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Full text of "The complete works of Stephen Charnock"

I

Presented to the
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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

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KNOX COLLEGE

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

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http://www.archive.org/details/completeworksof01char

J-J

NICHOL'S SERIES OF STANDARD DIVINES.

PUEITAN PERIOD.

iflj (Smeral flnfax*

BY JOHN C. MILLEK, D.D.,

LINCOLN COIXEGE ; HONORARY CANON OF WORCESTER J RECTOR OF ST MARTIN'S, BIRMINGHAM.

THE

WOMS OF STEPHEN CHAENOCK, B.D.

VOL. I.

COUNCIL OF PUBLICATION.

W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational
Union, Edinburgh.

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh.
THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University,
Edinburgh.

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomases Episcopal Church,

Edinburgh.
WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church

History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh.
ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place Unite.! Preeby-

ieriau Church, Edinburgh.

9mril <5imor.

EEV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinburgh.

THE COMPLETE WORKS

OP

STEPHEN CHARNOCK, B.D.

Wiify f ntoimrtbn

BY THE KEV. JAMES M'COSH, LL.D.,

PROFESSOR OF LOGIC AND METAPHYSICS, QUEEN'S COLLEGE, BELFAST.

VOL. I.

CONTAINING

DISCOUKSES ON DIVINE PEOVIDENCE,

AND

THE EXISTENCE AND ATTBIBUTES OF GOD.

EDINBURGH: JAMES NICHOL.

LONDON : JAMES NISBET AND CO. DUBLIN : W. ROBERTSON.

M.DCCC.LXIV.

KDINBURQH
BT JOHN OREIO AND SON,
OLD PHTSIC GARDENS.

/A UH
(9/3

CONTENTS.

Paqr
INTRODUCTION vii

A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE.

To the Reader. ...... 3

A Discourse of Divine Providence. . . 2 Chron. XVI. 9. 6

DISCOURSE ON THE EXISTENCE AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.

To the Reader. .....

A Discourse upon the Existence of God. . Ps. XIV. 1.
Practical Atheism. . . . Ps. XIV. 1.

A Discourse upon God's being a Spirit. . John IV. 24.

A Discourse upon Spiritual Worship. . John IV. 24.

A Discourse upon the Eternity of God. . Ps. XC. 2.

A Discourse upon the Immutability of God. Ps. CII. 26, 27.

A Discourse upon God's Omnipresence. . Jer. XXIII. 24.

A Discourse upon God's Knowledge. . Ps. CXLVII. 5.

123
126
183
258
283
345
374
420
457

INTRODUCTION TO CHARLOCK'S WORKS.

I. HIS LIFE.

The memorials of the life of Charnock are much scantier than
those who have profited by his writings, or who are interested
in the history of the time, could wish. We have some notices of
him in the sermon preached at his funeral by his ' bosom
friend' Mr Johnson ; a vague general account of him in an
epistle ' To the Keader,' prefixed by Mr Adams and Mr Veal,
the editors, to his ' Discourse of Divine Providence,' published
shortly after his death ; a brief life of him by Calamy in his
1 Account of the Ejected and Silenced ; ' his collegiate positions
detailed by Wood in his Athena Oxonienses and Fasti; and this is
all the original matter that we have been able to discover regard-
ing the author of the great work ' On the Attributes.' Mr Johnson
says, ■ he heard a narrative of his life would be drawn up by an
able hand ; ' and Calamy mentions that Memoirs of Mr Steph.
Charnock were written by Mr John Gunter, his ' chamber-fellow '
at Oxford ; but of these we have not been able to find any trace.
We have made researches in London, in Cambridge, and in Dublin,
without being rewarded by the discovery of many new facts, not
given by the original authorities. All that we have aimed at in
the following Memoir is to combine the scattered accounts of
him, to allot the incidents the proper place in his life and in the
general history of the times, and thus to furnish, if not a full,
yet a faithful, picture of the man and his work.*

Stephen Charnock was born in the parish of Saint Catherine
Cree (or Creechurch), London, in the year 1628. He was the
son of Mr Eichard Charnock, a solicitor, who was descended
from an ancient Lancashire family, the Charnocks of Charnock.
We have no account of his childish or boyish years, or of his
training in the family. But we know what was the spirit that
reigned around him among the great body of the middle classes

* The writer is under deep obligations to the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, Kinross ;
the Eev. Dr Halley, New College, London; Joshua Wilson, Esq., Tunbridge Wells ;
and Charles Henry Cooper, Esq., author of the Annals of Cambridge, for directing
him in his researches.

VU1 INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

in the best parts of the metropolis. An awe sat upon their
minds in consequence of the great national collisions w T hich were
impending or had commenced ; public sports were discouraged,
as agreeing not with 'public calamities,' and the Lord's day-
was observed with great strictness. The churches were crowded
with earnest hearers, and ' religious exercises were set up in
private families, as reading the Scriptures, family prayer, re-
peating sermons, and singing psalms, which were so universal
in the city of London, that you might walk the streets on the
evening of the Lord's day without seeing an idle person, or
hearing anything but the voice of prayer or praise from churches
or private houses.'*

In those times students entered college at a much earlier age
than they now do, and had their university career over in suffi-
cient time to enable them to enter when yet young on their
several professional employments, Stephen was matriculated
as a sizar at Cambridge July 8, 1642. Whether by the design
of his father, or by the leadings of providential circumstances,
we have no means of knowing, but young Charnock was sent to
Emmanuel, the ' Puritan College,' so called, it is said, from a
conversation between Queen Elizabeth and its founder, Sir
Walter Mildmay. ' Sir Walter,' said the Queen, ' I hear you
have erected a puritan foundation at Cambridge.' ' Madam,'
said Sir Walter, ' far be it from me to countenance anything
contrary to your Majesty's established law r s ; but I have set an
acorn which, when it becomes an oak, God alone knows what
will be the fruit thereof.' In 1641, it had 204 students attend-
ing, standing next to St John's and Trinity in respect of
numbers ;t and occupying a still higher place in respect of the
eminence of its pupils. ' Sure I am,' says Fuller, ' it has
overwhelmed all the university, more than a moiety of the pre-
sent masters of colleges having been bred therein. 1

Charnock entering in 1642, is proceeding B.A. in 1645-6, and
commencing M.A. in 1649. We have no difficulty in appre-
hending the spirit which reigned in Cambridge when lie began
his college life. The J Reformation struggle was over, and
earnest men saw that the Reformed Cliureh, with its worldly,
often immoral and ill-educated, clergy, and its ignorant people,
was yet very far from coming up to the pattern which Christ

was supposed to have shewn to his apostles. Two manner of

spirits had sprung up and were contending with each other.
Bach had an id* a,l, and was labouring to bring the church into
aeeordaiH-e with it. The one looked to the written word, and
was seeking to draw forth, syslemat i/,e, and exhibit its truths;
the other looked more to the chun di, and was striving to display
its visible unity before the world, that men's looks and hearts
might be attracted towards it. The one was internal, personal,

puritan, anxious to keep up the connection between the church

and its Head, and between the members of the church in and

• N< aJ'« History of tlir /'urituiis, I64& f Oooptr'l Annals of Cambridge, 1011.

HIS LIFE. IX

through Christ ; the other was external, ecclesiastical, priestly,
seeking to retain the connection of the Church of England with
the church of the past and the church universal, and to organize
it into a powerful hody, which might put down all error and all
schism, and mould the whole institutions and sentiments of the
country.

Every public event of interest, and every collegiate influence,
must have tended to press religious questions upon the attention
of the student at the time when his character was being formed.
The Thirty Years' War, which had begun in 1618, was dragging
its weary length along, and was essentially a religious conflict
which the continental nations were seeking to settle by arms
and by policy. The colonies of Plymouth and Massachussets,
Connecticut and Newhaven, had been founded in the far west,
and Herbert had sung, in a sense of his own,

" Eeligion stands a tiptoe in our land,
Heady to pass to the American strand."

In 1641, the three kingdoms had been moved by the reports
of the popish massacres in Ireland, in which it was said two
hundred thousand protestants were put to death. In 1642,
Charles had made his attempt to seize the ' five members/ and
soon after the civil war began, and the king had rather the
worst of it at the battle of Edge Hill. By the autumn it was
ordained that the prelatic form of government should be abo-
lished from and after November 5. 1643 ; and it was farther
resolved that an assembly of divines should be called to settle
the intended reformation, which assembly actually met at West-
minster in July 1643, and continued its sittings for five years
and a half.

In Cambridge, the feeling has risen to a white heat, and is
ready to burst into a consuming flame. For years past there
had been a contest between those who were for modelling the
colleges after the ecclesiastical, and those who wished to fashion
them after the puritan type. In a paper drawn up in the uni-
versity in 1636, and endorsed by Laud as ' Certain disorders in
Cambridge to be considered in my visitation,' there is a com-
plaint that the order as to vestments is not attended to ; that the
undergraduates wear new-fashioned gowns of any colour what-
soever, and that their other garments are light and gay ; that
upon Fridays and all fasting days, the victualling houses pre-
pare flesh for all scholars and others that will come and send to
them, and that many prefer their own invented and unapproved
prayers before all the liturgy of the church. When the report
comes to Emmanuel, it says, ' Their Chappel is not consecrate.
At surplice prayers they sing nothing but certain riming psalms
of their own appointment, instead of Hymnes between the Lessons.
And Lessons they read not after the order appointed in the Cal-
lendar, but after another continued course of their own,' &c.
But by 1643 the complaint takes an entirely different turn ; and
an ordinance of both houses of parliament is made, directing

X INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

that in all churches and chapels, all altars and tables of stone
shall be taken away and demolished ; that all communion
tables shall be removed from the east end of the churches ;
that all crucifixes, crosses, images, and pictures of any one or
more persons of the Trinity, or of the Virgin Mary, and all other
images and pictures of saints or superstitious inscriptions in
churches or chapels shall be taken away or defaced.' One Wil-
liam Downing puts this order in execution, and at Queen's he
beats down one hundred superstitious pictures ; but when he
comes to Emmanuel, ' there is nothing to be done.' These
scenes must have fallen under the notice of the boy Charnock
during the first year of his collegiate life. More startling
sounds still must have reached the ears of the young student.
Oliver Cromwell, who had been elected one of the burgesses of
the town in 1640, has a close and intimate connection with the
inhabitants ; and in 1642 he is sending down arms to the
county ; the Parliament has committed the care of the town to
him, the mayor, and three aldermen, who raise and exercise
trained bands and volunteers ; and he seizes a portion of the plate
which the colleges are sending to the king. By the beginning
of the following year, Cromwell has taken the magazine in the
castle, the town is fortified, and a large body of armed men are
in the place ; the colleges are being beset and broken open, and
guards thrust into them, sometimes at midnight, w T hilst the
scholars are asleep in their beds, and multitudes of soldiers are
quartered in them. By this time Holdsworth, the Master of
Emmanuel, is in custody, and Dr Beale, Master of St John's, Dr
Martin, President of Queen's College, and Dr Sterne, Master of
Jesus, are sent up to parliament as prisoners.* In 1644, the
royalists are ejected, and their places supplied by friends of the
parliament.

At the time young Charnock entered, the sentiment of the
members of the university was very much divided. Even in
Emmanuel the opinion was not altogether puritan. The tutor
from whom Charnock received his chief instruction was Mr
W. Sancroft (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury), who was
attached to the royalist cause, and had joined in the congratu-
latory addresses to the king OH his return from Scotland in
1641. I>r Holdsworth, who was Master of Emmanuel when
Charnock entered, was appointed by the Lords, and approved by
the Commons, afl One of the divines to sit at Westminster; but
he never attended, and in 1648 he was imprisoned, and in the

following year ejected. The spirit of Emmanuel had been all
along reforming and parliamentary, and after the ejectments
all ill.- colleges became so. Dr Anthony Tnokney, who suc-
ceeded Holdsworth in the Mastership of Kmmanuel, was an
active member Of the Westminster Assembly, and 'had a. con-
siderable band/ Bays Calamy, 'in the preparation of the Con-
fession and Catechisms.' I»r Arrowsmith, made Master o\' St
* ThotC facts are- gathered out of Cooper's AmiaU of Ciimbruljc, vol. iii. ID t'J-4.

HIS LIFE. XI

John's, and Dr Hill, appointed Master of Trinity, were of the
same puritan spirit. Cudworth, Culverwel, and Whichcote, who
had all been connected with Emmanuel, and held places in
the university after the ejection, could scarcely be described as
of the puritan type, but they were opposed to the policy which
the king had been pursuing, and the ecclesiastical system which
Laud intended to set up. In the university and the town, the
popular preaching was decidedly evangelical and Calvinistic. In
particular, Dr Samuel Hammond preached in St Giles 'with
such pious zeal, liveliness, and Christian experience, that his
ministry was attended by persons from all parts of the town and
the most distant colleges ; and it was crowned with the conver-
sion of some scores (Mr Stancliff says some hundreds) of scholars.
It was generally allowed that there was not a more successful
minister in Cambridge since the time of Perkins.'*

This state of things, the conflicts of the time, the talk of the
tutors and students, the earnest preaching in the churches, the
spiritual struggles in many a bosom, and the necessity for under-
standing the questions at issue, and coming to a decision with
its life consequences, all these must have tended to press religion
on the personal attention of so earnest a youth as Charnock was.
Without any living faith when he came to Cambridge, he was
there led to search and pray ; he was for a time in darkness, and
beset with fears and temptations, but he got light and direction
from above, and he devoted himself to God for life. He subse-
quently wrote out a paper explaining the way by which he was
led, and declaring his dedication, but it perished in the great fire
of London. Mr Johnson met him in 1644 ; and in the sermon
which he delivered at his funeral, represents him * as venerable
and grave, like an aged person from his youth,' and gives the
following account of his conversion and his Cambridge life : —
* The deed of gift, or rather copy of it, which shewed his title to
heaven, I believe perished with his books in London's flames,
and I have forgot the particular places of Scripture by which he
was most wrought upon, and which were there inserted.' ' He
would deeply search into and prove all things, and allow only
what he found pure and excellent.' ' In this I had him in my
heart at my first acquaintanceship with him in Cambridge thirty-
six years since. I found him one that, Jonah-like, had turned
to the Lord with all his heart, all his soul, and all his might,
and none like him ; which did more endear him to me. How had
he hid the word of God in a fertile soil, "in a good and honest
heart," which made him "flee youthful lusts," and antidoted
him against the infection of youthful vanities. His study was
his recreation ; the law of God was his delight. Had he it not,
think ye, engraven in his heart? He was as choice, circum-
spect, and prudent in his election of society, as of books, to con-
verse with ; all his delight being in such as excelled in the
divine art of directing, furthering, and quickening him in the
* Calamy's ' Account of Ejected,' Art. Samuel Hammond.

Ill INTRODUCTION TO CHAKNOCZ's WORKS.

way to heaven, the love of Christ and souls. Most choice he
was of the ministers that he w T ould hear ; what he learned from
books, converse, or sermons, that which affected and wrought
most upon him he prayed over till he was delivered into the
form of it, and had Christ, grace, and the Spirit formed in him.
True, he had been in darkness, and then he said full of doubt-
ings, fears, and grievously pestered with temptations. How oft
have we found him (as if he had lately been with Paul caught up
into the third heavens, and heard unspeakable w r ords) magnify-
ing and adoring the mercy, love, and goodness of God.'

We know from general sources what was the course of secular
instruction imparted in the colleges at this time. Aristotle still
ruled, though no longer with an undisputed sway, in the lessons
of the tutors. There is an account left by a pupil, Sir Simonds
D' Ewes, of the books prescribed by Dr Holdsworth in 1618-19,
when he was a tutor in St John's, and probably there was not
much difference in Emmanuel when he became master: 'We
went over all Seton's Logic exactly, and part of Keckerman and
Molinaeus. Of ethics or moral philosophy, he read to me Gelius
and part of Pickolomineus ; of physics, part of Magirus ; and of
history, part of Fionas.' ' I spent the next month (April 1619)
very laboriously in the perusal of Aristotle's physics, ethics, and
politics ; and I read logic out of several authors.' * But for an
ago or two there had been a strong reaction against Aristotle
on the part of the more promising pupils. Bacon had left
Trinity College in the previous century with a profound dis-
satisfaction with the scholastic studies, and already cogitating
those grand views which he gave to the world in his Nor urn
Organum (1620), as to the importance of looking to things
instead of notions and words. Milton, in his College Exercises
(1625 to 1682), had in his own grandiose style, and by help of
mythological fable, given expression to his discontent with the
narrow technical method followed, and to his breathings after
some undefined improvement.! Tin 1 predominant philosophic
spirit in Cambridge prior to the Great Rebellion was Platonic
rather than Aristotelian. This was exhibited by a number of
learned and profound writers who rose about this time, and who

continue to be known by the name of the ' Cambridge Moralists.'
In Emmanuel College, before thi ejectment, there were Which-
cote, author of Moral and Religious Aphorisms, and o[' Letter* to
Tuckney (1651) ; Nathanael Culvexwel, author of the masterly
work Of the Light of Nature \ (1661) j and Ralph Cndworth, who
produced the great work on Thi 'True Intellectual System of
ihr Universe, all promoted to important offices in Cambridge
under the Commonwealth. There were also in Cambridge
Henry More, author of the Enchiridion Mttaphyriciun, and John

* Mi on' i / "'-• "/' Milton, p. 229.

f Familiar l.rttnx in Mu.iiun's RlfltOf), j> 240.

X Boe tin! vuhkiMo edition l>y John Brown. D.D., with n oritionl onnj by John

Cuirn.i, D.D.

HIS LIFE. Xlll

Smith, author of the Select Discourses. All of those great
men had caught, and were cherishing, a lofty Platonic spirit.
While they implicitly received and devoutly revered the Bible as
the inspired book of God, they entertained at the same time a
high idea of the office of reason, and delighted in the contem-
plation of the eternal verities which they believed it to sanction,
and sought to unite them with the living and practical truths of
Christianity. Nor is it to be forgotten that John Howe, who
entered Christ College in 1647, imbibed from Cudworth, More,
and Smith his ' Platonic tincture,' which however was more
thoroughly subordinated in him to the letter of Scripture. But
in those times there was probably a still greater number of
students whose college predilections would be those of Hey-
wood : ' My time and thoughts were more employed in practical
divinity, and experimental truths were more vital and vivifical
to my soul. I preferred Perkins, Bolton, Preston, Sibbes, far
above Aristotle, Plato, Magirus, and Wendeton, though I despise
no laborious authors in these subservient studies.' *

Charnock was all his life a laborious student. We can infer
what must have been his favourite reading, begun at college
and continued to his death. While not ignorant of the physical
science of his time, there is no reason to believe that he entered
deeply into it. However, we are expressly told by Adams and
Veal that he had arrived at a considerable knowledge of medi-
cine, and that he was prevented from giving himself farther to
it only by his dedication to a higher work. There are no traces
of his having fallen under the bewitching spirit of Platonism,
which so prevailed among the profounder students of Cam-
bridge ; but he characterises Plato as ' the divine philosopher/
he quotes More and Culverwel, and his own philosophy is of a
wide and catholic character. It is quite clear from his syste-
matic method, that he had received lessons from the Aristotelian
logic, as modified by the schoolmen ; but he never allowed it to
bind and shackle him. He shews a considerable acquaintance
with the ancient Greek philosophy, including the mystics of
the Neoplatonist school. He is familiar with the writings of
many of the fathers, and quotes from them in a way which
shews that he understood them. He does not disdain to take
instruction from Aquinas and the schoolmen when it serves
his purpose. Among contemporary philosophic writers, he
quotes from Gassendi and Voetius. His favourite uninspired
writers were evidently the reformers, and those who defended
and systematised their theology. Amyraut, and Suarez, and
Daille were evidently favourites ; and he was familiar with Tur-
retine, Ames, Zanchius, Cocceius, Crellius, Cameron, Grotius,
and many others ; nay, he is not so bigoted as to overlook
the high church Anglican divines of his own age. But we
venture to say that, deeply read as he was in the works of unin-
spired men, he devoted more time to the study of the word

* Hunter's Life of Oliver Heywood, p. 46.

Xiv INTRODUCTION TO CHAENOCK S WORKS.

of God than to all other writings whatsoever. As to his lin-
guistic accomplishments Mr Johnson, himself a scholar, says,
* I never knew any man who had attained near unto that skill
which he had in both their originals [that is, of the Scriptures],
except Mr Thomas Cawton;' and Mr Cawton, it seems, knew Latin,
Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, French, Dutch, Italian, and Spanish.

Thus furnished by divine gift and acquired scholarship, he
set out on the work to which he had devoted himself. ' Not
long after he had received light himself,' says Johnson, 'when
the Lord by his blessing on his endeavours had qualified him for
it, such was his love, he gave forth light unto others, inviting
them, and saying, " Come and see Jesus." In Southwark,
where seven or eight, in that little time Providence continued
him there, owed their conversion under God to his ministry;
then in the university of Oxford and adjacent parts ; after in
Dublin, where it might be said of his as it w T as of the Lord's
preaching in the land of Zebulon, "the people which sat in
darkness saw a great light." '

On leaving college, he is represented by Adams and Veal as
spending some time in a private family, but whether as a tutor
or a chaplain does not appear. He seems to have commenced
his ministry in Southwark, where he knew of seven or eight per-
sons who owned him as the instrument of their conversion ; and
we may hope there were others profited, at a time when the mer-
cantile and middle classes generally so crow T ded to the house of
God, and the preaching of the word was so honoured. In 1649
or thereabouts, says Wood, he retired to Oxford, purposely to
obtain a fellowship' from the visitors appointed by the parliament
when ' they ejected scholars by whole shoals ;' and in 1650, lie
obtained a fellowship in New College. November 19. 1652, he is
incorporated Master of Arts in Oxford, as he had stood in Cam-
bridge. April 5. 1654 (not 1652, as Calamy says), he and Thomas
Cracroft of Magdalene College are appointed Proctors of the univer-
sity. Cliarnock, greatly respected for his gifts, his learning, and
his piety, was frequently put upon ' public works.' In particular,
he seems to have been often employed in preaching in Oxford
and the adjacent parts. Here he had as his chamber-fellow, Mr
John Gunter, who purposed to write, or did write, a life of him ;
{Hid here he gained or renewed a friendship with Richard Adams,

formerly, like himself, of Cambridge, and now of lirazennose,

and Edward Veal of Christ's Church, and afterwards with him in
Dublin, the two who joined, many yean after, in publishing his
bhumous works. Here be connected himself with ' a ohuroh
gathered among the scholars by Dr Goodwin,' a society which
had the honour to bave enrolled among its members Thankful
Owen, Francis Howel, Theophilua Gale, and John Howe/

who must, no doubt have enjoyed much sweet fellowship

together, and belped to edify one another. Oliver Cromwell,
* Sm Life of Q Iwtn, in folio edition of Worke, Vol v.; end Gelemy'e Account

of Ejrrtrd, J oil 11 HuWO.

HIS LIFE. XV

Lord Protector, was chancellor of the university, and Dr Owen,
vice-chancellor ; and an energetic attempt was made to produce
and foster a high, though perhaps a somewhat narrow, scho-
larship, and to exercise a discipline of a moral and religious
character, such as Christian fathers set up in their families.
Notwithstanding all that has been said against it, it was by no
means of an uncheerful character, and young men of virtue and
piety delighted in it ; but others, we fear, felt it irksome, because
of the constant supervision, and the restraints meeting them on
every hand, and the number of religious services imposed on
them, and which could have been enjoyed only by converted
persons. Lord Clarendon thinks that such a state of things
might have been expected to extirpate all ' learning, religion,
and loyalty,' and to be ' fruitful only in ignorance, profaneness,
atheism, and rebellion ; ' but is obliged to admit that, ' by God's
wonderful providence, that fruitful soil could not be made
barren,' and that it yielded an harvest of extraordinary good
knowledge in all parts of learning.' It could easily be shewn
that the fruit was what might have been expected to spring from
the labour bestowed and the seed sown. It is a matter of fact,
as Neal remarks, that all the great philosophers and divines of
the Church of England, who flourished in the reigns of Charles
II. and William III., such as Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Patrick,
South, Cave, Sprat, Kidder, Whitby, Bull, Boyle, Newton, Locke,
and others, were trained under teachers appointed by parliament
and Cromwell.*

The scene of Charnock's labours and usefulness was now shifted.
Cromwell had subdued Ireland to the Commonwealth, and he
and others longed to have the protestants in that country sup-
plied with a pure and fervent gospel ministry. Dr John Owen
had been in Ireland a year and a half, overseeing the affairs of
Dublin College and preaching the gospel. He dates a work from
* Dublin Castle, December 20. 1649,' and speaks of himself as
' burdened with manifold employments, with constant preaching
to a numerous multitude of as thirsty people after the gospel as
ever I conversed withal.' In the January following he returns
to England, and has to preach before the Commons. Eeferring
to Cromwell's victories, he says : — ' How is it that Jesus Christ
is, in Ireland, only as a lion staining all his garments with the
blood of his enemies, and none to hold him forth as a lamb
sprinkled with his own blood for his friends ? Is it the sove-
reignty and interest of England that is alone to be thus trans-
acted ? For my part, I see no farther into the mystery of these
things, but that I would heartily rejoice that innocent blood being
expiated, the Irish might enjoy Ireland so long as the moon
endureth, so that Jesus might possess the Irish.' ' I would there
were, for the present, one gospel preacher for every walled town
in the English possession in Ireland.' * They are sensible of their
wants, and cry out for supply. The tears and cries of the inha-

* The History of the Puritans, 1647.

ivi INTRODUCTION TO CHAHNOCK S WORKS.

bitants of Dublin are ever in my view.' In the course of the
year, grants of land are made for the better support of Dublin
University, and the Commissioners brought with them several
Christian ministers. Among them was Samuel Winter, who
afterwards became Provost of Trinity College, and who preached
every Lord's day in Christ Church Cathedral before Deputy
Fleetwood and the Commissioners, his services being reserved
specially for the afternoons, when was the * greatest auditory.'
By 1654, Mr Veal, who had been in Oxford with Charnock, is a
fellow of Dublin College, and some years after, is often exercising
his ministry in and about the city of Dublin. Nor should we
omit Mr John Murcot, who came from Lancashire in 1653, and
preached with great fervour and acceptance to large numbers in
Dublin and the south-west of Ireland, till the close of the follow-
ing year, when he was cut off suddenly at the early age of twenty-
nine, to the great grief of the Protestant inhabitants, — the Lord
Deputy, and the Mayor, with a large body of citizens, following
the body to the grave.*

Cromwell finding it necessary to restrain the republican Com-
missioners in Ireland, sent over his ablest son Henry to watch
their proceedings, and to succeed them in the government.
"When he came to Ireland in August 1655, he brought with him
gome eminent ministers of religion, among whom was Samuel
Mather, who, ' with Dr Harrison, Dr Winter, and Mr Charnock,'
attended on Lord Harry Cromwell, t Mather was one of a famous
nonconformist family, well known on both sides of the Atlantic.
A native of England, he received his education in Harvard College,
but returned to his native country, and having spent some time at
Oxford and Cambridge, and in Scotland, he now came to Dublin,
where he was appointed a fellow of the University, and chosen
colleague to Dr Winter, and had to preach every Lord's day at
the church of St Nicholas, besides taking his turn every five or
six weeks before the Lord Deputy and Council. Dr Thomas
Harrison was born at Kingston-upon-Hull, but, like Mather, was
brought up in America, and had returned to England, where he
was chosen to succeed Dr Goodwin in London ; and now in
Dublin he ie chaplain to Henry Cromwell, with a salary of ^°300
a year, and preaches in St WVrhur^h's.

It was in such company that Stephen ( namoek acted as one

of the chaplains of the chief governor of Ireland, living with

much respect in his family, we may suppose whether be resided
at the Castle or in Phcetni Park, and enjoying a, stipend of £200
a year, worth ten times the same nonnmil sum in the present
day-t When in Dublin, he wai also officially minister of St

* y ■.,/ Work* of Mr John Murcot. It. in n y l'<> nuMit iuiinl here that there is

trainable sketch of the itate of religion In Dublin at that time, in a lectors,

Jndrprnilrnci/ in Puhlin in I In' Oldrn Tunc, 1>V William l^rwiek, D.D.

f Galamy'i N»n<-on Mem, by Palmar, Art. Bamoal Mather.
! See Extract! from *The Civil Establishment of the Commonwealth fur Ireland,
for the •• ' hi Appendii to vol. ii. of flalcft 'History of the Presbyt

Church iu lroluud.'

HIS LIFE. XV11

Werburgh's, and lecturer at Christ Church. St Werburgh's
Church, in its foundation going back to near the time of the
Norman settlement, was in the time of Cromwell, and is still,
close by the very walls of Dublin Castle ; and the Lord-Depute
must have attended there or at Christ Church, at one or both.
In 1607, the famous Usher had been appointed to this church,
and was succeeded by William Chappel, who had been John
Milton's tutor at Cambridge, and who, according to Symmonds,
was the reputed author of ' The Whole Duty of Man.' ' The
church is described in 1630 as "in good repair and decency,"
worth sixty pounds per annum, there being two hundred and
thirty-nine householders in the parish, all Protestants,, with the
exception of twenty-eight Koman Catholics. " St Warburr's,"
says a writer in 1635, " is a kind of cathedral, wherein preacheth
the judicious Mr Hoile about ten in the morning and three in the
afternoon, — a most zealous preacher, and general scholar in all
manner of learning, a mere cynic." Mr Hoyle, the friend of
Usher, and "the tutor and chamber-fellow" of Sir James Ware,
was elected professor of divinity in, and fellow of, Trinity College,
Dublin ; he sat in the Assembly of Divines, witnessed against
Laud, and in 1648 was appointed Master of University College,
Oxford.'* In this famous church, where the gospel had been
proclaimed with such purity and power by Usher and by Hoyle,
Charnock officiated, down, we may suppose, to the ^Restoration.
But his most conspicuous field of usefulness seems to have
been on the afternoons of the Lord's day, when the great
audiences of the citizens of Dublin assembled, and to them he
lectured — that is, delivered an elaborate discourse, discussing
fully the subject treated of — we may suppose either at St Wer-
burgh's or Christ Church. Calamy says, ' he exercised his
ministry on the Lord's day afternoons to the admiration of the
most judicious Christians, having persons of the greatest distinc-
tion in the city of Dublin for his auditors, and being applauded
by such as were of very different sentiments from himself.
Many commended his learning and abilities who had no regard
for his piety.' God was now giving his servant, who had been
so thoroughly prepared for his work by a long course of training,
a wide sphere to labour in. In future years, when he was
partially silenced, he must have looked to his Dublin oppor-
tunities with feelings of lively interest. Though a counsellor,
and a wise counsellor, to Henry Cromwell, and at times employed
on public duty, in which his good sense, his moderation, and his
truly catholic spirit gained him universal confidence, yet preach-
ing was his peculiar gift, and to this he devoted all his talents.
His preaching powers had now reached their full maturity. At
a later period his memory somewhat failed him, and he had to
read in a disadvantageous way with a glass. But at this time
he used no notes, and he poured forth the riches of his original
endowments and of his acquired treasures to the great delight of

* The History of the City of Dublin by J. T. Gilbert, vol. i. p 29.

b

XV111 INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

his audience. His solid judgment, his weighty thoughts, his
extensive learning, and his cultivated imagination, were all
engaged in the work of recommending the gospel of Jesus Christ
to the principal inhabitants of the capital of Ireland. Most
careful in husbanding time, on which he ever set great value,
spending most of it in his study, in reading and writing, medi-
tation and prayer, accustomed to muse on profound topics in his
restless hours in the night, and when walking in the streets
during the day, constantly jotting down (as many of the puritans
did) the thoughts that occurred to him on these occasions, and
employing them as materials for his projected discourses,* he
made it appear on the Lord's day how well he had been em-
ployed. We know what the discourses which he preached were
from those given to the world after his death, and which were
printed from his manuscripts as he left them. Characterised as
those of most of the preachers of the time were by method,
Charnock's were specially eminent for solidity of thought, for clear
enunciation of important truth, for orderly evolution of all the
parts of a complicated subject, for strength and conclusiveness
of argument, coming forth with a great flow of expression,
recommended by noble sentiment and enlivened by brilliant
fancy, — with the weight he ever had the lustre of the metal.t
Except in the discourses of Usher, there never had been before,
and it is doubtful whether there ever has been since, such able
and weighty evangelical preaching in the metropolis of Ireland ;
and *we do not wonder that the thinking and the 'judicious*
should have waited eagerly on his ministry, specially on his
4 lectures,' seeking not so much excitement as instruction,
presented in a clear and pleasant manner. Doing much good
during the brief period allowed him, we are convinced that he
helped to raise up a body of intelligent Christian men and
wjomen among the English settlers, who within the Established
Church, or beyond it as Presbyterians or Independents, handed
down the truth to the generations following, and that the lively
protestant religion of Dublin in the present day owes not a little
to the seed which was then scattered, and which in due time,
spite of many blights, grew into a forest.

But his days of* usefulness in Ireland speedily came to a
closed When Oliver Cromwell died, lie left no one who could

wield his sceptre. Henry was certainly fitted of his kindred

for the work of government; hut he had one disqualification
(for such it is in our crooked world), he was too upright and

# A<!;uns and Vim] nu'iitiuii tlirnr lniMt.i.

f Colt. .11 Mallnr, in Jim II is/, >,-,/<>/ X ,-„■ Enql.uul, netting of NiithsiiiiU'l Mathor,

woo mooeeded hit toother Samuel r In Dublin, says :~* It we* oommonlj

r. marked thai Mr Charnock'i Invention, I >i II an tpression, and Mi" Mather's

logio, would bate made lac perfecte rl pri achei In Hi.' world.'

i file edltori make Oharnooi B.D. w I conceives that he was Made eo l>y

Dublin Uniti r.ity. Mr Ann irons, and l»r s. mi. .11 Raid make bin a fellow of
Trinity College. There is do regisl r ol thi in the oollege booka; but tin 1
records both of Tiiinty College and of Dublin Castle are Terj defective as to tlio
< lonnnonweslth period*

HIS LIFE. XIX

honourable to descend to the base means necessary to keep the
various conflicting parties in subjection. His soul was ex-
pressed in one of his letters: 'I will rather submit to any
sufferings with a good name, than be the greatest man on earth
without it.'* He had to complain during his whole rule in
Ireland of the selfishness of the English settlers, of the extrava-
gancies of the sectaries, and of the jealousy of the army of the
Commonwealth. He seems, however, to have been efficiently
supported in his wise and impartial rule by such men as
Winter f and Charnock. Nearly all parties in Ireland, Church
of England, Presbyterians, and Koman Catholics, were opposed
to the Commonwealth and his father's rule; but all respected
and loved Henry Cromwell. He got his brother Eichard
proclaimed in Ireland; but the incapable parliament, out of
jealousy, summoned him to England, and the royalists, at the
.Eestoration, expelled him, without his offering any resistance.

Charnock had now to sink for a time into obscurity, with rare
and limited opportunities compared with those which he had
enjoyed for four or five years in the court of the lord deputy,
and in St Werburgh's and Christ Church Cathedral. It was
necessary to shew that he could not only act, but suffer, for
Christ's name. Adams and Veal say, that 'about the year
1660, being discharged from the public exercise of his ministry,
he returned back into England, and in and about London spent
the greatest part of fifteen years, without any call to his old
work in a settled way.' Wood and Calamy make statements to
the same effect, and we must believe the account to be correct.
But there is some reason to think, that though for the most part
in London, he had not altogether abandoned Dublin for some
time after 1660. At the close of the year 1661 (Dec. 31), he
signs a certificate in favour of his friend Mr Veal, dated at
Dublin.J It is stated that he and Mr Veal ministered in Dublin
after the Eestoration [; and it is certain that at that time the
meetings of nonconformists were winked at in Ireland, and that
the Presbyterian and Independent ministers there took and
were allowed an amount of liberty denied, to their brethren in
England and Scotland. It is stated that both Charnock and
Veal preached in a Presbyterian churchdn Wood Street (after-
wards Strand Street), which continued for many years to have
a flourishing congregation, with such pastors as the Eev. Samuel
Marsden, one of the ejected fellows of Dublin College, the Eev.

* Letter in Thurloe Papers.

t There is a work, Life and Death of Winter, 1677 ; also Sermons by him against
the Anabaptists, preached before the lord deputy.

% The certificate is given by - Calamy, in Continuation, p. 83. It is ' Dated at
Dublin, Dec. 31. 1661,' and is signed ' Steph. Charnock, formerly Minister at
Warbouroughs, and late Lecturer at Christ Church, Dublin ; Edward Baines, late
Minister of St John's Parish, Dublin ; Nath. Hoyle, late Minister at Donobrock,
and late Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin ; Kobert Chambres, late Minister of St
Patrick's Church, Dublin ; Samuel Coxe, late Minister at Katherine's, Dublin ;
William Leclew, late Minister of Dunborn ; Josiah Marsden, late Fellow of the
aboye said Trin. College, Dublin.'

XI INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

Dr Daniel "Williams, who founded the Dissenters' Library in
Red Cross Street, London; Dr Gilbert Rule, afterwards prin-
cipal of the university of Edinburgh; and the Rev. Joseph
Boyse, an able defender of the doctrine of the Trinity, and of
Protestant nonconformists. On the supposition that this is
correct, we find Charnock's ministry in Ireland after the Restora-
tion followed by a train of important consequences, reaching
forward into coming ages.*

This is the proper place for referring to and examining a
scandalous story about Charnock given by Bishop Parker in the
'History of his own Times.' He tells us that, Jan. 6. 1662-3,
one Philip Alden voluntarily discovered to Vernon, one of the
king's officers, a conspiracy to subvert the government in all the
three kingdoms. This Alden had been an old rebel, and one
who dealt in proscriptions and forfeited estates; but Vernon
had so much obliged him by begging his life of the lord lieu-
tenant, that he promised to discover the designs of the rebels.
The principal leaders being chosen in March, determined on
May 11. to open the war with the siege of Dublin : but many
forces were in readiness, and they were dispersed. Lackey, a
Presbyterian teacher, was hanged; but it is said he had seven
accomplices, among whom was Charnock. * This Charnock had
been chaplain of Henry Cromwell, advanced to that dignity by
John Owen. He was sent by the conspirators as their ambas-
sador to London, and promised them great assistance, as Gibbs,
Carr, and others had done in Scotland and Holland. But the
conspiracy being now discovered, he fled again into England, and
changed his name from Charnock to Clarke. He was a man of
great authority among the fanatics, and for a long time was at the
'head of a great assembly, and did not die till twenty years after,
anno .1683, and his corpse was carried through the city with the
pomp of almost a royal funeral. 't This statement lays itself
open to obvious criticism. First, Bishop Parker, so inconsistent
in his life and so hasty in his charges, is by no menus a safe
authority in any question of fact. Next, the original informer
■is described as an old rebel, and a dealer in proscriptions and
forfeited estates, and by no means to be trusted in the charges
which he brings. Then our author makes Charnock live till
1683, whereafl we have documentary evidence flint lie died in
1680. These considerations might Mem sufficient to justify us
in dismissing the statement as a fabrication, 01 an entire mistake.

But we knew from better authorities that there was a general

discontent, in the spring of n*><>;*, among the protestanta of ire-
land, indeed among the nonconformists all over the three king-
doms, and that thero was a conspiracy formed to seize Dublin

* See Sermon, &<\, Kit Uio ordination of Kcv. Jtmei Martiuoau, with an appendix
rontuiniiitf a Summary History of thu rxvsbytrriim Cliurchea in the City, by tho
Jtov. JamcH Armstrong, IHiJ'J.

(" Tlio Htatiiui'ijt of tljo Lfttifl sdKiofl in ' ncijuo rnim ante vitvnniuin obiit anno,
1683 cujus oxequiua pono rogali funoria pomp! yer urbcm oxtulerant.'

HIS LIFE. XXI

Castle. In Ireland, the dissatisfaction was very keen among the
English settlers, because they thought their interests neglected ;
among the soldiers of the Commonwealth, who were now stripped
of their importance ; but especially among zealous protestants,
who were bitterly disappointed, because they saw the work of
reformation thrown back. The leader seems to have been the
notorious Blood, who involved in it his brother-in-law, the Eev.
W. Lecky, formerly a fellow of Trinity College, who seems to have
become maddened in the course of the trial. Leland says that
1 some lawyers, several Presbyterian ministers, Blood, who was
afterwards so distinguished in London, some members of the
Irish Commons, and several republican officers, embarked in this
design.' ' On the eve of the day appointed for seizing the Castle
of Dublin and publishing their declaration, about five-and-twenty
conspirators were seized, and a reward published for the appre-
hension of those who escaped.'* It appears, farther, that some
intimation had been sent to London which raised the suspicion
of the Government there against Charnock, for there is issued,
' 1663, June 19., warrant to Joel Hardy to apprehend Stephen
Charnock,' and, ' June 20., an examination of Bob. Littlebury.
Knows Mr Charnock, who visits at his house, and told him he
had an overture to go beyond seas. Has had no letter from
Ireland for him these six weeks ; ' and under the same year,
' Note of address of Bobt. Littlebury at the Unicorn, Little
Britain, London, with note not to miss him.' The country is
evidently in a very moved state, in consequence of the ejection
of the two thousand ministers, and the refusal to allow the non-
conformists to meet for the worship of God. Thus William
Kingsley to Secretary Bennet, June 20. 1663 :— ' There are daily
great conventicles in these parts ; on Whitsunday, 300 persons
met at Hobday's house, Waltham parish, &c. ' The news from
Carlisle give indications of an understanding among the discon-
tented. Thus Sir Phil. Musgrave reports to Williamson, June 22.,
Carlisle : — ' There is much talk of the more than ordinary meet-
ing of the sectaries, and the passing of soldiers between Ireland
and Scotland before the public discovery of the horrid plot.'t
The conclusion which we draw from these trustworthy statements
is, that there was deep discontent over all the three kingdoms,
among those who had been labouring to purify the church, and
who were now claiming liberty of worship ; that there was a cor-
respondence carried on among the aggrieved ; that there was a
disposition among some to resist the Government, the anticipa-
tion and precursor of the covenanting struggle in Scotland, and
the revolution of 1688 ; and that there was an ill-contrived con-
spiracy in Dublin, which was detected and put down. But there
is no evidence whatever to shew that Charnock was identified in
any way with the projected rising in Dublin. His name does
not appear in the proclamation from Dublin Castle, 23d May

* History of Ireland, vol. iii. p. 434.

t Calendar State Papers, edited by Mrs Green, vol. iii.

Xxii INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK's WORKS.

1663. That the government should have proceeded against him,
is no presumption of his guilt, though it may have been quite
sufficient to lead Bishop Parker to propagate the story. We
know that ' the generality of the ministers of the north (Ulster)
were at this time either banished, imprisoned, or driven into
corners, upon occasion of a plot of which they knew nothing,'*
these Presbyterians having in fact stood throughout by the family
of Stuart, and given evidence of loyalty in very trying times.
We can readily believe that Charnock should deeply sympathise
with the grievances of his old friends in Dublin ; but his sober
judgment, his peaceable disposition, his retiring and studious
habits, all make it very unlikely that he should have taken any
active part in so ill-conceived and foolish a conspiracy, t

From whatever cause, Charnock disappears very much from
public view for tw T elve or fifteen years. We must be satisfied
with such a general statement as that of Wood, who says that,
returning to England about 1660, ' in and about London he did
spend the greater part of fifteen years without any call to his
own w T ork, whereby he took advantage to go now and then either
into France or Holland.' In France he would see a lordly
church, enjoying full privileges under Louis XIV., and meet
with many protestants deprived of political and military power,
but having a precarious liberty under the Edict of Nantes not
yet revoked. In Holland were already gathering those refugees
who in due time were to bring over with them William of Orange
to rescue England from oppression. Calamy represents him as
' following his studies without any stated preaching.' Yes, it
was now a necessity of his nature to study. Adams and Veal
say, ' Even when providence denied him opportunities, he was
still laying in more stock, and preparing for work against he
might be called to it.' During these years when he w T as in
some measure out of sight, he was probably revolving those
thoughts which were afterwards embodied in his great work on

* Adair MSS., quoted in Rcid's History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, vol.
ii. p. 284.

t In reference to Parker's charge, Bliss, tho editor, in Notes io "Wood's Athena,

says : — ' Qusere — if Stephen Charnock? Grey. Probably it was the same, the bishop
having mistaken the time of his .hath.' Mi- t. F.Gilbert, the famous antiquarian,
writes us : — ' Among the names of those committed on account ^ the alleged con-
spiracy, is that of " Kduard Balnea, a fanatic preacher, formerly Harry Cromwell's
chaplain." Could I'.ishop l'arl<er have confounded the two men? Maims was reotof

"' St John's Church, close to Werburgh'a, during the Commonwealth, and subse-
quently founded t ; Btreei congregation in Dublin. 1 It is proper to explain,
this alleged ' fanatic preacher and t Be < ition in Cooke street Hirst Wine
Tavern Street), thai Mr Bi i 'a clergyman of Learning ami gooa sen

rational piety and zeal for the truth, and of great integrity and simplicity of spirit;'

and th it in the co] [on there were many pei ons of rank ami fortune, particu-

larly Sir John < ''otuorthy. afterward Lord Mas an fi\>\ I.ady Chichester, afterwards
Cou nf ess of hone. 'al, and laidy Cole of the |\nin ski lien family. I>r Harrison hecamo

co-pastor with Mr Baincs in this congregation, and John Howe often officiated

there when Lord \ no, to whom Howe w as chaplain, happened to reside in

the capital* In all this we have another example of the eontinuanoi of the puritan
Influence In Dublin. Bee Armstrong's ■ History of the Presbyterian Churches,' in
Appendix to JSermun.

HIS LIFE. XX111

the 'Attributes.' Now, as at all times, he lived much in his
library, which, say Adams and Veal, was his 'workshop,'
furnished, ' though not with a numerous, yet a curious, collection
of books ; ' and we can conceive that one so dependent on his
reading, and who had it in view to prepare deep theological
works, must have felt it to be a great trial when his books were
burnt in the great fire of London.

About 1675, he seems to be in a position to receive a call to
minister to a fixed congregation. It appears that a portion of
the congregation were anxious to secure him as joint pastor with
Dr Thomas Jacomb, and successor to Dr Lazarus Seaman, who
died Sept. 9. 1675. John Howe, however, was settled in this
office;* and Charnock was appointed joint pastor to the Kev.
Thomas Watson in Crosby Hall. The congregation worshipping
there had been collected soon after the Bestoration by Mr Watson,
formerly rector of the parish of St Stephen's, Waibrook, whose
little work, Heaven taken by Storm, was the means, under God,
of Colonel Gardiner's conversion. Upon the indulgence in 1674
he licensed the hall in Crosby House, on the east side of Bishops-
gate Street, which had been built in the fifteenth century by Sir
John Crosby, had at a later date been the residence of Kichard
Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Eichard III., and was now
the property of Sir John Langham, who patronised the non-
conformists, and devoted its very beautiful Gothic hall to the
preaching of the word. Charnock was settled there in 1675, and
officiated there to the time of his death, and there a numerous
and wealthy congregation, presbyterian or independent, con-
tinued to worship for some ages.t Charnock could not be
described at this part of his life as specially a popular preacher.
On account of his memory failing, he had to read his sermons ;
and on account of his weak eyesight he had to read them with
a glass, and his delivery was without the flow and impressiveness
which it had in his younger years. Besides, his compositions
were too full of matter, and were far too elaborate to be relished
by the unthinking multitude, who complained of his discourses
as being " but morality or metaphysics," their only fault being
that they were too thoughtful. Adams and Veal say, 'Yet it
may withal be said that if he were sometimes deep, he was
never abstruse; he handled the great mysteries of the gospel
with much clearness and perspicuity, so that in his preaching, if
he were above most, it was only because most were below it.'
Those who were educated up to him, as many of the middle
classes were in that age, when the word of God and theological
treatises were so studied, and when the public events of the
times compelled men to think on profound topics, waited upon
his ministry with great eagerness, and drank in greedily the

* Roger's Life of Howe, p. 144.

t Wilson's History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, vol. i. pp. 331, et seq.,
where is a history of Crosby Hall and an account of its ministers. Crosby Hall is
now a merchant's wareroom, but retains traces of its beauty in its timber roof and
splendid bow window.

XXIV INTRODUCTION TO CHABNOCK S WORKS.

instruction which he communicated from sabbath to sabbath.
Mr Johnson tells us that ' many able ministers loved to sit at
his feet, for they received by one sermon of his those instructions
which they could not get by many books or sermons of others/

We can readily picture him at this time from the scattered
notices left of him. We have two portraits of him ; one a paint-
ing in Williams' Library, the other a plate in the folio edition of
his works. Both exhibit him with marked and bony features, and
a deep expressive eye. The painting makes him appear more
heavy looking and sunken, as if he often retreated into himself
to commune with his own thoughts. The plate is more lively,
as if he could be drawn out by those who understood and reci-
procated him. Adams and Veal say he ' was somew r hat reserved
when he was not very well acquainted, otherwise very affable
and communicative where he understood and liked his company.'
We now extract from his funeral sermon. Those who did not
know him cast upon him ' foul and false aspersions ' ' as if he was
melancholy, reserved, unsociable to all, while his acquaintances
will give a character of him diametrically opposite. How cheerful,
free, loving, sweet-dispositioned was he in all companies where
he could take delight ; he was their love, their delight.' By this
time • our Timothy was somewhat obscured by manifold infirmi-
ties, a crazy body, weak eyes, one dark, the other dim, a hand
that would shake, sometimes an infirm stomach, an aching head,
a fugitive memory, which, after it had failed him sometimes, he
would never trust again, but verbatim penned and read all his
notes, whereas till of late years he never looked within them.'
From such a temperament we might expect a little ' passion or
choler,' which is acknowledged by his friend, but which, he as-
sures us, 'through grace he turned into the right channel.' 'He
was careful to watch over his heart and against spiritual pride.'
Five days each week, and twelve hours each day, he spent in his
study, ' I will not say, as some, to make one sermon ; I know
he had other work there.' When some one told him if he studied
too much it would cost him his life, he replied, ' Why, it cost
Christ his life to redeem and save me.' When he went out from
his hooks and meditations, it was to visit ami relieve his patients,
he having had all along a taste for medicine, and having given
much time to the study of it. His bodily infirmities, his trials
and spiritual conflicts, gave him a peculiar fitness for guiding

the anxious and comforting the afflicted. ' Be had bowels of

compassion for sinners to snatch thcin out of the flames, and

for saints to direct them unto the love of Christ. 1 M need not
speak unto yon of his preaching j how oft went he to children of

light Walking in darkness, to cheer and revive them with cordials

wherewith the Lord had usually refreshed him.' 'Your teacher
was,' said the preacher in the lace of the congregation, 'though

not a perfect man, a perfect minister, thoroughly accomplished
by the Spirit and the word of truth.'

The ambition of able and thinking ministers in those times

HIS LIFE. XXV

was to draw out a system of theology. Watson/ his colleague, has
left us a 'Body of Divinity ,' which long continued to train the
common people in the puritan theology, and may still he found,
as we can testify, in the cottages of the Scottish peasantry.
Charnock * intended to have given forth a complete body of
divinity' to the congregation which met in Crosby Hall, the result,
we doubt not, of long reading and much thought. He began with
treating of the being, and went on to the attributes of God ; but
* his sun set before he had gone over half of his transcendent
excellencies and perfections. The last subject he treated on and
finished was the patience of God. He was looking what to say
next of the mercy, grace, and goodness of God, which he is gone
to see and admire, for he found that which he most looked and
longed for, the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life,
in heaven whence he shines now. Indeed, all the while he was
upon the attributes of God, he moved with that extraordinary
strength and celerity, 'twas an argument of his near approach
unto his centre and everlasting rest ; and if it be true, as some
say, that the soul doth prominere in morte, his words were too true
predictions, and from his soul when he said, that concerning
divine patience would be his last sermon.' ' It was his longing
desire, and his hopes were, that he should shortly be in that
sinless state where there is the acme, the perfection of grace and
holiness.'

He died July 27. 1680, at the comparatively early age of fifty-
two, in the house of Eichard Tymms, a glazier in the parish of
Whitechapel. On July 30th, his body was conveyed to Crosby
Hall, and thence accompanied by great numbers of his brethren
to St Michael's Church, in Cornhill, where * his bosom friend Mr
Johnson, gained at Emmanuel, adhering to him at New College,
preached his funeral sermon from Mat. xiii. 43, ' Then shall
the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father.'! His remains were buried 'over Mr Sykes, under the
steeple ' of St Michael's, where the worshippers have ever since
passed over them in going in to the church.

He published himself nothing but a sermon ' On the Sinful-
ness and cure of Evil Thoughts,' Gen. vi. 5, which appeared in
the supplement to the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate ; and
it is an indication of his disposition to keep his name from public

* We might have doubted whether a nonconformist minister could have been
permitted to preach the funeral sermon of a nonconformist minister in a parish
church, but the statement is made by Wood. The entry in the register of St
Michael's is, ' July 30. was buryed Stephen Charnock, minister, under the steeple.'
f « EKAAMTI2 TON AIKAKIN. On the shining of the righteous, a
sermon preached partly on the Death of that Eeverend and Excellent Divine, Mr
Stephen Charnock, and in part at the funeral of a godly friend, by John Johnson,
M.A.' 1680. In explanation, he states that the body of the discourse had been
prepared on the occasion of the death of another friend ; but, as being called suddenly
to preach at Mr Charnock's funeral, he had used the same sermon, but accommodated
to the different person. The discourse is somewhat rambling. We have embodied
most of what relates to Charnock in this memoir. We have used the copy in the
Williams' Library.

XXVI INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

view, that in the title there is nothing more than the initials S. C,
whereas in every other sermon in the collection there appears
the name of the preacher. His posthumous works were given to
the world by Mr Richard Adams and Mr Edward Veal, both
Oxford friends, the latter also a Dublin friend, the one then a
nonconformist minister in Southwark, and the other in Trap-
ping. They first published ' A Discourse on Divine Providence,'
1680, and announce that ' this comes out first as a prodromus
to several works designed to be made public as soon as they can
be with conveniency transcribed,' declaring that 'the piece now
published is a specimen of the strain and spirit of this holy man,
this being his familiar and ordinary way of preaching.' The
same year there appeared ' A Sermon on Reconciliation to God
in Christ.' His discourses ' On the Existence and Attributes of
God,' appeared in a large folio in 1681-82, and were followed by
another folio in 1683, containing discourses on regeneration, re-
conciliation, the Lord's supper, and other important subjects.
A second edition of his works, in two volumes folio, appeared in
1684, and a third in 1702. In 1699, were published with ' An
Advertisement to the Reader,' by Edward Veal, two discourses,
one on Man's Enmity to God, the other on Mercy for the Chief of
Sinners.

His great work is that on the ' Attributes.' Prior to his time
the subject had been treated of near the opening of systems of
theology, but never in the particular and minute way in w r hich it
is done in Charnock's discourses. There had been two works on
the special topic published in the English tongue in the early
part of the century. The one was A Treatise containing the
Original of Unbelief Misbelief or Mispersuasion concerning the
Veritie, Unitie, and Attributes of the Deity, by Thomas Jackson,
Doctor in Divinity, Vicar of St NicJiolas Church, Newcastle-upon*
Tyne, and late Fellow of Corpus Chrisli College, Oxford, 1625.
The work is a philosophico-religious one, treating profoundly, if
not clearly, of the origin of ideas as discussed by Plato and
Aristotle, and of belief in God; but not unfolding, as Charnock
does, the nature of the several attributes. A work more nearly
t tnbling that of our author, and very probably suggesting it,
was written by Dr Preston, one of the ablest i)\' the Cambridge

divines, and who bad been master of Emmanuel some years be-
fore Charnock's time, and left a neat name behind him. It is
Life Eterncd t ota Treatise of the Knowledge of the Divine Essence
and Attributes, by the late John Preston. It reached a fourth
edition in 1684. In the eighteen sermons of whiohthe work is

Composed, the author first proves tin 1 existence and unity of

God, and then dwells on eight of his perfections.* The whole is

* Thftft iff (1) Mi ■' ' Dttrfari : (-.) Mutt ho is without, all causes, having

his being uii'l beginning from himself; (3.) that !n> is sternal; (4.) that lu> is
simple and s)>irifu;ii ; (. r >.) Immutable; (6\) Infinite (beyond all we can oono
Including goodness j (7. ) omnipresent ; (8.) omnipotent. The arrangement is wry
imperfect*

HIS LIFE. XXV11

under 400 pages, of by no means close printing. The analysis
and distribution of the attributes are by no means the same with
those followed by Charnock, whose method is much more logical
and judicious, while his illustration is much more full and ample.
Charnock's work is at this day the most elaborate that has
appeared on the subject.

Borne in our day object to the separation of the divine attri-
butes, such as we have in Charnock's work, and in systems of
theology, that it is a division of the divine unity; that it is fitted
to leave the impression that the perfections are so many different
entities ; and that it exhibits the divine being in dry and abstract
forms, which do not engage and win the affections of the heart.
Now, it should be admitted at once, that a theological treatise
on the attributes, or on any other subject, cannot serve every
good purpose. No treatise of divinity can accomplish the high
ends secured by the Word of God, with its vivid narratives, its
typical events and ordinances, its instructive parables, and its
attractive exhibition of God as living, acting, and loving — all
suited to the heart and imagination of man as well as his under-
standing. A theological system when compared with the word
of God, is at best like a hortus siccus, when compared with the
growing plants in nature, or a skeleton in reference to the living
frame, clothed with flesh and skin. The most useful and effec-
tive preaching must follow the Word of God as a model rather
than bodies of divinity, and present God and his love in the
concrete and not in the abstract form. Still, systematic theology
has important purposes to secure, not only in testing and guard-
ing purity of doctrine in a church, but in combining the scattered
truths of God's Word, so that we may clearly apprehend them :
in exhibiting the unity of the faith ; and in facing the misappre-
hensions, mistakes, and errors which may arise. In particular,
great good may be effected by a full display, and a reflective
contemplation of the divine character; and in order to this, there
must be some order, plan, and division, and the more logical
these are the better for every purpose, speculative or practical.
Care must be taken always, in drawing such a portraiture, to shew
that the attributes are not distinct parts of the divine essence,
but simply different aspects of the one God, viewed separately
because of the infirmity of our minds, and the narrowness of our
vision, which prevent us from taking in the whole object at once,
and constrain us to survey it part after part. As it is not the
abstract quality, but the concrete being that calls forth feeling
and affection, we must ever contemplate his perfections, as
combined in the unity of his living person. It is to be said,
in behalf of Charnock, that he never leaves the impression that
the attributes are separate existences ; they are simply different
manifestations presented to us, and views taken by us of the one
God, who is at once Great and Good, Holy and Gracious.

XXV111 INTRODUCTION TO CHAKNOCK S WORKS.

II. THE PURITAN PREACHING AND THE PURITAN

LECTURE.

1 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were
better than these ? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning
this,' Eccles. vii. 10. There are some ever telling us that the
theology of former times is much superior to that of our day.
Some prefer the theology of the so-called fathers of the church,
some that of the middle ages, some that of the Reformation,
some that of the puritans. Now we believe that it may be good
for us to look to the way in which great and good men have con-
ceived, expressed, and enforced the truth in divers ages, were it
only to widen the narrowness of our views, and recall attention
to catholic verities which particular ages or sects have allowed
to sink out of sight. Let us by all means rise from time to time
above the contracted valleys in which we dwell, and ascend a
height whence we may observe the whole broad and diversified
territory which God has given us as an inheritance, and the rela-
tion of the varied parts which branch out from Christ as the
centre, as do the hills and valleys of our country from some
great mountain, the axis of its range. There is, we should
acknowledge, an attractive simplicity in the expositions of divine
truth by the early fathers ; and we are under deep obligations to
the divines of the fourth century for establishing on Scripture
evidence the doctrine of the Trinity. Those who look into it with
a desire to discover what is good, will find not a few excellencies
even in the mediaeval divinity, notwithstanding the restraints
laid on it by crutches and bandages. It is not to be forgotten
that Thomas a Kempis lived in what are called the dark ages ;
and that we owe to a philosophic divine of that time, not cer-
tainly the doctrine of the atonement, which had been in the
revealed religion of God since Adam and Abel offered lambs in
sacrifice, but a very masterly and comprehensive exposition of
that cardinal truth. Free grace, which had been so limited and
hindered in the priestly and ecclesiastical ages, breathes from
every page of the Reformers as fragrance does from the flower.
The puritan preaching is unsurpassed for clear enunciation of
divine truth, accompanied with close, searching, and fervent
appeal, which now shakes the whole soul, as the earthquake did
the prison at Philippi, and anon relieves it by the command and
promise, ' Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt bo
saved. 1

But we Bhould pat implicit trust in no human, or hereditary, or
tradil iona] theology, in do i heology except what comes direct trom
the Bible, interpreted according to the letter, but received after the

spirit. How often does if happen that you will know what sect a

man belong! to by the favourite passages which ho quotes in his

s. rmons, and in his wry prayers, shewing how apt we are to take
our very Scriptures from the traditions of our churches. We act
as if the well were shut up from us, and as if we were obliged to

THE PURITAN PREACHING. XXIX

go to the streams, which may have caught earthliness in their
course, and which at the best cannot be so fresh as the fountain.
That is the theology best suited to the age which is put forth by
living men of the age, drinking of the living word for themselves
by the power of the living Spirit.

The peculiarities of the puritan preaching arose from the cir-
cumstances in which they were placed, combined always with
their deep piety. Most of them were highly educated men, trained
in classics, logics, and ethics at the old universities. In their
colleges, and in the Established Church, they had acquired habits
of careful study and preparation for the pulpit, which they re-
tained all their lives, whether they remained in or removed from
the communion of the Church of England. Meanwhile, in the
prosecution of their high aims, they were thrown into the midst
of most exciting scenes, which moved society from its base to its
summit. They had to make up their minds on most momentous
questions, and to come to a public decision, and take their side, —
it may be at an immense sacrifice of worldly wealth and status.
With a great love for the national Church, and a desire to keep
the unity of the faith, they declined, in obedience to what they
believed to be the commands of God in his word, to conform to
practices which the government, political and ecclesiastical, was
imposing on them. In taking their part in the movements of
these times, they had to mingle with men of all classes, to write
papers of defence and explanation, and at times of controversy,
and to transact a multifarious business, with bearings on states-
men on the one hand, and the mass of the people on the other.
Out of this state of things arose a style of exposition different
from that of the retired scholar on the one hand, and from that
of the man of bustle on the other ; equally removed from the
manner of the independent churchman and of the ever stirring
dissenter. The discourses are by men of thought and erudition,
who must draw their support from the great body of the people,
and address in one and the same sermon both men and women
belonging to all ranks and classes. We see those characteristics
in every treatise of Owen and Baxter, and they come out in the
discourses of Charnock.

The works of Charnock, and of the puritans generally, labour
under two alleged imperfections. With the exception of Howe's
'Living Temple,' and one or two other treatises, they are with-
out that subdued and quiet reflection which gives such a charm
to books which have come out of retired parsonages or the
cloisters of colleges. In most of the writings of the puritans,
there is a movement, and in many of them a restlessness, which
shew that they were composed for hearers or readers who were
no doubt to be instructed, but whose attention required also to
be kept alive. Their profound discussions and their erudite
disquisitions, having reference commonly to expected, indeed
immediate action, are ever mixed with practical lessons and
applications which interrupt the argument, and at times give a

XXX INTRODUCTION TO OHARNOCK S WORKS.

strain and bias to the interpretation of a passage. In this respect
their discourses, written with the picture of a mixed auditory
before them, are very different from the essays or dissertations,
philosophic or critical, of certain of the Anglican or German
divines, who, themselves mere scholars or thinkers, write only
for the learned ; but possess an interest to them such as cannot
attach to spoken addresses in which the popular and the scien-
tific are mixed in every page.

Because of this attempted combination, the puritans labour
under another alleged disadvantage. Most of their writings
contain too much thought, too much erudition, and above all too
many logical distinctions, to admit of their being appreciated by
vulgar readers. With the living voice and the earnest manner
to set them off, the sermons may have been listened to with pro-
found interest by large mixed audiences ; but in the yellow
pages of the old volume they scare those who do not w T ish to be
troubled with active or earnest thought. In this respect they
are inferior — some would rather say immeasurably superior — to
the popular works produced in our day by evangelical writers
both within and beyond the established churches of England and
Scotland. They are not characterised by that entire absence, in
some cases studious abnegation, of reflective thought and con-
vincing argument, which is a characteristic of some of our modern
preachers, who cast away their manhood and pule like infants ;
nor do they indulge in those stories and anecdotes by which some
of our most successful ministers of the word attract and profit
large audiences in our times. The puritans had learning, and
they gave the results of it to their congregations. They thought
profoundly themselves, and they wished to stimulate and gratify
thought in their hearers and readers.

The consequence of all this is, that there is a class who reckon
themselves above, and there is a class certainly below, the puritan.
There are contemplatists who are disturbed by their feverishm
and scholars who complain of the intrusion of unasked practical
lessons. But if these persons would only exercise a little of that
patience on which they sot so high a value, they would find im-
bedded in the rich conglomerate of the puritans profound reflec-
tions and wise maxims, which could have come only from deep
thinkers and scholars, who spent long hours in their studies

ling, meditating, and, we may add, praying over the deepest
questions which the mind of man can ponder. It is also truo

that th» re ;ire men and women of .ill ranks and conditions w In)
an h.low the puritans, such as the devourers of novels in our

circulating libraries, ow men of pleasure and of mere business

and agriculture, who have never heen led to entertain a thought

above their amusements, or their shops and their warehouses;

their crops and their cattle; and such are the masses in our
it cities, and in our scattered rural districts too, who have

heen allowed to spring up in utter ignorance, but who would not

have been left in such utter degradation it* the puritans had heen

THE PURITAN PREACHING. XXXI

allowed to carry out their system of inspection, catechising, and
careful Bible instruction. We allow that persons so untrained
to thinking would speedily fall asleep if made to read a puritan
treatise, with its deep thoughts and its logical distinctions. The
puritan preachers no doubt required a prepared audience ; but
they had succeeded so far in training intelligent audiences in
their own day, and they had a discipline which, if they had been
allowed to carry it out, might have prepared the great body of
the people for listening to the systematic exposition of the divine
word. Nor is it to be forgotten that there are passages in the
writings of the best puritans more fitted than any composed by
uninspired men to awaken the unthinking and arouse the care-
less, and compel them to think of the things which belong to
their everlasting peace. These passages continue to be regularly
quoted to this day, and often constitute the very best parts of the
articles in our popular religious literature. Charnock's discourses,
in particular, have been a mine in which many have dug, and
found there gold wherewithal to enrich themselves, without
exhausting the numberless veins. The preachers who have
caught the spirit of the puritans, but have avoided their techni-
cality and mannerism, have commonly been the most successful
in rousing the sunken and the dead from their apathy, and in
stirring them to anxiety and prayer.

Some of the critical commentaries furnished by the puritans,
such as those of Owen, are among the ablest, and altogether the
best, that have ever been published. It is all true that modern
German industry has dug up and collected materials unknown
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the more recent
contests with the rationalists and infidels, while producing it
may be much immediate mischief, have in the end led to a
larger and more minute acquaintance with ancient thought and
history, and with eastern languages and customs. But the
puritans have been left behind merely by the onward march of
knowledge ; and the time may come when even the most
advanced German critics may in this sense become antiquated.
It is true that the puritans, keeping before them a living
audience, ever mingled practical reflections and applications
with their most erudite criticism, in a way which is now avoided
by learned commentators. But over against this we have to
place the counterbalancing circumstance, that the Scriptures
were written for practical purposes, and will ever be better
interpreted by practical men, who have felt the truth them-
selves, and who have had enlarged and familiar intercourse
with men, women, and children in the actual world, than by
the mere book scholar, who is ever tempted to attribute motives
to historical actors such as real human beings were never
swayed by, and to discard passages because they contain im-
probabilities such as one who mingles with mankind is meet-
ing with every day. _ We have sometimes thought, in com-
paring the puritan with the modern German criticism, that

XrXll INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

the one of these circumstances is quite fitted to outweigh the
other; of course, the one should be used to counteract the other,
and a perfect commentary should seek to embrace both ad-
vantages.

The multiplied divisions, and ramified subdivisions, employed
in their discourses, furnish matter of very common complaint
against them. The habit arose from the training in a narrow
scholastic logic in the universities, and is to be found in the
ethical, the juridical, the legal, and the parliamentary quite as
much as in the theological writings of the age, and in the high
Anglican as well as in the puritan theology. We are not pre-
pared to vindicate the peculiar manner of the times. The
excess in one direction led in the immediately succeeding age to
an excess in the other direction. The new method, or want of
method, was introduced from France, and came in with a very
light and superficial literature. It was espoused by such
writers as Lord Shaftesbury in his ' Characteristics of Men, and
Manners, and Times;' and appeared in a very graceful dress in
the Tatler, Spectator, and Guardian. Shaftesbury tells us that
the miscellaneous manner was in the highest esteem in his day,
that the old plan of dividing into firsts and seconds had grown
out of fashion, and that ' the elegant court divine exhorts in
miscellany, and is ashamed to bring his twos and threes before
a fashionable assembly.' ' Eagouts and fricassees are the reign-
ing dishes; so authors, in order to become fashionable, have
run into the more savoury way of learned ragout and medley.*
In adopting the style of the times, the preachers no doubt sup-
posed that they could thereby recommend religion to the world,
especially to the gay and fashionable classes, who had been
repelled by the old manner, and might be won, it was alleged,
by the new. The comment of the clerical satirist Witherspoon,
in his * Characteristics,'' is very pertinent. After stating the
allegation that the old system had driven most of the fashion-
able gentry from the churches, he says : ' Now the only way to
regain them to the church, is to accommodate the worship as
much as may be to their taste ;' and then remarks slily, ' I
confess there has sometimes been an ugly object ion thrown up
against this part of my argument, viz., that this desertion of
public worship by those in high life seems in fact to be contem-
porary with, and to increase in a pretty exact proportion to, the
attempts that have been made, and are made, to suit it to their

taste.' Not that we have any right to condemn the preachers.
of the eighteenth century because they did not ehoose to follow

the formalism of the seventeenth. A much grayer charge can

be broughl against them ; that of sinking out of sight, or

diluting, BOme of the convincing and saving truths of Chris-
tianity. The mini iter of ( lod'l Word, if he is not to make him-
self ridiculous, must Weal the dress and accommodate himself
to the innocent manners of his age; hut he is never to for
that ho is a minister of the word, prepared to declare the whole

THE PURITAN PREACHING. XXX111

counsel of God, and he is not to imagine that he can deliver
himself from the offence of the cross. The polite, the gay, and
the refined admired the preaching of the eighteenth century,
but never thought of allowing themselves to fall under the
power of the religion recommended. The puritan preachers are
still read and have power, 'being dead they yet speak unto us;'
but who remembers the names of the admired pulpit orators of
last century? Who, except the lovers of belles lettres, ever
think of looking into the polished sermons of Hugh Blair and
his school ?

It may be allowed that the puritan preachers, like all the
didactic writers of their time, carried their subdivisions too far.
They sought by abstraction to bring out into distinct view all the
attributes of the concrete object ; and by mental analysis to dis-
tribute a complex subject into its parts. As correct thinkers,
their judgment would have been offended if a single one of the
parts which go to make up the whole had been left out. But
comprehensive minds now see that it is beyond the capacity
of man to find out all the elements of any one existing
object ' in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or the
waters under the earth.' In the subject, for example, discussed
by Charnock, the nature of God, no one should profess, (certainly
Charnock does not) to be able to discover or to unfold all the
perfections of Jehovah ; and it would be simple pretension to
make the propositions we utter assume the appearance of com-
pleteness of knowledge and explanation. The mind feels bur-
dened when a speaker or writer would lay the whole weight of a
comprehensive subject upon it. Charles II. was offering a just
criticism on the whole preaching of the age when he charged
Isaac Barrow with being an unjust preacher, inasmuch as he
left nothing for any other man to say. All people weary of an
enumeration which would count all gifts bestowed in minute
coins ; independent thinkers feel offended when any one would
dogmatically settle everything for them; and enlarged minds
would rather have a wide margin left for them to write on, and
prefer suggestive to exhaustive writers.

But on the other hand, definition and division are important
logical instruments ; and when they are kept in their proper
place as means, they serve important purposes. The puritan
preachers all aimed at vastly more than mere tickling, rousing,
and interesting their hearers ; they aimed at instructing them.
For this purpose it was needful first of all to give their hearers
clear notions ; and how could that be done except by the speakers
themselves acquiring distinct and adequate ideas, and then
uttering a clear expression of them? They were quite aware
that speculative notions and linked ratiocinations were not fitted
to raise feeling, and that there could be no religion without
affection; and hence they ever mingled appeals to the conscience,
and addresses to the feelings, and even pictures for the fancy,
with their methodical arrangements and reasoning processes.

XXXIV INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

But they knew at the same time that mere feeling, unsustained
by the understanding, would die out like an unfed flame, and
hence they ever sought to convey clear apprehensions, and to
convince the judgment. Then they wished their audience to
retain what they heard in their memories for future rumination.
But the memory, at least of the intelligent, proceeds in its
reminiscences by correlation; it cannot bring up the uncon-
nected, the dismembered ; it needs hooks on which to hang the
thoughts, compartments in which to arrange them, that we may
know where to find them, and to be able to bring them out for
use when we need them. All skilful teachers of youth know
that if their pupils would make progress they must employ
method, and have division and enumeration in the lessons on
which they examine. And it is certain that the puritans aimed
at nothing less than thoroughly teaching their flocks; and many
of their hearers, male and female, took notes of the sermons and
afterwards expanded them. Such a process would be quite
impossible in regard to much of the preaching of our times,
satisfying itself with a loose general view of a subject, which
may produce a transient impression for good, but which does
not give a distinct apprehension at the time, and which could
not possibly be recalled afterwards, much less expressed, by any
but the original speaker. Depend upon it, two centuries hence
these writers will be far less read than the puritans are at this
present time.

An objection has frequently been taken to the too graphic
illustrations and quaintnesses of the puritans. An excuse can
easily be pled for it by those who may not be prepared to recom-
mend it for general adoption. It was the habit of the time, and
was adopted in ;ill departments of literature, poetical and prose,
and by the adherents of the Anglican establishment as well as
the nonconformists. The puritan preachers felt as if they were
necessitated to employ some such means of keeping alive the
attention of hearers to the weighty instruction they were in the
habit of importing to their large mixed audiences. It is a
curious circumstance that the present age has come back to

the same practice under a somewhat different form, and with
•use for it in the solidity of its thinking J and it cannot
with any consistency objeci to 1 he fashion of thi good old puritans
as LoJOg as it calls for and favours so many tenaation means of
BIJUnmoning the attention, in>t only in motels, hut in every species
Of writing, including OUT religious literature, which is advertised
by Catch titles and read for the sake of excitement. It is to he
Baid in behalf of the puritans, that though there may he at times

an overstrained ingenuity in their illustrations, yet these always
bear directly and pointedly upon the doctrinal truth which they
aif expounding, and khe practical lesson; which they enforce.
The puritans i eer sought to enlighten the intellect; hut their

aim was also to gain the heart, and in order to both one and

the other, to awaken the conscience in the addresses to which

PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. XXXV

they heave not been surpassed, perhaps not equalled, by any
class of teachers in ancient or in modern times.

The best puritan preaching ever tended to take the form of
what they called the ' lecture.' We often meet with this phrase
in reading the history of the times. There were lectures delivered
weekly in certain churches in London, and in some of the prin-
cipal towns throughout the three kingdoms ; Laud, we know, en-
deavoured to put down the puritan lecture. Charnock describes
himself as officially lecturer at Christ Church, where the lecture
was delivered at three o'clock on the afternoons of the Lord's
day. We are not to suppose that the puritans always preached
in this elaborate style, but the ablest of them did so when they
could get fit audience; and the sermons which they thought
worthy of publication were commonly of this elaborately-exposi-
tory type. In particular, Charnock always discourses to us as
if he were lecturing in a college chapel at Oxford, or in Christ
Church, Dublin.

While it is not desirable that all preaching, or even ordinary
preaching, should be of this stamp, it would surely be for the
benefit of the church of Christ to have a few lecturers or doctors,
fitted for such work, in all our great cities ; or to secure the same
end by systematic lectures delivered by a judicious combination
of competent men, not merely on attractive and popular, but on
profound theological, subjects. To accomplish the purpose in
our day, it is not needful that this elaborate exposition should
proceed in the manner of the puritans ; in particular, it should
avoid the minute dissection of texts in which they so delighted,
but in which the living truth was apt to be killed in the process.
In order to be profitable, the lectures must be addressed to the
age, by men who sympathise with the age ; and it is only thus
that they can accomplish in this century, what the puritan lecture
effected two hundred years ago. Ever founded on the word of
God, they should endeavour to bring out its broad and simple
meaning, rather than exercise their ingenuity in drawing out
significations which were never seen by the writers of the Scrip-
tures. Thus may the church of God expect to raise up a body
of intelligent people, to maintain and defend the truth in our
day, by better weapons than were employed even by the soldiers
of Cromwell in the seventeenth century.

III. PHILOSOPHICAL PEINCIPLES INVOLVED IN THE
PUKITAN THEOLOGY.

The author of this Introduction feels that, on being asked to
write about the divine who discussed the profound subject of the
'Attributes of God,' it will be expected of him, from the character

XXXVI INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

of his favourite studies, that he should say something of the
philosophy of the puritans, or rather of the philosophic principles
involved in the puritan theology. For in truth the puritans were
not, really nor professedly, philosophers, but theologians and
preachers. Not that their religious views discouraged the study
of philosophy. It could be shewn that some of the greatest
thinkers that England has produced, owed not a little to puritan
influence. Francis Bacon had certainly none of the self-sacri-
ficing spirit of the puritans, but he owed much to a puritan
mother. The puritans generally were too much engrossed w T ith
practical questions, to write calm philosophic treatises. But it
is not to be forgotten that Culverwel and Cudworth, about the
most learned and profound thinkers of their age, took the reform-
ing side in Cambridge ; and Howe, who wrote his ' Living Temple'
(at least the first part of it) in his calm retirement in the family
of Lord Massarene at Antrim, was altogether a puritan. Locke
(like Milton) did not keep by the deep religious faith of those
among whom he was brought up, but he cherished their reverence
for the Bible and liberty of thought.

The phrase ' puritan divines ' is understood to apply to those
who sought to construct a biblical theology. But Christian
theology, which is a co-ordination of the scattered truths of God's
word, cannot be constructed without philosophic principles, more
or fewer, being involved explicitly, or more frequently implicitly.
If we try to connect truths w T hich in the Bible are left unconnected ;
if we generalise wha^ in the Scriptures is particular ; if we infer
from what is revealed ; if we argue from the analogy of the faith,
or from any other principle ; above all, if we would arrange the
truth into a system, we must, whether we avow it or not, whether
we know it or not, proceed on some principle of reason. We
often find that those who affect to be the most determined to
avoid all scholastic forms, are all the while, in their statements
and reasonings, proceeding on principles which are really meta-
physical, the metaphysics being very confused and ill-founded.
It would be very curious and very instructive withal, to have a
full and clear enunciation of the philosophic principles involved
in thf theologies of all different ages and creeds. It is only by

having such a Statement spread out articulately, that we can find
what L8 human and what is divine in systems of divinity. In this

article we are to endeavour to bring out to view the philosophy
implied in the construction of the puritan theology.

bible theologians, as such, should always avoid identifying
their ■;. item i with, or founding them upon, any peculiar meta-
physical Bystem. But let us not be misunderstood. We do not
mean to affirm thai no attempt should he made to wed religion
;md philosophy. We hold that all philosophy should bethought
out in a religious spirit, and that much good may he effected by

philosophic works on religious topics, BUCh as those of Pascal, and

Culverwel, and Cudworth in the seventeenth century. But in

all such casoa the philosophy and the Scriptural theology should

PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. XXXV11

be kept separate, not, it may be, in separate chapters, but first
in the mind of the writer, and second in the composition of his
work ; so separate, that the reader may discern the difference,
and that the certainties of God may not be confounded by the
dullest apprehension with the speculations of men.

The puritans professed to be students of the Bible, and not
philosophers, and to avoid all mere speculative questions. And
we are prepared to affirm that neither before nor since, has there
been a body of profound divines assuming fewer doubtful meta-
physical principles. But the very puritans did proceed, in the
construction of their systems, on certain logical or metaphysical
maxims. We allow that, like all dogmatic theologians, they
carried their method of technical formulae too far ; that they did
at times squeeze a text, written in an eastern language, to suit
it to a western article ; and that they professed to reach a com-
pleteness of system such as is altogether beyond the limited capa-
cities of man, in dealing with the boundless truths of God's Word.
But we maintain that in their theology they ground on no peculiar
philosophy ; that the maxims involved in their construction and
inferences are found in the very nature of the human mind, and
of the reason with which man is endowed, are such as man must
ever take with him, if he is not to abnegate his rational nature,
are such as have had a place allotted them in all profound philo-
sophies, whether in ancient, in mediaeval, or in modern times ;
in short, the puritans proceed on the principles of a catholic philo-
sophy, which is the expression of the laws of man's intellectual
constitution.

It may be allowed indeed that they employed at times the forms
and expressions of authors, and of systems that were favourites
with them. In particular, they used the distinctions and the phrases
of Aristotle, of Augustine, and of the scholastic logicians. But then
it is to be remembered that Aristotle and Augustine were about the
most comprehensive thinkers that ever lived ; and it is a fact that
the schoolmen, all narrow and technical as they were in their spirit,
were the main instruments of giving definiteness to the expressions
used in the western world in our modern literature, — in fact, in our
very speeches, sermons, and common conversation. The puritans
in their learned treatises had to employ the phraseology of the
learning of their times, just as they had to use the language of
their country. The inspired writers themselves had their nation-
alities and their individualities — the speech of the disciples still ' be-
wrayeth' them. They had to speak of the sun rising, and the earth
standing, according to the ideas of their time ; and in regard to
man's nature they had to use the phrases, ' reins/ ' bowels,' ' heart/
and employ the distinction of ' body,' ' soul,' and ' spirit/ because
they were accepted in their times. The puritans must use the
language they found ready for them, and the distinctions under-
stood by their readers ; but just as the writers of Scripture did not
mean authoritatively to sanction any theories of the world or of the
mind, so the puritans did not intend to adopt any peculiar philoso-

XXXV111 INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK S WORKS.

phic system, Platonic or Aristotelian, Greek or Latin, ancient or
modern, but to proceed on the universal principles of reason.

In establishing' the divine existence, Charnock had to make
references to the aiaterial universe, as furnishing evidence of order,
design, and beneficence. In doing so, he has to make his state-
ments according to the views of the time. The Copernican theory
of the universe had been adopted for some ages by men of science,
but had not yet been brought down to the common belief of the
people. Bacon had rejected it, and Milton in his great poem forms
his pictures on the idea of the earth being reckoned the stable
centre, with the stars moving round it in cycles and epicycles.
When Charnock was in Dublin, the Royal Society was formed in
Oxford ; and while Charnock was meditating his discourses on the
Attributes, Newton was cogitating the law of universal gravitation.
But the preacher feels that it was not for him to go in advance of
the popular apprehension. He usually supposes, as all men in fact
still do, that the sun moves round the earth, but he states in a
note, ' whether it be the sun or the earth that moves, it is all one,'
that is for his purpose, which is to shew that ' the things in the
world declare the existence of a God in their production, harmony,
preservation, and answering their several ends.' 'Every plant,
every atom, as well as every star, at the first meeting, whispers this
in our ears, " I have a Creator, I am witness to a Deity." Who
ever saw statues or pictures, but presently thinks of a statuary and
limner?' 'The spider, as if it understood the art of weaving, fits
its web both for its own habitation, and a net to catch its prey.
The bee builds its cell, which serves for chambers to reside in, and
a repository for its provision/ ' The whole model of the body is
grounded upon reason. Every member hath its exact proportion,
distinct office, regular motion.' ' The mouth takes in the meat, the
teeth grind it for the stomach, the stomach prepares it.' 'Every
member hath a signature and mark of God, mid of his wisdom.'* It
is the office of ii.m nr.il theology to unfold the order and the adapta-
tion which everywhere fall under our notice in the works of God, but
in doing so it should never profess bo expound the ultimate constitu-
tion of things : l No man can find out the work that God maketh
from the beginning to I he end.' In order to the conclusiveness of the

argumenl for the divine existence, it is not necessary that we should

know the final Composition and laws of the suhstanccs in which the

order and design are exhibited We may Bee at once that there
are plan and purpose in the dispositions of an army in march,

though wo know not meanwhile whence it has come or whither it
Oing. In liko manner we are sure that there are skill and con-
trivance in t ho inoveinonts of the hftfUof »»at 'ire, though wo cannot

till their ultimate properties. CharnooJc lived in an age of transi-
tion in physical science, and some of his representations are anti-
quated; hut Ins arguments are s iill conclusive, and his illustrations

need only bO l»o expressed in a new form to hecome apposite. We
should DO* forget that we, tOO, live in an agC ^^ transit ion, and

* Alt itftortM, I>is. I.

PHILOSOPHICAL PKINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. XXX1X

when the grand discoveries of our day in regard to the conservation
of energy and the correlation of all the physical forces, and in regard
to the unity of all organic forms, are wrought out to their full con-
sequences, we suspect that the most advanced works in our century,
that the Natural Theology of Paley, and the Bridge water and
Burnet Treatises, will he found as antiquated in the twentieth cen-
tury as the works of the seventeenth century are to us.

But the divines of the seventeenth century had to deal much
more with mental philosophy than with physical science. It may
serve some good ends to exhibit the exact historical position in
respect of philosophy of the puritans, and more especially of Char-
nock. The puritan divines generally were well acquainted with
the philosophy of Aristotle, with his logic, his psyche, his ethics,
and metaphysics. They were also conversant with the theology of
Augustine, of the middle ages, and of the reformers. The exclu-
sive reverence for the scholastic system had passed away among
advanced thinkers, but the scholastic training still lingered in the
colleges, and the new and experiential method had not yet been
expounded. Charnock was born four years before Locke, and the
■ Discourses on the Attributes' appeared ten years before the
' Essay on the Human Understanding,' the work which founded
modern English philosophy. Charnock died fifty -nine years before
David Hume published the sceptical work on Human Nature,
which compelled thinkers to review all old philosophic principles,
even those involved in theology ; eighty years before Thomas Keid
began the work of reconstruction on observational principles ; and a
century before Emmanuel Kant made his attack on rational theo-
logy, and appealed to man's moral nature as furnishing the only
argument for the divine existence. This was no doubt one reason
why the puritan theology was not appreciated except by earnest
Christians in the eighteenth century ; it did not speak to those
who had been trained in the new philosophy. But we have now
arrived at a time in which neither the philosophy of Locke, nor that
of Kant, can be allowed to reign supremely. We are at a sufficient
distance to regard them, not as suns in our sky, but as stars, with
Plato and Aristotle and Augustine, and many others, their equals
in light and splendour. In particular, those who most admire
Locke and his fresh observational spirit, now see his great defects
in deriving all our ideas from sensation and reflection, and setting
aside the constitutional principles of the mind. The superficial
theology which grounded itself on the philosophy of Locke has
died an unlamented death, and no one wishes to see it raised from
the grave to which it has been consigned. We shall certainly
never return to the phraseology employed by the puritans, nor bind
ourselves to follow them in their favourite distinctions. Let us
copy them only in this, that in our arguments we proceed on the
principles which, in some modification or other, have appeared in all
deep philosophies, and have done so because they are in the very
structure of our minds, and in the nature of human reason, as
reflecting the divine reason.

Xl INTRODUCTION TO CHAENOCK's WORKS.

L Let us glance at the Puritan Psychology.

