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our angels, which they conceived, as to approach in excellency of nature, so to attend upon God, partaking of his glory and happiness ;) hence Divúm Pater is a common title of God among them: and we have in Plato's Pag. 1054. Timæus an oration, which he feigns God made to them at the creation, beginning thus και Θεοί θεών, ών εγώ Δημιουρyo's, llatýpte Oye principal gods, of whom I am the Maker and Father : concerning which kind of God's children he pretends to deduce all he can speak from ancient and original tradition.) But (to come nearer to our particular relation) God is also in especial manner the Father of mankind, Gentis humanæ Pater atque Custos,

Carm. i. 12. as Horace calls him: Adam was the son of God; and fo, Omnes fi at least, we are God's offspring; his hands made and ad prim

originem fashioned us, and his mouth breathed into us the Spirit of revocentur

na Diis sunt. life: a he formed our Spirit within us : we were made after Set

Sen. Ep.44. his image, and naturally resemble him: he hath assigned a Zech. xii.

1. Vid. us the principal and most honourable station in this his Epizt. Arr. family of visible creatures; he hath shewed an especial i. 3, 9. tenderness toward us in providing for us all manner of sustenance and accommodation ; in educating us b with v Pr.lxxi. 6. wholesome advices and precepts; in bearing with exceeding patience our infirmities and offences; in infli&ing moderate chastisements, to reduce us to duty and amendment: all his carriage toward mankind argues a paternal regard and affection thereto.

Farther; in a peculiar notion God is the Father of good men : such relation being built upon higher grounds and confiderations : the feeds of virtue are by his grace sown 1 Pet. i. 23. in their hearts; that emendation and perfection of nature is effected by him. They resemble him in disposition of mind, in purpose, in action ; which are more perfect and noble resemblances than those of nature; (being holy as Bonus vir he is holy; beneficent and merciful as he is : these quali- fine Deo ties, our Saviour tells us, do render, or at least declare him Sen. Ep.41. our Father; do constitute men, or argue them to be, the fons of God: Love your enemies, bless those that curse youl, Mate. v. 44. do good to those that hate youthat you may be the fons

VOL. V.

Luke vi. 35. of your father in heaven: Love your enemies, and do good,

and lend, expecting nothing thence; and your reward Mall

be great, and ye Mall be the fons of the Most High.) To Pl. ciii. 13. such God bears a paternal affection and compaflion; Like

as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them 'ns vions that fear him. He deals with them as with his children, Heb. X.7. in all respects; he instructs and guides them; he cherishes

and comforts them; he maintains and protects them; he Prov.iii. 12. gently reproves and corrects them; Whom the Lord loveth

he correcteth, even as a father the fon in whom he delightSen. de eth. [Patrium habet Deus adverfus bonos viros animum, et Prov. i. 2. :1 .

illos fortiter amat : inter bonos viros ac Deum amicitia eft,
conciliante virtute : amicitiam dico? imo etiam necesstudo
et fimilitudo : quoniam quidem bonus ipfe tempore tantum
a Deo differt, discipulus ejus, æmulatorque et vera proge-
nies ; quem pater ille magnificus, virtutum non lenis ex-
actor, fcut severi patres, durius educat : God, faith a Pa-
gan philosopher, hath a fatherly mind toward good men,
and mightily loves them : between them and God there
is a friendship, virtue conciliating it: a friendship, say I?
yea, a kindred and resemblance: for that a good man dif-
fers only from God in time, (and degree,) being his disci-
ple and imitator, and his true offspring; whom that mag-
nificent Father, no softly exacter of virtue, as severe fathers
do, brings up hardly.) And we may observe, that God,
in his proceedings with men, (such as he designs to con-
{ain them by within their duty, and lead them to happi-
ness,) delights to represent and commend himself under
this obliging and endearing relation : he did so toward the
Israelites, Deut. xxxii. 6, 18. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O
foolish people and unwise? is not he thy Father that
bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
Of the Rock that begut thee thou art unmindful, and haft
forgotten God that formed thee. So God expoftulates with

that people. And thus David in their behalf addresses 1 Chron. himself to God; Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our

od.: father, for ever and ever : Thine, O Lord, is the greativ. 22. nefs, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the Jer. xxxi. 9, majesty, &c. and, I am a Father to Ifrael, and Ephraim is

xxix. 10,1 Vid. Exod.

20.

my firstborn: Is Ephraim my dear fon? is he a pleasant child ? So God argues with them. But in the Christian dispensation God more signally represents himself in this quality: he treats us not so much as a Lord and Master, with imperious awfulness; but as a friend and a father, with gracious condescension and allurement of kindness; I call you not servants; you are my friends, if you do what John xv. I command you : so that it is St. Paul's collection from a 14, 15. precedent discourse) thou art not still a fervant, but a fon. Gal. iv. 7. Our Saviour, saith the author to the Hebrews, was not Heb. ii. 11. ashamed to call them (his disciples and followers) brethren. Go, faith our Saviour, to my brethren, and say to them, I John xx. ascend to my Father, and your Father ; and my God, and 17. your God. Accordingly all the performances of God toward us, and in our behalf, are of such a nature, and are set out by such terms, which ground and import this relation.

