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Full text of "Discourses on various subjects, by the late Reverend John Leland, D.D. : with a preface, giving some account of the life, character, and writings of the Author"

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O N 


By the late Reverend 


With a PREFACE, giving fome Ac- 
count of the Life, Character, and 
Writings of the AUTHOR. 



Printed for W. Johnston, in Ludgate-Street^^ 


J. DoDSLEY, in Pall-Malh 

M Dec LXJX, 


O N 


By the late Reverend 




J^rinted for W. Johnston, in Ludgate-Stnet ; 


J. DoDSLEY, in Pall-MalL 






HIS Grace the Archblftiop of Armagh, 
Primate of all Ireland 
Lady Auftin 
Michael Aigoin Efq^. 
Charles Allanfon Ef^. of Br ombam- Biggin 
David Aigoiii Efq. 
William Alcock Efq. 
George Atkinfon Efq. of Marymount 
Mifs Margaret Aigoin 
Mr. WiUiam Alexander 
Mr* Alexander Armftrong 



Mrs. Elizabeth Auflen 
Mr. Thomas Andrews 
Mr. John Armftrorig 
Rev. Mr. Aftley 
Mrs. Abney, Stoke Newington 


Right Hon. Lord Bingley, 3 Sets 

Right Hon. Countefs of Bedtive 

John Bowman Efq. of GlafgoWy 8 Sets 

Richard Bagfhaw Efq^. of Oaks 

William Bridges Efq^, 

Thomas Barton £/^. 

Sir Henry Bridgeman Bart, 

John Bagwell Efq^. 

Patrick Blair Efq, M. D, 

Rev. Mr. Bourne, RelJor of JJbover 

Rev. Berkely, 2 Sets 

Rev. Adam Blair 

Rev. Samuel Bruce 

Rev. Dr. Henry Barnard, Re^or of Ahadowey 

Rev. John Brekell, of Liverpool 

Rev. Mr. Buckby, Vicar of Sego 

Rev. Mr. Birch, of Canterbury^ 2 Sets 

Mr. Thomas Bond 

Mrs. Anna Bofwell 

Mr. Samuel Baker 



Mr. Thomas Brown 

Mr. J. Berkeley, of Chrift-Church Oxford 

Rev. Mr. Buller, Deputy Clerk of the Clofef t§ 

her Majefty 
Mrs. Elizabeth Benn 
Mr, Robert Maghlin Brownrigg 
Mr. Henry Betagh 
Mr. William Bagwell 
Mr. Archibald Barber 
Mr. Jofhua Bourn 

Mr. William Bell ' 

Mifs Dorcas Bagwell 
Mr. John Barton, of Bourdeatix 
Abraham Bradley Efq, 
Mr. Elias Brown fword 

His Grace Dr. Thomas Seeker, late Lord 

Archbifhop of Canterbury 
Right Rev. Lord Biihop of Clogher, 2 Sets 
Right Rev. Lord Biihop of Clonfert 
Right Rev. Lord Biihop of Corke 
Right Rev. Lord Biihop of Cloyne 
Hon. and Rev. Mr. Crofoie 
Richard Cooke Efq* 
Francis Carleton Efg^ 



Rev. Mr. Chaife, Minifter of the French Church 
at the Hague^ Member of the Society of Sciences 
at Haarlem and of the Dublin Society 

Mr. Carrin, of Chriji -Churchy Oxford 

Rev. Mr. Chidlaw, of Chefier 

Rev. Hugh Crooks 

Rev. James Clugfton 

Rev. James CaJdwell 

Mr. Ifaac ColTart, of London 

Mrs. Margaret Carleton 

Dr. Matthew Clark, 

Mrs. Marv Card 

Mr. Willi'am Colvill 

Mr. Robert Colvill 

Mr. William Campbell 

Mr. George Campbell 

Mr. Thomas Corles 

Mr. John Cowan 

Mr. James Cotter, of Liverpoole 

Mr. Charles Craig 

Mr. P-qlphCard 

Mrs. Rachel Coilins 

Mifs Mary Cuthbert 

Mr. Joha Cuthbert 

Mrs. Creed 

Rev. Dr. Crene 

Rev. Mr. Cookfon, at Falkingham in LincolnflAre- 




Right Rev. Lord Biflaop of Down and Connor 

Riaht Rev. Lord Bifhop of Dromore ^ 

Right Rev. Lord Bidiop of Derry 

Rev. Dean of Dromore 

Hon. Chriftopher Dawney EJq, 

Jonathan Darby £/([. 

William Dunn £/^. 

Marrlot Dalway ii/^. 

Rev. William Darby, B. D. 

Rev. Benjamin Domviile, D. B. 

Mr. William Davenport 

R. Dal ton £/^. 

Mrs. Grace Davis 

Mr. Damer Darby 

Mr. Charles DenrG(?he 

Mr. James Davidfon 


Right Rev. Lord Bifhop of Elphin 
Edward Ellis £/^. of Cornijh, Flintjlnre 
Thomas Emerfon £{([, 
Mr. George Eveleigh 

■ Rev. 


Rev. Mr. Endfield, of Liverpoole 
Mr. Robert Edmonfton 

Right Rev. Lord Bifliop of Ferns and Loughlin 

Thomas Fairfax Efq. of Newtown Ryme^ 6 Sets 

Rev. John Frank, of Bath 

Rev. Andrew Fergufon, of Burt 

Mr. James Frood 

William Fortefcue Efq. 

Rev. Dr. Fountayne, Dean of York 

Rev. Mr. Froome, of Cricklade^ Wiltfhin 


Mrs. Gage, of Dublin 

Francis Gray Efq, 

Rev. Dr. Gervais 

Mr. Nathaniel Garner 

Mr. Thomas Garner 

Mrs, Abigail Garner 

Mr. Thomas Gee 

Mr. Arthur Guinnefs 

Mr. Daniel Gellis 

Rev. Dr. Griffith, Re5for of St. Mary Hill 

Rev. Mr. W. Gardner, of Ramfgate 




Rev. Dr. Head, Archdeacon of Canterbury 

William Harward Efq. 

Alexander Hamilton £/^. 

Hugh Henry Efq, 

Jofeph Henry Ef(i. 

Richard Hall E/^. 

John Hunt Efq^, 

Rev. William Henry, B. D. 

Rev. Mr. Hawkes, of Birmingham 

Rev. Mr. Howard, of Ditto 

Rev. David Harvey, of Londonderry 

Rev. David Hutchifon, A. M. 

Mr. John Hutchifon, 2 Sets 

Mr. Edward Hindis, 2 Sets 

Mr. Hugh Henry 

Mr5. Henry 

Mifs Henry 

William Hamilton %. M, D, 

Mr. William Harding 

Mr. Jofeph Hone 

Mrs. Hone 

Mr. Hugh Henderfon 

Mr. Richard Hare 

Mrs. Hardman, of Ullerton 

Mr. John Hankifon 

Mn John Hunt 

I Mr 


Mr. William Hunt 
Lieutenant-General Hudfon 

Mathew Jacob Efq, of Moharnane 
Ifaac Jobfon £/([. 
. Rev. Mr. JelTop, of Lifmore 
Rev. Mr. Jilliard, of Shipton-Mallet 
Mr. Robert Jaffray 
^Mrs. Mary Johnflon 
Mr. Robert Jackfon 
Mr. William Jackfoa 
Mr. Edward Jollie 
Mr. William Jenkins 
Mr. Thomas Jordan 
Mr. William Johnfton, 2 Sets 
Mr. Charles Jennins 
Rev. Mr. W. Jarvis, Nail/worthy Gloucejlerffyiu 


Right Rev. Lord Bilhop of Kilmore 
Right Rev. Lord Bifhop of Kildare 
Rev. Mr. Knowles, Vicar of Ormjkirk 
Mr. Alexander Kirkpatrick, 4 Sets 
H^'^^ Martha Kane 



Mr. Robert King 

Rev. Mr. Kitchingham, Re5for of Safay, Tork- 

Right Rev. Lord Eifhop of Limerick 

Right Hon. Lady Langford 

Thomas Litton Efq^, 

Richard Leland J?/^.. 

Rev. Dr. Leigh, of Hallifax, 5 Sets 

Rev. Edward Ledwich D. D, 

Rev. Zachariah Langton A. M, 

Mr. William Lightbody 

Boynton Langley Efq^. of JVykeham Alley 

Mr. Adam Lightbody 

Mr. Robert Lightbody 

Mr. Abraham Lane 

Mr, James Lecky 

Mr. William Laban 

Mr. Samuel Laban 

Mr. Jofeph Litton Jun, 

Mr Samuel Leland 

Rev. Dr. Lloyd 

Key. Mr. T. Laugher, Hummerton, 2 Sets 




Right Rev. Lord Biftiop of Meatl. 

Hamilton M'Clure £/f 

Stephen Mills Efq. 

George Martin £/?. 

Lewis Martin Efq. 

Robert Montgomery Efq. 

Sir William Milner, of Nun-- Apple, Bart. 

David M'Bride Efq> M. D. 

Robert Maxwell Efq, 

Rev. JofiahMarlball, Re^or of Fahan 

Rev. William Mackay 

Mrs. Anne Minchin 

Mr. Stephen Miller 

Mr. Robert Montgomery 

Mr. William M'Murtrie 

Mr. Thomas Monlfon, of Chefler 

Mr. Thomas M'Hwaine 

Mr. Edward Mockler 

Mr. Morgan 

Mrs. Alice M'Caffin 

Mr. John Mount 

Mrs.'Catharine M'Clintock 
Mr. Hugh Murphy 
Mr. Robert Moore 
Mr. Tames M'Mulkn 



Mrs. Marfhall 

Mr. George Maquay 

Rev. Middleton Corny n Middleton i. L. D, 


Rev. Mofes Nelfon M. A, 
Mr. John Nicholfon 
Mrs. Elizabeth Newport 
Mr. John Newcombe 
Mr. Nehemiah Stokes 
Rev. Mr. Noble 


Walter Ofborne Efq, of Ravensfield 
Rev. Dr. Obins, Re5for of Kay 
Mr. Robert Oakman 

Lady Sarah Poole 

F ev. Dr. Potter, B£an of Canterbury 

William Perry Efq. 

Richard Perry Efq. 



Peter Paumier £/([. 

Henry Palmer Efq. 

Richard Pope Ef^, 

Rev. Michael Pope 

William Patten Efq. M. D. 

Rev. John Patten 

Rev. Kene Percival D. D. 

Mr. Robert Palmer, of CiGghan 

Mr. Robert Palmer, of Ckreen 

Mr. Benjamin Page 

Mrs. Phillips ' 

Mifs Perry 

Mr. Thomas Page 


Rev. Dr. Randolph, Prefident of C. C. Oxford 

Thomas Read £/^. 

Phineas Riall Efq, 

Mrs. Mary Riall 

Mifs Ravaud, of Bath 

Mr. Robert Rikey 

Mr. Michael Raye 

Rev. Mr. Richmond ^ 

Rev. Mr. Roberts, Eto7% 



William Simpfon Efq^, of Stawford 

JLindfey Simpfon Efq^. of Bahworth 

William Stewart Efq. lof Killymoore 

Rev. John Simpfon, of Stoke 

Rev. Mr. Sandoz, of JVaterford 

Rev. Anthony Stirling 

Jacob Sankey Efq^. 

Mr. Richard Sankey 

Mr. William Stewart 

Mr. John Stewart 

Mrs. Anne Stewart 

Mrs. Stewart, of Newtown 

Mr. John Swanwick 

Mrs. Singleton 

Mr. Robert Stevelly, of Corke 

Theophilus Thompfon Efq, 
Mr. David Thompfon, 2 Sets 
Mr. Edwin Thomas 
Mr. Jofeph Tarry 



Mr. Benjamin Vaughan 
Samuel Vaughan £/^. 
Mr. Benjamin Vaughan Jun* 
Mr. John Vaughan 
Mrs. Temperance Vize 

Right Rev. Lord Bifhop of Winchefter, 5 Sets 

Right Rev. Lord Bifhop of Waterford, 4 Sets 

Matthew Weld £/^. 

Colonel Robert Welch 

Rev. Ifaac Weld D. B. of Biiblin 

Rev. Edward Williams, of Nottingham' 

Mrs. Elinor Vv^eld 

Mrs. Hannah Weld 

Mrs. Anne Weld 

Mrs. Sarah Weld 

Mrs. Elizabeth Weld 

Mr. William Walfh 

Mr. Francis Wheeler 

Mr. John Wheeler 

Mr. James Watfon 



Mr. Benjamin Winterbottom 
Mrs. Dorcas Warren 
Michael Woodhall £/^. 
Rev. Dr. Wilfon. 


THE Rev. Dr. Leland was born at 
Wiggan in Lancajhire, the i8th of 
OBobery O. S. in the Year 1691. When 
he turned his Thoughts to the Place and 
Time of his Birth, he obferved there were 
two Things for which he had great Reafoo. 
to be thankful to Divine Providence. The 
one was his having been born in a Land 
of evangelical Light and Liberty.- — The 
other, his having been born of religious 
Parents. Though it be very true, what 
fome Perfons have obferved, that no Man 
fhall be faved or condemned merely for 
being born in fuch a Country, qr at fuch a 
Time, yet it cannot be denied, that there 
are fome Ages and Countries eminently 
diftinguiflied above others, and in which 
Perfons have much greater Advantages for 
knowing and pradlifmg their Duty, and 
for making a Progrefs in all thofe Accom - 
pliihments, that tend to the true Dignity 
and Perfection of the human Nature. And 
any one that believeth a Providence, which 
fuperintendeth the Affairs of Men, ought 
to look upon it as a happy Circumftance,^^^ 
when his Birth and Habitation have been 
fo ordered and difpofed, as to give him great 
a Advantage^ 


Advantages for religious and moral Im- 
provements. He was therefore thankful to 
the Divine Providence, that he was born not 
among the wild Indians ; liot in the barba- 
rous and uncultivatea Nations, among w^hom 
the main Principles of what is called Natw 
rd Religion^ are in a great Meafure ex- 
tinguifhed, and where human Nature is 
funk into the loweft Degree of Meannefs 
and Ignorance ; nor yet in Countries groan- 
ing under Turkifi Oppreffion ; nor where 
the Chriftian Religion is debafed with Su- 
perftition and corrupt Mixtures, which 
have greatly obfcured and defaced its pri- 
mitive Purity, Simplicity, and Glory ; or 
where Papal T^yranny prevaileth, and where 
there is no Liberty allowed for an impartial 
Examination of the Scriptures, and keep- 
ing clofe to that facred Rule. 

Had our Author been to choofe for him- 
felf in what Part of the World, in what 
Nation, in what Age, to come into Exift- 
ence, he could fcarce have defired any 
thing more favourable in thcfe Rcfpedls, 
than it pleafed God in his great Goodnefs 
to affign him . He thought he was born in 
one of the happieft Parts of the Earth, In 
a Country blefled with great Advantages, 
. and in one of the brighteft Periods that is 
to be met with in the whole Courfe of the 
Englifli Hiftory. For in no Age nor Coun- 
try was there ever a fuller Enjoyment of 



Liberty, a more glorious Light, greater Ad- 
vantages for Improvement, or better Op- 
portunities for making a free Inquiry into 
the Nature and Reafons of the Chriftian 
Religion, and profeffing it in its Purity, 
This, he thought, ought not to be pafled 
over wdth a flight Regard, but juflly called 
for the mo ft grateful Acknowledgments. 

The other Thing he had to be peculiarly 
thankful for, in which he had an Advantage 
above many thoufands in the fame Age and 
Country, was his being born of religious 
Parents, Perfons of true Chriftian Simpli- 
city, and godly Sincerity. 

To proceed from Parents diftinguiflied 
by the Splendor of their Titles, and Afflu- 
ence of their Fortunes and Circumftances, 
may indeed, in many Cafes, open a Way 
for making a Figure in the World, and be- 
ing extenfively ufeful in the Community. 
But it often bringeth great Temptations 
along with it, which few are able to refift 
or overcome. But to fpring from Parents 
of great Piety and Virtue, though of com- 
paratively mean outward Circumftances, is 
a real and mighty Advantage. And the 
Benefit arifing from their early good lii- 
ftru(ftions and good Examples, is fupericr 
to any Thing w^iich v/orldly Riches or 
Honours can furnifli : and to be in a preat 
Meafure exempted from thofe Temptations 
to which thefe Things generally expofe 
a 2 Men, 


Men, is often to be regarded as an happy 

His Father was full of Zeal for God, very 
afliduous in the Exercifes of Piety and 
Devotion, in his Clofet and Family, as well 
as in attending on public Worfliip, and his 
whole Converfation was uniform and ex- 
emplary. His Circumftances in the World 
were fuch for fever al Years, that, though 
not opulent, he lived in very good Cre- 
dit, and was very adive in doing Good, 
according to his Ability. At length, by 
feveral Difappointments in his Affairs, and 
efpecially through his being involved by 
becoming Security for fome Friends, he 
v/as brought under fuch Difficulties, that 
he gave ail his Effeds into the Hands of 
his Creditors, and came over into Ireland, 
being obliged to leave his Wife and Chil- 
dren in her Father's Houfe at Wiggariy where 
fhe continued two Years till his Death. 
And then her Hufband having got into a 
Profped of being fettled in Bufinefs, flie 
came to Dublin with three Sons, of whom 
our Author was the fecond. It is natu- 
ral to fuppofe, that in his Circumftances 
he muft have fuffered much Diftrefs with 
a Wife, and three Children very young, in 
a ftrange Land, and known to very few. 
Bat he bore all v/ith great Chearfuinefs, 
and, diligent in his Buhnefs, had a fteady 
Dependence on Divine Providence. It was 



ufual with him to rife up early to his Em- 
ployment : but he never did, under Pre- 
tence of Bufmefs, negleft his Devotions to 
God in his Clofet, or in his Family. He 
delighted to fpeak of religious Subjects, and 
he did it with fuch Warmth and Affection, 
as {hewed how nearly they touched his 
Heart : and what recommended his Dif- 
courfe was, that his whole Condud was 
agreeable to it. His Life was a conftant 
cfourfe of honeft Induftry, great Tempe- 
rance, Patience, Meeknefs, Delight in God, 
and cheerful Refignation to his Will. And 
his End was fuitable to fuch a Life, with- 
out any Cloud or uncomfortable Doubts 
and Fears. He triumphed over Death, with- 
out vain-glorious Boafting, but with a calm, 
fteady, well-grounded Hope of Glory, that 
raifed him above the Fears of Death, and 
gave him fome Foretaftes of Glory, before 
he entered into it. 

Our Author's Mother was alfo one of 
great Piety as well as Knov^^edge, and of 
good natural Parts, excellent in the Oeco- 
nomy of her Children and Family, and 
very diligent and careful in all the Duties 
of a faithful Wife and affedlionate Mother. 
She died fome Years before her Hufband, 
and her End was alfo very comfortable and 


When he reflefted on the Character and 

Condu(3L of his beloved Parents, '' How 

a ^ " thank- 


<* thankful," faid he, " iliould I be to God, 
*' for the Benefit of their early good In- 
'* ftrudions, and ufeful Examples, and fer- 
" vent Prayers, in which refpecl I have 
** had a mighty Advantage above many 
*^ thoufands, v^hofe outward Circumftances 
^' were much more fplendid !'* 

In the fixth Year of his Age, he was 
feized with the Small-pox, which proved 
of fo malignant a kind, that his Life was 
defpaired of. And when, contrary to all 
Expectation, he recovered from that Dif- 
order, he was found deprived of his Under- 
ftanding and Memory, the Ufe of which, it 
was much feared, would never have been 
reftored. This State of Stupidity continued 
for near twelve Months. His former Ideas 
feemed all quite expunged. And though 
before the Diftemper he had been taught 
to read, all was intirely forgotten, and he 
was obliged to begin with the Letters, as 
if he had never known them before. But 
though he could never recover the Remem- 
brance of what had happened to him before 
he was feized with that Diftemper, he dif- 
covered now a quick Apprehenfion, and 
ftrong Memory : and the Progrefs he made 
was taken fo much Notice of, that his 
Parents, by the Advice of Friends, re- 
folved to breed him to a learned Profeffion. 

Accordingly he applied himfelf to School 

Learning with remarkable Affiduity,in which 

2 he 


he made a quick Progrefs ; as a!fo In a 
Courfe of Fhilofophy, under a celebrated 
Teacher at that Time. His unwearied Di- 
ligence, and great Proficiency in Learning, 
were much taken Notice of, and admired 
by all who knew him. After this he ap- 
plied himfelf to the Study of Hebrew and 
Divinity, under the Direftion of fome learn- 
ed and worthy Minifters, who greatly affift- 
ed him in his Studies : and, in due Time, 
being thoroughly fatisfied how well fur- 
jiiflied and prepared he was, encouraged 
him to enter into the Miniflry. And he 
fully anfwered the high Exped:ations which 
were formed of him. For he had not long 
appeared in that Charadter, till he came 
to be much efteemed, even by the moft 
difcerning Judges : and was invited to 
preach ftatedly to the Congregation of Pro- 
tejlaiit Dtffentersy then meeting in New-Rowy 
with a View to a further Settlement. His 
Sermons were fo acceptable, and his Beha- 
viour was (o becoming, that in a fliort Time 
he received from them a moft affecftionate 
and unanimous Call to be Joint-paflior with 
the Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Weld, and was fo- 
lemnly ordained the 1 3 th of December 1 7 1 6 . 
Before he took this Charad:er upon him, 
he applied himfelf in the moft ferious and 
deliberate Manner to confider the Nature 
and Duties of that facred Office ; even that 
of a Minifter and Paftor in the Church of 
a 4 Chrifty 

viii P R E F A C E. 

Chrift, a Prelbyter, or a Eiilicp ^ for it ap- 
peared to him, upon the moft ciccurate Ex- 
amination, that in the Times of the Apof- 
ries, thefe Names were ufed indifferently 
to fignify the fame Order of Church-Offi- 
cers ; though he was fenfible, that foon 
after there began to be a Diflinftion made 
between them. 

And he looked on the facred Miniftry 
as a Station, not only of Honour, but of 
Labour -, that it is not an idle Life, to be 
fpent in Eafe and Indolence, but in active 
ufeful Service. That, as it is evident from 
many Paffages of the New Teftament, it 
is the Will of God and of our Lord Jefus 
Chrift, the great King and Head of his 
Church, that Chriftians fhould be formed 
into worfliipping Societies, for the Purpofes 
of his Religion, fo he hath appointed that 
there fhould be Perfons peculiarly fet apart 
to the Work of the Miniftry among them, 
whofe proper Office it fliould be to prefide 
in thofe facred Societies, to teach and in- 
ftruft, to exhort and admonifh the Chriftian 
People, to lead them in divine Worftiip, to 
adminifter facred Ordinances among them, 
and exercife a paftoral Care over them. 
That the great End of their Miniftry is, 
in general, this, to promote the Glory of 
God in the Salvation of Souls, and thereby 
advance the Interefts of Chrift's Kingdom : 
that to that End they are to labour in the 



Word and Do6lrine, to preach Repentance 
and Remiffion of Sins in the Name of 
Chrift, and to befeech Sinners to be recon- 
ciled unto God. That they are to pubHfh 
the glad Tidings of Salvation, to difplay the 
great and precious Promifes of the new 
Covenant, and its moft reafonable and gra- 
cious Terms, to fet their Duty before them 
in its juft Extent, and to enforce the Laws 
of the Gofpel, by its powerful and engag- 
ing Motives, and important Sanations : that 
they fliould take St. P<:?/// for their Model, 
who in the Account he gives of his own 
Miniftry, in his admirable Speech to the 
Elders of the Church of Ephefusy folemnly 
declares, and appeals to them for the Truth 
of it, that he had kept back notlmrg that 
was profitable unto them, but had fijewed 
theniy and taught them publicly ^ aitd fro?n 
Houfe to Houfe^ ^^filfj^^^g ^oth to the Jews, 
and alfo to the Greeks, Repentance towards 
God, and Faith tozvard our Lord Refits 
Chriji. Afts xx. 20, 21. He tells the C<?- 
rinthians, that he and the other Apoftles, 
preached Chrift crucified, and that he deter- 
mined not to know any thing amo?2g the?n,fave 
yefus Chrift, and him crucified. And elfe- 
where he declares, that \\q preached not him- 
felf, but Chrifi J ejus the Lord, He obferved, 
that from thefe and other Paffages to the 
fame Purpofe, we may fee, what ought to 
be the main Topics that Goipel Minifters 



fliould infift upon in their preaching. They 
are to preach Chrift crucified, to teach 
whatfbever he hath commanded them, his 
Dodlrines and his Laws ; to explain facred 
Truth, and urge all religious and moral 
Duties in the Reference they bear to him, 
as the great Foundation and Center of our 
Religion as Chriftians. 

He obferves, that as to the Manner of 

their preaching, they " mufl not corrupt the 

*^ Word of God, nor handle it deceitfully, 

*' but as of Sincerity, but as of God, in 

" the Sight of God, muft fpeak in Chrift. 

** They muft fpeak as becometh the Ora- 

*^ cles of God. In their Dodrine they 

** muft ftiew Incorruptnefs and Gravity, 

*' and found Speech that cannot be con- 

*' demned. They muft be ¥/orkmcn that 

** need not be afhamed, rightly dividing 

** the Word of Truth. They muft not 

** ufe flattering V/ords, nor feek Glory of 

*' Men ; nor Excellency of Speech, entic- 

'' ing Words of Man's Wifdom". They 

muft faithfully warn the wicked of the 

Evil of his Way, and muft fpeak the 

Truth boldly, and rebuke with Authority. 

But they ought to manage their Rebukes 

with great Prudence and Meeknefs. They 

are *' not to rebuke an Elder, but intreat 

*' him as a Father, and the younger Men 

*' as Brethren". They muft endeavour to 

adapt their Difcourfes to the various Cafes 



of their Hearers, giving Milk to Babes, 
and Meat to ftronger Men ; ufing the moft 
indulgent Care, and being gentle among 
them, as a Nurfe cherifheth her Children. 
And in all this they ihould be diligent, 
ceafmg not to warn every one Night and 
Day, in the moft afFeftionate Manner. 
And the Motives they are ad:ed by fhould 
be fimple and pure. Knowing the Terrors 
of the Lord, they fliould perfuade Man. 
And the Love of Chrift ''fhould conftraia 
them. They fhould not feek to pleafe Men, 
but ftudy to approve themfelves in the Sight 
of God : And they fliould have the moft 
tender Regard to the Good of Souls. This 
ihould animate their Preaching, and their 
whole Condud:. St. Pai^/ frequently ex- 
prefTeth himfelf on this Subjefl: in the moft 
affeftionate Strains, as particularly in the 
firft Epiftle to the Thejjaloniansy the fecond 
and third Chapters throughout. How doth 
he exult and triumph in the Succefs of the 
Goipel, when the Chriftian Converts 
abounded in Faith and Love and the Fruits 
of Righteoufnefs ! And, on the contrary, 
how is he concerned and grieved when 
they did not anfwer his Defires and Ex- 
pectations ! He was ready to fpend, and 
to be fpent j nay he rejoiced to offer him- 
felf a Sacrifice for the Service of their 
Faith. Fhil, ii. 17. 

That in order to fit them for the right 



Difcharge of their Duty, they ougbt to 
give heed to Reading, to Exhortation, to 
Dodlrine, to meditate on thefe Things, and 
give thetnfelves wholly to them, i I'm, iv. 
13, 15. To ftudy the holy Scriptures, 
which are able to make us wife unto Salva- 
tign, and are profitable for Do6lrine, for Re- 
proof, for Corredlion, for Inftrudion in 
Righteoufnefs, to make the Man of God 
perfedl, and thoroughly furnifhed unto all 
good Works. z'Tim, in, 15, 16, 17. To mind 
the weightier Matters of Religion, avoid- 
ing " foolifh and unlearned Queftions*' 
which " gender Strifes/' 2 l^i?n, ii. 23. 

As to their perfonal Qualifications. They 
muft be endued with a holy Fortitude 
to bear up under all the Difficulties they 
may be called to encounter with. *^ They 
** muft be meek and humble, patient and 
** forbearing; no Strikers nor Brawlers; 
*' not felf- willed, nor foon angry ; wot co- 
*' vetous, nor given to much Wine ; not 
*' proud, left they fall into the Condem- 
** nation of the Devil : They muft be 
*^ condefcending towards all, ready to be- 
*' come all Things to all Men, as far as 
** they lawfully can, that they may gain 
*' fome. They fhouid be hofpltable, fo- 
** ber, modeft, grave; they ftiould be ho- 
*' ly, blamelefs, and without Ofl-ence; 
** giving no Offence, that the Miniftry 
" be not blamed." Finally, they muft 


PREFACE. xiii 

be Examples to the Flock, In every ami- 
able Grace and Virtue, being *^ Examples 
" of the Believers in Word, in Converfa- 
*' tion, in Charity, in Spirit, in Faith, in 
" Purity." 

Upon this View of the minifterial Of- 
fice, he obferves what a various and ex- 
tenfive, and what a difficult Work doth it 
appear to be; and that the Service is ren- 
dert'd more arduous, if we confider the 
Oppofition and Obftacles that faithful 
Minifters may expedt to meet with in the 
Difcharge of their Work. And thefe are 
of various Kinds, arifing from the Hatred 
and Obloquy, the Derifions and Reproach- 
es of the unbelieving and profane ; from 
the Pride, the Peevifhnefs, the Envy and 
Uncharitablenefs of many that profefs them- 
felves Friends to Religion ; from the mani- 
fold Temptations and Affaults of their fpiri- 
tual Enemies, and from their own Weaknef- 
fes and Infirmities, Appetites and Paffions. 

Having thus deliberately and feriouf- 
ly confidered what the Work and Of- 
fice was to which he was called j he, in 
the next Place, fet himfelf to inquire, v/hat 
Rcafon he had to think himfelf diredled 
by Divine Providence to engage in it. • 

And with regard to this, the follow- 
ing Confiderations, he faid, had great 
Weight with him. 

'' Firft, It is the Will of our Lord Je- 

'' fus 


fus Chrift that there fhould be a Gofpel- 
miniftry continued in his Church to the 
End of the World. And this is of 
great Importance for keeping up the 
Knowledge and Praftice of Religion, 
for maintaining the Ufe and Exercife of 
divine Ordinances, for promoting the 
Converlion of Souls, and building them 
up through Faith and Holinefs unto Sal- 
vation and eternal Life. 
** Secondly, The Way of fignifying his 
Will concerning the particular Perfons 
v^hom he defigns to the Work of the 
Miniftry, feems ordinarily to be this; 
The enduing them with fuch Qualijfi- 
cations and Difpoiitions, whereby they 
are fitted for the ufeful and acceptable 
Difcharge of that facred Office. The 
exciting in them Defires and Purpofes 
to devote themfelves to it, and determin- 
ing them to undertake it from good and 
upright Principles and Motives. The 
Judgment and Approbation of thofe who 
are themfelves Partakers of that Office, 
and who judge them, upon due Trial, 
to be well qualified, and fit to be folemnly 

fet apart and ordained to it. Thefe 

Things feem to be Sufficient Indications 
that it is agreeable to the Will of Chrifl, 
the great King and Head of his Church, 
that fuch Perfons fliould be admitted to the 
Chriftian Miniftry. — But if to this it be 

*' added. 


*^* added, that any particular Chriftian So- 
*^ cicty invites and calls them to take the 
*' paftoral Care and Overfight of them, 
*' from a Perfuafion and Experience that 
*' this would tend to their fpiritual Edifi- 
*' cation and Benefit ; this feems to re- 
** move all reafonable Doubts, and to be 
*' as full a Proof as can ordinarily be ex- 
'' peded. 

*' Now to apply this to my own Cafe. 
** God has been gracioufly pleafed to give 
*^ me fome Talents, which feem capable 
" of being improved to the Edification of 
*' his Church. He hath difpofed and in- 
*' clined my Heart to a Willingnefs to take 
" upon me the facred Miniftry, and that,. 
■*' not from worldly carnal Ends and 
^* Views, but from a fmcere Intention 
*' and Defire of employing the Talents 
*' he has given me in promoting the Sal- 
*' vation of Souls, and ferving the Inte- 
*' refts of Truth, Piety, and Righteouf- 

'' nefs in the V/orld. Befides, If J 

*^ confider the Courfe of Divine Provi- 
" dence towards me, my good Parents, 
" as far as in them lay, devoted me to the 
** Miniftry from my yearly Youth. God 
" hath raifed me up Friends from Time 
*' to Time, who have given me coniider- 
*' able Helps and Encouragements to for- 
■*^ ward me in my Studies.~And I have 
been encouraged by the Judgment aad 

'' Appro- 



*' Approbation of feveral learned and pious? 
** Minifters, who, after a diligent Courfe 
** of Trials carried on for a confiderable 
*^ Time, judged me to be properly quali- 
*^ fied for that facred Office, and animat- 
*' ed me to undertake it. — And fince I 
** have been licenfed to preach as a Can- 
*^ didate for the holy Ministry; my pub- 
*' lie Labours have met with a general 
*' Acceptance, and have, I truft, been 
*^ really ufefuL — Befides all which, I have 
*' had an unanimous and affedlionate Call 
*^ from a Society of Chriftian People, 
** many of whom are remarkable for their 
*' Knowledge, as vv^ell as Piety, to take 
*' the paftoral Overfight of them. 

" Upon ferioufly weighing all thefe 
" Things, I cannot but think I have a 
*' clear Call to the Work of the Mini- 
" ftry ; and I verily believe, that if I re- 
*' jefted it I fliould fin againft God, grieve 
*' many of his People, counteradt the 
" Defigns of Divine Providence towards 
" me, and alienate the Talents he has gi- 
** ven me to other Purpofes than thofe for 
" which they feem to have been intended. 

*' I defire therefore to accept and com- 
** ply with this Call, and I would do it 
*' with the deeped Humility, under a 
** Senfe of my own great Unworthinefs 
" and Infufficiency in myfelf ^ but, at the 
" fame Time, with the moft intire De- 

*^ pendence 

P R E F ACE, iVIi 

^^ pendence upon God, and Affiance in 
*" him, to carry me through this great 
" Work, and to enlarge my Heart, aind 
** ftrengthen my Hands^ that I may be 
** ufeful and fuccefsful in it. And bleffed 
be his Name, that he is pleafed to ad- 
mit fuch an unworthy Creature as I 
am, to fo high, fo honourable an Em- 
ployment, which will lay me under an 
happy Neceffity of converling frequent- 
ly with him, and turning my Thoughts 
to Things of the greateft Excellency and 
Importance. And I look up unto thee,; 
^' the God of all Grace> that thou wouldft 
^' make me an able Minifter of the New 
*' Teftament : and fince I am fatisfied it 
** is thy Will that I fhould undertake this 
** Office^ here. Lord, I defire to do fo ; 
*' may it be the Language of my Soul^ 
^' in Conformity to the Example of my 
*' bleffed Redeemer, I delight to do thy 
" Will, O my God. Oh that thy Law 
** may be in my Heart, and thy Spirit 
** the living reigning Principle there! 
*' Whatever I fhall at any Time be con- 
** vinced will be moft to the Advance- 
*^ ment of thy Glory, and for the Good 
** of thy Church, efpecially of that Flock 
" of thine which thou committeft to my 
** Charge, I here covenant by thy Grace 
" to perform it according to my poor Abi- 
** Hties, to feek out for acceptable Words 
[Vol. L] b '' to 

xviii PREFACE. 

to feed thy Sheep, to diftribute to thenr 
according to their various Cafes and 
NecefTities, not to make my minifterial 
Work a Thing by the bye, but to give 
myfelf wholly to it, to fpend and be 
fpent, and chearfully to employ what- 
ever Time, Talents, Faculties, and Ad- 
vantages I am poffeiTed of, for the Ho- 
nour of thy Name, and the Salvation of 

*^ But confider, O my Soul, thou art 
entering on a difficult and troublefome 
Warfare, exped: that the Powers of 
Darknefs will fet themfelves in array 
againft thee ; expc6l to encounter with 
the Rage of a malignant Worlds to meet 
with Difcouragements from w^ithout 
and from within, from the Weaknefs 
and Inftability of thy own Heart, from^ 
open Enemies, and feeming Friends. 
Count upon grievous Trials, Reproaches, 
and even Perfecutions for the Sake of 
Chrift. For it may happen that all thefe 
fhall be thy Lot, as they have often been 
of his moft faithful Servants. Nor art 
thou to wonder if thou fareft not much 
better than thy Lord and Mafter was 
treated by the World, which he came 
to fave. If it be fo, Lord, I fubmit, 
I acquiefce. Give me but thy Strength 
and Grace. Be thou my Leader in this 
glorious Warfare, and I fliall be more 

** thaa 


^^ than a Conqueror. But without thee I 
^' dare not engage in it. And I declare 
** before Heaven and Earth, that I un- 
" dertake this Work only from a Profpedl 
" and Hope of thy divine Affiftance and 
'' Bleffing." 

" I therefore applied myfelf to God by 
*' earnefl Prayer, ov^ning my utter Un- 
** worthinefs, bewailing my manifold De- 
** fefts, that in preaching his holy Word 
" hitherto, I have not found my Heart 
*^ affedted in a Manner fuitable to the in- 
*^ finite Importance of the Truths I have 
** delivered in his Name, and as becometh 
*^ one who is pleading with immortal 
** Souls about the Concerns of Eternity : 
** That fo much Pride, Selfifhnefs, and a 
" vain Defire of Applaufe hath mixed it- 
" felf with my religious and minifterial 
** Services. I prayed that God would give 
*' me thofe Gifts and Graces which are 
*^ fo neceffary to the right Difcharge of 
" this facred Fundlion; particularly, that 
*^ he would inflame my Soul with Love to 
him, and to the Lord Jefus Chrift, and 
with a well regulated Zeal for his Glo- 
ry, and the Interefts of his Kingdom ; 
that he would imprefs my Heart with a 
*^ deep Senfe of his all-feeing Eye, and a 
*' profound Reverence of his adorable 
** Majefty ; that he would give me more 
** melting Bowels, and a tender Commi- 
b 2 *' feration 




feration for precious Souls, thofc efpe-^ 
daily of the Flock committed to my 
Care^ that he would affedl my Heart 
with the great Truths I deliver to others, 
and enable me to ftudy, preach, and 
pray, as for Eternity ; that he would 
aflift me in ordering my Converfation 
aright, that I may guide others not on-^ 
ly by my Doftrine, but by my Example 
too, in all the Virtues of the Chriftiaa 
Life; and, finally, that he would clothe 
me with Humility, that amiable Gof- 
pel Grace, and enable me to put on that 
evangelical Charity, which is the Bond 
of Perfed:nefs." 
Such were the Workings of his Soul 
on this folemn Occafion ; and the Impref- 
fions that were made upon him were deep 
and lafting. For he engaged in the Work of 
the Miniftry, not with worldly Views, 
but from a fincere Defire to employ the 
Talents God had given him in promoting 
the Salvation of Souls, and ferving the Inte- 
refts of Truth and Liberty, Piety and Vir- 
tue in the World. With fuch animating 
Views he difcharged the Duties of his 
Charader as a Minifter of Chrijl, with la- 
borious Diligence and Fidelity. And by 
an indefatigable Application to Reading 
and Study, and the great Improvements he 
made in ail ufeful Knowledge and Litera- 
ture, which afterwards appeared in his 



Writings on different Subjeds, he attained 
fo an high Reputation, not only among 
his own Friends and Hearers, but in the 
learned World, and among Perfons of all 

As a Preacher he was very acceptable : 
His Compofitions for the Pulpit were 
plain, corred:, and ufeful, equally fitted to 
convince the Underflanding and to affed: 
the Heart. He did not chufe to entertain 
his Hearers with vain Speculations, which 
only gender Strife : And when any con- 
troverted Dodlrines came in his Way, he 
treated them with great Modefty, Mode- 
ration, and Charity, as became one who 
was fenfible of the narrow Limits of hu- 
man Knowledge in this State of Darknefs 
and Imperfection. He thought, the clofer 
we keep to Scripture in fpeaking of the 
particular Dodlrines of Revelation, and 
the lefs we make Ufe of logical Terms and 
fiibtle Diftindions the better : and that 
fome Mens Prefumption in attempting to 
explain them, hath given the Adverfaries 
of Chriftianity an Advantage which they 
never would have had, if Divines had not 
gone beyond the Simplicity of the Gofpel. 
He not only thought and reaibned clear- 
ly on every Subject, but he had fo happy 
a Talent of arranging his Thoughts, and 
conveying his Sentiments to others in a 
Iptile manly and unaffedled, and ^t the 
b 3 fame 

xxii PREFACE. 

fame Time fo eafy and perfpicuous, and 
by the Help of a faithful Memory, ex- 
afbly delivered without any Ufe of Notes, 
that the meaneft, as well as the moft judi- 
cious of his Hearers, who gave proper At- 
tention, could hardly fail of being affeded 
and inftrufted : At leaft, one would natu- 
rally fuppofe this to be the Effedt, when 
the inoft important Truths were delivered 
in fo improving a Way by a Man of his 
Character, who had the Honour of God 
and the Redeemer, and the Interefts of 
fubftantial Religion and Virtue fo much 
at Heart ; and when every one muft fee, 
that what he faid affedied himfelf, and 
that he felt what he fpoke. 

In the Year 173 1, he married Mrs. Ann 
Maquay^ Widow of the Reverend Mr. 
Thomas Maquay, who had been Minifter to 
the Congregation of Plunket-freet. Be- 
tween him and the Dodor there had been 
the greateft Intimacy, a Fellowfhip in their 
Studies, and a conftant Courfe of Friend- 
fliip for feveral Years. In the Sermon he 
printed on his greatly lamented Death he 
gives this general Account of him. 

*^ He was born and bred in this City. 
** Here he had his Education and Learn- 
" ing, and was an Exceptioa to that ge- 
" neral Rule, that a Prophet is without 
** Honour in his own Country, He made 
"■A a quick Progrefs in Learning even in his 
, ^1 early 

PREFACE. xxiii 

**^. early Years. Then- I commenced my 
'* firfl: Acquaintance with him, never fmcc 
•'* interrupted by any Breach or Alienation 
*' of i\.fFed:ion to this Day. After having 
^^ gone through our CourJTe of Philofophy 
** together, v^e applied ourfelves jointly 
** to the Study of Divinity, under the 
^^ happy Care of the fame w^orthy Fathers 

*' in the Miniftry. Under fuch Ad- 

'* vantages, improved by his prompt na- 
^* tural Parts and great Induftry, he came 
*^ out richly furniihed and adorned to the 
*' Work of the facred Miniftry. And 
*' fcarce had he entered on his public Mi- 
** niftrations, w^hen you of this Congre- 
*^ gation caft your Eye upon him for a 
*' CoUegue to your late excellent Faftor, 
*^ the Reverend Mr. Alexander Sinclare.--^ 
** All, hov^ever various in their Tempers 
^' and Inclinations, centered and united in 
** him; xnftrudted and affed:ed with his 
*' Preaching, edified by his Example, and 

*^ engaged by his Converfation." And 

after having enlarged on fome Particulars 
jponcerning him, he adds, " I hope I fhall 
*^ now be indulged a little, if I fpeak of 
'^ him under the amiable Charafter of a 
*^ Friend. He was of a fweet and peace- 
*^ ful Difpofition, lovely in his Temper, 
" agreeable in his Converfation 5 and they 
^' muft be hard to pleafe indeed, that were 
^* not won by his engaging Manner. There 
b 4. ** was 

%xiv PREFACE. 

^' was nothing In him of that Mcrofenefs 
** or SuUennefs that has fometlmes cloud- 
** ed the Excellencies of Perfons that have 
^* been' otherwife very valuable ; but an 
*' open and free Behaviour, an habitual 
^' Cheerfulnefs, the genuine Indication of 
*' an eafy and fprightly Mind. His Con- 
*' verfation was pleafant and facetious, 
*' but always within the Bounds of Decen- 
^* cy and Innocence, without ever indulg- 
'^^ ing himfelf in any Freedoms unbecom- 
*' ing his Profeffion and Charadler. He 
** had a Soul formed to Tendernefs and 
** Sympathy. The Cafe of diftrefled Per- 
** fons and Families was often obferved to 
** make a very deep Impreffion upon his 
** Spirit, and he was ever ready to com- 
*' fort and affift them according to the ut- 
" moft of his Ability." ' ' 

Dr. Leiand was fully fenfible of the Wif- 
dom of his Choice in the matrimonial State, 
as his Wife was a very agreeable Compani- 
on, of an excellent Temper, andoffmcere 
Piety ; and they proved mutual Helps and 
Comforts to one another. He had feveral 
Childrep by her, but they died when they 
were very young : and as his Wife had Chil- 
dren by her former Hufoand, he behaved 
with a moft tender, and not lefs than pa- 
rental Aftedion to them and their OS- 
ipring, treating them as if they had been 
|iis own, and with a m^oft folicitous At- 



tention watched over and inftrucSled them, 
and trained them up in the Nurture and 
Admonition of the Lord. 

In the Year 1730, Dr. ^indal publiflied 
his laboured Performance, intitled, Chrtftl" 
anity as old as the Creation ; or the Go(pel a 
Republication of the Law of Nature. As 
this Book made a great Noife, feveral 
good Anfwers were given to it. But he 
thought more might jullly be faid to ex- 
pofe the fallacious Reafonings, the Con- 
tradictions and Malice of that dangerous 
Piece : And to ihew, that inftead of de- 
ferving the Applaufe which many had given 
it, he was a fubtle uncandid Writer, and 
his Performance full of Inconfiftencies and 
empty Sophifms, Ipecious perhaps at firfl 
View, but, when narrowly examined, 
very weak and trifling. This therefore 
engaged his Pen in a Caufe, in the De- 
fence of which he afterwards became fo 
eminent. It was not any vain Defire of 
Applaufe that put him upon it, but an 
ardent Zeal for the divine Glory, and an 
hearty Concern for the Honour and Inte- 
rell of Chriftianity amongfl us, which he 
w^s perfuaded is the Caufe of God ; and he 
thought, that if he could be any Way ufe- 
ful for vindicating the Honour of our Re- 
deemer, and of his glorious Gofpel, it was 
his Duty not to let his Talents lie negledt- 
fd, but to coafecrate them to God, and 



the Service of his Church : Accordingly 
in the Year I733> he publiflied tv/o large 
Volumes in 8vo, under the Title of Jin 
Ajifwer to a late Book intitled Chrijiianity as 
old as the Creation: This Work is much 
larger, and takes a wider Compafs than the 
other Anfwers, and carries in it full Proof 
of the Dodor's Learning and great Appli- 
cation. It is divided into two Parts. In 
the firft Part, which takes up the firiT; 
Volume, the Author's .Account of the Law 
of Nature is confidered, and his Scheme 
is fhewn to be inconfiftent with Reafon 
and with itfelf, and of ill Confequence to 
the Interefts of Virtue, and to the Good 
of Mankind. In the fecond Part, the 
Authority and Ufefulnefs of the Revelatiori 
contained in the facred Writings of the 
Old and New Teflament is afferted and 
vindicated againft the Objedions and Mif- 
reprefentations of this Writer. He has 
given a large Account of this Book, and 
of his own Anfwer, in the View of the 
Deiftical Writers *, which makes any far- 
ther Enlargement on it needlefs. 

In the Year 1737 Dr. Morgan publiih* 
ed a Book witn a pompous Title, viz, 
Ihe Moral Philofopher 3 to which Dr. Le^ 
land returned an Anfwer in 8vo in 1739, 
intitled, 'The divine Authority of the Old 
and New Tejlament ajjertedy &c, againft the 

* VoLI. p. 112, &c. ^ , 


PREFACE. xxvii 

unjuft Afperfions and falfe Reafonings of 
a Book intitled, T^he Moral Philojbpher. 
The Defign of which was to take a dif- 
tindt View of what Dr. Morgan had offer- 
ed, both againft Revelation in general, and 
againft the Holy Scriptures in particular. 

The Author of the Moral Pbilofopher, 
who was a Writer of great Vivacity, did 
not continue long iilent : He publifhed a 
Defence of his former Book in what he 
called ThefecoJid Volume of the Moral Philo- 
Jbpher, or a faj^ther Vindication of Moral 
Truth and Reafon. This was chiefly de- 
figned againft Dr. Leland's Anfwer to him, 
in which he manifefts the greateft Effron- 
tery, and ufes very indecent Language. 
However, he publiihed a fecond Volume 
of The divine Authority of the Old and New 
Tejla?nent ajfertedy in Anfwer to the fecond 
Volume of the Moral Phiiofophery in 8vo, 
1740. In this Reply every Thing is con- 
fidered, that had any Appearance of Argu- 
ment in this Book, and his unfair Mif- 
reprefentations, his unjuft Afperfions, and 
confident Attempts to impofe Falfhoods up- 
on his Readers, are deteded and expofed*. 
- In 1742 a remarkable Pamphlet ap- 
peared, which is called Chrijiianity not 
foufided on Argument, The Author of this 
Piece carried on his Defign againft the 
Chriftian Religion in a Manner fomewhat 

» Deiflical Writers, Vol. L p. 131, &c. 


xxviii PREFACE. 

different from what others had done before 
him. Under fpecious Appearances of 
Zeal for Religion, and under the Cover 
of devout Exprefficns, he endeavoured to 
iliew that the Chriftian Faith hath no 
Foundation in Reafon, nor hath any Thing 
to fupport it but a wild and fenfelefs En- 
thuf]afm, deftiture of all Proof and Evi- 
dence. And if this could be made out, it 
would, no Doubt, anfwer the Intention he 
plainly had in View, the expofing the 
Chriftian Religion to the Derifion an4 
Contempt of Mankind. 

In Anfwer to which the Doctor wrote 
Remarks on a late Pamphlet intitled, Chrijii- 
anity not founded on Argume?it, contained in 
two Letters, which were publiihed fepar 
rately in 1744. The Defign of this An- 
fwer was not to enter upon a diftin<ft and 
particular Account of the Evidences, which 
are ufually produced in Proof of the Chrif- 
tian Revelation, which he had confidered 
largely on fome former Occafions ; but to 
reprefent in a clear and concife Manner, 
the Abfurdity and ill Tendency, as well as 
manifold Inconfiftencies of this Writers 
Scheme ; to give a plain Confutation of the 
principal Arguments from Scripture and 
Reafon by which he pretended to fupport 
it, and to deted and expofe his Fallacies 
and Mifreprefentations *. 

* Deifl. Writers, Vol. I. p. 15 r, &c. 



In the Year 1753 the DocSor publiihed 
Reflections on the late Lord Boli?2gbroke^ 
Letters on the Study and Uie of Hlftory, 
efpecially fo far as they relate to Chriftia* 
nity and the Holy Scriptures -f. ^ 

Thus did this good Man moft labor;- 
oully exert himfelf in the Defence of our 
holy Religion. And being more and more 
fully perfuaded of the Truth and divine 
Original, as well as of the great Excellence 
and Importance of Chriftianity to the Vir- 
tue and Happinefs of Mankind, he pub- 
lifiied Anfwers to the feveral Authors, 
who with great Art and Induftry endea- 
voured to undermin^ it, and expofe it as 
an Impoilure. And his Anfwers are very 
highly and generally efteemed as among 
the bell Defences of Chriftianity. He was 
indeed a Mafter in this Controverfy ; and 
his Hiftory of it, ftiled, A View of the 
Deijiical Writers , that have appeared in Eng- 
land in the laji and prefent Century ', with 
Obfervations upon them^ andfome Account of 
the Anfwers which have been puhlijhed againjl 
them ; as we are well alTured it has been 
exceedingly ufeful, fo it will do lafting Ho- 
nour to his Name with all who have the 
Intereft of Religion truly at Heart. The 
third Edition of it, improved, was pub^ 
lifhed in two large Volumes 8vo, clofely 
printed, in the Year 1757. ^^ ^^^ Conclufion 
of the Preface he fays, *' It gives me fome 

t Vol. II, p. 265, &c. 

*^ Concern^ 



** Approbation of feveral learned and plous^ 
** Minifters, who, after a diligent Courfe 
*^ of Trials carried on for a confiderable 
*^ Time, judged me to be properly quali- 
*^ fied for that facred Office, and animat- 
*^ ed me to undertake it. — And fince I 
*^ have been licenfed to preach as a Can- 
didate for the holy Miniftry -, my pub- 
lic Labours have met v^ith a general 
*^ Acceptance, and have, I truft, been 
*' really ufeful. — Befides all which, I have 
*' had an unanimous and affedlionate Call 
*^ from a Society of Chriftian People, 
** many of whom are remarkable for their 
*^ Knowledge, as v/ell as Piety, to take 
*' the paftoral Overfight of them. 

" Upon ferioufly weighing all thefe 
" Things, I cannot but think I have a 
*' clear Call to the Work of the Mini- 
*' ftry 3 and I verily believe, that if I rc- 
*' jefted it I iliould fin againft God, grieve 
*' many of his People, counteract the 
*' Defigns of Divine Providence towards 
" me, and alienate the Talents he has gi- 
*' ven me to other Purpofes than thofe for 
" which they feem to have been intended. 
*^ I defire therefore to accept and com- 
** ply with this Call, and I would do it 
*' with the deepeft Humility, under a 
*' Senfe of my own great Unworthinefs 
" and Infufficiency in myfelf ^ but, at the 
" fame Time, with the moil intire De- 

<* pendence 

PREFACE. jiv'd 

^^ pendence upon God, and Affiance in 
*' him, to carry me through this great 
** Work, and to enlarge my Heart, and 
'* ftrengthen my Hands^ that I may be 
** ufeful and fuceefsful in it. And bleffed 
be his Name, that he is pleafed to ad- 
mit fuch an unworthy Creature as I 
am, to fo high, fo honourable an Em- 
ployment, which will lay me under an 
happy Neceffity of converfing frequent-^ 
ly with him, and turning my Thoughts 
to Things of the greateft Excellency and 
Importance. And I look up unto thee^ 
** the God of all Grace, that thpu wouldft 
^' make me an able Minifter of the New 
*' Teftament : and iince I am fatisfied it 
^* is thy Will that I fhould undertake this 
** Office^ here. Lord, I defire to do fo ; 
** may it be the Language of my Soul^ 
** in Conformity to the Example of my 
** bleffed Redeemer, I delight to do thy 
" Will, O my God. Oh that thy Law 
** may be in my Heart, and thy Spirit 
*^ the living reigning Principle there! 
*' Whatever I fhall at any Time be con- 
** vinced will be moft to the Advance- 
" ment of thy Glory, and for the Good 
** of thy Church, efpecially of that Flock 
^* of thine which thou committeft to my 
*^ Charge, I here covenant by thy Grace 
" to perform it according to my poor Abi- 
** lities, to feek out for acceptable Words 
[Vol. L] b '' to 

xviii PREFACE. 

** to feed thy Sheep, to diftribute to therif 
** according to their various Cafes and 
** NecefTities, not to make my minifterial 
*' Work a Thing by the bye, but to give; 
** myfelf wholly to it, to fpend and be 
** fpent, and chearfully to employ what- 
*^ ever Time, Talents, Faculties, and Ad- 
*' vantages I am polTeiTed of, for the Ho- 
*' nour of thy Name, and the Salvation of 
" Souls. 

*' But confider, O my Soul, thou art 
*' entering on a difficult and troublefome 
** Warfare, exped: that the Powers of 
*' Darknefs will fet themfelves in array 
** againft thee ; expcdt to encounter with 
** the Rage of a malignant Worlds to meet 
*' with Difcouragements from without 
*^ and from within, from the Weaknefe 
** and Inftability of thy own Heart, from 
" open Enemies, and feeming Friends- 
*^ Count upon grievous Trials, Reproaches, 
" and even Perfecutions for the Sake of 
*^ Chrift. For it may happen that all thefe 
** fhall be thy Lot, as they have often been 
*^ of his moil faithful Servants. Nor art 
** thou to wonder if thou fareft not much 
** better than thy Lord and Mafter was 
" treated by the World, which he came 
" to fave. If it be fo, Lord, I fubmit, 
*' I acquiefce. Give me but thy Strength 
** and Grace. Be thou my Leader in this 
•* glorious Warfare, and I fliall be more 

<* thaa 


^^ than a Conqueror. But without thee I 
*^ dare not engage in it. And I declare 
** before Heaven and Earth, that I un- 
" dertake this Work only from a Profped: 
*' and Hope of thy divine Affiftance and 
'' Bleffing." 

" I therefore applied myfelf to God by 
" earneft Prayer, ov^ning my utter Un- 
*' worthinefs, bewailing my manifold De- 
** fefts, that in preaching his holy Word 
" hitherto, I have not found my Heart 
** afFedted in a Manner fuitable to the in- 
** finite Importance of the Truths I have 
*^ delivered in his Name, and as becometh 
*^ one who is pleading with immortal 
" Souls about the Concerns of Eternity : 
** That fo much Pride, Selfiflinefs, and a 
*^ vain Defire of Applaufe hath mixed it- 
** felf with my religious and minifterial 
*^ Services. I prayed that God would give 
*^ me thofe Gifts and Graces which are 
*' fo neceffary to the right Difcharge of 
" this facred Function; particularly, that 
*^ he would inflame my Soul with Love to 
*' him, and to the Lord Jefus Chrift, and 
** with a well regulated Zeal for his Glo- 
*' ry, and the Interefts of his Kingdom ; 
^' that he would imprefs my Heart with a 
deep Senfe of his all-feeing Eye, and a 
profound Reverence of his adorable 
Majefty ; that he would give me more 
melting Bowels, and a tender Commi- 
b 2 ** feration 


feration for precious Souls, thofe efpe-* 
cially of the Flock committed to my 
Care; that he would affedl my Heart 
with the great Truths I deliver to others, 
and enable me to ftudy, preach, and 
pray, as for Eternity ; that he would 
aflift me in ordering my Converfation 
aright, that I may guide others not on^ 
ly by my Dodlrine, but by my Example 
too, in all the Virtues of the Chriftian 
Life; and, finally, that he would clothe 
me with Humility, that amiable Gof- 
pel Grace, and enable me to put on that 
evangelical Charity, which is the Bond 
of Perfeanefs." 
Such were the Workings of his Soul 
on this folemn Occafion ; and the Impref- 
fions that wxre made upon him were deep 
and lafting. For he engaged in the Work of 
the Miniftry, not with w^orldly Views, 
but from a fincere Defire to employ the 
Talents God had given him in promoting 
the Salvation of Souls, and ferving the Inte- 
refls of Truth and Liberty, Piety and Vir- 
tue in the World. With fuch animating 
Views he difcharged the Duties of his 
Charader as a Minifter of Cbrijl, wdth la- 
borious Diligence and Fidelity. And by 
an indefatigable Application to Reading 
and Study, and the great Improvements he 
made in ail ufeful Knowledge and Litera- 
ture, which afterwards appeared in his 



Writings on different Subjects, he attained 
to an high Reputation, not only among 
his own Friends and Hearers, but in the 
learned World, and among Perfons of all 

As a Preacher he was very acceptable : 
His Compolitions for the Pulpit were 
plain, corred:, and ufeful, equally fitted to 
convince the Underflanding and to affe<fl 
the Heart. He did not chufe to entertain 
his Hearers with vain Speculations, which 
only gender Strife : And when any con- 
troverted Docflrines came in his Way, he 
treated them with great Modefty, Mode- 
ration, and Charity, as became one who 
was fenfible of the narrow Limits of hu- 
man Knowledge in this State of Darknefs 
and Imperfedlion. He thought, the clofer 
we keep to Scripture in fpeaking of the 
particular Dodlrines of Revelation, and 
the lefs we make Ufe of logical Terms and 
fiibtle Diftindlions the better: and that 
fome Mens Prefumption in attempting to 
explain them, hath given the Adverfaries 
of Chriftianity an Advantage which they 
never would have had, if Divines had not 
gone beyond the Simplicity of the Gofpel. 
He not only thought and reafoned clear- 
ly on every Subjedt, but he had fo happy 
a Talent of arranging his Thoughts, and 
conveying his Sentiments to others in a 
Ijtile manly and unaffeded, and ^t the 
b 3 fame 

xxii PREFACE. 

fame Time fo eafy and perfpicuous, and 
by the Help of a faithful Memory, ex- 
actly delivered without any Ufe of Notes, 
that the meaneft, as well as the moft judi- 
cious of his Hearers, who gave proper At- 
tention, could hardly fail of being affe(fted 
and inftruded : At leaft, one would natu- 
rally fuppofe this to be the Effedt, when 
the ^oft important Truths were delivered 
in fo improving a Way by a Man of his 
Character, who had the Honour of God 
and the Redeemer, and the Interefts of 
fubftantial Religion and Virtue fo much 
at Heart ; and when every one muft fee, 
that what he faid afFed:ed himfelf, and 
that he feU what he fpoke. 

In the Year 1731, he married Mrs. ^nn 
Maquajy Widow of the Reverend Mr. 
Thomas Maquay, who had been Minifter to 
the Congregation of Plunket-flreet, Be- 
tween him and the Dodior there had been 
the greateft Intimacy, a Fellowfhip in their 
Studies, and a conftant Courfe of Friend- 
fliip for feveral Years. In the Sermon he 
printed on his greatly lamented Death he 
gives this general Account of him. 

'^ He was born and bred in this City. 
*' Here he had his Education and Learn- 
*' ing, and was an Exceptioa to that ge- 
'' neral Rule, that a Prophet is without 
** Honour in his own Country. He made 
''a quick Progrefs in Learning even in his 

^* early 

PRE FACE. xxili 

**^. early Years. Then- I commenced my 
^' firll: Acquaintance with him, never fmcc 
'* interrupted by any Breach or Alienation 
'' of AfFedion to this Day. After having 
*' gone through our Courfe of Philofophy 
** together, we applied ourfelves jointly 
*^ to the Study of Divinity, under the 
" happy Care of the fame worthy Fathers 

*' in the Miniftry. Under fuch Ad- 

** vantages, improved by his prompt na- 
** tural Parts and great Induftry, he came 
*^ out richly furniihed and adorned to the 
^' Work of the facred Miniftry. And 
*' fcarce had he entered on his public Mi- 
*' niftrations, when you of this Congre- 
*^ gation caft your Eye upon him for a 
** Collegue to your late excellent Paftor, 
*' the Reverend Mr. Alexander Smclare, — 
*' All, however various in their Tempers 
^' and Inclinations, centered and united in 
*' him; inftrudled and affeded with his 
*' Preaching, edified by his Example, and 

*' engaged by his Converfation." And 

after having enlarged on fome Particulars 
jponcerning him, he adds, '' I hope I fhall 
'' now be indulged a little, if I fpeak of 
** him under the amiable Charader of a 
*' Friend. He was of a fweet and peace- 
** ful Difpofition, lovely in his Temper, 
" agreeable in his Converfation ; and they 
*' muft be hard to pleafe indeed, that were 
*' not won by his engaging Manner. There 
b 4 ** was 


^* was nothing in him of that Mprofenefs 
** or Sullennefs that has fometimes cloud- 
" ed the Excellencies of Perfons that have 
f^ been' otherwife very valuable ; but an 
^^ open and free Behaviour, an habitual 
^* Cheerfulnefs, the genuine Indication of 
^' an eafy and fprightly Mind. His Con- 
*' verfation was pleafant and facetious, 
*' but always within the Bounds of Decen- 
*^ cy and Innocence, without ever indulg- 
)^' ing himfelf in any Freedoms unbecom- 
*' ing his Profeffiort and Charadler. He 
** had a Soul formed to Tendernefs and 
** Sympathy. The Cafe of diflreffed Per- 
*' fons and Families was often obferved to 
** make a very deep Impreffion upon his 
^* Spirit, and he was ever ready to com- 
" fort and afiift them according to the ut- 
" moft of his Ability." ' ' 

Dr. Leiand was fully fenfible of the Wif- 
dom of his Choice in the matrimonial State, 
as his Wife was a very agreeable Compani- 
on, of an excellent Temper, andoffmcere 
Piety ; and they proved mutual Helps and 
Comforts to one another. He had feveral 
Childrep by her, but they died when they 
were very young : and as his Wife had Chil- 
dren by her former Hufoand, he behaved 
with a moft tender, and not lefs than pa- 
rental AfFedion to them and their Off- 
ipring, treating them as if they had been 
^is ovv^n, and with a moft folicitous At- 



tention watched over and inftrudled them, 
and trained them up In the Nurture and 
Admonition of the Lord. 

In the Year 1730, Dr. 'Ttndal publiQied 
his laboured Performance, intitled, CJprifti- 
antty as old as the Creation ; or the Gofpel a 
Republication of the Law of Nature. As 
this Book made a great Noife, feveral 
good Anfwers were given to it. But he 
thought more might jullly be faid to ex- 
pofe the fallacious Reafonings, the Con- 
tradidions and Malice of that dangerous 
Piece : And to ihew, that inftead of de- 
ferving the Applaufe which many had given 
it, he was a fubtle uncandid Writer, and 
his Performance full of Inconfiftencies and 
empty Sophiims, fpecious perhaps at firft 
View, but, when narrowly examined, 
very weak and trifling. This therefore 
engaged his Pen in a Caufe, in the De- 
fence of which he afterwards became fo 
eminent. It was not any vain Defire of 
Applaufe that put him upon it, but an 
ardent Zeal for the divine Glory, and an 
hearty Concern for the Honour and Inte- 
reft of Chriftianity amongfl us, which he 
w^s perfuaded is the Caufe of God ; and he 
thought, that if he could be any Way ufe- 
ful for vindicating the Honour of our Re- 
deemer, and of his glorious Gofpel, it was 
his Duty not to let his Talents lie negled- 
^d, but to confecrate them to God, and 


xxvi P R E F A C E. 

the Service of his Church : Accordingly 
in the Year 1733, he publiflied tv/o large 
Volumes in 8vo, under the Title of An 
Aiifwer to a late Book intitled Chrijlianify as 
eld as the Creation. This Work is much 
larger, and takes a wider Compafs than the 
ether Anfwers, and carries in it full Proof 
of the Doctor's Learning and great Appli-^ 
cation. It is divided into two Parts. In 
the firft Part, which takes up the iirft 
Volume, the Author's .Account of the Law 
of Nature is conlidered, and his Scheme 
is fhewn to be inconfiftent with Reafon 
and with itfelf, and of ill Confequence to 
the Interefts of Virtue, and to the Good 
of Mankind. In the fecond Part, the 
Authority and Ufefulnefs of the Revelatioa 
contained in the facred Writings of the 
Old and New Teflament is afferted and 
vindicated againft the Objedlions and Mif- 
reprefentations of this Writer. He has 
given a large Account of this Book, and 
of his own Anfwer, in the View of the 
Deiflical Writers *, which makes any far- 
ther Enlargement on it needlefs. 

In the Year 1737 Dr. Morgan publiih- 
ed a Book witn a pompous Title, viz* 
"Jbe Moral Philofopher 3 to which Dr. Le^ 
land returned an Anfwer in 8vo in 17^9, 
intitled, "The divine Authority of the Old 
and New Tejlafnent afferted, &c, againft the 

* Vol. I. p. 112, &c. 


PREFACE. xxvii 

unjuft Afperfions and falfe Reafonings of 
a Book intitled, T^he Moral Philojbpher. 
The Defign of which was to take a dif- 
tindt View of what Dr. Morgan had offer- 
ed, both againft Revelation in general, and 
againft the Holy Scriptures in particular. 

The Author of the Moral Pbilofopher, 
who was a Writer of great Vivacity, did 
not continue long filent : He publifhed a 
Defence of his former Book in what he 
called Thefecond Volume of the Moral Philo- 
fopher, or a farther Vindication of Moral 
Truth and Reafon. This was chiefly de- 
figned againft Dr. Lelands, Anfwer to him, 
in which he manifeils the greateft Effron- 
tery, and ufes very indecent Language. 
However, he publiihed a fecond Volume 
of The divine Authority of the Old and New 
\tejlament afferted, in Anfwer to the fecond 
Volume of the Moral Phiiofopher, in 8vo, 
1740. In this Reply every Thing is con- 
fidered, that had any Appearance of Argu- 
ment in this Book, and his unfair Mif- 
reprefentations, his unjuft Afperfions, and 
confident Attempts to impofe Falfhoods up- 
on his Readers, are deteded and expofed*. 
- In 1742 a remarkable Pamphlet ap- 
peared, which is called ChriJHanity not 
founded on Argument, The Author of this 
Piece carried on his Defign againfi: the 
Chriftian Religion in a Manner fomewhat 

♦ Deifiical Writers, Vol. L p. 131, &c. 


xxviii PREFACE. 

different from what others had done before 
him. Under fpecious Appearances of 
Zeal for Religion, and under the Cover 
of devout Exprefiicns, he endeavoured to 
ihew that the Chriftian Faith hath no 
Foundation in Reafon, nor hath any Thing 
to fupport it but a wild and fenfelefs En- 
thuiiafm, deftiture of all Proof and Evi- 
dence. And if this could be made out, it 
would, no Doubt, anfwer the Intention he 
plainly had in View, the expofmg the 
Chriftian Religion to the Derifion and 
Contempt of Mankind. 