The Faculties of the Mind. — These come out only incidentally.
The following is Charnock's summary, ' The essential faculties of
the rational soul — the mind, the repository of principles, the
faculty whereby we should judge of things honest or dishonest ;
the understanding, the discursive faculty, and the reducer of those
principles into practical dictates ; that part whereby we reason
and collect one thing from another, framing conclusions from the
principles in the mind ; the heart, i. e., the will, conscience, affec-
tions, which were to apply those principles, draw out those reason-
ings upon the stage of the life.'* Though not a perfect, this is not
a bad, distribution of the mental powers. The account of our
intellectual capacities is certainly superior to that given by Locke,
who denied innate ideas, and allowed an inadequate place to in-
tuition. Charnock mentions first 'the mind, the repository of
principles.' What is this but Plato's "koyog and Aristotle's votde- scribed by both, each, however, with a different explanation, as ™cro; iidoiv (see Aris. Psyche, iii. c. 4 s. 4) ? What but Locke's intuition — not properly unfolded by him? What but Reid's principles of common sense, Kant's forms, and Sir William Hamilton's regula- tive faculty ? Then in regard to the other, or motive, department of the mind, we may mark how English thinkers had not yet come to the miserably defective psychology of the last century and beginning of this, in which man's powers are represented as con- sisting simply in the understanding and feelings. Man's heart is spoken of as having three essential elements, the will, the con- science, and the affections, each with a province, each serving a purpose, and all to be dedicated to God. There was no such narrow and confused controversy such as that which has been started in our day as to whether religion be an affair of the head or of the heart. In their ' repository of principles,' as distinguished from the discursive faculty and reasoning, they had all that is good and true in the modern Germano-Colerid^ean distinction between the reason and the understanding ; and they had it in a better form ; and they never proposed, as some in our day have done, to make reason the sole discerner and judge of religion. With the puritan, religion was an affair of the whole man, including head and heart, arid the heart having not only emotive sensibility and attachment, but a conscience to discern good and evil, and a will to choose. Knowledge* — As opposing themselves io scepticism, both in natural and revealed religion, they held that man could reach knowledge, positive and correct. They represented some know- ledge as being intuitive, and other knowledge as obtained by a process, both the One and the other being real. They held t hat man could rise to a true knowledge of God, to some knowledge by means of his works within and without us, but to a still closer and more satisfactory knowledge by the revelation he has given in his Word, very specially by the manifestation hfi has made of himself * Sermon on The Knonled.jr <»/' (lod, \\ vi. PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. Xli in the face of his Son. The divines of that century did not coun- tenance the doctrine advocated by Archbishop King and Bishop Peter Brown in the beginning of the next, and revived in our day, as to man being incapacitated by his very nature from knowing God as he is, a doctrine supposed to be favourable to religion, but which may quite as readily serve the purposes of a philosophy which affirms that man can know nothing, and terminate in scepti- cism. Charnock declares, as to this knowledge, first, that it is not immediate or intuitive, such as we have of a man when we see him face to face, but through ' his excellent works of creation, provi- dence, redemption, and the revelation of invisible mysteries in the Word.' He says, secondly, it is not comprehensive. ' To know comprehensively is to contain, and the thing contained must be less than that which contains, and therefore, if a creature could comprehend the essence of God, he would be greater than God/ He says that we cannot comprehend the nature of the creatures that are near us, and that not even in heaven shall God be com- prehensively known. But still we are represented as knowing God. We know God as we know the sea ; we behold the vastness of its waters, but we cannot measure the depths and abysses of it. Yet we may be said truly to see it, as we may touch a mountain with our hands, but not grasp it in our arms/ Knowledge and faith. — The puritans do not enter into any minute inquiries as to the natural exercises of knowledge and faith. The precise nature and relation of knowledge and faith as psycho- logical acts cannot be said to be yet settled by the professors of mental science. We here come to a desideratum, which we ven- ture to think might be supplied by inductive investigation. There is a constant reference in the present day to knowledge and faith as different, and each with a province, but we are furnished with no definition of terms, or explanation of the precise difference of the exercises. The puritans confined themselves, as the schoolmen of the age of Anselm and Abelard did, to their own province, the relation of the two as religious acts. Their views, especially those of Charnock, are clear and distinctly announced, and they seem to us to be sound and judicious. Charnock declares unequivocally that knowledge is necessary in order to faith : ' It is impossible an act can be without an object ; nothing is grace but as it is con- versant about God, or hath a respect to God. There can be no act about an unknown object.' ' Faith cannot be without the know- ledge of God and Christ.' ' Knowledge is antecedent to faith in the order of nature. I know whom I have believed, 2 Tim. i. 12. That ye may know and believe that I am he, Is. xliii. 10/ The divines of that century have not started the question whether faith belongs to the understanding or the feelings. Their view seems to us to be sounder both psychologically and theologically. 'This grace (faith), therefore, is set in a double seat by divines, in the understanding and will : it is properly a consent of the will, which cannot be without an assent in the mind.' ' Faith is in the under- standing in regard of disposition, but in the will in regard of the Xlli INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK's WORKS. fiducial apprehension ; for faith is not one simple virtue, but com- pounded of two, knowledge and trust/* The conscience. — In respect of the place they give to the con- science, the puritans have passed far beyond Aristotle, whom they so far follow in their psychology. Aristotle, in his Ethics, does allot to ' right reason' (ugio/ievm \6yw x.ai ug civ 6 <pg6vi>j,og eg/ircm, see Ethics ii. c. 6, § 15), a function in the determination of virtue; but he does not mention the conscience. The puritans, founding on the pas- sage in Paul (Rom. ii. 15), make constant references to the con- science ; no preachers before their time, and few since, have made such direct and powerful appeals to this mental faculty. ' Con- science,' says Charnock, ' is natural to man, and an active faculty.' They attempt no psychological analysis of the power ; they do not inquire whether it is an exercise of the reason on the one hand, or a sense, sentiment, or feeling on the other. This was a question started in the next age by Samuel Clarke on the one side, and Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson on the other. Charnock, we have seen, makes the heart embrace 'the conscience, will, affec- tions.' In the ' mind, the repository of principles,' he places the faculty 'whereby we should judge of things honest or dishonest ;' and the office of conscience seems to be that of following this up by ' accusing, or else excusing.' He argues resolutely that the con- science testifieth in behalf of the existence of God. 'Man witnesseth to God in the operations and reflections of conscience.' ' There is a law in the minds of men which is a rule of good and evil. There is a notion of good and evil in the consciences of men, which is evi- dent by those laws which are common to all countries.' ' Man, in the first instant of the use of reason, finds natural principles within himself; directing and choosing them, he finds a distinction between good and evil; how could this be if there werenol some rule to him bo try and distinguish good and evil.' 'Common reason supposeth that there is some hand which hath fixed this distinction in man; how could it cist) be universally impressed 1 No law can be without a lawgiver.' 'As there is a rule in us, there must be a judge.' 'From this a man may rationally be instructed that there is a Cod; fcf he may thus argue: 1 find myself naturally obliged to do this thing and avoid that, 1 have therefore a superior that doth oblige me.'-f- Has Emmanuel Kant,, with his 'practical reason' and 'cate- gorical imperative/ said anything more direct and convincing than this Y The affections and the will. These two were never resolved into h other by the puritans. They asserted that all knowledge should load on to a ffect n .n, and that all genuine faith does produce * Tin aba cti from the sermon on Thi Kncwltdfn of Ood, t Aitriimt'X, Diao. I. The puritans generally appeeled to firsl principle*, intel- lectual end moral. Than Baxter ■eye, Rttuoni qfUu Christum Religion, P. 1, -Ami if I could n"i en iwei ■• loeptio, who denied the certainty of my judgment by Bonee- tion and reflexive intuition (how Dear t<> Looke), yel nature would nut suffer mo to doubt ' ' By my aotiom I know that 1 em; uiul that 1 am a HtMitiout, intelligent, thinking, willing, end operative being. 1 'it ii true thai there ii in the natui I man's soul a certain aptitude to understand oertain truths as soon as the] art rtvealed ; thut is, pj soon ■ thi rery tutfura Pimm li observed. Ami it ii true that PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. xliii affection. But they ever insisted that above the affections there is a more important power, the power of will. It is thus that Char- nock puts the relation of these attributes : — ' The choice of the will in all true knowledge treads upon the heel of the act of understand- ing, and men naturally desire the knowledge of that which is true, in order to the enjoyment of that which is good in it. The end of all the acts of the understanding is to cause a motion in the will and affections suitable to the apprehension.' ' Knowledge is but as a cloud that intercepts the beams of the sun, and doth not advan- tage the earth, unless melted into drops, and falling down into the bosom of it. Let the knowledge of the word of the truth drop down in a kindly shower upon your hearts, let it be a knowledge of the word heated with love.'* II. Philosophic Principles. — We have seen that among the mental attributes he places 'the repository of principles/ The puritan divines do not attempt to expound the nature of these principles, and the accounts given by metaphysicians since that time, as well as prior this disposition is brought to actual knowledge as soon as the mind comes to actual consideration of the things. But it is not true that there is any actual knowledge of any principles born in man.' It is wrong to * make it consist in certain axioms (as some say) born in us, or written in our hearts from our birth (as others say), dispositively there.' These distinctions do not exhaust the subject, but they contain important truth ; and if Locke had attended to them, he would have been saved from extravagant statements. Owen, in his Dissertation on Divine Justice, appeals, in proving the existence of justice, (1.) to the ' common opinion ' and innate con- ceptions of all ; (2.) to the consciences of all mankind ; (3.) to the public consent of all nations. * Sermons on Knowledge of God and Regeneration. David Clarkson, in his account of the ' New Creature/ speaks of the following mental acts as involved in the religious exercises of the soul :— I. The Mind ok Undekstanding. And under this (1.) apprehensions, view, or notion ; (2.) judgment and assent aris- ing from apprehensions ; (3.) valuations proceeding from the estimative power of the mind ; (4.) designs or contrivances of ends ; (5.) inventions, whereby finds means towards ends ; (6.) reasonings, or discursive power ; (7.) thoughts, or cogitations ; (8.) consultations, the advising power which philosophers call BovXsvT/xrj, which shews by what means the good end may be secured. II. The Will, under which we have (1.) new inclinations, — Aristotle calls the act BovXyjtJtg, and the schoolmen, simplex volitio, in it the mind has a new object ; (2.) new inten- tions, aiming at something new, intending God and aiming at him ; (3.) fruitions, in which the mind rests and is contented ; (4.) new elections in choice of means for promoting ends, Aristotle's crgoa/gsff/; rcov ftgbg rb riXog ; (5.) new consents, in particular the soul consenting to enter into covenant with God ; (6.) new applica- tions, whereby the will applies the faculties to prosecute what it has pitched on ; (7.) new purposes, determinations, resolves, these being fixed and permanent. This analysis, taken with modifications from Aristotle and the scholastic divines, is too minute, but it shews how expanded a view the puritans took of the higher attributes of the mind as engaged in spiritual acts. In his sermon ' Of Faith,' he says — Faith implies (l.J knowledge ; (2 ) assent ; (3) dependence or procumbence. ' To rely upon Christ alone for salvation is saving faith.' See Sermons and Discourses on Several Divine Subjects, by the late Reverend and learned David Clarkson, B.D., and sometime Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1696. In these sermons, the scholastic phrases, objective, subjective, effective, formaliler, interpretive, habitualiter, cast up in all profound discussion. The account of the mental faculties is the most extended we have seen in the puritan writings. That of Charnock is more succinct and judicious. But all the puritans proceed substantially on the same views. The view of faith is the Bame with that of Charnock, and it could easily be shewn that it is that held by the puritan divines generally. xllV INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK's WORKS. to it, have been sufficiently confused. So far as Charnock incidentally sketchestheir nature, his views are both just andprofound. He speaks of them as connatural* a phrase the praise of which has been ascribed to Shaftesbury ; but Culverwel, with whose writings Shaftesbury was well acquainted, uses connate, and Whichcote (see Aphorisms) uses connatural ; and connate and connatural were probably familiar phrases among the Platonic thinkers in Emmanuel College. Char- nock is fond of characterising these principles as ' common reason/ 1 nature within man ;' he speaks of ' the common principles in the conscience/ and in this form they are ' a law of nature writ upon the hearts of men, which will direct them to commendable actions if they will attend to the writings in the conscience.' In establishing the existence of God in the opening of his most elaborate work, Charnock ever appeals to these principles of reason. 1 What is the general dictate of nature is a certain truth/ and with Cicero he appeals to common consent ; ' a general consent of all nations is to be esteemed as a law of nature/ He shews in regard to the conviction of the divine existence ; (1) that it hath been universal, no nation being without it ; (2) that it hath been consistent and uninterrupted in all kinds and conditions of men ; and (3) natural and innate. ' Every man is born with a restless instinct to be of some kind of religion or other, which implies some object of religion. The impression of a Deity is as common as reason, and of the same age with reason. It is a relic of knowledge after the fall of man, like fire under ashes, which sparkles as soon as ever the heap of ashes is opened. A notion is sealed up in the soul of every man : how could these people, who were unknown to one another, separate by seas and mountains, differing in various customs and manner of living, had no mutual intelligence one with another, light upon this as a common sentiment, if they had not been guided by one uniform reason in all their minds, by one nature common to them all?" While he represents the belief in God as thus a dictate of nature, he does not allege that it is formed independent of the observation of objects, or without the exercise of discursive thought. ' The notion of a God seems to be twisted with the nature of man, and is the first natural branch of common reason, or upon either the first inspection of a man into himself and his own state and constitution, or upon the first sight of any external visible object .'-)* Be has occasion to make use of important metaphysical prin- ciples, hut In- dors not, discuss them as a metaphysician. He inci- dentally refers to our ideas of Time and Eternity. I le accords wit h those divines who hold that God m.iv stand in a different relation to time from that in which man docs; hut he does not give any countenance to the statements of those schoolmen, who, founding upon certain mystic expressions of Augustine, spoke of time as having no existence, no reality in the view of God. His view is characterised by his usual judgment 'Since God knows time, he knows all things as they were in time ; he doth not know all thing! * Sermon on Itryrncndion, D, 111. f Attributes, Discourse I. PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. xlv to be at once, though he knows at once what is, has been, and will be. All things are past, present, and to come, in regard to their existence ; but there is not past, present, and to come, in regard to God's knowledge of them, because he sees and knows not by any other but by himself; he is his own light by which he sees, his own glass wherein he sees ; beholding himself, he beholds all things.'* David Hume had not yet risen to compel philosophers to discuss the precise nature of causation. Charnock proceeds as Bacon had done, and as all thinkers of his time still did, upon the Aristotelian distinction of causes into material, efficient, formal, and final, a dis- tinction, we may remark, founded on the nature of things, and having a deep but somewhat confused meaning. In regard to efficient cause he assumes that every occurrence has a cause, and with Aristotle, that there cannot be an infinite series of causey and reckons this a principle of reason, though not formed independent of the observation of things. But the metaphysical topic which fell more especially under the notice of the puritan theologians was that of the freedom of the will, which they had to consider and discuss as against the rising Arminianism. Keally and professedly they followed Augustine and Calvin, whose doctrines however have often been misunder- stood. These profound thinkers were most sensitively anxious to have their doctrine of predestination distinguished from the fatalism of the Stoics. t They held that man had an essential freedom given him by his Maker, a freedom which made him a responsible being, and of which he could never be deprived. At the same time, they maintained that this freedom had been much impaired by sin, which has injured man first morally and then physically, so that the will is now enslaved. This is the doctrine resolutely defended by Augustine (see De Libero Arbitrio), and by Calvin (see his De Servitute et Liberatione Humani Arbitrii in reply to Pighius). They were followed by the puritans generally. Thus Owen in his ' Display of Arminianism' : — ' We grant man in the substance of all his actions as much power, liberty, and freedom, as a mere created nature is capable of. We grant him to be free in his choice from all outward exaction or inward natural necessity to work according to election and deliberation, spontaneously embracing what seemeth good unto him.'J The puritans clung to the Scrip- * Attributes, Discourse on Eternity. f It is a circumstance worthy of being noted, that in modern times, we have reversed the meaning of the phrases used by the ancient philosophers, and thus produced some confusion. The Stoics resolutely denied Necessitas, but held by Fatum (see Cicero De Fato), by which they meant what was spoken or decreed by God, whom they represented as an intellectual fire, developing all things in cycles, according to a fixed and eternal order. The arguments advanced by them in favour of fatalism are substantially the same with those urged in modern times in behalf of Philosophical Necessity. J In the same treatise, Owen speaks of that ■ effectual working of his, according to his eternal purpose, whereby though some agents as the wills of men are causes free and indefinite or unlimited, lords of their own actions, in respect of their internal principle of operations (that is, their own nature), they are yet all, in respect of his decree, and by his powerful working, determined to this and that Xlvi INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK's WORKS. ture doctrine of predestination, but they did not identify it with the philosophic doctrine of Necessity as Jonathan Edwards did in the next century. They drew their doctrine from the Word of God, and founded it upon the perfection of God's Knowledge looking into the future as well as the past and present, and upon his Sovereignty doing all things, but all things wisely, justly, and bene- ficently. Some Calvinistic divines we acknowledge have drawn distinctions to save the freedom of the will which have rather wrecked it, and have used expressions which make our moral nature shudder. Charnock is wonderfully clear of all such extremes : — 1 God's foreknowledge of man's voluntary actions doth not neces- sitate the will of man.' ' It is certain all necessity doth not take away liberty ; indeed, a compulsive necessity takes away liberty, but a necessity of immutability removes not liberty from God. Why should then a necessity of infallibility in God remove liberty from the creature t ' God did not only know that we should do such actions, but that we should do them freely ; he foresaw that the will would freely determine itself to this or that.' ' God did not foreknow the actions of men as necessary but as free ; so that liberty is rather established by this foreknowledge than removed.' ' That God doth foreknow every thing, and yet that there is liberty in the rational creature, are both certain ; but how fully to reconcile them, may surmount the understanding of man.' As to his sovereignty and election, he declares, what the experience of every Christian responds to, ' It could not be any merit in the creature that might determine God to choose him. If the decree of election falls not under the merit of Christ's passion, as the pro- curing cause, it cannot fall under the merit of any part of the cor- rupted mass.' But he ever falls back upon the goodness and justice of God as regulating his sovereignty, 'As it is impossible for liim not to be sovereign, it is impossible for him to deny his deity and his purity. It is lawful to God to do what he will, but his will being ordered by the righteousness of his nature, effect, in particular; not that they are compelled to do this, or hindered from doin^ that, but aro inclined and dijfoied to do this or that according to their proper manner of working, that i^ most freely.' 'We grant as large a freedom and dominion to onr wills over their own ;i<-t s as a creature Bubjecl to the supremo rulo of God's providence Is capable of. Endned we arc with Mien a liberty of will as is free from all outward compulsion and inward necessity, having an elective faculty of applj in:' i! 'If unto that which seems good unto it, in which it has a free ehoice, notwithstanding it is subservient to the decree of GodV 'The acts of will being i re entities,' 'cannot have their e lenos and existence solely from the will itself, and eannot l" 1 thus, a-jr'ii ov, a lirst and supremo cause endued with an undcrived .- ■ He distinguishes between « ill ■ as it. was at Brsl by ( lod created,' and • will >w by sin corrupted;' yet being considered in ts ■ also, they ascribe more unto it than it was ever capahlo of.' ' 'l'h ere is hoth an iuipotenry and an enmity in corrupted nature to anything ipiritually good.' ■ Even in spiritual things we deny that our wills are at all debarred or deprived of their proper liberty, but I,,.,-,. adeed, that we are qo| properly free until the Sou makes as free.' in 3 mil's /'rr.srrrntnrr, he says, 'The impoteney that is in Dl to do good is not I ermed rlliin -phyaiea, hoi h natural and moral.' These extra the views sntertained hy the puritans generally, who meant simply to socmen the do ctiin es written on the vn\ lace of Scripture, hut sometimes did si) hy douhtful metu- iC l\ dj llle-ll PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE PURITAN THEOLOGY. xlvi'i as infinite as his will, he cannot do any thing but what is good.'* The inspired writers as little profess to give a system of the faculties of the mind as of the material world. In mentioning the sun, moon, and stars, and the earth with its rocks, plants, and ani- mals, they proceed upon the ideas of their time ; and in the same manner they refer to the attributes of the soul in language under- stood by those whom they addressed — very often, we may add, imparting to the phrases and the notions embodied in them; a com- prehensiveness and an elevation which they never could have had but for their association with spiritual verities. In the Old Testa- ment, constant allusions' are made to the special senses of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling ; to remembrances, imagi- nations, and knowledge ; to thoughts, understanding, and compre- hending ; to belief, trust, and confidence ; to devices, counsels, purposes, and intents ; to fear and hope, grief and joy, pity and compassion, anger and mercy, hatred and love. Among the Hebrews, as indeed in most nations, particular faculties were con- nected with particular parts of the body ; and we read of ' bowels/ the seat of sympathy ; of the ' reins/ the seat of deep and anxious thought; and of the ' heart/ the seat of all inward reflection. And here we think it of some importance to call attention to the cir- cumstance that the Scriptures do not distinguish, as we do, the heart from the head ; and do not make the heart signify mere emotion, but use it to include all that passes through the mind prior to action; and we read of the 'imaginations' and of the 'thoughts' of man's heart, — hence the absurdity of arguing that faith consists in feeling, from the fact that we are said to believe with the heart. In the New Testament, we have a more ad- vanced view; and we read of the 'mind' and 'conscience/ the 'soul' and 'spirit,' and 'will' has a higher place allotted to it. The preacher and divine must, like the inspired waiters, proceed so far upon the distribution of the mental powers understood by their hearers and readers ; but it will be found that when they take a limited view of the human mind and its capacities, both their preaching and their theology will be very much narrowed. It could easily be shewn that the inspired writers have something suited to every essential quality of man's complex nature, provid- ing symbols for the senses, images for the fancy, types for the imagination, aiding the memory by interesting correlations of time and number, presenting arguments to the understanding, rousing appeals to the conscience, a lovely object to draw forth the affec- tions, and motives to persuade the will. The broad and compre- hensive views of the faculties taken by the puritan preachers led them to address all the parts of man's complex nature. As the Bible is not a book of science, mental or material, so it is not a book of philosophy. Nor should preaching, nor should theo- logy, affect to be metaphysics. If any thinker is discontented with * Attributes, Discourses on God's Knowledge and Dominion. Xlviii INTRODUCTION TO CHARNOCK's WORKS. past speculative philosophy, he is at liberty to attempt to amend it. But let him do so in a professedly philosophic work, written always in a religious spirit, but without identifying religion with his theories. Still it will be difficult for the theologian, difficult even for the preacher, to avoid proceeding on an implied philo- sophy. If we do nothing more than exhort persons to beware of satisfying themselves, with a speculative without a practical knowledge, we are proceeding, whether we know it or not, on an Aristotelian distinction. A profound philosophy has in all ages sought to ally itself with theology. Religion may be inconsistent with a superficial or a one-sided, but not with a deep or a catholic philosophy. A shallow philosophy will always tend to produce a shallow theology. Suppose, for instance, we adopt the principle of Hobbes and the sensational school of France, and hold that all our ideas are got from the senses, it will be difficult to establish any of the higher truths of religion ; or suppose we assert that virtue is mere utility, it will be difficult to vindicate the justice of God in the awful punishment of the sinner. Philosophic principles should certainly not obtrude themselves in the disquisitions of the divine; but philosophic conceptions may underlie his whole mode of thought and discussion, and impart a coherency and consistency to the system constructed by him. The profound views of human reason, in its strength and in its weakness, taken by the puritan divines, enabled them to construct a theology in some measure corresponding to the profundity of Scripture, and defective only in this, that at times it proposed to settle what should have been left free, and to embrace all revealed truths, which, in their entireness, will always refuse to be compressed within human systems. A TREATISE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. VOL. I. TO THE EEADER. Reader, — Thou art here presented with a little piece of a great man ; great, indeed, if great piety, great parts, great learning, and great wisdom, may be admitted to claim that title; and we verily believe that none well acquainted with him will deny him his right, however malevolent persons may grudge him the honour. It hath been expected and desired by many that some account of his life might be given to the world ; but we are not willing to offer violence to his ashes by making him so public now he is dead, who so much affected privacy while he lived. Thou art therefore desired to rest satisfied with this brief account of him : That being very young he went to Cambridge, where, in Immanuel College, he was brought up under the tuition of the present Archbishop of Canterbury. What gracious workings and evidences of the new birth appeared in him while there, hath already been spoken of by* one who was at that time his fellow- collegiate and intimate. Some time he afterward spent in a private family, and a little more in the exercise of his ministry in Southwark, then removed to New College inOxon, where he was fellow, and spent several years ; being then taken notice of for his singular gifts, and had in reputation by the most learned and godly in that university, and upon that account the more frequently put upon public work. Being thence (the year after he had been proctor) called over into Ireland to a constant public employment, he exercised his ministry for about four or five years, not with the approbation only, but to the admiration of the most wise and judicious Christians, and with the concurrent applause of such as were of very different sentiments from him in the things of religion. Nay, even those that never loved his piety, yet would commend his learning and gifts, as being beyond exception, if not above compare. About the year 1660, being discharged from the public exercise of his ministry, he returned back into England, and in and about London spent the greatest part of fifteen years, without any call to his old work in a settled way, but for about these five years last past hath been more known by his constant preaching, of which we need not speak, but let them that heard him speak for him ; or, if they should be silent, his works will do it. He was a person of excellent parts, strong reason, great judgment, and (which do not often go together) curious fancy, of high improvements, and general learning, as having been all his days a most diligent and methodical student, and a great redeemer of time, rescuing not only his restless hours in the night, but his very walking time in the streets, from those imperti- nencies and fruitless vanities which do so customarily fill up men's minds, and steal away their hearts from those better and more noble objects, which do so justly challenge their greatest regards. This he did by not only care- fully watching (as every good Christian should do), but constantly writing down his thoughts, whereby he both governed them better, and furnished * Mr Johnson, in his Sermon on occasion of Mr Charnock's death. TO THE READER. himself with many materials for his most elaborate discourses. His chief talent was his preaching-gift, in which, to speak modestly, he had few equals. To this, therefore, as that for which his Lord and Master had best fitted him (neglecting the practice of physic, in which he had arrived at a considerable measure of knowledge), he did especially addict himself, and direct his studies ; and even when providence denied him opportunities, yet he was still laying in more stock, and preparing for work against he might be called to it. When he was in employment, none that heard him could justly blame his retiredness, he being, even when most private, continually at work for the public ; and had he been less in his study, he would have been less liked in the pulpit. His library, furnished, though not with a numerous, yet a curious collection of books, was his workhouse, in which he laboured hard all the week, and on the Lord's day made it appear he had not been idle ; and that though he consulted his privacy, yet he did not indulge his sloth. He was somewhat reserved where he was not well acquainted, otherwise very free, affable, and communicative, where he understood and liked his com- pany. He affected not much acquaintance, because he would escape visitants, well knowing how much the ordinary sort of friends were apt to take up of his time, which he could ill spare from his beloved studies, meeting w T ith few that could give him better entertainment with their company than he could give himself alone. They had need be very good, and very learned, by whose converse he could gain more than by his own thoughts and books. He was a true son of the Church of England, in that sound doctrine laid down in the articles of religion, and taught by our most famous ancient divines and reformers ; and a real follower of their piety, as well as a strenuous main- tainer of the truth they professed. His preaching was mostly practical, yet rational and argumentative, to his hearers' understandings as well as affec- tions ; and where controversies came in his way, he shewed great acuteness and judgment in discussing and determining them, and no less skill in apply- ing them to practice : so that he was indeed ' a workman that needed not to be ashamed,' being able * by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince gainsayers.' Some have thought his preaching too high for vulgar hearers ; and it cannot be denied but his gifts were suited to the more intelligent sort of Christians ; yet it must withal be said, that if he were sometimes deep, he was never abstruse ; he handled the great mysteries of the gospel with much clearness and perspicuity ; so that if in his preaching he were above most, it was only because most were below him. Several considerable treatises on some of tho most important points of religion ho finished in his ordinary course, which he hath left behind him, in the same form he usually wrote them for tho pulpit. This comes out first, as a prodromui to several others igned to bo made public, as soon as they can bo with convenioncy tran- scribed, which (if tho Lord will, and sparo life) shall bo attested with our hands ; and whatever any elso shall publish, can bo but imperfect notos (his own copies being under our revisal at tho request of his friends) takon from him in tho pulpit ; in which, what mistakes do often happen, every one knows, and we havo found by oxperienco in tho caso of this very author more thin once. This was thought fit to bo said to seeure the reputation of tho dead, and provent tho abuse of tho living. These sermons might havo come out with tho solemn ceremony oflargo rocommeudat ions, the author's worth being 80 woll known to, and his preaching so highly esteemed by, the most eminent ministors about this city; but it was judged needless, his own works being sufficient to praiso him. Ono thing more is to be added : that mob as he is here, such ho is in his othor piocos. So that thou hast here, reador, a specimen of tho strain and TO THE READER. 5 spirit of this holy man, this being his familiar and ordinary way of preach- ing, and these sermons coming out first, not as if they were the nonsuch of what he left behind him, but because they could soonest be despatched, and to obviate the injuries might else be done by spurious treatises both to him and thee ; and likewise by this little taste to gratify the appetites of such who, having been his auditors, did long even with greediness to feast them- selves again upon those excellent truths which in the delivery were so sweet to them. Perhaps too it may quicken their appetites who never heard him, it may be never yet heard of him. If thou like this cluster, fear not but the vintage will be answerable; if this little earnest be good metal, the whole sum will be no less current. That a blessing from heaven may be upon this work, and upon thee in reading and studying the nature, and beauty, and ends of divine providence, and that the Lord of the harvest (especially when so many are daily called home) would send forth more and more such labourers into the harvest, is the hearty prayer of Thine in the Lord, Richard Adams. Edward Veal. A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. — 2 Chbon. XVI. 9. In the beginning of the chapter you find Baasha king of Israel raising walls about, and fortifying Rarnah, a place about twelve miles from Jerusa- lem, the metropolis of Judah, intending by that means to block Asa up, because Rainah lay just upon the road between Jerusalem and Samaria, the seats of the two kings, ver. 1. Baasha was probably afraid of the revolt of Israel to Judah, upon that reformation of religion wrought by Asa, and therefore would fortify that place, to be a hindrance, and to intercept any that should pass upon that account ; and to this purpose makes great preparation, as appears ver. 6, for with the provision Baasha had made for the fortification of Ramah, Asa, after the seizing of the materials, builds two towns, Geba and Mispah. Asa seeing Baasha so busy about this design, and fearing the consequence of it, hath recourse to carnal policy rather than to God ; and therefore enters into leaguo with Benhadad, a neighbour, though an idolatrous prince, and purchaseth his assistance with the sacrilegious price of the treasure of the temple, ver. 2, 3 ; and hereby engageth him to invade the king of Israel's territories, that ho might thereby find work for Baasha in another part, and so divert him from that design upon which ho was so bent : ver. 8, ' Go, break thy league with Baasha, that ho may depart from mo.' Benhadad is easily persuaded by the quantity of gold, &c., to break his league, and mako an inroad, and proves victorious, and takes many cities where tho magazines and stores wore laid op, ver. 4. B i:isha now, to savo his country, and make head against his enemies, is forced to leave leunah; whereupon Asa, who watched his opportunity, Heizeth the materials he had left for the fortifying of leimah, and puts thom to another use, ver. 5, (>. Hanani the seer ll presently sent by God with a threatening of war, becauso he applies himself to a heathen prince rather than to the Lord of hosts, ver. 7; his sin is aggravated hv God's former kindness to him, and oxperienco ho had given him of his miraculous providonco in his succoss against that vast army of the Ethiopians and Luhims, or Lybians, and that upon his rccourso to or rolianco on Ctod ; and that ho should afterwards 2 ChRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 7 have recourse to the arm of flesh was a disparagement to God's providential kindness, ver. 8. He further aggravates his sin by the consideration of God's general providential care of his creatures, and the particular end of it, and of all his providences, viz., the good of his church and people, ver. 9, 1 For the eyes of the Lord,' &c. Eyes of the Lord, in Scripture, signify, 1. His knowledge : Job. xxxiv. 21, ' For his eyes are upon all the ways of man, and he sees all his goings.' Heb. iv. 13, ' All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.'* 2. His providence. (1.) For good, so it notes his grace and good will; so his eyes and his heart are joined together : 1 Kings vi. 3, ' Mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually,' viz., in his temple, the place which he had hallowed to put his name there for ever. Ps. xxxii. 8, ■ I will guide him with mine eye ;' that is, I will counsel him, and direct him in a gracious and a favourable way. Therefore, to be cut off from the eye of the Lord, is to be deprived of his favour, Ps. xxxi. 22, for none can be cut off from a simple knowledge of God ; so Zech. iii. 9, ■ seven eyes upon one stone,' that is, the providence of God was in an especial manner with Christ in the midst of his passion. (2.) For evil, so it notes his anger and vindictive justice. Isa. iii. 8, 1 Their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.' Kindness and anger appear first in the eye, one by its pleasantness, the other by its redness. 1 Run,' that notes diligence and care, an industrious inspection into all things. Ps. cxix. 32, ■ I will run the ways of thy commandments,' noting speed and diligence. In the verse we have, I I. A description of God's providence. I II. The end of it. I. The description of God's providence. 1. The immediateness of it ; '■ his eyes,' his own eyes, not another's. Not like princes, who see by their servants' eyes more than by their own, what is done in their kingdoms ; his care is immediate. Though angels are ministers of his providence, the guardians and watchers of the world, yet God is their captain, and is always himself upon the watch. 2. Quickness and speed of providence ; ' run.' His eyes do not only walk, but run the round ; they are not slumbering eyes, nor drowsy eyelids ; their motion is quick and nimble. 3. Extent of providence ; ' the whole earth ;' all things in the earth, all the hairs on the heads of these men : the meanest worm as well as the mightiest prince ; the lowest shrub as well as the tallest cedar ; every cranny, corner, or chink of the earth. 4. Diligence of providence ; t to and fro.' His care is repeated, he looks this way and that way, again and again ; his eyes are not confined to one place, fixed on one object, but are always rolling about from one place to another. 5. The efficacy of his providence ; his care doth engage his strength ; he doth not only discover dangers, but prevent them ; he hath eyes to see, and power to order all things according to his pleasure ; wise to see, and strong to save. II. The end of providence ; « to shew himself strong,' &c. rgctxyfi-og significat spinam dorsi, et in mactatis animalibus per spinam omnia appa- rent interiora, ita ut nihil latere potest. — Glassius, vol. iii. 1, 106. 8 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. 1. Finis cujus, * to shew himself strong.' Heb. to * make himself strong,' but best translated, to ■ shew himself strong.' It is not an addition of strength, but an exercise of strength that is here meant. 2. Finis cui, or the persons for whom, ' those that are perfect in heart.' Doctrines. 1. There is a providence exercised by God in the world. 2. All God's providences in the world are in order to the good of his people. 3. Sincerity in God's way gives a man an interest in all God's provi- dences, and the good of them. 1. For the first, there is a providential inspection and government of all things in the world by God. It is not a bare sight of things that is here meant by God's eye, but a sight and knowledge in order to the govern- ing and disposing of them. View this doctrine at your leisure, preached by God himself, with an inconceivable elegancy, and three whole chapters spent in the sermon, Job xxxviii., xxxix., xl., and by the psalmist, Ps. cxlvii. cxlviii. Some observe that the society of angels and heavenly creatures is repre- sented, Ezek. i., by a quaternarian number, because the world is divided into four dimensions, east, west, north, and south, as intimating the exten- sion of God's providence over all parts.* Things are not ordered in the world cceco impetu, not by blind fortune, but an all-seeing Deity, who hath the management of all sublunary affairs. Tig (AsydXri dbvuplg Trig wgovotccg ; t wavrcc iin uglorou vov yivsrou, was the theological maxim of the Stoics. Before I come particularly to explain the providence of God, I shall lay down some propositions as the foundations of this doctrine. 1. God hath an indisputable and peculiar right to the government of the world. None ever questioned God's right, no, nor his act, but those that were swelled with an unreasonable ambition, such as Nebuchadnezzar, who for this cause underwent the punishment of a seven years' banishment from the society of men, Dan. iv. 17. None indeed that acknowledge a God, did or can question God's right, though they may question his will and actual exercise of his right. He is the creator, and therefore is the sovereign Lord and Ruler. The world is his family, and, as a master, he hath an undoubted right to govern his own family : he gave all creatures their beings, and therefore hath a right to enact their laws, appoint their stations, and fix their ends. It is as much his property and prerogative to rule, as it is to create. Creation is so pecu- liarly proper to God, that it is not communicable to any creature, no, not to angels, though of a vast capacity in other things, and that because they are creatures themselves. It is as impossible for one creature, or all, to govern the world, and manage all tho boisterous passions of mon to just and glorious onds, as to croato thorn. It is true, God usoth instruments in the oxocutive part of his providenco ; but ho doth not design the government of tho world only by instruments. Ho usoth thorn not for necessity, but orna- ment. Ho created tho world without thorn, and therefore can govorn the world without thorn. I irtus creativa est fund amen t um provulnitur, et ari/utnenhun ad provi- dentiam. This right is foundod upon that of croation, as he is the efficient causo of it. This right is also foundod upon tho oxcolloncy of his boing ; that which is excellent having a right to rule, in tho way of that oxcolloncy, that which is inferior. Every man hath a natural right to rule another in * Hvdaon'i Divine Bight of Uovonnnout, chap. vi. p. 3. t Clomoua ad (Joriuth, [>. 84. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 9 his own art and skill wherein he excels him. If it be the right of a chief magistrate to manage the concerns of his kingdom, with what reason can we deny that right to God ? 2. God only is qualified for the universal government of the world. All creatures, as they were unable to create themselves, so are unable to manage themselves without the direction of a superior power, much more unable to manage the vast body of the world. God is only fit in regard of, (1.) Power. Conservation is continuata creatio ; that power which is fit to create, is only fit to preserve. A continued creation belongs as much to omnipotency as the first creation. The government of it requires no less power, both in regard of the numer- ousness of the objects, and the strange contrariety of passions in rational creatures, and qualities in irrational ; conservation is but one continued act with creation, following on from an instant to duration, as a line from its mathematical point.* (2.) Holiness and righteousness. If he that hates right is not fit to govern, Job xxxiv. 17, then he that is infinitely righteous, and hath an in- finite love to righteousness, is the fittest to undertake that task ; without righteousness there would be nothing but confusion in the whole creation. Disorder is the effect of unrighteousness, as order is the effect of justice. The justest man is fittest for subordinate government among men, and the infinite just God is fittest for the universal government of the world. (3.) Knowledge. An infinite knowledge to decry all the contrivances and various labyrinths of the hearts of men, their secret intentions and aims, is necessary. The government of the world consists more in ordering the inward faculties of men, touching the hearts, and tuning them to play what note he pleases, than in external things. No creature hath the skill or power to work immediately upon the will of man ; neither angels nor devils can do it immediately, but by proposing objects, and working upon the fancy, which is not always successful. He that created the heart, knows all the wards of it, and hath only the skill to turn it and incline it as he pleases ; he must needs know all the inclinations of the creatures and their proper activities, since he alone conferred all those several principles and qualities upon them. * Known unto God are all his works from the begin- ning of the world,' Acts xv. 8, viz., the particular natures, inclinations, in- ward motions, which no creature fully understands ; he needs no deputy to inform him of what is done, he is everywhere, and sees all things. Worldly governors cannot be everywhere essentially present. God is so perfect in his knowledge of all things, that he cannot be im- posed upon by the evil suggestions and flatteries of men or angels. In nature it is so : the eye guides the body, because that is the chief organ of sensitive knowledge ; the mind, which is the seat of wisdom, guides the whole. (4.) Patience. Infinite patience is requisite to the preservation and govern- ment of the world, in the circumstances wherein it hath stood ever since the fall. What angel, though the meekest, or can all the angels in heaven, be masters of so much patience as is needful for this work of governing the world, though for the space of one day ? Could they bear with all those evils which are committed in the world in the space of twenty-four hours ? Might we not reasonably conceive, that they would be so tired with the obliquities, disorders, deformities which they would see in the acts of men (besides all the evil which is in the hearts of men, which He without the verge of their * Taylor's Exemplar, preface. 10 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. knowledge), that they would rather call for fire from heaven to burn the world to ashes. Averroes* thought that because of God's slowness to anger, he meddled not with sublunary concerns. This rather fits him for it, because he can bear with the injuries of wicked men, otherwise the world would not con- tinue a moment. Angels, though powerful, holy, wise and patient creatures, yet being crea- tures, they want the infiniteness of all these qualifications which are neces- sary to this government. Though they are knowing, yet they know not men's hearts ; though they are wise, yet they may be charged with a folly uncapable of this ; though holy, yet not able in this respect to manage it to the ends and designs of an infinite holiness; though nimble, yet cannot be in all parts of the world at every turn : but the providence of God is infallible, because of his infinite wisdom ; indefatigable, because of his omnipotency ; and righteous, because of his goodness. 3. There can be no reason rendered why God should not actually govern the world, since he only hath a right and fitness. If God doth not actually govern it, it is either because he cannot, or because he will not. (1.) Not because he cannot. This inability must be either for want of knowledge, or want of power. The one, if asserted, would deny his omni- potence, the other his omniscience ; the one would make him a weak God, the other an ignorant God, and consequently no God. (2.) Not because he will not ; if he can and will not, it is, say some, a testimony of envy, that he maligns the good of his creatures ; but not to insist upon this ; this must be either because of the, [l.J Difficulty. This cannot be. What difficulty can there be in a single word, or one act of his will, which can be done by God without any molesta- tion, were there millions of worlds as well as this ? For still they would be finite, and so governable by an infinite superior. May we not more reasonably think the forming such a mass would require more pains than the govern- ment of it ? The right stringing an instrument is more trouble to a skilful musician, than the tripping over the strings afterwards to make an harmony. What difficulty can it be to Omnipotence ? Is it a greater labour to preserve and govern, than it was to create ? Doth not the soul order every part of the body, and all its functions, without any pain to it ? and shall not the God that made that soul so indefatigable, much more manage the concern- ments of the world without labour to himself ? Is it not as easy with God to guide all these things by one single act of his will, as for me, by an act of my soul, to do many tilings without a distinct act of cogitation or considera- tion before ? Can it be more laborious to him to govern tho world, than it is to know all things in tho world? Ho sees all things in an instant by one act of his understanding, and he orders all creatures in a moment by one act of his will. Can oik; act of his will he more painful than one act o( his un- derstanding? Can ho with a word make this gltal ball? and can he not with M much ease Order all to conform to the law of his own righteous will? Can a cont inual eruption of goodness be a difficulty to an infinite being, which we find natural to the sun, to the fountains, to the sea, to many works of that omnipotent goodneet ? Or, [2.) Disparagement. Denial of Cod's providence over the lesser things of the world did arise from the consideration of the state of monarehs, who thought it an abridgment of their felicity and dignity, to stoop to inch low considerations as the miniituht of their estates might exact from them, but left them to their vice gerents. I » 1 1 1 they consider not that the felicity of * Trap on Bzod. xxxiv. 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 11 God as it respects the creature, is to communicate his goodness to as many subjects as he had made capable of his care. If it were his glory to create the world, can it be his dishonour to govern it ? The glorifying his wis- dom is as honourable to him as the magnifying his power ; though both are eminent in creation and providence, yet his wisdom is more signal in the governing, as his power was in framing of the world. Why was it not as much a disparagement to God to create things con- temptible in our eyes, as since he hath created them to take care of them, and marshal them for his glorious ends ? The sun in the heavens is a sha- dow of God, which doth not disdain to communicate its natural goodness, and emit its beams to the meanest creatures, and let the little flies sport themselves in them, as well as the greatest princes, and transmits an influ- ence upon things obscure and at a distance from it, whereby it manifests an universal regard to all. And would it not be a disparagement to an infinite goodness to be outstripped by a creature, which he hath set up for a natural communication of goodness to the rest of the world ? The very considera- tion of the sun, and the nature of it, gives us as much an account of God as any inanimate being whatsoever. It is as much the sun's honour to pro- duce a small insect, as the growth of the greatest plant. Have not all creatures, a natural affection in them to preserve and provide for their own ? * hath not God much more, who endued all creatures with that disposition ? Whatsoever is a natural perfection in creatures, is emi- nently an infinite perfection in God. If it be therefore a praise to you to preserve your own, can it be a disgrace to God ? You may as well say it is as much a dishonour to him to be good, as to have a tender regard to his creatures. Censure him as well you may for creating them for your delight, as preserving and governing them for the same end. They are all good, for he pronounced them so ; and being so, a God of goodness will not account them unworthy of his care. Are they now the products of his omnipotent wisdom ? and shall not they be the objects of his directing wisdom ? If they are not unworthy of God to create, how can they be unworthy of God to govern them ? It would be as much below him to make them, as to rule them when they were made. 4. Therefore, God doth actually preserve and govern the world; though angels are in ministry in some particular works of his providence, yet God is the steersman who gives out his particular orders to them. Jacob's ladder had the top in heaven, where God stood to keep it firm, its foot on earth, and the angels going up and down upon several errands at their master's beck. As God made all things for himself, so he orders the ends of all things made by him for his own glory. For being the most excellent and intelli- gent agent, he doth reduce all the motions of his creatures to that end for which he made them. This actual government of the world by God brancheth itself out in three things. 1. Nothing is acted in the world without God's knowledge. The vision of the wheels inEzekiel presents us with an excellent portraiture of providence, there are eyes round about the wheels : Ezek. i. 18, ' Their wings were full of eyes,' &c. The eye of God is upon the whole circle of the creatures' motion. In all the revolutions in the world, there is the eye of God's omniscience to see them, and the arm of his omnipotence to guide them. Not the most retired corner, or the darkest cell, not the deepest cavern, or most inward projecc- nor the most secret wickedness, not the closest goodness, but the eye of * Mornae. de Verit. Kelig. Christian, chap. xi. 12 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. the Lord beholds it : Prov. xv. 3, * The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.' He hears the words, sees the actions, knows the thoughts, registers the gracious discourses, bottles up the penitent tears, and considers all the ways of men; not a whispered oath, not an atheistical thought, though but only peeping upon the heart, and sink- ing down again in that mass of corruption, not a disorderly word, but he knows and marks it. The soul hath a particular knowledge of every act, because it is the spring of every act in any member, and nothing is done in this little world, but the soul knows it. Surely, then, there is not an act done in the world, nor the motion of any creature, but as God doth concur to it, he must needs know what he doth concur to. The knowledge and ordaining every thing is far less to the infinite being of God, than the knowledge and ordaining every motion of the body is to a finite soul. Or, suppose a soul clothed with a body of as big a proportion as the matter of the whole creation, it would actuate this body, though of a greater bulk, and know every motion of it ; how much more God, who hath infinity and excellency and strength of all angels and souls, must need actuate this world, and know every motion of it ! There is nothing done in the world but some creature or other knows it ; he that acts it doth at least know it. If God did not know it, the creatures then in that particular knowledge would be superior to God, and know something more than God knows ; can this be possible ? 2. Nothing is acted in the world without the will of God. His will either commands it, or permits it : Eph. i. 11, 'He works all things after the counsel of his own will,' Ps. cxxxv. 6, ' Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in earth.' Even the sins of the world his will permits them, his power assists in the act, and his wisdom orders the sinfulness of the act for holy ends. The four chariots in Zech. vi. 2-5, by which some understand angels, are sent upon commission into the several parts of the world, and compared to chariots, both for their strength, their swiftness, their employment in a military way to secure the church. These are said to come out of the two mountains of brass, ver. 1, which signify the irreversible decrees of God, which the angels are to execute.* He alarms up the winds, when he would have Jonah arrested in his flight. He sounds a retreat to them, and locks them up in their chambers, Ps. cvii. 25-29. Bread hath a natural virtue in it to nourish, but it must be accompanied with his secret blessing, Mat. iv. 4. Virtuto primi actus, agunt agentia omnia quicquid agunt. 8. Nothing doth subsist without God's caro and power. His eyes running to and fro, implies not only knowledge, but caro. Ho doth not carelessly behold what is done in the world, but, liko a skilful pilot, ho sits at tho helm, and steers tho world in what course it should Bail. Our being we owe to his power, our well-being to his cure, our motion and exerting of every faculty to his mereii'ul providence and oononrrence ; ' in him wo livo, and move, and havo our being,' Acts xvii. 2H. He (Values OUT being, preserves our life, concurs with our motion. This is an idea that bean date in the minds of mon witli the very notion of a Godt Why else did tho heathen in all their straits fly to their altars, and till their temples with eries and sacrifices? To what, purpose was this, if they had not acknowledged God's suporinton- deiiev, his taking notice of their cause, hearing their prayers, considering their cries? Why should they do this, if they thought that God did not regard human all'airs, but stood untouched with a souse of their miseries ? * Reynolds. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 13 If all things were done by chance, there could be no predictions of future things, which we frequently find in Scripture, and by what ways accomplished. Impossible it is that anything can be continued without his care. If God should in the least moment withhold the influence of his providence, we should melt into nothing, as the impression of a seal upon the water vanishes* as soon as the seal is removed ; or as the reflection of the face in the glass disappears upon the first instant of our removal from it. The light in the air is by participation of the light of the sun ; the light in the air withdraws upon the departure of the sun. The physical and moral goodness [of J the creature would vanish upon the removal of God from it, who is the fountain of both. What an artificer doth work, may continue, though the workman dies, because what he doth is materially, as to the matter of it, ready to his hands ; he creates not the matter, but only sets materials together, and disposeth them into such a form and figure. But God gives a being to the matter and form of all things, and therefore the continuance of that being depends upon his preserving influence.* God upholds the world, and causes all those laws which he hath impressed upon every creature, to be put in exe- cution : not as a man that makes a watch, and winds it up, and then suffers it to go of itself ; or that turns a river into another channel, and lets it alone to run in the graff he hath made for it ; but there is a continual concurrence of God to this goodly frame. For they do not only live, but move in him, or by him ; his living and omnipotent power runs through every vein of the creation, giving it life and motion, and ordering the acts of every part of this great body. All the motions of second causes are ultimately resolved into the providence of God, who holds the first link of them in his hands, Hosea ii. 21, 22. More particularly, the nature of providence may be explained by two propositions. Prop. 1. The universality of it. His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth. 1. It is over all creatures, (1.) the highest, (2.) the lowest. (1.) The highest and most magnificent pieces of the creation. [1.] Over Jesus Christ, the first-born of every creature. God's providence was in an especial manner conversant about him, and fixed upon him. It was by the determinate counsel of God, that he was delivered up, Acts ii. 23. His providence was diligently exercised about him in his whole course. Christ answers his mother's solicitousness with the care his Father took of him : Luke ii. 49, ' Wist you not that I must be about my Father's busi- ness ?' Do you not know that I am about those things my Father takes care of ? This exposition best agrees with his reproof, who blames them for creating so much trouble to themselves upon their missing him in the town. It is not, Why do you interrupt me in my dispute with the Jewish doctors ? But ' How is it that you sought me ? Do you think I am not under the care of my Father ?'f It was particularly exercised on him'in the midst of his passion, Zech. iii. 9. Seven eyes were upon the stone ; seven, a number of perfection, a perfect and peculiar care of God attended him. [2.] Over angels and men. The soul of the least animal, and the smallest plant, is formed and preserved by God, but the breath of mankind is more particularly in his hand : Job xii. 10, 'In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.' First, Over good angels and men. He charges his angels with folly and w eakness. They cannot direct themselves without his wisdom, nor preserve * Stillingfleet, Orig. sacraj. lib. iii. cap. 3, sect. 3. t h roTg rou Kargbg. Hammond in loc. 14 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. themselves without his power. God hath a book of providence, wherein he writes down who shall be preserved, and this book Moses understands : Exod. xxxii. 33, ' Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book;' not the book of election, — no names written there are blotted out, — but out of the book of providence. As it is understood, Isa. iv. 3, ' Every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem,' i. e. every one whom God designs to preservation and deliverance.* That God, surely, that hath a care of the mean animals, will not be careless of his affectionate worshippers. He that feeds the ravens will not starve his doves. He that satisfies the ravening wolf, will not famish his gentle lambs and harmless sheep. He shelters Jacob from Laban's fury, Gen. xxxi., and tutors him how he should carry himself towards the good man. He brought Haman out of favour, and set Mordecai in his place for the deliverance of the Jews which were designed for slaughter. Secondly, Over evil angels and men. God's power preserves them, his patience suffers them, his wisdom orders them, and their evil purposes and performances, to his own glory. The devil cannot arrest Job, nor touch a lamb of his flock, nor a hair of his head, without a commission from God. He cannot enter into one filthy swine in the Gaderenes' herd, without asking our Saviour leave. Whatever he doth, he hath a grant or permission from heaven for it. God's special providence is over his people, but his general providence over all kingdoms and countries. He takes care of Syria, as well as of Judea ; and sends Elisha to anoint Hazael king of Syria, as well as Jehu king of Israel, 1 Kings xix. 15. Though Ishmael had mocks for Isaac, yet the God of Isaac provided for the wants of Ishmael ; Gen. xxv. 16-18, ' He causeth his sun to shine upon the unjust,' as well as ' the just,' to produce fruits and plants for their pre- servation. (2.) Over the meanest creatures. As the sun's light, so God's providence disdains not the meanest worms. It is observed, that in the enumeration of the works of creation, Gen. i. 21, only the great whales and small creeping things are mentioned, and not the intermediate creatures, to shew that the least as well as the greatest are under his care. It is one of his titles to be the preserver of beasts as well as men, Neh. ix. G. He is the great caterer for all creatures ; Ps. civ. 21, ' The young lions seek their meat from God.' They attend him for their daily portion, and what they gather and meet with in their pursuit, is God's gift to them, ver. 27, 28. He listens to the cries of the young ravens, though they are birds of prey. ■ He givei to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry,' Ps. cxlvii. 9. In Ps. civ. David throughout the whole reads a particular lecturo of this doctrine, wherein you may take a prospect of God's providence all over the world. He acts them by a commandment and imprinted law upon their natures, and makes them Observe exactly those statutes he enacts for the guidance o( them in their proper operations. Ps. exhii. 15, ' He sendeth forth his command- ment upon earth, and his word runs very swiftly,' viz., his word of provi- dence. God keeps them is the observation of their first ordinance. Ps, <-\ix. 91, ' They continue this day according to thine ordinances, for all are thy servants,' i.e. tho earth and what is upon it. They observe their stations, the law God hath set them, as if they had a rational knowledge of their duty in their particular motions ; Ps. civ. 19, ' the sun knoweth his going down.' BometimSi he makes them instruments of his ministry to us, lojnetis wtioners of oil judgments. Lies and frogs arm themselves ;i t, his command to punish Egypt. lie makes a whale to attend Jonas drop- ping into tho sea, to DC an instrument hoth to punish and preserve him. * Ilorton'a Serin. PS. Ixxxvii. p. 6G. 2 CHRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 15 Yea, and which is more wonderful, the multitude of the very cattle is brought among others as a reason 'of a people's preservation from destruction, Jonah iv. 11 ; the multitude of the cattle are joined with the multitude of the infants, as an argument to spare Nineveh. He remembers Noah's cattle as well as his sons ; Gen viii. 1, ' God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all t the cattle that were with him in the ark.' He numbers the very hairs of our heads, that not ono falls without his will. Not only the immortal soul, but the decaying body ; not only the vital parts of that body, but the incon- siderable hairs of the head, are under his care. Obs. 1. This is no dishonour to God, to take care of the meanest creatures. It is as honourable for his power to preserve them, and his wisdom to govern them, as for both to create them. It is one part of a man's righteousness to be merciful to his beasts, which he never made ; and is it not a part of God's righteousness, as the rector of the world, to take care of those creatures, which he did not disdain to give a being to ? Obs. 2. It rather condueeth to his honour. (1.) The honour of his goodness. It shews the comprehensiveness of his goodness, which embraceth in the arms of his providence the lowest worm as well as the highest angel. Shall infinite goodness frame a thing, and make no provision for its subsistence ? At the first creation he acknow- ledged whatever he had created good in his kind, good in themselves, good { n order to the end for which he created them ; it is therefore an honourable thing for his goodness to conduct them to that end which in their creation he designed them for ; and not leave them wild disorders, unsuitable to the end of that goodness which first called them into being. If he grow out of love with the operations of his hands, he would seem to grow out of love with his own goodness that formed them. (2.) The honour of his power and wisdom. The power of God is as much seen in making an insect full of life and spirit in all the parts of it, to perform all the actions suitable to its life and nature, as in making creatures of a greater bulk ; and is it not for the honour of his power to preserve them, and the honour of his wisdom to direct these little animals to the end he intended in their creation ? For as little as they seem to be, an end they have, and glorious too, for natura nihil facit frustra. It seems not to consist with his wisdom to neglect that which he hath vouchsafed to create. And though the apostle seems to deny God's care of brutes, — 1 Cor. ix. 9, ' Doth God take care for oxen ?' — it is true God did not in that law only take care of oxen, i. e. with a legislative care, as making a law only for them, though with a providential care he doth ; but the apostle there doth not deny God's care for oxen, but makes an argument a minore ad majus. 2. Providence extends to all the actions and motions of the creature. Every second cause implies a dependence upon a first cause in its operation. If God did not extend his providence over the actions of creatures, he would not every where, and in all things and beings, be the first cause. (1.) To natural actions. What an orderly motion is there in the natural actions of creatures, which evidenceth a guidance by an higher reason, since they have none of their own ! How do fish serve several coasts at several seasons, as if sent upon a particular message by God ? This cannot be by any other faculty than the instinct their Maker hath put into them. Plants that grow between a barren and fruitful soil, shoot all their roots towards the moist and fruitful ground, by what other cause than a secret direction of providential wisdom ?* There is a law impressed upon them and their motions, that are so orderly, as if they were acted according to a covenant * Andrew's Catechistical Doctrine, p. 60. 16 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. and agreement between them and their Creator, and therefore called ■ the covenant of the day and night,' Jer. xxxiii. 20. What avails the toil and labour of man in ploughing, trading, watching, unless God influence, unless he bless, unless he keep the city ! The proceed of all things depends upon his goodness in blessing, and his power in preserving. God signified this, when he gave the law from mount Sinai, promising the people, that if they kept his commandments, he would give them rain in due season, and that the earth should bring forth her fruit : Lev. xxvi. 3, 4, ' Then will I give you rain, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit ;' evidencing thereby, that those natural causes can pro- duce nothing without his blessing ; that though they have natural principles to produce such fruits according to their natures, yet he can put a stop to their operations, and make all their fruits abortive. He weighs the waters, how much shall be poured out in showers of rain upon the parched earth. He makes a decree for the rain, and gives the clouds commission to dissolve themselves so much and no more, Job xxviii. 23-26. Yea, he doth order the conduct of them by counsel, as employing his wisdom about these things which are of concern to the world. Job xxxvii. 11, 12, 'He scattereth his bright cloud, and it is turned round about by his counsels, that they may do whatsoever he commands them upon the face of the world in the earth.' (2.) To civil actions. Counsels of men are ordered by him to other ends than what they aim at, and which their wisdom cannot discover. God stirred up Sennacherib to be the executioner of his justice upon the Jews, and afterwards upon the Egyptians, when that great king designed only the satisfaction of his ambition in the enlarging his kingdom, and supporting his greatness. Isa. x. 6, 7, ' I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath. Howbeit he means not so, neither doth h?s heart think so,' — he designs not to be an instrument of my justice, — 1 but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.' His thoughts and aims were far different from God's thoughts. The hearts of kings are in his hands, as wax in the hands of a man, which he can work into what form and shape he pleases. He hath the sovereignty over, and the ordering the hearts of magistrates ; Ps. xlvii. 9, ' The shields of the earth belong unto God.' Counsels of men for the good of his people are his act. The princes advised Jeremiah and Baruch, Jer. xxxvi. 19, to hide themselves, which they did, yet, verse 26, it is said the Lord hid them. Though they followed the advice of their court-friends, yet they could not have been secured, had not God stepped in by his providential care, and covered them with his hand. It was the courtiers' counsel, but God challenges the honour of the success. Military actions aro ordered by him. Martial employments are ordered by his providence. He is the great general of armies. It is observed that in the two prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, God is called the Lord of Hosts no less than i hundred and thirty tunes.* (!}.) To preternatural actions. God doth command creatures to do those things which UTS DO WSV suitable to their inclinations, and gives them some- times fbf his own service a writ of case from the performance of the natural liiw lie li;ith impressed anon then* A devonring raven is made by the pro- viilence of God the prophets 1 caterer in time of famine, I Kings xvii. 1. God instructs a ravenous hn.l in a lesson of abstinence for Elijah's safety, and makes if both :i Book il,l( ' :L ■srving man to the prophet. Tho whale, that delights to play about the deepest pait Of khS ocean, approaches to the shore, and attends upon Jonal to transport him to the dry land, Jonah ii. 10, * Arrowdinitli, ' Cluu-u of rrinoiplos,' Exorcit. i. sect 1. 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 17 The fire was slacked by God, that it should not singe the least hair of the three children's heads, but was let loose to consume the officers of the court, Dan. iii. The mouths of the ravenous lions, which had been kept with an empty stomach, were muzzled by God, that they should not prey upon Daniel in a whole night's space. God taught them an heroical temper- ance with so dainty a dish at their mouths, and yet they tore the accusers in a trice. (4.) To all supernatural and miraculous actions of the creatures, which are as so many new creations. As when the sun went backward in Hezekiah's time, when it stood still in the valley of Ajalon, that Joshua might com- plete his victory on the Canaanitcs. The boisterous waves stood on a heap like walls to secure the Israelites' passage ; but, returning to their natural motion, were the Egyptians' sepulchre. When creatures have stepped out of their natural course, it could not be the act of the creature, it being so much against and above their natures, but it must be by the order of some supe- rior power. (5.) To all fortuitous actions. What is casual to us is ordained by God ; as effects stand related to the second cause, they are many times contingent, but as they stand related to the first cause, they are acts of his counsel, and directed by his wisdom. God never left second causes to straggle and ope- rate in a vagabond way ; though the effect seem to us to be a loose act of the creature, yet it is directed by a superior cause to a higher end than we can presently imagine. The whole disposing of the lot which is cast into the lap, is from the Lord, Prov. xvi. 33. A soldier shoots an arrow at random, and God guides it to be the executioner of Ahab for his sin, 1 Kings xxii. 34, which death was foretold by Micaiah, ver. 17, 28. God gives us a certain rule to judge of such contingencies, Exod. xxi. 13, ' And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand.' A man acci- dentally kills another, but it is done by a secret commission from God. God delivered him into his hands. Providence is the great clock, keeping time and order, not only hourly, but instantly, to its own honour.* (6.) To all voluntary actions. [1.] To good actions. Not by compelling, but sweetly inclining, deter- mining the will, so that it doth that willingly, which, by an unknown and unseen necessity, cannot be omitted. It constrains not a man to good against his will, but powerfully moves the will to do that by consent, which God hath determined shall be done : ' The way of man is not in himself,' the motion is man's, the action is man's, but the direction of his steps is from God. Jer. x. 23, ' It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' [2.] To evil actions. I First, In permitting them to be done. Idolatries and follies of the heathen were permitted by God. He checked them not in their course, but laid the reins upon their necks, and suffered them to run what race they i pleased : Acts xiv. 16, ' Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.' Not the most execrable villany that ever was committed in the world could have been done without his permission. Sin is not amabile propter se, and therefore the permission of it is not desirable in itself, but the permission of it is only desirable, and honestatur ex Jive. God is good, and wise, and righteous in all his acts, so likewise in this act of per- mitting sin ; and therefore he wills it out of some good and righteous end, which belongs to the manifestation of his glory, which is that he intends in all the acts of his will, of which this is one. Wicked men are said to be a staff in God's hand ; as a man manages a staff which is in his own power, so * Fuller, Eccles. Hist. Cent. 6, book ii. p. 51. VOL. I. B 18 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. doth God manage wicked men for bis own holy purposes, and they can go no further than God gives them license. Secondly, In ordering them. God governs them by his own unsearchable wisdom and goodness, and directs them to the best and holiest ends, con- trary to the natures of the sins, and the intentions of the sinner. Joseph's brothers sold him to gratify their revenge, and God ordered it for their pre- servation in a time of famine. Pharaoh's hardness is ordered by God for his own glory and that king's destruction. God decrees the delivering up Christ to death; and Herod, Pilate, the Pharisees, and common rout of people, in satisfying their own passion, do but execute what God had before ordained : Acts iv. 28, ' For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.' Judas his covetousness, and the devil's malice, are ordered by God to execute his decree for the redemption of the world. Titus the emperor, his ambition led him to Jerusalem, but God's end is the fulfil- ling of his threatenings, and the taking revenge upon the Jews for their mur- dering of Christ. The aim of the physician is the patient's health, when the intent of the leeches is only to suck the blood. God hath holy ends in per- mitting sin, while man hath unworthy ends in committing it. The rain, which makes the earth fruitful, is exhaled out of the salt waters, which would of themselves spoil the ground and make it unfruitful. • The deceiver and the deceived are his,' Job xii. 1G. Both the action of the devil the seducer, and of wicked men the seduced, are restrained by God within due bounds, in subserviency to his righteous will. For ' with him is strength and wisdom.' J'rop. 2. As providence is universal, so it is mysterious. Who can trace the motions of God's eyes in their race ? 'He makes the clouds his chariot,' Ps. civ. 3, in his motions about the earth, and his throne is in the dark. He walks upon the wings of the wind, his providential speed makes it too quick for our understanding. His ways are mysterious, and put the reason and wisdom of men to a stand. The clearest-sighted servants of God do not - the bottom of his works, the motion of God's eyes is too quick for ours. John Baptist is so astonished at the strange condescension of his Saviour to be baptized of him, that he forbids it, Mat. iii. 14 ; man is a weak crea- ture, and cannot trace or set out the wisdom of God. But this mystcriousness and darkness of providence adds a lustre to it, as stones set in ebony, though the grounds be dark, make the beauty and sparkling the clearer. 1. His way* arc above; human methods. Dark providences are often tlie groundwork of some excellent piece lie is about to discover to the world. His methoda an: like a plaited picture, which on the one aide represents a negro, on the other a beauty. He lets Sarah's womb be dead, and then brings out the root of a numerous progeny, lie makes Jacob a cripple, and then a prince b> prevail with God ; be gives him a wound and then a bl( ing. lie Bendfl QOt the gospel till reason was oonplussed, and that the world, in that highest wisdom it had at that time attained unto, was not able to arrive to the knowledge of God. l Oor. i. 21, 'After that the world by wisdom Knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, them that believe.' •J. J lis endfl are Of a higher strain than the aims of men. Who would have thought thai the forces Cyrus raised against Babylon, to satisfy his own ambition, should be a means to deliver the Israelites, and restore the worship of God in the temple ? Cod had this end, which Isaiah prophesied of, and hi-, never dreamt, of: I -a. xliv. 28, ' That saith of Cyrus. Thou art my shepherd, and lhalt perform all my pleasure, even saying that Jerusalem 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.1 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 19 shall bo built,' &c. ; and this a long time before Cyrus was born, Isa, xlv. 1. Pharaoh sent Israel away in the very night, at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, the time prefixed by God. He could not keep them longer because of God's promise, he would not because of God's plagues. God aims at the glorifying his truth, in keeping touch with his word. Pharaoh designs not the accomplishing God's will, but his deliverance from God's judgments. There is an observable consideration to this purpose, how God's ends are far different from man's, Luke ii. 1, 4, in the taxing the whole world by Augustus. Augustus, out of pride, to see what a numerous people he was prince of, would tax the whole world. Some tell us he had appointed the enrolling the whole empire twenty- seven years before the birth of our Saviour, and had proclaimed it at Tarracon, in Spain. But soon after this proclama- tion, Augustus found a breaking out of some stirs, and thereupon deferred his resolution to some other fit time, which was the very time of the birth of Christ. See now God's wise disposal of things, in changing Augustus's resolution, and deferring it till the forty-fourth year of his reign, when Christ was ready to come into the world ! And this by giving occasion, yea, neces- sitating Mary to come from Nazareth, where Joseph and Mary dwelt, who perhaps being big with child, without this necessity laid upon her by the emperor's edict, would not have ventured upon the journey to Bethlehem. There she falls in travail, that so Christ, the seed of David, being conceived in Nazareth, should be born at Bethlehem, where Jesse lived, and David was born. How wisely doth God order the ambition and pride of men to fulfil his own predictions, and to publish the truth of Christ's birth of the seed of David, for the names of Joseph and Mary were found in the records of Rome in Tertullian's time. 3. God hath several ends in the same action. Jacob is oppressed with famine, Pharaoh enriched with plenty, but Joseph's imprisonment is in order to his father's relief, and Pharaoh's wealth ; his s mistress's anger flings him into a prison. Joseph is wronged, and hath captivity for a reward of his chastity. God makes it a step to his advancement, and by this way brings him from a captive to be a favourite. What is God's end ? Not only to preserve the Egyptian nation, but old Jacob and his family. Was this all that God aimed at? No; he had a further design, and lays the foundation of something to be acted in the future age. By this means Jacob is brought into Egypt, leaves his posterity there, makes way for that glory in the work- ing of the future miracles for their deliverance, such an action that the world should continually ring of, and which should be a type of the spiritual deliverance by Christ. 4. God has more remote ends than short-sighted souls are able to espy. God doth not eye the present advantage of himself and his creature, but hath an eye to his own glory in all, yea, in the very last ages of the world. In small things there are often great designs laid by God, and mysteries in the least of his acts. Isaac was delivered from his father's sword, when he was intentionally dead, to set forth to the world a type of Christ's resurrection, and a ram is conducted thither by God, and entangled in the thickets, and appointed to sacrifice, whereby God sets forth a type of Christ's death.* He useth the captivities of the people, to enlarge the bounds of the gospel. The wise men were guided by a star to Christ as King of the Jews, and come to pay homage to him in his infancy. When was the foundation of this remarkable event laid? Probably in Balaam's prophecy, Num. xxiv. 17. 1 1 shall see him, but not now ; I shall behold him, but not nigh. There * Hall's Contemp. p. 796. 20 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChKON. XVI. 9. shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel,' &c. transmitted by tradition to those wise men, and perhaps renewed by Sibilla Chaldcea, and confirmed in their minds by the Jews, whilst in the Babylonish captivity they conversed with them. Thus God many ages before in this prophecy had an end in promoting the readier entertainment of Christ among this people, when he should be born ; what the wise men's end was, the Scripture doth not acquaint us ; but, however, their gifts were a means to preserve our Saviour, Joseph, and Mary, from the rage of a tyrant, and affording them wherewithal to support them in Egypt, whither they were ordered by God to fly for security. So God, 2 Kings vii. 1, 2, 17, threatens by the prophet the nobleman for his scoffing unbelief, that though he should see the plenty, that he should not taste of it. See how God doth order second causes, naturally to bring about his own decree ! The king gives this person charge of the gate ; whilst the people crowd for provision to satisfy their hunger, they accomplish the threatening, which they had no in- tentions to do, and trod him to death. Now I come to shew that there is a providence. Obs. 1. The wisdom of God would not be so perspicuous, were there not a providence in the world. It is eminent in the creation, but more illus- trious in the government of the creatures. A musician discovers more skill in the touching an instrument, and ordering the strings, to sound what notes he pleaseth, than he doth in the first framing and making of it. Isa. xxviii. 29, ' This also comes from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.' All God's providences are but his touch of the strings of this great instrument of the world. And all his works are excellent, because they are the fruit of his wonderful counsel, and unsearch- able wisdom, which is most seen in his providence, as in reading the verses before. His power is glorified in creating and upholding this fabric. How shall his wisdom be glorified but in his government of it? Surely God will be no less intent upon the honour of his wisdom than upon that of his power. For if any attribute may be said to excel another, it is his wisdom and holiness, because those are perfections which God hath stamped upon the nobler part of his creation. Inferior creatures have more power and strength than man, but wisdom is the perfection of a rational creature. Now it is God's wisdom to direct all things to their proper end, as well as to appoint them their ends, which direction must be by a particular providence, especially in those things which know not their end, and have no reason to guide them. We know in the world it is not a part of wisdom to leave things to chance, but to state our ends, and lay a platform of those means which direct to an attaining of them. And wisdom is most Been in drawing all things together, and making them subservient to the end lie hath fixed to him-, ell'; ;ind, therefore, ono of the great things that shall he admired at last,, next, to the great work of redemption, will he the harmony and consent of those things which seemed contrary, how they did all conspire for tho bringing about, that, end which (iod aimed ai. Obi. 2. The means wherehy (Iod acts discover a providence. lie acts, 1. By small means. The considerable actions in the world have usually very small beginnings. As of a tew letters how many thousand words aro made! often figures, how many thousand niimhers ! And a point is tho beginning of all geometry. A little stone (rang into a pond makes a little circle, then a greater, till it, enlargeth itself to both the sides. So from small beginnings, God doth cause an efflns through the whole world. (I.) lie u-eth small meazui in his ordinary works. The common works of nature spring from small beginnings. (1 resit plants are formed from small 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 21 seeds. The clouds which water the great garden of the world are but a collection of vapours. The noblest operations of the soul are wrought in an organ, viz. the brain, composed of .coagulated phlegm. Who would imagine that Saul, in seeking his father's asses, should find a kingdom ? (2.) In his extraordinary works he useth small means. Elisha, that waited upon Elijah, and poured water upon his hands, shall do greater miracles than his master. And the apostles shall do greater works than Christ, John xiv. 12, that the world may know that God is not tied to any means that men count excellent; that all creatures are his, and act not of themselves, but by his spirit and power. In his extraordinary works of justice. He makes a rod in the hands of Moses to confound the skill of the Egyptian magicians. He commissioned frogs and flies to countercheck a powerful and mighty people. When Benhadad was so proud as to say, the dust of Samaria should not suffice for handfuls for his army, God scattered his army by the lacqueys of the princes, — 1 Kings xx. 14, ' The young men of the princes of the pro- vinces,' — about two hundred thirty-two, ver. 15. The little sling in the hand of David a youth, guided by God's eye and hand, is a match fit enough for a blasphemous giant, and defeats the strength of a weaver's beam. In his extraordinary works of mercy. [1.] In the deliverance of a people or person. A dream was the occasion of Joseph's greatness and Joseph's preservation. He used the cacklings of geese to save the Koman Capitol from a surprise by the Gauls. He picks out Gideon to be a general, who was least in his father's esteem, Judges vi. 15 ; and what did his army consist of, but few, and those fearful, Judges vii. 6, 7 ; those that took water with their hands (which, as Josephus saith, is a natural sign of fear) did God choose out to overthrow the Midianites, who had overspread the land as grasshoppers, to shew that he can make the most fearful men to be sufficient instruments against the greatest powers, when the concernments of his church and people lie at stake. God so delights in thus baffiing the pride of men, that Asa uses it as an argument to move God to deliver him in the strait he was in, when Zerah the Ethiopian came against him with a great multitude, when he was but a small point and centre in the midst of a wide circumference : 2 Chron. xiv. 11, * Lord, it is nothing with thee to help with many or with few.' Hereby God sets off his own power, and evidenceth his superintendent care of his people. It was more signally the arm of God for Moses to confound Pharaoh with his lice and frogs, than if he had beaten him in a plain field with his six hundred thousand Israelites. [2.] In the salvation of the soul. Our Saviour himself, though God, the great redeemer of the world, was so mean in the eyes. of the world, that he calls himself ' a worm, and no man,' Ps. xxii. 6. He picks out many times the most unlikely persons to accomplish the greatest purposes for men's souls. He lodgeth the treasures of wisdom in vessels of earth ; he chose not the cedars of Lebanon, but the shrubs of the valley ; not the learned Pharisees of Jerusalem, but the poor men of Galilee : ' Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, he ordains praise to himself.' The apostles' breeding was not capable of ennobling their minds, and fitting them for such great actions as Christ employed them in. But after he had new moulded and inflamed their spirits, he made them of fishermen, greater conquerors of the world, than the most magnified grandees could pretend to. Thus salvation is wrought by a crucified Christ : and that God who made the world by wisdom, would save it by the foolishness of preaching. And 22 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. make Paul, the least of the apostles as he terms himself, more successful than those who had been instructed at the feet of Christ, 1 Cor. xv. 9, 10. 2. By contrary means. God by his, providence makes contrary things contribute to his glory, as contrary colours in a picture do to the beauty of the piece. Nature is God's instrument to do whatsoever he pleases ; and therefore nothing so contrary but he may bring to his own ends ; as in some engines you shall see wheels have contrary motions, and yet all in order to one and the same end. God cured those by a brazen serpent, which were stung by the fiery ones ; whereas brass is naturally hurtful to those that are bit by serpents.* (1.) Afflictions. Joseph is sold for a slave, and God sends him as a har- binger ; his brothers sold him to destroy him, and God sends him to save them. Paul's bonds, in the opinion of some, might have stifled the gospel ; but he tells us that they had fallen out to the furtherance of the gospel, Phil. i. 12. (2.) Sins.f God doth often effect his just will by our weakness ; neither there by justifying our infirmities, nor blemishing his own action. Jacob gets the blessing by unlawful means, telling no less than two lies to attain it, — I am Esau, and this is venison, — but hereby God brings about the per- formance of his promise, which Isaac's natural affection to Esau would have hindered Jacob of. The breach of the first covenant was an occasion of introducing a better. Man's sinning away his first stock, was an occasion to_ God to enrich him with a surer. The loss of his original righteousness made way for a clearer and more durable. The folly of man made way for the evidence of God's wisdom, and the sin of man for the manifestation of his grace ; and by the wise disposal of God, opens a way for the honour of those attributes which would not else have been experimentally known by the sons of men. 3. Casual means. The viper which leapt upon Paul's hand out of the bundle of sticks was a casual act, but designed by the providence of God for the propagation of the gospel. Pharaoh's daughter comes casually to wash herself in the river, but, indeed, conducted by the secret influence of God upon her, to rescue Moses, exposed to a forlorn condition, and breed him up in the Egyptian learning, that he might be the titter to be his kindred's deli- verer. Saul had been hunting David, and at last had lodged him in a placo whence he could not well escape, and being ready to seize upon him in that very instant of time, a post comes to Saul, and brings the news that the Philistines had invaded tho land, which cut out other work tor him, ami David for that time escapes, 1 Sam. xxiii. 2ti, fc 27, 28. Prop, 8. Reason. Bach actions and events <>t' things are in the world, which cannot rationally he ascrihed to any other cause than a supreme pro- vidence. It is so in common things. Men have the same parts, the Bams outward advantages, the same industry, and \ef prosper not alike. One lahours much, and L'ets little ; another uses not altogether such endeavours, and hath rich.s flowing in upon him. Men lay their projects deep, and question n«'l the accomplishment of them, ami are disappointed by some strange and Unforeseen accident. An. I sometimes men attain what they desire in a dif- ferent way, and many times contrary to the method they had projected. This is evidenced, 1. By the restraints upon t he pa' ions of men. The waves of the sea, and the tumults of the people art; much of the same impetuous natures, and are quelled l>y the same power : IN. lw. 7, 'Which stilleth the noise of * Ornlin-i, Num. \\i. 0. . /.'.t rutfnralit, r lmrrl roft OyNo/^xrO/;. f Hall, Oontemp. boos hi. p. mm;, 807, 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 23 the sea, and tumult of the people.' Tumults of the people could no more be stilled by the force of a man, than the waves of the sea by a puff of breath. How strangely did God qualify the hearts of the Egyptians will- ingly to submit to the sale of their land, when they might have risen in a tumult, broke open the granaries, and supplied their wants, Gen. xlvii. 19, 21. Indeed, if the world were left to the conduct of chance and fortune, what work would the savage lusts and passions of men make among us ! How is it possible that any but an almighty power can temper so many jarring principles, and rank so many quarrelsome and turbulent spirits in a due order ! If those brutish passions which boil in the hearts of men were let loose by that infinite power that bridles them, how soon would the world be run headlong into inconceivable confusions, and be rent in pieces by its own disorders ? 2. By the sudden changes which are made upon the spirits of men for the preservation of others. God takes off the spirit of some as he did the wheels from the Egyptian chariots, in the very act of their rage. Paul was struck down and changed while he was yet breathing out threatenings, &c. God sees all the workings of men's hearts, all those cruel intentions in Esau against his brother Jacob, but God on a sudden turns away that torrent of hatred, and disposeth Esau for a friendly meeting, Gen. xxxiii. 4. And he who had before an exasperated malice by reason of the loss of his birth- right and blessing, was in a moment a changed man. Thus was Saul's heart changed towards David, and from a persecutor turns a justifier of him, confesseth David's innocence and his own guilt : 1 Sam. xxiv. 17, 18, ' Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil,' &c. What reason can be rendered for so sudden a change in Saul's revengeful spirit, which had all the force of interest to support it, and considered by him at that very time ? For, ver. 24, he takes special notice that his family should be disinherited, and David be his successor in the throne. How suddenly did God turn the edge of the sword and the heart of an enemy from Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. xviii. 31. Jeho- shaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God moved them to depart from him. The Holy Ghost emphatically ascribes it to God's motion of their wills, by twice expressing it. But stranger is the preserva- tion of the Jews from Hainan's bloody designs, after the decree was gone out against them. Mordecai the Jew is made Ahasuerus's favourite by a strange wheeling of providence. First, the king's eyes are held waking, Esther vi. 1, 2, and he is inclined to pass away the solitariness of the night with a book, rather than a game, or some other court pastime ; no book did he fix on but the records of that empire, no place in that voluminous book but the chronicle of Mordecai' s service in the discovery of a treason against the king's life ; he doth not carelessly pass it over, but inquires what recompence had been bestowed on Mordecai for so considerable a service, and this just before Mordecai should have been destroyed. Had Ahasuerus slept, Mordecai and all his countrymen had been sacrificed, notwithstanding all his loyalty. Could this be a cast of blind chance, which had such a concatenation of evi- dences in it for a superior power ? 3. In causing enemies to do things for others which are contrary to all rules of policy. It is wonderful that the Jews, a people known to be of a stubborn nature, and tenacious of their laws, wherein they differed from all the nations, should in the worst of their captivities be so often befriended by their con- querors, not only to rebuild their city, and re-edify their temple, but at the charge of their conquerors too. The very enemies that had captived the. Jews, though they knew them to be a people apt to rebel : that the people 24 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XYI. 9. whose temple they had helped to build would keep up a distinct worship and difference in religion, which is usually attended with the greatest animosities ; and when they knew it to be so strong in situation as to be a fort as well as a place of worship ; that for this their enemies should furnish them with materials, when they were not in a condition to procure any for themselves, and give them money out of the public exchequer, and timber out of the king's forest, as we read, Ezra i. 1, 2, 4, 7; iv. 12, 15, 19; vi. 4, 5, 8, 9, 11; Neh. ii. 8. And all this they looked upon as the hand of God : Ezra, vi. 22, ' The Lord hath turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God.' And the heathen Artaxerxes takes notice of it. Cicero tells us, that in his time gold was carried out of Italy for the ornament of the temple. They had their rites in religion preserved entire under the Koman government, though more different from the Roman customs than any nation subdued by them. Dion and Seneca, and others, observe, that wherever they were transplanted they prospered and gave laws to the victors. And this was so generally acknowledged, that Haman's cabinet counsel (who were surely none of the meanest statesmen) gave him no hopes of success, when he appeared against Mordecai, because he was of the race of the Jews, Esth. vi. 18, so much did God own them by his gracious providence. They were also so entire in all their captivities before their crucifying of our Lord and Saviour, that they count their genealogies. 4. In infatuating the counsels of men. God sets a stamp of folly upon the wisdom of men, Isa. xliv. 25, ' that turns the wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness, and makes their counsels as chaff and stubble.' Isa. xxxiii. 11, 'Ye shall conceive chaff, and bring forth stubble.' Herod was a crafty person, insomuch that Christ calls him fox.* How foolish was he in managing his project of destroying Christ, his supposed competitor in the kingdom ! "When the wise men came to Jerusalem, and brought the news of the birth of a king of the Jews, he calls a synod of the ablest men among the Jews ! The result of it is to manifest the truth of God's prediction in the place of our Saviour's birth, and to direct the Wise men in their way to him. Herod had no resolutions but bloody con- cerning Christ, Mat. ii. 3-8. God blinds his mind in the midst of all his craft, that ho sees not those rational ways which he might make use of for the destruction of that which he feared : he sends those wise men, mere strangers to him, and entrusts them with so great a concern; he goes not himself, nor sends any of his guard with them to cut him off immediately upon the discovery, but leaves the whole conduct of the business to those he had no acquaintance with, and of v, hose faithfulness he could have no assurance. God crosses the intentions of men. Joab slew Amasa because he thought him his rival in David's favour, and then imagined he had rid his hands of all that could stand in his way; yet God raised up IVnaiah, who drew Joab from the homi of the altar, and cut him in pieces at Solomon's command. God doth so order it, many times, that when the most rational counsel is oiven to men, they h;ive not hearts to follow it. Ahithophel gave as suit - able counsel for Absalom's d< the best statesman in the world could give, 2 Sam. JXU, 1, 2, to surprise l>a\id while he was amused f at his son's rebellion, and dejected with grief at 10 Unnatural an action, and whilst his farces had Dot. yet made their rendesYons, and those that were with him \ • This ia i lingular Inadvertence on the pari of the author, It was not the Herod who slew the babes Ht Bethlehi m whom our Lord bo designated.— I'M. I Tlit! i :, lii , atti nt ion was occupied, or perhaps it may he a misprinl for 'amazed ' — K,l. 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 25 tired in their march. Speed was best in attempts of this nature. David in all probability had been cut off, and the hearts of the people would have melted at the fall of their sovereign. But Absalom inclines rather to Hushai's counsel, which was not so proper for the business he had engaged in, ver. 7-14. Now this was from God. ' For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.' So foolish were the Egyptians against reason, in entering into the Red Sea after the Israelites ; for could they possibly think that that God, who had by a strong hand and an army of prodigies brought Israel out of their captivity, and conducted them thus far, and now by a miracle opened the Red Sea and gave them passage through the bowels of it, should give their enemies the same security in pursuing them, and unravel all that web he had been so long a working ? 5. In making the counsels of men subservient to the very ends they design against. God brings a cloud upon men's understandings, and makes them the contrivers of their own ruin, wherein they intend their own safety, and gains honour to himself by outwitting the creature. The Babel projec- tors, fearing to be scattered abroad, would erect a power to prevent ; and this proved the occasion of dispersing them over the world in such a confusion that they could not understand one another, Gen. xi. 4, 8. God ordered Pharaoh's policies to accomplish the end against which they were directed. He is afraid Israel should grow too mighty, and so wrest the kingdom out of his hands, and therefore he would oppress them to hinder their increase, which made them both stronger and more numerous. Exercise strengthens men, and luxury softens the spirit. The Jews fear if they suffered Christ to make a farther progress in his doctrine and miracles, they should lose Cassar's favour, and expose their country as a prey to a Roman army : this caused their destruction by those enemies they thought by this means to prevent ; God ordering it so, that a Roman army was poured in upon them which swept them into all corners of the earth. Priests and Pharisees sit close together in counsel how to hinder men's believing in Christ, and the result of their consultation was to put him to death, and no man then would believe in a dead person, not capable of working any miracles, John xi. 47—50, for the amusing of the people ; and by this means there were a greater number of believers on him than in the time of his life, according to his own prediction, John xii. 32, * And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.' 6. In making the fancies of men subservient to their own ruin. God brings about strange events by the mere imaginations and conceits of men, which are contrary to common and natural observation, and the ordinary course of rational consequences, 2 Kings iii. 22, 23. The army of the Moabites which had invaded Israel thought the two kings of Judah and Israel had turned their swords against one another, because the rising sun had coloured those unexpected waters and made them look red, which they took for the blood of their enemies, and so disorderly run without examination of the truth of their conceit ; but instead of dividing the spoil, they left their lives upon the points of the Israelites' swords. So the Syrian army are scared with a panic fear, and scatter themselves upon an empty sound, 2 Kings vii. 6. Thus a dream struck a terror into the Midianites, and the noise of the broken potsherds made them fear some treason in their camp, and caused them to turn their swords into one another's bowels: Judges vii. 19-22, ' The Lord set every man's sword against his fellow.' Quest. First, If God's providence orders all things in world, and concurs to every thing, how will you free God from being the author of sin ? Answer, in several propositions. 26 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. 1. It is certain God hath a hand about all the sinful actions in the world. The selling Joseph to thelshmaelites was the act of his brethren ; the send- ing him into Egypt was the act of God : Ps. cv. 17, ' He sent a man be- fore them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant ;' Gen. xlv. 8, : It was not you that sent me hither, but God,' where Joseph ascribes it more to God than to them. Their wicked intention was to be rid of him, that he might tell no more tales of them to his father. God's gracious intention was to advance him for his honour and their good ; and to bring about this gracious purpose, he makes use of their sinful practice. God's end was righteous, when theirs was wicked. It is said God moved David to number the people : 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, ■ The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go number Israel and Judah.' Yet Satan is said to provoke David to number the people : 1 Chron. xxi. 1, 'And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to num- ber Israel.' Here are two agents ; but the text mentions God's hand in it out of justice to punish Israel ; Satan's end, no question, was out of malice to destroy. Satan wills it as a sin, God as a punishment : God, say some, permissive, Satan efficaciter. In the most villanous and unrighteous action that ever was done, God is said to have an influence on it. God is said to deliver up Christ : Acts ii. 23, ' Him, being delivered by the deter- minate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain :' Acts iv. 28, ' For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.' Not barely as an act of his presence, but his counsel, and that determinate, i. e. stable and irrever- sible. He makes a distinction between these two acts. In God it was an act of counsel, in them an act of wickedness, ' by wicked hands ;' there was God's counsel about it, an actual tradition : Bom. viii. 32, ' He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.' All the agents had several ends. God in that act aimed at the redemption of the world, Satan at the preventing it, Judas to satisfy his covetousness, the Jews to preserve themselves from the Roman invasion, and out of malice to him for so sharply reproving them. God had a gracious principle of love to mankind, and acted for the salvation of the world in it ; the instruments had base principles and ends, and moved freely in obedience to them. So in the aflliction of Job, both God and Satan had an hand in it: Job. i. 12, 'The Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power ;' ver. 11, • Touch all that he hath, and ho will curse theo to thy face;' their ends were different: the one righteous, for trial; the other malicious, against God, that ho might bo cursed ; against Job that ho might bo damned. God's end was tho brightening of his grace, and the devil's end was the ruin of his integrity, and despoiling him of God's favour. 2. In all God's actfl abont sin there is no stain to God's holiness.* In second OAnies, one and tho same net ion, proceeding from divers causes, in respect of one cause, may lie sinful ; in respect of the other, righteous. As when twojndgefl condemn a guilty person, one condemns him out of lovo to justice, beoanse he is guilty ; the other condemns him out of a private hatred and spleen : one respects him as a malefactor only, the other as a private •Demy chiefly. Sere is the same action with two concurring causes, one being tricked in it, the other righteous. Ifnoh more may we conceive it in the concurrence of the Creator with the action of tho creature, (l.) God moves every thing in his ordinary providence according to their particular natures. God moves every thing ordinarily according to tho nature he finds it in. Had we stood in innoceney, wo had been moved * Sen pier. Bfetaph. lib. ii. cap. 1">. sect. 6. 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 27 according to that originally righteous nature ; but since our fall we are moved according to that nature introduced by us with the expulsion of the other. Our first corruption was our own act, not God's work ; we owe our creation to God, our corruption to ourselves. Now, since God will govern his creature, I do not see how it can be otherwise, than according to the present nature of the creature, unless God be pleased to alter that nature. God forces no man against his nature ; he doth not force the will in conver- sion, but graciously and powerfully inclines it. He doth never force nor incline the will to sin, but leaves it to the corrupt habits it hath settled in itself: Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' So I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own counsels ;■ counsels of their own framing, not of God's. He moves the will, which is sponte mala, according to its own nature and counsels. As a man flings several things out of his hand, which are of several figures, some spherical, tetragons, cylinders, conies, some round and some square, though the motion be from the agent, yet the variety of their motions is from their own figure and frame ; and if any will hold his hand upon a ball in its motion, regularly it will move according to his nature and figure ; and a man by casting a bowl out of his hand, is the cause of the motion, but the bad bias is the cause of its irregular motion. The power of action is from God, but the viciousness of that action from our own nature. As when a clock or watch hath some fault in any of the wheels, the man that winds it up, or putting his hand upon the wheels moves them, he is the cause of the motion, but it is the flaw in it, or defi- ciency of something, is the cause of its erroneous motion ; that error was not from the person that made it, or the person that winds it up, and sets it on going, but from some other cause ; yet till it be mended it will not go other- wise, so long as it is set upon motion. Our motion is from God, — Acts xvii. 28, 'In him we move', — but not the disorder of [that motion. It is the foulness of a man's stomach at sea is the cause of his sickness, and not the pilot's government of the ship. (2). God doth not infuse the lust, or excite it, though he doth present the object about which the lust is exercised. God delivered up Christ to the Jews, he presented him to them, but never commanded them to crucify him, nor infused that malice into them, nor quickened it ; but he, seeing such a frame, withdrew his restraining grace, and left them to the conduct of their own vitiated wills. All the corruption in the world ariseth from lust in us, not from the object which God in his providence presents to us : 2 Peter i. 4, ' The corruption that is in the world through lust.' The creature is from God, but the abuse of it from corruption. God created the grape, and filled the vine with a sprightliness, but he doth never infuse a drunken frame into a man, or excite it. Providence presents us with the wine, but the precept is to use it soberly. Can God be blamed if that which is good in itself be turned into poison by others ? No more than the flower can be called a criminal, because the spider's nature turns that into venom which is sweet in itself. Man hath such a nature, not from creation, wherein God is positive, but from corruption, wherein God is permissive. Providence brings a man into such a condition of poverty, but it doth not encourage his stubbornness and impatience. There is no necessity upon thee from God to exercise thy sin under affliction, when others under the same exercise their graces. The rod makes the child smart, but it is its own stubbornness makes it curse. In short, though it be by God's permission that we can do evil, yet it is not by his inspiration that we will to do evil ; that is wholly from ourselves. (3.) God supports the faculties wherewith a man sinneth, and supports a 28 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. man in that act wherein he sinneth, but concurs not to the sinfulness of that act. No sin doth properly consist in the act itself, as an act, but in the deficiency of that act from the rule. No action wherein there is sin but may be done as an action, though not as an irregular action. Killing a man is not in itself unlawful, for then no magistrate should execute a malefactor for murdering another, and justice would cease in the world ; man also musl divest himself of all thoughts of preserving his life against an invader ; but to kill a man without just cause, without authority, without rule, contrary to rule, out of revenge, is unlawful. So that it is not the act, as an act, is the sin, but the swerving of that act from the rule, makes it a sinful act. So speaking, as speaking, is not a sin, for it is a power and act God hath endued us with, but speaking irreverently and dishonourably of God, or falsely and slanderously of man, or any otherwise irregularly, therein the sin lies ; so that it is easy to conceive that an act and the viciousness of it are separable. That act which is the same in kind with another, may be laudable, and the other base and vile in respect of its circumstances. The mind wherewith a man doth this or that act, and the irregularity of it, makes a man a criminal. There is a concurrence of God to the act wherein we sin, but the sinfulness of that act is purely from the inherent corruption of the creature ; as the power and act of seeing is communicated to the eye by the soul, but the seeing doubly or dimly is from the viciousness of the organ, the eye. God hath no manner of immediate efficiency in producing sin ; as the sun is not the efficient cause of darkness, though the darkness immediately succeeds the setting of the sun, but it is the deficient cause. So God withdraws his grace, and leaves us to that lust which is in our wills : Acts xiv. 16, ■ Who in times past suffered all nations to w T alk in their own ways.' He bestowed no grace upon them, but left them to themselves. As a man who lets a glass fall out of his hand is not the efficient cause that the glass breaks, but its own brittle nature ; yet he is the deficient cause, because he withdraws his support from it. God is not obliged to give us grace, because we have a total forfeiture of it. He is not a debtor to any man, by way of merit, of anything but punishment. He is indeed in some senso a debtor to those that are in Christ, upon the account of Christ's purchase and his own pro- mise, but not by any merits of theirs. (4.) God's providence is conversant about sin as a punishment, yet in a very righteous manner. God did not will the first sin of Adam as a punishment, because thero was no punishment duo to him before he sinned, but he willed the continuance of it as a punishment to the nature tub rations l><>ni. This being a judicial act of God, is therefore righteously willed by him. Punishment is a moral good. It is also a righteous thing to suit the punishment to the nature of the offence ; ;md what can be more righteous than to punish a man by that wherein lie offends? Benee God is said to give up men to sin,— Rom. i. -t5, 27, ' For thif cause God gave thein up unto vile affections,' — and to send 'strong delusions that khej may believe a lie.' And the reason is rendeivo 1 , 2 These, ii. L2, ■ that they all might he damned who believed not the truth, but had pleaSUTC in unrighteousness.' What more righteOUB than to make vile affections and that unrighteousness their punishment which they make their pleasure f and to leave them to pursue their own sinful inclinations, and make them (asjthe psalmist speaks) Pi. v. 10, 'fall by their own counsels' '.' A drunkard's beastliness is his punishment as well as his sin. Thus God delivers Up some U) their own lusts, as a punishment both to th.ni ,i.l others, sj Q6 hardened Pharaoh's heart tor tho de- struction botli of himself and his people. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 29 (5.) God by his providence draws glory to himself and good out of sin. It is the highest excellency to draw good out of evil, and it is God's right to manifest his excellency when he pleases, and to direct that to his honour which is acted against his law. The holiness of God could never intend sin as sin. But the wisdom of God foreseeing it, and decreeing to permit it, intended the making it subservient to his own honour. He would not per- mit it but for some good, because he is infinitely good, and could not by reason of that goodness suffer that which is purely evil, if by his wisdom he could not raise good out of it. It is purely evil, as it is contrary to law ; it is good rat ione finis, as God orders it by his providence ; yet that good- ness iiows not from the nature of sin, but from the wise disposal of God. As God at the creation framed a beautiful world out of a chaos, out of matter without form, and void, so by his infinite wisdom he extracts honour to himself out of the sins of men. As sin had dishonoured him at its entrance, in defacing his works and depraving his creature, so he would make use of the sins of men in repairing his honour and restoring the creature. It is not conceivable by us what way there could be more congruous to the wisdom and holiness of God, as the state of the world then stood, to bring about the death of Christ, which in his decree was necessary to the satisfac- tion of his justice, without ordering the evil of some men's hearts to serve his gracious purpose. If we could suppose that Christ could commit some capital crime, for which he should deserve death, which was impossible by reason of the hypostatical union, the whole design of God for redemption had sunk to the ground. Therefore God doth restrain or let out the fury of men's passions and the corrupt habits of their wills to such a degree as should answer directly to the full point of his most gracious will, and no further. He lets out their malice so far as was conducing to the grand design of his death, and restrains it from everything that might impair the truth of any prediction, as in the parting his garments, or breaking his bones. If God had put him to death by some thunder or otherwise, and after raised him, how could the voluntariness of Christ appear, which was necessary to make him a perfect oblation ? How would his innocency have appeared ? The strangeness of the judgment would have made all men believe him some great and notorious sinner. How then could the gospel have been propagated ? Who would have entertained the doctrine of one whose innocency could not be cleared ? If it be said, God might raise him again, what evidences would have been had that he had been really dead ? But as the case was, his enemies confess him dead really, and many wit- nesses there were of his resurrection. [1.] God orders the sins of men to the glory of his grace. As a foil serves to make the lustre of a diamond more conspicuous, so doth God make use of the deformities of men to make his own grace more illustrious, and convey it with a more pleasing relish to them. Never doth grace appear more amiable, never is God entertained with so high admirations, as by those who, of the worst of sinners, are made the choicest of saints. Paul often takes occasion, from the greatness of his sin, to admire the un- searchable riches of that grace which pardoned him. [2.] God orders them to bring forth temporal mercies. In providence there are two things considerable. First, Man's will. Secondly, God's purpose. What man's will intends as a harm in sin, God in his secret purpose orders to some eminent advantage. In the selling of Joseph, his brothers intend the execution of their revenge ; and God orders it for the advancement of himself, and the preservation of his unrighteous enemies, 30 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. who might otherwise have starved. His brothers sent him to frustrate his dream, and God to fulfil it. Our reformation and return from under the yoke of antichrist was, by the wise disposal of God, occasioned by the three great idols of the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life ; lust, covetousness, and ambition, three vices notoriously eminent in Henry the Eighth, the first instrument in that work. What he did for the satisfaction of his lust is ordered by God for the glory of his mercy to us. And though the papists". upon that account reflect upon our Reformation, they may as well reflect upon the glorious work of redemption, because it was in the wisdom of God brought about by Judas his covetous- ness, and the Jews' malice. [3.] God orders them for the glory of his justice upon others. Nathan had threatened David that one in his house should lie with his wives in the sight of the sun, 2 Sam. xii. 11. Ahithophel adviseth Absalom to do so, not with any design to fulfil God's threatening, but secure his own stake, by making the quarrel between the father and the son irreconcilable, because he might well fear that upon a peace between David and Absalom he might be offered up as a sacrifice to David's justice. God orders Ahithophel's counsel and Absalom's sin to the glory of his justice in David's punishment. The ambition of Vespasian and Titus was only to reduce Judea to the Roman province after the revolt of it. But God orders hereby the execution of his righteous will in the punishment of the Jews for their rejecting Christ, and the accomplishment of Christ's prediction. Luke xix. 43, ' For the days shall come, that thy enemy shall cast a trench about thee,' &c. To conclude ; if we deny God the government of sin in the course of his providence, we must necessarily deny him the government of the world, because there is not an ac'ion of any man's in the world, which is under the government of God, but is either a sinful action or an action mixed with sin. God therefore in his government doth advance his power in the weakness, his wisdom in the follies, his holiness in the sins, his mercy in the unkind- ness, and his justice in the unrighteousness of men ; * yet God is not defiled with the impurities of men, but rather draws forth a glory to himself, as a rose doth a greater beauty and sweetness from the strong smell of the garlic Bet near it.f Quest. 2. If there bo a providence, how comes those unequal distributions to happen in the world ? How is it so bad with good men, as if they were the greatest enemies to God, and so well with tho wicked, as if they well tin; most affectionate friends ? Doth not virtue languish away in obscurity, whiles wickedness struts about the world? What is the reason that splendid virtue is oppressed by injustice, and notorious vices triumph in prosperity? It would make m.n believe that tin; world was governed rather by a blind Blld unrighteous, than by a wise, good, and just governor, when they see things in sueh disorder, as if the devil had, as he pretends, the whole power of tlie world delivered to him, Lnke iv. (>, and (iod had left all care of it to his will. Ant, This consideration has heightened the minds of many against a providence. It was the notion of many heathens,] when thev saw many who had acted with much gallantry for their countries afflicted, they que* tioned whether there were a superintendent power over the world. This hath also been the stumbling-block of many taught in a higher school than * Vid. Orid Amor. lib. hi. Eleg. iii. v. 1, and v. 27. t Boetiu i de I Ion ■<>. lib. i. \ ft on in Juckbon. Vol i. 8, cluip. iv. sect. 5, 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 31 that of nature, the Jews : Mai. ii. 17, ' Ye say, every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them ; and where is the God of judgment?' Yea, and the observation of the outward felicities of vice, and the oppression of goodness, have caused fretting commotions in the hearts of God's people ; the Psalm lxxiii. is wholly designed to answer this case. Jeremiah, though fixed in the acknowledgment of God's righteous- ness, would debate the reason of it with God : Jer. xii. 1, ' Righteous art thou, Lord, yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments : "Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper ? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously ? Thou hast planted them ; yea, they have taken root : they grow ; yea, they bring forth fruit.' He perceiving it a universal case, — ' Wherefore are all they happy,' Sec. — did not know how to reconcile it with the righteousness of God, nor Habakkuk with the holiness of God : Hab. i. 13, ' Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity : wherefore boldest thou thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he ? ' In point of God's goodness, too, Job expostulates the case with God : Job x. 3, 'Is it good unto thee that thou shouldst oppress? that thou shouldst despise the work of thy hands ? and shine upon the counsel of the wicked ? ' You see upon the account of holiness, righteousness, goodness, the three great attributes of God, it hath been questioned by good men, and upon the account of his wisdom by the wicked Jews. Ans. 1. Answer in general, Is it not a high presumption for ignorance to judge God's proceedings ? In the course of providence such things are done that men could not imagine could be done without injustice ; yet when the whole connection of their end is unravelled, they appear highly beauti- ful, and discover a glorious wisdom and righteousness. If it had entered into the heart of man to think that God should send his Son in a very low estate to die for sinners, would it not have been judged an unjust and unreasonable act, to deliver up his Son for rebels, the innocent for the criminals, to spare the offender and punish the observer of his law ? Yet when the design is revealed and acted, what an admirable connection is there of justice, wisdom, mercy, and holiness, which men could not conceive of! It will be known to be so at last in God's dealing with all his members. "We are incompetent judges of the righteousness and wisdom of God, unless we were infinitely righteous and wise ourselves ; we must be gods, or in another state, before we can understand the reason of all God's actions. We judge according to the law of sense and self, which are inferior to the rules whereby God works. ' Judge nothing then before the time,' 1 Cor. iv. 5. It is not a time for us to pass a judgment upon things. A false judgment is easily made, when neither the counsels of men's hearts, nor the particular laws of God's actions, are known to us. In general it is certain, God doth righteously order his providences ; he may see some inward corruptions in good men to be demolished by afflictions, and some good moral affections, some useful designs, or some services he employs wicked men in, to be rewarded in this life. Ans. 2. God is sovereign of the world. He is sui juris : ' The earth is his, and the fulness thereof,' may he not c do what he will with his own' ? Mat. xx. 15. Who shall take upon them to control God, and prescribe laws to him how to deal with his creatures ? Why should a finite understanding prescribe measures and methods to an infinite majesty ? Ans. 3. God is wise and just, and knows how to distribute. If we question his providence, we question his wisdom. Is it fit for us, who are but of yesterday, and know nothing, to say to an infinite wisdom, What dost thou ? and to direct the onlj wise God to a method of his actions ? His own 32 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. wisdom will best direct him to the time when to punish the insolence of the wicked, and relieve the miseries of his people. We see the present dis- pensations, but are we able to understand the internal motives ? May there not be some sins of righteous men's parents that he will visit upon their children ? some virtues of their ancestors, that he will reward even in their wicked posterity ? He may use wicked men as instruments in some service. It is part of his distributive justice to reward them. They aim at these things in th^ir service, and he gratifies them according to their desires. Let not, then, his righteousness be an argument against his pro- vidence ; it is righteous with God not to be in arrears with them. Some- times God gives them not to them as rewards of any moral virtue, but puts power into their hands, that they may be instruments of his justice upon some offenders against him : Isa. x. 5, the staff in the Assyrian's hand was God's indignation. Ans. 4. There is a necessity for some seeming inequality, at least, in order to the good government of the world. Can all in any community of men be of an equal height? A house hath not beams and rafters of an equal bigness, some are greater and some less. The world is God's family. It is here as in a family ; all cannot have the same office, but they are divided according to the capacities of some persons, and the necessity of others. Providence would not be so apparent in the beauty of the world, if all men were alike in their stations. Where would the beauty of the body be, if all the mem- bers had one office, and one immediate end ? Man would cease to be man, if every member had not some distinct work, and a universal agreement in the common profit of the body. All mankind is but one great body, con- stituted of several members, which have distinct offices, but all ordered to the good of the whole ; the apostle argues this excellently in a parallel case of the diversities of gifts in the church : 1 Cor. xii. 19, 'If all were one mem- ber, where were the body ?' ver, 23, ' Those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, upon those we bestow more abundant honour;' ver. 24, ' God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.' What harmony could there be, if all the voices and sounds were exactly the same in a concert ? Who can be delighted with a picture that hath no shadows ? The afflic- tions of good men are a foil to set off tho beauty of God's providence in the world. Ans. 5. Unequal dispensations do not argue carelessness. A father may givo one child a gayer coat than he gives another, yet he extends his fatherly care and tenderness over all. According to tho several employments he puts bil children upon, ho is at greater expense, and yet lovos one as well as another, and makes provision for all. As the soul takes care of the lowest member, and communicates spirits to every part for their motions; so though God place lome in a higher, somo in a lower condition, yet ho takes can <>f all: God 'divides to every man as ho will,' 1 Cor. xii. 11. I'iVeiV mftO hath a several share, according to God's pleasure, of a goodiu in the world, as well as of gifts in the church. ,i//v. c». Yet upon <ine consideration the inequality will not appear so great as the complaint of it. If the wants of one, ami tho enjoyment o( another, were weighed in the balance, the scales might not appear so uneven ; WC see such a man's wealth, hut do you understand his cares ? A running son may lie under a purple robe. Health, the salt of blessing, one calla it, ii beitowod upon a labourer, when many that wallow in abun- dance have those torturing diseases which embitter their pleasures, if some want those worldly ornaments which others have, may they not have more 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OP DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 33 wisdom than those that enjoy them (the noblest perfection of a rational crea- ture) ? Prov. iii. 13, 14, ' The merchandise of it is better than the mer- chandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold :' Prov. xv. 16, * Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure, and trouble therewith.' As some are stripped of wealth and power, so they are stripped of their incumbrances they bring with them. One hath that serenity aud tranquillity of mind, which the cares and fears of others will not suffer them to enjoy, and a grain of contentment is better than many pounds of wealth. It is not a desirable thing to be a great prince, attended with as many cares and fears as he hath subjects in his empire. He made a true estimate of his greatness, that said he would not stoop to take up a crown if it lay at his feet. But more particularly to the parts of the case. 1. It is not well with bad men here. (1.) Is it well with them who are tortured by their own lusts ? What peace can worldly things bestow upon a soul filled with impurity ? In 2 Cor. vii. 1, sin is called filthiness : Can it be well with them that have nasty souls ? Is it well with them who are racked by pride, stung with cares, gnawn with envy, distracted by insatiable desires, and torn in pieces by their own fears ? Can it be well with such who have a multitude of vipers in their breasts, sticking all their stings into them, though the sun shine, and the shadows drop upon them ? You are spectators of their felicity, but do you understand their inward gripes ? Prov. xiv. 13, * Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful.' Can silken curtains or purple clothes confer a happi- ness upon those who have a mortal plague-sore poisoning their bodies, and are ready to expire ? Sin is their plague, whatever is their happiness. 1 Kings viii. 38, sin is called the plague of the heart. Their insolent lusts are a far greater misery than the possession of all the kingdoms in the world can be a happiness. (2.) Is it well with them who have so great an account to make, and know not how to make it ? Those that enjoy much are more in God's debt, and therefore more accountable. The account of wicked men is the greater, because of their abundance ; and their unfitness to make that account is the greater, because of their abuse. Would any reckon themselves happy to be called upon to give an account of their stewardship for talents, and know not how to give a good account of one farthing ? Luke xvi. 2, ' Give an account of thy stewardship.' (3.) Is it well with them who are the worse for what they have ? Is it a happiness to command others, and be more slaves to the worst of creatures than any can be to them ? The wicked man's well- spread table sometimes proves his snare, Ps. lxix. 22, and his destruction is bound up in his very prosperity : Prov. i. 32, « And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.' Prosperity falling upon an unregenerate heart, like the sun and rain upon bad ground, draws forth nothing but weeds and vermin. Would you think it your happiness to be masters of their concerns, and slaves to their pride ? Is a stubbornness against God so desirable a thing, which is strengthened by those things in the hands of the wicked ? (4.) Is it well with them who in the midst of their prosperity are reserved for justice ? Can that traitor be accounted happy, that is fed in prison by the prince with better dishes than many a loyal subject hath at his table, but only to keep him alive for his trial, and a public example of justice ? God raises some for greater falls. Miserable was the felicity of Pharaoh, to be raised up by God for a subject to shew in him the power of his wrath, Exod. ix. 16. It is but a little time before they shall be ' cut down as grass, and wither as the green herb,' Ps. xxxvii. 2. None would value the con- vol. i. o 34 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. dition of that soldier, who, leaping into a river to save a king's crown, and putting it upon his own head, that he might be enabled to swim out with it, was rewarded for saving it, and executed for wearing it. God rewards wicked men for their service, and punishes them for their insolence. 2. Neither is it bad here with good men, if all be well considered. Other men's judgment of a good man is frivolous, they cannot rightly judge of his state and concerns, but he can make a judgment of theirs : 1 Cor. ii. 15, ' A spiritual man judgeth all things, but he himself is judged of no man.' No man can make a sound judgment and estimate of a right- eous man's state in any condition, unless he hath had experience of the like in all the circumstances, the inward comforts as well as the outward crosses. For, (1.) Adversity cannot be called absolutely an evil, as prosperity cannot be called absolutely a good. They are rather indifferent things, because they may be used either for the honour or dishonour of God. As they are used for his honour, they are good, and as used for [his dishonour, they are evil. The only absolutely bad thing in the world is sin, which cannot be, in its own nature, but a dishonour to God. The only absolutely good thing in the world is holiness, and a likeness to God, which cannot be, in its own nature, but for his glory. As for all other things, I know no true satisfac- tion can be in them, but as they are subservient to God's honour, and give us an advantage for imitating some one or other of his perfections. Crosses in the Scripture are not excluded from those things we have a right to by Christ, when they may conduce to our good : 1 Cor. iii. 22, ' Life and death, things present, and things to come, are yours, and you are Christ's.' Since the revelation of the gospel, I do not remember that any such com- plaint against the providence of God fell from any holy man in the New Testament ; for our Saviour had given them another prospect of those things. The holy men in the Old Testament comforted themselves against this objection by the end of the wicked which should happen, and the rod cease, Ps. lxxiii. In the New Testament we are more comforted by the certain operation of crosses to our good and spiritual advantage, Rom. viii. Our Saviour did not promise wealth and honour to his followers, nor did he think it worth his pains of coming and dying, to bestow such gifts upon his children. He made heaven their happiness, and the earth their hell ; the cross was their badge here, and the crown their reward hereafter ; they mod not to be a purchase congruous to so great a price of blood. "\\ (lod's providence to Christ the more to bo questioned because he was poor ? Had he the less love to him becauso he was ' a man of sorrows,' even while he was a (iod of glory ? Such groundless conceits should never enter into Christians, who oan never seriously take up Christ's yoke without a pro- viso of afflictions, who can never be God's sons without expecting his corrections. (2.) (iod Dover leaves good men so bare, but he provides for their neoes* itv : Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, ' The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.' If any thing be good, an upright man may expeet it from (lod's providence; it" it be not good, ho should not desire it : Howsoever grace, which is necessary lor preparing thee for happin6S8 and glorj, which is necessary for fixing thee in it, he will he sure to givs | WS ha\e I >a\ id's experience for it in tin! whole course o( his life, Ps. xxxvii. , r >. i The little good men have is heifer than the highest enjoyments ox wicked men: Pl a xxxvii. L6| 'A little that a righteous man hath is better than Hit; riches of many wicked;' not better than many riches of the wid 2 Chron. XVI. 9.] a discourse of divine providence. 35 but better than the riches of many wicked, better than all the treasures of the whole mass of the wicked world. Others have them in a providential way, good men in a gracious way: Prov. xvi. 8, 'Better is a little with righteousness, than great revenues without right,' without a covenant right. Wicked prosperity is like a shadow that glides away in a moment, whereas a righteous man's little is a part of Christ's purchase, and part of that inheritance which shall endure for ever : Ps. xxxvii. 18, ' Their inheritance shall be for ever,' i. e., God regards the state of the righteous, whether good or evil, all that befalls them. God doth all with a respect to his everlasting inheritance. No man hath worldly things without their wings. And though the righteous have worldly things with their wings, yet that love whereby they have them hath no wings ever to fly away from them. How can those things be good to a man that can never taste them, nor God in them ? (4.) No righteous man would in his sober wits be willing to make an ex- change of his smartest afflictions for a wicked man's prosperity, with all the circumstances attending it. It cannot therefore be bad with the righteous in the worst condition. Would any man be ambitious of snares that knows the deceit of them ? Can any but a madman exchange medicines for poison ? Is it not more desirable to be upon a dunghill with an intimate converse with God, than upon a throne without it ? They gain a world in prosperity, a righteous man gains his soul by afflictions, and possesses it in patience. Is the exchange of a valuable consideration ? God strips good men of the enjoyment of the world, that he may wean them from the love of it ; keeps them from idolatry, by removing the fuel of it ; sends afflictions that he may not lose them, nor they their souls. Would any man exchange a great goodness ' laid up for him that fears God,' Ps. xxxi. 19, for a lesser goodness laid out upon them that are enemies to him ? Who would exchange a few outward comforts with God's promise, inward comforts with assurance of heaven, godliness with contentment, a sweet and spiritual life, sovereignty over himself and lusts, though attended with suf- ferings, for the government of the whole world ? (5.) It is not ill with the righteous in afflictions, because they have high advantages by them. That cannot be absolutely evil which conduceth to a greater good ; as, First, Sensible experiments of the tender providence of God over them. If the righteous had not afflictions in this life, God would lose the glory of his providence, and they the sweetness in a gracious deliverance from them, in ways which makes the affliction the sweeter as well as the mercy ; they would lose the comfort of them, in not having such sensible evidences of God's gracious care. The sweetness of the promises made for times of trouble would never be tasted : Ps. xxxvii. 19, ' They shall not be ashamed in the evil time ;' that is, they shall be mightily encouraged and supported. God's people do best understand God's strength when they feel the smart of men's malice : 2 Tim. iv. 17, ' The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.' He had never felt so much of God's strength if he had not tasted much of man's wickedness in forsaking him. Ps. xxxvii. 39, ' He is their strength,' when in times of trouble they experiment more of his care in preserving them, and his strength in supporting them, than at other times. Abundance of consolations are manifested in abundance of sufferings, 2 Cor. i. 5, 1 Peter iv. 13, 14. A greater sense of joy and glory lights upon them in a storm of persecutions. Men see the sufferings of the godly, but they do not behold that inward peace which composeth and delights their souls, worth the whole mass of the world's goodness, and pleasures of the unrighteous. 86 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. Secondly, Inward improvements, opportunities to manifest more love to God, more dependence on him, the perfection of the soul : 1 Tim. v. 5, 'Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusts in God, and con- tinues in supplications and prayers night and day.' There is a ground of more exercise of trust in God and supplication to him. The poor and desolate have an advantage for the actual exercise of those graces, which a prosperous condition wants. God changeth the metal by it ; what was lead and iron he makes come forth as gold : Job xxiii. 10, ' When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.' Crosses and sufferings, which fit good men for special service here, and eternal happiness hereafter, can no more be said to be evil, than the fire which refines the gold, and prepares it for a prince's use. If there were not such evils, what ground could you have to exercise patience ? what heroic acts of faith could you put forth without difficulties ? how could you believe against hope, if you had not sometimes something to contradict your hopes ? And if a good man should have a confluence of that which the ignorant and pedantical world calls happiness, he might undervalue the pleasures of a better life, deface the beauty of his own soul, and withdraw his love from the most gratifying as well as the most glorious object, unto that which is not worth the least grain of his affection. Thirdly, Future glory. The great inquiry at the day of Christ's appear- ing will be, how good men bare their sufferings, what improvements they had ; and the greater their purity by them, the greater will be their praise and honour : 1 Peter i. 7, ' That the trial of your faith,' viz., by manifold temptations, ' may be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appear- ing of Jesus Christ.' For a good improvement by them, they will have a public praise from God's mouth, and a crown of honour set upon their heads. Providence sends even light afflictions as so many artificers, to make the crown more massy and more bright : 2 Cor. iv. 17, • Works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' They are at work about a good man's crown while they make him smart. They prepare him for heaven, and make it more grateful to him when he comes to possess it. A Christian carriage in them prepares for greater degrees of glory. Every stroke doth but more beautify the crown. Fourthly, Sufferings of good men for the truth highly glorifies the pro- vidence of God. This is a matter of glory and honour : 1 Peter iv. 10, ' If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.' They thereby bear a testimony to the highest act of providence that God ever exercised, even the redemption of the world by the blood of his Son. And the church, which is the highest object of his providence in the world, takes tin; deeper root, and BpringS up the higher; the foondfttion of it was laid in the blood of Christ, and the growth of it is furthered by the blood of martyrs. The carriage of the righteous in them makes the truth they profess more valued. It eiihanceth the excellency <A' religion, and manifests it to bo moro amiable for its beauty than for its dowry, since they §M it desirable by the sufferers, not only without WOrldlj enjoyments, hut with the sharpest miseries. This consideration hath wrought upon many to embraoe the religion o\' the sutlerers. If it chef as far us death, they are but despatched to their Father's house, and the day of their death is the day of their coronation; and what evil is there in all thi Fifthly, To conclude; this argument is stronger (upon the infallible right- eousness of (iod's nature) for a day of reckoning after this life, than against providence. It is a more rational conclusion that God will have a time to 2 CflRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 87 justify the righteousness and wisdom of his providential government, and repair the honour of the righteous, oppressed by the injustice of the wicked. And indeed, unless there be a retribution in another world, the question is unanswerable, and all the reason in the world knows not how to salve the holiness and righteousness of God in his providential dispensations in this life, since we see here goodness unrewarded and debased to the dunghill, vice glorying in impunity, and ranting to the firmament. We cannot see how it can consist with the nature of God's wisdom, righteousness, and holiness, if there were not another life, wherein God will manifest his right- eousness in the punishing sin and rewarding goodness ; for it is impos- sible that a God of infinite justice should leave sin unpunished, and grace unrewarded, here or hereafter. The Scripture gives us so full an account of a future state, that may satisfy all Christians in this business. The wicked rich man is in his purple, and Lazarus in his rags ; yet Abraham's bosom is prepared for the one, and an endless hell for the other. Jeremiah resolves the case in his dispute with God about it : Jer. xii. 3, 1 Pull them out like sheep to the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.' They are but fattening for the knife of justice; and the day will come when they shall be consumed like the fat of lambs in the sacrifice, which shall wholly evaporate into smoke; so the psalmist resolves it in Ps. xxxvii. 20, a psalm written for the present case. God laughs at their security in a way of mockery: Ps. xxxvii. 13, 'The Lord shall laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming,' — God's day for the justification of his proceedings in the world, and the wicked man's day for his own destruc- tion, wherein they shall all be destroyed together, Ps. xxxvii. 38; the whole mass of them in one bundle. Who then will charge God with unequal distributions at that day, which is appointed for the clearing up of his righteousness, which is here masked in the world ? Who can be fond of the state of the wicked '? Who would be fond of a dead man's condition, because he lies in state, whose soul may be condemned, whilst his body, with a pompous solemnity, is carried to the grave, and both body and soul, joined together at the resurrection, adjudged to eternal misery ? Quest. 2. What hath been said in this will also answer another question, Why God doth not immediately punish notorious offenders, since the best governments in the world are such as call the violators of the law to a speedy account, to keep up the honour of justice ? Thus the Epicures charge God with neglects of providence, because if he doth punish wicked men, it is later than is fit and just : ' Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil,' Eccles. viii. 11. Delay of justice is an encouragement to sin. Ans. 1. This is an argument for God's patience, none against his pro- vidence. Should he make such quick work, what would become of the world ? Could it have held out to this day ? If God had instantly taken revenge upon those that thus disparage his providence, the frame of such an objection had not been alive. No man is so perfectly good but he might fall under the revenging stroke of his sword, if he pleased to draw it. Suffer God to evidence his patience here, since after the winding up of the world he will have no time to manifest it. God doth indeed sometimes send the sharp arrow of some judgment upon a notorious offender, to let him understand that he hath not forgotten how to govern ; but he doth not always do so, that his patience may be glorified in bearing with his rebel- lious creature. Ans. 2. God is just in that wherein the question supposeth him unjust; 38 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. he suffers wicked men to continue to be the plagues of the places where they live, and the executioners of his justice upon offenders against hhn, Ps. xvii. 13. The wicked are God's sword, Jer. xlvii. 6. Those that God would stir up against the Philistines are called the sword of the Lord, Isa. x. 5. Asshur is said to be the rod of his anger; would it consist with his wisdom to drop the instruments out of his hand as soon as he begins to use them ? to cast his rods out of his hand as soon as he takes them up ? The rules of justice are as much unknown to us as the communications of his goodness to his people are unknown to the world. Am. 3. Let me ask such a one whether he never injured another man, and whether he would not think it very severe, if not unjust, that the offended person should presently take revenge of him? If every man should do the like, how soon would mankind be despatched, and the world become a shambles, men running furiously to one another's destructions for the injuries they have mutually received ! Do we praise the lenity of parents to their children, and dispraise the mercy of God, because he doth not presently use his right ? Is, then, forbearance of revenge accounted a virtue in a man, and shall it be an imperfection in God ? With what reason can we thus blame the eminent patience of God, which we have reason to adore, and which every one of us are monuments of ? The use is, — Use 1. Of information. How unworthy and absurd a thing is it to deny providence ! Some of the heathens fancied that God walked his circuit in heaven, or sat with folded arms there, taking no cognizance of what was done in the world. Some indeed, upon some great emergencies, have acknowledged the mercies and justice of God, which are the two arms of his providence. The bar- barians his justice, when they saw a viper leap upon Paul's hand, Acts xxviii. 4, they say among themselves, ' No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffers not to live.' The mariners in Jonah implored his mercy in their distress at sea; yet they generally attributed affairs to blind chance, and worshipped fortune as a deity. For this vain conceit the psalmist calls the atheist fool : Ps. xiv. 1, 'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' Potiphar acknowledged it, he saw that the Lord was with Joseph, and favoured his designs : Gen. xxxix. 3, « And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all tilings that he did to prosper in his hand.' It will not bo amiss to consider this, for the root of denial of providence is in tho hearts of the best men, especially under affliction. Asaph was a holy man, Pi. hxiii. 18, saitli he, ' Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.' He had taken much pains with his heart, and had been onderxnnoh affliction: ver. 14, k All the day long hare I been plagned, and chastened every morning. 1 And the consideration of this, that, be should have so much affliction with so much holiness, so strangely puzzled him, that he utters that dreadfhl speech, as if he had a ""lid to east oil' ji.ll cares ahout the worship of God, ami sanctifying his heart, and repent of all that he had done in thai business, as much as to ■ Had I been as very a villain as such or such a man, I might have prospered as well us they, bat I was a fool to have any fear of Gh Therefore we will consider, 1 . The evil of denying providence. '2. The .'rounds of the denial of it by the heathen, which we shall find in our own hearts. :!. The VarioUfl Wayi Wherein men practically deny providence. 1 . The evil Of denying it. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 39 (1.) It gives a liberty to all sin. It give an occasion for an unbounded licentiousness, for what may not be done where there is no government ? The Jews tell us* that the dispute between Cain and Abel was this: Cain said, because his sacrifice was not accepted, that there was no judge, no reward of good works, or punishment of bad, which when Abel opposed, Cain slew him. They ground it upon the discourse of God with Cain, Gen. iv. 7, 8, which had been about his providence and acceptation of men, if they did well, and punishment of men if they did ill ; whence they gather the discourse, ver. 8, Cain had with his brother was about the same subject, for Cain talked with Abel, and upon that discourse rose up against him, and slew him. And his discourse afterwards with God, ver. 9, seems to favour it, ' Am I my brother's keeper ? ' Thou dost say thou art the Governor of the world, it is not my concern to look after him. Their conjecture is not improbable. If it were so, we see how early this opinion began in the world, and what was the horrid effect of it, the first sin, the first murder that we read of after the sin of Adam. And what confusion would grow upon the entertainment of such a notion. Indeed, the Scripture everywhere places sin upon this root: Ps. x. 11, 'God hath forgotten: he hides his face; he will never see it.' He hath turned his back upon the world. This was the ground of the oppression of the poor by the wicked which he mentions, ver. 9, 10. So Isa. xxvi. 10, 1 The wicked will not learn righteousness, he will deal unjustly.' The reason is, ' he will not behold the majesty of the Lord; he will not regard God's government of the world, ' though his hand be lifted up to strike.' There is no sin but receives both its birth and nourishment from this bitter root. Let the notion of providence be once thrown out, or the belief of it faint, how will ambition, covetousness, neglect of God, distrust, impatience, and all other bitter gourds, grow up in a night ! It is from this topic all iniquity will draw arguments to encourage itself ; for nothing doth so much discountenance those rising corruptions, and put them out of heart, as an actuated belief that God takes care of human affairs. Upon the want of this actuated knowledge God charges all the sin of Ephraim : Hosea vii. 2, 1 They consider f not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness ;' as if God were blind and did not see, or stupid and did not concern himself, or of a very frail memory soon to forget. (2.) It destroys all religion. The first foundation of all religion is, first, the being, secondly, the goodness, of God in the government of the world : Heb. xi. 6, ' He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.' He is the object of religion as he is the governor of the world. This denial would shut up Bibles and temples, and bring irreligious disorder into all societies. [1.] All worship. He that hath not design to govern, is supposed to expect no homage ; if he regards not his creatures, he cares for no wor- ship from them. How is it possible to persuade men to regard him for God, who takes no care of them ? Who will adore him who regards no adoration ? [2. J Prayer. To what purpose should they beg his directions, implore his assistance in their calamities, if he had no regard at all to his crea- tures ? What favour can we expect from him who is regardless of dis- pensing any ? [3.] Praise. Who would make acknowledgments to one from whom they never received any favour, and hath no mind to receive any acknowledgments * Targum Hierosolymit, Mercer in Gen. iv. 7. f Heb., ' They speak not to their hearts.' 40 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. from them, because Tie takes no care of them ? If the Deity have no rela- tion to us, how can we have relation to him ? To what purpose will it be either to call upon him, or praise him, which are the prime pieces of reli- gion, if he concern not himself with us ? [4.] Dependence, trust, and hope. What reason have we to commit our concerns to him, and to depend upon him for relief? Hence the apostle saith, Eph. ii. 12, the Gentiles were ' without hope, and without God in the world.' The reason they were without hope was because they were without God. They denied a settled providence, and acknowledged a blind chance, and therefore could have no sound hope ; so some understand it of denial of God's government. It might well give occasion to people to utter Pharaoh's speech: Exod. v. 2, 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice, to let Israel go ? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.' What is God that I should serve him ? I have no such notion of a God that governs the world. The regardlessness of his creature disobligeth the creature from any service to him. (3.) It is a high disparagement of God. To believe an impotent, igno- rant, negligent God, without care of his works, is as bad or worse than to believe no God at all. The denial of his providence is made equal with the denial of God : Ps. xiv. 1, < The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' He denied God, Elohim, which word denotes God's providence; not, there is no Jehovah, which notes his essence, he denied not God quoad essentia))}, but quoad providentiam, whereupon the psalmist dubs the atheist fool. It strips God of his judicial power. How shall he judge his creatures, if he know not what they think, and regards not what they do ? How easy will it be for him to be imposed upon by the fair pretences and lying excuses of men ! It is diabolical. The devil denies not God's right to govern, but he denies God's actual government; for he saith, Luke iv. 6, ' The power and glory of the world is delivered' unto him, ' and to whom- soever,' saith he, ■ I will, I give it.' God had cast off all care of all things, and made the devil his deputy. He that denies providence denies most of God's attributes, he denies at least the exercise of them. He denies his omniscience, which is the eye of providence; mercy and justice, which are the arms of it; power, which is the life and motion of providence ; wisdom, which is the rudder of providence, whereby it is steered; and holiness, which is the compass and rule of the motion of providence. i 1.) It is clearly against natural light. Socrates an heathen could say, Whosoever denied providence did Auiiaoviuv, was possessed with a devil.* Should (iod create a man anew with a sound judgment, and bring him into the world, when he should sec the harmony, multitudes, virtues, and opera- tions of all creatures, the stated times and .seasons, must lie not Deeds con- fess that lome invisible, inconceivable wisdom did both frame, and doth govern all the motions of it? And it is a greater crime in any of us to deny providence, either in opinion or practice, than it was or could h been in heathens; because we have not only that natural reason which they had, sufficient to convince as, but supernatural revelation in the Scripture, wherein God hath declared those methods of his providence which reason could not arrive to ; ai to deny his creation of the world is a greater crime in a man that Knows (he Scripture than in a, heathen, because that hath put it out, of doubt. And the asserting of this being the end of all God's judg- menl i in the world Job \i\. 29, ' Wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment,' i. *., providence — the denial of it is ■ sin against all past or present judgments, which Clod hath or doth * Meat i : Balden, p. 626, 2 CllRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 41 exercise, the Scripture frequently declaring the meaning of such and such judgments to be, that men may know that the Lord is God. 2. The second thing is, the grounds of the denial of providence. This atheism has been founded, (1.) Upon an overweening conceit of men's own worths. When men saw themselves frustrated of the rewards they expected, and saw others that were instruments of tyranny and lust graced with the favours they thought due to their own virtue, they ran into a conceit that God did not mind the actions of men below. So that it was pride, interest, self-conceit, and opinion of merit, rather than any well-grounded reason, introduced this part of atheism into the world; for upon any cross this opinion of merit swelled up into blasphemous speeches against God. When we have any thoughts (as we are apt to have) by our religious acts to merit at God's hand, we act against the absoluteness of his providence, as though God could be obliged to us by any other than his own promise. Methinks Job hath some spice of this in speaking so often of his own integrity, as though God dealt injuriously with him in afflicting him. God seems to charge him with it : Job xl. 8, ' Wilt thou also disannul my judgment ? wilt thou con- demn me, that thou mayest be righteous ? ' As though in speaking so much of his own integrity, and in complaining expressions, he would accuse God of injustice, and condemn him as an unrighteous governor; and in Job's answer you find no syllable or word of his integrity to God, but a self- abhorrency: Job xlii. 16, 'Wherefore I abhor myself in dust and ashes.' I doubt that from this secret root arise those speeches which we ordinarily have among men, What have I done that God should so afflict me ? though in a serious way it is a useful question, tending to an inquiry into the sin that is the cause of it; but I doubt ordinarily there is too much of a reflec- tion upon God, as though they had deserved other dealing at his hands. Take heed therefore of pride and conceits of our own worth, we shall else be led by it to disparaging conceits of God, which indeed are the roots of all actions contradictory to God's will. (2.) It is founded upon pedantical and sensual notions of God. As though it might detract from his pleasures and delight to look down upon this world, or as though it were a molestation of an infinite power to busy himself about the cares of sublunary things. They thought it unsuitable to the felicity of God, that it should interrupt his pleasure, and make a breach upon his blessedness. As though it were the felicity of a prince not to take care of the government of his kingdom, nor so much as provide for the well- being of his children. I doubt that from such or as bad conceptions of God may spring ordinarily our distrust of God upon any distress. Take heed therefore of entertaining any conceptions of God but what the Scripture doth furnish you with. (3.) Or else, this sort of atheism was ushered in by a flattering conceit of the majesty of God. They thought it unbecoming the excellency of the divine majesty to descend to a regard of the petty things of the world. This seems to be the fancy of them, Ps. lxxiii. 11, ' How doth God know ? is there knowledge in the Most High ?' They think him too high to know, too high to consider. How unreasonable is it to think God most high in place, and not in perfection ; and if in perfection, not in knowledge and discerning? They imagined of him as of a great prince, taking his pleasure upon the battlements of his palace, not beholding the worms upon the ground ; muffled w T ith clouds, as Job xxii. 13, 14, ' How doth God know ? Can he judge through the dark clouds ? thick clouds are a covering to him, that he sees not, and he walks in the circuit of heaven. We cannot indeed have 42 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. too high apprehensions of God's majesty and excellency ; but must take heed of entertaining superstitious conceits of God, and such as are dishon- ourable to him, or make the grandeur and ambition of men the measure of the greatness and majesty of God. Upon this root sprung superstition and idolatry, and the worship of demons, who, according to the heathens' fancy, were mediators between God and men. And I doubt such a conceit might be the first step to the introducing the popish saint- worship into the Chris- tian world ; and this lies at the root of all our omissions of duty, or neglects of seeking God. Let us therefore have raised thoughts of God's majesty, and admiring thoughts of his condescension, who, notwithstanding his great- ness, humbles himself to behold what is done upon the earth. The psalmist sets a pattern for both, Ps cxiii. 5, 6. (4.) From their wishes upon any gripes of conscience. They found guilt staring them in the face, and were willing to comfort themselves with the embraces of this doctrine, wherein they might find a security and ease to their prostituted consciences, and unbounded liberty in the ways of sin. Those in Zephaniah were first settled upon their lees, and then, to drive away all fears of punishment, deny God's government : Zeph. i. 12, ' The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.' A brave liberty, for a city to be without a magistrate, a house without a governor, a ship without a pilot, exposed to the mercy of winds and waves ; a man to be without rea- son, that passion and lust should act their pleasure ; a liberty that beasts themselves would not have, to be without a shepherd, and one to take care of them ! Such wishes certainly there are in men upon a sense of guilt ; they wish, for their own security, there were no providential eye to inspect them. Take heed therefore of guilt, which will draw you to wish God deprived of the government of the world, and all those attributes which qualify him for it. The readiness to entertain the motions of Satan, rather than the motions of the Spirit, implies a willingness in them that Satan might be the god of the world, who favours them in sin, rather than the Creator who forbids it. But indeed the fears of conscience evidence a secret belief in men of a just providence, whatever means they use to stifle it ; else why is man, upon the commission of some notorious sinful act, afraid of some evil hap to betide him ? Why is he restless in himself ? There is no sinner, unless extremely hardened, but hath some secret touch of conscience upon notorious enormities ; while the work of the law is written in their heart, their conscience will bear witness and accuso them, Rom. ii. 15. In the most flagitious courses which the apostle reckons up, Rom. i. k 2 ( .)-o"2, they cannot put off the knowledge of 'the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,' that is, worthy of death by the judgment of God, which judgment is discovered in the law of nature. 15. The third thing IS, the various ways wherein men practically deny providence, or abnse it, or contemn it. (1.) When we will walk on in a way contrary to checks of providence! when we will run against the will of (iod manifested in his providence, do deny his government, and refuse subjection to him ; when we will bo peremptory in our resolves against the declaration of God's will by his die of providence, we contend with him about the government o( us and our actions. Such a dispute had Pharaoh with God, notwithstanding all the checks by the plagUCS poured out upon him, he would march against Israel to take them out, of God's hand into his own service again, Exod. w. ;>, • The enemy said, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil ; my lust shall tisfled upon them ; ! will draw my sword, mv hand shall destroy them.' Here is the will of man vaunting against the govornor of the world, resolved 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 43 to dispute God's royalty with him in spite of all the blastings of his designs, and the smart blows he had had from that powerful arm, which cost him and his subjects their lives ; they would not understand the taking off their wheels, but would run headlong into the Red Sea. A remarkable example of this is in a good man not so peremptory in words, but against the revela- tions of God's mind both by the prophet and his providence ; Jehoshaphat had made a league with Ahab, 2 Chron. xviii. 