got them provided this way: and those who have had enough for them, little or nothing of it has come to their hand, when God has seen it meet to make it fo.

2. That we should be concerned for others also, that they may have bread as well as we.

Good men are merciful men, and will give to others that need, and much more with them well, Jam. ii. 15. 16. We are all of one common nature, which requires this fympathy; and it well becomes those who are full to remember those who are hungry.

Thirdly, What is the import of these words, Give us our bread? There are three things imported in it, as delred by us.

1. That whatever portion of the good things of this life be bestowed on us, we may have a right to them, and so


look on them as our own bread. (1.) A covenant-right to them, through Jesus Christ, by whom the loft right to the creatures is restored to believers, 1 Cor. iii. 22. For if one be in Christ, he enjoys his bread by a new tenor, the tenor of the covenant, ll. xxxiii. 16. And that makes dry bread sweet.

(2.) A civil right to them, that it be such bread as we come lawfully by; that it be our own, not año. ther's coming to us in an unjust way, 2 Theff. iji. 12. One had better want, than be sustained on the gain of injustice; for upon that one can never expect God's blessing

2. That God would bless our lawful endeavours for Cread. That is a promisc of the covenant; and what God has promised we may pray for, Psal. cxxviii. 2. Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands. One must not think to get his bread by praying for it, with foldet hands, Prov. 8. 4. He becometh poor that dealeth with 'a pack hand. Nor is working for it without prayer to God the way to obtain it, Hag. i. 6. 9. But God's blefling and man's industry muit go hand in hand towards it.

3. That our bread thus brought to our hands may

be blessed of God to us, 1 Tim. iv. 4. 5. As an ingenuous child loves rather to take his bread out of his father's hand chan to take it to himself; fo the bread which is ours as aforesaid, the children of God do by prayer put again into God's hand, that they may receive it out of his hand again with his blesling. Lord, do thou give us our bread.

Fourtbly, What is the import of praying for daily bread? It imports,

1. That we are to confine our desires of the good things of this life to a competency, and not extend them to wealth and riches, 8. Give me neither poverty nor riches. We are to pray for daily, not weekly and yearly bread. Riches are a snare to our corrupt hearts, Matth. xis. 23. and they who are anxious for them court their own harm, 1 Tim. vii. 9. If God lay them to your hand, as he has done to some of his own, ye are to be thankful for them ; but be. ware the heart go not out after them, but use them for the honour and service of God.

2. That we are to be content to live from hand to mouth, having daily bread, without anxiety for the time to come, Matth. vi. 34. Surely we have enough, if God provide for every day as it comes.

Fifthly, What is the import of praying, Give us this day our daily bread? It is not, Give us to-morrow our daily bread. It teaches us,

1. That we are not to be anxious about to morrow's provision, Matth. vi. 34.

2. That God will have us every day coming to him for the supply of our needs. He likes to have his people about his hand, and therefore never furnishes them fo che day, but they need to come again another day.

3. That we are not sure of tomorrow. Every day may be our last. For what is our life? It is even a vafour that appeareth) for a little time, and then vanigheth, away, Jam. iv. 14. We may die this day, and need

So that there is no occalion for praying

no more.

for any more than provision suitable to the day when it comes.

I conclude this subject with a few inferences.

Inf. 1. Let us be thankful to God, for what we en. joy of the good things of this life. We owe it all to him ; and therefore let us take all we have as out of his hand, whatever we do for it: for it is at his charges we live.

Let us then be thankful to God, and own ourselves debtors to him, for all our mercies; for he it is that giveth rain and fruitful feasons. That there is food for man and beast among us, is the effect of his free bounty. And it is owing to the same cause, that we have peace to enjoy the fruit of our labours, and that God has not put it in the hands of enemies to eat it up. Let us admire his bounty to a finful generation ; and fee and notice with wonder how he does good to the unthankful and unholy, and how strictly he observes his promise, Gen. viii. ult. While the earth remaineth, seed-tiine and harvest, and cold and beat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease. That year the general deluge happened there was no feed-time nor harvest, but since they have never failed.

