RPM, Volume 17, Number 9, February 22 to February 28, 2015

A Practical Exposition of the Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 7

By Thomas Manton

Note: some of the "words" in the original text in unintelligible. We have left the original "words" just as they are presently found in the text.

[3.] It is the noblest part of worship, and most excellent and acceptable service. It is a great honour to creatures to bestow blessing upon God. In other duties God is bestowing something on us; but in praise (according to our manner, and as creatures can) we bestow something upon God. In prayer, we come as beggars, expecting an alms; in hearing, we come as scholars and disciples, expecting instruction from God. Here (according to our measure and ability) we give something to him; not because he needs it, being infinitely perfect, but because he deserves it, being infinitely gracious. This is the work of angels and glorified saints. Other duties more agree with our imperfect state, as hearing and prayer, that our wants may be supplied; but this duty agrees with our state when we are most perfect. Love is the grace of heaven, and praise the duty of heaven; we are for vials, they harps: prayer is our main work, and praise theirs.

Use. To reprove us, that we are altogether for the supply of our necessities, but little think of giving God the honour due to his name. Either we meddle not with it at all, or do it in a very flighty fashion. In this perfect form the glory of God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending of this short prayer. The first petition it is for God's glory, and the final conclusion also. And therefore it is verily a fault that God is no more praised. In our addresses to him (Ps. xxii. 3) it is said, 'thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel;' the meaning is, dwellest in Israel, where he is praised of them, because it is the great work they are about.

Surely our assemblies should more resound with the praises of God. In church worship there should be a mixture of harps, which are instruments of praise, as well as 'vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints,' Rev. v. 8. But usually we thrust gratulation, thanksgiving, and praise, into a narrow room, and are scanty therein, but can be large and copious in expressing our wants and begging a supply. This duty is made too great a stranger in your dealings with God. What are the reasons of this defect?

[1.] Self-love. We are eager to have blessings, but we forget to return to give God the glory. Prayer is a work of necessity, but praise a work of duty and homage. Self-love puts us upon prayer, but the love of God upon praise. Now, because we are so full of self-love, therefore are we so backward to this duty.

[2.] A second cause is our stupid negligence; we do not gather up matter of thanksgiving, and observe God's gracious dealing with us, that we may have wherewith to enlarge ourselves in giving glory to his name: Col. iv. 2, 'Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving' We should continually observe God's answers and visits of love, and what attributes he makes good to us in the course of his providence. But out of spiritual laziness we do not take notice of these things, therefore no wonder if we are backward to speak good of his name, but are always whining, murmuring, and complaining.

Secondly, It is not only a doxology, but a full one, and very expressive of the excellency of God. From whence note:

Doct. The saints are not niggardly and sparing in praising of God; kingdom, power, and glory, and all that is excellent, they ascribe to him.

A gracious heart hath such a sense of God's worth and excellency that he thinks he can never speak honourably enough of it. See how David enlargeth himself very suitably to what is spoken here: 1 Chron. xxix. 10-13, 'And David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God, for ever and ever: thine, Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: thine is the kingdom, Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name' Oh, when once a child of God falls upon speaking of God, he cannot tell how to come out of the meditation: he seeth so much is due to God that he heaps words upon words. So 1 Tim. i. 17, 'Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen' And in many other places of scripture. Now, this copiousness in praising of God is, partly, because of the excellency of the object: Neb. ix. 5, 'Blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise' When they have done what they can to bless God, remember his benefits, or praise God, and recount his excellencies, still they come too far short; therefore when we cannot do all, we should do much. And partly, it is from the greatness and largeness of their affection; they think never to have done enough for God, whom they love so much. David saith, 'I will praise him yet more and more' They cannot satisfy themselves by taking up the excellency of God in one notion only; therefore majesty, greatness, glory, wisdom, and power, they mention all things which are honourable and glorious.

Use. The use is again to reprove us for being so cold and sparing this way. It argueth a want of a due sense of God's excellency and straitness of spiritual affection; therefore we should study God more, and observe his manifold excellencies. Get a greater esteem of him in your hearts, for 'out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth will speak' We should be calling upon ourselves, as David, Ps. ciii. 1: 'Bless the Lord, my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name'

Thirdly, I observe again, it is brought in with a for, as relating to the foregoing petitions: 'Lead us not into temptation, but "deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom,' &c.

What respect hath this doxology to the foregoing requests?

First, It serves to increase our confidence in prayer.

Secondly, Our reverence and affection.

Thirdly, To regulate and direct our prayers:

[1.] As to the person to whom we .pray.

[2.] As to the manner of asking.

[3.] As to the persons praying.

Let us see all these requests. 1

First, The great end is to increase our confidence. Observe,

Doct. It is a great relief to a soul, in praying to God, to consider that his is the kingdom, power, and glory; and all these for ever.

His is the kingdom.

God hath the sovereign government of all things. And then his right to govern is backed with all-sufficient power and strength; and so he can dispose of his sovereignty for the bringing to pass what we expect from him.

Authority is one thing, and power another, but they both meet in God; he hath all power and authority.

And then, his is the glory: he is concerned as well as we; yea more, his interest is greater than ours, for the glory of all belongs to him: and all this, not for a time, but for ever. These are the encouragements to raise our confidence that our prayers shall be heard and granted when we ask anything according to his will.

There are two things that give us confidence in any that we sue to if he be able and willing. Now God is able to grant our requests, and very prone and willing also. We are taught it sufficiently in this prayer; for we begin with him as Father, and we end with him as a glorious and powerful king; his fatherly affection, on the one hand, shows that he is willing; and his royal power, on the other, that he is able: so that if we ask anything according to his will, we need not doubt. We may gather his power and will out of this very clause: His power; for his is the kingdom, and power, or a right and authority, backed with absolute all-sufficiency. Then his will, 'Thine is the glory;' it is his glory to grant our petitions, not only matter of happiness to us, but of glory to God, therefore we need not doubt.

