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before us, I would wish you to recall tempted of God : for God cannot be what was advanced on the last occa- tempted with evil, neither tempteth he sion, and especially that part which any man.” But God assuredly does relates to the nature of temptation. lead into temptation : the minutest We then showed the importance of events of Providence are under his dis, keeping the idea of temptation quite rection and control : there is no such distinct from the idea of sin. We thing as chance, or accident; but all perhaps have been in the habit of in- the events that occur are under his separably connecting the two, on ac- guidance, and it is upon their accounts count of the proneness which there is that occasions to sin occasionally arise. in the fallen creature to sin : so that But when led into temptation, it is the probably-I think I might say cer- desire within us that tempts and so, tainly-temptation is never presented licits to sin. to our minds without simultaneously Here, then, we are prepared to enter generating sin. But it was shown into the force of the clause before us, by a reference to the case of our first and its striking connection with the parents, and also to the case of our preceding one" Lead us not into Lord himself, that this is not owing to temptation :"—that is, so order the the constitution of our nature, but events of thy Providence, so regulate owing only to the fallen condition into the whole course of our lives, so guide which we have come ; by which all us in every circumstance which occurs those desires and affections which to us, as to preserve the desires and were originally good, and the indul- affections which are within us from gence of which within prescribed external solicitations to sin. And bounds was innocent, have become more than this we would ask : for, inordinate. So that, the desire itself / since we are fallen creatures, shapen is not sin; but the desire unlawfully in iniquity, and conceived in sin, every indulged is sin. This was illustrated desire of our hearts has now become by a reference to that striking passage inordinate, and naturally craving for in the first chapter of the epistle of unlawful indulgencies : therefore we James :-“Every man is tempted pray, “Deliver us from evil.” The when he is drawn away of his own former petition implies weakness ; this lust"--or rather, “ desire"-this word implies sinfulness. The former petihaving an indefinite meaning, not tion may be the prayer of an innocent necessarily implying an evil desire. being, conscious of his liability to fall : “ And when lust" - or desire" has this must be the prayer of a sinful conceived”-that is, when the longing being, conscious that he has already for any object transgresses the pre- fallen. The former might be the scribed bounds then, and not till prayer of angels, or of Adam and Eve then,“ desire bringeth forth sin; and in Paradise, knowing that they derived sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth all their goodness from God, and all death.”
their strength from his sustaining hand. On this we founded an important It may still be the prayer of angels, distinction, tending to reconcile the witnessing the power of temptation in apparent contradiction between the drawing aside their own companions clause preceding the text, and that who kept not their first estate, and in passage which says, “ God does not bringing death and misery on man tempt any man :" for the power that though formed in the image of God any trial has to produce sin, does not himself. The latter must be the prayer proceed from any thing in God; it is of one with whom temptation has not any direct solicitation on his part already succeeded. This, then, is the to lead us into sin; but arises from connection between the two: here lies desires implanted in us, originally the force of this particle “but.” “Lead good, which render us susceptible of us not into temptation, but”-do the trial or temptation when presented to very opposite of this; for, alas, we are us. Hence there is a broad distinction already involved in the consequences of between tempting and leading into temptation " deliver us from evil.” temptation : the former must never be | Let us now, then, endeavour to attributed to the blessed God. “Let enter into the meaning of the Prayer no man say, when he is tempted, I am | itself.
