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of Mankind hath not, so much as in Profession, entered into this Kingdom: but lies overwhelmed in Pagan Idolatry, Jewish Unbelief, or Mahometan Delusion. The largest Part of Christians have corrupted the Doctrine of Christ with grievous Errors : and those who preserve the purest Faith, too generally live fuch impure and wicked Lives; that, though the Kingdom of God hath indeed taken Place amongst them in outward Appearance, yet in that Sense, which will prove at last the only important one, they are still far from it. For the Kingdom of God, faith our Saviour is within you" : and consists, as the Apostle further explains it, in Righteousness, and Peace, and you in the Graces of the Holy Gholf.
Here then is great Room, and great Need, for praying; that the Heathen may become the Inheritance of Christ, and the uttermoft Parts of the Mahometan World his Polesions: that the Jews, from whom, for their Unbelief, the Kingdom of God hath been so long taken away, may be restored to a Share in it; as the Prophets, both of the Old and New Testament, have foretold. they fhall: and lastly, that all who profess and call themfelves Christians, may not only be led into the IV ay of Truth, but hold the Faith in Unity of Spirit, in the Bond of Peai:, and in Righteousness of Life. How little Prospect soever there may be at pretent of such Happiness as this, yet we have a fure Word of Prophecyk, for the Ground of our Prayers, that the 'Time mali come, when the Kingdoms of this IVorld shall be the Kingdoms of our God and of his Chrift', in a Degree that they have never been yet; when all the People Mall be righteous ", and know the Lord, from the greatest unto the least".
But the Kingdom of God upon Earth, even in its best Estate, is comparatively but short-lived and imperfect, indeed a mere Introduction to that glorious
and eternal Manifestation of it in Heaven, which ought ever to be the Object of our most ardent Defires and Requests. For as the Governor, and the Governed, and the great fundamental Laws of Government; are still to be the same, in the present State of Trial, and the future one of Recompence, they both make up together but one Kingdom of God. And therefore, when we pray for the coming of it, we pray, in the jaft Place, for the Arrival of that Time, when the King and Judge of all fall fit upon the Throne of his Glory', and reward every Man according to his Works; when the Righteous shall sine forth, as the Sun, in the Kingdom of their Father 4; even that Kingdom, which was prepared for them from the Foundation of the World.', and fall reign with Him in it for ever and ever',
But then, as we pray for this Time, we must prepaie for it also: else we do Nothing but ask our own Condemnation; as the Prophet Amos hạth most awa fully warned us : Wo unto you that desire the Day of the Lord. To what End is it for you? The Day of the Lord is Darkness, and not Light'. To instruct us therefore,
on what it is, that our Share in the Kingdom -of God depends, our Saviour immediately subjoins another Petition, exprefsing it very clearly : Thy Will be done in Earth as it is in, Heaven. · For not every one that saith unto Him, Lord, Lord, fall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven": but they only who do the Will of God, shall receive his Promise w.
Indeed what Gud wills to do Himself, that He doth accordingly, both in the Army of Heaven, and among At the Inhabitants of the Earth; and none can stay his Hand. But what He wills Us to do, that He only requires of us, as we value his Favour, or fear his Displeasure ; leaving us designedly that Power of not doing what He bids us, without which, doing it were no Virtue. But though Disobedience to his Will is in our Power ; yet
o Matth. XXV. 31. r Matth. XXV. 34. » Matth. vii, 21.
P Matth. xvi. 27
9 Matth. xiii. 43. Rev. xx, 6, xxii. 5.
i Amos v. 1S. w Heb. X. 36.
* Dan. iv. 35
Obedience is not so, without the Afiftance of his Grace: which therefore, in these Words, we desire for ourselves, and for all Men. And fince, by the Means of Prayer, we may have Strength to obey his Will granted us; we are certainly, with as much Justice, expected to obey it, as if we had the Power aheady of
Now the Will of God consists in these two Things; that we suffer patiently what He lays upon us, and perform faithfully what He commands us. The former of these; to bear with Refignation whatever, in any kind, God sees proper to inflict; and, though we may wish and pray for the Prevention or Removal of Sufferings, yet to be content, nay desirous that his Will should be done, not oursy; may often prove a difficult, but is always an evident and necessary, Duty. For to indulge a contrary Disposition, is to let up ourselves above our Maker; to rebel against his Authority, deny bis Wisdom, and distrust his Goodness. The Ability therefore of submitting meekly to his Pleasure, is undoubtedly one great Thing that we are to request, and endeavour to obtain.
