The Lord's Prayer (Saphir)

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 

THE LORD'S PRAYER.

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON

THE LORD'S PRAYER.

LECTURES

BY

REV. ADOLPH SAPHIR, B.A.,
AUTHOR OF "CHRIST AND THE SCRIPTURES," ETC.

Fourth Edition

LONDON:
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.

MDCCCLXXII.

PREFACE.


In publishing these lectures, delivered this year in the ordinary course of ministration to my congregation, I yield with great diffidence to the desire expressed by many of my hearers, encouraged by their assurance that they have found them helpful in gaining a deeper insight into the Lord's Prayer.

There can scarcely be a more comprehensive subject, for this model prayer embraces every doctrine of Scripture and every aspect of Christian life. I have endeavoured to explain it in connexion with the revelation of God in Christ, in the Pentecostal light of the Epistles, convinced that only thus its true and full meaning can be found.

Luther says, the heart of a Christian ought to offer the Lord's Prayer continually with earnest sighs. May this only model of prayer which Christ has given us help us "to rejoice through the living Saviour in the Father-name of God, as David rejoiced in the name of Jehovah! then should we never cease to speak of His works and wonders to our house and friends. (Oetinger.)

Blackheath, October 1869.

CONTENTS.

  1. LECTURE I.
  2. PAGE
  3. PRAYER AS REVEALED IN CHRIST
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    1
  4. LECTURE II.
  5. THE MODEL PRAYER
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    37
  6. LECTURE III.
  7. THE DOCTRINE OF THE INVOCATION
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    64
  8. LECTURE IV.
  9. THE SPIRIT OF THE INVOCATION : FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    95
  10. LECTURE V.
  11. THE FUNDAMENTAL PETITION
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    125
  12. LECTURE VI.
  13. THE KINGDOM OF GRACE WITHIN US
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    153
  14. LECTURE VII.
  15. THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    173
  16. LECTURE VIII.
  17. JACOB'S VISION
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    203
  18. LECTURE IX.
  19. THE COMPREHENSIVE SCOPE AND INTERCESSORY CHARACTER OF THE THREE PETITIONS
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    235
  20. LECTURE X.
  21. THE DAILY GIFT
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    250
  22. LECTURE XI.
  23. MERCY IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    276
  24. LECTURE XII.
  25. SIN AND SALVATION
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    295
  26. LECTURE XIII.
  27. KNOWLEDGE AND CONFESSION OF SIN
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    314
  28. LECTURE XIV.
  29. TEMPTATION — FROM GOD AND FROM SATAN
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    327
  30. LECTURE XV.
  31. BELIEVERS TEMPTED, YET SAFE
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    348
  32. LECTURE XVI.
  33. THE LAST PETITION
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    362
  34. LECTURE XVII.
  35. THE DOXOLOGY
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    379
  36. LECTURE XVIII.
  37. AMEN
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    404

LECTURE I.

PRAYER AS REVEALED IN CHRIST.

"AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT, AS HE WAS PRAYING IN A CERTAIN PLACE, WHEN HE CEASED, ONE OF HIS DISCIPLES SAID UNTO HIM, LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY, AS JOHN ALSO TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES." — LUKE XI. 1.


We possess a twofold record of the model prayer which the Lord bequeathed as a precious legacy to His Church.

At the commencement of His ministry, in the Sermon on the Mount, after His warning against the false view of the heathen, who think they will be heard for their much speaking, Christ taught His disciples the seven petitions which combine the greatest brevity with exhaustive fulness; while in the invocation, "Our Father, which art in heaven," He revealed the basis and starting-point of all true and spiritual worship, the assurance of divine love and favour, which all worship which is of human invention, and prompted by the legal spirit, regards as the end to be merited and obtained.

