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however, you will receive everything else along with him. All other gifts come with the "unspeakable gift." He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for you all, how shall he not with him also freely give you all things? We urge you to this choice by the consideration of its common neglect. It is the many who say, "Who will show us any good?" and the few whose leading wish is that God may lift on them the light of his countenance. Instead of making religion their chief business, most desire as little of it as possible, and are studious to put it out of the way of their every-day employment. Mark their conversation even on the Lord's-day; and is not that demonstrative that they are of the world? Mark how, with the name of Christians, they yet dislike all decision of Christian principle and conduct; and is that not conclusive of their state? Come out from among them, then, and be not conformed to them. We urge you to this choice by the unsatisfactory and transitory nature of all merely earthly good. It remains that all the relations and employments of time be as if they were not, for the fashion of the world passeth away. Will you set your hearts on that which is not? for surely, riches make themselves wings, and fly away as an eagle towards heaven. We urge you to this choice by the noble and during nature of the blessings which it brings; for they are indeed large as your wishes, and lasting as eternity. And we urge this choice upon you by the plea of necessity. This is not a matter of indifference; this is not a part which you may choose or refuse, and in either case be safe; but necessity, absolute necessity, lies on you, if you are to have the smallest regard to your interest. Let, then, this necessity prevail with you. Necessity does wonders. Necessity is the mother of invention. Necessity overcomes apparently insurmountable difficulties.
But what necessity can at all compare with this-the necessity of escaping from endless misery, and of securing endless happiness? Now, then, let what must be done be done. Awake, and bestir yourselves! Away, and betake yourselves to the mercy of God through the Redeemer; and begin to live for eternity. May the Lord enable you to make the care of your souls your great concern, and to choose the good part which shall never be taken away from you. If this be attended to, all will be well: if this be neglected, all will be lost.
LUKE XI. 1-4.
"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3. Give us day by day our daily bread. 4. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
"PRAYER is an offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies."* Prayer is reasonable, incumbent, pleasant, and profitable. This duty comes to us recommended by the example of our Saviour. As God, he was prayed to; but, as man, he prayed to his heavenly Father. We read of him praying at his baptism, in the wilderness, and at his transfiguration; we read of his going out into a mountain to pray, of his being alone praying; and here we read of his "praying in a certain place," most probably along with his disciples. As soon as he had "ceased," for they would not interrupt him during so solemn an exercise, "one of his disciples"— who it was we are not told, but one of them, in name of the whole-" said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray." This was, in itself, an excellent prayer; and it is a prayer which we should often adopt. It is a difficult duty to pray well, and we have much need to pray that the Lord would teach us to pray by his Spirit, and from his word. "The Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought." In reference both to the proper spirit, and the proper matter of prayer, it becomes us to say, Lord, teach us to pray"-"Teach us what we shall say unto thee, for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness."
Though not to the exclusion of the more spiritual view,
the disciples appear to have here chiefly intended to express a desire that Christ would give them some specific directions as to the matter and manner of prayer. We know that John's disciples were peculiarly distinguished for fasting and prayer-that is, probably, frequent prayers; for, we are told by Luke, in the 5th chapter, 33d verse, that Christ's disciples "said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?" We have no particular account, however, of the way in which John proceeded in instructing his disciples in prayer; and, therefore, we are not certain what may have been the exact meaning of the request of Christ's disciples, that he would teach them to pray 66 as John taught his disciples:" we are not certain whether they wished an exact form of words, or general directions. However this may have been, the instructions he gave embody both a form and a general model. Instead of giving them, however, a form and model entirely new, he gave them very much the same as what he formerly introduced in his sermon on the mount. What we call The Lord's Prayer is thus introduced, in Matthew: "After this manner, therefore, pray ye"-a mode of expression which leads us to think of what follows, rather as a pattern to be imitated in its general substance and manner in all our prayers, than as particular words which we are expressly enjoined to use. But here it is introduced thus: "When ye pray, say," which is an injunction to use the very words. And yet, when we compare the passages in the two evangelists together, we find several variations in the words employed; and, in Luke, the conclusion, or doxology, is omitted altogether: which circumstances seem to leave considerable latitude as to the words.