In Anfwer to which the Dod:or wrote 
Remarks on a late Pamphlet ijititledy Chrijii- 
anity not founded on Argument^ contained in 
two Letters, which were publiihed fepa- 
rately in 1744. The Defign of this An- 
fwer was not to enter upon a diftin<il and 
particular Account of the Evidences, which 
are ufually produced in Proof of the Chrif- 
tian Revelation, which he had confidered 
largely on fome former Occaiions ; but to 
represent in a clear and concife Manner, 
the Abfurdity and ill Tendency, as well as 
manifold Inconfiftencies of this Writers 
Scheme ; to give a plain Confutation of the 
principal Arguments from Scripture and 
Reafon by which he pretended to fupport 
it, and to deted: and expofe his Fallacies 
and Mifreprefentations ^. 

* Deift. Writers, Vol. I. p. 151, &c. 


P R E F A C E. xxlx 

In the Year 1753 the Doftor pubUihed 
Refledtions on the late Lord Bolingirokes 
Letters on the Study and Ule of Hlflory, 
efpecially fo far as they relate to Chriflia* 
nity and the Holy Scriptures -f-. ^ 

Thus did this good Man moft labori* 
ouily exert himfelf in the Defence of our 
holy Religion. And being more and more 
fully perfuaded of the Truth and divine 
Original, as well as of the great Excellence 
and Importance of Chriftianity to the Vir- 
tue and Happinefs of Mankind, he pub- 
liflied Anfwers to the feveral Authors, 
who with great Art and Induftry endea- 
voured to undermine it, and expofe it as 
an Impofture. And his Anfwers are very 
highly and generally efteemed as among 
the bell Defences of Chriftianity. He was 
indeed a Mafter in this Controverfy ; and 
his Hiftory of it, ftiled, A View of the 
Deijiical Writers, that have appeared in Eng- 
land in the lajl and prefent Century ', with 
Obfervations upon them, andfo?ne Account of 
the Anfwers which have been piiblijhed againjl 
them ; as we are well affured it has been 
exceedingly ufeful, fo it will do lafting Ho^ 
nour to his Name with all who have the 
Intereft of Religion truly at Heart. The 
third Edition of it, improved, was pub* 
lifhed in two large Volumes 8vo, clofely 
printed, in the Year 1757. ^^ ^^^ Conclufion 
of the Preface he fays, *' It gives me fomo 

t Vol. XL p, 265, Sic, 

*^ Concern, 


Concern, that this Work is become Co 
much larger than was at firft intended, 
which I am afraid will prove a Difad* 
vantage to it, and difguft or difcourage 
fome Readers. But 1 hope favourable 
Allowances will be made, confidering 
the Extent of the Defign, and the Variety 
of Matters here treated of. I believe it 
will appear, that there are few Objec- 
tions which have been advanced in this 
Controverfy, but what are taken Notice 
of in the following Work, and either 
fufficicntly obviated, or References are 
made to Books, where fuller Anfwers 
are to be found. May God in his holy 
Providence follow what is now publifhed 
with his Blefling, that it may prove of 
real Service to the important Intercfts of 
Religion among us ; to promote which, 
as far as my Ability reaches, I fhall ever 
account the greateft Happinefs of my 
Life. And it fhould be the Matter of 
our earneft Prayers to God, that all thofe 
who value themfelves upon the honour- 
able Name and Privileges of Chriftians, 
may join in united Efforts to fupport 
fo glorious a Caufe, in which the Pre- 
fervation and- Advancement of true Re- 
ligion and Virtue, the Peace and good 
Order of Society, and the prefent and 
eternal Happinefs of Individuals is fo 
nearly concerned.'* 

Nor did he undergo this extraordinary 



Labour only in the Prime and Vigor of 
Life. His Zeal in the Caufe of Religion 
did not permit him to take Reft even when 
advanced to old Age. When he was pail: 
feventy he was feiz'ed with a violent Fever, 
from which none expedied his Recovery. 
Though he was thoroughly refigned to the 
Will of Heaven, yet he was not only fatis- 
fied but pleafed to have Life a little pro- 
longed, that he might put his finifhing 
Hand to a Work, which had coft him far 
more Labour and Pains than any of his 
former Writings, and which he hoped 
would be of Service to the World, as he 
intended it to be the laft in which he would 
engage. The Work foon after appeared 
to the World in two Volumes 4to, under 
the Title of 'The Advantage and NeceJJity of 
the Chrijiian Revelation, Jhewn from the State 
of Religion in the ancient Heathen World, 
efpecialiy with rejpedl to the Knowledge and 
Worjhip of the one true God -, a Rule of moral 
Duty ; and a State of future Rewards and 
Punijhments : to which is prefixed, a long 
preliminary Difcourfe on natural and revealed 
Religion. This indeed is an amazing Work 
coniidering his Age and Infirmities, as he 
had Recourfe to all that great Variety of 
Books, and generally in the Original, which 
are referred to in it. Nor did the Reception 
it met with in the World difappoint his 
Expedation. It has been lately reprinted 
in two large Volumes 8vo. 

5 After 

xxxii PREFACE. 

After what has been faid, it need fcarcely 
be mentioned, that his many eminent Writ- 
ing§, and unwearied Labours to ferve the 
Chriflian Caufe, in an Age fo prone to 
Infidelity and Licentioufnefs, and profe- 
cuted often in ill Health, and, at beft, in 
a very infirm State of Body, procured him 
a great Name in the learned World, and 
uncommon Marks of Gencrofi ty and Refpe(ft 
from Perfons in the high eft Rank, in the 
eftablifhed Church, both here and in 

Two of the Univerfities in Scotland alfo 
prefented him with Teftimonies of their 
o-reat Regard to his Merit, on account 
of his great Abilities, and ufeful Services to 
the Chriftian World : Glqfgow with his 
Deo-ree of Mafter of Arts, which was pre- 
paratory, according to the Rules of that 
College, to their conferring on him the 
Degree of Dodor of Divinity : which, in 
the mean Time, was fent to him in the 
moft refpeftful Manner by the Univerfity 
and King's College of AberdeeUy in the 

Year 1739* 

But it was not -only his great Learning, 
Abilities as a Writer, or his Miniftrations 
as a Chriftian Paftor, which attrad our high 
Efteem and warm Affedlion. Thefe were 
accompanied by an amiable Temper, and 
a moft exemplary Life. His natural Powers 
muft appear, from what hath been already 
faid, to be very good. He had a quick 
2 Apprc*^ 

PREFACE, xxxiii 

Apprehenfion, Vivacity of Thought, a folid 
Judgment, and a Memory that was really 
amazing ; fo that he was often called a 
walking Library, But his moral Charafter 
"Was truly lovely. As he entertained the 
liobleft Sentiments of the Deity and his 
Perfed:ions, his Providence and moral Ad- 
miniftration, fo his Piety and Devotion was 
liberal, rational, and manly, free from Su- 
pcrftition and Enthufiafm. A Zeal to pro- 
mote the Glory of God, and his Kingdom 
of Truth and Righteoufnefs in the World, 
feemed to be the governing Principle of his 
Life. He walked with God, and had 
pleafing Communion with him in facred 
Meditation, and the Exercife of Prayer and 
Praife. And he enjoyed with fuch Relifli 
that Delight, which is to be found in Fel- 
lowfhip with God, that he could from his 
own Feelings teftify, that the Ways of re- 
Jigious Wifdom are Ways of Pleafantnefs, 
and that the perifhing Pleafures of Senfe 
are not worthy to be compared to the pure 
and noble Joys of Religion and Virtue. 

His Acquiefcence in and Refignation to 
the Will of his heavenly Father, was exer- 
cifed by many fevere Trials and Affiiilions, 
which he bore with an unrepining Sub- 
miffion, and truly Chriftian Patience and 
Fortitude. When he had an Account 
brought him of th© Failure of fome Per- 
fons, in whofe Hands the greateft Part of 
what Money he had was placed, he macje 

[Vol. I.] c fuch 

xxxlvr PREFACE. 

luch Refledions as thefe, which fliewed the 
Temper of his own Mind, and which, I 
dare fay, will be agreeable to the Reader 
to have recited. ** 1 have had an Account 
*' of an Affair, by which I r.m like to be 
** a great Lofer. It hath pleafed God to 
«' cut fliort my fmall Fortune, by one 
*^ Stroke after another, fo that I am de- 
** prived of the greateft Part of my worldly 
" Subftance. What a poor Condition 
*' fhould I be in, if I had no higher or 
*' ftabler Portion ! I have had great Ex- 
*' perience in my own little Affairs of the 
'^ Vanity and Uncertainty of all worldly 
*' Goods, that they are fleeting and tranfi- 
*' tory Things. And if this do but make 
** me more defirous, and earneftly induftri- 
" ous to fecure to myfelf a better, and a 
*' more enduring Subftance, I fhall then 
** be a Gainer by the Lofs. As I believe 
** that the Difappointments I have met 
** with, are all under the wife Ordination 
" of Divine Providence, fo I am perfuaded 
" that it is for wife and righteous Ends 
'* that they have been permitted and or- 
" dained. I find it hard to fupprefs in- 
** ward Uneafinefs, and anxious Cares, 
*' which are apt, on fuch Occafions, to 
" rife up in my Breafc. But bleffed be 
** God, who hath given megreater Strength 
** of Mind to bear up under fach outward 
** Evils, than I have fometimes had, and 
'* hath, I hope, formed me to a Sub- 

^' miffion 




miffion to his Will, and aa Acquiefcence 
in his Difpofals. It is my earneft Defire, 
and fhall be my Endeavour, that no 
worldly Croiles ihall break the Harmony 
of my Spirit, or interrupt the Peace and 
good Order of my Soul, which were it 
to depend meerly on external Accidents 
and Circumll:ances, would be the mod 
precarious and uncertain Thing in the 
World. A Man's Life, that is, the 
Happinefs of his Life, doth not confifl 
in the Abundance that he poffeffeth. I 
fee many, who have a large Affluence 
of worldly Riches, who yet have fo 
many Things to render them uneafy, and 
have fo little Satisfacflion in the Frame 
and Temper of their Minds, that they 
deferve to be pitied rather than envied : 
nor would I, if it were left to my own 

■ Choice, change Conditions with them, 

■ even in this World. And, on the other 

■ Hand, I fee many that are in poor Cir- 
cumftances who yet are eafy and con- 

■ tented : and why may not I be fo too ? 

• I have ftill fomething left, which though 
' but little, is more than many others 
' enjoy. I have not been afllided with 
' pinching Penury and Want. I have 
' ftiil enough to furnifli me with the Ne- 
' ceiTaries and many of the Conveniences 
' of Life. I have Peace and Satisfadion 
' in my own Family. God hath reftored 
c 2 '' me 

xxxvi PREFACE. 

me to a greater Meafu re of Health than 
I had Reafon to expedt. And I am not 
without fome Degree of Reputation and 
Acceptance in the World. But, I hope, 
God hath done far more for me than 
this. That he hath bleffed me with 
fpiritual Bleffings, of an infinitely more 
glorious Nature than any worldly Ad- 
vantages whatfoever ; that he hath by his 
Spirit dravv-n my Heart to the fincere 
prevailing Love and Choice of him for 
my God, and hath given himfelf to me 
to be mine, my God, my Father, my 
Portion and Felicity, in a new and ever- 
lafting Covenant, and hath, I truft, raifed 
me to the lively Hope of a glorious 
Immortality. And if I have an Intereft 
in fuch Privileges and Benefits, and am 
made Partaker of fuch fublime Hopes, 
why fliould I fret and repine that I 
have but a fmall Portion of the Riches 
or Affluence of this prcfent World ? 
Lord, I would not prefcribe to thy 
Wifdom. If it feemeth fit to thee, that 
my Condition here on Earth fhould be 
but poor and mean, thy Will be done, 
I leave it to thee to order my outward 
Affairs and Circumftances according to 
thy own good Pleafure: But what I would 
mofl earneftly defire is, that whatever 
Station or Circumftances I am in, I may 
be enabled to ferve and glorify thee in 
c *' that 


PREFACE, xxxvii 

that Station, and in thofe Circumftances. 
Let me but be an Inftrument for fhew- 
ing forth thy Praifes in the World, and 
promoting the Good of Mankind, as far 
as the Sphere of my AbiUty reacheth ; 
*^ let me but grow in the amiable Graces 
** and Virtues of the Chriftian Life, and 
** have an inward Peace of Confcience, 
** and a Senfe of thy Love and Favour, and 
** I (hall be comparatively little concerned 
*^ about my external Circumftances in this 
'* tranfitory World." In this manner did 
this pious Man fubmit to all the Appoint- 
ments of infinite Wifdom and Goodnelis 
in all the diftreffing Scenes of Life. In- 
deed the whole of his Temper and Condudl 
was regulated by the Principles of that 
Religion, which he fo well knew how to 
defend. And his ftrongeft Defire was to 
approve himfelf to his great Mafter and 

In private Life he was moft regular and 
circumfped. Though he had a natural 
Warmth of Temper, yet, by maintaining 
a ftridt Difcipline over his PafRons, he 
never fuffered it to appear in any improper 
Condud: : and he was temperate in all 

In difcharging the Duties of focial Life, 

5ill^ who had any Connexion or Intercourfc 

with him, will bear Witnefs, how faithful 

^nd upright his Behaviour was 5 how hu- 

c 3 nianc 

xxxviii PREFACE. 

mane and compafTionate, how friendly and 
kind, how well difpofed to do Good, and to 
perform kind Offices to all, according to 
his Ability and Opportunity. 

And in the nearer Relations of Life, how 
tender and affedlionate a Hufband, how 
loving a Brother and Uncle, how faithful a 
Guardian and Friend he was, they who 
flood in thefe Relations to him, have cor- 
dially acknowledged and will gratefully re- 

In more extenfive Relations alfo, he was 
aduated by the fame Goodnefs of Heart, 
and Benevolence of Affecflion. The Wel- 
fare of his Country lay near his Heart, and 
whatever concerned its Intereft muchaf- 
fefled him. As he had enlarged Views of 
the higheft Concerns of Mankind, and of 
the Importance of Virtue and Religion to 
promote their Happinefs -, fo with an un- 
ceafing Affiduity, he was ever ready to do 
his utmoft in fo worthy a Caufe. The 
Sentiments and good Difpofitions of Hearty 
with relation to this Subjedl, are rnoft feel- 
ingly and pathetically expreifed in his Con- 
clufion of the Fiew of the principal T>eijlical 
Writers, &cc. which is an Addrefs to Dei/is, 
and profcjfid Chrijlians ; and in the Appen- 
dix to that Work, which contains Reflec- 
tions on the prefent State of Things in thefe 

By a happy Fortitude and Firmnefs of 



Mind he was always the fame Man; and 
could not be diverted by any Solicitation to 
ad: contrary to the deliberate Senfe of his 
own Mind, and v4iat he regarded as his 
Duty. He was a Man of the greateft Mo- 
defty, and the ftrifteft Integrity, and knew 
not how to flatter or diffemble. At the 
fame Time he behaved with great Pru- 
dence and Difcretion, and took care not to 
give needlefs Offence to any. For one of 
his ftudious and retired Life, he had a great 
Knowledge of the World, which was ufe- 
ful to himfelf, and qualified him to give 
good Counfel to thofe that applied to him, 
in Cafes that were important and perplexed. 

In fhort, his Heart was filled with Love 
to God, and Zeal for his Glory : and, in 
Conformity to the Charadler of our bleffed 
Saviour, he delighted to do the Will of his 
heavenly Father. -^And in his Behaviour 
to Men, he was meek and humble, candid 
and condefcending ; and aded under the 
Influence of that Charity "* wiicA fu£ereth 
long and is kind j which envieth not , which 
'vaunteth not it/elf -y is not puffed up ; doth 
not behave it/elf unfeemly ; Jeeketh not her 
own ; is not eajily provoked *, thijiketh no 
Evil', rejoice th not in Iniquity y but rejoiceth 
in the Truth. 

It is very remarkable, that though the 
Fever, before mentioned, left him ex- 

* I Cor. xlil. 4, 5j 6. 

c 4 tremely 


tremely weak, yet he not only recovered 
his former Strength, but felt an Eafe and 
Vigour, to which he had been a Stranger 
for many Years before ; going on in his 
public Miniftrations with greater Life and 
Spirit, which was obferved with Pleafure 
by all who attended on them : and he much 
fooner got over the Fatigue of public Ser- 
vice than formerly : fo that his Youth 
feemed, in a manner, to be req^wed. Such 
a Change was a kind of Miracle to him. 

This improved State of Health continued 
till a few Months hefpre his Death, when 
he felt Symptoms which were thought the 
Prefages of a painful chronical Difeafe. 
Thefe Appearances, however, by fkilful 
Advice and proper Medicines, abated. And 
as he was advifed to walk as the prppereil: 
Exercife for him, he got Cold in a moift 
Day, which he neglected till it fixed in his 
Breaft, and raifed an Inflammation there. 
And then, notwithftanding all that Art 
and Tendernefs could do, the Diforder foon 
overpowered his weak and feeble Frame. 
But his intelledlual Powers were unim- 
paired and lively to the laft. He had the 
Sentence of Death in himfelf, and had no 
Notion that he could recover, though his 
Friends, when he got :.ny Eafe, flattered 
themfelves with the Hope of it. With a 
Head perfeftly clear, and a Mind quite eafy 
and compofed, he gave Direftions for what 



Jie thought proper to be done ; and fpent 
his Time in moft affedling Exhortations to 
thofe who were about him, and in adoring 
the Wifdom and Goodnefs of Divine Pro- 
vidence towards him. He faid, the Mer- 
cies he had received from God were more 
than could be numbered ; and though he 
had been exercifed with various AfHid:ions, 
he trufted, that in the Iffue they had proved 
real Bleffing% He difcovered great Humi- 
lity in acknowledging his manifold Infir- 
mities and Defecfls. " Whatever others 
*' may think of me, faid he, I, who have 
*^ Reafon to know myfelf beft, am fenfible 
*' I have made but a fmall Progrefs ia 
** Righteoufnefs and true Holinefs, or even 
*' in Knowledge and Learning, in Compa- 
^* rifon of what I might have done, if I 
*' had been more careful to make the beft 
" Ufe of my Time, and of the Means and 
** Opportunities that have been put into 
■ * my Hands." Thus lowly was this good 
Man ! And moft devoutly did he celebrate 
the Riches of divine Grace through 'Jefus 
Chriji. ** I give my dying Teftimony" 
faid he with a kind of Emotion, *^ to the 
** Truth of Chriftianity. The precious 
*' Promifes of the Gofpel are my Support 
** and Confolation. They alone yield true 
*' Satisfaction in a dying Hour. I am not 
'' afraid to die* The Gofpel of Chrift 
^? hath raifed me above the Fear of Death : 

" for 

xlii PREFACE. 

^* for I know that my Redeemer liveth ; 
" and that if this earthly Houfe of our Ta- 
- bernacle were diflblved, we have a Build- 
*' ing of God, an Houfe not made with 
^* Hands, eternal in the Heavens." 

A little before he died, he was raifed up, 
and with his own Hands took fome Re- 
frefhment, and lay down again compofed to 
reft : when in a few Minutes, without any 
Agony or Struggle, without S^gh or Groan, 
he quietly breathed his laft, and fell afleep 
in the Lord the i6th of "January 1766, 
and in the 75th Year of his Age. 

The Goodnefs of Divine Providence is 
to be gratefully acknowledged for prolong- 
ing his valuable Life to fuch an advanced 
Age, which from the natural Weaknefs of 
his Conftitution, and frequent Returns of 
bodily Diforders there was little Pvcafon to 

This Reflexion, together with the pleaf- 
ing Circumftance, that he did not outlive 
himfelf, his Enjoyment, his CharavSter, or 
his Ufefulnefs, gives great Confolation. 
And blejjed are the dead mho die in the Lordy 
that they may rejl from their Labours, ana 
their Works do follow them. Let me die the 
Death of the righteous, and let my laji End 
be like his ! 




O F T H E 



The Being and Perfcftions of God proved 
from his Works. 

Romans i. 20. 

For the invijibk Things of him from the Cre-* 
ation of the World are clearly feen^ being 
underjiood by the Things that are made, 
iven his eternal Power and Godhead. 

Page I. 



On the Eternity of God. 

Psalm xc. 2. 

Before the Mountains were brought forth ^ or 
ever thou hadf formed the Earthy or the 
World y even from ever la/ling to everlajling 
thou art God. P. 77. 


On ^e Omnlprefence of God, 

Psalm cxxxix. 7> 8, 9, 10. 

Whither Jhall I go from thy Spirit ? or 
whither Jhall I fee from thy Prefence? If 
I afcend up into Heaven^ thou art there : 
if Imah my Bed in Heli, behold ^ thou art 
there : if I take the Wings of the Morn- 
ings and dwell in the utter mojl Parts of the 
Sea i even there fhall thy Hand lead me^ 
and thy right Hand Jhall hold ine. P. 109* 

The C O N T E N T S; 


On the Omnifcience of God. 

Psalm cxxxIx. i. — 6. 

O LorJy thou hafi Jearched me, and knonmi 
me. Thou knoweji my Down-fitting and 
mine Vp-rifing, thou underjlandefi my 
Thoughts afar off. Thou compaffefi my 
Pathr and my lying down^ and art ac-^ 
quaint ed with all my Ways. For there is 
not a Word in my To?2gue, but loy O Lord, 
thou knoweji it altogether. Thou haft be'- 
fet me behind and before^ and laid thine 
Hand upon me. Such Knowledge is too 
wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot 
attain unto it. P. i6i» 


On the Holinefs of God. 

Habak. i. 13. 

Thou ^rt of purer Eyes than to behold Bvih 
and canft not look on Iniquity. ' P. 199, 



On the Goodnefs of God. 
I John iv. 8. 

God is Love. P. 225* 

On the Truth and Faithfulnefs of God, 

Psalm cxvii. 2. 

^he Truth of the Lord endureth for ever. 
Praife ye the Lord. P. 283. 

On the Unchangcablenefs of God, 

James i. 17. 

Every good Gft^ and every perfeB Gift is 
from above y and comet h down from the 
Father of Lights, with "whom is no Vari- 
ablenefsy neither Shadow of Turnifig- 

p. 325. 


On the Divine Happinefs. 

I Tim. vL 15. 

Who is the hlejjed and only Potentate^ 

the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, 


On the Divine Dominion. 
I Tim. vi. 15. 

'Who is the bleffed and only Potentate, 

the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. 

P. 361, 


On doing all to the Glory of God* 

I Cor. X. 31. 

Whether therefore ye eat or drifik, or what-" 
foever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. 

P. 379. 

The C O N T £ M r 


On being Followers of God. 

Ephesians v. I. 

Be ye therefore Followers of Gody as dear 
Cbildren* P* 4x1, 


l^he Bet7^g and PerfeEiions of God 
f roved from his Worh. 


Romans i. 20. 

For the invijibk Things of him from the Crea- 
tion of the World are clearly feen^ being un- 
derjlood by the Things that are made, eve?i 
his eternal Power and Godhead. 

F'W^ HAT there is a God that made 
the World and all Things in it, 
and that he is pofleffed of all 
poffible Perfedions, is a Princi- 
ple that lieth at the Foundation of all Pve- 
ligion, and therefore it is of the higheil 
Importance to us, to endeavour to get our 
Minds well eftablifhed in the Belief of it. 
And thefe remarkable Words of the Apoftle 
[Vol. I.] B Paul, 


PauU direct us to that which hath been 
always accounted the ftrongeft Evidence of 
this great Truth, and which is at the 
fame Time th6 moft obvious to the com- 
mon Senfe and Reafon of Mankind. For, 
by confidering the Works of Nature in 
this vaft, beautiful,- and well-ordered Syftem 
of the Univerfe, wc are naturally led to 
acknowledge a fupreme, eternal, and ab- 
folutely perfedl Caufe and Author of all 
Things, infinitely powerful, wife, and 
good. This Argument hath been handled 
at large by many excellent Perfons, with 
great Strength of Reafon and Compafs of 
Learning. But I fhall Content myfelf with 
treating it in a plain and popular Way : 
And, firft, ihall lay before you as briefly 
and clearly as I can, the Proofs of the Ex- 
igence of God from the Works of Crea- 
tion : And then fhall proceed to take a 
fummary View of thofe Excellencies and 
Perfediions that eflentially belong to the 
great Author and Parent of the Univerfe, 
and which, though invifible to the bodily 
Eye, are underftood by the Things which 
he hath made. 

I fliall confider the Proofs of the Exift- 
ence of God as manifefted from the 
Works of Creation. And that we may 
the better feel the Force of this Argument, 
let us take a Rife from our own Exiftencey 



and then proceed to a general Survey of tlie 
feveral Parts of this vait itniverfal Syftem 
as far as they come within our Notice, 
and obferve how they all confpire to lead 
our Thoughts to a mod wife and power- 
ful Caufe and Author, which Vfe call God. 
There is nothing of which v/e are more 
certain than that we ourfelves have a Be- 
ing. And upon furveying our own Frame, 
we find, that even this Body of Flefli 
which we carry about with us^ beareth 
evident Marks of the moft wife Contri- 
vance. It confifleth of an amazing Variety 
of Parts, many of them exquifitely minute 
and fine, all difpofed in the propereft Situ- 
ation for Convenience, Utility, or Beauty, 
moft aptly correfponding to one another, 
and excellently fitted to their feveral Ends 
and Ufes. When we obferve the admira- 
ble Provifion that is made for the Circu- 
lation of the Blood, for receiving and di- 
gefting the Food, and diftributing proper 
Nourifhment through the Body, as well 
as for ejecting and difcharging what is fu- 
perfluous ; the curious Stru(5ture of the 
Organs, which are defigned for carrying 
on the feveral Motions vital or fpontaneous, 
or that minifter to the Senfes of feeing, 
hearing, fmelling, &c. or which contri- 
bute to the Ufe of Speech, which is of fuch 
vaft Advantage in human Life ; v/hcn we 
B 2 Confider 


confider thefe Things, together with the 
Dignity of the human Form and Afped:, 
we can fcarce help breaking forth into 
that rapturous Strain of the devout Pfal- 
mift, / wi/I praife thee, for I am fearfully 
and wonderfully made. Pfal. cxxxix. 14. 
There appeareth a Wifdom in all this 
that is perfedlly aftonifhing. After the 
diligent Enquiries of the mofl fagacious 
Anatomifls for a long Succeffion of Ages, 
there are ftill many Things in the human 
Body that are not yet fully difcovered, and 
the more we know of them, the greater 
Matter we find for our Admiration. 

But ftill more wonderful is the human 
Mind, or that noble Principle in us diftindt 
from this corruptible Flefli, which is the 
Subjed: of the amazing Powers of Under- 
ftanding. Will, Imagination, Memory, 
and of moral Qualities and AfFe(flions. 
We plainly find that we are capable of 
taking in numberlefs Ideas of Things, not 
only fenfible and corporeal, but fpiritual 
and invifible. Vv^e are capable of con- 
templating the Beauty, Order, and Har- 
mony of the Univerfe, and of afcending 
in our Thoughts above this Earth, and 
the Things of this prefent vifible World, 
to the abfolutely perlecft Being, who is un- 
feen to an Eye of Senfe, and is infinite and 
eternal. We are capable of refleding and 



comparing Things, of reafoning and judg- 
ing, of looking back upon the paft, of 
beholding Things prefent, and looking 
forward to the future. We are confcious 
to ourfelves that we are moral Agents ; that 
we have a Power of willing, and chooiing, 
and of determining our own Acflions, and 
paffing a Judgment upon them ; and that 
we ^ have an inward Senfe of the moral 
Differences of Things, and of what is 
beautiful and deformed in Affedllons and 
Adlions, and which, where it is not de- 
praved by corrupt Habits and Prejudices, 
carrieth us to approve and admire the 
Things that are juft, and pure, and ho- 
neft, and lovely, and virtuous, and praife- 
worthy, and to difapprove and condemn 
the contrary; and, in a Word, that we 
are endued with Faculties which, if duly 
improved, are capable of fublime Attain- 
ments in Knowledge and Virtue. 

We farther find, that this noble think- 
ing Subftance is very clofely united to the 
Body in this prefent State, in a Manner 
which we are not able to explain, and this 
Union is governed by certain Lav/s, and 
confined within certain Bounds and Li- 
mits, it extendeth to fuch a Degree and 
no farther, by virtue of which there is a 
wonderful Conned:ion eftablifl^>ed between 
certain Motions and Imprellions on the 
B 3 Body, 


Body, and certain Senfations and AfFeftions 
in the Soul, and the Senfes are adjufted 
and difpofed in fuch a Manner as is mofl 
proper for the Ufe and Convenience of hu- 
man Life. Man, conlidered in this View, 
is one of the moft admirable Compofi- 
tions in all Nature, nearly allied to the 
fpiritual and material World, and having 
both united in himfelf. 

A frefh Scene of Wonders openeth to us, 
when we farther confider the Care that 
is taken for continuing the human Species, 
the remarkable Diftin6lion between the 
Sexes, and their mutual Propenfions, and 
the admirable Provifion that is made for 
nourifhing and bringing up their Offspring. 
To which may be added, the kind and fo- 
cial Affections implanted in the human 
Heart, which tend to bind Men to one 
another, and ihew that they are naturally 
defigned and formed for Society, and for 
all the Offices of mutual Affiftance and 

Whilft upon confidering thefe Things 
we are filled with Aftonifliment at our 
own Frame, we cannot but be fenfible 
that it is in no Senfe owing to ourfelves, 
fmce we did not bring ourfelves into Be- 
ring. Nor was it owing to the Power 
and Skill of our Parents. They knew 
as little as we do how the curious Fa- 

^ brie 


bric of our Bodies was formed and fafhi- 
oned, and the feveral Parts of which it 
confifteth difpofed in fo excellent an Order. 
Much lefs were they the Authors and 
Contrivers of the Mind with its noble 
Faculties and Powers ; nor did they ap- 
point and eftablifh the Laws of Union be- 
tween both. They themfelves came alfo 
into Being the fame Way that we did, and 
their Bodies and Souls were formed and 
united in the fame Manner, without their 
having any Part in it, or knowing how it 
was done. And the fame Thing muft be 
faid of their Parents, and fo on to the iirft 
Progenitors of the human Race, for to the 
lirfl; Progenitors we muft come at laft, 
and they no more than their Dependants 
were the proper Authors or Contrivers 
of their own Frame. Nor could it be ori- 
ginally owing to a blind Chance or Ne- 
ceflity. For what greater Abfurdity can 
there poffibly be, than to fuppofe that an 
unintelligent Chance or Neceffity could be 
able to produce thinking intelligent Be- 
ings ? We muft therefore rife in our 
Thoughts to a moft wife as well as power- 
ful Agent or Caufe, who contrived the 
admirable human Frame, in which there 
are fuch evident Marks of Wifdom and 
Defign, who gave Exiftence to the firft 
Parents of Mankind, from whom the reft 
B 4 have 


have proceeded, and who ftill prefideth 
over the Produdion of this Race of Beings, 
according to the Laws and Order which 
he himfelf hath eftabHfhed. 

Again, If we carry our Views to the 
Brute Animals, we fee all around us a Va- 
riety of Beings that have Life and Senfa- 
tion as well as we, but which plainly ap- 
pear to be of an inferior Kind, not furnilli-- 
ed with fuch noble intellectual Faculties, 
nor proper Subjefts of moral Government, 
yet all of them endued with admirable 
Powers and Appetites, whereby they are 
enabled to diflinguifh what is good and 
ufeful to them from what is hurtful and 
prejudicial, and are ftrongly and fteadily 
inclined to purfue the one and to avoid 
the other. Lnnumerably various as they 
are, there is proper Food provided for each 
of them, for receiving and digefting of 
which, the Fabric of their Body and Dif- 
pofition of its Parts, is wonderfully difpof- 
ed. To vAich may be added, the ftro ng 
Inclinations v/hereby they are carried to 
Dropagate their feveral Species, the Ap- 
paratus of Parts fitted for it, and the wife 
and powerful Inftln^ts whereby they are 
urged and diredled to nourlih and provide 
for their Young, and to take the propereft 
Meafures for that Purpofe, and eicercife 
a tender Care over them, whilfl: thev ft^nd 



in need of that Care, and till they are 
able to fliift for themfelves. Who can 
without Wonder take a View of the num- 
berlefs Tribes of Infeds and Reptiles, 
four-footed Beafts, and flying Fowl, each of 
them provided with proper Organs and 
Inftruments exactly alike in all the Indi^ 
viduals of the fame Species, which are 
wonderfully adapted to their feveral Mo- 
tions, and to that Kind of Life for which 
they are plainly defigned ? many of them 
of a furprifmg Small nefs, and yet in that 
fmall Bulk furniihed with an amazing 
Multiplicity of Parts moft nicely and cu- 
rioufly contrived. Others of them to be 
admired for their Largenefs and Strength, 
fome for their Agility and Swiftnefs, fome 
for the Beauty of their Colours, or for 
the Finenefs and comely Proportion of 
their Shapes ; others for their Boldnefs and 
Courage, or for their Sagacity and Cun- 
ning, All of them fubfervient to Man, 
and contributing to his Pleafure, IJ{q, and 
Entertainment, in fuch various Ways, that 
there could fcarce be any tolerable living 
for us on Earth v/ithout them. It is ma- 
nifeft that they did not make themfelves, 
nor did Man make them for his own Conve- 
nience, nor could they be the Effeds of 
any blind undefigning Nature, but muft 
Qvve their Exiftence to a fuperior intellin 



gent Caufe. For if thofe Engines that 
are the EfFedls of human Art and Contri- 
vance, plainly fhew Wifdom and adlive 
Intelligence in the Caufe that produced 
them; how much more muft this be ac- 
knowledged concerning the Brute Animals, 
the Mechanifm of whofe Bodies is incom- 
parably more curious than any Engines that 
were ever invented by Man, and who are 
endued with the wonderful Pov/ers of Life, 
Self-motion, and Senfation, together with 
various Inftindls, entirely diftindl from, 
and vaftly fuperior to all the Powers of 
Mechanifm, and the utmoft Efforts of hu- 
man Art or Skill. They muft therefore 
have proceeded from a Power and Wif- 
dom that exceedeth our Comprehenfion% 
And upon comparing them with Man, 
to whom they are fubordinate, and whom 
they refemble in what regardeth the fenfi- 
tive Life, we are led to conclude that the 
fame moil v/ife and powerful Being that 
made Man, did alfo make thefe inferior 
Animals, and gave them their feveral 
Povv^ers and Inllincfls, whereby they are 
fitted for the Enjoyment of that Life 
which Vvas defigned them, and for being 
ufeful to Man, who is fitted by his Rea- 
fon for exercifing a Dominion over them, 
and was evidently intended to be the prin- 
cipal Inhabitant of this lower World. 



From Man and the Brute Animals let 
us turn our Views to this Earth which we 
inhabit ; and here we find we are placed 
in a World amply furnifhed for the Suf- 
tenance and Entertainment of the various 
Kinds of living Creatures that dwell upon 
it, and efpecially for the Ufe and Delight 
of Mankind. Its Surface is generally 
overfpread with an agreeable Verdure, and 
diverfified with Hills and Vallies, Moun- 
tains and Plains, Fields, Woods, and 
Groves, Rivers and Fountains, which are 
in their feveral Ways of manifold Ufe, 
as well as contribute to the Beauty and 
Variety of Profpeil. Its Bowels are flored 
with vaft Magazines of Metals, Stones, 
and Minerals, of great Advantage to the 
Service of human Life, and capable of be- 
ing employed to a thoufand Ufes. But 
efpecially it fhould fill us with Aftonifh- 
ment to furvey the unfpeakable Variety of 
Plants, Trees, Flowers, and Grain, arifing 
in numberlefs beautiful Forms out of the 
dark Bofom of the Earth, to which they 
adhere by their Roots, and from whicla 
they derive their Nouriihment, all fpring- 
ing up from their feveral Seeds, according 
to conftant and fettled Laws, which they 
themfelves know nothing of, and which 
yet they invariably purfue. They are not 
endued like the Animals with Perception 



and Senfation, and yet have an inferior 
Kind of Life whereby they vegetate and 
grovi^, and rife up through a gradual and 
orderly Progreffion into Maturity. No- 
thing can be more admirable than the 
great Variety of Veflels with which they 
are furniflied, the Contrivance of which 
is inimitably curious, and which are all fo 
wonderfully fimilar in all the fame Species>^ 
that no i\rt, no Power or Skill of Man 
is able to effed: the like. Their Vegeta- 
tion, their Growth, their Produ(ftions of 
Leaves, Bloflbms, Buds, Fruits, &c. at*e 
all conducfted by the wifefl: Rules, and 
kindly contrived for the Ufe of the living 
Creatures that dwell upon the Earth, for 
Food and Medicine, for Covert, Shade, 
and Pleafure. Grafs groweth for the Cat- 
tky and Herb, or Grain, for the Service of 
Many as the Pfalmift fpeaks, Pfal. civ. 14. 
The former fliooteth up in vaft Quantities 
all over the Earth of its own accord, and 
without Cultivation, becaufe defigned to 
be Food for the Brute Creatures, who 
cannot cultivate the Ground; the latter 
furnifheth an agreeable and nourifhing Food 
for Man, but then it is fo ordered, that it 
is not ordinarily produced or fitted for his 
Ufe without Care and Pains in cultivating 
the Ground, for which he is v/ell qualified, 
jhough the Brutes. are not. Nor hath the 



Earth after fo long a Succeffion of Ages 
loft its Fertility. There is Provifion mads 
for conftantly repairing and renewing it, 
and even the Corruption of thofe Bodies 
that lie and rot upon its Surface, is by a 
remarkable Contrivance made to contribute 
to this Purpofe. It were Madnefs to 
fuppofe that all this is properly and ori- 
ginally owing to the Earth itfelf, which is 
a dull heavy Mafs of fenfelefs Matter, in- 
'capable in itfelf of doing or contriving 
any Thing, or that it is by an undefigning 
Chance that it emitteth fuch a Variety of 
Produdions, in fuch a regular Way, and ac- 
cording to fixed Laws. Thefe are evident- 
ly the Appointments of a moft wife A- 
gent, who, as he made Man, and the fe- 
veral Kinds of Brute Animals, did alfo 
contrive the curious Mechanifm of Plants, 
and did form the Earth, and difpofe it in- 
to the Order in which we now behold it, 
and hath liberally furniflied it with every 
Thing that might render it a commodious 
Habitation for the Creatures that live 
upon it. All thefe Things are fo excel- 
lently adapted to one another, and have 
fuch a mutual Relation and Dependence, 
as plainly fhew them to be the Work and 
Contrivance of one v.dfe and beneficent 
Author and Difpofer. 



While we are furveying this Earth, ano- 
ther amazing Scene openeth to our View, 
the great and wide Sea, that huge Col- 
ledion of Waters, which, by a wonderful 
Provifion, is every where impregnated with 
vaft Quantities of Salt, and is fubjedied 
to a regular Ebbing and Flowing, whereby 
it is kept in conflant Motion, and is pre- 
ferved from ftagnating afid putrefying," 
which might be of the wofft Confequence* 
This, as well as the Land, is ftored with 
a nuriiberlefs Variety of living Creatures, 
many of them of huge Bulk and Strength, 
all of them wonderful in their feveral 
Forms, and framed in fuch a Manner, 
and their Organs fo difpofed, as plainly 
fhews that they are originally fitted and 
defigned to live in the watry Element, 
which is mortal to other earthly Crea- 
tures* Thefe, as well as the Land Ani- 
mals, are of Ufe to Mankind. Befides 
which, the Sea itfelf is of great Advantage 
to us, not only as it ferveth for maintain- 
ing an Intercourfe between the moft dif- 
tant Nations, but as it is the great Fund 
of Vapours, which are continually exhaled 
by the Heat of the Sun in vaft Quantities 
from its Surface, and being freed from 
their Salts in a Manner which we are 
not able to explain, are raifed up into the 
Airy from whence they defcend upon the 



Earth, fertilizing and moiftenlng It, and 
furnifliing Drink to living Creatures, as 
well as conftant Supplies to Fountains and 
Rivers w^hich again run into the Sea- 
Thus there is a perpetual Circulation of 
Waters from the Earth to the Ocean, from 
the Ocean to the Earth again ; by which 
conftant and regular Circulation, both the 
Sea and Rivers are preferved, and fuch a 
Proportion is maintained between them^ 
that neither the one nor the other, in a 
long Courfc of Ages, is confiderably either 
increafed or diminiflied. 

And here the fame R.efledions recur 
that were made on the other Parts of this 
Globe. All this plainly pointeth to one 
original Caufe of great Wifdom as well as 
Power, who made th€ Earth with the fe- 
veral Kinds of Plants and Animals upon it, 
and did alfo form the Sea, and ftored it 
with innumerable living Creatures both 
fmall and great. To him it is owing that 
the Water, though lighter than the Earth, 
is not fpread all over it like the Air, 
which would prove deftrudlive both to 
Plants and the greater Part of Animals, 
but hath proper Receptacles provided for 
it, where it is laid up as in Store-houfes, 
and is conveyed by innumerable Canals 
throueh the Earth in fuch a Manner as 
may render it of the greateft Ufe. And 
3 the 


the Shores, with the Sand lodged there irt 
inconceivable Quantities, are fo difpofed 
as to form a Kind of natural Dike, the 
moft effectual that can be to reprefs the 
Fury of the boifterous Ocean, fo that 
though the Waters thereof tofs themfehes, yet 
can they not prevail -y though they roar^ yet 
can they not pafs over if, Jer. v. 22. 

From the Earth and Sea let us afcend 
in our Thoughts to the Air which encom- 
pafleth this Globe, and hath a manifejft 
Relation to it. And here we behold new 
Marks of the mofl: wife and aftoni(hing 
Contrivance, though after all our Refearches 
it is but little that we underftand of the 
Nature of that wonderful Fluid which we 
call Air, yet its great Ufe and abfolute 
Neceffity to the Subfiftence of Man, and of 
all other Animals upon Earth, is obvious to 
the moft fuperficial Enquirer. It is the 
vital Element in which v/e breathe, and 
without Vv'hich we can fcarce live a Mo- 
ment y and it is neceffary not only to the 
Life of Animals, but to the Vegetation 
of Plants, and produceth numberlefs fur- 
prifing Effects upon all earthly Bodies. 
And is it poffible here not to acknowledge 
a moft wife prefiding Mind, who hath fo 
conftituted the Air, that though it hath in 
it a Mixture of a ftrange Variety of In- 
gredients, yet it ordinarily retaineth that 



Quality which rendereth it fo ufeful and 
heceffary to Life, and who hath caufed it 
to be ftretched forth over the whole Earth 
and Sea, as being of univerfal Advantage, 
and hath furnifhed all Animals, and even 
Plants, with curious Veffels moft exquifite- 
ly contrived for this very Purpofe, that 
they may receive the Air, and have the 
Benefit of it ? The Air contributeth not 
only to our Life and Health, but in num- 
berlefs Inftances to our Convenience and 
Pleafure. It refrefheth us by its balmy In- 
fluence, and is the great Means of con- 
veying Sounds, not only the Sound of 
Words whereby Converfation is maintain- 
ed among Men, but all the pleafmg Airs 
of Mufic and Harmony to the Ear, which 
is accordingly provided with Organs ad- 
mirably fitted to receive them. 

The Air may alfo be confidered in an- 
other View, as the Region of Vapours and 
Meteors. There is the balancing of the 
Clouds, which are wonderfully fofpended 
in the Air, and form a fair and ample Ca- 
nopy over our Heads, and at proper Sea- 
fons are diflblved, not breaking at once up- 
on us in mighty Spouts and Torrents, 
which would be of very bad Confequence, 
but defcending upon the Earth in Drops 
of Rain or Dew. There are the Trea- 
fures of Snow and Hail, and there the 

[Vol- L] C Light- 


Lightnings blaze, and the Thunders roar, 
which are of Ufe to purify the Air, as well 
as to ftrike aftonifhed Mortals with a re- 
ligious Awe of the above Power and Ma- 
jefty. There the Winds are formed which 
are fo neceflary to waft the Clouds and 
Vapours to the moft diftant Parts, to fan 
and clear the Air, and to fcatter and dif- 
pel noxious Streams, as well as for carry- 
ing on Navigation and Commerce, and for 
a thoufand other Ufes. From the dread- 
ful EfFeifts which thefe Things fometimes 
produce, we may judge what a miferable 
Cafe we (hould be in, if they were left to 
a blind and giddy Chance. But it is our 
Comfort to think they are under a moft 
wife and powerful Diredlor, who at firft 
formed and appointed, and ftill governeth 
the Meteors and the vaft Army of Va- 
pours floating in the Air, and regulateth 
them by fuch Laws, and in fuch a Man- 
ner, that they are fometimes made Ufe of 
by him for executing his righteous Judg- 
ments, fo upon the whole they are great- 
ly beneficial to the Earth and to Man- 
kind. How (hould we admire and adore 
him, who, according to the beautiful Lan- 
guage of holy Writ, maketh fmall the 
Drops of Watery which the Clouds dropy and 
dijiil upon Man abundantly, whogheth Snow 
like V/ooU and fcattereth the hoar Fro/i like 


15 ISC OUR SE I. 19 

Ajhes ; who weigheth the Winds ^ and hrijig- 
'eih them forth out df his Treafuries ; who 
thunder eth mdrvelloujly with his Voice 'y and, 
with regard to many other Appearances in 
thofe airy Regions, doeth great things which 
we cannot comprehend ! 

And now upon this fhort and general 
Survey of bur Globe, in v/hich there are 
fo many Things that fhew the moft ad- 
mirable Contrivance, we are almoft irrelifti- 
bly led to acknowledge a moft wife and 
mighty Intelligence, that formed Man, the 
Brute Animals, the Earth, the Sea, the 
Air, fb wonderfully correfponding to one 
ahother, and all concurring to make up one 
habitable Globe : Nor could any one of 
them be wanting without great Detriment 
afid Prejudice to the whole. 

And yet our Reflections muft not ftop 
here. It is evident that what we have 
been coniidering is but Part of a larger 
Syftem, to which it hath a manifeft Rela- 
tion. This Earth of ours, with its fur- 
rounding Atmofphere, is but an inconfide- 
rable Point compared with this vaft and 
ipacious Univerfe, beyond Imagination 
great and magnificent. On every Side of 
us we behold a wide and glorious Ex- 
panfe, an,d in it many fhining Orbs, ef- 
|>ecia}ly that glorious Body the Sun, which 
enlighteneth, warmeth, and animateth our 
C 2 World, 


World, and without whofe chearing Influ- 
ences and Rays, Life, Vegetation, and 
Motion, would foon be extinguifhcd in all 
Animals and Plants, and this whole Earth 
and Sea become one ufelefs Lump of con- 
gealed Matter. Who can without Afto- 
nifhment confider the Light, which is of 
a Nature fo inimitably fine and fubtile, fo 
adlive and penetrating ? It {hooteth down 
from the Sun to the Earth, an immenfe 
Diftance, w^ith a Swiftnefs exceeding all hu- 
man Imagination, and is capable of num- 
berlefs Reflections and Refradtions, per- 
formed according to certain fixed Laws, 
whereby all the Beauties of Colours, and 
a Variety of the moft pleafing and tranf- 
porting Scenes are prefented to our Eyes, 
which are accordingly moft exquifitely 
contrived and formed for receiving them. 
It is manifeft that the Light is made for 
the Eye, and the Eye for Light, the one 
of thefe would be ufelefs without the other, 
and both are to be afcribed to the fame 
wife and powerful Caufe and Author. 

It is wifely ordered that the Earth and 
San are placed in fo commodious a Situa- 
tion towards one another, neither too near, 
nor too remote, and the annual and diurnal 
Motions fo regulated, as to produce the 
f^rateful Viciflitudes of Day and Night, 
and the ftated orderly Returns of the Sea- 



fons, both for our Ufe and for our Plea- 

It is alfo a wife and kind Provifion, that 
the Moon is appointed to perform its 
monthly Courfe round the Earth in fuch 
a Manner as to yield to us a comfortable 
and refrefhing Light in the Abfence of the 
Sun, which Light it deriveth from that 
glorious Luminary, and reflefteth to our 
Earth. It corred:eth the cold Damps of 
the Night, and hath a great Influence on 
the Tides, and on the Bodies of Animals 
and Plants. 

The other Planets alfo perform their fe- 
veral Courfes at proper Diftances from the 
Earth and Sun, according to an eftablifhed 
Rule and Order, from which they have not 
deviated through fo long a Succeffion of 
Ages. And now it ncedeth but little Re- 
flediion to convince us that thefe heaven- 
ly Bodies, the Sun, Moon, and Planets, 
did not form themfelves, or affign to them- 
felves the Stations they hold in the Uni- 
verfe, or the Courfes they purfue. Nor 
could the wonderful Compofition of thofe 
huge Orbs, the nice Adjuftment of their 
Motions and Diflances, their mutual Re- 
lations and Dependencies, the amazing 
Conftancy and Regularity of their Cour- 
fes, and the wife and fteady Laws by 
which they are governed, any Deviation 
C 3 from 


from which would foon bring the whole 
Syftem into Confufion, be poffibly the Efr 
fedts of a blind Chance, or of any unintel- 
ligent undeligning Caufe. We are apt to 
admire an artificial Sphere in which are 
reprefented, though in a very imperfedl 
Manner, the regular Motions of the Sun 
and Planets, and their Situation with re- 
fpedl to one another, as a curious Piece of 
Art which fheweth a great deal of Skill 
and Contrivance. But how infinitely doth 
this fall fhort of the Wifdom as well as 
Power that was requifite to form thefe 
ftupendous Bodies, to difpofe them in their 
proper Situations, to appoint them their fe- 
veral Courfes, and to preferve and main- 
tain them in that juft and beautiful Order, 
which is moft for the Advantage and 
Harmony of the whole ! Upon confidering 
all this, we are led by the cleareft Princi- 
ples of Rcafon to conclude, that as well 
the Sun and planetary Orbs, as the Earth, 
Sea, concur to make one great Syftem, of 
which this Globe of ours is but a Part, 
owe their Exlftence and Prefervation to 
one and the fame moft wife, powerful, 
and beneficent Author. And if we far-r 
ther confider the Comets which now and 
then appear with their blazing Train, 
whofe Courfes, though feemingly irregular, 
and different from thpfe of qther Planets, 
2 yet 


yet according to the moft accurate Obfer- 
vations are all governed by fixed Laws, and 
efpecially if we raife our Views to the in- 
numerable fixed Stars, removed from us at 
a Diftance which exceedeth all human 
Computation, each of them acknowledged 
by all that confider thefe Things with 
Attention to be huge Orbs of Light, Bo- 
dies of prodigious Magnitude and Splen- 
dor, and probably fo many Suns, attended 
with furrounding Planets, this openeth a 
new Scene of Wonders ftill more grand 
and aftonifhing than what we have been 
now confidering. Our Minds are fwal- 
lowed up in the boundlefs Extent of the 
Works of Nature. And what a vaft Idea 
muft this give us of the Greatnefs of the 
Univerfe, much more of the Power, Ma- 
jefty, and Wifdom of the glorious Au-* 
thor, by whofe Word the Heavens were 
made^ and all the Hojl of them by the 
Breath of his Mouth ! 

Thus it appeareth, that whitherfoever we 
turn our Eyes we meet with vifible illuf- 
trious Proofs and Evidences of a Deity. I 
have confidered thefe Things only in a ge- 
neral Way, without entering into the Depths 
of Philofophyj but a more diftincft and 
accurate Inipeftion of them would reveal 
innumerable new Wonders to convince and 
aftpnifh us. And yet even this flight and 
C 4 general 


general View ftrikes the Mind with great 
Force. All Nature prqclaimeth through 
all its Works with a Voice intelligible to 
all Mankind who will duly attend to it, 
that there is a God. Every where may 
we obferve the plaineft Marks and Cha- 
rafters of Wifdom and Contrivance; and 
fince Matter is in itfelf incapable of Under- 
ftanding and Defign, and therefore can have 
no Wifdom of its own to order and diredt 
itj this is a demonftrative Proof that thefe 
Things mull: have been eifedled by the 
Wifdom and Power of another Agent, 
dillind: from Matter, and vaftly fuperior to 
it. And indeed one would think it fcarce 
poffible for any Man to confider this vail 
iftupendous Frame fo admirably contrived 
in all its Parts, and which is preferved 
and governed by fuch wife and conftant 
Laws, together with the innumerably va- 
rious Beings it containeth, with all their 
Faculties and Powers, Capacities and In- 
ftinds; I fay, one would think it fcarce 
poffible for any Man to confider all this 
with x\ttention, and not believe it to be the 
Work of a moft wife as well as almighty 
Author. To afcribe all this beautiful and 
well-ordered Univerfe, and all the Orders 
pf Beings in it, many of which are endu- 
ed with Knowledg!^ and Intelligence, to a 
giddy thoughtlefs Chance, and lucky Jum- 


ble of Atoms, or to a blind unintelli- 
gent Nature or Neceffity, Words which, 
as they are ufed in this Cafe, are with- 
out Senfe and Meaning, and really lig- 
nify nothing at all, rather than to a wife 
and underftanding Mind, is abfurd to a 
Degree of Extravagance. A Man of plain 
found Senfe, who hath not his Head 
turned with a falfe and vain Philofophy, 
would be apt to think that it could 
never have entered into the Heart of any 
Pcrfon whatfoever to have imagined fuch 
a Thing. Efpecially fince that Man 
would be looked upon as fcarce in his 
Senfes, that upon beholding and exa- 
mining a well-built Houfe, a curious 
Watch, a well-written Book, or any ad- 
mired Piece of Mechanifm made by hu- 
man Art, fliould ferioufly and in good 
earneft attribute it not to the Skill and 
Contrivance of any Man, or any other in- 
telligent Agent, but to an undefigning 
Chance or fenfelefs Neceffity. 

Juftly therefore doth the Pfalmift pro- 
nounce him a Fool that hath faid in his 
Hearty There is no God. Pfal. xiv. i. And 
the Apoftle here reprefenteth thofe that 
do not acknowledge and adore God and 
his Perfedions, which are clearly feen 
from the Creation of the World, being 
underftood by the Things that are made, 



as abfolutely without Excufe. Rom. L 20. 
Nor do the feeming Irregularities in fome 
Parts of the Univerfe in the leaft weaken 
the Argument or Evidence. For fince we 
find innumerable Things that plainly argue 
a Wifdom and Skill infinitely fiiperior to 
ours, we ought to make the fame Suppo- 
fition concerning thofe Things, the De- 
fign or Ufe of which we do not at prefent 
fee. It is certainly highly rational and be- 
coming the Modefty of fuch fhort-fighted 
Creatures as we are, to attribute any De- 
feats or Irregularities we may imagine we 
obferve in any Part of the Work of God 
in this vaft Univerfe, to the narrow Com- 
prehenfiou of our own Underftandings, 
which we cannot but be confcious of in a 
thoufand Inftances. How many Things 
were found fault with by the Epicureans 
and other ancient atheiftical Philofophers 
in the Frame of the World, that upon the 
further Improvements which have been 
made in the Knowledge of Nature in thefe 
latter Ages, have appeared to be contriv- 
ed with admirable Wifdon> ! And we may 
iuftly conclude, that other Things, which 
now v^e cannot precifely affign a Reafon 
of, would appear to be very wifely order- 
ed, if we had a juft Comprehenfion of the 
whole, and faw all Things in their mu- 
tual Connexion and Harmony. As to the 



Piforders of the moral World, no Argu- 
ment can be properly drawn from thence 
againft the Exiftenceand Perfeftions of fhe 
iuprerne Being, fmce they only arife frbm 
the Abufe that reafonable Creatures make of 
the excellent Faculties with which they are 
;<endued, and of the Liberty that belongeth 
to them as moral Agents. And if wc 
regard this prefent Life as a State of Trial, 
and take a future World into the Ac- 
count, there is great Reafon to apprehend 
that when the whole moral Syftem is 
compleated, all the Difficulties which now 
puzzle us fliall be adjufled and cleared, 
and the Wifdom and RIghteoufnefs of God 
be made illuftrioufly manifeft, even in 
thofe Things that now have the moil dif- 
(Couraging Appearance. 

I ihall conclude this Difcourfe with that 
noble Addrefs to God, Neh. ix. 5. 6. 
Blejfed be thy glorious Namey which is exalted 
above all BleJJing and Praife ! ThoUy even 
thou, art Lord alone, thou haji made Heaven, 
the Heaven of Heavens with all their Hojl, 
the Earth and all Things that are therein, 
the Sea and all that is therein, and thou pre- 
Jerveji them all, and the Hoji of Heaven 
worjhifpeth thee f 


The Being and PerfeSiions of God 
proved from his Works. 


Romans i. 20. 

For the invifible Things of him from the Crea^ 
tion of the World are clearly feen^ being 
underjlood by the Things that are made^ 
even his eternal Power and Godhead. 

IN my former Difcourfe on thefe Words 
I laid before you the Proofs of the Ex- 
iftence of God from the Confideration of 
his wonderful Works. Taking a Rife 
from our own Bodies and Souls, we took 
a general Survey of this vaft, beautiful, and 
well-ordered Univerfe, the Earth, the Sea, 
the Air, the heavenly Orbs, the Sun, the 
Moon, and Stars, and it appeared that they 
all uniformly concur to lead our Minds 
to the Acknowledgment of one fupreme 
intelligent Caufe and Author. 

But it is not fufficient to believe that, 
there is a God, if we do not en- 
deavour to get our Hearts filled with juft , 

5 and 


and worthy Sentiments of his infinite Ex- 
cellencies. And the fame Arguments that 
lead us to acknowledge his Exifterice, do' 
equally lead us to acknowledge that this 
great Author of the Univerfe muft be pof- 
feifed of all poffible Perfe(flions. There 
is no Conclufion more obvious than this, 
that he that hiih fpread fiich an Abun- 
dance of Glory through his Works in this 
World, which he hath created, muft have 
an unbounded Fulnefs of Excellency and 
Perfedlion in himfelf. And this is what 
the Apoftle here fignifieth, by declaring,' 
;t/M^ the invijible Things of God from the 
Creation of the World are clearly feeuy being 
underjlood by the Things that are made. The 
invifible Things of God, is his infinite Ef- 
fence and Perfeftions which are not the 
Objecfls of our Sight, or of any of our Sen- 
fes. And accordingly he adds, even his eter- 
nal Power and Godhead, He exprefsly men- 
tioneth his eternal Powery and under the 
Word Godhead may be comprehended hi? 
other divine Perfedlions, and as the Refult 
of all, his fupreme incomparable Majefty,- 
Glory, and Dominion. 

It is no Objedtion againft this,- that the 
divine Effence and Perfedllons are not vi- 
fible to the bodily Eye. This only fliew- 
eth that he is a Spirit, not Matter or Body, 
which he muft be, if we could fee him 
with our Eyes. But his Being and Perfec- 


tions are neverthelefs real for his belftg in- 
vifible. Though they are not fccn with 
an Eye of Senfe, yet they are difcernable 
to the Eye of the Mind, ieing underjiood 
by the Thmgs that are made, i. e. by the 
Effedts in the Works of Creation. And 
nothing can yield a nobler or more ufeful 
Subjedt for cur Contemplations. I fliall 
therefore proceed to take a fummary View 
of thofe Perfections which eflentially be^ 
long to the fupreme original Caufe and 
Author of all Things. And fuch a fhort 
and general Coniideration of them may be 
of great Advantage, that by placing 
them together in a clofe and comprehen- 
five View, their mutual Connection and 
Harmony may more convincingly appear. 
And firfl. The firft Thing I would ob- 
ferve is, that this great original Caufe of 
all Things, the God that made the World, 
and all that in it is, exifted neceffarily 
from everlafting. This is plainly fignifieci 
here when the Apoftle fpeaketh of his eter- 
nal Power and Godhead^ as being underjiood 
by the Things that are made. For eternal 
Power and Godhead neceffarily fuppoie 
eternal Exiftence. That fomething muft 
have exifted from everlafting, is as certain 
as it is that any Thing now exifteth, be- 
caufe otherwife, nothing could ever have 
come into Being. And indeed none ever 
was fo abfurd as to deny that fomething 




muft have exifted from all Eternity. The 
Atheift is forced to acknowledge this whe- 
ther he will or no, and being unwilling 
to own an eternal wife intelligent Caufe, 
moft abfurdly afcribeth Eternity to dull 
fenfelefs Matter. But if Matter alone 
were eternal, how could Life, or Intelli- 
gence, or aftive Power have ever come 
into Being ? Or how could Matter, or that 
Suppofition be fubjedt to fo many Changes 
and Alterations as we fee it is, iince, if it 
exifted neceifarily and independently, it 
cannot be conceived that any Thing could 
make an Impreffion upon it, fo as to move 
or alter it ? There muft in that Cafe have 
been from everlafting, and fo fhould have 
continued to everlafting, the fame unvaried 
State or Appearance of Things, without 
Motion or Life, Senfation or Intelligence, 
none of which originally belong to Mat- 
ter. But this is contrary to undeniable 
Fadt and Experience. In all Things that 
come under our Notice we may obferve 
convincing Proofs of their having had a 
Beginning of their Exiftence. With re- 
gard to ourfelves, we are confcious that it 
is but a few Years fince we came into 
Being. The fame muft be faid of the 
whole Race of Mankind, which it is de- 
monftrable could not have been from ever- 
lafting upon this Earth ; and there are ma- 
ny Things which plainly fhew that they 



are comparatively but of a late Original. 
The Earth itfelf, the Sea, the Air, bear 
upon them Chafafters of Mutability and 
Imperfeftion, which make it evident that 
they did not exift of themfelves from ever-*" 
lafting. And the fame Thing may be juft- 
ly concluded concerning the glorious Bodies 
that perform their Courfes and Revolutions 
in the vaft Spaces around Us. But when 
we rife beyond thefe Things to the great 
Author of the Univerfe, as we muft ac- 
knowledge that he had an Exiftence before 
any Part of this vifible World, which is 
his Contrivance and Workmanfliip, fo we 
are naturally led to conclude, that he never 
had any Beginning of his Being. Let us 
purfue our Thoughts never fo far through 
the Series of fubordinate fecond Caufes, we 
muft unavoidably come at length to fome- 
thing which was itfelf uncaufed, and muft^ 
therefore have been felf-exiftent, or have 
exifted neceffarily from everlafting. And 
this Neceffity of Exiftence, as it cannot 
be owing to any external Caufe, muft have 
its Reafon and Ground in the Nature of 
the Thing itfelf. It can therefore be ow- 
ing to Nothing but to the peculiar Excel- 
lency and Perfed:ion of its own Effence, 
which is fuch that it is not poffible that it 
ftiould ever have either a Beginning or an 
End of its Exiftence. And whatfoever is 
thus felf-exiftent, or exifteth neceifarily of 
[Vol. I.] D itfelf. 


itfelf, niuft be Independent and felf-fuffici- 
ent. As it was not beholden to any other 
for its Being or Perfedions, fo there is no 
other on whom it can be fuppofed in any 
Cafe to depend. It fubfifteth wholly and 
only of itfelf, and ftandeth not in Need of 
foreign Affiftance or Support. And for 
the fame Reafon that it is felf-fufficlent 
and independent, it is unchangeable too. 
That which exifteth neceflarily from ever- 
lafting cannot reafonably be fuppofed to be 
liable to Alteration or Change, iince it is 
neither obnoxious to the Power or Influ- 
ence of any external Caufe, nor can have 
any internal Weaknefs or Principle of 
Change in itfelf, and therefore muft con- 
tinue to everlafting, the fame that it was 
from everlafting. 

It may be farther added, that to be felf- 
exiftent includeth abfolute Perfection in 
its Idea. All derivative Beings are limit- 
ed in one refped; or other, and the Reafon 
is plain, becaufe they owe their Exift- 
ence, and their Perfedions, their Nature 
and Properties, to a fuperior Caufe. But 
that Being which exifteth neceffarily and 
of itfelf, cannot be limited. For it hath 
nothing to reftrain or limit it from with- 
out, fince it hath no fuperior Caufe 
to determine it to any particular Portion 
or Quantity of Being or Excellence, nor 



hath it any Reftrldion or Limitation ariling 
from within, or from its own Nature, fmce 
its exifling necefTarily could be only owing 
to the abiblute and unparalleled Excellency 
of its own Nature. And what imagina- 
ble Reafon can be given why the necefTa- 
rily exiftent Being, that hath nothing to 
fet Bounds to it, fhould have fome Per- 
fedions and not all? 

And now it appeareth what an eminent 
and glorious Prerogative this of eternal 
and neceffary Exiftence is, and that there 
muft needs be an infinite and unconceiva- 
ble Difference between a Being to which 
this Privilege belongeth, and a Being that 
hath nothing of itfelf, but deriveth all 
that it is and hath from the Will and 
Power of another. We fhould therefore, 
in the inward Eftimation of our Minds, 
pat an immenfe Difference between the 
eternal and neceffarily exiftent Jehovah, and 
all other Beings whatfoever; acknow- 
ledge his unequalled Glory and Majefty, 
that he is, and there is none other befides 
him. He is the to ov, as one of the moft 
eminent of the ancient Philofophers call- 
ed him, the Being, by Way of Eminency, 
that "which is or exijlethy viz. neceffarily of 
himfelf. Whereas other Things have on- 
ly a precarious contingent Being, and 
therefore, in Comparifon of God," they 
D 2 can 

36 D I S C O U R S E 11. 

can fcarce be faid to be at alL What 
the Prophet faith concerning all the Na- 
tions of the Earth, may be faid concerning 
the whole Compafs of created Beings, that 
in the Sight of God, and as compared with 
him they are as Nothings yea even lefs than 
Nothing, and Vanity , as it is moft emphati- 
cally exprefled, Ifa. xl. 17. How juftly is 
he therefore the Objed of our profound- 
eft Reverence ! When we fet ourfelves to 
contemplate him, we foon find our Thoughts 
fwallowed up in a bottomlefs Abyfs, 
which no created Underftanding can found 
or fathom. This may teach us what an 
humble Modefty becometh us in our En- 
quiries concerning the Deity. How foon 
are we loft in the amazing Depths of 
Eternity and Self-exlftence ! How can 
temporary, fuccelTive, contingent Beings, 
that are but of Yefterday, form a juft and 
adequate Notion of that infinite, eternal, 
and unchangeable Being, who always ex- 
ifteth necefl'arily of himfelf, by the fingu- 
lar Prerogative of his own moft perfed: 
Nature. It is ufeful for us frequently to 
turn our Thoughts this Way, the better 
to aff'ecSt our Hearts with a Senfe of the 
infinite Diftance between him and us. 
We fliould be even as nothing in our 
ov/n Eyes, and ftiould fink into the very 
Duft before him with the moft awful and 



proflratc Veneration. His Eternity and 
^elf-exiftence, (vv^hich includeth, as hath 
been fhewn, Self-fufficiency, Independen- 
cy, and Immutability,) lieth at the Foun- 
dation of all his other Attributes, and giv- 
eth them infinite Force, Hence the Apof- 
tle fpeaketh here of his eternal Power 
and Godhead. His Power, his Wifdom, 
his Goodnefs, all his Perfed:ions, in a 
Word, his Godhead is eternal. And this 
rendereth him the proper Objeft both of 
our humbleft Adoration, and of our ftea- 
dy Truft and Dependence. 