1-3, and God had ordered Micaiah to acquaint him with the ill success of the affair they went about, vcr. 16, 3 9, which Jehoshaphat found true, for his own life was in danger, he was hardly beset by the enemy upon a mistake, vcr. 31, 32, he had an eminent answer of prayer, for upon his cry he had a quick return ; God engaged his providence over his enemies' hearts for him: ver. 31, ' The Lord helped him, and God moved them to depart from him.' And for this con- junction and continuance in it against Micaiah's prophecy, God sends a prophet to reprove him, 2 Chron xix. 2, ' Should thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord ? therefore is wrath upon thee from the Lord ;' he reproves him sharply for this confederacy, yet Jehoshaphat after had a signal providence in delivering him from another army, chap. xx. 24. Yet after this he goes on in this way, chap. xx. 35, ' after this,' i. e., after a reproof by a prophet, after ill success in his league, after eminent care^ of God in his deliverance, after a signal freeing him from a dangerous invasion in a miraculous way, he enters into a league with Ahab's son, as wicked as his father, ver. 36*; he joined himself with him to make ships to goto Tarshish, and after that a third prophet is sent to reprove him, and the ships were broken, ver. 37. Here is a remarkable opposition to checks of providence, and manifest declarations of God's will, as if he would be the commander of the world instead of God. Abner's action is much of the same kind, who would make the house of Saul strong against David, though he knew and was satisfied that God had promised the kingdom to David. (2.) In omissions of prayer. One reason to prove the fools' denying God's government of the world is, that they call not upon the Lord, Ps. xiv. 2, ' The Lord looked down from heaven, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God.' 'Tis certainly either a denying of God's suffi- ciency to help us, when we rather beg of every creature, than ask of God ; or a charging him with a want of providence, as though he had thrown off all care of worldly matters : 2 Kings i. 3, ' Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that you go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron ?' Seeking of anything else with a neglect of God, is denying the care of God over his creature. Do we not in this case make ourselves our own governors and lords, as though we could subsist without him, or manage our own affairs without his assistance ? If we did really believe there w T as a watchful provi- dence, and an infinite powerful goodness to help us, he would hear from us oftener than he doth. Certainly those who never call upon him disown his government of the world, and do not care whether he regards the earth or no. They think they can do what they please, without any care of God over them. The restraining prayer is a casting off the fear of God : Job xv. 4, 1 Thou castest oft' fear,' why ? ' and restrainest prayer before God.' The neglect of prayer ariseth from a conceit of the unprofitableness of it. Job xxi. 15, ' What profit should we have if we prayed unto him ?' Which con- ceit must be grounded upon a secret notion of God's carelessness of the world ; such fruit could not arise but from that bitter root. But the prophet Malachi plainly expresses it: Malachi iii. 14, ' Ye have said it is in vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance ?' Whence did this arise, but from a denial of providence upon the observation of the 44 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. outward happiness of the wicked? ver. 15, 'And now we call the proud happy ; yea, they that work wickedness are set up ; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.' Sometimes it ariseth from an apprehension that God in the way of his providence dealeth unjustly with us. A good prophet utters such a sinful speech in his passion, 2 Kings vi. 33, ' Behold, this evil is of the Lord, what should I wait for the Lord any longer ?' (3.) When men will turn every stone to gain the favourable assistance of men in theirjdesigns, and never address to God for his direction or blessing. When they never desire God to move the hearts of those whose favour they court, as though providence were an unuseful and unnecessary thing in the world. It was the case of those Elihu speaks of: Job xxxv. 9, 10, ' They cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. But none saith, Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night?' &c. None in the midst of their oppressions and cries under them, did consider either the power of God in the creation, as he was their maker, nor his providence in the government of the world, as he raised up men from low estates, and gave matter of cheer- fulness even in a time of darkness. This was the charge God by his prophet brought against Asa : 2 Chron. xvi. 7 (before the text, ver. 9), ' Thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God ;' herein thou hast done foolishly,' where he sets a reliance on the creature, and a reliance on God, in direct opposition. In several cases men do thus deny and put a contempt on God as the governor of the world, when we will cast about to find out some creature -refuge, rather than have recourse to God for any sup- ply of our necessities. Doth not he slight his father's care, that will not seek to him in his distress ? This was Asa's sin : 2 Chron. xvi. 12, ' In his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.' The Jews think, that one reason why Joseph continued two years in prison, was his confiding too much upon the butler's remembrance of him, and interest for his deliverance, which they ground upon the request he makes to him : Gen. xl. 14, ' But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kind- ness to me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house.' I must confess the expressions are very urgent, being so often repeated, and seems to carry a greater confidence at present in the arm of flesh than in God. We do not read that Joseph prayed so earnestly to God, though no doubt but being a good man he did. Methinks the setting down his request with that repetition in the Scripture, seems to intimate a proba- bility of the .lews' conceit ; or also when we do seek to him, but it is out of a general belief of his providence and sufficiency, not out of an actuated con- sideration ; or whin we seek to him with colder affections than we seek to ereatnres, as if we did half despair of his ability or will to help us; as when a man thinks to get learning by the sagacity of his own wit, his indefatigable industry, and never desirei With any ardent affection the blessing of Clod upon 1 ivuurs. When we lean to our own wisdom, we distrust the providence of God : PrOY, iii. 6, ' Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean DOt to thine own understanding.' Trust in God, and leaning to our own wisdom, are opposed to one another as inconsistent; or when a man hath some great Concern, suppose a suit at law, to think to carry his cause by tin- favour of friends the help of he; money, the eloquence of his advo- cate, and Dover interest God in Ins business: this is not bo acknowledge God in thy ways, which is the command i ?er. ('», ' In all thy ways acknowledge him ;' as though our works were not ' in the hand of God,' BccleS. ix. 1. This is to take them out of ( toil's hand, and put them into the hands of men. trOSt in our wealth, it is to make God a dead and a stupid God, and dis- own hifl providence in the bestowing it upon us. The apostle seems to iuti- 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 45 mate this in the opposition which he makes between ' uncertain riches,' and ■ the living God,' 1 Tim. vi. 17. These, and many more actions suitable to them, are virtual denials of God's snpcrintendency, as though God had left off the government of the world to the wits, or rather follies of men. These are to magnify the things we seek to, above God, as the chief authors of all our good. It is to imagine him less careful than man, more insufficient than man. It is a departure from a full fountain to a shallow stream ; not to desire God's assistance, is either from some check of conscience that our business is sinful, that we dare not interest him in it, or a disowning God's care, as if we could hide our counsels from him (Isa. xxix. 15, ' Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and they say, Who seeth us, and who knoweth us ?'), and bring our business to pass before he shall know of it ; at least it is a slighting God's government, since we will not engage God by prayer in the exercise of it on our behalf, and disdain to acquaint him with our concerns. It is a reflection upon God's wisdom to do so, which the prophet mentions with a woe : Isa. xxxi. 1,2,' Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help : but they look not to the Holy One of Israel ! Yet he also is wise.' It is a disparagement to God's providential wisdom, not to look to him in our concerns, yea, and of his righteousness too ; ■ they look not to the Holy One of Israel.' In this they neither regard his holiness nor his wisdom. When we consult not with him upon emer- gent occasions, we trust more to our own wisdom, counsel, and sufficiency, than to God's ; and set up ourselves as our own lords, and independent upon him, as though we could manage things according to our pleasure. (4.) When upon the receiving any good, they make more grateful acknow- ledgment to the instruments, than to God the principal author of it ; as if God had no hand in bestowing those blessings upon them, as if the instru- ments had dispossessed God of his governing providence, and engrossed it in their own hands. This men are guilty of when they ascribe their wealth to their own wit and fortune, their health to their own care, or the physi- cian's skill ; their learning to their own industry, their prosperity to their friends or merits. When men thus return their thank-offering to second causes, and ascribe to them what is due to God, they give the glory of his providence to a miserable creature. Thus was the foolish boasting of the Assyrian : Isa. x. 13, 14, ■ By the strength of my hand I have done this, and by my wisdom : for I am prudent : for I have removed the bounds of the people,' &c. Belshazzar's offence also, Dan. v. 23, ' Thou hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven : and praised the gods of silver,' as though they were the authors of all thy greatness ; so Hab. i. 16, ' They sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their drag, because by them their portion is fat,' alluding to those that then worshipped their warlike weapons, and the tools whereby they had got their wealth, in the place of God, as the heathen used to do.* How base a usage is this of God, to rifle him of all his glory, , and bestow it upon the unworthiest instruments, inanimate creatures ! It is ; as high idolatry as that of the heathens, inasmuch as it is a stripping God of the glory of his providential care, though the object to which we direct our acknowledgments is not so mean as theirs, which was a stock or stone. But is it not the same injury to a person to rifle him of his goods, to bestow it upon a beggar, as to give it to a prince ? It is a depriving a man of his i right. f Yet, is not this ordinary ! Do not men ascribe more to the phy- sician, that saves an eye in danger of being lost by a defluxion, than to God, who hath given them both, with the enjoyment of the light of the sun ; yea, more to the medicine than to that God who hath a witness of his deity i n * Dougkt Analect. Sacr. Excurs. 182. t Amirant sur les religions. 4G A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. every drug ? It is as if the kindness a prince shews to his subjects should be attributed to a scullion in his kitchen rather than to himself. This is to ' belie God, and say it is not he,' Jer. v. 12. It is applicable to the case of mercies as well as afflictions and judgments, of which it is properly meant. And this contempt is the greater, by how much the greater mercy we have received in a way of providence : Hos. ii. 8, ' She did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal ;' she that had most reason to know, because she had enjoyed so much ; she that had experience how by a strong and mighty hand I brought her out of Egypt into the laud now possessed by her : she would not know that I gave her those good things she prepared for Baal. It would be a natural consequence from this Scripture, that those that employ the good things they enjoy upon their lusts, do deny the providential good- ness of God in their possession and enjoyment of them, because they pre- pare God's goodness for their sinful pleasures, as though their own lusts had been the authors of them ; and also their instruments, that receive too high and nattering thanks of this nature, are much like Herod, that tickled himself with the people's applause, that his voice was the voice of God, and not of man. (5.) When we use indirect courses, and dishonest ways to gain wealth or honour. This is to leave God, to seek relief at hell's gates, and adore the devil's providence above God's : when God doth not answer us, like Saul, we will go to the witch of Endor, and have our ends by hell when heaven refuseth us. It is a covenanting with the devil, and striking up a bargain and agreement with hell, and acknowledging Satan to be the god of the world. No man will doubt but in express covenants with the devil, as witches and conjurors are reported to make, that the devil shall give them such knowledge, such wealth, or bring them to such honour ; it is no doubt, I say, but such do acknowledge the devil the god of the world, because they agree by articles to have those things conferred upon them by Satan, which are only in the power of God absolutely to promise or bestow. So when a man will commit sin to gain the ends of his ambition or covetousness, does he not implicitly covenant with the devil, who is the head of sinners, and set up his sin in the place of God, because he hopes to attain those things by sinful means, which are only in the hand of God, and on whom he only can have a dependence? This is the devil's design out of an enmity to providence. He tempted Christ to be his own carver, thereby to put him upon ;i distrust of his Father's care of him]: Mat. iv. 3, ' Command that these Btones be made bread/ as though God would not provide for him; which design of tin- devil is manifest by our Saviour's answer. This is to prostitute providence to our own lusis, and to pull it down from the govern- ment of the world, lo be a lacquey to our sinful pleasure; to use means which God doth prohibit, is to set up hell to govern us, since God will not em our afiairs in answer to our greedy desires. It is to endeavour that by God's eurse which we should only expeot by God's blessing ; for when God hath forbid sinful n rarely threatened them, perhaps cursed them in examples before our eves, what is it hut to say, that we will rather believe God'fl eurse will further OS than his blessing? It is to disparage' his bless- ing and prefer bis cm te, to slight his wisdom and adore our folly. When out. of (iod's way, we go out of God's protection, we have no charted for III,- blessing Of providence without that condition : Ts. xwvii. B, ' Trust in the Lord, and do gOOd I so Shalt thou dweU in the land, and verily thou ■bait he fed.' To do evil, then, is not to trust in (lod, or have any regard to his providential care. (Ii.) When wo distrust God when there is no visiblo means. A distrust 2 ChRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 47 of God renders * him impotent, or false and mutable, or cruel and regardless, and what not. We detract from his power, as if it depended upon crea- tures, or that he were like an artificer, that could not act without his tools ; as if God were tied to means, and were beholding to creatures for his operating power ; as if that God who created the world without instruments could not providentially apply himself to our particular exigencies without the help of some of his creatures. If he cannot work without this or that means you did expect your mercy by, it supposeth that God hath made the creature greater than himself, and more necessary to thy well-being than himself is; or else we conceit him false or foolish, as if he had undertaken a task of government too hard for him ; as if he were grown weary of his labour, and must have some time to recruit his strength ; or as if he were unfaith- ful, not walking by rules of unerring goodness ; or if we acknowledge him wise, and able, and faithful, yet it must then be a denial of his gracious tenderness, which is as great as his power and wisdom, and a perfection equal with any of the rest. If his caring for us be a principal argument to move us to cast our care upon him, — as it is 1 Peter v. 7, ' Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you ; ' then if we cast not our care upon him, it is a denial of his gracious care of us, — this is to imagine him a tenderer governor of beasts than men, as though our Saviour had spoke a palpable untruth, when he told us, not an hair of our heads doth fall with- out his leave ; as if he regarded sparrows only, and not his children ; or else it implies that God cannot mind us in a crowd of business, in such multitudes in the world, which he hath to take care of. But certainly as the multitude of things doth not hinder his knowledge of them, so neither do they hinder his care. The arms of his goodness are as large to embrace all creatures, as the eyes of his omniscience are to behold them. From this root do all our fears of the power of men grow : Isa. li. 12, 13, ' Who art thou, that art afraid of a man that shall die, &c, and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens?' &c. Our forgetfulness at least, if not a secret denial of God's power in the works of creation and providence, ushers in distrust of him, and that introduceth a fear of man. If they that know his name, will put their trust in him : Ps. ix. 10, ' For thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee ; ' then a distrust of him discovers an igno- rance and inconsideration of his name and his ways of working, and implies his forsaking of his creatures. He that trusts in anything else besides God, denies all the powerful operations of God, and conceives him not a strength sufficient for him, Ps. Hi. 7 ; that man doth not 'make God his strength, who trusts in the abundance of his riches.' How gross is it not to trust God under the very sense of his powerful goodness, but question whether he can or will do this or that for us. When w r e will have jealousies of him, when he doth compass us round about with mercy, and encircle us with his beams, it is to question whether the summer sun will warm me, though it shine directly upon me, and I feel the vigour of its beams upon my body ; much more base is this, then to distrust him when we have no means. What doth this imply, but that he cares not what becomes of his children, that no advantage can be expected from him, that his intentions towards us are not gracious even whiles we feel him ! (7.) Stoutness under God's afflicting or merciful hand, is a denial or contempt of providence. This was the aggravation of Belshazzar's sin : Dan. v. 23, ' And the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.' He glorified not God in the way of his provi- dence, but was playing the epicure, and was sacrilegiously quaffing in the * That is, interprets, or represents. — Ed. 48 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. vessels of the temple when the city was besieged ; he seemed to dare the providence of God upon a presumption that the city was impregnable, by reason of Euphrates, and the provision they had within their walls, which Xenophon saith was enough for twenty years, yet was taken that night when the hand-writing was. And by how much God's judgments have been more visible to us, and upon some well known by us, or related to us, so much the greater is the contempt of his providential government, as ver. 22, ' And thou his son, Belshazzar, hast not humbled thy heart, though thou knewest all this,' &c. He had known God's judgments upon his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar, a domestic example of God's vindicating his government of the world, and yet went in the same steps ; so Jer. v. 3, 4. ' Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction : they have made their faces harder than a rock. What is the reason ? The prophet renders it, ver. 4, ' They are foolish : for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God.' Correction calls for submis- sion ; but those, like a rock under God's hand, were correction-proof, they would not consider the ways of God's providence, and the manner of them ; it is as if by our peevishness we would make God weary of afflicting us, which is the worst case can happen. This is God's complaint of the ten tribes, Hos. vii. 9, ' gray hairs are upon them, and they know it not ; strangers have devoured his strength,' &c. There was a consumption of their strength ; the Assyrians and Egyptians, to whom they gave gifts, had drained their treasure ; but they would not consider God as the author, or acknowledge whence their misery came ; they would not ' seek God for all this, ver. 10. It is like a man's picking a pocket, or cutting a throat under the gallows in contempt of justice;* whereas good men are both afflicted with, and remember God's judgments. Eber called his son Peleg, division, because in his days the earth was divided, that in the daily sight of the sunf he might remember that sharp providence in scattering of the Babel builders. Judgments affect us when they are before our eyes, as the thunder and plagues did Pharaoh ; but when they are removed, men return to their beloved ways, as though God had shot away all his arrows, and was departed to mind them no more. Take heed of this, it is a sin highly provoking ; God is so tender that his providence should be minded and improved, that a sin of this nature he follows with his displeasure, in this life at least : Isa. xxii. 12, 13, ' And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning ; and behold joy and gladness, eating flesh and drinking wine : let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die.' When God in any judgment shews himself to bo the Lord God of hosts, and calls us to weeping, and we behave ourselves jollily in spite of his government, it is a sin be will remember, and bind the guilt upon us, ver 14, 'And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not bo purged from you till yo die.' (8.) Envy also if a denial of providence To bo sad at tho temporal good, or tho gifts of another, as counting him unworthy of them, it is a reflection upon the author of those gifts; an accusing providence of an un- just or unwise distribution. J Since; God may do what ho will with his own, if our eye be evil, because God ii good, we intrench upon his liberty, and deny him the disposal of bis own goods, M it' God were but our steward, and we bis lonls. it, is :i temper we are all subject to: Ps. xxwii. 1, ' EVet not thyself because of evil -doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.' It is peculiarly tho product Of self-love, which atl'ects tho principality in the world, and particularly affects the conduct of God iu * jenkin. t ( A U - ' h'.s sou'? — Ed. J Cajotan Summa, p. 4, 28. 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 49 distributing his goods, that he must not give but to whom they please. It ariseth indeed from a sense of our wants ; but the language of it is, God is unjust in his providence to me, because he bestows not upon me that good which he gives to another. It is such a sin that it seems to be a companion of our first parents' pride, which was the cause of their fall. They envied God a felicity by himself, for they would be like him, they would be as gods. Hence, perhaps, the Jews say Cain denied the providence of God, as envy- ing his brother, because God accepted Abel's sacrifice and not his. Jonah's passion arose from this pride, for fear he should be accounted a false prophet ; whereupon he envies God the glory of his mercy, and the poor Ninevites the advantage of it ; he would have God conform the way of his providence to his pleasure and reputation. Indeed, it is to envy God the honour of his providence in those gifts or good things another possesses, whereby he is instrumental to glorify God and advantage others. Thus, we would direct God what instruments he should employ ; when no artificer in his own art would endure to be directed by any ignorant person what tools he should use in his work. (9.) Impatience under cross providence is a denial and contempt of God's government. Men quarrel with God's revealed will, and therefore no wonder that they quarrel with his providential will ; whereby we deny him his right of governing, and slight his actual exercise of his right. As if God were accountable to us for his dispensations, and must have only a respect to us or our humour in his government : Job xviii. 4, ' He tears himself in his anger ; shall the earth be forsaken for thee ? and shall the rock be removed out of his place ? ' Must God alter the scene of his affairs according to our model and platform ? And because he doth not observe our rules and methods, must we tear ourselves in anger ? This is a secret cursing of God and flying in his face, when we see providence so cross, that there seems to be no help at any time either in heaven or earth : Isa. viii. 21, 22, ' They shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upwards. And they shall look unto the earth ; and behold trouble and darkness.' Take heed of fretting at God's management of things in the world, or thy own particular concerns ; this may lead to a cursing of God, and is indeed an initial secret swelling against him, and cursing of him. Man is ambitious to become a god. Adam's posterity have in one sort or other imitated him. This, [1.] Is a wrong to the sovereignty of providence. It was a good admonition of Luther's to Melancthon, when he was troubled much about the affairs of the church, Monendus est Philippics at desinat esse rector mundi. By this temper we usurp God's place, and set ourselves in his throne ; we invade his supremacy, by desiring everything to be at our beck, and are displeased with him, because he doth not put the reins of the world's govern- ment into our hands ; as if we would command his will and become his sovereigns. It is a striving with our Maker for the superintendency, when we will sit judge upon him, or censure his acts, and presume to direct him : Isa. xlv. 9, ' Woe to him that strives with his Maker. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou ? or thy work, He hath no hands.' How do men summon God to the bar of their interest, and expostulate with him about his works, why he did not order them thus and thus ; and if he doth so, to tell him he hath no hand, no hand of providence in the world ! The design of that place is to stop such peevishness and invasions of God's right ; I will not have my sovereign will disputed, as if I were but the creature's servant. I am content you should ' ask of me things to come,' ver. 11, and pray to me, but notwithstanding yet to submit to my VOL. I. D 50 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. pleasure, without a peevish endeavouring to wrest the sovereignty out of my hand, and pull the crown from my head. [2.] It is a wrong to the goodness and righteousness of providence. It is a charging God with ill management, and an implicit language, that if we were the commanders of providence, things should be managed more justly and righteously ; as it was Absalom's pretence in wishing to be the king of Israel in David's stead, 2 Sam. xv. 4. If patience be a giving God the honour of his righteousness in his judgments — Ps. cxix. 75, 'I know, Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me ;' — impatience must be a charge against God for unrighteous- ness in his judicial proceedings, and a saying, ' the way of the Lord is not equal,' Ezek. xviii. 25. It is implied in that complaint, Isa. lviii. 2, 3, * They ask of me the ordinances of justice, &c. Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not ? wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest no knowledge ? ' We demand justice of thee, since thou dost not seem to do that which is fit and righteous, in not regarding us in our suits, and not bestowing that which we have fasted for. God governs the world according to his will, our murmuring implies that God's will is not the rule of right- eousness. We affront the care of God towards his creatures, as if the products of our shallow reasons were more beautiful and just than God's contrivances for us, who hath higher and more glorious ends in everything, both for ourselves and the world, of which we are members, and for his own glory, to which we ought to subject ourselves, when perhaps our projects tend immediately to gratify some sensual or spiritual lust in us. It is the commendation the Holy Ghost gives of Job, chap. i. 22, ■ In all this Job sinned not, neither charged God foolishly,' as a character peculiar to him, implying that most men in the world do, upon any emergency, charge God with their crosses, as dealing unjustly with them, in inflicting punishment when they think they have deserved rewards. Jeremiah is not innocent in this case: Jer. xx. 7, ' Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived,' in the ill success of his prophecy, as though an immense goodness would, and a sovereign power needed to deal in a fraudulent way with his creatures to bring his ends about. [3.] It is a wrong to the wisdom of providence. We would degrade his omniscience and wisdom, and sway him b} T oiu* foolish and purblind dictates ; it is as if wo would instruct him better in the management of the world, and direct him to a reformation of his methods : Job xl. 2, ' Shall ho that con- tends with the Almighty instruct him ? Ho that reproves God let him wet it.' It is a reproving God, and reproofs imply a greater autho- rity, or righteousness, or wisdom, in the person reproving. We reprovo I I, as if God should have consulted with us, and asked cur advice; it is to t ..ike upon us to be God's counsellors, and to conclude the only wise God by our imperfect reason : Rom. \i. 84, ' Who hath been his counsellor'.' ' It la a secret boasting of some excellency in ourselves, as it" God did not govern well, or we could govern better. Shall a silly passenger, that ander- standi nol the use of the c . !>.• angry that the skilful pilot will not steer the vr sel according to his pleasure ? Mast we give out our orders to God, as though He' counsels of infinite wisdom must roll about according to the conceits of our fancy? Is not, the language of our hearts in our tits oi' impatit nee a i pro I proud against God's providence as the Bpeech of that monster v. the creation, who said if he had keen by God at the i of the world, h^ eoul I hive dir< ol id him to a better platform ? All this, ami muoh more, is virtually in this sin of impatience. (10.) Jm oh and mi by them \\[)on providonc 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 51 this we contemn it. Some think Cain doth so : Gen iv. 9, ' Am I my brother's keeper ? ' Thou art the keeper and governor of the world, why- didst thou not hinder me from killing my brother ? It is certain the first man did so : Gen. iii. 12, ' The woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree ; ' thy gift is the cause of my sin and ruin. It is as certain David laid the sin of Uriah's murder at the door of providence : 2 Sam. xi. 25, when he heard that Uriah was dead, ' The sword,' saith he, ' devours one as well as another.' Man conjures up trouble to himself when by his folly he brings himself into sin, and from thence to misery, and then his heart frets against the Lord, and lays the blame both of his sin and fol- lowing mischiefs upon him : Prov. xix. 3, ' The foolishness of man perverts his way, and his heart frets against the Lord.' There are many other ways wherein we deny or slight providence. [1.] When we do things with a respect to the pleasure of men more than of God, as though God were careless both of himself and his own honour, and regarded not the principles and ends of our actions. [2.] In vain boasting and vaunting of ourselves. As Benhadad would have such a multitude of men in his army as that there should not be dust enough in Samaria to afford every man a handful, 1 Kings xx. 10, wherein he swaggers with God, and vaunts as if he were the governor of the world ; yet this man, with his numerous host, was routed by a troop of lacqueys, ver. 15, 20; they are called 'the young men of the princes.' Such is the folly of men against the orders of God, when they boast in their hearts that their house shall continue for ever, Ps. xlix. 11. [3.] Oppression. ' They slay the fatherless, and say, The God of Jacob shall not regard it,' Ps. xciv. 6, 7. Their denial of providence was the cause of their oppression of the poor, and where this is found in any, it is an argument it ariseth principally from a like cause. This is also made the cause why they eat up God's people as they eat bread, Ps. xiv. 1, 4. [4.] Misinterpretations of providence. Such cursed jealousies had the Jews of God : Num. xiv. 3, ' And where- fore hath the Lord brought us into this land to fall by the sword ? were it not better for us to return into Egypt ? ' As though God in that mighty deliverance had cheated them with a design to destroy them in the wilder- ness, when one of those plagues poured out upon Pharaoh being turned upon their heads, had destroyed them in Egypt. So foolish are they to think that God would ruin them upon dry land who might have drowned them as well as their enemies in the Red Sea ; so unreasonable is man in his disputes against God. [5. J In limiting providence. In bounding it to time, manner, and other circumstances, as they did : Ps. lxxviii. 41, ' They limited the holy one of Israel, for they remembered not his hand.' As though God must manage everything according to the will of a simple creature. It was a forgetfulness of providence, at least, that was the cause of it. Use 2. The second use is of comfort. As the justice and righteousness of God is the highest comfort to a good man since the evangelical dispensa- tion, in that he hath to deal with a righteous God, who can as soon deny himself as his righteousness, so it is none of the meanest comforts that we acknowledge and worship that God, who exerciseth himself in a constant government of the world, and leaves not anything to the capricionsness of that which we call fortune and chance. What satisfaction can any man in his sober wits have, to live in a world cast off from all care of the Creator of it ? Wisdom without providence would make any man mad, and the great- est advantage would be to be a stupid and senseless fool. Can there be 52 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. any worse news told to men than this, that let them be as religious as they will, there is no eye above takes notice of it ? What can be bitterer to a rational man than that God should be careless of the world ? * What a door would be opened by it for all sin in the wicked, and despair in the godly ! It is as great a matter of joy to the godly that God reigns as it is of terror to the wicked : Ps. xcvii. 1, ' The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice ; Ps. xcix. 1, * The Lord reigns, let the people tremble.' It is a comfort that, 1. Man is a special object of providence. God provides for all creatures, even those that are the works of his hands, much more for man, who is more peculiarly the work of his head, in whose creation he took counsel : Gen. i. 26, \ Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' iThe work of his heart, in being made according to his image, and intended as a sub- ordinate end of his whole creation, next to the principal, that of God's glory. He is the preserver of man and beast ; of man principally, of beasts in subserviency to man's good and preservation. 2. Holy men a more special object of it. God preserves and provides for all things, and all persons. But his eye is more peculiarly fixed upon those that fear him : Ps. xxxiii. 18, ■ Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy,' so fixed as if he had no regard to anything else. If God hath a care of man created after his own image, though his image be depraved, much more of those wherein his image is restored. If God loves himself, he loves his image and his works. A man loves the works which he hath made of some external matter ; much more doth a father love his son, much more doth God love his own, and therefore will work their good, and dispose of them well. God exerciseth a special providence over the actions of a good man, as well as his person, Ps. xxxvii. 23, ■ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his ways ; ' it is a special, because a delight- ful providence, he delights in his way. How highly may it cheer a man to be in covenant with that God which rules the world, and hath all things at his beck, to be under not only the care of his wisdom, but of his goodness. The governor of the world, being such an only friend, will do him no hurt, being such an only father, will order all things to his good out of a fatherly affection ; ho is the world's sovereign, but a good man's father ; he rules the heavens and the earth, but ho loves his holy ones. Other things are tho objects of his providence, and a good man is the end of it. For ' His 9 nm to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong for him whose heart ifl perfect towards him,' 2 Ohron. xvi. 3. 8. Hence it will follow that the spirits of good men have sutlicient grounds to bear tip in their innocent Bufferings ami storms in the world. Innocent Bufferings. There is a righteous governor who orders all, and will reward them lot their jiiiins SB well as their service : lleh. vi. 10, ' For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love ; ' there is one that pre- sides in the world, Who BOeS nil their Calamities, and cannot he mistaken in their oause, Who bath as much power ami wisdom as will to help them. It would I),' ;m affliction indeed if there were no sovereign power to whom tiny might make Heir moan in their distress, to whom they might ease their oon- , it there were do governor towhom they might oiler ap their petitions in the storms they meet with in the world. How doth the presence of a skilful pilot in a weather-beaten ship cheer the hearts of the fearful passen- * It w.i.! an ezoellent ■peeob "f a Stoic, •&* 'tarl £fi> iv r£ x6a/xtfj xtvfi Ctuv xu) 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 53 gers ! What a dread would it be to them to have the vessel wherein their lives and all are concerned left to the fury of winds and waves, without an able hand to manage it ? God hath a bridle to check the passions of men, to marshal them according to his pleasure ; they are all but his instruments in the government, not the lords of it. God can lay a plot with more wis- dom for a good man's safety than the enemy can for his destruction ; he can countermine their plots with more power than they can execute them ; he can out- wit their craft, overpower their strength, and turn their designed cruelty against them, as a knife into their own breasts. 4. Hence follows a certain security against a good man's want. If God take care of the hairs, the ornamental superfluities, why should we doubt his care of our necessary supply ? If he be the guardian of our hairs, which fall off without our sense of their departure, shall he be careless of us when we are at a pinch for our all ? Will God reach out his care to beasts, and deny it to his children ? What would you judge of that father who should feed his servants and starve his sons '? He supplies his enemies, and hath he no bowels for his friends ? The very unjust as well as the just are enlightened by his sun, and refreshed by his rain ; and shall he not have a providence for those that have a special interest in that Mediator, whose interposition kept up those standing mercies after our forfeiture of them by sin ? If he bless with those blessings those who are the objects of his curse, will he not bless those that are in his special favour with them, so far as they may prove blessings to them ? Ps. xxxiv. 10, ' The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing,' ver. 9, ' for there is no want to them that fear him.' A good man shall have what he needs, not always what he thinks he needs. Pro- vidence intends the supply of our necessities, not of our desires ; he will satisfy our wants, but not our wantonness. When a thing is not needful, a man cannot properly be said to want it ; when it is needful, a good man shall not be without it. What is not bestowed upon us may not be so beautiful at that time wherein we desire it, for everything is beautiful in its season, Eccles. iii. 11. He that did not want God's kindness to renew him, shall never want God's kindness to supply him ; his hand shall not be want- ing to give, where his heart has been so large in working. Others live that have an interest only in common providence, but good men have providence cabineted in a promise, and assured to them by a deed of covenant convey- ance ; he was a provider before, he hath made himself now your debtor. You might pray for his providential care before with a common faith, now with a more special expostulation, for in his promise he hath given a good man the key of the chest of his providence, because it is ' the promise of this life, and that which is to come,' 1 Tim. iv. ; of this life, not to our desires, but necessities ; of the life to come to both, wherein they shall have what- soever they can want and whatsoever they can desire. Again consider, God doth exercise a more special providence over men, as clothed with miserable circumstances, and therefore among his other titles this is one, to be 'a helper of the fatherless,' Ps. x. 14. It is the argument the church used to express her return to God : Hosea xiv. 3, ' For in thee the fatherless find mercy.' Now what greater comfort is there than this, that there is one presides in the world who is so wise he cannot be mistaken, so faithful he cannot deceive, so pitiful he cannot neglect his people, and so powerful that he can make stones even to be turned into bread if he please ! Further, take this for a comfortable consideration ; God doth not govern the world only by his will as an absolute monarch, but 54 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XYI. 9. by his wisdom and goodness as a tender father. It is not his greatest pleasure to shew his sovereign power, or his unconceivable wisdom, but his immense goodness, to which he makes the other attributes subservient. What was God's end in creating is his end in governing, which was the communication and diffusion of his goodness ; we may be sure from hence that God will do nothing but for the best, his wisdom appointing it with the highest reason, and his goodness ordering it to the most gracious end ; and because he is the highest good, he doth not only will good, but the best good in everything he acts. What greater comfort can there be than that we are under the care of an infallible, unwearied, and righteous governor ! infallible because of his in- finite wisdom, unwearied because of his incomprehensible omnipotency, and righteous because of his unbounded goodness and holiness. Use 3. Of exhortation. The duties arising from hence will run as a thread through the web of our whole lives, and all the motions of them. This doctrine hath an influ- ence upon our whole course ; there is nothing we meet with but is an act of providence, and there is no act of providence but calls for some particular duty. Is there any good we want? We must seek it at his hands, we must depend upon him for it ; we must prescribe no methods to him, but leave the conduct of it to his own wisdom. Is it a cross providence, and contrary to our desires and expectations ? Murmur not at it. Is it afflictive and troublesome ? . Submit to it. Is it either good or bad, and present ? We must study to understand it. Is it a good and present ? Give God the glory of it. 1. Seek everything you need at the hands of God. It is not only the skilfulness of the pilot, but a favourable gale from heaven, which must con- duct the ship to the intended port. As his providence is the foundation, so it is the encouragement of all prayer. The end of the Lord's prayer is, * For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory.' The providential kingdom belongs to God. Power he hath to manage it, and his glory is the end of all. Seek to him therefore for the exercise of his power in thy con- cerns, and for his directing them to his glory in his providential administra- tions. Every one of our days, and both the mercy and the misery of them, depe id unon him: Prov. xxvii. 1, 'Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth,' but God foresees all events; have recourse therefore to his caro lor every day's success. What arc onr contrivances without the leave and blessing of providence ? Like the bubbles blown up from a nut-shell, easily broken by the next puff. Our labour will be as fruitless as Peter's, with all his toil, and catch nothing till God speaks the word, and sends the lish into our net, Luke v. 5. The way of man is not in himself: Jer. x. 28, ' Lord, 1 know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walks lo direct his steps.' Dangers are not within the reach of our eye to foresee, nor within the compass of our power io prevent. Human prudence may lay the platform, and God's power blast the execution when it seems to l>e grown up Dearest to maturity. Besekiah was liappy in his affairs, be« cause he Was assisted by God J Ahax unhappy, because he is deserted by God. If we would have a dock ,L r o well, we must look chiefly to the motion of tho chief wheel ; a failure is that makes an error in all the rest. No- thing can terminate its motion to onr benefit without providence. Coloured glass can reflect do beams without the sun's light, nor fruits be ripened with- out its influence. Our dependence on God is greater than theirs on the sun. God lets men play With their own wit and strength, and come to tho brink of execution of their designs, and then blows upon them, that they 2 ChRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 55 may know there is a God in the earth. Pythagoras could say it was ytXoTov, a ridiculous thing to seek that which is brave and virtuous anywhere else than of God.* Cyrus is a brave pattern, who is mentioned in Scrip- ture, and represented by Xenophon calling upon God when he was first chosen general; f and in his speech to his captains to encourage them to hope for a good success of the expedition, tells them they might expect it, because I have begun with God, which you know, saith he, is my custom, not only when I attempt great matters, but also ra //,/;tga,the things of lesser concernment. The seeking of God should be the prologue to all our affairs. We are enjoined first to pray, and then to determine : Job xxii. 27, ' Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee.' The interesting providence in our concerns is the highway to success. The reason we miscarry, is because we consult not God, but determine without him ; and then we have no reason to complain of him for not prospering our way, when we never commended our affairs to his conduct. It hath been the practice of holy men. Nehemiah first petitioned God before he would use his interest in the king's favour : Neh. ii. 4, ' Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request ? So I prayed to the God of heaven, and I said unto the king,' &c. So Abraham's steward put up his request to God, before he would put the business he came upon in execution, Gen. xxiv. 12. David frequently in particular cases, 1. Sam. xxiii. 9, 2 Sam. ii. 1, 2 Sam. xvi. 12. God only doth what he pleases in heaven and in earth. He only can bless us, he only can blast us. Shall we be care- less in any undertaking, whether we have his favour or no ? It is a ridicu- lous madness to resolve to do anything without God, without whose assisting and preserving of us we had not been able to make that resolution. 2. Trust providence. To trust God when our warehouses and bags are full, and our tables spread, is no hard thing ; but to trust him when our purses are empty, but a handful of meal and a cruse of oil left, and all ways of relief stopped, herein lies the wisdom of a Christian's grace. Yet none are exempted from this duty, all are bound to acknowledge their trust in him by the daily prayer for daily bread, even those that have it in their cup- boards as well as those that want it, the greatest prince as well as the meanest beggar. Whatever your wants are, want not faith, and you cannot want supplies. It is the want of this binds up his hand from doing great works for his creatures ; the more we trust him the more he concerns himself in our affairs. The more we trust ourselves, the more he delights to cross us ; for he hath denounced such an one cursed that maketh flesh his arm, Jer. xvii. 5, though it be the best flesh in the world, because it is a departing from the Lord. No wonder then that God departs from us, and carries away his blessing with him ; while we trust ourselves, we do but trouble ourselves, and know not how to reconcile our various reasons for hopes and fears, but the committing our way to the Lord renders our minds calm and composed : Prov. xvi. 3, ' Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.' Thou shalt have no more of those quarrelling disturbing thoughts what the success shall be. (1.) Trust providence in the greatest extremities. He brings us into straits, that he may see the exercise of our faith : Zeph. iii. 12, ' I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.' When we are most desolate, we have most need of this exercise, and have the fittest season to practise it ; he is always our refuge and our strength, but in time of trouble a present help, Ps. xlvi. 1. Daniel's new advancement by Belshazzar but a day before the city was taken by the * Jarablich. Vita. Pythag , lib, i. cap. 18. | Xenophon ffgs/ Kvgov IIa/5. lib. i. 56 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChEON. XVI. 9. enemy, Dan. v. 29, the king slain, and (no doubt) many of his nobility, and those that were nearest in authority with him, it being the interest of the enemy to despatch them, was a danger, yet God by ways not expressed pre- served Daniel, and gave him favour with the conqueror. God sometimes leads his people into great dangers, that they may see and acknowledge his hand in their preservation. Daniel had not had so signal an experience of God's care of him, had he been in the lower condition he was in before his new preferment. God's eye is always upon them that fear him, not to keep distress from them, but to quicken them in it, and give them as it were a new life from the dead : Ps. xxxiii. 18, 19, ' To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.' God brings us into straits, that we may have more lively experiments of his tenderness in his seasonable relief. If he be angry, he will repent himself for his servants, when he sees their power is gone, because then the glory of his providence is appropriated to him- self: Deut. xxxii. 36, 39, ' See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me : I kill, and I make alive.' No creature can have any pretence to share in it ; he delights thereby to blow up both our affections to him and admirations of him, and store up in us a treasure of experiments to encourage our trusting in him in the like straits. We should therefore repose our- selves in God in a desert as well as in the cities ; with as much faith among savage beasts as in the best company of the most sociable men;- and answer the greatest strait with Abraham's speech to Isaac, ' God will provide.' For we have to do with a God who is bound up to no means, is at no ex- pense in miraculous succours, who delights to perfect his strength in the creature's weakness. We have to do with a God who only knows what may further our good, and accordingly orders it ; what may hinder it, and there- fore prevents it. He can set all causes in such a posture as shall conspire together as one link to bring about success, and make even contrary motions meet in one gracious end ; as the rivers which run from north and south, the contrary quarters of the world, agree in the surges of one sea. Though providences may seem to cross one another, they shall never cross his w T ord and promise, which he hath magnified above all his names. And his pro- vidence is but a servant to his truth. (2.) Trust it in the way of means. Though we are sure God hath decreed the certain event of such a thing, yet we must not encourage our idleness, but our diligence. Though Moses was assured of the victory when Amalek came armed against him, yet he commands Joshua to draw up the valiant men int') a body, himself goes to the mount to pray, and is as diligent in the of ;ill means as it' he had been ignorant of God's purpose, and had rather mi jpected lie- rout of liis own than his enemies' forces. Neither doth Joshua afterwards, though secured by promise in his conquest of Caiman, omit any part of the duty of a wise; and watchful general; lie semis spies, disci- plines bis forces, besiegeth cities, and contrives Btratagems. Providence directs ai by means, not to use them is \^ tempt our guardian ; where it in- t' ii I any great thing \'<<v our good, it opens a door, and puts such circum- stances into our bands as we may use without, the breach of any command, or tie' neglect of our own duty. ( i < »<l OOuld have secured Christ from 1 lerod's fury by ;i miraculous stroke from heaven Upon his enemy, hut lie orders eph and Mary's Bight into Egypi as i m. tans of his preservation. God rebukes Mo es for praying, and not using the means in continuing the people's marob : Exod. riv, l 5, ' Wherefore eriest thou unto me ? Speak unto the Children Of Israel, that they go forwards.' To QSe means without respect to ( iod, is proudly to contemn him ; to depend upon Cod without the use of * Durant de Tentat. i». ids. 2 ChRON. XYI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 57 means, is irreligiously to tempt him ; in both we abuse his providence. In the one we disobey him in not using the means he hath appointed ; in the other presumptuously impose upon him for the encouragement of our lazi- ness. Diligence on our part, and the blessing on God's, Solomon joins to- gether, Prov. x. 4, ' The hand of the diligent makeslrich,' but, ver. 22, ' The blessing of the Lord maketh rich.' So Eccles. ix. 1, « Our works are in the hand of God;' our works, but God's blessing; God's blessing, but not with- out our works. It was the practice of good men. Jacob wrestles with God to divert his brother's fury, yet sends a present to his brother to appease him, Gen. xxxii. 9, 13. David trusts in the name of the Lord his God in his duel with Goliah, but not without his sling ; our labour should rather be more vigorous than more faint, when we are assured of the blessing of pro- vidence by the infallibility of the promise. (3.) Trust providence in the way of precept. Let not any reliance upon an ordinary providence induce you into any way contrary to the command. Daniel had many inducements from an appearance of providence to eat the king's meat : his necessity of compliance in his captivity, probability of pre- ferment by learning the wisdom of the country, whereby he might both have advanced himself and assisted his countrymen, the greatness of the con- sideration for a captive to be fed from the king's table, the ingratitude he might be accused of for despising so kind a treatment ; but none of these things moved him against a command; because the law of God forbade it, he would not eat of the king's meat, Dan. i. 8-10, &c. < But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat.' Daniel might have argued, I may wind myself into the king's favour, do the church of God a great service by my interest in him, which may be dashed in pieces by my refusal of this kindness ; but none of these things wrought upon him. No providences wherein we have seeming circumstances of glorifying God, must lead us out of the way of duty ; this is to rob God one way to pay him another. God brought Daniel's ends about : he finds favour with the governor, his request is granted, the success is answerable, and all those ends attained which he might in a sinful way, by an ill con- struction of providence, have proposed to himself, all which he might have missed of had he run on in a carnal manner. This, this is the way to suc- cess: Ps. xxxvii. 5, ' Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.' Commit thy way to the guidance of his provi- dence, with an obedience to his precept and reliance on his promise, and refer all success in it to God. If wo set up our golden calves made of our own ear-rings, our wit, and strength, and carnal prudence, because God seems to neglect us, our fate may be the same with theirs, and the very dust of our demolished calf may be a bitter spice in our drink, as it was in theirs. (4.) Trust him solely, without prescribing any methods to him ; leave him to his wise choice, wait upon him because he is a God of judgment, Isa. xxx. 18, who goes judiciously to work, and can best time the executions of his will. The wise God observes particular periods of time for doing his great works, — John ii. 4, ' My hour is not yet come ; woman, what have I to do with thee?' — which man is no competent judge of: I will do this miracle, but the season is not yet come wherein it will be most beautiful. God hath as much wisdom to pitch the time of performance of his promise, as he hath mercy at first to make it. How presumptuous would it be for the shallow world, a thing worse than nothing, and vanity, to prescribe rules to the Creator ! much more for a single person, a little atom of dust, infi- nitely worre than nothing, and vanity, to do it. Since we had no hand in creating tl e world or ourselves, let us not presume to direct God in the 58 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. government of it : Job xxxviii. 4, ' Where wast thou when I laid the foun- dation of the earth ? declare, if thou hast understanding.' Would it not be a disparagement to God to stoop to thy foolish desires ? yea, would you not yourselves have a lower conceit of him, if he should degrade his wisdom to the wrong bias of your blind reason ? 3. Submit to providence. It is God's right to govern the world, and dispose of his creature ; it is his glory in heaven to do what he will : Ps. cxv. 3, ' But our God is in the heaven : he hath done whatsoever he pleased.' Let us not, by our unsubmissive carriage, deprive him of the same glory on earth ; he brings to pass his will by ways the creature cannot under- stand. It is the wisest speech in the medley of fooleries, the Turkish Alco- ran.- We must walk by the rule of reason which God hath placed in us for our guide ; yet if providence brings to pass any other event contrary to our rational expectations, because it is a clear evidence of his will, we must acquiesce. As when a traveller hath two ways to come to his journey's end, the one safe and the other dangerous, reason persuades him to choose the safest way, wherein he falls among thieves ; now having used his reason, which in that case was to be his director, he must acquiesce ; God's provi- dence bringeth forth an event, which he could not without violence to his reason avoid. And therefore it is a great vanity, when a man hath resolved the most probable way in a business, and fails in it, to torment himself; because though our consultations depend upon ourselves, yet the issues of them are solely in the hand of God. It concerns us therefore to submit to God's disposal of us and our affairs, since nothing can come to pass but by the will of God effecting it, or permitting it. If the fall of a sparrow is not without his will, Mat. x. 29, much less can the greater events which befall men, the nobler creatures, be without the same concurrence of God's plea- sure ; therefore submit : for, (1.) Whatsoever God doth, he doth wisely. His acts are not sudden and rash, but acts of counsel ; not taken up upon the present posture of things, but the resolves of eternity. As his is the highest wisdom, so all his acts relish of it, and he guides his will by counsel: Eph. i. 11, ' Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.' If God took counsel in creat- ing the world, much more in laying a platform of government, much more in the act of government ; for men can frame models of government that c;in Dover reduce them into practice. Now God being infinitely wise, and his will infinitely good, it must needs be that goodness and wisdom are the rules whereby he directs himself in his actions in the world. And what greater motive can there ho to persuade our submission, than wisdom and goodness transacting all things? God's counsel being the tirmest, as well as the wisest, it is a lolly both ways to resist it. (•J.; God discovers his mind to us by providences. Every work of God 1 nit, of his counsel, when we see it actually brought forth into the world, what else doth it discover to us but that counsel and will of his? providence hftth a language wherein God's mind is signified, much mors :i train and contexture of them : Luke vii, 22, * Tell John what things yon have seen and heard: how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are clean ■ I, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, to the poor the gospel is preached.' Our Saviour informs John's disoiples from Of providence, I I them no other answer, hut turns him over to interpret and construe bis works in the ease. Providence therefore must not I d, when God'fl mind in it, is discovered. It is disingenuous ;ainst bil pleasure and manifest mind; it is the devil's sin. Aaron, * Dcus triumpluU m mui MMtO, •[<-. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 59 when he lost his two sons in so judicial manner by fire from heaven, yet held his peace, Lev. x. 1-3 ; because God had declared his mind positively, 1 1 will be glorified.' It is dangerous to resist the mind of God, for the word of his providence shall prosper in spite of men and devils : Isa. lv. 11, 1 My word that goes forth of my mouth, shall not return unto me void ; it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it ;' and therefore a resisting of it is termed Qeopa^sTv, a fighting against God, by Gamaliel, no great friend to the church, Acts v. 38, 39. 4. Murmur not at providence. Though we do not clearly resist it, if there be a repining submission, it is a partial opposition to the will of God. We might as well murmur at God's creation as at his providence, for that is as arbitrary as this ; he is under no law but his own righteous will : wo should therefore leave the government of the world to God's wisdom, as we acknowledge the frame of it to be an act of his power. If God should manage his ways according to our prescriptions, what satisfaction would God have ? what satisfaction would the world have ? He might be unjust to himself, and unjust to others. Your own complaints would not be stilled, when you should feel the smart of your own counsels ; yet if they were, what satisfaction could there be to the complaints of others, whose interests and therefore judgments and desires lie cross to yours ? Man is a cross creature. The Israelites exclaimed to God against Pharaoh, and when the scene was changed, they did no less murmur' against Moses in the wilder- ness. They were as troublesome when they w T ere delivered, as when they were afflicted. In Egypt they would have their liberty, and in the wilder- ness their stomachs turn, and they long for the onions and garlic, though attended with their former slavery. Let God govern the world according to his own wisdom and will, till all mankind can agree in one method to offer to him, and that I think will never be, though the world should last for ever. Murmur not, therefore ; whatsoever is done in the world is the work of a wise agent, who acts for the perfection of the whole universe ; and why should I murmur at that which promotes the common happiness and per- fection, that being better and more desirable than the perfection of any one particular person ? Must a lutenist break all his strings because one is out of tune ? And must God change his course because things are out of order with one man, though in regard of divine providence things are not out of order in themselves, or without any care, for God is a God of order ? This temper will hinder our prayers ; with what face can we pray to that God whose wisdom we thus repine at ? If God doth exercise a providence in the world, why do we murmur ? If he doth not take care of those things, why do we pray to him ? It is a contradiction. It also hinders us from giving God the glory, and ourselves the comfortable sight of his providence. God may have taken something from us, which is the matter of our sorrow, and give another thing to us, which might be the matter of our joy. Jacob lost a joint, and got a blessing, Gen. xxxii. 29, 31. What advantage can it be to murmur ? Can all your cries stop the motions of the heavens, when a storm reaches you ? Can your clamours make the clouds move the faster, or persuade the showers from drenching us ? Murmuring at any afflictive providence, is the way to make the rod smarter in itself, and sharper to us. 5. Study providence. It is a part of atheism not to think the acts of God in the world worth our serious thoughts. And if you would know the mean- ing of his administrations, grow up in the fear of God : Ps. xxv. 14, ' The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.' God is highly angry with those that mind him not : Ps. xxviii. 5, * Because they regard not the ope- 60 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. ration of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.' He shall utterly root them out. (1.) Study providence universally. The darkest : God brings order out of the world's confusion, even as he framed a beautiful heaven and earth out of a rude mass. The terriblest : these offer something worth our observa- tion ; the dreadful providence of God makes Sodom an example to after ages : Jude 7, they are • set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,' &c. The smallest : God is a wise agent, and so the least of his actions are significant. There is nothing superfluous in those acts we account the meanest ; for to act vainly and lightly argues imperfection, which cannot be attributed to God. The wisdom of God may be much seen in those providences the blind world counts small ; as a little picture is oft- times of more value, and hath more of the workman's skill than a larger, which an ignorant person might prize at a higher rate ; the lilies, flowers, sparrows, our Saviour raises excellent observations from. (2.) Regularly. By the word : compare providence and the promise together ; God's manner of administrations, and the meaning of them, is understood by the word : Ps. lxxvii. 13, ' Thy way, God, is in the sanc- tuary.' By faith : we many times correct our sense by reason ; when we look through a blue or green glass, and see all things blue or green, though our sense represents them so, yet our reason discovers the mistake. Why should we not correct reason by faith ? Indeed, our purblind reason stands in as much need of a regulation by faith, as our deceitful sense doth of a regulation by reason. We may often observe in the gospel, that the Holy Ghost taking notice of the particular circumstances in the bringing Christ into the world, and in the course of his life, often hath those expressions, 1 as it is written ; that the Scriptures might be fulfilled,' There is not a pro- vidence happens in the world, but there are some general rules in the word whereby we may apprehend the meaning of it. From God's former work discovered in his word, we may trace his present footsteps. Observe the timings of providence wherein the beauty of it appears, since ' God hath made every thing beautiful in its time.' (3.) Entirely. View them in their connection. A harsh touch single would not be pleasing, but may rarely affect the concert. The providences of God bear a just proportion to one another, and are beautiful in theft entire scheme ; but when regarded apart, we shall come far short of a delight- ful understanding of them. As in a piece of arras folded up, and afterwards particularly opened, we Bee the hand or foot of a man, the branch of a tree; or if we look on the outside, we sec nothing but knots and threads, and uncouth shapes that we know not what to make of; but when it is fully opened, and we have the whole weh before as, we see what histories and ing characters are interwoven in it. View them in their end ; there is no true judgment to be made of i thing in motion, unless we have a right Of the end tO which it tends. Many things which may seem terrible in their motion, may be excellent in their end. Providence is crowned by the end of it. Asaph was much troubled about the prosperity of the wicked, and affliction Of the godly, but he was well satisfied when be understood their end, which was the end of providence too : l\s. Ixxiii. It'), 17, ' When I lit- to Lie. a ilii , it u M too painful for me, until I went, into the sanc- tuary, then Understood I their end.' Motes his rod was a serpent in its motion upon the ground; but when taken up, it was a rod again to work miracles. God set, us u pattern for this in the creation. He views the creatures as thej cone into being, and pronounced them good; be takes a review of them afterward in their whole frame, ami the subordination of 2 CHRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 61 them to one another, and the ends he had destined them to, and then pro- nounceth them very good. The merciful providences of God, if singly looked upon, will appear good, but if reviewed in the whole web, and the end of them, will commence very good in our apprehensions. (4.) Calmly. Take heed of passion in this study, that is a mist before the eye of the mind ; several pleasures also disturb and stifle the nobler ope- ration of the intellective part, and all improving thoughts of God's provi- dence : Isa. v. 12, ' And the harp, and the viol, and wine, are in their feasts, but they regard not the work of the Lord, nor consider the opera- tions of his hands.' All thoughts of them are choked by the pleasures of sense. Passions and sensual pleasures are like flying clouds in the night, interposing themselves between the stars and our eyes, that we cannot observe the motions of them. Turbulent passions, or swinish pleasures prevailing, obscure the providence of God. Our own humour and interest we often make the measures of our judgment of providence. Shimei, when Absalom rebels against his father, looks no further than his own interest, and therefore interprets it as a judgment of God in revenging the house of Saul : 2 Sam. xvi. 7, 8, ' The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned.' Therefore the Spirit of God takes particular notice that he was of the house of Saul, ver. 5, when indeed this judgment was quite another thing, for David's sin in the matter of Uriah was written in the forehead of it. (5.) Seriously. It is not an easy work ; for the causes of things are hid, as the seminal virtues in plants, not visible till they manifest themselves. Providence is God's lantern in many affairs ; if we do not follow it close, we may be left in the dark, and lose our way. With much prayer, for we can- not of ourselves find out the reason of them ; being shallow creatures, we cannot find out those infinite wise methods God observes in the managing of them ; but if we seriously set to work, and seek God in it, God may inform us, and make them intelligible to us. Though a man may not be able of himself to find out the frame and motions of an engine, yet when the artificer hath explained the work, discovered the intent of the fabric, it may be easily understood : if it be dark, whilst you seriously muse on it, God may send forth a light into you, and give you an understanding of it : Mat. i. 20, Joseph thought of those things, and whilst he thought on them, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream ; God made them known to him. The Israelites saw God's acts in the bulk of them, but Moses saw his way, and the manner how he wrought them ; Ps. ciii. 7, ' He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.' Moses had more converse with God than they, and therefore was admitted into his secrets. (6.) Holily ; with a design to conform to that duty providence calls for. Our motions should be according to the providence of God, when we under- stand the intent of them. There is a call of providence : Isa. xxii. 12, 'In that day the Lord called to weeping and mourning,' sometimes to sorrow, sometimes to joy. If it be a providence to discover our sin, let us comply 1 with it by humiliation ; if it be to further our grace, suit it by lively and fresh actings. As the sap in plants descends with the sun's declination, and ascends at the return of the sun from the tropic, there are several graces to be exercised upon several acts of providence, either public to the church and nation, or particular to our own persons — sometimes faith, sometimes joy, sometimes patience, sometimes sorrow for sin. There are spiritual les- sons in every providence, for it doth not only offer something to be under- stood, but some things to be practised. Mark x. 15, a child is brought to 62 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. Christ, and Christ from thence teaches them a lesson of humility. Luke xiii. 1-3. When Christ discourses of that sad providence of the blood of the Galileans, and the tower of Siloam, he puts v them upon the exercise of repentance. The ruler inquired the time when his son began to recover. that his faith in Christ might be confirmed, for upon that circumstance it did much hang ; and in doubtful cases, after a serious study of it, and thou knowest not which w r ay to determine, consider what makes most for God's glory and thy spiritual good, for that is the end of all. Let us therefore study providence, not as children do histories, to know what men were in the world, or to please their fancy only, but as wise men, to understand the motions of states, and the intrigues of councils, to enrich them with a knowledge whereby they might be serviceable to their country. So let us inquire into the providence of God, to understand the mind of God, the interest of the church, the wisdom and kindness of God, and our own duty in conformity thereunto. 6. Ascribe the glory of every providence to God. Abraham's steward petitioned God at the beginning of his business, Gen. xxiv. 12 ; and he blesses God at the success of it, ver. 26, 27. We must not thank the tools which are used in the making an engine, and ascribe unto them what we owe to the workman's skill. Man is but the instrument, God's wisdom is the artist. Let us therefore return the glory of all where it is most rightly placed. We may see the difference between Rachel and Leah in this respect; when Rachel had a son by her maid Bilhah, she ascribes it to God's care, and calls his name Dan, which signifies judging — Gen. xxx. 6, * God hath judged me, and heard my voice' — that the very name might put her in remembrance of the kindness of God in answering her prayer ; and the next, Naphthali, she esteems as the fruit of prayer, ver. 8; whereas Leah takes no notice of God, but vaunts of the multitude of her children: ver. 11, ' Behold, a troop comes.' She imposeth the name of Gad upon them, which also signifies fortune or good luck; and the next, Asher, ver. 13, which is fortunate or blessed. And we find Leah of the same mind afterward, ver. 17. It is said God hearkened unto her, so that her son Issachar was an answer of prayer ; but she ascribes it to a lower cause which had moved God, because she had given her maid to her husband, ver. 18. 'Not unto us, not unto us, Lord, but to thy name be tho glory.' Doet. 2. All tho motions of providence in the world are ultimately for the good of the church, of those whose; heart is perfect towards him. Providence follows the rule of Scripture. Whatsoever was written, was written for tho church's comfort, I torn, xv. 4 ; whatsoever is acted in order to anything written, ii acted for tho church's good. All the providences of God in the world are conformable to his declarations in his word. All former provi- dences were ultimately in order to the bringing a mediator into the world, and for the glory of him; then sorely all the providences of God shall be in order to the perfecting the glory of Christ in that mystical body whereof Christ is head, and wherein his affection and his glory are so much concerned. E the proof of this by a scripture or two* I's. av. LO, ' All the paths of the Lord are mnvv and truth unto BQch ai keep his covenant and his testi- monie .' Not. one path, bat all the works and motions; not one particular act or p of providence, bnt the whole tract of his proceedings; not only those which are m >re smooth an 1 pleasant, bat those which are more ragged and hitler. All mercy and truth Buitable to that affection he hears in his heart to them, and suitable to the declaration of that affection ho 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 63 hath made in his promise. There is a contexture and a friendly connection of kindness and faithfulness in every one of them. They both kiss and embrace each other in every motion of God towards them. As mercy made the covenant, so truth shall perform it. And there shall be as much mercy as truth in all God's actings towards those that keep it: Rom. viii. 28, ' We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' We know, we do not conjecture or guess so, but we have an infallible assurance of it; all things, even the most frightful, and so those that have, in respect of sense, nothing but gall and wormwood in them; work tor/ether, they all conspire with an admirable harmony and unanimous consent for a Chris- tian's good. One particular act may seem to work to the harm of the church, as one particular act may work to the good of wicked men ; but the whole series and frame of things combine together for the good of those that are affectionate to him. Both the lance that makes us bleed, and the plaster which refresheth the wounds, both the griping purges and the warming cordials, combine together for the patient's cure. To them who are called according to Ids jwpose. Here the apostle renders a reason of this position, because they are called not only in the general amongst the rest of the world, to whom the gospel comes, but they are such that were in God's purpose and counsel from eternity to save, and therefore resolved to incline their will to faith in Christ; therefore all his other counsels about the affairs of the world shall be for their good. Another reason of this the apostle intimates, verse 27, ' The Spirit makes intercession for the saints, according to the will of God.' The intercessions of the Spirit, which are also according to God's will and purpose, will not be fruitless in the main end, which both the intercessions of the Spirit and purpose of God, and the will and desire of the saints, do aim at, which is their good. Indeed, where any is the object of this grand purpose of Gocl, he is the object of God's infinite and innumerable thoughts : Ps. xl. 5, ' Many, Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward ; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can he numbered.' The psalmist seems to intimate that, in all the wonderful works which God hath done, his thoughts are towards his people. He thinks of them in all his actions; and those thoughts are infinite, and cannot be numbered and reckoned up by any creature. He seems to restrain the thoughts of God towards his people in all those works of wonder which he doth in the world, and which others are the subjects of; but his thoughts or purposes and intentions in all (for the word signifies purposes too) are chiefly, next to his own glory, directed towards his people, those that trust in him, which, verse 4, he has pronounced blessed. They run in his mind, as if his heart was set upon them, and none but them. Here I shall premise two things as the groundwork of what follows : 1. God certainly in all his actions has some end; that is without ques- tion, because he is a wise agent; to act vainly and lightly is an evidence of imperfection, which cannot be ascribed to the only wise God. The wheels of providence are full of eyes, Ezek. i. 18; there is motion, and a know- ledge of the end of that motion. And Jesus Christ, who is God's deputy in the providential government, hath seven eyes as well as seven horns, Rev. v. 6 ; a perfect strength, and a perfect knowledge how to use that strength, and to what end to use it, seven being the number of perfection in Scripture. . 2. That certainly is God's end which his heart is most set upon, and that 64 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. which is last in execution. What doth God do at the folding up of the world but perfect his people, and welcome them into glory ? Therefore God principally next to himself loves his church. The whole earth is his, but the church is his treasure: Exod. xix. 5, 'If you will keep my cove- nant, then shall you be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people ; for all the earth is mine,' sef/ullah; such a treasure, that a man, a king, will entrust in no hands but his own. ' All the earth is mine ' is not a reason why the church was his treasure, but an incentive of thankfulness; that when the whole earth was his, and lay before him, and there were many people that he might have chosen and loved before them, yet he pitched upon them to make them his choicest treasure. And when the blessed God hath pitched upon a people, and made them his treasure, what he doth for them is with his whole heart and with his whole soul. Jer. xxxii. 41, 42, speaking of making an everlasting covenant, he adds, ' Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good,' &c, ' assuredly with my whole heart, and with my whole soul.' As though God minded nothing else but those people he had made an everlasting covenant with, which is the highest security, and most pregnant expression of his affection that can be given to any ; not to give them a parcel or moiety of his heart, but the whole, infinite, entire piece, and to engage it all with the greatest delight in doing good to them. That infinite heart of God, and all the contrivances and workings of it, centre in the church's welfare. The world is a wilderness, but the church is a garden. If he water the wilderness, will he not much more dress his garden ? If the flights of birds be observed by him, shall not also the par- ticular concernments of the church ? He hath a repository for them and all that belong to them; he hath a book of life for their names, Luke x. 20, a book of record for their members, Ps. cxxxix. 16; a note-book for their speeches, Mai. iii. 16, 'A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord;' and a book of providence for their preservation, Exod. xxxii. 32. In the prosecution of this I shall shew, 1. That it is so de facto, and hath been so. 2. That according to the state of things, and God's economy, it must be so. 3. The improvement of it, by way of use. 1. That all providenco is for the good of the church de facto, and has been so. It will appear by an enumeration of things. (1.) First, All good things. (2.) Secondly, All bad things are for their good. (1.) First, AH good things. I. The world. •_!. (.lis mid common graces of men in the world. [8. ! An |1.| The world. The whole world was made and ordained for the good of the ohnrch, next to the glory of God. Thia will appear in three things: /'V/.s/, The continuance of the world is for their sakes. God would havl oyed the world because of the ignorance and wickedness of it. before this time, but he overlooked it, all, and had respect to the times of Christ, and the publishing faith in aim, and repentance: Acta ivii. 80, ' Ami the i oiks of this ignoranoe God winked at/ *<<>d overlooked, 4 lie looked not so Upon thrin, ;i | to he provoked to destroy the world, hut his eves were 1 fixed on the times of Christianity, therefore would not take notioe, in the extremity of hit justice, of the wickedness of those foregoing ages. Believers are the in 2 ChRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 65 salt of the earth, Mat. v. 13, which makes the world savoury to God, and keeps it from corrupting. It is meant not only of the apostles, but of Christ's disciples, of all Christians, for to them was that sermon made, ! ver. 1. 'If the salt have lost his savour,' if the salt be corrupted, and Christianity overthrown in the world, wherewith shall the world be salted ? How can it be kept from corruption ? If they that persecuted the prophets before you in Judea (which is sometimes called the earth in Scripture), cannot relish you, and find nothing grateful to their palates in your doctrine and conversation, wherewith shall they be salted ? How shall they be preserved from corruption ? The land will be good for nothing but to be given as a prey to the Romans, to be trodden under their feet, as being cast out of God's protection. They are the foundation of the world : Prov. x. 25, 'The righteous are an everlasting foundation.' Maimonides under- stands it thus, that the world stands for the righteous' sakes. When God had Noah and his family lodged in the ark, he cares not what deluge and I destruction he brings upon the rest of the world. When he had conducted Lot out of Sodom, he brings down that dreadful storm of fire.* He cares , for no place, no, nor for the whole world, any longer than whilst his people are I there, or he hath some to bring in, in time. For the meanest believer is of ; more worth than a world ; therefore when God hath gathered all together, I he will set fire upon this frame of the creation ; for what was the end of Christ's coming and dying, but to gather all things together in one? Eph. i. 10, ' That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ.' When Christ hath summed up all together, he hath attained his end. And to what purpose, then, can we | imagine God should continue the world any longer ? for his delight is not simply in the world, but in the saints there : Ps. xvi. 3, ' But to the saints that are in the earth, in whom is all my delight ;' not in the earth, but in the saints there, which are the only excellent things in it, which Christ speaks (of whom that psalm is meant) who knew well what was the object of his Father's pleasure. The sweet savour God smelt in Noah's sacrifice, was the occasion of God's declaration for the world's standing: Gen. viii. 21, ' And the Lord said in his heart, I will not curse the ground any more for man's sake,' that he would no more smite it with a totally destroying judgment. It was his respect to Christ represented in that sacrifice, and to the faith and grace of Noah the sacrificer. What savour could an infi- nitely pure spirit smell in the blood and flames of beasts ? Secondly, The course of natural things is for the good of the church, or particular members of it. God makes articles of agreement with the beasts and fowls, whose nature is raging and ravenous, and binds them in sure bonds for the performance of those articles: Hoseaii. 18, ' And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground, and will make them to lie down safely.' As upon our sin God can arm them against us, so upon our obedience he can make them serviceable even against their natures, as if he had made a covenant with them; and they had both the reason and virtue to observe it. I do not remember any instance in Scrip- ture, that God went out of the usual tract of his providence, and acted in an extraordinary manner, but where his people were one way or other con- cerned. It was for Joshua's and the Israelites' sake that the sun was arrested to stand still in the valley of Ajalon, that they might have light enough to defeat their enemies, and pursue their victory, Josh. x. 12, 13. The sea shall, against its natural course, stand in heaps like walls of brass * Grotius on the place. VOL. I. E 6Q A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. to assist the Israelites' escape, Exod. xiv. 22. The fire is restrained in the operation of its nature, even whilst it retains its burning quality, when the lives of the three valiant believing children are in danger, Dan. iii. 25. The mouths of lions are muzzled when the safety of his beloved Daniel is concerned, Dan. vi. 22. And the shadow goes back upon the dial for Hezekiah's sake, 2 Kings xx. 11. When God would at any time deliver his people, he can muster up lightnings and thunders for their assistance ; 1 Sam. vii. 10 ; he can draw all the regiments of heaven into battle array, and arm the stars to fight against Sisera, when Israel's condition needs it ; and make even the lowest creatures to list themselves as auxiliaries in the service. God hath not a displeasure with senseless creatures, neither is transported with strains of fury against such objects, when he alters their natural course. Hab. iii. 8, ' Was the Lord displeased against the rivers ? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thy horses and chariots of salvation ? ' No ; but he made those creatures the horses and chariots, to speed assistance and salvation to his people, which the psalmist elegantly describes, Ps. cxiv. All creatures are his host ; and that God that created them hath still the sovereign command over them, and can embody them in an army to serve his purpose for the deliverance of his people, as he did against Pharaoh. Thirdly, The interest of nations is ordered as is most for the church's good. He orders both the course of natural things, and of civil affairs for their interest. He alters the state of things, and changeth governors and governments for the sake of his people. For these causes God sent Elisha to crown Jehu king : 2 Kings ix. 6, 7, ' I have anointed thee king over the people of the Lord, &c, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord at the hand of Jezebel.' For the sakes of the godly in that nation, and the revenging the blood of the prophets which had been shed, was he raised up by the Lord. He sent such judgments upon Egypt, that it was as much the interest of that nation to let Israel go, as it was before to keep them their vassals. God orders the interest and affairs of nations for those ends; and according to this disposition of affairs, Christ times his intercession for his church. The angels had been sent out to view the state of the world, and found it in peace : Zcch. i. 11, ' Behold, all the earth sits still, and is at rest;' there had been wars in Artaxerxes and Xerxes his time, but in the time of Darius that part of the world had an universal peace, which was the fittest time for the restoration of the Jews, and building the temple, because it could not be built but by the king's cost, whose treasure in the time of war was expended another way; nor would it consist with their policy to restore the Jews to their government at such a time when they had wars with tho neighbour parts Of Egypt. See how Gt>d orders the state oi' the world in BUbservieney to his gracioUfl intentions towards his church. The time of tho .Jewish captivity was now out, according io tin 1 promise of God, and (led that part of the world a general peace, that the restoration of the J and the rebuilding of the temple, might be facilitated, and the truth of Ids promise in their deliverance accomplished. Upon the news of this genera peace in that part Of the World, Christ, expostulates with (iod tor the resto ration of Jerusalem : ?er, 12, ' !!<>w long, Lord, wilt thou not have in. rev on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 1 The time of the capti vitj mined by God was new expired. The first Reformation in German! i by reasons of state as it was then altered, it being the interest Of many princes of that Country to countenance Luther's doctrine, for tho 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 67 putting a stop to the growing greatness of Charles the Fifth, who had evident designs to enslave them. I might mention many more ; only by the way let me advise those that have an inclination to read histories of former transactions, to which men naturally are addicted, to make this your end, to observe the strange providences of God in the world, and how admirably he hath made them subservient to the interest of the church, which will be the most profitable way of reading them, whereby they will not only satisfy your curiosity, but establish your Christianity. Calvin understands that place : Deut. xxxii. 8, ' He sets the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel,' that in the whole ordering of the state of the world, God proposeth this as his end, to consult for the good of his people, and his care extends to the rest only in order to them ; and though they are but a small number, yet he orders his whole government of the world's affairs as may best tend to their salvation. Therefore God sets the people bounds, or enlargeth them according as they may be serviceable one way or other to this end. And the reason is rendered, ver. 9, ' For the Lord's portion is his people, and Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.' Therefore God orders all the rest of the world in subserviency to the maintaining and improving his portion and inheritance. [2.] As the world, so the gifts and common graces of men in the world, are for the good of the church, which is a great argument for providence in general ; since there is nothing so considerable in government as the disposing of places to men according to their particular endowments and abilities for them. And the bestowing such gifts upon men is none of the meanest arguments for God's providential government of the world. As, First, The gifts of good men. The gifts conferred upon Paul were deposited in him, not only to be possessed by him, but usad and laid out for the good of the church : Col. i. 25, ' Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you ; ' ' The manifestation of the Spirit to any man is given to profit withal,' 1 Cor. xii. 7. And this is the great end for which men should seek to excel, viz., for the edifying of the church: 1 Cor. xiv. 12, 'Forasmuch as you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel to the edifying of the church.' Secondly, The gifts and common graces of bad men. There is something that is amiable in men. though. they have not grace. As in stones, plants, and flowers, though they have not sense, there is something grateful in them, as colour and smell, &c. And all those things that are lovely in men are for the church's good; the best life, and the worst death, things present, let who will be the possessor, all things between life and death, are for the good of believers, because they are Christ's : 1 Cor. iii. 22, ' Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world,' — i.e., whether the gifts of the prime lights in the church, or the common gifts of the world, — ' are all yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' God is the dispenser of them, Christ is the governor of them, and all for your sakes. As the medicinal qualities of waters are not for the good of themselves, but the accommodation of the indigencies of men. By the common works of the Spirit God doth keep men from the evil of the world. For it cannot be supposed that the Spirit, whose mission is principally for the church, should give such gifts out of love to men which hate him, and are not the objects of his eternal purpose ; but he hath some other ends in doing it, which is the advantage of his church and people ; and this God causes by the preach- ing of the gospel, which when it works gracious works in some, produceth common works in others for the good of those gracious ones. As a seed of 68 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PKOVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. corn hath straw, husks, and chaff come up with it, which are shelters to that little seed which lies in the midst, so in the preaching of the gospel there are some husks come up among natural men, which God makes to be shelters to the church, as those common works, and restraining men through the knowledge of Christ. God gives gifts to them, not out of love to them, but love to his church. As nurses of great men's children are fed with better meat than the other servants, not out of any particular personal respect to them, but to their office, that the milk whereby the child is nourished may be the sweeter and wholesomer ; were it not for that relation, she must be content with the diet allowed to the rest of the servants. Some stinking plants may have medicinal virtues, which the'physician extracts for the cure of a disease, and flings the rest upon the dunghill. God bestows such qualities upon men otherwise unsavoury to him, which he draws forth upon several occasions for the good of those that are more peculiarly under his care, and then casts them away. These gifts are indeed the ruin of bad men, because of their pride, but the church's advantage in regard of their excellency, and are often as profitable to others as dangerous to themselves. As all that good which is in plants and animals is for the good of man, so all the gifts of natural men are for the church's good ; for they are for that end as the principal, next the glory of God, because every inferior thing is ordained to something superior as its end. Plants are ordained for the nourishment of beasts, and both plants and beasts for men ; the inferior men for the service of higher ; and all for the community : yet still there is a higher end beyond those, viz., the glory of God, to which they are ulti- mately ordained, which is so connected with the church's good, that what serves one serves the other. [3.] Angels, the top creatures in the creation, are ordered for the good of the church. If the stars are not cyphers in the world only to be gazed upon, but have their influences both upon plants and animals ; as the sun in impregnating the earth, and enlivening the plants, and assisting the growth of fruits for the good of mankind; if the stars have those natural influences upon the sensible world, the angels, which are the morning stars, have no less interest as instruments in the government of it. The heathens had such a notion of demons working those things which were done in the world, but according to the will and order of the supreme God. The angels are called watchers: Dan. iv. 13, * A watcher, and an holy one;' ver. 17, 1 This is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones ;' they watch for God's orders, and watch for God's honour, and the church's good. Thcro are orders of state among them, for wo read of their decrco ; it is called their decrco ministerially, as they execute it; approbativi, as they subscribe to the equity and goodness of it. As the saints are said to judge the world, not authoritative, as in commission with Christ, but as they approve of Christ's sentence. They seem to request those things of God which may mako for his glory, and they decree among themselves what is lit to be presented to God in order to his glory. Thev cannot endure that ruon should trample upon God's authority, despoil him of his right, and id down his inheritance, and therefore thev send such requests to God to act so as men may acknowledge him and his government, 'to the intent that, tin; living may kllOW that, the most high rules in the kingdoms of men.' Their SAM therefore must he for the church, since God rules all tilings in order to that, and since that is God's portion and inheritance, BO Unit as they have a care of God'l glory, thev must also have a care of God's portion, and his peculiar treasure. The inward part of tho temple was to DC adorned with cheruhims, to uoto the special attendance of tho holy angels- 2 CHRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, 69 in the assemblies of the saints.* As evil angels plot against the church, so good angels project for it. Though in the Scripture we find angels some- times employed in affairs of common providence, and doing good to them that are not of the church ; as one is sent to comfort Hagar, and relieve Ishmael upon his cry, though he had scoffed at Isaac the heir of the covenant when he was in Abraham's family, Gen. xxi. 17; yet for the most part they were employed in the concerns of some of his special servants. Angels thrust Lot out of Sodom, Gen. xix. 25, 26. An angel stopped the lions' mouths when Daniel was in the den : Dan. vi. 22, ' My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths.' God employs angels in the pre- serving and ruining of empires, which is clear in the prophecy of Daniel, and some understand Isa. x. 34, ' And Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one,' of an angel. As the soul sends forth a multitude of spirits swiftly into the nerves for the supply of the lowest member, which runs thither upon the least motion, so do the angels, which are God's ministers, run at the appointment of God, and are employed in all the wheels of providence. The spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels of providence, Ezek. i. 20. First, The highest orders among them are not exempted from being officers for the church. Though they are called God's angels in respect of their immediate attendance on God, yet they are called man's angels in respect of the service they do for them, Mat. xviii. 10, 'Their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.' They are not the ordinary sort of angels which attend upon those little ones, upon young convert^ humble souls, those little ones dn the kingdom of heaven ; but they are the highest courtiers there, such as see the face of God, and stand before him. A king hath many servants, but not every servant, only the chief of the nobility stand before him; so they are not angels of the meanest order and rank in heaven, that are ordered to attend the lowest Christian. The apostles make no doubt of this : Heb. i. 14, * Are they not all minister- ing spirits ' — there is no question but they are— 4 sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ? ' He asserts confidently that not one of them is blotted out of the list for this employment. ' Are they not all ? ' None are exempted from the service of God, so none are exempted from the end of that service, which is the good of believers. They are God's servants, but for the church's good, for them which shall be heirs. Are they not all ? It is irrational to deny it. And they are sent forth, every one of them hath his commission signed by God for this purpose, and not only for the church in general, but for every member in particular ; ' for the heirs of salvation.' And not only for them which are already called and enrolled, but for them who shall be called, whose names are written in the book of God's election ; ' who shall be heirs.' And they are not only faintly sent, as if they might go if they will, but they have a strict charge to look after them well, not in one or two of their works, or ways, but in all : Ps. xci. 11, ' He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways ; to bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.' They are to use all their strength to this purpose, to bear them up in their hands ; as the elder children are appointed by parents to have a care of the younger in their works and motions, and to use both their widsom and strength for them. The angels are a guard to secure them here, and at" last to convey them to their Father's house, Luke xvi. 22. When a man is in favour with a prince, all the courtiers will be observant of him. * Trap on Numb. p. 58. 70 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. Secondly, Armies of tlieui are employed upon this occasion. There are great multitudes of them, as Bildad speaks, Job xxv. 3, ' Is there any number of his armies ? ' that is, of his angels. When Joel speaks of the heathens gathering together, ' Thither,' saith he, ' Lord, cause thy mighty ones to come down,' chap. hi. 11. A whole squadron of them shall attend upon a gracious man, according to the circumstances he is involved in. Gen. xxxiii. 1, 2, ' And Jacob went on his way, and the'angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host.' Regiments of angels, enough to make up an army (for so Jacob terms them) met him upon the way, to secure his brother Esau, and to encourage him in his journey. So some interpret 2 Sam. v. 24, ' The sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees,' the sign of the marching of the brigade of angels, with the Lord at the head of them, for the discomfiture of David's enemies ; ' then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.' And this they do not of their own heads, but by the pleasure of God; not only by a bare will, but a delight: Ps. ciii. 21, ' Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts ; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.' "WISH his choicest pleasure, he delights to see this his militia upon action. Thirdly, Christ hath the government of them to this end for his church. Angels are all put in subjection to him : Heb. ii. 7, 8, ' In that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.' He is 1 exalted above all principality and power.' ' God hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,' Eph. i. 21, 22 ; all things, even principalities and powers, are put under his feet, to be commissioned and influenced by him for the good of his church : Ezek. i. 12, ' Whither the Spirit was to go, they went.' They are ordered by the Spirit of Christ to this purpose : Zech. i. 10, ' Those are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.' They are his faithful messengers, despatched into the world by him, as scouts and spies, to take notice of the state of the world, and to give him intelligence, and an exact account of affairs, and, ver. 11, they gave an account to Christ. Christ is the head and general of them, Col. ii. 10. They are his host, always in a warlike posture, with Christ in the head of them, Zech. i. 8, upon their horses, which notes readiness to move and speed in motion : and M an host they are said to pitch their tents round about them that fear him, and are in a continual conilict with the evil angels to prevent their designs, in the behalf of Christ, whom tiny acknowledge as their head by their wor- ship of him, Heb. i. 6. Christ orders them to take care to seal his ser- vants in the foreheads, that they may be preserved in the storms which shall happen in the world at the time of the ruin of the Romish papacy, lev. vli. ii, :;. An angel Domes that had the seal of the living God (com- mission of God), saving, ■ Unit Dot the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we b led the servants of our (iod in the foreheads.' Fourthly, The great actions which have been done in the world, or shall bo done for the church, ;ire performed by them. Angels were Bent as v (lod with bis great decrees concerning the revolutions of times, Dan. vii. Ill; viii. 16, 'And 1 heaid a man's voice, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this mtO to understand the vision.' An angel was sent to Daniel with the m< of ;i Redeemer, and the clearest prophecy o( Christ, which the J le to answer to this day, which they most startle at, Dan. ix, 21. Part of the discovery of the revelation to John, which 11 :i standing almanac to the church, was made us by an angel, Kev. x. h, <) ; nil. 8, 9. And when hv the con^e of time those turnings aro to happen in tie; world, the angels must have their share of service m 2 ChRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 71 them. The trumpets are sounded by angels, and the vials which are filled with the causes of such alterations, are poured out by the hands of angels. Some indeed, by the angels there mentioned, understand the visible instru- ments of reformation, not excluding the angels, who are the invisible minis- ters in the affairs of the world.* Fifthly, They engage in this work for the church with delight ; they act as God's ministers in his providence with a unanimous consent : Ezek, i. 9, 1 Their wings were joined one to another ;' so that they perform their office with the same swiftness, and with the same affection, without emulation to go one before another, which makes many actions succeed ill among men ; but they go hand in hand. They do it with affection, both in respect of the kind disposition of their natures, and as they are fellow-members of the same body, for they are parts of the church and of the heavenly Jerusalem : Heb. .xii. 22, ' Ye are come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumer- able company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the first- born ;' and therefore act out of affection to that which is a part of their body, as well as out of obedience to their head. They do it in respect of their own improvement too, and increase of their knowledge (which is the desire of all intellectual creatures) ; for they complete their understandings by the sight of the methods of infinite wisdom in the perfecting his gracious designs. And it is God's intent that they should grow in the knowledge of his great mystery by their employment : Eph. iii. 10, ' To the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,' i. e., By the gracious works of God towards the church, and in the behalf of it, for the security and growth of the church, and in the executions of those decrees which as instruments they are employed in ; for I do not understand how it can be meant of the knowledge of Christ, for that they know more than the church below can acquaint them with : for without question they have a clear insight into the offices of Christ, who is the head, and whom they are ordered to worship. They understand the aim of his death and resurrection, and can better explain the dark predictions of Scripture, than purblind man can. But by observing the methods which God uses in the accomplishment of them, they become more intelligent, and commence masters of knowledge in a higher degree, which it is probable is one reason of their joy, when they see God's infinite wisdom and grace in the conversion of a sinner ; without affec- tion to them, and their employment about them, they could not rejoice so much. And their rejoicing in their first bringing in to God, argues their joy in all their employments which concerns their welfare. (2.) As all good things, so all bad things are ordered by providence for the good of the church. That which in its own nature is an injury, by God's ordering puts on the nature of a mercy ; and what is poison in itself, by the almighty art becomes a sovereign medicine. Are God's dispensations in their own nature destructive ? That wise physician knows how to make poisons work the effect of purges. Are they sharp ? It is to humble and purge the church. As shadows serve to set out the pictures, so the darkest passages of providence are made by God to commend the beauty of those glorious things he works for his church. We may see this in, [l.J Bad persons. As, First, The devil. God manageth him for his own glory, and the strength- ening of believers. Mat. viii. 31, 32, the devils desired to enter into the herd of swine, with an intent, probably, not only to destroy the swine, but to incense the Gadarenes against him, out of whom they had been cast, to do * Lightfoot, Temple, chap. 38, p. 253, 256. 72 A DISCOTJBSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChEON. XYI. 9. him some considerable mischief. But what is the issue ? As they discover their malice, so they enhance the value of Christ's kindness to the distressed man, whom he had freed from this tyranny. Hereby also was the law of God justified in commanding the Jews to abstain from swine's flesh, which the Gadarenes, being apostate Jews, had broken ; he magnified his own power in the routing such a number of unclean spirits, which had not been so conspicuous in the turning them out of one man, had not this regiment discovered themselves among the swine, and brought such a loss upon the Gadarenes, whereby as they shewed their own strength and malice, so they discovered occasionally the greatness of Christ's charity, and his power over them ; so that in granting the malicious petition of this exasperated legion, the law of God is justified, our Saviour's love glorified, his power manifested, and a foundation laid for the gaining proselytes in that country, to which purpose he left the man he had cured, Luke viii. 39, and to strengthen the faith of those poor believers which then followed him. God makes use of the devils by the sovereignty of providence, to bring about ends unknown to themselves, for all their wisdom. The malice of the devil against Job hath rendered him a standing miracle of patience for ever. They are the * rulers of the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 12, not of the light of the world ; they are the rulers of the wicked, and the scullions of the saints, to scour and cleanse them. They are the rulers of the world, but subordinate to serve the providence of God, wherein God declares his wisdom by serving himself of the worst of his enemies. The devil thought he had brought a total destruction upon mankind when he persuaded our first parents to eat of the forbidden fruit, but the only wise God ordered it to bring about a. greater glory to himself, and a more firm stability to his people, in intro- ducing an everlasting covenant which could not be broken, and establishing their happiness upon surer terms than it was settled in paradise ; and afterwards in filling the heart of Judas to betray Christ, and the hearts of the Jews to crucify him. Even by that way whereby he thought to hinder the good of mankind, he occasionally promotes their perpetual redemption ; and I do not much question but thoso very principles which the devil had distilled into tho Gentile world, of shedding human blood in sacrifices for expiation of guilt, and tho gods conversing with men in human ways, and the imagination of the intercessions of demons for them, — the first out of m^o against mankind, and both that and tho other to induce them to idolatry, — might facilitate the entertainment of Christ as tho groat expiatory sacrifice, and tho receiving of him as tho Son of God, though in an human shape, and tho belief of his intercession. God overreaches the devil, and makes him instrumental for good where he designs hurt and mischief. Secondly, Wicked men. All tho wicked in the midst of the church are for the good of if, either for the exercise of their grace, or security of their persons, or interest: Prov. xvi. 7, ' When a man's ways phase tho Lord, ho will make bis enemies to be at pr;ice with him.' Sometimes he will incline their heari S intentionally to favour, or order even their actions against them to procure their p ace, contrary to their intentions. Sometimes God makes them his sword to cut, his people, sometimes physic to purge them, sometimes tire to melt and Mflne them, sometimes hedges to preserve them, sometime,; b ransom to redeem them, lY<>v. x\i. IS. A traveller makes use of the mettle of a headstrong horse t«> earrj him to his journey's end. That wind which would overturn a little boat, the skilful pilot makes uso of \o drive bis ship into the lenh.nir, and the hushandman to cleanse his corn from the chaff. Tl gh the ends of the workers, viz., God and wicked men, are different, \et the i -ml of the work is hut one, which is ordered by 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. ? 3 God's sovereign pleasure. It was promised in the promise of the gospel to the Gentiles : Gen. ix. 27, ' God shall enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.' God shall allure Japhet, the Gentiles of Europe, to dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan the head of the cursed posterity, shall be servants to the church beside their will, and sometimes against it, by an overruling hand. And Christ hath bought them to be his servants: 2 Peter ii. 1, * Denying the Lord that bought them,' and therefore hath the disposing of them, whether they voluntarily give up themselves to him or no. He is a Lord by purchase over them, who own him not as a Saviour. The hatred of the church s enemies sometimes conduceth more to her good than the affections of all her worldly friends. Now this appears, . • First, In furthering the gospel. The Jews, who speak not of Christ among themselves, but with opprobrious terms,* have been the exact pre- servers of the Old Testament, even to the very number of the letters, wherein Christians have sufficient to confirm them in the belief of Christ s being the Messiah, and unanswerable arguments against their adversaries ; whereupon St Austin terms them capsarios ecclesia, such that carry the books of the children of great men after them to school. When the authority of the Kevelation was anciently questioned, the Church of Eome was instru- mental to keep it in the number of the canonical books, not thinking they should find their own church so plainly deciphered in it to be the mother ot abominations. To this we may refer the action of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, in causing the Scripture to be translated about three hundred years before the coming of Christ, through which the nationsf might better 'discern (as it were through a prospective glass) the new star of Jacob which was shortly to arise. No doubt but many of the Gentiles, by com- paring the old Scripture prophecies, which they could read in the Greek language, might be more easily induced to an embracing the gospel, and acknowledging Christ to be the Messiah, when it came to be divulged among them. Herod is the cause of the consultation about the place of Christ s birth, not for any goodwill he had to him whom he intended to murder, but God makes use of this to clear up the truth of the prophecy concerning Bethlehem, the place of his birth : Mat. ii. 6, « Out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.' And they certainly were not very good who preached Christ out of envy, and propagated the gospel, wherein Paul rejoiced ; not in their sin, but in the providential fruit of it : | Philip, i. 15, 18, ' Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife. What then ? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.' Secondly, In furthering the temporal good of the church. (1.) In its preservation. Wicked men are often serviceable to the church, as the filthy raven was to holy Elijah, or as the lion which would have devoured Samson is a storehouse to provide him food ; for in his hunger he finds a table spread in the belly of his enemy. Pharaoh's design was to destroy Israel, and the daughter of that irreconcilable enemy is directed to preserve Moses, who was to be the ruin of her family, the destruction of the Egyptian glory, and the deliverer of the church. She saves him out of charity", and God out of a wise design; she, by his education in the Egyptian learning, fits him for the court, and God for the deliverance of his church. Egypt had corn to relieve, first Abraham, Gen. xii. 10, after- ward Jacob in a time of famine, the family wherein the church of God was only then bound up. Herod lies in wait for Christ's destruction, and Egypt, * Helvicus contra Judseos. t Jackson, vol. i. fol. f, p. 62. 74 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. the most idolatrous country in the world, and an ancient enemy to God's church, affords him shelter, God makes ' Moab to hide his outcasts and be their covert from the face of the spoiler,' Isa. xvi. 3, 4. Some think God's design in sending Jonah to Nineveh to work so remarkable a change by repentance, was to soften some of their hearts, and the hearts of their posterity, to deal more tenderly with those gracious Israelites, who, in the captivity of the ten tribes some years after, should be their guests, God making thereby provision for his own people in that common judgment which should come upon the nation. This God doth sometimes by reviving the law of nature and the common sentiments of religion in the hearts of natural men, whereby their own consciences, bearing witness to the innocency and excellency of the church of God, put them upon thoughts for its security. Sometimes it is above their own sphere and besides their own intentions. The whale which swallowed Jonah intended him as a morsel to quell his hunger, but proves his security, and disgorgeth him upon the shore ; they understand their own aim, but not the design of God. The leech that sucks the patient's blood knows not thechirurgeon's design, who useth it for the cure of a disease. Sometimes their rage proves their own ruin, and the church's safety; as the leech bursts itself sometimes, and saves the patient. The very earth, whereby is meant the carnal world, is said to help the woman, the church, by swallowing up the flood which the dragon casts out of his mouth against her, Rev. xii. 16, just as the old rags were the instruments whereby Jeremiah was drawn out of the dungeon. (2.) In the advancement of the church or persons eminent. Abner had a plot for bringing Israel to David's sceptre, which concurred both with God's purpose and promises, but sprung from an ill cause, a disdain to be checked by Ishbosheth, though his king, for an unjustifiable act, for having too much familiarity with one of Saul's concubines, 2 Sam. iii. 0-10. And from this animosity he contrives the deposing of Ishbosheth, and the exaltation of David ; yet dissembles the ground, and pretends the promise of God to David, ver. 18, 'For the Lord hath spoken of David, By the hand of my Servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philis- tines.' He is the first engine that moves in this business, and by him and his correspondents after his death, ver. 17, the business is brought about by God's overruling band, wherein God's promise is accomplished, and David a type of Christ, and the great champion for the church against its enemies round abont is advanced. Very remarkable is the advancement of Mordccai, in order to the advancing of the dews as well as preserving them, when the Decks of all the visible Church God had ill the world were upon the block. Haman ignorantly is the cause of this preferment ofMordecai ami at that lime too when he came to petition for his death : Ksther vi. 1, 1 He was come to speak to tin: king to hang Mordccai upon the gallows which be had prepared lor him.' The lung asks him what should he done to the man whom the king delights to honour, ver. L6. He imagineth that the king's question did respeot himself, lavs out a scheme of what honour In; was ambitious of, wr. S, '.), which was by the king designed for Mordccai, and Hainan made the herald to proclaim him. Here Hainan, not only a wicked man in himself, hut, tin it enemy Mordccai and the whole church of God bad, ii made nnwittingly an instrument to exalt Mordccai, and in him the whole church of I iod. (8. | In enriching the ehuroh, or some persons in it, whereby it may become more serviceable to God. How wondorful was it, that when the tsi were abominated by the Egyptians, God should bo order their hearts thai the i ptians should lend tin m gold and jewels, Ezod. xii. 85, ;><>, and dismiss 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 75 them with wealth as well as safety, and not so much as one person molest them till they arrived at the Red Sea ! The very gain and honour of the enemies is sometimes consecrated to the Lord of the whole earth : Micah iv. 13, < Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion ; I will make thy horn iron, and thou shall beat in pieces many people : and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth.' This was when many nations were gathered against Sion, ver. 11 ; ' the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just,' Prov. xiii. 22. And God sometimes makes the wicked, unwittingly to themselves, in their carking, be the factors for good men, into whose lap providence pours the fruit of their labour. God gave Cyrus the spoils of Babylon and the treasures of Croesus, to enable him to furnish the Jews with materials for building the temple : Isa. xlv. 3, 4, ' And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden treasures of secret places (speaking of Cyrus), that thou mayest know that I the Lord which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel, for Jacob my servant's sake,' &c. That he might acknowledge him the God of Israel, and lay his wealth out in the service of God, and the service of Jacob his servant. Thirdly, As bad persons, so bad things are ordered to the good of the church, whether they be sinful evils or afflictive. 1. Sin. (1.) A man's own sin. Onesimus runs from his master, and finds a spiritual father ; his being a runagate is the occasion of his being a convert. By flying from his master he becomes a brother in the Lord, Philem. 10, 12, 16. What Joseph's brethren sinfully intended for revenge against their brother, and security from their father's checks (who acquainted Jacob with their miscarriages), God ordered for the preservation of them who were the only visible church in the world. Their sin against their brother, contrary both to their intentions and expectations, became the means of their safety. God makes the remainder of sin in a good man an occasion to exercise his grace, discover his strength, and shew his loyalty to God. (2.) Other men's sins. That might be in Sarah but a heady passion, for hearing her son mocked by Ishmael, that made her so desirous to have the bond- woman and her first son thrust out, Gen. xxi. 10 ; but God makes use of it to make a separation between Isaac, the heir of the covenant, and Ishmael, that he might not be corrupted hy an evil example from him ; God orders Abraham to hearken to her voice, because in Isaac his seed should be called, ver. 12. And the revengeful threatening of Esau was the occasion of Jacob's flight, whereby he was hindered from marrying with any of the people of the land, by whom he might have been induced to idolatry, Gen. xxvii. 43, 46. Why should we mistrust that God that can make use of the lusts of men to bring about his own gracious purposes ? 2. Commotions in the world. There is the eye of God, that eye which runs to and fro throughout the whole earth in the wheels of worldly motions, even in the most dreadful providences in the world that stare upon men with a grim countenance : Ezek. i. 18, ' Their wings were dreadful, and their wings were full of eyes.' All the overturnings in the world are sub- servient to the church's interest, though they are not visibly so, unless diligently attended.- God orders the confusions of the world, and is in the midst of the tumults of the people: Ps. xxix. 10, 11, ' The Lord sits upon the flood ; yea, the Lord sits King for ever. The Lord will give strength to his people ; the Lord will bless his people with peace.' He sits upon the flood as a charioteer in his chariot, guiding it with holy and merciful intentions to his people, to give them both strength and peace in the midst of them, and * Broughton on Eg v. xiii. sect. 177. 76 A DISCOURSE OP DIVINE PBOVTDENCE. [2 ChEON. XYI. 9. as the issue of them. By water and floods is frequently meant tumults and confusions in the world. -If it were not so, why should our Saviour encourage his disciples, andfall their successors in the same profession, to lift up their heads when they hear of wars, if their redemption were not designed by God in them? Luke xxi. 25-28; they are all testimonies of the nearer approaches of Christ in power and glory to judge the earth, and glorify his people. God's great end in the shaking of nations is the performing those gracious promises to his church which yet remained unaccomplished. These earth- quakes in the world will bring heaven to the church. The great revolutions in the eastern part of the world, the ruin of the Babylonian empire, the erecting the Persian, and all the means whereby it was brought about, God ordered, God foretold, God directed, for Jacob's service. Cyrus, led by ambition, levies an army against Babylon ; yet though he was a ravenous bird he was to execute the counsel of God : Isa. xlvi. 11, ' Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel,' to be an instrument for the delivery of the captived Jews, and the restorer of the ruined temple. He had called him out by name to make a great revolution of the world. He foretold by his prophet Isaiah many years before, the means he should use in the siege of Babylon to attain the victory, the very dividing Euphrates, which was the great confidence of the Babylonian : Isa. xliv. 27, < That say to the deep, Be dry; and I will dry up the rivers ;' whereby it was as it were dried up for them to pass over the very opening of the gates : Isa. xlv. 1, < And the gates shall not be shut; ' the Babylonians in a presumptuous security had left them open, thinking it impossible the city could be taken, because of £he river Euphrates: ' I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight ; ' and what was the end of that great revolution and motion in that part of the world ? See Isa. xlv. 4, 1 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel, mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name.' This prophecy was when Jerusalem and the temple were standing. God casts about long before his people needs, for their wel- j faro in the great revolutions and changes of the world. In Isa. xliv. 28, ' That saith of Cyrus, Ho is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; oven saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built ; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall bo laid.' Cyrus had no knowledge of this end of God, j 1 though thou hast not known me,' Isa. xlv. 4, 5, twico repeated. Cyrus did not know God, neither did ho know God's end ; ho acts his own pur- poses, and is acted by God to higher purposes than ho understood. In all lifting! of nations, and sifting the church among tho nations, as corn is sifted in a sieve, God design! not tho destruction of his people, but tho cleansing them, the separating tho flour from tho bran. 8. Destroying judgments, yea, and tho very curses sometimes are turned into blessings. Destroying judgments. The desolation of the Jews was not only in order to khe fulfilling Cod's truth in hi! threatening!, bnt useful for the gospel design ; the fall of the Jewi was the calling of the (lentil Xl - lli |2, 'Through their fall salvation is eome unto the Gentiles. 1 km their fall and dispersion among the Gentiles was prophesied of as the ion of their return to God: Ezek. ix. 86, .".7, * Like as I pleaded will your fathen in the wilderness, so will I plead with yon ; and eanse you to trader the rod, and bring yon into the bond of the covenant ;' whel ttwy : "•" in the wilderneei of captivity, then (\o,\ ihall plead with them, and make them to pai i under the rod ,»f propriety, and bring them into covenant. The like also ii prophesied of thai captivity of the ten tribea to this day, not known where they are : Ho rn ii. 1 1, the time of God'a speaking kindly to i 2 ClIRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 77 her should be in the wilderness, and then ■ I will give her the valley of Achor for a door of hope.' No question but God hath performed his pro- mise, and brought many of the posterity of the ten tribes into the church among the mass of the Gentiles, among whom they were dispersed. Curses sometimes, as God orders them, prove blessings. The curse of inspired Jacob upon Levi, — Gen. xlix. 7, ' Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce ; and their wrath, for it was cruel : I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel,' — was the advantage both of Levi and the Israelites ; that they were dispersed among the several tribes without any universal cohabitation as the rest, was a curse ; but that the}- should be the instruc- tors of the people in the matters of the law, was an honour God put upon the head of that tribe, and a public blessing to the people. 4. Divisions in the church. One would think this of all other things should shake the foundation of it ; yet God orders even these to the good of the church. Paul and Barnabas, two great apostles, fell out, Acts xv. 3G-39, &c. ; the contention comes to be very sharp, a thing naturally of very ill consequence in two of the prime guides of Christianity, and at the laying the first foundation of it ; but the gospel gains ground, one sails to Cyprus, and the other travels into Syria. Perhaps had not this quarrel been between them, and they thus disjointed from one another, some of those poor souls had never, or at least not so soon, have heard of the gospel mercy. 5. Persecutions. These naturally tend to the dissolution and utter extirpation of it, but God orders them otherwise. God doth often lay the scene of his amazing providences in very dismal afflictions ; as the limner first puts on the dusky colours on which he intends to draw the portraiture of some illustrious beauty. The oppression of Israel immediately before their deliverance was the dusky colour whereupon God drew those gracious lines of their salvation from Egypt, the pattern of all the after deliverances of the church in all ages, and a type of our spiritual redemption by Christ. The humiliation, persecution, and death of the Son of God, was the duskv colour upon which God drew that amazing piece of divine love and wisdom in man's salvation, which the eyes of saints and angels will be fixed on with ravishing admirations to all eternity. All afflictions in the world, which God doth exercise the church with, are parts of his providence, and like mournful notes in music, which make the melody of the tune more pleasant, and set off those sweeter airs which follow upon them. Afflictions here cause the joys of heaven to appear more glorious in the eyes of glorified saints. The persecutions of the martyrs did but heighten their graces, send them to the place of rest, and enlarge their robes of glory. God many times saves his people by sufferings, and brings them to the shore upon the planks of a broken ship, and makes that which was the occasion of their loss to be a means of their safety ; they sometimes evidence that which they would destroy. Herod's murdering the children, to destroy him that was born king of the Jews, made his birth more conspicuous in the world ; snuffing the candle makes it burn the clearer. They sometimes make, 1. To the improvement of the church. One of the sorest judgments God brought upon the Jewish church is expressly asserted by God to be for their good : Jer. xxiv. 5, speaking of the captived Jews, ' Whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.' The Chaldeans had overrun their land, carried them captives, made them slaves, destroyed the temple ; yet God tells them this was for their good, when there was no present appearance of any good in it. It should be good in respect of God's favour towards them, which retired to return with the greater force : ver. 6, 78 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. 1 1 will set mine eyes upon them for good ; I will build them, and not pull them down.' God will give them a more durable settlement. In respect also of that frame of heart they should have toward God, their knowledge of him and cleaving to him, ver. 7, ' I will give them a heart to know me ; and they shall return to me with their whole heart.' God had but a moiety of their hearts before, but then he should have the whole. And indeed it was remarkably for their good ; for they who before were addicted to idolatry were never guilty of the same sin after ; and God kept them from being drawn away to it by the example and solicitation of those among whom they were. The church grows by tears and withers by smiles. God's vine thrives the better for pruning. God makes our persecutions fit us for that for which we are persecuted ; as Saul by his persecution of David for the title God had given him to the kingdom, made him fitter to succeed him in the throne, and manage the government. God uses persecutors as lances, which, whiles they wound us, let out the purulent and oppressive matter ; and makes them instruments of his providence to work out his people's happiness, and thus makes the very wrath of man to be an occasion of his people's praise : Ps. lxxvi. 10, ' The wrath of man shall praise thee.' God doth in this as a father deals with his son, sends him to a sharp school, that he may be trained up in learning. 2. In the increase of the church. The Jews crucified our Saviour to diminish the multitude of his followers, and by this means the number is increased. The w T hole world runs after him by that means they used to stop their course, which Christ foretold, that when he was lifted up he should draw all men after him ; and that a grain of corn brings not forth more seed unless it be cast into the ground and die. 1. In the increase of it within its own bounds. When the Israelites were most oppressed in Egypt, the more they multiplied, Exod. i. 20. When the dragon's fury did most swell against the woman, she brought forth a man child, Rev. xii. 1, 3, 4. When the Roman empire was at the highest, and was most inflamed with anger against the Christians ; when the learning of the philosophers, the witchcrafts of heretics, the power of the emperors, and the strength of the whole world was set against them, the Christians grew more flourishing and numerous by those very means which were used to destroy them. Not only a new succession of saints sprung up from the martyrs' ashes, but their flames were the occasion of warming some so much with a heavenly fire, that some persecutors have become preachers. Their very bonds for the truth have sometimes a seminal virtue in them to beget men to faith in Christ : Philip, i. 12, ' The things which have happened unto me, have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel.' 2. In the increase of it in other parts. Paul's prison made his preaching famous in lintnc, and was an occasion of bringing Christianity into Nero's court, thai monster of mankind, Philip, i. 18, iv. 22 ; one might have looked for saints in hell as soon; his bonds were as great a confirmation of tho [liitli of his doctrine as his eloquence. When Saul made havoc of the church, and by that storm dispersed the Christians, they, like so many grains of corn Scattered in several parts of a greater field, produced the greater harvest: Acts Tin. 8,4, 'Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.' As clouds scattered by the winds, they rained down the gospel in several quarters* The Jews when scattered ia their several flights did scatter among the heathen the notions of the trni ion. Winn they sliall go down to Egypt to secure themselves from Bennacherih's invasion, they shall be a means to make many converts amend that idolatrous nation: Isa. xix. L8, 'In that day ' (the day of the Jews' 2 ChRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 79 trouble) ' shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts ;' so one expounds it, but I rather think it meant of the times of the gospel. The flight of the Israelites shall be the occasion of some Egyptians' conversion. A poor slave in Naaman's family was an occasion both of the cure of his body and of that of his soul, 2 Kings v. 2, 3, 17. So much for the first reason, drawn from an enumeration of things. Reason 2. To prove that all providence is for the good of the church, is, because God hath sometimes preferred mercy to the church, and care of it, above his own concernments of justice. He values his mercy to them above his justice upon his enemies. He consults their safety before he brings ruin upon the wicked whose sins are full. He first prepared the ark for Noah, and sees him lodged in it before he begins to shower down destruction upon the world. He hath sometimes punished a nation more for their offences against his people, than their sins against himself. Amalek was guilty of many idolatries and other sins against God, but God chargeth none of them upon them but their malicious hindering the Israelites in their march to Canaan : 1 Sam. xv. 2, ' Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.' He shews his love to them, and how much he values them, that when he is acting justice and pouring out his wrath, when he is (as it were) cutting and slashing on all sides, and is in fury with wicked men, he hath nothing but sweetness and tenderness towards his own. Amos ix. 9, 10, in the sifting of Israel and the nations ' Not the least grain shall fall upon the earth. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword.' While he thunders out his fury upon wicked men, he hath his eyes upon the least grain of the true Israel. What would it be for God, when he is raising the glory of his justice upon the people that have provoked him, not to regard the concernments of this or that, or many sincere souls, but put no stop to his fury ? Yet he doth, not a grain shall perish. He is more desirous to hear of the preservation and welfare of a few righteous, than of the just punishment of the wicked wherein his justice is gloriously interested. The man clothed with linen, that was to mark the mourners, returned to God and gave an account that he had done according to his command, Ezek. ix. 11 ; the other five, which were to kill, returned not to give any account of their severe and sharp proceedings. The angels that held the four winds of the earth, Rev. vii. 1, which some understand of wars and commotions in the world for the overthrow of the Romish power, were ordered not to let the winds go till the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads. Reason 3. God takes particular notice of the meanest of his people, and mightily condescends to them, much more of the church. It is strange to consider that the Scripture mentions none of those great potentates among the heathen, but either as they were instruments of his people's good, or executioners of his justice upon them, or subjects of his people's triumph. Cyrus and Darius are mentioned as their friends ; Nebuchadnezzar, and Sennacherib, and others, as God's instruments in scourging them ; Checlor- laomer and the other kings with him, as they were the subjects of Abraham's valour and triumph, Gen. xiv. 9, 10. He takes no notice of the names of any in his word but upon such accounts ; Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar had done no doubt many actions before, but none taken notice of but those ; but he takes notice of the meanest wherein was grace, and the meanest of their concerns and actions.* He mentions in his word Jacob's flocks, &c, things of no great moment, the actions, speeches, gestures of his people, to shew * Revet in Gen. exercit, 129. 80 A DI3COUP.SE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. how his providence wrought for them, and how much he is concerned in the least of their affairs ; but the great empires of the world, their original and progress, and the magnified founders of them, he speaks not of but as they have some relation or other to his people. As we love to use the names of our friends, so doth God love the relish of the names of his servants. The name of Noah is repeated several times, as the Jews observe, Gen. vii., viii. The Spirit of God loves the very mention of their names, he delights to dwell upon the catalogue of their names. The Scripture uses to reckon the genealogies of wicked men in short characters. Cain's generation is numbered in haste, as if God had no care at all of them, Gen. iv. 17, 18; he puts them off with a kind of &c. But he insists much upon the gene- ration of the godly. Seth's posterity are written in a large scroll and more legible hand, Gen. v., with the number of the years which they lived, which in Cain's posterity there is no notice taken of. His whole respect, his heart, his eye, his all is fixed upon them. And Christ himself stands more astonished and wondering at the faith of the centurion, the impor- tunity of the Canaanitish woman, condescends to them to grant them what they would have. You never find him taking notice of the learning of the rabbis, the magnificence of Herod, or the glorious building of the temple. See how condescending God is, to work a miracle for the support and strengthening of a weak faith, and the peevish distrust of his people. Gideon's faith was weak, yet how compassionate is God towards him (Judges vi. 86, &c, he would have one time the fleece dry, another time wet; God condescends to them in all), in ordering his providence as Gideon would have it, without upbraiding him, just as a tender mother cherishes a weak child ! And this miracle was in order to the church's deliverance from a present oppressive enemy. Certainly when we find God taking care and ordering even the very pins, snuffers, and basins of the temple, the place of his worship, as well as the more stately ornaments of it, we may say, Doth his care extend to the meanest utensils in his temple, and not much more to the worshippers in it ? Doth he give order for the candle- sticks, and will he not have much more care of the lights in them ? His cure to the least implies his care of the greatest too. In a building, the little stones must be well laid as well as the greatest. Every believer is a stone in the spiritual building. Rtason 4. God reveals often to his people what he will do in the world, as if he seemed to ask their advice ; and therefore surely all his providences shall work for their good. God would not surely acquaint thorn, and advise with them what he should do, did he intend to do anything to their hurt. Thero is not anything in the heart of Christ wherein the church is con- cerned but he doth reveal it to thcni: .John xv. 15, 'I have called you friends; tor nil things I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.' Be discovered all to them, the ends of his coming, his Father's love, his death, and resurrection, what he would do after his ascension, the pro- gress of his affairs, and tin; glory of heaven, and the end of all. John must I,, tii,: penman of the Revelation which oonoerned the future state of the church in all ages. Joseph must know the interpretation of dreams in (niler to the church's preservation. Moses must be acquainted with (iod's methods in the Israelites' deli veiauce, with the Egyptians' ruin. Daniel must know the future! state of the eastern parts of tho world ; In 1 must know the turnings of the times, and the end of the world, Dan. z. 11, L9, 20. It is j t,, No, ih, and none else, that be immediately discovers his intended destruction of the world. And all those revelations ended in his peoplo'a advantage; nay, ho doth not only reveal, but as it were consult with him 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 81 in his affairs. God doth as it were unbosom himself to Abraham, as one friend to another ; as it were adviseth with him concerning his intention on Sodom: Gen. xviii. 17, 'And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do ? ' i. e. I will by no means do it, it will not consist with my love and friendship to him to hide anything from him. And see the reason of it : ver. 18, ' Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.' It was, first, his great affection to him, because he had advanced him, and promised that a mighty nation should spring out of his loins. And he had not withheld from him the secret of giving the Messias, which was a universal blessing, and so many ages were to run out before it was to be accomplished ; he had discovered to him his acts of mercy, and therefore would not hide from him his acts of justice, he would know his mind in it and what he thought of it. And you know the story, how God regulated himself by Abraham's prayer, and denied him nothing, till Abraham left off suing any more. It would make one conjecture, that if Abraham had pro- ceeded farther, he had quite diverted the judgment from Sodom. And when the Israelites had provoked God by a golden calf, he would not do anything against them till he had consulted Moses, and therefore lays the whole case before him, and seeks to take him off from pleading with the Lord, and promising to make of him a great nation (Exod. xxxii. 9, 10, * And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people : now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them'), and in such terms that one would wonder at: 'Now therefore let me alone;' as if God did fear Moses's interposition would pre- vent him and dissuade him from it. Do not you stand in the way; my wrath will cool if you interpose yourself; as much as to say, God could not do it unless Moses gave his consent ; Moses would not be quiet, but pleads the providences of God, which had been all for him, the promise of God made to Abraham concerning them. And he would not leave till God repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people, ver. 14. If angels, as Calvin saith, are God's counsellor in heaven, believers are (as it were) his counsellors on earth. 5. God has given the choicest things he hath to his people; he hath given his law. The church is the sphere wherein the light of the gospel is fixed, and wherein it shines, from whence its beams do dart out to others: Isa. ii. 3, ' Out of Sion shall go forth the law.' The oracles of God, the great things of the law, as it is phrased, Hosea viii. 12, his covenant, and the counsel of his will, are entrusted with the church. Now, this being a mercy which exceeds all other things in the world, is therefore comprehen- sive of all other, as the greater comprehends the lesser. And the psalmist considers it as the top-stone of all blessings ; for after summing up the providences of God, he shews how God had distinguished Jacob by more eminent marks of his favour: Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20, 'He shews his word to Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation;' he hath not left so rich a legacy to any, or given any so much of his heart. Others are ordered by the word of his power (for that is meant by word in the foregoing verse), but Jacob hath the word of his grace too. And this being the choicest piece of affection which God hath shewed to the church, implies the making all lesser providences subservient to it. The church, wherein God hath laid up his gospel, and those souls which are as the ark wherein God hath deposited his law, shall be shadowed with the wings of his merciful providence, in a perpetual succession of all true blessings. All the providences of God are to preserve his law in the VOL. I. F 82 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XYI. 9. world ; his severest judgments are to quicken up the law of nature in men that know no other, and the law of his gospel in men that sit under it. And he hath given Christ to his church, and thereby hath given an earnest that still their good shall be promoted. It is not to be thought that God will spare anything else, when he hath given them his Son. The second thing. It must needs be that all providences is for the good of the church. 1. All the providence of God is for the glorifying his grace in Christ. The whole economy or dispensation of the fulness of time, to the latter ages of the world, is for the gathering of all things together in him : Eph. i. 10, * That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him ;' in him as their head. This was the design in all his dispen- sations, both before his coming and since, ever since the promise made to Adam, though it be more manifest in the latter age. This the apostle represents as the main purpose of God, ver. 9. This was the mystery of his will, which accordingly to his good pleasure he had purposed in himself, that is, purposed in himself as a thing he was mightily pleased with; and, ver. 11, saith he, he works all things after, or xara, 'according to the counsel of his own will,' or of that purpose which he had purposed in him- self, to gather all things in one in Christ. All the things that God acts are referred to this as their end, and ordered by this counsel as their rule. As it was the design of God's providence to make way for Christ's entrance into the world, and all the prophecies in the Old Testament tended to the discovery of it, so since the coming of Christ the end of all is to advance him in respect of his headship : Eph. i. 22, 23, ' And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all.' God would advance Christ to the highest pitch, ver. 21, far above all principality and power, both in this world and in the world to come ; and there is still a fulness wanting to Christ to complete him, — not any personal fulness, but a fulness belonging to him as head, which is the advancement God designs him. He is already advanced above all principality and power; he is already given as a head to the church, but the completeness of it is not till all his members be perfected, to which all his providences in the world doth ultimately tend. Therefore if the design of God be to honour Christ, and if the spiritual happiness of the church be part of that glory and fulness of Christ, it must nerds be carried on by God, else he will want part of his completeness as a head. But this shall not be wanting, since, as all things i arc squared according to that counsel of glorifying Christ as head, so all ; things an; acted for believers by that power whereby he raised Christ from the grave to bfl their head, which power is the copy according to which all nets which respect the church are framed: ver. 19, 'And what is the exceeding greatness of Ids power to ns-ward who believe, according to the Working of his mighty power, Which lie wrought in Christ, when he raised hint up from the dead.' (led intended the good of the church in this very act of glorifying Christ, for he is made the ' bead over all things to the church ;' as if God then bad prescribed him that order, that the glory be gave him should he also managed for the church's interest. Christ is Lord of the rest, of the world, hut bead of the church. All things are under his feet, but are not his uiemhers; be M bead overall things to the church, and therefore to every member of the church, the least as well as the greatesu and to the Whole church, e\.n that part of if which is on earth, as well as that part which is in heaven, who are completed. This church is the l'ul- 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 83 ness of Christ, he would be bodiless without it ; therefore since Christ will be a head without a body if the church be not preserved, in order to the preservation of it, all things must necessarily concur by the wise disposal of affairs. Therefore since they are travelling to be where their head is, he having the government of the world, will make all things contribute assist- ance to them in their journey. That Christ may have that completeness of glory which God intends him, he expressly tells his Father that he is glorified in his people: John xvii. 10, 'And I am glorified in them.' And at the sound of the seventh trumpet, ' the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever,' Rev. xi. 15. Now, since all the motions in the world are that the kingdoms of the world may become the kingdoms of his Christ, peculiarly his, as being anointed King by him, it must needs be that all things must be subservient one time or other to this end, wherein the good of his people doth consist ; otherwise they would not bless God so highly for it as they do: ver. 17, 'We give thee thanks, Lord God Almighty; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.' And where there is a resistance of this glory of Christ, it is a natural effect of that decree whereby Christ is constituted King, that the resisters should be broken in pieces, and dashed like a potter's vessel, Ps. ii. 6, 9; and the issue of all is the blessedness of those that put their trust in him, ver. 12. The care that God hath of Christ and the church in the types of them, seems to be equal. The ark, which was a type of Christ, and the table of shew-bread, a figure of the church, had three coverings, whereas all the rest of the vessels,. &c, belonging to the ceremonial part, had but two, Num. iv. 5-8. On the ark there was the veil, and covering of badgers' skins, and a covering of blue; on the table of shew-bread there was a cloth of blue, a cloth of sclarlet, and a covering of badgers' skins. God orders as much for' the security of the church as for the security of Christ, there- fore the same things that tend to the glorifying of Christ shall tend to the advantage of the church. 2. God hath given the power of the providential administration of things to Christ, to this very end, for the good of the church. If God had consti- tuted him head over all things to the church, can there be any doubt but that he will manage the government for that which is the principal end of his government, which he hath shed his blood for, and which is chiefly intended by God who appointed him ? (1.) All power of government is given to Christ : Mat. xi. 27, ' All things are delivered to me of my Father.' And, John v. 22, ' The Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son,' that is, the whole government and administration of affairs. It is not to be understood of the last judgment, for then it would be a limitation of that word all; not that the Father lays aside all care of things, but as the Father discovers himself only in him, so he governs things only by him. All this power was committed to him upon his interposition after the fall of man. He was made Lord and Christ, that is, anointed by God to the government of the world ; for, upon the fall, God as a rector, had overturned all. Man could not with any comfort have treated with the Father, had not Christ stepped in and pleaded for the creation, whereupon God commits all judgment to the Son, that he might temper it. It was by Christ as a covenanting mediator, that the earth was established, Isa. xlix. 8. He had this government anciently, and it was confirmed to him upon his death : Heb. i. 3, ' Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.' Calvin understands the 84 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. first word not only of the deity of Christ, but of the discovery the Father made of himself in and through him as a mediator. The latter words some understand both of his providential and mediatory'kingdom : ' by the word of his power :' this, say some, is referred to the Father, whose image Christ is, as acting by a delegated authority and commission from his Father ; others, to Christ, as, that Christ upholds or bears up all things by his own powerful word. Calvin thinks both may be taken, but embraceth the second as being more generally received. I may offer, whether it may not be meant also of the powerful interposi- tion of Christ as mediator, whose interest in God was so great, that he kept up the world by his powerful intercession, when all was forfeited ; and God put it, upon that interposition, into his hands, as ' heir of all things' (who having a hand with him in creation, understood both the rights of God and the duty of the creature), upon the condition of ' purging sin' by his death, which he did, and thereupon went to heaven to take possession of the government, at the right hand of God ; ' sat down,' took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as due to him by covenant and articles agreed on between them. I know nothing at present against such an inter- pretation of the words ; but I will not contend about it. All this honour was confirmed unto him upon his death. For having performed the condi- tion requisite on his part, God deputes him, and entrusts him with the government of things, that he might order all things so as to see the full travail of his soul. (2.) All this power was intended by God for this end, the good of the church. As God appointed Christ a priest for his church to sacrifice for them, a prophet to teach them, so the other office of king is conferred upon him for the same end, the advantage of the church. God acquaints us of this end, aimed at him, in the promise of the government to him : Jer. xxxiii. 15, 16, * In those days, and at that time, will I cause the branch of righteousness to grow up to David ; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.' What is the end ? ■ In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely.' He should execute judgment, that is, administer the government for the salvation of Judah, and security of Jerusalem. It was his office both to build the temple, and to bear the glory, and to rule upon his throne ; to be a priest upon his throne, to rule as king and priest: Zech. vi. 12, 13, 'He shall build the temple of the Lord, even he shall build the temple of the Lord.' The erecting a church is the sole work of Christ by God's appointment ; and he was to bear up the glory of it. He should rule to this end, ■ for the counsol of peace shall be between them both.' If by both be meant, the Lord, and the man whose name is the Branch, it then chiefly aims ut our reconciliation, as wroughl by covenant between them. If by hoik bo meant the two offices of king and priest, and that the counsel of peace D6 between them, it will extend to all the Meetings of the church, to the good and glory of the ohnreh, which is the fruit of oil kingly, us well as the lirst reconciliation was the Emit of his priestly, office. By peace, in Scripture, is meant the confluence of all bless Inge; so that the intent, of God m bestowing those offices upon Christ, and so great i rale, was far the Rood and advantage of that church or temple, which he appointed him only to build. And in Isa. xi. !>, where the prophecy of the government of Christ is, the end is expressed to be, that 'nono should hurt Or destroy iii all his holy mountain.' And certainly, sinco Cod set, him at his right hand, and confirmed this power unto him,, after lie had purged our sins, it was certainly out of the high value Cod had for him, and therefore must bo the intent of Cod, that ho should govern all 2 CHRON. XYI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 85 things in reference to the design of that death, and for the good of those whose sins he had by himself purged. For the possessing this government was the very end why Christ died and rose again: Rom. xiv. 9, ' For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of dead and living.' If this were Christ's end in dying and rising, it was his Father's end too, who appointed him to death, and raised him by his mighty power. And since he was ' delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justifi- cation,' Rom. iv. 25, the government he is invested with, being Lord of the dead and of the living, must be for the sakes of those for whom he was delivered, and for whom he rose. His regal power, which was one end of his death, cannot cross the other main end, the constituting a church, and carrying on the good of them that believe. The government, being in the hands not of God as creator, but in and through the hands of a mediator, and that mediator which both died and rose again peculiarly for them, therefore it cannot in the least be for their hurt, but advantage. The whole management of Christ's kingly office in relation to the church, is prescribed unto Christ by God. God reveals to him what shall be done in the world, what acts he shall perform for the church, and gives him a history of all that was to be done upon the stage, together with an order to communicate it unto his servants : Rev. i. 1, ' The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants' (to be communicated to the whole church), < things that must shortly come to pass.' Whether this revelation was made to the human nature of Christ at his incarnation, as Tirinus thinks, or rather upon his ascension, is not material. The whole scheme of what was to be done in the world is revealed here by God to Christ ; and you find all the motions in the world relating to the church, and the end of all is the good of the heavenly Jerusalem. (3.) All power thus given, and intended for this end, is actually adminis- tered by Christ for this end. Christ, as the head of the church, doth like a natural head. It never sees, nor hears, nor exerciseth any act of sense only for itself, but for the good of the whole body. The eye watches for the body, the tongue speaks for it, the understanding contrives for it ; every part of the head is active for the whole body. Now Christ as head is more bound to act for the church militant than for the church triumphant, because the greatest part of his work for the church triumphant, viz., the bringing them to heaven, is already performed. And they are above the reach of all things in the world, and all the actions and motions in the world cannot touch or disorder them. But the command of God concerning the other part behind is not yet performed, and even they are the members of Christ as well as those in heaven. The apostle, Col. i. 16-18, seems to refer both Christ's creation, and the preservation of things, to this title of headship : « All things were created by him, and for him, and by him all things con- sist, and he is the head of the body the church;' and therefore the conser- vation and government of all things shall be subservient to the church, which is the body of this governing head. The chief seat of Christ's sovereignty is the church : Ps. ii. 6, * Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Sion;' and he stands upon mount Sion, Rev. xiv. 1. The church is the proper seat and metropolis of his empire, the royal chamber of this great king. All the conquests of princes redound to the advantage of that place where they fix their residence. He is king of the world, but for the sake of Sion. Christ did manage this charge anciently for his people ; when Joshua had passed over Jordan, and first entered upon the conquest of Canaan, he sees a man over against him with a sword drawn in his hand : Josh. v. 13, 14, « And Joshua said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our 86 A DISCOURSE OP DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. adversaries ? And he said, Nay ; but as captain of the hosts of the Lord am I now come..' This was Christ, that came armed for his people, according to his charge, as their captain and general. It was not an angel, because Joshua worshipped him, ver. 14. An angel did not use to receive any wor- ship from men ; and he accepts the worship, and commands him to loose his shoe from his foot, for the place whereon he stood was holy, ver. 15. And the same person, Josh. vi. 2, is called Jehovah ; and there he gives him orders how he should manage his war. Christ came here to direct his people in their concerns ; he employs his wisdom for his church, as well as his other excellencies. He is called a Counsellor, Isa. ix. 5 : it is one of the great letters in his name ; and this, as the rest there mentioned, hath a relation to the church. < For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.' And the first use he makes of his power, after the confirmation of it to us, upon his resurrection, is for the church : Mat. xxviii. 18, ' All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth ; all authoritative power over angels, and the affairs of the world ; ■ Go you therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them,' &c. ; ■ and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.' He commands the apostles to gather a church among all nations ; and doth, by virtue of this authority committed to him, pro- mise his presence with them, in all such services they should do to this end, even to the end of the world. He promises his Spirit, and his providential presence ; as his power should endure to the end of the world, so the exer- cise of it for this end should run parallel with the continuance of it. There should be no alteration or change in this great end of his, as long as the world lasts. How can Christ be with them, and that to the end of the world, if all the parts of his providential government were not ordered to serve this end, the good of the church ? For the church is ' the fulness of him that fills all in all,' Eph. i. 23, that fills all in all places, all in all actions and motions, for the good of his church, which is his body. 3. Thirdly, God in the church discovers the glory of all his attributes. It is in a man's house where his riches and state is seen : it is in the church God makes himself known in his excellency, more than in all the world besides : Ps. Ixxvi. 1, ' In Judah is God known ; his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Sion.' It is in his church ho doth manifest his power. It is called, therefore, ' a glo- rious high throne : Jer. xvii. 12, ' A glorious high throne from the begin- ning is the place of our sanctuary.' Kings use to display all their glory and majesty Upon their thrones; in this sense heaven is called God' S throne, Isa. Ix. 1, because the prospect of the heavens affords us discoveries of the wisdom and power of God, more than in any other visible thing, both in their essence, magnitude, and motion: so is thero a greater discovery of God's attributes in the church (which is also styled heaven in Scripture) than in the whole world besides; there it is that the angels look to learn mors '»t* the wisdom of God than they understood before, Eph. iii. 10. It is there the day of his power dawns, Ps. CX. '•>. It is there his saints see his pouer and his glory, P». Ixiii. '-! ; the sanctuary is called the firmament of bis power, I's. <d. 1. The glory of God's attributes is centred in Christ in i high r manner than in the creation ; and in that work did excel them- selves in what they h;id done in tin* framing of the world ; and the church being the glory of Christ, all those attribute!, which are glorified in Christ, do in and through him shine forth mure (dearly upon the ehnieh, than upon any Other put, of the world. He styles himself their Creator, as much as the Creator of the whole frame of heaven and earth : Isa. xliii. 15, 'I am tho Lord, your Holy Ono, the Creator of Israel, your King.' As though all 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 87 the attributes of God, his power in creation, his holiness in redemption, were designed for none else but them : and indeed by virtue of the cove- nant they were to be so ; for if God be their God, then all of God is theirs. What wisdom, power, sufficiency, grace, and kindness he hath, is princi- pally for them. If God be their God, it is in their concerns he will glorify himself as a God in the manifestation of his perfections. This cannot be without the ordering all providences for their advantage. 4. Fourthly, There is a peculiar relation of God and Christ to the church ; upon which account this doctrine must needs be true. God is set out in all relations to manifest his great care of his people. He is a Father to provide for them, Isa. lxiv. 8 ; a mother to suckle them, Isa. xlix. 15. Christ is a husband to love and protect them, Eph. v. 29 ; a brother to counsel them, John xx. 17. And when all these relations meet in one and the same person, the result of it must be very strong. Any one relation where there is affection is a great security ; but here all the relations are twisted together with the highest affections of them in God to the church. A father will order all for the good of his child, a mother for her infant, a husband for his wife, and one kind brother for another ; so doth God for his people ; and whatsoever those relations bind men to on earth, in respect of care, love, and faithfulness, that is God to his church. The church hath the relation to God which none in the world have besides. They are his jewels, therefore he will keep them ; they are his children, therefore he will spare them, Mai. iii. 17. They shall have protection from him as they are his jewels, and compassion from him as they are his sons. The church is Christ's flesh, as dear to him as our flesh is to us ; as much his, as our flesh is ours: Eph. v. 29, * No man hates his own flesh, but nourisheth it, as Christ doth his church.' No man ean have a higher value for his own flesh than Christ hath for his church. The church, as Tertullian speaks, is nothing else but Christus explicatus ;* and as considered in union with Christ, is called Christ, 1 Cor. xii. 12. It is i the apple of his eye,' Zech. ii. 8, a tender and beloved part. The church is Christ's spouse ; the con- tract is made, the espousals shall be at the last day. The members are picked out one by one to be presented to the Lamb at last as a glorious bride for him, Rev. xxi. 2. And all God^s dealings with them in the world are but preparations of them for that state. Upon the making of the match God promises a com- munion of goods : Hosea ii. 20, ' I will even betroth thee unto me in faith- fulness,' which is a fruit of marriage, the wife being invested in her husband's estate. When God hath given the blood of his Son for the church, he will not deny her the service of the creatures, but jointure her in that as one part of her dowry. ' In that day will I hear the heavens,' &c, ver. 21. In what day ? In the day of betrothing, in the day of the evangelical administration, when the contract shall be made between me and my church. Heavens, earth, corn, wine, and oil, the voice and motions of all creatures, are for Jezreel, which signifies the seed of God. This great prince he hath a care of all his subjects, so more peculiarly of his spouse and princess, which is his seed too, and all creatures shall be her servants. This fatherly relation and affection is strong and pure, not as the love which acts an ambitious man to ambition, or a covetous man to wealth ; which respects nothing but the grasping and possessing the objects they doat upon, and have nothing of love for the objects themselves, therefore deserves not the name of love. But it is the love of a father, whose love is pure towards his children ; he seeks their good as his own. * Christ unfolded. 88 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. Consider these two things. 1. God hath a peculiar love to this very relation, and often mentions it with delight, as if he loved to hear the sound of it in his own lips : Cant, viii. 12, ' My vineyard which is mine, is before me.' Me, my, mine. The church is always under his eye, seated in his affection, and God is pleased with his propriety in them. God never calls the world my world, though he created it ; sometimes he saith, the earth is mine, but it is either to check the presumptions of men, who ascribe that to themselves which is due to the first cause ; or to encourage his people in the expectation of deliver- ance, because all things in the earth are at his beck ; or to shew his own sufficiency, without the services of his people ; as when he saith, the earth is mine, and the fulness thereof ; but it is never mentioned in such a way, as to discover any pleasure he hath in the relation between him and it, simply considered ; but my vineyard, my people, my children, my jewels, my sanctuary, very often. So much doth God esteem his propriety in them. 2. This relation is prevalent with God in the highest emergencies and distresses of his people. The very consideration that they are his people, kindles his affection, and enlivens his strength for them : Isa. lxiii. 8, 1 And he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie : so he was their Saviour.' God is brought in, as one that had heard the cries of his church, and had not been moved ; but when he recollects himself, and considers that they were his people, and that he was in a special manner related to them, he became their Saviour ; he could no longer bear it, but stirs up himself to relieve them. Nay, it hath so strong an influence upon him, that if this note be often sounded in his ears, it doth as it were change his voice, and when he seems to have a mind to cast them off he cannot. When Israel had offended by erecting and worshipping a golden calf, he calls them no more his people, but Moses's people : Exod. xxxii. 7, * And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down ; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.' As though God had not been concerned in this miraculous conduct out of Egypt ; and ver. 9, ' this people,' as if he had had no interest in them, but particularises them with disdain. God had here discarded them, and turned them over upon Moses's hands, as if he would have no longer anything to do with them ; but Moses in prayer turns them upon God again, and would not own them as his, but pleads that they were God's proper goods : ver. 11, « Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt?' And ver. 12, again, ' thy people;' and God at last resumes his former notes, ver. 14, ' And thoLord repented him of the evil he thought to do unto km people.' Now they are God's people again ; the repetition of this relation is a powerful rhetoric to persuade him to own them again, which he had cashiered and turned off. 5. Fifthly, The whole interest of God in the world lies in his church and people. He leei little of himself in any pari of the corrupted world, hut only in them. It is in the church Qfl hath put his oame ; it is there he soes his Image, and therefore places hit Lore there; ami shall all this signify nothing? Shall the GoTernor of the world let things go contrary to his own interest ? They are like to him in that which is one of his greatest perfections, viz., his h o li nes s , which gives him a greater interest in them. It is his interest that, is opposed hv an opposition to the church. All the hatred any bear it grOWi from the inward root of enmity against God himself: Ps. xliv. 22, ' KM, for thy sake an We killed all the day long.' God surely will concern himself in the church's interest, since it is his own. His interest lies, 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 89 (1.) In the persons of his people. It is his inheritance, Isa. xix. 25. It is his' portion : Deut. xxxii. 