Page images

his interest is the father's interest, which is ground of confidenge, Psal. eiii 13. forecited, Isa. Lxiik 9. Surely they are my children,' Zech. ii. 8. He that toucheth you, touchegh the apple of his eye.'

(3.) That God is ready, and willing to help us, and we should come to him in that confidence, Matth. vii. 11. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? We should pour out our hearts into his bosom, in full confidence of his pity. Whom can a child expect help of, if not of a father? But no father has the bowels, of compassion that God has towards his own. If the mother's tenderness towards the child be ordinarily greater than that of the father's, yet the Lord is still more, Isa. xlix, 15, 16. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.' And there is no such present help as he is,

Object. But is not the heavenly Father often far from helping his children? Ans. The children of God often think so, when their trouble is continued, and the deliverance comes not quickly, But he is their Father; therefore, (1.) He designs their good by all the hardships they meet with, Rom. viii. 28. * All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (2.) He pities them under their hardships, (9.) He is a God of judgment, knows best when to remove them, and will do it in due time. The child cries, « Father, remove this affliction, or this trial, for it pains, me.' The Fa, ther pities, but his judgment leaves it till it be good for the child that it be removed,

II. I proceed to shew, what our being directed to call God our Father teaches us.

Negatively, Not that we may not pray, saying, My Fa. ther, or that we are always to speak plurally, saying, We pray. For we have scripture-examples for praying in the singular number, Ezra. ix. 6. Luke xv. 18, 19. But,

1. That we are not only to pray secretly by ourselves alone, but with others, joining with them in public and private. And hence may be brought no inconsiderable argument for that too much neglected duty of family-prayer ; which the guilty would do well seriously to consider.

2. That we are to pray, not only for ourselves, but for others also, according to scripture-example and precept, Acts xii. 5. 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2.

Praying with and for others is a piece of the communion of saints. And it is one of the privileges of God's family on earth, that they have the prayers of all the family there. God is a rich Father, who has blessings for all.

III. I come now to shew, what we are taught by our being directed to address ourselves to God as our Father in heaven.

1. That we are to eye his sovereign power and dominion over all, in our addresses to bin, believing that he is able to help us in our greatest straits, that nothing is too hard for him but he can do whatsoever he will, Psal. cxv. 3. This is a noble ground for faith. Our Fathers on earth may be unable to help; but our Father in heaven is almighty, and has power to help in every case. : 2. That we should be filled with heavenly affections in prayer, Psal. cxxiii. 1. and that God's glorious greatness above us should strike an awe upon us in our approaches to him, Eccl. v. 2.

3. God's glorious and wonderful condescension, who vouchsafes to look from his throne in heaven unto us poor worms on earth, Isa. Ixvi. 1, 2. : 4. Lastly, That we go to God as those who are strangers on this earth, and to whom heaven is home, because it is our Father's house, :1 Pet. i. 17. looking on this world as the place of our pilgrimage, and the men and manners of it as those we desire to leave, that we may be admitted into the society of angels, and consort with the spirits of just men made perfect.

I shall conclude with a few inferences.

Inf. 1. Let us see here the miserable condition of those who have no ground to call God Father. They were never adopted into the family of heaven, but are of their father the devil, still members of the family of hell; and if they be not delivered from that hellish society, they must perish

for ever. They have never yet prayed aright; for none can pray in a proper manner but those who have the Spirit of adoption. O cry to God, that he may be graciously pleased to translate you from the family of Satan into the family of God, and invest you with the privileges of the children of his family.

2. There is no right praying without faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God; and whatever is not of faith is sin. We cannot call God Father, nor love or reverence him without faith : nor can we have any fellowship or communion with him, but by faith in him as our father in Christ.

3. Hence see the happiness of the saints in the love of the Father, who is their Father; of the Son, who has made them the children of God, and of the Holy Spirit, who teaches them to call God their Father. How happy must those be who are so nearly related to all the three persons of the adorable Trinity, and are loved by, and have communion with each of them! O seek above all things to become the children of God, and ye shall be thus happy! !

