Page images

ven, the seat of his abode, and the scene of their future destination, they anticipate the hour when the transient distinctions which separate them shall be annihilated, and upon the altar of grace sacrifice all the unhallowed passions which these distinctions might have inflamed.

Nor is it only the separation occasioned by external circumstances, that this address, if made with becoming seriousness, will remove: it will alleviate the spirit of prejudice* and open our hearts to candour and charity. In addressing God as our Father, we cannot presume to circumscribe the comprehensive term, so as only to apply it in our minds to those who agree with us in opinion, or who are connected to us by the bonds of amity or friendship. No. Our Father is likewise the father of those who opose us j of those who think ill of


us, and who are prejudiced against us. In repeating these words we pray for them as for ourselves. We entreat for them an equal degree of mercy \ and by uniting in their supplications, acquire the restoration of. that benevolent sympathy, which, without the application of such means, would have been for ever lost.

In expressing our reverence to the name of God, we recognize all the Divine attributes, and profess our desire to render that homage universal, by spreading the knowledge of his holiness, so that he may be worshipped by every heart. And by this profession we bind ourselves to do all in our power to enlighten others, and to honour the name of God by the sanctity of our lives and the sincerity of our devotion.

In praying that the kingdom of

God may come, we at once acknow

i 3 ledge ledge the supremacy of the Divine government, and profess our allegiance to the Divine Ruler, whose reign shall be the reign of justice, peace, and truth. We therefore, by this expression, engage to be the subjects of that kingdom, and to advance its speedy establishment, by our firm adherence to the principles which distinguish those of whom it is composed. If this engagement is made with sincerity, it is hardly possible that it can do otherwise than influence our conduct. If it does not, every solemn utterance which we give to this petition shall bear witness, against us.

"Thy will be done on earth as it "is in heaven." By this explicit declaration of submission to the Divine will, we declare our resignation to the Divine decrees, and our perfect reliance upon the wisdom of Providence. dence. We resign ourselves, and all that is dear to us, to be guided and governed by the will of our heavenly Father; and pray that all may be equally disposed as we are to do his will, and to be governed by his directions. To that Sovereign will, we leave the disposal of all the circumstances of our lot: but, to shew that our dependence for the support of life is solely placed on his goodness, we supplicate him for what is necessary to its immediate preservation. We supplicate in the name of all: "Give us this day our daily bread." That sustenance, in whatever circumstances we are placed, we acknowledge as his gift. And are we not bound thus to acknowledge it? However liberally God may have provided for us in the abundance of things of this life, are not the events of life, and life itself, in his disposal?

i 4 Can Can wealth insure to us a continuance of our daily bread? Or is it not in the power of God to deprive us of the wealth in which we trust? Let us then, with gratitude and trusty look up to the Giver of all good for whatever is necessary to the comfort of our existence; and while in the name of all our brethren we beseech the Universal Parent for our daily bread, let us remember that we are bound to do all in our power to render the prayer effectual. If, while we pray to the Almighty to supply the wants of all, we, to whom he has given a superabundance, supply the wants of none; if through carelessness or hardness of heart we permit those to perish for whom we beseech* God to provide, our prayers will ascend to heaven as an offence, and our supplications as a mockery. In the same breath in which we


« PreviousContinue »