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escape his perfect justice. The mention of this name, at the fame time it reminds us of what God has done for us, should remind us of what we ought, in obedience to him, to do for ourselves; and then only can we properly call God our Father, when we sincerely endeavour to approve ourselves his children.
The next part of this divine prayer which comes under consideration, presents God to our minds as being in Heaven.
These words, which art in Heaven, are not designed to limit or confine the divine nature, to say here it is, and there it is not, but to breed in us a due apprehension and esteem of God's Majesty.
In regard of his natural or effential prefence, he fills all his works, and is present with the whole creation; he knoweth our down-fitting and our up-rifing, he understandeth our thoughts long before, he is about our path and about our bed, and spieth out all our ways; if we climb up into Heaven, he is there, if we go down to hell, he is there also; no time or place, no action, word, or thought, are so secret as to exclude him; the inmost receffes of the heart 'lye open to his view, and by the necessary perfection of his nature he is intimately present with the minutest particle of his works.
In regard of his gracious presence, God is faid to be present with good men, to dwell in their hearts, and to take up his residence with them that are of an humble and contrite fpirit; in regard of this, he draws near to us when we do any thing to
please pleafe him, and departs from us when we offend him.
In regard of his Majestick presence, which we are to understand in the words under confideration, he is said to be in Heaven, because he there affords brighter manifestations of his glory; he from thence issues out the decrees of his Providence, and lays open the purpose and design of his dispensations; he there shines forth in that fullness of majesty, in that brightness of perfection, which we can but faintly imagine here, and the admiration of which will be part of our happy employment hereafter.
It remains for us to enquire, lastly, For what purposes we are taught in our prayers to make mention of our Father's being in Heaven. These are to breed in us a pro
per notion of his all-perfect nature, to teach us that his ways are above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts as far as is the Heaven above the earth, to give us awful apprehensions of that Being whose throne is in Heaven, and the earth is his footstool; to deter us from measuring the arm of Omnipotence by that of humanity, to compare the eternal God by mortal man, to instruct us always to bear in mind the vaft difference between our earthly parents, and our Father which is in Heaven. This part of the
prayer is most admirably calculated to inspire us with the most hearty and unfeigned sincerity, with the most full and absolute reliance on God, with the most thorough contempt of this, and ardent expectation of another life.
One man cannot look into the heart of another, but must be contented to judge
by appearances; fo that a well conducted hypocrisy may gain a child as great advantages from an earthly parent, as the most unfeigned fincerity. But our Father which is in Heaven cannot be so deceived, for the Lord seeth not as man feeth; man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart,
Our earthly parents are fo unstable in their affections, so weak in their underftanding, fo contracted in their abilities, fo short in their duration, that no certain dépendance is to be had on them; but our Father which is in Heaven, is in his love and goodness fixt and immutable, in knowledge infinite, in power almighty, in dutation eternal, fo that on him, and him only we can place a solid and reasonable confidence.