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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A. : with a memoir of the author"

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Professor Henry van Dyke 
April 3, 1901 

131 Z 





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£. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street. 







I. An introduction, proving the necessity of thkiii 


II. The existence of God, manifest from the creation, 
IN four lectures, on Romans I. 20. 

III. The divine authority of the scriptures, in five 

lectures, on 2. Tijviothy 3. IG. 

IV. The unity of the Godhead, in two lectures, on 

James 2. 19. 

V. The trinity of persons in the divine essence, in four 
lectures, on John 5.7* 

VI. The attributes and perfections of the divine be- 
ing, in nine lectures, on Matthew 5. 48. 




1 John 5. 7. 

For there are three that bear record in heaverii the Father, 

the Wordy and the Holy Ghost : and 

these three are one. 

T INTEND no long discourse upon this subject, nor longer 
than may consist with the design of going over the several 
heads of religion, in as plain a manner, and in as short a way 
as I can. It would very ill agree with such a design, to insist 
upon, and discourse upon all the several texts of Scripture ar- 
guments and objections this way and that, wiiich are wont to 
be ventilated upon this point. All that can be expected, ac- 
cording to the course I have proposed to use, will be barely to 
represent that which I take, and which (I hope) we generally 
agree to be the truth in this matter, in as few and as plain 
words as is possible. If one should take the large course, which 
some (it may be) would expect, it would be to make one par- 
ticular subject the business of a long life's time, and would be 
to turn this place into a theatre of contentious disputations ra- 
ther than serious instructions, tending only to gratify vain 
minds, rather tlian to edify the sober mind. 

1 shall not need to stay at all upon the particular controver- 
sy about this text, the authenticity of it, wiiich, it is true, is 
disjftited : but upon that account only, that some copies have 
been found not to have it. But for such as are in doubt there- 
upon concerning it^ I need do no more than recommend them 

* Preached, March 27. IG9L 


(amongst others) to what hath been most judiciously, and, in- 
deed, very charitably written as to that matter by Dr. Ham- 
mond, in his annotations on the New Testament, where he 
hath, with equal judgment and charity, represented how it is 
very easily supposable that in the transcribing of some copy or 
another, two verses coming here together, this seventh and 
eighth that do begin and end, both of them, somewhat alike, 
the eye of the transcriber might fall upon the latter, and so 
write without looking back to the former. A very obvious 
supposition, and a great deal more probable (as it is a great 
deal more charitable) than to suppose that either side, in the 
time of the Arian controversy, did design a corruption of the 
Scripture text ; I say, it is a great deal more rational, (as it is 
more charitable) because indeed it had been a very foolish 
thing, merely out of favour to one side, to have corrupted the 
Scripture in that one particular place, leaving otiier scriptures 
to stand as they were that speak so fully the same thing, as that 
28 Math. 18. IJ). and that John 10. 30. *« 1 and my Father 
are one." It is not likely there should be a designed corrup- 
^ tion, where the loss of reputation would be so very great, and 
the gain and advantage so very little; but v.'e have reason 
enough to be satisfied that the most ancient copies have it as 
we liere find. 

And for tlie way of managing the discourse upon this sub- 
ject, 1 shall not offer at that which some have done, the de- 
monstrating a Trinity in the Godhead in a rational way, a« that 
which some have supposed sufficiently evident by rational light; 
and which some have made it their business to evince, (both 
Poiret and others before him,) and with no contemptible en- 
deavour. But whether such do demonstrate their point yea or 
iio, it is to me a very strong demonstration of the strange im- 
becility of the human mind, that some should think it ration- 
ally demonstrable, that, that cannot but be, which others take 
to be rationally demonstrable cannot be. This, 1 say, it is a 
great demonstration to me of; and I do believe that they who 
do read the other writings of Poiret and others, who think the 
Trinity rationally demonstrable, and read the writings of Soci- 
nus and others, his followers, who think the contrary, will ap- 
prehend in other matters, Poiret to be as rational a man as ever 
Socinus was, or any that followed him. Compare the writings 
of the one and the other, in other n)atters ; and then I say, It is 
a strong demonstration, and that which doth require our very 
serious thoughts, of the imbecility of the minds of men, and 
how little the confident pretences to rational demonstrations, 
by interested persons, engaged and dipped in a party this way 

J.EC. xiii.) The Trinity in the Godhead, S^ 

and that, are to be relied upon, when some very highly rational 
men shall undertake to demonstrate, that it is impossible this 
should be ; when others as rational as they, shall undertake to 
demonstrate it is impossible not to be. That is, that there 
could have been no such thing as creation nor indeed any ac- 
tion in the Deity, and consequently, no Deity at all if there 
were not a Trinity in it. That is, if there were not an eternal 
mind which, when there was nothing else, should like an intel- 
lectual sun turn its beams inward upon itself, and so by conse- 
quence, beget an eternal action, its own eternal image, and that 
there must be an eternal love between that mind begetting, 
and the mind begotten : and there you have the Trinity in the 

But this I insist not on ; only that it may appear that it is 
not impossible : and I hope that all pretence that it is, will in 
due time, and easily vanish. It is so plainly revealed in Scrip- 
ture, that there is a Trinity in the Godhead, that we may very 
well take it upon the word of him that reports it to us, and who 
best (we may be sure) understands his own nature. Take it, I 
say, amongst those things of God, which are only to be known 
by the Spirit of God; as there are things of a man, that are 
only known by the spirit of a man that is in him : (as the apos- 
tle speaks, 1 Cor. 2. 14.) and if the mind and spirit of every 
particular man, have its own particularities known only to it- 
self, till the man is pleased to reveal and make them known, 
sure it is very little strange that the divine Being should have 
his peculiarities too, not otherwise knowable than as he is pleas- 
ed to reveal them. And if he plainly reveal to us, that there 
is a Trinity in the Unity of his nature, then surely, to sober 
inquirers and learners, the business is done. 

As to the latter part of the verse, 1 shall not need to insist 
upon it, " these three are one," having, I hope, sufficiently 
evinced to you the Unity of the Godhead from another text. 
And I chose to do it from another text rather, that had that ex- 
pression in it which this hath not. For this doth not expressly 
say, these three are one God, hut it doth say, these three are 
one. But having already proved to you that the Godhead is 
but one, it leads us with so much the more clearness (having 
asserted the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead to be true) 
to apprehend, that it must be the truth of this place, and so 
shall have occasion hut to repeat concerning that v/hich we 
have already proved, but not to prove it any more. And there- 
fore, the plain contents of this scripture you may take thus — ■ 
that there is a Trinity in the Deity, or — if you will, a little 
more largely — that there are tlue^ which we cannot more ii\- 


ly express or conceive of, than by the name of persons, in the 
only one Godhead. And, 

1. I shail evince the {rufh of this doctrine. 

And now to let yuu see that this is reasonably given you, as 
the sense and meaning of this place, I shall proceed by some 
gradual steps : and, 

1. To prepare my way, let you see that this is spoken here 
in this place; it is tiie doctrine of this place. So that if it 
can be made appear to be in itself true, we shall have all the 
reason in the world to conclude, that it is fitly represented as 
the doctrine held forth in this text. And for the truth of the 
thing, we shall come to consider from other places afterwards. 

(1.) It seems very reasonable, inasmuch as we otherwif^e as- 
certained that there is hut one God, that the one thing where- 
in the three persons mentioned are said to be united, is the 
Godhead. " Tliese three are one." One what? It is most 
reasonable to understand the meaning is, that they are one God, 
though this be not expressed in the text. For it is very plain, 
from what hath been already said, that the Godhead can be but 
one. And when it is said, there are three in heaven that are 
all one, that one thing vvhich they are said to be, must needs 
be God, or the Godhead wherein they are said to unite ; espe- 
cially the Fatlu^r being said to be one of the three, concerning 
whose Godhead there is no doubt. 

(2.) It is very plain, (upon supposition that the three men- 
tioned in the text do unite, or are united in the Godhead,) the 
meaning must be, tliat tliey are one God and no more ; that is, 
that the one Gud vvhich ihey are said to be, is but one, is one 
God and no more, 'i'here can be no reason imagined why it 
should be said they are one, if the intendment were not that 
they were only one ; or that that thing which they are said to 
be, is hut one. To say the Godhead is one, it must always 
mean one exclusively, that is, that there is no other God but 
that, that one. And so, that is the thing that these three do 
unite, or aie united in : not one witness, it is not a being uni- 
ted in their end : that cannot be meant here : for it is manifest 
that the apostle doth vary the form of expression in the follow- 
ing verse, where it is said, "These three agree in one ;" all to 
one purpose, all to one design, all giving one and the same tes- 
timony concerning Ciirist, concerning that Jesus who was 
descended and come down into this world. But here it is said 
in the text, they are one, are one thing, not one person, and 
therefore, it doth signify that they do agree, or do unite and 
meet in that wiiercin it is never intended to say or intimate 

tfic. xiii.) The Trinity in the Godhead. 7 

that they differ : that is, in essence they are united, but not 
in personality. If it had been a person that was spoken of, 
then it woukl have been proper enough, to have spoken of it 
under the notion of things. But inasmuch as it is the essence, 
and not the person, that is here intended, therefore it is said, 
one thing : if we would read the words literally, it is, " these 
three are one thing," that is the meaning of them and so they 
should be rendered. 

(3.) Hereupon it is very rational to conclude, that when 
it is said, there are three that are united in this one thing, that 
it must also be understood, they are three and no more, as 
by one is meant only one, so by three is meant only three. 

(4.) It must with equal reason be concluded, that these 
three which are three, and no more, must needs be some emi- 
nent three, and of some very eminent order. And do but 
pause here a little, and see if light do not spring into your minds 
about this matter : when it is said there are three (it being by 
parity of reason to be understood, three and no more) in liea- 
ven, Pray what three in heaven can there be, that are three, 
and no more, of one eminent order, but they must be three 
divine persons ? Bethink yourselves of it a little : it cannot be 
three angels, for then it cannot be said, there are three and no 
more in heaven: and you have not heard of any higher crea- 
tures than angels, any superior order of creatures above angels, 
of which there are three and no more : and it cannot be three 
Gods, because the Godhead is but one ; there is but one God 
and no more. Then I beseech you, What is there left ? It is 
not three angels, it is not three of any sort of creatures superior 
to angels, of whom there are three and no more. And the Fa- 
ther is here mentioned as one of them, of whose Godhead there 
can be no doubt : and then pray consider. What can these 
three be ? Not three creatures, not three Gods ; therefore, 
they can be nothing but three persons, three substances in the 
Godhead. Thus then you are gradually led on to see, tliat this 
is the plain doctrine of the text, and if you can be convinced 
that there is in it, Veritas m, the truth of the things there 
will be no doubt at all but that it is Veritas loci, the truth of 
this place. 

2. And that is it I now come to, that ia, to evince to you 
veritatem rci, the truth of the thing, that there is a Trinity 
in the Godhead, that there are three that are all of them this 
one God. And, 1 shall (with all possible brevity) labour to 
prove it to you positively, from other scriptures and scripture- 
considerations, and then — shew vou the unreasonableness of 


what is pretended against it, how irrational the pretence is 
against such a thing. That is, that there should be three who 
in some one respect are truly to be said and called three, and 
in some otlier respect are as truly to be called, or said to be 
but one. But, 

(1.) I come to the positive proof. And because, concerning 
the personality and deity of the Father there is no question ; 
there is none that will contend with us about that matter, there- 
fore our business will relate to the other two. And concerning 
them, that is, the Word (as he is here called) and the Holy 
Ghost, I shall endeavour to evince to you these two things — 
that they are persons, and — that they are divine persons. 

[I.] That they are persons. And here (as I have told you) 
we have not a fitter notion under which to conceive of them, 
nor a fitter word in our tonpfue by which to express or speak of 
them. Not that we can think, that person being afterwards to 
be clothed with the notion of divine, can be the same thing 
with God as with us ; because it is impossible any thing can 
have one common notion to him and to us. That would be 
altogether inconsistent with the perfection, the universal per- 
fection of the divine Being, to suppose that any notion could 
be common to him and the creature. For then, he should not 
comprehend all entity in himself, if there were a notion com- 
mon to him and to us ; for that must import something supe- 
rior to both, and that were comprehensive of both, and so it 
would make God but a part of being. Therefore, the word 
person as any other word whatsoever, that is wont to be applied 
to, and spoken of God and of us, must be spoken of us but an- 
alogically, not univocally, not as if it signified the same thing 
when it is spoken of him, and when it is spoken of us. And 
therefore, we are not to judge of a divine person by a humaa 
person, or by a created person. The diflference is infinite, and 
the distance is infinite betweeil God and any creature. So any 
thing that is spoken of him must infinitely differ from whatso- 
ever may be spoken of us under the same name. Therefore, 
when we speak of a person, among creatures, as signifying an 
intelligent supposifitm, being, neither*7//;/?oWj?7^7?inorintelligent 
can be the same with him and with us. His intellect and ours 
differ infinitely : and it is so little known how individuations 
are made among creatures, that it is infinitely more impossible 
how they are made with God. But that being premised, that 
these two, the Word and the Holy Ghost are so spoken of in 
Scripture, as that we iiave no other way of conceiving other- 
wise than that they must be spoken of as personsj this I shall 
endeavour to evince. 

LEc. XIII.) The Trinity in the Godhead, 9 

First. As concerning the Word, I only premise that which is 
in itself evident, that by the Word here, and the Son of God 
elsewiiere, must be meant the same thin;^. As is plain in the 
first of St. John's Gospel : " Jn the beginning vwis the Word:" 
that which is called the Word there, is called the Son of God 
presently after, in the same chapter : " The Word was made 
flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory 
as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and 
truth." The Word and the Son are all one. 'J'hen, what is 
there and elsewhere called the Word sometimes, and sometimes 
Son, or the Son of God, that must needs mean what we can 
conceive of no otherwise than under the notion of a person. 
That is, we Mnd the action, from time to time, ascribed to lliis 
Word, or this Son, of an intelligent agent, of one that did act 
understandingly and with design. And we can have no better 
signification of a person, no clearer notion of one tlian that is. 
He is constantly spoken of as an intelligent agent ; and con- 
cerning that, there can be no difficulty, nor indeed is there any 
controversy between us and our antagonists, concerning his per- 
sonality; only they will have him to be but a human person, 
Avhich we shall in its own place consider by and by. And, 

Secondly. Concerning the Holy Ghost, that he also is a per- 
son, or such a one as we can conceive of under no other notion 
than that of a person; that is, as acting intelligently and viith 
design : even so is he most apparently spoken of, from time 
to tiine, in Scripture. Hereupon it is said, He bears witness 
in heaven ; as he did in heaven, and I'rom tb.ence, testify con- 
cerning Christ, that he was the Son of God, to be heard and 
obeyed and submitted to as such ; and as a dove, descended in 
visible glory upon him from the heavens. This speaks the act 
of an intelligent, designing cause on his part, as to what he did 
in testifying, and so he is very frequently spoken of, as coming 
for such and such a purpose. *' When he is come he shall 
convince the world." John \G. 7» 8. And (which is most 
observable) in several parts of these chapters, of the 14. 15. and 
16'th of that gospel, even there, where he had been spoken of 
under the name of the Spirit before, when one would expect, in 
correspondence to that name spirit, it would have been said, it, 
it, being neutral, a word of the neuter gender, it is said he ; 
when he is come, not when it is come, he shall convince the 
world of sin : yea, and even the very laws of grammar and syn- 
tax are waved, as if it were on purpose to hold out this one thing 
to us, that the Holy Ghost was a person, an intelligent Being, 
working and acting with design : for when we have the word 
spirit, pyesently fee doth follow upon it : and at a very great 

VOL. Yll. C 


distance, in one place, (several verses being interposed) from 
any other antecedent but spirit. Indeed, in the 14. and 15th 
chapters, there was the comforter as well as the spirit, to which 
he, might have reference : but still, spirit was the nearer ante- 
cedent. But you will find, in the Kith chapter, the 13. and 14th 
verses, tluit there is no antecedent for many verses together, be- 
sides spirit, and afterwards immediately subjoined Ae, and not 
it, on purpose to signify (and we cannot imagine what it 
should be to signify besides) the personality of the Holy 
Ghost. And it is a very unreasonable supposal, that in the 
form of baptism which we have, Matth. 28. IJ). " Go ye, 
teach all nations, boptiziiig tliem. in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" tiiat the two first 
should be persons, (as tiiey are confessed on all hands to be) 
and that there should be put in the same order with them a 
qitality, as our antagonists would teach us to conceive concern- 
ing the Holy Ghost, baptizing them in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and what ? of a quality, in the third place. 
That is, tliat when the design manifestly was there to state 
the Object of all practical religion, of the wiu>le of our Chris- 
tianity, into the believing whereof we are to be baptized, there . 
should he a transient quality put into conjunction with those 
two great persons, the Father and the Son. Surely, it needs 
but to stay and to pause here a little, to have light irresistibly 
strike into the mind of any one that will do so, that will con- 
sider how unreasonable it is to imnginc, wiien the design is ma- 
nifestly to represent and state the entire object of whole Chris- 
tianity, that is, the Father, the Sen and the Holy Ghost, that 
tlie two first of these are persons, and the third but a quality. 
Therefore, that being very plain, 

[2.] The second tiling that needs to be evinced is, that they 
are divine persons, and much is done towards tiiat already. It 
appearing they are persons, they cannot be created persons, 
ihey cannot be angels, of which it can be said tiiere are three 
and no more. But we h.ear of no intervening order of crea- 
tures, above angels and below God. And then what should they ' 
be, since they are persons, (a« is plain) but divine persons, that 
do subsist in th.e Godhead ? And to evince this a little more 
distinctly, but very briefly. 

First. Concerning the VVord, or tlie Son, (which you see are 
both of them names of the same person) how expressly is he 
often said to be God? In that mentioned first of John, nothing 
can he spoken more openly nor in jilainer words. " In the 
beginning was the VVord, and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God." And Psahn 'J5. G. " Thy throne O God is 

iCEC. XIII.) Tfie Trmih/ inthe Godhead. 1 1 

for ever and ever," which the author to the Hebrc'vs (chap. 1 . 
8.) allegeth to he phiirily said to the Son ; " And to the Son 
he said, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." So Romans, 
9. 5. " Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who 
is over all, God blessed for ever." And that, I John 5. 20. 
" And we know that the Son of God is conjc, and hath given 
us an understanding, that we may Inow hin) thnt is true ; and 
we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This 
is the true Cod and eternal life :" most filly spoken of the 
Son who was to be the spring of life to us, according to 
what had been said a little above in the sanie chapter, " This 
is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and tliis life 
is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life j and he that 
hath not the Son hath not life." 

It is, 1 know, alleged with a great deal of triumph by some 
of the adversaries, that he is excluded in anotlier place from 
being the true God, and that that sliould not be said of iiim, 
when we are told, (John. IJ. S.) <■' This is life eternal, that 
they might know thee the only true God, sn^l Jesu:. Christ, 
whom thou hast sent." If the Father only be irue God, then 
the Son is not. But the inconsequence of this will easily ap- 
pear to them that shall but consider, how the word onlif is 
placed. ^ It is placed so as to assert the predicate, and not'the 
subject in the latter proposition. It is not said. Thou only 
art the true God, and so, that doth not exclude tJie Son at all. 
The Father is the only true God, and the Son is the only true 
God, and the Holy Ghost is the only true God. But it cannot 
be said that either the Fatiier only is the true God, or the Son 
only is the true God, or the Holy Ghost only is the true God : 
but they are each of them that God which is the only true one, 
and of which there is but one and no more. Do bu.t observe 
that the word onli/ afreets not the subject spoken of, but the 
thing affirmed, or spoken of that subject. The case is but like 
this, as if I should use these words, "This is the only London." 
It may be true for ought we know, that there is no other Lon- 
don, but this which is famously called so by tliat name, but if 
one should say, ^'This only is London," that is, this place where 
we are, and there the onii/ should limit the subject, that were 
false; for there are thousands of places in London as well as 
this, there are a great many assemblies in London, a great 
many places of worship and societies besides this : but we may 
say, "This is the only London," so the difference is plain to any 
that will consider it. 

I might insist much more largely, (but it is not needful to 
say every thing that might be said iii a plain case,) concerning 
the Son, to prove ids divine personality by most manifest attri- 


butcs of Deity, given him over and over in Scripture, as " The 
First and the Last :" creating power, as '^ Him by whom the 
world was made, and by whom he made the world," which is 
over and over said of him. Col. 1. 15. Heb. 1. 8. John 

1. beginning. And universal knowledge, Omni:?ciency, heart 
knowledge ; " Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I 
love thee." But then, 

Secondly. Concerning the divine person of the Holy Ghost, 
that he also is God ; that doth sure, carry convictive light with 
it to any that do consider, that when the form of baptism is 
given (as was said) with design to state the whole object of our 
religion, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" are 
mentioned together ; and there can be no object of religion 
but God, none but a divine person : and we find the Holy 
Ghost frequently mentioned, upon the same account, as one of 
those eminent three. How many places are there (it were end- 
less to name them) where these three are brought in together, 
as it were purposely to signify that they were ejusdem urdhtiiSy 
of the Sdine order ; and that we are to conceive of each of them 
imder the same notion, that is, tliat of Deity, of the Godhead 
in God. Look but to that 1 Pet. 1. 2. Horn. 1. 4, 5. 2Thes. 

2. 18, 14 : and a great many places besides, where these three 
arc brought in still together. As if it were purposely to signi- 
fy their being of one order, and as having, in distinct respects, 
a concern in our great affairs ; those that relate to our salvation 
and blessedness. Besides, tb.at it must be a great prevarica- 
tion, to understand that place otherwise than as expressing the 
Holy Ghost to be God: Acts 5. 3, 4. "Why hath Satan fil- 
led thine heart to lie unto tlic Holy Ghost ? — thou hast not 
lied unto man, but unto God." And certainly if lie were not 
God, it were the most dasigerous thing in all the world, to have 
him represented to us as if he were : and so tempt men to pay 
the homage of divine worship to a creature. It is never to bo 
imagined, that there would have been such a sisare laid before 
us, to lead us into so dangerous a mistake as that : things 
would have been spoken more cautiously, if he had not been 
God, than, when it was just said before, " Wliy dost thou lie 
against the Holy Ghost ?" so immediately to say, "Thou didst 
not lie to man but unto God." It is wx to be thought, (the 
thing being so full of danger) to phice the notion or homage of 
tiie Deity upon any thing to which it doth not belong, that 
there should have been such incautiousness used, or so little 
caution, as directly to lead and train persons into so perilous a 
mistake. But besides all this, to put tin? matter out of all 
doubt ; whereas, they that will have the Holy Ghost not to be 

XEC. xni.) The Trinity in the Godhead. IS 

God, being urged, " What is he then ?" do say, " He is the 
mighty power of God, a certain mighty vis emissa^ a divine 
power that issues from God for the working such and s:>.ch ef- 
fects." As for this conceit, pray do but consider the matter 
thus, Is the Holy Ghost indeed not God, but the power of 
God ? Why tiiis power which it is said to be, is either a created 
power, or an uncreated one. If it be an uncreated power, He 
is God, for every thing that is uncreated is God : if he be then 
a created power, the created power of God, or the power of 
God, but created, then it seems God did, without power, cre- 
ate this power, and was witliout power till he had created it : so 
that he did the act of creation (which is an act of omnipotency) 
when he was impotent. It supposes, first, an impotent God, 
and then supposeth him, when he was impotent, to create his 
own power ; that is, when he was without all power, he did 
that act which requires an infiniteness of power, to wit, to cre- 
ate. I know nothing that carries clearer evidence with it, 
than this doth, that the Holy Ghost cannot be that created 
power which these persons pretend to ; or cannot be divine 
power distinct from God, from the very essence of God. Every 
thing of God is God, and cannot be otherwise. If he were 
the power of God and not God, he must have been created 
power, by God ; that is to say, God did create omnipotent pow- 
er, being before impotent ; for this it plainly comes to. 

Thus far, I think, it is with some competent clearness evident, 
that these three, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, 
(concerning the first, as you have heard, there is no question) 
are persons ; they are that which we cannot conceive of other- 
wise than under the notion of persons : and they are divine 
persons, so that there are three divine persons that do subsist 
in the Godhead, that is but one. So you have this, as the doc- 
trinal truth of this place, and as the real truth in itself, posi- 
tively evidenced to you. 

What is to be said by way of objection against It, we shall 
next come to. Only upon the whole matter, it seems to trie, 
that there needs a great deal more of humility and reverence 
and seriousness and fear of the Lord, over-awing the spirits of 
men, to apprehend this to be the plain doctrine of Scripture, 
than of further argument in the case. And that vvill more ap- 
pear by considering how irrational the pretence is, that this \f 
a thing rationally impossiljle, that there should be such three, 
that are but one God, Nothing indeed, would be plainer tlian 
that the same cannot be three and one, in one and the same 
respect : but, that they may be three in one respect, and but 
one in another respect, we may make appear to be no impossi- 


ble thing, and that there is nothing of harshness in it, nay, 
whereof we have parallel instances, (as far as there can be a 
parity between God and creatures) that occur to us every day. 
iSo that one would wonder how men can stumble in so plain a 
way, and when there is nothing indeed in view that should oc- 
casion it, besides their having indulged themselves, 1 fear, too 
much liberty to prevaricate in their own minds, and reasonings 
before, and then they think it reasonable to justify error by er- 
ring always, by never retracting, or by endeavouring to make 
men believe, that things suggested to them as true, are impossi- 
ble to be true. 


3. But now to come to the tliird part of the proposed work, 
to vindicate the truth of this doctrine laid down, in the propo- 
sition, as to what is objected, and alleged against it, which 
summarily and generally is but this one tiling, into which all 
results; That it is contrary to the common reason of men, and 
such as doth in itself imply a contradiction, that three should 
be but one. And thereupon it is determined by the leader of 
them, Socinus himself, that if any thing do appear to be never 
so plainly contained in Scripture, if yet also it do appear to 
imply a contradiction, or to be contrary to natural reason, any, 
whatsoever violence, ought rather to be put upon the Scriptures 
than to admit it. And this goes therefore, with the men of that 
way, for a principle, that whatsoever seems to be repugnant to 
their reason, or to imply a contradiction, ought to be rejected, 
tiiough never so plainly expressed in Scripture, or contained 

Now first, I shall say here somewhat to this principle in the 
general, by which these men do steer themselves in this, and 
all matters of religion besides. And then secondly, I shall 
say somewhat in the particular application of it in this case, 
and shew how very untruly it is alleged here, that this is a 
doctrine repugnant to the common reason of man, and which 
doth carry a contradiction in Itself. 

(1 .) As to the principle in general, I shall in short say these 
thing:s to it: 

[1.] That if we can be certain, that any thing is repugnant 
to the reason of man, as it is such and doth in itself imply a 

*rreacl-'id April the lOtli, l6gO. 

LEC. xiT.) Tlie Trinity in the Godhead. 15 

contradiction, it ought to be rejected even in duty to God, and 
as a piece of homage to him. We do owe that homage to our 
Maker, as the God of truth, to reject every thing that we are 
sure is contrary to the common reason of man, which he hath 
put into him, which is truly and purely reason, and which be- 
longs to the Spirit, unto which by the inspiration of theahnigh- 
ty God, that understanding is given, which distinguishes him 
from tlie fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field. Wo do 
owe it as a homage to the Author of our nature, to reject 
whatsoever is manifestly contrary to that reason, and which is 
in itself a contradiction. First, because he is most confessed- 
ly the priinum 7)erum, the first truth. And as all the beams of 
the sun, in whatsoever way they do shine to us, whether di- 
rectly, or by never so various refraction, we are sure are all 
from the sun ; so whatsoever rational dictate, that we are most 
certain, or can be sure is such, which we find arrive to us, we 
cannot but be sure that it is from the Father of lights, from 
whom can issue nothing but light ; nothing opposite to light 
or truth : and secondly, That it is impossible vve can in duty, 
or as a homage to God, believe a contradiction, any thing 
that carries a contradiction in itself, because the higb.est and 
primary reason upon which I am to admit any tking for truth, 
is as it is a production of the first truth, as hath been told you. 
But I am certain, the same thing cannot be true and false ; and 
therefore, as a deference to God, 1 cannot have greater reason 
to believe it, than I have to disbelieve it. If it carry a contra- 
diction in it, and is pretended to be from God, I cannot beheve 
it for any reabon, but for the same reason, I am bound to dis- 
believe it. There is not more weight in one end of the scale 
than there is in the other : and so it cannot be believed in that 
case, as a piece of duty unto God : and thereupon, vve are as 
ready to reject every thing, we are sure is contradictory and 
repugnant to a manifest dictate of reason, as they can b«. 

[2."] If any thing be plainly contained and expressed in the 
word of God, that seems repugnant to our reason, we are then 
certain that the seemingness and semblance is false, because 
we cannot be surer of any thing than that God is true, and that 
he can never be deceived himself, nor deceive us : that lioth 
verity and veracity are most essential to him ; and that it is 
repugnant to his nature, either to be ignorant of any thing, or 
to lie unto us in any thing. And therefore, 

[3.J When there is this competition between any plain 
words of Scripture and a seeming dictate of reason, we are to 
censure the latter by the former^ and not the former by the lat- 


ter: we are to measure the rational dictate, by the divine word, 
and not the divine word by the seeming rational dictate. And 

[4.] When that thing is spoken often in Scripture, in the 
divine word, and in varied forms of speech, which have all the 
same manifest sense and meaning, and are not, without the 
most notorious violence, capable of another. And (which will 
be the ground of this last mentioned assertion) when, 

[5.] That word being professedly and declaredly given us as 
a rate to measure our sentiments as well as our practices by. 
If therefore, we should oppose that which seems to us a ration- 
al dictate, to the plain expressions of that word, we make that 
which is to be ruled, the rule ; we do in that case regulate our 
rule, and do not admit that the rule should regulate us. We 
judge the law, (a? the apostle James's expression is, in a case 
that hath reference to practice, and the case is the same in re- 
ference to sentiments, and our judgments of things,) which is 
certainly very great insolency : that when God, in compassion 
to the darkness and blindness of our minds, gives us such a 
rule, a liglit shining in a dark place unto which we are told, we 
should do well to take heed, we should reject this rule, and , 
say, we can do better without it, reject this light, and say, we 
can see l)etter without it. As if one should, out of mere good 
will, offer himself as a guide to a bewildered traveller that 
knows nothing of his way, and this traveller should at all turns 
he controverting with his guide, and say, I know the way and 
how to steer my course better ti^an you ; which would be as 
well the highest insolency as ingratitude, supposing that guide 
to be very highly superior and very kindly condescending to do 
that office in such a case. And again, 

[6.] There is yet the more ground for this, when there is 
among men, and even among wise, and learned, and rational 
men, a very great division about what is a rational dictate 
in this case, and what is not. This makes the determination 
which I have given, to be so much the more reasonable, 
and n)akes the pretence on the other hand so much the more 
absurd, that that should be given for a dictate of common rea- 
son wherein most rational men do disagree, at least, therein, as 
rational men as these pretenders, are of a quite contrary mind : 
and that cannot be so clear a dictate of common reason, where- 
in even the most rational men do disagree, and sure then, in that 
case, one would be glad to be determined by a divine word. 
And 1 add, 

[7.] That the reason of man, in this our present state, even 
in things of much inferior concernment, is very dubious and 
uncertain, in matters wherein religion is not concerned, and so 

LEG. XIV.) The Trinity in the Godhead. 1 7 

wherein the minds of men are not apt to be perverted by 111 In- 
clination, as in the matters of religion they are. For though 
it be very true, that it is natural for men to be of some religion, 
yet it is as true and as evident, that tbere is an aversion and an- 
tipathy in tiie minds and spirits of men against true religion, 
against sincere, living religion. And if the reason of man be a 
very dubious, uncertain thing, even wben there is nothing to 
bias one this way or that, as it is in thousands of instances that 
might be given most apparently ; mucli more cause iiave we in 
matters of religion, and of this nature, not to over attribute un- 
to it. In philosophical matters, wherein men's minds cannot, 
through prejudice be swayed this way or that, and wherein it is 
no one's interest that tins side be true rather than that side, yet 
there are the greatest difficulties imaginable in determining 
what is reason and what not, what is true and what not, as all 
the controversies in philosophy do shew : and some, wherein it 
is the hardest matter imaginable, even to the greatest wits that 
have ever been in the world, to free themselves from the ap- 
pearance of contradiction, which side soever they had in the 
controversy. As it is most notorious, to any that know any 
thing in philosophy, about the couipo.sitnm continuum, whe- 
ther the cojitinuum, that is, a body doth consist of parts always 
divisable, or of indivisable parts ; so tiiat bring it to the minut- 
est thing imaginable, even if it be to the breadth of a hair, Vvhe- 
ther it be still perpetually divisible or indivisi]>le. It is plain, 
take one side or the other in that question, and hitherto all the 
wits in the world have not found how, freely and clearly, to 
disentangle themselves from contradiction in saying, this is al- 
ways divisible ; or it is sometimes impossible to be divided any 
further, and the apprehension of that doth (I must acknow- 
ledge) greatly lower my reverence to that which goes under 
the notion of a rational dictate, when in such a ease as that of 
any, the minutest thing you can imagine, even the breadth of 
a hair, no man shall be able to assert either it is always divisi- 
ble or sometime indivisible, without entangling himself in such 
appearances of contradiction as from which, the greatest wits 
that have ever been, have not been able to shew us the way of 
being extricated. And when there is such a division, even among 
the masters of reason, the highest pretenders to it ; this is a 
rational dictate, saith the one side, the quite contrary is a ra- 
tional dictate, saith the other side, even in this very business of 
the Trinity itself: whilst some with loud clamour cry out 
against it as impossible to be, others on the other hand, take up- 
on them to demonstrate it to be utterly impossible that it should 
not be ; that there could be no creation, no Creator if there 
were not a Trinity. 



These tilings being said in reference to that principle in the 
general, 1 now come, 

(2.) To the application of it to this objection ; that is, that 
thi^ is a doctrine, (say some) to common and rational principles, 
contradictious in itself, that three should be one. 

That we may speak to this with the more clearness, we shall 
— consider what it is, from Scripture, we assert concerning this 
matter, and then — shew how unreasonably this is pretend- 
ed to be repugnant to reason, or to imply any thing of a contra- 

[1.] What it is we do from Scripture assert in this matter, 
and what we do not. For we must distinguish here, between 
plain Scripture doctrine and the bold determinations of some 
schoolmen. We do not think we are obliged to justify every 
determination of a confident and presuming schoolman, as if it 
were divine writ. But what from Scripture we do affirm is. 
That there are three in the Godhead, that these three are 
some way distinguished from one another, otherwise they could 
not be three, there were no pretence to call them three. We 
find they have distinct names j that is plain — the Father, the 
Word or Son, and the Spirit or the Holy Ghost, over and over. 
But there must be somewhat of distinction among themselves, 
otherwise there were no pretence to call them three, if they 
were no way distinguishable. 

Again, we do affirm they are so far distinguished from one 
another as, that can be said concerning one which cannot be 
said concerning the other. As when we say, " The Word was 
made flesh," (which you know the Scripture speaks,) the 
meaning is, not that the Father was made flesh, or th.e Spirit 
was made flesh, but that the Son was made flesh. When it is 
said, (as it often is,) that the Spirit or the Holy Ghost is sent 
by the Father, or the Son, the meaning is, not that the Father 
sends himself, or that the Son sends himself. Therefore, they 
are so far distinct from one another as, that is said of the one 
which cannot be said of the other. But then, how much great- 
er the distinction is, we j)retend not to say, because the Scrip- 
ture doth not say it. Only this we do say, We can think of no 
notion by which they are so fitly distinguishable as that of per- 
sonality, as that of their being distinct persons ; that we do 
find plainly said concerning one of them, the Father, (who is 
so called in that Heb. 1. 3.) that the Son is the express image 
of his person. So we render the word In/postasis fitly and apt- 
ly enough. And they being so frequently mentioned together, 
as we find they are, it doth naturally suggest to us, that there 
should be a suppositality. And concerning the personality of 

LEC. XIV.) Tlie Trinity in the Godhead, 19 

the Son too, there Is no question ; but as concerning the Holy 
Ghost, he being so fre([i!eutly sj)oken of under the notion He, 
and, (as was noted to you) the gender varied on purpose, con- 
trary to strict grammar, vvc ougiit also, to conceive of him, un- 
der the notion of a person : though at the same time (we have 
told you) it is impossible that the notion of a person should be 
the same with God and amongst men, and that for the reason 
which hath been mentioned to you. Only, we have nothing 
by which more fitly to conceive it, than by this notion. Then, 
so much as this, being what we do affirm and assert to be the 
doctrine of the Scriptures, and to be Scripture in this case, 
then, I say, 

[2.] This is very unreasonable and pretenceless, to affirm 
that this is contradictious in itself, or any way opposite or con- 
trary to the plain dictates of reason. For where should the 
contradiction lie ? It is only pretended to lie in this, that the 
same thing cannot be three and one. And it is easily admitted, 
that the same thing cannot be three and one, in the same res- 
pect wherein they are but one. But nothing hinders, but thai 
the same may be, in dilterent respects, that is, in tliose respects 
wherein they are three, they are not only one ; in that respect 
wherein they are but one, they cannot be three. But, that in 
divers respects, the same thing may be three and one, or that 
there may be a trinity, a triad, in one and the same thing, 
the instances are so many, so plain and so notorious in other 
Inferior things, that it is absurd and unreasonable to pre- 
tend this to be contradictious, or contrary to the dictate of na- 
ture. Let us go to the most obvious thing that can be thought 
of. If 1 should go no further but only to give you an instance 
of this book which I have here in my hand, it hath its breadth, 
its length and its thickness, as you all easily see and apprehend, 
but its breadth is not its length, nor is its length its thick- 
ness, neither of these are one another, yet all the same book : 
that is, this thing which is so long, so broad and so thick is this 
book. If we speak of a man, he is a very vegetative creature, 
and he is a sensitive creature, and he is a rational and intellj.- 
gent creature, and yet, it is most plain, vegetation is not sen- 
sation, nor sensation Intellection. The sun, it hath belonging 
to it, light and heat and motion : that luminous l^ody is the sun, 
that califective b(^dy is the sun, and that moving body is the 
sun. Tiiese three are all but one sun : and yet there are three 
in it as is evident. The world is full of instances of the like 
nature. We can hardly think of any sort of things wherein 
this may not be exemplified. And whereas, the greatest quar- 
rel is about personality, there is nothing more plain than that 


one and the same man may sustain three persons, the person of 
a lather, the person of a son, and the person of a magistrate, and 
the h"kc. Many persons may be sustained by one and the same 
man ; the notion of person, in the strict and common sense, 
lieing only taken for the circumstances of their state and con- 
dition who are spoken of, and not as denoting this or that par- 
ticular essence ; and so to be a man, and this or that person 
is not all one : and so to be God, and this or that person in the 
Godhead is not all one. The same man may endure, and may 
sustentare, may put on, and may bear, several persons : and 
so it is no repugnancy to reason at all that the same God do 
so too. And thereibre, this pretence of the irrationality or con- 
tradictiousness of this doctrine, doth itself want a pretence ; 
there can be really no ground for it. And so much hath been 
so far said, by some of the late zealous contenders in this case 
the other way, that they are brought to say and publish, that tru- 
ly he must be a madman that will say there cannot be three 
persons in the same God. That we find published not long ago : 
so far dotli that pretence vanish, that this doctrine must be reject- 
ed as being irrational and contradictory. And if we would take 
the notion of person and personality, in the most strict and 
scholastic sense, it would be with very great arrogance that 
they must pretend this doctrine (taken even in that sense) 
to be contrary to a common, rational dictate, when as it is so 
very well known first, that the very notion of individuation or 
personality, suppositality, or more generally personality, in re- 
ference fro rational beings, is one of the most disputed things 
in the world. And how absurd is it to say, that this or that is 
opposite to a common rational dictate, about which, (as was 
said before,) the most learned men, and the highest pretenders 
to reason have constantly disagreed. There nmst first, before 
this can be said, some one common notion of personality and 
individuation be fixed, which all men must assent to, as soon as 
ever they hear it, that must command assent to it in every 
man's mind. But about these things there is the-greatest dis- 
agreement, and hath constantly been, ever since the name of a 
schoolman or metaphysician hath been known in the world. 
And tiien, secondly, besides that, there is so great a disagree- 
ment among schoolmen and metaphysicians, about the notions 
of suppositality, personality and individuality, that they who 
will conclude this to be against a rational dictate, must be 
able to evince, that the notion of personality must be the same 
with us and with God, which It will be impossible for them 
ever to evince, and the contrary whereof (as hath been said) is 
demonstrable. That is, were it ever so certain that there can- 

tKC. XIV.) The Triniiy in the Godhead* 21 

not be three iinlte persons partaking tlie same finite nature, it 
will be hence no consequence, that there cannot be three infi- 
nite persons partaking the same infinite nature, or commu- 
nicating in the same infinite nature : no reason, for a parallel 
cannot be drawn so much as with a plausible pretence, between 
what is finite and what is infinite, in tiiis case. 

But to shut up all that I intend, as to the polemical part of 
this discourse, I shall only leave these fevv things, which will 
plainly represent to us that this doctrine may be conceived, and 
hath not that difficulty in it which commonly hath been tiiought^ 

First. It is out of all question that God is but one, can be 
but one. And, 

Secondly. That whatsoever is necessarily, is God. Whatso- 
ever is in being, from a necessity in nature, is God ; than which 
no principle can be plainer. And, 

Thirdly. That whatsoever is by dependance on the divine 
will, is creature ; whatsoever is not of necessity, but l)y mere de- 
pendance on the divine will, that is all creature. "Thou hast 
created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were cre- 

Fourthly. If therefore, we do suppose the Son and the Holy 
Ghost to be from the Father, by a necessity of nature, an eter- 
nal necessity of nature, and not by dependance upon his will, 
they will not be creatures, because nothing is creature but 
what depends upon the will and pleasure of the Creator. And 
if they be not creatures, wliat are they then ? Then they must 
be God, and yet both of them from the Father too : for all that 
do assert the Trinity, do acknowledge the Father to beyb?^5^n'• 
nitatis^ the fountain of the Trhnty : and if from this fountain, 
the Son be one way, and the Holy Ghost be another way, both 
from the Father ; that is, the Son from the Father immediate- 
ly, and the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, and this, 
not by choice, but by an eternal necessity of nature, here is this 
doctrine as easily conceivable as any tliat I know of whatso- 
ever, that lies not within the compass of our manifest demon- 
stration. And my business is not now to demonstrate to you 
that thus it is, but that it is very easily conceivable that thus it 
may be. That is, that the Son and the Holy Ghost may be 
from the Father, and that we are sure they are from him by an 
eternal necessity of nature, and not by choice. It is not by 
his pleasure they are and were, but by eternal necessity of na- 
ture they are from him as he is originally from himself. That 
is, they are always and eternally in that nature which is self- 
originate. And here is no contradiction, nor the least appear- 
ance or shadow of it in all this., 


Ami thus far now, hath our labour been taken up as to this 
subject, about the trutli of it : that is, to prove and to vindi- 
cate it. Our next business, which only remains, will be about 
the importance of it, the great usefulness of it, and the mighty 
weight and stress that lie upon it. At present 1 leave tiiis 
with you, that 1 know nothing more needful to clear our ap- 
prehensio!i«, and make our minds very calm and serene, in re- 
ference to this doctrine of the Trinity than first, high, ador- 
ing thougiits of God, and secondly, mean thoughts of ourselves. 
If we can but think highly enough of God, and meanly enough 
of ourselves, and how unmeet and incompetent such moles and 
Worms of the earth as we are, must needs be to make an esti- 
mate of his nature, and how things are with him, otherwise 
tlian he is pleased graciously and freely to declare to us con- 
cerning himself, there will be nothing then in all this doctrine 
tliat we shall stun)ble at, nothing that we shall receive with 
difliculty, and nothing but what we may receive with great use 
and advuntaee to ourselves. 


Therefore, now for the hnjwrtance and use of this doc- 
trine, much may be conceived of that, if it be considered how 
the stamp and impression of a Trinity doth run through the 
world. A noted writer, of our time, hath said very much to 
that purpose, of which I shall say but little. Take the whole 
universe of created beings and you have every where a Trinity 
instamped. It is observable enough in that great triad, the 
several things conceivable under each member, of nature, mo- 
rality and religion. But it is with religion that we are con- 
cerned, and wherein the practice of it doth principally appear, 
and is m.ost considerable. Our religion you do know, objective- 
ly considered, is made up of doctrines to be believed, and of 
duties to be done, and of benefits to be sought, and these are 
comprised in those three noted summaries, the creed, the 
decalogue, and the Lord's prayer. In these three, there is 
some impression and resemblance of the Trinity in the di- 
vine nature. That is, of that power and of that wisdom and 
knowledge, and of that benignity and love, which are the three 
great most noted principles wc have to conceive of, and that 
we cannot but distinctively conceive of, wc cannot otherwise 

* Prea chcd A pr il 1 / . 1 69 1 . 

J.EC. XX.) The Tnmfy in the Godhead, 23 

conceive of, than as distinct in the simple union of the God- 
head ; and wliich may probably enougii correspond to, and be 
the very notion of, Father, Son, and Spirit. 

Why now, if we consider doctrinals in the first place, the 
doctrines that do make up the first and mo?.t noble part of the 
scheme of religion, you know how they all depend upon, and 
are reduced to, the notions that are given us of the Father, Son 
and Holy Ghost ; upon these three heads hangs the frame of 
Christian doctrine. That is, of the Father considered as God 
Creator ; and of the Son considered as God Redeemer ; and of 
the Holy Ghost considered as God Sanctifier. VVliich three 
great works of God, though it be true that they do each of them 
owe themselves to the concurrence of each of the persons ac- 
cording to that known maxim, opera TrinHatis ad extra sunt 
indivisa:* which is undoubtedly a true and clear one : yet eacliof 
these is appropriated to each of the persons severally, not exclu- 
sively, but eminently. And that we may understand that aright, 
when it is said, tlie Father creates, it is to be understood eminent- 
ly, not exclusively, of the Son and the Holy Ghost: and so as 
to the rest. When we profess to believe in God as the Creator 
of heaven and earth, that is, in God the Father, as he is the first 
Fountain of all being, uncreated and created too ; why though 
that be plainly said, yet it is as plainly said, that without the 
Word was nothing made ; and that by him, that is, the Word, 
even he — who is said to be " the brightness of his Father's 
glory and the express image of his person," the worlds were 
made : and that they were made by the Spirit of his mouth ; 
and that the Spirit did move upon the waters, that is, upon the 
fluctuating chaos, v.'hich we must suppose to have been first 
made, before things were made out of it : and that it was first 
made is the most demonstrable thing, in all the world ; other- 
wise, it were, itself, a necessary and self original being, and so 
God ; the notion of God would not be all-comprehending, or 
there would be something prceter JJcum, beaides God, origi- 
nally and naturally, and of itself. So again, as to the work of 
redemption, that was designed by the Father, but wrought by 
the Son, and applied by the Ht)ly Ghost. These are plain 
things and abundantly evident in Scriptur^e as, if 1 should turn 
from text to text, you would see. But I must suppose you to 
understand it already. You cannot then but see the mighty 
importance of this doctrine of the I'rinity in our religion. We 
shall have occasion to press that further by and by. But now 
hereupon, I shall, for putting a period to the discourse on 

* The Holy Trinity^ in external operations, is not divided. 


this subject, subjoin several instructions in reference hereto. 

1. That we should all learn to adore the wonderful divine 
condescension, that he should so far unveil himself, and make 
known so much of the things of his own nature and being", to 
such despicable beings as we. We can never wonder enough 
at this. Indeed, I iiave many times considered, it is a very 
instructive thing, that so many of the pagans should discover so 
very reverential thoughts of God, upon this account, and under 
this notion, as they apprehend his Being to be inscrutable, un- 
searchable, as that inscription on one of their temples doth 
import, " I am he that was, and he that is, and he that shall 
be, and no one hath ever unfolded my veil." Such reverential 
apprehensions, had they (however they came by them,) of the 
inscrutableness and occultness of the Divine Being, that there 
were such arcana, such secrets veiled from all eyes, that could 
never possibly be looked into. Now that God should take such 
poor creatures as any of us are, and let us see so far into the 
veil, that, whereof we could have had no certain ajjprehensions, 
if he had not told us, how wonderful is it ! Though some have , 
made it very much their business, (after fhey had got the hint 
from Scripture concerning the Trinity,) to shew how rational it 
was ; not only to shew how consistent it was with reason, 
(which is a very justifiable undertaking and a great piece of right 
done to our religion,) some carry the matter higher, (as I told 
you,) and undertake to demonstrate it to be necessary, and that 
we cannot conceive of the nature of God, and of that great work 
of his, the creation of the world, in reference to one another 
otherwise. But this is to strain beyond what the exigency of 
the case doth require. It may however, (by that improvement I 
have already made of it too,) serve somewhat to rebuke the proud 
confidence of that sort of men, who represent this doctrine as 
contrary to a common, rational dictate, the common sense and 
reason of mankind. That is most insolently pretended when, as 
(unless they will assume to themselves that there can be no 
such thing as a rational distate, that is not stamped at their 
mint) I say, unless they would assume that to themselves, it 
must appear very incongruous to pretend that such a thing is 
impossil)le to be, when others at the same time, (who may for 
ought I know lay as good a claim to that of being the men, and 
that wisdom shall die with them as they can,) should say with 
so much confidence, it is impossible not to be; and that there 
could be no such thing as a Creator and a creation, if it were 
not so. 

But waving this disquisition, since it is most certainly not 

LEC. XV.) The Trinity in the Godhead. 25 

impossible in itself, it is very adorable that God should come, 
and so graciously discover to us tliatso it is ; when we see how 
useful it is, and how expedite a frame of religion it lays open 
before us : that he should discourse to such children, such 
weaklings as we, at that rate concerning his own nature ; '* I 
will tell you how things are with me : now in the Godhead these 
are co-existent from all eternity. Father, Son and Spirit: and 
this I would not have hid from you ; I would have you to be pos- 
sessed with right notions and apprehensions of my nature thus 
far, that thus it is with me, and in me." You would wonder that 
a great and wise prince should take upon him to discourse his 
arcana with a peasant, a mean, ignorant peasant. But we do 
not enough wonder at this condescension of God, upon this 
ground, that we do not enough set ourselves to consider the dis- 
tance between God and creatures, and what mere nothings we 
are to him, and that when we have the most exalted thoughts 
that our minds are capable of, concerning any created being 
whatsoever, and then descending to the meanest sort of crea- 
tures we can think of, the distance is not only greater, but it 
is still infinitely greater between the great God and us. What 
then have we left to do, but to fall down and wonder, fall down 
and adore, and cry out, " Whence is it to us that thou should- 
est let us know so much of thyself?" that whereas, the 
things of God are never to be known distinctly, otherwise than 
as the Spirit of God doth reveal them, that Spirit of God should 
be the Author to us, of such a revelation as this, which we 
have contained in the Bible, concerning this great and most 
important mystery. 

2. Let us learn this too, not to think it a small matter, now 
that we are informed that there is in the Godhead, Father, Son 
and Spirit; that all three should so far concern themselves as 
we find they do, and be so constantly concerned as tliey are 
about our affairs. If all the potentates on earth should concern 
themselves about the life of one single fly, it were not so strange 
a thing, it were not so great a stoop. We should consider with 
ourselves over and over. What am I ? what am I, and what is 
my life, that the eternal Father, and the eternal Son, and the 
eternal Spirit, should all concern themselves from eternity about 
me ? And again, 

3. It should further instruct us into this, to fasten the appre- 
hension deep in our souls, of the great concernment of the 
doctrine, that it may lie with weight upon us, as a seal that 
doth not make impression unless it be pressed on; that we 
should endeavour and intend more to press on this doctrine, 
this truth upon our owa souls, that it may make the proper, 



due impression, that we may be delivered up into the mould 
and form of it : as the expression is, Rom. 6. 17. And to 
that purpose, let us bethink ourselves, how miserably (where 
this doctrine is not entertained) the scheme of Christianity, 
and the Christian religion are scattered and torn by the want, 
or by the denial of it. This apprehension should urge us 
so as that the doctrine should lie with greater weight and 
pressure upon our spirits, because where it is not received, 
away go the great limbs of Christian religion. The Deity of 
the Son of God, that is abandoned and cashiered : well, and 
what then becomes of our religion? Do you not think your- 
selves concerned in this matter ? What ! Are you willing to 
venture your souls otherwise than in the hands of a Divine Sa- 
viour, when you know yourselves to be sinners, to be guilty 
creatures ? Do you think it will answer the exigency of your 
case, to have an atonement made for you of no greater value 
than if one mere man were made a sacrifice for another? And if 
that would do, suppose one man were as good as another; why 
inasmuch as all are sinners, when he goes to satisfy another's 
sin, who shall satisfy for his sin ? Or how shall he satisfy for 
his oivn ? And suppose an innocent man should be made on 
purpose (as it is supposed in this present case) to be a sa- 
crifice; that is still but man for man. It is true, he hath no 
sin of his own to satisfy for, but suppose he could satisfy for 
the sin of another man, there must then, be as many innocent 
men created as there are guilty men, at that rate. But would 
not you be loath to hazard your souls upon such conceits as 
these ? and to quit your hold of a mighty God for your Savi- 
our ? of this assurance, that he who is to be your Saviour is 
known by the name of " the mighty God, the everlasting Fa- 
tlier, and the Prince of Peace?" Would you be content to aban- 
don this, that he is to be your Saviour who is God blessed for 
ever; who before the worlds were made was with God; and in 
time was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; that word that was 
with God, and that was God, and by which all things were 
made, without which nothing was made, that was made, was 
made flesh ? An amazing thing it is to me, how men that pre- 
tend to believe the divine authority of the Bible, can disentan- 
gle themselves from such a place as this, " Tlie Word was 
made flesh." They that will have Jesus Christ never to have 
been, no such person ever to have been, before he was born of 
the Virgin Mary, I would then know of them, " What was 
that, tliat was made flesh ?" It was the word that was made 
flesh ; there was somewhat before this flesh was made, or it 
was nothing, that was made flesh. And every one that under- 

LEC. XV.) The Trinitij in the Godhead. 2/ 

stands the ordinary use of this expression (flesh) knows it doth 
not signify the person of a man, but the whole of a man, not 
the body only : for when it is said, ^' in his siglit tliere shall 
no flesh be justified," what is the meaning of that ? That tlie 
bodies of men shall not be justified ? Surely not. But thus, 
from not believing this doctrine, proceeds the denial of that 
great and noble propitiation, once for all made for the sins of 
men, under the proper notion of a propitiation or an expi- 
atory sacrifice to atone for sin, and take away guilt. Again 

The eternal priesthood of the Son of God is evacuated and 
reduced to a nullity : and all upon this, that an alterity cannot 
be conceived in the Godhead. Not that there is therein, Aliud 
et aliudfOne diverge from another^ but that there is there ^jer- 
so7i(B altera et altera^ o7ie peison distinct from another. But 
because this is not apprehended, nor will be apprehended, 
therefore, say they. There can be no such thing as a propiti- 
atory sacrifice, such as we, such as the Scripture, such as the 
gospel doth most expressly speak of, that is, of him who was God 
offered up unto God. For, say they. There is but one person 
in the Godhead ; and a satisfier and a satisfied, must be two per- 
sons, there must be in such a case an alterity of persons per- 
sona altei'a et altera, and so they truly reason. He that doth 
satisfy and he that is satisfied must be two persons : this Is most 
certain, but they, not admitting the alterity of persons, therefore 
exclude the whole doctrine. And then. 

That mighty power that is to go forth from the Divine Spirit, 
for the breakingof the bands of iron, and the rescuing of captive 
souls out of the devil's power ; to turn men from darkness to 
light, and from the power of Satan unto God, all that is reduced 
to nothing too. And so there is no other Christianity left in 
the world but a certain sort of self-sprung religion : no jjower 
but that which I can be the author of to myself, what I have of 
mine own : or else if they will have more, they do speak alto- 
gether unintelligibly and contrary to the plain sense of things: 
that is, they will not have the Holy Ghost to be a distinct per- 
son in the Godhead, but (as they call it) the povver of God, 
meaning a quality. But I take what hath been said against 
that, to be truly as plain demonstration as can be used in any 
case whatsoever. The Holy Ghost is called the divine povver. 
Comply with them so far, then say I, This divine power is ei- 
ther created power or uncreated. If this divine power be cre- 
ated, then they must suppose God, while he was without pow- 
er to create power ; that is, that God being first impotent, cre- 
ated power and became omnipotent. But if they will say, It 


is an uncreated power, then they say what we say: then it is 
God : the Holy Ghost is God. But he is God so as he is capa- 
ble of being sent, and sent of the Father, and so that he must 
be a distinct person in the Godhead. But the stress of all that 
mighty affair which is to be wrought in the souls of men, when 
they are sanctified; of children of the devil, and friends of 
hell, to be made children of God, and meet to be partakers of 
an inheritance with them that are sanctified, with the saints in 
light: all that mighty work that is to be done by an Almighty 
Spirit, must he proportionally diminished as the cause is dimi- 
nished, as the agent is diminished and reduced, by their doc- 
trine, to a mere creature. Therefore, I say, labour to appre- 
hend deeply, the mighty importance of this doctrine, and to 
fix the apprehensions of it, and to have it wrought in your souls, 
that so such a truth may no more be capable of being torn away 
from thence than one faculty of your souls can be torn from 
another. And, 

4. Labour to savour and relish such truth, this truth, this 
dnctrine, labour to get the savour and relish of it rnto your souls ; 
that is, to receive this truth in the love of it. It is a matter of 
dangerous importance, when truth of this kind which concerns 
the vitals of religion, is received merely as an airy notion, and is 
not digested, doth not enter and sink deep into our hearts, 
and that which must entertain and admit there : even into the 
very centre of our souls must be the love of it. "They received 
not the truth in the love of it, that they might be saved.'* 
2 Thess. 2. 10. And what became of that matter? When they 
did so lightly adhere to divine truth as one doth to a thing that 
he doth not love, or that is not united to his soul by love, they 
easily suffered their souls to be cheated of it : and then, for 
their not loving this truth, (it being a thing most highly crimi- 
nal not to love divine truth, not to love so great and sacred a 
thing)God gave them up to strong delusions, to believe lies, that 
they all might be damned who received not the truth, but had 
pleasure in unrighteousness. Such truth they could take no 
pleasure in, but they could take pleasure in unrighteousness. 
** Let them go," saith God, " the way that the inclinations of 
their own wicked hearts carries them to." There is that kin- 
dred, that alliance between the soul and truth, that there is a 
violence done to both if they be severed, and if the soul do not 
inwardly love truth, as that which is most nearly allied to it. 
They that are after the Spirit do savour the things of the Spirit, 
as they that are after the flesh do savour the things of the flesh. 
And this is tlie way to become most stable christians, when 
souls and truth come to be united and knit together in love,meet- 

LEC. XV.) The Trinity in the Godhead, 29 

ing in one and the same common centre, and even in this as the 
centre ; as you may see in that place whicli I will recommend to 
your present perusal, and future serious thoughts. Colos. 2. 2. 
Saith the apostle, " I would, that ye knew what great conflict 
I have had for you, (as he introduceth it to them by what he 
saith in the foregoing verse) that your hearts might be com- 
forted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the 
full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the 
mystery of God." And what is com]n-ehended in this mystery 
of God ? that is, of the Father and of Christ; it is generally 
expressed first, "the mystery of God," and then particularly, 
** of the Father and of Christ." The former andf is not copu- 
lative but exigetical : "To the acknowledgment of the mystery 
of God, and," that is, even, or to wit, of the Father and of 
Christ. That is, the mystery of God doth comprehend these 
two. The Holy Ghost is not always mentioned, being express- 
ly enough so in many other texts. But here is the very sum 
of our religion in this mystery, " the mystery of God," to wit, 
** of the Father and of Christ ;" two particular expressions in- 
cluding the general one, from both which, (as other scriptures 
sufficiently instruct us,) the Holy Ghost issues forth, as the 
great and mighty Agent to accomplish all the great things, 
which by Christian religion are to be effected in the world. 
And this was the apostle's deep concern on the behalf of these 
christians. "You cannot imagine," saith he, " what conflict 
I have about these things ; that you might be strong chris- 
tians :" and how ? " That you may be knit together in love, 
unto the riches of the full assurance of understanding," all lov- 
ing together, all agreeing together to love the same truths, the 
same doctrines, and thereby to have it incorporated, inwrought 
into you, that you may be able to say, " I can as soon suffer 
limb to be torn from limb, as suffer such truth as this to be torn 
away from my soul :" that that is to be bought and never to be 
sold, never to be parted with on any terms, " What ! part with 
that? or be indifferent towards that ? or let my mind hover or be 
in suspense ? why it is my very life, my life lies here: shall I in 
the midst of a tempestuous sea, being safely brought to a firm 
and stable rock, quit my rock and go to floating again amidst the 
raging waves ?" So will any man reckon in this matter, that 
hath any care or concern for his soul. Again, 

5. You may hence learn, how we are to eye God in our 
transacting the great business of covenanting with him ; that 
is, as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; 
which that initial seal of the covenant doth plainly enough dic- 
tate, when we are required to be baptized in the name of the 


Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. When I enter 
into covenant with God to take him for my God, if I am first 
solemnly to do it yet; or if I am with solemnity, from time to 
time, to renew my covenant, we must consider how we are to 
do it ; we must not think of taking God abstractly or taking 
one person alone. But we must take God the Father, and God 
the Son, and God the Holy Ghost for our God. Do not think 
your baptism signifies nothing, when it is directed to be admi- 
nistered in that order, in the name of the Father, the Son and 
the Spirit. So you are to consider with yourselves, *' I am to 
be a devoted one, 1 am a devoted one, and must continue so, to 
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost." A 
wonderful thing that we should be a congregation of such per- 
sons dwelling on earth, who have these names named upon us, 
that such a claim should be laid from heaven to us, 1 claim 
every one of you for mine, for mine, saith the Father, you were 
baptized in my name ; and so the rest. Why should we not 
walk up and down this world with this sense on our minds, 
with this thought often renewed, often impressed upon us ? 


6. It lets us see how we are to understand the relation that 
results from such a covenant between God and us, whereby we 
become related to God the Father, God the Son, and God the 
Holy Ghost, and they become related to us : you have heard 
under what distinct notions, principally, but not exclusively, 
each of the persons is related to us. The Father as Creator, not 
excluding the Son and Spirit : the Son as Redeemer, not exclud- 
ing the Father and Spirit, the Spirit as Sanctifier, not excluding 
the Father and Son. We have shewn you concerning each of 
these, that creative power (according as the Scripture teacheth 
us to conceive) is from the Father, as the Fountain, through the 
Son as the way of its conveyance, (in respect whereof some speak 
of a natural mediatorship belonging unto the Son of God before 
the ordinate one) and by the agency of the Holy Ghost, who 
is represented as the immediate Agent in all the operations of 
God towards the creature, whether in the sphere of nature or of 
grace. And we are to look upon the Son as under the notion 
of the Redeemer, but so as to understand that this redemption 

* Freaclied April 34, 1^91. 

LEC.xvi.) The Trinity in the Godhead. Si 

was designed by the Father, and is applied by the Holy Ghost: 
and upon the Holy Ghost as the Sanctifier, and yet still to un- 
derstand that this his sanctifying work was pre-determined by the 
Father, procured by the Son, and effected by himself. VVhen 
therefore, we are to consider God as related to us as our God, 
("this God is our God, he will be our guide even unto death") 
we must take in and bring together each of these notions, and 
conceptions concerning him; we must take in the conceptions 
of each of the persons, " God the Father, God the Son, and 
God the Holy Ghost is my God/' Somewhat agreeable to 
what the ancient philosopher saith, concerning relatives, Re- 
lata sunt quorum totum esse est ad aJiud ; that is, relatives 
are such things, the whole of ivhich appertains to another. 
Why so ? All that is conceivable in the Divine Being is, 
in this case, all to us. The fulness of God is to be considered 
with relation to us so far as is needful, so far as we are capable : 
he doth not reserve himself from us in any thing of it. How 
admirable a thing is this ! How great and high thoughts ought 
we to have concerning the privilege state of our case 1 Indeed, 
there is nothing that we have to consider of this God, or to look 
after the knowledge of, to answer the curiosity of a vain mind ; 
but every thing or any thing that may answer the necessity of a 
perishing soul, of a soul that must otherwise be miserable and 
lost. Whatsoever is requisite to our real felicity and blessed- 
ness, we may look to all that is in God as determined by a spe- 
cial relation unto us. " As I am such (saith God) 1 am such 
entirely yours, all for you, wholly yours.'' Therefore, did the 
everlasting covenant that comprehend, and conveys all this, 
yield such solace to the soul of dying David, 2 Sam. 23. 5. 
*'Thou hast made with me an everlasting covenant ordered in all 
things and sure, for this is all my salvation and all my desire." 
* I care for nothing beyond this.' The great thing that the co- 
venant doth convey, is God : and by it, it is, that God the Fa- 
ther, Son and Spirit do become related to us as ours, if once 
we do take hold of the covenant, if once we put in our claim, 
and do but lay the ground by that act of our own interest: our 
claimable interest doth depend upon that ; that very act of 
taking, accepting, "laying hold" as the expression is in that 56 
Isaiah, for the encouragement of poor strangers that might pos- 
sibly apprehend they were quite cut off from God. "No, let the 
sons of the strangers that take hold of my covenant encourage 
themselves; that makes me theirs: lam theirs, iftlieydobut 
lay hold ; it is but take and have," as afterwards, in tiiis chapter 
where the text is, it is said concerning the Son especblly, "He 


that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son 
hath not life." And he hath him who hath once taken him. 

7. This serves specially to instruct us concerning our appli- 
cation to God in prayer. That is, that we must still compre- 
hend in our thoughts, Father, Son, and Spirit together ; the Fa- 
ther, Word, and Holy Ghost, as it is expressed in the text. I 
know and have particularly understood from some, that they 
have been full of dubious, perplexing thoughts, how to steer 
aright in their applications to God, making their solemn ad- 
dresses so as to run into neither of those things which they 
have pretended to have been, both of them, their fear and con- 
fusion : on the one hand, by not ascribing distinctly to each of 
the persons what they should ; or blasphemy on the other hand, 
by ascribing what was not due ; what was not to be ascribed. 
But our way is very plain, if we do but consider what the Scrip- 
tures say concerning these three substances in the Godhead, 
and what copies it sets us of applying ourselves hereupon. That 
is, to the eternal Father, through the eternal Son, by the eter- 
nal Spirit; so we ought to apply ourselves, and here is nothing 
to lead us into confusion or indistinction of thoughts in so do- 
ing. It is plain we have the Father always represented as the 
original Foundation of all light, all life, all being, all excellen- 
cy, all perfection, whether created or uncreated. He is then a 
most adequate terminative Object of our worship in such appli- 
cation and supplication. We go properly to the Fountain of all 
good. Whither should we go else? But he is (especially to those 
that have been in delinquency and transgression) inaccesible: we 
need a mediator; there could no mediator answer the exigency 
of our case, that was not God as well as man : we need a Divine 
Mediator, a God Mediator, we cannot expect that God should 
do any thing for us but for the sake of God, or for his sake wh« 
was God : so we are always taught to apply ourselves, to direct 
our addresses : and so we are to expect the answers of them : 
that is, that prayer must ascend through Christ, and that bless- 
ings are to descend through him. " Blessed be the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus, who has blessed us with all spiritual 
blessings in heavenly places," through him. Eph. 1. 3. And 
we are to suppose that whatsoever is done for us, in answer to 
our prayers, when they are accepted, it must be by the agency 
of the Holy Ghost. The state of our case is such, as to re- 
quire an infinite almighty Agent to work in us, and to work 
for us, the things that are necessary to our present support, and 
to our final blessedness. And we are hereupon, taught by our 
Lord himself, in respect to the final and terminative Object of 

1.EC. XVI.) The Trinity in the Godhead. 3S 

such worship, (that of prayer for instance) to pray unto the 
Father; " Our Father which art in heaven" — so we are taught 
to pray. " I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Ephes. 3. 14. Yea, and so our Lord Jesus Christ did 
pray himself : "I will pray the Father and he shall give you ano- 
ther Comforter." John 14. 16. "Father forgive thenj ; for they 
know not what they do." Luke 23. 24. And to him he ren- 
ders solemn acknowledgment by way of thanksgiving. "\ 
thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." Matth. 11. 
25. And when he did so, (as we find his was a very praying 
life, in the days of his rlesh, here in this world,) it is very vain- 
ly and foolishly alleged that then he must, according to oar 
doctrine and notion, be supposed to pray to himself: it is a ve- 
ry vain and idle pretence. And so I find indeed, that the ar- 
guments of that sort of adversary, that is, they tliat do impugn 
the divinity of the Son of God, tend to prove, generall}'^, 
nothing but that which vpe never deny, that is, that Christ was 
man. This is the thing that by many arguments they set them- 
selves most industriously to prove, which none of us deny, that 
Christ was man. Who doth doubt it ? But they would thence 
conclude that because he is man, therefore he could not be God ; 
which is their absurd and foolish consequence, when we know 
it was so plainly, so very plainly said, that the Word which, in 
that text, is said to be with God, is also said to be God : and 
the same Word is said to be made flesh, to be incarnate, to have 
assumed and taken on flesh : that is, not as if it did, in becom- 
ing flesh, cease to be what it was before, but did only add an 
assumed nature to a divine ; and therefore, there being two na- 
tures now meeting together in that one person, it was no way 
unintelligible, but that he should do that in the one nature 
which was impossible he should do in or by the other. That 
is, as man he did grow, and as a man he did die, and as man 
he did pray, when as God he could do none of these. But he 
that was God did do these things, though not as he was God. 
He that was God, did lay down his life, as in that 3rd. chapter 
of this epistle, verse 16. " Hereby perceive we the love of 
God, that he" (that same he that was God) " laid down his life 
for us." And so he that was God, shed his blood for us. Acts 
20. 28. « Feed the flock of God (his church) which he hath 
purchased with his own blood ;" his own, who was God ; though 
as God, we know he could neither bleed nor have blood. But 
whereas, the Son of God, as he was the Son of God and God, 
did pray, and praying, apply himself to the Father, so are we to 
do, to pray, and in praying, apply ourselves to the Father as we 
are led by that great example. But then, we being nothing but 



creatures, we have the whole Deity in view as the Object of our 
worship and addresses. But not the Deity, abstractly consi- 
dered, but the Deity as subsisting in these three persons. The 
Deity abstractly considered, in the case of our Lord himself, 
was neither the Object, nor theSubject of prayer ; God, as God, 
did neither pray nor was prayed unto by him ; did not pray, for 
it was the man, the man Christ that prayed ; nor abstractly, 
nor merely as God, was he the Object of prayer : but as the 
Godhead did subsist in the person of the Father, so did the 
man Christ apply himself to him, and so could in no sort be 
said to pray to himself, in praying to him. But now, I say, we 
who are nothing but creatures, we have the entire Godhead, 
not abstractly, but as subsisting in three persons, to apply our- 
selves unto, and those persons conceived of, according to the 
order they are represented to stand towards one another, and to 
be related one to another. As we told you already, when we 
pray to the Father, as the final and terminative Object of our 
prayers, we are at the same time, to conceive the Son as through 
whom' the prayer is to be transmitted, together with the answer, 
the good we are to expect and pray for : and the Holy Ghost, 
as by whose power to pray, and by whose power the answer of 
prayer is to be effected too. And so it is God that our prayers 
must respect, God to whom, God through whom, and God by 
whom. Pray to God, through God and from God, and so our 
prayer hath every way to do with God. Our prayer, as it is to 
be through the mediation of Christ, so both it and its answer are 
to be wrought by the Holy Ghost : we are in that great and sa- 
cred work of praying, to deliver up ourselves to the conduct of 
the Holy Ghost, and so we are to do in the whole of our course. 
*' As many as are the sons of God they are led," oracled (as that 
word signifies, Rom. S, 14) "by the Spirit of God." Which 
Spirit is a Spirit of adoption, (as it afterwards follows,) the Spirit 
that belongs to the state of worship, as they are sons, that teach- 
es them to cry " Abba Father." And because they are sons, he 
hath sent the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, as it is said in 
that parallel place, Gal. 4. 6. And we are required to pray al- 
way in the Spirit. Ephes. 6, 18. And in the Holy Ghost : 20th 
verse of the epistle to Jude. " Praying in the Holy Ghost, keep 
yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." 

Put all this together, and then every prayer of ours, ought 
to respect each person in the Godhead. That is, it ought to 
be to God, through God, and from God : even as the answer, it 
is to be in the same order, originally God's answer, through 
Christ, and by the Holy Ghost. And so we run into no con- 

LEC, XVI.) The Trinity in the Godhead. 35 

fusion, when we suffer ourselves to be governed by Scripture 
light. And we can be in no danger of incurring the guilt of 
blasphemy : for we do not ascribe to any of these persons more 
than the Scripture doth plainly teach us to ascribe. And as 
our Saviour saith concerning himself, so may we concerning 
each of these persons : when the Scripture saich so and so, and 
doth attribute such and such things to them, will any one say, 
that he blasphemes that saith, that the eternal Father is God, 
or the eternal Son is God, or the eternal Spirit is God? Scrip- 
ture most expressly saying these things as words can speak 
them. And again, 

8. This should further teach us how to steer our whole course 
in this world: our business here on earth, ought to be (in the 
main of it) religion: we ought to make religion our business. 
The business of religion, while we are in this imperfect state, 
is only a motion Godward. The religion of the way, is coming 
to God. So that any one who is sincerely religious and Godly, 
will be able to make answer to this question, What is the main 
business of your life ? This true answer he can make, " My 
main business is to make towards God, I am aiming at God, 
tending towards God, as one that hath been removed and set at 
a distance from him, and so am to be brought back to him." It 
was this, Christ died for, the just for the unjust, to bring us to 
God. Now this being the state of our case, we are distant from 
him, in nearness to whom consists our duty and felicity. 
When we are to take and direct our course Godward, we must 
have a final term for our motion : " Whither are you going ?" 
**Why my course is tending and directed Godward." This 
motion must have for its ultimate term, God the Father. This 
is the sense and language of an inquiring soul, when once it 
comes to understand what the Scripture doth so plainly reveal ; 
that there are in the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 
Their sense, 1 say, is what we find expressed, John 14. 8. 
" Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us :" " do but shew us the 
Father, and we have enough : our great inquiry is after the Fa- 
ther, the Fountain and Original of all things, in whom is our 
life and our only hope." " Well," saith our Saviour (meet- 
ing that genius and sense of such an inquirer) " I know where 
you would be, and who you are seeking : and have you so long 
known me, and are ignorant of the Father? Come, I will be 
your Conductor, I will be your Guide, no man cometh to the 
Father but by me." And therefore, as there must be a final 
term of this motion, so there must be a way leading thereto. 
" Why, 1 am the way, the truth and the life, (John 14. 0'.) no 
man cometh unto the Father, but by me." What is consider^ 


able in all motion, is especially considerable in this. In every 
motion there must be a final term, and there must be a way to 
move in. The Father, he is tlie final term — the Son, he tells 
us, he is the way. But then there must be a third thing, there 
must be an acting, moving principle besides, and that must be 
the Holy Ghost, and can be no other. It is by that one Spirit 
that all who shall approach to God must have access to him, 
even to him the Father, considered under the notion of the 
Father. Jews and Gentiles have been wont (as that was the 
noted distinction) to divide the world. Now we find both spo- 
ken of in the same context, Ephes. 2. His business was to 
make them nigh who were afar off. The Gentiles were afar 
off, the Jews were comparatively nigh : now Christ was to 
make them nigh too, and both of them were to have access by 
one and the same Spirit to the Father: from the 13th to the 
1 8th verse. Whoever have a mind to return, to come back to 
God, (from whom, in the common apostacy, all have made a 
defection and cut themselves off,) here is the course and me- 
thod of their proceedure, they must propound to themselves God 
the Father, (the Fountain of all life and blessedness) to whom 
they must come, to whom they must he bending and directing 
their course, and to whom they must guide their course in the 
way he hath prescribed, and that is, by his own Sen : "No man 
Cometh to the Father (saith our Saviour) but by me." And they 
must be acted on in this way towards that final term and end, by 
the power of the Holy Ghost. There can be no motion with- 
out the concurrence of such a third, unto which there is a corres- 
pondency here. That is, no man can move, but he moves some- 
whither towards some term, nor can he move, but it must be in 
some way. Nor again, can he move but it must be from some 
motive principle, that carries him through this way to that end. 
And so you may easily represent to yourselves the business of 
your lives here in this world. My business is from day to day, 
to tend towards the eternal Father by the eternal Son and under 
the conduct and influence of the eternal Spirit. These are ob- 
vious and useful instructions, in reference to the doctrine 
that hath been opened to you from the text, tliat do more di- 
rectly concern and relate to the subject we have thus far been 

But there is somewhat else, in reference to the present pur- 
pose, upon this subject, which is collateral, and will be of 
use to us, however, to take notice of too. Our great design 
upon this text, was to observe to you, that there are such a three 
in the Godhead ; three and no more, as we have observed and 
insisted, of one certain order. Father, Son, and Spirit, that do 

LEC. XVI.) The Trinity in the Godhead, 37 

subsist in the Godhead, which is but one. But the apostle 
doth here not only take notice what they are, that are thus in 
heaven, but what also they do, how they are employed, amidst 
the glory of the heavenly state. And he tells us they " bear re- 
cord in heaven : the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, 
and these three are one." You see who the witnesses are, in the 
words of the text, and may see, a little lower, what is the mat- 
ter of their testimony, (as I was hinting to you l)ut now) that 
is, in sum, the truth of the Christian religion, or the whole con- 
stitution of the Mediator. This is the record, (as it is presently 
subjoined) that God hath given us eternal life, and that this 
life is in his Son. He hath an infinite fulness of life to con- 
vey, to communicate, and to diffuse tlirough a desolate world, a 
world lost in death and darkness. And how is it to be convey- 
ed ? in what way is it to be communicated ? Why it is all trea- 
sured up in his Son, he hath constituted and appointed a Medi- 
ator, that in him it might be deposited, and that by him and 
through him, it might be transmitted and made to diffuse itself, 
and flow amongst lost and perishing souls. This was the matter 
of this testimony. Why let us take so much of instruction 
from hence. 

That since those Three glorious Three that are in heaven, are 
bearing record to the truth of our religion, of Christianity, that 
is, that God hath a design to communicate life to lost and pe- 
rishing souls, and hath treasured up that life in order to this 
communication in his Son : since this is their record, their 
testimony, I pray let us take care that we duly receive it. Be 
afraid of slighting that testimony, the matter whereof, is of so 
great importance to ourselves, and the Authors whereof, are the 
three glorious Persons in the Godiiead, so venerable and so 
great Ones. When they are said to bear record in heaven, or 
to testify in heaven, the meaning is, not that their testimony is 
performed in heaven terminative, but originaliter, that is, these 
witnesses do testify from heaven, concerning this matter which 
Is of so great importance to the sons of men on earth. And 
pray see that we receive their testimony, as after it follovvs j 
If the testimony of a man (who is of any credit) ought not to, 
be slighted ; the testimony of God is greater. We have the 
testimony of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy 
Ghost, concerning this ( ne thing, that there is a design of saving 
.sinners, and giving life to them tlirough his Son, and that this 
life is only in this way to be communicated and conveyed to 
perishing and undone souls : what an awe should this lay upon 
our souls that are perishing 1 And it is to us, that this salva- 
tion is offered. They are dead themselves, as the apostle's ex-? 


pression Is, " You are dead, but your life is liid with Christ in 
God." This being the state of our case, tremble at the thought 
of slighting such a record, such a testimony, that proceeds from 
these three great Witnesses that do bear record in heaven. 
That is, the Father testifies concerning his Son, "This is my 
beloved Son in whom I am well pleased :" The Son, that eter- 
nal Word, testifying concerning the man to whom he united 
himself, replenishing that man with a divine glory, so as that 
glory descending from heaven, and accompanying him in his 
descent from heaven, shone visibly in him as the glory of the 
only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. For 
he, at the same time when, after his descent, he had united 
himself with iiesh is said to be the Son of Man, who came 
down from, and vvho is in, heaven. John 3.13. He was there- 
fore, testifying from heaven, and was actually in heaven, when 
also he was actually united with this man on earth. And the 
Holy Ghost, he testifying from heaven, by descending on this 
same man, in visible glory like a dove and lighting upon him. 
Thus, here was God the Father, testifying from heaven, and the 
eternal Word testifying, and the ever blessed Spirit testifying, 
from heaven, and their testimony meeting all in one point, 
namely, that Christ the Mediator is he by whom life is to be 
conveyed from the God of all grace unto undone, perishing, 
lost souls. 

And consider in reference to this further, that as this is a 
testimony to us, it is our concernment, and is incumbent on us 
so to comport ourselves as that it may finally prove a testimony 
for us, and not a testimony against us. This testimony is di- 
rectly to us, that is, that this is God's appointed way for saving 
lost souls and bringing of them to life and blessedness, and 
consequently, according as the design of this testimony is 
comported with or not, it will be either for us or against us. 
For us, if it can be recorded at last concerning us, such and 
such have had the gospel preached unto them, Christ hath been 
offered, God hath been offering himself in Christ ; and they 
have obeyed the gospel, they have complied with the call, they 
have received the Son of God. Oh ! how great a thing would 
it be to have a record in heaven for that ? How did Job solace 
himself in this, " My record is in heaven." When you can 
appeal to the records in heaven touching transactions between 
God and you, and you can say, *' Lord, thou didst make an 
offer to me of thy Son, thou didst require me to receive him as 
my Lord and Saviour ; I have done so, I appeal to thee whe- 
ther it be not recorded above, let the records of heaven be 
searched, see, whether I be not recorded a believer, one that 

LEC. XVI.) The Trinity in the Godhead, $^ 

hath resigned up my soul to God in Christ by the power of the 
eternal Spirit, to be entirely and absolutely his for ever. O I 
how blessed a thing will it be to have such a record in heaven 
concerning you and for you ? He that knows all things knows 
that such a one hath received Christ in truth, such a one 
hath truly believed, such a one loves the Lord Jesus in since- 

And how fearful, by consequence, will it be to have it re- 
corded in heaven against you " So long, so many days, so ma- 
ny years hath such a one lived under the gospel, — so often 
hath a Christ been tendered to him, and been refused by him, 
and there he stands in the records of heaven, a refuser of the 
grace of God, refuser of his Christ, despiser of the great salva- 
tion, that hath been published and proclaimed and " begun to 
be spoken by the Lord himself, and was confirmed by them that 
heard him, God bearing them witness by divers miracles and 
gifts of the Holy Ghost." 

And besides, that we are thus to take notice of what is do- 
ing above ; how these Three employ themselves, their bearing 
record in heaven, consider too (and therewith I shall shut up 
all) where it is that this work is doing, that these Three are 
bearing this record in heaven. Let us consider a little, and 
take this instruction from it, that it very "^11 becomes us to aliens 
ate ourselves from heaven and disregard the affairs and con- 
cerns of heaven. For we find that our affairs and concern- 
ments who dwell on earth are minded in heaven. In heaven 
there is a concern about such poor, wretched creatures as we 
upon earth. It is very unworthy dealing if we live here upon 
earth, groveling in the dust of it, and very seldom think any 
thought of heaven. When, in heaven, by that glorious Triad 
above, we see our concernments while we are upon earth are 
not forgotten, are not disregarded. These great and glorious 
Ones In heaven, are taken up about our affairs. Sure it should 
provoke us to look upwards much and often, adoringly. It 
should suggest from time to time this thought to us, that the 
intercourse between heaven and earth is nor cut off. Still (as 
abject creatures as we are in this our low estate) these glorious 
persons above are concerned about us. Certainly, it should be 
often considered by us, that we have mighty attractives to draw 
our minds and thoughts upwards, God the Father, God the 
Son, and God the Holy Ghost still bearing a record from hea- 
ven to us about things that are of the greatest and highest con- 
cernmeats for us to mind. 

And it should, in fine, provoke us to have aspirings upwards, 
towards the blessedness and perfection of the heavenly state. 
In heaven, these three bear record, the Father, the Word, and 


the Holy Spirit. Who can think of this/and not say, " O that 
I were there ! O that I were there ! Then will this glorious 
ni}stery of the Trinity lie open to my view." It is in that seat 
of the divine glory that these Three are performing this kind 
office towards the poor children of men, even amidst the light 
and glory of the heavenly state. The time will come that we 
may hope to ascend, and be caught up into this region of light, 
and in that light to see ligiu, so that as whatsoever is dark 
and obscure and unknown, and unrevealed, concerning this 
glorious Three and One, will be done away. When once 
we ascend and get up thither into the regions of light and 
bliss, where the glory of the Eternal Being doth display itself, 
we shall then know as we are known : we cannot know now 
but in part, and see but in part, but we shall then know per- 
fectly and fully, and as we are known ; so far as the capacity 
of created nature can admit. O! how pleasant should our aspir- 
ing upward to these Three be, where they do thus testify and 
bear record. How often should we be directing our thoughts 
and spirits, and the longing of our souls towards these regions 
of light and bliss, saying within ourselves, " When shall a 
period be put to the time of my converse with bats and moles 
in this base earth ? when shall I hear the divine voice from the 
throne of glory that shall say to me, Ascend and come up 
hither, and see the things whereof thou hast hitherto but heard 
by the hearing of the ear ?" 


Matt. V. 48. 

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father ivhich 
is in heaven is perfect. 

I^JEXT to the doctrine of the Trinity, comes (according io 
proper theological order) that of the Divine Attributes or 
Perfections, most fitly to be considered. After the discourse of 
the Trinity which we have showed you subsists in the God- 
head, we have chosen this text, both as it serves to confirm, 
and as it serves to regulate, that foregoing doctrine. 

First, As It serves to confirm it. For when we are so plain- 
ly told that " there are three that bear record in heaven ;" and 
that the great Object of our religion, and whereto we are most 
solemnly to be devoted, is represented to us as tliree, the Fa- 
ther, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; supposing such a triad as 
you see in the Godhead, you can suppose it under no other no- 
tion than that of a very great and high perfection belonging 
thereunto. And that, therefore, it must greatly intrench upon 
the perfection of the Godhead, and unspeakably diminish it, if 
there should be any attempt or offer made to diminish and de- 
tract from that sacred number. It could not but be a horrid 
maim to the very Object of our religion : and against any such 
disposition thereunto, or to do any thing, or to admit of any 
thought into our minds that may have that tendency, it would 
fortify us greatly, to have the belief well fixed in our mmds of 
the perfection of the Godhead. And, 

* Preached May the 8th, I691. 


Secondly, It serves to regulate that doctrine of the Trinity 
too: that is, to direct us to understand it so as may consist with 
the Other perfections of the Godhead ; where we are sure it is 
impossible there can be any war, or that there should not be 
the highest and most perfect agreement. We must so con- 
ceive of the Trinity in the Godhead, and the perfections that 
■we are here and elsewhere taught to ascribe unto it, as that 
these may manifestly accord with one another. And for that 
purpose, we must conceive of the divine perfections as the 
Scripture doth direct us, according as God himself speaks of 
them ', allowing his word to be our measure, in making our es- 
timate and judgment concerning them. They that take ano- 
ther course, and pretend to discover to us the incomprehensible 
nature of God, by methods and measures of theirs' secluding 
this, and opposing it in any kind, truly we have a great deal 
more reason to be astonished at their confidence than we liave 
to admire their knowledge ; as if they could make a better dis- 
covery and a clearer representation of God to us than he him- 
self. But if we do understand the divine perfections according 
to those plain and express measures which he hath given us 
in his word, or whicli he enables us to collect, as we are rea- 
sonable creatures, from what he hath said in his word concern- 
ing himself and them, it would then withhold us from any such 
exorbitant conceptions concerning the Trinity of persons in the 
Godhead, as shall not be easily reconcileable with the doctrine 
of his perfections, according as he hath represented and stated 
it himself. 

And upon that account, shall we apply ourselves to consider 
so much concerning the perfections of the Godhead, as this 
scripture will give us a general ground for. Indeed to speak of 
the several perfections and attributes that do belong to the Di- 
vine Nature, distinctly and at large, would be the work of a life's 
time; and very little agree with what I have designed, the ex- 
pounding and opening to you the principles of religion, in as 
short a time as 1 can. Therefore, I have pitched upon this 
text, designing to sura up ail under it, which I think requisite 
to say concerning the excellencies and perfections of the Divine 
lacing, which we conmionly speak of under the name, his at- 
tributes. You may take the ground of discourse thus, 

That all the excellencies which are requisite to make up the 
mc-.st absolute perfection, belong as attributes to the nature of 
(iod ; or as so many attributes to be ascribed to God. This, 
some may possibly apprehend will be but to do what hath been 
done already, and to do it over again. That is, when in prov- 
ing to you the existence of the Deity, m'c shewed that we are 

LEC. XVII.) The perfection of the Divine Nature. -lo 

to conceive of him untler the notion of a Being absolutely per- 
fect. It is true, it was impossible to demonstrate ills existence 
without forelaying that notion of God. And that is suitable to 
what the laws of method do require, in treating of any subject 
whatsoever. That is, if there be occasion to put the question 
an sit, whether sucli a thing be or not and to prove the exist- 
ence of it, first, and before we come to that inquiry, to in- 
quire quid sit, and vvhat it is. To open the nature of such a 
thing, there must be first some general notion assigned and laid 
down of that whose existence we would prove, and about whicii 
the first inquiry was made an sit, whether it be yea or nay. 
Otherwise, in attempting to prove that, we may as well prove 
any thing else, if we do not give such a notion of It as will dis- 
tinguish it from another thing. 

13ut now after we have done so, it comes properly of course 
then, to proceed to a more narrow inspection Into the nature of 
such a thing. And so the order of tractation did require it 
should be in this present case. That is, v/hen we were to in- 
quire concerning the existence of the Deity, first to put you in 
mind, what you and all must be supposed to apprehend con- 
cerning the thing we inquired about, that is, a Being of abso- 
lute perfection in the general : and we can have no other no- 
tion of God but as a Being absolutely perfect. 1'hat being 
done, and it having been evinced to you that there is sucli a 
Fountain-Being from whence whatsoever perfections we do be- 
hold, and come under our notice among the creatures, must 
have descended and been derived, inasmuch as v.batsoever we 
behold, and take notice of, that comes under any notion of per- 
fection with us at all, is not nothing, and therefore could not 
come from nothing, and therefore must be first in a fountain from 
whence it came. When by this means, I say, we have plain- 
ly evinced, that there is one Being which hath all perfection 
originally in itself; and thereupon sliewn that Being to be a fii 
Object for religion, and to be worshipped by us, and to whom 
duties and exercises of religion ought to be performed, and that 
this can be done acceptably no way but agreeable to his own 
will; thereupon we were put upon an inquiry, how that will ot 
his might be understood and known : and having found that it 
was discovered (with that design and to that purpose that he 
might be duly and acceptably worshipped) in that word that 
bears his name, thence we come regularly and of course, to 
speak of things particularly and more expressly concerning liirn 
(whereof we have had some general notions before) which are 
contained in this Book, and which this word will help us to a 
more distinct knowledge of. And therefore now, in speaking to 


the proposition laid down, we are to consider the subject of it : 
''your heavenly Father," and then we are to consider the 
tiling afTirmed concerning this subject: He *' is perfect." 

I. For the former, the subject of this affirmation, we must 
consider in what sense (as there will be occasion to take notice 
of by and by) he can be spoken of under the name of a subject. 
Scholars know how to distinguish between a subject of predi- 
cation, and a subject of inhaesion. He can be no subject of 
inhsesion, as you will see presently. But a subject concerning 
which, this or that may be affirmed or spoken, that is the only 
thing- which we can truly and properly mean when we speak of 
God under that name or term. But whereas he is here mention- 
ed as our " Father which is in heaven," (as our Saviour directs 
he should be prayed unto, in that comprehensive system of pe- 
titions that he himself was pleased to give his disciples, "Our 
Father which art in heaven,") we must distinguish between 
Christ's calling him Father himself and his teaching us to call 
him so, or his speaking of him as our Father. When Christ 
himself calls him " Our Father," he calls him so as he was : 
and so he doth speak himself, when he speaks of liis having come 
from, his having descended from the Father. He could mean 
by the term " Father," nothing else but the first person in the 
Trinity. But when he spealcs of him as our Father and directs 
us so to speak of him, or to speak to him, we do not need so to 
limit that term "Father," in reference to us, for we may fitly 
enough consider the whole God in the paternal relation to our- 
selves. Concerning the Father there is no doubt, for so our 
Saviour hath taught us to conceive and speak, "I go to my Fa- 
ther and your Father, My Cod and your God," John 20. 17- 
And even the Son is spoken of as our "everlasting Father." 
Isaiah 9. G. And all the children of God are said to be born 
of his Spirit, and to be begotten thereby. John 3. 1. And sup- 
pose we should look upon Father, here, strictly as a personal 
name or title, yet so we must consider the Divine Nature as 
subsisting font aliter, or as in a fountain in that person : and 
it is that person as having that nature eminently and originally 
and firstly in him ; even that same nature that is common to 
each of the persons. And so it is not the person as the person, 
but as having the Divine Nature in it, which is the subject here 
spoken of. "Your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The 
Godhead or the nature of God subsisting as in the Fountain, in 
the Father : and that same nature which is also common with 
him to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. But then, 

II. For that which is affirmed or spoken of this subject, He 
*' is perfect." How are we at a loss when we come to speak of 

LEc. XVH.) The jJei'fection of the Divine Nature. 45 

this divine perfection ! "I have seen an end" (saith the Psalm- 
ist) *' of all perfection, but thy commandments are, or thy com- 
mandment is exceedingly i)road." Even so much of divine 
perfection as is expressed that one way (in the divine word) 
is of so exceeding vast a latitude as to represent itself as the 
matter of the highest wonder to a very enlarged and compre- 
hensive mind, that had exceeded the bounds of all other per- 
fection and already gone beyond them all. J liave seen an end 
of all perfection, but how vast a perfection beyond all that do I 
perceive in thy divine word, wherein there are yet but some 
sunbeams, some glimmerings of the perfection of the Divine Na- 
ture ! Indeed when we go about to speak of such a subject as 
this, or to think of it, we may even fear to meet with such a re- 
buke as that. Job 38. 2. " Who is this that darkens counsel 
by words without knowledge?" Can we think, by searching 
to find out God ? Can we find out the Almighty unto perfection? 
Job 11. 7« Somewhat, the case requires should be said, of 
what we can say and conceive but little of. Something, the exi- 
gency of our case doth require ; that we labour, all of us, to be 
informed concerning one with whom we have so much to do, 
and in whose hands all our great concerns do lie. 

For the word that is used here, ^'perfect,'' and the words in 
the learned languages that we are referred to by these penmen, 
they do (as all words must do) fall most inconceivably short of 
the thing. Words cannot but be poor, and labour under a penu- 
ry when they are expressive of any thing of God, Alas ! They 
can go but a little way in it. 

The words that we have here to do with more immediately, do 
carry in them a kind of diminishing and lessening intimation of 
coming to a state, or having come to a state that is higher and 
more excellent, from a state that was meaner and lower; in 
which the subject spoken of is (as it were) supposed to have 
been before, according to the general and indefinite use of such 
words. As the Greek word teAe-oj that is here used, refers to a 
word that signifies an aid, and so carries an intimation with it, 
as one had but then attained an end which he was aiming at, 
and tending towards before, which implies such a diminution 
as can by no means be admitted concerning Gud. As when 
any one doth then suppose himself to have arrived at an eternal 
sort of perfection, when he hath compassed an end that he was 
about. " I work this day, and to-morrow, and the third day I 
shall be perfect ;" finish a work I was engaged in, which is but 
an external sort of perfection. The word (for want of being 
more expressive) is borrowed and employed here, in a case of 
very transcendent height above that. And so for the Latin word 


perfectio, or perfectns, it carries an Intimation with it as if 
the thing spoken of were, now at length, thoroughly made 
that which before it was not. Such expressions do (through 
the natural poverty of speech and language) lessen and dimi- 
nish greatly the thing that should bo represented and set forth 
by them. 

But to consider the thing itself, (as we may be capable to 
open to you somewhat of the divine perfeetionsj there are two 
things to he done in reference Jiereto. We shall note to you, 
some things more generally that do concern the divine perfec- 
tions indefinitely considered : and then shall (though briefly) 
come to consider some of the particular perfections themselves, 
wliich we are more specially concerned to take notice of, that 
are comprehended under those generals, 

1. There are some things more generally to be laid down 
concerning the divine perfections, or excellencies, or attri- 
butes ; you may call them which of these you will, fitly enough. 

( 1 ,) There is this to be considered concerning them, that 
there are of tliese divine excellencies or perfections, which we 
are taught to attribute to God, some that are altogether incom- 
municable ones. There are some that are incommunicable; 
that is, that have not so much as a name common to him, and 
to us, by wliich they are to be signified and spoken of. As there 
is his Self-subsistence, his All-sufiiciency, his Eternity and his 
Immensity. I'hese are attributes, or perfections of the Divine 
Nature that are not so much as common in name to him and to 
us; so appropriate to him, that there is nothing known by the 
same name that can be said of \is. And there are some of his 
attributes and perfections that are communicable, that is, which 
under one and the same name, may be spoken of him and of us, 
of him and of the creature. As his wisdom ; there is also 
such a thing among men: and his power; they have some 
power: and his goodness ; they iiave some goodness : and so 
his justice, his holiness, and his truth : these are divine per- 
fections that are spoken of under one and the same name, con- 
cerning liim and concerning some of his creatures. That is 
one thing that you have in general to note; as concerning the 
incommunicable attributes of God, they have not so much as 
the same name with him and with us: for there is nothing in 
us, to which such names do agree : All-sufiiciency, immensity, 
eternity, omnipotency, self-existence and the like. But the 
other (as was said) are signified by words applicable to some- 
what in us, as to be wise, to be good, to be just, to be powerful 
and the like. And, 

lEG. XVII.) The perfection of the Divine Nature, 4j 

(2.) In the next place, you must note, that for those divintf 
attributes and perfections Vv'hicli are communicable, i^ is only 
the name that is common to that thing in him, and that thing 
in us, which is expressed thereby. It is true that there is the 
same name but not the same nature. There is a likeness, a si- 
militude, but not an identity, or a sameness. Take heed of ap- 
prehending, or imagining any such thing between the divine 
wisdom, or the divine power, or the divine goodness, that are 
uncreated, and that which is created ; and so of his holiness, 
his justice and the like. We are not to think there is a same- 
ness of nature, though there be the same names used in such 
perfections as these, as they are found to be in God, and as they 
are found to be in us, or in the creature : for it is impossible that 
the nature which is infinite, and the natures which are finite can 
be the same. An infinite nature and a finite nature must needs 
differ infinitely, and therefore can by no means be the same 
nature. Wherefore, all that is said in this case, in reference to 
us, when God is pleased to derive and communicate from him- 
self unto those whom he regenerates, that which is called the 
Divine Nature; It is only said of it, — that it is his image, and 
his likeness, that is conveyed or communicated: it is only some- 
what like God or the image of God that is impressed upon, and 
wrought into the soul. We must take heed of thinking that 
it is the same nature, as they have thought and blasphemously 
spoken, who have talked of being godded in God ; as if the 
very nature of God was under such a name as this, transmitted 
into the creature. And again, 

(3.) We must understand these perfections, or excellencies 
of the Divine Nature to be his very nature itself, and not to be 
any accidental thing superadded thereunto. We must not con- 
ceive that such divine perfections as v/isdom and power and 
goodness and the like, are additions to the nature of God : but 
tliey are his very nature itself. There can be no such thing as 
an accidental supervention to the Divine Nature ; but every 
thing that is in God must be conceived to be God, He i^ es- 
sential wisdom and goodness and truth, and is not these things 
by accident, as men may be, so as to have those things separa- 
ble from their nature; no, nor can his nature, indeed, be sd 
much as conceived without them. We are not to look upon, 
them as accidents, either as separable or inseparable from his 
nature, but as being essentially included in it. And this h 
most evident, upon the account we have showed you ; and the 
thing speaks itself in demonstrating to you the existence of the 
Godhead, that that Being whose existence we were to demon- 


stratc, is self existent, existing always by and from itself with- 
out depending, without being beholden to any thing from 
whence it was. Now what is so self-existent is existent neces- 
sarily; that is, it owes its own existence to that peculiar excel- 
lency of its own nature, to which It is repugnant, and impossi- 
ble not to exist. Now, wliatsoever doth exist necessarily, so 
that its non-existence should be altogether impossible (which is 
the peculiar manner of the Divine existence) that must needs 
be unalterable. What is necessary, must be eternally or invaria- 
bly necessary, and without any mutation : and nothing can Vje 
superadded to another but must infer a mutation : any addition 
would make an alteration. Therefore, none of these perfec • 
tions are additions to God; for then they would make a change; 
but that which is necessarily what it is, never admits of any 
change, neither by addition nor subtraction any ways. 

(4.) You must take this general note farther, that it is hence 
consequential, that the excellencies and perfections of the Di- 
vine Nature are in him, in perfect simplicity. That is, if none 
of them do differ from the Divine Nature, then it is impossible 
they should differ from one another ; they cannot really differ 
one from another in themselves. It is true, indeed, that by 
our imperfect way of conceiving things, through the narrow- 
ness and incomprehensiveness of our minds, which cannot take 
in all things at once, we are fain to admit distinct notions which 
are wont to be called inadequate notions, concerning the Deity,, 
We can conceive of such and such excellencies but by parts, 
but by little and little. It is but a small portion we can take 
up of him in the whole, and but very little after all. And 
therefore, all we are fain (looking upon the glorious and ever 
blessed Deity) to conceive, is an unknown wisdom in him, and 
an unknown goodness, and an unknown holiness and the like. 
Not as if these things did more really differ in him than one 
and the same face, (as one aptly expresseth it) doth really dif- 
fer in itself because a great many glasses are placed against it, 
that do themselves differ from one another, and are variously 
figured and cut, do seem to represent divers faces. There is, 
I say, no more of real difference in these perfections from one 
another, as they are in God, than there would be in that case 
of so many real things that are reflected by so many glasses, 
where the difference of the reflected image doth proceed from 
the glasses, and not from the original which is one and the 
same to them all. And that we may preserve the notion en- 
tire of the Divine Simplicity, it is easy to be demonstrated 
to them that shall consider — that if there be not a most per- 
fect simplicity in the Divine Nature, so as that the several ex- 

LEc. XVII.) The Perfection of the Divine Nature, A S 

cellencies belonging thereto be really in him, one and the same 
thing, then these excellencies could not meet there but by com- 
position ; they would make a composition in the Divine Na- 
ture if they were there with real difference. But such a compo- 
sition in the Divine Nature is aliogether impossible, upon 
these two accounts. First, If there were such a composi- 
tion there must be supposed a causation : if the Divine Na- 
ture were compounded, it would be inferred it were caused ; 
and so God were not the first Cause of tlie first being : and. 
Secondly, (though one would think that nothing should need 
to be added after that, it being plain, nothing can be prior to 
God,) If there were a composition there would also be a limi- 
tation, and so these perfections of the Divine Being would not 
be infinite, and consequently they must be perfections altoge- 
ther disagreeable, no way agreeing to the Divine Nature. It 
cannot but be that he must be infinitely wise, infinitely good, 
infinitely powerful, and the like. But he should not be so, if 
these things did really differ in him from one another; for 
whatsoever doth realiy differ from one another, doth limit that 
other from which it differs. If there be an infiniteness in 
goodness, or an infiniteness In power, or an infiniteness in 
knowledge, we cannot suppose many infinites ; there cannot 
be more infinites than one ; and therefore it is but one and 
the same thing that is all these. Whatsoever you do design to 
the one, you must detract from the other. And if you should 
suppose two infinites, you do thereby suppose neither to be 
infinite, but both to be finite. That therefore, you must fixedly 
retain, as a general rule, that the several excellencies and per- 
fections of the Divine Nature, are in him, in most perfect sim- 
plicity, and so do not differ in him, as one thing differs from 
another. Only the Divine Nature and Being itself, as it hath all 
excellency and perfection in it doth, when it comes to cast an 
aspect upon us and upon our minds, appear as various, though 
in itself it is most simply one. And again, 

(5.) You must further note this, that the negative attributes 
of the Divine Being do always imply somewhat positive. 
There are some things ascribed to God Jn negative terms, 
which must be understood to have a positive sense and mean- 
ing, under those terms. As when it is said of God, he is im- 
mortal, which is a negative term, it implies the most infinite 
and undccaying fulness of life. And so when it is said of God, 
that he is invisible, though that be a negative term, such a being 
as cannot be seen, the meaning is, that his being is of that high 
and glorious excellency as not to be liable and subject to so 
jnean a thing as the sight of our eye ; it is too fine, too bright 

VOL, vir, a 


and glorious for so mean and low a faculty to reach unto. 

