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image; whence Adam is called the Son of God, and Man may more especially say with the Prophet, Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?
Preservation is another reason for our calling God Father, and the continuation of our existence a perpetual obligation on us to make use of that name. If the first giving of being is a proper foundation of Paternity, the preservation of that Being, which is not improperly stiled a Continued Creation, must be a foundation of Paternity likewise; so that God, who is our Father in right of having graciously created us, is still farther so, in right of having no less graciously preserved us.
Redemption is another reason for our calling God Father. The disobedience of our first parents brought themselves and their posterity into so miserable an estate, their nature was so corrupted, their understanding so darkened, and their will so perverse, that it was impossible for them
to fulfill the law of nature, and without fulfilling it, it was absolutely certain, that they must fall into condemnation. In this deplorable condition, the mercy of God regarded us; he made a covenant with his only begotten Son, that he should come into the world, and die for mankind, and, upon the merit of that, cancel the handwriting of the law, which bore so hard upon us; that he should afford us easier conditions, greater assistances, and more glorious promises, that he should deprive Sin of her strength, swallow up Death in Victory, and lead Captivity captive; that he should redeem us from the claim of Hell, and reinstate us in our title to the joys of Heaven. For this reason therefore it is also, that we confess the Paternity of God, that we joyfully look upon our Creator and Preserver as amiably cloathed with the mercies of a Redeemer, and as thereby acquiring a fresh title to the name of Father, in that he hath begotten us from the death of Sin, unto the life of Righteousness.
Regeneration is another reason for our calling God Father. In respect of Creation, and Preservation, all things in general may call upon God by this name; in respect of those many excellent endowments by which human nature is exalted above the inferior parts of the creation, and in which she bears the image of God, the whole race of men may with equal propriety make use of this appellation; and the Paternity arising from Redemption is as universal as the Satisfaction of Christ, who died for all men; but in respect of Regeneration, no one can call God Father, who is not actually entered into the Gospel Covenant, and become a member of Jesus Christ, who hath not been sprinkled with the laver of Regeneration, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost; whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. If we consider indeed the wonderful alteration which is made in us by the gracious operations of God's holy Spirit in our Regeneration, how thoroughly we are purified when baptized with the Holy Ghost
and and with fire, upon what different principles we think, speak, and act, we shall readily see that such an alteration may justly be stiled a new birth, we who have undergone it new Creatures, and God who hath perfected it in us, and created us in good works unto Christ Jesus, upon this account also a Father to us.
Adoption is another reason for our calling God Father. It hath been usual among men, for those who are childless to adopt the children of others, and to confer the same obligations on, and expect the same affection and obedience from them, as if they were their own offspring. Thus hath God dealt with us; he hath predestinated us to the adoption of Children, by Jesus Christ, to himself, and hath given us the spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. But the motives on which men adopt children, and those on which God adopts us, are widely different. They fly to adoption as the last resource and comfort of their solitary condition, as an artificial
means of supplying themselves with what Nature hath denied them, and in expecta-" tion of pleasure and blessing to themselves. Whereas God hath adopted us, not for his own, but for our sake; not that he may be a Father, but that we may be children; the love is all his, the advantage all our own.
Having thus seen in what respects we call God Father, I proceed, Secondly, to shew, Why we are taught in our prayers to make use of the name of Father, rather than any other.
If we consider with what affections of the mind our prayers ought always to be accompanied, with what humility and reverence, with what love and confidence, with what resolution of submission and obedience, we shall find that no other name could so naturally inspire us with them, as this of Father. The idea of Omnipotence is great and terrible, and, abstractedly considered, will indeed suffici