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Quest. 7. How may we know that God is children than others; he hath planted his our Father? All cannot say, 'Our Father:' grace and given them some intimations of his the Jews boasted that God was their Father, favour; and to sin against kindness, dyes a John viii. 41, “ We have one Father, even sin in grain, and makes it crimson. Like God.Christ tells them their pedigree, ver. Absalom, who, as soon as his Father kissed 44,“ Ye are of your father the devil.They him, and took him into favour, plotted treason who are of satanical spirits, and make use against him: nothing so melts a childlike of their power to beat down the power of heart in tears, as sins of unkindness : "Othat godliness, cannot say, God is their Father; I should sin against the blood of a Saviour, they may say, 'Our Father which art in and the bowels of a Father! I condemn inhell.' Well then how may we know that gratitude in my child, yet I am guilty of in. God is our Father?

gratitude against my heavenly Father." This Ans. 1. By having a filial disposition : this opens a vein of godly sorrow, and makes the is seen in four things, 1. To melt in tears for heart bleed afresh: certainly this evidenceth sin: a child weeps for offending his father. God to be our Father, when he hath given us When Christ looked on Peter, and he re- this childlike frame of heart, to weep for sin membered his sin in denying Christ, he fell as it is sin, an act of pollution, enmity, ina-weeping. Clemens Alexandrinus reports gratitude: a wicked man may mourn for the of Peter he never heard a cock crow, but he bitter fruit of sin, but only a child of God can wept. This is a sign that God is our Father, grieve for the odious nature of sin. when the heart of stone is taken away, and 2. A filial (or childlike) disposition is to there is a gracious thaw in the heart; it melts be full of sympathy; we lay to heart the dise into tears for sin ; and he who hath a child. honours reflected upon our heavenly Father; like heart, mourns for sin in a spiritual man. when we see God's worship adulterated, his ner, as it is sin; he grieves for it, (1). As it truth mingled with the poison of error, it is is an act of pollution. Sin deflowers the as a sword in our bones, to see God's glory virgin-soul; it defaceth God's image; it turns suffer, Ps. cxix. 158, “ I beheld the trans. beauty into deformity; 'tis called the “plague gressors and was grieved.” Homer describe of the heart," 1 Kings viii. 38. It is the spirits ing Agamemnon's grief when he was forced of evil distilled. A child of God mourns for to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia, brings in the defilement of sin; sin hath a blacker all his friends weeping and condoling with aspect than hell. (2). He who hath a child him; so, when God is dishonoured, we sympa. like heart, grieves for sin, as it is an act of thize, and are as it were clad in mourning, enmity. Sin is diametrically opposite to God. A child that hath any good nature, is cut to the It is called a walking contrary to God, Lev. heart to hear his father reproached : an heir xxvi. 40, “ If they shall confess their iniquity, of heaven takes a dishonour done to God more and that also they have walked contrary to heinous than a disgrace done to himself. me.” Sin doth all it can to spite God; if God 3. A filial disposition, is to love our heu. be of one mind, sin will be of another; sin venly Father; he is unnatural that doth not would not only unthrone God, but it strikes love his father. God who is crowned with at his very being; if sin could help it, God excellency, is the proper object of delight; should be no longer God. A childlike heart and every true child of God saith, as Peter, grieves for this; “O,” saith he, “ that I Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." But should have so much enmity in me, that my who will not say he loves God? 'If ours be a will should be no more subdued to the will of true genuine love to our heavenly Father, it my heavenly Father ?" This springs a leak may be known, 1st. By the effects : 1. Then of godly sorrow. (3). A childlike heart we have a holy fear; there is a fear which weeps for sin, as it is an act of ingratitude ; ariseth from love to God, that is, we fear the sin is an abuse of God's love; it is taking the loss of the visible tokens of God's presence, jewels of God's mercies, and making use of 1 Sam. iv. 13, • Eli's heart trembled for the them to sin. God hath done more for his ark. It is not said his heart trembled for

