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from the dust of the earth; who breathed into us the breath of life, and we became living souls. But if he made us, let us ask, and he will not withhold any good thing from the work of his own hands.
46 Our Father ;'-our preserver; who, day by day, sustains the life he has given; of whose continuing love we now and every moment receive life, and breath, and all things. So much the more boldly let us come to him, and we shall " obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
Above all, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of all that believe in him ; who justifies us " freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus ;" who hath “ blotted out all our sins, and healed all our infirmities ;" who hath received us for his own children, by adoption and grace; and, “ because (we are sons, hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into [our] hearts, crying, Abba, Father ;" who “ hath begotten us again of incorruptible seed,” and “created us anew in Christ Jesus." Therefore we know that he heareth us always; therefore we pray to him without ceasing. We
because we love ; and 36 we love him because he first loved us.”
5. “Our Father:"--not mine only who now cry unto him, but ours in the most extensive sense. The God and “Father of the spirits of all flesh;" the Father of angels and men : so the very heathens acknowledge him to be, Πάτης ανδρων σε 9εων σε. The Father of the universe, of all the families both in heaven and earth. Therefore with him there is no respect of persons. He loveth all that he hath made. “He is loving unto every man, and his inercy is over all his works." And the Lord's delight is in them that fear him, and put their trust in his mercy; in them that trust in him through the Son of his love, knowing that they are “ accepted in the Beloved." But “ if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another;" yea, and all mankind; seeing “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," even to die the death, that they might not perish but have everlast
6. " Which art heaven :"-high and listed up; God over all, blessed for ever: who, sitting on the circle of the heavens, beholdeth all things both in heaven and earth; whose eye pervades the whole sphere of created being; yea, and of uncreated night; unto whom
are known all his works," and all the works of every creature, not only “from the beginning of the world,” (a poor, low, weak translation, but an alwvos, from all eternity, from everlasting to everlasting; who constrains the host of heaven, as well as the children of men, to cry out with wonder and amazement, Oh the depth! “ The depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God !” “Which art in heaven;"—the Lord and ruler of all, superintending and disposing all things; who art the King of kings, and Lord of lords, the blessed and only Potentate ; who art strong and girded about with power, doing whatsoever pleaseth thee; the Almighty; for whensoever thou willest, to do is present with thee. “In heaven;"-eminently there. Heaven is thy throne, the place where thine honour particularly dwelleth. But not there alone ; for thou fillest heaven and earth, the whole expanse of space. “ Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to thee, oh Lord most high!"
Therefore should we serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto him with reverence." Therefore should we think, speak, and act, as
continually under the eye, in the immediate presence of the Lord, the King.
7. “ Hallowed be thy name.”—This is the first of the six petitions, whereof the prayer itself is composed. The name of God, is God himself; the nature of God, so far as it can be discovered to man.
It means therefore, together with his existence, all his attributes or perfections ; -His eternity, particularly signified by his great and incominunicable name, Jenovar, as the apostle John translates it: To A, XOX 70 , αρχη και τελος, ο ων και ο ην και ο ερχομενος,-« The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end ; He which is, and which was, and which is to come;"—His fulness of being, denoted by his other great name, I AM THAT I AM!-His omnipresence ;-His omnipotence; who is indeed the only agent in the material world; all matter being essentially dull and inactive, and moving only as it is moved by the finger of God; and he is the spring of action in every creature, visible and invisible, which could neither act nor exist, without the continual influx and agency of his almighty power ;-His wisdom, clearly deduced from the things that are seen, from the goodly order of the universe ;His trinity in unity, and unity in trinity, discovered to us in the very first line of his written Word; 778870: literally, the Gods created, a plural noun joined with a verb of the singular number; as well as in every part of his subsequent revelations, given by the mouth of all his holy prophets and apostles ;-His essential purity and holiness ;-and above all, his love, which is the very brightness of his glory.
In praying that God, or his name, may be hallowed or glorified, we pray that he may be known, such as he is, by all that are capable thereof, by all intelligent beings, and with affections suitable to that knowledge; that he may be duly honoured, and feared, and loved, by all in heaven above and in the earth beneath ; by all angels and men, whom for that end he has made capable of knowing and loving him to eternity.
