Wright - BT300 W8 1788

5o The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED Such were the declarations of the Son of God, with reference to the happinefs of man; after which, the blefled Jesus addreffed himfelf to his difciples, and pointed out their duty as preachers of the gofpel, defigned by the fovereign Ruler of all things, to teach his will, and lead others in the paths of eternal happi- nefs. But, as the doEarine.which he had advanced was fo direftly contrary to the traditions of the Scribes and Pharifees, our Redeemer thought it neceffary to inform his difciples, that he had no intention to defroy the moral precepts contained in the law and the prophets, but to fulfil and con- firm them. Nothing is more firm, and fixed on a more immovable balls, than the great precepts of morality : thefe, being copied from the perfeaions of God, muff remain fixed and immovable: the eternal laws of righteoufnefs cannot be altered : heaven and earth will pats away, but the moral law of God will always remain the fame. This our great Redeemer fri&ily enjoined his difciples to enforce in the frongef manner, both by precept and example ; and gave them feveral infances, in which the Scribes and Pharifees had interpreted the moral law in too loofe and carelefs a manner. He then condefcended to affili their devotions, by teaching them that excellent form of prayer, which is called by his name, and is in confiant ufe amóngf Chrifians. Our Father which art in heaven. The great Creator and Preferver of men, may be, with the highef propriety, called our Father; for it is to his almighty power, that we owe our exifence ; he is, in a peculiar and diflinguilhing manner, called the Father of fpirits, becaufe he alone is the author of all fpiritual exifence. The form of our bodies owes it's original to his boundlefs, unerring wifdom, and all our aEtive powers are the produce of his all-creating goodnefs. Nor is it only by right of creation, that the eternal God may jufly claim the title of our Father; but the fame endearing appellation is due to him on account of our daily preferva Lion : he watches over us, with the care of a father, and we are conflantly made timers in the benefits of his paternal ten- dernefs and proteaion. But there is fill another and more emphatical fenfe, wherein God is the Father of his people : it is by the almighty power of his fpirit, that they are regenerated; and this great work is frequently, in the New Tefament, fyled being born of God : by this it is, that poor, loft, undone finners, are formed anew, fo that, partaking of his divine na- ture, they become his children indeed, and are permitted to lift up their eyes to the great King of the univerfe, and call him their Father. In the former fenfe, God is the Father of the creation, and a parent to all his creatures, good or bad: but in the latter fenfe, he is a Father only to his own people, who are converted by his almighty power and fpirit, enabled to believe in his Son, and to live fuch lives as are confifent with the rules of his gofpel. Father, is the moll grand and magnificent title which can be found in the whole compafs of nature, and it con- veys the mot honourable and lovely idea that can be formed in the human mind : it is particularly happy in marking the effential charaaer of the true -God, who is the great Father of the univerfe. This noble and tender appellation not only difplays him as the firf cattle of all things, but gives us a beautiful and lovely idea of his tendernefs and care, which he ex- tends over all his creatures, whom he nou- rilhes with an affehion, and proteas with a watchfulnefs and care, vafly fuperior to any earthly parent. We are permitted and encouraged to call the eternal God . our Father, to encourage our hope in his goodnefs and mercy, in granting us every requef that is not improper tobe bellowed ; for a father would not deny a petition to a child,'if it was in his power to give, and the petition was fit to be granted : and, at the fame time, our being permitted to call