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the covenant of an everlasting priesthood ; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.” Thus the sons of Rechab obtained the blessing of an enduring and blessed family, because they were most strict and religious observers of their father's precepts, and kept them after his death, and abstained from wine for ever; and no temptation could invite them to taste it ; for they had as great reverence to their father's ashes, as, being children, they had to his rod and to his eyes. Thus a man may turn the wrath of God from his family, and secure a blessing for posterity, by doing some great noble acts of charity; or a remarkable chastity like that of Joseph ; or an expensive, an affectionate religion and love to Christ and his servants, as Mary Magdalen did. Such things as these which are extraordinary egressions and transvolations beyond the ordinary course of an even piety, God loves to reward with an extraordinary favour; and gives them testimony by an extraregular blessing
One thing more I have to add by way of advice; and that is, that all parents and fathers of families from whose loins a blessing or a curse usually does descend, be very careful, not only generally in all the actions of our lives (for that I have already pressed,) but particularly in the matter of repentance: that they be curious that they finish it, and do it thoroughly : for there are certain corsghuata yusravoids, leavings of repentance, which make that God's anger is taken from us so imperfectly: and although God, for his sake who died for us, will pardon a returning sinner, and bring him to heaven through tribulation and a fiery trial ; yet,—when a man is weary of his sorrow, and his fastings are a load to him, and his sins are not so perfectly renounced, or hated as they ought,--the parts of repentance, which are left unfinished, do sometimes fall upon the heads or upon the fortunes of the children. I do not say, this is regular and certain; but sometimes God deals thus: for this thing hath been so, and therefore it may be so again. We see it was done in the case of Ahab; he “humbled himself, and went softly, and lay in sackcloth,” and called for pardon, and God took from him a judgment which was falling heavily upon him: but we all know his repentance was imperfect and lame: the same evil fell upon his sons; for so said God: “I will bring the evil
upon his house in his son's days.” Leave no arrears for thy posterity to pay; but repent with an integral, a holy and excellent repentance, that God being reconciled to thee thoroughly, for thy sake also he may bless thy seed after thee.
And after all this, add a continual, a fervent, a hearty, a never-ceasing prayer for thy children, ever remembering, when they beg a blessing, that God hath put much of their fortune into your hands; and a transient formal God bless thee,' will not outweigh the load of a great vice, and the curse which scatters from thee by virtual contact, and by the channels of relation, if thou beest a vicious person : nothing can issue from thy fountain but bitter waters. And, as it were a great impudence for a condemned traitor to beg of his injured prince a province for his son for his sake : so it is an ineffective blessing we give our children, when we beg for them what we have no title to for ourselves ; nay, when we convey to them nothing but a curse. The prayer of a sinner, the unhallowed wish of a vicious parent, is but a poor donative to give to a child who sucked poison from his nurse, and derives cursing from his parents. They are punished with a doubled torture in the shame and pain of the damned, who, dying enemies to God, have left an inventory of sins and wrath to be divided amongst their children. But they that can truly give a blessing to their children, are such as live a blessed life, and pray holy prayers, and perform an integral repentance, and do separate from the sins of their progenitors, and do illustrious actions, and begin the blessing of their family upon a new stock. For as from the eyes of some persons there shoots forth an evil influence, and some have an evil eye, and are infectious, some look healthfully, as a friendly planet, and innocent as flowers ; and as some fancies convey private effects to confederate and allied bodies; and between the very vital spirits of friends and relatives there is a cognation, and they refresh each other like social plants; and a good man is a * friend to every good man : and (they say) that a usurer knows a usurer, and one rich man another, there being by the very manners of men contracted a similitude of nature, and a communication of effects : so in parents and their children there is so great a society of nature and of manners, of blessing and
* Διαμένει ούν τούτων φιλία, έως αν αγαθοί ώσιν· ή δ' αριτή μόνιμον. Αrist.
cursing, that an evil parent cannot perish in a single death ; and holy parents never eat their meal of blessing alone, but they make the room shine like the fire of a holy sacrifice ; and a father's or a mother's piety makes all the house festival and full of joy from generation to generation. Amen.
THE INVALIDITY OF A LATE OR DEATH-BED
Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and
before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look for light (or, lest while ye look for light,) he shall turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.Jer. xiii. 16.