But more particularly:

[1.] There is confidence established by that, that his is the king dom. God's kingdom is either universal, over all men or things; or particular and special, which notes his relation to the saints, to those which have given up themselves to his government, to be guided by him to everlasting glory: and both these are grounds of confidence.

(1.) His universal kingdom over all persons and things in the world. This kingdom is an absolute monarchy, with a plenary dominion and propriety grounded upon his creation of them. There is a twofold dominion dominium jurisdictionis, and dominium proprietatis. The one is such as a king hath over his subjects; the other, such as a king hath in his goods and lands: the latter is greater than the former. A king hath a dominion of jurisdiction over his subjects to command and govern them; but he hath not such an absolute propriety in their persons as he hath in his own goods and lands; he may dispose of them absolutely at his own pleasure, but his jurisdiction is limited. In short, we must distinguish of his dominion as a ruler, and as an owner. But both these, they concur in God, and that in the highest degree, for God is owner as well as ruler; he made all things out of nothing, therefore hath a more absolute dominion over us than any potentate or king can have, not only over his subjects, but his goods; and can govern all things, men, angels, and devils, according to his pleasure. It is more absolute than any superiority in the world, and more universal, as comprising all persons and things. God hath right to be king, because he gave being to all things, which no earthly potentate can: therefore the author must be owner. All other kings are liable to be called to account and reckoning by this great king, for their administration; but God is absolute and supreme.

Now this is a great encouragement to us, that we go to a God that hath an absolute right, for which he is responsible to none. We go not to a servant or a subordinate agent, who may be controlled by a higher power, and whose act may be disannulled; but to an absolute lord, to whom none can say, 'What doest thou?' Job ix. 12. Here is the comfort of a believer, that he goes immediately to the fountain and owner of all things; the absolute lord of all the world is his father; the sovereign and free disposing of all things is in his hand. If we expect anything from subordinate instruments, God's leave must first be asked, or they can do nothing for us; but he can do what he pleaseth, it is his own: Mat. xx. 15, 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?' None can call him to an account.

(2.) His relation to the saints. It is the duty of a king to defend his subjects, and provide for their welfare; so God, being king, will see that it be well with those that are under his government. It concerns you much to get an interest to be under this king, then to mention it in prayer: Ps. xliv. 4, 'Thou art my king, God; command deliverances for Jacob' If you want anything for yourselves or the church, put God in mind of his relation to you: 'Thou art my king.' Let not this interest lie neglected or unpleaded. All the benefit which subjects can expect from a potent king you may expect from God.

Again, the word command is notable, and expresseth the case to the full: 'command deliverances.' All things are at God's command and beck; if he do but speak the word, or give out order to second causes, if; is all done in a trice. So Ps. v. 2, 'Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my king and my God: for unto thee will I pray.' To thee, and to none other. Why should we go to servants, when we may go to the king himself? So Ps. Ixxiv. 12, 'For God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth' God will defend his kingdom, and right his injured subjects. Therefore, if we would have any blessing to be accomplished for ourselves, or for the public, let us go to God: 'Thine is the kingdom' And more especially, if we would have any good thing to be done by those in authority and subordinate power over us, do not so much treat with them as with God. Let us beseech God to persuade and incline their hearts, for his is the kingdom; he can move them to do what shall be for the glory of his name, and the comfort and benefit of his afflicted people. Let us go to God, who is the sovereign king; he can give you to 'live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty,' 1 Tim. ii. 2. Or, he can give you favour; dispose of their hearts to do good to his people: Neh. i. 11, 'Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man; for I was the king's cup bearer' The sovereign disposal of all things is in the hand of God.

[2.] Thine is the power. This also is an argument of confidence, that God hath not only a kingdom, but power to back it. Titles without power make authority ridiculous, and beget scorn, not reverence and respect. But now God's kingdom is accompanied with power and all-sufficiency. He hath right to command all, and no creature can be too hard for him. Earthly kings, when they have authority and power, yet it is limited: 2 Kings vi. 27, When the woman came to the king of Israel, 'Help, my lord, king. And he said, If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee?' But God's is an unlimited power: an absolute right and an unlimited power, they meet fitly in God; therefore this is an encouragement to go to him. Christians, that power of God which educed all things out of nothing, which established the heavens, which fixed the earth; that power of God, it is the ground of our confidence: Ps. cxxi. 2, 'My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' This power should we depend upon.

We can ask nothing but what God is able to give, yea, above our asking: Eph. iii. 20, 'Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.' Our thoughts are vast, and our desires very craving, and yet beyond all that we can ask or think, 'According to the mighty power that worketh in us.' We cannot empty the ocean with a nut-shell, nor comprehend the infinite God, and raise our thoughts to the vast extent of his power, only we must go to some instances of God's power; that power which made the world out of nothing, and that power which wrought in you, where there is such infinite resistance. We may go to God and say, Mat. viii. 2, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.' You need not trouble yourselves about his will; he is so good and gracious, prone and ready to do good; so inclinable: he is your heavenly Father. But that which is most questioned is the sufficiency of God; can you believe his power? Now determine but that, Lord, thou canst, and that is a great relief to the soul. Our wants are not so many but God is able to supply them; our enemies and corruptions not so strong but God is able to subdue them: surely your heavenly Father will do what is in the power of his hand. A beggar, when he seeth an ordinary man coming, lets him pass without much importunity; but when he seeth a man well habited, well attended, and with rich accoutrements, he runs close to him, and will not let him alone, but follows him with his clamour, knows it is in his power to help him. So this should encourage us to go to the mighty God, which made heaven and earth, and all things out of nothing.

