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How is that? in being good, and kind, Vol. VII.and merciful, as God is. But I say ün.
to you (says our Lord) Love yoar eines mies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despightfully use you, and persecute you ; that
ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his Sun to rise on the evil, and on the good, and sendeth rain on the juft
, and on the unjust. And then it follows, Be ye therefore perfe£t, even as your Father which is heaven is perfect. The same Pattern St. Paul proposeth to us, Eph. 4. 32. and Ch.
5. 1. Be ye kind one to another, tender heartad; forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore folbowers of God as dear Children, and walk in love.' We cannot in any thing resemble God more, than in goodness, and kindness, and mercy, and in a readiness to forgive those who have been injurious to us, and to be recon. ciled to them.
Let us then often contemplate this Perfection of God, and represent it to our Minds, that by the frequent contemplation of it, we may be transformed into the Image of the Divine Goodness.
Is God so good to his Creatures ? with how much greater reason should Vol.VII. we be so to our fellow Creatures. Is God good to us ? let us imitate his universal goodness, by endeavouring the good of Mankind; and, as much as in us lies, of the whole Creation of God." What God is to us, and what we would have him still be to us, that let us be to others. We are infinitely beholding to this Perfection of God for all that we are, and for all that we enjoy, and for all that we expect; and therefore we have all the reason in the World to admire and imitate it. Let this pattern of the Divine Goodness be continually before us, that we may be still fashioning our selves in the temper of our Minds, and in the actions of our Lives, to a likeness and conformity to it.
Lastly, The consideration of the Divine goodness, should excite our praise and thankfulness. This is a great Duty,to the performance whereof we should summon all the Powers and Faculties of our Souls, as the holy Pfalmist does, Pfal. 103. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within
me, bless his holy Name. Bless the Vol VII. Lord, O my soul," and forget not all his
benefits. And we should invite all others to the same Work, as the same devout Psalmist frequently does, Psal. 106. O give thanks unto the Lord ! for he is good, for his mercy endureth for eAnd Pfal
. 107. O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his good. ness, and for his wonderful works to the children of Men!
And we had need to be often call's upon to this Duty, to which we have a peculiar backwardness. Necessity drives us to Prayer, and sends us to God for the supply of our wants ; buç Praise and Thanksgiving is a Duty which depends upon our gratitude and ingenuity; and nothing sooner wears off, than the sense of Kindness and Benefits. We are very apt to for. get
the blessings of God, not so much from a bad Memory, as from a bad Nature ; to forget the greatest blessings, the continuance whereof should continually put us in mind of them; the blessings of our Beings ; So God complains of his People, Deut. 32. Of the God that formed thee, thou hast been unmindful; the dignity and excel
lency of our Beings above all the Cream tures of this visible World ; Job 35.
Vol. VII. 10, 11. None faith, Where is God my Maker ? who teacherh us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven ? the daily comforts and blessings of our Lives, which we can continually receive, without almost ever looking up to the Hand that gives them. So God complains by the Prophet, Hosea 2. 8,9. She knew note that I gave her corn,and wine and oyl, and multiplied her gold and silver, And is it nor Thameful to see how at the most plentiful Tables, the giving of God Thanks is almost grown out of fashion; as if Men were ashamed to own from whence these Blessings came.
When thanks is all God expects from us, can we not afford to give him that? Do ye thus require the Lord, foolish people and unwise! It is just with God to take away his Blessings from us, if we deny him this ea. fie tribute of Praise and Thanksgiving
It is a sign Men are unfit for Heaven, when they are backward to that which is the proper. Work and Im . ployment of the blessed Spirits above.
Therefore as ever we hope to come Vol. VII. thither, let us begin this Work here,
and inure our felves to that which will be the great business of all Eternity. Let us with the four and twenty Elders in the Revelation, fall down before bim that fits on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast our crowns before the throne (that is, cast. our félves) and ascribe all glory to God; Saying, thou art worthy o Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power for thou hast made all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.
To him therefore, the infinite and in. exhaustible fount ain of goodnes, the father of mercies, and the God of all consolation, who gave us fuch excellent Beings, having made made us little lower than the Angels, and crowned us with glory and honour; who hath been pleased to stamp upon us the image of his own goodnes, and thereby, made us partakers of a divine nature, communicating to us, not only of the effects of his goodnes, but in some meafurre and degree of the perfection it self; to him who gives us all things richly to enjoy, which pertain to life and godliness, and hath made such abundant provifion, not only for our comfort and convenience