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Give us this day our daily bread. Give the temptation, or increasing our strength us from time to time, such wholesome and to resist it. This petition teaches us to proper food, that we may be enabled to preserve a sense of our own inability, to worship thee with cheerfulness and vigour.repel and overcome the solicitations of the
world, and of the necessity there is of our And forgive us our debts as we forgive receiving assistance from above, both to reour debtors. The great God, as supreme gulate our passions, and to conquer the difgovernor of the universe, has a right to sup ficulties of a religious life. port his government, by punishing those who transgress his laws. The suffering of
For thine is the kingdom, and the power punishment, therefore, is a debt which sin
and the glory, for ever.
Because the goners owe to the divine justice : so that
vernment of the universe is thine for ever, when we ask God in prayer to forgive our and thou alone possessest the power of debts, we beg that he would be mercifully creating and upholding all things, and bepleased to remit the punishment of all our
cause the glory of thine infinite perfections sins; and that laying aside his displeasure, remains eternally with thee; therefore all he would receive us into favour, and bless
men ought to hallow thy name, submit us with life eternal. In this petition, there
themselves to thy government, and perform fore, we confess our sins, and express the thy will. And in an humble sense of their sense we have of their guilt ; namely, that
dependence, seek from thee the supply of they deserve death; and surely nothing can
their wants, the pardon of their sins, and be more proper than such a confession in
the kind protection of thy providence. our addresses to God; because humility, and sense of our own unworthiness, when
This is emphatically called the Lord's we ask favours of the Almighty, whether
prayer, because delivered by the Son of God spiritual or temporal, bave a tendency to
himself; and therefore we should do well to augment the goodness of God in bestowing
understand it thoroughly, that when we them upon us.
enter the temple of the Lord, and address
bim in solemn prayer, we may have hopes The terms of this petition are worthy our that he will grant our petitions. And notice ; Forgive us only as we forgive. We above all, not to barbour in our breasts the must forgive others, if we bope ourselves to least envy or malice against any who have be forgiven ; and are permitted to crave offended us; for it is only on a supposition from God such forgiveness only as we grant that we have forgiven others, that we have to others : so that if we do not forgive even the least reason to hope for obtaining forour enemies, we seriously and solemnly giveness from the great Creator. implore the Almighty to condemn us to the punishments of eternal deaih. How re The conciseness and simplicity of this markably careful, therefore, should men be prayer of our Lord's, ought to be an examto purge their bearts from all rancour and ple unto us, in all our petitions to the Famalice, before they venture into the temple iher Almighty, that we observe the same of the Almighty God, to offer up their uniformity and order ; and not to multiply prayers to the throne of grace !
words to the exclusion of meaning, as is
sometimes the case. And lead us not into temptation, but delirer us from evil. That is, do not lead us The divine Preacher proceeded to consiinto such temptations as are too hard for der the great duty of fasting, in which he buma nature ; but deliver us, by some directed them not to follow the hypocrites means, from the evil : either by removing in disfiguring their faces, and in clothing
themselves in the melancholy weeds of sor dent, and will purchase “ a crown of glory row; but to be chiefly solicitous to appear that fadeth not away eternal in the heavens." before God, as one that truly fasteth. Nor let any man be so foolish as to think be Then will the Almighty, who constantly can place bis heart on the happiness of a fusurrounds us, and is acquainted with even ture state, when his treasures are deposited the most secret thoughts of our hearts, in this vale of misery; for wherever are laid openly bestow upon us the rewards of a UP the goods which his soul desireth, there true penitent, mortification, contrition, his heart and affections will also remain. and humility, he can discern without the If, therefore, ye are desirous of sharing in external appearances of sorrow and repent the joys of eternity, you must lay up your
It must, however, be remembered, treasures in the “ mansions of my Father's that our blessed Saviour is here speaking of kingdom.” private fasting, and to this alone his directions are to be applied ; for when we are Lest they should imagine it was possible called upon to mourn over the public sins or to be both heavenly-minded and covetous, calamities, it ought to be performed in the at the same time, he assured them that this most public manner.
was full as absurd as to imagine a person
could, at the same time, serve, and divide Heavenly-mindedness was the next virtue bis affections equally, between two masters inculcated by the blessed Jesus; and this of opposite characters. No man can he recommended with a peculiar earnest serve two masters; for either he will hate ness, because the Jewish doctors were in the one and love the other ; or else he will general strangers to this virtue, in which hold to the one, and despise the other: he was desirous that his followers should be Ye cannot serve God and mammon." clothed, as being the most excellent orna
Matt. iv. 24. ment for a teacher of righteousness.