First, it implies WE ARE LIVING IN him. The minutest insect that floats A WORLD IN WHICH IS THE PRESENCE in the air shows, according to its meaOF EVIL. Let us clearly ascertain what sure, that God is life: it lives by him. we mean by this term evil. It is not Death, then, is a form of evil. Wherea creature, but it is a state or condition ever we see death, though it be only in of the creature. This is an important the most insignificant insect, though it distinction. Persons puzzle themselves bebut in the worm upon which we tread, by enquiring who is the author of evil. weso far see a contradiction of what God Strictly speaking, it has no author : has revealed of himself. Again—God for it is not a distinct and separate is the fountain of happiness : wherever existence of itself; but it is a state into we see the existence of any enjoyment, which the creature has come by a neces- although it be but in the prattling of sary imperfection. For whatever is an infant, or the gamboling of a lamb, liable to change from that which God there we see something that speaks of made it, is, in that sense, imperfect; God; it is a stream that tells the nature because any change from that state in of the fountain from which it flows. which God has created any thing, must All misery, all suffering is a contradicbe evil; and, if the creature had not tion of this: it says, so far as it can, had this imperfection, it would have God is not blessed; and hence, all sufbeen in itself unchangeable. But un-fering is evil. Again—God is light, changeableness is the attribute of God the fountain of holiness : wherever we alone; for to suppose any thing un- see any thing true, honourable, just, changeable, except by derivation from pure, lovely, or of good report—there him, is to suppose it, of course, inde- we see an emanation from God. The pendent of him ; that is to confound work of angels speaks but this lanbetween creature and Creator, and to guage, that God is holy: it proclaims suppose that God had created himself. that there is a God, and that God is Now, God being the only good, and light. Sin is a contradiction of this ; comprehending within himself whatever it says, as far as it is able, God is not is good, it is manifest, that whatever he holy. In a word, all creation, all recreated, and wrought, and formed, demption, all the varied works of God, must have exhibited some of his per- seem but to proclaim that God is a fections. All his works speak of him :- God of love, and light, and joy: and “ The heavens declare the glory of from the creature, left to itself, there God; and the firmament showeth his seems to be but one voice of perpetual, handy work. Day unto day uttereth eternal contradiction. It speaks of speech, and night unto night showeth misery, darkness, and rebellion ; which knowledge. There is no speech nor is a step to the fearful conclusion that language where their voice is not there is no God. Hence, the use of heard.” Nay, all that is in existence, this prayer implies a humbling con. from the highest angel to the minutest sciousness of the presence of evil, that atom, must, as it came forth from God, evil arising from the creature as a conmake something of him known-must tradiction to the Creator. It bespeaks exhibit something of his character— the wreck of that beautiful vessel must manifest some of his attributes. launched forth on the day of creation Any change which should pass upon with such high promise, with a freight these works, except indeed in their so rich, and a gale so prosperous, and higher advancement according to the all bidding fair for a successful voyage : purpose and intention of God, which and now, where can we look around properly is only progress-must, of us without seeing the wrecks and fragcourse, tend to make them less perfect. ments on the surface of the waves ? Any change would be so far a defile- Where can we look around us without ment of his image: it would so far shame and affliction? Who can look injure the reflecting power of these into his own heart without trembling things to manifest God. Hence we for himself, and without abhoring himmay get a correct definition of evil : 1 self as a contradiction to the very end it is whatever contradicts the revealed for which God made him. Who can character and attributes of God. For look on the face of the world, or on instance-God is the fountain of life; the face of the church, without feeling whatever lives, lives by derivation from the need of this petition? What good
creature of God is there which we have his to make present to the senses the not abused, if we do not daily abuse ? object which strikes them and leads How prone to idolize his gift, to rest them to sin. It is his to interpose in in them, instead of making them chan- the hour of reflection, and to lead the nels to lead us up to him! How is mind, even against our better knowevery thing around us, and within us, ledge, into unholy and polluted chanmade a provocation to sin !
nels. It is his to weaken, or to overFurther, the petition implies that charge, the memory-to fill the heart THOSE WHO USE IT ARE ALSO UNDER with evil purposes—to suggest, and, by Å SENSE OF BEING IN BONDAGE TO frequency of suggestion, to render toEVIL—“ Deliver us from evil.” The lerable, the evil that should be hated to word is exceedingly emphatical in the mix circumstances together, which by original. It implies a rescue from themselves are, perhaps, harmless, but some dreadful bondage. Some have which, under such combination, geneconsidered that “ evil here should be rate evil. So, also, is he the God of rendered “the evil one;" and that it this world, possessing a mysterious means, emphatically, “ Satan.” This power over the operations of nature is, certainly, the most literal trans- and the actions of evil men. Thus it lation; it is the common appellativecomes to pass, that, as children of of sin—the evil