(G.) You must note this, that any particular excellency that 
men attribute or ascribe to God, it must always be understood 
to be ascribed to him in the highest pitch of perfection, and 
not with that diminution wherewith we behold the shadow of 
sucli things to be accompanied in the creature. And there- 
fore, we must take heed of debasing the excellencies of the Di- 
vine Nature, by confining, concerning them, to that which 
only gives some faint representation of them among us. We 
speak of several things that are real excellencies among the 
creatures; as quickness of sense, to be able presently to feel 
wiiatsoever is noxious and hurtful: this sense of pain, is in the 
creature a perfection; but we are not to conceive any such 
thing in God : but we are to conceive that which is transcen- 
dent in him, that comprehends in itself the power of giving 
such and such perfections to the creature; so as that those 
things are eminently, constantly, only in him which, speaking 
of this and that particular perfection, is in a distinct, formal 
notion in the creature. We must not say, that this or that we 
behold in the creature is in him, but some transcendent excel- 
lency that doth virtually and eminently comprehend it; as 
when the Psalmist tells us, " He that planted the eye, doth he 
not see ? and he that formed the ear doth not he hear ? and 
he that teacheth man knowledge doth not he know }" we 
are not to think that there is such seeing, or such hearing with 
God, or any kind of sensation as is with us : but there is that 
transcendent excellency in him, that doth eminently contain all 
these in a far more glorious manner than we can conceive. 
These things, it is lit we should note generally, concerning the 
divine attributes, or perfections, as a ground for somewhat more 
distinctly, though very briefly, concerning these attributes, or 
perfections of God, particularly considered. 

But before we pass from this discourse, of what is of more 
general import concerning them, give me leave to suggest 
somewhat to you that may be of present use, and that may in- 
fliietice practice, and tend to better the hearts and spirits of us, 
who are now called to hear about such a subject ; " Your Fa- 
ther which is in heaven is perfect." So our Lord, who was a 
Teacher come forth from (iod, on one of his great errands, doth 
direct us to conceive concerning him. I pray let our thoughts 
stay here a little, and meditate, and pause awhile; both on this 
Subject here s])oken of, and that which is aflirnied concerning 
this Subject. 

[I.] The Subject spoken of, "Your Father which is in hea- 
ven/' Tills NA.Mii, *' Your Father," should carry a very attr«c_ 

LEC. XVII.) The Perfection of the Divine Nature. 5 I 

tive sound with it to every ear, and to every lieart among us. 
It is very unfit that we should, any of us, sleep and slumber un- 
der the mention of this name, this title given to God, " your Fa- 
ther." Let us bethink ourselves : Can we call God Father? It is 
a thing to be thought on — with mucii caution, and then, if that 
hath produced any effect, and reached any good issue with 
us, it ought to be thought on — with high consolation. 

First. With great caution. "Your Father which is in heaven 
is perfect :" when we find that some are addressed by our bles- 
sed Lord, with the supposed capacity of bespeaking God as 
their Father, would it not strike cold to any man's heart, that 
should have cause to think, " Am not I excluded ? Am not J. 
one of them that may not dare to take such a name into my 
mouth and apply it to him, to call him my Father ? Doth 
not my own heart smite me, that I assume so much to myself 
as to say, God is my Father?" There were those that briskly 
and boldly pretended to it in our Lord's time. " We are not 
born of fornication, we have all one Father, even God," say 
some of these petulent hearers. John 8. 41. It ought to be 
seriously considered, "What Godlike thinghave I in me to be- 
speak me his child, or that may give me the confidence to call 
him my Father? What childlike dispositions do I find in me 
towards him ? Is there that trust that becomes a child, that 
love, that dutifulness, that study to please him ?" Let us con- 
sider whether we can call him Father, and our hearts not smite 
us, and tell us inwardly, this is a title that belongs not to thee to 
give. But if we can find it doth, it is a thing to be considered 
as with great caution. 

Secondly. With high consolation afterwards. Can I indeed 
say, that he is my Father ? What then can 1 have to complain 
of? what have I to fear? what have I to desire ? what have I 
to crave beyond what this contains, and carries in it ? And pray 
take heed of diminishing so great a thing to yourselves. Have 
you, upon a strict inquiry, reason to look upon yourselves as 
oneof that regenerate seed which is peculiar and appropriate to 
God? carries his signature, his stamp, his image ? It is then 
a very unworthy thing to your Father, to let yo'ur spirits sink. 
It should greaten your minds, it should make you to say within 
yourselves, " Then am I to live far above the world, it is base, 
for the children of such a Father to live mean, and lie low, and 
to grovel in the dust; and to let his own heart despond and 
sink within him, upon the less grateful aspect and appearances 
of things from this world. For alas ! what is this world to me, ' ■ 
if God be ray Father ?" And, "Your Father, which is in hea- 
ven is perfect." You must consider how this our Father is in 
heaven ; not as confined there, not as if heaven did confine hi?ii, 


whom the "heaven of heavens cannot contain." And we should 
thereupon consider, that truly if heaven do not confine him, 
this earth ought not to confine nie. If he be my Father, there 
should be no exclusive limits between him and me. If he be 
my Father, so in heaven as that though he hath his throne, the 
theatre of his glory, his court, and his retinue there above, yet 
he doth also diffuse a vital and esi^ential presence throughout 
the creation, so as that this earth itself is not excluded, " Whi- 
ther shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven 
thou art there ; If 1 traverse the seas, wherever I come, there 
thou art." Psalm 139. '] , I say, if heaven doth not contain 
him, but that he reacheth this earth too, I should thereupon 
think this earth should not so confine me, but 1 will reach him, 
and apply myself to him, and converse and lead my life with 
him. And since heaven is represented as the seat of his most 
glorious residence, we should always think ourselves to have 
concerns lying there above. I am not to be limited then to 
this base low earth, if I have a Father in heaven. It is intoler- 
able hereupon, that we should live here upon earth, if we had 
renounced and quitted all claim to heaven, never looking up 
thither. What! Do we forget that our Father is there? There 
he dwells in glory, there he beholds the dwellers upon earth, 
and looks into the very inmost motions of our thoughts, and 
workings of our spirits, frOm day to day, and from moment to 
moment ; if he see a mind carried after vanity all the day 
long, will he not say, "What ! Is such a one, one of the off- 
spring of heaven, but hath no business there, who never minds 
any thing but this base earth ?" Shall he have cause to observe 
this concerning us, and thus to judge and censure us from day 
to day? " These are the children of the earth, sons of the earth, 
they have nothing to do in heaven, they never look up thither." 
Sucii words standing here in the Bible, " Your Father which 
is in heaven is perfect ;" methinks they should make strange 
impressions upon our spirits when we come to look on them 
and seriously consider them. 

[2.] And then what is affirmed concerning this Subject, (though 
I must not spend time upon that now,) he is perfect, every way 
perfect. We may yet, by the way, see what ground of reproof 
there is here for us, that we so little adore, and so little imitate 
this perfection. That God is not greater in our eyes when we 
are beholding him, and considering, that whatsoever our minds 
can conceive of excellency, we find it in him in the highest per- 
fection, and yet we adore him not, we take no notice of that glo- 
rious One, how sad is the case when even this itself is a continual 
increase of guilt upon us, that we know so much of God, that 
a poor creature should have cause to say, " I should iiave been 

LEc, XVIII.) The Divine Attributes — All-siifficie7icy. 53 

tar more innocent if I had known less, and been less capable of 
knowing God. I might have been an innocent creature, in com- 
parison, if 1 had not known so much." To know him to be so 
perfectly holy and not to imitate him, to know him to be so 
good and not to trust him, to love him, to depend upon liim 
and to seek union with him; to know him to be so perfect, 
and content myself with my own imperfection, when according 
to this rule of our Lord we should be '" perfect as our Father 
which is iii heaven is perfect," 


2. But I come now to give, in the second place, some more 
distinct account of some, at least, of the more eminent of the 
attributes of God. And I shall begin with that which must be 
understood as comprehensive of all the rest, and that is, of the 
DIVINE ALL-SUFFIC8KNCY. This is the summary perfection of 
God ; his All-suthciency. And as the verse where the text 
lies, saith '^ Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect," 
so elsewhere, is the Divine All-sufficiency represented to us as 
the ground and pattern of that perfection which is required in 
us. Gen, 17. I. "1 am God All-sufficient: walk before 
me and be thou perfect." The word there used is, in some 
translations, rendered All-mighty, in others. All-sufficient, JS?-* 
Shaddai. They indeed seem to me, to give the more congru- 
ous account of the etymology of that word that do read it All- 
sufficient, deriving it not from AS/ifft/rfrt that signifies to destroy, 
to lay waste, which yet, is comprehended no doubt (that is the 
power of doing so) in the notion of Almightiness, but rather 
deriving it from a word that signifies sufficiency with the pro- 
nominal particle he : He that is sufficient, God that is suffi- 
cient, El-Shaddai or that is self-sufficient. And he is so self- 
sufficient either understanding it to be a sufficiency arising 
from himself or a sufficiency serving for himself. Either way 
he is self-sufficient; by a sufficiency that speaks him to be 
All to himself, a sufficiency arising and springing up within 
himself, or a sufficiency to himself, as having enough in himself 
to enjoy without being beholden, without depending upon any 
thing without himself. And such All-sufficiency spoken of 
God must needs mean, He that is of himself, sufficient for him- 
self, must needs be sufficient for all the creation besides, 

* Preached May 15, 169I. 


If of himself tliL'ie be a sufficiency in him for all his own pef- 
fectionsj there must be a sufficiency for all that communication 
that the creature can any way stand in need of. This is that 
attribute, that comprehensive one, that we shall in the first 
place say somewhat to. 

And i shall say the more of this, because it is so vastly com- 
prehensive as hath been said, and as the matter is plain in itself 
that it is. It is the same thinj^ that is meant by that fulness 
that we find again and again, in Scripture, attributed to God, 
th-di 'csXn^cofA.x Tov Qsov, "That you maybe filled with all the 
fulness of God." Ephes. 3. 19. Not that there needs any 
great fulness to fill us. A very little thing will do it; and it sig- 
nifies nothing to the vastness of the plenitude of the ocean, 
that a nut shell or a minute vessel may be filled ; but it is the 
greatness of the expression that 1 here note, "the fulness of 
God ;" how vast, how immense, how profound an abyss must 
that be ! In Eplies. 1. 23. we read of the "fulness (jf iiim that 
filleth all in all ;" that filling fulness: it is another fulness that 
ts meant there in that form of expression where, most conde- 
scendingly, the church of Christ in this world is spoken of as his 
fulness. But whose fulness is it? The "fulness of him that 
filieth all in all." Even he, notwithstanding his vast and 
boundless self-fulness doth yet vouchsafe to be tilled in respect 
of that union that he is pleased to take a people out of this 
world into, with his own blessed Self. We read (Col. 2. 9.) 
of " all the fulness of the Godhead" dwelling in flesh, as it 
were, embodied in flesh, which we must understand still is the 
same fulness when it is deposited, when it is, as it were, so dis- 
posed for communication. It is not another fulness from the 
original Divine Fulness, but the same under a new relation 
wherewith it now comes to he clothed. As when also, in that 
Col. J. 19. it is said, "It pleased the Father that in him 
should all fulness dwell," fulness and all fulness, that it should 
dwell in him. It did dwell indeed in him originally and natu- 
rally in the person of the Son, but now it dwells in the Media- 
tor, that being so lodged and settled, (as it were) it now lies 
ready for communication to indigent creatures, necessitous crea- 
tures, empty creatures ; such as we are, empty of every thing 
that is good, and of the desert of every thing that is so; and 
only designed and fitted by natural designation as so many 
** vessels of wrath" to be filled with wrath. Now all the ful- 
ness of God comes to be posited and clotlied with that relation, 
to put on that aspect, with reference to us, that according to 
#ur need, measure and capacity it is all for us. "It pleased 

LEO. XVIII.) The Divine Attributes — All'Suffioicnaj, hh 

the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell," with such a 
design that he might fill the sacrifice first, that was oficrcd up, 
as you find the context speaks, — (Col. 1. 19,21.) "that he 
might make peace by the blood of his cross and reconcile all 
things to himself:" and then, that he might fill the souls 
which that sacrifice had been accepted for, in the virtue of it, 
opening its own way to flow in to us. And another expression 
you have of this same perfection, (the All-sufficiency and ple- 
nitude of the Godhead) to wit, that of his being ''All in all." 
A most Godlike phrase, wherein God doth in his own word 
speak so of himself, speaks like himself, at the rate of a God, 
with divine greatness and majestic sense. It is used with re- 
ference to the divine operations, 1 Cor. 12. 5. "There are di- 
versities of operations, but it is the same God which work- 
eth all in all." But it is also spoken of the Divine Being with 
reference to his existence ; He is All in all ; or as in the men- 
tioned place, (Ephes. 1. 23) " filleth all in all." In the final 
state when all the great designs of God are compassed and 
brought about, then is he more entirely, fully and imme- 
diately to be All in all. He will be more conspicuously so 
then : he is now so indeed, as it hath not escaped the notice of 
heathens themselves, who tell us, that whatsoever we see is Ju- 
piter, and whatsoever we are moved by, is Jupiter : that one 
universal mind doth work through all the universe and mingles 
itself with the vast body of the creation. So is Christ, in whom 
is all the fulness of God, (as was told before) he is said to be 
*'A11 in all." Here is an All in an all, a comprehending all and 
comprehended all; that is, an uncreated All, and a created : 
the latter, contained in the former, the former, containing the 
latter, in-wrapping it, infolding it, diftusing itself any where 
throughout it, and in all, and over all, and through all. And 
indeed, that created all, is a little, most contemptible little all, 
in comparison of the all- comprehending, uncreated fulness, that 
involves the other in as great a disproportion as you may sup- 
pose an atom, a little mote or particle of dust comprehended in 
the whole earth, or a minute drop in the vast ocean, that swal- 
lows it up and runs through it and through it ; so is the all of this 
creation (as great as it may appear to our little narrow minds and 
thoughts) swallovt'ed up in the uncreated All, so as that in com- 
parison of that, it is nothing. All nations come under this no- 
tion, but '' as the drop of a bucket, and the small dust of the 
balance, and lighter than nothing," as confessing it impossi- 
ble to speak diminishingly enough of the littleness of the crea- 
ture, in comparison of the Divine All, "less than nothing," In- 


deed, simple nothing cannot vie with all fulness, with the im- 
mense plenitude of substantial beings. But that, that seems to 
be newly stept forth out of nothing, that, it may be, will pre- 
tend to vie, and therefore that is so much the more despicable, 
even more despicable than mere nothing: mere nothing hath no 
competition with it to that vast plenitude and fulness of Being, 
]5ut there may seem somewhat of competition in that which is 
just stept forth out of nothing: and therefore, that is despised as 
less than nothing ; for mere nothing is not so despicable as that 
which is just risen out of nothing when it is brought into any 
kind of compare with the infinite, immense All. 

But to speak yet a little more particularly and distinctly con- 
cerning this most perfect All-sufficiency and fulness of God, 
(as it can be possible to us to speak and hear of so great a thing) 
I shall speak somewhat to the nature of it, what sort of fulness 
or plenitude this All-sufficient, perfect fulness is. And then — 
speak somewhat of the purposes which it answers and is most 
apt to answer. 

1. Somewhat of the nature of it. And for that, our best 
way of opening and unfolding it will be to consider these two 
things, namely, what it contains, and — after what peculiar it . 
doth contain what it must be understood to carry in it : that is, 
the contents and the properties of this fulness : v/hat it con- 
tains and with what peculiar and distinguishing characters it 
doth contain it. 

(1.) For the contents of this most absolute and perfect ful- 
ness of God, All sufficient fulness; it contains all that we can 
think, and indeed all that we cannot think. It contains all 
being, and all life, all motive and active power, all knowledge 
and all wisdom, and all goodness; every thing that is excel- 
lent, valuable and desirable in all the kinds, and in all the de- 
grees of perfection conceivable, in reference thereunto. I shall 
not speak more distinctly now, in reference to that head, be- 
cause under other heads that we are afterwards to speak a little 
(though but a little) particularly to, there will be more occa- 
sion to discourse of these severally. But we come, 

(2.) To consider of the characters of this fulness, the proper- 
ties of it, whereunto it must be understood to contain what it 
doth contain. And so, 

[1.] It is a self-original fulness, a fulness that arlseth from 
itself. It is the highest fountain itself, and not fed from any 
higher, vvhich is the signification of that title, or that name by 
which God was pleased to make himself known to Moses, ** I 
Am," and a little more largely " 1 Am that I Am." A name 
so expressive of this plenitude and fulness of being and all-per- 

LiiC. XVIII.) T/ie Divine Attributes— 'All-siiffidency, 57 

fection of God ; so aptly and naturally expressive thereof, tJjat 
it hath obtained naturally, easily in the pagan world, as that 
inscription testifies in the temple, which I formerly named, 
" I am that which I was, and that which is, and that which 
shall be, and let any man at his peril disclose my veil." And 
we are told by some of the ancients in the Christian church, 
that the notions which Plato doth so abound with, he learnt in 
Egypt, and came by them, it is most probable, and as they 
think, as having been communicated from some of the Israel- 
ites to some of the Egyptian priests witli whom he afterwards 
conversed, that is, with those of them to whom those traditions 
came some centuries of years afterwards. And that this ful- 
ness is self-original, or self- originate, they must always ap- 
prehend, who do apprehend that any such thing as Deity could 
only be of itself, from itself. A Being of that sort and kind, as 
unto which not to be, was always repugnant ; and so that it 
owes whatsoever it is, or whatsoever it hath in itself, to that pe- 
culiar excellency of its own nature, which was always neces- 
sary to it, to be what it Is; can receive nothing aliunde, from 
without, andean lose nothing, or suffer no detraction of what 
it is, or hath already belonging to it. This is " 1 Am,^' the 
stable and permanent Being that Is by itself what it is. That 
then, is the character under which we are to conceive of this 
divine fulness, of this perfect All-sufficiency ; that it Is self- 
originate: he being the perpetual, everlasting Spring and Foun- 
tain of it to himself. " With thee Is the fountain of life." 
Psal. 36. 9. There, being is in Its first Fountain, and life is in 
its first Fountain. To that, all things else that be and live, 
and that have any thing of motive and active power, they par- 
ticipate all from hence ; " In him we live and move and have 
our beir>g," as the apostle cxpresseth it. Acts 17. 28. For 
which he there quotes a pagan poet ; and likewise for that in 
the adjoining words, " we are all his offspring." 

[2.] We are to conceive concerning this Divine Ful- 
ness, that it Is Immense as well as self-originate. He is infi- 
nite, unbounded : and that It must needs be for the same rea- 
son, because it is self-originate : for causation speaks limitation, 
whatsoever causeth another, limits it : and that which is un- 
caused must be unlimited, omnia limitatis est causata ; that 
which doth impart and communicate to another doth measure 
and bound its own communication : and from whence any 
thing hath that which it doth derive from another, thence it 
hath the bounds and limits of that which is derived. The W- 
mits of the derivation proceed from the original. Therefore 
it is plain whatever is uncaused must be unliaiitcd, and so this 



fulness of God being self-originate vvithoul any superior cause, 
must needs be immense and infinite without bounds and limits. 
There is nothing to bound and limit, but he existing neces- 
sarily, when all things else do exist contingently, and by de- 
pcndance upon his will and pleasure, it could not be but that 
he must engross all being, all life, and all perfection in himself, 
because there was nothing else existing besides or before that 
which did exist necessarily, that is himself, by which what was 
in him could not be any way limited. Therefore, so we are 
to conceive of the Divine Fulness — that it is immense. It 
is then a perfection here spoken of God, which is not par- 
ticular of this or that special ,kind, but which is most projierly 
absolute and universal, to wit, of all kinds taken together, with 
all the several degrees that can come within tlie compass of 
each several kind. So metaphysicians are wont to distinguish 
of perfection, into tliat which is simple or absolute, and that 
which sui generis, of its own particular kind, that which hath 
all that belongs to that kind in it, may be said to be perfect in 
its own kind. That which hath the essence and properties of 
gold may be said to be perfect gold, and especially if it be pure 
from dross and doth exclude every thing that is alien from it, if 
it be pure. That is the notion of pure : purum est quod est 
plenum sui, that is pure that is full of itself, and hath no ad- 
mixture of any thing alien from it. So may a thing be said to 
be perfect in its own particular kind, when it is full of itself 
and when it is free from admixture of any thing else. But the 
Divine Nature (as is evident) is infinite and immense ; is not 
perfect of this or that particular kind, but of all kinds whatso- 
ever; that is, of all that is excellent and valuable ; yea, every 
thing of all being, being included and comprehended in it. 
Not formally, f6r that would make God and the creature all 
one, but eminontly and transcendently, that is, it being in the 
divine power to determine whether any thing besides should be 
extant, or not extant. And so he is the Root of being to 
every thing that is, and the Spring of life to every thing that 
lives, and the Fountain of all excellency to every thing that 
can ])artake of it. And therefore, his perfections or fulness is 
not of this or that particular kind ; if it were so, it were a li- 
mited fulness, a bounded fulness : but it is a fulness that com- 
prehends all kinds together eminently, and transcendently in 
itself. As the rout of the tree doth comprehend all the branch- 
es, that is, virtually, it comprehends that virtue in it, and trans- 
mits that which extends to all the branches, and as the very 
seed did virtually contain the whole tree once in itself; soaU 

LEC. xviii.) The Dwine Attributes — All siiffidenci/. 59 

the creation was contained in God, before it, by his appoint- 
ment and command, stood forth into actual being. And, 

[3.] It is hereupon an immutable Fulness. This divine 
fulness admits of no alteration, either by augmentation or di- 
mi.-ution. It can neither be made more nor less than it is : ei- 
ther, would make a change, and no change can have place in 
that Being which is necessary. The Divine Being and all that 
plenitude and fulness that belongs to it, being self-original, it 
must be necessary ; it could spring from no other, therefore, it 
must be of itself what it is : and no other imaginable reason 
ean be assigned why such a Being doth exist, but only that pe- 
culiar excellency of its own nature, to which it was repugnant 
not to exist. Hereupon therefore, this is the only necessary 
Being, and that which is necessarily what it is, can never be 
other than what it is, can never vary, and therefore th:it " Fa- 
ther of lights (as the blessed Cod Is mentioned under that 
name, James 1. 17-) is without variableness or shadow of 
turning.'^ Without so much as the umbrage of a change, 
there is not the shadow of varmtion with him. But before the 
creation was he was the same, and through all the successions 
of time when that creation is in being, he is still the same : and 
if the creation should drop back again into nothing he were 
the same. Unto that which is necessarily what it was first, no- 
thing can supervene, because it hath its whole being necessari- 
ly, so that there can be no addition to it : and then there can 
be no detraction from it, no diminution, because it liath what it 
hath necessarily : it is essential to be what it is. And there- 

[4.] This plenitude of God, must be everlasting, this 
All-sufficiency, this perfection, must be eternal. For if tliere 
can be no variation in any, the least degree, much less is it 
conceivable there should be a cessation of the whole Being. 
A variation in any, the least degree, is altogether impossible to 
that which is necessarily what it is : and thereupon the eternal 
permanency of it in the same state must needs be consequent. 
Hence those amazing expressions about the Divine Being, 
" from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." Psalm 90. 
2. Set yourselves to contemplate God ; you must needs yield 
yourselves to be lost and swallowed up in your minds upon the 
contemplations of that which is " from everlasting to everlast- 
ing." And so that most emphatical expression, of his inha- 
biting eternity; " Thus saith the high and lofty One that in- 
habiteth eternity, I dwell in the high and holy place." Isaiah 
57. 15. But before that, he was his owi\ place, and inrleed ali 
tlie creation is rather vested in Itim^ than he in anv thing. Be 


fore time was, or any creature was, he had nothing to inhabit 
hut iiis own eternity, that is, his own eternal Self: for eternity 
and tlie eternal One are the same thing. 

Thus you liave some account of the nature of the all-suffi- 
cient, perfect fulness of God, both from the contents and proper- 
ties or perfections thereof; what it contains, to wit, all being, all 
life, all motive power, all wisdom, all knowledge, and whatso- 
ever excellency besides you can conceive, or all that is conceiv- 
able, and indeed, all that is unconceivable by any created mind. 
AnC. then, under what characters, as it is a self-originate ful- 
ness, an immense fulness, an unalterable fulness, incapable of 
any augmentation or diminution, and as it is an everlasting 

2. The next thing is to shew you what purposes this per- 
fect. All-sufficient fulness of God may answer. And indeed, it 
answers all that is any way desirable should be answered, or 
that it were to be wished should be answered. For, 

(I.) It answers tlie corresponding purpose of its own felici- 
ty, to be an everlasting felicity to himself, where there is the 
only correspondency, that it is any way possible it should other- 
wise be ; should any way be found between the fruitive faculty 
and the object. Here is an immense and boundless object for 
an immense fruitive faculty: nothing could satisfy God but 
God : there is a capacity not otherwise to be filled up. It was 
to be answered by nothing but himself, and therefore we must 
not suppose that there are any additions any way to that felicity 
from any thing without himself. He only enjoys himself and 
takes pleasure in his own designs. When he hath designs up- 
on such poor creatures as we, he only pleaseth himself in him- 
self, in his bountifulncss, the benignity and the kindness of his 
own design. Wlien he did, (he must be supposed to have done) 
even in the days and ages of eternity always retain with himself 
a design, '' 1 will raise up such and such creatures ;" such in 
particular as any of us ; "I will in their proper time and sea- 
son raise them up out of nothi'ig, on purpose to take them into 
a communion and participation with me in my own felicity, 
my own blessedness." What is it he was pleased with ? was it 
that he loved us or delighted in us ? He was self- pleased with 
the kindness and benignity of Jiisown design: not that any 
thing in us could draw his eye, his love, or his delight, but his 
kindness and goodness therein was its own reason. He shew- 
eth mercy because he will shew mercy. It was not that one 
was better than another, but from that goodness of his that is 
invariable, and can never be better than himself, the compla- 
cency that it was always apt to take in its own dcbignments. 

LEC. XVI II.) The Divine Al tributes — All- sufficiency. 61 

From hence it is, that he hath any such thing as delectation in 
a creature, only as he hath freely placed a design and made it 
terminate upon such a one, and so is pleased in tluit kindness 
and goodness which he haih in himself, and not in any dclec- 
tableness that was previously in the object. For as to that, 
there was no more in one than another, and if it were for that 
reason as such, then it must have followed that all would have 
a like participation in the felicity of the Divine Being. But 
this is the eminent, great purpose that the divine All-sufficient 
fulness serves for, even for his own eternal and invariable feli- 
city. Whence he hath so frequently the title and name of 
*' the ever-blessed God;" his own blessedness being his very 
essence, or essential to himself; so that he was never to be 
known under another name, or conceived of under another no- 
tion, than as the blessed One, the Fountain of all blessedness ; 
" The glorious gospel of the blessed God," saith the apostle, 
1 Tim. i. II. And " the blessed and only Potentate." i Tim. 
6. 15. And " the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who is blessed for evermore." 2 Cor. 11. 31. And so of 
Christ as he is God, he is said to be "over all, God bles- 
sed for ever." Rom. f). 5. "Blessed for ever," that is, only 
in himself as the only correspondent and adequate object of his 
own fruition. And, 

(2.) His most perfect Divine Fulness, appears to have 
been sufficient for the creation of this world : and (which is but 
doing the same thing continually) preserving it ever since it 
was created, even until now; not only bringing it Into being, 
a rude mass of being ; but settling and conserving of order in 
it, and that variety and distinction of creatures, which we be- 
hold and which indeed we must suppose to be the only effect of 
the All-sufficient perfection of a God. The very being of such 
a world speaks his power ; but the order that is in it and the 
variety of creatures wherewith it is replenished, and the con- 
tinued preservation of those distinct kinds and species through 
so many successive ages ; so that what this or that plant is, or 
at least was, so many thousand years ago, it continues to be the 
same, a thing of the same kind ; in the same rank or class of 
being still as it was. All this is by the All-sufficient, perfect 
fulness of a Deity that could answer such a purpose as this, to 
make such a mass of created beings exist and arise out of no- 
thing ; and that so much of order and distinction of kinds 
should obtain and be preserved even in this natural world, 
through so many successive ages unto this day. It was this 
that the perfect All-sufficiency of God did, and doth continually 
serve for* And, 


(3.) For the government of the Intelligent world ; so that 
wheresoever he hath intelligent creatures he can, by bare 
touches upon the mind, steer them and act them tliis way and 
that at his own pleasure : make great numbers of people at 
once to agree in one and the same design, all of them ; as God 
did toucii their minds in making Saul, king. And that is one 
instance that shews what is done throughout all the world, and 
all other ages, where all minds lie under the agency and influ- 
ence of one supreme, universal Mind. And otherwise, how 
were it possible tiiat all should conspire and agree to serve the 
same purpose and do the same thing. And again, 

(4.) This perfect. All-sufficient Fulness serves for the de- 
feating of the designs of his enemies ; so that he can with the 
greatest facility and ease, consume adversaries with a fire not 
blown, and make them "perish like their own dung :" and blow 
upon them with the breath of his nostrils and make every 
thing of opposition vanish when he will. And thereupon, as 
being perfectly Master of his own designs and having every 
thing in his own power with the times and seasons and ways of 
doing them, he lets enemies run on, foreseeing still at a dis- 
tance their day that is coming. He knows their day is coming, 
and in the mean time sits in heaven and laughs at them, *' the 
Most High hath them in derision :" them who say " Come, let 
ws break their bands asunder and let us cast away their cords 
from us :" as it is in the 2nd Psalm. 

(5.) It answers the purpose of sustaining and preserving his 
own, the people that he hath collected and chosen out of this 
world to be peculiar to himself, the whole community of them 
and every particular soul belonging to that community so as to 
lose none of them. He bears them up and carries them 
through all the temptations and conflicts and trials and exer- 
cises that they meet with here, in a sojourning state and in a 
warfaring state, so as that they are kept by his mighty power 
through faith unto salvation. And then, 

(G.) And lastly, this perfect and All-sufficient Fulness serves 
for their final satisfaction and blessedness, when they shall be 
brought into that region, into his "presence, where there is ful- 
ness of joy, and to his right hand where there are pleasures for 
evermore." Psalm 16. 11. And that which is felicity enough 
for himself^ will surely be enough for them too. 

LRC. XIX.) His Tncornmunicahh Attributes. <.'^ 


But now in the next place I shall speak further to you of 
some of the most eminent and noted of those attrihutos and 
perfections of God which are comprehended in this general 
one, and concerning the order of speaking to them, I shall not 
be much solicitous. Some distinguish them into negative and 
positive. But that distinction I reckon less material ; because 
that those tiiey call negative ones are so only verbally, there be- 
ing somewhat most really positive, that is comprehended un- 
der such negative terms, as infinite and immortal and im- 
mense and the like. They are usually distinguished into com- 
municable and incommunicable, as hath been occasionally told 
you already ; the former whereof, being those attributes of God 
of which there is some image and resemblance under the same 
name among the creatures. 

The Incommunicable Attrjbutes are those whereof 
there is no direct resemblance among the creatures, nor the 
very name thereof justly or properly to be given to any among 
them or to any thing that is to be found among thein. And 
for this distinction of the divine attributes, they speak very 
properly and congruous to the nature of the thing, who tell 
us, that in the description of God, the former smt of these 
attributes (the communicable ones) do serve to express his 
nature more generally, or serve to supply the room ofa^e- 
nerus in a definition. And that the incommunicable attributes 
serve to supply the place of a diference in a definition restrain- 
ing (as It is the business of a difference to do) that general na- 
ture, that is presupposed. 

And others again distinguish these several ways, that !<?, 
some do call every thing a divine attribute, which may be any 
way affirmed concerning God. When some others of them do 
only mean by a divine attribute, that which is affirmed con- 
cerning him, (as the logicians are wont to speak) " Loquiter 
quid," not '' in quo;" as when it is said, " God is a Spirit," 
that they do not reckon a divine attribute which is onlv to an- 
swer the question. What he is? But those things only are to be 
called attributes, or divine perfections, that do speak more dis- 
tinguishably concerning his nature, to shew what a one he is, 
or what a peculiar sort or kind of being he is. And so for 
one class of divine attributes some reckon his natural proper- 
ties which do some way specify his nature. 

* Preached June 12, \Gq\, 


And then for the second kind, the faculties which, (accord- 
ing to our way of conceiving things) we must attribute to him. 
And then for a third sort, the exercises that do reside in those 
several faculties, and for a fourth, those that do imitate the af- 
fections that are in us belonging to the rational nature, as it is 
to be found with us, such as love, anger, desire, delight or the 

I do not think fit indeed that wc should tie ourselves to any 
such distribution. What I mentioned before, of communica- 
ble attributes and incommunicable, carries its own evident rea- 
son with it, and its own light to every one that observes things. 
There are some divine excellencies whereof there is an image 
and resemblance in the creatures fitly mentioned, under the 
same name in him and in them, though they do not signify the 
same thing in them as they do in him, but only the image or 
resemblance of such a thing. And then there are those that 
are incommunicable, and which neither in name nor in like- 
ness can agree to the creature. This is a very plain distinction, 
obvious to any one that considers. 

For his incommunicable attributes they are such as these, 
and I shall but only mention them. As, 

1. His Simplicity, absolute uncompoundedness, all excel- 
lencies and perfections meeting, and being united in him, in 
the absolute unity of his own Nature without division, without 
composition and without mixture. 

2. His IMMUTABILITY, by whlcli he is alvva3'S invariably, 
eternally what he is. " I Am what 1 Am," without "shadow 
of turning," (as the apostle James's emphatical expression is) 
there being not so much as the shew of a change. 

3. His SELF-EXISTENCE, or (wlilch is all one) his necessa- 
ry existence, or the necessity of his existence. That perfection 
of the Divine Nature, by which he is so, as that it is simply 
impossible for bim not to be, or ever not to have been, his es- 
sence involving existence in it, so as it is not with any thing 
besides ; for as to any created being, it may be, or it may not 
be ; it may exist or not exist. But it Is peculiar to the Divine 
Being to exist necessarily, so as that it cannot but exist : that 
is the same thing with self-existence, not existing from ano- 
ther, but existing only from himself. And, 

4. His iNFiNiTENKSs, whlch Comprehends divers things in 
it ; for tlie infiniiy of the Divine Being, it is either extrinsical 
orinlrinsical : extrinsical as it imparts some kind of relation 
to somewhat nd extra, or without, and so the extrinsical infi- 
niteness of God is two fold : that which respects time and that 
which respects space. That which respects time is eternity. 

LEC. XIX.) His Incommtmicable Attributes. 65 

and that infinitely exceeds all the measures of time. Consider 
God's duration in reference to time, and his duration is eter- 
nal, which is founded in his self-existence, or his necessary 
existence, was told you before. His being, is of that peculiar 
kind or hath that peculiar excellency belonging to it that could 
never not be ; and therefore must exist from eternity, and 
must be to eternity. This is his extrinsical infiniteness in re- 
ference to time. And there is his infiniteness in reference to 
space, which is extrinsical too. It is somewhat supposed with- 
out, or besides himself; though but supposed or but imagined. 
All that space which the Divine Being doth occupy and pos- 
sess : and this is his immensity. In reference to time, his 
infiniteness speaks eternity, in reference to space his infi- 
niteness speaks immensity, that which some understand to 
be his omnipresence. And indeed, it is mostly so, but not 
wholly, for omnipresence even as presence is a relative term, 
and refers to somewhat with which it may be said to be pre- 
sent, and so the divine presence can reicr to nothing besides 
himself, without the compass of the created universe, for there 
is nothing without that, that he can be present to. But his 
Immensity hath an infinitely further reference, that is, to all 
the boundless, imaginable space (only imaginable) through 
which tiie Divine Being diffuseth itself. For not only is it truly 
said concerning him. He fills heaven and earth, " Do not I fill 
heaven and earth ? saith the Lord." Jer. 23, 24. Butalso, "the 
heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain him," 
as it is said in that seraphical prayer of Solomon at the dedica- 
tion of the temple " Will God indeed dwell with men on tlie 
earth, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain?" And so 
his infiniteness in reference to space, it doth, with.out any li- 
mits, go beyond and transcend this vast created universe, be 
that as vast as it can be supposed to be : and it must be sup- 
posed to be very vast indeed, by all that do set themselves to 
consider what is by human indication or inquiry to be found 
most considerable, and who allow themselves the liberty ever 
to think of that vast extent of created being, in comparison 
whereof not only our earth is but a point, but even that vortex 
that covers this part of the world to which the earth belongs, is 
but a mere pointy that which contains our sun, and the other 
planets; all that is but a mere point in comparison of the rest 
of the universe. Consider that, and the vast extent thereof, 
and you must yet consider, all this is but a mere point in com- 
parison of the vast amplitude of the Divine Being, concerning- 
which we are to conceive there is not any point of conceival>le 
space any where, but there the Divine Being is, and still infi- 
nitely beyond it. And indeed, it is fit we should give great 



scope to our thouglits, that we may as far as possible conceive 
in this respect worthily and greatly concerning that God whom 
we serve and whose name we bear, and to whom we profess to 
be devoted ones. 

But then there is his intrinsical infiniteness besides, that is, his 
infiniteness considered not with reference to any thing without 
him, but in reference to what he is in himself. And so it sig- 
nifies the unfathomable profundity and depth of his essence, 
including all being itself, in all the kinds, in all the degrees, 
and in all the perfections thereof; so as that there is no being 
of any kind, or of any sort, which his being doth not some way 
or other comprehend, virtually at least : his, being the radical 
Being from which all other beings spring. 

Concerning these Incommunicable Attributes, or perfections 
of the Divine Being, I shall say no more to you than only to give 
you this summary and short account that I have given, because 
in our demonstrating the existence a God it was impossible 
not to speak to these things: that was a thing not to be done 
without mentioning such things as these, even somewhat too in 
a way of demonstration, that demonstrating of them we might 
give some account of the Being whose existence we are to de- 
monstrate. But now there are sundry other divine attributes 
that I shall speak a little more distinctly to, and which lie under 
that other head of 

Cojnmunicable Attributes, and which therefore are more fa- 
miliar, and ought to be so to ourselves, as having some image, 
some resemblance of them, under the same names, in us ; all, 
either have, or ought to have -, some indeed have and cannot 
but have a resemblance in every intelligent creature, yea (and 
further than so) in every animate creature. And for those that 
fall under a moral consideration, they are such as ougnt to be 
in us, though they be not. These perfections of God are dis- 
tinguished into natural, intellectual, and moral j or of his na- 
t«re, mind, and will. 

First. I shall consider liis natural perfections : and, 

1. I shall begin with that perfection of the Divine Nature 
whereof there is in us some kind (and ought to be in other 
kinds) a resemblance or image under the same name. And 
that is, the Divink life, the life of God. I do not mean 
it now in that sense wherein it is a thing either derived to 
us, or prescribed to us. As in the one or the other, or both 
of these senses, that expression must be used and understood, 
(Eph.'l. 18.) " heing alienated from the life of God through 
the ignorance that is in them, and because of the blindness 
of their hearts," speaking of the Gentile world, and those 

LBC. Pix.) His natural Perfections. — Life. 67 

Ephesians themselves, while as yet they were in a state of gen- 
lilism. I do not, I say, speak of that life now which God re- 
quires us to live, and which he makes his own children to 
live. But I speak of that life which he lives himself; and 
in respect whereof he is so frequently in Scripture called *' the 
Living God," that excellency of his Being, which he many 
times attests, to add weight and solemnity and emphasis 
unto his protestations to men, to assure them that this is 
so, or not so, or that this or that he dotii, or doth not, or will 
do, or will not do. " As 1 live, saith the Lord, I have no plea- 
sure in the death of the wicked." And so, upon sundry like 
occasions, that form of protestation is used by him: "As I live 
I will do so or so, or it is so and so ;" which intimates this, to 
be a most glorious excellency of the Divine Being, and that 
which he lays a mighty stress upon himself, and would have 
us to do so too. It is that which should highly raise our 
thoughts and apprehensions of the Divine Being, to consider 
him as the living God: and therefore the properties of that life 
by which he lives, (after the general conception of life itself,) 
would be worth our v/hile a little to stay upon. ^Ve can have 
no other general conception of life, but that it is a self-active 
principle. It speaks a sort of self-aciiveness in the subject 
wherein it is : and so, being spoken of God, it attributes tiiat 
to him in the highest perfection that can be thought, and in- 
deed doth suppose it to be in him, in a perfection infinitely 
beyond what we can conceive : that is, that he is l)y the excel- 
lency of his own Being, a perpetual fountain of life to himself. 
It is that which is included in the notion of a spirit, though it 
is not expressive of all that is signified by that notion. It is 
but an inadequate conception of what is carried in the notion of 
a spirit. A spirit, it is, as such, (though that be not all) a self- 
active being, a being of self-actuating vigour, that can move 
itself within itself. And that is the most full and distinct con- 
ception that we have of life. But taking that for the general 
conception, there are peculiar excellencies of the Divine Life, 
that distinguish it from life any where else. As, 

(1.) His is absolutely self-originate. No other life is so; 
but his is absolutely self-originate. All other life is derived, 
participated, even such creatures to which life is essential, yet 
their life is but participated ; for admit, life is essential, (as it 
is to all created spirits as such) yet inasmuch as their being 
is participated and derived, so is tjieir life too; and their being, 
being a spiritual being, (though a created being) life is so es- 
sential to it, for if it ceaseth to live it ceaseth to be, and so its 
life and being are not separable things. It is not so with that 
life which our bodies do partake of: even in ourselveSj our 


bodies and our souls have two very distinct sorts of life, our 
bodies have but a borrowed life, a united life which they bor- 
row from the soul that is within them, and unto which they arc 
united. That soul may retire and part, and then the body dies, 
and yet it is the same body that it was before : so that if it cease 
to live, it doth not tliereby cease to be. These bodies of ours 
may cease to live, though not cease to be, because their life is 
a borrovved life from another : they have it from the soul. But 
the soul, that hath life in itself, essential to it ; so that it can- 
not cease to live, but it must cease to be. But though it be so, 
yet its essence and life are but derived from that great Original 
Life, and from that great Original Being whose life we now 
speak of. He is the well-spring of life, (psalm 36. 9.) '^ With 
thee is the fountain of life." It is equally impossible, as was 
said before, for him either to cease to live, or cease to be; where- 
as to us this impossibility is only supposed, it is only a supposi- 
tive impossil)ility. If we should cease to live, we should cease 
to be too, in reference to these souls of ours. But it is positive 
as to God, that he can neither cease to live nor cease to be. 
His is therefore an absolute self-original Life. He hath life in 
himself, or l>y himself, as that expression is, John 5. 26. " As 
the Father, (who we are told is our Father) which is in hea- 
ven is perfect," perfect in this respect, bath life in himself, a 
perpetual spring of life within himself, so hath the Son life 
in himself, as he is God, and as he is God-man ; life to com- 
municate and derive from himself to quicken whom he will, as 
it is in that context. And then, 

(2.) This life of God, as it is a self-original, so it is a self- 
communicative life; it is a self-commnnicating life. Not in the 
same kind, but it doth contain in itself eminently that life 
which it makes others to live, which it imparts unto creatures. 
Indeed they cannot live that same life, ior life being essential 
unto him in whom it originally is, to communicate his life were 
to communicate his essence, and so we make the creature, 
God which is impossible. But he contains eminently in him- 
self that life by which, formally, he makes the creature live. 
And so in that respect, the Divine Life, is self-communicative, 
causual, efficient, making those to live to whom he doth im- 
part it. With him is the well-spring of life. Now these two 
things are carried in the notion of a fountain : 1st. That there 
be a perpetual spring in it, and 2nd. that there be a communi- 
cation and eflux, a deriving of streams from that spring. These 
two things are carried in the very notion of a fountain. And so 
as he is the well-spring of life it imports, 

LEc. XIX.) His natural Perfections. — Life. GO 

[1.] That life that is in him to be self-original, he is the 
perpetual Spring of it, in himself and to himself. And then, 

[2.] Self-communicative, continually deriving streams issu- 
ing and flowing out to the creatures, so as to quicken whom he 
v.'ill, as it is said, " the Son doth, in that," John 5. 20. And 
[3.] This life of God is an indeficient life; a life that cannot 
decay, a life that cannot fail, a life that cannot languish, life 
always in the highest perfection, every thing in God being 
God, and therefore no more capable of diminution or decay, 
than the being of God is, which, as you have heard, is a neces- 
sary being, and therefore can never be otherwise than as he is, 
never more perfect, nor ever less perfect. And, 

[4.] It is universal life. The life which belongs to the Di- 
vine Being, is universal ; that is, it carries all kind of life emi- 
nently in it, not formally but eminently. You know that there 
is a great variety of the kinds of life among the creatures ; but 
all comes from one Fountain, and thereforethat life which doth 
belong to the blessed God himself, it must be a universal sort of 
life, a universality of life, all kinds of life are summed up there, 
not formally but eminently, there being no kind of life that is 
lived by any creature, from the most excellent to the most 
mean and abject, but the power of giving it, the power of im- 
parting it, being in himself who is the Original of life: he hath 
it witi)in his own power to make that creature live this or that 
sort of life suitable to the capacity of its own natm-e, and it is 
observable to this purpose, that in that passage. Psalm 42. 8. 
where the psalmist saith, "my prayer shall be to the God of 
my life;" in the Hebrew it is plural, to the God of my lives. 
And you know, a man (and more may be said in this kind 
concerning a holy man, a saint) lives several sorts of lives, as 
he lives a vegetative life, first the life of a plant, and then 
the sensitive life; the life of an animal, and then the rational 
life ; the life of a man, and then, if he be a saint, as you know 
the Psalmist was, a holy life. Now all these lives are compre- 
hended together in this one Fountain. " My prayer shall be 
to the God of my lives." It is he that makes me live all these 
several ways that I do live. As I live the life of a plant, I have 
it from him : as 1 live the life of an animal, I partake that life 
from him: as 1 live the life of a man, a rational creature, I still 
partake that life from him ; and as 1 live the life of a saint, a 
holy man, I partake that life from him too, which carries the 
nearest resemblance with it of his own life. 

And thus we are to conceive of our Father which is in hea- 
ven, to be perfect in respect of this high and glorious excellen- 
cy of life; self-original life, self-conimuuicative life^ indeii* 


cient life and universal life, that contains all sorts and kinds of 
life eminently in itself. 

And now to make some Use of this subject of the Iff e of 
Gody how highly should this raise our thoughts concerning that 
God whose name we bear, concerning our Father that is in 
heaven. It must highly serve to recommend him to us, 

1. As the Object of our worship. What a glorious object 
of worship have we ! How may our souls solace themselves 
every time we go to worship in the contemplation of this, " I 
am going to worship the living God i" So he is pleased to dis- 
tinguisli himself from the false gods, by this same epithet of 
the living One. Therefore, we have living and true, put toge- 
ther distinctly concerning him. 1 Thes. 1. 9. "To serve 
the living and true God." And it is with reference to the 
consideration of him as the glorious Object of our worship, that 
the apostle speaks of him, in Acts 14. 15. when those ignorant 
barbarians, among whom he was, would have done worship 
wnto him and Darnabas, he runs in among them and saith 
*' Sirs, why do you these things ? We also are men of like pas- 
sions with yourselves, and preach to you that you should turn 
from these vanities to the living God, who made heaven and 
earth and all things therein. " Our business is to bespeak you 
to be worshippers of the living God alone." Tlius doth the 
word magnify him above the inanimate, senseless deities of the 
pagan world, who were wont to v.'orship stocks and stones and 
the works of their own hands; and bow down and pray to a 
god that could not save. And how sliould we magnify to our- 
selves the Object of our worship, under this notion, and admire 
and bless God that he hath revealed himself to us, so as we are 
not left altogether ignorant wlioni we are to worship, that we 
do not vv'orship altogether we know not what. We know the 
Object of our worship carries iirit the reason of its own being 
worshipped, which renders it a rational worship. He is the 
living and so the true God Ivhom we worship. 

2. How highly sliould it recommend him to us as the Ob- 
ject of our trust. "Therefore we labour and suffer reproach, 
because we trust in the living God who is the Saviour of all 
men, especially of them that believe. 1 Tim. 4. 10. and 
chap. 6. 17 "Charge them which be rich in this world that 
they trust not in uncertain riches but in the living God, who 
giveth us richly all things to enjoy." How heart satisfying au 
Object of trust have we in this respect, considering God as the 
living God, the Fountain of an indeficient, never failing self- 
©riginal and universal life, in all the excellencies and perfec- 
tions of life. 

i,EC. xix.^ The lifii of God 7 i 

3. What an Object of fear have we even in tins conception 
of God, or from this divine attribute. " It is a fearful thini^ to 
fall into the hands of the living God." Heb. 10. 31. A man 
may be angry with mc, and he dies and then his anger dies 
with him ; but it is a fearful thing to fall into his hands v.ho 
never dies, the hands of the everlasting God. Who would not 
value his favour as that wherein stands life ? It should mighti- 
ly raise our apprehensions concerning God to conceive of him 
so. And, 

4. It highly recommends him to us as the Object of our 
imitation. For this is one of the divine excellencies or per- 
fections, wdiereof there is a mimesis, a resemblance under the 
same name in us. We do all of us live (as was said) several 
sorts of lives wherein we do resemble God. But we should 
most of all resemble him in a holy life, such of us vvl\o are 
raised from death to life, or shall be so. And herein it is the 
duty of every believer to resemble him. This is matter of pre- 
cept, a thing capable of being put into a command. It is no 
matter of duty to us to imitate him in the other kinds of life, 
but in this kind of life it is matter of duty to imitate him in it, 
that is, in the perfection of that life which is therefore called 
the life of God, because it is prescribed us by God, enjoined us 
by God and it is that wherein we are to imitate God. And 
therefore, it is called, even as it is in us, *' the life of God." 
Ephes. 4. IS. Others not yet reconciled to God, not brought 
home, but remain in their natural, unconverted state, they are 
" alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is 
in them because of the blindness of their hearts." We are to 
consider God, the living God, as the Object of our imitation : 
and therefore, should reflect with just severity upon ourselves ; 
*^Do we pretend a relation with the living God, and say he is 
our God ? O 1 then what mean our dead prayers, our dead 
duties, our dead hearts ! that we let them be dead, and do 
not strive and wrestle and contend with them, to get them 
up to this raised perfection of life wherein we are to resemble 
God, and to express a visible conformity to him !" It is a severe 
rebuke which is put upon the Sardian church. "Thou hast a 
name to live and art dead." It is plain, he doth not speak of 
a total death, or as if there was nothing of spiritual life among 
them, for in the next words he saith, " be watchful and 
strengthen the things that remain which are ready to die." 
There were great degrees of deadness, but strengthen (saith he) 
the remains of life, "the things that remain that are ready to 
die," and see how it is enforced, " for I have not seen thy 
works perfect before God." Your Jieavenly Father is in this 


respect perfect, as he is the living God, as life is in him in the 
highest pitch of [)erfection and excellency : " but I have not 
found your works perfect before me, as your heavenly Father 
is perfect;" therefore, "strengthen the things that remain that 
are ready to die;" that your life may shine in lustre and glory 
more suitably and conformably unto the divine lifcj unto the 
life of God himself. But now, 


2. In the next place I shall go on to speak somewhat 
concerning the powkr of god which is another natural per- 
fection in him, and is next of kin to the life of God. Once 
have I heard this, twice iiath it been spoken, that power be- 
longeth unto God, as in that 62 Psalm 1, verse. It is in him as 
in its native seat and subject. It belongs unto him. Nothing 
is more appropriate, more peculiar to God than power : and it 
so belongs to him as it can to no other. If we speak of 
strength, lo, he is strong : (as the expression is in Job) implying 
all created power is not to be spoken of in comparison with him. 
All other power is not to be named power, not worthy to bear 
that name. " Your heavenly Father is perfect" in this, as well 
as other respects: power is with him in perfection; the perfec- 
tion of power belongs to him. 

And here, concerning the power of God, I shall give you some 
instances and some properties of it. 

(1.) Some instances of it. As, 

[1.] That it hath been the sole, productive cause of this 
great creation. Consider all this vast creation as resolved back 
again into nothing : and then consider it all springing up out 
of nothing (as it were) at once. How vast a power is this ! 
Whatsoever in all the whole universe of created things you see 
or hear of, or can think of; all this is raised up out of nothing 
by the divine power. To bring any thing cit of nothing, how 
vast a power would it rcquirl?" how far surpassing any human, 
any created power ! If you could but suppose all the powers in 
all the world, if the whole creation were to be combined and 
united together only for this one single purpose, to make one 
single atom, the least that can be thouglit to be raised out of 
nothing, you would easily apprehend it would never be. If all 
the world were assembled to contrive and unite their power to 
make a grain of dust out of nothing, they must all confess it 

* Preached June 26, IO91. 

XEc. XX.) Mis Natural Perfections — Poiver. 73 

infinitely above them. Then to have so vast a creation as this 
made to arise out of nothing, at once from nothing come to 
being-, how should it overwhelm us to think of it; all that we 
now behold in being, and so far beyond, so inconceivably be- 
yond what we can behold it to be. This earth of ours, as' spa- 
cious as it is, is but a mere point, compared with our own vor- 
tex ; but a part, but a little corner of the creation, and that 
but a mere point in comparison with the rest of the universe; 
and all this spoken out of nothing into being by the great Cre- 
ator: the word of Divine Power but saying, '" Let it be," and 
it was. Lift up your eyes on high, as the prophet's direction 
is, Isaiah 49.18. and think who hath created all this : when 
you behold the sun, and moon, and stars, the vast expanse of 
the heavens, and all the ornature thereof. And again, 

[2.1 There is the continual sustentation of this world, once 
created and made, which is the same momently expense of 
power; for all created being, if not continually sustained must, 
by its own natural mutability, every moment be dropping into 
nothing. So that here is the same power put forth as if a new 
world were created every moment. And then, 

[3.] That all the motion that is any where to be found, 
throughout the whole universe continually proceeds so from it, 
that the divine power is the continual spring of it. A wonder- 
ful thing to think of! We are apt to have our thoughts soon 
excited and awakened concerning the divine power when we 
see some wonderful instance of it fall out, besides the ordinary 
course. When we behold the effects of some violent wind and 
impetuous tempest; if we see trees torn up by the roots, 
houses shattered down, all to pieces, mountains torn asunder, 
the bowels of the earth ript open, we straightway think these to 
be great instances of a mighty power. But the power is in- 
comparably greater that works continually and every moment 
\n all the motion that is any where through the universe, in the 
most still, and silent, and steady and composed way. The 
power that continually, but silently turns about the mighty orbs 
of heaven, and the great luminaries that are in it, and, as'some 
think, tliis very earth itself, in that still, unobserved way that 
we can take no notice of, which if it be, is incomparably less 
than that the so inconceivably greater body of the sun should be 
moved in so inconceivably greater a space, so much larger in 
circuit, so vastly large, with that celerity that must answer 
what we expect and see every day. What must that power be 
that goes forth in this ? Such motion of the heavenly bodies 
that we find move the sun, and moon, and other planets, be- 
sides all the innumerable stars, multitudes whereof are so un- 

YOL. VII, j^ 


speakably greater than the body of the sun, and that so vastly 
greater than this earth of ours: and all these continually turned 
about by a motive power : which because it is steady and con- 
stant we are therefore so stupid as not to take notice of it, or 
adore what is doing by it every rHoment, without failure, with- 
out stop, even for one moment. We are to blame that we do 
not more use our thoughts this way, to aggrandize to ourselves 
the greatness of him that made all things, and us little inconsi- 
derable parts of them all. And again, 

[4.] That this power doth work constantly and steadily with 
nature in a natural way, and extraordinarily, whensoever he will 
to whom it belongs, against nature. Here is what doth de- 
monstrate it to be the exceeding greatness of his power, it is 
vastly great, as it co-operates with nature, as it works with na- 
ture. And how vastly great doth it appear as it counterworks 
fiature in several respects, and at his pleasure whose power it 
is. It was great power that could make such a thing as fire 
to burn, to seize and prey upon other matter, and devour and 
consume it. But how much greater power doth it require to 
make fire not to burn, to bind up the natural tendency of it, as 
in the instance of the three children. It was a great power to 
make that great element of water to flow along every where as he 
hath assigned its receptacles and channels ; and greater again 
when he pleaseth to make it not to flow, to congeal, as it were, 
and to stand up the mighty waves on a heap. And again, 

[5.] If we look a little into another sort of species, what a 
weighty instance of this power was it to support the manhood of 
Christ under those sufferings of his, which he, as to satisfaction 
for the sins of men, and in which capacity only he was capable 
of suffering ; to wit, as he was man, for he could not suffer as he 
was God. That that man should be able to bear the weight 
and load of all that guilt, which he undertook to expiate by his 
blood, which blood was necessary to expiate it, and to lay a 
foundation for the preaching of the gospel, which saith, *' who- 
soever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting 
life :" that he did not sink under that weight and load of guilt, 
and under the power of divine wrath, when ail our iniquities 
did meet on him : that he, one single man should be sustain- 
ed and borne up, when so vast a load and weight of guilt lay 
upon him : here was the power of the Godhead sustaining 
that one man. It was because he was Immanuel, ** God with 
us," God in our nature. That that nature did not fail, did not 
sink under that mighty load : that that man should stand as the 
fellow of God, when the sword waa drawn to strike that man 
his fellow : that he should stand against him and not be de- 

iEC. XX.) His Natural Perfections. — Power, 75 

tioyed, and not be overcome, is a great power. And again 

[6.] What an instance of the divine power was ti»c resur- 
rection of that man? Sniiiten he was, and smitten down unto 
death, into the grave. And yet out from thence he springs up 
anew, by a divine power, " and was declared to be the Son of 
God, with power by the Spirit of holiness, by which he was 
raised from the dead." It was an exceeding greatness of power, 
as you read, Ephcs. 1. 19. which he v/rought in him, or ex- 
erted, or put forth in him, when he raised him from the dead. 
And again, 

[7.] What an instance is it of the power of God, when he 
changes the lieart of a sinner, when he renevveth and reducetii 
a lapsed, fallen, apostate, degenerate creature ; that is, espe- 
cially when he changeth his will, the primary, main seat of that 
mighty change. " Thy people shall be a willing people in the 
day of thy power." Here is the perfection of divine power 
to be seen in this: for most plain it is, as I said before about 
creation, that if all the power of all this world were combined 
together for this one effect, to alter the will of one single man, 
it could never be done ; you know how to crush, how to tear 
him into a thousand pieces, but no man knows which way to 
change the will of a man, not in any instance whatsoever, un- 
less God change it himself. In instances of common concern- 
ment, nobody hath power over another man's will ; all the 
power of all this earth is not able to change my will if 1 have 
set it this way or that. But his people shall be a willing peo- 
ple in the day of his power : your heavenly Father is perfect, 
perfect in power in that he knows without doing violence to 
his creature, without offering any thing that shall be unsuita- 
ble or repugnant to its nature, to change its will. He knows 
how to govern his creatures according to their natures : though 
he knows how to rule and govern them, yea, to over-rule them 
contrary to their nature when he will, yet he chooses to govern 
his rational, intelligent creatures according to their nature, 
and so agreeably changes the hearts of men, according to that 
natural way wherein the human faculties are wont to work ; a 
thing that all the pov/ers of the whole world could never do be- 
sides. And again, 

[8.] What an instance is it of his power to uphold the life 
of a regenerate soul, during its course through this world ! A 
great instance this is, that their heavenly Father is perfect in 
power. For most certain it is, as soon as any one production 
of this kind appears, if there be a child born, a son of God born 
from above, all the powers of hell and darkness are presently at 


work, if it might be, to destroy this new, this divine production. 
But it is enabled to overcome. "He that is born of God 
fceepeth himself, that the evil one toucheth him not :" and 
*' he that is born of God overcometh the world." This is by a 
divine power annexing itself to, and working in, and with, this 
new creature. The apostle speaking of one weak in the faith, 
(Rom. H. 1.) weary in the faith, as the original signifies, 
£hews tliat such a one might be received, but not to doubtful 
disputations : for God (saith he) is able to make him stand. 
This poor weakling, one that is weak in the faith, receive him 
(saith he) for God (as despicable a thing as he appears) is able 
to make him stand. Every new-born child is weak, and we 
must conceive so concerning every regenerate soul : he is at first 
Vv^eak, and they are always too weak, (God knows) as long as 
they remain here in this world. They have distempers, weak- 
ening distempers always about them. But concerning such a 
weakling, that it should be said, " God is able to make him 
stand," makes it to be an instance of a divine, enabling power 
that ever he should be made to stand. And it is the like case 
where such are tipoken of under the notion of bruised reeds, to 
make a bruised reed stand against all the shocks of hell, when 
all the infernal powers are engaged to overthrow it : God shews 
that he is able to make it stand. And thus it is with such a 
poor creature all the time of his abode upon earth, hell is en- 
gaged in a continual conflict against his precious life, and pur- 
posely and with a design to destroy that. But God is able to 
make it stand, it lives as a spark amidst the raging ocean, and 
is never extinct but always lives. What an instance of the di- 
vine power is this ! And again, 

[9.] Restraining the wrath of man combined with the pow- 
er of hell against his church in this world. He hath built this 
churcii upon a Rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against 
it. The design hath been always driven, and the attempt con- 
tinually renewed from age to age. One age hath been in- 
dustriously at it to root religion out of the world, to extinguish 
the divine seed, but they could make nothing of it : another 
age rises up after them, *^Come (say they) let us handle the 
matter far more wisely and take better methods and carry it 
more secretly, that we may do our business more securely, and 
see what we can do to extinguish and root out religion :" and 
so the age after that, and then the next after that, and so from 
age to age until this age, and yet the thing is not done : yet 
this church remains, and is still in being, and is yet propagat- 
ing itself. This is owing to the perfection of divine power. 
Their Father which is in heaven is perfect, perfect in this pow- 

LEG. XX.) His Natural Perfections. — -Poiver. 77^ 

er of his, by which lie conquers all the powers which are en- 
gag'ed against his poor church in this world, he triumphs over 
the feeble and impotent attemjns of men and devils. " He 
that sits in the heavens laughs, tlie Most High has them in de- 
rision." Tlie wrath of man shall praise him and the remain- 
der thereof will he restrain. Psalm J6. 10. The wrath of 
man he turns to his praise ; he makes niatter of praise and 
triumph to himself that the wrath of man goes forth ; pleasing 
himself with this, " How shall these wretched creatures see 
themselves foiled and baffled within a little while 1" He raiseth 
trophies and triumphs to the greatness of his power, from all 
the wrath of man that goes forth. And that which shall not 
belong to his praise, all that he will restrain. FJe can let It go 
forth as he pleaseth, and restrain the remainder thereof as he 
pleaseth. What he lets go forth, creates to himself a name 
upon its going forth, and he suppresseth the rest. And though 
I might thus multiply instances, I shall add but this one more : 
and that is, 

[10.] The power he shews in forbearing and sparing a sin- 
ful world, and (upon his own prescribed terms) here and there, 
as he pleaseth, pardoning and forgiving particular sinners. 
This is a power which in some respects surmounts all the rest, 
oran instance of power that surpasseth all other instances. la 
other instances, his power shews itself in mastering of a crea- 
ture, or outdoing all created power, but herein he useth a cer- 
tain sort of power over himself, restraining his own great wrath, 
omnipotent wrath, that it break not forth to consume a world, 
and turn it into flames, as it righteously miglit have done many 
ages ago. " Let the power of my Lord be great according as 
thou hast said. The Lord is gracious and merciful, and of 
great forbearance, forgiving iniquities, transgression and sin." 
Let the power of my Lord be great. O ! how great is his pow- 
er over this world 1 But how much greater is his power over 
himself, when he withholds his anger, and lets not his fury go 
forth to consume and make an end of sinners, as he easily could 
in a moment. But, 

(2.) I shall in the next place, after these instances, give you 
some properties of this divine power. It is, 

[1.] Original, as must be said of all divine attributes. All 
other power is derived, secondary, borrowed, participated from 
another; but the divine power, God is beholden to none for; 
it is self-sprung, self-original. *'This have 1 heard," saith the 
Psalmist, "once and again, that power belongeth unto God." 
It is in him, as in its native subject. His is the first power, the 
very beginning of power. It is in him as in the root and foun- 


tain: and so he is of himself, the mighty One. " If we speak 
of strength, he is strong." Job 9. 19. As if it had been said. 
All other strength is not worth the speaking of. If we speak of 
strength, meaning a strength fit to be spoken of, or mentioned 
under that name, that is divine strength. The divine is self- 
originate, it is in him as in its first original. And again, 

[2.] It is irresistible, or invincible, not to be resisted if he 
pleaseth, and not to be overcome however. He will work and 
none shall let it. His work shall go on, of whatsoever kind it 
be ; if he have designed it once, resolved it once, it shall be 
done through all, whatsoever opposition. Saith that man of 
God Moses, that great man, (Deut. 32. 3. designing there to 
give an account of God) " Because I will publish the name of 
the Lord, ascribe ye greatness unto our God : He is the rock, 
his work is perfect." It is spoken concerning him and his 
work as a stated, settled chiuacter, that whatsoever work he 
resolves upon, he will make thorough work of it ; and so his 
work shall bear the heavenly image upon it. Your heavenly 
Father is perfect, and his work is perfect, carried on irresistibly, 
whatsoever it is, upon which he sets his great heart, against all 
opposition. And again, 

[3.] He is a self-moderating power ; a power that can mo- 
derate itself. Indeed, the power of all intelligent beings is 
more or less so. It belongs only to brute agents to act, aid m/- 
timum. Intelligent ones can govern their own power. But 
such is the divine power in perfection, a self-governing power 
that doth not go forth ad ultimum. He can temper it as he 
pleaseth, and there is a most observable indication of the 
peculiar excellency of his power in this respect continually, 
though men observe it not, though men take no notice of it, 
that it is self-moderating, as was said before, there could be no 
such thing as motion any where throughout this great creation 
of God ; but through a motive power from him, even his own 
motive power, he being the first mover ; no hand turns, no 
creature moves but by a participation of a power from him, the 
great Fountain of all power. But now supposing without the 
creation, apart from the creation, so vast a power (as the divine 
appears to be) to go forth without moderation, without restraint, 
if once there were such a consistent thing and this world, by 
any means formed and connected together, I say by any means 
formed and connected together, that divine power, not self- mo- 
derated power, must needs shatter this consistent world all in 
pieces in a moment. If that power were not self-moderated, so 
that things are guided and moved in a steady, orderly course, it 
must be so. How easily doth a great wmd throw down ^ 

LEC. XX.) Uis Natural Perfections. — Fower, 79 

house ! Then so vast a power going forth from the Creator of 
this world, supposing it compacted, congested, brought to a 
consistent thing aheady, must needs shatter it all in pieces if 
that power were not self-moderated that goes forth upon it. 
And again, * 

[4.] An infinite power; that is a further property of it. 
How often is the great God, our God, our heavenly Father ce- 
lebrated as the Almighty. " I know that thou canst do all 
things," saith humbled, convinced Job, when God puzzled 
him with so often repeated, " Canst thou ? Canst thou do 
this ? and canst thou do that thou seest done ? and where wast 
thou when I did so and so ? when I laid the foundations of the 
earth? where wast thou when the morning stars sang together? 
who ever thought of thee in that age?" When God had thus 
argued with him and brought him down to the dust, (chap. 
42.) he saiih, "I know thou canst do all things and that no 
thought can be withheld from thee." That is, *' Whatsoever 
thou thinkest to do, nothing can withhold thy thought from 
proceeding to execution, from coming into fact, if thou wilt do 
it. Thou hast an unbounded power without limits." But 
this must be duly understood. It is to be noted here. 

First. Concerning the infiniteness of the divine power, its 
omnipotency, its almightiness, that it can never exemplify it- 
self by an infinite effect. As it doth not follow, because di- 
vine power is infinite therefore the world created by that pow- 
er is, or could be infinite : or, that it was possible for God to 
make an infinite one ; you would think that strange perhaps. 
Cannot an infinite power produce an infinite effect ? Can it 
produce an effect contrary to itself? No, but yet the other is 
impossible : and the reason is so plain, that I think when you 
consider it, every one will understand it. That is, if you should 
suppose the infinite power of God to have made an infinite ef- 
fect, this infinite effect can be made no better, no greater than it 
is; for nothing can be added to what is infinite; and if so, then 
that infinite power could do nothing more. So that it is a con- 
tradiction for an infinite cause to produce an infinite effect, for 
an infinite cause, would be exhausted by producing an infinite 
effect : but an infinite cause can never be exhausted, therefore 
an infinite effect can never be produced by it. That is, it can 
never be said concerning an infinite cause, that it can do no 
more. But if it should have produced an infinite effect it 
could do no more, iov nothing can be added to what is infinite. 

Secondly. This is to be farther noted, that this infinite 
power, omnipotence, almightiness, it caunot d^o iujpossible 


things, neither things naturally impossible, nor things morally 

i. Not things naturally impossible. It can give being to 
nothing that carries self-repugnance in it, thai should imply a 
contradiction if such a thing should be. Whatsoever implies a 
contradiction is no object of omnipotency. As for instance, to 
make that not to be ; that is, while it is, to make a thing to be 
and not to be at the same time ; or to make a thing that hath 
been, not to have been. Tliis implies a contradiction, this is 
naturally impossible and so, by consequence, is not an object 
of almightiness. And, 

ii. Any thing that carries in it a moral impossibility is no 
object of divine power. To do an unjust thing, to lie, is im- 
possible with God, impossible to his nature ; and therefore, when 
we speak of the infiniteness of divine power, the perfection, the 
absolute perfection of it, we are to consider this as it is con- 
joined with other divine perfections, and so we are not to mea- 
sure our notion, or conception of the divine power, by what it, 
abstractly considered, can do, but as it is the power of a Be- 
ing in all other respects absolutely perfect. It is one thing 
therefore to inquire and determine what almighty power, con- 
sidered apart by itself, can do, and another thing to consider 
what almighty power in conjunction with all other divine per- 
fections can do, as it is in conjunction with holiness, justice, 
mercy, and wisdom. And it can never work but as it is in con- 
junction with these, as it is joined with all these together. 
Though God be almighty, omnipotent, he cannot do any unjust 
thing, an inept thing, a foolish thing. This were impotency, 
not omnipotency. It would speak him impotent, not omnipo- 
tent : it were an imperfection of power, not a perfection of it. 
We must consider him as perfect in power, and it would be an 
imperfection of power to suppose him enabled to do any thing 
that were unfit to be done. And then, 

[5.] In the last place, his is eternal power. His eternal 
power and Godhead go together, " Trust in the Lord for ever, 
for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." A perpetual, 
never failing spring, he is in this, as he is in all the attributes and 
excellencies of his being; " I Am that I Am. What I Am, 
I am without variableness, or without shadow of turning." 
That continual expense of power that hath been ever since the 
creation, first arose out of nothing, hath not made that power 
suffer any diminution, nor can it suffer any. He is still the 
same, without variableness, without mutation, without so 
much as the shadow of a turn, of a decay, of any failure. 

Let us make some Use of this. 

tEC. XX.) His ICatural Perfections. — Power. 81 

1. Labour deeply to apprehend this perfection of tlie Divlna 
Being : fix the apprehension of it : let all our hearts say with- 
in us, " Lord we subscribe, we agree, we yield to the light 
and evidence of divine trutli concerning th.y divine power." It 
is a lamentable case that the clearest notion of divine truth 
should be with us, as if we held the quite contrary, so as that 
with reference to effects, and impressions upon our spirits, it 
were all one to us, to believe that God were omnipotent, and 
had all power, infinite power, and to believe he had no power. 
It is a reproach to us, that our notions of truth, when they are 
never so plain, are so insiirnificant, so void of effect, and of 
their proper correspondent impression upon us. 

2. Take heed of admitting disputations against tlie divine 
power. Let the foundation be once firmly laid with you, that 
power belongs to him in its highest perfection ; and then ad- 
mit no disputations against it. We are too prone to do so, to 
inisimpute things, to impute things wrong that we take notice 
of, and that come under our observation, and make that a cause 
which is not a cause ; we think that things do go in this world 
many times very irregularly, and so as we wish they might not, 
or they did not do, and secret atheism unobservedly slides in 
and insinuates itself. "If there be a perfect One, perfect in 
power as he is in all his other attributes, why are tilings thus ? 
why do they go thus? why is not what is amiss redressed, and 
presently redressed ?" But, as was said before, we are not to 
judge of what the divine power c«w do, but to consider it in 
conjunction with other attributes : consider it in conjunction 
with perfect wisdom, as we shall have occasion afterwards to 
apeak, consider it in conjunction with perfect liberty and with 
absolute sovereignty. If we did consider things thus," Wo are 
not to imagine that the divine power is to he exerted according 
to our will, but according to his will," dispute would cease, the 
matter would drop : we should presently say, "I yield the cause, 
he knows better how to use his own power than 1 can direct 
him." *Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, and who, 
being his counsellor, hath instructed him ?' And, 

3. That it may be so, let us labour to get our spirits into an 
adoring frame and disposition towards him under this notion, as 
our heavenly Father who is perfect in power, as the perfection 
of power is in him. Let him be ahvays great and admirable in 
our eyes under that notion, and so considered. And further, 

4. Let us glory in him upon that account : let our hearts 
exult in the thoughts that our heavenly Father is perfect in this 
respect. Walk accordingly in his name, glory in it, make your 
boast of him all the day long. This hath been the temper and 

TOL. VII. yi 


genius that hath governed among a people related to him 
heretofore. "Our God Is In heaven and he hath done whatso- 
ever pleased him." When all people are wont to walk each one 
in the name of his god, why should not we walk in the name 
of the Lord our God? Their gods that are no gods, they please 
themselves with and take a kind of pride in owning them. O 
how warrantable a matter of gloriation have we, to go with hearts 
lifted up in the name of our God ! Our God is in the heavens, 
and doth whatsoever pleaseth him : and can with the greatest 
facility carry every cause that he is engaged in. He cannot fail, 
finally to own and right all that are brought to him, and adhere 
to him, whatsoever their present excuses for awhile may be, 
.Learn hence again, 

5. To value an interest in him, and covet it, and labour to 
make it sure and clear. Who can but think it the most desi- 
rable thing in all the world, to have him who is so infinitely 
perfect in this, as in all other respects, for their God r How se- 
cure would it make a man's heart, how quiet and rationally 
quiet to think, that power, all power, is in the hands of my Fa- 
ther ! My Father can do whatsoever he will, he hath all power 
in his hand. And then, 

6. When you have made it your business to secure an inter- 
est in him upon this account, and under this notion, then trust 
in him under the same notion. Exercise a daily, vital trust 
upon him. *' Trust in the Lord for ever, for with the Lord Je- 
hovah is everlasting strength." Isaiah 26. 4. See how things 
correspond there, "Trust in the Lord:" "Why," might the soul 
say, "I have need of a God, and a strong one to trust in." In the 
Lord Jehovah is strength j trust in him. " But I have need of 
strength forever, being made to live for ever." In him is everlast- 
ing strength ; so that you have as much reason to trust in him to 
day as you had yesterday, and will have to-morrow as you had to 
day : for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, strength 
that -will never fail, and it is trust that must keep you from fall- 
ing. " He gives power to the faint and to them that have no 
might he increascth strength;" and "they that wait on the 
Lord shall renew their strength." Isaiah 40. 29. 31. And, 

7- Lastly, Dread to have him for an enemy. O! consider the 
fearful case of such as are engaged in a contest with him ! Con- 
sider their folly, their madness, their misery ; and labour to 
keep at the remotest distance from their state : fly from that 
sort of men as a dreadful spectacle; you fly from among them 
by ceasing to be of them. That is, by seeking reconciliation 
with God, and an interest in him, and striking a covenant with 
him, then you arc delivered from being of them j but think in 

LEC. XXI.) His Intellectual Perfsctions. — Ktiotv/edge. 8S 

the meanwhile with pity and compassion, what mad creatures 
they are, that are engaged in a contest against omnipotency, 
*' Woe to him that strives witli his Maker! Let the potsherds 
strive with tiie potsherds of the earth." But what ! shall a pot- 
sherd of the earth strive with all the powers of heaven ? How 
unequal a match, how mad a choice is this ! And from thence 
take your measure of what is like to become of all tlic contes- 
tations in this world against God, and against his interest. We 
are not to prescribe to him concerning the times and seasons 
and methods : but do you see a sort, a generation of men set 
against God and godliness ? It is easy to judge the event ; you 
may easily foresee the effects in the power of their productive 

And thus I have gone through those attributes which we cull 
his natural perfections. 


Secondly, I shall now come to speak of those perfections of 
God that are to be considered under the head of bitellectual 
ones, and there we have these two to consider and speak of, as 
more eminent perfections, the knowledge of god, and his 
WISDOM. These are great perfections of the Divine Mind, 
wherein we must understand our heavenly Father to be perfect, 
as the text stiles him. I shall speak to these both together, they 
being congenerous, and of one sort and kind, though they are 
to be conceived of by us, with some distinction. And, 

1. For HIS KXOWLEDGE : our heavenly Father is perfect in 
this respect ; or his knowledge is most perfect knowledge. It 
appears to be so, both in respect of the peculiar nature of it, 
and in respect of its extent, with reference to the objects about 
which it is conversant. 

(1.) In respect to the peculiarity of its nature : it is know- 
ledge of such a kind as is appropriate to God only : that is, upon^ 
this account principally, that it is entirely intuitive not discur- 
sive. It is not such a sort of knowledge as that by which we 
proceed, as we do from the knowledge of plainer and more ob- 
vious things to the knowledge of those that are darker and more 
obscure. But his knowledge of all he knows Is simultaneous, 
that is, he knows all things at once, all at one view. We come 
to know some things by the knowledge of others which we 
foreknew, and so are fain to lead on our minds from step to 

* Preached October the 9th; l(Jgi. 


Step, and from point to point. The case is not so with him. 
All things are at once naked and manifest to his view, so as that, 
thou^,^h he doth see the connexion of things and knows them to 
be connected; yet he doth not know them or any of them because 
they are so connected ; that is, because he knows such things, 
therefore knows such other things as are connected therewith, as 
it is with us, while we proceed by rotation from the knowledge 
of some things to the knowledge of more. His is in this res- 
pect most perfect knowledge. And, 

(2.) It is so in respect of its extent, in reference to the objects 
known. And we must, 

[1.] Suppose the extent of this knowledge so vast as to 
reach simply unto all things : that is, not only all things that 
do exist, but all things that are even possible to do so. In 
this respect, with reference to the objects of divine knowledge, 
it is aptly wont to be distinguished into that which they call 
Simplkis intelligeyitia et imrcs visiords. It is no matter for 
opening to you those terms ; but the thing intended to be sig- 
nified by the one and the other is briefly this — that God doth 
not only know all those things that shall certainly be, but all 
those things that are possible to be. And so in that respect 
the object of his knowledge is equal to his power. There is 
nothing possible but what he can do, but what he can effect. 
Every thing is possible to him because he can make it to be. 
And so vast as that mnhitus^ circle of his omnipotence, so vast 
also is the object of his knowledge or omniscience ; that is, he 
knows whatsoever he can do he knows the utmost extent of 
his own power though he never intends to do actually all he can. 
But then, 

[2.] The perfection of this knowledge, in reference to the 
object of it, is most especially conspicuous in two things, name- 
Jy> — that he knows all futurities and — that he knows all the 
most secret thoughts and purposes of men, or generally of his 
intelligent creatures. 

First. That he knows all contingent futurities. It is needful 
you should understand me right here, not only bare futurities, 
that is, things that shall certainly come to pass. There are 
many men can certainly foretell many future things : that is, 
natural futurities and such as do depend upon certain and set- 
tled causes ; as when it is morning, the night will come, when 
the sun is risen, that it will set, when the sea has ebbed, that 
it will flow, and the likej but contingent futurities mean 
quite another thing, that is, such futurities as do depend upon 
free causes, such as do depend upon the will and pleasure 
of such creatures as have a certain sort of liberty belonging 
to their nature. And thence comes that miracle of pro- 

LEC. XXI.) His Intellectual Perfections. — Knowledge. 85 

phesylng; that God should be able to tell so distinctly and 
with such certainty, for many ages yet to come, that such 
and such tilings, men will do. Nor are we to think so de- 
basingly of this knowledge of God as to suppose it depends 
only upon this his purpose to make a man do whatsoever he 
knows he will do ; which indeed were to debase it into the very 
dirt, and to make him accessary to all the impurities and wick- 
edness in the creation, by men or devils. And it is to narrow 
it as much as to debase it r that is, to suppose that he could 
hot know that men would do so and so unless he would make 
them do the very things that he forbids them, in the very cir- 
cumstances wherein he forbids them. And this indeed were to 
subvert the whole entire notion of divine forbearance and per- 
niissive providence. As when we are told (Rom. 3. 25) ^'I'hat 
God set forth his Son to be a propitiation through faith in his 
blood, for the remission of sins that are pa*^t, through the forbear- 
ance of God." To suppose that sin should be past, through 
the forbearance of God, that is, that he forbearing men, they 
sin, were a subverting the notion of forbearance, if he made 
them do (by a positive effective influence) all that they do in a 
way of sin, though the thing be never so apparently evil in itself 
most intrinsically evil, as the very act of hating himself. To 
suppose that he should only so know this or that, that he should 
be ignorant who should hate him and who should not, among the 
children of men, unless he should make them hate him, and 
determine to make them do so that he might know what they 
would do ; this were not only to debase, but infinitely to nar- 
row this knowledge of God. To suppose that he cannot know but 
upon such and such terms, or in the same way wherein tlie 
devil hath some certain foreknowledge of what he intends to 
his uttermost to make men do, must infinitely debase and nar- 
row his knowledge. He is not an idle or unconcerned super- 
visor of the affairs of this world, and doth not only foreknow 
whatsoever one will do, but he knows too how to limit their ac- 
tions and how to restrain and how to convert and turn to good, 
what they do with the most evil and mischievous intentions and 
designs, but upon this it is that he doth demonstrate his God- 
head, that he is able to declare future things long before they 
come to pass, and did so ; that he hath given such predictions 
of what should be, long before it was. In many places of the 
prophet Isaiah he doth, as it were, magnify his own Deity in 
opposition to the paganish gods, by this, that he hath declared 
the end from the beginning, even what shall be in all after- 
times. As in the 41 . 44. and 48. chapters of that prophecy we 
have many passages of that import. And in that 41 chapter, 
verse 22, 23a he doth, (as it were) provoke and challenge the 


heathen deities to demonstrate their Godhead this way. " Pro- 
duce your cause," (saith he) " let them declare things to come, 
that we may know that they are gods :" as if he had said, "Let 
them never talk of being gods, or that there is any such thing 
as deity belonging to such despicable idols unless they caa 
foretell things to come. And this is the true import of that 
great scripture : Rev. 19. 10. " The testimony of J. sus is 
the spirit of prophecy :" that is, that which should demonstrate 
the truth of the Christian religion or prove against all con- 
tradiction that Jesus was the Christ, was the spirit of pro- 
phecy so long before, that he should come at such a time and 
in such circumstances into the world as eventually he did, 

Secondly. This perfection of divine knowledge is most eminent- 
ly conspicuous in this too, his knowledge of the hearts of men; 
that he knows the most secret thoughts and purposes of men's 
hearts, and looks into them with an eye that injects fiery beams. 
He hath an eye as a flame of fire, that searcheth hearts and 
tries veins ; so as that when there is (as it were) a challenge givea 
to all this world ; " Who can know tlie heart of man?" It "is de- 
ceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know 
it ?" (Jer. 17. 9.) here comes one, that answers the challenge, 
" I the Lord search the heart and try the reins." And this is 
one of the great things that both demonstrates and magniHes 
his Godhead. Amos 4. 13. " He that formed the mountains 
and created the wind, and that declares to man what is his 
thought, the Lord, the God of hosts is his name." 

I shall not further insist on this, but pass on to the other 
intellectual perfection, in respect v,'hereof we also ought to 
conceive our heavenly Father is perfect; that is, 

2. His wisdom. He is pei-fect in being perfectly wise, all- 
wise as well as all-knowing. I told you we were to speak of 
these perfections of the Divine Nature, and conceive of them, 
according to what analogy they have to such things as go under 
the same names with us, and so wisdom and knowledge are two 
distinct things. Many know much who are not wise : but so we 
are to conceive of the perfections of our heavenly Father, that 
he is not only most perfectly knowing, but most perfectly wise 
also. Wisdom, you know, is commonly distinguished into spe- 
culative and practical: sapience and prudence. Indeed, the 
former doth not greatly differ from knowledge but somewhat it 
doth. It is not needful for me to stay to explain to you the 
distinct notions of intelligence, sapience and science. The 
first whereof, is the knowledge of principles, the last of con" 
elusions, and the jniddle comprehends both together. 

I.EC. XYi.) " His Intellectual Perfections.— fVisdom. S/ 

But besides what hath been said concerning the knowledare 
of God, it will be of more concernment to us to consider his 
wisdom, as it corresponds to that which with men is called 
prudence, as the expression is Prov. 8. 1 2. for both are most 
conjunct with him. " I wisdom dwell with prudence." And 
so this wisdom lies in always proposing to himself the best and 
most valuable end : and choosing the aptest and most suitable 
measures and means for computing it. According as any one 
doth more perfectly both these, he ought to be accounted more 
perfectly wise. Now his end is known to every one that knows 
any thing of God, he cannot but be his own end. As he is the 
Author so he must be the End of all things for himself. He 
hath made all things for himself, by the clearest and most in- 
disputable right. There could never have been any thing but 
by him, and it is not to be supposed that he should make a 
creature to be his own end. It would not consist witli the 
wisdom of a God, that he should do so : it were indeed to make 
a creature to be a God to itself, or that he should upon such 
terms make a creature to ungod himself. And whereas, the 
just display of his own glory Is the means to his end, his doing 
that, is most conspicuous in such things as these, to wit, in the 
creation of tlie world, in his providential government of his 
creatures, in the mighty work of redemption, wherein he 
hath abounded in all wisdom and prudence j and in the conduct 
of his redeemed through all the difficulties of time to their eter- 
nal state. 

These are the means; or his actual displaying or diffusing of 
the beams of liis glory in all these ways, is that by which he 
doth effect his own glory, make it to shine as that he is there- 
upon the most worthy and becoming Object unto all eternity, of 
all the adoration and praise of his intelligent creatures; the 
most worthy and deserving Object, whatsoever is done, or not 
done by any of them. My limits will not allow me to insist, at 
least not largely, on these things, 

(1.) The creation of the world. What a display of wisdom 
was there in that ! If we ta:ke but the two great and compre- 
hensive parts of it, heaven and earth, "He hath established the 
earth by his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his un- 
derstanding," or discretion. Jer. 10. 12. And if you should 
look into the one or the other of these more comprehensive parts, 
it would not be conviction only, but transport and admiration 
that we ought to be put into every hour, or as often as we make 
any such reflection. But I must not go into particulars, as I 
might. And then, 

(2.) For the providence by which he governs this created 


world, and all the variety of creatures in it, so as that all things 
in their own particular places and stations do most directly sub- 
serve the purposes for which they were visibly made, they are 
sustained that they may do so: they are guided and governed 
and ordered in all their natural tendencies and motions that 
they may do so. And, 

(3.) For that wonderful work of redemption, the apostle 
gives us this note about it, that he hath therein abounded in all 
wisdom and prudence. Ephes. 1. 7» S« Herein did the perfec- 
tion of wisdom and prudence shine forth, to reconcile the 
mighty, amazing difficulties, and seeming contrarieties, real 
contrarieties indeed, if he had not someway intervened to order 
the course of things, such as the conflict between justice and 
mercy ; that the one must be satisfied in such a way as the 
other might be gratified; which could never have had its pleas- 
ing, grateful exercise without being reconciled to the former. 
And that this should be brought about by such an expedient, 
that there should be no complaint on the one hand nor on the 
other, herein hath the wisdom of a crucified Redeemer, that 
is, whereof the crucified Redeemer or Saviour was the effected 
Object, triumphed over all the imaginations of men, and all the 
contrivances, even of devils and hell itself ; for they undoubt- 
edly were so secure upon no account as this, that they saw our 
Lord die. Satan filled the heart of Judas to bring it about that 
he might die; animated the whole design : this was the devil's 
contrivance, " If he that is turning the world upside down, doing 
such wonders every where, all men running after him be but 
dead, if we can bring him to his end, we shall certainly make 
an end of his religion, we shall certainly make an end of his de- 
sign." But even by that death of his, by which the devil con- 
trived the last defeat, the complete destruction of the whole 
design of his coming into the world, even by that very means 
it is brought about so as to fill hell with horror, and heaven and 
earth with wonder. And then, 

(4.) The conduct of the redeemed through this world, not- 
withstanding all the obstacles, discouragements, and difficulties 
that lie in their way, what a display, a glorious display of the 
divine wisdom is there in this ! I shall not speak to particulars 
distinctly, but only give some general account. As, 

[1.] That it hath never yet made any wrong step; that 
amidst all these wonderful varieties of actings and dispensations 
wherein it hath been engaged ever since there was a creation, 
there should never be any one wrong step made, nothing amiss 
done, nothing ever done out of time, or otherwise than it 
should. And, 

LEC. XXII.) His Intellectual Perfections. — TFisdom. 89 

[2.] That it is never at a stand, never puzzled, hath always 
its way open to it, every thing forelald : '^ Known to God are all 
his works from the beginning," as that sage speech is of the 
apostle James, at the famous council of Jerusalem. Acts 15. 
He can never meet with a difficulty that can put him to a stand; 
for his way is always plain and open before him. And, 

[3.] That he never loses his design, never misseth any end 
that he proposes to himself: The counsel of the Lord always 
stands, and the thoughts of his heart take place through all ge- 
nerations. Fsalm33. 11. And, 

[4.] That he doth so frequently disappoint and bring to no- 
thing the designs of the wisest and most contriving men, turns 
their wile? upon their own heads, " takes the wise in their own 
craftiness," drives their way headlong, precipitates their coun- 
sels into confusion and abortion : as the expressions are in that 
5th Job 12, 13. and in the 33d psalm, 9, 10. And many more we 
have in Scripture, of the like import. And then, 

[5.] Tiiat he frequently surpriseth the most apprehensive 
and sagacious among men ; doth things that it was never 
thou2:ht he would do ; wondrous things, terrible things that we 
looked not for. Isaiah 64. 3. Sometimes they are fearful sur- 
prises that he brings upon men, and sometimes grateful 
ones. Indeed, the same dispensation may be at the same 
time most terrible and most grateful, most terrible to one sort 
and most grateful to another, as they must be understood to be 
that are mentioned in Isaiah 64. 3. *' Terrible things that we 
looked not for, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.'* 
That is, the most mountainous oppositions, the loftiest and most 
aspiring spirits brought down and made to stoop : and all their 
pride laid in the dust; so it Iiath often been beyond all expec- 
tation, he still shewing his ways to be as much above our ways, 
and his thoughts above our thoughts, as the heaven is high 
above the earth, and as the east is far removed fnjm the west. 
So it hath been when he hath gone beyond any fear or foresight 
of his enemies, and above all the hopes and desires and prayers of 
his people, done beyond what they could ask or think. What 
wonderful conspicuous beamings forth of the divine wisdom, 
have there been in such ways as these I 

] shall not discourse to you further doctrinally, concerning 
these things. Something I would say by way of Use, before I 
pass from them. Thus our heavenly Father is perfect. Why 
these are very clear notices of God, which we soon hear; we 
have heard them now within the compass of a little time; and 
we as soon assent to them as we hear them. But pray let us 
Jook into ourselves and consider. What impressions have they hi- 

yoi., Yii, N 


therto made upon our hearts ? Have our hearts been all this 
while lea])ing and springing within us, and saying, " This God 
is our Cod ; our heavenly Father is thus perfect ?" Hath that 
been the lively ^ense of our souls within us all this while ? And 
consider, these notices of God are not new tons. Did we ne-- 
ver hear before that the living and true God is all-knowing and 
all-wise? When were we without these apprehensions ? Such a 
conception of Gqd as this we have had ever since we had the 
use of our understanding, and heard or knew any thing of God 
at all. But pray consider, What suitable, permanent and abiding 
impression have we borne about the world with us hitherto ? 
and wliat is he so far manifested and made known to us for ? Is 
it not that our spirits might be formed by the discovery, and 
our minds thereby governed agreeably thereunto? How comes 
it to pass that such things as tiiese should have had all this 
while no more influence to beget a correspondent heart and 
spirit in us towards God? Is it that these things are of little 
weiglit, that they sink no more into our hearts and souls ? Or is 
it a matter of small concernment to us, what a one he is whom 
wc take for our God, or profess to have so taken ? Is that a 
matter of small concernment to us? Do we know tvhat the 
name of God imports ? To be a God to us, is to be our 
"•' All in all," to be such a one to us every way, in point of 
good to be enjoyed, in point of power and authority to be obey- 
ed and submitted to. Can it be a little matter in our eyes, 
what a one our God is, he that we hare to do with continually 
as our God ? And by how much the more easily we assent to 
such things concerning him when we hear them, it argues that 
they are so much the plainer, and therefore tliat the guilt must 
be unspeakably the greater and unspeakably the heavier, if our 
hearts and spirits be not in some measure proportlonably fram.ed 
and steered and conducted according to the import and tenden- 
cy of so plain things. These arc not dark things that need much 
explication to us, nor doubtful things that need proof or de- 
monstration. We are satisfied already, that he could not be 
(jod, who is not infinitely knowing, and infinitely wise, and 
])erfect!y both. So that we have nothing at all to do but to 
comport in the frame and temper of our spirits, and in the 
course of our walking with these most evident things. And 
by how mncli tlie greater they are, and the more sacred they 
are, (and things that we profess to believe and apprehend con- 
cerning God must be such, for a greater one could not be con- 
cerned than he,) the greater profaneness must it be to abuse such 
notices as these are, or not to use them^ not to improve them 
to their proper purpose and end. We know such things con- 

JLSC. XXI.) His Intellectual Perfections. — Wisdom, I) I 

cerning God: and have we nothing to do with tlie things of 
God, but to trifle with them or to let t.hcm lie by as neglected, 
useless things, vvlien they are to run through our lives and to 
have a continual iuHuence upon us tlirough our whole course 
from day to day ? Are these things riglit In our minds and un- 
derstandings, and our hearts in the mean time only as a rasa 
tabula, a vierebla)ikf There are such notices in our minds, but 
look into our heartb and see what corresponds there. Alas ! ther^ 
is nothing, a mere vacuity : what a sad case is this ! and yet the 
discovery of these things breathes no other design l)ut only to form 
our hearts and spirits and that our lives may be proportionably 
governed. It is a dreadful thing to have the knowledge of God 
lie dead in our souls, as if that uere to go for nothing. Here I 
might shew you what impressions this discovery of the divine 
perfections should make upon our hearts, and might thence pro- 
ceed to shew you in many instances that it doth not make that 
impression which it should. But I must not take that course. 
I will briefly hint a little at the former, the latter you will re- 
collect yourselves: rectum est irulex sui et ohliqui : If it doth 
appear once what we should be and do, correspondently to the 
apprehension of the divine perfection in these respects, it will 
be easy to us to animadvert on ourselves and see wherein we are 
not what we should be, and do not what we should do corres- 
pondently hereunto. It is plain, 

1. That such a discovery of (.lod, in these perfections of his, 
should conduce greatly to the forming and composing of our 
spirits to adoration, to make adoration of him to be very much 
the bysiness of our lives. Flow grateful should it be to us to 
think we have such an Object for worship and adoration, the all- 
knowing and the all-wise God 1 How vastly ditferent in this 
respect is our case from theirs that worship stocks and stones 
for deities, senseless and inanimate things ! Tiiat worship woods 
and trees and rivers and fountains and beasts and creeping 
things and the like. What hath God done for us that he hath 
made himself known to us in these great perfections, as the 
Object of our worship ! that when we pray we know we pray to 
an intelligent Being that knows all things, and an all-wise God 
that judgeth what is best and most suitable to be done in refer- 
ence to what we supplicate him iU^oul, and Vv'hen and how to 
do all that he judgeth fit to be done. There ought not only 
to be an adoring frame in solemn worsljip hereupon, but an 
adoring frame we should carry about with us through this world, 
often looking up to him, and considering that we have always 
an eye to meet our eye, and are to apply mind to mind, (what a 
satisfaction is thai !) understanding to understanding, our im- 


perfect understanding to liis perfect one. With what adoring 
souls should we go through this world every day upon this ac- 
count ! But do we do so ? Consider how far short we come in 
so plain a case as this is. And again, 

2. Should it not make us stand much in awe ? The matter is 
plain: great knowledge and wisdom in a man, great prudence 
creates great reverence, especially if it be in conjunction with 
things that we know are in the highest conjunction here, if in 
conjunction with authority, power and dignity. But even apart 
they do much in this kind ; when a man hath the repute of a wise 
man, of a knowing person, it would strike us with so much awe 
as not to trifle, not to play the fool in the presence of such a 
one. Is there any thing proportionable with us in our frame 
and deportment towards the all-knowing God ? Our heaven- 
ly Father is perfectly knowing, perfectly wise ; in what awe 
should we stand of him continually upon these accounts ! And 

3. It should fill us with shame to think what he knows by 
us. He is all eye as one said truly of him. With what 
confusion should it fill us to think he should know so much 
by us every day ? Every vain thought, every light motion of 
ouv mind, all our fooleries, all our triflings, all our impuri- 
ties that lodge and lurk in our hearts are known to him. 
This thought made a great impression upon a heathen; (Se- 
neca, as he cestifieth himself,) omnia sic ago, tangiiatn in 
conspecfie, I do every thing as in sight, as having an eye that 
doth rimari, <pry into my breast. O 1 what a shame is it that 
we should need a heathen instructor in such a matter as this ! 
and how confounded should we be before the Lord to think 
what he knows by us continually, that we should be ashamed 
that men should know such things concerning us, as we are not 
ashamed he should know. The ingenuity of grace is wanting, 
it works not, shews not itself. It hath wrought like itself here- 
tofore, "I blush, 1 am ashamed to lift up mine eyes to heaven," 
saith good Ezra, and that, when he speaks not so much neither 
concerning iiis own sins as the sins of the people. 

4. How should it make us study to be sincere. Nothing in 
us so answers perfect wisdom and knowledge in God, as since- 
rity. Every thought of my heart thou hast known long be- 
fore; and it follows in the same Psalm, 139. *' Search me O 
Lord and try me, and shew me if there be any evil way" (any 
painful way as the hebrew admits to be read) " in me, and lead 
me in the way everlasting." Again, 

5. It should possess us with great complacency, (those that 
can reflect upon their own sincerity,) that they are continually 
in view to God. It should be a complacential thought, to think 

LEC. XXI.) His IntellecUial Perfections. — Wisdom. 93 

that he who is so perfectly knowing, and so perfectly wise, 
knows their sincerity, and knows too, all their infirmities. 
That he knows their sincerity, *' Thou knowcst all things, thou 
knowestthat I love tliee." John 21. I7. And that he knows 
their intirniities, and will consider them with indulgence and 
compassion. " He knows our frame and remembers that we are 
but dust." Psalm 103. 14. And, 

6. It ought to possess us with trust, habitual trust that 
should run through our lives. Is not such a one fit to be trust- 
ed ? doth it not highly recommend him to us as the Object of 
our trust, that we know him to be perfectly knowing and per- 
fectly wise ? You can easily apprehend, an ignorant fool is not 
to be trusted. One that is ignorant and a fool is no fit object 
of trust. Is not he therefore that is perfectly knowing and per- 
fectly wise, a fit Object ? How cheerfully therefore should you 
trust him with all your concernments, how cheerfully should 
you intrust him with the concerns of this world, and your part 
and share therein ? considering in v/hat hand your afikirs and 
all affairs do lie, even in his who will make, " all things work 
together for good." So he hath engaged to do, and he is most 
knowing and most wise that hath so engaged. Impiudent per- 
sons promise rashly what is not in their power, but he that is 
perfectly knowing and wise can never do so. Though 1 might 
mention divers other things I will shut up all with this, 

7. It should make us study conformity to him in these res- 
pects. Have we this discovery of the perfections of our hea- 
venly Father, that he is perfectly knowing and perfectly wise ? 
It should make us endeavour after conformity to him in know- 
ledge and wisdom : for these are some of his communicable 
excellencies ; that is, his imitable ones. We should think with 
ourselves, '* Is it for me to pretend to him as a child, to call 
him Father, to say, my Father which is in heaven is perfectly 
knowing and perfectly wise, when I am nothing else but an 
ignorant fool ?" Wisdom expects to be justified of her children. 
Are we the children of wisdom, are we the children of him that 
is perfectly wise and perfectly knowing ? Certainly it concerns 
us to be like our Father in these respects : this is a great part 
of his image, even of his image to be renewed in us. " Put on 
(saith the apostle) the new man which is renewed in know- 
ledge after the image of him that created him." Col. 3. 10. 
Is it for the glory of the all- wise and all-knowing God to have 
a company of fools for his children, ignorant crtatures tliat 
know nothing, and labour not to know much of the things that 
most concerns them to know, in reference to him, and what 
lies between hiii) and them ? We should, upon these accounts, 


labour to value and covet, most of all, mental excellencies' 
such as these. But such is not the common guise of this 
world. And it is an amazing thing, to think so many intelli- 
gent creatures' minds and spirits (though lodged in flesh) should 
be so lost as to a!) apprehension of true excellency, or of what 
is truly valuable, as to value a little glitter, a little exterior 
pomp and splendour before these mental excellencies of know- 
ledge and wisdom, that are most peculiar to God, and wherein 
we, if v/e are possessed of them shall most resemble liim. 
What fools are the men of this world ! They esteem men ac- 
cording as they have most of worldly pelf, as they have collected 
together most of thick clay, but they never think of vah'iiig 
themselves or any one else by the mental excellencies of know- 
ledge and wisdom in which they resemble God. What base 
erroneous thoughts must these be supposed to have of God ! 
Wijat do such make of God? As the apostle sptaks to these 
Athenians, but speaks as knowing and understanding them and 
himself to be of a mind as to this, he argues with them from a 
principle and ex concessh " What! do you think the Godhead 
is like silver and gold or corruptible things?" As if he had said, 
*' 1 cannot but know as well as if I were within you that you 
are of my mind perfectly in this matter, tliat is, that the God- 
liead is not like to silver or gold or corruptible things, but he is a 
kSpirit, and you, as you are spiritual beings, or as you have such 
in you, are his offspring." Certainly it is to be governed by 
the judgment of a fool in my choice, in my desires, in my esti- 
mation of things, to think that earthly things are the most va- 
luable things, that carnal things (as the apostle calls them) are 
the most honourable things. No, without doubt those are the 
most honourable and most valuable things that are most God- 
like, and by which I shall most resemble God. How was he 
taken with Solomon for his judgment and choice when he bids 
him ask what he would have ! He was not such a fool as to go 
and ask riches, honour, long life, or the necks of his enemies, 
but begs for wisdom and understanding. This was most God- 
like : and you see how God was pleased with his choice, how 
iiigh an approbation lie gives of it in that 1 Kings 3. 10, 11. 
And we should labour to govern our own judgment in these 
matters accordingly. 

And pray consider this with yourselves, and labour to feci the 
weight of it in your own spirits, if we do not covet and desire 
that God should create us according to his image and likeness, 
we shall certainly be apt to create to ourselves a god after our 
own image and likeness. That is, if we do not make it our 
business to have ourselves made like unto him, we shall be in- 

LEG. XXII.) His Moral Perfections, — General remarks. 95 

dustrious to make him like to ourselves. As it is in the Psalm- 
ist, " Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as 
thyself." A thing that will lead and plunge us into the de* 
plorable estate of all sin and misery unavoidably. 


Thirdly, It remains now that we go on to the third head of 
the communicable perfections of God, to wil, those of the di- 
vine will, or which we may otherwise call iiis moral perfec- 
tions, and the most principal of tliem which I shall (but brief- 
ly too) speak of, are these four, to wit, his holiness, his justice, 
his faithfulness and his goodness. And before I speak to them 
severally, 1 shall give you some general considerations con- 
cerning them, and which will also partly respect some of 
those that have been spoken to already under the former heads. 

1. That when we distinguish the divine perfections into na- 
tural, intellectual and moral, the meaning is not as if those that 
were intellectual and moral were not also natural. But the 
first member in this distinction is larger and more comprehen- 
sive than the rest. All that are intellectual and m©ral are also 
natural perfections in the divine nature, but all that are natural 
are not intellectual and moral. And, 

2. We are to consider this concerning them, that the divine 
perfections which are spoken of under the notion of attributes, 
they do suppose their subject to be such, as to which they can 
and they must agree: we speak now only of a subject of denomi- 
nation not of a subject of inhsesion in a proper sense. But 
they do all suppose their subject, that is of predication, to be a 
spiritual Being, or they do suppose God to be a Spirit, and 
might, all of them, be brought as proofs and demonstrations (if 
it were needful) that he is so. He could not be intelligent if 
he were not a spirit, nor righteous, nor holy, nor just, nor true, 
for all these do suppose such a subject of predication as to which 
such attributes or attributed perfections can and must agree. 
And therefore (as hath been intimated formerly) when we speak 
of the attributes and perfections of God, this doth not come 
among them, but is presupposed and necessarily presupposed. 
Those that are properly called attributes are spoken of in quale 
quid, not in quid as schoolmen do fitly enougii say, though 

•* Preached October the loth. IG^I. 


