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CHRISTIANITY ACCORDING TO CHRIST.

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CHRISTIANITY ACCORDING TO CHRIST,

AS EXHIBITED IN THE LORD'S PRAYER.

T is a true instinct that has led the Church of Christ to select the Lord's Prayer from the New Testament and place it side by side with the Ten Commandments from the Old, to be imprinted on the memory, impressed upon the heart, and treasured as a "form of sound words" beyond all price. For it is much more than a prayer-model. It teaches us not only how to pray, but what to pray for; and, inasmuch as prayer is the lifting up of the desires of the heart, out of which "are the issues of life," by teaching us what the desires of our hearts should be, it shows us what our life should be; so that in these few memorable words we have our Lord's own presentment of the Christian life in its leading outlines and proportions. Here, in fact, we have an authoritative presentation of practical Christianity. The Lord's Prayer exhibits Christianity according to Christ.

Considering the importance which has always been attached by Christian people to this compendium, one would think that it must represent the Christianity of Christians as well as of Christ: their ideal at least, if not their actual life. However far short they might fall

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in attainment, one would expect that they would surely reach out towards the state of mind and heart represented by a prayer which most of them are offering day by day continually. But has it been so as a rule? We think not. We question if the majority of even earnest Christians have steadily set before them this ideal.

There are three classes of desires represented in the prayer desires relating to God and His cause, desires. for the supply of bodily wants, and desires for the supply of spiritual wants. Of these different classes of desires the place of supreme prominence and importance is given to the first, the earlier half of the prayer being wholly occupied with them; while the latter half is devoted to personal wants, being divided between the body and the spirit in the proportion of one to two. Now, it would seem that the great majority of Christians are content to dwell in the second and lower hemisphere, with only an occasional visit to the first. They do honestly try to subordinate temporal to spiritual wants; they do honestly try to attach at least double the importance to salvation. from sin which they do to matters of bread; but their strength and zeal are almost all absorbed in this endeavour. They have only a fraction of energy left, if any, for the other and sunward hemisphere of the Christian life. The great struggle seems to be to reach a life corresponding to a prayer like this: "Our Father, which art in heaven, Forgive us our sins, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; give us a comfortable living; and may Thy kingdom come."

All this is the more remarkable from the fact that the summary of the Ten Commandments which our Lord has given us follows the same order, and accentuates quite as much the superior importance of the Godward hemisphere. Just as in the Lord's Prayer we have the soul

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