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“One way to get comfort is to plead the promise of God in prayer, show Him His handwriting; God is tender of His Word.”
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, For Ever. Amen.
In these words we have the conclusion of all, and that which giveth us confidence in the requests we make to God.
First, The confirmation is taken from the excellency of God, to whom we pray; where there is a declaration of what belongeth to God:-
Secondly, The duration and perpetuity, for ever.
Three things are mentioned as belonging to God – kingdom, power, and glory.
1. By kingdom is meant God’s right and authority over all things, by which he can dispose of them according to his own pleasure.
2. By power is meant his sufficiency to execute this right, and to do what he pleaseth, both in heaven and earth.
3. The final cause of all is his glory. ‘Thine is the glory,’ or the honour of all things in the world belongs to thee. Glory is excellency discovered with praise. We desire that he may be more honoured and brought into request and esteem.
Secondly, We have the obsignation and sealing of our requests in the word Amen; which is, signaculum fidei, an expression of our faith and hope. And actus desiderii, the strength of our desire. There is the Amen of faith, and the Amen. of hearty desire; as by and by.
Now let us look upon this conclusion, first, as a doxology or expression of praise to God: and the note is:-
Doct. That in every address to God, lauding or praising of God is necessary.
For in this perfect form of prayer Christ teacheth us, not only to ask things needful for ourselves, but to ascribe to God things proper to him. There are two words used in this case in scripture, praise and blessing. Praise relateth to God’s excellency, and blessing to his benefits: Ps. cxlv. 10, ‘All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.’ All the works of God declare his excellency; but the saints will ever be ascribing to God the benefits they have received from him. So they are spoken of as things, though somewhat alike, yet as distinct: Neh. ix. 5, ‘Blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.’ Our praise cannot reach the excellency of his nature; nor our blessing express the worth of his benefits. Both may be here intended. For thine is kingdom and power, relateth to his excellency, and thine is the glory, to his benefits; for God’s glory is the reflex of all his works, and so expresseth the benefits showed to the sons of men, especially to his people. Well, then, whenever you would pray to God to bless you, you must bless God again, and praise his name: Eph. i. 3, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ It is the echo and reflex of his grace and mercy to the creatures. God blesseth us, and we bless God; as the echo returneth the word, or the wall beateth back the beams of the sun. Only consider, we bless God far otherwise than he blesseth us: God’s blessing is operative, ours declarative; his words are accompanied with power: benedicere is benefacere. He doth good; we speak good when we remember the blessed effects of his grace, and tell what he hath done for our souls.
The reasons why we are to mingle praises and thanksgivings with our requests are these
<1.> Because this complieth more with the great end of worship;
which is not so much the relief of man as the honour of God; therefore we should not only intend the supply of our necessities, for that is but a brutish cry, howling for corn, wine, and oil, Hosea vii. 14; but we should intend also the honour of God: Ps. 1. 23, ‘Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.’ A man may offer requests to God, yet not honour him, but seek himself; but he that offereth praise glorifieth me. He that doth affectionately, and from his heart, give God the honour of his attributes and titles in scripture, he glorifieth him; and therefore worship being for the glory of God, that should not be left out.
<2.> This is the most effectual spiritual oratory, or way of praying:
Ps. lxvii. 5, ‘Let the people praise thee, 0 God, let all the people praise thee.’ What then? ‘Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.’ We have comforts increased the more we praise God for what we have already received. The more vapours go up, the more showers come down; as the rivers receive so they pour out, and all run into the sea again. There is a constant circular course and recourse from the sea unto the sea. So there is between God and us; the more we praise him the more our blessings come down; and the more his blessings come down the more we praise him again; so that we do not so much bless God as bless ourselves. When the springs lie low we pour a little water into the pump, not to enrich the fountain, but to bring up more for ourselves.
<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, ‘0 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?
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: Cal. 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, hut 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, 0 Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: thine is the kingdom, 0 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: Neh. 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, 0 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,’ etc.;
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.
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 kingdom.
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, 0 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, it 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. lxxiv. 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. ll, ‘Prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man; for I was the king’s cupbearer.’ 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 O 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.
<3.>The third argument which Christ propounds, ‘TIme 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. lxv. 1, ‘Praise waiteth for thee, O 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, goodness, 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, ‘O 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, O 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, for 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 whatever 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. lxxxii. 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, 0 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, O 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 evermore. 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.
Right 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-abhorrency, 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? Mal. 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 conie 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, 0 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 maybe 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 last 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 forgive 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.
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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.