תמונות בעמוד

as dutiful subjects, we are bound to acquiesce; to ascribe" wisdom and "righte"ousness to our Maker," in considence 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 uncorrupted sidelity 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 ministers 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 sides of his ministers. The defamation 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 general, 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 dutiful subjects of his kingdom.—(Lastly), , As good subjects, we are to do all we can to promote the interest of his kingdom; by desending the wisdom of his administrations, and endeavouring to reconcile others thereunto, under all the darkness and dissiculties 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 sorgets 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 suljeils of his kingdom, but the children of his family. And to this relation, and the obligations of it, must we carefully attend, jf we would attain the true knowledge of ourselves.—We are his children by creationi in which respect he is truly our father. Isa. lxiv. 8. But now, 0 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 ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus—-And therefore, (1.) We are under the highest obligations to love him as our father. The ve of children to parents is founded on atitude, for benesits received which can


never be requited : and ought in reason to be proportioned to those benesits; especially if they flow from a conscience of duty in the parent. And what duty more natural than to love our benefactors? What love and gratitude then is due to him, from whom we have received the greatest benesit, even that of our being? And every thing that contributes to the comfort of it ?—(2.) As his children, we must honour him; that is, must speak honourably of him, and for him; and carefully avoid every thing that may tend to dishonour his holy name and ways. Mai. i. 6. A Jon honoureth his father:if then I be a father, •where is mine honour ?—(3.) As our father, we are to apply to him for what we want. Whither should children go but to their father, for protection, help, and relief, in every danger, dissiculty, and distress ?— And (4.) We must triist his power and wisdom, and paternal goodness to provide sor us, take care of us, and do for us that which is best; and what that is he knows best. To be anxiously searful what will become of us, and discontented and perplexed under the apprehension of future evils,,.whilst we are in the hands and under the care of our Father which is in heaven, is not to act like children. Earthly parents cannot avert from their children all the calamities they sear, because their ,wisdom and power are limited; but our All-wise, and Almighty Father in heaven can. They may possibly want love and tenderness for their offspring, but our heavenly Father cannot for his, Isa. xlix. Ij. —(5.) As children, we must quietly acquiesce in his disposals and not expect to fee into the wisdom of all his will. It ,would be indecent, and undutiful in a child to dispute his parents authority, or question their wisdom, or neglect their orders, every time he could not discern the reason arid design of them. Much more unreasonable and unbecoming is such a behaviour towards God, '' who giveth not account "of any of his matters; whose judg"ments are unsearchable, and whose ways "are past sinding out," Job xxxiii. 13. Rom. xi. 33.—(Lastly,) As children, we must patiently submit to his discipline and .-erreclion.. Earthly parents may sometimes punish their children through paslion, or for their pleasure; but our heavenly Father always corrects his for their projit, Heb. xii- ic. and only if need be, 1 Pet. i. 6. and never so much as their iniquities

'serve, Ezra ix. 13 Under his fatherly

bukee then let us be ever humble and

"submissive. submiffive.—Such now is the true filial disposition. Such a temper and such a behaviour should we show towards God, if we would act in character as his children.

These then are the two special relations, ,which, as creatures, we stand in to God. And not to act towards him in the manner before mentioned, is to show that we are ignorant of, or have not yet duly considered our obligations to him as his subjects and his children; or that we are as yet ignorant both of God and ourselves.— Thus we see how directly the knowledge of ourselves leads us to the knowledge of God. So true is the observation of a late pious and very worthy divine^ that "He "that is a stranger to himself, is a stran"gcr to God, and to every thing that may "denominate him wise and happy *."

But (2.) in order to know ourselves, there is another important relation we should often think of, and that is, That in which •wejland to Jesus Christ our redeemer.

The former was common to us as men: this is peculiar to us as Christians; and opens to us a new scene of duties and obligations,

* See Mr. Faxtcr's dedicatory epistle, presixed to his treatise on The Benefits of S f-jicyuainlancs.

« הקודםהמשך »