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then is due to him, from
benefits received, which can never be requited; 10.
and ought in reason to be proportioned to those Ecom -Last.
benefits. And what duty more natural than to
love our benefactors ? What love and gratitude Te can
ed the greatest benefit, even that of our being,
and every thing that contributes to the comfort 50, un
of it?--2. As his children we must honour ay
him ; that is, 'must speak honourably of him,
and for him ; and carefully avoid every thing Ots and
that may tend to dishonour his holy name and
ways. "A son honoureth his father :--If then cingd
I be a father, where is mine honour ?»*_-3. As of
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, difficulty, and distress?--And, 4. We chil
must trust his power and wisdom, and paternal ad the
goodness, to provide for us, take care of us, and ift
do for us that which is best ; and what that is
he knows best. To be anxiously fearful what res
will become of us, and discontented and perLord
plexed under the apprehensions of future evils, Chou
whilst we are in the hands and under the care of hine
our father which is in heaven, is not to act like
children. Earthly parents cannot avert-from the
their children all the calamities they fear, because their wisdom and power are limited ; but our all-wise and almighty father in heaven can.
They may possibly want love and tenderness, ET
but our heavenly father cannot. Isa. xlix. 15.
* Mal. i. 6.
-5. As children, we must quietly acquiesce in his disposal, and not expect to see into the wisdom of all his will. It would be indecent and undutiful in a child to dispute the authority, or question the wisdom, or neglect the orders of his parents every time he could not discern the reason and design thereof. Much more unreasonable and unbecoming is such a behaviour towards God, who giveth not account of any of his matters ; whose judgments are unsearchable, and whose ways are past finding out.?*--Lastly, As children, we must patiently submit to his discipline and correction. Earthly parents may sometimes punish their children through passion, or for their pleasure ; but our heavenly father always corrects his for their profit,t and only if need be, and never so much
as their iniquities deserve.'j Under his fatherly rebukes then let us be ever humble and submissive. Such now is the 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
* Job xxxiii. 13. Rom. xi. 33,
11 Pet.'i, 6.
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 stranger 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 we stand to Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Seine • 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, which a man can never forget, that does not grossly forget himself. For, as christians, we are the disciples, the followers, and the servants of Christ, redeemed by him.
And, 1. As the disciples of Christ, we are to learn of him. To take our religious sentiments only from his gospel, in opposition to all the authoritative dictates of men, who are weak and fallible as ourselves. Call no man master on earth.” While some affect to distinguish themselves by party names, as the Corinthians formerly did, (for which the apostle blames them) one saying I am of Paul; another, 'I am of Apollos ;' another, I am of Cephas,'* let us, remember that we are the disciples of Christ, and in this sense 'make mention of his name only. It is really injurious to it, to
* 1 Cor. i. 12
and the various duties
seek to distinguish ourselves by any other. There is more carnality in such party distingtions, denominations, and attachments, than many good souls are aware of; though not more than the apostle Paul (who was unwillingly placed at the head of one himself) hath ap prised them of.* We are of Christ; our concern is, to honour that superiour denomination, by living up to it. : And to adhere inflexibly to his gospel, as the only rule of our faith, the guide of our life, and the foundation of our hope ; whatever contempt or abuse we may suffer either from the profane or bigoted part of mankind for so doing. -2. As christians we are followers of Christ ; and therefore bound to imitate him, and copy after that most excellent pattern he hath set us, who hath left us an example that we should follow his steps.'t To see that the same holy temper be in us which was in him ; and to discover it in the same manner that he did, and upon like occasions. To this he calls us, and no man is any further a christian than he is a follower of Christ; aim. ing at a more perfect conformity to that most perfect example which he hath set us of universał goodness. 3. As christians, we are thé which servants owe to their masters in any degree, those we owe to him in the highest degree; who expects we should behave ourselves
t 1 Pet, ii, 21. 109 Matt. xi. 29.
* 1 Cor. iii. 4.
in his service with that fidelity ang Zeal, and
* Rom. jij 10, 12