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procal Affection, which was intended as the Token, whereby all Men mould know them”.
Then, at the fame Time, the Confideration, that this our Father is in Heaven, pofleffed of infinite Power and Glory, tends greatly to inspire us with Reverence towards him, at all Times, and in all Places, but in our Devotions peculiarly. And to this End it is pleaded by the wife King, Keep thy Foot, when thou goeft to the House of God; be not ras with thy Mouth, and let not thine Heart be hasty to utter any Thing before God; for God is in Heaven, and thou upon Earth. It also tends no less to remind us, what the great End of our Prayers and our Lives should be: to obtain Admittance into that blessed Place, where God is, and Christ fits on his right Hand. For in his Presence is the Fulness of Joy; and at his right Hand, there is Pleasure for evermore
You see then, how many important Truths and Admonitions these few Words, which begin the Lord's Prayer, include: every Thing indeed, which can encourage us to pray, or dispose us to pray as we ought.
The Petition, which immediately follows, Hallowed be thy Name, is perhaps more liable to be repeated without being understood, than any of the rest : but when understood, agat easily may be, appears highly proper to stand in the very first part of a Christian's Prayer. The Name of God means here God himself, his Person and Attributes: as it doth in many other Places of Scripture, where fearing, or blefing, or calling upon the Name of the Lord is mentioned. And to hallow his Name fignifies, to think of him as a Holy Being, and behave towards him accordingly. Now the Word, Holy, hath been already more than once, in the Course of these Lectures, explained to mean whatever is worthy of being distinguished with serious Refpect. And therefore all such Persons, Places, Things, and Times, as are set apart from vulgar Uses, and devoted to religious ones, are said in Scripture to be holy, John xiii. 35. a Eccl. v. 1, 26
Col. iji. I. e Pralon xvi. 12.
and commanded to be hallowed. Now these being generally preserved with great Care, as they always ought, from whatever may defile and pollute them; hence the Term, Holy, came to signify what is clean and pure. And the most valuable Purity, beyond Comparison, being that of a Mind untainted by Sin, and secure from Tendencies towards it; Holiness more especially denotes this; and may in various Degrees be ascribed to Men and Angels; but in absolute Perfection to none; but God. For He, and He alone, is infinitely removed from all Possibility of doing, or thinking, or approving Evil.
This then is the Sense, in which we are to acknowledge, that holy and reverend is his Named: this Conception of him is the Manner, in which we are to hallow it, and fanétify the Lord God in our Hearts: a Matter of unspeakable Importance, and the very Foundation of all true Religion. For if we are not fully persuaded, that He is of purer Eyes, than to behold Evilt with Indifference; if we imagine, that He can ever act unrighteously himself, or allow others to do so; that He is in any Case the Author of Sin; or esteems and loves any Thing in his Creatures, but Uprightness and Goodness; or Thews himself to be other, than a perfectly great, and wise, and just, and gracious Being: so far as we do this, we mistake his Nature, and dishonour Him; and set up an Idol of our own Fancy, instead of the true God. The Consequence of which will be, that in Proportion as our Notions of Him are false, our Worship, Imitation, and Obedience will be erroneous also : our Piety and our Morals will both be corrupted :
Thail negleét what alone can recommend us to Him: we shall hope to please Him by Performances of no Value, perhaps by wicked Deeds; and the Light, that is in us, will become Darkness.
No Wonder then, if we are directed to make it our first Petition, that we and all Men may hallow God's
d Pfalm cxi. 9. & Matth. vi. 23.
1 Pet. iii. 15.
| Hab. i. 13.