8. “ Thy kingdom come.”—This has a close connection with the preceding petition. In order that the name of God may be hallowed, we pray that his kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, may come. This kingdom then comes to a particular person, when he “repents and believes the gospel;" when he is taught of God, not only to know himself, but to know Jesus Christ and him crucified. As "this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent;' so it is the kingdom of God begun below, set up in the believer's heart; the Lord God omnipotent then reigneth, when he is known through Christ Jesus. He taketh unto himself his mighty power, that he may subdue all things unto himself. He goeth on in the soul conquering and to conquer, till he hath put all things under his feet, till every thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
When therefore God shall "give his Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession;" when “all kingdoms shall bow before him, and all nations shall do him service;' when “the mountain of the Lord's house,” the church of Christ, shall be established in the top of the mountains;" when “the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved;" then shall it be seen, that “the Lord is king, and hath put on glorious apparel," appearing to every soul of man as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
And it is meet for all those who love his appearing, to pray that he would hasten the time; that this his kingdom, the kingdom of grace, may come quickly, and swallow up all the kingdoms of the earth; that all mankind, receiving him for their King, truly believing in his name, may be filled with righteousness, and peace, and joy, with holiness and happiness,-till they are removed hence into his heavenly kingdom, there to reign with him for ever and ever.
For this also we pray in those words, “Thy kingdom come:" pray for the coming of his everlasting kingdom, the kingdom of glory in heaven, which is the continuation and perfection of the kingdom of grace on earth. Consequently this, as well as the preceding petition, is offered up for the whole intelligent creation, who are all interested in this grand event, the final renovation of all things, by God's putting an end to misery and sin, to infirmity and death, taking all things into his own hands, and setting up the kingdom which endureth throughout all ages.
Exactly answerable to all this, are those awful words in the prayer at the burial of the dead : “ Beseeching thee, that it may please thee of thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom: that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy everlasting glory."
9. “ Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—This is the necessary and immediate consequence wherever the kingdom of God is come; wherever God dwells in the soul by faith, and Christ reigns in the heart by love.
It is probable, many, perhaps the generality of men, at the first view of these words, are apt to imagine they are only an expression of, or petition for, resignation ; for a readiness to suffer the will of God, whatsoever it be concerning us. And this is unquestionably a divine and excellent temper, a most precious gift of God. But this is not what we pray for in this petition; at least, not in the chief and primary sense of it. We prav, not so much for a possive, as for an active conformity to the will of (iod, in saying, “ Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
How is it done by the angels of God in heaven? Those who now circle his throne rejoicing ? They do it willingly; they love his commandments, and gladly hearken to his words. It is their meat and drink to do his will; it is their highest glory and joy. They do it continually; there is no interruption in their willing service. They rest not day nor night, but employ every hour, (speaking after the manner of men; otherwise our measures of duration, Jays, and nights, and hours, have no place in eternity,) in fulfilling his commands, in executing his designs, in performing the counsel of his will. And they do it perfectly. No sin, no defect belongs to angelic minds. It is true, “the stars are not pure in his sight,” even the morning stars that sing together before him. “In his sight,” that is, in comparison of Him, the very angels are not pure. But this does not imply, that they are not pure in themselves. Doubtless they are; they are without spot and blameless. They are altogether devoted to his will, and perfectly obedient in all things.
If we view them in another light, we may observe, the angels of God in heaven do all the will of God. And they do nothing else, nothing
that we may
but what they are absolutely assured is his will. Again, they do all the will of God as he willeth, in the manner which pleases him, and no other. Yea, and they do this, only because it is his will; for this end, and no other reason.
10. When therefore we pray, that the “ will of God may be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” the meaning is, that all the inhabitants of the earth, even the whole race of mankind, may do the will of their Father which is in heaven, as willingly as the holy angels; that these may do it continually even as they, without any interruption of their willing service; yea, and that they may do it perfectly; that “the God of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, may make them perfect in every good work to do his will, and work in them (all] which is well pleasing in his sight.”
In other words, we pray that we and all mankind may do the whole will of God in all things, and nothing else; not the least thing but what is the holy and acceptable will of God. We
do the whole will of God as he willeth, in a manner that pleases him; and, lastly, that we may do it because it is his will; that this may be the sole reason and ground, the whole and only motive, of whatsoever we think, or whatsoever we speak or do.
