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perhaps, often saw smiles of complacency sitting on their cheeks, and even tears of tenderness and pleasure rising in their eyes; especially if, with the dawnings of reason, they discovered in our minds any early impressions of religion : We can perhaps recollect the condescending air with which they talked to us, and the kind caresses which they intermingled with the discourse. And as we grew up to a riper understanding, we were still more charmed with the company of such parents. We had not only the manly pleasure of rational converse, but there was a mixture of reverence and of gratitude in our hearts, which much increased the delight. We were assured of their candour towards their children, and their prejudice in favour of what we might say; and that inspired us with spirit and cheerfulness. We were encouraged to attempt to please them, because we concluded we might easily do it; and the sense we had of the superiority on their parts, made every expression of their kindness so much the more sweet and obliging.

The loss of such conversation is indeed to be greatly lamented ; and it would argue a strange mixture of stupidity and inhumanity to be unaffected with it. But still remember, that though your parents are gone, you are not left entirely alone ; for, not to mention other surviving friends, your heavenly Father is with you, if it be your prevailing desire still to be with him. Though your father and your mother be removed, and

you can no longer go to them, unless it be to mourn over their grave, and to mingle your tears with their dust; yet you may go to God, and with pleasure pour out your souls before him: And what you find in him may give a more transporting exercise to those sweet affections, which added a relish to the conversation of your earthly parents.

The first imperfect accents of prayer and praise will be a pleasing offering to him. Great and glorious as he is, he will bow down an indulgent ear, through Jesus, your dear elder brother; he will smile upon your souls, and allow you a holy freedom in all the endearments of filial converse.

Your earthly parents were not always at leisure, nor always in temper to receive your visits ; but wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, God's gracious eye is always on his children ; his indulgent ear is always open to their addresses. You may come and tell him how heartily you love him, how affectionate a sense you have of his favours, how sincerely you are concerned for his interest in the world, and how earnestly desirous of taking every opportunity to advance it; how well VOL, II.


you are satisfied with his paternal care, and how cheerfully you can refer yourselves to his wise and gracious disposal. Our Lord intimates, that we may use such a holy boldness with God, when he teaches us to say, Our Father, which art in heaven *; and the apostle farther expresses it, when he speaks of The spirit of adoption, as teaching us to cry, Abba, Fathert. 4. Could your earthly parents have pitied your sorrows and

complaints? The like compassions may you expect from God, if you apply to him under the character of a Father.

It is natural for a child, when any thing grieves it, to go to its parents, and complain to them; and if they cannot redress the grievance, at least they will be ready to condole it. Now we are expressly told in the word of God, that, Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear himf. And how much more valuable are the compassions of God, than those of our earthly parents could possibly have been! In many cases theirs was only a mourning pity, and all, that they could often do for our relief, was to sit down and weep over us; to affict themselves with us, and to give us their company in distress : But the compassions of an almighty God can redress the grievances which he commisserates. Be our afflictions ever so many or ever so great ; in sickness and in pain; in the agonies of conscience, or the agonies of death; when parents and other friends are but Miserable comfortersę, he alone can support the soul ; can soothe it into serenity and peace ; and can exalt it to the most triumphant joy. 5. Could your earthly parents have supplied your wants, and

have made provision for your future subsistence ? God is infinitely more able and ready to do it for bis children.

In our years of infancy, though we had hardly any thing we could call our own, we made ourselves easy in this, that our parents would take care of us; and sometimes the circumstances of families are such, that their care is almost all that the children have to depend upon. When this is the case, none can wonder, that it is considered as a great aggravation of the loss. But surely when God proclaims himself A Father to the fatherless|l, he intends to suggest some encouragement to such helpless orphans as these ; and it becomes them to take the comfort of it.

• Mat. vi. 9. + Rom. vii, 15. Psal. ciii, 13. § Job xvi. 2.

ll i Psal. lsviü. 5

Earthly parents may sometimes be so indigent that they cannot, and sometimes so unkind that they will not, relieve their children, at least in such a proportion as their necessities require. But the Most high God is the possessor of heaven and earth*, and his goodness is as extensive as his dominion ; we may therefore conclude, that He will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famisht. There is not one parent in ten thousand so unnatural, as that he should stand by, and see his child perish for hunger, while it was in the power of his hand to relieve him. Now our Lord hath taught us to argue thus, If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things unto them that ask him?

God has the estates, and the hearts of all in his hands; and therefore can, with the utmost ease, raise up friends to us in the most abandoned eircumstances, who shall act the part of parents to us, and do more for us than they could have done. And it is farther to be remembered, that the bounties of God are far more excellent than those of any mortal friend could possibly be. Their bounty, be it ever so great, cannot reach beyond the grave; but It is our Father's good pleasure to give us a kingdoms, incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not awayl: In the believing, though distant views of which, we are rich amidst the extremest poverty, and happy in the most miserable circumstances that can be consistent with such a hope.

