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2. That we should not in our conceit proudly and vainly appropriate or engross the regard of God unto ourselves; but remember that our brethren have an equal share with us therein. 3. That in all our devotions we should be mindful of those common bands which knit us together as men and as Christians, (the band of nature and humanity; the more strict ties of common faith and hope; of manifold relations unto God that made us, and our Saviour that redeemed us, and the Holy Spirit who animateth and quickeneth us, and combineth us in spiritual union.) 4. That we should bear such hearty good-will and charitable affection toward others, as not only to seek and desire our own particular and private good, but that of all men; especially of all good Christians; who in a peculiar manner are God's Où yag ixí- children and our brethren; He did not bid us say, are ou, my Father, but our Father, who art in heaven; Vos, that, being taught that we have a common Father, we might shew a brotherly good-will one toward Пarigaix another, saith St. Chrysostom.
ἐν τοῖς οὐρα
Πάτερ ἡμῶν, ἵνα κοινὸν
tom. v. p.
As for the appellation Father, it doth mind us of Aus - our relation to God, who upon many grounds, and in divers high respects, is our Father; (by nature, for that he gave us our being, and made us after his own image; by providence, for that he continually preserveth and maintaineth us; by grace, for that he reneweth us to his image in righteousness and holiness; by adoption, for that he alloweth us the benefit and privilege of his children, assigning an eternal inheritance to us;) of this relation, which as creatures, as men, as Christians, we bear to God, it mindeth us, and consequently how we ought in correspondence thereto to behave ourselves; yielding
to him all respect, affection, and observance; demeaning ourselves in all things as becomes such a relation and rank: this indeed of all God's names, titles, and attributes, is chosen as most suitable to the nature of the present duty; as most encouraging to the performance thereof; as most fully implying the dispositions required in us, when we apply ourselves thereto. Our Saviour used to compare prayer Matt. vii. 9. to a son's asking nourishment of his father; arguing thence what success and benefit we may expect from it: we come therein to God, not (directly) as to a lord or master, to receive commands; but rather as to a father, to request from him the sustenance of our life, and supply of our needs; to render withal unto him our thankful acknowledgments, for having continuedly done those things for us; and to demonstrate our dutiful respect and affection toward him. It is natural for children in any danger, strait, or want, to fly to their parents for shelter, relief, and succour : and it is so likewise for us to have recourse unto God, in all those cases, wherein no visible means of help appear from elsewhere and to do so the title of Father doth encourage us, signifying not only power and authority over us, but affection and dearness toward us: the name God, importing his excellent perfections; the name Lord, minding us of his power and empire over us, with the like titles declarative of his supereminent majesty, might deter us, being conscious of our meanness and unworthiness, from approaching to him; but the word Father is attractive and emboldening; thinking on that we shall be apt to conceive hope, that, how mean, how unworthy soever, yet being his children, he will not reject or refuse us; for, If Matt.vii.11.
men, being evil, do give good gifts unto their children; how much more will our Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?
It also plainly intimates how qualified and disposed in mind we should come to God; namely, with high reverence, with humble affection, with hearty gratitude; as to the Author of our being, to him that hath continually preserved and brought us up; from whose care and providence we have received all the good we have ever enjoyed; from whose mercy and favour we can only expect any good for the future. By calling God Father, we avow ourselves obliged to honour and love him incomparably beyond all things; we also declare our faith and hope in God; that we believe him well affected toward us, and willing to do us good; and that we thence hope to receive the good desirable from him, Matt. xxi. (the which are dispositions necessary to the due perJames i. 6. formance of this duty.) It also implieth, that we 1 Tim. ii. 8. should come thereto with purity of mind and good
conscience, which is also requisite to the same intent; for if we are conscious of undutiful and disobedient carriage toward God, how can we call him Father? with what heart or face can we assume to 1 Pet. i. 17. ourselves the title of children? If, saith St. Peter, ye call upon him as Father, who impartially judges ́according to every man's work, (that is, who only esteemeth them for his children who truly behave themselves as becometh children,) pass the time of your pilgrimage in fear, (or in reverence toward God.) We may add, that we also hereby may be supposed to express our charity toward our brethren; who bear unto God, the Father of all men, the same common relation. But I proceed :
Which art in Heaven.
GOD Almighty is substantially present every where; but he doth not every where in effects discover himself alike, nor with equal splendour in all places display the beams of his glorious majesty. The scripture frequently mentioneth a place of his special residence, (seated in regions of inaccessible light, above the reach, not only of our sense, but of our fancy and conception,) where his royal court, his presence-chamber, his imperial throne are; where he is more immediately attended upon by the glorious angels and blessed saints; which place is called heaven, the highest heavens; the rà ora, the Luke ii. 14. highest places; by his presence wherein God is Matt.xxi.9. described here, as for distinction from all other parents here on earth, so to increase reverence in us toward him, (while we reflect upon his supereminent glory and majesty,) and to raise our hearts from these inferior things unto desire, and hope, and love of heavenly things; withdrawing, saith St. Chrysos- Tns yns tom, him that prays from earth, and fastening him to the places on high, and to the mansions above. arisin But so much for the title.
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 any thing 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
λοῖς προσω ηλών χωρίς οις, καὶ ταῖς ἄνω διατρι Bais.
thereby; and God's name signifying himself with all that we can know of him; himself, as 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, (which to utter is the continual employment of the blessed spirits above, who incesRev. iv. 8. santly day and night cry out,) Holy, holy, holy; Toy-confessing with the heavenly host in the Apocalypse, TW Tì To that he is worthy of all honour, glory, and power : εἴρηται. we do also partly declare our hearty wishes, that Chrys. tom. v. p. 186. God may be every where 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 in 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 Isa. viii. 13. by St. Peter, is called sanctifying God's name in 1 Pet. iii. 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.)