I do not need to trouble you with the explication of those 

3. You are to note this concerning them, that as they do 
suppose their suitable subject, so several of them do suppose 
others of them. As wisdom doth suppose knowledge, and holi- 
ness doth suppose wisdom ; and justice, holiness, and faithful- 
ness, justice, and so on. And again, 

4. We are to consider (hat our conception of God and his 
nature and the properties belonging thereunto, cannot possibly 
take up things otherwise than by parts : and so all our concep- 
tions of him must be inadequate, and when we have taken up 
as much as is possible it is but a small portion that we have 

' taken up, or can admit into our minds. And therefore, we are 
to conceive concerning all these perfections of God that though 
it be unavoidable to us to apprehend diversly, yet we must ap- 
prehend them as all falling into one most simple nature and 
being : whence it is not to be thought strange that we find a 
coincidence in very great part indiversive of these perfections, 
that do (as it were) fall and run into one another. As there 
will be more occasion to take notice in those particulars that 
are mentioned. And, 

5. You are to consider further that our notices of God must 
needs be in a great measure by reflection on ourselves. He 
hath been pleased to let us know that he created man at first 
after his own image. That is, after his natural image with the 
addition of his moral or holy image. And that he doth again 
regenerate and renew men after his own image, that is, his holy 
image, supposing the natural one, that being still supposed re- 
maining, as the subject both of the corruption and of the resti- 
tution. This being so, we have the advantage of discerning 
much concerning the excellencies and perfections of the Divine 
Nature by reflecting upon ourselves. What we see by that re- 
jection, we see as in a glass darkly, and indeed, when we are 
the glass we are a very dark one. But some resemblance, some 
image there is to be found, even with all there is the natural 
image of God, and with the regenemte there is the holy image 
renewed, though very imperfectly renewed, whereupon when 
we are to conceive of holiness, faithfulness, justice and good- 
ness in God, our conception is much to be helped by these no- 
tions that we cannot but have of such things among men, these 
being, (as you have heard) of his communicable attributes that 
have the same name in him and in men, and the image and 
likeness of the same things. And, 

6. Though there be somewhat of the divine image or likeness 
in men, yet this similitude is not to be considered without very 

LEC. xxji.) Hi'i 3Ioral Perfectio7is — Holiness. 97 

great dissimilitude. It is true Indeed, omne simile est dissimile, 
every like is also unlike, but there must be most of all when we 
are to compare things in God and in us. Though there be 
some similitude, tlie dissimilitude must be vastly great which 
we are to take along with us in speaking of each of those men- 
tioned perfections of the divine will, and so we come to the 
particulars. And, 

1. As to the HOLINESS OF GOD. That very term as it is ap- 
plied to God, is of various significancy. And indeed, it is so as 
the term comes thence transferred unto creatures. Some- 
times it signiiies august, venerable, great, majestic. And the 
reason of the use of that phrase to such a purpose, that is, holy 
to signify august and venerable, is obvious : for as things that 
were holy were not to be violated, were not to be touched (as it 
were) by impure hands, not to be arrogated, not to be meddled 
with by any but those to whom they were appropriate, (in wdiich 
respect, majesty hath been wont to be accounted a sacred thing 
that was not to be meddled with by any other, and the person 
a sacred person that was clothed therewith, not by any means 
in the world to be violated,) so v.ith no very remote translation, 
holy or holiness being spoken of God doth signify the auful- 
ness, the venerableness, of the Divine Nature. But yet, this is 
somewhat alien from holiness as it is a moral perfection : or as 
it is a perfection of the divine will, i^nd therefore, as such we 
must consider It under its own proper and peculiar notion. It 
sometimes also, signifies firm, sure, unalterable. The sure 
mercies of David, (Isaiah 55.) the Septuagint renders it sa- 
cred, holy. But if we speak of holiness in the proper sense, as 
it is a perfection of the divine will, so it must needs, in the ge- 
neral notion, signify the rectitude of that will in all things, and 
so it must have two parts, a negative, and a positive part. 

(I.) A negative; and so the divine holiness stands in purity, 
in being most perfectly free from any taint or defilement, from 
any thing of moral turpitude, in any kind or any degree. And 
that purity, the negative rectitude of the divine will which is 
carried In his holiness, comprehends two things, first, an en- 
mity from all irrectitude, any taint, any turpitude : and second- 
ly, an abhorrence and detestation thereof. Not only that 
the nature and will of God hath nothing impure, or that is not 
right adhering to it ; but doth also detest and abhor to liave. 
It signifies the aversion of the divine will, its perpetual, inflex- 
ible aversion from every thing that is evil, unworthy of it, unbe- 
coming to it. And so whereas, lioliness is spoken of in Scrip- 
ture under the notion of light, that light Is said to he without 
darkness, in the first place, (1 JohQ 1. 5.) "God is light, an4 

VOL. VJI. • 


with him is no darkness at all." This is made the matter of 
solemn messaii:e to the sons of men : " And this is the mes- 
sage that we have from him and which we declare to you :" 
God hath sent this message to the world, this account of him- 
self, that he is light and without any darkness at all, without 
the least mixture of any thing that is impure, or foul or unwor- 
thy of him. But then, as it is said in that place, speaking of 
the divine holiness under the notion of light, that it is without 
darkness : so it is, secondly, elsewhere, represented under the 
same notion as expulsive of it, declining it, hating it, as having 
with it a most inflexible and eternal aversion from every thing 
that is signified under the notion of darkness, unholiness heing 
there signified by it. '^What communion hath light with 
darkness ?" It is drawn down to signify that there can be no 
communion between God and unliolincss, the temple of God 
and idols. 2 Cor. G. IG. And, 

(2.) This holiijess hath also its positive part which must 
comprehend two, the like things that have been mentioned con- 
cerning the negative part. That is, first the actual, perpetual 
rectitude of all his volitions, and all the works and actions that 
are consequent hereupon; and, secondly, an eternal propension 
tiiereunto, a love thereof, by which it is altogether impossible to 
tliat will, that it should ever vary from itself in this, as it can- 
not in any otlier respect. That the determinations of that will 
arc right in themselves, is out of question; and that, his word 
(and he best understands his own nature) testifies over and 
over. And then his propension, his eternal, unalterable pro- 
pension of will to that which is right and good, that we find 
spoken of as a thing we must conceive too, as belonging to his 
holiness also ; *' The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his 
countenance doth behold the upright." Psalm 1 1 . 7^ And so 
you iiave his hatred of all iniquity, and his love of universal rec- 
titude, both mentioned together in one and the same breath, 
as it were; "Because thou lovest righteousness and hatest 
iniquity," (it is spoken of Christ it is true, but spoken of him 
as God, (Psalm 45. J.) having said immediately before, "Thy 
throne O God, is for ever and ever") therefore God, even thy 
God hath anointed thee." He is the image of God, the bright- 
ness of his glory, the express image of his person. But here it 
may be said, when we place (as we cannot but do) the notion of 
Iioliness generally in rectitude, every thing of rectitude must 
have some measure or another, or some rule to which it is to be 
referred, and which it is to be judged by. What is then the 
measure and will of divine rectitude wlicrcin holiness stands ? 

LEc. XXII.) i^Iis Moral Perfections, — Holiness. 99 

This is the thing tliat luith been very variously discussed, and 
with a great deal more perplexity than there was cause for. 
These things you may take about it, that are all plain in ihem- 
selves, and will be as much as will need to be, or can, in sum 
and substance, be said to it. As, 

First. That the divine rectitude cannot be measured by any 
law, tliat refers to iiim properly so taken. A law properly ta- 
ken, is tlie signification of the will of a superior concerning an 
inferior. But it is out of question, God can have no superior, 
and so nothing can in a proper sense be a law to liim. And a 
measure, it is prior to the thing measin'ed, must be before it, but 
there can be nothing prior to God. Yet, 

Secondly. In the borrowed sense, very plain it is that God 
is a law to himself; and it is the only conception concerning 
this matter, that it can admit of : nor is that to be thought at 
all strange, when those parcels and fragments of right notion 
that are left in the ruined nature of man, do yet leave him a 
law to himself, where he hath no otiier law, no written law ex- 
tant before him : much more, when the notions of rectitude are 
most perfect, they may supply the place of a rule or measure 
by which the divine rectitude is to be measured. But, 

Thirdly. His mere will, abstractly considered, cannot be this 
measure, as if the divine will might have made that which 
is right to be wrong, or that which is wrong to be right : this 
is altogether unconceivable and impossible, that that will, ab- 
stractly considered, should be to him the measure of right or 
wrong, or of good and evil. That is, as if one could suppose 
that an act of the will might alter the obligation that is upon 
an intelligent creature to love the best good ; or could make 
it lawful or a duty to hate the highest and most perfect pulchri- 
tude and beauty. This cannot be : as we are told, it is impos- 
sible for God to lie. He cannot lie, as it is impossible to him 
to be unholy, as it is to be untrue. And therefore, that there 
are eternal reasons of moral good and evil is a most indubitable 
thing ; that that which is right could not in its own nature, in 
the greatest instances but be so; and tliat thereupon, that the 
distinction must be admitted necessarily, of things that are 
good because God wills them, and of tilings that he wills be- 
cause they are good. And so natural laws and positive, they 
come to have their distinction and diverse consideration. And 
then in the last place, 

Fourthly. That it is equally absurd to suppose, that the ideas 
of right and wrong, or of moral good and evil, as they are a 
measure to God should have place any where but in him ; that 
is, in his will; not abstractly considered, but in his will as it is 


everlastingly conformed to a wise mind. There cannot but be 
an everlasting conformity between the rectitude of the divine 
will and the divine word. And whatsoever he doth, he doth all 
things not because he will, but according to the counsel of his 
will. Ephes. 1. 11. And indeed, the contrary apprehension, 
were to resolve all the divine perfections into nothing but so- 
vereignty. It is the divine will that is the measure of good and 
evil, yet not abstractly considered, but as it doth agree with most 
perfect wisdom, and that unalterably thereupon, it is as impossi- 
ble* to him ever to will that which is not wise, as it is impossi- 
ble to Iiiin ever to speak that which is not true. And so far, 
having given some account of the divine holiness, wherein it 
lies, you may collect in great part from what hath been said, 
this double property of it, not to mention more : 

i. That his holiness is primary, all other holiness is but de- 
rivative, imparted. This is the fountain-holiness, the primary 
holiness. And, 

ii. His holiness is essential. It agrees to him, not primarily 
only, but essentially too, as being altogether inseparable from 
his nature. Holiness in any creature was always to it an ex- 
tra-essential thing. We have had instances of it even in the 
higher orders of God's creatures. Man was created holy, but 
fell. Among the angels that were universally holy, many fell. 
So the holiness of the best of creatures is a thing in itself sepa- 
rable from its essence. But the divine holiness is most per- 
fectly inseparable. I shall say no more upon this, (the course 
that I am upon did oblige me to great brevity in speaking to 
this head,) but only by way of Use. 

1. To recommend it to you, that we may live in the adora- 
tion of God, considered under this notion : " Who is like thee 
among the gods, glorious in holiness ?" Exod. 15-11. " There 
is none holy as the Lord," as Hannah speaks in that admirable 
song of hers, 1 Sam. 2. 2. How should we rejoice in the 
thoughts of this, that we have such an Object of worship, so 
perfectly, unexceptionably holy. And, 

2. We ought to study the imitation of him herein, as the 
adoration of him upon this account, understanding the text as 
saying that to you, " Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is 
perfect" in holiness: " Be ye holy, fori am holy," 1 Pet. 1. 
15, IG, referred (for so it is written, as the apostle speaks) to 
that Levlt. 11. 44. and in divers other places. 

3. Consider with what great gratitude the condescending 
goodness ought to be owned, that he should have a design to 
make such as we, like himself in this respect: we ought to ac- 
knowledge great kindness even in such a commandment, " Be 

LEc, XXII.) His Moral Pcrfectio?is, — Justice. 101 

ye holy for I am holy. I would fain have you like myself." 
It speaks great love and good will to us, that lie would have us 
imitate him. And, 

4. It should make us willingly submit to any methods that 
he thinks fit to use, to bring us to that conformity to him in 
this respect; that we be gradually perfected herein, as he is 
most perfect. The state of our case requires that his methods 
should be sometimes rough and severe for tiiis purpose. We 
have a great deal of dross about us. The fathers of our flesh, 
indeed, they correct (saith the apostle, Heb. 12. 9) "after 
their own pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might be 
partakers of his holiness." A great word and work, (and which 
we ought to consider accordingly) that we might be partakers 
of his holiness ! that is, that he might transform us into his 
image and likeness. What difficulties, w liat furnaces, what 
fires, what deaths would we not go through for this, that we 
might be made partakers of his holiness, to be in this respect, 
as he is, perfect. 

2. The next that I have mentioned of these four perfections 
of the divine will, is his justice. And justice is wont to be 
distinguished into universal and particular. But then, 

(1.) As universal righteousness or justice doth comprehend 
particular justice in it, so it superadds somewhat distinguishing, 
as you shall see by and by. Therefore, 

(2.) For particular justice, that is twofold. It is either com- 
mutative or distributive ; for commutative justice, with God it 
can have no place, because he iiath no equal : or there are 
none of the same order with him, that can make exchanges 
with him or that can transfer rights to him for any rights trans- 
ferred from him : he can be debtor to none of his creatures, 
*' Who hath given him any tiling, and it shall be recompensed 
to him again?" as Rom. 11. 35. it is a challenge to all the 
world. But it is that part of particular justice, which is 
wont to be called distributive justice that properly agrees 
to him, that is, rectoral justice, magistratieal justice, the jus- 
tice of a governor, ruler, of a superior towards an inferior. 
And that useth to be divided into these two parts, prsemiative 
and puniative : praemiative, that confers rewards, and puniative, 
that dispenseth punishments. For the former of these, wliat- 
soever rewards God dispenseth must be all of grace, not at all 
of debt. He cannot be antecedently a debtor to his creatures, 
otherwise than by promise, and so his justice runs into his faith- 
fulness, as you will see by and by. And supposing him to 
have bound himself by promise, then it is a piece of justice 
with him to make good his promise, and thereupon, the notion 
ef righteousness doth obtain and take place, €vea in conferring 


benefits. " God is not unrighteous to forget your work and la- 
bour of love," Heb. G. 10. And "it is a righteous thing 
with God," not only to " recompense tribulation" to the trou- 
biers of his people, but also, those that are troubled rest witli 
him. 2 Thess. 1. 6, 7* And " if we confes": our sins, he is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins." There is a piece of 
justice in it. It is, upon one account, the h.ighest act of mercy 
imaginable, considering with what liberty and freedom the 
course and method were settled, wherein sins come to be par- 
doned : and it is an act of justice also, inasmuch as it is the ob- 
servation of a method to which he had tied himself, and from 
which afterwards therefore, he cannot depart; cannot vary. 

And then for punitive justice, this is most distitignibhing of 
the justice of God, from his holiness abstrriclly considered. 
By his holiness he hates sin, and by justice he punisheti) it. 
The one makes him hate it, the other obligeth him io p.m- 
madvertupon it in away of punishment, or inclines him to ''--so. 
And this lie doth as a debtor to himself. Justice among crea- 
tures is conversant about the rights of other men ; but in God 
it must be conversant about his own rights; because he is him- 
self the Fountain of all rights. And there could be no such 
thing as right tliroughout the whole universe, if it had not its 
first fountain in God himself : and therefore, his justice must 
be the faithful guardian of the rights of his sovereignty ai d go- 
vernment. And thereupon, this justice doth not only allow 
him but oblige him to award to every transgression a just re- 
compense of reward, as the Scripture speaks. 

But of this, I shall say no more, save only, this word or two 
by way of Use, that is, 

1. Let us have our souls so possessed with this apprehension 
of the divine justice as to dread it, and stand in great awe of it, 
knowing that vve have to do with a God that will not be mock- 
ed, or trifled with by any ; and who never confers favours up- 
on any, so as to forget his just right ; nor doth so exercise his 
mercy towards any as to depress and lose his sovereignty; 
of which sovereignty of his, as hath been said, his justice must 
always be a faithful guardian, and therefore, those that are 
nearest to him must know that if they transgress, his justice 
must have an exercise about them, even as punitive. There is 
such a thing as economical, punitive, family justice, by which, 
even where God is pleased to be related as a Father, he ani- 
madverts upon, and chastises and punishes the faults and fol- 
lies of his own children, even those that are of his own house- 
hold. Though you must distinguish of punishments, between 
those that are corrective and those that are vindictive. Vindic- 

LEC. XXII.) His Moral Perfections. — Faithfulness. 103 

tive punishments sliall not have place there upon those that arc, 
and have, a stated being in the family, that are of it and in it. 
But corrective punishment shall have place even there. And 

2. Not only dread divine ju<;tiee, but labour to en^rage it to 
be on your side. What a great blessing is that, to have even 
justice itself plead for us, and the state of our case brought to 
that pass that it may. If we confess our sins, that is, with a 
truly evangelical frame of spirit, he is faithful and just to for- 
give us our sins : and the blood of Jesus Christ ins Son, clean- 
seth us from all sin. But I pass on, 

3. To say somewhat of his faithfulness. And that also 
doth in great part run into justice, as justice doth in some part 
run into holiness. But so far as to superadd somewhat peculiar 
and distinguishing. The faitlifulness of God is his veracity or 
his truth as it relates to his word, the conformity that is between 
his word and his mind. And whereas, his word, as liis faith- 
fulness that refers to it is twofold, assertory and promissory ; so 
accordingly, must his fiiithfulness be understood. It stands either 
in declaring to us truly how things are, or how they shall be. It 
relates to his assert on/ word ; that is, that he doth make a true 
representation to us of all things that are to be received by us 
as doctrines. Whereas, he is in no possibility of being deceiv^ed. 
himself h.erein, so neither can he deceive us ; God cannot lie. 
It is impossible to God to lie. So much, the light of a pagan 
could discern of God, even Balaam ; " God is not a man that 
he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent." All 
the declarations that he hath made to us by way of assertion of 
things that we are to conceive are so and so, we are to look 
upon his truth and faithfulness as engaged herein. That is, 
ho doth make a representation to us of things just as they are, 
and no otherwise, in what he saith to us of himself, in what he 
saith to us of Christ, in what he saith to us of his Spirit, and in 
what he saith to us of the way and course of duty wherein we 
are to walk, and the like. And whereas, our Lord Jesus Christ 
is the Revealer, the first Revealer of God and bis mind to men, 
he is thereupon, called the faithful witness, as representing and 
testifying things just to be as they are, and no otherwise. It 
comes in among his glorious titles, *' Jesus Christ, the first 
begotten from the dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth, 
the faithful witness :" that falls in among the rest. Rev. 1. 5. 
God's name is in him, that is, the same nature is in him where- 
of the divine name is expressive. And therefore, in the whole 
gusj)el revelation v.-e must conceive the highest faithfulness to 
be engaged. That which sums it up, "Jesus Christ came 


into the world to save sinners," the apostle calls it "a faithful 
saying, and worthy of all acceptation," (1 Tim. 1., 15) most 
worthy to be received and believed. And then, 

The word of God, to which this faithfulness hath refer- 
ence is not only assertory hwi promissory ; not only declaratory 
how things are, but how also they shall be. It is true, we may 
take in his threatenings too, unto which his faithfulness hath 
reference as well as his promises. But chiefly and principally, 
his faithfulness hath reference to his covenant. " He is the 
faithful God. that keepeth covenant and mercy for ever." 
Deut. 7- ^- And " he will not alter the covenant that is gone 
out of his mouth, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail." Psalm 
8.9. 33. 34. 

And therefore, concerniag this also, take so much of present 
Use. Is God perfect in this respect, most perfectly true and 
faithful, true to his word, his mind always agreeing most accu- 
rately with it ? Then, 

1. Trust this faithfulness of his. The object of trust is 
faithfulness most properly, the most immediate object. That 
which answers to faithfulness is faith. If he be faithful, he is 
to be believed, trusted in, and relied upon. In that passage of 
the apostle's prayer that he might be delivered from wicked and 
unreasonable men, for all men have not faith ; the most proba- 
ble meaning of that, is, that have not faithfulness, (faith being 
there taken objectively,) that are not fit to be trusted; wicked 
and unreasonable men, upon whom we can place no trust, that 
are not fit to be believed. But we are never to admit a thought 
so diminishing or debasing concerning him whom we have ta- 
ken to be our God, as if he were not fit to be trusted, as if his 
faithfulness could fail any whit. Our heavenly Father is per- 
fect in this respect; therefore trust him perfectly, without va- 
cillation, without wavering or suspenseful hearts. He cannot 
deny himself, he abides most faithful and therefore most se- 
curely to be relied upon by those that are, through his grace, 
enabled to give up themselves to him. He desires no more : 
give up youraelves to him, and you are safe on his part : rely 
upon him, for he is faithful ; he will keep what you commit to 
him. And, 

2. Imitate his faithfulness as well as trust it. Do you la- 
bour to be perfect herein ? I pray let us all labour to be per- 
fect in this as our heavenly Father is perfect, to wit, in faithful- 
ness, both towards him and towards men. 

(1.) Towards him, O ! how can we think it tolerable to 
break with him who is never apt to break with us ! His faith- 
fidaess can never fail, why should ours so often fail ? Whea 

3LEC. XXIII.) His 3Ioral Perfections. — Goodne.^s. 105 

we promise, when we engage, when we vow to live in his ]ove> 
in his fear, in his communion : what shame sliould it cover our 
faces with, to be unfaithful towards him, who is constantly 
faithful towards us. And, 

(2.) Towards men ; imitate him there too: this would be the 
glory of our religion. It is the Intolerable reproach of it, that 
there is so much falsehood among men, and even among them 
that profess the Christian name, among them who pretend to 
God as their God : saying he is their God who is the faitiiful 
God, most perfectly faithful. This makes a most deplorable 
state of things. "Help Lord" (saith the Psalmist) " for the 
faithful man falleth." Psalm 12. 1. It makes the state of things 
so very dismal that all who understand themselves, think they 
have reason to cry to heaven, " Help, help, in such a sad case as 
this." Help, Lord, the godly man fails, there is no faithfulness 
left in the world. We are undone in this case if God do not help, 
if we have not help from heaven. But what an ornament is it 
to the Christian name and profession, when the very words of 
such and such as do profess it, are reckoned stable as a pillar 
of brass. " 1 would no more distrust such a man's word, than 
I would fear the falling of the heavens over me, or the sinking 
of the earth under me :" this would be the glory of our religion. 
O ! then let us labour to be perfect in this respect as our hea- 
Tcnly Father is perfect. 


Having discoursed from this text, of many of the divine per- 
fections, under the distinct heads of the perfections of the Di- 
vine Nature, of the Divine Mind, and of the Divine Will : and 
as for those of this last rank, having discoursed to you of several 
others, it remains to say something yet, 

4. Of the DIVINE GOODNESS ; where, by goodness I do not 
mean the goodness of being merely, or the goodness of this or 
that thing in its own particular kind ; nor moral goodness in 
the utmost extent and latitude of it, for that would comprehend 
the several other perfections of the divine will, that have been 
spoken to already ; but one branch thereof only, which com- 
monly goes under the name of benignity; a benign inclination 
of will, which we are to consider, both with respect of what it 
excludes, and in respect of what it Includes. 

(1.) In respect of what it excludes ; it excludes what is oppo- 

* Preached November 20, I691. 
YOJ,. \IJ. P 


site to It, whether it be contrarily opposite, or contradictory. 
I'iuit which is contrarily opposite is an aptness to do hurt, a 
mischievous disposition to have a mind or will prone to the do- 
ing of mischief ; which it most certainly excludes: and then, 
tliat which is contradictorily opposite is, not to be willing to do 
good, an unaptness to do good. 

(2.) And so, accordingly, it doth include a general propensity 
to benefaction, to acts of beneficence, and so we are to consider 
the goodness of God anologically to what we can find of any 
like specimen among men; for indeed, much of our way of 
knouiog God is by reflection, there being somewhat of God 
yet left and remaining in man, fragments, broken relics of that 
image first instamped upon the soul of man in his creation. 
And by them it is, that we form the general notion, even of 
those perfections which we do ascribe to God. We see the 
several features of that image, by reflection, as in a glass, on 
which we bestow such and such names. Though in the 
mean time we must know, (as hath been told you upon other- 
occasions over and over,) that whatsoever there is that goes 
under the same name with God and with us, (as all his com- 
municable attributes do,) yet the things must be infinitely di- 
verse, as his being and ours cannot but be. It Is but some 
shadow, some faint resemblance, of the divine perfections that 
are discernible in us. But upon those things we bestow these 
names, still apprehending, that under the same name somewhat 
infinitely more perfect hath its place and being in God. 

And now, as to this perfection, (the divine benignity,) I pur- 
posely reserved that to the last place, because it is most in the 
eye and design of this text, as is very manifest if you look 
])ack but to the two more immediate paragraphs, which do more 
directly refer hither, the former of them more expressly signi- 
fying that vacancy that should be in us, (in conformity to the 
divine pattern and example,) of all inclination to do evil, and 
the latter, positively expressing and holding forth the inclination 
that should be in us, after the same example, to do good. Of the 
former of th.ese paragraphs you may look downwards from ver. 
.3S, and see how the design of that, runs against a mischievous 
temper and disposition of spirit, an aptness to do evil, yea, 
though provoked; that there must be no disposition to retali- 
ate, to rcquile evil with evil, wrong with wrong, injury with in- 
jury : but rather than do so, suffer oneself to be injured more, 
as the several expressions in that paragraph do signify, whicli 
it is not needful here to con.'.ider. 

And then for the latter paragraph, concerning the disposition 
to do good, the discourse of that, runs from ver. 43 to this con- 

LEC. XXIII.) His 3Ioral Perfections. — Goodness. 107 

elusion and close of the chapter ; all under the name of love ; 
so extensive and large in reference to its ohjcct, as not to ex- 
clude enemies themselves ; those that do with tiie most hitter 
hate pursue and persecute us. "You have heard it hath been 
said, Tiiou shalt love thy neighl)our and hate thine enemy j" 
such undue limits iiave been wont to be put and assigned to 
your love ; that you acquit yourselves well enougli if you do 
love them that love you, and if you do good turns to them that 
do such to you, if you carry it courteously and affably in your 
salutations to such as will salute you. But this is a mean and 
narrow spult, unworthy of a christian, and unworthy of the name 
and design of Christianity, that being intended to restore man 
to man, to restore man to himself, to make man what he was, 
and what he should be. There are no such limitations as those 
to be made to our love ; it must reach enemies, enemies them- 
selves. " 1 say unto you, love your enemies, iiless them that 
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them 
that despitefully use and persecute you:" and all this, tliat you 
may be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect ; (for so 
he doth,) "that you may be the children of your Father which 
is in heaven ; for he makcth his sun to rise upon the evi] and 
upon the good, and sends his rain upon the just and upon the 
unjust ;" animadverting upon it as a mean thing, and an ar- 
gument of a base and narrow spirit, to have our love and kind- 
ness confined to those wonted limits, wherein men, otherwise 
taught by their own corrupt inclinations, are wont to confine 
theirs. This is, therefore, the main and more principal design 
of this text, as it refers to the context, to commend to us the - 
divine benignity, to represent that, and to set it l)efore us as a 
pattern to which we arc to be conformed. Be in this respect 
perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. 

And indeed, it is the fittest to consider tiiis divine perfection 
in the last place; for It is (as it were) the perfecting perfection; 
it crowns and consummates all the rest. All the excellencies 
of the Divine Being, they are to be considered not abstractly, 
each by itself, but as they refer to one another, and as all toge- 
ther they do make one admirable temperament ; as with rever- 
ence we may speak. Indeed, of those that are abstractly consid- 
ered, that are wont to go under the notion with us of very great 
exercise, should be all separated from tliis, they lose themselves, 
lose their very name ; wisdom, apart) from goodness, it were 
only an ability to contrive, power, apart from goodness were 
only an ability to execute ill purposes and designs. But divine 
wisdom, that is in conjunction with most perfect goodness : and 
divine power, that is in. conjunction with the most perfect 
jioodness : and so this is. (as .1 may say,) the perfecting perfec- 


tion, consummating of all the rest. How admirable a thing is 
' '^^ that wisdom that is continually prompted by goodness ! and 
that powerj that is continually set on work by goodness, in all 
the eftbrts and exertions of it I 

And now, in speakiug to this, the divine benignity and good- 
ness, I shall briefly point out unto you the various diversifica- 
tions of it, and then lay before you some of the more observable 
exemplifications of it. I shall shew you how it is diversified, 
and wherein it is exemplified. 

[1.] How it is diversified. It admits, in sundry respects, 
(which I shall mention to you,) of sundry considerations and 
Tioiions that may be put upon it, which yet do ail run into 
this one thing, goodness. First, as it imports a propension un- 
to any thing of suitableness, according as the estimate of divine 
wisdom and liberty doth determine it, and so it goes under the 
name of love. Love, is nothing else but a propension towards 
this or that object. The objects towards which divine good- 
ness is propense, they are estimated by his wisdom and liberty, 
or sovereignty in conjunction, in respect of their capacities to 
receive these his propensions, or to be the passive subjects 
thereof : secondly, as it refers to offenders, guilty creatures, 
so this goodness is his clemency : thirdly, as it refers to re- 
peated offences, so it is patience : fourthly, as it refers to long 
continued and often repeated provocations, so it is long suffer- 
ing, forbearance: fifthly, as it refers to a miserable object, so it 
is pity and compassion : sixthly, as it refers to an amiable ob- 
ject, so it is complacency and delight : seventhly, as it refers 
to an indigent object, and speaks large benefactions towards it, 
so it is bounty : and lastly, as it refers to the principle of liber- 
ty and spontaneity from whence it proceeds, so it is called 
grace, iv^okix, the very expression that is used to signify the 
goodness of the will, when, without any kind of inducement, 
good is done for goodness' sake. *' Thou art good and doest 
good." When there is nothing to oblige, notliing to requite, 
nothing to remunerate, nothing to invite, this is the gracious- 
iicss of goodness. These are sundry diversifications, (as they 
may fitly enough be called) and one and the same excellency, 
divine goodness and benignity, raised according as such and 
such respects (as have been mentioned) do clothe it. But 

[2,] We come to give you exemplifications of it, in instances 
and evidences that do recommend and shew it forth unto us. 

First. The most obvious and most comprehensive one is, 
this very creation itself which we behold, and whereof we our- 

i.EC. xxiii.) His Moral Perfections.— Goodness. lOJ? 

selves are a little, inconsiderable part. What else can be sup- 
posed to have been the inducement to an infinite, self-sufficient, 
all-sufficient Being to make such a creation as this stand forth 
out of nothing, but an immense goodness, a benignity not to 
be prescribed unto, and was only its own reason to itself, of 
what it would design and do? The creation could add nothing 
to him ; for it being produced out of nothing, it could liave no- 
thing in it, but w'nat was of him and from him ; and so there 
is nothing of being in it ; nothing of excellency and perfection 
in it, but what was originally and eminently in himself before ; 
for nothing could give that which it had not : and all that is in 
this world, is given out from God himself, and therefore, it is 
resolvable into nothing else but mere goodness that we are, or 
that any thing else besides is. As in Rev. 4. 11. " For thy 
pleasure all things are and were created." For thy pleasure; it 
was a pleasure to him to have that immense and boundless good- 
ness of his, issue and flow forth in such a creation : and among 
the rest of creatures, in giving being to such as might be capa- 
ble of knowing who made them, and of contemplating the glo- 
rious excellencies of their Maker, and of partaking a felicity in 
him, as well as a being from him. Indeed, that there should be so 
vast a creation, (though all that is notiiing compared with him, 
vast as it is,) that is owing to his povvcr; that there should so or- 
nate and amiable and orderly a frame of things be created, that 
is owing to his wisdom. But that there should be any creation 
at all, that is owing to nothing else but his mere goodness. 
He would have creatures that should be capable of knowing 
and enjoying the excellencies and perfections that make up his 
being to himself, according to their measure and capacities ; 
and he would have other creatures of inferior ranks and orders 
to minister unto them. A.nd though this be an obvious thing, 
and we hear of it often, it is often in our minds, yet I am 
afraid it is not often enough in our hearts. It doth not sink 
and pierce deep into our souls, to think what we, by mere na- 
ture, are, by mere untainted uncorrupt nature; all that we are 
by divine benignity, that it did eternally depend upon his mere 
pleasure whether I should be something or nothing. And 
what a rebuke would this carry in it to a vain mind, if it might 
be seriously and often thought of ! "Was I created to indulge 
and pursue vanity, to indulge a vain mind, and pursue vain 
things?'-' how great an awe would it hold our spirits under ! It 
would teach us to fear the Lord and his goodness, to think, " I 
only am, and have a place in this world, because he thought it 
good, and he saw it good to have it so." But, 

Secondly, The universal sustentation that he affords to all 


created beings, generally considered : this is all nothing but 
mere goodness ; for as he had no need of a creation at first, he 
liath still no need of it, and lie that hath raised it up into be- 
ing out of nothing one moment, might have suffered all to slip 
and lapse into nothing the next mom.ent again, v/ithout injury 
to what he had made, or without loss to himself. His tender 
inerey is over all Ills works. He lets all this great variety of 
creatures that replenish this world, continually draw from him. 
The eyes of all things look towards him. Nature hath (as it 
wore) set an eye in every thing that is made, only to look 
up with craving looks to the great Author of all things, 
and all are sustained suitably as their indigent states require, 
wlien all arc still useless to him, and advantage him nothing. 

Thirdly. His continual sparing offending creatures ; how 
constant a testimony and evidence is this of the immense good- 
ness of God ! That when he hath those that oftend him con- 
tinually, in h.is power and at his mercy, and he may right him- 
self for what hath been done, in a moment, or prevent doing 
any thing more to his displeasure, and to his dishonour, yet he 
spares : how adm.irable goodness is this ! It is not oscitancy 
and neglect, as if he took no notice of what men did. On pur- 
pose to obviate such an expression, Moses useth that emphati- 
cal expression, (interceding for offending Israel,) "Let the 
power of my God be great, according as thou hast spoken, say- 
ing, The Lord is long-suffering and slow to anger." Let the 
power of my God be great. It is not from oscitancy but pow- 
er, that guiby creatures are spared, that an offending world is 
not turned into flames and ashes long ago ; that a vindictive fire 
hath not been preying on it, and vindicating the wrong done to 
the offended Maker and Lord of all. It is not oscitancy but 
power, that is, power over himself, the greatest of all powers. 
Creating power is less, the sustentative power, by which the 
world is borne up, is less. By the exertion of his power to- 
wards his creatures he can easily conquer them ; but by this 
exercise of his power he doth, (as it were,) conquer himself ; 
withholding b.imself from those more sudden eruptions of dis- 
pleasure and wrath which would argue that these were a pre- 
dominant thing with him. But he will let the world know 
it is not so. There is the power of goodness that doth predo- 
minate and is governing. It is admirable in itself, and ought 
to be so in our estimate, that this world which hath for so 
many thousand years been inhabited and possessed by rebels 
against the crown and throne and dignity of the Eternal King, 

LEC. xxin.) His Moral perfections. — Goodness. Ill 

is yet spared, and they let propagate their kind, and transmit 
their nature, though they do, witli it, transmit the poison and 
mah'gnity of an inveterate hate and enmity against the Author 
of their being. How admirable is the divine goodness, tliat 
shews itself in this patience and long-suffering towards a guilty 
world ! We are taught so to account ; " Despisesr thou the 
riches of his forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that 
the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Rom. 2. 4. 
And again, 

Fourtiily. We are to consider as a further instance and evi- 
dence of this immense goodness of God, that he is pleased to 
take such care of the children of men, in their several succes- 
sive ages and generations, as we find he continually doth ; 
not only sparing them but providing for them ; which is a plain 
and most constantly positive instance and exemplification of 
this goodness whereof we speak. Two ways he doth more es- 
pecially take care of the offending creatures that do possess and 
inhabit this earth of ours ; partly by laws, and partly by provi- 

i. By laws. How much of the goodness of God is seen by 
those very laws which he hath taken care shall have place in 
this world, and by which any thing of common order is pre- 
served? How admirable is it that he should so concern himself 
for the tranquillity and peace and welfare of those that are in a 
confederacy and combination against him, and have been so 
from one generation to another ! How wonderful is it ! It is 
owing, partly, to the impressions he hath made and left upon 
the minds and nature of man, that there are any such laws as 
go under the name of the laws of nature, which have this ten- 
dency and design, to keep the world in a peaceful and quiet 
state ; and do so, as far as they obtain and prevail. And in- 
deed, there is none that do any thing to the disturbance and 
disquiet of the world, but they abandon the law of their nature 
in what they do, and offer violence to themselves. But any 
such law of nature we must understand to have proceeded from 
the iVuthor of nature, and we must understand it to have been 
preserved and kept alive among men, by him that doth pre- 
serve the nature of man, and doth take care that there should 
be successions of such creatures in tin's world. Consider how 
tender he is of the life of man, that he hath provided, that there 
should be such a law, even in man's nature, against murder, of 
which the municipal laws of several countries are all transcripts, 
and all owing to the general Legislator. Whatsoever laws of 
this or that country do agree with the natural law, they are all 


from the supreme Legislator, and are but discoveries of the care 
and concern that the common Ruler of this world hath to pre- 
serve such a creature as man on earth, from violence and wrong. 
And so likewise, the laws that do obtain anywhere for the pre- 
servation of property and for the preservation of chastity, and for 
the preservation of fame and reputation among men, and the like; 
that men may not be injured in such respects: they are all so 
many instances and exemplifications of the great and general be- 
nignity of the common Lord and Author of all tbings, towards his 
poor creatures in this world, though he beheld his nature poi- 
soned with enmity and malignity against himself, and though 
that creature takes no notice of him in all this. And then, 

ii. The case is seen, not only in the provision he hath made 
by laws, but whicb he continually makes by providence, for the 
sustentation of these, his offending creatures. So you see the 
text refers us to these very instances, " Love your enemies, do 
good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use 
you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your 
Father which is in heaven :" that you may represent and 
shew forth the Divine Nature in yourselves, that you may shew 
yourselves born of God, with such a nature as God hath ; give 
some proofs and discoveries of the Divine Nature in you, be- 
cause he doth thus ; loves his enemies, doth good to them that 
hate him, feeds them with breath, with bread, with all the ne- 
cessary supports of life, in a continual course from day to day. 
And again, 

Fifthly. It doth further evidence and exemplify divine good- 
ness, and how perfect he is therein, that there is any derivation 
hereof to be found any where among men, that there is any 
such thing among men as goodness towards one another, in 
any degree of it. Wheresoever there is to be found more or 
less of that which we call good nature, if there be any thing of 
humanity, of an aptness to do good to others^ or an unaptness 
to do them hurt, or to take pleasure in their infelicities or mi- 
series, these are so many specimens of goodness that are de- 
rived, and their very derivation speaks a fountain from whence 
they come. There can be no borrowed or participated good- 
ness but must suppose, and imply, a first goodness whence it 
proceeds. If there be any, the least goodness in any creature, 
this refers us to God, prompts us to look towards him with 
adoring eyes. This is a little rivulet from an immense ocean, 
a beam, a ray from that Sun of love and goodness, from that 
Nature that is all goodness and all love itself, in the very es- 
sence of it. This we ought to consider, if we meet with any 
kindness in this world, if we see any efforts, any discoveries of 

LEC. XXI II.) His Bloral Perfections. — Goodness. 1 1 S 

pity, of compassion and mercifulness in one towards another, 
this is all goodness from the First Goodness. All this, shew^ 
there is one Immense Goodness, whence all such little parcels of 
goodness do proceed and come. Es'en in tliis apostate and 
fallen world we see some sucli appearances of the divine image, 
(as vvas said) yet left. We see man hath love in his natnre, 
something of goodness in his nature, a proneness to do acts of 
goodness and beneficence to some or other, as they come in his 
way: this should presently make us fall adoring the Supreme 
Goodness in all this. But then. 

Sixthly. The design of recovering apostate, fallen man, is 
beyond all things, a most admirable discovery of divine good- 
ness ; that ever he should have formed such a design. Here 
is such a creature, such an order of creatures, such a sort of 
creatures, fallen, sunk, lost, become miserable, and miserable 
by their own delinquency, by their own apostasy, that is, by 
their own choice: they have chiOsen the way that leads down to 
the chambers of death and eternal ruin. Now, that in this case 
he should form a design with himself, " I will yet settle a 
course wherein such creatures as these may be recovered and 
saved, even from a self-procured ruin." If there were not, 1 say, 
a goodness whereof no other account could be given, but that it 
is divine, but that it is of Uself, as the Deity is, as the Godhead 
is ; who would ever have imagined but that such creatures hav- 
ing offended, and by tlieir offensive nature and course, put 
themselves into a way of perishing, must have been let perish. 
Nothing more vvas needful than to let them perish. Why 
should they not be let perish, when they chose it, when they 
loved it, and affected the way to it ? " They that hate me love 
death." They that hated wisdom, the Supreme Wisdom, they 
loved death. And why might they not be left to their own 
choice, to take the things they love ? No, this was Godlike, this 
speaks the goodness of a God, that he will prevent the perish- 
ing of self-destroying creatures. *' Their destruction is of 
themselves, but they shall find that in me is their help;" as by 
the prophet he speaks his own mind and heart. Partly, the de« 
sign itself, of saving and recovering such creatures, and partly, 
the strange and most surprising methods for bringing about 
such a design, may not only beget conviction, but the highest 
admiration also, of the goodness of God. W'e should not only 
acknowledge it, but fall a wondering, and even lose ourselves in 
wonder. How unaccountable a goodness was this, that rather 
than such creatures as vvc, should finally and remedilessly pe- 
rish, God should put on man, become mai^ ; that man, a maii 

VOL. VII <a 


of sorrows; tliat man of sorrows, at last a s;icrifice on a cross, to 
bring about a recunciliatiofi between an offended Majesty and 
offending creatures ? What manner of love was this ! what a 
transporting discovery of divine goodness ! " God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
John 3. 16. But then, if we add in the next place, to all this, 

Seventhly. The various means that he useth to draw and ga- 
tlier in soiils, to comply with the terms upon which pardon and 
reconciliation, and eternal salvation are offered to us. There 
are his ensigns displayed, there is a gospel published, there is 
an office set on foot, which is to last through all ages to the end 
of time, on purpose to draw and gather in souls; and all these 
to he looked upon still under the notion of enemies, they whose 
hearts were full of enmity and hate against him. For whom 
indeed he hath been doing good, in common kinds, long before : 
but they never thanked him for all the actings of his patience 
and sparing mercy. But such things are continually done to- 
wards the unthankful and the evil ; yea, these he is so intent upon 
saving from a deseived ruin, and bringing them to partake, even 
in a blessedness with himself, to unite them vAth his Son, make 
them one with him, to possess them with his Spirit; and to one of 
the greatest wonders of the divine goodness that can be thought 
of. When he hath given his Son to be a sacrifice for poor sin- 
ners, then to give his Spirit to enter into them, and to inhabit and 
possess them, and dwell in them ; tlmt holy, pure Spirit, that 
Spirit of all goodness and purity, that Spirit of holiness, as he 
is called, that he should make his entrance into unholy souls, 
souls that are so many cells of impurity and filthlness, of every 
thing that is hateful and noisome and loatlisome, how admirable 
a discovery is this of the divine goodness ! 


And having thus demonstrated the divine goodness, my de- 
sign is to v'mdicatc it. And that is, indeed, of so great impor- 
tance, that 1 cannot think it fit to leave off from this subject 
without placing some endeavour that way. It is of the greatest 
conse<juence to us, in all the world, to have our souls habitu- 
ally possessed with a believing, admiring sense of the goodness 
of God. We should therefore watch with greater jealousy over 

* Preaclied December the 11th, 1691. 

LEC. XXIV.) His Moral Perfectiojis. — Goodness. 115 

our souls, in no one point more than this, lest any thought 
should arise, or lest any injection should fix and have place in 
our souls, that should any way tend to infer with us a diminution 
of the goodness ot God, that the glory of it should be sullied 
in our eyes, or that it siiould be obscured or darkened in any 
kind ; for how much may a thought do of prejudice to that 
genuine, holy, spiritual affection that should be working back 
again in ourselves towards a good God ? Hovv may that aflec- 
tion be stifled by a thought, if it be not duly and seasonably 
obviated ! 

And indeed, there are but these two great objections that 
can, with any plausibleness, offer themselves against the good- 
ness of God ; partly, the eternal miseries that do befal the 
greater j)art of mankind ; and partly, the temporal calamities 
that do befal the better parr. These two ways, men may ob- 
ject to themselves against the divine goodness, wherein God is 
here represented as so perfect, that the most should miserably 
perish, and the best should undergo many hard and grievous 
things, even in this world. Both these, we shall take into con- 
sideration, that so, this most necessary part of the idea of the 
divine perfections may obtain, without any kind of obstruction 
or objection lying against it in our minds or hearts,* so as we 
may yield ourselves to be entirely swallowed up of the divine 

The former of these Is more frequent. And to shew how lit- 
tle pretence there can be from thence, how little colour of ob- 
jection against the divine goodness^ I shall lay before you these 
many considerations ; 

1. That no such goodness can be as a perfection in God, 
that shall exclude or diminish any of his other perfections. 
No such goodness can belong to the nature of God, as any per- 
fection due to it, that shall be exclusive or diminishing of any 
other perfection. You should not praise a nian, but reproach 
him, if you should give this of him as his character, tliat he Is 
so very goodnatured, as never to make any difference between 
civilities and affronts. 

2^ Punitive justice is most certainly a perfection belonging 
to the nature of God, both as he is a Being universally perfect, 
and as he is the Ruler of the world, to be exercised in such 
cases, wherein there is occasion it should have place. This is 
plain in itself, punitive justice to be exercised where it ought 
to have place, it is a perfection belonging to the nature of 
God as he is a Being of universal perfection, and the ]\nlcr 
of the world : as indeed, the Original Being, the First of beings 
must include all perfection eminently in itself. For there is 


no perfection that Is not somewhat, and there is no something 
that can come from nothing, and therefore, the First Being 
must have all perfection in it. And if this be a perfection, (as 
every man's judgment will teli him it is,) that is, punitive jus- 
tive, to be exercised upon proper occasions, it cannot but have 
place in the Divine Nature, as he is a Being of universal 
perfection, and as it necessarily belongs to him, supi^os- 
ing a world, to be the Governor of it. It could be from no 
other but him ; and therefore, can be under no government but 

3. There can be no place for the exercise of punitive jus- 
tice, but in reference to creatures governable by a law. Puni- 
tive justice can never have place, but towards such creatures 
as do admit of being governed by a law. Punishment is, pro- 
perly, nothing else but due animadversion upon an otFender 
against the law to which he is obliged, and which he is put un- 
der. This also is plain in itself, and only leads to what 1 add 

4. That no creature can be capable of government by a law, 
but such a one as is endowed with the natural faculties of an 
understanding and a will. There is no place for a legal go- 
vernment, and so nor, consequently, for the exercise of puni- 
tive justice, but toward a creature that is endowed with the na- 
tural faculties of an understanding and will, supposing that 
such a creature be guilty of violating the "laws by which he ought 
to be governed. 

5. It can be no reflection upon the nature of God to have 
made such a creature as man. For that which is the very first 
instance of divine goodness, it would be very strange that that 
should be a reflection upon it, cloud it, or obscure it. It evi- 
denccth it most highly, that when it was in the choice of God, 
and a thing merely depending upon his pleasure, to make such 
a sort and order of creatures stand up out of nothing into be- 
ing. This is, I say, the first evidence of his goodness, and 
speaks nothing to the disparagement of it: " for thy pleasure 
all things are and were created.''' And that which ought, from 
the very reason of the tiling, to be matter of highest and most 
grateful acknowledgment and adoration, must thereupon, neces- 
sarily, be an instance of goodness in him to whom such grateful 
acknowledgments are due, and by whom they are claimed. And 
it is a saying that carries its own light and reason In it, of that 
ancient, that ^' If I were capable (saith he) of making an intel- 
ligent creature stand up out of nothing, with a present power 
of using and understanding, the first thing I should expect 
from him should be, that he fall down and worship me, and 

tEC. XXIV.) Jlis Moral Perfectio7ift. — Goodness. 117 

tnake acknowledgment to me, for having been the author of 
Ijeing, and of such a )jeing to him." And then, for the kind of 
this being which divine goodness hath allotted to it, it makes 
it a iiigh instance of his goodness itself. So far is it from be- 
ing a diminution to it, that is, that he hath given us sucli a sort 
of being that is merely imitative and resembling of his own, 
wherein could there have been a greater signification of kind- 
ness and goodness, than to form a creature after his own image, 
with a spiritual, intelligent nature like his own ? And, 

6. The things that render any creatine capable of felicity, 
do also render it capable of government by a kivv : that is, rea- 
son and will, an intellective and elective faculty ; these make a 
people capable of government by a law, and make them capa- 
ble of felicity too. As hath been told you, if man had not had 
a nature endowed with an understanding and a will, he could 
have been no capable subject of being governed by a law: but 
then, if he had lieen destitute of such faculties as these, he 
could not have been capable of felicity neither. If he had not 
understanding to apprehend wherein it lies, and a will to unite 
with it, choose it, and take solace in it, he would be incapa- 
ble of being a happy creature. And what I Can it be any ar- 
gument against the divine goodness that he hath made man 
with such a nature as renders him capable of felicity ? If he 
were not capable of government, he could not be capable of fe- 
licity ; the same things making him capable of the one, and of 
the other. 

7. It must have been a very great blemish upon the divine 
governnient, if creatures capable of government by law, should 
generally offend against the n»ost righteous and equal ones, (as 
his laws cannot but be,) and there should be no course taken 
for the punishing of such transgressors. This must be a mani- 
fest blemish upon a government. Suppose we, in any govern- 
ment whatsoever that there should be any such edict and pro- 
clamation published, that let the subjects under such a govern- 
ment do what they ple.ise, no man shall be animadverted upon, 
all shall do what is good in their own ces, and no one be ever 
called to any account ; would this be a commendation of a go- 
vernment ^ Such a thing is altogether insupposable in the ad- 
ministration of the best and most excellent government that 
ever was, or ever can be. Consider it in the whole course of 
it, not the temporal administration abstractly, from the future 
state of tilings, but the course and the end of it altogether; and 
it must finally appear the best and most perfect and excellent 
government that ever was, or ever can be. Eut how insuppos- 
able is It, (I say) that the best and most perfect government, 


should ever be liable to such a blemish as this, that let men 
he never so wicked, it shall fare as well with them as if they 
were never so dutiful and obedient. The thing speaks itself, 
and Scripture speaks ir, but it speaks not as a notion which it 
suggests anew, but only tliat which it takes up and observes, as 
a thing common to men before. " Shall not the Judge of all 
the world do right }" And see, what immediately precedes, 
*' Wilt tliou destroy the righteous with the wicked? That be 
far from thee ; Shall not the Judge of all the world do right ?" 
Gen. 18. 2.^, 25. Supposing this as a great fundamentaJ, a 
principle that did always shine with its own lights and that did 
evidence itself, that it must belong to the Judge of al! the earth 
to do right : and so put a difference between the righteous and 
the wicked, that they are not to fare all alike. And again, 

8. The rery nature of the lavv^ that was original and natu- 
ral to man, h itself a high evidence and instance of divine 
goodness. The law of nature, that law (I say) which was ori-. 
giual and natural to man, and so inwrought into liimself at 
first, that he was even constituted as a law to himself, because 
that that was enjoined in it summarily, did carry his own rea- 
son in it, had in itself, recommending evidence to that con* 
science wherevvith he was created, that God did rule upon 
those terms that he was to rule himself upon ; and so must 
judge him upon such terms, as upon which he must judge 
himself. For do but consider, how this law is afterwards sum- 
med up, all in one word, love. This was the fulfilling of the 
law, the loving of God above all : the most equal thing in all 
the world, that the highest and best love should be placed up- 
on the highest and best good. This was that which his law 
required, that we should love the Lord our God, with all our 
heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might. Our Sa- 
viour gives this, as the summary and principal part of the law 
that was natural and original to man : and then, the second 
part is like the former, loving our neighbour as ourselves. 
How greatly evidential was this divine goodness, that when he 
had made a creature capable of government by a law, he should 
give him such a law as this, and impress it upon his mind, so 
as it might be said, God was not more to govern him by it, 
than he was to govern himself: and so finally was to judge him 
by it, as he must needs judge himself ! " He hath shewn thee, 
O man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, 
hut to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with 
thy God ?"" Micah 6. 8. Walk in that dutiful subjection to 
God, which must be the necessary and easy product of su- 
preme and sovereiga love to him : and theoj carry it justly and 

IBC. XXIV.) His Moral Perfections, — Goodness. 1 19 

mercifully towards men. And, certaitilv, tliat must needs he 
an instance ;ind evidence of the j^rcatest goodness in God, that 
should be t'ne cause of the greatest good in man. Now, do 
but suppose the world conformed to this law of God, in these 
two mast noble and constituent parts of it; that is, that all the 
inhabitants of this world did live in the continual love of God, 
adoring him most gratefully as the great Author of their being, 
and In a universal and mutual love to one another, each man 
seeking another's felicity as his own, and having no more de- 
sign of hurt or mischief against another than he hath against 
his own life, his own heart ; what a happy world v^ ;re this 1 
And that wlwch tends to happiness, must be from goodness : 
nothing is plainer. Now, when so admirable a law as this, 
every part agreeing with the whole, no branch but what is na- 
turally included in this summary, this compendium ; I say, 
when such a law as this was given to men, it is most natural 
to add, that the satne goodness that did enjoin upon man such 
a law, must also adjoin a penalty to it, a threatening or due 
punishment for the violation of it; otherwise, the divine go- 
vernment had been ludicrous, if there should have been such a 
law which is without annexing any penalty. And the better the 
law, and more unexceptionable, the more clearly rigisteous and 
equal is a very severe penalty to be annexed to it : and the an- 
nexing it thereunto, is not only what divine goodness must al- 
low, and doth allow, but what it did require. This was a 
thing not only consistent with divine goodness, but the effect 
of it, that there should be such intermination added unto such 
a law. For, if the adding of that sanction to the law, was the 
aptest means to procure the continual obedience of it, and the 
law itself had a tendency to the good of the connnunity for 
whom it was made, then the very addition of the sanction or 
threatening to the precept of the law, must not only consist 
with the goodness of it, but proceed from it. Any prince that 
doth really study tlie welfare of tlie governed comnmnity, must 
be understood to adjoin due and })ruper penalties to good laws, 
for the good of the people to be governed by them : that the 
awe of the adjoined threatening may procure obedience, and 
that obedience, felicity to them that are so governed ; so as 
that such a law beiwg once made, goodness did not only admit 
of it, but did require that there should be a penalty annexed to 
it, to enforce obedience. And again, 

9, It was never to be expected, that when God m«de sucli a 
creature, he should create him in that which was to be his final 
state. It could never be looked for from the divine goodness, 
that making such a creature as man, he should settle hira in 


a final, good and happy estate the first day he made him. It 
can be no way inconsistent with the goodness of God, that hav- 
ing made such a creature as man, he should order him a state 
of trial, of probation, through which he was to pass into that 
state which was to be final, and perpetually felicitating. For a 
final state is a state of retribution, a state of reward. The 
Scripture so speaks of it, frequently, as you cannot but know. 
Now I beseech you, what was it to be the reward of? It must 
be the reward of a foregoing obedience. And therefore, it could 
never have been expected from the divine goodness, that when 
God tirst made man, he should have made it impossible for 
him ever to have ofteiided: or when he made any intelligent 
creature that he should have made it so. Those two great or- 
ders of intelligent creatures, angels and men, it is plain enough 
God made neither of them incapable of offending. And it was 
not reasonable to expect that he should. But as to ourselves, 
(for we are more obliged to mind our own concernments,) 
this is the account we have given us, (Eccles. 7* 29.) '' God 
made man upright ; but he hath sought out many inventions." 
God made him upright, put hirn into a good state, if he would 
liave liked it, but he must needs fall to his own inventions, to 
mend it, and try if he could not make to himself a better state 
than God had made for him. It was never to he expected 
from the divine goodness, that he should, by almighty, extra- 
ordinary power, have prevented this. For the creature tliat 
was designed to be rewarded with eternal felicity, for a present 
temporal obedience, he must be left to the trial of his ingenui- 
ty and dutifulness towards his bountiful Creator. Otherwise, 
there would have been no place, no room for reward. And if 
there had been no place for punishment, in case of disobedi- 
ence, there could have been no place of reward, in case of obe- 
dience find duty. Tiierefore, I add hereupon, 

10. That inasmuch as it was necessary there should be such 
a lav^', and the threatening annexed to it, or punishment pro- 
portionable to any offence committed against it, the execution, 
according to the tenour of the threatening, became accordingly 
and consequently necessary, supposing once the violation of 
such a law. I speak of that law which was natural and origi- 
nal to man ; for that little instance of obedience wherein God 
did put man at first upon, there coqld not have been transgres- 
sion in that, without it had been a violating of the most natu- 
ral law, in the most noble and essential part of it. Now, if a 
threatening were necessary to be annexed to a law, the execu- 
tion of it, in case of a violation of that law, was consequently 
necessary j yea, and if the threatening did immediately pro- 

LEG. XXIV.) His Moral Perfections. — Goodness. 121 

ceeH from divine goodness, the execution of the threatening 
mi.'^t immediately proceed from it; but not without the inter- 
vention of the divine veracity. The goodness of God did lead 
him to arid a due and proportionable threatening to his law: 
and thi-> law being violated and broken, so as that the threat- 
ened punishment became due, it must be executed. That 
uhiih was ordained from the divine goodness, it conies to be 
the immediate effects of divine justice, which is not contrary 
to goodness : it is only in our conception diverse, but far from 
being contrary. If there had not been such a constitution, the 
divine goodness had not shone forth with that lustre and evi- 
dence that now it doth. And there being such a constitution, 
his trutli and legal justice oblige him, in some way or other, to 
l<eep to it, either in kind or equivalency : he must do himself 
and his own law that right, as to preserve the honour, reputa- 
tion and dignity of it, and of his own government concerned 
therein. Therefore, the execution of such a law, by inflicting 
the incurred penalty one way or other was necessarily and un- 
avoiiahly consequent : so necessary, that one attribute could 
not in this case have bad its sole exercise without injury to 
some other, which our first consideration was directed against. 
* But then I yet further add, 

11. That whatsoever penalty comes to be inflicted upon un- 
reconci'aI:le sinners, in the final and eternal estate, it must be 
acknowledged that much of divine goodness was exercised and 
demonstrated towards them before. Suppose an offending 
creature whose heart was implacable towards God, and so vio- 
lently addicted to sensual lusts, that he had the authority of his 
Maker in continual contempt; and his whole life was a defi- 
ance to the authority of his justice and government, and the 
goodness and kindness of the offers he hath made to him ; sup- 
pose (I say) such a creature incurs never so severe a penalty, 
he cannot but acknowledge that much of the divine goodness 
had its exercise and demonstration towards him before. For 
otherwise, what room or place were there for that expostulation 
of the apostle, even with them whom he supposeth finally to fall 
under wrath in the day of God's wrath, and revelation of hii? 
righteous judgment ; " Despisest thou the riches of his good- 
ness, and long-suffering, and forbearance ? not knowing that 
the goodness of God should lead thee to repentance?" Des- 
pisest thou his goodness ! This same despising had no object, 
if there had been no exercise of goodness towards such a one 
before : and it would suppose this expostulation to be a great 
impertinency. Despise goodness; it were to despise nothings 
if there had been no goodness, and go thete could have been 



no such tiling as despising: the thing the apostle chargeth up- 
on such a one ; for there can be no act where there is no ob- 
ject. There could be no goodness to be despised, if there had 
not been the exercise of goodness towards such a one in a for- 
mer state. Therefore, I add, 

12. That the general and special goodness of God are things 
no way inconsistent with one another. These two things do 
very fairly accord, God's general goodness towards all, and his 
special goodness towards some. And it argues a very great debi- 
lity of mind, and shortness of discourse, when any do set these 
against one another, as if special goodness must destroy the 
notion of general goodness, or as if general goodness must de* 
stroy the notion of special. The matter would be more easily 
apprehensible, if we would bring it to a case relating to a hu- 
man government, and suppose the best that is supposable in 
this world. Would you suppose that the clemency, kindness 
and goodness of the best prince that ever was (or of whom you 
can form any idea in your own minds) must oblige him to deal 
alike with all his subjects, that is, that all persons that are of 
equal parts, of equal understandings, must be equally prefer- 
red, equally dignified? Would the goodness of any prince oblige 
him to this, that if he find a necessity to have some persons of 
good parts and understanding to be of a privy council to him, 
that he must have all to be of that privy council that are of as 
good parts as they ? And shall such a prince not be thought to 
be good, or his government not to be equal, unless it were so ? 
The best idea that we can form of any government is, that 
things be equally carried towards all, and yet special favour be 
towards objects that are not altogether incompetent, at the 
choice of the ruler. This is the best idea we can form. Bring 
then the matter to the divine government ; we must distin- 
guish between matters of right and matters of favour. For 
matters of right, we are to expect from it, that God do right 
to all men universally without exception ; but for matters of 
mere favour, in reference whereunto he is not so much as a 
debtor by promise ; (and he can be a debtor to none by nature) 
he can owe nothing to his creature. It is possible for a 
subject in a hum^an government to oblige his ruler, but no 
creature can oblige God. A subject in a human government 
may really deserve favour and kindness at the hands of his ru- 
lers, for he can benefit them, it is in his power to profit them, 
they can really be the better for him ; but God can be the 
hf'tter for none of us; therefore, he canbeadebtor to none but 
by j)romise ; we are therefore only to expect from the divine 
goodness, that where he hath promised, there he will be as 

LEC. XXIV.) His Moral Perfections. — Goodness, 123 

good as his word ; but for unpromiscd fiivoiir, to which the 
creature can have no title, that there he do dispense arbitrarily 
as seemeth good to him. And therefore, upon this ground iiis 
general goodness towards all, and special goodness towards 
some, are no inconsistencies one with another. And if he do 
generally shew that goodness in the course of his dispensations, 
to all his creatures, and especially to all the childicn of men, 
that every one that considers must acknowledge, then it is no 
detraction from the goodness tliat he doth sh^w to all, that he 
doth somewhat more of mere special favour for others, yea, 
though it be never so much, or though it be never so greatly 
more. There is no cause or pretence why any man's eye should 
be evil because his is good. For free and unpromised favours, 
(and all are unmerited, but such as are not only unmerited but 
unpromised too,) that he dispense out these arbitrarily, is cer- 
tainly no repugnancy to the highest and most perfect goodness. 
I further add, 

]3. That instances of the general goodness of God towards 
men are most numerous and undeniable. For besides, that he 
hath given them being, (when it was in his choice and plea- 
sure whether he would or no,) here he entertains tliem in a 
world, to the making whereof, none of them did ever contri- 
bute any thing; he watches over them by an indulgent provi- 
dence, supplies them with breath every moment ; keeps off, for 
an appointed time, destructive evils, aflbrds them out of that 
common bounty of his, the good things that are necessary for 
the continuance and comfort of life. How rich is this earth 
in its productions for offending creatures ! I cannot but think 
of it, many times, with wonder, that considering that this infe- 
rior part of God's creation so soon after it was made, fell under 
his just displeasure and righteous curse, there yet should be 
so great variety of productions, every where in this earth, for 
the entertainment of rebels, or those that for the most part 
never give thanks for what they enjoy, never look up, although 
they have a capacity and disposition in their nature (originally) 
so to do, to adore, to pay reverence to the first and eternal 
Being. That which some think to be more the difference of a 
man from a brute than reason is, a natural religion, which some 
take a great deal of pains with themselves to erase and tear by the 
roots out of their own souls. Let us consider that which the text 
refers to, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do 
good to them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that 
you may be the children of your Father, who doth good to tlic 
evil and the good, makes his sun to shine and his rain to fail on 
cne and the other j" do sQj that you may represent your Father; 


herein lies his perfection. This whole earth that men fill with 
their wickedness, he fills with his goodness, "The whole earth 
is full of the goodness of the Lord," Psalm 33. 5. *' The 
Lord is good to all ; and his tender mercies are over all his 
works." Psalm 145. 9. " He hath not left himself without 
witness, in that he doeth good, and gires fruitful seasons, and 
fills men's hearts with food and gladness." Acts 14. 17. And 
I further add, 

14. That even those instances of divine goodness that are of 
an inferior kind, have a tendency and aptitude in them to make 
way for the exercise of his goodness to them, in a higher and 
Mobler kind. The goodness which God exerciseth towards 
men in the concernments of this natural life of theirs, they 
have a tendency and aptitude to affect their minds, and to he- 
get good impressions there, and to make them consider and 
bethink themselves, '^Whence is all this? and how comes it to 
pass that such provision should be made for one, and for crea- 
tures generally, of that order to which I belong?" This is the 
tendency, even of external mercies. Whereupon, it is spoken 
of with such resentment, "They say unto God, Depart from 
us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways — yet he filkd :hefr 
houses with good things : but the coun^-el of the wicked be far 
from me," Job 21. 14, 15. And the same, you have re- 
sumed afterwards, in the next chapter, implying that the ten- 
dency of things did run quite otherwise ; that is, to allure and 
draw the minds and hearts of men towards God ; and make 
them consider and bethink themselves, and say, Why should we 
not covet to know our great Benefactor, and him from whom 
all our good comes ? But they say unto him "Depart from us, 
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways :" — "though he filled 
their houses with good things ;" and therefore, is there such a 
resentment afterwards expressed: "but the counsel of the 
^vicked be far from me ;" representing them as a monstrous 
sort of creatures, a sort of prodigies in the world, that there 
should be such a disaffection in rebellious and obdurate hearts 
against the Author of all goodness and kindness and mercy, 
that is in so continued a course exercised towards them. The 
counsel of the wicked be far from me ; as if any serious and 
considering man must, and ought to be startled and affrighted 
at beholding such a spectacle as this, a reasonable, intelligent 
soul shunning and fleeing away from him who is daily loading it 
with his benefits, and seeking, by kindness and goodness, to 
insinuate himself into it, and so make room and place for him- 
self, in the love and kindness of such a one. But that these 
dispensations have this tendency in theiPj the Scripture is fuH 

I.EC. XXIV.) His Moral "Perfections. — Goodness. 125 

of it ; " Knowest thou not that the goodness of God leadeth 
thee to repentance ?" hath a leadingncss thereto, in that men- 
tioned Rom. 2. 4. " And count, (saith the apostle Peter in his 
2 Epis. ch. 3. 15.) that the lonsj-suffering of the Lord is salva- 
tion :" (he would not have us make a false count, I hope :) 
reckon that he is aiming at the saving of your souls, while he 
is doing good to you in external respects. If he feed you with 
bread, if he feed you with breath day by day, and moment by 
moment, what is it for ? Is it only to support such a despica- 
ble thing as this frail body of yours is, which must shortly be- 
come a carcass ? Is that the utmost of his design ? No, he is 
leading thee to repentance, and would have thee account that 
both his bounty and his patience towards thee have salvation 
in design. Count the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation, 
that is, it is the design of the thing; it is that which the thing 
itself doth naturally aitu at, and lead unto. And hereupon, we 
are told, in that, Acts 14. 16', I/, IH. that God aimed at the 
turning men from the vanities tluit their hearts did doat on as 
the objects of their worship, to the living God j he did aim at 
this in giving them fruitful seasons, as you may see, if you take 
notice of the connexion Ijetween the 15 and 17 verses of that 
chapter. So, Acts 17, he gives thera being, breath and all 
things, that they might seek after him who is not far from 
every one of us ; in whom we live and move and iiave our being. 
And then, 

15. Lastly; The terms upon which he offers peace and par- 
don and eternal life to offending creatures are the highest 
proofs and evidences imaginable, of the wonderful goodness of 
God, notwithstanding that so great multitudes do, finally, re- 
fuse them and perish. And to this purpose, it should be con- 
sidered, that the apostle speaks of this as matter of transport 
more than doubt, and that it did need more to be admired than 
evinced. *' God so loved the world that he gave his only be- 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish 
but have everlasting life." John 3. 16. The silence that is 
there used is more speaking than any speech could be. He so 
loved the world, at so stupendous a rate. It is a very speaking 
silence that he doth not tell us how great that love is ; he 
leaves us to understand it to be altogether inexpressible, that 
he should give his only Son that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish — and whereas, men have an impotency to 
the exercise of that faith that is requisite to their attaining sal- 
vation, what is that impotency ? It stands only in an affected 
blindness and obduracy of will ; that which they call moral 
impotency. Now moral impotency doth not excuse, but ag- 


^ravate the faultiness. No man takes moral impotency to be 
an excuse, but a high aggravation. As if a man is guilty of 
murder, and he bring this to excuse him, — " 1 could not hut 
kill that man because 1 hated him, I did so violently hate him 
that I could not but do this unto him." Xhat moral impoten- 
cy (his extreme hatred) aggravates the crime, that that made it 
to be done, made it so highly faulty, and so much the more 
heinous, that it is done. He is not less guilty, but the more, 
by how much the more his hatred was predominant and preva- 
lent in the case. Why, so this disaffection to God and to Christ 
and to holiness, (which is impotency) is an impotency seated in 
the will, and the ignorance hath its root, it ariseth and proceeds 
from th.ence, that is, that men are " alienated from the life 
cf God, through the ignorance that is in them, and because of 
the blindness of their hearts." A blindness which they love, 
a blindness which they choose, as it is, Ephes. 4. 18. Where- 
upon, all their misery is self-created. The miseries wherein 
men are involved in this world, which make it another hell to 
them, (a hell on this side hell,) and the miseries of the final 
and eternal state, they are all self-created: that is, they do 
arise from a fixed, inveterate malignity against the Author of 
their being, and that very nature itself, whereof their own, at 
first, was an imitation. An amazing thing, but it were impos- 
sible, if men did love God, to be miserable. Loving him is 
enjoying him, and enjoying him is felicity, if any thing be, or 
can be. The image of men's future miseries, you have in their 
present state. What is it that makes the world such a hell as 
it is, but men's hatred of God and of one another? For (as was 
5aid) if there were no contention at all, among men on earth, 
but who should love God best, and one another best, and who 
should do most for him, and for one another, what a heavenly 
life should we live here, a heaven on this side heaven : but the 
Iiellon this side hell, is only this, that men's hearts are filled 
with enmity against God, and one another : and from this ma- 
lignity proceeds their infidelity, that they do not unite to God 
in Christ when they are called to it ; which is no excuse, but an 
aggravation. But, in the mean time, that is the most wonder- 
ful goodness that can bethought, that such overtures should be 
made to men, God having given his only begotten Son, that 
whosoever bclieveth in him should not nerish, but have evei" 
lastijig life. 

tEC, xxT.) His Moral Peffections^'-Goodness, 12? 


And this may suffice to be said, in answer to that first ob- 
jection asjainst the divine goodness, the eternal miseries of the 
most. And, indeed, the sum of all that can be said upon that 
account, doth amount to this, as if it vvere a tiling inconsistent 
with the goodness of God, that he hath made such a creature 
as man, given him so excellent a being, made him after his 
own image, that is, endowed him with a reason and a will, in 
his very creation : and, that having made him such, he did not 
unalterably fix him in a good and happy state the first day, but 
that he tiiought fit to pass him through a state of probation into 
his final state; and upon this lapse and degeneracy, he did not 
do for every one in order to their recovery as he hath done for 
some. In answer whereto, you have these considerations laid 
before you. 

But we pass on to the other objection ; the temporal afflic- 
tions of good men. Some may be prone to impeach the di- 
vine goodness upon this account, and object against what hath 
been said on that subject. But here, such as find themselves 
disposed so to object, should reflect upon themselves and con- 
sider, what they themselves are. Are they good men that dio 
thus object ? Or are they such as are afraid to be so on tliis 
account, and are thereupon so very officious as to object this 
on the behalf of others, while they themselves are loth there- 
upon to become good, apprehending they shall not serve a 
good master, and are therefore willing to wave and decline 
his service ? If they be men of this latter stamp and charac- 
ter, that do so object, it seems that their sense must be this, 
that they will never be good themselves, unless God will hire 
them to it by temporal rewards and emoluments, by indulging 
them to live a life of ease and pleasure and opulency in the 
world. And for them whose sense this is, I have but these 
things briefiy to say to them : 

1. That true goodness can never be so mercenary. They ure 
never like to become good upon these terms; if God should 
give them their ov^^n terms. 

2. 1 would have them consider what other choice they caa 
have. If they will not serve God, and devote themselves to 
him, and admit to be such as he requires, (that is, truly good,) 
but upon these terms, what else will they do ? What other mas- 
ter, or service, or way have they to make choice of ? Can they, by 

* Preached December the ISth, I69I. 


their not being willingly subject to the governing power of God, 
exempt themselves from an unwilling subjection to his vin- 
dictive power ? Whither will they betake themselves ? will 
they leave God's dominions ? will they go beyond the bounds 
of his territories ? whither will they fly ? Neither earth, nor 
heaven, nor hell, can keep them out of his reach ; as the 
Psalmist, at large, speaks it in that 13i) psalm, and the prophet 
Jeremiah In the 23 chap, of his prophecy. "Am I a God at 
hand, and not a God afar off ? Do not I fill heaven and earth ? 
saith the Lord." Is it to be a disputed thing between him and 
you, whether you shall serve him and comply with his good and 
acceptable will ? And, 

3. If God should give such men their terms, whereas they 
appear to be in the temper of their spirits bad enough already, 
they have a great deal of reason to think that would make them 
a great deal worse. It needs abundance of previous and pre- 
venting grace not to be the worse for a good condition, here in 
this world, as all experience shews. And, 

4. Lastly, I would appeal to such, whether God is not, in. 
such respects, abundantly good to them already. Hath he 
not given you breath and being and all things that you enjoy ? 
How great are the favours that you partake of, in common with 
the rest of men ! To instance in what the context mentions : 
*' He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sends his rain on the just and on the unjust." What a case 
were you in, if God should put out the sun, and if he should 
turn the fruitful land in which you dwell, into universal bar- 
renness, by continual withholding his rain? If he should turn 
your present health into continual sickly languishings, and your 
ease '♦^tp lormenting pains, and your plenty into pinching 
wants, ai . i)traits? And more than all this, if he should turn 
his invitations to you to pray and supplicate for higher, and 
those that may tend to eternal mercies, into prohibitions ; and 
say to you, " Never pray, never supplicate, never look up, I 
will receive no addresses from you ?" If his invitations to you 
to surrender yourselves, and become his, and take him for 
yours, should be turned into protestations against it, "1 will 
never be your God, and you shall never be my people?'* Think 
while this is not the case, if God be not abundantly good to 
you already, so that upon your own account you have very lit- 
tle reason to contest the matter with him. 

But, if good men do object this, as possibly against their 
more habitual frame, under the power of some temptation they 
may be apt to do, as we find it was with the 1 Scilmist in the 73 
psalm : and the like offence and scandal, good icen are lepie- 

JLEC. xxT.) Jlis Moral 'perfections. — Goodness. 129 

sented as, sometimes, apt to take at their own afflicted condi- 
tion, compared with the prosperous state of worse men, against 
which, nmch of that 37th psalm is directed, and that 21st of 
Job; and the beginning of the I'ith. chap, of Jeremiah's pro- 
phecy : let such but go into the sanctuary, as the Psalmist did, 
(in that 73d. psalm) retire themselves, consider the thing in 
the secret divine presence, and commune with God about the 
matter, and not with their own souls, nor consult with flesh 
and blood, and let them but consider such things as these, 

(1.) Whether this matter of fact be ordinarily and generally 
true, that the case of good men is worse than that of wicked 
men in external respects. It is a matter that oieserves to be 
considered and inquired wisely about ; and certainly, upon in- 
quiry, it will rather be found otherwise : that is, except in the 
paroxysm of persecution against instituted religion 5 (for it is 
very rare that men should be per'^ecuted for natural but,) " if 
any man will live godly in Christ Jesus," he must expect to 
*' suffer persecution." I say, except in some such paroxysm of 
persecution upon such an account, for Christianity itself, as to 
those that live among pagans, or for this or that institution of 
them that live among christians, that case being excepted 
which is not constant; ordinarily, it appears evident that the 
Letter men are, the better their state and condition are in this 
world. Their religion obligeth them to that temperance, so- 
briety and diligence in their callings, prudent and discreet ma- 
nagement of their affairs, that in ordinary cases it is most plain 
and manifest, that there are much fewer who are ruined by 
their religion, than that are ruined by their wickedness, by their 
riot, and by their debauchery ; more persons, more, estates, 
and more families are ruined that way, if there be but a survey 
taken of the state of things in this world : and the apostle of- 
fers this very consideration, (in that 1 Cor. 10. 13. even to the 
very suffering christians of that time) " There hath no temp- 
tation," (that is tentative atllictionj " befallen you but what is 
common to men," but what is human. It is true, the account 
is not common, but the matter of the aflfliction or the afflictions' 
materially considered, are common to men. Are good men 
tinown into jails, and sometimes put to death for their religion ? 
Truly, so are bad men for their wickedness, as frequently, and, 
if we should make a general computation, much more frequent- 
ly. They suff'er the same things very commonly, upon a less 
comfortable account. And, 

(2.) Where this is really the very case, that the condition of 
good and holy men is, in this world, much worse than that of 
the worst men, as many times it is so; they are to consider the 



vastly difterent value of spiritual and temporal good things, and 
this is the great business of a christian, to labour to have that 
spiritual sense in exercise, by which to be able to discern be- 
tween j^'ood and evil, and to prefer the things that are more ex- 
cellent: as those two scriptures compared together speak ; Heb. 
5. 14. and Phil. 3. 8. They ought to have their naked, unvi- 
tlated senses by which to discern between good and evil, and 
to abound in that judgment and sense, in all sense, by which 
they may distinguish the things that differ, and prefer (as that 
expression admits to be read) the things that are more excel- 
lent. And then, how much greater is the value of a sound and 
well tempered mind and spirit, above that of all earthly and 
worldly accommodations and enjoyments imaginable, which 
are but the gratifications of our flesh and external sense, at best. 

(3.) Such are to consider what is the experience of christians 
of all times, concerning the aptitude and useful subserviency 
of external afflictions to inward and spiritual advantage : they 
say, when they are in their calmer, and more considering frames 
that it is good for them, that they were afflicted, and, that God 
hath done it in very faithfulness to them. And, 

(4.) Lastly. It is God ^s own declared end, in the temporal 
afflictions, he lets befal his, and therefore, would have them 
count it all joy, when they fall into divers temptations, that is, 
tentative afflictions. James 1. 2. Counr it all joy, because it 
made greatly for their perfection. The trial of your faith work- 
eth patience, therefore, count it all joy; implying, there is more 
of real good in that one single excellency of patience, than can 
be of evil in all the external afflictions, absolutely resigned and 
submitted to the divine pleasure. Here is so much of an in- 
choate heaven, such a heaven as our present state admits of^ 
this one thing hath, as Is not only enough to make us patient, 
but joyful under the various temptations and trials of this kind, 
that we are apt to fall into, or lie under. And hereupon, 
where this sense hath been impressed upon the hearts of good 
men, they liave thought the sufferings of the present time, 
were not woithy to be compared with the end of them, which 
was to be wrought out thereby, as in that, Rom. 8. 18. "1 reck- 
on that the sufferings of the present time, are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." This 
is my arithmetic, so I account, or this is my logic, so 1 reason : 
the word may be rendered either way, this is the rational esti- 
mate I make of this case, having turned it round, and viewed 
it on every side, and balanced things with things, that the suf- 
ferings of the present time, this now of time, this very point 

LEc . xxv) . His Moral Perfections. — Goodness. 131 

of time, are not worthy to be compared (alas, it is not to be 
named the same day,) to the glory that Is to he revealed. It 
is as nothing in the account, as if we should weigh a feather 
against a mountain. This is my rational estimate and judg- 
ment in this case. And, that God doth design the afflictions 
of this present state, as a preparation for the future, and eter- 
nal state, we have most expressly laid down in that, 2 Cor. 4. 
17- " The light afflictions wliich are but for a moment, work 
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glo';y." It 
ia a rnetathesis which is not usual in Scripture ; do work for 
us, that is, indeed, do work us for it. And it is to be under- 
stood, principally, of subjective glory, not objective; for that 
can never be more or less to any : it is essentially the same in 
itself with divine glory, but subjective glory, not objective. 
It is essentially the same in itself with divine glory ; but sub- 
jective glory to be impressed, that is, more or less, according 
to the capacity and disposition of the subject. And we ^low 
more capable, and are larger vessels, receptive of greater glory, 
as our temper is : and our temper is better, and made more 
receptive of larger and more glorious communications, even 
by the sufferings of this present time. By the light afflictions 
which are but for a moment, we are so much the inore apt for 
the eternal weight of glory, which is to ensue ; wliich we are 
not barely to be told, but to bear, answerable to the notion of 
weight. We are not only to be mere. spectators of the glory 
there spoken of, but the subjects of it. And then, if this be 
all that God doth design by the afflictions that he lets befal 
good men here in this world, to refine them, to make them 
more partakers of his own holiness, and consequently of fuller 
glory, greater and higher measures of glory, is this any ground 
of taking up diminishing thoughts concerning his goodness? 
Yea, 1 might add, 

It is that which his very relation doth oblige him to, even as 
he is our Father: your heavenly Father Is perfect. For what 
a Father is he to us ? Or in what sense is he Father to his own ? 
He is the Father of their spirits; so his word speaks contradis- 
tinguishly of him, to the fathers of our flesh. Of the flesh we 
have other fathers. Heb. 12. 9. He li not the Father of our 
flesh 3 he is the Creator of it : but of our spirits he is the Fa- 
ther. He is the Father of them, both upon a natural and su- 
pernatural account, as they have his natural image, being in- 
telligent and spiritual beings like his own : and, as his rege- 
nerate children, have his holy image renewed in them. Now 
the very relation doth oblige him (if he be a Father to us, that 
is, to our spirits,) more principally to mind the advantage of 
cur spirits. That very relation doth not only admit, but re- 


quire that he should let us suffer in our flesh, if it may he for 
the advantage of our spirits: and that this outward man should 
be beaten and shattered day by day, even unto perishing, 
if, while this is a doing and suffering, the inward man may be 
renewed day by day. He must take the principal care about 
that to which he is a Father. Affection must follow the rela- 
tion ; the relation is to our spirits, and the affection must be, 
principally, to our spirits. 

But I shall insist no further on that part. It remains only 
to make somewliat of Use of what hath been said, especially 
touching this divine perfection of the goodness of God. And, 

1. Be hereupon encouraged to cherish this apprehension 
Concerning God, take heed that nothing ever shake your fixed 
belief and apprehension of this. And whatsoever reasonings do 
arise in your minds at any time, forelay this always, let it be 
always a thing foreiaid in you. Yet God is good to Israel, as 
the Psalmist begins that 73 psalm. Nothing can be of greater 
importance, either to the liveliness and vigour, or even to the 
very substance and being of religion, than a fixed, stable ap- 
prehension of the divine goodness : that religion is nothing, 
the soul whereof is not love. If love be not the very soul of 
your religion, your religion is a carcass, an empty nothing. 
But that love may be the soul of it, there must be a constant 
apprehension of the loveliness of the object. Labour then to 
have your souls possessed always with a deep and fixed appre- 
hension of the divine goodness. Contemplate it in every thing 
that you behold, in every thing that you enjoy, yea, even in the 
lessening and qualifying of those evils that you suffer. Go up 
and down this world with hearts full of this thought; " the whole 
earth is full of his goodness." Collect all the instances you can 
of the goodness of God, and keep by that means, such an appre- 
hension alive and in vigour concerning him. What a mighty 
spring would this be, of cheerful and joyful and pleasant religion. 
Let no thought arise, but let it meet with a seasonable check, 
if it tend to any diminution of divine goodness. And, 

2. Preserve a worshipping, adoring frame of spirit Godward 
upon this very account, having your hearts full of this appre- 
hension and sense ; labour always to be in a posture of adora- 
tion, apt and ready always to look up, carrying that as a motto 
engraven on your hearts, *'I am less than the least of all thy 
mercies." And again, 

3. Endeavour as much as in you is, accordingly to look 
upon that immediate promanation of the divine goodness, 
his law; that which issues, which proceeds so directly from 
the goodness of God. Esteem it to be what really it is, the 
product and image of the divine goodness. Look upon him 

iEC. XXV.) His Moral Perfections — Goodness. 13.^ 

as absolutely, universally perfect, and consider the reason- 
ableness of what is said concerning this law, in correspon- 
dency thereunto. "The law of the Lord is perfect." Psalm 
19. 7. And considering this one single perfection of the Di- 
vine Being, his goodness, make a proportionable judgment 
concerning his law, in reference to that ; that is, that it is an 
expression of his good and acceptable will : and labour, more 
and more, to prove that by a vital sense, by an experimental 
relish in your own spirits. O ! how good is it to be what he 
would have me to be 1 what that most perfect rule of his doth 
require and o!)iige me to be. And, 

4. Accordingly judge concerning the course of his provi- 
dential dispensations. His law precribes to us the way in 
which we are to walk ; his providences make the way in which 
he walks ; labour to apprehend goodness therein too. All his 
ways are mercy and truti). That is, you are to judge accord- 
ing to the series of his providences complexly taken, and as to- 
gether they do make up one entire frame. And so, indeed, 
we are to make up our judgment concerning his law. Not by 
this or that particular precept, for it would be a very hard im- 
po!>ition upon the mind of a man, to judge and pronounce con- 
cerning the goodness of that command to pluck out the right 
eye, or cut otf the right hand, or the right foot, abstractly ta- 
ken, without reference to the conjunct precepts, and without 
reference to the end, to which, altogether, they refer. And 
so, If you look upon providence, you are not to pronounce con- 
cerning this or that, separately and apart, considered by itself. 
As you would not make a judgment of the goodness of a piece 
of arras by looking on it folded up, where you can only discern 
a piece of a leg, or a piece of an arm, it may be, or the limb of 
SI tree, but look upon it unfolded, and there see the entire frame 
of it all at once. So consider the providences of God, in re- 
ference one to another, and in reference to their end in which 
all things shall finally issue, and into which they shall result, 
and you must say as the Psalmist doth, *' All the ways of the 
Lord are mercy and truth." And as Moses, in that triumphant 
song of his, in the 32 Deut. where he tells us, in the beginning, 
his design was to publish the name of the Lord, that is, to 
represent the glory of his attributes ; " Because (saith he) I 
will publish the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness to 
our God : He is the rock, his work is perfect." Take all to- 
gether, you will see it will be perfect work at length, entire, 
all of a piece; and that nothing could have been spared out of 
that series and chain of providence that compose and make up 
the whole course. And then, 


5. Endeavour that your knowledge of God may be practical, 
vital, unitive and transforming, as touching this very thing, 
the divine goodness. O ! how much to be lamented is it, that 
we should have such a notion of God in our minds to no pur- 
pose ? the notion of so great a thing, a Being absolutely per- 
fect and infinite, even in this perfection, goodness itself, im- 
mense goodness lying in our minds, idle, dead, useless and in 
vain ; so that our hearts are in reference hereunto but a mere 
rasa tabula. There is a notion in our minds, but nothing 
correspondent impressed upon our hearts, such an appiehen- 
sion of God as tliis, if it were vital, lively and operative, would 
transform us, make us aim continually to be such as he is, 
wJHch I sh.jill further press by and by. It would powerfully 
attract and draw us into union with him. What ! shall 1 live 
at a distance from the Fountain of all goodness, immense good- 
ness, goodness itself, love itself! God is love. He that be- 
lieves the love of God, is hereupon drawn to dwell in God as 
be is love, considered under that notion, and so to have God 
to dwell in him; as the apostle expresseth it, i jolm 4. 16. 
What mighty influence would this have upon our whole course, 
if we did go with lively, operative, apprehensions up and down 
the world of the divine goodness ! How should we disburden 
our souls of care ! With what cheerfulness should we serve 
him ! How little doubt should we have concerning the issue of 
things ! of that glorious reward which a course of obedience, 
service, and fidelity to him, a little will be followed with at 
last. But that our knowledge of God, as to so great a thing 
as this, should be like no knowledge, as if we knew nothing, 
or as if we thought the quite contrary concerning him ; me- 
thinks, this we should look upon as an insufferable thing, as a 
thing not to be endured, and so take up resolutions, dependant 
upon his grace, never to be at rest till our hearts were like 
this apprehension of God, that he is perfect in goodness. And 
hereupon further, 

6. Make sure of your relation to him as your God, as your 
Father; and consider and contemplate his goodness with that 
very design, that you may be indeed stirred up to aim at com- 
ing, without more ado, into that relation. We do not much 
concern ourselves so seriously to inquire touching the charac- 
ter of a person with whom we are never to have to do, with 
whom we have no concern nor ever expect to have any. If we 
hear of any such as an excellent person, we hear such a thing 
of him with more indifferency of mind, " 1 do not know him, 
and I am like never to know him ; and be as good and as excel- 
lent as he will, 1 an:\ never like to be the better for him." But 

LEr. XXV.) His Moral Perfections, — Goodness. 135 

when I receive an account of one, as a most excellent person, 
who designs to adopt me at the same time for his son, and over- 
tures are made to me for that purpose, [ think myself highly con- 
cerned to inquire into the character of a person to whom I am 
to be related. And so should we consider the characters that 
we meet with of God; for we must cither have him as our Fa- 
ther, or we must be children of a worse father", or of the worst 
of fathers. Therefore, this should be hearkened unto, your 
heavenly Father is perfect, perfectly good, perfect in goodness, 
upon this account, that overtures are made to me in order to 
my becoming one of his children : I am to come into his fami- 
ly ; this is the thing that is proposed to me. And should not 
1 labour to know what a one he is, and to contemplate the 
representation that is 'made to me of him, upon this account ? 

7. Consider with highest admiration and gratitude, the 
greatness, the privilege, that you are, or maybe so related. As 
the case is stated, if this be not, there is nothing wanting but 
your own willing and joyous acceptance of the overture, falling 
in with it, resigning and giving up yourselves most absolutely 
and entirely to him ; and taking his Christ for yours; with him 
goes the sonship, that is, with the acceptance of his own eternal 
Son. John 1. 12. "To as many as received him, to them 
gave he power to become the sons of God, even to as many as 
believed in his name." And then, consider the greatness of 
the privilege, that you are, or may be thus related to the Most 
High God as a Father, to the best, most perfect, and most ex- 
cellent of beings. You may have him for your Father, and per- 
haps you have him so already. How great a privilege is th.is ! 
To have him for your Father is to have all. He that over- 
cometh, shall inherit all things, and 1 will be his God, and he 
shall be my son. Rev. 21. 7- " And if children, then heirs, 
heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ." God is to be 
your portion and inheritance, that if we suffer together with him 
(which is but a trifle, not to be compared with the glory that is 
to be revealed) we may be also glorified together. Rom. 8, 17, 
18. Metl}inks, this should run in our minds every day ; we are 
either rel;'.ted to this blessed One, as our Father, or we may be; 
we are invited and called by the gospel, (and it is the great de- 
sign of this gospel) into this blessed state. Methlnks, it should 
run in our minds all tlie day long, that that glorious and most 
excellent One, should look clown from heayen upon such an 
abject worm as 1, and say to w.e, " Call me Fatlier, take me 
for thy Father." A heart that were full of the sense of this, 
would soon grow too big for all this world. What a trifle 


would this world be to that soul which were full of that sense ; 
" God is become my Father, 1 have a Father in heaven, that 
doth whatsoever he will in heaven and in earth, and there is no 
withstanding him." He can do what he will, and he will do 
nothing but what is kind and good to them that willingly con- 
sent to come into this comfortable relation to him. You see 
how distingulshingly such a case is spoken of in the next chap- 
ter. Mat. G. in the latter end. Do not you so and so, like the 
gentiles. Do not torture yourselves with cares and thoughts, 
** what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink, and what you shall 
put on," and what shall become of your affairs and concerns 
in the world, and the like : the gentiles do so: after these things 
do the gentiles seek; but your heavenly Father knows what you 
need ; you have a Father in heaven that knows all your con- 
cernments, and that minds all of them, with all wisdom, and 
all the tenderness and kindness imaginable, I would not have 
you be as if you had no Father, to put yourselves into the same 
condition with pagans and outcasts, and those that are without 
God in the world. And then, 

8. Lastly ; Imitate God in his imitable perfections, and es- 
pecially in this his goodness. 1 say, imitate him with all the 
goodness that is possible, in all his perfections : "Be ye perfect, 
for your heavenly Father is perfect." So I would shut up, 
bringing the exhortation in the text, and inferring reason to- 
gether. And pray drive it to this one particular thing, to 
which the context draws and claims it, that is, unto love: and 
even unto such love as shall reach enemies themselves. You 
very well know, that God could have shewn no love at all to 
any in all this world, but he must shew it to an enemy : all 
were in enmity and rebellion against him. *' The carnal mind 
is enmity against God." And this world was only possessed 
with such inhabitants, all sunk in carnality and earthliness, 
and deep oblivion of God, and full of anger and displeasure, 
upon being put in mind that there is One that claims a right 
over them, and that would have all their thoughts and their 
love: this they cannot endure; this carnalized race of crea- 
tures cannot bear this. *' For the carnal mind is enmity against 
God." And he could never have been kind to men but he 
must be kind to enemies. For all were become his enemies, 
affected liberty, and could not endure the thought that there 
should be a power and a Lord to prescribe to them. ] pray, 
let us labour to imitate this great perfection of the divine good- 
ness, even in this very application of it to enemies. This is the 
beauty and the glory of the Christian religion, the thing where- 
in, it excels the precepts of the most retiiied paganiini, and of 

LEC. XXV.) His Mural Perfections. — Goodness. 137 

that which was higher, (as it was grown,) Judaism itself, " You 
have heard that it was said of old time, " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour and hate thy enemy:" (as it is in the context) "But 
I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, 
pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you ; that 
you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." 
I never expect the Christian religion to flourish much in this 
world, till this appear and be exercised as the common tem- 
per of christians. They are to be such a sort of men, as that 
all the world may be the better for. If you express never so 
much of unkindness towards them, if you use them hardly, they 
will bless you, they will pray for you, they will do you all the 
good they can, all the good and kind offices in their power. 
When this spirit comes to be revived among men, it will make 
the Christian religion (as I may say) grassari, mightily to pre- 
vail and grow upon the world. The world must fall before 
such a sort of men as this. But that it will never do while, in 
this respect, christians are just like other men, as wrathful, as 
vindictive, as full of rage, and as full of revenge as any body 
else. Christian religion must grow upon the world, by things 
tliat will strike the sense, that incur the most sensible observa- 
tion of men. Every one can tell and sees it when one is kind 
to them, and when they have good returned for evil. But there 
are two things most directly opposite to this temper, which 
christians are wont too frequently to overlook, never to animad- 
vert upon : the one is, 

(1.) When they let their hearts tumultuate with too great 
fervour and anger against men, upon account of their profane- 
ness and irreligiousness ; and they think themselves warranted 
so to do : such a one is a wicked man, an open, visible enemy 
against God and Christ, a rebel against heaven. And so they 
allow themselves to let wrath have its vent and liberty towards 
such men, and upon such occasions. It was a great deal of 
zeal for Christ, that the disciples discovered, when they would 
have had fire to fall down from heaven to vindicate his cause 
upon those Samaritans that would not receive him into their 
town. But, saith Christ, "Ye know not wliat spirit ye are of." 
This is quite another thing from that spirit which I intend to 
introduce into the world, and which must breathe in, and ani- 
mate, the religion that I am setting on foot among men. The 
other is, 

(2.) Their confining their kindness and respects to men of 
such and such a character, to this or that party. It is a temper 
more grossly remote, more vastly different from what is enjoin- 
ed upon us here ; and the thing that our Saviour animadverts 

VOL. VII. X . T 


upon in this context, as that wherein we do not only not ex- 
ceed the pharisces as such, but even publicans themseh'es. 
ver. 20. We are told, that except our righteousness exceed the 
righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, we shall in no case 
enter into the kingdom of God : not even into the initial 
kingdom. As if he had said,' " Ye' are not fit for the Christian 
state, you do not come within the confines of Christianity, real 
Christianity, if your righteousness do not exceed the righteous- 
ness of the scribes and pharisees. But when men do confine 
their respects and the kindness of their hearts to a party, this 
is not only to outdo the pharisees, but even publicans and sin- 
ners, for they do so ; if you love and salute them that love and 
salute you, if you are kind to them that are kind to you, what do 
you more than others ? do not even the publicans and sinners 
the same? But " be ye perfect ;" — (that is the contexture of 
this discourse) " even as your Father which is in heaven is 

And so I have done with what I designed upon this subject, 
of the divine perfections or attributes ; the next we come in 
course to, will be that of the divine decrees and purposes of 
God : and more especially concerning men, and with reference 
to them. 







I. The Decrees, or Counsels of God, in eight lmc- 

TURBS, ON EpHES. 1.11. 

II. God's Work of Creation, in seven lectures, on 
Hbb. U. 3. 

III. God's Creation of Man, in five lectures, on 

Genesis I. 27. 

IV. The Fall of the First Man, and the Fallen State 

OF Man, with ihe Death and Misery conse- 
quent ON each of them, in fourteen lectures 
ON Romans 5. 12. 

V. The Justice and Righteousness of God vindicat- 

ed, as to all men's coming into the world 
with depraved natures, in eight lectures, 
ON Psalm 51. 4. 5. 

VI. The General and Special Grace of God, in or- 
three lectures, ON LUKB 2, 14. 


Epbes.l. 11. 

Jn tvhom also ive have ohtained an inheritance, being jiv^des-. 
tinated according to the jjnrpose of him ivho 
worketh all things after the coun- 
sel of his own will. 

TTAVING discoursed to you, what I thought requisite, con- 
earning the attributes and perfections of the Divine Being, 
we now come, according to the order of discourse, to speak to 
you of the Divine Decrees. I choose to call them by that 
name, because, by divines, they are usually so called ; though 
according to the more ordinary use of that word in Scripture, 
It more frequently signifies public laws or edicts, whether hu- 
man or divine, than private and secret purposes. And so in 
common speech too, and other writings, nothing is more usual 
than to call the constitutions of states and princes, decreta. 
But however, the word being so explained, to signify a secret 
purpose, antecedent to any manifestation, it may then fitly 
enough be so used ; and in that sense, it is generally understood 
ty divines, treating on the head of religion. 

And upon this subject, my design is not to speak to every 
thing that is disputed in the schools about it; but only what 
may be requisite, and sufficient unto the common faith and 
practice of christians. Nor shall I need to lay down any other 
doctriae, than the very words of the text, that — ^God " workr 

* Preached December 25, 169I. 


eth all things, according to the counsel of his own will," — 
wherein ydv, do see, there are several particulars to be consider- 
ed. There is, 

1. The final term of all God's works, that wherein they do 
directly teriiiinate, ^1/ thmgs. 

2. Tiiere is his working itself, tending towards that term, he 
tuorkcfh all things. 

?>. There is his purpose and volition of all that he worketh, 
called his rvill. And 

4. There is the supreme measure of all those volitions or acts 
of his will, and so of his subsequent actions, and that of iiis 
counsel. He worketh all things according to the counsel of his 
own will. 

I shall speak briefly to each of these, but most largely to that 
which is our most proper subject, with reference to the purpose 
for which we have chosen to insist upon these words, that is, 
the will of God; not merely the faculty, but the acts of his will. 
B'lt we shall briefly go over the several particulars already men- 

1. For the things wherein the acts willed by him, do finally 
terrninate, which we are told are all things, and that univer- 
sality may be understood two ways, either relatively, in refer- 
ence to tliose works that do terminate in these things ; as if he 
said, all things that he works, he works according to the counsel 
of his will. Or else, also, it may be understood absolutely and 
simply, there being simply nothing at all, unto which his agen- 
cy, one way or other, extends not : though not to every thing 
ia the same way ; as there will be occasion to shew hereafter. 

2. For his working that terminates in these things, that is, 
in all things; it is emphatically expressed in the text: the word 
is HcgyoyjiTof, in -acting, or in- working all things. It shews the 
peculiar kind of the divine agency, such as nothing can exclude, 
and nothing can disappoint. And then, 

3. There is his will itself, which must be looked upon as the 
immediate source of all these operations of his. And that we 
shall consider, not only as it is the measure of all his actings, 
but as it is self- measured by that counsel, that lies in his eter- 
nal and all-comprehending mind, which is the fourth particular 
in order, that we have briefly to consider. And touching that, 

4. Wc must know, that it cannot be understood in the same 
sense with God, and with men, as indeed nothing can that 
comes under the same name with him and with us; for nothing 
can be absolutely common between God and the creature ; or 
have precisely the same common notion : there cannot but be 
infinite difference, always,between whatsoever is finite,|and that 

LEC. I.) His Decrees. i43 

which Is infinite. Counsel with men imports imperfection ; it 
signifies that we have not suddenly a perspection of the reason, 
and aptitudes of things, what it is fit for us to resolve, and not 
to resolve ! and do, or not to do. And thereupon, we delibe- 
rate, and arrive more slowly and hy degrees from a more indis- 
tinct perception of the reason of things, to a clearer and more 
distinct perception of them^ With God, it cannot be so, be- 
fore whose all-seeing eye, all things lie in their aptitudes and 
correspondencies at one view; so as he doth not see things be- 
cause they are connected with one another, so as to proceed 
from the knowledge of things that are more clear, to the know- 
ledge of things that are more ob?cu"re; all things being equally 
clear and equally present, to his eye and to his view. But by 
way of analogy, that which is effected by counsel among men in 
the way of consultation, debate of things with themselves, con- 
tinued discourse, reasonings and arguings of matters in their 
own minds to and fro, that, which with men hereupon is called 
judgment, counsel, hath the same name given it with him also. 
Not tiiat it signifies the same, but that most perfect judgment 
of things, which is indeed the highest and most exquisite wis- 
dom, which he hath eternally and all at once, when we do ar- 
rive to the like by steps. And so according to that perfect per- 
ception, that he hath of the reason of things, and their apti- 
tudes and correspondencies to one another, and to his crea- 
tures, and to him, so accordingly he wills, and accordingly he 

And this counsel of his, it may be taken two ways, either 
1st. As it is internal, lying only in his own mind : or else 2nd. 
As it hath an after manifestation, as many of these things which 
lay from eternity, and through many successions of ages of 
time, secret in his own mind have, and do come to be revealed 
and made manifest more or less, and in such degrees as to him 
hath seemed fit. In that latter sense, counsel is taken frequent- 
ly in Scripture, even when it is spoken of God, as these phrases 
do plainly signify, " If they had stood in rny counsel. They 
despised all my counsel, and set at nought my reproofs. I have 
declared to you the whole counsel of God." Jer. 23. 22. Pro. 
1 . 30. Acts 20. 27. 

But here, it must be understood to signify coimsel as it is se- 
cret, as lying in his own eternal mind, and as it is, thereupon, 
the measure of all the purposes of his will, and of all he subse- 
quently doth, and hath done, in the creation and continual go- 
rernment of this world. In that latter sense, counsel is, evena- 
mong men, correspondently in that acceptation of it with God, 
put for certain, established laws, and constitutions, and evea as 


decrees are. Thus, with the Romans, many constitutions of 
tlieirs are known to go under the name of senatus consulta, 
that is, things cniisulted of, and agreed upon, by the govern- 
ing power among them. But this is not the sense that it is to 
be taken in here, for notwithstanding much of the counsel of 
God be manifested, we are to consider it now as antecedent to 
any such manifestations : and thereupon, to return to that which 
is our more principal subject, his ivill, according to such coun- 
sel, " He works all tilings after the counsel of his own will ;" 
according to that counsel which doth (as it were) guide and 
measure all the determinations and purposes of his just and 
holy will. We are not to understand, that the divine will here 
signifies the faculty of will, abstractly and precisely, but as com- 
prehending the acts, the volitions, the determinations and pur- 
poses of the divine will, that which is commonly meant by the 
word decrees. And so, concerning the will of God and the pur- 
poses thereof, 1 shall first give you some distinctions, and then, 
secondly, lay down what 1 conceive necessary to be said con- 
cerning this subject in certain propositions. 

JF'irst. There are sundry distinctio?is oi the divine will, which 
it may be fit to take some notice of: and some of them will 
be of great use to us. 

1. There are, who distinguish the will of God into antece- 
dent and consequent. But 1 know no ground for that dis- 
tinction, there being no first or last with him, or former or lat- 
ter, as we shall have occasion further to shew. 

2. Again, some distinguish it into absolute and conditional; 
but certainly, it is over bold to feign any such distinction as 
that, of the divine will, properly so called ; it is indeed agreed 
on all hands that there are conditions of the tilings willed, but 
there can be none of the will itself concerning those things; 
the faculty and act of the will not being distinguishable in God, 
as they are in us; for he is a pure act: and to suppose there can 
be a condition of the will itself in God, is to suppose a conditi- 
onal Deity and so, consequently, a contingent one, and so, 
consequently, none at all. 

3. Again, some do more truly distinguish the divine will 
Into that which is bene plucite, and that which is signi. And 
for the former member of that distinction, it is most unex- 
ceptionable and scriptural : good pleasure, and the^ good 
pleasure of his will, we read of again and again in this very 
context, as well as many times besides in Scripture. But for 
the other member of the description, it is too obscure for com- 
mon use ; and will require more explication than is proper for 
this place. 

4. It is ag^in distinguishable into his objective and active 

tEc.i.) His Decrees-^dlstinguished. 146 

will, or his will objectively taken and actively tiiken, so tlie 
thing willed is often called the will ol" God : as when we pray, 
** Thy will be done," that is, the thing that thou hast willed. 
And so that oftiie apostle, in the Acts, '^ The will of the Lord 
be done," and that of our Saviour, "he that doth the will of my 
Faiher," and tlie like. This is the will of God taken objective- 
ly, or for the thing willed. But then, it is taken also actively, 
as it signifies his volition itself, the purpose and determination 
©f his will ; and so it must be taken here. 

5. It is again distinguishable into secret and revealed; a 
yery useful and necessary distinction. His will, as it lies con- 
cealed within himself, and the same will, in many things made 
at length known and extant to the world, subjected to the com- 
mon notice of men ; that is, in such things as it concerns them 
to know and be acquainted with. 