And accordingly the holy Scriptures In 
this, at well as other Inftances, tfeach u$ 
to form the mod worthy Conceptions of 
the fupreme Being. He is there reprefent- 
ed as deicribing himfelf by that glorious 
Charader, / am, and / am that I am-, 
which is generally and juftly fuppofed to 
have a particular Reference to his neceffary 
eternal Exiflence and Unchangeablenefs. 
Exod. ili. 14, God [aid unto Mofesy I am 
that lam: And he faid, 'Thus jh alt thou fay 
unto the Children of Ifrael, I am hathfejit me 
unto you. The Septuagint render it, * I 

* am he that is, or exifteth.* And again in 
the latter Part of the'Verfe, * He that is 

* hath fent me unto you.' The fame Thing 
is generally fuppofed to be fignified by the 
facred Name Jehovah y God's moil glorious 

D 3 and 


peculiar Title= That fublime Paflage in 
the Prayer of Mofes giveth a noble Idea of 
God's Eternity and Immutability. Before 
the Mountains were brought forth, or ever 
thou hadji formed the Earth and the World ^y 
even from everlafting to ever lofting thou art 
God. Pfal. xc. 2. To the fame Purpofe 
that admirable Addrefs of the Pfalmift, 
Pfal. cii. 25, 26, 27. Of old hafl thou laid 
the Foundation of the Eaj'th, and the Hea- 
vens are the Work of thine Hands. I' hey 
JJjall perijhy but thou JJoalt endure-, yea, all of 
them JJjall wax old as a Garment -, as a Vef 
ture fhait thou change them, and they Jlo all be 
cha?2ged. But thou art the fame, ajid thy Tears 
fiall have no End. He is defcribed^ Rev, i. 4, 
under the Character of him which is, and 
which was, and which is to come -, as com- 
prehending all the Differences of Time in 
his own permanent and boundlefs Dura- 
tion. We are taught to afcribe Glory to 
hirn, as the King eternal, hmnortal, invifi-. 
ble. I Tim. i. 17. Yea, we are told, that: 
he only haih Immortality, i Tim. vi. 16. 
/. e. he only hath it originally and neceffari- 
ly, and independently in himfelf, fo that 
it is impoffible for him ever not to have 
been, or ever to ceafe to be, which cannot 
be faid of any other Being whatfoever. 
And it is declared, that with him is no 
Variahlenefs, neither Shadow of Turni?ig. 
Jam. i. 17. 



Secondly, Another Thing that we are to 
beheve concerning God the great Author 
of the Univerfe, is, that he is immenfe 
and omniprefent. Indeed this feemeth to 
have an infeparable Connection with Eter- 
nity and neceflary Exiftence, For, as 
hath been ah*eady obferved, that which 
exifteth neceffarily of itfelf, and hath no 
Dependence on any external Caufe, cannot 
have any Bounds' or Limits of its Effence. 
It may therefore be juftly argued, that by 
the fame Neceffity by which God exifteth 
any where, he exifteth every where; and 
as there is no Time in which he doth not 
exift, fo there is no Space in which he is 
not prefent. But that which giveth us the 
moft fatisfying Convi6lion and Aflurance 
of the Immenfity of the divine Effence, 
and tendeth to imprefs our Minds with 
the moft affeding Senfe of it, is the amaz- 
ing Greatnefs of the vaft Univerfe which 
he hath made. The unlimited Amplitude 
of his Effence, as well as the Extent of 
his Power, may be fairly concluded from 
the Creation of the World. Hence St. 
Paul, in his admirable Difcourfe to the 
AthenianSy reprefenteth it as a Truth obvious 
to the comm.on Senfe of Mankind, that 
God that made the World, and all Things 
that are therein, — is not far from eve7y one 
$j us-^for in him we live, and move, and 
D 4 havi 

40 D I S C O U R S E II. 

have our Bemg, Adls xvii. 24, 27, 28, 
There cannot be a more natural Thought 
than this. If the World which"we behold 
be of fuch a wonderful Extent, fo that we 
are not able to affign its Bounds, how great 
and immenfe muft that glorious Being 
be who at fifft made, and who ftill pre-? 
ferveth and uphpldeth this univerfal Syf-r 
tern ! It is not reafonable to fuppofe, that 
any Corner of the Creation is deititute 
of the Prefence of the great Author of 
it, who keepeth together the whole ftu^ 
pendous Frame, and whofe Influence ex- 
tendeth to every Part of it. What we 
commonly call the Courfe of Nature, is, 
in Reality, owing to the conftant Influence 
of the Almighty, ading upon this won- 
derful Syftem, and upon all the Parts of 
Matter, according to a fettled Order which 
his own Wifdom hath eflabhflied. And 
fmce he operateth every where, he muft 
be prefent every where. And indeed a 
Senfe of this feemeth to be fo natural to 
the human Mind, that it is no eafy Thing 
to fhake it off. Not to produce the Teftir 
monies of the heft of the ancient heathen 
Philofophers, who were very ex:prefs in 
their Acknowledgments to this Purpofe, 
the Prayers that are offered, the Oaths 
for Confirmation, and for putting an End 
tQ Strife, fo ufual among all Nations, and 



dl the Ads of religious Homage and De- 
votion, proceed upon this Principle, that 
the Deity is prefent with us, and obferv- 
eth every Thing that paffeth. And the 
maintaining a conftant Senfe of this upon 
our Minds, is of very great Importance 
for influencing and governing our w^hole 
Temper and Condud:. It hath a mani- 
,feft Tendency to engage us to exercife 
a continual Watchfulnefs, and to do every 
Thing WQ do as in his Sight, and v^ith a 
Regard to his Prefence and Approbation. 
To confider that God is ever prefent, 
yieldeth great Comfort and Encourage- 
pient to good Men, and is one of the 
moft effedtual Checks and Reilraints to 
Vice and V/ickednefs. 

Accordingly this Attribute of the di-- 
vine Immenfity and Omniprefence is ad- 
mirably defcribed in the facred Writings. 
Whither fiall 1 go from thy Spirit^ faith 
the devout Pfalmift, and whither Jlmll IJJee 
from thy Prefence? If I afcend up into Heaven 
thou art there -y and if I make my Bed in Helly 
behold, thou art there. If I take the JVings 
qf the Morningy and dzve/l in the uttermoji 
Part^ of the Sea, even there Jhall thy Hand 
lead me, and thy right Hajzd JImII hold me. 
Pfal. cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. Solomon^ in his 
excellent Addrefs to God at the Dedication 
pf the Temple, cxprefTeth himfelf thus. 



Beholdy the Heav'eny and Heaven of Hea- 
vens cannot contain thee, but much lefs this 
Houfe which 1 have builded? i Kings viii. 

* ^7. God is introduced as declaring con- 
cerning himfelf. Am I a God at Hand, a^nd 
not a God afar eff? Can any hide himfelf in 

Jecret F laces, that IJldould not fee him ? D@ 
not I fill Heaven and Earth ? Jer. xxiii. 
23, 24. 

Thirdly, Another Thing included in the. 
Idea of God is that he is almighty. This 
may be juftly argued from his being the 
eternal and felf-exiftent Being ; for as fuch 
he muft neceffarily have an independent 
abfolute Fulnefs of Life, and adive Power 
or Energy, originally'and eflentially in him- 
felf, without any Thing to bound and limit 
it ', whereas, Power cannot but be limited 
in all derivative Beings. But the moft 
obvious and irrefiflible Demonftration of 
God's Omnipotency is that which arlfeth 
from the Confideration of his having 
created this vaft Svftem of the Univerfe. 
Hence the Apoftle here fpeaking of the 
invifible Things of God, which are un- 
derftood by the Things that are made, 
particularly mentions his eternal Power. 
It is natural for every Man to conclude 
that the Author of this ftupendous Frame, 
and of all the Orders of Beings contained 
in it, muft certainly be almighty. What 



an amazing Power muft he be poffeffed 
of, who at firft formed and ftill fuftaineth 
this huge terreftrial Globe, the Earth, the 
Sea, and all Things that are therein ! 
But how much greater an Idea muft it 
give us of his Power, if we confider him 
as having made Heaven, the Heaven of 
Heavens, with all their Hoft, the Sun, 
Moon, and Planets, with all the Conftella- 
tions of fixed Stars, and all the Beings of 
whatfoever Kind that dwell in thofe vaft 
Regions, the Extent of which tranfcend- 
eth all human Imagination ! The creating 
all Things out of Nothing, i. e, giving 
Being to thofe Things that had no Exift- 
ence before, though it doth not imply a 
Contradi(ftion, and therefore cannot be 
proved to be impoffible, yet is certainly 
the nobleft Exertion of Omnipotency that 
can be conceived. And the Scripture, 
to heighten our Ideas of the divine Power, 
reprefenteth God as having done this with 
a wonderful Facility. By the Word of the 
Lord were the Heavens made, ajid all the 
Hoft of them by the Breath of his Mouthy 
Pfal. xxxiii. 6. He only faid. Let there 
be Light y and there was Light. Gen. i. 3. 
And fo with regard to the other Parts of 
the Creation, he jpake^ and it was done. 
Pfal. xxxiii. 9. Juflly therefore it is declar- 
ed, that with God all Ihiitgs are pojjijbk. 



Matt. xix. 26. He can do every Thing that 
is the Objedl of Power, every Thing but 
what includeth a Repugnancy in its Power, 
or would fuppofe an Imperfedlion in the 
Agent. And indeed, what can be impof- 
fible to him that created the World ? 
Beholdy faith the Prophet, thou hafi made 
the Heavens and the Earth by thy great 
Power and fir etch ed-oiit Arm, and there is 
nothing too hard for thee. Jer. xxxii. 17. 
If all the Power and Strength of Men 
and Angels, and of all the Orders of Be- 
ings throughout the Univerfe, were col- 
leSed into one, what a mighty and ftu- 
pendous Power muft that be ! And it is 
all derived from God, and is indeed but a 
fmall Part of the Fulnefs of Power that 
is in him. Once hath God fpoken^ faith the 
Pfalmift, twice have I heard this, that 
Power helongeth unto God, Pfal. Ixii. 11. 
/. e. It belongeth to him, and to him alone, 
originally, effentially, independently, in 
all its unlimited Extent, and without the 
leaft Mixture of Weaknefs^^ fome Degree 
of which there is in all created Beings. 
Juftly therefore is he frequently defcribed 
to us in Scripture under the Charader of 
the Lord God Almighty. And it is abfo- 
lutely neceflary to a Life of Religion, that 
we fliould have a Senfe of this glorious 
Attribute deeply impreifed upon our Mind^. 



There is nothing that hath a greater Ten- 
dency to create in us a facred Awe of the 
divine Majefty, a Dread of expofing our- 
felves to his Difpleafure, and an eameft 
Deiire to fecure an Interefl in his Favour, 
and alfo to beget in us a firm and fteady 
Confidence in him, amidft the greateft 
Dangers and Difficulties. How comfort- 
ing is it to be perfuaded, that what he 
hath pro??ufed he is able alfo to perform. 
Rom, iv. 21. and that, as St. Paul nobly 
and emphatically exprelfeth it, he is able 
to do exceeding abundantly above all that we 
ajk or think. Eph. iii. 20, A wonderful 
PafTage, whereby it is fignified, that the 
Power of God far tranfcendeth not only 
all Expreffion, but even our lighteft Con- 
ceptions, the utmoft Flight of the moft 
unbounded Imagination ! 

Fourthly, Infinite Knowledge or Omni- 
prefence is another of the divine Attri- 
butes which Reafon teacheth us to afcribe 
to God, the great Author and Lord of the 
Univerfe. That Knowledge is a Perfedtion, 
and the Want of it a Defed, and that Be- 
ings which have Intelligence are of a more 
noble and excellent Kind than thofe that 
are deftitute of it, will not be denied. And 
therefore it were tiic greateft Abfurdity to 
fuppofe the mofl perfe(5l and excellent of 
all Beings, the fiill; original Caufe and Au- 


thor of all, to be without Knowledge and 
Underftanding. And if there be Intelli- 
gence at all in the felf-exiftent Being, it 
muft be infinite Intelligence. And the 
Proofs of this arc as plainly deducibla 
from the Works which he hath made, as 
thofe of his almighty Pow^er. For not 
only do we every where in this vaft uni- 
versal Frame, meet with manifeft Evi- 
dences of an Underftanding that filleth us 
with Admiration and Aftoniihment, but 
many of the Beings which he hath cre- 
ated are themfelves endued with Knowledge 
and Underftanding. And whence could 
intelligent Beings proceed but from an in- 
telligent Caufe ? If the firft Caufe and Au- 
thor of all had not Intelligence, it is not 
poffible to conceive how there could ever 
be fuch a Thing as Intelligence in any 
derivative dependent Being. The Reafon- 
ipg of the Pfalmift is obvious, and invin- 
cibly ftrong and cogent. He that teacheth 
Man Knowledge y Jhall not he know ? Pfal. 
xciv. lo. We are confcious to ourfelves 
that we are knowing Beings. We are as 
fure of this as we are of our Exiftence. 
The fame we conclude concerning all other 
Men, in whom we fee plain Marks of 
Knowledge and Underftanding. Many of 
the human Race have attained to high 
Degrees of Science, And it pannot be de- 


nied, that the human Mind is capable of 
taking in a much larger Compafs of Know- 
ledge than any one Man here on Earth 
was ever poffeffed of. And all the Know- 
ledge that ever was or can be , found in 
any Man is but a Ray from the Father 
of Lights, the fupreme Intelligence. And 
mull: not he who is the Author and Foun- 
tain of Reafon and Underftanding to all 
other Beings, who made us and all the 
Orders of intelligent Creatures throughout 
this vaft Univerfe, many of them of amaz- 
ing Capacities for Knowledge, and proba- 
bly much fuperior to the moft knowing 
among Men, have an inexhaufted Fund of ' 
Knowledge in himfelf ? and that free from 
all the Imperfections which attend it in us, 
or in any created Beings ? His Knowledge is 
not acquired by a laborious Search and 
Deduction, inferring one Thing from ano- 
ther, but is intuitive and immediate, cer- 
tain and infalUble, incapable of Error or 
Miftake, and univerfal in its Extent. His 
Knowledge therefore muft be Omnifcience, 
He knoweth himfelf his own infinite Ef- 
fence and Perfecflions, the whole Extent of 
his Power, and all the Councils and Purpofes 
of his Will. And he knoweth the whole 
Compafs of the Creation, 'this vaft Uni- 
verfe, and all the Beings it containeth, of 
every Order and Degree, all their ElTen- 



ces. Properties, Capacities, and Powers/ 
all of which were made and contrived by 
him, with all the various Ways in which 
thofe Faculties and Powers will operate 
in any Circ^mftance of Things, and all 
the Relations and Refpedls they bear to 
one another and to the whole. And 
confequfently he muft needs know all 
Things ; all Things pofiible, all Things 
actual, all Things future; yea even thofe 
Futurities that appear to be moft contin- 
gent, and to depend on the free Dctermi-' 
nation of moral voluntary Agents. For 
to fubftradl from the divine Fore-know-^ 
ledge the free Adions of the numberlefs 
moral Agents throughout the Univerfe, 
and confequently the Events which depend 
upon them, and the many Things that 
come to pafs in the natural World through 
the Intervention of the voluntary Actions 
of free Agents, to fuppofe that thefe are 
not foreknown by him at all, or not with 
Certainty, would be to bring his Know- 
ledge under great Limitations and Re- 
flraints. He might in that Cafe be mif- 
taken in the Defigns and Schemes he had 
formed, and be furprifed with Events 
which he did not forefee, and might li- 
terally be fubjedl to repent, v^hich is un- 
worthy of God, and fcarce confident with 
his infinite Perfeftion. Nor is our not 



being able to account how God doth 
' foreknow thefe Things, a juft or fnfficierit 
Objedion againft it, fince it is unreafona- 
ble to expedt that we fliould be able to 
explain or to conceive all the Ways which 
an infinite Underftanding hath of know- 
ing Things. Even Men may in many 
Cafes forefee how other Men, who are 
free Agents, will determine themfelves. 
And if any wife Man had a perfect Know- 
ledge of another Man's Temper, Humour, 
prevailing Appetites and Inclinations, of 
all his Interefts and Connedlions, and of all 
attending Circumftances in any given Cafe, 
he might form a very probable Judgment, 
which would feldom fail, how that Man 
would ad: in fuch an Inftance. And it is but 
reafonable to conclude, that God, to whom 
every particular Perfon,and all Things relat- 
ing to him, are perfectly foreknown, is able 
to forefee, not only by probable Conjec- 
ture, but with abfolute Certainty, how 
every particular Perfon will ad: and de- 
termine himielf. And accordingly, God's 
Fore-knowledge of the free Adions of 
Men, and of the Events belonging to 
them, hath been generally believed and ac- 
knowledged in all Ages. It were eafy to 
produce remarkable Teftimonies to thi$ 
Purpofe from heathen Writers, and even 
from, feme of the moft celebrated ancient 
[Vol, I.] E Philp- 


Fhilofophers. And it feems to be clearfy 
affertcd in the holy Scriptures. It is there 
reprefented as the proper Charafter of 
the Deity. Hence that Challenge to the 
heathen Idols, Let them Jhew the former 
Things, (i. e, before they come to pafs) 
that we may conjider them, and know the lat- 
ter End of them, or declare lis Tubings for 
to come. Shew the Tbmgs that are to come 
hereafter, that we may hiow that ye are 
Gods. Ifa. xli. 22,. 23. By the Things 
that are to come are plainly to be under- 
flood, not merely Things that depend upon 
neceffary Caufes, but upon the Will and 
Determination of free Agents, and the 
Revolutions of human Affairs. And it is 
plainly intimated, that it is the Preroga- 
tive of God to know fuch future Events^ 
and of him only. And therefore he ex- 
prefsly attributeth this Knowledge to him- 
felf, after denying it to all others. / am^ 
God, and there is none like me, declaring the 
End from the Beginning, and from ancient 
Times the Things that are 7iot yet done, fay- 
ing. My Counfel foall fland, and I will do all 
7ny Pleafure. Ifa. xlvi. 9, 10. And accor-' 
dingly there are many clear and exprefs- 
Predidions recorded in Scripture concern- 
ing Events that appear to have depended as 
much as any Events whatfoever upon the 
free Aftions of Men, and even their evil 



Adlions, to which they were in no wife 
neceffitated, but did them fredy. And not 
Only this, but in every other Inftance, the 
Perfe^^lion and vaft Extent of the divine 
knowledge is excellently reprefeated and 
defcrlbed in the facred Writings. It is de- 
clared that his JJnderJianding is infinite. 
Pfal. cxlvii. 5. that there is no fearching 
of his Undcrfianding. Ifa. xl. 28. that 
known unto him are all his Works fro?n the 
Beginning of the World, Ads xv. 18* 
that there is not any Creature that is not 
manifejl in his Sight, but all Things are 
naked a?id opened unto the Eyes of him with 
*whom "^joe have to do, Heb. iv. 13. Parti- 
cularly it is there frequently obferved that 
he knoweth all the Actions of Men, their 
Words, and even their Hearts and mod 
fecret Thoughts, which is a Confideratiort 
of the highefl Moment in Religion, and 
than which nothing can have a greater In- 
fluence to engage us to exercife a conflant 
Care over our inward Frame and out outward 
Pradtice. Remarkable to this Purpofe is 
that noble FaiTage of the Pfalmift, PfaL 
cxxxix. I — 4. O Lordy thou hafifearched 
me, and known me, Thou knoweji my Down-, 
fitting and 7nine Up-ri/ing, thou und^rjland^ 
eji 7ny Thoughts afar off. Thou ccmpajfeji' 
my Path, and my lying down, and art ac- 
quainted with all my Ways. For there is not a 
E 2 Word 


fForJ m my Tongue, but loy Lord, thou 
know e ft it altogether^ 

Fifthly, In a near Connedlion with his- 
infinite Knowledge, is his Wifdom ; and 
this alfo may be clearly feen and under- 
ftood by the Things that are made. Wif- 
dom, in the general Notion of it, proper- 
ly confifteth in propofing the moft ex- 
cellent Ends, and purfuing them by the 
fitteft Means. It comprehendeth large and 
extenfive Views, a clear Difcernment of 
the mutual Relations of Things, of Order, 
Beauty, and Harmony, and is that whereby 
every Thing is contrived and done in the 
beft and propereft Manner. Among Men 
there may be, and often is. Knowledge 
without Wifdom ; but Knowledge, con- 
fidered in the moft perfcft Degree, as 
it is in God, is really infeparable from 
Wifdom. As he muft needs know in 
every Inftance what is beft and fitteft, 
and can have no Appetite or Intereft to 
divert him from it, fo among all the pof- 
fible Schemes of Things, he always chuf- 
eth and executeth that which is, all Things 
confidered, the beft and moft worthy, of 
himfelf, and becoming his own glorious 
Perfedlions, and moft for the univerfal 
Good. His Wifdom is not acquired by 
Obfervation and Experience like ours, nor 
is it capable of gradual Improvement, but 



IS eflential to him, and abfolutely perfe6l. 
It taketh in the whole Compafs of Things, 
and extendeth to all Times and Ages, and 
therefore formeth its Defigns upon the moft 
comprehenfive and unerring Views, and 
can never take wrong Meafures. And the 
Evidences of this Wifdom are very confpi- 
cuous in his wonderful Works. Even 
the leaft, the moft inconfiderable of them, 
the Formation of the fmalleft In fed:, dif- 
cover Skill and Contrivance far furpafl- 
ing that of any Man, or of all the Men 
upon Earth. But if we had a diftind: 
View of this capacious Syftem, the Laws 
by which it is governed, the apt Difpoli- 
tion of its Parts, and their mutual Rela- 
tions and Subferviencies, the Uniformity 
and Regularity of Defign, which is carried 
on amidft the greateft Variety, from whence 
refulteth a wonderful Beauty and Harmony 
in the Conftitution of Things ; how ihould 
we be filled with Admiration of the manifold 
Wifdom of God ! Many, for knowing a lit- 
tle of thefe Things (for it is but a fmal! Part 
of them that we can now pretend to know 
after all our Enquiries) have been honour- 
ed with the glorious Name of Philofophers 
or Lovers of Wifdom, and been admired as 
Perfons of an extenfive Genius. And how 
unconceivable then muft that Wifdora 
be which contrived and formed the whole 
E 3 Frame 


Frame of Nature, and hath difpofed all 
Things in ilich excellent Order in Num^ 
ber, Weight, and Meafure ; furely the 
Author of all thefe Things inuft be as wife 
as he is powerful, wonderful in Coiinjelj, and 
excellent in Working. Ifa. xxviii. 29. What 
Reafonhave we to cry out with the Pfalmift, 
O hordy how manifold are thy Works I In 
Wifdom hcifl thoi4 made them alL Pfal. civ. 
24. But the nobleft Exercife and Difplay 
of his Wifdom is in the Formation of in- 
tellecflual Beings, m.oral Agents, and in his 
governing them, according to their Natures, 
without infringing their effential Freedom^ 
ftill carrying on and accomplidiing his 
own excellent Deligns, bringing Good out 
of Evil, and Order out of Confufion, and 
ordering and over-ruling Things for the 
beft upon the whole. And if in the 
Works of Creation, and in the Difpen- 
fations of Divine Providence, there are fe- 
veral Things, the Reafons and Ends of 
which we cannot at prefent account for, 
it is but juft to attribute this to the Dark- 
nefs and Narrownefs of nar Minds, which 
are not able to take in the entire Connec- 
tion and Harmony of Things; whereas., 
he who feeth the whole at once, mull, in 
every poffible Circumflance, know what 
is propere/l: and befr. 


So tranfcendently great is the Wifdom 
of God, that when compared with it, that 
of the moft excellent of created Beings may 
be accounted Folly. Hence it is faid that 
he chargeth his Angels with Folly, 'Job 
iv. 1 8. And he is repfefented in Scripture 
under the Charadler of the only wife God, 
as if none could be properly accounted wife 
and knowing but God only, and Glory is 
afcribed to him on that Account. Tl? God 
only wife^ be Glory through J ejus Chrijl for 
ever. Rom. xvi. 27. And again. Now 
unto the King eternal^ imrnortal, invifible^ 
the only wife God, be Honour ajid Glory, for 
ever '.and ever. Amen, i Tim. i. 17. This 
his Wifdom layeth a folid Foundation for 
Trufl and Confidence in him, and for 
com.mitting ourfelves and all our Ways to 
his Direction and Difpofal. The Wifdom 
of God, taken in the moft extenfive View, 
comprehendeth all his moral Perfedlions 
under it, and direcleth them in their Exer- 
cife. And thefe his moral Attributes are 
what I propofe to conlider in my next Dif- 

E 4. T:he 

T^he Being and PerfeBions of God 
proved from his Works. 


Romans i. 20. 

For the invifible Things of htm from the Crea- 
tion of the World are clearly feen^ being 
tinderjiood by the Things that are made, 
even his eternal Power and Godhead y fo 
that they are without Excufe^ 

HAVING confidered the Exiftence 
of God as demonftrated from his 
wonderful Works, and alio taken a fummary 
View of fome of thofe divine Perfed:ions 
and Attributes which effentially belong to 
the great Creator and Governor of the 
World, particularly his Eternity and ne- 
^eflary Exiftence, from whence it follows 



that he muft be felf-fufficlent, independent, 
and unchangeable, his Immenfity and Om- 
Diprefence, his almighty Power, his infi- 
nite Knowledge and Wifdom ; let us now 
proceed briefly to confider thofe which are 
ufually called his moral Attributes, and 
which are abfolutely necelTary to be be- 
lieved -and known by us, as without a 
Senfe of them there can be no fuch Thing 
as Religion. And thele alfo may be juftly 
regarded as effentially included in that 
Godhead, and in thole invifible Things of 
God, which the x^poflle here tells us are 
underftood by the Things which are made. 
They are thofe of the divine Attributes 
that we find it leaft difficult 60 apprehend, 
fmce we may trace the P^efemblances of 
them in our own Natures, which may 
aj£ift us to form fome Notion of them,, as 
they are in God in the higheft poffible 
Deo-ree of Eminency. For it is a Princi- 
ple of the cleareft Evidence, that what- 
ever Excellencies are to be found in any 
derivative dependent Being, are all fummed 
up in the fapreme univerfal Caufe from 
whom they are derived, and that in an 
infinitely higher Degree of Perfedion, 
and without thofe Limitations and Defed:s 
with which they are attended in the Crea- 



And in confidering the moral Attributes 
of God, one of the firft that prefenteth itlelf 
to our Minds, is his infinite Goodnefs. This 
feemeth to be naturally included in the 
Idea of an infinitely perfed Body. It 
may eafily be fuppofed, that a finite Being, 
who is not felf-fufficient, who may want, 
or think he wanteth, fjmething to com- 
plete his Happinefs which others are 
poiTefffed of, may have narrov/er Views to 
his own private Interefts or Appetites, and 
confequently m.ay be malevolent, envious, 
and revengeful, which is the Reverfe of 
true Goodnefs. But that the infinite and 
all-fufficient Being, who hath no Superior, 
no Equal or Competitor^ and v/ho is in- 
capable of having the leaft Addition made 
to his ovm Perfedion and Happinefs; 
that he iliould be capable of Envy, Ma- 
lice, narrow felfifii Afredions, or malig- 
nant Difpofitions, is abfolutely unconceiv-: 
able. But though God's Goodnefs may, 
according to this Way of Reafoning, be 
plainly inferred from the infinite and ab- 
folute Perfedion of his Nature, as that 
may be argued from his Eternity and in^ 
dependent neceimry Exigence; yet the 
moll: obvious and convincing Proof of his 
Goodnefs, is that which arifeth from the 
Difcoveries of it that are every v/here obr 
fervable in his w^onderful Works. The 



Creation of the World is a manifeft Proof 
of his Goodnefs; fince it is hard to con- 
ceive what could move the felf-fufficient 
Jehovah to create this great Syftem of the 
Univerfe, and fo many different Orders of 
Beings in it, but the diffufive Benignity of 
his Nature, which caufeth him to delight 
in communicating Happinefs, and in dif- 
tributing freely out of his boundlefs Ful- 
nefs. The flighteft Obfervation may con- 
vince us, that this Globe of ours, which is 
that Part of the Creation which we are 
beft acquainted with, (and we may juftly 
conclude the fame concerning all the other 
Parts of this vaft Univerfe) is full of the 
Goodnefs of the Lord. It is furnifhed 
with an ample Variety of Things, proper 
for the Ufe and Entertainment of the 
Creatures that live upon it, and efpecially 
of Mankind. God hath fo conflituted our 
Natures, as to make us capable of taking 
in Pleafures of feveral Kinds, fenfitive, 
intelledual, and moral. Thefe laft are of 
a far higher and nobler Nature than the 
former, and have the greateft Influence on 
our Happinefs. But even fenfitive Enjoy- 
ments, if duly regulated, contribute not a 
little to the Satisfaftion of human Life; 
as we are furniflied with various fenfitivQ 
Organs and Appetites, and capable of ex- 
citing in us the moft agreeable Senfations. 



And though we mayreafonablyfuppofe, that 
m the prefent degenerate State of Mankind 
many Things are ordered for our Correc- 
tion and Punifliment, and as Marks of the 

vrftill •?^''^""r^"^."^^- °"^ Sins, 
yet ftill It cannot be denied, that we are 

furrounded with a Profufion of Benefit? 
Abundant Provifion is made, not oZf'' 
our Neceffity, but for our Ddight. Lt 
where may we behold the mol iJluftrSZ 
Evidence of the Goodnefs and Ben^S 
of the great Author of Nature. For how 
can he but be good, from whom defceS! 
eth every good and perfeft Gift, and who 
communicateth Life and Happinefs to 
numberiefs Orders of Beings, acford W o 
their various Natures and Capacities ? Even 
among Men, degenerate as they now are 
we may obferve admirable Inftances of ev- 
tenfive Charity and Benevolence, which 
carrieth them to deliglu in Aewing £- 
cy, and in doing Good to all around them 
as far as they have Ability and Qpportu-' 
nity And thofe are jndly efteem^Ke 
moft valuable and lovely of the human 
Race, in whom thefe good and kind Af- 
feftions moft abound and prevail And 
from thefe Difences of Goodnef in cta^ 
tures like ourfelves, we fhould afcend in 

imperfea Refemblances of his original 



uncreated Goodnefs. We may reafonabfy 
conclude that this benevolent Difpofitiori,' 
which is fo amiable and praife-vvorthy id 
the Creatures, is to be found in the high- 
eft Degree of Eminency in the great Pa- 
tent of the Univerfe, who hath implant- 
ed thofe kind Affections in our Hearts, 
and hath given us a ftrong Senfe of the 
Beauty and LoveUnefs of fuch a Temper 
and Conduft. The Goodnefs that is in 
the beil: of Men is imperfetl:, it is in Dan- 
ger of being over-ruled or reftrained by 
irregular felfifh Appetites and Painons and 
private Interefts. But God's Benevolence 
is boundlefs as his Being, extending its In- 
fluence to every Part of this wide Uni- 
verfe. To him (as was before hinted) are" 
no irregular Appetites, no narrow felfifli 
Affedlions or Interefts to limit or over- 
rule the perfe6l Benignity of his Nature,- 
If therefore we often behold with Admira-^ 
tion the lovely Traces of Benevolence> 
which may be obferved in human Charac- 
ters, though attended with manifold De- 
fecfls, how amiable and admirable is the' 
great, unlimited, underived Source of 
Goodnefs and Happinefs ? This Goodnefs 
of God may be conlidered in various Views^ 
according to the various Waya in which it 
is exercifed. It comprehendeth his free 
and diffufive Benignity tov/ards all hi& 



Creatures, his Mercy towards the mifera- 
ble, his Patience and Long-fufFering to- 
wards the guilty, in deferring and mode- 
rating the Punifliment they had incurred, 
and his Difpolition to pardon thofe of 
tiiem that are proper Objects of Forgivenefs, 
and as far as is confident with the great 
Ends of his Government. For it muft 
be confidered that his Goodnefs, as to its 
Exercife, is always under the Direction of 
infinite Wifdom, and is exercifed towards 
Particulars in a regular Subferviency to 
the univerfal Good, which is what the fu- 
prem.e Goodnefs as well as Vv^ifdom, will 
always have principally in View. And 
there is none of the divine Attributes more 
frequently celebrated in the facred Writ- 
ings than his Goodnefs. It is there de- 
clared, that the Lord is good to alh and his 
tender Mercies are over all his Works, Plal.- 
€xlv. 9. that he is full of Compaffion, 
and gracious y long-fufferingy and abundant in 
Good?2efs and Truth, Exod. xxxiv. 6. and 
that he delight eth in Mercy, aMicah. vii. 18, 
We are called upon to give Thajiks unto the 
Lordy for he is good ; J or his Mercy endur- 
§th for ever. Plal. cxxxvi, i. Pie is de-* 
fcril3ed to lie under that amiable Charadter, 
that God is Love, i John iv. 8. Not onlv 
kind and loving, but infinite Love and 
Goodnefs itfelf His Goodnefs is repre- 
2 fen ted 


fented to us in the Scripture as appeair-^ 
ing in the Benefits of a common boundlefe 
Providence, in that he caufeth his Sun to 
fhine and his Rain to defcend, and doeth 
Good even to the unthankful and the evil, 
filling Mens Hearts with Food and Glad- 
nefs. But efpecially, the moft marvellous 
Scene of divine Love and Grace is there 
opened to us as fhining forth in all its 
Riches and Glory in the Methods of our 
Redemption througn his well-beloved Son 
"jefus Chriji our Lord. Him God hath 
ient into the World to feek and to fave that 
which was lojly to inftrud: us by his Doc- 
trine, to guide us by his Example, and to 
make Atonement for our Sins by his Suf- 
ferings and Death : i^ud through him he 
hath condefcended to enter into a gracious 
Covenant with us, in which he hath pro- 
mi fed to pardon all our Iniquities upon 
our returning to him by a humble Faith 
and fincere Repentance, to grant us the 
Affiftances of his Holy Spirit, and to admit 
us to all the Privileges of his Children, 
and to crown our fincere, though imperfedl 
Obedience, with a glorious Reiurred:ion 
and eternal Life in his immediate blifsful 
Prefence and Kingdom above. There he 
will bellow on us a Happinefs far tran- 
fcending all that wx are able to exprefs, or 
even to conceive. 



With regard to the other moral Attri- 
butes of God, his impartial Juflice and 
Righteoufnefs, his fteady and invariable 
Faithfulnefs and Truth, and, that which 
comprehendeth all the reft under it, his 
HoHnefs, thefe are alfo included in the 
Idea of the abfolutely perfed: Being, the 
great Author and Parent of the Univerfe. 
To him it is originally owing, that there 
is an inward Senfe of the Worth and Ex- 
cellency of thefe Things deeply fixed in the 
human Heart. As far as we act under 
the Influence of fuch Difpofitions, we 
feel an inward Complacency, and have the 
peaceful Teftimony and Approbation of 
our own Minds, as acffcing up to the true 
Dignity of the reafonable Nature. And 
on the other Hand, v/e have a deep Con- 
viction of the Bafenefs, the Evil, and De- 
formity, of a contrary Temper and Con- 
du6t> When we are confcious of it in our- 
felves, it layeth the Foundation of in- 
ward Satisfad:ion and Remorfe; and we 
can fcarce help difapp roving it wherever we 
obferve it in others. We naturally efteem 
a Man of generous Probity, one that walk-^ 
etb uprightly, and worketh Kighteoufnefs^ 
and jpcaketh the 'Truth in his Heart, 
and who will not upon any Confideration 
be prevailed with to do a bafe, a falfe and 
unjiift Thing, But efpeciallv wp are apt 
[Vol. I.] F ' to 


to have a high Efteem and Admiration for 
a virtuous and juft Prince or Magiflrate, 
that hath a fteady uniform Regard to im- 
partial PJghteoufnefs and Equity in all hl^ 
Adminiftrations, and who ilieweth a noble 
Deteftation of all Injuftice and Faiiliood, 
Vice and Wickednefs. And, on the other 
Hand, if we obferve a Man that hath no 
Regard to Truth and Honour, that is falfe 
and unjuft, vicious and impure, fuch a 
Charadl'er naturally begetteth in us Abhor- 
rence or Contempt; and the more exalted 
fuch a Perfon is in his Station or Power, 
the more the Odioufnefs, the Malignity 
and Deformity of his Charader and Con- 
duft, and the evil and pernicious Injfluence 
of it appeareth. 

Now can it be thought that the great 
Author of our Beings would have implant- 
ed fuch a Senfe of the Beauty and Excel- 
lency of Juftice, Truth, and Righteoufnefs, 
in our Nature, and which can fcarce ever 
be utterly erafed, if he himfelf were not 
holy, juft, and righteous ? Or would he 
have implanted in us fuch a ftrong and 
indelible Senfe of the Evil and Deformity 
of Vice, Injuftice, and Falfhood, whereby 
we are almoft invariably carried in our 
calm Tlioughts to difapprove and condemn 
it in ourfelves and others, if he himfelf 
had not a fixed Averfion to that which 



is unjuft, falfe, and unrighteous ? If the 
greater Degree there is of real Worth and 
Excellency in any Man, the greater Love 
and Regard he hath to that which is jufl, 
and true, and pure, and virtuous, and 
praife-worthy, and the greater Abhorrence 
of the contrary ; then certainly God, the fu~ 
preme Caufe, from v^hom is derived what- 
foever is excellent in Men, or any created 
Beings, mufl have an infinitely greater 
Love to Righteoufnefs, Truth, Purity, and 
Virtue, and an infinitely greater Deteflation 
of all moral Evil. As his Under/landing 
and Wifdom is infinite, fo he cannot but 
have a moft juft and perfect Difcernment 
of the moral Differences of Things, and 
of whatfoever is agreeable or difagreeable 
to the eternal Rules of Order. He at 
once feeth and knoweth in every Inftance 
what is fit for him to do, and what is 
proper to be done by his Creatures in all 
their various Relations towards him, and 
tovvards one another. He can never poffi- 
bly miftake the amiable and praife-wor- 
thy, for the irregular, foul, and odious, 
or put Wrong for Right, or Right for 
Wrong, Falfhood for Truth, or Truth 
for Falfliood. And agreeable to the pure 
and perfedl Light of his Mind, is the 
Redlitude of his Will, whereby he is eter- 
nally and invariably determined to w^ill 
F 2 and 


and to do that which appeareth to his 
unerring Underftanding to be good and 
right, and hath a fteady Averfion to 
whatfoever is unjuft, foul, and diforderly, 
repugnant to the Reafon of Things, and 
to the pure and bright Ideas of his infi- 
nite Mind, He can have nothing to turn 
him aiide from an inviolable Regard to 
the facred Rules of Juftice and Equity, 
no falfe Judgment to miflead him, no 
irregular Appetites and Paffions to corrupt 
and pervert him, no private Interefts to 
bribe him, nothing to hope or ta fear from 
the Favour or Difpleafure of any Being 

This moral Excellency of the divine 
Nature as comprehending his Purity and 
Holinefs, his Righteoufnefs and Juftice, 
his Faithfulnefs and Truth, is often infift- 
ed upon in the facred Writings, as being 
very neceflary to be known and conlider- 
ed by us. It is there declared that God is 
the Rock, his Work is perfeB^ and all his 
Ways are judgment ; a God of 'Truths and 
^without Iniquity -, jujl and right is he. Deut. 
xxxii. 4. that the Lord is upright ^ and 
there is no Vnrighteoiijncfs in him, Pfal. xcii. 
I r. that the 'Truth of the Lord endureth 
for ever ; and that it is i??2poJJible for God to 
lie. Pial. cxvii. 2. Heb. vi. 18. that he 
Is of purer Ryes than to behold Evily and 



cannot look at Iniquity : i. e, cannot look up- 
on it without Deteftation and Abhorrence. 
Habbak. i. 13. The heavenly Hofts are 
reprefented as celebrating him under this 
Character, Holy^ holy, holy is the Lord of 
Hojis, Ifa. vi. 3. And this is the Subjed: 
of that noble and triumphant Song, Rev. 
XV. 3, 4. Great a?2d marvellous are thy Works, 
Lord God almighty ; jujl and true are thy 
Ways, O thou King of Saints, Who would 
not fear tbee, and glorify thy Name ? For thou 
only art holy. He alone is originally, eter- 
nally, and unchangeably holy. The Ho- 
linefs and Righteoufnefs of God fliineth 
forth to us in the Precepts of his w^ritten 
Law, Vv'hich are holy, juft, and good, and 
is brightly exemplified in the Life and 
Charadler of Jefus Chriji, his well-beloved 
Son, the living Image of the invifible Dei- 
ty here below, who was full of Grace and 
Truth, perfedly holy, harmlefs, undefiled, 
and who did no Sin, neither was Guile 
foujid in his Mouth By looking to him, 
and obferving his Temper and Condudl, 
we may behold the moil lovely Reprefen- 
tation of the Holinefs, and Truth, and 
Purity, as well as of the Goodnefs and 
Mercy of God. So that under the Gof- 
pel we have peculiar Advantages for know- 
ing and contemplating the amiable moral 
Excellencies of the Deity, which are now 
F 3 difplayed 


difplayed to us in the moil convincing and 
aftedting Light. 

It mufi be acknowledged indeed, that 
there are fome Things in the prefent 
Courfe of the divine Difpenfations, which 
we find hard to reconcile to our Notions 
of the perfed: Righteoufnefs and Equity 
of the Supreme Being. God's Judgments 
are reprefented in fome Inftances as un- 
fearcbabk, and his Ways paft finding out. 
But flili we are affured, that though Clouds 
and Darknefs are round about him^ yet 
Righteoujnefs and judgment are the Habita- 
tion ^ or EllabU/liment, of his I'hrone. Pfal. 
xcvii. 2. Righteous is the Lord in all his 
Ways, and holy in all his Works, Pfal. cxlv. 17. 
And fo undoubtedly it fhall appear at the 
great Day of final Retributions, and the 
Revelation of the righteous Judgment of 
God, Vv^hen the whole wonderful Scheme 
of the divine Adminiftrations tov/ards 
Mankind fliall be brought into a clear and 
open View, of which we now have very 
imperfect Apprehenfions, and fhall all ap- 
pear to have been moft v/ifely andjuflly 

Thus have I endeavoured to kt before 
you in a fhort and plain View the princi- 
pal Attributes and Perfedions which Rea- 
fon as well as Scripture teacheth us to 
afcribe unto God. As it appeareth by the 



cleareft and moft convincing Evidence, 
that there muft be a fupreme Caufe and 
Author of the Univerfe, (o alfo that he 
muft be poffeffed of infinite Perfection ; 
that he muft have exifted neceflarily from 
everlafting, and fliall exift to everlafting, 
and is felf-fufficient, independent, and un- 
changeable; that he is every where pre- 
fent without any Bounds or Limits of his 
Effence ; that he is of almighty Power, of 
unfearchable Wifdom and Knowledge, of 
the moft extenfive Goodnefs and Benigni- 
ty, of perfedt Holinefs, Righteoufnefs, and 
Truth. All this is included in that great 
and fundamental Article of all Religion, 
that God is. And the Importance and 
Neceffity of believing this, is evident to 
every confidering Mind. Without Faith 
it is impojjibk to pleafe God ; for he that co??i- 
eth to God, muft believe that he is, and that 
he is a Rewarder of them that diligently feek 
him. Heb. xi. 6. This plainly lieth at the 
Foundation of all that religious Worfliip 
and Obedience which good Men in all 
Ages have rendered to the Supreme Be- 
ing; and when duly impreffed upon the 
Mind, and frequently confidered, can 
fcarce fail to have an advantageous Influ- 
ence upon the whole Temper and Prac- 
tice. And all the Wickednefs and Dif- 
orders among Mankind are owing to the 
F 4 Want 


Want of a hearty Belief and Senfe of a 
prefent Deity. The Fool hath J aid in his 
Hearty 'I'here is no God. And then it immi- 
diately follows. They are corrupt, they have 
done abominable Works, &c. Pfal. xiv. 1,2. 
The TranfgreJJion of the Wicked faith 'within 
my Heart, that there is no Fear of God be- 
fore his Eyes: /. e. His Tranfgreflion con- 
vinceth me of it, becaufe otherwife he 
would not dare fo freely and boldly to 
go on in his iinful Courfes. Pfal. xxxvi. i. 
There are few indeed, if any, that will 
openly profefs to difoelieve a Deity. But 
manv there are who have not a real tho- 
rough Perfuafion of this Principle fixed in 
their Hearts, or do not confider it, and 
purfue it to its juft Confequences. If they 
profefs to beUeve a God, they in effedt 
banifli him from their Minds. God is net in 
all their Thoughts, as the Pfalmift fpeaks, 
FfaL x. 4. He is to them as if he were 
not. And what a ftrange Depravity of 
Heart doth this argue ! How inexcufable 
muft it be to live in an habitual Forget- 
fulnefs of God, when we cannot look 
abroad into the World about us, nor look 
inwardly into our own Frame, but the 
illufirious Evidences of a Deity offer 
themfelves to our View ! Let us carefully 
guard againft fuch a Temper and Condud; 
and not only labour to get our Minds 



wrought to a full and flrong Perfuafion 
of the Exiftence of God, but frequently 
realize him to our Minds in his incompa- 
rable Excellencies and Perfedions, and 
endeavour to get thofe AfFedlions and Dif- 
pofitions in Exercife, which the firm Be- 
lief and frequent Confideration of the Ex- 
eftence and Perfedlions of God hath a 
manifeft Tendency to excite and ftrength- 
en in our Souls. 

More particularly, firft, we fhould love 
him with all our Hearts, v/ho is the beft 
of Beings, the Fountain of all Perfec- 
tion, who hath every Thing that is excel- 
lent, amiable, and glorious, united in him- 
fclf in the higheft poffible Degree, and 
without the leail Dcfedl, and who is con- 
tinually doing Good, and is ever ready to 
communicate of his Fulnefs. Efpecially 
when we confider the numberlefs Bene- 
fits he hath poured forth upon the human 
Race in their prefent degenerate State, and 
the aftoniihing Difplays of his rich Grace 
and Mercy in the Methods of our Re-^ 
demption and Salvation by Jefiis Chnji -^ 
fhould not all this engage us to love him 
above all ? And where this is the prevail- 
ing Difpoiition, it will purify our Souls 
from every bafe vile Affection; it will 
caufe us to delight ourfelves in him, and 
%o make it our earneil and continual Care 



and Endeavour to pleafe and ferve him, 
and to do thofe Things which he v/ill ac- 
cept and approve. 

Secondly, We ought alfo to fear him 
with the profoundeft Reverence, and dread 
his Difpleafure above all Things. Who 
is there that is to be feared by us in 
Comparifon of that moft glorious Being, 
whofe almighty Power no Creature can 
refifl, whofe incomparable Juftice can 
never be bribed and perverted, whofe 
fpotlefs Purity and Holinefs caufeth him 
to hate Sin with a perfect Hatred, from 
whofe Prefence no Man can flee, and on 
whom wx abfolutely and every Moment 
depend ? And the natural Effecft of this re- 
ligious Fear of God, joined with a fuper- 
lative Love towards him, iliould be to en- 
gage us to yield an abfolute unreferved Sub- 
jedion to his Authority and Laws,^ and an 
entire Refignation to his Will in all Things. 
Thirdly, A hearty Belief in God, and 
in his incomparable Perfedlions, fliould 
alfo lay a Foundation for a fteady Truft 
and Confidence in him. With what a 
firm Reliance, even under the moft difcou- 
' raging Difficulties, (hould we commit our- 
felves to him in wxll-doing, who hath an 
infinite Power to proted and defend us, 
Wifdom to diredl and guide us, Goodnefs 
to pity and provide for us, and who is 



every Way qualified to be an all-fufficient 
Portion for us, to make us completely and 
eternally happy ? 

This leads me to add, fourthly, that we 
muft worlliip him in Spirit and in Truth 
with a pure Adoration. To him we fhould, 
from fincere and devout Minds, render that 
religious Homage v/hich is juftly due from 
reafonable Creatures to the Supreme Be- 
ing, their great Creator, Preferver, and Be- 
nefa(flor. O comCy let us "worfhip and how 
dowriy let us kneel before the Lord our Ma- 
ker. Pfal. xcv. 6. To him, in Teftimony 
of our continual Dependence, we ought to 
offer up our humble Prayers and Suppli- 
cations for all the good Things we ftand in 
need of, and our grateful Acknowledg- 
ments and Thankfgivings for all the Mer- 
cies we enjoy ; and we muft, as far as in 
us lieth, celebrate his tranfcendent Excel- 
lencies and Perfections, in folemn Ad:s of 
Praife, which is one of the nobleft Exer- 
cifes in which we can be engaged. 

Finally, we fhould be earneftly defirous 
to honour him in the World in the general 
Courfe of our Pracftice, doing every Thing 
we do in a Subordination to his Glory, 
and fetting this before us, as our fupreme 
governing End. And v/e fhould afpire to 
refemble him as far as he is imitable by 
inch Creatures as we are, in his admirable 



moral Excellencies, his Wifdom, Good- 
jiefs, Holinefs, - Juftice, and Truth. To 
refemble him in thefe is the higheft Glo- 
ry and Felicity of our Nature, and the 
greater Advances we make in fuch a Con- 
formity to the Deity, the more will he 
delight in us, and the more meet ftiall 
we be rendered for that bleffed State, where 
we hope fo to behold his Face in Righte- 
oufnefs, as to be perfectly fatisfied with 
his Likenefs. 


On the Eternity cf God. 


Psalm xc. 2. 

Before the Mountains were brought forth^ or 
ever thou hadjl formed the Earth, or the 
World, even from everlafing to everlafl-^ 
ing thou art God, 

IT is of high Importance to us, to en- 
deavour to get our Minds habitually fill- 
ed and pofleffed with juft and exalted Sen- 
timents of the Supreme Being. For thefe 
have a natural Tendency to produce in us 
devout Aftedions and Difpofitions towards 
him, and thereby lay a Foundation for a 
holy and virtuous Pradlice. Some of the 
divine Attributes, efpecially his amiable 



moral Excellencies, are of fuch a Nature, 
that they are propofed to us as the Objedls 
of our Iinitation ; and to afpire to a Con- 
formity to him in them, as far as we are 
capable of attaining to it, is our Privilege 
and Glory as v^^ell as Duty. But there 
are others of the divine Attributes with 
regard to which he is not fo properly to 
be imitated as adored. Such is the Eter- 
nity of God, which, if rightly confidered, 
tendeth to fill our Minds with the pro- 
founded Veneration of ,the Deity, and is 
capable of being improved to the moft ex- 
cellent Purpofes of Religion. This is what 
I propofe now to confider. And a hum- 
ble Modefty becometh us when treating 
on this glorious Subjed:, left w^e darken 
Counfel by Words without K?iow!edge, 
If we fet ourfelves ferioufly to contemplate 
it, our Thoughts are foon fwallowed up in 
a vaft and unfearchable Abyfs. Some- 
thing however we may ufefully offer con- 
cerning it, following the Light which the 
Scripture affordeth us, and which is per- 
fecftly agreeable to the founded Reafon. 

By the Eternity of God we are to un- 
derftand the Duration of the divine Exift- 
ence; and as his Being is infinite and 
boundlefs, fo is the Duration of it infinite 
too. There are various Ways of Expref- 
fion made ufe of in Scripture to help us in 

5 o^^ 


our Conceptions concerning it. Though 
after all, the fublimeft Conceptions we can 
form, and the nobleft Expreflions that 
Language can afford, muft needs fall vaftly 
ihort, and muft terminate in a profound 
and awful Admiration. 

There is fcarce any Paffage in the facred 
Writings in which the Eternity of God is 
defcribed in a fublimer Manner than in 
that w^hich I have chofen for the Subjed: 
of this Difcourfe. Mofes, as appeareth from 
the Title, was the Penman of this Pfalm. 
And he begins his Meditations on the 
Shortnefs and Uncertainty of human Life, 
which is what he principally infifteth up- 
on, with the Contemplation of God's 
Eternity, which he thus admirably defcrib- 
eth. Before the Mountains were brought 
forth y or ever thou hadji formed the Earthy 
or the World, eveji fro?n everlaftijig to ever- 
la/ii?2g thou art God, We are wont to di- 
vide Eternity in our Thoughts into that 
which is paft, and which was without 
Beginning, and that which is to com^, and 
which (hall never have an End. Neither 
the one nor the other of thefe is to be 
fully comprehended by any finite Under- 
ftanding. But . in whichfoever of thefe 
Views w^e confider it, whether we look 
back to the eternal Duration which pafTed 
before we ourfelves, or the World had an 



Exiftence, or look forward to the vaft un- 
limited Duration which is yet to come ; 
God equally iilleth and poffeffeth it alL 
From everlajling to everlajling thou art 

It is to fignify God's Eternity that he is 
introduced as declaring concerning him- 
felf ; Before me there was no God for me d^ 
neither jhall there be after me^ Ifa. xliii. lo. 
And again, / am the fir Jl, and I am the lafi, 
and befides me there is no God, Ifa. xliv. 6. 
He is the firft original Caufe of all ; from 
him all other Beings derive their Exift- 
ence, and on him they abfolutely depend ; 
and therefore he alone is properly and 0:^^^- 
tially God. 

Another Manner of Expreffion which 
is made ufe of in Scripture in Condefcen- 
fion to our Capacities, to defcribe God's 
Eternity, is, that he is reprefented under 
the Character of him which isy and which 
was 9 and which is to come. Rev. i. 8. iv. 8. 
All Duration, according to our Manner of 
conceiving it, is reducible to thefe Threcy 
the paft, the prefent, and the future, or 
that which was, that which now is, and 
that which {hall be. And God equally 
comprehendeth all thefe, without Variation 
or Change, in his own infinite and bound-* 
lefs Duration. Juftly therefore is he call- 
ed the everlajling God, the King eternal. 


the living God*, i. e. he that livethfor ever 
and ever. Rev. iv. 9. This is w^hat he aflert- 
eth concerning himfelf with great Solemni- 
ty, as it were caUing his own Deity to 
witnefs, / lift up my Hand to Heaven^ and 
fay, I live for ever. Deut. xxxii. 40. 

The Eternity of God is one Thing ef- 
pecially intended in that myfterious Charac- 
ter, I am that I am. It denoteth his per- 
manent, ftable, immutable Exiftence, that 
he always neceiTarily is, and hath an ab- 
folute Fulnefs of Being eternally and in- 
dependently in himfelf. The fame Thing, 
by the Acknowledgment of the moft 
learned Critics, is fignified by the Name 
Jehovah, by which he is fo frequently 
defcribed In Scripture, and which might 
properly enough be rendered, * the eternal*, 
as it is in fome Verfions. 

Upon confidering and comparing the 
feveral Reprefentations made to us in 
Scripture of the Eternity of God -, we may 
obferve the following Things concerning 

Firfl, It fignifies, that he never had a 
Beginning of his Being or Exiftence. This 
is neceiTarily included in the Notion of a 
proper Eternity. It is a Duration without 
Beginning ; and fuch moft certainly is the 
Duration of the bleffed God. This is 
what the Pfalmift here intendeth by fay- 

[VoL. I.] G ing 


ing, from everlajling — thou art God. He 
exifted from all Eternity by the glorious 
Neceffity of his own moft perfed: Nature, 
which is fuch, that it was abfolutely im~ 
poflible for him ever not to have been, 
and confequently it was impoffible for 
him ever to begin to be. This is the pe- 
culiar noble Prerogative of the fupreme 
felf-exiftent Jehovah. There was a Time 
when this whole wonderful Syftem of 
created Things began to be: But from 
everlafting, from the Beginning, ere ever 
the Earth was, when as yet there was no 
Creature formed, the eternal God did exift, 
infinitely happy in himfelf, and in the 
Fulnefs of his own Perfedlion. The Space 
of Time which hath run out fince the 
Creation may appear a long Time to us, 
and fo it really is, if we compare it with the 
fliort Duration of human Life, or confi- 
der the great Variety of Events which 
have happened in it. How many fuccef- 
five Generations of Men have, in that 
Time, afted their Parts on this various 
and ample Theatre ! And yet, what is 
the Duration of the whole Frame of Hea- 
ven and Earth compared with that of the 
infinite God ? If we look back to the Be* 
ginning of the World, we may compute 
by Days and Years ; but if we look into 
the immenfe Duration before it. Days and 



Years are loft, and we have no Meafure 
to adjuft it by. Let us fuppofe ourfelves 
removed to the Diftance of infinite Ages 
before the World w^as formed, when we 
have carried our Thoughts as far back as 
the Power of Numbers can go, we fliall 
ftill be no nearer a Beginning of the divine 
Exiftence than we were at firft. In this 
amazing Contemplation we foon lofe our- 
felves, and are overwhelmed with Afto- 

Secondly, When God is faid to be eter- 
nal, as it fignifieth that he never had a 
Beginning, fo alfo that he fhall never have 
an End. This is no lefs neceffarily in- 
cluded in the Notion of Eternity than the 
former, and it doth no lefs certainly and 
evidently belong to the Supreme Being. 
Hence, in the Language of the Pfalmift, 
he is not only from everlafiing, but to 
everlajiingy God, Reafon aflureth us, 
that that which had no Beginning cannot 
pofiibly have an End. For that which 
is without Beginning, oweth not its Ex- 
iftence to the Efficiency of any external 
Caufe, but hath the Reafon of its Exift- 
ence within itfelf, in the incomprehenfi-- 
ble Perfe(5tion of its own Nature ; and that 
which thus neceflarily exifteth, by the 
fame Neceffity muft exift always. What- 
foever hath an End of its Being, it muft 
G 2 either 


either be owing to an inward Weaknefs 
and Imperfection in itfelf, or to the Vio- 
lence of fome external Caufe; neither of 
which can, without the higheft Abfurdity, 
be fuppofed of the abfolutely perfeift, the 
independent, the omnipotent 'Jehovah, 
The vaft Fabrick of this vifible material 
Syftem, however ilable it appeareth to be, 
may be diffolved and fall to Ruin, but God 
can never fail or decay. This is elegant- 
ly and nobly exprefled by the Pfalmift, 
Pfal. cii. 25, 26, 27. Of old haft thou laid 
the Foundations of the Earthy and the Hea- 
n)ens are the Work of thine Hands. They 
fiall perijhy but thou .JJoalt endure -y yea all 
of them jhall iva:^ old like a Garment ; as a 
Vefture fbak thou change them, and they JIj all 
'he changed: But thou art the fame, and thy 
Tears jhall have no End. Hence God is 
called immortal. He is the King eternaU 
inimortaU invifibk, i Tim. i. 17. ' Yea it 
is faid, that he only hath Lnmortality. 
I Tim. vi. 16. /. e. He only hath it origi- 
nally and abfolutely in himfelf, all others 
have it of and from him. Angels, and 
the Souls of Men, are immortal; but then 
this is only by his Donation and Grant, 
not by a Necellity of Nature; 'tis becaufe 
it is the Vv^ili and Appointment of God 
that they fhould be fo, who continually 
uphgldeth them in Being, and is a Foun- 
' tain 


tain of Life to them, and could, if he 
fo pleafed, foon put an End to their 
Exiftence. But God is effential, felf- 
originate Life; he hath Life neceffarily and 
independently in himfelf, and therefore 
it is in the Nature of the Thing abfo- 
lutely impoffible that he fhould ever 
ceafe to be. The Eternity of God, con- 
fidered in this View, is no lefs aflonifhini^ 
and incomprehenfible than in the fomier*". 
Let us carry our Views forward, and com- 
pute Millions of Milhons of Ages, till our 
Minds are wearied with the Computation, 
and then let us begin again where we left 
off, and add Millions of Millions more, 
and continue thus adding for ever, we iliall 
never be able to meafure out that Eternity 
which is to come, no more than we are 
able to meafure that Eternity v/hich is 
pajft 'y we iliall be as far from reaching to 
the End of the one, as from arriving at 
the Beginning of the other. 

Thirdly, Another thing to be obferved 
with refped to God's Eternity, is, that there 
is no proper Succeffion in his Being or -Du- 
ration, as there is in ours. We are fuc- 
ceffive, becaufe we are but temporary Beings ^ 
our Duration is computed by Moments, 
Days, and Years 5 but his Duration is like 
himfelf, ftable and permanent, God ex- 
ifteth in a different Manner from us, in a 
G 3 Manner 


Manner which we are not able diftinMy 
to conceive; and to which the Meafures 
of our temporary traniient Duration can- 
not be properly applied : We exifl by Par- 
cels, and in fucceffive Moments ; we partly 
exifted Yefterday, partly do exift To-day, 
and partly fhall exift To-morrow. But he 
ever iilleth the whole boundlefs Duration, 
and is completely adequate to it; hence he is 
faid to inhabit Eternity^ If. Ivii. 1 5. And in- 
deed, it is he that by exifting always con- 
ftitutes Eternity; which, properly fpeaking, 
is nothing elfe but the Duration of his in- 
finite Being. He equally enjoyeth it all, 
and hath the full entire PoiTeffion of a moft 
perfect and endlefs Life. He was never 
younger,- and never fhall be older than he 
always is ; it cannot be faid that he is older 
now, than he was before the Creation of 
the World, notwithftanding the many Ages 
which have paffed fince : For thefe Terms 
of older and younger, may be applied to 
Creatures that are in a continual Succeffion, 
but not to that moft ftable and unchange- 
able Being. He is indeed in Scripture 
called the Antient of Days, and Years are 
fometimes afcribed to him; but we are not 
to take thefe Things ftricSly and literally. 
This manner of Expreffion is fometimes 
made ufe of in a Way of Accommodation to 
ourWeaknefs, becaufewecan really form no 



Conception of any Duration, but what is 
to be computed by Days and Years like our 
own ; but it is moft proper to fay of God in 
all the various Points of Duration, He is. 
This is fignified by that moft venerable 
Charafter which he appropriateth to him- 
felf, and which hath been already men- 
tioned, / am that 1 am ; or, as the Septua- 
gint renders it, * I am he that is/ And in 
the Words of the Text, it is not merely 
faid. Thou waft God from everlafting, and 
thou ftialt be God to everlafting, but from 
everlajiing to everlajiing thou art God, 
Such a manner of fpeaking would feem 
very harfti and abfurd if applied to any 
finite fucceflive Being, but is very pro- 
per when applied to the ftable, unfucceffive 
Duration of the eternal God. 

I fhould now come to v/hat I principally 
intended in the Choice of this Subjedt, and 
that is, to make fome ufeful Refledions 
upon it. I cannot infift particularly at 
prefent upon them-, but Ihall content my- 
felf with this general Obfervation : That 
we may hence fee' how unable we are to 
comprehend God \ and what Modefty and 
Humility becometh us in all our Refearches 
and Enquiries into his adorable Nature, and 
into his divine Counfels. I know nothing 
more proper to humble the Pride of hu- 
man Reafon, and give a Check to that 
G 4 Prefumption 


Prefumption which pretendeth to grafp In- 
finity itfelf, than feriouily to contemplate 
the Eternity of God. Nothing is more 
certain, and yet nothing is more incom- 
prehenfible, than the divine Eternity. It is 
undeniably evident that fomething muft 
have been from Eternity; this is as evi- 
dent as that any thing now is. The A- 
theift himfelf is forced to acknowledge this, 
whether he will or no; and being un- 
willing to own a moft wife, and intelli- 
gent, and infinitely perfed: Caufe of all 
things, moft abfurdly afcribeth Eternity 
and Self-exiftence to dull, fenfelefs, unac- 
tive Matter. But Eternity, though it is 
what we muft of Neceflity acknowledge, 
is what we are abfolutely unable to con- 
ceive. How fhould Creatures that live by 
Parcels, and in a continual Succeffion, form 
a juft Idea of an infinite, unfucceflive Du- 
ration ? We can conceive of it no other- 
wife than as a Series of Days and Years fol- 
lowing one another ; and yet there is no 
proper Succeffion of Days and Years in the 
divine Eternity. For Years and Days, or 
any Number of them that can be fuppofed, 
is finite, and therefore cannot bear any Pro- 
portion to that which is infinite, as Eter- 
nity evidently is. If we endeavour to turn 
our Thoughts to the vaft Duration before 
we ourfelves had a Being, we fliall find that 



an Eternity or infinite Duration is paft al- 
ready, according to our Manner ; for if it 
were only a finite Duration that is paft, it 
would be pofiible to come to the Beginning 
of it, and confequently to come to the Be- 
ginning of Eternity, which is a manifeft 
Contradidlion ; and yet to fay that an Eter- 
, nity or infinite Duration is already paft, is 
in efFed: to fuppofe Bounds to that which 
hath no Bounds, and fo the Suppofition 
deftroys itfelf. I mention thefe Things, 
to jfhew how uncapable fuch Creatures as 
we are, temporary, precarious, contingent 
Beings, who are but juft ftarted up into 
Exiftence, are to form a juft and adequate 
Idea of that infinite and eternal Jehovah, 
who from everlafting to everlafting exift- 
eth neceffarily of himfelf, by the peculiar 
Prerogative of his own moft perfed: Na- 
ture. It appeareth by this, and other In- 
ftances which might be mentioned, that 
natural Rehgion as it is ufually called, hath 
its Myfteries, as well as revealed. None 
of thofe that are accounted the Myfteries 
of the Chriftian Religion, (if we confider 
them as they are taught in the facred Wri- 
tings), are attended with greater Difficul- 
ties, than this of God's Eternity. Let us 
turn our Thoughts never fo many ways, we 
fhall not find it poffible for us to form any 
Notion of it, but what involveth in it 



feeming Inconfiftencies, and is liable td 
Difficulties which we are not able to ac- 
count for ; And yet the Man that jfhould 
pretend to deny the Eternity of God, be- 
caufe he cannot diftincSly conceive or ex- 
plain it, would only render himfelf ridi- 
culous. Let this therefore teach us to 
think and fpeak of the great God, with 
the profoundeft Humility and Reverence. 
On fuch Occafions we (hould call to mind 
that Queftion of Zophar^ Canfl thou by 
Jearching find out God? Canji thou find out 
the Almighty unto TerfeBion ? Job xi. 7. 
Shall we pretend to deny every Thing con- 
cerning him, which we are not able clear- 
ly to comprehend, and thus prefume to re- 
duce the infinite Jehovah to the Model of 
our fcanty Intelleft ? Shall we take upon 
us to cenfure the Counfels of the Eternal, 
we who are but of Yefterday, and know No- 
thing ? That Queftion of the Almighty to 
yoiy fliould filence each vain prefumptu- 
ous Mortal : Where waft thou when I laid 
the Foujidation of the Earth? Declare if thou 
haft JJnderftanding. Job xxxviii. 4. Surely 
then it becometh us all to fall down before 
the Eternal with the deepeft Proftration of 
Soul. All God's Perfeftions are as himfelf, 
eternal. This fpreadeth Infinity through 
his whole Nature and Attributes : Under 
this Charader of eternal he is particularly 



entitled to the Adorations and Praifcs of 
all in Heaven and Earth. The whole 
heavenly Hoft are reprefented as giving 
Glory, and Honour, and Thanks to him 
that liveth for ever and ever ; and as fay- 
ing, Holy, holy, holy^ Lord God Almighty, 
which was, and is, and is to come. Rev. 
iv. 8. Let us join in the fame humble 
and devout Adorations, and make the A- 
poftle's Doxology ours. Now unto the 
King eternal, immortal, invijible, the only 
wife God, be Honour ajid Glory ^ for ever 
and ever, Amen^ 


On the Eternity of God. 


P S A L. XC. 2r 

Before the Mountains were brought forth y or 
ever thou hadji formed the 'Earthy or the 
JVorldy even from ever lofting to ever lofting 
thou art God, 

THE Eternity of God furnilheth a 
noble Subje<a: for our Thoughts ; and 
to afiift you in your Meditations upon it, 
I endeavoured in a former Difcourfe to 
confider the Reprefentations that are made 
to us of the divi le Eternity in thefe re- 
markable Words of the Pfalmift, and in 
feveral other Faffages of Holy Writ. It 
was (hewn, that the Eternity of God ligni- 
iieth, I ft. That he never had a Beginning 
of his Being or Exiftence : 2dly, That it is 



impoffible he ever fliould have an End : 
3dly, That he is always the fame, and that 
there is no proper Succeffion in his Being 
or Duration as there is in ours : And we 
concluded with this general Obfervation ; 
That we may hence fee, how unable we 
are to comprehend God, and what Humi- 
lity and Modefty becometh us in all our 
Refearches and Enquiries into his infinite 
Nature, and into his divine Counfels. 

I now proceed to make fome farther Re- 
fieftlons on this important Subjedl. 

