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was to be worth the hearing. Therefore, when we read of our Saviour's telling the Jews, “ If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,” (John viii. 24,) we should remember, that they had Christ preached to them, yet did not generally believe: which makes all the difference.
To “ call upon the name of the Lord,” or to come to God, as it is said in the Hebrews, sincerely, we must believe at least, that he is: and it does not seem much to believe also, that he is “ a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. xi. 6.) This does not seem much, I say, for our part: and he will supply the rest; especially that without which, either known or unknown, there is still no coming to him, a Mediator, I mean, as before signified. It is a very modest postulate; “it is like a grain of mustard seed," (Matt. xvii. 20,) that we lay for a foundation : but although we have an advocate with the Father,” and his advocate—the advocate of Christ, or one of his faithful ministers, would be content with less credit for a beginning than is usually conceded to agents in other vocations, he cannot find so much very often : men will take the word of their banker, lawyer, physician; nay, of their bailiff or groom, for more in their
than they will that of their spiritual agent or guide. He tells them, that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and only wants them, to believe that he is, in order to bring them to God by Christ, and prove it. But, no: they will believe no such thing. Then where may be the use of being sent to them? The prophet says, “ I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” But would he have answered so readily as he did, “ Here am I; send me,” if he had anticipated his commission ?-“ Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand
with their hearts, and convert and be healed ?" (Isai. vi. 8_10.) I conceive a messenger of God can never hesitate on any purpose for which he is divinely commissioned: though, if he might choose, it would rather be,
their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ.” (Acts xxvi. 18.) But how is it?
And however it may be: as the proper business of our lives is to glorify the Giver of them in all their particulars, to bring a blessing on his name, to "sing praises unto the honour of his name, and make his praise to be glorious," (Ps. lxvi. 1,) so let us endeavour on both sides. Let not one presume to teach, nor the other to ask any thing in that name, be the matter never so respectful and becoming in itself—like the duty now mentioned, without due consideration : but of course we should not pray to God to make his name hallowed without hallowing it ourselves at the moment or endeavouring to do so. There are heathens in the world who would be ashamed of such a profanation : as he says by the Psalmist, “ A people whom I have not known shall serve me; as soon as they hear my voice, they shall obey me: but the strange children shall dissemble with me. The strange children shall fail, and be afraid out of their prisons.” (Ps. xviii. 44, &c.) When we say to him,“ Hallowed be thy name,” let it not be an hollow greeting like theirs whom Jebu met going down“ to salute the children of the king, and the children of the queen,” (Kings II. x. 13,) or what it would have been probably had their lives been spared : but as long as we live, let the voice of our prayer be the wish of our heart, and the mode of our hearty endeavour. “ And if (says St. Peter) ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye kuow, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot : who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory ; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (Pet. I. i. 17, &c.)
Ever hallowed be his glorious name! Be it ever great and glorious upon earth; as for its own sake, so for the honour and happiness of all who shall confess the same; for their present acceptance with him; for their greater circumspection and consequent success in this life; for their more assured hope and certain enjoyment of the life to come!
ON THE LORD'S PRAYER.—3. HEAVEN UPON
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
Matt. vi. 10. HAVING prepared your attention for the doctrine of the Lord's Prayer, my brethren, first generally by a discourse on the general subject of PRAYER AND WORSHIP, and then more particularly by a second on the NATURE AND USE OF THE LORD's PRAYER,- I have now, in the third place, to offer some observations on the subject or scope of its first petition, as we may consider it, following the order of occurrence; which subject may be called the kingdom of God, or more quaintly HEAVEN UPON EARTH. And I hope you will not find these observations too recondite, if they should happen to be methodically delivered: if I endeavour to hinge a few topics that seem to bear on one point methodically together, availing myself at the same time of two or three expressions that may be rather technical and somewhat rusty for want of use, but still worth using, in order to give you—what I have thought wanting to sermons before now, which is a general idea or comprehension of their meaning at last, however long they may be in delivering, that people may make some progress by hearing sermons week after week and year after year; and if I do not regret any time that I may bestow myself to that purpose, I hope you will not find your time and attention ill bestowed on the same. Especially; you must not be offended, my dear brethren, if you please, at the mention of a subject and its relations; that is of some particular person or thing, and other persons or things related thereto; nor say of me as his countrymen said of Ezekiel because his utterance was to their mind rather recondite, “ Ah Lord God-doth he not speak in parables?” (Ezek. xx. 49, as I occasionally mention the subject and object of this inestimable prayer particularly ; one being the party that offers, the other that glorious Being to whom it is offered up.
For now I have also another relation of the same, namely of the Lord's Prayer to propose: and you cannot duly comprehend that prayer, nor half its beauties, without attending to this new relation. But I hardly know whether to call the thing so related to the Lord's Prayer its parallel or counterpart, as it seems to be related in both ways; and no two things of the kind were ever more nearly related, or more dependent on each other than that perfect form of words, as we name it, and another of the same divine origin; I mean the Ten Commandments : which may be gathered by a general comparison of the two, and more particularly by the consideration of the clauses in my text.
But if I am to divide this first petition of the Lord's Prayer; which has our Father in heaven for its first object, and the petitioner himself, who is not meanly interested, among others for its second, it must be by the broad meaning of the same as signified there, and not according to the punctuation as we find it. For there being no stops used in the original copy of this passage more than of any other passage of scripture, it may be differently divided; and for one way, so as to attribute all three parts; the hallowing of the name of God, before considered, and the coming of his kingdom, and the doing of his will, to the locality or sphere here desired, namely the earth-instead of the last mentioned in the text, as it stands, “ Thy will be done,” only: when the several clauses together would stand thus,“Our Father which art in heaven;" as in heaven, so in earth---ever hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy-will be done. LET THERE BE HEAVEN UPON EARTH: let the riches of thy grace issuing in faith and obedience, which constitute the honour and delight of spotless angels, agents in the direct line of the word, descend likewise upon us, thy fallen creatures; whom thou hast mercifully rescued from perdition and adopted in a lower degree, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore comparing generally these two productions, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments as similarly regarding the two objects before mentioned; that is, our heavenly Father in the first place, and after him the human subject or petitioner who is not meanly interested therein; we find the matter or substance of the said two productions also to be similar, which is divine wisdom; divine love being their common principle : so that they have one substance and one principle, or one body and one spirit. Now this principle is well known and generally acknowledged, to divide itself into two jets or branches; the love of God, and the love of our neighbour: and as the four first clauses or chapters of the Decalogue are occupied with the love of God, or commandments respecting his honour and worship, and the remainder with commandments agreeable to the other species of love, the love of our neighbour or mankind; so are the four first petitions