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that thou thoughtest the word and will of man profess that he sought not his own will, but his to be better than the word and will of God: yea Father's, and that he came not to do his own more, that thou tookest the way of the devil to will, but his that sent him ;' should it not be our be better than God's ways, who is infinitely resolution, whose wills are so misguided and good : for surely thou choosest that which thou corrupt ? takest to be best for thee. Therefore if that 9. If God's will be infinitely good, we must man deserve condemnation, that sets up a man, rest in his will. When his ways are dark, or a horse, or an image, and saith, This is greater grievous to our flesh: when his word seems diffiand wiser than God, and therefore this shall be cult; when we know not what he is doing with my god, then dost thou deserve the same con- us, remember it is the will that is infinitely good, demnation that settest up the words or will of that is disposing of us. Only let us see that we man, even of wicked men, and sayest by thy stand not cross to the greater good of his church practice, These are better than God, and his and honour; and then we may be sure that he word, or will, and therefore I will choose or fol. will not be against our good. We that can rest low them. For God is full as jealous of the hon- in the will of a dear and faithful friend, should our of his goodness, as of his power or wisdom. much more rest in the will of God: do your
Well, Christians, let flesh and blood say what duty, and be not unwise, but understanding what it will, and let all the world say what they will, the will of the Lord is for you to do, and then judge that best that is most agreeable to the will distract not your minds with distrustful fears of God; for good and evil must be measured about his will that is infinitely good, but say, by this will. That event is best which he deter- | The will of the Lord be done. mines of, and that action is best which he com- 10. The infinite goodness of God should draw mands. All is naught, and will prove so in the out our hearts to desire communion with him, end, that is against this will of God, what policy and to long after the blessed fruition of him in or good soever may be pretended for it.
the life to come. O how glad should we be to 8. If the will of God be infinitely good, we tread his courts ! to draw near him in his holy must all labour both to understand it and per- worship, to meditate on him, and secretly open form it. Many say, Who will show us any our hearts before him, and to converse with those good ?' Would you not know what is best, that gracious souls that love to be speaking honouryou may choose and seek it? As the inordinate ably of his name! What will draw the heart of desire of knowing natural good and evil did man, if goodness and infinite goodness will not? cause our misery, so the holy rectified desires of When the drunkard saith in the alehouse, It is knowing spiritual good, must recover us : search good to be here, and the covetous man among the scriptures then, and study and inquire ; for his gains, and the sensual inan among his recreait more concerns you to know the will of God, tions and merry companions, It is good to be than to know the will of your princes or bene- here; the Christian that can get nigh to God, or factors, or know of any treasures of the world : have any prospect of his love in his ordinances, the riches of grace are given to us, by God's concludes that of all places upon earth, it is 'making known the mystery of his will, accord good to be here,' and tható a day in his courts is ing to his good pleasure which he purposed in better than a thousand. But 0), to depart and himself.' Our desire to know the good will of be with Christ, is far better.' With infinite God, must be that we may do it. For this must goodness we shall find no evil, no emptiness, or we pray, · That we may be filled with the know- defect; when we perfectly enjoy the perfect good, ledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual what more can be added, but for ever to enjoy understanding, that we may walk worthy of the it? O! therefore, think on this, Christians, when Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every death is dreadful to you, and you would willingly good work,' that we may be made perfect in stay here, as being afraid to come before the every good work to do his will, and have that Lord, or loth to leave the things which you
here wrought in us which is pleasing in his sight;' possess, shall goodness itself be distrusted by that we may not only know his will and approve you, or seem no more desirable to you? Are the things that are excellent,’ but may “prepare you afraid of goodness? even of your Father, of ourselves to do according to his will,' lest we your happiness itself? Are you better here than be punished the more. See that the will of no you shall be with God? Are your houses, lands, man be preferred before God's will; seek not friends, pleasures, or any thing better than infiyour own wills, nor set them up against the nite goodness? ( meditate on this blessed attriLord's : if Christ, whose will was pure and holy, bute of God, till you distaste the world, till you are angry with your withdrawing, murmuring | continuance of the beings which God hath caused fiesh: till you are ashamed of your unwilling. God then is the first efficient cause of all the ness to be with God, and till you can calmly creatures, from the greatest to the least. And look in the face of death, and contentedly hear easily did he make them, for he spake but the the message that is posting towards you, that word, and they were created : they are the proyou must presently come away to God. Your ducts of his power, wisdom and goodness. He natural birth-day brought you into a better place commanded and they were created. He still than the womb; and your gracious birth-day produces all things that in the course of nature brought you into a far better state than your are brought forth. « Thou sendest forth thy former sinful, miserable captivity; and will not Spirit ; they are created; thou renewest the face your glorious birth-day put you into a better of the earth.' From hence these following imhabitation than this world ? O know, choose, pressions must be made upon the considering seek, and live to the infinite good, and then it soul. may be your greatest joy when you are called to 1. If all things be from God as the creator him.