And firft. The Confideration of God*s 
Eternity ihould excite in us the moft 
admiring Thoughts of his unequalled Ma- 
jefty and Glory, and fhould affeft our 
Hearts with the deepeft Senfe of the infinite 
Diftance there is between him and the moft 
glorious and exalted of all created Beings. 
In all things that come under our Notice, 
we may obferve convincing Proofs of their 
having had a Beginning of their Exiftence. 
With regard to ourfelves, we are confcious 
that it is but a few Years fince we came 
into Being. The fame muft be faid of the 
whole Race of Mankind, which, it is de- 
monftrable, could not have been from ever- 
lafting upon this Earth. And there are many 
Things which plainly fhew, that they are 
comparatively but. of a late Original. The 
Earth itfelf, the Sea, the Air, and all Things 



that are therein, bear upon them the Cha- 
radters of Mutabihty aed Imperfection, 
which make it evident that they did not 
exift of themfelves from everlafting. And 
the fame may be jiiftly concluded concern- 
ing thofe glorious Bodies, which perform 
4:heir Courfes and Revolutions in the vaft 
Spaces around us : But when we rife be- 
yond thefe Things to the great Author of 
the Univerfe; as we muft acknowledge 
that he had an Exiftence before any Part of 
this vifible World (which is his Con- 
trivance and V/orkmanfhip) was formed ; 
fo we are naturally led to conclude, that 
he never had any Beginning of his Beings 
Let us purfue our Thoughts never fo far 
through the Series of fubordinate Caufes, 
we muft unavoidably come at length to 
fomething which was itfelf uncaufed, and 
muft therefore have been felf-exiftent, or 
have exifted neceflarily from everlafting. 
And whatfoever is thus felf-exiftent, muft 
be independent and felf-fufficient ; as it 
was not beholden to any other for its Being 
or Perfedlion, fo there is no other on whom 
it can be fuppofed in any Cafe to depend. 
It fubiifteth wholly and only of itfelf, 
and ftandeth not in need of any foreign 
Afliftance or Support ; and for the fame 
Reafon that it is felf-fufficient and inde- 
pendent, it is unchangeable too. That 



which exifteth necelTarily from ever- 
lafting, cannot reafonably be fuppofed to 
be liable to Alteration or Change, fince it 
can neither be fuppofed to have any Weak- 
nefs or Principle of Change in itfelf, nor to 
be obnoxious to the Power of any exter- 
nal Caufe ; it mud alfo be poffeffed of in- 
finite Perfedlion, without any Limitation 
or Defed. Derivative dependent Beings 
muft be limited in one Refped or another ; 
and the Reafon is plain, becaufe they owe 
their Exiftence and their Perfe6lions, their 
Nature and Properties, to the Power and 
Will of a fuperior Caufe. But that Being 
which exifteth neceffarily of itfelf cannot 
be limited -, for it hath nothing to reftrain 
or limit it from without, fince there is no 
fiiperior Caufe, on whom it dependeth ; 
nor hath it any Reftridlion or Limitation 
arifing from within, fince its exifting ne- 
ceflarily could be only owing to the pecu- 
liar and tranfcendent Excellency of its own 
Nature ; which is fuch, that it hath an ab- 
folute Fulnefs of Being and Perfection in- 
dependently in itfelf. For no imaginable 
Reafon can be given Vv^hy the felf-originate, 
neceflarily exiftent Being, which hath 
nothing to fet Bounds to it, ftiould have 
fome Perfedions, and not all. 

And now it appeareth what an eminent 
and glorious Prerogative, this of eternal 



and necelTary Exiftence is ; and that there 
muft needs be an infinite and unconceivable 
Diftance between a Being to which this 
Privilege belongeth, and a Being v/hich 
hath nothing of itfelf, but deriveth ail that 
it is and hath from the Will and Power of 
another. We fliould therefore in the in- 
ward Eftimation of our Minds, put an im- 
menfe Difference between the eternal and 
neceffarily exiftent Jehovah, and all creat- 
ed Beings whatfoever; acknowledging his 
unequalled Majeily, that he is, and that 
there is none other befides him. He is the 
TO ov, as one of the moft eminent of the an- 
cient Philofophers called him, the Being, 
by way of Eminency ; or t/oaf which is, or 
exijlethi viz. neceffarily and of himfelf; 
whereas other Things have only a precari- 
ous contingent Exiftence, and therefore in 
comparifon of God can hardly be faid to be 
at all. What the Prophet faith concern- 
ing all the Nations of the Earth, may be 
faid concerning all the Orders of created 
Beings -, that in the Sight of God and as 
compared with him, they are as Nothing, 
yea even lefs than Nothing, and Vanity^ lia. 
xl. 17. How juftly therefore is he the Ob- 
jed: of our profoundeft Reverence ! How 
ihould we fmk into the very Duft before 
him, with the moft awful and proftrate 
Adoration ! God's Eternity and Sclf-ex- 
[VoL. I.] H iftence 


illence lieth at the Foundation of all his 
other Attributes, and giveth them infinite 
Force. Hence the Apoftle fpeaketh of his 
eternal Power and Godhead. Rom, i. 20. 
His Power, his Wifdom, his Goodnefs, 
all his Perfedlions, in a Word his God- 
head is eternal : And on this account we 
fliould pay him our religious Homage 
with the humbleft Devotion. 

This leads me to another Obfervation 
which naturally arifeth upon this Subjedl ; 
and that is, How amazing is the Conde- 
fcenfion of this eternal God in taking fa- 
vourable Notice of fuch Creatures as we 
are! It is evident that he cannot ftand in 
need of us, or of our Services. He exifted 
from eyerlafting before any Part of this 
vaft Frame of Nature was made, or any of 
the Beings contained iii it. Throughout 
that infinite Duration, when as yet neither 
Angels nor Men had a Being, he was per- 
fecftly happy in the Enjoyment of himfelf. 
It was not therefore from any Indigence in 
himfelf that he formed any of his Crea- 
tures ; for he could have continued happy 
to Eternity without them, as well as he 
was infinitely happy before they exifted. 
Wherein can fuch temporary finite Beings 
be profitable to the eternal, felf-fufficient 
Jehovah? What iVdvantage can he reap 
from their Praifes and Services? Should 



not we therefore be even as nothing In our 
own Eyes, adoring his marvellous Grace, 
and condefcending Goodnefs, in taking 
fuch particular Notice of us of the human 
Race, Creatures of Tejlerdajy that dwell 
in Houfes of Clay, whofe Foundation is in 
the Dtiji, which are crujloed before the 
Moth ? What Reafon have we to cry out. 
Lord, what is Man that thou art mindful of 
hiniy or the Son of Man that thou viftejl 
him I How aftonifhing is it, that the high and 
lofty One which inhabiteth Eteriiityy fhould 
concern himfelf in fo extraordinary a Man- 
ner for precarious dependent Beings, that 
are but juft ftarted up into Exiftence, and 
cannot fubiift a Moment of ourfelves ! 
that he fliould make our Salvation the 
Subjeft of his eternal Councils, and take 
fuch wonderful Methods to accomplifh it ! 
that he fhould fend his only begotten and 
eternal Son, to take upon him our frail and 
mortal Flefh, that he might fave and re- 
deem us ! and fhould through him vouch- 
fafe to communicate his Holy Spirit to 
affift, guide, fancStify, and comfort us, and 
to dwell in our Hearts, as in his living 
Temples ! that he fhould floop fo low 
as to enter into a gracious Covenant with 
us, and oblige himfelf by the mofl facred 
Promifes and Engagements, to confer upon 
us the moil: ineflimable Benefits ! Is it 
H 2 poffible 


poffible ferioufly to confider this, and not 
be filled with a devout Aftonifliment ? Sure- 
ly fuch marvellous Goodnefs, fo far beyond 
all Parallel and all Comprehenfion, ought 
to make deep Impreffions upon our Hearts ; 
and how inexculable fliall we be if we do 
not with the greateft Thankfulnefs lay hold 
of his offered Grace and Favour ! 

Thirdly, Another Refledion which offer- 
eth itfelf on thisOccafion,is this, That fince 
God is from everlafting to everlafling, this 
fheweth what a proper Objedl he is for our 
Confidence and Truft. It would be Folly 
to place an abfolute Dependence on the 
Power or Friendfhip of any Men upon 
Earth ; fince, let their Power feem at pre- 
fent never fo great, or their Friendfliip to 
us never fo firm and cenftant, yet they 
themfelves are frail Creatures, whofe Breath 
is in their Nofl:rils ; their Life is precari- 
ous, and may not perhaps be of a Day's 
Continuance. Fut not your T^ruji in Prin- 
ces, faith the Pfalmifl:, 7ior in the Son of 
Man, in whom there is no Help : For his 
Breath goeth forth, he returneth to his Earth -y 
in that very Day his Thoughts perijh, PfaL 
cxlvi. 3. 4. But the Lord JJjall reign for 
ever, even thy God, O Zion, tinto all Ge- 
nerntions. Ibid. Verfe 10. Or, as it is ex- 
prciTed Pfalm xciii. 2. Thy Throne ^ O Lord, 
is ejlablijhed of old, thou art from everlajiing. 



Amidft all the Viciflitudes and Changes of 
Things ; all the Confufions and Dangers to 
which the Church and People of God are 
expofed ; this is their great Comfort and 
Security, and is iniifted upon in Scripture, 
as a folid Foundation for their Hope and 
Confidence. 'The eternal God is their Ke- 
fugey and underneath are the everlajiing 
Arms, Deut. xxxiii. 27. Let the Adver- 
faries threaten the utmoft they are capable 
of doing ', they are but of Yejfterday, perifli- 
ing Duft and Afhes, and all their Fury is 
but a tranfient Puff. But trujl ye in the 
Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is 
ever lofting Strength. I fa. xxvi. 4. l^he ever- 
lajiing God, the Creator of the Ends of the 
Earth, faint eth not, neither is weary, Ifa. 
xL 28. He neither flumbereth nor fleep- 
eth; when all earthly Supports and 
Comforts fail, the eternal God ftill liveth, 
Yefterday, To-day, and for ever the fame. 
The folid Earth may fink under our Feet, 
the Heavens may pafs away, but God can 
never fail, or be lefs powerful, wife, juft, 
and good, than he always is ; and therefore 
can never difappoint the Hope of them 
that regularly put their Truft in him. 
Happy thofe that have this God to be their 
Refuge in Time of Trouble; he will give 
them Quietnefs and Aflurance for ever, 
. Fourthly, Since God is eternal^ how ama- 
H 3 zing 


zing is the Folly of thofe, who by their 
wilful Impenitency and Difobedience ex- 
pofe themfelves to his righteous Difplea- 
fure ! Sin is an Offence committed againft 
the Majefty and Authority of the eternal 
God. This fhews its heinous Malignity 
and Demerit; when a Creature of Yefter- 
day prefumeth to rife up againft the Author 
of its Being, who exifteth from everlafting 
to everlafting ; when it oppofeth its own 
Will and flefhly Interefts, and corrupt Ca- 
pacities, to the holy Will, the all-compre- 
hending Interefts, and fupreme Authority 
of the infinite Jehovah ; when it perfifteth 
in an obftinate Courfe of Difobedience, 
and refufeth his offered Mercy, and will not 
confent to the gracious Terms of his Co- 
venant. Who can exprefs the Impiety as 
well as Folly of fuch a Condud ? Accor- 
dingly the wife and righteous Governor 
of the World regardeth it with a juft Dif- 
pleafure, and will awfully punifh it. He 
indeed beareth with Sinners in this prefent 
State, and they often take Encouragement 
from his Forbearance to harden themfelves 
in their finful Courfes : Becaufe Sentence 
a^ainfl an evil Work is not fpeedily executed^ 
therefore the Hearts of the Sons of Men are 
fully fet in them to do Evil. Eccief viii. xi. 
But the Lord is not fack, as fo7ne Men 
count Skcknefs : A few Years of Forbear- 


ance may feem a long time to the Sinner, 
and he may on that account be apt to flat- 
ter himfelf with the Hopes of Impunity ; 
but a Thoufand Years are in the Sight of 
the eternal God but as one Day. When 
this State of Trial is at an End, then fliall 
Wrath come upon impenitent Sinners to 
the uttermoft. The Wife-man obferves, 
that the Wrath of an earthly King is ter- 
rible, but how much more dreadful is the 
Wrath of an eternal God ? The greateft 
Monarch upon Earth muft depart in a few 
Years, and then all his Pomp, and the Ter- 
ror of his Power, muft perifli with him in 
the Duft. But the Lord is the true God, 
he is the living God, and an everlajiing King ; 
at his Wrath the Earth Jloall tremble^ and 
the Nations jhall not be able to abide his In^ 
dignation, Jer. x. 10. As he is an eternal 
God, fo he threateneth Sinners with an 
everlafting Punifhment. Our Saviour who 
is to be our Judge declareth, that the 
wicked jhall go away into everlafting Punifh- 
ment. Matth. XXV. 46. They /W/, as St. 
Paul expreffeth it, be puniJJ.ed with ever- 
lafting DeJlruBiony from the Prefence of the 
Lord, and from the Glory of his Power. 
2 Thef i. 9. For he liveth for ever to ex- 
ecute his own Threatenings. Surely this 
fhould be enough to fill the moft hardened 
Sinners with Terror and Aftonifhment, 
H 4 Verily^ 


Verily, it is a fearful thing to fall into the 
Hands of the livi?2g God, Heb. x. 31. 

Oh confider this ye that now forget 
God, and vvhilft the Day of Grace lafleth, 
lay hold of his offered Mercy, upon the 
moft reafonable and gracious Terms of the 
Gofpel- covenant ; now is the accepted 
^ime, behold, now is the Day of Salva- 
tion. He yet waiteth to be gracious to 
you ; he ftretcheth forth the Arms of 
his Mercy to receive you, notwithllahding 
your paft Offences and Provocations, if 
you be heartily willing to forfake your 
evil Ways, and to return -to him your fo- 
vereign Lord and chiefeft God, through 
"^efus Chriji the great Mediator of his Ap- 
pointment. Come therefore, and humble 
yourfelves deeply at his Footftool in the 
Sorrows of an ingenuous Repentance, ac- 
knowledging your manifold Tranfgreffions, 
your Ingratitude, and Difobedience, and 
begging, that according to the Multitude 
of his tender Mercies, he would blot out 
all your Iniquities. Let it be the fixed 
Purpofe of your Souls, that you will fet 
yourfelves heartily to abandon thofe finful 
Courfes, in which you have been hitherto 
engaged, efpecially the Sins that do mod 
eafily befet you ; and that you will make 
it your fmcere and earneft Endeavour to 
walk in a dutiful Obedience to his holy 



and excellent Laws, and to live foberly, 
righteoufly, and godly in this prefent 
World. And from a Senfe of your own 
Weaknefs and Infufficiency in yourfelves, 
you muft, to your own diligent Endea- 
vours, add fervent Prayers to God for the 
Influences of his Holy Spirit, that he would 
create in you clean Hearts, and renew 
right Spirits v/ithin you; that he would 
deliver you from the Power of corrupt 
Lufts, and ftrengthen and enlarge holy 
and good Affedtions and Difpoiitions 
in your Souls ; that being aflifted by his 
Grace you may be fruitful in every good 
Work ; and then there fliall be a bleffed 
Change in your State. You will be the 
Objed: of the divine Favour and Compla- 
cency, and have an Intereft in the glorious 
promifed Bleflings of his Covenant. 

This leads me to the laft Refledion I 
would make upon this Subjed:, and that is. 
How happy are thofe w^ho have this eter- 
nal God for their Father and Friend, their 
Portion and Felicity ! And this is the Hap- 
pinels of all thofe that love and ferve him 
in Sincerity. As the Lord Jehovah is an 
eternal God, fo he loveth his People with 
an everlafting Love. / /)ave loved thee, faith 
he, with an everlajiwg Love, therefore with 
Loving-kindnefs have I drawn thee, Jer, 
xxxi. 3. And again. With everlajling 



Kindnefs will I have Mercy on theey faith 
the Lord thy Redeemer, Ifa. liv. 8. His Mer- 
cy isfro?n everlafting to everlajiing upon them 
that fear him, Pfal. ciii. 17. The Covenant 
he makes with them is an everlafting Cove- 
Tiant. Ila, Iv. 3. The Salvation he v^ill blefs 
them v^ith is an everlajiing Salvation^ Ifrael 
fiall be faved of the Lord with an everlafing 
Salvation ^ ye Jl:all not be ajloamed nor con- 
founded JVorld without End, Ifa. xlv. 17. 
The Happinefs good Men fhall enjoy in 
his Prefence is often defcribed under the 
Characfter of eternal Life. And that 
which includeth this and every BleiTing 
that can be conceived, is, that he himfelf 
will be their Portion for ever. This is in- 
cluded in that fundamental Promife of the 
New Covenant, / will be a God unto thee. 
What a Fountain of Confolation and Joy 
is here, enough to fupport the good Man 
w^hen Nature is finking in all its Pov^ers, 
and this World and all that is in it are 
ready to forfake him'! Then may he fay 
with the devout Pfalmift, Whofn have I in 
Heaven but thee ? and there is iione upon 
Earth that I defire befide thee. My Flejh 
and my Heart faileth -, but God is the 
Strength of my Hearty and my Portion for 
ever, Pfal. cxxiii. 25, 26. What a ftable 
and permanent Portion is this ! A Portion 
which fhall out-laft the Injuries of Time, 



and never know the leaft Diminution or 
Decay. Compared with this, what arc 
all the boafted Pofleffions upon Earth ? 
how unfatisfying in their Nature ! Or if 
they were never fo excellent and fatisjfying 
whilft they laft, yet how temporary and 
fhort-lived is their Duration ! They are 
as the Grafs, and the Flower of the Field, 
whofe agreeable Beauty and Verdure foon 
withereth. But God is an eternal Por- 
tion, which fhall never difappoint the 
Hopes of his People. He is a Fountain 
of Blifs overflowing, a Sun of Glory ever 
fhining and diffufing the happy Emana- 
tions of divine Life, and Light, and Love, 
through all the heavenly World, and fill- 
ing Angels and Saints with unutterable 
Raptures of Wonder and Joy. This is 
the very Heaven of Heavens, that all 
God's Perfections are as himfelf eternal, 
and {hall perpetually furnifh new Matter 
for delightful Admiration. There fhall be 
no room for unfatisfied Defires, or unea- 
fy Cravings. If all the Fulnefs of Glory 
and Perfection that is in an eternal God 
can make the Saints happy, they fhall be 
ever fo. Surely the Confideration of fuch 
an everlafting Felicity fhould keep us from 
being weary in well-doing, and fhould 
caufe us to think little of all the Labours ^ 
and Difficulties we now meet with in the 




Way of our Duty. Nothing can pofiibly 
have a more animating Influence to engage 
us to a diligent perfevering Obedience to 
the divine Commands, than this Perfua- 
fion, T^hat the Lord wJjom we ferve^ liveth 
end reigneth for ever y otd that in his Pre- 
Jence is Fulnefs of foy^ and at his right 
Hand are Pleqfures for evermore. 


On the Omniprefence of God. 


Psalm cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. 

Whither fhall I go from thy Spirit? or 
whither Jhall I fee from thy Prefence ? If 
I afcend up into Heaven, thou art there: 
if 1 make my Bed in Hell, behold^ thou art 
there : if I take the Wings of the Morn- 
ing, .and dwdl in the utter mqfl Parts of the 
Sea y even there Jhall thy Hand lead me, 
and thy right Hand pall hold me. 

AMONG all the divine Attributes, 
there is none more glorious in it- 
felf, more worthy of our higheft Admira- 
tion, or more capable of being improved 
to the mod important Purpofes of Reli- 


gion, than God's Immenfity and Omni- 
prefence. The Contemplation of it filleth 
the vaft Capacities of the Soul, and fpread- 
eth an awful and pleafing Aftoniiliiment 
through all its Powers. Whilft the Mind 
is thus engaged, it feeleth the Influence 
of the Divinity within it. A lively Senfe 
of God's being ever prefent with us, tend- 
eth to awaken every good Affedlion and 
Refolution in our Hearts, and giveth a 
refiftlefs Force to every Argument on the 
Side of Religion and Virtue : Nor can any 
Thing poffibly be more conducive to con- 
troul the unruly Appetites and Paffions, 
and to render the whole Condu6l uniform- 
ly regular and pure. Accordingly the 
Omniprefence of God is clearly alferted, 
and nobly defcribed in the holy Scrip- 
tures, but no where more fo than in this 
139th Pfalm, which is univerfally acknow- 
ledged to be a moft fublime and admira- 
ble Compofure. The Pfalmift beginneth 
with contemplating the divine Omnifci- 
ence, and thence by a very natural Tran- 
fition proceedeth to confider God's Omni- 
prefence. For it is a very juifl Way of 
arguing, that God muft needs know all 
Things, fince he is prefent every where. 
And here he giveth full Scope to the no- 
ble Tranfports of a devout Mind, and 
celebrateth the Immenfity of the Supreme 



Being in the moft exalted Strains of De- 
votion, in fome meafure correfponding, a-s 
far as human Imagination is able to 
reach, to the Grandeur and Sublimity of 
the Subjedt. Whither jhall 1 go from thy 
Spirit ? or whither floall Ijleefrom thy Pre- 
fence? If I afcend up iftto Heaven^ thou art 
there: if I make my Bed i?i Hell, behold^ 
thou art there : if I take the Wings of t he- 
Morning, and dwell i?i the uttermoft Parts 
of the Sea ; even there fiall thy Hand lead 
me, and thy right Hand Jhall hold me. 
The Elevation of the Thoughts, and the 
Variety and Noblenefs of the Figures and 
Expreffions, cannot be fufficiently admired. 
He iirft obferveth, in general, the utter 
Impoffibility of efcaping from the Prefence 
of God : Whither Jhall I go fro?n thy Spi- 
rit ? or whither Jloall I flee from thy Pre- 
fence ? intimating, that it would be the 
vaineft Thing in the World for him, or 
any Creature, to think of finding a Place 
within the whole Compafs of Things 
where God is not. And then he particu- 
larly mentioneth feveral Parts of this vaft 
Univerfe, and fheweth that God is prefent 
in them all : If I afcend up into Heaven, 
thou art there. If I could take a Flight 
throughout that vaft Expanfe to which this 
Earth of ours is but a Point, in the Ex- 
peftation of finding fome Corner or other 



in. all that unmeafurable Space, unpoflcffed 
of God, the Attempt would be vain ; T^hou 
art there, filling and poffeffing all thofe 
boundlefs Regions with thine Effence and 
thy Glory. He adds. If 1 make my Bed in 
Hell, behold, thou art there. The Word in 
the Original which we render Hell, ad- 
mitteth of various Senfes in Scripture. It 
is not merely taken for the State of Pu- 
nifhment of evil Angels or wicked Men, 
but it frequently fignifieth the Grave, or 
State of the dead in general, and it is alfo 
ufed to fignify deep fubterraneous Places. 
The laft of thefe is probably what the 
Pfalmifl: principally intendeth in this Paf- 
fa^e; but we may take them all in, as if 
he faid, If I could defcend to the nether- 
mod Depths of the Earth, to which no 
mortal Eye hath yet been able to penetrate, 
or could I go to the unfeen World and 
State of the dead, or even to the difmal 
Abodes prepared for the Punifhment of the 
damned, flill I could not hide myfelf from 
thee, for there alfo thou art prefent. 
He proceeds, Verfe 9, 10, If 1 take the 
Wings of the Morning, and dwell in the Ut- 
ter mojl Parts of the Sea; even there fi all thy 
Hand lead 7ne, and thy right Hand fhall hold 
me. The taking the Wings of the Morning, 
is a noble Metaphor to fignify the fpeedi- 
eft Flight that can be imagined : For 



t^hat can be fwifter than the Light ? It 
fhooteth to an immenfc Diflance in an In- 
ftant. Now let us fuppofe that a Mart 
could dart as fwift as a Ray of Light to 
the Extremities of the wide Ocean, could 
he find any fecret Cell ot Cavern there, 
where he might lie concealed frorh God ? 
The Word which we render the Sea might 
as well be rendered the * Weft' ; and then 
the Words would run thus. If I take the 
Wings of the Mor fling and dwell in the ut^ 
termojl Farts of the Weft ; /. e. If I take 
my Flight as fwift as a Sun-beam from the 
fartheft Eaftern Regions to the utmoft 
Bounds of the Weft, as far as it is pofli- 
ble for the Ipeedieft Motion to carry me, 
fhall I be any farther from God than I 
was before ? Can I outrun the divine Pre- 
fence ? No. To what Part foevef of the 
World I diredl my Courfe, God is there 
before mc, becaufe he filleth all Places ji 
and my very Motion or Flight would be 
a Proof of his Prefence with me^ lince 
without his fuftaining Influence to fup- 
port my Flight, I could do nothing, I 
could neither live nor move : Even there 
Jhall thy Hand lead me^ and thy right Hand 
jhall hold me. 

Having given this brief Paraphrafe of 
the Words, I now proceed to a more di-» 
ftincft Confideration of this Subjed:. 

[Vol. I.] I And 


And firft, I fhall offer fomething to 
explain what we are to underftand by 
God's Immenfity and Omniprefence. 

Secondly, I fhall endeavour to prove 
that this is a Perfedion effentially belong- 
ing to the Supreme Being : And then 
fhall conclude with fome fuitable Reflec- 
tions by Way of praftical Improvement. 

Firft, I fhall offer fomething to explain 
what we are to underfland by God's Im- 
menfity and Omniprefence. And in ge- 
neral it muft be obferved, that as God's 
Eternity fignifieth that he hath no Limits 
of Time or Duration, fo his Immenfity 
fignifieth that he is without any Bounds of 
Place. Whatfoevcr exifleth at all, mufl 
cxift every where. With regard to every 
created Being, it muft be acknowledged 
that there is fome determinate Portion of 
Space to which it is prefent, and there are 
other Parts of Space to which it is not at 
the fame Time prefent. This is what we 
evidently perceive as to corporeal Beings. 
Wc plainly fee that they are circumfcribed ^ 
within certain Bounds, and can determine 
the Places to which they are prefent. 
And though Spirits are not extended like 
Bodies by Parts, one beyond another, nor 
can we difhincftly explain the Manner in 
which they poffcfs Space, yet they have 
alfo their proper Place i they are fo here as 


not to be there at the fame Time : Of this 
we have an Inftance in our Souls or Spirits. 
We are confcious that our Exiilence and 
our adlive Power is bounded within cer* 
tain Limits, and a determinate Space. 
Every individual Man is a diftin^l Soul 
dwelling in a particular Body, on v/hich it 
immediately adeth, and to which it is im- 
mediately prefent. And though there may 
be other Spirits that are prefent to a much 
larger Portion of Space, and which have 
a wider Sphere of Adlivity, than our 
Souls, yet ftill they have alfo their deter- 
mined Bounds, to which their perceptive 
and adive Powxrs reach, and no farther. 
And in general we may conclude concerning 
every created Spirit, that however great 
and excellent it may be fuppofed to be, 
yet as it hath its Effence and Perfedions 
limited, fo there is a certain Space within 
which it exifteth and adeth, and it is not 
prefent, nor capable of operating in all 
Places at once. But with refped to the 
Supreme Being, the great Jehovah, there is 
this Difference between him and all other 
Beings v/hatfoever, that he is eifentially 
prefent in every Part of this vaft Univerfe 
at once, and not only fo, but beyond the 
Limits of created Exiftence. 

I ft, God is eifentially prefent to every 

Part of this vaft Univerfe at once, and to 

I 2 all 


all the Beings that are within the Compafs 
of the whole Creation : And this is what is 
properly called his Omniprefence. In 
whatever Part of this huge Syftem we fup- 
pofe the Supreme Being to exift and ope- 
rate, he exifteth and a6teth in every other 
Part of it at the fame Time, though re- 
moved at the greateft imaginable Diftance. 
It can never be faid, he is here but he is 
not there; and that whilft he is prefcnt in 
one Part of Space, there is fome other 
Part of it in which he is not at that Time 
prefent. He is excluded from no Place, 
neither is he included in any, fo as to be 
circumfcribed within the Limits of it. As 
to other Beings, when they are prefent 
on Earth, they are not at the fame Time 
in an oppofite or far diftant Part of it. 
But the great Jehovah is prefent by his in- 
finite EiTence in the Heights of Heaven, 
and in the Centre of the Earth, prefent to 
every Part of the Univerfe, not fucceffive- 
ly, firft to one Part of it, then to another, 
but to all at once without any Motion or 
Change of Place, or paffing from one to 
another: Nor can any Corner be found in 
the vaft Extent of Nature, fo diftant and 
retired, or fo fmall and inconfiderable, but 
ftill it muft be faid that God is there. And 
as he is prefent to every Part of Space, fo 
alfo to every individual Being in that Space, 



'whether corporeal or fpirituaL He is pre- 
fent to every Part of Matter, to the whole 
inanimate Creation, and ordereth and regu- 
lateth its Motions and Appearances. He 
is alfo prefent to all Beings that have Life, 
from the highefl and nobleft of them to 
the leaft and meaneft. What the Apoftle 
faith particularly of Men holdeth equally 
of all other created Beings, fenfitive, ra- 
tional, and intellectual . God is not far 
from every one of us ; for in him we live, 
and movey and have our Being. Ads xvii. 
27, 28. It is not merely faid, by him we 
live, &c. but in him we live^ and move^ and 
have our Beingy to note his intimate Pre- 
fence with us. So CoL i. 17. It is faid, 
that by him^ or, as it might properly be 
rendered, * in him' all Things confji. His 
Effence may be faid to be within the Ef- 
fence of every Thing, and therefore it is as 
vain for any Creature to think of fleeing 
from God, and avoiding his Prefence, as 
to think of fleeing from its own Eflence. 

But farther, to enlarge our Notions on 
this Subjedt, let it be confidered, 2d]y, 
That God is not only prefent to every 
Part of this vaft univerfal Syftem, which 
is what we properly mean when we fay 
that he is omniprefent, but beyond the 
utmofl Limits of the Creation ; for this 
^Ifo is included in the Notion of Immenfi^ 
^ 3 ty. 


ty. The Extent and Amplitude of this 
World Vv'hich God hath made, is vaft be- 
yond what we are able to conceive. It 
exceedeth all mortal Meafures; Millions of 
Miles are loft in the Computation. But 
after all, the Extenfion of Matter is not 
abfolutely unlimited. The World hath 
Bounds, though no Mortal is able to affign 
thofe Bounds. But the divine EffcncQ is 
abfolutely infinite : And therefore, though 
it filleth and poffefieth every Part of this 
vaft Univerfe, yet it is not comprehended 
within the Limits of it. Beyond the ut- 
moft Extent of this material Syftem we 
may ftill conceive Space, and in that Space, 
where there is no created Being, God is 
effentially prefent, no lefs than in the 
Works which he hath made. He can 
create more Worlds if he feeth fit, and on 
that Suppofition v/ould at once be equally 
prefent to thofe new Worlds as he is to 
this. God needeth not a Place out of him- 
felf, for he himfelf is his own Place. He 
exifted in himfelf before there was any 
Creature formed, and ftill exifteth in him- 
felf. And when he actually created this 
World, with all the various Orders of 
Beirlgs it containeth, his Eftence did not 
become circumfcribed within the Limits of 
the World which he had made, but con- 
tinueth as before^ without any poffible 



Bounds or Limits. Behold, (faith Solo* 
mon,) the Heaven, and Heavtn of Heavens 
cannot contain thee, how much lefs this Houfe 
that I have builded? i Kings viii. 27. This 
Earth v/hich we inhabit is fcarce an Atom, 
compared to the vaft Extent and Compafs 
of the Heavens. Wc are apt to conceive 
of the Heaven, and Heaven of Heavens, as 
the utmoft Verge of the Creation, and as 
furrounding and encompaffing the Earth 
and all Things. Bat though all created 
Things are within the Compafs of the 
Heavens, the divine ElTence is not contain- 
ed there, but is alfo above and beyond it, 
beyond the utmoft Limits of this material 

As to the Manner in which God is every 
where prefent, this is what we are not able 
clearly to conceive. Here an awful Mo- 
defty becometh us in our Enquiries : And 
we muft be careful in our Conceptions of the 
divine Immenfity to remove every Thing 
that is unworthy of God, or unfuitable to 
the Spirituality and Perfeftion of his Na- 
ture. We muft not therefore conceive of 
the divine Omniprefence in a way of mate- 
rial Extenfion. If God were corporeal he 
could not be every where prefent, for the 
greateft corporeal Magnitude muft have 
Bounds ; nor could he be where Matter 
Of Body is, if he were himfelf a Body -, fmce 

I 4 where 


vrhere a Body fiUeth any Place, other Bodies 
are for that Time excluded from it. When 
a Body pofleffeth Space, ix is by Parts ex- 
pending one beyond another. But it cannot 
without the greateft Abfurdity be fuppofed, 
that Part of God or of the divine Eflence 
is in one Part of Space, or of the Univerfe, 
and Part in another. He is all every 
where. Where -ever he is pfefent, he is 
prefent in his whole Eflence, which is 
fimple and indivifible ; his infinite Power, 
Wifdom, and Goodnefs is prefent. He is 
prefent after the Manner of ia Spirit, as the 
Pialmift here fignifieth, when he faith. 
Whither Jhall I go from thy Spirit ^ or whither 
fiall I flee from thy Pre fence ? And tho' 
this is what vv'e have not a clear Idea of, 
yet it is certain, that there is fuch a Thing 
^s fpirituai Prefence, diflindt from mate- 
rial Extenfion, /. e, a Prefence not by Situ- 
ation of Parts extending one beyond ano- 
ther, but a Prefence by confcious Percep- 
tion, and aftive Power and Energy. Of 
|his we have an Inflance in our own Souls. 
We plainly perceive that our Souls are pre- 
fent in and with our Bodies ; and that they 
cannot be faid to be fb immediately prefent 
in any other Part of Space, or to any other 
Bodies, as they are to thefe individual 
Bodies. But if the Enquiry be, how it is 
that the Soul is prefent to the Body, \% 



muft be faid that it is not by being co-exr- 
tended to the feveral Parts of it. The Body 
hath its Head in one Place, its Feet in 
another, its Arms in another. But we muft 
not imagine that the Soul hath alfo its dif- 
ferent Parts, anfwering to the feveral Parts 
of the Body. The whole Soul is indivi- 
fibly prefent to every Part of the Body, or 
of this little corporeal Syftem ; it at once 
governeth and a<5luateth the whole, and 
every Member of it ; and thus may not 
improperly be faid, as fome have expreffed 
it, to be all in all, and all in every Part, 
So that here is an Inilanee of a fimple, in- 
dividual, confcious Being, that is prefent 
to different Parts of Space or Body, with- 
out being itfelf extended by Parts, or hav- 
ing any corporeal Magnitude. And we 
may conceive a created Spirit or Mind, fu- 
perior to the Soul of Man, immediately 
prefent to a much larger Quantity and Ex- 
tenfion of Matter, and exerting a greater 
Power over it, than the Soul doth over the 
hurnan Body. And this may affift us to 
form fome Notion of the infinite Mind, 
as prefent to every Part of the univerfal 
Syftem, prefent as truly as our Souls are 
prefent to our Bodies, but in an infinitely 
nobler Senfe ; and without thofe Imper- 
fe(5tions and Defedts, which the Prefence 
pf our Souls in our Bodies is attended with. 



Our Souls in feveral RefpecSs have a De- 
pendence on thefe Bodies in their Opera- 
tions, and receive Impreffions from exter- 
nal Objeds by the bodily Organs. But 
God cannot in this Senfe be regarded as 
the Soul of the World, as fome of the an- 
cient Philofophers reprefented him. He 
is prefent throughout this vail: Syftem, but 
not as making a Part of this mundane 
Syjftem, as the Soul is of the human Con- 
ftitution, but as himfelf the Sovereign in- 
dependent Caufe, the Maker and Ruler of 
the whole, the abfolute Lord of the Crea- 
tion, all which he at lirft made, and which 
dependeth upon him for its continued Ex- 

It appeareth from the Account that hath 
been given, that God's Immenfity and Om- 
niprefence fignifieth, that his Effence is 
not circumfcribed within any Limits of 
Space i that he is prefent in every Part ©f 
this vaft World which he hath created, and 
to all the Beings contained in it, and that 
not fucceffively, firft in one Place, and af- 
terwards in another, but to the whole at 
once ', prefent not as a huge Body extended 
by Parts, but as an infinite Spirit, or adlive 
vital Intelligence, pofleffing and governing 
the univerfal Frame, and exercifing an un- 
controlled Dominion in all Places and 
over all Things. Nor is he confined with- 



in the Limits of the Creation, but exifteth 
beyond the utmoft Bounds of this material 
World, or created Exiftence. 

Having endeavoured to explain what we 
are to underftand by the divine Immenfity 
and Omniprefence, as far as we are capable 
of conceiving it, let us now proceed, ac- 
cording to the Order propofed. 

Secondly, To offer fome Arguments to 
prove, that God is immenfe, and every 
where prefent. 

And I ft. In general this may be argued 
from the abfolute Perfection of the Supreme 
Being. It cannot be denied that it argueth 
greater Perfed:ion and Excellence of Nature 
to be prefent every where, and to exert 
ad:ive Power and Intelligence through the 
whole Univerfe at once, than to be limited 
to certain Parts of Space, and circumfcrib- 
ed within certain Bounds. If God were 
thus limited and circumfcribed, he muft 
be finite in his Effence, he muft be fo in 
his Perfedions too. He might on that 
Suppofition be poflibly greater than he is 5 
and this is repugnant to the Idea of an ab-w 
folutely perfed; Being, which yet feemeth 
to be one of the moft univerfaily acknow- 
ledged Notions of the Deity. 

But particularly it is to be obferved, 
that God's Omniprefence or Immenfity hath 
a neceflary Connexion with his Omnipo- 



tency or almighty Power. For that Power 
cannot be faid to be almighty, which can- 
not aft every where at once, and which 
is limited to certain Places and ObjecSs, 
and only capable of afting within a certain 
Compafs ; and that Being which can a<5l 
every where at once, and can do all Things, 
muftexift every where. If the Power be 
infinite and of univerfal Extent, the Ef- 
fence from v/hich the Power is infeparablc 
muft be fo too. 

God's being every where prefent, and 
having no Bounds or Limits of his EiTence, 
may be farther argued from his neceffary 
Exiftence. That which owed not its Be- 
ing or ElTence to any Caufe, but exifted 
neceffarily of itfelf from everlafting, can 
have no Limits of its ElTence, For whence 
fhould fuch Limitations proceed? What- 
ever is limited, is limited by fome Caufe, 
and therefore that which derived not its 
Being and Perfections from any Caufe, can- 
not be limited by any Caufe, and confe- 
quently can have no Limits at all- God 
is the firft Caufe, and is himfelf uncaufed : 
He exifteth of himfelf by the abfolute Ne- 
ceffity of his own moft perfecfl Nature. 
Audit feemeth to be a juft and folid Way 
of arguing, that by the fame Neceffity 
by which he exifteth any where he ex- 
ifteth every where 3 there is nothing to 



limit him to a particular Place, or to a 
particular determined Quantity of Being. 

Thus we fee that there is an infeparable 
Connexion between God's Immenfity and 
Omniprefcnce, and his other divine Per- 
fedlions, and that we cannot deny this to 
God, without in effedl undeifying him. 

But 2dly, Befides thefe general Reafon- 
ings, the Omniprefence of God may be 
farther argued from the Proofs and Evi- 
dences of the divine Prefence, which ap- 
pear in every Part of the Univerfe ; When 
we furvey this univerfal Syftem, the Ex- 
tent of which tranfceiideth all human Ima^ 
gination ; Reafbn and Nature lead us to 
conclude, that he that created all thefe 
Things out of Nothing, muft have no 
Bounds to his Exiftence or Power, and 
that he muft needs be prefent to every Part 
of this ftupendous Frame, which he at 
firft formed, and which he continually up- 
holdeth. All created Things have a con- 
ftant Dependence upon the firft Caufe, 
and can no more continue to exift without 
him, than without him they could at iirfl: 
bring themfelves into Exiftence: And 
fince on him all Things, one as well as 
another, neceflarily depend, he is prefent to 
all Things, one as well as another. The 
Order and Harmony that is maintained ii^ 
this great Syftem, amidft the moft uncon- 


ceivable Variety of Things, doth plainly 
demonftrate to a confidering Mind, the 
continual Prefence of the great Author of 
Nature, fuftaining, actuating, governing 
the univerfal Frame, and penetrating to 
the inmoft Effences and firft Principles of 
Things. With regard to the inanimate 
Creation or material World, what we 
ufually call the Laws and Courfe of Nature 
is in Reality to be afcribed to the conftant 
Influence of the Almighty ever prefent to 
his own Work ; of which that uni- 
verfal gravitating Force which is con- 
tinually ading upon every Atom of Matter, 
feems to be an amazing Inftance. And as 
to the vital, fenfitive, intelledual World, 
the nobler Parts of the Creation, their ad- 
mirable Powers need the conftant Prefence 
and fupporting Influence of the firft Caufe ; 
nor have any of them an independent Ex- 
iftence; and fmce in all Parts of the Uni- 
verfe that we know, we may obferve the 
Proofs and Evidences of the divine Power, 
Wifdom, and affive Intelligence, we may 
juftly conclude, that the fame Wifdom and 
Power operateth alfo in thofe Parts of this 
vaft Syftem that we are unacquainted with, 
and that therefore he is equally prefent 
there as well as here ; for it is reasonable 
to believe that God is where he operateth, 
and that therefore he is every where, fince 



he operateth every where. It is no Ob- 
jedion againft this, that we cannot diftindl- 
ly conceive or explain the Manner of it ; 
how it is that the infinite Mind pervadeth 
and is intimately prefent to the whole 
Syftem. We cannot, as was before hinted, 
explain how our own Souls, which are not 
extended by Parts, are prefent and operate 
in different Parts of our Bodies at once ; 
and how by a mere Determination of our 
Wills, we at once move feveral Parts of our 
Frame ; and yet the Thing itfelf we can 
have no Doubt of. And we have as full 
Proof of an univerfal Mind operating 
throughout this great Syftem, as we have 
of our own Souls operating in our Bodies ; 
and therefore, though we cannot explain 
the Mannei* of it, fhould no more doubt 
of this than of the other : And who will 
undertake to prove, that it is not as poflible 
for an infinite Spirit to be prefent to all 
Parts of the Univerfe at once, as it is for a 
finite Mind, that hath no Extenfion of 
Parts, to be prefent by its confcious, per- 
ceptive, and adtive Powers, at the fame 
Time, to different Parts of this lefTer bodily 
Syftem ? 

3dly, It ought alfo to have great Weight 
with us to confider, that there hath been a 
general Confent of Mankind in this impor- 
tant Truth, that God is every where prefent^ 




SomeSenfeof this feemeth to be almofl 
indelibly imprefled in the Hearts of Men, 
and which can fcarce ever be utterly erafed. 
Hence thofe confcious Terrors which wick- 
ed Men often feel, even for Crimes com* 
mitted in Secret, and concealed from the 
View of the World, arifing from an in- 
ward Convidlion that they cannot fhua 
or hide themfelves from the divine Pre^ 
fence. All the Oaths and Appeals to God, 
fo ufual in all Ages and Nations for Con- 
firmation, and for putting an End to Strife ; 
the Prayers that have been offered, the 
Vows that have been made, and the fo- 
lemn Adls of Religion and divine Worfhip, 
fuppofe the Prefence of the Deity : And 
in general it may be faid, that they who 
have acknowledged a God and a Pro- 
vidence, have alfo generally joined in ac- 
knowledging that God is every where 
prefent* It is true that many have ab- 
furdly worihipped topical Deities, Gods of 
particular Countries, of the Hills, Groves, 
or Vallies, but thefe were regarded as in- 
ferior Deities ; ftill they had generally fome 
Notion of a Supreme Being prefent in all 
Parts of the Univerfe. It were eafy to 
mention many Teftimonies from the an- 
cient heathen Writers, which have been 
often produced to this Purpofe. Whither- 
foever thou turneft thyfelf, (faith a cele- 


brated ancient Philofopher,) tliou wilt 
find God meeting thee ; nothing is void of 
his Prefence, he filleth his own Work* 
It is a Saying of one of the ancient Poets, 
that all Things are full of God. Of ano- 
ther of them, that God goeth through the 
Earth and Tracts of the Sea, and the vaft 
Heaven. And of a third, God is vs^hat- 
foever thou feeft, whitherfoever thou 
moveft. Indeed fome of them feem to 
have carried this too far. They were fo 
fenfible of the continual Prefence of the 
Deity, as fupporting, animating, and ac- 
tuating all Things, that they fometimes 
confounded God with the World or 
univerfal Nature. But however intimate- 
ly prefent God is to all Things, yet 
ftill there is an infinite Difference between 
him the fupreme Caufe, the abfolutely per- 
fect Being, and the Creatures, or thofe im- 
perfed; Beings that from him derive their 
Exiftence. He is moft intimately near to 
them, and fupporteth their inmoft Ef- 
fences ; but ftill he continueth to be pure 
and unmixed, abfolutely diftind: from all 
other Beings, though diftant from none. 

4thly, The laft Argument I (hall offer 
to fhew the Immenfity and Omniprefencc 
of God, is drawn from exprefs Teftimo- 
nies of Holy Scripture. Eminently re- 
markable to this Purpofe are the Words I 

[Vol. L] K have 


have chofen for the Subjeft of this -Dif- 
courfe, in which the Pfalmift reprefenteth 
it to be abfolutely impoffible to flee from 
the divine Prefence, or to find a Place 
where God is not. He defcribeth him as 
prefent in Heaven, Earth, and Hell. Whi- 
therfoever he could think to bend his 
Courfe, ftill he findeth himfelf obliged to 
fay to God, l^hou art there -, thou thyfelf in 
thine own infinite EfTence art immediately 
prefent> There are other Paffages of Scrip- 
ture that harmonize with this, and tend 
to furnifli us with noble Ideas of the divine 
Immenfity and Omniprefence. Such is 
that in Jer, xxili. 24. Can any hide himfetf' 
infecret Places, that Ijhallnotjee him ? faith 
4he Lord: do not 1 fill Heaven and Earth ? 
faith the Lord. By Heaven and Earth 
in Scripture Language, the Univerfe or 
whole Extent of created Exiftence is ufual- 
ly fignified ; when he is therefore repre- 
fented as filling Heaven and Earth, it fig» 
nifieth that there is no Part of the univer- 
fal Frame which is not poffeiTed by him, 
and to which he is not present; for that 
cannot be faid to fill a Space, which leaveth 
any Part of it vacant or empty. To the 
fame Purpofe is that magnificent PaiTage,. 
■Ifa, Ixvi. I . T^ has faith the Lord, T^he Heavers 
is niy Throne^ and the Earth is my Footjlool: 
where is the Houfe that ye build imto me f and 


%i)here is the Place of my Reji f Intimating* 
that it would be the gi^eateft Folly to ima- 
gine, that the divine Eflence could be 
comprehended in any material Temple 
built by human Art, fo as to be confined 
there. The whole Univerfe is his Temple, 
which he fiileth with his Prefence, nor 
can he be bounded within thefe Limits « 
For as Solomon expreffeth it in the Paffage 
I mentioned before ; Will God indeed dwelt 
upon the Earth ? Behold the Heaven, and 
Heaven of Heavens cannot contain thee, how 
much lefs this Houfe that I have buildedf 
\ Kings viii. 27. The Lord is faid to b^ 
God in Heaven above^ and in the Earth be-^ 
neath. Jofh. ii. 11. And he is called th€ 
Poffeffor of Heaven and Earth. Gen. xiv* 
.19, 22. We ate told that the Lord doeth 
whatfoever he pleafeth in Heaven and in 
Earthy in the SeaSj and in all deep Flares^ 
Pfal. cxxxv. 6. where it is intimated, 
that God operateth in every Fart of the Cre- 
ation, and therefore he is prefent in every 
.Place. And it is to be obferved, that all 
along in Scripture, v/hat we ufually call 
the Works of Nature are afcribed to the 
continual Influence and Agency of the 
.Almighty 5 and he is reprefented as not 
only having fettled the Order of. thefe 
Thin^js in the Beginning, but as ftill eifedt- 
K 2 ing 


ing them by his Power, and conducing 
them by his Wifdom. 

Hither we may alfo refer all thofe Paf- 
fages of Holy Writ> which fpeak of God's 
univerfal Infped:ion as extending to all 
Places and all Things. We are told that 
there is not any Creature that is not manifejl 
in his Sight -, but all Thiitgs are naked and 
opened unto his Eyes. Heb. iv. 13. And 
that the Eyes of the Lord are in every Place, 
beholding the evil and the good. Pro v. xv. 3. 
And if his Eyes are in every Place, he him- 
felf is in every Place. For if he were not 
every where prefent, fomething might 
poffibly be concealed from hipi, and efcape 
his Notice. Where-ever we are, ftill we 
are reprefented as encompafled on every 
Side with the Divinity. Thou compaff'ejl my 
Path, and my lying down, (faith the Pfal- 
mift,) and art acquai?2ted with all my Ways. 
Thou haji befet me behind and before, and laid 
thine Hand upon me, Pfal. cxxxix. 3, 5. 
Yea he is reprefented as fo intimately pre- 
fent to all Men, that he fearcheth the 
Hearts, and trieth the Reins of all the Chil- 
dren of Men. Finally, we are taught in 
Scripture to regard it as no lefs fure that 
God is prefent with us where-ever we are, 
than that we ourfelves exift : for that it is 
in him that we live, and move ^ and have our 
Being. Adts xvii. 28. 



From the feveral Confi derations that 
have been offered, it appeareth with great 
Evidence, that God is immenfe, and every- 
where prefent; and yet there have been 
Objecftions made againft this as well as 
agalnft other Attributes of the divine Na- 
ture. Some few there have been among 
profeifed Chriftians, who have held that 
God as to his Effence or Subftance Is only in 
Heaven, from whence he fendeth forth his 
Power and Virtue to other Parts of the Crea- 
tion. But if this Power and Virtue be any 
thing real, what can it be but the divine 
Effence and Being itfelf, from which his 
Power or Virtue is infeparable ? To fuppofe 
a naked divine Power or operative Virtue 
without the divine Effence to v/hich it be- 
longeth, is very abfurd. Where-ever God 
is prefent by his Power and efficacious 
Energy, he is prefent by his Effence. As to 
thofe Paffages of Scripture that fpeak of 
God's dwelling in Heaven, which is called 
his Dwelling-place, and his holy Habitation, 
it is evident that they are not to be un- 
derftood as if his Prefence or Subftance 
were circumfcribed there, and he were not 
prefent any where elfe ; fince we are af- 
lured in the fame Scriptures (as hath been 
already fliewn) that Heaven and the Heaven 
of Heavens camiot contain God, and that he 
jillcth Heaven and Earth, The Intention 

K 3 therefore 


therefore of fuch Expreffions muft be only 
to fignify, that it is in Heaven that God 
exhibiteth the moft illuftrious Difplays of 
bis Glory and Majefty. On which account 
it is fometimes called his Throne. So he 
is reprefented as dvv^elling in Zton^ and in 
the Temple and Tabernacle of old ; not that 
he was confxned within the Walls of a ma- 
terial Temple, (for in this Senfe he dwells 
tth not in 'Temples made with Hands, Acfls 
vii. 48.) but becaufe he there gave fpecial 
Manifeflations of his gracious Prefence to 
his People, and appointed the public 
Kites of his Worfliip to be there peculiarly 
folemnized. In like Manner when God 
is reprefented as neaj- to his Saints, and 
as dwelling in them, it fignifieth that they 
are the Objecfts of his Love and Favour, 
and that he exerteth his fpecial gracious 
Operations in and upon their Souls : Where* 
as the wicked are reprefented as far oft from 
God; not that they can poffibly be diftant 
from his effential Prefence, for in this 
Senfe he is not far from any of us, fince, as 
it is expreifed in the Paffage before cited, 
in him lae live, and move y and have our Being 5 
but he is not prefent to them, as he is to 
gQod Men, in a Way of Grace and Favour. 
Finally, whereas we fometimes read of 
Ood's coming down from Heaven, as Gen. 
%i. |. Jfa» Ixiv. I, It is plain from other 



Paffages of Scripture, that this cannot be 
intended to infinuate, as if God did not fill 
all Places, and therefore needed to remove 
from one Place to another ; but it is to be 
underftood of fome fignal Appearances and 
Manifeftations of his divine Power and 
Providence, that tend in a fpecial Manner to 
av^aken and engage the Attention of Man- 

As to what fome have alledged, as if it 
were a Difparagement to the Glory and 
Majefty of God, to fuppofe him to be pre- 
fent in Places, and to Objedls that are un- 
clean and oiFenfive, as he muft be if he be , 
every where prefent; this Pretence, tho' 
it putteth on a Shew of con ful ting the 
Honour of God, doth really argue mean 
and unworthy Notions of the Deity. If 
there be Places and Things that are nau- 
feous and offenfive to our Senfes, our being 
affecfled by them in the Manner we now 
are, is wholly owing to our bodily Organs^ 
and if we either had no fuch bodily Organs, 
or they were difpofed after a different Man- 
ner, we fliould either not be afFeded with 
thefe Things at all, or not be affedled in 
the fame Way. And it were very abfurd 
to imagine, that the pure EfTence of the 
fupreme and infinite Mind which hath no 
bodily Parts or PafTions, can either con- 
trad any Defilement, or receive difagree- 
K 4 able 


able Imprefficns or Senfatlons from ma- 
terial Objefts, cr what we call bodily Pol- 

Having endeavoured to explain what we 
sre to underfcand by the divine Immenfity 
ana Omniprefence, and confidered the Evi- 
dences of it both from Scripture and Rea- 
fon, we fhould now proceed to make fomc 
proper Refleftions on this important Sub- 
jed ; but thefe mud be referved to another 


On the Omniprefence of God. 


PsAL. cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. 

Whither Jhall I go from thy Spirit ? or whi- 
ther JJjall IJieefrom thy Prefence ? If I 
afcend up into Heaveriy thou art there : if 
I make my Bed in Hell, hehold, thou art 
there : if I take the Wings of the Morn- 
ings and dwell in the iittermoji Parts of the 
Sea; even there fhall thy Hand lead me, 
and thy right Hand fhall hold me. 

IN difcourfing on thefe Words I pto- 
Firft, To offer fomething for explaining 
what we are to underftand by God's Im- 
menfity and Omnipreience. 

Secondly, To prove that this is a Per- 
fedion effentially belonging to the Supreme 



Both thefe have been confidered ; and I 
come now to make fome proper Refiedlions 
on this important Subject. 

And I ft. Is God immenfe and every 
where prefent ? then how glorious and 
adorable fliould this render him in our 
Efteem, and how mean and inconfiderable 
are all the Creatures compared with him ! 
There is none of God's Attributes that 
hath a greater Tendency to excite in us the 
nioft high and admiring Thoughts of his 
divine Majefty than this. The better to 
affeft our own Souls, let us contemplate 
the Extent of the Univerfe about us. Let 
us look firft on the Globe which we inha- 
bit, the Earth and Ocean. It is a huge 
Body, of great Compafs and Magnitude. 
What is Man or all the Millions of Men 
on the Face of the Earth compared with 
the Earth itfelf ? And yet this Earth is but 
a dim.inutive Spot compared to the fur- 
rounding Heavens. Let us next confider 
thofe innumerable fixed Stars that look 
like little glittering Spangles difperfed in 
the vaft Expanfe : Let us confider them, 
I fay, as Bodies of prodigious Magnitude 
as well as Splendor, and probably, according 
to the Judgment of the ableft Aftronomers, 
fo many Suns ; each of them for ought we 
know like our Sun, the Centre of a par- 
ticular Syftem, with Planets in different 



Orbits performing their Revolutions round 
them : and all of them removed at fuch 
an amazing Diflance from one another and 
from us, as exceedeth all human Compu- 
tation. Let us confider farther, that be- 
fides the Stars which are beheld, v^^hether 
with the naked Eye or by the Help of Te« 
lefcopes, there may be many other Stars 
or Worlds, no lefs grand and v/onderful, 
which yet the too great Diflance hath ren- 
dered abfolutely invifible to us. And then 
when we have put Thought to the utmoit 
Stretch In ranging to the fartheft Bound% 
of the Creation, and our Imagination is 
loft and fwallowed up in the wide Tradls 
of the unmeafureable Space ; let us reco- 
ver ourfelves from the Aftoniftiment into 
which this hath caft us, and refled: that 
God filleth and pofleffeth every Part of this 
vaft Univerfe; and that there cannot be 
the leaft Thing fuppofed in all this prodi- 
gious Extent and Compafs of Nature, but 
he is moft intimately prefent with it. He 
at once fuftalneth and governeth, by his 
moft wife and mighty Influence, all thefe 
innumerable Regions, with all the Orders 
of Beings .contained in them. Yea, let 
us again, when we have as it were arrived 
to the utmoft Bounds of this material 
World, though this, as hath been already 
pbferved, is what human Imagination is 



fcarce able to reach ; yet let us fuppofe 
ourfelves got to the extremeft Limits of it, 
and thence take a Flight into the vacant 
boundlefs Space, and there fpring forward 
to Infinity; ftill we are in the Reach of God, 
and furrounded with the divine all-com- 
prehending Effence, ftill in him we live, 
and move, and have our Being. 

Oh amazing Thought ! Who can com- 
prehend the Greatnefs and Majefty of the 
immenfe Jehovah ? How can fuch Beings as 
we are, circumfcribed within certain Bounds, 
and exifting within a determinate Space, 
form a clear and adequate Idea of abfolute 
Immenfity, or of a Being that exifteth every 
where at once, and is without all Bounds ? 
In this as wxU as other Refpedls it may be 
juftly faid, that his Greatnefs is wifearch- 
able, Pfal. cxlv. 3. This World, let us 
fuppofe it never fo large, is but finite y and 
what Proportion is there between finite 
and infinite ? God is reprefented in the 
noble Expreflions of the Prophet, as hav- 
ing meafured the Waters (the Waters of 
the vaft Ocean) in the Hollow of his Hand, 
and as having comprehended the Duft of the 
Earth in a Meqfure, and weighed the Moun- 
tains in Scales, and the Hills in a Balance ; 
yea, which is ftill more wonderful, he is 
reprefented as having 7ncted out Heaven 
(ail the vaft unimaginable and next to in.- 



finite Compafs of the Heavens) with the 
Span. When v/e confider this, how ihould 
we fall prodrate in the deepeft Adorations 
of the' infinite Jehovah ! Beholdy (as the 
Prophet there addeth,) the Nations are as a 
Drop of a Bucket^ and are counted as the 
fmall Dufi of the Balance. This is repre- 
fenting Mankind under a very diminutive 
Idea. But as if even this v^ere too advan- 
tageous a Comparifon, and v^ere magnify- 
ing them too much, they are reprefented 
as Nothing, and, by a' v^onderfui Manner of 
Expreffion, as lefs than Nothing. All Na- 
tions before him are as Nothing, and they 
are co7inted to him lefs than Nothifig, and Va- 
nity. Ifa. xl. 12, 15, 17. It is impoffible to 
carry it farther, or to make a more afiecl- 
ingkeprefentation of God's immenfe Great- 
nefs, and of the Meannefs, the Diminu- 
tivenefs of all created Beings compared v/ith 
him. In comparing ourfelves w^ith our 
Fellows-creatures we are often apt to ftrut 
and look big; but turn thy Views, vain 
Mortal, to the immenfe Jehovah, and then 
fwell, and affume, and think highly of 
thyfelf if thou canft. How would Thoughts 
of this Kind, if properly impreffed upon 
our Hearts, mortify every Morion of Pride 
within us ! How little iiiould wc think 
then of all the Pomp and Buftle, and all 
the boafted Grandeur of this vain World ! 



Haw little flaould we think of our owa 
Perfons and Services; yea, and of our 
moft exalted Praifes and Ads of Devo- 
tion ! When our Hearts are duly afFed:ed 
with a Senfe of God's immenfe Greatnefs, 
then it is that we are beft difpofed to adore' 
his matchlefs Condefcenfion towards the 
human Race. Then it is that we are 
ready to fay with the devout Pfalmift, 
What is Ma7i that thou art mindful of him^ 
and the Son of Man that thou vifitefl hhn ? 
What is Man that is a Worm, and the 
Son of Man that is but a Worm, that a 
Being of fuch incomprehenfible Greatnefs 
and Glory fhould open his Eyes upon fuch an 
one? Then it is that God's wonderful Grace 
in fending his own Son to take upon hiiii 
our Nature, that lie might fave loft Man- 
kind, and in entering into Covenant with 
us, and promifmg to raife us to a com- 
plete Felicity in the eternal Enjoyment of 
him the fupremxe, the infinite Good, 
ihineth forth with the moft amazing Glory. 
Our Souls are fv/aliowed up in Aftonifh- 
ment and Rapture. We are fometimes 
ready to fay. How can thefe Things be ? 
But nothing is impofiible to infinite Love. 
It dependeth wholly on his free and fo- 
vereign Grace, how far and in what Me- 
thods and Inftances he will chufe to exer- 
cife and difplay his Goodnefs to his Crea- 



tures. And it is becoming his infinite 
Majefty to take a wonderful Way of doing 
it, which no human Mind can compre- 
hend. His Condefcenfion, like his Great- 
iiefs and Dignity, is beyond all Parallel.. 
What ihall we render unto the Lord ? 
What is left us but to admire and adore^ 
and to fhew the grateful Senfe we 
have of his marvellous Loving-kindnefs;^ 
both by our thankful Acknowledgments;^ 
and by keeping his Commandments, and 
walking in Holinefs and Righteoufnefs 
before him all the Days of our Lives, 
v/hich is the beft Way v/e can take to pro- 
miote our own Happinefs, and to anfwer 
the great Defigns of his Love and Mercy 
towards us ? 

2dly, The Confideration of God's Im- 
-menfity and Omniprefence may help us 
to form a Notion of God's univerfal Pro- 
vidence as extending to all his Works^ 
the moft inconfiderable not excepted. Men. 
of fceptical Minds, when they hear God 
reprefented as exerciiing his Care over all 
the Creatures, even to the leaft and mean- 
eft of them ; when they find the Scrip- 
tures declaring, that the very Hairs of our 
Head are all numbered, and that not a Spar-- 
roiv falleth to the Ground iJDithoiit our 
heavenly Father. Matth. x. 29, 30. that 
he feedeth the Fowls of the Air, and cloaths 

3 ^h® 


the Lilies of the Field. Matth. vi. 26, 28- 
^c. They are ready to think this a flrange 
Do(ftrine. They cannot bring themfelves 
to b^Hc'/e, that the Supreme Being con- 
cerneth himfelf about fuch httle Thino^s as 
thefe. This they reprefent as an unwor- 
thy Employment for fo glorious a Majefty, 
and as inconfiftent with the perfect Tran- 
quillity he muil: be fuppofed to enjoy. But 
this proceedeth from their meafuring the 
divine Being by themfelves. It will con- 
tribute to remove thefe Difficulties, to 
confider that God is continually prefent 
in his infinite EiTence in every Part of the 
vaft Univerfe which he hath made ; and 
where-ever the divine EiTence is, it is ne- 
cefTarily accompanied with the divine At- 
tributes and Perfections which are infe- 
parable from that EiTence, with infinite 
Power, Wifdom, and Goodnefs. And 
can he be fuppofed to be intimately pre- 
fent to all his Creatures, and yet exercife 
no Care over them ? As he at once filleth 
and pofiefl^eth the whole Compafs of the 
Creation, it is no more Trouble to him to 
take Care of all Things at once, than if he 
had only one fingle Thing to mind, fince 
he is equally eflentially prefent to all 
Things as he is to any one. We who are 
limited Beings, cannot attend to many 
Things at once, and therefore are often 



obliged to negled: fmaller Matters, and 
confine our Attention to Things that more 
nearly concern us. But it is otherwife 
with the infinite all-comprehending Mind. 
As it is impoffible that any Thing relating 
to any of his Creatures fhould efcape his 
Notice, fo the Variety of Things do not 
in the leaft diftradl or embarrafs his At- 
tention, or diflurb his perfedt Serenity. 
Such a Suppofition can only arife from 
narrow and limited Notions of the Deity. 
The Epicureans, who fuppofed the Prefence 
and Being of the Divinity to be confined to 
Heaven, were inconfiftent with themfelves 
when they denied the Care of Providence 
to extend to the Affairs of this lower 
World. No Wonder that they fuppofed 
a great Variety of Things might incom- 
mode and diftradl fuch limited Deities. 
But if we believe, as Reafon and Scripture 
oblige us, that God is effentially prefent to 
every Part of this ftupendous Syftem, and 
to every the meaneft Creature he hath 
made, we (hall not be furprifed that his 
providential Care doth likewife extend to 
every Creature, and that without Diftrac- 
tion or Confufion. 

3dly, Is God immenfe, and every where 
prefent? then how inexcufable are thofe 
that live in an habitual Forgetfulnefs of 
him! It is given as the Charadter of a 

[Vol. I.] L wicked 


wicked Man, that God is not in ail his 
Thoughts, Plal. X. 4. How many are there 
to whom this Chara<?:er belongs ! They go 
on from Dry. to Day without one ferious 
Thought of God, or rendering him that 
Homage and Obedience that is his Due. 
They thin'k as little of him as if there 
were no fnch Being at all, or at leaft, as 
if they looked tipon him to be removed at 
a great Didance from them, and that he 
did not concern himfelf about any of their 
Adions. What a ftrange Folly and Cor- 
ruption of Heart doth this argue f One 
fbould think we could as well forget our 
own Exiftence, as forget that God on whom 
we every Moment depend, and in whom 
we livCy and movcy and have our Being. 
Yet fo it is, that in our prefent degenerate 
State, though God be as near to us as we 
are to ourfelves, yet we are, for the moft 
part, unmindful of him:, and apt to live 
in an habitual Eftrangement from him» 
Our Thoughts are continually carried out 
to a Variety of Objeds, roving on a thou- 
fand Vanities ; the verieft Trifles in Na- 
ture engage our Attention, we purfue and 
embrace mere Shadows, whilfl at the 
iame Time we negled him who alone 
is more to us than all. This Forgetfulnefs 
of God lieth at the Foundation of our 
Dilbbedience. And can any Thing be 



more inexcufable ? What Pretence can be 
alledged for not turning our Thoughts and 
Views to him, when every Thing about 
us, and within us, ihould put us in mind 
of a prefent Deity, and when the glorious 
Evidences of his Wifdom, Power, and 
Goodnefs, are continually before our Eyes P 
But know, O Sinner, that though thou 
art unmindful of him, thou art always 
under the Infpedlion of his Eye, and with- 
in the Reach of his Arm. Wherever thou 
art, whatever thou ddeft, in all thy Extra- 
vagancies of licentious Mirth, and Indul- 
gence of thy darling Appetites, he is ever 
with thee, and feeth ail thy Ways, and 
marketh all thy Steps. Now becaufe he 
beareth with thy Offences and Provoca-- 
tions for a while, and doth not immediate- 
ly execute his juft Judgments upon thee, 
thou doft not think of his Prefence. But 
if he be not prefent with thee, how com- 
eft thou to live and move ? how art thou 
fupported in Being ? And know, that the 
Time is coming when it will be impoffible 
for the moft obftinate Sinners to forget 
him, when they Ihall feel him to be prelent, 
whether they will or no; prefent, not in 
the chearing Smiles of his Love and Fa- 
vour, but in the infupportable Terrors of 
his juft Wrath and Vengeance. Oh cori" 
Jid^r this ye that now forget God, leji he 
L 2 tear 


tear you in Pieces^ and there he none to de- 
liver, Pial. 1. 2 2. 

This leads me to add, 4thly, That 
nothing can be better fitted to produce 
and awaken in our Souls a holy Fear of 
the divine Majeily, than a due Confidera- 
tion of his Immenfity and Omniprefence. 
If God were at a Diflance from us, how- 
ever mighty and powerful we believed him 
to be, yet ftill we might entertain fome 
Hope to efcape his Notice, and confe- 
quently to avoid the Effeds of his Dif- 
pieafure. But when wc conlider that 
that infinitely powerful, wife, and righte- 
ous Being, on whom it dependeth to make 
us happy or miferable to Eternity, is ever 
prefent with us, and that it is abfolutely 
impoflible for us to find a Place in the 
whole Compafs of the Creation where God 
is not, furely this if any Thing fhould 
make us ferious, fliould corred: the thought- 
lefs Levity of our Minds, and infpire us with 
a facred Awe of his divine Majefty. Not to 
fear Creatures like ourfelves in a good Caufe, 
is a noble Fortitude ; but not to fear the 
almighty and omniprefent Jehovah is not 
Courage but Madnefs. For if he fetteth 
himfelf to punifli, whither canft thou flee 
to ihelter thee from infinite Vengeance? 
In what Corner canfl thou hide thyfelf 
from him who is prefent in every Part of 



Space, who penetrateth to the inmoft Ef- 
fence, and can caufe his Wrath, to lodge 
and inhabit in thy very Soul, and fill all 
thy Powers with Horror and Anguifli ? 
Acquaint now thyfelf therefore with him^ 
and be at Peace y thereby Good ft: all come un- 
to thee. Job xxii. 21. Endeavour now, 
whilft there is a proper Time and Oppor- 
tunity for it, to avert his juft and awful 
Difpleafure by a fin cere Repentance, and 
laying hold of his offered Mercy upon the 
gracious Terms of the new Covenant. 

