SERMONS ON SELECTED LESSONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

SERMON VI

[LVI. BEN.]

ON THE LORD'S PRAYER IN ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL, CHAP. VI. 9, ETC. TO THE COMPETENTES.(4)

1. THE blessed Apostle, to show that those times when it should come to pass that all the nations should believe in Christ had been foretold by the Prophets, produced this testimony where it is written, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved."(5) For before time the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth was called upon amongst the Israelites only; the rest of the nations called upon dumb and deaf idols, by whom they were not heard, or by devils, by whom they were heard to their harm. "But when the fulness of time came," that was fulfilled which had been foretold, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved." Moreover, because the Jews, even those who believed in Christ, grudged the Gospel to the Gentiles, and said that the Gospel ought not to be preached to them who were not circumcised; because against these the Apostle Paul alleged this testimony, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved;"(6) he immediately subjoined, to convince those who were unwilling that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, the words, "But how shall they call upon Him, in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? or how shall they hear without a preacher? or how shall they preach except they be sent?" Because then he said, "how shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?" ye have not first learnt the Lord's Prayer, and after that the Creed; but first the Creed, where ye might know what to believe, and afterwards the Prayer, where ye might know whom to call upon. The Creed then has respect to the faith, the Lord's Prayer to prayer; because it is he who believeth, that is heard when he calleth.

2. But many ask for what they ought not to ask, not knowing what is expedient for them. Two things therefore must he that prays beware of; that he ask not what he ought not; and that he ask not from whom he ought not. From the devil, from idols, from evil spirits,(7) must nothing be asked. From the Lord our God Jesus Christ, God the Father of Prophets, and Apostles, and Martyrs, from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from God who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things in them, from Him must we ask whatsoever we have to ask. But we must beware that we ask not of Him that which we ought not to ask. If because we ought to ask for life, thou ask it of dumb and deaf idols, what doth it profit thee? So if from God the Father, who is in heaven, thou dost wish for the death of thine enemies, what doth it profit thee? Hast thou not heard or read in the Psalm, in which the damnable end of the traitor Judas is foretold, how the prophecy spake of him "Let his prayer be turned into sin?"(1) If then thou risest up, and prayest for evil on thine enemies, thy "prayer will be turned into sin."

3. You have read in the Holy Psalms, how that he who speaks in them imprecates, as it would seem, many curses upon his enemies. And surely, one may say, he who speaks in the Psalms is a righteous man; wherefore then does he so wish evil upon his enemies? He does not wish, but he foresees, it is a prophecy of one who is telling things to come, not a vow of malediction; for the prophets knew by the Spirit to whom evil was appointed to happen, and to whom good; and by prophecy they spake as if they wished for what they did foresee. But how canst thou know whether he for whom today thou art asking evil, may not to-morrow be a better man than thyself? But you will say, I know him to be a wicked man. Well: thou must know that thou art wicked too. Although it may be thou takest upon thyself to judge of another's heart what thou dost not know; but as for thine own self thou knowest that thou art wicked. Hearest thou not the Apostle saying, "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ingorantly in unbelief?"(2) Now when the Apostle Paul persecuted. the Christians, binding them wherever he found them, and drew them to the Chief Priests to be questioned and punished, what think ye, brethren, did the Church pray against him, or for him? Surely the Church of God which had learnt instruction from her Lord, who said as He hung upon the Cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,"(3) so prayed for Paul (or rather as yet Saul), that that might be wrought in him which was wrought. For in that he says, "But I was unknown by face to the churches of Judaea which are in Christ: only they heard that he who persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed; and they magnified God in me;"(4) why did they magnify God, but because they asked this of God, before it came to pass?

4. Our Lord then first of all cut off "much speaking," that thou mightest not bring a multitude of words unto God, as though by thy many words thou wouldest teach Him. Therefore when thou prayest thou hast need of piety, not of wordiness. "For your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before ye ask Him."(5) Be ye loth then to use many words, for He knoweth what is needful for you. But lest peradventure any should say here, If He know what is needful for us, why should we use so much as a few words? why should we pray at all? He knoweth Himself; let Him then give what He knoweth to be needful for us. Yes, but it is His will that thou shouldest pray, that He may give to thy longings, that His gifts may not be lightly esteemed; seeing He hath Himself formed this longing desire in us. The words therefore which our Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us in His prayer, are the rule and standard of our desires. Thou mayest not ask for anything but what is written there.

5. "Do ye therefore say," saith he, "Our Father, which art in heaven." Where ye see ye have begun to have God for your Father. Ye will have Him, when ye are new born. Although even now before ye are born, ye have been conceived of His seed, as being on the eve of being brought forth in the font, the womb as it were of the Church. "Our Father, which art in heaven." Remember then, that ye have a Father in heaven. Remember that ye were born of your father Adam unto death, that ye are to be born anew of God the Father unto life. And what ye say, say in your hearts. Only let there be the earnest affection of prayer, and there will be the effectual(6) answer of Him who heareth prayer. "Hallowed be thy Name." Why dost thou ask, that God's Name may be hallowed? It is holy. Why then askest thou for that which is already holy? And then when thou dost ask that His Name may be hallowed, dost thou not as it were pray to Him for Him, and not for thyself? No. Understand it aright, and it is for thine own self thou askest. For this thou askest, that what is always in itself holy, may be hallowed in thee. What is "be hallowed?" "Be accounted holy," be not despised. So then you see, that the good thou dost wish, thou wishest for thine own self. For if thou despise the Name of God, for thyself it will be ill, and not for God.

6. "Thy kingdom come."(7) To whom do we speak? and will not God's kingdom come, if we ask it not. For of that kingdom do we speak which will be after the end of the world. For God hath a kingdom always; neither is He ever without a kingdom, whom the whole creation serveth. But what kingdom then dost thou wish for? That of which it is written in the Gospel, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world."(1) Lo here is the kingdom whereof we say, "Thy kingdom come." We pray that it may come in us; we pray that; we may be found in it. For come it certainly will; but what will it profit thee, if it shall find thee at the left hand? Therefore, here again it is for thine own self that thou wishest well; for thyself thou prayest. This it is that thou dost long for; this desire in thy prayer, that thou mayest so live, that thou mayest have a part in the kingdom of God, which is to be given to all saints. Therefore when thou dost say, "Thy kingdom come," thou dost pray for thyself, that thou mayest live well. Let us have part in Thy kingdom: let that come even to us, which is to come to Thy saints and righteous ones.

7. "Thy will be done."(2) What! if thou say not this, will not God do His will? Remember what thou hast repeated in the Creed, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." If He be Almighty, why prayest thou that His will may be done? What is this then, "Thy will be done"? May it be done in me, that I may not resist Thy will. Therefore here again it is for thyself thou prayest, and not for God. For the will of God will be done in thee, though it be not done by thee. For both in them to whom He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world;"(1) shall the will of God be done, that the saints and righteous may receive the kingdom; and in them to whom He shall say, "Depart ye into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,"(3) shall the will of God be done, that the wicked may be condemned to everlasting fire. That His will may be done by thee is another thing. It is not then without a cause, but that it may be well with thee, that thou dost pray that His will may be done in thee. But whether it be well or ill with thee, it will still be done in thee: but O that it may be done by thee also. Why do I say then, "Thy will be done in heaven and in earth," and do not say, "Thy will be done by heaven and earth?" Because what is done by thee, He Himself doeth in thee. Never is anything done by thee which He Himself doeth not in thee. Sometimes, indeed, He doeth in thee what is not done by thee; but never is anything done by thee, if He do it not in thee.

