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admirable Faculties and Powers, by the constant sustaining Power and Influence of the Almighty.
But what we are most nearly concerned to consider, is the Care of Divine Providence in preserving Man. This is what St. Paul signifieth, when in his excellent Discourse to the Athenians, Afts xvii. he declareth that God giveth to all, (i. e. to all Men,) Life, and Breath, and all Thing's. Ver. 25. and that in him we live, and move, and have our Being. Ver. 28 In him we
exist or have our Being. As he gave us our Existence at first, and made us of such a particular Order of Beings, so by him we are continued in Existence, and in that kind of Existence which belongeth to us as Creatures of such a Species. To his Providence it is to be ascribed, that one Generation of Men riseth up after another in the Manner and according to the Laws wisely established by him in the Beginning; that the curious Structure of the human Body is preserved and maintained in its proper Form, and with all its admirable Organs; and that the human: Soul continueth to retain its noble Faculties.
In God we not only exist or have our Being, but in him we live. As it was he that first established the wonderful vital
Union between Soul and Body in Man, fo it is by his Care and Influence that it subfisteth. To this it is owing that our Food nourisheth and refresheth us, that the vital Functions are carried on, and that we are enabled to exercise our several Sensations. Justly, therefore, doth the Psalmist call him the God of his Life. Psal. xlii. 8. and Job declareth, that in his Hand is the Soul of every living Thing, and the Breath, or Life, of all Mankind. Job xii. 1o. And again, Thou hast granted me Life and Favour, faith he, and thy Vifitation bath preferved my Spirit. Ch. x. 12.
And as it is in God that we exist and live, so it is in or by him that we move. It was he that originally gave us the Power of Motion, and Organs admirably fitted for carrying it on, and it is through him that we are continued in the Use and Exercise of those Organs ; so that it may be justly said, that we cannot move a Foot, or lift up a Hand without him. And this holdeth equally with regard to the Operations of our Souls, as the Motions of our Bodies. As he hath endued our Souls with the admirable Faculties of Understanding, Will, Memory, free Agency, and hath implanted in us Affections of various Kinds, fo by his providential Concourse, and Support of our Faculties, we apprehend,
judge, reason, remember, and freely determine our own Actions. It is he that upholdeth the Powers which he gave us, and enableth us to exert those Powers, and put them forth to Action. Apd this he doeth not only when we do Good, but when we employ our Powers in acting wickedly. And yet this doth not derive the least Stain of Guilt upon God, or make him the Author of our Sins. The natural active Power, and the Use of it, which is in itself good, is from God; the Abuse of it to sinful Purposes is wholly owing to ourselves, and to the Corruption of our Wills. God sustaineth the Sinner in Being, and in the Exercise of his natural Powers, whilst he is committing the sinful Action, but the Obliquity of the Action is wholly from the Sinner himself. And indeed, on Supposition that God hath created reasonable Beings capable of acting freely, and of doing Good and Evil, it is proper that he should uphold them in Being, and in the Use and Exercise of their natural Powers, even whilft they do evil Actions as well as good. For if he should withdraw his suftaining Influence from them the Moment they attempt to abuse their natural Powers, this would be absolutely to hinder them to exercise their Liberty, nor could they in that Case be accounted free Agents at all.
As the God of Nature, he ordinarily upholdeth or continueth them in Being, and in the Use of their natural Powers, in what Manner soever they act; and then afterwards, as the moral Governor, he will call them to an Account for their Actions, and will reward, or punish them accordingly.
I shall conclude with some suitable Reflections.
First, When we consider the universal Dependence of the whole Creation upon God, what admiring Thoughts should it cause . us to entertain of God, and what diminishing Thoughts of ourselves, and all created Beings! Who would not adore the great Jehovah, whose everlasting Existence is the folid Basis and Support of the Existence of all other Beings whatsoever ? Should not we be even as nothing in our own Eyes, whilft God is all in all? Let us with the profoundest Veneration proftrate ourselves before his Divine Majesty, who is the great I am, the Fountain of Being and Perfection, and be ready to say, Wortby art thou to receive Hunour, and Glory, and Bleffing ; for thou bast created all Things, and for thy Pleasure they are, and were created ! And not only so, but thou preservest them all; thou upholdest them by thy most
powerful Word; and in and by thee all Things consist!
Secondly, We may hence see, what a just Propriety and Dominion God hath in and over us, since it is he that both gave us our Being, and all our Powers and Faculties, and who upholdeth us in Life, and in the Use and Exercise of those Powers. These two taken together, his Creation and Preservation of us, certainly give him the most full and absolute Property in us, and in all our Services, that can be conceived; a Property and Dominion infinitely exceeding what one Creature can possibly have over another. He made us, and not we ourselves; he preserveth and sustaineth us in Being, and not we ourselves; and therefore it is most fit and reasonable, that we should live unto him, and not unto ourselves; and that we should employ our Powers and Faculties according to his Will, and for such Purposes as he prescribeth. Nor can any Thing be more unjust, than to turn the Beings we derive from him to his Dilhonour; to use those bodily Members he hath furnished us with, and which he continually upholdeth, as the Instruments of Unrighteousness unto Sin, instead of using them as Instruments of Righteousness unto God; and to employ those reasoning thinking Powers, and that Gift of Speech which he hath bestowed upon us, to Purposes quite VoL, I.