Sidor som bilder

in the Lord's Prayer occupied with the first species, and the remainder with the love not only of our neighbour, but also of ourselves. And, supposing the love of man to be thus divided, namely, into two parts, the love of our neighbour and ourselves, the last mentioned part should not be the least of the two.


Comparing the particular contents of the Decalogue and the Lord's Prayer distinctly; we do not find, as we should not expect, any repetition of the former in the latter but we find a general sanction of the Decalogue in the second clause of the passage of my text, "Thy will be done." And although we have more particular sanctions of the law by our Saviour, (Matt. v. 17-19,) and more copious injunctions to obedience, (Ib. vii. 12,) and a formal declaration, that, whether obeyed or not, the law shall stand for ever, (Ib. v. 18; Luke xvi. 17,) yet among all his sanctions, injunctions and declarations, we have nothing more express than the principle or spirit of this single assent or petition, "Thy will be done:" and of course none can be more pregnant and comprehensive. Add to which it has the weight or influence of the highest precedent to recommend it; the same modes being practised in heaven, as far as they will apply, which are by this petition recommended to practice upon earth. For there can be no prohibition in the Decalogue, which consists chiefly in prohibitions, applied to the commerce of heaven but the corresponding duties may and so far only will our Saviour's sanction or precept apply to both spheres, that the will of our heavenly Father may be done in earth as it is in heaven.

But what seems to exalt the Lord's Prayer, which is the gospel in miniature, so high above the law taken as a whole, is its direct authority in coming directly by the Word, and accompanied with grace and truth; whereas the law was only transmitted to mankind, or to Israel first and by them to others-in a medium way; as it is observed by St. John. "For the law was given by Moses: (says

he:) but grace and truth CAME by Jesus Christ." (John i. 17.)

And next to that advantage of the Lord's Prayer is the provision it makes for not only a very probable, but a very certain contingency upon the law; to which provision of “good things to come" the Decalogue has no allusion, and of which in the whole Levitical law there is but the merest shadow; (Heb. x. 1.;) I mean a provision for the case of transgression, which we have here; and not only that, but a still more desirable provision for grace, to keep ourselves out of it; a wise and merciful condition being also annexed to one and understood with both: for example, "Forgive us our trespasses," and "Lead us not into temptation;" as we forgive other men their trespasses against us: and upon the same system of reciprocity it may be supposed,—are also very cautious of leading them into temptation by any


Therefore a man who will be at the pains to compare these two productions, the Decalogue and the Lord's Prayer, while he cannot but own them both equally divine, will yet find in favour of the last mentioned the same distinction which Elisha was ambitious to enjoy in comparison with his illustrious predecessor in the mantle, whether he obtained it or not, that of being qualified with a double portion of his spirit. (Kings II. ii. 9.) I hope I shall be excused for remarking occasionally the correspondence I find between the law and the gospel,-in these two parts; the Lord's Prayer and ten commandments especially: and shall now proceed to enlarge on the two clauses of the former contained in my text; considering as usual, 1, the Doctrine of the part implied therein; 2, the Practice of the same, or the same part in word, and in deed.

§ 1. This part having a double respect,-to the law as its mode and to heaven as its reward, the Doctrine of the same will needs be proposed with this double respect:

also, and more especially, with another; being 1, the Order or State proposed in the first part of either clause, namely, "Thy kingdom"-" Thy will;" 2, the Prevalence or Dominion of the same expressed in the two latter parts, "Come"-" Be done."

2. But, to attain an adequate notion of that sublime Order or State, and of the excellent duties and pleasures which are combined in those higher spheres called heaven, one needs not betake one's self to any of the material suppositions in vogue; to glittering mansions of gold and pearls and rubies, to fair walks with cooling streams and other innocent fancies, much less to the vainglorious images of crowns and triumphs however purchased, or to the voluptuous conceit of a Mahommedan paradise ;--the crudely imagined ecstasies of some more specious enthusiasts that we hear of may also be dispensed with: one needs no other data for a supposition of what may be going on or to be had in heaven, than may be perceived in the true Christian modes of thinking and doing upon earth adapted to the subjects and circumstances of those higher spheres; or however, if the notion of such a state is not to be gained by this analogy, one might as well be content with the best it affords, and so to derive a pattern of what should be on earth from the best that is-improved by sublimation. For no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven." (John iii. 13.) We learn from him, that "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." And hence THE SCALE OF HONOUR FOR ETERNITY. "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. v. 18, 19.)


The commandments of God are the pearls and rubies of his kingdom; the smallest of them is a pearl of great price, and well worth the seeking to any spiritual adven

turer or candidate for the kingdom: his word is our wealth, and the wealth of our betters; as David intimates. "The Lord himself is the portion of mine inheritance," (Ps. xvi. 6,) that is, generally speaking; and these modes or commandments are its particulars, the particulars in which such portion is to be sought, received and enjoyed. "Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee: the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee," (Isai. xxvi. 8,) says the prophet Isaiah; and the Psalmist again, who was also a prophet, "I have had as great delight in the way of thy testimonies, as in all manner of riches.""Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end." (Ps. cxix. 14, 33.) For in the way of his commandments, his judgments, his testimonies, and his statutes lie all the fair walks of Elysium-all its fine pastures-all its refreshing streams-the "waters of comfort" for a converted soul, (Ib. xxiii. 2, 3,)—just food for reflection to an enlightened mind. If one might be happy enough to enjoy such a mind and soul, with a pure constitution of body, and a more heavenly, i. e. higher, provision of objects for all three, i. e. for mind, soul, and body, than ever was or could be enjoyed on earth, one should not expect any higher foundation of happiness in heaven than occurs that way upon earth. For higher objects one might indeed find there; and by consequence, an higher capacity likewise for enjoying the same,—as our Saviour prays, "Father; I will, that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me :" (John xvii. 24:) but an higher foundation is not to be expected even there. And they who are built, edified, or established on this foundation-whose principles are formed by it, may continue to rise hereon for ever in worth and happiness as they advance in the knowledge of God and Christ: "they will go from strength to strength in heaven continually; and there, secure from interruption, make good their progress as they go on by the very same means

which constitute their enjoyment-that their joy may be full;" (Ib. xvi. 22, 24 ;) until they arrive in the presence of THE GREATEST GOOD, "and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion," (Ps. lxxxiv. 7,)—figu ratively meant for his presence. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ," (Cor. I. iii. 11,) says St. Paul. And St. John having remarked, how every one that doeth righteousness is born of the only righteous, being God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (John I. ii. 29,) continues thus, "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall ap pear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (Ib. iii. 1, 2.) In the very same form in which his modes describe him now the Son of God will appear to us, and we to him hereafter-" Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." (Heb. xiii. 8.)

2. It cannot be thought that the kingdom of God, which "cometh not with observation," may be marked afar off; or, that it now is, or ever will be, wholly come any where, no, not in heaven itself, nor in any part or sphere of it,-considering the infinite distance that must interpose between divine perfection and that of the most accomplished creature that ever existed. The heavenly order now proposed for a comparison is always coming and never wholly come to those to whom it comes, who are always progressing towards perfection whether in heaven or in earth. And this coming, which is itself an accident of the kingdom as much as the prayer now under consideration, also more immediate, may be paralleled with several other accidents of the same subject, if they be not all one; as the regeneration, renovation, restoration, redemption of the object to whom, or the advent or return of the medium by whom the said kingdom comes.



« FöregåendeFortsätt »