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The first sentence of our prayer is,
HALLOWED (OR SANCTIFIED) BE THY NAME.
Let us first, with St Chrysostom, observe the direction we hence receive in all our prayers, to have a prime and principal regard to the glory of God; not seeking anything concerning our own good before his praise. That for the order.
As to the substance of this particular, we may consider, that sanctity implying a discrimination, a distance, an exaltment in nature or use of the thing which is denominated thereby; and God's name signifying Himself with all that we can know of himn-himself, however discovered or declared, with all that relates to him and bears his inscription,-we do here accordingly express our • due acknowledgments and desires. For, by a rare complication, this sentence doth involve both praise and petition; doth express both our acknowledgment of what is, and our desire of what should be. We do, I say, hereby partly acknowledge and praise the supereminent perfections of God above all things, in all kind of excellency, joining in that seraphical doxology, to utter which is the continual employment of the blessed spirits above, who incessantly, day and night, cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy ;” confessing with the heavenly host in the Apocalypse, that “he is worthy of all honour, glory, and power.”. We do also partly declare our hearty wishes, that
i Rev. iv. 8, 11.
God may be everywhere had in highest veneration ; that all things relating to him may receive their due regard; that all honour and praise, all duty and service, may a peculiar manner be rendered unto him by all men, by all creatures, by ourselves especially; that all minds may entertain good and worthy opinions of him; all tongues speak well of him, celebrate and bless him; all creatures yield adoration to his name and obedience to his will; that he be worshipped in truth and sincerity, with zeal and fervency. This, particularly in the Prophet Isaiah, and by St Peter, is called, sanctifying God's name, in opposition to idolatrous and profane religion. "Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let him be your fear, let him be your dread," saith the prophet;' and," Fear not their fear, nor be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts,” saith the apostle. Thus do we here pray and wish in respect to all men and to all creatures capable of thus sanctifying God's name; but more particularly we pray for ourselves, that God would grant to us, that we by our religious and righteous conversation may bring honour to his name; so that seeing our good works may glorify our Father which is in heaven."3
“ Vouchsafe that we may live so purely, that all men by us may glorify thee;" so descants St Chrysostom.
3 Matt. v. 16; 1 Pet. ii. 12.
Isa. viii. 13 ; xxix. 23.
THY KINGDOM COME.
This petition or devout wish, being subordinate to the former, as expressing a main particular of that which is there generally desired, seems in its direct and immediate sense to respect the state of things in that time, more especially befitting our Lord's disciples then, when the kingdom of God, that is, the state of religion under the evangelical dispensation, was coming and approaching; according to that of our Saviour, in St Luke, “I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” Whence it did become them, in zeal to God's glory and charity for men's salvation, to desire that Christianity might soon effectually be propagated over the world, being generally entertained by men with due faith and obedience.. That is, that all men, willingly, might acknowledge God as their Lord and Maker, worshipping and serving him in truth; that they might receive his blessed Son Jesus Christ, as their King and Saviour, heartily embracing his doctrine, and humbly submitting to his laws; to which purpose our Lord enjoins his disciples to "pray that the Lord of the harvest would send labourers into his harvest; » 2 and St Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to "pray, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified.” And in parity of
Matt. iii. 2 ; xvi. 28.
2 Matt. ix. 38.
Thess. iii. 1.
reason, upon the same grounds, we are concerned and obliged to desire that the Christian religion may be settled and confirmed, may grow and be increased, may prosper and flourish in the world, that God's authority may, to the largest extension of place, to the highest intention of degree, universally and perfectly be maintained and promoted, both in external profession and real effect; the minds of all men being subdued to the obedience of faith, avowing the subjection due to him, and truly yielding obedience to all his most just and holy laws. Thus should we pray that God's kingdom may come; particularly desiring that it may so come into our own hearts ; humbly imploring his grace, that he thereby would rule in our hearts, quelling in thein all exorbitant passions and vicious desires; protecting them from all spiritual enemies, disposing them to an entire subjection to his will, and a willing compliance with all his commandments; for this is the “ kingdom of God,” which, as our Lord telleth us, "is within us;"1 the which “doth not,” as St Paul teacheth us, “consist in meat and drink,” in any outward formal performances, " but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost ;”? that is, in obedience to God's will, and in the comfortable consequences thereof: this is “the kingdom of God,” which we are enjoined, before any worldly accommodations, “first to seek.”3
i Luke xvii. 21.
2 Rom, xiv. 17.
3 Matt. vi. 33.
THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
This sentence is likewise complicated of praise, desire, and petition; for we thereby do acknowledge the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God in all resolutions of his will and dispensations of his providence.
1. We profess our approbation of all God's counsels, our complacence and satisfaction in all his proceedings, our cheerful submission and consent to all his pleasure; joining our suffrage, and saying in harmony with that blessed choir in the revelation, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” 1 We disclaim our own judgments and conceits, we renounce our own desires and designs, so far as they appear inconsistent with the determinations of God's wisdom, or discordant with his pleasure; saying after our Lord, “Let not my will, but thine be done.” 2
2. We do also express our desire, that as in heaven all things with a free and undisturbed course do pass according to God's will and good-liking; every intimation of his pleasure finding there a most entire and ready compliance from those perfectly loyal and pious spirits, those “ministers of his that do his pleasure,"3 the Psalmist calls them, so that here on earth the gracious designs of God may be accomplished without opposition or rub; that none should presume, as the
i Rev. xv. 3.
2 Luke xxii. 42.
3 Psal. ciii. 20.