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daily Bread, if we want this reasonable Confidence, that doing what lies upon us to do, that is, using the proper Means, and doing God's Will, we shall not fail of having what we pray for ?
6thly, and lastly; Our asking of God our daily Bread instructs us that we owe him Thanks even for the Necessaries of Life, and, that both when we have nothing but Competèncy, and when we have more too, in which last Case we are most apt to forget the Acknowledgment of our daily Food, and the common Conveniencies of Life. When God heapeth ; upon us many, and large
; Blessings of this. World, he often loseth the Thanks that are due for the less and the more frequent, as Men that are us’d to Rare and Uncommon Favours, are apt to despise an Ordinary Gift. Few that live in gaudy Houses, and fare fumptuously and deliciously every Day, have that Understanding and Goodness to thank God that they are not ready to starve with Hunger and Cold, and to consider that they depend no less upon his Providence, even in the midst of their Plenty, than the poor Man, who lives from Hand to Mouth. But this is a Petition to be put up to God by the Rich as well as by the Poor. And what can be the Sense of it in a Rich Man's Mouth,if it doth not imply, that, it is not a Man's Wealth and Greatness, his Power and Affluence, to which
he owes his Sublistence, and the necessary Comforts of Life, fo much as to that Divine Providence that giveth to all their Meat in due Seafon? And therefore for all the common Comforts of Life, and the necessary Means of it, we should give Thanks to God, remembring that they are Things we every Day ask of him, tho we seem to be never so plentifully provided and secured against Want. In a word, Wealth and Power are no better Reasons for throwing off our Dependance upon God, and our Gratitude to him for every good Thing that we enjoy, than they are of Pride, and Infolence, and Contempt of other Men, since the most ordinary Blessings we enjoy are the Gifts of God equally with theirs who enjoy more.
These then are the Instructions contain'd in this Petition: We do herein acknowledge to God that we cannot sublin but by his Bounty and Providence: We own, that aş for Riches we 'defire them not, but from Poverty we would be delivered: We desire whatsoever good Things we stand in need of, as Blessings from him, and therefore that we will not procure them to our selves by any way of Wickedness; and we pray that he would therefore bless our honeft Labour and just Endeavours to provide for our felves, and for those that depend upon us, ever remembring that it is he who doth
feed and cloath us, sustain and provide for us, tho' we have never such Means and Advantages in outward appearance to provide for our felves. And we should learn hence to possess Abundance (if we have it) with Sobriety and Temperance, with Humility and Charity, and Beneficence and Thankfulness, remembring that all is God's Gift, and without Anxiety and Distrust, as being assured that our heavenly Father will take care of us while we depend upon him, in Well-doing.
MATTH. VI. xii.
HÉ Petition in St. Luke, chap. 11.
V. 4. runs, Forgive us our Sins; and. therefore our translating épernikahce, Trespasses, is warranted by Scripture ; nor by such Translation do we depart from the Form taught by our Saviour, as some Men would say we do. The reason of the Expression here I conceive to be this: That in the trueft Sense, and according to the most proper way of speaking, Obedience, Gratitude, Service, Worship, and in a word, doing God's Will, is our Debt to God, that is, our Duty; and this he will never forgive, that is, he will never dispense with our Obligation to pay it, he strictly insists upon his own
Right to it, and we are taught to recognize it in that Petition, 1 by Will be done, &c. But upon 'our failing to perform that Duty, it is juft with God to punish us; and therefore according to a lefs proper Use of the. Word; the Punishments due to Sin are called also our Debts to God. This I say is a common way of speaking, tho’it was not according to the strie Propriety of the Words at first, our Saviour, as all wise Men ever did, speaking rather according to the common Use than the original Signification of Words.
Now in every sin or Tranfgression of God's Law. there are two Things to be considered.
1. The very A&t or Commission of Sin.
2. The Guilt of Sin, or the Effect it has upon us in exposing us to the angry Justice of God. i. And now the Effect may remainiwhen the transient Act is over. Every Man from the Time he transgreffeth the Law of God, becomes liable to Punishment for so doing. and this is that which we mean by Guilt, and is the Thing .wezpray may be forgiven. For tho'
, 'the Sin that is once committed can never be made not to have been committed, yet the Punishment derived thereby, may be forgiven." - Tho' the Ad it self be irreversiBle, yet the Effest of it in binding us over