God is the eternal fountain of honour and the spring of glory; in him it dwells essentially, from him it derives .originally; and when an action is glorious, or a man is honourable, it is because the action is pleasing to God, in the relation of obedience or imitation, and because the man is honoured by God, and by God's vicegerent: and therefore, God cannot be dishonoured, because all honour comes from himself; he cannot but be glorified, because to be himself is to be infinitely glorious. And yet he is pleased to say, that our sins dishonour him, and our obedience does glorify him. But as the sun, the great eye of the world, prying into the recesses of rocks and the hollowness of valleys, receives species or visible forms from these objects, but he beholds them only by that light which proceeds from himself: so does God, who is the light of that eye; he receives reflexes and returns from us, and these he calls 'glorifications' of himself, but they are such which are made so by his own gracious acceptation. For God cannot be glorified by any thing but by himself, and by his own instruments, which he makes as mirrors to reflect his own excellency; that by seeing the glory of
such emanations, he may rejoice in his own works, because they are images of his infinity. Thus when he made the beauteous frame of heaven and earth, he rejoiced in it, and glorified himself; because it was the glass in which he beheld his wisdom and almighty power. And when God destroyed the old world, in that also he glorified himself; for in those waters he saw the image of his justice,—they were the looking-glass for that attribute; and God is said to laugh at' and “rejoice in the destruction of a sinner,' because he is pleased with the economy of his own laws, and the excellent proportions he hath made of his judgments consequent to our sins. But, above all, God rejoiced in his holy Son; for he was the image of the Divinity, the character and express image of his person ;' in him he beheld his own essence, his wisdom, his power, his justice, and his person ; and he was that excellent instrument designed from eternal ages to represent, as in a double mirror, not only the glories of God to himself, but also to all the world; and he glorified God by the instrument of obedience, in which God beheld his own dominion and the sanctity of his laws clearly represented ; and he saw his justice glorified, when it was fully satisfied by the passion of his Son : and so he hath transmitted to us a great manner of the divine glorification, being become to us the author and example of giving glory to God after the manner of men, that is, by well-doing and patient suffering, by obeying his laws and submitting to his power, by imitating his holiness and confessing his goodness, by remaining innocent or becoming penitent ; for this also is called in the text “giving glory to the Lord our God.”
For he that hath dishonoured God by sins, that is, hath denied, by a moral instrument of duty and subordination, to confess the glories of his power, and the goodness of his laws, and hath dishonoured and despised his mercy, which God intended as an instrument of our piety, hath no better way to glorify God, than by returning to his duty, to advance the honour of the divine attributes, in which he is pleased to communicate himself, and to have intercourse with man. He that repents, confesses his own error, and the righteousness of God's laws,--and by judging himself confesses that he deserves punishment,—and therefore, that God is righteous if he punishes him : and, by returning, con
fesses God to be the fountain of felicity, and the foundation of true, solid, and permanent joys, saying in the sense and passion of the disciples, “Whither shall we go ? for thou hast the words of eternal life;" and, by humbling himself, exalts God, by making the proportions of distance more immense and vast. And as repentance does contain in it all the parts of holy life, which can be performed by a returning sinner (all the acts and habits of virtue being but parts, or instances, or effects of repentance): so all the actions of a holy life do constitute the mass and body of all those instruments, whereby God is pleased to glorify himself. For if God is glorified in the sun and moon, in the rare fabric of the honeycombs, in the discipline of bees, in the economy of pismires, in the little houses of birds, in the curiosity of an eye, God being pleased to delight in those little images and reflexes of himself from those pretty mirrors, which, like a crevice in the wall, through a narrow perspective, transmit the species of a vast excellency: much rather shall God be pleased to behold himself in the glasses of our obedience, in the emissions of our will and understanding; these being rational and apt instruments to express him, far better than the natural, as being nearer communications of himself.
But I shall no longer discourse of the philosophy of this expression : certain it is, that in the style of Scripture, repentance is the great “glorification of God;' and the prophet, by calling the people to give God glory,' calls upon them to repent,' and so expresses both the duty and the event of it; the event being “glory to God on high, peace on earth, and good-will towards men" by the sole instrument of repentance. And this was it which Joshua said to Achan, “ Give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him:"* that one act of repentance is one act of glorifying God. And this David acknowledged; “ Against thee only have I sinned : ' ut tu justificeris,' that thou mightest be justified or cleared:”+ that is, that God may have the honour of being righteous, and we the shame of receding from so excellent a perfection; or, as St. Paul quotes and explicates the place, “Let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." I
+ Psal. li. 4.
Rom, iii. 4.
Joshua vii. 19.