Imágenes de páginas

We might consequently observe many things concerning those particulars discernible in this form : the fublimity, the gravity, the neceffity, the singular choiceness of the matter.; together with the fit order and just disposition thereof, according to the natural precedence of things in dignity or necessity; the full brevity, the deep plainness, the comely fimplicity of expression; the lowly reverence fignified therein, accompanied with due faith and confidence : these, and the like virtues directive of our devotion, we might observe running generally through the whole contexture of this venerable form : but we shall rather choose to take notice of them as they shall offer themselves in their particular places; to the confideration of which in order we now do apply ourselves.

Dur father which art in bheaven.


Day Fathez : upon this title, or manner of compellation, we may first observe, that although our Saviour prescribeth this form as a pattern, and an exercise of pri

vate prayer to be performed in the closet, (and alone in Matt. vi. 6, secret, as is expressed in the Gospel,) yet he directeth us

to make our addresses to God in a style of plurality, saya ing, not my Father, but our Father; thereby, it seems, implying, 1. That we should in our prayers confider and acknowledge the universality of God's power and goodness. 2. That we should not in our conceit proudly and vainly appropriate or engross the regard of God unto ourselves; but remember that our brethren have an equal share with us therein. 3. That in all our devotions we should be mindful of those common bands which knit us together as men and as Christians, (the band of nature and humanity; the more strict ties of common faith and hope; of manifold relations unto God that made us, and our Saviour that redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit who animateth and quickeneth us, and combineth us in spiritual union.) 4. That we should bear such hearty goodwill and charitable affection toward others, as not only to seek and defire our own particular and private good, but that of all men; especially of all good Christians; who in a peculiar manner are God's children and our brethren; He did not bid us say, my Father, but our Father, ou raq ixí. who art in heaven; that being taught that we have a com- rérie mov,':

pasur aigsır, mon Father, we might shew a brotherly good-will one to- dr.toos, ouçao

vois, áààà - ward another, faith St. Chryfoftom. ? .8.81*7 posisi réteg pwr,

As for the appellation Father, it doth mind us of our memo relation to God, who upon many grounds, and in divers didazolvris,

ådor porno high respects, is our Father; (by nature, for that he gave gapos anań us our being, and made us after his own image; by pro-acus duxerów

av เย็จแay, vidence, for that he continually preserveth and maintain-tom. v. p. eth us; by grace, for that he reneweth us to his image 186. in righteousness and holiness; by adoption, for that he alloweth us the benefit and privilege of his children, asfigning an eternal inheritance to us ;) of this relation, which as creatures, as men, as Chriftians, we bear to God, it mindeth us, and consequently how we ought in correfpondence thereto to behave ourselves; yielding to him all refpect, affection, and observance; demeaning ourselves in all things as becomes such a relation and rank: this indeed of all God's names, titles, and attributes, is chosen as most suitable to the nature of the present duty; as most encouraging to the performance thereof; as noft fully implying the difpofitions required in us, when we 'apply ourselves thereto. Our Saviour used to compare Mate. vii.9. prayer to a fon's asking nourishment of his father; argu-Lux ing thence what fuccefs and benefit we may expect from it: we come therein to God, not (directly) as to a lord or master, to receive commands; but rather as to a father, to request from him the fuftenance of our life, and supply of our needs; to render withal unto him our thankful acknowledgments, for having continuedly done thofe things for us; and to demonstrate our dutiful respect and affection toward him. It is natural for children in any danger, ftrait, or want, to fly to their parents for shelter, relief, and succour: and it is so likewise for us to have recourse unto God, in all those cases, wherein no visible means of help appear from elsewhere : and to do so the title of Father

i. 11.

doth encourage us, fignifying not only power and authority over us, but affection and dearness toward us: the name God, importing his excellent perfe&ions; the name Lord, minding us of his power and empire over us, with the like titles declarative of his supereminent majesty, might deter us, being conscious of our meanness and unworthiness, from approaching to him; but the word Fother is attractive and emboldening; thinking on that we shall be apt to conceive hope, that, how mean, how un

worthy soever, yet being his children, he will not reject Matt.vii.11. or refuse us; for, If men, being evil, do give good gifts unto

their children; how much more will our Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him ?

