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so the praying for the supply of physical nourishment includes also that of spiritual. The Deity can have no desire to support our bodies but only as this is necessary to the support of our souls, and therefore the consummation of the petition, which we offer up in this sectiou of the Lord's prayer,
is as available to the rich as to the poor, and as necessary to be supplicated for.
Let us further consider too that, simply with reference to that sustenance which the body requires, we pray that all may receive it; for if
; one part of the community were deprived of this, the other must share in the common calamity. If, for instance, the labouring classes were deprived of their necessary food, they would no longer be able to exert their energies to procure it for their superiors; who, however ample their wealth, distinguished their rank, or extensive their influence, would be in no better condition than the poorest of their dependants, since the rich can no longer possess the means of subsistence than while the poor possess them. They cannot subsist upon their gold
Splendid mansions and vast estates will not of themselves, without the labour of dependants, nourish the body and invigorate the frame. Family distinctions or national honours will not supply the place either of “the bread that perisheth” or of that which nourishes unto everlasting life. If
the poor, by whose labours alone the rich exist, were withdrawn from society, the latter must descend from their elevation to supply the place of the former. That which was done by the
poor must then be done by the rich ; thus the balance of society would be overthrown, all civil and social harmony would be confounded, and the moral would merge in the animal,-for there would be no opposite interests to oppose a salutary counteraction. We shall therefore perceive that every man, in praying for his daily bread, offers up a necessary prayer,—the most wealthy as well as his most indigent neighbour. Surely God would not have commanded us to pray for this, had it been superfluous !
We may rest assured that however plenty may shower down the blessings of her abundance upon us, or prosperity brighten our path, we are nevertheless not released from the obligation of daily praying that they may be continued to us, since we know not what a day may bring forth.” “Riches may make themselves wings and fly away as an eagle towards heaven;" honours may be succeeded by disgrace, and we may be left in a moment without cne temporal or spiritual boon to compensate for years of unthankful enjoyment.
We are all sufficiently assured of the uncertainty of human life. We know that the rich man to-day may be the poor man to-morrow,
and therefore, as it is uncertain how soon we may be dependant for a zmeal upon the mere contingencies of circumstance can we do better than offer up our ferve nt aspirations to him who is the controller of events as well as “ the author and giver of all good things,” to continue our temporal privileges, where we enjoy them, or make up to us the deficiency, by providing for our daily wants, where we do not ? And let me remind those persons who are great in power, whom the glories of a long ancestral succession have apparently placed beyond the reach of such a contingency as sudden destitution, that they are not secured against reverses. Calamity may cast its blight upon the Prince's palace, as fatally as upon the hedger's cot, in confirmation of which I need scarcely recal to your recollections that the present sovereign of one of the most potent kingdoms upon earth was once reduced to the necessity of assuming the comparatively humble office of a school-master in order to procure the common necessaries of life.
No one who has attained the age of ordinary experience need be told that this life is a tissue of casualties, casualties to us, though known to Godof defeated hopes and harassing disappointments; so that the bitterest privations may in a single day overtake those who really are the best provided against them, as well as those who are the least. And when we offer the petition of our text, we are reminded of those casualties; we are at once
directed to our dependant state ; we are re duced to the confession that of ourselves we can do no good thing
Though the Almighty may supply us with wealth, and that abundantly, is it not in his
power to frustrate its influence, leaving us barren and hopeless of all joys in the very plenitude of earthly possessions ? The rich man may starve in the midst of his plenty. He may have no relish for luxuries, no sympathy with pleasure, no appetite even for his necessary food, and may thus die because he cannot take that nutriment which his body requires but which his loathing rejects. In the petition now under our notice, we indirectly supplicate that this morbid antipathy may be removed where it exists, and a healthy appetite return to us ; so that we may long for and relish only such needful aliment as shall renovate our bodies and recruit our spirits; else it would be absurd to pray for that which would be useless to us.
It is evident that when we petition the Deity for our daily bread, we do not heseech him for a superfluity from the storehouse of his abundance, but only for that necessary support which we require to sustain life; and this we have good reason for doing so long as there is a possibility that this indispensable provision may not be supplied. Indeed, by praying for necessaries only, we do in fact pray to be protected against those mischiefs which luxuries are so apt to induce, and we therefore include in this petition a desire of bodily health as well as of spiritual purification; since if we were only to take that food which our bodies absolutely require, they would be materially benefited by such temperance, and our souls likewise kept from the indulgences of sensuality ; for corporeal and spiritual mortification are so closely assimilated that the one is invariably, more or less, the cause of the other. The Almighty has no pleasure in our sensual gratifications; the more moderately, therefore, we indulge any appetite, the more pleasing is it to him, and the more pure do we become in his sight, if this abstinence be accompanied with those dispositions of heart which he requires us to entertain towards him. What did He say to the Jews of old ? “Your appointed feasts my soul hateth, they are a trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them.” And why? Because religion was made the vehicle of sensuality; because they indulged in merry banquetings, under the plea of making solemn offerings to God, who delights not in seeing his creatures sensual but temperate.