6.' Others distinguish it into decretive and legislative, which 
is a very proper distinction too, if we take decretive in the 
fore- explained sense; otherwise, it falls in with the legislative, 
and is the same thing. 

7. Others distinguish it into the will of purpose and the will 
•f precept, which is a true distinction too. Only, that latter 
member is not extensive enough ; for there are many things 
which, in the compass of God's revealed vvill, are necessary for 
us to know; and even within the compass of his legislative vvill, 
besides bare precept; but not in all respects. His will con- 
cerns what he will do himself, and it also concerns what he 
will have us to do. But it is his will concerning his own ac- 
tions, concerning his own works, of which the text speaks : 
** He worketh all things," that is, his own works, " after the 
counsel of his own will." And as it doth concern his own 
Works, it may concern them diversely : that is, either such 
works of his as he designs to do immediately, and apart fron) us, 
or sucli works of his as have a reference to works of ours, 
wherein he is to vvork with us, or wherein he is to work, (as in 
some instances) after us ; that is, in those great instances of 
rewardirjg and punishing. These works of his come after ours, 
though the will of them is eternal before. Again, 

8. His will is to be distinguished into effective and permis- 
sive ; his will to effect whatsoever he thinks ht for him to ef- 
fect ; and his will ' permit whatsoever he thinks fit to permit, or 
rot to hinder, whi. A'hat he so wills, cr determines sotopermit, 
he intends also to regulate, and not to behold as an idle uncon- 
cerned spectator, but to dispose all ihosQ per mi 'JS a unto wise an J 
great ends of his own. 

These useful distinctions (as there are divers of theiji) \>t\ug 
given, 1 shall now proceed, 

VOL. VII. ^ 


Secondly. To lay down, in divers propositions y what is re- 
quisite for us to understand and believe, concerning this mat- 
ter, of God's purpose, by his counsel, in reference to the things 
•which he works among his creatures, and some of these propo- 
sitions will be more general, and fundamental unto some others, 
which shall be (God willing) more particular. But for the 
more general projwsil ions you may take such as these : 

1. That all the purposes of the divine will are co-eternal. 
There can be no such thing as a new will in God ; for there is 
nothing in God, that is not God ; and nothing of God can be- 
gin denovo: for that were to suppose a new Deity. And here- 
upon, there can l)e no place for dispute about the priority or 
posteriority of this or that purpose of God; they must be all si- 
multaneous, all at once, in one and the same eternal view, ac- 
cording to that clear and distinct and all -comprehending pros- 
pect that he hath of all things, eternally before his eyes. And 
though it be true, indeed, that we are constrained to conceive 
of things ; (because we cannot conceive them all at once as he 
dotii,) by first and second, former and latter, and to consider of 
anatpral priority and posteriority, where there is no such thing 
in real existence; 1 say, though we are constrained so to do,' 
(which is a thing owing to the imperfection of our minds,)yet, we 
must take heed of building upon our own foundation, schemes 
and models of the divine decrees, as a great many have perplexed 
themselves in doing : and wherein we can determine nothing, 
but with the greatest uncertainty imaginable, nor, indeed, with- 
out too great presumption, bringing down the Deity to our hu- 
man measures and njodels, and forms of conception. Again, 

2. We must take this proposition concerning the will and 
purposes of God, that tiiey do always connect together means and 
ends: t'lat is, supposing he hath willed and determined such an 
end, we must, accordingly, suppose he hath determined with 
liimself the way or means, by whicii he will bring that end a- 
bout ; supposing it to be a thing to be done immediately: as 
those things are to he done, and in the same way wherein they 
are to be brought about, in the same way we must understand 
he hath determined to bring them about. As when he did in- 
tend to preserve David at Keilah, he did also determine he 
should not stay there, knowing that if he did, the inhabitants 
v.'ould have given him up to Saul, as you may read it was deter- 
mim^d, upon David's inquhy, 1 Sam. 23. So when he de- 
termined to save the life of Paul, and all his companions, and 
tellow passengers in the ship, where they were in so much jeo- 
pardy and danger, he did also determine that the mariners 
sl^ould not g-o away, for the apostle saith expressly, " If these 

LEC. I.) His Decrees — General Propositions. M7 

go away we cannot be saved," after he had expressly, from 
God, told tliem, that not a hair of any of their heads should all 
to the ground. And therefore, we are not to suppose that he 
doth determine an end to be brought about by nieans, but he 
doth also determine and ascertain the means by which it shall 
be brought about : so that if he intend any of us to live to such 
a term of time, he never intends that, and intends at the same 
time to let us, several years before, starve ourselves, poison or 
stab ourselves. But determining the end, he also determiner, 
those means by which he intends to bring about that end : Ir.' 
intends to bring it about in sttch a way : that is, in a mediate 

3. The purposes of God, and his foreknowledge are in some 
sort commensurate: taking foreknowledge in the proper sense, 
foreknowledge doth refer to futurity, as knowledge more ab- 
stractly taken, doth to all beings actual and possible; all possi- 
bilities come within the compass of divine knowledge : but of 
his foreknowledge, only futurities, or what shall be. And as 
to these, his pm'pose and foreknowledge are some way com- 
mensurate, that is, v.'hatsoever lie foreknows sluill be, he either 
purposeth to eflx^ct, or he purposeth not to hinder it. And 

4. Whatsoever God dotli actually bring to pass, that we may 
conelude he did purpose to bring to pass. Whatsoever he doth, 
he did purpose to do; for he doth nothing against his vi'ill, or 
without his will: and he can have no new will, as was told you 
before, and as it is plain in itself. 'J'herefore, whatsoever he 
actually doth, he did always eternally purpose to do. ^ 

5. Whatsoever he actually permits, he did never purpose to 
liinder. There must be a correspondency between his purpose 
as to perinissa, things that are permitted by him, and the 
things permitted, as there is with reference KQeffecla; between 
his purpose, and the thing that he effects. Again further. 

6. Whatsoever God might, righteously and consistently with 
all the other attributes and perfections of his being, cliect and 
do, or permit and sufler, that he might righteously resolve and 
purpose to do, and resolve and purpose to permit and not to 
hinder. Whatsoever it is that is consistent with his wisdom, 
holiness and goodness, actually to do, it is equally consistent 
with his wisdom, and with his righteousness, and with his 
goodness, to purpose to do, even from eternity. And whatso- 
ever was consistent with his wisdom, and righteousness, and 
goodness to permit it and not to hinder, it is equally consistent 
with his wisdom, righteousness and goodness, to purpose not 


to hinder it ; and so, to have a permissive decree concerning 
it, if he saw meet and fit to do it. And, 

7. Whatsoever, in respect to God's actions and purposes, 
would imply any thing of imperfection, we must sever and re- 
move from him ; whatsoever would imply perfection, we must 
assert and ascribe to him. Hereupon, if it would be a plain, 
manifest imperfection to act incogitantly, unadvisedly, or to 
do unintended things, as it were casually and at random, with- 
out a foregoing intention or purpose; if that, I say, would be 
an imperfection, we ought most carefully to sever it from God, 
and never think it possible for him to act so ; that is, incogi- 
tantly, unadvisedly, without any foregoing intention or purpose; 
and if it be a perfection, to act according to wisdom and coun- 
sel, and judgment, and steady purpose, we must by ail means 
assert it concerning God, and ascribe it to him in reference to 
all his purposes and actions. 

These are general propositions that do lay some foundation 
for more particular ones, which are to follow. And herein, 
though it is very true, that God hath his purposes and decrees 
concerning all things : " He worketh all things according to 
the counsel of his ov/n will,'' yet, we shall more especially con- 
sider his purposes concerning men. You know, that must be 
our business : and therein too, though he hath purposes and de- 
crees concerning all the actions of men, whether personally 
considered, or considered as members of a community, lesser or 
larger, civil or ecclesiastical, concerning churches, concerning 
states and kingdoms, their successions, their rises, their conti- 
nuance, their periods ; though he have, 1 say, purposes con- 
cerning all these, and all wltliin the compass of the text, " He 
worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," yet, I 
shall chiefly keep my discourse to those purposes that con- 
cern our spiritual and eternal state. And so shall lay down 
briefly the other and particular propositions. As, 

1. That God did, undoubtedly, purpose to make such a 
world as this, for we find he hath made itj and he doth nothing 
that he did not purpose to do. 

2. He did purpose to make such a creature as man, and 
place him here ; for we also find, so he hath done. 

3. He did purpose to create man in an innocent state, and 
proportionably good and happy unto the innocency and purity 
in which he did create him. For his word tells us, that he did 
create him so. He " made man upright." And it gives us 
an account of the circumstances of his condition when he made 
him, though briefly, yet as far as was necessary. And, 

XEC. I.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions. 149 

4. He did not purpose to confirm him at first in that good 
state wherein he made him, so as to make it impossible for 
him to fail; for we find he did fall, and is in a lapsed state: 
therefore, it was purposed that his fall should not he prevent- 
ed, that it should not be hindered: though none doubt, but that 
he that made man, could have made him as well impeccable, 
without any possibliity of sinning, as he did make him sinless 
at present, without any thing of depravedne«;s by sin. 

5. It is evident, God did not purpose to leave fallen man to 
perish universally in his apostate, fallen state: for we hear of, 
and know, the methods and appointed means for the recovery 
and salvation of fallen creatures, of fallen men, which are of- 
fered to our view in the word of God. 

G. He did decree or purpose to send his own Son to be a 
Redeemer and Sa\iour unto lost and perishing creatures, to be 
born, to live in this world, to die in pursuance of that recon- 
ciling design, and to overcome death ; and in his resurrection 
and conquest over death, to erect a kingdom into which he 
Would collect, as the voluntary sul)iects of it, all those tiiat 
should resign and yield themselves to him, put themselves un- 
der his governing power, and sui)mit themselves to his sav- 
ing mercy, at once. And the substance of this we have given 
us as the matter of a divine decree, in that psalm 2. 7- " I will 
declare the decree. The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my 
Son, this day have I begotten thee." Very true it is, that 
that is not directly meant of the nativity of our Lord : we 
find the apostle expounds it otherwise, (Acts 13. 33.) " We 
declare to you glad tidings, how that the promise which was 
made to our fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their 
children, in that lie hatii raised up Jesus again ; as it is also 
written in the 2d psalm," (the most express quotation in the 
New Testament out of the Old) " Thou art my Son, this day 
have I begotten thee: and as concerning that he raised iiim from 
the dead noiv no more to return to corruption, he said on 
this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David." It was in 
pursuance of a divine, eternal purpose and decree, that this 
was said, *' Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee :" 
that is, when he raised him from the dead, when he begot hira 
again out of the grave, and by that glorious regeneration, he 
did then put upon him that high and excellent title (that was 
fundamental to the other glorious one that did ensue thereup- 
on) "The first-begotten from the dead: tlie Prince of the 
kings of the earth." Rev. 1.5. But yet, though that be not 
the thing directly there spoken of, as the matter of the divine 
decree, God's first bringing him into this world, yet, that bein.^ 


the mattei of a divine decree, (to wit) his dying, and his con- 
quering death, and being begotten (as it were) a second time, 
or I may say a tisird time out of the grave, out of the womb, as 
his goitigs forth from eternity in respect of his Deity, and as he 
was, as man, at first brought out of the womb of the virgin, 
yet, even that earh'er parturition must be supposed here, to 
have been the matter of a divine purpose aiid decree too. 
And so other scriptures do speak of the whole complex of this 
jTiatter, as falling under a divine purpose. "Ihat he verily 
was foreordained," (as Acts 2. 23. — 1 Pet. 1. 20. and onwards) 
foreordained to every thing he did, and foreordained to every 
thing he suffered, in pursuance of that great saving design and 
errand upon which it was determined he should come into this 
world. x'\nd this is that which the context here doth more 
specially lead us to insist upon. For wJien the apostie speaks of 
God doing all things according to tlie counsel of his own will, 
he tells us more distinctly what that counsel of his will did 
concern, and that is in the foregoing verse ; "That, in tiie dis- 
pensation of the fuUiess of time, he n)ighi gather together in 
one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which 
are in eartii, even in him." This was the great thing that lay, 
as the substratum in tlie divine counsel, to collect and gather 
all things in Christ, to constitute him as supreme and universal 
Head to this creation. And whereas, all things were shatter- 
ed and broken in the apostasy, there was now to be a recapi- 
tulation, and gathering all tiiings under one head again, as you 
see in the close of the c'napter. " And hath put ail things un- 
der his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the 
church, which is his body, the fulness of liim that filleth all in 
all." And this, that was primarily here designed in tliis con- 
text, is that which God hath done according to the counsel of 
his win. *' He doth all things after the counsel of his owti 
will ;" but this peculiarly, the sending of his Son into this 
world and the establishing of him as the Prince of those reduced 
from the state of apostasy. As the great destroyer of souls was 
the prince of the apostasy, the head of the a postate world, up- 
on which account he is called "the God of this world." (2 Cor, 
4.4.) and " the spirit that worketh in the children of disobe- 
dience,'' so was our blessed Lord to be the head of that com- 
munity that sliould be collected and gatlicred out of this world. 
And this was the great mystery of his will, which he purposed 
in himself, as the foregoing context is, ""In the dispensation 
of the fulness of time" (by the Christian economy, that is the 
word there used for dispensation) to collect and gather, all 
under this one glorious head, to recover a people, and raise up a 

iEC.i.) JHis Decrees — Particular Propositions. 151 

glorious structure, a church, out of a ruining and perislvinj^ 
world, by the !Son and eternal God, who was made, in pursu- 
ance of this design, the universal Head, also Head over all 
things, but with special reference to his ciiureh. And so was 
this the matter of divine pleasure; to do this thing in the ful- 
ness of time, according as we find in Gal. 4. 4. "In the fulness 
of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman, made under the 
law, to redeem tliem that are under the law : that we might 
receive the adoption of sons." And as this is the most un- 
doubted matter of divine purpose and decree, so it ought to 
be the matter of the highest joy and rejoicing; greater than 
can be expressed by an annual solemnity ; such as should run 
through our lives, and be tlie matter of every day s rejoicing 
with us, according to what the first report of this glorious work 
was, when the womb of divine counsel did teem, and bring 
forth this glorious birth ; when he brought forth the first be- 
gotten, into tlie world, he saith, " Let all the angels of God 
worship him :" and they did publish the joyful proclamation of 
it from heaven, " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth 
peace good will towards men :" the greatest indication of divine 
good will, and the most significant that ever was known, or 
ever could be thought, that is, that when men had severed 
themselves from God, cut themselves off from him ; ^nd the 
world was sunk into a universal oblivion of him, destitute of all 
inclination towards liim, and all interest in him, unapt to make 
any inquiries after him, or to say " Where is our God, our 
Maker ?" that they should be so surprisingly told of Emmanu- 
el, God with us : that God should so strangely descend, put 
on man, be manifested in the flesh, there was the greatest mys- 
tery of Godliness, that ought to fill heaven and earth with joy 
and with wonder. For when something like this was appre • 
hended^-but upon mistake, in what transports were thfse pa- 
gans ! "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of 
men." Acts 14. 11. And presently they oiier at sacrificing. 
What matter of joy and wonder then, tiiat the glorious, eternal 
Son of God, should make that descent, that kind descent, into 
this world of ours ! Because we were partakers of fiesh and 
blood, he himself likewise, takes part with us of the same : 
(Heb. 2. 14.) and because we dwelt in fleshly tabernacles, he 
himself resolved to erect a tabernacle, like one of ours : " The 
word was made flesh, and dwelt among us :" (John 1. 14.) did 
tabernacle among us is the expression : this being, as It were, 
his very sense in this vouchsafement and undertaking : " There 
is a company of poor creatures that dwell in flesh, or buried i;i 
it, rather than do dvvell in it, and their flesh is more their giave 


than their mansion ; well ! because they are partakers of flesh 
and blood, and have tabernacles made of flesh, " I will go and 
set my tabernacle by theirs, they dwell in fleshly tents, and I 
will go and dwell in such a tent among them." The Son of 
God was made flesh, did dwell and tabernacle among us in such 
flesh as we inhabit, excepting the impurity and sinfulness of 
it, O I what matter of glory and exultation is this ! How full 
of triumph should it fill the souls of men, that such a hope 
should arise to them, even as a resurrection from the dead! 
Now we see that God's kindness towards the children of men, is 
not shut up in everlasting oblivion ; it is not suspended from 
any further exercise for ever; what a glorious instance of it is 
here ! 

But as this is matter of highest joy, it ought to be matter of 
purest joy too. And there is not a little caution requisite in 
this case. The numerous appearance here this day signifies to 
me, that there is a great propension to keep on foot an annual 
solemnity upon this account: and as this is expressive of a 
disposition to rejoice, or to somewhat of rejoicing, I pray take 
these cautions in reference to it, — that it be not ignorant re- 
joicing, that it be not carnal rejoicing, and above all, that it 
be not wicked rejoicing, more grossly and more sensually wick- 

(1.) Let it not be ignorant rejoicing. Rejoice we may, 
and must, in such a thing, that according to divine purpose 
and decree, Christ came into the world, and the Son of God 
became man, that he might become a sacrifice, and that there- 
upon he might become a glorious King. To rejoice in this ab- 
stractly, that Christ was once born into this world, without 
understanding or ever desiring to imderstand what he was thus 
born for; what was the end of this manifestation and appear- 
ance of him in human flesh ; this doth unbecome men, and 
much more doth it unbecome christians, it being to rejoice 
for they know not what. For what is it to us, if we abstract 
from the ends of the incarnation of the Son of God ? if we 
subject not to the proper ends of it ? What is it to us that 
Christ lived here on earth, somewhat above sixteen hundred 
years a^o, and to rejoice in that he did so, without consi- 
dering and understanding what it was for, upon what account 
it was, and with vvhat design ? This, 1 say, is but the joy of a 
fool : to rejoice in that, the true reason whereof, our own gross 
and voluntary ignorance hides from us ; to rejoice when we 
hear tl;at he came as a Saviour, without consir'ering what he was 
to save us from, (though we are told at the same time,) uhen 
we hear of his being called Emmanuel, God with us, of his 

LEC. I.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions. 153 

being called Jesus (Matt. 1. latter end) because be should save 
his people from their sins ; to rejoice in Christ, even as an in- 
carnate Saviour, without any thoughts of this, that 1 am to be 
saved by him, from that which made the distance, and con- 
tinues the distance between God and me : I am to be saved by 
him from the impurities of my own heart and nature ; 1 am to 
be saved by him from the vile carnality that hath depressed and 
sunk my soul so as never to mind God, never to desire after 
him, never to delight in him, to have inclinations to pray to 
him: I say, to rejoice ignorantly in these respects, is to rejoice 
presumptuously, for we laiow not what, and over confidently, 
against the direction and instruction given to us in that second 
psalm. Because God hath declared the decree concerning him, 
*' Thou art my Son," and hath set him as liis King upon his holy 
hill of Zion; and hath resolved to subdue the nations under 
him, and give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the ut- 
termost parts of the earth for his possession, therefore to serve 
this mighty King with fear, and rejoice before him with trem- 
bling, that is the instruction that is given us. There is a pure 
and holy Deity hath become incarnate, the Son of God became, 
here, a God amongst us, with that resolution, not to bear 
with the wickedness of the world, and let men run on in their 
old and wonted course; but to revive God's memorial and the 
awe and fear of him in the hearts of men ; and not to let men 
live prayerless lives, as they did, and without God in the world 
as they did ; here was his great design. But now to rejoice in 
Christ's having been born into the world, without ever con- 
sidering the design of it : this is not only mean and brutish, but 
insolent and presumptuous, to rejoice in the thoughts of so 
sacred and great a thing as this, without having hearts touch- 
ed and impressed with the apprehension of the pure and holy 
end of it. And, 

(2.) Take heed of rejoicing carnally, with such a kind of 
joy as shall be exclusive of, or that shall exclude, that spi- 
ritual sense we ought to have of so high and mighty an under- 
taking and intendment as this. How vain and how grossly in- 
congruous and absurd is it to say, that because the Son of God 
came into this wo^ld upon such a design as you liave heard, 
''Therefore, let us eat and drink and be merry, therefore, let us 
pamper and adorn this flesh ;" forgetting that it is inhabited 
(even this mortal flesh) by an immortal spirit, and forgetting 
that even this flesh of ours is claimed and challenged to be a 
temple for the Holy Ghost, and therein made conformed to 
the flesh of Christ, which is itself such a Temple, and the mo- 
del according to which, all Christian [temples, that Is, a tem- 
ple in a temple, in every christian, ought to be formed. *' Know 



ye not," saith the apostle, "that your bodies are the temples 
of the Holy Ghost?" (1 Cor. 6. 19.) and they are to be 
indulged and cared for accordingly. Christ speaks it of his 
own body, " Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in 
three days !" As he was, even in his human nature, and in his 
body, a Temple of the living God, so is every christian to be ; 
and therefore, are these bodies of ours to be cared for in sub- 
serviency to this design. This body of mine, it is to be the liv- 
ing, animated temple of the Divine, Living Spirit. And what ! 
is it then to be indulged, to be pampered, to be adorned with 
a fine dress, and is this all that 1 am to design concerning it? 
I am to design in it conformity to the great Original Temple, 
the Son of God. But to rejoice with such a sort of festivi- 
ty as is only grateful to carnal and fleshly inclination, without 
any thought of being recovered and brought back to God by 
this Christ, of having my soul refined, and body and soul made 
meet to glorify the great God whose they both are: to joy 
without any thought of this, (I say) looks more like a pagan 
than a christian ; and is much more suitable to the paganish 
than the Christian state. It ought to be considered, Chrisjt 
took our flesh to make us partakers of his Spirit; he took our 
nature to make us partakers of his divine nature, escaping the 
corruptions that are in this world through lust : and to please 
ourselves in the thoughts of Christ having been born, without 
any thouglit of this, is such a carnality as a^Vonts the very 
pretence that we make of rejoicing in the thoughts of it, that 
the Son of God did descend and come down to associate him- 
self, and dwell among the sons of men in this world, and to suf- 
fer for them, and so to prepare them to dwell with God in the 
other world. 

(3.) But lastly. Take heed of such a kind of rejoicing as is 
more grossly and sensually wicked, even in itself and in its own 
nature : that is, to make the season when we, uncertainly, ap- 
prehend Christ to have been born into this world, the season 
of letting loose to all manner of looseness and debauchery, in 
direct contradiction to, and defiance of, the design of his com- 
ing : that is, when we know the Son of God was manifest to 
take away sin, and to destroy the works of the devil; as the ex- 
pressions are, (1 John 3. 5. 8.) that we should make it our bu- 
siness to indulge and fulfil those very lusts which he came to 
destroy and dissolve and make cease out of the world; what 
an affront is this to him whose memorial we pretend to cele- 
brate ! Tliat is to make that which we imagine to be the day of 
his birth, to be the day of his most ignominious death, by cru- 
cifying afresh to ourselves the Son of God, and putting him to 

LEC. I.) His Decrees -^Particular Propositio?is. 155 

open shame, as if we would proclaim to the world, that the 
design of the Son of God's descent into it, was to give men 
the liberty of being safely wicked, that they might throw oft 
all restraint, and without any fear or dread of what should fol- 
low, abandon themselves to all manner of wickedness, to fulfil 
the impure lusts of a corrupt, depraved nature, till sin, being 
finished, should end in eternal death : and so make tiie Chris- 
tian religion an inconsistency with itself, and (o represent the 
matter, as if Christ came into the world, not to make men chris- 
tians, but to exempt them from being so ; and not to destroy 
sin out of the world, but to exclude and shut out Christianity. 
As if he came into the world that there might never be any 
such thing as Christianity in it, that he might bring it about, 
that men might, with safety and impunity, live in the highest 
rebellion against the very laws of that Christ by whom they 
pretend to expect salvation. 

But this is one great thing which we see lies under divine 
purpose and decree, according to the counsel of his will, the 
sending of his Son into the world to be a Redeemer and Saviour 
of sinners, by living among them, dying for them, conquering 
death, ascending to heaven, and erecting that kingdoui by 
which he is to govern the redeemed community unto everlast- 
ing life. And by how much the more apparently this was 
matter of divine purpose according to eternal counsel, so much 
the higher and more dreadful wickedness must it needs be, to 
indulge in ourselves such a disposition of spirit, or so to shape 
our course that both shall lie counter to the divine counsels in 
all this. That is, when Christ did not come into the world by 
accident, but by design and by purpose, according to the wisest 
counsel, and eternal and most stable counsel, we should set 
ourselves, as much as in us is, to overturn the whole frame of 
that divine and eternal counsel of heaven; that is, that it shall 
never take place with me, "I will never be subject to him, I 
will never know him, never come into union wiih him, never 
resign up myself unto him; 1 will be mine own still, and live 
still at the utmost distance from GJod and detiance of him." 
By how much the more apparent this was the product of the di- 
vine will according to counsel, so more fearful and horrid 
must be the wickedness that stands in direct opposition there- 



But now to go on with other particular propositions about 
tlie decrees of God. 

7. That those terms of life and death for sinners, which God 
liath actually settled and published in his gospel, those we may 
he sure he did intend and purpose should be the termsof life and 
death unto us. Whatsoever, i^as you have heard in the gene- 
ral propositions,) God actually doth, we may be sure he in- 
tended and purposed to do. What he doth, he doth willingly 
when he doth it. No force can be put upon him; he never 
doth any thing against his will, and what he once willed he 
doth always will, for there can be with him no new will. 
Therefore, whereas, he hath enacted and published such things 
as these to the world, as the terms of life and death to sinners; 
that whosoever believes shall be saved, but whosoever believetli 
not shall be damned : that he gave his only begotten Son with 
that design, that they who believe in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life; that tiiey that believed not, are con- 
demned already : they that believe, have everlasting life ; 
they that believe not, shall not see life ; but the wrath of God 
abideth on them : that sinners are to repent, that their sins 
may be blotted out ; that they tiiat repent shall not all alike 
perish: (Luke 13. 3.) that the things that eye hath not seen, 
that the ear hath not heard, and which have not entered the 
heart of man to conceive, are all prepared for them that love 
God: (1 Cor. 2. 9.) but, they that love him not, that 
love not the Lord Jesus, arc so many anathema, accursed, 
till he come : (1 Cor. 16. 22.) that Christ shall be the Author 
of eternal salvation to all them that obey him : (Heb. 5. 9.) 
but, that he shall come in flaming fire to take vengeance on 
them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of his Son ; 
(2 Thess. 1. 8.) these, 1 say, being the declared terms of life 
and death to sinners, enacted and actually published to the 
world as such, these you may be sure God did intend and pur- 
pose should be such. His purpose was eternal, and a decree, 
as that word was explained. This is out of all question, that 
such terms of life or death to sinners, as have been mentioned, 
are the matter of divine, eternal decree ; he did always intend 
they should be so. Whence it is obvious to collect, that he 
can have no contrary decree, no contrary purpose. That is, 
wheresoever his pleasure is published and made known, so as 
to be capable to be understood about these matters, God will 

♦ Preached January the 8th^ I692. 

LEC. II.) His Decrees — Partmtlar Propositions. 1 57 

never deal with men upon other terms. There can be no re- 
pugnant purpose to any such purpose as this ; that is to say, 
that he will save any whether they believe or no, or though 
they finally persist in obstinate infidelity and impenitency and 
rebellion against him to the last. It is never to be supposed, 
that he will do such a thing without decreeing it, so that be 
should have ever decreed it against such a decree as this. 
And so^ on the other hand, that he v;\\\ ever finally condemn, or 
hath ever decreed or purposed finally to condemn any that shall 
believe, that shall repent, that shall love him above all, and fi- 
nally subject themselves to his government, v/hensoever they 
are brought to do so in Christ : therefoie, it is vain and un- 
scriptural, without foundation any way, for men to emboldeii 
themselves on the one hand, " Let me be never so wicked, or 
never so careless, I may be saved at last for all that ; 1 do net 
know but God hath decreed to save me." Or, that any sliould 
torment themselves on the other hand with alBIctirig thoughts, 
*' Let me do what 1 will, if I never so earnestly set myself, and 
seek help from heaven, that I may believe, that I may repent, 
that I may have my heart changed, renewed, and brought to 
love God, and subject myself to him in Christ, yet, there may 
be a decree against me and 1 may perish for all this." There 
is no reason, no foundation on the one hand or on tlie others 
for any such imagined decree of God, against these plain de- 
clared decrees of his : they are (as to what is compendious 
and comprehensive of all) final believers who lie under the 
decree or purpose of salvation ; and final infidels who lie un- 
der the decree or purpose of condemnation. 

So much, in general, is most certainly decreed, that they 
who believe shall be saved, and they that believe not, shall pe- 
rish. But I further add, 

8. God hath not purposed this in the general, that he %vHl save 
such as are wrought up to a compliance with his declared known 
terms of salvation ; but whensoever he doth actually enable any 
\o believe and repent, we may conclude that he did eternally 
intend so to do. And whosoever he doth actually conserve in 
a safe state, that is, enables them continually to believe, (it is 
enough to instance in this one thing, with which the rest are 
so essentially connected, that they are all implied, if this one be 
actually to be found, and even in the very mention of this one,) 
if he actually enable any to believe to the saving of their souls 
unto their final salvation, he did always from eternity, intend so 
to enable them. And so, he hath not only decreed, or intended 
certain indefinite and undeterminate species to life and salva- 
tion, but particular persons as is most evident many ways. 


(1.) Scripture is most express in it : if you look to the fore- 
going verses, clivers of them in this same chapter, you v.-ill find 
it. In what a transport, towards the heginnin^, do you fintl the 
apostle hlessing God. '^Blessed be the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed tis with all spiritual bles- 
sings, in heavenly places, (or things) in Christ. According as 
.he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy and unblamable before him in love: 
having predestinated us, to the adoption of children by Jesus 
Christ unto himself; according to the good pleasure of his will, 
to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made 
M5 accepted in the beloved." And in this same 11th. verse, 
where the text lies, " in whom also tve have obtained an inhe- 
ritance, being predestinated, according to the purpose of him 
who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." 
And nothing, again, can be plainer than that known and fa- 
mous text, Horn. 8. 30. '^ Moreover whom he did predestinate, 
them he also called : and whom he called, them he also justified: 
and whom lie justified, them he also glorified." This is a chain 
that can never be broken; and equally expresseth that in the 
2 Thes. 2. 13. where the apostle gives solemn thanks, even for 
them, that God had chosen them unto salvation, through sanc- 
tification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. And in that, 
]. Peter 1.2. " Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, 
through sanctification of the Spirit, and sprinkling of the blood 
of Jesus." These (as it is observable, and was told you before, 
in those more general propositions,) do manifestly connect 
means and end together. But they do ascertain both, con- 
cerning some, and not leave the matter indefinite and undeter- 
mined, as if he did in the dark, make and form purposes with 
himself, without discerning, at the same time, who should 
comply with his pleasure, as to such terms of life, and who 
should not. And besides so express scriptures, the matter is, 

(2.) Evident in itself, that whomsoever he doth actually 
enable to comply with such terms of life and salvation, he did 
purpose and decree to enable. For when he doth so, when he 
gives a man faith, when he gives him repentance, which are 
most expressly said to be the gift of God : to you it is given 
to believe and suffer ; (Phil. 1. 29.) and Christ is exalted to be 
a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of 
sins. Acts 5. 31 . I say, when he doth actually give these gifts, 
doth he give them with his will, or against his will ? Is it to 
be supposed, that he should give them, and not will to give 
them? What could so impose upon him that he should give 
what he was not willing to give ? But, if once he was willing. 

LEc. II.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions. 159 

and If then he was willing to give such a gift, he was always 
willing; for there cannot be with hint a new will, and there- 
fore, he was from eternity willing. And again, 

(3.) That matter might be further argued, from what Scrip- 
ture speaketh most expressly too, that as to that great and 
most comprehensive instance of faith in the Son of God ; who- 
soever do receive Christ and believe in his name, when God 
enables them so to do, he regenerates them ; " To as many as 
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, even to as many as believed on his name." John ]. 12. 
And then, it is immediately subjoined in the 13th. ver. " Who 
were boin not of flesh nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but 
of God." But if he bo regenerate any, he doth it most wil- 
lingly : ^^ Of his own will begat he us, by the word of truth." 
James 1. 18. Agreeable to the expression in the text, " He 
doth all things according to the counsel of his own will." He 
did with counsel, will to regenerate whomsoever he regene- 
rates. .\nd, 

(4.) It is altogether unimaginable, that God should do a 
thing so far exceeding all expectation, and even all wonder, as 
the sending of his own Son ; he that was the brightness of his 
own glory, and the express image of his person, the Heir of all 
things, by whom he made the worlds; to be incarnate, to put 
on man, and to die upon a tree, so ignominiously, a spectacle 
to angels and men, and to leave it an undetermined thing whe- 
ther any should be the better for Ix^ yea, or no : or rather to 
leave it certain that none ever should be the better for it. For 
most certain it is, that as to those great terms, of life and sal- 
vation, none can ever be the better, if he do not, by his over- 
powering grace, influence minds and hearts, and work them 
up to a compliance with those terms, and work and effect 
them in them. The case is vastly different in respect to spiri- 
tual good, and in reference to the opposite evil ; where, as 
to wickc'd actions, and a continued course of them, or any 
particular act in such and such circumstances, men will al- 
ways determine themselves ; they are apt and prone enough to 
do so. If they can, in such and such circumstances, they will 
do wickedly : but in reference to any spiritual action that is 
good and holy, and of a saving tendency, there is not so much 
of an indifferency, but a most fixed aversion, which nothing 
but the power of divine grace can conquer and overcome. No- 
thing but the almighty power of grace can make an enemy- 
heart become friendly tov/ards God, and towards his Christ, 
can vanquish th.e malignity of an obstinate infidelity, can mol- 
lify an obdurate, hard heart, and make it dissolve and melt as 
in repentance it must. This is, therefore, altogether an un- 


imaginable thing, that God should do what did so far exceed 
all expectation, and even all wondei", as to send his own eternal 
Son, to die upon a cross, and leave it uncertain, whether any 
should ever be the better for it : or rather certain that none 
ever should. And it is again, 

(5.) Very unreasonable to think that the great God should 
have among men no objects of special favour; and it wore fool- 
ish to suppose that it should be a reflection upon him to have 
it so. As it vvas formerly told you, it belongs only to a good 
governor, and even to the best that can be supposed, to deal 
equally with all; and kindly and favourably where he pleaseth. 
We are to distinguish matters of right, and matters of peculiar 
favour. Matters of right will be dispensed and administered 
with an equal hand, matters of special favour according to good 
pleasure, as it is expressed again and again^ in the context. And 
plain it is, that there can be no natural right, which any crea- 
ture can claim at the hand of God. Whatsoever becomes 
matter of right, from him to them, must only be by grace, by 
promise. He cannot be a debtor to his creature, till he makes 
himself ao; and the promises by which he makes himself so, 
they '^ are all yea and amen in Christ;" (2. Cor. 1. 20^ 
only upon his account, only for his sake. Whatsoever there is 
that comes within the compass of a promise, for the encou- 
ragement of sinners to return and come to God, it will all be 
made good to a tittle upon his account that is worthy, all pro- 
mises being " yea and amen" in him. But whatsoever is a- 
bove promise, more than promise, is all from mere iu^oy.iac, the 
good pleasure of his goodness. It can be resolved into nothing 
else, turn we the matter in our thoughts never so long. He 
will make good all that was promised to every one to a tittle; 
all unpromised, peculiar favour, that is dispensed according to 
the good pleasure of his goodness ; even as his promises them- 
selves at first were. And, 

(6 ) Lastly : It is very evident that as to communications of 
grace and favour, God doth dispense very differently; and there- 
fore, must be understood to intend so to do, and to have always 
intended it. As in (he parable of the talents, (though paraboli- 
cal scriptures do not give ground of argument as to every thing 
in them, yet they do as to their main scope,) he gives to one ten 
talents, to another five, to another one, as he pleaseth; he 
dispenseth as he pleaseth, wherein he hath not particularly 
obliged himself. But further, 

9. If yet he do actually, in a way of common grace, super- 
add more, wheresoever he hath given any thing of it, upon the 
due improvement of that, then we may conclude he hath al- 

LEc. II.) Ilis Decrees — Particular Propositions. 161 

ways intended so to do ; this was his pleasure, and his eternal 
purpose. If that be actually his rule, " to him that hath shall 
be given ;" (you know how hath is to be taken here, that hath 
so as to improve what he hath,) he shall still have more : if 
this be actually the rule and measure of his proceedings, it was 
alnays his purpose it should be so. And so it must be under- 
stood to have been his purpose, even in them that do finally 
perish, yet still to give them more of gracious communications 
in the way of common grace, upon the improvement of what 
they had ; and they perish as not improving what was vouch- 
safed and afforded them, according to the tenour of that rule. 
They do not finally perish, as never having received any 
thing from the hands of God, in a way of grace, that had a 
tendency and leadingness in it to their better state, but they 
finally perish as neglecting and resisting such overtures as have 
been made to them. What the case was with the old world, 
before the flood, we must still suppose to be the common case 
among men. " My Spirit shall not always strive with man." 
Gen. 6. 3. It had been striving, and it is generally striving 
more or less ; and especially where God doth aflbrd the more 
peculiar manifestations of himself, as he did to that people 
whom he severed from the rest of the world, to be more ap- 
propriate to him. We have many passages that speak of the 
presence, and of the operations of the Divine Spirit, among that 
people. The Spirit of the Lord caused them to rest: He gave 
his Spirit to instruct them. Isaiah 63. 14. They rebelled and 
vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore, he turned to be their enemy, 
and fought against them : ver. 10. and that of dying Stephen, 
*^ Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and life, ye do 
always resist the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do ye." 
Acts 7- 51. Now, there cannot be a resistance where there is 
no striving, and there can be no striving where there is not a 
counter-striving. When the Spirit, in its more common ope- 
rations, is resisted, it retires in displeasure, often and most 
righteously, and gives to men, yields to them that victory that 
shall be in the end fatal to them, undoing to them ; many 
such victories undo them at last, and they perish by them. If 
he be actually working in men to will and to do of his own 
good pleasure, when he is ever so at work in any, he injects 
thoughts into their hearts, smites their minds with convictions, 
and their hearts many times with terrors ; or if there be any 
more placid affections raised in them in any degree towards 
himself, or towaVds any divine thing, and the matter go no 
further than a loseable taste, that may vanish and pass av/ay, 
it is plain he so far went of good pleasure ; and if he did that 


which he did of good pleasure, then it was before his good 
pleasure, and always his good pleasure, and eternally hia good 
pleasure, to proceed so far with such and such : so as in this 
case there can be no pretence to say, if he go no higher, that 
wrong is done to them with whom he nent no higher. It 
must be justly said, " Friend 1 do thee no wrong," even to the 
most careless neglector, and the most contemptuous abuser of 
the grace of God, " Friend I do thee no wrong." If he do 
proceed higher, and to less vincible workings with some, there 
is no cause any man's eye should be evil, because his eye is 
good. He is Lord of his own grace, he may do what he will 
with his own. What he hath to dispense, and dispose of, is 
his, and they to whom he is to dispose so and so are his, and 
there is no pretence of wrong to any, that more is not done for 
them; for whom more was done than they could lay any origi- 
nal claim to ; for it was all of mercy that there was any offer 
or overture made at all, or that the case was so stated before, 
as that it might have been possible, if it had not been through 
their own wicked neglect, that they that perish might have ad- 
vanced in the way of salvation, according to his method, still 
further and further, so as not to make their own final salvation 
n thing impossible upon any other terms, than their own wilful 
neglect and final refusal. But I again further add, 

10. That such as live quite v/ithout the sound of the gospel, 
and to whom every thing of supernatural revelation hath never 
been vouchsafed or any thing of it, how God hath determined 
to deal with them, and the infants of such, he hath not yet 
declared further his pleasure to us expressly, than it was need- 
ful for us to know and understand. And therefore, it would 
be either vain or overbold curiosity to determine pobitively in 
their case, and it is very unreasonable and foolish, oversolici- 
tously to inquire about it. It is enough for us to understand 
and knov/ upon what terms God will deal with us, according 
to those circumstances wherein he hath placed and set us ; he 
hath placed us under the dispensation of his gospel, wherein 
all things arc made plain and evident to. us, that concern us in 
reference to our present and eternal state, and will deal with us 
according to those known and published terms, which stand in 
so clear a light, before our eyes ; and with all others according 
to those measures they have had. It is enough for us to un- 
derstand and know what we may, as our case is stated, expect 
from God, and what God doth expect from us. And, it would 
be very unreasonable, and uncharitable, for us to trouble our- 
selves with furtlior inquiries, and it would be very bold to ven- 
ture on rash determinations, in those more obscure things, and 

LEC. II.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions, 1 C3 

wherein we are so little concerned. These are to pass among 
the arcana, that secret things belong to God, when revealed 
things belong to us, and our children after us, as they shall 
come to be revealed to them. Deut. 29. 29. A passage placed, 
as it were, on purpose to caution, and warn too busy and 
bold inquirers, and that, even in matters of unspeakably less 
concernment than the eternal salvation of souls. As suppose, 
that the people, for that is the case there supposed and refer- 
red to, who had been so peculiar to God, taken nigh to him, 
above, and from, all other people and nations under heaven, 
should apostatise and revolt from him, and draw down vindic- 
tive judgments, and destructive ones upon themselves, and in- 
quiry be made how it comes to pass, that such a people, so near 
to God, should be so treated and dealt withal, their land laid 
waste and made a wilderness, and nothing to be found but 
marks of divine vengeance, where such a people, so favoured 
by heaven did dwell, what is the meaning of all this? Why, 
they forsook the Lord their God ! But that might have been 
prevented: Why did he not hold them to him? "Secret 
things belong unto God, but revealed things to us and our 
children." So is that sad and dismal state concluded and shut 
up at last, with that seal upon it ! That, therefore, I would 
leave with you, as all I think needful to say, with reference to 
their case who lie without the compass of superadded divine 
revelation. Again, I further add, 

11. That whereas faith and its concomitants are ever to be 
found in that^ which appears to be at length the subject of 
God's purpose of saving souls ; and final infidelity, with its 
concomitants, are the characters of the subjects of the contra- 
ry purpose, a purpose to condemn with everlasting destruc- 
tion; these must very differently be understood to be so. Faith, 
for instance, and so of the rest of its concomitants, are never 
looked upon by God as any causes, or condiuuns, or induce- 
ments, any way, of his purpose to save any. These are by iiis 
grace to be found in the subjects, in those that he will save; ' 
but they are no inducements to pass any such determination 
concerning them. It is honourable to liim to save such: and, 
even in the nature of the thing, they only are capable of final 
salvation and blessedness, in whom such characters are to be 
found : for they can never be happy in union with the eternal 
truth and goodness, who are habitually averse in their temper, 
and opposite to the one and the other. If happiness result 
from such a union, then they, in whom there is a prevailing 
final aversion to eternal truth and goodness, are uncapable of 
any such felicity, as is to result from a union with these. 


But it Is no motive or inducement to God, to intend to save 
such a one, because he will be a believer, or he will be a peni- 
tent person. That he is a believer, that he is a penitent per- 
son, that he is a lover of him, and that he is obedient to his 
Son, these are the effects of his grace, and of his good plea- 
sure, and so he is moved in this case by nothing without him- 
self. But the case must be understood to be otherwise, as to 
those that he intends finally to punish, and to punish with ever- 
lasting destruction. That is, he doth resolve to deal with them 
suitably to the state of things between him and them, and with 
himself. If any inquire, why there should be a difference, 
^vhy he should be moved to purpose so and so, in reference to 
them that perish, (which purpose we are not to consider ab- 
stractly as it lies in God alone, for so it is not a distinct thing 
from his own essence of which there can be no cause ; but we 
are to consider it with a reference to the effects and to the ob- 
jects, and of that relation there is really a cause, and so there 
is a just cause for the condemnation of them that perish, evea 
from the creature ; but there can be no cause from the crea- 
ture, of them that are saved) I say, if you will have the reasons 
assigned of the difference^ they are obvious and plain, especi- 
ally these two. 

(1.) That there is no natural connection between the im- 
perfect faith and holiness of the saints, and their eternal feli- 
city; no natural connection, I say, at all between them. 
But there is a most natural connection between the infidelity, 
enmity against God, and reigning wickedness, and eternal ruin 
and everlasting misery. No man can say that these two are 
naturally connected, an imperfect faith in God, through Christ, 
and imperfect holiness, and final felicity and blessedness. 
These are not so naturally connected that the one must arrive 
to the other. But there is a most plain, natural connection 
between infidelity and disbelief of divine truth, enmity against 
divine goodness, repudiation and refusal of the offers and ten- 
ders thereof, and eternal misery : so as that the one of them 
cannot but be the other. Wickedness must be misery, sin 
persisted in to the last must be destruction, it cannot be other- 
wise ; sin when it is finished can be nothing but death. " To 
be carnally minded is death :" it is indeed said, *' to be spi- 
ritually minded is life and peace :" but that is by an interven- 
ing divine constitution. And though there be a constitution 
in the other case too, yet there is a most natural connection 
between total prevailing wickedness, reigning iniquity, and mi- 
sery J to which the supervening constitution is added to an in- 

LEG. II.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions 165 

dication of the righteous judgment of God, that he doth but 
let the ^ling be with such as it is. They love death; and he 
only lets them have what they love, and what they choose : he 
doth only not interpose in their case to break the connection. 

(2.) There is this manifest difference too ; that as there is 
a natural connection between wickedness and misery, whereas 
there is none between imperfect faith and holiness and eternal 
felicity, otherwise than what God haih graciously made ; so 
there is in tinal, reigning, persevering wickedness, the highest 
desert of eternal misery : whereas, there is in imperfect faith 
and holiness no desert of eternal life and blessedness. And 
none that consider, will think this strange, that when a man 
can never deserve (much less by what is merely gratuitously 
wrought in him) life and blessedness ; yet, by continuing, per- 
severing wickedness he may deserve to perish. That imper- 
fect good that is wrought in him and whicli lie owes not to 
himself, can never deserve life and blessedness for him. But 
total wickedness, yea, or any wickedness can deserve death, 
can deserve for a man's being left to be finally miserable and 
his falling under divine vindicta, vengeance : this is a divine 
nemesis, what is fit and righteous, what is fit the rigiiteous 
Judge of all the earth should do; even animadvert upon wick- 
edness, and testify his own just abhorrence and detestation of 
it, so that there is a vast ditference between these two : that 
though faith and holiness be in those that shall be saved ; and 
so are ever to be found in the subject of God's purpose to save, 
as characteristical of the subject, but are not inducements, or 
causes or motives thereof unto God : yet, wheresoever God 
hath purposed to condemn, their wickedness is a just motive of 
that purpose, so terminated, so related to the creature, that is, 
to suffer, and to the suffering that he is to undergo. There is 
something justly causative in this ; and there is nothing more 
strange in all this, than what God hath himself, in his word, so 
plainly told us, that men's destruction is of themselves, but 
their help in order to salvation should be found in him alone. 
Hos. 13. 9. It is no unsuitable or strange thing, that God 
should be eyed as the Author of all life, and all grace, and all 
blessedness, and of life and of felicity for ever. And, that sin- 
ners should be looked upon as tlie fountains of all evil and all 
darkness and all impurity and all misery to themselves only. 
God must determine men only to that good by which they are 
to be led on gradually to a blessed, safe, and happy state. But 
to that evil that tends to ruin and final destruction, men have it 
in themselves to determine themselves. More is yet to be ad-= 
ded to illustrate this. 



But before I proceed further, I think fit to premonish thus 
much, and declare to you, that I would not, as to these mat- 
ters be understood to deny every thing that I do not assert 
about them, nor to assert whatsoever I do not deny : for my 
design is only to propose to you what is plain, and what is 
useable and may be improved unto the common purposes of 
Christianiiy. There are a great many things besides, that ma- 
isy have concerned themselves to dispute to and fro, which I 
think it not at all needful or useful to be brought into sucli dis- 
course. I 

But now, that the matter last insisted on, may yet be clear- 
er and more plain. If we speak of this natural bodily life, you 
can very easily understand that that is in any man's power, it 
is within the compass of human power that ordinarily men 
havcj for a man to give himself a mortal wound, but, having 
done so, it is not within the con)pass of human power to heal 
him again ; and that, in reference to the natural connection 
between tlie one of those forementioned things and the other, 
and in reference to the moral and legal connection that is as- 
serted between them ; we may a^ain illustrate it by a resem- 
blance of it to the concernments of this natural bodily life. It 
js in the power of any one that dares venture to be so far cri- 
minal, to deserve death at the hands of the prince and the law, 
whereas, it may be no way in his power, when he hath done 
so^ to deserve the prince's pardon and to have his forfeited life 
given him again. These are things, in themselves plain to any 
Tinderstnnding. And now, whereas the text hath plainly told 
us, that God works all things after the counsel of his own will, 
this doth manifestly imply, that the determinations must be 
correspondent to the aptitudes of things, and most especially to 
the apt agreement which they shall hold with the universal 
perfection of his own nature. Now it is no blemish to the 
perfection of the Divine Nature, when things are so and so 
connected in themselves, naturally and morally, to let things 
in many instances stand just as in themselves they are. This 
is no reliection on the divine perfection ; that is, where there 
is a real connection between wickedness and misery, both na- 
tural and mora! or legal, it is no reflection upon the perfection 
of the Divine Nature, in many instances to let that connection 

* JVeachcd January the I5ih, lO'Oi. 

LEC. III.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions, \€^^ 

be as it is. And whereas, there is no connection between im- 
perfect faith and holiness, and perfect felicity and blessedness, 
(there is, in reality, no connection between these) it is no 
blemish to the divine perfection (if there be really, and If there 
be in nature, and as yet any other way between these two, no 
connection) to make one by grace, in what instances he pleas- 
eth ,• that being done (as the gospel tells us) upon the Re- 
deemer's account, who it was predetermined should so order 
the course of his management, even to dying itself, and in dy- 
ing, that no divine perfection should reluctate or reclaim against 
such a connection as this ; a connection to be made by grace 
when before it was not, when really it was not, between that 
imperfect faith and holiness that some should be enabled to 
in this world and their future felicity and blessedness in the 
other world. All comes to tliis sum, that is, that we can both 
effect and deserve our own death and misery ; but we can nei- 
ther effect nor deserve life and blessedness: that must be owing 
to divine favour and grace. And the case (as h.ath been often 
said) is vastly different in dispensing of punishments and free 
favours. It being no reflection upon tlie best government that 
can be supposed either to inflict deserved punishments, or to 
dispense undeserved favours. Neither of these can reflect on 
the best and most perfect government that can be thought. I 
now go on and add further, 

12. That the assertion of a decree of reprobation, antecedent 
to a decree of condemnation for infidelity and wickedness per- 
sisted in to the last, is that which may seem agreeable to the 
imperfect mind of man; but we cannot be so sure that it will 
be any way agreeable unto the most perfect mind of God, in 
which there can be no such thing as first and second, and un- 
to which all things lie open at once, even unto one entire and 
eternal view. We are very plainly told in Scripture, of some 
men's being ordained of old unto condemnation : in that 4th 
verse of the epistle of Jade, and in the same place we have 
the characters given us of them that are so: " ungodly men, 
turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, denying the only 
Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." We are sure of 
such a decree as doth doom such, continuing such unto the 
last, unto condemnation and eternal perdition: but that there 
should be any decree concerning such, prior tathis, that must 
suppose priority and posteriority in Kternum. But Eternum 
non patititr novum, there can he no such thing as novity, 
newness, in eternity. And therefore, being sure there is such 
a decree as this, and that this decree is eternal, v.'e may be 
equally sure there can be no decree pre-existent to it j because 


every thing in God is co-eternal to him, and so this decree nnust 
be co-eternal unto God himself; and there can be nothing be- 
fore God. And though it be very true, indeed, that many have 
taken much pains and given great exercise to their thoughts 
to assign and fix some certain order of former and latter, to 
the divine decrees, yet that doth only proceed from the im- 
perfection of their minds ; but we are sure it is impossible 
there can be any such thing as priority and posteriority in the 
Divine Mind ; all things lyi r.g open to him at one eternal and 
entire view at once : so that whensoever he beholds and looks 
upon the subjects of final misery, he sees their character at the 
same time, and it cannot be otherwise. And again, 1 add, 

13. That will or decree, or purpose of God by which he doth 
determine the salvation of any, it is, in the proper time and 
season, effective of whatsoever is pre-requisite thereunto: that 
is, if he have decreed he will save such and such, that same 
will of his is, in the proper season, effective of that faith, of 
tiiat repentance, of that holiness and of that perseverance 
v/hich is requisite to their final salvation. But, on the other 
hand, God's will to punish any with future misery is not effec- 
tive of what concurs to that, neither as naturally causing or 
deserving it. That is sin that doth botli, as you have heard j 
it doth both naturally cause It and deserve it too. And, if you 
ask here, *' What is the reason of the difference ; or is tliere 
not a parity of reason in both cases, that if his will doth effect 
what is necessary to the salvation of the one, his will should 
also effect what is necessary or doth any ways previously concur 
to the destruction of the other ? The reason of the difference is 
most manifest upon these two accounts. 

(I.) That sin is properly, as such, no effect but a defect, 
and therefore, it doth not need an effective cause but a de- 
fective only. But we will impute nothing of defectiveness 
to God : that can be found no where but in the creature. 

(2.) That we can (sure any one may) apprehend it a great 
deal more congruous and suitable, to the nature and honour of 
God to make men believing and holy than to make them un- 
believing and wicked. We can easily apprehend how well it 
agrees to the nature of God, and how subservient it is to the 
glory of God, to make men believing and holy ; but no man 
can eVer apprehend it agreeable to his nature, or subservient to 
his honour, to make men disbelieving and wicked. And there- 
fore, as we make the difference, I cannot but apprehend you 
see reason enough why we should. And then further, lake 

LEG. IH.) His Decrees — Particular Propositions. 1G9 

14. That for these distinct states of blessedness and misery, 
unto which the will of God doth determine some, and leave 
others, tliey are the only states of men hereafter, and there is 
not a middle state between these two, though there be great 
intermediate degrees between the highest pitch of felicity and 
the lowest of misery. There are, I say, very great intermedi- 
ate degrees, but not a middle state. This proposition hath two 
parts : — that there is no middle state, and yet — that there 
are great intermediate degrees, both of blessedness and mi- 

(1.) As to the former part, that there is no intermediate or 
middle state between these two : it cannot, without very great 
absurdity, be so much as conceived there should be ; besides 
that it is against the most express tenour of Scripture. I need 
not go about to quote texts to you. Look to the judgment of 
the great day. Matt. 25. Men are judged but to two distinct 
states ; all go one of these two ways. And it is unconceivable 
in itself that there should be a distinct intermediate state : for 
it would be to suppose that there can be such a thing as an in- 
telligent, reasonable creature, having the use of his faculties, 
(which death, we have a great deal more reason to appre- 
hend, doth promote rather than hinder,) and neither happy nor 
miserable. This is an unconceivable thing, equally uncon- 
ceivable as it would be, that there should be such a creature 
under a law, under government, (as reasonable creatures even 
as such, either positive or natural at least,) that should be nei- 
ther good nor bad, that should neither be obedient nor disobe- 
dient, holy nor wicked, and this you know to be an impossible 
thing. And that is enough as to the former part of the propo- 
sition. But then, 

(2.) As to the latter part, that there are great intermediate 
degrees both of happiness and misery, that is plain from most 
express scriptures. It is less needful to insist upon the degrees 
of blessedness in the other state, about which the Scripture is 
plain enough. There will be such a difference as there appears 
to be of one star differing from another star in glory. 1 Cor. 
15. 41. But chiefly as to the differing degrees of misery ; no- 
thing is plainer from such passages in Scripture : — "They that 
know their master's will, and do it not, shall be beaten with 
many stripes; they that do it not, not knowing it, with fewer." 
JLuke 12.47, 48. "It will be more tolerable for Sodom and 
Gomorrah, for Tyre and Sidon, in the day of judgment, than 
for Capernaum and Bethsaida, where so much gospel light 
shone; and wiiere so glorious works were done, to evidence 
and demonstrate the truth of the gospel." Matt. 11. 22. 

VOL. VI r. z 


And there Is a sort among them that do perish, which do pe- 
rish more dreadfully. Such and such, It is said, shall have their 
portion with hypocrites, (Matt 2^. 51.) which must be supposed 
the most fiery, in the worst and hottest hell. God will not lay 
upon men more than is right, that any should enter Into judg- 
ment with him, as the expression in Job is. And therefore, we 
must suppose the case to be vastly different between them that 
live under the gospel and them that do not. " They that sin 
without law, shall perish without law;" (Rom. 2. 12.) but with 
a gentler kind of perdition. But they that sin under the law, 
that is, under the divine Revelation, for that is the meaning of 
the law there, supernatural, divine Revelation, they shall be 
judged by it : not by that light which they have not, or those 
means of light which they never had, but by those which they 
have. But v/hereasj there will be very great degrees of differ- 
ence in the states of the miserable hereafter, how great that dif- 
ference will be, that we know not. It is enough that we know 
it will be very great ; and therefore, among them that are mise- 
rable, none will be punished unsuitably to the demerit of their 
own sins. And this ought to have its weight with us, In order 
to the repressing of undue and hard thoughts concerning the 
divine proceedings with men in the final judgment : and 
so, concerning his purposes and determinations before, and 
from, eternity. 

But I think it iiot necessary to say more to you by way of 
position ; yet, there are sundry things that I shall add by way 
of caution. As, 

1. That we should take heed of being too positive about any 
of these things, beyond the measure of divine Revelation, or 
too curious in inquiring, or too contentious In disputing about 
such matters. Let us labour to lay a restraint upon our spirits 
as to these things. The matter requires it, and the divine word 
requires it. 

2. Never depart from, nor doubt of, what God hath express- 
ly revealed : in reference to what he hath expressly reveal- 
ed, let us neither deviate nor doubt ; but take heed lest we do. 

3. Take heed that we do not oppose the secret and revealed 
will of God to one another, or allow ourselves so much as to 
imagine an opposition, or contrariety between them. And that 
ground being once firmly laid and stuck to, as it is Impossible 
tliat there can be a v/ill against a will In God, or that he can 
be divided from himself, or against himself, or that he should 
reveal any thing to us as his vvill, that Is not his will, (it being 
a thing inconsisteut with his nature, and impossible to him to 

!,Ec. III.) His Decrees — Cautions, 17I 

lie,) that being, 1 say, firmly laid, (as nothing can be firmer or 
surer than that,) then measure all your conceptions of the se- 
cret will olGofl, by his revealed will, about which you may be 
sure. But never measure your eonceplions of his revealed will 
by his secret will ; tliat is, by what you may imagine concern- 
ing that. For you can but imagine, while it is secret, and so far 
as it is unrevealed. 

4. Take heed of exalting any one divine perfection to the 
depressing of another, which men are too prone to do in tlieir 
more fervent disputes about these matters. Great heat aiui 
zeal appear to vindicate such a particular divine perfection 
without attending, that at the same time they intrench upon 
some other. It were very easy to give instances. Some or 
the one hand are so much for the magnifying of the good- 
ness of God, his love and his justice, (as they think,) that they 
quite overlook his sovereignty, make nothing of that, but guide 
their thoughts by such measures, as If they thought, that God 
was obliged by his goodness, or even by his justice, to do so 
with his own creatures, whom he hath so freely produee(] and 
brought forth into being out of nothing, as they may do with 
their fellow creatures. As if God were bound to observe- the 
same measures as they do, and had no more power and do- 
minion over the works of his own hands, than tliey have over 
one another, who cannot give one another so much as a mo- 
ment's breath. And on the other hand, some are so over apt 
to exalt and magnify the divine sovereignty, that they quite 
forget to consider him as a wise and righteous and holy and 
good God; in all these, the best and most perfect of beings. 
This is quite forgot, and scarce any other notion doth actually 
obtain ; though otherwise these are not denied, are only not 
denied ; but in the mean time they are overlooked ; and so 
hardly any other notion is brought in view, or upon the stage 
concerning God, than as of an almighty will, quite against the 
manifest scope and current of the Scripture every where, which 
makes all excellencies to be in him, and magnifies his wisdom, 
and his righteousness, and his love and goodness, at so high a 
rate, as you know. But to suppose the Divine Nature to con- 
sist but in an omnipotent will, not guided by wisdom and 
counsel, as the text speaks, " He doth all things according to 
the counsel of his own will :" is the strangest and most unshap- 
en notion of God ; and. In the tendency of It, most destructive 
to religion that can be conceived. It tends, indeed, to enge- 
nerate in the minds of men, a certain dread and horror : but is 
that the affection that Is to Influence religion, and to animate 
our worship ? There can be no vvorsliip that doth not proceed 


from a dutiful reverential love : and agreeable hereunto, must 
be still our notions of God. Heathens themselves that speak 
at so high a rate (some of them) of the divine excellencies, and 
particularly of his goodness, exalting that far above his power, 
and above his knowledge, and above his wisdom ; yet they, at the 
same time, say of him, *' He is an impartial law ;" and they 
comprehend in that, both goodness and righteousness, accord- 
ing to the strict measures whereof he manageth the whole 
course of his dispensations towards his creatures, and cannot 
but do so. He is a law that equally inclines every way, an im- 
partial law he is to himself in all his dispensations. And in- 
deed, such love and goodness in a ruler, as should include in it 
an insenslbleness of injuries and indignities, and affronts, it 
were stupidity ; it were inconsistent with the proper governing 
qualifications which are requisite in any ruler whatsoever. 
And again, 

5. Take this further by way of caution: Let us take very 
great heed that we do not, in reference to these things, so 
magnify human perfection as to depress divine ; for that, in 
this affair, too many are apt to do ; that is, to ascribe so much 
to the reason and will of man, as to detract most injuriously 
from the counsel of the will of God. Some think they know- 
not how to solve the difficulties in these affairs, without ascrib- 
ing greatly and highly to the reason and will of man. And all 
ought to be ascribed thereunto that is due ; that is, so much as 
doth render a man a governable creature, capable of being 
bound by a law, and of being dealt with in the way of monl 
government. So much must be ascribed and ought to be so. 
It would be otherwise, as fit and congruous to have given bi-ws, 
and assigned rewards and punishments to beasts and trees, as 
men, if we do not preserve the apprehension of man's capticity 
to be the subject of government, by reason and will, wherewith 
God hath endowed his nature. But to think that the reason 
and will of man are, of themselves, enough to enable him to 
all that is requisite to his future felicity, is to make a god of 
him, instead of a man, and to put him into his Maker's throne, 
to give him a self-sufficiency, as if he had enough in himself to 
do all things. And this, indeed, is so to magnify the reason 
and will of man, as upon the matter to nullify the counsel of 
the divine will in reference unto him ; by which we find the 
methods are described and set, in which he is to expect con- 
tinual aids and assistances, as being of himself, without them, 
able to do nothing. And, 

6. Take heed, hereupon, of being tempted to take up with a 
spiritless religion, that shall be only a human product, the ef- 

LEG. HI.) I^is Decrees— Cautions. 173 

feet only of a man's own power. Take heed of taking up such 
a repentance, and such a faith, and such an obedience as the 
power of man is sufficient for: that will certainly lurch men 
at last. That repentance, and that faith, and tl\at holiness, 
(if any other were to liave the names,) vvliicli is not produced 
by the Divine Spirit, but is short of that, must needs leave men 
short of heaven and eternal glory ; unless you would suppose 
it possible to a man to be his own Saviour out of such a gulf of 
sin and misery as men are sunk into. 

7, Take heed of admitting any distrustful thoughts, that 
God will not be always ready to afford his communicated, su- 
peradded light and influence to those tliat see and acknowledge 
their own impotency and nothingness. Such as see tliemseives 
lost, and unable to help themselves, and that, from a sense of 
indigency and want, cry for his Spirit (even as for bread) to 
enlighten them and empower them, and enable them to do his 
will, to comply with his call, and come up to his terms of life 
and blessedness : take heed of ever admitting a distrustful 
thought concerning his readiness to impart and communicate 
to such. He will give his Spirit to them that ask him ; when 
he is considerately asked and sought to: not formally, not 
slightly, not in words of course ; but as feeling our own blind- 
ness and darkness and deadness and impotency : or where there 
is not, as yet, the light of a saint, there is that of a man, and that 
is to be improved and made use of, in order to our higher light, 
and if there be that self- reflection to which God \u\\\\ given to 
every man a natural ability, much more may be known than 
usually is. It belongs to s.he nature of man to turn his eyes 
inwards. The mind of a man (like the sun can only project 
its beams and cast them about this way and that, and every 
way,) the mind of a man, I say, as an intellectual sun, can turn 
its beams inward upon itself and take cognizance of what is 
done within him ; and what dispositions and indispositions are 
within. Men can reflect and consider this with themselves : 
" Have not I an aversion towards God ? have not worldly con- 
cernments and affairs, by the natural inclination of my own 
mind, a greater room and place there than heaven and the 
things of heaven ? are not other thoughts more grateful ? and 
have they not a more pleasant relish with me than the thoughts 
of God ?" Men, I say, are capable of using such reflections as 
these. And thereupon, of considering, "This can never be 
well with me : if there remain with me an habitual aversion to 
God, who must be my best and eternal good, I cannot but be 
eternally miserable : if I cannot think of him, and converse with 
him with inclination and pleasure, 1 am lost. If my blessed- 


ness lie above, in anbther world, and my mind is carried con- 
tintialiy dowMward towards this world, 1 must liavc a heart at- 
tempered to heaven, or 1 can never come there. V^^ell then 
let Mie try if I can change the habit of my own mind, make the 
attempt, make the trial." The more you attempt and try, the 
more you will find that of yourselves you cannot; you can do 
nothing of yourselves, you do but lift at a heavy log, you at- 
tempt to move a mountain upwards, when you would lift at 
your own terrene hearts. Then, is this consideration obvious, 
** I must have help from heaveri, or I shall never come there." 
Therefore, fall a seeking, fall a supplicating, as one that appre- 
l)cnds himself in danger to perish and be lost, if he have not 
another heart, a believing heart, a holy heart, a heavetily heart. 
God will in this case give his Spirit ; and of that, you are not 
to despair by any means. Take heed therefore, of setting the 
imagination of a secret will of God not to give his Spirit, against 
Ills plain and most expressly revealed will, that he will give his 
Spirit to them that ask it, that is, that do considerately ask it, 
as apprehending the state of their case; not ask it slightly and 
in mockery, so as that the manner of their asking to have the 
Divine Spirit given should imply a contempt of the gift at the 
same time. 


And I will add, further, to this caution, that we take very 
great hfeed that we do not remit either our diligence, or our 
hope, in reference to the affairs of our salvation, upon the sup- 
position of an) divine counsel or purpose lying against us ; and 
to enforce this, (than which nothing is more necessary to be 
enforced,) 1 might reason two ways, partly ad hominemj partly, 
ad rem* 

(1,) Ad hominem. That is, from the common apprehen- 
sion and practice of men in reference to other cases. It is ve- 
ry plain that all the other concernments of men, are as much 
determined by divine counsel and decree, as the affairs and 
concerns of their souls and future estate. But it is as plain 
that men are not wont to suspend their actions, in common 
cases, upon mere supposition of such purposes and counsels of 
God, that may, for ought they know, lie against them in such 
cases. It would make very strange work in the world if they 
should j if men should suspend their actions in reference to 

* Preached Januai-y 12, 1602. 

LEG. IV.) His Decrees — Cautions. 175 

common affairs of human life merely upon the supposition that 
a decree may be against them. What a condition would It re- 
duce things to among men on earth ! The whole world would 
be at a stand, or would be sitting still, and would sit still in 
very uneasy postures too. The husbandman must never plough 
nor sow, foi he might say, "I do not know but there is a decree 
against me, that all will come to nothing, I shall have nocrop, I 
shall lose all my labour and expence." The merchant should 
never send or go to sea; no man should ever make a meal, be- 
cause he doth not know but that it may be determined that it 
shall poison and not nourish him, choke him and not refresh 
him. Men should not walk the streets, for they do not knoiv 
but tiiat there may be some decree or other that u tile shall fell 
■■ and sirikt them dead, or they may meet with a stab In their 
walk : nor should they sit still In the house neither, fur they 
do not know but that there may be such a decree that the 
house may fall and bury them in the ruins. Plain it is, men 
do not in comnion cases suspend their actions upon such 
suppositions; hut then it argues very great insincerity, and a 
very ill temper of mind, that men should only pick oiit their 
weia:hticst and most important concerns, and do nothing in re- 
ference to them, merely upon such an imagination that there 
may be some purpose, or something in the divine counsel lying 
against them. It argues, I say, a very ill mind ; that there is 
some peculiar disaffection to God, and to the way of holiness 
and to religion as such, that men should only lay themselves 
under restraint In reference to those great concernments of 
religion, when they liave as much cause, and the same pre- 
tence in reference to all things as they have in reference to this. 
And again, 

(2.) We may argue y^d rem, or from the true, real state of 
the case Itself; that is, that there is no supposable divine pur- 
pose but what is guided by counsel, and that no one hath at!y 
reason to fear that the divine counsel can be any way prejudicial 
to h'lrh, even to an honest affair or undertaking, that belongs 
to the human life Itself. For they are always to be considered 
as the counsels of an absolutely, Infinitely perfect Being-, whose 
nature is uncapable of any thing of malignity towards his crea- 
tures ; (for It is the most perfect benignity and goodness itself, 
**God is love ;") and therefore, that any supposable counsel of 
the divine will, in reference to our common affairs themselves^ 
are a great deal more encouraging than they can be discou- 
raging; yea, unspeakably more, In reference to these aflair^-j 
supposing we will but take up due thoughts of God aljout tln^in, 
and have correspoudenit, due dispositions of heart and spirit to- 


wards him : for we are pre-assured by his own express word, 
that all things shall work together for good to those that love 
God ; which love, will be the evidence of a man's being called 
according to his purpose, as these things lie connected in that 
Rom. 8. 28. There is no son or servant of common under- 
standing and ingenuity, but it will be a very great encourage- 
ment and satisfaction to him to act in all things under the con- 
duct and direction of a parent or master, that he knows to be 
a man of counsel,, as well as of the greatest goodness ; it will 
certainly be most satisfying and encouraging to any such one. 
And how unspeakably more will it be to any, to think, that 
whatsoever aft'airs that lie within the compass of human life, I 
have to manage, I am to manage and order them all under the 
conduct and direction of the wise counsel of a good, and. gra- 
cious, and holy God; whence [ may be sure he will never hin- 
der me in any such enterprize and undertaking of mine, unless 
it appear to his infinite wisdom, that it will be to my hurt, that 
it will turn to my prejudice. If it shall be for the best for me, 
it shall succeed, if it shall not succeed, it would be to my dis- 
advantage if it should. The tendency of all this is to compose 
men's spirits to the greatest quietude and tranquillity imagina- 
ble, in reference even to the common affairs of human life. This 
word is firmer and more stable than the foundations of heaven 
and earth, that all things shall work together for good to them 
that love God : nothing can come amiss to a lover of God, to 
one, who by the Divine Spirit working in him, is contempered 
in the habitual frame of his spirit to the divine pleasure. And 
the disposition of all things cannot but work together for good 
to such a one. 

But, whereas, it may be said, ^' What if I do not love God ? 
what if I find not that disposition in my heart and soul to him, 
what shall 1 do then ?" Why, 

[1.] I would appeal to such a one, How perverse a notion 
must you needs have of God, if you think him to be such a one 
that he should equally take care, that all things should work 
together for good to men, whether they love him or love him 
not? that he should as much gratify them that hate him, as 
them that love him ! You must suppose, in this case, some- 
what in its own nature impossible : for it is simply impossible 
that any thing can succeed well with a man that loves not 
God. He must be the son of peace, or good cannot come to 
him : it can take no place in him. But what I have further to 
say is this, wliich in the second place 1 designed to say in ar- 
guing this matter ad rem. That is, 

[2.] That supposing a man be not a lover of God, an ha-. 

lEC. IV.) His Decrees — Cautions. 177 

bitual lover of him, so as he can discern this to be the predo- 
minant governing principle in him; yet he hath greater en- 
couragement in reference to the affairs of his soul, (supposing 
them to lie in this state,) than he can have in reference to his 
external estate here in this world. For do we ever find any such 
promises in the word of God, that whosoever labours to be 
rich shall be rich ? or that he that takes care of his health shall 
be always healthy ; as we have, that he that labours to he saved 
shall have help from heaven in order thereunto ? " Work out 
your own salvation with fear and trembling, for God worketh 
in you to will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil. 2. 1 2, 
13. He is working: (so the word signifies :) what he doth 
herein, he doth according to good pleasure, and he is still do- 
ing and working in you. Therefore, there can be no purpose 
or counsel in the divine will, lying against this plain word of 
his. So that none can have any pretence to be less laborious, 
less diligent in reference to the affairs of their souls, than they 
have in reference to their common affairs. Yea, there is a 
great deal of reason why they siiould be much more, and that 
they should conjoin hope with their diligence in reference there- 
unto ; which I mention in this conjunction, because we find 
them so conjoined in Scripture; and they are conjoined in the 
nature of the thing. We find them conjoined, Heb. 6. 11. 
''That ye shew the same diligence unto the full assurance 
of hope unto the end : that ye be not slothful, but followers of 
them who through faith and patience have inherited the pro- 
mises." And in the nature of the thing, there can be no dili- 
gence where there is no hope ; where there is much of hope, 
there will be much of diligence. Tliere is no reason that ei- 
ther should languisli : there is the greatest reason why both' 
should be lively and vigorous, and make each other so, even 
upon the supposition of what lies in the mind and purpose of 
God, in reference to the affairs of souls. And then, I further 
add by way of caution, 

8. That we do not overlook the advantages that may be made 
of agreements among them that do controvert this same thing. 
That is, the purposes and counsels of God touching the salva- 
tion of men, or touching the punishment of them who shall be 
found the tit subjects of his punitive justice in another state. 
Let us not overlook the advantage that may be made of what is 
in this matter agreed on all hands ; that is, it is on all hands 
agreed, that no good man shall ever perish. This is a thing 
wherein all do consent and agree. And trul}^, what there is of 
difference, it is so very notional and little, in comparison of this, 
that here we have what should quiet our minds, yea, and it is fur- 

YOL. VII. 2 A 


ther agreed, that for them that are wicked, they have always stili 
means for making them better, more than ever they improve or 
make use of; and that God doth afford no such means to any 
unwillingly; therefore, always according to his will, and the 
counsel of his will ; and consequently, that this must be found 
the case at last, that none do finally perish but such as have re- 
fused and rejected the overtures, or misimproved, or not im- 
proved the means that they had in order to their being saved. 
Though they had not all at once what was necessary to the sav- 
ing of them, they had always reason to apprehend, that if they 
had used what they had, they should have had still more. And 
such agreements as these are by no means to be overlooked. 
We should labour to make the greatest advantage of them that 
the matter admits of. Yea, and it is further agreed, that this 
world is very wicked ; and it cannot but be agreed, that God 
could make it generally better if he would, and therefore, it 
ouglit to be as generally agreed, tiiat he hath something in his 
wise counsel whence it doth appear to him less fit to exert 
his almightiness to this purpose. Or, if any should expect he 
should do so, or wonder he doth not so, they have as much 
reason to wonder why he did not, by almightiness, shut sin out 
of the world at first, and why he did not, by his almighty pow- 
er, (as he might,) prevent the apostasy or fall, either of the an- 
gels that fell, or of the universality of men that fell all at once, 
and are all in a fallen state ever since. 

I shall not further insist as to matter of useful caution which 
in these several particulars hath been given you. But I shall 
add to these, some alleviating considerations, that may help to 
make things sit more easily on our minds, relating to this great 
and important subject. As, 

1 . Consider this, that all the purposes or determinations of 
the divine will, they are the products of counsel. That the 
text assures us^ that whatsoever he doth, he doth according to 
the counsel of his own will, whereupon, as to the secret pur- 
poses and determinations of the divine will which therefore we 
know not, because they are secret, we have all the reason ima- 
ginable to think, that they must be most unexceptionable from 
that we do know, that they are all purposes guided by most 
unerring counsel, and which, whilst we know not in particular 
what they are, we have nothing to do but reverentially to adore, 
as t!ie apostle doth in Rom. 11. 33. **0 ! the depth both of 
the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his 
judgments, and his ways past finding out." That part remains, 
to adore, with a dutiful adoration, what we do not distinctly and 
particularly understand, and, indeed, cannot understand. There 

rEC. IV.) His Decrees — Alleviating Considerations. 1 75^ 

is no government but hath its arcana; and it would be very inc])t 
andfoolisli for us to imagine, tliat there should be no secrets be- 
longing to the divine government. But admit that there be, 
inasmuch as they do belong to the divine government, the go- 
vernment of God; that name is a name that comprehends all per- 
fection, and excludes all imperfection ; contains nothing in it 
but what is most excellent and perfect in all respects ; and there- 
fore, of this, in the general, we may rest most assured, that there 
can be nothing exceptionable in those purposes of his will vvhiv.h 
we do not particularly know. And, 

2. Let us but consider, that for liis known and public coun- 
sels, they carry their own reeommendableness in them to every 
mind, understanding and conscience of man, that shall consi- 
der. Do but bethink yourselves, what is given us as tlie sum- 
mary of the whole counsel of God which is published and de- 
clared to apostate, fallen man. The apostle tells the Ephe- 
sians, (Acts 20, 21.) that he had made it his business to tes- 
tify to them, " repentance towards God and faitli in our Lord 
Jesus Christ." And in having done so, he tells them (ver. 
27.) that he had made known to them the wliole counsel of 
God. Now, I beseech you, what could have been more suit- 
able to the state of apostate, fallen creatures than to say, it is 
the counsel of God, they should repent, that they should turn 
to him. And since it was impossible they should return and 
be accepted, but upon the account of a Mediator and Redeem- 
er who was to bring them to God, and reconcile them to him, 
what could be more suitable, than that this should be stood upon, 
wheresoever he is revealed and made known, that men should 
believe in him; that is, absolutely resign and subject them- 
selves to his saving mercy, and to his governiiig power ? Here 
is the whole counsel of God, here it is summed up. And what 
hath any man to say to this ? why, being an apostate creature, 
he should not turn and repent ? and why, not being able to 
satisfy divine justice by himself, but having one revealed to 
him that hath fully done it, (so as to leave that none of his 
part) why he should not entrust his soul with him, and cast it 
upon him, and subject it to his conduct and government, by 
known and prescribed and most unexceptionable rules ? And 
whereas, men cannot turn of themselves, (it is true,) they have 
not at present sufficient power in their own hand, it is all one, 
whether they have it, or may have it, if they do apply them- 
selves. This is a part of the counsel of God too, that he is al- 
ways ready to assist a returning soul : " Turn ye at my reproof, 
I will pour out my Spirit upon you." Prov. 1. 21. This is 
part of his counsel : for they that do not so, are, in the next 


verse, said to have set at nought his counsel : " But they have 
set at nought my counsel and despised all my reproof." How 
unexceptionable are the counsels that are made known, and that 
are published and declared to us ! And, 

3. Consider, that if this be the declared, published counsel 
of God, which you have heard, that he would have apostate 
creatures return, and is intent upon it that they should do so, 
*' Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die O house of Israel ?" (Ezek. 
IS.) and is always assisting to their return, — " turn ye at my 
reproof, apply yourselves, set about it, I will pour out my Spi- 
rit upon you, I will make known my words unto you :" I say, 
if this be his declared, published counsel, we are sure there 
can be no repugnant, contrary secret counsel. There can be 
no contrariety between his declared and his secret counsel. It 
were monstrous idolatry, that we should form in our own 
minds, instead of a Deity, an apprehension that he is made 
up of repugnancies and inconsistencies with himself. And 

4. Let us but consider, how things would lie under God's 
present view, supposing that we did not recur and run back 
into a foregoing eternity, supposing things to lie as they are in 
their present state, under the present and immediate view of 
God, only, without conceiving an eternal counsel and an eternal 
purpose concerning any such thing : and consider with your- 
selves how matters should lie then ; that is, but thus, that 
whereas, God hath such an order of creatures, intelligent crea- 
tures, inhabiting this world, who have all apostatized, fallen, and 
gone off from him, and by the natural tendency of their course, 
are universally running themselves into misery, and sinking 
lower and lower, ready to be ingulfed of endless and eternal 
misery : he beholds these from the throne of his glory above ; 
he sends forth plain, general significations of the pity and com- 
passion he hath towards his creatures; directs his invitations 
j,o all the ends of the earth to look to him that they may be 
saved : if the express revelation do not reach all, it is they 
themselves, through their own wickedness, that do obstruct and 
hinder the diffusion of it, otherwise the gospel had spread and 
Hown like lightning from one quarter and end of the world to 
another, many an age ago, and still from age to age ; but yet, 
plain significations that God is not irreconcileable to his fallen 
creatures, are more or less afforded every where ; he doth not 
leave himself without witness in that he doth men good : he 
is kind to them ; doth not treat them as an implacable God ; 
makes his sun to shine, and his rain to fall upon the evil and the 
good, as in that context we so lately discoursed of to you. He 

LEC. IV.) His Decrees — Alleimtmg Considerations. 181 

ss secretly striving with them, as his Spirit strove witli the old 
world before the flood. *' My Spirit (saith (lod) shall not always 
strive with man;" implying, that it had been striving, even 
with that wicked world before. And after the same rate he is 
dealing with men still. They despise the riches of his patience 
and goodness and long-suffering, many of them: suppose they 
do so more generally, he yet, by a merciful and more powerful 
hand takes hold of some, and saith (as it were) "Though you 
are inclined and disposed all to perish alike, I will have a re- 
lict from among you out of the hand and power of the destroy- 
er:" and he hath finally a numerous remnant ; more than any 
tongue can number, as we find the matter represented how it 
will be in the close and period of things; we do not know how 
vastly numerous they may yet be, or have been in former ages 
and successions of time. But they that perish, perish by their 
own wilful refusal of offered mercy, whether more expressly, or 
whether by more tacit, yet intelligible inclinations. Let but 
things be considered now as lying before God, obvious to one 
present view, Who hath any thing to say against God's method 
of procedure in this case ? Who hath not cause to adore liis 
grace and goodness and clemency in all this, though so great 
numbers finally perish ? and then, how easy is the step further, 
if things to one present view do lie so very unexccptionably, 
what is there more of exception, supposing this view to have 
been eternal ? If things be very fair thus, under one present 
view, will they lie worse, if it were a day earlier, or a month or a 
year earlier, or an age or from eternity ? What is itself right and 
well, is eternally so, and was eternally so, and can never have 
been otherwise. And therefore, it is very vain and foolish for 
men to amuse their minds, and affright themselves with the 
thoughts of future and eternal counsels^ that may have lain this 
way or that : if things look well to a present view, how can they 
look worse to an eternal one. And again, consider, 

5. That things should lie thus open to the eternal view of 
God, all at once, in all their dependencies and connections 
and references to one another, certainly, it is owing only to 
his perfections, that they should do so, and that they do so. 
Is it not a greater perfection to foresee and to foreknow all 
things, and to have forelaid all one's designs, than to foreknow 
nothing before hand? and to do nothing without foregoing, pre- 
vious design ? How unreasonable is it for us to think the worse 
of God for that he is more perfect ! It is very unreasonable to 
suppose that he should not foreknow what will become of you 
and me in our eternal state; that he should not foreknow what 
the condition of that creature he hath made shall be to eterni- 


ly. And wiiatsoever he doth actually make it to be, in point 
of felicity, by his own grace, or whatsoever he lets it be, in 
paint of iniseiv, by its own demerit, and the depraved inclina- 
tion of its own nature, it is certainly liis perfection to know the 
one and the other ; and to do whatsoever he doth, willingly and 
with design, not unwillingly, or as if he could be imposed up- 
on, or forced in any thing. Do but seriously consider how 
unreasonable it is to think the worse, or have the blacker 
thoughts of God, for that which is nothing else but liis perfec- 
tion. It would certainly be an imperfection to be nescient, and 
not to know what will become of things, and what will become 
of men : and so, to act incogitantly and without previous de- 
sign, were a great imperfection. Is he then less fit to govern 
us, and to dispose of us and his creatures, for his being more 
perfect ? And again, 

G. Consider how things will lie in the judgment of the great 
day. We know the rule of his final procedure in that day, 
which is called " the day of the revelation of the righteous judg- 
ment of God," that he will give " eternal life to tiiem that by 
patient continuance in well-doing seek for honour and glory and 
innnortality : and indignation and wrath, tribulation and an- 
guish to those that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteous- 
ness. " Rom. 2. 5, G. To none but perverse and persevering 
evil doers, none but such as refused to obey the truth and were 
contentious against it, and did obey unrighteousness, did give 
tliemselves up to tlie judgment of an unrighteous spirit and 
principle, ruling and working in them, to none else but these, 
*' indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish." If things 
will be very unexceptionable in the judgment of the great day, 
(as who can have any thing to say against this rule or this me- 
thod of procedure) he will then, in the judgment of the great 
day, both do as he purposed before ; and his purpose will no way 
be found to have dilFered from the measure of his final proce- 
dure. And again consider, 

7. That there cannot but a conviction go with the final issue 
of things, in the very souls and consciences of them that perish. 
They do foreknow the righteous judgment of God, that they 
that do such and such things are worthy of death ; are worthy 
of misery. Pagans themselves do so, for to them the apostle 
speaks and refers in that 1 Romans, in the close of the chap- 
ter. And what convictions will be upon the consciences of 
men in the final issue of things, is sufficientiy intimated in 
that, their principal sting is plainly enough and sufficiently in- 
timated to be from their own consciences. There is the worm 
that never dies. And it were impossible this hold could be 

LEC. IV.) His Decrees — Allevieiting Considerations. 183 

taken on tlie consciences of men, if it did not appear to them 
that they were finally guilty of their own ruin. All such ima- 
ginatiiins must vanish and fly away of course, that it was im- 
possible things should ever he otherwise \\'\\\\ them than they 
are 5 that they were doomed unavoidably into that state into 
which they are come. Whatsoever might be a fence to keep 
off the stroke from their consciences, you must ])e sure will all . 
vanish and be gone, and therefore, can have no place. And then 

8. Consider the high and everlasting approbation that all - 
God's methods will have with the most clarified, refined minds 
of angels and saints, in all that vast general assembly made up 
of " the innumerable company of angels and the spirits of just 
men made perfect ;" all agreeing in admiring and applauding 
the most unexceptionable righteousness of all God's dispensa- 
tions; whereof the counsel of his will were the measure : "Just 
and true are thy ways, marvellous are thy works Lord God Al- 
mighty." And here will be no dark mind, no clouded under- 
standing, no erroneous thought, no vitiating prejudice. If 
therefore, we are sure all things will to eternity lie well and 
right to the most perfect minds and understandings, then they 
are righteous in themselves : and being in themselves right, 
they ouixht to be so estimated and judged of by us. Certainly, 
these tl^.ings cannot be mistaken, cannot be misunderstood and 
misapprehended by those pure and glorious creatures in the 
other state ; tiiose bright and unclouded minds that will see 
nothing but loveliness and beauty, and what is most highly 
praiseworthy and admirable in the eternal view that they shall 
have of tliera. Therefore, to shut up all for the present, let 
me but leave these two words of direction. 

(1.) Labour to cherish the love of God in your souls. That 
will commend to you all his counsels and all his n^.ethods. Love, 
will never think amiss. And, 

(2.) Form your apprehensions concerning him, agreeably, 
that so you may have nothing in your minds to damp your 
love ; nothing may disafrect you unto him. The understand- 
ing and the will (such is the constitution of the human na- 
ture) do interchangeably work up6n one another : the more we 
love God, the better we shall think of him, and the belter we 
think of him, the better we shall love him. These things cir- 
culate between one another. And nothing can be of higher 
and greater consequence : for if we do otherwise we shall cramp 
religion in ourselves; and so far as we propagate the ill senti- 
ment, we shall hinder tlie propagating and diffusing of reli- 
gion among others. And do but take this deeply to iioart. 


(perhaps I may have more reason to speak to it hereafter,) that 
in the latter days wherein, it is said, religion must flourish in 
the world, (Hosea 3. 5.) men are to "fear the Lord and his 
goodness." Most certain it is, in those days, (if there are such 
days yet to come better than we have seen,) thus it must be, 
there must be a universal diffusion of good thoughts concern- 
ing God. This is that knowledge of God that must replenish 
the world, and fill the earth, and transform the minds of men, 
and overcome their fierce, savage humours and dispositions, 
their disaffection towards God, and their barbarities towards 
one another; make them "beat their swords into ploughshares 
and their spears into pruning hooks." The revealed and ac- 
knowledged will of God, and goodness of God prevailing against 
the evil of the mind and hearts of men. " They shall fear the 
Lord and his goodness in the latter days." Their thoughts 
and apprehensions of God will be so persuasive to their own 
hearts, and they M'ill look upon him according to that kind 
and amiable and lovely representation of himself that shall 
captivate all minds and hearts ; and make men hate nothing 
but themselves, and that they have not sooner and more loved 


Thus we have fully spoken to these words as they concern 
the spiritual and eternal state of men, which is the apostle's 
principal scope as you may see, in the foregoing part of the 
chapter, and of the same verse ; "having predestinated us to 
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according 
to the good pleasure of his will." verse 5. And here, "ac- 
cording to the purpose of him that worketh all things accord- 
ing to the counsel of his own will," But you see, that from 
that special consideration of the counsel or purpose of his own 
wiil, or the good pleasure thereof, the apostle makes a very easy, 
natural transition unto this more general proposition which 
comprehends all that could be said, including the former in 
it, and much more. And therefore, having spoken to the 
more limited object already, of the counsel of the divine will, 
1 shall proceed to speak somewhat of the counsel of God's will 
concerning the other affairs of men, besides those of their souls 
er of their eternal state. 

And though it be very true that God's agency about all 

* Preached Jauuaiy 29, 1692, 

LEC. v) His Counsel ^Extent of its Ohjett, 185 

these outward concernments of men, do belong to another 
head of theology, that is, his providence; yet, the counsel of his 
will, according whereunto that agency is directed about these 
affairs, as well as those others that we have already spoken to, 
comes properly under our consideration here. And therefore, 
to that I shall speak somewhat briefly ; to wit, the counsel of 
the divine will respecting the present concernments of men in 
the world, so far as it may be needful and useful to us ; that so 
we may detract nothing from God, that doth truly and right- 
fully belong to him, and that we may not lose the advantage of 
the pleasant sentiments and relishes which we may have our- 
selves, and in our own spirits from the right stating of this mat- 
ter, which we shall, therefore, endeavour as much as in us is. 
And shall in speaking of it do these four things — speak of the 
extent of the object about which the counsel of the divine will 
is said to be conversant— ^f the counsel of the divine will it- 
self, its nature and significancy in reference to that object or 
sort of objects that we are now to consider — give you briefly 
the reasons why we are to ascribe such a thing to God as coun- 
sel and purpose touching these afl^airs of ours, and — labour to 
shew you, that no ill consequence can reasonably and justly, be 
drawn from hance. 

1. The extent of the object : sure we are not otherwise to 
circumscribe it than the letter of the text; who workkth all 
THINGS. For that special sort of object, the souls of men, and 
their spiritual and eternal state, we have spoken to already, 
which falls within the compass and comprehension, you plain- 
ly enough see, in the general expression in the text. And 
having spoken to that, even all other concernments besides we 
must understand to be within the compass of the object too : 
and therefore, that the coimsel of the divine will is conversant 
about them ; that is, whatsoever he hath any agency about, 
about that also, the counsel of his will hath place, for " he 
worketh aZZ things according to the counsel of his will." He 
doth nothing unwillingly, he wills nothing unadvisedly : there- 
fore, whereas all things lie under his agency, all things lie un- 
der the counsel of his will. 

More especially, whatsoever he iiath made any law about; in 
reference to whatsoever he hath given us rules and precepts, 
these are called counsels often, and often in Scripture ; they 
are the counsels and mandates of his will. These all lie under 
the counsel of his will. 

There is no state or condition that men can be in, in this 
world, but there are regulations and preceptsgiven in reference 
thereto. Whatsoever is matter af threatening or of promise, 

VOL, VII, 2 b 


the sanctions annexed to his precepts, (as there are many things 
of threatening and promise that are of temporal concertiments,) 
these still must be considered as being within the same com- 
pass. Whatsoever may be matter of affliction or of comfort, 
whatsoever may have in it any thing of blessing, or any thing of 
cursing, (as there are temporal blessings and temporal curses 
besides the eternal ones,) all these, we must understand to be 
consulted of, in the sense we formerly opened unto you, ex- 
cluding all the imperfections, and including all the perfec- 
tion that can be any way conceived or signified by it. 

Moreover, all the private concernments of men, personal and 
domestic; the concernments of the world, of kingdoms and 
nations, political concernments : the concernments of the 
church of God in the world, which may be considered under the 
measure of time ; they are all to be considered within the ob- 
ject of divine purpose and counsel. 

The more private, personal or domestic concernments of 
men ; they belong to this object, and cannot be excluded. The 
time of every one's coming into this world, and the time of his 
going out of it : the " time to be born, and the time to die;" 
they lie under the determination of the divine counsel, direc- 
tive of his will : even touching them, there is a time for every 
purpose under the sun. These, among the rest, "a time to 
be born and a time to die." Eccles. 3. 2. Skipping over (as 
it were) the intervening time, as if that were little worth the 
notice : yet only not noting it there, but in the mean time not 
excluding it neither, as is evincible enough from many other 
texts. But it is to be observed, (if you compare that with ano- 
tiier passage in the same book : chap. 8. G.) as to every purpose, 
there belongs a season, so to every season there belongs judg- 
ment ; to every purpose there is time and judgment. That 
must, undoubtedly, primarily, mean divine judgment, which is 
the perfection oF counsel ; timt which with men is the result of 
counsel, and which therefore, must signify somewhat analogous 
with God: there is the judgment of wisdom and counsel, that 
is determinative of every season, every time, for whatsoever 
purpose, or occurrence that falls out to any of the sons of 
men. And the time between these two times, the time of 
their being born, and the time when they are to die ; that lies 
under the same determination. His days and months and 
years arc all set and appointed ; as it is fully expressed in Job 
14. G. 

And so the conditions of men, while they are here in tWs 
world, whether they shall be high or low ; whether they 
shall be rich or poor -, every one hath his dimension, liis al- 

LEC. V.) His Counsel — Extent of its Object . 187 

lowance ordered for him; and no doubt therefore, pre-ordahicd. 
Whatsoever portion any man hath of tlie things of this life, 
whether it be more, or whether it be less, it is all given. Even 
what the ravens have, the fowls of the air and the beasts of the 
field, it is all given: and much more what every man hath, 
is by the divine allowance and vouchsafement. To every liv- 
ing thing he gives wiiat is convenient and suitable for the siip- 
Dort of that life which lie had given it before. But what be 

J. , . , 

' gives, he gives willingly, not against his will. And wliat lie 
did once will, (as you formerly heard,) he could not but ever 
will, and tliere can be no new one with him. 

And how particular persons do branch into fc\milies3 this all 
lies under the particular direction even of divine counsel and 
purpose. And so, what allotments such and such families sliall 
have; and those as they multiply and do increase, "even unto 
nations and kingdoms," as you see, Acts I/. 26. As God 
hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the 
face of the earth; so he hath determined the times of all, and 
appointed the very bounds of their habitations ; assigned to 
every one his place where he shall be. ]t hath been the mat- 
ter of the counsel of the divine will, even concerning us, that 
our lot should fall in such and such a part of the world : that 
we should dwell so much of our time in such a place; that our 
lot should be cast in England, or for so long a time in Lon- 
don; and in what circumstances and with what advantages one 
way or other. All these things, as they have been ordered 
Ly the great Lord of all, so they are not ordered by him in- 
cogitantly, but according to the eternal counsel and purpose 
that are understood to have passed concerning us. The very 
meanest things that can any way belong to us, or belong to 
this world, being expressly mentioned to come under the 
divine, cognizance and care; it is plain euch concernments 
as these cannot be excluded. As when we are told, all the 
hairs of our heads are numbered ; and that a sparrow cannot 
fall to the ground without our heavenly Father. And that is 
our Saviour's reasoning from hence, " Are not ye of more va- 
lue than they, than many sparrows?" Now, if these things be 
the matter of the very care and agency of providence, they 
must have been the matter of an eternal purpose and counsel, 
for the reason again and again repeated before, that nothing 
can be new with God ; no new thought, no nev/ counsel or 

And to consider, to what particularities the divine eye and 
purpose do reach; what we find recorded and comes under 
our notice by way of history^ that therefore, must suppose there 


hath been an eternal view, even of the same things, and a pur- 
pose concerning them. As for instance, that vi'l)ich appears to 
be the most barren part of the Bible, that large account that 
we have of genealogy in Scripture ; How should Moses possibly 
come to know through the successions of so many hundreds of 
years, even two thousand years before him, what children such 
and such men had, all those that are reckoned up, and how 
many years they lived ? And it v^'as thought fit that should be 
put down : and how such families were ranked, and what na- 
tions sprang from them ; all these must needs have been mat- 
ter of divine Revelation, and therefore, were matter of divine 
knowledge, and therefore, were eternally so : all things being 
in the same order, under the divine eye, wherein they actually 
come to pass in the world. 

So all the removes of men to and fro, here upon earth. 
*' Thou tellest my wanderings," saith David ; there is not a 
step taken this way or that, but all is under the divine direc- 
tion and provision and purpose, that so and so it shall be. 

And if you enlarge your thoughts further, to the concern- 
ments of formed nations and kingdoms, collective bodies, they 
must be understood also, to be within the compass of this ob- 
ject. The ttlterations in kingdoms; the seasons and intervals 
of rests and disturbances ; of peace and of war, of plenty and 
of scarcity ; of a prosperous and of an adverse posture of affairs, 
in respect of any, whatsoever, favourable providences or judg- 
ments that come upon these ; these all lie under the counsel of 
the divine will. The revolutions of governments, when they 
are past, when they pass from form to form ; God hath been 
pleased to give some more extraordinary proof and demonstra- 
tion of his regency in these kingdoms, on purpose that it may 
he known (as Nebuchadnezzar, that great prince was forced to 
confess) that God rules over the kingdoms of men, and gives 
them to whom he pleaseth. Dan. 4. 32. The Most High rules 
in the kingdom of men. It is not said kingdoms, importing 
this whole world to be one kingdom to him, one great monarchy, 
all lying under his imperial power. And all this must be un- 
derstood to be according to counsel, and according to purposes 
that were with him eternally. For (as hath been said before'i 
his being is so; i7 eternum non patitur novum; no netv thing 
can fall out in eternity. 