The third argument which Christ propounds, 'Thine is the glory.' The honour and glory of all will redound to God, as the comfort accrueth to us; it is for God's honour to show forth his power in our relief, and to be as good as his word. Now this is a ground of confidence, that he hath joined his glory and our good together; and that God's praise waiteth, while our deliverance waiteth: Ps. Ixv. 1, 'Praise waiteth for thee, God, in Zion.' You think your comfort stays, and all this while God's honour waits. So Ps. cxii. 1, 'Praise ye the Lord; blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.' It is the Lord's praise that his servants are the only and blessed people in the world; and this is a wonderful ground of confidence. Think, surely God's glory he will be chary and tender of; he will provide for the glory of his great name. There is nothing God stands upon more than upon the glory of his name; nothing prevaileth with God more than that. If God were a loser by your comforts, if he could not save or bless thee without wrong done to himself, we might be discouraged. But when you come and plead with him, as Abigail, It will be no grief of heart unto my lord to forgive thy servant;' so it will be no loss to God if he show mercy and pity to such poor creatures as we are; you then may pray more freely and boldly. If thy comforts were inconsistent with his glory, or were not so greatly exalted by it, then it were another matter; but all makes for the glory of his name. If our good and happiness were only concerned in it, there might be some suspicion; but the glory of God is concerned, which is more worth than all the world. We are unworthy to be heard and accepted, but God is worthy to be honoured. It is for the honour of God to choose base, mean, and contemptible things, and to show forth the riches, good ness, power, and treasure of his glory. Much of our trouble and distrust comes only from reflecting upon our own good in the mercies that we ask, as if God were not concerned in them, whereas the Lord is concerned as well as you. As the ivy wrapped about the tree cannot be hurt, except you do hurt to the tree, so the Lord hath twisted our concernment about his own honour and glory. Thus the saints plead God's glory as an argument: Jer. xiv. 7, 'Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake.' They do not tell him what he shall do, but do thou that which shall be for thy glory. So Ezek. xxxvi. 22, 'Thus saith the Lord God, I do not this for your sakes, house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake;' so Isa. xlviii. 9, 'For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.'

[4.] The duration, far ever. All excellencies which are in God, they are eternally in God. God is an infinite, simple, independent being, the cause of all things, but caused by none; therefore he was from everlasting, and will be to everlasting: Ps. xc. 2, 'Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.' If there were a time when God was not, then there was a time when nothing was; and then there would never have been anything, unless nothing could make all things. Therefore God is eternally glorious; for what ever is in God is originally in himself, and absolutely without dependence on any other, to everlasting. How loosely do honours sit upon men! Every disease shakes them out of their kingdom, power, and glory; and within a little while the state, show, and all the command of earthly kings will fade away, and come to nothing. Governors and government may die, principalities grow old and infirm, and sicken and die, as well as princes; kingdoms expire, like kings, and they like us: Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7, 'I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High: but ye shall die like men.' 'But thy throne, God, is for ever and ever,' Ps. xlv. 6. His kingdom, and power, and glory, they are without beginning and without end. Now this is also a ground of confidence and dependence upon God. Earthly kings, when they perish, their favourites are counted offenders: 1 Kings i. 21, 'When my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders' When other governors are set up, they and their children will be found offenders. But our king lives for ever; therefore this should encourage us to be oftener in attendance upon God, performing it with all diligence and seriousness, rather than court the humours and lusts of earthly potentates, who die like one of the people, and leave us exposed to the rage and wrath of others that do succeed them. But God is the same that ever he was, to all those that ever called upon his name. God is where he was at first: I AM is his name; there is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. 'His arm is not short, that it cannot save; or his ear heavy, that it cannot hear,' Isa. lix. 1. Whatever he hath been to his people that have called upon him in former ages, he is the same still. So Isa. li. 9, 'Awake, awake, put on strength, arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? 'God hath done great things for his people: he smote Rahab, and killed the dragon (meaning Pharaoh); and God is the same God still his kingdom, power, and glory are for ever; and God will be your God too for ever more. Look, as this doth increase the terror of the damned in hell, that they 'fall into the hands of the living God' Heb. x. 31 God lives for ever to see vengeance executed upon his enemies so it is a comfort to have an interest in the living God, that can and will keep you, and bring you to heaven, where you shall be with him for ever more, that will ever live to see his friends rewarded.

Secondly, It directeth and regulateth our prayers.

[1.] It directs us to the object of prayer; to whom should we pray, but to him that is absolute and above control? To God, and God alone; not to angels and saints. To whom should we go in our necessities, but to him that hath dominion over all things, and power to dispose of them for his own glory? Will you think it a boldness to go immediately to God? It were so indeed if we had not a Mediator, for a fallen creature can never have the impudence; and wicked men that have not got an interest in Christ cannot expect relief from God; but it is no impudence to come with a Mediator: Heb. iv. 16, 'Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.'

[2.] It directs us how to conceive of God in prayer. Eight thoughts of God in prayer are very necessary and very difficult. No one thing troubleth the saints so much as this, how to fix their thoughts in the apprehensions of God when they pray to him. Now here is a direction how we should look upon God: look upon him as the eternal being, and first cause, to whom belongs kingdom, power, and glory. We cannot see God's essence, and therefore we must conceive of him according to his praises in the word. Now take but the preface and the conclusion, and then you have a full description of God. Look upon him as an eternal being, whose is the kingdom, absolute right to dispose of all things in the world, backed with all-sufficiency and strength. And look upon him as your Father that is in heaven; for Our Father which art in heaven relates to Christ, that is, in the heavenly sanctuary, appearing before God for us. This will help you in your conceptions of God, that you may not be puzzled nor entangled in prayer.

