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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,90319031    “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 709living 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 obedience90329032    Obsequii. as great as are the comminations themselves which the severity utters, or the promises which the liberality freely makes.90339033    “Pollicetur,” not “promittit.” And yet we exact obedience90349034    Obedientiam. not from men only, who have the bond of their slavery under their chin,90359035    “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,90369036    Obsequii. but even from cattle,90379037    Pecudibus,” i.e. tame domestic cattle. even from brutes;90389038    “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?90399039    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 obedience90409040    Obsequii. due from us to the Lord God; for the acknowledgment90419041    See above, “the creatures…acknowledge their masters.” of God understands what is incumbent on it.  Lest, however, we seem to have inserted remarks on obedience90429042    Obsequio. as something irrelevant, (let us remember) that obedience90439043    Obsequio. itself is drawn from patience. Never does an impatient man render it, or a patient fail to find pleasure90449044    “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?90459045    See the previous chapter. To whom, again, would it be doubtful that every good thing ought, because it pertains90469046    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 exhortation90479047    See chap. i. on the subject of patience are briefly, and as it were in the compendium of a prescriptive rule, established.90489048    [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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