« VorigeDoorgaan »
treasure being there, and our heart where our treasure is, we may have a pious submissive desire to be with God, and to enter into possession of the promised joys which are at his right hand for evermore.
$ 7. We pray, in the first petition, that the Name of God may be hallowed, that that great and glo. rious Name which is iu itself infinitely holy, and cannot be rendered more or less so by the respect or disrespect of mortal lips, may yet receive the honour and worship which are justly due to the Sovereigu of the universe, the Preserver of our bodies, the Res deemer and Sanctifier of our souls; and the honour and worship of which God declares that he is jealous, and will not be defrauded :-we pray, that true religion, the kuowledge and service of God, as they are propounded in the Gospel, and a pure faith in the doctrines of salvation, may flourish and abound in fruit to the praise and glory of God ;--that no blasphemy or vain conversation may tarnish the purity of our thoughts and speech relating to God and sacred things;
that all our words, actions, and thoughts, inay magnify the power, and conduce to the honour of God's most holy Name.
8.8. In the second petition we pray, that the Kingdom of God may come that the word of the Gos. pel may penetrate and enlighten our hearts ;--that the dominion of Christ on earth may supersede the power and supremacy of the devil, who reigns in all wicked men, and may be established in full extent and efficacy, in God's good time, throughout the world ;-that the influence of Christ's religion may be felt and seen in the holy and righteous lives of all who profess to be his disciples; so that we may serve him as loyal and obedient subjects, and be enabled by his authority and Spirit to subdue those enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, which oppose bis sway ;-that those who are already admitted into the kingdom of God here, the covenant of grace, may continue in faith and persevere in good works, and may be admitted, through the merits of the Saviour, into the kingdom of glory and happiness hereafter.
§ 9. In the third petition we pray, that the will of God may be done by men on earth as it is by angels and saints in heaven, that each one in his appointed station may rightly perform his duty and obey the Law ;-—that we, who by nature are disqualified from serving God, according to his will, who of ourselves cannot do any thing as of ourselves, having been regenerated and transferred from a state of wrath to a state of grace by the Holy Spirit, may be enabled by the same Spirit to perform the Divine will, so far as our imperfect and corrupted nature will permit, and daily to improve in obedience, and in that love of God which manifests itself by the keeping of his commands, and by zealous adherence to the Gospel of his Son ;-that we may implicitly acquiesce in all the appointments and visitations of Providence, and cheerfully obey the summons which shall call us from this probationary scene.
Thus far the Prayer has reference to the most important, that is, spiritual benefits, rather than those which regard the necessities of the body. The order is distinct. We first pray for the true acknowledgement of God, then for the effect of this, that we may be governed by the Holy Spirit,--and thirdly,
that each in his vocation and ministry may truly and piously serve God. Next follow petitions for corporeal blessings.
§ 10. In the fourth petition we pray, that God will give us each day our daily bread—that he will of bis: bounty be pleased to impart to us whatever seems, in infinite wisdom, to be expedient and sufficient for us, according to the station in which we have been placed, -that no superfluous riches, or sensual indulgences, may lead us into pride, and vanity, and forgetfulness of God, that no distress or pains of poverty may tempt us to blaspheme or distrust the benevolence of Him who clothes the very grass of the field. We acknowledge, also, in the terms of this petition, that we are bound to use our own honest endeavours to gain our own livelihood, and to depend upon God for the success of them,that, as we are convinced no efforts on our part, without the Divine blessing, or permission, can secure us even sustenance for a single day, we mụst not be too careful for the morrow; but doing that which is right and provident, must rely on the Divine goodness for future provision and prosperity.
§ 11. The fifth petition implies a confession, that all men are sinners, and consequently that all stand in need of forgiveness that we continually sin, and must therefore unceasingly implore the Divine mercy. We pray, that God will forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us—that if we heartily and unreservedly pardon those who offend against ourselves, our heavenly Father will be pleased, according to his gracious promises, to pardon our
manifold transgressions against His holy will and honour. It is peculiarly a Christian grace to forgive and love our enemies ; and we pray for this grace, that we may be enabled to act according to the precept
of our Saviour, and that we may thus obtain a title to forgiveness.
We have before our eyes, whilst making this petition, the boundless love of God towards us, who has assured us of the pardon of all our sins, upon sincere repentance and faith in the Redeemer, and the no less wonderful love of the Redeemer who purchased that pardon with his blood, for a world at enmity with God through wicked works. We have also before us the awful threat, that if we forgive not, neither shall we be forgiven ; for if we be deficient in affording this unequivocal proof of the sincerity of our repentance, and of the stedfastness of our faith, we cannot expect that remission of sins, which is only granted upon these conditions,
§ 12. In the sixth petition we do not pray, that God would not actually lead us into temptation, for God tempteth no man; nor that he would not permit us to fall into any temptation ; but we pray, that he would not suffer us to fall into violent, extraordinary, and perilous temptations, too great for our strengthso to be tempted by our spiritual adversaries, as that we almost inevitably shall fall under their power, -that he would grant us his support and grace under these assaults, which are necessary to our present state of probation, and which we may incur, through our own evil propensities or negligence,-and that he will be pleased to convert those trials and temptations, with which he may see good to prove and chas.
ten us, to our profit and salvation, and his own glory.
13. The seventh petition in which we pray, that God will deliver us from evil, is closely connected with the sixth, inasmuch as having besought the Almighty that we may not be tried beyond our strength, we here pray, that if through our weakness we do through temptation fall into sin, he will make a way to escape, that we may not be bound by Satan, -the evil one, the teinpter from the beginning, - but may speedily be delivered from spiritual thraldom, and restored to the freedom of the sons of God.
In a secondary sense we pray, to be delivered from temporal adversity and affliction, from every calamity and suffering, which may not be necessary to our soul's health-but chiefly from the overflowing source of all evil, both corporeal and spiritual, from sin and the instigator of sin.
$14. The Doxology is a concluding acknowledgement, that we rely on the glorious attributes of God for the success of our petitions, and that our thanks and praises are most due for those we have already received,—that as God is the fountain from whence all blessings flow, so he is the sole object of praise and exaltation. Of God is the kingdom, or right of sovereignty, which we pray may be speedily established in the hearts of all men ; His is the power, to grant every thing that can be for our good ;-His is the glory, to which all created things, whether in heaven or earth, must ultimately tend, and ought to be immediately directed, but especially those excellent gifts and graces which he mercifully accords to