[3.] It directs us as to the manner of praying: with reverence, with self-abhorrencv, and with submission.

(1.) With reverence, for he is a great, powerful, and glorious king: 'Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory.' Oh, shall we serve God then in a slight and careless fashion? Mai. i. 8, 'If ye offer the blind, the lame, and sick for sacrifice, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor, will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.' Go to an earthly king, would you come to him with rude addresses, not thinking what to say, tumbling out words without sense and understanding? And compare this with ver. 14: saith God, when they brought him a sickly offering, 'I am a great king,' implying it is a lessening of his majesty. You do as it were dethrone God, you put him besides his kingdom, you do not treat him as he doth deserve, if you do not come into his presence with a holy trembling.

(2.) With self-abhorrency, and a sense of your own nothingness. I observe this, because all the arguments in prayer are not taken from us, but from what is in God, from his attributes: 'Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory.' It is a blessed thing to have God's attributes on our side; to take an argument from God when we can take none from ourselves. Christ teacheth us to come with self-denial. The two first words, kingdom and power, show that all things come from God, as the first cause. And the last word, 'Thine is the glory,' shows all must be referred to God, as the last end; so that self must be cast out. So that all the reasons of audience and acceptance are without us, not from within us: Dan. ix. 8, 9, 'To us belongeth confusion of face; to the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses.' Therefore thus it directs us to place all our confidence in God's fatherly affection, in his power, goodness, and glory, and in his absolute authority; nothing to move God from ourselves.

(3.) To come with submission. Thine is the kingdom; that is, he hath an absolute power to dispose of all blessings, therefore it is lawful for him to do with his own as he pleaseth. We must come, not murmuring or prescribing to God, but expecting the fulfilling of our desires, as it shall seem good to the Lord, according to his wisdom and power, by which he exercises his kingdom over all things, as may be for the glory of his name: Ps. cxv. 1, 'Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake' Not to satisfy our revenge, not to gratify our private interest and passions; but, Lord, for thy name's sake, as may be for manifesting thy mercy and truth, so do it: not too passionate for our own ends, but confident that God, who hath the kingdom and government of the world in his own hands, will administer and carry on all things for his own glory.

[4.] It directs us, again, what are the duties of the persons praying.

(1.) Freely to resign up ourselves-to God's service. Otherwise we mock God, when we acknowledge his dominion over all the world, and we ourselves will not be made subject to God. Therefore certainly a man that useth this prayer, 'Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory,' will also say, 'I am thine, save me,' Ps. cxix. 94. Let us freely resign up ourselves for him to reign over us. Can you say, with any face, to God, 'Thine is the kingdom,' yet cherish rebellious lusts in your own hearts? It is the most unsuitable thing that can be. 'Thine is the power: 'He is able to bear you out in his work, however the world rage. And therefore we should not think scorn of his service, for his is the glory: the service of such a king will put honour upon you.

(2.) Another duty of him that is to pray is to depend upon God's all-sufficiency. Shall we speak thus of God, and say, 'Lord, thine is the power' and yet not rely upon him? He that cannot rely upon him for this life and the other, doth but reproach God when he saith, 'Thine is the power' thine is the power, yet I will not trust thee, but fly to base shifts, as if the creature had power, and man had power as if they could better provide for us than God. Therefore we are to live upon him, and cast ourselves into the arms of his all-sufficiency.

(3.) Another duty of them that would pray this prayer is, sincerely to aim at and seek the Lord's glory in all things. Why? For the glory is thine. Wilt thou say, 'Thine is the glory' and yet give and take the glory which is due to God to thyself? All is due to him, from whom we have received all things. But he that prides himself in gifts and graces, cannot be in good earnest. Wilt thou rob God of the honour, and wear it thyself? Did men believe all glory belongs to God, they would not take vainglory to themselves. Herod was eloquent, and the people cried out, 'The voice of a god, and not of a man.' He did but receive this applause, and usurped the glory due to God, and God blasted him. Therefore, when we pride ourselves in our sufficiencies, and abuse our comforts to our own lusts, we cannot with a good conscience say, 'Thine is the glory'

For ever. Amen.

ALL this is sealed up to us in the last word, Amen; which may signify, either so be it, so let it be, or so it shall be.

The word 'Amen' sometimes is taken nominally: Rev. iii. 14, 'Thus saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God.' Sometimes it is taken adverbially, and so it signifieth verily, and truly; and so either it may express a great asseveration, or an affectionate desire. Sometimes it expresseth a great and vehement asseveration: John vi. 47, 'Amen, amen, verily, verily, I say unto you.' In other places it is put for an affectionate desire: Jer. xxviii. 6. When the false prophets prophesied peace, and Jeremiah pronounced war,' Amen! the Lord do so; the Lord perform thy words which thou hast prophesied.' Amen, it is not an asseveration, as confirming the truth of their prophecy, but expressing his own hearty wish and desire, if God saw it good.

Two things are required in prayer a fervent desire and faith. A fervent desire; therefore it is said, James v. 16, 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' And then faith: James i. 6, 'But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.' What is that faith required in prayer? A persuasion that those things we ask regularly according to God's will, that God will grant them for Christ's sake.

Now both these Amen signifies: our hearty desire that it may be so; and our faith, that is, our acquiescency in the mercy and power and wisdom of God concerning the event.

Christ would have us bind up this prayer, and conclude it thus: Amen, so let it be, so it shall be. Observe hence,

That it is good to conclude holy exercises with some vigour and warmth.