and preserver, then we must be deeply possessed
with this truth, that all things are for God as CHAP. X.
their ultimate end. For he that is the beginning Having spoken of these three great attributes and first cause of all things, must needs be the of God, I must needs speak of those three great end of all. His will produced them, and the relations of God to man, and of those three works pleasure of his will is the end for which he did in which they are founded, which have flowed produce them. “I have created him for my glory. from these attributes.
– The Lord hath made all things for himself, This one God in three persons, hath created yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.' I think man and all things, which before were not ; hath the Chaldee paraphrase, the Syriac and Arabic, redeemed man when he was lost by sin ; and give us the true meaning of this, who concordsanctifies those that shall be saved by redemp antly translate it, the wicked is kept for the tion. Though the external works of the trinity day of evil;' as Job hath it, the wicked is reare undivided, yet not indistinct, as to the order served to the day of destruction ; they shall be of working, and a special interest that each person brought forth to the day of wrath.—To reserve hath in each of these works. The Father, Son, the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished.' and Holy Ghost did create the world; and they God made not the wicked as wicked, or to be also did redeem us, and sanctify us; but so wicked; but he that gave them their being and as that creation is in a special sort cribed to continues it, will not be loser by his creation the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctifi- or preservation, but will have the glory of his cation to the Holy Spirit ; not only because of justice by them in the day of wrath or evil, for the order of operation, agreeably to the order of which he keeps them, and till which he bears subsisting ; for then the Father would be as with them, because they would not obediently properly said to be incarnate, or to die for us, give him he glory of his holiness and mercy. So or mediate, as the Son to create us—which is it is said of Christ, ' for by him were all things not to be said—for he created the world by his created that are in heaven and that are in earth, Word, or Son, and Spirit, and he redeemed it by visible and invisible ; all things were created by his Son, and sanctifies it by his Spirit. But him and for him. If they are by him, they must scripture assures us that the Son alone was in- needs be for him.—So “thou art worthy, O Lord, carnate for us, and died and rose again, and not to receive glory, honour, and power; for thou the Father or the Spirit ; and so that the human hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they nature is peculiarly united to the second person are and were created. This pleasure of God's in glory; and so that each person hath a pecu- will is the end of all things ; and therefore it is liar interest in these several works, the reason of certain that he will see that all things shall acwhich is much above our reach.
complish that end, and his will shall be pleased. The first of these relations of God to man, We have all in few words ; for of him, and which we are to consider of, is, that he is our through him, and to him are all things; to whom Creator; it is he that giveth being to us and all be glory for ever, Amen. Of him, as the first things; and that gives us all our faculties or efficient that gives them their beings : and powers. Under this, for brevity, we shall speak through him, as the preserver, disposer and conof him also as he is our preserver; because preser- ductor of them to their end : and to him, as the vation is but a kind of continued creation, or a ultimate end.