It also plainly intimates how qualified and disposed in mind we should come to God; namely, with high reverence, with humble affection, with hearty gratitude; as to the Author of our being, to him that hath continually preserved and brought us up; from whose care and providence we have received all the good we have ever enjoyed; from whose mercy and favour we can only expect any good for the future. By calling God Father, we avow ourselves obliged to honour and love him incomparably beyond all things; we also declare our faith and hope in God; that we believe him well affected toward

us, and willing to do us good; and that we thence hope Matt. xxi. to receive the good defirable from him, (the which are

es is 6. difpofitions necessary to the due performance of this daty.) 1 Tim.ii. 8. It also implieth, that we should come thereto with purity

of mind and good conscience, which is also requifite to the same intent; for if we are conscious of undutiful and disobedient carriage toward God, how can we call him

Father ? with what heart or face can we assume to our 1 Pet. i. 17. selves the title of children? If, saith St. Peter, ye call

upon him as Father, who impartially judges, according to every man's work, (that is, who only esteemeth them for his children who truly behave themselves as becometh children,) pass the time of your pilgrimage in fear, (or in reverence toward God.) We may add, that we alle

22. James

hereby may be supposed to express our charity toward our brethren; who bear unto God, the Father of all men,' the same common relation. But I proceed:

Which art in Heaven. GOD Almighty is substantially present' every where; but he doth not every where in effects discover himself alike, nor with equal fplendour in all places display the beams of his glorious majesty. The Scripture frequently mentioneth a place of his special residence, (seated in regions of inaccessible light, above the reach, not only of our sense, but of our fancy and conception,) where his royal court, his presence-chamber, his imperial throne are; where he is more immediately attended upon by the glorious angels and blessed saints; which place is called heaven, the highest heavens; the tà biota, the highest places; Luke ii. 14. by his presence wherein God is described here, as for M distinction from all other parents here on earth, so to increase reverence in us toward him, (while we reflect upon his supereminent glory and majesty,) and to raise our hearts from these inferior things unto desire, and hope, and love of heavenly things; withdrawing, faith St. Chry-Tās gas

2ảmáyên và sostom, him that prays from earth, and fastening him to work under, me the places on high, and to the mansons above. But fo rois ut maois much for the title.

ing poonaan

xoaians, xe The first sentence of our prayer is,

ผ่ diamebais.

xix. 38. Mat. xxi. O

Hallowed (or sanctified) be thy Name. · LET us first (with St. Chrysostom) observe the direction, we hence receive in all our prayers to have a prime and principal regard to the glory of God; not seeking any thing concerning our own good before his praise: that for the order. As to the substance of this particular we may consider, that sanctity implying a discrimination, a distance, an exaltment in nature or use of the thing, which is denominated thereby; and God's name signifying himself with all that we can know of him ; himself, as however discovered or declared, with all that relates to him,


d unto hind service, le regard;

and bears his inscription; we do here accordingly express our due acknowledgments and defires; for by a rare complication this sentence doth involve both praise and petition; doth express both our acknowledgment of what is, and our desire of what should be: we do, I say, hereby partly acknowledge and praise the fupereminent perfections of God above all things, in all kind of excellency, joining in that seraphical doxology, (which to utter is the

continual employment of the blessed fpirits above, who Roy. iv. 8. incessantly day and night cry out,) Holy, holy, holy; conHárgrein fessing with the heavenly host in the Apocalypse, that he TW ST), so is worthy of all honour, glory, and power : we do allo Bozac9іть vienres. partly declare our hearty wishes, that God may be every Chryf. tom. where had in highest veneration; that all things relating v. p. 186.

to him may receive their due regard ; that all honour and praise, all duty and service, may in a peculiar manner be rendered unto him by all men, by all creatures, by our. selves especially: that all minds may entertain good and worthy opinions of him; all tongues speak well of him, celebrate and bless hiin; all creatures yield adoration to his name, and obedience to his will : that he be wor. shipped in truth and fincerity, with zeal and fervency:

this particularly in the Prophet Isaiah, and by St. Peter, is Ila. viii. 19. called fanctifying God's name in opposition to idolatrous 1 Pet. iii.

: and profane religion, (Sanétify the Lord of hosts himself, 14, 15. and let him be your fear, let him be your dread, faith the

Prophet; and, Fear not their fear, nor be troubled, but fanctify the Lord God in your hearts, faith the Apostle.) Thus do we here pray and wish in respect to all men, and to all creatures capable of thus fanctifying God's name; but more particularly we pray for ourselves, that God would

grant to us, that we, by our religious and righteous CODMatt. v. 16. versation, may bring honour to his name; so that men 1 Pet. ii. 12.

12. seeing our good works may glorify our Father which is in Kerakówoor, heaven. (Vouchsafe, faith he, that we may live so purely, Publishes that all men by us may glorify thee: fo descants St. Chry: xentaçãs, os sostom.) di apavi Tartus a doğalur, &e. Ckryf. in Matt. vi. .. . !

« AnteriorContinuar »