Natural motion is swifter in the end and close: so should our spiritual affections, as we draw to a conclusion, put forth the efficacy of faith and holy desires, and recollect, as it were, all the foregoing affections; that we may go out of the presence of God with a sweet savour and relish, and a renewed confidence in his mercy and power.

Again, this Amen relateth to all the foregoing petitions, not to one only. Many, when they hear, 'Lord, give us this day our daily bread,' will say, 'Amen;' but when they come to the petition, 'Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven' they are cold there, and have not hearty desires and earnest affections. Many beg pardon of sin; but to be kept from evil, to bridle and restrain their souls from sin, they do not say Amen to that. Many would have defence, maintenance, and victory over their enemies; but not with respect to God's glory. They forget that petition, 'Hallowed be thy name;' but this should be subordinated to his glory. Nay, we must say Amen to all the clauses of this prayer. Many say, 'Lord, forgive us our debts' but do not like that, 'as we forgive our debtors:' they are loth to for give their enemies, but carry a rancorous mind to them which have done them wrong. But now we must say Amen to all that is specified in this prayer. Then,

Mark, this Amen it is put in the close of the doxology. Observe hence,

There must be a hearty Amen to our praises as well as our prayers, that we may show zeal for God's glory, as well as affection to our profit.

Your Allelujahs should sound as loud as your supplications; and not only say Amen when you come with prayers and requests, things you stand in need of, but Amen when you are praising of God.




THE following discourses on those important subjects of the temptation and transfiguration of our blessed Saviour, together with the sermons on the first chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, from the fourteenth to the twenty-first verse, having been carefully perused, and transcribed from the reverend author's own manuscripts, are now, at the earnest request of divers persons that were the happy auditors thereof, offered to public view. Had the author lived to publish these himself, they had come forth into the world more exact; but yet as they are now left, I doubt not but they will be very acceptable to all that have discerning minds, for the peculiar excellency contained in them.

Thus much was thought necessary to be said by way of preface, the work sufficiently commending itself, especially coming from , such an author as Dr Manton.




Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.

THIS scripture giveth us the history of Christ's temptation, which I shall go over by degrees. In the words observe:

1. The parties tempted and tempting. The person tempted was the Lord Jesus Christ. The person tempting was the devil.

2. The occasion inducing this combat, Jesus was led up of the Spirit.

3. The time, then.

4. The place, the wilderness, From the whole observe:

Doct. The Lord Jesus Christ was pleased to submit himself to an extraordinary combat with the tempter, for our good.

1. I shall explain the nature and circumstances of this extraordinary combat.

2. The reasons why Christ submitted to it.

3. The good of this to us.

I. The circumstances of this extraordinary combat. And here

1. The persons combating Jesus and the devil, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. It was designed long before: Gen. iii. 15, 'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel;' and now it is accomplished. Here is the Prince of Peace against the prince of darkness, Michael and the dragon, the Captain of our salvation and our grand enemy. The devil is the great architect of wickedness, as Christ is the Prince of life and righteous ness. These are the combatants: the one ruined the creation of God, and the other restored and repaired it.

2. The manner of the combat. It was not merely a phantasm, that Christ was thus assaulted and used: no, he was tempted in reality, not in conceit and imagination only. It seemeth to be in the spirit, though it was real; as Paul was taken up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body we cannot easily judge, but real it was. I shall more accurately discuss this question afterwards in its more proper place.

3. What moved him, or how was he brought to enter into the lists with Satan? He was 'led by the Spirit,' meaning thereby the impulsion and excitation of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. For it is said, Luke iv. 1, 'Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.' He did not voluntarily put himself upon temptation, but, by God's appointment, went up from Jordan farther into the desert.

We learn hence:

[1.] That temptations come not by chance, not out of the earth, nor merely from the devil; but God ordereth them for his own glory and our good. Satan was fain to beg leave to tempt Job: Job i. 12, 'And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand; 'there is a concession with a limitation. Till God exposeth us to trials, the devil can not trouble us, nor touch us. So Luke xxii. 31, 'Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.' Nay, he could not enter into the herd of swine without a patent and new pass from Christ: Mat. viii. 31, 'So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine' This cruel spirit is held in the chains of an irresistible providence, that he cannot molest any creature of God without his permission; which is a great satisfaction to the faithful: all things which concern our trial are determined and ordered by God. If we be free, let us bless God for it, and pray that he would not 'lead us into temptation:' if tempted, when we are in Satan's hands, remember Satan is in God's hand.

[2.] Having given up ourselves to God, we are no longer to be at our own dispose and direction, but must submit ourselves to be led, guided, and ordered by God in all things. So it was with Christ, he was led by the Spirit continually: if he retire into the desert, he is 'led by the Spirit' Luke iv. 1; if he come back again into Galilee, ver. 4, 'Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.' The Holy Ghost leadeth him into the conflict, and when it was ended leadeth him back again. Now there is a perfect likeness between a Christian and Christ: he is led by the Spirit off and on, so we must be guided by the same Spirit in all our actions: Rom. viii. 14, 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.'

[3.] That we must observe our warrant and calling in all we resolve upon. To put ourselves upon hazards we are not called unto, is to go out of our bounds to meet a temptation, or to ride into the devil's quarters. Christ did not go of his own accord into the desert, but by divine impulsion, and so he came from thence. We may, in our place and calling, venture ourselves, on the protection of God's providence, upon obvious temptations; God will maintain and support us in them; that is to trust God; but to go out of our calling is to tempt God.