8. But what is "in heaven and in earth," or, "as in heaven so in earth?" The Angels do Thy will; may we do it also. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." The mind is heaven, the flesh is earth. When thou dost say (if so be thou do say it) with the Apostle, "With my mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin;"(4) the will of God is done in heaven, but not yet in earth. But when the flesh shall be in harmony with the mind, and "death shall be swallowed up in victory,"(5) so that no carnal desires shall remain for the mind to be in conflict with, when strife in the earth shall have passed away, the war of the heart be over, and that be gone by which is spoken, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would; "(6) when this war, I say, shall be over, and all concupiscence shall have been changed into charity, nothing shall remain in the body to oppose the spirit, nothing to be tamed, nothing to be bridled, nothing to be trodden down; but the whole shall go on through concord unto righteousness, and the will of God will be done in heaven and in earth. "Thy will be done in heaven and in earth." We wish for perfection, when we pray for this. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." In the Church the spiritual are heaven, the carnal are earth. So then, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth;". that as the spiritual do serve Thee, so the carnal being reformed may serve Thee also. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." There is yet another very spiritual(7) meaning of it. For we are admonished to pray for our enemies. The Church is heaven, the enemies of the Church are earth. What then is, "Thy will be done as n heaven so in earth"? May our enemies believe, as we also believe in Thee! may they become friends, and end their enmities! They are earth, therefore are they against us; may they become heaven, and they will be with us.

9. "Give us this day our daily bread."(8) Now here it is manifest, that it is for ourselves we pray. When thou sayest, "Hallowed be Thy Name," it requires explanation how it is that it is for thyself thou prayest, not for God. When thou sayest, "Thy will be done;" here again is there need of explanation, lest thou think that thou art wishing well to God in this prayer, that His will may be done, and not rather that thou art praying for thyself. When thou sayest, "Thy kingdom come;" this again must be explained, lest thou think that thou art wishing well to God in this prayer that He may reign. But from this place and onwards to the end of the Prayer, it is plain that we are praying to God for our own selves. "When thou sayest," Give us this day our daily bread," thou dost profess thyself to be God's beggar. But be not ashamed at this; how rich soever any man be on earth, he is still God's beggar. The beggar takes his stand before the rich man's house; but the rich man himself stands before the door of the great rich One. Petition is made to him, and he maketh his petition. If he were not in need, he would not knock at the ears of God in prayer. And what doth the rich man need? I am bold to say, the rich man needeth even daily bread. For how is it that he hath abundance of all things? whence but because God hath given it him? What should he have, if God withdrew His hand? Have not many laid down to sleep in wealth, and risen up in beggary? And that he doth not want, is due to God's mercy, not to his own power.

10. But this bread, Dearly beloved, by which our body is filled, by which the flesh is recruited day by day; this bread, I say, God giveth not to those only who praise, but to those also who blaspheme Him; "Who maketh His sun to rise upon the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and on the unjust."(1) Thou praisest Him, and He feedeth thee; thou dost blaspheme Him, He feedeth thee. He waiteth for thee to repent; but if thou wilt not change thyself, He will condemn thee. Because then both good and bad receive this bread from God, thinkest thou there is no other bread for which the children ask, of which the Lord said in the Gospel, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs?"(2) Yes, surely there is. What then is that bread? and why is it called daily? Because this is necessary as the other; for without it we cannot live; without bread we cannot live. It is shamelessness to ask for wealth from God; it is no shamelessness to ask for daily bread. That which ministereth to pride is one thing, that which ministereth to life another. Nevertheless, because this bread which may be seen and handled, is given both to the good and bad; there is a daily bread, for which the children pray. That is the word of God, which is dealt out to us day by day. Our bread is daily bread; and by it live not our bodies, but our souls. It is necessary for us who are even now labourers in the vineyard,--it is our food, not our hire. For he that hires the labourer into the vineyard owes him two things; food, that he faint not, and his hire, wherewith he may rejoice. Our daily food then in this earth is the word of God, which is dealt out always in the Churches: our hire after labour is called eternal life. Again, if by this our daily bread thou understand what the faithful(3) receive, what ye shall receive, when ye have been baptized, it is with good reason that we ask and say, "Give us this day our daily bread;" that we may live in such sort, as that we be not separated from the Holy Altar.

11. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."(4) Touching this petition again we need no explanation, that it is for ourselves that we pray. For we beg that our debts may be for given us. For debtors are we, not in money, but in sins. Thou art saying perchance at this moment, And you too. We answer, Yes, we too. What, ye Holy Bishops, are ye debtors? Yes, we are debtors too. What you! My Lord. (5) Be it far from thee, do not thyself this wrong. I do myself no wrong, but I say the truth; we are debtors: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."(6) We have been baptized, and yet are we debtors. Not that anything then remained, which was not remitted to us in Baptism, but because in our lives we are contracting ever what needs daily forgiveness. They who are baptized, and forthwith depart out of this life, come up from the font(7) without any debt; without any debt they leave the world. But they who are baptized and are still kept in this life, contract defilements by reason of their mortal frailty, by which though the ship be not sunk, yet have they need of recourse to the pump. For otherwise by little and little will that enter in by which the whole ship will be sunk. And to offer this prayer, is to have recourse to the pump. But we ought not only to pray, but to do alms also, because when the pump is used to prevent the ship from sinking, both the voices and hands are at work. Now we are at work with our voices, when we say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." And we are at work with our hands when we do this, "Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor into thine house.(8) Shut up alms in the heart of a poor(9) man, and it shall intercede for thee unto the Lord."(10)

12. Although therefore all our sins were forgiven in the "layer of regeneration," we should be driven into great straits, if there were not given to us the daily cleansing of the Holy Prayer. Alms and prayers purge away sins; only let not such sins be committed, for which we must necessarily be separated from our daily Bread; avoid we all such debts to which a severe and certain condemnation is due. Call not yourselves righteous, as though ye had no cause to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Though ye abstain from idolatry, from the consolations(1) of astrologers, from the cures of enchanters, though ye abstain from the seductions of heretics, from the divisions of schismatics; though ye abstain from murders, from adulteries and fornications, from thefts and plunderings, from false witnessings, and all such other sins which I do not name, as have a ruinous consequence, for which it is necessary that the sinner be cut off from the altar, and be so bound in earth, as to be bound in heaven, to his great and deadly danger, unless again he be so loosed in earth, as to be loosed in heaven; yet after all these are excepted, still there is no want of occasions whereby a man may sin. A man sins in seeing with pleasure what he ought not to see. Yet who can hold in the quickness of the eye? For from this the eye is said to have received its very name, from its quickness.(2) Who can restrain the ear or eye? The eyes may be shut when thou wilt, and are shut in a moment, but the ears thou canst only with an effort close: thou must raise the hand and reach them, and if any one hold thy hand, they are kept open, nor canst thou close them against reviling, impure, or flattering, and seducing words. And when thou hearest any things thou oughtest not to hear, though thou do it not, dost thou not sin with the ear? for thou hearest something that is bad with pleasure? How great sins doth the deadly tongue commit! Yea, sometimes sins of such a nature, that a man is separated from the altar for them. To the tongue pertains the whole matter of blasphemies, and many idle words again are spoken, which are not convenient. But let the hand do nothing wrong, let the feet run not to any evil, nor the eye be directed to immodesty; let not the ear be open with pleasure to filthy talk; nor the tongue move to indecent speech; yet tell me, who can restrain the thoughts? How often do we pray, my brethren, and our thoughts are elsewhere, as though we forgot Before whom we are standing, or before whom we are prostrating ourselves! If all these things be collected together against us, will they not therefore not overwhelm us, because they are small faults? What matter is it whether lead or sand overwhelm us? The lead is all one mass, the sand is small grains, but by their great number they overwhelm thee. So thy sins are small. Seest thou not how the rivers are filled, and the lands are wasted by small drops? They are small, but they are many.

