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I believe in God the Father. AFTER the confession of a Deity, and assertion of the divine unity, the next consideration is concerning God's Paternity; for this “one God is Father of all,” and “to us there is but one God, the Father.”

Now although the Christian notion of the divine paternity be some way peculiar to the evangelical patefaction, yet wheresoever God hath been acknowledged, he hath been understood and worshipped as a Father: the very heathen poets so describe their gods, and their vulgar names did carry Father in them, as the most popular and universal notion.

This name of Father is a relative; and the proper foundation of paternity, as of a relation, is generation. As therefore the phrase of generation is diversely attributed unto several acts of the same nature with generation properly taken, or by consequence attending on it; so the title of Father is given unto divers persons or things, and for several reasons under the same God. “ These are the generations of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens," saith Moses, Gen. ii. 4. So that the creation or production of any thing by which it is and before was not, is a kind of generation and consequently the creator or producer of it a kind of father. «i Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?" Job xxxviii. 28—by which words Job signifies, that as there is no other cause assignable of the rain but God, so may he as the cause be called the Father of it, though not in the most proper sense, as he is the Father of his Son: and so the philosophers of old, who thought that God did make the world, called him expressly, as the Maker, so the Father of it. And “thus to us there is butone God, the Father, of whom are all things ;" to which the words following in the Creed may seem to have relation, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. But in this mass of creatures and body of the universe, some works of the creation more properly call him Father, as being more rightly sons : such are all the rational and intellectual offspring of the Deity, Of merely natural beings and irrational agents he is the Cre> ; ator; of rational, as so, the Father also; they are his creatures, these his sons. Hence he is styled the “ Father of spirits,” and the blessed angels, when he laid the foundations of the earth, his sons; “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy," Job xxxviii. 7. Hence man, whom he created after his own image, is called his offspring, and Adam, the immediate work of his hands, the son of God: hence may we all cry out with the Israelites taught by the prophet so to speak,

Have we not all one Father ? hath not one God created us?” Malac. ii. 10. Thus the first and most universal notion of God's paternity in a borrowed or metaphorical sense, is founded rather upon creation than procreation.

Unto this act of creation is annexed that of conservation, by which God doth uphold and preserve in being that which at first he made, and to which he gave its being. As therefore it is the duty of the parent to educate and preserve the child, as that which had its being from him; so this paternal education doth give the name of father unto man, and conservation gives the same to God.

Again; redemption from a state of misery, by which a people hath become worse than nothing, unto a happy condition, is a kind of generation, which joined with love, care, and indulgence in the Redeemer, is sufficient to found a new paternity, and give him another title of a Father. Well might Moses tell the people of Israel, now brought out of the land of Egypt from their brick and straw, unto their quails and manna, unto their milk and honey, not he thy Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee ?" Deut. xxxii. 6. Well might God speak unto the same people as to “his son, even his first-born.” “ Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb.” “ Hearken unto me, 0 house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are born by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb," Exod. iv. 2. Isai. xliv. 24. xlvi. 3. And just is the acknowledgment made by that people instructed by the prophet, « Doubtless thou art

« Is

I believe in God the Father. AFTER the confession of a Deity, and assertion of the divine unity, the next consideration is concerning God's Paternity; for this one God is Father of all,” and “

“ to us there is but one God, the Father."

Now although the Christian notion of the divine paternity be some way peculiar to the evangelical patefaction, yet wheresoever God hath been acknowledged, he hath been understood and worshipped as a Father : the very heathen poets so describe their gods, and their vulgar names did carry Father in them, as the most popular and universal notion.

This name of Father is a relative; and the proper foundation of paternity, as of a relation, is generation. As therefore the phrase of generation is diversely attributed unto several acts of the same nature with generation properly taken, or by consequence attending on it; so the title of Father is given unto divers persons or things, and for several reasons under the same God. “ These are the generations of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” saith Moses, Gen. ii. 4. So that the creation or production of any thing by which it is and before was not, is a kind of generation and consequently the creator or producer of it a kind of father. “ Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?” Job xxxviii. 28—by which words Job signifies, that as there is no other cause assignable of the rain but God, so may he as the cause be called the Father of it, though not in the most proper sense, as he is the Father of his Son: and so the philosophers of old, who thought that God did make the world, called him expressly, as the Maker, so the Father of it. And “thus to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things ;" to which the words following in the Creed may seem to have relation, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. But in this mass of creatures and body of the universe, some works of the creation more properly call him Father, as being more rightly sons : such are all the rational and intellectual offspring of the Deity, Of merely natural beings and irrational agents he is the Cre ator; of rational, as so, the Father also; they are his creatures, these his sons. Hence he is styled the “ Father of spirits,” and the blessed angels, when he laid the foundations of the earth, his sons; “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” Job xxxviii. 7. Hence man, whom he created after his own image, is called his offspring, and Adam, the immediate work of his hands, the son of God: hence may we all cry out with the Israelites taught by the prophet so to speak, Have we not all one Father ? hath not one God created us?” Malac. ii. 10. Thus the first and most universal notion of God's paternity in a borrowed or metaphorical sense, is founded rather upon creation than procreation.

Unto this act of creation is annexed that of conservation, by which God doth uphold and preserve in being that which at first he made, and to which he gave its being. As therefore it is the duty of the parent to educate and preserve the child, as that which had its being from him; so this paternal education doth give the name of father unto man, and conservation gives the same to God.

Again; redemption from a state of misery, by which a people hath become worse than nothing, unto a happy condition, is a kind of generation, which joined with love, care, and indulgence in the Redeemer, is sufficient to found a new paternity, and give him another title of a Father. Well might Moses tell the people of Israel, now brought out of the land of Egypt from their brick and straw, unto their quails and manna, unto their milk and honey, “Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee ?” Deut. xxxii. 6. Well might God speak unto the same people as to “his son, even his first-born.” “ Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb." “ Hearken unto me, 0 house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are born by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb," Exod. iv. 2. Isai. xliv. 24. xlvi. 3. And just is the acknowledgment made by that people instructed by the prophet, "Doubtless thou art . our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not; thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, from everlasting is thy name," Isai. Ixiii. 16. And thus another kind of paternal relation of God unto the sons of men is founded on a restitution or temporal redemption.

Besides, if to be born causeth a relation to a father, then to be born again maketh an addition of another ; and if to generate foundeth, then to regenerate addeth a paternity. Now though we cannot enter the second time into our mother's womb, nor pass through the same door into the scene of life again, yet we believe and are persuaded, that “ except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” A double birth there is, and the world.consists of two, the first and the second man. And though the incorruptible seed be the word of God, and the dispensers of it in some sense may say, as St. Paul spake unto the Corinthians, “I have begotten you through the gospel ;" yet he is the true Father, whose word it is, and that is God, even “the Father of lights, who of his own will begat us with the word of truth.” Jam. i. 17. Thus “whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God;" which regeneration is as it were a second creation,

we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Ephes. ii. 10. And he alone who did create us out of nothing, can beget us again, and make us of the new creation. When Rachel called to Jacob, “Give me children or I die;" he answered her sufficiently with this question,“ Am I in God's stead ?" Gen. xxx. 1 And if he only openeth the womb, who else can make the soul to bear? Hence hath he the name of Father, and they of sons who are born of him; and so from that internal act of spiritual regeneration another title of Paternity redoundeth unto the Divinity.

Nor is this the only second birth or sole regeneration in a Christian sense; the soul, which after its natural being requires a birth into the life of grace, is also after that born again into a life of glory. Our Saviour puts us in mind of the regeneration, “when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory.” The resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth,

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