And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
God's right thus to give law is founded on His original and underived supremacy. The eternity of His existence, the supremacy of His wisdom, power, and goodness, so infinitely above those of all creatures, give Him the throne and make Him the monarch. That it is the perceptive will of God to which this prayer refers, cannot admit of a question. An object obtained cannot be the object of petition. This request cannot relate to God's purpose, because His purpose is accomplished as well on the earth as it is in heaven. "His counsel shall stand, and He will do all His pleasure." But it is not so with His law. His perceptive will is accounted as a strange thing; it is transgressed, abused, and vilified. How then is the will of God done in heaven?
1. The will of God is there done in all its parts. There is no form or modification of holy affection toward God, which does not there exist and is not acted out. Nor are there any violations there of the great law of love to fellow intelligences. There is no murderous hand, or malignant intention; no furious and revengeful passion; no harshness or cruelty; no unkindness, or even inattention and negligence. There are no revolting scenes of impurity, no haunts of licentiousness, and no lascivious eye. There is no lying tongue or covetous desire.
2. The will of God is there obeyed also by all its inhabitants. There is no jar in their society, and no discord in their song.
3. In heaven the will of God is also done with sincerity and cheerfulness. There is no hypocrisy there; no formal sacrifice is offered on that altar. In this low world, true religion is an exotic; an unnatural and unindigenous plant, confined and stinted in its growth, and sometimes a meagre, dwarfish, and ungainly thing. It partakes of the cold soil and cheerlessness of this low earth, never arrives at maturity, and sometimes blooms to fade. But what pencil can paint, or what poetry describe its beauty and fragrance, when transplanted to the skies? No longer some depressed and drooping floweret, it is like Sharon's rose, unfolding its leaves on its native bed.
4. In heaven the will of God is likewise done perfectly and for ever. The flow of holy affections is there constant and resistless, and "clear as crystal" and their strength and vigour remain for ever unabated. There are no seasons of langour and declension, and no apostasy and backsliding.
5. It is not out of place to submit the remark, that the law of God is no less binding on the earth than it is in heaven. While every man should obey the law of God, merely because it is law, and an expression of His will, it is a right rule to which he is subject. It is as reasonable that the will of God be done on earth, as that it should be done in heaven. Is it reasonable for those immortal princes to obey their sovereign, and is it unreasonable for man?
6. Obedience to God's will would produce a high degree of happiness in the earth as well as in heaven. The foundation on which the happiness of thinking beings rests, is their obedience to the Divine will.
7. Still further: God would be as truly honoured and glorified by the obedience of earth, as He is by the obedience of heaven. He is eminently exalted by the sinless per. faction of the heavenly world.
8. Nor is this all. In some respects, God is even more honoured by the obedience of earth, than by the obedience of heaven. The planet on which we dwell is a peculiar world. It has properties and relations altogether peculiar to itself. There are no such expressions of the Divine goodness made to any other world as are made to this. Nowhere does it assume the form of favour to the guilty, except to men. Others have gained the heavenly inheritance by their own righteousness; inhabitants of earth are the purchase of the Saviour's blood, and the reward of His obedience unto death.
9. Mournfully affecting to every Christian mind is the present condition of the Church and the world.
10. Yet, notwithstanding this, does this very prayer suggest a ground of hope.
(G. Spring, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.