And so, for the state of his church in general, or of particu- 
lar churches upon eartii ; all their concernments, as they are 
such, they fall under the counsel of the divine will which or- 
ders all their circumstances in reference to them ; sometimes 
making their condition more prosperous and favourable, and 

LEc. ▼.) His Counsel — Its Nature. 189 

sometiineSj more adverse, for trial and needful exercise of their 
graces, in these kinds wherein it is requisite such graces should 
have their exercises, which he hath adapted to such special pur- 
poses. So large (and for our tlioughts, let them go as large, 
and far as they will or can) is the object about which the coun- 
sel of the divine will is conversant. But, 

2. Something is to be said concerning the nature of such 
counsel and will, as it respects such an object; or this more 
special sort of object which I most intend in the present dis- 
course. Why, 

(I.) This is always to be held concerning the counsel of the 
divine will, that it is most perfectly wise: all things being in 
view to him at once, open to one eternal view in all their con- 
nections, references and dependancies; he having a thorough 
and everlasting perspection, even of all at once, of tlic things 
themselves and of tlieir connection with one another, even as 
they are connected, net because they are so, so as to pass from 
one connected thing to another, as v^^e in our more imperfect 
way of knowing things are constrained to do. And, 

(2.) The counsel of his will must therefore, hereupon, be im- 
mutable : being most perfectly wise, there can be no imagin- 
able reason of any change. He never needs alter his mea- 
sures : " Known to him are all his works from the beginning 
of the world," was that grave saying of the apostle James, in 
that synod at Jerusalem. Acts 15. 18. Whatsoever he hath 
to do, or doth do, th.it he designed to do ; for he acts nothing 
casually : and what he did design to do, he did consult about, 
so far as consulting can have place with him : we explained 
the sense of it before, that is, that he hath perfect perspection 
of all that is requisite and fit to be done, and so did purpose ac- 
cording thereto, and then doth according to that purpose. And 
therefore, to consider, besides the nature of such a divine pur- 
pose and counsel, its reference and significancy to human af- 
fairs. I say, 

(3.) This same counsel of the divine will, it is a measure to 
himself of all his own agency, what he will do, and what he 
will not do; how far he will exert his inducuce, and wherein 
he will suspend it : how he will direct it this way and that, and 
how he will limit it. And, 

(4.) By consequence, it must needs be a measure of all 
events; because nothing can eventually fallout, but accord- 
ing to his will, either effecting or pern)ittlng; and there being 
no determination of his will which is not still under the direc- 
tion of divine counsel. And all this, we must understand to 
be constantly transacting with him, with the greatest clearness, 


and with the greatest facility im8gina])le. You do observe 
ainon,!:^ men, vastly different tempers and complexions of mind; 
some seem to be almost constantly calm and sedate, composed 
and serene, there appears nothing torpid or unequal in their 
frame or habit. Now, if we can conceive among human minds 
what is more perfect, and what is less, sure it should not be 
ditficult to us to take our assent, and conceive concerning the 
Divine Mind, that it must be most absolutely perfect, never 
liable to any cloud, to any discomposure, all things lying in a 
inost perfect clearness, and having their eternal formation or 
form there, with the greatest imaginable facility : and infinitely 
more than we can imagine. So as there is no cause for any 
thought concerning Kplenus negotil Dens, as the epicurean 
objecteth, concerning such a Deity as should be engaged and 
taken up about making, and about governing such a world -as 
this, tliat this must give too much business to such a Being, ■:■: 
we are not to conceive of otherwise than as perfectly happy, u. 
not consisting (as they foolishly imagine) with the felicity and 
happiness of such a Being. But when we can conceive in some 
men, with how very great composure of mind they go through 
a great variety of business, their minds being always clear and 
serene, can we not consider conceining God, that his under- 
standing is infinite, as reason and Scripture do most plainly 
speak; and so that nothing could ever be excluded it, or lie with- 
out it ? as the various images of things are represented in a 
clear glass, detected there, without giving any toil or labour 
to the glass, or inferring upon it any change. And so the 
schools have been wont to speak of God's eternal knowledge 
of things, that he beholds them all as in an everlasting and 
eternal speculum, there being that perpetual and eternal clear- 
ness in the Divine Mind, that things lie there without any dis- 
composure to him, without any disorder, in the same state and 
frame, wherein they do actually fall out; so as when they do 
actually fall out, whatsoever disturbance there is of one thing 
with another, and among the things themselves variously In- 
terfering, yet all these things are beheld without disturbance 
to him : as the various motions and agitations of many persons 
in a room, all represented in a clear glass, make no disturbance 
or discomposure in it at all, whatsoever there is in the things 
represented. Therefore, 1 pass, 

3. To the reasons why we are to ascribe to God such a con- 
cern about human affairs, so as to employ the counsel of his 
will, even from eternity about them. I will shortly name to you 
these two plain andobvious things, as the reasons thereof, besides 
wliat Scripture doth, in many more places than those that I 

LEC. V.) His Counsel-T-Reasons for if. 191 

have named, expressly assert about It : 1st. The most absoluje 
perfection of his nature cannot but infer it : and 2d. the su- 
premacy, the universality and accurateness of his govern- 

(1.) The perfection of his nature, that cannot but infer it. 
He being every way perfect, absolutely perfect, (which he must 
be, if he be God, we have no other notion of a Deity but of a 
being absolutely and universallyperfect,) he must be omniscient, 
and must know all things ; and if so, he must always have known 
them ; for if ever he did not know them, there will be some 
addition to his knowledge when he comes to do so. But that 
knowledge to whicli there can be an addition is imperfect ; 
and therefore, the divine knowledge could never admit of any 
addition, but all things, (as was said before) must have lain 
open everlastingly with him to one eternal view. And, 

(2.) -The supremacy, universality, and exactness of his go- 
vernment, doth necessarily infer it. Inasmuch as he is Lord 
over all, and is Most High, there can be none above him that 
should be director of such affairs. And inasmuch as he is 
universal Governor, if any affairs He not under iiis government, 
they can lie under none. It is not a supposable thing, that 
one part of the creation sliould be governed, and another un- 
governed ; part under a ruler and the other part under no rule 
at all. And then, the exiK2tness, of his government, not con- 
sidered absolutely, but respectively, that is, with respect to the 
state of the governed cTeatures, the governed communities that 
lie under the management and dominion of his kingdom. We 
are to consider this world as in a state of apostasy ; and we 
are not to expect that he should deal with this world, as if men 
were in a perfect state, for tlieir frame and temper are far from 
perfect. He deals with them as suitable to the state of apostates, 
as those that have been, and are, in rebellion against him gene- 
rally. And admirable it is that the methods of his government 
should be so mild and propitious; and that so much of common 
order should be preserved among them thereby, as we find there 
is, this being considered. But to such government, eternal pro- 
vision and purpose are always necessary, and could not but 
be necessary. There must be eternal foresight of all that was 
to be done, and eternal purpose and counsel thereupon. VVe 
thence come, 

4. To consider, that there can be nothing of ill consequence, 
justly and reasonably, drawn from hence. What is most sup-> 
posable in this case, and of tiiis kind, that is, which may pre- 
sent itself to a first view under the notion of an ill, or incon- 


venient consequence, which chiefly lies under one of these two 
heads, 1st. That this hypothesis will preclude the use of hu- 
man prudence ; and 2d. that it will shut out prayer. These 
are two things that carry a first and more obvious appearance 
of an ill consequence, upon the supposition of what, we have 
been hitherto asserting. But I. shall labour to evince, that 
neither of these consequences can, with any reasonable colour, 
be thought to ensue. As, 

(I.) That here, there should be no place nor use for human 
prudence. Thus some may too hastily think and pronounce. If 
there be a divine counsel and purpose about every thing that a 
man can do, or about every thing that shall occur to him, that 
he may either enjoy or suffer, to what purpose is it for men to 
consult and determine, or contrive this way or that ? as not 
knowing but that they may, iji the very thing they design and 
go about, run counter to the counsels of the divine will ; and 
so all will be in vain, and to no purpose. We shall give you 
some consideraiions toshevv the in-consequence, that it follows 
not, that there is no pretence that the use of human prudence 
should herel)y be excluded. As, 

[1.] That all things are determined by God to fallout in 
the way wherein they do fall out. T told you at first, when I 
entered upon this subject, we are not to conceive any such 
thing concerning him, as that he doth decree and determine 
things abstractly, without reference to the media by which 
they are to be brought about. We are ? o impute no such thing 
to God, with reference to the eternal states of men, as we spake 
then; that whatsoever a man doth he shall be damned, be he 
never so good, never so strict, never so pious ; or that whatso- 
ever such a man doth, he shall be saved, let him be never so 
vvicked, never so irreligious or profane ; never so strongly per- 
sist and persevere in such a course. We are to impute no such 
thing, no sucji counsel to the wise and holy God. Neither his 
word, nor the reason of the thing leads us to any such thought 
concerning him. And so, in reference to these lower affairs, 
we are never to think any such thing concerning him, as if he 
laid down purposes and decrees concerning this or that end, 
without connecting in his own eternal mind and view, the 
whole scheme of all the ways and methods and means by which 
such ends are to be compassed and brought about. And there- 

[2.] Those things which, according to the counsel of his 
will, are to be brought about by the intervention and exercise of 
kuman prudence ; these things are actually so brought about : 

LEC. V.) His Counsel — does not exclude human prudence. 195 

whatsoever is effected, whatsoever is done by the exercise of 
tlie prudence of a man, it lay in the divine mind and counsel, 
as a thing not only to be brought about, but to be brought 
about so, and in that way, by that very means, by the delibera- 
tion, and by the prudent contrivances of such and such of his 
creatures, that should serve his purpose in such a way. And 

[3.] In this case, and in reference to all such events, tlie 
very objection is an argument. The objection, the possible use, 
or advantageous use, of human prudence is a proof and demon- 
stration of it : for, according to divine counsel and purpose, 
such a thing as doth actually occur and come to pass by human 
prudence, was determined so to come to pass, by the interven- 
tion of human prudence. And again, 

[4.] It is the much more common course, in the way of God's 
dispensation towards his creatures, to let things go on according 
to t!ie posture and aptitude of the second causes by which they 
are effected and brought about ; it is much the more com.mon 
and usual course. He who is the supreme llnler and Lord of 
all, is not to be supposed but he may at pleasure lay on a re- 
strictive or regulating hand, as he sees meet to alter the natural 
course and tendency of things. But ordinarily he doth not so, 
but things do run on according to the aptitude and disposition 
and posture of the second causes, by the ministry whereof they 
are efliected and brought about. And even as to voluntary and 
rational agents, whereas, the men of this world, (who are such 
agents,) are generally wicked, God generally, and for the most 
part, doth not hinder the ill purposes that they have formed 
and contrived and set themselves to execute. That, the Psalm- 
ist supposeth to be the common case when, in that psal. 37. 
7. he gives so weighty counsel in reference to that case, not 
fretting, nor letting our hearts tumultuate and arise and swell 
within us, because of evil men that bring their wicked devices 
to pass, implying this to be the more ordinary case, that wick- 
ed inen do bring their wicked devices to pass, God doth not 
lay that restraint, for great and holy ends and reasons, which 
will appear in their lustre and glory one day; but lets things 
rur^ on in their own course according as the inclinations and 
aptitudes of other second causes do lead. And this being ob- 
servably so, it is the most unreasonable thing in the world, to 
suppose that in rarer instances wherein the purposes of men 
are disappointed and frustrated by some signal band from God, 
therefore the natural operations that do belong to men shoidd 
be concluded to be generally or universally useless, or to be 

VOL. VII. 2 c 


precluded : or that the principles were useless which were suit- 
ed to such operations or ends as those. But, 

[5.] We are further to consider, that if God doth more ex- 
traordinarily interpose, so as to disappoint the evil purposes of 
men, contrived by their subtilty and craft, (v;hich they are apt 
enough themselves to misname prudence,) he doth it in no 
such way as offers violence to the rational nature. He doth it 
by letting men befool themselves, or by letting them befool 
one another, or sometimes by letting the devil befool them. 
He sometimes lets one man befool another : as when that 
counsel of Hushai, proved to be the means by which God turn- 
ed (as David prayed he would,) Ahitophel's counsel into fool- 
ishness. Sometimes, he lets the devil befool men, acting ac- 
cording to his own inclinations which he restrains not. He 
lets him loose as he did to deceive Ahab, being a lying spirit in 
the mouth of his prophets, unto Ahab's destruction. He would 
not, himself, infuse a lie into the mind of Ahab, (which was a 
thing his nature was most abhorrent from, being the God of 
truth,) neither would he let a good angel go and tell a lie to 
him, as unbeseeming and, indeed, impossible to one that had 
the divine image in perfection in his nature. But there being 
a proneness in the wicked spirit (as the matter is parabolically 
and dramatically represented) to go and deceive Aliab, in his 
prophets, to his destruction, he lets him go. But there is no 
violence offered to the rational nature of man in all this. He 
acts by judgment, (such as it is) that is, by a mistaken judg- 
ment J not by none, or against judgment, against a practical 
judgment, which indeed to the nature of man were impossible. 
And those that are under such deceptions as these, when they 
do indeed play the fool : as Ahitophel's counsel was turned 
into foolishness and they all became fools that followed it, yet 
they thought themselves wise in so doing : and so, those that 
were reckoned or did reckon themselves wise, were taken in 
their own craftiness, and their counsels driven headlong, as in 
Job 5. 13. the expression is. And what they do in such kinds, 
tinder such deception, they do freely and with complacency, 
pleasing themselves in their own way ; so as there is no vio- 
lence offered to the nature of man, considering him as a 
rational, and as a voluntary agent in what he doth, even 
then, when his purposes are inverted and disappointed. But 

[6.] If men do take up such purposes as it seems meet to 
the great and holy God to frustrate and disappoint, (which by 
extraordinary interposition, as hath been said, he doth very 
rarely : he is sparing in instances of that kind,) yet, that, men 

LUC. V.) His Counsel — does 7iot exclude human prudence. 195 

arc to blame themselves for ; either, that they did propose to 
thciDselves unlawful designs ; or, that they did pursue and pro- 
secute lawful ones unlawfully; whence it hath seemed meet to 
that wisdom which governs the world, either to cross and 
defeat their designs, or to check and rebuke them, that they 
may reflect on and understand their own folly in so mishap- 
ing in their own course, as they are often wont to do when 
they take up wicked purposes, and form wicked designs which 
prove abortive. And how should it be otherwise, if they take 
counsel against the Lord and his anointed one, his Christ? 
Do you think it strange that that should be in vain? " Wherefore 
doth the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing ?** 
Why is it a vain thing that tliey imagine and devis-e ? it is coun- 
sel against the Lord and his Messiah. And if there be an in- 
verture of the counsel and purposes o«"men which do lie cross to 
the divine counsel and purpose, and that they clash with one 
another, what wonder is that ? Nay, whose will is it fit should 
rule and oversway in such a case ? Is God to quit the sovereign- 
ty and yield up his throne and sceptre, and say unto vain crea- 
tures, *' Be it according to your mind, and according to your 
will," when they will nothing but mischief, wrong to him, 
and ruin to all that are better than themselves ? And some- 
times, they pursue the most lawful things unlawfully : and then 
it is meet that God should someway or other give a check to 
them. As in such an instance as the apostle James mention- 
eth, (chap. 4. 13.) of such as say, in the power of their own self- 
conceit and self-will and self-confidence, " We will go to such 
and such a city, and will tarry there a year, and we will buy and 
sell and get gain :" and forget all this while that they live under 
the divine dominion and government; that they ought to say, 
*' If the Lord will, we will do so and so." It is very fit, that in 
such cases, God should put them in mind they have a Lord over 
them, and that he should give a check to such insolencies. 
And if they meet with rebukes because they will not carry 
themselves like those that live under the dominion and govern- 
ment of a Ruler who is superior to them, they will not walk in 
that light which before hath been made to shine in their minds 
and consciences, and God takes a severe method with them, to 
make them know themselves arad him ; there is nothing unfit 
done in the case. He doth but what he owes to himself to do, 
that he may do himself right, that he may not lose the honour 
and acknowledgment that are due to him, as he is Lord of all. 
But now, upon such a supposition as this, it is no more reason- 
able to say, that the understanding, or reason, or wisdom, or 
prudence which any man bath, is given him in vain, than it 


would be to say, that because such and such a man is a very 
prudent, wise man, it is altogether in vain that he should have 
a prudent servant. And yet, there is no man so wise, but if 
he have occasion for a servant, he will have an understanding 
man to be his servant, and not a fool ; a prudent one, and not 
one that is rash and foolish, and would do things precipitately 
and to disadvantage. But how unreasonable would it be to 
say, that because such a wise master will not let even this wise 
servant do his business his own way, but will check and con- 
trol him and exercise the authority of a master over him, there- 
fore, such a man hath a prudent servant in vain ? Who would 
be so foolish as to say, the prudence of such a servant is to no 
purpose unless he may be master, and carry every thing his 
own way, according to his own mind and fancy? Or suppose a 
man had a watch that ordinarily goes well as he would have it, 
but sometimes he finds it to err, and then he rectifies it with 
his finger; v/ould the owner of this watch, taking upon him to 
rectify it with his finger, say, " To what purpose are all the 
contrivances of this watch, and to what purpose are the several 
wheels and movements in it, if a man shall move it with his 
finger?" There is as little reason to pretend, that prudence and 
wisdom are given to any man in vain, because God will over- 
rule him and shew himself to be supreme in sundry such in- 
stances as may occur. I say, there is as little reason to say and 
allege this, as there would be to say, that all the articles in a 
watch are in vain, because it may need sometimes to be rectified 
and corrected by a wise finger. 


I shall only add to all that hath been said on this head, that 
the counsels of the divine will do very well admit of the use of 
human prudence, in subordination thereto, and it hath its great 
significancy in such subordination, but in opposition thereunto, 
it can signify nothing. And nobody is to think this strange, in 
subordination to the counsels of the divine will. Human pru- 
dence signifies much, all that it is covetable that it should sig- 
nify. Many times God designs to bring about such and such 
events by the ministry of human prudence, and then the coun- 
sel of the divine will is so far from excluding it, that it doth 
necessarily include it, and take it in ; cannot but do so. But 
most plain it is, that human prudence can signify nothing 

Preached April 19, 1692. 

LEC.vi.) His Counsel — does not exchtde jirayer. 197 

in opposition to the divine will. And would you have it ? 
would any one wisli it should? That human prudence should 
take place against the divine will, is that a thint!; to be wish- 
ed ? Or are we to be fond cf human prudence in opposition to 
the divine counsel, as if we thought the world would be better 
governed by men than by God ? That, sure, is never to be re- 
gietted, that there is no wisdom, no counsel, no understanding 
against the Lord. Sure, that should trouble none of u>, but 
please all. And to think, hereupon, tliat human prudence 
nvjst needs be a useless thing, because God doth not put all 
into ihe hands of men, and leave them to do in tlie world, 
whatsoever they please as so many ungoverned creatures, (as 
was formerly hinted,) it might as vA'ell be said, To what pur- 
pose is it for a man to have a prudent servant, unless the ser- 
vant's will and pleasure may take place in every thing against 
his master's. 

„ (2,) Bi!t I come in the second place to that other supposed 
ill bonsequence, to wit that the assertion of such a counsel of 
the divine will, mu^t ex;'lude the great duty of prayer. And I 
think it is very material and of great importance to discourse to 
you sonii'what largely upon this head ; because, I know how 
cumnionly it li- s in the minds of many men, as an objection 
against thai great dutv; or else, they make use of the ol)jec- 
iiop of that great duty, as an objection against the divine coun- 
s' ;nd purpose, and the hand which they are to have in all 

.* iciu attairs. Now, that this seeming difliculty may be clear- 
I will give you sundry considerations. As, 
, I.] I'iiat the primary or more principal notion that we are 
to have of prr.yer, ?s to conceive of it as an act of worship, that 
is, as an homage due and claimed to be paid to the great sove- 
reign Lord of all. That is the principal and prime notion that 
we are to have of prayer; that is, that it is such an act of duty 
as wherein we are to own and acknowledge God : it is due to 
him, as he is God, to be supplicated, sought to: that there be 
a dependance upon him, professed and avowed by his reason- 
able creatures. Now this being the first and primary notion of 
prayer, an acknowledging of God, and avowing our dependance 
upon him, and of his superiority over us, as that adjunct ex- 
pression of it, bowing the knee before him, doth import, I 
would fain know whether he be the less adorable, for that he is 
infinitely wise ? And if he be infinitely wise, then his wisdom 
and counsel must extend to all things. But doth his infinite 
wisdom render him a less adorab'e Olsject ? Doth he less de- 
serve to be worshipped, or have his due homage paid him by 
kis creatures, for that he is infinitely wise ? The counsel of his 


own vvIU extending to all things doth import so much ; he is 
wise without limit, so as that the exercise of his wisdom can- 
not he excluded or shut out in any case. If it could be ex- 
cluded ill any case, it were not infinite: but because it is infi- 
nite, is it thereforcj a less excellency for being infinite ? And 
so, Doth he less deserve to be adored and honoured, and to have 
lioma(»;e paid unto him as such ? And, 

[2.] Wiiercas, when we do pray, we do also express inclina- 
tions and desires of our own, that we would have this or that 
brought about, when we foreknow the event to be determined 
by the divine will : prayer is so far from being excluded by 
that, that we pray with so much the more vigour and cheerful- 
ness and alacrity ; and our hearts and souls are so much the 
more enlarged and engaged and drawn forth in prayer, even 
\vhen we know the things we pray about are determined by the 
counsel of the divine will. As in that memorable case of 
Daniel's foreknowing by books, by Jeremiah's prophecies, that 
the approaching period and end of the seventy years, determin- 
ed for tlie continued captivity of his people ; when he under- 
stood this book, and discerned the approach of the time, he 
sets himself with so much the more vigour to pray : (as you see 
Daniel 9. 1, 2.) finding out that the matter was near, and to- 
wards a period, he doth not therefore think prayer excluded, 
but sets himself to pray with so much the more earnestness and 
vigour hereupon. As, indeed, if any do consider the nature of 
man's constitution, and the frame of the human soul, it is evi- 
dent that desire and hope do influence one another. It is a 
mighty damp to all rational desire to have no hope. And if 
the thing be looked upon as desirable in itself; so much the 
more of hope, so much more of desire : and by how much 
the more hope doth rise towards confidence, desires grow so 
much the more fervent. As simple despair of any thing which 
we have an inclination to desire, damps desire; when we see 
that the thing is altogether to be despaired of, reason itself dic- 
tates to us to withdraw our minds, and turn them another way. 
Daniel understood the time drew on, when this sad calamitous 
state of his people was to find its period and be determined; 
then he sets himself with mighty vigour and fervour of spirit to 
prayer. And, 

[3.] When we do not foreknow the event, as not having any 
discovery made to us what the counsels of the divine will con- 
cerning it are, yet, even then, the business of prayer is to refer 
ourselves, with reference to any such concernments, to the di- 
vine disposal. A thing most suitable to him and to us ; to him 
as he is the wise and sovereign Lord of all j and to us, as we 

LEC. VI.) His Counsel — does not exclude prai/er. 1D9 

are depending creatures, subject to his government, and are 
disposed of, in reference to all our concernments, or whatso- 
ever we have any concern about, as he sees good. And tiierc- 

[1.] In reference to such things, wherein we arc ignorant of 
the event and what God will do, the proper design of prayer is, 
to endeavour to obtain at his hands a disposition of spirit com- 
plying with his pleasure, so as there may be no contest between 
him and us ; that whenever the event falls out, if it do prove 
agreeable to our inclinations, we may rejoice in it with so 
-much the more raised and sincere gratitude : if it do not, that 
we may submit to him, without engaging in a contest with one 
who giveth no account of any of his matters ; and with whom, 
none can contend and prosper. They must always have the 
worst of it, they must be worsted in it if they engage in a con- 
test with him. Therefore, the business we must design in such 
prayer, or in prayer about such things, (the issue whereof we 
do not foreknow,) is not to bring the divine will to ours, hut to 
bring our will to his. As the matter is aptly enough illustrat- 
ed by some, suppose one comes down a rapid stream in a boat, 
and hath the opportunity to throw an anchor or hook on the 
shore, there he pulls, as though he would draw the shore to 
the boat, and yet, all that he can be rationally supposed to in- 
tend, is to draw the boat to the shore. So are v.e to design in 
prayer, thj^t plucking ourselves unto God, the drawing of our 
souls to a compliance with him, that our wills may be brought 
to unite with his ; not that we can imagine to change his will 
by any thing we can say, more than in the narrative of our 
prayer we do suppose to ourselves the informing him of any 
thing whereof we suppose him before ignorant. " He is of 
one mind, and who can turn him r" Job 23. 13. And there- 

[5.] The availableness of prayer, considered in reference to 
the counsels of the divine will, is to be estimated by the tenour 
of our prayers : according as our prayer is modelled, so it will 
be available or unavailable. This is the confidence we ought 
to have in piayer, "that if we ask any thing according to his 
will lie heareth us." 1 John 5. 14. And therefore, further, 

[6 ] We must make it our great business, in all our ad- 
dresses to liim in prayer, and especially in reference to temporal 
concernments, (about which we have no express signiScatioii 
of his will, as we have about spiritual and eternal ones) to have 
our prayers so formed as that they may agree with the court of 
heavei;, (as I may speak,) whither they are to be addressed. 
As if any man on earth, is to petition a human judicature; he 


must endeavour to know the stile and phrase of the court, and 
that his petition may be right in point of form ; and especially 
so are we concerned to do in this case, when we are to address 
the great God. There must be a becomingness of God ob- 
served, that we address to him, as God is to be addressed to, 
and one that is absolutely supreme, and perfectly wise and 
good, who (according to that observable saying which I remem- 
ber in the great Jew Philo, who gives us this notion of him- 
self) hath given us that discovery, that we have always a ground 
of so fixed and formed ah apprehension of him as one that can 
do all things, and will do that which is best. Such a concep- 
tion of God, if our prayers do but carry with them a conformi- 
ty to that conception, that is, that we have this fixed confi- 
dence concerning iiim, that he can do Vvdiat he will, and that 
he will always do what is best, we can never think that such 
prayers can ever be unavailable. But this doth so highly 
agree with this apprehension that he doth all tliat he doth do, 
according to the counsel of his own will, that it not only is not 
prejudiced thereby, but we are greatly confirmed in It, that if 
he doth all thingi' according to the counsel of his own will, he 
will never do any thing that is wrong, he will never do any 
thing that we ought to have so much as a wish, that it be 
otherwise than as he will do it : for as he can do whatsoever 
he will, so he will always do whatsoever is best. And, 

[7-] Therefore, we ought to form our addresses and peti- 
tions to God, according as his word hath given us direction. 
As there are rules, some way or other, to be known in any 
prince's court, or in any court of judicature, how they are to be 
addressed to : some way or other, it is to be understood. And 
we may understand by his plain word, how he Is to be address- 
ed to. As to all those things that are of principal concern- 
ment and necessity to us, we find directions in his word to 
pray for such things, with promises they shall be granted upon 
serious and sincere prayer. We know his will so far about our 
principal concernments, as that they who repent shall be for- 
given, tb.ey who ask his Spirit shall have it, to them that im- 
prove what they have, he will give more, that if we set ourselves 
to Vv'ork out our own salvation with fear and trembling, he will 
work In us to will and to do of his own good pleasure. About 
these, our greatest concernments, we are at a certainty. He 
hath told us in his most plain and express word, whin ho will 
always do in such cases. But we are always left unci: tuin 
about such things as are less considerable, and about tilings too, 
tliat are of a mutable goodness, that is, that are >.. mciinuv 
good and sometimes evil. The things of the mind are in 

LEc. VI.) His Counsel — Does not exclude Prayer. 201 

riably good, always good ; what is the goodness of the mind is 
always so. That the mind be knowing, intelligent ; tliat it be 
holy, pure, subject unto God ; these are things always good, 
invariably good. But it cannot be said so concerning the hona 
corporis^ tite good things of the body , or the honafortuncc, the 
goad thiugs offortwie^ that they are always good, for tiu'ir good- 
ness is to be measured according to their suitableness and con- 
formity or subserviency to some greater good. For we are to 
consider that as we have bodies so we have minds too ; and that 
which would be good for my body, if hurtful to my mind, it 
loseth the nature of goodness 5 and therefore, is that goodness 
mutable, according as circumstances will render such and such 
things more and more subservient to a higher good, to a nobler 
kind of good that we are more to be concerned about. And 
therefore, for those things which are of a mutable goodness they 
cannot be the matter of an absolute promise, that shall be con- 
cluding and determinative concerning them universally, and at 
all times; because at some times that which would be a good, it 
may at another time degenerate into evil, by the variation of cir- 
cumstances. But an evil cannot be the matter of a promise ; it 
would be the matter of a threatening at such a time when it 
ceaseth to be good. If itshould stand in the promise under the 
notion of a good, but by this and that circumstance loseth its 
aptitude and suitableness to the end wlierein this goodness lies, 
then doth that good turn into an evil, and so cannot be the 
matter of a promise. You cannot say, you promise any one 
that which is evil, or which would be a hurt to him ; therefore, 
the promises of God, in reference to things of this nature, are 
always suitable to the nature of the things. We have as ex- 
press promises concerning temporal good things as the nature of 
the things will bear, or our circumstances admit, and therefore, 
God hath done more suitably to himself and us, in reference 
to such things, in telling us "all tilings shall work together 
for good to them that love God and that are the called accord- 
ing to his purpose." Rom. 8. 28. Indeed, a person that is a 
sincere lover of God, cannot but be the better by whatsoever 
event occurs to him in external respects; for that love is an 
active principle in him, that co-operates to the making good of 
the promise. It thinks no evil, it makes a man construe well, 
all the divine dispensations, it forms his spirit to a compliance 
with the divine pleasure, and so, good will come out of it to 
such a one, to a so qualified subject, whatsoever the event be. 
And therefore, all the business of prayer that it may be signili- 
cant and available, is to have it formed and modelled accord- 
ing' to the tenour of the divine will as God hath expressed that 

VOL. VII. 2 B 


will to us in his word, and to pray for tilings agreeably to the 
discovery we have thereof: that is, with a peremptory confi- 
dence, in reference to those things that are expressly promised; 
and with submission, in reference to all other things : satisfy- 
ing ourselves, with this, that he who is the most perfectly ab- 
solute, supreme God, nothing of evil can proceed from him, 
but as an ill affected subject turns things into evil to itself. 
And so the gospel becomes " the savour of death unto death," 
to an ill disposed mind; not from what it hath in itself, or as 
it proceeds from God, but only from the disaffected state and 
condition of the subject. And then again, 

(8.) We are to consider this, that the interests of men in 
this world, in reference to their temporal concernments, do so 
generally interfere and cross with one another and oppose one 
another, that it is impossible all prayers should be granted. 
For there are many times prayers against prayers. One man 
or this sort of men prays for this event, and another sort, for 
the quite contrary event. Therefore, it is most absolutely ne- 
cessary that the divine counsel should moderate, and have it^ 
agency, not only in bringing about events, but even in forming 
the spirits of men. When interests do so clash, ancl desires and 
prayers so contradict one another, (as they many times do,) 
with what confusion would it fill the world, if every irregular 
desire should be granted ? And indeed, if the wills of men were 
to regulate the will of God, and their prayers were to prescribe, 
it would make fearful work in the world : if we had such a 
"U'md offatunm immen, a silly deihj^ to be the object of our 
addresses and pnryers, that were to use no counsel, no wisdom 
in judging vvhat is fit to be done, and what is not, but every 
human desire should engage the divine power, and employ the 
divine hand, with what ruin and desolation would men's prayers 
fill the world I i\nd so this world would be made a desolate wil- 
derness, at that rate, if the prayers of men, without the interposi- 
tion of the counsel of the divine will, were to prescribe finally 
what were to be done for them. And therefore, again, 

(9.) It ought to be considered, that wherever there is any 
such thing as right prayer, there is a divine Agent to be em- 
ployed, in reference to the whole business of prayer. As we 
have an Advocate and Intercessor without us at the right hand 
of God above, so, all tliat do belong to God have an Advo- 
cate and Intercessor within them. All the children of God, 
because they are such, because they are sons, God sends the 
Spirit of his Son into their hearts to teach them to cry, Abba 
Father; as Gal. 4. 6*. compared with Rom. 8. 15. And it is 
therefore, called the Spirit of adoption, because it belongs to 

iLEC. VI.) His Counsel — Does not exclude Prayer. 20/, 

the adopted ones, to those that are taken into that state and 
condition of sons ; because they arc sons, the Spirit is given. 
It is an intolerable injury, and absurdity, that among us uho 
are called christians, with whom it is an article of our creed, 
that we believe in the Hoiy Ghost, we should so little consider 
•what hand and part, he is to have in this matter. It is an idle 
vanity to think, that he is to dictate words to us, and that there 
ought not to be prayer, but what the Spirit ought to indite the 
very words of. No, that is not the business of his olfice ; but 
to possess the soul vvitli such a living, internal sense to which 
words will correspond ; that soul that is filled with such a sense, 
"will not want suitable words, (at least between God and it- 
self) in which to utter that sense to l)im. And so is the 
work of the Holy Ghost, in this matter, expressed in that Rom. 
5. 27. That when we know not what to pray for of ourselves, 
that Spirit makes intercession in us according to the will of 
God; (so we read it and do interpose in the translation more 
than is in the text,) it makes intercession according to God, (so 
it is in the original,) not barely according to his will, but in 
subserviency to his interest ; and to his great one, which (it is 
true) his will must always respect too, as we cannot doubt. 
And therefore, if he is to be applied unto, and relied upon, 
that great Agent of God : and we are to refer it to him (as it 
were) to mind our petitions, that they may be right in form, 
this is the great business of that Spirit; he is thus far (as it 
were) the Master of requests, and we are to resign ourselves to 
him, to put our spirits under his formation, under tlie do- 
minion of the Divine Spirit. " 1 do not know whether my 
mind may agree with the divine mind yea or no, but O ! do 
thou make it agree, and conform it thereunto." And lastly, 

(10.) We have, upon the whole, this to consider, that all 
prayers once so rectified and put into the right form and tcnour, 
they do ever obtain their principal ansv.er. According to the 
great platform and model of prayer that is given us, we pray 
with principal reference to the divine honour, if we jiray aright, 
that the name of God may be hallowed; we pray that the go- 
verning power of his kingdom may obtain and take place all 
the world over : we pray that his will may be done on earth, 
as it is done in heaven. We have particular inclinations 
and desires of our own ; these we are never to express but with 
this reserve, " Lord, if these desires of mine, agree with thy 
will; if they agree not with that, 1 renounce them, i disclaim 
them." So every good man is then answered, if he be de- 
nied : if he be denied in one respect, he is answered and his 
joetition granted in higher and more principal respects ; for the 


principal thing he aims at is, that God may be glorified, *^ Hal- 
lowed be thy name ;" and that in order and subserviency 
thereunto the governing power of his kingdom may take place, 
and that his will may be done. These are the great and prin- 
cipal petitions : and all things else are to be petitioned for but 
as they subserve these. 

And therefore, now tojsum up all. Prayer, it may be from 
two sorts of persons, either from a devoted or from an apostate 
creature. Prayer, proceeding from a devoted soul can never 
fail of its principal answer : for every such prayer is influenced 
by supreme love to God ; his interests comprehend all our 
true interests : so that all doth but come to this, whether I love 
God more than myself, then that love will always dictate such 
prayers as can never miss of their answer. That is, if I pray 
as a devoted creature, and to be a devoted creature is to pray, 
is to love God more than myself. But, if I pray as an apostate 
creature, that is, as one that is gone off from God and keeps off 
from God and hath a separate interest from God, and will not 
come to him ar)d return to him again ; then my prayers always 
run after this tenour, " Lord I pray that my will may be done, 
tliat my interest may take place and be served, whatsoever be- 
comes of all, or any concernments besides." But what ! would 
we have the counsels of the divine will to give place to such 
insolent requests as these ? that were, in effect, to pray, " Lord 
do thou descend and come down from thy throne, and resign 
it to me, and let me set up for myself; 1 would be a god to 
myself, and I desire to make no other use of divine power, 
(finding my own impotency in many things,) but only to serve 
my own purposes and ends." 

Therefore, there is all imaginable encouragement to sincere 
prayer, from this doctrine, that God doth all things according 
to the counsel of his own will. And this, surely, we are great- 
ly concerned to consider in such a juncture of time as we are 
now cast upon : nothing can be more opportune. We have a 
dubious prospect before us ; we know not how things may Is- 
sue. Now to pray with hearts possessed with the sense that 
God doth all things after the counsel of his own will, is the 
best preparation for prayer, in reference to the present concern- 
ments of this season, that can be thought. That is, it is such 
a disposition of spirit that will, in this duty of prayer, be 
both most honourable to God, and most comfortable to our- 

Most honourable to God; nothing could reflect on him more 
than to pray with a contrary notion concerning him ; that is, that 
he doth not do things after the connsel of his own will, but as 

LEC. VII.) His Counsel — Lessons of Instruction. 205 

poor foolisli creatures here in this world, shall prescribe and 
dictate to him : they make him do any thing, draw him to this 
or that by the importunity of their requests and desires. You 
cannot give a notion of God more injurious to him, or more 
repugnant to his very nature. For ti'.en we must sui)pose him 
a Being of mere power, absolute, almighty power, wliich any 
fool may command when he pleaseth. Whata strange sort of 
Deity do we worship ! particularly if we pray with such a no- 
tion ef God as this. But nothing can be more comfortable to 
ourselves, than to supplicate him, according to this true notion 
of him, tliat he doth all things after the counsel of his own 
will. With what quiet minds may we pray ; and acquiesce in 
all the issues of things ! Things lie in the best hands they can 
lie. We have this to satisfy our hearts in: and though we 
pray as men, we are ^o expect he should answer as God. We 
can pray but with the wisdjm and foresight of poor fallible 
creatures : but then we are to expect iiim to answer according 
to the wisdom of an all-comprehending Deity. And as this is 
most highly honourable to him ; so it will be most highly 
satisfying and comfortable to ourselves, and upon the best 
terms from which a reasonable mind can receive any satisfac- 


It only remains to make some Use of all that hath hitherto 
been spoken. And so comprehensive a truth, as this, you will 
apprehend to be (jf very large and copious usefulness. 1 shall 
contract as much as the matter admits. It serves, 

I. To shew us, how we are to form our notion of God. And 
if any have a mistaken one, how they may rectify and reform 
it. It lets us see we are to conceive of God to be a Being of 
infinite wisdom, for according to our notion of counsel, it is the 
immediate product of wisdom. Only, when we apply it to 
God we must do it so as to sever all that it imports of im- 
perfection, and to include all that it imports of highest perfec- 
tion. We find it needful with us, to consult and advise with 
our friends sometimes ; however, with ourselves, and our more 
deliberate thoughts ; but no such thing can be said of God, 
with whom all things lie open, in one infinite, eternal and all- 
comprehending view at once. That is not the meaning of 
counsel with him, as it is with us, as though being uncertain 
and doubtful, we did need to be counselled aud advised : but 

* Preached May 2/, 1692. 


that of perfection, which we mean by counsel and most perfect 
judgment of things, that we are to ascribe to him : and so, as 
that is tlie result of wisdom, it is with him in the highest per- 
fection without consideration, so, that we can have no notion of 
■wisdojn, that doth not imply counsel ; nor of divine counsel, 
that doth not imply tlie most perfect, most exact, and most ac- 
curate wisdom. We see he doth all things according to the 
counsel of his will, so as never to err in any thing ; never 
to make one wrong step. For how often is he celebrated by 
expressions, that do import so much, God who is wise. What 
glorious ascriptions are there to him as such. " To God only 
wise, be honour and glory." Rom. \6. 27. And so that of 
1 Tim. 1 . I /. You have the same kind of doxology even in the 
same terms. And so in the epistle of Jude, the concluding 
words of that epistle : " To God only v.'ise, be honour, and 
glory, and dominion, for ever and ever." This appropriate 
icvm, anil/, only wise, speaks that there is no wisdom, that is 
not from him, nor in him, that he is primary u'isdom, the origi- 
nal seat of wisdom. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it 
of God, who giveth to all liberally. He can do so, he hath it 
in all its fulness, in its most absolute plenitude in himself. 
James 1, 5. And therefore, is he said to be the Father of 
lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, every 
congenerous gift ; we must understand it agreeable to so exube- 
rant a Fountain : and hereby, we are to rectify our thoughts of 
God, if we have taken up wrong ones; for wc must conceive 
of the several attributes of tlie Divine Being, agreeably to this, 
as they are complicated with this most perfect wisdom, as that 
is most especially conjunct therewith. If any should think of 
God's power, as only an act of boisterous omnipotency, work- 
ing at random, not guided by wisdom and counsel : if they 
should conceive of his will, as if it were a stiff, inflexible re- 
solvedness of doing things without judgment or wisdom, if 
they should conceive of his wrath, as an all-consuming flame, 
burning up all before it, without distinction, without discrimi- 
nation: if any should think of his love as a fond inclination to 
this or that person, or thing, without being directed by wisdom 
or counsel : all this is infinitely to wrong God ; it is indeed to 
create to ourselves a God like ourselves. But this is infinitely 
injurious to represent him by ourselves, as a being of mere 
power, and of mere will, without considering, that he is a Being 
pf infinite wisdom, and so doth all things according to the 
counsel of his o\vn will. And again, 

2. We are further to learn, how we are to conceive of God's 
works J for every thing works as it is : and as he is a Being of 

LEC. vii.) His Counsel — Lessons of Instruction. 207 

wisdom, we are to reckon, that there mvist be characters 
of wisdom and counsel upon all that he doth. Ti\cre is emi- 
nently so, upon the works ofhis creation, lie hath established 
the world by his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his 
discretion. Jer. 10. 12, Wisdom is the parentuf order, where- 
soever there is any thing of order, that surely must be attribut- 
ed to wisdom as the directive cause of it ; it must be found, if 
not in second causes, yet in the First. The stable ordinan- 
ces of day and night, the certain returns of summer and win- 
ter, the regular motions of sun, moon, and stars, and the like : 
in all these we are to behold the wisdom of God, who hath 
settled things by so accurate counsel, according whereunto he 
doth all that he doth. And so we are to conceive concerning the 
works ofhis providence too, that there are counsel and wisdom, 
which conduct them all, which regulate human affairs where- 
in men have themselves but a subordinate agency, under the su- 
preme and sovereign Ruler of all. We are to reckon nothing 
fails out casually, nothing undetermined, either to be wrought 
or effected by him, or at least to be permitted, for greater and 
more preponderating reasons, against the restraints that might 
have been laid upon tiie second causes, by which they are 
wrought. And again, 

3. We are further to learn hence, the extenstveness and uni- 
versality of God's powerful and governing influence. He 
worketh all things, he hath an agency about all that is done. 
It is true, the words are capable of being thus understood, 
He worketh whatsoever he worketh according to the counsel 
ofhis own will. But there cannot a hand be lift up, nor a 
foot stir, not a power or faculty of any creature be exerted, but 
lie hath a working agency one way or other in reference there- 
to : not so much as a sparrow falls to the ground, bnt it is 
within the compass of that agency ofhis, which doth all things 
after the counsel of his own will. Not so much as a hair drops 
from any head without him: all things, as they refer to him, 
are done with number, v/eight and measure : and so, wisdom 
and counsel, have a universal exercise, in reference to all things 
that are done under the sun, even the meaner concernments of 
men in this world. If you go to the business of agriculture or 
husbandry in the general ; the several methods of husbandmen 
in ploughing, sowing, threshing and the like, are all said to be 
from the Lord, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent ia 
working. Isaiah 28. 29. And therefore, we are hereupon to 
acknowledge, and own with adoration, the universal extensive- 
ness ofhis governing influence ; as was formerly noted In tlie 
opening of the words, in working all things: that is the ex- 


pression, an energy that is most intrinsic, intimate, inward to 
every inferior agent, still exerting and putting forth itself, in 
whatsoever is wrought or done under the sun. And he is even 
more intimate to us, (as paganish light itself, doth more anci- 
ently observe) than we are to ourselves. That phrase is fetched 
from more refined paganism, into the schools of christians, that 
he is more inward to us, than we are to ourselves, so as that 
there is a divine energy working and stirring in every created 
agent whatsoever. And, 

4. We may next learn hence, the reasonableness and con- 
gruity of all his public constitutions and laws, which he hath 
made for the government of his reasonable creatures. Legis- 
lation is a great act of sovereignty, indeed the prime and most 
principal. If God do all things according to the counsel of 
his own will, it is according to the counsel of his will that 
he hath made laws for those who are capable of government 
by law, as only the reasonable cyeature is. Laws are frequently 
spoken of under the name of counsels. Your human laws are 
commonly called cnnstilta, as among the Romans, those that 
went under the name of senatus consulta j such things as 
were advised upon, and, as it were, weighed in balances. Are 
they fit, or are they not? Will this be a useful constitution, yea 
or no? And so is the frame of divine laws spoken of, under 
the name of the counsel of God. The pharisees and lawyers 
rejected the counsel of God against themselves. Luke 7* 30. 
It is spoken in opposition to Christ and his teachings. Those 
that were doctors of the la\y among the Jews, they rejected 
the counsel of God against themselves. Indeed, the whole re- 
velation of God's mind, about the salvation of men, it bears 
that name, which included the perceptive as a very noble part 
of it. I have not shunned, saith the apostle, to declare unto 
you the whole counsel of God. Acts 20. 27. In all this, there- 
fore, we ought to acknowledge and adore a divine wisdom, and 
especially in that, which is the standing constitution, for the 
governing of men, in reference to their salvation and final 
blessedness, since the apostasy, and you find God most highly 
celebrated and magnified, upon that account, in that Rom. 16. 
latter end : the apostle there speaking of the gospel constitu- 
tion, under the name of a mystery, concludes all thus, " Now 
to him that is of power to establish you, according to my gos- 
pel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ," (ver. 25.) according 
to tlie revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since 
the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scrip- 
tures of the prophets, accorcing to the commandment of the 
everlasting God, made known to all nations, for the obedience of 

LEC. VII.) His Coimsel — Lessons of Instruction. 20.*) 

faith, " To God only wise, be glory, througli Jesus Christ, for 
ever." His wisdom is conspicuous in this established constitu- 
tion of his,which is to last through, all the ages of time, and which 
is the constitution of that kingdom, vvhicli is never to be shaken. 
That is called the kingdom not to be taken down : Heb. 12, 
latter end. The compages whereof are so firm and strong, as to 
suit a designed perpetuity. Whereupon, they that live under 
the gospel, are warned concerning their deportment under it. 
Now that we have received a "kingdom, that cannot be shaken, 
let us hai^e grace to serve God acceptably, with reverence and 
godly fr-ar." He will not now be dallied with by men, whom 
he hath put under the dispensations of the gospel ; as that epis- 
tle to the Hebrews begins. There were some temporary con- 
stitutions wherein God did deal with men, and speak to them 
in various and variable methods. But now, he hath spoken to 
us by his Son : and this is such a state of things as shall last as 
long as the world lasts, and those that do not comport with this 
method, or law of grace, in order to being saved, shall never be 
saved ! Therefore, let us seek grace to serve him acceptably. 
The last eiForts of divine wisdom are seen in this constitution. 

5. It thereupon, therefore, further lets us see, the impu- 
dence of sinners, who confront their own imaginations, and 
their own lusts, tcf the wisdom and counsel of the divine consti- 
tutions; for that is indeed the case, and the very state of the 
controversy between God and a guilty creature that hath been 
in an apostasy from him, and doth yet refuse to return. This 
is the very sum of the controversy between God and them, 
Who is wiser, who is best capal)le of prescribing and giving 
laws? for wisdom is the most conspicuous thing, (as was said) 
in legislation. Authority is supposed, it is true, but if there 
be never so unquestionable authority, if there be not wisdom to 
use it, it would be strange work that one destitute of wisdom 
would make of governing authority ; strange laws, sirange 
edicts there would be, where there was uncontroulable power 
without wisdom. But (as was told you) when laws are to 
be made, here is the great exercise of governing wisdom, such 
as doth befit the state of a ruler, to consider how the ex- 
igency of the case may be answered, what laws will be more 
suitable for such and such, or for a people in such circum- 
stances. Now, when the counsels of heaven are opened, (as 
jt were) into a result, in such a constitution; here is the law 
of that kingdom that is erected and set up for them that are to 
be saved. And here comes an insolent creature and contends 
against the Lawgiver, and disputes the matter with him that 
^ave him breath ; what impudency is here! That law of grace.. 

VOL. VII. 2 E 


it saith, wheresoever it is promulgated, to them tliat come under 
this government of grace, or will be the disciples of grace, grace 
doth teach them that live under it, " to deny ungodliness and 
worldly lusts, and to live soberly, godly and righteously in the 
world." But here, is an impure, obstinate sinner, to v/hom 
notices are given of the good and acceptable will of God to this 
purpose, that the gospel that is preached to him, the law of 
the Redeemer's kingdom, it saith at the very first, Repent, now 
that kingdom is come among you, repent, turn. The divine 
wisdom saith to the sinner, " Turn, turn or die, turn or thou 
art lost." But he saith, It is wiser to go on, to persist in my 
own course; it is a wiser thing to live a stranger from God still, 
and as without God in the world. Divine wisdom saith to men, 
*' God hath a mind and design to save you, deny you all un- 
godliness and worldly lusts, and subject yourselves to God," 
*' No, it is wiser (saith the sinner,) to live an ungodly life still, 
it is a wiser thing to lay the reins on my own lusts, and do 
whatsoever is good in mine own eyes, it is wiser to please my 
own flesh than the God that made me; it is wiser to indulge 
sensual inclination and follow the imagination of my own heart.'* 
For men, I say, to confront their own imaginations and lusts 
to the divine counsel, it speaks the height of impudency in 
sinners, that they do not turn, that they will not be brought 
back to God. And, 

6". It further lets us see howr sad and forlorn tlie case of un- 
reconciled and impenitent sinners is. God hath done all things 
according to the counsel of his own will, therefore, the consti- 
tution that he hath made and settled, is uncapable of change. 
There is an immutability stamped upon the divine counsel, and 
what is likely, then, to become of such men as run counter to 
all the wisdom and counsel, that is conspicuous in the divine 
constitutions ? Because of their perfection they cannot be 
changed, and because of the sinner's wickedness, he will not, 
God cannot change, and men will not. What is then like to 
become of things between him and them ? But, 

7. We may furtiicr learn hence, how hopeful and comfort- 
able their state is, whose minds and hearts are brought to a 
liking of the methods of God, for the saving of sinners, to a 
compliance and agreement with them. O! happy man I The 
imerrin'4, and therefore unalterable counsels of heaven, have 
determined well concerning thee, and concerning thy state. 
You see in this same chapter where the textiles, that the gospel 
constitution carries, (as it v.-ere) this inscription upon it, *' To 
the praise of the glory of his grace." Look upon the whole 
frame of divine constitutions, that refer to the saving of sin- 

jLKC. vji.) His Counsel, f— Lessons of Instruction. 211 

ners, and you may see (as it were) in y:o]den letters written upon 
this noble fabric, " To the praise of t!ie glory of his graie." 
Thus the gospel constitutions stand, (as it were) dedicated, " To 
the praise and glory of divine grace, wherein he hath made us 
accepted in the beloved." And observe then, what follovvs in 
the next verse, " In whom we have redemption, tlnough his 
blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to '.he riches of 
his grace, wherein he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom 
and prudence." This is the mystery of God ; he hath made 
known to us the mystery of his will ; it is a most mysterious 
thing that ever he should have such a will towards me. But 
he doth all things according to the counsel of his own will; 
and thereupon, there is an immutability and unchangcable- 
ness upon the determination of it, as you see in that Heb. G. 
17. VVherein, God willing more abundantly to shew unto 
the heirs of promise, the immutability o^ his counsel ; He 
iiath confirmed it by his oath, added to his word, that by two 
immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, 
the heirs of promise might receive that strong, that steady, 
that unshaken consolation. It is to be attributed to want and 
deficiency of wisdorri and foresight, that the constitutions and 
determinations of men, need so often to be altered. Such 
and such an inconvenience was not foreseen ; such a law was 
made, and it may be, a little trial and experience, shew it to be 
very inconvenient, and so, it is fain to be reversed, repealed, or 
needs some explanatory additions, or the like ; it is reckoned a 
piece of meanness, and disparagement, to be put to alter 
edicts ; and because the Medes and Persiaiis were a proud and 
haughty cation, therefore, vveretlseir laws and statutes irreversi- 
ble, never to be changed ; so that they did assume to tliem- 
selves infallibility, and beyond what could agree to the con- 
dition and capacity of creatures, of men, in an imperfect state. 
But the divine counsel being all upon foresight, all tlie deter- 
minations thereof, being made and settled upon one compre- 
hensive view, here is no place for the supposition of a change. 
And therefore, is this most highly consolatory to all that feel 
their hearts comply with the gospel terms, with the evangeli- 
cal constitutions : " 1 find my heart is wrought to a closure with 
that, and I am never to fear a change." It is the effect of his 
counsel, his immutable counsel which he hath shewn, that 
such as we might have strong consolation who fall in vvith, and 
comply with his terms. 

8. It further serves to let us see the vanity of their confi- 
dence, who have any separate interest, and drive any opposite 
design from, and to, this of the great God himself. His coun- 


sels must stand, and the thoughts of his heart to all genera- 
tions ; whereas, the counsels of the froward are turned head- 
long: as the expression is, Job, 5. 13. How unequal is the 
contest, when there comes to be a competition between the 
design of a mortal man, though never so insolent, and that of 
the immortal God ? Some of themselves have thought it inso- 
lent for creatures so to assume. Rabshakeh thought it were 
an imaginary thing, and very wrongly charged upon Hezekiah, 
yet seems to look upon it as a great piece of pride, "Thou say- 
est, I have counsel and strength for war," thinking it to be 
an unbecoming thing: yet, though he only speaks of the 
counsel and might of Hezekiah as opposed to his ov/n, or that 
of his master Sennacherib ; but he never thought how insoltnt 
it was to oppose that, his counsel to that of heaven. *'I have 
counsel and strength for war," but how soon are all those coun- 
sels and strength blown upon, blasted and brought to nothing 
when God hath any work of his to do, whereunto, that coun' 
sel and might are opposed. And to conclude, I add, 

9. That since God doth all things according to the counsel 
of his own will, the times and seasons for doing any great 
work that he intends, arc always chosen by him, with most ac- 
curate wisdom. They are most fitly chosen; therefore, where- 
as, we are apt to blame the divine methods because he doth 
not take our time and our way, how unreasonable is it, since it 
is plain, that all the things he hath to do are affixed to particu- 
lar seasons, which lie under divine determinations? " IJnto 
every thing there is a season and a time, to every purpose un- 
der the sun. Eccles. 3. 1. And if you will look a little iur- 
ther in that book, you will see there, that as there is a time for 
every purpose, every event, so there is also judgment for every 
time, there is judgment, which is the eifect of counsel, or that 
whereunto counsel results. For every thing there is a time 
and judgment. And so thereupon, there comes to be a critical 
nick of time into which such and such things must fall, and 
into no other. And therefore, it is said, that " the misery of 
man is great upon the earth." Eccles. 8. 6. Because there 
is time and judgment to every purpose, therefore, that is, be- 
cause time and judgment are not considered, are not under- 
stood by men, therefore, their misery is great. And so they 
are taken, many times, in an evil time, vvitheut foresight; they 
do not know the time; not because they are ignorant of the 
time, but because they are unready, unprepared, for what is to 
be done and suffered in such or such a juncture of time. And 
so you see their case is represented still, upon that account, mi- 
serable. But the wise, tliey do consider time and judgment : 

Liic. vii.) Ills Counstl. — Lessons of Instntction. 213 

Happy men ! therefore, liappy nien ! ns those two verses fall in 
together: Eccles. 8.5, 6. This ought to be eoiisidercd, and 
it awakes a n)an a happy man that considers it. Therefore, Iiow 
quiet and calm may all men's minds be ; and the minds of the 
wise will be that do equally consider things. We find things 
were determined most punctually, relating to the !J,reat con- 
cernments of that people, God had in tiic world heretofore, 
when they were yet an unconforraed people. Four hundred 
and thirty years must pass, just so Uiany from the time of his 
capitulating with their head, Abraham, striking a covenant with 
him. And so much time there must be, because the sins of the 
Amorites weie not yet full, and Canaan could not be ready for 
the reception of them, and there did four hundred and thirty 
years pass upon this account. When they were in captivity 
in Babylon, seventy years was determined for that. When tiie 
woman is in the wilderness, there is a set time; forty and two 
months, or twelve hundred and sixty days. And we are not 
to think that the determinations of divine wisdom and counsel 
are less certain because they are less known to us, and we only 
see by the event what was determined. Twenty years have 
elapsed since the haughty French tyrant hath been the terror 
and scourge of Europe, and especially of reformed Christen- 
dom ; for it is so long, (in the year 167"2) that he first attempt- 
ed on our neighbours and brethren of Holland. Many might 
have been apt to think, why hath not God animadverted on him 
sooner, put upon him an earlier rebuke ? Why was it not the 
last year ? Why was not his fleet scattered, and his army broken 
then, as they have been, in several parts, this year? Or why was 
it not the year before that? Why, it is a foolish thing for us to 
contend nnd dispute with the counsel of heaven^ and we are 
to refer it to the determination of divine counsel, to choose the 
fittest time to begin to animadvert on so insolent an enemy, and 
the aptest means how first to let him know that he is a mortal, 
and that they in whom lie trusts, have a mortality upon them ; 
that they are liable to defeatments, to disappointments ; that 
their strength is not brass or iron, or sucli as cannot be broken 
when he will. He can make so weak and mutable a thing as 
the wind to serve his purpose against so haughty a one. We 
are to consider that these things fall out according to the coun- 
sel of the divine will: he is not to give us a reason why no 
such thing was, so many years ago, why he did not raise up 
such and such, who might have abated his pride, and brought 
a blast upon him long bei'ore now. 

Hitherto, we have by way of use, from the doctrine of this 
text, let you see so many inferences, and recommended so 


many truths from it, which, accorcKne: to the aptitude that it 
hat!) in it, may help to rectify and regulate our thoughts^ ap- 
prehensions, and notions in many things. 


The further use which remains, is to direct our practicp.^ 
for in many respects, it liath in it a great aptitude, and suit- 
ahleness too. In order to this, it is requisite, 

1. Tliat we take up the several sorts of the considerations 
which may be had of the counsels of the divine will. And 

2. That we reflect upon our own distemper, ard the faulti- 
ness of' our spirits and practice, in reference hereunto. And 
aceommodately, then, to consider both of the counsels of the 
divine will, and of our own miscarriages, and so recommend 
to you sundry heads of instruction, in reference to our future 
practice. We are, 

. 1. Vaiiously to consider the counsels of the divine will. 
They may be either considered indefinitely; or else, they may 
be considered with some distinction, according to the various 
references they may bear towards us, and our concernments 
and aftairs, whether they may be eternal or temporal; and 
these, whether they be private or public. 

And again, whether they be known to us, or unknown ; so 
variously may the counsels of the divine will be considered. 
And then, for his precepts, which are the result too, of the 
counsel of his will. They expressly declare what it is the 
counsel of his will we should do, though therein also, we are 
to expect his co-operation; he working and in-working also 
therein, according to the counsel of his will. And many times, 
the counsels of his will are known to us only by the event. We 
never know what God would do in this or that instance, till the 
event shews us. And so in such and such things, because the 
event hath not shewn the counsels of the divine will in many 
things, they are yet altogether unknown to us. 

2. Now, according to these various considerations of the 
counsels of the divine will, we shall find ourselves, many ways, 
to be faulty in reference thereunto. 

As in reference to the counsels of God indefinitely consi- 
dered, that either we (Hirselves do not firmly enough believe 
the great doctrine of this text, that he really doth all things 

* Preached June o, I692. 

«LEC. Till.) His Counsel. — Directions for Practice, 215 

according to the counsel of his own will; or that we deeply 
enough consider it not, and carry not an habitual sense in our 
souls correspondent thereunto : that we have not high and 
great thoughts as we ought hereupon : that we are so prone to 
dispute matters with him : that there is no more of dutiful 
compliance with the counsels of his will, even then, when 
they are known : that many are so apt to cherish in themselves 
a perpetual dread about their eternal concernments, which lie 
most certainly under the disposition of his ov.n eternal will: 
that they are so distrustful of so wise and mighty an Agent, 
that doth al! things according to the counsel of his own will; 
tliat there is no more of quietude, tranquillity and rest of spirit 
in him, so considered, as one that doth what he pleaseth, and 
always according to wise counsel. 

Now, according to these various considerations^ which we 
ought to have, both of God and ourselves, of his counsels, and 
of our own miscarriages and distempers, are these instructions 
to be, which [ am now to recommend to you. And, 

(1 .) I pray, Let us charge this upon ourselves, more thorough- 
ly to establish the belief of this truth in our own souls, tliat God, 
in very deed, doth work all things after the counsel of his own 
will. Let not ouv minds waver and hover, in reference here- 
unto, as if this were a doubtful matter, as if possibly, it might 
be otherwise, as if either he were ignorant or oscitant, and 
unconcerned about the affairs of his creature, as if any thing 
might possibly fall out without his advertency. For we should 
consider with ourselves, being once at a certainty about the ex- 
istence of God, about which if we be not at a certainty, we 
can be certain of nothing; if (I say) we be at a certainty con- 
cerning this, and we may be as sure of it as that we are, and 
that this ViOrld is, and that there is any such thing as wisdom 
and power and goodness, any where to be observed and taken 
notice of in the world; we and this world, and whatsoever 
there is of excellency and perfection in it, must all have some 
original; they are not nothing, and therefore could not come 
out of nothing. If we be (I say again) at a certainty about 
this, that is, in short, that there is a God, we may be at equal 
certainty about this, that he worketh all things after the coun- 
sel of his own will. For I beseech you, reflect and consider 
Jiow well would It agree with your own minds, and with the 
natural notions and conceptions that are placed and fixed 
there, to conceive of an ignorant God, or of an impotent God, or 
of an oscitant, neglectful God. Do but consider, how well any 
such conception or apprehension can agree with the natural no- 
tices you have in your minds already; and may take notice of, if 


you reflect. And thereupon, let disputes be at an end with you, 
and fix and establisli the belief of it in your own souls, that in 
very deed he worketh all things according to the counsel of 
his own will. And, 

(2.) That hereupon (this being once thoroughly believed) it 
may be more deeply considered : and that we would labour to 
carry an habitual sense of it about us, from day to day, through 
this world. For to any one that considers, these things are very 
distinguishable ; dead notions, and living sense, even in refer- 
ence to the same truth. I have such a truth in my mind, but 
how have 1 it ? If I have it as a dead notion, then it is all one 
to me as if 1 had it not. Let it not, therefore, satisfy us to 
have so mighty; important a truth as this lie in our rainds as a 
dead notion; but let us labour to have it there as living sense, 
that we may resort to upon all occasions, and draw forth into 
present use as the matter shall, from time to time, require. And, 
(3.) Labour to live adoring lives towards the glorious God, so 
considered, as one that worketh all things after the counsel of 
his own will. How should we, hereupon, be composed of ado- 
ration towards the blessed God, so as that wherever any actual 
present instance occurs and appears to us, wherein that agency 
of his shews itself, we be always in a disposition to bow our 
heads and worship ! Here is a manifest eftbrt of Deity, as the 
power and wisdom of God, tliat doth all things after the coun- 
. sel of his own will. We should especially labour to maintain 
an adoring frame and disposition of spirit, with reference to 
these two great excellencies of the Divine Being which appear 
and shine forth in view, in this truth held forth to us in this 
text: "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own 
will:" that is, almighty power and infinite wisdom. Two 
things, than which nothing can be supposed to make an object 
more adorable, to make any thing a titter oljject of adorajion, 
Almightiness — he worketh all things. Is not he almighty that 
can do all things ? and infinite wisdom — for he doth all things 
aft^r the counsel of his own will. So, that wheresoever there 
is an exertion of his power, there is an exertion of his wisdom 
too, guiding that efficacious exertion of his will, that he doth 
not act in any thing by a boisterous and extravagant exertion of 
power, without judgment or without wisdom or without counsel, 
that all things that are done, are done by him : one way or 
other he hath an agency in every thing; and that nothing is 
done by him but by the direction of that wisdom that can mis- 
take in nothing: all things consulted, and done after the coun- 
sels of his own will. A man of great migiit and of great e"le= 
brated wisdom too, how venerable a person is he in the account 

LBC. VI ri.) His Counsel — Directions for Practice. 21 7 

of all? But to have these two things in conjunction, fo wit, 
almighty power, witii infinite, unlimited wisdom, sets a very 
adorable Object before our eyes. And It is a reproach to us, if 
we, thereupon, do not carry an adoring frame of spirit, every 
day, about this world with us. 

(4.) Another instruction, hereupon, will be, that we never con- 
tend against him. What ! Against him that worketh all things 
after the counsel of his own will ? Is he a lit Object for our 
contention ? Will we undertake to dispute matters witii him ? 
Think with yourselves, both how foolish and how wicked that 
must be He that can do all things, whatsoever he will, it 
must be a very foolish thing to contend with him. What 
shall we get by it ? He that contends with God, can he hope 
to be a giiiner ? He that strives with his Maker, woe to him : 
all that we can gain by it is but to infer a woe upon ourselves. 
Isaiah 45. 9. Therefore, it is a very foolish thing to enter into 
a contest which we are to despair beforehand of ever getting 
any thing by. And then. How wicked a thing is it ! For cer- 
tainly, the sovereignty must belong to him who worketh all 
things, and thai after the counsel of his own will. It must, 
upon all accounts, belong to him. He will certainly carry the 
matter, and have the sovereignty. He worketh all things : al- 
mighty and resistless power is lodged in him ; and he ought 
to have the sovereignty. For to whom should it so fitly apper- 
tain, as to him that doth all things according to counsel, ne\ er 
any thing rashly, nothing unfit in itself, nothing unseasonable, 
"whensoever it is done ? Therefore, (as the expression is there) 
he that contends with God, let him answer it; let him try if 
he can ; for to be sure he never can, he never will be able to 
answer it, to enter into a contest with God, who is One that so 
wisely, and according to so stable, and so steady counsel and 
judgment doth all things. Again, 

(5.) Labour dutifully to comport with him as he is such a One 
that *' worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," 
and according to such considerations, (as hath been hinted to 
you,) as we may severally have of these counsels of the will of 
God. There are counsels of his will that are made known and 
signified by his express precepts. As was told you, the last 
time, legislation, making of laws, is one of the prime acts of 
wisdom, wherein above all things that excellency is to be con- 
spicuous and shevv forth itself. Now we shall dutifully com- 
port with the counsels of his will, made known by his precepts 
and laws, when we do obey them. That when once we find 
that charge laid upon us to do so and so, by express divine pre- 
cept, we immediately labour to get our spirits formed to an 

TOI.. VII. * 2 F 


obedient compliance, saying within ourselves, **Iha\'e no- 
thing to do, in reference to such and sucli a thing, but to 
obey." *' Mortify such a lust," saith the command, "Lord I 
yield and will endeavour to obey." ** Love me with all the 
heart and soul and mind and strength :" *' Lord, I will to my ut- 
termost." It is a law founded in counsel; there could never have 
been a wiser law, nor a more merciful one, from a good God, 
towards an indigentj depending creature, than that I should 
place my love, ray desire, my delight on himself. If, consider- 
ing me as a wandering creature, I find his word saith to me, "Re- 
pent ;" a wise counsel is spoken to me according to the coun- 
sel of his will. I will persist in sin no longer; I will turn that I 
may live. If he have made known his counsels concerning such 
and such things that he will do, that he will put an end to this 
world, that the wickedness of the wicked shall come to an end ; 
that his Son shall appear in the end of time, and shall be the 
finalJudge ; it is then dutiful to comply with such counsels of 
the divine will, to be always in an expecting posture: tosay, *'0 
let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, according 
as thou hast determined ; we approve of the counsel of the di- 
vine will, and vvill patiently wait till it come. And as for 
that appearance and coming of our Lord, wc will wait and long 
for it ; looking for it as the reviving, heart gladdening hope of 
our souls." Whereinsoever the divine will is made known to us, 
or which way soever the counsels of it are known, let them be 
dutifully comported with. Such things as are only known to 
us by the event, let us dutifully own and acknowledge them. 
1 know it was the divine will, according to counsel, that such 
and such things should he either effected by himself, or per- 
mitted to be effected by those in whom he saw such a dispo- 
sition, or from whom he did not withhold power to effect it. 

(6.) Take heed of slavish dread, in reference to your own 
eternal concernments. Most certain it is, that there are coun- 
sels of the divine will conversant about the eternal concernments 
of every one of us ; but take we heed of slavish dread in refer- 
ence hereto. There is no cause for it. It is an ungospel- 
like spirit to live in a slavish dread, even about our eternal con- 
cernments, under a gospel of grace which deals with us prin- 
cipally about them, and whose special, particular, and great de- 
sign is to advise and direct us, even touching them. 

Jjut it may be here said. How is it possible for one in an un- 
certainty, not to be in a dread about his everlasting concern- 
ments, about those concernments of his, which however they 
lie, will never alter, will always be the same? One that finds 

i.EC. VIII.) His Counsel — pirectio7is for, Practice, 219 

himself to have been, hitherto, under the power of some reign- 
ing lust or other, have not I reason to be in a continual drccd, 
what shall become of me for ever ? 

That was a thing we find represented as not suitable to the 
state of a very Cain. Suppose thy state to be as bad, sup- 
pose thyself a very Cain for wickedness, you see how G(td be- 
speaks him, when there was some present token that he was 
not so acceptable as Abel was, Cain might perceive it, here- 
upon his countenance falls, and God reasons the matter with 
him, " Why is thy countenance fallen ? If thou dost well, 
shhlt thou not be accepted ? If thou persist still to do evil, 
it is true, sin, that is, vengeance, the consequent of sin, lies 
at the door. But if thou dost well, shalt not thou be accept- 
ed^ So he bespeaks even a Cain; so you must understand him 
Xc bespeak you. In the worst that you can suppose of your case, 
this is the counsel of the divine will, even concerning thee, 
lltreupen, then, God ought to be the Object of thy reverence; 
not the Object of thy dread. Thououghtest to reverence him, 
not to dread him, as one that doth all things after the counsel of 
his own will. But you will say again, '' Where lies tiie dift'er- 
ence ?" 

The difference is great, and most manifest, between reverence 
and dread. Reverence carries love in it : dread carries hatred. 
And am I now to dispute tlie matter with you, whether any 
man ought to hate God ? Ought you to hate him, tliink you ? 
Ought he to be the Object of your hate? No, place all your 
reverence upon him, which certainly carries love in it. For 
reveret)ce liath goodness for its object; the most excellent good 
is the object of my reverence. By how much the more there 
is of goodness in any one^ by so much the more is he the object 
of my reverence. But it is evil, destructive, pernicious evil, 
that is the object of my hate, and consequently of my dread. 
But you are no more to think that God can be tlie Object of a 
man's dread, than you can think that a fit notion, or a self-con- 
sistent notion, an evil God. Can there be any such thing as in\ 
evil God ? There can be no such thing as the aU'ection of dread 
(involving essentially hatred in it) duly placed upon God, unless 
you would supj)Ose an evil God, which is a contradiction even 
in the very notion. Therefore, turn all your hate (let the case 
be the worst that can be supposed) upon yourself, and all your 
love upon God. Think of iiim with reverence that carries love 
in it. And tiiink of yourselves with that dread (as you are 
yet wicked creatures) which carries I'.atc in it. And this is 
a true gospel frame, to hate one's self, loatiie one's self, fall out 
with one's self, judge one's self, condemn one's self; but all the 


while to reverence God : let him be ever amiable in your 

Aye, but you will say, "How can this be but matter of dread 
to me, when I find myself a wicked creature, and whom, there- 
fore, the wrath of God must pursue ? for his wrath is revealed 
from heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of 
men ; and I find myself such a one, a wicked creature, an un- 
godly, an unrighteous creature." 

Do but consider here, the objection carries its own answer in 
it. *' The wrath of God is revealed from heaven." Against 
what ? Against ungodliness, against unrighteousness : and you 
are such a one. But what, is it necessary always to continue 
such ? The wrath of God can never be directed against any 
creature but as he is wicked. But then his word saith, " Let 
the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly par- 
don." Isaiah 55. 7' 

But you may perhaps say, " 1 am a wicked creature, and 
this is the thing I dread, that I shall be always so, 1 cannot 
alter the state of my own case, 1 cannot mend myself 3 this is. 
that therefore, which makes me stand in dread." 

Why, to that I shall shortly say, either you desire to be 
other than you are, or you do not ; either you desire, of a 
wicked creature, to be made holy, godly and righteous, or you 
do not desire this. If you do desire it, and you say, this is the 
object of your dread, that you shall never be other than a 
wicked creature, because you cannot mend yourself; why 
dread, (as I told you,) carries hatred in the nature of it, and 
hatred of wickedness. If you dread this continuance in wick- 
edness, you hate it. But I would fain know, if it be possible 
to desire and hate the same thing. Do you desire and choose to 
be always wicked, and yet hate and dread to be so r These are 
inconsistent : what you say now, overthrows itself. It is im- 
possible for you to desire to be always what you are, if you 
really dread, that is, hate that state of wickedness wherein you 
are. If that be the matter of your dread, (as it ought to be) 
then you do hate to be what you are, and you desire to be 
what you are not. Then pursue this apprehension further, a 
little, " I am a wicked creature, and I desire to be otherwise 
than I am, I dread myself, 1 hate myself as I am such : then 
1 do desire to be such as God would have me to be, that is, a 
holy creature, and one conformed to his holy nature and will ;" 
and if this be the posture of your soul in reference to yourself, 
and your own state Godward, you very well know what he hath 

LEe. Till.) His Cminsel — Directions for Practice. 221 

declared of his readiness to accept such. When \vc confess our 
sins, with self-loathing, self-indignation, self-judginir, " He is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins : and the Ijiood of Jesus 
Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." And when we judge 
ourselves, we shall not be judged. He never condemns that 
man that condemns himself, not notionally, but inwartUy, with 
a concomitant liatrtd and loathing, v.-hich is somewliat else 
than the notion of the state and frame wherein you find your- 
self. But now, if you suj^pose that God will have no mercy 
upon such a one, that is to make a supposition to yourself of 
somewhat in the notion of God that is repugnant to the known 
notions of him : that is, as he is the God of all grace; as he is 
love itself, and as he hath told us this to be his name, " The 
Lord, the Lord God, gracious ard merciful, forgiving iniquity, 
transgrt'ssion and sin." Hut if you have such notions of him, 
\\v.\\ he win abandon and throw away a self-loathing and self- 
judging creature, and one that desires nothing in all this world 
so much as to please him, this is to create to yourself a formi- 
dable idol, instead of the true and living God ; there is no such 
Goii as you imagine to yourselves. As an idol is nothing in the 
w.irld, so is this nothing but your own idol, which is a nullity, 
i'here is no siich God ; but you create to yourselves such a for- 
miiable idol, and tiien hate him. You call that God, which 
is but of your own making, your own creature. But take God 
as he is in himself, and as he hath revealed and reported him- 
self to be, the God of all grace, whose name this is, (and his 
name doth express his nature.) the name that he hath made 
himself known by, " The Lord, the Lord God, gracious :" 
take this true notion of God, and set it before your eyes, and 
consider, " though I be an object of hate, sure 1 have now be- 
fore mine eyes an Object of the highest love." Is not this an 
Object of love, a fit Object, the most deserving Object, the 
most amiable Object that can be thought ? Conceive of him so ; 
and let that be your apprehensions of him, till you find his 
love gradually work itself into your souls, and transforming 
and changing you. And if you come once to this perceiving 
and believing this love, you have a love begotten and wrought 
in you, then God and yoix are happily met. Love and love, 
cannot but unite and dwell together, and will everlastingly co- 
habit and dwell together. But if you say, you are a wicked 
creature, and you desire to be always what you are ; if wick- 
edness and you are inseparable, as they can only be by the 
union of your will with wickedness, then are misery and you 
united too, and can only be so by your adherence in heart and 
will to wickedness j and so you will be your own hell, and an 


everlasting fountain of misery to yourself; but God and his 
throne will be jruiitless for ever, for he never hates a creature 
as a crtature ; his wrath can never reach you, but as you are 
one that continues in a nil) to be wicked. 

But if you can truly say, " I would be otherwise, only I fear, 
God will not help me." Why! l)ath he not said, he will give 
his Spirit to ti^.em that ask him ? You are to take heed of form- 
ing a notion of God against his word; for he can have no v.ill 
against his word : it is impossible he should. There can be no 
counsel of the divine will that contradicts his plain woid. 
Therefore, take heed of imagining any such thing to yuur- 

And so, upon the whole matter, there is place for tlsat 
counsel, as what we are to resolve to live and die by, that is, 
never to entertain a slavish dread concerning our own eteri'ial 
concernments. But consider how the distinguishing characters 
are given in Scripture, betv/een them that are saved, and them 
that finally perish. And if you find the present characters upon 
you that mink you out for hell and damnation, only say, " I 
am such and such now, but it is not necessary that I should 
always i;e what 1 am." Sin is not you, and you are not sin ; 
they are separable, these are partable things: and only implore 
that grace and help of the Divine Spirit that is offered, suitable 
to the estate of lost and apostate creatures. And never enter- 
tain any despairing thought but that that Spirit shall be given 
when it is seriously asked and sought after, and desired by you; 
the state of no man's case can exclude such considerations as 
these, for while there is any thing of sense about a man's eternal 
concernments, though it be from common grace, it is from the 
Spirit of grace, for all grace is from that Spirit, and that com- 
mon grace may be gradually leading on to special grace, if it 
be duly complied with. 

So that there is still no cause for a slavish dread : that soul is 
not quite abandoned and given up by God, in which remains 
any concern about Its future state, antl about its case Godward, 
You are not, indeed, to ascribe it to your own nature, if you are 
so solicitous about tiie divine favour, if you are not so swallow- 
ed up in this world, and immersed in sensuality, as to have all 
thoughts excluded about your soul- affairs, and your everlasting 
concernments. You are not to arrogate this to yourself; for 
we are not sufficient;of ourselves to think a good thought: and 
there is a good tendency in those thoughts ; and therefore, all 
this ought to be ascribed to the Divine Spirit that is now, some 
way or other, at v»'ork with you ; and those workings of his, have 
a leadingnets and tendency in them to move to furth^ and 

LEC. viii.) His Counsel — Directiomjor Practice. 223 

hiirher workings, which accordingly you are to expect with 
hope, and so to lay aside a slavish dread accompanied with 
despair, with utter despair that ever things shall be better with 

(7.) And then, as to all your other concernments, intrust them 
freely and cheerfully to this God. He tliat wovketh aW things 
after the counsel of his own will ; how complete an Object of 
trust is he ! Whose heart would misgive him, who trusteth liim 
that worketh all tilings after the counsel of his own will ? Can 
the counsel of his own will, can the counsel of that wilJ which 
is guided by unerring wisdom, ever hurt any body ? Will any 
body be the worse- for lying under the determination of that 
will, which is guided by unerring counsel ? Never fear t*) trurt 
him, in all things, who bears this character; a cheerful trust, 
a delightful trust, is most suitable to this representation of God. 
Never fret, never tumultuate, never admit of any distrustful 
thought ; but at the same time, (as the direction is, Psalm 37, 
heisrinning.) " Trust in the Lord and do good," and place your 
delight in the Lord, and not fret at any thing we see fall out in 
the world, never fret but trust, never fret but do good, never 
fret, but deligiit thyself in the Lord. And therefore, 

(8.) Lastly; The direction that is most suitable to this appre- 
hension of'God, is to preserve a continual quietude and tran- 
quillity in our own spirits. The proper effect of such trust is 
quietness : "His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord." And, 
^^ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is staid 
on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26\ 3. There is no 
room, nor place for rational disquiet hereupon, in reference to 
any thing he hath done, or in reference to any thing we may 
apprehend he will do. Let there be such a constant calmness 
and tranquillity of spirit maintained, in opposition to vejcatioa, 
about past events; and to solicitude about future events: for 
these two things, we arc apt to disquiet ourselves : aiwut past; 
events, vvith vexation ; and future events, with solicitude : and 
so we live uncomfortable lives. But there will be no place left, 
either for the one or the other, if we will but carry this appre- 
hension about us, that God worketh all things after the counsei 
of his own will. What cause then, can there be for solicitude? 
God will not change his nature, he will be still the same. He 
Nvill as much govern the world by counsel in all future timeSj. 
and all the particular concernments of his creatures, and especi- 
ally our own concernments, in respect of which we are apt to be 
solicitous. He will do as much as ever he did. For this is his 
essential character, and therefore, can never cease to be so, &-z* 
lie doth all things after tiie counsels of his own will. 


But you may say, " He may permit wicked men to do so and 
so, injuriously." 

If he do so, he wisely permits it, and according to the coun- 
sel of his own will. And who would be afraid of the counsel 
of such a will ? If he permit ill tilings to be done and fail out 
in the world, it is either for the exercise of their graces who 
belong to him in the world, and who are the called according 
to his purpose ; it is that their faith, and their love to him, and 
their patience, and their subjection, and their heavenly mind- 
edness, and the raisedness of their spirits above the world, may 
be more tried, and may further appear : or, it may be, for the 
correction and chastisement of his own offending people. And 
then, there is no place for fretting and inquietude of spirit, but 
calmly to accept the punishment of sin, lying down under it 
with a calm and submissive patience. Or, it may be in refer- 
ence to the future, more illustrious display of his own glory, 
that he lets wicked men prosper and triumph for a time, and 
flourish like the green grass, when it is that they may be de- 
stroyed for ever. And never doubt but that he doth all things 
after the counsel of his own will, he will make all things finally 
to result into such an end as shall be suitable to so glorious an 
Agent, worthy of himself, so that angels and saints shall con- 
fess to all eternity, that all his ways and works were marvellous, 
just, righteous and great ; and worthy of himself, taken alto- 
gether. It cannot but be so, that the issue of things must be 
such as is most agreeable to him **who workethall things after 
the counsel of his own wilU" 

LEC. IX.) His IForU of Creation. 


Heb. II, 3. 

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by 
the word of God, so that things ivhich are seen, were 
not inade of things ivhich do appear. ^ 

TN tliat order of discourse, (wherein we have made some pro- 
gress,) of treating of the several more principal heads of that 
religion which we all profess, we have spoken at large (as the 
last subject we insisted upon in this course) of the counsels 
of the divine will, or (which is all one) his purposes and de- 
crees, according to which he is said to work all things, in that^ 
Ephes. 1. 11. 

And now, the next thing that comes in order to he spoken of, 
is that great work of cukation, which is part, and the first 
part, the beginning of the execution of his external counsels or 
purposes of his will. This is the first of his external acts that ter- 
minate upon somewhat without himself. His decrees, though 
they have their term within him, and so come into the account, 
not of his transient, but of his eminent acts, and yet do differ, 
too, from all these internal acts of the divine Hypostasis towards 
one another; for they have their very objects in the Divine 
Being. But the decrees of God, though they have their term 
within the Divine Being, that is, they do, while they are but de- 
crees, effect nothing extra Z>eum, ivithout God, yet they have 
their object without him ; that is, they refer, some way or other, 
to the creature. Now, in contradistinction to those internal acts 
of God that have reference to the creature, we consider his exter- 

* Preached Jan. l"^, lQg3. 
VOL, vu. 2 e 


nal acts, wheredf this of creation is the first, and Is leading and 
fundamental to all other subsequent and external acts of his, to- 
wards, or upon, the creature, as now existing, till some act or 
other hath preceded, by which it might exii;t. 

This is, therefore, such an act as makes Its object, and doth 
not suppose it ; as all following acts of God towards the crea- 
ture do suppose the object, and not make It ; suppose It pre- 
exlstcnt, and then are concerned and conversant about It, as 
already existent ; to wit, to sustain it, to regulate it, improve 
it, perfect It ; or any ways alter it as he sees good. 

And whereas, this Is the first step that God takes in executing 
tlie counsels of his will; that Is, that being ascribed to him, 
to do all things according to the counsel of his will, he doth this 
^great work of creation, according to that counsel of his will. 
This will put an end to the great dispute about the original of 
all things ; whether this world, and all that It contains came, of 
itself, or by fate, or by cliance ; or whether it were all entirely 
owing to some wise and designing intelligent Agent. If, I say, 
the authority of divine Revelation may decide the matter, and 
so far obtain in the minds of men, there is an end of that dis- 
pute; that is, that since whatsoever Is done by that great and 
almighty Agent, was done according to the counsels of his own 
will ; tlien this world came not into being of itself, or by any 
fatality or casualty ; but by wise counsel designing the thing, 
and the time, and whatsoever circumstances might refer there- 

And, Indeed, those that have not a divine Revelation to guide 
t]\elr apprehension in this matter, and have but allowed therri- 
selves (as many have) a liberty of thought, have discerned those 
characters of divine wisdom and design, in the whole frame 
and contrivance of things in this great creation, as not only to 
acknowledge, but to adore the wise Creator that hath given be- 
ing to all. Every thing of order, being the product of wisdom j 
wisdom and order have most certain relation to one another, as 
the productive princijile, and the object produced. If there be 
-«uch a thing as order produced, v^^isdom and counsel must have 
been the productive principle. 

We, formerly, in the beginning of this series of discourse, had 
occasion to spefiji of the creation, from Romans 1. 20. The 
invisible things of God, even his eternal power and Godhead, 
are clearly seen in the things that he hath made. It was upon 
another account that we discoursed of the creation then ; not 
making that the termlnative subject of our discourse; but con- 
.sidercd it only as evidential of the Deity; we are now to con- 
sider it as effected l)y that almighty, divine power: we now 

LEC. IX.) His JFork of Creatloiu 227 

consider It as a matter of ialth. " By faith wc understand tliat 
the worlds were framed by the word of God." And it was of ab- 
solute necessity that there should be that rational consideration 
of tiie creation, first, in order to the evincing of an object of 
faith, before we came to speak any thing of faith, or what was 
to be matter of faith ; for no one can believe any thing, by the 
proper assent of faith, till he understands who he is to lielicvc, 
and why. And it is the formal object of faith that we were to 
evince to you, in order to our shewing the ground why we were 
tt. believe any material object that conies within t'nc compass of 
divine Revelation. 

Therefore, having first evinced to you tiie existence and being 
of God ; and then, evidenced to you, that that Revelation which 
we have in the Book of Scripture is from (lod; and thence 
having more distinctly considered the nature and jierfections of 
God, as they are held forth in that Revelation, together with 
the distinct Hypostasis which tliat llevelation assures us are in 
the Deity; we now come to consider the creation too, as a 
matter of faith also. 

And it ought not to seem strange to us, that when we have 
heard the creation spoken of, as tending to evince to us the 
being of God, we should come now to discourse of it as a mat- 
ter of faith ; for most plain it is, that the same conclusion may 
he assented toon different grounds, and the one doth strength- 
en the other, and not detract from it. It is no prejudice at 
all to our receiving the doctrine of ihe creation, as a matter of 
faith, that it is also demonstrable In a rational way, any more 
than It doth.detract from, or lessen the credit of, a hun:an testi- 
mony that many do concur and say the same thing j wiiich de- 
tracts nothing from the validity of that person's testiuiony, but 
instead of that, adds thereto. 

And we are to reckon it a great discovery of tlic divine favour 
and indulgence to us, when one and the same thing may be 
the matter, both of a fiducial assent upon a divine testimony, 
and of rational demonstration also. God condescends to us, 
and is so much the more favourable, that he Is pleased to make 
the same thing evident more ways tlmn one, according as the oc- 
currence of several media for the evidencing of any thing, doth 
beget a stronger and firmer impression of the thing itself, upon 
our minds. This is referred unto, allusively, to set forth the 
great assurance wherewith the gospel Revelation was given, 
1 John 1. 1, 3. " That which we have heard, which we have 
seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands 
have handled of the word of life — that which we have seen 
and heard declare we unto you.'' 


It is very true, indeed, that the creation, generally consi- 
dered, and more abstractly, is very demonstrable by reason; not 
only to be rendered probable, or a likely thing, but certain and 
more demonstrable. That is, as I said, when we have in view 
so many sorts of things that we are sure were not always ; and 
therefore, could not be of themselves ; (for whatsoever is of it- 
self must be always, must be from eternity ;) then we are 
sure every such thing must have had some maker or other. 
And so, nothing can he more demonstrable, than that there 
hath been, and must be, a creation, even unto reason, and by 

But though reason may clearly apprehend and evince, in 
general, that there hath been a creation, it can never evince 
the way and manner, the method and order, wherein things 
have been created. All this must be owing to divine Revela- 
tion, and to faith thereupon, if we understand, (as here it is 
said,) " through faith, the worlds were framed, by the word 
of God." By reason, we may know that the world or worlds 
were some time or other made : but we can only know by faith 
that they were made in six days, and that such and such was 
the order of making them, as the divine history doth report the 
matter to us. And therefore, doth this text inform us, not 
, only of this as an apprehensible thing, that the worlds were 
made, but it lets us see how we are to apprehend it. We are 
not only to understand this, but we are to understand it by 
faith, that the worlds were framed by the word of God. 

We have, in the text, two distinct propositions, which are of 
two divers kinds; the first is dogmatical, or more expressly 
assertory, and the second is explicatory of the former. 

The former, I say, is mere dogmatical. " By faith we un- 
derstand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." 
It is a thing to be understood by faith, that the worlds were 
framed by the word of God, And this, I shall make the 
main subject of my discourse which I intend upon this scrip- 

The -latter is explicatory of the former, so that things which 
are seen, were not made of things that do appear, or were 
made, (which is the truer reading of the text,) of things which 
do not appear, or were made of not appearing things, not pre- 
existing things, that had stood forth into being before. 

First. And for the first of these : you see it contains two 
parts — what it is we are to understand ; and — how we are to 
understand it. — The thing to he understood, that the worlds 
were framed by the word of God, and — how we are to under- 
stand it, by faith : or through faith. Jt is faith that lets in the 

LEC. IX.) Bis Work of Creation. 229 

notion the more distinctly into our minds. We have this no- 
tion by faith, as tlieword in the greek signifies, the forming of 
a notion, begetting it in our minds. We hiive the notion begot 
in our minds by faith, that the worlds were so framed by the 
word of God. 

1. We have first, and more principally, to consider the for- 
mer of those, the thing to be understood. We shall consider 
the manner afterwards. And for the thing to be understood, 
that the worlds were framed by the word of God, we have here 
three lieads of discourse more distinctly to be considered and 
spoken to — the object of this act, the worlds — the Agent whose 
this act or work is, that is, God, exerting his power by his word, 
and — the act of creation itself, what kind of act that is. It is here 
rendered, " framed." We shall speak to the emphasis of that 
expression hereafter, in its proper place, when we come to give 
you an account of the nature of the act, creating, which though 
that word doth not primarily and directly signify, yet suppos- 
eth, as we shall in a proper time come to shew you. 

(1.) We are to consider the object of creation, as it is here 
expressed by this comprehensive term, the worlds, "The worlds 
were framed by the word of God." The word, here, so ren- 
dered, doth signify sometimes eteinity, especially being pluraily 
used. But sometimes also it signifies time, and sometimes an 
age, and in the plural, ages. But it doth also signii'y, in the 
narrower sense, time : not only time, in itself, abstractly and na- 
kedly considered, but the things that lie within time : not the 
fiiensura but the mensiirafa, not only that duration, which is 
the measure of such and such things, but the things themselves 
that are measured thereby. And that is the sense wherein it 
must be taken here. Therefore, it is not the naked thing, time, 
that is spoken of here, (though the word, sometimes, hath that 
signification as the object of this creative act,) but all things 
that come under temporary mensuration, all that are measured 
by time, which is fitly enough expressed in our translation by 
this term, " the worlds." 

And whereas, it is not said, world, but worlds, that shews, that 
the continens is more than one : and if the propriety of tlie 
greek be considered, it also signifies them to be more than 
two ; for the word is not a dual but a plural, and so it is more 
than one, and more than two worlds that are signified by this 
expression. And indeed, the matter is less indefinite ; and it 
being impossible to us to know how many are the several cir- 
cles of things that are above us, that are all made things, things 
altogether without our knowledge or comprehension, (as we 
have had occasion to tell you on another account, of our Lord's 


being ascended, and gone up f;ir Jibovc all heavens,) we are 
left in a just uncertainty, (vvhicii belongs to us, and is proper to 
our state,) how many those lieavens are, or those orbs of things 
wjjich are replenished with creatures, (parts of the universe,) 
that altogether make the entire object of this creation, and this 
great creative act. 

And t;iking tluit phrase. " the worlds," to signify whatsoever 
lie? under the measure of time, so we are not barely to consider 
such orbs, but we are to take in ail the contenta^ as well as the 
continens, all the things contained, as well as the things con- 
taining. And so, it is the whole universe of created beings that 
comes under our present consideration : which, therefore, in 
speaking to us of the object of the creation, or what it is that is 
created, it is not to be imagined that we should speak of it iq 
the singular, nor of all the particular kinds; but only under 
some general heads, into which the universe of created things 
may be distributed. 

[I. J The first, and most general and obvious distribution of the 
created universe, is into the more substantial things, and the 
modifications thereof; what is in itself a substantial thing, and 
what doth only some way or other modify such a being. And 
it is the former of these, that is the proper object ; creation 
more strictly and properly taken. Creation is, in the strictest 
sense, snppusitoriiim of 67(!/)/)o677a, of things that do subsist not 
of themselves, in reference to any efficient cause: for so no 
created thing doth exist, by itself, in opposition to what doth 
inhere, so as to be a subject of things that do reside in it. 
And so, the modification of things are not properly created in 
the strictest sense of creation ; but are educed and brought forth 
out of those substantial beings that were themselves created, or 
made out of nothing ; and so they, that is, substantial things, 
are the most pioper objects of creation, that have a proper sub- 
sistence of their own, though with dependance on tiie efficient 
Cause that gave them being. And after this distribution, 

[2.] The distribution of such created things, that is, substan- 
tial beings, in which all the diversifying modi do reside and 
have their place, And we are to consider what may be the 
more general distribution of substantial things, that are them- 
selves created. And we can consider none more general, than 
thisone, to wit, of all those created substances, into these two 
heads, matter and mind. If the inquiry be, What doth this 
universe of created beings contain ? Or what are the great 
spheres of being that lie within the compass of the created uni- 
verse ? Why, speaking of substantial things themselves, that 

LEC.ix.) His TFork of Creation, 231 

are the subjects of clivers distinct modi or modifications, they 
can be but these two, all will fall under these two heads, to wit, 
matter and mind. And this is that distribution of created 
things which the Scripture gives us a ground express enough 
for: Col. 1. 16. "By him were all things made that are in 
heaven or that are in earth, visible and invisible." We may well 
enough suppose all matter to be, some way or other, visible, 
though, there be indeed a finer sort of matter than is visible to 
us. But then, there is the other head of things, in that Col. 
1. 16'. things that are simply invisible, altogether invisible, as 
it is altogether impossible that any sense, any external sense, 
can perceive a mind, or a thought, which is the immediate pro- 
duct of that mind. So, that every distribution of created things 
into \nsible and invisible, I take it, sufficiently corresponds with 
this that I now mention, that is, matter and mind. 

And otherwise, we have the creation distinguished as to the 
object of it, or creation, ])assively taken, into heaven and earth, 
as we find in that history of the beginning of tiic creation. 
Gen. 1. 1. "In the beginning God created the heavens and 
the earth." Some, indeed, that go to the cabalistical way, wdl 
have by heavens, all intellectual beings that are created, to be 
comprehended and meant : and by earth, all matter whatso- 
ever. We shall not dispute the propriety of that conjecture, 
or what probably it hath, or hath not ; but take what is more 
obvious to ourselves in common understanding. And if wc 
take that as a distribution of created things, heaven and cart!!, 
as was intimated before, we must comprehend together both 
the continens and the contenta. And so, by heaven, must be un- 
derstood and meant, not only all the several superior orbs, but all 
their inhabitants that do reside and dwell in them, and wherewith 
they are replenished, and unto which, our very minds and spi- 
rits, (though now they are clothed with terrestrial vehicles and 
dwell in flesh,) do originally appertain and behuig, as being 
nearer of kin, and more allied to the world of spirits than they 
are allied to this world of flesh and earth, this terrestrial world. 
For, if we take the mind and spirit in us, to be the nobler and 
more excellent part of ourselves, taking our denomination from 
that which is more noble and excellent, we have greater affi- 
nity, according to our primitiv'e and original state, with hea- 
ven, than we have with earth, which affinity is not to be judged 
by the place of residence, but by the nature of the thing. 
Mind and spirit are more akin to heavenly inhabitants, than they 
are to any thing that is made merely of earth. 

And so, taking the things contained, witii all the heavenly 
orbs, you have great diversifications, in that mentioned place, 


Col. 1.16. And there indeed, tlic Spirit of God runs out more 
than it doth in the distribution of things that fall under that other 
head, that is, the visible things of this earth. For we are told, 
under the head of invisible things, (and which also in very great 
part, indeed, are the things which do belong to the heavens,) of 
thrones and dominions, and principalities and powers; which 
are very reasonably thought to mean so many several orders of 
celestial creatures that do inhabit the other world or worlds, for 
how many of them there are, we do not know, nor can know; as 
we formerly told you. 

And then, if we speak of the things contained in this lower 
orb, signified here by earth, they do more generally fall under 
a common notice, and are more obvious to every one's appre- 
hension. Tills world, you know, is replenished with very nu- 
merous sorts of creatures that live one way or other, or with 
one or another sort of lives; either, that do live an intellectual 
life, or live from an intelligent soul, as we do all live ; or else, 
that live a merely sensitive life, as all the brute creatures do, of 
that next order below, or else, things that do live a merely ve- 
getative life; as all the several sorts of plants that have some 
kind of life, though it be of a meaner and lower kind. 

And then, there are all your inanimate things that have no 
proper life at all; that is, have no self-moving or self-acting 
principle within them, or peculiar to them, from whence they 
do act or order themselves, or are capable of being moved, as 
from any internal vis in this kind or that. 

Of such extent is this created universe : it takes in all these 
several sorts of things. And to descend to the enumeration of 
more particular kinds would be an endless work, and not pro- 
per for us. But, in the mean time, we have very great am- 
plitude in the object of our present thought and consideration, 
when we are to look upon the universe of created beings, that 
is, of created substances, look upon all those that come under 
the notion of matter, and that, as such, is inanimate : matter, 
as matter, has no self-moving principle in it. Look upon all 
those things that live some kind of life or another; whether 
they be things of this earth of ours, or whether they be things 
of the superior or refined orbs and parts of the universe : these 
come in all the orders of angelical creatures of which we have 
only, that general and more indistinct account which that Co- 
lossians 1. and some other passages of Scripture give us. 
What their diversifications are, we know not; but some or 
other they are, and such as do import superiority and inferio- 
rity among themselves. And then, go to that other head, of 
things destitute of life, and that more properly come under the 

LEC. IX,) His worJc of Creation, 233 

notion of matter beforementioned: and so, descending down- 
wards from the more noble and excellent creatures, to the 
meaner and lesser ones, what a vast scale of created being is 
this ! descending from the highest to the lowest, or ascending 
from the lowest to the highest, and all within the compass of 
the created universe, and all this signified by that one expres- 
sion in the text ** the worlds." 

Indeed, all this being summed up into this one expression, 
of the universe or the world, taken singularly and in the largest 
sense of which it doth admit, we have, even within the compass 
of created beings, that which far exceeds any of our thoughts. 
And it hath been a question, much agitated, amongst philoso- 
phical men, whether the created universe have any created li- 
mits at all, yea or no. It hath been agitated by some with a 
very ill design: and some have made it their business, in mov- 
ing the controversy, to hide their design. And with a strange 
mixture of fraud and folly, in discussing that question, Wheth.er 
the created universe were infinite or no? they have gone 
about to disguise the matter, and told us, they would not, in- 
deed, say it was infinite, but it was indefinite ; to wit, the 
extent of the created universe : and by the extent of it, the 
meaning could not be the mere local extent, but the real; not 
barely what space it took it up, but what of essence and real 
being it did comprehend and contain; and that, some of them 
have told us, was not infinite, but indefinite only. 

But there hath been a very great mixture (as I say) of fraud 
and of folly : of fraud, that they have disguised their meaning, 
and laboured to hide it : and of folly, that in their very attempt 
of hiding it, they have unawares discovered a very ill meaning. 
And it could not but be so ; for when the terms are distinguish- 
ed of infinite and indefinite, I would fain know what they mean 
by the latter. If, by indefinite, they mean that which hath 
in itself no certain limits, then they plainly say, it is infinite, 
the created universe is infinite, because it hath no certain 
limits. But if they mean by it only, that it hath no known li- 
mits to us, that every one readily acknowledgeth : we can never 
know the limits of it; and so that is but to say it is finite, if 
they mean only so. And indeed, it is a very dubitable thing, 
whether any finite understanding can measure the created uni- 
verse, or is capable of comprehending tiie extent of it. Very 
willing 1 am to aggrandize that as much as I can, in consis- 
tency, still, with owning it to be but a created thing; because 
still, the mcie we magnify that, the more we magnify the Crea- 
tor. But to pretend it to be an indefinite tiling in that sense, 

VOL, vii» 2h 


that Is, that it hath no certain limits in itself, that is to make 
it an infinite thing. 

And if it here be inquired, What is tlie inconvenience of 
that, to make it to be so, or how can we prove it not to be so ? 
Why truly, to the former of the questions, there would be this 
to say, that to say it were infinite, or could be infinite, were to 
say that it were not a creation : for most certain it is, whatsoever 
is infinite is God. Infinity is the proper predicate or attribute 
of Deity. And so, the inconvenience would be^ the taking 
away all the foundations of religion ; for it would be the con- 
founding of God and the creature, the taking away the differ- 
ence between them. And it would be equally impossible, that 
there should be any room or place for religion, if you take away 
the subject of it, as much as if you take away the Object of 
it. If the creature were infinite, there could be no subject 
of religion: and there can be no place for religion, if there 
be no subject of it, any more than if there were no Object 
of it. 

And as to the question, How can it be proved that the cre- 
ated universe is not infinite, and cannot be infinite ? It is very 
clearly to be proved by what hath been said, in very great part : 
that is, whatsoever is infinite is God. Therefore, to say that 
the created universe is infinite, is to say, that it is not created. 
But besides, it may be easily evinced, that not only this uni- 
verse of created beings is not infinite, but that it is impossible 
that it ever should be, or could be. And as the plain reason of 
the thing doth lie against that imagination ; so, the most perni- 
cious and destructive tendency of that philosophy that would 
impose upon us the imagination of an infinite universe, is most 
studiously to be disclaimed and abhorred, as taking away all 
place and room for religion. For it would confound created 
being and uncreated, and deify the creature, and so, leave no 
subject of worship, as the more avowed atheism leaves no Ob- 
ject of it. 

I shall not say more to you about the object of this said act. 
W^e are further to consider the great Agent, the Creator : and 
the nature of the act of creation. But let us make some stand 
and pause here, and consider what improvement is to be made 
cf what hath been thus far discoursed to you. It is of very 
vast extent, what we are to consider under the notion of the 
created universe. But when all this is done, it is still but a 
creation ; make it as great a thing as you will, magnify it as 
much as possible, consistently with its being a creation, and 
when all this is done, then say within yourselves, " All this is 
but as a drop, a drop of a bucket, a dust in a balance, a mere 

TEC. IX.) His work of Creation, 236 

nothing, yea, lighter than nothing and vanity, compared with 
that Being which is of itself ; that Being which owes itself to 
none ; that. Being to which it was impossible not to be ; for ail 
this vast creation doth but depend on will and pleasure ; " For 
thy pleasure they are and vvere created." It was determinable, 
merely upon good pleasure, whether there should be any crea- 
tion, or no creation: so that one nutiis, one nod (as I may 
speak) of the Divine Mind, either makes this vast thing, the 
whole ci'eated universe, to be something or nothing. *' If [ 
please, it shall be something, if I please, it shall be no- 

It should lead us into adoration of the great self- subsisting 
Being, that owes it to none that he is, is beholden to none, 
but is by the excellency of his own eternal nature, to which 
it was repugnant not to be, and which comprehends all pleni- 
tude and fulness of being in itself, even an infinitude of be- 

Consider this then, and when it hath prompted and led you 
into admiration and adoration, looking up to the great Creator, 
it should prompt and lead us into the greatest detestation of the 
insolency of creatures, even such creatures as (if they would 
use their minds) are capable of apprehending this, and yet take 
upon them as if they were Absolute. They started up out of 
being but the other day, and at the fiat, and by the pleasure, of 
the great Creator ; and now, they look upon themselves in tliis 
world as if it were all theirs, and as if they might i\o in it what 
they pleased. He that is the Creator cf heaven and eartli is 
also, we know, in Scripture, stiled the Possessor of heaven and 
earth. And for a company of upstart creatures sj)rung up into 
being but the other day, to take upon them, as if tbey were 
possessors (as much as is possible for them to grasp) of tbis 
creation, and to do in it what they will ; what a detestable in- 
solency is this ! It is but a dependant, l)orrowcd right tliat any 
one hath in whatsoever he calls his own. And yet, men are 
apt to hug themselves in conceit of propriety, saying, " This is 
my own land, these are my own goods, this is my own house : 
and it is so by the best title a man can have." Now suppose a 
stranger enter your door and come into your house and take no 
notice of any thing as yours, but useth all things as he pleas- 
eth, and saith he will do what he lists in this house of yours; 
or (without saying so) doth what lie lists, takes and us^s what 
he will, and as he will, would you not take yourself to be highly 
injured, and would you not right yourself, if it lay in your pow- 
er, upon so injurious an intruder as this ? Why, at this rate is 
the great God treated and dealt with, by his apostate, revolted 


creatures, inhabiting this lower world, though it be even the 
meaner and baser parts of his creation ? Creatures sprung up 
into being here by indulgence of divine favour, take upon them 
as if they were their own lords and owners, and as if every 
thing they lay their hands on were their own, without ever 
taking notice of God ; He that gave them breath and being 
and all things, that they might seek after him, and consider, 
** Whence come 1 ? and all things that I use and enjoy, whence 
are they ?" No such thing enters into their minds, from day to 
day, but a life's time is run out in these bodies, wherein they 
should love, and serve, and adore, their great Creator, without 
taking notice of him. 

But a more copious use of this yet remains, when we shall 
have opened other things that yet are to be doctrinally opened 
unto you. 


(2.) We are now, in the second place, to consider the Agent 
in this great and mighty work, and that is, (as the text express- 
etli it,) God himself, that great, all-comprehending Name. 
There will be occasion to take notice of the way of his agency, 
(by his word,) by and by. The Creator of all things, of hea- 
ven and earth, can be no other than he who comprehends and 
contains all things, virtually, in his own power. But whereas, 
we have heretofore shewn to you at large, that there is in the 
Deity a tlireefold subsistence, the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Ghost, they are each of them to be comprehended under the 
notion of Creator here. It is a plain and self-evident truth, 
commonly given us as a maxim. Opera Trinitatis, ad extra, 
sunt Indivisa, vel co7n?mmicabla ; that the works of the three 
persons in the Godhead towards the creature are undivided, and 
communicable to each of the persons : so as that we must un- 
derstand them to be conjunct, in every such act as they do exert 
without themselves or towards any thing that is not God. Their 
distinguishing actions are towards one another; but the actings 
that they exert towards any thing without them, these are com- 
mon to them all. So that the Father creates, the Son creates, 
and the Holy Ghost creates. This action which, as we have 
told you, makes its object, and doth not suppose it, as other 
acts, ad extra, do, it is the common act of each of these. And 
so you find that the creation is usually ascribed to God, under that 
name of God (that name, being essentially taken) which compre- 

* Preached January 24, 16i)3i 

LEc. X.) His ivork of Creation. 237 

liends all the three persons. And so we must understand th.at, 
in the beginning of Genesis, where God is said to have created 
tiie heavens and the earth. And that observation is not to be 
slighted, that Elohini, a plural noun is conjoined with a verb 
of the singular number; Barah Elohim. As if it were said, 
Gods created the heaven and the earth ; that is, it is an expres- 
sion-to note that there is a plurality in the Deity ; that is, of 
persons, each of which is God. But it being conjoined with 
a verb in the singular number, it shews that these three were 
but one ; did agree in Deity, as well as in this creative act. 
And this is thai which that learned man Zanchy, in his treatise, 
*' De tribus Elohim," doth prove profitably and at large. But 
more particularly, when the name of God is taken, 

[1.] Personally, as divers times also it is, then it signifies, 
eminently, God the Father: and that very term doth suffi- 
ciently express him to be the Original of all things, of all 
beings, both created and uncreated. He is usually, and titly 
enough, said to be Fons Deitatis et fons Trinitatis. The 
Deity is first in the Father, and all created beings first and ori- 
ginally from him, as the matter is plainly expressed in the 1 
Cor, 8. 6. To us there is but one God the Father, of whom are 
all things. Him we are taught to adore as the great Original, 
from whom all being hath its rise. And yet, 

[2.] We have the creation, very frequently, ascribed to the 
Son, speaking him conjunct with the Father in this great crea- 
tive act. And even in that last mentioned place, (I Cor. 8.) 
where it is said, "To us there is but one God the Father, of 
whom are all things and we in him," it is added, " and one 
Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by him." 
And so, in that Col. 1. 15, 16'. his agency in the creation is 
most expressly asserted. He who is there said to be " the 
image of the invisible God, and the first-born," (as we read it, 
but it may as properly be read, according to grammar, with 
only the alteration of an accent, the first-begotten of every 
creature,) ^' by him were all things created that are in heaven, 
and that are in earth, visible and invisible ; whether they be 
thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were 
created by him and for him." There is his concurrence and 
conjunction with the Father, both as the efficient and final 
Cause of all things. So that Heb. I. 2. "God hath in these 
last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed 
the heir of all things, by whom also lie made the worlds." He 
that is " the brightness of his Father's glory and the express 
image of his person," by him the worlds were made. And so 
we have it, most expressly, in the beginning of John's gospel: 


'* In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
(a known name and title of Christ, God's eternal Son and. 
con^ubstantial Word) that Word was in the beginning with God, 
and that Word was God. The same was in the beginning with 
God. All things were made by him, and without him was not 
any thing made that was made." He is spoken of under a title 
of like impm't, frequently, in other scriptures, and most express- 
ly in Proverbs 8. That is, by the name of the wisdom of God, 
and, under thiit name, is asserted to be with him, even through- 
out the whole work of this creation. Not with him in an idle 
concomitancy ; which no man can understand, either accord- 
ing to the reason of the thing, or the plain import of the other 
scriptures that have been named, and many more that are to 
be named. He was with him, wlien the Lord laid the founda- 
tions 01 the earth, when he stretched out the heavens, when 
he did all that was done in the work of creation. And then, 

[3.] The creation is ascribed to the Eternal Spirit, to the 
Holy Ghost, as you find expressly in that Gen. 1. when we 
had been told, " In the beginning God created the heavens and 
the earth, and that the earth was without form and void ; the 
Spirit of God is said to have moved upon the face of the wa- 
ters :" that is, upon the fluid matter of the yet unformed chaos, 
that profound abyss ; that Tohu and Bohu, as it is expressed j 
upon that fluid and yet unformed matter that was fluctuating, 
even as waters do : upon that, the Spirit of God did move to col- 
lect and form things out of it, according to divine pleasure. 

Thus, it is plain, each person in the Godhead hath his hand 
and part in this great work of creation. What hand and part 
each hathj some are very curious in describing. But so far as 
the Scriptures expressly do lead us, so far we may allow our con- 
ceptions to be formed concerning their distinct agency. And 
k is plain, 

First : That the name Father doth signify him to be the Ori- 
ginal of all things, the first Fountain Being, the Fountain of 
all being, created and uncreated. The Divine Being itself is 
first and originally in Him, as the name Father signifies : and 
that comprehends the fulness of all being in itself, all excel- 
lency, all perfection whether conceivable by us, or unconceiv- 
able. So from him, the creation must have taken its rise as 
the Head of all things. And then. 

