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thus do his will. "May the God of peace, that brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ."
The fourth petition is, "Give us day by day our daily bread." It has often been remarked that the very order in which these petitions are introduced should teach us to give the first and chief place, in our desires, to those things which more immediately relate to the glory of God, and, in connexion with that, to our spiritual welfare. On the subject of the order of the petitions, a pious author remarks as follows: "It is known to be the ordinary course of skilful orators, to place the meanest part of their speech in the middle; and in this, let the ear of any understanding mind be judge, whether it sounds not much better that this request pass in the middle, than if the prayer should have ended with it. Whereas now it begins spiritually, and closes so. How few are there that follow Christ's estimate in this, that have the very strength of their desires, and most of their thoughts, on things that are spiritual, and do but in passing lend a word to the things of this life!" We should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Nevertheless, as we have bodies as well as souls, and as there are various promises made to us of a temporal nature, the state of our bodies, and of our temporal affairs, should be attended to, and have its own place and own proportion, in our prayers. It is only bread that we are here taught to ask. As bread, however, is one of the things which are needful for the body, we may consider this petition as including all the necessaries of life, leaving it to God to determine what is necessary, according to the circumstances in which we are placed. We are here evidently discouraged from asking superfluities and wealth. If these come, we should be thankful for them, and careful to use them to God's glory; but we are not to pray for them: "Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not.""We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out:" therefore, "having food and raiment, let us be there with content." When we ask what is necessary, as our "bread," we are reminded that we should ask it, not as the "bread of deceit," or the "bread of idle* Leighton.
ness," but in the way of honest industry, of righteousness, and of diligence. And we are also reminded that, even in the way of diligence, we are still to look to God, and not to ourselves, for what we need: we are to pray that he would give it, freely give it. As in spiritual, so in temporal things: whoever may plant, and water, or labour in any way, it is God who giveth the increase. He can easily disappoint all our endeavours; and when we succeed, we should remember to whom we are indebted. And as it is only bread, or what is necessary, we are to ask, so we are not warranted to ask even that in such abundance at once as would secure us ever after, or even for any great length of time, and render it needless for us to pray for it any more; but our prayer must be, "Give us day by day our daily bread"—that is, we are to be every day asking what is sufficient for that day;* and we are as well to pass a day without food, as a day without prayer. As the Israelites of old received the manna from heaven fresh every day, so we must receive our necessaries in a similar way; that is, we must see them constantly coming from God; else we are living without God, and can have no blessing with what his disregarded bounty may send. And though it is plainly literal bread to which this petition directly refers, yet, as
man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," it is proper, in pronouncing these words, to desire that the Lord would bestow on us the bread of life, or needful supplies of grace for our souls. In this spiritual sense, as well as in the literal (and here indeed it is even more directly and sensibly felt than in the literal), we must remember, that no store of
Τον άρτον ήμων τον ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν το καθ' ήμεραν. There has been considerable diversity of opinion as to the precise meaning of the word OGIO. As the idea of "daily" is fully expressed by the phrase καθ ̓ ἡμεραν, it seems probable that the word ἐπιουσιον is intended to express something different. The idea that this is a petition for the bread of" to-morrow," though adopted by Lightfoot, is surely untenable and paradoxical. Origen says that the word Tourios seems to have been formed by the evangelists; as it does not occur in any of the earlier Greek writers—ἔοικε πεπλασθαι ὑπο των ευαγγελιστων: he renders the word, however, onusgov, "daily;" as does also Chrysostom. I adhere to the opinion of those who think the word is intended to signify "sufficient," or, sufficient for subsistence: quasi iπ ovσiav. signifies abundant, iiovios seems to signify sufficient. tion of the word is given by Theophylact: ̓Αρτος ἐπι τῇ ουσια και ovorac, ĥμwv avtugun, “bread sufficient for our subsistence, and suste
Aς περιουσιος This explana
grace can be treasured up by us from which we may draw independently on God, and that we must live as the daily and constant pensioners on his spiritual bounty. Whenever the actual communication of his influences is restrained, that moment all that is truly gracious in our affections and conduct ceases. Let us endeavour, then, to preserve a constant dependence on divine providence and grace, and daily say, "Give us day by day our daily bread."
