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keep the whole law, and yet offend in one (point,] is guilty of all,” that is, he is equally obnoxious to punishment, (evoxos,) though not in so high a degree, as if he had broken the whole law; for every command of God is equally binding, and therefore the wilful breach of any one, even the least, is a violation of the authority that enacted the whole, and shall be punished accordingly, as our Lord himself declares, Matt. v. 19. Hence he infers the joint necessity of faith and obedience, “Ye see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only," James ii. 10-24.
And the inseparable connexion of faith and works was sedulously inculcated by our early divines, one of whom thus quaintly expounds the doctrine, Justificamur per fidem solam, sed non per fidem solitariam, or according to his own translation, “We are justified by faith alone, but not by that faith which is alone,” or exclusive of good works.
And Burkitt well observes, “ What God hath joined none must divide; and what God hath divided none must join : he hath separated faith and works in the business of justification ; and he hath joined them in the lives of justified persons,” or in the business of sanctification. Indeed, as well expressed in our XIIth Article, “ Good works do spring necessarily out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit;" according to our Lord's illustration, Matt. vii. 16—20, adopted by James, üi. 12.
We next proceed to analyze the duties of the Gospel, respecting God and man; which naturally follow the consideration of its mysteries.
II. THE DUTIES OF THE GOSPEL.
“ The Law was our school-master [to discipline us] unto CHRIST; but THE FAITH being come, [or the Christian religion once established,] we are no longer under a school-master," Gal. iii. 24, 25.
The Law, therefore, was only preparatory to the higher dispensation of the Gospel, and was not of perpetual obligation. It was designed to be superseded by the Gospel as“ the shadow" by the “substantial good” which it indicated, Heb. x. 1.
Hence OUR LORD, in the beginning of his public ministry, laboured to remove the prejudices of his hearers in favour of the propriety of the Mosaical dispensation, and to correct the vulgar error, that he came to subvert it; whereas, “ He came, not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil;” 1. to accomplish, in his own person, the types and prophecies respecting THE MESSIAH and his kingdom ; 2. to enlarge and spiritualize the religious and moral law; 3. to perfect its sanctions from temporal to eternal; and 4. to grant more powerful aids by the promise of the HOLY SPIRIT; and also 5. to accomplish all these minutely, critically, and permanently, until the dissolution of the world. “ One iota or one tittle * shall not pass away from THE LAW, (so improved,] until all things come to an end,” Matt. v. 17, 18.
The duties of the Gospel are all comprized in that most concise and comprehensive summary,
THE LORD'S PRAYER; which enlarges and spiritualizes the Decalogue, or summary of the religious and moral law of Moses. And the finest commentary on both is furnished by the Sermon on the Mount. The prayer itself may thus be more closely rendered.
I. OUR FATHER, who [art] in the heavens :
2. Thy kingdom come,
4. As in heaven, even (so) upon the earth.
2. And forgive us our debts,
5. But deliver us from the wicked one :
For evermore, Amen. Some of his disciples having requested our blessed Lord to teach them to pray, He was pleased to give them this perfect model of prayer, as an improvement upon the forms used by the Baptist, the Rabbis, and the Heathen philosophers, both in conciseness of manner, and comprehensiveness of matter t,” Luke
• “ Tota” denoted the smallest Chaldee letter lod, *. And a " titlle," or rather " curl,” the distinction between similar letters, a Resh from a Daleth 7, or a Thaun from a Heth M.
† The eloquent Tertullian delivers this encomium on the Lord's Prayer.
“ In this compendium of few words, how many declarations of Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles are contained! How many discourses, parables, examples, precepts of
xi. 1, Matt. vi. 5—8, xxiii, 14; compare Eccl. v. 7, Ecclus. vii. 14.
It opens with an invocation to THE DEITY, under the endearing title of “QUR FATHER,” the common parent of the human race, Christians, Jews, and Gentiles. For “we are all His offspring,” Acts xvii. 28, who is “ no respecter of persons,” but in “every nation, whosoever feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable unto Him,” Acts x. 34, 35. This is a more enlarged idea of his general providence, as “THE ONE God and FATHER OF ALL," Ephes. iv. 6, than was furnished by the preamble and first commandment of the Decalogue, representing Him rather in a partial light, as the TUTELAR GOD OF ISRAEL, who delivered them from Egyptian bondage; whom therefore, they were required to hold for their only God, in exclusion of all others, Exod. xx. 2, 3.
This is further intimated by the plural, “ OUR,” signifying that we should pray, not for ourselves singly, like the Pharisee in the temple,“ God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are,” &c. Luke xviii. 11; nor to God in the confined terms of the Decalogue, “I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee," Israel, &c. but for all mankind.
The foundation of all prayer whatsoever, is a persuasion that THE BEING, whom we address, both hears us, and is also able to grant our petitions. And both these are implied in the sequel, “ who art in the heavens *,” signifying “ the heaven of heavens, which cannot contain or confine THE DEITY,” 1 Kings viii. 26.
our Lord! How many duties toward God are briefly expressed! Honour to The Father, faith, profession in his name, offering of obedience in his will, expression of hope in his kingdom ; petition for the necessaries of life in the bread, confession of sins in the supplication, solicitude against temptations, in the asking of protection. What wonder ! God alone could teach how He chose to be prayed to." De Oratione, p. 659.
