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a sacred blessing from God made Daniel's fetch their pedigree from hell, John viii. 44, pulse nourish him more, and made him look “Ye are of your father the devil.” Such as fairer than they that ate of the king's meat, are unclean and profane are the spurious Dan. i. 15.
brood of the old serpent, and it were blasA. 3. A child of God hath worldly things phemy for them to call God, Father. The in love, because whatever he hath is an earn- case of the wicked is deplorable ; if they are est of more; every bit of bread is a pledge in misery, they have none to make their and earnest of glory.
moan to; God is not their Father, he dis2. God being a Father, if he frown, if he claims all kindred with them, Matt. vii. 23, dip his pen in gall, and write bitter things ; “ I never knew you : depart from me, ye that if he correct, it is in love; a father loves his work iniquity;" the wicked, dying in the child as well when he doth chastise and dis- sins, can expect no mercy from God as a cipline him, as when he settles his land on Father; many say, He that made them will him, Rev. iii. 19, “ As many as I love, I re- save them ; but, Isa. xxvii. 11, “It is a peobuke.” Afflictions are sharp arrows (saith ple of no understanding, therefore he that Gregory Nazianzen) but they are shot from made them, will not have mercy on them." the hand of a loving Father. Correctio est Though God was their Father by creation, virtutis gymnasium. God afflicts with the yet because they were not his children by same love he gives Christ ; he doth it to adoption, “therefore he that made them would humble and purify; gentle correction is as not save them.' necessary as daily bread, nay, as needful as Use 2d. Of exhortation. To persuade all ordinances, as word and sacraments. There who are yet strangers to God, to labour to is love in all, God smites that he may save. come into this heavenly kindred ; never leave
3. God being a Father, if he desert and till you can say, “Our Father which art in hide his face from his child, it is in love. heaven." Desertion is sad in itself, a short hell, Job Quest. But will God be a Father to me, vi. 9. When the light is withdrawn, the dew who have profaned his name, and been a falls. Yet we may see a rainbow in the great sinner ? cloud, the love of a father in all this. lst, Ans. If thou wilt now at last seek to God God hereby quickens grace. Perhaps grace by prayer, and break off thy sins, God hath lay dormant, Cant. v. 2. It was as fire in the bowels of a father for thee, and will in no the embers ; and God withdraws comfort, to wise cast thee out. When the prodigal did invigorate and exercise grace ; faith is a star arise and go to his father, “ his father had sometimes shines brightest in the dark night compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, of desertion, Jonah ii. 4. 2dly, When God and kissed him,” Luke xv. 20. Though hides his face from his child, yet still he is a thou hast been a prodigal, and almost spent Father, and his heart is towards his child; as all upon thy lusts, yet, if thou wilt give a bill Joseph, when he spake roughly to his bre- of divorce to thy sins, and flee to God by Jethren, and made them believe he would take pentance, know that he hath the bowels of a them for spies, still his heart was full of love, father ; he will embrace thee in the arms of and he was fain to go aside and weep : so his mercy, and seal thy pardon with a kiss. God's bowels yearn to his children, when he what though thy sins have been heinous ? seems to look strange, Isa. liv. 8, “ In a little the wound is not so broad as the plaster of wrath I hid my face from thee, but with ever. Christ's blood. The sea covers great rocks; lasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.” the sea of God's compassion can drown thy Though God may have the look of an enemy, great sins ; therefore be not discouraged, yet still he hath the heart of a Father. go to God,-resolve to cast thyself upon
his 3d. Branch, or Inference. Learn hence fatherly bowels, God may be entreated of the sad case of the wicked: they cannot say, thee as he was of him : see Manasseh's case, “Our Father in heaven;" they may say, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 13. • Our Judge,' but not • Our Father ;' they Use 3d. Of comfort, to such as can upon
good grounds call God, Father. There's He begets all the mercies and bowels in the
of them, Isa. xliii. 4, “Since thou wast preQuest. Wherein lies the happiness of cious in my sight.” A father prizeth his having God for our Father?
