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Pharisees and lawyers are said to do, to defeat God's counsel ; to thrust away or repulse God's word, as the Jews did in the Acts;a to resist, provoke, or defy God by obstinate disobedience, as many are said to do in the Scriptures; but that everywhere a free, humble, hearty, and full obedience be rendered to his commands.
3. We do also pray, that God would grant us the grace willingly to perform whatever he requires of us;
perfecting us," as the apostle speaketh, “in every good work to do his will,” 3 and “working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight," contentedly to bear whatever he layeth upon us; that God would bestow upon us a perfect resignation of our wills unto his will; a cheerful acquiescence in that state and station wherein he hath placed us ;4 a submissive patience in all adversities, whereinto he disposeth us to fall; a constant readiness with satisfaction and thankfulness (without reluctancy or repining) to receive whatever cometh from his will, whether grateful or distasteful to our present sense; acknowledging his wisdom, his goodness, his justice in all his dealings toward us; heartily saying with good Eli, “ It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good;" with Hezekiah, “Good is the word of the Lord, which thou hast spoken ;" with David, “Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good to him;" with Job, “Shall we receive good at the
» hand of God, and shall we not receive evil ? ” and, “The i Luke vii. 30.
3 Heb. xiii. 21. 2 Acts xiii. 46.
4 Phil. iv. il.
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord :'
were well, if we could, after the heathen philosopher, upon all occasions, with our hearts say, If God will have it so, so let it be; if we could observe those rules and precepts, which even the philosophers so much inculcate, to commit all our affairs to God, to love and embrace all events; to fol. low and to accompany God; to yield, deliver, and resign ourselves up to him.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
I shall not stand to criticise upon the hard word here used, translated “ daily;" I only say, that of two senses offering themselves, both are probable, and by good authority countenanced; both are proper and suitable to the matter or nature of the thing. According to one we pray for the bread “ of the time to come,” or of that future life, which it shall please God to allow us; according to the other, we request bread, which is necessary for our being, and the preservation of our lives. Joining both together (which is more sure and safe) we pray for a competent provision toward the maintenance of our life hereafter, during our appointed time. That for the sense. Upon the petition itself here we observe :
1. That after we have rendered our due tribute of
1 Sam. iii. 18; 2 Sam. xv. 26 ; 2 Kings xx. 19; Job i. 21 ; ii. 10; Psal. xxxvii.
praise unto God, we are allowed and directed to request of him good things for ourselves; beginning, as nature prompteth, with the preservation of our beings and lives, whereby we become capable of receiving and enjoying other good things.
2. By doing which we also do imply the sense we have of our total dependence upon God; avowing ourselves to subsist by his care and bounty; disclaiming consequently all confidence in any other means to maintain or support us; in any store we have laid up, or estate we pretend to; in any contrivance or industry we can use ;
in any succour of friends or relations; for that, notwithstanding all these, we do need our daily bread to be dealt to us by God, and must continually beg it as a gift from his hands.
3. We are by that word, “this day," taught our duty, signifying withal our performance thereof, of being willing continually to rely upon God; not affecting to be so much beforehand, as not to need God's constant assistance: we ask not, that God would give us at once what may serve us for ever, and may put us out of any fear to want hereafter; we ask not for that which may suffice for a long time, for many years, many months, many days; but that God would give us to-day, or rather day by day, as it is expressed in St Luke, that is, that he would continually dispense to us, what is needful for us. We should not therefore desire to have an estate settled upon us; to live by ourselves, or on our own incomes ; to be set out of God's house, or immedi
ate protection and care; this in itself cannot be (for God cannot alienate his goods from himself, nor can we subsist out of his hand), nor must we desire it should be. It is a part of atheism, of infidelity, of heathenish profaneness and folly, to desire it. “These things,” saith our Lord, “do the Gentiles seek ;”] that is, they are covetous of wealth, and careful for provisions to live without dependence upon God. But we must esteem God's providence our surest estate, God's bounty our best treasure, God's fatherly care our most certain and most comfortable support; casting all our care on him, as being assured that he careth for us; will not leave nor forsake us ;? will not withhold what is necessary for our comfortable sustenance.
4. It is here intimated, how sober and moderate our appetites should be, in regard both to the quality and quantity of the things we use : we are directed to ask bread, not dainties (as St Chrysostom says) ; necessary food, not luxurious plenty or delicacy: it is bread, the most simple, homely, and common diet, that is, such accommodations as are necessary to maintain our lives and satisfy our natural desires ; not superfluities, serving to please our wanton appetites, or humour our curious fancies; it is not variety, daintiness, elegancy, or splendour we should affect to enjoy, but be content to have our necessities supplied with the coarsest diet and the meanest 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.
i Matt. vi. 32.
-2 Matt. vi. 25; Phil. iv. 6; Heb. xii. 5; 1 Pet. v. 7.
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.
AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES, AS WE FORGIVE
THEM THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US.
After the preservation of our beings, the foundation of enjoying other good things, our first care, we see, 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. Since 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 dispensed by God,