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If. iii. 1.
7. Lastly, Our comforts and supports of life are never out of God's reach. If they were in ever such a flourishing condition, he can blast them to us in a moment. One day saw Job.exceeding rich and poor to a proverb, Job. i. 13. &'c. having seven thousand sheep in the morning, and not a living one among them all at night. How often has it been that a fair briird has brought little into the barn yarij ? When it has been ready for the hook, or cut down in the field, shaking winds and rotting rains have made it little worth, Hof. ii. 9. When it is brought to the harna floor, even then we are not sure of it, Hof. ix. 2. The floor and the wine press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. When he corn is made in bread, the Lord can take away the whole fay of bread,
When it goes down the throat, he can make it choke us; and when it is in the belly, he can turn it, and make it the gall of asps within us, Job xx. 14.
I proceed to the petition itself, in which we pray, " that, of God's free gift, we may receive a competenc “ portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy “ his blefling with them.”
In discourling from this petition, I shall shew,
I. I am to fhew what is meant by bread in this petis tion. Not the spiritual bread, which is Jesus Christ ; that we pray for in the second petition. Not the facramental bread neither; that is prayed for in the fifth petition, being a seal of the pardon of sin. But, as I have already obscrved, bread for the fuftenance of our bodies, bread for our own tables, for nourishing the clay bodies in their preient earthly state. So this petition concerns our bodies. Hence
Observe, That we are allowed to be concerned for our bodies, and their fuftenance. The neglect of it is a sin against God, Col. ii. ult. And the care of it is VOL. II.
neceffary to fit us for serving God in our several stations, as the horse must be seen to, by him who would make out his journey. And if we be the Lord's chil. dren, our bodies are the Lord's by a peculiar title ; they are the members of Christ, and temples of his Spirit. And therefore we owe them a particular honour and regard.
Yet there is but one petition here for the body, while there are two for the soul, Forgive us our debts, &c. And lead us not into temptation, &c. Whence,
Observe, Our main concern ihould be for our souls, and so it is indeed with the faints. This is that bet. ter part of the man, which is worthy of double honour, double care and concern, Matth. xvi. 26.
1. The body is of the earth, the soul is from heaven. By the body we are allied to the beasts, but by our fouls to the angels. The one is the brutal part of the man, the other the angelical part. And as heaven is above the earth, fo should the care of our souls be beyond that of our bodies.
2. Our bodies are mortal, but our fouls immortal. When one dies, his body goes to sleep in the dust till the resurrection ; but his foul goes to God who gave it, to live either in heaven or hell. Shall we not then have a greater concern for the immortal inhabitant, than the clay cottage, the weak tabernacle in which it dwells ?
3. Caring chiefly for the soul, we fecure the happiness of the body too, in this life, Matth. vi. 33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all t'beje things shall be added unto you ; and also in the life to come, Rom. viii. 11. But if the Spirit of him, that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you ; he that raised up Christ from the dead; shall aljo quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. But caring chiefly for the body, we lose the foul and the body too, Matth. 1. 39. He that findeth, his life shall lose it. And there is no compeniating of this lois.
USE. How far are the most part of men from this duły-divided concern! Alas, does not the body get the double portion of desires, cares, and concern ; and is not the soul admitted only to the least part? For the quantity it gets more, and for the quality toc; «ve being vigorous and lively in our concerns for tie bi. dy, but careless and indifferent in thofe for the soul: which is the very reverse of the frame which g ac: puts the heart into.
Under the name of bread here is comprehended not only bread strictly fo called, but generally the good things of this life for the support of our bodies.
1. Neceflaries, without which life cannot be sustained, viz. food and raiment. For, as I formerly noticed, a man inay be killed with thirit, and starved by cold, though he had plenty of other things, 2 Tim. vi. 8. Thus the scripture uses the word bread, Eccl. xi. 1. Cajt thy bread upon the waters : for thcu fisait find it after many days.
