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neither then, let us hope, will the Lord's Prayer be omitted; and of course it will not in any family of Christians believing its authenticity, which can hardly be doubted. Should it therefore ever strike them to query: 1, how many prayers may be requisite beside this to constitute an acceptable service at that weary period; 2, how far the petition “ Give us this day our daily bread,” may be applicable at an hour when the process of refection is over, and people are going to bed: they will do well to remember, 1, that their Master is not one who recommends many vain repetitions to us in our prayers on any occasion; (Matt. vi. 7 ;) 2, how it is written that man cannot live by bread only, but must depend also on other benefits of the Creator for his momentary existence, as before signified. And even they, or some of them, who have no notion of divine grace, or the heavenly sort of bread which I have been endeavouring to describe, would be ill satisfied with so plain a provision as the term Bread literally denotes : wherefore it may be necessary to understand only in respect to the people the said petition as one for our natural wants and refreshments; and sleep being as much a thing of that sort as eating and drinking, the petition is held to include among other desirable objects that of a good night's rest; that as we sleep the eye of Providence may still be watching over us, its arm extended for our protection, its hand forthcoming again with bread for tomorrow. As we only ask for a day's bread, the wilderness allowance, (Exod. xvi. 4,) at once,- it will be necessary to ask the same daily: and it needs not be more necessary than agreeable. Yea, happy will it be for us, and quite enough, if with all our asking we can only obtain from day to day all that may be needful, which is a day's provision, both for our souls and bodies.
Yet there are men who really do not seem to feel the necessity of praying periodically whether by the day, month or year, for a periodical supply of the bounties of Heaven, if they ever pray at all for them. As for example: they who can rely sufficiently on what they have, on what they are able to dispense with, or on what they think they are able to get. “Lo, these are the ungodly; these prosper in the world, and these have riches in possession.” (Ps. lxxiii. 12.) One of this class, instead of addressing a petition to our Father in Heaven for daily bread, would be more likely to address himself to his own degenerate soul or inclination about building new barns and enjoying what he has, without any thought of the Giver; like the “ certain rich man," before mentioned, Another of the same class, but not quite so far gone in atheism may think it worth while to say Our Father which art in Heaven” sometimes; may condescend to ask one so much above himself for daily bread when he happens to be from home for once: and once upon a time he may be answered, if not verbatim, yet to this effect, You are fed already, and overfed : you have had day by day your daily bread, and more till now: you know not what it is to want. I have other sons to mind as well as you; of whom many that I know have not for some time had their daily bread of either sort from you, nor from any others of the thoughtless class which they have sweated to maintain ; poor, but not unprofitable servants of the state, who but for the interposition of divine Providence might have wanted common necessaries, and fasted till it was too late to eat. Now fast you
your turn, that you may know what it is to fast. Let the hungry be filled with good things for once, and the rich be sent empty away. (Luke i. 53.) “Therefore hear now this, (says He, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me." (Isai. xlvii. 8.)
Another case may be conceived, in which too it would be rather presumptuous to expect our bread from Heaven: that is, when we do not try to earn it for ourselves: and what is worse again, when getting our bread for nothing perhaps we still cannot be satisfied with it. The virtues
of moderation and industry with others of their kind, are implicitly taught or inculcated by this single petition, as well as the higher graces of piety, charity, faith, gratitude and the like before mentioned,—that we should not desire any of us an independent fortune on the one hand, nor be remiss on the other hand in endeavouring to procure the necessaries of life for ourselves, and for others also who may happen to be thrown on our protection either by Nature or by Providence. “For if any provide not for his own, and specially those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (Tim. I. v. 8.) This is a precept of that excellent apostle, St. Paul: with which his example of disinterested service before alluded to * should be compared; as either part would seem defective, or might be pursued too far, without the other.
Without some such understanding or comparison too the apostle's advice in this passage might seem rather at variance with some of our Saviour's precepts; and, among others, with one or two before cited ; as for example, with that of not laying up for ourselves treasures upon earth; and with that of not labouring for the meat which perisheth: but with such understanding a little reflection may serve to dispel this appearance of contradiction between the Master and his legate; as 1, With regard to our Saviour's prohibition against laying up treasure upon earthit may be observed, that the same does not extend to the making of a decent provision for others, if it include ourselves. Lay not up for YOURSELVES,” are our Saviour's words: and at the same time it would appear on the other hand, that such a worldly, sordid, selfish and useless accumulation of wealth as he here proscribes is what St. Paul neither in the passage before cited, nor in any other part of his writings, at all advises, but quite the contrary; as for example in this, “ Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth;” (Col. ifi. 2;) being in substance the same with our Saviour's precept on laying up treasure. While 2, with regard to the other instance, or precept, not to labour for the meat which perisheth, he can only be supposed to mean that such worldly pains are to be postponed and moderated in comparison with and for the sake of those that we ought to bestow on the higher kind of provision with which he contrasts it in the same saying. For our Saviour was often wont to compare these two species of sustenance, the spiritual and corporeal, together in his way, as we have now done, in order to display the superior importance of the first mentioned by contrast.
* In page 317
So in arbitrating between the two sisters, Mary and Martha; who both entertained him as well as they could; one in receiving spiritual, and the other in supplying temporal provision,—he manifested his preference for the former part, shewing by his sentence, that to receive the Word of life from his lips was more gratifying to his spirit than any mark of hospitality that could be afforded him. “ Martha, Martha, (said he, thou art careful and troubled about many things : but one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke x. 41, 42.) There are many good housewives, and I think more in the country rather than in town, who have not so much idea as they should of any sort of provision but that for the belly; and if Martha was not exactly one of that sort, it still appears that for once she happened to be thinking too much of her dietetics. Mary had not been idle any more than she, but making her arrangements before the Lord came, and so gained time to wait on his words at home, (for “the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, yea all such as call upon him faithfully,” Ps. cxlv. 18,) while Martha had been literally GOING FROM HOME, as we say *, to meet him. Martha's views were more temporal, Mary's more spiritual, and
• Inferred from John xi. 20, &c.
neither sort reprehensible ; but one the more commendable, as it appears, where both happened to meet in one subject or person. There is also the same difference continually between the outward and inward means of grace which offer in a Christian land. No one can deny the importance of such a provision as bibles and churches for the Christian community : but give me also “ the ingrafted Word” and “ the right Spirit within me,” if I am to have any thing. Our Saviour himself did not pretend to do without the common necessaries of life, but still signified like the Psalmist of whom he makes such an account, that his favourite meat was of another sort than common, and of a sort that did not come, so much as it should perhaps, within the scope of Martha's sedulous housewifery. For as the Psalmist says, and most likely alluding to him, “O how sweet are thy words unto my throat : yea sweeter than honey unto my mouth ;” (Ps. cxix. 103 ;) so the Saviour has been known to tell his disciples, “ I have meat that ye know not of-My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John iv. 32, 34.) If a follower of Christ be allowed to put words into his mouth as well as a precursor, one might suppose him to say thus, I am not insensible to the cravings of nature myself; still less, to the natural wants of my followers: " and whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in nowise lose his reward.” (Matt. x. 42.) But while I sympathize with nature in these lower appetites, it is the higher that I am properly sent to cater for, and therefore chiefly respect and encourage. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Ib. v. 6.)
And with the encouragement of such a blessing before them they who really do hunger and thirst after righteousness might feel some consolation in the appetite, if not in the dainty at present; but perhaps, much otherwise. For