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(3.) A deliverance completely from all sin, and temptation to it, Rom. vii. 24. forecited. And thus the petitions of this prayer end with a longing cry for perfect freedom from sin in another world. And this good the Lord brings out of the hard handling which his people get here, that thereby they are made to long for heaven.
3. They believe that God, and he only, can deliver them from evil. Without this faith they could not put up this petition; but the belief of the power and willingness of God to grant this deliverance to his people, daily excites them to cry unto him. Deliver us from evil.
I shall conclude this part of the sixth petition with a few inferences.
Inf. 1. Sinning is more terrible than suffering, in the eyes of the children of God. They pray to be delivered from sin absolutely, at any rate, cost what it will. And they have good reason for it; for there is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest suffering. In sinning we are conformed to the devil, but in suffering to Jesus Christ. Let us then cry earnestly to God, that he may deliver us from evil.
2. It is a black mark of one that belongs not to God, when there is no parting betwixt him and his lusts. The word and providence works to the delivering the man from his sin, but he will not part with it; he is not content to let it go, It is not the spot of God's children.
3. A careless, fearless way of going through the world, without daily care of being ensnared into sin, is an evidence that the man is at home, and is not travelling Zion-ward. For those who are going through this world as a wilderness, are walking with fear and trembling through it, still saying, Lord, lead us not into temptation.
4. Lastly, It is in the nature of all God's children, to de sire to be home. Our Father which art in heaven,-deliver us from evil. They know that this will never be completely and fully answered till they be beyond the clouds: but from their hearts they desire it. Let us evidence ourselves to be the children of God, by our ardent desires for this complete deliverance from sin.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE LORD's PRAYER.
MATTH. vi. 13-For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.
E come now to the conclusion of the Lord's prayer,
which teacheth us, to take our encouragement in
prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.'
In this conclusion three things are to be considered.
I. The connection thereof with the petitions.
II. The concluding sentence.
III. The concluding word.
IV. I shall deduce some inferences.
I. Let us consider the connection of this conclusion with the petitions in the particle for; which shews it to contain arguments to be used in prayer for hearing: q. d. Lord, hear us, for the kingdom is thine, the power is thine, and the glory is thine; and teaches us, that when we pray, we should plead and pray, press our prayers, and enforce our petitions, with arguments and reasons, to be heard. I shall shew you,
1. The truth of it.
2. The reason of it.
First, I shall shew you the truth of this pleading. And that it is so, appears from,
1. The Lord himself's teaching us so to do, which shews it to be acceptable to him, since he himself directs us to it. We have the Mediator's direction for it in this pattern of prayer, petition 5. and conclusion. See also Luke xi. 5,-9. And the more of the Spirit that one has in prayer, he will have his mouth the more filled with arguments.
2. The practice of the saints. See how Moses pleads and reasons with God in prayer, Exod. xxxii. 11,-13. ‘Lord why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou
hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, for mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of, will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever." See also how Asa pleads, 2 Chron. xiv. 11. Lord it is no thing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude: 0 Lord, thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee.' Job thought it a good way of praying, and longed to be at it, Job xxiii. 4. I would fill my mouth with arguments,' says he. The woman of Canaan recovered her arguments, when they seemed to be answered, Matth, xv. 22,27. Have mercy on me,' says she, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away, for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent, but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worship. ped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.'
3. The nature of the thing. In prayer men are upon bu siness of the greatest weight, and outmost necessity, and should be in deep earnest in it; and ordinarily the Lord does not answer but to importunity. Is it not very natural in such a case to plead? Yea, what case can men be in that requires more importunate pleading, than that which relates to God's glory, and their everlasting felicity?
Secondly, I come to shew the reason of this pleading, why we should do so.
1. It is not to move, persuade, or bring over the Lord, to give us what we desire. Force of argument may prevail with man to change his mind, but the unchangeable God cannot be turned about with any reason or thing whatsoever. For
• with him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,' Jam. i. 17. He is in one mind, and who can turn him? Job xxiii. 18.
2. But it is to exercise and strengthen our own praying graces, faith and fervency, &c. So that the effect of the pleading is on ourselves, not on God, though the consequent of it, by the divine purpose, is prevailing in prayer. It is true, the design of the pleading person is not on himself, though the effect is; neither ought it to be upon God, to move him, but upon the thing itself, to lay it out before the Lord, in the necessity and reasonableness of it. It is as if a hungry child should apply to his father for bread and the father should say, Child, wherefore should I give you bread? and thereupon the child should say, "Alas! I am pained with hunger, and who will give it me if you refuse? will it not be a reflection on your name, to say your children faint for lack of bread?' While the child pleads thus, the tear strikes in his eye, and his earnestness increases: whereupon he is answered. Here it is evident, that the effect of the pleading is not on the father; it would be but the child's weakness to think that the father is overcome with his arguments, though the consequent of the pleading is the child's getting bread: But the effect of it is plainly on the child himself, though the child designs it not so: And suppose the child to have so much wit, as to know that his arguments are not needed to persuade his father, his design of pleading in that case is on the thing itself, to hold out the necessity and reasonableness of it.
II. Let us consider the concluding sentence, Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Here I shall shew,
1. What is meant by the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.
2. What is the import of this sentence.
FIRST, I am to shew what is meant by the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.
1. By the kingdom is meant, not the kingdom of grace, nor the kingdom of glory either; but God's essential kingdom, his universal sovereignty over all persons and all things whatsoever.
2. The power is not authority whereby God may do, but
the ability whereby he can do what he will, in that kingdom.
3. The glory is not God's essential glory, but the declarative glory, arising from what he doth in that kingdom, which will shine forth for ever through eternity.
SECONDLY, I am to shew, what is the import of this sentence. It is twofold, praise, and pleading arguments.
First, Praise. Hereby we praise him in our prayers, expressing high and honourable thoughts of him: Thine is the kingdom, &c. Thus we exalt him above ourselves, and all creatures whatsoever.
1. As the universal and absolute Monarch of all the creation, and the only one, 1 Chron. xxix. 11. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and in the earth, is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.' Universal and absolute sovereignty are the flowers of the imperial crown of heaven, and belong to no other. They are many kings on earth, but they are all limited monarchs, and vassals to the King of heaven, who can have no competitor: Lord, thine is the kingdom.
2. As the Omnipotent, and only Omnipotent, ibid. The power of men and angels is but a shadow of power, weakness in comparison with God's. None of them all are capable to do what they are capable to will. But his power and will are of equal extent.
3. As the chief end of all things, ibid. and the only chief end. It is the peculiar prerogative of God to say, 'For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it,' Isa. xlviii. 11. All persons and things are for God, God is for himself; and the glory of all redounds to him, and will do for evermore.
This teaches us, That in our prayers we should praise God, as well as petition him. Praise is a comely mixture in all the parts of divine worship. It is most directly tending to God's honour; and it is the piece of worship that will last longest; when prayers, &c. are laid by in heaven, praise will be there for ever.
Observ. This pattern of prayer begins with praise, and ends with it too. For it is necessary, in the entrance, that we have our hearts awed with the divine glory, that so we may be the fitter to pray on: and in the end, that we may