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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 kuowing 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 thien comes to a particular person, when he repents and believes the gospel;" when he is taught of Ciod, not only to know himself, but to knoir Jesus Christ and hina crucified. Is this is like eternal, to know the only rue Ciud, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; so it is the kingdom of Good begua buvouset up in the believer's heart; the Lord God Omnipotent the reigneti, when he is known through Christ Jesus. Ile takcih unto himself liis mighty power, that lie may subdue all things unto himself. lle goeth ou in the soul conquering and to conquer, uill lie hath put al! things under his feet, till “crcry thought is brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
"beniherefore God shall“ give bis Son the lieather for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the auth for his possession ;” wien "all kingdoms shall bow before him, and all nations shall do bim service;" when the mountain of the Lord's house," the Church of Christ, “shall be cstablished in the top of the mountains ;” when “the fuluess of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israc shall be saved;" then shall it be seer), that “the Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel," appearius to every soul of man as King of kings, and Lord of lords. And it is meet for all those who love his appearing, 10 pray that he would hasten the time; that this his kingdon, 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 crer.
For this also we pray in those words, “Thy Kingdom comc:" we pray for the coming of his everlasting kingdom, the kivgdom of glory in hcaren, which is the continuation and perfection of the kingdom of grace on earth. Consequently this, as trell as the preces!! 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 carth, as it is in heaven."— This is the necessary and iminediate 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 gencrality 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 pray, not so much for a passive, as for an active conformity to the will of God, in saying, “Thy will be donc in earth, as it is in heaven."
How is it donc by the angels of God in heaven ? Those who now circle his throne rejoicing ? They do it willingly; they Jove his commandments, and gladly hearken to his words. It is their meat and drink to do his will; it is their bighest 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, days, 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 bis 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 but what they are absolutely assured is his will. Again, they do all the will of God as he willetli, in the manner which pleases liim, 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 donc 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 rontinually 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 erery good work to do luis will, and work in them (all) which is welpleasing in his sight.”
In other words, ire 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 pray that we may do the whole will of God as he willeth, in the 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, cren here, to contine our prayer altogether to ourselves; but this, and cach of the following petitions, may be used for the whole Church of Christ
By: Bread we may understand all things needful, whether for our souls or bodies; TZ T.Sss SWT, X21 69753212,--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 crerlasting 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 hauds.
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 wisdoin and strength: And then, as though we had done nothing, we are to depend on Him, the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
“ This Day:"-For we are to take no thought for the morrow. For this very end has our wise Creator divided life into these little portions of time, 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 sce 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 formers 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 debts. Thus our sins are frequently represented in Scripture ; every sin laying us under a fresh debt to God, to whom we already ove, as it were, ten thousand talents. What then can we answer when 'he shall say, Pay me 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 cominand 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, Vol. I. No. 8.
are chains of iron and setters 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 of the grave. But, considered as they are here, with regard to God, they are debts immense and numberless. Well, therefore, seeing we have nothing to pay, inay we cry unto Him, that he would frankly forgive us all !
The word translated forgive, implics 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 bands. 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 frced 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."'-111 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.” (Ver. 14, 15.) Secondly, God forgives us, as we forgive others. So that if any malice or bitterness, if any taint of unkindness or anger remains, if we do not clearly, fully, and from the heart, forgive all men their trespasses, we so far cut short the forgiveness of our own: God cannot clearly and fully forgive us : He may show us some degree of mercy; but we will not suiter him to blot out all our sins, and forgive all our iniquities.
In the mean time, while we do not from our hearts forgive our neighbour his trespasses, what manner of prayer are we offering to God whenever we utter these words ? We are indeed setting God at open defiance; we are daring him to do his worst. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them