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  • Duty of Imitating Our Master Taught Us by Slaves. Even by Beasts. Obedient Imitation is Founded on Patience.

    Chapter IV.—Duty of Imitating Our Master Taught Us by Slaves. Even by Beasts. Obedient Imitation is Founded on Patience.

    Therefore, if we see all servants of probity and right feeling shaping their conduct suitably to the disposition of their lord; if, that is, the art of deserving favour is obedience,9031

    9031 “Obsequium,” distinguished by Döderlein from “obedientia,” as a more voluntary and spontaneous thing, founded less on authority than respect and love.

    while the rule of obedience is a compliant subjection: how much more does it behove us to be found with a character in accordance with our Lord,—servants as we are of the living God, whose judgment on His servants turns not on a fetter or a cap of freedom, but on an eternity either of penalty or of salvation; for the shunning of which severity or the courting of which liberality there needs a diligence in obedience9032

    9032 Obsequii.

    as great as are the comminations themselves which the severity utters, or the promises which the liberality freely makes.9033

    9033 “Pollicetur,” not “promittit.”

    And yet we exact obedience9034

    9034 Obedientiam.

    not from men only, who have the bond of their slavery under their chin,9035

    9035 “Subnixis.” Perhaps this may be the meaning, as in Virg. Æn. iv. 217. But Oehler notices “subnexis” as a conjecture of Jos. Scaliger, which is very plausible, and would mean nearly the same. Mr. Dodgson renders “supported by their slavery;” and Oehler makes “subnixis” ="præditis,” “instructis.” [Elucidation II.]

    or in any other legal way are debtors to obedience,9036

    9036 Obsequii.

    but even from cattle,9037

    9037 Pecudibus,” i.e. tame domestic cattle.

    even from brutes;9038

    9038 “Bestiis,” irrational creatures, as opposed to “homines,” here apparently wild beasts.

    understanding that they have been provided and delivered for our uses by the Lord. Shall, then, creatures which God makes subject to us be better than we in the discipline of obedience?9039

    9039 Obsequii. For the sentiment, compare Isa. i. 3.

    Finally, (the creatures) which obey, acknowledge their masters. Do we hesitate to listen diligently to Him to whom alone we are subjected—that is, the Lord?  But how unjust is it, how ungrateful likewise, not to repay from yourself the same which, through the indulgence of your neighbour, you obtain from others, to him through whom you obtain it!  Nor needs there more words on the exhibition of obedience9040

    9040 Obsequii.

    due from us to the Lord God; for the acknowledgment9041

    9041 See above, “the creatures…acknowledge their masters.”

    of God understands what is incumbent on it.  Lest, however, we seem to have inserted remarks on obedience9042

    9042 Obsequio.

    as something irrelevant, (let us remember) that obedience9043

    9043 Obsequio.

    itself is drawn from patience. Never does an impatient man render it, or a patient fail to find pleasure9044

    9044 “Oblectatur” Oehler reads with the mss.  The editors, as he says, have emended “Obluctatur,” which Mr. Dodgson reads.

    in it. Who, then, could treat largely (enough) of the good of that patience which the Lord God, the Demonstrator and Acceptor of all good things, carried about in His own self?9045

    9045 See the previous chapter.

    To whom, again, would it be doubtful that every good thing ought, because it pertains9046

    9046 See the previous chapter.

    to God, to be earnestly pursued with the whole mind by such as pertain to God? By means of which (considerations) both commendation and exhortation9047

    9047 See chap. i.

    on the subject of patience are briefly, and as it were in the compendium of a prescriptive rule, established.9048

    9048 [All our author’s instances of this principle of the Præscriptio are noteworthy, as interpreting its use in the Advs. Hæreses.]


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