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be reveng’d on him through my own Sides? If he has done me Wrong, he has hurt his own Soul; shall I destroy mine too by shutting up the Mercies of God against my self? What a Madness is that!
Let us therefore carry this Petition in our Hearts wherever we go; that it may be present, as present with us, as if it were engraven upon all Places, where we have any Affairs and Business, as if it were graven upon the Palms of our Hands, or we wore it on our Garments. :
Let this Petition be our daily Ejaculati. on whenever we are in danger of being tempted to Anger and III-Will; and when 'we are so tempted, let us remember that we have then an Occasion of Praying effectu. ally for God's Pardon in these Words, For. give us our Trespasses, as we Forgive them that trespass againft us.
The Seventh Sermon on the LORD's
P R A YER.
MATTH. VI. xiii. And Lead us not into Temptation, but Deliver
us from Evil.
THether every good Christian be able V to give an exact Account of the Reason of the Expression in this Petition, or not, I am yet satisfied, that we all mean this sense of the Petition, that we may by the Grace of God be preserved from falling into Sin for the future: And this I doubt not is the Principal Meaning of the Words, that is, As in the former Petition we beseech God to forgive us our Trespasses, So in this we are to testify our Sincerity in asking Fogiveness of Sins paft, by expressing as Earnest a Desire, that for the Time to come we may be more careful to Preserve Innocence and a good Conscience, than forQ2
merly we have been. And the Reason, why this-Desire is by our Lord expreffed in these Words, And lead as not into Temptation, but deliver us from Evil, seems to be twofold. :
* First, To Admonish us, that we, even the Best of us, are in Danger of falling into the fame Sins that we have Once, much more that we have. Often been guilty of, and that because there are several Temptations to them, which in the Course of our Life we shall surely meet with, and therefore that none of us are to be secure, but to stand upon our Guard, and to look well to our selves, that we be not overcome.
. 21. To Admonish us also that those Temptations are not so Night and inconsiderable, that we can without God's Grace stand a. gainst them, that they are not so easie to be avoided, but we have need of the Grace of his Providence to keep us out of their Way, and if we encounter thein, that they are not so easie to be resisted, but we have need of the Grace of his Holy Spirit to fortify our Resolution to withstand them, and to get the better of them; This is true more or less of every Christian. One Man indeed by his Temper and Calling, and by Reason of other Circumstances, is not in the Way of so many Temptations, as another Man meets withal: And some Men are by
their Constant Christian Care and Diligence, by their former Watchfulness, and by good Habits, better prepared to Resist them, than others are; yet every Man hath need of God's Grace, his Providence without, and his internal Operations within, both to prevent great Temptations, that he doth not meet with them, and to secure hiin against falling by greater or less Temptations, when he doth meet with them: And therefore to keep Men in that modest Opinion of themselves, and in a careful Concern for their own Safety, and a Religious Dependance upon God, our Lord hath added this Petition to the former to be us’d by all his Disciples, Lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from Evil.
And now to these Instructions, which we cannot but learn from the Expression of this Petition, give me leave to add a third from the Principal Meaning and Intendment thereof, which, as I told you is this, that for the future we may avoid those Evils, that we have done, and do those Duties, that we have ommitted; And that is this, That we do Qtherwise to no purpose Pray to have our former Sins Forgiven us, if we do not grow better for the time to come; For the Offering up these Requests to God one after the other cannot but shew you, that the For giveness of God, the Pardon we Obtain
from him in this world by our Prayers is but Conditional, and that the Continuance of it depends upon our good Conversation afterwards; For otherwise, that is, if it were Absolute, and had no respect to what we should be afterwards, I do not understand what great need there were to Pray againft falling into Sin, for the future: To be sure Men would not be so inuch concern'd to Pray earnestly not to be led into Temptation, but to be delivered from Evil, if their Prayers for Forgiveness might be effectual, and fave them, whether they should fall by Temptation afterwards, or not.
I have told you what the plain meaning of the Petition is, and what I am persuaded every honeft Christian doth understand by it; and also what may be the Reason both of the Petition, and the Words in which it is expreft, at least what plain Instruction is yeilded by the one and the other.
And having done this, I shall now proceed to more particular Enquiries.
1. Concerning the Words, and Meaning of the Petition
2. Concerning the Confiderations that Thould make us Offer up this Petition to God in good earnest.
3. Concerning the Qualities which are Necessary to make a Man fincere, and to speak the sense of his Soul, when he useth it.