Immagini della pagina

3. And denounced. Hence the sin of covetousness is again and again condemned in the Bible. Take heed and beware of covetousness is one of the Lord's warnings (Lk. xii. 15); the covetous man, writes St Paul to the Ephesians, is an idolater), and hath no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. v. 5); the love of money, he says to Timothy, is the root of all evil (1 Tim. vi. 10); and on account of evil concupiscence, he says to the Colossians, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Col. iii.

5, 6).

4. The Duty enjoined. Now for this sin the great antidote is the grace commended in the Catechism, viz. Contentment? This virtue, when united with godliness, is truly great gain (1 Tim. vi. 6), and teaches us, who brought nothing into this world, and who it is certain will carry nothing out (1 Tim. vi. 7), instead of coveting or desiring other men's goods, to “learn and labour truly to get our own living', and to do our duty in that state of life* unto which it shall please God to call us.”

i For he worships Mammon instead of God (Mtt. vi. 24); see Ellicott on Eph. v. 5. Avaritia est summa defectio a Creatore ad creaturam, et summe violat præceptum de diligendo proximo, quod simile est precepto de diligendo Deo. Bengel in loc. Comp 1 Cor. vi. 10; Col. iii. 5, 6.

* Let your conversation be without covETOUSNESS; and be CONTENT with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb. xiii. 5; and comp. Phil. iv. 11.

3 Study... to do your own business, and to work with your own hands. 1 Thess. iv. 11, and comp. Acts xx. 34; Eph. iv. 28.

4. “God calls us to our state of life: there let us rest, and do our duty in it. In it, whatever it be, is safety, usefulness, true dignity: beyond it, outside of it, lies the unknown, the untried, perhaps the dangerous, certainly the disappointing.” Vaughan, On Confirmation, p. 39.



CATECHIST. My good child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things of thyself, nor to walk in the Commandments of God, and to serve him, without his special grace; which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer. Let me hear therefore, if thou canst say the Lord's Prayer.

ANSWER. Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil. Amen.

QUESTION. What desirest thou of God in this Prayer ?

ANSWER. I desire my Lord God our heavenly Father, who is the giver of all goodness, to send his grace unto me, and to all people; that we may worship him, serve him, and obey him, as we ought to do. And I pray unto God, that he will send us all things that be needful both for our souls and bodies; and that he will be merciful unto us, and forgive us our sins; and that it will please him to save and defend us in all dangers ghostly and bodily; and that he will keep us from all sin and wickedness, and from our ghostly enemy, and from everlasting death. And this I trust he will do of his mercy and goodness, through our Lord Jesus Christ.. And therefore I say, Amen, So be it.

INTRODUCTION. 1. Need of Grace. Having explained the Baptismal vow of renunciation, faith, and obedience, tho Catechism proceeds to remind us that we are not able to keep it of ourselves, nor “to walk in the commandments of God, and to serve Him, without His special

1 Compare Cranmer's Catechism, p. 128.

grace', which we must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer."

2. The frailty of our Nature. That of ourselves we are unable to do these things is sadly brought home to us by daily experience. For no one ever made a sincere effort to do his duty towards God and man without finding that “through the weakness of his mortal nature?” “he is sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before him 3,” that the good he would he does not, and the evil which he would not that he does (Rom. vii. 19); that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit strives4 against the flesh (Gal. v. 17); that he may delight in the law of God after the inward man ; but sees another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind, and

1 Compare the words of the Catechism, “And I pray unto God to give me His grace (spiritual aid), that I may continue in the same (state of salvation) unto my life's end." Grace, from the Latin gratia, (i) in its literal sense denotes favour, as in Ruth ii. 2, 10, and in Shakspeare 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4,

“ Blunt not his love, Nor lose the good advantage of his grace,

By seeming cold or careless of his will." (ii) Hence in the Scriptures it denotes God's free favour in (a) the redemption of the world by His Son, (b) the forgiveness of our sins; (c) the promise of everlasting life. Comp. Rom. iv. 4; v. 15; xi. 6; Eph. i. 6, 7; ii. 8; 2 Tim. i. 9; Titus ii. 11–14; iii. 7. (iii) But, as the favour of God is never an idle feeling, but an active expression of love, it further denotes a spiritual gift, and especially the gift of such “spiritual aid as may enable a man both to will and to do according to what God has commanded.” See Waterland's Works, Vol. iv. p. 666. “The freeness of the outcomings of God's love is the central point of xápis, the Greek for “grace.'” “Gratia nisi gratis est, non est gratia." Trench's Synonyms, p. 163.

2 See the Collect for the First Sunday after Trinity.
3 See the Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent.

4 “As êm Ovuciv cannot apply to the Spirit some other verb must be supplied in the second clause.” Lightfoot on Gal. v. 17.

Winwing him into captivity to the law of sin (Rom. Fil 32, 33).

3. Novossity of Prayer. Bocauso, then, the frailty of wan without del camot but fall", and we have no

** of putraolves to help ourselves", we must seek laptim, of whom alone cometh our strength. To thia funt trams which is an instinet of the human soul, ut the key that opens the gate of heaven“, is the

Kummute of our Lord. This is speally taught 4* hichi Ho la ar Nutel Luni For, while He *** H Santa He was tive of toxi and Light

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

crucified', were either preceded by or accompanied with prayer and supplication.

5. His Precepts. Moreover, we find that what He was in the habit of doing Himself, He bade His disciples do likewise. On one occasion, He said to them, Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Mtt. vii. 7); on another, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them? (Mk. xi. 24); on another, Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Names, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (Jn. xiv. 13); on another, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you (Jn. xvi. 23).

6. Apostolic Precepts. What, therefore, their Master thus taught at once by His own example and precept, the Apostles also were careful to inculcate. Writing to the Thessalonians, St Paul says, Pray without ceasing (1 Thess. v. 17); to the Romans, Continue instants in prayer (Rom. xii, 12); to the Ephesians, mountain to PRAY, and as He PRAYED, the fashion of His countenance was altered, &c. Lk. ix. 28, 29.

1 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and PRAY Yonder, on which followed the agony and the thricerepeated prayer. Mtt. xxvi. 36, and compare the parallels.

? Comp. also Mtt. xxi. 22. 3 Comp. Jn. xv. 7, 16.

4 Asseveratio gravissima, Ei propria, qui per se ipsum et per veritatem suam asseverat: et a dignitate personæ loquentis equipollet juramento, præsertim ubi geminatur. Bengel.

ó IIpoo kaptepoûvtes=adhering steadfastly to, persevering in. Comp. Acts i. 14; ii. 42. “Instant” (from the Latin instare= to urge, press upon,) occurs in our Version also in Lk. xxiii. 23, and 2 Tim. iv. 2. As applied (i) to prayer, it = importunate, persevering ; (ii) to business, it = earnest, diligent. Comp. I preached in Kent also, at the instant request of a curate. Latimer's Rem. p. 324, quoted in the Bible Word-Book, p. 269.

« IndietroContinua »