9, ' The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.' Every part of an inheritance and a portion doth as particularly belong to the owner as the whole. Every part of the ground which belongs to the inheritance is the heir's, as well as the whole field. He will not suffer the world, which is but the work of his hands, to lay waste his church, which is his proper inheritance. It is his treasure, and where a man's treasure is, there is his heart ; and where God's treasure is, there is God's heart. (2.) In the services and actions of the church. If the church should be destroyed, whom hath God to love and imitate him, and to shew forth his glory ? If the candlestick is broken, what is fit to hold out the light to the world ? He hath none in the world besides, that do intentionally mind his honour, that take pleasure in glorifying his name, and writing after his copy, and observing his works. And will it stand with his interest to govern things contrary to theirs, which is really his own ? When God had made the world, and pronounced it good, what would it have signified if he had not brought in man as his rent-gatherer, and the collector of his tribute, to return it to him ! And what would man signify, since the corrupted world embezzles that which is God's right, and turns it to its own use, if God had not some honest stewards, who faithfully act for him, and give him the glory of his works ! And God will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him. God hath no voluntary service in the world but from them, therefore he is more interested in their good than in the good of the world besides. The services of the church are all the delight God hath in the world : Hosea ix. 10, ' I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness ; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig-tree at her first time.' They are as the refreshing wine and grapes, as the delicious fruit of the first ripe figs, wherewith a weary traveller recruits his spirits after a long and trying journey. And God hath a greater delight in the fruit he receives from the church, than in it simply as it is his inheritance ; for no inheritance is valued but for the fruit and revenue it yields ; and therefore God orders all his blackest providences in the world, like dark clouds, to be the watering-pots of this his garden, that the fruit and flowers of it may be brought to maturity, which yield him so much pleasure and honour. God only is acknowledged by them and in them, as the Jews were bound to acknowledge God the author of their mercies, by presenting the first fruits of their increase to God. And believers are called so : Rev. xiv. 4, ' These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and the Lamb.' It is by and in them that God hath the acknowledgment of all his mercies and blessings to the world. 6. It cannot be but all the providences of God shall work to the good of his church, if we consider the affections of God. (1.) His love. What hath God in the world as an object to bestow his affections upon, and communicate the rays of his love unto, since he created it, but his church ? The men of the world hate him ; he can see nothing amiable in them ; for what was first lovely they have defaced and blotted out, but the church hath God's comeliness put upon her : Ezek. xvi. 14, 4 It was perfect through my comeliness which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God ; ' and he did not lay those glorious colours upon her, to manage his government, or any part of it against her, to deface her. Besides their loveliness, which is conferred upon them by God, they have a love to God, and no man will act against those whom he thinks to be his friend. God being purus actus, there being nothing but purity and activity in God, his 90 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. love must be the purest and highest love, the most vigorous and glowing ; as fire, which sets all other bodies, so this all other powers in the world in motion for them. God cannot love them, but he must wish all good to them, and do all good for them ; for his love is not a lazy love, but hath its raptures and tenderness, and his affection is twisted with his almighty power to work that good for them, which in their present condition in the world they are capable of. Now it is certain God loves his church ; for, [1.] He carries them in his hand, Deut xxxiii. 3 ; and that not in a loose manner to be cast out, but they are engraven upon the palms of his hands, Isa. xlix. 16, that he cannot open his hand to bestow a blessing upon any person but the picture of his church doth dart in his eye. God alludes to the rings wherein men engrave the image of those that are dear to them. And the Jews did in their captivity engrave the effigies of their city Jeru- salem upon their rings, that they might not forget it.* If his eye be alway upon the church, his thoughts can never be off' it in all his works. [2.] He loves the very gates and outworks: Ps. lxxxvii. 2, 'The Lord loveth t.ie gates of Sion;' he loves a cottage where a church is more than the stately palates of princes. The gates were the places where they con- sulted together, and gave judgment upon affairs. God loved the assemblies of his saints because of the truths revealed, the ordinances administered, the worship presented to him. [3.] Nay, one saint is more valued by him than the whole world of the wicked. God is the God of all creatures, but peculiarly the God of Abra- ham and of his seed. One Abraham is more deeply rooted in his heart than all the world, and he doth more entitle himself the God of Abraham than the God of the whole world; for in that style he speaks to Isaac: Gen. xxvi. 24, ' I am the God of Abraham thy father,' much more the God of Israel, the God of the whole church, of which Abraham was but a member, though the father of the faithful, and a feoffee of the covenant. God hath a greater value for one sincere soul than for a whole city. He saves a Lot, and burns a Sodom; yea, than for a whole world, he drowns a world and reserves a Noah; he secures his jewels, whilst he flings away the pebbles. [4.] He loves them so, that he overlooks their crabbed and perverse mis- constructions of his providence. When the Israelites had jealous thoughts of liim, and of Moses his instrument, when they saw that mighty Egyptian army just at their heels, and themselves cooped up between mountains, forts, and waters, God doth not upon this provoking murmuring draw up his cloudy pillar to heaven, but puts it in the rear of them, when before it I marched in the van, Eixod. xiv. 15), and wedgeth himself in botween them ;oi<l Pharaoh's enraged host, to shew that they should as soon sheath their BWOrdl in his heart as in their bowels; and if they could strike them, it should be through his own deity, which was the highest expression of his affection. And though they often murmured against his providence after they were landed on the shore, vet he left them not to shift for themsel hut, bore them ;dl the way in his arms, as a father doth his child, Deut* i. Blj and bars them Like an eagle upon his wings, Dout. xxxii. 11. And God lovei tle'in magnificently and royally: Hosea siv. I, ' L will love them freely,' i without any doubting, without any reluctance. 1 will love thee without any repugnancy in my heart to draw me back u*om thee; 'for mine anger is tinned away,' as the streams of a river, quito another way. Now, ;dl this considered, can the Governor of the world, the King if saints, • Banctiu i In Isa. xlix. l * » . \ Eoseaarii LnifO; Sept., o/AoXdyw;. 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 01 act anything against his own affections ? Yea, will he not make all things subservient to them whom he loves ? (2.) His delight. See what an inundation of sweetening joy there was in him, for which he had not terms of expression to suit the narrow apprehen- sions of men: Zeph. iii. 17, 'The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.' He seems in his expression to know no measure of his delight in the church, and no end of it: 'I will rejoice over thee with joy.' Joy sparkles up fresh after joy; it is his rest, where the soul and all that is within him centres itself with infinite con- tentment. ' Joy over thee with singing:' a joy that blossoms into triumph. or had any such charming transports in the company of any he most affected as God hath in his church; he doth so delight in the graces of his people, that he delights to mention them. He twice mentions Enoch's walk- ing with him, Gen. v. 22, 24. And certainly God cannot but delight in it more than in the world, because it is a fruit of greater pains than the crea- tion of the world. The world was created in the space of six days by a word, the erecting a church hath cost God more pains and time. Before the church of the Jews could be settled, he hath both a contest with the peevishness of his people and the malice of their enemies. And his own Son must bleed and die before the church of the Gentiles could be fixed. Men delight in that which hath cost them much pains and a great price. God hath been at too much pains, and Christ at too great price, to have small delight in the church ; will he then let wild beasts break the hedges, and tread down the fruit of it ? Shall not all things be ordered to the good of that which is the object of his greatest delight in the world ? 7. Seventhly, The presence of God in his church will make all providences tend to the good of it. It would be an idle, useless presence if it were not operative for their good. ' The Lord is there' is the very name of the gospel church, Ezek. xlviii. 35 ; what would it signify if it were a useless presence ? Christ stands upon mount Sion, his throne is in the church, when the great things in the world shall be acted for the ruin of antichrist, Rev. xiv. 1. God's presence in his church is the glory and defence of it, as the presence of the king is the glory of the court: Zech. ii. 5, 'For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.' His presence is a covenant presence: Isa. xli. 10, ' Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God;' whence follows strength, help, and support: 'I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness;' that is, with my righteous power, with my power engaged to thee in a righteous covenant. His presence and providence in the world is in a way of absolute dominion, but in his church in a way of federal relation. He is the God of Israel, ind God to Israel, or for Israel, 1 Chron. xvii. 24, yea, and a God in the nidst of Israel, — every one of them sufficient engagements to protect tsrael, and provide for Israel, and govern everything for Israel's good. Grod is under an oath to do good to Israel; will he violate his oath, tear his seal, break his covenant, who never broke his league with any of his people yet ? 8. Eighthly, The prayers of the church have a mighty force with God to his end. God is entitled a God hearing prayer ; and what prayers should iod hear, if not the prayers of his church, which aim at God's glory in their jwn good ? Though the prayers of the church may in some particulars fail, ■et in general they do not ; because they submit their desires to the will of iod, which always works what is best for them. 92 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XYI. 9. When God would do any mighty work in the world, he stirs up his people to pray for it ; and their prayers by his own appointment have a mighty in- fluence upon the government of the world, for when they come before him in behalf of the church in general, he doth indulge them a greater liberty and boldness, and as it were a kind of authority over him, than upon other occasions of their own: Isa. xlv. 11, ■ Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask of me things to come concerning my sons; and concerning the work of mine hands command you me.' God would be more positively, confidently, and familiarly dealt with about the concerns of his sons, though they were things to come to pass in after ages. And indeed the prayers of the church have a powerful and invisible efficacy on the great actions and overturnings which are in the world. The being of the world is maintained by them from sinking; according to the Jews' say- ing, sine stationibus non subsisteret mimdus (standing in prayer was their usual prayer gesture). And that they have actually such a force is evident: Kev. viii. 3, 4, an angel hath a golden censer with incense, to offer it with the prayers of the saints upon the altar which was before the throne. And, verse 5, the censer wherein their prayers were offered was filled with the fire of the altar, and cast into the earth; and there were voices, thun- derings, lightnings, and earthquakes. When the prayer of the saints were offered to God, and ascended up before him, that is, were very pleasing to him, the issue is, the angel fills the censer with fire of the altar, and thereby causes great commotions and alterations in the world, signifying that the great changes of the world are an answer unto those prayers which are offered unto God ; for fire is taken from that altar upon which they were offered, and flung into the world. And it must needs be that the prayers of the church should have an influence on the government of the world. (1.) Because God hath a mighty delight in the prayers of his people. 'The prayer of the upright is his delight; ' and he loves to hear the church's voice: Cant. ii. 14, 4 my dove, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice' (Chaldes, ' Thy voice is sweet in prayer'). In the times of the gospel, God promises that the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem should be pleasant to him, Mai. iii. 4. When Christ shall sit as a refiner, ver. 3, what is the issue of those prayers ? ver. 5, ■ 1 will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers,' &c. Prayer awakes providence to judge the enemies of the church. A parent delights not in the bare cry- ing, or the voice of his child simply considered in itself, but in the signifi- cations and effects of it. He delights in the matter of their prayers, it being [ BO agreeable to his own heart and will, and in the sense they have of the | Bufferings of the whole body. (2.) Beeansc prayer is nothing else but a pleading of God's promises. Unto 1 this the; are directed by that Spirit which knows thoniindof God, and mar- shall their petitions according to bis will. Now as God turns his own decrees and purposes concerning his church into promises to them, so the Church turns I Ids.- promises into prayers for them; SO that promise's being for the good of the church, and there being an exact harmony between t! promises and the church's prayers, all those providences which are the issue of those promisee, ami the answer of the church's prayers, must needs u tor the church's good. (:'».) Because there are united supplications and pleadings both in he and earth. All the hands of the whole family iu heaven and earth are con tied in their petitions. [l.J Christ intercedes for the church, who always desires mercy and deliver 2 CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 93 ance for them in the appointed time : Zech. i. 12; ' How long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem ? ' and the issue is always gracious ; for, ver. 13, God answers him with 'good and comfortable words ; ' and there- upon carpenters are raised to ■ cut off the horns which had scattered Judah,' ver. 20. [2. J Angels in all probability plead for the church, as we have already heard ; it is likely they offer and present that to God which makes for his glory, and that is the good of the church. Angels surely desire that which their head doth, which is described as one of their own order, and called an angel, Zech. i. 12. Do they rejoice at the repentance of a sinner, and do they not likewise triumph at the happiness of the church, which is part of that family they are of? And we know that the greatness of our joy is suited to the mercies of our desires ; where our joy is most triumphant, it implies that our desires before were most vehement. [3.] Glorified saints are not surely behind. The rich man in the parable desired his friends on earth might not come into that place of torment, Luke xvi. 28. If | there be so much charity in hell, can there be less in heaven ? If he desired it, that by the presence of his companions in sin, his own torments might not be increased, do not the saints in heaven de- sire the presence of the whole church, that their happiness in that of the whole body may be completed ? If the head Christ be not complete with- out the body, the members of the body cannot be complete without one another. The souls of them that were slain for the word of God cry under the altar for vengeance on them that dwell on the earth ; as Kev. vi. 9, 10, 'How long, Lord holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ? ' Will not their kindness to their fellow- members be as strong as their justice, and their love for the good of their friends draw out their prayers as well as their desire of vengeance on their enemies ? Why may they not as well pray for us as we praise God for them ? Had they not some likeness to their great Master whilst they were on earth, and shall they not be more like to him now they are in heaven, and behold his face, and feel all the stirrings of his heart ? And if they have no sense at all of the church's sufferings, how shall they be like to him who hath ? As their bodies shall be like the glorious body of Christ at the resurrection, are not their souls now like his glorious soul, merciful, and com- passionate, and sympathising in all the afflictions of the church ? And can this be without some breathings for a full completing of the church's freedom ? Are such desires and pleas any hindrance to their present happiness ? It is so far from that, that it doth rather further their glory, which cannot be complete, as the glory of Christ, as head, is not mounted to the highest pitch of glory, till his mystical body be all gathered in and lodged with him. If it be thus, will God do anything prejudicial to the church, and contrary to the combined desires of all those that are so near him ? If God doth some- times stir up himself upon the supplication of one man, and grant an order upon his petition according to his mind ; and if the prayers of one faithful Moses, or Elias, or Samuel have such a kind of almighty power in them, much more is the joint force of so many prayers twisted together. Use 1. For information. Is it so that all providence is for the good of the church ? Then, 1. God will always have a church in the world, he will have some to serve him. The whole course of his providence being designed for it, as long as the world, which is the object of his providence, doth endure, he will have a church. God would otherwise lose the end of the motion of his eyes,* the L * As in the text, 2 Chron. xvi. 9. 9-1 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. operation of his providence, since it is to shew himself strong for the church and every member of it. As long as the candle and light of the gospel burns and shines, God will have a candlestick to set the candle in.* His great design in making a world was not to have sun, moon, and stars, but a church, a company of men that might bear his mark, and honour him, to whom he might speak, and extend his grace abroad, which he was so full of within. As a limner who would draw an excellent draught, draws his design in the midst of the cloth, and fills the void places with clouds, and land- scapes, and other fancies at his pleasure, which communicate some beauty and lustre to the work, but that was not the principal design of the work- man. That Redeemer which bears the church upon his heart, will create a stability for it ; it is a part of his priestly office to have a care of the lamps ; it is one of his titles to be he that walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Rev. ii. 1. Priests under the law were to look to the great candlestick in the temple, supply the lamps with oil, and make them clean, Lev. xxiv. 3, 4. The church indeed may be eclipsed, but not extinguished ; if it be not conspicuous on the mountain, yet it shall be hid in the wilderness. There shall be sprinklings of professors among all people. God will leaven the places where they are into Christianity, and cause them to fructify and grow up in purity and glory : Micah v. 7, ' And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.' It tarries not for man. It attends not the power of man, the precepts of man, or inventions of man ; but whose descent is from heaven, and is carried on not by human power, but by the divine Spirit and providence ; it shall be firmer than all worldly power, and the strongest kings : Isa. ii. 2, ' And the moun- tain of the Lord's house shall be established upon the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills.' Above mountains and hills, to which sometimes the powers of the world are compared, Zech. iv. 7. That provi- dence which gave the church at first a footing in the world upon a weak foundation to outward appearance, in spite of men and devils will preserve it, and not suffer it to be blown up ; he will shadow the church with his win^s in a perpetual succession of the choicest mercies. 2. God will in the greatest exigencies find out means for the protection of his church. This will be till his providence be at an end. When God hath removed one instrument of his church's protection, he hath his choice of others, whom lie can raise and spirit for his work. When those upon whom the church's hopes hang are taken oil*, he can raise things that are unlikely to supply the place. As the lutenist accidentally had a grasshopper leapt upon his instrument, to supply by its noise the place of a string which 1i;mI Dewlj cracked, win Toby his music was continued without interrupt i God MD spirit men against their own natural fears. It is very improbal that NicodemUB, our of I fearful disposition, who came to our Saviour by night for tear of the Jews, should have the courage to assert his oause in l| )r (ace of B whole council of pliarisees, contriving his death, and at p] .; blunt the edge of their malioe, though we read of none at that time in the council to second bim, John rii. 50, 51. The Holy Ghost takes particul notice that it was be that came to Jesus l»y night. |,ii i,!' ,\i iniathca, whose name we meet, not with in the catalog! j UlV of our disciples,i till the time of his death, and then he appears boldly 1,, |, body of JeBUS of Pilate. God will never want instruments for the preserving that church, which he owns as his. It is observed by Some, * Cham. vei it. liv. 8 ohap i. p. 16. -J Qn. ' iu an)' ul tie: c.it.i OUT J Oftl'l di-ciplc-s ' ? — Ed. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 95 that God so ordered it, that the same day that Pelagius, the great poisoner of the Christian doctrine, was born in Britain, Austin, the most famous de- fender of the truth, was born in Africa ; that the horn which pushed the truth should no sooner appear, but the carpenter to cut it off' should be pro- vided too. As it is observed where poisons grow, antidotes grow near them by the indulgent provision of the God of nature. As there is the wisdom of the serpent against the church, so there is the wisdom of God for it. God's goodness upon his church in former ages is not all laid out, he hath his stores still, neither is his wisdom nonplussed, nor his power weakened ; neither is he, nor can he be weary of his care. 3. The church shall in the end prove victorious against all its adversaries, or providence must miss of its aim. The church is compared to an olive tree, Hosea xiv. 6, in respect of beauty, ' his beauty shall be as the olive tree.' It is so also in respect of victory. Olive branches were used in triumph. God is on the church's side, and he is stronger than the strongest, and wiser than the wisest, and higher than the highest. Jesus Christ is the church's head and general ; Christ the head watcheth for the good of the church, the body. He must be destroyed before the church can. There is a mighty arm, which, though it may for a time seem withered, will in the end be stretched out, and get itself the victory. Whilst Christ is in the ship, it may be tossed, but it shall not be sunk. It may be beaten down, but like a ball to rebound the higher. The young tree that is shaken by the wind may lose some leaves, and some fruit too, but the root gets greater strength and strikes itself deeper into the earth, and makes the branches more capable of a rich return of fruit the following year. The church's stature is compared to a palm tree, Cant. vii. 7, which cannot be depressed by the weights which hang upon it, but riseth the higher. God uses the same method in the church's, as in Christ's advance- ment. Our Saviour's death was necessary to his glory, Luke xxiv. 26, and the church's affliction sometimes to its exaltation. A nation may lose some battles, and yet be victorious ; the church may have many a cross, but in the end will surmount all difficulties. Though judgments and apostasies may be great in a nation, yet God will have a care of his own plants, Isa. vi. 12, 13 ; ' There shall be a tenth ; it shall return, the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.' As a tree in winter, which seems dead, but its juice shall revive into rich and generous blossoms. The ark shall float above the waters. Babylon shall fall, the Lamb shall stand upon mount Zion. Men may as well stop the rising of the sun in its mounting to the meridian, bridle in the tide of the ocean, as hinder the current of an almighty providence. 4. The interest of nations is to bear a respect to the church, and coun- tenance the worship of God in it. This is to concur with God's main end, and imitate him in his providential administrations. God's people, what- ever their enemies suggest to the contrary, are a blessing in the midst of a land, Isa. xix. 24 ; their interest is greater than the interest of all the world besides ; though they be but a handful, their fruit shall shake like Lebanon, Ps. lxxii. 16. The neglect of religion is the ruin of nations. It i is observed that Cyrus was slain in the war in Scythia, a little after he neglected the building of the temple of Jerusalem which he had begun.* Those Persian kings reigned the longest that favoured the Jews in that and their other just requests. God honoured or disgraced them as they were kind or cruel to his people. And when they act for the good of his people, . they shall not be without their reward. When Cyrus should let the Jewish captives go free without ransom, he should be no loser by it. God would * Broughton on Dan. x. 10. 96 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CERON. XVI. 9. give him the labour of Egypt, the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the strength of the Sabeans into his hand for the price of his people's delivery, Isa. xlv. 13, 14. Those nations which should favour them in the times of their per- secutions and flights, and give them shelter in their countries, should thrive and prosper by the blessing of God upon them. If Moab give entertain- ment to the flying Israelites in the time of the invasion of Shalmanezer, God will preserve their land that the spoiler shall not enter into the confines of it, and they shall have kings and judges under the protection of the house of David, i. e. under the kings of Israel, as some understand it, Isa. xvi. 4, 5. Saints are the guardians of the places where they live, their prayers have a greater influence than the wisest counsels, or the mightiest force, 2 Kings ii. 12 : ' And Elisha cried, My father, my father ! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.' The Chaldee paraphraseth thus : * Thou art better to Israel by thy prayers than chariots and horsemen.' This is the elogy of one single prophet ; what influence then hath the whole church of God in a place ? The whole world is the better for the church of God. The Chaldee paraphrase hath a notion upon that, Ps. xxii. 3 : ' But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel ;' thou that estab- lishest the world for the praises of Israel. God hath nothing to do in the world but the saving of his people. When that is once done, he will put an end to this frame of things. When he hath gathered his wheat into his garner, he will burn up the chaff. His people are the spirit and quint- essence of the world. When this is extracted, the rest are flung upon the dunghill, as a caput mortuum. 5. We may see hence the ground of most of the judgments in the world. Men by their rage against the church, will not acknowledge God's govern- ment of the world for the church's good ; therefore the psalmist, Ps. lix. 13, ' Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may not be, and let them know that God rules in Jacob unto the ends of the earth.' The church is the seat of his government, and from thence he extends it to the utter- most parts of the earth. In Jacob he rules, and for the sake of Jacob he orders his government to the ends of the earth ; the not acknowledging this brings wrathful consumptions upon men ; and it is also the end of his judg- ments to make men know it. It is likely enough the four kings, Gen. xiv. 9, might have gone clear away with all their booty, had not they laid their fingers upon Lot ; but when they would pack him up among the rest, they did but solicit their own ruin, and arm the almighty God against them. God did not think any of the people worth the mention, verse 11 ; only Lot a righteoni penon, verse 12, he is named, as having God's eye only upon him. And when Abraham returns from the victory, ver. 10, the rest of the delivered captives are mentioned in tho bulk, Lot only in particular, as though all that had been done had been done by God only for Lot's sake. They might have preserved the whole prey to themselves, had it not been for this jewel, loo precious in God's account for their custody. And the tearful curse that God pronounced against the Ammonite and Moabite, that they should not some into the congregation for ten generations, though any of then turned proselytes, was because they came not out with so much as bread and water to meet the [sraelites, and because they hired Balaam to cui them, Dent, nriii. 8, i. The utter wasting of nations and kingdoms, is t because tliev will Dot serve the interest of God in his people: Isa. 1\. 1 * For the nation and kingdom thai will not serve thee shall perish ; 3 those nations shall be utterly wasted.' God will bring an utter consumption upon those people Hint refuse to love them, much more upon those that hate I them* 2 CflRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OP DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 97 6. What esteem, then, should there be of the godly in the world ? The providence of God, being chiefly for the good of his people, cannot well fall upon them, but some drops will fall upon those involved with them in a common interest. When the corn, and wine, and oil hear Jezreel (the seed of God), and the earth hears the corn, and the heavens hear the earth, and God hears the heavens, Hosea ii. 21, 22 ; when their supplications come up to the great superintendent of the world, many of the wicked will fare the better for that providence which is given only in answer to Jezreel's prayer ; God causes his sun to shine upon the unjust, upon them, not for their sakes. When Nebuchadnezzar issued out that unjust order for the slaying the Chaldeans for not performing an impossible command in telling him the dream he had forgotten, Dan. ii. 12, Daniel was sought out to undergo the same fate; yet by his wisdom God bends the heart of Arioch, the executioner of this decree, to stay his hand. Daniel goes to the king, God stays Nebuchadnezzar's fury, and moves his heart to give them time. The providence is chiefly intended for the preservation of Daniel and his godly companions, but the rest of the wise men have the benefit of it. As the water with which a man waters his choicest plants and flowers in his garden is intended only for them, yet some falling off from those flowers refresheth the weeds that grow under them. If God had not had such flowers as Daniel and his companions, the weeds in Chaldea had been plucked up. Yet the ungrateful world takes no notice of the benefits they receive from this salt of the earth, which preserves them, and to whom they are all so much beholding. Lot had been the occasion of restoring Zoar from captivity, as I mentioned before, for the inhabitants of that city were engaged with those of Sodom in the fight against the four kings (' And the king of Bela, the same is Zoar,' Gen. xiv. 8) ; and perhaps were carried captives with the rest of their neighbours ; and it had been saved from the flames which fell upon Sodom merely by Lot's prayer : Gen. xix. 21, ' See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing, that I will not overthrow this city for the which thou hast spoken ; ' yet he found them a surly people, and was requited with a rude reception, notwithstanding his kindness : ver. 13, ' He went up out of Zoar, for he feared to dwell in Zoar.' It was not likely he was so distrustful of God, that he should overthrow it, when he had abso- lutely promised him the contrary ; therefore most likely for some churlish threatenings from them. Nay, Sodom itself was beholden to him for a small respite of the judgment intended against them. For God tells him he could do nothing till he were come thither, Gen. xix. 22. And it was so, for Lot was entered into Zoar before a drop of brimstone and fire was rained down upon Sodom : ver. 23, 24, ( Then the Lord rained upon Sodom ; ' when ? When Lot was entered into Zoar. This good the wicked world get by God's people is so evident, that sometimes wicked men cannot but take notice of it. Laban, a selfish idolater, was sensible of it : Gen. xxx. 27, ' I have found by experience that the Lord hath blessed me lor thy sake.' It was a lesson so legible that he might have learned it sooner than in fourteen years. The church is the chief object of preserva- tion, wicked men are preserved for their sakes ; as dung is preserved, not 'or its own sake, but for the manuring a fruitful field, and thorns in the hedge are preserved for the garden's sake. 7. It is then a very foolish thing for any to contend against the welfare of God's people. It is to strive against an almighty and unwearied pro- vidence. Men may indeed sometimes be suffered by God for holy ends to aave their wills, in some measure, upon the church, but not altogether ; :hey must first depose him from his throne, blind his eyes, or hold his arm. VOL. I. G 98 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 CHRON. XVI. 9. It is as foolish as if a worm should design to dig down a mountain, or chaff to martial itself in battle array against the wind, or for a poor fly to stop the motion of a millstone. (1.) It is foolish, because it is exceeding sinful. What is done against the church is rather done against God than against it ; since all her constitu- tion, worship, observances, are directed to God as their ultimate end ; so that to endeavour to destroy the church is to deny God a worship, deprive him of his sanctuary, break open his house, ravish his spouse, cut off Christ's body, rob him of his jewels, and will be so interpreted by God at the last, upon the scanning of things. If the church be God's house, the enemies shall answer for every invasion, every forcible entry, for the breaking down the gates and bars of it, God will sue them at last for dilapi- dations. (2.) Very unsuccessful. Shall God be afraid of the multitudes and power of men ? No more than ' a lion, or a young lion roaring after his prey, when a multitude of shepherds are called forth against them, shall he be afraid of their voice, or abase himself for their noise,' Isa. xxxi. 4. Noise and clamour is all they can do, and that not long; the fierceness of the lion quickly scatters them. The associations, and men's girding themselves against the church, is but a preparation to their own ruin : Isa. viii. 9, 1 Associate yourselves together, ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces,' three times repeated. Your counsels, saith he, shall not stand against that presence of God that is with us, ' for God is with us.' (3.) It is very destructive too. God will not alway be still and refrain himself; he seems to do so for a while, but when he doth arise he will destroy and devour at once, Isa. xlii. 14, he will make but ^one morsel of them. When God is angry with his people, and gives them into the hands of men to execute his justice upon them, and punish them, he will even punish those enemies for their cruelty, and going beyond their com- mission, in satisfying their own immoderate passions upon them. Upon this account God threatens Babylon : Isa. xlvii. 6, ' I was wroth with my people ; I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thy hand : thou didst shew them no mercy;' whereupon God threatens them afterwards, &c. ; so Zech. i. 15, God was sore displeased with the heathen, for when he was ' but a little displeased' with his people, ' they helped forward the affliction.' Use 2. Is for comfort. If Jill the providence of God be for tho good of the church, if his eyes run to and fro to shew himself strong for them, it affords matter of great com- fort. His providence is continual for them, Zech. iv. 2. He hath seven pipes to convey kindness to them, as well as seven lamps whereby to discern their si nuts. His providence is as vast as his omniscience. The Dumber of pipes belonging to the candlestick of the church is exact accord- ing to the number of lamps. The church's misery cannot bo hid from God's eye, let it, he in what part of the earth soever, for his eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, and his sight excites his strength. Upon tho light of their distressed condition he watchos only for the fittest opportunity to shew himself strong for them. And when that opportunity comes he is speedy in the deliverance of them : I's. wiii. 10, ' lie rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of tho wind.' Ho doth not only ride upon a cherub, hut fly. His wings are nothing hut wind, which hath the quickest and strongest motion, which moves the greatest bodi and turns down all before it. What is tor the good of the whole hath an iulluencu upon every member of tho body. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 99 1. It is comfort in duties and special services. Nothing shall be wanting for encouragement to duty, and success in it when God calls any to it, since all his providence is for the good of the church. Let there be but sincerity on our parts, in our attempts of service upon God's call, and we need not fear a want of providence on God's part. God never calls any to serve his church in any station, but he doth both spirit and encourage them. God hath in his common providence suited the nature of every creature to that place in which he hath set it in the world ; and will he not much more in his special providence suit every one to that place he calls them to, for the service of his church ? He did not forsake Christ in redeeming his church, neither will he forsake any in assisting his church. When Joseph of Arimathea would boldly demand the body of our Saviour, providence made the way plain before him ; he meets with no check, neither from Pilate nor the priests, Mat. xxvii. 58, Mark xv. 43. 2. In meanness and lowness. It is one and the same God that rules the affairs of the whole world, of the church and of every particular member of it. As it is the same soul that informs the whole body, the meanest mem- ber as well as that which is most excellent. Not the meanest sincere Christian but is under God's eye for good. The Spirit acts and animates every member in the church, the weakest as well as the most towering Christian. Baruch was but the prophet Jeremiah's amanuensis or scribe, and servant to Jeremiah (who was no great man in the world himself), yet God takes notice so of his service, that he would particularly provide for him, and commands Jeremiah in a way of prophecy to tell him as much : Jer. xlv. 5, ' I will bring evil upon all flesh, but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey, whithersoever thou goest.' 3. In the greatest judgments upon others. In an epidemical judg- ment upon the whole nation of the Jews, God would have a special care of Baruch. If he should cast his people far off among the heathen, and scatter them among the countries, yet even there he would be a little sanctuary unto them. His own presence should supply the want of a temple, so he is pleased to express himself, Ezek. xi. 16. But how is it possible the great God can be but a little sanctuary ? His eye is upon them to see their danger, and his hand upon them to secure them from it. His promise shall shield them, and his wings shall cover them, Ps. xci. 4. While he hath indignation, he hath a secret chamber for their security, Isa. xxvi. 20, an almighty shadow under which they abide, Ps. xci. 1. In times of the most devouring danger he hath a seal to set upon their foreheads as a mark of his special protection. We never have so much experience of God's care and strength as in times of trouble : Ps. xxxvii. 39, ' He is their strength in time of trouble.' He is a friend who is as able as willing, and as willing as able to help them, whose watchfulness over them is as much above their apprehension as it is above their merits. 4. In the greatest extremities wherein his people may be, there are pro- mises of comfort, Isa. xliii. 2. Both in overflowing waters and scorching fires he will be with them ; his providence shall attend his promise, and his truth shall be their shield and buckler, Ps. xci. 4. That surely is a suffi- cient support ; Christ thought it so, when he only said to his disciples, ' It is I, be not afraid,' John vi. 17, 18. What though there* be a storm, a darkness, and trouble, * It is I am he.' The darkness of the night troubles not the pilot whilst he hath his compass to steer by. If all his providences be for the good of them that fear him, he can never want means to bring them out of trouble, because he is always actually exercised in governing that which is for their good, and till he sees it fit to deliver them, he will be 100 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. with them. Great mercies succeed the sharpest afflictions, Jer. xxx. 5, 6, 7, &c. When there should be a voice of trembling, and men with their hands upon their loins, as women in travail, and paleness in their faces from the excess of their fears, in that day God would break the yoke from them, and they should serve the Lord their God, and David their king. Though the night be never so dark, yet it is certain the sun will rise and disperse its light next morning, and one time or other shew itself in its brightness. We have no reason to despond in great extremities, since he can think us into safety, — Ps. xl. 17, ' Lord, think on me,' — much more look us into it; his thoughts and his eyes move together. 5. In fear of wants. The power of the government of the world cannot be doubted. His love, as little as it seems, since it hath moved him to pre- pare heaven to entertain his people at the end of their journey, it will not be wanting to provide accommodation for them upon the way, since all things, both good and bad, are at his beck, and under the government of his gracious wisdom. His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth, not only to defend them in dangers, but supply them in wants, for his strength is shewed both ways. Doth he providentially regard them that have no respect for him, and will he not employ his power for, and extend his care to them that adore and love him, and keep up his honour in the world? He will not surely be regardless of the afflictions of his creatures. His people are not only his creatures, but his new creatures ; their bodies are not only created by him, but redeemed by his Son. The purchase of the Redeemer is joined to the providence of the Creator. If he take care of you when he might have damned you for your sins, will he not much more since you are believers in Christ? And he cannot damn you believing, unless he renounce his Son's mediation and his own promise. A natural man provides for his own, much more a righteous man : Pro. xiii. 22, ' A good man leaves an inheritance to his children,' much more the God of righteousness, a God who hath his eye always upon them. His eye will affect his heart, and his heart spirit the hand of his power to relieve them. He hath ' prepared of his goodness for the poor,' Ps. lxviii. 10. 6. It is comfort in the low estate of the church at any time. God's eye is upon his church even whilst he seems to have forsaken them. If he seem to be departed, it is but in some other part of the earth, to shew himself strong for them ; wherever his eye is fixed in any part of the world, his church hath his heart, and his church's relief is his end. Though the church may sometimes lie among the pots in a dirty condition, yet there is a time of resurrection, when God will restore it to its true glory, and make it as white as a dovo with its silver wings, Ps. lxviii. 13. The sun is not ahvay obscured by a thick cloud, but will bo freed from tho darkness of it. 'Godwill judge his people, and repent himself concerning his servants,' Ps. exxxv. 14.* It is a comfort to God to deliver his people, and ho will do it in such a season when it shall be most comfortable to his glory and their hearts. Tho very name Jerusalem some derive from Jireh S<tl<-»i, •God will provide in Salem.' The new Jerusalem is the title given to God's church, IJ.-'V. xxi., and is still the object of his providence, and he will provide fox it at a pinch : Gen. xxii. 1 I, ' dehovah Jireh,' God will raise up tho honour and beauty of his church ; groat mon shall bo servants to it, and employ their strength for it when God shall have mercy on it, Tsa. lx. 10, 12; yea, tho learning and knowledge of the world shall contribute to the building of it; vor. 13, ' The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-troe, the pino-trco, and tho box together, to beautify tho placo of my sanctuary. * OrU/V, comfort himself. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 101 It shall be called the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel, that she may know that the Lord is her Saviour, and her Redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob.' As Christ rose in his natural, so he will in his spiritual body. If Christ when dead could not be kept from rising, Christ now living shall not be hindered from rising and helping his church. His own glory is linked with his people's security, and though he may not be moved for anything in them because of their sinfulness, he will for his own name, because of its excellency : Ezek. xxxvi. 22, ' I do not this for your sakes, house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake.' As sorrows in- creased upon the Israelites, the nearer their deliverance approached. Because this method of God is the greatest startling even to good men, let us consider this a little, that God doth, and why God doth, leave his church to extremities before he doth deliver it. Take the resolution of this in some propositions. 1. It is indeed God's usual method to leave the church to extremity before he doth command help. You never heard of any eminent deliverance of the church but was ushered in by some amazing distress. The Israelites were not saved till they were put in between sea, hills, and forts, that their destruction was inevitable, unless heaven relieved them. Pharaoh resolves to have his will, and God resolves to have his ; but he lets him come with his whole force and open mouth at the Israelites' backs, and then makes the waters his sepulchre. Constantine, the man-child in the Revelation, was preceded by Diocletian, the sharpest persecutor. When his people are at a loss, it is his usual time to do his greatest works for them ; God had pro- mised Christ many ages, and yet no appearance of him ; still promise after promise, and no performance, Ps. xl. 8. It was then, ' Lo, I come,' yet many hundred years rolled away, and no sight of him yet. Captivity and affliction, and no Redeemer ; but when the world was overrun with idolatry, the Jews oppressed by the Romans, the sceptre departed from Judah, Herod an Edomite and stranger-king, and scarce any faith left, then, then he comes. The world will be in much the like case at his next coming : Luke xviii. 8, * When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith in the earth ? ' There shall be faintings, despondency, unbelief of his promise, as though he had cast off all care of his church's concerns. It is not meant of a justifying faith, but a faith in that particular promise of his coming. The faith of the Israelites must needs begin to flag when they saw their males murdered by the Egyptians ; could they believe the propagation of the seed of Abraham, when murder took off the infants, and labour and age would in time the old ones? Whilst their children were preserved, the promise might easily be believed. But consider, this was but just before their deliverance ; like a violent crisis before recovery. He doth then 'judge his people, andrepent himself for his servants, when he sees their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left,' Deut. xxxii. 36. He doth so for the wicked many times. When the amiction of idolatrous Israel was bitter, when there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel, then he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, 2 Kings xiv. 26, 27. He doth so with private persons ; Peter might have been delivered by God's power out of prison when he was first sent thither, but God thought it fittest for him to lie in chains, and free him but the night before his intended execution, Acts xii. 6, 7. Lot had his goods rifled and carried away captive before God stirred up Abraham to rescue him. When the hand of the wicked lies heaviest upon the heads of the righteous, and wrings the most mournful sighs from them ; when they are needy, and the wicked securely puffing at them, as though they had brought them to so low a condition as to blow them away with a blast; ' Now,' saith 102 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PEOVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. God, 'will I arise:' Ps. xii. 5, ' For the oppression of the poor, for the sigh- ing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord ; I will set him at safety from him that puffeth at him.' Now, this is the time I watched for as fittest for my own glory and their safety. Then God disappoints them, when they seem to have got to the goal, with the ball at their foot. Secondly, God hereby doth glorify himself. He then discovers that there is nothing too high for his power to check, nothing too subtle for his wisdom to disappoint, nothing too low for his love to embrace. That is the season wherein his mercy will be most prized, his power most admired, his wisdom most adored, and his justice most cleared. God lets the concerns of his church go backward, that he may bring them on with more glory to himself and satisfaction to his creature. God will divide the benefit and the honour between himself and the creature ; he will have the whole glory, and his creature shall have the sensible advantage. They shall enjoy salvation, there is their benefit, but ' not by sword or bow, but by the Lord their God,' Hosea i. 7. Saved they should be, but in such a way wherein the honour of God might most appear, without any mixture of the creature. 1. God glorifies his power. His eyes run to and fro to shew himself strong. He will then pitch upon such a season when his strength may appear most illustrious, and none else have any pretence to claim an equal strength with him. A time of extremity is the fittest opportunity for this, when his power cannot be clouded by any interpositions of the creature for challenging a share in it. The greater the malice against the church, the weaker the church's ability to help itself, the more glorious is the power of God magnified in deliverance ; little dangers are not so suitable for the triumph of an infinite strength. As God let Christ lie three days in the grave, that his resurrection might be known to be the fruit of a divine power, for the same end he lets his mystical body lie in the same condition. Had God brought Israel out of Egypt in the time of the kings that were friends to them from a kindly remembrance of Joseph, there had been no character of a divine power, though there had been of a divine truth apparent in the case ; but he set apart that time for their deliverance, when he was to con- test with the mightiest opposition from the whole body of the Egyptian nation, who had forgot Joseph their great benefactor. Had not the disciples been in a great storm, ready to be cast away, and Christ asleep till they were in extremity, they had not seen such visible marks of the extensiveness of their Master's power, Isa. xxxiii. 7, 8, &o. When the hearts of the strong men fainted, when the Assyrians would not hear the ambassadors of '<', when they had broke their former covenant, resolved to invade the land, when their calamity and despair had arrested all their hopes, 'Now,' when all things are in such a deplorable state, ' will I rise, saith the Lord, now will I he exalted ; now will I lift up myself.' God was not asleep or unconcerned, hut he sat still watching for such a season ; now ia three times repeated. The Psalmist gives us a reeord of this in his particular case. When the waten of his affliction were many, the enemy strong, and too strong for him, their strength edged with an intense hatred,' then God appears to be his stay, ami prevents them in the dav of his calamity, Ps, xviu. 16-18. God lets his enemies be too strong for him, that he might appear his only stay, without any mixture of David's strength in the case. When the Jewi thrift Chrisl OUi of Na/ureth, led him to the hrow oi' the hill, and were ready to oast him down, then, and not till then, he frees hini- •elfotlt of their hands, and disappoints the ell'ects of their rage, Luke iv. 29. As Christ dealt thus for himself, so he deals for his ehurch in all ages. 2. God glorifies his wisdom. 'His oyes rim to and fro throughout the 2 CHKON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 103 whole earth, to shew himself strong.' It is not a bare strength that God would shew, or such a power which we call in man a brutish valour, without wit or skill, but to shew his strength with his wisdom, when all his other attributes may be glorified with that of his power. When all worldly helps are departed, we can as little ascribe our security to our own wisdom and industry as to our own strength and power. The physician's skill is best evidenced in mastering a desperate disease. He will bring the counsels of the heathen to nought, Ps. xxxiii. 10. He will let them counsel, he will let them devise and carry on their counsels near to execution, that he may shew that, as the strength of hell is no match for his power, so the craft of Satan is no mate for his wisdom. But he raises the trophies of his wisdom upon the subtle devices of his enemies. 3. God glorifies his care and compassion. "When his people are nearest crushing, God is nearest preserving. God's mercy is greatest when his saints' misery is deepest ; when Zion is as an outcast, it shall be taken into God's protection : Jer. xxx. 16, 17, ' I will heal thee of thy wounds, because they called thee an outcast, saying, This is Zion whom no man seeks after.' When none stood up to plead for her, when her lovers she depended on, had forgotten and forsaken her, when they thought her cast out of the care of any creature, the Creator would take her up. When the ruin was inevi- table as to man, their preservation was most regarded by God. Had God stopped Pharaoh at his first march, by raising some mutiny in his army, his mercy to his people, as well as his power against his enemies, had not been so conspicuous. The more desperate things are, the fitter subject for the advancement of God's kindness. Had God conducted the Israelites through a rich and fruitful country, it would have obscured the glory of his care of them, which was more signal in directing them through a barren desert, crowded with fiery serpents, without bread to nourish them, or water to cool them, wherein he manifested himself to be both their caterer and physician. Moses was never more peculiarly under God's protection, no, not when he had the whole guard of Israel about him in the wilderness, than when his mother had exposed him to the river forlorn, in a pitched ark, and forsaken by his sister, who stood aloof off to see how providence would conduct him. When Laban was possessed with fury against Jacob, God countermands it, and issues out his own order to him, how he should behave himself towards his son, Gen. xxxi. 24, 29. God times his kindness, so that it may appear to be nothing else but grace, grace with a witness, that his people may be able to understand the very particularities of it : Isa. xxx. 18, ' Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you.' He leaves them therefore for a while to the will of their enemies : verse 17, ' At the rebuke of five shall you flee, till you be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign upon a hill.' Never is salvation sweeter, and mercy better relished, than when it snatcheth us out of the teeth of danger. God would have his mercy valued, and it is fit it should. And when is a calm more grateful than after the bitterest storm, attended with the highest despair? God's mercy in sparing Isaac after the knife was at his throat, was more welcome and more delicious both to father and son, than if God had revealed his intent to Abraham in the three days' journey to the mount Moriah. But God suspending his soul in bitterness all that time, prepared his heart for the valuation of that mercy. When human help forsaketh us, God most embraceth us : Ps. xxvii. 10, * When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.' 4. God glorifies his righteousness and justice. There is a measure of wickedness God stays for, which will be an object of his justice without 104 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. exception. When the measure of a people's covetousness is come, 'then their end is come, and God will fill them with men as with caterpillars, and they shall lift up a shout against them,' Jer. li. 13, 14. Hereby God clears the justice of his proceedings, that he exercised patience so long, that things were come to that pass, that either his people or his enemies must be de- stroyed. As the case was with the Israelites, had not God marvellously appeared, every man of them had been cut off or reduced to slavery. The die was cast, either the Egyptians or Israelites must be defeated ; either God must appear for his church, or none would be left in the world to pro- fess him. In such a case the justice of God is more unexceptionable. No man has any semblance for complaining of him ; for he struck not till the safety of his adversaries was inconsistent with his own honour and interest of the world. When men come to such a height, as to slight and resolve to break the laws of God, then is the time for the honour of his righteousness in his own institutions, to vex them in his sore displeasure : Ps. ii. 3, 5, * Then shall he speak to them in his wrath, and vex them,' &c. When ? When they resolve to ' cast away his bands and cords from them,' ver. 2. He is forced to rise then, when men make void his law, and tread down the honour of it ; when they would not have God to have a standing law in the world, or a people to profess him : Ps. cxix. 126, ' It is time for the Lord to work, for they have made void thy law.' When the grapes of wickedness are thus fully ripe, then is God's time for the honour of his justice to cast them into the wine-press of his wrath, Rev. xiv. 19, 20. This is God's set time, when he may glorify, without any exception, his justice in punishing his enemies' sins, his wisdom in defeating his enemies' plots, his power in destroying his enemies' strength, and his mercy in relieving his people's wants. Thirdly, Such extremities and deliverance in them, are most advantageous for his people. 1. It being a season to improve and know their interest. Men do not usually seek to God, or at least so earnestly, as when they are in distress ; the time of the tempest was the time of the disciples' praying to Christ. The Israelites, you scarce find them calling upon God but in times of danger and distress ; hereby God doth encourage and give an argument for prayer. The Psalmist useth the extremity of the church often as an argument to move God to pity : Ps. cxxiii. 3, ' Have mercy upon us, Lord, have mercy upon us, for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.' We are glutted with con- tempt, as low as low can be : so Ps. xliv. 23, 24, ' Awake, why sleepest thou, Lord ? arise, cast us not off for ever ; our soul is bowed to the dust.' That is the most successful time for prayer, which is the time of the stirring of God's bowels. He hath been a ' strength to the poor, a strength to tho needy in bis distress, a refuge from tho storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm Against the wall,' Isa. xxv. 4. They in such a time find how considerable their interest is with (iod, when upon their prayer they shall find relief suitable to every kind of danger they aro in. The spirit of prayer upon the church is but the presage oi' their adversaries' ruin. When God seeks to destroy the nations that come against Jerusalem, he will pour upon the inhabitants of it a spirit of grace and of ■application I Zech. xii. !), 'And in that day I will seek to destroy all tho nations that come against .Jerusalem, and I will pour upon the houso of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplica- tion.' This time of extremity, When all their hands fail, should ed^o the church's prayers. Our great intercessor seems in this ease to set us a pattern : Zech. i. 12, '0 Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not havo mercy I CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 105 ipon Jerusalem !' (iTFlN single by itself, not in an affix.) When all the jarth sits still and is at rest, unconcerned in the affairs of thy church, if hou wilt not have mercy on them in this strait, who shall relieve them ? ione else have any mind to it ; then issue out comfortable words to the ingel from the mouth of God. This is an advantage of extremity ; it sets Christ a pleading, and the church on praying. 2. As a season for acting faith at present, and an encouragement of re- .iance upon him in future straits. As a season for acting faith at present. 3ur Saviour lets Lazarus die and stink in the grave, before he raised him, -hat he might both confirm faith in his disciples' hearts, and settle it in the learts of some of the Jews. John xi. 15, 45, ' I am glad for your sakes ihat I was not there, to the intent that ye may believe.' What, let Lazarus lie, one that he loved, one so strongly pleaded for by two sisters that he oved too, and solicited upon his friendship to relieve him ! ver. 3, ' Behold, le whom thou lovest is sick,' and our Saviour glad he was not there to pre- /ent it ! yes, not glad of Lazarus his extremity, nor of the church's, but of .he opportunity to give them greater ground of faith and encouragement to -rust him. The church's faith is God's glory. He that hath many things -o trust to, is in suspense which he should take hold of; but when there is )ut one left, with what greediness will he clasp about that ! God cuts down vorldly props, that we might make him our stay. How will the church in extremity recollect all the deliverances of it in former ages, and put them up n pleas to God, for a renewal of his wonted kindness and new successions )f deliverance, whereby God gets the glory of his former work, and his church ,he present comfort in renewing fiducial acts upon him ! How doth Jehosha- ohat put God in mind of his gracious assistance acted some ages before, vhen he was in a strait, by the invasion of a powerful army : 2 Chron. ix. 7, ' Art not thou our God that didst drive out the inhabitants of this and before thy people Israel ?' ver. 12, ' We know not what to do, but our yes are upon thee.' Never are the church's eyes so fixed upon God, never jod's eyes so fixed upon the church, as in times of their distress. Then -here is a sweet communion with, and recounting of all their former friend- ihips. The church then throws itself wholly upon God; its prosperity is )ut like a troubled sea, its distress is the time of its rest. So Asa, when .ssaulted by a million of men under Zerah the Ethiopian, how doth he throw limself and the whole weight of his concerns upon the hands of God, and makes lis cause God's ! 2 Chron. xiv. 11, « Help us, Lord our God, for we rest >n thee ; Lord, thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee.' And there is an encouragement also in the deliverance for future faith. It ;ives a ground for future faith from the riches of the present experience ; in uch distresses there is the highest experience of God, and hope is the fruit of ixperience. How apt are we to believe God in other straits, when we have lad assistance (like they that dreamed) come unexpectedly upon us. God >verthrew Pharaoh's host in the Red Sea, when they were upon the heels of he affrighted Israelites and ready to crush them, but God gave them ' to be neat to the people inhabiting the wilderness,' Ps. lxxiv. 14, as a standing xcellent dish to feed their hopes for all future deliverances upon their trust a God. And indeed that deliverance was an earnest of their perpetual ecurity, by special providence in any succeeding trouble. And God often ;ives them a particular charge to remember that deliverance, with a practical emembrance to still their fear and support their faith : Beut. vii. 18, ' Thou halt not be afraid of them, but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God id unto Pharaoh, and to all the Egyptians.' He would have them remem- er it as a covenant-mercy, ' what the Lord thy God did,' thy God in cove- 106 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. nant, not what the Lord did barely by an arm of power, but what he did by a vastness of affection, and as a God of truth and firmness in his covenant. 3. In fitting them by the extremity for a holy reception of the mercy intended. God keeps up the distress of his church to expel self-confidence. Trust in earthly things are the great checks of God's kindness. We hardly forsake this temper till we are forsaken by all those things we confide in. Times of extremity make us more humble ; and humility, like the plough, fits us for the seed of mercy. The gardener's digging up the clods is but t: prepare the earth for the receiving and nourishing some excellent plants he intends to put into its womb. There is a certain set time for God's great actions. He lets the powers of darkness have their hour, and God will take his hour : Ps. cii. 13, * Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon S;on : for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.' He hath a Bet time for the discovery of his mercy, and he will not stay a jot beyond it. What is this time ? ver. 9, &c. When they ' eat ashes like bread, and mingle their drink with weeping ;' when they are most humble, and when the servants of God have more affection to the church ; when their humble and ardent affections are strong, even to the ruin and rubbish of it ; when they have a mighty desire and longing for the reparation of it, as the Jews in captivity had for the very dust of the temple : ver. 14, ■ For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.' For there notes it to be a reason why the set time was judged by them to be come. That is God's set time when the church is most believing, most humble, most affec- tionate to God's interest in it, and most sincere. Without faith we are not lit to desire mercy, without humility we are not fit to receive it, without aiFection we are not fit to value it, without sincerity we are not fit to improve it. Times of extremity contribute to the growth and exercise of those qua- lifications. 4. In securing them against future straits. For God's disappointing enemies when they think themselves sure of all, is the highest discourage- ment to them, and those of the like temper, to renew the like attempt; but if th<v do, it is an evidence they shall meet with the like success ; it is the highest vexation to sec their projects diverted, when they have lighted their mateh, and are ready to give tire. Men may better take notice how God lovea his people, when he apprehends their adversaries in the very pinnacle of their pride, and flings them down from the mount of their hopes. It doth !i> t only (lush the present designs, but dishearten future attempts. The ptians, after their overthrow at the lied Sea, never attempted to disturb them in their journey in the wilderness. It was a bridle to all their enemies ipt Annlek, upon whose country they travelled in the wilderness, when it WAS the interest of state in all those nations to rout that swarm of peoplo that, must, have some seat to dwell in ; and every nation might justly fear to he dispossessed by tie in ; yet we read of no league among those nations bordering upon the wilderness, such a tenor did God strike into them by that relet' he gave his people in their extremity at the Lied Sea, whereby he provided for their future security in their whole journey. It was this id the heartl of the (iiheonites, one of the nations of Canaan, and. brought them to a lubmisBlOl) to Joshua, as the sentiment of all their neigh- bours: Josh. ix. '•>, ' We are come, because of the mime of the Lord thy God ; for We have board the fame of him, and all that he did in I And for this and other reason! it may he, that the times before the church's hist deliverance Shall he sharper than any before, which our Saviour inti- mates, Mat. xxiv. 21, ' For then there shall be great tribulation, such as I ClIRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 107 ;vas not since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be.' In dis- soursing his disciples of the troubles at the destruction of Jerusalem, which was a type of the trouble preceding the end of the world, he adds a discourse ■ what shall be at the end of the world, in the last attempt of the enemies jf the church ; for, ver. 29, he saith, ' immediately after the tribulation of ihose days,' he speaks of his coming in the clouds of heaven with great power xnd glory. And also in the Revelation : Rev. xvi. 18, ' And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty m earthquake, and so great.' This, perhaps, at the pouring out of the seventh vial, may concern the Christian church as well as the antichristian party. But the reason why it may be sharper just before that last deliverance, ihan it was in former ages, may be because it is the last effort the enemy pall make ; the last demonstration of God's power and wisdom for, and ;are of his church, and justice upon his enemies in such cases ; the last season for their multiplying their cries, and acting their faith for such a :oncern. Use 3. Of exhortation. If it be so, that the providence of God is chiefly designed for the good of he church, — First, Fear not the enemies of the church. It is a wrong to God. Fear }f man is always attended with a forgetfulness of God : Isa. li. 12, 13, ' £, 3ven I, am he that comforteth you : who art thou, that art afraid of a man ;hat shalt die, and of the son of man that shalt be made as grass : and for- gettest the Lord thy Maker, who hath stretched forth the heavens,' &c. It is to value the power of grass above the power of the Creator, as though .hat had more ability to hurt than God to help. As if men were as strong is mountains, and God as weak as a bulrush. It is a wrong to his truth ; lath he not comforted you in his promise ? What creature should then leject you ? It is a wrong to his mercy. Is he not the Lord thy Maker ? Calvin refers this to regeneration, and not creation. Hath he not renewed f ou by his Spirit ? and will he not protect you by his strength ? and that you may not question his power, look up to the heavens which he hath stretched out, and the foundation: of the earth which he hath laid. And is :hat arm which hath done such mighty works, too weak to defend that work, which is choicer in his eye than either the extended heaven or the jstablished earth ? We vilify God, and defile his glory, when our fear of man's ■power stifles our faith in God : Isa. viii. 12, 13, ' Neither fear you their fear, nor be afraid : sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and let him be your fear.' Let the wicked fear the Assyrians, and engage in confederacies against them ; but let your eyes be lifted up to me and my providence. God will either '/urn away the mouth of the cannon from the church, or arm it against the shot ; either preserve it from a danger, protect it in it, or sanctify it to the jhurch ; and who need fear a sword in a father's hand ? 1. Will you fear man, who have a God to secure you? The church 'Debugs to God, not to man as a just propriety: Isa. xliii. 1, ' Fear not: i'or I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by my name : thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee,' &c. ' Thou art nine,'' not man's. Thou art mine, I am thine. I will be with thee as bine, I will secure thee as mine. Is my creating, is my forming, is my 'adeeming thee to no purpose ? I will not secure you from trouble ; but mrely my redemption of you, the propriety I have in you, should secure you rom fears in those troubles. None shall hurt you whilst I have power to defend you. God with us, if well considered and believed, is sufficient to still hose fears which have the greatest outward objects for their encouragement : 108 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. Ps. xxvii. 1, ■ The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid ?' If God be our strength to support us, why should the weakness of dust and ashes scare us ? Alliance to great men, and protection of princes, prop up men's hearts against the fear of others ; and shall alliance to God be of a weaker efficacy ? A heathen- could so argue, that knew nothing of redemp- tion. Let the counsels of enemies be crafty, Ps. lxxxiii. 3 ; yet they con- sult against God's hidden ones, hidden by God, whilst plotted against by men : who would fear the stratagems of men, whilst protected in an impreg- nable tower ? God hides, when men are ready to seize the prey. How did the angel protect a sincere trembling Lot against the invasion of a whole city, and secured his person whilst he blinded his enemies' eyes that they could not find the door. Instruments cannot design more maliciously, than Christ watches over them affectionately. Christ hath his eye to see your works and danger where Satan hath his throne, Rev. ii. 13. 2. Will you fear men, who have a God to watch over their motions ? What counsels can prevail where God intends to overrule their resolves ? There is no place so close as to keep private resolutions from his knowledge. This was the thought of those statesmen against whom the prophet Isaiah thunders, Isa. xxix. 15, 16 : ' Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark ; surely your turn- ing of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay.' Their counsels were as well known to him as the potter's clay is to the potter, which he can either frame into a vessel, or fling away into the mass from whence he took it. God hath not despoiled himself of his government ; nor will devolve his right upon any men to dispose of his concerns. When men think to act so secretly, as though they framed themselves, as though God's eye were not upon them, he will watch and trace all their motions, and make them insignificant to their purposes. Satan himself, the slyest and subtilest agent, is too open to God to hide his counsels from him. Never fear man till the whole combined policies of hell can control the resolves of heaven, till God wants omniscience to dive into their secrets, skill to de- feat their counsels, and an arm to abate their power. 8. Will you fear men or devils, who have a God to restrain them ? The great dragon and general of the serpent's seed is under a binding power, who can bind him not only a thousand years, Rev. xx. 2, but a thou- sand ages. Have his seed more force to resist almightiness than their Captain? The prophet, speaking of the Assyrians threatening Jerusalem, and the confusion in some cities tor fear of them, yet, saith he, ' ho shall remain at Nob,' a city of the Levites, not far from Jerusalem, where he might have a lull prospect of the city, lie shall but 'shake his hand,' he shall not, gripe it in his talons : he shall shew his teeth, but not bite, snarl but not worry, Isa. x. 32. God will let out so much of the enemies' wrath as may answer big gracious ends to the church in purging of them, but 'the! remainder of wrath, 1 which remains in their hearts tor the church's destruc lion, 'he will restrain,' Ps. Ixxvi. 9, 10; as the physician weighs on- much as may curb tin 1 'ii »ease, not, kill the patient. The chain of provideno< controls the power of Salan, when it doth not change his desires. The. I vptian's will against the Israelites was strong, but his power was weak Might and power is only in the hand of God, who reigns over all, 1 Chron xxix. 12. And God will exert so much of power to bridle the inclination: Of nature in the wicked lor the good of his people. He will give them Bel much line as may serve his holy purposes, but not so much as shall prejudia the church's standing. A staff is not capablo of giving a smart blow with * Anion, in ESpist. lib. i. c. U. ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 109 at the force of the hand that holds it. Wicked men are no more than a staff i God's hand: Isa. x. 5, ' The rod of my anger, the staff in their hand is my idignation :' he can either strike with it, or break it in pieces. The staff is iill in the hand of God, and can do no more than what his merciful arm moves to ; as he can restrain it, so he can divert it. What should we fear those hose hearts are in God's hands, whose enmity is under God's restraint, ho can change their fury into favour, or at least bridle it as he doth the aves of the sea ? No enemy's shot can exceed God's commission. God ften laughs when men plot, and disappoints when they begin to act. Some- mes he makes them act contrary to their intentions. Balaam comes to arse the people, and God turns his tongue to bless them, which, if guided y his own heart, would have poured out execrations upon them, Num. xxiii. , 8. God puts the words into his mouth, but not in his heart, ver. 5, and lakes him bless that which his heart hates. 4. Will you fear them who have a God to ruin them ? Though the beast i the Revelations hath seven heads, a reaching wisdom, and ten horns, a lighty power, Rev. xvii. 3 (both the numbers of seven and ten being num- ers of perfection in Scripture), yet, with all his wisdom and strength, he shall imble down to destruction ; they can no more resist God's power than lustering winds or raging waves can cross his will. When the enemies of ae church are in combination, like thorns full of prickles ' folded together,' ben shall they ' be consumed like stubble that is dry,' Nahum i. 10. God jves to defeat pride : Exod. xviii. 11, 'In the thing wherein they dealt iroudly, he was above them.' God waits but the time of their swelling to aake them burst. Absalom kills his brother, withdraws the people from heir obedience to the king, stirs them up to revolt, enters Jerusalem in his ither's absence, pollutes his concubines, engages his designs against his life, aiseth an army against him ; who would not say David was in extremity, .nd Absalom alone prospering in his designs ? But when Absalom comes o open force, God arises, an oak catches him, his mule forsakes him, and oab despatches him. Sennacherib had prospered in his conquest of Judea, aken many strong towns, laid siege to Jerusalem, solicits the people to evolt, blasphemes the God of heaven, and then an angel comes and makes dreadful slaughter in a night, and he, returning to his own country, is '.illed by his own sons, 2 Kings xix. 7, 35, 36, 37. God's arrows shall ever miss their mark, and he hath more than one to strike into the hearts f his enemies : Ps. xviii. 14, ' He sent out his arrows and scattered them.' Vhat reason then to fear even multitudes, who can never be too strong for aat God who gave them that little strength they have ! : Secondly, The second duty to which we are exhorted. If all God's pro- idences tend to the good of his church and people, 2. Then censure not God in his dark providences. As we are often too ^asty in our desires for mercy, and are not content to stay God's time, so 'e are too hasty in making constructions of providence, and will not stay rod's leisure of informing us. When God seems at the beginning of every rovidence to speak the same language as Christ did to Peter in washing is feet, John xiii. 7, ' What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt now hereafter,' the instruments are visible, the action sensible, but the rward meaning still lies obscured from our view. We are too short-sighted ) apprehend and judge of God's works ; man cannot understand his own ay, Prov. xx. 24, much less the ways of an infinite God. God's judgments re a great deep, Ps. xxxvi. 6 ; we may sooner fathom the deepest part in lie sea, understand all the turnings of those subterranean passages, lave 'at the ocean with a spoon, or suck in, into our bellies, that great mass of HO A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. waters, than understand the ways of God with our shallow brains. Ha makes darkness his pavilion ; he is sometimes very obscure in his ways. Neither the greatness of his means, nor the wisdom of his workings, can be fully apprehended by men. We have sense to feel the effects, but not heads to understand the reasons and methods of the divine government. Eccles. iii. 11, 'No man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.' Though a man may see the beginning of God's works, yet is he able to walk understandingly along with divine wisdom in every step it takes ? will he not lose the track often before it comes to an end ? It is not the face, but the back parts of providence which we behold ; why then should we usurp an authority beyond our ability, and make ourselves God's judges, as if infinite wisdom and power were bounded within the narrow compass of our purblind reasons ? His ways are beyond our tracing, and his counsels too high for our short measures. Since therefore God satisfies the righteousness of his own will, let us submit our curiosity to his wisdom, and forbear our censures of that exact righteousness and superlative wisdom which we cannot comprehend. 1. Therefore, first fix this in your minds, that God is righteous, wise, and good in everything. Good, therefore nothing can be hurtful to his people ; righteous, therefore nothing unjust ; wise, therefore nothing in vain; our injurious thoughts of him make us so uncharitable towards him, and greater censurers of his righteous ways than we are of men's wicked actions. Clouds and darkness are about him ; our eye cannot pierce through his darkness, or see the frame of his counsels ; yet let these principles be kept as the centre, that ' righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne,' Ps. lxxxix. 14. He is righteous in his darkness, wise in his "cloudi- ness ; though his judgments are unsearchable to us, and his ways past find- ing out by our most industrious inquisitions, and a depth of knowledge and wisdom there is in them too deep for us to measure, Bom. xi. 33. God was always righteous, wise, and good ; he is the same still. Though the motions' of the planets be contrary, yet the sphere where they are fixed, the natures wherewith they are created, are the same still. Though the providences of God have various motions, yet the spring of his counsel, the rule of his goodness, the eye of his wisdom, the arm of his power, are not altered. He acts by the same rule, disposeth by the same wisdom, orders according tc the same righteousness ; ho is unchangeable in the midst of the changeahk effects of providence. The sun is the same body, which admits of no inwafO alteration, keeps exactly its own motion, though its appearances are some- times ruddy, Bometimes clear; its heat sometimes more faint, at anothti time more scorching; its distance sometimes nearer, sometimes farther off- II,' must be very ignorant that thinks the objects upon which we look througl :i prism or trigonal glass change their colours as often as they are represent* so in the various turnings of tint glass. You see the undulations anC Wavingl of a chain which hangs perpendicularly, one part moves this and another that way, hut the hand that holds it, or the beam to which it i fastened, is firm :md steady. 4 2. Distinguish between preparations to the main work and tho perfei of the work, between the motions of God's eves and the discovery of In strength; his eve; move before his power. The neglect of this was th cause of the Israelites' uncharitable censures of the kindness of God; the interpret God's reducing them into the straits near the lied Sea a d }•,,,• tin ir destruction, which was hut the preparation for their complel deliverance, is i way mosl glorious to God, ami most comfortable an' advantageous to tlcmst ■! CHRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Ill He that knows not the use of the grape, would foolishly censure a man rho should fling them into a wine-press, and squeeze them into mash, rhich is but a preparation of them to afford that generous liquor which was be end of their growth.* God treads his grapes in a wine-press to draw rom thence a delicate wine, and preserve the juice for his own use, which yould else wither upon the stalk, and dry up to nothing. We judge tot the husbandman angry with his ground for tearing it with his plough, tor censure an artificer for hewing his stones or beating his iron, but xpect patiently the issue of the design. Why should we not pay the same espect to God which we do to men in their arts, since we are less capable >f being judges of his incomprehensible wisdom than of the skill of our ellow-creatures ? God in his cross providence prepares the church for ruitfulness whilst he ploughs it. He may seem to be digging up the >owels of the church, while he is only preparing to lay the foundation in 5ion for the raising a noble structure ; and in what shape soever he appears n his preparations, he will in his perfection of it appear in glory : Ps. cii. l6, 'When the Lord shall build up Sion, he shall appear in glory;' and ividence that he was restoring whilst we thought him destroying, and heal- ng whilst we thought him wounding. As God hath settled a gradual pro- gress in his works of creation, so by degrees he brings his everlasting sounsels to perfection. The seasons of the year are not jumbled together, )ut orderly succeed one another; and the coldness of the winter is but a ^reparation for a seasonable spring and a summer harvest. We do not inrighteously accuse God of disorder in his common works, why should we lo it in his special works of providence ? Do we disparage the musician's ;kill for the jarring and intelligible touches in the tuning the instrument, )ut rather wait for the lesson he intends to play ? If we stay for God's uller touches of this great instrument of the world in the way of his pro- vidence, it will, like David's harp, chase away that evil spirit from us which s now too apt to censure him. 3. Fix not your eye only upon the sensible operations of providence, but he ultimate end. As in a watch the various wheels have different motions, ret all subservient to one end, to tell the true hour of the day and the mo- ion of the sun, so are all the providences of God. Should any have been preserved in the deluge upon some high mountain who had not known the iesign of the ark, and had seen it floatiDg upon such a mass of waters, he ■vould have judged the people in it in a deplorable condition, and have con- ;luded that it would have broke against the mountain, or been overturned oy the waves; yet that was Noah's preservative. Had any of us been with Christ, and acknowledged him the Saviour of the world, and yet seen him irucified in such a manner by men, and judged only by that, what wise and vhat just constructions should we have made of that providence ? Much ..he same as some of his disciples did: Luke xxiv. 21, ' We trusted that it lad been he which should have redeemed Israel;' but the whole design is spoiled, we are fools, and he an impostor. Yet this, which seemed to be he ruin of redemption, was the necessary highway to it by God's constitu- ion. No other way was it to be procured: ver. 26, ' Ought not Christ to lave suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory?' His entrance into glory to perfect our salvation was the end of the sensible •suffering wherein he laid the foundation. As they charge Christ with impos- ture, not considering the end, so do we God with unrighteousness when we j consider not his aim. The end both beautifies and crowns the work ; the emarks of God's glory in the creation are better drawn from the ends of * Morn, de verit. Eel. Christian, cap. xii. p. 210, 211. 112 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. the creatures, and their joint subserviency to them, than from any one single piece of the creation. We must not only consider the present end, but the remote end, because God in his providence towards his church hath his end for after times. God acts for ends at a great distance from us, which may not be completed till we are dead and rotten. How can we judge of that which respects a thing so remote from us, unless we view it in that relation ? God's aims in former providences were things to come, his aims in present providences are things to come. As the matter of the church's prayers, so the objects of God's providences are things to come : Isa. xlv. 11, ■ Ask me of things to come, concerning my sons.' * The matter of their prayers then were, that God would order all things for the coming of the Messiah. The matter of the church's prayer now is, that God would order all things for the perfecting the Messiah in his mystical body. The whole frame of providence is for one entire design ; it is one entire book with seven seals, Rev. v. 1. The beginning of a book, as well as the middle, hath relation to the end. The design of God's book of providence is but one in all the seven seals and periods of time. 4. Consider not only one single act of providence, but the whole scheme, to make a conclusion. The motions of his eyes are various, but all ends in discoveries of his strength. Men do not argue from one single proposition, but draw the conclusion from several propositions knit together. It is by such a spiritual logic we are to make our conclusions from the way of pro- vidence ; as in the reading Scripture, if we take not the whole period, we may make not only nonsense, but blasphemy;* as in that of the psalmist, 1 Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in unrighteousness.' If a man , should read only, Thou art not a God, and make a full stop there, it would be blasphemy ; but reading the whole verse, it is an excellent sense, and an honourable declaration of God's holiness. Such errors will be committed in reading the books of providence, if we fix our eyes only in one place, and , make a full stop where God hath not made any. We judge not of a picture by the first draught, but the last lines; not by one shadow or colour, but by the whole composure. The wisdom of God is best judged of by the view of the harmony of providence. The single threads of providence may : seem very weak or knotty and uneven, and seem to administer just occasion of censure; but will it not as much raise the admiration to see them all . woven into a curious piece of branched work ? Consider therefore God's whys of working, but fully judge nothing till the conclusion, for that is to judge before the time. Judge not then of providcnco at the first appear- ance ; God may so lose the glory of his work, and you the comfort. Thirdly. Tho third duty. Inquire into providence, and interpret all public providences by this rule. We must, search into it, though we are not able to find out all the reasons of it. What can bo a braver study than that which is the object, of God's eternal counsel ? Wo aro conformed to God in our wills, when we have the same ends in our motions ; and we are conformed to God in our understandings, when we have the same object of our thoughts. Some providences have their interpretation written in their foreheads, we m;iv run and read : such as his signal judgments in the world, which oxpr the wry sin for which they are inflicted ; others are wrapped up in a harder shell and more covers, and therefore more labour to reach the kernel ; some ;ir.' too high tor our knowledge, none for our inquiry. It is our duty to si after (iod, though we can never arrivo to a perfect knowlodgo of him : dob xi. 7, ' Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out tho Almighty unto perfection?' He prohibits not tho searching, though he • Parget! of Justification, part ii. Bonn. 2, p. 12. 2 ChRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 113 asserts the impossibility of finding him out to perfection. What hath God given us faculties for, but to search after him ? And we must not do it to satisfy our curiosity, but to increase our knowledge, and consequently our admiration of his wise and powerful care. Diligence must be used too. Our first thoughts about things of concernment are usually confused ; so are our first sights of providence. Providence is a great deep ; deep things are not seen without stooping down. We must cragaxu-vpa/, as the angels do when they search into the things of the gospel, 1 Pet. i. 12. Bat let this aim of God at the good of his church be the rule of your interpretation. Without this compass to steer our judgments by, we may both lose and rack ourselves in the wilderness of providence, and fortify our natural atheism and ignorance instead of our faith. I must confess the study of providence is in some respect more difficult than in the former ages of the world, because God seems to manage things in the church more by his wisdom than power, which is not so intelligible by man as the sensible effects of his strength. That attribute he manifested most in miraculous ways and the visible minis- try of angels, as we read in Scripture stories ; now he employs his wisdom more in ordering second causes, in ordinary ways, to his own high, merciful, and just ends. Yet since the discovering of Christ, God hath given us a rule whereby we may discern much of his wisdom in the knowledge of his end, as the knowledge of Christ removes the veil from the Scripture in our reading of it : 2 Cor. iii. 14-16, * The same veil remains in the reading of the Old Testament, which veil is done away in Christ ' (which veil is still upon the Jews), and makes us understand those parts of the Old Testament which otherwise would be utterly obscure ; so in the reading the books of provi- dence, the knowledge of this end of God in them, will help us to understand the meaning of that which otherwise would non-plus the reason of man. He that knows the end of one that is making a watch, will not wonder at his framing small wheels and filing little pins ; but he that understands nothing of the design, would count it ridiculous for a man so to trifle away his time. Without the knowledge of this end, we shall expose ourselves to miserable mistakes ; as Plutarch mistook the cause of the ceasing of oracles, ascribing it to the change of the nature of the soil, not affording those exhalations as formerly, or the death of the demons which gave those oracles. He had 'judged otherwise, had he known or believed the rising of a higher power, the 1 Sun of righteousness in the world, w T ho imposed silence upon those angels of 'darkness, the most famous oracles in the world ceasing about the time of Christ. To imagine to interpret the motions of providence, without a know- ledge of Christ and the design of God for his church, is as vain as to imagine -we can paint a sound, or understand a colour by our smell. Correct sense by reason in this work, and reason by faith. To what end hath God pre- scribed faith to succour us in the weakness of reason, if it had been capable to understand his ways without it, and if we make no use of it upon such -occasions ? Fourthly. A fourth duty. Consider the former providences God hath wrought for the church in the past ages. Let him not lose the present glory of his past works : Ps. cii. 18, ' This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord,' even for that work of his which is written to be done in former ages. God loves to have his former works read and pleaded. It is a keeping a standing praise . of him in the world. We have had the benefit of them ; it is fit God should have the glory of them from us, as well as from those who immediately en- joyed them. Our good was bound up in every former preservation of the church. If the candlestick had been broken, where had the candle been ? VOL. I. H 114 A DISCOUKSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. Had the church been destroyed, how could the gospel have been transmitted to us ? Let the duty we owe to God's glory engage us to a consideration of them, and the benefit we have had by them also incite us. We usually for- get not things that are strange, nor things that are profitable ; his works of old have been works of wonder in themselves, and profitable to us. To what end are the praises of God discovered to the generations to come, but that they should reflect those praises to heaven again, and convey them down to the generations following ? Ps. lxxviii. 4, ' Shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord.' 1. This will help us in our inquiries in present providences. There is a beautiful connection between former and latter providences ; they are but several links of one chain. The principle and end is the same ; that God from whence they come, that Christ to which they tend, is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. What God doth now, is but a copy of what he portrayed in his word as done in former ages ; there are the same goodness, the same design in both. The births of providence are all of a like temper and disposition. We cannot miss of the understanding of them, if we com- pare them with the ancient copies ; for God is in the generation of the right- eous, the same God still. God is the same, his ends are the same, the events will be the same. 2. It will support our faith. The reason of our diffidence of God in the cause of the church, is the forgetfulness of his former appearances for her. Oh if we did remember his former goodness, we should not be so ready to doubt of his future care. This was the psalmist's care in his despondencies, and in his overwhelming troubles of spirit : Ps. lxxvii. 9, 'Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?' but, ver. 10, he concludes it his infirmity, and resolves upon a review of the records of God's ancient works for his people, ' and the years of the right hand of the Most High,' these times wherein he declared his power and his glory, and so proceeds to the top of all their deliverances, viz., that out of Egypt. Doth God's wisdom decay, or his power grow feeble? Is not his interest the same ? Is he not a God still like himself ? Is not his glory as dear to him as before ? Hath he cast off his affection to his own name ? Why should not he then do the same works, since he hath tho same concern ? God himself, to encourage us, calls them to our remembrance : Isa. 1. 2. ' Is my hand shortened, that I cannot redeem ? or havo I no power to deliver ? Behold, at my rebuko I do dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness,' &c. Am not I tho same God that dried up tho sea, that wrought those ancient wonders which amazed the world ? What doth your distrust signify but tho impair of my power ? llouso up yourselves to a consideration of them, : l 1 1 « 1 thence gather fresh supplies to strengthen you in your present dependence upon me ! lit- puts us in mind of them, because we are apt to forget them. Gen. it. 6, when it is said Abraham ■ believed in the Lord, and it was accounted to him for righteousness,' God answered him, vor. 7, 1 1 am tho Lord that brought thee out of l'r of the Chaldees.' Keep up thy faith ; and to that end, remember what 1 did for thee before in calling th (last thy eye upon that place whence I delivered thee, either from the idola- tries of tho place, or the persecution he was in for the true worship of God* And as God puts him in mind of his mercy he had shewn to him before, for tho encouragement of his faith, so the people of God have made use of them to this end. Goliah's sword was counted by David the fittest for his dofei in his flight, because it had been a monument of God's formor dolivoranc< him, 1 Sam. xxi. 1). When he asks for a sword or spear, Aluinelech said, ' Tho svrord of Goliah, whom thou slowest, is hero ;' and David said, ' There 2 CnRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 115 is none like that : give it me.' How hasty ho catches at it ! There is none like that sword, that hath so signal a mercy writ upon it. That very sword will not only defend me against my enemies, but guard my faith against those temptations that would invade it. This encouragement of faith and hope is the end of God in his transmission of the records of his former providences to us : Ps. lxxviii. G, 7, ' That the generation to come might know them, and declare them to their children ' from one posterity to another, ' that they might set their hope in God.' 3. It will enliven our prayer. It is a mighty plea in prayer. How often doth David urge it ! Thou hast been my help, thou hast delivered my soul from death, wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling ? But in the church's concerns too : 1 Chron. xvi. 11, 12, ' Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember the marvellous works that he hath done.' A reflection upon what God hath done should be enjoined* with our desires of what we would have God to do for us. When Moses was praying upon the top, while Israel was fighting with Amalek at the foot of the hill, he had the rod of God in his hand, Exod. xvii. 9 ; that miraculous rod which had amazed Pharaoh, whose motion summoned all the plagues upon them ; that rod which had split the sea for their passage, broached the rock for their thirst, and had been instrumental in many miracles : certainly Moses shewed this rod to God, and pleaded all those wonderful deliverances God had wrought instrumentally by it. No doubt but he carried it with him to shew to God for a plea, as well as to the Israelites, to spirit their resolutions against their enemies. 4. It will prevent much sin. A forgetfulness of his former works is one cause of our present provoca- tions. It was so in the case of the Israelites' sin : Ps. cvi. 7, ' They remembered not the multitude of his mercies ; but provoked thee at the sea, even at the Red Sea ; ' they had lost the memory of so many miracles in Egypt, and which aggravated their sin, ' they provoked him at the sea, at the Red Sea ; ' they provoked him under a present indigency, as well as against former mercy ; they provoked him in that place of straits where all the powers on earth could not have relieved them had heaven neglected them. The provocation you may see, Exod. xiv. 11, 12, which sprang from a forgetfulness of his kindness so lately shewed to them. How apt are we to forget old mercies, when we are so naturally apt to blot out of our memories mercies newly received ! If this were well considered by men, it would prevent their enterprises against the church, and consequently their shame and ruin. Are there records of any who have hardened themselves against God and prospered ? Job ix. 4. How might in that reflection be seen the frustrations of counsels, disgracing of attempts, showers of fury and vengeance from heaven upon the heads of such ! The reason why the wonderful works of God were to be made known to posterity, was ' that they might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation of men,' Ps. lxxviii. 6, 8. If they did consider those transactions of God in and for his church, they could no more think to stop the breath of per- petual powerful providence, than to bridle in a storm, or stop the motion of the sun. To conclude this : God's providential judgments are to be remembered ; though they are for the punishment of the age that feel them, they are also for the instruction of the age which succeeds them ; tell, mQ, number, be as exact as in your accounts, wherein you take notice of I every number, minute, and cypher. The works of providence as well as the * That is, 'joined in,' or incorporated. — Ed. 116 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. doctrine of God are parts of a child's catechism, they are to keep up the consideration of them in themselves, and hand them in instruction to their children. F.ithly, The fifth duty. Act faith on God's providence. Times of trouble should be times of confidence ; fixedness of heart on God would prevent fears of heart : Ps. cxii. 7, ' He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed.' How? ' Trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, they shall not be moved.' Otherwise without it we shall be as light as a cock* moved with every blast of evil tidings, our hopes will swim or sink according to the news we hear. Providence would seem to sleep, unless faith and prayer awakened it. The disciples had but little faith in their Master's account, yet that little faith awakened him in a storm, and he relieved them. Unbelief doth only discourage God from shewing his power in taking our parts. ' Every one will walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever,' Micah iv. 5. Heathens will trust in their idols, and shall not we in that God that lives for ever ? Have we any reason to have a less esteem of our confidence in God than heathens had of and in their idols ? We should do our duty, which is faith and hope, and leave God to do his work, which is mercy and kindness. By unbelief we deny his providence, disparage his wisdom, and strip him of his power; we have none else to trust; no creature can order anything for the church's good without God's commission and direction. What should we trust him for ? For that wherein his glory is concerned, which is more worth to him than all the world besides. Trust him most when instruments fail. God takes them off some time, to shew that he needs not any, and to have our confidence rightly placed on him, which staggered before between him and the creature. 1. All the godly formerly did act faith on a less foundation. The godly patriarchs who lived eight or nine hundred years, depended upon providence that long time, and shall not we for seventy years, the usual term of man's life ! They had promises to support them, we have not only the same promises, but the performances of them too. They had providences, we have the same and more, all upon record in Scripture, all since the canon of Scripture was closed, whatsoever God hath remarkably done for his people in all ages. Adam had hut one promise, and hut little experience of God's providence, yet no doubt trusted in him. We have a multitude of promises, not only pronounced, hut sealed, confirmed by many repetitions, which are fresh obligations laid by God upon himself, the experience of all the pro- vidences of God towards his church for above live thousand years, and shall our faith Btagger when upon us arc come the (Mids of the world? Doth it become us to have our obligations to faith so strong, and our exercise of it 80 weak ? The promise of Christ, Isa. vii. 11, that a virgin should bring forth ;i Bon, was thought by (lod a sufficient security \o support their con- fidence in him against the fury of their enemies ; it being a greater wonder that a. virgin without, loss of her virginity should bring forth a son, than the routing of an host of enemies. Is not then the performance oi' this, God's actual sending his Son to us through the womb of a virgin, a higher ground of confidence tor the church's success in every thing' else, than barely tho promise could |,<> ? All creatures in danger have a natural confidence in God : ' Me is the Confidence of ;il| the ends of the earth ;' hut the church's OOnfidenoe may he more firmly placed in him, because he is par- ticularly tho God of their salvation : Ps. lxv. 5, ■ By terriblo things in • That in, a wrathcr-cock or vnnrv— I'm. 2 CflRON. XVI. 9.] A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 117 righteousness wilt thou answer us, God of our salvation ; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth.' 2. It is your only way to have mercy for tho church, and for ourselves. If he ' take pleasure in them that hope in his mercy,' as it is in Ps. cxlvii. 11, he will take pleasure to relieve them, ho will * strengthen the bars of their gates,' ver. IB. If he take pleasure in them that hope in his mercy, then the stronger and more lively their hope is, the more intense is God's pleasure in them. If they do not hope in his mercy, he hath no pleasure in them, and no delight to them. He hath a goodness laid up for them that fear him, and he will lay it out too for them that trust in him : Ps. xxxi. 19, 1 Oh how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men ! ' It is laid up for all that fear him, but it is wrought for them that trust in him. It is manifested upon special acts of trust and reliance, and wrought before the sons of men. Those that own God publicly in a way of reliance, God will own them publicly in a way of kindness. Faith is tho key that unlocks the cabinet of special providence. Those eyes which movo about all the world are fixed upon those that trust in him : Ps. xxxiii. 18, 1 The eye of the Lord is upon them that hope in his mercy.' The sixth duty. Wait upon God in the way of his providence. Wait upon him as he is ■ a faithful Creator,' 1 Pet. iv. 19 ; much more since the title of being our Redeemer is added to that of our Creator, which strengthens his relation to us. Not to wait disparageth his care, bounds his power, or reflects upon his wisdom, as if he had stripped himself of his immense good- ness, and forgot both his promise and his people ; as if he had cancelled the covenant, and given up his whole interest to the lusts of men. Wait in the saddest appearances. The hour of Christ's death was dismal in the world, and darkness upon the earth ; a miraculous eclipse of the sun taken notice of by the very heathens ; yet were we never nearer to happiness, than in that dreadful time when our Saviour was most dyed in his own blood. The san- guine complexion of the evening sky is a presage of a fair succeeding morn- ing ; so many times is the red vesture of the church. 1. Wait upon him obedientially. Commit your souls to God, but in ' well-doing,' 1 Pet. iv. 19. Use no indirect means ; a contempt of the precept cannot consist with faith in either promise or providence. The obeying part is ours, the governing part is God's : Prov. xxiii. 17, 18, ' Let not thine heart envy sinners, but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long ; for surely there is an end, and thine expectation shall not be cut off.' God will govern all the day, but we must fear him all the day. When fear on our part attends government on God's part, there will be an end of our carnal fears, and a good issue of our hopes. The greatest deliverances of his church have been when his people has stood still, Exod. xiv. 13. As that deliverance was a type of all future and a ground of faith, so the carriage God enjoined was a rule to his people in all future straits. It is against the laws of God's government for those listed in his service to stir without order. The law is our standing rule of duty. Provi- dence cannot be a standing visible rule, because of the variety and seeming crossness of it sometimes to our apprehensions. Do not presume to lead God, but be led by him. It is our safety to follow him ; it is our sin and danger to presume to be his directors. We may lose ourselves when we are our own blind guides, and fall into a ditch ; but when we follow God, he hath wisdom to foresee the precipices we may stumble into, and goodness to divert us from them. By interposing carnal devices, men may perhaps have their ends, but with little comfort, perhaps much bitterness to themselves. Jacob 118 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XVI. 9. by his hasty using his own and his mother's sinful project for the blessing, got it indeed, but a cross too, for he was a man of sorrows all his days. By waiting in God's way, we shall have our ends with more sweetness, because purely a fruit of God's care and goodness. 2. Wait patiently. How often are our spirits troubled about future events, and are afraid of the evil which threatens us, as if we were in pain for God, and in doubt of his wise conduct ! Think not God's time too long. He waits as much for a fit opportunity to shew his mercy, as you can wait for the enjoyment of it : Isa. xxx. 18, « Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you ; blessed are all they that wait for him.' It is a part of our blessedness to wait for God, since it is a part of God's kindness to wait for a fit season to be gracious to us. It is not for us to prescribe rules to God, but follow the rules he prescribes to us. He hath freely made his promise ; let him be master of his own time to make it good. He will shew as much wisdom in accomplishing, as he did mercy in declaring it. God can do things in a moment, but it is his wisdom to take time, that his people may have time to exercise their trust, their hope, and their patience. He will take time in the ways of his providence, as well as he did in the works of creation. He allotted six days to that which he could have framed in a minute. He is judge of what is needful for us, and when it is needful for us. If God should give us that which is a mercy in its own nature, many times when we desire it, it might not be a mercy. If we will trust the skill of his wisdom for the best season, it cannot but be a mercy, for he will give it us with his own glory and grace wrapped up in it, which will make it sweeter to himself when his wisdom is honoured, and sweeter to us when our good is promoted. God's methods appear in the end both wiser and better than our frames. Infinite goodness aims more at our welfare than our shallow self-love ; and infinite wisdom can conduct things to our welfare, better than our short-sighted skill. He that knows all the moments of time, knows best how to time his actions. As God stayed for a fulness of time to bring the great redemption by Christ into the world, so he stays for a fulness of time to bring all the great consequences and appendices of it unto his church. 1 Everything is beautiful in his time,' Eccles. iii. 11 ; in its own time ; in God's time, not in ours, &c. 0. Wait constantly. Though the wheels of providence seem sometimes to stand still, Ezek. i. 21, and God seems to put a period to the care of his church, yet let not us neglect our duty. Wait a while, and the wheels will be put upon their former rolling. Some particular passages of providence may trouble us for a while ; but in the issue, God may answer our desires above our expectations, and thereby confute our fears. His providences are sometimes like rivers that run under ground, out of sight, but will rise again with a delightful stream, with some new medicinal quality, contracted from the earth by tho way. Joseph a prisoner waits upon God for his liberty, and God gives him freedom with preferment. God can bring about his people's safety by Unexpected ways. Who would have imagined before, that his own dre«m should make him a captive, ami Pharaoh's dream make him a favourite ? 'I lie chief hutler remembers him not till he was in an exigency, and the divining skill of the wise men of Egypt confounded. Joseph lost nothing by waiting upon (in. I, \sho made so many circumstances concur to promote his honour. \V;iit. therefore upon hint in the sorest atllictions. The church is only atllirted in mercy, hut the enemies of it are pulled up by tho roofn : Jer. xxx. 11, 'I am with thee to save thee; though I make a full end of the nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee, hut I will correct thee in measure.' God deals with his people 2 ChRON. XVI. 9. J A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. 119 as a father, who corrects to reform, not to destroy ; but with his enemies he deals as a judge. God's providence, like Moses his rod, may seem sometimes a devouring serpent, but it is to convince the Egyptians, and deliver the Israelites. 4. Wait in the use of lawful means for preservation. Not to use means, is to slight his providence, not to trust it. It seems not to consist with the wisdom of God to order things always so, as to be necessitated to put forth an extraordinary power in things which his creatures, by a common provi- dence, can naturally accomplish. God saves by natural means ; when they will not serve the turn, he will save by supernatural. God chose an ark to preserve Noah in. He did not want supernatural means for his preservation. He might have catched him up in a cloud, and continued him there till the drying of the waters. Noah doth not dispute the business with God, but prepares an ark according to his order; and he was righteous in his obedience, as well as in his trust. God would not preserve our Saviour by a miracle, when ordinary means would serve the turn. He commands Joseph, by his angel, to flee into Egypt with the child, Mat. ii. 13. Joseph desires not God to preserve him by an extraordinary power, to save his pains of travelling ; he submits to God's order, and God quickly clears the way for his return. Indeed, sometimes the wheels of providence are lifted up from the earth, and do not go in the ordinary tracts, Ezek. i. 19 ; but miracles must be left to God's pleasure. For us to desire them, is to tempt our great governor. The seventh duty. Pray for the church. It is an encouragement that our suit in this case will not be denied. The desire of welfare is conformable to his counsel, which shall stand, Prov. xix. 21, notwithstanding the devices of men. His counsel in particular concerns of men shall stand ; much more is the stability of his counsel for the church. He is a God hearing prayer in a way of common providence, and a God hearing prayer in a way of special attention : Ps. lxi. 1, * Hear my cry, God, attend unto my prayer.' David desires that God would hear him, as more particularly concerned in his case. He is so in the concerns of his ehureh. Will he hear an Ishmael crying for himself, and young lions roar- ing for their prey, and stop his ears to the voice of his own Spirit in his people, pleading for the church, dearer to him than the whole mass of nature ? We have greater arguments to use than in any other case. The relation the church hath to God ; the affection God hath to the church. ' Lazarus whom thou lovest is sick,' was Martha's argument to Christ. What greater encouragement to our petitions than God's affection, than God's relation ? God loves to have our affection comply with his ; God loves others the better for soliciting its welfare. Moses had the greatest manifestation of God's love after he had prayed for the Israelites, Exod. xxxii. 32, though in a case of sin j and presently after, in Exod. xxxiii. 11, God ' speaks with him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend ; ' and in the same chapter, and the beginning of Exod. xxxiv., God shews him his glory as much as he was capable to bear. Daniel was a great petitioner for the church, Dan. ix. 3, 21. He was God's great favourite upon that account, x. 2, 5, and had the clearest and highest revelations made to him of the course of providence in the world. The eighth duty. When you receive any mercy for the church in answer of prayer, give God the glory of it. The variety of his providences gives us matter for new songs and com- positions, Ps. cxlix. 1. What volleys of joyful shouts, what hallelujahs to God do we find upon the ruin of antichrist ; Rev. xix. 1-3, God calls for praise out of the throne, ver. 5, and the church returns it, ver. 6, 7. It is God rides upon the cherub, it is God that sits upon the wings of the wind, 120 A DISCOURSE OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE. [2 ChRON. XYI. 9. it is God who is in all instruments to quicken their motions and direct them to their scope, Ps. xviii. 10. The ninth duty. Imitate God in his affection to the church. Christ did what he did for the good of his church, God doth what he doth for the advantage of the church. Let the same mind be in us that was in Christ, let the same end be ours which is the end of God. Thus we shall be like our Creator, thus we shall be like our Governor, thus we shall be like our Redeemer. Men take it kindly from others that love those they have a respect for. God loves all that love his people, and blesses them that bless them : Gen. xii. 3, ' I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee.' The tenth duty. Look after sincerity before God. It is for the security of such that God shews himself strong. No man that fully believes and understands this doctrine but should be glad to be of that happy society, that assembly of the first-born, who are under the care of a watchful eye, and the mighty power of the God of the whole earth. When God chose Israel, the very strangers should for their own interest join with them, Isa. xiv. 1. And to such as 'take hold of his covenant' he promises to ' give a name in his house that shall not be cut off,' Isa. lvi. 4, 5 ; yea, even * to the sons of the strangers that shall join themselves to the Lord,' ver. 6. Let this encourage us to Christianity. God never encouraged men to be Christians by promises of worldly greatness, but by promises of a constant care of them for their happiness, by promises of making all things work together for their good. If God will shew himself strong for those that are perfect in heart towards him, then he hath no strength for those that are unsound and false in heart towards him. No man hath an interest in his special providence without faith. The power, knowledge, wisdom of God, are all set against him. Though the whole world be in commotions, the earth be removed, and the mountains cast into the depths of the sea, there is no ground of fear to faith ; but what buckler against them hath unbelief and hypocrisy ? What security against wrath can riches give you ? What defence against his power can your potsherd strength afford you ? It was not for Job s wealth that God made his boasts of him, but for his sincerity : Job i. 8, ' Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man ?' And for the want of this he loathes a world. Labour therefore for sincerity towards God, beg it of God ; get the evidence of it and preserve it. DISCOURSE ON THE EXISTENCE AND ATTRIBUTES OF GOD. TO THE HEADER. This long since promised and greatly expected volume of the reverend author upon the divine attributes, being transcribed out of his own manuscripts by the unwearied diligence of those worthy persons that undertook it,* is now at last come to thy hands. Doubt not but thy reading will pay for thy waiting, and thy satisfaction make full compensation for thy patience. In the epistle before his Treatise of Providence, it was intimated that his follow- ing discourses would not be inferior to that, and we are persuaded that ere thou hast perused one half of this, thou wilt acknowledge that it w r as modestly spoken. Enough, assure thyself, thou wilt find here for thy entertainment and delight, as well as profit. The sublimeness, variety, and rareness of the truths here handled, together with the elegancy of the composure, neat- ness of the style, and whatever is wont to make any book desirable, will all concur in the recommendation of this. What so high and noble a subject, what so fit for his meditations or thine, as the highest and noblest being, and those transcendently glorious perfections wherewith he is clothed ! A mere contemplation of the divine excellencies may afford much pleasure to any man that loves to exercise his reason, and is addicted to speculation ; but what incomparable sweetness will holy souls find in viewing and considering those perfections now, which they are more fully to behold hereafter, and seeing what manner of God, how wise and powerful, how great, and good, and Sioly is he in whom the covenant interests them, and in the enjoyment of *vhom their happiness consists ! If rich men delight to sum up their vast revenues, to read over their rentals, look upon their hoards ; if they bless .hemselves in their great wealth, or, to use the prophet's words, Jer. ix. 23, glory in their riches,' well may believers rejoice and glory in their ' know- ng the Lord,' ver. 24, # and please themselves in seeing how rich they are in laving an immensely full and all-sufficient God for their inheritance. Alas, iow little do most men know of that Deity they profess to serve, and own, lot as their sovereign only, but their portion ! To such this author might say, as Paul to the Athenians, Acts xvii. 23, ' Whom you ignorantly wor- ship, him declare I unto you.' These treatises, reader, will inform thee who le is whom thou callest thine, present thee with a view of thy chief good, md make thee value thyself a thousand times more upon thy interest in God, han upon all external accomplishments and worldly possessions. Who but ielights to hear well of one whom he loves ? God is thy love, if thou be a >eliever, and then it cannot but fill thee with delight and ravishment to hear ;o much spoken in his praise. David desired to 'dwell in the house of the jord,' that he might there ' behold his beauty ;' how much of that beauty if thou art but capable of seeing it) mayest thou behold in this volume, which ?as our author's main business for about three years before he died, to dis- may before his hearers ! True, indeed, the Lord's glory, as shining forth •efore his heavenly courtiers above, is unapproachable by mortal men ; but smat of it is visible in his works, creation, providence, redemption, falls .nder the cognisance of his inferior subjects here ; and this is in a great aeasure presented to view in these discourses, and so much, we may well ay, as may, by the help of grace, be effectual to raise thy admiration, * Mr J. Wichens and Mr Ashton. 124 TO THE READER. attract thy love, provoke thy desires, and enable thee to make some guess at what is yet unseen ; and why not likewise to clear thy eyes and prepare them for future sight, as well as turn them away from the contemptible vanities of this present life ? Whatever is glorious in this world, yet (as the apostle in another case, 2 Cor. iii. 10) ' hath no glory by reason of the glory that excels.' This excellent glory is the subject of this book, to which- all created beauty is but mere shadow and duskiness. If thy eyes be well fixed on this, they will not be easily drawn to wander after other objects ; if thy heart be taken with God, it will be mortified to everything that is not God. But thou hast in this book, not only an excellent subject in the general, but great variety of matter, for the employment of thy understanding, as well as enlivening thy affections, and that too such as thou wilt not readily find elsewhere ; many excellent things which are out of the road of ordinary preachers and writers, and which may be grateful to the curious, no less than satisfactory to the wise and judicious. It is not therefore a book to be played with, or slept over, but read with the most intent and serious mind ; for though it afford much pleasure for the fancy, yet much more work for the heart, and hath indeed enough in it to busy all the faculties. The dress is complete and decent, yet not garish or theatrical ; the rhetoric masculine and vigorous, such as became a pulpit, and was never borrowed from the stage ; the expressions full, clear, apt, and such as are best suited to the weightiness and spirituality of the truths here delivered. It is plain he was no empty preacher, but was more for sense than sound, filled up his words with matter, and chose rather to inform his hearers' mind than to claw any itching ears. Yet we will not say but some little things, a word or a phrase now and then he may have, which no doubt had he lived to transcribe his own sermons, he would have altered. If in some lesser matters he differ from thee, it is but in such as godly and learned men do frequently, and may without breach of charity differ in among themselves ; in some things he may differ from us too, and it may be we from each other, and where are there any two persons who have in all, especially the , more disputable points of religion, exactly the sanfe sentiments, at least express themselves altogether in the same terms ? But this we must say, that though he treat of many of tho most abstruse and mysterious doctrines of Christianity, which are the subjects of great debates and controversies in the world, yet wo find no one material thing in which he may justly be called heterodox (unless old heresies bo of late grown orthodox, and his differing from them must make him faulty), but generally delivers (as in his former pieces*) what is most consonant to tho faith of this, and other the best reformed churches, llo was not indeed for that modern divinity which is so mueh in vogue with somo, who would bo counted tho only sound divines ; having ■ tasted the old,' he did not ' desiro tho new,' but said ■ the old is better.' Somo errors, especially tho Socinion, ho sots himself industriously against, and cuts tho vory sinews of them, yet sometimes almost without naming tliem. In the doctrinal part of several of his discourses thou wilt find tho depth of polemical divinity, and in his inferences from thenco tho sweetness of practical ; some things which may exercise the profoundest scholar, am! Other! which may instruct and edify the weakest Christian ; nothing b more nervous than his reasonings, and nothing more affecting than hil applications. Though he make great uso of schoolmen, yet they uri * Trtatiie of Proyidenoe and of Thoughts. [Tho former of which precedes thia an<l the luttor will ho given in u raboequent volume, — En.] TO THE READER. 125 certainly more beholden to him than he to them ; he adopts their notions, but he refines them too, and improves them, and reforms them from the barbarousness in which they were expressed, and drcsseth them up in his own language (so far as the nature of the matter will permit, and more clear terms are to be found), and so makes them intelligible to vulgar capacities, which in their original rudeness were obscure and strange, even to learned heads. In a word, he handles the great truths of the gospel with that perspicuity, gravity, and majesty which best becomes the oracles of God ; and we have reason to believe, that no judicious and unbiassed reader but will acknow- ledge this to be incomparably the best practical treatise the world ever saw in English upon this subject. What Dr Jackson did (to whom our author gave all due respect) was more brief, and in another way. Dr Preston did worthily upon the attributes in his day, but his discourses likewise are more succinct, when this author's are more fall and large. But whatever were the mind of God in it, it was not his will that either of these two should live to finish what he had begun, both being taken away when preaching upon this subject. Happy souls, whose last breath was spent in so noble a work, ' praising God while they had any being,' Ps. cxlvi. 2. His method is much the same in most of these discourses, both in the doctrinal and practical part, which will make the whole more plain and facile to ordinary readers. He rarely makes objections, and yet frequently answers them, by implying them in those propositions he lays down for the clearing up the truths he asserts. His dexterity is admirable in the appli- :atory work, where he not only brings down the highest doctrines to the lowest capacities, but collects great variety of proper, pertinent, useful, and yet (many times) unthought of inferences, and that from those truths, which however they afford much matter for inquisition and speculation, yet might ■seem (unless to the most intelligent and judicious Christians) to have a more remote influence upon practices. He is not like some school writers, who attenuate and rarefy the matter they discourse of to a degree bordering Upon annihilation ; at least beat it so thin, that a puff of breath may blow it 'away ; spin their thread so fine, that the cloth, when made up, proves useless ; solidity dwindles into niceties, and what we thought we had got by their assertions we lose by their distinctions. But if our author have : 3ome subtilties and superfine notions in his argumentations, yet he con- ienseth them again, and consolidates them into substantial and profitable sorollaries in his applications. And in them his main business is, as to discipline a profane world for its neglect of God and contempt of him in his 'most adorable and shining perfections, so likewise to shew how the divine attributes are not only infinitely excellent in themselves, but a grand foun- dation for all true divine worship, and should be the great motives to pro- voke men to the exercise of faith, and love, and fear, and humility, and all that holy obedience they are called to by the gospel ; and this without per- idventure is the great end of all those rich discoveries God hath in his word nade of himself to us, Ps. cix. 1. And, reader, if these elaborate dis- courses of this holy man, through the Lord's blessing, become a means of aromoting holiness in thee, and stir thee up to love, and live to the God of ais praise, we are well assured that his end in preaching them is answered, iind so is ours in publishing them. Thine in the Lord, j Edw. Veel. III. Adams. THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt ; they have done abominable works ; there is none that doth good. — Ps. XIY. 1. This psalm is a description of the deplorable corruption by nature of every son of Adam, since the withering of that common root. Some restrain it to the gentiles, as a wilderness full of briars and thorns, as not concerning the Jews, the garden of God, planted by his grace and watered by the dew of heaven. But the apostle, the best interpreter, rectifies this in extending it by name to Jews as well as Gentiles : Rom. iii. 9, ' We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are^ all under sin ;' and ver. 10, 11, 12, cites part of this psalm and other passages of Scripture for the further evidence of it ; concluding both Jews and Gentiles, every person in the world, naturally in this state of corruption. The psalmist first declares the corruption of the faculties of the soul : ' The fool hath said in his heart.' Secondly, The streams issuing from thence, 1 they are corrupt,' &c. ; the first in atheistical principles, the other in un- worthy practices ; and lays all the evil, tyranny, lust, and persecutions by men, as if the world were only for their sake, upon the neglects of God, and the atheism cherished in their hearts. 1 The fool,' a term in Scripture signifying a wicked man, used also by the heathen philosophers to signify a vicious person, ^33 as coming from ^33 T T signifies the extinction of lifo in men, animals, and plants; so the word 'vjj T is taken, — Isa. xl. 7, V)% ^3 ' the flower fade th,' Isa. xxviii. 1, — a plant that hath lost all that juice that made it lovely and useful. So a fool is one that hath lost his wisdom and right notion of God and divine things, which v Communicated to man by creation ; ono (load in sin, yet one not so much void of rational faculties) as of grace iu those faculties ; not 0m 4 that wants ret mii, but abuses his reason. In Scripture the word signifies foolish.* 1 Said in bis heart;' that is, he thinks, or he doubts, or he wishes. The thought! of the heart are in the nature of words to (iod, though not to men. It ii used in the like ease of the atheistical person : Ps. x. 11, 18, ' He hath I in his heart, God hath forgotten,' ' he hath said in his heart thou wilt not, requiro it.' He doth not form a syllogism, as Calvin speaks, that there is no (iod ; he dares not, openly publish it, though he dares secretly think * Muia 733 and QJJ7 Is? put together, Prut, xxxii. G, 'O foolish people aad 11 w PS. XIV. l.J • THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 127 it ; he cannot rase out the thoughts of a deity, though he endeavours to blot those characters of God in his soul ; he hath some doubts whether there be a God or no : he wishes there were not any, and sometimes hopes there is none at all ; he could not so ascertain himself by convincing arguments to produce to the world, but he tampered with his own heart to bring it to that persuasion, and smothered in himself those notices of a deity, which is bo plain against the light of nature that such a man may well be called a fool for it. 1 There is no God.' * NJD7W JT7 non potestas Domini (Chaldee). It is not Jehovah, which name signifies the essence of God as the prime and supreme being, but Eloahim, which name signifies the providence of God, God as a rector and judge. Not that he denies the existence of a supreme being that created the world, but his regarding the creatures, his government of the world, and consequently his reward of the righteous or punishments of the wicked. There is a threefold denial of God.f 1. Quoad existentiam, this is absolute atheism. 2. Quoad providentiam, or his inspection into, or care of the things of the world, bounding him in the heavens. 3. Quoad naturam, in regard of one or other of the perfections due to his nature. Of the denial of the providence of God most understand this, J not exclud- ing the absolute atheist, as Diagoras is reported to be, nor the sceptical atheist, as Protagoras, who doubted whether there were a God. Those that deny the providence of God, do in effect deny the being of a God ; for they strip him of that wisdom, goodness, tenderness, mercy, justice, righteousness, which are the glory of the Deity. And that principle of a greedy desire to be uncontrolled in their lusts, which induceth men to a denial of providence, that thereby they might stifle those seeds of fear which infect and embitter their sinful pleasures, may as well lead them to deny that there is any such being as a God. That at one blow their fears may be dashed all in pieces, and dissolved by the removal of the foundation ; as men who desire liberty to commit works of darkness would not have the lights in the house dimmed but extinguished. What men say against providence, because they would have no check in their lusts, they may say in their hearts against the exist- ence of God upon the same account ; little difference between the dissenting from the one, and disowning the other. ' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doth good.' He speaks of the atheist in the singular, the fool ; of the corruption .issuing in the life, in the plural ; intimating that some few may choke in their hearts the sentiments of God and his providence, and positively deny them, yet there is something of a secret atheism in all, which is the foun- tain of the evil practices in their lives, not an utter disowning of the being of a God, but a denial or doubting of some of the rights of his nature.§ When men deny the God of purity, they must needs be polluted in soul and body, and grow brutish in their actions ; when the sense of religion is shaken off, all kinds of wickedness is eagerly rushed into, whereby they be- come as loathsome to God as putrefied carcases are to men.|| Not one or * D*r6j* TK No God.— Muit. f Cocceius. \ Not owning him as the Egyptians called, Qzov syxbd/MOV Eugubin. in loc. I Atheism absolute is not in all men's judgments, but practical is in all men'3 actions. | The apostle in the Eomans, applying the later part of it to all mankind, but not the former, as the word translated corrupt signifies. 128 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. two evil actions is the product of such a principle, but the whole scene of a man's life is corrupted, and becomes execrable. No man is exempted from some spice of atheism by the deprivation of his nature, which the Psalmist intimates, ' there is none that cloth good.' Though there are indelible convictions of the being of a God, that they can- not absolutely deny it, yet there are some atheistical bubblings in the hearts of men which evidence themselves in their actions ; as the apostle, Titus i. 16, ' They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him.' Evil works are a dust stirred up by an atheistical breath. He that habituates himself in some sordid lust can scarcely be said seriously and firmly to be- lieve that there is a God in being ; and the apostle doth not say that they know God, but they ' profess to know him.' True knowledge and profession of knowledge are distinct. It intimates also to us the unreasonableness of atheism in the consequences ; when men shut their eyes against the beams of so clear a sun, God revengeth himself upon them for their impiety by leaving them to their own wills, lets them fall into the deepest sink and dregs of iniquity ; and since they doubt of him in their hearts, suffers them above others to deny him in their works ; this the apostle discourseth at large, Ptom. i. 24. The text, then, is a description of man's corruption. 1. Of his mind. ' The fool hath said in his heart.' No better title than that of a fool is afforded to the atheist. 2. Of the other faculties. 1. In sins of commission, expressed by the loathsomeness, ' corrupt,' ■ abominable.' 2. In sins of omission, ' there is none that doth good ; ' he lays down the corruption of the mind as the cause, the corruption of the other faculties as the effect. L It is a great folly to deny or doubt of the existence or being of God ; or, an atheist is a great fool. II. Practical atheism is natural to man in his corrupt state. It is against nature as constituted by God, but natural as nature is depraved by man. The absolute disowning of the being of a God is not natural to men, but the contrary is natural ; but an inconsideration of God, or misrepresentation of his nature, is natural to man as corrupt. III. A secret atheism, or a partial atheism, is the spring of all the wicked practices in the world; the disorders of the life spring from the ill disposi- tions of the heart. I. For the first, every atheist is a grand fool. If he were not a fool, he would not imagine a thing so contrary to the stream of the universal reason in the world, contrary to the rational dictates of his own soul, and contrary to the testimony of every creature and link in the chain of creation. If he won; not a fool, he would not strip himself of humanity, and degrade him- sclf lower than the most despicable brute. It is a folly; for though God ho so inaccessible that we cannot know him perfectly, yet he is so much in the light, that we cannot bo totally ignorant of him ; :is ho Cannot ho comprehended in his ossomv, he cannot he unknown in his existence ; it is as easy hy reason to understand that ho is, as it is difficult, to know what ho is. The demonstration d furnisheth us with for the existenco of i will be evidence! of the atheist's folly. One would think there wore little need of Spending time in evidencing this truth, since in the principle of it, it seems to ho so universally owned, and at the first proposal and domand gains the assent of most men. But, 1, doth the growth of atheism among us render this necessary? Msj it not justly bo suspected that the Rwarms of atheists aro moro numerous in PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 129 our times than history records to have been in any age, when men will not only say it in their hearts, but publish it with their lips, and boast that they have shaken off those shackles which bind other men's consciences ? Doth not the barefaced debauchery of men evidence such a settled sentiment, or at least a careless belief of the truth, which lies at the root, and sprouts up in such venomous branches in the world ? Can men's hearts be free from that principle wherewith their practices are so openly depraved ? It is true the light of nature shines too vigorously for the power of man totally to put it out, yet loathsome actions impair and weaken the actual thoughts and considerations of a deity, and are like mists, that darken the light of the sun though they cannot extinguish it ; their consciences, as a candlestick, must hold it, though their unrighteousness obscure it : Rom. i. 18, ' Who hold the truth in unrighteousness.' The engraved characters of the law of nature remain, though they daub them with their muddy lusts to make them illegible, so that since the inconsideration of a deity is the cause of all the wickedness and extravagancies of men ; and, as Austin saith, the proposi- tion is always true, ' The fool hath said in his heart,' &c, and more evidently true in this age than any ; it will not be unnecessary to discourse of the demonstrations of this first principle. The apostles spent little time in urging this truth, it was taken for granted all over the world, and they were generally devout in the worship of those idols they thought to be gods ; that age ran from one God to many, and our age is running from one God to none at all. 2. The existence of God is the foundation of all religion. The whole building totters if the foundation be out of course ; if we have not deliberate and right notions of it, we shall perform no worship, no service, yield no affection to him. If there be not a God, it is impossible there can be one ; for eternity is essential to the notion of a God ; so all religion would be vain and unreasonable, to pay homage to that which is not in being, nor can ever be. We must first believe that he is, and that he is what he declares him- self to be, before we can seek him, adore him, and devote our affections to him, Heb. xi. 6. We cannot pay God a due and regular homage unless we understand him in his perfections, ivhat he is ; and we can pay him no homage at all, unless we believe that he is. 3. It is fit we should know why we believe, that our belief of a God may appear to be upon undeniable evidence, and that we may give a better rea- son for his existence than that we have heard our parents and teachers tell us so, and our acquaintance think so. It is as much as to say there is no God, when we know not why we believe there is, and would not consider the arguments for his existence. 4. It is necessary to depress that secret atheism which is in the heart of every man by nature. Though every visible object which offers itself to our sense presents a deity to our minds, and exhorts us to subscribe to the truth of it, yet there is a root of atheism springing up sometimes in wavering thoughts and foolish imaginations, inordinate actions and secret wishes. [ Certain it is that every man that doth not love God denies God ; now can he that disaffects him, and hath a slavish fear of him, wish his existence, and say to his own heart with any cheerfulness, there is a God, and make it his chief care to persuade himself of it ? He would persuade himself there is no God, and stifle the seeds of it in his reason and conscience, that he might have the greatest liberty to entertain the allurements of the flesh. It is necessary to excite men to daily and actual considerations of God and his nature, which would be a bar to much of that wickedness which overflows in the lives of men. VOL. I. I 130 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. 5. Nor is it unuseful to those that effectually believe and love him ;* for those who have had a converse with God, and felt his powerful influences in the secrets of their hearts, to take a prospect of those satisfactory accounts w T hich reason gives of that God they adore and love, to see every creature justify them in their owning of him, and affections to him ; indeed, the evi- dences of a God striking upon the eonscience of those who resolve to cleave to sin as their chiefest darling, will dash their pleasures with unwelcome mixtures. I shall further premise this, That the folly of atheism is evidenced by the light of reason. Men that will not listen to Scripture, as having no counterpart of it in their souls, cannot easily deny natural reason, which riseth up on all sides for the justi- fication of this truth. There is a natural as well as a revealed knowledge, and the book of the creatures is legible in declaring the being of a God, as well as the Scriptures are in declaring the nature of a God ; there are out- ward objects in the world, and common principles in the conscience ; whence it may be inferred. For (1.) God, in regard of his existence, is not only the discovery of faith, but of reason. God hath revealed not only his being, but some sparks of his eternal power and Godhead in his works as well as in his word. Rom. i. 19, 20, ' God hath shewed it unto them.' How?f In his works, by the things that are made ; it is a discovery to our reason as shining in the crea- tures, and an object of our faith as breaking out upon us in the Scriptures ; it is an article of our faith, and an article of our reason. Faith supposeth natural knowledge, as grace supposeth nature. Faith indeed is properly of things above reason, purely depending upon revelation. What can be de- monstrated by natural light is not so properly the object of faith, though in regard of the addition of a certainty by revelation it is so. The belief that God is, which the apostle speaks of, Heb. xi. 6, is not so much of the bare existence of God, as what God is in relation to them that seek to him, viz., • a re warder.' The apostle speaks of the faith of Abel, the faith of Enoch, such a faith that pleases God ; but the faith of Abel testified in his sacrifice, and the faith of Enoch testified in his walking with God, was not simply a faith of the existence of God. Cain, in the time of Abel, other men in the world in the time of Enoch, believed this as well as they ; but it was a faith joined with the worship of God, and desirous to pleaso him in the way of his own appointment; so that they believed that God was such as he had declared himself to be in his promise to Adam, such an one as would be as good as his word, and bruise the serpent's head; he that socks to (iod according to the mind of (iod, must believe that h Hindi a (iod that will pardon sin and justify a seeker of him ; that he is a (ii>d of that ability and will to justify a Binner in that way he hath appointed tor the cleaning the holiness of his nature, and vindicating the honour of his law violated hy man. No man can leek (Iod, or love (iod, unless ho believe him to be thus, anl ho cannot leak (iod without a discovery of lus own mind how ho would be sought; lor it is not a seeking (iod in any way of man's invention that renden him capable of this desired fruit of a reward : he that behoves Go a reward. •)-, must believe the promiso of (iod concerning the Mosi IMeii, under the conscience of sin, cannot tell, without, a divine di whether (iod will rewind, or bow he will reward, the seekers of him, and therefore cannot act towards him as an object of faith. Would any man ■k (iod merely because be 18, or love him because he is, if he did not * CoOOOi Sum. Tie nl, c 8, § 1. t A41UU. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 131 know that he should be acceptable to him ? The bare existence of a thing is not the ground of affection to it, but those qualities of it, and our interest in it which render it amiable and delightful. How can men whose con- sciences fly in their faces seek God or love him, without this knowledge that he is a rewarder ? Nature doth not shew any way to a sinner how to reconcile God's provoked justice with his tenderness. The faith the apostle speaks of here is a faith that eyes the reward as an encouragement, and the will of God as the rule of its acting, he doth not speak simply of the exist- ence of God. I have spoken the more of this place, because the Socinians* use this to decry any natural knowledge of God, and that the existence of God is only to be known by revelation, so that by that reason any one that lived with- out the Scripture hath no ground to believe the being of a God. The Scripture ascribes a knowledge of God to all nations in the world, Rom. i. 19; not only a faculty of knowing, if they had arguments and demonstrations, as an ignorant man in any art hath a faculty to know, but it ascribes an actual knowledge: ver. 19, 'manifest in them;' ver. 21, * they knew God,' — not they might know him, they knew him when they did not care for knowing him. The notices of God are as intelligible to us by reason as any object in the world is visible ; he is written in every letter. (2.) We are often in the Scripture sent to take a prospect of the crea- tures for a discovery of God. The apostles drew arguments from the topics of nature when they discoursed with those that owned the Scripture, Rom. i. 19, as well as when they treated with those that were ignorant of it, as Acts xiv. 15, 16; and among the philosophers of Athens, Acts xvii. 27, 29. Such arguments the Holy Ghost in the apostles thought sufficient to con- vince men of the existence, unity, spirituality, and patience of God.f Such arguments had not been used by them and the prophets from the visible things in the world to silence the Gentiles with whom they dealt, had not this truth, and much more about God, been demonstrated by natural reason; they knew well enough that probable arguments would not satisfy piercing and inquisitive minds. In Paul's account the testimony of the creatures was without contradic- tion. God himself justifies this way of proceeding by his own example, and remits Job to the consideration of the creatures, to spell out something of his divine perfections, Job xxxviii. xxxix. xl. &c. It is but one truth in philosophy and divinity, that what is false in one cannot be true in another. Truth,, in what appearance soever, doth never contradict itself.. And this is so convincing an argument of the existence of God, that God never vouchsafed any miracle, or put forth any act of omnipotency, besides what was evident in the creatures, for satisfaction of the curiosity of any atheist, or the evincing of his being,! as he hath done for the evidencing those truths which were not written in the book of nature, or for the restoring a decayed worship, or the protection or deliverance of his people. Those miracles in publishing the gospel indeed did demonstrate the existence of some supreme power ; but they were not seals designedly affixed for that, but for the con- firmation of that truth which was above the ken of purblind reason, and purely the birth of divine revelation. Yet what proves the truth of any spiritual doctrine, proves also in that act the existence of the divine Author of it. The revelation always implies a revealer; and that which manifests it to be a revelation, manifests also the supreme revealer of it. By the * Voet. Theol. natural, cap. iii. § 1, p. 22. f Ibid. \ Lord Bacon has almost the same words in his sixteenth essay. — Ed. 132 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. same light the sun manifests other things to us it also manifests itself. But what miracles could rationally be supposed to work upon an atheist, who is not drawn to a sense of the truth proclaimed aloud by so many wonders of the creation ? Let us now proceed to the demonstration of the atheist's folly. It is folly to deny or doubt of a sovereign being, incomprehensible in his nature, infinite in his essence and perfections, independent in his operations, who hath given being to the whole frame of sensible and intelligible crea- tures, and governs them according to their several natures, by an uncon- ceivable wisdom, who fills the heavens with the glory of his majesty, and the earth with the influences of his goodness. It is a folly inexcusable to renounce in this case all appeal to universal consent, and the joint assurances of the creatures. Reason 1. It is a folly to deny or doubt of that which has been the acknow- ledged sentiment of all nations, in all places and ages. There is no nation but hath owned some kind of religion, and therefore no nation but hath consented in the notion of a supreme Creator and Governor. 1. This hath been universal. 2. It hath been constant and uninterrupted. 3. Natural and innate. 1. It hath been universally assented to by the judgments and practices of all nations in the world. (1.) No nation hath been exempt from it. All histories of former and later ages have not produced any one nation but fell under the force of this truth. Though they have differed in their religions, they have agreed in this truth; here both heathen, Turk, Jew, and Christian centre without any contention. No quarrel was ever commenced on this score, though about other opinions wars have been sharp and enmities irreconcilable. The notion of the existence of a deity was the same in all, Indians as well as Britons, Americans as well as Jews. It hath not been an opinion peculiar to this or that people, to this or that sect of philosophers, but hath been as universal as the reason whereby men are differenced from other creatures ; so that some have rather defined man by animal relifjiosum than animal rationale. It is so twisted with reason, that a man cannot be accounted rational unless ho own an object of reli- gion ; therefore he that understands not this renounces his humanity when he renounceth a divinity. No instanco can be given of any one peoplo in the world that disclaimed it. It hath been owned by the wise and ignorant, by the learned and stupid, by thoso who had no other guide but the dimmest light of nature, as well as by thoso whoso candles were snuffed by a more polite education; and that without any solemn debute and contention. Though some philo- sophers havo boon known to change their opinions in the concerns of nature, yet none era be proved <o have absolutely changed their opinion ooBeerning the being of a God. One died for asserting one God, none in the termer agei upon record bath died for asserting no God. Go to the utmost bounds of America: you may find people without some broken pi< of the law of nature, hut not without (his Bignature and stamp upon them, though they wanted commerce with other nations, except as Bavage as them- selves, in whom the light of nature was as it were sunk into the socket, who were hut one remove from brutes, who clothe not their bodies, cover not their hIuuuo, yet were tiny as soon known to own a God as they v known to he a people. They were possessed with the notion o( a supremo being, tho author of tho world, had an object of religious adoratiou, put up Ps. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 133 prayers to the deity they owned for the good things they wanted and the diverting the evils they feared. No people so untamed, where absolute, perfect atheism had gained a footing. Not one nation of tho world known in the time of the Romans that were without their ceremonies, whereby they signified their devotion to a deity. They had their places of worship, where they made their vows, presented their prayers, offered their sacrifices, and implored the assistance of what they thought to be a god, and in their distresses ran immediately, without any deliberation, to their gods ; so that the notion of a deity was as inward and settled in them as their own souls, and indeed runs in the blood of mankind. The distempers of the understanding cannot utterly deface it ; you shall scarce find the most distracted bedlam in his raving fits to deny a God, though he may blaspheme and fancy himself one. (2.) Nor doth the idolatry and multiplicity of gods in the world weaken, but confirm this universal consent. Whatsoever unworthy conceits men have had of God in all nations, or whatsoever degrading representations they have made of him, yet they all concur in this, that there is a supreme power to be adored. Though one people worshipped the sun, others the fire ; and the Egyptians, gods out of their rivers, gardens, and fields ; yet the notion of a deity existent, who created and governed the world, and conferred daily benefits upon them, was maintained by all, though applied to the stars, and in part to those sordid creatures. All the Dagons of the world establish this truth, and fall down before it. Had not the nations owned the being of a God, they had never offered incense to an idol ; had there not been a deep impression of the existence of a deity, they had never exalted creatures below themselves to the honour of altars : men could not so easily have been deceived by forged deities, if they had not had a notion of a real one. Their fondness to set up others in the place of God, evi- denced a natural knowledge that there was one who had a right to be wor- shipped. If there were not this sentiment of a deity, no man would ever have made an image of a piece of wood, worshipped it, prayed to it, and said, ' Deliver me, for thou art my god,' Isa. xliv. 17. They applied a general notion to a particular image. The difference is in the manner and immediate object of worship, not in the formal ground of worship. The worship sprung from a true principle, though it was not applied to a right object : while they were rational creatures they could not deface the notion; yet while they were corrupt creatures it was not difficult to apply themselves to a wrong object from a true principle. A blind man knows he hath a way to go as well as one of the clearest sight, but because of his blindness he may miss the way and stumble into a ditch. No man would be imposed upon to take a Bristol stone instead of a diamond, if he did not know that there were such things as diamonds in the world ; nor any man spread forth his hands to an idol, if he were altogether without the sense of a deity. Whether it be a false or a true God men apply to, yet in both, the natural sentiment of a God is evidenced ; all their mistakes were grafts inserted in this stock, since they would multiply gods rather than deny a deity. How should such a general submission be entered into by the world, so as to adore things of base alloy, if the force of religion were not such, that in any fashion a man would seek the satisfaction of his natural instinct to some object of worship.* This great diversity confirms this consent to be a good argument, for it evidenceth it not to be a cheat, combination, or conspiracy to deceive, or a mutual intelligence, but every one finds it in his climate, yea, in himself. People would never have given the title of a god to men • Charron de la Sagesse, livr. i. chap. 7. 134 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. or brntes, had there not been a pre-existing and unquestioned persuasion, that there was such a being.* How else should the notion of a God come into their minds ? The notion that there is a God must be more ancient. (3.) Whatsoever disputes there have been in the world, this of the exist- ence of God was never the subject of contention. All other things have been questioned. What jarrings were there among philosophers about natural things, into how many parties were they split, with what animosities did they maintain their several judgments ? But we hear of no solemn con- troversies about the existence of a Supreme Being. This never met with any considerable contradiction. No nation, that had put other things to question, would ever suffer this to be disparaged, so much as by a public doubt. f We find among the heathen contentions about the nature of God, and the number of gods. Some asserted an innumerable multitude of gods ; some affirmed him to be subject to birth and death ; some affirmed the entire world was God ; others fancied him to be a circle of a bright fire ; others, that he was a spirit diffused through the whole world : yet they una- nimously concurred in this, as the judgment of universal reason, that there was such a sovereign being. And those that were sceptical in every thing else, and asserted that the greatest certainty was that there was nothing cer- tain, professed a certainty in this. The question was not whether there was a first cause, but what it was. \ It is much the same thing as the dis- putes about the nature and matter of the heavens, the sun and planets ; though there be a great diversity of judgments, yet all agree that there are heavens, sun, planets. So all the contentions among men about the nature of God, weaken not, but rather confirm, that there is a God, since there was never a public formal debate about his existence. Those that have been ready to pull out one another's eyes for their dissent from their judg- ments, sharply censured one another's sentiments, envied the births of one another's wits, always shook hands with an unanimous consent in this : never censured one another for being of this persuasion, never called it into question. As what was never controverted among men professing Christian- ity, but acknowledged by all, though contending about other things, has reason to be judged a certain truth belonging to the Christian religion ; so what was never subjected to any controversy, but acknowledged by the whole world, hath reason to be embraced as a truth without any doubt. (4.) This universal consent is not prejudiced by some few dissenters. History doth not reckon twenty professed atheists in all ages in the compass of tho wholo world ; § and we have not the name of any ono absolute atheist upon record in Scripture : yet it is questioned, whether any of them, noted in history with that infamous name, wero downright deniers of the existence ot God, but rather becauso they disparaged the deities commonly worshipped by tho nations where they lived, as being of a clearer reason to discern that those qualities, vulgarly attributed to their gods, as lust and luxury, wan- tonness and quarrels, wero unworthy of the nafuro of a God. But suppose they were really what they :uv termed to be, what are they to tho multitude of nun tint, have sprung out of the loins of Adam? Not so much ns ono nt of ashes is to all that were rwr tinned into that form by any tires in your chiinnevs. And many BOOM were not sullieient to weigh down the con- trary consent of tho whole world, and hear down an universal impression. Should the laws of a country, Agreed universally to by the whole body o^L tho people, he accounted vain, bee. ins. | a hundred men of those millions dis- approve of them, when not their reason, but their folly and base inter. # Gtefend, Phyi. ? 1. lii>. 1. oep. 2, X Gktttend. Pnyi. ? 1. lib. 4. cap. 2. t Amyrant de Religion, (>:■ •■• .»o. § Qieiend. Phyt. | 1. lib. 4. cap. 7. PS. XIV. l.j TIIE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 135 persuades them to dislike them, and dispute against them ? * What if some men be blind, shall any conclude from thence that eyes are not natural to men ? Shall we say that the notion of the existence of God is not natural to men, because a very small number have been of a contrary opinion ? Shall a man in a dungeon, that never saw the sun, deny that there is a sun, because one or two blind men tell him there is none, when thousands assure him there is ? Why should then the exceptions of a few, not one to mil- lions, discredit that which is voted certainly true by the joint consent of the world ? Add this too, that if those that are reported to be atheists had had any considerable reason to step aside from the common persuasion of the whole world, it is a wonder it met not with entertainment by great numbers of those, who, by reason of their notorious wickedness and inward disquiets, might reasonably be thought to wish in their hearts that there were no God. It is strange, if there were any reason on their side, that in so long a space of time as hath run out from the creation of the world, there could not be engaged a considerable number to frame a society for the profession of it. It hath died with the person that started it, and vanished as soon as it appeared. To conclude this, is it not folly for any man to deny or doubt of the being of a God, to dissent from all mankind, and stand in contradiction to human nature ? What is the general dictate of nature is a certain truth. It is impossible that nature can naturally and universally lie ; and therefore those that ascribe all to nature, and set it in the place of God, contradict them- selves, if they give not credit to it in that which it universally affirms. A general consent of all nations is to be esteemed as a law of nature. f Nature cannot plant in the minds of all men an assent to a falsity, for then the laws of nature would be destructive to the reason and the minds of men. How T is it possible that a falsity should be a persuasion spread through all nations, engraven upon the minds of all men, men of the most towering and men of the most creeping understanding ; that they should consent to it in all places, and in those places where the nations have not had any known commerce with the rest of the known world ? A consent not settled by any law of man to constrain people to a belief of it ; and indeed it is impossible that any law of man can constrain the belief of the mind. Would not he deser- vedly be accounted a fool, that should deny that to be gold which had been tried and examined by a great number of knowing goldsmiths, and hath passed the test of all their touchstones ? What excess of folly would it be for him to deny it to be true gold, if it had been tried by all that had skill in that metal in all nations in the world ! 2. It hath been a constant and uninterrupted consent. It hath been as ancient as the first age of the world ; no man is able to mention any time from the beginning of the world, wherein this notion hath not been univer- sally owned ; it is as old as mankind, and hath run along with the course of the sun, nor can the date be fixed lower than that. (1.) In all the changes of the world this hath been maintained. In the overturnings of the government of states, the alteration of modes of worship, this hath stood unshaken. The reasons upon which it was founded were in all revolutions of time accounted satisfactory and convincing, nor could absolute atheism, in the changes of any laws, ever gain the favour of any one body of people to be established by a law. When the honour of the heathen idols was laid in the dust, this suffered no impair. The being of one God was more vigorously owned when the unreasonableness of multi- plicity of gods was manifest, and grew taller by the detection of counterfeits. * Gassend. Phys. § 1. lib. 4. cap. 2. t Cicero. 136 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. When other parts of the law of nature have been violated by some nations, this hath maintained its standing. The long series of ages hath been so far from blotting it out, that it hath more strongly confirmed it, and maketh further progress in the confirmation of it. Time, which hath eaten out the strength of other things, and blasted mere inventions, hath not been able to consume this. The discovery of all other impostures never made this by any society of men to be suspected as one. It will not be easy to name any imposture that hath walked perpetually in the world without being discovered and whipped out by some nation or other. Falsities have never been so universally and constantly owned without public control and question. And since the world hath detected many errors of the former age, and learning been increased, this hath been so far from being dimmed, that it hath shone out clearer with the increase of natural knowledge, and received fresh anc more vigorous confirmations. (2.) The fears and anxieties in the consciencies of men have given men sufficient occasion to root it out, had it been possible for them to do it. If the notion of the existence of God had been possible to have been dashed out of the minds of men, they would have done it rather than have suffered so many troubles in their souls upon the commission of sin ; since they did [not] want wickedness and wit in so many corrupt ages to have attempted it and prospered in it, had it been possible. How comes it therefore to pass that such a multitude of profligate persons, that have been in the world since the fall of man, should not have rooted out this principle, and dis- possessed the minds of men of that which gave birth to their tormenting fears ? How is it possible that all should agree together in a thing which created fear, and an obligation against the interest of the flesh, if it had been free for men to discharge themselves of it ? No man, as far as corrupt nature bears sway in him, is willing to live controlled. The first man would rather be a god himself than under one, Gen. iii. 5. Why should men continue this notion in them, which shackled them in their vile inclinations, if it had been in their power utterly to deface it ? If it were an imposture, how comes it to pass that all the wicked ages of the world could never discover that to be a cheat, which kept them in continual alarms ? Men wanted not will to shake off such apprehensions ; as Adam, so all his posterity are desirous to hido themselves from God upon the com- mission of sin, ver. 9, and by the same reason they would hide God from their souls. What is tho reason they could never attain their will aud their wish by all their endeavours ? Could thoy possibly have satisfied them- selves that there wero no God, thoy had discarded their fears, the dis- turbers of tho repose of their lives, and boon unbridled in their pleasures. Tho wickodnoss of tho world would never have preserved that which was a perpetual molestation to it, had it been possible to bo razed out. Bat sinco mon, under tho turmoils and lashes of their own consciences, could never bring their hearts to a sottlcd dissent from this truth, it ovidenceth, that as it took its birth at the beginning of tho world, it cannot expire, no, not in tho ashes of it, nor in anything, hut tho reduction of tho soul to that nothing from trhenoe it ■prong. This concoption is so per- petual, that Qm nature of tho soul must ho dissolvod boforo it bo rooted out, nor can it ho extinct whilst tho soul endures. (:*.) Let it bo considered also by us that own tho Scripturo, that tho devil deemi it impossible to root out this sentiment. It seems to bo so porpotually fixod, that the devil did not think fit to tempt man to tho denial of tho existenco of a doity, but Denuded him to beliovo, ho might ascend to that dignity, and become a god himself: Gen. iii. 1, 'Hath God said?' and PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 137 he there owns him, ver. 5, ' Ye shall become as gods.' He owns God in the question he asks the woman, and persuades our first parents to be gods themselves. And in all stories, both ancient and modern, the devil was never able to tincture men's minds with a professed denial of the deity, which would have opened a door to a world of more wickedness than hath been acted, and took away the bar to the breaking out of that evil, which is naturally in the hearts of men, to the greater prejudice of human societies. He wanted not malice to raze out all the notions of God, but power ; he knew it was impossible to effect it, and therefore in vain to attempt it. He set up himself in several places of the ignorant world as a god, but never was able to overthrow the opinion of the being of a God. The impressions of a deity were so strong as not to be struck out by the malice and power of hell. What a folly is it then in any to contradict or doubt of this truth, which all the periods of time have not been able to wear out ; which all the wars and quarrels of men with their own consciences have not been able to destroy; which ignorance, and debauchery, its two greatest enemies, cannot weaken ; which all the falsehoods and errors which have reigned in one or other part of the world, have not been able to banish ; which lives in the consents of men in spite of all their wishes to the contrary, and hath grown stronger and shone clearer by the improvements of natural reason ! 3. Natural and innate, which pleads strongly for the perpetuity of it. It is natural, though some think it not a principal writ in the heart of man ; * it is so natural that every man is born with a restless instinct to be of some kind of religion or other, which implies some object of religion. The im- pression of a deity is as common as reason, and of the same age with reason. t It is a relic of knowledge after the fall of Adam, like fire under ashes, which sparkles as soon as ever the heap of ashes is open ; a notion sealed up in the soul of every man ; else how could those people, who
were unknown to one another, separate by seas and mounts, differing in
various customs and manner of living, had no mutual intelligence one with
mother, light upon this as a common sentiment, if they had not been
guided by one uniform reason in all their minds, by one nature common to
;hem all ; though their climates be different, their tempers and constitutions
various, their imaginations in some things as distant from one another as
leaven is from earth, the ceremonies of their religion not all of the same
lind, yet wherever you find human nature, you find this settled persuasion.
3o that the notion of a God seems to be twisted with the nature of man,
md is the first natural branch of common reason, or upon either the first
nspection of a man into himself and his own state and constitution, or upon
he first sight of any external visible object. Nature within man, and nature
vithout man, agree upon the first meeting together to form this sentiment,
hat there is a God. It is as natural as anything we call a common prin-
ciple. One thing which is called a common principle and natural is, that
he whole is greater than the parts. If this be not born with us, yet the
exercise of reason, essential to man, settles it as a certain maxim ; upon the
lividing anything into several parts, he finds every part less than when they
fere all together. By the same exercise of reason, we cannot cast our eyes
pon anything in the world, or exercise our understandings upon ourselves,
ut we must presently imagine there was some cause of those things, some
ause of myself and my own being, so that this truth is as natural to man as
.nything he can call most natural or a common principle.