one, or the wicked Adam, evil reigns over us, and has one. Thre are not wanting, however, brought us into bondage : under one instances of the same term being used form or other, it reigns uncontrolled indefinitely : as, for instance, in the over the natural man. fifth chapter of Matthew—“I say unto Now, as soon as a man becomes you, That he resist not evil.” It is spiritual, as soon as he is born of God, the very same form of expression : and he feels this to be a bondage: it is a that, certainly, cannot mean Satan clog and a hindrance to all the actings personally. I should rather, therefore, and aspirations of the new man. St. prefer adopting the more general sense Paul felt this, when he so earnestly of this term, considering it applying and pathetically exclaimed, “I know to all evil; though Satan, the prince that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth of evil, may be specially intended. It no good thing : for to will is present seems, indeed, impossible strictly to with me; but how to perform that separate between evil and the mighty which is good I find not. For the agent of evil. We are accustomed to good that I would, I do not; but the class the forms of bondage, under evil which I would not, that I do. which the natural man is held, under Now, if I do that I would not, it is no three heads--the world, the flesh, and more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth the devil. Yet, if we consider this in me. I find then a law, that, when point more clearly, evil, as it respects I would do good, evil is present with its operation on us, is rather a com- me. For I delight in the law of God bination of these three forms. Satan after the inward man: but I see tempts to sin-the world is his instru- another law in my members, warring ment by which he tempts—the flesh is against the law of my mind, and the platform on which he works. We bringing me into captivity to the law know not but that, possibly, without of sin which is in my members. O Satan to instigate, the world might be wretched man that I am! who shall harmless, the flesh might be without deliver me from the body of this power. Certain it is, that we are told death?” Here are, manifestly, the these three enemies shall cease to be actings of two men—the carnal man, at once. It is, you will observe, at and the spiritual man. Here is the the binding of Satan, and casting him cry of the latter to be delivered from into the bottomless pit, that there is a the clog and hindrance of the former. resurrection of the flesh: that enemy“ Deliver us from evil.” The bondceases at the same moment that the age is still felt, though it is not, curse is removed from the earth. and cannot be submitted to. Born However this may be, it is certain again of God, dead with Christ, that Satan has obtained extensive, and risen with Christ, “ sin no mysterious, though limited power, longer reigns in our mortal bodies, over the world and the flesh. It is that we should fulfil it in the lusts thereof." To reign is to exercise su- | in us to will and to do, even to the premacy—to dictate to the subject in very end : as it is said by Bishop Hopthe relation of governor to the go-kins—" It is not what we have already verned. This is different from an oc- received only, but what we are conticasional or incidental interference : it nually receiving from God, that makes implies a habit of servitude. Now, in us to differ from the vilest and most the believer there is no longer a habit profligate sinners in the world.” Thereof servitude : his whole life is a cruci, fore, he continues, “let not the strong fixion of the flesh with the affections man glory in his strength ; but let him and lusts. But there is still a sense that glorieth glory in the Lord; for he of bondage : there is still, as far as is our strength. And what have we we are members of the first Adam, an that we have not received ?" intolerable weight upon us, a conflict, Further, the petition implies that a mighty struggle within us. It is, NOTHING CAN BE SATISFYING TO THE therefore, by the Holy Ghost dwelling CHRISTIAN BUT THE ENTIRE EXPULin us, continually quelling the rebel SION OF EVIL FROM THE WORLD. flesh, which is ever rising up, and There is no limit in the prayer, “Delicreating unceasing conflict, and war | ver us from evil.” To a mind rightly most deadly-it is this which prompts constituted, the very existence of sin the prayer in the text, “ Deliver us must in itself be misery. Oh, if we from evil.”
felt aright, what a burden would the Further, this petition implies that sin be which we feel within us, and see NOTHING LESS THAN THE OMNIPOTENT around us—to witness the heart of the ARM OF GOD CAN DELIVER US FROM simple one drawn aside into the haunts THIS EVIL. It is the cry of constant of viceand profligacy, and to become the dependance upon his Almighty power; victim of disease and misery-daily to and nothing less can effect this work. hear the name of God blasphemed, and For consider what it is. It is to set a to see the blood of our Saviour trampled man against himself: it is to make him under foot, and accounted an unholy strive against the very bent and incli- | thing. If we felt aright, what burden nation of his soul : it is to induce him should we feel in the existence of sin to lay violent hands, as it were, on his how should we be able to enter into own temper, on his whole course of that language of the apostle, “ We conduct: it is to put life into that know that the whole crcation groaneth which was dead. And what is to stop and travaileth in pain together until the sinner in rushing down the preci- now. And not only they, but ourselves pice ?