13. Let us therefore say every day; and say it in sincerity of heart, and do what we say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." It is an engagement, a covenant, an agreement that we make with God. The Lord thy God saith to thee, Forgive, and I will forgive. Thou hast not forgiven; thou retainest thy sins against thyself, not I. I pray thee, my dearly beloved children, since I know what is expedient for you in the Lord's Prayer, and most of all in that sentence of it, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" hear me. Ye are about to be baptized, forgive everything; whatsoever any man have in his heart against any other, let him from his heart forgive it. So enter in, and be sure, that all your sins which ye have contracted, whether from your birth of your parents after Adam with original sin, for which sins' sake ye run with babes to the Saviour's grace, or whatever after sins ye have contracted in your lives, by word, or deed, or thought, all are forgiven; and you will go out of the water as from before the presence of your Lord, with the sure discharge of all debts.

14. Now because by reason of those daily sins of which I have spoken, it is necessary for you to say, in that $ daily prayer of cleansing as it were, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" what will ye do? Ye have enemies. For who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves, love them. In no way can thine enemy so hurt thee by his violence, as thou dost hurt thyself if thou love him not. For he may injure thy estate, or flocks, or house, or thy man-servant, or thy maid-servant, or thy son, or thy wife; or at most, if such power be given him, thy body. But can he injure thy soul, as thou canst thyself? Reach forward, dearly beloved, I beseech you, to this perfection. But have I given you this power? He only hath given it to whom ye say, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth. Yet let it not seem impossible to you. I know, I have known by experience, that there are Christian men who do love their enemies. If it seem to you impossible, ye will not do it. Believe then first that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in you. For what good can thy neighbour's ill do thee? If he had no ill, he would not even be thine enemy. Wish him well then, that he may end his ill, and he will be thine enemy no longer. For it is not the human nature in him that is at enmity with thee, but his sin. Is he therefore thine enemy, because he hath a soul and body? In this he is as thou art: thou hast a soul, and so hath he: thou hast a body, and so hath he. He is of the same substance as thou art; ye were made both out of the same earth, and quickened by the same Lord. In all this he is as thou art. Acknowledge in him then thy brother. The first pair, Adam and Eve, were our parents; the one our father, the other our mother; and therefore we are brethren. But let us leave the consideration of our first origin. God is our Father, the Church our Mother, and therefore are we brethren. But you will say, my enemy is a heathen, a Jew, a heretic, of whom I spake some time ago on the words, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." O Church, thy enemy is the heathen, the Jew, the heretic; he is the earth. If thou art heaven, call on thy Father which is in heaven, and pray for thine enemies: for so was Saul an enemy of the Church; thus was prayer made for him, and he became her friend. He not only ceased from being her persecutor, but he laboured to be her helper. And yet, to say the truth, prayer(1) was made against him; but against his malice, not against his nature. So let thy prayer be against the malice of thine enemy, that it may die, and he may live. For if thine enemy were dead, thou hast lost it might seem an enemy, yet hast thou not found a friend. But if his malice die, thou hast at once lost an enemy and found a friend.

15. But still ye are saying, Who can do, who has ever done this? May God bring it to effect in your hearts! I know as well as you, there are but few who do it; great men are they and spiritual who do so. Are all the faithful in the Church who approach the altar, and take the Body and Blood of Christ, are they all such? And yet they all say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." What, if God should answer them, "Why do ye ask me to do what I have promised, when ye do not what I have commanded?" What have I promised? "To forgive your debts." What have I commanded? "That ye also forgive your debtors." How can ye do this, if ye do not love your enemies? What then must we do, brethren? Is the flock of Christ reduced to such a scanty number? If they only ought to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors," who love their enemies; I know not what to do, I know not what to say. For must I say to you, If ye do not love your enemies, do not pray; I dare not say so; yea, pray rather that ye may love them. But must I say to you, If ye do not love your enemies, say not in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors"? Suppose that I were to say, Do not use these words. If ye do not, your debts are not forgiven; and if ye do use them, and do not act thereafter, they are not forgiven. In order therefore that they may be forgiven, ye must both use the prayer, and do thereafter.

16. I see some ground on which I may comfort not some few only, but the multitude of Christians: and I know that ye are longing to hear it. Christ hath said," Forgive, that ye may be forgiven."(2) And what do ye say in the Prayer which we have now been discussing? "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." So, Lord, forgive, as we forgive. This thou sayest, "O Father, which art in heaven, so forgive our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." For this ye ought to do, and if ye do it not, ye will perish. When your enemy asks pardon, at once forgive him. And is this much for you to do? Though it were much for thee to love thine enemy when violent against thee, is it much to love a man who is a supplicant before thee? What hast thou to say? He was before violent, and then thou hatedst him. I had rather thou hadst not hated him even then: I had rather then when thou weft suffering from his violence, thou hadst remembered the Lord, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."(3) I would have then much wished that even at that time when thine enemy was violent against thee, thou hadst had regard to the Lord thy God speaking thus. But perhaps you will say, He did it, but then He did it as being the Lord, as the Christ, as the Son of God, as the Only-Begotten, as the Word made flesh. But what can I, an infirm and sinful man, do? If thy Lord be too high an example for thee, turn thy thoughts upon thy fellow-servant. The holy Stephen was being stoned, and as they stoned him, on bended knees did he pray for his enemies, and say, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."(4) They were casting stones, not asking pardon, yet did he pray for them. I would thou wert like him; reach forth. Why art thou for ever trailing thy heart along the earth? Hear, "Lift up thy heart," reach forward, love thine enemies. If thou canst not love him in his violence, love him at least when he asks pardon. Love the man who saith to thee, "Brother, I have sinned, forgive me." If thou then forgive him not, I say not merely, that thou dost blot this prayer out of thine heart, but thou shall be blotted thyself out of the book of God.

17. But if thou then at least forgive him, or let go hatred from thy heart, it is hatred from the heart I bid thee forego, and not proper discipline. What if one who asks my pardon, be one who ought to be chastised by me! Do what thou wilt, for I suppose that thou dost love thy child even when thou dost chastise him. Thou regardest not his cries under the rod, because thou art reserving for him his inheritance. This I say then, that thou forego from thy heart all hatred, when thine enemy asks pardon of thee. But perhaps you will say, "he is playing false, he is pretending." O thou judge of another's heart, tell me thine own father's thoughts, tell me thine own thoughts yesterday. He asks and petitions for pardon; forgive, by all means forgive him. If thou wilt not forgive him, it is thyself thou dost hurt, not him, for he knows what he has to do. Thou art not willing to forgive thine own fellow-servant; he will go then to thy Lord, and say to Him, "Lord, I have prayed my fellow-servant to forgive me, and he would not; do Thou forgive me." Hath not the Lord power to release his servant's debts? So he, having obtained pardon from his Lord, returns loosed, whilst thou remainest bound. How bound? The time of prayer will come, the time must come for thee to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" and the Lord will answer thee, Thou wicked servant, when thou didst owe Me so great a debt, thou didst ask Me, and I forgave thee; "shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?"(1) These words are out of the Gospel, not of my own heart. But if on being asked, thou shall forgive him who begs for pardon, then thou canst say this prayer. And if thou hast not as yet the strength to love him in his violence, still thou mayest offer this prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Let us pass on to the rest.

18. "And lead us not into temptation. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors,"(2) we say because of past sins, which we cannot undo, that they should not have been done. Thou canst labour not to do what thou hast done before, but how canst thou bring about, that that which thou hast done should not be done? As regards those things which have been done already, that sentence of the prayer is thy help, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." As regards those into which thou mayest fall, what wilt thou do? "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that is, from temptation itself.