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his two sons Hophni and Phinehas; but his the hole of Paphnusius's eye, because he heart trembled for the ark, because the ark suffered the loss of his eye for Christ; it was the special sign of God's presence; and appears they have no love to God, who have if that were taken, the glory was departed. no love to his children; they care not for He who loves his heavenly Father, fears lest their company; they have a secret disgust and the tokens of his presence should be re- antipathy against them; hypocrites pretend moved, lest profaneness should break in like great reverence to the saints departed, they a flood, lest popery should get head, and canonize dead saints but persecute living God should go from a people; the presence saints: I may say of these, as the apostle, of God in his ordinances is the glory and Heb. xii. 8, " Then are bastards and not strength of a nation. The Trojans had the sons.”—4th. Effect of love: If we love our image of Pallas, and they had an opinion heavenly Father, then we will be advocates that as long as that image was preserved for him, and stand up in the defence of his among them, they should never be conquered: truth; he who loves his father will plead for so long as God's presence is with a people, him when he is traduced and wronged; he so long they are safe ; every true child of hath no childlike heart, no love to God, who God fears lest God should go, and the glory can hear God's name dishonoured, and be depart. Try by this, whether we have a silent. Doth Christ appear for us in heaven, filial disposition: Do we love God, and doth and are we afraid to appear for him on earth! this love cause fear and jealousy? Are we Such as dare not own God and religion in afraid lest we should lose God's presence, times of danger, God will be ashamed to be lest the Sun of Righteousness remove out of called their God; it would be a reproach to our horizon? Many are afraid lest they should him to have such children as will not own lose some of their worldly profits, but not lest him. 2d. A childlike love to God is known, they lose the presence of God; if they may as by the effects, so by the degree; it is a have peace and trading, they care not what superior love. We love our Father in heaven become of the ark of God. A true child of above all other things ; above estate, or relaGod fears nothing so much as the loss of his tions, as oil runs above the water, Ps. Ixxii. Father's presence, Hos. ix. 12, “Wo also to 25. A child of God seeing a supereminency them when I depart from them.”—2. Love of goodness, and a constellation of all beauties to our heavenly Father is seen by loving his in God, he is carried out in love to him in the day, Isa. lviii. 13, “ If thou call the sabbath highest measure ; as God gives his children a delight.” The ancients called this regina such a love as he doth not bestow upon dierumthe queen of days. If we love wicked, electing love, so God's children give our Father in heaven, we spend this day in such a love as they bestow upon none else

, devotion, in reading, hearing, meditating; on adoring love; they give him the flower and this day manna falls double. God sanctified spirits of their love; they love him with a the sabbath; he made all the other days in love joined with worship, this spiced wine the week, but he hath sanctified this day; they keep only for their Father to drink of, this day he hath crowned with a blessing.–Cant. viii. 2. 3. Love to our heavenly Father is seen by 4. A childlike disposition is seen in holoving his children, 1 John v. 1, “Every one nouring our heavenly Father, Mal. i. 6, “ A that loveth him that begat, loveth him also son honoureth his father." that is begotten of him.” If we love God, Quest. How do we show our honour to the more we see of God in any, the more we our Father in heaven? love them; we love them though they are Ans. 1. By having a reverential awe of poor; a child loves to see his father's picture, God upon us, Lev. xxv. 17, “Thou shalt though hung in a mean frame ; we love the fear thy God.” This reverential fear of children of our Father, though they are per- God, is, when we dare do nothing that he secuted, 2 Tim. i. 16, “Onesiphorus was not hath forbidden in his word, Gen. xxxix. 9, ashamed of my chain.” Constantine did kiss How can I do this great wickedness, and

