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Chapter VI.—The Fifth Clause.

But how gracefully has the Divine Wisdom arranged the order of the prayer; so that after things heavenly—that is, after the “Name” of God, the “Will” of God, and the “Kingdom” of God—it should give earthly necessities also room for a petition! For the Lord had87978797    This is a slight mistake of Tertullian. The words referred to, “Seek ye first,” etc., do not occur till the end of the chapter in which the prayer is found, so that his pluperfect is out of place. [He must have been aware of this: he only gives logical order to the thought which existed in the divine mind. See note 10, p. 682.] withal issued His edict, “Seek ye first the kingdom, and then even these shall be added:”87988798    Matt. vi. 33. albeit we may rather understand, “Give us this day our daily bread,” spiritually. For Christ is our Bread; because Christ is Life, and bread is life. “I am,” saith He, “the Bread of Life;”87998799    John vi. 35. and, a little above, “The Bread is the Word of the living God, who came down from the heavens.”88008800    John vi. 33. Then we find, too, that His body is reckoned in bread: “This is my body.”88018801    Matt. xxvi. 26. And so, in petitioning for “daily bread,” we ask for perpetuity in Christ, and indivisibility from His body. But, because that word is admissible in a carnal sense too, it cannot be so used without the religious remembrance withal of spiritual Discipline; for (the Lord) commands that bread be prayed for, which is the only food necessary for believers; for “all other things the nations seek after.”88028802    Matt. vi. 32. The like lesson He both inculcates by examples, and repeatedly handles in parables, when He says, “Doth a father take away bread from his children, and hand it to dogs?”88038803    Tertullian seems to refer to Matt. xv. 26; Mark vii. 27. and again, “Doth a father give his son a stone when he asks for bread?”88048804    Matt. vii. 9; Luke xi. 11. For He thus shows what it is that sons expect from their father. Nay, even that nocturnal knocker knocked for “bread.”88058805    Luke xi. 5–9. Moreover, He justly added, “Give us this day,” seeing He had previously said, “Take no careful thought about the morrow, what ye are to eat.”88068806    Matt. vi. 34 and Luke xii. 29 seem to be referred to; but the same remark applies as in note 10 on the preceding page. To which subject He also adapted the parable of the man who pondered on an enlargement of his barns for his forthcoming fruits, and on seasons of prolonged security; but that very night he dies.88078807    Luke xii. 16–20.


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