Secondly : The Scripture speaks of the Son under the name 
of the eternal consubstantial word of God, or his essential wis- 
dom, which must needs be understood to contain in itself the 
first idea of all things. All being originally contained and 
comprehended in God the Father as such, he is now said to be 

LEC. X.) His work of Creation, 239 

the image of the invisible God, and in him do all the glories 
of the Deity shine, as in their first image. All things being 
to be created and produced into actual being according to that 
image which lay in the Divine Mind, which he is. As there is 
no one goes about to make any thing, but hatii the image and 
idea in his own mind, first, of what he intends to make. He 
that intends to make a book, or to make a house, or a garment, 
hath the idea in his own mind, first, of what he intends to make, 
and according to that idea all things are made. All things that 
were to be created, the eternal wisdom of the Father compre- 
hending them all in himself, he is the rule or norma, according 
to which, the creation is at last produced into actual being. 
And then. 

Thirdly : The agency of the Holy Ghost may be conceived 
according to that light the Scripture gives concerning the dis- 
tinguishing characters of that person. From the actuous love, 
between the Father and the Son, for an eternal production of 
the divine image by the Father in the Son, there cannot but be 
an everlasting spiration ol:" love between the Father and this, 
his consubstantial Image : an actuous love, and that image, 
containing in itself the ideas of all the thitjgs that v/ere to be 
produced. This mighty power of actuous love, it goes forth to 
produce all things, according to this image, with the highest 
delectation and complacency, according to which, God pro- 
nounced concerning all things which he had made — that it was 
very good, and so a derivative object of divine love; all things 
being produced according to that excellency of his own image 
that was the Original Root of all things. And hereupon, do- 
other scriptures speak of the agency of the Holy Ghost in this 
matter; that is, that by his Spirit he garnished the heavens ; 
one part of the creation there spoken of. " Thou sendest forth 
thy Spirit and they are created." Psalm 104. 30. And so you 
see, that Father, Son, and Spirit have their parts and agencies 
in this great work of creation. But then, 

(3.) We have here to consider the act Itself. You have 
seen the object, the worlds ; and you have seen tlie Agent, 
God himself, Father, Son, and Spirit. We are now next, ac- 
cording to the order proposed, to consider the act that is ex- 
pressed here in the text by a word, which is, fitly enough, ren- 
dered, *' framed ;" but we must note unto you, that, that word 
doth express one sort of act, and supposeth another. It ex- 
presseth one sort of act, that is, the framing of things ; fram- 
ing (as it is fitly enough translated here) when there was some- 
what now brought into being, out of which, they should be so 
and so diversly framed, especially as to the material part ol" 


the world. That is the act here expressed. But then, it sup- 
poseth a former act, a foregoing act, and that is, the making all 
out of nothing, out of vvhicli any thing was after framed. We 
shall speak of the act the word expresseth, first ; and then shall 
speak of the act that word supposeth. 

[1 .] The word in the text is very fitly expressive of the former 
act, that the worlds are said to l)e framed. It comes of a word 
that signifies perfect and entire, and it seems to come from that 
we commonly denote by art; or, as some would have, the rela- 
tion of this word to urtus which signifies our limbs, the limbs 
of any creature that is endued with life. And so they would 
borrow the illustration of this word from chirurgick art, that 
doth aptly place the bones which have been dislocated, and puts 
them into joint again. So the worlds were framed (as it were) 
by the most curious and exquisite chirurgick art : or else, that 
which is precedent to tiiat, the locking and joining things into 
one another throughout the whole creation. 

And in this respect, the framing of the worlds was more im- 
mediately the work of the divine wisdom, which may be meant 
by the expression here, that they were created by the word of 
God, which I told you we should take notice of in its proper 
place. Whicli may be meant not of the word spoken out, but 
of the internal word, agreeable to what we are wont to call 
verbiim mentis : as there is no one that speaks, (if he speak 
sense,) but he hath in his own mind first, that which he after- 
wards expresseth and speaks out. But herein was the wisdom 
of the Creator principally conspicuous ; in that beautiful order 
and frame of things that appeared every where throughout this 
great universe ; that there is that order that we behold daily 
among the heavenly bodies, in reference to one another and in 
reference to us ; that which, in the 8th psalm, you find the 
Psalmist in so high and holy an adoration of: " When I con- 
sider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the 
stars, which thou hast ordained." It is a great argument of a 
holy heart, to be much in contemplating the divine wisdom that 
hath settled every thing of that order which is any where to be 
found in the Avhole creation. 

If you look into this lower world, and consider that, as io 
what falls under our notice, there is every where that corres- 
pondency of actives to passives, of faculties to objects, as every 
one that will use thoughts may easily discern, the wisdom 
of the Creator is greatly to be adored in it. For think we 
with ourselves, how great a piece of vanity this creation had 
been, if it had not been so ; if there had been objects upon 
vvliich there had beea ao faculties to exercise : or, if there were- 

5LEC. X.) His Work of Creation. 241 

faculties to be exercised that had no objects ; as if there were 
visible things, and no eye to see them; if there were audible 
things, and no ear to hear them. And so, back again, if there 
were eyes, and nothing to be seen ; and a faculty of hearing, and 
no such thing as sound. But herein is the admirable con- 
trivance of the divine wisdom in this creation manifest, that 
there is such a correspondency throughout, of objects to facul- 
ties, of active powers and principles to passives. 

And then, in that order that is settled amongst things, there- 
in we have the great display of the divine wisdom, there being 
(as hath been often said) that relation between Avisdom and 
order, as between cause and effect. Wheresoever there is any 
of stated, settled order, we may be sure there was wisdom to 
contrive and design it. Stated and settled order cannot be a 
casualty. When we see the contrivance and order that are in 
such a thing as a watch or a clock, and the like, we are pre^ 
sently sure that such a thing was not made by chance. And 
to think that such a mighty agency, a mighty power of motion, 
as was once exerted in this creation, should produce things in 
that orderly frame wherein we behold them, without design, 
without wisdom, is as absurd an imagination, as if we should 
imagine a thousand men, by violent strokes with axes and ham- 
mers, upon brass or iron, or the like, without any design, should 
produce so many watches, clocks, or any such like engines ; 
meaning no such thing. 

Therefore, nothing is more to be wondered at, nor a greater 
argument of the degeneracy of man, or how low his mind is 
sunk, than that there should be any who should go into the ac- 
count of the more thinking sort of men, that yet should make 
it their business to exclude the power of final causes out of the 
world: as if there were no such thing as a final cause, or an end 
designed, that had any influence at all upon this great creation, 
W'hereas, if we consider the several orders and sorts of being, 
how useful the meanest creature, even the inanimate part of the 
creation is, to very great and necessary purposes and ends ; and 
when we consider, among those things that have life, how aptly 
they serve for their own purposes, and how aptly every thing in 
them serves their own purpose, that is, to beget and maintain 
that life, we cannot but see the absurdity of that conceit. To 
look upon the lowest sort of living creatures, the mere vegeta- 
ble creatures ; Why arc they made with roots ? but to takehold 
of the earth from whence by them their nutriment is drawn; 
Uiat those little fibres, without which a leaf could not be nou- 
rished, should be dispersed every wjiere throughout the whwie, 
with so fine a texture as they are ? Very well dotU Cicero, a hea- 

VOL. vn, 2 I 


then, speak of nature under the name of the divine art, the art 
of God. And whereas, " Boni artificis est celare artem ;" 
// is the part of a good artist to conceal his art, truly, if the 
divine art were not, in great part, concealed, one would think all 
the actions of intelligent creatures, shoidd be swallowed up in 
wonder, to behold the divine agency running througli all things, 
and so variously exerting itself for the production of things as 
we find them ; and contriving the several kinds of things in 
the same rank and station in the creation, into which at first 
they were set. 

If we should look to that admirable, rare contrivance, that 
appears in the forming of our own bodies, upon which you find 
the Psalmist in that transport, " Marvellous are thy works, 
fearfully I am made," that is, wonderfully ; " and that my soul 
knoweth right well." Psalm 139. 14. ' That is, " This is a 
beaten subject to me, a thing that my thoughts are much used 
to, it is a thing about which n)y mind is accustomed, I know it 
right M'ell :" as we know the path that we have often trod. 

And not only is the divine wisdom conspicuous in this fram- 
ing of things, but his goodness too. How adorable is the good- 
ness of God, even in that frame and disposure of things that we 
find in the creation ; that things are so framed and adapted, as 
to answer and correspond to one another. Here is a great ap- 
pearance of the divine goodness, that whereas he hath put into 
such sorts and orders of his creatures, a desiring faculty, there 
is still somewhat in that creation to answer that faculty of de- 
sire. Every thing is, by natural instinct, taught to desire that 
which is good for it; that is, that which is convenient and suit- 
able to it. So we havd the Psalmist (psalm 145. 15.) admir- 
ing God upon this account, that the eyes of all things were up 
unto him, and that he gave them their meat in due season: a 
continual argument and testimony of the divine goodness. He 
hath not left himself, in this, without witness ; the whole earth 
is full of his goodness, even that which the inhabitants of it re- 
plenish and fill with their wickedness and malignity against 
him. He doth good to all, even to the evil and the good. He 
hears the ravens when they cry, and tliey seek their meat from 
God: psalm 104. which psalm is full of expressions to this 
purpose. This is the munificence of the great Creator, that 
when he did design to replenish such and such parts of the cre- 
ated universe, with such and such inhabitants, creature:, able to 
receive and entertain some correspondent and suitable good, he 
liath also stored the world with that good which shall answer 
every appetite throughout all this creation of God : so that 
Hone can be miserable, amongst even those that are rendered. 

i.EC..:x.) His Work of Creation. 253 

by their own natures, capable of governinent by a law, but such 
as make themselves so by aversion and disaffection to their 
proper and suitable good. They only have il not, because they 
refuse it, because they are disaffected thereunto. 

But then, we should come, in the next place, to speak ot 
the second act which this expression in the text doth suppose. 
That which the word in the text is most expres:^ive (;[', is only 
that sort of act by which things are adapted and suited to one 
another : but this supposeth a former act, by wliich those things, 
out of which things are thus framed, were themselves at first 
produced and brought forth out of nothing ; which is creation 
in the strictest and most proper sense ; though, indeed, there is 
not a word that doth exclusively signify that act in any of the 
learned languages. But the nature of tlie thing, dotli plainly 
evidence that there must be such an act. That is, look upon 
all uncreated being, the being of God himself, and then that 
which is created and made being, must have been made out of 
nothing; which they that will not apprehend, run into various 
and most manifest absurdities ; one sort, thinking there must be 
such a thing as eternal, necessary matter; another sort, thinking 
that things must be made out of God as so many parts of the 
Deity. But 1 shall, on the next occasion, labour to evince to 
you the absurdity of any such imaginations as these. 

And in the mean time, pray let us make so much of present 
reflection upon this great work of God's creation ; that is, that 
he who hath made such a world as this, cannot but have both 
right and ability to rule it, and all things in it, to the best and 
most valuable purposes. And truly, 1 fear we do not, on this 
account, enough study the creation, and the attributes of the 
Divine Being that are exerted and put forth in that creation. 
There is his wisdom and his goodness to be seen in that first 
sort of act already spoken to. 

And his power is most visible, and especially to be seen in 
the latter sort of act, as we shall shew when we come to speak 
to it. But to any that would give themselves liberty of their 
own thoughts, one would think, they should not part, for all 
the world, with the consolation, that this one thing sliould af- 
ford us : that is, that all this vast frame of things should be pro- 
duced by divine wisdom, goodness, and power, into tliat exqui- 
site order, in which we now behold them : and that, hereupon, 
he that could tell how to make such a world as this, replenished 
with such variety of inhabitants, knows how to govern, and dis- 
pose every thing he hath made. And, as there liath been that 
display of those glorious excellencies, in tiie Divine Nature, in 
the frame and contexture of this whole creation, we ought, 
kereupon, always to expect, that lie will, with the same wis- 


dom, power, and goodness, regulate, govern, and dispose of 
what he hath so made. All these things will appear, and shew 
themselves in the most proper seasons, without our distracting 
and self-tormenting cares. Let us be desirous, principally and 
finally, of nothing but that he who made such a world as this, 
for himself, and for his own glory, may, in his own way and 
time, have that glory out of it which he seeks and designs for 
himself. Yea, let us be content, that he should have it in such 
a way as may possibly be conjunct with our suffering many in- 
conveniencies ; things that may be grievous to us, to our flesh 
and blood, and external sense. Should not he have his glory out 
of his own creation, his own way ? This world was not made 
for us, but it was made for him, by whom it was made. 


[2.] But then, as 1 have told you, in the second place, we 
are novv to consider, that as the expression, here in the text, 
doth more directly signify that one act, of putting things into 
order, which is the native import of the word ; so there is ano- 
ther act necessarily supposed; and that is, the bringing of 
things out of nothing, which are the proper, the truly proper 
matter of production, or whatsoever is extra Deiirn, whatso- 
ever is a diverse thing from the being of the Deity itself. This 
word, " frame," doth not signify direetly this act, but it doth 
necessarily suppose it. Order, doth suppose a subject, the 
things in bping that are brought into that order. And as the 
two great attributes before mentioned, divine wisdom and goo.i- 
iiess, do shine forth in that former act, the putting of things 
into order; so his power doth most eminently appear in this 
latter act, the bringing of the things which he so puts into or- 
der,, out of nothing. 

As we do not pretend to assert this act, from the import of 
this word that is used in the text, abstractly considered, so nei- 
ther do we pretend to assert, from the native, proper force and 
signiticancy of any one word at all, that we must think appro- 
priate to this purpose, as only to signify this act and nothing 
else. We do readily grant, the hebrew and the greek words 
thus rendered, are frequently used with more latitude than 
barely to signify the bringing of things out of nothing. And so, 
this act is not to be concluded from the force and import of 
such words, abstractly considered by themselves. Words thaj 

* Preaehed July ], 10C)3. 

iEC. XI.) Jffi^^ TVork of Creation. 215 

are of a more indefinite signification, that may signify more 
things than one, they are always determined to i^omc one parti- 
cular sense or other, by the circumstances of tiie })lace where 
they are used. There is not any one word at all, that is to be 
confined and limited to one certain sense by its own native 
import : or, at least, there are very few words that are capable 
of that confinement and restriction by constant and unvaried 
use. But what they mean in this or that saying, is to be judged 
by the circumstances of the discourses wiierein they lie. 

What of the creation is de fide, a matter of faith merely, we 
have hinted to you already, and shall further have occasion to 
shew you, when we come to speak of that second head, how we are 
to come to this understanding. But, in the mean time, it is 
very evident, when it is said, that we are to understand this by 
faith, that the worlds were so and so framed, we are not to un- 
derstand it exclusively, as if the meaning of the text were to shut 
out every thing of argument, or ratiocination in the matter. 
One and the same thing may be assented to, from divers differ- 
ent premises, as was hinted to you before. It is enough for our 
purpose, and even to make this which I am now speaking of, a 
matter of faith, to wit, the producing of created things out of 
nothing, if it shall evidently appear, that in some texts of Scrip- 
ture, this must be ultimately intended and meant ; and that no 
other thing can be, so as to exclude the necessary pre-supposi- 
tion of this : and there are, undoubtedly, some texts that must be 
so understood, that there hath been somewhat produced out of 
nothing, out of which other things at length were made to 

As to that first text of Scripture, "In tlie beginning God 
created the heaven and the earth." Created, must necessarily 
have this sense, at least, by an unavoidable necessity; for this 
making heaven and earth, being said to be in the beginning, 
when things took their beginning, had their first rise, it must 
suppose that heaven and earth were not only brought into order, 
but that of which they were made, was made of itself to exist, 
not having existed before. Otherwise, how was that the begin- 
ning of things? How was that the head of things ? as the hebrew 
word Resch, from whence the word Bershith, in the beginning, 
' signifies. Otherwise, this word must assert a contradiction, 
that things were begun, and not begun, at that time when God 
created heaven and earth. 

And so, if you go forward to that first of John's gospel, ver. 
2, 3. " In the beginning was the Word, and the VV^ord was with 
God, and the Word was God. All things were created by him, 
(tliat is, God) and without him was nothing made that v/as 


made :" every thing that was not God, was then made : all 
things. And, therefore, to suppose that all these made things 
were made our of pre-existeni matter, is to suppose, that that 
pre -existent matter was not a tliin^;, for all things were said to 
he made by him. All things beside himself were then made; 
therefore, ui;itter itself was then made, out of whieli other 
things were made; unless it shall be said that matter is nothing, 
and, if so, we have what we seek, that is, that there are some 
things made out of nothing; but if it were a thing, and were not 
the Divi£)e Being, as it is in^possible to be, it was a self-made 
thing, and then made out of nothing. 

And to this purpose must the explicatory proposition in the 
text be necessarily adapted, so that the things that are seen, 
were not made of things that did appear. The phoenomena, 
(that Is the word there) things not then appearing, when tiie 
worlds weie thus framed by the word of God; that is, things 
not before existing, for there is nothing at all that can be sup- 
posed to exist, but doth appear to some faculty or other, 
either divine or created. But they were things simply not ap- 
j^earing at all, and, therefore, not existing at all, out of which 
these worlds were made. 

And lexieograpiuMS do take notice of that among tlie other 
senses of the word <pxiv9ixevuv, that it signifies to exist. And, 
therefore, the worlds are said to be framed out of that which 
once did not exist, till it was made to exist by tiie divine cre- 
ative jx)wer. And therefore, they foolishly think who would 
put a difficulty upon God in this case, such as was put upon 
the Israelites in Egypt, to make brick witliout straw : as if om- 
nipotency could be posed, or meet with any obstruction to its 
designed acts, for want of matter to work u})on. It was all one 
to him, (who calls things that are not, and makes them be as if 
they were, as the expression Rom. 4. 1 7.) whether there were 
the pre-existent matter to work upon or no : and the non pre- 
existence can never nonplus omnipotency. 

And therewith should we obviate the vain and idle question, 
when we hear of the worlds being framed by the word of God : 
"Aye, but of what, were they made? made they were, but 
what did he make them of?" They must have, originally, been 
made out of what before was not, seeing it was his pleasure 
that they should be ; for, for his pleasuse all things are and 
were created. Rev. 5. 9. And so, (as was said before,') if you 
take matter within the compass of being, it must itself be a 
made thing. 

Now, concerning this act, the bringing of all things out of 
nothing, take this tv/ofold assertion, which we shall evince 

lEC. XI.) Hia Work of Creation. 217 

to you, and according vvhereunto we are to conceive of it — 
that it is possible to no created agent : and— that it is possible 
to God. 

First : To all created agents, it was impossible to bring some- 
thing out of notliing. It is impossible to all the power of nature, 
unto the power of whatsoever creature, or unto all the crea- 
tures uniting their power. 1 shall not trouble you with the 
reasonings of the schools to this purpose, by which they plainly 
enough demonstrate creation (that is, bringing something out 
of nothing) to be impossible to any creature. It is, indeed, a 
much disputed thing among them, whether God cannot impart 
his power, whether it cannot be communicated to a creature, so 
as thj;t he may not make use of a creature in creation ; but it is 
little material how that goes. 

But that a creature cannot, by all Its own strength, be able 
to bring any thing out of nothing, nor all created power put 
togetlier, needs no other conviction, but an appeal even to 
common understanding. Nor can you conceive it any way 
possible for 5'ou. And if you say, " No, I cannot do it alone ; 
but if I take in the advice, or superadded helps of such and such 
things, possibly we may together." Why, suppose all the power 
and force of all men in the world, and of all created agents be- 
sides, were to be united in one act, you cannot so much as 
conceive that they could produce so much as one single atom 
into being out of nothing. As it is equally impossiljle to all 
created power to annihilate, as to create, to reduce something 
back again into nothing, as to produce something out of no- 
thing. So also is it equally possible for the divine, uncreated 
power to bring all things out of nothing. And, then, there- 

Secondly : We are to conceive concerning this act, as it is 
impossible to any created agent, so it is possible to Gad, and to 
the divine agency. For it is plain, it implies nothing of con- 
tradiction in the thing itself; that that which did. not exist, 
should exist, as it is evident that many things do exist which 
did not exist. Therefore, there is no contradiction in that, 
what did not exist, should exist, as it is evident that many 
things do exist. And, therefore, to suppose it impossible to 
God to make that exist, which did not exist, is itself to assert a 
contradiction. For the notion of God doth carry infiniteness in it: 
you cannot form a notion of God, but it must include iniinite- 
ness. But to say that he is infinite, infinite in being, in his 
perfections, in his power too, and yet, that he cannot do that 
which implies no contradiction to be done, is to deny God to 
be God. It is to say, God is but a finite being, or of fiijite 


})ower; to say, that which you call God is not God, which is a 
contradiction, when you say that he cannot do that which im- 
plies no contradiction that it should he done : that is, that that 
which did not exist, should exist. 

But admit this, perhaps you will ohject, that it is possible to 
divine agency to make something out of nothing, that doth not, 
however, prove, that God hath now done so. There are many 
things possible to be done, which are not actually done. And 
it is no argument, from the affirmation of the power to assert 
the act. 

To this, I only say, It is not alleged to that purpose ; we do 
not assert the possibility of creating something out of nothing, 
to prove that something hath been created out of nothing; but 
only l)y way of answer to them, that would thereby prove, that 
something was never created out of nothing, because it is an 
enunciatio affirmation, that which is impossible to be done is 
never actually done, though it doth not follow, that because 
the thing is possible to be done, therefore it is actually done. 
And, therefore, this is alleged only in answer to them, that do say 
it is simply impossible. But we prove it not to be impossible, 
for many things exist that did not always do so. 

But we otherwise prove, that it hath actually been so, that 
is, that he hath made something out of nothing ; that is, that 
we have proved it from those plain texts, that cannot but be 
understood in that sense. And we shall now prove it, from 
the gross and manifold absurdities, that they are unavoidably 
cast upon, who disallow something to be made out of nothing. 
That is, such absurdities as these ; first, they must suppose this 
world to have been eternally, of itself, as it is ; or, secondly, they 
must affirm there hath been necessarily self-subsisting matter 
from eternity ; or, thirdly, they must assert, that God hath made 
all things out of himself, that whatsoever is made, is part of 
himself. But these are all of them the most manifest and gross 
absurdities that can be thought. 

i. That this world should have been eternally as it is, without 
beginning. They that will pretend to say so, must first throw 
away all divine revelation about this matter, which manifestly 
asserts it never to have been eternal, but hath begun to be. 
But besides that, they do assert, here, repugnancies in the very 
nature of the thing, for they must assert the world to be as 
new now, as it was several thousands of years ago; tliat it was 
as old, the first year, as now it is ; that is, the first year in our 
account. Besides what is wont to be alleged by them who are 
for that second horrid opinion, that matter was necessarily self- 
subsisting from eternity; they think themselves concerned to 

JLEC. XI.) His Work of Creation. 249 

prove the world's being from eternity, as it, is ; and they do so 
from that consideration, that then it is most unconceivably 
strange, that wc should have no records of things, (as one oi 
those Epicureans speaks) elder or of a more ancient date than 
the times of the I'rojan war, and the like. But, 

ii. That which is more plausibly, and more usually, taken up 
in these latter times, (tliough it was an ancient by-gone a!)sur- 
dity too,) is, that there must be such a thing as eternal matter, 
out of which many things were brought into this frame, in 
which now they are . and some that will not pretend to atheism 
do think, that only that matter did pre-exist, and things could 
not have been produced into that order and state wherein they 
do now appear, but by a divine agency; that is, by a di- 
vine power and wisdom running througli all things, and mo- 
delling them into that form in wisich we do find they do now 
appear, and are now cast; but nothing is more obvious to them 
that do consider, than the gross absurdity of that opinion, that 
there must be such a thing as eternal, self-subsisting matter, 
out of which God made the worlds. For, 

(i.) That would ascribe to the matter, the most fundament?il 
attributes of the Divine Being ; that is, self-subsisting or neces- 
sary existence. Nothing can be imagined more grossly ab- 
surd, than, that the highest and most radical, and most funda- 
mental attribute of the Deity should be ascribed to dull and 
senseless matter, that is, to exist of itself, and lliat it sljould be 
possible to him, if he would, to reduce it to nothing : and that 
this prerogative should belong to every particle of matter, and 
that all matter being reduced Into minute particles, even ia 
our conception, then each minute particle must be in itself, an 
independent thing, existing of itself without dependance on any 
thing else. Which, if It be acknowledged, then shall you liave 
as many deities as there are minute particles of matter through- 
out the universe. 

(il.) This will further confute that gross conceit, tliat tiiere 
must be any self-subsisting matter from eternity. And if there 
were such, it were altogether impossible that this world should 
be made out of it. And so it is asserted, not only impiously, but 
vainly : impiously, as it doth intrench upon a peculiar and 
most fundamental attribute of the Divine Being, to wit, self- 
subsistence : and vainly, because it were impossible this world 
should be made of such matter. If there were any such? for wh^tt- 
soever is necessarily self-subsisting is unchangeable ; that w])icli 
is necessarily what it is, can never l)e other than It is. And it Is 
altogether impossible that a world could be made of it, without 
its undergoing various changes. If it be necessarily such, of, 

VOL. vii. 2 k 


and from, itself which now it is ; that whicli is necessarily what 
it is, is eternally what it is. And therefore, can never be liable to 
any ciuinge, not so much as that intrinsic change of motion. 
For suppose any minute particle of matter to be of itself necessa- 
rily, it must be somewhere ; and if it be necessarily any where, 
it can by no succeeding change be any wliere else : and so must 
be simply unmoveable. And then, this world could never be 
made of it, that is, of unmoving matter: and it must be un- 
nioving matter, and uncapable of motion, if it be of itself what 
it is. For if it be of itself, it must be necessarily somewhere ; 
and if it be somewhere necessarily, it must be somewhere eter- 
nally, and can never change its place. And again, 

(iii.) That opinion of eternal, necessary, self-subsisting mat- 
ter, the absurdity of it is enough to be evinced from hence, that 
is, that the ground upon which it is asserted, equally serves for 
the asserting of a manifest falsehood ; that is, that nothing 
else is made out of nothing. We may as well suppose matter 
to be made out of nothing, as any thing else to be made owt of 
nothing; but something else must be acknowledged to be 
made out of nothing. We told you, at first, speaking of the 
object of creation, that the universal distinction that created 
things are capable of, is into two heads, of mind and matter. 
Now, they must acknowledge minds to be made of nothing, 
that they are not eternally self-subsisting. And if a mind can 
he made out of nothing, wliy may not matter as well as mind ? 
and it is plain, that (speaking of the mind of a creature) that 
must be made out of nothing : for it could never be made out 
of matter, matter being uncapable of thought ; and thought is 
the most essential thing we can conceive of in the notion of a 
mind» This can never, upon any terms, agree to matter ; that 
is a material thing: as such it is impossible that that should 
be capable of thought, or of the power of thinking. 

There is no part of matter to wliich that can agree, for yoii 
can conceive nothing of matter, or of the several particles of 
matter, but either its size, that is, being bigger or lesser, or its 
figure, that is, being so shaped ; or its situation, that is, being 
in this place or that, in reference to other parts or particles of 
matter: or its motion to one part or another. Now, none of 
these can make the power of thought to he any way at all com- 
patible to matter : for it must be grossly absurd to imagine, that 
if matter be of such a size, such a bigness, now it is true, being 
of such a size, it cannot think ; but if it were a little bigger, or 
a little less, it could think. And then, again, if you speak of 
the figure of it, if it be round, it cannot think; but if it were 
square, or triangular, it would ; how absurd is such a conception. 

LHC. XI.) His IFork of Creation, 251 

or imagination as this ! So likewise, to think that motion should 
endow it with a power of thought is most absurd ; that, l)c^' g 
here, it could not think, but carry it there, and tlien it can think. 
Or to think that situation could give it that capacity. And you 
cannot think or conceive any thing of matter but one of these. 
Now if any of these cannot contribute to make it have a power 
of thought, to make a mind of it, I say, since there u'cre minds 
that were not of themselves from all eternity, and could not be 
made out of matter, then those minds were made out of nothing. 
And if minds were made out of nothing, why not matter as well 
as minds ? And that is a third consideration to evince the ab- 
surdity of that imagination of self-subsisting matter, from eter- 
nity, out of which the world must be supposed to be made. 

(iv.) It will be further proved from hence, not only to be ab- 
surd, but blasphemous ; that is, that it would make God to be a 
finite being. That was intimated another way before, but it 
will also appear this way that is now offered to your consider- 
ation. That is the only reason that is pretended, why there 
must be self-subsisting matter, because God cannot make some- 
thing out of nothing; and so that he had not power in himself 
of creating matter: and then he cannot be understood to have 
in himself infinite power, or to be himself, virtually, the all- 
comprehending Being. But most certain it is, tiiat the name 
God, doth comprehend all ; as even the significancy of that 
title Pan, given to the god among the pagans did import, that 
he was virtually all things ; that is, that there is virtually, no- 
thing which is not comprehended in the most perfect excel- 
lency of his being. And therefore, if matter be something, if 
it be a real something, then it must be comprehended within 
the virtual power of the divine power : otherwise, that is not 
all-comprehending, and that it should not be so, is repugnant to 
the very notion of God, a Being of infinite perfection in him- 
self. If he be such, then he comprehends this perfection in 
himself, the power of making matter, as it is a greater perfec- 
tion, sure, to be able to do this, than to be, as to this, impotent. 
And then, 

iii. A third absurdity which is conjunct with no less blas- 
phemy too, which they are cast upon who deny the creation, at 
first, to have been out of nothing ; and that is the conceit of 
many of the stoics of old, and which hath been taken up by 
some more lately is, that God made things out of himself. 
Not meaning, nor referring as the efficient, as the agent, (as 
we all do) but to himself as the sidyjecfitm ex quo, the subject 
»ut of ivhichihings were made. So that all the creation, and 


the greatest sorts of creatures, they are several parts of God, so 
and so diversified. But to this, noiiiing more needs to be said 

(i.) That the Divine Being is simple, impartable, uncapa- 
hle of division into parts: it is inconsistent with the perfection 
of God, that it should be otherwise : and, 

(ii.) The Divine Being is the most perfectly spiritual Being, 
the most purely and perfectly spiritual; and therefore material 
things were never made out of it. For it is altogether as im- 
possible to turn a spirit into matter, as it is to turn matter into 

Something I would say by way of Use, before I go ofPfiom 
this head, and proceed to the other, the manner, here, as as- 
certained hov*' we come by this notion of the creation ; that is, 
faith. Pray make this reflection, upon what hath been already 
said : If this creation could originally come out of nothing, 
then let no doubt, 1 beseech you, trouble your minds about a 
new creation. Did God, at first, make heaven and earth, or 
make the worlds out of nothing ? Sure he can as easily make a 
new world out of that ill state of things in which we now be- 
hold them, as he did tlie whole world, as now it is, out of 
nothing, if you will say. There are no appearances looking 
that way : if there shall be a.new heaven, and a new earth, how 
can we admit that thought, when there are no appearances 
tending thereunto? Why, this world was first made out of 
things that did not appear. There were no appearances as to 
the creation of this world before it was made : what if there be 
no appearance, nay if there be contrary appearances, if things 
look quite another way, and with a quite contrary face and 
aspect ? What is all that to Him who, at first, made heaven and 
earth with a word ? It would greatly facilitate our faith, if we 
did this, if we did but consider these two things: first of all, 
the greatness, and secondly, the facility of this work of God. 
The greatness of it, so vast a thing and so great a thing as this 
■world is; and the facility of his doing: he spake and it was 
done ; as the Psalmist expresses it ; Dictum fuctian, As soon 
as it could be spoken. Let such a thing be ! and it was, "Let 
there be light, and there was light ;" Let there be heaven and 
earth, and they were. So to make a new heaven, and a new 
earth, when the season tliereof comes, is equally easy, as all 
things are equally easy to Him that can do all things. 

LEC. xii.) His Work of Creation, 253 


Before we proceed to iho next head, it remains only to con- 
sider somewhat that is wont to he objected, liy such as too 
much indulge a litij^ious temper and disposition of spirit, 
against the one and the other of tliese acts ; the putting things 
into this order wherein we find them, and the bringing of things 
into being that were nothing before. 

1. There are tiiat do object against that act, wliich is here 
expressed in our English, by the name of framing of worlds, 
the putting things in them into the order which we now behold. 
That is, It is objected, that if this order which we see i-.i the 
universe, were tlie effect of divine wisdom and design, it would 
be certainly much more accurate than we find it ; things would 
be done with more exactness, there would not be so many de- 
fects as we see in the universe. It seems not to l)e congruous 
(such do imagine) to the wisdom of God, that he should under- 
take the settling of an order in this creation, and that it should, 
in such respects as have been mentioned, and many other, be 
liable to so much exception. And to this, there are several 
things to be said. As, 

(l.j That it is very true, indeed, the order of things would be 
more exact, and accurate than it is, if it had been God's design 
to iiiake every creature, and the whole frame of things as per- 
fect as he could have made it. But we have no reason t© ima- 
gine that that was any thing of his design. He did not make 
it to ansvver our purpose, but his own, all being to run into an 
eternal state of things at last, and this temporary state to be of 
short continuance. And therefore, let such as do think, there 
should have been greater exactness and accuracy in this frame 
of things, (if this will not satisfy them) sit down and wonder, 
that when it was intended, one time or another, such creatures 
as they, should be raised up into being in the world, that God 
did not put things into better order for their entertainment, 
that he did not make every thing more exactly to ansvver their 
fancies, appetites, and humours. But, 

(2.) It is enough to the purpose here asserted, that the worlds 
were framed by the Word of God, by the Eternal Logos, that 
did predetermine the order of things, and by a powerfully ex- 
erted word, in the time and season, when things were to exist 
and come forth into being. I say, it sufficiently answers what 

Preached July 8, 1693. 


is lierc asserted, if it doth appear that all things were done with 
design, and so as that tliey could not he done by any wisdom 
or power less than divine. This is enough for our purpose, 
that there are characters of design upon the whole frame of 
things : but that such a design as this could never have been 
laid, nor could ever have been effected by any created wisdom 
or power whatsoever, for the wisdom we see in the contexture 
of the things which we behold, is no where, in the creature, 
acconipanied with power capable of doing such things. Not 
to speak of things in particular, if you do but consider these 
two properties of things that are framed and made, either first, 
the magnitude of some, or the parvitude of others ; (only to 
instance in those two,) as it is manifest there was a design, so 
it is equally manifest that no created agent could have done any 
thing like either of these. Either, 

[1.] As to magnitude : the magnitude of the universe, what 
created agent could have made so vast a fabric as heaven and 
earth, as " the worlds ?" wluch is the expression in the text. 
All created agency must confess itself outdone. Nothing is 
left us upon that account to consider, when we ask the ques- 
tion. How came there to be such worlds ? It is resolvable by 
nothing else, but that the worlds were framed by the word of 
God. And then, 

[2.] On the other hand, if you do but consider the parvitude 
of things, the many multitudes of things that have life : no cre- 
ated agent can contrive or do any such thing. Multitudes of 
little creatures, in the kinds of them, too little to be seen by 
our naked eye, but that by instruments may be seen to have 
their respective motive powers. And those that are capable of 
dissection, that there should be as many parts observable, for 
the several functions of life, in some of the minutest insects as 
are to be found in an elephant. It is plain, that a wise design 
there was in the framing of things as they are made, and that 
it is altogether impossible it should be donc^ by any other but 
a Divine Agent : whether you consider the magnitude or the 
parvitude of things that are made. And again, 

(3.) There is this further to be considered as to this objection, 
that in looking upon, and taking notice of, the works of God, 
we are not to consider them abstractly and severally, but we 
are to consider them as parts of one entire whole, and in their 
rcf<;'rcnce to that. As a heathen philophcr, among the Greeks, 
tells us, "If we should make ajudgnicnt of the whole work of 
creation by tliis or that less comely part of it, it were the same 
thing as if one would give an account what sort of creature 
man is, and take for instance and example, such a one asTher- 

JLEC. XII.) His JrorJi of Creation* 255 

sites, or one of the most deformed of all men, and so givr an 
account of the structure of the human body by such a one, tliat 
there would be as little cause of cavil, as he would have witii a 
picture drawer, who siiould find great fault with him that he put 
not bright colours every where, that there are, any where, dark 
shadows to be found." This, and much more to this purpose, 
is discoursed by a heathen, for the vindication of God as to this 
thing, that there should be any thing of defect, or not the 
most absolute perfection to be found in every creature that we 
can look upon. And again, 

(4.) It is further to be considered to this purpose, That we 
are to consider the time and texture of things in this universe, 
not barely as now it is, but as at first it was, and to consider 
what this inferior part of the creation, which was made for the 
use and service of man, was in its original state, when he was 
in his original state : that man for whom all this lower world 
appears to have been made, is become a degenerate creature, 
an apostate creature. And that, as lie is gone very far from 
his original, things are very far gone from their original, in 
which they were made for him. The fram.e of this world is 
not like what it was. What changes there were in it for tlje 
sin of man, before the flood, we know not. But that must have 
inferred a universal change in all this earth. And we find, as 
to the point of longevity, things have altered apace and did 
gradually alter in that respect. So as in a short compass of 
time, in comparison, lives of seven or eight hundred years, or 
more, were come to sixty or eighty years, a very great, and 
hardly a tolerable age, all labour and sorrow. That sickness 
and mortality are come into this world, it is true : but wlio 
brought them in ? They were sinners that introduced iheni. 
It is sin that hath so slurred the creation of God, as to that 
noble creature, and as to the subservient creature, proportion- 
ally. And, 

(5.) It is further to be considered too, that God hath, since the 
first creation of things, settled an ordinary course of nature \i\ the 
world, which ordinarily he doth not invert or alter, but for some 
very great purposes. As when, now and tlien, a miracle is to 
be wrought ; otherwise, usually, he doth not interpose to 
change the course of nature, but lets things run on according to 
the tendency and current of second causes. 

(6.) In the last place, as to this objection, this is further to be 
considered, that this is more an argument, that the order we 
find in things should proceed from God, that there is not such 
an accuracy in every punctilio to be beheld, than if it were so ; 
tlmt is, it is more suitable to the diviae greatness. There is 


this, among men, to be observed, that according as they are 
of greater minds and spirits, they do less concern themselves 
about light and trivial matters. And they reckon a kind of 
rational neglect to be greater, to have more in it of majesty, more 
that doth beseem a great man and a great mind. They are 
little minds that do minutely concern themselves about trifles 
and small matters. 

2. But again, there lies matter of objection, with some, 
against the other of these acts. The former, his putting things 
into order, the latter, his putting things into being. And with 
this, the objection that lies with divers, and bath done, in latter 
and former ages, is the authority of that maxim. Ex tiihilo, ni- 
hil fit, that nothing can come out of nothing, and therefore, 
there can have been no such thing as a mere creation ; which 
(as I told you) the act supposed, the act of framing of things : 
the order of things doth suppose the being of them. But this, 
say they, could never be, that that which was nothing should 
become something ; for common reason doth allege, that out 
of nothing, nothing can be made, nothing will be nothing still, 

But to them, I have only two tilings to miswer — that herein 
they do mistake the maxim that they rely upon, and — that they 
contradict themselves. 

(1.) That they mistake the maxim, upon the authority whereof 
they pretend to rely, that nothing can come out of nothing: 
for it can only imply these two things — that it is impossible for 
any thing to come out of nothing by itself, and — that it is im- 
possible that any thing should come out of nothing by a cre- 
ated agent. In both these senses, the maxim is most certainly 

[1.] That it is impossible, that any thing should come out of 
nothing of itself : that is evident to every understanding that 
reflects and considers. If we should but, in our own supposi- 
tion, imagine, that there were nothing now at all in being of 
one kind or another, it is certain that to all eternity there 
would never be any thing in being: as we have had occasion 
to argue to you heretofore. We find that somevvhat now is, 
and therefore, we are sure that something hath always been : 
for if there were any time wlien there was nothing, to all eter- 
nity there would be nothing. Because it is impossible that 
something should ever itself arise out of nothing. In that 
sense, the m.axim is most indubitable; that it is impossible that 
something should arise out of nothing. And, 

[2.J It is equally indubitable in this sense too, that a created 
agency, or all created agency put together, if it were all to be 

L»c. XII.) His JVorh of Creation. 257 

exerted into one act, could never raise something out of no- 
thiniT. But to bring the authority of this maxim againsft the 
omnipotent agency of the supreme and sovereign Cause, is tiio 
most absurd collection that can be tliought. As if vvc could 
measure the Divine Agency by that of the creatures. It might 
every whit as well be said, that because a child nevvly born, 
cannot build a house or a city, that therefore, it can never be 
done, no agency could ever do it : and the difference is infi- 
nitely greater between God's agency and any creature's, than 
between that of tbe meanest and weakest creature, and that of 
the mightiest that can be supposed. Tiiis is to circumscribe 
omnipotency, and to deny omnlpotency to be omnipotent, 
^vhich is a contradiction. Wliat greater contradiction can 
there be, than to deny a thing of itself, to say there is any thing 
that is not what it is ? But it is no contradiction, that that which 
was not, should be made to be, that that which did not exist, 
should exist, and so to bring something out of nothing; for that 
is within the compass of the object of almighty power. And 
then, I answer, 

(2.) As ihcy that do so object, do most manifestly contradict 
the truth, so it is equally evident that th.ey contradict them- 
selves, in giving the account they do give of the original of 
things, such as it is. There are two sorts of then). 

[1.] There are some; first, that will have all substance to he 
one, (such as Spinosa and his followers) and so to be uncre- 
ated, and that there is nothing created but the modifications of 
things. But as to them, I inquire whether these modiHcations 
were in that substance before, yea or no? If they were before, 
then they were not produced, .'^.nd so nothing is produced. 
But if they were not in that substance before, (which, they 
imagine) and yet be something, (as they cannot pretend them to 
be nothing) then this something is throughout of nothiing: and 
they cannot but be compelled to own so much. And we find 
it actually to be, for we find things are modified so and so. 
And then, 

[2.] There is a second sort, who do not make all substance 
to be self-existent and eternal, but only matter, as the pas- 
sive subject, which the eternal, unmade Mind doth work 

But even they also, must be constrained to contradict them- 
selves. And it will appear most evident, that they do so, the 
matter being pursued: for a mind is not made of matter; 
there is no kind of cognation between a particle of matter and 
a thoutrht, and so between the whole of matter and of mind. 
A mind can never be made of mattej, or out of matter. But 

VOL. vri, 2 I. 


there are minds that are made; our own, theirs, if there were 
any that were not always ; and then, they must be made out of 
nothing, for out of matter they cannot he made. And so, as 
to that objection, the objectors are manifestly found, botli to 
contradict the truth, and to contradict themselves j and we need 
concern ourselves no further with them.f 


Secondly. The second general head we now come to is, 
how or by what principle we are to understand all this. And 
for that, the text tells us, it is by *' faith" that we are to un- 
derstand it. How come we to know that this vast universe, 
these worlds, (which how many they are we cannot tell,) did 
all spring up into being by the word of God ? how come we 
to be informed, or how are we informed of all this ? Why it is 
by faith. Here, it is requisite to shew how this is to be taken, 
that we are by faith to understand the worlds to have been cre- 
ated by the word of God. Why, 

It is not to be taken exclusively, as if it were to be under- 
stood no way, but by faith. It is plain, and hath been made 
plain, that it may be understood by reason too. And there is 
no prejudice at all in it, that the same conclusion should be 
capable of being proved by more arguments than one; and by 
more sorts of arguments than by one sort. Nothing is more 
ordinary, than to bring many arguments of one sort, of those we 
call artificial arguments, to prove the same conclusion : many 
such arguments may be useful to serve one and the same pur- 
pose : and it is no more inconvenient, and incongruous, that there 
should be arguments of more sorts than one, to prove the same 
thing, than that there should be many arguments used of one 
sort. Therefore, this is not to be understood exclusively, that 
we are to have the notice of the worlds being made by the 
word of God no way at all but by faith ; or that we are to un- 
derstand this by faith only : that the text doth not say, and we 
are not to take it so. But, 

We are to take it thus, that is, that we are to understand 
this by faith more advantageously ; not exclusively, but with 

t Several things, by way of use, were at this time inferred : hut 
the enlargement thereof, being on the entire use made on this act of 
God ; what was now said, is^to he found in the Lecture preached 
December 26, 1690. vide vol. 6, ])age 428, 

* Preached NovemI)er 25, I693. 

LEC. XIII.) His TFork of Creation. 259 

much more advantage than by any other way alone. My mean- 
ing is, that having plain, rational evidence of the creation, (as 
indeed we have such as is irrefragable, and as no mind which 
considers, can withstand) then, it is a great superadded advantage, 
to understand the same thing by divine Revelation too. It adds 
a great deal, to have the matter so stated, that I may also un- 
derstand this by faith, that the worlds were made by the word 
of God. 

And, T shall now shew wherein this great superadded ad- 
vantage lies; and wherein, if we compare the two ways of un- 
derstanding this by reason, and of understanding it by faitli, 
this latter way hath the advantage, even of the other. For, 
first, we understand more of it by faith, than we can by rea- 
son ; and, secondly, what we understand by faith, we understand 

1. We understand more of it by faith, than by mere rational 
indagation or search, we could understand. We have a more 
circumstantial account of very important, considerable circum- 
stances of this creation, as faith represents the matter to us, 
out of God's own Revelation, than by rational disquisition we 
could have had. We understand within what limits of time; 
and we understand in what order this work of creation was per- 
formed, by faith. Reason could never have informed us of either 
of these, 

(1.) We understand within what limits of time this work 
was done, that is, that all was absolved within the space of six 
days : no reason could ever have informed us of that. But it 
signifies much towards the liveliness of any representation, that 
the matter be represented in its circumstances. Reason, in 
the gross, could only have informed us generally, tliat all these 
things which do appear, are not of themselves, and were, some 
time or other, raised up out of nothing, by an almighty, creative 
power; but it could never have informed us within what li- 
mits of time such a mighty work as this was done. But our 
faith in the divine Revelation informs us of that too. And 

(2.) It informs us of the order in which things were pro- 
duced, which no reason could ever have informed us of, or 
found out ; that is, that on the first day, there being nothing at 
all but a disorderly chaos, (which must have been supposed first 
raised out of its primitive nothing) that God causeth a glorious 
light to spring out of that horrid darkness, that had every 
where spread itself over this chaos, this vast confused heap. 
He did but say the word^ *' Let there be light, and it was so." 


And then, it Informs us, that on the second day, God or- 
dereth a firniarnent, dividing the waters, or the fluid matter 
that was superior, made up of finer particles, from that which 
was inferior and more gross : the one, being designed for a 
nobler kind of use, and the other, for meaner services and pur- 

And then, we are informed, again, that on the third day, 
God made, in tiiis inferior world of ours, dry land and sea to 
appear, severally divided, and separate one from another, and 
distinct. And, that, as to the dry land, God doth implant in it 
the seminal princijjles of all sorts of vegetation, to make it ca«> 
pable of serving its after uses and purposes. 

And tlien, on the fourth day, all these glorious lights are 
made to appear, and shine forth in the firmament, that are 
ever since observable and conspicuous in the world. 

And then, on the fifth day, he replenisheth this earth with 
all tliose sorts of sensible animals that we find it inhabited with, 
and by which they are so much the more to be fitted for the 
habitation and use of man. 

And then, on the sixth day, he makes man, and brings him 
forth into this orderly and so well prepared world ; all things 
being fitted and accommodated to his use and purpose, as was 
most suitable and congruous; and gives him dominion over 
all; as the matter is so copiously, and with admiration of God, 
represented to us in that 8th psalm. 

And then, that having thus, in six days, absolved and finished 
all this great and glorious woik, he now sanctifies, and hallows, 
and blesses, the seventh day. The Lord himself, (as it were) 
resting with complacency in the view of his own vvovk, finding 
it to be good, and answering to the complete, eternal idea 
which lay in his own all-comprehending Mind. He beholds, 
with complacency, all that he had done, and so takes up that 
satisfying rest that was suitable to a God, in the contemplation 
of his own work. He did it with delight and pleasure ; and 
now beholds it with delight and pleasure done. And so, takes 
man (the creature, here in this lower world, which he had made 
capable thereof) into communion and participation with him, 
in this blessed rest of his : upon which is founded the law of 
the sabbath. 

Now, all these things that could not otherwise have been 
known to us, but by divine Revelation, and our faith therein, 
God, telling us that things were so and so, and we believing 
him, and relying on the truth of his word therein, He did gra- 
ciously provide that those things should be made manifest ; 
that they should be made known to the children of men, in 

tEC. xiis.) His Work of Creation. 261 

succeeding times, by casting all Into sacred records. Though, 
that, indeed, were not done till a considerable time after this 
begitining of all things; yet, till it was done, the knowledge of 
tlie«;e things was more easily transmitted or conveyed; three or 
four men, having; seen ail from the htgini'ingof the world, and 
so were ca|>aliie of telling one another, until the time when 
these things were capable of being transmitted into sacred re- 
cords -, the^e records themselves giving an account of those 
particulars that were transmitted, from hand to hand, by three 
or four of those that lived, successively, nearest to the begin- 
ning of time, who seeing and knowing, might tell one ano- 

And we have these notices, all of us, from God, that thus 
these worlds began. And, indeed, if such a notification of 
these things, did but now first arrive to us; if there were but 
one such n)anuscript in being, that should give this account of 
the first rise and production of all things, and it were suffi- 
ciently attested and proved to be divine, of how great value 
and account would it be! Your great antiquaries, that have 
been so highly pleased in searching into the ancientest origi- 
nal of things, what would not one of them have given for such 
a monument of antiquity as this, informing us distinctly, from 
point to point, how all things came into being, and in that 
order wherein they now lie to our notice and view ? The price 
thereof, would be above that of rubies, and all that could be 
desired, would not be compared therewith. 

That is one thing, whereby this understanding, by faith, the 
creation of the world, hath its advantage over any other way of 
coming to the knowledge or notice of it : that is, that we 
know more of it, by faith, than we could do any othei; way. 

2. What we do know, we know better. It is a belter way 
of knowledge, or we may know better this way, to speak of the 
one and the other, comparatively, in several respects. As, 

(I.) It is an easier way of knowledge, than that of rational 
search and disquisition. There must, in order to that, to know 
things so, be usually a laborious inquiry into the reference of 
one thing to another. There must be an adaption of a frame 
and series of consequences and deductions ; some whereof 
may be more obscure, but leads us gradually into clearer light, 
step by step. This is a more painful way of understanding 
things : it requires a very great exercise of mind to know 
many things by the deduction of a long series of consequences, 
one following upon another ; and which the minds of men, 
generally, are less apt for_, in this low and lapsed state of maii. 


But how easy a thing is it, to have such a matter told us, by 
One who, we are sure, will not deceive us, and cannot deceive 
us? and then, to believe it, and take his vvord that so it is? 
This brings us to a satisfaction about this matter presently, and 
with the greatest facility, it is true, indeed, that as to this 
particular point of the creation, the matter is most plainly de- 
monstrable, and very soon, to any capable and apprehensive 
mind : but if men were left to themselves, though they may 
be capable of discerning things represented to them in their 
dependencies, one upon another, they would not so easily find 
it out of themselves ; and, therefore, as this is far the more easy 
way of knowing, so, 

(2.) It is a way, too, by which the thinif^ may be more com- 
monly known: so far as the divine Revelation doth obtain and 
extend, it may be more commonly known. Very true, as I 
told you, it may be demonstrable, most plainly, to an intelli- 
gent, apprehensive, unprejudiced person, that this world was 
raised up out of nothing, by divine power. But as there are 
few that have ever made it their business, so far to cultivate 
their minds, as to be capable of demonstrating this to them- 
selves ; so there are few, that have opportunity of consulting 
with those, who will take the pains, (having acquired so much 
knowledge themselves) as to make such a demonstration to 
them ; so as that, with the most, it goes but as a matter of 
opinion. But few, if they were put to it, are able to prove 
that this world had its rise thus, at first. But now, if it be to 
be believed, as a matter of divine Revelation, so far as that di- 
vine Revelation doth obtairi, every one may presently be in- 
formed; and so this knowledge would become as much more 
common, as it is n)uch more easy : — every one can read, or. 
hear this read, to wit, the account that Scripture gives con- 
q^rn'wg the original of things : and so this knowledge, by this 
means, shall not be confined to a few, as it would be confined 
to a few, if none could come to the knowledge but those whose 
minds are sufficiently cultivated, so as to be capable of demon- 
strating this to themselves, or of apprehending well the de- 
monstration made of it by others. And again, 

(3.) It is a much clearer and more satisfying way, as well as 
it is more easy and more common. When the understanding 
of this matter is grounded this way, it is more satisfying to the 
mind ; it makes things much more clear. They are but dark, 
and confused, and indistinct notices that we could have had in 
a rational way, of the beginning of things. But to be told this, 
from point to point, how all things were produced at first, and 
brought forth into that being, and order, wherein we behold 

LEC. XIII.) ffis TVork of Creation, 263 

them; what a satisfaction Is it to an inquiring mind, to have 
such notices of these things ! 

How" much hath the matter l)een otlierwise, witli those that 
liave been destitute of divine Revelation, in tiii;? matter, and 
vvho could not discern the state of this affair by faith. How 
conjectural iiave their apprehensions been ; and how wild and 
exorbitant their conjectures, even concerning their own begin- 
ing. Man is nearest to himself: and if one would inquire con- 
cerning the beginning of things, one would inquire tnst of all, 
and chiefly, How did we begin ? How came it first to be, that 
there should be such a creature as man here in this world ? 
Those that have not had the help of divine Revelation, so as to 
be capable of understanding the matter by faith, as their ap- 
prehensions have been conjectural, so their conjectures have 
been the most strangely disorderly, inordinate, that could be 
thought ; some imagining, that men were thrust out, at first, in 
little bags out of this earth, having been formed there : others 
have apprehended, that they were begotten in the bellies of 
fishes ; (these were the conjectures of the great philosophers in 
the former ages of the world,) and by those fishes exposed and 
thrown out upon the earth. But to have an account given us, 
by the word of God,- so plainly, how satisfying it is to the mind 
of an inquiring man ! All dubious hallucinations about this 
matter, come now to be decisively and plainly represented, so 
as here is no more place left for dubious, and uncertain con- 
jecture in the case. But this was the determination of heaven; 
and according to the determination of heaven, the thing was 
done. " Let us now make man :" and so God made man: 
*' In liis own image male and female created he them." Here 
is an expedite, clear, and satisfying account how we had our 
beginning. And then, 

(4.) This way of understanding, by faith, the beginning of 
things, the creation of all things, is much more impressive; 
which is the greatest, and most important thing of all the rest. 
It is more easy ; it is more common ; (where divine Revelation 
obtains,) it is more satisfying ; and, lastly, more impressive ; 
more apt to make deep, and suitable, and useful impressions 
upon our mind and heart. By faith, we understand, that is, to 
make the thing enter into our souls. That notice of such a 
thing, of so great importance to us, which is by faith, trans- 
forms the subject ; moulds it into a suitable fran)e towards the 
Creator, towards itself, and towards its fellow-creatures, espe- 
cially, thoae of the same order and kind. Here will be corres- 
ponding impressions made by faith: whereas, mere rational 
knowledge of the same things, makes very little, or that, that 
is, at best, but faint and languid. 


And the matter is very plain, that till faitli comes, it is but 
an empty, notional knowledge, which people have of God's 
Creator-ship ; and of their own creature-ship : of God, as their 
Creator, and of t lie m selves as his creatures. It is but a slight, 
superficial knowledge that any have of these things, till faith 
comes : that carries a transforming power with it, so as to work 
the truth revealed, and believed, into the verj inwards of our 
souls. And it is more imj)ressive, the knowledge and under- 
standing even of this matter, which comes by faith, upon several 

[1.] Because the ground of this my faith, is distinctly and 
immediately divine. I believe such a thing, as God reveals it, 
because it is reported to me upon the authority of God, which 
carries a mighty awe with it, upon the soul, and so mikes the 
thing revealed and believed, the more impressive. I attend to 
God in the matter, the authority of God. If I believe such a 
thing, with a divine faith, it strikes my soul, and carries the 
matter to my heart. And again, 

[2.] The notice that I have by faith, of these things, is very 
agreeable to an apprehensive mind; and so it enters in the 
more. Look to the matter really, as it is revealed, and the 
substance of the divine Revelation, concerning this matter, is 
congruous, and suitable to the mind and spirit of a man. There 
lie no unanswerable exceptions against it. The knowledge that 
comes by rational inquiry, and search, admits of objections : 
when the matter is to be wrought out by mere ratiocination, 
there will be reasons fro and con ; arguments on the one hand, 
and arguments on the other hand : and many things that may 
seem reasonable to one, will not seem reasonable to another. 
But, as to what we are here required to believe about this mat- 
ter, or what is matter of faith in this case, there is nothing in it 
but what is very congenerous to an apprehensive and unpreju- 
diced mind, that is willing to know the truth of things. It may 
be, there is what should never have been found out, or known, 
if it had not been told : but to a considering mind, the thing 
appears to be just as it is told it is. I should not have thought 
of it before; but now 1 am told of it, it is very agreeable it 
should be so. And things do impress the more, accordingly as 
they are more suitable to them, they are the more easily re- 
ceived, there is less of obstruction lies against them. And, 

[3.] The notice we have of such things by faith, is the more 
impres-iivp, for that this very faith itself is a divine principle, 
immcdl;itely divine, implanted, inwrought into the heart by 
the Divine Spirit. We find faith reckoned among the fruits of 
the Spirit. Gal. 5. 22. And we read of such a thing as the 

LEc.xiii,) His fVork of Creation, 2()5 

spirit of faith. 2 Cor. 4. 13. The Divine Spirit, when it 
comes to new-create, to raise the nevv creation, amongst all 
the necessary principles of the divine life that are now to be 
implanted in this new creature of God, there is faitii, that 
great receptive principle, by which it is to take in all light and 
gracious influences from him. The very principle itself, is 
from God; and therefore, the discoveries that are made by it, 
must needs be so much the more deeply impressive upon rhe 
soul, because, that faith by which the impression is made, is 
immediately a divine thing. And, then, 

[4.] If you look to the act of faith, or its more immediate 
and connatural eflcct, it must be more impressive : faith, being 
described by its most appropriate act, or by its immediate 
efl'ect, is called, " the substance of things hoped for, and 
the evidence of things not seen:" expressions that represent 
faith to us as looking forward and backward, as what goes so 
immediately before the text in this same chapter. Hope, that 
always refers to somewhat future, is that by which we have the 
prospect of futurities ; faith is the sulistance of those hoped fur 
things, those futurities ; that is one expression of the work of 
faith, to substantiate future things that we do but hope for. 
And, then, there is another work of It, or its work is otiierwise 
expressed : it is, " the evidence of things not seen :" and that 
is larger and more extensive, and represents faith to us as a 
principle that can look backward as well as forward. We do 
not see how this world was raised out of nothing : no matter 
for that, we can believe it; faith will be to us the evidence of 
that we never saw, or have not seen : faith will (as it were) 
place us upon the verge of this world : and let us see, as if 
we had stood by, when God did, in this orderly way, raise up 
this creation, part by part, out of a disorderly chaos, and heap 
of confusion, wherein all things lay. If we have that obedien- 
tial subjection to the divine authority, revealing things, (which 
subjection, faith doth involve and carry in it,) this faith serves 
us instead of eyes ; doth the same thing (being the evidence 
to us of things not seen, or of what we never saw) as if we had, 
been by as spectators, when God was doing this great and 
mighty and noble work; one thing raising up after another 
into view before our eyes. Faith shews all this with evidence, 
and, therefore, is much the more impressive : so that, after 
the hearing of such a discourse as this, if it be entertained by 
faith, we should go away with hearts deeply impressed, having 
God in all the glorious excellencies of a Creator in view before 
our eyes; and our own spirits formed as dutiful, loyal, dependant, 
subject creatures, all full of adoration and praise j >o as continu-* 

VOL. \IT. 2 ii 


ally to behold him, and his fulness, filling all in all, which way 
soever we look or cast our eye : and that is the general use in- 
deed which is to be made of all tl)is. 


And now, it is the particular Use of the whole which we are 
next to come to. And you see tlie heads of discourse, hitherto, 
have been two; and so we shall have two things to improve by 
way of use, that is, first, that we are to understand the worlds to 
have been made by the word of God : and, secondly, tliat we 
are to have this understanding by faith. Each of these do 
claim their distinct improvement. And, 

1. For the former. This is a matter to be understood, that 
these worlds were made, created; that this great universe which 
comprehends all the vvorlds, (we do not know how many the 
text meai^is ; but we noted to you, that it is not the dual num- 
ber that is used here, but the plural,) is, most undoubtedly, a 
made thing. That the vvorlds were made, this we do understand. 
And we learn from thence, 

(1.) That the world was not eternal, that it had a beginning. 
This hath, on the by, been hinted before, and we have for- 
merly proved this to you in itself; and, I think, sufficiently. 
We now consider it as an inference, that, because it hath been 
created, therefore, it was not eternal ; therefore, it some time 
began. Indeed, this inference hath been doubted, and dis- 
puted by philosophers, whether it were good and strong, yea or 
no, that, because the world hath been created, therefore, it 
cannot have been eternal, but must have begun. Some have 
imagined, that it might be dependently eternal, notwithstand- 
ing its being a created thing. Some such as grant it to be a 
creature, have yet imagined also, that it might be, in a way of 
dependance, eternal. But in truth, the question would only 
need to be distinguished, and then it would be soon and easily 
answered : for that supposed dependance upon a cause, must 
he understood to be, either upon a necessary cause, necessarily 
acting and producing such an effect, or upon an arbitrary 
cause. If we should suppose this world to have been from 
God, as the necessary Producer of it, that would make this 
world itself to be a necessary being, and would be simply in- 
consistent vi'ith its being a creature. All necessary being must 
be divine, must be God ; whatsoever is necessarily, can be no 

* Preached December 9, I693, 

tEC.xiv.) JJis JFork of Creation. 267 

other than God. But if it be meant of dcpcndance on God as 
an arbitrary cause, considering an act of the divine will to in- 
tervene ; that is, that it was his perfect choice whether the 
world should be, or not be, so it is impossibie It can have been 
eternal, depcndantly eternal, if the matter were determinable 
by divine pleasme. Shall this be, or not be? that supposeth it 
some time not to have been. It supposeth a trunsitus from 
not being to being; but that it is impossible it should be eter- 
nal; for there can be no change in eternity. That of which 
eternity is spoken, must have been always what it is, and as it 
is. Therefore, nothing can be more manifest, than that this 
world began : its being, depended upon the divine word, upon 
his pleasure : for that is the notion that the Scripture gives of 
the creation : "for thy pleasure all things are and were created." 
Rev. 4. 1 1 . 

And that should be a measure to us, hov»' we are to conceive 
of this universe of things. Ide it, or they, (the things contained 
in it) as great as we can imagine ; let-our thoughts be enlarged 
and raised as much as is Ht, or they are capable of, upon 
such a subject, — the greatness and vastness of this universe : 
yet presently think, once this was all nothing, raised up out 
of nothing, sprang from nothing. It is a mighty disgrace 
upon created being, once to have been nothing. This is a 
disgrace upon created being, which it is fit it should bear; all 
shrinking into nothing before him who is the All. Magjiify it 
to yourselves as much as you will or can, yet presently ti)ink it 
back into nothing: great it is indeed; but once it was nothing, 
mere nothing. It began to be, and therefore, there was a vast, 
immense duration wherein it was not, wherein there was no 
such thing. 

And, moreover, the worlds, in that frame wherein we behold 
tliem, cannot have been eternal : for it would be the most ab- 
surd contradiction, and nonsense, imaginable, to say, that in 
this changeable state, wherein things are, they could be from 
eternity. It is a manifest contradiction to the understanding 
of any body, that would use his tlioughts, that there should be 
eternal clianges. And pray consider it. It may seem a little 
dark and obscure to you at first hearing, but stay a little upon 
it in your thoughts, and there is not any here of so mean capa- 
city, but if they would use their thoughts a little, they may 
easily apprehend it impossible that there can be such a thing 
as an eternal change. Now there is in this world a continual 
succession, and a succession of changes. As to tilings th^t 
have life, to instance, there we see a continual succession of 
living and dyin^ amongst all things tliat have life, and come 


under our view from day to day. But it is altogether impos- 
sible that tiiere can have been such changes from eternity ; for 
there can be no death ; but there must have been life before : 
nothing can be said to die, that did not live. But to suppose 
any such change from eternity, an eternal change from life to 
dcatii, it is a contradiction in itself; one must be first in its 
place ; life must be first ; and if life were eternal, it could never 
die ; what lies under the measure of eternity must be always 
as it is. liternum non ])atitiir novum, there can be nothing 
new in eternity. And, again, 

(2.) As it is manifest, that this universe, these worlds, were 
not eternal, but began to be; so it is also manifest, that it did 
not begin to be by any kind of chance or fate. Some, who 
have admitted this world not to have been always what it is, in 
that order we behold it, yet thought, that it came, by a sort of 
casualty into this state we now see it. That matter having 
always been of itself, (as they absurdly imagine) they have 
thought that the eternal motion of this matter, the various roll- 
ings to and fro, of it, have at last produced this strange and 
orderly frame of things which we behold. But nothing is 
more plain, than as this werld is a late thing, in comparison; 
for there was a vast, immense duration wherein it was not ; 
and in comparison of which it is but lately come into being: 
so that, when it did come into being, it was brought forth, into 
tjiat being, by a designing cause. 

The word, in the text, is emphatically enough expressive of 
that ; it was brought into that exact and accurate order, wherein 
we see things lie, designedly, as the greek word here used, im- 
plies ; as the several parts and limbs of a body are joined to- 
gether, SO as to consummate and make up one orderly frame. 
Order is the effect of design ; wisdom is the parent of order. To 
behold, that orderly frame of things wliich is observable to every 
eye in this universe of created beings, doth sufficiently shew, 
that it was not chance, but most profound wisdom, that hath 
brought things into this state wherein they are. 

That is most plain ; that is, if the v^'orlds were made, they 
are not eternal, but did begin ; so that they did not begin 
without design. The wisdom of him that did design this or- 
derly frame of things, ought to be discerned, ackiiowledged, 
and adored ; and a continual disposition of heart to adore it, 
ought to be habitual to us, and often going forth into actual 
exercise. It hath been the constant frame of holy ones of old, 
and we should take heed of letting it be an alien thing to us. 
<*Lift up thine eyes on high, and consider; Who hath made all 
these things," that we behold, in so niuch lustre, and beauty. 

LEC. XIV.) His TFork of Creation, 269' 

and glory, over our heads? who hath made them, and pro- 
duced all the hosts of heaven, and called them by name? 
" VVhen I consider the heavens, the work of thy hands," (saith 
the psalmist) when I do, (it implies he did it often, that it was 
his wont,) then, I say, " What is man that thou art mindful of 
him ? ' Look to such places as I relate to, tJiat Isaiah 40, 26 
and psalm 8. throughout, and many more. It should be 
more our business to contemplate and admire the unsearchable 
wisdom of God, in the creation of this world. The great ex- 
ercise and argument it is of a holy heart, that wherein it 
doth exercise itself, and by which it discovers itself to be such. 

(3.) We may learn hence, the meanness and poverty of 
all creature-being, even upon the account of Its being such ; 
created and made. The worlds were made. As that doth argufc 
them all, once, not to have been, so it argues them still to be 
next to nothing, continually depending. What was not of 
itself, cannot continue to be by itself : that which was drawn 
forth out of nothing, by an almighty power, still needs the 
continual exercise of the same power, to keep it from a relaps- 
ing, and sliding back into nothing again ; which otherwise it 
must soon do. Sin being come into the creation, there needed 
a mediator, for this purpose, that all might not be thrown back 
into nothing again : *' By him all things consist." Col. 1. J7« 
It is he that upholds and bears up the pillars of a tottering 
world ; even where it was not obnoxious to justice, to a divine 
nemesis ; yet, as being created, the mere liability, its depend- 
ableness, (which is proper to all created beings as such,) must 
have rendered it continually liable to relapse into nothing, if 
not continually upheld. 

You see hence, therefore, by the way, what an ungodly 
creature hath to trust in; what he hath, for the final object of 
his trust, to wit, that which is every moment ready to mutare^ 
to drop into nothing, to go out of being, that is only sustained 
momentarily by him that made it. This is all that a wretched 
soul, that is off from God, hath to rely upon, to trust in; no- 
thing but creature ; nothing but that which itself is next to 
nothing : all such a one's dependance is'upon that which doth 
itself, too, depend. He that hath not a God to trust, to rely 
• upon, what doth he depend upon ? Let him but name it to 
you; be it what it will, God it is not. Alas! mistaken man ! 
thou dependest upon that which depends, itself: and how mi- 
serable a case art thou in ? Indeed, the vanity of creature de- 
pendance, is obvious to every man's thoughts, that will but 
allow himself to think. But the wickedness of it, is but a little 


thought of : few think of that. Any man may apprehend how 
vain a thing it is to place confidence in a creature that is next 
to nothing : hut it enters into the minds of but few to consider 
how wicked a thing it is. You must know, that to be the final 
Object, is the divine peculiarity of the Deity; and one of the 
lilghest, and most appropriate : a glory that he will not im- 
part. As to i)e prayed to, to be invocated, that is but secondary 
to this of his being trusted in: we trust first, and then invocate. 
This is a giory that he will not give to another. It is a 
homage due to Deify, which belongs to God alone, to be, I say, 
the final Object of trust ; he, into whom n)y trust doth ulti- 
mately resolve, I know there may be a subordination ; you 
may trust in a friend, in a relation : but for the final, supreme 
Object of trust, it is the highest, supreme worship of the Deity, 
to be placed only upon him. 

And therefore, it doth not only infer misery by disappoint- 
ment, when a man trusts in a creature; but it infers a curse by 
revenge. It is not only an infelicity, that doth befal a man in 
such a case, when he doth expect that which is not to be had, 
from that whicli affords it not; but it is a wickedness, that is 
followed with a divine curse, with a just vindicta, for a wrong 
and injury done to him ; that is, that I place upon a creature, 
that which is peculiar and belongs to him alone ; and so, I do 
not only punish myself as a foolish, mistaken creature; but 
God punisheth me as a sinful, guilty creature, upon this ac- 
count : " Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh 
flesh his arm." Jer. 17. 5. But, alas! how many do place 
their trust in ignobler creatures than man is, in things beneath 
man ? So much the meaner and baser is the temper of their 
spirits herein, to place a reliance upon that which is meaner 
than themselves. To neglect and forsake, to avert and turn 
off from God: and then sink beneath themselves, creep to an 
inferluv creature, this calls for the blast of heaven upon such a 
one that hath " forsaken God, the Fountain of living waters, to 
dig to himself broken cisterns, that can hold no water." For 
which the prophet (Jer. 2. 12, 13.) doth call heaven and earth 
to behold, with astonishment, as witnesses of such folly and 
wickedness as this ; especially as being found in a people pre- 
tehding to God. " My people, they that call themselves my 
people, have committed these two evils, to forsake me the Foun- 
tain of living waters, and dig unto themselves broken cisterns 
that can hold no water." When a man lets his heart unite, 
by trust, in that which hath nothing in it, forsaking the All for 
that which is of itself nothing; and which in itself cannot be a 
moment, what folly and wickedness is this 1 

LEC. XIV.) His TFork of Creation. 271 

This is the snare that carnal, worldly-minded men run them- 
selves into, and do not consider it as a deadly one; it is a snare 
of death : " Charge them that are rich in this world, that they 
trust not in uncertain riches, (the lubrious things, the uncertain 
things of riches, as the words admit to be read, (I Tim. 6*. 17-) 
l)ut in the living God, who gives us all things richly to enjoy." 
That trust which is not reposed on the living God, it is not 
only tiie greatest folly, but the highest iniquity : folly lies in it, 
that they place Deity upon a nullity, a mere nullity. That 
%vhich thou makest the final object of thy trust, is thy god ; 
and, then, likewise, that trust is idolatry. God will be jea- 
lous in this case, when his rival is set up in his place; when a 
creature is made liis rival ; and the little minute things in this 
creation are made to fill up his room, and to be to thee instead 
of God. 

Naturally, every one affects to be happy, and when this is the 
natural tendency of a man's spirit, that it is now quiet, m 
some measure quiet, either in the possession of what he hath 
got, or in the probable hope of getting more ; and of having 
within one's compass, that which one doth desire and covet, 
and reckon most suitable : here is my felicity, and 1 am so far 
quiet, because, [ think here I have enough. As he is brought 
in, in the parable of the wicked fool, saying, " Soul take thy 
rest, thou hast goods laid up for many years." That which he 
had in his barns, that was his god ; and now lie tliought his soul 
should rest, as thinking to have enough no where but there. 
Alas! thou fool, thy soul will be gone from thee this niglit, 
and then vvhat will become of thee, and all these? Whr.t folly 
it is to set a man's heart upon such thing? : as the heart is set 
by trusting upon any thing. Trust fixeth it, as in its own 
place, as is spoken concerning trust in God; " His heart is 
fixed, trusting in the Lord." Trust, is that which fixetli a 
man's heart. But thou dost fix thy heart like a fool, who fix- 
eth it upon any thing unfixed itself: for then what becomes of 
thee and thy trust, when that is gone? So do they v/ho trust 
in uncertain riches ; for " riches make theniselves wings and 
fly away, as an eagle to heaven." — A strangely emphatical ex- 
pression ! It may be the soul would say to itself, '' Shall my 
wealth, and my riches be gone ? why, I intend they shall have 
"no wings." Alas! they make themselves wings : they will not 
be beholden to you for wings; they will be gone of them- 
selves, though you would never so fain they would stay. And 
there is an expression that is likewise strangely emphatical, arid 
which is very proper to our present purpose, of setting the 
heart upon that which is not. All created being is so poor a 


dependant being, that it is next to nothing, and is rather fit to 
be called a mere nullity, a mere nothing; and that so despi- 
cable a thing should be put into the place of God! should 
ssupply the room of Deity: OI what an indignity is this to the 
JMajesty of heaven ; and how severely to be reproved I Be- 
cause tliere is nothing else stable besides God ; when the soul is 
once off from him, it offers to fix, but cannot be fixed ; because 
its object is not fixed. Therefore, heathen light hath seen this, 
and a most significant expression was it of a heathen. " That 
a soul off from God, is like a cylinder upon a plain, that moves 
necessarily and perpetually, cannot be fixed, but continually 
rolls and moves this way and that; and cannot be otherwise, 
for it hath nothing to fix upon." And, again. 

This lets us see the absolute independency of the Divine 
Being; for what is there without himself for him to depend 
upon ? These worlds are all that can be thought of extra 
Deunij without God ; and they were all made by him. Can 
he depend upon that which he himself made? The worlds 
were created by the word of God ; therefore, his being must 
be absolutely independent. And herein we should give our 
thoughts scope, it is pity we do not do it oftener, and more 
designedly, to consider the difference between that which is of 
itself, and which is not of Itself. We might even lose our- 
selves and be swallowed up In the contemplation, to think of a 
Being, tliat, by its own peculiar excellency, could never not be, 
to which it was impossible not to be ; which was not behold- 
en to any thing ; for all things were beholden to it. 

How is the great God magnified before our eyes, upon this 
account, in that 40 chap, of Isaiah, in several verses of it toge- 
ther, from the twelfth verse and onwards. '' Who hath mea- 
sured the waters in the hollow of his hands, and meted out the 
heavens with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth 
in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the 
hills in a balance." Who is he that hath done all this ? The 
*' who Is he ?" there, is not an expression of doubt ; but of ad- 
miration and wonder. O ! what a One is he ! How glorious a 
One that hath done so ! " Who hatli directed the Spirit of the 
Lord, or being his counsellor, hath taught him ? With whom 
took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him, in 
the path of judgment?" Who had he to commune with, besides 
what v.as himself, in going about this mighty work of creation? 
Who prompted him, who suggested it to him ? " Come now 
make a world, give being to a creation." No ! all was propria 
tnotu. Who instructed this Spirit of God, as to this great af- 
fair of the creation, or any thing else that he doth ? " Who doth 

LEC. XIV.) His work of Creation. 2/3 

all things after the counsel of his own will ! Behold the nations 
are as the drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust 
of the balance ; behold he taketh up the isles as a very 'little 
thing, and Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts 
thereof sufficient for a burnt-otfering» All nations before him 
are as nothing, and they are accounted to him less than notiiing 
and vanity. To whom then will you liken God ? or what like- 
ness will ye compare unto him ?" 

So should we, upon this account, greaten to ourselves the 
Divine Being, and heighten and raise our own thoughts and ap- 
prehensions concerning him : that when all things else, of 
this vast universe of beings, are so absolutely and purely depen- 
dant every moment upon him, he, in the mean time, depends 
upon nothing. All that he is, he is in, of, and by, and for, 
himself. He can have no dependance upon the creature, 
either for the support of his being, or for any other addition to 
liis felicity : but is his own AH. And how convictively doth 
the apostle reason with those philosophers at Athens, to this 
purpose, Acts I7. 24. 25. " God dwelleth not in temples made 
with hands, nor is he worshipped with men's hands as though 
he needed any thing, inasmuch as he hath given to all, life and 
breath and all things." And what can you add to this ? What 
support can he have from you ? wliat improvement of his feli- 
city any way from you, or from anything else, since all things 
are his own creatures ? And further, 

(5.) You may learn, hence, the divine all-sufficiency ; and 
how vast an amplitude of being tliere is in him, when all this 
great creation sprang from him j and yet, nothing could be 
detracted from him by it neither. How vast an amplitude of 
being must that be, when all this great creation is gone out from 
him, sprung from him, and yet his being not diminished, no- 
thing the less ! O ! consider this, and think how great and de- 
sirable a thing it is, to have him for a portion ; the All ; he that 
comprehends in himself the all of the creature, and who for- 
mally possesseth his own All still : tliatis, is simply All. What 
can he want that hath him for his portion, who is All ? AH 
his own creation, it was virtually in him before, and is still 
virtually in him, depending still upon that power of his, for 
its sustentation, that gave it being at first. i\nd there is his 
own infinite All too. O ! happy that soul that can say, " The 
Lord is my portion." How rich, how full, how satisfying a 
portion ! And, 

(6.) We may, further learn lience, the absoluteness oi 
God's dominion over all his creatures. Will you not allow 
him to do whatsoever he will in heaven and earth, who caade 

VOL. V!I. 2 N 


both by his own word ? Shall he not do what he will with his 
own ? We are apt, most unreasonably and peevishly, to regret it 
when there is a disposal of creatures ; or any little minute part 
of this creation of God, this way or that, any otherwise than 
we would. But how absurd it is to rej)inc at God's disposition 
of his own ! He gives more of this world to sucii a one, and 
less of it to me. What then? What he gives to me, and 
what he gives to the other, was it not all made by himself? 
And may he not dispose, as he pleaseth, with what he had 
made ? 

How doth he plead the matter with Job, to exalt his own 
dominion upon the ground of his creation ? Job thouglit it hard 
that he who was so rich a man, so healthy a man, should be 
bereaved of all so suddenly, and of his health, and comforts of 
his life besides : "Why," says God to him, "Where wast thou 
when I laid the foundations of the earth ? declare if thou hast 
understanding. Did I consult thee when I made this and that, 
and the other creature ? And may I not dispose of the crea- 
tures I have made, my own way, and as I will ?" And, 

(7.) We may further learn, that if these worlds thus began, 
that is, were thus framed by the word of Godj if they had 
such a beginning, even at his pleasure, then at his pleasure, 
too, we must reckon they will have an end. That which began 
to be at some time or other, i: began to be what it is. Such 
and sucli things began to be at the pleasure of the great Creator : 
and at the pleasure of the great Creator they must cease to 
be what they are. And we ought not to think it strange, 
that there should be such an end determined for this world, 
as the Scripture informs us there is : that is, a time will 
come, at length, when, the purposes of the great Creator having 
been sufhciently served upon it, these visible heavens, which 
we behold, "shall be rolled up as a scroll ; pass away with 
a great noise ; and the elements melt with fervent heat j 
and the earth, and all things therein, be consumed and burnt 
np," as 2 Peter 3. 10. and we are not to think it strange. And 
it is only upon this ground, that it hath been thought strange, 
that this sliould be the end of this world, because the be- 
ginning of it was not understood, as we may see, looking 
in the same chapter, at the 3d and 4th verses : " Knowing this 
first, that there shall come in the last days, scoli'ers, walking 
after their own lusts ; and saying. Where is the promise of his 
coming?" "It is talked of that he will come, and then an 
end will be put to time, and all the successions of time. But 
all things continue as they were from the beginning of the 
creation to this day. And therefore, we cannot imagine that 

LEc. XV.) His work of Creation. 27 y 

there should be any such end." But (saith the apostle) "this 
they willingly are ignorant of, that hy the word of the Lord 
the heavens were of old ;" and because they arc willingly igno- 
rant of this, therefore, they are wilfully ignorant of that end 
which is determined concerning ihis world. 1 hey will not 
believe it, because they believe not its framing at first : "that 
by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the cartii 
standing in tiie water, and out of the water." Because they 
do not believe the beginning of things, therefore, they will 
not believe that which ii told them expressly, too, concerning 
the end of them. 

There are a great many things more, that we might learn 
lience, but they will more immediately belong to the consi- 
deration of our own creatorship, tlian of the world: they da 
not so immediately result from the consideration of God's 
having made the u-orld, as ihe consideration, more particu- 
larly, of his having made us ; and therefore, I shall not insist 
on them till I come more particularly to speak to the crea^n 
of man from another text. ' /'^ 


2. I shall, therefore, now proceed to make application of 
that second general head of discourse ; that the more principal 
and advantageous way of our coming to understand the creation, 
is by faith. And it is a very manifold use that may be made of 
this. As, 

(1.) We may learn from it, tlie excellency of faith; how 
soul-enabling a thing it is. It hath a certain power, with very 
great light, to help a man's understanding, and to clear his 
intellectuals. By faith we understand. It hath, in great 
part, its seat in the understanding : there it is originally, 
though it is not finally there; thence it descends, too, into the 
heart. But it hath a great work in the minds of men. Faith 
doth supply minds with notions ; so it is if we would read the 
words literally to you. It doth furnish us with notions, which 
we should otherwise never have. It is true, if it be faith in- 
deed, it will not let them always remain mere notions ; it will 
inspirit them ; it will make them vital, and powerful, and 
operative. But notions they must be first, and faith makes 
them so. By faith we have notions of things, that otherwise 
we never should have had. But this, I say, speaks faith to be 

* PreEcbed December 16, 1603. 


a soul-enabltng thing. It nobilitates the mind and spirit of a 
man ; acQjuaints it with things from God, (for that is the bu- 
siness of faith,) unto which it would otherwise be a stranger. 

This should raise and heighten our apprehensions of faith, that 
despised thing; tliat little understood thing. That by which 
we are to understand ; men do not understand. 

Whatsoever it is that divine Revelation doth, in order to the 
informing us of needful and useful things, that faith doth. 
And take we the compass of divine Revelation, and consider all 
the great and glorious things that are contained and brought 
to light in it, and by it, and thence you are to collect the ex- 
cellencies of faith. Because, without that, the divine Revela- 
tion signifies nothing to us ; no more than light doth to a blind 
man. The divine Revelation and faith, must both concur to 
the sarne effect, to wit, our understanding of things ; as light 
and the eye do both concur to the same effect, our seeing of a 
thing. We cannot see by light u-ithout an eye ; nor will an 
cyie enable us to see without light, but both together. The di- 
^^ne Revelation, that is light to us ; faith is the thing by which 
vve discern things in that light. And so, if we do apprehend 
an excellency in the divine Revelation, which brings so many 
great and important things into view before us, we are propor- 
tionally to apprehend the excellency of faith too ; without 
which all that divine Revelation could signify nothing to us. 

(2.) We may further learn, hence, how wondierfully kind 
and gracious God's condescension is to us, that he should make 
such a discovery, and offer it to our faith, of things, in reference 
to which vve should be at so great a loss, and understand so very 
little of: as for instance, this creation of God : whatwedoowe 
to the bounty of heaven for this, that it should condescend, so 
distinctly, to tell us how things came at first to begin. Faith, 
in that discovery which God makes to us of this matter, sup- 
plies the room and place of sight ; and so it is the same thing 
in effect, as if he had let us see him making tiie world; for 
faith is the evidence, to us, of things we have not seen. We 
were not present, we were not by, when this mighty glorious 
work was done. " Where wast thou when I laid the founda- 
tions of the earth ?" Where wast thou ? saith God to Job : chap. 
.38. 4. But now, God having vouchsafed to us, such a Revela- 
tion and discovery of this mighty work of his ; if he also gives 
us faith by which we believe this discovery, it is as if he had 
set us by Jiim while all this was doing ; so, we have (as it 
were) the Idea, the representation, the landscape of the rising 
creation ; as if God should before that time have created one 

LEC. XV.) His ivork of Creation. 2/7 

of us, and have taken us, and set us up, spectators of liis whole 

Whereas, yet, there was nothing but horrid darkness spread 
every where, then for God to have taken one of ns, made us 
stand up out of nothing, and said to such a one — " Come, cast 
about thine eye, there is nothing l.ut vacuity, emptiness and 
darkness every where ; come see mc make light out of this dark- 
ness." He that calls things where they vvcve not, and makes 
them be, or as if they were, saying, *' Light, where art thou ? 
come out of that dark, profound al)yss ;" and immediately it 
springs forth, what an amazing light were that ! Why, faitii 
in God's discovery gives you this light : by faith we come to 
be so intelligible, to have so much understanding about us, as 
to know how this world did rise outof nothing, eternal nothing, 
into that state in which now it is. And what vouchsafement 
is this to such as we, to do, in effect, the same thing, as if he 
had set us by him at making of Use world. *' Come see me 
collect a mass of grosser matter; see me (as it were) spin out 
of it that fine texture of the vast and spacious firmament, those 
heavens that do encircle this little habitable world in which we 
dwell; see me adorn it with sun, moon and stars; see arising 
on this earth, plants, and trees, and woods, and springs, and 
rivers : all lately nothing, and now begin to be : see me replen- 
ishing this world with living creatures, in their several varieties 
and kinds." O! what condescension is this, that God should 
vouchsafe to tell us all this over again, and give us the repre- 
sentation so distinctly, of what, in so many successive days, he 
did and wrought in this kind. But, again, 

(3.) We may further learn, hence, how inexcusable it is, 
that they v,ho pretend to faith in this matter, sliould use it so 
little. If we falsely pretend, it is a most unjust usurpation of 
a name, to call ourselves believers ; and that, of such things, 
when we are not. But if we pretend truly and justly to the 
faith of these things, then we are most inexcusable to use that 
faith no more hereabouts ; to live so long, in such a world as 
this, and so seldom to consider how it began. A strange and 
inexcusable stupidity. That this world should be replenished 
with intelligent creatures, reasonable creatures ; and that it 
should come into the minds of so few, and into any minds so 
seldom to consider, How did all things begin ? Sure we are 
there, where multitudes of things are existing, that must have 
had a beginning, that are not self-existent, or unto which ex- 
istence is not essential, so, as that they could not but be and 
exist. It is amazing to think that intelligent creatures should 
not more frequently consider with theaiselves, how things first 


began to be, beholding such a world as this, which they are 
sure was not always, but had a beginning ; and not consider 
})ow it began. That men can behold such varieties of crea- 
tures, and use such varieties, and enjoy such varieties, and never 
consider whence they are, whciice came they, how came there 
to be such things iu the world, and how came there to be such 
a world ? It is most inexcusable and strange stupidity, and 
dotishness of mind, in any reasonable creature : but most of all 
in them that do pretend to believe and know by faith, that the 
worlds were created by the v^'ord of God. And, 

(4.) We may, again, learn hence, that what is commonly 
called faitli, about this matter, is really and indeed not faiih : 
that is, the apprehension of such a thing as this, is without ef- 
fect, and that impresseth nothing upon the soul. It hath been 
very justly and fitly told you, that we have the notions of things 
by faith, many things which we should otherwise have no no- 
tion of. But though faith first begets such notions, yet it will 
not let them continue mere notiuns long, if it be faith : that 
is a mighty, lively, operative principle, powerfully working in 
the soul, to form that suitably to the thing believed. But while 
there is so little of suitable inspression upon the souls of men, 
in reference to this thing, what they call faith about it, is not ' 
' faith, but must be something else. 

For the most part, it is not any thing else but a negative 
faith, which jrien are wont to call faith in this and many other 
such cases. It is, I say, but a mere negative faith upon which 
they place that great name : that is, a not believing the con- 
trary, not having formed explicit belief of the contrary, that 
they call faith. They have not yet (it may be) laid down in 
their minds any formed conclusions to this purpose, that the 
worlds were not made by the word of God ; and their not dis- 
believing it, they call believing it: whereas, faith is a most 
positive thing, a thing of great reality, and a thing of great effi- 
cacy and power, wherever it is. And, therefore, for such as 
never yet found their souls impressed by their apprehensions of 
the world's creation, 1 would admonish them no more to call 
that apprehension of theirs by the name of faith, but call it 
something else, — call it by its true name, — call it a floating 
uncontradicted opinion ; and that is the best they can make of 
it, while it is an apprehension that hath no power ; and while 
it doth not represent God in his excellent glory, as the great 
Creator and Lord of all, so as to form the soul to adoration 
and subjection to him thereupon. Never say till then, that 
you do believe, or that you have faith concerning the creation 
of the worlds. Alas! how many that liuve it often in their 

LEC. XV.} His ivorh of Creation. 279 

mouths — "I believe in God the Father, Maker of heaven and 
earth" — yet do but usurp the words, " I believe," and their 
heart, and their practice, contradict their tongue, and tell them 
they believe it not. Believe it ! yea, as much as a known ro- 
mance, while they live in affront of the Creator, and take upon 
them as if they were lords of the creation 3 and as if they had 
made the worlds ; and not He. 

These things we may, by way of just inference, collect from 
hence; that it is a thing to be understood by faith, that the 
worlds were made by the word of God. But we shall thence 
proceed to some further U&e ; that is, to counsel and exhort 
those that have faith in this matter, to use it more ; to have 
their faith more in exercise upon this great and noble subject, 
the creation of the worlds by the word of God. And it is to 
many great purposes, that faith upon this important subject 
may be employed and used. As, 

1. To engage us in the more frequent and serious meditations 
on the beginnings of things. To engage us, 1 say, in the more 
frequent, more serious, more affectionate, and more fruitful 
meditation of this matter. If we believe it indeed, let us think 
of it often. Our faith is an apprehension that it is true : and 
if it be once owned to be true, it cannot but he deemed to be 
a very important truth ; a very considerable truth ; a truth that 
requires, and challenges, great attention of mind, and appli- 
cation of heart and soul to it. Think and judge it an unrea- 
sonable thing, to live from day to day, in this world, and never 
consider whence it came, and how it began. And let your faith 
be set on work in frequent and most affectionate meditations of 
the beginning of the worlds. 

2. Let your faith, hereupon, form your souls into adora- 
tion of the great Creator. Go up and down this world v,ith 
adoring souls : let every thing you behold, from time to time, 
put you in mind of him, and make you bow your head, and 
worship. Admire that fulness of his, that fills all in all; and 
those variable displays of his wisdom, and power, and goodness, 
which are conspicuous every where, more or less, in all sorts 
of creatures. We are but nominal believers and christians, if 
there be not many, if there be not much of this about us ; 
and if we are not aiming and endeavouring that there may be 
more and more. 

3. Let our faith instruct us unto the grateful and reverential 
use of the creatures of God, as remembering they are made 
things ; and that we have the use of them by divine vouchsafe- 
ment and allowance. There ought to be a mixture, a tempe- 
rature of reverence and gratitude in the habitual frames of our 


spirits hereupon : and if we have a real and true faith in us 
ahout this matter, it will make it to be so ; it will impress our 
spirits; it will fill us (as it ought to do) with a wondering gra- 
titude, that such creatures as we, should be so accommodated 
by such a world as this, so suitably ordered for us. If we use 
faith in this matter, it will make us sit down and wonder; look 
upon it as it is, an admiral)!e thing, that the great God should 
have raised up such a creation, such a world, as this is, out of 
nothing, by the word of his power. That it being designed, " I, 
in time, coming to have a place and being in it, should want 
nothing while lam there ; such and such creatures, made out 
of nothing to supply me, to furnish me. What is it that I eat ? 
What is it that 1 drink ? What is it that I wear ? Are they not 
all the creatures of God ? \Vhat is it that refresiies me? What 
is it that delights me ? Are they not God's creatures ?" How 
full of reverential gratitude should our hearts continually be, on 
this account ! To think such and such parts of the creation 
were made on purpose that 1 might not be in distress, that I 
might not feel necessity ; and to think how this world gene- 
rally accommodates its inhabitants : and to wonder witli all, 
that their apostasy was foreseen ! O ! how should it replenish 
oursouLs with wondering gratitude, to think that there should 
be such a provision made with design, and upon foresight, for 
the entertainment of rebels and apostates ! This whole world 
replenished and filled with the divine goodness, all sorts of 
creatures made for the unthankful and the evil. A design laid 
through so many successions of ages, " My goodness shall dif- 
fuse itself, and flow in such and such a part of my creation, (as 
ihis world is l)ut a little, a very little part of it,) for the supply 
and support of those that will never give me thanks, (though 
they have natures capable of doing so,) even for the unthankful 
and for the evil." 

4. Our faith, upon this subject, should instruct and enable 
us to contend with dilTiculties in reference to whatsoever God 
hath encouraged us to expect, or told us he means to do. 
What can pose that faith which believes the creation of the 
world ? He that could make such worlds as these are, out of 
nothing, by his word ; what cannot he do ? what is there to be 
expected greater than this, that should be the matter of any 
present solicitude, thoughtfulness, concern and care ? If very 
perplexing thoughts of heart do arise about the ill state of 
things in this world, he that made heaven and earth, and all 
the worlds by his word, cannot he make new heavens and a new 
earth when he will, and when the time and season of it comes ? 
How frequently may weobs erve it to be, in Scripture, for thr 

EEC. XV.) His JVork of Creation. 2S1 

people of Godj toaniniate and raise tlieir own hearts unto tiie 
helicf and expectation of great things from God, upon this 
ground, that he hath made heaven and earth, tliat he is tlie 
Creator of all things. " Our God hath made the heavens." 
When those vain creatures that di^^like the divine g.;vernment, 
and oppose themselves to it, taking counsel against the Lord, 
and against his Anointed, when, I say, they have nothing to 
trust to, in the designs of tiiis kind, they are forming and driving 
continually ; nothing but stocks and stones, the work of men's 
hands ; " Our God hath made the heavens ;" (so you have it 
expressed, Psalm 115. o, ^1.) made the vi^ovlds ; given being to 
all these worlds: and what cannot he do, when his time and. 
season for it are come ? And things will come to their full Issue 
in the fittest time. Our God it is who hath power enough to 
do the things we expect, and wisdom enough to order the limes 
and seasons for them. Again, 

5. Our faith ought to have exercise with us, upon this sub- 
ject, in order to the keeping of our minds quiet and composed, 
amidst the various expressions and instances that v/e behold of 
the divine dominion and sovereignty, doing what he will in 
the disposal of afliiirs in this world. It may be, some we find 
him exalting, and It pleaseth us ; we find him depressing, and 
it displeaseth us; we have a little share and portion in tliis 
world, and we regret it : others have a great and large portion 
of it, and that we envy. But we should consider whose this 
%vorld is, who made it. May not he dispose of what he hath 
made, as he pleaseth? This (as we noted to you before) is a 
just inference from the very thing itself, abstractly considered, 
that is, to form our spirits agreeably, and to make us content, 
and well pleased, that God does dispose of what he hath made, 
as seemeth good to him. 

6. We should further learn, hence, to behold, with great 
complacency, what appearances there are of divine glory in this 
world, which he hath made by his word. And to behold, with 
just regret, the dishonours that he meets with in it; or that 
these appearances of his are so little taken notice of; and that 
such glory shines unregarded as to the most. These are but 
dutiful dispositions and atfection'= towards the Creator and 
Maker of these worlds : and faith should furnish our souls with 
such dutiful affections ; otherwise it is a fruitless faith, a life- 
less faith, if it doth not do this. Do 1 believe that God made 
these worlds, by his word ? how can it then but please me to 
beii old his glory shining in such and such aspects and appear- 
ances of God ? and how can it but fill my soul with such duti- 
ful wishes ? " O 1 may thy glory, more and more, be exalted 

VOL. VFI, 2 O 


above the heavens, and shine through all the earth." And 
how can it but fill our souls with resentments, that there should 
be such glory shining, and not regarded ? Tlie great Zvlaker 
and Lord of tiiis world, excluded out of his own creation, as if 
the All in all did signify nothing ! men taking upon them, 
every where, as if they were absolute, as if they had been self- 
created, and using the creatures of God at their own pleasure, 
and In affront to him that made them. If faith would do the 
part in our souls which belongs to it, it could not but fill them 
with regretj and with a dutiful concern, that the great Lord 
and Maker of this world, should be so little acknowledged, and 
taken notice of in it. Again, 

7. The faith of the creation of the worlds, should engage 
our hearts in an earnest desire and endeavour to have a sure 
and clear interest in Him who created and made all. What 
doth this world signify to me, to behold it, to be in it, to be of 
it, a part of it, but to have nothing to do with him that made 
it ? The faith of this, would make a soul restless till it can say, 
*' The Lord of heaven and earth is my Lord." Were these 
worlds created by the word of God ? then he shall be my God. 
He that could make such worlds as these, by his word, is it not 
a covetable thing to have an interest in him? Is it not desir- 
able ? Can I satisfy myself till I have it ? especially, when I find 
it is matter of hope, a thing not to be despaired of ; when there 
are such notifications of his pleasure, (that he is inviting and 
teaching men to take him, and choose him) published and pro- 
claimed in his gospel to the world, declaring now the terras by 
which he offers himself to be our God, and invites us to take 
and accept him for ours ? The serious belief of this thing, that 
these worlds were made by the word of God, would certainly 
put us upon a most industrious inquiry, " How shall I do to 
know him, and to be acquainted with him, and to be interested 
in him, by whose word these worlds were made? And, I can- 
not satisfy myself not to knov,' him that made them, and not to 
have him for mine, since I find there is a possibility of the 
thing ; that it is a thing not to be despaired of, and it is no un- 
just, or presumptuous aspiring, for me to seek an interest in 
him." My faitli of the thing ought to make my soul restless in 
this case. 

And if one consider, cast one's eye round about, and behold 
this world in the extent of it, (as far as our dim and short- 
sighted eyes can go.) and behold the great variety of creatures 
in it, methinks the thought should presently arise, "Amongst all 
these things, there is nothing suitable to me, to my spirit ; no- 
tiiing in vi'hich I can be satisfied, and in which I could take 

LEC. XV.) His Work of Creation. 2S3 

rest, unless I could tind out him that made tliese worlds by 
the power of his own word :" till then, methiiilcs one should 
always look very wisely about one, and behold the amplitude 
of this world ; and then, presently to think, likewise, "Sure it is 
a sad, melancholy thing-, to be in tliis world, as without God 
in the world, what an empty cipher is it, if God be out of my 
sight, if I cannot lind out the Maker of all, so as to know him, 
and have him as mine." And then, 

8. If one can do so, how should our faith fill our souls with 
high gloriations in that God? I have him, tliat made the 
worlds, for my God. '* All people will walk every one in the 
name of their God." And we should say, And we will walk in 
the name of our God: and see, where there is such anotlierGod 
to be found that hath made these worlds, (how many soever 
they be, and how great soever they be,) and all by his word : I 
have him for my God. And again, 

9. It should, by a little further recollection, make us appre- 
hend too, the greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ, upon whom 
tise business lay of redeeming and saving lost creatures in this 
world ; and must lie of making a new world ; of repairing a 
ruined and languishing creation. For you had to consider, that 
he had his part, he concurred, he was Creator even of this 
world. Look to the 1 chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews : 
He is styled " the brightness of the Father's glory, the express 
image of his person ;" he th.at upholds all things by the word 
of his power — the heir of all things, and by whom he made the 
worlds. "By him he made all things, visible and invisible," 
Col. I. 16. and John ]. 1, 3. "In the beginning was the 
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, 
By him were all things made : and without him was not any 
thing made that was made." And I will not undertake to ex- 
clude that from the signification and meaning of tiie text, " By 
faith we understand that the worlds were framed l)y the word 
of God," the essential Word, the divine Logos, 'i'hough, I 
would not lay a stress upon a thing thatisnot ])lainly andn)ani- 
festly intended : yet, to take it in, is very suitable to the current 
of other texts of Scripture. The eternal Word had its hand 
and part in the creation ; and it was by it, that these worlds 
were made. And thereupon, by a right of creation as natural, 
as well as by the acquired right of a Redeemer of a lost world, 
by the effusion of his blood, and the sacrifice of liimself, he 
comes to have a governing power over all thi? world : l)eing as- 
cended and gone u[) far above all heavens, he hath all puv.'cr 
given into his hands, both In heaven and in earth. 

I would only improve the consideration hereof, to this pur- 


pose, to greatcn your thoughts concerning your Redeemer, 
We are fain in very important cases, from time to time, to be 
beiiolden to our senses, even in the most important cases that 
can be thought. Our sense tells us something of tite great- 
ness and amplitude of the v^orld ; though it cannot tell us much, 
yet it tells us something : and by that, make your estimate (for 
we need such helps) how great a Jledeemer we have ; him that 
made these worlds. They were made by the word of God : he 
was the eternal Word ; and as such, we are sure, having the 
eternal idea in him, according to which the worlds were to be 
made ; by him, at length, they came to stand forth into being. 
Think this with yourself, "This is my Redeemer; he that had so 
mighty a hand in the formation of all these worlds; and in 
>vhose hand the government of them now lies. It is with him 
I am to trust my soul. It is to him that 1 am to subject and 
devote my soul. Have I not reason to do so? Have 1 not en- 
couragement enough to trust him, that made this soul, and all 
these worlds, and to obey him who hath so great and universal 
a power over these worlds ?" 

10. Our faith in this matter should, more and more, re- 
lease our spirits from mean and vile confinement to this one 
world only ; for by faith we understand that there were more : 
therefore, our faith should release our spirits from a base con- 
iineinent to one world, when it tells us of more. It tells us, 
there were worlds created by the word of God : therefore, it 
speaks an abject mind, a mean and base spirit, and so much 
the more if we have faith, (as ue pretend to have,) to be con- 
fined in our thoughts, in our desires, in our designs, in our ex- 
pectations and hopes, to this one world. Tell a believer, " Your 
all lies in this one world;" " No, (he will say,) my faith hath got 
ken of more, notice of more." By faith 1 understand that there 
were worlds, framed by the word of God ; therefore, it is a base 
thing to be tied to the present : " Demas hath forsaken us, hav- 
ing loved this present world." A believing soul would look 
Dpon that with disdain, (there is such a generosity in faith) and 
would say, " I scorn so base a confinement as that, to be limited 
to one world, when 1 know there were worlds created by the 
word of God." Though we are not told how many there were, 
yet we are sure they are more than one ; and we have a very 
distinct account of one more, in which our principal concerns 
do lie, and are signified to be. And blessed be God for that, 
that we know so much, that there is one more, with which we 
have more to do than we have with this world, or can have, 
«ven where our principal interest lies, and where our Lord and 
•«r Head is. 1 ho\7 should we bless God for tliis ! that 

L^vC. XV.') J^is TFork of Creation. 285' 

since there are more worlds, he hatli told us so, and hath let us 
know it. To be limited, in our spirits, to this one world, this 
present world, is to run counter to the desit!;n of" our Lord's 
dying; " He gave himself for our sins, to deliver us from this 
present evil world." He pave himself for our sins: what 
doth that signify, in conjunction with the latter words? but 
that they are our sins that chain us in our present dungeon. 
And by how much the more we can be released from these 
chains of our sins, so much the more shall we get out of this 
confinement, and get above this present evil world. O ! if we 
have many things that we dislike in this world, let us bless 
God that we know of more worlds. And in the last place, 

11. We may further learn, that our faith concerning thq 
creation and being of this world, should very much facilitate 
our faith concerning the end of it. If we can believe, that 
these worlds were made by the word of God, we may easily 
believe what he iiath tnld us concerning the unmaking of tiiem. 
And particularly, the unmaking of this, the dissolution of it 
as to its present frame. We may argue from the one to the 
other, that since the one hath been, the other is not harder 
to be : if one be a thing to be believed, the other is as believ- 
able as that, wlien we are told it will be so. 

It is very true, indeed, that believing is not formally arguing; 
but as faith doth rest upon the strongest argument in all the 
world, so it may supply matter of further arguing, though it he 
not in itself formal arguing, it rests upon the strongest argu- 
ment that ever was ; that is, that because there is a Being in- 
finitely perfect, therefore, he cannot but be ti-ue, therefore, it 
is impossible for him to lie; therefore, it is inconsis^tent with 
his nature to impose upon his creatures : heaven and earth 
cannot have a surer foundation than tliis v.hich my fiiith hath 
upon this matter, and upon this ground. And then, restinj^ 
upon the strongest argument imaginable, it can easily supply 
matter of further argument ; that is, if my faith hath once 
believed this, that these worlds were made by the word of God, 
because God hath told us so, if also, he hath told us he will 
put an end to the present world, and how he will put an end to 
it, as he hath told us how it began ; if I can believe the one, 
1 can believe the other, too, with the same faith : and so am to 
live in the suitable expectation of such a time, when these vi- 
sible heavens "shall be rolled up as a scroll, and pass away 
with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, 
and the earth and all that is therein, be consumed and burnt 

And, ifi believe this, then how entertaining must the be- 


lief be ! How pleasant the belief of the other world (as was 
said before) that is to come afterwards, that pure, and peace- 
ful, and orderly, and blissful world ! that lasting, permanent, 
and everlasting world ! that when this world and all the lusts 
thereof are past away and gone, shall abide for ever, and all 
they that do the will of God : as that expression is 1 John 2. 
17- ** The world jDasseth away and all the lusts thereof." 
Love it not, nor the things of it. If you love it, the love of the 
Father is not in j^ou : and it is passing away. God is not so 
unkind to yon as to place your love upon vanishing tilings, upon 
shadows. This world, I tell you, and all the lusts thereof, are 
vanishing, passing away ; will shortly be gone ; the shev/ will 
be over : hut he that doth the will of God abideth for ever in 
that blissful world, which it is his will and pleasure shall abide 
for ever. 