5thly, Let us improve the Confidera- 
tion of God's Omniprefence for quicken- 
ing and engaging us to a flrid: Attention 
to our whole Condud:. Since God is 
every where and at all times prefent with 
us, let us a<fl continually as in his Sight, 
and fet him always before us. This would 
have a noble Influence on pradical Reli- 
gion, and would make us careful to order 
our Converfation aright. The whole of a 
religious Life is very properly exprelTed in 
Scripture by walking with God, and walk- 
ing before the Lord. Thus it is faid 
concerning thofe excellent Perfons Enoch 
and ISIoahy that they walked with God. Gen. , 
V. 22. vi. 9. And it was the Command of 
God to Jlbj'-aham^ Walk before me^ and be 
thou perfect. Gen. xvii. i. and the Pfal- 
mifl declareth it as his folemn Refolution, 
L 3 1 will 


1 will walk before the Lord in the Land of 
the living. Pfal. cxvi. 9. This fignifieth 
the afting in our whole Courfe with a 
conftant Regard to a prefent Deity. And 
this is w^hat. the wife Man hath in View 
in that excellent Advice, Prov, xxiii. 17. 
Be thou in the Fear of the Lord all the 
Day lo?2g. Not as if we were always to 
have our Thoughts actually fixed upon 
God, which is neither pofiible for us ia 
tliis prefent State, nor, if it were pofiible, 
would it be our Duty. But we are fo far 
to be under the habitual Influence of an 
awful Senfe of his Prefence with us, that 
we mufi; not dare to allow ourfelves in any 
Thing that is contrary to his holy Nature 
and Will, but muft endeavour to approve 
ourfelves to him in our whole Temper and 

A Senfe of God's Prefence, if duly Im- 
prefixed upon the Heart, would both be an 
eiFe(flual Prefervative againfi: Sin and Temp- 
tation, and would quicken and animate us 
to the Performance of our Duty. 

We fhould improve it as a Prefervative 
againft Sin and Temptation, efpecially 
againft thofe Sins to which we are tempted 
by the Hopes of committing them with 
Secrecy, and concealing them from the 
View of the World. It cannot be denied 
that the Prefenc-e of a Man of great Wif- 



^dQm• and Virtue would be a powerful Re- 
ftraint even upon thofe Sinners that feem 
moft addid:ed to their Vices,. Hence fome 
of the ancient heathen- Moralifts recom- 
mended it as an ufeful Pie<^e of Advice 
that might help to prefer ve Men from a 
bafe and wicked Condu^fb, to fet fome 
eminent Perfon before them, fuch as Cafo 
was, and to ad as if he ftood by and oh- 
ierved. But how miuch greater For^e 
would it have to confider ourfelves as ccnr 
tinually in the Prefence of a pure and holy 
Deity, who hateth Sin with a perfed; Ha- 
tred, who is of impartial js^;flicc and 
Righteoufnefs, as well as of almighty 
Power. A Senfe of this fixed in the 
Heart would difarm the moft dangerous 
Temptations ; it would fortify the Soul 
againft all the Difcouragements and Ter- 
rors of the V^orld on the one Hand, and 
againft all the Snares and Pleafures of Sin 
on the other ; it would ftem the Violence 
of inordinate Appetites and Pafficns, and 
enable us to fay with Jcfeph in Circumi- 
fiances of the greatefl Temptation, Ho-w 
Jkall I do this great Wickednefs, and Jin 
againjl God? The unclean Fornicator and 
Adulterer would not venture to gratify his 
vicious Inclinations before a Perfon of great 
Gravity and Authority ; and how much 
\ck w^ould he dare to do it if he confider- 
L 4 ed 


ed and believed, that at that Inftant God 
is with him, and feeth him in thofe Pri- 
vacies which he hath chofen for the Scene 
of his impure Dalliances. Surely this if any 
Thing would damp his guilty Joys, and quell 
the Rage of Luft. The unjuft and frau- 
dulent Perfon, who is moft addidled to un- 
lawful Arts of Gain, and ready to applaud 
himfelf when he can pradlife them without 
being detected, would not dare to cheat 
and to defraud, if he knew that at that 
very Time a wife and juft Magiftrate had 
his Eye upon him, and obferved the 
Wrong. And ought it not to have a great- 
er Influence to confider, that the great and 
righteous Judge of all the Earth is pre- 
fent, whom it is impoffible to deceive ? 
If we could conceal our • Wickednefs from 
God, we need not be comparatively much 
concerned, though the whole World were 
acquainted with it. But if God knoweth 
it, what would it avail us though we 
could conceal it from our Fellow-mortals, 
fince eternal Life and Death are in his 
Hands, and by him our final State mufl 
be irreverfibly determined ? Go therefore 
whofoever thou art that art tempted to 
commit Sin, and hopeft to do it undifco- 
vered, feek out fome fecret Place where 
thou may eft fecurely perpetrate thy Wick- 
ednefs, and if thou canft find a Place 



where God is not, there indulge thy cri- 
minal Defires without Reftraint, But if 
that is impoflible, wilt thou be fo pre- 
fumptuous as to allow thyfelf to do what 
he abhorreth, and what thou knoweft he 
hath forbidden, in the Sight and Prefence 
of God himfelf ? What is this but to af- 
front him to his Face, and fet infinite 
Power and Juftice at Defiance, which 
muft needs end in the Mifery and Ruin 
of the daring Offender ? 

And as a Senfe of God's Prefence fhould 
be an effeftual Prefervative againft Sin and 
Temptation, fo it fhould have a mighty 
Influence to quicken and animate us to 
the Performance of our Duty. It fhould 
make fis efpecially careful over the Frame 
of our Spirits in immediate Ads of religi- 
ous Worfhip. On fuch Occafions parti- 
cularly we fhould regard him as imme- 
diately prefent, and fix the Eye of Faith 
on an invifible Deity. How would this 
prevent or check the Rovings of a vain 
Imagination, and keep our Hearts fteady 
and fixed, and fpread a facred Awe through 
all our Powers ! This flhould engage us to 
worfhip him as an infinite Spirit in Spirit 
and Truth, not by corporeal Images, as if 
the Godhead were like unto Gold, or Sil- 
ver, or Stone, graven by Art and Man's 
Device : for what Image can reprefent the 
5 immenfe 


immenfe Jehovah, who fiUeth Heaven and 
Earth ? but we muft worfliip him with a 
pure Adoration, realizing him to our 
Minds as prefent in his infinite Majefty 
and incomparable Perfeftions. And it is 
a great Encouragement to us, that as God 
is prefent every where, we may pray to 
him every where, lifting up holy Hands, 
without Wrath and Doubting, as the Apof- 
tie fpeaks, i T^im. ii. 8. And not only 
fhould a Senfe of God's Prefence influence 
us in the immediate Exercifes of Religion, 
but it Ihould make us careful and diligent 
in every other Part of our Duty. It 
ihould engage us fo to comport ourfeives in 
our general Condudl as to fecure his Favour 
and Approbation, and to think, fpeak, and 
aft, as knowing that God now feeth us. If 
we fet the Lord always before us, how de- 
firous {hould we be to get our Souls fur- 
niihed and adorned with every Virtue that 
could render us pleafing to that mod holy 
and glorious Being ! We fhould then make 
it our conftapt Care to be righteous before 
God, walking in all the Commandments 
and ( rdinances of the Lord blamelefs. 
The Soul that regardeth itfelf as filled- and 
encompafled with the divine Prefence, will 
earneftly afpire to be formed into the di- 
vine Likenefs, and will follow after the 
Things that are juft, and pure, and lovely, 



and virtuous, and praife-worthy. Ser- 
vants are ufually moft diligent under the 
Maftcr s Eye. Though they might other- 
wife be difpofed to loiter and be idle, 
they will apply themfelves to their Work 
when he is prelent and looketh on. And 
furely then, a Senfe of God's being always 
moft immediately prefent with us, fliould 
make us earnell and diligent in working 
the Works of him that hath called uSy 
that we may glorify him on Earth, and 
iiniih the Work which he hath given ns 
to do. This, duly impreffed upon the 
Mind, would caufe us to fliake oiF that 
Liftlefsnefs and Indlfferency that hangetL 
about us. We fhould not then be Jloth-- 
fid in Bitfinejsy but fervent in Spirit, ferix-^ 
ing the Lord, doing what we do in our fe- 
veral Stations and Relations as unto the 
Lord, and not unto Men. Shall we not 
be fi^dfajl and immoveable, always aboundin(f 
in the Work of the Lord, w^hen we confider 
that we are continually in his Prefence 
who will fhortly call us to a ftrid: Ac- 
count, whofe Approbation is of infinitely 
greater Importance to us than that of a 
whole World, and who is capable of am- 
ply rewarding us, and will take Care that 
our Labour fhall not be in vain in the 
Lord- ? 



Laftly, The Confideration of God's 
Immenfity and Omniprefence is a folid 
Ground of Confidence and Confolation to 
all fincere upright Souls. Under all 
their Trials and Tribulations, and amidfl: 
all the Viciffitudes of this mutable Scene, 
it fhould fupport and comfort them to 
think that God is with them; that glo- 
rious Being is ever at Hand to flrengthen 
and affift them. And wherever God is 
prefent, infinite Wifdom and Power, 
Righteoufnefs and Goodnefs is prefent. 
No Confideration is better fi.tted to infpire 
a holy Fortitude, and raife the Mind above 
all flavifh Fears. / have fet the Lord al- 
ways before me^ faid the Pfalmifr, becaufe 
he is at viy right Handy I Jloall not be mov- 
ed, Pfal. xvi. 8. 'T^he Lord is oji my Side^ 
I will not fear : What can Man do unto 
me ? Pfal. cxviii. 6. Happy is he that hath 
the God of Jacob for his Help ; whofe Hope 
is in the Lord his God, which made Heaven 
and Rarthy the Sea, and all that therein is ; 
which keepeth Truth for ever, Pfal. cxivi. 5, 
6. When from a lively Senfe of God's 
continual Prefence with us, we can fay, 
God is our Refuge and Strength y a very pre- 
fent Help in Trouble ; we may then exprefs 
our Confidence in thofe noble Strains, 
Therefore will 7iot we fear y though the Earth 
be removedy and though the Mountains be 



carried into the midjl of the Sea; though 
the Waters rcar^ and be troubled ; though 
the Mountains [bake with the Swelling there*- 
oJ\ Pfal. xlvi. 1,2, 3. What an encouraging 
and animating Confideration is it, that the 
Eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout 
the whole Earth, to Jhew himfelf Jirong in 
the Behalf of them whofe Heart is perfect 
towards him / ?. Chron. xvi, 9. If a good 
Man be loaded with unjull; Calumnies 
and Reproaches by ignorant or malicious 
Men, he rejoiceth to think that God, 
who is ever prefent with him, knoweth 
his Innocence and Integrity, and will in 
due Time juftify and recompenfe him ac- 
cording to his Righteoufnefs^ according to 
the Clean?2efs of his, Hands in his Sight, Pfal. 
xviii. 24. If the Rage of perfecuting 
Enemies fhould banifh him from his 
Country, and from his deareft earthly Re- 
latives, ftill it is his Comfort that they 
cannot banifti him from God. Shut him 
up in the darkeft, the moft noifome 
Dungeon, or place him in the moft 
lonely Solitude, in a howling Wilder- 
nefs, remote from the Society of Men, 
yet God is prefent with him there. 
He is prefent to the good and upright, 
to thofe that love and ferve him in Sin- 
cerity, not only with refped: to his ef- 
featial Prefence in that common Senfe 



in which lie Is prefent to all his Crea- 
tures, but he is prefent to them in a Way 
of fpecial Grace and Favour. He is re- 
prefentcd as dwelling in them as in his 
living Temples, which he preferreth be- 
fore the maft pompous material Edifices. 
^hiis faith the high and lofty Ofie that inha- 
bit eth Eternity, whofe Name is Holy, I dwell 
in the high and holy Place-, with him alfo 
that is of a contrite and humble Spirit, to 
revive the Spirit of the humble, and to re-* 
vive the Heart of the contrite ones, Ifa. 
Ivii. 15. The Apoltle fpeaking of true 
Chriftians, faith, Te are the Temple of the 
living God', as God hath faid, I will dwell 
in them, and walk in them -, and I will be 
their God, and they jhall be my People. 
2 Cor. vi. 16. And again, Know ye not 
that ye are the Temple of God, and that the 
Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? i Cor. iii. 16. 
And how happy muft thofe be, who 
have the Almighty dwelling in and with 
them, replenifhing them with the Beams 
and Influences of his Grace and Love I 
This they are not fully fenfible of In 
this prefent imperfed: State : but in the 
heavenly World God fhall in the moft 
glorious Senfe be for ever all in all. 
His beatific Prefence fliall be in their 
Souls a moft intimate Source of endlefi 
Blifs, and Satisfadion, and Joy. There 



fhall then be Nothing to feparate be- 
tween him and them, or to hinder 
them from receiving the moft abundant 
Communications of his Goodnefs and 
Glory. They fliall be for ever v^ith the 
Lord, as it were fwallowed up in the Ful- 
neis of infinite Perfedlions, and happy in 
the Enjoyment of his Love to all Eter- 


On the Omnifcience of God* 


Psalm cxxxix. i. — 6. 

O Lordy thou kafi Jearched me, and known 
me. Thou knoweji my Down-fitting and 
mine Up-rifingy thou underfiandefi my 

• thoughts afar off. 'thou compqffefi my 
Path, and my lying down, and art ac-^ 
quaint ed with all my Ways, For there is 
not a Word in my "Tongue , but lo, O Lord, 
thou knowefi it altogether. Thou haft be- 
Jet me behind and before, and laid thine 
Hand upon me. Such Kno^dedge is too 
wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot, 
attain unto it. 

THERE is fcarce any Thing ^ of 
greater Importance in Religion, 
than to maintain an habitual Senfe of 
God's continual Prefence with us, and In- 
[VoL. L] M fpedioQ 


fpedtion over us. If we firmly believed, 
and feriouily confidered, that wc and all 
our Ways, our Thoughts, Words, and 
Adlions, are ever open to the View of a 
pure and holy Deity, our fupreme Lord, 
and final Judge, by whom our everlafting 
State is to be determined^ furely this mull 
needs have a mighty . Influence to engage 
us to exercife a conftant Care over both 
our inward Frame, and our outward Prac- 
tice. Nothing could poffibly fufnifh a 
more efFedlual Prefervative againft Sin, or 
a more powerful Motive to the Per- 
formance of our Duty. And there is no 
Part of the facred Writings that is fuller 
and more exprefs to this Purpofe, and 
that exhibiteth a nobler Defcription of 
God's Omnifcience and Omniprefence, than 
this Pfalm, which for the Dignity and 
Sublimity of the Sentiments, the Variety 
and Energy of the Exprefiions, and the 
Strength and Beauty of the Figures, can- 
not be fufficiently admired. 

In the Words which I have chofen for 
the Subjed of this Difcourfe, the Pfalmift 
plainly lignifieth both the Extent and the 
Exa<flnefs of the divine Knowledge, The 
Extent of the divine Knowledge is here 
fignified. He reprefenteth God as know- 
ing his Down-fittings bis Up-rijingy his Path, 



his lying down, his Words ^ his "Thoughts^ and 
all his Ways, The ExacSnefs of the divine 
Knowledge is alfo fignified. O Lordy thou 
hajifearched me, and known me, Thou haji 
fearched me : Not as if God needed to make 
a laborious Search, a diligent Scrutiny in 
order to difcover our Ways; but it is a 
figurative Expreffion, to fignify that God 
knoweth them fully and perfed:ly, as we 
know thofe Things beft, which we fearch 
into with the utmoft Diligence and Care. 
So again, Verfe 3. Thou compaffeji my Path^ 
thou obferveft it on every Side ; or it might 
be rendered as it is in the Margin, " thou 
winnoweft my Path," thou fifteft it narrow- 
ly. And with regard to every Word that 
proceeded out of his Lips, the Pfalmift 
faith. Thou knoweji it altogether -, not im- 
perfeftly or in Part only, but abfolutely 
and with the greateft Exaftnefs. So that 
the general Defign of this Paffage is to 
make a Declaration of this moil important 
Truth, which deferves to be deeply and 
continually impreffed upon our Minds ; 

That God exercifeth a conftant Infpec- 
tion over us, and hath a perfect Knowledge 
of every Man's Ways, his inward Frame 
and Temper, and his outward Condudl and 

This is a Truth frequently inculcated in 

the Holy Scriptures, in ilrong and fignifi- 

M 2 cant 


cant Expreffions. We are often told that 
God knoweth all Things. T^here is not 
any Creature^ faith the facred Writer to 
the Hebrews, that is not manifefl in his Sight; 
but all Tubings are naked and opened unto the 
Eyes of him with whom we have to do, 
Heb. iv. 13. And if all Things, then 
furely all the Ways of the Children of 
Men. Accordingly the Wife-man ex- 
prefsly faith, that the Ways of a Man are 
before the Eyes of the Lord, and he poiider^ 
eth all his Goings. Prov. v. 21. To the 
fame Purpofe Job expreffeth himfelf. Doth 
not he fee my Waysy and count all my Steps ? 
Job xxxi. 4. See alfo Job xxxi. 21. And 
thefe Declarations of Holy Writ are per- 
fectly agreeable to the Light of impartial 
Reafon. It is neceffarily included in the 
Idea of God, that he is the abfolutely per- 
fect Being. Whatfoever therefore is really 
a Perfedion, and the Abfence of which 
muft argue an Imperfecflion and Defedt, 
ought to be afcribed to him. And con- 
fequently fmce it cannot be denied that 
Knowledge is a Perfedion, and that the 
more exadl the Knowledge is, and the 
greater the Extent of it, the more per- 
fed; it is; it necefli^rily followeth, that 
God is a Being of the moft exadl and 
comprehenfive Knowledge. His Under- 
Handing is infinite and unlimited; and 



therefore he is omnifcient and knoweth 
all Things : and confequently muft know- 
all Mankind, and all their Words and 
Aftions, and even their moft fecret 
Thoughts. The fame Thing may be alfo 
argued from his Immenfity and Omnipre- 
fence. He filleth Heaven and Earth, and 
is moft intimately and effentially prefent to 
every Part of this vaft Univerfe, upholding 
and maintaining all the Orders of Beings 
in the Ufe of the feveral Powers and Fa- 
culties which he hath given them. He is 
not far from any of us, feeing it is in him 
that we live, and move, and have our Being. 
Ad:s xvii. 27, 28. And therefore he muft 
needs know all his Creatures, to each of 
whom he is continually and moft intimate- 
ly prefent. Hence God's Omnifcience 
and Omniprefence are jointly celebrated 
in this Pfalm, as having a clofe and infe- 
parable Connection. That God knoweth 
all Men and their Ways, and exercifcth 
a continual Infpedlion over them, farther 
appears from this Coniideration, that o- 
therwife he could not be properly quali- 
fied to govern and judge the World, to 
jreward the righteous and punifli the 
wicked. Pie might be impofed upon 
with external Shews and fpecious Ap- 
pearances j he might poffibly be deceived 
in his Judgment of Perfons and Things, 
M X and 


might let good Adions and Difpofitlons 
go unrewarded, and evil ones unpunifh- 
ed. So that to fay that God is not ac- 
quainted v^ith all our Ways, would be in 
effed; to deny his Providence and Govern- 
ment of the World; to all this may be 
added the general Confent of Mankind in 
all Ages. That all Mankind and their 
Aftions, and even the moft fecret Inten- 
tions and Difpofitions of their Hearts, are 
known to the Deity, feems to be plainly 
fuppofed in the Prayers that have beeu 
offered, the Vows that have been made, 
and the folemn Appeals to Heaven, and 
Oath for Confirmation, and for putting 
an End to Strife, which have been ufual 
in almoft all Nations. Hence alfo that 
Dread of the divine Judgment even for the 
moft fecret Crimes, which is fo natural to 
the human Mind, thofe inward confciou.s 
Terrors which have purfued the wicked, 
even thofe of them who needed not to fear 
Punifhment from Men, and which they 
have not been able entirely to diveft them- 
felves of, though they have ft riven hard 
to do it. All this fhews, that there is 
an inward Senfe of this Truth deeply 
rooted in the human Heart, and which 
gives a kind of natural Teftimony to it. 

This may ferve in general for evincing 
the Truth of the Obfervation. 


• 3 


But it may be ufeful to take a more 
diftind: View of the Knowledge of God 
as extending to all the Actions we perform, 
to every Word that proceeds out of our 
Lips, and even tp the moft fecret Thoughts 
of our Hearts. 

I ft, God is perfe(5lly acquainted with 
all the A(Sions v^e perform. This is plain- 
ly lignified by the Pfalmift here, when he 
faith. Thou compaffeji my Pathy and my 
lying downy a?2d art acqiiainted with all 7ny 
Ways, Where-ever we are, and whatfo- 
ever we do, ftill we are furrounded with 
the divine Prefence. He marketh all our 
Steps, and every Part of our Condudt. 
His all-feeing Eye accompanieth us on 
our Beds by Night, and in our Walks by 
Day, and foUoweth us to our moft fecret 
Retirements. He obferveth not only thofe 
AcStions of ours, which are of a more pub- 
lic Nature, done openly in the View of 
the World, but even thofe which we take 
the greateft Car^ to conceal from the View 
of our Fellow-creatures. He feeth as well 
what is done in the moft retired Cave or 
Cell, as what is done in the Gates and in 
the chief Place of Concourfe, Not the 
leaft of our good Adtions efcapeth his 
Notice. Our private Alms when our left 
Hand fcarce knoweth what our right Hand 
4oeth, and our moft fecret AcSs of Piety 
M 4 and 


and Devotion, are obferved by our heaven- 
ly Father, who feeth in Secret. Thus the 
Angel told Cornelius, Thy Prayers and 
thine Alms are come up for a Memorial be- 
fore God, Ads X. 4. Every Thing we do, 
whereby we are any way ferviceable to his 
Kingdom and Interefts, or contribute to 
promote the real Welfare and Happinefs 
of our Fellow-creatures, and Fellow-chri- 
ilians, comes under the divine Infpedtion, 
and fhall be gracioufly rewarded. On 
the other Hand, all our evil Actions arc 
alfo perfectly known to him in every Cir- 
cumftance. He obferveth every. Thing 
that is done againft the Honour of his 
Name, and the Interefts of his Religion 
in the World ; all Adls, not only of open 
Injuftice, Cruelty, and Violence, but of 
artful Fraud and Cunning, which are often 
managed in fuch a Manner as to efcape 
Puniiliment from human Judicatures. The 
proud he knoweth afar off, and feeth when 
the wicked lurk privily for the innocent 
without a Caufe. The Exceffes of Riot, 
Intemperance and Debauchery, which Men 
at any Times indulge, do alfo come under 
his Notice. He beholdeth the fecret Haunts 
of the impure Fornicator and Adulterer. 
When they think they are fhrouded and 
befriended by the Obfcurity of the Night, 
his all-feeing Eye penetrateth the dark Dif- 



guife. 'There is no Darknefs^ nor Shadow 
of Deaths where the Workers of Iniquity may 
hide themfelves. Job xxxiv. 22. For as the 
Pfalmifl here elegantly expreffeth it. If I 
fay furely the Darknefs Jhall cover me^ even 
the Night Jhall be light about me. Tea^ 
the Darknefs hideth not from thee j but the 
Night fhineth as the Day : The Darknefs 
and the Light are both alike to thee. Ver. 
II. 12. Again, not only our good and 
evil Ad;ions, but even thofe of an indiffer- 
ent Nature, are not hidden from him. His 
Eye is upon us in our going out and in our 
coming in, whether we be at home or 
abroad, employed in Bufinefs, or in taking 
our Diveriion. In a V/ord, he carefully 
obferveth what Ufe we make of, our Time, 
and of the Abilities and Talents he hath 
given us, whether we lay ourfelves out in 
endeavouring to promote his Glory in the 
World, and to do Good to Mankind as 
far as we have Opportunity, or whether 
we trifle away our precious Time, and 
fpend it to no valuable Purpofe at all, or 
to a bad one -, how we condad: ourfelves 
in our feveral relative Capacities, as Ma- 
giftrates or Subje6ls, as Huibands or Wives, 
as Parents or Children, as Mafters orSer- 
vants ; how we behave with regard to the 
Duties and Offices of our feveral Callings, 
according to the Rank v/e bear m the 



Community, and the Variety of our out* 
ward Condition and Circumftances, whe- 
ther we be rich or poor, in Profperity 
or Adverfity, in a higher or lower Sta- 
tion. On all thefe Accounts it may be 
juftly faid, that the Lord is a God of Know- 
ledge y and by him Adlions are weighed, i Sam. 
ii. 3. 

adly, God hath a moft exaft and 
certain Knowledge, not only of all the 
Actions we perform, but of all the Words 
we fpeak. T^here is not a Word in my 
^ongucy faith the Pfalmift here, hut loy 
O Lordy thou knoweji it altogether. Words 
are often difregarded, many of them pafs 
away as the Wind, and are remembered 
no more. But none of them can efcape 
the Notice of an omnifcient Deity. He 
obferveth how we employ the Faculty of 
Speech, which he hath given us, and 
whereby we are eminently diftinguifhed 
from the inferior Animals : Whether we 
be careful to fpeak the Truth in Love, and 
whether our Speech be feafoned \yith Salt, 
miniftring Grace unto the Hearers, He 
taketh a diftindt Notice of all the Words 
we utter, with an Intention to promote 
the Glory of God, and the Good of our 
Fellow-creatures, and to ferve the Caufe 
of Truth, Piety, and Righteoufn efs, in 
the World. He obferveth when we en- 



4eavour to honour him with our Lips, 
when we employ our Tongues in fpeaking 
well of his great and excellent Name, 
of his holy Word and Laws, and in re- 
commending Religion and Virtue, or in 
promoting ufeful Knowledge, in inftruding 
the ignorant, in giving good Counfel and 
Advice to thofe that need it, in comfort- 
ing thofe that mourn, and fpeaking a 
Word in Seafon to him that is weary. 
None of thefe Things pafs unnoticed by 
Qur fovereign Lord and Judge. Remark- 
able to this Purpofe is that Paflage, Mah 
iii. 16. where we are told, that they that 
feared the Lord /pake often one to another^ 
and the Lord hearkened y and heard ity and a 
Bo9k of Remembrance was written before 
him for them that feared the Lord, and that 
thought upon his Name, He heard what 
they faid in their private Converfations, 
for comforting and admoniihing one ano- 
ther, for provoking one another to Love 
and to good Works, and for ftrengthening 
each others Faith, and Patience, and Hope, 
And fo pleafmg was this to the divine 
Majefty, that it is there added, They Jhall 
be mine, faith the Lord ofHofsy in the Day 
when I make up my Jewels, and I will fpare 
them as a Man fpareih his own Son that 
ferveth him, Verfe 17, On the other 
Hand, all the evil Words Men utter are 



alfo perfeftly known to God. He ob- 
ferveth whatfoever we fpeak unadvifedly 
with our Lips, all our angry, wrathful, 
and paflionate Expreffions, but efpecially 
all our falfe and lying Words ; for lying 
Lips are an Abomination to the Lord, Prov. 
xii. 22. and all our uncharitable and 
cenforious Speeches againft the Name and 
Reputation of our Neighbour. He feeth 
when the wicked ihoot their Arrows pri- 
vily againft the upright, even bitter Words. 
He marketh all their cruel and injurious 
Expreffions, whereby they add Affliction 
to the wicked, and fpeak to the Grief 
of thofe whom God hath wounded j all 
the Reproaches they caft on his Ways, 
and on his faithful Servants; all their 
impious Scoffs, whereby they endeavour 
to turn Things facred into Ridicule. The 
Words they utter over their Cups, and 
In their drunken Exceffes ; all their horrid 
Oaths and Execrations, whereby they 
profane the holy and venerable Name of 
God; all their foolifh Talking and Jefting, 
and their impure and obfcene Expreffions 
not fit to be named among Men and 
Chriftians. To all thefe Things God is 
now a Witnefs, and (hall remember them 
at the great Day. Our Saviour aflureth 
us, that every idle Word that Men jhall 
/peaky they Jhall give an Account thereof in 



the Day of Judgment. Matth. xii. 36. Be- 
holdy the Lord cometh with I'en Thoufands of 
his Saints, not only to convince the ungodly 
of all their ungodly Deeds which they have 
u72godly committed, but of all their hard 
Speeches which ungodly Sinners have fpoken 
againft him, Jude 14, 15. 

3dly, God hath a perfeft Knowledge 
of all the Thoughts of our Hearts, the 
moft fecret Affedlions and Diipoiitions 
of our Souls. He ndt only obferveth our 
outward Adtions and Words, which are 
in many Cafes obvious to the View and 
Notice of our Fellow- creatures, but the 
hidden Springs and Principles from which 
they flow. For the Lord weigheth the 
Spirits, as the Wife-man exprefleth it. 
Prov. xvi. 2. This is frequently mention- 
ed as his peculiar Chara<fter, whereby he 
is eminently diftinguifhed from all other 
Beings whatfoever. T^hou, even thou only 
knowejl the Hearts of all the Children of 
Men, faith Solomon in his noble Addrefs to 
God. I Kings viii. 39. God having de- 
clared by the Prophet, the Heart is deceit-- 
ful above all Thi?'igs, and defperately wicked, 
who can know it ? immediately adds, / the 
Lord fear ch the Hearts, I try the Reins, 
even to give eve?y Man according to his 
Ways, and according to the Fruit of his Do-- 
ings, Jer. xvii, 9, 10. He penetrateth to 



the Inmoft Recefles of the Soul, and feeth 
the fecret Guile that is lurking there. 
It may deceive others, but it cannot de- 
ceive him. For the Lord feeth not as Man 
Jeeth ; for Man looketh on the outward Ap- 
pear ancey but the Lord looketh on the Heart. 
I Sam. xvi. 7. Thoufands of Ideas are 
continually rifing up in our Minds, and 
paffing and repaffing there in a bufy 
Throng, and many of them feem to die 
as foon as formed, but not one of them is 
concealed from God. No Thought can be 
withholden from thee, faith fob. Chap, 
xlii, 2. Or, as the Pfalmift here expreffeth 
it. Thou underjlandeji my Thoughts afar off. 
He feeth the firft Motions, the Beginning, 
Progrefs, and End of every Thought : He 
knoweth whether our feemingly good 
Words and Deeds, which have a plaufi- 
ble Appearance in the Eyes of Men, do 
indeed proceed from internal virtuous Dif- 
pofitions, from a real Love to God and 
Goodnefs, and from a pure and upright 
Intention; or whether they proceed from 
Pride and Vain-glory, and from felfifli, 
v/ordly Principles and Views. He taketh 
Notice of the fecret pious Refolutions 
formed in the Heart of a good Man, even 
where he hath not an Opportunity of put- 
ting them in Pracflice; the inward Exercifes 
of Love to Godj and Faith in our Lord 


^efiis Chrifty the fervent Defires and Pant- 
Ings of his Soul after Grace and Holinefs, 
and thofe fpiritual Groanings which can- 
not be uttered ; the Workings of godly- 
Sorrow for Sin, the ingenuous Meltings of 
a contrite Heart, the inward Motion of 
kind and benevolent AfFccSions, and the 
Propenlities of a liberal Difpofition, where 
the outward Ability is wanting. On the 
contrary, he feeth whatfoever is amifs in 
the Temper of our Minds, the fecret 
Rifings of Pride and Vanity, whereby we 
are carried to think highly of ourfelves 
above what we ought to think, and of 
bitter envying at the Abilities, Reputation, 
and Profperity of others. He perfectly 
knoweth all the darling Iniquities and 
corrupt Inclinations which we cherifh in 
our Bofoms, the hidden Motions of Concu- 
pifcence, thofe unlawful Defires and Covet- 
ings which never proceed into Acftion. 
Nor can we conceal from him the inward 
Workings of Unbelief and Diftruft, the 
fecret Repinings and Difcontents, and the 
hard Thoughts of his Providence which are 
apt to arife in our Hearts. He obferveth 
how our Affections are dlfpofed, v/hether 
they are fixed prevailingly on this prefent 
World, or are raifed to the Things which 
are above. In a Word, he is perfedly ac- 
quainted with the moft fecret Devices of 



wicked Men, when the inward Thought 
df every one of them and the Heart is 
deep. He feeth all the evil Defigns they 
form, their Falfhood and Guile, their de- 
liberate Purpofes of Revenge, and that 
Malice and Hatred that lies rankling in 
their Bofoms, though perhaps covered over 
with the fpecious Difguife and Appearance 
of Friendihip. He knoweth all the Lufts 
that have Dominion over them, and that 
Fountain of Corruption and Impurity that 
is in their Hearts, and which fpreadeth 
Defilement through" their whole Temper 
and Pradtice. 

Thus have I given a brief Reprefenta- 
tion of the divine Omnifcience, eipecially 
as extending to the whole human Race, 
and to all their Thoughts, Words, and 
Adtions. And (hould not this fill us with 
adoring Thoughts of God, and with a 
holy Fear of his divine Majefty ? Should 
not we proftrate ourfelves with an awful 
Veneration at his Footftool, crying out 
with the devout Pfalmift, Such Knowledge 
is too wonderful for me^ it is highy I cannot 
attain unto it ? From what hath been faid, 
we may fee the great Folly of Hypocrify, 
and how vain it is to think to deceive the 
Supreme Being with external Forms and 
Shews. Shall we fuffer ourfelves to be 
drawn to fin, under Pretence of commit- 



ting it with Secrecy, when we confider 
that the all-obfervant Eye of God is ever 
upon us ? How careful fhould we be to 
approve ourfelves to him in our whole 
Courfe, and to think, fpeak, and aft, as 
in his Prefence, who is now our all-feeing 
Witnefs, and fhall fhortly be our impartial 
Judge ! Thefe and other Refledions which 
might be mentioned, naturally arife upon 
this Subjedl ; but as I have not Time to 
infift upon them at prefent, I fhall referve 
the diftindt Confideration of them to a^o* 
ther Opportunity. 

[Vol. I.] N C)« 

On the Omnifdence of Gsd, 


P S A L. CXXXIX. 3. 6. 

O Lonh thou haji- Jearched me^ and in^-wn 
me. Thou kno.'wefi my Down^-fititng mid 
mine Vp-rijingy, thou tinderftandeft my 
"Thaztghts afar off. Thou eompajjefi my 
Tathy and my lying down^ and art m- 
quaij2ted with all my Ways. For there is 
not a Word in tny Tongue^ hut h^ O Lm^d, 
thou knaweji it altogether. Thou bsji. h- 
Jet me behind and before, ajid laid thim 
'Hand upon me. Such Knawiedge is tm 
WQnderjtil for me^ it is bigb^ i cann^ 
attain untQ it. 

THESE Words have been already 
propofed to your ConfideratioB^ 
and they prefentthis moft importaBt Tmth 
to our Minds % 

N a That 


That God exercifeth a conftant Infpec- 
tlon over us, and hath a moft exad: and 
perfed; Knowledge of every Man's Ways, 
of his inward Frame and Temper, and of 
his outward Practice and Behaviour. 

I obferved to you, that not only is this 
clearly aflerted in the Holy Scriptures, but 
that the Light of unprejudiced Reafon, 
if duly attended to, bears Witnefs to this 
Truth. That God knoweth all Things, 
and confequently knoweth all the Ways 
of the Children of Men, may be juftly 
concluded from the infinite PerfecStion of 
his Nature ; particularly from his Im- 
menfity and Omniprcfence ; as alfo from 
his Government of the World and of 
Mankind, which could not be rightly ex- 
ecuted without it. Accordingly, it was 
ihewn that there hath been a general Ac- 
knowledgment of this Truth among all 
that have believed a God and a Providence. 
It is fuppofed, in the Prayers, the Vows, 
the folemn Heaven, which have 
been ufual in all Ages and Nations ; and 
a fecret Senfe of this lies at the Founda- 
tion of thofe Terrors of Confcience, that 
haunt the Minds of Sinners, and which 
even the moil: profligate can fcarce entirely 
diveft themfelves of. 

Having offered thefe Things in general, 
I proceeded to a more diftinft View of the 



divine Knowledge as extending to all the 
Actions we perform, every Word that 
proceedeth out of our Lips, and the moft 
fccret Thoughts and Intents of the Heart. 
Many are the ufeful Reflections which 
naturally arife upon this Subjeift, and 
which I fhall now diflincftly confider. 

And I ft. How fhould this fill us with 
the moft admiring, awful Thoughts of the 
Deity, and caufe us to adore and worftiip 
him with the profoundeft Veneration ! For 
what a wonderful Being muft he needs be, 
of what vaft Knowledge and Comprehen- 
iion, who knoweth every Thing that is 
faid, thought, or done, by the many Mil- 
lions of Men, who are now on the Face of 
the whole Earth, or who have lived upon 
it from the Beginning of the Creation to 
this Day, Yea, and all the Thoughts, 
Words, and Adions, of all the number- 
lefs Orders of Beings throughout this vaft 
Univerfe ! He takes them in all at once, 
without Diftra6lion and Confufion, at one 
entire, perfed:, all-comprehending View, 
and knoweth every one of them as fully 
and diftindly, as if he had only that one 
particular Thing to mind. So that there 
is no Danger of his forgetting or overlook- 
ing any Thing amidft the Hurry and Va- 
riety of Objedls ', yea, what is ftill mofc 
aftonifhing, he knoweth them all from the 
N 3 Beginning, 


Beginning, and even from everlafting. 
He forefeeth our Thoughts before we con- 
ceive them, our Words before wt fpeak 
them, and our Adions before they are put 
in Execution. Accordingly v^e find in 
Scripture many clear and exprefs Predic- 
tions, delivered by the Infpiration of his 
Spirit, foretelling the moll contingent E- 
vents, and w^hich feemed to depend on the 
free Determination of voluntary Agents, 
and that a long Time before they happen- 
ed. The Manner of this divine Know- 
ledge exceedeth our Comprehenfions. It 
is fo far beyond all the Conceptions we 
can form, that we may juftly fay with 
the Pfalmift, Sucf? Knowledge is too wonder- 
ful for me ^ it is high^ I cannot attain unto 
it. In this as well as other Refpedts we 
may well cry out. Who can by fearching 
find out God ? Who can find out the Al- 
mighty to PerfeBion ? What a proper Ob- 
jed: doth he appear to be in this View of 
the inward Worihip and Homage of all 
, reafonable Beings ! Let us therefore pro- 
ftrate ourfelves at bis Footftool with Re- 
verence and godly Fear, adoring and ferv- 
ing him as the incomprehenfible Jehovah, 
whofe Greatnefs is unfearchable, and whofe 
Underftanding is infinite. 

2dly, Since God hath a perfedl 
Knowledge of all our Ways, of our in- 


ward Frame and outward Condu6l, and 
now exercifeth a conftant Infpedlion over 
us, we may reafonably conclude, that he 
will hereafter call us to a 3fl:ri<ft and im- 
partial Account, and will judge us accor- 
dingly. Hence thefe Things are joined 
together in the facred Writings, God's 
knowing our Ways, and judging us for 
them. Thus Jer. xvii. 10. J the Lord 
fearch the Hearts^ I try the Reins ^ even to 
give every Man according to his Ways, and 
according to the Fruit of his Doings, And 
again, Jer. xxxii. 19. Thine Eyes are upon 
all the Ways of the Sons of Men^ to give every 
one according to his Ways^ and accordifig to the 
Fruit of his Doings. It is evident, that this is 
not done in this prefent Life, which appears 
not to have been defigned to be a State of 
final Judgment and Retributions. We muft 
therefore look for it in a future State. And 
accordingly we are affured, that God hath 
appointed a Day in the which he will judge 
the World in Right eoufnefs. Afts xvii. 31., 
And that then every one of us /hall give an 
Account of himfelf to God, Rom. xiv. 12. 
And what is the moft exadt and folemn 
Trial before any human Judicature, com- 
pared with that which fhall pafs upon us 
at the Tribunal of God in the great Day ? 
It is impoffible that he {hould commit any 
Error or Miftake in Judgment, as the beft 
N 4 and 


and moft fagacious of human Judges often 
do, for want of knowing all the Circum- 
ftances of Actions, or the Principles from 
which they proceed. They are frequently 
at a lofs becaufe they cannot get fuffi- 
cient Information ; but this can never be 
fuppofed concerning the omnifcient Being, 
who can never be deceived, either in Mat- 
ter of Fad: or Matter of Right. And as 
It will be impoffible to deceive our Judge, 
it will be equally impoffible to bribe or 
pervert him from a ftri(ft Regard to Truth, 
and Righteoufnefs, and Equity. There is 
no Impurity with the Lord our God, nor 
Refpedl of Perfons, nor taking of Gifts ; 
but every Thing fhall be weighed in a, 
fair and equal Ballance; and every man 
Jhall receive according to the Tubings done in 
the Body^ ^whether good or eviL 2 Cor. 
V. I o. God's Omnifcience will be inftead of a 
thoufand WitneiTes, and he will bring their 
Ways to their own Remembrance, and 
will caufe their own Confciences to bear 
Witnefe againft them. That is an awful 
PafTage which we have, Pfal. 1. 2 1, 22* 
where God is introduced as declaring to 
thofe who, though they call themfelves his 
People, yet indulge themfelves in a pre- 
fumptuous Courfe of Wickednefs : Thefe 
Things hajl thou done^ and I kept Silence^ 
thou thoughteft that 1 was altogether fuch an 
^^ne as thyfelf, but I will reprove thee, and 



fet them in Order before thine Eyes, The 
Wife-man reprefenteth it as a certain 
Truth, and which ought to have a mighty 
Influence upon us, that God will bring 
every Work into Judgment, with every fecret 
Thing, whether it be good, or whether it be 
evil, Ecclef. xii. 14. that is, not only 
our outward Anions, but even our idle 
Words, as our Saviour afTureth us, and the 
fecret Thoughts and Difpofitions of our 
Hearts. And the IfTues of that Judgment, 
according to the Scripture-account of it, 
will be the moft important that can pof- 
fibly be conceived, eternal Happinefs, or 
eternal Mifery ; and different Degrees of 
both, according to the different Degrees 
of their good or evil Adions or Difpofi- 

3dly, Frooi what hath been faid on 
this Subje6t, we may fee the great Folly 
and Danger of Hypccrify. The Hypocrite 
is a Perfon who endeavoureth to put on a 
fair Appearance in the Eye of the World, 
but at the fame Time is deflitute of real 
Goodnefs, and is under the Power of cor- 
rupt and inordinate Lufts, and evi] Dif- 
pofitions of Heart, which he freely in- 
dulgeth in Secret, and is only follicitous 
to conceal his Wickednefs from the View 
of his Fellow-creatures. But this is the 
moft abfurd and foolifh Condud: in the 
World. What will it profit thee if thou 
2 fliouldcft 


fliouldefl be able to conceal thy Hypocrify 
and Guile from every Creature, when at 
the fame Time God knoweth it, who hath 
the Iffues of Life and Death in his Hands, 
and by v/hom thy everlafting State is to be 
determined ? It is comparatively a fmall 
Thing to be judged ^of Man's Judgment. 
Our All for Eternity dependeth upon the 
Judgment which God will pafs concerning 
us ; and therefore to have God privy to 
our Wickednefs, is of infinitely greater 
Moment aiid Concern to us, than to have 
it known to all the Angels in Heaven, or 
Men upon Earth. Though a Man fhould 
have behaved fo artfully as to obtain the 
Applaufe of his Fellow-mortals, and to be 
univerfally admired when living, and in- 
rolled in the Records of Fame when dead ; 
will this be of any Advantage to him, if at 
the fame Time God, the only true Judge of 
Worth, abhors and condemns him ? What 
a foolifh Thing is it, therefore, to endea- 
vour to deceive frail Creatures like our- 
felves with fpecious Appearances, and to 
value ourfelves upon their good Opinion, 
when we cannot deceive God, on whom 
it dependeth to make us happy or mifer- 
able for ever ! Ma?2 looketh at the outward 
Appearance y and is taken with goodly Form 
and Shew, but the Lord looketh on the Heart, 
I Sam. xvi. 7. And then let it farther 



be confidered, to fhew the Folly of Hy- 
pocrify, that as God now perfedly know- 
eth their moft fecret Wickednefs, fo the 
Time is coming when he will fo order 
it, that the whole World (hall know it 
too. In the great Day of Judgment the 
Secrets of all Hearts fliall be revealed ; the 
hidden Depths of Hypocrify, the intricate 
Windings of a deceitful Heart, which no 
Creature could diftind:ly trace, fhall then 
be laid open to Angels and Men. Many 
that here made a fplcndid Shew, (hall then 
be ftrlpped of every falfe Difguife, Thofe 
fecret Acfls of Fraud, Injuflice, or Impu- 
rity, which they induftrioufly concealed 
from the View of the World, fhall then 
be openly difplayed, to their inexprefliblc 
Shame and Confufion, and brought forth 
as on an ample Theatre, before that uni- 
verfal auguft Affembly ; and they fliall be 
doomed to a very aggravated Punifliment. 
For our Saviour, when defcribing the Pu- 
nifhment of the wicked Servant, tells us, 
that his Lord wo\Adi appoi7it him his Portion 
with the Hypocrites ^ there Jhall be weepings 
and wailing, and gnafhing of Teeth, Matt, 
xxiv, 51. intimating, that the Puniih- 
ment of the Hypocrites Ihall be peculiarly 

4thly, Since God is perfectly ac- 
quainted with all our Ways, and even 



cur moft fecret Thoughts, we fliould 
make Ufe of this Confideration as an ef- 
feftual Prefervative againft Temptations to 
Sin. Scarce any Thing could have a great- 
er Influence to keep us from thofe Sins to 
which we are moft inclined and expofed, 
than a ftrong habitual Senfe of God's con- 
tinual Prefence with us, and Infpedioa 
over us. Even they whofe Lufts are moft 
violent can, in many Inftances, controul 
and govern their importunate Appetites 
and Paflions in the Prefence of their Fel- 
low-creatures; and how much more power- 
ful a Reftraint would a Senfe of God's 
all-feeing Eye be, if duly realized to the 
Mind! The Reafon why fo many freely 
indulge themfelves in Wickednefs, and in 
the Gratification of their vicious Appetite, 
is, becaufe God is not in all their Thoughts* 
They do not refled: that the Eye of the 
Lord is upon their Ways, and he ponder- 
eth all their Goings. Hence it is given as 
the Character of wicked Men, that they 
forget God. Pfal. 1. 22. The impure For- 
nicator and Adulterer can abftain from his 
lafcivious Dalliances before a Perfon of 
known Virtue, efpecially if he be one of 
eminent Station and Dignity; and would 
he dare to give Scope to his luftful In- 
clinations, if he really and at that Time 
confidered himfelf as in the Prefence of a 



God of infinite Purity, who hath declared 
that Whoremongers and Adulterers he will 
judge? The moft unjuft Perfon would not 
dare to commit an A6t of Fraud and In- 
juftice under the Eye and Cognizance of a 
wife and righteous Magiflrate ; and how 
much lefs would he do it, if he confidered 
and believed that the fupreme Lord of the 
Univerfe, who is the great Avenger of all 
Fraud and Falfhood, obferveth what he is 
doing even when he efcapes the Notice 
of Men, and will call him to a fevere Ac- 
count ! The profane Swearer and Curfer 
can refrain his hellifh Dialed: in the Pre- 
fence of Perfgns of Gravity and Authori- 
ty, whom he knoweth it will offend, and 
whom he is afraid to difoblige; and would 
it not have a greater EffcA upon him, fe- 
rioufly to refledl that the great Majefty of 
Heaven, whofe holy and tremendous Name 
he thus difhonoureth, and who hath de- 
clared, that he will not hold thofe giiiltlefs 
that take his Name in vain, heareth every 
Word and Oath he uttereth, and will 
remember them all againft him to his 
Condemnation ! In vain would Satan tempt 
us to do a bafe and wicked Thing, if we 
had this Thought deeply and ftrongly im- 
prefTed upon our Hearts, that at that 
very Inftant a holy Deity diligently mark- 
eth all our Steps, and every Part of our 



Condud., This would fortify our Minds^ 
and keep us from being drawn afide to Siri 
by any Profpedts of Pleafure or Gain, or 
fey a Pretence of committing it with Se- 
crecy. It was this preferved pious Jofeph 
in Circumftances of great Temptation. 
There were many Things to engage his 
CompUance, the Charms of fenfual Plea- 
fure, the Hopes of advancing his wordly 
Intereft on the one Pland, and the Fears 
of expofing himfelf to Ruin, and the bit- 
terejft Refentments, on the other. Add to 
this, that he had a favourable Opportuni- 
ty of doing it with Secrecy ; for when he 
was follicited, there was non*e of the Men 
of the Houfe then within ; but ftill he was 
fenfible that God faw and obferved, and 
this was inftead of all other Coniidera- 
tions, and produced that noble Declara- 
tion, Howfiall I do this great Wiekednefs ^ 
and Jin againji God! Gen. xxxix. 7. — 12. 
In like Manner, whenever we are tempted 
to fin, we fhould be ready to fay in our 
Hearts, The Eye of God is now upon 
me, and fhall I dare to difobey his Autho- 
rity, and to break his Lavv^s in his own 
Trefence ? Shall I thus affront him to his 
Face, and commit Treafon againft him, 
even when he (lands by and obferves ? If 
I could find any Method to conceal what 
I am doing from his Notice, there might 



be fome Pretence for complying with the 
Temptation ; but that is impoffible ; for 
iDhither (hall I go from his Spirit y or whi- 
t/oer /hall IJlee from his Prefence ? 

5thly, As the Confideration of God's 
continual Infped:ion over us, and perfedl 
Knowledge of all our Ways, fhould be a 
powerful Prefervative againft Temptations 
to Sin, fo it furnilGheth the moft effed:ual 
Motive and Encouragement to the Per- 
formance of our Duty. / am God Almtgh^ 
ty, or all-fufficient, (faith God to Abra- 
ham) walk before me^ and be thou perfedi-, 
intimating, that to walk as before the Lord, 
/. e. under a conflant Senfe of his Pre- 
fence, is the beft Method we can take to 
attain to a true fpiritual Perfection, or to 
an eminent Degree of Holinefs and Virtue, 
It is a common Obfervation, that the Eye 
of the Mafter hath a Tendency to make 
Servants • diligent in their Work j and 
fliould it not have a mighty Influence to 
make us ftedfaji and unmoveabky always a-* 
bounding in the Work of the Lord^ to confider 
that we are ever under the Eye and Infpec- 
tion of our great Lord and Mafter, the fo- 
vereign Lord of Heaven and Earth, from 
whom we exped the glorious Reward of 
all our Services ? This would be inftead of 
a thoufand Arguments, to engage us to a 
perfevering Diligence in the Performance 



of the Duties he requireth of us, and in 
the Improvement of thofe Talents With 
which he hath intrufted us, in Oppofi- 
tion to all the Difficulties and Difcourage- 
ments that now lie in our Way. For 
fliall we be flothful, and loiter away our 
Time and Opportunities, when we know 
that the fupreme univerfal Lord feeth and 
obferveth what we are doing ? Surely a 
Senfe of this would have a happy Ten- 
dency to render us ferious and circumfpecft 
in our Condud, and to compofe us to a 
becoming Decency and Gravity, in Oppo- 
fition to a vain, light, frothy Temper and 
Carriage. It would make us candid, 
open, and fincere in our whole Deport- 
ment, and would give every Word and 
Promife the Sandtion of an Oath, confi- 
dering that God is Witnefs to all we 
fpeak. In how exemplary a Manner 
fhould we then behave in every Station 
and Relation, and how careful fhould we 
be in the Difcharge of the Duties incum- 
bent upon us as Hufbands and Wives, as 
Parents and Children, as Mafters and Ser- 
vants, as Magiftrates and Subjeds, if we 
performed thefe relative Duties, as in the 
Sight of God, and as unto the Lord, and 
not unto Men ! This would make us 
careful that all our Adlions proceed from 
right Principles> and be devoted to right 



Ends, and be diredled and regulated by a 
right Rule. We fhould then be equal- 
ly careful in thofe Duties which are done 
in Secret, as in thofe that come under pub- 
lic Notice and Obfervation. Thus our 
Saviour encourageth and exhorteth us to a 
right Performance of the fecret Ads of 
Piety and Charity from this Confideration, 
that our heavenly Father which feeth in Se- 
cret, will reward us openly. Matt. vi. 4. 6. 
A due Regard to a prefent Deity would 
caufe us to keep our Hearts with all Dili- 
gence, to exercife a conftant Care over the 
inward Frame and Temper of our Minds, 
and to endeavour to cleanfe ourfelves from 
all Filthinefs, not only of the Flefh, but 
of the Spirit too, that we may sipprove 
ourfelves to that moft holy and omnifcient 
Being, who fearcheth the Hearts, and trieth 
the Reins of the Children of Men. In a 
Word, I know not any one Confideration 
of greater Importance than this, or which 
hath a more manifeft Tendency to promote 
the Pradlice of univerfal Righteoufnefs ^ 
and therefore it highly concerneth us to 
fet the Lord always before us. Let our 
firft Morning Thoughts be that God feeth 
us, and is perfedlly acquainted with all 
our Ways, and Jet fuch Thoughts influ- 
ence the Pradtice of the Day, and be car- 
{VoL. I.] O ried 


ried alway with us through our whole 

Sixthly, A due Reflection upon this 
Subjed: fhould produce in us the deepeft 
Humility and Self-abafement before that 
pure and holy Deity, wh© hath the moil 
exa6t and perfed; Knowledge of all our 
Sins and DefeSs, and even of our moft 
fecret Faults. If all the Iniquities we 
have been ever guilty of iliould rife up at 
once- to our View, what a confounding 
Sight would this be! And they are all 
ever obvious to the all-feeing Eye of God, 
who is to be our Judge, Not one evil 
Aftion we have ever committed, not one 
idle Word we have ever fpoken, not one 
linful Thought we have ever conceived, 
can efcape his Notice. He knoweth thofe 
Sins that we ourfelves did not obferve, or 
which are gone out of our Remembrance. 
When we confider this, fhould it not morti- 
fy every Motion of Pride within us, and 
keep us from entertaining high Thoughts 
of ourfelves, or being puffed up with the 
good Opinion, or the Applaufes of our Fel- 
low-creatures ? Alas ! what would become 
of us if God fhould enter into ftridt Judg- 
ment with us ? We might be apt even to 
fmk into Defpondency, were it not for 
the glorious Difcoveries of his rich Grace 
and Mercy that are made to us in the Gof- 
2 pel. 


pel. With what Thankfulnefs fhould w€ 
receive the joyful Tidings, that God hath 
fent his own Son into the World to fave 
and to redeem us, and hath given him to be 
the Propitiation for the Sins of the World ! 
that he hath appointed him to be our 
great Mediator and Advocate, through 
whom he is ready to pardon all our Iniqui- 
ties upon our iincere Repentance, and graci- 
oufly to accept our Perfons and Services, 
and to admit us to the Privileges of his 
Children ! and that notwithftanding our 
manifold Failures and Defedls, he hath 
promifed through 'Jefus Chriji, to crown 
our iincere, though imperfect Obedience, 
with everlafting Life and Happinefs, 

Seventhly, As the Confideration of the 
perfed: Knowledge God hath of us and 
all our Ways, fliould caufe us to humble 
ourfelves deeply before him ; fo, on the 
other hand, it fhould fupportand comfort us 
under the unjuft Calumnies and Reproach- 
es of a malignant World. It often hap- 
peneth that the bell of Men are bafely 
traduced and vilified, their fmcere and unaf- 
fecfted Piety, then* honeil Zeal for God, 
and fteady Adherence to the Caufe and 
interefts of Religion, is branded as Hy- 
pocrify, or Enthuirafm, as an obftinate 
Bigotry, or, at beft, a needlefs Singulari- 
ty and Precifenefs ; their moft innocent 
O 2 Adions 


Actions are mifinterpreted, and attribut- 
ed to wrong Motives, and their good 
Name, which is dearer than Life, black- 
ened with the moft undeferved Reproaches. 
But what a SatisfacTtion is it in fuch Cafes 
to refteft, that God knoweth the Upright- 
nefs of their Intentions, and to him they 
can commit their Caufe ! Though they 
are fenfible that they are chargeable with 
manifold Failures and Defed:s, yet if their 
Hearts upon an impartial Enquiry do 
notr condemn them of allowed Hypocrify, 
and prefumptuous Sin and Difobedience, 
they may have a humble Confidence to- 
wards God, who knoweth their Integrity^ 
even w^here Men are wilfully blind, and 
perverfely ignorant. And the Time is 
coming, when their Innocence fhall bo 
publiflied to the whole World, to Angela 
and Men. Then Jhall he bring forth their 
Right eoiifnefs as the Light , and their Judg- 
merit as the Noon -day, Pfal. xxxvii. 6. How 
many that were once ftigmatized with the 
odious Names of Heretics and Schifmatics^ 
and treated as if they were the Off-fcour- 
ing of all Things, (hall then appear to 
have beeu the excellent ones of the Earth,, 
acknowledged openly by God himfelf,. 
and arrayed in Robes of fhining Inno- 
cence and Purity. Job comforteth him.- 
felf with this under the unkind Accufa- 



tlons of his miftaken Friends, Thouy Lord, 
-faith he, knoweji that I am not wicked. Job 
X. 7. And again, Chap, xxiii. 10, 11. God 
knoweth the Way that I take ; my Feet have 
held his Steps, his Way have I kept, and not 

To this may be added, that God is 
perfedlly acquainted with all the Difficul- 
ties and Troubles of every Kind that we 
meet with in this State of Trial and Pilgri- 
mage. And he h not an unconcerned Spec- 
tator, but is ready to grant us feafonable 
Affiftance and Supports. He feeth all 
the Snares that lie in our Way, all the 
Temptations to which we are expofed, all 
our Fears and Conflidls, and the fore Trials 
we are exercifed with; he knoweth what 
we ftand in need of, and will graciouily 
fuit his Supplies to our Circumftances and 
Neceffitics.. And to him, as our moft com- 
paffionate heavenly Father, we may with 
humble Confidence apply for needful Suc- 
cour and Afliftance. And this is certainly 
a mofl: encouraging Thought, and a nevei« 
failing Spring of Coi^folation to good Men, 

Thus we may fee what excellent Ufe 
may be made of the Confideration of God's 
Infpeffion over us, and the perfedl Know^ 
ledge he hath of all our Ways, ar^d how 
highly it concerneth us to maintain a con- 
ilanit Senfe of it, And in order to this v/e 
3 fhould 


iliould both meditate frequently on this im- 
portant Truth, and fhould beg of God that 
he would imprefs it ftrongly upon our 

Finally, Let us all join that folemn Ad^ 
drefs to God, with which the devout Pfal- 
mift concludes his Meditations on the di- 
vine Omniprefence and Omnifcience in 
this i39th.Plalm, Search mcy O Gody and 
know ?ny Heart; try me, and know my 
thoughts : A7id fee if there he any wicked 
Way in me^ and lead me in the Way everlafl" 


On the Holinefs of God. 


Habak. 1. 13. 

Thou art of purer Eyes tban to behold Evil^ 
and canjl not look on Iniquity, 

TH E heinous Nature and Demerit of 
Sin, and the righteous Difpleaiure 
of God againft it, is a Subjed that well 
deferves our moft ferious Thoughts. If 
a Senfe of this were deeply impreffed upon 
our Hearts, it would be an effedual Pre- 
fervative againft the Force of Temptation, 
and would have a great Influence to make 
us cautious and circumfpefl; in our whole 
Behaviour. We ihould not then fufFer our- 
O 4. felves 


felves to be eafily drawn afide by the 
Charms and Allurements of Sin, or to he 
impofed upon by its fpecious Appearances. 
It is not eafy to find Words more ftrong 
and expreffive to this Purpofe, than thofe 
of the Prophet Habakkuky when addreff- 
ing himfelf folemnly to God, he Ikith, 
^hou art of purer Eyes than to behold Evil, 
and canjl not look on Iniquity, Thefe are 
Expreffions of the utmoft Deteftation and 
Abhorrence. For we are apt to turn our 
Eyes from Objedls that are very hateful 
and loathlome to us, and can fcarce ti^ear 
to look upon them. The Subjed: there- 
fore which thefe Words offer to our Con- 
fideration, and which I fhall infift upon 
in the following Difcourfe, is plainly this : 
Th^t Si is the Objed: of God'$ righteous 
Deteftation and Abhorrence 3 it is very 
hateful and abominable in his Sight. 

Before I proceed to demonftrate this, 
I fhall offer fomething in general concern- 
ing the Nature of Sin. The Apoflle ^ohn 
gives a brief, but jufl Defcription of it, 
X 'john iii. 4. WLofoever committeth Sin, 
trarjgrejjeth alfo the Law : for Sin is the 
^ranlgrefpon of the Law. As God is the 
great Author and abfolute Lord, fo he is 
X\\^ mofl wife Governor of the World; 
and accordingly hath given Laws to his 
reafonable Creatures for the Rule of their 



Duty; which Laws they are under the 
higheft Obligations of Juftice, Gratitude^ 
and Intereft, to obey. Thefe Laws, v/hich 
are perfedlly agreeable to the Reafon^ and 
Relations of Things, may be faid to be 
in fome raeafure written in the Heart$ 
and Confciences of Men, in as much as 
he hath implanted a moral Senfe of Good 
and Evil, which carries them in the in- 
ward deliberate Judgment of their Minds 
to approve the one, and to condemn the 
other. But befides this, as Mankind are 
now in a very, corrupt and degenerate 
State, and the moral Senfe very much im- 
paired and defaced by vicious Prejudices, 
and over-ruled by depraved Appetites and 
Paffions, he hath been gracioufly pleafed 
to caufe his Laws to be clearly and ex- 
prefsly fet before us in his holy Word, as 
contained in the Scriptures. Now there- 
fore, when the reafonable Creature tranf- 
greffeth any of the Laws of God, either by 
omitting to do what the divine Lav/ re- 
quireth, or by committing what that Law 
forbiddeth, that Creature may be faid to 
fin againft God : And Sin confidered in 
this View, as it is an Inftance of Difcon- 
formity to the Law of God, is of incon- 
ceivable Malignity and Dem.erit. It is a 
breaking through the eternal Rules of 
Juftice and Order, founded in the very 



Nature and Fitnefs of Things. It is vir- 
tually an Attempt of the Creature to fhake 
off its Dependency on the great Creator ; 
it is an implicit Rejeftion of the rightful 
Authority of the great Lord of the Uni- 
verfe, and a Revolting from him, the chief- 
eft Good. It is a virtual Impeachment 
of all God's illuftrlous moral Perfedlions, 
and cafts the moft unworthy Refleiflions 
on his Wifdom and Goodnefs, his Righ- 
teoufnefs and Purity, as if he were not fit 
to govern the World, and made Laws 
that are either unjuft in themfelves, or at 
leaft not fit for reafonable Creatures to 
obey. Sin is a fetting up lawlefs Appetite 
to be the Rule, and were it fuflfered to 
prevail without Control, would intro- 
duce univerfal Mifery and Confufion, and 
deftroy the Beauty and Harmony of the 
moral World. 

This is a brief Account of the Nature of 
Sin, which appears upon this View of it 
to be the worft of Evils. A^nd according- 
ly in the Text, and in many other Faffages 
of Scripture, it is called Evil by way of 
Eminency, as if nothing elfe deferved to 
be called fo. And indeed, properly fpeak- 
ing, all Evil is either Sin, or the Eflfedis 
of it. It is called Iniquity, to fignify that 
it is an utter perverting that which is juft 
and right. It is often called Fiithinefs, 



and IS defcribed In Scripture by whatever 
is odious and loathfome But after all, 
there is nothing fo bad as itfelf to exprefs 
it by, and therefore when the Apoftle 
would reprefent its heinous Malignity in 
the moft emphatical Manner, he repre- 
fents Sin as appearing to be exceedingly Jin- 
fuL Rom. vii. 

And now I proceed to fhew, as I pro- 
pofed, that Sin is very hateful in the Sight 
of God, and is the Objed: of his higheft 
Deteftation and Abhorrence. 

This will appear if we confider, firft. 
That the Perfedion of the divine Nature, 
and the Reafon of Things demonftrates, 
that Sin muft be very hateful to God. 

Secondly, This alio appears from the ex- 
prefs Declarations of his Word concern- 
ing it. 

Thirdly, It appears from the Difpenfations 
of his Providence, the Courfe of his Deal- 
ings towards his Creatures, efpecially to- 
wards Mankind. 

Firft, The very Reafon of Things, the 
Conlideration of God's infinite Perfection 
fhews, that Sin muft needs be very hate- 
ful to him. The firft and moft obvious 
Notion that we have of God, is, that he is 
an abfolutely perfed Being ; and abfolute 
Perfeclion is the moft oppofite Thing in 
the World to all moral Evil, He is a 



]Being whofe Wifdom and Underftanding 
is infinite, and who knows all things 
as they really are, and therefore hath a 
perfect Difcernment of the moral Differ- 
ences of Things, of the Beauty and Ex- 
cellency of Goodnefs, Holinefs, and Vir- 
tue, and of the Evil and Deformity of 
Vice, and Sin, and Impurity. And agrees 
able to the pure Light of his infinite Un- 
derftanding is the immutable Redlitude 
pf his Will, whereby he is eternally car- 
ried to love and delight in whatfoever 
Things are true, and honeft, and juft, and 
pure, and virtuous, and lovely, and to hate 
whatfoever Things are contrary there- 
unto. He is an eternal Lover of Order, 
and therefore cannot but hate Sin, which 
is the moft perverfe and manifeft Breach 
of the juft Order and Harmony of Things. 
And then, if we confider him not only in 
the abfolute Perfedion and Reftitude of 
his own Nature, but in the Relations he 
bears to us, efpecially as he is our moft 
juft and wife Governor and Judge, fo he 
cannot but hate Sin, becaufe Sin is moft 
diredly pppofed to his Authority and Go- 
vernment^ it is a Violation of his own 
moft righteous Law, and an Infult offered 
to his facred Authority ^ it is the Infur- 
reftlon of the Creature againft the fupreme 
univerfal Lord, And therefore the Regard 



he hath to his own rightful Authority, and 
to the Majefty of his Laws, and the Ju- 
ftice he oweth to himfelf, obliges him to 
hate Sin, and makes it impoffible for him 
to do otherwife. Laftly, if we confidei* 
him as a Lover of his Creatures, defirous 
of their Happinefs, and of the Welfare of 
the Univerfe which he hath created ; on' 
thi& Account alfo he cannot but hate Sin> 
which tendeth to ipread Mifery and Ruir^ 
through the Creation of God, and is the 
Source of numberlefs Evils and Diforders.- 
It tendeth to deftroy the Health and Beauty 
of the reafonable Nature, to pervert the 
Order of its Faculties, and to render it 
incapable of true Bleffednefs : And there- 
fore that moft beneficent Being, that de- 
lighteth in the Good and Happinefs of 
his Creatures, and who is the Guardian 
of univerfal Order, muft needs have the 
utmoft Abhorrence of Sin, and will do 
what is proper for him as a moral Gover- 
nor to prevent it, by taking the fitteft 
Methods to deter his reafonable Creatures 
from committing it. 

This leads me to add, fecondly. That he 
hath accordingly made the moft exprefs 
Declarations of his Hatred againft Sin in 
his holy Word and Law. The great Cre- 
ator and Lord of all hath been pleafed to 
make a Difcovery of his own Nature and 



Will to Mankind, not only by his won- 
derful Works, but by the Revelation of 
his Word, and in that Revelation he hath 
reprefented himfelf to us as a God of fpot- 
lefs Purity, and impartial Juftice and Righ- 
teoufnefs. We are there afiured, that he 
is glorious in HoUnefs -, that he is not a 
God that bath Pkafure in Wickednefs, neither 
JJmU Evil dwell with him: 'Tkefoolijh, that 
is, the wicked and obiliinately difobedient^ 
fiall 7zot Jland in his Sight ; he hateth all 
Workers of Iniquity. Pial. v. 4, 5. Sin is 
faid to be \}i\Q abominable thing which he hateth, 
Jer. xliv. 4. The moft flrong and ardent 
Expreffions are purpofely made ufe of in 
the facred Writings, fuch as thofe of 
Wrath, Vengeance, Fury, the more em- 
phatically to repreient God's righteous 
Difpleafure againil Sin, and Refolution to 
punilh it. The Wrath of God is there 
revealed from Heaven againfl: all Ungod- 
linefs and Unrighteoufnefs of Men. The 
moft av^ful Threatenings are denounced in 
the divine Law againft obPinate, prefump- 
tuous Tranfgreffors. We are told that 
^tribulation and Anginfo fhall be to every 
Soul of Man that dotth Evil -, of the Jew 
firji, and alfo of the Gentile, God hath 
eftablifhed an unalterable Connection be- 
tween Sin and Death. It is declared that 
the Soul that fnnethpmll die, Ezek. xviii. 20. 



and that theJVages of Sin is Death. Rom. 
vi. 23. And this Death, which is the juft 
Wages of Sin, includes not merely tempo- 
ral Death, which confifteth in the Sepa- 
ration of the Soul from the Body, but 
Death eternal, which is the Separation of 
the Soul from God's blifsful Prefence. 
And how was it poffible for God to make 
fuller Declarations of his Difpleafure and 
Hatred againft Sin, than he hath done in 
his Word and Law ? 