19. Now these three first petitions, "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth," these three regard the life eternal, for God's Name ought to be hallowed in us always, we ought to be in His kingdom always, we ought to do His will always. This will be to all eternity. But "daily bread" is necessary now. All the rest that we pray for from this article, regards the necessities of the present life. Daily bread is necessary in this life; the forgiveness of our debts is necessary in this life. For when we shall arrive at the other life, there will be an end of all debts. In this life there is temptation, in this life the sailing is dangerous, in this life something is ever stealing its way in through the chinks of our frailties, which must be pumped out. But when we shall be made equal to the Angels of God; no more need to say and pray to God to forgive us our debts, when there will be none. Here then is the "daily bread;" here the prayer that our "debts may be forgiven;" here that we "enter not into temptation;" for in that life temptation does not enter; here that we may be "delivered from evil;" for in that life there will be no evil, but eternal and abiding good.

SERMON VII.

[LVII. BEN.]

AGAIN, ON MATT. VI. ON THE LORD'S PRAYER. TO THE COMPETENTES.

1. The order established for your edification requires that ye learn first what to believe, and afterwards what to ask. For so saith the Apostle, "Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved."(3) This testimony blessed Paul cited out of the Prophet; for by the Prophet were those times foretold, when all men should call upon God; "Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved." And he added, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? Or how shall they hear without a preacher? Or how shall they preach except they be sent?"(4) Therefore were preachers sent. They preached Christ. As they preached, the people heard, by hearing they believed, and by believing called upon Him. Because then it was most rightly and most truly said, "How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" therefore have ye first learned what to believe: and to-day have learnt to call on Him in whom ye have believed.

2. The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, hath taught us a Prayer; and though He be the Lord Himself, as ye have heard and repeated in the Creed, the Only Son of God, yet He would not be alone. He is the Only Son, and yet would not be alone; He hath vouchsafed to have brethren. For to whom doth He say, "Say, Our Father, which art in heaven?"(5) Whom did He wish us to call our Father, save His own Father? Did He grudge us this? Parents sometimes when they have gotten one, or two, or three children, fear to give birth to any more, lest they reduce the rest to beggary. But because the inheritance which He promiseth us is such as many may possess, and no one be straitened; therefore hath He called into His brotherhood the numberless brethren; who say, "Our Father, which art in heaven." So said they who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us. See how many brethren the Only Son hath in His grace, sharing His inheritance with those for whom He suffered death. We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labours and to death: but we have found other parents, God our Father, and the Church our Mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal. Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have begun to be; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a Father. See, how that our Creator hath condescended to be our Father!

3. We have heard whom we ought to call upon, and with what hope of an eternal inheritance we have begun to have a Father in heaven; let us now hear what we must ask of Him. Of such a Father what shall we ask? Do we not ask rain of Him, to-day, and yesterday, and the day before? This is no great thing to have asked of such a Father, and yet ye see with what sighings, and with what great desire we ask for rain, when death is feared, when that is feared which none can escape. For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later. How much more ought we to cry to Him, that we may come to that place where we shall never die!

4. Therefore is it said, "Hallowed be Thy Name." This we also ask of Him that his Name may be hallowed in us; for Holy is it always. And how is His Name hallowed in us, except while it makes us holy. For once we were not holy, and we are made holy by His Name; but He is always Holy, and His Name always Holy. It is for ourselves, not for God, that we pray. For we do not wish well to God, to whom no ill can ever happen. But we wish what is good for ourselves, that His Holy Name may be hallowed, that that which is always Holy, may be hallowed in us.

5. "Thy kingdom come."(1) Come it surely will, whether we ask or no. Indeed, God hath an eternal kingdom. For when did He not reign? When did He begin to reign? For His kingdom hath no beginning, neither shall it have any end. But that we may know that in this prayer also we pray for ourselves, and not for God (for we do not say, "Thy kingdom come," as though we were asking that God may reign); we shall be ourselves His kingdom, if believing in Him we make progress in this filth. All the faithful, redeemed by the Blood of His Only Son, will be His kingdom. And this His kingdom will come, when the resurrection of the dead shall have taken place; for then He will come Himself. And when the dead are risen, He will divide them, as He Himself saith, "and He shall set some on the right hand, and some on the left."(2) To those who shall be on the right hand He will say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom." This is what we wish and pray for when we say, "Thy kingdom come;" that it may come to us. For if we shall be reprobates, that kingdom will come to others, but not to us. But if we shall be of that number, who belong to the members of His Only-begotten Son, His kingdom will come to us, and will not tarry. For are there as many ages yet remaining, as have already passed away? The Apostle John hath said, "My little children, it is the last hour."(3) But it is a long hour proportioned to this long day; and see how many years this last hour lasteth. But nevertheless, be ye as those who watch, and so sleep, and rise again, and reign. Let us watch now, let us sleep in death; at the end we shall rise again, and shall reign without end.

6. "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth."(1) The third thing we pray for is, that His will may be done as in heaven so in earth. And in this too we wish well for ourselves. For the will of God must necessarily be done. It is the will of God that the good should reign, and the wicked be damned. Is it possible that this will should not be done? But what good do we wish for ourselves, when we say, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth"? Give ear. For this petition may be understood in many ways, and many things are to be in our thoughts in this petition, when we pray God, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." As Thy Angels offend Thee not, so may we also not offend Thee. Again, how is "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth," understood? All the holy Patriarchs, all the Prophets, all the Apostles, all the spiritual are as it were God's heaven; and we in comparison of them are earth. "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth;" as in them, so in us also. Again, "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth;" the Church of God is heaven, His enemies are earth. So we wish well for our enemies, that they too may believe and become Christians, and so the will of God be done, as in heaven, so also in earth. Again, "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth." Our spirit is heaven, and the flesh earth. As our spirit is renewed by believing, so may our flesh be renewed by rising again; and "the will of God be done, as in heaven, so in earth." Again, our mind whereby we see truth, and delight in this truth, is heaven; as, "I delight in the law of God, after the inward man." What is the earth? "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind?"(1) When this strife shall have passed away, and a full concord brought about of the flesh and spirit, the will of God will be done as in heaven, so also in earth. When we repeat this petition, let us think of all these things, and ask them all of the Father. Now all these things which we have mentioned, these three petitions, beloved, have respect to the life eternal. For if the Name of our God is sanctified in us, it will be for eternity. If His kingdom come, where we shall live for ever, it will be for eternity. If His will be done as in heaven, so in earth, in all the ways which I have explained, it will be for eternity.

7. There remain now the petitions for this life of our pilgrimage; therefore follows, "Give us this day our daily bread."(2) Give us eternal things, give us things temporal. Thou hast promised a kingdom, deny us not the means of subsistence. Thou wilt give everlasting glory with Thyself hereafter, give us in this earth temporal support. Therefore is it "day by day," and "to-day," that is, in this present time. For when this life shall have passed away, shall we ask for daily bread then? For then it will not be called, "day by day," but "to-day." Now it is called, "day by day," when one day passes away, and another day succeeds. Will it be called "day by day," when there will be one eternal day? This petition for daily bread is doubtless to be understood in two ways, both for the necessary supply of our bodily food, and for the necessities of our spiritual support. There is a necessary supply of bodily food, for the preservation of our daily life, without which we cannot live. This is food and clothing, but the whole is understood in a part. When we ask for bread, we thereby understand all things. There is a spiritual(3) food also which the faithful know, which ye too will know, when ye shall receive it at the altar of God. This also is "daily Bread," necessary only for this life. For shall we receive the Eucharist when we shall have come to Christ Himself, and begun to reign with Him for ever? So then the Eucharist is our daily bread; but let us in such wise receive it, that we be not refreshed in our bodies only, but in our souls. For the virtue which is apprehended there, is unity, that gathered together into His body, and made His members, we may be what we receive. Then will it be indeed our daily bread. Again, what I am handling before you now is "daily bread;" and the daily lessons which ye hear in church, are daily bread, and the hymns ye hear and repeat are daily bread. For all these are necessary in our state of pilgrimage. But when we shall have got to heaven, shall we hear the word,(4) we who shall see the Word Himself, and hear the Word Himself, and eat and drink Him as the angels do now? Do the angels need books, and interpreters, and readers? Surely not. They read in seeing, for the Truth Itself they see, and are abundantly satisfied from that fountain, from which we obtain some few s drops. Therefore has it been said touching our daily bread, that this petition is necessary for us in this life.

