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tibn frequently urg'd against Christianity'
both by its antient and modern Advcr- ^1T' series i to whom, it seems, it has always _" appeai'd incredible, that a Person of so high Dignity as the Son of God should consent to become Man, to live in a mean and despicable and afflicted Condition, and at length to dye the Death of
a Malefactor. But was it a Work
unworthy of this great Person to redeem a miserable World? And was it not fitting that He who was to instruct Men in their Duty, and to guide them to eternal Happiness, should for a while dwell and converse with them, and live in such a Condition as might give him an Opportunity to become an illustrious Pattern of the most neglected and difficult Virtues? Was it not reasonable too, that He who was to deliver Sinners from the Wrath of God, Ihould some way or other make Attonement for those Sins which had provoked it? And how could He do that better, nay how can we be sure that He could do it any otherwise, than by Suffering instead of the Offen
'— ders? It was flo trivial Concern -which
sert^- brought our Lord from Heaven to Earth; / .. nothing less than the Salvation of Mankind was the Design of His coming into the World. Is fc then at all credible, that the Son of God mould propose to himself a most noble and glorious End, and not make use of the wisest and most esfectual Means for the Accomplishment of it?
There is theresore but small Force of Argument in this Objection, but there is a great deal of ingratitude in it. For ftiall we take Occasion from the Condescension of the Son of God to despise and reject Him; and to make the Greatness of his Love to us a Pretence for refusing Obedience to his Laws? Surely the lowtr He humbled himself for our Sakes, the higher in all Reason ought our Gratitude to rise. If we have the least Spark of Ingenuity in us, it will be our constant Endeavour that the whole Earth may be full of His Glory, who became the Son of Man that we might become Sons of God; who quitted the Glo
fies of Heaven for a Manger, for a Cross,— -^—* that He might wash us from our Sins in ®L*J*" his own Blood. What Language can_ '-.^ express filch noble Acts? What Tongue of Men or of Angels can shew forth alt the Praise due to ineffable Goodness, the Breadth and Length and Depth and Height of which pass even the Knowledge of a finite Mind \ Certainly we, who were the Objects of this superlative' Goodness, can do no less than devote our whole Lives to the Service of our generous Benefactor. And since we can never requite Him, we should spare no' Pains to please Him, nor think any thing too much to do or to suffer for his Sake. No Punishment can be thought too severe for us; these v^ill be no room for us to expect any Mercy, if we are riot to be oblig'd by numberless and invaluable Benefits; if Offices of unparallel'd Friendship done for us while we were Enemies, cannot endear our Friend to' us; if Love stronger than Death cannon extort from us some suitable Returns of Thankfulness, Love and Obedience.
Z 2 Not
,— Not only Gratitude to our Redeemer,
^u' kuc the Nature of tnat naPPy Condition __ J_ to which He hath called us, exacts from us a Life of strict Holinels and Obedience to the Divine Laws. If we are Sons of God, we must be punctual in the Discharge of the Duties resulting from that Relation; otherwise we must look for no Blessing from Him. To call God Father, while we live in Disobedience to his Commands, is in effect to bring an Accusation against our selves; for if He be a Father, where is his Honour?
ACouRSEof Iniquity renders us incapable of bearing so near and honourable a Relation to the Deity. Regeneration is a necessary Preparative for Adoption; nor can we be the Sons of God, unless we are born again of the Spirit. As many as are led by the Spirit, faith, St. Paid, are the Sons of God. For by the Spirit we are made Partakers of a Divine Nature, and the Divine Perfections are stamp'd upon our Souls. The resembling God in our Dispositions and Actions, the imitating Him as dear Children, is the surest Demonstration that —-— we are born of Him. Both the Children S^' os God and the Children of the Devil '.
will do the Works of their Father; by which they are easily distinguished one from the other.
Again, I F we are Sons of God, this. may encourage us to lay before Him all our Wants and Grievances, and to pup up our Petitions to Him with firm Confidence, that we shall receive from Him whatever is necessary and convenient for us, For, as our Lord very strongly argues. What Man is there, who, if his Son ask Bread, will give him a Stone f Or if he ask a Fijh, will give him a Serpent? If then Men that are evil know how to give good Gifts unto their Children, how much more shall our Father which is in Heaven give good Things unto them that ask him? Add to this, that we have such an Intercessor with the Father, as we our selves, if we understood our own Interest, would wish for, even Jesus Christ the Righteous j who being by Nature the only Son of God, cannot Z 3 fail