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trespasses) as we forgive our debtors, (or them who trespass against us.) * and lead us not into temptation of but deliver us from
* This clause should be well considered: we are told by Christ, in the same chapter from which this prayer is taken, that our Father, who is the father of all, and who regards equally all his children, will only forgive us our sins in proportion as we forgive others theirs ; and as he never forgives a portion of them, leaving the remainder unforgiven, but forgives all or none; so in like manner he expects us to forgive others all their trespasses, with all our hearts, before he will forgive us ours. He, therefore, who addresses this clause to God, having enmity in his heart towards another, when he repeats it says, (virtually, or in fact, though not in words) “ do not forgive me my trespasses, because I do not forgive those of others," and that is praying to God to destroy him.
+ God is frequently said in Scripture to do that which he suffers to be done; and in this sense may this clause be taken; as God cannot, properly speaking, tempt any one to do evil. He is said to harden men's hearts when he permits them to harden their own hearts; which means, that such men having resisted his grace, he leaves them to their own guidance, and they continuing in their sins, harden their own hearts, and render them inaccessible to his grace. Temptation, in the generally accepted sense, means any excitement to sin which offers itself to our senses, to stir up our lusts, and tempt our souls to do evil; and these are the mo
evil, * for thine is the kingdom, and the
tions of Satan in our hearts; but it likewise means trouble, affliction, or great strait of any kind; whether adversity, which leads some men to repine, and murmur at the dispensations of God; or prosperity, the flatteries of which induce men to forget God, according to Agar, in his prayer.-(Proverbs, 30, v. 8, 9.)
“Remove me far from vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full and deny thee, and say who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
Vanity is a very great temptation, and, with conceit and pride, destroys thousands. God sometimes suffers people to fall into temptations of various kinds, either as a punishment for their neglect of him, and to bring them to their senses; or as a trial of their faith; and these trials are very necessary for proving our faith : but whenever God bringeth such trials or temptations, or rather suffereth us to be exposed to them, he," with the temptation, always provides a way whereby we may escape," as the Scriptures inform us..
We pray therefore, in this clause, that God will keep us from falling into temptations; but that, if he, in his providence, for his own inscrutible purposes, permits us to fall into any (or any to assail us) that he will * deliver us from the power of the evil, by strengthening us so that we may endure it; and prevent sin getting possession of our hearts, while we continue in the state of trial, and in the end to deliver us wholly from it.
power and the glory, for ever.* Amen.” -(St. M. c. 6, v. 2, 13.)
* And as a proof or testimony of the sincerity of our supplications, and that we believe he can do what we ask, (and will, if we ask in faith), we declare that we believe he is above all—the all-in-all; the possessor of the everlasting kingdom; or that he is Lord and King from and to everlasting; and that his is the power to which nothing is impossible, and the glory which is the glory of eternal light, life, goodness and majesty; before which no created being can stand, unless he, in that goodness which moves him to will the happiness of all who love him, will empower them so to do; and that this kingdom, and power, and glory, was his for ever, and will be for evermore; and thus we pray to, and glorify him, both by praying to him and confessing his glory. Amen means, so be it; or, Lord grant it may be so as I have prayed to thee; and, that which I have declared of thy greatness, goodness, power, glory and majesty, I believe to be true. “ Amen is a particle of wishing, and signifieth our desire to be heard ; and as it is a term that signifieth truth and certainty, it likewise signifieth our faith in God that we shall be heard." - Dr. Gollings.
Christ commanded us to pray; and the Scriptures inform us that God will grant us no good thing without prayer, made in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; prayer, therefore, is not only the duty but the interest of all Christians. Prayer is to be performed in public and in private ; in our places of Worship, and in our retirements; and no one should omit any eligible opportunity to perform it: for, exclusively of its being our duty and interest, there is something so exalting, so purifying, and so confirming, in the act of opening our hearts to God as, to a wisely affectionate father, that all who are im
bued with the vital spirit of piety will acknowledge it to be a most delightful employ. Young Christian, you must pray; never leave your bed-room in the morning till you have devoutly praised God for protecting you through the night, and implored him to preserve and guide you through the day; nor return to your bed without imploring his pardon for the sins you have committed during the day, praising him for his goodness to you, and care of you, and praying for his blessing upon you through the night. Pray also for others; then you may hope to pass your days in peace, and nights in repose. When an opportunity offers during the day (and it is rarely that one will not) for you to devote a few minutes to God in prayer, embrace it, as you would an opportunity to enjoy the converse of a truly loved and valued friend, and you will find a blessing follow it. Remember, that the good or benefit of others must be included in your prayers. It is said in Scrip