And then add to all this, thirdly. That 
God's Hatred againft Sin doth alfo evi- 
dently appear in the Difpenfations of his 
Providence, and in the Courfe of his Deal- 
ings towards his Creatures, efpecially to- 
wards Mankind. Indeed God's Deal- 
ings with the Angels that finned, exhibit 
a very terrible Difplay of his irreconcilable 
Difpleafure againft Sin. The Angels were 
the nobleft Part of the inteiledtual Crea- 
tion, the eldeft Produdions of almighty 
Power, endued with the moft fublime and 
excellent Faculties, and therefore un- 
doubtedly very dear to the glorious and 
beneficent Being that created them. Ac- 
cordingly they had their original Refidence 
in Heaven. But yet, when a Number of 
them finned, God immediately caft them 
from his Favour and glorious Prefence. 
We are told that he /fared not the Angels 



thatjihnedy but cajl them dmvn to Hetty and 
delivered them into Chains of Darknefs^ to 
be referred unto 'Judgment, z Pet. ii. 4. 
This is their prefent unhappy State. They 
are groaning under the Preflures of divine 
\Vrath, and trembling at the Apprehen- 
lions of an infinitely greater Load of Ven- 
geance that fhall fliortly overwhelm them. 
Not the leaft Glimmering of Hope for 
ever. As they were the firft of God's 
Creatures that finned, fo they fhall be the 
eternal awful Monuments of the Severity 
of his Juftice. 

But that which more nearly concerneth 
us, is to confider the Courfe of the divine 
Difpenfations towards Mankind, in which 
a confidering Mind may obferve God's 
Deteftation againft Sin every where ma- 
nifefting itfelf*- 

Man was at firft made upright, after the 
amiable Image of God. He feemed to be 
the fpecial Darling andFavoifrite of Heaven. 
He was conftituted Lord of this lower 
World, which was fitted up as a beautiful 
Palace for his Reception and Entertain- 
ment ', and as a Mark of God's fpecial Fa- 
vour, he was placed in a Paradife of De- 
lights, and there admitted to happy Con- 
verfes with his Maker. But no fooner 
had this favourite Creature finned, than 
he was immediately driven out of Paradife. 

A flaming 


A flaming Sword was fet to guard the En-* 
tranee> and hinder his tafting of the Tree 
of Life. A Train of difmal Woes fuc- 
ceeded, and ruihed in at once like a Tor- 
rent upon the human Nature. Number- 
lefs are the Evils and Calamities to which 
Mankind are now obnoxious, all which 
exhibit an awful Demonftration of God's 
juft Difpleafure againft Sin. Thefe Cala- 
mities are either iuch as happen to parti- 
cular Perfons, or to larger colledlive Bodies. 
As to the Calamities of particular Per- 
fons, they are fo many and various, that 
they cannot be diflindtly enumerated. Man 
is born unto Trouble^ as the Sparks jiy up- 
ward. Job v. 7. Man that is born of a 
Woman is but of few Days, but thofe few 
Days are full of Trouble, Job xiv. i . In. 
his Body he carries the Seeds of a thou- 
fand Diftempers, How often is Life ren- 
dered miferable through the Languifhings 
of a fickly Conftitution, or through vio- 
lent Paroxyfms of Pain fo fevere that 
it requires an uncommon Degree of Pa- 
tience to bear up under them ! All thefe 
may be juftly regarded as the EfFedls of 
Sin. Some indeed are particularly fo, as 
they are immediately brought upon Men 
by their Vices ; and with regard to all of 
them in general it may be faid, that it is 
Sin that firft broke the beautiful and health- 
[Vol. L] P ful 


ful Crafis of the human Body, and fub- 
jefted it, through the juft Judgment of 
God, to numberlefs Diforders, and at 
length will bring it to the Grave, and 
there lay it in Duft and Rottennefs, a Prey 
to vile Worms. But ftill more deplorable 
are the Evils and Miferies to which Sin 
hath fubjedled the human Soul. All the 
Anxieties and Difquietudes, the Terrors 
and Agonies, and racking Anguifh of 
Mind, v/hich any of the Children of Men 
have experienced, have been properly and 
originally owing to Sin, as the procur- 
ing Caufe. It tends to produce inward 
Shame, and Diffatisfacflion, and Remorfe. 
Upon the whole, it is evident to all care- 
ful Obfervers, that in many Cafes the Sins 
of particular Perfons have, through the wife 
and juft Appointment of God, their proper 
Punifhments attending them even in this^ 
prefent State -, and that by indulging them- 
felves in Vice and Wickednefs, Men of- 
ten fill their own Lives with Bitternefs, 
and bring great Diforders into their Af- 
fairs, Pains and Difeafes on their Bodies, 
Difgrace upon their Namxes, and Horror 
into their Confciences. And even with 
regard to good Men themfelves, as they ftill 
carry the Remains of Sin and Corruption on 
them here on Earth, fo they are affaulted by 
a Variety of afflidtive Evils. Thus it hath 



pleafed God to order it, to fliew that he hates 
Sin wherever he fees it ; that he doth not 
fpare or approve it even in his own Chil- 
dren, the Objedls of his fpecial Favour, 
It is his Will and unalterable Law, that 
whilft they are fubjed to Sin, they fhall 
alfo be fubje(ffc to Crofles and Sorrows, 
from which they fhall never be abfolutely 
freed, till they arrive at that State where 
they fhall be perfedly purified from all 
Sin, and made completely and eternally 

But then> 2dly, If we proceed from the 
Calamities of particular Pejforis to thofe 
more extenfive ones that involve tvhole 
Communities, here alfo God's righteous 
Vengeance againft Sin is awfully di^layed^ 
It appears from the Hiftory of all Ages, that 
Vice and Wickednefs, and DifTolutenefs of 
Manners, has often brought Ruin on 
powerful and flourifhing Empires. War, 
Famine, and Peftilence, may be particularly 
regarded as the Judgments of God upon 
a guilty People, whereby he chaftifes 
them for their Iniquities, and fweeps away 
thoufands with the Befom of Deftrudion^ 
Who can undertake to compute the Num- 
bers that have fallen in War, when God 
commiffions the Sword to rage, and to 
tring Terror, "Confufion, and Devaftation, 
upon whole NaitionsI How dreadful a Ca* 
P 2 lamity 


1 amity is Famine, when the Heaven with-^ 
holds its benign Influence, and the Earth 
its Fruits, and the fruitful Land is turned 
into Barrennefs for the Wickednefs of them 
that dwell therein ! But there is nothing 
gives a more awful Idea of God's Ven- 
geance againft Sin than the Peftilence, 
v/hich has been always regarded in all Na- 
tions, as in a more immediate Manner the 
Scourge of God; when Deftrudlion waft- 
eth at Noon-day, and ten thoufands fall 
on the right Hand, and on the left, by a 
fudden and furprifing Stroke, which no 
human Power or Skill is able to refift or 
avoid* Such Calamities as thefe have in 
every Age been ravaging one Part of the 
Earth or other. But of all the public Ca- 
lamities by which God hath at any Time 
declared to the World in an alarming 
Manner his juftDifpleafurc againft Sin, the 
moft dreadful is the univerfal Deluge. When 
the Earth was filled with Violence, and all 
Flefti had corrupted their Way, God fent 
a Flood upon the World of the ungodly. Oh 
terrible Inftance to fliew how odious Sin is 
in the Sight of God ! Millions of Men over- 
whelmed at once, the whole human Race 
fwept off the Face of the Earth, eight Per-^ 
fons only excepted ! Another extraordinary 
Inftance to this purpofe, is the Deftrudion 
©f Sodom and Gomorrah^ and the neigh* 



Sng impious Gities, by Fire and Brimftone 
from Heaven, whereby that Plain, which 
was before as the Garden of the Lord for 
Beauty and FertiUty, is turned into a putrid 
Boifome Lake, and it remains to all Ages 
a {landing Monument of God's Difpleafure 
againft Sin. I might alfo mention on this 
Occafion, the final Deftrudtion of jferu/a-- 
leniy the Subverfion of the Jewifh Nation 
and Polity, which was attended with fuch 
peculiar Circumftances of divine Ven- 
geance againft that hardened and ungrateful 
People, as we can fcarce think of withou;: 

Thus God*s Deteftation againft Sin ap- 
pears in the many Evils and Calamities to 
which Mankind are, through the righteous 
Judgment of God, obnoxious in their pre- 
fent fmful and degenerate State, whether 
of a more public Nature, ordinary or ex^ 

Another Thing that deferves to be ob-^. 
ferved with regard to the Methods of 
God's Dealings towards Mankind is, that 
though he hath, in his infinite Wifdom 
and Goodnefs, provided a glorious Reme- 
dy for the Recovery of our fallen Natures, 
yet he hath taken Care to order it fo, that 
even this Remedy is difpenfed in fuch a 
Way, as demonftrates, in a moft awful 
Manner, that Sin is the abominable Thing 
P 3 which. 


which he hateth. For he would not 
pardon and reftcre guilty Mankind to Fa-^ 
vour upon any lefs Confideration than the 
grievous Sufferings and Death of his own 
Son in their Nature and Stead. And when 
we confider the infinite Dignity of the 
Perfon that fuffered for us on the one 
Hand, and, on the other, the amazing 
Extremity of the Sufferings he endure(i, 
which extorted from him irrong Cries and 
Tears, and produced the bittereft Agonies 
of Soul ; I fay, when we confider thefc 
Things, that it- pleafed the Lord thus to 
bruife him, and put him to Grief, an4 
then refledt that Sin, not his own Sin, 
(for he was perfedly holy and finlefs) but 
our Sins were the procuring Caufe of all 
thefe his dolorous Paffions ; that he was 
wounded for our Tranfgrefiions, and bruif- 
ed for our Iniquities ; what an awful De- 
monftration does this exhibit of God's 
righteous Vengeance againft Sin, and Re- 
folution to punifh it ! If he could have 
been prevailed with to let Sin go abfolute- 
ly unpunifhed, furely it would have been 
then when his own beloved Son interpof- 
ed on the Behalf of us guilty Offenders ; 
yet even then his Eye would not fpare, 
neither would he have Pity, but by the 
Wounds he inflidled on his own incarnate 
Son, when appearing in our Stead, and 
^ tajiing 


taking upon him the Punifhment of our 
Offences, he declared to Heaven and Earth 
how infinitely odious Sin v/as in his Sight. 
Thus even at that very Time when God 
was making the moft matchlefs and amia- 
ble Difplay of the Riches of his fovereign 
Grace and Mercy towards perifliing Sin- 
ners, yet he took Care to do it in fuch a 
Manner as fliould illuftrioufly manifefl 
his righteous Abhorrence of Sin. 

The laft Thing I fhall mention in the 
Method of God's Dealing towards Man- 
kind, that demonflrates his Hatred againft 
Sin, is that eternal Mifery that ihall be the 
Portion of obftinate impenitent Sinners in 
the World to come. He may, and often 
does, bear with the wicked in this State 
of Trial, and even pours forth many Be- 
nefits upon them in the Courfe of his Pro- 
vidence ; but they that now reject his of- 
fered Mercy, and perfift to the End in a 
prefumptuous Courfe of Sin and Difobe- 
dience, fhall receive no Benefit from the 
glorious Remedy which God hath provid- 
ed ; notwithflanding this, they fhall, as 
our Saviour himfelf affureth us, go away into 
everlaftine Punifhment. This Punifhment 
is defcribed in Scripture by a Variety of the 
moft fignificant and exprefiive Metaphors. 
We are told that they fliall have their Por- 
tion in the Lake v^hich burneth with 
P 4 Fire 


Fire and Brimftone ; that the Smoke of 
their Torment afcendeth up for ever and 
ever; that they {hall be caft into outer 
Darknefs, or, as it is elfewhere expreffed, 
Blacknefs of Darknefs, where there fhall 
be Weeping, and Wailing, and Gnafhine 
of Teeth; that their Worm dieth not; 
and their Fire is not quenched ; that they 
fhall be puniflied with everlafling Deflruc- 
tion from the Prefence of the Lord, and 
from the Glory of his Power. If the 
Horrors of the bottomlefs Pit, all thofe 
difmal Scenes of Mifery and Vengeance 
were opened to our View; if we faw the 
Devils and damned Spirits tormented 
v/ithin and without with whatfoever can 
render Being miferable ; if we heard their 
hideous Yellings, their Cries full of def^ 
pairing Anguifb, and beheld divine Ven- 
geance eternally punilhing them with re^ 
peated awful Strokes, furely we could no 
longer doubt whether Sin be abom.inable 
in the Sight of God. He who is the be- 
neficent Parent of our Beings would never 
thus punifh his Creatures, the Work of 
his own Hands, if thefe were not the high- 
eft Reafon for it ; if his Wifdom, Juftice, 
^nd Parity, as he is the righteous Gover- 
nor of the World, did not make it ne- 
ceflary for him to do fo. It is with ■ a 
kind DeJSgn, that Sinners may be deterred 
'- from 


from their wicked Courfes, and thereby 
their Punifhment and Mifery may be pre- 
vented, that God hath caufed thefe Threat- 
enings to be denounced againft them ; but 
if they will not take thefe Warnings, but 
ftill continue obftinate and incorrigible, 
his own Juftice and Faithfulnefs, and the 
Regard he hath to the Honour and Autho- 
rity of his Government and Laws, and 
to the Prefervation of the Peace and good 
Order of the moral World, will oblige 
him to execute thofe Threatenings. 

I would now conclude with ibme brief 
Refledlions upon this Subjecfl. 

And I ft. Is Sin the Objea of God's 
righteous Abhorrence ? then how great is 
the Guilt and Folly of thofe who delight 
in Sin, or who make a mock at it, or at 
leaft regard it as a flight and inconfiderable 
Evil! The Wife-man obferves that Fools 
make a mock at Sin, Prov. xiv. 9. Many fuch 
Fools there are among us at this Day, 
that inftead of being grieved and affeded 
with a penitent Sorrow for Sin, do only 
fport themfelves with it, and make it the 
Matter of their Mirth and Gaiety. Ah 
foolifli Creatures ! to take Pleafure in that 
which is fo infinitely difpleafing to a holy 
and glorious God ! To make a mock at 
that which turned bright Angels into odi- 
ous Fiends, and can turn a Paradife into 
v'^-' a Chaos, 


a Chaos, and which hath been all along 
the unhappy Source of all thofe Evils that 
have invaded any of ihe human Race ! 
Coniider, vile unthinking Worm, that this 
Sin at which thou mockeft, or with which 
thou art delighted, will coft thee eternal 
Ruin and Mifery, if impenitently perfifted 
in. And what wilt thou think of Sin, 
when in Hell thou flialt lift up thine 
Eyes ? Now thou mockeft in thy Cups and 
Revellings, and amongft thy Companions 
in Riot and Folly, but then mock if thou 
canft. Then fhalt thou find to thy utter 
Confufion, what an evil and a bitter Thing 
it is that thou haft linned againft God ; thy 
own Wickednefs fhall then feverely cor- 
reft thee, and thy own Backflidings reprove 

2dly, Is Sin fo hateful in the Sight of 
God ? what Matter of deep Humiliation 
fhould it be to us to confidcr that our Na- 
tures are fo much defiled and infefted with 
it, and that it hath appeared in fo many 
Inftances in our Lives and Praftice ! As 
to thofe that are in an unconverted State, 
Sin may be faid to reign in them^ they 
are abfolutely under its Power and 
Tyranny, and yield themfelvcs the 
Servants of Unrighteoufnefs unto Sin. 
And even with regard to thofe that are 
renewed and fanftified by the Grace an-d 



Spirit of God, though Sin does not reign, 
yet it ftill dwells in them. If we fay 
we have no Sm, we deceive ourfelves, aiid 
the "Truth is Jiot in us. Sin mixes even 
with our beft Services, and fpreads its de- 
filing Influence through our religious Du- 
ties themfelves. What an humbling Con- 
fideration is this ! How fhould it mortify 
every proud vain Thought ! Surely it be* 
Cometh us to acknowledge our great Guilt 
and Unworthinefs at the Footftool of a 
pure and holy Deity, with a deep Repen- 
tance and godly Sorrow, and an ingenuous 
Self-abhorrence, lying in the very Duft 
before him, and loathing ourfelves in our 
own Sight for all our Iniquities, and for 
all our Abominations. 

3dly, Another Refledlion that naturally 
arifes upon this Subje^^, is this; How 
glorious fliould Chrijl be in our Eyes, con- 
fidered under this Charadler, that he is 
come to fave us from our Sins ! In our pre- 
fent fallen State we are under the Guilt 
and Dominion of Sin -, we cannot deliver 
ourfelves from either, and therefore muft 
be undone without a glorious Deliverer. 
Such a Deliverer is our Lord Jefus Chrijl^ 
admirably fuited to the Neceflities of our 
fallen State. By the Merit of his Obedi- 
ence, and the atoning Virtue of his Sacri* 
fice, he hath made Satisfadtion to divine 



Juftice, and hath opened a Way for our be- 
ing pardoned and freed from the condemning 
Guilt of our Sins upon our fincere Repen- 
tance 3 and by his Word, and the Influ- 
ences of his Holy Spirit, he is every Way 
able to free thofe that give themfelves up 
to be governed by him from the reigning 
Power of Sin, fo that it fhall no longer 
have Dominion over them. How amiable 
fhould this render him in our Efteem ! 
The more we fee of the Evil of Sin, the 
rnore we (hall fee of the Need we ftand in 
of a Saviour, and of the Glory and Excel- 
lency, and luitable Fulnefs of the Lord 
"^efus Chrijl. On him therefore let us 
place our Dependence, yielding ourfelves 
to him as our Saviour and our Lord, upon 
tiie reaibnable and gracious Terms of the 
new Covenant, that through him we may 
be delivered from fo dreadful an Evil. 

Lattly, Is Sin the Objedl of God's righte- 
ous Deteftation and Abhorrence ? then be- 
ware of allowing yourfelves in any Courfe of 
known prefumptuous Sin. Confider, that 
whilft you do, the Wrath of God is upon 
you ; it is impoffible that your Perfons or 
any of your Services fhould be pleafing in 
his Sight. If I regard Iniquity in my 
Hearty faith the Pfalmifi, tbe Lord will not 
hear me. PfaL^lxvi. 18. We are told, that 
the Sacrifice of the wicked is an Abomination 



to the Lord. Prov. xv. 8. He is reprefent- 
cd as loathing even their moft folemn and 
pompous Afts of external Devotion. Ifa, i. 
II, 12, 13. Let it therefore be our firft 
Care to endeavour to get our Natures re- 
newed and fandlified, and our Hearts 
cleanfed from the Love of Sin, and from 
the Prevalency of corrupt Lufts, for till 
this be done, it cannot be expeded that 
the Life and Pradlice fhould be holy. Let 
us ftir up all the Powers of our Souls 
againft fo monftrous an Evil. Let us 
make Ufe of the Reafon God hath given 
us to this Purpofe, and be much in all 
thofe Confiderations that tend to convince 
us of the Evil and Malignity of Sin, and 
the dreadful Confequences that fhall attend 
it, and confequently to infpire us with an 
Hatred and Abhorrence of it. And as we 
muft thus ftrive with our own Hearts, fo 
from a Senfe of our own Weaknefs and 
Infufficiency in ourfelves, we muft be ear- 
neft in Prayer to God for the Affiftances 
of his Holy Spirit. We muft come to 
Chrili by Faith, as the great Phyfician of 
Souls, whom God hath exalted to be a 
Prince and a Saviour, to give Repentance 
and Remiffion of Sins, and whom he hath 
fent to blefs us in turning us away from our 
Iniquities. To him we muft yield up our^ 
felves, and through him to the bleflfed God, 



as thofe that are alive from the dead, and 
our Members as Inftruments of Righteouf- 
nefs unto God, refolving by his Grace, 
that Sin fliall no longer reign in our mor- 
tal Bodies that we ihould obey it in the 
Lufts thereof. 

And having thus given up ourfelves to 
God through Chrijiy and made a fincere 
Renunciation of Sin, let us endeavour con- 
tinually to watch, and maintain a Warfare 
againft it. Labour as far as in you lies to 
fupprefs the iirft Rifmgs of Corruption « 
Watch particularly againft thofe Sins that 
do moft eafily befet you. Confider where 
you are moft apt to be overcome, and there 
double your Guard, that you may keep 
yourfelves from your own Iniquity, from the 
Sins to which, whether by your natural 
Conftitution and Temperament, or by your 
Circumftances in the World, or by long Cuf- 
tom and Habit you are more particularly 
inclined and expofed. Finally, do not in- 
dulge yourfelves in the habitual Prad:ice of 
any one known Sin. Come to this as your 
fixed deliberate Judgment, that the great- 
eft Afflidion is rather to be chofen than 
the leaft Sin. Guard as far as poffible 
againft the Occafions and Temptations 
leading to Sin, and efpecialiy againft the 
Snares of evil Company, and endeavour to 
abjlain from the Appearance of Evil, as the 



Apoftle exhorts, i T^hejf. v. 22. To affift 
you in all this, confider God as prefent, 
ihat you are under the all-feeing Eye of 
an holy and lin-avenging Deity, and that 
at his folemn Bar we muft fhortly give an 
Account of all Things done in the Body, 
and muft receive according to what we 
have done, whether Good or Evil. Then 
fliall they that have done Good, that have 
gone on in a patient Continuance in well- 
doing, come forth to the Refurreftion of 
Life, and fhall obtain eternal Glory ; but 
they that have done Evil fhall come forth 
to the Refurredion of Damnation, and 
fhall inherit Indignation and Wrath, Tri- 
bulation and Anguifh. 

May the Lord imprefs a deep Senfe 
of this upon all our Hearts, and fit us 
for that State where the Spirits of the 
juft fhall be made perfect, entirely free 
from Sin, and fhall fhine in the Beauties 
of Holinefs, and be abfolutely eternally 
transformed into the divine Likenefs ! 


On the. Goodnefs of God. 


I John iv. 8» 

^= God is Love. 

TFI E Apoftle 'John, the Writer of 
this Epiftle, is called the Difciple 
whom 'Jefiis loved, John xxi. 20. He was 
particularly dear to him above any other 
of his Difciples, though he had a tender 
Regard for them all. This might pro- 
bably be on account of the Sweetnefs and 
Excellency of his Difpofition, and becaufe 
he more than any of the reft refembled 
his blefled Lord in that Love and Good- 
nefs, that moft amiable Temper which 
is the greateft Attraction of Love. To 
him therefore with his dying Voice, as 
knowing his tender AfFedtion and Care, 
he recommended his Virgin Mother. "Johji 
xix. 26, 27. That divine Benevolence for 
[Vol. L] Q^ which 


which this ApiDftle was fo remarkable^ 
together with a moft beautiful, unafFefted 
Simplicity, breathes in every Part of this 
excellent Epiftk. The Spirit of Love 
guided his Pen, and infpired his Heart, 
Love to God, and Love to Mankind, is 
the Sum of the Precepts he enjoins, and 
which he urgeth with the moft affedlionate 
Earneftnefs. He reprefents Love and Cha- 
rity as the great Characfleriftie of a real 
Chriftian, and a Child of God, without 
which all our Profeffions of Religion will 
be ineiFedtual and vain. To this purpofe 
he declares in. the Words preceding the 
Text : Beloved, let us love one another ^ 
J or Love is of God; and every one that 
lovethy is born of God, and knoweth God, 
He that loveth noty knoweth not God^ 
And then he adds. For God is Love, It 
is this Ihort, but admirable and compre- 
heniive Defcription here given of God, 
that I fhall now confider. No Words can 
poflibly reprefent the Deity under a more 
amiable Charadler. The Manner of Ex- 
preffion is noble and fignificant, and hath 
a wonderful Beauty and Dignity in it. 
It is not merely faid, that God is goody 
and kind, and beneficent ; but he is Love 
and Goodnefs itfelf; the fupreme, ori- 
ginal, boundlefs Goodnefs and Benevo- 
lence. Love is effential to him, and in- 



feparable from him. It may be faid to 
conftitute his very Nature and Eflence. 
As he is from everlafting to everlafliing 
God, fo he is from everlailing to everlaft- 
ing infinite unchangeable Love and Good- 
nefs. He was fo before the World u^as 
made, and can as foon ceafe to be God, 
as ceafe to be Love. 

In treating of this Subject, I fliall firft 
offer fome general Obfervations upon the 
Defcription here given of God, that God 
is Love. 

Secondly, I fhall proceed to a more di- 
ftindl Illuftration of it, by mentioning fome 
of thofe Inftances in v^hich the Love and 
Goodnefs of God is moft eminently ex- 
ercifed and difplayed. 

Thirdly, I ihall take fome Notice of thofe 
Things which feem to have a contrary Ap- 
pearance, and which have been made ufe 
of as Objed;ions againft the divine Good- 

And then I fhall conclude the whole 
with fome proper Refledlions. 

Firft, I fhall offer fome general Ob- 
fervations for clearing and explaining the 
Charadler or Defcription here given of God, 
that God is Love, 

God's Love may be confidered either as 
reprefenting himfelf, or as refpeding his 

Q„2 His 


His Love, confidered as refpedling hlm- 
felf, fignifieth an infinite, eternal, immut- 
able Complacency in his own glorious 
Perfedlions, and in the Fulnefs of his own 
Excellency. As he himfelf is the fupreme, 
the infinite Good, the firft amiable, the 
great Fountain and Original of all Per- 
fedtion, in whom is to be found whatfo- 
ever is perfeifl, excellent, and lovely, in 
the higheft poflible Degree of Eminency ; 
fo he is from everlafting to everlafting the 
Objedt of his own infinite Love and De- 
light. Here both the Objedt and A£t of 
Love is infinite. As there are no Bounds 
to his Perfeftion, fo neither are there to 
his Love and Self-complacency, and to the 
eternal Satisfadlion which floweth from it. 
This is the moft exalted * Notion we can 
form of the divine Happinefs. It is a 
pure eternal Source of infinite Joy, always 
equal and invariable, never capable of any 
Interruption, or of the leaft Acceffion or 
Diminution. In this Love of himfelf, 
i, e. Love of infinite Beauty and Excel- 
lence, he would have been unconceivably 
happy, if there had never been any Crea- 
ture formed, and would be fo, though they 
were all annihilated. As nothing is equal 
to himfelf in amiable Excellence, fo no- 
thing' can equally be the ObjecS of his in- 
finite Love* 




But that which we are now to confider, 
is the Love of God as exercifed and mani- 
fefted towards his Creatures. And his 
Love, coniidered in this View, properly 
coniifteth in his pure and fteady Benevo- 
lence, or Difpofition to do them Good, 
and to promote their Happinefs* And 
this is principally intended here, v/hen it 
is declared that God is Love. 

And with regard to this it may be ob- 

Firfl, That when it is here faid, that- 
God is Lovey it fignifieth that he is per- 
fed: Goodnefs and Benignity, without 
any Defed:, or the leaft Mixture of any 
contrary Affection. Fie is Love without 
Imperfedion or Alloy, Love in its higheft 
Exaltation and unmixed Purity, Love in 
created Beings is often, even where it is 
in a prevalent Degree, attended with fome 
Paffion which tends to the Diminution of 
it, or with fome private Affedions and 
Views. But in God it is wholly pure and 
difinterefled. He is infinitely happy in 
himfelf, and therefore it is impoffible 
that he fhould envy his Creatures any of 
the good Things they enjoy, and w^hich 
are all derived from his Bounty. He 
giveth liberally i and upbraideth not» as 
St. James expreffeth it, James i. 5. The 
abfolutely perfedt Being can have no nar- 
0^3 ^ow 


row fordid Affedlions, no particular In- 
terefts of his own in View, to cramp the 
Exercife of his Benevolence. No Ill-will, 
or Cruelty of Difpofition, can poffibly have 
Place in his infinite and moft benevolent 
Mind. He is incapable of delighting in 
the Pain or Mifery of his Creatures, mere- 
ly for its own Sake, or of doing any Thing 
needlefsly to vex and give them Uneafinefs, 
only to fhew his Dominion over them. 
He doth not afflid: willingly, nor grieve 
the Children of Men, but always for wife 
and good Ends ; and is not therefore the 
proper Caufe and Author of their Mifery 
and Ruin» He is the glorious Source and 
Original of all the Good that is in this 
vaft Univerfe, and therefore mufl him- 
felf be originally, effentially, and infinite-- 
ly good. 

But fecondly. It is proper to obferve far- 
ther, that though God is faid to be Love, 
it muft not be underftood as if he were 
mere infinite Goodnefs, ading always ne- 
ceiTarily to the utmoft of its Ability, with-= 
out Diicernment or Diftindion. For this 
would not be a Virtue or Perfedion. But 
his Goodnefs mufl be confidered as always 
in Conjundion with, and as guided in all 
its Efteds by infinite Wifdom, and by 
what appeareth to his all-comprehending 
Mind to be beft and fitteft upon the whole. 



TKonfxh God be all Love and Goodneis, 
iSS not diftribute the Effeas of h. 
rnodnefs by a natural and undiftingmm- 
?:;tldy, as the Sun difpenfeth us 
eL, and a Fountain Its Strearr^, but 
moft freely and voluntarily m ^^ch a Man- 
ner and in fuch Proportion as fcemeth ft 
Chimin his'fovereign Wdom whicli 
Ilways proceedeth upon the wifeft and 
fitTeft Reafons. Thus in creating the 
World he did not aft by a natura Necef- 
fity, for then he muft necefl-arily have 
made the World from everlafting ; but he 
made it at that Time and in that Manner, 
S which his own infinite Underftanding 
faw it was beft and fitteft it ftiould be made. 
And in all his fubfequent Dealings toward, 
his Creatures after having made them, he 
exerteth his infinite Goo4nefs, not by an 
abfolute Neceffity, to the utmoft Extent 
of his almighty Power, but in fuch a 
Manner as is^moft worthy of himfelf, and 
moft becoming his own g brious Pertec- 
dons His Goodnefs will always &ew it. 
felf towards his rcafonable Creatures m a 
Manner becoming him, a fovereign Be- 
nefaaor, and a wife and righteous mo- 
S Governor. He will promote their 
Happinefs in fuch a Way as to leave room 
for the Exercife of the Liberty be ongmg to 
them as reafonable Beings, moral Agems, 


and will not therefore manifeft his Love 
equally and promifcuoufly at all Times to 
the good and bad without Diftindion, 
and without any Regard to their moral 
Condud: and Behaviour. Such a Notion 
of the divine Goodnefs would be difho- 
nourable to the Deity, and of the moft 
pernicious Confequence to the Interefts of 
Religion and Virtue in the World. It 
would take away the Fear of God, and 
would tend to diflblve all Order and Go- 
vernment, and to confound the Differences 
between moral Good and Evil. Let none 
therefore prefume that becaufe God is in- 
finite Love and Goodnefs, therefore ob- 
ftinate Sinners have Nothing to fear from 
him, and may tranfgrefs his Laws with 
Impunity. His Goodnefs muft not be fo 
underftood, as to exclude, or be incon- 
fiftent with the Exercife of his re*5toral and 
punitive Juftice. On the contrary, Good- 
nefs itfelf, confidered in the moft extenfive 
View, as defigning and purfuing the great- 
eft Good of the whole rational Creation, 
and the Peace, Order, and Harmony of 
the moral World, includes Juftice as one 
neceffary Branch of it. And indeed it 
may be faid, that all God's moral Attri- 
butes are the divine Love and Goodnefs 
difplaying itfelf in various Views. Even 
his Juftice and Hatred againft Sin is his 



Love of Order, of Purity and Recftitude, 
of moral Goodnefs and Beauty. This in- 
finite Love and Goodnefs carrieth him to 
have a fteady, unalterable Regard to the 
Happinefs and good Order of the rational 
Creation; and this determineth him to hate 
Sin, which tends to fpread Mifery and 
Diforder through the World,, and to do all 
that is proper for him to do, as a moral 
Governor, to prevent it, or to flop the 
Progrefs of moral Evil, by holy Laws en- 
forced with proper Sandlions. No wife 
Man ever counted it a Derogation from 
the Goodnefs of an earthly Prince, that 
he maintained the Authority of his Go- 
vernment and Laws, by inflid:ing proper 
Punifhment on the TranfgreiTors -, on the 
contrary, it would be juftly looked upon 
as a great Diminution of his Characfler, 
and even an Impeachment of the Goodnefs 
of his Government, if through a foft Indul- 
gence he fuffered all manner of Crimes to 
be committed with Impunity. And fhall 
we afcribe fuch a Condud to the fupreme 
Lord and Governor of the World, the 
infinitely good and abfolutely perfect 
Being ? The Goodnefs of God is that of a 
moft holy and underftanding Mind, al- 
ways exercifed in fuch a Way as is moft 
becoming his own glorious Perfedtions, 
and as feemeth moft fit to his all-compre- 


liending Wifdom ; and when it is confi-* 
dered in this View, it is infinitely venerable 
as well as amiable. 

Having premifcd thefe general Obfer- 
vations for explaining the glorious Defcrip- 
tion or Charafter here given of God, that 
Go."! is Love, I fhall now proceed to a more 
diftinft Illuftration of it, by mentioning 
fome of thofe In fiances in which the Love 
and Goodnefs of God is moft eminently 
exercifed and difplayed. 

And here the firft Thing to be confider- 
ed is, that it was owing to the divine 
Love and Goodnefs that there were any 
Creatures formed. The Goodnefs of God 
was the original moving Caufe in the Crea- 
tion of the World, and of all the Orders 
of Beings in it ; though as to the Time 
and Manner of the Creation, it was all un- 
der the Diredlion of his infinite Wifdom. 
He created this vaft Univerfe, not as if he 
ftood in need of the Creatures, or of any 
additional Beings befides himfelf, to con- 
tribute to the Completion of his Happi- 
nefs ; but merely of his own overflowing 
Benignity, and the Delight he taketh in 
the Communications of his Goodnefs. It 
is his fovereign Love and Goodnefs, dire(fled 
by the moft perfed Wifdom, that gave 
Exiflence to this admirable Fram^e in all* 
its Parts, that hath eftabliflied the Laws 



of this material World, and hath fpread 
fuch Beauty and Order through the uni- 
yerfal Syftem. It is his wife and almighty 
Love which hath ftretched out the Hea- 
vens, which hath given Motion, Light, 
and Heat, to that glorious Body the Sun, 
^and hath affigned the Stars their feveral 
Stations or Courfes : It is his Love and 
Goodnefs that hath laid the Foundations of 
the Earth, and rendered it a commodious 
Habitation, and that hath gathered together 
the Waters as an Heap, and hath laid up the 
Deep in Store-houfes. But efpecially to 
his moft powerful Goodnefs it is owing 
that there has been fuch an inconceivable 
Variety of living Creatures brought into 
Being. He made the glorious Angels in 
their feveral bright Orders and Degrees, and 
gave them their amazing Powers whereby 
they excel in Wifdom and Strength, and 
are fitted for enjoying a fublime Felicity. 
And he made Man a little lower than the 
Angels, after his own Image, and endued 
him with excellent Faculties, in the due 
Improvement of which he is capable of 
knowing, loving, and enjoying his Maker. 
He made the various Tribes of Brute 
Animals, and hath furniflied them with 
admirable Organs, Inftind:s, and Appe- 
tites, fuited to the feveral Kinds of Life 
for which they are fitted and defigned. 



And in all the Creatures he hath made, 
from the meaneft of them to the higheft, 
riling one above another in the State of 
Being, the inexhaufted Goodnefs of the 
fupreme Caufe eminently appears. There 
is indeed a very remarkable Difference be- 
tween fome and others of them in their 
Capacities, but they are each of them ca- 
pable of Enjoyments, and of a Happinefs 
fuited to their Natures. If there had been 
only a fev^ Kinds or Species of Beings 
created, and if they had all been made 
equal in their Capacities and Endowments, 
it is evident that the World would have 
been lefs compleat and perfecfi: upon the 
whole than now it is. It tends to the 
Beauty, Order, and Harmony of the Uni- 
verfe, that there (hould be the inferior 
Kinds of Beings, as well as thofe that arc 
more excellent, and that it (hould com- 
prehend all the various Degrees of Life 
from the higheft to the loweft. And if 
we could behold them all at once in their 
mutual Connedlions, Subordinations, and 
Dependencies, in their various Ends and 
Ufes, and the Relation they bear to one 
another, and to the whole; we fhould 
undoubtedly be ravifhed wdth an Admira- 
tion of the divine Goodnefs as well as 
Wifdom, as fhining forth in this Confti- 
tution of Things, 



In the Contemplation of this, the de- 
vout Pialmift calls upon all the Creatures 
to join in bleffing and praifing the great 
Creator of the Univerfe. Of this we have 
a noble Specimen in the i48th Pfalm^ 
He begins with the highcft Heavens, and 
the glorious Angels there; he then calls 
upon the Sun, Moon, and Stars, to praife 
the Lord ; and thence defcends to this 
Earth, and the various Kinds of Creatures 
here, the loweft and meaneft of them not 
excepted : for though the inanimate and 
Brute Creation are of themfelves not pro- 
perly capable of praifing God, yet they 
furniih rational and intelligent Beings with 
juft Matter of Praife to him ; and thus 
the whole Creation contributes to make up 
one univerfal Confent in celebrating the 
Praifes of that almighty and moft bene- 
ficent Being, who commanded and they 
were created. All his wonderful Works, 
which are daily before our Eyes, ihould 
continually put us in Mind to adore and 
blefs him, and ihould engage us to cry 
out with a devout Admiration, LorJ^ how 
manifold are thy Works, in Wlfdom and 
Goodnefs hajl thou made them alL 

We iliould proceed, in the next Place, 
to confider the Love and Goodnefs of Goi. 
as exercifed and difplayed in his Dealing 
towards his Creatures after having made 

them : 


them : And this will lead us to contemplate 
the various Benefits of his bountiful Provi- 
dence, and above all the Wonders of his 
Love manifefted in the Methods of our 
Redemption by ^ejiis Chriji, But wx have 
not Time to enter upon the Confideration 
of this at prefent. 


On the Goodnefs of God. 


I John iv, 8. 

^ God is Love. 

Ihave already offered thefe Words to 
your Confideration : In treating of 
which I propofed, 

Firft, To make feme general Obferva- 
tions upon the Character and Defcription 
here given of God, that God is Love. 

Secondly, To proceed to a more diftinA 
Illuftration of it, by mentioning fome of 
thofe Inftances in which the Love and 
Goodnefs of God is moil eminently exer- 
cifed and difplayed, 

3 Thirdly, 


Thirdly, To confider fome of thofe 
Things which feem to have a contrary Ap- 
pearance, and v/hich have been made Ufe 
of as Objedions againft the divine Good- 

And then to conclude the whole with 
fbme proper Refledtions. 

In my former Difcourfe fome general 
Obfervations were made for clearing and 
explaining the glorious Defcription or 
Charafter here given of God, that God is 
Love. And we entered on the fecond 
Thing propofed, which was to illuftrate 
it more diftinftly by mentioning fome of 
thofe Inftances in which the Love and 
Goodnefs of God is moft eminently exer- 
cifed and difplayed. And here it was ob- 
ferved In the $rft Place, that it was ow- 
ing to the divine Love and Goodnefs that 
there were any Creatures formed. This 
was the original impulfive Caufe in the 
Creation of the World. It was the fove- 
reign unobliged Goodnefs of God, in Con- 
jundion with almighty Power, and direfl:- 
ed by the moft perfedl Wifdom, that gave 
Exiftence to this admirable Frame in all 
its Parts, and fpread fuch Beauty and Or- 
der through the univerfal Syftem. It was 
this that made the Heaven, the Earth, 
the Sea, and brought fuch an inconceiva- 
ble Variety of living Creatures into Being 



in their feveral Orders and Degrees, all of 
which, from the higheft to the loweft, 
are capable of Enjoyment and a Happinefs 
fuited to their refpecSlive Natures ; and 
conlidered in their various Ccnneftions 
and Dependencies, and in the Relations 
they bear to one another and to the whole, 
proclaim both the Goodnefs and Wifdom 
of the great Creator. 

Let us now, in the next Place, confi- 
der the Love and Goodnefs of God as ex- 
ercifed and difplayed in his Dealings to- 
wards his Creatures after having made 

And this leads us to contemplate the 
various Benefits of his bountiful Provi- 
dence ; and above all, the Wonders of his 
Love manifefled in the Methods of our 
Redemption by Je/us Chrijl. 

Firft, Let us confider the Goodnefs of 
God as manifefled in the various Benefits 
of his bountiful Providence. 

And what a delightful Contemplation 
would it be, if v/e could carry our Views 
throughout the whole Compafs of the 
Creation, and behold infinite Love and 
Goodnefs continually fuftaining and prefid- 
ing over every Part of the univerfal Frame, 
to which it at firft gave Audience, extend- 
ing its Care and Benignity to all the Or- 
ders of Beings in this vaft Univerfe, not 

[Vol. I.] R over- 


overlooking the meaneft, but communicat-='' 
ing Happinefs to them in unfpeakably va- 
rious Degrees, according to their varioirs 
Natures and Capacities, and Degrees of 

God's Goodnefs extends- to all the diffe- 
rent Tribes of Brute Animals, the Fov^la 
of the Air, the Fifhes of the Sea, and the 
Beafts of the Earth. He hath not only 
furnifhed them with admirable Organs and 
Inflindls, but in the eonftant Courfe of his^ 
Providence he makes fuitable Proviiion for 
them out of the ample Stores of his Boun- 
ty, with which this World is abundantly 
repleniihed, for their Subfiftence and En- 
tertainment. This is what is lignified in 
thofe beautiful Expreffions of the devout 
Pfalmift, Tie Eyes of all wait upon thee^ 
and thou giveji them their Meat in due Sea- 
Jon : H'loQii openejl thine Hand\ and fathfieji 
the Defire cf every living Taking. Pfal. exlv. 
15, 16. 

But efpecially God's Goodnefs fnay be 
coniidered as exercifed towards his rational 
Creatures. Thefe alfo he hath made of 
various Orders and Degrees; fome he hath 
endued with more excellent Powers and 
Faculties than others, but all of them in 
general are made capable of a nobler and 
fublimer Happinefs than the Brutes or 
merely fenfitive Animals. And here, if 



tve were able to carry our Thoughts 
through all the bright and glorious Orders 
of Angels ; if we had a full Knowledge of 
their vaft and elevated Capacities, the 
Splendor and Glory with which they are 
inveflcdj their noble felicitating Exercifes 
and Enjoyments, the bleffed Harmony, 
Peace, and amiable Concord that reigns 
among them, what Scenes of Blifs would 
open to us ! what an Exuberance of Hap- 
pinefs ! what a raviihing V^iew would this 
eive us of the divine Love and Good- 
nefs ! 

But that which it more particularly 
concerneth us to confider, is God's Good- 
nefs and Benevolence towards. Mankind. 
This eminently fhone forth in his Deal- 
ings towards Man in the State in which 
he was at firft created. He came pure 
and innocent out of his Maker's Hands, 
and was placed in a delightful Region 
abundantly furnifhed with the mod agree- 
able Objedts for his Ufe and Entertain- 
ment. He was admitted to a near Inter- 
courfe with God, and enjoyed the happy 
Tokens of his Love and Favour. All 
Things around him proclaimed the Goodnefs 
and Beneficence of his Creator, who indulg- 
ed him in the free Ufe of all the Delights 
of Paradife, with one only eafy Reftraint, 
as an Inftance of the Hom.age and Fealty 
R 2 ho 


he owed to his fovereign Lord, and which 
was defigned to maintain upon his Mind a 
conftant Senfe of his Dependence. And 
when he moil ungratefully tranfgreffed the 
divine Injundion, and broke the Laws of 
his Creation, the Sentence juftly pronounc- 
ed upon him for his Difobedience, was at 
the fame Time accompanied with the moft 
gracious Promife of Mercy and Delive- 
rance. And if we furvey the divine Deal- 
ings towards the human Race ever iince, 
we fhall find the Goodnefs of God mani- 
fefted in various Ways towards them in 
their prefent degenerate and fmful State. 
Though according to the Account the 
Scripture giveth us, this Earth would 
have been a more delightful Habitation if 
Man had continued in a State of Inno- 
cence, and although there was an Altera- 
tion for the worfe in the Face of this lower 
World, when ?vlan, the chief Inhabitant 
of it, finned againit his Maker, yet ftill it 
is certtiin, that even in this prefent State 
the Earth is full of the Goodnefs of the Lord^ 
as the Pfalmift expreifeth it, Ffal, xxxiii. 
5. Who can enumerate the manifold 
Bleffings of his common bountiful Provi- 
dence ? We are provided with not only 
the abfolute Neceffaries, but with many 
Conveniences and Accommodations of hu- 
man Life. Many Things ftill concur to 



render this Earth a commodious and pleaf- 
ing Habitation. Its Surface is, for the mofl 
part, covered with a refrefliing Verdure, 
and diverfified with an amazing and moft 
entertaining Variety of Profpecfts. We 
may here behold the grateful Intermixture 
of Hills and Dales, lofty Mountains and 
wide extended Plains and Lawns, Rivers 
and Fountains, Woods and Groves, and 
all the admirable Varieties of the vegetable 
Kingdom, Plants, Trees, Fruits, and 
Flowers, of manifold Ufe and exquifite 
Beauty, together with the feveral Kinds of 
Herbs and Grain, which the Earth bring- 
eth forth in great Abundance. If we look 
into the Bowek of the Earth, it is reple- 
niihed with hidden Treafures, vaft Quanti- 
ties of Metals, Stones, and Minerals, ca- 
pable of being employed by human Art, 
which alfo is the Gift of God, for ferving 
a thoufand Purpofes in human Life, both 
for real Ufe and for Ornament. Even the 
great and wide Sea, that feemingly boifte- 
rous and raging Element, is in many In- 
ftances fubfervient to Man's Convenience 
and to his Pleafure. And if we turn 
our Views to the animal Creation, the va- 
rious Kinds of living Creatures, in Earth, 
Sea, or Air, contribute in their feveral 
Way to the Service and Delight of Man- 
kind. Let us next look above us, and behold 
R 3 the 


the magnificent Arch of Heaven, which 
is ever open to our View, a Sight beyond 
Imagination beautiful and glorious. We 
are placed in the midft of an auguft and 
ample Theatre, than which nothing can 
be better fitted to ftrike the Eye, and fill 
the Mind with Pleafure and Aftoni(hment, 
Our Saviour juftly reprefenteth it as a ma- 
nifeft Proof of the Goodnefs of God, that 
he caufeth his Sun to fliine, and his Rain 
to defcend, even upon the unthankful ancj 
the evil. And St. Paid declareth, that 
God hath not left himfelf without Witnejsy 
in any Age, in that he did Good, and gave 
Rain from Heaven, and fruitful Seafons, and 
filleth our Hearts with Food and Gladnefs, 
Ads. xiv. 17. When the Air breathes 
uoon us its balmy Influence ; when we feel 
the warm, fprightly, and chearing Beams 
of the Sun, and behold it illuminating 
and beautifying the Face of Nature ; when 
wx fee refrefning Rains defcend, the Earth 
made foft with Showers, and the little Hills 
rejoicing on every Side; when, on the 
other Hand, we behold the various Beauties 
of a frofty Scene, and a fnowy Land- 
fcape; when we obferve the conflant re- 
gular Viciffitudes of Day and Night, and 
the orderly Succeflion of Seafons, each of 
them in their feveral Ways ufeful and 
beautiful ; furely in all thefe Things the 
2 Good- 


Goodnefs and Benignity of the great Pa- 
rent of the Univerfe, and the conftant 
Care he taketh of his Creatures, efpecial- 
iy of Mankind, as well as his great Wif- 
dom, manifeftly appeareth. He hath fo 
.conftituted us, that even the neceffary 
Means of our Nourifhment, of fuftaining 
and preferving Life, yield us very pleaiing 
Senfations. We cannot fatisfy the Crav- 
ings of Nature, Hunger, Thirft, and 
other Appetites, without feeling a fenfible 
refrefhing Gratification. The Pleafure v^e 
take in by the Senies, the Eye^ the Ear, the 
Tafte, &c are fufficient to make moft Men 
defire Life, notwithftanding the Hardfhips 
which may attend it. The Bleffings of 
Providence which have been mentioned, 
are in general common to all Mankind, 
to thofe of all Nations and Countries. For 
even thofe Parts of the World, which 
perhaps feem to others uncomfortable and 
inhofpitable Regions, yet have their Ad- 
vantages and Comforts which recommend 
them to the Inhabitants, fo that they are 
not willing to change their Clime. To 
which it may be added, that the poor 
have their Share in thefe Pleafures of Life 
as well as the rich ; the Sun fhines, the 
Air breathes its refrefhing Influence, the 
Fountains fpring, the Rivers flov/, and the 
Beauties of Nature lie open to all, Yea, 
R 4 it 


it often happeneth that the poor have a 
more exquifite Enjoyment and Senfation 
of the Bounties of Providence, than thofe 
whofe abufed Plenty and Affluence cloggeth 
their Senfes, and preventeth their waiting 
the Returns of Appetite. 

But befides thofe fenfible Enjoyments 
which Providence hath fo plentifully fur- 
niflied to render Life agreeable, there arc 
Pleafures provided for Men, even here on 
Earth, of a higher Kind. Such are not only 
the Pleafures of the Imagination, which 
are of a large Extent, and ftrike the Mind 
with great Force -, but efpecially the Plea- 
fures which are to be found in the Pur- 
fuits and Acquifitions of Knowledge and 
Science, for which Man is naturally fitted, 
and which open to us a thoufand Avenues 
of exquifite and refined Entertainment. 
And the ftill nobler Joys which refult from 
the Exercife of the kind and focial Affec- 
tions, from good Anions, generous Emo- 
tions, from Love, Gratitude, Benevo- 
lence, from the Blefljngs of Society, and 
the CharmxS of Friendfliip ; but above all, 
the divine Satisfaction that fioweth from 
the peaceful Teftim.ony of a good Con- 
fcience, and a felf-approving Mind, from 
the Contemplation and Worlhip of the 
Deity, and the Exercife of devout Aff'ec- 
tions towards him, of Love, Reverence, 



Refignation, Affiance, from a Senfe of his 
Favour and Approbation, and the pleafing 
Hopes of Immortality, which Man alone 
of all the Creatures in this lower World 
is capable of entertaining, and which have 
been the principal Support and Comfort 
of the beft of Men in all Ages. 

And this leads me to what I propofed to 
confider in the fecond Place, viz, the 
glorious Difplays of the divine Love and 
Goodnefs in the admirable Methods of 
our Redemption and Salvation by Jefus 
Chriji. And to this the Apoffle feems 
here to have a fpecial Reference, when he 
defcribes God under this moft: amiable Cha- 
racter, God is Love. For he immediately 
adds. In this was manifefiedthe Love of God 
towards us, becaufe that God fent his only 
begotten Son into the World, that we might 
live through him. Herein is Love, not that 
we loved God, but that he loved us, and fent 
his Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins. 
I John iv. 9. 10. Love, infinite Love 
fhines forth in the whole aftonifhing 
Scheme of our Salvation. We are taught in 
Scripture to regard it as having had its firft: 
Original in the Councils of God's eternal 
Wifdom, Grace, and Love, before the 
World was made. Such was the Good- 
nefs and Love of God towards us, that 
upon a Forefight of the wretched and ruin- 


ous State into which we ihould fall by ®ur 
Sins, he formed the glorious Deiign of our 
Recovery, and chofe us in Chrift before the 
Foundation of the World, that we JJjould be 
koh\ and without Blame before him in Love, 
Eph. i, 4. It was Love that in purfaancc 
of his kind and gracious Intentions towards 
us, caufed him to fend a Perfon of fuch 
infinite Dignity, his well beloved and only 
begotten Son, to fave and redeem us in the 
Fulnefs of Time. The wonderful Love 
of God to Mankind illuftriouily appears 
in the Incarnation of the Son of God, in 
his holy Life and perfed: Example, in his 
excellent Dodrines and Precepts, and the 
llevelation he hath brought from Heaven, 
and his beneficent Miracles, in his grievous 
Sufferings and Death, whereby he made 
Atonement for the Sins of the World, in 
his Refurredlion from the dead, and Af- 
cenfion into Keaven, and Exaltation at the 
right Hand of the Majefly on high. It is 
infinite Wifdom and Love that hath con- 
ftituted him Head over all Things unto 
liis Church, and our great Advocate with 
the Father, who ever liveth to make In- 
terceflion for us, and that hath appointed, 
that he who is our Saviour fhould be our 
final Judge. Love eminently fhines forth 
in the whole Conftitution of the Covenant 
of Grace^ which is ratified by the Redeem-, 



ier's Blood, in its exceeding great and pre- 
cious Promifes, and in its moft gracious 
and condefcending Terms. HcvV amiable 
doth God appear as a God in Ckrijl, re-^ 
Gonciling the World unto himfelf, in- 
viting Sinners to forfake their evil Ways, 
and to lay hold on his offered Grace and 
Mercy, not imputing their Trefpaffes un- 
to thofe that return to him by a humble 
Faith, and fin cere Repentance, adopting 
them into his Family, and admitting them 
to the Privileges of his Children ! Bekoldy 
(faith St. John,) what Manner of Love the 
Father hath bejiowed iipcn us, that we Jhould 
be called the Sons of God, i John iii. i. It 
is Love that caufeth all Things to work 
together for our Good, that fendeth the 
Angels to minifter unto us, and the Holy 
Spirit of Grace to affift, guide, and com- 
fort us, to dwell in our Hearts as in his 
living Temples, and to fpread divine Life, 
and Light, and Joy, through our Souls. 
It is Love, almighty Love, that will raife 
our dead Bodies from the Grave, and will 
fidmk us to the Glories of his heavenly 
Kingdom, and make us completely happy 
in his beatific Prefence to all Eternity. 
With what Joy fhould we look forward 
to that glorious Time and State, when the 
whole general Afl'embly and Church of the 
firft-born, confifting of all the good Men 



that ever lived from the Foundation of the 
World, fhall be gathered together in Hea- 
ven, all united in delightful Love and Har- 
mony, and made perfed: in Holinefs, and 
in Glory, and all of them the everlafting 
Monumentsof the divine Grace and Good- 
nefs ! Then fhall the Defigns of the divine 
Love towards us be completed, and God 
ihall appear to Men and Angels in all the 
Glory of this amiable Character, that God 
is Love, The heavenly Kingdom is a 
Kingdom of eternal Love, Peace, and Joy. 
There infinite Love reigns for ever, and is 
all in all. Let us now rejoice in the 
happy Profpedls, and endeavour to get 
our Souls formed more and more into a 
Meetnefs for that glorious State -, the beft 
Preparative for which is a Life fpent un- 
der the governing Influence of holy Love, 
Love to God, and Love to Mankind. 

Thus have I mentioned fome of thofe 
Inftances in which the Love and Good- 
nefs of God is moft eminently exercifed and 

In our next Difcourfe we fhall take . No- 
tice of fome Things which feem to have 
a contrary Appearance, and which are 
urged as Objeftions againft the divine Love 
and Goodnefs. 


On the Goodnefs of God. 


I John iv. 8. 
God is Love. 

IN my former Difcourfes on this Sub- 
jedt I firft offered fome general Ob- 
fervations for explaining the Defcription 
here given of God, that God is Love : And 
then I proceeded to a more dlflind: Illuftra- 
tion of this amiable and glorious Charadler, 
and took Notice of fome of thofe Inftances 
in which the Love and Goodnefs of God 
is moft eminently exercifed and difplayed 
towards his Creatures, and efpecially to- 
wards Mankind. It appears in the va- 
rious Benefits of his common bountiful 
Providence : but above all it is illuftrioufly 



manifefted in the wonderful Methods of 
our Redemption and Salvation by Jefus 
Chrifi\ which is what the Apoftle feems 
particularly to have in View, when he 
here declareth that God is Love, 

I now come, according to the Order pro- 
pofed, to confider fome of thafe Things 
which have been urged as Objedlions a- 
gainft the divine Goodnefs. And it mud 
be owned that there are great Difficulties 
in the Courfe of God's providential Ad~ 
miniftrations, which in our prefent State 
of Darknefs and Imperfeffion we find it 
hard to account for, and to reconcile to 
the infinite Love and Goodnefs of the Su- 
preme Being. 

And the firft Thing of this kind that 
I (hall mention, is the Entrance of Sin 
into the World, and the permitting the 
Fall of Men and Angels, in confequence 
of which innumerable Evils and Mifchiefs 
have been fpread through the Creation of 
God, and difturbed the Order of the Uni- 
verfe. It fhould feem that a Being of 
boundlefs Goodnefs, in Conjundlion witk 
almighty and irrefiflible Power, if exert- 
ing himfelf to the utmoft of his Ability, 
might have prevented the Fall both of 
Angels and Men, and might have main- 
tained them in a conftant invariable In- 
tegrity and Innocence i io that there fhould 



Have been no Sin, and confequently none 
of thofe Miferies that have flowed from 
it. But in Anfvver to this it otight to be 
confidered, that it is no Impeachment of 
the Wifdom and Goodnefs of God, but, 
on the contrary, a fignal Inftance of both, 
that he hath made reafonable Creatures 
endued with Liberty and free Agency, and 
a Power of determining their own Adions. 
If there had been no fuch Beings formed, 
it would have been evidently a great De- 
fed: in the rational and moral Creation. 
And if God thought fit to create fucli 
Beings, it was not proper to lay them un- 
der an abfolute irreiiflible Conftraint, but 
to leave them to the free Ufe of their own 
natural and moral Powers. It is certainly 
a noble Privilege for any Being to be en- 
dued w^ith Underftanding, Liberty, Rea- 
fon, and Choice; and thofe Creatures 
which are endued witli fuch Powers, are of 
a higher and m.ore excellent Kind, than 
thofe that want them, and capable of a 
much greater and more fublime Felicity. 
And if they abufe their Liberty, and thofe 
noble Powers, fhall the Fault be laid upon 
infinite Goodnefs, and not upon their own 
wilful Abufe and Perverfion of the i^dvan- 
tages given them ? If it be no Defed: of 
Goodnefs in God to. make free Agents, 
/, e. Creatures capable of finning, it is no 



Defed: of Goodnefs to permit them to ufe 
their Liberty, and confequently to permit 
them to fm : efpecially when it is con- 
fidered, that God hath done what is proper 
for him to do as a moral Governor, to 
prevent their finning againft him, by giving 
them holy Laws enforced by Promifes 
and Threatenings ; and that fuch is his 
tranfcendent Goodnefs, that he takes Oc- 
cafion even from the Sins of Men to ex- 
hibit the moft ilUiftrious Difplays of his 
rich Grace and Mercy, in recovering and 
reftoring them to Holinefs and Happinefs, 
if they will but accept his gracious Offers, 
and comply with his kind Intentions for 
their Salvation. 

This leads me to another Objedlion 
which hath been made againft the divine 
Goodnefs ; and that is God's conftituting 
Men in a State of Trial, in a World full 
of Snares, where they are expofed to ma- 
nifold Dangers and Temptations, which 
fuch frail Creatures, of fuch PafTions and 
Infirmities, are fcarce able to refift. But 
it fliould obviate this Difficulty to con- 
fider, that a wife and merciful God is 
ready to make all proper Allov/ances for 
their WeaknefTes and Infirmities in this 
prefent State, if their Hearts be fincere 
and upright towards him : He pitieth them 
as a Father pitieth his Children ; for he 



knoweth their Frame, he remembereth 
that they ^^^ but Duft. He hath fur- 
nifhed them with Means, which if duly 
improved will be of great Ufe for over- 
coming thofe Temptations, and is ready 
to help their Infirmities with the gracious 
Affiftances of his Holy Spirit. The very 
Defign of his placing them in a State of 
Trial, is to difcipline and train them up 
in a Meetnefs for a nobler State of Ex- 
iftence, to which he intendeth to raife 
them ; and the Reward he will confer 
upon them will in Greatnefs and Glory 
infinitely tranfcend all that they could 
have pretended to challenge or exped: as 
the Reward of their Troubles and Labours 
in this State of Trial. 

But 3dly, Some have been ready to 
arraign the divine Goodnefs for giving to 
fome of his Creatures greater Advantages 
than to others. It cannot be denied that 
there is a great Difference made between 
fome and others of the human Race, both 
in their outward Condition and Circum- 
ftances, and in their Opportunities for 
moral and religious Improvement, which 
feems not to be confiftent with that Good- 
nefs of God which extendeth over all his 
Works. But fince he doth a great deal 
of Good to all, why fhould it be thought 
an Objedtion againft the Goodnefs of the 
[ Vol. I. ] S fupreme 


fupreme Benefador, who is the abfolute 
Lord of his own Gifts, that he doeth more 
for fome than for others ? No Rule of 
Goodnefs requireth that he fhould either 
make all the Species of Beings equal in 
Excellence; for then there would be no 
inferior Species of Creatures at all, but 
every Worm muft be an Angel ; or that 
all of the fame Species ihould be endued 
with Capacities every way equal, or be 
exadly placed in the fame Situation, and 
have the fame Privileges. If fome are 
favoured with greater Advantages for Im- 
provement than others, it is fufficient to 
juftify the Goodnefs of God towards his 
reafonable Creatures, that as he novv^ 
eonferreth many Benefits upon all, fo in 
the final Account he will deal equitably 
w4th all, and will require no more of any 
of them, than according to the Means 
that were put into their Hands. They 
fhall be accepted according to what they 
had, and not according to what they had 

4thly, Another Objedion which has 
been often urged againft the divine Good- 
nefs, is drawn from the Evils of various 
Kinds with which this World abounds. 
The Calamities incident to the human- 
Pvace are too many to be enumerated. 
Man that is born of a Woman, though of 


DISCOURSE Xlir. 259 

few Days, is full of Trouble. And would 
it be thus, if all Things were under the 
Diredlion and Adminiftration of infinite 
Goodnefs ? But it would tend very much 
to take off the Force of this Objedion, 
to confider that many of thofe Things 
which are equally called natural Evils, arc 
the Effects of wife and good general Laws> 
which, though they may in particular In- 
ftances bring Inconveniencies, are very 
much for the Benefit of the v/hole. It 
were cafy to illuftrate this, if there were 
Time now to enter upon a diilind: Con- 
fideration of it. But what ought chiefly 
to be obferved, is, that the Evils to which 
Men are fubjedl here on Earth, are prin- 
cipally owing to themfelves, and are 
either the natural Effeds, or the juft 
Punifliment of their Sins. The greatefit 
Sorrows and Calamities that fpread Trouble 
and Diforder through human Life, are 
either brought upon them by their own 
irregular Appetites and Paffions, or by 
the Injuftice, the Fraud, and Violence of 
other Men. Except God fhould in- 
terpofe by his own almighty Power to 
hinder Men from finning, / e. to hinder 
them from the free Ufe of their own 
Powers, or to ftop the natural Effecfls 
and Confequences of their Adions^ there 
muft be many Evils in a World where 
S 2 Sin 


Sin fo much abounds. And it hath feem- 
ed fit to him in his great Wifdom to per- 
mit thofe Evils, to make Men fenfible of 
the bad Confequences of Sin, and the 
Tendency it has to make them miferable. 
And yet after all, when we confider that 
the Earth is ftill full of the Goodnefs of the 
Lordy Pfal. xxxiii. 5. when we refleft on 
the many fignal Benefits that are flill 
poured forth upon finful Men, amidft 
the daily Indignities they offer to the di- 
vine Majefty, we (hall find Reafon, in- 
ftead of charging God as deficient in Kind- 
nefs towards us in this prefent State, to 
admire the Riches of his Goodnefs and 
Forbearance and Long-fuffering. 

If it be farther objected, that even the 
befl: and mail: excellent Men are liable to 
a Variety of Evils and Afflidlions in this 
prefent State, and often have a larger Share 
of them than other Men, which feems 
fcarce reconcileable to thejuftice and Good- 
nefs of God, it fliould filence all Mur- 
murings to confider, that befides that we 
may look upon thofe to be good and righ- 
teous Perfons who are not really fo, the 
beft of Men in this prefent State are not 
free from Sin ; they are chargeable with 
Offences and TranfgrefTions of the divine 
Law, and it may be juftly faid under all 
the Chaflifements they meet with, that 



God puniflieth them lefs than their Ini- 
quities have in Stri<3;nefs of Juftice de- 
ferved, fo that they have Reafon to iing of 
Mercy as well as of Judgment. And 
farther, it ought to be confidered that 
Afflidlions are fent for wife and gracious 
Purpofes, and anfwer many vahiable Ends ; 
fuch as the putting them npon ferious Re- 
fle(5lions on their own Ways, the re- 
ftraining and correfting evil Habits, the 
weaning their Affeftions from the Objed:s 
and Enjoyments of this prefent World, 
and the exercifing and improving the 
nobleft Virtues, fome of which, as Pa- 
tience, Refignation, a forgiving Diipo- 
fition, a rendering Good for Evil, and a 
Confidence in God under the greateft Dif- 
ficulties and DiftrefTes, have not a proper 
Opportunity of exerting themfelves but 
in Adverfity. And finally, we are afTured 
both that God will grant to good Men 
his gracious Afliflances and Supports un- 
der Afflicflions and Trials, and that he 
will, in his infinite Wifdom and Love, 
over-rule the feemingly fevereft Difpofitions 
for the greater Benefit of his Children. 
And fliall we arraign the divine Goodnefs 
on the Account of thofe Things which 
are neceffary Medicines for healing our 
fpiritual Maladies ? Or fliall we find Fault 
\yith thofe temporary Affliftions and 
S 3 Troubles 

262 DISCOURSE Xlir. 

Troubles which are defigned to form us 
into a Mectnefs for a better World, and to 
work for us a far more exceeding and 
eternal Weight of Glory ? 

The lad Objedion I fhall take. Notice 
of againft the divine Goodnefs, is drawn 
froiin the Punifhments which fhall be in- 
fiidcd upon the wicked in a future State. 
But in Anfwer to this it (hould be confidcr- 
ed, that if God governeth reafonable Crea- 
tures, moral Agents, he muft govern them 
ih that Way in which it is proper that 
iuch Creatures fhould be governed, that 
is, by Laws given them as the Rule of 
their Duty ; in which Cafe, it i? neceffary 
that thefe Lavv^s fliould be enforced by pro- 
per San6tions, which cannot be without 
threatening Punifhments againfl the Tranf- 
greiTors of thofe Laws. And it is evi- 
dent, that if there were to be no future 
Punifements, the Evils which attend Sin 
in this Life would be no Way fafficient 
to deter Men from committing it. Now 
hecavfe Sentence againjl an evil Work is not 
executed fpeedily, therefore the Heart of the 
S'^ns of Men is fully Jet ip them to do EviL 
Ecclef. viii. II. But much worfe wouM 
it be, if they generally thought it would 
never be executed at all. If there were to 
be no future Account or Punifhments, the 
worft of Men, and who do the greateft 
"^ Mifchief 

DISCOURSE xirr. 263 

Mlfchief in the World, would not only 
be often unpunifhed, but would be at- 
tended with great Profperity and Succefs, 
and continue fo to the End. And if Men 
were to be treated in this Manner, why 
not all other rational Beings throughout 
the Univerfe ? And if they were all liiffer- 
ed to tranfgrefs the divine Laws without 
Fear of being punifhed or called to an Ac- 
count for their Condudt, what a difmal 
Scene of Confufion would this introduce ! 
Where would be the Appearance of the 
divine Wifdom and Goodnefs in fuch a 
diforderly State of Things ? Would this 
look like a World formed and governed 
by infinite Wifdom and Love, if Vice, 
Injuftice, and Wickednefs, were fuffered to 
ravage without Control ? How wrong 
then is it to find Fault with the Goodnefs 
of the fupreme Governor, becaufe he feeth 
fit to inflidt Punifhments upon the obfti- 
Date Tranfgreflbrs of his Laws, without 
which his Authority and Laws would be 
contemned, and all Things run into Con- 
fufion ! It may be juftly faid, that thr ery 
Goodnefs of God, and the Regard he : ath 
to the Order and Harmony of the Uni- 
verfe, and the Welfare and Happinefs oi the 
rational Creation, muft needs carry him 
to hate Sin, and to do what becouirth 
him as a wife and righteous Go veiJior to 
prevent it, by denouncing awful Puni(h- 
S 4 . ments 


ments to deter Perfons from committing it. 
The Thr^atenings therefore of Punifhments 
are made with a good and falutary Delign ; 
and if it be not inconfiiTient with Goodnefs 
to threaten Punifhment, it is not incon- 
fiftent with it ordinarily to execute thofe 
Threatenings. To fuppofe that the Good- 
nefs of God will not fuffer him to inflift 
thofe Panifhments which his Wifdom and 
Goodnefs faw it necefTary to threaten, 
would be a mofi: abfurd and felfrcontra- 
did'ory Suppofition. And if his reafonable 
Creatures entertained this Notion of the 
divine Goodnefs, it would expofe the di- 
vine Government more than if there were 
no Puniihments threatened at all. And 
whatever Appearance of Severity the in- 
fiidting the threatened Punifhments may 
carry in it, with regard to the particular 
Perfons that are puniflied ; though, confi- 
dering that they had fair Warning given 
them, and that they had it in their Power 
by a contrary Condud: to have obtained a 
Reward and Happinefs infinitely tranfcend- 
ing all they could have pretended to have 
merited, they fhall have none to blame 
but themfelves ; yet, I fay, if there fhould 
be any Thing that iliould look like Seve- 
rity to thofe particular Perfons, it is cer- 
tainly a Kindnefs to the whole. We are 
affured, however, in Scripture, that among 



thofe that fhall be punifhed in a future 
State, there ihall be a great Difference 
made between fome and others in the De- 
gree of their Punifliment. Some fhall be 
beaten with more, fome with fewer Stripes; 
nor {hall any be punifhed above the real 
Demerit of their Crimes. Upon the whole, 
the Punifhments referved for the wicked 
in a future State are no more inconfiftent 
with the Character here given of God, 
that God is Love, or an Objedion againft 
his Goodnefs, than it is an Impeachment 
of the Goodnefs of a wife and clement 
Prince, or inconfiflent with the Welfare 
and Happinefs of a well-regulated State,^ 
that there are Jails and Prifons provided 
for Malefactors, and fuitable Punifhments 
allotted to their Crimes. And it is pro- 
bable, that taking in the whole rational 
Creation throughout the wide extended 
Univerfe, the Number of thofe that are 
thus made the Monuments of the divine 
Juflice fhall be but fmall, compared with 
the whole Number of thofe who fhall be 
happy in the divine Love and Favour. 

