Edwards's resolutions, Ezekiel 38:25, Hosea 6:7, J. C. Ryle, Job 31:33, John 16:23, Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Edwards's resolutions, Manton, Prayer, praying, praying in Jesus' name, Puritan, Puritan theology, Thomas Manton, Westminster Assembly, works of Jonathan Edwards
Thomas Manton*, in his 27th sermon on Psalm 119, illustrates our praying in Jesus’ name thus:
“Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23). It is no fiction, or strain, but a real truth. Will Christ deceive us, when he saith ” Verily ?” And then ” whatsoever” you ask: you have liberty to go to God for the removal of any fear, the granting any regular desire, or for satisfying any doubt. “Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name;” our prayers by this means are Christ’s request as well as ours. For instance, if you send a child or servant to a friend for anything in your name, the request is yours ; and he that denies a child or servant denies you; so saith Christ, go to the Father in my name. God cannot deny a request in Christ’s name, no more than he can deny Christ himself; therefore you may use a holy boldness.
This sermon seemed to have influenced Jonathan Edwards in his early spiritual development. He mentions it in his 65th resolution, specifically on the matter of being honest in one’s dealings with God concerning ones sins, struggles, and temptations. Here’s a bit of Manton on that point:
Sins, they are properly our ways, as Ezek 38:25, the Lord makes a distinction between “my ways” and “your ways.” God hath his ways, and we ours. Our ways are properly our sins. Now these, saith David, I will declare, that is, distinctly lay them open before God. This is a part of our duty, with brokenness of heart to declare our ways, to acquaint God fully how it is with us, without dissembling anything. It is a duty very unpleasing to flesh and blood; natural pride and self-love will not let us take shame upon ourselves; and out of carnal ease and laziness we are loath to submit to such a troublesome course, and thus openly to declare our ways. Guilt is shy of God’s presence, and sin works a strangeness. Adam hid himself when God came into the garden; and when he could shift no longer, he will not declare it, but transfers the fault upon Eve, and obliquely upon God himself; and ever since there are many tergiversations in man’s heart; and therefore it is said, “If I covered my sin as Adam” (Job 31:33). Junius renders it more hominum, after the manner of men; but Adam’s name is used, because we show ourselves to be like Adam’s race, apt to cover our sins. The same expression we have : “But they like men have transgressed the covenant” (Hos. 6:7); in the Hebrew it is, “like Adam;” so, if I covered my sin as did Adam, this is the fashion of men. Now David brought his heart to this resolution with much struggling, ” I said I will confess “my transgressions” (Psalm 32:5). He forced himself, and thrust his backward heart forward by a strong resolution; for we are loath to deal thus openly, plainly, and truly with God, being shy of his presence, and would fain keep the devil’s counsel, and come with our iniquity in our bosom. But though this is a troublesome, displeasing exercise to flesh and blood, yet it is profitable and necessary for us thus to declare our ways.
*Thomas Manton (1620-1677) was an English Puritan nonconformist minister. He was a chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, praying at his installation and frequently preaching for Parliament. He was nevertheless an advocate of Charles II, and became a royal chaplain when Charles became king. He participated in the Westminster Assembly. The sermons here cited are among his more influential works. J. C. Ryle especially admired the man.