[4.] Compare the words used in Matthew and Mark, chap. i. 12, And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.' That shows that it was a forcible motion, or a strong impulse, such as he could not easily resist or refuse, so here is freedom he was led; there is force and efficacious impression he was driven, with a voluntary condescension thereunto. There may be liberty of man's will, yet the victorious efficacy of grace united together: a man may be taught and drawn, as Christ here was led, and driven by the Spirit into the wilder ness.

3. The time.

[1.] Presently after his baptism. Now the baptism of Christ agreeth with ours as to the general nature of it. Baptism is our initiation into the service of God, or our solemn consecration of our selves to him; and it doth not only imply work, but fight: Rom. vi. 13, 'Neither yield ye your members as instruments, O7r\a, of un righteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God;' and, Rom. xiii. 12, 'Let us cast off ^the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.' Christ's baptism had the same general nature with ours, not the same special nature: the general nature is an engagement to God, the special use of baptism is to be a seal of the new covenant, or to be to us 'the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.' Now this Christ was not capable of, he had no sin to be repented of or remitted; but his baptism was an engagement to the same military work to which we are engaged. He came into the world for that end and purpose, to war against sin and Satan; he engageth as the general, we as the common soldiers. He as the general: 1 John iii. 8, 'For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, iva \vcrrj, that he might destroy the works of the devil.' His baptism was the taking of the field as general; we undertake to fight under him in our rank and place.

[2.] At this baptismal engagement the Father had given him a testimony by a voice from heaven: 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;' and the Holy Ghost had descended upon him in the form of a dove, Mark iii. 16, 17. Now presently after this he is set upon by the tempter. Thus many times the children of God, after solemn assurances of his love, are exposed to great temptations. Of this you may see an instance in Abraham: Gen. xxii. 1, 'And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham;' that is, after he had assured Abraham that he was 'his shield, and his exceeding great reward,' and given him so many renewed testimonies of his favour. So Paul, after his rapture, 'lest he should be exalted above measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given to him a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him,' 2 Cor. xii. 7. So Heb. x. 32, 'But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;' i.e., after ye were fully convinced of the Christian faith, and furnished with those virtues and graces that belong to it. God's conduct is gentle, and proportioned to our strength, as Jacob drove as the little ones were able to bear it. He never suffers his castles to be besieged till they are victualled.

[3.] Immediately before he entered upon his prophetical office.

Experience of temptations fits for the ministry, as Christ's temptations prepared him to set a-foot the kingdom of God, for the recovery of poor souls out of their bondage into the liberty of the children of God: ver. 17, 'From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Our state of innocency was our health, the grace of the Redeemer our medicine, Christ our physician; for the devil had poisoned our human nature. There fore, when he sets a-foot his healing cure, it was fit and congruous that he should experimentally feel the power of the tempter, and in what manner he doth assault and endanger souls: Christ also would show us that ministers should not only be men of science, but of experience.

[4.] The place or field where this combat was fought, the wilderness, where were none but wild beasts: Mark i. 13, 'And he was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.' Great question there is in what wilderness Christ was; their opinion is most probable who think it was the great wilderness, called the desert of Arabia, in which the Israelites wandered forty years, and in which Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights. In this solitary place Satan tried his utmost power against our Saviour. This teacheth us:

(1.) That Christ alone grappled with Satan, having no fellow-worker with him, that we may know the strength of our Redeemer, who is able himself to overcome the tempter without any assistance' and to 1 save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him,' Heb. vii. 25.

(2.) That the devil often abuseth our solitude. It is good sometimes to be alone; but then we need to be stocked with holy thoughts or employed in holy exercises, that we may be able to say, as Christ, John xvi. 32, 'I am not alone, because the Father is with me.' Howsoever a state of retirement from human converse, if it be not necessary, exposeth us to temptations; but if we are cast upon it, we must expect God's presence and help.

(3.) That no place is privileged from temptations, unless we leave our hearts behind us. David, walking on the terrace or house-top, was ensnared by Bathsheba's beauty: 2 Sam. xi. 2-4. Lot, that was chaste in Sodom, yet committed incest in the mountain, where there were none but his own family: Gen. xix. 30, 31, &c. When we are locked in our closets, we cannot shut out Satan. II. The reasons why Christ submitted to it.

1. With respect to Adam, that the parallel between the first and second Adam might be more, exact. They are often compared in scripture, as Rom. v., latter end, and 1 Cor. xv.; and we read, Rom. v. 14, that the first Adam was TUTTO? rov 'AeA,Xoim>9, 'the figure of him that was to come.' And as in other respects, so in this; in the same way we were destroyed by the first Adam, in the same way we were restored by the second. Christ recovereth and winneth that which Adam lost. Our happiness was lost by the first Adam being over come by the tempter; so it must be recovered by the second Adam, the tempter being overcome by him. He that did conquer must first be conquered, that sinners might be rescued from the captivity wherein he held them captive. The first Adam, being assaulted quickly after his entrance into paradise, was overcome; and therefore must the second Adam overcome him as soon as he entered upon his office, and that in a conflict hand-to-hand, in that nature that was foiled. The devil must lose his prisoners in the same way that he caught them. Christ must do what Adam could not do. The victory is gotten by a public person in our nature, before it can be gotten by each individual in his own person, for so it was lost. Adam lost the day before he had any offspring, so Christ winneth it in his own person before he doth solemnly begin to preach the gospel and call disciples; and therefore here was the great overthrow of the adversary.