• Pink. Eph. vi. p. 10, 11. % Amyrant des Keligions, p. 6-9.

t King on Jonah, p. 16.

108 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

It must be confessed by all, that there is a law of nature writ upon the
hearts of men, which will direct them to commendable actions, if they will
attend to the writing in their own consciences. This law cannot be con-
sidered without the notice of a lawgiver. For it is but a natural and
obvious conclusion, that some superior hand engrafted those principles in
man, since he finds something in him twitching him upon the pursuit of
uncomely actions, though his heart be mightily inclined to them ; man
knows he never planted this principle of reluctancy in his own soul; he can
never be the cause of that which he cannot be friends with. If he were the
cause of it, why doth he not rid himself of it ? No man would endure a
thing that doth frequently molest and disquiet him, if he could cashier it.
It is therefore sown in man by some hand more powerful than man, which
riseth so high and is rooted so strong, that all the force that man can use
cannot pull it up. If therefore this principle be natural in man, and the
law of nature be natural, the notion of a lawgiver must be as natural as the
notion of a printer, or that there is a printer is obvious upon the sight of a
stamp impressed ; after this the multitude of effects in the world step in to
strengthen this beam of natural light, and fche direct conclusion from thence
is, that that power which made those outward objects, implanted this
inward principle ; this is sown in us, born with us, and sprouts up with our
growth ; or as one saith,* it is like letters carved upon the bark of a young
plant, which grows up together with us, and the longer it grows the letters
are more legible.

This is the ground of this universal consent, and why it may well be
termed natural.

This will more evidently appear to be natural, because,
[1.] This consent could not be by mere tradition.

[2.] Nor by any mutual intelligence of governors to keep people in,
awe, which are two things the atheist pleads. The first hath no strong,
foundation, and that other is as absurd and foolish as it is wicked and
abominable.

[3.] Nor was it fear first introduced it. I

[1.] It could not be by mere tradition. Many things indeed are enter-
tained by posterity, which their ancestors delivered to them, and that out oi
a common reverence to their forefathers, and an opinion that they had a
better prospect of things than the increaso of the corruption of succeeding
ages would permit them to have.

Bill if this bo a tradition handed from our ancestors, they also must re-r
ceive it from theirs ; wo must then ascend to the first man, we cannot els<;
Bftpe a confounding ourselves with running into infinite. Was it then thi
only tradition ha left to them ? Is it not probablo he acquainted them witllj
other things in conjunction with this, the nature of God, tho way to worshijj
him, tl aer of the world's existence, his own stato ? Wo may reason

ably suppose him to have a good stock of knowledge ; what is bocomo of it J
It cannot be supposed, that the first man should acquaint his posterity wit
an object of worship, and leave them ignorant of a mode of worship, and c\
the end of worship. We find in Scripture his immediate posterity did th I
first, in sum tires, and without, doubt they were not ignorant of tho otheJ
I low come men to be so uncertain in all other things, and so confident*
this, if it were only a tradition P Bow did debates and irreconcilable que:
fcumi start Dp Concerning Other things, and this remain untouched, hut by

small number ? Whatsoever tradition the first man left besides this, is losi
and DO way recoverable, but by the revelation God hath made in his word

* Charleton.

'S. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.

139

How comes it to pass, this of a God is longer lived than all the rest, which
'e may suppose man left to his immediate descendants ? How come men
) retain the one and forget the other ? What was the reason this survived
ae ruin of the rest, and surmounted the uncertainties into which the other
ink ? Was it likely it should be handed down alone without other attend-
nts on it at first ? Why did it not expire among the Americans, who have
>st the account of their own descent, and the stock from whence they sprung,
ad cannot reckon above eight hundred or a thousand years at most ? Why
as not the manner of the worship of a God transmitted, as well as that of
is existence ? How came men to dissent in their opinions concerning his
ature, whether he was corporeal or incorporeal, finite or infinite, omnipre-
3nt or limited ? Why were not men as negligent to transmit this of his
dstence as that of his nature ? No reason can be rendered for the security
f this above the other, but that there is so clear a tincture of a Deity upon
le minds of men, such traces and shadows of him in the creatures, such
idelible instincts within, and invincible arguments without to keep up this
aiversal consent. The characters are so deep that they cannot possibly be
ized out, which would have been one time or other, in one nation or other,
ad it depended only upon tradition, since one age shakes off frequently the
mtiments of the former.

I cannot think of above one which may be called a tradition, which indeed

as kept up among all nations, viz., sacrifices, which could not be natural

i at instituted. What ground could they have in nature, to imagine that the

ilood of beasts could expiate and wash off the guilt and stains of a rational

mature ? Yet they had in all places (but among the Jews, and some of

lem only) lost the knowledge of the reason and end of the institution, which

ie Scripture acquaints us was to typify and signify the redemption by the

romised seed. This tradition hath been superannuated and laid aside in

'iost parts of the world, while this notion of the existence of a God hath

•ood firm.