LEC. xvF.) The Creation of man, 287 


Gen. 1. 27. 

So God oreated man in his own image ; in the image 
of God created he him. 

"E have discoursed to you, more generally^ concerning the 
creation. We now come, (as we are more especially 
concerned,) to consider the creation of man. It is true, that 
there is a nobler order of creatures, that were before him in dig- 
nity and excellency (at least) in the creation. But because 
that, of their creation we have not so particular an account ; 
and because our concernment lies less there, I shall immedi- 
ately fall upon the consideration of what this text puts under 
our notice, to wit, our own creation, the creation of that crea- 
ture, called man. 

The connexed particle here, that refers these words to what 
goes before. " So God created man," invites us to call hack 
our eye a little. It is said in the 26 verse, "J\nd God said. 
Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness, and let 
them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl 
of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and ovef 
every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." And then, 
the text tells us, " So God created man in his own image." 
This connexion shews us, that (as you have heard at large,) 
God woiketh all things after the counsel of his own will. So 

* Preached December 23; 1693. 


he did particularly this great work according to forelaid counsels. 
'^ Let us do so; let us make man, and make hin) such a one, 
even like God." And so accordingly he did. This may be un- 
derstood as an allusion to human methods; that is, that men, 
intending this or that work, they do use somewhat of self-excita* 
tion; in order thereunto, they do accingere se, they do apply 
themselves to the action which they intend, and, as it were, re- 
collect their strength, that is now to be exerted and put forth. 
So is God introduced speaking — " Come now let us go to work 
afresh, and make that creature man, even the rtsemblanee of 

And it may also be understood to carry with it, an intima- 
tion of that great mysterious doctrine of the Trinity. "Let us 
make man ;" that conjunction of the pronoun of the plural 
number, with a verb singular, (as we have formerly noted to 
you,) being probably enougli to give some intimation of the 
glorious subsistencies of the Deity : and who (as you have for- 
merly had noted to you) are to be considered jointly under the 
notion of Cieator. 

And it speaks the perfect spontaniety of this work, or (if that 
may import any thing higher) the perfect intellective liberty 
wherewith it was done. " Let us make man ;" there being no 
foreign inducement before the creation, there could be nothing 
extra Z>e?a«, nothing without God himself, hwX propria motUy 
from the inward propension of his own mind, and that vast and 
boundless abyss of goodness, the fulness whereof was in him, 
now flowing forth, by free choice and consent, into a creation; 
and into the creation of such a creature as this. " Let us now 
make man ; it is our mere pleasure to do so :" according to 
that in Rev. 4. 1 1. " For his pleasure all things are and were 
created." He only pleased himself and took a delight in such 
an effusion of his own glorious power and goodness, breaking 
forth into such a creation. 

In the words themselves, we have two things distinctly to 
be considered, — the work itself, of God's making man — "God 
made man ;" and — the norma or the pattern according to 
which he made him — '" he made him after his own image,'* 
made him the designed representation of himself: we shall 
consider these severally. 

L Consider the work itself, or the making of man — " God 
made man." And therein, we are yet more distinctly to con- 
sider — the product — man; and — the productive act — God 
made him. 

1. For the former of these, the creature now made, and signi- 
Hed by that name of *' Man," that we are to consider and con- 

<.EC. XVI.) The Creation of Man. 289 

template awhile ; that is, that we are to turn our eyes inward, 
and contemplate ourselves, and consider what sort of creatures 
we are. We hear it often, that man is a microcosm, this whole 
world in little, an epitome of the universe; the two i^reat 
classes of beint^ meeting in him ; viz. mind and matter, the in- 
visible world, and the visible, touching one anotiier, and having 
(as it were) a nexus with one another in his nature. He hath 
a mind belonging to the invisible world ; and a matter belong- 
ing to the visible, in his composition and frame. And so is set 
a middle creature between the angels and brutes, having the 
intelligent nature with the one, and the sensitive and inferior 
nature wath the other. 

We need to be put in mind of what is so obvious to us ; for 
of all things in the world that we are so prone to overlook and 
forget, we are most of all apt to forget ourselves : though it 
were a precept of so high and great importance, and so obvious 
to a reasonable mind, that it did proceed from the mouth of a 
Pagan : Nosce teipsum, first know thyself^ yet it was rec- 
koned too great and important a thing, to be primarily attri- 
buted to such a one. And therefore, it was said of it, e caelo 
descendit ; surely it came down from heaven : no mortal could 
assume to himself the honour to be the author of so great a say- 
ing as this. But though it be a matter of so great an import- 
ance, and the obligation thereunto, men perpetual lie, and do 
lie under; and though it be so obvious to a reasonable mind, 
yet, generally, look upon all the world, and you may say, 
*' Men are the least part or study to themselves, they least of 
all consider themselves, to know their own natures, and what 
sort of creatures they are." 

But that we may a little more distinctly consider this subject, 
plain it is, that man is a twofold creature ; he hath a double 
nature in him ; he is a man and a man : or there belongs to 
his constitution and frame, an inner and an outward man : 
as the apostle elegantly enough distinguishes them, in 2 Cor. 
4. 16. "An outward man," that is a perishable and perishing 
thing; and " an inward man," which, while tliat outward man 
is perishing, is yet capable of being " renewed day by day," as 
he there speaks. 

Indeed, while we turn our eyes uj)on ourselves, we are least 
of all apt to consider what is most considerable in our own 
frame. A people related to God of old, and even the strictest 
sort, or sect of them, (the pharisees themselves) our Saviour 
justly upbraids them with this stupidity, this piece of inconsi- 
deration : he speaks to them as a company of besotted fools: 
*' Ye fools, hath not he that made the outward, made the inward 

VOL. VII, 2 P 


too," in that Luke 11. 40. "He that made that which is 
without, did not he make that which is within also ?" But both 
of these parts of man, or each of this twofold man, we are dis- 
tinctly and severally to consider, for both have that in them 
wliich claim and challenge the deepest intention of our thougiits. 
There is the outward man which the Scripture speaks of, but 
under the notion of a tabernacle, the outward case or frame of 
man, (as 1 may so speak,) a thing whereof he is capable of be- 
ing divested, and which may be laid aside. *' I must shortly 
put oft" this tabernacle," saith the apostle 2 Peter 1. 14. 
He speaks of a going forth, an exodus, as out of his house, out 
of his dwelling — "the earthly house of this tabernacle." So 
it is called 2 Cor. 5. 1. "For we know that if the earthly house 
of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, 
a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens :" there- 
fore, called a tabernacle, because it is designed but for a tem- 
porary and very short abode and residence that we are to have 
in it; in comparison whereof, the future residence of holy and 
l^ood souls, is spoken of imder the name of a " mansion," in 
John 14. and in Luke 16. " everlasting habitations ;" these are 
but very temporary ones. But though they are so, yet their 
present frame and structure doth challenge a very serious, and 
reverend, and adoring contemplation ; whether we look upon 
the grosser, or more bulky part of this structure orfrairac; or 
whether we consider that which is more latent, less obvious 
unto common notice. If we consider the grosser part of this 
structure, or tabernacle, either in the whole of it, or by parts, 
how admirable a thing is the composition of a man, even of the 
outward man, tliis exterior part of man ! Such, as claims to 
have such things said of it, as we find, Job 10. 10, 1 1. "Hast 
thou not poured me out like milk, and curdled me like cheese? 
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced 
me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and 
favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." All being 
prefaced with tiiis, "Thy hands have made me, and fashioned 
me together round about, yet thou dost destroy me ;" he then 
seeming, as if he were all of a sudden about to ruin, and throw 
back into dust again, his own excellent and so curious work: 
and of how great excellency is it, according to the account that 
these words give us, and according to that too which we have 
Psalm 13i>. 1.3, 14. " Thou hast possessed my reins; and co- 
vered me In my mother's womb. I will praise thee ; for I am 
fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are thy works ; and 
that my soul knowcth right well. My substance was not hid 
fromthec;, when I v.'as made in secret, and curiously wrought iir 

LEC. XVI.) The Creation of 3Ian. 2^1 

the lowest parts of the eartii. Thine eyes did see my substance, 
yet being imperfect, when all lay yet in a rough creation ; an*l 
in thy book were all my members written, (or in the idea of the 
Divine Mind) whicii in continuance were fashioned, when as 
yet there was none of them." J'hey were all fixedly formed ia 
the mind of God, while as yet there was nothing brought fortli 
into actual being, so that, this was the etfcctof the wisdom of a 
God, this exterior frame of man, so contrived with so exquisite 
order, every thing belonging to it, in so apt subserviency to the 
several uses and purposes for which it was originally designed. 
Here is that which a pagan calls ars Dei, a divine art, tlieart 
of God himself, in this structure or frame, a fabric composed 
and made up all of nnracles ; if we consider the elegancy and 
curiosity of the whole, and if we consider how the several })arts 
were equally made to serve, both for use and comeliness : so that 
of all the wonders in the world, I know no greater wonder than 
tliis, that man himself, a creature so capable of consideration 
and thought, should ever liave thought it possible, any of them, 
that there should be such a production as this without design ; 
as if it were a casual, an unintended thing, that there should be 
so many severals in this composition and frame of man, but 
never intended for the uses and purposes for which they so ma- 
nifestly and peculiarly serve. How stupid a creature is man be- 
come, that he is willing to admit even the greatest absurdity, 
rather than to admit God into his thoughts. 

If we look into this frame; (though I can but touch upon 
things, and it is hard to know where to touch upon so great a 
multitude of things both observable and admirable at once,) if 
we should consider the aptness of the several parts that are in 
common use for the several offices and functions which they 
perform ; if we consider what is external ; if we consider what 
is internal ; if we consider what is ornamental in our frame; 
how full of the highest and clearest judications of the greatest 
wisdom that can be conceived 1 There are, belonging to this 
frame of ours, the organs of the several senses, which do give 
so many advantages to such a creature as man is : every sense, 
or sort of sense, it hath its ccnsorium inlaid in this frame; 
the things that are necessary unto feeling, and necessary unto 
touch, and necessary unto smell, and necessary unto hearing, 
and necessary unto sight. All these organs d.o belong to the 
outward man ; though the sentient be somewhat diverse and 
distinct, from this outward and external frame : for it is not the 
eye itself that sees, but the soul in the eye ; nor. the ear itself 
that hears, but the same soul in the ear ; and so as to all the 
rest of the senses too ; which we all know, if that soul were 


dislodged, and retired, and gone, could no more see, or hear, 
or touch or taste, than a stone : but the aptness of these se- 
veral organs for their several uses and purpose*, such a cu- 
rious contrivance as that of the eye for the sight, and that of 
the tar for the hearing, it would require volumes to unfold and 
open these to you. 

And then, if we consider that which is more latent, even in 
tlie outward man itself, not obvious to the notice of any of our 
senses, and that is the more spirituous part, in this frame of 
man, or the several sorts of spirits. I do not now speak of his 
purposes, and without which it were impossible that any of 
these operations could be performed, vvhich do belong to the 
nature of man in this present state. There are the elementary 
spirits that are to be found in it, and that are common to it, 
with the inanimate part of the world. As there is no sort of 
body conceivable, in vvhich we may not also conceive some- 
what or other of that which they call elementary spirit. And 
then, there is a higher sort of spirit, which serves for vegeta- 
tion ; and a higher than that, which serves for sensation •, and 
all these, no doubt, some way or other distinguished, though 
we are not capable of assigning their differences, otherwise than 
from their effects ; but all meeting in the frame of a living 
man: one sort of these spirits finer than another; another, 
again, finer than that; but undistinguishable by us by any 
other way, than only by such indications as the things effected 
do speak and hold forth to us. All these things we use con- 
tinually ; and we could do nothing vvithout them ; nor be what 
we are without them, in this present state. But seldom or 
rarely doth it occur to any thought, what they are, or that there 
are such things belonging to us, when vvithout them there 
could be no motion : they are not things that are self-moving, 
(as no matter can,) yet they are things by which that which 
hath the power of motion in itself, doth perform such and 
such kinds of motions as are necessary in this frame of ours. 

If we should consider the several things which are thus 
used : as all the muscles in the body of a man, reckoned to 
be about four hundred and thirty, without which, and without 
the spirits that do move them, the man were a mere trunk, a 
dead trunk ; so many several sorts of muscles to turn that one 
member of ours, the eye,this way and that way, and the several 
agitations of spirits that must be the continual spring of all these 
motions. How quickly do we turn our eye this way, that way, 
upward, downward, and never consider what turns it about us, 
without which no such motion could be performed. 

It" we think of all this, what cause have we to break out often 

LEG. XVI.) The Creation of Man. 293 

into those same raptures, that we find the Psalmist, herein, ia 
ihut last-mentioned j)lace : "How fearfully and wonderfully 
am ! made : Tliy works are marvellous, ar.d that my soul 
knoweth richt well." And it is a migh<y emphasis that these 
words carry in them: "and that my soul knowetli rii^ht well :" 
that is, it signifies this to have heen with him a wonted study, 
that his mind used to be fixed on the contemplation of it — "my 
soul knows it right well;" these are with me beaten tracks, 
they are not uncouth or unusual thouglils; these are things 
that I think of, over and over again, from day to day." Indeed, 
when ar.y one comes to consider the works of God, and parti- 
cularly, this work of composing this fabric of our outward man, 
they are wondrous; and we must consider them so. If we do 
bi glance but one single thought upon this work of God, we 
cannot but say, " they are wondrous." But how few of us can 
say, " and this my soul knowcth right well :" that it is a thing 
to which my thoughts are used;, and which is my continual 
work ; I do, from day to day, employ them and keep them in 
exercise upon such a thing and subject as this. 

Bu^ time, and my own design of speaking as succinctly as is 
poss'ble unto the several heads which 1 am to discourse of, al- 
low Hie not furthe- to insist on this same outward man. 

We are to look yet further: and when we have taken some 
view of the habitation, to consider the inhabitant, that thing in 
man called mind and spirit; spirit in a higher and nobler sense 
than we used tlmt application before. According to the exte- 
rior part of man, that you have heard of, he is called Adam, a 
composition of earth, of red earth, as that word signifies, or out 
of the dust of the ground; tliat earth pulverized, reduced to 
the finest particles, according as moic or less, so they were 
ca[jable of being wrouirht into that curious contexture which 
their great Maker did design : hereupon man is said to be thus 
made. He hatli the denomination there, first from his outward, 
more visible and observable part ; this is the creature w hicli 
appeared first to come under notice and view, upon this stage 
of this lower world. There was nothing perceivable of him, 
but this exterior frame that was called man : he hath that de- 
nomination Quoad ajyparentiam, in respect to what he did 
appear, and was obvious to common notice, or that might be 
in such creatures obvious to the notice of one another, the first 
notice. It could only, in that respect, be said, that God made 
man of the clay or dust of the ground; that is, what of man was 
capable of being made out of matter, was made out of such, or 
out of that matter. 

But you have afterwards, a further account of this creature. 


in the 2nd chap, of Genesis and at tlie "Jth verse; that " God 
did breatlie into him the breath of life, and he became a living 
soul." The outward man carried the name of man before; but 
ijovv we are given to understand there was a nobler thing be- 
longing to this frame and comjiosition of man, which admits 
that he should be called "a living soul," from that breath of life, 
which it is said God breathed into him, that breath of life. It is 
as significant an expression as we could have in words, or that 
words could furnish us with, of vital spirit, a living spirit, that 
is the principal thing in man. And so, now, he hath the de- 
nomination, Quond rem as he had it Quoad appareiiliam be- 
fore. Before, he was denominated according to his appear- 
ance : so man was said to be made of the dust of the ground : 
now he hath his denomination according to what he is in re- 
ality ; a living soul being breathed into him, as vital breath, from 
God himself, most immediately. 

And here we are to stay our thoughts a little, and consider 
what this is. It is to be ki\own, (as all essences are,) but by 
certain properties that do speak tliemselves in such and such 
peculiar effects, and so tell us what the cause must be from 
whence such eftccts do proceed. It is plain, that this same 
soul of man must be a substantial being; otherwise, it were ne- 
ver capable of such actiuns and effects as we manifestly find do 
belong to us, and are wrought by us. Now if we do consider 
them severally, 

I. That which is fundamental of all other, is, that it mani- 
festly appears to be a vital thing; the spirit of man is distin- 
guished by vitality, by being essentially vital. It is very true, 
in<leed, that these bodies of ours, as long as the soul inhabits 
them, live too, have life in them : but I pray consider, what is 
so very "obvious, the difference of tliat life, from what we must 
understand and conceive to be the life of our spirits. We know 
the body of man so lives, as that it doth not constantly live, it 
dotli not always live; and so life doth not belong to it essentially; 
life is separable from it. The body of man, it can be killed ; it 
is capable of losing its life, and so its life is but a derived and 
a borrowed thing from somewhat else. Spirit hath life radi- 
cally in itself. For we must conceive the spirit of a man, this 
breath of life (as the learned languages, hebrew, greek, and 
latin, have no word for spirit but that which signifies breath,) 
I say this spirit, or breath of life, is, in itself, vital, so as that 
unto it, to be, and to live, is all one. The body may be, and 
not live ; (as I told you) life is separable from it; but the spi- 
rit, the soul, while it is, it always lives, its being and its life are 
not capable of being parted from one another, as it is in the 

j-Ec. XVI.) The Creation of 3Iaiu 295 

life of the body. And so it is from that life, that the life 
which is in the outward man is derived, and transmitted in 
all the several parts of that body that do partake of life. And 

2. Next to life, (which is fundamental and indeed of ]art,^cr 
extent, and not so distinguishing,) there is intellect ; theie is a 
power of understanding that belongs to the spirit of a man, by 
which his spirit is a thing capable of thought, or doth consist 
in a thinking power, a continual source or spring of thoughts ; 
80 that if we never so continually attend ourselves, we cannot 
find ourselves not thinking : there is a perpetual forge of 
thoughts, from whence they fly and spring up, as sparks from 
this or tliat fiery substance, and never cease to do so. And 
within that compass of intellect, lies not only power of forming 
thoughts, but of connecting thoughts ; of aliirming one thing 
tliat we think, of another thing that we think; and the power 
of deducing thoughts from other thoughts, of inferring some 
thoughts from former thoughts ; that is, that because I think 
so and so, therefore, I consequently think so and so too ; some 
thoughts having a dependance upon other foregoing thouglits : 
and a power of ranging thoughts, of methodizing tiioughts, of 
putting thoughts into a frame and order, according to that re- 
lation which they mutually bear to one another. 

And this, shews this same thing called spirit or mind in man 
to be, not only a substance, but a substance quite of another 
kind from this outward n)an of ours, that is made up of matter, 
though there be things belonging to this frame, never so fine, 
and did require never so high purity of matter ; yet plain it is, 
that the spirit, that is in man, must be somewhat of a quite dif- 
ferent nature ; inasmuch as there is nothing of matter, whether 
gross or never so fine, that is capable of a thinking power : for 
you can no more discern a tendency of a power ol" thinking in 
a flame of fire, than you do in a piece of clay ; a fianie of fiie is 
nothing more rational, nothing more capable of understanding, 
than a log or a stone ; and therefore, whatsoever hath the power 
of thought belonging to it, must be a being of quite another na- 
ture and kind, from any thing of matter, be it never so fine, ne- 
ver bO pure ; there being no property at all belonging to matter, 
that Ijath any possibility of contributing to such a thing as 
thought — neither figure, nor the size, nor the motion, nor the 
connexion of parts one to another. It is altogether an unima- 
ginable thing, that a piece of matter, be it never so small, 
should be more capable of thought for being of such a figure, 
or less capable of thought for being of such a one : that if it be 
square it canuot think; if it be round, then, it ca.'inoi. thip.k.;. 


if it be of a less particle, then, it can think ; if it be a greater, 
then it cannot think : if such ;ind such particles be separated 
one from another, then they cannot think; if they be put to- 
gether they can. No reasonable understanding can imagine 
any contribution in these things unto the act of thinking. And 
the motion of so many parts can contribute as little and no more 
than so. A heap of sand lying still, can be capable of no 
thought ; and if it be agitated, never so much, it will be as 
little capal)]e : therefore, nothing is plainer than, that this pro- 
perty of the mind or spirit of man ; that is, intellect or the 
power of thought, or thinking, doth speak tliis spirit, or mind 
of man, to be quite a diverse thing from all the matter that be- 
longs to t'lie outward man ; even from every thing of the out- 
ward man ; that the inward and the outward man must be quite 
diverse ordiifercnt things. And then, 

3. There is the power of will or choice, belonging to this 
inward man, the mind and spirit within us, by which we are 
capable of determining concerning our own actions ; of choos- 
ing or refusing, of resolving to do so and so; of resolving not 
to do so ; or resolving to do the contrary : a strange power, and 
of vast extent, that doth distinguish and belong to the spirit of 
man, and through which this soul and spirit of man come to 
have that double capacity, to wit, of duty and felicity. I were 
capable of neither of these, if it were not for that elective 
power, and consequently upon the intellective, by which 1 am 
capable of choosing my own actions, and the objects upon 
which they are to be employed. I speak now of tlie original 
capacity belonging to the spirit and mind of man, not consi- 
dering, at present, the impairment or diminution thereof, by 
the apostasy : of which there may be occasion to speak in 
the proper place, and season, when it may come in our way. 
But it is the same faculty or property of the mind or spirit of 
man, to wit, the power of election and choice, that makes him 
the subject both of duty and felicity. He were never capable 
of duty, if it were not for this ; nor capable of felicity, otherwise 
than by this; as he is a creature obliged by the law of duty, 
and capal)le of being rewarded and remunerated by felicity. 
This is the thing inferred by the power and faculty in man, 
the power of volition, depending upon that understanding or 
cogitative power, which you have heard of before; though 
some take that term of cogitation to extend so far as to take 
this in too. But we are not considering of words now. And 

4. There is the executive power, by which we reduce into 
act, these purposes and intendments of ours; a oiraisL;'.; sort of 

JLEc XVI.) The Creation of Man. 297 

power; that is, being directly under the dominion and govern- 
ment of that former power, the power of choosing ; that is, be- 
cause we will do so and so ; and so choose we to go to such 
a place; or we stay and move not: we move this and that 
member, or we restrain that motion. If we will, we can move 
our whole frame with very great facility ; or else if we will not, 
it is very difficult to move it. That 1 can by the notice, by 
the command of my will, make my whole bodily frame so easily 
move to this or that place, which without that empire or com- 
manding act of my will, it would give so much difficulty and 
trouble to others to do. And 1 move it myself niiUo conatiiy 
nullo negotio, upon the matter, I make nothing of it, I do it 
with ease. This is a power that we continually use; but we 
rery seldom reflect upon it, that we have such an ability belong- 
ing to our natures, and even to the very nature of our spirits, 
the soul within, by which to move to and fro, these members of 
our body, as from time to time we do. And, 

5. There is belonging, as very peculiar, (and some think 
it is most of all peculiar,) to the mind and spirit of man, the 
capacity of religion, of which the brute creature Is altogether 
uncapable: some think this more diffitirencing of man than rea- 
son itself. It is a very dubitable and disputable matter, v.he- 
ther there be not that very thing in many creatures, that are 
reckoned brutes only, that we call reason. But concerning this, 
religion, the matter is out of all question and doubt, tliat it 
belongs, most peculiarly, to the mind and spirit of man ; that 
is, the capacity of acknowledging a Divine Being, the Author 
of our being, and of reverencing and adoring that Being ac- 
cordingly ; that power by which I do suspicere mimen, by 
which I consider a Being above me, the Author of my being, 
and of all beings, and of any disposition in me to pay a reve- 
rence and adoration to that sovereign and supreme Being there- 
upon. And, 

6. Lastly, there Is belonging to this spirit of man, (as pecu- 
liar and distinguishing too,) the power of governing the infe- 
rior faculties ; the power of governing sensitive appetites and 
passions; and even, in very great part, the acts of the ext trior 
senses : I say, in very great part — there will be some involun- 
tary actions ; but how far the natural power of man did jierein 
originally extend, we are not in this state of our apostasy capa- 
ble of knowing now. But undoubtedly, <vhen man was himself 
in his innocent and instituted state, and where the Inferior na- 
ture was held in direct subordination to the supeiior, as there 
were then no undue thoughts, so neither were there any un- 
due motions of an inferior nature itself, but what were certainly 

VOL. VII. 2 Q 


commandable and kept within due limits. And this empire 
did belong to the mind and spirit of man, to govern and con- 
duct all the inferior appetitions and affections, and all the ex- 
ternal actions, so as they should move or not move, be done or 
not be done, as to that governing wisdom seated on the throne, 
in the mind of man, did seem meet. 

Of this tiiere will be more occasion to speak when we come 
to the latter particular in the text ; to wit, <' that in the image 
of God made he man :" when we come to treat of the norma 
and pattern of this great divine work. But upon what hath 
been said, thus far, concerning the product, the thing pro- 
duced, man : surely our thoughts cannot but reproach us that 
they arc so seldom employed upon so important a subject, and 
that lies so very near us : for what can be so near us as our- 
selves ? Tliat we can have our eyes round about us, like the 
eyes of the fool in the end of the earth, and so seldom find time 
and room for any such thing as self-contemplation, 


Whereas, in the former discourse, we told you, that it is im- 
possible that the spirit of a man, this inward man, can have 
been made of matter, so neither can it be made of spirit, for 
spirit is not a partible thing. If any should suppose it to be 
made of created spirit, it is as good to suppose it made imme- 
diately out of nothing, as any former created spirit ; for the 
necessity will recur of referring this production, at length, to 
that special kind; to wit, of making a thing out of nothing. 
But for its being made of the uncreated spirit, God himself, 
that would be to make the Divine Essence a divisible thing, a 
partible thing, as if there were parts capable of being severed 
from parts belonging to the same essence of God. And there- 
fore, tliougli among some of your heathens, (your stoics parti- 
cularly) there have been those high hyperbolical expressions of 
men's being parts and members of the GoAhe^di^ Des partes 
sumufi et membra, as Seneca's expression is : and that cele- 
brated stoic speaks softly enough indeed of the soul's being 
divines particuia aurce, the soul should be a particle of divine 
breath; these are expressions allowable enough as high rheto- 
rical strains, but not as expressions of rigid truth, by any means. 
If, therefore, the spirit of man were neither- made of matter, 
nor of spirit, it must have been made out of nothing. And so 

* rreacbed January 0, l6g4. 

LECXvii.) The Oreation of Man, L'OU 

in reference to this part of the product, the effect, the thing 
produced, man, that must needs be by most immediate cre- 
ation in the strictest and most proper sense. 

As for the question, "Whether that these souls were made 
at once, or whether made successively just then, when put 
into a state of union with these bodies ?" is a thing altogether 
unfit for us to concern ourselves about; it being, indeed, such 
a thing as divine Revelation hath given no determination toj 
and such a thing as no Imman investigation can ever be able to 
make a determination of, one way or other; we must be con- 
tent to be ignorant where God hath drawn a veil over things, 
and not brought them into any kind of light that we can dis- 
cern them by. 

And then, for the completing of this production or produc- 
tive act, we are to consider, (as comprehended in it) the union 
that is brought about between these two parts, the outward 
man and the inward man, without which there could not be 
one product considerable in the case : for when we speak of 
God's making man, (as this text doth,) the meaning cannot be 
barely, that he made a body for him out of the eaith, and that 
he made a soul for him out of nothing; the production of 
these two pans will not amount to the making of a man, unless 
these two parts be united and brought together, so that of both 
to compass and make one thing : a man is not created till 
then, not made till then. And most plain it is, that this union. 
it was made, at first, by God himself immediately, without the 
co-operation of any second cause. But it is in the after pro- 
ductions, brought about in a settled way and course of nature, 
in which, yet, we cannot say that man's being produced, doth 
consist in the making of his body, or the making of his soul ; 
but in the union of the one with the other. There is not a 
man produced till then ; till these two parts, being produced, 
are brought together. But they are not brought together in 
union in the same way as they v^ere at first : for at first it was 
by God's own immediate pperat'on ; but he hath now settled 
the course of nature wherein all following productions are 
brought about. But yet, still it is his work; otherwise, man 
which was God's creature at first, would cease to be God's 
creature, if he were not still the Maker. Now concerning this 
union we have this to say : 

1. That it doth not confound the parts united, one with 
another ; for the body is a body still, and not a spirit : and 
the spirit is a spirit still, and not a body. These parts do re- 
main distinct in the union : there is no confusion of them in 
the case, nor identification ; as if the nature of the one were 


lost and swallowed up, in the nature of the other. But the 
body continues to have all the properties of a body ; and the 
spirit continues to have all the properties of a spirit; the pro- 
perties of the one are not communicated to the other. It is 
not the body that thinks, nor the spirit that grows ; or the 
like, but these particular distinguishing actions proceed, that 
are proper to the one and the other, they remain unto each. 

2. We have further to say, concerning this union, that, 
though under it the parts remain distinct, and are not con- 
founded one with another, yet they are most intimately united; 
though it does not identify them, nor confound them, yet is this 
union a most close union, a most inward union, so as not to be 
ordinarily separable by any means that shall not discompose 
the recipient herein, that it shall be no longer naturally capa- 
ble of being ; so the soul cannot but stay there : and when it 
ceaseth to be capable of being the apt recipient of the soul, 
the soul can no longer stay; it is, therefore, a roost intimate 
union ; and a most marvellous one ; and one of the greatest 
mysteries in all the creation of God; considering the vast dif- 
ference that there is between these two natures, a piece of clay, 
and a mind ; that these two should be so united together, 
that so long as the one remains naturally susceptible of the 
other, they can by no means be parted, they cannot be separa- 
ted, while the crasis of the body remains entire. It is one of 
the greatest miracles in all the great creation of God ; that is, 
that when this mind of mine, this spirit, is loose from all matter 
besides, 1 can move myself from this place, or that, as 1 will ; 
I cannot yet, by any means, from this body of mine: to this 
piece of matter I am tied and fixed : and though this soul of 
mine be an elective and voluntary agent, and I do things elec- 
tively, and at choice, I cannot at my own choice take myself 
out of this body of mine, to separate it from my soul ; but whi- 
ther ever I have a mind to go, it follows me, and goes with me, 
and cleaves with me; 1 canncV shake it off while the crasis 
lasts." This is a thing whereon the wisdom of the Creator hath 
infinitely outwitted us, and gone beyond us. We know not 
what hath tied this knot, this knot of man, made of these two 
parts, that are so little of kin, as dust and spirit are to one ano- 
ther, yet so to adhere to one another, as that they cannot be 
severed by any art, or any power, as long as the crasis, or whole 
constitution lasts, so as this mind or spirit can go out and come 
in at pleasure. Let it be considered, for it is one of the deep- 
est mysteries of divine wisdom in all the creation of God. A 
gijeat wonder it is in itself; and really, it is not a less wonder 

XEc. XVII.) The Creation of Man, SGI 

that it should be so little considered, that man, that hath such 
a thing as this belonging to his nature, a union of two such, so 
disagreeable parts, should so seldom reflect upon it, so seldom 
allow himself to contemplate and look into the mystery of his 
own composition. 

But now, to go on to the Use of this former part — God made 
man : here are but a few words. But it is a vast improvement 
that they are capable of, if we would give our thoughts scope ; 
and if it might please the Divine Spirit to concur and fall in 
with his own word. Here lies before us the foundation, laid 
bare and open to view, of the whole law of nature: that which 
we call the law of nature herein, it hath its foundation even in 
this — God made man. It results but from the nature of God, 
and the nature of man compared together, or with one another; 
the nature of the Creator and the nature of the creature, this 
creature, such a creature. Inferior creatures are not govern- 
able by a law; it is an intelligent, voluntary subject that alone is 
capable of being so governed. And inasmuch as God is the 
most perfect intellectual Being, and our Creator, and we are 
intellectual beings too, and his creatures, hence results upon us 
the obligation of that law which is called "the law of na- 
ture ;" and may justly be so called, or which otherwise may be 
called "the law of our creation.'* Take that in the general. 
But to be here a little more particular, there are these several 
things to be learned even from hence — that God made man. 

1. Is God indeed our Maker ? Then certainly there ought to 
be in us a most thirsty, longing desire to know him, as far as our 
minds are capable of knowing him. For w^hat ! Can I be content 
to be ignorant who it is that made me ? Indeed, there cannot 
be a higher and more notorious violation of the law of our na- 
ture, or creation, to be willingly ignorant of that God that made 
me, and gave me being. But how dismal a thing is it, that 
•we should so generally need to be taught how to answer the 
very first question that we are wont to ask our children : " Who 
made you ?" I hope you are wont to do it ; Ciod knows how it 
is ; but I hope it is your wont and use to ask your children, 
"Who made you ?" But pray let us consider. Do we not need 
to be taught ourselves, what we pretend to teach our children, 
" who made us?" When you would teach your children so much, 
do you mean that they should repeat the words and no more ? Is 
it not your meaning, that you would have them understand 
who made them ? Is it not your meaning that they should ha^'e 
some notion in their minds of him that made them ? If we had 
so, and a true, right, correspondent notion, O ! how mightily 


impressive would that very thought be upon our souls ; how 
would it strike tlsrough (til our powers, for ourselves to answer 
that question, " Who made us ?" He that is infinitely beyond 
all tiiought, beyond all conception, declare his name, or his 
Son's name, if thou canst tell : as it is said unto Ithiel and 
Ucal, Prov. 30. 4. Into what an amazement should it put us 
to consider, what answer we shoulu put to this question, " Who 
made us ?" Into how profound thinking should it cast our 
n\inds ? Into how deep thoughts ? Out of how vast and im- 
mense a fulness and plenitude of life, and being, and power, 
we did spring ? That vast plenitude, that abyss of being, 
that answers the question, '' Who made me ?" He made me, 
that is the infinite fuhiess of all being, and of all life, and of 
all excellency, and of all perfection : and shall not I covet to 
know him ? At the same time that I acknowledge him incom- 
prehensible, I must look upofi the knowledge of him as most 
desirable, the most desirable of all knowledge. 

And therefore, it speaks a most horrid degeneracy (as there 
will i)e occasion more directly to take notice of hereafter) of 
this thinking part of man, his mind and spirit, that it can think 
of so many thousands of things, and covet to know them, affect 
to know them, but not afi'ect to know the Author of its own 
being, of its own life, and of all those great powers and facul- 
ties that he hath furnished the reasonable, intelligent nature 
with; ''They liked not to retain God in their knowledge." 
Rom. 1. 23. They did not approve of it : that is the import 
of the word : a strange thing that this matter being proposed to 
God's own creature, and a creature capable of thought and un- 
derstanding. Hast thou a mind to know God, to understand 
him that gave thee being ? No, I do not approve of it. They 
approved not to retain God in their knowledge; there was a 
secret dislike and disaffection; "an alienation from the life of 
God," as it is expressed, Ephes. 4. 18. " and this they are 
willingly ignorant of," (saith the apostle Peter 2 epis. 3. 5.) 
" that the world was made at first by the word of God, the 
earth standing out of the waters and in the waters. Of this 
they were willingly ignorant." This matter, it lay hid from' 
them, being very willing that it should : that is the import of 
the expression the Spirit of God makes use of there. It lies 
hid from them, being willing of it. What lies hid? That this 
world had a creation ; of this they arc willing to be ignorant; 
and so, consequently; that they had a creation. They desire 
not the knowledge of it ; they say to God, "Depart from us, 
we desire not the knowledge of thee." Job 21 . 14. Here is di- 
vine light and glory shining every where through this world; but 

i.Lc. XVII.) The Creation of Jf/m. 303 

we choose rather to dwell in the dark as to this thinc^. ** 'i'he 
light shineth in darkness, but the darkness coniprehcndet!\ 
it not;" receives it not, would exclude and shut out that 
light : a voluntary darkness; as if that darkness should enter- 
tain thoughts and communings with itself; as if there should 
be an agreement among the several clouds of that darkness ; 
** Come, lot us collect and gather together thick about such 
and such m.inds, to fence them against the beams of such 
light ;" this mind is self-collecting, and gathering these clouds, 
drawing them in, inwrapping itself in them ; " O ! let us not 
know God, though he made us ; God made me and yet I will 
not know him." O ! unnatural thing ; most monstrously un- 

Even so it is with men in their distresses, when nature itself 
would dictate to them, " O cry to him to give thee help who 
hath given thee being." Do but observe that, Job 35. 10. 
*' They cry by reason of oppression of the mighty ; but none 
saith. Where is God my Maker." An amazing tiling that men 
in their distress will many times cry to rocks and stones but 
not say, "Where is God my Maker?" Cry to rocks and moun- 
tains, (as they will at last) but lift up no cry to heaven, *' Lord 
I would fain know thee, manifest thyself to me in this my dis- 
tress." No, men will perish under their burdens rather than 
do it : such is the disaffected temper of men's minds towards 
God. Indeed, for ease and relief they will cry, but not for 
God, or say, "I want to know God;" that is none of their 
sense. "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, when 
shall I come and appear before God ?" Nothing more remote 
from the minds and hearts of men than this sense. And yet, 
it is not understood, what they are incurring of guilt and mi- 
sery, by this neglect of getting their minds furnislied and en- 
riched with the knowledge of him that made them, it is not con- 
sidered what lies upon it. *' It is eternal life to know thee the 
only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." And if 
these two be necessary (as we find in that John 17-3.) If both 
these, I say, be necessary, how fearful a case is it, if we cannot 
get men over the first, or to the first, which is more natural. 
But the knowledge of the true God, that lies within the com- 
pass of the sphere of nature, that belongs to natural religion. 
And a compliance v.ith the divine pleasure in this, to wit, set.'k- 
ing to know him, belongs to the law of nature, by the first and 
primary obligation of ihat lav/ upon us. At what a distance 
are their souls then, from blessedness and eternal life, that when 
it Is " eternal life to know the only true God and Jesus Cln-ist, 
whom he hath sent," we cannot get man to the ^rst. N<i, 


they are content to be all their days ignorant of God ; yea, 
though he be a Father to them. 

O ! strange prodigy of unnaturalness ! So you would account 
it, if that were the temper of any child, that he did disaffect to 
converse with, or take any knowledge of, his own father. But 
this is the peculiar relation between God and men. He is a 
Father to them, a Father upon a natural account ; as he hath 
been the immediate Creator of their spirits. And therefore, 
when Cluist's line is run up to the highest, you find it run up to 
Adam — " Who was the Son of Adam :" and then by Adam it 
is run up to God — " Who was the Son of God," Luke 3. 38. 
and upon that account it is that we are said to be *'his off- 
spring," in that Acts 17. 28. An expression that the apostle 
borrows from a celebrated poet of their own, a certain astrono- 
mical poet, who was highly in vogue with that people, or with 
the philosophers of that place ; that university at that time. 
One of your own poets tells us '' we are his offspring." Man 
is the creatine of God : but with very great peculiarity. He 
hath many creatures besides. All the inferior universe are his 
creatures too : but among all, man only is the son ; that is, 
there is none below him to whom that title is ever given of 
being his son. " And shall we not be subject to the Father of 
spirits and live ?" 

Besides this supernatural ground of this relation of Father 
and Son between God and the spirits of men : 1 say, besides 
the supernatural ground of it in regeneration, it hath its natu- 
ral ground. And you will see more of it when we come to 
consider the Second Part — Man's being created after God's 
image : for if we speak of human productions, a man makes 
many things himself, yet what things he makes they are of a 
different nature from himself; but whatsoever he begets is of 
the same nature, of a like nature with his own. Human na- 
ture can make many things, make houses, make garments, but 
they have nothing of a similitude or agreement of nature with 
the maker. But it is this peculiar sort of production that gives 
foundation to the relation of father and son, even that which 
makes the product to be of the same nature and kind, or of an 
agreeable nature to the productive cause. If man be the son 
of God, then he must be an intelligent being, as He is. And 
this is the state of things between God and men; and yet 
they do not know it, and choose not to know it, are vvillingly 
ignorant of it. The matter is upon account plain, that their 
ignorance of God is voluntary ; for that it is evident, it is not 
necessary; that is, they do not live ignorant of God because he 
cannot be known: for his glory shines every .where. There is 

tEC. XVII.) The Creation of Man. SOS 

not the meanest creature but proclaims Deity to every one who 
will attend : there is not the most despical)le pile of grass, or 
grain of sand, or any such thing, that will not make an argu- 
ment to us of Deity, tiiat cannot fail but be most cogent and 
unansweral)le. For take but one single pile of giass, one single 
grain of sand, and here is a real something ; that is plain. But is 
it a thing that came into being of itself? Is this pile of grass, or 
grain of sand, a self-subsisting thing? No, by no means; no 
reasonable thought can imagine that, that it can be a self sub- 
sisting thing : for then it would have more perfection in it than 
all the world hatii besides, that did not make itself, or come 
into being of itself : then it owes itself to a maker, and so we 
are unavoidably led to God. If you but so much asset yourself 
to contemplate a grain of sand, or a pile of grass, follow the 
train of your own thoughts but a little way and yon are led to 
God, whether you vvill or no: this is either something or no- 
thing; I find it to be a real something: weli, but what is it ? a 
thing that subsisted of itself? No, by no means; far then it 
would have all the perfections, all the excellencies of the uni- 
verse in it ; and infinitely more; this grain of sand, and pile 
of grass, would have more excellency in it than all, the world: 
for it is plain, that this world did not make itself ; why then 
we must refer it to the Maker ; and so you are led to God, whe- 
ther you will or no, by so mean a thing. 

Therefore, I say, men's ignorance of God is not necessary ; 
because they cannot know him : it must, therefore, be volun- 
tary, because they are willingly ignorant of him. And the 
more plainly so, because, whereas they have a sufficient demon- 
stration of the being of a God, even in the meanest creature, 
they have a more abundant demonstration in themselves, and 
from themselves. If a grain of sand, or pile of grass, will provQ 
a creature and a Deity to me, how much more must i myself 
who know I did not make myself. I know I cainC; into being 
so many years ago : so that this work of giving an answer to 
this question " Who made you? ' doth not lie remote : i do not 
need to fly up into heaven, or go down into the depth of the 
earth, or to cross the seas, for an ansv/er to it; but only look 
into myself The word is nigh me, in my mind, ;md in my 
mouth; ifl will allow that to speak my mind: I liave in me 
these powers, these faculties, that nature, that most expressly 
represent God to me. M find myself a creature that can use 
thoughts ; I find I have a power in me of laying designs of 
forming projects, of foreseeing tliings, of comparing thought 
with thought, of inferring and deducing one thought from aiio- 

VOL, VII. 2 R 


ther. How manifestly doth all this lead me to God, the per- 
fectly intellectual Being ! 

Therefore, it is the most amazing thing, that our thoughts 
can reflect upon, that there should be such an indisposition and 
averseness in us to know him that made us. God made man ; 
but man will not know God, though he be not a Creator, at 
large, only to him, but a Father ; and man, in respect of his soul 
and spirit, his very offspring, he being the Father of spirits : 
upon the account whereof, pagans themselves have been wont 
to speak of God, as the paternal Mind, Father of all minds, 
and of all spirits, as some of them by the light that shone, even 
to them, could not avoid to see and say. 

There is but one thing that leads to many more parts of the 
law of nature, and our condition which results in all the seve- 
ral parts of it, from the collation and putting together these 
two things — God and man : man being considered as the thing 
made, and God as his Maker ; God made man. Sure, I say, 
in the first place, nothing can be more reasonable, and suitable 
to this state of the case, than that man should have a mighty 
thirst to know God, to know him that made him. One would 
think it should be an uneasy state of the spirit of man, to be 
in any such ignorance of God as should proceed from neglect : 
to be ignorant of God by neglect, by not caring to know him, 
by not concerning one's self to have that knowledge, that 
should be the uneasiest thing in all the world to the spirit, to 
be capable to have that said to him, " So many years thou 
hast lived in the world, lived in the flesh, a tabernacle that thy 
Creator and Maker hath framed for thee, and put thee into it, 
and all this while thou hast not cared to know him, nor con- 
cerned thyself to get any acquaintance with him." It very 
much becomes^and concerns us to covet to know him. It is a 
very unnatural thing to be content to be ignorant of him that 
made us; but not to be willing to know him, that is much worse. 
But now, 


2. We may hence collect, that our constant, grateful adora- 
tion of God, is a most reasonable duty incumbent upon all of 
us. Nothing is more deeply fundamenftil in the law of our cre- 
ation, than the law of vvorship. " Let us come and bow down, 
and kneel before the Lord our Maker." It is a joyful homage 

* Preached January 13, 1694-, 

LEC. xvin.) The Creation of Man. S07 

that is claimed unto him on this account, the most complacen- 
tial adoration. " Let us come before him with thanksgiving: it 
is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves." Indeed, n. th- 
ing can be more reasonable hereupon, than those two great parts 
of natural worship, to wit, supplication and ihanksgiving. 
Supplication ; Should not a people seek unto their God ? Did 
he make us ? did he give us being ? from whom else are we to 
expect all the good we need? He that bath given us being; 
all the accessories of being are to be looked for only from him. 
And thanksgiving ; these two parts of natural worship, are 
complicated in one another; in the institution of them, as they 
are in the reason of them, and root of them. "Let your re- 
quests and supplications be always made to him, witii thanks- 
giving," as in divers texts of Scripture, wliich I might refer 
you to, and even upon that account, that he hath given us our 
very being itself, which is the fundamental unto ail other good 
that we are any way capable of, that he hath given us being of 
such a kind. So God made man. 

We should consider what is involved in the nature of man, 
and so bethink ourselves what we have to bless God for : that is, 
the primitive nature wiiich God gave man at first, or where- 
with he made him, every thing that he made was good, and so 
was that more excellently good. It is storied concerning Plato, 
a heathen, that dying, he gave God solemn thanks for three 
things : " That he made him a man, and not a brute; that he 
had made him a Grecian and not a barbarian, (there being much 
more light among them in his time, than with the rest of the 
world, to wit, the light of philosophy and cultivated reason ;) 
and the third was, because he had ordered it so that he should 
live in Socrates' days, who was reckoned so great a luminary in 
that part of the world among them, while yet they were over- 
spread with paganism." O ! how awfully should we adore 
God that he hath given us a being ; that he hath given us ra- 
tional, intelligent natures, capable of knowing and enjoying so 
great things ! that he hath assigned us our station in such a 
part of the world, and where we have opportunity to know 
a greater One than Socrates was ! that he hath ordered our 
creation in such circumstances as he hath done, in such a time 
and such a part of the world ! Nothing is a more equal law 
that can be upon us, than that we should have an habitual, 
adoring gratitude, possessing our souls upon such accounts. 

And, upon the whole, Adoration ! how correspondent a thing 
is it to creation ; adoration on our part, unto creation en his 
part? How convictive a saying was that celebrated one of 
Austen? <*lfl(saith he) were capable of making a reason- 


able creature to stand forth out of nothing, endowed with the 
power of reason and understanding, the first thing sure that I 
should expect from 1dm would he, that he should fall down 
and worship me." In what an unnatural state, then, is this 
world upon this account, tjiat being inhabited by so many 
reasonable creatures, it is inhabited by so few worshippers ! 

3. Another practical deduction from hence, is, that we ought 
to live in a continual dependance on him that made us. 80 
God made man. Hath he made us, and will not we depend 
upon him ? trust in him ? This is most essential homage due to 
our Maker, to place upon him, and exercise toward him, a con- 
tinual, vital trust. This is a glory which he will not impart, 
but concerning which he is jealous. And, indeed, as to purely 
internal worship, this is the first, and most radical of it, trust in 
God : and so very natural to an intelligent creature, that I re- 
member Philo Indseus hath this expression conceridng it : 
"That he is not fit to be called a man, that hath not in him 
hope towards God." He seems to mean it of what is most na- 
tural to man, that he is not to be reckoned a man, that doth 
not trust in God, and doth not place a hope in him. 

Natural dependance is reckoned, consequentively, essential 
to a creature; and it is so. A creature is naturally a depend- 
ing thing; an explicit dependance, that doth as properly belong 
to an intelligent creature, as natura-l dependance doth to all 
other creatures. A creature, as such, taken at large, is a mere 
dependant upon him that made it. This whole creation is no- 
thing else but a thing dependant upon God, upon divine power 
and upon divine pleasure ; according to which it was determin- 
able, whether it should be, or not be; and according tu which, 
it is continually determinable, whether it should continue to be 
another moment, yea or no. And so suitable as natural depend- 
ance is to a creature, as a creature, so suitable is intellectual de- 
pendance to a reasonable creature, as such : that is, that it should 
consider its dependant state, and often recount with itself, How 
came I to be what I am from moment to moment, when I can- 
not promise myself a moment's breath or being ? This is so 
appropriate a glory to the Deity, that when trust is supremely 
placed any where else, there is a curse pronounced upon it; 
*' Cursed be the man that trusteth in man ;" Jer 17.5. for 
this is to rob God of his peculiarity ; to place a homage on 
the creature, that is most appropriate and peculiar to the Cre- 

But it may be said, In our state of apostasy from God, wliat 
room or place is there left for trust in him ? 

I.UC. XVIII.) The Creation of Man. 309' 

To that I answer, very certain it Is, men are in an apostasy 
from God. But are they, therefore, always to continue so? es- 
pecially when he is so intent upon a design for their recovery 
and reducement; and he insists still upon the right that he 
Jiath in his own creature. Because his creature is revolted and 
apostatized, and run away from him, hath he, therefore, lost 
his right in it ? Jf there be an obligation upon an apostate crea* 
ture to return, (and if it were a wicked thing to apostatize at 
first, it must needs be an increase of the wickedness, to conti- 
nue in that state of apostasy and not to return,) then, wherein 
stood our revolt, therein must stand our return. The revolt of 
a creature from God in his ai)ostasy, lay in departing from hirai 
through " an evil heart of uni>elief;" that it could not trust in 
him, did not trust in him ; trusted the tempter and destroyer of 
souls, aijainst him. and in opposition to him. And to come out 
of a state of apostasy must he by tru«t, if the going in'o the state 
of aposia«v was by distrust. But this must be in God's own 
prescribed anfl appointed way and method. When once it hath 
pleased him to signify the way in which he is pleased to admit 
of sinners' return unto him, wherein he hath made the consti- 
tuti'in of a Redeemer known, there must be a re'urn in and 
tbnujgh him, and trust in God through him : " Ye believe in 
G' :), believe also in me." John 14. I. Where this way of 
re turning to God. so as to make him the supreme Object of our 
t'ust, is not known, there the state of a sinner is less capable of 
remedy. But where it is known, it admits of so nnich the 
greater and deeper guilt, if yet there be no thoughts of return- 
ing, and returning in this very act, by placing again our sur 
preme and vital trust upon him who was the first great and 
commanding OI>jcct of it ; that did most rightfully command 
it, and challenge it, for himself; Shall I have a creature that 
shall not trust in me? not make me its all in all ? therefore, 
to have our interest in God restored by Jesus Christ, that must 
be our great business, who live under the gospel of Christ. 

And then, we are to trust in God under that very notion of 
the Author of our being, knowing, that because we are apostate 
creatures, therefore, that he will never, for our sakes, but he 
will, for Christ's sake, do the part of a kind, benign Creator to 
us. Our interest in him as Creator being now renewed ; not 
lost and swallowed up, but renewed and restored : and there- 
fore, is the charge laid upon christians (I Peter 4 1.9.) to 
** commit themselves to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful 
Creator." His interest in us, as our Creator, was never lost; 
our interest in him, as such, was; but being now restored, upon 
this restitution, wc are continually to trust m him, and commit 


ourselves unto liim under the same notion of Creator, still. To 
comnut ourselves unto him as a faithful Creator, that is, he did 
put himself, at first, under obligation (implicitly at least) to his 
reasonabJe creatures : " Obey and thou shalt live," shalt be 
happy, he freely putting himself under this obligation. But 
the creature, upon his revolt, forfeited all his interest in him, 
and all right to that promised felicity, which, as an obedient 
creature, be might have expected : by Christ this right is re- 
stored ; and so God is to be considered now, by such as through 
Christ have returned to him, not merely according to the be- 
nignity of a Creator, but according to his fidelity also: "com- 
mit yourselves to him as a faitiiful Creator," he having resumed 
the obligation upon himself to treat such kindly: and he doth 
it, not merely from unobUged goodness, but obliged, which the 
-notion of faithfulness doth imply. He will be to you a faithful 
Creator, if you commit yourselves to him accordingly as such. 
And again, 

4. Another piece of practice that we may induccj and should 
learn, hence, is a constant and most profound humility. 
What ! am I a creature ? So God made man : there had never 
been any such a thing as man if God had not freely made him. 
O! then how deep an impression of humility should this fix upon 
our souls 1 What am 1 ? A creature depending upon will and. 
pleasure ; it was lately in the power of another, whether I 
should be, or not be. A proud creature is a monster in the 
creation of God ; the most horrid monster in the creation. 
What have I to be proud of, who am of myself nothing, and 
should never have been any thing, but by vouchsafement, by 
the good- will of another ? It is to that only that I owe it, that 
I am any thing. 

If one creature have more, or do think he hath more, of real 
excellency than another, that, with the whole of his being is all 
but a made thing. Thy whole being, whatsoever excellencies 
belong to it, either as common to that sort of creature-s to 
which thou art annumerated, or more special and peculiar to 
itself; if it be any thing, (if it be not merely a concealed thing,) 
it is a made thing, as thou art : thou wast made, and it was made, 
and it was made to be thine ; but all depending upon will and 
pleasure, therefore is pride a most monstrous thing in the cre- 
ation of God. The continual sense of all creatures, of any in- 
tellectual sense, should be this, " We are all nothing but what 
it pleased our Creator we should be. We have nothing but 
by his pleasure; our being is a borrowed being: and the ad- 
ditions, and all the ornaments that have occurred to it, are 
all made things, all borrowed things." Should any one be 

LEC. XVIII.) The Creation of Man, 3l'.l 

proud of that which he hath borrowed? To wear ornamemts 
tliat every one knows were borrowed, and to be proud of thei n, 
what a madness is that ? Our very being is a borrowed thin.g, 
and all that belongs to it. 

When God would humble a creature down into nothiiag, 
thereby to make it the capable receptacle of a Deity, a col la- 
biting Deity, that with such a one he might dwell, how doth 
he magnify himself the higher; " Heaven is my throne, and 
earth is my footstool. Isa. 66. 1. All these things have I madi*, 
they are all the works of my own hands. Now, if I can find lA 
creature sensible of this, to such a one will 1 look, that is of a 
poor and contrite spirit, that humbles himself into the dust be- 
fore so mighty and glorious a Creator ; with such a one will I 
dwell ; he shall be my temple the habitation of a Deity ;" for the 
Deity will suffer no diminution in uniting with such a one ; be- 
cause that will still be looked upon as the All in all, while 
he still looks upon himself as nothing. And, 

5. We further learn, hence, the great equity of the law of s( ;]f- 
denial ; it is a most deeply natural law ; and when it is m ade 
fundamental in Christianity, that is but the revival and re in- 
forcement of a natural law: " Except a man deny himself he 
cannot be Christ's disciple." Why so, why cannot he be 
Christ's disciple ? Pray consider what was Christ's busin ess, 
when he was to collect to himself disciples. His business, as a 
Redeemer, was to recover apostates back again to God ; and 
their discipleship to him, was only to put themselves undei r his 
conduct; that under the direction thereof, and through his 
mediation, they might return to God and be accepted. The 
very design for which a mediator was appointed, shews the ne- 
cessity of his insisting upon this law as fundamental to the w hole 
frame of Christianity. As if he had said, " My business as a 
Redeemer, as Mediator, is to recover and bring back apo; ;tate 
souls to their God again. "Wherein were they apostates:' la 
that they did set up themselves apart from God, andi'n o| )po- 
sition unto God. None can come to me and own me for t heir 
Head, and for their Lord, and Intercessor, and Mediator ^ ivith 
God, but it must be under this notion ; that is, that they took 
upon me as the only One by whom they are to be restored, and 
brought back into their primitive state, reduced to God, the 
great Author, and consequently the end of all things. ^ \nd 
therefore, did Christ, in dying, " redeem us to God by his blo( id." 
Rev. 5. 9. 

We are not to think, that we were, ourselves, tlie princ ipal 
end of Christ's redemption ; tliat would be an injurious and ab- 
surd imagination ; to think that the creature was Christ'^ c hief 


end, it were a horrid conception. God must be the chief end 
of all things ; therefore, the design of Christ's dying was to re- 
deem us to God ; to restore back such and such creatures to 
God, that the end for which they were made, might be served 
upon them. Our interest in him is a secondary tiling ; but 
bis interest and right in us was the primary thing. Therefore, 
it was impossible to be otherwise, but that Christ's designing- 
the redemption and reduction of sinners to God back again, 
luust lay this law as fundamental, at the bottom of all that reli- 
ffion he was to set up in the world; that is, self denial. " You 
jhave lived in a separate state apart from God. If you are weary 
of that life, and will come off from yourselves, then you are for 
•nie ; then you come under my conduct; I will make your 
peace ; 1 will buy it out for you, (and he hath bought it out,) 
and procure your acceptance with God, upon your return." 
But this can never be, if you have a mind to live separate still, 
to stand upon your own bottom, and make self your first and 
last:. Noj God must be your first and last ; and he really is 
the first and the last. And therefore, " unless any one be wil- 
ling' to deny himself, he cannot be my disciple," saith Christ ; 
he cannot be a christian under any other notion than as one 
that: is now willing that God in all his authority, and greatness, 
and excellency, and glory, shall entirely fill up that room which, 
before, self had usurped. And therefore, 

6', We further learn, hence, how reasonable and necessary a 
thing It is to man, as he is a creature, a created thing, to seek 
an iiQteresl in, and union with, God, as his highest and best, 
good; for of himself he is nothing. That he is any thing (as 
liath. been said) did depend upon divine pleasure. Such a one, 
if he! do recollect and use thoughts, must needs state his case 
thus : " Not only am 1 uncapable of doing any thing towards 
my own felicity, but I cannot preserve myself in being one 
monoent. What good have I then, but what I must expect from 
him that made me ? I have been severed from God, cut off from 
God., the great Author of my life and being; I have not, in this 
my Separate state, my good in my own hand ; I have not 
enoiagh in me to make me a happy creature ; a creature I am; 
but I still need to be a happy creature. And when my very 
being is not my own, what shall I be able to command for my- 
self, or procure for myself, or raise up to myself, within me, 
that shall be able to be a felicity or satisfaction to me ?" He 
that is nothing of himself, it is the most reasonable and neces- 
sary thing to such a t)ne to seek a union with him who is All, 
I am in myself nothing; there ought, therefore, to be in me a 
projpension towards him who is my Alii My soul ought to in- 

LEC. XVIII.) 77ie Creation of Man. 313 

cline towards liini, to adhere to him, as its supreme and hest 
good ; " Whom have 1 in heaven but thee ? who can I desire on 
earth in comparison of thee ?" And, 

7. A life of the most al)solute devotedness to God, is the 
only righteous way of living ; no man lives a righteous life that 
doth not live a devoted life. And what are we to deny our- 
selves for, as neither being able to prt)cure a felicitating good 
to ourselves, nor as being allowed to design a supj)ly for our- 
selves by any interest of our own ? And why are we to deny 
ourselves in these respects, but that what we take olFfrom our- 
selves, may be immediately placed upon God who is our All ? 
As we are to seek a union w^ith God for our real, present sup- 
port, and for our final satisfaction, so are we to devote and addict 
ourselves to him in order to this service. When we adhere to 
him, (according to what was expressed in the foregoing head,) 
that refers to our support and satisfaction; when we devote 
ourselves to him, that refers to liis service; that we may 
serve and glorify him: for that we are to devote ourselves to 

And that hath its reason in this too, that we are h"s creatures, 
he hath made us : and what did he make us for ? Did he ever 
make a creature to be its own end ? He hath made all things 
for himself : "Of him, and to him, and through him, are all 
things, that he alone might have the glory. Therefore, is our 
own created being, (as it is such) our very being itself, a perpe- 
tual, standing testimony against us as long as it lasts : if we 
live not devoted lives; if he who hath been the Author of our 
being, be not the end of it, this very being of mine is a testi- 
mony against me ; for what sort of l)eing is it ? Not a self- 
sprung being, but a created being : So God made man. I am 
a made being; therefore, is my being a testimony against me, 
(the kind and nature of it being considered.) i am a con- 
tinual testimony against myself, as 1 stand a created thing, de- 
pending upon will and pleasure, if I live not a devoted life, so 
as my own heart can bear me record, in the sigh.t of God, that 
1 do live to God. Being to ask myself the question, (and it is 
a shame to us if we do not often ask ourselves the question,) 
'' What do I live for ?" what is my business here in this world ? 
If I cannot answer it with a sincere conscience, " Lord, thou 
that knowest all things, thou knowest that I principally design 
to live to thee, and that I reckon my life, and my being, a vain 
and a lost thing, otherwise than as it is sacred unto thee : I 
continually testify against myself; I should think it living in 
vain, to please myself, and to serve an interest of mine own, 
when I have not a moment to command, but depend upon. the 

VOL. VII. 2 ? 


pleasure of another for every moment's sustentat'ion in the be- 
in,{:;that I have." Who can answer it to himself, to live that 
sacrilegious and ungodly life ? that is, not to live devoted to him 
by whom we live ? 

8. We may again learn, hence, what reason there is why we 
should love God more than ourselves : you cannot but know, 
this is a thing most strictly charged upon us, and wherein we 
are upon no terms to be dispensed with ; namely, that we are 
to love him above all. We owe unspeakably more to him than 
we can do to ourselves. We do not owe to ourselves that we 
are any thing. *' He made us, and not we ourselves." If 
there be any thing of real goodness in the being that we have, 
there is infinitely more in the Author of that being : and if 
goodness, as such, be the object of love, the greatest goodness 
must be the object of the greatest love, and the highest goodness, 
of the highest love. And therefore, do not think that vve are 
hardly imposed upon, when the law of our creation doth require 
and claim this from us, that we love God more than ourselves. 
And tlierefore, when our Lord Jesus Christ takes upon him the 
great business of our redemption, and reconciliation unto God, 
(which it was impossible for him ever to have effected, if he , 
had not been God as well as man, upon the account of the 
Deity that was united in the same person with his humanity,) 
he claims so much for himself from us, that is, he doth tell us, 
that, if any man do love father, or mother, or wife, or child, 
or his own life, more than him, he cannot be his disciple. We 
are to consider that there is Deity in his person, the fulness of 
the Godhead ; and so that he is, as such, the supreme Object 
of our love, to wit, the Deity which is in him, common to the 
Father and Spirit, must be the supreme Object of our love. It 
is as if he should have said, "I come, in kindness, to redeem 
and save you as lost creatures : you are not to think in doing, 
so, I have laid aside my Deity ; for then 1 could not have been 
a Redeemer and a Saviour to you : and therefore, having that 
Godhead united with my humanity, in my own person, 1 re- 
quire this of you, that is, that you love me more than your 
very being: and you cannot be my disciples upon any other 
terms." He was Creator, in conjunction with the Father, and 
the Spirit ; for " by him were all things made, visible and invi- 
sible; and without him, nothing was made that was made." 
And therefore, we are not to think it a hard or an unreason- 
able imposition upon us, that we are to love God, and to love 
Christ, more than ourselves ; more than this natural life or 
being of ours, so as that all must be a sacrifice to his plea- 
sure, if he once say the word, or signify his will to that_ pur- 

LEC. XVIII.) The Creatioji of Man, 315 

And that is the way, having lost ourselves, to find ourselves 
asrain, by loving him above ourselves. " If any man love his 
iffe," (that is, supremely,) "he shall lose it; bat if he will 
lose his life for my sake, he shall find it." We find life, and 
all, in God through Christ, when we are lovers so as to make 
him the supreme Object of our love, as in that, John 12.25. 
No man can really be a loser by so aijandoning himself, as to 
place that love which he unjustly placed upon himself before, 
(that is, his supreme love,) now upon God, and upon Christ. 
No man can be a loser, but he finds himself again in this case. 
He had lost himself before ; but now he is restored to himself 
and to his God both at once. Then, 

9. We may further learn, hence, how reasonable a thing it 
is, that man should be under government : Is he a creature ? 
then he ought to be a governed thing. The most reasonable 
thing in all the world it is, tiiat he that hath given us being, 
should give us law. Hath he been the Author of being to us? 
and shall he not rule his own creature ? Shall that be allowed 
to have a will against his will ? To have been raised up out of 
the dust, but the other day, out of nothing, and now to dispute 
whose will shall be superior, mine or his that made me, what an 
insolency is it! We may again learn, 

10. How foolish a thing is self-designing, when men lay 
their designs apart from God; forming their projects, as the 
apostle James speaks, chap. 4. 15, 16. " I will go to such a 
city, and buy and sell and get gain. And I will reside there for 
such a time." This all proceeds from our forgetting that we 
are creatures, made things. God hath made us ; so that our 
breath is in his hands. How great an absurdity is it, as well 
as an injury, that I should talk of forming projects, and laying 
designs, when I am but a made thing, and there is an arbitrary 
hand underneath me, which sustains me ; but that may let me 
drop and sink, in the next moment, if it be withdrawn. We 
oughtto say, " If God will, we will do so and so." If your being 
depend upon his will, certainly your actions and affairs depend 
upon his will too. But for men to design so and so, without 
consulting God, or referring themselves to God, is to take upon 
them as if they were not creatures. And, 

11. We may hence learn, further, (as that which is funda- 
mental to all the rest,) how indispensable an obligation there 
lies upon us to preserve a continual, awful remembrance of 
God upon our minds and hearts, from time to time, all the day 
long. " Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth." 1 
pray, let us but use our own understanding in considering this. 
When it is said, " Remember thy Creator in the days of thy 


youth." (Eccles. 12. 1.) Is the meaning of it, that we are 
only when we are young to remember him, and forget him all 
our days afterwards ? No, the meaning is, that those days of 
our youth are not to be exempted, we are not at liberty to for- 
get him even then, but that he claims an early and first interest 
in our time and tlioughts, and in the truth and vigour of our 
spirits, and that we are to begin then, when we are young, as 
we are to continue all our days afterwards. And how is he to 
be remembered ? Why under the very notion of Creator : that 
suggests to us the very reason why we are to remember him ; 
because he is our Creator, and our breath is continually in his 
hands. What ! do we think a man can subsist without God, 
any better when he is grown up, or when he is grown old, than 
he could when he was young ? No, the reason upon which the 
obligation rests, is still the same upon us all our days ; that, 
therefore, it is a most monstrous thing, to consider how men 
come to dispense with themselves in this fundamental duty, 
that virtually comprehends all the rest. All is lost and gone, 
if we do not so much as remember God. How can we dis- 
pense with ourselves to rise up in the morning, without a serious 
thought of God, and run after our common affairs all the day - 
long, and still forget him ? And lie down at night (it may be) 
without any serious remembrance of him ? and yet lie down 
with the apprehension that we are innocent in all this; we have 
passed over this day well if we have succeeded in our business, 
if there hath been no disaster that hath befallen us, all hath 
been well; though there hath been no serious thought of God; 
no minding of God at all ; that is to live in a downright re- 
bellion against God, through a whole day ; and also from day 
to day, through a whole life's time hitherto : for it must be 
entire and universal rebellion, inasmuch as all duty towards 
him depends upon remembering him : we can do nothing be- 
sides if we do not do that Therefore^ is that given us as the 
character and diagnostic of wicked men, of men that are de- 
signed for hell, and allotted to hell for their final and eternal 
inheritance and residence. ''The wicked shall be turned into 
hell, and all the people that forget God." Psalm 9. 17. And 
they, accordingly, are characterised as such, who more peculiarly 
belong to God, and as those whom he owns for his own, and 
counts his jewels ; " In the day that I make up my jewels, saith 
God, they shall be mine :" Who ? why " They that feared the 
Lord, and thought upon his name.", Mai. 3. 16, 17. " And 
the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance 
of thee." This is the profession of his holy ones. Isa. 26. 8. 
And, again we may add, 

LEC. XVIII.) The Creation of Man. 317 

12. Since God made man, you sec how easy It Is for liini to 
prevent all the evil designs of ill men, if he see good : for they 
are all his creatures : and hatli he made a creature that he cannot 
govern ? If then we see wicked men, at any time, bring their 
wicked devices to pass, it is not because God cannot rule them; 
but because he hath deeper designs that they understand not, 
and we understand not. And therefore, their insolcncy, and 
good men's despondency, upon that account, are equally unrea- 
sonable. They triumph ; and good men are dejected ; their 
hearts sink, and they hang down their heads; andwliy? be- 
cause wicked men prevail, and prosper in their way, many 
times, ages together ; and, it may be, in many parts of the world. 

(I.) Their confidence, on tlie one hand, is so unreasonable as 
to be even ridiculous. '-He that sitteth inthe heavens, laughs, 
the Most High hath them in derision." 'A company of hubbies 
of being, that I can let drop into nothing in a moment, if I 
please : and yet they please themselves in the hopes and ima- 
ginations of succeeding in such and such designs as they have 
laid.' " He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh" at them. 
He knows how soon he can let such bubbles drop into nothing; 
and he sees that their day is coming. And, 

(2.) Good men's despondency is, upon this accountj equally 
unreasonable. " Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, 
that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends 
of the earth, fainteth not, neither is v.-eary ? There is no 
searching of his understanding." Isai. 40. 28. Thou dost not 
know the counsels of God, what that all- comprehending mind 
and understanding of his doth design, in letting creatures 
awhile run such a course. But we are to be assured, he hath 
his own creatures in his own hand and power, both men and 
devils, and can govern them as he pleaseth. He hath a hook 
in their nostrils, that they themselves are unapprehensible of. 
He knows their coming in, and their going out, (as he said of 
that proud Assyrian,) and even all the rage which they have 
against him. But, I say, he hath a hook in their nostrils, and 
can turn them as he [ileaseth, and when he v/ill : v,e shall have 
done a great thing towards the whole business of our religion if 
we can but get this truth impressed upon, and deeply wrought 
into our souls; So God made man; if we will but learn to 
look upon ourselves as made things, and look upon all men as 
made things, continually in the hands; and at the command of 
their great Creator. 



Ceil. 1. 27. 

So God created 3Ian in his own Image. 

'E have treated of the first thing, to wit, this creation itself. 
So God made, or created mail. And now, 

II. \¥e come to speak of the norma or pattern of this work 
of his; or the estate wherein man was created; in his own im- 
age ; which is mentioned with a reduplication; "in the image 
of God created he hirn ;" and this we shall speak to briefly, by 
way of explication and application. 

I . In the explication, our great business must be, to inquire, 
and shew, wherein stood this image of God, wherein man was 
created. Theirs was a strange and absurd dream, (that of the 
anthropomophites,) that is, they who did ascribe to God a cor- 
poreal shape, and supposed man to be made like to God in that 
respect. We know, indeed, that in tract of time, our Lord 
Jesus Christ did assume a human body ; but that gives no pre- 
tence at all to this imagination : for therein he was made like 
unto lis, man being the pre-existcnt pattern, and not we like to 
him, man being made long before. And to ascribe to Deity 
Itself a corporeal shape, must needs speak very mean and base 
thoughts of God, founded in gross ignorance, and rising up mto 
a mental blasphemy ; and indeed, very vile thoughts even of 

* Preached January 20, lO'y-l. 

LEC. XIX.) 3fan created in the Divine Image. 319 

ourselves, as if we were but to imitate God In somewhat cor- 

Some of the more refined pagans have diselaimcd, and de- 
claimed against such gross thoughts of God, warning us to 
take heed of ascribing any thing corporeal to him ; as one, in- 
quiring how we are to conceive of God, according to the doc- 
trine of Plato, (1 mean Maximus Tyrius,) he tells us, " we 
must be very shy, and it ought to be most remote from us, to 
ascribe any thing at all corporeal to him, neither shape, nor 
colour, nor magnitude, nor any kind of figure whatsoever: but 
somewhat of that high excellency as neither to be seen with 
eyes, nor felt with hands, nor expressed by any words." In 
some such things we are to understand the excellency of the 
Divine Nature and Being to consist. And accordingly, the apos- 
tle, discoursing to those Atlienian philosophers, (Acts 17.) sup- 
poseth them very capable of understanding so much as this ; 
he quotes one of their own poets for it, that " we are God's off- 
spring." *' And forasmuch," saith he, " as we are the offspring 
of God, we cannot conceive the Godhead to be like any corpo- 
real thing of never so great excellency ;" as silver or gold, of 
which some corporeal shape or resemblance may be made, or 
stands never so curiously graven by the art or device of man ; 
we must understand our resemblance to him, as we are his off- 
spring, to lie in some higher, more noble, and more excellent 
thing, of which there can be no figure; as, who can tell how to 
give the figure or image of a thought, or the mind or thinking 
power ? This image therefore, must principally lie in some 
mental thing, and is to be only mentally understood : that is, 
it must have its seat and subject in the sou! and spirit of man 
itself : and so we must know this image of God ia man, wherein 
he was made, to be twofold; natural and moral. 

(I.) Natural, standing in such things as wherein the very 
nature and essence of man's soul and spirit doth consist and 
lie. As, 

[1.] In spirituality: the soul of man is a spirit, as God himself 
is a spirit. He, the paternal Spirit, (as a heathen very aptly 
speaks of,) the fatherly Mind ; and agreeably to that, we are 
his offspring, he being the -Father of spirits. 

[2^.] And in life ; essential life. VVe have bodies that live a 
borrowed life. Our spirits are, themselves, living things in their 
own nature and essence ; so that life is inseparable from them,, 
as it is not inseparable from our bodies ; for our bodies can die; 
but our souls cannot. If it be, it lives : being and life are the 
self-same thing. As the blessed God is so frequently spoken 
of in Scripture, "the living God," the original well-spring of 


life; so making a creature like himself, and in his own image, 
he makes him to be such as to v.hum life should be essential, 
though it be dependant upon him, (as all being must be,) yet 
life being made so much of the essence of man's soul that it 
can never be severed from it ; therein its life is like the divine 
life; that is, it is an immortal life. It is true, "he only hath 
immortality;" that is, he only hath an orignal, independent im- 
mortality. But the souls of men, and all created spirits, have 
a dependant immortality, together with their dependant being, 
and not separable from it. And, 

[.3.] in the power of understanding; therein doth the soul of 
man bear the image of God naturally, as it is an intelligent 
thing, a thing that hath a power to understand and know the 
impress of God is upon' tiie spirit of man in this. "He that 
teacheth men knowledge, shall not he know ?" Psalm 94. 10. 
And he tliat declareth unto man his thoughts, (as having given 
him the thinking and the knowing power,) are we not to sup- 
pose, he sliould know his own work ? And, 

[4.] In liberty, or the power of willing this or that; of acting 
©r suspending its own acts, and of acting this way or that, ac- 
cordingly as it shall chuse; a dominion it hath over its own , 
act, a self-determining power, or self- dominion ; but subor- 
dinate to the divine dominion ; for he never made a creature 
that he was not to govern. These are things that I now men- 
tion, but which being included in tlie nature and essence of man, 
when I gave you an account of this creature man, which God is 
said to liave made. 

I shall only add two things more generally concerning this 
natural image of God in man. 

First. That it is permanent and lasts always, as long as man 
lasts, as it cannot but do, it being essential to him, or his very 
nature : for his very nature did resemble the divine, " the image 
and glory of God," as he is called 1 Cor. 11. 7« It must, 
therefore, be permanent, and can never be severed from man ; 
this is an image that could not be lost. Man could not lose 
this image ; his soul must be a spirit still; a living thing still; 
and an understanding thing still; a spontaneous, free thing still, 
subject only to the divine government. And therefore, con- 
sidering man, even in his estate of apostasy, we find this image 
of God, still remaining, as the perpetual reason of that law of 
preserving the life of man in this body, as in the 9. Gen» 6. 
"Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be 
shed ; for in the image of God made lie man." If the reason 
of the law were lost, the law were lost, and would cease: but 
plain it is, the law was made with reference to man, already 

LEC. XIX.) Man Created in the Divine Image. 321 

fallen: fallen man, apostate man, still bears, In tliat respect, the 
image of God ; therefore, he will not have his life to be touched. 
He is a Godlike creature, and he that strikes at the life of man, 
strikes at the image of God ! A very awful thought, to consider 
that man, even as iie is man, while he was in innocency, or in 
apostasy, is still the image of God, and therefore, must be in- 
violable, not to be touched beyond his rules, who reserves to 
himself still, the dominion over lives, as being tlie God of our 
lives, so as to kill or to make alive, either immediately, or me- 
diately, by his own authority in men, but not otherwise. And, 

Secondly. There is this to be said in general, too, concerning 
the natural image of God in man; a.'? it is permanent, so it is fun- 
damental unto the ether image, and the contraries thereunto; 
that is, if man had not the natural image of God upon him, he 
were never capable of having a moral image, could never be a 
holy creature, nor unlioly, if he were not naturally such a crea- 
ture. And he could never be happy or miserable, if he were not 
such a creature : that is, if he had not a soul that were a spiiit, 
and that were a living thing, and that were intelligent, and that 
were capable of acting voluntarily and by clioice. And there- 
fore, this image must still be presupposed unto the other. 

(2.) Which other we now go on to speak of, that is, the mo- 
ral image of God in man, founded on the former. And so man 
doth bear, and did originally bear, the image of God, in the 
moral sense, in these two resjjects — first, in purity — secondly, 
in felicity. He did at first resemble God as a. holy, and as a 
happy Being. In reference to both these, the natural image of 
God was fundamental to tiie moral ; this was the very founda- 
tion in him of ■all duty, and of all felicity; and of the contra- 
ries thereunto, that is, of sins and of misery; as contraries 
must always have the same subject in which they take place, 
successively, or in a remiss degree. 

[l.j This image of God in man, which we call moral, super- 
added to his natural image, stood in this, to wit, in the sanctity 
-and holiness of this creature in his original state; the rectitude 
of his natural powers and faculties with reference to his rule 
and end. But this is to be understood with caution. We are 
to take heed of asserting either too much, or too little, concern- 
ing the holiness of man's original state. We must take heed 
of asserting tpo much concerning it, to wit, so naich as would 
not consist with the possibility of his falling; or too little, to 
wit, what would not consist with the possibiiity of his standing. 
But, in general, this sanctity or holiness v^herewlth man was 
made, and wherein he did originally resemble (iod, it stood in 
these two things ; 

VOL, VII. 3 T 


First. In innocency; that is, that he was made perfectly inno- 
cent, and it was impossible that it should not be so : for it could 
not consist with the holiness, and the other perfections of the 
Divine Being, to make him a sinner. He could not come 
out of the hand of God at first, an impure and unholy thing. 
Wherein stood the image of God, but in that he was originally 
holy, as God is holy ? to wit, in some similitude to the holiness 
of God : he was created in this, as part of the image of him that 
created him, as that Col. 3. 10. and Ephes, 4. 24. do plainly 
imply : for the image of God restored and renewed must be 
the image that was lost. It could not be a specifically different 
thing : therefore, when the soul is renewed after this image, it 
is plain, that he was created in it ; that is, was created an in- 
nocent and sinless creature : not barely in the negative sense ; 
for so is a stone or a brute innocent. I say, not in that sense 
only ; but as being free from all taint and inipurity, when he 
was a capable subject of being both pure and impure ; which 
a stone or other unintelligent creature was not. And then. 

Secondly. This holiness, wherein man was created, as it did 
include innocency, freedom from any taint of sin ; so it did in- 
clude a possibility of continuing so; that is, that there was no de- 
praved inclination in his nature, as it was made or created by 
God, to determine him unto sin ; unto any sinful thought, or to 
any sinful act. It is true, he was not made impeccable, or with 
an impossibility of sinning, yet he was made with a possibility of 
not sinning; that is, with an intrinsical possibility thereof : for 
we must distinguish here, between possibility and futurity. It 
is true, that his fall was future; but his standing, for all that, 
was possible ; we mean only by it, a simple possibility, not 
compounded with any consideration of God's foreknowledge. 
It is true, God did foreknow what would become of man ; but 
that did not infer a necessity upon his nature ; that could have no 
influence to make him fall; that is, that God foresaw, that being 
left to himself he would fall ; but he saw at the same time, that 
though he vvould fall, yet that he had done that for him by 
which it was possible for him to have stood, if he had followed 
the law of his own nature. And therefore, though we call this 
image moral, in contradistinction to natural, yet we are not to 
think that it v;as in no sense natural ; for it was con-natural. 
It was not natural, as that signifies essential ; for then it could 
not have been lost : but as it signi^es somewhat agreeable to 
the nature of man ; and nothing could be more agreeable to 
his nature, than to have continued still an obedient creature to 
God, and consequently happy in iiim : so that it was not at all 
to be ascribed to man's nature tiiat he fell ; for that were to 

LEC. XIX.) 3fan Created in the Divine Image, 323 

resolve the cause of his fall into the Author of his nature ; and 
so, to cast all upon God at length ; whereas, man's destruction 
is only of himself, he is the fountain of wliatsoever is evil, and 
God the only fountain of all good. 

But then, we are to consider the holiness wherewith man was 
created, more particularly. And so, it stood in the confirma- 
tion, or the conforming of the faculties of his soul unto the 
rule and order wherein God did at first set them; tliat is, as 
for the mind and understanding, it did agree with the Divine 
Mind ; and for his will, it did agree with the Divine Will ; and 
so, the faculties of the human soul, those two great leading fa- 
culties, the mind and tlie will, did each of them bear the stamp 
and impress of God upon them. And therefore, whereas, we 
find God spoken of under that twofold notion in Scripture, and 
by one and the same penman of the holy Scripture, the evan- 
gelist John, in his 1st epistle, that " God is light," and that 
" God is love;" the one in the 1st chap, verse 5, and the other 
in the 4th chap, the Stli and 16th verses. Such a creature was 
man in his mind, and in his will, conformed to the Divine Mind 
and Will. 

i. " God is light," saith the apostle, "and with him is no 
darkness at all ; and he that walks in darkness, and saith, he 
hath fellowship with God, lies :" there can be no fellowship be- 
tween light and darkness. We are not to understand liglit, 
there, to mean merely speculative knowledge : but we are to 
understand it as signifying practical principles, lodged in the 
mind, and which <ire most con-natural to holiness in the will 
and heart. They are the ideas contained in the one, which are 
exemplified in the other. So, " God is light," essential light 
itself; and so was the spirit of man, "the inspiration of the 
Almighty having given it understanding ;" that is, that it 

(i.) A knowing thing; not only had a pov/er to know, but did 
actually know all that concerned him to know, or that it was 
his duty to know. And as such, this part of the divine image 
is referred to morality ; for there are some things which it is 
our duty to know; and to be ignorant of them is a sin. But 
we are not to suppose man to be destitute of any knowledge, 
that he ought to have had, in the state of his primitive innocency ; 
though it must be far from us to think that he had universal 
knowledge, that he knew all things : for that would still be 
proper to God as an incommunicable attribute of the Divine 
Nature. And therefore, his knowledge must have been a grow- 
ing thing in that state wiierein he was made. But he did know 
all that did belong to him to know, for the state wherein he was. 


And so are we to conceive of that knowledge, as the moral ad- 
ditament to the faculty or power of knowing, which is natural. 
And then, 

ii. Besides his actual knowledge, we must understand, in his 
mind, a docility, or an aptitude to learn, or know more ; and still 
more, according as the Creator should vouchsafe to reveal more 
to him, or as he should give him opi)ortunity (as he had given 
him a natural ahility) to reason himself from the knowledge of 
some things into the knowledge of more. 

(ii.) For his will, that must have been the seat too, of the 
holiness wlierein the image of God stood, and wherein he did 
resemble God; and there is the seat of God's law impressed : 
for we must know, that man was made at first with the law of 
God written in his heart. Besides the positive precept which 
lie transgressed, there was the whole frame of that whole law 
in him, which was to be the permanent rule of his practice and 
obedience : for tlie apostle, speaking of man in his fallen state, 
(Rom. 2. 15.) tells us, " that even pagans theniselves," (where 
there are the greatest ruins of the human nature to be seen,) 
*' even they have the law written on their hearts." And if it be 
so with fallen man, what an entire impression must tliere have 
been of the divine law upon the mind of man yet in his integ- 
rity. A law written in his heart, of which some pagans speak, 
calling it the noii scripta, sed nata Lex, not a law v,ritten, 
(that is, in any external scripture,) but an engraven law, an in- 
nate law, that was impressed on man on his creation^ or that he 
was made with. 

And so, as this law which, is in itself, of universal and ever- 
lasting obligation, is all summed up in love, which is the ful- 
filling of the law; why, therein we must understand this crea- 
ture to have at first resembled God ; that is, as God is said to 
be " light," so lie was in respect of his mind : and as God is 
said to be "love," so he was in respect of his wil! or heart : 
a creature made up of love, which sums up all duty ; for " love 
is the fulfilling of the law." And therefore, when men are re- 
newed and brought back to God, and liis image restored in 
them, they are created after God in this respect, so as to be ca- 
pable of dwelling in love, as in a proper element and region 
con- natural to them. This was the great principle that did 
conform men to both parts of the law ; that part which was to 
respect God himself; and that part which was to respect men 
towards one another : for these were the two great natural and 
moral precepts ; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might; and 
thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." O ! what an excel- 

LEc. XIX.) Man Created in the Divine Image. 325 

lent state was this ! wlien the impression of tins law, wliereof 
this was the summary, was entire and ])ert'ect; not the least 
inclination to violate it in any part, or in any point, either to- 
wards God, or towards a fellow creature. 

And we may yet further, and more distinctly, consider this 
rectitude of the faculties of man's soul to stand in this — first, 
that the superior faculties of his mind and will, were more di- 
rectly and exactly conformed to the divine mind and will — and 
secondly, tisat the inferior faculties were .subject to the supe- 
rior ; this being the law of man's nature at first ; that is, that 
though he had inferior faculties, as well as superior, suitable to 
his compc>unded nature, (being made up of an inward man, and 
of an outward man. or of an intellectual, and of a sensitive na- 
ture,) yet, these inferior faculties belonging to the sensitive na- 
ture, they were made so as to be c))edient and subject to the su- 
perior ; that is, to an enlightened mind, and to a holy will : so 
as to have no appetitions that were irregular or disorderly, of an 
inferior kind, or belonging to the sphere ofser.se, but what rea- 
son, governing the will, could prescribe to: no violent pas- 
sions or appetitions In one kind or other, so as to love or desire, 
or fear, or hope, or joy, or sorrow, or be angry inordinately, hut 
acf<;ir)ing as a right mind sliould dictate, and as a right mind 
sh(»ui(i command. And then, 

[J ] As this moral image, superadded to the natural, and 
founded thereon, stood in holiness, (which we have thus far 
explained,) so it stood in happiness too, in sanctity and felicity ; 
that is, as God is the blessed God for ever, so did this creature 
imitate him in his blessedness ; bear the image of that upon 
him too. VVe must understand that he had a present inelioate 
blessedness; a present blessedness begun in a satisfaction to all 
bis faculties, in having what was proportionable and accommo- 
date to all the powers of his nature. 

First. As to his superior faculties : herein stood tlie blessedness 
of this creature, that he had a mind capable of knouing God, 
and a will caj)able of enjoying him ; and which did know God, 
and which did actually enjoy him : and it could not but be so; 
for liere was no culpable darkness or cloud upon this mind; 
there was no corrupt or depraved inclination in this will: and 
God was pleased to exhibit himself, and manifest himself, to 
make himself known, and to offer himself to be his portion and 
God, according to the tenour of that covenant, that law of works, 
and that law of his creation, under which he was made. There- 
fore, there was nothing to hinder his present happiness : there 
was no aversion from God, no disinclination to iiim ; but, a 
steady propension towards him. There was no ijuilt upon him. 



to malce him afraid of approaching God ; as it was with him 
soon after iic fell, when he ran and hid himself. Vain crea- 
ture ! thinking there would be some darkness wherein he could 
hide himself from the Divine Majesty. But while he n nained 
yet in his integrity, as there was no faulty darkness in hi mind, 
so there was no depraved inclination in his will : but kuuwing 
God to be the best and iiighest Good, most absolutely perfect, 
all-comprehending and every Vv'ay suitable to him, his will could 
not but be a prepense towards hii5i accordingly, so as then it 
must have been his sense in perfection, (though not unalter- 
ably,) which comes to be the sense again,of the renewed soul : 
" Whom have I in heaven but thee, and whom can I desire on 
earth besides thee ? When he had the beauties of a new-made 
creation all in view, a heaven that was then new, and an earth 
that was then new; yet, "Whom have I in heaven but thee,' 
and what is thereupon earth that 1 desire besides thee }" 

As to h.is inferior faculties, there was what was most grateful 
to them too. Man was created in a paradise, full of plea- 
santness, and of j)leasant good things, vvhich it was then law-' 
ful for him to enjoy without restraint, except that one forbid- 
den tree. And he not only had the perception of all, all grate7 
ful, sensible good, but an interest in, and a power over, all. 
And you see, that God estates him in a dominion, sets him over ' 
all the works of his hands, in this inferior, lower world, and 
doth so, immediately upon his having created him. " God 
blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and 
replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over 
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every 
thing that moveth upon the earth." 

What a glorious prince was man then 1 and into how great 
a principality did God put him as soon as he made him ! What- 
foever was njost suitable, and most delectable, for his enjoy- 
ment, in that kind of inferior and sensible good, was all put 
into his power; so as what innocent, well-tempered nature 
would choose, as most grateful to it, that he might choose, one 
thing excepted ; which very exception, (as all exceptions do 
/irmare regulas^) was hut a confirmation of his dominion over 
ail the rest; and did but more fully speak his right and title to 
enjoy what he would beside. All this as to his inchoate happi- 
ness. But, 

Secondly. Besides this, we must understand him to have had 
3 title to continuing and increasing and, at length, perfect feli- 
city. We are not to suppose him made in that state, which, if 
it had stood, should have been eternal, without change or aU 
teration. But most rational it was^ that God having newly ere- 

LEC. XIX.) Man Created in the Divine Image. Z2^ 

ated an intelligent creature, should create him in a state of 
probation, upon which was to follow a state of retribution ; as 
it is nii>st natural, that duty go before felicity : that there must 
be obedience before recompence. His full and final recom- 
pence was yet to come. 

And the reason of the thing plainly speaks it. We cannot 
suppose, that God made man in a better condition than he made 
the angels : (a superior sort of creatures :) but it is plain, that 
he created them in a state of probation; otherwise it had been 
impossible that some of them should have fallen, and left their 
first station, forsaken it, and thereupon, to be " bound in chains 
of darkness, and reserved to the judgment of the great day." 
And it is plain, further, upon this account too ; as to this earth, 
supposing man to have stood, (though God foresaw that he 
would not ; that he would fall,) yet we must suppose his con- 
stitution to be such, as agree with the supposition of. his stand- 
ing too. It had been altogether impossible that, in the suc- 
cession of many ages, this world would have contained all the 
men, if they had been innocent ; and so, consequently, all im- 
mortal. But we must necessarily suppose, tiiough not death, 
(for that was only introduced by sin,) yet some such kind of 
translation unto higher and more glorious regions; as from 
perfect arbitrary, good pleasure, Enoch and Elijah found at the 
hand of God. 

And so, besides the actual felicity he had, there was a title 
to future felicity, supposing he had stood. For v/hen the di- 
vine constitution runs in this tenour, " Cursed is he tliat con- 
tinueth not in all things tiiat are written in the book of t!--e law to 
do them," do but consider what the reverse of that must be: 
"Blessed is he that continueth in all things written in the book 
of the law to do them." If not continuing in all things writ- 
ten in God's law, to do them, must infer a curse, then to have 
continued must infer a blessing : and as that curse did put Iiim 
into a worse estate, that blessing must have put liim into a bet- 
ter estate; otherwise, it had not been a state of retribution suit- 
able to a foregoing state of probation. 

Thus far, you have now the explication of this state, wherein 
God is said at first to have made man ; that is, made him in 
his own image, the image that was natural and essential to man; 
and that image that was moral and superadded. And can we 
look upon this as a useless doctrine ? Of wliat importance is 
it to us to look back, and consider the original of this creature I 
what it was ; and what it is ! What man was in that perfect 
rectitude, of which we have had some account ; and what he is 
in that forlorn and abject state into which he is now sunk and 


fallen. It is this tliat must make redeeming mercy, and our 
recovery by a mediator grateful. It was a noble expression of 
a heathen ; Nemo imprcbe conatur vnde descenderat ascen- 
der e : (speaking to this very case, the depraved condition of 
man as he now generally is, and what his state before was, of 
which they had hallucinations, though not distinct conceptions;) 
no man blameahly endeavours tg ascend from whence he did 
descend. Cap((x est noster animus dei, atqiie eo fertiir, nisi 
vitia deprimant : ive have minds capable of God; and towards 
him they wonid be carried if vice did not depress and sink them. 
But nobody doth unwarrantably aim to ascend thither, whence 
he did descend ; if he did descend, sink from so excellent a 
state, there niu^t be some aim upwards, some aspiring to get 
up to that state again, or to somewhat agreeable thereto, by 
which the niitural appetite in man to blessedness and felicity 
should be excited and stirred and put into action, and kept in 
action, even by the very law of his own nature. 


The more distinct Use and application o? this subject, and 
such as may most aptly and properly be made, we shall now 
proceed to. And it will afford us a very various, and a very 
copious use, if we seriously apply our minds to consider it. 
God created man in his own Image. Why there are, 

]. Sundry inferences of truth that we may collect and de- 
duce. As, that man was, at first, a creature of great excellency, 
(whatsoever he is now become,) a noble and a glorious creature ; 
the image of God being intire could not, sure, but be a very 
glorious thing. As it is blurred and defaced in a great measure, 
yet in respect of that remainder, or that mere ground of it, 
man is now said to be " the image and glory of God." 1 Cor. 
11. 7* The image and glory of God, he is still, notwith- 
standing he hath diminished and disguised himself, as an in- 
telligent being, a living thing: he hath a soul that is essen- 
tially life, or to which life is essential ; that cannot cease to 
live; that hath a self-determining power belonging to its na- 
ture ; that acts not under the laws of a fatal necessity, but ac- 
cording to reason and liberty, in the common affairs and actions 
of life. 

Take man as he was at first, when those powers that belonged 

Preached February 10, 1(594, 

I.EC. XX.) 3fan Created in the Divine Image. 329 

to his nature were unvitiated and pure, what a _<;:lorious crea- 
ture was this creature ! Dei-formed, made after tlie lii<eness of 
God. The world replenished with such creatures, what a de- 
lectahle habitation had it been ! to have so many Godlike crea- 
tures inhabiting this world, of ours, all representing God to one 
another, so many visible representations of divine knowledge, 
and divine light, and divine love and divine purity ! O ! what 
an excellent creature was man in his original state ! 

(2.) We may further be informed, hence, of the more pecu- 
liar excellency of our souls: for we must consider them as the 
primary seat of the divine image : " So God made man after 
his own image." Wherein stood tliat ? Where lay tiiis image, 
or where was it seated ? Vyhat ! in our bodily frame and struc-. 
ture ? (as the anthropomorphites did formerly dream.) Was it 
a piece of clay that was made so like God in us ? And there- 
fore, if man be to be looked upon as an excellent sort of crea- 
ture, we must understand wherein his true value lies, and 
whereupon men are to value themselves. 

A great many are apt to value themselves because they have 
laden themselves with a great deal of thick clay; because tliey 
have a sort of propriety in much of this earth. Some highly 
value themselves upon an airy title : " I am such and such a 
dignified thing, among those with whom 1 dwell." Some are 
more vain to value themselves upon gay apparel, or because 
they have so and so trimmed and adorned those carcasses : but 
it is in respect of our mind and spirit, that we are the offspring 
of God, and bear the image of God : and if ever we have any 
thing truly valuable, or excellent about us, there it must lie ; a 
mind and spirit must be the seat and subject of it. Again, 

(3.) We may learn, hence, that there is much of God to be 
understood by ourselves ; for we were made after God's own 
image; and we may discern much of another tiling by that 
which is really like it. Indeed, to direct the intention of our 
minds immediately towards God, is that which we are not so 
well capable of in this present state. The intuition of his glory, 
our weak minds cannot admit of: "No man can see my face 
and live," saith God to Moses. But we can see our own faces; 
that is, the face of our own souls : we can take a view of them, 
and consider what naturally, and in themselves, they are : that 
is, according to what there remains of true primhive nature in 
us ; and so may discern and understand much of God, as his 
glory is reflected on ourselves. 

Though we know not how to face the sun when it shines in 
its strength and glory, yet we can sustain it to behold its image 

VOL. VII. 2 u 


in the water, and look upon it there. So we cannot bear it, to 
behold the immediate radiations of divine glory directly shining 
forth, but reflected ; and as it hath produced its image in our- 
selves, so we may be capable of beholding it. And by wliat we 
see in ourselves, when we understand that we are made after 
God's image, that there is a thing called mind in ourselves, 
then God must be a mind ; tiiere is a spirit in man, and we are 
his offspring : then he, sure, must be a spirit too; but an infi- 
nite, purer, and more perfect Spirit. If we find such a thing as 
love in our own natures, we may be sure that it is infinitely 
higher, and greater, and larger, and more perfect, every way, in 
God. But again, 

(4.) We may further learn hence, that upon the account of 
our being made after God's image, we have much the less rea- 
son to hesitate at the receiving of that most mysterious doctrine 
of the Trinity in the Godhead : for if we seriously consider, we 
may discern the image and impress thereof in ourselves : and 
we find that we are made after God's image. There is none 
that dotli so seriously contemplate himself, his own soul, but 
he may and must discern and acknowledge a trinity there j 
those primary principles which, considered in their conjunc- 
tion, do carry a most manifest and express representation oiPGod 
in this respect ; to wit, active power, intellect, and love, those 
three great primalities in God, his word (who best knows his 
own nature) doth, upon all occasions, repeatedly express and 
inculcate to us. And the very like hereof we find in ourselves, 
considering these things in ourselves; not severed but con- 
junct : that is, a power to act, and to act according to under- 
standing ; and so act towards things that we love ; and towards 
which there is a propension from a suitableness in ourselves to 
the things that we act towards. 

Any one that will make himself his own study, must discern 
and acknowledge such things in himself as do make a real tri- 
nity; one and the same soul having active power belonging to 
it, understanding belonging to it, and love belonging to it, 
which, though all meet and unite in one and the same soul, 
are yet diverse and distinct from one another ; for my power is 
not my understanding, and my understanding is not love; but 
all these do meet together in one and the same soul. So that 
considering man made after the image of God, the doctrine of 
the Trinity claims to be received witli so much tlie more faci- 
lity and agreeableness ; we finding, so manifestly, the impress 
thereof uj)on our oivn souls. And so we may upon many 
tilings in the created universe besides; yea, and we may find 

LEC XX.) Man Createdin the Divine Image. 331 

running through all things ; but most manifestly and discern- 
ably in ourselves, concerning whom it is most eminently said, 
that "we were made after God's image." Again, 

(5.) We may further learn, hence, that since man was made 
after the image of God, (so excellent and noble a creature as 
this image impressed upon him, must speak him and make him,) 
then sure, God did, in making this creature, design him for 
higher and greater things than can be compassed within this 
temporary state. He never did design, in making such a crea- 
ture as man, to confine him to time and to this lower world. 
For as he is a creature made after the image of God, he is made 
with capacities of far higher and greater things than this world 
can contain, or than time can measure. 

If we look upon the present inhal)itants of this world, so 
many minds and spirits inhabiting flesh, and cast about our eyes 
this way and that way, how thick is this same material world ? 
how thick is it set with m.inds, with spirits, as so many dia- 
monds sparkling in mud ? Any one would say, "This is not 
their proper place : here are so many diamonds scattered here 
and there in dirt ; surely they are not always to be there ! Spi- 
ritual and immortal minds inhabiting flesh, and only casting 
their present rays upon low and sensible things; surely it will 
not always be thus." Did God make such creatures, did he 
make man, after his own likeness, for so mean and so low ends 
and purposes, as they are every where intent upon in this their 
present state ? Did he make man after his own image, only to 
support and animate a little portion of breathing clay? Did he 
make him only to take this flesh to keep it awhile from turning 
into a putrid, stinking carcass. Was this all that a spiritual, 
immortal mind was made for ? 

Men should understand, by reflecting upon their original 
state, what the capacity of their nature was ; and that they 
must be made for some other state, and for higher and greater 
things, than they commonly apply themselves to mind while 
they are here. You have so many minds dwelling in flesh ; and 
many, but for a very little while. But suppose it, as long as men 
do more ordinarily live upon earth, why to have a mind, a spirit, 
created and put into flesh to inhabit that, suppose twenty, or 
thirty, or forty, or fifty, or sixty years, or to the utmost pitch 
that tlie lives of men do commonly reach to ; and then that 
creature disappears and is gone. That flesh which that mind 
inhabiteth, turns to dust ; the soul is fled and gone ; here is no 
more appearance of this creature, this particular creature, upon 
this particular stage : what are we to conclude upon this then? 


But tlvit sure these have their parts to act in another state, 
upon an eternal stage, that shall never be taken down. Here 
are so many Godlike creatures brought into this world, and 
put in flesh, only to abide here such a certain number of y^ears, 
and there is an end of them. This can never be thought, that 
, God did make so many creatures after his own image, for so 
mean and ungodlike ends and purposes. And again, 

(b'.'i We may further learn, hence, that an abode in the flesh, 
is not inconsistent with a very excellent state of life; for God did 
at first make man after his own image, of whose creation, as to, 
the outward man, (of wliich I spake to you distinctly,) we are 
told, he was only made (as his name Adam doth import) out of 
the earth ; but God breathed into him the breath of life, that 
intellectual vital life : he placed that spirit in him, by the in- 
spiration whereof he came to be an understanding creature ; 
and therein to resemble him that made him. Though this 
mind and spirit was to dwell in fiesh, yet a very excellent state 
of life might be transacted here in this state : for admit that a 
mind and spirit be united with such flesh as we now inhabit 
and dwell in, yet here it hath the image of God entire and un- 
depraved in it : not only a capacity of understanding, and of 
willing, and of acting, this way and that, but of doing all these 
aright, witii a due rectitude adhering to each faculty; not re- 
motely, not inseparably, as the sad events have shewn; but 
really and truly, so as that they might have remained in the 
state wherein they were made. O ! then, how excellent a life 
might have been lived here, on these terms, in this world. 

Though our likeness to God did not consist in this fleshly 
part of ours, or had not that for its seat and subject, yet it might 
very well consist with our having such a fleshly part about us, 
when there was pure and incorrupt integrity in all the powers 
and faculties of the soul of man : to have his soul replenished 
with the knowledge of God ; possessed with a holy and ador- 
ing disposition, in a continual aptitude to. look to, and a con- 
tinual inclination to delight in, God, and in his converse; to- 
gether with a universal love to one another, under that notion of 
being made after the image of God, as they should behold God's 
resemblance in one another. And O ! what a happy world 
were this, and how pleasantly, and with what delight, might 
time have been transacted here : a very pleasant, hai)py, ex- 
cellent state of life might consist with dwelling in flesh. 

Such, in whom the image of God, to wit, his moral image, 
hath been (though less perfectly) restored, yet how pleasantly 
have they lived here in this world, amidst all the abounding 

LEC. XX.) Man Created in the Divine Image. 333. 

wickedness of it : such a man as Noah ; such a one as Enoch, 
who walked with God so many hundred years in tliis world. 
This is not to live an unhappy life, to walk witii God every day, 
to live in his fear, and live in his communion. Is tliis to live 
unhappily ? 

Men are apt to transfer all the causes of tlieir complaint to 
other things, and set them at a remote distance from them- 
selves. Some, when they do evil, or evil befal them, accuse 
their stars or external circumstances. But we have nothing to 
accuse but our own ill inclinations. If v.'c live evil lives, bad 
and sinful lives, or miserable lives, in tins world, it is our own 
fault : for n)ere dwelling in flesh imposeth no necessity upon 
us, of being either sinful or miserable creatures. And that we 
might be convinced of this, we have the exemplification of 
such a life in our blessed Lord living in flesh (after all flesh had 
corrupted their ways) without taint. Therefore, being in flesh, 
as such, doth necessitate none, either to live wicked or miserable 
lives in tliis world : the mind and spirit of man being stamped 
with the image of God. 

(7.) if man were at first made after God's own ijnage, he must 
now, sure, be a very degenerate creature ;' the degeneracy (if 
man must needs be exceeding great : how ungodlike a creature 
is he become ! How unlike to God do men generally live and 
act, here in this world. This ought to be considered with deep 
and bitter regret. It is true that the natural likeness still re- 
mains, as it cannot but do, because it is natural, because it is 
the very nature of man himself. As his mind and spirit (being 
the immediate seal of the divine image) is a living thing, an 
understanding thing, a voluntary, active thing, this way and 
that, the natural image cannot but remain as long as man is 
man. But the degeneracy is with reference to the moral, su- 
peradded image ; for that was at first superadded ; and is still 
due J a thing concerning which we must say, it is a Debitum 
esse; and which, in reference to the natural image, is as the 
more curious lines of a picture are to the first rude draught. 
It is true, that first rude draught, consisting of maimed strokes 
doth shew the true symmetry and proportion of tlie parts, in 
such a picture, to one another; but while every thing is yet want- 
ing that tends to make up the comeliness and beauty, it is a very 
ungrateful spectacle that a man hath before his eyes in looking 
upon such a thing. 