-what is to awaken him from also, which have the first fruits of the this sleep of death, but the arm of Spirit, even we ourselves groan within God? And, when weakened, what is ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to still to sustain him in the conflict wit, the redemption of our body. For which he has to endure? It is not the we are saved by hope; but hope that most influential system of motives that is seen is not hope; for what a man will do this. We suppose, indeed, the seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" petition before us to be offered by one Brethren, in proportion as the work of who is under such an influence one the Spirit proceeds in our souls-in prowho has obtained free forgiveness portion as we feel the prison of the through the work of Christ-one who flesh, and the misery, and the sin, and has offered in faith this prayer, “ For the wickedness of the world-in that give us our trespasses, as we forgive measure we shall be able to join in this them that trespass against us.” But language of the apostle. Then the we have still need to look for the grace kingdom of Christ will not be a specuof God to use these motives as his in- lation with any of you. We shall not struments; otherwise, powerful as they be thought to advance fables in disseem, they are altogether inefficacious coursing of the coming glory of the to this work. It is only by the Holy Lord, and the blessedness it is to bring Ghost dwelling in us, that the natural in; but it shall be the great object of man can be brought into subjection to our desires, a very instinct of the rethe spiritual man. Every thing else newed man. is too weak to cope with the bent of Oh, that men would be brought to the evil heart. It is God that worketh the conviction that sin is in itself, ex
clusive of its consequences, the worst | cession. This will stimulate your of misery—that they could be brought souls, this will clothe your energies to sympathize with him who wept with power. It is your Saviour's will over the sins of men—that they could that you should be delivered from evil: be brought to feel for the foul blot this is the will of God, even your sancwhich it stamps on the creation of God tification. It is the prayer, too, re
- that they could be brought to sym- member, of Him who vanquished Satan pathize with him who could say, “I your oppressor. It is the prayer of beheld the transgressors, and was Him who has said, “In the world ye grieved, because they kept not thy shall have tribulation ; but be of good law.” “ Rivers of water run down my cheer, I have overcome the world.” It eyes, because men keep not thy is the prayer of Him of whom it was law." Then should we enter into the said, “ he came into the world that he force of this petition. Then the coming might destroy sin in the flesh." It is of our Lord, the rising of the Sun of the prayer, then, of Him who is the Righteousness, would be no specula- vanquisher of the devil, the world, and tive, no uninteresting topic of dis- | the flesh. course; but it would be the object of Learn, therefore, to look upon vic. intense desire. Then would the fleshtory as certain : learn to look upon and the heart be crying out for the your deliverance as sure. Yet, reliving God-O Lord, holy and true, member, it is a victory to be won only how long dost thou not deliver me by dependance upon another : it is a from this body of sin and death ? How deliverance to be wrought only by long dost thou not destroy these the power of another. Feel your own powers by which the world is held in weakness; feel the power of God in captivity, by which beloved friends Christ Jesus; and you shall be made around me are held in the gall of bit more than conquerors through him terness, and in the bond of iniquity ? that hath loved you. Hold on in your How long dost thou not make mani- course, remembering his words, " To fest the captivity of all captivities, the him that overcometh I will give to sit spoliation of principalities and powers down on my throne, even as I also which hold sway over this dark and overcame, and am set down with my ruined world; and enable us to adopt, Father in his throne.” Soon shall as accomplished, that theme of pro- you be able to say with the triumphetic song, “O thou enemy, destruc-phant apostle" I have fought a good tions are come to a perpetual end." | fight, I have finished my course, I “ The last enemy that is destroyed is have kept the faith : henceforth there death :” and “ death is swallowed up is laid up for me a crown of righteousin victory. O death, where is thy ness, which the Lord, the righteous sting? O grave, where is thy victory? judge, shall give me at that day : and The sting of death is sin; and the not to me only, but unto all them also strength of sin is the law. But thanks that love his appearing.” Let not be to God, which giveth us the victory your hearts be bowed down with the through our Lord Jesus Christ.” prevalence of evil within you, and the
Finally, let this petition be present- prevalence of evil around you. Reed in fervent and stedfast faith of an member that the same trials have been answer. Expect the deliverance it accomplished in your brethren. For implores-believe in the Omnipotence your comfort, call to mind that, to the of God-remember it is among the question in the apocalyptic vision, petitions in the Lord's intercessory “ Who are these that are arrayed in prayer :-“ I pray not that thou white robes, and whence come they?" shouldst take them out of the world, the answer is—and let it animate you but that thou shouldst keep them from in all your trials—" These are they the evil" - the very expression of the who came out of great tribulation, and text. Let this prayer, then, the most have washed their robes, and made difficult, perhaps, of all in this short them white in the blood of the Lamb. compendium of our Lord- the most Therefore are they before the throne difficult to offer with intelligence and of God, and serve him day and night with earnestness-let it be offered in in his temple; and he that sitteth on remembrance of the Saviour's inter- the throne shall dwell among them.