11.“Give us this day our daily bread.”—In the three former petitions we have been praying for all mankind. We come now more particularly to desire a supply for our own wants. Not that we are directed, even here, to confine our prayer altogether to ourselves; but this, and each of the following petitions, may be used for the whole church of Christ upon earth.
By bread we may understand all things needful, whether for our souls or bodies και τα προς ζωης και ευσεβειαν,-the things pertaining to life and godliness: we understand not barely the outward bread, what our Lord terms “the meat which perisheth;" but much more the spiritual bread, the grace of God, the food " which endureth unto everlasting life." It was the judgment of many of the ancient fathers, that we are here to understand the sacramental bread also; daily received in the beginning by the whole church of Christ, and highly esteemed, till the love of many waxed cold, as the grand channel whereby the grace of his Spirit was conveyed to the souls of all the children of God.
“Our daily bread.”—The word we render daily, has been differently explained by different commentators. But the most plain and natural sense of it seems to be this, which is retained in almost all translations, as well ancient as modern ;-what is sufficient for this day; and so for each day as it succeeds.
12. "Give us :"-For we claim nothing of right, but only of free mercy. We deserve not the air we breathe, the earth that bears, or the sun that shines upon us. All our desert, we own, is hell: but God loves us freely; therefore we ask him to give, what we can no more procure for ourselves than we can merit it at his hands.
Not that either the goodness or the power of God is a reason for us to stand idle. It is his will, that we should use all diligence in all things, that we should employ our utmost endeavours, as much as if our success were the natural effect of our own wisdom and strength: and then, as though we had done nothing, we are to depend on Him, the giver of every good and perfect gift.
of the grave.
“ This day:"-For we are to take no thought for tne morrow. For this very end has our wise Creator divided life into these little portions oftime, so clearly separated from each other; that we might look on every day as a fresh gift of God, another life, which we may devote to his glory; and that every evening may be as the close of life, beyond which we are to see nothing but eternity.
13. “ And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.”-As nothing but sin can hinder the bounty of God from flowing forth upon every creature, so this petition naturally follows the former; that all hinderances being removed, we may the more clearly trust in the God of love for every manner of thing which is good.
“Our trespasses :"— The word properly signifies our dots. Thus our sins are frequently represented in Scripture; every sin laying us under a fresh debt to God, to whom we already owe, as it were, ten thousand talents. What then can we answer when he shall say, “ Pay nie that thou owest ?" We are utterly insolvent; we have nothing to pay; we have wasted all our substance. Therefore if he deal with us according to the rigour of his law, if he exact what he justly may, he must command us to be “bound hand and foot, and delivered over to the tormentors.'
Indeed we are already bound hand and foot by the chains of our own sins. These, considered with regard to ourselves, are chains of iron, and fetters of brass. They are wounds, wherewith the world, the flesh, and the devil, have gashed and mangled us all over. They are diseases that drink up our blood and spirits, that bring us down to the chambers
But, considered as they are here, with regard to God, they are debts immense and numberless. Well, therefore, seeing we have nothing to pay, may we cry unto Him, that he would frankly for give us all!
The word translated forgive, implies either to forgive a debt, or to unloose a chain. And, if we attain the former, the latter follows of course: if our debts are forgiven, the chains fall off our hands. As soon as ever, through the free grace of God in Christ, we “receive forgiveness of sins,” we receive likewise “ a lot among those which are sanctified, by faith which is in him.' Sin has lost its power; it has no dominion over those who are under grace, that is, in favour with God. As “there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," so they are freed from sin as well as from guilt. “ The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them, and they walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”
14. “ As we forgive them that trespass against us."-In these words our Lord clearly declares both on what condition, and in what degree or manner, we may look to be forgiven of God. All our trespasses and sins are forgiven us, if we forgive, and as we forgive others. This is a point of the utmost importance. And our blessed Lord is so jealous lest at any time we should let it slip out of our thoughts, that he not only inserts it in the body of his prayer, but presently after repeats it twice over. “ If,” saith he, “ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” verses 14, 15. Secondly, God forgives us, as we forgive others. So that if any malice or bitterness, if any taint of unkindness or anger remain, if we VOL. I.