Eut suppose it were a tradition, was it likely to be a mere intention* and
gment of the first man ? Had there been no reason for it, his posterity
ould soon have found out the weakness of its foundation. What advantage
ad it been to him to transmit so great a falsehood, to kindle the fears or
! iise the hopes of his posterity, if there were no God ? It cannot be sup-
: osed he should be so void of that natural affection men in all ages bear to
teir descendants, as so grossly to deceive them, and be so contrary to the
mplicity and plainness which appears in all things nearest their original.

[2.] Neither was it by any mutual intelligence of governors among them-
Wves, to keep people in subjection to them. If it were a political design at
rst, it seems it met with the general nature of mankind very ready to give

entertainment.

1 First, It is unaccountable how this should come to pass. It must be
ther by a joint assembly of them, or a mutual correspondence. If by any
jsembly, who were the persons ? Let the name of any one be mentioned.
'/Tien was the time ? Where was the place of this appearance ? By what
ithority did they meet together ? Who made the first motion, and first
arted this great principle of policy ? By what means could they as-
mble from such distant parts of the world ? Human histories are utterly
lent in it, and the Scripture, the ancientest history, gives an account of
;e attempt of Babel, but not a word of any design of this nature.
' What mutual correspondence could such have, whose interests are for the
ost part different, and their designs contrary to one another ? How could

* Qu. ' invention' ?— En.

140 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

they, who were divided by such vast seas, have this mutual converse ? How
could those, who were different in their customs and manners, agree so
unanimously together in one thing to gull the people ? If there had been
such a correspondence between the governors of all nations, what is the
reason some nations should be unknown to the world till of late times ? How
could the business be so secretly managed, as not to take vent, and issue in
a discovery to the world ? Can reason suppose so many in a joint conspi-
racy, and no man's conscience in this life under sharp afflictions, or on his
deathbed, when conscience is most awakened, constrain him to reveal
openly the cheat that beguiled the world ? How came they to be so unani-
mous in this notion, and to differ in their rites almost in every country ?
Why could they not agree in one mode of worship throughout all the world,
as well as in this universal notion ? If there were not a mutual intelligence,
it cannot be conceived how in every nation such a state engineer should rist<
up with the same trick to keep people in awe. What is the reason we can-
not find any law in any one nation, to constrain men to the belief of the'
existence of a God, since politic stratagems have been often fortified by laws V
Besides, such men make use of principles received to effect their contrivances 1
and are not so impolitic as to build designs upon principles that have nc 1
foundation in nature. Some heathen law-givers have pretended a converse
with their gods to make their laws be received by the people with a greate:
veneration, and fix with stronger obligation the observance and perpetuity o. 1
them ; but this was not the introducing of a new principle, but the supposi'
tion of an old received notion, that there was a God, and an application o
that principle to their present design. The pretence had been vain had no
the notion of a God been ingrafted. Politicians are so little possessed witl
a reverence of God, that the first mighty one in the Scripture (which ma*
reasonably gain with the atheist the credit of the ancientest history in tin'
word), is represented without any fear of God. Gen. x. 9, ' Nimrod was I
mighty hunter before the Lord.' An invader and oppressor of his neigh'
hours, and reputed the introducer of a new worship, and being the first tha
built cities after the ilood (as Cain was the first builder of them before th»
flood), built also idolatry with them, and erected a new worship, and wa
so far from strengthening that notion the people had of God, that he en
deavoured to corrupt it ; the first idolatry in common histories being notei
to proceed from that part of tho world, the ancientest idol being at Baby lor
and supposed to be first invented by this person. Whenco by the way pel
haps Koine is in tho Kevelations called Babylon, with respect to that simili
tude of their saint-worship, to the idolatry first set up in that place.* It i
evident politicians have often changed the worship of a nation, but it is nc
upon record, that the first thoughts of an object of worship over entered int
tin: mindfl of people by any trick of theirs.

I Jut to return to tho present argument ; tho being of a God is owned b
BOme nations that havo scarce any form of policy among thorn. It is a
wonderful how any wit should hit upon such an invention, as it is absurd t
Ascribe it to any human device, if there were not prevailing arguments t
constrain the eonsent. Besides, how is it possible they should deceive then
Selves ? \\ hat is the reason the greatest politicians havo their tears of
deity upon their unjust practices, as well as other men, they intended i
befool '■' How many of them have had forlorn consciences upon a deathluu
upon tho consideration of a God to answer an account to in another world

* Or if we Qndei it&nd it, .1 I 10016 think, that he defended Ins invasions undei
text of the pre srving reli fion, it ■. that thoro was a notion of an ol

religion before, since p m oan be without an object of worship*

?S. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 141

.8 it credible they should be frighted by that wherewith they knew they
)eguiled others ? No man satisfying his pleasures would impose such a
leceit upon himself, or render and make himself more miserable than the
,reatures he hath dominion over.

Secondly, It is unaccountable how it should endure so long a time ; that
his policy should be so fortunate as to gain ground in the consciences of
nen, and exercise an empire over them, and meet with such an universal
iiuccess. If the notion of a God were a state-engine, and introduced by some
politic grandees for the ease of government, and preserving people with more
elicity in order, how comes it to pass the first broachers of it were never
ipon record ? There is scarce a false opinion vented in the world, but may
,s a stream be traced to the first head and fountain. The inventors of par-
icular forms of worship are known, and the reasons why they prescribed
hem known ; but what grandee was the author of this ? who can pitch a
ime and person that sprung up this notion ? If any be so insolent as to
mpose a cheat, he can hardly be supposed to be so successful as to deceive
he whole world for many ages. Impostures pass not free through the whole
rorld without examination and discovery. Falsities have not been univer-
ally and constantly owned without control and question. If a cheat imposeth
,pon some towns and countries, he will be found out by the more piercing
iquiries of other places ; and it is not easy to name any imposture that hath
/alked so long in its disguise in the world, without being unmasked and
fhipped out by some nation or other. If this had been a mere trick, there
|/ould have been as much craft in some to discern it as there was in others
ip contrive it. No man can be imagined so wise in a kingdom, but others
pay be found as wise as himself ; and it is not conceivable that so many
ilear-sighted men in all ages should be ignorant of it, and not endeavour to
[fee the world from so great a falsity.* It cannot be found that a trick of
.bate should a 1 ways beguile men of the most piercing insights, as well as the
lost credulous. That a few crafty men should befool all the wise men in
pie world, and the world lie in a belief of it, and never like to be freed from
i. What is the reason the succeeding politicians never knew this stratagem,
ince their maxims are usually handed to their successors ? f

This persuasion of the existence of God, owes not itself to any imposture

r subtlety of men. If it had not been agreeable to common nature and

-pason, it could not so long have borne sway. The imposed yoke would

,ave been cast off by multitudes. Men would not have charged themselves

ith that which was attended with consequences displeasing to the flesh, and

indered them from a full swing of their rebellious passions ; such a shackle

ould have mouldered of itself, or been broke by the extravagances human

tature is inclined unto. The wickedness of men, without question, hath

rompted them to endeavour to unmask it, if it were a cozenage, but could

ever yet be so successful as to free the world from a persuasion, or their

,vra consciences from the tincture, of the existence of a deity. It must be,

lerefore, of an ancienter date than the craft of statesmen, and descend into

le world with the first appearance of human nature. Time, which hath

ictified many errors, improves this notion, makes it shock down its roots

eeper, and spread its branches larger.

It must be a natural truth that shines clear by the detection of those errors
lat have befooled the world, and the wit of man is never able to name any
uman author that first insinuated it into the beliefs of men.
[3.] Nor was it fear first introduced it. Fear is the consequent of wicked-

* Fotherby, A theomastrix, p. 64.

t ' And there is not a Kichelieu, but leaves his axioms to a Mazarin.'

142 ckaknock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1

ness. As man was not created with any inherent sin, so he was not create<
with any terrifying fears ; the one had been against the holiness of the Crea
tor, the other against his goodness. Fear did not make this opinion, bn
the opinion of the being of a deity was the cause of this fear, after his sens'
of angering the deity by his wickedness. The object of fear is before th
act of fear ; there could not be an act of fear exercised about the deity, ti]
it was believed to be existent, and not only so, but offended. For God, a
existent only, is not the object of fear or love : it is not the existence of
thing that excites any of those affections, but the relation a thing bears to u
in particular. God is good, and so the object of love, as well as just, an
thereby the object of fear. He was as much called love (E^w;) and mens, c
mind, in regard of his goodness and understanding, by the heathens, as muc
as by any other name. Neither of those names were proper to insinuat
fear, neither was fear the first principle that made the heathens worship
god. They offered sacrifices out of gratitude to some, as well as to othei
out of fear ; the fear of evils in the world, and the hopes of belief and assis
ance from their gods, and not a terrifying fear of God, was the principal spriD
of their worship. When calamities from the hands of men, or judgments b
the influences of heaven, were upon them, they implored that which the
thought a deity. It was not their fear of him, but a hope in his goodnes
and persuasion of remedy from him, for the averting those evils, that renden
them adorers of a god. If they had not had pre-existent notions of his beir
and goodness, they would never have made addresses to him, or so frequent 1
sought to that they only apprehended as a terrifying object.* When yc<
hear men calling upon God in a time of affrighting thunder, you cann
imagine that the fear of thunder did first introduce the notion of a God, h
implies that it was before apprehended by them, or stamped upon ther
though their fear doth at present actuate that belief, and engage them in<
present exercise of piety ; and whereas the Scripture saith, * the fear of G<
is the beginning of wisdom,' Prov. ix. 10, Ps. cxi. 10, or of all religion, it
not understood of a distracted and terrifying fear, but a reverential fear
him, because of his holiness, or a worship of him, a submission to him, ai
sincere seeking of him.

Well then, is it not a folly for an atheist to deny that which is the reas<
and common sentiment of the whole world, to strip himself of humanity, n
counter to his own consience, prefer a private before a universal judgmei
mve the lie to his own nature and reason, assert things impossible to
proved, nay, impossible to be acted, forge irrationalities for the support'
liis fancy against the common persuasion of tho world, and against hiinscj
ami so much of God as is manifest in him and every man ? Rom. i. 19.

Beaton 2. It is a folly to deny that which all creatures, or all things in fcl
world manifest. y Let us viow this in Scripture since we acknowledge it, a i

after consider tin.' arguments from natural reason.

The apottle resolves it: Rom. i. 19, 20, 'The invisiblo things of him
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the
that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are with<

They Know, 0I might know, by tho things that were made,

eternity and power of iti"\ ; their sense might take circuit about every obj<
and their minds collect the being, and something of the perfections oi'
deity. The first discourse of the mind npon the sight of a delicate i
workmanship, is the conclusion of the being of an artificer, and the adi

lion of his skill and industry. The apostle doth not say, the invisihlc tlii:

• Qatatnd. i k. l, L I. a B, p. 2W, 292.

t Jupitei eat quodouoqus vales, &o.

PS. XIY. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 143

of God are believed, or they have an opinion of them, but they are seen, and
clearly seen. They are like crystal glasses, which give a clear representation
of the existence of a deity, like that mirror reported to bo in a temple in
Arcadia, which represented to the spectator, not his own face, but the image
of that deity which he worshipped.

The whole world is like a looking-glass, which whole and entire represents
the image of God, and every broken piece of it, every little shred of a crea-
ture, doth the like ; not only the great ones, elephants and the leviathan,
but ants, flies, worms, whose bodies rather than names we know ; the great
cattle and the creeping things, Gen. i. 24. Not naming there any interme-
diate creature, to direct us to view him in the smaller letters, as well as the
greater characters of the world. His name is glorious, and his attributes
are excellent ' in all the earth,' Ps. viii. 1, in every creature, as the glory of
the sun is in every beam and smaller flash ; he is seen in every insect, in
every spire of grass. The voice of the Creator is in the most contemptible
loreature.* The apostle adds that they are so clearly seen, that men are
inexcusable if they have not some knowledge of God by them ; if they might
not certainly know them, they might have some excuse. So that his exist-
ence is not only probably, but demonstratively, proved from the things of the
i world.

Especially the heavens declare him, which God ' stretches out like a cur-
tain,' Ps. civ. 2, or as some render the word, ' a skin,' whereby is signified,
that heaven is as an open book, which was anciently made of the skins of
beasts, that by the knowledge of them we may be taught the knowledge of
God. Where the Scripture was not revealed, the world served for a witness
jof a God; whatever arguments the Scripture uses to prove it are drawn
(from nature (though indeed it doth not so much prove as suppose the exist-
ence of a God), but what arguments it uses are from the creatures, and
particularly the heavens, which are the public preachers of this doctrine.
The breath of God sounds to all the world through those organ pipes. His
being is visible in their existence, his wisdom in their frame, his power in
their motion, his goodness in their usefulness; for 'their voice goeth to the
end of the earth,' Ps. xix. 1, 2. They have a voice, and their voice is as
intelligible as any common language. And those are so plain heralds of a
fdeity, that the heathen mistook them for deities, and gave them a particular
adoration which was due to that god they declared. The first idolatry
seems to be of those heavenly bodies, which began probably in the time of
; Nimrod. In Job's time it is certain they admired the glory of the sun and
the brightness of the moon, not without kissing their hand, a sign of adora-
tion, Job xxxi. 25, 27. It is evident a man may as well doubt whether there
be a sun, when he sees his beams gilding the earth, as doubt whether there
be a God, when he sees his works spread in the world.
The things in the world declare the existence of a God.
1, In their production; 2, harmony; 3, preservation; 4, answering their
several ends.

1. In their production. The declaration of the existence of God was
the chief end for which they were created, that the notion of a supreme and
independent eternal being might easier incur into the active understanding
of man from the objects of sense dispersed in every corner of the world,
that he might pay a homage and devotion to the Lord of all: Isa. xl. 12,

fl3, 18, 19, &c, ' Have you not understood from the foundation of the
earth, it is he that sits upon the circle of the heaven,' &c. How could
this great heap be brought into being unless a God had framed it ? Every
* Banes in Aquin., Par. 2, Qu. 2, Artie. 2, p. 78, col. 2.

144 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

plant, every atom, as well as every star, at the first meeting whispers thi
in our ears, I have a Creator, I am witness to a deity. Who ever sa
statues or pictures, but presently thinks of a statuary and limner ? W
beholds garments, ships, or houses, but understands there was a weaver,
carpenter, an architect ?* Who can cast his eyes about the world, but mu
think of that power that formed it, and that the goodness which appears
the formation of it hath a perfect residence in some being ? ' Those things
that are good must flow from something perfectly good; that which is chief
in any kind is the cause of all of that kind. Fire, which is most hot, is the
cause of all things which are hot. There is some being therefore which is
the cause of all that perfection which is in the creature, and this is God'
(Aquin. i. qu. 2, art. 3). All things that are demonstrate something from
whence they are. All things have a contracted perfection, and what they
have is communicated to them. Perfections are parcelled out among several
creatures. Anything that is imperfect cannot exist of itself. We are led
therefore by them to consider a fountain which bubbles up in all perfection,
a hand which distributes those several degrees of being and perfection to
what we see. We see that which is imperfect, our minds conclude some-
thing perfect to exist before it ; our eye sees the streams, but our under
standing riseth to the head ; as the eye sees the shadow, but the under
standing informs us whether it be the shadow of a man or of a beast.

God hath given us sense to behold the objects in the world, and under-
standing to reason his existence from them ; the understanding cannot i
conceive a thing to have made itself, that is against all reason, Rom. i. 20. K
As they are made, they speak out a maker, and cannot be a trick of chance,
since they are made with such an immense wisdom, that is too big for the -
grasp of all human understanding. Those that doubt whether the existence j
of God be an implanted principle, yet agree that the effects in the world ,
lead to a supreme and universal cause ; and that if we have not the know-
ledge of it rooted in our natures, yet we have it by discourse, since by all
masters of reason a processus in infinitum must be accounted impossible in '
subordinate causes.

This will appear in several things.

(1.) The world and every creature had a beginning. The Scripture ascer-
tains this to us, Gen. i. David, who was not the first man, gives the praise
to God of his being 'curiously wrought,' &c, Ps. cxxxix. 14, 15. God
gave being to men, and plants, and beasts, before they being to one,t : ,
another. He gives being to them now as the fountain of all being, thou
the several modes of being are from the several natures of second causes.

It is true indeed we are ascertained that they were made by the true God,
that they were made by his word (' By faith we understand that the worlds. .
were framed by the word of God,' &c, Heb. xi. 8), that thoy wero made o(
nothing, and not only this lower world wherein we live, but according to i
the Jewish division, the world of men, tho world of stars, and the world of
spirits and souls. Wo do not waver in it, or doubt of it, as tho heathen
did in their disputes; we know they aro the workmanship of the truo God M
of that God wo ftdore, not of false gods. 'By his word:' without any
instrument Or engine as in earthly structures; 'of things which do not,
appear:' without au\ pro-existent matter, as all artificial works of men are
framed.

Vet, the proof of the beginning of the world is affirmed with gooA
and if it, had a beginning, it bad also somo higher cause than itself;
effect bath a cause.

* Philo, ex lVtav. Tlicol. 1 »<';:. kom. L lih. 1, cap. 1, p. 4, somewhat clou:

PS. XIV. I.J THE EXISTENCE OP GOD. 145

The world was not eternal or from eternity.* The matter of the world
cannot be eternal; matter cannot subsist without form, nor put on any form
without the action of some cause ; this cause must be in being before it
acted ; that which is not cannot act. The cause of the world must neces-
sarily exist before any matter was endued with any form ; that therefore
cannot be eternal before which another did subsist. If it were from
eternity, it would not be subject to mutation ; if the whole was from
eternity, why not also the parts ? What makes the changes so visible,
,hen, if eternity would exempt it from mutability ?

. [1.] Time cannot be infinite, and therefore the world not eternal;! all
motion hath its beginning ; if it were otherwise, we must say the number of
leavenly revolutions of days and nights, which are past to this instant, is
actually infinite, which cannot be in nature. If it were so, it must needs
De granted that a part is equal to the whole ; because infinite being equal to
nfinite, the number of days past in all ages to the beginning of one year
aeing infinite (as they would be, supposing the world had no beginning),
jvould by consequence be equal to the number of days which shall pass to
;he end of the next; whereas the number of days past is indeed but a part,
ind so a part would be equal to the whole.

[2.] Generations of men, animals, and plants could not be from eternity. J
It any man say the world was from eternity, then there must be propaga-
tions of living creatures in the same manner as are at this day, for without
;his the world could not consist. What we see now done must have been
perpetually done, if it be done by a necessity of nature ; but we see nothing
iow that doth arise but by a mutual propagation from another. If the
vorld were eternal, therefore, it must be so in all eternit}'. Take any par-
icular species, suppose a man, if men were from eternity, then there were
nerpetual generations, some were born into the world and some died. Now
he natural condition of generation is, that a man doth not generate a man,
lor a sheep a lamb, as soon as ever itself is brought into the world, but
; ;$ets strength and vigour by degrees, and must arrive to a certain stated age >efore they can produce the like ; for whilst anything is little and below the lue age, it cannot increase its kind. Men therefore and other creatures did tropagate their kind by the same law, not as soon as ever they were born, ;»ut in the interval of some time, and children grew up by degrees in the bother's womb till they were fit to be brought forth. If this be so, then rhere could not be an eternal succession of propagating ; for there is no ternal continuation of time. Time is always to be conceived as having ne part before another; but that perpetuity of nativities is always after ; ome time, wherein it could not be for the weakness of age. If no man, ! ien, can conceive a propagation from eternity, there must be then a eginning of generation in time, and consequently the creatures were made l time. To express it in the words of one of our own : ' If the world were eternal, : j must have been in the same posture as it is now, in a state of generation nd corruption ; and so corruption must have been as eternal as generation, nd then things that do generate and corrupt must have eternally been, and ternally not have been : there must be some first way to set generation on r ork.' § We must lose ourselves in our conceptions ; we cannot conceive father before a child, as well as we cannot conceive a child before a father ; nd reason is quite bewildered, and cannot return into a right way of con- * Daille, 20 Serm. Psa. cii. p. 13, 14. t Daille ut supra. J Petav. Theo. Dogmat. torn. i. lib. 1, cap. 2, p. 15. § Wolseley of Atheism, page 47. VOL. I. K 146 charnock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1. ception till it conceive one first of every kind : one first man, one first ani- mal, one first plant, from whence others do proceed. The argument is unan- swerable, and the wisest atheist (if any atheist can be called wise) cannot unloose the knot. We must come to something that is first in every kind, and this first must have a cause, not of the same kind, but infinite and independent ; otherwise men run into inconceivable labyrinths and contra- dictions. Man, the noblest creature upon earth, hath a beginning. No man in the world but was some 3 r ears ago no man. If every man we see had beginning, then the first man had also a beginning, then the world had beginning ; for the earth, which was made for the use of man, had wanted that end for which it was made. ' We must pitch upon some one man that was unborn ;'* that first man must either be eternal, — that cannot be, for he that hath no beginning hath no end, — or must spring out of the earth, as plants and trees do, — that cannot be. Why should not the earth produce men to this day, as it doth plants and trees ? He was therefore made ; and what- soever is made hath some cause that made it, which is God. If the world were uncreated, f it were then immutable, but every creature upon [the earth is in a continual flux, always changing. If things be mutable, they were created; if created, they were made by some author; whatsoever hath a beginning must have a maker ; if the world hath a beginning, there was then a time when it was not : it must have some cause to produce it. That which makes is before that which is made, and this is God ; which will appear further in this Prop. No creature can make itself: the world could not make itself. If every man had a beginning, every man then was once nothing ; he could not then make himself, because nothing cannot be the cause of some- thing : Ps. c. 3, ' The Lord he is God : he hath made us, and not we our- selves.' Whatsoever begun in time, was not; and when it was nothing, it had nothing, and could do nothing : and therefore could never give to itself nor to any other to be, or to be able to do ; for then it gave what it had not, and did what it could not. J Since reason must acknowledge * first of every kind, a first man, &c, it must acknowledge him created and made, not by him- self. Why have not other men since risen up by themselves ? Not by chance ; why hath not chance produced the like in that long time the world hath stood ? If we never knew any thing give being to itself, how can we ima- gine any thing ever could ? If the chiefest part of this lower world cannot, nor any pari of it hath been known to give being to itself, then the whole cannot be supposed to give any being to itself. Man did not form himself:. bifl body is not from himself; it would then have the power of moving itself, but that is not able to live or act without the presence of the soul. Whilst the soul is present, tho body moves; when that is absent, the body lies as a si i] log, not having the least action or motion. His soul could DOt form itself; can ihat which cannot form the least mote, the least grain of dust, form itself a nobler BllbBtance limn any upon the earth? Thil will he evident to every man's reason, if we consider, 1. Nothing can aot before it be. The first man was not, and then could Dot make himself to be : for any thing to produce itself is to act ; if it acted before it was, it was then something and nothing at the same time ;l it had then a being boforo it had a being; it acted when it brought it into being. How oould it aot without a being, without it was? So that ill it were the cause of itself, it must be before itself as well as after itself: i * lviav. ;// supra, page 10. | Dumuaon. X Petav. Thooa. Dog. torn. i. lib. i. cap. 8, page 14. Id PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OP GOD. 147 was before it was ; it was as a cause before it was as an effect. Action always supposes a principle from whence it flows ; as nothing hath no exist- ence, so it hath no operation ; there must be therefore something of real existence to give a being to those things that are, and every cause must be an effect of some other before it be a cause. To be and not be at the same time, is a manifest contradiction, which would be if any thing made itself. That which makes is always before that which is made. Who will say the house is before tho carpenter, or the picture before the limner ? The world as a creator must be before itself as a creature. 2. That which doth not understand itself, and order itself, could not make itself. If the first man fully understood his own nature, the excellency of his own soul, the manner of its operations, why was not that understanding conveyed to his posterity ? Are not many of them found, w r ho understand their own nature almost as little as a beast understands itself, or a rose understands its own sweetness, or a tulip its own colours ? The Scripture indeed gives us an account how this came about, viz., by the deplorable rebellion of man, whereby death was brought upon them, a spiritual death, which includes ignorance as well as an inability to spiritual action, Gen. ii. 17, Ps. xlix. 8. Thus he fell from his honour, and became like the beasts that perish, and not retaining God in his knowledge, retained not himself in his own knowledge. But what reply can an atheist make to it, who acknowledges no higher cause than nature ? J£ the soul made itself, how comes it to be so muddy, so wanting in its knowledge of itself and of other things ? If the soul made its own understanding, whence did the defect arise ? If some first principle was settled by the first man in himself, where was the stop, that he did not implant all in his own mind, and consequently in the minds of all his descend- ants ? Our souls know little of themselves, little of the world, are every day upon new inquiries, have little satisfaction in themselves, meet with many an invincible rub in their way ; and when they seem to come ^to some reso- lution in some cases, stagger again, and like a stone rolled up to the top of the hill, quickly find themselves again at the foot. How come they to be so purblind in truth ? so short of that which they judge true goodness ? How comes it to pass they cannot order their own rebellious affections, and suffer the reins they have to hold over their affections to be taken out of their hands by the unruly fancy and flesh ? Thus no man that denies the being of a God, and the revelation in Scrip- ture, can give an account of. Blessed be God that we have the Scripture, which gives us an account of those things, that all the wit of men could never inform us of ; and that when they are discovered and known by reve- lation, they appear not contrary to reason. 3. If the first man made himself, how came he to limit himself? If he gave himself being, why did he not give himself all the perfections and orna- ments of being ? Nothing that made itself could sit down contented with a little, but would have had as much power to give itself that which is less, as to give itself being when it was nothing. The excellencies it wanted had not been more difficult to gain than the other which it possessed, as belonging to its nature. If the first man had been independent upon another, and had his perfection from himself, he might have acquired that perfection he wanted, as well as have bestowed upon himself that perfection he had ; and then there would have been no bounds set to him. He would have been omniscient and immutable. He might have given himself what he would ; if he had had the setting his own bounds, he would have set none at all ; for what should restrain him ? No man now wants ambition to be what he is 148 charnock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1. not ; and if the first man had not been determined by another, but had given himself being, he would not have remained in that determinate being, no more than a toad would remain a toad, if it had power to make itself a man, and that power it would have had, if it had given itself a being. "Whatso- ever gives itself being, would give itself all degrees of being, and so would have no imperfection, because every imperfection is a want of some degree of being.* He that could give himself matter and life, might give himself every thing. The giving of life is an act of omnipotence, and what is omni- potent in one thing, may be in all. Besides, if the first man had made himself, he would have conveyed himself to all his posterity in the same manner ; every man would have had all the perfections of the first man, as every creature hath the perfections of the same kind ; from whence it natu- rally issues, all are desirous to communicate what they can to their pos- terity. Communicative goodness belongs to every nature. Every plant propagates its kind in the same perfection it hath itself; and the nearer any- thing comes to a rational nature, the greater affection it hath to that which descends from it ; therefore this affection belongs to a rational nature much more. The first man, therefore, if he had had power to give himself being, and consequently all perfection, he would have had as much power to convey it down to his posterity ; no impediment could have stopped his way : then all souls proceeding from that first man would have been equally intellectual. What should hinder them from inheriting the same perfections ? whence should they have diverse qualifications and difference* in their understand- ings ? No man then would have been subject to those weaknesses, doubt- ings, and unsatisfied desires of knowledge and perfection. But being all souls are not alike, it is certain they depend upon some other cause for the communication of that excellency they have. If the perfections of men be so contracted and kept within certain bounds, it is certain that they were not in his own power, and so were not from himself. Whatsoever hath a determinate being must be limited by some superior cause. There is there- fore some superior power, that hath thus determined the creature by set bounds and distinct measures, and hath assigned to every one its proper nature, that it should not be greater or less than it is ; who hath said of every one, as of the waves of the sea, Job xxxviii. 11, 'Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further ;' and this is God. Man could not have reserved any perfection from his posterity ; for since he doth propagate not by choice but nature, he could no more have kept back any perfection from them than he could, as ho pleased, have given any perfection belonging to his nature to them. 4. That which hath power to givo itself being, cannot want power to pro- servo that being. J 'reservation is not moro difficult than creation. If the first man made himself, why did ho not preservo himself? Ho is not now among the living in the world. How came ho to bo so feeblo as to sink into the grave ? Why did he not inspire himself with now heat and moisture, and fill his languishing limbs and declining body with new strength? Why did ho Dot chase away discuses and death at the first approach ? What en turo can tin<l I ho dust of the first man ? All his posterity traverse tho st ;md rutin again ; in a short ipaec again their ' age departs, and is removed from thnii at a shepherd's tent, and is cut off with pining sickness, 1 1 xxxviii. 12. The life of nan il as a wind, and like a cloud that is con- sumed and vanishes away. 'Tho eye that soos him shall Bee him no more. Ho returns not to his house, neither doth his place know him any moro,' * Thcrcforo the beatheni called God rh 6V, the only being. Other things wore not being*, because they hud not nil deglSSI of being. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 149 Job vii. 8, 10. The Scripture gives us the reason of this, and lays it upon the score of sin against his Creator, which no man without revelation can give any satisfactory account of. Had the first man made himself, he had been sufficient for himself, able to support himself without the assistance of any creature. He would not have needed animals and plants, and other helps to nourish and refresh him, nor medicines to cure him. He could not be beholding to other things for his support, which he is certain he never made for himself. His own nature would have continued that vigour which once he had conferred upon him- self. He would not have needed the heat and light of the sun ; he would have wanted nothing sufficient for himself in himself; he needed not have sought without himself for his own preservation and comfort. What de- pends upon another is not of itself, and what depends upon things inferior to itself is less of itself. Since nothing can subsist of itself, since we see those things upon which man depends for his nourishment and subsistence growing and decaying, starting into the world and retiring from it, as well as man himself, some preserving cause must be concluded upon which all depends. 5. If the first man did produce himself, why did he not produce himself before ? It hath been already proved that he had a beginning, and could not be from eternity. Why then did he not make himself before ? Not because he would not. For having no being, he could have no will ; he could neither be willing nor not willing. If he could not then, how could he after- wards ? If it were in his own power he could have done it, he would have done it ; if it were not in his own power, then it was in the power of some other cause, and that is God. How came he by that power to produce him- self? If the power of producing himself were communicated by another, then man could not be the cause of himself. That is the cause of it which communicated that power to it. But if the power of being was in and from himself, and in no other, nor communicated to him, man would always have been in act, and always have existed, no hindrance can be conceived. For that which had the power of being in itself was invincible by anything that should stand in the way of its own being. We may conclude from hence the excellency of the Scripture, that it is a word not to be refused credit. It gives us the most rational account of things in the 1st and 2d of Genesis, which nothing in the world else is able to do. Prop. 2. No creature could make the world. No creature can create another. If it creates of nothing, it is then omnipotent, and so not a crea- ture. If it makes something of matter unfit for that which is produced out of it, then the inquiry will be, Who was the cause of the matter ? and so we must arrive to some uncreated being, the cause of all. Whatsoever gives being to any other must be the highest being, and must possess all the per- fections of that which it gives being to. What visible creature is there which possesses the perfections of the whole world ? If, therefore, an in- visible creature made the world, the same inquiries will return, whence that creature had its being ? For he could not make himself. If any creature did create the world, he must do it by the strength and virtue of another, which first gave him being ; and this is God. For whatsoever hath its exist- ence and virtue of acting from another is not God. If it hath its virtue from another, it is then a second cause, and so supposeth a first cause. It must have some cause of itself, or be eternally existent. If eternally existent, it is not a second cause, but God ; if not eternally existent, we must come to 150 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. something at length which was the cause of it, or else be bewildered without being able to give an account of anything. We must come at last to an infinite, eternal, independent being that was the first cause of this structure and fabric wherein we and all creatures dwell. The Scripture proclaims this aloud : Isa. xlv. 6, 7, Dent. iv. 35, ' I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and I create darkness.' Man, the noblest creature, cannot of himself make a man, the chiefest part of the world. If our parents only, without a superior power, made our bodies or souls, they would know the frame of them ; as he that makes a lock knows the wards of it ; he that makes any curious piece of arras knows how he sets the various colours together, and how many threads went to each division in the web ; he that makes a watch, having the idea of the whole work in his mind, knows the motions of it, and the reason of those motions. But both parents and chil- dren are equally ignorant of the nature of their souls and bodies, and of the reason of their motions. God only, that had the supreme hand in inform- ing us, ' in whose book all our members are written, which in continuance were fashioned,' Ps. cxxxix, 16, knows what we all are ignorant of. If man hath, in an ordinary course of generation, his being chiefly from an higher cause than his parents, the world then certainly had its being from some infinitely wise intelligent being, which is God. If it were, as some fancy, made by an assembly of atoms, there must be some infinite intelligent cause that made them, some cause that separated them, some cause that mingled them together for the piling up so comely a structure as the world. It is the most absurd thing to think they should meet together by hazard, and rank themselves in that order we see without a higher and a wise agent. DO bo that no creature could make the world. For supposing any creature was formed before this visible world, and might have a hand in disposing things, yet he must have a cause of himself, and must act by the virtue and strength of another, and this is God. Prop. 3. From hence it follows, that there is a'first cause of things, which we call God. There must be something supreme in the order of nature, something which is greater than all, which hath nothing beyond it or above it, otherwise we must run in infinitum. We see not a river but we conclude a fountain; a watch, but we conclude an artificer. As all number begins from unity, so all the multitude of things in the world begins from some unity, oneness, as the principle of it. It is natural to arise from a view of those things to the conception of a nature more perfect than any. As from heat mixed with cold, and light mixed with darkness, men conceive and ariso in their understanding to an intense heat and a pure light, and from a corporeal or bodily substance joined with an incorporeal (as man is an earthly body and a spirit nal soul), wo ascend to a conception of a substance purely in- corporeal and spiritual, so from a multitude of things in the world, reason leads us to one choice being abovo all. And since, in all natures in the world, we still find a superior nature, the nature of ono beast abovo tho nature of another, the nature of man above the naturo of beasts, and sonio invisible nature, the worker of strange effects in tho air and earth, which cannot be ascribed to any visible cause, we must supposo somo nature abovo all those, of inconceivable perfection. Every sceptic, one that doubts whether thero bo anything real or no in tho world, that counts everything an appearance, must necessarily own a first cause.* They oannot reasonably doubt but that there is some first cause, which makes the thingl appear so to them. They cannot be tho causo of their own appearance. For as nothing can have a being from * Coccci. Sum. Thcol. cap. 8, sec. 33. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 151 itself, so nothing can appear by itself and its own force. Nothing can be and not be at the same time. But that which is not, and yet seems to be, if it be the cause why it seems to be what it is not, it may be said to be and not to be. But certainly such persons must think themselves to exist. If they do not, they cannot think ; and if they do exist, they must have some cause of that existence. So that, which way soever we turn ourselves, we must in reason own a first cause in the world. Well, then, might the psalmist term an atheist a fool, that disowns a God against his own reason. Without owning a God as the first cause of the world, no man can give any tolerable or satisfactory account of the world to his own reason. And this first cause, I. Must necessarily exist. It is necessary that he by whom all things are should be before all things, and nothing before him.* And if nothing be before him, he comes not from any other ; and then he always was, and without beginning. He is from himself; not that he once was not, but because he hath not his existence from another, and therefore of necessity he did exist from all eternity. Nothing can make itself or bring itself into being ; therefore there must be some being which hath no cause, that depends upon no other, never was produced by any other, but was what he is from eternity, and cannot be otherwise, and is not what he is by will, but nature, necessarily existing, and always existing without any capacity or possibility • ever not to be. 2. Must be infinitely perfect. Since man knows he is an imperfect being, I he must suppose the perfections he wants are seated in some other being, f which hath limited him, and upon which he depends. Whatsover we con- i ceive of excellency or perfection must be in God ; for we can conceive no perfection but what God hath given us a power to conceive. And he that gave us power to conceive a transcendent perfection above whatsoever we v saw or heard of, hath much more in himself, or else he could not give us such a conception. II. As the production of the world, so the harmony of all the parts of it declare the being and wisdom of a God. Without the acknowledging God, the atheist can give no account of those things. The multitude, elegancy, j variety, and beauty of all things are steps whereby to ascend to one fountain and original of them. Is it not a folly to deny the being of a wise agent, who sparkles in the beauty and motions of the heavens, rides upon the wings of the wind, and is writ upon the flowers and fruits of plants ? As the cause is known by the effects, so the wisdom of the cause is known by the elegancy of the work, the proportion of the parts to one another. Who can imagine the world could be rashly made, and without consultation, which in every part of it is so artificially framed ?f No work of art?springs up of its own accord. The world is framed by an excellent art, and therefore made by some skilful artist. As we hear not a melodious instrument but we conclude there is a musician that touches it, as well as some skilful hand that framed and dis- posed it for those lessons, — and no man that hears the pleasant sound of a lute but will fix his thoughts, not upon the instrument itself, but upon the skill of the artist that made it, and the art of the musician that strikes it, though he should not see the first when he saw the lute, nor see the other when he hears the harmony, — so a rational creature confines not his thoughts to his sense when he sees the sun in its glory and the moon walking in its * Petav. Theol. Dog. torn. i. lib. i. cap. 2, page 10, 11. t Pkilo. Judae. Petav. Theol. Dogmat. torn. i. lib. i. cap. 1, page 9. 152 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. brightness, but riseth up in a contemplation and admiration of that infinite spirit that composed and filled them with such sweetness. This appears, 1. In the linking contrary qualities together. All things are compounded of the elements. Those are endued with contrary qualities, dryness and moisture, heat) and cold ; these would always be contending with and infest- ing one another's rights, till the contest ended in the destruction of one or both. Where fire is predominant, it would suck up the water ; where water is prevalent, it would quench the fire : the heat would wholly expel the cold, or the cold overpower the heat. Yet we see them chained and linke one within another in every body upon the earth, and rendering mutu offices for the benefit of that body wherein they are seated, and all conspirin together in their particular quarrels for the public interest of the body. Ho could those contraries, that of themselves observed no order, that are always preying upon one another, jointly accord together of themselves for one common end, if they were not linked in a common band, and reduced to that order by some incomprehensible wisdom and power, which keeps a hand upon them, orders their motions, and directs their events, and makes them friendly pass into one another's natures ? Confusion had been the result of the discord and diversity of their natures ; no composition could have been of those conflicting qualities for the frame of any body, nor any harmony arose from so many jarring strings, if they had not been reduced into concord by one that is supreme Lord over them, and knows how to dispose their varieties and enmities for the public good.* If a man should see a large city or country, consisting of great multitudes of men of different tempers, full of frauds, and factions, and animosities in their natures against one another, yet living together in good order and peace, without oppressing and invading one another, and joining together for the public good, he would . presently conclude there were some excellent governor, who tempered them by his wisdom and preserved the public peace, though he had never yet beheld hirn with his eye. It is as necessary to conclude a God, who mode- rates the contraries in the world, as to conclude a wise prince, who over- | rules the contrary dispositions in a state, making every one to keep his own bounds and confines. Things that are contrary to one another subsist in an i admirable order. 2. In the subserviency of one thing to another. All the members of liv- ing creatures are curiously fitted for the service of one another, destined to a particular end, and endued with a virtue to attain that end, and so dis- tinctly placed, that one is no hindrance to the other in its operations. f Is not this more admirablo than to bo the work of chance, which is incapable to settle such an order, and fix particular and general ends, causing an exact correspondency of all parts with one another, and every part to conspire together lor one common end ? One thing is fitted for another. The eye is fitted for the sun, ;md the sun fitted fur the eye. Soveral sorts of food aro fitted for several creatures, and those creatures fitted with organs for the partaking of that food. (1.) Subserviency of heavenly bodies. The sun, the heart of the world, is not for itself hut for the good of the world, |. as the heart of man is for the good of the body. How conveniently is the sun placed, at a distance from tho earth and the upper hea\cns, to enlighten the stars above and enliven tho earth below ! [( it wore either higher 01 lower, one part would want its iniluences. It is not. in the higher parts of the heavens ; tho earth tlan, * Athani tin i, Petev. Tbeol., Dog. bom. i. Mb, i. cup. l, j>. 1, « r >. f Gasaond. i'hyaie, seel. i. lib. iv. cup. 2, page i)15. J Loaaius. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 153 which lives and fructifies by its influence, would have been exposed to a per- petual winter and chillness, unable to have produced anything for the suste- nance of man or beast ; if seated lower, the earth had been parched up, tho world made uninhabitable, and long since had been consumed to ashes by the strength of its heat. Consider the motion, as well as the situation, of the sun. Had it stood still, one part of the world had been cherished by its beams, and tho other left in a desolate widowhood, in a disconsolate darkness. Besides, the earth would have had no shelter from its perpendi- cular beams striking perpetually and without any remission upon it. The same incommodities would have followed upon its fixedness as upon its too great nearness. By a constant day the beauty of the stars had been ob- scured, the knowledge of their motions been prevented, and a considerable part of the glorious wisdom of the Creator in those choice ' works of his fingers,' Ps. viii. 3, had been veiled from our eyes. It moves in a fixed line, visits all parts of the earth, scatters in the day its refreshing blessings in every creek of the earth, and removes the mask from the other beauties of heaven in the night, which sparkle out to the glory of the Creator. It spreads its light, warms the earth, cherisheth the seeds, excites the spirit in the earth, and brings fruit to maturity. View also the air, the vast extent between heaven and earth, which serves for a watercourse, a cistern for water to bedew the face of the sunburnt earth, to satisfy the desolate ground, and to cause the ? bud of the tender herb to spring forth,' Job xxxviii. 25, 27. Could chance appoint the clouds of the air to interpose as fans before the scorching heat of the sun and the faint bodies of the creatures ? Can that be the ' father of the rain,' or ' beget the drops of dew ' ? ver. 28. Could anything so blind settle those ordinances of heaven for the preserva- tion of creatures on the earth ? Can this either bring or stay the bottles of heaven, when ' the dust grows into hardness and the clods cleave fast together ' ? ver. 37, 38. (2.) Subserviency of the lower world, the earth and sea, which was created to be inhabited, Isa. xlv. 18. The sea affords .water to the rivers ; the rivers, like so many veins, are spread through the whole body of the earth to refresh and enable it to bring forth fruit for the sustenance of man and beast: Ps. civ. 10, 11, ' He sends the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field : the wild asses quench their thirst. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth,' ver. 14. The trees are provided for shades against the extremity of heat, a refuge for the panting beasts, ' an habitation for birds ' wherein to make their nests, ver. 17, and a basket for their provision. How are the valleys and mountains of the earth disposed for the pleasure and profit of oaan ! Every year are the fields covered with harvests, for the nourishing ihe creatures; no part is barren, but beneficial to man. The mountains that are not clothed with grass for his food are set with stones to make him an habitation ; they have their peculiar services of metals and minerals, for ■he conveniency, and comfort, and benefit of man. Things which are not .it for his food are medicines for his cure under some painful sickness. Where the earth brings not forth corn, it brings forth roots for the service of other creatures. Wood abounds more in those countries where the cold :s stronger than in others. Can this be the result of chance, or not rather »f an infinite wisdom ? Consider the usefulness of the sea for the supply of rivers to refresh the :arth, ' which go up by the mountains and down by the valleys into the dace God hath founded for them,' Ps. civ. 8 : a storehouse for fish for the 154 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. nourishment of other creatures, a shop of medicines for cure, and pearls for ornament ; the band that ties remote nations together, by giving oppor- tunity of passage to, and commerce -with one another. How should that natural inclination of the sea to cover the earth submit to this subserviency to the creatures ? Who hath pounded in this fluid mass of water in certain limits, and confined it to its own channel for the accommodation of such creatures, who by its common law can only be upon the earth ? Naturally tb earth was covered with the deep as with a garment, the waters stood abov< the mountains : ■ Who set a bound that they might not pass over, that the; return not again to cover the earth ?' Ps. civ. 6, 9. Was it blind chance or an infinite power, that ' shut up the sea with doors, and made thic darkness a swaddling band for it, and said, Hitherto shall thou come, and n further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed'? Job xxxviii. 8, 9, 11. All things are so ordered that they are not propter se, but propter aliucl. What advantage accrues to the sun by its unwearied rolling about the world? Doth it increase the perfection of its nature by all its circuits ? No, but it serves the inferior world, it impregnates things by its heat. Not the most abject thing, but hath its end and use. There is a straight connection : the earth could not bring forth fruit without the heavens, the heavens could not water the earth without vapours from it. (3.) All this subserviency of creatures centres in man. Other creatures are served by those things as well as ourselves, and they are provided for their nourishment and refreshment as well as ours ; * yet both they and all creatures meet in man, as lines in their centres. Things that have no life or sense are made for those that have both life and sense, and those that have life and sense are made for those that are endued with reason. When the psalmist admiringly considers the heavens, moon, and stars, he intimates man to be the end for which they were created : Ps. viii. 3, 4, ■ What is man that thou art mindful of him ? ' He expresseth more particularly the dominion that man hath over ' the beasts of the fields, the fowl of the air and whatsoever passes through the paths of the sea,' ver. 6-8, and con eludes from thence the ' excellency of God's name in all the earth.' All things in the world, one way or other, centre in an usefulness for man : some to feed him, some to clothe him, some to delight him, others to instruct him, some to exercise his wit, and others his strength. Since man did not make them, he did not also order them for his own use. If they conspire to serve him who never made them, they direct man to acknowledge another, who is the joint Creator both of the lord and the servants under his dominion. An 1 therefore, as the inferior natures are ordered by an invisible hand for tin: good of man, so the nature of man is by the same hand ordered to acknowledge the cxistenco and the glory of the Creator of him. This visible order man knows lie did not constitute, ho did not settle thoso creatures in subserviency to himself; they wcro placed in that order before he bad any acquaintance with them, or existence of himself, which is a question (iod puts to .lob, to consider of: Job xxxviii. 1, ' Where wast thou when ] laid tbc foundation of the earth ? Declare if thou hast understanding.* All is ordered for man's use, the heavene answer to the earth as a roof to a lloor, both composing a delightful habitation for man ; ' vapours ascend from tho earth,' and the bea?eni concocts them, and returns them back in welcome •howen for the supplying of the earth, Jer. x. 18. Tim light o( the sun descends to beautify the earth, and employs its beat to midwife its fruits, and thil for tbo good of the community, whereof man is the head; and though all creatines bavv distinct natures, and must act for particular i • AmyralA.de Trinitate, p. 18 and p. 18. 3 » t ?S. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 155 according to the law of their creation, yet there is a joint combination for ihe good of the whole as the common end ; just as all the rivers in the world, from what part soever they come, whether north or south, fall into the sea, for the supply of that mass of waters ; which loudly proclaims some infinitely wise nature who made those things in so exact an harmony. ' As in a clock, the hammer which strikes the bell leads us to the next wheel, <hat to another, the little wheel to a greater, whence it derives its motion, his at last to the spring, which acquaints us that there was some artist hat framed them in this subordination to one another for this orderly notion.'* (4.) This .order or subserviency is regular and uniform. Everything is ietermined to its peculiar nature. f The sun and moon make day and light, months and years, determine the seasons, never are defective in oming back to their station and place, they wander not from their roads, mock not against one another, nor hinder one another in the functions issigned them. From a small grain or seed a tree springs, with body, root, oark, leaves, fruit of the same shape, figure, smell, taste ; that there should >e as many parts in one as in all of the same kind, and no more, and that n the womb of a sensitive creature should be formed one of the same kind, pith all the due members and no more, and the creature that produceth it mows not how it is formed or how it is perfected. If we say this is iature, this nature is an intelligent being ; if not, how can it direct all auses to such uniform ends ? If it be intelligent, this nature must be the ame we call God, who ordered every herb to yield seed, and every fruit- fee to yield fruit after its kind, and also every beast and every creeping ling after its kind, Gen. i. 11, 12, 24. And everything is determined to its particular season. The sap riseth "om the root at its appointed time, enlivening and clothing the branches ith a new garment at such a time of the sun's returning, not wholly indered by any accidental coldness of the weather, it being often colder at s return than it was at the sun's departure. All things have their seasons flourishing, budding, blossoming, bringing forth fruit ; they ripen in their msons, cast their leaves at the same time, throw off their old clothes, and the spring appear with new garments, but still in the same fashion. The winds and the rain have their seasons,!, and seem to be administered r laws for the profit of man. No satisfactory cause of those things can be cribed to the earth, the sea, to the air or stars. ' Can any understand e spreading of his clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle ? ' Job xxxvi. 29. tie natural reason of those things cannot be demonstrated without recourse an infinite and intelligent being. Nothing can be rendered capable of the •ection of those things but a God. This regularity in plants and animals is in all nations. The heavens have e same motion in all parts of the world ; all men have the same law o f ,ture in their mind ; all creatures are stamped with the same law o f eation. In all parts the same creatures serve for the same use ; and thoug h ':9re be different creatures in India and Europe, yet they have the same ;bordination, the same subserviency to one another, and ultimately to n, which shews that there is a God, and but one God, who tunes all se different strings to the same notes in all places. It is nature merely ducts these natural causes in due measures to their proper effects, with- interfering with one another! Can mere nature be the cause of those sical proportions of time ? You may as well conceive a lute to sound its * Morn, dc Verit. cap. i. p. 7. t Amyrant. X Coccei. Sum. Theol. cap. viii. sec. 77. 156 charnock's works. [Ps. XIY. i. own strings without the hand of an artist, a city well governed without a governor, an army keep its stations without a general, as imagine so exact an order without an orderer. Would any man, when he hears a clock strike, by fit intervals, the hour of the day, imagine this regularity in it, without the direction of one that had understanding to manage it? He would not only regard the motion of the clock, but commend the diligence of the clock-keeper. (5.) This order and subserviency is constant. Children change the customs and manners of their fathers, magistrates change the laws they have received from their ancestors, and enact new ones in their room ; but in the world all things consist as they were created at the beginning ; the law of nature in the creatures hath met with no change.* Who can behold the sun rising in the morning, the moon shining in the night, increasing and decreasing in its due spaces, the stars in their regular motions night after night, for all ages, and yet deny a president over them ? And this motion of the heavenly bodies, being contrary to the nature of other creatures, who move in order to rest, must be from some higher cause. But those, ever since the settling in their places, have been perpetually rounding the world. — Whether it be the sun or the earth that moves, it is all one ; whence have either of them this constant and uniform motion ? — What nature, but one powerful and in- telligent, could give that perpetual motion to the sun, which being bigger than the earth a hundred sixty-six times, runs many thousand miles with a mighty swiftness in the space of an hour, with an unwearied diligence per- forming its daily task, and as a strong man, rejoicing to run its race for above five thousand years together, without intermission but in the time of Joshua ? Josh. x. 13. It is not nature's sun, but God's sun, which ho 'makes to rise upon the just and unjust,' Mat. v. 45. So a plant receives its nourishment from the earth, sends forth its juice to every branch, forms a bud which spreads it into a blossom and flower; the leaves of this drop off, and leave a fruit of the same colour and taste, every year, which being ripened by the sun, leaves seed behind it for the propagation of its like, which contains in the nature of it the same kind of buds, blossoms, fruit, which were before ; and, being nourished in the womb of the earth, and quickened by the power of the sun, discovers itself at length in all the progresses and motions which its predecessor did. Thus, in all ages, in all places, every year it performs the same task, spins out fruit of tin; same colour, taste, virtue, to refresh the several creature for which they are provided. This settled stato of things comes from that God who laid tho foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for over, Ps. civ. 5, and set ordinances lor them to act by a stated law, Job xxxviii. 33, according to] which ih. y move as if they understood themselves to have mado a covenan with their Creator, Jer. xxxiii. 20. 3. Add to this union of contrary qualities, and tho subsorvioncy of on thing to another, the admirable variety and diversity of things in tho WOI What variety of in.tals, living creatures, plants! What variety and dis tinction in the shape of their leaves, flowers, smell resulting from the Who can nimiher up tho several BOrtS of heasts on tho earth, birds in air, fish in the How various are their motions I Some creep, SO go, some fly, some swim ; ami in all this variety each creature hath i or members fitted for their peculiar motion. If you consider the multitu of stars, which shine liko jewels in the heavens, their different magnitude or the variety of colours in the flowers and tapestry of tho earth, you cou. | + l'ctav. ex AtluimiH. Tlicol., !><>;;• torn, i. lib. i. sec. 4. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 157 10 more conclude they made themselves, or were made by chance, than you ;an imagine a piece of arras, with a diversity of figures and colours, either vove itself or were knit together by hazard. How delicious is the sap of the vine, when turned into wine, above that )fa crab? Both have the same womb of earth to conceive them, both igree in the nature of wood and twigs as channels to convey it into fruit. ■Vhat is that which makes the one so sweet, tho other so sour, or makes hat sweet which was a few weeks before unpleasantly sharp ? Is it the arth ? ■ | No ; they both have the same soil ; the branches may touch each ther, the strings of their roots may under ground entwine about one another, s it the sun ? Both have the same beams ; why is not the taste and colour f the one as gratifying as the other ? Is it the root ? The taste of that is ar different from that of the fruit it bears. Why do they not, when they ave the same soil, the same sun, and stand near one another, borrow some- ling from one another's natures ? No reason can be rendered, but that lere is a God of infinite wisdom hath determined this variety, and bound p the nature of each creature within itself. ' Everything follows the law f its creation, and it is worthy observation that the Creator of them hath ot given that power to animals, which arise from different species, to pro- agate the like to themselves ; as mules, that arise from different species. o reason can be rendered of this but the fixed determination of the Creator aat those species which were created by him should not be lost in those fixtures, which are contrary to the law of the creation.'* This cannot ossibly be ascribed to that which is commonly called nature, but unto the od of nature, who will not have his creatures exceed their bounds or como ort of them. Now, since among those varieties there are some things better than other, t all are good in their kind, Gen. i. 31, and partake of goodness, there ust be something better and more excellent than all those, from whom ey derive that goodness, which inheres in their nature and is communi- ted by them to others. And this excellent being must inherit in an inent way in his own nature, the goodness of all those varieties, since ey made not themselves, but were made by another. All that goodness ich is scattered in those varieties must be infinitely concentrated in that ture, which distributed those various perfections to them: Ps. xciv. 9, e that planted the ear, shall not he hear ? he that formed the eye, shall t he see ? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know ? ' The eator is greater than the creature, and whatsoever is in his effects is but impression of some excellency in himself; there is therefore some chief untain of goodness, whence all those various goodnesses in the world do w. From all this it follows, if there be an order and harmony, there must be orderer, one that * made the earth by his power, established the world his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his discretion,' Jer. x. 12. der being the effect, cannot be the cause of itself. Order is the disposi- n of things to an end, and is not intelligent, but implies an intelligent erer; and therefore it is as certain that there is a God as it is certain re is order in the world. Order is an effect of reason and counsel ; this on and counsel must have its residence in some being before this order s fixed. The things ordered are always distinct from that reason and unsel whereby they are ordered ; and also after it, as the effect is after cause. No man begins a piece of work but he hath the model of it in own mind; no man builds a house or makes a watch but he hath the * Amyrald. de Trinitate, page 21. 158 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. idea or copy of it in his own head. This beautiful world bespeaks an idea of it or a model, since there is such a magnificent wisdom in the make of each creature, and the proportion of one creature to another ; this model must be before the world, as the pattern is always before the thing that is wrought by it. This therefore must be in some intelligent and wise agent, and this is God. Since the reason of those things exceed the reason and all the art of man, who can ascribe them to any inferior cause ? Chance it could not be ; the motions of chance are not constant, and at seasons, as the motions of creatures are. That which is by chance is contingent, this is necessary ; uniformity can never be the birth of chance. Who can imagine that all the parts of a watch can meet together, and put themselves in order and motion, by chance ? ' Nor can it be nature only, which indeed is a disposition of second causes. If nature hath not an understanding, it cannot work such effects. If nature therefore uses counsel to begin a thin^, reason to dispose it, art to effect it, virtue to complete it, and power to govern it, why should it be called nature rather than God ? ' * Nothing so sure as that that which hath an end to which it tends hath a cause by which it is ordered to that end. Since therefore all things are ordered in subserviency to the good of man, they are so ordered by him that made both man and them. And man must acknowledge the wisdom and good- ness of his Creator, and act in subserviency to his glory, as other creatures act in subserviency to his good. Sensible objects were not made only to gratify the sense of man, but to hand something to his mind as he is a rational creature, to discover God to him as an object of love and desire to be enjoyed. f If this be not the effect of it, the order of the creature, as to such an one, is in vain, and falls short of its true end. To conclude this ; as when a man comes into a palace, built according to I" the exactest rule of art, and with an unexceptionable conveniency for the in- habitants, he would acknowledge both the being and skill of the builder, so whosoever shall observe the disposition of all the parts of the world, — their connection, comeliness, the variety of seasons, the swarms of different en tures, and the mutual offices they render to one another, — cannot conch; less than that it was contrived by an infinite skill, effected by infinite power,-: and governed by infinite wisdom. None can imagine a ship to be orderly conducted without a pilot, nor the parts of the world to perform their several functions without a wise guide, considering the members of the body cannoijx perform theirs without the activo presence of the soul. The atheist then is I: a fool, to deny that which every creature in his constitution assorts, and 1 *:: thereby renders himself unable to give a satisfactory account of that constant 1:; uniformity in the motions of the creatures. Prop, 1. As Hit! production and harmony, so particular creatures, pur- suing and attaining their cutis, manifest that there is a God. All particulai creatures have natural instincts, which move; them for somo end. Tho in! tending of an end is a property of a rational creature ; since the lowei creature! cannot challenge that title, they must act by the understanding and direction of another. And since man cannot challenge the honoui of inspiring the creatures with such instincts, it must be ascribed U Home nature infinitely above any creature in understanding. No ereatur* doth determine! itself. Why doth the fruits and grain of the earth nouris us, when the earth, which instrumontally gives them that fitness, canno nourish us, but because their several ends are determined by one highs than the world ? 1. Several creatures have several natures. How soon will all creal * Laotant. t Ooooei. Bum. Theol. cap. 8, see. 03, 04. PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 159 even as soon as they see the light, move to that whereby they must live, and make use of the natural arms God hath given their kind for their defence, before they are grown to any maturity to afford them that defence. : The Scripture makes the appetite of infants to their milk a foundation of t the divine glory : Ps. viii. 3, l Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings I hast thou ordained strength;' that is, matter of praise and acknowledgment i of God, in the natural appetite they have to their milk, and their relish of it. All creatures have a natural affection to their young ones, all young (ones by a natural instinct move to and receive the nourishment that is proper for them. Some are their own physicians as well as their own | caterers, and naturally discern what preserves them in life, and what restores j them when sick. The swallow flies to its celandine, and the toad hastens to Jits plantain. I Can we behold the spider's nets or silkworm's web, the bee's closets or the ant's granaries, without acknowledging a higher being than a creature, ■who hath planted that genius in them ? The consideration of the nature of ■several creatures God commended to Job (chap, xxxix., where he discourseth Lo Job of the natural instincts of the goat, the ostrich, horse, and eagle, J-fcc), to persuade him to the acknowledgment and admiration of God, and mmiliation of himself. The spider, as if it understood the art of weaving, fits its web both for its iwn habitation and a net to catch its prey. The bee builds a cell which erves for chambers to reside in and a repository for its provision. Birds ,re observed to build their nests with a clammy matter without, for the drmer duration of it, and with a soft moss and down within, for the con- leniency and warmth of their young : ' The stork knows his appointed time,' Jer. viii. 7; 'and the swallows observe the time of their coming;' hey go and return according to the seasons of the year. This they gain lot by consideration, it descends to them with their nature; they neither kain nor increase it by rational deductions. It is not in vain to speak of hese. How little do we improve by meditation those objects, which daily , >ffer themselves to our view, full of instruction for us ? And our Saviour i -sends his disciples to spell God in the lilies, Mat. vi. 28. It is observed plso that the creatures offensive to man go single ; if they went by roops, they would bring destruction upon man and beast. This is the lature of them for the preservation of others. 2. They know not their end. They have a law in their natures, but have io rational understanding, either of the end to which they are appointed, >r the means fit to attain it. They naturally do what they do, and move >y no counsel of their own, but by a law impressed by some higher hand ipon their natures. What plant knows why it strikes its root into the earth ? Doth it uncler- tand what storms it is to contest with, or why it shoots up its branches owards heaven ? Doth it know it needs the droppings of the clouds to pre- serve itself, and make it fruitful ? These are acts of understanding: the ,oot is downward to preserve its own standing, the branches upward to pre- { erve other creatures. This understanding is not in the creature itself, but ■ riginally in another. Thunders and tempests know not why they are sent, et by the direction of a mighty hand they are instruments of justice upon a /icked world. Rational creatures that act for some end, and know the end they aim at, et know not the manner of the natural motion of the members to it.* When i r e intend to look upon a thing, we take no counsel about the natural motion * Coccei. Sum. Theolog. cap. 8. sec. G7, &c. 160 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. of our eyes, we know not all the principles of their operations ; or how that dull matter whereof our bodies are composed, is subject to the order of our minds. We are not of counsel with our stomachs about the concoction of our meat, or the distribution of the nourishing juice to the several parts of the body.* Neither the mother nor the foetus sit in council how the forma- tion should be made in the womb. We know no more than a plant knows what stature it is of, and what medicinal virtue its fruit hath for the good of man ; yet all those natural operations are perfectly directed 'to their proper end, by an higher wisdom than any human understanding is able to con- ceive, since they exceed the ability of an inanimate or fleshly nature, yea, and the wisdom of a man. Do we not often see reasonable creatures acting for one end, and perfecting a higher than what they aimed at, or could sus- pect ? When Joseph's brethren sold him for a slave, their end was to be rid of an informer, Gen. xxxvii. 12 ; but the action issued in preparing him to be the preserver of them and their families. Cyrus his end was to be a conqueror, but the action ended in being the Jews' deliverer : Prov. xvi. 9, * A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directs his steps.' 3. Therefore there is some superior understanding and nature which so acts them. That which acts for an end unknown to itself, depends upon some over- ruling wisdom that knows that end. Who should direct them in all those ends, but he that bestowed a being upon them for those ends,f who knows what is convenient for their life, security, and propagation of their natures ? An exact knowledge is necessary, both of what is agreeable to them, and the means whereby they must attain it ; which, since it is not inherent in them, j : is in that wise God, who puts those instincts into them, and governs them I . in the exercise of them to such ends. Any man that sees a dart flung, j i knows it cannot hit the mark without the skill and strength of an archer ; ! or he that sees the hand of a dial pointing to the hours successively, knows that the dial is ignorant of its own end, and is disposed and directed in that motion by another. All creatures ignorant of their own natures could not i: universally in the whole kind, and in every climate and country, without any difference in the whole world, tend to a certain end, if some over-ruling wis- I dom did not preside over tho world and guide them ; and if the creatures i$
have a conductor, they have a creator. All things are ' turned round about
by his counsel, that they may do whatsoever he commands them upon the
face of the world in the earth,' Job xxxvii. 12.

So that in this respect tho folly of atheism appears. Without the owning J^
a God no account can bo given of those actions of creatures, that are an J ;
imitation of reason. To say the bees, &c, are rational, is to equal them to{$man ; nay, mako them his superiors, since they do more by nature than the wisest man can do by art. It is their own counsel whereby they act, or another's: if it be their own, they are reasonable creatures ; if by another's, ' it is not mero nature that is necessary ; then other creatures would not be j without the same skill : there would be no difference among them. If nature In; restrained by another, it hath a superior; if not, it is a froo agent: it an understanding being that directs them. And then it is something supe-flty rior to all ereatores in the world ; and by this, therefore, wo may ascond to the acknowledgment of the necessity of a (rod. }')■(>}>. 5. Add to thi! production and order of the world, and tho crcaturetfl:|ji actin" for their en I, the preservation of them. Nothing can depend upo itself in its preservation, no more than it could in its heitw. If the ordei of tho world was not fixed by itself, the preservation of that order cannot beBv continued by itself. * Pearson on the Greed, page 3G. f Lcssius de providen. lib. i. pago G."> PS. XIV. 1.] THE EXISTENCE OF GOD. 1G1 Though the matter of tho world after creation cannot return to that nothing whence it was fetched, without the power of God that made it (because the same power is as requisite to reduce a thing to nothing as to raise a thing from nothing), yet without the actual exerting of a power that made the creatures they would fall into confusion. Those contesting quali- ties which arc in every part of it could not have preserved, but would have consumed and extinguished one another, and reduced the world to that con- fused chaos wherein it was before the Spirit moved upon the waters. As contrary parts could not have met together in one form, unless there had been one that had conjoined them, so they could not have kept together after their conjunction unless the same hand had preserved them. Natural contrarieties cannot be reconciled. It is as great power to keep discords knit, as at first to link them. Who would doubt, but that an army made up of several nations and humours, would fall into a civil war, and sheathe their swords in one another's bowels, if they were not under the management of some wise general, or a ship dash against the rocks without the skill of a pilot ?* As the body hath neither life nor motion, without the active presence of the soul, which distributes to every part the virtue of acting, sets every one in the exercise of its proper function, and resides in every part, so there is some powerful cause which doth the like in the world, that rules and tempers it. There is need of the same power and action to pre- serve a thing, as there was at first to make it. When we consider that we are preserved, and know that we could not preserve ourselves, we must necessarily run to some first cause which doth preserve us. All works of art depend upon nature, and are preserved while they are kept by the force of nature. As a statue depends upon the matter whereof it is made, whether stone or brass, this nature therefore must have some superior by whose influx it is preserved. Since therefore we see a stable order in the things f the world, that they conspire together for the good and beauty of the niverse, that they depend upon one another, there must be some principle pon which they depend, something to which the first link of the chain is astened, which himself depends upon no superior, but wholly rests in his own ssence and being. It is the title of God to be the ' preserver of man and east,' Ps. xxxvi. 6. The psalmist elegantly describeth it: Ps. civ. 24, &c, The earth is full of his riches ; all wait upon him, that he may give them heir meat in due season ; when he opens his hand, he fills them with good ; hen he hides his face, they are troubled : if he take away their breath, they ie and return to dust ; he sends forth his Spirit, and they are created, and enews the face of the earth. The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever, d the Lord shall rejoice in his works.' Upon the consideration of all hich the psalmist, ver. 34, takes a pleasure in the meditation of God, as e cause and manager of all those things, which issues into a joy in God nd a praising of him. And why should not the consideration of the power nd wisdom of God in the creatures produce the same effect in the hearts f us, if he be our God ? Or as some render it, ' my meditation shall be weet,' or acceptable f to him,' whereby I find matter of praise in the things f the world, and offer it to the Creator of it. Reason 3. It is a folly to deny that which a man's own nature witnesseth him. The whole frame of bodies and souls bears the impress of the finite power and wisdom of the Creator. A body framed with an admir- ble architecture, a soul endowed with understanding, will, judgment, emory, imagination. Man is the epitome of the world, contains in himself ■he substance of all natures, and the fulness of the whole universe, not only * Gassend. Phys., Beet. 6, lib. 4, cap. 2, p. 101. VOL. i. l 162 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. in regard of theuniversalness of his knowledge, whereby he comprehends the reasons of many things, but as all the perfections of the several natures of the world are gathered and united in man for the perfection of his own, in a smaller volume. In his soul he partakes of heaven, in his body of the earth. There is the life of plants, the sense of beasts, and the intellectual nature of angels. Gen. ii. 7, * The Lord breathed into his nostril the breath of life, and man,' &c, D^VT, of lives. Not one sort of life, but several, not only an animal, but a rational life, a soul of a nobler extract and nature than what was given to other creatures. So that we need not step out of doors, or cast our eyes any further than ourselves to behold a God. He shines in the capacity of our sxmls and the vigour of our members. We must flee from ourselves and be stripped of our own humanity before we can put off the notion of a deity. He that is ignorant of the existence of God must be possessed with so much folly as to be ignorant of his own make and frame. 1. In the parts whereof he doth consist, body and soul. First, Take a prospect of the body. The psalmist counts it a matter of praise and admiration : Ps. cxxxix. 14, 15, ' I will praise thee ; for I am fear- fully and wonderfully made. When I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth, in thy book all my members were written.' The scheme of man and every member was drawn in his book ; all the sinews, veins, arteries, bones, like a piece of embroidery or tapestry, were wrought by God, as it were, with deliberation, like an artificer that draws out the model of what he is to do in writing, and sets it before him when he begins his work. And indeed the fabric of man's body, as well as his soul, is an argument for a divinity. The artificial structure of it, the elegancy of every part, the proper situation of them, their proportion one to another, the fitness for their several functions, drew from Galen* (a heathen, and one that had no raised sentiments of a deity) a confession of the admirable wisdom and power of the Creator, and that none but God could frame it. (1.) In the order, fitness, and usefulness of every part. The whole model of the body is grounded upon reason. Every member hath its exact pro- portion, distinct office, regular motion. Every part hath a particular comeli- ness and convenient temperament bestowed upon it according to its place in the body. The heart is hot to enliven the whole ; the eye clear to take in objects to present them to the soul. Every member is fitted for its peculiar service and action. Some are for sense, some for motion, some for prepar- ing, and others for dispensing nourishment to the several parts ; they mutu- ally depend upon and serve one another. What small strings fasten the particular members together, as ' the earth that hangs upon nothing,' Job xxvi. 7. Take but one part away, and you either destroy the whole, or stamp upon it some mark of deformity. All are knit together by an admir- able symmetry ; all orderly perform their functions, as acting by a settled law, none swerving from their rule but in case of some predominant humour; and none of those in so great a multitude of parts stifled in so little a room, or jostling against ono another to hinder their mutual actions, none can be better disposed. And the greatest wisdom of a man could not imagine it, till his eyes present them with the sight and connection of one part and member with another. [1.] Tho heart, f How strongly it is guarded with ribs like a wall, that it might not bo easily hurt ! It draws blood from the liver through a * Lib. 3, do usu portfam. PetftT. Thcol. Dog., torn. 1, lib. 1, cap. 1, p. G. t Theod. do provideutiu, Orat. 3. I I V, 1.] I (.<»!>. Channel made for tin' purj i BikM it fit to pass thro ; . tua) mo! it out ig ii mi >: : i| upon ilf but i natural, mouth t, the I j Il( j it i • . I mints it . i tho di win. the whole body, running thro; nv channi I , \. i.il i I of a tlito i kin for tl. 1 Lhrough for the supplying of t h. with . . ; the thi motion, U : h membrane or skin to hinder any oppression by the skull, tl of . that which coins the animal spirits, sing tl: which are sent to it, and seems Like a euri ce of m I. The ear, framed with windings and turnings, to I ring to offend the brain; so disp led a Imit sounds with I and deli ht, Ecci . sdi. 1 : filled with an air within. I tion whereof the sound is transmitted to the brain, as sounds are mi in the air by diffosing them yon sec cir< de in the water flinging in a stone* Tliis is the the I men for [t is by 1 mind, and the mind of another man framed in our nnderstandin . 5. V\ hip is that of the eye, which i.s in the 1 the sun in the world; set in the head as in a watch-tower, baring tho ring the greater multitude of spirits necessary for the act of vision ! How is it provided with defence, by the variety of co :d accommodate the little humour and part whereby the vision le I Made of a round figure, and convex, as most commodious to receivo the ct" objects ; shaded by the eyebrows and eyelids, secured by tho ids, which are its ornament and safety, which refresh it when it is too much dried by heat, hinder too much light from insinuating itself into it to nd it, cleanse it from impurities, by their quick motion preserve it from invasion, and by contraction confer to the more evident discerning of thi: 1 in the hollow of the bone for security, yet standing out that things may Ik: perceived more easily on both sides. And this little ID behold tho earth, and in a moment view things as high as . The tongue* for speech framed like a musical instrument ; the teeth ■f sounds ; the lungs serving for bellows to blow the organs, as it \\ heart : by a continual motion transmitting a pure air ;, expelling that which was smoky and supertluous. I the that communication of truth hath a i among men ; i the sense id' ti. would be no converse and commerce without it. : ons hath an elegancy and attractive force, masl I .1; of other parts, or of the multitude of spirits that act < part, tho quick tlight of them where there is a necessity of their prest : Solomon, Eeeles* xii., mal .escription of them in his speech of * Coooei. Sum. Theolog., ca; 164 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. old age ; and Job speaks of this formation of the body, Job x. 9-11, &c. Not the least part of the body is made in Tain. The hairs of the head have their use, as well as are an ornament. The whole symmetry of the body is a ravishing object. Every member hath a signature and mark of God and his wisdom ; he is visible in the formation of the members, the beauty of the parts, and the vigour of the body. This structure could not be from the body : that only hath a passive power, and cannot act in the absence of the soul ; nor can it be from the soul. How comes it then to be so ignorant of the manner of its formation ? The soul knows not the internal parts of its own body, but by information from others, or inspection into other bodies. It knows less of the inward frame of the body than it doth of itself. But he that makes the clock can tell the number and motions of the wheels within, as well as what figures are without. This short discourse is useful to raise our admirations of the wisdom of God, as well as to demonstrate that there is an infinite, wise Creator. And the consideration of ourselves every day, and the wisdom of God in our frame, would maintain religion much in the world, since all are so framed that no man can tell any error in the constitution of him. If thus the body of man is fitted for the service of his soul by an infinite God, the body ought to be ordered for the service of this God, and in obedience to him. (2.) In the admirable difference of the features of men, which is a great argument that the world was made by a wise Being. This could not be wrought by chance, or be the work of mere nature, since we find never, or very rarely, two persons exactly alike. This distinction is a part of infinite wisdom ; otherwise, what confusion would be introduced into the world ! Without this, parents could not know their children, nor children their parents, nor a brother his sister, nor a subject his magistrate. Without it there had been no comfort of relations, no government, no commerce. Debtors would not have been known from strangers, nor good men from bad ; propriety could not have been preserved, nor justice executed ; the innocent might have been apprehended for the nocent ; wickedness could not have been stopped by any law. The faces of men are the same for parts, not for features. A dissimiltude in a likeness ; man, like to all the rest in the world, yet unlike to any, and differenced by some mark from all, which is not to be observed in any other species of creatures. This speaks some wise agent which framed man ; since for the preservation of human society and order in the world, this distinction was necessary. Secondly, As man's own nature witnesseth a God to him in the structure of his body, so also in the nature of his soul.* We know that we have an understanding in us : a substance we cannot see, but we know it by its ope- rations, as thinking, reasoning, willing, remembering, and as operating about things that are invisible and remote from sense. This must needs be distinct from the body, for that, being but dust and earth in its original, hath not the power of reasoning and thinking, for then it would have that power when the soul were absent, as well as when it is present. Besides, if it had that power of thinking, it could think only of those things which are sensible and made up of matter, as itself is. This soul hath a greater excellency. It can know itself, rejoico in itself, which other creatures in this world are not capable of. Tho soul is tho greatest glory of this lower world ; and as ono saith,f there seems to bo no more difference between the soul and an angel, than between a sword in tho scabbard and when it is out of the scabbard. * Coccei. Sum. Theolog., cap. 8, soc. 60, 61. t Moro. . \i V. l. i a i i Of son. L06 i . I its caj.iifiiv. The undi rstandi the whole world, and paint in itself the b i of all things* It •pable of approhondiog and d oatura, "it. ii loi to .-ill ool all sound II : tomory to rcl MB aeroini: tb< r thingl to it -'If. It invi . Ul, p|. the bowels of naturo, ai i in reasoning from of troth ; :' I i notions of things higher than the world* *J. The quiokiMSs of ite motions* 'Nothing is mora quies in the whole sun rnns throngh the world in ■ day i this ean do it in a moment* 1 1 oan 9 with one flight of fancy, asoi od to the I rhf in isti of the air, thai binder the sight of the eye, cannot bin >ul ; it c m p i m in i moment iVoui one i ad of tb i kher, and think of this It ean thin! mean thin | in the world, and presently, by one east, in the twin] of an rye, mount ap as high as beav< d. As ii I by ma] objects, so neither arc the motions of it n I by them* It will break forth with the gi ir, and conceive things infinitely above it; though it be in the body, it acts as if it wore aahamed to be cloistered in it. This could not be the result of any material cause. Who - v mcro ttex onderstand, think, will? And v. hat it hath not, it cannot give. That which is destitute Of reason and will, could never Confer reason and will. It is not the effect of the body, for the body is fitted with members to be sub- ject to it. | It is in part ruled by the activity of the soul, and in part by tho msel of the soul. It is Used by the soul, and knows not how it is used. ;ld it be from the parents, since the souls of the children often tran- ..d those of the parents in vivacity, acutcness, and comprehensiveness. man is stupid, aud begets a son with a capacious understanding ; one is debauched and beastly in morals, and begets a son who from his infancy ie virtuous inclinations, which sprout forth in delightful fruit with the ripeness of his age. § Whence should this difference arise, a fool h> the wise man, and a debauched the virtuous man ? The wisdom of the one could not descend from tho foolish soul of the other, nor tho virtues of tho from the deformed and polluted soul of the parent. It lies not in tho ms of the body ; for if the folly of the parent proceeded not from their but the ill disposition of the organs of their bodies, how comes it to - that the bodies of the children are better organised beyond the goodness of their immediate cause ? We must recur to some invisible hand, that makes the difference, who bestows upon one at his pleasure richer qualities than upon another. You can see nothing in the world endowed with some uality, but you must imagine some bountiful hand did enrich it with that dowry. None can be so foolish as to think that a vessel ever with that sprightly liquor wherewith it is rilled ; or that any- m the soul should endow it with that knowledge and activity whJ in it. Nature could not produce it. That nature is in: it, or not ; if it be not, then it produceth an effect more excellent than an understanding being surmounts a being that hath no understanding. If the supreme cause of the soul be intelligent, why do * Cul. t Tin X Oooeei. Sum. Tl ,61, 68. § 1 I or Suppose of i' .hose moro excellent qualities wars DOfl .It of til. 166 • chaexock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1. not call it God as well as nature ? We must arise from hence to the notion of a God. A spiritual nature cannot proceed but from a spirit higher than itself, and of a transcendent perfection above itself. If we believe we have souls, and understand the state of our own faculties, we must be assured that there was some invisible hand which bestowed those faculties and the riches of them upon us. A man must be ignorant of himself before he can be igno- rant of the existence of God. By considering the nature of our souls, we may as well be assured that there is a God, as that there is a sun by the shining of the beams in at our windows. And indeed the soul is a statue and representation of God, as the landscape of a country or map represents all the parts of it, but in a far less proportion than the country itself is. The soul fills the body, and God the world ; the soul sustains the body, and God the world ; the soul sees, but is not seen ; God sees all things, but is him- self invisible. How base are they then that prostitute their souls, an image of God, to base things unexpressibly below their own nature ! 3. I might add the union of soul and body. Man is a kind of compound of angel and beast, of soul and body ; if he were only a soul, he were a kind of angel ; if only a body, he were another kind of brute. Now, that a body as vile and dull as earth, and a soul that can mount up to heaven and rove about the world with so quick a motion, should be linked in so strait an acquaintance ; that so noble a being as the soul should be an inhabitant in such a tabernacle of clay, must be owned to some infinite power that hath so chained it. 4. Man witnesseth to a God in the operations and reflections of conscience : Kom. ii. 15, ' Their thoughts are accusing or excusing.' An inward com- fort attends good actions, and an inward torment follows bad ones ; for there is in every man's conscience fear of punishment and hope of reward. There is therefore a sense of some superior judge, which hath the power both of rewarding and punishing. If man w T ere his supreme rule, what need he fear punishment, since no man would inflict any evil or torment on him- self; nor can any man be said to reward himself, for all rewards refer to another, to whom the action is pleasing, and is a conferring some good a man had not before. If an action be done by a subject or servant, with hopes of reward, it cannot be imagined that he expects a reward from himself, but from the prince or person whom he eyes in that action, and for whose sake ho doth it. 1. There is a law in the minds of men which is a rule of good and evil. There is a notion of good and evil in the consciences of men, which is evident by those laws which are common in all countries, for the preserving human societies, the encouragement of virtue and discouragement of vice ; what standard should they have for those laws but a common reason ? The design of those laws was to keep men within the bounds of goodness, for mutual commerce ; whence the apostle calls the heathen magistrate ' a minister of God for good,' Rom. xiii. 4 ; and the Gentiles ' do by nature tho tilings contained in the law,' Horn. ii. 14. Man in the first instant of tho use of reason finds natural principles within himself, directing and choosing them ; ho finds a distinction between good and evil ; how could this bo if there were not some rule in him to try and distinguish good and evil ? If thero wore not such a law and rule in man, lie could not sin ; for whero there is no law, there is no transgression. If man were a law to himself, and his own will his law, there could be no such thing as evil ; whatsoever ho willed would bo good and agreeable to tho law, and no action could bo accounted sinful ; the worst act would bo as com- mendable as tho best. Every thing at man's appointment would bo good or \ i v. i . Tin- i !•. 1 1 7 evil. I Uy inclii of that '"""l which they pr i man bat Inwardly think i well of that which while hi . :iinl thinks ill of that whioh i bile be commits it. Those tint are t icioa ■ d i | Those thai I I, and tho e thai will reb 1 in others. 'I and evil ; whenoc doth . met ran thisi bul principl ' and tl mi in one man a ; in another, t ; i another; the y arc born with man, and inseparable ft . 19, • A - in v. to face, so the b of man to d Common inppo eth thai there is some band wl in man. I [ow could it el dly un« No law can be without :i law-giver; no sparks bnt d kindled by some other. Whence ihonld this law than derive its origin from man ; he would fain blol it out, and cannot alter it when he i leration never Intended it ; it is settled therefore I her hand, which, as it imprinl i it maintains it. b men, who, were it not for this law, would make the world, mors than ii Aceldama and field of bl I; for, h ad fcher i supreme good, the measnre of all other goodness in tl old not have had inch a thing as good. The Scripture gives us an account that this good • Lingnished from evil 1>- fore man fell, they were objscta$abilia

I and evil prohibited, and did not depend upon man. Prom

■ man may rationally DC instructed that there IS a Qcd ; for bo may thus
argue : I find myself naturally obliged to do this thing and avoid that, I

tperior that doth oblige mo ; I find something within mo

that directs me to BUCh actions, contrary to my sensitive appetite, thero
mUSi mething above mo therefore that put this principle into m.

nature. If there were no superior, I should ho the supreme judge- of good
and evil. "Were I the lord of that law which doth oblige me, I should find
no contradiction within my ween reason and appetite.

'2. Prom tho t. i of this law of nature fears do arise in tho

of men. Have wc not known or hoard of men struck by so deep

irt that could not be drawn out by the strength of men, or appeased by

tho pleasure of the world, and men crying out with horror upon a death-

: of their past lite, when 'their fear hath come as a desolation, and

ruction as a whirlwind' ? Prov. i. '27. And often in some sharp affliction

the dust hath been blown oil' from men's consciences, which for a while hath

1 tho writing of the law. If men stand in awe of punishment, there

ior to whom they are accountable. If there were no God,

ther no punishment to fear. What reason of any fear, upon the

between the soul and body, if there were not a God
punish, and the soul remained not in being to be punished '.'
1! : 1 1 v will conscience work upon the appearance of an affliction,

rouse its* If fro like an armed man, and fly in a man'- face b I

it? It will 'surprise the hy] I xxxiii. 11. It will

bril mitted I .1 set them in order before tho

his authority and Omni As (

hath D ' 'it a wii -iv. 1 i .

he bath not left himself wit! in e man's own

1. '1 ration I No hath

been any m :i it than from ; not a man but hath one

168 chaenock's wokks. [Ps. XIV. 1.

time or other more or less smarted under the sting of it. All over the
world conscience hath shot its darts. It hath torn the hearts of princes in
the midst of their pleasures ; it hath not flattered them -whom most men
flatter, nor feared to disturb their rest whom no man dares to provoke.
Judges have trembled on a tribunal, when innocents have rejoiced in their
condemnation ; the iron bars upon Pharaoh's conscience were at last broke
up, and he acknowledged the justice of God in all that he did : Exod. ix. 27,
1 1 have sinned, the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.'
Had they been like childish frights at the apprehension of bug-bears, why
hath not reason shaken them off? But, on the contrary, the stronger reason
grows, the smarter those lashes are ; groundless fears had been short-lived,
age and judgment would have worn them off, but they grow sharper with
the growth of persons. The Scripture informs us they have been of as
ancient a date as the revolt of the first man : Gen. iii. 10, ' I was afraid,'
saith Adam, ' because I was naked,' which was an expectation of the judg-
ment of God. All his posterity inherit his fears, when God expresseth him-
self in any tokens of his majesty and providence in the world. Every man's
conscience testifies that he is unlike what he ought to be according to that
law engraven upon his heart. In some, indeed, conscience may be seared
or dimmer ; or, suppose some men may be devoid of conscience, shall it be
denied to be a thing belonging to the nature of man ? Some men have not
their eyes, yet the power of seeing the light is natural to man, and belongs
to the integrity of the body ; who would argue, that because some men are
mad, and have lost their reason by a distemper of the brain, that therefore
reason hath no reality, but is an imaginary thing ? But I think it is a
standing truth, that every man hath been under the scourge of it, one time
or other, in a less or greater degree ; for, since every man is an offender, it
cannot be imagined conscience, which is natural to man and an active faculty,
should always lie idle, without doing this part of its office ? The apostle
tells us of the thoughts, accusing or excusing one another, or by turns,
according as the actions were. Nor is this truth weakened by the corrup-
tions in the world, whereby many have thought themselves bound in con-
science to adhere to a false and superstitious worship and idolatry, as much as
any have thought themselves bound to adhere to a worship commanded by
God. This very thing infers that all men have a reflecting principle in
them ; it is no argument against the being of conscience, but only infers
that it may err in the application of what it naturally owns. We can no
more say, that because some men walk by a false rule, there is no such
thing as conscience, than we can say that because men have errors in their
minds, therefore they have no such faculty as an understanding ; or, because
men will that which is evil, they have no such faculty as a will in them.

2. These operations of conscience are when the wickedness is most secret.
These tormenting fears of vengeance have been frequent in men who have
had no reason to fear man, since, their wickedness being unknown to any
but themselves, they could have no accuser but themselves. They have
been in many acts which their companions have justified them in ; persons
above the stroke of human laws, yea, such as the people have honoured as
gods, have been haunted by them. Conscience hath not been frighted by
the power of princes, or bribed by tho pleasures of courts. David was pur-
sued by his horrors, when ho was by reason of his dignity above the punish-
ment of the law, or at least was not reached by the law ; since, though the
murder of Uriah was intended by him, it was not acted by him. Such
examples are frequent in human records. When tho crime hath been above
any punishment by man, they have had an accuser, judge, and executioner in

r . x iv. i . 169

their own bn I . Can this be originally from a man' If? He who L
and eheriahei him elf wonld Hy from anything that him. It. i

n< 1 moji m whom men oann I . that holds

him in tho \, bould aiToct th< tor that wh

ne?er bring them shame or punishment in thi i world, if there
supreme judge to whom they were I i ant, who e instrnment

Doth it do thi . hathil L an authority from

the men himsi If to im ? [I

niir wills.

peratioo onot 1"' to! man*

It' there be no Godi why do uot men silence the clamours of their eon-

ban that disturb their rest and pi ' I

inquisitive are men after some linsl those convulsion '

would render the char I , and Bing b

i they 'walk in the wickedness of their o rts/ D

. L9. Sow often do men attempt to drown it by sen
perhaps overpower it for a time; but it revives, rewforeeth Uself, and .
i revenge for its former Btop« It holds sin to a man's view, and fixes his

i upon it, whether he will or no: ' The wicked arc like ■ troubl
and cannot rest, 1 I a. lvii. 20. They would wallow in sin without control,
but this inward principle will not suffer it; nothing can shelter men fie
those Mows. What is the reason it could never he cried down ? Man is
an enemy to his own disquiet; what man would continue upon the rack, if
it were in his power to deliver himself? Why have all human rcmeil:-
without success, and not able to extinguish all those operations, thongh all
the wickedness of the heart hath been ready to assisi and second the attempt?
It hath pursued nan notwithstanding all the violence used against it, an I
renewed its BCOUrgea with more severity, as men deal with their resisting
slaves. 3I.m can as little silence those thunders in his soul, as he can the
thunders in the heavens. He must strip himself of his humanity hefore ho
can be stripped of an accusing and affrighting conscience : it sticks as ciose
to him as his nature. Since man cannot throw out the process it makes
against him, it is an evidence that some higher power secures its throne and
standing. Who should put this scourge into the hand of conscience, which
no man in the world is able to wrest out ?

!. We may add, the comfortable reflections of conscience. There are
excusing as well as accusing reflections of conscience, when things are done
as works of the law of nature, Rom. ii. 15. As it doth not forbear to acenso
and torture, when a wickedness, though unknown to others, is committed,
so when I man hath done well, though he be attacked with all the calumnies
the wit ol* man can forge, yet his conscience justifies the action, and fills
him with a singular contentment. As there is torture in sinning, so there
is p< ice and Joy in well-doing. Neither of those it could do, if it did not
Understand a sovereign judge, who punishes the rebels and rewards the well-
doer. Conscience is the foundation of all religion ; and the two pillars upon
which it is built, are the being of God, and the bounty of God to those that
diligently seek him, lleb. xi. 6.

This proves the exif i God. If there were no God, conscience were

< rations of it would have no foundation, if there were not

to take notice, and a hand to punish or reward the action. The accu-
sations of conscience evidence the omniscience and the holiness of
the terrors of con . the justice of God; the approbations i

science, the goodness oi All the order in the world ov .:', next

to the providence of Oo.\, to conscience: without it the world would DC I

170 chaknock's wokks. [Ps. XIV. 1.

Golgotha. As the creatures witness there was a first cause that produced
them, so this principle in man evidenceth itself to be set by the same hand
for the good of that which it had so framed. There could be no conscience
if there were no God, and man could not be a rational creature if there were
no conscience. As there is a rule in us, there must be a judge, whether our
actions be according to the rule ; and since conscience in our corrupted state
is in some particular misled, there must be a power superior to conscience
to judge how it hath behaved itself in its deputed office : we must come to
some supreme judge, who can judge conscience itself. As a man can have
no^ surer evidence that he is a being, than because he thinks, he is a thinking
being, so there is no surer evidence in nature that there is a God, than that
every man hath a natural principle in him, which continually cites him
before God, and puts him in mind of him, and makes him one way or other
fear him, and reflects upon him whether he will or no. A man hath less
power over his conscience than over any other faculty. He may choose
whether he will exercise his understanding about, or move his will to, such
an object, but he hath no such authority over his conscience ; he cannot
limit it, or cause it to cease from acting and reflecting ; and therefore both
that, and the law about which it acts, are settled by some supreme autho-
rity in the mind of man, and this is God.

Prop. 4. The evidence of a God results from the vastness of the desires
in man, and the real dissatisfaction he hath in every thing below himself.
Man hath a boundless appetite after some sovereign good. As his under-
standing is more capacious than any thing below, so is his appetite larger.
This affection of desire exceeds all other affections. Love is determined to
something known : fear to something apprehended ; but desires approach
nearer to infiniteness, and pursue, not only what we know, or what
we have a glimpse of, but what we find wanting in what we already enjoy.
That which the desire of man is most naturally carried after, is bonum ;
some fully satisfying good. We desire knowledge by the sole impulse of
reason ; but we desire good before the excitement of reason, and the desire
is always after good, but not always after knowledge.

Now the soul of man finds an imperfection in every thing here, and can-
not scrape up a perfect satisfaction and felicity. In the highest fruitions of
worldly things, it is still pursuing something else, which speaks a defect in
what it already hath. The world may afford a felicity for our dust, the body,
but not for the inhabitant in it ; it is too mean for that. Is there any one
soul among the sons of men, that can upon due inquiry say, it was at rest and
wanted no more, that hath not sometimes had desires after an immaterial good|?
The soul < follows hard' after such a thing, and hath frequent looks after it,
Ps. lxiii. 8. Man desires a stable good, but no sublunary thing is so ; and
he that doth not desire such a good, wants the rational nature of a man.
This is as natural as understanding, will, and conscience. Whence should
the soal of man have those desires ? How came it to understand that some-
thing is still wanting to make its nature more perfect, if there were not in
it some notion of a more perfect being, which can give it rest ?

Can such a capacity bo supposed to be in it without something in being
able to satisfy it ? If so, the noblest creature in the world is miserablest,
and in a worse condition than any other : other creatures obtain their ulti-
mate desires, ' thoy are fillod with good,' Ps. civ. 28; and shall man only
have a vast desire without any possibility of enjoyment? Nothing in man
is in vain : ho hath objects for his affections, as well as affections for objects.
Every member of his body hath its end, and doth attain it. Every affection
of his soul hath an object, and that in this world ; and shall there be none

! \ IV. 1 . Tin: i If OODi 1 ' 1

for lii i de ire, which o k to Infinite i i planted in

him '.' Tin i boundlc I original from man him

iM ifii. l. r i' the boundi ofthii world

implanted those di ir< i ail I nd ma le him r<

thin v dco the d only n i in that which ii infinite, tl

mething infinite for it to m t In. Sine- nothing in the world, though
a man had the v. hole, can give il ' ' in " :i '

the world only capable to do it, otherwi I be alt

and be more in vain than any other ereatnre.

There la therefore Borne infinite being that can only content]

to the soul, and thii ii God, And that goodness which implanted inch

in tho bouI wonld not do it to no pnrpo a, and mock it. in givm
an infini otion, without intending it the pi b

in. nt, if it doth not by ita own folly deprive of it. The felicitr

human nature mnsl ne< aed thai which i 'It" other creaturi .

i U it is a folly to deny that which all nations in the

world have con enl .1 to, which the frame of the world evideneeth, which
man in his body, soul, operation! of conscience, witnes , so it i

lolly to deny the being of < ;«» I, which is witnessed onto by extraordinary
occurrences in the world.

1. In extraordinary judgments. When a just revenge follows abominable
erimi . cially when the judgment is suited to the sin, by a strange con-
catenation and succession of providences, mi 1 to bring such a par-
ticular punishment ; when the sin of a nation or p< pble in
the inflict .1 judgment, which testifies tint it cannot be a casual thin '. The
Scripture givea as an account of the necessity of such judgments, to keep up
the reverential thoughts of God in the world: Ts. ix. 1(5, • The Lord
kn >wn by the judgment which ho executes, the wicked is snared in the work
of his own hand.' And jealousy is the name of God: Exod. xxxiv. 1 I.
1 Whose name is Jealous.' He is distinguished from false gods by the judg-
3 which he sends, as men arc by their names.
Extraordinary prodigies in many nations have been the heralds of extra-
ordinary judgments, and presages of tho particular judgments which
afterwards they have felt, of which tho lloman histories and others are full.
That there are such things is undeniable, and that the events have been
.Table to tho threatening, unless we will throw away all human testi-
monies, and count all the histories of the world forgeries. Such things are
evidences of some invisible power which orders those affairs. And if there
be invisible powers, there is also an cllicacious cause which moves them ; a
government certainly there is among them as well as in the world, and then
no to some Bupreme governor which presides over them.
Judgments upon notorious offenders have been evident in all ages, the
3 many instances. I shall only mention that of Herod
Agrippa, which Josephus* mentions. Ho receives the flattering applause

lit himself a god ; but by tho sudden stroke upon him

by his torture to confess another. Acts x ii. 21-23. I am God,

Bsith he, in your account, but a higher calls me away ; the will of tho

eiily Deity is to bo endured. The angel ^i tho Lord smote him. The

:nent here was suit< d to the sin ; he that would be a god is eaten up of

Tully il , a Roman king, who com.'

it the most unroyal thing to be religious, or own any other God but
sword, v. nned himself and his who) by lightning from I

Many things are unaccountable Unless we have recourse : I The

* I I :\.

172 CHAENOCKS WORKS. [Ps. XIV. 1

strange revelations of murderers, that have most secretly committed thei
crimes ; the making good some dreadful imprecations, which some wretche:
have used to confirm a lie, and immediately have been struck with that
judgment they wished ; the raising often unexpected persons to be instru-
ments of vengeance on a sinful and perfidious nation ; the overturning the
deepest and surest counsels of men, when they have had a successful pro-
gress, and came to the very point of execution ; the whole design of men's
preservation hath been beaten in pieces by some unforeseen circumstances,
so that judgments have broken in upon them without control, and all their
subtilties been outwitted ; the strange crossing of some in their estates,
though the most wise, industrious, and frugal persons, and that by strange
and unexpected ways ; and it is observable how often everything contributes
to carry on a judgment intended, as if they rationally designed it. All those
loudly proclaim a God in the world ; if there were no God, there would be
no sin ; if no sin, there would be no punishment.

2. In miracles. The course of nature is uniform, and when it is put out
of its course it must be by some superior power invisible to the world, and
by whatsoever invisible instruments they are wrought, the efficacy of them
must depend upon some first cause above nature. Ps. lxxii. 18, ' Blessed
be the Lord God of Israel, who only doth wondrous things,' by himself and
his sole power.

That which cannot be the result of a natural cause, must be the result of
something supernatural ; what is beyond the reach of nature is the effect of
a power superior to nature. For it is quite against the order of nature, and
is the elevation of something to such a pitch, which all nature could not
advance it to. Nature cannot go beyond its own limits ; if it be determined
by another, as hath been formerly proved, it cannot lift itself above itself
without that power that so determined it. Natural agents act necessarily.
The sun doth necessarily shine, fire doth necessarily burn. That cannot
be the result of nature which is above the ability of nature. That cannot
be the work of nature which is against the order of nature. Nature cannot
do anything against itself, or invert its own course.

We must own that such things have been, or we must accuse all the
records of former ages to be a pack of lies, which whosoever doth destroys
the greatest and best part of human knowledge. The miracles mentioned '
in the Scripture, wrought by our Saviour, are acknowledged by the heathen,
by the Jews at this day, though his greatest enemies. There is no dispute
whether such things were wrought, the dead raised, the blind restored to
sight. The heathens have acknowledged the miraculous eclipse of the sun
at the passion of Christ, quite against the rule of nature, the moon being
then in opposition to the sun ; the propagation of Christianity contrary to
the methods whereby other religions have been propagated, that in a few
years the nations of the world should be sprinkled with this doctrine, and
give in a greater catalogue of martyrs courting the devouring flames than all
the religions of the world.

To this might be added the strange hand that was over the Jews, the only
people in the world professing the true God, that should so often be befriended
by their conquerors, so as to rebuild their temple, though they were looked
upon as a people apt to rebel. Dion and Seneca observe, that wherever
they were transplanted they prospered and gave laws to the victors ; so that
this proves also the authority of the Scripture, the truth of Christian reli-
gion, as well as the being of a God, and a superior power over the world.

To this might bo added the bridling the tumultuous passions of men for
the preservation of human societies, which else would run the world into

I IV. 1.] 1 B Di 1 i'-'>

unconceivable eonfi .. 7, 4 Which itilleth the d<

anil the tomolti of the i" ople ;' m al o th f a

or nation, Winn Dpon the very brink of ruin ; the «u r of

prayer when God bath boon bou bl to, and the turning away a judgment,

w Inch in r< iM in»t be expected 1 ml;

people from :i ruin which s. ■ imd movil

impliahmenl . Those things which are purely i

ut, and cam. n by Datura] 'I in tin up . as

pees and ch □ nations, which may b

oft] i of tho times, such things that fall not within this com]

they be foretold and c »loly froi higher hand, and

ire, Thi . in Scripture
the trc l a. di, 'l'.), ' Shew the thing i thai

thai we may know that you an God;' ai I I l ■- 1 % i . l<», i I am God,
doclaru aing, and from ancient times, the thi

that arc no! ye1 done, Baying, My eounsel shall stand, and I will do all
I prophecy was ated to by all the philosopher

i divine illumination. That power which < i, which

all the foresight of men cannot ken and eonj oture, is above nature. And
to fori tell them so certainly as if they did aln ady exist, or had exist '1 1

>, must he the result of a mind infinitely intelligent; because it, is the

lies! way of knowing, and a higher cannot be imagined; and he that
knows things future in Mich a manner must needs know things present and

•. Cyrus was prophesied of by Isaiah, chap. xliv. 28 and xlv., long bef
lie was hem; his victories, spoils, all that should happen in Babylon, bis
bounty to th . came to pass, according to thatpropheey; and the Bight

of that prophecy which the Jews shewed him, as other historians report, \
that which moved him to be favourable to the Jen ■

Ah Bander's sight of Daniel's prophecy concerning his victories moved
him to spare Jerusalem. And are not the four monarchies plainly deci-
phered in that book, before tho fourth rose up in tho world ? That power
which foretells things beyond tho reach of tho wit of man, and orders all
Causes to bring about those predictions, must be an infinite power, the
same that made tho world, sustains it and governs all things in it according
to his pleasure, and to bring about his own ends ; and this being is God.

1. If atheism bo a folly, it is then pernicious to the world, and to the
atheist himself. Wisdom is the band of human societies, the glory of man.
Folly is the disturber of families, cities, nations, the disgrace of human
nature.

