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necessities supplied with the coarsest diet and the meaneft apparel, if our condition requireth it, or God's providence in an honest way allotteth no other to us : we may soberly and thankfully enjoy what God sends; but we should not presume to ask for or desire other than this.
And for the measure, we learn to ask only for so much as shall be fit to maintain us ; not for rich, or plentiful store; not for full barns, or for heaps of treasure; not for wherewith to glut, or pamper ourselves; but for daily bread, a moderate provision, then to be dealt to us, when we need it. • It follows,
and forgive us our Trespasses, as we forgive them
that trespass against us; our trespasses ; it is our debts (óperamata) in St. Matthew; our sins (cu aptías) in St. Luke; and they who trespass against us are in both Evangelists called our debtors: for he that injures another is obnoxious and in debt to bim; owing him satisfaction, either by making reparation, or undergoing punishment.
AFTER the preservation of our beings, (the foundation of enjoying other good things,) our first care, we fee, ought to be concerning the welfare of our better part and state; which chiefly consists in the terms whereon we stand toward God, upon whose favour all our happiness dependeth, and from whose displeasure all our misery must proceed : fince therefore we all do stand obnoxious to God's wrath and justice; having omitted many duties which we owe to him, having committed manifold offences against him; it is therefore most expedient, that we first endeavour to get him reconciled to us, by the forgiveness of our debts and offences : concerning which remission, upon what account it is necessary, upon what terms it is granted, by what means it is obtained, in what manner it is difpenfed by God, I have otherwhere touched,
and it is not feasonable now farther to infift thereon; only it may be pertinent here to observe,
1. That this being the first of petitions (formally such, and) purely fpiritual; we are hereby admonished to lay the foundation of our devotions in humility; that we are obliged, before we presume to ask any thing of God concerning our chief happiness and well-being, to reflect upon, acknowledge, and confess our unworthiness, (not coming to our prayers as the Pharisee did, doting upon our worthy qualities and good deeds; but like the poor Publican, with a sense of our infirmities and miscarriages; so as to be ready to acknowledge ourselves, as indeed we all are, guilty of many and great fins ;) this is here implied; for in requesting pardon for our fins, we confess ourselves to be finners, and to need God's mercy.
2. We may hence learn the neceffity and the excellency of that benefit we here beg. When the Psalmist applied himself to praise God for his benefits, this he set : in the first place, as most needful and considerable to him; Bless the Lord, O my soul, said he, and forget not all his Pf. ciii. 2, 3. benefits, (or rather, not any of his benefits,) who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases ; and answerably, it is the first particular benefit we pray for. • 3. We must take notice, that we are obliged to go to our devotions with universal charity and good-will toward others; to lift up, as St. Paul enjoineth, holy hands, 1 Tim. ii. 8. without wrath and doubting, for without wrath and disention,) to depose all enmity (as our Lord adviseth) before we bring our oblation to the altar of God; reserving no Matt. v. 23. fpite or grudge toward any man, but having a heart clear of all ill-will and desire of revenge ; being in affection of mind toward others, as we do wish, and hope, and pray that God would be toward us : such in all reason, equity, and ingenuity should our disposition be; and such God requires it to be; and such we do assert and promise it to be; implying also a compact with God, no otherwise to desire or expect his favour and mercy toward us, than as we resemble him in kind and merciful intentions toward our brethren: it is implied on God's part, that he vouch
safes pardon only upon these terms; yea more, that he doth truly promise pardon upon our performing this con
dition; so our Saviour, purpofely reflecting on this petiMatt. vi. 14. tion, doth afterward expound it; For, faith he, if you for
give to men their trespases, your heavenly Father will also forgive you : it also implies a consent on our parts, and submission to this condition, as most equal and reasonable; so that if we break it, if we do retain any uncharitable inclinations, we deal falsely with God; we forfeit all pretence to favour and mercy from him; we are neither qualified for mercy, nor shall obtain it from God.
Lead us not into Temptation. TEMPTATION is sometime taken, in a middle and indifferent sense, for any occafion by which the moral qua
lity of persons (their virtue or vice) is examined and difGen. xxii. covered : so God is said to have tempted Abraham, when 1.
he propounded to him the offering up of his fon; fo he
tempted the Ifraelites, by leading them in that long Deut. viii.a. journey through the wilderness, that he might know what iva msigáion was in their heart, whether they would keep his command
ments, or no : so he likewise tempted them by permitting Deut. xiii. seducers to do wonderful things, that he might know whe
ther they did love the Lord with all their heart and with all their foul : and because affli&tion is of such a nature, as to try the temper, difpofition, and intentions of men, therefore temptation often is used for affliction. It seemeth also sometimes put in a good sense, for an occasion designed to exercise, or to improve, or to declare the virtues of a person ; fo the inconveniences and crosses in.
