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gifts to our children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask him ? So doth our Saviour with most convincing force of reason move us to the duty of prayer, with faith and confidence of good success. St. Luke hath it, * How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?' implying that, on account of this relation, we may in all our spiritual needs (if we do need light and direction in our doubts, or strength against temptations, or comfort in our distresses) be assured of finding requisite assistance and relief. We should therefore, on all exigencies, address ourselves to God, not with the fear of slaves, nor with the suspicion of strangers, but with dispositions of heart suitable to children, with a reverent love, and humble confidence, and cheerful hope.
9. Lastly, considering this point will direct and prompt us how to behave ourselves towards all God's creatures, according to their respective natures and capacities : if God be the father of all things, they are all thence in some sort our brethren, and so may claim from us a fraternal affection and demeanor answer. able thereto. Shall we then scorn, abuse, trample or tyrannise over any of them ? doth it become us to do so ? will our common Father like it, or endure it? branches sprouting from one stock, or streams issuing from the same source of divine beneficence and fecundity; if we are members of one body, of one commonwealth, of one family, we are then surely obliged to an universal benevolence; to be kind and compassionate, to be helpful and beneficial unto all, so far as our capacity reacheth; we are to endeavor, as we can, to preserve the order and promote the welfare of the world, and of all things in it: even on this score the meanest of God's creatures is not to be despised, the vilest worm is not to be misused by us; since even it is the work of his hands, and the subject of his care, yea the object of his kindness, 'who,' as the psalmist telleth us, is good unto all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works :' but especially toward those beings, who according to a more peculiar and excellent sense are intitled the sons of our Father, and to whom we are more nearly allied by our better part, (that divine breath, which both they and we drew from God,) toward all intellectual
beings, we do learn hence our respective duties : of love and respect toward those our elder brethren, the angels, (those of them, which have not degenerated from their nature, and apostatised from their duty;) of charity and good-will toward each other; which if we do not maintain, we may consider that we thereby are first undutiful and unkind to God our common Father, and then even to ourselves; we do hate and harm both God's relations and our own (God's children, and our brethren) by hating or harming any man whatever ; especially any good man, any Christian brother; who by other more peculiarbands is straitly tied to us; who on so many better and higher accounts standeth related unto God, and to ourselves. Aristotle saith, that all men, on grounds of natural cognation and similitude, are naturally friends to one another; much more are all good men so by participation of a more excellent nature, and by a nobler resemblance; whence it is St. Paul's precept to Christians, that they should be τη φιλαδελφία, είς αλλήλους pelúoropyou, that they should • bear a natural affection each to other in brotherly love:' Christians are in a more peculiar and eminent manner styled brethren ; and that charity, which in respect to others is called philanthropy, (or humanity,) in regard to them is named philadelphy, (or brotherly affection :) hence to perform all fraternal offices toward every Christian, to wish heartily and earnestly to promote his good, to compassionate and, as we are able, to relieve his evils, to bear his infirmities, and to comport with unkindnesses from him, and the like duties, are incumbent on us, as peculiar to our profession.
These are the principal uses which the consideration of this point suggesteth. Now God Almighty, the great Father of all things, and especially our gracious Father in Christ Jesus, grant that by his holy grace we may perform all filial duty toward him, (rendering unto him all love and reverence, all praise and thanks, all worship and obedience, together with all faith and hope in him,) that we may behave ourselves in all things as becometh this relation, that we
may resemble him in all goodness, that we may persist here continually in his favor, and obtain hereafter the blessed inberitance from him; this he of infinite mercy vouchsafe unto us,
through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom for ever be all glory and praise. Amen.
Even to God the Father, the Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things, the Author and Donor of all good; to God the Son, the Redeemer of all the world, and foundation of all spiritual blessings; to God the Holy Ghost, the fountain of all true goodness, joy, and comfort, be for ever and ever all glory and praise. Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON XI.
REVELATIONS, CHAP. XI.-VERSE 17.
Every attribute of God is a proper and useful object of our consideration, as being apt to remind us of our duty, and excite us to the practice of it; for which purposes this of omnipotence, mentioned in the text, is of much avail, and deserves serious consideration : some reasons for this assigned. Esplanation of the title or attribute Tavrokpárwp, which we render Almighty or omnipotent, as frequently ascribed to God in a peculiar and characteristical manner: the use of it in the New Tes. tament is by citation or imitation transferred from the Greek of the Old Testament, where it serves to express those two famous and usual names of God, Sabaoth and Shaddai : it is shown especially to answer to the former, which primitively seems to import God's universal conduct and management of all crea. tures.
But the sense of the word need not be so limited; for its common latitude hath been authenticated in the holy fountains of truth, the New Testament; and is there taken to signify the sum of divine perfections and pre-eminency: it may accordingly denote, 1. right or authority over all beings : 2. power to do all things : 3. the actual exercise of such authority and power in ruling all things : 4. the possession of all things: 5. the preservation or upholding all things: these particulars are next surveyed.
1. God is aavtokpórwp, as having a just right and authority over all things, being naturally the sovereign Lord and Emperor of the world ; this shown to have been the opinion of
Pagan philosophers, as well as of the Prophets and Christian Apostles ; &c.
2. He is also such in regard to his infinite power, as that word may signify omnipotent: this head enlarged on and illustrated from Scripture.
3. He is also so, because he doth actually exercise all dominion, and continually exert his power, according to his good pleasure; for the Lord hath prepared his throne in heaven, and his kingdom ruleth over all; &c. This dilated on.
4. God is tavrokpárwp, as the true proprietary and just possessor of all things : the heavens, saith the Psalmist, are thine ; the earth also is thine; &c.
5. Also as containing and comprehending all things by his immense presence and infinite capacity. I fill heaven and earth, saith God in Jeremiah ; and king Solomon in his prayer observes, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee ; &c.
6. Lastly, God is tartokpárwp, in regard that he sustains and preserves all things : see Nehemiah ix. 6. Col. i. 17. &c.
The belief and consideration of these particulars are of great importance, and
useful influence on our practice : for,
I. If God be the just Sovereign of all things, having a right to govern the world, and actually exercising it; then
1. We see our condition here; that we live not in an anarchy, or in perfect liberty to follow our own will, &c. 2. We understand our duty, as subjects and vassals, &c. 3. We may hence discern the heinousness of every sin, as committed against the crown and dignity of God. 4. We may learn what reason we have to be content in every condition, since our station is allotted to us by unquestionable right, &c. 5. It is matter of great consolation to reflect that we and all the world are under such a governor, who is no usurper and tyrant, but a most just, wise, and gracious sovereign, &c. : this point dilated on.
have a very