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sin against God? It is the part of the honour | is the soul's breathing itself into the bosom of a son gives to a Father, he fears to displease its heavenly Father: none of God's children him. We show our honour to our heavenly are born dumb. Implet Spiritus Sanctus Father, by doing all we can to exalt God, and organum suum, et tanquam pila chordarum make his excellencies shine forth : though tangit Spiritus Dei corda sanctorum, we cannot lift up God higher in heaven, yet PROSPER. Acts ix. 11, “Behold he prayeth." we may lift him higher in our hearts, and But it is not every prayer evidenceth God's in the esteem of others. When we speak Spirit in us. Such as have no grace may well of God, set forth his renown, display excel in gifts, and affect the hearts of others the trophies of his goodness,—when we as- in prayer, when their own hearts are not af. cribe the glory of all we do to God,--when fected; as the lute makes a sweet sound in we are the trumpeters of God's praise,—the ears of others, but itself is not sensible. this is an honouring our Father in heaven, How therefore shall we know our prayers and a certain sign of a childlike heart, Ps. 1. are indited by God's Spirit, and so he is our 23, “ Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me." Father?

A. 2. We may know God is our Father, 1. When they are not only vocal, but by our resembling of him; the child is his fa- mental; when there are not only gifts but ther's picture, Judg. viii. 18, “Each one re. groans, Rom. viii, 26. The best music is in sembled the children of a king;" every child concert; the best prayer is when heart and of God resembles the king of heaven. Here tongue join together in concert. in God's adopting children and man's differ : 2. When they are zealous and fervent, a man adopts one for his son and heir, that James v. 16, “The effectual fervent prayer doth not at all resemble him, but whosoever of a righteous man availeth much.” The God adopts for his child, is like him ; he not eyes melt in prayer, the heart burns. Ferven. only bears his heavenly Father's name, but cy is to prayer, as fire to the incense; it makes image, Col. iii. 10, “And have put on the it ascend to heaven as a sweet perfume. new man, which is renewed after the image 3. When prayer hath faith sprinkled in it; of him that created him.” He who hath God prayer is the key of heaven, and faith is the for his Father, resembles God in holiness; hand that turns it, Rom. viii. 15, “We cry, holiness is the glory of the Godhead, Exod. Abba, Father,” • We cry,' there is fervency xv. 11. The holiness of God is the intrinsic in prayer; “ Abba, Father," there is faith. purity of his essence. He who hath God for Those prayers suffer shipwreck which dash his Father, partakes of the divine nature ; upon the rock of unbelief. Thus we may though not of the divine essence, yet of the know God is our Father by having his Spirit divine likeness; as the seal sets its print and praying in us ; as Christ intercedes above, so likeness upon the wax, so he who hath God the Spirit intercedes within. lst. By having for his Father, hath the print and effigies of the renewing of the Spirit, which is nothing his holiness stamped upon him, Ps. cvi. 16, else but regeneration, which is called a being “ Aaron the saint of the Lord.” Wicked born of the Spirit, John iii. 5. This regenemen desire to be like God hereafter in glory, rating work of the Spirit is a transformation but do not affect to be like bim here in grace; or change of nature, Rom. xii. 2, “ Be ye they give it out to the world that God is transformed by the renewing of your mind." their Father, yet have nothing of God to be He who is born of God, hath a new heart; seen in them; they are unclean; they not new, not for substance, but for qualities. The only want his image, but hate it.

strings of a viol may be the same, but the A. 3. We may know God is our Father, tune is allered.

Before this regeneration, by having his Spirit in us : Ist. By having there are spiritual pangs, much heart-break, the intercession of the Spirit; it is a spirit of ing for sin. Regeneration is called a circumprayer, Gal. iv. 6, “Because ye are sons, cision of the heart, Col. ii. 11. In circumGod hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son in- cision there was a pain in the flesh; so in to your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Prayer this spiritual circumcision there is a pain in