cident to our nature and condition here, the which our Luke xxii. Lord did undergo, are by St. Luke, and others of the Heb. ii. 18. Apostles, styled temptations; so the fiery trial, in St.
iv, Peter, was eis artigaoudy, to exercise and refine them, that, 1 Pet. iv. 12. i. 6,7 faith he, the trial of their faith might be to praise, and hoJames i. 2. nour, and glory; fo St. James biddeth Christians to rejoice,
when they fall into divers temptations; that is, when they meet with opportunities of exercising their faith and pa
tience; and so we may understand that place in Deuteronomy; Who, it is said, fed thee with manna, that he might Deut. viii.
16. humble, and prove thee, (or tempt thee, Ivæ exteipáoy os, say' the LXX.) to do thee good at thy latter end: that he might tempt thee; that is, that he might render thee approved ; might exercise and improve thy dependence on God, thy patience, thy obedience. But the word is commonly taken in a worse sense, for an occasion presented with ill purpose, or naturally tending and not easily avoided, of falling into fin; a stumblingblock, a snare; as when St. Paul faith, that they who will be rich, do fall eis gespaoudy i Tim. vi.9. xai warioa, into temptation and a snare; thus St. James James i. 13. affureth us, that God tempteth no man; that is, doth not intend to seduce or inveigle any man into sin. Yet because nothing in the world, either good or bad, doth happen without God's permiffion and governance; and the Devil himself must obtain licence from God, before he can tempt any man, or do any mischief, (as we see in Job's case, and in the history of Ahab;) since God feeth Job ii. 6. whatever is done, and with greatest eafe could hinder it; 1 Kings xxi. and doth not otherwise than for some good end suffer any evil to be defigned or achieved ; it is the style of Scripture to attribute such things in some sense to him; as when God is said to send Jofeph into Egypt to preserve Gen. xlv. s. life; whenas in truth his brethren, out of envy and ill-will, did fell him thither; and, God is said to move David to 2 Sam. number the people; whenas indeed Satan (as it is other- 10 where affirmed) provoked him to number them: and that xxi. . horrid tragedy acted by the Jews upon our Blessed Saviour is said to be brought to pass by the hand and defi- Aes ii. 23. nite counsel of God; because God foreseeing the tempta- iv. 2 tions which those men should incur of committing such acts, and their inclinations to perform them, did resolve not to interpofe his power in hindrance of them, but suffering them to proceed, would turn their mischievous practices to an excellently good end, and use them as instruments of his just, holy, and gracious purposes: thus then, whereas by temptation here is meant any occasion alluring or provoking to fin, or withdrawing from duty,
with a violence, all things considered, exceeding our strength to resist or avoid; (or however such an one that is apt to overthrow us ;) God may be said to bring them into it, whom in justice he permits to be exposed thereto; although he do no otherwise intermeddle, or concur therein, than by not affording, or by withdrawing, bis especial direction and assistance; leaving them without check blindly or wilfully to follow the sway of their own tempers, the instinct of their vain minds, the bent of their corrupt wills, the violence of their unruly passions and appetites; letting them to fall into the manifold snares of false opinion, evil custom, and contagious example, which the world sets before them ; (the world, which by its fair promises and pleasing flatteries enticeth to fin, or by its angry frowns and fierce threats discourageth from goodness;) permitting the devil, without control or impediment, by his wiles to delude and seduce them; which
kind of proceeding of God with men is clearly repre... sented in the 81st Pfalm; where, of the Israelites, God
says, that having signally declared his pleasure to them, and by promise of great benefits invited them to observe
it, upon their wilful neglect, he dealt thus with them; Pfal. Ixxxi. But, says God there, my people would not hearken to my 11, 12
voice, and Ifrael would none of me; fo I gave them up unto their own hearts' luss; and they walked in their own counsels. In such manner, if God, provoked thereto by our heinous miscarriages, doth justly bring us into, or
doth let us enter into temptation, (as our Lord otherwhere Luke xxii. expresseth it; Pray, saith he, that ye enter not into tempta40, 46. tion,) we shall infallibly run into many grievous fins and
desperate mischiefs; no less surely, than we shall wander and stumble in the dark, than we shall nide and fall in the most slippery places, and sometimes be entangled, when
we do walk in the midst of snares, surrounded with traps Jer. 2. 23. innumerable, most cunningly laid to catch us; It is not,
faith the Prophet, in man to direct his steps, so as to go straight and upright; it is not in him to see his duty, to bend his inclinations to compliance therewith; to reftrain his appetites, when sensible objects forcibly press on them;