If you say, but how is the pleasure of God's could ; so God doth simply and properly will will attained from the wicked that break his some things, that is, the things which be decrees laws, and displease bis will ?
shall come to pass: but we must after our manI answer: understand but how his will is ver conceive and say, that there are other crossed or accomplished, pleased or displeased, things which he wills but only so far as to make and you will see, that his will is always done and it man's duty to perform it, and persuade him to pleased, even by them that displease him in vio- the doing of that duty, and give him such a lating his will. For God's will hath two sorts measure of help, as leaves him without any just of objects or products, which must be still dis- excuse, if he do it not ; and so far he wills the tinguished: 1. He wills what shall be due from salvation of such, as to promise or offer it them us to him, and from him to us. 2. He wills on such terms: and no further doth he will the entities and events, or what shall actually be, or obedience or salvation which never come to pass. Strictly both these acts of God's pass, but leaves it here to the will of man. For will, perform the things willed, and so are not if he simply willed that every duty should be without their proper effect. God, as the cause eventually done, it would be done; and if he and disposer of all things, attains his will con. simply willed that all men should be actually cerning events: all things shall come to pass saved, they would be saved. And that he simply which he absolutely wills shall come to pass. wills their duty or obligation, and likewise so He is not frustrated of his will herein, being nei- far, doth will the event of their obedience and ther unwise, nor impotent, nor unhappy. “What- salvation, as this comes to, as aforesaid, is cersoever pleased the Lord, that did he in heaven tain, and in this we are all agreed ; and I am and in earth, in the sea and in the depths.—Our not so well skilled in dividing, as to understand God is in heaven, he hath done whatsoever he where the real difference lies between the parpleased. As God as our governor, doth by ties that here most contend: but about the bare his laws oblige man to his duty, his will hath its name I know they differ, some thinking that this effect : a command doth but make the thing last is not to be named an act of God's will, or commanded to be our duty, and our duty it is : a willing of man's obedience or salvation, and and so this act of the will of God is not in vain. some thinking that it is so to be named: who Thus far he hath his will. By his promises he doubtless are in the right ; nor is there room for makes the reward to be due to all, on condition controversies, while we confess the impropriety whey perform the duty on which he hath sus- of this and all our speeches of God, as speaking pended it, and to be actually due to those only after the manner of men ; and while scripture, that perform the condition : and all this is ac- that must teach us how to speak of God, doth complished. Heaven is conditionally offered to frequently so speak before us. all, and actually given to the faithful only. So 2. God being the maker and first cause of all that what God wills to be due as a lawgiver, is things, that is, of all substantial beings, commonaccordingly due ; and what he actually wills shall ly creatures, we must conclude that sin is no such come to pass, verily shall come to pass according being, because it is most certain that he is not the to his will.
Creator or the cause of it. Scripture assures us, But perhaps you will say, he doth not will and all Christians are agreed, that God is not that all men shall eventually obey his laws, but the cause or author of sin. How odious then only that it shall be their duty.
should that be to us, that is so bad as not to 1 answer, our speeches of God being borrowed come from God? If God disclaim it, let us from man, who is one of the glasses in which disclaim it. Let us abhor that it should come he is here seen by us; especially the manhood from us, seeing God abhors that it should come of Jesus Christ. We must accordingly conceive from him. Own not that which hath nothing of and say, acknowledging still the improprieties God upon it. and imperfections of our conceptions and ex- If you say, that it is an accident though noi pressions, that as man doth simply and most a substance, and therefore it must needs come properly will the event of some things, which he from God, because even accidents have their absolutely desires should come to pass, and doth being. not simply will some other things, but only in I answer, that among the most subtle disputers tantum ; he so far wills them, that he wills and it is granted, that it hath no created being, or no resolves to do such and such things as have a being that is caused by God; of this they are tendency thereto, and to go no farther, and do agreed. It is granted by all Christians that sin no more for the attaining of them, though he hath no other kind of being, but what the will of
inan can cause.