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the heart, there is much sorrow arising from the children of God." This witness of the the sense of guilt and wrath. The gaoler's Spirit, snggesting that God is our Father, is trembling, Acts xvi. 30, was a pang in the not a vocal witness or voice from heaven; new birth. God's spirit is a spirit of bondage, “the Spirit, in the word witnesseth:" the before it be a spirit of adoption. This blessed Spirit, in the word saith, he who is qualified, work of regeneration spreads over the whole who is a hater of sin, and a lover of holiness, soul; it irradiates the mind; it consecrates is a child of God, and God is his Father. If the heart, and reforms the life ; though rege. I can find such qualifications wrought, here neration be but in part, yet it is in every is the Spirit witnessing with my spirit, that I part, 1 Thess. v. 23, regeneration is the sig- am a child of God. Besides, we may carry nature and engraving of the Holy Ghost it higher; the Spirit of God witnesseth to upon the soul; the new born Christian is be- our spirit, by making more than ordinary spangled with the jewels of the graces, which impressions upon our hearts, and giving some are the angels' glory. Regeneration is the secret hints and whispers that God hath purspring of all true joy; at our first birth we poses of love to us, here is a concurrent witcome weeping into the world, but at our new ness of the Spirit with conscience, that we birth there is cause of rejoicing, for now, God are heirs of heaven, and God is our Father; is our Father, and we are begotten to a lively this witness is better felt than expressed; this hope of glory, 1 Pet. i. 3. We may try by witness scatters doubts and fears, silenceth this our relation to God. Hath a regenerating temptations. But what shall one do that hath work of God's Spirit passed upon our souls? not this witness of the Spirit? If we want Are we made of another spirit, humble and the witness of the Spirit

, let us labour to find heavenly ? this is a good sign of sonship, and the work of the Spirit ; if we have not the we may say, “Our Father which art in hea- Spirit testifying, labour to have it sanctifying, ven.” 3d. By having the conduct of the and that will be a support to us. Spirit ; we are led by the Spirit; Rom. viii. A. 4. If God be our Father, we are of 14, “ As many as are led by the Spirit of God, peaceable spirits : Matt. v. 9, “ Blessed be they are the song of God.” God's Spirit the peace-makers, they shall be called the doth not only quicken us in our regeneration children of God.” Grace infuseth a sweet but leads us on till we come to the end of our amicable disposition; it files off the rugged

. faith, salvation. It is not enough the child ness of men's spirits ; it turns the lion-like have life, but he must be led every step by fierceness into a lamb-like gentleness, Isa. the nurse, Hos. xi. 3, “I taught Ephraim xi. 7. 3. They who have God to be their P. also to go, taking them by their arms." Their ther, follow peace as well as holiness. God arms ; as the Israelites had the cloud and pil- the Father is called the “God of peace," lar of fire to go before them, and be a guide Heb. xiii. 20; God the Son, the Prince of to them, so God's Spirit is a guide to go be- peace,' Isa. x. 6; God the Holy Ghost is fore us, and lead us into all truth, and coun. Spirit of peace," it is called “the unity of sel us in all our doubts, and influence us in the Spirit in the bond of peace,” Eph. iv, 3. all our actions, Ps. lxxiii. 24, " Thou shalt The more peaceable, the more like God. It guide me with thy counsel.” None can call is a sad sign God is not their Father

, Isl. God Father, but such as have the conduct of Who are fierce and cruel, as if with Romythe Spirit. Try then what spirit you are led lus, they had sucked the milk of a wolf, by. Such as are led by a spirit of envy, lust, Rom. iii. 17, “The way of peace have they avarice, these are not led by the Spirit of not known,” they sport in mischief; these God; it were blasphemy for them to call are they who are of a persecuting spirit, as God, Father; these are led by the spirit of Maximinus, Dioclesian, Antiochus, who (as Satan, and may say, “ Our Father which art Eusebius) took more tedious journies, and in hell.” 4th. By having the witness of the ran more hazards in vexing and persecuting Spirit, Rom. viii. 16, “The Spirit itself the Jews, than any of his predecessors had beareth witness with our spirit, that we are done in getting of victories. These furies


