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ST. MATTHEW vi. 21. For where your treasure is, there will your
heart be also.
I AM still going on in telling you our blessed Saviour's words, and what they
You may remember that I have been, for several Sundays, teaching you how to use the Lord's Prayer, what a fine prayer it is, and all that is meant by it. I hope you will value and love it as you ought. It was the prayer taught by your blessed Saviour, who died to save us all from damnation, and to give us eternal life with him in Heaven. I must beg and entreat all of you, who know it, to teach it to your children; teach it to them, my
friends, betimes, and make them use it every day of their lives, and especially every night, before they go to sleep. It is after all the best prayer they can use, and they, who say it from their hearts, do offer a prayer which God delights to hear, and which, if they remember it during the day, will, with God's grace, save them from temptation, and deliver them from evil.
As soon as our Saviour had made an end of teaching it to his hearers, he who knew what was in man, thought it right to tell them again the reason of their praying to God to forgive them their sins, as they intended to forgive others for any injury done to them. He knew, that when we are wronged and abused, we find it hard, extremely hard, to forgive; and he knew at the same time, that unless we forgive others, God will not forgive us. He therefore tells them at the end of the prayer, for if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive
you; but if ye forgive not men their tres: passes, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. You see then, that nothing less than your being saved in Heaven depends on your forgiving others. Bless them therefore which do evil to you, bless, and curse not, do good to them that hate you, and pray for your bitterest enemies. This it is to be religious, this it is to be a Christian.
Our Saviour goes on to tell them, that, when they fasted, they were not to do it for the sake of being seen and praised by men. They were to do it, to please their Heavenly Father, who sees every thing, however secret, and, at the day of judgment, will punish or reward openly, in the presence of the whole world. My friends, it has been the practice of religious people, if at any time they have fallen into any sins, not only to repent most deeply of it, and to seek for pardon from God for Jesus Christ's sake, but also
to fast from food, in order to shew their sosrow and distress for having offend. ed a mercifal God, and disobeyed the Lord Jesus Cbrist. Our Saviour does not tell us to fast, þut leaves it to ourselves to do so, when we feel that it may be of use to shew our sorrow for sin, or to keep under any bad passion, or wicked lust, which may be getting the better over us to the ruin of our souls. He tells us, however, when we do fast, not to do it like hypocrites, to look demure, and to disfigure and dirty ourselves, that people may say that we are religious: this is hypocrisy, but we must look as usual, and so perform all our religious duties, such prayer, fasting, or giving to the poor, that we may please God, and gain his favourable regard to our poor, feeble, and imperfect offerings and services. I told you once before, and I tell you again, that when our Saviour bids us behave so as to please God, he gives us good advice, and that, which most of you require. Servants who
try to please their Lord, will not be eyeservants, but will be as faithful to their duty, when their masters are absent, as when they are present. And I believe that there is no fault more generally found with slaves, than that they require the eye of a white person to be constantly over them. I hope that this fault will not be found in you, but that you will all act like good Christians, and remember that God is always seeing you, and will punish you for negligence and carelessness, and eyeservice, if you do not try to get rid of sa bad a habit.
Our Saviour tells his hearers also to lay ụp. for themselves treasures in Heayen, where moth and dust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. This advice is meant more particularly for rich and great persons ; who are fond of heaping op riches in this world, and are too apt to think of being happy and of living well in thiş short life.