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fore, with respect to such, we are to pray, that God would grant to them the means of grace, by sending his gospel among them; that they who sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, may have a glorious light shining about them, whereby they may be made acquainted with the way of salva tion by Jesus Christ: But there are others who sit under the sound of the gospel, and yet remain strangers to the great doctrines thereof, who have no love to the truth, and act as though it did not belong to them, to study the scriptures; these are wilfully ignorant, like those who are said to hate knowledge, and not to choose the fear of the Lord, Prov. i. 29. We are to pray, with regard to such, that in order to their sanctifying the name of God, they may be led into the knowledge of those great doctrines, in which the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is set forth, as it is in the work of redemption by Christ, together with the way in which righteousness and life may be attained; and that they may know what are those graces which are inseparably connected with, and necessary to sal
[3.] We are to pray, that God would prevent or remove idolatry; and that either such as is more gross and practised by the Heathen and others, who give that worship to creatures, that is due to God alone; or else, that idolatry which may be observed in the hearts and lives of many, who though they abhor the grosser acts thereof, are, nevertheless, guilty of this sin, in that they love the creature more than God. This is what we all are either chargeable with, or in danger of, which is directly contrary to our sanctifying the name of God: Therefore we are to pray, with respect to the former, that he would convince them what they falsely call worship, is a dishonour to, and abhorred by him; and, with respect to the latter, that he deserves our supreme love, and will not admit of any thing to stand in competition with him; and that he would enable us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength: And, in order hereunto, that he would deliver us from the iniquity of covetousness, or those inordinate affections, whereby we are inclined immoderately to pursue after the world, which is inconsistent with an heavenly conversation; and that we may be kept from self-seeking, or trusting to our own righteousness for justification, or giving that glory to any other which is due to God alone.
[4.] We are also to pray for the preventing and removal of that profaneness which is contrary to the sanctifying the name of God; that persons may not give themselves that liberty, which many do, to treat things sacred in a common way, or make religion the subject of wit and drollery; which is very disgustful to the ears of those who have an awe of God on
their spirits, and altogether unbecoming persons professing godliness. We are also to beg, that God would deliver us from engaging in religious duties in a formal way, as though his name were to be sanctified only by an external shew or appearance of religion, without that internal frame or disposition of heart which is required in all those who draw nigh to him in an holy manner; and also that we may be kept from making any innovation in the worship of God, and thereby profane it, while we pretend to add to the beauty thereof, and its acceptableness in his sight; which is so far from hallowing his name, that it is highly provoking to him.
(2.) Another thing inferred from the account we have had of those methods by which the name of God is said to be sanctified, is, that we are to beg of him, that, by his overruling providence, he would direct and dispose of all things to his own glory. This is his immediate work; without which his name would not be sanctified by his creatures. And it consists in his bringing a revenue of glory to himself, out of those things that seem to be subversive of it. It is one of the glories of providence, that hereby God brings good out of evil, and renders some things subservient to his interest, which, in themselves, have a tendency to overthrow it.
This may be observed in several things consequent upon the sins and persecutions of the church. Thus when Israel revolted from God, by making the golden calf in the wilderness, he first humbled them greatly for it, and then spirited them with zeal to execute judgment on those who did not repent of it; and afterwards, when, at Moses's intreaty, he forgave this sin, he filled them with a zeal for the establishing his worship equal to that which had been expressed before in profaning his name; so that, as they then parted with their golden earrings, to make the idol which they worshipped, Exod. xxxii. 2, 3. now they make a very large contribution for the building of the tabernacle, chap. xxxv. 21-29. and xxxvi. 5, 6. And when, by their abominable idolatry, they had provoked God to give them into the hands of those that carried them captive into Babylon: This was so far over-ruled by his providence, as that they were never guilty of idolatry afterwards, whatever temptations they had to it therein; so that when they were returned from captivity, how much soever they were chargeable with want of zeal for the building the temple, and setting up public worship in it, Hag. i. 9. or, for many other crimes, in that the priests sought their secular interest rather than the glory of God, in performing several branches of their office in a profane manner, and thereby rendering the public worship contemptible, and offering the refuse of the flock in sacrifice to God, for which they were reproved by him,
Mal. i. 10. & seq. yet we never find them reproved for idolatry after their captivity. This some think to be the meaning of that vision which the prophet Zechariah had of the woman who was called wickedness, sitting in the midst of Ephah; and this being born by two women that had wings like the wings of a stork into the land of Shinar, viz. Chaldea, to build an house for it, Zech. v. 7,-11. so that it might there be established, and set upon her own base, intimating that the idolatry of the Heathen should not spread itself among the Israelites as it had done, but be confined to those parts of the world which had set it up before; and therefore this is considered as what was the proper seat thereof, and not the church. And this seems also to be foretold by the prophet Hosea, when he says, that the children of Israel, after they had been many days without a king, without a priest, and without a sacrifice; adds, that they should be without an image, Hos. iii. 4. The former was an affliction, and denotes, that they should have their civil and religious state broken and discontinued; the latter seems to intimate, that providence would so far over-rule this, that they should be disinclined and averse to idolatry, as they are at this day, though, in other respects, altogether alienated from God.
