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that trespass against us!" That is, in plain terms, "Do not thou forgive us at all: we desire no favour at thy hands. We pray that thou wilt keep our sins in remembrance, and that thy wrath may abide upon us." But can you seriously offer such a prayer to God? And hath he not yet cast you quick into hell? O tempt him no longer! Now, even now, by his grace, forgive as you would be forgiven! Now have compassion on thy fellow-servant, as God hath had, and will have, pity on thee!
15. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."-" And lead us not into temptation." The word translated temptation, means trial of any kind. And so the English word temptation was formerly taken in an indifferent sense; although now it is usually understood of solicitation to sin. St. James uses the word in both these senses; first, in its general, then in its restrained, acceptation. He takes it in the former sense when he saith, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, [or approved of God,] he shall receive the crown of life." (Chap. i. 12, 13.) He immediately adds, taking the word in the latter sense, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust," or desire, EŽEλxoμEvos,-drawn out of God, in whom alone he is safe,-"and enticed;" caught as a fish with a bait. Then it is, when he is thus drawn away and enticed, that he properly enters into temptation. Then temptation covers him as a cloud; it overspreads his whole soul. Then how hardly shall he escape out of the snare! Therefore, we beseech God "not to lead us into temptation," that is, (seeing God tempteth no man,) not to suffer us to be led into it. "But deliver us from evil:” rather, "-from the Evil One," año тë пoνngs. O Пovngos is unquestionably the wicked One, emphatically so called, the prince and god of this world, who works. with mighty power in the children of disobedience. But all those who are the children of God, by faith, are delivered out of his hands. He may fight against them; and so he will. But he cannot conquer, unless they betray their own souls. He may torment for a time, but he cannot destroy; for God is on their side, who will not fail, in the end, to "avenge his own elect, that cry unto him day and night." Lord, when we are tempted, ⚫ suffer us not to enter into temptation! Do thou make a way for us to escape, that the wicked One touch us not!
16. The Conclusion of this divine prayer, commonly called
the Doxology, is a solemn thanksgiving, a compendious acknowledgment of the attributes and works of God. "For thine is the Kingdom; "-the sovereign right of all things that are or ever were created; yea, thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all ages. "The Power;"-the executive power whereby thou governest all things in thy everlasting kingdom, whereby thou dost whatsoever pleaseth thee, in all places of thy dominion. "And the Glory;"-the praise due from every creature, for thy power, and the mightiness of thy kingdom, and for all thy wondrous works which thou workest from everlasting, and shalt do, world without end, "for ever and ever! Amen! So be it!
I believe it will not be unacceptable to the serious reader to subjoin
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
1 FATHER of all, whose powerful voice
Through endless ages still the same:
2 In heaven thou reign'st, enthron'd in light,
And hail Thee Sovereign Lord of All!
3 Thee Sovereign Lord let all confess,
That moves in earth, or air, or sky;
4 SON of thy SIRE'S eternal love,
Take to thyself thy mighty power; Let all carth's sons thy mercy prove, Let all thy bleeding grace adore.. The triumphs of thy love display;
In every heart reign thou alone;
5 SPIRIT of Grace, and health, and power,
So not heaven's host shall swifter move
6 FATHER, 'tis thine each day to yield
And hearest the young ravens cry. On thee we cast our care; we live
Through thee, who know'st our every need; O feed us with thy grace, and give Our souls this day the living bread!
7 Eternal, spotless LAMB of GOD, Before the world's foundation slain, Sprinkle us ever with thy blood;
O cleanse and keep us ever clean. To every soul (all praise to thee!)
Our bowels of compassion move:
8 Giver and LORD of Life, whose power
Thine, Lord, we are, and ours thou art ;
Renew, enlarge, and fill our heart
With peace, and joy, and heaven, and God.
9 Blessing and honour, praise and love,
By all thy works be paid to thee.
UPON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE
"Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fust. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
"But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
"That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Matt. vi. 16—18.
1. Ir has been the endeavour of Satan, from the beginning of the world, to put asunder what God hath joined together; to separate inward from outward religion; to set one of these at variance with the other. And herein he has met with no small success, among those who were "ignorant of his devices."
Many, in all ages, having a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge, have been strictly attached to the "righteousness of the law," the performance of outward duties, but in the mean time wholly regardless of inward righteousness, "the righteousness which is of God by faith." And many have run into the opposite extreme, disregarding all outward duties, perhaps even "speaking evil of the law, and judging the law," so far as it enjoins the performance of them.
2. It is by this very device of Satan, that faith and works have been so often set at variance with each other. And many who had a real zeal for God, have, for a time, fallen into the snare on either hand. Some have magnified faith to the utter exclusion of good works, not only from being the cause of our justification, (for we know that a man is "justified freely
by the redemption which is in Jesus," but from being the necessary fruit of it, yea, from having any place in the religion of Jesus Christ. Others, eager to avoid this dangerous mistake, have run as much too far the contrary way; and either maintained that good works were the cause, at least the previous condition, of justification, or spoken of them as if they were all in all, the whole religion of Jesus Christ.
3. In the same manner have the end and the means of religion been set at variance with each other. Some well-meaning men have seemed to place all religion in attending the prayers of the Church, in receiving the Lord's-Supper, in hearing sermons, and reading books of piety; neglecting, mean time, the end of all these, the love of God and their neighbour, And this very thing has confirmed others in the neglect, if not contempt, of the ordinances of God, so wretchedly abused, to undermine and overthrow the very end they were designed to establish,
4. But of all the means of grace there is scarce any concerning which men have run into greater extremes, than that of which our Lord speaks in the above-mentioned words, I mean Religious Fasting. How have some exalted this beyond all Scripture and reason;—and others utterly disregarded it; as it were, revenging themselves, by undervaluing, as much as the former had overvalued it! Those have spoken of it, as if it were all in all; if not the end itself, yet infallibly connected with it; These, as if it were just nothing, as if it were a fruitless labour, which had no relation at all thereto. Whereas it is certain the truth lies between them both. It is not all, nor yet is it nothing. It is not the end, but it is a precious means thereto; a means which God himself has ordained, and in which therefore, when it is duly used, he will surely give us his blessing.
In order to set this in the clearest light, I shall endeavour to show, First, What is the Nature of Fasting, and what the several sorts and degrees thereof: Secondly, What are the Reasons, Grounds, and Ends of it: Thirdly, How we may answer the most plausible Objections against it: and, Fourthly, In what Manner it should be performed.
I. 1. I shall endeavour to show, First, What is the Nature of Fasting, and what the several sorts and degrees thereof. As to the Nature of it, all the inspired writers, both in the Old Testament and the New, take the word, to fast, in one single sense, for not to eat, to abstain from food. This is so clear, that it would be labour lost to quote the words of David, Nehemiah,