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world, require of him. In this sense then, every man is led into temptation ; that is, he hath the general rules of religion to observe, and the particular duties proper to. his place and condition to perform. And God who requires these, and by whose providence men are put into such circumstances, may so far be said to lead a man into Temptation.
on. But as every man in this fense, is, and must be tempted, this cannot be the meaning of the words, when we pray, not to be led into Temptation. By Temptation we may here also understand, those hazardous trials with which God is pleased sometimes to prove good, and punish wicked men. So that God faid to lead a man into Temptation, when he permits some extraordinary accidents to befal him, in order to try his sincerity. It is impossible to mention the various kinds of Temptation to which we are liable, and
perhaps it would be very hard for any man to declare which Temptation he could best resist, or which would be most difficult to him. We are so ignorant of ourselves, in things of this nature, that we know not what trial we can best encounter; therefore, we ought to leave the petition to God in general, as our Saviour hath here taught us, namely that God would not lead us into Temptation, or that he would keep thofe Temptations from us, which he, who best knows our make and frame, by his infinite wisdom sees will most endanger us.
Having thus confidered the first part of this petition, I proceed to the second.
But deliver us from evil : which fignifies the same, and something more than the former. The same, as including deliverance from great and dangerous temptations ; but more, as the evil is greater to fall under Temptations, than only to be tempted. If considered in the former sense, it implies God's providence in alloting us such a portion in this life, as he fees is best for our spiritual estate, and in removing from us whatever he knows to be inconsistent therewith. It is also to be understood of those innumerable methods of Providence, by which God keeps men from sundry temptations that would befal them, if he did, not interpose to prevent them. Taking it in the latter fense, as keeping us from being overcome by temptations when they happen, then the petition means, the good providence of God without us, and the motions and operations of his holy Spirit within us, whereby he supports and preserves those who in the time of their trials trust in him. God delivers us by his outward providences, and which are very con
fiderable ; sometimes by the good examples of others labouring under the same circumstances, sometimes by the faithful advice of a friend, the seasonable presence of a good man, a sudden change in our fortunes, and divers unforeseen accidents, casual indeed to us, but purposely ordered by the wife difposal of God, to prevent our being led away by Temptations that assault us ; therefore, in this prayer, we commit ourselves to the good Providence of God, that he would still continue to preserve us by fuch ways as to his wisdom seems most requisite. By the operations of his holy spirit within us, he delivers us from evil under Temptation, when he represents to us the reasons of our duty, and strongly impresses them on our minds; whereby good men have been often rescued from their passions, and kept from falling when on the brink of danger. Therefore, in this prayer we intreat God not to cast us away from his presence, nor take his holy spirit from us, that he would not forsake us when we are in the greatest dạnger of forgetting him, but that his grace may prevent us from yielding to any Temptation, whether sudden, violent, or long, that so we may never be tempted above what we are able to bear.
I shall now offer some considerations that should make us in good earnest pray against Temptations, that they may not overconę ụs, nor draw us into sin.
First, let us consider the great consequence of being overcome by Temptations,
If we are prevailed on to act contrary to our duty, the best end we can make is a sorrowful repentance; and which if sincere,