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men, but which, nevertheless, is more costly than the entire world,—the pledge he required was a consecrated Host. And by what was the sultan induced to make such a demand? He had witnessed the indescribable love, the deep respect evinced by his royal captive towards the Sacrament of the altar; from which he justly concluded, that he could demand no greater or more certain security.
And if we wish to secure to ourselves the peace of God, and a participation in the eternal inheritance, what greater pledge could we desire than that which we specify in the petition, “Give us this day our supersubstantial bread ?” “In our earthly pilgrimage,' says St. Augustine, this pledge must be our sovereign consolation and support ; for He who has bestowed upon us so great a pledge is prepared to give us all things : if the pledge be so great, what must be that for which it stands security! How will He replenish us in our heavenly home, who here below so bountifully feeds us ! O mystery of Divine goodness! O band of holy charity! he who desires life knows well where to find it; he approaches this banquet, he believes, he unites himself with the body which gives him life to live for God and by God!
XALTED and heavenly, sweet and joyful, bo
nourable and elevating is all that we specify and request in the first four petitions of the Lord's Prayer. Therein do we express to our heavenly Father our heartfelt desire, that His name may be hallowed, that His kingdom may be established, that His will may be fulfilled ; and, under the name of our daily bread, we pray that He would
bestow upon us whatever is requisite for our soul or body. All these petitions and desires are well becoming faithful, zealous, and sinless children, who have in view nought save the honour and love of their Father.
But as in the petition for our daily bread we acknowledged our destitution and dependence, and consequently turned our reflections to ourselves and into our interior, so do we now perceive and acknowledge that we may not presume to utter with fullest confidence these exalted petitions, as if between the sanctity of our God and our sinfulness there were not yet much
to remove, and as if we possessed that spiritual and corporeal health which would render the food we request immediately beneficial. We rather confess that we are sick; and as weak and crime-burdened children, fly to a Father of mercy inexhaustible. Such was the conduct of the prodigal of the Gospel, who, after he had proudly demanded and shamefully squandered his inheritance, and now sat amidst swine and their loathsome husks, resolved to fly to his father for clothing and for food. And in what manner? I will arise, and say to my father, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee; I am not worthy to be called thy son. But the father celebrated a feast of rejoicing; “ for,” said he, “ this my son was dead, and is come to life; he was lost, and is found.”
Well worthy is this and' of deep consideration, “ I will arise, and will say to my father.” We arise, we leave this earth and its husks of swine, so often as we elevate our hearts to our heavenly Father to implore His powerful assistance ; but yet is there an 'and' still necessary, in order that our merciful Parent may say, “ He was dead, and is come to life; he was lost, and is found.” What is this powerful and ?' “Our Father, who art in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, AND forgive us our trespasses ;” or, as it is expressed in St. Luke," and forgive us our sins," for we have sinned against Heaven and before Thee; against Thy love and in sight of Thy love, and we are no more worthy to be called Thy sons, nor even Thy servants, since we have not performed Thy work, unless Thou forgive us our transgressions; for Thou art still our Father.
This, then, is that necessary and which connects the fifth with the preceding petitions, but which is so seldom considered in this its connecting quality. Of this did the holy hermit Sabbas once complain. Oppressed with hunger and with thirst, a troop of barbarians of the tribe of the Agareni prowled through the desert in which he lived; they discovered his cell, rushed wildly in, hoping to discover some refreshment, and finding their expectations deceived, they loaded the hoary recluse with opprobrious words and with every inhumanity. Sabbas, without opposing a word of remonstrance, spread out a sheep's skin, and laid before them the whole treasure of his poverty, consisting of some gourds and other fruits. They eat, and went joyfully on their way; but after a few days returned once more, and in a manner more courteous, bringing, in testimony of their gratitude, various provisions. Wo to us,' sighed the holy Sabbas ; 'savage barbarians are thankful for so inconsiderable a favour, and repay it with all gratitude ; but we daily receive gifts from our Creator, and return Him nought save unthankfulness! And such is the acknowledgment which connects the fourth and fifth petitions. Give us this day our daily bread; grant us the gifts of which we stand in so great need, and forgive us our trespasses, wherewith, by ingratitude for Thy gifts and towards the Giver, we have burdened our souls.
And albeit we cannot repay Him for His beneficence, to which we are indebted for our being, for our honour, and for our happiness, and although by our fidelity we cannot augment His essential felicity, yet does He call for our gratitude, and demand that wise use of His gifts
whereby we shall be rendered worthy to receive other and yet higher favours, and promote the hallowing of His sacred name, by evidences more resplendent of His
We employ our corporeal and spiritual life, and whatsoever else we receive from the world and from nature, in conformity with God's holy will, when we subject to this holy will, made known to us by conscience and by revelation, our entire freedom ; acknowledging our dependence as finite beings upon Him who is infinite, and confessing that the Uncreated has the right of sovereignty over the creatures of His hands. As God alone is self-existent, He is necessarily the absolute Lord ; whilst every created being, not existing of itself, cannot be its own lord, but must consider as its rule the will of God. Should the creature possessing freedom reject this rule, it revolts to become its own lord, it invades the right of God; and in this usurpation consisteth sin.
What, therefore, is sin? The word is very common; not so the interpretation. As to the definition, it is generally said, that sin is an offence of God; and this is not merely ingratitude, for ingratitude may denote only a want or delay of thankfulness. But here we enter upon a labyrinth similar to, if not more intricate than that which presented itself when we discussed the ideas entertained concerning the hallowing and profanation of the Divine name.
Let us suppose, what has often bappened, that a sensualist and a Christian are journeying on the same road. The former, with many jeers, exhorts his pious companion to be encouraged by his example to perform