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But God also is the true and rightful sovereign of the whole universe. The angels, principalities, and powers, which are in heaven, are subject to Him. Their power is entirely subject to His power; and their authority, to His authority.
CHRIST, indeed, is also declared in Scripture to be our Lord and King. He is the "King of Zion." "Behold I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion."* "All kings," it is also said, "shall be made subject unto Him; for He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet." Nevertheless, we are taught to expect that a time shall come, when the mediatorial throne shall be removed away; and that the Son Himself, when all things shall have been subdued unto Him, shall himself also be subject to the Father, "that God may be all in all."+
Again, THINE ALSO IS THE POWer. As we have shown that there is no true dominion but that of God; so, also, there is no true power but that of GOD. All the power of men and of angels is as nothing before Him; such power as they have, He gives them; theirs is only an inferior and delegated power: they have no power of their own. Kings, indeed, may boast of their power. They may send forth their armies into the field: they may command; and the thing commanded shall be done: but it is done, only so far, as GoD permits it to be done. It is the power of GOD which sustains all the inferior powers in the universe; and when He pleases, all the strength of his creatures utterly fails. It is He who setteth up kings at His pleasure. "He lifteth It is He also, who putteth them down. poor man out of the mire, that he may set him among the princes, even among the princes of the people:" for all power is of GOD: and there is not a thing which any individual does, but God gives him the power to do it. His, is the power; and His, therefore, we should, in our prayer, acknowledge it to be.
Again, lastly, THINE IS THE GLORY. If indeed, His be the kingdom, and His the power, it follows that His also ought to be the glory. There can be no true glory but that of God. All the beings who are in heaven, and all the creatures which are on earth, all the things which exist, whether animate or inanimate, in all the regions of infinite space, were created by GoD. TO GOD, therefore, belongs the glory of what they are, and of all that they do: for on Him do they depend; and His was the glory of creating them.
Let us now consider, whether there be any thing which we have, of which we have a right to glory. Shall we glory in our wisdom? But who gave us that wisdom? Was it not GOD, who put into our minds whatever powers of understanding we possess; and not we ourselves, who placed them there? We have no more right, therefore, to glory in any natural faculties of the mind, than we should have to glory in having ourselves put the sun into the firmament. All our exercise, also, of these natural faculties, is through the power of God enabling us to exercise them. Again, all virtue and goodness are from GoD: they are, indeed, the immediate effect of His grace working in us. "What hast thou, that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it ?"* We see then, that all glory belongs to GOD. His is the glory. The expression "THINE IS THE GLORY" implies, then, that we renounce the glory: that we pretend not to it: that we ascribe it all to Him. May we, indeed, thus reject it:—may our ideas of God be such as to raise Him in our eyes and to make us sink in our own esteem. May we exalt Him; and annihilate ourselves : and in this spirit of self-annihilation, may we address our prayers unto Him.
The term "FOR EVER" signifies, that the kingdom and power and glory not only belong to GOD now; but shall
* 1 Cor. iv. 7.
belong to him for ever and ever. Thy kingdom, says the Prophet, is an everlasting kingdom; and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations :* or, as our own Church expresses it; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end."
The word AMEN, which closes the prayer, signifies "so be it." It is a fresh affirmation of what had before been said. It is like declaring the same thing a second time, for the sake of confirmation.
We have now gone through our explanation of the LORD'S Prayer. Let us learn in future, when we use this prayer, to say it, not with our lips only. Let us beware, lest we fall into that very sin of the heathen, against which our SAVIOUR meant, by this prayer, to provide the sin of using vain repetitions as the heathen did. This prayer itself is turned, as we fear, into a mere vain repetition, by thousands; for they repeat it over and over, without sense or meaning. Let us turn it to the chief uses for which it was intended. Let us take a lesson from it, as to the manner in which we are to shape our prayers in general. Let us learn from it to avoid all mere service of the lips, and multiplication of words, which are without meaning: and, whenever we use this prayer itself, let us bear in mind the interpretation which has now been given of every sentence of it and thus let us learn to "pray with the spirit, and with the understanding also."†
* Psalm, cxlv. 13.
† 1 Cor. xiv. 15.
ST. MATTHEW, VI. 14, 15.
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.
CHRIST, in his sermon on the mount, had already instructed His disciples in the duty of showing mercy, and of even loving their enemies, "Blessed" He had said “ are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy."* And "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; aud pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." And in the LORD's prayer, He had taught His disciples to say "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."‡
The forgiveness of injuries is, as we before remarked, one of the distinguishing doctrines of Christianity. We also before observed, that, this doctrine having been most plainly taught by CHRIST, there is no one now bearing the Christian name who refuses to give his assent to it: though, undoubtedly, there are multitudes who contrive, in one way or another, to evade it in their practice.
We will here speak, more particularly than we have yet done, if those occasions on which an unforgiving spirit is now apt to show itself; as well as of those modifications and disguises by which it is in this age apt to be concealed.
The occasions, on which different men are apt to take offence, are indeed very different. It may however be observed, in general, that, whenever the pride of men is wounded, they are then wounded in the most tender part; and that they cannot so easily forgive an affront to their pride, as
* St. Matt. v. 7.
+ St. Matt. v. 44.
St. Matt. vi. 12.
they can an injury to their interest. Let us then not fancy that we are of a forgiving spirit, because we can forgive those who have committed a trespass upon our property; because we can pardon the thief, or the house-breaker, who has robbed us, and whose injury moreover we know that the law of the land will amply revenge. Let us examine, rather, whether we forgive those who, by some act or other, have offered an affront to the natural pride of our hearts; and who, in this far more trying way, have been guilty of some “ trespass against us." Again, it is worthy of remark, that it is by no means the greatest and most notorious injuries, which are apt to give the greatest offence. On great occasions, we know that the world. observes us; and by forgiving a notable injury, we think that we shall do ourselves credit with the world. Moreover we usually find that where the injury is great, many sympathize with us, and join together in blaming the guilty
This general defamation of the man who has offended us, serves, much like the execution of the severe sentence of law, to satisfy our anger, and to quiet an unforgiving spirit. Let us not then take credit for forgiving our enemies, merely because we forgive them in cases of this sort. Let us inquire rather, whether we forgive him who injures us, when he does it in such a manner that the world takes part with him rather than with us: and when the offender seems to suffer no punishment, or inconvenience of any kind, for his offence. If we can forgive freely in cases of this kind, it is a strong mark of our having attained to a truly forgiving spirit. It is true, undoubtedly, that provocations will sometimes be given which are so very great that it is hard indeed, especially for men of certain natural tempers, not to be much ruffied by them. thing, to be agitated, and even angry, for a another, to bear settled malice in the heart. above all things, to retain a secret ill-will against any one. Let us be able to say, "There is no man on earth whom
But it is one moment; it is Let us dread,