To strengthen this doctrine, he added a This virtue is strenuously recommended few plain and evident instances of the by our blessed Saviour, by shewing the power and perfection, and extent of God's deformity of its opposite covetousness, providence, in which his tender care for the which has only perisbable things for its ob least and weakest of his creatures shines ject.—“Lay not up for yourselves trea with a remarkable lustre, demonstrating the sures upon earth, where moth and rust doth wise and parental attention of the Deity to corrupt, and where thieves break through all the creatures of his hand. He desired aud steal. But lay up for yourselves trea them to observe the birds of the air, the sures in heaven, where neither moth nor lilies and even the grass of the field ; leading rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not bis most illiterate hearers to form a more break through and steal. For where your elevated and extensive idea of the divine
gotreasure is, there will your heart be also.” vernment than the philosophers had attainMatt. vi. 19, 20, 21.
ed, who, though they allowed, in general,
that the world was governed by God, bad More solid happiness will accrue from very confused notions of his providence with depositing your treasures in the chambers regard to every individual creature and acof the courts of heaven, than in this earthly tion. He taught them that the Almighty habitation of clay, where they are subject Father of the whole, is the guardian and to a thousand disasters ; and even, at best, protector of every being in the universe ; can remain only for a short series of years ; that every action is subject to his will, and whereas, those laid up in the heavenly Jeru that notbing is left to the blind determinasalem are permanent; subject to no acci tion of Chance,
And if we direct our lives according to human nature, and are ready to pity and the divine will, we bave surely no reason to pardon their faults, both your heavenly be anxious about the necessaries of life. Father and man will deal with you after the “ Behold (says the blessed Jesus) the fowls same manner. But if you always put the of the air; for they sow not, neither do harshest construction upon every action, they reap nor gather into barns ; yet your and are not touched with a feeling of your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye brother's infirmities, nor shew any mercy much better than they ?” Matt. vi. 26. in the opinions you form of bis blessed characAre not the fowls of the air, who have no ter and actions, no mercy will be shewn you concern for future wants, fed and nourished either from Omnipotence, or the sons of by the beneficent hand of our heavenly men.
God will inflict on you the punishFather; and can ye doubt that man, whom ments you deserve, and the world will be he hath made the Lord of the whole earth, sure to retaliate the injury. Judge not shall be destitute of his tender care ? And that ye be not judged. For with what why take ye thought for raiment ? Consider judgment yejudge, yeshall be judged: and the lilies of the field, how they grow; they with wbat measure ye mete, it shall be toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I measured to you again.” Matt. vii. 1, 2. say unto you, that even Solomon, in all bis glory was not arrayed like one of these." The blessed Jesus, in bis pious discourse, Matt. vi. 28, 29. Consider the lilies that so told them to inculcate an entire reformation finely adorn the adjacent fields; how beau- in themselves, a particular absolutely neces • tiful their form ! how lively their colours ! sary in those whose office it is to reprove and how fragrant their scent! The productions reform their brethren. And surely nothing of art but faintly imitate them. Even Solo can be more preposterous, than to condemn mon himself, dressed in his splendid robes in others what we practise ourselves; or to of royalty, was but meanly adorned in com set up for reformers of the world, when we parison of these. And surely is Omnipo- are ourselves containinated with the most tence thus beautifully clothes the inanimate enormous vices. With wbat countenance productions of the fields, whose duration is can we undertake to rebuke others for small remarkably transient and uncertain, you faults, when we are ourselves plunged in have not the least reason to doubt but be the most detestable pollutions? Well might will bless your honest endeavours, and send the Redeemer of the world say, “ Thou you proper clothing: are ye not of infinitely hypocrite, first cast you the beam out of more value than they?
thine own eye; and then shalt thou see
clearly to cast out the mote out of thy bro-. Be you anxiously solicitous to obtain the ther's eye.” Matt. vii. 4. happiness of the life to come ; and all the good things of this life shall, in the course These are the important points of of the divine providence, be added unto doctrine recommended by the infallible you.
Preacher, as necessary to the teachers of the
gospel of peace ; but it is not enough that Our Lord then prohibited all rash and they know and practise the several branches uncharitable censure, either with regard to of their duty: to extend the doctrines among the characters of others in general, or of mankind, there must also be a readiness, their actions in particular; lest, in so doing, and even a desire in the people, to receive you judge charitably, says the neek and to spread these heavenly truths will proye benevolent Redeemer of the human race, abortive; and therefore, our blessed Savi. making proper allowances for the frailties of our added, “Give not that which is holy
unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls to mortify it, poverty, fasting, watching, before swine, lest they trample them under injuries, chastity, sobriety. And with retheir feet, and turn again and rent you.” gard to the gate, it receives none that are Matt. vii. 6. Do not reprove men of a puffed up with the glory of this life; none snarling disposition, as the attempt, instead that are elated and blown up with pride; of having the happy effects intended, will none that are distended with luxury. Ic but provoke them to pursue their wicked does not admit those that are laden with the ness with greater boldness than ever. You casket of riches, or encumbered with the may warn others against their company and l goods of this world. None can pass through example ; you may weep over them, and it but those who are stripped of all worldly you may pray to your heavenly Father for lusts, and who, having put off their bodies, them : but you cannot reprove them with are, if I may be allowed the expression, safety, or any hope of success.
