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2. A thankful acceptance of merciful and kind providences, Luke i. 38. This is our duty also : but it is the natural bias of our heart's to facrifice to our own net, and to forget and overlook God's goodness in these; to sit down to the covered table of kind provi. dence, not looking up with due acknowledgements to him who has provided it. So it is the saints desire to have grace to enable them to receive thankfully.
3. A compliance with the design of providences of all sorts. We must act according to the will of providence, Acts xiii. 36. and we have need of grace
for it. When God by his providence puts work in our hands, and gives us abilities and occasions to serve him, we are obliged to employ all for his service, elfe we answer not the design. Mercies and rods have a call. And every one is by providence put in some particular station, with some talents lefs or more, for the duties of that station. He does the will of God's providence, that employs his intereft, gifts, and abilities in his calling, moving in his own sphere prudently, constantly, and vigorously, as those in heaven do.
Fourthly, A consent to the will of God, a yielding of the heart to that it may be done. Our Lord
gave us a copy of this resignation to the will of God in his bitter sufferings, Matth. xxvi. 42. O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And the church in Paul's case wrote after this copy, Acts xxi. 14. saying, The will of the Lord be done. And whatever befalls the church, ourselves, or others, by the will of providence, there ought to be a humble resignation to the will of God in it all.
IV. I shall give the reasons why the faints have such a concern that the will of God may be done in earth, as it is heaven.
1. Because it is most juft, holy, reasonable, and equitable, in all things, and they see it is so, Psal. cxix. 128. I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. Plal. cxlv. 17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. God is holy and just in his own nature, and can command, demand, or inflict nothing that is unjust. He can do no wrong to the creature, nor can he bid the creature do any thing wrong. He is infinitely wise, and knows how to guide the world best. What wonder then they be concerned his will be done, since it is the beft that can be done?
2. Because the glory of God, which of all things is dearest to the saints, is deeply interested in this mat. ter. God is perfectly glorified in heaven, because there his will is done perfectly : but he is dishonoured on earth, because his will is not obeyed and submitted to there. It is by this that his Spirit is vexed, his will being crossed and contradicted by vile worms.
3. Because this would make a heaven on earth. If there were such a harmony betwixt earth and heaven, that God's will were done in the one, as in the other, it would make on carth,
(1.) A heaven for beauty and order of all things. There is a comely order in heaven, because all there keep their own place, and follow the will of the Creator in all things. But fin has filled the earth with confusion and disorder, which will never be rectified till those on earth return to move according to rule, viz, the will of the Creator. What would become of us, if the sun and moon were as irregular in their mo. tions as we are?
(2.) A heaven for happiness. The happiness of men lies in their aslimulation to God; and they are so far like hiin as they conforin to his will. Were our will perfectly conformed to the will of God, we could never be miserable ; for if God's will were our will, nothing could befall us against our will, we would be pleased with all that we meet with.
Use. Are we directed thus to pray? Then,
1. We ought to be very careful to know what is the will of God in the several pallages of our life, Eph. V. 10Left we mistake his will, or overlook it, we
should study his word, that we may do it; and study his works, that we may comply with the call of them. For we can never be doers of the will of God, if we know it not. It is impossible that an ignorant person can do the will of God; and therefore it behove us, if we would do his will, carefully to search the scriptures, and narrowly consider the works of God.
2. Let us be careful to do the will of God's commands, in such fort as we my most nearly resemble those in heaven, doing it evenly, unweariedly, universally, humbly, cheartully, readily, and constantly, as you heard the faints desire to di). And let us never forget to comply with this great commandinent of believing in the name of Jesus Chrift; for if this be not done in the first place, we cannot possibly do the will of God in any other thing. Faith is the foundation of all acceptable obedience to the will of God, leads to it, and animates the foul therein. For mo. tives, consider,
Mot. (1.) We are under the greatest obligations to the doing of the will of God. God is our Creator, vur Sovereign Lord and Ruler, and therefore has a just title to our obedience. The Creator's authority and the Redeemer's love and grace fo amply displayed in the work of our redemption, loudly call for our obeying the will of God. The law is given us as the matter and rule of our obedience; and we are re. ; deemed by Christ, that we may be holy, and comply with the whole will of God revealed to us.
(2.) It is only the doers of his will that shall get to heaven, Matth. vii. 21.
There is a reward of grace to be reaped afterwards for it. In keeping of the divine commandments, says the pfalmift, there is great reward. None are fit or qualified for the work and employment of heaven but holy persons, and none can be holy without doing the whole will of God. Obedience to his will is an infallible evidence of holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
(3.) Since his will is manifeited to us in his word VOL. III.
and works, the neglect of it will lay us open to double stripes, Luke xii. 47. Since God has been pleased to write to us the great things of his law, and to reveal his will respecting both matters of faith and practice, we can have no pretence for ignorance, nor room to plead that we know not what is our duty. All pleas of ignorance are as inexcusable as those of neglect, which shall be rejected at the great day, and all neglecters of the will of God punished with everlasting destruction.
3. Lastly, Let us be careful to comply with the will of divine providence. And,
(1.) Let us consider what the dispensations of the day towards the church and towards ourselves do call for, and comply therewith. While the Lord's hand is stretched out, and he threatens to take away his peace from us, [1.] Let us examine ourselves, smiting on our breasts, and saying, What have I done to kindle the fire of the Lord's anger? [2.] Let us pray for the peace of Jerufalem, and have a deep concern for the preservation of truth and peace; that the Lord may support his own cause, bless the gospel for the conversion of finners, and the edification of all who have given their names to Christ.
(2.) Let us be submifiive under all afflicting providences, laying our hands on our mouths, accepting the punishment of our fins, and justifying God in whatever we meet with.
The Fourth Petition.
MATTHEW vi. 11.
the latter three our own welfare. In the fuf three we are directed to pray for the advancement of
of his name, kingdom, and will, and in the last three for our own temporal and spiritual good. The order is divine, and teaches us this
Doct. That it is the duty of all, and the disposition of God's children, to prefer God's honour to all their perYonal and private interests. It is preferable,
1. To our own temporal welfare: Thy name be hallow. ed, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done ; and then, Give us this day our daily bread. It speaks the disposition of God's children in three things.
(1.) They desire that God's glory may be advanced, whatever come of their bread or provision for this life. Their life itself is by them put in subordination to God's honour, much more the outward comforts of it, Acts xxi. 13. If the chariot of God's honour cannot drive forward, but it must drive ove their table, they bid it welcome to drive on, though it cait down their table, making its way over it, Luke xiv. 26.
(2.) They desire not bread in a way incongstent with the glory of God's name, the coming of his kingdom, and doing his will, Heb. xi. 25. If they cannot have it, but out of the ruins of these, they will rather want it: it is too dear bought at the expence of the profanation of his name, wronging and marring the progress of his kingdom, and going over his de. clared will.
(3.) In pursuing the honour of his name, the ac', vancing of his kingdom, and doing of bis will, they will cait then felves on their Father for their bread, in confidence that he will furnish them with wiat they need of it for those great ends, i Cor. ix. 7. Who go: eth a warfare any time at bis own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and euteth not of tije fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and enteih nct of the milk of the flock?
They have his promile for it, Plil. xxxvii. 3. Verily thou halt be fed. And he will be as gordas his word; it is a suled cale, Luke xxii. 35. When I sent you with.