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to govern his pasfions, when they are vehemently stirred to disorderly motion; we do continually need God's instruction to guide us, God's hand to uphold us, God's Pl. xxxvii. care and help to guard us: when therefore, I say, our 23, 24. condition and circumstances do minister dangerous accafions of fin; when our vain and weak tempers do incline or betray us thereto; when the world would smile or frown us into it; when the Devil violently folicits, or thrusts on toward it; thus to be destitute of God's grace, thus to be left to ourselves, is the most horrible judgment that can be. In such cases and seasons God's interposal is necessary, either to remove those temptations, or to fupport and defend us from the prevalence of them, punco owy ántaistus, keeping us from stumbling and falling, as St. Jude 24. Jude speaks; not suffering us, as St. Paul exprefseth it, to be tempted above what we are able, but making with the 1 Cor. x. 23. temptation also a way to escape, so that we shall be able to fuftain it.
That God would please to do this for us, we do here pray; and in pursuance of this petition we subjoin that which in part may pass for an illustration thereof, (implying an antithesis serving to that purpose: for, delivering from evil importeth the same with puso far éx asiguouoũ, being rescued from temptation, in St. Peter; The Lord, 2 Pet. ii. 9. faith he, knoweth how to rescue the godly out of temptation; and τηρείν εκ της ώρας σειρασμού, to preferve from the time of Rev. iii. 10. temptation, in the Revelation; which are opposed to bringing into temptation,) partly it may be supposed an improvement thereof; delivering from evil signifying perhaps somewhat more, than not permitting us to incur occafions strongly inviting us to evil; even the effectual keeping us from being overborne or complying with it. But let us consider that petition itself.
But deliver us from Cvil.
FROM evil, åtò TOŨ womps. St. Chryfoftom takes it for the Devil; who is the ó acompòs, the evil one, the tempter, who seduceth us to eyil: but we shall take it according VOL. V.
to the more common acception: from evil; that is, principally, from sin, or evil moral and spiritual; the only evil, simply and in its own nature fuch, and the root of all other evil; from that, and consequently from all mischief (evil natural and temporal, or evil penal and afflictive) which may grow upon, or sprout from thence. As for such evils as these; the want of things necessary or convenient for us; bodily disease and pain; disappointment in our designs, and ill success in our undertakings; disgrace and reproach upon our good names ; dangers, difficulties, and distresses concerning our outward estate; distractions, vexations, and troubles of mind about temporal matters, with the like evils, (in some sense, in some degree evils, or appearing such to our natural sense and fancy ;) we may indeed deprecate them, (as even our Lord himself did,) with submission (as he did) to the wisdom and will of God, in case it pleaseth him, and he thinketh fit to remove them: but all these things being but names and empty sounds in comparison to fpiritual and eternal evils, (luch as are vicious distempers of mind; indispositions to serve God; ill progress in our spiritual affairs; dissatisfaction concerning our state in respect to God; actual transgression of God's holy will and law; incurring God's displeasure and disfavour; being deprived of his grace and assistance; wanting the communion and comfort of his Holy Spirit ; remorse of conscience, and anguish of spirit for having violated or neglected our duty; blindness of mind, hardness of heart; want of love, reverence, devotion toward God, of charity and good-will toward our neighbour; of sobriety, humility, regularity of passion, and calmness of temper, in respect to ourselves and the inward frame of our fouls; these, I say, and such like evils,) we should absolutely request of God, that he in mercy would deliver and free us from them; they being irreconcileably repugnant to his will and glory, and inconsistent with our eternal welfare. Yet even these, and all other things, we do request only in general terms, leaving the distinct matter, and manner, and measure, according to which they should be dispensed, to the wisdom and goodness of God; who
doth, as our Lord telleth us, know what things we have Matt. vi. 8. need of, before we ask him ; and is not only able, as St. Ep Paul says, but willing also, to do for us superabundantly above what we can ask or think. We are hereby (it seems) taught this point of good manners in our devotion, not to be tediously punctual and particular in our prayers, as if God needed our information, or were apt to neglect the particulars concerning our good.
We shut up all with a doxology, most suitable to the nature of devotion, signifying our due faith, our affection, and our reverence toward God.
Foz thine is the kingdom, the Power, and the
Glory, for ever and ever. Amen. THAT is, for thou hast a perpetual and unmoveable authority, whereby justly to dispose of all things; thou haft an indefectible and irresistible power, whereby thou canst effect whatever seems just and good to thee; wherefore we profess only to rely upon, and seek help from thee; with hope and confidence we address ourselves to thee for the supply of our needs: thine is the glory; all honour and reverence, all love and thankfulness are due unto thee; therefore we render our adorations and acknowledgments to thee. Even so to thee, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be for ever ascribed all glory and praise. Amen.
ALTHOUGH this system of precepts may seem to have been in its design rather political, than moral; to regard public and external, rather than private and interior action; that great branch of morality, which respecteth ourselves in our private retirements, or in our particular converfation, fobriety of mind and manners, being scarce touched herein, at least not openly and plainly expressed; ás also devotion toward God, (in any of its kinds, of praise, thanksgiving, confession of fin, prayer and intercesfion) that great part of natural religion, being not explicitly and pofitively enjoined: although also (as by the introduction thereto, and some passages therein, especially as it is delivered in Deuteronomy, may appear) it seemeth particularly to concern the Jewish nation; a peopleo yùp in called and chosen by God out of all nations, to be governed in a more special and immediate manner by God vópos radio
Mär póyor, himself, obliged to him by peculiar benefits and favours, etc. Dupa designed by him to a separate manner of living; being Mari. Dial.
cum Tryph. also perhaps in temper and disposition, as well as in con-p. 228. dition and circumstances of life, different from other people; whence laws convenient (or in a manner necessary) for them might not so well suit to all others; upon which accounts, as other of their laws, so perchance some passages in this notable part of them, may not unreasonably be deemed peculiarly to concern them; although