1. That renovation of our nature, and qualifying our souls, as the Gospel requires, is called regeneration, a new Ephef. ii. creation, a new birth, the begetting a new man within us. *®. We are aútòy wolnud, (his work, or production,) being created in Christ Jesus to good works. Ye have been taught to put Eph. iv. 21, on the new man, that is created according to God (a accord-26.1. ing to God's image) in righteousness and true holiness; If John iii. 3. a man be not born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God: Whoever is begot of God, doth not do fin. John iii.9. 2. The reception of a believer into the privileges and Gal. iv. b.

Rom, viii. advantages of Christianity, is termed buio geria, the making 15. of him a fon; adopting him into God's family ; confer- Eph. i. 5.

b Eph.ili. ring upon him the title and the quality of God's child ; 15. ii. 19. the internal disposition of fpirit, and the liberty of access to God suitable to this relation : Whosoever, faith St. John, John i. 12. did receive him, he gave to them authority to become the fons of God; (he invested them in that dignity ;) even to them who believed in his name : Ye are all the fons of God Gal. iii. 26. by faith in Christ Jesus ; (i. e. by embracing Christianity :) and, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath given 1 John iii., us, that we should be called the sons of God: Ye have not Rom. viii.

Gal. iv. 6.

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received the Spirit of servitude again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, O Father : (by which, in our prayers, with humble affection, according to our Saviour's instruction, we say, Our Father.)

3. That resurrection after death to a better state of life,

entering into glory and happiness and immortality, is Μatt. xix. worthily ftyled παλιγγενεσία, a being generated or born

again ; whereby they receive from God another more ex

cellent life and state of being, more like and conformable Luke x.. to God; They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain

that world, and the resurrection from the dead are the 1 John iii.2. fons of God, being the fons of the resurrection. We know, 1 Cor. xv.

that if (or when) he shall appear, we shall be like him. As T. itwe have borne the image of the earthly (man), we shall also

bear the image of the heavenly. We shall be metamor

phosed (or transfigured) into the same image ; shall be 2 Pet. i. 4. made partakers of the divine nature. That state of bliss is

"V. 7. therefore styled a portion, or inheritance, allotted to fons ; Rom. viii. and consequent upon that relation, If fons, faith St. Paul, Col. iii. 24. then heirs ; heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ; receiving Heb. ix. 15. the reward and promise of an eternal inheritance : and, 1 Pet.i. 3,4 faith St. Peter, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord

Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath legollen us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. I might add, that Christian men become the fons of God by our Saviour's intervention; by his assumption of our nature, and our conformity to his image, as St. Paul speaks, whereby he becomes the firstborn among many brethren. Rom. viii. 29. God sent forth his Son, born of a

woman, that we might receive the privilege of being made Heb. ii. 14. fons. Gal. iv. 4, 5. In this respect our Saviour is apwró

TOXOS év hornoīs å dea pois, the first-born among many brethren. Rom. viii. 29. Upon so many several scores is God our Father; as we are his creatures, (being made, preserved, and maintained by him ;) as we are intellectual creatures, (placed in degree and quality of nature so near him;) as we

p. 52

by virtue and goodness anywise resemble him; as we are Christians, (adopted into his family, renewed by his grace, and destinated to a participation of his glory.)

Now the consideration and belief of these grounds, (each Vid. Forb. one and all of them together,) upon which this relation P: of God to us is founded, hath manifold good uses, is apt to inform us of, to enforce upon us many necessary duties, resulting from it. It teaches us what reverence and honour and observance is due to him ; (not from gratitude only, and ingenuity, but in justice:) If I be a Father, where Mal. i. 6, is my honour ? faith God, in Malachi. If we be bound to love and respect those, who, under God, have been instrumental in producing and maintaining us, how much more to him, who principally hath bestowed our being, and all the supports, comforts, and conveniences thereof upon us? from whose free bounty we derive not only the benefits of this transitory life, but the privileges of the future, incomparably better, eternal state. If we neglect our duty, may not God justly expostulate with us, as with those children of his, Deut. xxxii. 6, 18. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise ? is he not thy Father that bought thee? (os éxTÝCHTO 0e, who procured and acquired thee to himself;) hath he not made thee, and esta. blished thee?

It will induce us to humility; if we are God's fons, have received our being, all our powers and abilities, all our goods and riches from his disposal, what reason have we to ascribe any thing to ourselves; to be raised in conceit, ambitious of praise or reputation, upon the score of any such things? Who made thee to differ? for what hast thou 1 Cor. iv. 7. that thou dids not receive ? and if thou has received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadft not received ? It shews us, that we are, as Plato often speaks, Occû xthuata, God's pofleffons, God's riches they are called, Psal. civ. 24. If he made us, whatever we are, (according to all accounts and capacities; whether men by his common providence, or good men by his especial grace,) he hath the best right intýcato os. and title possible unto us; he may justly make such use of be

eut.xxxii.

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