1. It is pernicious to the world.

(1.) It would root out the foundations of government. It demolisheth
all order in nations. The being of a God is the guard of the world. The
sense of a God is the foundation of civil order ; without this there is no tie
upon the consciences of men. What force would there bo in oaths for tho
decisions of controversies, what right could there be in appeals made to one
that had no being ? A city of atheists would bo a heap of confusion; there
could be no ground of any commerce when all tho sacred bands of it in tho
consciences of men were snapped a-under, which are torn to pieces and
utterly destroy, 1 by denying the existence of God. What magistral

-eeure in his standing, what private person could bo secure in hisriirht?*

that then bo a truth that is destructive of all public good f If tho

atheist's sentiment, that there were no God, were a truth, and the contrary,

that there were a God, were a falsity, it would then follow that falsity made men

* Lcssiua do Provid., p CG5.

174 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

good and serviceable to one another ; that error were the foundation of all
the beauty, and order, and outward felicity of the world, the fountain of all
good to man. If there were no God, to believe there is one would be an error,
and to believe there is none would be the greatest wisdom, because it would be
the"*greatest truth. And then as it is the greatest wisdom to fear God upon
the apprehension of his existence, Ps. cxi. 10, so it would be the greatest
error to fear him, if there were none. It would unquestionably follow, that
error is the support of the world, the spring of all human advantages, and
that every part of the world were obliged to a falsity for being a quiet
habitation, which is the most absurd thing to imagine. It is a thing impos-
sible to be tolerated by any prince, without laying an axe to the root of the
government.

(2.) It would introduce all evil into the world. If you take away God,
you take away conscience, and thereby all measures and rules of good and
evil. And how could any laws be made when the measure and standard of
them were removed ? All good laws are founded upon the dictates of con-
science and reason, upon common sentiments in human nature, which
spring from a sense of God ; so that if the foundation be demolished, the
whole superstructure must tumble down. A man might be a thief, a mur-
derer, an adulterer, and could not in a strict sense be an offender. The
worst of actions could not be evil if a man were a god to himself, a law to
himself. Nothing but evil deserves a censure, and nothing would be evil if
there were no God, the rector of the world, against whom evil is properly
committed. No man can make that morally evil that is not so in itself.
As where there is a faint sense of God, the heart is more strongly inclined
to wickedness, so where there is no sense of God, the bars are removed,
the flood-gates set open for all wickedness to rush in upon mankind.
Religion pinions men from abominable practices, and restrains them from
being slaves to their own passions; an atheist's arms would be loose to do
anything.* Nothing so villanous and unjust but would be acted, if the
natural fear of a deity were extinguished. The first consequence issuing
from the apprehension of the existence of God, is his government of the
world. If there be no God, then the natural consequence is that there is
no supreme government of the world. Such a notion would cashier all
sentiments of good, and be like a Trojan horse, whence all impurity,
tyranny, and all sorts of mischiefs would break out upon mankind. Cor-
ruption and abominable works in the text are the fruit of the fool's persua-
sion that there is no God. The perverting of the ways of men, oppression,
and extortion, owe their rise to a forgetfulness of God : Jer. iii. 21, ' They
have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God ;'
Ezek. xxii. 12, ' Thou hast greedily gained by extortion, and hast forgotten
me, saith the Lord.' The whole earth would be filled with violence, all
flesh would corrupt their way as it was before the deluge, when probably
atheism did abound more than idolatry ; and if not a disowning the being,
yet denying the providence of God by the posterity of Cain, those of the
family of Seth only calling upon the name of the Lord, Gen. vi. 11, 12
compared with Gen. iv. 2G.

The greatest sense of a deity in any hath been attended with the greatest
innocence of life and usefulness to others, and a weaker sense hath been
attended with a baser impurity. f If there were no God, blasphemy would
be praiseworthy; as tho reproach of idols is praiseworthy, because we tes-
tify that there is no divinity in them. What can be more contemptible
than that which hath no being ? Sin would bo only a false opinion of a
* Lcssius do Frovid., p. GG4. f Lcssius de Provid., p. G65.

. IV. l.| 1 111. i \i ; in. i. i.i OOD. 1 < 5

violated Law and an offended d I achapprehen ions prevail, whi

wide door is opened to the worsl of rill It there be do God, no

la 'liic to liim; all tho religion in the world ii ■ trifle and and

thus the pillars of all human . and that which hath made common-

[the tn flourish, are blows away.

Secondly, 2, It is pernicious tn the atheist himself. It' lie bar no future
punishment, be can q< rd ; -'ill I'i i bo]

confined to a Bwini th and despicable manner of lit' 1 , without an
of so much as a dram of i I happin . Be i ndition

than thr sillie t animal, which hath something t" pi i • it in il
whereas an atbeisi can bays uothing here I bim a full content, no

more than any other man in the WOrldj and Can haTe actioE h

after, il.' deposetb the ooble end of his own being, which we
God and haves satisfaction in bim, to seek a God ami In: rewarded by him;
ami he that departs from this end, recedes from a nature. All tin:

content any creature finds is in performing its end, moving according to its

natural instinct; as it is a joy to tin; sun to run i; ■ race, Ps. xix. 5, in

the same manner it is a satisfaction t<- ev< ry other creature, and its deb'
to observe the law of its creation. What content can any man have that
runs from his end, opposeth his own nature, denies a God by whom ami
for whom he was created, whose image lie bears, which is the glory of his
nature, ami sinks into the very dregs of brutishness? How elegantly is it
described by Bildad: Jobxviii. 7, 8, &c, to the end, 'His own com
shall east him down, terrors shall make him afraid on every side; destruc-
tion shall be ready at his side, the first-born of death shall devour his
Btrength, His confidence shall be rooted out, and it shall bring him to tin;
king of terrors: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. He shall
be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. They that
Conn afi< r him shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were
affrighted. And this is the place of hirn that knows not God.' If there be
a future reckoning (as his own conscience cannot but sometimes inform him
of), his condition is desperate, and his misery dreadful and unavoidable.
It is not righteous a hell should entertain any else if it refuse him.

2. How lamentable is it that in our times this folly of atheism should
be so rife ! that there should be found such monsters in human nature, in
the midst of the improvements of reason and shinings of the gospel, who
not only make the Scripture the matter of their jeers, but scoff at the judg-
ments and providences of God in the world, and envy their Creator a being,
without whose goodness they had had none themselves ; who contradict in
their carriage what they assert to be their sentiment, when they dreadfully
imprecate damnation to themselves ! Whence should come that damnation
they so rashly wish be poured forth upon them, if there were not a reveng-
ing God ? Formerly atheism was as rare as prodigious, scarce two or three
known in an age. And those that are reported to be so in former ages, are
rather thought to be counted so for mocking at the senseless deities the
common people adored, and laying open their impurities. A mere natural
Btrength would easily discover that those they adored for gods could not
deserve that title, since their original was known, their uncleanncss rnani-

• ami acknowledged by their worshippers. And probably it was so, since
the Christians w< re tinned ul-mi, as Justin informs us, because they acknow-
ledged not their vain idols.

1 question whether there em r was or can be in the world an uninterru]
and internal denial of the being of God, or that men (unless we c
conscience utterly dead) can arrive to such a degree of impiety. For before

176 chaknock's wores. [Ps. XIV. 1.

they can stifle such sentiments in them (whatsoever they may assert), they
must be utter strangers to the common conceptions of reason, and despoil
themselves of their own humanity. He that dares to deny a God with his
lips, yet sets up something or other as a god in his heart. Is it not lament-
able that this sacred truth, consented to by all nations, which is the band
of civil societies, the source of all order in the world, should be denied with
a bare face and disputed against in companies, and the glory of a wise
Creator ascribed to an unintelligent nature, to blind chance ? Are not
such worse than heathens ? They worshipped many gods, these none ;
they preserved a notion of God in the world under a disguise of images,
these would banish him both from earth and heaven, and demolish the
statues of him in their own consciences ; they degraded him, these would
destroy him; they coupled creatures with him — Rom. i. 25, 'Who wor-
shipped the creature with the Creator,' as it may most properly be rendered.
And these would make him worse than a creature, a mere nothing. Earth
is hereby become worse than hell. Atheism is a persuasion, which finds no
footing anywhere else. Hell, that receives such persons, in this point
reforms them ; they can never deny or doubt of his being while they feel
his strokes. The devil, that rejoices at their wickedness, knows them to be
in an error; for he 'believes, and trembles' at the belief, James ii. 19.
This is a forerunner of judgment; boldness in sin is a presage of ven-
geance, especially when the honour of God is more particularly concerned
therein. It tends to the overturning human society, taking off the bridle
from the wicked inclinations of men. And God appears not in such visible
judgments against sin immediately committed against himself, as in the
case of those sins that are destructive to human society. Besides, God as
governor of the world will uphold that, without which all his ordinances in
the world would be useless. Atheism is point blank against all the glory of
God in creation, and against all the glory of God in redemption, and pro-
nounceth at one breath both the Creator and all acts of religion and divine
institutions useless and insignificant.

Since most have had, one time or other, some risings of doubt, whether
there be a God, though few do in expressions deny his being, it may not be
unnecessary to propose some things for the further impressing this truth,
and guarding themselves against such temptations.

1. It is utterly impossible to demonstrate there is no God. He can
choose no medium, but will fall in as a proof for his existence, and a mani-
festation of his excellency rather than against it. The pretences of the
atheist are so ridiculous, that they are not worth the mentioning.

They never saw God, and therefore know not how to believe such a being;
they cannot comprehend him. He would not be God if he could fall within
the narrow model of an human understanding ; he would not be infinite if
he were comprehensible, or to be terminated by our sight. How small a
thing must that bo which is seen by a bodily eye, or grasped by a weak
mind ! If God were visible or comprehensible, he would be limited. Shall
it bo a sufficient demonstration from a blind man that there is no fire in the
room, because he sees it not, though ho feel the warmth of it ? The know-
ledge of the effect is sufficient to conclude the existence of the cause.
Who ever saw his own life ? Is it sufficient to deny a man lives, because
ho beholds not his life, and only knows it by his motion ? He never
saw his own soul, but knows he hath one by his thinking power. The air
renders itself sensible to men in its operations, yet was never seen by
the eye.

If God should render himself visible, they might question as well as now

\ IV. l.j Tin. I \i i . n.i: of ooi>. 177

whether that which was so risible wen Ood of ome delusion. Lfhe should
appear glorious, wo can an little bohold him in hi !'<• glory as an owl

can behold the too is its brightneee; we should still baft hoc him in his

effeot8, us WO do thi) Sim by hi; 1. rains'. It he should shew ;i in ,v miracle,
hotild still sen him hill by hi see him in hit cnatuiv .

everj OOe Of Which WOUld I"- I :i miracle can !»<• wroii-dit t i

one that, bed the ftrtl pro peel of them. To require to I, is to

require that which i. impossible: 1 Tun. \i. H'>, 'lb- dwells in the light
which no man can approach unto; whom DO man li.it 1 1 1000, DOT SSI

It is vi ahle that in- 1 1, for'* he eoveri himself with Light as with ■ gsisesmV
r . civ. '^; it : ible what he is, for 'he makes derki

place, 1 P . \.;n. ll. Nothing more dear to the eye than light, end
nothing more diffionlt to the onderstanding than the nature of it; as I
is tin 1 first objeel ohvious to the sye, so is dod the first object obvious to
the understandings The srgnmenti mom nature <lo with si trengtb

evince Ins existence, than sny pretenees can manifest there u no Qod. No

man c.m SMOTC hims.lt' by any "ood reason there is nono ; for M tor the
4 likeness of events to him that is righteous and him that is wicked, to him
that sacriticeth and to him that sacriticet h not,' Kc-1.-. i\ 2, it is an argu-
ment for ;i reserve of judgment in another state, which every man's con-
science dictates tO him, when the justice of God shall he glorified in another

world as much as his patience is in this.

'J. Whosoever doubts of it makes himself a mark, against which all the
creatures fight. '

All the stars Foughi against Ksers for Israel; all the stars in heaven, and
the dust OB earth, tight tor God against the atheist. He hath as many argu-
ments againei him as there are creatures in the whole compass of heaven
and earth. Be is most unreasonable that denies or doubts of that whose
image and shadow lie sees round about him ; he raay sooner deny the sun
that warms him. the moon that in the night walks in her brightness, deny
the fruits he enjoys from earth, yea, and deny that he doth exist. He must
t. ar his own conscience, fly from his own thoughts, be changed into the
nature of a stone, which hath neither reason nor sense, before he can dis-
engage himself from those arguments which evince the being of a God. He
that would make the natural religion professed in the world a mere romance,
must give the lie to the common sense of mankind ; he must be at an irre-
concilable enmity with his own reason, resolve to hear nothing that it speaks,
if he will not hear what it speaks in this case with a greater evidence than
it can ascertain anything else. God hath so settled himself in the reason of
man. that he must vilify the noblest faculty God hath given him, and put
off nature itself, before he can blot out the notion of a God.

B. No ■'-, stion but those that have been so bold as to deny that there
was a God have sometimes been much afraid they have been in an error,
and ha ~t suspected there was a God, when some sudden prodigy

hath pn - nt. d itself to them and roused their fears. And whatsoever senti-
ments they might have in their blinding prosperity, they have had other kind
of motions in them in their stormy atllictions, and, like Jonah's marii.
have been ready to cry to him for help, whom they disdained to own so much
ns in being while they swam in their pleasures. The thoughts of a d
cannot be so extinguished but they will revive and rush upon a man. at
under some sharp affliction. Amazing judgments will make them q

ir own appn ends somo DM I the

apprehension of him as a judge, while men resolve not to own i
him as a governor. A man cunnut but keep a scent of what rn with

VOL. I. M

178 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

him ; as a vessel that hath been seasoned first with a strong juice will pre-
serve the scent of it, whatsoever liquors are afterwards put into it.

4. What is it for which such men rack their wits, to form notions that
there is no God ? Is it not that they would indulge some vicious habit,
which hath gained the possession of their soul, which they know cannot be
favoured by that holy God, whose notion they would raze out? Ps. xciv. 6, 7.
Is it not for some brutish affection, as degenerative of human nature, as
derogatory to the glory of God ; a lust as unmanly as sinful ?

The terrors of God are the effects of guilt ; and therefore men would wear
out the apprehensions of a deity, that they might be brutish without control.
They would fain believe there were no God, that they might not be men, but
beasts. How great & folly is it to take so much pains in vain for a slavery
and torment i to cast off that which they call a yoke for that whieh really is
one ! There is more pains and toughness of soul requisite to shake off the
apprehensions of God than to believe that he is, and cleave constantly to
him. What a madness is it in any to take so much pains to be less than a
man, by razing out the apprehensions of God, when with less pains he may
be more than an earthly man, by cherishing the notions of God, and walk-
ing answerably thereunto.

5. How unreasonable is it for any man to hazard himself at this rate in
the denial of a God ! The atheist saith he knows not that there is a God ;
but may he not reasonably think there may be one for aught he knows ?
And if there be, what a desperate confusion will he be in, when all his
bravadoes shall prove false ! What can they gain by such an opinion ? A
freedom, say they, from the burdensome yoke of conscience, a liberty to do
what they list, that doth not subject them to divine laws. It is a hard
matter to persuade any that they can gain this. They can gain but a sor-
did pleasure, unworthy the nature of man. But it were well that such
would argue thus : — If there be a God, and I fear and obey him, I gain a
happy eternity ; but if there be no God, I lose nothing but my sordid lusts
by firmly believing there is one. If I be deceived at last, and find a God,
can I think to be rewarded by him for disowning him ? Do not I run a
desperate hazard to lose his favour, his kingdom, and endless felieity, for an
endless torment ? By confessing a God, I venture no loss ; but by denying
him, I run the most desperate hazard if there be one.

He is not a reasonable creature that will not put himself upon such a rea-
sonable arguing.

What a doleful meeting will there be between the God who is denied and
the atheist that denies him, who shall meet with reproaches on God's part,
and terrors of his own! All that he gains is a liberty to defile himself here,
and a certainty to be despised hereafter, if he be in an error, as undoubtedly
he is.

6. Can any such person say he hath done all that ho can to inform him-
self of the being of God, or of other things which he denies ? Or rather,
they would fain imagine there is none, that they may sleep securely in their
lusts, and be free (if they could) from the thunder-claps of conscience? Can
such say they havo used their utmost endeavours to instruct themselves in
this, and can meet with no satisfaction? Were it an abstruse truth, it might
not bo wondered at ; but not to meet with satisfaction in this which every-
thing minds us of and hclpcth, is the fruit of an extreme negligence, stupidity,
and a willingness to be unsatisfied, and a judicial process of God against
them. It is strange any man should be so dark in that upon which depends
the conduct of his life, and the expectation of happiness hereafter.

I do not know what some of you may think, but I believe these things

. I V. 1 . TMK kxisti \. r. Of MOD* 17'.)

m do! bo be propo ed for on to an vex temptations. We

know not wliut wid ptation in b ;i '••, meeting

with i corrupt heart] n apt men to, and though thi any

etheisl here pri I lentally

Diet with suoh who opejUy denied And if the ion happen,

ons tatn n>»t b to apply to tl Bat

1 n. inee those that live in thi iment d<> not jn

themselves worthy of their own oare, they are aoi worthy of I • of

othen ; and a uum must have all the oharity of th< l bioh

th« ■• o, not to confc tnn them, and i- m to th

we are to pit j madmen, who sink onder an unavoidable distem]
as much to abominats them who will fully bug thi

if it be the atheisVs tolly to deny or doubt of the i» ing G "1, it
• Irmly settled in this truth, that God is. We should
never be without our arms is an age wherein a

with. >ut :i <1

; may meel with tiona to it; though the devil formerly nj

attempted to demolish this notion in the world, but was willing to keep it
up, st) the worship due to God might run in his own channel; and

i to preserve it, without which he could not erected that

idolatry which was his gri m in opposition to Godj y/et since the

foundations of that are torn up, and never Like to be rebuilt, lie i lea-

vour, us his last refuge, to banish the notion of God oul of the world, thai
lie may reign as absolutely without it, as he did before by the mistakffs about
the divine nature* But we must not lay all upon Satan ; the corruption of

our own hearts ministers matter to such sparks. Jt is not. Bald, Satan hath

> tin' fool, hut ' The fool hath said in hit heart, There is no God* 1

let them come from what principle soever, silence them quickly, givo

them their dismiss, oppose the whole scheme of nature to fight against

them, as tlif Btars did against Sisera. Stir up sentiments of conscience to
opp timents of corruption. Resolve sooner to believe that yourselves

are not than that trod is not. And if you suppose they at any time como
from Sat m, object to him that you know ho believes the contrary to what
he BUggests. Settle this principle firmly in you, let us behold him that is
invisible, as Moses did, Heb. xi. 27. Let us have the sentiments follow.
upon the notion of a God, to be restrained by a fear of him, excited by S
love to him, not to violate his laws and offend his goodness. He is not a
God careless of our actions, negligent to inflict punishment and bestow
rewards: ' He forgets not the labour of our love,' Heb. vi. 10, nor the in-
ity of our ways. He were not a God if he were not a governor; and
punishments and rewards are as essential to government as a foundation to
a buil ii;. ;. Ills being and his government in rewarding, Heb. xi. 6, which
imp.it - punishment (for the neglects of him are linked together), are not*
to be separated in our thoughts of him.

1. Without this truth filed in us, we can never give him the worship due
to his name. When the knowledge of any thing is fluctuating and uncertain,
our about it ai . 18. We r. gard not that which we think <;

Dot much COnc< HI OS. [fwt do Dot firmly believe there is a (rod, we shall i

him no Bteady worship ; and if we believe not tin ocy of his naJ

-h til oiler him i ; Mai. L 18, 14. 1

kiio f God, tl u and pillar oi

• Qu. which implies punishment for

•t of him, we linkc-1 together, and urt
t Maimon. Fun

180 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

whole frame of religion is dissolved without this apprehension, and totters if
this apprehension be wavering. Keligion in the heart is as water in a weather
glass, which rises or falls according to the strength or weakness of this belief.
How can any man worship that which he believes not to be, or doubts of ?
Could any man omit the paying an homage to one whom he did believe to
be an omnipotent, wise being, possessing (infinitely above our conceptions)
the perfections of all creatures ? He must either think there is no such
being, or that he is an easy, drowsy, inobservant God, and not such a one
as our natural notions of him, if. listened to, as well as the Scripture, repre-
sent him to be.

2. Without being rooted in this, we cannot order our lives. All our base-
ness, stupidity, dulness, wanderings, vanity, spring from a wavering and un-
settledness in this principle. This gives ground to brutish pleasures, not
only to solicit but conquer us. Abraham expected violence in any place
where God was not owned : Gen. xx. 11, ' Surely the fear of God is not in
this place, and they will slay me for my wife's sake.' The natural knowledge
of God firmly impressed, would choke that which would stifle our reason
and deface our souls. The belief that God is, and what he is, would have
a mighty influence to persuade us to a real religion, and serious considera-
tion, and casting about how to be like to him and united with him.

3. Without it we cannot have any comfort of our lives. Who would will-
ingly live in a stormy world, void of a God ? If we waver in this principle,
to whom should we make our complaints in our afflictions ? Where should
we meet with supports ? How could we satisfy ourselves with the hopes of
a future happiness ? There is a sweetness in the meditation of his existence,
and that he is a creator, Ps. civ. 24. Thoughts of other things have a
bitterness mixed with them : houses, lands, children now are, shortly they
will not be ; but God is, that made the world ; his faithfulness as he is
a creator, is a ground to deposit our souls and concerns in our innocent
sufferings, 1 Peter iv. 19. So far as we are weak in the acknowledg-
ment of God, we deprive ourselves of our content in the view of his infinite
perfections.

4. Without the rooting of this principle, we cannot have a firm belief of
Scripture. The Scripture will be a slight thing to one that hath weak senti-
ments of God. The belief of a God must necessarily precede the belief of any
revelation ; the latter cannot take place without the former as the foundation.
We must firmly believe the being of a God, wherein our happiness doth con-
sist, before we can believe any means which conduct us to him. Moses
begins with the author of creation, before he treats of the promise of redemp-
tion. Paul preached God as a creator to a university, before he preached
Christ as mediator, Acts xvii. 24. What influence can the testimony of
God have in his revelation upon one that doth not firmly assent to the truth
of his being ? All would be in vain that is so often repeated, Thus saith the
Lord, if we do not believe there is a Lord that speaks it. There could be
no awe from his sovereignty in his commands, nor any comfortable taste of
his goodness in his promises. The more we are strengthened in this prin-
ciple, the more credit we shall be able to give to divine revelation, to rest in
his promise, and to reverence his precept ; the authority of all depends upon
the being of the revealer.

To this purpose, since we have handled this discourse by natural argu-
ments,

1. Study God in tho creatures as well as in the Scriptures. The primary
use of the creatures, is to acknowledge God in them ; they were made to
be witnesses of himself and his goodness, and heralds of his glory, which

Pa, XIV. l.j -mi. i d rnm<m ov god. 181

glory of God as creator ' shall endure I Pi« (, ' v - Bl« r J " 1 1 : 1 1 whole

psalm is ft l.riuiv of creation and providence. The woiid if a sftored temple,
man is [ntrodaeed to contemplate it, and behold with praise the glory of
God in the pieeei of his art A - grace doth oof d itroy naive, to the book
of redemption blol i not oat thai of creation. I [ad be not ihewn bimaehTin hie
tares, h,. oonld never have shewn himself in his Ohri L The order of
things required it. God must, be read wherever be ie legible; ilai
tnrei are one book, wherein he bath wrii a pari of the 'excellency of bii
name, 1 I's. viii. 9, as many artiste do in their works and watches. Q
glory, Like the tilin Id, is too precious to be lost wherever it. dro]

nothing 10 vile and base in the world, bnt carries in it at instruction for
man, and drives in further the notion of ft God. As he said of bis c

enter lure, sunt hir rtium />/"/, God disdains not this place, so the I

ereature speaks to man, every shrub in khe field, eyery Hy in the air, ev<
limb in a body i Consider me, God disdains not to appear in me ; he batb

covered in DM his being and a part of his skill, as well ftS in the high*

The creatures manifest the being of God and part of his pi rfections. We

have indeed ft more excellent way, a revelation Betting him forth in a more
excellent manner, a firmer object of dependence, ft brighter object of love,
raising our hearts from self-confidence to a confidence m him. Though the

appearance of God in tho one bo clearer than in the other, yet neither is to
be neglected. The Scripture directs us to nature to view God; it had been
in vain else for the apostle to make use of natural arguments. Nature is
not contrary to Scripture, nor Scripture to nature, unless wo should think
God contrary to himself, who is the author of both.

'2. View God in your own experiences of him. There is a taste and sighi
of his goodness, though no sight of his essence, Ps. xxxiv. 38. By the taste
of his goodness you may know the reality of the fountain, whence it springs
and from whence it Hows. This surpasseth the greatest capacity of a m
natural ' understanding. Experience of the sweetness of the ways of Chris-
tianity is ft mighty preservative against atheism. Many a man knows not
how to prove honey to be sweet by his reason, but by his sense ; and if all
the reason in the world be brought against it, he will not be reasoned out
of what he tastes.

Have not many found the delightful illapses of God into their souls, often
sprinkled with his inward blessings upon their seeking of him ; had secret
warnings in their approaches to him ; and gentle rebukes in their consciences
upon their swervings from him ? Have not many found sometimes an in-
visible hand raising them up when they were dejected, some unexpected
providence stepping in for their relief, and easily perceived that it could not
be a work of chance, nor many times the intention of the instruments he
hath used in it ? You have often found that he is, by finding that he is a
rewarder, and can set to your seals that he is what he hath declared himself
to be in bis word: Isa. xliii. 12, 'I have declared, and have saved, there-
for.' you are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.' The secret
touches of God upon the heart, and inward converses with him, are a greater
evidence of the existence of a supremo and infinitely good being, than all
nature.

/ L Is it a folly to deny or doubt of the being of God ? It is a folly also
not to worship God, when we acknowledge his existence. It is our wisdom
then to worship him. As it is not indifferent whether we believe tl:
God or no, so it is not indifferent whether we will give honour to that I
or no. A worship is his righl as he is the author of our h 1 toun-

sain of our happiness. By this only we acknowledge his deity. Though

182 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

profess his being, yet we deny that profession in neglects of worship. To
deny him a worship is as great a folly as to deny his being. He that
renounceth all homage to his Creator, envies him the being which he can-
not deprive him of. The natural inclination to worship is as universal as
the notion of a God ; idolatry else had never gained footing in the world.
The existence of God was never owned in any nation, but a worship of him
was appointed ; and many people who have turned their backs upon some
other parts of the law of nature, have paid a continual homage to some supe-
rior and invisible being. The Jews gave a reason why man was created in
the evening of the Sabbath, because he should begin his being with the
worship of his Maker. As soon as ever he found himself to be a creature,
his first solemn act should be a particular respect to his Creator. ' To fear
God and keep his commandment, is the whole of man,' Eccles. xii. 13, oris
1 whole man ' {Hebrew) ; he is not a man but a beast, without observance
of God. Religion is as requisite as reason to complete a man. He were
not reasonable if he were not religious ; because by neglecting religion,
he neglects the chiefest dictate of reason. Either God framed the world
with so much order, elegancy, and variety, to no purpose, or this was his
end at least, that reasonable creatures should admire him in it, and honour him
for it. The notion of God was not stamped upon men, the shadows of God
did not appear in the creatures to be the subject of an idle contemplation,
but the motive of a due homage to God. He created the world for his glory,
a people for himself, that he might have the honour of his works ; that
since we live and move in him and by him, we should live and move to him
and for him. It was the condemnation of the heathen world, that when
they knew there was a God, they did not give him the glory due to him,
Rom. i. 21. He that denies his being is an atheist to his essence: he
that denies his worship is an atheist to his honour.

5. If it be a folly to deny the being of God, it will be our wisdom then,
since we acknowledge his being, often to think of him. Thoughts are the
first issue of a creature as reasonable, Prov. iv. 23. He that hath given us
the faculty whereby we are able to think, should be the principal object
about which the power of it should be exercised. It is a justice to God the
author of our understandings, a justice to the nature of our understandings,
that the noblest faculty should be employed about the most excellent object.
Our minds are a beam from God ; and therefore, as the beams of the sun,
when they touch the earth, should reflect back upon God. As we seem to
deny the being of God, not to think of him, we seem also to unsoul our
souls, in misemploying the activity of them any other way : like flies, to be
oftener on- dunghills than flowers.

It is made the black mark of an ungodly man or an atheist, that ' God is
not in all his thoughts,' Ps. x. 4. What comfort can be had in the being
of God without thinking of him with reverence and delight ! A God for-
gotten is as good as no God to us.

PRACTICAL ATHEISM.

TV fool li'i'li Utid ni kU heart, There is jtn (,'nil. — I's. XIV. 1.

Doct* B, Practical atheism is natural to man in his depraved state, and
vary frequent in the hearts and lives of men*

I The tool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' He regardi him as
Little as if he had no being. Be said in his heart, not with his tongue, nor

in hifl head ; he never firmly thought it, nor openly asserted it; shame put
I bar to the first, and natural reason to the second. Yet perhaps he had
sometimes some doubts whether there were a God or no ; he wished there
were noi any, and sometimes hoped there were none at all. He could not
ra/.e out the notion of a deity in his mind, hut he neglected the fixing the
Sense of God in his heart, and made it too much his business to deface and
blot out those characters of God in his soul which had been left under the
ruins of original nature.

Men may have atheistical hearts without atheistical heads. Their reasons
may defend the notion of a deity, while their hearts are empty of atfection
to the Deity ; Job's children may 'curse God in their hearts,' Job i. 5,
though not with their lips.

' There is no God.' Most understand it of a denial of the providence of
God, as I have said in opening the former doctrine.

II denies some essential attribute of God, or the exercise of that attribute
in the world.*

Be that denies any essential attribute may be said to deny the being of
God. Whosoever denies angels or men to have reason and will, denies the
human and angelical nature, because understanding and will are essential to
both those natures ; there could neither be angel nor man without them.
No nature can subsist without the perfections essential to that nature, nor
God be conceived of without his. The apostle tells us, Eph. ii. 12, that
she Gentiles were 'without God in the world.' So in some sense all
unbeliever! may be termed atheists ; for rejecting the mediator appointed by
God, they reject that God who appointed him.

But this is beyond the intended scope, natural atheism being the only
subject ; yet this is deduoible from it, that the title of clCioi doth not only
belong to those who denied th nco of God, or to those who contemn

all sense of ■ deity, and would root the conscience and reverence of God
out of tin ir souls, but it bclongl also to these who give not that worship to
ti i which IS due to him; who worship many gods, or who worship one

* Bo tli M3P/W Av 1 ! uea jtatmiat, denying the authority el

in the world.

181 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

God in a false and superstitious manner ; when they have not right concep-
tions of God, nor intend an adoration of him according to the excellency of
his nature. All those that are unconcerned for any particular religion fall
under this character ; though they own a God in general, yet are willing
to acknowledge any god that shall be coined by the powers under whom they
live. The Gentiles were without God in the world ; without the true notion
of God, not without a god of their own framing.

This general or practical atheism is natural to men.

1. Not natural by created, but by corrupted, nature. It is against nature,
as nature came out of the hand of God ; but universally natural, as nature
hath been sophisticated and infected by the serpent's breath. Inconsidera-
tion of God, or misrepresentations of his nature, are as agreeable to corrupt
nature as the disowning the being of a God is contrary to common reason.
God is not denied naturd sed vitiis.*

2. It is universally natural : ' The wicked are estranged from the womb,'
Ps. lviii. 2, ■ They go astray as soon as they be born, their poison is like
the poison of a serpent.' The wicked ; and who by his birth hath a better
title ? They go astray from the dictates of God and the rule of their crea-
tion as soon as ever they be born ; their poison is like the poison of a
serpent, which is radically the same in all of the same species. It is semi-
nally and fundamentally in all men, though there may be a stronger restraint
by a divine hand upon some men than upon others. This principle runs
through the whole stream of nature. The natural bent of every man's heart
is distant from God ; when we attempt anything pleasing to God, it is like
the climbing up a hill against nature ; when anything is displeasing to him,
it is like a current running down the channel in its natural course ; when
we attempt anything that is an acknowledgment of the holiness of God, we
are fain to rush with arms in our hands through a multitude of natural
passions, and fight the way through the oppositions of our own sensitive
appetite. How softly do we naturally sink down into that which sets us at
a greater distance from God ! There is no active, potent, efficacious sense
of a God by nature. ' The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to
do evil,' Eccl. viii. 11 ; the heart in the singular number, as if there were
but one common heart beat in all mankind, and bent, as with one pulse,
with a joint consent and force to wickedness, without a sense of the autho-
rity of God in the earth ; as if one heart acted every man in the world.

The great apostle cites the text to verify the charge he brought against
all mankind, Rom. iii. 9-12. In his interpretation, the Jews, who owned
one God, and were dignified with special privileges, as well as the Gentiles,
that maintained many gods, are within the compass of this character. The
apostle leaves out the first part of the text, ' The fool hath said in his heart,'
but takes in the latter part, and the verses following. He charges all,
because all, every man of them, was under sin : ' There is none that seeks
God ;' and, ver. 19, he adds, * What the law saith, it speaks to those that
are under the law,' that none should imagine he included only the Gentiles,
and exempted the Jews from this description. The leprosy of atheism had
infected the whole mass of human nature. No man among Jews or Gentiles
did naturally seek God, and therefore all were void of any spark of the
practical sense of the deity. The eil'ects of this atheism are not in all ex-
ternally of an equal size ; yet, in tho fundamentals and radicals of it, there
is not a hair's difference between tho best and the worst men that ever tra-
versed the world. The distinction is laid either in the common grace,
bounding and suppressing it ; or in special grace, killing and crucifying it.

* Auguatin. do Civil. Dei.

I . X I \ . 1 . I ( • A I . A T II K 1 I'-

ll il in e\.ry one cither triumphant. OT militant,
man is any mom horn witl hie acknowledgments of God thun b<

bom with ;i clear know • i all the

plants upon Din earth. ' N. -n. r ( rod.' NonS Seeks God aH

rule, a. hi- i-ii. I. :i hi happiness, whirh is a • I • - 1 • t tin- rivalurv D at

God ; be d Minion with God ; be places nil bappii

in anything inferior to <i<"l; he prefers everything before him, glorifies
sverything above him ; In- hath no delight t" Know him; he regardf not
the w bieh I' ad to him ; be low

holiness; his actions air tinctured and dyed with lelf, and i of that

a Inch is due from him to ( «od.

noblest faculty of man, his understanding, wherein the remain-
of tho image <>f <'<"! are risible, the highest open
th.it faculty, which is wisdom, ii in the judgmenl of the Bpirit of i

rilish,' whiles it is * earthly and sensual, ' James iii. L5« And the
don of the besl man is uo better by nature; b legion of inrj

.•ss it; devilish as the devil, who though he belieVC then i- sG

as if there wen none, and wishes be bad m> superior to pi
him a law, and inflict that punishment upon him which nil erinu
merited. Hence the poison of man by nature is said to be like ' the poi
of a serpent,' alluding to thai terpentine temptation which first infected man-
kin. I, and changed the nature of man into 'he lifcynen of thai of the devil,
T-. i\ in. I. Bo thai notwithstanding the harmony of the world, thai |

men not only with the notice of the being of ■ God, hut darts into

min.ls some remarks of h's power and eternity, thoughts and

of man an so corrupt, as may well be called diabolical, and as
contrary to the perfection of God and the original law of their oal the

actings Of the devil are ; for since every natural man is a child of th

and l- act* d by the diabolical spirit, bo must n< i ds have- that nature which

his father hath, ami the infusion of that venom which the spirit that

- him is possessed with, though the full discovery of it may be restrai
by various circumstances, Bph. ii. 2. To conclude: though no man, or at
1. ast Fi ry few, arrive to a round and positive conclusion in their hearts that
there is no God, yet there is no man that naturally hath in his heart any
reverence of God*

In general, before I come to a particular proof, take some propositions.

Prop. 1. Actions are a greater discovery of a principle than words. The

ay of works is louder and clearer than that of words, and the frame

of men's hearts must he measured rather by what they do than by what they

There may he a mighty distance between the tongue and the heart,

but • of actions is as little guilty of lying as interest is, according

our i i saying. All outward impieties are the branches of an atheism

at the root of our nature, as all pestilential son I an ex p r essions of the con-

>n in the blood. Sin is therefore frequently called ungodliness in our

lish dialect. .Men's practices are the best indexes of their prineij

The current of a man's life is the counterpart of the frame of his heart : who

can deny an error in the Spring or wheels, when he ] ■< rceives an error in

the hand of the dial? Who can deny atheism in the heart, when so much

risible in the life? The taste of the water discovers what mineral it

:ied through. A practical denial of God is worse than a verbal, because

\ e usually : -ion than words ; words may he thefruit

a. but a vil actions are the fruit and evidence of apT lomu

evil principle in the heart. All slighting words of a princi
habitual treason, but a succession of overt b

186 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

settled treasonable disposition in the mind. Those, therefore, are more
deservedly termed atheists, who acknowledge a God and walk as if there
were none, than those (if there can be any such) that deny a God, and walk
as if there were one.

A sense of God in the heart would burst out in the life. Where there is no
reverence of God in the life, it is easily concluded there is less in the heart.
What doth not influence a man when it hath the addition of the eyes and
censures of outward spectators, and the care of a reputation (so much the
god of the world), to strengthen it and restrain the action, must certainly have
less power over the heart when it is single, without any other concurrence.
The flames breaking out of a house discover the fire to be much stronger and
fiercer within. The apostle judgeth those of the circumcision, who gave heed to
Jewish fables, to be deniers of God, though he doth not tax them with any
notorious profaneness : Tit. i. 10, ' They profess that they know God, but-in
works they deny him ;' he gives them epithets contrary to what they arrogated
to themselves.- They boasted themselves to be holy, the apostle calls them
abominable. They bragged that they fulfilled the law, and observed the tra-
ditions of their fathers ; the apostle calls them disobedient, or unpersuadable.
They boasted that they only had the rule of righteousness, and a sound judg-
ment concerning it ; the apostle said they had a reprobate sense, and unfit
for any good work ; and judges against all their vain-glorious brags, that
they had not a reverence of God in their hearts ; there was more of the
denial of God in their works, than there was acknowledgment of God in
their words. Those that have neither God in their thoughts, nor in their
tongues, nor in their works, cannot properly be said to acknowledge him.
Where the honour of God is not practically owned in the lives of men, the
being of God is not sensibly acknowledged in the hearts of men. The prin-
ciple must be of the same kind with the actions ; if the actions be atheistical,
the principle of them can be no better.

Prop. 2. All sin is founded in a secret atheism. Atheism is the spirit of
every sin ; all the flood of impieties in the world break in at the gate of a
secret atheism ; and though several sins may disagree with one another, yet
like^Herod and Pilate against Christ, they join hand in hand against the inte-
rest of God. Though lusts and pleasures be divers, yet they are united in
disobedience to him, Tit. iii. 3. All the wicked inclinations in the heart,
and struggling motions, secret repinings, self-applauding confidences in our
own wisdom, strength, &c, envy, ambition, revenge, are sparks from this
latent fire ; the language of every one of these is, I would be a lord to my-
self, and would not have a God superior to me.

The variety of sins against the first and second table, the neglects of God,
and violences against man, are derived from this in the text, first, ' The fool
hath said in his heart,' and then follows a legion of devils. As all virtuous
actions spring from an acknowledgment of God, so all vicious actions rise from
a lurking denial of him. All licentiousness goes glib down where there is no
sense of God. Abraham judged himself not secure from murder, nor his
wife from defilement in Gerar, if there were no fear of God there, Gen.
xx. 11. He that makes no conscience of sin has no regard to the honour,
and consequently none to the being, of God. ' By the fear of God men
depart from evil,' Prov. xvi. G. By the non-regarding of God men rush
into evil. Pharaoh oppressed Israel because he knew not the Lord. If he
did not deny the being of a deity, yet he had such an unworthy notion of
God as was inconsistent with the nature of a deity ; he, a poor creature,
thought himself a mate for tho Creator.

# Illyric.

Pi, XIV. l.J I'KACI ICAI. Mill. I 1 3 i

Tn rim <>f omission we own not God, in neglecting to perform what he

enjoins. In sins <>f commission we set up BOmS lust in tin- place Oi God,

and pay to thai lh< e which is due to our Maker, [n bothwedie-

own liim ; in the 0X16 1 | v. hat bfl OOmiDind , ill the other b

wli.it In' forbids,

w «• deny hi tj whan ws riolate I !|1S n "' : ~

ness when we oaei our filth before bii faa wiedoni w]

we eel tiji mother role si the guide of our aetioni than thai I bath

light liis sull'ici. ncy win n we DTI ■!'. r I 'ion in I in I N fare I

happiness in bun alone, and bis goodness, when w<
enough to attract us to him. Every sir invades the i and

strips him of one or other of bis perfections, it is each s vilifying of I
sj if he were not ( i< «1 ; ss if he were not the inpreme er< ator and benefactor
of the world ; ai it" we bad not our being from him ; ai it' the air i bed

in. the food we lived by, WON our own by right of lUpl '« macy, not of dOUV

tion : for s subject to slight bis sovereign is to slight his royalty; or s
\unt i master, is to deny his superiority.

Prop. B. Sin implies that (iod is unworthy of I being. Kvery sin ia a

kind ofenrsing God in the heart, Job i. 5; an aim at the destruction of the

being of (iod. not actually, hut virtually; not in the intention of l very sin-

. 1 ut in the nature of every sin. That affection which excites s man to
break his law, would excite him to annihilate his being if it were in his

power, A man in cvtry sin aims to set up his own will as Ids rule, and his
own glory as the end of his actions, against the will and glory of God ; and
could a sinner attain his end, (led would be destroyed : God cannot out-live
bis will and his glory; God cannot have another rule hut his own will, nor

another end hut his own honour, sin is sailed a ' turning the hack' upon

I, .1, r. \wii. 88 ; a ' kicking against him,' Deut. xxxii. 16 ; as if he were

a Blighter person than the meanest beggar. What greater contempt can be

shewed to the meanest, vilest person, than to turn the lack, lift up the heel,
and thrust away with indignation? All which actions, though they signify
that such a one hath a being, yet they testify also that he is unworthy of a
being, that he is an unuseful being in the world, and that it were well the
world were rid of him.

All sin against knowledge is called a reproach of God, Num. xv. 10,
k. xx. 27. Keproach is a vilifying a man as unworthy to he admitted
into company. We naturally judge (iod unlit to be conversed with. God
is the term turned from by a sinner; sin is the term turned to; which
implies a greater excellency in the nature of sin than in the nature of God.
And as we naturally judge it more worthy to have a being in our affections,
so consequently more worthy to have a being in the world, than that infinite
nature from whom we derive our beings, and our all, and upon whom with a
kind of disdain we turn our backs. Whosoever thinks the notion of a deity
Unfit to be cherished in his mind by warm meditation, implies that he c
not whether he hath a being in the world or no. Now though the light of a
deity shines so clearly in man, and the stings of conscience are so smart,
that he cannot absolutelv denv the being of a God, vet most men endeavour
to smother this knowledge, and make the notion of a God a BUpleSfl and
thing: Rom. i. 28, ' They like not to retain God in their knowled

I- C ut out from the presence of the Lord. Gh U. iv. L6 ;

that is. from the worship I Our refusing or abhorring the presence

i man impli - whether he continue? in the world or no, it

is a using loin as if he had BO : lt -

Hence all men in Adam, under th m of the prodigal, I to go

188 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

into a far country. Not in respect of place, because of God's omnipresence,
but in respect of acknowledgment and affection ; they mind and love any-
thing but God. And the descriptions of the nations of the world, lying in
the ruins of Adam's fall, and the dregs of that revolt, is that they know not
God ; they forget God, as if there were no such being above them ; and
indeed, he that doth the works of the devil, owns the devil to be more
worthy of observance, and consequently of a being, than God, whose nature
he forgets, and whose presence he abhors.

Prop. 4. Every sin in its own nature would render God a foolish and
impure being. Many transgressors esteem their acts, which are contrary to
the law of God, both wise and good ; if so, the law against which they are
committed must be both foolish and impure. What a reflection is there
then upon the law- giver ! The moral law is not properly a mere act of
God's will considered in itself, or a tyrannical edict, like those of whom it
may well be said, stat pro ratione voluntas, but it commands those things
which are good in their own nature, and prohibits those things which are in
their own nature evil, and therefore is an act of his wisdom and righteousness,
the result of his wise counsel, and an extract of his pure nature ; as all the
laws of just lawgivers are not only the acts of their will, but of a will
governed by reason and justice, and for the good of the public, whereof
they are conservators. If the moral commands of God were only acts of
his will, and had not an intrinsic necessity, reason, and goodness, God
might have commanded the quite contrary, and made a contrary law,
whereby that which we now call vice might have been canonised for virtue ;
he naight then have forbid any worship of him, love to him, fear of his
name ; he might then have commanded murders, thefts, adulteries. In
the first, he would have united the link of duty from the creature, and dis-
solved the obligations of creatures to him, which is impossible to be con-
ceived ; for from the relation of a creature to God, obligations to God, and
duties upon those obligations, do necessarily result. It had been against
the rule of goodness and justice to have commanded the creature not to love
him, and fear and obey him ; this had been a command against righteous-
ness, goodness, and intrinsic obligations to gratitude. And should murder,
adulteries, rapines have been commanded instead of the contrary, God
would have destroyed his own creation ; he would have acted against the
rule of goodness and order ; he had been an unjust tyrannical governor of
the world ; public society would have been cracked in pieces, and the world
become a shambles, a brothel house, a place below the common sentiments
of a mere man. All sin therefore being against the law of God, the wisdom
and holy rectitude of God's nature is denied in every act of disobedience.
And what is the consequence of this, but that God is both foolish and un-
righteous in commanding that which was neither an act of wisdom as a
governor, nor an act of goodness as a benefactor to his creature ?

As was said before, presumptuous sins are called reproaches of God :
Num. xv. 30, ' The soul that doth aught presumptuously reproacheth the
Lord.' Reproaches of men are either for natural, moral, or intellectual
defects. All reproaches of God must imply a charge either of unrighteous-
ness or ignorance ; if of unrighteousness, it is a denial of his holiness ; if of
ignorance, it is a blemishing his wisdom. If God's laws were not wise and
holy, God would not enjoin them ; and if they are so, we deny infinite wis-
dom and holiness in (iod by not complying with them. As when a man
believes not God when he promises, he ' makes him a liar,' 1 John v. 10, so
he that obeys not a wise and holy God commanding, makes him guilty either
of folly or unrighteousness.

\ IV. 1. rn.M i icai. a rm i ML 1 39

Now, HtippoBo vim l.n. m to ibfoloi6 atheist, who denied tl. • of a

' hud a life IV. ■<■ tVnin any DOtOI t <.r d. f i 1 • - 1 1 1 « - 1 1 1 , would JTOO in

on counl him ho bad as tlu< otln r tl God in being, y< I I

his coiirsi' i»t' action, such a hlack imputation of folly au«l impiinl v Dpon the

God he prof* otli to own, an imputation which

toable oreature '■'
Prop. 6* Bin in itH own naturo endeavour to render Gi It] r-

able being. It is nothing bul an opposition to the will of God. 'J'tn: i
of do croaturo is so much contradict d at the will 'of God I

men; and there is nothing ander the heavens thai the aflfections of bun
nature tend more point blank again t, than againsl God. 'i
slight of him in all the faculties of man ; onr onJ anwillit

him m onr wills an i to follow him : Bom. Tiii. 7, ' The earnal mind

■liiist God ; it is not subject tn the law of Godj dot oan be iub-
jeet. 1 It is true (!. ..rs will caiuii'! be hindered ofil . for then God

would not be supremely blessed, hot unhappy and miserable ; all mi
ariseth from a want of thai which a nature would have and o i hi to ha

. it' anything could era I I id's will, it would be sup. rior to him ;

i would not be omnipotent, and so would lose the perfection of the deity,
and consequently the deity itself ; for thai which did wholly defeat God's
will would be more powerful than he. r.ut sin is a contradiction to the
will of God's revelation j to the will of his precept, and therein doth natu-
rally tend to a superiority over God, and would usurp his omnipotence, and
deprive him of his blessodnoos. Poi if God had not an infinite power to
turn the designs <>i' it to his own glory, bfri tho will of sin could prevail,

I would be totally deprived of his blessedness. Doth riot sin endeavour

to subject God to the extravagant and contrary wills of men, and make him
more I slaw than any creature can be ? For the will of no creature, not the
meanest and moat despicable creature, is so much crossed as the will of I

is bj sin : Isa. xliii. 24, ' Thou hast made me to SCTVC with thy sins ; ' thou
hast end.avour.d to make a mere slave of me by sin. Sin endeavours to sub-
ject the blessed (iod to the humour and lust of every person in the world.
Prop. •'». Men BOOM times in some circumstances do wish the not beil

1. This some think to be tho meaning of the text, * The fool hath said
in his heart, there is no God ; ' that is, he wishes there were no God.
Many tamper with their own hearts to bring them to a persuasion that there
is DO God, and when they cannot do that, they conjure up wishes that tl.
were none. Men naturally have some conscience of sin, and some notices
of justice : Horn. i. 82, ' They know the judgment of God,' and they know
the demerit of sin ; they know the judgment of God, and ' that they which
do such things are worthy of death.' What is tho consequent of this but

r of punishment ? and what is the issue of that fear but a wishing the
judge either unwilling or unable to vindicate the honour of his violated lav.

W: an G Lis the object of such a wish, it is a virtual undeifying of him.
N t to 1 able to punish, is to be impotent : not to be will;-
to be unjust: imperfections inconsistent with the deity. God eannoi
sui rithoot an infinite power to act, and an infinite righteousness ns

the rule of acting. Fear of God is natural to all men; not
isg him, but a bar of being punished by him. The wishing the i rtinotion
of God has its degree in men, aoo owKii g to the degree of their fears of his
knee ; and though such a wish be not in its m< ri lian 1 at in

•uned in hell, yet it hath its starts and D

:i the earth. ok ofv '.hat there were no

I, or that God were destroyed, do fall, —

190 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

1. Terrified consciences, that are mayor missahib* see nothing but matter

of fear round about. As they have lived without the bounds of the law, they

are afraid to fall under the stroke of his justice ; fear wishes the destruction

of that which it apprehends hurtful. It considers him as a God to whom

'vengeance belongs,' as the 'judge of all the earth,' Ps. xciv. 1, 2. The

less hopes such a one hath of his pardon, the more joy he would have to

hear that his judge should be stripped of his life ; he would entertain with

delight any reasons that might support him in the conceit that there were

no God ; in his present state, such a doctrine would be his security from an

account ; he would as much rejoice if there were no God to inflame a hell

for him, as any guilty malefactor would if there were no judge to order a

gibbet for him. Shame may bridle men's words, but the heart will be

casting about for some arguments this way to secure itself. Such as are

at any time in Spira's case, would be willing to cease to be creatures, that

God might cease to be judge. ' The fool hath said in his heart, there is

no Elohim,' no judge, fancying God without any exercise of his judicial

authority. And there is not any wicked man under anguish of spirit, but,

were it within the reach of his power, would take away the life of God, and

rid himself of his fears by destroying his avenger.

2. Debauched persons are not without such wishes sometimes. An
obstinate servant wishes his master's death, from whom he expects correction
for his debaucheries. As man stands in his corrupt nature, it is impossible
but one time or other most debauched persons, at least have some kind of
velleities, or imperfect wishes. It is as natural to men to abhor those things
which are unsuitable and troublesome, as it is to please themselves in things
agreeable to their minds and humours. And since man is so deeply in love
with sin, as to count it the most estimable good, he cannot but wish the
abolition of that law which checks it, and consequently the change of the
lawgiver which enacted it ; and in wishing a change in the holy nature of
God, he wishes a destruction of God, who could not be God, if he ceased to
be immutably holy. They do as certainly wish, that God had not a holy
will to command them, as despairing souls wish, that God had not a righteous
will to punish them ; and to wish conscience extinct for the molestations
they receive from it, is to wish the power conscience represents out of the
world also.

Since the state of sinners is a state of distance from God, and the language
of sinners to God is, ' Depart from us,' Job xxi. 14, they desire as little
the continuance of his being as they desire the knowledge of his ways. The
same reason which moves them to desire God's distance from them, would
move them to desire God's not being. Since the greatest distance would be
most agreeable to them, the destruction of God must be so too ; because
there is no greater distance from us, than in not being. Men would rather
have God not to be, than themselves under control, that sensuality might
range at pleasure. He is like a ' heifer sliding from the yoke,' Hosea iv. 16.
The cursing of God in the heart, feared by Job of his children, intimates a
wishing God despoiled of his authority, that their pleasure might not be
damped by his law ; besides, is there any natural man that sins against
actuated knowledge, but either thinks or wishes that God might not see him,
that God might not, know his actions ? And is not this to wish the destruction
of God, who could not bo God unless he were immense and omniscient?

8. Under this rank fall those who perform external duties only out of a
principle of slavish fear. Many men perform those duties that the law en-
joins, with the same sentiments thai slaves perform their drudgery, and are
* That is, nUDtt "to, J or. xx. 3.— Ed.

Pa, xiv. i . ii. m. 191

Bonttrained la their datiei bj do other bat thote of the whip

Hid the cudgel. Sinco, tin r. fore, they do it with reloei ad leeretlj

murmur wli >. mi t I -m-

mands 'ailed, uml tli.- : commands them wcm in ano:

world. The spirit of i ther, s

Spirit of I "ii i a ■'■• i nl) > yes him as u ju. I ■'■•. 'I : • . :

■operiors m tyrannical, will do! be Diooh concerned in th<

DUO would ho more i^lad to have Lheii I, than \>t<. umli r p< rpetual

| II | ! tli. in.

Many men regard not the infinite goodness in lln ir of hirn, hut

!■ him H emeli tj rannioal, injnriooj to their liberty. Adam's po ' « rity
!iir ■ from the sentiments of their common lath

You know what conceit was the hammer whereby the belli D Jftel

struck the nail into our first parents, which cnv.;.. I d(

the same imagination to all their posterity : Gen. in. 5, • C thai

in the day yon eat thereof, tout eyei shall be opened, and yon shall ho aa

la, knowing good and eril* 1 Alas, poor souls! (io.l knew what he did

when lie forbade yon that frail ; he wai jealona yon ihoold be too happy ; it

■ eroelty in him to deprive you a food so pleasant and delicious. I

apprehension of the severity of God's commands rieeth np no Leas in

that then were DO ( k)d "V. r us, than Adam's appfehenaJOM of < nvv in d 1,

for the restraint of one tree moved him to attempt to he equal with God ;

fear is as powerful to prodoos the one in his posterity, as pride was to pro-
duce the other in the common root Wh.n we apprehend i thing hurtful

to us, we di I much evil to it, as may render it uncapable of d

the hurt we f. ar. As we uim the preservation of what we love or hope tor,
■0 we are naturally apt to wish the not being of that whence wo feai
hurt or trouble. We moat not nnderstand this as if any man did formally
Wish the de-truetion of Gtod, SS God. God in liimself is an infinite mirror
of goodness and ravishing loveliness. Ho is infinitely good, and so univer-
sally pood, and nothing bat good, and is therefore so agreeable to a creature,
I creature, that it is impossihle that the creature, while it bears itself to
God as a creature, should he guilty of this, but thirst after him and cherish

iv motion to him. As no man wishes the destruction of any creature.
a creature, but as it may conduce to something which ho counts may be
al to himself, so no man doth, nor perhaps can wish the cessation
of the Icing of God, as God ; for then he must wish his own being to ceaso
also; but as ho considers him clothed with some perfection-, which he
appr. I :■ injurious to him ; as his holiness in forbidding sin, his joel

in punishing sin. And God being judged in those perfections contrary to
what the revolted creature thinks convenient and good for liimself, he may
h God I of those perfections, that thereby he may be free from all

• of trouble and grief from him in his fallen state. In wishing God de-
prived of thi Be, he w od deprived of his being, because God cannot
without a love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity ; and
he could 1 v his love to the one, or his loathing of the other, without
0688, and witnessing his anger against iniquity.

l. • foes, i nd examine our own eonaeienei &, Di I

we nev. r ] sometimes in the thoughts, how happy we sh

bo, how free in our vain pleasures, if there were no G

trol, subject to no law 1 at oar own,
nnd be guided by no will I flesh? Did w< ■

< . ■ 'I >m i

will to comma I his righteous will to punis.h, &

192 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

Thus much for the general.

For the proof of this, many considerations will bring in evidence ; most
may be reduced to these two generals.

Man would set himself up, first, as his own rule ; secondly, as his own end
and happiness.

I. Man would set himself up as his own rule instead of God. This will
be evidenced in this method.

1. Man naturally disowns the rule God sets him.

2. He owns any other rule rather than that of God's prescribing.

3. These he doth in order to the setting himself up as his own rule.

4. He makes himself not only his own rule, but would make himself the
rule of God, and give laws to his creator.

1. Man naturally disowns the rule God sets him. It is all one to deny
his royalty and to deny his being. When we disown his authority, we dis-
own his Godhead. It is the right of God to be the sovereign of his Crea-
tures ; and it must be a very loose and trivial assent that such men have to
God's superiority over them (and consequently to the excellency of his
beinc, upon which that authority is founded), who are scarce at ease in
themselves, but when they are invading his rights, breaking his bands, cast-
ing away his cords, and contradicting his will.

Every man naturally is a son of Belial, would be without a yoke, and
leap over God's enclosures ; and in breaking oat against his sovereignty, we
disown his being as God. For to be God and sovereign are inseparable ;
he could not be God, if he were not supreme ; nor could he be a creator
without being a lawgiver. To be God, and yet inferior to another, is a con-
tradiction. To make rational creatures without prescribing them a law, is
to make them without holiness, wisdom, and goodness.

(1.) There is in man naturally an unwillingness to have any acquaintance
with the rule God sets him : Ps. xiv. 2, ' None that did understand and seek
God.' The ' refusing instruction,' and ' casting his word behind the back,'
is a part of atheism, Ps. 1. 17. We are heavy in hearing the instructions
either of law or gospel, Heb. v. 11, 12, and slow in the apprehension of
what we hear. The people that God had hedged in from the wilderness of
the world for his own garden were foolish, and did not know God ; were
sottish, and had no understanding of him, Jer. iv. 22. The law of God is
accounted a strange thing, Hos. viii. 12, a thing of a different climate and
a far country from the heart of man, wherewith the mind of man had no
natural acquaintance, and had no desire to have any, or they regarded it as
a sordid thing. What God accounts great and valuable, they account mean
and despicable. Men may shew a civility to a stranger, but scarce contract
an intimacy ; there can be no amicable agreement between the holy will of
God and the heart of a depraved creature : one is holy, the other unholy ;
one is universally good, the other stark naught. The purity of the divine
rule renders it nauseous to the impurity of a carnal heart. Water and fire
may as well friendly kiss each other and live together without quarrelling
and hissing, as the holy will of God and the unregenerate heart of a fallen
creature.

The nauseating a holy rule is an evidence of atheism in the heart, as the
nauseating wholesome food is of putrified phlegm in the stomach. It is
found more or less in every Christian, in the remainders, though not in a
full empire. As there is a law in his mind whereby he delights in the law
of God, so there is a law in his members whereby he wars against the law
of God, Kom. vii. 22, 23, 25. How predominant is this loathing of the law
of God, when corrupt nature is in its full strength, without any principle to

Ph. XIV 1.] nUOlDOAB atiii.ism. 199

control it! Than is in the mind of sue)) i orif s darkness whereby U
ignorant <»r it, and in the will i d ep r a vodnesi whereby it is repu i it.

If man wen naturally willii [end able to in intimate atanee

with, and delighl in the It ■■ fG I, I ; l not bi J favourfbr

i to promise t<> write the law in the b< irt. a man d • r engi

the chronicle of a whole nation, ot all the God in the Seriptore,

npon the harde I marble with nil bare finger, than wi ijllable of the

law of God in i ipiritnal manner npon hie heart* For,

1 . Mi ii :n nt m ii in" the ni« 'in i for the 1 i G
will. All natural men are (bole, who know not, bow to use the ' pric God
pntfl into their hands,' Prov. ivii. ic>; theyptd not i dne < timate a]
opportnnitiefl and meani of grace, and aoeonnt thai law folly which ii the
birth of an infinite and holy wisdom. The knowledge of God whiefa they
may glean from oreatnree, and ii more pleasant to the natural

is not improved to the glory of < J<ni , if we will believe the indietmenl the
itle brings againsi the Gentfles, Rom. i. 21. And most of those that
have dived into the depths of nature, have been more studious of the quali-
ties of the creatures than of the excellency of the nature, or the d y of
the mind of God in them ; who regard only the rising and motions of tho
star, bul follow not with the wise nun, its conduct to the king of the Jews*
How often do we see men filled with an eager thirst for all other kind of
knowledge, thai eannol acquiesce in a twilight discovery, but are inquisitive
into the and reasons of effects, yet are contented with a weak and
[uishing knowledge of God and his law, and are easily tired with tho
proposals (^' them.

Hi' now that nauseates the means whereby ho may come to know and
obey God, has no intention to make the law of (rod his rule. There is no
man that intends seriously an end, hut he intends means in order to that
end ; as when a man intends the preservation or recovery of his health, he
will intend means in order to those ends, otherwise he cannot be said to
intend his health. So he that is not diligent in using means to know the
mind of (rod, has no sound intention to make the will and law of God his
rule. Is not the inquiry after the will of God made a work by the by, and
fain to laoquey after other concerns of an inferior nature, if it hath any place
at all in the soul? which is a despising the being of God. The notion of
the sovereignty of God bears the same date with the notion of hi- I i :

and by the same way that he reveals himself, he reveals his authority over
DS), whether it be by creatures without, or conscience within. All authority
Over rational creatures consists in commanding and directing; the duty of
rational creatures, in compliance with that authority, consists in obeying.
Where there is therefore a careless neglect of those means which convey the
knew!. a will and our duty, there is an utter disowning of God as

our - 'i and our rule.

2. When any part of the mind and will of God breaks in upon men,
they endeavour to shake it off; as a man would a sergeant that comes to
arrest him : ■ They like not to retain God in their knowledg •.' 11 »m. i. 28.
1 A natural msj ie things of the Spirit of God ;' that is, into
his affection : I th them back as men do troublesome and imp >rtunate

They have no kindness to bestow upon it. They thrust \\
shoulders:! the truth .hen it ; i in upon them; and

dash as mnch i ' upon it as the Pharisees did upon the doctrine

iour di their oovetonsneee. As men naturally

without God in the WOT I to be without any

God in their thoughts. Since the spiritual palate of man

VOL. I. I

194 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

truth is unsavoury and ungrateful to us, till our taste and relish is restored
by grace. Hence men damp and quench the motions of the Spirit to obe-
dience and compliance with the dictates of God ; strip them of their life and
vigour, and kill them in the womb. How unable are our memories to retain
the substance of spiritual truth, but like sand in a glass, put in at one part
and runs out at the other ! Have not many a secret wish that the Scrip-
ture had never mentioned some truths, or that they were blotted out of the
Bible, because they face their consciences, and discourage those boiling lusts
they would with eagerness and delight pursue ? Methinks that interruption
John gives our Saviour, when he was upon the reproof of their pride, looks
little better than a design to divert him from a discourse so much against
the grain, by telling him a story of their prohibiting one to cast out devils,
because he followed not them, Mark ix. 33, 38. How glad are men when
they can raise a battery against a command of God, and raise some smart
objection, whereby they may shelter themselves from the strictness of it !

[3.] When men cannot shake off the notices of the will and mind of God,
they have no pleasure in the consideration of them ; which could not pos-
sibly be, if there were a real and fixed design to own the mind and law of
God as our rule. Subjects or servants that love to obey their prince and
master, will delight to read and execute their orders. The devils under-
stand the law of God in their minds, but they loathe the impressions of it
upon their wills. Those miserable spirits are bound in chains of darkness,
evil habits in their wills, that they have not a thought of obeying that law
they know. It was an unclean beast under the law that did not chew the
cud ; it is a corrupt heart that doth not chew truth by meditation. A
natural man is said not to know God, or the things of God ; he may know
them notion ally, but he knows them not affectionately. A sensual soul can
have no delight in a spiritual law. To be sensual and not to have the Spirit
are inseparable, Jude 19.

Natural men may indeed meditate upon the law and truth of God, but
without delight in it ; if they take any pleasure in it, it is only as it is
knowledge, not as it is a rule ; for we delight in nothing that we desire, but
upon the same account that we desire it. Natural men desire to know God
and some part of his will and law, not out of a sense of their practical excel-
lency, but a natural thirst after knowledge ; and if they have a delight, it is
in the act of knowing, not in the object known, not in the duties that stream
from that knowledge ; they design the furnishing their understandings, not
the quickening their affections ; like idle boys that strike fire, not to warm
themselves by the heat, but sport themselves with the sparks ; whereas a
gracious soul accounts not only his meditation, or the operations of his soul
about God and his will to be sweet, but he hath a joy in the object of that
meditation, Ps. civ. 34. Many have the knowledge of God, who have no
delight in him or his will. Owls have eyes to perceive that there is a sun,
but by reason of the weakness of their sight have no pleasure to look upon
a beam of it ; so neither can a man by nature love or delight in the will of
God, because of his natural corruption. That law that riseth up in men for
conviction and instruction, they keep down under the power of corruption,
making their souls not the sanctuary, but prison of truth, Rom. i. 18.
They will keep it down in their hearts, if they cannot keep it out of their
heads, and will not endeavour to know and taste the spirit of it.

[4. J There is further a rising and swelling of the heart against the will of
God. (1.) Internal. God's law cast against a hard heart is like a ball
thrown against a stone wall, by reason of the resistance rebounding the
further from it. Tho meeting of a divine truth and the heart of man, is

. I \ . 1 . I'HACTICAL AIJN.lHM.

like the meeting of two tidee, tin weaker swells lad foams, i o

natural anti|i:itliy i u di\ine mi.-, ami Liu when [til olapp 1

i our 001 against it,

option breaki ont mort strongly ; m on lime

lire by an antipen . and the mote . the eqom

farioualy it bnrni ; or ipon i dunghill makes tbi

ma the thicker and the itefioh the i er, noil poeil

moke hi the lime, or the atench in the dunghill, bat
lent the i eruption : Bom. rii. 8, * 1 1

by the eommendment, wrought in me all manner of c tor

without the law nn lead.' Bin waa in ■ langniahii fit

on in a city, till upon an alarm from the

ad rei i ■■ ; -'ill the nn in tin; b

r its force to maintain ; - 1 1 1 1 • r , like the rapoura of the

it, which unite themselv< i more olo i ly to ing

■on. Deep conviction often provokes neros opposition; aometiinea diapui

is! a divino rulo end in blasphemiei ! Aets liii. 46, ' Contra and

blaspheming* are ooopli her. Men naturally de ire thing that are

forbidden, and reject things commanded, from the oorrnption of natare f
whieh affects an unbounded liberty, and is impatient of returning under thai
yoke it hath shaken off, and there! ii b! the ban of the law, ai

tlic waves roar against the restraint of a bank. When the nndei
dark and tho mind ignorant, sin lies aa dead : ' A man icaree knowa he
hath Bueh motions of conenpiaoenee in him, be finda not the least breath of
wind, but a full calm in his soul; but when be ia awakened by the law, ti
the viciouaness of nature being sensible of an invasion ofita empire, arms
?ine law, and the more the command is urged, the more
\ rously it bends tie strength, and more insolently lifts Up itself against
it.'* He pereeivea more and more atheistical lusts than before ; ' all manner
of concupiscence,' more leprous and contagious than before. "When there
are any motions to turn to God, a reluctancy is presently perceived ; athe-
al thoughts bluster in the mind like the wind, they know not whence they
eome nor whither they go, so unapt is the heart to any acknowledgment
of Gud as bis ruler, and any reunion with him. Hence men are said to
4 resist the Holy Ghost,' Acts vii. 51, to fall against it, a3 the word signifies,
i stone or any ponderous body falls against that which lies in its way ;
they would da^h to pieces or grind to powder that very motion which
is made for their instruction, and tho Spirit too which makes it, and
that not from a lit of passion, but an habitual repugnance. ■ Ye alw

al, it is a fruit of atheism, in tho fourth verso of this Psalm :
1 Who < it up my people as they eat bread. 1 How do the revelations of the
mind of God meet with opposition! And the carnal world like dogs bark
the shining of the moon! So mueh men hate the light, that they
spurn at tl rna that bear it ; and because they cannot endure tho

-ure, often tlingthc earthen vessels against the ground wherein it is held.
[ftheentl I truth render the market worse for Diana's shrines, tho

whole city will be in an uproar, Acts xix. 2 1, 28, 29. When Socrates upon

oral pri: athen idolatry, and asserted the unit]

G I, the who! as, a learned university, ia it him.

I i the pul lie received religion, though with an undoul

truth, he must end his 1 .How hath every earner ot the

world steamed with the blood i ;t would maintain the authori;

* Thea Bahamr. D Bj Irita Benitutb, That 19.

196 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

God in the world ! The devil's children will follow the steps of their father,
and endeavour to bruise the heel of divine truth, that would endeavour to
break the head of corrupt lust.

[5.] Men often seem desirous to be acquainted with the will of God, not
out of any respect to his will and to make it their rule, but upon some other
consideration. Truth is scarce received as truth. There is more of
hypocrisy than sincerity in the pale of the church, and attendance on the
mind of God. The outward dowry of a religious profession makes it often
more desirable than the beauty. Judas was a follower of Christ for the
bag, not out of any affection to the divine revelation. Men sometimes
pretend a desire to be acquainted with the will of God, to satisfy their own
passions, rather than to conform to God's will. The religion of such is not
the judgment of the man, but the passion of the brute. Many entertain a
doctrine for the person's sake, rather than a person for the doctrine's sake,
and believe a thing because it comes from a man they esteem, as if his lips
were more canonical than Scripture.

The apostle implies in the commendation he gives the Thessalonians,
1 Thes. ii. 13, that some receive the word for human interest, not ' as it is
in truth the word and will of God,' to command and govern their consciences
by its sovereign authority; or else they 'have the truth of God' (as St
James speaks of the faith of Christ) ' with respect of persons,' James ii. 1,
and receive it not for the sake of the fountain, but of the channel ; so that
many times the same truth delivered by another is disregarded, which when
dropping from the fancy and mouth of a man's own idol, is cried up as an
oracle. This is to make not God, but man, the rule ; for though we enter-
tain that which materially is the truth of God, yet not formally as his truth,
but as conveyed by one we affect ; and that we receive a truth and not an
error, we owe the obligation to the honesty of the instrument, and not to
the strength and clearness of our own judgment. Wrong considerations may
give admittance to an unclean as well as a clean beast into the ark of the
soul ; that which is contrary to the mind of God may be entertained as well
as that which is agreeable. It is all one to such, that have no respect to
God, what they have ; as it is all one to a spunge to suck up the foulest
water or the sweetest w T ine, when either is applied to it.

[6. J Many that entertain the notions of the will and mind of God admit
them with unsettled and wavering affections. There is a great levity in the heart
of man. The Jews that one day applaud our Saviour w T ith Hosannahs as their
king, vote his crucifixion the next, and use him as a murderer. We begin
in the Spirit and end in the flesh. Our hearts, like lute-strings, are changed
with every change of weather, with every appearance of a temptation; scarce
one motion of God in a thousand prevails with us for a settled abode. It is
a hard task to make a signature of those truths upon our affections, which
will with ease pass current with our understandings; our affections will as soon
loose them as our understandings embrace them. The heart of man is
unstable as water, Gen. xlix. 4, James i. 8. Some were willing to rejoice
in John's light, which reflected a lustre on their minds, but not in his heat,
which would have conveyed a warmth to their hearts ; and the light was
pleasing to them but for a season, John v. 35, while their corruptions lay
as if they were dead, not when they were awakened. Truth may be admitted
one day, and the next day rejected. As Austin saith of a wicked man, he
loves the truth shining, hut ho hates the truth reproving. This is not to
make God, but our own humour, our rule and measure.

[7.] Many desire an acquaintance with the law and truth of God, with a
design to improve somo lust by it, to turn the word of God to bo a pander

Pi. XIV. l.J HUOTIOAL a -i hk ism. 197

to the breach of hii law. This ii so hi from making God's will our rule,
thai we make oui own \ ill law, I [ow manj

interpn to the lusts of

in. ii, .111,1 tin- divine rule (broad I and be Mjuai loo e and

oarnal approhonaiona I It. h i pari of the instability the

hoart to ' w re! the Scrij ' i their o ili. 1 ''.

wliidi they oonld Doi dO| If they did ool Ii I wring thorn to countenance
some deb table error or filthy crime, (npai the first interpretation

made of the Aral law of God wai point blank against the mind of the I

I venomous to the whole raoe of mankind. Pan! him • that

some in i [hi put bis doetrii o ill ansa, and

lelter their preeomption : Elom. \i. 1, 10, 'Shall ■•■
oontinae in sin, that grace may abound?' Poiaonom 001

a drawn from tl I troths; aewhen God's pa t ie n ce ia mad 1

t ipio whenee to irgne Against his providence, Ps. id?. I, or an enoonri
in. nt to oommil evil more gre< cLily s u thongb b cause be ha 1 not presently
1 revengin [ ban 1. be had not an all-seeing eye ; or when tin: doctrine of
justification by (kith ia made ose of to depress a holy lift ; or God's rsadi-
to receive returning sinners an an ement to defer rep till

a death bed. A liar will hunt for shelter in the reward 1 the

midwives that lied to Pharaoh for the pn ion of the males of [srael,

and Rahab's Baring the spies by false intelligence. God knows how to

inguish between grace and eorroption, that they may lio close together,
or I 1 something of moral goodness and moral evil which may bo

mixed. We find their fidelity rewarded, which was a mora] go id ; but not
their lie approved, which was ■ mora] evil. Nor will Christ's conversing
with sinners be S plea fin any to thrust themselves into evil company.
Christ conversed with sinners as s physician with diseased persons, to cure
them, not approve them ; others with profligate persons to receive infec-
lVoia them, not to communicate holiness to them. Satan's children
have Bto lied their father's art, who wanted not perverted Scripture to second
his temptations against our Saviour, Mat IV. 4, G. How often do carnal
hearts turn divine revelation to carnal ends, as the sea fresh water into
salt ! As men subject the precepts of God to carnal interests, so they
subject the truths of God to carnal fancies. When men will allegorise the
word, and make a humorous and crazy fancy the interpreter of divine
oracles, and not the Spirit speaking in the word, this is to enthrone our own
imaginations as the rule of God's law, and depose his law from being the
rule of our reason ; this is to ritle truth of its true mind and intent. It is
more to rob a man of his reason, the essential constitutive part of man, than
of hi This is to refuse an intimate acquaintance with his will. Wo

tell what is the matter of a precept, or the matter of a promise,
if\\. N a sense upon it contiary to the plain meaning of it ; thereby

\\.' shall make the law of God to have a distinct senso according to the
farii ty of men's imaginations, and so make every man's fancy a law to
him

, that this unwillingness to have a spiritual acquaintance with divine
truth is I disowning God as our rule, and a setting up self in his stead, is
evi.l' tins unwillingness respects truth,

ritual and holy. A fleshly mind is most cor.

i spiritual law, and particularly as it is a searching and disco
that would dethrone ill other rules in the soul. As men love to be without
a holy God in the world, so tluy love to be without a holy law, t:. ript

and image of God's holiness, in their hearts, and without holy men, tho lights

198 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

kindled by the Father of lights. As the holiness of God, so the holiness of
the law most offends a carnal heart : Isa. xxx. 11, « Cause the Holy One of
Israel to cease from before us ; prophesy [not] to us right things.' They
could not endure God as a holy one. Herein God places their rebellion,
rejecting him as their rule : ver. 9, ■ Rebellious children, that will not hear
the law of the Lord.' The more pure and precious any discovery of God is,
the more it is disrelished by the world. As spiritual sins are sweetest to a
carnal heart, so spiritual truths are most distasteful. The more of the bright-
ness of the sun any beam conveys, the more offensive it is to a distempered
eye.

Secondly, As it doth most relate to, or lead to God. The devil directs his
fiercest batteries against those doctrines in the word, and those graces in the
heart, which most exalt God, debase man, and bring men to the lowest sub-
jection to their Creator. Such is the doctrine and grace of justifying faith.
That men hate not knowledge as knowledge, but as it directs them to choose
the fear of the Lord, was the determination of the Holy Ghost long ago :
Prov. i. 29, ' For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of
the Lord.' Whatsoever respects God, clears up guilt, witnesses man's revolt
to him, rouseth up conscience, and moves to a return to God, a man naturally
runs from, as Adam did from God, and seeks a shelter in some weak bushes
of error, rather than appear before it. Not that men are unwilling to inquire
into and contemplate some divine truths which lie furthest from the heart,
and concern not themselves immediately with the rectifying the soul. They
may view them with such a pleasure as some might take in beholding the
miracles of our Saviour, who could not endure his searching doctrine. The
light of speculation may be pleasant, but the light of conviction is grievous,
that which galls their conciences, and would affect them with a sense of their
duty to God.

Is it not easy to perceive that when a man begins to be serious in the
concerns of the honour of God and the duty of his soul, he feels a reluctancy
within him, even against the pleas of conscience, which evidenceth that some
unworthy principle has got footing in the hearts of men, which fights against
the declarations of God without and the impressions of the law of God within,
at the same time when a man's own conscience takes part with it, which is
the substance of the apostle's discourse, Rom. vii. 15, 16, &c.

Close discourses of the honour of God and our duty to him are irksome,
when men are upon a merry pin. They are like a damp in a mine, that
takes away their breath ; they shuffle them out as soon as they can, and are
as unwilling to retain the speech of them in their mouths, as the knowledge
of them in their hearts. Gracious speeches, instead of bettering many men,
distemper them, as sometimes sweet perfumes affect a weak head with aches.

Thirdly, As it is most contrary to self. Men are unwilling to acquaint
themselves with any truth that leads to God, because it leads from self.
Every part of the will of God is more or les3 displeasing, as it sounds harsh
against some carnal interest men would set above God, or as a mate with him.
Man cannot desire any intimacy with that law which he regards as a bird of
prey, to pick out his right eye or gnaw off his right hand, his lust, clearer than
himself. The reason we havo such hard thoughts of God's will, is because
we have such high thoughts of ourselves. It is a hard matter to believe or
will that which hath no affinity with some principlo in the understanding, and
no interest in our will and passions. Our unwillingness to be acquainted
with tho will of God, ariseth from the disproportion between that and our
corrupt hearts ; wo are ■ alienated from the life of God in our minds,' Eph.
iv. IB, 19. As wo live not like God, so we neither think or will as God.

Ps. XIV. 1 . I'UACTKM. \

There [i an antipathy in the hear! of man 1 | on ' th d doctrine which I

i i,,. under i sr ; but whataoennw ftanui

the ambition, lasts, and pi f man ia ai nable. Many ara

fond of I lienoea winch m ; i their not

npoo ill rable dexterity in find

ma, mathematical demo • i

turns apoD the i f history, h time an 1 m

and ane its in the itudy of them. In thoae they ha

immediately to 1 1 ■ i . I I I. it

. without th
had thoae sciem - !•.■■ n :• ' im I lelf, ai mneh aa the I will ol 1 1

they had lot I the world. Why did the you

turn his back npon the law of Ohi ' ? Becac • of hie worldly sent w

ili.l th I'll .!■; - I'M mnrk :it tin- doctrine of our S ivioiir, ai. I

ma sett Why did the Jen ili ,; - 1 th
of onr Bavionr, and pat him to death, after the reading 10 many ere lentiala
of Ins being sent from heaves ? Bi canse of ambitiona aelf, that the Romana

come and take away their kingdom. It' the law of 1 1
tn tlic humours of self, it wonld be readily and cordially observed by all d
Belf is the n of a world of seeming rel gions actions ; while i

to be tin 1 obj( ft an I his law the motive, self is the rale and and : Zeeh. rii 5,

• Did yon feel unto me f ' fto.

•_'. aj men discover their diaowning the will of Grod as a rale by unwill-
ingness to I tinted with it, so they diacorer it by the e >t of it,
mnot avoid the notions and some impressions of it. The rule of
God ia I nr inner ; he flies from it as from a frightful bugbear
and nnpleaaani yoke. Bin against the knowledge of the law i I
call, i - ag back from the commandment of God's lips, ' Job xxiii. 12;
a 'easti i word behind them,' Ps. L 17. aa a contemptible thing, fitter
I i be trod len in the dirt than lodged in the heart. Nay, it is a casting it
off as an abominable thing, for so the word n^l signifies : Hos. viii. 3, 'Israel
hath id off the thing that is good ;' an utter refusal of God : Jer. xliv. 16,

* Aj for the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we
will not hearken.' In the slight of his precepts, his essential perfections are
Blighted. In disowning his will as a rule, we disown all those attrib:;
which flow from his will, as goodness, righteousness, and truth. As an act
of the divine understanding is supposed to precede the act of the divine will,
so we slight the infinite reason of God. Every law, though it proceeds from
the wiil of the lawgiver, and doth formally consist in an act of the will, vet
it doth presuppose an act of the understanding. If ' the commandment be
holy, jnst, and good,' as it is (Rom. vii. 12), if it be the image of God's
holt of of his righteousness and the etllux of his goodness, then
in STery breach of it, dirt is cast upon those attributes which shine in it, and

• of all the regards he hath to his own honour, and all the provisions
he • : >r his creature. This atheism or contempt of God, is more ts

OS of bj khan the matter of the sin itself; as a respect to God, in a

weak and u ace, u more than the matter of the obedience ii

iknowledgment of God, so a contempt of God, in an act of
■ re than the matter of diaobedienee. The creature sta-
in such an let, not only in a posture of distance from God, but defiance of
him. It •.. t of mnrder and adultery which Nathan char

nponD -1 principle which spirited those evil The

1 (b • the L >rd' was the v. •nom of them, '2 Sam.

lii. '.♦, 10. It is | to break a law without contempt ; but when men

200 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

pretend to believe there is a God, and that this is the law of God, it shews
a contempt of his majesty. Men naturally account God's laws too strict,
his yoke too heavy, and his limits too strait ; and he that liveth in a con-
tempt of this law, curseth God in his life. How can they believe there is a
God, who despise him as a ruler ? How can they believe him to be a guide,
that disdain to follow him ? To think we firmly believe a God, without
living conformable to his law, is an idle and vain imagination. The true
and sensible motion* of a God cannot subsist with disorder and an affected
unrighteousness.

This contempt is seen,

[1.] In any presumptuous breach of any part of his law. Such sins are
frequently called in Scripture rebellions, which are a denial of the allegiance
we owe to him. By a wilful refusal of his right in one part, we root up
the foundation of that rule he doth justly challenge over us. His right is
as extensive to command us in one thing as in another. And if it be dis-
owned in one thing, it is virtually disowned in all, and the whole statute-
book of God is contemned: James ii. 10, 11, 'Whosoever shall keep the
whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.' A willing breaking
one part, though there be a willing observance of all the other points of it,
is a breach of the whole, because the authority of God, which gives sanc-
tion to the whole, is slighted. The obedience to the rest is dissembled ;
for the love which is the root of all obedience is wanting, for ' love is the
fulfilling the whole law,' Kom. xiii. 10. The rest are obeyed because they
cross not carnal desire so much as the other, and so it is an observance of
himself, not of God. Besides, the authority of God, which is not prevalent
to restrain us from the breach of one point, would be of as little force with
us to restrain us from the breach of all the rest, did the allurements of the
flesh give us as strong a diversion from the one as from the other. And
though the command that is transgressed be the least in the whole law, yet
the authority which enjoins it is the same with that which enacts the greatest.
And it is not so much the matter of the command, as the authority com-
manding, which lays the obligation.

[2.] In the natural averseness to the declarations of God's will and mind,
which way soever they tend. Since man affected to be as God, he desires
to be boundless; he would not have fetters, though they be golden ones,
and conduce to his happiness ; though the law of God be a strength to
them, yet they will not: Isa. xxx. 15, 'In returning shall be your strength;
and you would not.' They would not have a bridle to restrain them from
running into the pit, nor be hedged in by the law, though for their security,
as if they thought it too slavish and low-spirited a thing to be guided by the
will of another. Hence man is compared to a wild ass, that loves to ' snuff
up the wind in the wilderness at her pleasure,' rather than come under the
guidance of God, Jer. ii. 24. From whatsoever quarter of the heavens you
pursue her, she will run to the other.

The Israelites could not endure what was commanded, Heb. xii. 20,
though in regard of the moral part, agreeablo to what they found written in
their own nature, and to the observance whereof they had the highest obli-
gations of any people under heaven, since God had by many prodigies
delivered them from a cruel slavery, the memory of which prefaced the
Decalogue : Exod. xx. 2, ' I am tho Lord thy God, which have brought
theo out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' They could
not think of the rule of their duty but they must reflect upon the grand incen-
tive of it in their redemption from Egyptian thraldom ; yet this peoplo were

* Qu. ' notion ' ?— Ed.

r . xi v. 1 . ii:\. 1 1. •!. .Mm tnt. 901

•
- t<i (iml, whiofa way soever hi I. When they pi ti in th I

Kilns, th.v cried for deliverance; when lb
Ion di and garlic In Num. i

dehwrancr from l."-|'t, and talk of 1 • t u I 1 1 1 1 1 • '

.Is in tlu« hands of tluir run
tin D nit" the in- ns win :

word of the promi • of God for giving them ft fruitful land. But wl
Ho them ( tod'i order, tl should turn I

the B i & ft, i .

ihoold I. iml nt' Canaan,

. :iini in ■:> i.l 1*1 march.- 1 I ■■ R

b( .1 foi . tli- v will go u). to '

threat.! i . ' \V< will go to the phu*o '.much tin Lord hath promi
10, w bieh c die a ' Iran I

il. The j would preeume to go lip, notwithstandii
bibition, and arc smitten by the Amalekites. Winn G them a

precept, with n promi o up to Osnaan, they long for Egypt; wl

G immandi then to return to the Bed Bea, which
place they longed for, they will shift lidee and go op to Canaan, Num. xxi.
A, 5, fl .;' ftnd when they found they were to b
tin 4 deoerti they took pel b God, end instead of thanking him tor tin:

late .list the Canaanitee, they reproach him for hie conduct from

I p:, and the manna wherewith he nourished them in the wilden
They would not go to Canaan the way God had ohi ten, nor |
solves by the meani God had ordained. They would not I dis-

implain of the badness of the way and the Lightness of manna,
empty of any neoesaary juice to sustain then- nature. Theymurmurij
soli. will and power of God to change all that order which ho I

i in his coiii, gel, and take another, conformable to their vain, foolish

.i< - !■ . And they signified thereby that they would invade his conduct,

and that he should act according to their fancy, which the psalmist cah
' tempting of God, and bruiting the Holy One of Israel,' Ps. ixxviii. 41.

To what point soever the <h durations of God stand, the will of man turns
the quite contrary way. Is not the carriage of this nation, the best then in
the world, a discovery of tho depth of our natural corruption, how cross
man is I .' And that charge God brings ftgainet them may be brought

all men by nature, that they * despise his judgment, ' and have ft

1 . ftbhorrency of his statutes in their soul, Lev. xxvi. 48. N<> sooner

cov er ed from one rebellion, but they revolted to another; so

difficult a tiling it is for man's nature to be rendered capable of conforming

il] o( God. The carriage of his people is but a copy of the nature
Of mankind, and is 'written lor our admonition,' 1 Cor. x. 11. From this
said to ■ make void the law of God,' l's. cxix. 126 ; to make
it of no < m, an antiquated and moth-eaten record. And the Phsrisi

by setting up their traditions against the will of God, are said to make
law 'of n DC eflect,' to strip it of all its authority, as tho word siguil.

-light of that will of God which is mod

honour and nil | tSUre. It is the nature of man, ever til -ni,

to do io : Hosss i . ,; . 7. 'God deaired mercy, and not n

ledge of himself more than burnt-offi ring. But they, like men," as Adam,

'have transgressed the eoveosnV OH • l*S rights, and not 1st h.m be

Lord of one b

* Daillc, Serm. 1 Cor. x. Serin. 9.

202 cha.rnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

We are more curious observers of the fringes of the law than of the
greater concerns of it. The Jews were diligent in sacrifices and offerings,
which God did not urge upon them as principals, but as types of other
things, but negligent of the faith which was to be established by him ; holi-
ness, mercy, pity, which concerned the honour of God as governor of the
world, and were imitations of the holiness and goodness of God, they were
strangers to. This is God's complaint, Isa. i. 11, 12, and 16, 17.

We shall find our hearts most averse to the observation of those laws
which are eternal and essential to righteousness ; such that he could not
but command, as he is a righteous governor; in the observation of which
we come nearest to him, and express his image more clearly, as those laws
for an inward and spiritual worship, a supreme affection to him. God, in
regard of his righteousness and holiness of his nature, and the excellency of
his being, could not command the contrary to these; but this part of his
will our hearts most swell against, our corruption doth most snarl at,
whereas those laws which are only positive, and have no intrinsic righteous-
ness in them, but depend purely upon the will of the lawgiver, and may be
changed at his pleasure (which the other, that have an intrinsic righteous-
ness in them, cannot), we better comply with than that part of his will that
doth express more of the righteousness of his nature, Ps. 1. 6, 17, 19, such
as the ceremonial part of worship, and the ceremonial law among the Jews.
We are more willing to observe order in some outward attendances and
glavering devotions, than discard secret affections to evil, crucify inward
lusts and delightful thoughts. A 'hanging down the head like a bulrush'
is not difficult, but the breaking the heart like a potter's vessel to shreds
and dust (a sacrifice God delights in, whereby the excellency of God and
the vileness of the creature is owned), goes against the grain. To cut off
an outward branch is not so hard as to hack at the root. What God most
loathes, as most contrary to his will, we most love. No sin did God so
severely hate, and no sin were the Jews more inclined unto, than that of
idolatry. The heathen had not ' changed their God ' as the Jews had
'changed their glory,' Jer. ii. 11; and all men are naturally tainted with
this sin, which is so contrary to the holy and excellent nature of God. By
how much the more defect there is of purity in our respects to God, by so
much the more respect there is to some idol within or without us, to humour,
custom, and interest, &c.

Never did any law of God meet with so much opposition as Christianity,
which was the design of God from the first promise to the exhibiting the
Rodeemer, and from thenco to the end of the world. All people drew swords
at first against it. The Romans prepared yokes for their neighbours, but
provided temples for the idols those people worshipped. But Christianity,
the choicest design and most delightful part of the will of God, never met
with a kind entertainment at first in any place. Rome, that entertained all -
others, persecuted this with fire and sword, though sealed by greater testi-
monies from heaven than their own records could report in favour of their
idols.

[4.] In running the greatest hazards, and exposing ourselves to more
trouble to cross the will of God, than is necessary to the observance of it.
It is a vain charge men bring against the divine precepts, that they aro
rigorous, severe, difficult, when, besides the contradiction to our Saviour,
who tells us his yoke is easy and his burden light, they thwart their own
calm reason and judgment. Is there not more difficulty to be vicious,
covetous, violent, cruel, than to bo virtuous, charitable, kind? Doth the
will of God enjoin that that is not conformable to right reason and secretly

\'IY. 1. fftAOTN kL mm

deligfatfal in t! '

ii and Ui«« world - n II of m :1 :i " l l;

I • uv.t ill: I .tintllilh.

:i light, end commence a i" •

im:irilv do wli» n w | in tin- l il»

m. 8, 7. 9, would be ii the « (pen i of ' U ' '

f nil,' |f tin v mulil "», WOOld itrip th(

t luir Datura! a" ' I their DTil botfl lO ezpUl d,'

rather than | " . lo?C ni.iw. Mid a. ilk lniinl.lv with G

Ddueibli bouour . the welfare of thi world, tl

of thi ir i ooJi, and of i nww notion than th I

for.

Doi tinea then dieown Gk)d, whan they will watt u with

thorni, wh< rein th< I frith the erroi turn ifl

their . I ih la down to in ererl isting punishm* at, i d

intolerable to oontradid the will of God '.' When they will |

Btion, with i eombattion in their
their reasons, gnawing earei ind m iry I iTelf, before the honour ol God,
tin- dignity of their naturec, the bappinesi of pi iee ind bealt]
i rved at a cheaper rate than they ire il troy them?

5, In the unwilln ind awkwardneaa of the heart, when it

Q : ee, Ifi nil with both hand fly* 1 afieah vii. :{, bnt

1 with one hand faintly; do life in the bearl nor iny dili
I. What slight and khougfata of God doth this nnwill

imply! It is a wi h\< providence, u though >t under hia

t, and I a wrong to hi-

ther.! were no amiableness in him to make hie bottom

an injury to his goodnees and power, as if 1 not ahle or willir

reward the en take notice of it. i

ign we n little satisfaction in him, and that there is a great unauit-

ablenesa 1" twei a him and us.

Ftrt/, There is a kind of constraint in the first ci "it. We are

rather | to it than enter ourselvee v. lunteers. What we eall

God, is done, naturally, much against our wills; it is not a delightful
1, hut a bitter potion ; we are rather haled than run to it. There is a
otradiction of sin within us against our service, as there was a eontra
tion of sinners without our Saviour against his doing the will of God.

unwieldy to any spiritual Berricc of God ; v.
fi * with them sometimes. Hezekiah, it is said, 'walked

1 rd with a perfect heart,' 2 hangs ex. 8 ; he walked, he made himself to

v. Ik. Man naturally cares not for a walk with God ; if he hath any com-
munion with him, it is with such a dulness and heavin. . as if ho
font of his company. Man's nature, I Bontrary to holi-
ith an B to any act of homage to God, hecause holiness must
at I led ; in every duty wherein we have a communion with

liaite ; now, as men are against the- truth of holi
1 raitable to them, so they are not ; ities

ch require it. and I toe divert them from the thoughts of their

ike, prayer a d
ence a Wt are like fish, that 'drink up iniquity lik<

.i -lk without the f an angle j no

r e willing to do aan '. fiah is of itself to do ser

man. [( is a I il°.

not sondike performances. . . than aff ec ti o n

204 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

conscience, like a task-master, did not scourge them to duty, they would
never perform it.

Let us appeal to ourselves whether we are not more unwilling to secret,
closet, hearty duty to God, than to join with others in some external service ;
as if those inward services were a going to the rack, and rather our penance
than privilege. How much service hath God in the world from the same
principle that vagrants perform their task in Bridewell ! How glad are
many of evasions to back them in the neglect of the commands of God, of
corrupt reasonings from the flesh to waylay an act of obedience, and a
multitude of excuses to blunt the edge of the precept ! The very service of
God shall be a pretence to deprive him of the obedience due to him. Saul
will not be ruled by God's will in the destroying the cattle of the Amalekites,
but by his own ; and will impose upon the will and wisdom of God, judging
God mistaken in his command, and that the cattle God thought fittest to be
meat, to the fowls were fitter to be sacrifices on the altar, 1 Sam. xv. 3, 9,
15, 21.

If we do perform any pd ; whence the apostle
calls all idolatrous feasts ' the table of devils,' ' the cup of devils,' ' sacrifice
to devils,' 'fellowship with devils,' 1 Cor. x. 20, 21. Devils being the real
object of the pagan worship, though not formally intended by the wor-
shipper, though in some parts of the Indies the direct and peculiar worship
is to the devil, that he might not hurt them; and though the intention of
others was to offer to God and not the devil, yet since the action was con-
trary to the will of God, he regards it as a sacrifice to devils. It was not
the intention of Jeroboam to establish priests to the devil when he conse-
crated them to the service of his calves, for Jehu afterwards calls them ■ the
servants of tho Lord : ' 2 Kings x. 23, ' See if there be here none of the
servants of tho Lord,' to distinguish them from the servants of Baal, signi-
fying that the true God was worshipped under those images, and not Baal,
nor any of the gods of tho heathens ; yet Scripture couples the calves and
devils together, and ascribes the worship given to one to be given to tho
other. 2 Chron. xi. 15, ' He ordained him priests for the high places, and
for tho devils, and for tho calves which he had made ; ' so that they were
sacrifices to devils, notwithstanding tho intention of Jeroboam and his sub-
jects that had set them up and worshipped them, because they were contrary

\[ Y. 1 . PI \t.

| ) tin' mind of G >d, iblo t i the do itrine though

the object of tii intention w< I the devil, but

■ deified m m or I i nt. The i

1 action j if ko, wlini uumi Kill tin- I I ifh :t <lc <_'n to

io God service, onr forctolls, John xvi. 2, the anion would not

be i it othi r

of li <>f tli • worship of tho world, which mi

Incline th. ml different from the rarefied will

il is a practical acknowlod [in
ackn 'i •' which 1

divine revelation up ere minted by Satan to I thehon

of ( ;...! in ; 1. It .loth oonoern men U food he I, thai in

then p they have :i divine rale, otherwi

devil as th no medium. Whatsoever ii not from <

from S:i!:m.

' this closer to a . an I ib is m

among are in 1 natural condition, and wed led to th ir l

are onder 1 ernment of Satan : John viii. II. ' Ye are of your

Gather the devil, and the huts of your Gather you will do. 1 I
into ipiritual and earn tl, which division comprehends all, the devil's authority
is owned in both i in spiritual, we conform t<> his example, because tl
commits ; in carnal, we obey his »■///, because those ho di
the one, and sets us e copy .• he tempts to the other, an 1 giv< kind of

a pnoept. Tims man by nature being b willin

md in the levil's iron chains than in God's sil ds.

What greater atheism can there be than to use G >d as if he were inferior
to the devil I to take the pert of his •■', who drew all others

into the t'arti. ■ nai him I to pleasure Satan by offending G d, and

gratify our 1 iry with the injury of our Creator! For a subject to take

arms against his prince with the deadliest enemy both himself and prince
hath in the whole word, adds a greater blackness to the rebellion.

The more visible rule preferred before God in the world is man.

■ opinion of the world is more our rule than the precept of God, and

many men's abstinence from sin is not from a sense of the divine will, no,

nor from a principle of reason, but from an affection to some man on whom

they depend, or tear of punishment from a superior; the same principle with

that in a ravenous beast, who abstains from what he desires for fear onl;

tick or club. Men will walk with the herds, go in fashion with the most,

ik and act as the most do. While we ' conform to the world,' we cannot

perform a ' reason sMe service' to God, nor prove, nor approve practically,

4 wh good and acceptable will of God is.' The apostle puts them in

' > one anotb 1. xii. 1, 2.

Th

1. In complying more with the dictates of men than the will of God.

Men draw encouragement from God's forbearance, to sin more freely against

him, but tl >f punishment for breaking the will of man lays a restraint

in them ; the fear of man is a more powerful curb t n men in tl

duty t:. God. So WS may please a friend, a master, a gov* rnor,

[aidless whether we pi sG 1 or no; men-pleaders are

Man is more advanc ■ rule than God, when wo

mil t<» hum

a prince think nil ithority, if any of fa

: of his s .

will not God make the I -oant of us wfa our

VOL. 1. o

210 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

obedience for fear of one of his creatures ? In the fear of man we as little
acknowledge God for our sovereign as we do for our comforter : Isa.
li. 12, 13, 'I, even I, am he that comforteth you : who art thou, that thou
shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, &c, and forge ttest the Lord
thy maker,' &c. We put a slight upon God, as if he were not able to bear
us out in our duty to him, and uncapable to balance the strength of an arm
of flesh.

[2.] In observing that which is materially the will of God, not because it
is his will, but the injunctions of men. As the word of God may be received,
yet not as his word, so the will of God may be performed, yet not as his
will. It is materially done, but not formally obeyed. An action, and
obedience in that action, are two things ; as when man commands the ceasing
from all works of the ordinary calling on the Sabbath, it is the same that
God eDJoins ; the cessation or attendance of his servants on the hearing the
word are conformable in the matter of it to the will of God, but it is only
conformable in the obediential part of the acts to the will of man, when it is
done only with respect to a human precept. As God hath a right to enact
his laws without consulting his creature in the way of his government, so
man is bound to obey those laws without consulting whether they be agree-
able to men's laws or no. If we act the will of God, because the will of our
superiors concurs with it, we obey not God in that, but man ; a human will
being the rule of our obedience, and not the divine, this is to vilify God,
and make him inferior to man in our esteem, and a valuing the rule of man
above that of our Creator.

Since God is the highest perfection, and infinitely good, whatsoever rule
he gives the creature must be good, else it cannot proceed from God. A
base thing cannot be the product of an infinite excellency, and an unreason-
able thing cannot be the product of an infinite wisdom and goodness ; there-
fore as the respecting God's will before the will of man is excellent and
worthy of a creature, and is an acknowledging the excellency, goodness, and
wisdom of God, so the eyeing the will of man before and above the will of
God, is, on the contrary, a denial of all those in a lump, and a preferring
the wisdom, goodness, and power of man in his law above all those per-
fections of God in his. Whatsoever men do that looks like moral virtue or
abstinence from vices, not out of obedience to the rule God hath set, but
because of custom, necessity, example, r or imitation, they may in the doing
of it be rather said to be apes than Christians.