Towards the end of His ministry, one of His disciples asked Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." What gave occasion to the expression of this desire was the circumstance, that the Saviour had been praying before His apostles. Doubtless, as they listened to the prayer of the Lord, the only-begotten of the Father, they felt that never man spake unto God as this Man; that in Him the filial spirit of prayer had found its perfect expression; that He was the true High Priest, who entered into the very presence of God. John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray, for the object of all God-sent teachers is to bring souls into communion with God. But the master cannot give more than he possesses; and the disciples of Jesus felt that all previous instructions on prayer must yield in depth and power to the teaching of Him whose nearness to God infinitely excelled the position of the most favoured saints of old. Then they themselves, through one of their number, requested the Saviour to teach them to pray. Their desire was, that the great High Priest should show them how they might become priests with Him, approaching and worshipping God in His Spirit with that liberty and confidence which He possessed. They wished to breathe the same atmosphere of divine love; though as yet they did not understand how Jesus would grant their desire more abundantly and fully than their boldest hope anticipated. For Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts, prays in us; it is the Spirit of the Son of God who in our hearts cries now, Abba, Father.

Jesus teaches not merely what and how we are to pray, but He teaches prayer. He is the revelation of prayer. The mystery of prayer is made manifest in Him, who is our Mediator and interceding High Priest, who from all eternity was appointed by His Father to be the beginning of the creation, the redeemer of sinners, and the heir of all things. When we understand the mystery of mediation, manifested in the incarnate and now glorified Son, but existing in the purpose of God from all eternity, prayer loses its enigmatic and isolated character; it no longer appears as an after-thought, there is no longer any discord between it and the unchangeableness of God; but it is seen as having its root and beginning in the blessed Trinity, its fountain in the eternal counsel of salvation.

The Messiah says, in one of the prophetic psalms: I am prayer.[1] During His pilgrimage on earth, His whole life was communion with God; and now, in His glory, He is continually making intercession for us. But this does not exhaust the idea, "I am prayer." He not merely prayed and is now praying. He not merely teaches and influences us to pray, but He is prayer, the fountain and source of all prayer as well as the foundation and basis of all answers to our petitions. He is the Word in this sense also. From all eternity His Father heard him, heard Him as interceding for that world which, created through Him, He represented, and in which, through Him, divine glory was to be revealed. In the same sense, therefore, in which He is light and gives light, in which He is life and resurrection, and therefore quickens, Jesus is prayer. Sympathy has, in like manner, its eternal origin in the Son of God. The Father loved and pitied us, but the mind, which was in the Son of God, was to humble Himself, and to take upon Him our nature, to learn obedience, and to be made perfect through suffering; that He might be a compassionate and merciful High Priest.

Jesus teaches prayer. This is the sum and substance of His teaching; the object of His life and death. He came to bring us unto God; He died for our sins, that the love of God may now come freely and fully into our souls, and that eternal life may be ours. He became man, that we, through Him, might obtain the adoption of sons. He is a High Priest, that we, gathered round Him, should be priests unto God and His Father. That His disciples may pray in Christ's name, as one with Him, as standing in a filial relation to God through Him, this is the high end of the incarnation and of the sufferings of the Son of God,—this is the glorious fruit of His resurrection and of the Pentecostal gift. For prayer is not one among many manifestations of spiritual life; it is not even enough to say that it is the first and most important. It stands by itself, and pre-eminent. It is the manifestation of our personal relation to God; it is the essential and immediate expression of our filial relation in Christ to the Father.[2] " Behold, He prayeth," is the beginning of the new life; "Abba, Father," is the first word of the regenerate. And as the spiritual life commences, so is its continuation. Thus it is true that Jesus teaches to pray, and that the sum and substance, the summit and crown of the teaching of Jesus, is prayer in His name.

Guided by the central fact, that the Lord Jesus is seen praying, and bearing in mind the Saviour's teaching, which, in connexion with the perfect model He gave on prayer, let us consider:—


I. Jesus Praying—The Revelation of Prayer.
II. Prayer in Relation to Life.
III. The Spirit of Prayer, and Stated Seasons for Prayer.
IV. Difficulties and Experiences in Prayer.


I. Jesus Praying — The Revelation of Prayer.

We often read in the gospel narrative, that Jesus prayed; and besides this fact, we possess also the petitions, which on several occasions He offered to His Father, in the hearing of His disciples and the people.

