« AnteriorContinuar »
If you thus behave your felves, you will be the Imitators of your heavenly Father, and deserve to be ftild his Sons : for he is thus beneficent to all men, blefsing Good and Bad alike with the common influence of the Sun and fruitful Showers. But if you love those only who have the fame Affection for you, what Reward and Favour can you for this expect from God ? Certainly the very Publicans, the worst of Men, return Love for Love. If your Conversation be kind and friendly with those only who are of the fame Family or Religion, what do you more than the most profligate ? The very Publicans do the same. If you confer Benefits on those only from whom you have receiv'd, what reason have you to expect Favour fron God on this account? The worst of Men can make the same boait. If you lend only to those of whom your felves have borrowed, or with a prospect of Interest, what Reward for this can you expect from God? This is the common practice of
ners also lend to fin-
35 Bur love ye your
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
the World, and the Bad perform good turns mutually towards one another. Ad like Friends with your greatest Enemies, confer Benefits, and lend to those from whom you expect neither Interest, nor the like good Offices. In so doing great will your Reward be from God, and you will be deservedly stild his Sons, in thus imitating him who is beneficent to the Wicked and Ungrateful. If you then aim at Perfection, be full of Pity and Bounty towards those from whom you expect nothing, nay such as seem to deserve quite another Usage ; for thus your heavenly Father pours down his Benefits upon the Good and Bad, and expresses his Kindness. indifferently to all men.
CH A B.
C H A P. VI.
your alms before men,
2 Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not found a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward.
3 But when thou doeft alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth :
4 That thine alms may be in secret : and thy Facher
CH A P. XXII.
Fafts, the true Treasure, the avoiding an anxious Inquiry into Futu-
, Prudence in preaching the Gospel, the ne ceflity of Prayer, Loans, the difference between Hypocrites and sincere
Profeffors of Religion.
cise your Bounty merely to be taken notice of by Men, if you expect any Re-
As for you,
which feeth in secret, himself
s And when thou prayeft,
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou haft shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seech in secret, shall reward thee openly.
7 But when yé pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
t8 Be not ye the refore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.
cerity and Goodwill, and who takes notice of what you act in private, Shall one day beltow a Reward upon you in the presence of Men and Angels,
When you pray to God, do not imitate those Diffemblers in Religion, who are wont to stand praying in the Synagogues and most frequented Places, not out of any Zeal for Devotion, but to obtain the Character of religious Persons, which Reputation is all the Reward they will receive. But as for you, when you are dispos’d to pray, let it be in the most retir'd part of your House; and there shutting the Door, pour forth your Petitions to God, who fall one day publickly reward this your secret Devotion.
In your Prayers do not frequently repeat the fame Words, like the Heathens, and some of the Jews after their example, who hope to have their Requefts granted, not by a devout Affection of the Mind, but a Multitude of Words. Take heed that you do not imitate them; for God knows what you stand in need of before you ask him, and is ready to grant the Petitions of those only who are of a religious and pious Temper.
C H A P. VI.
9 After this manner there. fore pray ye : Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
II Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debes, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil for thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespafíes.
Now, when you pray, make use of this or a like Form of Prayer : 0 our heavenly Father, grant that all Mankind may with a holy Awe and Reverence ac knowledg thy Protection and Supremacy over all things, that they may be obedient to thy Will, and execute thy Commands on Earth as readily as the Angels do in Heaven,
Give us daily what may suffice for the sustenance of Life : pardon our Crimes committed against thee, as we forgive the failings of other men towards us. Suffer us not to be tempted beyond our ability, but in all Dangers aslift us, and secure our Virtue : For thou art the King of the Universe, which thou governest as thou pleasest by thy Power, and for which all intelligent Creatures ought to give thee eternal Praife. This is the sum of our Wilhes, which we intreat thou wilt grant unto us.
You see here, you beg that God would give you Forgiveness of your Sins in like manner as you forgive the faults of Men towards you, to show you the true way to the obtaining God's Pardon ; for unless you your felves are of such a merciful. disposition, 'tis in vain for you to expect to appease God's Anger.