[3. J In obeying the will of man when it is contrary to the will of God.
As the Israelites willingly ' walked after the commandment,' Hosea v. 11,
not of God, but of Jeroboam in the case of the calves, and * made the
king's heart glad with their lies,' Hosea vii. 3. They cheered him with their
ready obedience to his command for idolatry (which was a lie in itself, and
a lie in them) against the commandment of God and the warnings of the
prophets, rather than cheer the heart of God with their obedience to his
worship instituted by him ; nay, and when God offered them to cure them
their wound, their iniquity breaks out afresh ; they would neither have him
as a Lord to rule them, nor a physician to cure them: Hosea vii. 1, ■ When
I would havo healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered.'
The wholo Persian nation shrunk at once from a duty duo by tho light of
nature to tho Deity, upon a decree that neither God or man should be
petitioned to for thirty days, but only their king, Dan. vi. One only, Daniel,
excepted against it, who preferred his homage to God above obedience to
his prince. An adulterous generation is many times made the rule of
men's professions, as is implied in thoso words of our Saviour, Mark

Pi. XIV. I.] notion 211

viii. 88, ' Wii.i KM ••.. f lull

mil |i] I I 1 1 1 in am

I said ; G i. 1 6,

when tli. v at to ml n ratb( t than

the win I of God be d< en

I

•ii. in ii itur iilv , the ii ; i leia hi
role than tl.

8.) H il . I ■ in i elf up i
:i wills, and not God's,

,. own wills ; and as much i If is

1 ; the hi.. 1 1 a our o i

• the will of ( '"'1 ; account nol him, th

We a. •.miiii: of I

a wills. No prince I upon 1.

invaded, bis d rided, if a subject should r< to him-

self in o] to hi- known will, Trn

God. To
. our chiefesl love, i

tin- of godliness, th< r in the alphal

in the alphabet of practical
and antigod in the world, thai
led God;' kin of ib ■ ' Tim. iii. 2. I'

in the temp and would

denying th l of godliness, which is the rith denying the rui:

\ thr List; Q bending to th will

I . that it would have I nal will oi 1 1

humour and unrighteous will of a ; and this is I in 1 of I

cation I Spirit in the heart of a renewed man ;

flesh wars for the godhl -If, and Spirit fights fol theG>

one would Bettle the throne of the Cr< ator, and the other . .1 a law

. ambition, envy, lust, in the Btead of God.
this will appear in these propositions.
. 1. This is natural to man as ho is corrupted. What was the
the sin of A. lam, is naturally derived with his nature to all poste-
rity. 1 forbidding apple, or th de,
that Ad nn aim . r was the chief i ; hut to live inde-
• ir, and he a god to himself: Gen. iii. 5, ' Y.>u shall
That which was the matter of the devil's temptation, was the
:' man's rebellion. A likeness to God he aspired to in th
1 himself, an infallible interpreter of man's thoughts: ■ B< hold,
man one of us, to kn< I • >ii,' in regard of self-suffi-
. rule to himself. The Jews understand the ambition of
ma:; farther thin an equality with vlieal nature; but

i here n ads it in another sense. << od had ordered man

this prohibition not to eat the fruit of thr tree ^( knowledge of g0< d

evil -d and evil of himself, but to v.

God J his own eoun><

wholly upon him € tion and guidance. C

i off his hand from so small a thing as an apple, when be had
of the Broil i i tl ■ garden, v. ded himself anj

D that pri: him.

dd not have stuck at a If with the

212 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

pleasing of God, when for so small a thing he would incur the anger of his
Creator.

Thus would he deify his own understanding against the wisdom of God,
and his own appetite against the will of God. This desire of equality with
God, a learned man* thinks the apostle intimates : Phil. ii. 6, ' Who being
in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.' The Son's
being in the form of God, and thinking it not robbery to be equal with God,
implies that the robbery of sacrilege committed by our first parents, for
which the Son of God humbled himself to the death of the cross, was an
attempt to be equal with God, and depend no more upon God's directions,
but his own conduct, which could be no less than an invasion of the throne
of God, and endeavour to put himself into a posture to be his mate. Other
sins, adultery and theft, &c, could not be committed by him at that time,
but he immediately puts forth his hand to usurp the power of his Maker.
This treason is the old Adam in every man. The first Adam contradicted
the will of God to set up himself : the second Adam humbled himself, and
did nothing but by the command and will of his Father. This principle,
wherein the venom of the old Adam lies, must be crucified to make way for
the throne of the humble and obedient principle of the new Adam, or
quickening Spirit. Indeed, sin in its own nature is nothing else but a will-
ing according to self, and contrary to the will of God. Lusts are therefore
called the wills of the flesh and of the mind, Eph. ii. 3. As the precepts of
God are God's will, so the violations of these precepts is man's will ; and
thus man usurps a godhead to himself, by giving that honour to his own
will which belongs to God ; appropriating the right of rule to himself, and
denying it to his Creator. That servant that acts according to his own will
with a neglect of his master's, refuseth the duty of a servant, and invades
the right of his master. This self-love, and desire of independency on God,
has been the root of all sin in the world. The great controversy between
God and man hath been, whether he or they shall be God; whether his
reason or theirs, his will or theirs, shall be the guiding principle. As grace
is the union of the will of God and the will of the creature, so sin is the
opposition of the will of self to the will of God. ' Leaning to our own
understanding' is opposed as a natural evil to ' trusting in the Lord,' a
supernatural grace, Prov. iii. 5. Men commonly love what is their own,
their own inventions, their own fancies ; therefore the ways of a wicked
man are called ' the ways of his own heart,' Eccles. xi. 9 ; and the ways of a
superstitious man his own devices : Jer. xviii. 12, ' We will walk after
our own devices ;' we will be a law to ourselves. And what the psalmist
says of the tongue, — ' our tongues are our own, who shall control us?' —
is as truly the language of men's hearts, our wills are our own, who shall
check us ?

Prop. 2. This is evident in the dissatisfaction of men with their own con-
sciences, when they contradict tho desires of self. Conscience is nothing
but an actuated or reflex knowledge of a superior power and an equitable
law ; a law impressed, and a power above it impressing it. Conscience is
not tho law-giver, but tho remembrancer to mind us of that law of nature
imprinted upon our souls, and actuate tho considerations of the duty and
penalty, to apply the rulo to our acts, and pass judgment upon matter of
fact. It is to give the charges, urgo the rule, enjoin the practice of those
notions of right, as part of our duty and obedience.

But man is much displeased with tho directions of conscience, as he is
out of love with the accusations and condemning sentenco of this ollicer of

* Dr Jackson.

r . xi v. l.] i-L.\( 11. \i. if. 219

1 i. \\. cannot h.uiii.i! . and lively practici

of (iod and his will, aud di for putt in mind

of it j they therefore 'like no! to rotaiu God in their know]
thai is, I I i in th< ii'1 blow i' out us [j

be Lord in them I i I m, aud tie

are th< I bo practice of pies. 'I b< y would

;in of li I would i iparkL

divine knowli I • I » flutfc r in their minds, in ord\ up anotbi r diri

in;,' rule Bui dv appetite ; and when they caunot stop the li

d cannot endure to al
in its paths, Job xxiv. 18. Hes] > which had the Loi

ins, but only u natural light or traditional handed from Adam.
Hi all the endi to ^ ti 11 it when it begins I one

earnal pleasure . tuTs evil apirit with :t lit of music] or bribe it with
some fits of s glavering devotion when it holds the law of God in its com-
manding authority before the mind; they would wipe out ail the imp*
sions oi il when it presses tie; advances of God above self, and enter!
it with no better compliment than Ahabdid Ehjah, * 1 1. ist thou found mi ,
di my ?'
[f we are Like I ; God in anything of our Datura] fabric, it is in the supe-
rior and more spiritual part of our souls. The resistance of that which is
most like to God, and instead of God in us, is s disowning of the sovereign
n proa ated by that officer. lit; that would be without consoii ace, would be
without God, whose vicegerent it is, and make the sensitive part, whioh
icienoe opposes, his lawgiver. Thus s man out of respect to sinful self,
quarrels with his natural Belf, and cannot comport himself in a friendly beha-
viour to his interna] implanted principles. J lu hates to come under the
ikes of them, as much as Adam hated to come into the presence of God,
rhe turned traitor against him. The bad entertainment God's deputy hath
in 08, : upon that God whose cause it pleads. It is upon no other

account that men loathe the upright language of their own reasons in those
matters, and wish the eternal silence of their own consciences, but as they
maintain the rights of God, and would hinder the idol of self from usurping
his Godhead and prerogative. Though this power he part of a man's self,
rooted in his nature, as essential to him, and inseparable from him, as tho
best part of his being ; yet he quarrels with it as it is God's deputy, and
kling for the honour of God in his soul, and quarrelling with that sinful
self he would cherish above God. We are not displeased with this faculty
barely as it exeroiseth a self-reflection, but as it is God's vi at, and

ark of his authority in it. In some cases this self-rellecting act
d entertainment, when it acts not in contradiction to self, but
suit Datura] affections : as suppose a man hath in his passion struck

d thereby som mischief to him, the reflection of

conscience will not be unwelcome to him, will work some tenderness in him,
| i;t of self and of natural affection; but in the more
will be rated as a busy body.
• >. Many, if not most actions, materially good in the world, are
douo more able to self, than as they are hon

.. As the word of God may be heard not 01 his word, 1 Theft, ii. 18,

but . -■ pleasing notions in it, «<r discourses against an opinion

or party we difftffHti, so the will. may be performed, not ••ill,

but ish consideration, when we will pleas, i

• ftSS OUI IB i M i ve him as our PJ

command i i to our humour; when W< lei not who

214 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

it is that commands, but how short it comes of displeasing that sin which
rules in our heart, pick and choose what is least burdensome to the flesh
and distasteful to our lusts.

He that doth the will of God, not out of conscience of that will, but
because it is agreeable to himself, casts down the will of God, and sets his
own will in the place of it, takes the crown from the head of God, and places
it upon the head of self. If things are done, not because they are com-
manded by God, but desirable to us, it is a disobedient obedience ; a con-
formity to God's will in regard of the matter, a conformity to our own will
in regard of the motive ; either as the things done are agreeable to natural
and moral self, or sinful self.

1. As they are agreeable to natural or moral self. When men will prac-
tise some points of religion, and walk in the track of some divine precepts,
not because they are divine, but because they are agreeable to their humour
or constitution of nature ; from the sway of a natural bravery, the bias of a
secular interest, not from an ingenuous sense of God's authority, or a volun-
tary submission to his will ; as when a mar* will avoid excess in drinking,
not because it is dishonourable to God, but as it is a blemish to his own
reputation, or an impair of the health of his body, doth this deserve the
name of an observance of the divine injunction, or rather an obedience to
ourselves ? Or when a man will be liberal in the distribution of his charity,
not with an eye to God's precept, but in compliance with his own natural
compassion, or to pleasure the generosity of his nature. The one is obedience
to a man's own preservation, the other an obedience to the interest or impulse
of a moral virtue. It is not respect to the rule ot God, but the authority of
self, and, at the best, is but the performance of the material part of the
divine rule, without any concurrence of a spiritual motive or a spiritual man-
ner. That only is a maintaining the rights of God, when we pay an obser-
vance to his rule, without examining the agreeableness of it to our secular
interest, or consulting with the humour of flesh and blood ; when we will
not decline his service, though we find it cross, and hath no affinity with the
pleasure of our own nature ; such an obedience as Abraham manifested in
his readiness to sacrifice his son ; such an obedience as our Saviour demands
in cutting off the right hand. When we observe anything of divine order
upon the account of its suitableness to our natural sentiments, we shall
readily divide from him, when the interest of nature turns its point against
the interest of God's honour ; w r e shall fall off from him according to the
change we find in our own humours : and can that be valued as a setting
up the rule of God, which must be deposed upon the mutable interest of an
inconstant mind ? Esau had no regard to God in delaying the execution of
his resolution to shorten his brother's days, though he was awed by the
reverence of his father to delay it ; he considered, perhaps, how justly he
might lie under the imputation of hastening crazy Isaac's death, by depriv-
ing him of a beloved son. But had the old man's head been laid, neither
the contrary command of God, nor the nearness of a fraternal relation, could
Lave bound his hands from the act, no more than they did his heart from
the resolution : Gen. xxvii. 41, ' Esau hated Jacob, because of the blessing
wherewith his father blessed him : and Esau said in his heart, The days of
mourning for my father are at hand ; then will I slay my brother.'

So many children, that expect at the death of their parents great inheri-
tances or portions, may he observant of them, not in regard of the rule fixed
by God, but to their own hopes, which they would not frustrate by a dis-
ohligement. Whence is it that many men abstain from gross sins, but in
love to their reputation ? Wickedness may be acted privately, which a man's

. IV. I . nun m m m M 5

puta i b if to tli '"• Tl ■

1 1 i in firoi ng into i brothel-h i which he bath

ai i Him I before, I ' lon

ed with the Israelit( i is men with their blemishing toot

ofa ni ofprr - nt jii-l 'in ' turo

. < »i: ■ iurity, then, no io 1 1 1 « - pleu f 1 1

renewed m< n, i h i have the lav tl n in
: habitual d □ t«> an agreemeni with the law

: ; when wh I inclination, with-

the divine precept, which is appointed nil . This

i I i ind

thai law of hie io b I, which ooghi to be the role of oar Thus

when men ohooee i moral life, i much o

the law of < tod, bni
tool lonatitntione. There is more of self io this, than tion

of God; lor if it were the latter, the revealed If God would o]

i well as hi- natural law. From thie principl
aalf, morality cornea by some to be adi mec I ab • ■ >lical die

•J. as they are i peeable to sinful self. Not thai the commands of G I
rait l to bolster op the corruptions of men, do more than the I

t i excite or revive sin, linn. vii. 8, 9. Bui it ifl Like ■ leandai
taken, not given; an occasion taken by the tomultuon of our depri

ire. The Pharisees w | prayers, no! firom i • use of

duty or i ears of God'i honour, bni to satisfy their ambition, and rake

r fuel for their oovetousnesa (Mat. sxiii. 14, »Yoo devour •
booses, and for a pretence make long prayers'), that th the

•in and richer offerings, to free by their prayera the sonla of
ma firom purgatory; an opinion that some think the J
Bynagogne had then entertained,* since some of their doctors have defer
such a notion. Men may observe some precepts of God to have a better
renieney to break others. Jehu was ordered to cut off the house of
Ahab; the service he undertook was in itself acceptable, but corrupt nature
misaoted that which holiness and righteousness commanded. God appoint,
t i magnify his justice, and check the idolatry that had been supported by
that family. Jehu acted it to satisfy his revenge and ambition; he did it
Fulfil his lust, not the will of God who enjoined him. Jehu applauds it
il. an 1 ( I ■ 1 abhors it as murder, and therefore would ' avenge the blood
• 1 on the house of Jehu,' Hosea i. 4. Such kind of services are not
paid for his own sake, but to ourselves for our lust's sake.

4. Tbia is evident in neglecting to take God's direction upon eme 1 '

occ I if followa the text, • None did seek God.' When we consult

Dot with him, but trust more to our own will and counsel, we make our-

•ur own govern or s) and lords, independent upon him; as though we

;! d he oi counsellors, and manage our concerns without his 1

and asf though our works were in our own hands, and not in tie 1

. il. 1, that we can by our own strength and -
direct then nl end without him. If we must • acquaint onr-

. "i Q 4 1 before we decree a thing, J >b rxii, 28, then to deer
thing with ting God with it, ia t r our purblind

: no of ( ■ without eonsultiii

i. i and deify m own wit and atrength. Wo would rather,

like I. •. illowourowil humour SJ in Bodom, than observe the an |

order to go out of it.

• G( rrax 1 in

216 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

5. As we account the actions of others to be good or evil, as they suit
with or spurn against our fancies and humours. Virtue is a crime, and
vice a virtue, as it is contrary or concurrent with our humours. Little
reason have many men to blame the actions of others, but because they
are not agreeable to what they affect and desire. We would have all men
take directions from us, and move according to our beck; hence that com-
mon speech in the world, Such an one is an honest friend. Why ? Because
he is of their humour, and lacqueys according to their wills. Thus we make
self the measure and square of good and evil in the rest of mankind, and
judge of it by our own fancies, and not by the will of God, the proper rule
of judgment.

Well, then, let us consider,

Is not this very common, are we not naturally more willing to displease
God than displease ourselves, when it comes to a point that we must do one
or other ? Is not our own counsel of more value with us than conformity
to the will of the Creator ? Do not our judgments often run counter to the
judgment of God ? Have his laws a greater respect from us than our own
humours ? Do we scruple the staining his honour when it comes in com-
petition with our own ? Are not the lives of most men a pleasing them-
selves, without a repentance that ever they displeased God ? Is not this to
undeify God, to deify ourselves, and disown the propriety he hath in us by
the right of creation and beneficence ? We order our own ways by our own
humours, as though we were the authors of our own being, and had given
ourselves life and understanding. This is to destroy the order that God
hath placed between our wills and his own, and a lifting up of the foot
above the head; it is the deformity of the creature. The honour of every
rational creature consists in the service of the First Cause of his being; as
the welfare of every creature consists in the orders and proportionable motion
of its members, according to the law of its creation.

He that moves and acts according to a law of his own, offers a manifest
wrong to God, the highest wisdom and chiefest good, disturbs the order of
the world, nulls the design of the righteousness and holiness of God. The
law of God is the rule of that order he would have observed in the world.
He that makes another law his rule, thrusts out the order of the Creator,
and establishes the disorder of the creature.

But this will yet be more evident in the fourth thing.

(4.) Man would make himself the rule of God, and give laws to his Creator.
We are willing God should be our benefactor, but not our ruler; we are
content to admire his excellency and pay him a worship, provided he will
walk by our rule. ' This commits a riot upon his nature ; to think him
to be what we ourselves would have him and wish him to be, Ps. 1. 21. We
would amplify his mercy and contract his justice, we would have his power
enlarged to supply our wants, and straitened when it goes about to revenge
our crimes ; we would have him wise to defeat our enemies, but not to dis-
appoint our unworthy projects; we would have him all eye to regard our
indigence, and blind, not to discern our guilt ; we would have him true to
his promises, regardless of his precepts, and false to his threatenings ; we
would new mint the nature of God according to our models, and shape a God
according to our fancies, as ho made us at first according to his own
image.'* Instead of obeying him, we would have him obey us; instead of
owning and admiring his perfections, we would have him strip himself of his
infinite excellency, and clotho himself with a nature agreeable to our own.

* Decay of Christian piety, p. 169, somewhat changed.

\ i y . i . 217

Tin, is QOJ Only to St up self || tin- law | l.nt to I

imaginations the model of the Datura of God.

1 i pleaeuj pest the

We would Dot hate him eotoonvi Lure, but act what d

from what d Mao d but when

be i impeaehing <>w or othi r p< rfi i lion . and undermining

ln> u«l indict .1 ;it the bar of our pni -

blind r. :i an. Thi i weed ihool inpin .Peter inteo

of onx Savio of humility, bnl I

understands it to be ■ pr< loribing s tan to himself, a c< i John

\in. B, '■».
Tin

i. i be nti i\ in ' oil law* I tow many nn a imply I

Uvea thai they would have God deposed from his government, and some
nnrighteona being step into his throne; as if God had or should chs
laws of holiness into laws of lioentios i if he should i

oal precepts and enaei oontrary ones in their itead. What is the lan-
fsneh praotioes, bnt that they would be God's lawgivers and not
subjects; thai he should deal with them according to their own wills, and
not according to his righteousness; that they could make a more holy*
wise, and righteous Law than the law of God; that their imaginations, and
not God's righteousness, should be the rule of his doing good to them? Jer.
ix. 18, 'They have fonmsftn my law, and walked after the imaginations of
their own heart. '

When an ad is known to bo a sin, and the law that forbids it ackm
to be tiic law of God, and after this we persist in that which is contrary to
it, we tax his wisdom as if he did not understand what was convenient for
us; we would 'teach God knowledge,' Job xxi. 22; it is an implicit wish
that God had laid aside the holiness of his nature, and framed a law to
pleasure our lusts. When God calls for weeping, and mourning, and gird-
ing with sackcloth upon approaching judgments, then the corrupt heart is
for joy and gladness, eating of flesh and drinking of wine, because to-morrow
they Bhonld die, Isa. xxii. 12, 18; as if God had mistaken himself when he
ordered them so much sorrow when their lives were so near an end, and
had Lost his understanding when he ordered such a precept. Disobedience
is therefore called contention — Rom. ii. 8, 'Contentious, and obey not the
truth' — contention against God, whose truth it is that they disobey; a dis-
pute with him, which hath more of wisdom in itself and oonveniency for
them, his truth or their imaginations. The more the love, goodness, and
holini SB of God appears iu any command, the more are we naturally averse
from it, and cast an imputation on him, as if he were foolish, unjust, cruel,
and that we could have advised and directed him better. The goodness of
..ciit to US in appointing a day for his own worship, wherein we

bt converse with him and he with us, and our souls be refreshed with
spiritual communications from him; and we rather use it for the ease of
our I than the advancement of our souls, as it" God were mistaken I

inju: tare when he urged the spiritual part of duty. Every d

• the law is an implicit giving law to him, and a ehai nst

him that he might have provided better for his creature.

1'provii, God's government of the world. If

the oounsels of heaven roll not about according to their Bchen I of

unsearehable depths of his judgments, they call him to th

him, b ■ I > their narro.v . if a

nut-shell could contain an ocean. As corrupt reason OS the high

218 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

truths foolishness, so it counts the most righteous ways unequal. Thus we
commence a suit against God, as though he had not acted righteously and
wisely, but must give an account of his proceedings at our tribunal. This
is to make ourselves God's superiors, and presume to instruct him better in
the government of the world ; as though God hindered himself and the
world in not making us of his privy council, and not ordering his affairs
according to the contrivances of our dim understandings.

Is not this manifest in our immoderate complaints of God's dealings with
his church, as though there were a coldness in God's affections to his church,
and a glowing heat towards it only in us ? Hence are those importunate
desires for things which are not established by any promise, as though we
would overrule and over-persuade God to comply with our humour. We
have an ambition to be God's tutors, and direct him in his counsels ; ' Who
hath been his counsellor,' saith the apostle ? Rom. xi. 34. Who ought not
to be his counsellor, saith corrupt nature ? Men will find fault with God in
what he suffers to be done according to their own minds, when they feel the
bitter fruit of it. When Cain had killed his brother, and his conscience
racked him, how saucily and discontentedly doth he answer God : Gen.
iv. 9, ' Am I my brother's keeper ? ' Since thou dost own thyself the rector
of the world, thou shouldst have preserved his person from my fury ; since
thou dost accept his sacrifice before my offering, preservation was due as
well as acceptance. If this temper be found on earth, no wonder it is
lodged in hell. That deplorable person, under the sensible stroke of God's
sovereign justice, would oppose his nay to God's will : Luke xvi. 30, ' And
he said, Nay, father Abraham : but if one went to them from the dead, they
will repent.' He would presume to prescribe more effectual means than
Moses and the prophets to inform men of the danger they incurred by their
sensuality. ' David was displeased,' it is said, 2 Sam. vi. 8, ' when the
Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah; ' not with Uzzah, who was the object
of his pity, but w 7 ith God, who was the inflicter of that punishment.

When any of our friends have been struck with a rod against our senti-
ments and wishes, have not our hearts been apt to swell in complaints
against God, as though he disregarded the goodness of such a person, did
not see with our eyes, and measure him by our esteem of him ? As if he
should have asked our counsel before he had resolved, and managed himself
according to our will rather than his own. If he be patient to the wicked,
we are apt to tax his holiness, and accuse him as an enemy to his own law.
If he inflict severity upon the righteous, we are ready to suspect his good-
ness, and charge him to be an enemy to his affectionate creature. If he
spare the Nimrods of the world, we are ready to ask, ' Where is the God of
judgment?' Mai. ii. 17. If he afflict the pillars of the earth, we are ready
to question, Where is the God of mercy ? It is impossible, since the de-
praved nature of man, and the various interests and passions in the world,
that infinite power and wisdom can act righteously for the good of the uni-
verse, but he will shake some corrupt interest or other upon the earth ; so
various are the inclinations of men, and such a weather-cock judgment hath
every man in himself, that the divine method he applauds this day, upon a
change of his interest, he will cavil at the next. It is impossible for the
just orders of God to plcaso the same person many weeks, scarce many
minutes together. God must ceaso to be God, or to be holy, if he should
manago tho concerns of the world according to the fancies of men.

How unreasonable is it thus to impose laws upon God ? Must God
revoke his own orders ? govern according to tho dictates of his creature ?
Must God, who hath only power and wisdom to sway the sceptre, become

I'S. X I V. 1 . I'K.M I I'M. 41 Ml I M. 219

tin- ol edienl i abj< in'i humour, i

re the design of a simple creature ? Thii ii not to 1 Q I, bat to
the civ.ttmv in hit throne. Thoogfa thii be do! formally done, . * it

is interpi Tactically done

[n impationoe in our particular concert . [I ii ordinary with man
to ohai ( ' I in his complaint! in the time of affliction,
the commendation the Holy 01 lo Job: Job I in all ' !

thai is, in t ; .it rolled over him, ' he did not 3od

li!\ ; ' he nor thought ai by of the i

and righteousness of God, 5 '"1 him wai

oamea the affliction to be God's oppression of him, and i

: Job \. B, • I "1 for thee that thou shonldst oppr< B •

1 1 i with injustice for punishing him when )
wicked) for which he appeals to God, ' Thou knowi -t thai I am not v,
. and thai c ; * * » l acted no1 like a ( Ireator, v< r. h.
[four projects are disappointed, whal fretfulm
menl are our hearts racked with I How do uncomely »ubble up in

in, interpretatively at least, wishing thai the arms of his power had b
bound, and the eye of his omniscience been hoodwinked, thai

i left to our own liberty and d< sign ; and this oftentimes when
have more reason to Mess him than repine a1 him. The Israelites mur-
mured more against ( tod in the wilderness, with manna in their mouths, than
they did at Pharaoh in the brick kilns, with their garlic and onions betwi
tluir teeth. Though we repine :it instruments in our affliction 1 1 I

count-. m upon himself. The Israelites speak rinst M<

l's interpretation a rebellion against himself, Num. wi. 11 e
pared with ivii. 10. A rebellion is always a d< imposin r laws and eon-

ditions upon thi ast whom the rebellion is raised. The sotti-h dealt

of the vine-dressers in Franconia with the statue of St Urban, the protector
of the fines, upon his own day, is an emblem of our dealing with God. If
it be a char day, and portend a prosperous vintage, they honour the statue,
and drink healths to it ; if it be a rainy day, and presage a scantiness, they
daub it with dirt in indignation. We cast out our mire and dirt against
I when he acts cross to our wishes, and tlatter him when the wind of his
ridence joins itself to the tide of our interest.

M< n Bel a high price upon themselves, and are angry God values them
at the same rate, as if their judgment concerning themselves were more
piercing than his. This is to 'disannul God's judgment,' and 'condemn
him,' and 'count ourselves righteous,' as it is Job xl. 8. This is the epi-
demical disease of human nature ; they think they deserve caret
of rods, and upon crosses are more ready to tear out the heart of God than

humbly upon their own hearts. When we accuse God, we app'
OUn and make ourselves his superiors, intimating that we have acted

•y to him than he to us, which is the highest manner of im-
pon him, as thai emperor accused the justice of God for
snatching him out of the world too soon.* What an high piece of practical
: is this, to desire that that infinite wisdom should be guided by our folly,
and insness of God rather than blemish our own. Insl

of silently submitting to his will and adoring his wisdom, we d( cl dm against
him a-> an unwise and unji rnor. We would invert his order, d

him th( 1 ourselves the propriet and hat

deny on our mercies to be forfeit

(1.) It is i • 1 in envying the

• Coelum . ; iens vitam, &c. \ 10.

220 chaknock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

hath a deep tincture of practical atheism, and is a cause of atheism.* We
are unwilling to leave God to be the proprietor, and do what he will with
his own, and as a Creator to do what he pleases with his creatures ; we
assume a liberty to direct God what portions, when and how he should
bestow upon his creatures ; we would not let him choose his own favourites,
and pitch upon his own instruments for his glory. As if God should have
asked counsel of us how he should dispose of his benefits. We are unwill-
ing to leave to his wisdom the management of his own judgments to the
wicked, and the dispensation of his own love to ourselves. This temper is
natural ; it is as ancient as the first age of the world. Adam envied God a
felicity by himself, and w T ould not spare a tree that he had reserved as a
mark of his sovereignty. The passion that God had given Cain to employ
against his sin he turns against his Creator ; he was wroth with God, Gen.
iv. 5, and with Abel ; but envy was at the root, because his brother's sacri-
fice was accepted and his refused. How could he envy his accepted person
without reflecting upon the acceptor of his offering ! Good men have not
been free from it. Job questions the goodness of God, that he should
1 shine upon the counsel of the wicked,' Job x. 3. Jonah had too much of
self in fearing to be counted a false prophet, when he came with absolute
denunciations of wrath, Jonah iv. 2. And when he could not bring a volley
of destroying judgments upon the Ninevites, he would shoot his fury against
his master, envying those poor people the benefit, and God the honour of
his mercy ; and this after he had been sent into the whale's belly to learn
humiliation, which, though he exercised there, yet those two great branches
of self-pride and envy were not lopped oft* from him in the belly of hell.
And God was fain to take pains with him, and by a gourd scarce makes
him ashamed of his peevishness. Envy is not like to cease, till all atheism
be cashiered, and that is in heaven.

This sin is an imitation of the devil, whose first sin upon earth was envy,
as his first sin in heaven was pride. It is a wishing that to ourselves which
the devil asserted as his right, to give the kingdoms of the world to whom
he pleased, Luke iv. 6. It is an anger with God because he hath not given
us a patent for government. It utters the same language in disparagement
of God as Absalom did in reflection on his father : If I were king in Israel,
justice should be better managed ; if I were Lord of the world, there should
be more wisdom to discern the merits of men, and more righteousness in
distributing to them their several portions. Thus we impose laws upon
God, and would have the righteousness of his will submit to the corruptions
of ours, and have him lower himself to gratify our minds rather than fulfil
his own. We charge the author of those gifts with injustice, that he hath
not dealt equally, or with ignorance, that he hath mistook his mark. In
the same breath that we censure him by our peevishness, we would guide
him by our wills.

This is an unreasonable part of atheism. If all were in the same state
and condition, the order of the world would be impaired. Is God bound to
have a care of thee, and neglect all the world besides ? ' Shall the earth be
forsaken for theo ? Job xviii. 4. Joseph had reason to be displeased with
his brothers, if they had muttered, because he gave Benjamin a double por-
tion, and the rest a singlo. It was unfit that they, who had deserved no
gift at all, should prescribe him rules how to dispense his own doles. Much
moro unworthy is it to deal so with God ; yet this is too rife.

(5.) It is evidenced in corrupt matters or ends of prayer and praise.
When we are importunate for those things that we know not whether the
* Because wickod incu flourish in the world; Sollicitor nullos esse putare Dcos.

P . \'I V. I . ■!.

[rant, 1

<h ic >\< ire I liis uill la any promise to then imp

such condition i on 1 1 1 1 which be i ■ : j I !. 'to gf int, "■ ; : □

. for thii much to to be the i o I of

j'f.i' indeed, by the

petitioning, that ti. i I, bnt ire would nave bim an-God bim elf to

be at i d ■■ ; ■ . and dobs o himielf to r our torn i. V.

■ binge whir' epn pant lot' | ,th

mi nl of the world ; when by lome i □]
think we have g lined indul to bo the tho

more fr
P >. vii. II. ' I hi
I bave paid my vows :' I bave made my peace with God, and I
men! for thee. Or when men desire God to bl in thee

V-; when Balak and Balaam ofl they mi

in the enrsing of the 1 . Num. •. .-. . I ,

' >r :i man to pray I i I to re bim, while h

salvation appointed by Gtodj or to renew him when h • the word, the

only instrument to that purpose, this is to impose Is i God o mtrary

to the declared will and wisdom of ( I "1. and to d Bire him to slight 1
institutions. When we eom i into the presence of ( '< >d with ii < in

and leap from sin to duty, we would impose the law of our <•
ruption on the holiness of God. While we pray the will of God may
done, self-love wishes its own will m iv be performed, as though Q >uld

or humours when we will not obey his precepts. And when s
• any affliction, what is it often but a secret contrivance to 1
and v ■'• v him to our conditions! We will serve him if ho will restore
os : we think thereby to compound tho 1 i with him, .and bring him

down to our terms.

(6.) It is evidenced in positive and bold interpretations of the judgments
of God in the wmld. To interpct the judgments of God to the disadvantage
of the sufferer, unless it be an unusual judgment, and have a remarkable
hand of God in it, and the sin be rendered plainly legible in the affliction,
IB a presumption of this nature. When men will judge the Galileans, wh

■ 1 Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, greater sinners than others,
themselves righteous, because no drops of it were dashed apon ti I ; or
when Bhimei, being of the house of Saul, shall judge according to his <
interest, and desires David's flight upon Absalom's rebellion to be a punish-

■ t for invading the rights of Saul's family, and depriving him of the suc-
tion in the kingdom, 2 Sam. xvi. 5, as if he had been of God's privy

council when he decreed such acts of justice in the world.

Thus we would fasten our own wills as a law or motive upon God, and
rpret hie tooording to the motions of self. Is it not too ordinary,

Is an affliction upon those that bear ill will to us, to judge it to
htingofour fruit of Go I tern for us in i ring

our WTO if we had heard th< f G : . Eli] ' • - '•':.

tan ran, Job xv. 8. This is a judgment according

livine rale, and imposeth laws upon I . implyin

• ish that ould tai <>nly of them, make our eoi

tin ways of ki: nd justice, but : Qg toOUI

this d in the profane world, in those oursee they lily spit

npon any affront ; i bound to draw bis arrowsand - em

• all their ft an 1 pleasure.

1, in mixir. those

222 chaenock's wokks. [Ps. XIY. 1.

which have been ordered by him. Since men are most prone to live by
sense, it is no wonder that a sensible worship, which affects their outward
sense with some kind of amazement, is dear to them, and spiritual worship
most loathsome.

Pompous rites have been the great engine wherewith the devil hath
deceived the souls of men, and wrought them to a nauseating the simplicity
of divine worship, as unworthy the majesty and excellency of God, 2 Cor.
xi. 3. Thus the Jews would not understand the glory of the second temple
in the presence of the Messiah, because it had not the pompous grandeur of
that of Solomon's erecting.

Hence in all ages men have been forward to disfigure God's models, and
dress up a brat of their own ; as though God had been defective in providing
for his own honour in his institutions without the assistance of his creature.
This hath always been in the world : the old world had their imaginations,
and the new world hath continued them. The Israelites, in the midst of
miracles, and under the memory of a famous deliverance, would erect a
calf. The Pharisees, that sat in Moses's chair, would coin new traditions,
and enjoin them to be as current as the law of God, Mat. xxiii. 6. Papists
will be blending the Christian appointments with pagan ceremonies, to
please the carnal fancies of the common people. Altars have been multi-
plied, under the knowledge of the law of God, Hos. viii. 12. Interest is
made the balance of the conveniency of God's injunctions. Jeroboam fitted
a worship to politic ends, and posted up calves to prevent his subjects revolt-
ing from his sceptre, which might be occasioned by their resort to Jerusa-
lem, and converse with the body of the people from whom they were separated,
1 Kings xii. 27. Men will be putting their own dictates with God's laws,
and are unwilling he should be the sole governor of the world without their
counsel : they will not suffer him to be the Lord of that which is purely
and solely his concern. How often hath the practice of the primitive church,
the custom wherein we are bred, the sentiments of our ancestors, been owned
as a more authentic rule in matters of worship, than the mind of God deli-
vered in his word ! It is natural by creation to worship God ; and it is as
natural by corruption for man to worship him in a human way, and not in a
divine. Is not this to impose laws upon God ? to esteem ourselves wiser
than he ? to think him negligent of his own service, and that our feeble
brains can find out ways to accommodate his honour better than himself
hath done ? Thus do men for the most part equal their own imaginations
to God's oracles : as Solomon built a high place to Moloch and Chemosh,
upon the mount of Olives, to face on the east part Jerusalem and the temple,
1 Kings xi. 7. This is not only to impose laws on God, but also to make
self the standard of them.

(8.) It is evidenced, in fitting interpretations of Scripture to their own
minds and humours. Like the Lacedajmonians, that dressed the images of
their gods according to the fashion of their own country, we would wring
Scripture to serve our own designs, and judge the law of God by the law of
sin, and make the serpentine seed in us to be the interpreter of divine
oracles. This is like Belshazzar; to drink healths out of the sacred vessels.
As God is the author of his law and word, so he is the best interpreter of
it ; the Scripture having an impress of divine wisdom, holiness, and good-
ness, must be regarded according to that impress, with a submission and
meekness of spirit and reverence of God in it. But when in our inquiries
into the word, wo inquire not of God, but consult flesh and blood, the tem-
per of the times wherein wo live, or the satisfaction of a party we side
withal, and impose glosses upon it according to our own fancies, it is to

\I V. l. n .. , .. u 228

pat Ian i upon God, and m I the role of bim. Be that inl

law up BOLD uppoti! will of tii

ascribe i to him8( If d . as In- thai 1 it.

I □ falliu [ off 1 oplianoc i, when hii will

toth Upon US an ; i . will u.

pleaseth tin in, :n 1 1 le ivc bim apoo the 1 though < I . .

rve th iir hamoari more than th. j hi i will. a .
from proph • ind could not b< ai b

l<>. a •., and li i ti' 1 ' r unworthy pi i

The in in eami direciioni from oar Savioar, I

expected a confirmation of hie own rules, rath r than an imp
1 7. 22. il.« rather o tr< - I >r oomme i than is

up. >n the disappointment turn ick : ■ h I

nol sutler him to be rich and a Christian I r, and leaves bim i

Miami was aot suitable to the law of I B >mi

that are at a further distance from o ; but when

us to smart under others, if God will iUg,

rill with Herod be a law to ourselves, Mark vi. 20, —7.
More ii: might be oh erv< 1.

I latitude is a Betting up self, and an imposing d. I: .

much as to Bay God did no more than I i to do; as if

mercies we have were an ad of duty iii God, and not ofbouuty, Iii

\ dih : hence are tip- . : . • \\\. wi.;

a a city, and buy and sell,' &C., ' I

commai I, and God most lacaa r their wills. When our h<

not contented with any BUpplyofoUT wants, hut are craving an over;

for oar last ; when we are unsatisfied in the midst of plenty, and still, liko
the grave, cry, Give, give.

Incorrigible n< as under affliction, &o.

II. The second main thing. As man would bo a law to himself, so he
would he his own end and happiness in opposition to God.
11. re four things shall he discoursed on :

1. Man would make himself bis own end and happiness.

2. Ho would make any thing his end and happiness rather than God.
:'.. II.' would make himself the end of all creatures.

I. II.' would make himself the end of Go 1.

1. Man would make himself his own end and happiness. As God o
to ho r the first cause, in point of our dependence on bim, so

ought to be our last end, in point of our enjoyment of him. When wo
th. . fuse him as the first cause ; and wh< o

act f.»r s, and expect a blessedness from ourselves, w< him as

aid last end, which is an undeniable piece of at!
.re of a higher rank than others in the world, an 1 was not
. plants, and other works of the divine power, materially to
glorify (inl; hut a rational creature, intentionally to honour God by obe-
dience t.» his rule, dependence on his goodness, and zeal for his glory. 1
therefore as moch a slighting of God, for man, a creature, to set himself up
as his own rd himself as his own law.

that there is a threefold self-Io
(1.) Natural, which is common to us by the law .,f nature with I

inanimate as well as anim 1 so closely twisted with the

nature of every O that it cannot d but with th.

lotion of nature itself. It aot with the wisdom an - of

God to create an unnatural nature, or to command any thing un:.

224 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

nor doth he ; for when he commands us to sacrifice ourselves, and dearest
lives for himself, it is not without a promise of a more noble state and being
in exchange for what we lose. This self-love is not only commendable,
but necessary, as a rule to measure that duty we owe to our neighbour,
whom we cannot love as ourselves, if we do not first love ourselves : God
having planted this self-love in our nature, makes this natural principle the
measure of our affection to all mankind of the same blood with ourselves.

(2.) Carnal self-love ; when a man loves himself above God, in opposi-
tion to God, with a contempt of God ; when our thoughts, affections,
designs, centre only in our own fleshly interest, and rifle God of his honour,
to make a present of it to ourselves. Thus the natural self-love, in itself
good, becomes criminal by the excess, when it would be superior and not
subordinate to God.

(3.) A gracious self-love. When we love ourselves for higher ends than
the nature of a creature, as a creature dictates, viz., in subserviency to the
glory of God, this is a reduction of the revolted creature to his true and
happy order. A Christian is therefore said to be ' created in Christ to good
works,' Eph. ii. 10. As all creatures were created, not only for themselves,
but for the honour of God, so the grace of the new creation carries a man to
answer this end, and to order all his operations to the honour of God and
his well-pleasing.

The first is from nature, the second from sin, the third from grace. The
first is implanted by creation, the second the fruit of corruption, the third is
by the powerful operation of grace.

This carnal self-love is set up in the stead of God as our last end ; like
the sea, which all the little and great streams of our actions run to, and
rest in. And this is,

1. Natural. It sticks as close to us as our souls ; it is as natural as sin,
the foundation of all the evil in the world. As self-abhorrency is the first
stone that is laid in conversion, so an inordinate self-love was the first inlet
to all iniquity. As grace is a rising from self to centre in God, so is sin a
shrinking from God into the mire of a carnal selfishness. Since every
creature is nearest to itself, and, next, to God, it cannot fall from God, but
must immediately sink into self ; * and therefore all sins are well said to be
branches or modifications of this fundamental passion. What is wrath but
a defence and strengthening self against the attempts of some real or imagi-
nary evil ? Whence springs envy, but from a self-love, grieved at its own
wants in the midst of another's enjoyment, able to supply it ? What is
impatience, but a regret that self is not provided for at the rate of our wish,
and that it hath met with a shock against supposed merit ? What is pride,
but a sense of self-worth, a desire to have self of a higher elevation than
others ? What is drunkenness, but a seeking a satisfaction for sensual self
in the spoils of reason ? No sin is committed as sin, but as it pretends a
self-satisfaction. Sin indeed may well be termed a man's self, because it
is, sinco the loss of original righteousness, the form that overspreads every
part of our souls. The understanding assents to nothing false, but under
the notion of true, and the will embraceth nothing evil, but under the notion
of good ; but the rule whereby we measure the truth and goodness of pro-
posed objects is not the unerring word, but the inclinations of self, the gra-
tifying of which is the aim of our whole lives.

Sin and self are all one. What is called a ' living to sin' in one place,
Rom. vi., is called a living to self in another: 2 Cor. v. 15, ' That they
that live should not live unto themselves.' And upon this account it is

* Moro, Dial. ii. sect. 17, page 274.

!' . XIV. 1.] I'l:\< IK\I. AIM! ISM. 225

thai both the Bebn I NI3H, :».t 1 * I tl • ird dfia r&t /., used in

Scripture to express sin, propurl) minify to mi tip- mark, and from

th:ii n/'//v to which all oar should 1 , viz., the glory of G

When we fell t" loving . we fell from I" God ; and therefore,

when iln' pHulni . i ' '. are none I 1 1 od, viz.,

as tli.' lit and, be pn ently adds, * tl ill gone aside,' riz., i

their true m l then fore I aeome filthy.

8, Binoe il if natural, it il. The not seeking God

universal i tnoc of him. No man in i itate of nature but I

it predominanl ; do r< i tan on tkii tide heaven but hath it partially:

one hath it flourishing, the other hath it. Bti

,• (if ( Juil as tin' chief end, and not to live to OUT lv< . be I

mark of . • i« •! i of the divine image) 2 Cor. r. L6, and I conformity

to Christ, who glorified not himself, 1 1 . . 5, bnl the Father, John Kvii. 1.
then < \. ry man wallowing in the mire of sorrnpi nature |
selt', as a renewed man is biassed by tin honour of God.

ELoly Ghosl excepts none from this crime : PhiHp.ii.2Tj, 'All
their own.' It is rare for them to look ahove or beyond then
soevec may be the immediate Bubject of their thoughts and inqoiri
the utm is their profit, honour, or pleasure. \ er it

ba, that immediately possesses the mind and will, oueen, and

Bwayi the Beeptre, and orders things at that rate, that God is excluded, and
can find no room in all his thoughti i Pa. x. 1, ' The wicked through the
pride of hi- countenance will ak after God; God is not in all his

thoughts. 1 The whole little world of man is so overflowed with a deluge
self, that the dove, the glory el the Creator, can find no place when

its foot ; and if ever it gain the favour of admittance, it is to., and DO

a vassal to some c:irnal prOJOCi ; as the glory of Go I was a masl^for the mur-
dering his servants.

I: is from the power of this principle that the difficulty of conversion
ariseth. A- there is no t pleasure to a believing son! than the ■ iving

itself up to God, and no stronger desire in him than to havo a fixed and
unchangeable will to serve the designs of his honour, so there is no greater
torment to a wicked man than to part with his carnal ends, and lay down
the Dagon of self at the feet of the ark. Self-love and self-opinion in the
Pharisees, waylaid all the entertainment of truth : John v. 44, ' r i ight

honour one of another, and net the honour which comes from God.' It is
an extent, and so insinuating nature, that it winds itself into the
of moral virtues, mixeth with our charity, .Mat. vi. 2, and finds
nourishment in the ashes of martyrdom, 1 Cor. xiii. 3.

This making ourselves our end will appear in a few things.

(1. ) In frequent Belf-applauses, and inward overweening rejections. Nothin 5
more ordinary in the natures of men, than a dotage on their own perfects
acquisitions, on in the world. Most ' think of themselves above what

they ought to think,' Rom. xii. B, 4. i'ew think of themselves so meanly
as ti. ;t to think : this sticks as close to us as our skin ; and as humi-

lity i-> the beau! . tin- te the filthi >t soil of nature. Our thou-

run mi r btfully upon the track of our own perfections than the excel-

lency of God ; and when We find any thing of a seeming worth, that :
make us glitter in I - of the world, how cheerfully do

When tl • ar profai lof men ban

I the floods of them dammed op, the head of.

they -. will swell the higher within, in .^elf-applauding specula!

r own reformation, without acknowledgments of their own v.

VOL. I. P

226 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

and desires of divine assistance to make a further progress. ' I thank God
I am not like this publican,' Luke xviii. 11. A self- reflection, with a con-
tempt rather than compassion to his neighbour, is frequent in every Pha-
risee. The vapours of self-affections in our clouded understandings, like
those in the air in misty mornings, alter the appearance of things, and make
them look bigger than they are. This is thought by some to be the sin of
the fallen angels, who, reflecting upon their own natural excellency, superior
to other creatures, would find a blessedness in their own nature, as God did
in his, and make themselves the last end of their actions. It is from this
principle we are naturally so ready to compare ourselves, rather with those
that are below us, than with those that are above us ; and often think those
that are above us inferior to us, and secretly glory that we are become none
of the meanest and lowest in natural or moral excellencies.

How far were the gracious penmen of the Scripture from this, who when
possessed and directed by the Spirit of God, and filled with a sense of him,
instead of applauding themselves, publish upon record their own faults to all
the eyes of the world ! And if Peter, as some think, dictated the Gospel,
which Mark wrote as his amanuensis, it is observable that his crime in deny-
ing his Master, is aggravated in that gospel in some circumstances, and less
spoken of his repentance than in the other evangelists : ' When he thought
thereon, he wept,' Mark xiv. 72.; but in the other, ■ he went out, and wept
bitterly,' Luke\xxii. 62.

This is one part of atheism and self-idolatry, to magnify ourselves, with
the forgetfulness and to the injury of our Creator.

(2.) In ascribing the glory of what we do or have to ourselves, to our own
wisdom, power, virtue, &c. How flaunting is Nebuchadnezzar at the pros-
pect of Babylon, which he had exalted to be the head of so great an empire :
Dan. iv. 30\$ ■ Is not this great Babylon that I have built ? For,' &c. He
struts upon the battlements of his palace, as if there were no God but himself
in the world, while his eye could not but see the heavens above him to be none
of his own framing; attributing his acquisitions to his own arm, and refer-
ring them to his own honour, for his own delight ; not for the honour of God,
as a creature ought ; nor for the advantage of his subjects, as the duty of a
prince. He regards Babylon as his heaven, and himself as his idol, as if he
were all, and God nothing. An example of this we have in the present age ;
but it is often observed that God vindicates his own honour, brings the most
heroical men to contempt and unfortunate ends, as a punishment of their
pride, as he did here: Dan. iv. 31, 'When the word was in the king's
mouth, there fell a voice from heaven,' &c* This was Herod's crime, to
suffer others to do it. He had discovered his eloquence actively, and made
himself his own end passively, in approving the flatteries of the people, and
offered not with one hand to God the glory he received from his people with
the other, Acts xii. 22, 23. Samosatenus is reported to put down the hymns
which were sung for the glory of God and Christ, and caused songs to be
sung in the temple for his own honour.

When anything succeeds well, we are ready to attribute it to our own
prudence and industry. If we meet with a cross, we fret against the stars
and fortune and second causes, and sometimes against God, as they curse
God as well as their king, Isa. viii. 21, not acknowledging any defect in
themselves. The psalmist, by his repetition of ' Not unto us, not unto us,
but to thy namo give glory,' Ps. cxv. 1, implies the naturality of this
temper, and the difficulty to cleanse our hearts from those self-reflections.
If it be angelical to refuse an undue glory stolen from God's throne, Rev.

* Sanderson*! Sermons.

.IV. 1.] HA0TKML Aim. ism. 887

xxii. B, '•' ■• »pi md ineri h it. 'To Nil n glory

ifOOigUN . 1 .'11. It in vile, and tlio dishonour of a ere dure,

who, |,y tli.- l.iw of i. inothor ond. So mush as we

■in- <»\wi err. ht, to the <• oi the Mgaoiij of

our wit, w. bom < i

i in .i. irei to luivD self-pleasing doctrin< , not endn

: i u- anything th • i ■• Dion tells us, ' It is

i bear the n the wioe than the ion . I

It il.iiiiini tli.' ii-i.vu kii • "ii the L »rd, nil pas-

! sh:ill i t tli.' jmiplirt, iirnl :ur. t him

. in. h Micaiah declare to Ahab the evil that shall befall him,

mot ihoil receive orden to slop him np in a d I

doth ii"' upon eombnstible matter than firry will be 1, if

be bnt pinched, This interest of It I barred th iiaH

the entertainment of the truth, end sa in ed h

hands in the blood of the Baptist, to make bim t isorince to that im I

idol, Mark m. M, l:i, g&

(4.) in being highly ooncerned for injuries done to our . lv. i, and little
it ail oonoemed for injnriei done to God. How will the blood riae in
u>, when our honour ami reputation is invaded, and fearee reflect opon the
diahononr God innen in our ughl and bearing, violeni paaaioni will farant-
fonn us into Boanergoioi in the 01 nnooooernedneee render ni

Geilioe in the other. We shall extenuate that which t ( l, and

that which concerns onnehroa. Nothing bnt the death of
Jonathan, i firstborn and a generoni son, will satisfy il, when

the authority of his edict was broken hy his tenting of honey, though In: had

me, committed in ignorance, by the pnrehaee of a gallant

victory. l'.ut when the authority of God was violated in Saving the A:.

-ainst the command of a greater sovereign than himself, he can
daub the business, and axouae it with a design of sacrificing, He was not
so earneei in hindering the people from the breach of Gfod's command, as ho
in vindicating the honour of his own, 1 Sam. xv. 21. He could hardly
admit of an excuse to salve his own honour; hut in the concerns of God's
honour pretends piety, to cloak his avarice.

And it is often sun, when the violation of God's authority an 1 the stain
of our own reputation are coupled together, we are more troubled for what
OS us than for what dishonours God. When Saul had thus trans-
ised, he is desirous that Samuel would turn again to preserve his own
honour before the elders, rather than grieved that he had broken the com-
ma: . 30.

In trusting in ourselves ; wlnn we consult with our own wit and
. more than inquire of God, and ask have of him. As the A i
. \. 18, ' By the llienejll of my hands I have done it, and by wisdom,
for I am prudent.' When we attempt things in the Strength of our own

. snd trust in our own industry, without application to I

for direction, blessing, and ■n oc oo e , wo affeet the privilege of the Deity, and

- of 00 ; tho same language in reality with Ajax in

hers think to overcome with the | ce of th • but

I h tin honour without them.' Dependence and trust IS an

from th L Hi I the crime ot the

I • The Egyptians ai snd not

in our deft etion from Go I, ■'<

when we 00] .: 1 froU ml upon OU1

an arm of fl< sb, we choose the arm of ilesh for our god;

228 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

confidence we ought to place in him, and that adoration which is due to
him, and build it upon another foundation. Not that we are to neglect the
reason and parts God hath given us, or spend more time in prayer than in
consulting about our own affairs, but to mix our own intentions in business,
with ejaculations to heaven, and take God along with us in every motion ;
but certainly it is an idolising of self when we are more diligent in our
attendance on our own wit then fervent in our recourses to God.

(6.) The power of sinful self, above the efficacy of the notion of God, is
evident in our workings for carnal self against the light of our own con-
sciences. When men of sublime reason, and clear natural wisdom, are
voluntary slaves to their own lusts, row against the stream of their own
consciences, serve carnal self with a disgraceful and disturbing drudgery,
making it their god, sacrificing natural self, all sentiments of virtue, and
the quiet of their lives to the pleasure, honour, and satisfaction of carnal
self, — this is a prostituting God in his deputy conscience to carnal affec-
tions, when their eyes are shut against the enlightnings of it, and their ears
deaf to its voice, but open to the least breath and whisper of self ; a debt
that the creature owes supremely to God.

Much more might be said, but let us see what Atheism lurks in this, and
how it intrencheth upon God.

1. It is a usurping God's prerogative. It is God's prerogative to be his
own end, and act for his own glory, because there is nothing superior to him
in excellency and goodness to act for. He had not his being from anything
without himself, whereby he should be obliged to act for anything but him-
self. To make ourselves, then, our last end, is to co-rival God in his being,
the supreme good and blessedness to himself, as if we were our own prin-
ciple, the author of our own being, and were not obliged to a higher power than
ourselves for what we are and have. To direct the lines of all our motions
to ourselves is to imply that they first issued only from ourselves. When
we are rivals to God in his chief end, we own or desire to be rivals to him
in the principle of his being. This is to set ourselves in the place of God.
All things have something without them, and above them as their end. All
inferior creatures act for some superior order in the rank of creation ; the
lesser animals are designed for the greater, and all for man. Man therefore
for something nobler than himself. To make ourselves, therefore, our own end,
is to deny any superior, to whom we are to direct our actions. God alone,
being the supreme being, can be his own ultimate end. For if there were
anything higher and better than God, the purity and righteousness of his
own nature would cause him to act for and toward that as his chiefest mark.
This is the highest sacrilege, to alienate the proper good and rights of God,
and employ them for our own use ; to steal from him his own honour, and
put it into our own cabinets, like those birds that ravished the sacrifice from
the altar and carried it to their own nests.* When we love only ourselves,
and act for no other end but ourselves, we invest ourselves with the dominion
which is the right of God, and take the crown from his head ; for as the
crown belongs to the king, so to love his own will, to will by his own will
and for himself is the property of God, because he hath no other will, no
other end above him to be the rulo and scope of his actions.

When therefore wo are by self-love transformed wholly into ourselves, we
make ourselves our own foundation, without God and against God ; when
we mind our own glory and praise, wo would have a royal state equal with
God, who ■ created all things for himself,' Prov. xvi. 4. What can man do
more for God than he naturally doth for himself, since ho doth all those things

* Sabundo tit. 14G.

!' . xiv. l.] nui noAi Aim. ism. 229

for him If which ha bould do

entimei ide i" bun.

•'. I ilifying W l" i " and; l! ' ! ,,;iin

up bappine is. \\ •• po kpoi ( I to <
it* be were no! ad obje< I i Uen1 and tit for oar Id

it is irrational to make thai our • ad which ii not • I I, and not the fthi<

I ■ , .l.ii\ him t » |.,« |i. :|. r th .'i •.•..■, t'* make liim ii-

i as ..in :'.: to I"' our chii I

b not ill urli acknowledgment at our h behath

(lone for us. \V. rlvi In 4 i uperioi ich kind oi

though we are infinitely more inferior to God than any creature ean be to

M.m eannoi dishonour God more than by referring thai ; " bi
which G le for his own praise, anon at whereof be only hath i

iry and praise, and none else. Be thus • ehangeth the gloi
the incorruptible God unto i corruptible image/ Bom. L 28

• and reputation, which extends but little beyond the limits of l
habitation, or, it' it doth, suxrifi i bul ■ few yean, and |

the :i;.'i' win ivin he lived.

I: is as much as in us lies i destroying of God. By i
troy thai God thai made as, I troy his intention and his

lion. Mir. God eannoi outlive his will and bis glory, 1 be cam

any other rule hut his own will, or any other « nd I at his own honour.

ing op self as our end puts a nullity Upon the trim Deity J by

ourselves t ; and honour which is due to God, we mi

God ii do God. Whosoi rermakes himself s king of his prince's rights

territories, mai n intent to throw him out of his government. To

(die l «>ur end is to undeifv God, since to be the lasl end of a

rational creature is a right inseparable from the nature of the Deity, and there-
: hut self always before US, IS to acknowledge no h
• ourstdv. s to be God.

II. '! iond thing; man would make anything his end and happiness

rather than God. An end is so necessary in all our actions, that he deserves
not the name of a rational creature thai proposcth not one to himself. This
is the distinction between rational creatures and others ; they act with a
formal intention, whereas other creatures are directed to their end by a
natural instinct, and moved by nature to what the others should be m<
by reason. When a man therefore acts for that end, which was not intended
him by the law of his creation, nor is suited to the noble faculties of his Boul,
contrary to God, overturns his order, and merits no better a title
than that o\ an atheist.

A man may be said two ways to make a thing his last end and chief good.
1. Formally. .When he actually judges this or that thing to be his
chi . nd orders all things to it. So man doth not formally jr.

sin I any object which is the incentive of sin to bo his last end.

t be while he bath the exercise of his rational faculties.
•J. Virtually and implicitly. When he loves anytb linst the

Mid prates in the stream of his actions the enjoyment of
the fruition of God, and lays out more strength and I
more time in the gaining that than answering the true end of]

When I sthing 1 I tow God could make him happy wit]

i. or that God could ool him happy without the

thin ton make- of his dainties, the ambitious

OUrs, the U at man oi his lust, and tie

of 1. 1th, and i

230 charnock's works. [Ps. aIV. 1.

most noble end to which he directs his thoughts ; thus he vilifies and lessens
the true God, which can make him happy, in a multitude of false gods, that
can only render him miserable. He that loves pleasure more than God,
says in his heart there is no god but his pleasure. He that loves his belly
more than God, says in his heart there is no god but his belly. Their
happiness is not accounted to lie in that God that made the world, but in the
pleasure or profit they make their god.

In this, though a created object be the immediate and subordinate term to
which we turn, yet principally and ultimately the affection to it terminates
in self; nothing is naturally entertained by us, but as it affects our sense or
mingles with some promise of advantage to us.

This is seen,

1. In the fewer thoughts we have of God than of anything else. Did we
apprehend God to be our chiefest good and highest end, should we grudge
him the pains of a few days' thoughts upon him ? Men in their travels are
frequently thinking upon their intended stage ; but our thoughts run upon
new acquisitions to increase our wealth, rear up our families, revenge our
injuries, and support our reputation. Trifles possess us, but * God is not in
all our thoughts,' Ps. x. 4, seldom the sole object of them. We have
durable thoughts of transitory things, and flitting thoughts of a durable and
eternal good. The covenant of grace engageth the whole heart to God, and
bars anything else from engrossing it ; but what strangers are God and the
souls of most men ! Though we have the knowledge of him by creation,
yet he is for the most part an unknown God in the relations wherein he
stands to us, because a God undelighted in. Hence it is, as one observes,*
that because we observe not the ways of God's wisdom, conceive not of him
in his vast perfections, nor are stricken with an admiration of his goodness,
that we have fewer good sacred poems than of any other kind. The wits of
men hang the wing when they come to exercise their reasons and fancies
about God. Parts and strength are given us, as well as corn and w T ine to
the Israelites, for the service of God, but those are consecrated to some
cursed Baal, Hosea ii. 8. Like Venus in the poet, we forsake heaven to
follow some Adonis.

2. In the greedy pursuit of the world. f When we pursue worldly wealth
or worldly reputation with more vehemency than the riches of grace or the
favour of God. When we have a foolish imagination that our happiness
consists in them, we prefer earth before heaven, broken cisterns which can
hold no water before an ever springing fountain of glory and bliss, and, as
though there were a defect in God, cannot be content with him as our por-
tion without an addition of something inferior to him; when we make it our
hopes to say to the wedge, Thou art my confidence, and rejoice more because
it is great and because our hand hath gotten much, than in the privilege of
communion with God and the promise of an everlasting fruition of him,
Job xxxi. 24, 25, this is so gross, that Job joins it with the idolatry of the
sun and moon, which he purgeth himself of, ver. 26. And the apostle, when
he mentions covetousness or covetous men, passes it not over without the
title of idolatry to tho vice, and idolater to the person, Col. iii. 5, Eph. v. 5, in
that it is a preferring clay and dirt as an end more desirable than the original
of all goodness, in regard of affection and dependence.

8. In a strong addictetlness to sensual pleasures, Philip, iii. 19. Who
make their belly their God, subjecting the truths of God to the maintenance
of their luxury. In debasing tho higher faculties to project for the satis-

* Jackson, book i. cap, 14, p. 48.

t Quod quisquo prsc cicteris petit, summum judicat bonum. — Boet. lib. 3, p. 24.

I IV. l.| l'UACIKM. AIM!. I -M.

(action of the sensitive Lheir ohief bap] whereby many

rontlor then it (if Hitl)lirn:iti I anion

mil groM ut ln-j When men's thoughts run also upon inventing

method tinfy their bestial app.hi leasureH irhi I

arc to 1 1 ■ In 1 i irhieh are the deli els, for tl tion

of i i"'ii and unquestionable rs/nasl oi

when out real 1 1 hi i i . . in, ;i. if tin the chief priori, and not G I.

I . In paying a service upon an \ success in the world inn nts m

than to God tl :u author. When • thi

born inomfi to their dra \ II d>. i. 16. Nol thai tin \ isyrian did offer a
sacrifice to his arm . I to them what was

appropriated the riol >ry to hi and arm • She prophet

hipped their warlike instrassani . whereby they bad i
great fietories, and thoM artifioera who irorahipped t by win

had pnrnhiatd gn tth in the si &od, | \ them ai

■ • i i" happine God who gOfenil thi WOfld.

nd are nol our a licet ions, upon the receiving of good til ireeloai

i to the instruments of conveyance than to the ohief benefactor from
whose eofiers they are taken '.' Do ire not more delight in them, and hug

them with :i greater ciidearedni is, a it' all OQT happinesa dep.

and God were no more than a hare sp. '.' .Just as if when a man v.

warnM l by a beam he ihooid adore that, and not admire the pan thai darts

it out upon him.

5. In paying a H ipOCt to man more than God. When in a public attend-
ance on bii at rvioe, ira will not laugh or be garish, • nasn

hut our hearts shall he in a ridiculous posture, playing with feathers an 1

trifling fancies, though ( ins; as though our bappinf ;sted in

the | ' of nun, and our misery in ■ respect to God. There is no fool

:ii in his heart there is no God, but ho sets up something in his heart
i.
Thi

1. A debasing of God. (1.) In setting up a creature. It speaks God
ISSS amiable than the creature, short of those perfections which some silly
lid tiling which hath engrossed their atl'ections is possessed with : as if
the oanse of all being could be transcended by his creature, and a vile lust
mil, yea, BUrmoont the loveliness of God ; it is to say to God as
rich to the poor, James ii. 8, ' Stand thou there, or sit here under my
tstool ;' it is to sink him below the mire of the world, to order him to
come down from his glorious throne, and take his place below a contemptible
nich in regard of its infinite distance is not to be compared with
him. It Strips God of the love that is clue to him by the right of his nature
and the greatness of his dignity, and of the trust that is due to him as the
first and the elm test good, as though he were too feeble and mean to

be our I. This is intolerable, to make that which is God's foot-

stool, the earth, to climb up into his throne ; to set that in our heart which
i hath i ..n below OUrSelves, and put under our feet; to make

ITS trample upon to dispose of the right God hath to our hearts;*

it is irons than if a aueen should fall in love with the little image of tho

prince in i. tnd slight the beauty of bis person, and >>plo

should adore t: od ■ king in the dirt, and turn their pon

bis presence.

I sin, a lust, a car:
as our i .. honour due to God, and appropi

* Nor p. oO.

232 chaenock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

it to that which is no work of his hands, to that which is loathsome in his
sight, hath disturbed his rest, and wrung out his just breath to kindle a hell
for its eternal lodging, a God-dishonouring and a soul-murdering lust, is
worse than to prefer Barabbas before Christ. The baser the thing, the
worse is the injury to him with whom we would associate it. If it were
some generous principle, a thing useful to the world, that we place in an
equality with, or a superiority above him, though it were a vile usage, yet
it were not altogether so criminal; but to gratify some unworthy appetite, with
the displeasure of the Creator, something below the rational nature of man,
much more infinitely below the excellent majesty of God, is a more unworthy
usage of him. To advance one of the most virtuous nobles in a kingdom as
a mark of our service and subjection, is not so dishonourable to a despised
prince, as to take a scabby beggar, or a rotten carcass to place in his throne.
Creeping things, abominable beasts, the Egyptian idols, cats and crocodiles,
were greater abominations, and a greater despite done to God, than the
image of jealousy at the gate of the altar, Ezek. viii. 5, 6, 10.

And let not any excuse themselves, that it is but one lust or one creature
which is preferred as the end. Is not he an idolater that worships the sun
or moon, one idol, as well as he that worships the whole host of heaven ?

The inordinancy of the heart to one lust may imply a stronger contempt
of him, than if a legion of lusts did possess the heart. It argues a greater
disesteem when he shall be slighted for a single vanity. The depth of Esau's
profaneness in contemning his birthright, and God in it, is aggravated by
his selling it for ' one morsel of meat,' Heb. xii. 16, and that none of the
daintiest, none of the costliest, ' a mess of pottage,' implying, had he parted
with it at a greater rate, it had been more tolerable, and his profaneness
more excusable. And it is reckoned as a high aggravation of the corruption
of the Israelite judges, Amos ii. 6, that ' they sold the poor for a pair of
shoes ;' that is, that they would betray the cause of the poor for a bribe of
no greater value than might purchase them a pair of shoes. To place any
one thing as our chief end, though never so light, doth not excuse. He
that will not stick to break with God for a trifle, a small pleasure, will leap
the hedge upon a greater temptation.

Nay, and if wealth, riches, friends, and the best thing in the world, our
own lives, be preferred before God, as our chief happiness and end but one
moment, it is an infinite wrong, because the infinite goodness and excellency
of God is denied. As though the creature or lust we love, or our own life
which we prefer in that short moment before him, had a goodness in itself,
superior to, and more desirable than the blessedness in God. And though
it should be but one minute, and a man in all the periods of his days both
before and after that failure, should actually and intentionally prefer God
before all other things, yet he doth him an infinite wrong, because God in
every moment is infinitely good, and absolutely desirable, and can never
cease to be good, and cannot have the least shadow or change in him and
his perfections.

2. It is a denying of God. Job. xxxi. 26-28, ' If I beheld the sun when
it shined, and the moon walking in its brightness ; and my heart hath been
secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand, this also were iniquity
to be punished by the judge: fori should have denied the Lord above.'
This denial of God is not only the act of an open idolater, but the conse-
quent of a secret confidence, and immoderate joy in worldly goods ; this
denial of God is to be referred to, ver. 24, 25. When a man saith to
gold, ■ Thou art my confidence,' and rejoices because his wealth is great, he
denies that God which is superior to all those, and the proper object of

\IV. 1. pfj

tru lh IdoUtl ipled h( wealth,

and th:it which hath t! And

thou per gnil

d.i i | ft seven r punishment, and falli nnder th

«.|' ii,, )u : ml ,,f u || tli. •' ; it«i

. ' this fcl

i ii, moa ' darnel

and oil., i • ■ I i. i hi I'

im inward heart]! confidence, and an nate trn t. It thi of

i be, much moi

r a brutiHh plonHiirr, ih n donisl G I, and a 1 an abjui

of him, Minv the supreme affection of the tool if nndoobl

: of ill. . and ii-' '"'"" '■

the out\\ard rehire may in a uay of civil n -peel. Nothil

diar to God, eaa I tore, withoot s plain i

oing the rectitude ** ««

nsitiir. . [fQod should command i creature tneh ■ love, and such a confi-
dence in anything inferior to him, he would deny himself bi «y, he

Id deny bimself to be the i oeUenl being. Can the Bomai

from this, when they call thr C m tlHtCOSt, and • the M'

In (,- dotnin < I toneventure,

ivus.m t he iv ton havr world liiiL'sandsensuali ofhnmodci

fondness to anything in the world, to reflect upon themseh

own the being of a God, the;. .ilty of ;, > him,

tha: i from the title of an onwortlj

that are renewed by the - may b< and of a daily

humiliation lor the frequent and too oommon exeur \ their i

ufidenees and affections, whereby thev fall under thr el
an act of practical atheism, though they may be free from an habit of it.

111. The third thing is, man would make himself the < nd of all 61

Man would sit in the SCCi of God, and * set his heart as the he ">d,'

Lord saith of Tyrus, Bzek. xxviii. 2. What is the com

med the chief good and end of other <• ? — a thing

that the heart of God Cannot hut he set upon, it 1 arable right

of the Deity, who must deny himself, if he deny this affection of the heart.

6 ii i- the nature of man derived from this root, to di
with God, it follows that he <i en-attire should he equal with him,

bu1 snl to his ends and his glory. II" thai would make himself G

Id haw the honour proper t.> God; he that thinks himself worthy of his
own supreme affection, thinks bimself worthy to he the obj< d of the supn

; whosoever counts himself the eh;. I and last end,

one place in the thoughts of others. Nothi
khan a desire to have his own judgment the rule i
• nt and opinions of the rest of mankind Hetl
himself in the ]>iace of the prince, doth by that act challenge all thi

md dues belonging to the prince : and apprehending himself fit
be a : also worthy of the hoi

II that loves himself chiefly, and all other tl

dil make himself the end of all creatures. It hath i
only in - Id, that BOOM vain prii

■•es the title . ■ ; divine ons to l»'

For their honour. What hath been
natur. Uy in all. W< Wi • ■ \ •;•' an

234 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

This is evident ; —

1. In pride. When we entertain an high opinion of ourselves, and act
for our own reputes, we dispossess God from our own hearts ; and while we
would have our fame to be in every man's mouth, and be admired in the
hearts of men, we would chase God out of the hearts of others, and deny his
glory a residence anywhere else ; that our glory should reside more in their
minds than the glory of God ; that their thoughts should be filled with our
achievements, more than the works and excellency of God, with our image
and not with the divine. Pride would paramount God in the affections of
others, and justle God out of their souls ; and by the same reason that man
doth thus in the place where he lives, he would do so in the whole world,
and press the whole creation from the service of their true Lord, to his own
service. Every proud man would be counted by others as he counts him-
self, the highest, chiefest piece of goodness, and be adored by others, as
much as he adores and admires himself. No proud man in his self-love,
and self-admiration, thinks himself in an error ; and if he be worthy of his
own admiration, he thinks himself worthy of the highest esteem of others ;
that they should value him above themselves, and value themselves only for
him. What did Nebuchadnezzar intend, by setting up a golden image, and
commanding all his subjects to worship it, upon the highest penalty he
could inflict, but that all should aim only at the pleasing his humour ?

2. In using the creatures contrary to the end God has appointed. God
created the world and all things in it, as steps whereby men might ascend
to a prospect of him, and the acknowledgment of his glory ; and we would
use them to dishonour God, and gratify ourselves. He appointed them to
supply our necessities, and support our rational delights ; and we use them
to cherish our sinful lusts. We wring groans from the creature in diverting
them from their true scope, to one of our own fixing, when we use them not
in his service, but purely for our own, and turn those things he created for
himself to be instruments of rebellion against him to serve our turns ; and
hereby endeavour to defeat the ends of God in them, to establish our own
ends by them. This is a high dishonour to God, a sacrilegious undermin-
ing of his glory,* to reduce what God hath made to serve our own glory,
and our own pleasure ; it perverts the whole order of the world, and directs
it to another end than what God hath constituted, to another intention con-
trary to the intention of God ; and thus man makes himself a god by his
own authority. As all things were made by God, so they are for God ; but
while we aspire to the end of the creation, we deny and envy God the
honour of being creator. We cannot make ourselves the chief end of the
creatures against God's order, but we imply thereby that we were their first
principle ; for if we lived under a sense of the Creator of them while we
enjoy them for our use, we should return the glory to the right owner.

3. This is diabolical ; though the devil, for his first affecting an authority in
heaven, has been hurled down from the state of an angel of light, into that
of darkness, vileness, and misery, to be the most accursed creature living,
yet he still aspires to mate God, contrary to the knowledge of the impossi-
bility of success in it. Neither the terrors he feels, nor the future tor-
ments he doth expect, do a jot abate his ambition to be competitor with his
Creator. How often hath he, since his first sin, arrogated to himself the
honour of a God from tho blind world, and attempted to make the Son of
God, by a particular worship, count him as the chiefest good and benefactor
of tho world ! Mat. iv. 1). Sinco all men by nature are the devil's children,
the serpent's seed, they havo something of this venom in their natures, as

* Sabuudo Tit. 200, p. 352.

XIV. I.] ii:\. i MAI Miiii-M.

well m others of his qualities. Wo ace thai then a prodi-

gious athoi m lurking ander the b< lief of 'l be & ril

I God, but act . like to athei t, and o do bii children.

I\. M:m WOQld mtJce h the end ol (id. 'I'hi v follows

upon Hi," former. \\\ ■ mm

in tht> place of I tod, would n I I I ' in makii the

Mi. lie thai steps into the throne of ■ prino be prinee al bii

loo! ■ tool, and w lulc lie a ' i B, di mand I a sub-

Lion from bim. The order of the creation I by the

entrance of sin** God implanted an affection in man with a double ■ |
tin- one to pitch apoa God, the other to n p oi onnelTee ; but with this
proyiao, thai our affection to Qod should be infinite in regard of the oh,
and centre in him, aa the ehiefesl happine i and b
tions to ourselves should be linite, and refer ultimately to God

final of our being. But sin hath turned man's afl wholly to b

sell". Whereas he should low God first, and himself in Order to God, be
lOfOI himself first, and God in Order to himself . Lore to God II

and lore to self hath usurped the throne, Aa God by creation ' put all
things under the feet' of man, Ps. viii. 6, reserving the heart for him
man by corruption hath diapoaM • l ( - o d of his heart, and put bim un

his own feet. We often intend OUTS* Ives #hen we pretend the honour

God, and make God and religion a stale to some d- igns we ha?c in band,
our Creator s tool for our own ends*

This is i'vi«f nt,

1. In our taring God because of some self-pleasing benefits distributed

by him. There is in men a kind of natural love to God; but it is hut a

mdary one, because God gives them the pood things of th a world,

I their table, fills their CUp, stuffs ih lir . and doth them somo

pood turns by unexpected providences. This is not an affection to God for
the unbounded excellency of his own nature, but for his beneficence, as ho
opens his hand for them; an affection to themselves, and those creatures,
their gold, their honour, which their hearts are most fixed upon, without a

ing spiritual inclination that God should be glorified by them in the
of those mercies. It is rather a disowning of God than any love to him,
1 accuse it postpones God to those things they love him for. This would
appear to be no love, if God should cease to be their benefactor, and deal
with them as a judge ; if he should change his outward smiles into afflicting
frowns, and not only shut his hand, but strip them of what he sent them,
motive of their love being expired, the affection raised by it must cease,
for want of fuel to feed it ; so that God is beholden to sordid c I of

no value (but as they are his creatures) for most of the love the sons of men
pretend to him. The devil spake truth of most men, though not of Job,
when he said, Job i. 10, they ' love not God for nought ;' but while ho
ma 1 . about them and their families, whilst he blesseth the works

of their hands, and increasetli their honour in the land. It is like Peter's
sharp reproof of his Master, when he spake of the ill usage, even to death,
he ' with at Jerusalem, ' This shall not be unto

as much out of love to himsj If as zeal for his Master's ini rest, knowing his
B in such a storm without some drops lighting upon him-
self. All the of nun in the world are wil They

D whilst they may have a prosperous profession, but will not hear one
chip of the cross for the interest of God. They would part

!, but not endure the prick of a lance for him, as the - the

* Pascal, Tens. sec. 30. p. 2'J4.

236 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

miracles of our Saviour, and shrunk at his sufferings. A time of trial dis-
covers these mercenary souls to be more lovers of themselves than their
Maker. This is a pretended love of friendship to God, but a real love to a
lust, only to gain by God. A good man's temper is contrary. Quench
hell, burn heaven, said a holy man, I will love and fear my God.

2. It is evident, in abstinence from some sins, not because they offend
God, but because they are against the interest of some other beloved corrup-
tion, or a bar to something men hunt after in the world. When temperance
is cherished, not to honour God, but preserve a crazy carcass ; prodigality
forsaken, out of a humour of avarice ; uncleanness forsaken, not out of a
hatred of lust, but love to their money ; declining a denial of the interest
and truth of God, not out of affection to them, but an ambitious zeal for
their own reputation. There is a kind of conversion from sin, when God
is not made the term of it: Jer. iv. 1, « If thou wilt return, Israel,
return unto me, saith the Lord.'* When we forbear sin as dogs do the
meat they love ; they forbear not out of a hatred of the carrion, but fear of
the cudgel. These are as wicked in their abstaining from sin as others are
in their furious committing it. Nothing of the honour of God and the end
of his appointments is indeed in all this, but the conveniences self gathers
from them. Again, many of the motives the generality of the world uses
to their friends and relations to draw them from vices are drawn from self,
and used to prop up natural or sinful self in them. Come, reform yourself,
take other courses, you will smut your reputation, and be despicable ; you
will destroy your estate, and commence a beggar ; your family will be un-
done, and you may rot in a prison ; not laying close to them the duty they
owe to God, the dishonour which accrues to him by their unworthy courses,
and the ingratitude to the God of their mercies. Not that the other motives
are to be laid aside and slighted. Mint and cummin may be tithed, but the
weightier concerns are not to be omitted. But this shews that self is the
bias not only of men in their own course, but in their dealings with others.
What should be subordinate to the honour of God, and the duty we owe to
him, is made superior.

3. It is evident, in performing duties merely for a selfish interest ; mak-
ing ourselves the end of religious actions ; paying a homage to that, while
we pretend to render it to God: Zech. vii. 5, ' Did you at all fast unto me,
even unto me ? ' Things ordained by God may fall in with carnal ends
affected by ourselves, and then religion is not kept up by any interest of
God in the conscience, but the interest of self in the heart. We then
sanctify not the name of God in the duty, but gratify ourselves. God may
be the object, self is the end, and a heavenly object is made subservient to
a carnal design. Hypocrisy passes a compliment on God, and is called
flattery : Ps. lxxviii. 30, ' They did flatter him with their lips,' &c. They
gave him a parcel of good words for their own preservation. Flattery, in
the old notion among the heathens, is a vice more peculiar to serve our own
turn, and purvey for the belly. They knew they could not subsist without
God, and therefore gave him a parcel of good words, that he might spare
them, and make provision for them : ' Israel is an empty vine,' Hos. x. 1 ;
a vine, say some, with large branches and few clusters, but ' brings forth
fruit to himself',' while they professed love to God with their lips. It was
that God should promote their covetous designs, and preserve their wealth
and grandeur, Ezek. xxxiii. 31; in which respect an hypocrite may bo well
termed a religious atheist, an atheist masked with religion. The chief
arguments which prevail with many men to perform some duties, and appear

* Trap, on Gon. p. 148.

■; I v. l. MAoi I'M. m in i 287

religions, are th that Ban Shechem Died to th< of

their «• i i \ to submit t<> oircumcision, riz., tb< ' of more wealth:

(ii n. | | QV. 2 I . 22, ' If i \< iy male am- .i

oircumoised, ihall not I and th< . and < of

theirs, be our

Th BD,

i l.i lii unweildiness to religions duties win r. not cone* rue 1. With

what lively thoughts will many approach to God when • be

broughl in to Bnpporl their own end .' Bat when th oly

an in it, t h«> duty is n<>) the delight bul Lhe clog ; i aeb t that

warm do! the soul, unlets there be something of self to

them, Jonah was sick of his work, and ran from <<
thonghl he Bhonid get no honour by his m< i . mercy will

propheoy, Jonah iv. 2. Though! i of di adva
sin. nrioe. You iii. i tade a merohanl I all his

be upon the inconstant waves, without ho] vail with ■

natural man to 1"' serious in duly, without expectation of BOmS warm advan-
tage. ' What profit should we hays if we pray to him? 1 is the natural
question, Job w ; . L5. ' Wliai profit shall I have if I be c d from my

sin *.' ' Job \\\v. Bi r shall have mon by my sin than by my

It is d that I dance before the ark, saitfa David, therefore ' 1 will be

more vile,' •! Sum. vi. 22. It is for sell' that I pray, Saitfa B natural man,

therefore I will b< i more warm and quick. Ordinances of God are ol

only as a point of interest, and prayer i> often m when it is L

godly, and most selfish; carnal ends and aileetions will pour out 1;\
expr -. If there he no delight in the means that lead I

no delight in God himself, because love is appetitua union/-, a desire of

union; and where the object is desirable, the means that brings us to it
would he delightful

In calling upon God only in a time of necessity. How officious will
men he in affliction to that God whom they neglect in their prosper: !
1 When he Blew them, then they sought him, and they returned and inquired
after God ; and they remembered thai God was their rock,' Ps. lxxviii. 84.
They remembered him under the scourge, and forgat him under his smiles.
They vi throne of grace, knock loud at heaven's gates, and give God

no rest for their early and importunate devotions when under distress ; but
wh< n tlu ir desires are answered, and the rod removed, they stand aloof from
him, and rest upon their own bottom ; as Jer. ii. 81, ' We are lord-, we will
e no more unto thee.' When we have need of him, he shall find us
clients at his gate ; and when we have served our turn, he hears no more of
US : like Noah's dove sent out of the ark, that returned to him when
found i the ( EUrth, but came not back when she found a footing i

win re. How often do men apply themselves to God when they have some
• i dn f.r them I And then, too, they are loath to put it
solely into his hand, to manage it for his own honour; but they presun
be his directors, that ho may manage it for their glory. Self spur- men
to the throne ol : they desire to be furnished with some mer

want, or to have the clouds of some judgments which they f ar bio

Thi i 1, bul to ourselves ; as the B tmans worship;

quartans ague as . and Tit ' Pollen , fear and ]

as g it of any affection they had to the disease or the pas-ion, but

for fear to r any hurt by them.

Again, when w : , how ].■

our souls with the consideration of that God that gave it, or lay out the

238 charnock's works. [Ps. XIV. 1.

mercy in his service ! We are importunate to have him our friend in our
necessities, and are ungratefully careless of him, and his injuries he suffers
by us or others. When he hath discharged us from the rock where we stuck,
we leave him, as having no more need of him, and able to do well enough
without him, as if we were petty gods ourselves, and only wanted a lift from
him at first. This is not to glorify God as God, but as our servant ; not an
honouring of God, but a self-seeking. He would hardly beg at God's door
if he could pleasure himself without him.

(3.) In begging his assistance to our own projects. When we lay the plot
of our own affairs, and then come to God, not for counsel but blessing, self
only shall give us counsel how to act ; but because we believe there is a God
that governs the world, we will desire him to contribute success. God is
not consulted with till the counsel of self be fixed ; then God must be the
executor of our will. Self must be the principal, and God the instrument to
hatch what we have contrived. It is worse when we beg of God to favour
some sinful aim ; the psalmist implies this, Ps. lxvi. 18, ' If I regard ini-
quity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.' Iniquity regarded as the
aim in prayer renders the prayer successless, and the suppliant an atheist in
debasing God to back his lust by his holy providence.

The disciples had determined revenge, and because they could not act it
without their master, they would have him be their second in their vindic-
tive passion : Luke ix. 55, ' Call for fire from heaven.'

We scarce seek God till we have modelled the whole contrivance in our
own brains, and resolved upon the methods of performance, as though there
were not a fulness of wisdom in God to guide us in resolves, as well as
power to breathe success upon them.

(4.) In impatience upon the refusal of our desires. How often do men's
spirits rise against God, when he steps not in with the assistance they want !
If the glory of God swayed more with them than their private interest, they
would let God be judge of his own glory, and rather magnify his wisdom than
complain of his want of goodness. Selfish hearts will charge God with
neglect of them, if he be not as quick in their supplies as they are in their
desires, like those in Isa. lviii. 3, ' Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and
thou seest not ? wherefore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest no
knowledge ? ' When we aim at God's glory in our importunities, we shall
fall down in humble submissions when he denies us ; whereas self riseth up
in bold expostulations, as if God were our servant, and had neglected the
service he owed us, not to come at our call. We over- value the satisfactions
of self above the honour of God. Besides, if what we desire be a sin, our
impatience at a refusal is more intolerable. It is an anger, that God will
not lay aside his holiness to serve our corruption.

5. In the actual aims men have in their duties. In prayer for temporal
things, when we desire health for our own ease, wealth for our own sensu-
ality, strength for our revenge, children for the increase of our family, gifts
for our applause, as Simon Magus did the Holy Ghost, or when some of
those ends are aimed at, this is to desire God not to serve himself of us,
but to be a servant to our worldly interest, our vain glory, the greatening of
our names, &c. In spiritual mercies begged for, when pardon of sin is
desired only for our own security from eternal vengeance ; sanctification
desired only to make us fit for everlasting blessedness ; peace of conscience
only that we may lead our lives more comfortably in the world ; when we
have not actual intentions for the glory of God, or when our thoughts of
God's honour aro overtopped by tho aims of self-advantage. Not but that as
God hath pressed us to those things by motives drawn from the blessedness

\ i v. i . nuonoAL h mm. w.)

derived to oorselrei by them, m we may them with i | ■> our-
selves ; Imt this respect must bi eon! n I within the due banks, in subordi-
nation to the glory of (io.l, not uh.ivr it, dot in nn equal balance with it.
Thai which ie Dourishii) | or medicinal in the first or m o >u I d< gree, i i In the
fourth or fifth degree more d< trnoti?e poison.

Let us consider it loriontfy ; though ■ duty \» oearenly, doth not some
and smut 01 in it f

|1.) Bow ia it with our confessions of in? are they not more to pro-
cure oar pardon than to pJwbi oureelvi i befon <> I, at to be (rood i
the ahaini that hinder ni from bringing him the glory for which we e

cii .it.-. | ; i.r more to partake of his benefits th:iu to hoin.ur liim in ;.

the rights of his justice? I><> ire not bewail em ai it hath mh I
us, qo1 ai it oppoaed the bolineei of God? J>o we not shuffle with G
and eonfe8s ourf sin, while we ro oerre another, as if we would allnre God,
by deolaringonr dislike of one, to gire as liberty to commit wantonm
another J oof to abbot ourselves, bat to daab with God }

'1. Is it any baiter in our private and family worship? Are not men

aSjaemblieS frequented by soiiH!, when some upon whom they have | dep.n-

denoe may eye them, and hare a better opinion of them and affection to
them , . ) If God were the sole end of our hearts, would they not he as </i
Kng under the sole oyo of God as our tongues or carriages arc seemingly

008 under the eye of man'? Arc not family duties performed by some
that their voices may be heard, and their reputation supported among golJv
neighbours ?

[8.] Is not the charity of many men tainted with this end, self? Mat.
vi. 1. as the Pharisees were while they set the miserable object before them,
but not the Lord, bestowing alms, not so much upon the necessities of tho
people, as tho friendship wo owe them for some particular respects; or
casting our bread upon those waters which stream down in the sight of tho
world, that our doles may be visible to them and commended by them ; or
when we think to oblige God to pardon our transgressions, as if we merited
it and heaven too at his hands, by bestowing a few pence upon indigent
persons. And,

[4.] Is it not the same with the reproofs of men ? Is not heat and anger
carried out with full sail when our worldly interest is prejudiced, and be-
calmed in tho concerns of God ? Do not masters reprove their servants
with more vehemency, for the neglect of their trade and business, than tho
neglect of divine duties, and that upon religious arguments, pretending
the honour of God, that they may mind their own interest? But when
they are negligent in what they owe to God no noise is made, they
I without rebuke. Is not this to make God and religion a stale to their
own ends ? It is a part of atheism, not to regard the injuries done to
i, as Tiberius. \ Let God's wrongs be looked to, or cared for by
himself.

5. 1- it not thus in our seeming zeal for religion ? As Demetrius and

the craftemen at Epheras cried up aloud the greatness of Diana of the

Bpheeiana, not out of any true zeal they had for her, but their gain, which

d by the confluence of her worshippers, and the sale of her own

shr: fcs xix. '2 1. 28L

[6.] In ma of the namo of God to countenanco our sin. When

ap an opinion th.it is a friend to our lusts, and then dig deep into tho

Beriptore to and crutches to support it, and authoriso our pi ; when

* I • perl hi. p. 337. % Dei injuria Deo curso.

f yu. ■one l t— En.

240 chaknock's wokks. [Ps. XIV. 1.

men will thank God for what they have got by unlawful means, fathering
the fruit of their cheating craft, and the simplicity of their chapmen upon
God ; crediting their cozenage by his name, as men do brass money, with
a thin plate of silver and the stamp and image of the prince. The Jews
urge the law of God for the crucifying his Son : John xix. 7, * We have a
law, and by that law he is to die ; ' and would make him a party in their
private revenge.* Thus often when we have faltered in some actions we
wipe our mouths, as if we sought God more than our own interest, prostitut-
ing the sacred name and honour of God, either to hatch or defend some
unworthy lust against his word.

Is not all this a high degree of atheism ?

1. It is a vilifying God, an abuse of the highest good. Other sins sub-
ject the creature and outward things to them; but acting in religious services
for self subjects not only the highest concernments of men's souls, but the
Creator himself to the creature, nay, to make God contribute to that which
is the pleasure of the devil ; a greater slight than to cast the gifts of a
prince to a herd of nasty swine. It were more excusable to serve ourselves
of God upon the higher accounts, such that materially conduced to his glory,
but it is an intolerable wrong to make him and his ordinances caterers for
our own bellies, as they did, Hosea viii. 13. t They sacrificed the Q*OrQn
of which the offerer might eat, not of out of any reference to God, but love
to their gluttony ; not please him, but feast themselves. The belly was truly
made the god, when God was served only in order to the belly : as though
the blessed God had his being, and his ordinances were enjoined to pleasure
their foolish and wanton appetites ; as though the work of God were only
to patronise unrighteous ends, and be as bad as themselves, and become a
pander to their corrupt affections.

2. Because it is a vilifying of God, it is an undeifying or dethroning God.
It is an acting as if we were the lords, and God our vassal ; a setting up
those secular ends in the place of God, who ought to be our ultimate end
in every action ; to whom a glory is as due as his mercy to us is utterly
unmerited by us. He that thinks to cheat and put the fool upon God by
his pretences, doth not heartily believe there is such a being. He could not
have the notion of a God without that of omniscience and justice ; an eye to
see the cheat, and an arm to punish it. The notion of the one would direct
him in the manner of his services* and the sense of the other would scare
him from the cherishing his unworthy ends. He that serves God with a
sole respect to himself is prepared for any idolatry ; his religion shall warp
with the times and his interest ; he shall deny the true God for an idol,
when his worldly interest shall advise him to it, and pay the same reverence
to the basest image which he pretends now to pay to God ; as the Israelites
were as real for idolatry under their basest princes as they were pretenders
to the true religion under those that were pious.

Before I come to the use of this, give me leave to evince this practical
atheism by two other considerations.

1. Unworthy imaginations of God.

• The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God ; ' that is, he is not
such a God as you report him to be ; this is meant by their being corrupt,
in the second verse corrupt being taken for playing the idolaters, Exod.
xxxii. 7. We cannot comprehend God ; if we could, wo should cease to be
finite ; and because we cannot comprehend him, we erect strange images of
him in our fancies and affections. And since guilt came upon us, because
we cannot root out tho notions of God, we would debase the majesty and
* Sanderson's Sermons, part ii. p. 158. f Vid. Cocc. in locum.

Ps. xiv. i.| nuonoAL inm. 2 1 1

nature of God, thai we may Imvc boom eaee in our adliedi

w lth Bome oomforl in ti. ■! kindlj

- is universal io men b ' I • I i no! in ill bii th

I' . \. I. \. : in any thoughl < of his

nature, And gre ttn< of 1 ty. A the be ithon did i

neither do they eon i I ' J

with BOID4 or other ill opinion of him, thinking him not bo holy,

. Ttul, j I ai 1"' i s . :i 1 1« 1 as tin 1 natural forer of a human undir-

itandin arrive to. \\ e join I i Grod in our vain I

and repn nl him not aa he ia, bul would have him to !"•, At I

own u . lit.- 1 to our own plea lire. We ael thai i of

im:i . on work, and then o df), whom
a not ion

him into so narrow a mould 08 to think that him-elf, who had

newlj Bpronted an by his almighty power, was fit to be b >l in kn

nd had vain hop [rasp aa mneh as infiniteneea. It' he in

tirsl declining began l" have Buch a conceit, it ia no doubt hut ■
bad under a maaa of corruption. Winn holy Agar speaks of God, !.
out thai he had not 'the understanding of a man, nor the knowledge of the
holy,' Prov. lxx. 2, 8. He did not think rationally of God as man might by
ogth at bis firei creation. There are as many carved imagea of G i
as there are minda of men, and aa monatroua ahapea as those corruptions
into which they would transform him.
1 1 nee aprang,

1. [dolatry. Vain ima OB first set afloat'and kept up this in tho

world. Vam imaginations of I G L ' whose glory they changed into the
im:i rruptible man,' Rom. i. 21, -'■'>. They had set up vain images

of him in their fancy, before they set up idolatrous representations of him in
their temples ; the likening him to those idols of wood and stone, and
various metal8, were the fruit of an'idea erected in their own minds. This
ia a mighty debasing the divine nature, and rendering him no better than
that baaa and stupid matter they make the visible object of their adoration,
ailing him with those base creatures they think worthy to be the repre-
sent of him. Yet how far did this crime spread itself in all corners of
the world, not only among the more barbarous and ignorant, but the more
polished and civilized nations I Judea only, where God had placed the ark
of b nee, being free from it in some intervals of time only, after some
ping judgment. And though they vomited up their idols under some
sharp b . they licked them up again after the heavens were cleared
r their heads. The whole book of Judges makes mention of it. And
igh an evangelical Light hath chased that idolatry away from a great part
the principle remaining, coins more spiritual idols in the
heart, which arc brought before God in acts of worship.

•J. Sen .ill superstition received its rise and growth. Winn we mint a
ur own complexion, like to us in mutable and various
angry and soon appeased, it is no wonder that we invent ways
sing him after we have offended him, and think to expiate the sin of
our souls by Bome melancholy devotions and self-chastisements. Bupen
lion '■ lut an nnacriptural and nnrevealed dread of G

&t<fi6aifiMia. When they imagine him a rigorous, and severe master, tl
• about for wa him whom they thought so hard I

•y mean thought of him, as if a slight and pompoua d
sily bribe and flatter him out of his rig
or ba -ud quiet little children, and what.- ever

I . i. y

242 charnock's works. [Ps. XIY. 1.

pleased us could please a God infinitely above us. Such narrow conceits
had the Philistines, when they thought to still the anger of the God of
Israel, whom they thought they possessed in the ark, with the present of a
few golden mice, 1 Sam. vi. 3, 4. All the superstition this day living in
the world is built upon this foundation ; so natural it is to man to pull God
down to his own imaginations, rather than raise up his imaginations up to God.
Hence doth arise also the diffidence of his mercy, though they repent,
measuring God by the contracted models of their own spirits, as though his
nature were as difficult to pardon their offences against him, as they are to
remit wrongs done to themselves.

3. Hence springs all presumption, the common disease of the world. All
the wickedness in the world, which is nothing else but presuming upon God,
rises from the ill interpretations of the goodness of God, breaking out upon
them in the works of creation and providence. The corruption of man's
nature engendered by those notions of goodness a monstrous birth of vain
imaginations, not of themselves primarily, but of God ; whence arose all
that folly and darkness in their minds and conversations : Rom. i. 20, 21,
• They glorified him not as God,' but according to themselves imagined him
good that themselves might be bad, fancied him so indulgent as to neglect
his honour for their sensuality. How doth the unclean person represent
him to his own thoughts but as a goat, the murderer as a tiger, the sensual
person as a swine, while they fancy a god indulgent to their crimes without
their repentance ! As the image on the seal is stamped upon the wax, so
the thoughts of the heart are printed upon the actions. God's patience is
apprehended to be an approbation of their vices, and from the consideration
of his forbearance they fashion a god that they believe will smile upon their
crimes ; they imagine a god that plays with them, and though he threatens,
doth it only to scare, but means not as he speaks ; a god they fancy like
themselves, that would do as they would do, not be angry for what they
count a light offence : Ps. 1. 21, ■ Thou thoughtest I was such a one as thy-
self; ' that God and they were exactly alike, as two tallies. ■ Our wilful mis-
apprehensions of God are the cause of our misbehaviour in all his worship ;
our slovenly and lazy services tell him to his face what slight thoughts and
appprehensions we have of him.'*
. Compare these two together.

Superstition ariseth from terrifying misapprehensions of God ; pre-
sumption from self-pleasing thoughts. One represents him only rigorous,
and the other careless ; one makes us over-officious in serving him by our
own rules, and the other over-bold in offending him according to our
humours. The want of a true notion of God's justice makes some men
slight him ; and the want of a true apprehension of his goodness makes
others too servile in their approaches to him. One makes us careless of
duties, and the other makes us look on them rather as physic than food ;
an unsupportable penance than a desirable privilege. In this case hell is
the principle of duty performed to heaven. The superstitious man believes
God hath scarce mercy to pardon ; the presumptuous man believes he hath
no such perfection as justice to punish. The one makes him insignificant
to what ho desires, kindness and goodness ; the other renders him insig-
nificant to what ho fears, his vindictive justice. What between the idolater,
the superstitious, tho presumptuous person, God should look like no God
in the world.

These unworthy imaginations of God are likewise,

A vilifying of him, debasing tho Creator to be a crcaturo of their own
* Gurnal, part ii. p. 245, 246.

I'.-;. XIV, l.] nuonciL *. 2 18

Ganoies, patting their o bim not sec

to that beautiful image be im] I apoa them bj >n, bat the

defaced image they inhi fall, and which i i, the im

the devil which ipi volt tod ap

it poe lible to bi e b p ol ire i I » the (ancie i of mi d, it

would be the mi il mos krou
sen bti

We honour <i"d when we have wortl of bim Buitabie to hi<

nature ; when we oonoeive of bim ae a b anboan and

i m. \\ il from bim when w ich qaal

lid be d bon ible d to a wise and | i ""1 man, ae inj

imparity. Thai men debt i I when they invert hi : 1 1 < 1

ite bim according to their im be first created tie m ae

)u< own : and think bim not worthy to Go i. onli i he (ally the

moald they would cist, him into, and be what ia unworthy of I

i do nnt conceive of God ai he would have them, but bo must bo what
they would have him, one of their own ahaping.

(1.) This ia worse than idolatry. The groeseet idolater oommite not a
crime bo heinous, by changing hie glory into the image of creeping things
and Ben creatures, as ilio im earning God to be as one of our sinful

. and likening him to those filthy images wo erect in our fancies ; ono
makes him an earthly God, like an earthly creature; tho other (ancles him
an Unjasl and impure God, like a wicked creature: ono sets up an in
him in the earth, which is his footstool ; the other sets up an image of him
in the heart, which ought to be bis throne.

It is worse than absolute at Ik ism or a denial of God. Diffniut

imut now ess*, quodoungus non Ua/uerU t ut sbm <i<l»!<it, was the opinion
of Tertollian.* It is more commendable to think bim not to be, than to think
him such a ono as is inconsistent with his nature. Letter to deny his
CS than to deny his perfection. No wise man but would rather have
his memory rot than bo accounted infamous, and would bo more obliged to
him thai should deny that ever he had a baing in the world, than to say he
<ii 1 indeed live, but ho was a sot, a debauched person, and a man not to be
trusted. When wo apprehend God deceitful in his promises, unrighteous
in his threatenings, unwilling to pardon upon repentance, or resolved to
pardon notwithstanding impenitency, these are things either unworthy of
the nature of God, or contrary to that revelation he hath given of himself.
Bet! c tor a man never to have been born than be for ever miserable ; so
better to be thought no God than represented impotent or negligent, unjust
itful, which are more contrary to the nature of God than hell can bo
to the ' t criminal. In this sense perhaps the apostle affirms tho

atiles, Kph. ii. 12, to be such as are ' without God in the world,' as
being more atheists in adoring God uuder such notions