8. "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."(6) Is this necessary except in this life? For in the other we shall have no debts. For what are debts, but sins? See, ye are on the point of being baptized, then all your sins will be blotted out, none whatever will remain. Whatever evil ye have ever done, in deed, or word, or desire, or thought, all will be blotted out. And yet if in the life which is after Baptism there were security from sin, we should not learn such a prayer as this, "Forgive us our debts." Only let us by all means do what comes next, "As we forgive our debtors." Do ye then who are about to enter in to receive a plenary and entire remission of your debts, do ye above all things see that ye have nothing in your hearts against any other, so as to come forth from Baptism secure, as it were free and discharged of all debts, and then begin to purpose to avenge yourselves on your enemies, who in time past have done you wrong. Forgive, as ye are forgiven. God can do no one wrong, and yet He forgiveth who oweth nothing. How then ought he to forgive, who is himself forgiven, when He forgiveth all, who oweth nothing that can be forgiven Him?

9. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."(7) Will this again be necessary in the life to come? "Lead us not into temptation," will not be said, except where there can be temptation. We read in the book of holy Job, "Is not the life of man upon earth a temptation?"(8) What then do we pray for? Hear what. The Apostle James saith, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God."(9) He spoke of those evil temptations, whereby men are deceived, and brought under the yoke of the devil. This is the kind of temptation he spoke of. For there is another sort of temptation which is called a proving; of this kind of temptation it is written, "The Lord your God tempteth (proveth) you to know whether ye love Him."(10) What means "to know"? "To make you know," for He knoweth already. With that kind of temptation, whereby we are deceived and seduced, God tempteth no man. But undoubtedly in His deep and hidden judgment He abandons some. And when He hath abandoned them, the tempter finds his opportunity. For he finds in him no resistance against his power, but forthwith presents himself to him as his possessor, if God abandon him. Therefore that He may not abandon us, do we say, "Lead us not into temptation." "For every one is tempted," says the same Apostle James, "when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."(1) What then has he hereby taught us? To fight against our lusts. For ye are about to put away your sins in Holy Baptism; but lusts will still remain, wherewith ye must fight after that ye are regenerate. For a conflict with your own selves still remains. Let no enemy from without be feared: conquer thine own self, and the whole world is conquered. What can any tempter from without, whether the devil or the devil's minister, do against thee? Whosoever sets the hope of gain before thee to seduce thee, let him only find no covetousness in thee; and what can he who would tempt thee by gain effect? Whereas if covetousness be found in thee, thou takest fire at the sight of gain, and art taken by the bait of this corrupt food.(2) But if he find no covetousness in thee, the trap remains spread in vain. Or should the tempter set before thee some woman of surpassing beauty; if chastity be within, iniquity from without is overcome. Therefore that he may not take thee with the bait of a strange woman's beauty, fight with thine own lust within; thou hast no sensible perception of thine enemy, but of thine own concupiscence thou hast. Thou dost not see the devil, but the object that engageth thee thou dost see. Get the mastery then over that of which thou art sensible within. Fight valiantly, for He who hath regenerated thee is thy Judge; He hath arranged the lists, He is making ready the crown. But because thou wilt without doubt be conquered, if thou have not Him to aid thee, if He abandon thee: therefore dost thou say in the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." The Judge's wrath hath given over some to their own lusts; and the Apostle says, "God gave them over to the lusts of their hearts."(3) How did He give them up? Not by forcing, but by forsaking them.

10. "Deliver us from evil," may belong to the same sentence. Therefore, that thou mayest understand it to be all one sentence, it runs thus, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Therefore he added "but," to show that all this belongs to one sentence, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." How is this? I will propose them singly. "Lead By delivering us from evil, He leadeth us not into temptation; by not leading us into temptation, He delivereth us from evil.

11. And truly it is a great temptation, dearly beloved, it is a great temptation in this life, when that in us is the subject of temptation, whereby we attain(4) pardon, if in any of our temptations we have fallen. It is a frightful temptation, when that is taken from us, whereby we may be healed from the wounds of other temptations. I know that ye have not yet understood me. Give me your attention, that ye may understand. Suppose avarice tempts a man, and he is conquered in any single temptation (for sometimes even a good wrestler and fighter may get roughly handled(5)): avarice then has got the better of a man, good wrestler though he be, and he has done some avaricious act. Or there has been a passing lust; it has not brought the man to fornication, nor reached unto adultery, for when this does take place, the man must at all events be kept back from the criminal act. But he "hath seen a woman to lust after her;"(6) he has let his thoughts dwell on her with more pleasure than was right; he has admitted the attack; excellent combatant though he be, he has been wounded, but he has not consented to it; he has beaten back the motion of his lust, has chastised it with the bitterness of grief, he has beaten it back; and has prevailed. Still in the very fact that he had slipped, has he ground for saying, "Forgive us our debts." And so of all other temptations, it is a hard matter that in them all there should not be occasion for saying, "Forgive us our debts." What then is that frightful temptation which I have mentioned, that grievous, that tremendous temptation, which must be avoided with all our strength, with all our resolution; what is it? When we go about to avenge ourselves. Anger is kindled, and the man burns to be avenged. O frightful temptation! Thou art losing that, whereby thou hadst to attain pardon for other faults. If thou hadst committed any sin as to other senses, and other lusts, hence mightest thou have had thy cure, in that thou mightest say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." But whoso instigateth thee to take vengeance, will lose for thee the power thou hadst to say, "As we also forgive our debtors." When that power is lost, all sins will be retained; nothing at all is remitted.

12. Our Lord and Master, and Saviour, knowing this dangerous temptation in this life, when He taught us six or seven petitions in this Prayer, took none of them for Himself to treat of, and to commend to us with greater earnestness, than this one. Have we not said, "Our Father, which art in heaven;" and the rest which follows? Why after the conclusion of the Prayer, did He not enlarge upon it to us, either as to what He had laid down in the beginning, or concluded with at the end, or placed in the middle? For why said He not, if the Name of God be not hallowed in you, or if ye have no part in the kingdom of God, or if the will of God be not done in you, as in heaven, or if God guard you not, that ye enter not into temptation; why none of all these? but what saith He? "Verily I say unto you, that if ye forgive men their trespasses;"(1) in reference to that petition, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Having passed over all the other petitions which He taught us, this He taught us with an especial force. There was no need of insisting(2) so much upon those sins in which if a man offend, he may know the means whereby he may be cured: need of it there was, with regard to that sin in which if thou sin, there is no means whereby the rest can be cured. For this thou oughtest to be ever saying, "Forgive us our debts." What debts? There is no lack of them; for we are but men; I have talked somewhat more than I ought, have said something I ought not, have laughed more than I ought, have eaten more than I ought, have listened with pleasure to what I ought not, have drunk more than I ought, have seen with pleasure what I ought not, have thought with pleasure on what I ought not; "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." This if thou hast lost, thou art lost thyself.