Name, as we ought: that so right a Sense of his Nature and Attributes, especially his Wisdom, Justice, and Goodness, may prevail through the World, as may banish at once both Profaneness and Superstition, and engage us all to fear and love him equally: that we may entertain such Notions of Christianity, as will promote its Honour; and allow ourselves in Nothing, that may bring Disgrace upon it, or tempt any to blaspheme, instead of sanctifying, that worthy Name, by which we are called h: but that each of us, in our Stations, may, with all Diligence, and all Prudence, propagate the Belief of pure Religion and undefiled before God and the Fatheri. *This is the Way, and the only way possible, for us truly to honour Him, and be truly good and happy: happy in ourselves, and in each other; in the present World, and that which is to come. With this Petition therefore our blessed Lord most rationally directs us to begin. And le us all remember, that what He bids us pray for in the first Place, He will expect that we should endeavour after in the first Place; and as we acknowledge Him, who hath called us, to be holy, that we should be holy also in all Manner of Conversation*
HE second Petition of the Lord's Prayer, Thy
Kingdom come, follows very naturally after the firit, Hallowed be thy Name. For hallowing the Name of God, that is, entertaining just Notions, and being
possessed with a deep Sense, of the Holiness of His Nature, His Abhorrence of Sin, His Justice and Goodness; is the necessary Preparative for submitting to, and being faithful Subjects of, that Kingdom, for the coming of which we are directed to pray.
God indeed is, ever was, and cannot but be, Lord and King of the whole World, possessed of all Right and all Dominion over all Things : as the plainest Reason fhews, and the Conclusion of this very Prayer, in Conformity to the rest of Scripture, acknowledges, In this Sense therefore we cannot pray for his Kingdom, as something future, but only rejoice in its being actually present: for what can be greater Joy, than to live under the Government of infinite Mercy, Wisdom, and Power ? The Lord reigneth: let the Earth rejoice, let the Multitude of Ipes be glad thereof a.
But besides this natural Kingdom of God, there is a moral and spiritual one, founded on the willing Obea dience of reasonable Creatures to those Laws of Řighteousness, which he hath given them. Now this, we have too plain Evidence, is not yet come amongst Men, so fully as it ought. The very first of human Race revolted from their Maker; and their Descendants, as both Scripture and other History shews, grew, Age after Age, yet more and more disobedient; till at Length the Inhabitants of the whole Earth, instead of being the happy Subjects of God's rightful Empire, became, by immoral Lives, and idolatrous Worthip, most wretched Slaves to the usurped Dominion of the wicked one. The Wisdom and Goodness of God made immediate Provifion, through his only Son our Lord, to oppose this Kingdom of Darkness, as soon as it appeared in the World: not by his absolute Power ; for Obedience Joses its Value, unless it proceed from Choice ; but by the rational Method of Instructions, Promises, and Warnings from Heaven, fuperadded to what Nature taught, and suited to the Circumstances of every Age. These he gave at first by the Patriarchs to all Men
• Pfalm xcvii. In
promiscuously; and whoever acknowledged his Authority, and obeyed his Laws, was a good Subject and true Member of his Kingdom. But when afterwards, notwithstanding this Care, the Corruption of Mankind was become general, He chose the Pofterity of his Servant Abraham, and distinguisbed them by his especial Favour: not as casting off the rest of the World; for in every Nation, at all Times, they that
fear God, and workRighteoulness, are accepted with Himo: but that, in this people at l-aft, the Profesion of Faith in Him, and Subjection to Him, might be kept alive; not merely for their own Benefit, but the Information of others also. With them therefore was the Kingdom of God, in a peculiar Degree, for 1500 Years. While they flourilhed in their own Land, they held forth the Light of Truth to all the Nations round them. And when they were led captive or dispersed into other Lands, they spread it yet farther : and thus were great Instruments in preparing the rest of Mankind for that general Re-establishment of Obedience to the true God, as King and Lord of all, which our blessed Saviour came to effect.
The Gospel Dispensation therefore having this for its End, and being much more perfectly fitted to attain it, than any preceding Manifestation of Religion had been; the Scripture, in a distinguished Manner, calls it the Kinga dom of God, or of Heaven: both which Words denote, in exactly the same View, that Dominion, which in Daniel it is foretold the God of Heaven should set up, and which should never be destroyed. Our Saviour was then, after John the Baptist, only giving Notice of its Approach, and opening the way for setting it up, when he first directed his Disciples to pray, that it might come. By his Death He raised it on the Ruins of the Devil's Usurpation, over whom He triumphed on his Cross 4: and now it hath been many Ages in the World. But still it is by 'nó Means come, in that Extent, and to that good Effect, which we have Reason to beg that it may, and to believe that it will. The largeff Part
AEts X. 35.
e Dan. ii. 44.
• Col. ii. 15.