As to the use which ought now to be made of the Lord's Prayer there seem to be two extremes-the very frequent and unmeaning repetition, and even the constant use of it, on the one hand; and the refusing, or neglecting to use it altogether, on the other. The Romanists are taught to repeat it again and again, as if the efficacy of it depended, in part at least, on the number of times it is repeated, which they have an artificial contrivance for counting and marking.* Than this it is difficult to conceive a more direct contravention of the chief reason why, according to Matthew, Christ would have his disciples to pray after that manner, * The rosary, or string of beads.
namely, that they might not use "vain repetitions."* Nor is there any good reason for holding that it ought always to be introduced on every occasion of public worship. With those who do so we by no means find fault: but we object to being ourselves constantly bound down even to this scriptural form, and much more to any human forms. Though a form were, every word of it, in the language of Scripture, we think that we ought not to bind ourselves to the use of any one part of Scripture, to the perpetual exclusion of any other part of Scripture. We wish to be left at liberty to employ, in prayer, any part of Scripture which may be appropriate to the sentiment we intend to express. It should be remembered, too, that there are other forms of prayer enjoined in Scripture, besides this: for example (Hos. xiv. 2), "Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves" or fruit" of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy." We have another
* Matt. vi. 7: " When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Mŋ Barroλoynonte, from one Battus, who was remarkable for a verbose and tautological style. Wakefield remarks, that "a frequent repetition of awful and striking words may be the result of earnestness and fervour; but great length of prayer, which will, of course, involve much sameness and idle repetition, naturally creates fatigue and carelessness in the worshipper, and seems to suppose ignorance, or inattention in the Deity -a fault against which our Lord more particularly wishes to secure them." The same author illustrates this point by the following quotation from Terrence :
"Ohe! jam desine deos, uxor, gratulando obtundere,
Tuam esse inventam gnatam: nisi illos ex tuo ingenio judicas,
"Now, cease, wife, from stunning the gods with thanksgivings that thy daughter is found; unless thou judgest of them from thy own disposition, and believest that they do not understand any thing, unless it be told a hundred times."-The priests of Baal (1 Kings xviii. 26) "called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us! But there was no voice, nor any that answered." Then Elijah said ironically," Cry aloud, for he is a god: either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened." Dr Adam Clarke furnishes a most striking illustration of the same point, in the following form of prayer used by Tippoo Sahib, which the doctor met with in a book of devotion taken out of his pocket, when he was found among the slain at the storming of Seringapatam; in which book there were several prayers written with his own hand, and signed with his own name. "O God, O God, O God, O God!-0 Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Lord!-O living, O immortal, living, O immortal, O living, O immortal, O living, O immortal!-O Creator of the heavens and the earth!-O thou who art endowed with majesty and authority, O wonderful," &c.
example in Joel ii. 17: "Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is thy God?"
This prayer was peculiarly well suited to the disciples at the time when the kingdom of God was about to be introduced by the establishment of Christianity, and when they had not yet begun to pray in the name of Christ: in fact, some of the petitions were in previous use among the Jews. It is quite consistent, however, with its being an absolutely perfect form at the time it was given, to say that we now desire something additional, namely, an express reference to the work and name of Christ. Our Lord said to his disciples, "Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he
will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in
name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." It is unfavourable to the opinion of those who argue for the absolute incumbency of introducing its very words into all, or almost all, our devotional exercises, that, though there are various prayers recorded, which were put up by the disciples after our Lord's ascension, there is no mention of this particular prayer, nor indeed, any historical proof of the formal use, in Christian worship, of this, or any prayer, till the third century. Justin Martyr, who suffered martyrdom in the year of our Lord 167, says, that in the primitive Churches, "The president offered up prayers according to his ability:" and Tertullian says, "We pray without a monitor, because we pray from the heart." At the same time, with regard to the Lord's Prayer, all the clauses admit of a meaning which is quite suitable to these latter days of the Church; and, while it ought always to be regarded as a model of prayer, in respect of matter, simplicity, and actual petition, we are bound, while we intentionally avoid all unreasonable repetition of it, and still more all superstitious use of it, as if it were to operate like a charm-we are bound occasionally to employ, in whole, or in part, its very words.‡
* John xvi. 23.
Sine monitore, quia de pectore oramus.
The Directory of the Church of Scotland does not enjoin the constant use of this (or of any other particular part of Scripture), in worship; but it recommends its occasional use, and the Lord's Prayer is fully explained in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Accordingly, it is occasionally introduced, but not as a matter of course, in our public worship; and it must be supposed to be well understood by those who