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to be reconciled to him, before the sun go down, lest the darkness of night overtake us, when we cannot work the work of reconciliation.
And now, unable to add stronger arguments than those which I have laid before you, or to give greater force to so many weighty considerations, I can only add supplication to argument; that is, my intreaty to you and my prayers to God, that what has been said may have such influence as to make it effectual upon your prac tice and conversation in life. Certain it is, that it is the great, the particular, the indispensable law of Christianity; and, therefore, it is some wonder to me, that men who are commendably attentive to other duties of religion, should lay so little stress upon this: that they should not reflect, how much they daily owe to the mercy of heaven, and what need themselves have of favour and pardon that, though the offences of man against them are many, yet their own against God are infinitely more that in the one case, it is but the offence of man against man, between whom there is no essential difference; but in the other, it is the offence of the creature against the Creator; of a worm of mortality against Omnipotence; of the criminal against his judge for God is a righteous judge, strong and patient, and yet he is provoked every day. I shall
I shall leave the whole of what has been said upon your minds, with those excellent words of the Son of Syrach, which should always be remembered as a proper comment upon this petition of the Lord's Prayer:- Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven thee, when "thou prayest. One man beareth hatred
against another, and doth he seek pardon "from the Lord? He sheweth no mercy to a
man like himself, and doth he ask forgive"ness of his own sins from God? If he that is "but flesh, nourish hatred, who shall intreat "for his sins?"--Who shall intreat for his sins, at that awful day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, and when every man's private malice or disguised hatred shall be naked and open to Him, who shall sit on the throne of judgment, to reward every man according to his works?
MATT. vi. 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 and ever. Amen.
HAVING, in the last petition of this di
vine prayer, requested of God the forgiveness of our past sins, we now proceed to ask of him to guard us against future temptations. A request truly interesting to every one, who has either rightly weighed the imbecility of his own nature, or the manifold dangers, with which he is surrounded in life!
I shall first consider the nature of this petition; and secondly point out those affections of mind, with which we ought to make it.
Temptation signifies either a trial of our strength, for the improvement of our virtue, or an allurement to sin.
In the former of these senses, God himself is said to tempt men; i. e. to call them to some hard and severe conflict in their spiritual warfare; that their virtue, being tried like gold in the furnace, may shine forth with redoubled and increasing splendor. It was thus he tempted Abraham to sacrifice his only son. It was thus he proved the children of Israel in the wilderness, to try their obedience, and to know what was in their heart. And, for this reason, we are commanded in the Gospel "not to think it strange concerning the fiery trial that is to
try us;" but rather to glory in tribulations, and to count it all joy, when we fall into divers temptations; knowing that the trying of our faith worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope,
But, however glorious these temptations may be, when overcome, we have all of us just reason to wish not to be led into them. How Abraham behaved under so great a trial as fell to his lot, the scriptures tell us; but how we should behave, he only knows, from whom no secrets are hid. Yet, when we consider the weakness of