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SER M. long scrupulously restrain his hands from III.
the property of another, in the hope of possessing which, he permits his heart to riot uncontrolled.
Lastly, it is an irreligious temper, since it implies a discontent with God's dispensations towards us; and, as it usually engrosses the whole heart and affections, it banishes all thoughts of piety and another world.
Such are the celebrated laws of the two tableslaws which, I have before observed, were spoken by God's mouth, and written with his finger-you perceive how excellent they are in themselves, and how proper for man to obey them.--Let us, then, devoutly offer up our prayers, that they may all be deeply engraven on the fleshly tablet of our hearts !
ON THE CATECHISM
LUKE xi, 1.
teach us to pray. In my last discourse on the catechism, SERM.
h, IV. I concluded my explanation of the ten com a mandments. From these, we are informed that we learn our duty towards God, and our duty towards our neighbour; and, in the answers to the two following ques. tions, these duties are set down at large : but I have already, in my remarks on the commandments, anticipated the chief of
SERM. what I could say on them; and as to those IV.
points on which I have not spoken, they are expressed, in the catechism itself, in so clear a manner, that there is no necessity for me to dwell on them.
To understand, and to obey the commandments, should be the study and the endeavour of our whole lives; but our own exertions will not do alone; if God does not grant his assistance to them, however strenuous they may be, they will be vain :-to obtain, therefore, this assistance, it is our duty, at all times, to call for it by attentive and fervent prayer. I pro ceed, then, to take into consideration that most perfect form which was composed by our Lord, at the request of his disciples, and is called by his name — the Lord's Prayer. Of all the general forms of address to the Supreme Being, which are extant, it is undoubtedly at the same time the most rational and the most devout; so
that (as it has been well said*) whether we SERM. have an eye to the preaching or the praying in of our Redeemer, the observation is equally just-" That never man spake like this man.”
The Lord's prayer contains six distinct petitions, besides the address at the beginning, and what is called the doxology, at. the conclusion. The address is concise, but replete with meaning~" Our Father, “ which art in heaven.” It is observable, that we are not directed to say my Father, but our Father, which seems designed to remind us, first, of the vast authority and dominion of God, extending over all mankind — and, secondly, of the relationship which we bear to each other, he being the common parent of us all—and, consequently, of the obligation under which we lie, to cultivate and entertain an universal affection and good will. * Ogden.
SERM. The application of Father, of which we
a re permitted to make use, reminds us of