And if that be so, the păiloso- a preserver, in maintaining that power, and as phical trifling controversy whether it be only a an universal cause concurring to all acts in genere, privation, or a relation, or modus entis, which as the sun doth shine on the dunghill and the the will thus causes, must be handled as philo- Howers: and that he also do the part of a just sophical, and valued but as it deserves : for governor in prohibiting, dissuading, and threatthis is all the controversy that here remains. If ening sinners. the form be relative, and the foundation be but Object. But how can sin eventually be, if a mere privation, the disconformity being found. God decree it not, seeing all events are from his ed in a defect, then the case is soon resolved, as will ? to the rest. He that errs, understands amiss :
I answer, 1. We are agreed that he causes it that he understands is of God: that he errs, not. 2. That he doth not so much as will the that is, is defective, and so false in his under- event of sin as sin. 3. That he willingly perstanding, is of himself: that he wills when he mits what is by him permitted. 4. And that sin chooses sin, is of God the universal cause : but such a thing as may be brought forth by a that he wills a forbidden object, rather than the bare permission, if there be no positive decree contrary, and fails in his understanding and his for the event. As a negative in the effects, rewill, this is not of God, but of himself. If others quires not a positive cause, so neither a positive say that the very foundation of that disconfor- will for its production. There are millions of unity which is the form of sin, is sometimes an millions of worlds, and individual creatures, and act, they must also say that it is not an act as species possible, that shall never be: and it is such, but this act comparatively considered, or audaciousness to assert, that there must be milas circumstantiated, or as exercised on the for- lions of millions of positive decrees, that such bidden object rather than another, or a volition worlds or creatures shall not be. 5. Nor is it instead of a nolition, and choosing that which any dishonour to God, if he have not a positive should be refused, or a refusing that which should decree or will about every negation, as that all be chosen : and whether this be a privation, or the men in the world shall not be called by a a mode, is a philosophical controversy ; and in thousand possible names rather than their own, philosophy, and not in theology, is the difficulty ; &c. divines being agreed as aforesaid, that whatever These things being all certain, I add, 1. Let you name it, being, or privation, or mode, it is them dispute that dare, that yet indeed God doth but such as must be resolved ultimately into the positively will the events of all privations or newill of man as its original, or first cause, sup- gations of acts. 2. But when men are once posing God to be the Creator and conserver of habitually wicked, and bent to evil, it is just that free power that is able to choose or to re- with him, if he permit them to follow their own fuse, and as an universal cause to concur with lusts, and if he leaves before them such mercies the agent to the act as such. But philosophers as he foreknows they will wilfully make occasions indeed are at a loss, and are desirous to tell us of their sin ; and if he resolve to make use of of privations, modes, relations, denominations, the sin which he knows they will commit, for entia rationis, and I know not what, that they his church's good, and for his glory. say are neither beings nor nothing, but between Object. But doth not God will that sin eventboth they know not what! The nature of things, ually shall not be ? in the utmost extremities of the branches, being Answ. Even as I before said, he wills that spun with so fine a thread, that the understand- obedience eventually shall be. If sin come to ing is not subtle enough to discern them. And pass, it is certain that God did not simply will stall this disturb us in divinity, or be imputed that it should not come to pass : for then he to it?
must be conquered and unhappy by every sin : If you say, that the will of God is the cause but he wills simply that it shall be the duty of of all things, and therefore of sin.
man to avoid it; and he may be said to disI answer, if you call sin nothing, as a shadow, allow the event so far as that he will forbid darkness, death, &c. are nothing, for all that we it, threaten, and dissuade the sinner, and give abhor them, then you answer yourselves ; if you him the helps, that shall leave him inexcusable call it something, we are all agreed, that it is if he sin, and so leave it to his will. Thus far but such a something as man can cause without he may be said to will that sin eventually shall God's first causing it: it suffices that God do not be ; but not simply. the part of a Creator in giving man the free Though these things are not obvious to vulgar power of choosing or refusing ; and the part of capacities, yet they are such, as the subject in
'hand, viz. God's first causation and creation, to- service. But to love them for God, and not for gether with the weight of them, and the conten- themselves, O how hard is it! To keep pure tions of the world about them, have made need- affections towards them, and a spiritual delight ful.