I would conclude this Difcourfe with 
obferving, that we fhould take great Care 
never to entertain any harfh or injurious 
Thoughts of the divine Goodnefs, even 
though we fhould meet with DifEculties 
relating to it which we are not well able 



to folve. Nothing admits of a clearer De- 
monflration, than that the abfolutelv per- 
fect Being, who is infinitely happy in 
himfelf, felf-fufficient and all-fiifficient, 
maft needs be incapable of Envy or 111- 
wiil, or any Thing that argues a narrow- 
er cruel, or malignant Difpofition; and 
that he v/ho is the Author and Caufe of 
all the Good, the Order, the Happinefs, 
which is to be found in the whole Crea- 
tion, muft himfelf be infinitely good. In 
this the Voice of Nature and Reafon 
perfectly harmonizeth with the Declara- 
tions and Reprefentations made of him in 
his holy Word. Let us therefore lay this 
down as a Principle for ever unfhaken, that 
God is perfedlly good ; and this being once 
well fixed and eftablifhed in our Minds, we 
muft not fuffer any feemiilg contrary Ap- 
pearances to difturb or unfettle us from 
the firm Belief and Perfuafion of it. If 
therefore there be any Thing in the Courfe 
of the divine Difpenfatlons which we can- 
not well reconcile to our Notions of the 
divine Love and Goodnefs, we fhould at- 
tribute this, not to any Defeat of real 
Goodnefs of God, but to the Narrownefs of 
our own Minds, and to our Want of com-* 
prchending them in their full Harmony. 
We only fee a Part of his Ways, and can- 
not carry our View through the whole 
3 Univerfe 


Univerfc at once, and through all Times 
and Ages, and fee all the Connediions and 
Dependencies of Things, and the Relations 
they bear to one another and to the whole, 
and therefore may eafily be miftaken, and 
judge thofe Things not to be juft or good, 
which are really, all Things confidered, 
the beft. We fhould be perfuaded in all 
fuch Cafes, that if we could behold Things 
in their proper Connexion and Harmony, 
as they lie open to God's all-comprehend- 
ing Mind, they would have a quite diffe- 
rent Afped: from what they now have to 
us, and would appear to be moft wifely, 
and kindly, and fitly ordered. 

I propofe in my next Difcourfe to con- 
clude this Subjedl with fome fuitable Re- 
ttedions upon the whole. 


071 the Goodnefs of God. 


I John iv. 8. 

' God is Love. 

IT ought mightily to recommend the 
Holy Scriptures to our Efteem, that 
they tend to form our Minds to the mofi: 
fublime and worthy Notions of God, and 
of his glorious and adorable Perfedtions, 
But among all the Defcriptions there 
given us of the Deity, there is none more 
amiable and comprehenfive than this, that 
God is Love, And accordingly this is 
what I have endeavoured to confider in fe- 
veral Difcourfes. And in treating of this 
Subject I propofed, 



Firfl, To offer fome. general Obferva- 
tions for clearing and explaining the glori- 
ous Defcription here given of God, that 
God is Love, 

Secondly, To illaftrate this more dl- 
fl:in(ftly, by taking Notice of fome of thofe 
Inftances in which the Love and Good- 
nefs of God towards his Creatures, efpeci- 
ally towards Mankind, is more eminently 
exercifed and difplayed. 

Thirdly, To confider fome of the Things 
which feem to have a contrary Appear- 
ance, and which have been made ufe of as 
Objedlions againft the divine Goodnefs. 

Thus far I hav^e proceeded in my former 
Difcourfes on this Subjed:. I fliall now 
conckide the whole with fome fuitable 

And I ft. Since God is Love^ this fhould 
engage us to love him with a fuperlative 
Affection. Love is the moft powerful 
Attractive of Love. If we do but hear of 
a Man of diffufive Benignity, who delight- 
eth in doing Good to all about him, we can 
fcarce help having an Affeftion and Efteem 
fo;r him, though we ourfelves have reaped 
no particular Advantage from his Bounty. 
But if he be alfo a Perfon to whom we 
are under great Obligations, our Temper 
muft be of the moft bafe and ungenerous 
Alloy not to love fuch an one. And fhall 



we not then love the fupreme boundlefs 
Goodnefs and Benevolence, the everlafting 
Caufe and Source of all that is good and 
amiable ? Shall we not love that moft be- 
neficent Being, to whofe Benignity vi^e 
owe all the good Things of every Kind 
that we enjoy; who is doing Good, not 
only now and then, but continually, not 
merely to a few here and there, but to 
nii^mberlefs Orders of Beings ? How fhould 
we love and admire the glorious Original 
and Fountain from whence thofe Streams 
of Bleffings flow, which fpread Joy and 
Gladnefs through all Nature ! It is he that 
hath fl retched out the glorious Expanfe of 
Heaven, v/ith all its rich and radiant 
Furniture; who giveth the Sun for a Light 
by Day, and the Ordinances of the Mcon 
and Stars for a Light by Night, who com- 
mandeth the Clouds to drop down Rains 
and Dews, and to form a fair and fpacious 
Canopy over our Heads, and hath fpread 
the Earth before us in all its beautiful At- 
tire, and enriched it with fuch an unfpeak- 
able Variety of Produftions for the Advan- 
tage of human Life ; who taketh Care in 
his wife and good Providence, that Seed- 
time and Harveft, and Cold and Heat, and 
Summer and Winter, and Day and Nio-ht 
do not ceafe ; who hath fo liberally flored 
all Nature around us. Earth, Sea, and Air, 



with numberlefs Objefts admirably fitted 
to entertain and gratify the Senfes which 
he hath given us. Thefe Things, becaufe 
they are lb common and daily repeated, we 
are apt, through a ftrange Inattention and 
Infenfibility of Mind, to pafs over with a 
flight Regard ; whereas, the Commonnefs 
of them is that which above all manifeft- 
eth the Extenfivenefs and Riches of the di- 
vine Benignity. And then, to bring it 
nearer to our own Cafe, let us confider the 
divine Goodnefs, not only as varioufly ex- 
ercifed towards all Mankind in general, 
but to ourfelves in particular. There is 
none of us but muft upon due Recollec- 
tion be fenfible that the Goodnefs of God 
hath followed us all our Days. He hath 
granted us Life and Favour, and his Vi- 
fitation hath preferved our Spirits. How 
manifold are the Experiences we have had 
of his kind Providence watching over us, 
and taking Care of us in every Stage and 
Condition of Life, delivering us from 
Dangers, fupporting us under Diftreffes, 
and providing for us out of the Stores of 
his Bounty ! We are in the continual Pof- 
feffion and Enjoyment of a thoufand Mer- 
cies. All the Bleffings which we have ever 
received, or which we now enjoy, whether 
relating to our Bodies or to our Souls, yea 
and the Afts of Kindnefs done us by our 



Fellow-creatures, the Benefits v/e receive 
from oar earthly Benefadlors, are to be ul- 
timately afcribed to the Goodnefs of his 
fuperintending Providence. It fhould be 
our Language therefore, as it was that of 
the devout Pfalmifl, How precious are thy 
'Thoughts unto me^ God I how great is the 
Sum of ihera I IJ I fiould count them, they 
are more in Number than the Sand : when I 
awake, I am Jlill with thee, Pfal. cxxxix. 
17, 18. But above all, it fhould fill us 
with the highefl: Admiration of God's in- 
finite Goodnefs, to confider the wonderful 
Methods of his Wifdom and Grace for the 
Redemption and Salvation of loft perifhing 
Sinners of the Race. The eternal 
Father fending his only begotten Son into 
the World to become incarnate, fufFer, and 
die for our Sakes, to inftrud: us by his 
Dodlrine, to guide by his excellent Laws 
and by his holy Example, and to make 
Atonement for our Sins by his grievous 
Sufferings and Death : The Son conde- 
fcending to take upon him our Nature, 
and to fubmit to the deepeft Humiliations, 
and the m.oft bitter Agonies and Paffions, 
and even to the cruel and ignominious 
Death of the Crofs, for us Men, and for our 
Salvation : The Holy Spirit fent by the Fa- 
ther and the Son to quicken, enlighten, 
and fandify us, to aflift us in our Duty, 
[Vol. I.] T and 


and comfort us in all our Tribulation ! 
Behold, what Maimer of Love the Father 
hath bejlowed upon us, that we Jhoiild be 
called the Sons of God I And if we be Sons, 
then are we Heirs, Heirs of God, and 
Joint "heirs with Chrifly Heirs according 
to the Hope of eternal Life. What could 
God have done more for us that he hath 
not done ? And fhall we not love fo gopd 
a God, fo infinitely amiable in him.felf, fb 
full of Love and Kindnefs towards us;: 
our moft gracious and bountiful Benefac- 
tor, and our moil merciful heavenly Fa- 
ther? Shall v/e not love infinite Love and 
Goodnefs itfelf ? Not to do fo would argue 
a Mind depraved to the moft aftonifliing 
Degree. Surely the Mercies of God 
fhould engage us to prefent our Bodies 
and our Souls a living Sacrifice, holy and 
acceptable in his Sight, which is our rea- 
fonable Service. Overcome and captivated 
hy the facred Charms of infinite Love and 
Goodnefs, let us heartily renounce every 
Thing that is contrary to his holy Nature 
and Will, and make an abfolute, aifedtionate, 
unreferved Dedication and Surrender of 
ourfelves to the God of Love, fenfible that 
we are his by the moft endearing Obliga- 
tions, and that in him alone we can be 
happy. Let it be the real Language of 
Qur Hearts to God, Whom have I in Heaven 



but thee ? and there is none upon Earth that I 
defire bejides thee. Our Love cannot fhew 
itfelf towards him, as his doth to us, by 
doing him Good, and contributing to pro- 
mote his Happinefs. But fmce his Love 
and Goodnefs is continually defcending 
upon us in a Variety of Bleffings, our 
Love fliould afcend to him in fuitable Re- 
turns of holy and devout AfFecflions, in a 
moft grateful Acceptance of his marvellous 
Benefits, in a thankful Admiration of his 
immenfe Goodnefs, and in adoring Praifes 
and Acknowledgments. But efpecially our 
Love to him fhould fhew itfelf by a chear-* 
ful, uniform, perfevering Obedience to his 
holy and excellent Laws; for this is the 
Love oj God, that we keep his Command-^ 
ments, i John v. 3. by a diligent Per- 
formance of the Duties which he requir- 
eth ; by a ready Submiffion and Refigna-' 
tion to the Orders of his Providence, and 
a chearful Complacency in his Difpenfa- 
tions, regarding them as the Appoint- 
ments of infinite Wifdom and Love ; and 
finally, by endeavouring to refemble hiiii 
more and more in his Goodnefs and Be- 
neficence, and in his Grace and Mercy. 
Let us be Follo'wers of God, as becometh 
dear Children^ and walk in Love, Ephef. v, 
1,2. It is by this that we ihall manifeft 
our heavenly Extraifdon, and that we are 
T 2 under 


under the Conducfb of the Spirit of God, 
the Spirit of divine Love. For Love is of 
God ', and he that loveth, is born of God, 
and knoweth God-, as the Apoftle expreff- 
eth it in the Words preceding the Text : 
And he adds, Ver, 1 1 . Beloved, if God fo 
loved usy we ought alfo to love one another. 
Let us therefore be ready, as we have 
Opportunity, to do Good unto all Men. 
We fhould purfue our Meditations of the 
divine Love and Goodnefs, till a fair Copy 
of that eternal Goodnefs and Beauty be 
drawn upon our Souls, and till we find our 
Spirits wrought into a Conformity to the 
fupreme Benevolence. 

2dly, Since God is Lcve, let us rejoice 
and delight ourfelves in him, as reprefented 
to us under this moft amiable Charafter. 
If we frequently regard him in this View, 
he would appear to our Souls, not a fright- 
ful and forbidding, but a moft lovely and 
inviting Objedt. We fliould then be able 
to fay with the pious Pfalmift, / -will Jing 
unto the Lord as long as I live -y I will fin g 
Praije unto ?ny God, while I have 7ny Being. 
My Meditation of bim JJjall be jweet, 1 will be 
glad in the Lord. Pfal. civ. 33, 34. What 
Pleafure would this fpread through our 
Prayers and Pralfes ! We fhould then find 
a divine Delight in approaching to the 
God of Love, and maintaining Commu- 



nion with him. With what Satisfadlion 
ihould we behold infinite Love and Good- 
nefs prefiding over this vaft Univerfe, dif- 
fufing its benign Influences through every 
Part of the Creation, ordering and dif- 
pofing all Events in the beft and fittefl 
Manner, ever watching over the Good of 
the whole, and providing for that of every 
particular Creature, fo far as is confiftent 
with the univerfal Good. We fhould re- 
joice in the Comforts and Bleflings of this 
Life, as the Effed:s and Gifts of the divine 
Bounty, and iliould in them tafte and fee 
that the Lord is good and gracious. But 
efpecially, we fhould rejoice in the Hopes 
and Profpeds of eternal BlefTmgs to be 
enjoyed in God's immediate Prefence and 
Kingdom above. We Ihould delight in 
the Laws he hath given us as the Pre- 
fcriptions of his Love, the fair Tranfcripts 
of his Good nefs as well as Purity, and as 
plainly defigned for the true Perfection 
and Happinefs of our Nature. Yea, wc 
fhould rejoice in Tribulations alfo, confi- 
dering them as permitted, over-ruled, and 
ordered, in every Circumflance, by infinite 
Wifdom and Goodnefs. In all our Afflic- 
tions let us flill remember that G^^ /j- jL^i;^; 
and that whom the Lord loveth he chajlen- 
eth, Heb. xii. 6, Thofe whom we look 
upon to be the nearefl and befl of earthly 
T 3 Friends 


FriiSLnds may forfake us, and prove incon- 
ftant in their AfFedions ; but it is the 
Language of divine Love, / will never leave 
theeytior forfake thee . Heb, xiii. 5. And again. 
Can a Woman forget her fucking Child ^ that 
Jhe fhoiild not have Compafjion on the Son of 
her Womb ? yea^ they may forget^ yet will 1 
not forget thee, Ifa. xlix. 15. Here then 
is the mofl: powerful Support under all our 
Troubles, the moil fovereign and eflFed:ual 
Jleflorative in all the Paintings of our Spirits, 
Cod is Love, eternal, unchangeable Love 
and Goodnefs. Can w^e thi k that fuch 
a bleffed and moil amiable Defcription of 
the Deity is fet before us in his Word, in 
vain and to no Purpofe ? Why Vv^as it in^- 
ferted there, but that we fhould confider 
it, and give him the Glory, and take to 
ourfelves the Comfort of it ? When we 
are caft down under a deep Senfe and Con- 
vidion of our Guilt and Unworthinefs, 
let us oppofe this amiable Character of 
God to the Fears and Doubtings of a 
defponding Mind. Coniider, dejected Soul, 
if thou hadft merely a finite Goodnefs to 
deal with, thou mighteft well fink into 
Defpair, but God is infinite, effential, 
boundlefs Love and Benevolence. Hath 
not he proclaimed his Name, The Lord, 
the Lord Cody mercijul and gracious^ long--, 
fiffmngy and abundant in Goodnefs and 



^ruth, forgiving IniquitieSy and 'Tranfgref- 
Jion, and Sin ? Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. What 
amiable Difplays hath he made of his 
wonderful Love, and the exceeding Riches 
of his Grace in the Redeemer! Behold 
that God, who is Love itfelf, feated on a 
Throne of Grace, ready to receive thee up- 
on thy penitent Return. Come to him 
therefore as under this amiable Character, 
for he delighteth not in the Death of Sin- 
ners, but rather that they fliould turn 
from their evil Ways, and live. Caft thyfelf 
wholly on his fovereign Grace and Good- 
nefs; yield thyfelf to him the God of Love 
through Jefus Chriji the Son of his Love, 
and thankfully lay hold on the Offers of 
his Grace upon the moft reafonable and 
merciful Terms of the new Covenant. O 
give Thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, 
for his Mercy endureth for ever. Rejoice in 
the glorious Riches of his Grace, faying 
with a humble and grateful Admiration, 
Who is a God like tmto thee, that pardofjeth 
Iniquity, and paffeth by the 'T7^anfgrefion of 
the RemJiant of his Heritage ? he retaineth 
not his Anger for ever, becaufe be delighteth 
in Mercy, Micah vii. 18. 

3dly, The laft Reflexion I would make 

on this Subject, is, that it highly concern- 

eth us to take Care that we do not abufc 

the divine Goodnefs, or take Encourage- 

T 4 ment 


ment from this to go on in a Courfe of 
prefumptaous Sin and Difobedience. There 
is nothing that fetteth the Evil of Sin in 
fo ftrong a Light as its being committed 
againft the Love and Goodnefs of the beft 
of Beings, our moit gracious and bounti- 
ful Benefa6tor. If any Man fliould declare 
in exprefs Words, Becaufe God is kind 
and good, and is dally loading me with his 
Benefits, therefore v^ill I offend and diflio- 
nour him, and trample his Laws and Co- 
venant under my Feet; I fay, if we fliould 
hear any Man openly declare this, it would 
appear fo monftrous, that it would be apt 
to fill our Souls with Horror. And yet, 
whatever obflinate prefumptuous Sinners 
may profefs in Words, this is the real 
Language of their Pra(flice. They pre- 
fume upon his Mercy and Lndulgence, and 
flatter themfelves that he is good, that he 
will not be fevere to punifh them for their 
TranfgrefTions 5 and therefore they allow 
themfelves in a Courfe of wilful Difobe- 
dience to his known Commands, and ven- 
ture to fly in the Face of his Authority 
and Governm.ent. Thus they defpife the 
Riches of his Goodnefs, and Forbear ance, and 
Lofig-fufferingy not knowing, i. e. not con- 
fidering, t/jat the Goodnefs of Ccd leadeth to 
"Repentance, as the Apoftle expreffeth it, 
Rom, ii. 4. But let fuch Perfons confider, 



that the Love and Goodnefs of God is not 
a foft paffionate Tendernefs, like that of a 
too fond and indulgent Parent, or of a 
weak and unfteady Prince, but it is a 
Goodnefs ever in Conjundlion with infi- 
nite Wifdom, and with the moft unfpotted 
P.edlitude and Purity, and the moft impar- 
tial Juftice and Righteoufnefs. God is 
merciful, infinitely merciful, but his Mer- 
cy is exercifed in fuch a Way as is con- 
fiftent with the Glory of his infinite Per- 
fedlions, and the Order and Authority of 
his Government. His Goodnefs is fuch 
as becometh the wife and holy Governor 
of the World, and therefore will not fail 
to punifh the obftinate Defpifers of his 
Authority and Laws. Thofe who are fo 
bafe and difingenuous as to continue in 
Sin becaufe Grace hath abounded, fliall 
find in the liTue that abufed Goodnefs is the 
moil dreadful Thing in the World, By- 
wilful Impenitency and Difobedience we 
fhall fhut up our Souls againft the Liflu- 
ences and Irradiations of the fupreme Love 
and Goodnefs. And then, though God be 
infinitely good, we ihall be miferable, we 
fhall banifli ourfelves from the Joys of his 
beatific Prefence, and fhall draw down 
upon us the moft awful EfFeds of his 
righteous Difpleafure. It is only in a 
Cpurfe of fincere Piety and Virtue that we 



can hope to be admitted to the facred In- 
timacies of Communion with the God of 
Love, and may, upon good Grounds, look 
forv^ard with Joy to that glorious State 
where infinite Love fhall take us into its 
neareft Embraces, and we ihall be perfedt- 
ly happy in the immediate Vifion and Frui« 
tion of God to all Eternity. 


On the Truth and Faithfulnefs of 


Psalm cxvii. 2» 

T!he Truth of the Lord endureth for ever. 
Praije ye the Lord, 

THE Attributes and Perfeftions qf 
God furnifh a Subjedl for our Me- 
ditations, which is both in itfelf the mofl 
noble and glorious that can enter into the 
Mind of Man, and is alfo of the higheft 
Ufe. Efpecially it is of great Advantage 
to us frequently to turn our Thoughts and 
Views to his moral Attributes and Ex- 
cellencies, the Contemplation of which 
not only tends to fiU our Minds with an 



Efteem and Admiration of the Deity, but 
to form us into his Image and Refem- 
blance, in which the higheft Glory and 
Felicity of the reafonable Nature doth 
confift. And among God's moral Attri- 
butes and Excellencies his Goodnefs and 
Truth are eminently confpicuous, and ac- 
cordingly they are frequently joined toge- 
ther in the facred Writings. Thus when 
God proclaims his own glorious Name, 
he reprefents himfelf as abundant in Goodnefs 
andiruth, Exod. xxxiv. 6. To the fame 
Purpofe, Pfal.lxxxvi. 15, T^koUy Lord, art 
aGod full of Compajjiony and gracious y long- 
fufferingy and plenteous in Mercy and Truth. 
And the Pfalm, of which the Words of 
the Text is a Part, is a brief Exhortation 
to all Nations to blefs and praife God, both 
for his Goodnefs and Mercy, and for his 
Truth. O praife the Lordy all ye Nations i 
praife him all ye People : For his merciful 
Kindnefs is great towards us; and the "Truth 
of the Lord endureth for ever. Praife ye 
the Lord, It is the latter of thefe that I 
defign to confider at this Time -, and it is 
an Attribute with which we have a parti- 
cular Concernment. The Life we are to 
live here on Earth, is a Life of Faith ; and 
divine Faith hath the Truth of God for 
its Objeft* It fixes on this glorious At- 


tribute as the firm and ftable Foundation 
on which it relics. 

In treating of this Subjecft, I fhall, firft, 
offer fomething by Way of ExpHcation, 
to fhew what we are to underftand by the 
Truth of the Lord here mentioned. 

Secondly, I (hall endeavour to illuftrate 
the Pfalmift's Obfervation, that the Truth 
of ti Lord endureth for ever ; it is ever- 
kiting, and ihall never fail : And then I 
ihall proceed to what I principally intend, 
the pra(flical Improvement of this Subjedl. 

Firft, I {hall offer iomething, by Way of 
Explication^ to (hew what we are to un- 
derftand by the Truth of the Lord here 

Truth among Men is taken in various 

It is taken, ift, as oppofed to Lying and 
wilful Prevarication ; and thus it fuppofes, 
that our Words muft be conformable to 
our inward Thoughts, and not uttered 
with an Intention to deceive. In this 
Senfe, a Man is faid to be a Man of Truth 
and Veracity when his Words are the 
faithful Interpreters of his Mind, fo that 
he doth not fpeak contrary to his own Sen- 
timents, he doth not fpeak one Thing and 
think another. 

2dly, Truth is taken as oppofed, not 
only to wilful Lying, but to Miftake and 

Error ; 


Error; and fo it fuppofes that our Words 
muft not only be agreeable to the Sentiments 
and Intentions of our Minds, but to the 
Reality of Things. A Man may, through 
Miflake, fpeak a Thing which is in itfelf 
falfe, thinking it to be true; and in this 
Cafe he cannot be faid'- to be guilty of ly- 
ing, bccaufe he fpeaks according to his 
own Thoughts; but yet he cannot be faid 
to fay the Truth, becaufe the Thing is in 
itfelf falfe, though he doth not know it to 
be fo. Truth therefore, in its largefl 
Senfe; is oppofed, not only to wilful Ly- 
ing, but Gvcn to involuntary Miftake or 
Error, to all Ealfliood whatfoever whether 
intended or not. 

3dly, Truth, as particularly relating to 
Promifes, fignifies Faithful nefs to thofe 
Promifes, whereby, having once engaged 
our Word, we are fteady to our Engage- 
ments; and in this Senfe Truth is oppofed, 
not only to a defigned Cheat, but to 
Ficklenefs and Inconftancy in our Purpofes 
and Promifes. 

Finally, Truth fignifies a Sincerity in 
our Adtions and in our general Condutfl, 
a fair Opennefs and candid Simplicity 
as oppofed to Hypocrify and Guile, to all 
double Dealings and dark Difguife. 

Having thus briefly ftated the Notion of 
Truths let ;us apply this to the bleifed God, 



and fee what the Truth of the Lord i$ 
which is here mentioned. 

And I ft. If v/e confider Truth as op- 
pofed to wilful Lying and Prevarication, and 
faying that which is falfe with an Intention 
to deceive^ in this Senfe, Truth, as it be- 
longeth to God, fignifics, that in all the 
Revelations he makes of his Mind and 
Will, he deals fincerely with his Creatures, 
and doth not fay any Thing with an In- 
tention to deceive them. He doth not ia 
his Word fay one Thing whilft he thinks 
or intends another. His fecret Will is ne- 
ver contrary to his revealed, but all the 
Rev^elations he makes are the true Signi- 
fications of his Mind and Intentions ; his 
Words are agreeable, if we may fo fpeak, 
to the Thoughts of his Heart, fo that by 
them we may certainly know what his 
Mind is, as far as it is proper for us to 
know it. Indeed no Revelation can con- 
vey to us the Thoughts and Defigns of 
God in their full Perfection and Extent 
as they lie in his own infinite Mind; 
for then what human Language could be 
able to reprefent them, and what human 
Mind could be able to conceive them ? 
The Revelations he gives are in a Way 
fuited to our Capacities, exprcjGed in our 
own Language as far as we are able to re- 
ceive them, and confequently the Difco- 
very is not . full and. adequate, but yet it 



is juft, and fitted to inftrua: us in the Mind 
and Will of God as far as it is ufefal or 
neceflaiy for us to be acquainted with his 

2dly, Truth as afcribed to God is op- 
pofed, not only to all wilful Lying and 
Prevarication, but it is oppofed to all Mif- 
take and Error. So that it fignifies that 
the Revelations God gives, are not only 
the iufl Significations of his Mind and Will, 
but they are moft certain in themfelves; they 
are not only conformable to the Intentions 
of the Revealer, but to the Truth and 
Reality of Things. The bed of Men are 
liable to Miftake and Error, and it often 
happens, that being miftaken themfelves, 
they vent FaKhood for Truth, and lead 
others into Error without defigning it. But 
as God hinifelf is the fuprenie Truth, he is 
not only incapable of lying, but he is in- 
capable of miifaking too. All his Revela- 
tions therefore are infallibly true. He de- 
livereth Nothing but what is in itfelf cer- 
tain, without the lead Miftake in any one 
Propofition or Dodrine, or in any one Fad: 
or Circumftance that he is pleafed to reveal. 

3dly, If we confider the Truth of God 
with a particular Regard to his Promifes, 
fo it notes his fteady Faithfulnefs, where- 
by having once engaged his Word, he is 
always conftant to it. In this Senfe the 
Truth of God is frequently taken in the 



facred Writings. And this is that which 
the Pfalmift feems to have principally in 
View, when he here declares, that the 
"Truth of the Lord eiidureth for ever. 
Men often break their Word, or fail of 
their Promife, from various Caufes ; but 
God remembereth his JVord to a thoufand 
Generations, PfaL cv. 8. The Word that 
he fpeaketh yZ?^// co7ne topafs ; he vviWfay the 
JVord, and wilt perform it, Ezek. xii. 25. 
All his Froinifes are Tea and Amen, 2 
Cor, \, 20. 

Finally, Truth belongeth to God, as it 
fignifies an univerfal Sincerity in his whole 
Conducft, in all his Adions and Dealings 
towards his Creatures, remote from all 
Fraud, Deceit, and Guile. In this Senfe 
we are told, that not only his Words but 
his Ways are juft and true : Great and mar-^ 
velloiis are thy Works, Lord God Ahitighty ; 
juft and true are thy WaySy O thou King of 
Saints, Rev. xv. 3. 

Having thus enquired what we are to 
underftand by the Truth of God, 

i proceed, 2dly, to confirm and illuftrate 
the Pfalmift's Obfervation, that the T^ruth 
of the Lord endureth for ever ; it is ever- 
lafting, and can never fail. And it highly 
concerneth us to get our Minds fully con- 
firmed and eftabliihed in a Perfuafion of the 
Truth of God. I ihall therefore endea- 

[Vol. I.] U vour 


vour to fhew how clearly this may be de^ 
monftrated both from the Nature and Rea- 
fon of the Thing, and from the Teftimony 
of the facred Writings. 

I ft. The common Light of Reafon and 
Nature leads us to acknowledge the Truth 
and Faithfulnefs of God. 

Truth and Fidelity hath an intrinfic Ex- 
cellency, a Dignity and Beauty in it, that 
naturally demands and engages our Admi- 
ration and Efteem; and on the other Hand, 
Falfliood and Guile is bafe, deformed, and 
dillionourable. A Confcioufnefs of this is 
deeply implanted in the human Heart : and 
the more of true Greatnefs and Generofity 
there is in any Mind, the ftrider Regard 
and Love it hath for Truth and Sincerity ; 
and the greater Abhorrence and Contempt 
for Fraud and Falfhood. And therefore it 
is the Voice of Nature, that Falfliood is 
not to be found in God, which we cannot 
but condemn in our Fellow-creatures, as 
arguing great Meannefs and Bafenefs, or an 
ill DifpoStion of Mind ; and that Truth and 
Fidelity which is fo beautiful and excellent, 
the infeparable Qualification of a great and 
noble Soul, is to be found in the higheft 
poflible Degree of Eminency in the fu- 
preme and abfolutely perfedl Being. 

And indeed none of thofe Things which 
are the Caufts of Falfhood and Unfaithful- 



iiefs in Men, can poffibly have Place in God. 
For firft, it is impoffiWe he iliould be de- 
ceived himfelf. This evidently follovys 
from the Perfection and Infinitenefs of his 
Underftanding, which for ever raifeth him 
above all Poflibility of Miflake or Error. 
He perfecflly know^cth all Things as thev 
really are : he feeth all Things at once by 
an immediate Intuition ; yea, he knowetli 
them from everlafting, with a certain and 
infallible, and all-comprehending Know- 
ledge. He penetrates thofe Depths that 
are moft myfterious to us. No Propofition 
or Dodlrine hath the leaft Obfcurity to him. 
No Fadl can efcape his Notice, nor the leaft 
Circumftance attending it. God perfedlly 
knows himfelf, and therefore knows his 
own infinite Nature and Perfections, his 
own Will and Counfels, and Decrees ; and 
he knows this vaft Univerfe, and all the 
Orders of Beings in it ; all which he at 
firft created, and continually upholds : par- 
ticularly he knows his reafonable Creatures, 
and all their Thoughts, Words, and Acti- 
ons, with all the Events relating to them ; 
all which are under the Diredion arkd Dif- 
pofal of his fuperintending Providence. 
And confequently he takes in a full View 
of the whole Compafs of Things; and there- 
fore it is impoffible he ftiould be deceived 
himfelf in any Thing he is pleafed to reveal. 
U 2 And 


And he is equally Incapable of an Intention 
to deceive others, as he is of being deceived 
or miftaken himfelf. As it is impoffible for 
God to err, fo it is impoffible for God to 
lie ; becaufe it is inconiiftent w^ith the in- 
finite Perfedion of his Nature, and Redi- 
tude of his Will. The Strength of Ifrael 
cannot lie ; that mofl perfect and power- 
ful Being is incapable of fuch a Weaknefs, 
fuch a Bafenefs. As he perfedtly knov/eth 
all Things, fo to declare an Untruth to his 
Creatures, would be a contradidling his 
own Nature ; it would be, as the Apoftle 
expreffeth x^to deny himfelf y which, he juftly 
obferves, God cannot do. 2 T^iin. ii. 13. 
Man may ftrive to deceive his Fellow-crea- 
tures, with a Defign to obtain to himfelf 
fome Advantage, or to avoid fome Evil. 
He may be tempted to lie by the Influence 
of his own Hopes or Fears, or by fome pri- 
vate felfifh Interefts and Views, and may 
have Recourfe to Fraud and falfe Artifice, 
becaufe he is not able to accomplifli his 
Defigns otherwife ; all which argues a 
great deal of Weaknefs or Corruptions. 
But God hath nothing to hope or to fear 
from any other Being whatfoever, no pri- 
vate felfifli Intereft to purfue ; he can never 
be in want of any Thing, for he is felf-fuf- 
ficient and all-fufficient ; nor can a Being 
of almighty Power and infinite Wifdom 



ever be obliged to have Recourfe to Fraud 
and Falfliood, from an Inability of accom- 
plifhing his Defigns without it. He hath 
therefore nothing to divert or tempt him 
from the Paths of Truth. And confe- 
quently, if he choofeth to deceive, it mufl 
be for deceiving s Sake, and becaufe he pre- 
ferreth Falfhood to Truth, and taketh a 
Pleafure in making a Mock and Sport of 
his own Creatures, wdiich would argue fuch 
a ftrange Perverfenefs of Mind and Will, 
as cannot poffibly be fuppofed of God, with- 
out the higheft Abfurdity andContradiftion. 
This would be abfolutely inconfiftent with 
all his moral Excellencies, his Holi- 
nefs, Juftice, and Goodnefs ; fo that the 
Arguments that demonftrate thefe, do 
equally demonftrate his Veracity. 

I add, as a farther Demonftration of 
God's Faithfulnefs and Truth, efpecially as 
it regards his Promifes,that his Counfels and 
Purpofes are immutable ; nor can any Thing 
ever happen to oblige him to alter them, or 
to hinder him from accomplifhing the 
Things he hath once promifed and engaged. 
Men after having made Promifes, often 
break them, and that either becaufe when 
they made them they had no Intention of 
keeping them, or becaufe their Purpofes and 
Refolutions afterwards change, either thro* 
a Levity and Inconftmcy of Mind,or becaufe 
U 3 they 


they fee Reafon, as they think, or at leaft 
llippole it their Intereft to alter them, or 
finally becaufe feme unforefeen Thing hap- 
pens, which renders them incapable of what 
they promifed and really intended. But 
none of thefe Things can be fuppofed of 
God. It hath been already fhewn, that he 
could not in making Promifes intend only 
to deceive his Creatures, and amufe them 
with vain Hopes. Nor is he, like Men, 
variable in his Purpofes and Refolutions. 
He it is, the Father of Lights, with ivhom 
is no Variabkncfsy nor Shadow of Tiirjiing. 
Jam. i. 17. He forms all his Purpofes, 
and makes all his Promifes wdth infinite 
Wifdom, and upon a perfecft Forefight 
of every Thing that could poffibly hap- 
pen. He cannot therefore be ever obliged 
by any unforefeen Event to change his 
Purpofe and Counfels ; and as he is al- 
mighty, he can never want Power to ac- 
complifli what he hath once promifed and 

Taking all thefe Things together, we 
have the ftrongeft Evidence of Reafon to 
convince us, that the Truth of God endureth 
for ever, 

2dly, Let us confider the exprefs Tefti- 
monies of the facred Writings to this Pur- 
pofe. There is fcarce any one Perfedion 
cf the Deity more frequently celebrated in 
4 the 


the divine Oracles, than his Faithfulnefs 
and Truth. God is called a God of Truth, 
Deut. xxxiv. Ifai. Ixv. 16. the God that 
cannot lie. Tit. i. 2. We are told that 
his Words are true, 2 Sam. vii, 28. and that 
his Counclh of old are Faithfulnefs- and Truth, 
Ifa. XXV. I. He is called the faithful God, 
which kecpeth Covenant and Mercy with them 
that love him, and keep his Commandment s^ to 
d t hoi f and Generations. Deut. vii. 9. For 
ever, O Lord, thy Word is fettled in Heaven, 
faith the Pfalmift, and thy Faithfulnefs unto 
all Generations, Plal. cxix. 89, 90. We are 
told that He arc en and Earth Jhall pafs away, 
hut his Words jhall not pafs awaySli2Xl. xxiv. 
35. God himfelf declares, My Covenant 
will I not break, nor alter the Thing that is 
gone out of my Lips. Pfal. Ixxxix. 34. What 
he faith in a particular Cafe, is true of every 
other Inftance in which he interpofeth his 
ow^n facred Word, / have fpoken it, I will 
alfo bring it to pafs ; I have purpofed it, J 
will alfo do it. Ifa. xlvi. 11. 

Laftly, to add no more, Godisfaidtohave 
magnified his Word above all his Name. Pfal. 
cxxxviii. 2. /. e. he hath eminently dif- 
played his Faithfulnefs and Truth, with a 
diftinguifliing Luftre and Glory above his 
other Attributes. And not only do the 
Scriptures affert and celebrate this Attribute 
of the Truth or Faithfulnefs of God, but 
U 4 . they 


they exemplify it to us in the Accomplifh- 
ment of many wonderful Predidions and 
Promifes, of which we there have an Ac- 
count ; and which, tho' perhaps feeming 
very unlikely when they v/ere firft made, 
yet were afterv/ards fignally and mod punc- 
tually fulfilled. Such were the Promifes 
and Predidions made to Abrahmn, that his 
Wife Sarah, who had been always barren, 
fhould have a Son by him in her old Age, at 
a Time when by the Courfe of Nature it 
feemed impoffible, and that his Pofterity 
ihould inherit the Land oi Canaan, in which 
he was a Stranger and Sojourner ; but that 
firft they fnould be afflidled and in Bondage, 
and afterwards God v/ould judge that Na- 
tion Vv^hom they had ferved,and they fhould 
come out with great Subftance, and in the 
fourth Generation fhould return to the pro- 
mifed Land. All which was literally ac- 
complifhed. And afterwards the moft re- 
markable Events that happened from Time 
to Time, with regard to God's ancient 
Church and People Ifrael, were diftinftly 
foretold. Many of the Predidions recorded 
in Scripture are remarkably plain and cir- 
cumflantial, tho' uttered long before the 
Events they related to came to pafs. Of 
this Kind is that of which we have Account, 
1 Kings xiii. 2. — 6. that a Child fliould be 
born unto the Houfe of David, Jo/iah by 



Name, who fhould deftroy the Altar Jero- 
boam had eredled at Bethel, and ftrew dead 
Mens Bones upon It to pollute it j and this 
foretold above 300 Years before it happened. 
Such alfo was the Prophet Ifaiah's foretell- 
ing the Victories and Conquefts of Cyms 
by Name, and his letting go the Captives 
oi Judah not for Price or Reward ^ and this 
near 200 Years before it came to pafs. Ifa. 
xlv. I. V. 13. When Sennacherib came 
before Jerufalem with a mighty Army, and 
threatened utter Dellrudtion to it, and there 
was no human Power to oppofe him, it was 
foretold, contrary to all Appearance, that he 
fhould return with Diigrace to his own 
Land. Ifa, xxxvii. The Deftrucflion of 
Jerufalem by the King of Babylon, and the 
carrying of the royal Family of Judah Cap- 
tives thither, was plainly foretold, when 
there was little Likelihood of any fuchThing, 
above 100 Years before it happened. Ifa, 
xxxix. 6, 7. So was alfo the fubverting of 
the Babylonijh Empire by the Medes and 
Perjiansy and the taking of the City of Ba- 
bylon, and the utter Defolation to which at 
length it fhould be reduced. Ifa, xiv. 21. 
Jer, 1. It was plainly foretold, that 
the Land of Jiidea fhould remain defolate, 
and the People fhould continue in Capti- 
vity 70 Years, and that at the End of that 
fixed Time they fhould be reflored to their 



own Country again. The Prophecies in the 
Book of Daniel are particularly remarkable. 
They tike in the Fates of many different 
Nations for a long Series of Years, the 
Succefiion of four mighty Empires, and the 
principal Revolutions that were to befall 
them ', particularly the overturning the 
Perfmn Empire by Alexander the Great, 
and the Divifion of his Empire after his 
Death into four Kingdoms ; the profaning 
the Temple, and the Miferies brought up- 
on the "^ews by Antiochus Epiphanes, as well 
as the final Deftrudion of the Jewipo State, 
of the City and Sandluary, by the Romans. 
But efpecially the Prophecies and Predidi- 
ons relating to the Meffiah that was to come, 
exhibit a glorious Difplay of the invariable 
Truth and Faithfulnefs of God. Here we 
have a wonderful Series of remarkable Pro- 
phecies, carried on from the Beginning 
thro' a long Succefiion of Ages, concerning 
the great Redeemer that was to come. His 
Perfon v/as pointed out by many remarkable 
Charaders, as was the Time of his coming. 
The Nation, Tribe, and Family from which 
he was to proceed 5 the Place of his Birth ; 
his being born of a Virgin ; the Dignity of 
his Perfon, and yet the Meannefs of his hum- 
bled State ; the illuftrious Miracles he per- 
formed i the grievous Sufferings and Death 


to which he fubmitted for the Sins of the 
World; together with fome of the humiliat- 
ing Circumftances that attended thofe Suf- 
ferings, and the Glories that followed them; 
his Refurreftion from the dead, and fitting 
at the right Hand of the Majclly on high; 
his univerfal Dominion ; that great Salva- 
tion of which he was to be the Author ; 
the plentiful Effufion of the Holy Ghoft : 
all thefe Things were promifed and fore- 
told many Ages before they happened. To 
which we may add, the Predidtions concern- 
ing the general DifFufion of the Gofpel, the 
calling of the Gentiles, the fubverting of the 
yewifh Polity, and the introducing a new 
Difpenfation inftead of that oiMofes. Thefe 
and many other Things to the like Purpofe 
were foretold at fundry Times, and in di- 
vers Manners, when there was not the leaft 
Profpedl of fuch Events, and they have all 
been remarkably fulfilled, which £hews that 
God is faithful that hath promifed. Thus 
do the holy Scriptures give many glorious 
Atteftations to the Truth and Faithfulnefs 
of God, that it endureth throughout all 

If any Promifes feem to have been made, 
or Threatnings denounced, which yet were 
not adlually accompliflied, we muft confi- 
der that they were conditional, and fo 
upon the dropping of the Condition they 



fell of courfe. Thus Nineveh was to be de- 
ftroyed within 40 Days. Jonah was com- 
miflioned to declare it to the Ninevites. But 
here there was a Condition implied, tho' not 
diredlly exprelTed, viz, that they were to be 
deftroyed if they did not repent. So the A7- 
nevites themfelves underflood it j and ac- 
cordingly upon their humbling themfelves 
before God, and repenting of their evil 
Ways, the threatned Punifliment was 
averted. We may apply this to other 
Cafes. When any Promifes feem not to 
have been performed, or Threatnings not 
executed, 'tis not as if God were not faith- 
ful and true to his own Word, but becaufe 
the Conditions on which thofe Promifes or 
Threatnings were fufpended, were not ful- 
filled. There is a general Rule laid down, 
by which fuch Promifes and Threatnings 
are to be underflood, Jer, xviii. 7, 8, 9, 10. 
j4t what Injiant I fiall /peak concerning a 
Nation^ a?id concerning a Kingdom, to pluck 
upy and to pull down, and to dtjlroy it : If 
that Nation agaiyift whom I have projiounced, 
turn from their Evil, I will repent of the 
Evil that I thought to do unto them, Jlnd 
at what Injtant Ifl:allfpeak concerning a Na- 
tion, and concerning a Kingdom, to build and 
to plant it : If it do Evil in my Sight, that it 
obey not my Voice, then I will repent of the 
Good wherewith I faid I would benefit them. 



This Is the ordinary ftated Rule of the di- 
vine Procedure ; and his altering his Deal- 
ings towards Nations or particular Perfons, 
when done according to this Rule, Is fo far 
from being an Impeachment of hIs' Faith- 
fulnefs and Truth, that It Is rather a Con- 
firmation of it. I need not tell you, that 
when repenting is in this and other Paf- 
fages of Scripture afcribed to God, it can- 
not be underftood properly to fignify any 
Mutability In his Counfels or Purpofes. For 
■he is not a Man that he jhould lie, nor the 
Son of Man that he Jhould repent. Numb, 
xxili. 19. But It is only fpoken after the man- 
ner of Men, to fignify a Change of his out- 
ward Dealings towards a People, from a 
Way of Mercy to that of Judgment, or the 
contrary; which very Change was what 
he perfecflly forefaw, and refolved upon from 
the Beginning, and therefore made a Part 
of the divine Scheme and Counfels, con- 
formably to the eftabllfhed Rules of his 
providential Government. 

Thus have I endeavoured to Illuftrate the 
Obfervatlon of the Pfalmift, that the Truth 
of the Lord endureth for ever -, it Is ever- 
lafl:Ing, and can never fail. 

And now how glorious and venerable 

fhould God be in our Efteem, as vefted 

v/Ith this Charafter! If v/e cannot but ap^ 

prove and admire Truth and Sincerity as 

5 far 


far as it is to be found among Men, who 
would not admire him, who is the fupreme, 
the infinite Truth, and celebrate his Word 
which he hath magnified above all his Name! 
His Faithfulnefs we are told reacheth unto 
the Clouds ; thither let our Praifes afcend. 
Here in the Text all Nations are called up- 
on to join, as it were, in an univerfal Con- 
fort, to praife the Lord, giving him the 
Glory of this Attribute, that his Truth en- 
diireth for ever. In like manner, Pfal. c. 
4, 5. we are called upon to be thankful to the 
Lord, and to blefs his Name, becaufe his 
Mercy is everlajiingy and his Truth endureth 
throughout all Gejierations, In what exalted 
Strains doth the Pfalmift celebrate and adore 
this divine Perfection in the 89th Pfalm ! 
He begins with declaring, / willjing of the 
Mercies of the Lord for ever ; with my Mouth 
will I make known thy Faithfulnefs to all Ge- 
nerations, For I have faid, Mercy Jlmll be 
built up for ever -, thy Faithfulnefs Jhalt thou 
eflabltjlj in the very Heave?is, Ver. i, 2.; and 
again, Ver. 5. The Heavens Omll praife thy 
Wonders y O Lord; thy Faithfulnefs alfo in the 
Congregation of the Saints, And at length 
he breaks forth into that rapturous Excla- 
mation, Ver. 8. Lord God of Ho/Is y who 
is a flrong Lord like unto thee ? or to thy 
Faithfulnefs round about thee F And if the 
Saints under the old Teftament were {o full 



of the Pralfes of the Faithfulnefs and Truth 
of God, much more fhould we be fo, who 
have fcen the AccompUfhment of thofe 
glorious Promifes, which they only lived 
in the Hope and Expedlation of. This is 
an Attribute that particularly fhlnes forth 
with an amiable Glory in the Face of our 
Lord Je/us Chrijl ; who is in this refpedt 
the Image of the inviiible Deity. He is* 
full of Grace and Truth, the Amen, the 
faithful and true Witnefs, in whom all the 
Promifes of God are Yea and Amen. What 
the Ifraelites were obliged to own, concern- 
ing God's Faithfulnefs in his Promifes, re- 
lating to their Pofleffion of the earthly Ca^ 
naauy may yet with greater Juftice be ap- 
plied to the Promifes relating to the Mef- 
iiah, and that great Salvation of which he 
is the glorious Author : T^here hath failed 
not ought of any good Tlmig which the Lord 
hath fpoken ; all came to pafs, Jofli. xxi. 45. 
Let our Souls therefore blefs the Lord, let 
us extol his Name together, and make his 
Truth the Subjecl of our thankful Praifes. 
I add, that the Confi deration of this glo- 
rious Attribute may furnifli many Reflec- 
tions that may be of Ufe to us for regulating 
our Condud, as I ihall fhew in my next 


On the Truth and Faithfulnefs of 


Psalm cxvli. 2» 
Hhe Truth of the Lord endureth for ever, 

IPropofed thefe Words to your Confi- 
deration the laft Opportunity. And 
for illuftrating them, I firfl endeavoured 
to ftate the Notion of the Truth of the 
Lord here mentioned, and to fhew what 
we are to underftand by it. And then I 
proceeded to demonftrate, both from Reafon 
and Scripture, the Everlaftingnefs and Sta- 
bility of the Truth and Faithfulnefs of God, 
that it endureth for ever, and can never fail. 
[Vol. I.] X This 


This Subjed may furniili feveral im- 
portant Refledions that may be of great 
Ufe to us for the Regulation of our Tem- 
per and Condu(fl. 

And I ft, Doth the Truth of the^ Lord 
endure for ever ? how unhke are thofe to 
God who indulge themfelves in Lying, 
Falfliood, and Deceit ! Since God is infi- 
nite Truth, nothing can be more contra- 
ry to him than a Lie. How often doth 
he in Scripture declaie his Abhorrence of 
it in the ftrongeft Terms ! When Idols 
are reprefented under the moft contempti- 
ble and odious Charadler, they are called 
Lies, and lying Vanities. Lying Lips are 
faid to be an Abomination unto the Lord. 

I fhall not at prefent infift upon the ill 
Effecfts that Lying and Falfliood bring upon 
human Society, the Tendency it hath to 
deftroy all Faith and mutual Confidence 
among Men, and to fow endlefs Jealoufies 
and Sufpicions; that it is the Parent of 
Slander and Reproach, and creates Enmi- 
ty, Difcord, and innumerable Mifchiefs; 
but what I fliall at prefent obferve, and 
what my Subjed: diredly leads me to, is, 
its abfolutc Contrariety to the Nature and 
Will of God, to that which he efteems 
his Glory, his Faithfulncfs and Truth. A 
Lie is reprefented as the deformed Ciiarac- 
ter and Progeny of Satan, that impure 



Spirit, the Enemy of God and of Mankind, 
and of all that is good. It is faid of him by 
our bleffed Lord, "^John viii. 44 . that there 
is no Truth in him : when hefpeaketh a Lie^ he 
fpeakeph of his own ; for he is a Liar, and the 
Father of it. So that all habitual Liars may 
be regarded as Satan's Children ; they bear 
his Image and not God's. Can it therefore be 
expected that God fhould take any Delight 
or Complacency in them or in their Servi- 
ces ? What Communion can there be be- 
tween infinite Truth and him that loveth 
and maketh a Lie ? Heaven will fpue fuch 
Creatures out ; for nothing but eternal 
Truth and Sincerity dwells there. A 
known habitual Liar is defpifed on Earth, 
and Men of Integrity and true Honour 
are loth to keep Company with fuch an 
one, much lefs fhall Perfons of this Tem- 
per and Charader be admitted to the So- 
ciety of Angels and bleffed Saints in Hea- 
ven. They fhall be thruft down into 
Company fitter for them, and whom they 
more nearly refemble, that is, the Devil, 
who is a Liar from the Beginning, and the 
Father of Lies, and his Angels, who are 
called lying Spirits. Hence in that black 
Catalogue of thofe that pall have their 
Portion in the Lake which bur net h with Fire 
and Brimjlone, Liars are particularly men- 
tioned. Rev, xxi. 8. And yet it muft be 
X 2 owned 


owned that Lying and Falfliood is a Thing 
to which our Natures in their prefent de- 
generate and corrupt State are particularly 
prone. Though we are confcious that it 
hath a Vilenefs and Bafenefs in it, and it 
hath been ever accounted a mean and diiho- 
nourable Thing, unworthy of a great and 
noble Mind; though an habitual Liar hath 
been an infamous Charadler in all Ages, fo 
that thofe that pretend to any Senfe of Ho- 
nour can almoft bear any Reproach rather 
than this, and efteem it the higheft In- 
dignity to be charged with a Lie ; yet not- 
withftanding this it is evident, that there 
is fcarce any Vice more common than this. 
When it is faid that God is not a Man that 
he Jhould He, Numb, xxiii. 19. it feems 
plainly implied, that Man is a Creature 
prone to Lying and Falfhood. The Apof- 
tle, when he fets himfelf to fliew that 
Jews and Gentiles were all under Sin, 
brings this as a general Charge againft them, 
that %oith their "Tongues they have ufed De- 
ceit, Rom. iii. 13. And the Pfalmift ob- 
ferves concerning the wicked, that they go 
ajiray as foon as they be born, /peaking Lies. 
Indeed there is an obfervable Pronenefs to 
this in Children, and w^hich is apt to grow^ 
up with them from their Infancy, and 
therefore needs to be very early checked and 
retrained. The Heart of Man is faid to 



be deceitful above all "Things. Jen xvii. 9. 
And this Deceitfulnefs diffufeth itfelf 
through the Words and A6lions. It high- 
ly concerneth us, therefore, to guard againft 
all Falfhood, and Deceit, and Guile, and 
earneftly to afpire after a nearer Confor- 
mity to God in his Faithfulnefs and Truth, 
We muft endeavour to maintain and pre- 
ferve a ftridl Regard to Truth, both in 
our Tranfa6tions with God, and in our 
Converfes with our Fellow-creatures. 

I ft. Let us endeavour to maintain a 
facred Regard to Truth in our more im- 
mediate Tranfadlions with the Deity. God 
is all Truth and Faithfulnefs in his Pro- 
mifes and Dealings towards us; we fhould 
therefore endeavour to be true in our reli- 
gious Profeffions, and in our Promifes of 
Duty to him. There is fcarce any Thing 
more odious to God than Hypocrify. The 
whole Life of the Hypocrite is as it were 
one folemn Lie. He puts on an Appear- 
ance of Religion and Devotion when he is 
utterly deftitute of the Truth and Reality 
of it. The Prayers of the wicked are faid to 
be an Abomination unto the Lord, becaufe 
their very Prayers are Lies ; they come be- 
fore God with a fuppliant external Gef- 
ture, and make folemn Profeffions of Duty 
and Allegiance ; they profefs their earneft 
Defires of his gracious Affiflances, and 
X 3 their 


their Refolutions of abandoning their cor- 
rupt Lufts, when all the while their Hearts 
are far from him ; they are only lying to 
him with their Lips, as he complains of 
his profeffing People of old. Let us 
therefore earneftly guard againft this, and 
make it our great Care to get our Hearts 
cleanfed from reigning Hypocrify and 
Guile. Let us be earneft in our Addreffes 
to the Throne of Grace, that he who lov^ 
eth Truth in the inward Parts, would by 
his Spirit form us to that amiable Sinceri- 
ty which is fo pleafing in his Sight ; that 
he would fo caufe us to learn the Truth, 
as it is in Jefus^ that we may put off the old 
Maiiy which is corrupt according to the 
deceitful Ltijls, and may be renewed in the 
Spirit of our Minds, and put on the new 
Many which after God is created in Rigbte- 
oufnefs and true Holinefsy or, as the Words 
run in the Original, * Holinefs of Truth/ 
Ephef iv. 22, 23, 24. Let us not content 
Qurfelves with a mere Form of Godlinefs 
without the Power of it. Let us wor- 
fhip God not merely in outward Shew, 
but in Spirit and in Truth, as our Saviour 
expreffeth it ; and fee that in the Prayers, 
rhe Thankfgivings, and Adorations we of- 
fer to the divine Majefty, our Words be 
expreffive of the real inward Thoughts," Af- 
fcdions, and Defu'es of our Hearts. When 


we take up Refolutlons as in the Prefence 
of God, and bind our Souls to him with 
folemn Vows, we muft be careful to perform 
and fulfil thofe Vows, and muft exercife a 
continual Watch over ourfelves, that our 
Hearts may not turn afide, and that we be 
not unftedfaft in the Covenant of our God. 
Having opened our Mouths unto the Lord, 
we muft not entertain a Thought of going 
back from it. 

2dly, We muft alfo maintain a ftrid: 
Regard to Truth in our Converfes with our 
Fellow-creatures. In our Dealings and 
TrafBe we muft be juft and true, above 
the little mean Arts of Tricking and Falf- 
hood, that are fo common among thofe 
that are carried away by an eager Defire of 
Gain : we muft be conftant and faithful to 
our Words and Promifes, and ufe ourfelves 
to be fo even in fmaller Matters ; for thofe 
that allow themfelves to break their Words in 
Trifles, will be in great Danger of doing fo in 
Things of greater Importance. In our whole 
Converfations let us be governed by a Love 
of Truth, and keep at the remoteft Diftance 
from whatever borders upon a Lie. It is 
obferved concerning that excellent Heathen 
Epaminondas^ one of the moft admired 
Charaders in all Antiquity, that he had 
fuch a Regard to Truth that he would not 
utter a FaUhood, no not even in Jeft. 
And indeed thofe that accuftom themfelves 
X 4 to 


to fay Things which they know to 
be falfe in a Way of Jeft and Merri- 
ment, will by Degrees lofe all Reverence 
for Truth, and have little Regard for it 
even in ferious Matters. It is given as the 
Charader of the Man that fhall abide in the 
Tabernacle of God, and dwell in his holy 
Hill, that he walketh uprightly, and 
worketh Righteoufnefs, and fpeaketh the 
Truth in his Heart ; and that he fweareth, 
or promifeth to his own Hurt, and chang- 
eth not. He keepeth his Promife even 
where it feems to be contrary to his Inte- 
reft. PfaL xv. 2, 4. We are commanded 
to fpeak t^e T^riith in Love, that we may 
grow up into him in all Things, which 
is the Head, even Chriji, Ephef. iv. 15. 
And in the 25th of the fame Chapter 
we^ are exhorted to put away Lying, and 
to fpeak every Man Truth unto his Neigh-- 
hour ; for we are Members one of another. 
No Confideration either of Fear or world- 
ly Advantage fhould tempt us to deliberate 
Lying ', nothing can excufe it, and it always 
heightens the Crime that it endeavours to 
conceal. How amiable is the Charader 
that is given of Nathanael, that he was an 
Ifraelite indeed, in whom there is no Guile, 
John. i. 47, This muft be our Character if 
we would approve ourfelves real Chriftians, 
the Difciples of the holy fefus, all whofe 
Words are faithful and true, and the Chil- 


dren of that God that cannot lie, and 
who keepeth Truth for ever. By this we 
fhall adorn the Profeffion we make of Re- 
ligion, as by a contrary Condud: we iliall 
bring a Stain and Reproach upon it. 

I now come to the fecond main Ufe I 
would dired: you to make of this Subjed ; 
and that is, that we fhould improve the 
Conlideration of the ^ruth mid Faithfulnefs 
of God, as laying a folid Foundation for a 
Life of Faith. The Apoflle Paul fpeak- 
ing in his own Name, and in that of all 
fincere Chriftians, faith, we walk by Faiths 
aJid not by Sight. And it is declared, that 
the jiiji /hall live by Faith, Now Faith (as 
I hinted in my former Difcourfe) hath the 
Truth of God for its Objed. In order 
therefore to our living a Life of Faith, 
we mufl firft get it fixed upon our Hearts 
as a ftable Principle, an abfolute Depend- 
ence. Let us refign ourfelves entirely to 
its Gondud:, believing all the Dodrines 
that are there revealed, and relying on the 
Promifes that are there given us, and look- 
ing for the Accomplifliment of the Predic- 
tions that are there made. In doing this 
we fhall live that Life of Faith which is 
fo becoming Chriftians, and fhall (liew a 
due Regard to this glorious Attribute of 
God, that 'Truth of the Lord which en- 
dureth for ever, 

I ft. 


I ft. We muft ftiew our Faith in God, 
and our juft Regard to his Truth, by be- 
lieving the Doctrines he revealeth in his 
holy Word, even thofe that are moft dif- 
ficult to be comprehended by us. Many 
of thofe Things which natural Rcafon, 
if duly improved, w^ould lead us to ac- 
knowledge, are in the Gofpel Revelation 
more amply confirmed, and fet in a 
clearer Light. Befides which, there are 
feveral Things there revealed which our 
unaffifted Reafon could not have difcover- 
ed, at leaft with any Certainty. Such, 
in general, are the Doftrines relating to 
the wonderful Methods of our Redemp- 
tion and Salvation through y^fus Chrijiy 
the Dodlrine of the holy and ever-bleffed 
Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of 
God, the Satisfaction he hath offered for 
the Sins of the World, the new Cove- 
nant founded in his Blood, his perpetual 
Interceflion for us in Heaven, and the 
univerfal Dominion he is inverted with 
as Mediator, his coming in great Glory to 
judge the World at the great Day, the 
Refurredlion of the Body, and the won- 
derful Change that fhall then pafs upon it, 
&c. Some of thefe Things depended up- 
on the wife and free Counfels and Purpofes 
of God, which we could not have known 
if he had not thought fit to reveal them to 
us 3 and others of them relate to Things 



very myfterious in themfelves, and which are 
attended with Difficulties which we are 
not well able to explain, and which puzzle 
and aftonifh our feeble Minds. But this 
fhould not fliock our Faith, nor hinder us 
from yielding an AITent to thofe Doftrines, 
when we have Reafon to think that God 
hath taught them to us in his Word. It is a 
Homage which the human Intelledt owes 
to God, to believe whatfoever he reveals, 
though relating to Matters which exceed 
our Comprehenfion. A noble and an ac- 
ceptable Inftance of Self-denial it is in fuch 
Cafes to fubmit our Underftandings to the 
Obedience of Faith, and to refign ourfelves 
wholly up to the Guidance of infinite Truth, 
fubduing the Pride and Petulancy of our 
own prefumptuous Minds, which, though 
often puzzled to account for Things which 
feem to be moft plain and obvious, are 
yet for pretending to grafp Infinity itfelf. 
And this fubmitting ourfelves to the Con- 
dud of divine Revelation doth no more 
intrench upon the Liberty of the Under- 
ftanding, or that Freedom of Thought 
which is the Glory and Privilege of our 
Natures, than the keeping the Appetites 
within the juft Boundaries of good and equal 
Laws intrenches upon the Freedom of the 
Will. Does not Reafon and our own Ex- 
perience convince us, on the one Hand, 
* that 


that our Capacities are finite and limited ; 
that there are many Things moft certainly 
true which we are not able to explain or to 
account for ; and that confequently it is no 
fufficient Objediion againft the Truth of a 
Thing, that we cannot diilindlly conceive 
or explain the Manner how it is ? And, on 
the other Hand, doth not Reafon affure 
us, that God is a Being of infinite Wif- 
dom and Knowledge, who cannot be de- 
ceived himfelf, and of infinite Goodnefs 
and Veracity, who will not deceive his 
Creatures ; that confequently, in any Mat- 
ter whatfoever it is a fufficient Ground for 
our believing it, that God himfelf hath 
revealed it. After having therefore once 
got it fully confirmed to our Minds, that 
the Scriptures are the Word of God, all 
that remains with refped: to particular Doc- 
trines, is, to enquire whether fuch and 
fuch Dodrines be contained there, and if 
they be, we fhould receive them with a 
firm and unfhaken Afl^ent, without Doubt 
or Wavering, When we receive any Doc- 
trine merely upon the Credit of frail and 
fallible Men, we may well entertain Suf-? 
picions and Doubts concerning it. For 
Men are capable of an Intention to deceive 
us, or if they be honeft, and have never fo 
good Intention, their Honefty is no Secu- 
rity to us, fince the beft and honefteft of 



Men may be miftaken in their Notions 
and Reafonings, and whether Men defign 
to deceive me or not, it is neceffary for me 
to be upon my Guard, if they may deceive 
without defigning it. But when we rely 
upon a divine Teftimony, our Faith is fix- 
ed upon a folid Foundation. Whatever 
Difficulties attend the Dodirine that is re- 
vealed, if we are convinced that God hath 
revealed it, our Uncertainties are at an 
End. And what a Satisfadion muft it 
needs be to a generous Soul that is inflam- 
ed with the Love of Truth, that we are 
not left to: wander without a Guide in the 
Mazes of Ignorance and Error, but amidft 
the many Uncertainties that furround us, 
here is fomething in which we may fe- 
curely acquiefce, even that Word of God 
which is more fliable llian Heaven and 
Earth! Can v/e ever be fufnciently thank- 
ful to God, that he hath given us his holy 
Word to be a Lamp to our Feet, and a 
Light unto our Path ? that we have infal- 
lible Truth to be our Guide, by the Help of 
which the meaned fmcere Chriftians have 
a more certain Knowledge of many Things 
that are of great Importance than the moil 
fagacious of the Pagan Philofophers ? Let 
us therefore, with a divine Satisfaction and 
Repofe of Soul, rely on the Difcoveries 
God hath made to us in his Word, and 



embrace with an unfhaken Affent all the 
Doctrines that are there revealed. This is 
one remarkable Inftance in which our Faith 
muft fhew itfelf,and by which we muft ma- 
nifeft our" Regard to this Attribute of God, 
hisTruth andVeracity which endureth for ever. 
2dly, As we mufl believe the Dodrines, 
lb we 'muft truft the Predi6lions relating to 
grand and important Events that are yet 
future, as well as there have been many 
Predidions in the Word of God that have al- 
ready received their full Accompliihments ; 
and the Fulfilment of thofe that are now paft 
fhould ftrengthen our Faith with refpe(ft 
to thofe that are yet to com.e. Thus e. g. 
the Rejedion of God's ancient People the 
JeivSy and the Calling of the Gentiles j the 
Deftrudtion of ^erufale7n and the Temple, 
and the Jews being difperfed all over the 
Earth, and ftill preferved a diftincfl People, 
were plainly foretold , and as thefe Predic- 
tions have been evidently fulfilled, fo we 
may juftly pleafe ourfelves with the Hopes 
of the Accomplifliment of thofe Predidli- 
ons that relate to the Converfion of the 
y^it'i in the latter Days, and the bringing 
in the Fulnefs of the Gentiles, Again, it 
is exprefly foretold, that there iliould be a 
falling away from the Chriftian Faith, and 
under the Name of myftical Babylon^ an ex- 
traordinary idolatrous, antichriftian Power 
5 i5 


is foretold in the Chriftian Church, which 
under the Veil of Religion (hould deceive 
the Nations, and raife the moft cruel Per- 
fecutions againft Chrijl\ faithful Servants ; 
and that the Seat of it fhould be in the City 
which reigned over the Kings of the Earth 
at the Time when the Prophecy was given, 
which was the City of Rome: and as wc 
have feen this remarkably fulfilled, fo we 
have Reafon to look for the Accomplifh- 
ment of that Part of the Prediction that 
yet remains to be fulfilled, relating to the 
Deftrudion of the myftical Babylon^ and a 
more flourifhing State of the Chriftian 
Church than has yet appeared. 