What is usually called the Lord's Prayer is not such in the sense that Jesus offered it in His own person as the expression of His wants. Not merely was it impossible for Him, who was sinless, to use the fifth petition, but we never find that the Lord, in addressing God, or speaking of Him, uses the expression "Our Father." He invariably says either "Father," or "My Father," or "Your Father." For even, when He gave to Mary Magdalene the assurance that the disciples were His brethren, He carefully reminded her that He is the only-begotten, and that His relation to the Father is essentially different from ours. But there are several prayers of Christ recorded in the Gospels, and they are an invaluable treasure and comfort to the Church.

The first word recorded of Jesus as a child, reveals to us that the days of His childhood were days of prayer and meditation. Afterwards we read, that, "being baptized and praying, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended on Him."* [3] Again,† [4] that He withdrew Himself from the great multitude who came to hear and to be healed; and went into the wilderness and prayed. Before He chose the apostles, He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.‡ [5] And before He asked His disciples, "Whom say the people that I, the Son of man, am ?" He had been alone praying. It was while He prayed on the Mount, that the fashion of His countenance was altered. At the grave of Lazarus, He thanked God for having heard Him; before He fed the multitude, Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/21 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/22 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/23 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/24 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/25 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/26 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/27 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/28 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/29 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/30 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/31 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/32 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/33 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/34 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/35 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/36 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/37 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/38 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/39 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/40 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/41 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/42 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/43 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/44 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/45 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/46 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/47 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/48 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/49 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/50

LECTURE II.

THE MODEL PRAYER.

"AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE."—MATT. VI. 9.

The model prayer which the Lord Jesus gave to His disciples has been a precious and most cherished treasure of the Church up to this hour.*[6] Since those gracious words—words of infinite wisdom and infinite love—flowed from the lips of the Son of man, the saints of every age and every language have used them, and found in them the perfect expression of their deepest feelings and truest need, as well as the high ideal and standard of spiritual life, which on this Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/52 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/53 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/54 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/55 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/56 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/57 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/58 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/59 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/60 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/61 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/62 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/63 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/64 Page:The 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If He died for us while we were enemies, if we were saved by His death, much more being saved shall we now live by His life. He who loved not His life, but gave it up for our life, shall He not now treasure up with ever-watchful care and never-failing tenderness the objects of His dying love, the very travail of His soul?

(2.) Peace is then ours. How great is the word peace, if we understand it in the royal spirit! The Saviour, even after His resurrection, and to His own favoured disciples, brings no greater benediction than this: Peace be with you. Only they who know the God of peace know the peace of God. Only they who know that Christ is our Peace understand fully what He means when He says, My peace I give unto you. That ample, all-capacious, warm, and beautiful robe of peace, which covers Christ after He finished our battle and gained our victory, covers now Christ and all who rose with Him in His resurrection. And therefore it is a peace which passeth all understanding, proceeding from the infinite depths of divine love, secured by the infinite sacrifice of Christ, imparted by the influence of the Holy Spirit; a peace which, divine in its origin and its channel, is beyond the reach of all worldly influences; a peace which is broad as a river, continually renewed in vitality, and flowing on calmly till it ends in the ocean of blessedness.

(3.) And do we seek joy in God? It is written, "Thou wilt make them joyful in Thy house of prayer." Christ's joy is to be in us. He is a rejoicing Christ now. Christ rejoices in the glory of the Father, which was manifested in the work of salvation. Christ rejoices in the glory given to Him after His obedience. Christ rejoices in the love of God towards the lost and saved sheep. Christ rejoices in His union with His believers. Christ rejoices in every manifestation of spiritual life, of love, of patience, of self-denial which He beholds in His people. Christ rejoices in the prospect of receiving us to Himself. Christ rejoices even when he is afflicted in our afflictions, for He knows why He has commanded us to glory in tribulation also. Do we seek the greatest, the highest joy, to have Christ's joy fulfilled in us?

