And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Point out that the word "lead" is not an exactly correct rendering, and but for long use would be pretty certainly a somewhat misleading one. The plain meaning of the petition is that we may be spared the conflict and the danger and the pain of temptation, so far as may be accordant with Divine wisdom and the Divine will. Hence a very old version renders "carry," and the Revised Version renders "bring;" and for this may be substituted such other words as "put," or "place." Though indeed circumstances, as we call them (and God certainly uses not unfrequently the ministry of circumstance), may be largely described as partaking of the nature of leading, yet the last intended implication of the petition is that God would, by unconscious leading, betray us into temptation, so that we should be more liable to fall by it. Consider -
I. THE NATURE OF THE THING CALLED TEMPTATION.
1. It is not the word rightly used, unless the person is free to choose, to do, or to refuse to do.
2. It is not the word rightly used, unless the thing that tempts is for some reason evil - evil not necessarily in itself, but for us at the time being.
3. It involves our facing what is either intrinsically evil, or in this sense evil; wishing or being inclined to wish or liable to wish it; and finally either mastering and banishing the wish, or yielding to it, and turning it into action.
II. THE OBJECTS OF TEMPTATION.
1. To reveal to the nature of an inquiring, intelligent being what forces there are without him, for good or for bad, in this world.
2. To reveal to that nature the forces that are within it also; and to waken its knowledge as much of their difference in kind as of their existence.
III. THE USES OF TEMPTATION.
1. To challenge, determine, fix the tone and direction of the character of any and every person.
2. To strengthen greatly, by decision and by exercise, goodness, if temptation is resisted and mastered; or if the opposite, at any rate to acquaint the sufferer with what is going on in his life.
IV. THE JUSTIFICATION OF PRAYING AGAINST THE ORDEAL OF TEMPTATION.
1. Such praying expresses a very permissible, just, modest distrust of self. It expresses the opposite of self-confidence.
2. It expresses a just and natural dread of being worsted of our worst enemy.
3. It expresses a justifiable shrinking from the conflict, and the pain of being tempted, even if we are not victims to the danger of it. That "the cup may pass away" we know is a lawful and even hallowed prayer, if coupled with submission still to the Divine will, and with the resolute drinking of it if it be still held to our lips. Such praying may be regarded as the fit response also to the most gracious utterances of all the ages; e.g. "Like as a father pitieth his children... for he knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust." - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.