The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,859 pages of information about The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.

Whoever reads this Abstract of Plato’s Discourse on Prayer, will, I believe, naturally make this Reflection, That the great Founder of our Religion, as well by his own Example, as in the Form of Prayer which he taught his Disciples, did not only keep up to those Rules which the Light of Nature had suggested to this great Philosopher, but instructed his Disciples in the whole Extent of this Duty, as well as of all others.  He directed them to the proper Object of Adoration, and taught them, according to the third Rule above-mentioned, to apply themselves to him in their Closets, without Show or Ostentation, and to worship him in Spirit and in Truth.  As the Lacedemonians in their Form of Prayer implored the Gods in general to give them all good things so long as they were virtuous, we ask in particular that our Offences may be forgiven, as we forgive those of others.  If we look into the second Rule which Socrates has prescribed, namely, That we should apply ourselves to the Knowledge of such Things as are best for us, this too is explain’d at large in the Doctrines of the Gospel, where we are taught in several Instances to regard those things as Curses, which appear as Blessings in the Eye of the World; and on the contrary, to esteem those things as Blessings, which to the Generality of Mankind appear as Curses.  Thus in the Form which is prescribed to us we only pray for that Happiness which is our chief Good, and the great End of our Existence, when we petition the Supreme Being for the coming of his Kingdom, being solicitous for no other temporal Blessings but our daily Sustenance.  On the other side, We pray against nothing but Sin, and against Evil in general, leaving it with Omniscience to determine what is really such.  If we look into the first of Socrates his Rules of Prayer, in which he recommends the above-mentioned Form of the ancient Poet, we find that Form not only comprehended, but very much improved in the Petition, wherein we pray to the Supreme Being that his Will may be done: which is of the same Force with that Form which our Saviour used, when he prayed against the most painful and most ignominious of Deaths, Nevertheless not my Will, but thine be done.  This comprehensive Petition is the most humble, as well as the most prudent, that can be offered up from the Creature to his Creator, as it supposes the Supreme Being wills nothing but what is for our Good, and that he knows better than ourselves what is so.

L.

[Footnote 1:  [having received], and in first reprint.]

[Footnote 2:  Iliad, viii. 548, 9.]

[Footnote 3:  Iliad, v. 127.]

[Footnote 4:  John xi. 49.]

* * * * *

No. 208.  Monday, October 29, 1711.  Steele.

 —­Veniunt spectentur ut ipsae.

  Ov.[1]

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The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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