2. Conveniencies, which one cannot live comfort. ably without, Prov. xxx. 3. Feed me with food contenient for me God does not pen up his people to what is abwlutely necessary for keeping in their life, but allows them for conveniency and delight, buth as to defire and use. This varies according to the several ftations in which men are placed in the world, that being abundance to one, which would quite hamper another. And fo in this men are allowed to beg of God, such a portion of the good things of this life, as is agreeable to the condition which he has placed them in.
Now all neceffaries and conveniencies of life are comprehended under bread; (1.) Because breid is, generally speaking, the most neceffary support of hle. (2.) The molt common and ordinary, the entertaininent of the poor and of the rich, and what, by a special providence so ordering it, men are leatt apt to loath.
II. I proceed to hew what is the import of this re
tition for bread. That I may the more distinctly handle this, I hall contider it in the several parts thereof, by thewing the import of the words, Give bread, Give us bread, Give us our bread, and, Give us our daily bread.
First, I hall shew what is the import of these words, Give bread. Our Lord teaches all his people to come unto God, and say, Our Father, - give us bread. It imports,
1. That we are allowed to lay our temporal concerns and wants before the Lord in prayer, as well as our spiritual concerns, Prov. iii. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him. The praying Christian is a trader with heaven, and he may trade there in small things as well as in great things; nay, he ought to do it. For the covenant comprehends the small things of this lite, the bread and the water, If. xxxiii. 16. discretion in managing of his affairs, Plal. cxii. 5. and the success of his management, Psal. i. 3. as well as the great things of eternal salvation, i Timn. iv. 8. And much of God may be seen in answers of prayers of that kind, Gen. xxxiii. 10.
2. That men depend entirely on heaven for the means and comforts of life. Our country in this world is nourished by the King's country; and if the cominunication betwixt them were stopt, we would all ftarve, Hof. ii. 21. 2?. He is the Creator, Preserver, and Proprietor of all the crcatures, and their provi. for. There are some who having nothing of their own, do live by hanging on about the hands of their friends. And that is the case of all men with respect to Gud, the great Friend of the creatures.
3. That we need bread. While we are in this world, we will need it. The clay tabernacle in its prelent state like an old ratched house is still needing reparation : but in a little time we 'will need no
Death puts an end to all these needs'; and after the resurrection our bodies will be supported without these things which are now necessary,
4. That it is God who giveth us bread. The neceffaries and conveniencies of life are distributed by his hand, Pfal. cxlv. 16. Though you get your bread by your labour, you have it from God; for it is God that gives success to your labours. Though others give it you of their own, it is from God; for it is he that opens their hearts to bestow it on you, Deut. viii. 17. 18. Neither your industry nor intereft can procure it without him.
Lastly, That our bread is God's free gift of mercy, without any merit of ours, Gen. xxxii. 10. The least rag for our cloathing, crumb for our food, breathing in God's air, &c. is what we deserve not at the hand of God, Luke xvii, 10. In Adam we forfeited our right to God's creatures, Gen. ii. 17. and by that sin of breaking the first covenant, and many other rebellions against the Sovereign God, we have deserved to be ftript of all our comforts : So that all that we get is God's tree undeserved gift.
Quest. What needs one pray for bread, when he has it already? He that has it in his house, yer upon his table, has good reason to pray for it; because,
1. Without the efficacy of the divine appointment, it cannot be bread to us, it cannot nourish us, Matth. iv. 4. Without that our bread will not strengthen us, more than alhes, if God break the stay and staff of it, Il. iii. I.
2. Without God's good will ard favour with it, there is a curse it, Mal. ii. 2. And cursed bread makes but a fad meal.
Secondly, What is the import of these words, Give us bread? It imports,
1. That we may and ought to look to the Lord, not only for our own provilion, but for the provision of our families, i Pet. v. 7. He that has liid it on masters of families to provide for their families, will make them welcome to pray for their proviion. They who have had nothing to provide them with, Lave