child above his jewels; their names are preAns. 1. If God be our Father, then he will cious, for they have God's own name written teach us. What father will refuse to counsel upon them, Rev. iii. 12, “I will write upon his son? Doth God command parents to him the name of my God." Their prayers instruct their children, Deut. iv. 10, and will are a precious perfume; their tears God botnot he instruct his? Isa. xlviii. 17, “ I am tles, Ps. lvi. 8. God esteems his children as the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to a crown of glory in his hands, Isa. Ixv. 3.profit.” Ps. lxxi. 17, "O God thou hast 2. God loves the places they were born in taught me from my youth!" If God be our the better for their sakes, Ps. Ixxxvii. 6, “ Of Father, he will give us the teachings of his Zion it shall be said, This man was born in Spirit: “ The natural man receiveth not the her;" this and that believer was born there; things of God, neither can he know them," God loves the ground his children tread upon ; 1 Cor. ii. 14. The natural man may have hence Judea, the seat of God's children and excellent notions in divinity, but God must chosen, God calls a “delightsome land,” teach us to know the mysteries of the gospel | Mal. iii. 12. It was not only pleasant for after a spiritual manner. A man may see the situation and fruitfulness, but because God's figures upon a dial, but he cannot tell how the children, who were his Hephzibah, or deday goes, unless the sun shine; we may read light, lived there.-3. He charged the great many truths in the Bible, but we cannot know ones of the world not to prejudice his chilthem savingly, till God by his Spirit shine dren; their persons are sacred, Ps. cv. 14, upon our soul. God teacheth not only our 15, ** He suffered no man to do them wrong; ear, but our heart; he not only informs our yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, saying, mind, but inclines our will; we never learn Touch not mine anointed.' » By anointed, till God teach us. If God be our Father, he is meant the children of the high God, who will teach us how to order our affairs with have the unction of the Spirit, and are set discretion, Ps. cxii. 5. How to carry our apart for God.—4. God delights in their selves wisely, 1 Sam. xviii. 5, “ David behaved company; he loves to see their countenance, himself wisely." He will teach us what to and hear their voice, Cant. ii. 13. He cannot answer when we are brought before govern- refrain long from their company : let but two ors; he will put words into our mouths, Matt. or three of his children meet and pray to. x. 18, 19, 20, “Ye shall be brought before gether, he will be sure to be among them, governors and kings for my sake, but take no Matt. xviii. 20, “Where two or three are thought how or what ye shall speak; for it is met together in my name, I am in the midst not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your of them.”—5. God bears his children in his Father which speaketh in you."
bosom, as a nursing father doth the sucking 2. If God be our Father, then he hath child, Numb. xi. 12, Isa. xlvi. 4. To be bowels of affection towards us. If it be so carried in God's bosom, shows how near his unnatural for a father but to love his child, children lie to his heart.-6. God is full of can we think God can be defective in his solicitous care for them, 1 Pet. v. 7, " He love ? All the affections of parents come careth for you.” His eye is still upon them, from God, yet are but a spark from his flame. they are never out of his thoughts. A father He is the “ Father of mercies,” 2 Cor. i. 3. cannot always take care for his child, he
sometimes is asleep; but God is a Father but a sigh for sin, God hears it, Ps. xxxviü. that never sleeps. Ps. cxxi. 4, He neither 9, “My groaning is not hid from thee.” If slumbereth nor sleepeth.—7. He thinks there be but a penitential tear comes out of nothing too good to part with to his children; our eye, God sees it, Isa. xxxviii. 5, “ I have he gives them the kidneys of the wheat, and seen thy tears.” If there be but a good inhoney out of the rock, and “Wine on the tention, God takes notice, 1 Kings viii. 18, lees well-refined,” Isa. xxv. 6. He gives “ Whereas it was in thy heart to build an them three jewels more worth than heaven, house to my name, thou didst well that it was the blood of his Son, the grace of his Spirit, in thine heart.” God punisheth intentional the light of his countenance. Never was wickedness, and crowns intentional good. there such an indulgent, affectionate Father. ness, “Thou didst well that it was in thine -8. If God hath one love better than another, heart." God takes notice of the least scinhe bestows it upon them; they have the tilla, the least spark of grace in his children, cream and quintessence of his love ; “ he will | 1 Pet. iii. 6, “Sarah obeyed Abraham, call
. rejoice over thee, he will rest in his love,” ing him lord;" the Holy Ghost doth not menZeph. iii. 17. God loves his children with tion Sarah's unbelief, or laughing at the prosuch a love as he loves Christ, John xvii. 26. mise, he puts a finger upon the scar, winks It is the same love, for the unchangeableness at her failing,—and only takes notice of the of it; God will no more cease to love his good that was in her, her obedience to her adopted sons, than he will to love his natural husband; she “ obeyed Abraham, calling him Son.
lord.” Nay, that good which the saints 3. If God be our Father, he will be full of scarce take notice of in themselves, God in sympathy, Ps. ciii. 13, “ As a father pitieth a special manner observes, Matt. xxv. 35, his children, so the Lord pitieth them that|37, “I was an hungered and ye gave me fear him,” Jer. xxxi. 20, “ Is Ephraim my meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink. dear son? my bowels are troubled for him.” Then shall the righteous say, Lord, when saw God pities his children in two cases ; 1st. In we thee an hungered and fed thee?" They case of infirmities ; 2d. Injuries.
did as it were overlook and disclaim their own (1). In case of infirmities. If the child be works of charity, yet Christ doth take notice, deformed, or hath any bodily distemper, the " I was an hungered and ye fed me.” What father pities it: if God be our Father, he comfort is this! God spies the least good in pities our weaknesses, and he so pities them his children ; he can see a grain of corn bid as to heal them, Isa. lvii. 18, “ I have seen under chaff, grace hid under corruption. his ways, and will heal him." As God hath 5. If God be our Father, he will take all bowels to pity, so he hath balsam to heal.