2. In regard of Satan, who by his conquest got a twofold power over man by tempting, he got an interest in his heart to lead him 'captive at his will' and pleasure, 2 Tim. ii. 26; and he was made God's executioner, he got a power to punish him: Heb. 11. 14, 'That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.' Therefore the Son of God, who interposed on our behalf,' and undertook the rescue of sinners, did assume the nature of man that he might conquer Satan in the nature that was conquered, and also offer himself as a sacrifice in the same nature for the demonstration of the justice of God. First, Christ must overcome by obedience, tried to the uttermost by temptations; and then he must also overcome by suffering. By overcoming temptations, he doth overcome Satan as a tempter; and by death he overcame him as a tormentor, or as the prince of death, who had the power of executing God's sentence. So that you see before he overcame him by merit, he overcame him by example, and was an instance of a tempted man before he was an instance of a persecuted man, or one that came to make satisfaction to God's justice.'

3. With respect to the saints, who are in their passage to heaven to be exposed to great difficulties and trials. Now that they might have comfort and hope in their Redeemer, and come to him boldly as one touched with a feeling of their infirmities, he himself submitted to be tempted. This reason is recorded by the apostle in two places: Heb. ii. 18, 'For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.' Able to succour; that is, fit, powerful, inclined, effectually moved to succour them. None so merciful as those who have been once miserable; and they who have not only known misery, but felt it, do more readily relieve and succour others. God biddeth Israel to pity strangers: Exod. xxii. 21, 'Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers m the land of Egypt.' They knew what it was to be exposed to the envy and hatred of the neighbours in the land where they sojourned: Exod xxiii. 9, 'For ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.' We read that when King Richard the First had been, on the sea near Sicily, like to be drowned, he recalled that ancient and barbarous custom, whereby the goods of shipwrecked men were escheated to the crown, making provision that those goods should be preserved for the right owners. Christ being tossed in the tempest of temptations, knows what belongs to the trouble thereof. The other place is, Heb. iv. 15, 'We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin' Christ hath experienced how strong the assailant is, how feeble our nature is, how hard a matter it is to withstand when we are so sorely assaulted. His own experience of sufferings and temptations in him self doth entender his heart, and make him fit for sympathy with us and begets a tender compassion towards the miseries and frailties of his members.

4. With respect to Christ himself, that he might be an exact pat tern of obedience to God. The obedience is little worth, which is carried on in an even tenor, when we have no temptation to the contrary but is cast off as soon as we are tempted to disobey: James i. 12 'Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.' And Heb. xi. 17, 'By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten son.' Now Christ was to be more eminent than all the holy ones of God, and therefore, that he might give an evidence of his piety, constancy, and trust in God, it was thought fit some trial should be made of him, that he might by example teach us what reason we have to hold to God against the strongest temptations.

[II The good of this to us. It teacheth us divers things, four I shall instance in.

1. To show us who is our grand enemy, the devil, who sought the misery and destruction of mankind, as Christ did our salvation And therefore he is called d e % fyo9, the enemy; Mat. xiii. 39, 'The enemy that sowed them is the devil.' And he is called also o woi^po? the wicked one, Mat. xiii. 19, as the first and deepest in evil. And' be cause this malicious cruel spirit ruined mankind at first, he is called 'a har and murderer from the beginning' John viii. 44. A liar because of his deceit; a murderer, to show us what he hath done and would do. It was he that set upon Christ, and doth upon us as at first to destroy our health, so still to keep us from our medicine and recovery out of the lapsed estate by the gospel of Christ.

2. That all men, none excepted, are subject to temptations. If any might plead for exemption, our Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God might; but he was assaulted and tempted; and if the devil tempted our saviour, he will be much more bold with us. The godly are yet in the way not at the end of the journey; in the field, not with the crown on their heads; and it is God's will that the enemy should have leave to assault them. None go to heaven without a trial: 'All these things are accomplished in your brethren that are in the flesh' 1 Pet. v. 9. To look for an exempt privilege, or immunity from temptation, is to list ourselves as Christ's soldiers, and never expect battle or conflict.

3. It showeth us the manner of conflict, both of Satan's fight and our Saviour's defence.

[1,] Of Satan's fight. It is some advantage not to be ignorant of his enterprises: 2 Cor. ii. 11, 'Lest Satan should get an advantage of us for we are not ignorant of his devices' Then we may the better stand upon our guard. He assaulted Christ by the same kind of temptations by which usually he assaults us. The kinds of temptations are reckoned up: 1 John ii. 16, 'The lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life.' And James iii. 15, 'This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.' With these temptations he assaulted our first parents: Gen. iii. 8, 'When the woman saw that the tree was good for fruit, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat' And with the same temptations he assaulted Christ, tempting him to turn stones into bread, to satisfy the longings of the flesh; to fall down and worship him, as to the sight of a bewitching object to his eyes; to fly in the air in pride, and to get glory among men. Here are our snares, which we must carefully avoid.

[2.] The manner of Christ's defence, and so it instructeth us how to overcome and carry ourselves in temptations. And here are two things whereby we evercome:

(1.) By scripture. The word of God is 'the sword of the Spirit,' Eph. vi. 17, and 1 John ii. 14, 'The word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.' It is good to have the word of God abide in our memories, but chiefly in our hearts, by a sound belief and fervent love to the truth.

(2.) Partly by resolution: 1 Pet. iv. 1, 'Arm yourselves with the same mind,' viz., that was in Christ. When Satan grew bold and troublesome, Christ rejects him with indignation. Now the conscience of our duty should thus prevail with us to be resolute therein; the double-minded are as it were torn in pieces between God and the devil: James i. 8, 'A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.' Therefore, being in God's way, we should resolve to be deaf to all temptations.