The natural powers that do belong to the soul of a man, 
shew his original capacity, what he was capable of; then all 
these capacities arc to be filled up, as the rude draught of a 


picture should be, with what would add beauty, and the appear- 
ance of comeliness and vigour to it, as far as the pencil can 
express that. Here is a capacity in the very nature of man, of 
knowing nsnch ; but look upon tliat understanding power di- 
vested and destitute of all true knowledge. Here is a will ca- 
paiile of choosing, and of enjoying with highest complacency, 
the best and most delectable good ; l)ut totally divested of any 
such propension and inclination. And, here is a soul that is a 
spiritually active being ; but it is active now any way but to- 
wards God, by whom it was made. Why in these very ruins 
of human nature, you may discern what originally it was. 

Take the walls of sonfe noble palace, yet standing : wc will 
suppose all rooms to remain distinct from one another as they 
were, but it is totally unfurnished. It was inhabited, it may be, 
by some excellent person; but he is gone and hath left it: 
there was an honourable family that lived in splendor there ; 
but they are removed, and now there is nothing to be beiield 
hut bare walls : there be the rooms, the several apartments, as 
they were ; but inhabited by nothing but owls and vultures : 
a habitation of dragons and serpents. And such is the soul of 
man, destitute of the divine, moral image, and of that holy rec- 
titude which was the furniture and ornament of each several 
faculty and power. 

We may here see what man was in his original state ; and 
lience see and collect how great his present degeneracy is. O ! 
iiow art thou fallen ! what art thou fallen to, thou Lucifer, 
son of the morning 1 A Godlike creature, one made after 
<Tod's image, a little lower than the angels, that did so per- 
fectly resemble hinj ; and now sunk into so low a degree of 
darkness, and impurity, and misery, and deatli : of which also 
we v,ere not capable, if the natural image did not remain, if he 
liad not an understanding still, and a will still, and an active 
power still. And then, 

(8.) You may further learn, hence, what the work of regene- 
ration is to perform in the souls of men ; and of how absolute 
necessity such a work is to be effected and brought about there. 
So God made man after his own image. That plainly tells us 
what regeneration hath to do ; that is, to restore that image 
wherein it was defective and lost. That must be the business 
of regeneration, considering together what the original state of 
man was, made after God's image : and considering wiiat his 
present state is, his degenerate state, it is easy to collect what 
ins regenerate state must be; a renovation, a state of renova- 
tion after the same image that man was impressed with at first. 

LEC. XX.) Man Created in the Divine Image. 335 

consisting of knowledge, (not only in a capacity to know, but ia 
knowledge, )and in righteousness and true holiness. Not only 
in having the faculties that are capable of these, but in having 
these things themselves impressed into these faculties : this, re- 
generation must do : or the restoring us to ourselves, or repair- 
ing the image of God that was lost ; that must be th-e business 
of regeneration. As man was made after the image of God at 
first, in his first creation ; in his second creation, vilien he is 
made a new creature, he must be created again after God. 
The new man must be put on, " which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness." And this image is renewed 
in knowledge, as those two texts speak, Ephes. 4. 24. and Col. 
3. 10. compared. Thus, is this part of the doctrine of the text 
improvable to the learning of several truths that do depend upon 
it, and tliat lie in connexion with it. Again, 

2. It may be improved too, and very largely, in representing, 
and reprehending, several sinful evils that this wretched world 
abounds with ; by which it appears how much men, by sin, have 
fallen short of the glory of God ; such characters of his glory 
having been impressed at first upon them. Vi'^hy, to consider 
such things as these that too evidently, and too commonly ap- 
pear in the temper of men's minds, and in the course of their 
practice, here in this world : For instance, 

To consider how low designs men do generally drive. What ! 
Is this Godlike ? Is this becoming a Godlike sort of crea- 
tures, such as man was at first, when they wear out their days 
here in this world, and make it their business to serve divers 
lusts and pleasures? What a base kind of servitude is this? 
Is this the creature made after God's image ? jMen to spend 
their days in the pursuit of shadows and trifles? Is there 
any resemblance of God in this ? Is this like a creature that 
had in his own original and primitive state, a representatioii 
of divine in it, which was to conduct his whole course ? 
And again, consider not only what men do pursue, that their 
minds and hearts are set upon ; but (which carries more of 
horror in it) what they decline, and what their minds and 
hearts are set against. Men made after the image of God, 
and yet transacting their course in continual ungodliness. 
What ! Thou made after the image of God, and yet an un- 
godly creature, and yet live an ungodly life in this world, when 
thou hast a soul about thee that can know God, that hath a ca- 
pacity of knowing God, and of choosing him, and of loving 
him, and of delighting in him ! That there siiould be in such 
a creature, stamped at first with the divine image and likeness. 


a disaffection to God ; not only no inclination, but disinclina- 
tion. What ! disinclination to thine own true Pattern ? dis- 
affection to thine own Original ? Thou wast made like God j 
why dost thou shun him ? Why dost thou fly from him ? 
Thou carriest the natural characters of his image upon thee 
wliithersoever thou goest. And what ! art thou running away 
from God with his image on thee, in the remainders of it ? 
The remainders of it thou hast upon thy soul: a mind that can 
understand, a spirit that can and must live ; and thou art run- 
ning away from God with his own image upon thee. What a 
monstrous thing is that ! And again, 

3. It might, in the third place, instruct vs in several duties 
that are also very congruous and con-naturai to this part of the 
doctrine of this text. As, 

(1.) More frequently to look back to our original estate. 
Such a trulii as this made known, published to us, standing upon 
record in the sacred volumes, doth continually and repeatedly 
call upon us to look back, to consider and bethink ourselves 
what we were in our original state, made after God's own image, 
a God-like sort of creatures. 

(2.) It will be our duty, hence, to be now ashamed of our- 
selves in our present degenerate state. It is no shame to a 
mean creature that was always so, to be now so ; no shame to 
a worm that it is a worm ; to a toad that it is a toad. But that 
man should become an impure, and a poisonous worm, part of 
the serpent's seed, this is a most shameful thing, and ought to 
be considered with the most confounding shame. We should 
even be startled at ourselves to think what, from such a confor- 
mity to God, we are now come to. And, 

(3.) It should put us upon inquiring and listening after any 
means or ways of recovery. It would become a thinking 
creature, (as man naturally is,} apprehending as even the pa- 
gans, (the more refined of them generally have,) that men are 
not now what they were at first. And it would put such upon 
considering, "Is there no way of recovery ?" And it hath put 
even pagans themselves (destitute of all revealed light) upon 
many considerations of that kind, insomuch as that we find se- 
veral of them to have written treatises concerning the purga- 
tive and ornative virtues. It shews us to have a great deal more 
of stupidity among us, than was among pagans themselves, if 
we have no thoughts about restitution, about being restored, 
about being recovered out of so low a state as we find ourselves 
lapsed into, compared with that which we know was original 
to us. It should make our minds full of tiioughts from day to 

LEC. XX.) 3Ian Created in the Divine Image* 337 

day. "Is there no way to become again what once we were ?" 
to have minds, and wills, and inclinations, and affections, so 
rectified as we find, and must apprehend to have been, in our 
first state ? Is there no way to get into that conformity to 
God, and acquaintance with him, as to be able to lead my life 
with God, which was the thing most agreeable to my first 
state ? And one that would use the understanding of a man, 
when lie hears of a better state, that was original to him, would 
certainly be upon his inquiries — *' Is there no way of recover- 
ing, no way of getting back into such an estate again ?" And 

(4.) It should render the gospel very dear to us, that doth so 
expressly reveal to us such a way, wherein the image of God is 
recoverable: and tliereupon, converse with him, and a con- 
tinual intercourse wiih him, are become possible to us. At 
present, where there is no likeness, there can be no converse, 
no disposition, no agreeableness or suitableness. How dear 
then sliould that gospel be, that is not only God's revelation, 
but his way and method to bring this about. To this end he 
hath revealed his Christ to us, his first Image, his primary 
Image. He that is said to be "the Image of the invisible 
God, the first-born before all the creation ;" in whom his glory 
shines as "the glory of the only begotten of the Father;" 
the arthetypal Image, according to which, the Image is to be 
renewed again in us. That gospel that reveals this to us, and 
which is designed to be God's instrument for the making of 
the impression afresh on our souls, how precious should it be 
to us ! For his glory shines through it, as through a glass ; 
that, " beholding this glory of the Lord, we may be changed 
into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of 
the Lord :" since this, I say, is the design of that very gospel 
under which we live, O ! how dear should that gospel be to 
us ! By this, the image of God may be restored, which hath, 
in so great a measure, been defaced and lost out of our souls. 
And it again shews it to be our duty, 

(5.) To aspire to the highest pitch of that perfection, in con- 
formity to God, that these souls of ours are any way capable 
of; especially, that we should be continually ajpising unto the 
perfection of that state from whence we are fallen. Take 
the forementioned instruction of a pagan to that purpose. 
Whereas some might be apt to imagine, and their thoughts, 
might suggest to tliem, " It is a presumptuous thing for me 
to think of being made like God, to be holy as God is holy, 
and to be blessed as God is blessed," and the like ; we should 
consider what we are, that as that heathen said ; " It is no fault, 

YOL, VII. 2 X 


no blameable tiling in any one to endeavour to ascend to that 
state or pitch, from which he did descend; we have a mind ca- 
pable of God ; and it would be carried towards him if vice did 
not depress and sink it. It is therefore matter of duty, from the 
consideration that we are to aim and aspire after such a state. 
I do not aim to be what I was, and what 1 ought to be, in duty 
towards him that made me, as well as eonsulting any interest 
of my own, in the first place : for I am first his, before I can 
consider myself as my own : and therefore, in duty towards 
him, the Author of my being, I ought to be aspiring and aim- 
ing at this, to have his image renewed in me, and to be restored 
in this respect, t© what I was. 

LEC. xxt.) The Fall qfthejirst Man, 339 


Rom. 6. 12. 

Wherefore^ as hy one man sin entered into the world, and 

death hy sin ; and so deathpassed upon all men, 

for that all have sinned. 

■'^OU know we have, of late, been treating at large of the cre- 
ation, and particularly and more especially, of the creation 
of man, and his original state, as he was created after God's 
image ; not only his natural^ but his moral image, so as to 
resemble him, both in holiness and blessedness. We come 
now, from these words, to consider the lapsed, degenerate state 
of man, now grown most unlike to God in both these respects; 
to wit, of purity, and of felicity ; sunk into a state of sin, 
and into a state of misery ; become a most deplorable, forlorn 

An amazing change 1 And indeed, it might amaze us, that 
it doth amaze us no more ; that we can consider so astonishing 
a thing as this, with so little concern ; when it is not a thing re- 
mote from us, but incurs our observation and sense, unavoidably, 
every day; whether we look about us, or whether we look into 
ourselves. And it doth so much the more need that such a 
subject should be insisted upon, the lapse of man, and the lapsed 
state into which he is come, and in which he is. 

It is true, indeed, that usually, immediately upon consider- 
ing that subject of the creation, providence useth and is wont 
to be treated in the next place. And that is a method rational 

* Preached February \7, l694>j, 


enough in some respects. But it being my design to speak of 
the heads of religion as practically as God shall enable me ; 
and the providence of God, (when we shall come to consider 
that) being for this purpose, is chiefly to be considered as it 
doth respect man : and the course of his providence towards 
man, having been for almost six thousand years backward, con- 
versant about fallen man, lapsed man, whereas it was conver- 
sant about innocent man but a very little while ; it seems to 
me more reasonable, with reference to the design in hand, to 
consider God's providence (especially when we are to consider 
it in reference to man) rather, first, as conversant about fallen 
man. And so, first, to consider his fall, and that state into which 
he was fallen, rather than to bring in the whole head of a dis- 
course about providence, with reference to the very little inch 
of time wherein he stood in innocency. 

And further, too, because the lapsed world of mankind is, 
as such, thereupon, manifestly put into the hands, and under 
the government of the Redeemer, who died, and revived, and 
rose again, that he might be Lord of the living and dead : yea, 
and not only the lapsed world of mankind, but even the whole 
creation, as a surplusage of remunerative dignity and glory, for 
that free and voluntary susception and undertaking of his, 
it will be, thereupon, most suitable to my design, to bring in 
the consideration of providence, under the mediatory kingdom 
of our Lord, and as it belongs to that vicegerency of his which 
lie holds now, not only over this lapsed world, but over the 
whole creation, as by whom all things consist and are held to- 
gether. And so, the discourse of the fall, in reference to this 
design of mine, very fitly intervening, I have chosen to pitch 
it on this place, from this text of Scripture now read. 

In which we may take notice, that tiiere is that which is 
called a protasis, the former part of a sentence, without an 
apodosis, or latter part in form, answering thereunto. Through 
that rich abundance of divine sense wherewith the apostle's 
mind and understanding did abound, and was replenished, it 
was not so well capable of being comprehended and limited by 
rules of art, or within artificial limits. But yet we may take 
notice too, that in the following verses there is that opodosis, 
the latter part of the intended sentence in substance, most fully 
and most copiously represented ; the design of the whole para- 
graph being, in short, this only, to shew that as Adam, the first 
man, was to be a root and fountain of sin and death unto all 
his seed ; so the second Adam would be, of righteousness and 
life to all his seed, there being a resemblance in the former of 
the latter, according to what is elsewhere said, that " the first 

LEC. xxiO The Fall of the first Man. Z4 1 

Adam was a figure of him that was to come," of the secoii'i 
that was to follow : though, there is not, it is true, an absolute 
and exact parallel or parity, as is never to be expected, in such 
cases, throughout. 

My business will only be with what we call the ju'ofosis, the 
former of these parts, and that abstractly and by itself consi- 
dered, without present reference to what follows in the suc- 
ceeding verses. And so we are to shew you, that whereas, 
accordirgto the tenour of the last discourse, iV^an was created 
after God's image, not only his natural, but his \noral image, 
made like him in respect of sanctity and felicity; he is now 
fallen into a state wherein he is most unlike God in these two 
things; to wit, into a state of sin, and into a state of misery. 
Both these, the text expressly represents and lays before us : 
**By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." 

Here was the state of the one, the first apostate ; he sins 
first, and thereby becomes miscra])le. He did represent and 
resemble God in holiness, purity and sanctity; now he is be- 
come a sinner. He did represent and resemble God in feli- 
city and blessedness, in periection and fulness of life ; (not 
absolute perfection, it is true, not consummate perfection, but 
a perfection suitable to his present state ;) and now he is be- 
come a creature lost in death : death immediately pursued the 
sin into which he lapsed and fell. 

And thus it was, not only with the first sinner personally con- 
sidered, but with all that were virtually comprehended in him ; 
the whole offspring, the whole progeny : and the same two 
things have ensued upon them all ; that is, sin, by that one 
being introduced, hath spread itself over all : and death, that 
way introduced, hath also diffused itself, and equally spread 
over all: all lost in death, inasmuch as all iiave sinned. 

Very plain it is, that general notices of these things have ob- 
tained in the pagan world : and some of the more instructed 
and refined pagans have spoken strangely about this; magni- 
fying the original and primitive state of man at first ; as that 
it was a state wherein they did partake of a divine portion ; and 
wherein they lived in that converse with God ; and there wns 
among them that righteousness, and that mutual love towards 
one another, as made this world a pleasant region, and most 
delectable habitation. We have large discourses in Plato to 
this purpose; and divers do speak as largely concerning the 
degenerate state of man ; — that he is not the creature that lie at 
first was. And they speak it with a great and most affectionate 
lamentation, that there should be such a change, 

But yet, they having nothing in reference to these matters to 


guide them, hut either dark or duhious conjectures, or false 
traditions, thi^'j' could not hut remain very ignorant of much : 
that i>, how iou^- that innocent state did continue; and, want- 
isii^ {livine revelation to guide them herein, some have (h:avvn 
forth that state to a vast tract of time, speaking of it under the 
terui of the "golden age:" and though it be generally ac- 
knowledged among them that tliere is a degeneracy in man, 
yet, how lie came to fall, and wherein his fall at first stood, and 
liow the dismal effects came to ensue so generally upon man- 
kind ; in reference to these things, they speak (as it could not 
but he) as men quite in the dark. 

But here we have a most express and punctual account, and 
as comprehensive as we can have, in one text of Scripture, in 
these words of this text; tliat is, both of the fall of the first 
man ; and then of the fallen state of all men : and both these 
in the mentioned respects, sin and death, transgression and the 
consequent doom. 

And here are, in reference hereto, these three general heads 
that require to be distinctly spoken to — the fall of the first traiis- 
gressor, this one that first sinned; and — the sinful and mi- 
serable state of all the whole race of men hereupon ; and — the 
consecution of the latter of these upon the former, that by one' 
that sinned there should be such a diffusion of sin, and conse- 
quently of death upon the whole race of men : how from the 
one man's sin whereby it first entered into the world, and hy 
which death entered with it, there should be such a transfusion 
with it of sin and death too, through the world. These are the 
three general heads of discourse to be insisted upon. We begin 
with the first, 

I. The fall of the first man. And in reference thereto, we 
biive these four things more distinctly to be spoken to — wherein 
liis sin stood by whicii he fell — how it came to pass that he (an 
innocent creature, made upright, as in that Eccl. 7- i^9) should 
thus transgress — what the death was that was threatened and 
did ensue hereupon ; and the dueness of this death upon his 
having once so sinned. 

I . We are to consider his sin in Itself, wherein that stood : 
and it is plain, 

(I.) That it stood in the breach of a positive precept, which 
had said to him, that he must by all means abstain from the 
fruit of such a tree ; as you see Gen. 2. 16, 17. "Of all the 
trees of the garden," wherein God had placed and set him, 
he might fieely eat; but of that one, the tree of knowledge 
of good and evil, he must by no means eat : in the day wherein 
he did eat of it he must die, fall under death, become mortal. 

LEC. XXI The Fall of the first Man. 3 13 

There are here, some that would fain imagine another way of 
understanding this whole history of man's fall, whom I shall 
meet with upon a more particular occasion hy and by. But 
this is the first step by which man departed from God ; to wit, 
his making bold in an interdict, in reference whereto, he had 
a positive expression of the divine pleasure in that signification 
which God gave him by his mind relating to that matter. He 
having both a liberty given him, and a limitation : a liberty — 
*' thou mayest freely eat of all the trees of the garden ;" and a 
limitation — "of this one thou mayest not eat :" and that in- 
terdict enforced by that tremendous sanction, " Eat and die ; 
if thou eatest, it will be mortal to thee :" it was a breach of this 
positive law. Take that, (as vve shall have occasion to note to 
you more distinctly anon,) I say, take that act of eating in con- 
junction with all the concurrents whatsoever it did lead to, or 
whatsoever was concomitant of that transgressive act. Herein, 
I say, it first stood, the breach of a positive law. But, 

(2,) It did not stand In that alone, but in the violation of the 
whole law of nature too. This positive law,, would never have 
been understood or known, if it had not been, some v/ay or 
other, expressly signified. But we must understand a law of 
nature, besides, to have been given to Adam : to wit, by impres- 
sion upon his heart; for the remains of such a law are still to 
be found in the nature of man, as the apostle in that 2. Rorj. 
takes notice : " Men do shew the work of the law written in 
their hearts, their consciences either accusing or excusing," or 
accusing and excusing, alternatim, by turns ; sometimes ac- 
cusing, and sometimes excusing, as they did comport or ntJt 
comport, with the dictates of their own conscience, wiiich 
is appointed to be the conservatory of the precepts of that 

And of this, there are divers celebrated passages among 
heathens themselves, who have called it not a written but a 
*' born law," the 7ion scripta, sed nata lex ; so Cicero, and di- 
vers others, speak much to the same purpose. This same law of 
nature was transgressed in the transgression of this positive law, 
this particular interdictive precept, or negative command. For 
that particular precept had its foundation in the universal na- 
tural law; that is, this one comprehensive law must contain in 
it all the laws that could be supposed ; that whatsoever our 
great Creator should signify to be his mind and pleasure, that, 
his intelligent, reasonable creature should^be obliged to comply 
with him in. This sums up the whole law of nature, and so 
cannot but virtually comprehend all positive laws too ; when 
once, by any such law, there is a signification given of the di- 


vine pleasure, and mind, and will, of him that made me: I ought 
to obey, when I know his mind; I ought to be ruled and go- 
verned by that expression thereof, which he is pleased to afford. 
This law of nature, (comprehensive of all laws) was broken in 
this transgression ; and sundry great breaches of it, which strike 
deep into the very foundation, must be contained in this trans- 
gression. As for instance, 

Here was contempt of the highest and most indisputable au- 
thority. God said, " Do not this thing:" the creature saith, 
"Aye but I will do it." God saith, " If thou doest it thou 
dicst :" he saith, " J will do it though I die for it." Here 
was no fearfulness of his displeasure, and of his punitive justice, 
the very sword whereof was drawn, and did glitter before his 
eyes, in the comminution and threatening wherewith God 
fenced his law. Here was disbelief of the first eternal truth. 
Here was believing of a creature against the Creator. Whether 
that were an innocent creature, or a fallen creature, though he 
could not tell, yet he could tell it was a creature that spake to 
him and tempted him : and yet, this creature is believed against 
God ; and here was an interpretative, constructive saying, "God 
is a liar; this creature speaks more truly than he." Here, 
was vain curiosity, an affectation of knowing more than God 
yet thought fit for his estate. Here was impatiency of wailing 
for God's furtiier most seasonable and opportune discovery. 
Here was discontent with that excellent state in which God had 
set him. Here was pride and ambition ; he must be some 
greater thing than God had made him ; " Ye shall be as gods.'* 
This is contained in it. So that we are not to think that the 
bare act of eating the forbidden fruit did constitute all the sin 
of man. But there are all these horrid things complicated and 
meeting together in it, which m.ade it a sin most exceedingly 
sinful; especially for him that was hitherto in a right mind; 
upon whom clear light shone ; no cloud upon his uiiderstand- 
ing; no perverseness hitherto in his will; a povver to master 
the appetite, and keep under the otherwise mutinous Inclina- 
tions of sensitive nature. Take all together, and we find, here 
was not only a transgression of the positive precept, but here 
was also a most manifest breach of the natural law, in the 
greatest and deepest foundations thereof. Now, herein stood this 
sin, which was the first thing to be spoken to about that first 
more general head. But, 

2. We are to consider, next, how this should come to pass, 
that a creature perfectly intelligent, and perfectly htjly, yet in 
his Integrity should come to be guilty of so horrid a violation 
of the divine law as this. It is an astonishing thing, to think 

LEC. XXI.) The Fall of the first Man, 345 

of, or speak to ; but an account is to be given of it so far as 
God hath been pleased to give it us. And so, to the inquiry, 
*^ How came this sin into the world by this one man?" we 
must answer, " It came so as the divine history dotii inform us." 
The law given him, you have in the 2 chapter of Gen. 16, I7. 
verses : the violation of it, in the 3 chapter, at large, as dis- 
tinctly as the divine wisdom did think needful for us. And so 
you find several things to concur, and must be understood so to 
have done to the bringing of this matter about, or that there 
should be such a thing as sin thus entering into the world. 

(1 .) We are to consider herein the divine permission. Most 
certain it is, that God did permit, or otherwise it could not have 
been. And it is easy and obvious to us all to apprehend, that 
if he had pleased, he could easily have hindered it. The event 
shews that he did permit ; for it did evince, it did come to 
pass, and he could easily have prevented so dismal an issue, if 
he had thought fit. But concerning that permission ; it is 
true we are to refer it to the divine permission, in very great 
part, to whom it did belong to prescribe, but not to be pre- 
scribed unto ; that he might do v;hat he pleased with his own ; 
give more or less of a gracious influence as he saw fit. But we 
are not to ascribe it to his sovereignty alone, or to the abso- 
luteness of his power, but to that power of his, guided by the 
supreme wisdom, that discerns all the reasons of things. 

We have, you know, discoursed largely upon that text, 
** Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." 
All things that he doth and permits ; all things that he suffers 
and lets his people do : all do fall under the determination of 
the wisest, and deepest, and most righteous counsels : nothing 
is done rashly j nothing incogitantly done, or permitted to be 
done. That, therefore, is to be considered in the first place, 
how it came to pass, that there should be such a transgression 
of the divine law, both positive and natural together — God per- 
mitted it. And, 

(2.) This is further to be considered, that the apostate an- 
gels (who made a defection from God) were manifestly apos- 
tatized, and had made that defection before. They were gone 
off from God, had made a schism in heaven, and forsook their 
first station. And, 

(3.) Nothing was, hereupon, more obvious, than that they 
should affect to draw this new made creature (man) into a com- 
bination and confederacy with them, against the rightful, sove- 
reign Lord of all. And, 

(4.) It is plain, that as they were inclined to it, (and easy it 

VOL. VII, 2 Y 


was to suppose that they would be inclined to it,)so we find that 
they did actually attempt it. It is likely, one of their number 
and, most probably, their prince, the arch-devil ; it was he that 
made this attempt. The matter is put into his liands to make 
trial, whether he can draw off this new-made creature from his 
loyalty, and involve him in the same guilt and misery with him- 
self and his companions; and bring him under the displeasure 
and curse of his and their Maker, as they were. 

It is very plain, that it was the devil that tempted in, and by, 
the serpent. The Scripture doth expressly call him " the old- 
serpent, the devil, and satan," as you see. Rev. 12. 9. That 
puts the matter out of all doubt. And that he might not fright 
Adam, (who possibly might hitherto be ignorant of a superior 
order of creatures,) by appearing to him (as it were) in some 
angelic form : and Adam very well knowing, that there were not 
any other men besides himself : therefore, the devil slides into 
the body of the serpent to tempt. 1 know no reason we have 
to suppose or imagine that the devil did form of condensed air, 
another body like that of the serpent, (though that might be no 
impossible thing to do, as there are frequent instances in fol- 
lowing times and ages,)but there being such a creature already 
formed, it is a great deal more probable, that he should insinuate 
and slide into the body of that: and how often hath he pos- 
sessed human bodies, even when they have been alive, and 
sometimes when they have been dead ! Histories give us 
many instances of it : and it is, therefore, not at all strange that 
he should possess the body of the serpent for such a purpose as 
this, and some way or other speak in, or by it. He hath spoken 
in the bodies of men, many times, (the stories themselves that 
we have of that sort importing plainly so much,") not making 
use of their organs of speech, but speaking more deeply in them 
than their organs of speech did lie. And so it is not strange, 
that though such a creature was not naturally furnished with 
the power of speech, yet that he might speak in it, and by it. 

And now here it is true, there are those who are so over wise 
above, and beyond, what is written, that they think it a mean 
thing to understand the history of the creation ; and then, of 
the fall of man, according to the true literal meaning and im- 
port of the words whei-ein it is given. And as they are too 
wise (I hope) to be our instructors in such a case, so I hope we 
shall not be foolish enough to be instructed and taught by 
them. The apostle himself, if it were mean and low to under- 
stand that history in the literal sense, was content to be of that 
low form, when he told us " the serpent beguiled Eve," and 
*' he was afraid lest they should be beguiled, as the serpent by 

lEC. XXI.) TheFallof the first Man. S-17 

his subtilty beguiled Eve," 2 Cor. 11.3. Pray let us content 
ourselves to be of that lower form with the apostle; that is, 
modestly understand this history just as it lies. 

For the history of the creation, some are sick of it, because 
they cannot tell how to reconcile the literal account thereof, in 
the beginning of Genesis, with the philosophy of their Descartes : 
as if his reputation were a thing more studiously to be preserved 
than that of Moses ; though, yet, more might be said than hath 
been, to reconcile with rational principles, even the whole his- 
tory of the creation : and it might be discerned even by them- 
selves, if there were not more ill will, and an affectation to slur 
Scripture in the case, than tiie love of reason. Most plain it is, 
that it is a very ill compliment which they put upon Moses, 
when they, would have him to have written the story of the 
creation, and of the fall of man, in that form wherein we find 
it, only to amuse the people over whom he was set : some ac- 
count or other must be given ; and such a one as this, would 
serve their turn, and help to awe them, and render them more 

This is the account that some presume to give of this part 
of the divine Revelation : and therein, they express a great deal 
less reverence for, and esteem of, Moses, than some heathens 
have done : Diodorus Siculus, In particular, who magnifies him 
as one of the wisest men that the world hath had. But cer- 
tainly, as these persons do take off all that can be imagined, from 
the integrity of any honest historian, so they did it without any 
respect to the reputation of his wisdom too. For if it were to 
be supposed that the fidelity of an historiographer were to be 
dispensed and laid aside : and if Moses could have obtained of 
himself to have done that, surely he might easily have contrived 
a more plausible romance than this that is supposed to be 
feigned by him : so as that no man can imagine what should 
induce him to give such a narrative, but only the known re- 
vealed truth of the things themselves. If one would have de^- 
viated from that, it might have been witli a great deal more 
speciousness than this hath been. 

And it is, likewise, a very ill comphment that such, too, put 
upon the people of the Jews; yea, and upon all mankind, to 
suppose that they would be capable of being so imposed upon, 
if there be not evidence in the things themselves related to them 
and reported. 

But it is the greatest slur of all the rest, which they put 
upon divine Revelation, that when that appears and is so mani- 
festly allowed to have been written for the instructing of men, 
it should yet be supposed to be written for the cheating of 


them. It is, therefore, plain and out of question, that the 
devil did tempt this new made creature man, in the serpent, 
into which he insinuated himself to this purpose, unto this 
transgression. And that is the fourth thing we are to consider 
ahout the manner of this sin coming to pass. 

(5.) And that the devil applied himself to Eve apart (as it is 
apparent) from her husband, when there was not an opportu- 
nity of consulting with him, she being, though (it may be) not 
of less clear, yet of less strong intellectuals; and in that res- 
pect the weaker vessel ; her, he attempts : for Adam was not 
deceived, but Eve ; tlial is, not first, but she first ; and so was 
made use of as an instrument to deceive him, as the apostle 
tells us: 1 Tim. 2. 14. 

And because time doth allow me to go no further now, let 
me only close what hath been now said, with a caution to that 
sex: and especially those that are in the conjugal relation. 
Let them consider what God hath appointed that relation for. 
He gave Eve to Adam as a help meet. We see what a help 
she proved ; a help to destroy him ; a lielp to undo him, and 
his whole race and progeny ; perverting the very end for which 
God appointed that relation. O ! let such consider and look 
to it, that are apt to tempt their husbands into sin, because of 
their relation ; because of the affection that they bear to them ; 
because of the constant opportunity they have to insinuate into 
them, when their pride, and their vanity, and their vindictive- 
ness, very often, must be all employed and set on work to draw 
their relative into sinful combinations with them against God, 
when he appointed them to be helps in the relation and capa- 
city wherein they are set. They should be helps to duty; 
helps Godward; helps heavenward; joint helps, walking in the 
way tu life. Jt lies in my way to note this ; and let it be se- 
riously considered and noted, according to the import and con-? 
cernment of it. 


But we are to consider in the next place, and that as the 
main thing more immediately to be considered in this case, 

(6.)The primitive state of human nature, in respect of the 
morality which was founded there, and wherein, or wherewith, 
man was at first created. You may remember, that speaking 

Preached February 24, l6g4. 

LBC. xxii.) The Fall of the Jir St Man. 849 

of that former great head, the state of man by creation, from 
that text which tells us of " God's having made iiim after his 
own image," and in speaking of the moral image of God upon 
man in his creation, comprehending botli sanctity and felicity, 
that there we told you we were neither to lay the matter too low, 
nor too high : not so low as to make it thence apprehensible, 
that the sin of man was intrinsically necessary, however it might 
be extrinsically, with reference to divine foresight ; that it 
should be thought intrinsically necessary would be of horrid 
consequence to admit; .for that would be to make the Autlior 
of his being the Author of his sin. Therefore, great care was 
to be taken, not to lay the matter so low as to exclude the in- 
trinsic possibility of man's standing : nor again, was it to be laid 
so high as to exclude the possibility of his falling; which the 
sad event doth shew. 

The matter, therefore, of his fall, is principally to be re- 
solved into the estate wherein, upon the account of his morals, 
he vras created; that is, that he was made innocent, but not 
impeccable ; he was made a sinless creature, but not with an 
impossibility of sinning : and in particular, his mind, it was 
made apprehensive, very capable of true and right notions of 
things, but not incapable of wrong : it was made without error, 
but not indeceptible, under no present deception as it was 
made, and yet, not under an impossibility of being deceived and 
imposed upon by false representations and colours. And so as 
to his will, it was created without any determination to good; 
it was made in that state of liberty as to be in a certain sort of 
equipoise, according as things should be truly or falsely repre- 
sented, by the leading faculty, to the mind and understanding. 
And so hereupon, according to this original state of human na- 
ture, there was a possibility remaining of what, no doubt, did 
ensue. As, 

[I.] Faulty omission in several respects. As, 
First. Of prayer, in the instant and article of temptation. It 
had been a creaturely part in that instant, presently to have 
looked up ; *' Lord I am thy creature, the work of thine hands, 
leave me not to err in such a critical season as this." And 

Secondly. Of dependance. The creature, as such, was by the 
law of his creation obliged to depend ; that is, a reasonable crea- 
ture capable of being governed by a law, was obliged to an intel- 
ligent, voluntary dependance, as all creatures, as creatures, have 
d natural dependance : and it cannot be otherwise with any of 
them. There should, by such a dependance, have been a deri- 


vation and drawing in a sustaining, strengthening influence, 
de 7107H), as the exigency of such a case did require. 

Thirdly. And of consideration. There was, no doubt, an omis- 
sion of that ; that he did not use the understanding power and 
faculty that God had endued his nature with, to ponder, and 
weigh, and balance things in that juncture of time. He being 
essentially, as to his mind and spirit, a thinking creature, should 
have used thoughts with more equity; that is, have balanced 
things on the one hand and the otlier. And this, it is plain, was 
not done. And there was no doubt, 

Fourthly. An omission of the exercise ofthe great principle of 
love, which could not but be most connatural to such a creature : 
love to God, love to himself, love to his posterity. This prin- 
ciple was not excited and drawn forth into act and exercise, as 
it ought, in such an exigency, to liave been. And this, as ea- 
sily made way for, 

[2.] Faulty commissions even in the inward man, mental and 
cordial ones in the mind, and in the heart. As, 

First. The allowing himself to aim at greater measures of 
knowledge, tiian God had yet thought fit for him : whereas, he 
should have been content with a stat€ in which God had set him 
in this respect, and have waited for his further manifestations to . 
him, of what it was fit and convenient for him to know. It is 
plain, the temptation was specious unto the cognitive power of 
man : " Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil ;" a very 
plausible temptation to a creature made capable of knowing 
much, and therefore, could not but have a desire (suitable to 
such a capacity) of knowing more than he yet did. He might 
easily apprehend that this his state, in this respect, was not so 
perfect, though it was not sinfully imperfect. He was guilty 
of no culpable and blameable ignorance before; blit not en- 
dued with so much knowledge, but that he could easily ap- 
prehend it might grow. But it was to have grown in a regular 
way ; partly by his own improvement of his reasoning power ; 
and partly by a patient expectation of God's further manifes- 
tations and discoveries to him. But he complies with the 
temptation that thus is given to his cognitive faculty, catching 
at a sudden power of knowing, beyond what belonged to his 
compass, and was withiiv his reach, by ordinary and allowable 
methods and means. And then there was no doubt, 

Secondly. A sinful cherishing of sensitive appetite, which it 
belongs to a reasonable creature to have governed, and kept with- 
in limits. He was of a compound nature; intellectual, and sen- 
sible ; and the sensitive nature is permitted to aspire and set up 
for the government, and it is yielded. A great violation of the 

LEC. XXII.) The Fall of the first Man^ 35 1 

law of his nature, and that order that God had settled, at first, 
of superiority and inferiority between his natural powers. The 
object, no doubt, was very tempting-, fair to the eye, and it is 
likely might carry a fragrancy and odorifcrousness witli it to the 
smell ; and, in conjunction with the other methods of tempta- 
tion, this might signify much. But, in the mean time, the 
cherishing and indulging sensitive appetite against the law of 
the mind and rational nature, could not but be a very faulty 
commission in this respect. 

And so, altogether comes to discover the difference between 
paradise and heaven, tlie paradisiacal state and the heavenly 
state. There was at first, in paradise, sinlessness ; thus far, 
there was a posse nnn peccare, a possibility of not sinning : 
but in the heavenly state anon 'posse peccare, an impossibiliti^ 
of sin7iing. This difference was soon to be understood; that 
is, it is now to be collected from what did soon and early ap- 
pear in view. Man was not made in a state of comprehensor, 
in that which was to be his ultimate and consummate state; 
but in a state of probation, made a probationer, in order to 
some further state, which upon his approving himself he was to 
be introduced into. And such a defectibility, a possibility of 
understanding things wrong, and choosing wrong, it was most 
suitable to the primitive state of man. According to all that 
we can apprehend of the wisdom of God, there must be a state 
of probation, before a state of retribution ; before punishment 
or reward, there must be an obediential state, wherein a man 
shall, as he acquits himself, be capable of, or liable to, the one 
or to the other. Nothing could be more congruous unto the 
perfection of that Supreme Being who was the Author of our 
being, than, that this should be the state of things betweea 
him and man, at the first. 

And now, before we pass from this head, there are sun- 
dry instructive corollaries or inferences, that we may take up 
fro 11 it. 

. One we have mentioned already, (as it the last time came 
i-Ti our way), tliat is, of what concernment it is to the female 
sex to take heed of comporting duly with, or lest they should 
violate or pervert the intent of, their being made what they 
are : and that they, coming into the conjugal estate, should be 
helpers to them with whom they are conjoined in that state. 
*'Let us make for man a help meet for him:" we see how 
the design of that very institution was perverted and lost at 
first. A help ! such a help as helped to destroy him, aiul 
ruin the world with him. It was not he that was deceived ; 
(as the apostle to Timothy notes j) that is, not first deceived, 


but she, a woman that God had given him. And it is not 
without apparent need, but most agreeable to the ducture of 
Scripture in this case, that such a remark as this should be 
made; and thai they whom it concerns, should receive instruc- 
tion by it : for history is full of many dreadful instances, what 
tragedies, feminine subtilties, and pride, and lust, and envy, 
and vindictiveness, hath brought about in this wretched world. 

2. We may further learn from the whole, that it is of equal 
concern to that sex to which God hath given the priority, that 
they keep up to the law of their state ; which is to be leaders and 
guiders in the state of marriage when they come thereinto ; and 
that they dwell with the other relative, according to knowledge ; 
(as the apostle Peter's expression is, 1 Pet. 3. 70 that they com- 
port with the obligation that the original institution hath laid 
upon them as to this. For we are not to think that Adam could, 
therefore, be excused because Eve solicited him, having of- 
fended first : no more than afterwards, Ahab was excused for 
being a wicked man above all others, (upon the matter there 
was none like him for wickedness,) because that Jezebel his 
wife stirred him up, as it is, 1 Kings 21. 25. He was not, 
therefore, a more innocent person ; no, he was wicked, even be- 
yond parallel, though Jezebel his wife stirred him up : for 
Adam ought to have done the business of his station. He that 
is first in such a relation and that hath the higher dignity, ought 
to comport with the obligation of the law of his state, and to 
exercise that more confirmed judgment which is supposed did 
belong to him. That he did not so, this made him guilty be- 
fore the Supreme Judge. " Because thou hast hearkened to the 
f oice of thy wife :" (Gen. 3. 170 therefore, the malediction of 
the doom comes upon him, which hath been so generally trans- 
mitted as we know. Again, 

3. We learn, hence, that the grace of God, not as it is emi- 
nent in himself, but as it is transient, doth issue forth, and is 
communicated and imparted here and there, doth admit of de- 
grees : there may be more, or there may be less, given forth, 
according to the mere pleasure of the Free-giver. A contemp- 
lation that tends highly and justly to exalt and magnify the 
grace of God, and the God of all grace, in the absoluteness of 
that liberty which maketh it what it is, that is, "grace." It 
could not be grace if it were not most free. And being so, then 
he might dispense more, or he might dispense less, as to him 
seemeth good. We are not to think there was nothing of grace, 
nothing of dignatlon, nothing of vouchsafement, in God's first 
ttcatment of Adam : that he would make him such a creature. 

LEC. XXII.) The Fall of the first Man. 353 

that he would give liiin such endowments as he did, it was all 
of good pleasure. But so alisolute liberty, as doth belong to 
grace, niigiit issue forth in higher or in lower degrees, as sliould 
seem meet to the Free-giver: he might give so much of his 
own influence, as by which it was intrinsically possible (as was 
said before) not to have sinned ; while he was under no ob- 
ligation to give forth so much as to make it impo.ssible to sin. 

4 We mav further learn, hence, that by the same steps and 
degrees by wbich man did at first depart from God, God did 
depart from man ; forsook not, but being forsaken : so that the 
measure which he gave long after, was at first observtid strictly j 
(as it still is every where in the world ;) God is with you while 
you are with him : so it ever was, so it ever will" be, between 
him and his intelligent creatures. As the creature goes off 
from him, he righteously recedes and goes from the creature. 
Not, that on the part of favour he puts himself under any nega- 
tive tie, that is not to be thought or imagined, but he is pleased 
to put himself vmder a positive one ; that is, he hath put him- 
self under no obligation to do more than according to this rule. 
For that he most frequently doth : and (in the state of apostasy) 
without it, who could be saved ? None could, if God did not 
draw nigh to men ; or took up a thought so to do. That rule 
is no negative tie upon God : h.ut he hath been pleased to put 
himself under a positive tie; that is, such as are in tiie state of 
grace now, God will l)e with them while they are with \\\m. 
As to Adam, who was in a state of grace of another kind at first, 
God would most certainly be with him as long as he was witli 
God. And so it is still, with any that are in a state of grace, 
any that God takes to be his peculiar people : " I will be with 
you while you are with me;" he will never do less than that. 
He may, many times, do more, incomparably more, unspeakably 
more : he may prevent, and be beforehand ; or he may follow 
men in their wanderings, even as he did Adam hiinself when 
he was vvandered and gone off. But he would never go off 
from Adam first; he only did go off and depart from him by 
such steps as by which Adam did depart from God : and not 
being tied to the contrary, he might do so, and for wise and holy 
ends did. But again, 

5. We may further learn, hence, that such a liberty of will 
as stands in a mere indifferency to good or evil, is no perfeciion 
unalterahly and immutably belonging to the nature of man : no- 
thing can he more apparent, such a liberty as that, is most unfit 
to be magnified and made such an idol of as it hath, by many 

VOL. VII. 2 z 


within the Christian world. For it is plain, and nothing can be 
plainer, that it did not belong as a perfection, immutably, to the 
nature of man. It was very suitable to that less perfect state in 
which man was created and made. But it is not to be found 
agreeing to it immutably, and without variation, at any time 
since, or ever will again. It just served for that state wherein 
he was at first made, such a liberty as stood with an indifferen- 
cy to good and evil, (whether that good or evil should lie in do- 
ing or not doing,or whether it should lie in doing this or doing 
that,) it never belonged to manj but only in that first juncture, 
as being very suitable to the state in which man, as a proba- 
tioner, was made and set at first. But it is not found to be 
u'ith man ever since, or is ever like to be again : for in the un- 
regenerate state, there is a liberty only unto evil, so as " all the 
imaginations of men's hearts are only evil, and that continual- 
ly." There is no liberty as to any spiritual good, saving good. 
And again, even the regenerate state, though there be a liberty 
to good through grace, yet it is very imperfect. And then, look 
to the consummate state of saints in glory, and there is only li- 
berty to good ; no liberty of sinning : nay, no liberty to good 
or evil, (consider the matter morally,) not at all. So that so 
magnified an idol of liberty of will, as if it were an inseparable- 
perfection of the nature of man, was never kaovvn to agree to 
it, but in its first state : and no more was ever found belonging 
to it since, nor ever will be. 

It may l)e said, it is only the moral good and evil, which h 
superadded to the nature of man, that alters the case with him; 
and that doth not change his nature; but that his nature will 
still be the same. And it is very true, his nature is the same 
that at first it was; otherwise, he could not be the same crea- 
ture that did offend, and comes to be punished ; or that shall, 
by grace, be made to comply with the terms of God*s gracious 
covenant ; and that shall afterwards come to l)e, through grace, 
rewarded. He would not be the same creature, if there were 
a change, quite, of his nature, and the essentials of his being; 
man would not be man, he would be anotlier thing. But then, 
as moral good superadded hereunto, the one or the other of 
them may be without making his nature another thing. It can- 
not, therefore, be said, that this liberty of will is altogether in- 
separable from his nature. And if, in tlie heavenly state, (which 
is most plain and evident,) confirmation in good, doth nothing 
s|)oil a man's liberty, then, the efficacy of his grace in his pre- 
sent state, doth not spoil a man's liberty neither : nay, it doth 
much less; for if it should be supposed to do so, then, a man 

lEC. xxii.) The Fall of the First Mail, 355 

would be less a man for being a glorified man ; it would be a 
diminution to the dignity of man, and he would be the worse 
for going to heaven ; because there, his liberty ceaseth, a liberty 
to good or evil. What an unimaginable thing is that, that it 
should be a depression, a diminution, to a man, to gloriiy him ! 
that that should be a maim of his nature ! But if the glory of 
heaven do not diminish a man, or be a maim to him, because it 
takes away the possibility of sinning in the heavenly state ; 
then, tbe efficacy of grace, in the present state, is no diminu- 
tion, nor blemish, nor maim to the nature of man now neither. 

6". We may further learn, hence, what cause we have to ap- 
prehend and dread the destructive designs of the devil. For 
what ! do we apprehend that he is less an enemy to God, or 
less an enemy to man, now, than he was at first? Do you 
think the devil is grown kinder, more good natured, less intent 
upon the destruction of souls, and less malicious against hea- 
ven ? It is a niost intolerable, most inexcusalde thing, that 
we who pretend to believe the Revelation of God about these 
things, and do hereby know the devil to have been a " mur- 
derer from the beginning," and may collect, that he is still 
going about, that he may destroy and devour as a roaring lion ; 
I say, the Lord have mercy upon us, that notwithstanding we 
pretend to know and believe all this, we should live so secure 
as we do, without any thought of any such thing. And, 

7. It may give us to understand the madness of self-confi- 
dence, that we should be so little afraid of sin; that we should 
be so little afraid of temptation ; that we should be so apt to 
trust our own strength : and when that perfect state wherein 
Adam was made in paradise, was not enough to secure him, 
that we should live such independent lives, so seldom look up, 
that we have not the sense of that petition more deeply wrought 
into our souls, " that we may not be led into temptation." 
Divers other things there are that might be hinted, but 1 shall 
only add this, for the present, 

8. We may further learn, that there is no need that there 
should be any new invented account of the first apostasv of 
man, so as therein to depart from the plainness and simplicity 
of the letter of that history, which God hath given us of it; 
there is no need of any such thing. The matter, as Scripture 
represents it, and as we have (though less perfectly) repre- 
sented it from Scripture, as it lies, is raticuial and congruous 
enough ; and such as we need not be ashamed to own and 
avow to the world. There are those that are so over-officious 


in these matters, as to trouble the world with their fine notions 
and accounts thereof, altogether alien from the letter of the 
history, that so they may (as is pretended) make things look a 
little more plausibly than the letter of history doth represent 
them; when indeed, if the matter be searched into, the design 
seems to he, not to make them look plausible, but ridiculous : 
and their business is not to expound Scripture, but to expose it, 
and the whole of our religion. But I shall gay no more to 
them now neitlier. 


GO far we have gone in our course of treating, in some order, 
of the several heads of religion, as to enter upon this doc- 
trine of the apostasy, which we proposed to consider and speak 
to from this text, Sin entered htto the ivorld, and death hy 
siriy and therein to treat of these three genera] heads. 

I. Of the fall of the first man. 

II. Of the fallen state of man. And, 

III. Of the consecution of the latter of these upon the for- 

And for the First of these generals, the Fall of the First Man, 
we proposed, therein, to consider and speak to tliese four more 
special heads : J . the sin by which he fell ; 2. the way liow he 
fell into, and by this sin; 3. the death that did ensue ; and, 
4. the dueness of that death upon this sin : and we have spoken 
to the two first of these. 

3. We come now to the third, the death that did ensue as to 
this first man. And here the inquiry may be, whether tiiat the 
death contained in the commination or threatening, be princi- 
pally meant, or the death that is in other terms expressed in 
the consequent sentence ? The first of these, you read Gen. 2. 
17. and the latter you read, Gen. 3. from the I7. to the 19. 

Preached March 10, 1694. 

LEC. xxiii.) The death consequent upon the Fall. 357 

ver. I say, whether the death expressed in the comniina- 
tion — "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou slialt surely 
die :" or that which is in other words cxjiressed (not by the word 
death) in the sentence, " dust thou art and unto dust thou 
shalt return," he the same, yea or no ; it is plain, ihat there 
is a real ditference betwixt the commination (formally consi- 
dered) that contains the one, and the sentence that expresses 
the other. 

By the former, the commination or threatening, is established 
(as far as the comminatory sanction could go) tb.at l^w, or cove- 
nant of works, which was to concern all mankind. By the 
latter, to wit, the sentence, there was a particular application 
of this law, now transgressed, unto this particular case of trans- 
gressing Adam ; as that is the proper business of a sentence, 
to apply the law according to which it must be understood to 
pass to tiie particular case of offenders, when they come to be 
judged by that law. 

But it is here more distinctly to be considered, whetiier that 
the sentence do not carry with it some moderation as to the 
evil or penalty'contained in the 'ihreatening of commination: 
in reference wliereto, these particulars are worthy your consi- 

(I.) That tlie terms, wherein the one and the other are to be 
delivered, are not the same ; for the terms of the commination, 
by which the law or covenant of works, that was to concern all 
mankind is established, as by a solemn sanction, goes in these 
express terms : *' In case thou eatest, thou shalt (as we read it) 
surely die;" thou shalt die the death, or, dying, thou shalt die. 
But the sentence hath not the word "death" in itj but it 
speaks of sundry miseries that should attend tiiis liie, and that 
should end, at length, in the dissolution of the compound, and 
especially, of the earthly part : "Dust thou art, and unto dust 
shalt thou return." Having worn out a sad life amidst many 
sorrows here on earth, thou shalt go to the dust at last, as thou 
art dust. And, 

(2.) It is to be considered, that these different terms are not 
apt, fully, to express the same thing: for whereas, it is said in 
the commination, "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt 
die the death," these are expressions very fitly accommodated 
to signify death in the utmost extent, in all the latitude of it, 
"thou shalt die the death :" all the fulness of death seems to 
be comprised therein without limitation. But in the sentence, 
when the great day comes to pass judgment upon the delin- 
quents, (the law being now violated and broken,) you have not, 
in his application to either of the human offenders, any so terri- 
ble expressions as this, only they are doomed to manifest sor- 


rows and miseries: and it is told to Adam, (in whom the 
w,oman must be comprehended as being taken out of the man) 
tiiat "dust they are, and unto dust they shall return ;" there- 
fore, there seems to be much less in the sentence than in the 
commination. And, 

(3.) it is to be considered, that between these two, the gospel 
did intervene ; that is, between the commination and the sen- 
tence : the commination was given with the law to man yet in- 
nocent : when he was now fallen and had transgressed, then 
Cometh the sentence ; but it so comes as that the gospel steps 
in betweeti, being tacitly insinuated in reference to them, in 
what was directly said to the serpent ; that which was a curse 
to him, was a blessing to them : " I will put enmity between 
seed and seed, between thy seed and the v.'oman's seed ; and 
that seed shall break thy head, though thou shalt bruise his 
heel." And this, the grace of God might, for ought we know, 
apply and bring home to the case of Adam, as it was applied to 
all the more special seed of the woman, ihat should come to 
be united with him who was most eminently the woman's seed. 
And therefore, it migbt very well be, that though all the fulness 
and horrors of death, taken in its utmost latitude and compre-' 
Iiension, were included in tbe commination, there might, in 
pronouncing the sentence upon Adam, be as great a mitigation, 
as the variation of the terms doth import. 

But our inquiry here, must be concerning the death con- 
tained in the commination, where we have the term of" death," 
double death, or dying the death, most expressly made use of. 
And it is by that, that the dying of this death is to be mea- 
sured ; to wit, by the commination, as it did concern Adam, 
and it must concern Adam's posterity. And admit, that there 
was a real mitigation upon the intervening of the gospel, and 
the exercise of the grace of God, applying it in Adam's case, 
yet we are still to consider the death that was contained in the 
commination, as due to Adam ; due, to wit, in a former instance, 
before there could be a mitigation in a latter, in a following 
instance : for supposing tliere were then so quick and speedy a 
remission in so great part, yet, the penalty remitted must be 
due, before it could be remitted. It must be a debt, before it 
could be a remitted debt. And so concerning the death that 
was due, which offending Adam and his posterity became sub- 
ject and liable to; I say, concerning that, it is, we have to in- 
quire, as this dueness is measured by the commination ; though 
indeed, wc are not yet, according to the series and order of dis- 
course, to consider this death in the extensiveness of it to 
Adam's posterity ; for that comes in, under the nest general 

LEc. XXIII.) The death consequent Upon the Fall. ,159 

iiead, the fallen state of man ; whereas, we have only now to 
consider the fall of the first man, and what did concern tiio 
case of Adam himself. And so, our inquiry, is, What death it 
was that was threatened to him, upon the supposition that he 
should transgress ? And of this matter, I shall give you an ac- 
count in several particulars. 

[1 .] Most plain it is, that corporeal death was included in the 
meaning of the commination ; for that he did actually incur. 
You read, in the short history that we have of him, tiiat death, 
at lengtii, finished his course. He lived so long, and he died. 
And it could not be, that he should incur that which was not 
due. And if it were due, it must be so upon tlie commina- 
tion ; as the duenessofany such punishment, upon any delin- 
quent, is first measured by the law; the sentence is to proceed 
according to law; that is, so far as not to go beyond it : it is 
possible there may be mitigations, but the extent of the law 
cannot be exceeded. That is therefore plain, that corporeal 
death was included. And, 

[2.] it is very evident too, that much more was Included than 
corporeal death : for Adam did actually suffer more (as is ma- 
nifest) than mere corporeal death ; as the labours, and hard- 
ships, and sorrows of life, and whatsoever else besides, about 
which we shall further inquire anon. And, 

[3.] That more beyond corporeal death could not mean anni- 
hilation, or an extinction of his being. For, 

First. We do not find that either he, or any one else, was ever 
annihilated, or that any creature ever was. No such thing ap- 
pears that either he, or any man, or any thing, was actually re- 
duced to nothing. Nor again, 

Secondly. Could death be a proper expression of annih.ilatlon : 
for annihilation is not adequately opposite to life. There is no 
adequate opposition between life and annihilation : if tiiere 
were, then life and non-annihilation, or continuing such a thing 
in being, must be equivalent terms, if the other be adequately 
opposite terms. But it is plain, they are not so ; because it Is 
manifest, there are many things in being, and which are some- 
what, and yet do not live. Therefore, to suppose that anni- 
hilation should be the thing meant by death, here, as is threat- 
ened to Adam, and so to offending man in him, is a dream 
without a pretence or ground, neither to be found, or any sha- 
dows of it, in Scripture; nor at all agreeing to the reason of 
the thing. 

To reduce a thing to nothing, is no apt kind of punishment. 
There is no other thing, indeed, but a reasonable creature, that 
is capable of punishment, properly so called. But the reduc- 


tion of any thing to nothlnsj, is to put it absolutely out of any ca- 
pacity of apprehending itself under divine displeasure ; or, that 
it is self- fallen, under the animadversion of justice : and there- 
fore, is a most unsuitable thing to be designed for the punish- 
ment of a reasonable creature, if it were to be called a creature. 
But the very notion is most unsuitable to it. And therefore, 

[4.] There is no doubt, but spiritual death is included. '* Thou 
shalt surely die," thou shalt die the death : here must be in- 
cluded spiritual death; the death of the soul; not naturally 
understood, but morally : for naturally, the sou! is immortal, 
and can never die. But death, in reference to the soul, being 
taken morally, that is, as inclusive both of sin and misery, so 
the soul was liable to death, and became no doubt the subject 
of it, in this very case, antecedently to the restitution, and re- 
covery, and the actual supervention of the divine grace. And 
when we say that death, in this sense, that is, the moral sense, 
doth include both sin and misery, it must do so, even by the 
same reason, by which life, in the moral sense, doth include both 
sanctity and felicity. And it is manifest, it doth include both. 

But then, we must further know, that sin being included in 
this death, it must be in a twofold notion, which we must un-, 
derstand in our minds concerning sin ; that is, sin is to be 
considered, either as it is an evil against God ; or it is to be 
considered, also, as an evil to ourselves. As an evil against 
God, so it could be a wrong to him, though it cannot be a hurt. 
And in that sense, or according to that notion, we are not to 
lake sin here, for so we considered it under the former head. 
Very true it is, we must add, 

[5.] That there is a necessary complication of sin and misery 
with one another, as there is of sanctity and felicity with one 
another : they are complicated, and cannot but be so, even in 
their own natures. But thougli they cannot be severed, they 
may be considered distinctly. Severed thoy cannot be, neither 
©f these two pairs — neither sin and misery, nor holiness and 
blessedness. Neither of the pairs can be disjoined or severed ; 
the love of God, that comprehends in it all our duty, and all 
our felicity, virtually, as being the great active principle, and 
the great fruitive ; that principle, from whence 1 am to do ail 
the good I do ; and that principle by which I am to enjoy all the 
good that I enjoy, or am capable of enjoying. Both of these 
two things, summed up together in one virtual principle of love, 
can never be disjoined or severed, any more than a thing can 
be torn and severed from itself. And so the case is, as to the 
opposite pair; sin and misery, they can never be disjoined or 
severed, for they are virtually comprehended in one and the 

LBC. xxiii.) The death consequent upon the Fall. 3fil 

same principle ; to wit, enmity to God ; upon the account 
whereof, while it prevails, it is impossible either to obey God 
or enjoy him. These two, therefore, cannot but be insepara- 
ble. But while they are inseparable, yet they are distinct 
too. As to this latter pair, wherein we are now concerned, 
to wit, sin and misery; "To be carnally minded is death." 
And as it is misery, and so a hurt and ruin to us, so it is to 
be considered here as it comes under the njotion of the threat- 
ened death, and so doth make a part of the threatened pe- 
nalty; that is, sin carrying a self-punitive malignancy in it. 
God having been once offended, he leaves the sinner (till 
grace doth work the reparation) under that self-punishment. 
*^ Thine own wickedness shall correct thee." And so, in 
this sense it is, that spiritual death must be comprehended 
in that death contained in the commination : " In the day 
thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death." It must com- 
prehend spiritual death : and that spiritual death doth also 
comprehend in it several things, of which I shall give you a very 
brief account. As, 

First. The retraction of God's Spirit. That it contains, as the 
first and most fundamental thing, in this threatened spiritual 
death, the retraction of God's Spirit. When Adam had abused, 
or not duly used, the power which his Creator gave him, of 
obeying and complying with the divine pleasure, the Spirit re- 
tired; and now, we must consider the difference (as hath been in- 
timated before) between the spiritual influence which was vouch- 
safed to Adam, while he yet remained innocent, and that which 
is afforded to the regenerate, in their present state, to preserve 
that state; that is, as to Adam in innocence, that influence 
was enabling, but not determining. It was such as by which 
(as hath been told you) he had a possibility of not falling, but 
not an impossibility of falling; he had a possibility of stand- 
ing, not an impossibility not to stand ; that he had not, that in- 
fluence of the Spirit which he had, being suitable to his state of 
probation wherein he was made, that is now justly withheld, 
the Spirit retires, leaves him to himself. 

This we do not say gratis dictum; for do but consider that 
plain text : (Gal. 3. 13.) " Christ hath redeemed us from the 
curse of the law, being made a curse for us : for cursed is every 
one that hangeth on a tree : that the blessing of Abraham might 
come upon us Gentiles, the promise of the Spirit, (or the pro- 
mised Spirit) through faith." If the remission of the curse do 
carry with it the conferring of the grace of the Spirit, then the 
curse, while it did continue, could not but include, carry in 
it, the privation and suspension of the Spirit. This was part of 

VOL. VII. 3 A 

362 riiii paiNciPLfis or the oracles of god; (part ii, 

the curse upon apostate Adam, the loss of God's Spirit. For 
that which the grace of Christ and redemption by him, re- 
moving, inferred the communication of the Spirit, that must 
include the suspension and withholding of the Spirit. And, 

Secondly. Hereupon, it could not but ensue, (which is a fur- 
ther thing contained in this spiritual death,) that the holy image 
of God must be erased, vanished; and, antecedently to the resli- 
tution, it could not but be so. And, 

Thirdly. There must be included in this spiritual death, an 
aversion from God, the turning ofi'of the apostate soul from God : 
that whereas it minded him before, with a complacential ado- 
ration, now it is quite alienated : here is no inclination in him 
towards God. The thing speaks itself; and it was apparent in 
Adam's case. As soon as he becomes guilty, he hides himself, 
vainly attempts to hide himself from the doom. That which 
was before the most grateful thmg of all things, to have God 
nigh him, is now quite otherwise; he cannot endure that God 
should approach him. If it were possible to keep himself 
from God, (but that he vainly attempts,) his sense would be, 
"Let me have no more to do with God." And, 

Fourthly. There must be further contained in it, hereupon, a 
cessation of that intercourse and communion that was between 
God and hira. For tlie Spirit of God was retired on his part, 
and man was become averse and disaffected to God on his own 
part. The image of God, that rendered him propense towards 
God, and meet for his communion, being vanished and gone, 
nothing can ensue more necessarily and certainly than a ces- 
sation of communion : God refuseth to converse with hira, and 
be refuseth to converse with God. And, 

Fifthly. There could not also but be included as consequent 
hereupon, regrets of conscience: not penitential but torment- 
ing; not penitential as yet, or not penitential first; but first tor- 
menting, before they could be penitential, while grace was not 
yet applied. How soon it might be we know not. It is very 
likely it might be very soon, by the account that short history 
gives us. But in the mean time, there could be only torment- 
ing regrets of conscience : *' Very lately I was an innocent crea- 
ture ; now I am a fallen creature : 1 then stood right in the ac- 
ceptance and favour of God ; now there is war between him and 
me." Penitential regrets, indeed, could not be a part of the 
penalty ; they are a part and degree of the sinner's restoration 
and recovery ; but the preceding tormenting regrets, they are 
included in the death. It is a deadly thing to be stung with 
the sense of one's having offended him whom we can never 
propitiate to ourselves again. And hereupon, also, 

Sixthly, Very black and gloomy thoughts must ensue ; amaz- 

LEG. xxiii.) The death consequent upon the. Fall. 363 

ing thoughts ! He that was in the eye of the innocent, unoffend- 
ing soul, his highest delight, now he is all iinvrapt in a cloud; 
or the mind is inwrapt in a cloud that it cannot behold him ; 
such a cloud as it can by no means penetrate. God could be 
conceived of under no other notion than that of an enemy and 
avenger. And, 

Seventhly. There must he, hereupon, most astonishing fears; 
for it is obvious that a reasonable, intelligent, mind would consi- 
der, " He who did so lately fetch me and all this creation out of 
nothing, is almighty, and it is impossible for me to fence against 
his power. That power that could create a world so easily, what 
can I do to protect myself against it, when it is set on work by 
just displeasure ?" And then, 

Eighthly. It must include despair : for the first covenant 
gave no hope of forgiveness, and therefore, gave no room or place 
for repentance till grace came, till an inspired gospel came to be 
actually applied and brought home in this case. And there- 
fore, there must be the epitome and sum of hell, in the state of 
this ease ; God offended and never to be reconciled, and against 
whose displeasure, armed with power, I can have no defence, no 
protection. All this more, all this surplusage, must be con- 
tained in this death ; that is, spiritual death, the present death 
of the soul in the moral sense, in all this latitude and extensive-* 
ness of it. And then, further, 

[6.] There is in this surplusage, too, these many external 
miseries of life that we find to be contained, also, in the very sen- 
tence : for though the sentence may contain less than the com- 
mination, yet it could not contain more. Therefore, all these 
being found in the sentence, must be in the commination too: 
all the external miseries of life that a delinquent creature could 
be liable to. And then, in the last place, 

[7.] This death must carry in it, too, death eternal, as the 
sum of the penalty, or the consummation thereof, as tl)e evil 
threatened and contained in that. And though many would 
speak very distinguishingly of this matter, and labour to do so 
when they can, yet let but plain Scripture be considered in the 
case, and you will see how it speaks. Do but follow this very 
context unto the shutting up of this chapter, and you will sec 
what kind of reign it is that sin hath in the world. It now began 
its reign, even in this first apostasy, or in the apostasy of the first 
man. Sin, we are told, it reigns unto death, verse 21. "As 
sin hath reigned unto death, so grace might reign through 
righteousness unto life." What life? "Unto eternal life 
through Jesus Christ our Lord." You see how tliese two stand 
in their antithesis, in their opposition to one another. Here is 


death set in opposition to eternal life. What death is that that 
stands in opposition to eternal lite ? Surely, it must be eternal 
death. So in the conclusion of the next chapter: " The wa- 
ges of sin is death ; but the gift of God is eternal life, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord." "The wages of sin is death." It is 
not said of this or that sin, some greater sin ; but, •' The wages 
of sin," as sin, "is death." And what death, the opposition 
shews us: it is put in opposition to eternal life; therefore, it 
must be eternal death that is the wages of sin, of sin as sin : 
and therefore, if Adam's transgression was sin, such a death 
must be the wages of it. 

And that is the M?Vc? particular, belonging to this first gene- 
ral head, that we were to treat of, to wit, to shew what the death 
was that did ensue, and was designed to ensue, by force of the 
divine law; or the commination added thereto, upon this first 
sin of the first man. Now, 

4. The fourth of these heads is the dueness of this death 
upon this sin ; and upon that I shall not insist, it being enough 
to toucli it, things being obvious of themselves. The heinous- 
ness of the sin, and the too naturalness of the punishment 
taken together, will evince the dueness of this event upon this 

(1.) Consider the heinousness ofthesin. We have opened 
that unto you in many particulars formerly, to which I shall 
only add the consideration of these four circumstances. As 

[I.] The first man should so soon transgress. But just now 
made; (upon the matter it being generally thought to be but 
a little time: most think tlie same day;) just now made by 
God, a reasonable, immortal creature, and so soon made by 
himself, a sinner, transgressor, and a rebel. 

[2.] Consider that he sinned with open eyes, having, before, 
no cloud upon his mind, but all things in clear light before 

[3.] And while his nature was antecedently untainted, no vi- 
cious inclination in him. And, 

[4.] That there was nothing which could be matter of com- 
plaint in his state, his condition so entirely good, and yet did 
not please him. Think, I say, of the heinousness of the sin, in 
these and other respects, and then the incurred death cannot 
be thought unproportionable, or undue, though you take it in 
the extent that hath been mentioned. But, 

(2.) Considier, too, the con- naturalness of the punishment to 
the sin, this death to his transgression. He turns from God to 
the creature: God turns away (in just displeasure, upon bein^ 

LEC. xxin.) Tfie dueness of death upon the Fall, 865 

offended,) from him. Hence, all these things ensue and fol- 
low of themselves. And there was no preventing it by any or- 
dinary methods, unless God would annihilate him, unless he 
would throw his creature back again into nothiiig. But that 
became not the wisdom and greatness of God to do. It had 
been too much trifling to raise his creature into being, and put 
him under such an equitable, and so righteous a law, and, he 
oifending, presently to nullify his own work. That had not 
been becoming God, not suitable to the divine wisdom and 

And therefore, now to give some brief notes of Use upon the 
two last mentioned heads. 

1. You may learn, hence, that the act of eating tlie for- 
bidden fruit, is not to be considered too abstractly, as the first 
sin of man ; that is the thing wherein the most do foolishly 
impose upon themselves, and so speak and think diminish- 
ingly of this whole matter. What ! was it so great a matter ? 
was it so great a thing to eat the fruit of a tree that was for- 
bidden ? This, abstractly considered, was not the first sin. Not 
abstractly considered; take it comprehensively, and take it in 
all that was belonging to it, and it was the first sin. But the 
act of eating alone, considered by itself, was not the first ; there 
were a great many mental evils (as we have shewn in opening 
the sin) which did precede the act of eating, and that altoge- 
ther, make it a most horrid wickedness ; distrust of the truth of 
God's word, and trusting a creature that he might easily ap- 
prehend to be an apostate, fallen creature, by opposing the 
word of God ; trusting him against him that made him, and 
gave him breath. He trusted against God, one, he knew not 
whom : but he might suppose it one that was not in his origi- 
nal integrity, that was fallen and gone off from God ; other- 
wise he could never have counselled against God. There was 
great ingratitude for goodness, shewn and exhibited ; for mercy 
received : mercy, indeed, as yet it could not properly be called, 
he not being as yet a miserable creature, or in a miserable 
state. There was opposing his will to the Supreme Will. 
There was exalting the sensitive nature against the rational, 
against the law of the mind ; and so confounding the cider of 
things, in that part of God's creation ; to wit, himself breaking 
the order and dependance of the faculties in reference to one 
another, with many more. 

2. And you may further learn, hence, how nearly sin and 
misery, sin and death, do border upon one another. They are 
things very near to each other. These two spheres of life 
and death ; that Hghtsojne, 2^^^'*^"^ sphere, all. full of vitality. 


pleasure and bliss ; and that sphere of darkness and death, that 
comprehended every thing of horror in it, you see how nearly 
they do touch, and how nearly they did touch ; so that we 
niigh.t suppose, but even a moment between the one and the 
other. This moment, an innocent creature, standing- in de- 
light, and favour, and acceptance ; and the next moment, an 
accomplice of hell, associated with apostate spirits against God. 
How nearly do the spheres of light, and life, and bliss ; and 
of death, and horror, and hell, touch ! How near did they 
touch one another ! How immediate was the transitus^ the 
passage from the one to the other 1 And, 

3. You see, not only the nearness in point of time ; but the 
natural connexion that is between sin and misery ; that the one 
doth in so great a measure involve the other, as 1 have shewn 
they do. iSin carries death in it ; " To be carnally minded is 
deatli." And we may further see, 

4. What occasion we should take, hence, to admire the grace 
of the gospel, that it should so soon intervene ; and when it so 
doth, here is place for repentance by the constitution of a new 
covenant, the evangelical one, which the covenant and law of 
works could not give upon any terms : for it could represent, 
God no otherwise than as an unappeasable enemy. " Cursed 
is everyone that conlinueth not in all things that are written 
in the book of the law to do them." 

LEC, xxiv.) The Fall of Man considered generally. ^67 


Rom. 5. 12, 

And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. 

I^ROM the former part of this scripture, we have insisted 
upon the fall of the first man ; " By one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin;" his fall, by sin, into death. 
And so you have seen the entrance of both these, sin and death, 
into the world, in the fall of that one man. Now we come in 
the next place; 

11. To speak, from the latter words, of the fallen state of man, 
generally considered. And you see the ground of that, too, lies 
as fully in the latter words of the text, that "death passed upon 
all men, for that all have sinned." I read the words according 
to our translation, though some would have them to be other- 
wise read, and the letter of the text doth admit of another read' 
ing: instead of "for that," they read "in whom," all have 
sinned. But of that there will be more occasion to speak 

In the mean while we are to consider the fallen state of men in 
general, according as these expressions do represent and hold 
forth to us. And they do represent his state to be a state of 
sin and death ; these two complicated with one another. 
" Death hath passed upon all, for that all have sinned." And. 

* Preached March ] 7, 1 6p4, 


according to that reading of the words, and the nature of the 
thing, that wliich is here last mentioned, requires to be consi- 
dered first, though these are complicated with one another; 
sin and death run into one another, are most inseparably con- 
junct; yet, they are all some way distinct. And so far as they 
do admit of being distinguished, we shall consider and speak to 
them distinctly. And so, 

1. Of the sinful state of men in general. Now, inspeaking^ 
to this, as the letter of the text leads us, we shall — consider 
the nature, and — the universality, chiefly, of this sin that is 
thus spread through the world. We are, 

( 1 .) To consider the nature of it. The general nature of sin 
is plainly expressed 1 John 3. 4. " Sin is the transgression of 
the law." And therefore, that we may shew you more dis- 
tinctly the nature of that sin which hath so generally diffused 
itself among men, (as we shall afterwards shew,) it will be 
needful to inquire. What it is that we must take for the mea- 
sure of such sin ? inasmuch as the following words here do 
plainly tell us, in the latter part of the ]3th verse, that " sin is 
not imputed where there is no law :" wherever any sin is, 
some law must be supposed to be. And what is that law, 
against which it can be understood that men might so gene- 
rally sin ? 

You have heard, by what law the first sin of man was to be 
measured : that was partly a positive law, a particular precept, 
a law made by a spiritual revelation to him : but much more 
principally a natural law, which was violated in the violation 
of that positive one, inasmuch as that positive law had its im- 
mediate root and foundation in the natural one : nothing being 
more apparently natural, than that the reasonable creature 
ought to comply with the will of his Maker being once known. 
But though it were very apparent vvhat law that first sin did 
transgress, yet it is not so apparent what law, it is that the com- 
mon sin of mankind doth now transgress. And so that needs to 
be inquired into. 

In the general, it may be said, that the law that doth obtain 
in the world now, and from age to age, dotli consist of two parts, 
as the law at first did which was given to Adam, even in his in- 
nocency; to wit, that it is partly natural, and partly by super- 
added Revelation. So it was at first, so it is still; but with 
great and remarkable difference. That whereas, at first, tlie 
natural laiv was full, perfect, intire, most comprehensive, and 
large, even in tiie discernible impressions of it; and the super- 
added law by special Revelation narrow, lying in a very little 
compass (one particular interdict only with its penalty esta- 

lEC. XX iv) The Fall of Man considered generallj/i 369 

blishingit) that we read or are informed of. But now the case 
is \ery diverse and oj)posite : that is, the natural is diminished, 
not in the ohh'^ation of it, l)ut in the impression, the discern-* 
ible or discerned impression, that frame in tlie heart or mind' 
of man broken into fragments, many parts very obscure and il- 
legible, and divers, with many of the inhabitants of this earth, 
(as it were,) lost through inadvertency, and their not reflecting 
upon themselves so as to discern and find out the sculpture of 
what remains engraven upon their hearts. And the revealed 
law, (wliere that obtains,) that is so much the more large, and 
comprehensive, and full, and perfect, so as to discover every 
false way ; and every true and right way : one and the same 
rule being the same measure, recti et obllgui, of that which is 
light and that which is wrongtoo. 

And the exigency of the case did require that it should be so: 
that is, by how much the more that the natural law was erased, 
broken into fraa'ments and parcels, and many of them (as to 
their discernibleness) lost with many; so much the more re- 
quisite was it, that the superadded law (which was to be by 
revelation) should be entire and complete, that there should 
be another impression of that original law, that should collect 
and gatiier up all that was lost of it, and rendered it obscure, 
from the prevailing corruption of the world. And so thus, in 
short, did these two cases stand in opposition to one another. 
At first, the natural law was most entire and full and large and 
comprehensive : and the revealed law narrow, and lying witliin 
a very little compass. But now the natural law, to wit, in the 
discernibleness of its impression, is greatly diminished ; and 
the law that is by revelation so much the more large, compre- 
hensive, entire, and full. 

At first, that revealed law after the apostasy, must, for seve- 
ral successive ages, be easily transmitted (l)y reason of the 
grea^ longevity that remained before and after the flood) from 
hand to hand by a certain tradition. But afterwards, God 
p;ovided that it should be collected and gathered up into Sa- 
cred Records, though not all written at once, but successively, 
according as supreme wisdom had determined concerning the 
different states in the future church, in point of light. And so, 
what we have of it now, lies entirely and fully in the sacred 
volumes, of which we have discoursed to you largely hereto- 
fore ; but that doth actually obtain but in a small part of the 
world in comparison : but a very small part. That it doth obr 
tain no further, is owing to the wickedness of the world itself, 
which obstructs the diffusion of it. God, in his holy wisdom 
not obtruding, not by extraordinary means and methods making 

VOL. VII, 3 B ' 


way for It, as it were easy for him to do, if it were so agreeable 
to the counsel of his own wisdom, the results wherereof we now 
see, in fact; and the reasons whereof may be better understood 
in the appointed season. But we are not to think this wicked 
world innocent in its having no more of revealed light than it 
hath ; that light shines in darkness, but the darkness doth not 
comprehend it, strives against it, otherwise there must have 
been a diffusion, even of most evangelical knowledge many an 
age ago. Men fence against it and keep it off, and will not let 
it spread ; and God doth not exert the greatness of his power 
as yet (for ends and purposes best known to himself) for the 
gaining of a victory over that contumacious darkness. 

Yet, in the meantime, where there are no notices of that le- 
vealcd law, or that law by Revelation, we are not to think that 
the world is without law : do but observe to this purpose what 
follows the text: "Until the law (verse 13.) sin was in the 
world ;" until the law. Until what law ? It is certain, here, 
*' law" must be taken in a restrained and limited sense, other- 
wise the expressions in the following part of that verse would 
contradict those in the former : " Sin is not imputed where 
there is no law :" then there could have been no such thing, 
as sin, from Adam to Moses, if there had been no law at all 
in all that interval. When therefore, it is said, " Until the 
law sin was in the world ;" that is, until the written law, or 
until the law that was given on mount Sinai, it is not the 
law simply, but respectively only, that is there meant ; not 
in an absolute and general, but in a particular and limited 

It is true, there was a time (that time that is there men- 
tioned, from Adam to Moses) when there was no such law as 
came afterwards to be in the time of Moses. Not that there 
was then no law at all ; for then there could be no sin; but it 
is expressly told us, that "sin was in the world" for all that 
time ; and therefore, there was some law ; there was a law by 
which men might be reckoned sinners : for there was such a 
law according to which they were punished, as the following 
words shew; " Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to 
Moses ;" there was such a law as made men still liable to death; 
and therefore, such a law against which men might still sin, 
even in the long interval from Adam to Moses. "Death 
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sin- 
ned after the similitude of Adam's transgression." 

1 pray consider that expression, *' that had not sinned after 
the siaiiiitnde of Adam's transgression." How was that ? 
That is, that did not sin against a particular and express law. 

LEC. xxiv.) The Fall of Man considered gencndlif . SJ"! 

with Its annexed sanction, as Adam did. Some would under- 
stand that of infants; and, it is true. It must include them. 
But I see no cause at all for such a restriction ; but most ma- 
nifestly the contrary : for infants were not the only ones that 
did die; death reigned over all, in that interval from Adam to 
Moses; and so, the sin must be as general as the death. But 
herein was the great dissimilitude, that, whereas Adam did sin 
against a framed, express precept, with its annexed penalty in 
the commination, the generality of men from Adam to Moses, 
did not so sin ; but they sinned against such a law as they had ; 
that is, the relics and fragments of the law of nature, iirs-t 
impressed upon the heart of man, or put into bis very na- 

This is agreeable to what we have In this same epistle, chap, 
2. 12. "As many as have sinned without the law," (tliat is, 
without a written law,) "shall perish without law;" to wit, 
without that written law. Some law or other they were still 
under ; they must be supposed to sin against some law ; other- 
wise they could perish by none. But a written law they had 
rot. " As they that are under the law, (as it there follows,) 
they are to be judged by the law," And afterwards. In the 14. 
and 15. verses of the same chaplc-r : " When the Gentiles who 
have not the law, do by nature the things contained In the law, 
they are a law unto themselves, which shew the vi'orks of the 
law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing wit- 
ness, and their thoughts in the mean while accusing or else ex- 
cusing one another" So we read it, and I think very defec- 
tively, "accusing and excusing:" it Is in the greek, "by tusns;" 
not "one another;" but, "sometimes accusing, and some- 
times excusing." Not as if their thoughts did accuse one 
another, or excuse one another; but the expression may 
admit to be read, I say, " sometimes accusing, and some- 
times excusing," according to the discernible evidence of the 

And so you may now easily collect, how, in tlils general sin- 
ful state of the apostate world, men do every where transgress 
against a law. Those that have a written law, or might more 
easily have it, they sin against that ; to wit, the Revelation 
that God hath given of his own mind concerning their duty, 
and in order to their felicity. They that have it, or might more 
easily have it, I say, sin against it. They that have It not, or 
from whom it lies more remote, they yet, sin against the dic- 
tates of the law which they have in themselves, or which they 
are to themselves. They that have no other law, being a lav/ 
to themselves, they having some measures, though broken and 


imperfect ones, of right and wrong in their own minds and na- 
tural consciences. 

And now, the measure heing stated by which this general 
sinfulness of the world is to be estimated, the natural law and, 
generally, that law that is by Revelation in the word of God, so 
far as it doth obtain, or might more easily obtain ; it will be 
our further business, in the next place, to open to you the sin- 
fulness of men in reference to this law, of which you have this 
account. And it is, in the general, the sinfulness of their in- 
clination, or of their nature, that we are obliged, by the design 
of our present subject, to consider and speak to : " For that all 
have sinned." 

Here is not, it is true, actual sin : that the expression doth 
literally signify. But that must be understood as supposing a 
sinful nature, which is more principally to be considered : or 
it is to be considered in the first place; that which is the 
peccatum pecccms, as It is significantly enough called by some. 
That evil heart, that nature, not as it is nature, but as it is de- 
praved, it is now transmitted every where from age to age, and 
from generation to generation, among men : the fountain from 
whence all tiiose streams of wickedness flow that have deluged' 
the world, and made a raging ocean, " the waves whereof con- 
tinually cast forth mire and dirt," as the prophet expresseth it. 
Isa. 57« -0. That nature of man, which as it is degenerate 
and corrupt, is become a seminary, a seed-plot of all kinds of 

This is {ox peccahimoriginale originatum ; as we formerly 
discoursed to you of thepecrafum originale origmans, as some 
do choose to express those things. It is, in the general, a sin- 
ful inclination which lies opposite to the law of God, natural 
or revealed : for'we are not to suppose that the love of God 
doth only provide against sinful acts, or sinful omissions, no, 
this is the very peculiar excellency of the Divine Government, 
in contradistinction to any other; that it determines first, what 
men ought to be, and then, consequently and dependantlyj^ 
what they ought to do. Human laws and governments do not 
respect the former of these, otherwise than consequentially. 
They only take notice of actions, and those, external ones too* 
But internal inclinations they make little provision about, and 
do not otherwise take notice of (as indeed the nature of the 
thing doth not admit they should) but by consequence, as a 
man's habit and internal inclination may be collected and ga- 
thered from the series and course of his actions. But it is quite 
contrary as to the Divine Government, and the laws that be- 
long thereunto; that is, that God having an immediate inspee- 

LHc. XXIV.) The Fall of Man considered generaUi/. 373 

tion into the minds of men, and his government, laying Its first 
obligation there; its laws do first provide what men shouM 
be ; and then consequentially, what they should do. They 
should be so and so; be holy, be righteous ; and then, all is 
to correspond hereunto. 

Therefore, we must understand that an evil inclination, or a 
depraved or corrupted nature, is that which doth iirst violate 
the law of God, lies first against it : and so, that it is net infe- 
licity only, to be ill inclined, but it is sin — sin in tlie highest and 
most eminent sense tiiereof. It is the habitual fran^e and bent 
of the soul, that the law of God doth in the first place direct : 
and then, it doth direct that men sh.ould act correspondently 
theretmto, So that now that empoisoned nature of nian, the 
malignity of the heart and soul, o)' inner man, is that which 
makes the first and principal breach upon tlie law of God, 
which is in its own nature holy, ju.'^t, and good : whatsoever 
there is of this law left, it is all holy, just and good, even as it 
doth obtain to be called " the law of nature." What is truly 
such, is holy, just, and good, still, as much as ever it was, and 
as expressive of the mind of God. 

Now concerning that corrupt inclination in the minds and 
souls of men, that doth first violate the law, it is to be under- 
stood agreeably to the law itself- The law itself, is partly pre- 
ceptive, and partly prohibitive. It consists of these two parts. 
And these two things are accordingly to be considered in the 
corrupted state of human nature : to wit, first, that there is a 
disinclination to all that Is truly good ; and, secondly, that there 
is a propensity, a perverse inclination, to all that is sinful and 

[I .] The first of these, that is, which is signified by the want 
of original righteousness, that rectitude which did first belong 
to the nature of man, the absence, and not the mere absence; 
but the wart and privation of that, is the first thing we have to 
consider in the corruption of man's nature; that now it wants 
the inclination that there ought to be in it according to its pri- 
mitive state, and the first obligation of the divine law upon 
man. This is the loss of God's image; not by his taking it 
away, which we must carefully abstain from thinking, even so 
much as one thought to that purpose ; that is, that God took 
away his image from man, to wit, his image in respect whereof, 
man was to resemble him in point of holiness ; that would be 
to devolve the sinfulness of man's nature upon God himself. 
But God did righteously, upon the first apostasy, withhold his 
Spirit, whereupon his image, being a created thing, and not ca- 
pable of self-subsistence, must vanish : and so, as that in effect 


to erase the holy image of God out of his soul. He (man) hath 
expunG:ed and blotted it out ; provoked the Spirit of God to re- 
tire ; cherished and indulged corrupt inclinations against it, 
and in opposition to it. And, God finally still retiring, that 
image lalieth and vanlsheth : not being withdrawn by him, 
(speaking of the effect,) but ])eing expelled ; not withdrawn, 
but dravvn away; not by violence (as it were) obliterated out of 
the soul, 'i'hat which was, indeed, God's workmanship at first, 
is defaced by our wicked workmanship : the work of our hands 
hath so far destroyed the work of his. 

There is, therefore, in the corrupt nature of man, a disincli- 
nation to all that which it ought to be inclined to ; that is, both 
to objects and acts, that it ought to be inclined to. We are 
principally to consider the objects ; the acts will of course most 
obviously ensue. The objects wherewith man was to have to 
do, were God himself, liis fellow creatures, (those especially 
of his own order,) and himself. 

There was, upon God's having made man, the direct relation 
first between Creator and creature; and then, hereupon, (there 
being divers such of the same order,) there follows, of course, 
a collateral relation between one such creature and another.- 
In the first respect, man being a reasonable creature by his na- 
ture, a creature and a reasonable one, he comes under obliga- 
tion to God most directly: and then, collaterally, (from God 
still,) he comes to be under obligation to his fellow- creatures of 
his own order : and inasmuch as he is capable of bearing a re- 
lation to himself, so he comes to owe duty to himself also. 

To God in the first place. There is an aversion from God, 
to be considered in this fallen state of man, not of one single 
faculty of the soul alone, but even of the whole soul, and of all 
the faculties of it. But according to the natural order wherein 
they lie towards one another, the whole soul is gone off from 
God ; mind, and will, and affections, and executive powers, al- 
together turned off from God. So is the account given of the 
fallen state of man in that 14. and 53. Psalm, from which texts 
and from others, you have so many quotations taken in the 3d. 
chapter of his epistle to the Romans, all summed in this, that 
*' All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." This, 
then, is the great thing that, in the first place, is held forth in 
this text; to wit, that the state of man is a state ef apostasy 
and recess from God; he hath withdrawn himself, and stands 
now in his whole soul in a quite averse posture from God; 
towards whom he was originally and naturally most pro- 

But then, whereas God, the Object of this aversion, is to be 

LEc. XXIV.) The Fall of 3Iun co7isidcred generaUif* 37» 

considered two ways ; as our Supreme and Sovereign Lord, and 
as our Supreme and Sovereign Good, the soul of man is averse 
to him under both these notions ; refuseth to take him as his 
Supreme Lord ; or. for his Supreme Good ; that is, it will nei- 
ther obey him, nor be happy in him. And whereas, under this 
twofold notion, we are to consider God the Object of this aver- 
sion, it is under the former of these notions that we are to con- 
sider it now, while we are speaking of the sinful state of man, 
or the sin of man. It will be under the latter of these notions 
that vve are to consider it, when we speak of the death that hath 
passed over all men, as that whereunto it doth more peculiarly 
ana properly belong. 

But consider God as the Supreme Lord, and the sinfulness 
of man's nature, in this respect, lies in this, that he is, under 
this notion, averse to, and turned off, from him, and declines 
obedience to him. And the whole is, under this notion, averse ; 
that is, the mit^d is averse, not only doth not know him, but de- 
clines knowing him, labours under, not a mere nescience of 
God, but an atFected and chosen ignorance, desires not to know 
him. So is the representation made to us of the opposite state 
and condition of man in those mentioned psalms, the 53, most 
fully, 2, 3 verses; that is, " That God looking down from hea- 
ven upon the children of men to see who would inquire, who 
would seek after God, he finds them all gone back ;" (the 
Hebrew word signifies a perverse retrocision, waywardiy gone 
back ;) no, here is no inclination to inquire after God ; accord- 
ing to that. Job 21. 14. "They say unto God, Depart from us, 
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways," of thy concerns, 
and of thy methods. Those ways of Intercourse that thou 
wouldst have to be between thee and us ; these ways of thine 
we do not desire to know; we do not desire there should be 
any intermeddling, any intercourse between thee and us. And 
according to that Rom. 1. 28. " They liked not to retain God in 
their knowledge." They did not only, or barely, not know 
him, but disliked to know, refused to know him. "Through 
deceit they refused to know me," saith the Lord, Jer. 9. 6. 
The same corrupt nature remaining, even under a professed re- 
lation to him, with the generality of that wicked people. 

And so, in this respect, the state of man is a state of dark- 
ness : to wit, of affected darkness. " There is no darkness or 
shadow of death where the workers of iniquity can hide them- 
selves." It speaks the inclination of men's minds that they 
would fain hide themselves in some darkness or shadow of 
death if they could ; but they can find none, none that hides 
them from hira, though they can easily so inwrap themselves 


in darkness, as not to behold him. Their darkness is a fence 
against themselves ; but not against him. They make it so 
thick that they cannot penetrate it ; but he most easily can. 
They would fain have such a darkness as that he might not see 
them ; but there is none, they cannot find any : " There is no 
darkness or shadow of death where the workers of iniquity can 
hide themselves." But, in the mean time, that speaks the in- 
clinations of their minds : " O ! that we could be hid from God, 
and that there might be nothing at all to do between him and 
us." " Ye were darkness," (here is the common state of the 
unconverted, unregenerate world,) Ephes. 5. 8. *'Ye were 
darkness," not merely in the dark, but darkness itself. " The 
light that is in them is darkness," as our Saviour speaks, Mat. 
6. 23. " If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is 
that darkness." This, I say, speaks an aversion' of mind from 
God ; they care not to know him ; they desire not to know 

And hereupon, it becomes so unaccustomed a thing to think 
of him. Thence is the character of a wicked, unregeneratc 
man, " A forgetter of God." It is his usual paraphrase in 
Scripture; " A wicked man," and that lies, as such, under, 
doom, is under such a character as this, one that is "A for- 
getter of God :" "The wicked shall be turned into liell, and 
all the nations that forget God" Psalm 9. And in oppositiow 
hereunto, a regenerate man, a holy man, a renewed man, is 
characterized by one that remembers God, that thinks of God : 
** A book of remembrance was written for them that feared the 
Lord, and thought upon his name." Whereas, it is said of the 
wicked man ; *' God is not in all his thoughts." Compare 
these two places together, Psalm 10. 4. Mai. 3. 16. A good 
man is such a one as thinks much of the name of God, hath 
God's name impressed on his mind : so as every actual thought 
of God, it is only reading the letters that do (as it were) com- 
pose that name, and that are impressed on his own mindj to 
wit, his actual thinking of God. Now a book of remembrance 
was written for them that feared the Lord, and thought of his 
name. As if it had been said; " Well, is there so much kind- 
ness towards me yet to be found in this revolted world, that 
they will remember me ? I will have a book of remembrance 
for them ; there shall be remembrance for remembrance. Do 
they think of me ? I will think of them too r have they kind 
thoughts of me ? 1 will have much kinder thoughts of them: 
I will book it up. Every kind thought that is taken up con- 
cerning me, in this general apostasy and revoltedness of the 
world from me, 1 will set it down, 1 will have a book of re- 

LEC. XXIV.) The Fall of Man considered generally. 377 

membrance for every one that has any thoughts of me, in this 
forlorn state of tilings." 

And then, as this aversion hatli place in the minds of men, 
it hath so, more formally, in their wills : they will not have this 
Lord to be their God ; he shall not reign over them ; tiiey re- 
fuse his empire; throw off the reins: "Let us ca^.t away liis 
cords, and bfcak his bands off from us." So, in the apostate 
world, do the princes and people combine together against the 
divine government : and those that lead others consent to be led 
themselves in this case. '* Let us break tlieir bands asunder, 
and cast away their cords from us :" (Psalm 2.) those of God, 
and of his Anointed, the Redeemer, the Messiah, as that word 

And then, likewise, there is a consequent averse or transverse 
posture in the affections of the soul, whereof, indeed, the will is 
the seat and subject ; desires, fears, hopes, delights, anger, sor- 
row, all transversed in a quite contrary course and being, to 
what they should be : and so it is proportionably towards men, 
so far as men are concerned with men; and so it Is towards 
ourselves. We should have discoursed of these distinctly, but 
cannot now. 

It is, in the mean time, strange, (and let us consider that 
with ourselves,) that this being so apparently the common case, 
it should be so little considered; that men take such compla- 
cency in themselves ; that it comes so seldom into the thoughts 
of any to think, " I either am, or Isave been, an apostate crea- 
ture, quite turned ofi" from God." It is to be admired, that 
men's own thoughts are not painful to them upon this account. 
Certain it is, that I, and the rest of the world, have been all in 
an apostasy from God. This hath been my state; it is my 
present state. I am either an apostate creature, or a returned 
creature : either still apostate, or renewed towards him, altered 
in my habitual frame and inclinati-on. How is it with me ? 
am I one of the reduces t one that the miglity hand and 
power of the Redeemer (he that died, "the just for the unjust 
to bring us to God") hath reduced and fetched back to God. 

Or is this the case of none of us ? That whereas we were all 
off from God, in an averse posture to him, are we not striving 
against the design of the merciful Redeemer, who is still striv- 
ing to bring us back, and who strove herein unto blood, resist- 
ing against tiie wicked inclinations of degenerate, apostate men ? 
" He resisted to blood striving against sin." That is the thing 
plainly implied in that of the apostle to the Hebrews, chap. 1 2. 
4. " Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin ;" 
vvhereasj he had been, immediately before, bespeaking them 

VOL. VII, 3 G 


to "^run with patience the race that 'vas set before them, look- 
ing unto Jesus the author and finisher of the faith : who, for 
the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the 
shame." But why did he endure that cross and shame which 
we find him to have despised ? The following words shew, he 
had been striving against sin. But that is none of your case : 
it was his. He suffered tliat cross, and fell under all that op- 
probium, ignominy and shame, in this striving against sin even 
unto blood; that sin by which men are held off from God, con- 
tinued in a state of apostasy from him. 

Now let us bethink ourselves what the Son of God hath been 
strivingunto blood against ; to wit, "sin;" which hath turned 
us off from God, and kept us off from God : and are we striving 
against him, will not be reduced, will not be brought back? 
Strangers to God we have been, and so we will be still : go 
from day to day, from morning to night, and will liave no con- 
cern with God; we will not pray to him ; we will not think of 
his name; we will entertain no converse with him. 

But the further Use is referred to be spoken to, after a fur- 
ther explication of the sinful state of mankind. 


It hath been shewed, that the ill inclination of men towards 
God, affects the whole soul. The mind knows him not, thinks 
not of him, is habitually forgetful of him : and, more formally, 
this aversion is in the will : that doth not choose the Lord for his 
God ; wills him not, even where a people do profess his name. 
If yet the work of renovation have not taken place, his own 
Israel will have none of him ; " Israel," saith God, " would 
have none of me." Corrupt nature is the same, even in such a 
people, whatsoever the external profession and garb, and ap- 
pearance, and shew, may be. A corrupt heart is still the same 
thing, indisposed, disaffected to God ; *' alienated from the 
life of God." And conscience is stupified, doth not do its of- 
fice, or, sometimes, is outrageous and over-does it, the affec- 
tions and passions are all as so many furies ; original rectitude 
being gone, and the soul destitute of that holy image which ori- 
ginally it bore. 

But there is, also, an evil inclination towards fellow-crea- 
tures of their own order. That love is wanting which is " the 

* Preached March 24, 1694 

LEc. XXV.) The Fall of Man considered genei'allj/, 3/9 

fulfilling of the law;" and that sums up all that rectitude of 
heart and soul towards fellow-creatures of our own order. AH 
is summed up in this ; "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 
self;" and therefore, is love the fulfilling of the law. 

And then, also, towards ourselves. Our love to our neigh- 
bour, is to be measured by that to ourselves : as that groat fun- 
damental precept which our Saviour calls the "second," next 
to that ; " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
and with all tiiy might ; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself;" in opposition whereunto, stands that aversion to 
God, in the first part. And as to the second great command- 
ment, it is a measured thing; and the measure is love to cur- 

But now, in this state of apostasy, men want even that, they do 
not love themselves : to wit, if they did know themselves ; and 
that they do not affect, to gain a true knowledge of themselves; 
and therefore, do not love themselves ; their more noble self, 
their more excellent self. The soul, which is the man, that they 
do not love ; they care not for it ; care not how they prostitute 
it ; how they enslave, how they hazard it from day to day. Yea, 

[2.] In all these respects, there is not only an aversion, an ill 
inclination, to that which is good, a want of original righteous- 
ness, or of the holy image of God as such; but there is, like- 
wise, propensions to all manner of evil ; there are violent pro- 
pensions towards forbidden objects. God being forsaken and 
left, and the soul of man being conscious to itself that it is not 
enough for itself, it must adjoin itself to somewhat else, when 
it is off from God : and so, by the same steps by which it re- 
cedes from him, it turns to the creature, to this vain and impure 
world, which is God's rival and competitor for the minds and 
hearts of men. 

But here, it is to be considered, that when the soul is off from 
God, and therefore, must seek for somewhat else to supply his 
room, it finds itself under a necessity to make a false and asci- 
titious deity, a divided thing, as if it were under a secret con- 
sciousness that no one thing could fill up the room of God. 
And therefore, the new deity is divided between these two; to 
wit, between this v/orld and a man's own self: that is, his 
meaner or baser self ; his ignoble self. And all of you know 
(if you recollect a little) what God is to be to us, namely, our 
Sovereign Lord, our Sovereign Good : him we are to serve; and 
him we are to enjoy. 

The soul being off from him, and being now to fill up his , 
room as it can, it doth (as it can) attempt to fill it up by these 


two things — self and the world : self supplies the room of God, 
a[s he is to be served by us ; and the world supplies the room 
of God, as God is to be enjoyed by us. And here are the pro- 
pensions, now, of the apostate soul, continuing so, and yet un- 
renewed towards self, as the only one to be served, obeyed, and 
pleased, instead of serving, obeying, and pleasing God. And 
this is one of the greatest idols that is set up in the apostate 
worUl, even — a man's self. 

But then, rememtaer it is his baser, meaner, and more igno- 
ble self; when it is become the vilest thing that it was possi- 
ble a reasonable, immortal soul could become; when it is be- 
sotted, carnalized, brutified; when it is, in short, become a 
brute, when it would be a god. While it was itself, it must 
abhor any such thought, with the highest measures and greatest 
pitch of indignation. But now it is brutified into the vilest and 
most degenerate thing, become even as the beasts that perish ; 
now it must be a god. *' I will have none to serve but this 

But then, finding (as tlwt is obvious to every one) that it 
hath not its own good in its own hand, (as, alas! what have I 
in me to make me happier; and though that is more to be con-, 
sidered under the other head of death, yet there is sin in it too, 
as it underwent a direct interdict,) it finds it must forage, it must 
go abroad ; it finds it hath not enough in itself to satisfy it. 
And therefore, now in this kind, and under this notion, the 
world is the other idol that is to supply the room of God. 
" Love not the world nor the things of tiie world; for if any 
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 
That shews, however, in the unrenewed state, the propensions 
of the soul are, by love, carried towards this vain and vvretchfed 
world. All the good that it designs for itself, it seeks from 
it. And so, tliese are the two idols that are set up in this 
apostate world against the living and true God : self, as the 
God that is to be served, and the world as the God that is to be 

But then, we must observe, by the way, that as there is to- 
wards these two substituted objects a violent propension; so it 
is forbidden, only under that notion wherein it is excessive.' It 
is no unlawful thing for a man to love himself, and even bis 
meaner self: but to love himself v/ith that love wherewith he 
should love God, that is sinful. It is no unlawful thing to love 
inferior creatures, things of this world, which God made all 
very good ; but to love them with that love whprewith we 
should love God, as our supreme and highest Good, herein 
stands the sinfulness of this propension. These are to be in 

LEc. XXV.) The Fall of 3fan considered generally, 381 

the room of God; not to serve ourselves under God, but above 
him and against him : not to enjoy and please ourselves, in this . 
world, in subserviency and obedience to God, but in direct op- 

And so, there is, upon this account, not only no inclination 
towards God, (which was considered under the former head,) 
but there is direct enmity. Not only, in this case, doth the soul 
not love him with all the heart, mind, and might; but it hates 
him. And this is the character of the apostate world. Look 
to that Rom. 1. 28. ''They liked not to retain God in their 
knowledge." And a little lower, they are called " God-haters." 
The word signifies, they hate him with a stygian hatred, they 
hate him as one would hate hell ; that is the signification of 
the word " God-haters," which sums up the malignity of 
this corrupted nature of man, that is made out in so many 
particulars in all that latter part of that 1 chapter to the Ro- 

So likewise, in reference to their fellow-creatures, when this 
love is wanting, which they should bear to them, and which is 
jthe radical principle that comprehends in it all duty of that 
kind, (that is, doth virtually comprehend it all,) the want of 
that due disposition is supplied by a contrary principle , that 
is, by one contrary thereunto, which is that of " being hateful 
and hating one another," mentioned Romans 1,30. 31. and 
Titus 2. 3. And it is, too, upon this account, that "self" is 
one of the two substituted idols, as you have heard. And be- 
cause the interest of this " self" interferes, and there are now 
as many deities to be served, as there are men ; hereupon it is, 
that jealousy works into hatred. And it partly proceeds, too, 
from the narrowness and minuteness of this world, which is the 
other idol that men set up in the room and stead of God. This 
world is too little for men ; (it cannot but be so ;) too little 
for immortal souls. It is a thing in its own nature unsuitable 
to them ; but yet, men being deceived, think to have their all 
out of it : and so they are all pulling and tearing one from ano- 
ther, every one for himself, to make his own portion out of this 
world as great and considerable as he can, still imagining he 
shall repair his loss of God, out of this world. And all being 
under the power of this delusion, they do not consider, that 
"there is a lie in their right hand;" that they are seeking 
that in this world which it can never afford them. 

But hereupon, instead of that love which should be "the 
fulfilling of the law" of the second table, spoken of Rom. 13, 
there is that enmity, that mutual hatred of one another, that hath 
for so many ages made this world an aveldama, a field of blood j 


and compreliends and sums up all those lusts, from whence 
come wars and fightings among men : among men, I say, who 
lay under the obligation of so equal a law, and so kind a law of 
love, which so directly tended to the welfare of mankind; and 
so would have made this world a heaven upon earth, every one 
loving one another as himself, and seeking another's good as 
his own : whereas, all make it now their business to tear this 
world out of one another's hands as much as they can, and to 
pluck it in pieces, and so to worry and destroy one another 
for it. 

And in reference to men themselves too. In the room of a 
right disposition towards themselves, there are substituted, 
wicked propensions : they do affect themselves wickedly, sin- 
fully, illegally, against the direction of the divine rule : and 
this is the root of all the insincerity that is to be found, any 
where in the world , that is, that the superior powers do not 
govern the inferior, do rebel and disobey. The mind and 
judgment that should govern the will, and its determinations, 
and purposes, tiiis way and that, neglect their office ; so that in 
the mind, now, is blindness ; not generally a not seeing, but re- 
fusing to see, a willing blindness: that which the Scriptures- 
express by " blindness of heart." There is error, self-decep- 
tion, about the most important and most practical matters; the 
calling of good, evil, and evil, good. There is somnolency and 
drowsy slumber upon the minds of men ; a supine negligence, 
that they cannot consider nor care how things go within them, 
or what is uppermost. 

Then again, there is, in the inferior soul, the imaginations, 
the appetites, the affections or passions, a continual mutiny and 
disorder, a rebellion agairtst what doth remain of the law in the 
mind; so that Vv'hat remains is very imperfect, much obscured, 
shattered and broken : yet, there is a continual mutiny and in- 
surrection against these reliques of that law. And this, in- 
deed, constitutes a man, within himself, the continual seat of a 
war; he is in a state of war vvith himself: for he hath some 
light in his mind; but there are these mutinous and rebellious 
appetitlons and passions working in continual opposition there- 
unto ; so that he cannot rase out those notions, he hath in 
his mind : " This I should do, and that I should do so;" nor 
will his inferior faculties be induced to any kind of com- 
pliance therewith. It is not such a war as in the regenerate, 
to vvit, in one and the same faculty, and especially in the heart 
and will, where there is an imperfect inclination to that which 
is good, but yet victorious. But the war lies here, between 
that which should be the governing faculty, the mind, the prac- 
tical judgment, the conscience, and the mutinous disoositions 

LEc. XXV.) The Fall of Man^ its imiversality, SSS' 

of a rebellious heart, that are entire, and in their full strength, 
in the unregenerate; whereas