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fort and joy, since all things are ordered in the wisest and best manner, nothing could be added, or taken away, without rendering the divine plan less wise, perfect, and excellent.
It belongs to the infinitely wise, almighty, maker and owner of all things, and governor of all worlds, to order every event ; especially the events of the moral world, and the moral actions of creatures, which are the most important: They must be determined and fixed by something, by undesigning chance, or by ignorance or folly, or by infinite wisdom. He who is infinitely wise and almighty, can do it in a way perfectly consistent with the liberty and moral agency of his creatures ; and this being every way most desirable, and the contrary supposition infinitely dreadful ; when the friends of God see this is done by him, and that his counset with respect to every event, and all actions, stands forever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations : They rest in this, and rejoice continually, and no man can take this comfort and joy from them. Though the earth be removed, or the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, whatever events, and however evil in themselves, take place ; yet they will not fear, but drink consolation at this river, the freams whereof make glad the city of God. “Let the righteous be glad ; let them rejoice before God; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice."*
IV. This affords a solid, ftable foundation, for the most unreserved, implicit confidence and trust in God. He superintends in all thing's. He is in the heavens, and bath done whatsoever he pleased; he will accomplish his own ends, and cannot be disappointed. Therefore his friends may trust in him with the greatest assurance, that, whatever appearances there may be against it, he will accomplish his own ends, glorify himself, fulfill all his
promises • Plalm, Ixvü. 3.
promises to his people, and make them most happy for." ever. “ O Lord of Horts, blessed is the man that trust. eth in thee.” Therefore,
V. This doctrine is suited to promote true piety and holiness. For this consists in loving God, in trusting and rejoicing in him, and his government and works, ac knowledging him in all our ways, in seeing his hand in all events, in submitting to him, and obeying him. This doctrine is so far from affording any just ground of en couragement to fin, that so far as it is understood and cordially embraced, it forms the heart to hate fin and love the law of God, and to the inost hearty, cheerful submis sion to his government. Experience proves this to be true, and the reason of it is very obvious. For they who fee and approve of the wisdom of God in making all things for himself, and ordering all things, even the fins of men, for his own glory ; muft themselves defire and feek the glory of God; and this necessarily implies an approbation of the law of God, and a cordial submission and obedience to it.
VI. Hence may be inferred the propriety and im portance of preaching this do&rine, and of explaining and vindicating it, as it is revealed in the holy scriptures,
Some who believe it is revealed in the Bible, yet think it ought not to be preached, or spoken of, as it is such i. mysterious doctrine, and is so difficult and puzzling to many, and a stumbling block to them, rather than to their edification; and is liable to be misimproved to bad purposes,
But such must be under a great mistake. It is dishon. ourable to God, and to the Bible, to su ppose any truth which he has there revealed, is of a bad tendency, and therefore ought not to be published ; yea, it is implicitly denying that the Bible is from God, and taking sides with the deilt. Besides, there is a contradiction and absurdity in the supposition, that it is a truth, and yet
has a bad tendency ; for this is impossible in the nature of things.—That which has a bad tendency, is error and falsehood ; but truth has a direct contrary tendency, and effect, wherever it is received. 1 It is true, this doctrine may be preached imprudently, it may be represented in a partial and improper light ; and so that the hearers will not understand it. No one can be justified for preaching this, or any other truth, in such à manner. But this is rather a reason why it should, with all other important truths, be thoroughly and fully preached, so that they who are disposed to attend, and willing to understand, may have opportunity 10 be infructed. It is doubtless better, if there can be a better in the case, not to preach it at all, than to do it to the halves, just mentioning it sometimes ; for this is not the way to have it understood, but tends to raise prejudices against it. But the best and only wise way is, to preach it, and explain it clearly and fully, and give persons opportunity, more privately, to propose any objections they may have, that they may be removed.
And parents ought to be able and willing to teach it to their children ; to explain it and show them the rea. Son of it, and the evidence there is in the scripture of the truth of it. And though they might not fully underlland it in early age ; yet a foundation would be hereby laid for their making improvement in understanding, as they advance in years : It is not so difficult a doctrine, as many imagine, who perhaps never understood it themJelves, through strong prejudices, which they imbibed, before they were well instructed in it. A child of twelve or fourteen years old, who is carefully instructed, and will altend, is capable of understanding and seeing the evidence and reasonableness of this doctrine ; which must be believed as an important article of the christian faith, where the Bible is well understood : However it be now, and has been, rejected by many, with the greatest contempt, boldness and assurance.
good plan, which he had for
This is said to be in th
un to execute his infinitely wise and ih he had formed and fixed, by his un se and decree, in the work of creation,
God created the heaven and the earth." arth comprehend the whole creation, both visible, and invisible, to man. are be in the beginning, to denote that crea, very thing that is created, had a beginning, in In being eternal, or without a beginning; ane and succession of existence then began
other beginning of existence but this, an
beginning before this, there being nothin vion, but the Creator, whose existence is wick
vastly exceeds our knowledo God (pake the whole in infinite ease. He said. spake, and it was done : He faft.” The inviĝble when St. Paul speak by Solomon, “The beginning created, and fo of God, who is said to ha heavens, to be and dw
Eestion is great, extensive and manifold, an
öds our knowledge and comprehenGon : By he whole into existence, from nothing, wil
'He said, “Let it be, and it was. H it was done : He commanded, and it ftoo he inviGble heaven, which probably is intende c. Paul speaks of the Third Heaven, and is calls
« The Heaven of heavens," was in thi. Frecreated, and formed for the peculiar resident "Ome is said to have established his throne in th he and dwell there ; and the place wher
angels dwell; their creation being comprehended in the creation of heaven. And this is the heaven, to which the redeemed will be received, after the day of judgment, which our Saviour says, was "prepared for them, from the foundation of the world.”. This heaven and the angels were created then; but before this lower world was formed, and brought into order. Therefore it is represented by God, that when he created this earth, the angels were spectators of the work ; for these are the morning stars, and the sons of God, who are said to fing together and shout for joy, when the earth was formed.* God was pleased to create innumerable hosts of intelligent beings, with strong powers of mind, and large capacities, to be spectators of his works, and attend to the numerous worlds and creatures, as they rose into existe cace and order, and behold and admire infinite power, wisdon and goodness; manifese i herein, and rejoice, adore and praise the Creator.
We have no knowledge of the existence of any other rational creatures, besides angels and men ; and there, fore we have no reason to conclude there are any other. Men may suppose there are many other ranks or kinds of rational creatures ; but this, at most, is but mere conjecture. The supposition that there are no more, seems to have a more solid foundation, viz. that divine reve. lation, makes no mention of any luch; which it is reasonble to fuppose it would, if there were any ; since all rational creatures, under the same moral government, must have some connection and concern with each other. ;
The'angels are often brought into view, in the holy scriptures ; and they are represented as having a particu: lar concern and interest in the future general judgment: · Were there any other moral agents, they would have an equal concern in this judgment, and be members of the
same Job, xxxvii. 4, 70