Page images

Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."* And considering our manifold trespasses of his parental laws, and the oft-repeated violation of our covenant with Him, ought we not to fall down in the dust at his feet? If angels bow at his throne, and devils tremble at his presence-shall sinful worms refuse to bend their knee before Him? With what propriety can we call him "Father," if we revere not his authority, and submit to his commands?

And, finally, let us all be encouraged to seek his face. What may we not hope to receive from such a Friend! So powerful and so bountiful-whose mercy is equal to his majesty-may we not expect every supply? Surely from such a Father, whose "loving-kindness is better than life"-who looketh down from heaven with infinite benignity on the children of his love-who "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all—shall he not with him freely give us all things" that are really expedient, both for "the life which now is, and that which is to come?" Are you prodigals? Come, return, -He will open his door and his heart to meet you. Are you in affliction? Come, "cast your burden on the Lord, he will sustain thee." Are you persecutedoppressed-and in want? Come, "enter thy chamber and shut thy door, until the indignation be overpast.” Are you drawing near the margin of the river that rolls between the wilderness and the land of promise? Come, plead his own word, "I will never leave thee or forsake thee." "When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee." Can you desire more? "All are your's, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Amen and Amen.

* 1 Pet. i. 17.


MATTHEW vi. 9.


THIS is the first of the three petitions included in this manual of prayer, which have respect to the manifestation of the divine glory: the other three regard our necessities as creatures, and our guilt as sinners. And does not this arrangement of our requests, teach us that we ought to prefer the praise and honour of God to our own comfortthe enlargement of his kingdom to the advancement of all secular interests? Does it not show us, what should be our supreme desire and daily solicitude? Can there be a nobler object than this? It is what He proposes to himself in all his plans and operations-it is the very end of our creation, preservation, and redemption; and what we are commanded to pursue in all our ways. When we have learned "to do all to the glory of God," then shall we pray with the true fervour of devotion, " Hallowed be thy Name."

The petition which we have now to consider, substantially includes the two that follow. It is the universal reverence and adoration of the Divine Being: the reign of Christ is the mean of affecting it; and obedience to the

will of God on earth, like that of the angels in heaven, will be its delightful consummation. In the consideration, therefore, of this important subject, I purpose to observe the following method :—






By this term we are doubtless to understand Jehovah himself. "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend thee."* Also, name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."+ This mode of speech was perfectly intelligible to the Jews, because the Divine Being was pleased to describe himself to his ancient people, by some significant appellation suited to the occasion on which it was delivered. Thus, when the faith of the patriarch was beginning to stagger,-and where are the knees that were never feeble, and the hands that never drooped?-the Lord appeared to him, and said, "I am the Almighty God," or God all-sufficient. When He commanded Moses to return to Egypt, and deliver his brethren from the house of bondage, He directed him to say, if the Egyptians should demand his authority, "I AM hath sent me unto you."§ He likewise revealed himself by the name JEHOVAH, which is of much the same signification with the former,

. Ps. xx. 1. + Prov. xviii. 10.

Gen. xvii. 1.

Exod. iii. 14.

and means THE ETERNAL. Thus it is paraphrased in the New Testament, and assumed by Christ: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come."* It is, however, highly probable, that the name of God here, has respect to the benignant appellation the Saviour bids us employ, when we call upon him: and that we are, therefore, to pray, that He may be universally known and beloved as the Almighty and gracious Parent of the family of man.

But the term is general, and embraces all the divine attributes and perfections; all the gracious dispensations of wisdom and mercy; and all the wondrous and beneficent labours of his hands. When, indeed, we speak of Him— of his nature and properties, we are compelled to have recourse to the relation in which He stands to ourselves, in order to affix any intelligible meaning to our words. Had the inspired Scriptures exhibited Him to our view in an abstract character-in a light different from any moral or sensible feeling with which we are acquainted, we could not have understood them: but when He appears invested with titles, and described by names, which have a reference to all the spiritual and physical necessities of man, we have a distinct image before us of his greatness and grace. Hence the volume of Revelation declares his wisdom: "His understanding is infinite." "He is the only wise God." His power: "He is mighty in strength: excellent in working. The Lord God omnipotent; none can stay his hand, or frustrate his will." His holiness: His holiness: "Be ye holy, for I, the Lord your God am

holy."-" Holy, holy,

holy, is the Lord God Almighty." His omnipresence :



Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord?" immutability: "I am the Lord, I change not, therefore

* Rev i. 8.

the sons of Jacob are not consumed." His omniscience: "There is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether." His faithfulness: God is not a


man, that he should lie; or the son of man, that he should repent. Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” And, to add no more,-His goodness also. This, in an eminent degree, is his "name:" "And the Lord descended in a cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”* From this exhibition of his moral nature, we may exclaim in the devout apostrophe of David; "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth."

manifestations of this "The heavens declare

[ocr errors]

Some sublime and impressive Divine Being are seen in nature. the glory of God, and the firmament showeth forth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard."+ For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." But it is in the gospel that we have the most distinct representations of his benignity, justice, and love. " No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."§ I have manifested thy "name" unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world. "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee; and have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it." By the "name" of

Exod. xxxiv. 5, 6. § John i. 18.

+ Psalm xix. 1--3.

Ibid. xvii. 22, 26.

Rom. i. 20.

« PreviousContinue »