in them, that shall not degenerate into a carnal 3. If God be the Creator and the cause of delight, is a task for the holiest saint on earth, all, then we must remember that all his works to labour in with all his care and power, as long are good : and therefore nothing must be hated as he here liveth. Yet this must be done ; and by us that he hath made, considered in his native the soul that hath obtained true self-denial, and goodness. God hates sin, and so must we: for is dead to the world, devoted and alive to God, that he made it not, and he hates all the work is able in some good measure to perform it. To ers of iniquity as such, and so must we; but we love the world for itself, and make the creature must love all of God that is in them, and love our chief delight, and live to it as our end, and them for it. There is somewhat good and ami- idol, this is the common damning course. To able in every creature ; yea all of it, that is of cast away our possessions, and put our talents God. Though some insects are odious to us, into our fellow-servants' hands, and to withdraw because they are hurtful, and seem deformed in ourselves as it were out of the world into solithemselves, yet are they good in themselves, and tude, as monks or hermits do, this is too like the not deformed as parts of the universe, but good hiding of our talents, and a dangerous course of unto the common end. The wants in the wheels unfaithfulness and unprofitableness, unless in of your watch are as useful to the motion as the some extraordinary case; and is at best the too solid parts. The night is part of the useful order easy way of cowards that will be soldiers only of the creation, as well as the day. The vacant out of the army, or where there is but little daninterspace in your writing, is needful as well as ger of the enemy: but to keep our stations, and the words : every letter should not be a vowel, nor take honours, and riches as our master's talents, every character a capital ; every member should as a burden that we must honour him by bearing, not be a heart, or head, or eye: nor should every and the instruments by which we must laborione in a commonwealth be a king, or lord : so ously do him service ; and to see and love him in the creation the parts that seem base, are use in every creature, and study him in it, and sancful in their places, and good unto their ends. tify it to his use; and to see that our lust get Let us not therefore vilify or detest the works no advantage by it, and feed not on it; but that of God, but study the excellencies of them, and we tame our bodies, and have all that we have see, admire, and love them as they are of God. for God, and not for our flesh; this is the hard, It is one of the hardest practical points before but the excellent, most acceptable course of us, to know how to estimate all the creatures, living in this world. and to use them without running into one ex- And it is not only other creatures, but ourtreme. At the same time to love the world, and selves also, that we must thus admire, love, and not to love it; to honour it, and despise it; to use for God, while we abase ourselves, as to ourexalt it, and to tread it under our feet ; to mind selves, and deny ourselves, and use not ourselves it, use it with delight, and yet to be weaned from for ourselves, but as we stand in due subordinait as those that mind it not. And yet a great tion to him. Abase yourselves as sinful, and part of our Christian duty lies in the doing of abhor that which is your own, and not the Lord's; this difficult work. As the world is the devil's but vilify not your nature in itself, nor any thing bait, and the flesher's idol, set up against God, in you that is the work of God. Pretend not and would entice us from bim, or hinder us in humility for the dishonouring of your maker. his service, and either be our carnal end and Reason and natural freedom of the will, are happiness, or a means thereto, so we must make God's work, and not yours, and therefore must it the care of our hearts to hate it, despise it, be honoured, and not scorned and reviled ;
but neglect it, and tread it under foot ; and the labour the blindness and error of your reason, and the of our lives to conquer it.
bad inclinations and actions of your
free-wills, But the same creatures must be admired, these are your own, and therefore vilify them, studied, loved, honoured, delighted in, and daily hate them, and spare not. And when
laused, as they are the excellent work of the al- ment the smallness of your graces, deny them mighty God, and reveal to us his attributes or not; and slight not, but magnify the preciouswill, being the glass in which we must see him ness of that little that you have, while you mourn while we are in the flesh; and as they lead us to for the imperfection. And when men offend God, and strengthen, furnish or help us in his you, or prove your enemies, forget not to value