4. There is no case a child of God is much to mean in, in the world, as long as he has a Father in heaven, to whom he can have access by prayer, at all times and in all cases, whether it be in life or in death, Micah vij. 7. The believer's Father is a very present help in trouble; and when all help fails, he will never fail his own children; but will sanctify their troubles, be present with them in their greatest straits and afflictions, support them under them, and deliver them, as he sees it will be for his own glory, and their good. . ! then, let us plead our interest in him as our Father, and engage his Spirit and presence to be ever with us,

in cumstance of life, and in the awful scenes of death and the grave, which we should view, not with terror, but with joy, as the messenger sent to convey us to the house of our Father which is in heaven.

every cir.


MATTH, vi. 9.-Hallowed be thy, name,

EN the Lord's prayer, are six petitions, whereof three are

for God's honour, and other three for our own good. Those which concern the honour of God take the lead of what concerns our good; for it is highly reasonable that the creature's interest yail to God's interest, The first of these petitions relates to the name of God, and the hallowing of it, or sanctifying of it, that is, the glorifying of it. So the first petition is for the glory of God's name. This is first of all put in our mouths, because of all things it should lie nearest our hearts.

In discoursing further from this subject, I shall shew,

I. What is meant by the name of God.

II. In what sense God's name is to be hallowed, or sancti, fied.

HI. Why hallowed or sanctified, rather than glorified, since it is evident, that it is the glorifying of his name that is in: tended.

IV. What is the import of this petition.

V. Why this is the first petition that is put by our Saviour in our mouths.

VI, Deduce some inferences.

I, I shall shew, what is meant by the name of God,

1. God himself. So names are put for persons, Rev. iii, 4. • Thou hast a few names in Sardis ;' that is, a few per, sons. And the name of God is put for God himself, Deut. xxviii. 58. Sthat thou mayst fear this glorious and fearful name, The LORD thy God.' Accordingly, as we pray here that God's name may be hallowed, or sanctified, so he tells us he will be sanctified,' Lev. X. 3.

2. Every thing whereby he makes himself known to his creatures, Psal. viii. 1. •O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! These are his names, Jéhovah, I am, &c. though there is no word sufficient fully to express what he is ; therefore his name is secret, wonderful, or incomprehensible, Judg. xiii. 18. His titles ; Old Testament titles, as Hearer of prayer ;' New Testament ones, as, • The God of peace, the God of patience and consolation,' Rom. xv. 33, 5. His attributes or perfections, Exod. xxxiv. 5. His word and ordinances, Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. and his works, Job. xxxvi. 24. In a special manner, Jesus Christ, by whom, and through whom, and in whom God manifests himself to us, John i. 18. And God's name is in him. But of the various senses in which the name of God is taken, I spoke more largely in the exposition of the third commandment.

II. I am to shew, in what sense God's name is to be hallowed, or sanctified. 1. Not effectively, by making holy."

* Holy is his name: He is infinitely holy, and cannot be made more holy. Whatever he is, whatever he says, whatever he does, is perfectly holy, and cannot be made more so, 1 John i. 5. Indeed he sanctifies his creatures by making them holy; but himself is originally and eternally holy, incapable of any addition.

2. But manifestatively and declaratively, viz. when the holiness of his name is manifested, declared, shewn, and acknowledged, Isa. xxix. 23. • They shall sanctify my name.' The holy name, in the dark parts of the earth, and in the dark men of the earth, is a candle under a bushel; it has a glorious light, but it is not seen: the bushel being removed, and the splendour breaking forth to open view, it is hallowed : men then shew, declare, and acknowledge it.

III. I come to shew, why God's name is said to be hallowed, or sanctified, rather than glorified, since it is evident that it is the glorifying his name that is intended.

1. Because God's holiness is his glory in a peculiar man-ner, Exod. xv. 11.— Glorious in holiness. It is the glory of all his other attributes; it is the beauty of them all, and of every one of them. It is an universal attribute which runs through all the other. It is that vein of infinite purity, that goes through the several letters of his name, and makes them shine in glory. Wherein lies the glory of God's wisdom,

« PreviousContinue »