Perfect love of God, perfect peace of God, perfect joy of God, such are royal thoughts and petitions. I have placed these first, because they are the perfect gifts of God to every believer. These spiritual blessings are yours in heavenly places in Christ. God expects you to ask them in faith. These petitions are nothing else but the creed converted into prayer: I believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But let us look now at the same blessings in another light—their effects on us. Do we take a royal view of the power, transforming and elevating, of the love of God, and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? We are to be light in the Lord. Have we any lofty conceptions of the light which we may possess? Children in malice, we are to be men, strong, mature, many-sided, fully-developed in knowledge and spiritual understanding. Do we realise it that God can and will teach us deep things and to profit, and that He can reveal to us His secret and give us wisdom? What hopefulness have we in our acquisition of spiritual knowledge? With God for our teacher, with Scripture for our text-book, with Christ, as the perfect embodiment of all God's thoughts, for our model; with nature as our picture-book, with Providence as our commentary, with conscience as our monitor, with fellow-Christians as our schoolmates! You lack wisdom—who among us does not?—what a solution of the difficulty:—Let him ask of God! It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught of God." And as regards the effect of God's teaching, do we seek to be full of light? Or are we rather like unto a house, scantily lit up, imperfectly illuminated, in which many chambers are scarcely ever used, in which some are dark and unswept, and others again purposely left untenanted and unvisited? If our eye is single we shall be transparent—the whole body will then be full of light.

And again as to our character and life. We are to be renewed daily after the image of Christ. We mourn over our weakness and sinfulness. Let us start every day with the conviction that we have nothing, that all our resources are spent, all our strength exhausted, yesterday's manna consumed. Be daily renewed; begin the day with a new Christ as it were.

And what is our idea of fruitfulness? Is not Christ able to make all grace abound toward us, that we become rich and thoroughly furnished unto every good work? And what is our prayer for victory over sin? are not "these things written, that we sin not?" Is not He able to subdue all things within us and around us, so that we are more than conquerors?

Let us learn from the example of the apostle Paul the true grandeur of Christian prayer. Starting with full assurance of the free grace of God in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, and clothed with His righteousness, he seeks and obtains the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. He rejoices in God, though he has no confidence in the flesh. And he asks for himself and the Church to be filled with all the fulness of God, to grow in all things into Christ; that love may abound yet more and more, that we may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.

The Church is indebted to the apostle Paul for his marvellous labours, more still for the Epistles, which, according to the wisdom given unto him, he has written; but I hesitate not to add, most of all for the example of his character, for that singular combination of depth and breadth, of faith and works, of meditation and activity, of joyousness and fear and trembling. While his character is the explanation of his works, his prayer is the secret of his character. From him we can learn what is the royal spirit in prayer and life.


II. The grandeur of Christian prayer for others.

A very touching illustration is given by a German writer, who thus speaks of his mother:[7] "She took such a deep interest in the kingdom of God, that she spent every alternate night in prayer; and when asked to consider her health, she replied, 'I will rest in eternity, at present I have no time. I have to pray so much for the king and his ministers and counsellors, for the universities and schools, for the mission to the Jews and to the heathen, and for my children, relations, and friends.' Her habit was to sit in a corner behind the stove. Sometimes on her knees, sometimes stretched on the floor, she spent numberless nights of her life in prayer. In her last illness she said before her children, pointing with her trembling hand to that little spot behind the stove, 'Lord, Thou knowest how many things I have begun there, have not yet been finished.'"

Prayer in the name of Christ must needs be prayer for the manifestation of God's glory in the good of man. For this is the mind which was and is in Christ. He lived and died to glorify God in our salvation; He lives now, that in Him and the Church the Father may be glorified.

Even before the full light was manifested in the incarnation of the Son of God, the world-wide character of the affections of the saints was a necessary consequence of their living unto the glory of God. The glory of God is the central idea of Scripture, as well as the culminating point of all revelation; and hence we see the saints men of lofty, fervent, and comprehensive intercession. You remember the intercession of Abraham, in this also the father and pattern of the faithful, when he entreated the Lord so earnestly and boldly on behalf of Sodom. You remember the pleading of self-sacrificing love with which Moses supplicated for his rebellious people. You remember the prayers of Jeremiah and Daniel, and the fervent petitions of David and the prophets, for the manifestation of God's salvation and glory to the ends of the earth. How deep were the longings of these men for the coming of God's kingdom! How absorbed were they in the honour of God's name! When Eli heard that the ark was taken, then he fell to the ground and died; when the children of Israel were by Babel's streams, they mourned in constant remembrance of Jerusalem. And how unfeignedly sincere and jubilant is their joy, anticipating in faith the time when the Lord shall reign upon earth, and when all nations shall serve Him and worship Him in light.