13. Take heed, my brethren, my sons, sons of God, take heed, I beseech you, in that I am saying to you. Fight to the uttermost of your powers with your own hearts. And if ye shall see your anger making a stand against you, pray to God against it, that God may make thee conqueror of thyself, that God may make thee conqueror, I say, not of thine enemy without, but of thine own soul within. For He will give thee His present help, and will do it. He would rather that we ask this of Him, than rain. For ye see, beloved, how many petitions the Lord Christ hath taught us; and there is scarce found among them one which speaks of daily bread, that all our thoughts may be moulded after the life to come? For what can we fear that He will not give us, who hath promised and said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you; for your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things before ye ask Him. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."(3) For many have been tried even with hunger, and have been found gold, and have not been forsaken by God. They would have perished with hunger, if the daily inward bread were to leave their heart. After this let us chiefly hunger. For, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."(4) But He can in mercy look upon our infirmity, and see us, as it is said, "Remember that we are dust."(5) He who from the dust made and quickened man, for that His work of clay's sake, gave His Only Son to death. Who can explain, who can worthily so much as conceive, how much He loveth us?

SERMON VIII.

[LVIII. BEN.]

AGAIN ON THE LORD'S PRAYER, MATT. VI. TO THE COMPETENTES.

1. You have just repeated the Creed, where in brief summary is contained the Faith. I have already before now told you what the Apostle Paul says, "How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?"(6) Because then you have both heard, and learnt, and repeated how you must believe in God; hear to-day how He must be called upon. The Son Himself, as you heard when the Gospel was read, taught His disciples and His faithful ones this Prayer. Good hope have we of obtaining our cause, when such an Advocate(7) hath dictated our suit. The Assessor of the Father, as you have confessed, who sitteth on the right hand of the Father; He is our Advocate who is to be our Judge. For from thence will He come to judge the quick and dead. Learn then, this Prayer also which you will have to repeat in eight days time. But whosoever of you have not repeated the Creed well, have yet time enough, let them learn it; because on the Sabbath day(8) in the hearing of all who shall be present, you will have to repeat it: on the last(9) Sabbath day, when you will be here to be baptized. But in eight days from to-day will you have to repeat this Prayer, which you have heard to-day.

2. Of which the first clause is, "Our Father, which art in heaven."(10) We have found then a Father in heaven; let us take good heed how we live on earth. For he who hath found such a Father, ought so to live that he may be worthy to come to his inheritance. But we say all in common, "Our Father." How great a condescension! This the emperor says, and this says the beggar: this says the slave, and this his lord. They say all together, "Our Father, which art in heaven." Therefore do they understand that they are brethren, seeing they have one Father. Now let not the lord disdain to have his slave for a brother, seeing the Lord Christ has vouch-safed to have him for a brother.

3. "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come."(1) This hallowing of God's Name is that whereby we are made holy. For His Name is always Holy. We wish also for His kingdom to come; come it will, though we wish it not; but to wish and pray that His kingdom may come, is nothing else than to wish of Him, that He would make us worthy of His kingdom, lest haply, which God forbid, it should come, and not come to us. For to many that will never come, which nevertheless must come. For to them will it come, to whom it shall be said, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."(2) But it will not come to them to whom it shall be said, "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire."(3) Therefore when we say, "Thy kingdom come," we pray that it may come to us. What is, "may come to us"? May find us good. This we pray for then, that He would make us good; for then to us will His kingdom come.

4. We go on, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth."(4) The Angels serve Thee in heaven, may we serve Thee in earth! The Angels do not offend Thee in heaven, may we not offend Thee in earth! As they do Thy will, so may we do it also! And here what do we pray for, but that we may be good? For when we do God's will (for He without doubt doeth His own will), then is His will done in us. And we may understand in another and a right sense these words, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." We receive the commandment of God, and it is well-pleasing to us, well-pleasing to our mind. "For we delight in the law of God after the inward man."(5) Then is His will done in heaven. For our spirit is compared to heaven, but to the earth our flesh. What then is "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth"? That as Thy command is well-pleasing to our mind, so may our flesh consent thereto; and so that strife be ended which is described by the Apostle, "for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh."(6) When the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, His will is even now done in heaven; when the flesh lusteth not against the Spirit, His will is now done in earth. There will be harmony complete when He will; be then the contest now, that there may be victory hereafter. Thus again, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth," may be well understood, by making "heaven" to be the Church, because it is the throne(7) of God; and "earth" the unbelievers, to whom it is said, "Earth thou art, and unto earth shall thou go."(8) When therefore we pray for our enemies, for the enemies of the Church, the enemies of the Christian name, we pray that His will may be done "as in heaven, so in earth," that is, as in Thy faithful ones, so in Thy blasphemers also, that they all may become "heaven."

5. There follows next, "Give us this day our daily bread."(9) It may be understood simply that we pour forth this prayer for daily sustenance, that we may have abundance: or if not that, that we may have no want. Now he said "daily," for as long as it is called "to-day."(10) Daily we live, and daily rise, and are daily fed, and daily hunger. May He then give us daily bread. Why did He not say "covering" too, for the support of our life is in meat and drink, our covering in raiment and lodging. Man should desire nothing more than these. Forasmuch as the Apostle saith, "We brought nothing into this world, neither can we carry anything out: having food and covering," let us be therewith content."(12) Perish covetousness, and nature is rich. Therefore if this prayer have reference to our daily sustenance, since this is a good understanding of the words, "Give us this day our daily bread;" let us not marvel, if under the name of bread other necessary things are also understood. As when Joseph invited his brethren, "These men," saith he, "will eat bread with me to-day."(13) Why, were they to eat bread only? No, but in the mention of bread only, all the rest was understood. So when we pray for daily bread, we ask for whatever is necessary for us in earth for our bodies' sake. But what saith the Lord Jesus? "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."(14) Again, this is a very good sense of, "Give us this day our daily bread," thy Eucharist, our daily food. For the faithful know what they receive, and good for them it is to receive that daily bread which is necessary for this time present. They pray then for themselves, that they may become good, that they may persevere in goodness, and faith, and a holy life. This do they wish, this they pray for; for if they persevere not in this good life, they will be separated from that Bread. Therefore, "Give us this day our daily bread." What is this? Let us live so, that we be not separated from Thy altar. Again, the Word of God which is laid open to us, and m a manner broken day by day, is "daily bread." And as our bodies hunger after that other, so do our souls after this bread. And so we both ask for this bread simply, and whatsoever is in this life needful both for our souls and bodies, is included in "daily bread."

6. "Forgive us our debts,"(1) we say, and we may well say so; for we say the truth. For who is he that lives here in the flesh, and hath no debts? What man is there that lives so, that this prayer is not necessary for him? He may puff himself up, justify himself he cannot. It were well for him to imitate the Publican, and not swell as the Pharisee, "who went up into the temple,"(2) and boasted of his deserts, and covered up his wounds. Whereas he who said, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner,"(3) knew wherefore he went up. This prayer the Lord Jesus, consider, my brethren, this prayer the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to offer, those great first Apostles of His, the leaders of our flock.(4) If the leaders of the flock then pray for the remission of their sins, what ought the lambs to do, of whom it is said, "Bring young rams unto the Lord"?(5) You knew then that you have repeated this in the Creed, because amongst the rest you have mentioned there "the remission of sins." There is one remission of sins which is given once for all; another which is given day by day. There is one remission of sins which is given once for all in Holy Baptism; another which is given as long as we live here in the Lord's Prayer. Wherefore we say, "Forgive us our debts."