You see then, on the whole, how much more the good man may find in God, than he can possibly lose in the most valuable earthly parents.

It only remains, that I conclude the discourse with a few reflections on this second observation,

1. Let us thankfully acknowledge the gracious provision, which

God has made to support his people under the loss of parents and friends.

We should bless his name, that he does not leave us to sink under the burthen, or at best to collect some uncertain comfort from the precarious conclusions of our unassisted reason ; but that, through the blood and righteousness of his Son, he has given his plain and express promise, for the encouragement of such inconsiderable and undeserving creatures,

You, whose parents are living, ought to be thankful, that

* Gen, xiv, 19.

+ Prov. x. 3.

1 Mat. vii 11.

$ Luke xü. 32. 1 1 Pet. i. 4:

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God hath provided such reviving cordials for you against the mournful time when they may be taken away.

And we, who have lost our parents, and have found relief in our extremities, from such deciarations as these, should recollect it with pleasure, and often repeat our songs of grateful acknowledgment.

And I will farther add, we onght not only to rejoice and to be thankful on our own account, but also on account of those asilicted friends who may receive support from such strong consolations. We pity children that have lost their parents, and it is delightful to see other generous persons rising up to take care of the orphans, and in some respect to make up their loss. But how much more delightful it should be to us, to hear an Almighty God proclaiming himself as their great guardian, and saying, that when their Father and their mother forsake them, he will graciously take them up. How should we rejoice, that when we set ourselves to comfort and encourage them, we cannot only advance our own conjectures, but can thus speak to them in the language of God himself. And indeed this reflection may be applied to all the other promises. We ought to rejoice, that our pious friends have an interest in them, and that God hath consulted their support and consolation, as well as our own.

And surely, when we are reflecting on such a promise as
this, our affectionate thoughts and praises should arise to him,
In whom all the promises of God are yea and amen*. It is
natural to say, “ Whence is it that thou, the holy Majesty of
heaven, wilt appear under such indearing and tender cha-
racters, to sinful mortals ! that thou wilt speak of taking them
up! of bestowing one gracious look upon them, and much
more of extending an arm of mercy to raise them from that
helpless condition, in which they naturally lie, like abandoned
out-casts! Whence is it that thou wilt take them into thy
family now, and into thy kingdom at last !" for all this is inti-
mated in this expression : “ Lord," may each of us say, “I
humbly ascribe it to the riches of thy gospel-grace. I would
declare it to the everlasting honour of Jesus thy Son, that it is
Through him we have received the adoption.
2. What an engagement should this be to young persons, to en-

deavour to secure an interest in God through Christ!
You must own the consolations, which I have now been re-

* 2 Cor, i, 20.

presenting, to be far from being small* ; and surely, when you consider how soon the best of your mortal friends may fail, you cannot but wish for an interest in them : But you wish it in vain, unless you seek it in the gospel way: unless you deliberately and resolutely chuse God for your Father in Christ, and devote yourselves to them in the bonds of an everlasting covenant. If you refuse this, you have reason to regard him under the character of an enemy; and to fear, that when he removes your friends, it is in judgment that he visits you with such a blow. Your hearts may justly meditate terror, if this be the case; especially when your pious parents are taken away. You are then deprived of their prayers, their exhortations, their advices, and their examples; and so seem to be thrown farther out of the way of repentance and reformation. And let me add, that if Almighty grace doth not prevent it, the trouble which you now feel, in being separated from such dear relations while you continue on earth, will be the smallest part of your unhappiness ; for you must finally be separated not only from all the most valuable persons you have ever known here, but, which is infinitely more, from the presence of the blessed God himself; must fall unpitied victims of the divine justice, and be delivered over to dwell with Your father the devil, whose works you have chosen to dot. And oh ! how unutterably dreadful is it to think, that in the awful day, when this sentence is to be pronounced and executed upon you, there will not be one friend to plead in your favour! That though your pious parents be then present, yet, in a most terrible sense, Father and mother will then forsake you indeed, and, instead of interposing their intreaties for you, will applaud the righteous vengeance that dooms you as obstinate rebels to eternal death ; to those abodes of distinguished misery, which are prepared for such as have broke through all the peculiar advantages, which will then be found chargeable to your account. 3. Let wbat I have been saying be considered by parents, as an

encouragement cheerfully to leave their religious children in the hands of God, when providence shall see fit to make the separation.

When, through the riches of gospel grace, a christian parent sees his own eternal concerns so safe in a Redeemer's hands, that he can say, with respect to them, I Desire to departi; yet sometimes he feels reluctance mingling itself with

* Job xv. 11.

+ John vüi. 44.

| Phil. i, 23.

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