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CHAPTER XXX. The Principles of Christian Living: Faith and Hope

114. Thus, from our confession of faith, briefly summarized in the Creed (which is milk for babes when pondered at the carnal level but food for strong men when it is considered and studied spiritually), there is born the good hope of the faithful, accompanied by a holy love.241241Note the artificial return to the triadic scheme of the treatise: faith, hope, and love. But of these affirmations, all of which ought faithfully to be believed, only those which have to do with hope are contained in the Lord's Prayer. For "cursed is everyone," as the divine eloquence testified, "who rests his hope in man."242242Jer. 17:5. Thus, he who rests his hope in himself is bound by the bond of this curse. Therefore, we should seek from none other than the Lord God whatever it is that we hope to do well, or hope to obtain as reward for our good works.

115. Accordingly, in the Evangelist Matthew, the Lord's Prayer may be seen to contain seven petitions: three of them ask for eternal goods, the other four for temporal goods, which are, however, necessary for obtaining the eternal goods.

For when we say: "Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven"243243Matt. 6:9, 10.—this last being wrongly interpreted by some as meaning "in body and spirit"—these blessings will be retained forever. They begin in this life, of course; they are increased in us as we make progress, but in their perfection—which is to be hoped for in the other life—they will be possessed forever! But when we say: "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,"244244Matt. 6:11–13. who does not see that all these pertain to our needs in the present life? In that life eternal—where we all hope to be—the hallowing of God's name, his Kingdom, and his will, in our spirit and body will abide perfectly and immortally. But in this life we ask for "daily bread" because it is necessary, in the measure required by soul and body, whether we take the term in a spiritual or bodily sense, or both. And here too it is that we petition for forgiveness, where the sins are committed; here too are the temptations that allure and drive us to sinning; here, finally, the evil from which we wish to be freed. But in that other world none of these things will be found.

116. However, the Evangelist Luke, in his version of the Lord's Prayer, has brought together, not seven, but five petitions. Yet, obviously, there is no discrepancy here, but rather, in his brief way, the Evangelist has shown us how the seven petitions should be understood. Actually, God's name is even now hallowed in the spirit, but the Kingdom of God is yet to come in the resurrection of the body. Therefore, Luke was seeking to show that the third petition ["Thy will be done"] is a repetition of the first two, and makes this better understood by omitting it. He then adds three other petitions, concerning daily bread, forgiveness of sins, and avoidance of temptation.245245Luke 11:2–4. However, what Matthew puts in the last place, "But deliver us from evil," Luke leaves out, in order that we might understand that it was included in what was previously said about temptation. This is, indeed, why Matthew said, "But deliver us," instead of, "And deliver us," as if to indicate that there is only one petition—"Will not this, but that"—so that anyone would realize that he is being delivered from evil in that he is not being led into temptation.


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