« AnteriorContinua »
in it being fit for us to desire of our Father' which is in Heaven.
So that our Lord hath not only taught us to believe that God is our Father, and given us Boldness to call him so, but moreover hath taught us what is proper for us to ask of him, because he is so; and there. fore we may farther conclude that in this Prayer he hath encouraged us to apply to God in all our reasonable Needs, because there are none such which we may not freely ask our heavenly Father to supply.
Moreover I observe, that he hath not only taught us to ask of God what is fit for us to ask, because he is our heavenly Father, but thro' every Petition he hath instructed us what Duty we owe to him, as to our Father.
In the first Petition, Hallowed be thy Name, we express our Reverence to his Majesty.
In the second, Thy Kingdom come, our Love of his Goodness, and our Desire to live for ever with him.
In the third, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, our Subjection to his Authority, our Obedience to his Commands.
In the fourth, Give us this Day our daily Bread, our Dependance upon his Providence, Care and Bounty.
In the fifth, Forgive us our Trespases, as we forgive them that trespass against us, our Hope in his Mercy, and our Belief of his Word.
In the last, Lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from Evil, we express our Trust in his Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness, in the Grace of his Providence, and in the Grace of his good Spirit.
Now all these are Duties that we owe to our heavenly Father.
So that this Prayer of our Lord hath not only taught us what we are Ato sk of God, but what we are to Be our felves.
In the last place, I ought not to omit what I think is by all observed, and well observed, that the beginning of the Prayer, with the Prayer it self, implies and teaches the Charity of praying for one another, even in our private Prayers, because our Lord hath taught us in them to fay OUR Father, and therefore some of the Ancients accounted this a Prayer that ought to be used by every Christian in his private Devotions, that he may not omit praying for the Catholick Church.
And truly it seems to me that there is that Fulness of Sense in Fewness of Words, that Plainness and Simplicity, those edifying Instructions, easy to be understood by all, not beneath the Consideration of any; there is that Excellency in this FORM of
PRAYER upon all Accounts, that it every way appears to be worthy of its AUTHOR; and I will add, that the Matter of it, there was nothing else to induce my Belief, shews plainly enough that it was intended for a Prayer to be used by the Church of Christ while the Earth should endure, and not only for the First Disciples of our Savis our, before the Holy Ghost was given them. They that are made to believe this, do noc well consider that the Divinity and Do&trine of this Prayer doth not look as if it were calculated for the Weakness and Imperfection of Novices, but rather for the in itruction and Devotion of the most Perfect Christians. And setting aside those Passages in it, that respect our sinful, frail, and mortal Condition in this World, it is a Prayer that may be said by the Angels in Heaven. And while we live here in Houses of Clay, and are encompassed with Temptations and Infirmities, there is no Prayer which can better express our Sense of God's Goodness towards us, to whom our Saviour hath taught us to apply our felves, as Children to their Father, nor our Emulation of the Purity and Perfection of the blessed Spirits above, while we desire that God's Will may be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, nor can more effectually excite all those good Affections which make up inward Devotion, as I have shewn by those plain Considerations, which
the Form of Invocation in this Prayer, taken by it self, and compared with the whole Prayer, affords; and for being plain, they are so much the more profitable, for they are not meet for the Speculation of a nice Understanding, but for the Improvement of true Devotion; and God grant we may not lose the Effect of them,
The Second Sermon on the LORD's
MATTH. VI. ix.
Hallowed be thy N A M E.
this Petition I shall consider the Matter of it, that we may know what we pray for in it, and also what manner of Persons we ought to be, if we use it with Understanding and Consideration.
I shall shew what it is to hallow the Name of God, and how many Instances of a religious Man's Duty come under it.
In order to which I am to shew, 1. What is meant by the Name of God.
2. What we are to understand by ballowing his Name.
The Name of God signifies first of all God himselfThus when it is said, The