Page images

claim us, he should at length abandon us to a judicial Blindness and Hardness of Heart, which is the most miserable State we can be in. To-day, therefore, while it is called To-day, let us hearken to his facred Voice, and not harden our Hearts against him. Let us endeavour to comply with the Significations of his Will by his Word and by his Providence, and maintain an humble and submissive Temper of Mind before him, as becometh those who expect foon to be accountable at his folemn Tribunal for their inward Frame as well as their outward Practice. God grant that we may now live in a constant Preparation for that great Event, so as to approve ourselves to the great Searcher of Hearts, the fupreme universal Judge, to whom be Glory · and Dominion for ever. Amen.

[ocr errors]

On God's Inspection and Government



PROV. v. 21.

The Ways of Man are before the Eyes of the

Lord, and be pondereth all bis Goings.


HE Government of Divine Provi

dence towards Mankind extendeth both to their Hearts and to their outward Actions. This latter is what we are now to consider. And surely, if God inspecteth and governeth the Hearts of Men, their most secret Thoughts, Counsels, and Purposes, as was shewn in our last Discourse, it cannot in Reason be denied, that their external Actions must needs be also under his

sovereign sovereign Cognizance and Superintendency. This is what the Wise-man signifieth, when he declareth, that the Ways of Man are before the Eyes of the Lord, and be pondereth all his Goings. He pondereth them, he weigheth them as in a Balance, as the Word

properly imports, and observeth them with the greatest Exactness. He beholdeth them not merely as an idle Spectator that is wholly unconcerned and indifferent about them, but as the supreme Governor and Judge, so as to govern and over-rule them to the wife Purposes of his Providence, and to reward or punish them in the properest Manner, and in the fittest Season. Tbine Eyes are upon all the ways of the Sons of Men, faith the Prophet, to give every one according to his Ways, and according to the Fruit of his Doings. Jer. xxxii. 19. And not only doth God know all Mens Actions when they are done, but he hath a perfect Fore-knowledge of them before they are done. He knoweth how all Men will act in every Circumstance. And though the Manner of God's fore-knowing the free Actions of Men be hard to account for, (nor is it to be wondered at that it should be fo) yet the Thing itself is what Reason as well as Scripture leadeth us to acknowledge. It has been generally owned among all Nations which have believed that there

is a God and a Providence. Nor can it well be conceived how the Scheme of Providence could be compleat without it. And there is a plain Proof of it in many express Predictions of human A&tions, which have all the Appearance of being free and contingent that

any Actions can have, and yet were certainly fore-known many Ages before they happened. Several remarkable Instances of which may be found in the facred Writings.

The Providence of God as respecting the Actions of Men may be distinctly confidered, both with regard to their good and evil Actions.

First, All the good Actions Men perform are under the divine Inspection and Government. He is perfectly acquainted with the Principles from which they flow, and all the Circumstances that attend them. And. he makes Use of them for answering the Ends of his moral Government, for promoting the Interests of his Kingdom, and the good Order of the World, and for rendering Men useful to one another. Ara it is pleasing to him to fee his reasonabis Creatures acting in a Manner agreeable ! Reason, Truth, and Righteousness, 21 employing the active Powers he hath gi them to valuable Purposes. He ordi it so in his Providence, that such gooc


« PreviousContinue »