The fifth petition is, "And forgive us our sins: for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us." We have here what is, strictly speaking, the petition itself, and then an explanatory clause subjoined. The petition itself is, "Forgive us our sins." Now, this petition implies, both a conviction and an acknowledgment of our sinfulness: it is, in fact, if properly offered up, a penitential confession of our sins. Then, it is more expressly an earnest prayer for forgiveness, for deliverance from the guilt and punishment of our sins, and for the restoration of our Father's complacency whom we have offended. It is altogether erroneous to say that believers have no need to pray for forgiveness; this is directly to oppose the authority of Christ himself, who here teaches his own disciples so to pray. It is true that all believers-all who have passed from a state of condemnation to a state of justification, in which God pardons all their sins, and accepts them as righteous in his sight are safe for ever; it is true that the Lord will never utterly cast any of them off: but, as they are still liable (though regenerated and sanctified) to fall into sin, so they are still in need of forgiveness, such forgiveness as a beloved and, on the whole, a dutiful son needs, when he has done anything to displease his earthly father. Remission of sins cannot possibly, in the strict sense, extend but to sins that are past; but, it is a provision of the well-ordered covenant, that remission of a believer's sins that are past secures the remission of his sins that are to come, by securing his subsequent penitential and believing return to his Father for such remission. Hence, believers, in the consciousness of their remaining sins, whether more or less heinous, should always pray, "Forgive us our sins."
The explanatory and qualifying clause to this petition is, "For we also forgive every one that is indebted to us." person who knows any thing of the way of pardon opened up in Scripture, will ever suppose that this clause teaches
* Rom. iii. 25.
that our forgiving others is the reason why God forgives us. The moving cause of our forgiveness is God's free grace; the procuring, or meritorious cause, is the righteousness of Christ; and the instrumental cause, or means, of our obtaining forgiveness through Christ, is faith alone. This is the doctrine clearly taught, where the subject is expressly handled; and no occasional phrase, rightly interpreted, is contrary to it. This is not a plea of merit; but it is a description, in part, of the disposition of all who are forgiven, and who come anew seeking forgiveness, for they are themselves of a forgiving disposition.* According to Matthew, the petition runs thus: " Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors:" or, we ask forgiveness, according to the manner, and measure, in which we forgive others, and which should be freely, fully, and for ever. Not that we are bound to pass from all pecuniary debts; that would be quite an overstretching of the meaning, though even these we must not exact in any way which is rigorous, or inhumane but debts in the figurative sense, or injuries, we ought readily and heartily to forgive all men. Our Lord follows up this prayer, in Matthew, with the following words, farther enforcing the same idea: "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."+ Let us be conscientious, then, in forgiving, as we hope to be forgiven. What a motive to forgiveness does this clause suggest, when, every time we repeat it, without having forgiven those who have injured us, we virtually pray that we ourselves may not be forgiven by God! The following explanation of this petition is truly excellent, considering it as the prayer of believers "We pray that God, for Christ's sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because, by his grace, we are enabled from the heart to forgive others."
The sixth and last petition is, " And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." Temptations are of two kinds enticements to sin and trials. In the former sense of enticing to sin, God never tempts; and to say that he does, would be the blasphemy of representing him as the author of sin. In the language of James: "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God *The xa yag is not causal, but explanatory.
+ See also the parable of the unmerciful servant, Matt. xviii. 23.
cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”* Temptations, in this sense, come
from a man's own heart, from the world, and from Satan. In the other sense, however, the sense of trials, temptations may be considered as sent by God. Thus God "tempted," or tried Abraham, in commanding him to offer up his son Isaac. No doubt, trials are often blessed to God's people; they are blessed, when rightly borne and improved. The apostle James says, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." But, when we consider our own great weakness, it would be wrong for us to ask that we should be subjected to any very severe trials; nay, we feel inclined to ask, and we are here encouraged to ask, that God either would not subject us to such as might endanger our stability, or, if he should, that he would support us under them. Now, we have this pleasing declaration,+ "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." This pleasing declaration applies, both to what we commonly call trials, and to the enticements of Satan.
This petition also teaches us to say: "But deliver us from evil." This might have been still more exactly rendered, "deliver," or rescue us from "the evil one;" that is, from Satan: so the very same word is rendered in several other places. In this sense, we pray that we may be preserved from the snares and assaults of the devil, who seeks to destroy us. Or, taking the sense of evil in general, we pray that we may be delivered from all real evil-from the evil of error, and sin, and the world, and final apostasy, and eternal ruin. In this, we are praying along with Christ himself, who, in his intercessory prayer for his followers, says: "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the
* In respect to what is sinful, God is sometimes said to do what he only permits to be done, and does not positively interfere to prevent; and, though he never tempts men to sin, he may permit them to be tempted to it: hence the suitableness of this petition, in this particular view. Quod igitur dicimus Deo, Ne nos inferas in tentationem, quid dicimus, nisi Ne nos inferri sinas?" When we say to God, Lead us not into temptation, what do we say but, Suffer us not to be led?"-Augustine, De Bono Perseverantiæ, cap. vi.
+1 Cor. x. 13.
Matt. xiii. 19, 38; 1 John ii. 13, 14, iii. 12, v. 18.