And all the persecutions which the church has met with from its enemies, with a design to bring about its ruin and de-. struction, have been over-ruled for the furtherance of the gospel. Thus when Saul, before his conversion, made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women, committed them to prison; so that a great persecution was raised against it by his instigation; and the people of God could not meet safely at Jerusalem, but were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, Acts viii. 1,—5. this was ordered, by the providence of God, for the greater spread of the gospel, so that the Samaritans received the word of God. And in following ages, we may observe, that whatever attempts have been made against the interest of Christ in the world, they have, contrary to the design of his enemies, been made subservient to the promoting its greater advancement, as some have observed, that the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church; and herein the Psalmist's prediction has been fulfilled, Surely the wrath of man shall praise. thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain, Psal. Ixxvi. 10. and oftentimes, when the gospel has, like the sea, lost ground in one part of the world, it has gained it in another.
Moreover, we may observe, that God glorifies his holiness by over-ruling the falls and miscarriages of particular believers, as hereby they are made more humble, watchful, and circumspect for the future; and, when restored from their backslidings, put upon admiring his grace, and excited to thankfulness,
which the nature of the thing requires. They also take occasion from hence, to warn others, lest they be entangled in the same snare, out of which they have escaped; or, if fallen, to recommend to them those methods of divine grace where they have been recovered. This improvement the Psalmist made of the dealings of God with him, when he speaks of his being brought out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay; his feet set upon a rock, and his goings established; he adds, many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord, Psal. xl. 2, 3. And when God's people have been greatly dejected under the troubles they have met with; he has over-ruled this for the restoring comforts to them, and then enabling them to comfort others, in like afflictions, which, as the apostle expresses it, redounds to their consolation and salvation, 2 Cor. i. 6. Thus concerning the first petition of the Lord's prayer, as it is explained in the answer before us.
We shall now consider how it may be reduced into practice, that we may be directed in our addressing ourselves to God in those things that concern the glory of his name. Accord
ingly, it is as though we should say, "We adore thee, O our "God, that thou hast been pleased to make such discoveries "of thyself to thy people, as thou hast done in all ages; and "in particular, we give thanks at the remembrance of thine "holiness: Thou mightest, indeed, have glorified thy name in "the everlasting destruction of the whole race of fallen man ; "but thou hast sanctified thy name, and advanced thy perfec❝tions in bringing about the work of our redemption by a "Mediator, in which justice and mercy are met together, "righteousness and peace have embraced each other; and "thou hast hereby a greater revenue of glory redounding to "thy name, than by all thine other works, or than could have "been brought to thee by the united services of the most ex"cellent creatures. We also bless thee that thou hast been "pleased to make those bright discoveries of thyself in thy "word, which thou hast magnified above all thy name; that "thou hast given us thy gospel, and all the ordinances and "means of grace, that hereby thou mayest gather to thyself a "people out of the world, who might be holy in all conversa"tion, as thou who hast called them art holy. We confess, "that we have not sanctified thy name as we ought, nor at"tended on thine ordinances with that reverence and holy fear "that is due to thy divine Majesty, for which thou hast testi"fied thy displeasure against us, in withdrawing thy presence "from thine own institutions. We acknowledge that herein "thou art righteous, and hast punished us less than our ini"quities have deserved; for thou mightest have removed thy "candlestick out of its place, or taken thine ordinances from
"us, as thou hast done from many, who once worshipped thee, "as we do at this day, but are now wholly estranged from thee. "Revive thy work, O Lord, we beseech thee, and hereby sanc"tify thy great name: Let thy word have free course, and be glorified: Set up thy standard against every thing that op66 poses thine interest in. the world; send forth thy light and "thy truth, whereby the ignorant may be instructed in the "way of salvation by Christ. Give a check to that atheism, profaneness, and irreligion that abounds among a professing people; and let all the dispensations of thy providence have 66 a tendency to bring about the work of reformation, that there"by thou mayest be glorified, and thy people enabled, more " and more, to sanctify thee in every thing, whereby thou ma"kest thyself known."
QUEST. CXCI. What do we pray for in the second petition? ANSW. In the second petition, [which is, Thy kingdom come,] acknowledging ourselves, and all mankind to be, by nature, under the dominion of sin and Satan; we pray that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fulness of the Gentiles brought in, the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate, that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted; that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him for ever; and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
N there are,
In this petition gs supposed, relating to the sovereignty and
dominion of God over men, and the position that it meets with, which, how great soever it be, shall not hinder its advancement in the world.
II. There are several things which we are directed to pray for, relating thereunto.
I. As to those things that are supposed, we may consider, 1. That God is a great and glorious King. This is the necessary result of his being the Creator of all things; from whence arises an universal propriety in them, and a right to dispose of them at his pleasure, in the methods of his provi