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cannot call God Father ! if they do, they will Use 1st. Of instruction. See the amaz-
have as little comfort in saying Father, as ing goodness of God, that is pleased to enter
Dives had in hell, when he said, “ Father into this sweet relation of a Father. God
Abraham,” Luke xvi. 24. 2dly. Who are needed not to adopt us; he did not want a
makers of division, Rom. xvi. 17, “ Mark Son, but we wanted a Father. God showed
them which cause divisions, and avoid them. power in being our Maker, but mercy in
Such as are born of God, are makers of peace; being our Father ; when we were
what shall we think of such as are makers of mies, and our hearts stood out as garrisons
divisions ? Will God father these? The against God, that he should conquer our
devil made the first division in heaven; they stubbornness, and of enemies make us chil.
may call the devil father; they may give the dren, and write his name, and put his image
cloven foot in their coat of arms; their sweet- upon us, and bestow a kingdom of glory,
est music is in discord; they unite to divide. what a miracle of mercy is this ! Every
Samson's fox tails were tied together, only to adopted child may say, “ Even so Father, for
set the Philistines' corn on fire, Judges xv. so it seemed good in thy sight,” Matt. xi. 26.
4. Papists unite, only to set the church's 2d. Branch, or Inference. If God be a
peace on fire. Satan's kingdom grows up Father, then hence I infer, Whatever he doth
by division. St Chrysostom observes of the to his children, is love.
church of Corinth, when many converts were 1. If he smiles upon them in prosperity, it
brought in, Satan knew no better way to is love; they have the world not only with
dam up the current of religion, than to throw God's leave, but with his love. God saith to
in an apple of strife, and divide them into every child of his, as Naaman to Gehazi,
parties; one was for Paul, and another for 2 Kings v. 23, “ Be content, take two ta-
Apollos, but few for Christ. Would Christ lents.” So saith God to his child, 'I am thy
not have his coat rent, and can he endure to Father, take two talents.' Take health, and
have his body rent? Sure God will never take my love with it; take an estate, and
father them who are not sons of peace. Of take my love with it; take two talents. God's
all them whom God hates, he is named for love is a sweetening ingredient into every
one, who is a sower of discord among bre- mercy.
thren, Prov. vi. 19.

Quest. How doth it appear that a child
A. 5. If God be our Father ; then we love of God hath worldly things in love?
to be near God, and have converse with him. Ans. 1. Because he hath a good title to
An ingenuous child delights to approach near them. God is his Father, therefore he hath
to his father, and go into his presence. a good title. A wicked man hath & civil
David envied the birds that they built their title to the creature, but no more ; he hath
nests so near God's altars, when he was de- it not from the hand of a father; he is like
barred his Father's house, Ps. lxxxiv. 3. one that takes up cloth at the draper's, and
True saints love to get as near to God as it is not paid for ; but a believer bath a good
they can ; in the word they draw near to his title to every foot of land he hath ; his Father
holy oracle, in the sacrament they draw near hath settled it upon him.
to his table; a child of God delights to be in his

A. 2. A child of God hath worldly things Father's presence; he cannot stay away long in love, because they are sanctified to him : from God; he seeth a sabbath-day approach- 1. They make him better, and are loadstones ing, and rejoiceth ; his heart hath been often to draw him nearer to God. 2. He hath his melted and quickened in an ordinance ; he Father's blessing with them. A little blest hath tasted the Lord is good, therefore he is sweet, Exod. xxiii. 25, “ He shall bless thy loves to be in his Father's presence; he cannot bread and thy water." Esau had the venie keep away long from God. Such as care not son, but Jacob got the blessing. While the for ordinances cannot say, “ Our Father wicked have their meat sauced with God's which art in heaven.” Is God their Father, wrath, Ps. Ixxviii. 30, 31, believers have their who cannot endure to be in his presence ?

comforts seasoned with a blessing. It was

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