4. The hopes of success. God would set Christ before us as a pat tern of trust and confidence, that when we address ourselves to serve God, we might not fear the temptations of Satan. We have an example of overcoming the devil in our glorious head and chief. If he pleaded, John xvi. 33, 'In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world;' the same holdeth good here, for the enemies of our salvation are combined. He overcame the devil in our natures, that we might not be discouraged: we fight against the same adversaries in the same cause, and he will give power to us, his weak members, being full of compassion, which certainly is a great comfort to us.

Use. Of instruction to us:

1. To reckon upon temptations. As soon as we mind our baptismal covenant, we must expect that Satan will be our professed foe, seeking to terrify or allure us from the banner of our captain, Jesus Christ. Many, after baptism, fly to Satan's camp. There are a sort of men in the visible church, who, though they do not deny their baptism, as those did, 2 Pet. ii. 9, 'Who have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins,' yet they carry themselves as if they were in league with the devil, the world, and the flesh, rather than with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; with might and main they oppose Christ's kingdom, both abroad and at home, in their own hearts, and are wholly governed by worldly things, the lusts of the flesh, and the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life. Now these are the devil's agents, and the more dangerous because they use Christ's name against his offices, and the form of his religion to destroy the power thereof; as the dragon in the Revelation, pushed with the horns of the Lamb. Others are not venomously and malignantly set against Christ, and his interest in the world, or in their own hearts, but tamely yield to the lusts of the flesh, and go 'like an ox to the slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks' Prov. vii. 22. We cannot say that Satan's work lieth about these. Satan needeth not besiege the soul by temptations; that is his already by peaceable possession; 'when a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace' Luke xi. 21. There is no storm when wind and tide goeth together. But then there is a third sort of men, that begin to be serious, and to mind their recovery by Christ: they have many good motions and convictions of the danger of sin, excellency of Christ, necessity of holiness; they have many purposes to leave sin and enter upon a holy course of life, but 'the wicked one cometh, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart' Mat. xiii. 19. He beginneth betimes to oppose the work, before we are confirmed and settled in a course of godliness, as he did set upon Christ presently upon his baptism. Baptism in us implieth avowed dying unto sin and living unto God; now God permitteth temptation to try our resolution. There is a fourth sort, of such as have made some progress in religion, even to a degree of erninency: these are not altogether free; for if the devil had confidence to assault the declared Son of God, will he be afraid of a mere mortal man? No; these he assaulteth many times very sorely: pirates venture on the greatest booty. These he seeketh to draw off from Christ, as Pharaoh sought to bring back the Israelites after their escape; or to foil them by some scandalous fall, to do religion a mischief: 2 Sam. xii. 14, 'By this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; 'or at least to vex them and torment them, to make the service of God tedious and uncomfortable to them: Luke xxii. 31, 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat' to toss and vex you, as wheat in a sieve. So that no sort of Christians can promise them selves exemption; and God permitteth it, because to whom much is given, of them the more is required.

2. The manner and way of his fight is by the world, per blanda et aspera, by the good or evil things of the world. There is 'armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left' 2 Cor. vi. 7, as there are right-hand and left-hand temptations. Both ways he lieth in ambush in the creature. Sometimes he tempts us by the good things of the world: 1 Chron. xxi. 1, 'And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel' so glorying in his might, and puissance, and victory over neighbour kings. So meaner people he tempteth to abuse their wealth to pride and luxury; there fore we are pressed to be sober: 1 Pet. v. 8, 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.' The devil maketh an advantage of our prosperity, to divert us from God and heaven, and to render us unapt for the strictness of our holy calling. Sometimes he tempts us by the evil things of this world: Job i. 11, 'Put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.' Satan's aim in bringing the saints into trouble is to draw them to fretting, murmuring, despondency, and distrust of providence, yea, to open defection from God, or blasphemy against him; and therefore it is said, 1 Pet. v. 9, 'Knowing that the same afflictions,' &c., because temptations are conveyed to us by our afflictions or troubles in the flesh.

3. His end is to dissuade us from good, and persuade us to evil. To dissuade us from good by representing the impossibility, trouble, and small necessity of it. If men begin to apply themselves to a strict course, such as they have sworn to in baptism, either it is so hard as not to be borne, as John vi. 60, 'This is a hard saying, who can bear it?' Whereas, Mat. xix. 29, 'Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, &c., for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life' Or the troubles which accompany a strict profession are many. The world will note us: John xii. 42, 'Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.' Whereas we must not be ashamed of Christ: 2 Tim. ii. 12, 'If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us' Or that we need not be so strict and nice, whereas all we can do is little enough: Mark xxv. 9, 'Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you' In general, the greatest mischiefs done us by sin are not regarded, but the least inconvenience that attendeth our duty is urged and aggravated. He persuadeth us to evil by profit, pleasure, necessity; we cannot live without it in the world. He hideth the hook, and showeth the bait only; he concealeth the hell, the horror, the eternal pains that follow sin, and only telleth you how beneficial, profitable, and delightful the sin will be to you: Prov. ix. 17, 18, 'Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell'

4. While we are striving against temptations, let us remember our general. We do but follow the Captain of our salvation, who hath vanquished the enemy, and will give us the victory if we keep striving: 'The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly,' Rom. xvi. 2. Not his feet, but ours: we shall be conquerors. Our enemy is vigilant and strong: it is enough for us that our Redeemer is merciful and faithful in succouring the tempted, and able to master the tempter, and defeat all his methods. Christ hath conquered him, both as a lamb and as a lion: Rev. v. 5, 8. The notion of a lamb intimateth his sacrifice, the notion of a lion his victory: in the lamb is merit, in the lion strength; by the one he maketh satisfaction to God, by the other he rescueth sinners out of the paw of the roaring lion, and maintaineth his interest in their hearts. Therefore let us not be discouraged, but closely adhere to him.


  1. Qu. 'respects?' ED.
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