souls that were before dead in tresspases and sins, and so prepare them for eternal life. Thus the apostle speaks when he runs a com. parison between the Old Testament and the New, the Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ : “ For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not
Luke x. 23, 24.