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midst sparks of fire ; were they but let loose, they would set on vigorously.
2. That no temptation can befall us without an over-ruling providence. Though the lion roar, he is in a chain, and can. noi set on us, but as he is permitted of God, Job i. 8. 9. 10. He who rules the sea, when the waters therefore do roar, has an over-ruling hand over devils, men, and the corruptions of our hearts, that no food can break out, but where the fluice is opened, he withdrawing the restraint.
3. That when the Lord leads us into temptation, we will be sure of an attack. There is no hope in the mercy of our enemies, no hope that they will let an occasion of fighting us flip. He that goes about seeking his prey, will not pass by it, when it is laid in his way. We are ready to let advantages 2gainit fin and Satan flip, but they will let none slip which they have against us.
4. That God may justly lead us into temptation, and leave us under the power of them, Pfal. lxxxi. 11. 12. How often do we court temptatioos, and tamper with them like the fiy about the candle till its wings be burnt ? How often do we grieve his Spirit, and cleave to our idols over the belly of warnings ? What wonder he say, Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone ? Hof. iv. 17.
5. That we are not able of ourselves to stand against tempta. tion, but if once we be engaged, we are fair to be foiled, Rom. vii. 23. 24. And so much the more unable are we. that presumption and self-confidence is our ordinary plague in this cafe. So that there is much need of fear and trembling when entering into temptation, left we come foul off.
6. Lasily, That it is the duty of all, and the disposition of the people of God, to detire they may be kept from engaging with temptations, as with an enemy too strong for them, Matth. xxvi. 42. Watch and pray, that je enter not into temftation. It is their souls defire that God would restrain Satan, 2 Cor. xii. 8. fubdue their lufts, Pfal, cxix. 133. and over. rule all in this evil world, as they may be kept from the evil of it, John xvii. 15.
I shall conclude this first part of the petition with a few inferences.
Inf. 1. Trials and persecutions, though God may bring good out of them, are not to be desired, but the averting of them prayed for. For they are sharp temptations to fin, wherein though God is much honoured by some, he is much dishonoured by many, Matth. xiii. 21. forecited, compared with Luke viii
. 13. They on the rock are they, which when they hear, receive the word with joy ; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And they that desire them are much of the temper of thofe disciples who would bave prayed down fire from heaven, when they knew not what fpirit they were of. The desire of them is downright contradictory to this petition ; for the language of it is, Lord, lead us into temptation.
2. To run into temptation, cannot be from God's Spirit, but from Satan, and a corrupt, blind, and presumptuous · heart. For it is a running into that which we thould beg of God that he would not lead us into. If a man be called of God into a place where he is beset with temptations, he may look for grace to be kept up against them, because he is in God's way, and where he has his call to be, Psal. xci. 11. For he ball give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
See 1 Kings xviii. 3. Obadiah was the governor of the house of Ahab, an idolatrous prince. But it is observed of him, that he feared the Lord greatly, even in such a corrupt court. But where a man steps in among temptations without a call from God, he cannot expect such grace to be vouchsafed him. This rashness, self-confidence, and curiofity has cost dear to many.
3. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation, Matth. xxvi. 41. Praying without watching is a tempting of God : watching without praying is a contempt of God and his grace. There is need to watch, for our enemies are ever lying at the catch, and they are ready to steal a dint of us when we are not aware ; and we cannot expect God's help, but when we are in the way of duty. There is need to pray ; for watch as we will, our enemies are too strong for us, if the Lord himself do not second us. We must have new supplies of grace, from the grace in Christ Jesus, if we would itand. What then God has joined, put not ye asunder.
The SECOND part of this petition is for aflifting grace, But deliver us from evil. Here I shall shew,
1. What is meant by evil.
1. Sin, which is the greatest of evils, the worst of evils, and the cause of all other evils, Amos v. 15. Hate the evil, There is no good in fin, it is an only evil. What makes the devil evil, the world evil, and the heart evil, but sin? Sirip them of sin, and there would be no evil in them.
2. Temptation to fin, or whatsoever draws the soul to fini that is the evil of the world, John xvii. 15. The soul-ruining snare that is in any thing, is the evil of it. For as sin is evil, so every thing that has a native tendency to draw into fin is evil.
Secondly, What is meant by deliverance from evil? It stands in two things.
1. To be brought out of it, by way of recovery when fallen into it, Psal. li. 12. Temptation may get the child of God down, his foot may be fast in the snare, and he needs an omnipotent hand to rid him out of Satan's net.
2. To be kept from it, that he fall not into it again. The snares are so many, that it is hard to stand; there is need of a divine power to keep back the finner's soul from the pit of fin, Jude 14. to take part with him, when engaged with a temptation.
