« PreviousContinue »
St. MATTHEW vi. 10, 11. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in
Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
On Sunday last I began to explain the Lord's prayer to you. I told you what was meant by the words, Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name ; thy kingdom come. I hope that you gave all your attention to what I told you, and I hope that you have thought much of it since, for you should think much and often of what you hear at Church, not only when you are at leisure, but even when you are engaged in your daily work.I now go on in explaining the Lord's prayer to you, and I pray God to give you
his Holy Spirit, that you may attend to these things spoken to you, and may shew forth the good fruits of them in your lives and behaviour.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. You cannot look around you, my friends, without seeing how few do the will of God on earth. They do it not, who are guilty of any bad thing whatever, who swear, who lie, who steal, who slander and abuse each other, who are idle, who commit adultery, and a thousand other bad things. The will of God is what he wishes his creatures to do, his laws, his pleasure. We learn, in the first place, what the will of God is, from our consciences, from that which God has written in our hearts. Have you never felt, my friends, what conscience is? When you have done any thing wrong, have you not felt within you something telling you that you have done wrong, and that you deserve punishment for it? In the darkness of the
night, when you have been lying awake in your beds, have you not felt within you something giving you pain and uneasiness, upbraiding you for your conduct, and speaking of dreadful woes waiting for you beyond the grave. That thing, my friends, was your conscience: that guide, that master, that adviser, that judge within us, which God has placed there to be a scourge and a whip to bad men, a crown of rejoicing to good men. God has also shewn us his will in the Bible: and happy, truly happy are we, if we learn from the Bible what that will is and obey it. He bath shewed thee, O man, says the Bible, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has told us about this will of God, more than was known before his coming, and if we would only learn of Jesus Christ, we should find peace and rest unto our souls. You, who come to Church, will by degrees learn
what this will is, and I hope, you will pray to God to give you grace and strength to do it. And great will be your blessings and advantages, if you do it. For he that doeth the will of God, saith the Bible, abideth for ever: he will be admitted into Heaven, and live happily for ever.
The will of God is to be suffered by us, as well as to be done, that is, whatever God pleases to do with us in this world, we are to submit to without a murmur, without saying to him, why doest thou so? If God chooses to send sickness on you, you are to bear it patiently: if he takes from you your children, and other near relations, you are to submit to his good pleasure, with patience and quietness : if he sends storms of wind and rain upon you, depriving you of your homes and of your goods, you are not to murmur or repine: you are to take every thing from his hands, as all good Christians do, with a complete resignation and obedience to him: you are to say as a good
man once said, The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord'; You are to say, as another good man did, when he lost two of his sons, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth to him good: you are to say as the blessed Jesus did, when he was suffering under great agony, not my will, but thinë be done. We ought to copy our Saviour's way of acting on all occasions : we ought to try to behave as he behaved. He said, my meat and my drink is to do the will of my Father in Heaven: The cup of sorrow of which my Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink? Shall I, like a stubborn child, put it away from me? No! thy will, O God, be done.
Thy will is to be done by us on earth, as it is by the angels in Heaven. The Scriptures, or Bible, have not told us much concerning the angels, but what they have told us, is enough to make us think of them as much higher beings than