2. Let us look to God, and depend by faith on him for future mercies; and particularly look to him, for his blessing on the winter and spring season, on which fo much depends with us. Whatever Itrait he may be pleased to bring, let us accept it humbly off his hand, fince he owes is nothing, and may do with his own what he will. Look to him for removing of it, and patiently wait his time. Pray for his blessing on your substance, and on the work of your hands. You see the petition is put in your mouths for it every day. And therefore being offered through Christ, it will be accepted.

3. Let us be content with the measure he fees meet for us. Though-others may have more than we, we have more than we can crave as debt ; and it becomes us not to pretend to teach the Ruler of the world, to

[ocr errors]

whom he should give more, and to whom less, Matth. XX. 15.

4. Let us make God our friend through the mediation of his Son, Acts xii. 20. Kepent, and turn from your fins; and reform you felves and families. Sin is the only makebate betwixt God and us: put that aa way, since ye depend entirely on him for all you have. It is a strange thing to be provoking him, and grieving his Spirit, by a course of fin, on whom we depend for all things.

5. Beware of abusing God's good creatures to gluttony, drunkennels, fensuality, and luxury. Be not like the horse that kicks againit him that feeds him: and fight not against the Lord with the benefits he puts in your hands. Many to whom the Lord has given plenty of worldly good things, look on thcniselves as entitled to a greater liberty than others : but know, that the more ye have, ye arc the more in God's debt; and as your receipts are more than others, your reckoning will be deeper. - 6. Let us serve God joyfully with what he gives us. Let not men take God's gifts, and bestow them on their lufts, as those who use their worldly good things to the dishynour of the name of God, and the feeding of their pride, sensuality, and other brutal paflions. Sobriety becomes us; and as our Lord has stinted us to ak no more than a day's provision, let us use what he gives for every day soberly, with thankfulness; and improve it to his honour, in doing his will.

7. Let us not be anxious about provision for this life, nor go out of the road of duty or righteousness to get it. For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; and they that keep his way, he will see to their provision. Let us be diligent in our several callings to maintain ourselves in an honest way, without anxious folicitude and carking cares about the event; but leave the fuccels to God, taking thankfully whatever he sends, and craving his blell. ing upon it.


4 A

Be coo

8. Laply, Let us from the fame God through Jesus Christ look for eternal life, and the means leading thereto. cerned for your souls, and for the bread of life to them. Little bread will lerve us till we will need no more. Many of us have eaten most of our bread already, and leís inay ferve us than we are aware, of. Our souls must have food tco, and live for ever ; therefore be especially concerned for them.

The Fifth Petition.

[ocr errors]

MATTHEW vi. 12.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
HIS petition concerns our souls, as the former did our

bodies, and relates to the pardon of fin, which we are here taught to pray for.

lo discourfing from this subject, I shall confider,
I. The order of this petition, and the connection of it,
II. The petition itself.
III. Deduce some inferences,

I. I shall consider the order of this petition, and the connection of it. Concerning the order of it two things may ba observed.

1. That it follows the petition for daily bread. Not that bread is comparable, far less preferable to pardon : but that the time of this life is the leaton of pardon, Heb. ix. 27. Now or never we must be pardoned. When we have no more ado with bread, death taking away the necessity of it, we have no more ado with pardon,

2. That it is the first of the petitions for spiritual bleflings. Becaule pardon of fin is a leading benefit, and while fin re. mains unpardoned, the communication betwixt God and the finner is itopt, Amos iii. 2. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? While God has a controversy with the finner, he pursues it in greater or lesser measure, Psal. Ixvi. 18. And the removal of guilt is the opening of the spring of spiritual bleflings, to run abundantly; it is the taking the ftone of the mouth of the well,

As to the connection, this petition is knit to the former by the particle and, Give us this day, &c. And forgive us, &c. which speaks this, thai, in giving of bread without forgiving of fin, there is death in the pot, Pfal. iv. 6. & xvii. 14. There can be little kip or sweet in the bread of the condemn

« VorigeDoorgaan »