But still, as the blessed Inhabitants of Heaven surely have little or no Occasion for this kind of Obedience, we have Reason to think that the other, the active Sort, is the point which our Saviour designed we should principally have in View, when we beg, that God's Will may be done by us, as it is by them: by his Angels that fulfil his Commandments, hearkening unto the Voice of his Words; those Ministers of his, that do his Pleasure. Not that we can hope to equal the Services of Being placed so much above us: but only aspire to such Resemblance of them, that our Obedience may bear the same Proportion to our Abilities, which that of the heavenly Spirits doth to theirs. Their Knowledge of God's Will is clear and distinct : on which Account, the higheft Character given of human Wisdoin is, to be as an Angel of God, to discern Good and Bada. It should therey Luke xxii, 426 2 Pf. ciii. 20, 21,
a 2 Sam. xiv. 17.
fore, when we make use of this Petition, be our Desire, that We also, in our Degree, may be not unwise, but understanding what the Will of the Lord is b; and may abourd, more and more, in Knowledge and all Judgment They do every Thing, without Exception, which they know to be God's Pleasure: whereas we are very apt to omit Part, and perform the rest but imperfectly. They do it with Alacrity and Cheerfulness: whereas we too often shew great Backwardness and Reluctance. They do it also from a real Principle of Duty: whereas, were the Truth but known, as to God it is known, a great Share of the good Actions, upon which we value ourselves, are perhaps only good Appearances; proceeding, some from Conftitution, fome from worldly Prudence, some from Vanity ; few, it may be doubted, principally, and fewer yet, entirely, from the Love or Fear of God, from Efteem of Virtue, or Hatred of Sin. In these Respects then we must earnestly pray, and diligently endeavour, to be like the holy Angels: and were we but like them in one Thing more; that they all, without Exception, do the Will of God, and have none amongst them disobedient to it; then would our Earth resemble Heaven indeed. How far this is from being the Case, we know too well. But notwithstanding let us comfort ourselves with confidering, that as the Time was, when even these blessed Spirits had a Mixture of evil ones amongft them ; so the Time will be, when we shall have no such Mixture amongst us: but fall become, in this and all Respects, as the Angels of God in Heaven
• Eph. v. 17.
c Phil. i. g.
& Matth. xxii. 30.
L E C.
L E C T U RE XXXII.
Give us this Day cur daily Bread: And forgive
us our Trespasses, as we forgive them that trefpass against us.
HE three former of the fix Petitions of the Lord's
Prayer express our earnest Defires, that we, and all our Fellow-Creatures, may attain the great End of our Creation ; that is, may understand, receive, and practise, true Religion, to God's Honour and our own eternal Happiness: after which we proceed, in the three last, to ask of Him the Means to this End; such Supplies of our Wants, as will be needful for the Performance of our Duties. And they are comprehended under three Heads more: the Relief of our temporal Neceflities, the Forgiveness of our paft Sins, and the Anítance of his Grace against future Temptations.
- The first of these Blessings we request, by saying, Give us this Day our daily Bread. All the good Things of Life, and all our Capacity of receiving Support and Comfort from them, proceed, as every Thing dcih, from God's free Gift; and therefore depend, as every Thing doth, on his free Pleasure: for what He hash bestowed, He can, with just the fame Ease, at any Time, take away. He hath placed Things indeed in a regular, and what we call a natural, Course and Order. But this Order is not only of his own appointing, but his own preserving too. He it is, that maketh his Sun to rise.a; that giveth us Rain from Heaven, and fruitful Seajons, filling our Hearts with Food and Gladness b. Were He
• Mattb. V. 45.
Acts xiv. 17.