תמונות בעמוד

nity of our natures, that we are capable of knowing and enjoying him that made us. And as the rational creatures of God, there are two relations especially that we stand in to him ; the frequent consideration of which is absolutely necessary to a right self-knowledge. For as our creator, he is our king and father : And as his creatures, we are the subjects of his kingdom, and the children of his family.

1. “ We are the subjects of his king“ dom." And as such we are bound,

(1.) To yield a faithful obedience to the laws of his kingdom. And the advantages by which these come to be recommended to us above all human laws are many.-They are calculated for the private interest of every one, as well as that of the public; and are designed to promote our present, as well as our future happiness. They are plainly and explicitly published; easily understood'; and in fair and legible characters writ in every man's heart; and the wisdom, reason and necessity of them are readily discerned. They are urged with the most mighty motives that can possibly affect the human heart. -And if any of them are difficult, the most effectual grace is freely offered to encourage and assist our obedience. Advan


tages which no human laws have to enforce the observance of them.—(2.) As his fiebjects, we must readily pay him the homage due to his fovereignty. And this is no less than the homage of the heart; humbly acknowledging that we hold every thing of him, and have every thing from him. Earthly princes are forced to be content with verbal acknowledgments or mere formal homage. For they can command nothing but what is external. But God, who knows and looks at the hearts of all his creatures, will accept of nothing but what comes from thence. He demands the adoration of our whole souls, which is most justly due to him who formed them, and gave them the very capacities to know and adore him.-(3.) As faithful subjects, we must cheerfully pay him the tribute he requires of us. This is not like the tribute which earthly kings exact; who as much depend upon their subjects for the support of their power, as their subjects do upon them for the protection of their property. But the tribute God requires of us, is a tribute of praise and honour; which he stands in no need of from us. For his power is independent, and his glory immutable; and he is infinitely able of himself to support the dignity of his uni



versal government. But it is the most natural duty we owe him as creatures. For to praise him, is only to show forth his praise ; to glorify him, to celebrate his glory; and to honour him, is to render him and his ways honourable in the eyes and esteem of others. And as this is the most natural duty that creatures owe to their Creator, so it is a tribute he requires of every one of them in proportion to their respective talents, and abilities to pay it. -(4.) As dutiful fubje&ts, we must contentedly and quietly submit to the methods and adminiftrations of his government, however dark, involved or intricate. All governments have their arcana imperii, or “ fecrets of state ;" which common subjects cannot penetrate. And therefore they cannot competently judge of the wisdom or rectiture of certain public measures; because they are ignorant either of the springs of them, or the ends of them; or the expediency of the means, arising from the particular situation of things in the present juncture. And how much truer is this with relation to God's government of the world? whose wisdom is far above our reach, and “whose ways are not

as ours.” Whatever, then, may be the present aspect and appearance of things,


as dutiful subjects, we are bound to ac-
quiesce; to ascribe' wisdom and “ righte-
« ousness to our Maker," in confidence
that the King and “ Judge of all the earth
“ will do right.”-Again, (5.) As good
subjects of God's kingdom, we are bound
to pay a due regard and reverence to his
ministers: Especially if they discover an un-
corrupted fidelity to his cause, and a pure
unaffected zeal for his honour; if they
do not seek their own interest more than
that of their divine Master. The mini-
fters of earthly prince, too often do this.
And it would be happy if all the ministers
and ambassadors of the heavenly King were
entirely clear of the imputation.-It is no
uncommon thing for the honour of an
earthly monarch to be wounded through
the fides of his ministers. The defama-
tion and flander that is directly thrown at
them, is obliquely intended against him:
and as such it is taken. So to attempt to
make the ministers of the gospel, in gene-
ral, the objects of derision, as some do,
plainly shows a mind very diffolute and
disaffected to God and religion itself; and
is to act a part very unbecoming the du-
tiful subjects of his kingdom.—(Lastly),
As good subjects, we are to do all we can
to promote the interest of his kingdom ;


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by defending the wisdom of his administrations, and endeavouring to reconcile others thereunto, under all the darkness and difficulties that may appear in them, in opposition to the profane censures of the prosperous wicked, and the doubts and dismays of the afflicted righteous. This is to act in character as loyal subjects of the king of heaven. And whoever forgets this part of his character, or acts contrary to it, shows a great degree of selfignorance: · But (2.) As the creatures of God, we are not only the subjects of his kingdom, but the children of his family. And to this relation, and the obligations of it, must we carefully attend, if we would attain the true knowledge of ourselves.-We are his children by creation; in which respect he is truly our father. Ifa. lxiv. 8. But 110w, O Lord, thou art our father : we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thine hands. And in a more special sense we are his children by adoption. Gal. iii. 26. For pe are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jefus.--And therefore, (1.) We are under the higheft bligations to love him as our father. The

e of children to parents is founded on titude, for benefits received which can


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