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as none others can have any true desire after the blessings, which are the subject of this prayer; so none, besides them, can properly use the mode of address, which is here adopted. Who, but a a child, can look up with confidence in his heart, and a smile on his countenance, and say, my • Father ! That God is the Father of all, as He is the Author of all, cannot be denied. But, if, this be the only source of consolation we have, we might as well attempt to quench our thirst with matter emitted from the flaming bowels of Vesuvius, as to extract comfort from a consideration of our relation to God, as creatures to 'a Creator. In this sense God is the Father of Devils, as much as of men; for He gave them their existence and upholds it. And, if this be our only claim to His favor, the angels, who • kept not their first estate, and are reserved in 6 chains of darkness to the judgment of the great • day, possess the same.' They have unhappily exchanged the title of children for that of rebels : and so have we. The alarming interrogatory, by which Jehu answered the inquiry of Joram King of Israel, may be applied to every careless and impenitent sinner; "What hast thou to do • with peace ?"

What right hast thou to call God thy Father? Thou art wholly a stranger to any filial feelings towards Him, or to any sense of filial duty; and, continuing as thou art, hast no reason to expect any parental kindness from

Him. Bụt the language of filial, confidence is appropriate to those, who are · begotten again to

a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ • from the dead.'* They were once aliens, but are now adopted into the family of God, and made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. And because they are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, • Abba, Father.'t And, though they are of different ages and attainments, and not all of them able to speak with equal distinctness; yet all of them demonstrate the holy change, which their adoption has produced, by their dissimilitude from their former selves, as well as from the world around them; and by their increasing conformity to God their Father, to Christ their elder brother, and to those branches of the family, who bear his perfect image. How delightful is the thought, that at every recurring season of public worship, thousands of those, who have access by one Spirit • unto the Father,' are jointly looking upward, and lisping out His adored name. We describe our Father by the place of His peculiar residence ; and thereby distinguish Him from all others, to whom this relative title is sometimes given. For, though God is every where present ; so that if we ascended up into heaven, He is there ; were we to make our bed in Hell, behold, He is there;

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were we to take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea ; still we should be surrounded with His Divine Majesty ; yet Heaven is the seat of His glory. And, while we style Him (our heavenly Father,' we call that to our remembrance, which is calculated to strengthen our faith, and confirm our confidence in prayer. An earthly parent might be incapable of supplying the wants of a numerous family ; and, however ardently he might wish to afford the needful relief, might be obliged to dismiss them from his presence with unavailing wishes that it was in his power to grant their requests. But, since our Father, to whom we repair, dwelleth in heaven; we may rest assured that he is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent; and it will become us to entertain the most exalted conceptions of His grace and power: and, though His family consist of unnumbered millions ; though every individual member thereof be dependent on Him; and, though their various exigencies be such, as no finite sufficiency can relieve : yet of Him we may confidently ask and receive, till our joy be full. No circumstance of time or place, of unworthiness, or deep distress can prevent the success of the messages we send to our heavenly Father.'

• Our Heavenly Fatheris also • Almighty 6 God. When we ask for deliverance from sin and danger, and the governance of all our doings;

we implore blessings, which Omnipotence only can bestow. How necessary therefore it is, that we should carry with us to the throne of

grace a full persuasion of that important declaration, that nothing is impossible with God.' This circumstance affords a fresh instance of the wisdom of the compilers of our liturgy, in their selection of those epithets, which they have adopted in our invocations.

Since we are ever prone to stagger at the promises of God through unbelief;' another of His glorious perfections is here introduced. It is the will of God that His humble servants should draw near with boldness to the throne of

grace, • to obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every « time of need.', It becomes them therefore, knowing the constant difficulty of maintaining in their bosoms a full persuasion of the truth of the promises, to fortify their minds with every corroborative illustration of the nature of that gracious God, with whom they have to do. He is • Everlasting in His existence, and all His attributes. We solicit at His hands deliverance from eternal ruin ; and the inestimable boon of eternal life. Surely no being, whose duration is finite and limited, can bestow on us these benefits. But our heavenly Father, the Son of His love, and the Spirit of His grace, the

Triune Jehovah, is without beginning of days, • or end of life.' With Him there is no mutability. What He has promised, He lives for ever to perform. Safely therefore may we conclude, that whatsoever we ask faithfully, we shall 6.obtain effectually.'

We are taught to acknowledge His over-ruling. Providence, as the sole cause of the continuance of our lives and comforts. How proper a confession for every morning is that, which we here make, even that God hath brought us safely to • the beginning of this day,' since • in Him we • live, and move, and have our being! The senseless doctrine of chance* occupies no place in the Creed of a true member of our church. Are the hairs of our head all numbered? Is it true that an insignificant sparrow does not fall to the ground without our heavenly Father's observation and permission ? Surely then His children may infer the universality of His superintendence over them and their concerns. But, alas, are there not many practical Atheists even in the bosom of

* The word chance is unhappily used both by the compilers of our Liturgy, and the translators of the Bible: (see the first collect after the communion service. Eccles. ix. 11. and Luke x. 31. et al.) but assuredly without the least intention of affording any 'counTenance to that system of impiety, which excludes the providence of God from the governance of the universe and all things in it.

The word occurrence, which is the exact meaning both of the i, hebrew and greek terms, would have conveyed their meaning,

-and is not liable to the same objection with the word chance

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