Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

particularly contemplated ; – those which are the only real and permanent evils--the spiritual evil of sin, and the consequent evil of everlasting punishment.

It has been truly observed, that the original term, which we translate simply by the word evil, might be understood to mean the evil one ; that is to say, our great spiritual enemy, the devil. But this form of interpretation would not occasion any difference in the force of the prayer: for-to be delivered from an adversary—can only mean-to be rescued from his power; from the mischief and suffering, into which he would betray us.

Now the mischief, into which Satan would betray us, cannot be of any other nature, than that, into which he seduced our first parents; namely; disobedience to the laws of God, and his consequent displeasure: and the suffering, which he would bring upon us, must, accordingly, be that of eternal death,

When a believer in Christ, then, prays to be delivered from this dreadful penalty, he is virtu, ally praying, that the merits of Christ's death

may be applied to his own justification: and thus this

petition implies, in him, not only an entire faith in the efficacy of the Cross, but a hearty repentance of all past sins, and a sincere determination to amend his life : for these, we know, are the conditions, which the Divine Author of this

prayer invariably annexes to the promise of salvation through his name. It cannot, indeed, be made a question, whether he, who prays in earnest, that he may not be led into temptation, must not be understood to repent of those trespasses, into which he has already been led; or whether the bare petition, to be delivered from the evil of sin, does not imply a resolution, on his part, to sin no

more.

The petitions being thus completed, the prayer concludes with a form of praise to God, usually termed the Doxology, in these words; “ for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever and ever. When we say—" thine is the

· The doxology is only found in the prayer, as given by St. Matthew : but the omission of it by St. Luke is no reason, why this form of praise should not be regarded as truly and properly belonging to the prayer; and accord

kingdom,” we acknowledge that supremely great and good Being, whom we have been permitted to call " our heavenly Father," as the sole and undoubted Sovereign of the universe; who reigns over all, not only by right of possession, but by right of creation ; and to whom alone, therefore, all honour, allegiance, and submission, are due.

When we say, “thine is the power,” we declare our belief, that God, as omnipotent, can and will grant whatever we may lawfully ask; and therefore, that to Him alone we can look up for the supply of our wants, and the fulfilment of our desires. When we say—“ thine is the glory,” we recognise his exclusive title to praise and honour for those high attributes, in which, being infinite, no creature can participate: and, lastly; when we add to this the words, “ for ever and ever," we confess also his eternity ; --- that, great and glorious as he was in the beginning, so is be now, and ever shall be, through ages without end.

All which we confirm, by pronouncing the word AMEN at the conclusion of it. This is a Hebrew term, signifying truly, verily, so it is, or, so be it; and, from this example, has been adopted in our Liturgy, as the most brief and emphatic form of assent and confirmation, on the part of the people, to whatever the minister has pronounced in their name. It is not, therefore, as too many have made it, an unmeaning sound; nor should ever be uttered, but with a full purpose of heart, to adopt, as our own, every petition, every sentiment, and every article of belief, to which we find it subjoined.

ingly our Liturgy has introduced it, as such, both in the morning and evening prayer, and in the communionservice.

After this deliberate examination of the Lord's, Prayer, we cannot easily decline the conclusion, that our Church has done most wisely, in not only making it a part of all her devotions, but referring to it as a perfect model for her prayers : always regarding the gift of spiritual help as the great object of her petitions; and studiously avoiding every species of request, for which she finds here neither warrant nor precedent.

[ocr errors]

54

LECTURE IV.

THE HYMNS, PSALMS, AND LESSONS.

PSALM XLVII. 7.

God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises

with understanding.

In my former lectures upon the Common Prayer of our Church; having briefly insisted upon the importance and necessity of praying “ with the understanding,” as well as “ with the Spirit;" that is ; not only with “ a hearty desire to pray," but with a just conception of the sense and design of the whole service ; I invited your attention to a particular examination of each of the forms, which the Church has provided for the due discharge of the several offices, into which prayer may be distinguished ; namely; Confession, Thanksgiving, Petition, and Intercession.

In execution of this design, I proceeded, first,

« PredošláPokračovať »