The practice of the primitive Church, as we collect from Tertullian, was to begin their public service with this divine prayer, as the ground and foundation of all others; and then to offer up their own prayers to God, according to the variety of their circumstances and conditions, provided they agreed with the precepts of this lawful and ordinary prayer. “ For as far as we recede from its precepts, so far are we from God's ears : our remembrance of the precepts, prepares the way for our prayers to heaven, of which this is the chief.” Ibid.
'OwV EV TOLS ovpavois. The article ò, has the import of the pronoun who, wv, "art,” being understood. See the note on the introduction of John's Gospel, in this Vol. p. 67. Ev ovpavois, signifies in the heavens, or highest heavens, or the universe, as distinguished from ev ovpavy, afterwards, “ in heaven," or the throne of God's glory, and residence of the holy angels.
This most sublime and amazing idea of the omnipresence or ubiquity of our HEAVENLY FATHER, exposes the gross absurdity, and the utter impossibility of representing him under any finite or corporeal image of man, beast, bird, or fish, prohibited by the second commandment.
His willingness also to listen to our prayers, implied in his paternal relation, and our encouragement to apply to Him repeatedly for relief, is stated by OUR LORD: “Ask, and it shall be given unto you, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For what man is there of you, who if his son ask bread, will give him a stone, (which cannot nourish him ;] and if he ask fish, will give him a serpent, (which will poison him.] If ye then, being evil, (or imperfect in your nature,] know how to give good things to your children, how much more shall your HEAVENLY FATHER, (who is all perfection] give good things, (even his Holy SPIRIT,) to them that ask him? Matt. vii. 11, Luke xi. 13.
Though perseverance in prayer is here recommended, and in several other places, as in the parable of the unjust judge, Luke xvii, 1–8, &c. yet in our private devotions, long prayers and vain repetitions, are censured as superfluous and unnecessary ; because our HEAVENLY FATHER knoweth whereof we have need, before we ask him, Matt. vi. 8. And several efficacious prayers that we read of in Scripture, were short : such as of Abraham's steward, Gen. xxiv. 12—15; Hezekiah, 2 Kings xx. 1-6; the publican in the temple, Luke xviii. 13–14; the penitent thief on the cross, Luke xxiii. 42, &c. In public worship, however, or upon important national concerns, long prayers are admissible, as in Solomon's sublime prayer at the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings viii. 12—61; the Levites' thanksgiving for all God's mercies and forbearances to the people of Israel, after the captivity, Nehem. ix. 5–38; Daniels pathetic supplication for the sins of his people, Dan. ix. 3—19, &c. which are of considerable length; and our LORD himself sometimes continued all night in prayer unto God, Luke vi. 12.
The second clause contains general petitions for all mankind.
1. That God's name may be hallowed, or his Dirine Majesty held in due honour and veneration throughout the world, (Malachi i. 6.) This is a positive precept, and a considerable improvement of the third commandment, which is negative, prohibiting the profanation of the name of God.
2. That His kingdom may come ; or that spiritual kingdom founded by CHRIST at his first coming, may prevail or be established at his second, in the regeneration ; when the spiritual worship of God and the LAMB shall sanctify the Lord's day, under the New Dispensation ; as the legal worship did the sabbath day, according to the fourth commandment.
3. That His will may be done, or universally obeyed, in the exact performance of all the moral duties of the second table of the Decalogue, which it is the will of God that we should exercise toward mankind.
4. “As in heaven, even so upon the earth,” expresses the measure or standard of obedience in all the foregoing petitions, as well as the last. For we pray that God's name may be halloved on earth, as it is in heaven; that his kingdom may come, on earth as in heaven; his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; or that in all these cases, the example of the holy angels * in heaven, in the pure and spiritual observance of all religious and moral duties, “who do God's will and pleasure with alacrity and delight,” (Psalm ciii. 21,) may be imitated by mankind on earth.
This is a higher and nobler standard of obedience, than was furnished by the Mosaical law; which, in the religious duties of the first table, totally wanted a standard or model, and in the moral duties of the second, furnished rather an insufficient and precarious standard in self-love; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," Levit. xix. 18.
Self-love, indeed, is sometimes a faulty standard; because men do not always love themselves as they ought; they are too often led by the flesh, rather than by the Spirit, to sacrifice their true interest and happiness in this life, and the glorious prospects of the next, to the vanities of this world; which prove, sooner or later, vexation of spirit. Such "lovers of themselres," or rather haters of themselves, and of the noblest part of their nature, which they debase and degrade t, are ill qualified to love others as they ought, and to consult their true interests.
The love and services of the holy angels to mankind, are intimated in several passages of Scripture, Job xxxviii. 7, Gen. xix. 15, 16, xxviii. 12, xxxii. 1, Psa. xxxiv. 7, 2 Kings vi. 16, 17, Isai. vi. 6, 7, Dan ix. 21, Zech. ii. 3, 4, Tobit xii. 15, Luke i. 19, ij. 13, 14, Matt. xviii. 10, xvi. 9-22, &c. † Atque humo affigunt Divinæ particulam AURÆ.
" And chain to the dust, their particle of THE DIVINE SPIRIT." Hor.