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gelic tribe in this carual sense, as we might in the spiritual, and likewise in some other clauses of the Lord's Prayer. And then we must take our scope accordingly, not thinking of more than daily bread; though some might feel inclined to scowl at so modest and humble a petition. For what is it to ask-"This day our daily bread!" one day's provision only; and that of the humblest food: why it is but one degree beyond asking for a morsel: it is worthier of the curse of Eli's family, (Sam. I. ii. 36,) than to be a blessing for the Lord's.
So some may think: but a better understanding of the clause would be likely to induce a different opinion of it. For leaving the propriety or impropriety of including subjects of an higher order, like angels, as suppliants with others of our humble degree in a common petition to the throne of grace, and thinking only of its matter or scope, there would not seem any thing unworthy of an angel's wish in most of the objects or blessings that we are taught and encouraged to seek in the Lord's Prayer, or that might not be as desirable, and perhaps in some sense indispensable, for the glorious angels as for our poor, frail selves: of which the seemingly insignificant petition, "Give us this day our daily bread," may be cited as an instance; seeing that "daily bread" would seem as necessary for angels as for men in one sense, namely, in the spiritual sense before mentioned.
And with regard to the carnal or temporal sense, in which the letter is chiefly understood in this instance; while we are estimating a sufficiency for human wants, we should remember both the religious profession and civil condition of those for whose use the Lord's Prayer, as well as his other institutions were avowedly framed,— the profession purely spiritual, without any expensive "pomps and vanities," which will include expensive dishes; the condition also purely evangelical, or belonging to the gospel, the Prayer of the Lord being dictated to the same class chiefly to which his Gospel was chiefly
preached; as he says, "The poor have the Gospel preached to them, (a thing unheard of before his time.) And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matt. xi. 5, 6.) We confess ourselves to be, what our fathers confessed themselves before, "as strangers and pilgrims on the earth;" (Heb. xi. 13;) nay, as more insulated than pilgrims, because they have some latitude, but we are here as "prisoners of the earth," as natives of infinite space cramped and confined in an earthly mould, and may therefore be glad with daily bread; as the pilgrim's fare, or prisoner's allowance-as the allowance of daily bread which a prisoner will seldom reject.
Comparatively speaking, too, "Give us this day our daily bread," would seem no mean request for the time and place in which it was first brought forward, the people at Jerusalem and round about of the middling and lower classes not being then accustomed to enjoy a single repast with good wholesome bread and vegetables dailyto judge from our Saviour's parable of the rich man who fared sumptuously every day; (Luke xvi. 19;) as the same classes, or the middling at least, do now in some luxurious cities of Christendom, to say nothing of two or three: though, on the other hand, these people had luxuries that we are not alive to; as for example, that of washing the feet on entering an house for company or refreshment. A repast of ordinary bread, with a little water for the feet, was quite a treat in our Saviour's days, as well as in the days of Abraham; and generally also as much as was desired in the way of provision,-though the fatted calf might be made to succumb for a returning prodigal (Ib. xv. 23) at one period, as well as for the entertainment of an angelic mission in the other. (Gen. xviii. 7.)
In the first days of the church, what by the help of a few honourables, as they are called, (Acts xvii. 12,) and what by the sacred and more significant, because more constant and numerous contributions of the SECOND POOR, the community was kept upon its legs, and the
poorest who would not otherwise have been supplied perhaps with the pittance of one day's bread in two were happy enough to get their "daily bread." The apostles themselves also, or some of them, being able-bodied men, were honoured by a share or concurrence in this, as well as in their spiritual ministration. And I say the temporal or pecuniary contribution of such working apostles may still deserve to be called honourable, if their example be no longer in vogue. For who, when he considers fairly, can help honouring and admiring the part of such an apostle as St. Paul, both ministering in the Gospel, with his voice so effectually as he did far and near, and with his hands at the same time in the employment of a tent-maker, for the sake of the community, after earning enough for his own frugal subsistence? Hear how he alludes to this part in his pathetic farewell to the church at Miletus: and, I dare say, without exaggeration; "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace; which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE, THAN TO RECEIVE, and when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all (as well they might) for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more." (Ib. xx. 32, &c.)
During the hours of labour, the apostles, as well as others of the church who could find labour, and had strength to perform it, were scattered abroad to their daily occupations for what they could get towards a present maintenance. And if any of them happened to fail in
that object, they were likely to find a compensation and reward at their dinner, or rather, supper-time in each other's society, and that of the apostles with Another also in the midst, whom they would not fail to remember if it was only with a short grace.
It would happen sometimes indeed that converts went into the wrong house for Christian doctrine and fellowship: as, where either an unchristian apostle presided, or where unchristian practices were tolerated and encouraged, to the great disgust of true believers, and to the great scandal of the Christian profession. Sometimes the most unchristian characters would be thrusting themselves into the society even of the true apostles, and revel shamefully at the eucharistic board. For who could repress entirely the contagion of that foul example which had been sown all over the world again by Ham and others, and was never more rife, as we learn from both heathen and Christian authorities than about the Christian era, "the fulness of the time"-as it is called; when grace and truth were incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, and began to be disseminated from him by such faithful witnesses as the apostles before mentioned, and others of the same spirit, and the prediction of the Psalmist was verified in some measure, "For his salvation is nigh them that fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall flourish out of the earth and righteousness hath looked down from Heaven." (Ps. lxxxv. 9--11.) Yet the same evil principle of corruption which survived the deluge was still left near the people of Christ after their resuscitation, as the dregs of Canaan were left among the Israelites after their settlement; (Judges i. 27, &c;) and will needs be working his course continually, as St. Paul foretold: "only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." (Thess. II. ii. 7.)
The apostles of our Lord, and many who succeeded
them, have done every thing in their power to withstand the torrent: they have warned believers of the dangerous shoals in their way,-that they should not believe every spirit: but "try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world:" (John I. iv. 1:) they have scolded those whose habits were a scandal to their profession; asking them, if they had not houses of their own, to eat and drink in, that they should be every one grasping and taking before other at the eucharist; " and one is hungry, and another is drunken!" (Cor. I. xi. 21:) with deeper allusions to the awful state of society, as it was at that time. And let us hope that the sincere endeavours of these men have partly succeeded, as the world still exists, which perhaps it otherwise would not; and that the Psalmist's denunciation, "Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal," (Ps. lxix. 23,) might not apply so extensively in our advanced age as in that of the apostles, when people were but just emerging from the lowest state of depravity.
But there being these two sorts of aliment, the temporal and spiritual, and people being so greedy of the former, that they seem to think they can never have enough, and will not be satisfied with their share of it until they can say in themselves with the rich man in the parable, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years," (Luke xii. 19,) if they should be then,-it seems much, that they seldom require more than a day's allowance of GRACE beforehand which is our spiritual food, or bread from heaven, nor often so much as that. Considering what may be the ground or cause of this undue preference, it will appear perhaps, that the soul is not often hungry; as the dead neither hunger nor thirst; and consequently souls in that case have no need of provision: and hence in a quarter where, according to Christian modes, it would be both prudent and allowable to amass what we can, our fortune or wealth is entirely neglected.