emaciated into spirits. There is, however,
no reason for us to despair of entering this " . Lest the disciples should think that these heavenly portal; if we sincerely endeavour, precepts were not to be attained by human the assistances of the Holy Spirit will make nature, he directed them to apply to God us more than conquerors; and we shall safely for the assistance of his Spirit, together pass through the straight gate, and pursue with all other blessings necessary to their our journey with ease along the narrow path, salvation ; assuring them, that if they asked till we arrive at the blissful mansions of the with earnestness and perseverance, the Fa- heavenly Canaan. ther of mercies would not fail to answer their requests, and give them whatever they But, lest evil-minded men, under the desired. Adding the noblest precept of mask of piety and religion, should endea. morality that was ever delivered by any vour to draw them from the paths of righteteacher: “All things whatsoever ye would ousness, our blessed Saviour cautioned his that men should do unto you, do ye even so disciples to beware of such persons, and to them, for this is the Law and the Pro- carefully make the strictest scrutiny into their phets.” Matt. vii. 12. How clear a rule of lives and doctrines. duty is this, and how easy and applicable to practise ! Look into your own breast, and
Our Lord closed his sermon with the pa. do as you would be done by, in every cor
rable of the houses built on different foundadition,
tions; intimating that the bare knowledge,
or the simple hearing of the most divine lesHaving enforced these heavenly precepts, sons of morality ever delivered, nay, even he exhorted them to place an humble depend the belief of these instructions, without the ance on the Spirit, io strive to practise the practice of them, is of no manner of imprecepts of Religion, however difficult the
portance. task may appear:
“ Enter ye in at the straight gate ; for wide is the gate, and Religion alone is the foundation which broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, can so firmly establish us, that we cannot and many there be which go in thereat. be shaken by all the tempests of afflictions, Because straight is the gate, and narrow is temptations, and persecutions of the present the way which leadeth upto life, and
It is this foundation alone, which, few there be that find it." Matt. vii, 13, 14. like a flinty rock, or the eternal basis of the How straight indeed is the gate, how nar mountains, can support us in the day of trial. row the way that leadeth to life! In the This alone can enable us to frustrate the atway nothing can be found that flatters the
tempts of men and devils, and patiently flesh, but many things that have a tendency endure all the troubles of mortality.
THE great, Preacher of Israel having to him.
one that was not of the seed of Jacob, and
therefore told him, he did not mean he Our Lord cures the Leprosy and Palsy. should give himself the trouble of going to
Casts out a Devil. Succours the Mother in- bis house, as this was an honour he had not law of Peter ; and afterwards pur. the least reason to expect, he being assured sues his Journey through the Country of that his word alone would be sufficient; Galilee.
diseases and devils being as much subject to his commands, as his soldiers were
to him. finished his excellent discourse, came down from the mountain, surrounded by a
Our Lord was amazed at these words, multitude of people, who had listened with not that he was ignorant of the centurion's astonishment to the doctrines be delivered, faith, or the basis on which it was built ; which were soon confirmed by divers mira he well knew the thoughts of his heart long cles. A leper met him in bis way to Caper- before he uttered his request ; but he was naum, and being doubtless acquainted with
filled with adiniration at the exalted idea the the wonderous works he had already per
Roman officer had conceived of his power; formed, threw himself with great humility, and to make this faith the more conspicuous, before the Son of God, using this remark he gave it the praise it so justly deserved. able expression, “ Lord, if thou wilt, thou Verily I say unto you, I have not found so canst make me clean."
great faith, no not in Israel." The species of leprosy common among
This centurion doubtless relied on the the Jews and other eastern nations, was miracle Jesus had before wrought upon the equally nauseous and infectious; but this nobleman's son; but the excellency and way was so far from preventing the blessed peculiarity of it consisted in applyiug the Jesus from approaching so loathsome an ob most grand ideas of superior power to Jesus, ject, that it increased his pity; be even who, according to outward appearance, touched him; but instead of being polluted was only one of the sons of men.
himself, the leper was instantly cleansed, and he departed glorifying God.
This exalted faith induced the blessed
Jesus to declare the gracious intentions of The evangelist adds, that Jesus forbade his Almighty Fatlier, with regard to the him to tell any person what had been done, Gentiles, namely, that he would as readily but repair immediately to the priest, and accept their faith as that of the Jews, and offer the gift commanded by Moses.
place them with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
in the kingdom of heaven, while those who Having effected the cure on the leper, boasted of being the offspring of these great our blessed Lord proceeded to Capernaum; patriarchs, but fell far short of the heathens but as he entered that city, he was met by a in faith, should be excluded from the bliss. Roman centurion, who represented to him, ful seats of Paradise. “ And I say unto in the most pathetic manner, the deplorable you, that many shall come from the cast and condition of his son, who was grievously west and shall sit down with Abraham, afflicted with a palsy. The compassionate and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of Redeemer of the world listened attentively heaven. But the children of the kingdom to his complaint, and immediately told him, sha!) be cast out into outer darkness ; there he would come and beal bim. The centu.
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." sion thuught this a great condescension to Matt. viii. ll, 12.