As they possessed in such a wonderful degree the spirit of intercession, that unselfish expansiveness of view and affection, which only faith in God can give, they possessed also the power of intercession. Thus Job was appointed by the Almighty to be the effectual intercessor for his friends. When God remembered Abraham he delivered Lot. In the battle of Amalek Israel conquered as long as the hands of Moses were lifted up in prayer. In the Book of Jeremiah the power of Moses the lawgiver, and Samuel the great reformer, is spoken of as so great, that only the exceeding weight of Israel's sin was too heavy an obstacle to be removed by them; and in the Book of Ezekiel we read of the potent influence of the prayer of Noah, Daniel, and Job; Daniel, that eminent saint, man greatly beloved, being alive at the very time when God thus spoke of him.

And if such was the spirit and power of intercession before Christ came, and before the spirit of sonship was poured out, how much more ought we, the body of Christ, to be characterised by the spirit and power of intercessory prayer. Intercession is the distinguishing mark of the Christian. The penitent, the inquirer, pray for their own personal safety. The accepted believer prays for others as well as for himself; he prays for the Church and for the world. Nearly all the exhortations given in the Epistles are to intercessory prayer, for all saints and for the spread of the gospel; for all men, for kings, and all that are in authority; for the ministers of the word, and for all who are in suffering and persecution. Behold the elevated position of the Christian! Banished by sin from Paradise, dead in trespasses, and condemned by the law, he has, through the grace of Christ and the power of the Spirit, been brought into the favour and light of God; he is one with Christ. When he appears before the Father, he appears not merely as a creature in humility, as a sinner in contrition, as a suppliant, full of wants and weakness, but he appears as one with Christ, possessed of the spirit of the Son of God, a royal priest, seeking the Father's glory, longing for the Father's kingdom, and supplicating in Christ's name the fulfilment of God's promises concerning the Church and the world. It is in intercession that the Christian most fully enters into his glorious liberty. Then he is not a servant, but a friend, to whom God has revealed His plans and purposes; as Jesus intercedes above, he intercedes below; He fulfils the measure of prayer, for Christ and the Church are one. And while his heart is filled with love, the wings of faith carry him beyond all difficulties and storms of time, so that, calm, collected, and hopeful, he looks forward to the victory of God's holy cause upon earth.

Pray especially for the ministers of the gospel, that they may set forth the love of God to the conversion of many souls. Pray for them that they may not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, so that they may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Remember their difficulties. To be anxious for souls and yet not impatient, to be patient and yet not indifferent, to bear the infirmities of the weak without fostering them, to testify against sin and unfaithfulness, and the low standard of spiritual life, and yet to keep the stream of love free and full, and open—to have the mind of a faithful shepherd, a hopeful physician, a tender nurse, a skilful teacher—requires the continual renewal of the Lord's grace.

Pray for the mission among Israel and the heathen nations. Christ's command is explicit, God's promise sure. The Church, obeying the divine word, and constrained by the love of Christ, cannot but send forth evangelists.*[8] Let us regard the missionary spirit as the very spirit of Christian prayer; and in all our thoughts and prayers and work connected with the missions of the Church of Christ, let us remember how closely we are brought into communion with the Saviour. There is nothing higher and more Christlike; there is nothing in which the love of God comes nearer to our hearts. Here all divine truths and gifts meet as it were. You believe the supremacy of the Father, and that His glory is the end of all things as well as the joy of His chosen; you believe the universal character of Christ's kingdom, and the promise given to Him, that the heathen are His inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the earth His possession; you believe that the Spirit alone can open the eyes of the blind, and turn men from idols to serve the true and living God; you believe that the Church of Christ is intrusted with the commission to preach the gospel to all nations; and you believe that you are members of the body, and that as at present you stand not alone, so your future life and blessedness will be in communion with all the saints, and in an interest in all the kingdom of God. But what is your faith in all these glorious truths if you take no interest in missions? Are you not separating yourself from the very love of God, from the mind and heart of Jesus, from the pure river, which is to make glad all lands, from the sympathy of the angels, from the expectation of the saints who have entered into their rest, from the truest energy of the Church on earth?

