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IV.

GOD THE FATHER OF MANKIND.

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”—MATTHEW, chap. v., v. 48.

The views of the Deity as He is depicted by the later Hebrew prophets, the God of John the Baptist, and the God and Father of Jesus, merge so gradually into one another that the beholder, if he entertains no theological apprehensions and is not imbued with any particular dogma or system of salvation, sees but one picture of the Divinity under slightly varying aspects. For to him it matters but little whether the recorded words are those of Isaiah, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah, of John the Baptist, or of Jesus Christ, so long as the sense remains identical:

Ho, every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that

hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy

wine and milk without money and without price.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him

shall never thirst.
Wherefore spend ye money for that which is not bread ?... .
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth.

for yourselves treasures in heaven.
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat

which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of

Man shall give unto you.
I am that bread of life.
It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing."

O

Lay up

Or again :

“ Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions. . Make you a new heart and a new spirit, for why would ye

die, O Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the deathof him

that dieth, saith the Lord God. ....
In those days came John the Baptist preaching and saying,

Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. .
I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one

sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just
persons which need no repentance."

The description of the Almighty, and of His spiritual heaven, the belief in an immortal state, the call to instant repentance, the warning and denunciation of formalists and hypocrites, these are all couched in expressions which vary but slightly in the utterances of the later prophets and of Jesus of Nazareth ; but he it was who brought to a focus all the paternal care and solicitude, and the ineffable holiness, grace, and condescension of the Deity, without sacrificing any of his goodness, power, or 'wisdom. For the completion therefore of our picture of the Lord God of the Hebrews, henceforward the Father of mankind, as well as in justice to those who preceded the great Teacher, we shall continue to extract the traits illustrative of his nature and government, indiscriminately from the later prophets and from the four Gospels.* There God is the one, sole, selfexistent Deity, without peer, and without any rival entitled to obedience; all angels, men, and creatures are subservient

* In these, as well as in all the other extracts which follow, little regard is paid to their chronological order; and the sayings of Christ and of the later prophets are employed as they seem best adapted for continuity of illustration.

to his heavenly will; as all are dependent upon his divine Providence:

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“ The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is

our king. The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even

they shall perish from the earth and from under these
heavens. But the Lord is the true God, he is the living

God and an everlasting king.
Get thee hence, Satan; thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,

him only shalt thou serve.
Mary said, my soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit

hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
There is none good but one, that is God.
Glorify your Father' which is in heaven. ...
O righteous Father, the world has not known thee.
My Father is greater than I.
I speak not of myself but the Father that dwelleth in me,

he doeth the works.
.... I love the Father, and as the Father gave me com-

mandment even so do I.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever.
Behold the fowls of the air

your heavenly Father
feedeth them.
Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field . . . . shall

he not clothe you.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins.
God is a spirit, they that worship him must worship him in

spirit and in truth. ..
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? ....
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

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This is the spiritual God and Father, above all, in all, and through all. He shows special favour to the meek, the sorrowful, and the oppressed :

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord

hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive ... to comfort all that mourn

to give unto them the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Seek ye the Lord all ye meek of the earth, seek righteousness,

seek meekness. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn as

sembly. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I

will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and

lowly in heart. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of

heaven. ....

weep now, for

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are ye
that

ye

shall laugh. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.* Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Whoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same

is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The will of the Almighty in regard to men is that they should repent of their sins, draw near to, and imitate Him; that they should be spiritual and not carnal, and towards

* Some sayings identical with these are found even in the earlier books: “But the meek shall inherit the earth.”—Psalm xxxvii., v. 11.

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this end He is ever ready to extend aid and forgiveness. Some of the illustrations which follow have already been given, but they will bear repetition :

“Let the wicked forsake his way, for he (God) will abundantly

pardon. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath

committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely, live, he shall not

die. .... Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so

iniquity shall not be your ruin. . . Cast away from you all your transgressions ... and make

you a new heart and a new spirit, for why would ye die, O

house of Israel ? Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, turn ye now from your evil

ways. Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. ... Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, saith

the Lord God, and not that he should return from his ways

and live? ...

I came not to call the righteous, but the sinners to re

pentance. Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was

lost. It was meet that we should make merry and be glad, for this

thy brother was dead and is alive again, was lost and is

found. Likewise I say

there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. Seek

ye

first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? . .

unto you,

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