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only, are we sure to enjoy him, “in whose light we shall see light.' And be the future state of existence what it will, we shall some way be happy there. And much more happy than we can now conceive ; though in what particular manner we know not, because God hath not revealed it.
The several relations wherein we stand to God, to Christ,
and our fellow creatures.
II. SELF knowledge requires us to be well acquainted with the various relations in which we stand to other beings, and the several duties that result from those relations. And,
1. Our first and principal concern is to consider the relation wherein we stand to him who gave us being
We are the creatures of his hand, and the objects of his care. His power upholds the being his goodness gave us. His bounty accommodates us with the blessings of this life, and his grace provides us for the happiness of a better. Nor are we merely his creatures, but his rational and intelligent creatures. It is the dignity 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 bear 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.in
: 1. We are the subjects of his kingdom. 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 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 publick ; 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 : advantages which no human laws have to enforce the observance of them. 2. As his subjects we must readily pay him the homage due to his sovereignty. 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 ac. knowledgments, or mere formal homage ; for they can command nothing but what is exter
nal. 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 exaet ; 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 universal government. But it is the most natural duty we owe to 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 subjects we must contentedly and quietly submit to the methods and administration of his government, however dark, involved, or intricate. All governments have their arcana imperii, or secrets of state ; which
common subjects cannot penetrate. And therefore they cannot competently judge of the wisdom or rectitude of eertain publick meas sures; because they are ignorant either of the springs of them, or the ends of them, or the ex pediency of the means arising from the partieular 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 our's. Whatever then may be the present aspect and appearance of things, as dutiful subjects we are bound to acquiesce ; to ascribe wisdom and righteousness 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 uncorrupted fidelity to his eause, 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 princes 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 slander 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 gogpet, in general
, the objects
our potta ,
of derision, as some do, plainly shows a mind very dissolute 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 de. fending the wisdom of his administrations, and endeavouring to reconcile others thereunto, under all the darkness and difficulties that may appear therein, 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 self ignorance.
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 respéct he is truly our father. But now, O Lord, thou art our father, we are the clay, and thou hands.'* And in a more special sense we are his children by adoption. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.'t And therefore, 1. We are under the highest obliga. tions to love him as our father. The love of children to parents is founded on gratitude for
Gal. iii. 26.
Isa. Lxiv. 8.