As you worship the Father in heaven, and as you can find no other safety than in the name of God, no other home than in His kingdom, no other life than in the fulfilling of His will; and as this name is revealed, not for you only, but for all the ends of the earth, and His kingdom was founded by Christ, not for you only, but for all nations and kindreds; and His will is to be done by the Spirit's influence, not in your heart and walk only, but on earth even as it is in heaven, I beseech you, by your own personal possession and enjoyment of the Father's love and gifts, that you cultivate and cherish and manifest the missionary spirit, which is none other than the spirit of adoption, even of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the royal spirit of the renewed and sanctified children of the Most High. And as you pray for the mission of Christ among Jew and Gentile, and give to this work your affection and your contributions, the narrower circle of your immediate duty and work, and the inmost circle of your own spiritual life, will receive the invigorating and fertilising influence of that divine love which never scatters and spreads abroad without increasing the riches and intensifying the strength of the giver; for while we obey the command of Christ, and go forth into the world with the gospel, as far as we can by prayer and help, we realise the promise connected with this very last commission of the ascending Saviour, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

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(Saphir).djvu/432 Page:The Lord's Prayer (Saphir).djvu/433 kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth?" Did it not express his faith that God would give him that day his daily bread, strength to suffer? Did it not manifest the meekness and forbearance of a forgiven soul, and the bright hope of safe conduct through all temptation and deliverance from evil? It was a great Amen, and the soul of that Amen was Christ, whom Cyprian worshipped, and in whom all truths and hopes were to him Amen. So let us learn to say Amen, that we may reach that end, which is better than the beginning; that end which itself is endless, where we join the song of praise, which, according to the testimony of the beloved disciple, is enclosed with the twofold Amen: Amen, blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever, Amen.

When life ends we can commit our souls, as we constantly do our prayers, to Christ, the Amen, to bring them safely to the God of glory, our Father in Heaven.

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  1. Psalm cix, 4.
  2. Hofmann, "Schriftbeweis," ii, 321
  3. * Luke iii. 21.
  4. † Luke v. 16
  5. ‡ The words of Martha ("I know, that even now whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee") show that the Saviour's life of prayer was well known to His disciples.
  6. * Although we have no direct evidence that the Lord's Prayer was used in the apostolic Church, we can scarcely doubt it. Bengel has pointed out the very striking parallelism between the Lord's Prayer, especially in its first petitions, and the first Epistle of Peter. (Gnomon, 1 Peter i.) According to the testimony of Tertullian and Cyprian, it was the usual prayer of the congregation. The former calls it the prayer taught by God, upon which all other prayers are to be founded, and by which they are to be sealed, the sum of the gospel and compendium of Christ's discourses. Augustine states that at baptism the Catechumens were taught this prayer: "Receive now this precious jewel and keep it; receive the prayer which God himself has taught us to bring before God." Of the Reformers, perhaps none had so deep an insight into this prayer, and such profound affection for it, as Luther, who constantly alludes to it, and always with peculiar warmth and enthusiasm.
  7. A daughter of the well-known P. M. Hahn, a friend of Bengel and Ötinger, a great student of Scripture and nature. His attainments in astronomy were high, his expositions of Scripture remarkable for their simplicity and depth.—Paulus, Reden Jesu von Hahn.
  8. * During the present dispensation the purpose of God, according to Scripture, is to gather a Church, an election out of the nations. The gospel is to be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations (Matt. xxiv. 14). Wherever it is preached, it bringeth forth fruit; enough to encourage us, not enough to make us forget that "the kingdom" is only at the coming of the Lord Jesus.