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Part of our Business, I do not see how we can sincerely use this Petition. For in all our Prayers to God, wherein we desire of him such Things as we contribute to by our own Endeavours, if our own Endeavours be wanting, our Prayers cannot be fincerę.
Now in this Petition we pray that we and all others may live in the Observance of all God's Commandments, that we may readily and chearfully do every thing that God requires of us, and patiently bear all Afflictions he sends us, that we may love his with all our Hearts, and serve him in Lowliness and Humility, with Perseverance and Improvement unto the End.
And such Prayer indeed supposes God's Grace to be necessary for all this, but withal it supposes our Diligence to be as neceffa; ry. And let us always remember that we oblige our selves to do what we can when we beg the Divine Grace to help us. And when we are once fortified with Resolution so to do, we are thoroughly prepared to put up this excellent Petition to God, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven,
The Fifth Sermon on the LOR D's ..
PRA Y ER.
MATTH. VI. xi.
Hofe Petitions in the Lord's Prayer,
of which we have already discoursed, respect our Duty to God, being external Expressions of our Reverence to his Majefty, of our Love to his Goodness, and of our Obedience to his Authority. :
The three remaining Petitions do more immediately respect our own Welfare, and are the proper Expressions of our Dependence upon God; the first of them being this, Give us this Day our daily Bread.' Of which I shall discourse under these two Heads.
Firft, of the Meaning of this Petition. And,
Secondly, of the Instruction it affords, that is, how we are to understand it, and what we are to learn t
As to the former,
I. By 'Bread we are to understand all Things necessary for the Support and Comfort of our Lives. For this being of most necessary and universal Use, has obtain'd not only in Scripture, but in common Discourse all over the World, to be put very often for all the Necessaries of Life. Thus Poverty is expressed by want of Bread, and Prosperity by Fulness of Bread. And thus in Agur’s Prayer we meet with an Expression not unlike, Give me neither Poverty nor Riches, feed me with Food convenient for me. For Food convenient being the Medium between Poverty and Riches, supposes a Competency of all other Goods, the Abundance whereof is Riches, and the Scarcity whereof is Poverty. There is no Difficulty at all in this. It is obyious enough that Bread is put here to include Food, and Rayment, and Dwelling, - with all the other common and necessary Comforts of Life, as Health, Peace, and Liberty. But,
II. What is meant by giving us this Day, and by daily Bread? Emited, the Greek Word, hath been diversy rendred, and yet as to the main the Sense is agreed on, viz. that which we mean by daily, or so much as is sufficient for a Day. But I think the
exact Meaning of the Phrase will be best gain’d by comparing it with the Expression in St. Luke ii. 3. where instead of ohuegor, to Day, it is said, rů xao' spécor, Day by Day; by which it should seem that in this Petition we do not only pray for the Supply of our Necessaries for this' Day only, but for every Day that we live, for the Bread that will be enough for the Remainder of our Lives. Therefore I doubt they are something mistaken, tlo' their Intention may be good, who say, that here we pray not for Bread for to Morrow, but only for the prefent Day, and that the reason of this Prayer for the present Day only is contained in our Saviour's Words, Take no Thought for the Morrow, Matth. 6. 34. For,
1. He that in St. Luke's Phrafe prays that he may have his daily Bread Day by Day, does certainly pray that he may have it to Morrow, if he lives so long.
2. If shugger signifies most properly to Day, yer to Day may have the fame Signification that it has Heb. 3. 7. where it signifies the Time of Man's Life, and so it is elsewhere used; and the Expression may seem to be chosen by our Saviour, to admonish us that it is a foolish thing to desire more than a Competency, feeing we live here but for a Day as it were, and are gone to Morrow, that we are but Strangers and Pilgrims in this World, hastening to another Country,
and may very well be content with what will serve to carry us thro’ this short Passage into the World to come. And now if to Day is to be taken in this larger Sense, as St. Luke's Phrase requires also, then do we pray for to Morrow as well as for to Day, But,
3. Whereas the reason of confining this Prayer to the Needs only of the present Day, is deduced from our Saviour's Words, Take no Thought for the Morrow, there is indeed no Consequence in it. For,
1. Mill uselyphonse is not simply Take no Thought, but be not follicitous and troubled in your Thoughts about the Events of to Morrow. And this Command we may observe, and yet pray for to Morrow. And,
2. The Carefulness which our Lord forbids in these Words, is that which excludes Reliance upon, and trusting in the Divine Providence. For by the Consideration of God's general Care over his Creatures, and his particular Providence over Men, and especially over good Men, he had been exhorting his Hearers to a chearful Dependance upon Divine Providence. Now to pray for to Morrow is so far from excluding this' Trust in God, that it is one Expression of it. Wherefore the Command of taking no Thought for the Morrow, is no reason why we are to pray only for the present