Imagini ale paginilor

same scene of trial. If some sin were to present itself to us in its most inviting form, and at some of those moments when we are the most unguarded; if an opportunity should be given us of committing it in perfect secrecy; if it should be that sin, moreover, to which, from our age, temperament, circumstances, and condition in life, we might be most in danger of yielding; who shall say that he should escape? "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION," ought surely then to be the language of all our hearts. The serious Christian feels, that the temptations, which are in life, constitute his great danger. He feels also, that it is safer to shun them; than to expose himself to them in the confidence of overcoming them. He wants to be safe landed in heaven; and, therefore, wishes only to pursue that course in life, which may make his passage to heaven the most easy, by lessening the occasions of his falling into sin. "LEAD ME NOT INTO TEMPTATION” will, therefore, be one earnest part of his prayer; and while he thus makes his supplication, that GOD, on whom he calls, will preserve him: GoD will give him grace to bear his smaller trials; and will break, in some way or other, the force of those fiercer temptations, which he may be too weak to endure. GOD will so order the events of His providence, as to protect and preserve him; for as the apostle observes, "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."*

One other remark is proper in this place. If we pray, not to be led into temptation, we should also take care, not to lead ourselves into it. How inconsistent, in this respect, is the conduct of many persons, with that LORD's prayer, which they perhaps daily use. They go to such places;— they read such books;- —or they associate with such companions,—as serve to inflame their passions, and to put their virtue to more trials than it can bear. They suffer

* Cor. x. 13.

themselves to be carried to the very edge of sin; they run boldly and heedlessly into those very scenes of temptation, from which they, with their lips, implore GoD to deliver them, every time they utter the LORD's prayer. Let us, then, pray to be kept from temptation; and let us also flee from it. In choosing our profession in life, our acquaintance, our connexions, let us make it a principal point in our consideration, what the comparative degree of temptation is likely to be. By thus proceeding cautiously, we shall proceed safely and if we pray, at the same time, with our heart, to GOD that He will lead us not into temptation, we may hope that He will make all things work together for our good: and that, notwithstanding our extreme weakness, he will bring us safely through this dangerous and evil world, to His heavenly kingdom.




But deliver us from evil.

THE word evil as it stands in the original Greek may either be rendered the evil one, that is, the Devil; or that which is evil. We shall choose, for our present purpose, to consider it in the latter sense. First, then, what is it to be delivered from that which is evil? "Deliver us from evil" is a short expression; but, like some other expressions in the LORD's prayer, it has a large and comprehensive meaning. We have already shown that "give us this day our daily bread" is a prayer for the gift of all that variety of things, whether spiritual or temporal, which are truly good for us. "Deliver us from evil," is in like manner a prayer for deliverance from all that variety of things which

are truly evil. In explaining the word "evil," we may first observe, that a very good exemplification of the meaning of the term is furnished by the Litany of the Church of England. We are there taught to pray for deliverance, as well from temporal evils, "from lightning and tempest, from plague, pestilence and famine, from battle and murder, and from sudden (or violent) death." As, also, from the spiritual evils of blindness of heart; and pride, vain glory, and hypocrisy, from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness; from fornication and all other deadly sin; and from all deceits of the world, the flesh, and the Devil: and, further, from all false doctrine, heresy and schism, from hardness of heart, and contempt of God's word and commandment and in short from the grand evil of sin, from the crafts and assaults of the Devil, from God's wrath, and from everlasting damnation. It would be easy to enlarge very widely on this subject; for we live in a world where we are exposed to ten thousand different evils. Dangers threaten us, both at home, and abroad; both by night and by day; both in solitude, and in company; at every age, under every circumstance, and in every situation. There is no place on earth to which we can retreat, and say, that there we shall be secure from evil. What various pains and diseases are there, which attack the body; and how many of these, which affect also the mind? There is the loss of reason; there are pangs and torments of various kinds to be dreaded by us; and there are a thousand accidents which may put an end to our comfort, or destroy our lives, even in a moment. Besides which, how constantly are we exposed to every kind of spiritual evil :-especially to our great adversary the Devil, who "walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." Let it only be remarked, further, that we are in unceasing peril from the corruption of our own evil nature; for we are ourselves often our own worst enemies. We are in peril from our unruly and tormenting passions, which both injure the body; and, also, war against the soul. It is in vain, therefore, to count the

evils which threaten the sons of men. Man, in passing through the world, may be compared to a traveller in a wilderness, in which all manner of noxious and destroying animals abound; and to a traveller, moreover, who is totally unarmed for his defence. What, then, can be more proper, than that one in such circumstances should, day by day, lift up his prayer to GoD, and say, "Oh LORD, deliver me from evil."

Let us, then, each ask ourselves, first, whether we are aware of all these evils? whether we feel any lively sense of the peril, in which we continually stand; whether, especially, we know any thing of the evil of sin, and of our own danger from it? and, secondly, let us ask ourselves, whether we are sensible, that GoD alone can save and deliver us? It seems to be a great object of the LORD'S prayer to inculcate upon us our weakness and sinfulness and danger, on the one hand; and our dependence on GoD for grace and strength, on the other. To this end it is, that we are taught to call daily on God for all things which we need; for the possession of all things which are desirable; and for deliverance from all things which are hurtful. GOD is stronger than our enemies: He can, and He will, deliver as many as pray to Him for deliverance; but He will leave those, to the power of their adversaries, who seek not their help from Him. Let us, then, daily implore His aid. Let us not go forth from our chamber in the morning, without first asking His protection and blessing.

Let us fall down on our knees every morning; and say, "Oh LORD, deliver me this day from evil."




For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amer.


OUR LORD closes that prayer which he teaches to His disciples, by thus ascribing dominion and power and glory to GOD. To praise and magnify GoD, is no unimportant part both of public and of private worship. Why is it, indeed, that we pray to GoD? It is because He is able to fulfil the requests which we make unto Him. There is, therefore, a connection between that part of our prayer, which we supplicate, and that part in which we adore God, and acknowledge His divine perfection. It is the acknowledgment of God's greatness, which suggests to us our own littleness. It is the belief of His power, which encourages us to plead our own weakness; and it is the view of His exceeding glory, which disposes us to self-abasement and humility.

But let us proceed, more particularly, to explain the expressions which close the prayer taught us by our LORD. "Thine is the kingdom." GOD is the true and rightful sovereign of this lower world: the various powers and authorities, which exist in it, are all derived from God:for all power is of GOD;—and he who resisteth the power, "resisteth the ordinance of GOD." Kings are subject to GOD. They are accountable to Him for all their actions; though we should suppose them accountable to no one else As all the inferior authorities of the kingdoms of this world are derived from the supreme authority of kings; their authority is derived from GOD, and centres in His authority. His, therefore, is the kingdom. He is the true king over all; and earthly kings are but the subjects of this one great eternal King, "who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords."

« ÎnapoiContinuă »