we do in good part. Those duties we our(2). In case of injuries. Every blow of selves censure, God will crown. When a the child goes to the father's heart : when child of God looks over his best duties, he the saints suffer, God doth sympathize, Isa. sees so much sin cleaving to them, that he lxiii. 9, “ In all their afflictions he was afflict- is even confounded: “Lord,” saith he, ed.” He did, as it were, bleed in their " there is more sulphur than incense in my wounds. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou prayers.” But for your comfort, if God be me ?" When the foot was trod on, the head your Father, he will crown those duties cried out, Judges X. 16; God's soul was which you yourselves censure ; God sees grieved for the children of Israel. As when there is sincerity in the hearts of his chil
. one string in a lute is touched, all the rest of dren, and this gold-though light-shall the strings sound : when God's children are have grains of allowance; though there stricken, his bowels sound, Zech. ii. 8, “ He may be defects in the services of God's that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my children, yet God will not cast away their eye.”
offering, 2 Chron. xxx. 20, " The Lord heal. 4. If God be our Father, he will take notice ed the people.” The tribes of Israel being of the least good he sees in us; if there be straitened in time, wanted some legal pu.
- be but is
cars , H. rifications; yet because their hearts were science; there is mercy in the affliction. An
right God healed them, he pardoned them. affliction comes to prevent falling into sin ;
God accepts of the good will, 2 Cor. viii. 12. there is mercy in an afliction. Jacob had his má'I A father takes a letter from his son kindly, thigh hurt in wrestling,—there was the afflic.
though there are blots or bad English in it. tion; but when he saw God's face, and ree, 1 kiasi
What blottings are there in our holy things?ceived a blessing from the angel, Gen. xxxii.
our Father in heaven accepts ; saith God, 30, there was mercy in the affliction. In
dark shadows and bright colours together, so 6. If God be our Father, then he will cor- our heavenly Father mingles the dark and ed the
rect us in measure, Jer. xxx. 11, “ I will cor- bright together, crosses and blessings ; and is
he will not let the affliction lie on too accusing, Christ is advocate for the saints,
. 8. Temptation is a medicine for security,
settled and rooted; the blowing of a tempta.
9. If God be our Father, no real evil shall
“Asher's shoes were iron and befall thee.” It is not said, no trouble : but, brass, but his foot was dipt in oil,” Deut. no evil. God's children are privileged per. xxxiii. 24. Affliction is the shoe of brass sons; they are privileged from the hurt of that pincheth ; but there is mercy in the afflic every thing, Luke x. 19,
Nothing shall tion,-there is the foot dipt in oil. When by any means hurt you." The hurt and God afflicts the body, he gives peace of con- malignity of the affliction is taken away:
affliction to a wicked man hath evil in it; it father, my head, my head.” So pour out thy
10. If God be our Father, this may make prince so well guarded as a believer. The us go with cheerfulness to the throne of angels, 1st. are a numerous guard, 2 Kings grace. Were a man to petition his enemy, vi. 17, “The mountain was full of horses and there were little hope; but when a child, peti chariots of fire round about Elisha." The tions his father, he may work with confidence horses and chariots of fire were the angels of to speed. The word father works upon God, God, to defend the prophet Elisha. 2dly. A it toucheth his very bowels. What can a strong guard; one angel, in a night, slew father deny his child? “If a son ask bread a hundred and fourscore, and five thou. will he give him a stone ?" Matt. vii. 9. This sand, 2 Kings xix. 32. If one angel slew may embolden us to go to God for pardon of so many, what would an army of angels sin, and further degrees of sanctity. We have done? 3dly. The angels are a swift pray to a Father of mercy sitting upon a guard ; they are ready in an instant to help throne of grace, Luke xi. 13, “ If ye then, God's children : therefore they are described being evil, know how to give good gifts to with wings, to show their swiftness ; they your children, how much more shall your fly to our help, Dan. ix. 21, 23, “ At the heavenly Father give his Spirit to them that beginning of thy supplication the commandask himn ?" This did quicken the church, and ment came forth, and I am come to thee." add wings to prayer, Isa. lxjii. 15, “ Look Here was a swift motion for the angel to down from heaven;" v. 16, “ Doubtless thou come from heaven to earth between the art our Father.” Who doth God keep his beginning and ending of Daniel's prayer. mercies for, but his children? Three things 4thly. The angels are a watchful guard; may cause boldness in prayer: we have a not like Saul's guard, asleep when their lord Father to pray to, and the Spirit to help us was in danger, 1 Sam. xxvi. 12. The 24to pray, and an Advocate to present our gels are a vigilant guard, they watch over prayers. God's children should in all their God's children to defend them, Ps. xxxiv. 7, troubles run to their heavenly Father, as that " The angel of the Lord encampeth round sick child, 2 Kings iv. 19, “ He said unto his about them that fear him." There is an in