7. And God has brought us into a covenant, and agreement, and a firm bond(6) with Him, in that we say, "as we also forgive our debtors." He who would say it effectually, "Forgive us our debts," must say truly, "as we also forgive our debtors."(1) If this which is last he either say not, or say deceitfully, the other which is first he says in vain. We say to you then especially who are approaching to Holy Baptism, from your hearts forgive everything. And ye faithful, who taking advantage of this occasion are listening to this prayer, and our exposition of it, do ye wholly and from your hearts forgive whatsoever ye have against any. Forgive it there where God seeth. For sometimes a man remitteth with the mouth, and in the heart retaineth; he remitteth with the mouth for men's sake, and retaineth in the heart, as not fearing the eyes of God. But do ye remit entirely. Whatever ye have retained up to these holy days,(7) in these holy days at least remit. "The sun ought not to go down upon your wrath,"(8) yet many suns have passed. Let then your wrath at length pass away also, now that we are celebrating the days of the great Sun, of that Sun of which Scripture saith, "Unto you shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings."(9) What is, "in His wings"? In His protection. Whence it is said in the Psalms," Keep me under the shadow of Thy wings."(10) But as to others who in the day of judgment shall repent, but all too late, and who shall mourn, yet unavailingly, it hath been foretold by Wisdom what they shall then say as they repent and groan for anguish of spirit, "What hath pride profited us, or what good hath riches with our vaunting brought us? All these things are passed away like a shadow." And, "Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, and the Sun of righteousness rose not upon us."(11) That Sun riseth upon the righteous only; but this sun which we see, God "maketh," daily "to rise upon the good and evil."(12) The righteous attain to the seeing of that Sun; and that Sun dwelleth now in our hearts by faith. If then thou art angry, let not this sun go down in thine heart upon thy wrath; "Let not the sun go down upon thy wrath;" lest haply thou be angry, and so the Sun of righteousness go down upon thee, and thou abide in darkness.

8. Now do not think that anger is nothing. "Mine eye was disordered because of anger,"(13) saith the Prophet. Surely he whose eye is disordered cannot see the sun; and if he should try. to see it, it were pain, and no pleasure to him. And what is anger? The lust of vengeance. A man lusteth to be avenged, and Christ is not yet avenged, the holy martyrs are not yet avenged. Still doth the patience of God wait, that the enemies of Christ, the enemies of the martyrs, may be converted. And who are we, that we should seek for vengeance? If God should seek it at our hands, where should we abide? He who hath never in any matter done us harm, doth not wish to avenge Himself of us; and do we seek to be avenged, who are almost daily offending God? Forgive therefore; from the heart forgive. If thou art angry, yet sin not. "Be ye angry, and sin not."(14) Be ye angry as being but men, if so be ye are overcome by it; yet sin not, so as to retain anger in your heart (for if ye do retain it, ye retain it against yourselves), lest ye enter not into that Light. Therefore forgive. What then is anger? The lust of vengeance. And what is hatred? Inveterate anger. If anger become inveterate, it is then called hatred. And this he seems to acknowledge, who when he had said, "Mine eye is disordered because of anger;" added, "I have become inveterate among all mine enemies."(13) What was anger when it was new, became hatred when it was turned into long continuance.(1) Anger is a "mote," hatred, a "beam." We sometimes find fault with one who is angry, yet we retain hatred in our own hearts; and so Christ saith to us, "Thou seest the mote in thy brother's eye, and seest not (he beam in thine own eye."(2) How grew the mote into a beam? Because it was not at once plucked out. Because thou didst suffer the sun to rise and go down so often upon thy wrath, and madest it inveterate, because thou contractedst evil suspicions, and wateredst the mote, and by watering hast nourished it, and by nourishing it, hast made it a beam. Tremble then at least when it is said, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer."(3) Thou hast not drawn the sword, nor inflicted any bodily wound, nor by any blow killed another; the thought only of hatred is in thy heart, and hereby art thou held to be a murderer, guilty art thou before the eyes of God. The other man is alive, and yet thou hast killed him. As far as thou art concerned, thou hast killed the man whom thou hatest. Reform then, and amend thyself, If scorpions or adders were in your houses, how would ye toil to purify them, that ye might be able to dwell in safety? Yet are ye angry, yea inveterate anger is in your hearts, and there grow so many hatreds, so many beams, so many scorpions, so many vipers, and will ye not then purify the house of God, your heart? Do then what is said, "As we also forgive our debtors;" and so say securely," Forgive us our debts." For without debts in this earth ye cannot live; but those great crimes which it is your blessing to have been forgiven in Baptism, and from which we ought to be ever free, are of one sort, and of another are those daily sins, without which a man cannot live in this world, by reason of which this daily prayer with its covenant and agreement is necessary; that as we say with all cheerfulness, "Forgive us our debts;" so we may say with all truth, "As we also forgive our debtors." So much then have we said as touching past sins; what now for the future?

9. "Lead us not into temptation:"(4) forgive what we have done already, and grant that we may not commit any more sins. For whosoever is overcome by temptation, committeth sin. Thus the Apostle James saith, "Let no man say when he is tempted, he is tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."(5) Therefore that thou be not drawn away by thy lust; consent not to it. It hath no means of conceiving, but by thee. Thou hast consented, hast as it were in thine heart admitted(6) her embrace. Lust has risen up, deny thyself to her, follow her not. It is a lust unlawful, impure, and shameful, it will alienate thee from God. Give it not then the embrace of thy consent, lest thou have to bewail the birth; for if thou consent, that is, when thou hast embraced her, she conceives, "and when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." Dost thou not yet fear? "Sin bringeth forth death;" at least, fear death. If thou fear not sin, yet fear that whereunto it leads. Sin is sweet; but death is bitter. This is the infelicity of men; that for which they sin, they leave here when they die, and the sin themselves they carry with them. Thou dost sin for money, it must be left here: or for a country seat; it must be left here: or for some woman's sake; she must be left here; and whatsoever it be for which thou dost sin, when thou shalt have closed thine eyes in death, thou must leave it here; yet the sin itself which thou committest, thou carriest with thee.

10. May sins then be forgiven; the past forgiven, and the future cease. But without them there below thou canst not live; be they either lesser sins, or small, or trivial. Yet let not even these small and trivial sins be despised. With little drops is the river filled. Let not even the lesser sins be despised. Through narrow chinks in the ship the water oozes in,(7) the hold keeps filling, and if it be disregarded the ship is sunk. But the sailors are not idle; their hands are active,(8)--active that the water may be drained off from day to day. So be thy hands active, that thou mayest pump from day to day. What is the meaning of" be thy hands active"? Let them give, do good works, so be thy hands engaged "Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and houseless into thine house; if thou seest the naked, clothe him."(9) Do all thou canst, do it with the means thou canst command, do it cheerfully, and so put up thy prayer with confidence. It will have two wings, a double alms. What is "a double alms"? "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given unto you."(10) The one alms is that which is done from the heart, when thou forgivest thy brother his sin. The other alms is that which is done out of thy substance, when thou dealest bread to the poor. Offer both, lest without either wing thy prayer remain motionless.

11. Therefore when we have said, "Lead us not into temptation," there follows, "But deliver us from evil." Now whoso wishes to be delivered from evil, bears witness that he is in evil. And thus saith the Apostle, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."(1) But who is there "that wisheth for life, and loveth to see good days"?(2) Seeing that all men in this flesh have only evil days; who doth not wish it? Do thou what follows, "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile: depart from evil, and do good, seek peace, and ensue it;"(3) and then thou hast got rid of evil days, and thy prayer, "deliver us from evil," is fulfilled.