Thirdly, What is the import of this part of the petition ? We may take it up in these three things.
1. There is no escaping of temptation, in greater or lefser measure, while we are in this world. Though we should watch ever so narrowly, fo as not to cast ourselves into temptation ; though by no special providence we be led into temptation ; yet the heart within is so full of corruption, the world without is so full of snares, and Satan goes so conftantly about, that we are in danger every where, and no where safe.
In prosperity we are apt to be prond, vain, carnal, secure; to forget God, and grow tasteless of heavenly things, &c. In adverfity, we are impatient, and discontented, and fretting, and dead to good things, Psal. cxix. 107. In company we are apt to be infected, or to infect others; and in folitude to become a prey to the tempter. House nor field, bed nor board, civil duties por religious duties, are not such, but temptations will haunt us at them.
2. God's children would fain be delivered from evil, from fin and temptation to it, Rom. vii. 24. O wretched man that I am! says Paul : who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The new nature in them makes them long and groan for it, as ever the captive exile longs for deliverance from his captivity. And there is a threefold deliverance which their fouls defire here.
(1.). A deliverance in temptation, that God would powerfully support and enable them to stand in the hour of temptation,
Cor. xii. 8. ; that when they are engaged in the battle with Satan, the world, and the fleth, the Lord himself would come
in for their rescue. They see they are not man enough for their enemies; and they would fain have heaven to interpole, and cait the balance of victory to their fide.
(2.) A deliverance under temptation, Psal. li. 8. Sometimes they are trod under foot by their lufts and paflions; they are lying in the mire, and cannot get out. But they look again towards the Lord, as Jonah out of the whale's belly, that he would afford them his helping hand, and so fanctify their loc to them, as all may work for their good.
(3.) A deliverance completely from all fin, and temptation to it, Rom. vii. 24. forecired. And thus the petitions of this prayer end with a longing cry for perfect freedom from fin in another world. And this good the Lord brings out of the hard handling which his people get here, that thereby they are made to long for heaven.
3. They believe that God, and he only, can deliver them from evil. Without this faith they could not put up
petition; but the belief of the power and willingness of God to grant this deliverance to his people, daily excites, them to cry unto him, Deliver us from evil.
I shall conclude this part of the sixth petition with a few inferences.
Inf. 1. Sinning is more terrible than suffering, in the eyes of the children of God. They pray to be delivered from sin abfolutely, at any rate, cost what it will. And they have good reason for it; for there is more evil in thc least sin than in the greatest suffering. In tinning we are conformed to the devil, but in suffering to Jesus Christ. Let us then cry earnestly to God, that he may deliver us from evil.
2. It is a black mark of one that belongs not to God, when there is no parting becwixt him and his lusts. The word and providence works to the delivering the man from his fin, but he will not part with it ; he is not content to let it Ic is not the spot of God's children.
3. A careless, fearless way of going through the world, without daily care of being ensnared into fin, is an evidence that the man is at home, and is not travelling Zion-ward, For those who are going through this world as a wildernes, are walking with fear and trembling through it, still sayiog, Lord, lead us not into temptation.
4. Lastly, It is in the nature of all God's children, to de. fire to be home. Our Father, which art in heaven,-deliver us from evil. They know that this will never be completeiy and fully ansivered till they be beyond the clouds : but from their
hearts they defire it. Let us evidence ourselves to be the children of God, by our ardent desires for this complete deliverance from fin.
The Conclusion of the Lord's Prayer.
MATTHEW vi. 13. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for
E come now to the conclusion of the Lord's prayer,
which teachech us, “ to take our encouragement “ in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise “ him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And, “ in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we “ fay, Amen."
In this conclusion three things are to be considered.
I. Let us consider the connection of this conclusion with the petitions, in the particle for ; which shews it to contain arguments to be used in prayer for hearing : q. d. Lord, hear us, for the kingdom is thine, the power is thine, and the glo. ry is thine ; and teaches us, that when we pray, we should plead and pray, press our prayers, and enforce our petitions with arguments and reasons, to be heard. I shall thew you,
1. The truth of it. 2. The reason of it.
First, I shall Thew you the truth of this pleading. And that it is so, appears from,
1. The Lord himself's teaching us fo to do, which shews it to be acceptable to him, fince he himself directs us to it. We have the Mediator's direction for it in this pattern of prayer, petition 5. and conclufion. See alío Luke xi. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. And the more of the Spirit that one has in prayer, he will have his mouth the more filled with arguments.
2. The practice of the faints. See how Mofes pleads and reasons with God in prayer, Exod. xxxii. 11. 12. 13. Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought jorth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a