12. Therefore the three first petitions, "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth," are for eternity. But the four following relate to this life, "Give us this day our daily bread." Shall we ask day by day for daily bread, when we shall have come to that fulness of blessing? "Forgive us our debts." Shall we say this in that kingdom, when we shall have no debts? "Lead us not into temptation." Shall we be able to say this then, when there will be no temptation? "Deliver us from evil." Shall we say this, when there shall be nothing from which to be delivered? Therefore these four are necessary, because of our daily life, but the three first in reference to the life eternal. But all things let us ask, with a view of attaining to that life, and let us pray here, that we be not separated from it. Every day must this prayer be said by you, when you are baptized. For the Lord's Prayer is said daily in the Church before the Altar of God, and the faithful hear it. We have no fear therefore as to your not learning it carefully, because even if any of you should be unable to get it perfectly, he will learn it by hearing it day by day.

13. Therefore on the Saturday(4) when by the grace of God you will keep the Vigil, you will have to repeat not the Prayer, but the Creed. For if you do not know the Creed now, you will not hear that every day in the Church, grad among the people. But when you have learnt it, that you may not forget it, say it every day when you rise; when you are preparing for sleep, rehearse your Creed, to the Lord rehearse it, remind yourselves of it, and be not weary of repeating it. For repetition is useful, lest forgetfulness steal over you. Do not say, "I said it yesterday, I have said it today, I say it every day, I know it perfectly well." Call thy faith to mind, look into thyself, let thy Creed be as it were a mirror to thee. Therein see thyself, whether thou dost believe all which thou professest to believe, and so rejoice day by day in thy faith. Let it be thy wealth, let it be in a sort the daily clothing of thy soul. Dost thou not always dress thyself when thou risest? So by the daily repetition of thy Creed dress thy soul, lest haply forgetfulness make it bare, and thou remain naked, and that take place which the Apostle saith, (may it be far from thee!) "If so be that being unclothed,(5) we shall not be found naked."(6) For we shall be clothed by our faith: and this faith is at once a garment and a breastplate; a garment against shame, a breastplate against adversity. But when we shall have arrived at that place where we shall reign, no need will there be to say the Creed. We shall see God; God Himself will be our vision; the vision of God will be the reward of our present faith.

SERMON IX.

[LIX. BEN.]

AGAIN, ON THE LORD'S PRAYER, MATT. VI. TO THE COMPETENTES.

1. You have rehearsed what you believe, hear now what you are to pray for. Forasmuch as you would not be able to call on Him, in whom you should not first have believed; as saith the Apostle, "How shall they call on Him, in whom they have not believed?"(7) Therefore have you first learned the Creed, where is a brief and sublime rule of your faith; brief in the number of its words, sublime in the weight of its contents.(8) But the prayer which you receive to-day to be learned by heart, and to be repeated eight days hence, was dictated (as you heard when the Gospel was being read) by the Lord Himself to His disciples, and came from them unto us, since "their sound went into all the earth."(9)

2. Ye then who have found a Father in heaven, be loth to cleave to the things of earth. For ye are about to say, "Our Father, which art in heaven."(10) You have begun to belong to a great family. Under this Father the lord and the slave are brethren; under this Father the general and the common soldier are brethren; under this Father the rich man and the poor are brethren. All Christian believers have divers fathers in earth, some noble, some obscure; but they all call upon one Father which is in heaven. If our Father be there, there is the inheritance prepared for us. But He is such a Father, that we can possess with Him what He giveth. For He giveth an inheritance; but He doth not leave it to us by dying. For He doth not depart Himself, but He abideth ever, that we may come to Him. Seeing then we have heard of Whom we are to ask, let us know also what to ask for, test haply we offend such a Father by asking amiss.

3. What then hath the Lord Jesus Christ taught us to ask of the Father which is in heaven? "Hallowed be Thy Name."(1) What kind of blessing is this that we ask of God, that His Name may be hallowed? The Name of God is always Holy; why then do we pray that it may be hallowed, except that we may be hallowed by it? We pray then that that which is Holy always, may be hallowed in us. The Name of God is hallowed in you when ye are baptized. Why will ye offer this prayer after ye have been baptized, but that that which ye shall then receive may abide ever in you?

4. Another petition follows, "Thy kingdom come."(2) God's kingdom will come, whether we ask it or not. Why then do we ask it, but that that which will come to all saints may also come to us; that God may count us also in the number of His saints, to whom His kingdom is to come?

5. We say in the third petition, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth."(2) What is this? That as the Angels serve Thee in heaven, so we may serve Thee in earth. For His holy Angels obey Him; they do not offend Him; they do His commands through the love of Him. This we pray for then, that we too may do the commands of God in love. Again, these words are understood in another way, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." Heaven in us is the soul, earth in us is the body. What then is, "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth"? As we hear Thy precepts, so may our flesh consent unto us; lest, whilst flesh and spirit strive together, we be not able to fulfil the commands of God.

6. "Give us this day our daily bread,"(3) comes next in the Prayer. Whether we ask here of the Father support(4) necessary for the body, by "bread" signifying whatever is needful for us; or whether we understand that daily Bread, which ye are soon to receive from the Altar; well it is that we pray that He would give it us. For what is it we pray for, but that we may commit no evil, for which we should be separated from that holy Bread. And the word of God which is preached daily is daily bread. For because it is not bread for the body, it is not on that account not bread for the soul. But when this life shall have passed away, we shall neither seek that bread which hunger seeks; nor shall we have to receive the Sacrament of the Altar, because we shall be there with Christ, whose Body we do now receive; nor will those words which we are now speaking, need to be said to you, nor the sacred volume to be read,when we shall see Him who is Himself the Word of God, by whom all things were made, by whom the Angels are fed, by whom the Angels are enlightened, by whom the Angels become wise; not requiring words of circuitous discourse; but drinking in the Only Word, filled with whom they burst forth s and never fail in praise. For, "Blessed," saith the Psalm, "are they who dwell in Thy house; they will be always praising Thee."(6)

7. Therefore in this present life, do we ask what comes next, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors."(7) In Baptism, all debts, that is, all sins, are entirely forgiven us. But because no one can live without sin here below, and if without any great crime which entails separation from the Altar, yet altogether without sins can no one live on this earth, and we can only receive the one Baptism once for all; in this Prayer we hear how we may day by day be washed, that our sins may day by day be forgiven us; but only if we do what follows, "As we also forgive our debtors." Accordingly, my Brethren, I advise you, who are in the grace of God my sons, yet my Brethren under that heavenly Father; I advise you, whenever any one offends and sins against you, and comes, and confesses, and asks your pardon, that ye do pardon him, and forthwith from the heart forgive him; lest ye keep off from your own selves that pardon, which comes from God. For if ye forgive not, neither will He forgive you. Therefore it is in this life that we make this petition, for that it is in this life that sins can be forgiven, where they can be done. But in the life to come they are not forgiven, because they are not done.

8. Next after this we pray, saying, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."(8) This also, that we be not led into temptation, it is necessary for us to ask in this life, because in this life there are temptations; and that "we may be delivered from evil," because there is evil here. And thus of all these seven petitions, three have respect to the life eternal, and four to the resent life "Hallowed be Thy name." This will be for ever. "Thy kingdom come." This kingdom will be for ever. "Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth." This will be for ever. "Give us this day our daily bread." This will not be for ever. "Forgive us our debts." This will not be for ever. "Lead us not into temptation." This will not be for ever. "But deliver us from evil." This will not be for ever: but where there is temptation, and where there is evil, there is it necessary that we make this petition.

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