Again, When we behold the remarkable 
Predidlions relating to Chrift's firft coming, 
his Miracles, SuflTerings, Death, Refurrec- 
tion, as having been fo exadly fulfilled, the* 
foretold feveral Ages before they came to 
pafs, this fhould help to ftrengthen our 
Faith with refpedt to thofe Prediftions 
that relate to his fecond glorious Appearance, 
when he ihall come to raife the dead, to 
judge the World, to inflidt Vengeance on 
the obftinately wicked and prefumptuous 
Sinners, and to compleat the Salvation of 
the righteous. Faith depending on the un- 
failing Truth of God fliould fo realize thefe 
great Events, in all their Certainty and Im- 
portance, as to give them a kind of prefent 



Subfiftence to our Minds. Hence Truth 
is faid to be the Subjlance of Takings hoped 
for^ and the Evide?ice of Things not feen, 
Heb. xi. I . Let not the Diftance of thefe 
Events, or the feeming Delay of their Ac- 
compUfliment, weaken our Belief of them, 
knowing that the Lord is not flack concern- 
ing his Promife (as fome Men count Slack- 
nefs,) but will fulfil what he hath promifed 
and foretold, in that Seafon that feemeth 
moll fit to his infinite Wifdom. Nor let the 
Difficulties that may feem to lie in the Way 
of their Accomplifliment, difcourage us; 
for all thefe Difficulties fly before the Power 
of an Almighty God. In fuch Cafes we 
ihould imitate faithful Abraham, who, in a 
Cafe of great Difficulty, and feemingly im- 
poflible, againft Hope believed in Hope, and 
Jlaggered not at the Promife of God through 
Unbelief \ but icasJi?'ong in Faith, giving Glory 
to God, being fidly perfuaded, that what he 
had promifed, he was able alfo to perform, Rom, 
iv. 1 8, 20, 21. And as we fhould look for 
the Accomplifliment of the Predidions 
contained in the holy Scriptures, fo we 
fliould often confider the Promifes that are 
there made for the Support and Confolation 
of the People of God. And we fliould 
fliew our Regard to the Truth and Faith- 
fulnefs of God,,by trufting in thefe Promifes, 
and applying them to our own Ufe, amidfl; 



the many Difficulties and Difcouragements 
we muft expe6t to encounter with, in this 
State of Trial. And the greater thofe Dif- 
ficulties are, the more (hould the Eminency 
of our Faith appear. Thus, e. g. Are we 
chaftened with fore and grievous Afflic-^ 
tions ? let us rely on the Declarations 
made in the Word of God, that all Things 
ihali work together for Good to them that 
love his Name; and that tho' no Afflic- 
tion be for the prefent joyous, but grievous, 
yet it iliall bring forth the peaceable Fruit 
of Righteoufnefs to them that are exercifed 
thereby. Rom. viii. 28. Heb, xii. Are we 
left deftitute of worldly Friends and Sup- 
ports, and forfaken by fuch on whom we 
moft depended ? let us place our fteady 
Confidence in him who hath faid, / will 
never leave thee, nor forfake thee. Heb. xiii. 
5. Are we in Wants and Straits, and per- 
plexed with anxious Cares, what we fhall 
eat, and what we fliall drink, and where- 
withal we ihall be clothed ? let us exer- 
cife Faith in the Promifes of God, remem- 
bering that it is declared in his V/ord, T'ruft 
in the Lord, and do Good^fo JJ:alt thou dwell 
in the handy and verily thou fialt be fed. 
Pfal. xxxvii. 3. And again, it is promifed 
concerning him that walketh righteoujlyt 
and Jpeakeih uprightly ^ that Bread (hall be 
give?z him, and his Waters Jhall be Jure. Ifa. 
xxxiii. 15, 16. Seek ye firjl the Kingdom 
[Vol. L] Y of 


of God, faith our Saviour, and his Righ- 
teoufnefs, and all thefe Things, i. e, the Things 
of this prefent World, as far as they are 
really good and needful, jhall be added 
unto you. Matth. vi. 33. Are we aiTaulted 
by Satan, and by violent Temptations ? let 
us rely en the Faithfulnefs of him who 
hath faid, My Grace is fa fficient for thee -, and 
who hath promifed, not to fiiffer us to be 
tempted above that we are able-, but that 
he ivill with the T^emptation alfo make 
a Way to efcape, that we may be able alfo 
to bear it. i Cor. x. 13. 2 Cor. xii. Are 
we ready to fink under a Senfe of our Guilt, 
the Numbers and Aggravations of our Of- 
fences, and to think that there is no Hope, 
and that our Iniquities are too great to be 
forgiven ? let us exercife Faith on thofe 
Promifes of God, whereby he hath engaged 
to receive the greatefi: of Sinners to Mercy, 
upon their iincere Repentance; and that in 
that Cafe, tho' their Sins have been as Scar- 
let, they iliall be white as Snow ; tho' they 
have been red like Crimfon, they lliali be 
as Wool. 

Thus when we are preffed down with 
Burdens of any Kind, we fliould by Faith 
cafl: our Burdens upon the Lord, waiting, 
upon him in a perfevering Dependence upon 
his Promifes. This it is to live by Faith; 
and to engage you to this, conlider, 



I ft. That fuch a Life of Faith will be 
peculiarly pleafing to God, and will tend to 
glorify him in the World. Hereby we ihall 
give God the Glory of his Faithfulnefs and 
Truth, which he fo highly delights in, and 
by which he fo often defcribes himfelf 
in the facred Writings ; and not only of 
this, but of his Goodnefs, his Wifdom, his 
Power, and All-fufficiency. Thus we are 
told, that Abraham being ftrong in Faith, 
gave Glory to God ; fee the Paffage I men- 
tioned before, Rom, iv. and accordingly his 
believing in God was imputed unto him 
for Righteoufnefs. 

2dly, Such a Life of Faith as it will be 
highly pleafing to God, fo it will be very 
comfortable to ourfelves. We ihall then 
have Support in every Circumftance, and be 
kept from finking under the greateft Difii- 
cuities, and be firengthened with Might in 
the inner Man. And fint^lly, we fhall be 
prepared for Fleaven itfelf, where Faith 
fhall be turned into Vifion, and Hope into 
everlafting Enjoyment. 

Y 2 Qn 

On the Unchangeahlenefs of God. 


James L 17^ 

F^very good Glfty and every perfeB Gift is 
from abovey and cometh down from the 
Father of Lights^ with whom is no Vari-- 
ablenefsi neither Shadow of Turning. 

IT Is the latter Part of the Words that 
I fhall particularly infift upon, Wtth 
whom is no Variablenefsy neither Shadow of 

It is one great Excellency of the facred 
Writings, that they every where abound 
with the nobleft Defcriptions of the Su- 
preme Being, fuch as tend to fill us with 
the moft admiring Thoughts of him, and 

Y3 to 


to produce in us fuitable devout Affedions 
and Difpofitions towards him. He is every 
where reprefented as moft amiable and 
moft venerable, w^orthy of our higheft 
Love, and of our profoundeft Veneration and 
Efteem. Great Care is taken to guard M 
againft entertaining any unworthy Concep- 
tions of the Deity, unbecoming his glo- 
rious Greatnefs, his Goodnefs, and Purity, 
We are there taught to take the Blame of 
all the Evils we are guilty of wholly to our- 
felves, and to give God the Glory of the 
Good that is in us, or that we are enabled 
to perform. To this Purpofe St. 'James 
here declares, Ver. 1 3. Let no Man fay when 
he is tempted, I am tempted of God : for God 
cannot be tempted with Evil, neither tempt eth 
he any Man, And then he adds, Ver. 17. 
Every good Gift, and every perfeB Gift is 
from above, and comet h down from the Fa- 
ther of Lights, with whom is no Variable nefsy 
neither Shadow of T^urjiing, How amiable 
is God, confidered as the great Fountain 
and Author of all Good ! But tho' he \vere 
moft kind and beneficent, as earthly Princes 
fometimes are in their imperfed: Meafure 
and Degree, yet if like them he Vv'ere va- 
riable and inconftant, he could not be fafely 
depended on. But when we confider, that 
he is good and kind, fo he is always the 
fame, unchangeatle in his Being, in his 



Perfedlions, and in his Purpofes; this tend- 
eth greatly to heighten our Efleem of him, 
and rendereth him the proper Object of cur 
Love, Admiration, and Affiance. 

God is here called the Father of Light Sy 
in Allufion, as fome fuppofe, to that glori- 
ous Luminary the Sun, the great Fountain 
of Light and vital Warmth to this lower 
World, v/hich may exhibit an imperfed: 
Refembiance of the difFuiive Goodnefs and 
Benignity, the unutterable Splendor and 
Glory of the fupreme Lord of the Univerfe. 
And the Alluiion fcems to be ilill carrying 
on, when it is here declared concerning God, 
that with him is 7io Variablejiefs, neither 
Shadow of T'urjiing, For the Critics ob- 
ferve, that the Expreffions in the Original 
are the fame that are ufed by Allronomers 
to denote the Changes and Variations 
that happen to the heavenly Bodies. Thofe 
glorious Orbs put on different Afpedls ; 
they are in themfelves mutable, and at 
length liable to a total Diffolution -, but God 
is not fubjeft to the leaft Variation. With 
him is not fo much as a Shadow of T^iirnmgj 
as the Apoftle here mod emphatically ex- 
preffeth it. He is, from everlafting to 
everlafting, the fame immutably perfedl, 
the fame mod amiable and beneficent Be- 
ing, the eternal indeficient Source o^ Glory 
and Happinefs. "This is a mighty Confo- 
Y 4 lation. 


lation, and a jufl Ground of Confidence 
and Joy. 

This Immutability of the Supreme Being 
is what I now propofe to coniider; and in 
treating of this Subjedl, I would obferve, 

Firft, That God is unchangeable in his 
Being and Perfedions. 

Secondly, He is unchangeable in his 
Counfels and Purpofes. 

Thirdly, He is unchangeable in his Ways 
pf Procedure, and Methods of affing. 

Firft, God is unchangeable in his Being 
and Perfeiflions. This is one Thing that 
feems to be intended in that glorious Cha- 
rader by which he defcribeth himfelf, / am 
that lam. The fame Thing is fignified by 
the Name Jehovah, which is appropriated 
to him in the facred Writings, and which 
leadeth us to confider him as the eternal 
felf-exiftent Being. All other Things are 
contingent ; they do not exift necelTarily of 
themfelves, but owe their Exiftence to the 
Power and Will of the Caufe that produced 
them \ and therefore it implieth no Con- 
tradidion to fuppofe them never to have ex- 
ifled at all, or to fuppofe them to ceafe to be, 
or to be liable to Change, and different from 
what they now are. But the original and 
moft fundamental Notion we can form of 
God, is, that he is abfolutely eternal, that 
he derived not his Being from any exter- 


nal Caufe, but exifteth neceflarily of him- 
felf from everlafting^ and it is manifefl: that 
that which exifteth neceffariiy, cannot be 
any other than what it is, and confequently 
muft be unchangeable in its Being. 

Again, That God is unchangeable in his 
Being or EfTence farther appeareth, if we 
confider, that if his Effence be fubjed to 
Change, it muft be owing either to an in- 
ternal Weaknefs and Defeftin its own Na- 
ture, or to the Power and Agency of fome 
external Caufe. To fuppofe any internal 
Weaknefs or Defed: in the abfolutely per- 
fect Being, were a m.anifefl Inconfiftency ; 
and it were equally abfurd to imagine that 
the eternal and felf-exiftent Jehovah, who 
derived not his Being from any thing with- 
out him, (hould be fo far fubjedt to the 
Power of any external Caufe, as to have a 
Change thereby produced in his Nattire or 

And if God be unchangeable in his Ef- 
fence, he is fo in his Perfe<£lions and At- 
tributes, which are not really diftind: from 
his EfTence. Whatever Excellencies we 
may fuppofe to belong to any created Being, 
they are ftill capable of being increafed or di- 
minilTied,and confequently of being changed 
from what they now are. The mcft glo- 
rious Angels may be raifed to higher De- 
grees of Perfedtion and Excellence than 



they have yet attained to. And on the 
other Hand it Is poffible in the Nature of 
Things, that they may fall from their Ho- 
linefs, their Goodnefs, their Purity, whilft 
they will retain their Beings ; becaufe thefe 
Qualities are, in the Nature of the Thing, 
feparable from their E/Tence, as appears by 
the Inftance of the evil Angels. But with 
regard to God, who is effentially moft pow- 
erful, moft wife, moft good ; he can no 
more fuffer the leaft Alteration in any of 
thefe his adorable Properties, than in his 
very Being or Effence ; for they confti- 
tute his Effence, and are infeparable 
from it. They are, as his Effence, infinite 
and eternal, not capable of receiving any 
Acceffion, or fuffering any Diminution. 
He can never grow more perfect than he 
always is, becaufe he is, from everlafting to 
everlafting, abfolutely and infinitely per- 
fedl, and nothing can be added to infinite 
Perfection. Nor can he eve^r be rendered lefs 
perfedt than he is. His Power can never 
be weakened, nor his Undcrftanding and 
Wifdom be ever impaired, nor his Good- 
nefs, and the Purity and Reditude of his 
Nature and Will, ever be diminiflied. He 
is always equally powerful and wife, holy, 
juft, and good, and is for ever raifed by the 
effential Excellency of his Nature above all 
Poffibility of being tempted to moral Evil. 



Secondly, God is without Variableneis, 
not only in his Being and Perfecflions, but in 
his Councils and Purpofes. We read of 
the Immiitabilty of his Conn ft L Heb. vi. 
17. And this is frequently and very figni- 
ficantly reprefented to us in the facred Writ- 
ings. Thus it is declared, Pfal, xxxiii. 11. 
that the Counfel of the Lord Jlcmdeth for 
every and the Thoughts of his Heart imto all 
Generations, The Wife- man obferves, that 
there are many Devices in a Mans Heart ; 
never thelefs the Counfel of the Lord, that 
fhallfiand^Vvov.xix. 21. God himfelf is in- 
troduced as declaring with great Solemnity, 
Ifa. xWu gy 10. lam God, and there is none 
elfe ; I am God, and there is none like me ; de- 
daring the End from the Beginning, ajidfrom 
ancient "Times the Things that are not yet 
do7ie, fayingy My Counfel fall f and, and I 
will do all 7ny Pleafure. And again, Ver. 
11./ have fpoken it, I will alfo bring it to 
pafs ', I have purpofd if, I will alfo do it. 
Men often alter their Purpofes and Coun- 
fels, either becaufe they were at firft rafli 
and ill concerted, taken up in a fudden 
Heat, and without due Deliberation j or 
becaufe, though their Purpofes were formed 
upon mature Confideration, yet through the 
Imperfection of human Underflanding, they 
did not take in a full View of Things ; 
fomething or other efcaped them which it 



would have been proper for them to have 
confidered ; or Things may fall out quite 
contrary to all Appearance and Probability, 
and which it was not poffible for them to 
forefee, and againft which therefore they 
could not provide ; and this may lay them 
under aNeceffityto alter their Schemes, or 
after having well concerted their Deiigns, 
they may want Power to put them in Ex- 
ecution ; or laftly, they may change their 
Purpofes from an unaccountable Levity and 
Inconftancy of Mind, and a Variablenefs of 
Humour, to which Men, and even thofe in 
the greateftEminency of Station and Power, 
are often fubje^l, or through the Pre valency 
of fome Paffion, or a View to fome word- 
ly Intereft, which they apprehend may be 
better ferved by altering their firft Purpofes. 
But none of thefe Things can pofTibly have 
Place in God. He perfectly knoweth all 
Things from everlailing. The whole Com- 
pafs of PoiTibilities, and the entire Scheme of 
future Events; every Thing that can happen, 
or that fhall come to pafs, lies always open to 
his all-com.prehending Mind. And he per- 
fedlly knoweth v^hat is beft and fittefl; to be 
done in every poffible Circumftance of 
Things. Nothing therefore can ever hap- 
pen to make him alter his Purpofes, becaufe 
nothing can ever happen which he did not 
forefee from the Beginning. And what he 
hath mod wifely defigned, he can never 



want Power to execute. For to him all 
Things are poffible. And he worketh all 
Things according to the Counfel of his own 
Will, as the Apoftle exprelTeth it, Eph. i. 
II. It is called the Counfel of his Will, 
to fignify that his Purpofes are formed upon 
the moft perfed: View of Things, and 
founded upon what feemeth moft fit and 
proper to his infinite Wifdom. And finally, 
there is no fuch Thing in God as Levity and 
Inconftancy of Temper and Humour, no 
partial mifguided Affections \ he hath no 
mean Paflion to gratify, no felfifli Interefts 
to purfue, which often put Men upon 
changing their Purpofes. 

It may perhaps feem not well reconcile- 
able to what hath been faid concerning the 
Unchangeablenefs of God's Purpofes and 
Counfels, that he is fometlmes in Scrip- 
ture reprefented as repenting. But it muft 
be obferved, that in other Paffages of the 
facred Writings it is exprefsly declared, that 
God is incapable of repenting. He is not 
a Man that he Jhould lie, nor the Son of 
Man that he /hould repe?it. Numb, xxiii. 19. 
I Sam. XV. 29. This fhews, that when 
Repentance is afcrlbed to God, it cannot 
be undcrftood in a ftrift literal Senfe, as if 
it imported a real proper Change of the 
Mind and Counfel, or as if fomething had 
happened which he was ignorant of before. 
3 But 


But becaufe when Men repent of a Thing, 
they alter their Courfe of adling ; therefore 
when God in his Dealings towards Nations, 
or particular Perfons, turns from Methods 
of Kindnefs and Indulgence, to thofe of r. 
juft Severity, or the contrary, this is, in Ac- 
commodation to human Infirmity, repre- 
fented under the Notion of repenting; 
though this very Change in his Dealings 
was what he perfectly knew and deter- 
mined from the Beginning, and made a Part 
of his original Scheme, but did not ^ actu- 
ally take Effed: till the proper Time came 
for manifefting his Purpole. There is a 
remarkable Paffage of this kind, Gen» vi. 6. 
where w^e are told, that when the Wicked- 
nefs of Man was great, and all Flefli had 
corrupted their Way, // repented the Lord 
that he had made Man on the Earthy and 
it grieved him at his Heart, This is a 
ilrong Way of Expreffion to fignify that 
the great and univerfal Corruption of Man- 
kind was highly difplealing to a pure and 
holy Deity 5 that it was fo contrary to the 
very End of Man's Creation, that if God had 
been properly capable of being grieved, it 
would have affedled him with Sorrow of 
Heart. And that whereas he had long 
borne with the Wickednefs of Mankind, and 
had treated them w^ith great Lenity and In- 
dulgence, he would now feverely punifli 



them, and manifeft his juft and righteous 
Difpleafure againft them, by fendingan uni- 
versal Deluge to deftroy them from off the 
Face of the Earth ; as if it had repented 
him that he had made them. But all this 
doth not infer a proper Change in his Mind 
and Counfels ; fmce this very Punifhment 
which he then inflid:ed upon Mankind, on 
the account of their great Wickednefs, was 
what he had purpofed from the Beginning, 
upon a Forefight of this their Wickednefs, 
though he did not adually accomplifh it 
till the proper Seafon came, and till their 
abounding Iniquities, which v/ere come to 
the greatefl Height, rendered it proper for 
him fo to do. 

Thirdly, God is without Variablenefs in his ' 
Ways of Procedure, and Methods of adiino-. 
This follov/eth from what hath been already 
obferved. For all his Ways and Proceedino- 
towards his Creatures flow from, and are 
conformable unto his infinite Perfedions, 
and the moft wife Counfels and Purpofes 
of his Mind. Since therefore his Perfec- 
tions and Counfels are unchangeable, his 
Ways of acting muft be fo too ; /. e, they 
are always invariably wife, good, and holy, 
always confiftent with themfelves. For the 
Lord is righteous 'm all his Ways, and holy 
in all his Works, Pfal. cxlv. 17. It is true 
they may not always appear to. us to be io. 

5 Some 


Some of the divine Proceedings and Dif- 
peniations may feem to be fcarce reconcile- 
able to Goodnefs and Juftice, in our narrow 
Appreheniions of Things. But this we may 
be fure of, that this feeming Irregularity is 
owing to our own Short-fightednefs, who 
cannot take in the whole Extent of Things 
in their juft Conne(ftion and Harmony- 
God's JVays are fometimes in the dark Wa- 
ters (as the Pfalmift exprefleth it) and his 
Footfieps are izot kjioicn. We cannot dif- 
tindlly trace the Reafon of his Difpenfa- 
tions : Clouds and Dark7iefs are roimd about 
hinu Yet even then it is certain, that Righ- 
teoufnefs and Judg7nent are the Habitation^ or 
*Eftabliiiiment', ^/"fo'j" T/jr(?.^f. Pfal.xcvii. 2. 
For he is the Rock^ his Work is perfe5f, and all 
his Ways are judgment : a God of 'Truths and 
without Liiquity, jujl and right is he, Deut. 
xxxii. 4. And hence it is a Part of that 
admirable Song of Mofes and the Lamb, 
Rev, XV. 3. "JuJl and true are thy Ways, O 
thou King of Saints, God's Ways of 
proceeding towards his Creatures in 
ail the different Circumirances and Re- 
lations they are under, are ftill fit and pro- 
per upon the whole, and agreeable to the 
Truth and Reafon of Things. Whether 
he dealeth with Sinners in a Way of 
great Tendernefs and Indulgence, or in a 
Way of righteous Severity ; whether he 



receketh them to Favour upon their return- 
ing to him by a fincere Repentance, or pu- 
nifh them for their Obftinacy and incorri- 
gible Difobedience. His Ways in all thefe 
different Turns and Afpeds are ftill uni- 
formly wife and juft, ftill equally worthy 
of God, and never vary from the fteady 
Rules of Reafon and Equity ; and it is in 
this that the Unchangeablenefs of his Works 
and Ways doth properly confift. Thus 
when God at length rejedled his ancient 
People the "Jews, whom he had for a long 
time fo highly favoured -, and when he in- 
ftituted various Rites and Ordinances, which 
were to continue till the Time of Reforma- 
tion, and afterwards abrogated thofe Ordi- 
nances, and caufed a new and more per- 
fedl Difpenfation to be introduced, to which 
the former was defigned to be preparatory ; 
all this did not proceed from any Variablenefs 
in God. His Conduct was ftill of a piece, 
always confiftent with itfelf, and every Part 
of his Procedure was only a fulfilling "and 
executing the moft wife and harmonious 
Scheme formed in his infinite Mind. Up- 
on the whole, our Ways are unequal, varia- 
ble, inconfiant ; but God's Ways are always 
equal, conftant, uniform, fuitable to the 
Reafon of Things, and governed by the 
fteady invariable Rules of infinite Wifdom> 
Righteoufnefs, and Equity. 

[Vol, L] Z Thus 


Thus have I gone through w^hat I 
thought neceflary for illuftrating the Apof- 
tle's Affertion, that with God there is no Fa^ 
riablenefsy neither Shadow of Turning, There 
is no Variablenefs in his Being and Perfec- 
tions, in his Counfels and Purpofes, in 
his Adlions and Ways. His Perfedions 
are unchangeable as his Effence ^ his Coun- 
fels are always agreeable to his Perfections, 
and flow from them, and his AcStions and 
Ways are a fulfilling of his moft wife 
Counfels, and are always conformable to the 
Purpofes of his infinite Mind. 

I fhall conclude this Subjedl with a few 

And I ft, This naturally tends to fill us 
with the moft admiring Thoughts of the 
incomprehenfible Jehovah, and fhould en- 
gage us to adore and worihip him with 
the profoundeft Veneration of Soul. God 
is the worthy Objedt of our religious Ho- 
mage and Adoration, as having all Excel- 
lencies and Perfections in himfelf in the 
higheft Degree of Eminency ; but it fhould 
render him efpecially glorious and vene- 
rable, when we confider that he is abfo- 
lutely, eternally unchangeable in them all. 
In this RefpeCt we may juftly cry out, 
JVho is like unto thee, O Lord, who is like 
tmto thee ? Who in the Heavens can be com* 
fared unto the Lord? who among the Sons of 



the mighty can be likened unto the Lord'? 
The moft exalted Angels are in their own 
Nature liable to Variation and Change. 
This vaft Fabric of Heaven and Earth, 
which appeareth fo flable and permanent 
whilft upheld by God's mighty Hand, is 
in itfelf mutable, fubjed to Corruption 
and Alteration ; and there is a Time com- 
ing when it fhall undergo a remarkable 
Change, and all Things lliall put on a 
new Appearance. But ftill God is from 
everlafting to everlafting the fame immu- 
tably happy, and infinitely perfect Being. 
Let us therefore worfhip him with the 
profoundeft Reverence, who is the fame 
Yefterday, and To-day, and for ever, and 
join in that noble and fublime Addrefs of 
the devout Pfalmift, PfaL cii. 25, 26, 27* 
Of old hajl thou laid the Foundation rf the 
'Earthy and the Heavens are the Work of 
thy Hands : They JJoall per ijl:^ but thou Jl: alt 
endure \ yea^ all of them pmll wax old like a 
Garment \ as a Vejhire Jloalt thou change 
themy and they Jlmll be chajiged : But thou 
art the fame^ and thy Tears JloaU have na 

2dly, The Coniideration of God's Un- 
changeablenefs yields great Comfort to the 
righteous, and lays a folid Foundation for 
a fteady Truft and Confidence in him. It 
is the Unchangeablenefs of God that is 
Z 2 the 


the Bafis and Support of Heaven and Earth. 
It is this that upholdeth the whole Frame 
of Things, and what is ufually called the 
Courfe of Nature, and fixeth and eftablifli- 
eth the great Laws of the Univerfe, of the 
natural and moral World, without which 
all Things would run into Diforder and 
Confuiion. If God were not unchange- 
able, there would be no Security for the 
Prefervation of Order; neither Men nor 
Angels, nor any Creature could have any 
Thing ftable to depend upon. But it lay- 
eth a juft Foundation for our Hope and 
Truil to confider, that as God is perfectly 
powerful, wife, juft, and good, fo he is 
all this eternally and unchangeably. It is 
becaufe of this that we can truft his Word, 
and rely upon his Promifes, and can draw 
Comfort from the Conlideration of his for- 
mer Dealings. For he is ftill as juft, as 
kind, as able as ever he was. His Arm is 
not jhortened that it cannot fave, nor is 
his Ear grown heavy that it cannot hear. 
'The Mercy of the Lord is from everlajling to 
everlajii?2g unto them that fear him ; and his 
Faitkfiilnefs endureth throughout all Gene- 
rations, We live in an uncertain World, 
where all Things about us are in a perpe- 
tual Fluduation and Change. The Con- 
dition and Circumftances of particular Per- 
fons, Families, and larger Societies, arc 



continually varying ; but it is our Comfort 
that God is ever the fame. He who go- 
verneth all the Changes and Viciffitude of 
this variable Scene, is himfelf immovable 
and unchangeable ; and will, with a wife 
and fteady Hand, fo over-rule Events, 
as to caufe all Things to work together 
for Good to them that love him. The 
Power of the greateft earthly Prince is 
unftable, or at leaft their Favour is very 
precarious, varying and inconftant as the 
Wind. It was the Saying of a famous 
worldly Politician, who after having been 
long in high Favour with a great King, 
fell into Difgrace, that if he had ferved 
God as faithfully as he had ferved his 
Prince, he would not have call him off in 
his old Age. Thofe whom we are apt to 
e|leem our beft Friends on Earth may 
prove inconftant ; but God loveth his Peo- 
ple with an everlafting Love, and hath 
made with them an everlafting Covenant, 
well ordered in all Things, and fure. His 
Gifts and Calling are without Repentance.' 
Rom. xi. 29. He hath /aid, and we m.ay 
be fure he will he as good as his Word, / 
will never fail thee, nor for fake thee, Heb. 
xiii. 5. When my Father and my Mother 
forfake me, faith the Plalmift, then the Lord 
will take me up, Pfal xxvii. 10. Can a 
Woman forget her fucking Childy that Jhe 
Z 3 Jhould 


Jhould not have CompaJJion on the Son of her 
Womb f yeuy th y may for get ^ yet will I fiot 
forget thee. Ifa. xlix. 15 He is ftill as 
ready as ever to receive Sinners to Favour 
upon their returning to him by a fincere 
Repentance, and to confer the moft valu* 
able Benefits upon all that heartily comply 
with the moft reafonable and condefcend- 
ing Terms of his Covenant. No good 
Thing v^ill he with-hold from them that 
walk uprightly. He v^ill grant them his 
gracious Affiftances in this State of Trial, 
and will at length give them eternal Life. 
He hath promifed it, and he will alfo do 
it. He will, in the proper Seafon, raife 
them to Heaven, and there place them in 
a permanent State of Joy and Felicity, 
where they fhall be for ever happy in his 
Love, and have the unchangeable God to 
be their fatlsf/ing Portion to all Eternity. 

3dly, As God's Unchangeablenefs yield- 
cth great Ccnfoktion to the righteous, fo 
it is Matter of juft Terror to the obfti- 
nately wicked and impenitent. Sinners 
are apt to flatter themfelves that they fhall 
have Peace though they walk in the Ima- 
gination of their own Hearts ; that they 
fhall find Mercy at laft, though they do 
perfift in an Indulgence of their corrupt 
Lufts, and in a Courfe of wilful prefump- 
tuous Sin and Difobedience. But fuch 



Hopes are altogether foolifih and vain. If 
the God with whom they have to do were 
variable in his Reiblutions and Purpofes, 
governed by inconftant Humour or Ca- 
price, they might have fome Hazard of 
efcaping his righteous Vengeance. But as 
it is, they have not the leaft Ground of 
Hope whilft they go on in their ungodly 
Pradrices. For God is invariably the fame 
infinitely pure and holy Being, who hath 
no Pleafure in Wickednefs, neither fliall 
Evil dwell with him. His Nature muft 
change, which is abfolutely impoffible, 
before he can admit the wicked to Com- 
munion with him, or to an Intereft in his 
Favour. For fuch Perfons to hope for 
Heaven, is to hope that God will be un- 
faithful and untrue, that he will ceafe to 
be the righteous and holy Being that he 
always is, that he will break his own fa- 
cred Word, and abfolutely fubvert the Or- 
der of Things which he hath eftablifhed. 
An Expectation as foolifh as it is impious. 
Confider this ye that now allow yourfelves 
in a vicious ungodly Courfe, and who are 
under the Power of depraved evil Habits. 
Since it is impoffible there fliould be a 
Change in God, it remains, that in order 
to your being happy in his Favour and 
Love, there muft be a Change in you, in 
your Temper, and in your Condudt. Set 
Z 4 your- 


yourfelves therefore immediately to fhakc 
off the Dominion of your fmful Lufts, and 
to forfake your evil Ways, and your Do- 
ings that are not good. You muft exert 
your own utmoft Endeavours, being fenli- 
ble that you muft either repent and be con- 
Verted, or you muft perifh ; and you muft 
at the fame Time be earneft in your Pray- 
ers to God for the Influences and Aflift- 
ances of his Holy Spirit, that you may be 
enabled to make to youfelves new Hearts 
and new Spirits, and to put off the old 
Mariy which is corrupt according to the de- 
ceitful Lujisy and to put on the new Many 
which after God is created in Righteoufnefs 
and true Holinefs, Then fhall he take a 
divine Delight and Complacency in you, 
and fliall rejoice over you to do you Good* 
For the righteous Lord loveth Righteouf 
fiefsi his Countenance doth behold the up^ 


On the Divine Happtnefs. 


I Tim. VI. 15. 
Who is the blejjed and only Potentate, 

the King of Kings y and Lord of Lords. 

C"^ REAT and worthy Conceptions of 
y the Supreme Being lie at the Foun- 
dation of all Religion. And accordingly 
it is one great Excellency of the facred 
Writings, that they every where abound 
with the moft juft and admirable Defcrip- 
tions of the Deity, and of his incomparable 
Glory and Perfedion, than which nothing 
can have a happier Tendency to engage us 
to adore and worfhip, to ferve and to obey 
him, and to fill us at once with an ar- 


dent fuperlative Love to him, and with 
a profound Awe and Reverence of his 
infinite Majefty. 

A remarkable Inftance of this we have 
in thefe Words of St. Pauly in which he 
reprefents God as the bleffed and only Po- 
tentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of 
Lords, who only hath Immortality, dwelling 
in the Light which no Man can approach 
unto, whom no Man hath feen, or can fee ; 
to whom be Honour and Power everlajiing. 
Amen. What a grand and fublime De- 
fcription of the Deity is this ! It is the 
firft Part of it that I fhall now parti- 
cularly conlider, in v/hich God is repre- 
fented as the blejjed and only Potentate, the 
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords ^ There 
?tre two Things which are here plainly 
fignified, the divine Happinefs, and the 
divine Dominion. The firft is fignified 
in the Chara(fler of blejjed, which is here 
given. The fecond is fignified by his 
being called the only Potentate, the King 
of Kings, and Lord of Lords, 

I fliall diflindly confider each of thefe. 

ifl:, Let us confider the perfecft Hap- 
pinefs of the Supreme Being, which is fig- 
nified by the Epithet bleffed, by which lie 
is here defcribed. In the New Tefl:ament 
there are two Words ufed in the Origi- 
nal concerning God, both which are ren- 


dered by our Tranflators blejjedy though they 
differ in their Signification. The one 
is ivhoyyjTOQy and is the Word ufed, Rom, i. 
25. where God is called hlejfed for ever -y 
and Rom, ix. 5. and in feveral other Places, 
And this Word, in its proper origi- 
nal Meaning, has fa Relation to the 
Praifes afcribed to him by his intellec- 
tual Creatures, and fignifies, that to him 
all Blefling and Praife belongs. The other 
Word which our Tranflators likewife render 
blejfedy but which, to diftinguifli it from 
the former, had better be rendered * hap- 
py', is ij^andpicg. And this is defigned, 
not fo much to fignify that he is wor- 
thy to be bleffed and praifed by his Crea- 
tures, as to fignify his own eifential Fe- 
licity, that he is mofl: perfectly happy 
in himfelf. And this is the Word ufed in 
the Text. The firft Claufe of the Verfe 
might therefore be properly rendered 
thus, tie ^ happy* and only Potentate, 

Happinefs is fo manifefl:ly included in 
the Idea of God, that all that have ever 
owned the Being of God, have regarded 
him as pofl^efied of a perfed: Felicity. 
Yet it will not be amifs to enquire a 
little into the Proofs and Evidences upon 
which this Principle is grounded^ how 
it appears that God is infinitely happy, 
and what that Happinefs is which be- 
z longs 


longs to him. This will tend to render 
that infinitely glorious Being very honour- 
able and amiable in our Eyes, and to fill 
us with the higheft Admiration of him, 
as well as to convince us how well fitted 
he is to make his Creatures happy, to 
be our fiifficient Happinefs as he is his 

I ft. In general it appears, that God 
muft needs be perfedlly happy, if we con- 
iider that he has an abfolute Fulnefs of 
Perfedion and Excellency in him.felf with- 
out any poflible Defeat. The higheft Idea 
we can form of the moft compleat Feli- 
city, is a full and abfolute Confluence of 
all poflible Excellency, Perfection, and 
Glory. The more excellent any Being 
is, and the fublimer and more enlarged 
its Faculties and Capacities are, its Hap- 
pinefs is of a fublimer and nobler Kind. 
Thus the Happinefs of a Man, when he 
afts up to the true End of his Being, is 
greater and of a nobler Nature than that 
of a Brute, and of an Angel than that of 
a Man. And as God is infinitely more 
perfe6l than the higheft Angels, fo his 
Happinefs is of as much an higher Kind 
as the Excellency of his Nature is fupe- 
rior to theirs, /. e, in an infinite Degree. 
The loweft Kind of Happinefs is the 
fenfitive 5 above this rifes the rational and 



human, above this the angelical, but 
above all the divine. Whatever there is 
of Excellency, Felicity, and Joy in the 
whole Univerfe is derived from God, and 
in him is contained and fummed up. He 
comprehends it all eminently in himfelf, 
and infinitely more. By enjoying himfelf, 
therefore, he enjoys all that is great and 
good, glorious and happy. For where 
there is an infinite Fulnefs of all poffible 
Perfection, there is no room for any farther 
Defires ; fince nothing is deficient, nothing 
can be added. This boundlefs Perfed:ion 
of the divine Nature muft needs be a 
Scarce of the moft perfeft Complacency 
and Joy to his infinite Mind. Where 
there is infinite Power, Wifdom, Good- 
nefs, Righteoufnefs, Truth, and all other 
Perfedions, in the higheft Degree of 
Eminency, and in the moft amiable and 
perfed: Harmony, how fublime and com- 
pleat m.uft the Happinefs refulting frorn 
this be ! With what perfedl Delight and 
Self-approbation muft he contemplate his 
own peerlefs Excellencies, efpeciaily as he 
is the great Original of moral Goodnefs and 
Beauty, comprehending in himfelf all that 
is lovely, juft, and pure, lie is infinite 
eflential Life; zati him is t&e Foun^aipi of 
Life, Pfal. xxxvi. 9. He is pure eternal 
Light; for we are told, that God is 



Lighty and in him is no Darknefs at all, 
I John i. 5. No Darknefs of Ignorance, 
Error, or Impurity. He is infinite Love, 
Goodnefs itfelf. God is Love^ i John iv. 
8. and Love is a Fountain of Delight. 
Now therefore, fince God is infinite Life, 
and Light, and Love, he muft needs be 
his own infinite Happinefs and Joy. 

But 2dly, I add as a farther Illuftra- 
tion of the divine Happinefs, that he hath 
all this Felicity eternally, unchangeably, 
independently. As from everlafting to 
everlafting he is God, unchangeably pof- 
fefied of all Perfedtions, fo from everlaft- 
ing to everlafting he is abfolutely and un- 
changeably happy. As he is equally perfedl 
at all Times, fo he is at all Times equals 
ly, that is, infinitely happy ; and as he 
can never in any Part of Duration, or in 
any poflible Circumftance of Things, be 
rendered lefs perfed:, fo he can never be 
lefs happy than he always is. He does 
not in the leaft depend on any Thing with- 
out him for his Being or for his Perfeftion, 
and confequently does not depend on any 
Thing without him for his Happinefs, nor 
can fufFer the leaft Diminution from it, 
or receive the leaft Acceflion to it. The 
Creation of this vifible World, the Ex- 
iftence of Angels and Men, made no Al- 
teration in God's own proper Happinefs, 



any more than in his Effence or Perfed:ion- 
He was infinitely happy in himfelf before 
there was any Creature formed ; and 
though we fliould fuppofe this vaft Uni- 
verfe with all the Orders of Beings in it 
to be annihilated, ftill would the Happi- 
nefs of God continue unchangeably the 
fame, fince he would ftill be the fame in- 
finitely perfed: and glorious Being, having 
a boundlefs Fulnefs of Perfeftion and Ex- 
cellency in himfelf. 

This leads me to add, 3dly, That God 
is for ever exalted above every Thing that 
might be fuppofed to interrupt or difturb 
his Felicity and Joy. For nothing can re- 
fift his Power, he can do whatfoever he 
pleafeth in the Armies of Heaven, and 
among the Inhabitants of the Earth. No 
Events can furprife him, which he did not 
forefee, fince he perfedlly knows all Things 
from the Beginning, and therefore can ne- 
ver properly meet with a Difappointment. 
There is no Neceffity or Fate which binds 
him, none but what flows from the moft 
free and wife Refolves of his moft per- 
fecfl Mind, whereby he ordereth all Things 
according to the Counfel of his own Will ; 
no uneafy Paffions or Perturbations can 
poffibly have Place in his infinite Mind. 
It does not difturb his Happinefs in the 
leaft that he governs this vaft World, and 



all the Orders of Things in it. Hence 
he is here juftly called the bleffed or * happy' 
Po'entate, to iignify, that his univerlal 
Government does not in any Degree inter- 
rupt or diminifh his perfed: Felicity. Few 
earthly Kings or Potentates can be reckon- 
ed in any confiderable Degree happy. 
However they appear ex:lted in Power 
and Dignity above others, yet many of 
their Subjedls are really happier, and enjoy 
more true Satisfadion than they. All the 
external Pomp and Magnificence of Em- 
pire, which dazzles vain Mortals, is often 
only a more fplendid Kind of Mifery. 
The beft of Princes are often puzzled 
with emergent Difficulties, or take wrong 
Meafures through a Weaknefs incident to 
human Nature, or find themfelves unable 
to execute the good Defigns they had 
concerted, or are diftracfled with the Mul- 
tiplicity of Affairs, For w^hat a Burden 
muft it be for a Man to have the Cares, 
not merely of a Family, but of a Nation 
upon him ! Yet what is this compared 
with the Care of this vaft Univerfe, and 
all Things in it ? Accordingly Epicurus and 
his Followers who denied a Providence, 
would not allow their Deities to concern 
themfelves with the Affairs of Men, un- 
der Pretence that this was inconfiftent with 
their Happinefs. And indeed it might 
c dillraa: 


diftraft and confound fuch limited imper- 
fedt Deities as thefe were whom they pro- 
feffed to acknowledge. But a juft View 
and Confideration of the infinite Glory 
and Perfections of the Supreme Being 
would convince us that his Government of 
the World is no way inconfiftent with 
the perfedt Bleflednefs he enjoys. As he 
created Heaven and Earth, and all Things 
that are therein, by his Wordy or by the 
Breath of his Mouthy as the Pfalmift ex- 
preffeth It, Pfal. xxxiii. 6. fo he upholds 
and governs all Things with the fame al- 
mighty Facility with which he created 
them. As he prefides over all the Changes 
of this mutable Scene of Things, without 
being himfelf changed, and over all the 
Motions of this material World, being 
himfelf unmoveable, fo he governs all the 
Faffions and Perturbations of Men, without 
being affedbed himfelf with thofe Paflions. 
All the Con fu (ions of this lower World 
occafion no Tumult or Com.motion in 
him; he rules them all in perfe6l eternal 
Tranquillity and unmixed Joy, and by his 
fovereign Influence brings Light out of 
Darknefs, and Good out of Evil, and 
maintains the Harmony of the v/holc 
amidft many apparent jarring Contrarieties. 
No fingle Event happens in the Univerfc 
but as he orders or permits for wife Ends, 
[Vol* I.] A a con^ 


conformably to the perfed: Scheme of 
Things, in his infinite all-comprehending 
Mind. He doeth all Things moft wifely, 
moft eafily, moft freely, without Anxiety 
or Difficulty. And as his EfTence fills Hea- 
ven and Earth, and is intimately prefent at 
once to every Part of this vaft Creation^ 
fo he governs every fingle Creature with 
as much Eafe, and as much Exaftnefs, as 
if he had only that fingle Creature to 

I add, that even the Sins of his Crea- 
tures cannot make him unhappy, or difturb 
and interrupt his perfeft TranquilUty. 
There are indeed feveral PafiTages of Scrip- 
ture, in which God is reprefented as grieved 
with the Sins of Mankind. See particu- 
larly Gen, vi. 6. and Ifa. xliii. 24. Thefe 
are popular Ways of fpeaking in Condefcen- 
fion to our Infirmity, defigned to aff'ed: 
our Hearts with a deep Senfe of the hei- 
nous Malignity of Sin, and its Contrariety 
to the holy Nature and Will of God ; this, 
which is all that is intended by fuch Ex- 
preflions, is certainly juft and true. But 
they are not to be taken in the ftridl literal 
Senfe, as if it were in the Power of wicked 
Men, or Devils, by their moft direful Blaf- 
phemies, or their moft malicious Oppofi- 
tion to his Authority and Laws, really to 
grieve and difturb their Maker, or to dimi- 
5 nifh 


tiifli his eflcntial Felicity. In this Senfe 
that Obfervation of Eh'hi muft be acknow- 
ledged to be juft : If thou finneji, what 
doefl thou againji him ? Or if thy Tran/gref- 
Jions be multipliedy what doeji thou unto him f 
Job XXXV. 6. 

But here it is proper to obviate a per- 
verfe Inference, that fome Perfons of pro- 
fane Minds have drav^n from this Princi- 
ple, that God is infinitely happy. They 
have argued, that therefore there can be no 
great Harm in finning againfl: God, nor will 
he feverely punifh it, fince it cannot hurt 
him, nor do him any real Prejudice. But 
this is a mofl; abfurd and unreafonable Con- 
clufion. It is to argue, that becaufe God 
is infinitely perfedl, and confequently infi- 
nitely happy, therefore his Authority may 
be contemned, and his Laws tranfgrefi^ed 
with Impunity : whereas, on the contrary, 
it fets the Evil of Sin in the ftrongeft Light, 
that it is an Oppofition to the Authority 
and Government of the fupreme Lord of 
all, who is pofl^efl^ed of all poflible Perfec- 
tions. Indeed if God were capable of be- 
ing rendered uneafy and unhappy, the Sins 
of his Creatures would make him fo. This 
is the genuine Tendency of Sin in its own Na- 
ture; and if it does not adtually produce that 
Effed:, no Thanks to the Sinner. It is not 
owing to any Want of Malignity of Sin, but 
A a 2 to 


to the infinite Excellency and Perfeffion of 
the divine Nature. And this very Excel- 
lency and Perfection of God renders the 
Evil of Sin more monftrous, which is really 
an Attempt, though an impotent one, againfl 
the Throne, the Authority, and Govern- 
ment of God j and as fuch defervcs and re- 
quires to be punifhed. If Sinners were fuf- 
fered without Control to oppofe their cor- 
rupt Will and Appetites to the holy Will 
of the fupreme univerfal Lord, to make 
their own Lufts their Rule, and to violate 
his Laws with Impunity, what but univer- 
fal Confufion would enfue, a boundlefs Li- 
centioufnefs, an utter Subverfion of all 
Order ! The beautiful Symmetry of the 
moral World would be diffolv^d. How 
difmal would the State of Things be, if 
there were no fupreme Governor and Judge! 
And it would be in effed: the fame, if this 
fupreme Governor and Judge took no Care 
to maintain his Authority, and fuffered the 
Subjeds of his moral Government pre- 
fumptuoufly to perfift in tranfgreffing his 
Laws, without puniiliing them for their 
Contempt and Difobedience. This would 
look as if he were indifferent to moral Good 
or Evil, a Notion the moft unworthy of 
God, and of his infinite Perfedlion, that 
can pofijbly be conceived. But far be it 
from us to entertain fuch injurious Thoughts 



of God. As fure as it is that he is the 
wife and righteous Lord and Governor of 
the World, fo certain it is that he will 
ad: in a Manner fuitable to that Relation 
and Charadier, and therefore will maintain 
the Majefty of his Government, and the 
Authority of his Laws ; and this cannot be 
done without inflidling due Punifhments 
on the obftinateprefumptuousTranfgreffors. 
As he is an eternal Lover of Order, of that 
which is juft and pure, and virtuous and 
lovely, fo he hath a fixed Deteftation of mo- 
ral Evil, which is the moil: manifeft Breach 
of all Order, the moft contrary to his own 
Perfedion and Purity, and which tends to 
bring Confufion and Mifery upon the Crea- 
tion of God. And therefore both the im- 
mutable Redlitude and Holinefs of his 
Nature, and his Regard to the univerfal 
Good and Happinefs of his Creatures, will 
engage him to do all that is proper for him 
as a righteous Governor, to flop the fpread- 
ing of moral Evil, by denouncing and exe- 
cuting his juft Judgments againft it. 

I would conclude this Difcourfe, concern- 
ing the divine Happinefs, with this Reflec- 
tion ; that fince God is the bleffed or happy 
Potentate, we may hence fee of how great 
Importance it is- to feek for Happinefs in 
him, and to fecure an Intereft in his Fa- 
vour. It is vain to expedt Happinefs from 
A a 3 the 


the greateft Potentates on Earth, whofe 
Humour is variable, whofe Favour is pre- 
carious, whofe Life is fhort and uncertain, 
whofe Power is limited, and who are 
often Strangers to true Happinefs them- 
felves, and therefore incapable of commu- 
nicating it to others. But God hath a 
boundlefs Fulnefs of Excellency in him- 
felf. He is his own eternal Happinefs, 
and is therefore fufficient to be the Happi- 
nefs of his Creatures. For certainly an in- 
finite Good muft be every Way fufficient 
to make finite Beings happy. And it is 
our great Comfort, that he delighteth in 
the free Communications of his own Glory 
and Felicity, and in liberal Diftributions to 
his reafonable Creatures, except they fliut 
their Souls againft his heavenly Influences, 
and render themfelves unfit for receiving 
and enjoying his Love and Favour, by in- 
dulging themfelves in a Courfe of Sin and 
Difobedience. The principal gracious Pro- 
mife of the new Covenant is this, I will be 
a God unto thee. This every fincere Chrif- 
tian has a Right to apply to himfelf. And 
there is more comprehended in it, than any 
Man is able to exprefs, or any human 
Heart is able to conceive. What Enemies 
are we to our own Comfort, in not fre- 
quently contemplating the Fulnefs of Joy, 
Happinefs, and Perfeftion that is in God, 



and in not refledting on that gracious Pro- 
mife, whereby he hath engaged to be our 
God, our Portion and Felicity, if we will 
but return and yield ourfelves to him, thro* 
yefus Chrijiy by a true and living Faith, a 
fincere Repentance, and dutiful Obedience. 
We cannot indeed expect the full EfFed: of 
his Promife, whilft we continue in this 
prefent fmful World. But the Time is 
coming, and that fhortly, when that infi- 
nitely perfedt and happy Being fhall difplay 
his Glory, and communicate of his Ful- 
nefs to his faithful Servants and Children, 
who loved and ferved him in Sincerity here 
on Earth, in fuch a Manner as fhall for 
ever ravifh their Souls, and diffufe Joy and 
Gladnefs through all their Faculties and 
Powers. Then fhall they behold his Face in 
Righteoufnefs, and be perfeftlyfatisfied with 
his Likenefs. For with him is the Foun- 
tain of Life, and in his Light fhall they 
fee Light. In his Prefence is Fulnefs of 
Joy, and at his right Hand there are Plea- 
fures for evermore. Rejoice therefore in 
the Lord, O ye righteous, and fhout for 
Joy all ye that are upright in Heart. Let 
the Man of real Piety and Virtue de- 
light himfelf in the Lord, and in his infi- 
nite Perfed:ions, even when the World 
frowns upon him, and his outward Cir- 
cumflances have a dark and uncomfortable 
A a 4 Afped. 


Afpeft. If the Lord is his Portion, what- 
ever be his prefent Lot, he fhall in the final 
Iffue of Things be perfedly happy ; and 
rnay upon good Grounds, break forth into 
that rapturous Strain of the Prophet, 
Although the Fig-tree jhall not bhjjoin, 7iei- 
t her J tall Fruit be in the Vine^ the Labour oj 
the Olive Jhall faiU and the Fields Jhall 
yield no Meat, the Flock Jhall be cut off from 
the Fold, and there Jhall be no Herd in the 
Stalls ; yet 1 will rejoice in the Lord, I will 
joy in the God of my Salvation. Habak. iii. 
17, 18. 



On the Divine Dominion. 


Tim. vi. 15. 

Who is the blejfed and only Potentate-^ 

the King of Kings^ and Lord of Lords, 

IN my former Difcourfe on thefe Words, 
it was obferved, that there are two 
Things plainly fignified here, the divine 
Uappinefsy and the divine Dominion, The 
firft is fignified in the Charad:er of Meffedy 
or, as it might more properly be rendered, 
* happy', which is here given him. The 
fecond is fignified in his being called, the 
only Potentate, the King of Kings , and Lord 
of Lords, 

The firft of thefe has already been con- 
fidered. It was fhewn, that God muft 
needs be perfeftly happy, becaufe he has all 



the Fulnefs of Perfedion and Excellency 
in himfelf ; and that he has all this eter- 
nally, unchangeably, and independently. 
And it was farther obferved, that God is 
for ever exalted above every thing that 
could be fuppofed to interrupt or diflurb his 
Felicity* The Government of this vaft 
Univerfe, and all the Orders of Beings in 
it, does not create any Uneafinefs in him : 
nor is it in the Power of any of his Crea- 
tures, by their Oppofitions to his Autho- 
rity, and Tranfgreflions of his Laws, in 
the leafl: to dimini/h the perfed: BlefTednefs 
he for ever enjoys. Some Perfons of pro- 
fane Minds have drawn a perverfe Inference 
from this, as if becaufe Sin cannot hurt God, 
therefore there is no great Evil in finning 
againft him, nor will he feverely punifh it. 
But it was fhewn, that if the Sins of his 
Creatures do not make God unhappy, this 
is not owing to any Want of Malignity 
in Sin, which v/ould render him unhappy if 
he were capable of being fo, but is owing 
to the infinite Excellency and Perfeftion of 
his Nature; and this very Excellency and 
Perfedion of God mightily heightens the 
Evil of Sin, which is an Attempt againft 
his Authority and Government, and a mon- 
ftrous Breach of Order, and, as fuch, deferves 
and requires to be punifhed. Nor does 
God's infiiding Puniihments on his rebel- 
lious Creatures occafion the leaft Perturba- 


tlon in his infinite Mind, fince it is only 
adling agreeably to Juftice and Order, and 
in a Manner worthy of his Perfections, and 
becoming him as the wife and righteous 
Governor of the World, and which tends 
to the maintaining and promoting the uni- 
verfal Good. 

I concluded with obferving, that as God 
is his own eternal Happinefs, fo he is every 
way fufficient to be the Happinefs of his 
Creatures, and delights in the free Com- 
munications of his own Goodnefs : that 
therefore it is of the higheft Importance to 
us to feek to him for Happinefs, and to en- 
deavour to fecure an Intereil: in his Favour. 

Having confidered the firft Thing here 
fignified, viz, the divine Happinefs -, the 
next Thing that comes to be confidered is, 
the divine Dominion. As he is faid to be 
the bleffedy or * happy', fo he is reprefented 
to be the only Potentate, the King of Kings, 
and Lord of Lords. 

God is here called the only Pote?itate, as 
if there was no other that deferved the 
Name of Potentate but God alone. And 
indeed there is no other Potentate, whofe 
Dominion is fupreme and abfolute, uni- 
verfal in its Extent, and unchangeable and 
eternal in its Duration. 

I ft, God may be faid to be the only P or- 
ientate^ becaufc he alone is truly and pro- 


perly fupreme. All other Potentates are 
fubjed: to him, bat he himfelf is fubjedl 
to none. Hence he is here called, the King 
of Kings y and Lord of Lords, The highefl 
Honour that the migh ti eft earthly Monarch s 
can pretend to, is at heft to be regarded as 
his Vicegerents. He is the proper Source 
and fupreme Original of Dominion and 
Power. Inhere is no Power but of Gody and 
the Powers that be are ordained of God. Rom. 
xiii. I. From him they ultimately derive 
their Authority, and they arc all under hi§ 
fovereign Control. Promotion comet h nei- 
ther from the Eaft, nor from the JFeJiy nor 
from the South : but God is the Judge -, he 
putteth down o^ie, and fetteth up another. 
PfaL Ixxv. 6, 7. He changeth ■ the Times 
and the Seafons ^ he removeth Kings, and fet- 
teth up Kings, Dan. ii. 2i.- -Or aSjit is 
expreffed, Dan. iv. 25. 'The mofl High ruleth 
in the Kingdom of Men, and giyeth it to 
whomfoever he wilU In this and feveral 
other Paffages of the facred Writings, God 
is defcribed under the Charadler of the moft 
High, to iliew, that he is infinitely fupe- 
rior to all other Beings whatfoever. ThoUy 
Lord, art mofl high for ever?7iorey faith the 
Pfalmift, PfaL xcii. 8. He is faid to be 
higher than the higheft, Ecclef v, S, If 
thoufeeji the Opprejjion of the Poor, and vio^ 
lent perverting oj Judgment and Juflice 



in a Province y marvel not at the Matter : 
for he that is higher than the highcjl regard- 
eth ; and there be higher than they. We arc 
told, that he jndgeth thofe that are high. 
Job xxi. 22. The Lord is a great God, and 
a great King above all Gods, Pfal. xcv. 3. 
/. e, he is infinitely exalted, not only above 
all earthly Princes and Potentates, but 
above the higheft Angels, the Thrones and 
Dominions, Principalities and Powers, in 
heavenly Places. For who in the Heavens 
can be compared unto the Lord ? Who among 
the Sons of the mighty can be likened unto 
the Lord? Pfal. Ixxxix. 6. 

2dly, God may be faid to be the only Po- 
tentatey the King of Kings, and Lord of 
Lords, becaufe his Dominion, and his only, 
is in the propereft Senfe abfolute and unac- 
countable, though at the fame time moll: 
juft and righteous : Whereas that of all 
earthly Kings is limited, if not by their 
own Subjects, and the Laws of the Com- 
munity, yet hy the Law of God, to whom 
they are fubjedl, and to whom they muft 
give an Account. The Abfolucenefs of 
God's Dominion is frequently aflerted 
in the facred Writings, in the ftrongeft 
Terms, Our God is in the Heavens, he hath 
done whatfoever he pleajed. Pfal. cxv. 3. 
Or as St. Paul exprefieth it, he work- 
eth all Things according to the Counfel of his 
own JVilL Eph, i. ri. JVhy Jlriveji thou 



againjl him, faith Elihu to Job, for he giveth 
not Account of any of his Matters'? Job 
xxxiii. 13. That haughty King Nebu- 
chadnezzar was brought to make that no- 
ble Acknowledgment of God's abfolute 
Dominion and Sovereignty : All the Inha- 
bitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing ; 
and he doth according to his Will in the Ar- 
mies of Heaven, and among the Inhabita7its 
of the Earth ; and none can fiay his Hand, or 
fay unto him. What doefl thou ? Dan. iv. 35. 
His Dominion is abfolute, becaufe there is 
no Authority to which he is fubje^t, no 
Superior to give him Laws, or prefcribe 
Rules to him, no Counfellor to inftrudt 
or diredl him, no higher Power or Tribu- 
nal to which he is accountable. He hath 
an abfolute Sovereignty over the Subjects of 
his Government, becaufe they are all his 
Creatures. For Jhall the Clay fay to him 
that fajhioned it. What makeji thou ? Ifa. 
xlv. 9. He gave them Life, and Breath, 
and all Things, and can without Injuftice 
withdraw that Life, and the Enjoyments 
of it, when he pleafes. For may not 
he do what he will with his own ? Matth. 
XX. 15. The Lordkilleth, and maketh alive : 
he bringeth down to the Grave, and brijigeth 
up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: 
he bringeth low, and lifteth up, i Sam. ii. 6, 
7, But earthly Princes are of the fame 



Species of Beings with their Subjects, Flefli 
and Blood as well as they ; and as they did 
not give them Exiftence, fo they have not 
an abfolute Right over their Lives, to take 
them away at their own Pleafure. And as 
God's Creation of us gives him an undoubted 
Property in us, and lays a juft Foundation 
for his abfolute Dominion over us, fo his 
infinite Perfedlion, the tranfcendant une- 
qualled Excellency of his Nature more 
eminently qualifies him for exercifing it. 
No Being is fit to have abfolute Power, but 
one of infallibly Wifdom, and of infinite 
Righteoufnefs and Goodnefs, becaufe fuch 
an one can never abufe his Power. Though 
therefore God's Power and Dominion be 
ftridly and properly abfolute and unli- 
mited, and in that Senfe his Government 
may be faid to be arbitrary, exercifed ac- 
cording to his own Will, without any exter- 
nal Law to dire(ft or oblige him ; yet this 
iliould give us no Uneafinefs : for the Pcr- 
feftion and Excellency of his own Nature 
is an eternal Law to him, which he can 
never counterad. without denying himfelf. 
His Creatures therefore have the higheft 
poffible Security, that he will never do any 
thing but what is wife, and juft, and good. 
He is for ever raifed above all poflible 
Temptations to Cruelty and Injuftice, and 
never ads from mere unreafonable Humour 



•or Caprice, but always from the moft juft 
Reafons, andamoft wife Benevolence, which 
hath the Good of the whole ever in View, 
and of each Individual, as far as is con- 
fident with univerfal Order. There are 
many noble Declarations to this Purpofe in 
the holy Scriptures. T^he Lord is good to 
ally and his tender Mercies are over all his 
Works : Righteous is he in all his WaySy and 
holy in all he doeth. Pfal. cxlv. 9, 17. 
He is the Rocky his Work is perfeBy and all 
his Ways are 'Judgment -y a God of T^ ruth y and 
without Iniquity y juft and right is he. Deut. 
xxxii. 4. His Ways are often in the dark 
Watersy and his Footfteps are not knowny 
and we cannot penetrate into the Reafon 
of his Difpenfations ; yet even when Clouds 
and Darknefs are about him, Righteoufnefs 
and Judgment are the Habit ationy or * Efta- 
blifhment', of his Hhrone. Pfal. xcvii. 2. The 
whole Creation is called upon to rejoice in 
this, that the Lord reigneth, RfaL xcvi. 
10, II, 12, 13. We have very amiable 
Reprefentations frequently made to us in 
the facred Writings of the divine Govern- 
ment and Providence. The Lord executeth 
Judgment for the opprejjed : he giveth Food 
to the hungry, "The Lord loofeth the Pr if oners: 
the Lord openeth the Lyes of th£ blind : the 
Lord^ raifeth them that are bowed down : the 
Lord loveth the righteous. The Lord pre- 



ferveth the Strangers-, he relieveth the fa-^ 
therkfs and Widow : but the Way of tht 
wicked he turneth upjide down. Pfal. cxlvi, 

7> ^> 9- 

3dly, God may be juftly calkd the only 

Potentate y the King of Kings, and Lord of 
Lords, with refped; to the Univerfality of 
his Dominion. He alone is the univerfal 
Lord ; this vaft Univerfe is his Empire. 
T^he Lord hath eftablifhed his 'Throne in the 
Heavens, and his Kingdom ruleth over alL 
Pfal. ciii. 19. How narrow and fcanty is 
the Dominion of the greateft earthly Po- 
tentates compared with this ! Let us con- 
fider this Earth of ours in its utmoft Extent, 
and then give an unbounded Stretch to our 
Imagination, in conceiving as far as we are 
able, all thofe vaft and numberlefs Worlds 
around us, to which this Earth of ours is 
but a diminutive Spot, they are all equally 
under the Dominion of God. The higheft 
Angels that excel in Wifdom and Strength 
are his Subjed:s. They do his Command- 
ments, hearkening to the Voice of his 
Word, and are his Minifters to do his Plea- 
fure. And as his Government extends to 
all the various Orders of Beings through- 
out the Univerfe, fo alfo to every Indivi- 
dual among tliem, from the greateft to 
the leaft and meaneft. The Affairs not only 
of Nations, but of Families and particular 
[Vol. I.] B b Perfons, 


Perfons, with the Events relating to them, 
and not only their outward Actions, but 
their very Hearts and Thoughts, which do 
not come within the Cognizance of human 
Judicatures, are all under the Infpedion 
and Government of God. This his uni- 
verfal and particular Providence is frequently 
aflerted and defcribed in the holy Scrip- 
tures : and it is of great Importance to us, 
to get our Minds firmly eftablifhed in the 
Belief of it. 

4thly, The laft Thing I would obferve, 
concerning the Dominion of God, and by 
which it is eminently diftinguifhed from 
that of all other Potentates, is, that it is 
unchangeable and eternal. Thy Ki?igdo?ny 
faith the Pfalmift, is an everlajling King- 
dom, and thy Dominion endureth throughout 
all Generations. Pfal. cxlv. 13. The Em- 
pires of this World, even thoie of them 
which feem to be eftabliflied on the fureft 
Foundations, continue but for a few Gene- 
rations; but the Reigns of particular Princes 
are jftill fliorter. It may be juftly faid, con- 
cerning every one of them. His Breath goeth 
"forth y he returneth to his Earth , in that very 
Day his Thoughts perijh, PfaL cxlvi. 4. But 
as it there follows, Ver. 10. The Lord 
reignethfor every even thy God, Zion, unto 
all Generatiojis. The Lord is the true God^ 
faith the Prophet Jeremiah^ he is the livi?7g 
4 God, 


GW, and an everlajiing King. Jer. x. 10. 
His Throne is for ever raifed above all the 
Changes and Viciffitudes of Time. His 
Dominion is ftable as Eternity. Thy 
"Throne is ejiablijbed of old, faith the Pfal-=» 
mid ; thou art from ever la fling. Pfal xciii. 
2. The Time is coming when all earthly- 
Kingdoms fhall fail, and all their Autho- 
rity and Power fhall be put down ; yea, 
and Chriji himfelf fliall deliver up his "me- 
diatorial Kingdom to God, even the Father, 
which was eredled for fpecial Ends and 
Purpofes j but ftill the univerfal Dominion 
of God fliall be unchanged, and he fhall 
in the moft eminent and glorious Senfe be 
for ever all in all, i Cor. xvi 24, 28. 

Thus have 1 confidered the divine Hap- 
pinefs and the divine Dominion, as iigni- 
iied in the noble Defcription here given 
of God, that he is the bleffed and oitly Po- 
tentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of 

I fliall conclude the v^^hole with a few 

And I ft. It is a natural Inference from 
what has been offered on this Subjedt, that 
God is the worthy Object of the higheft 
Praifes and Adorations of all intelligent 
Beings. In what rapturous Strains doth 
the Pfalmift exprefs himfelf to this Pur- 
pofe in feveral of his divine Hymns, and 
B b 2 particularly 


particularly in the 145th Pfalm, I will ex^ 
tol thee, my Ged, O King, and 1 will blefs 
thy Name for ever and ever. "Every Day 
will I blefs theey and I will praife thy 
Name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord^ 
and greatly to be praifed y and his Greatnefs 
is unfearchable. One Generation fhall praife 
thy Works to another, and fhall declare thy 
mighty ABs, I will fpeak of the glorious 
Honour of thy Majejly, and of thy wondrous 
Works, And Men Jhall fpeak of the Might 
of thy terrible ABs -, and I will declare thy 
Greatnefs. They Jhall abundantly utter the 
Memory of thy great Goodnefs, and Jhall fng 
of thy Right eon fnefs. All thy Works Jhall 
praife thee, O Lord, and thy Saints fhall 
blefs thee. They f jail fpeak of the Glory of 
thy Kingdom, and talk of thy Power : To 
make known to the Sons of Men his mighty 
A5ls, and the glorious Majejiy of his King" 
dom. It is true, that God is not capable 
of receiving the leaft Acceffion to his ef- 
fential Glory and Felicity by the united 
Praifes and Adorations of Angels and 
Men. But yet it is his Will that we 
fhould employ ourfelves this Way, becaufe 
it is agreeable to the juft Order of Things 
that it fhould be fo. If it be fit and rea- 
fonable, as it manifeflly is, that reafona- 
ble Beings fliould entertain the highefl 
Efleem, Veneration, and Love, for the 



great Lord of the Univerfe, the Fountain 
of all Perfection and Happinefs, and their 
conftant bountiful Benefadtor, it is equally 
fit and reafonable that they fhould exprefs 
thofe inward gOod Affedions and Difpofi- 
tions of their Minds by their adoring 
Praifes and Acknowledgments. And this 
is acceptable unto God, not as if he were 
like vain Men that love to hear their own 
Praifes, as fome Enemies to Religion have 
unworthily reprefented it, but becaufe he 
is pleafed to fee his reafonable Creatures 
exercifing good Affedions, and ading in 
a Manner becoming the Obligations they 
are under, and the noble Faculties he hath 
given them. And therefore, for our En- 
couragement he condefcendeth to exprefs 
his Complacency in our Praifes and Ado- 
rations when offered up in the Sincerity of 
our Hearts, and will as certainly and as am- 
ply reward them, as if he received a real 
Honour and Advantage from our relio-ious 
Services. When we ccnfider this, we have 
Reafon to cry out, Lord, what is Man that 
thou art mindful of him ? and the Son of 
Man that thou "vifteji him ? What are our 
poor imperfed Praifes and Services, that 
thou fhouldefl fo gracioufly regard them, 
and even vouchfafe to declare, that whofo- 
ever offereth Praife honoureth thee ! Surely 
our Goodnefs extendeth not unto thee, 
B b 3 but 


but thy Goodnefs is continually flowing 
down upon us, and therefore we will, as 
is moft reafonable, with all the Powers 
thou haft given us, adore and blefs thee, 
and manifeft the Senfe we have of the 
Obhgations we are under, both by the 
Praifes of our Lips and the Obedience of 
our Lips. This leads me to add, 

2dly, That fince God is the ble£ed and 
only Pote?2tate, we owe him the moft ab- 
folute and unreferved, and at the fame 
Time the moft chearful Submiffion and 
Obedience. He has given us Laws for 
the Rule of our Duty, all which Laws 
we are indifpenfably bound to obferve. It 
highly concerneth us therefore to be ac- 
quainted with his holy Will, and what it 
is that he requireth of us ; our Part is not 
to difpute, but to obey. We fhould fet 
ourfelves heartily to fulfil his Command- 
ments, however they may appear difficult, 
or difagreeable to the Flefli. And our 
Obedience fhould not be merely by Con- 
ftraint, but of Choice, as being perfuaded 
of his juft Propriety in us, and Dominion 
over us, that he is our moft rightful So- 
vereign and Lord, and the Lord of the 
Univerfe, of infinite Wifdom, Righteouf- 
nefs, and Goodnefs ^ and that all his Laws 
are holy, juft, and good, and tend to the 
true Felicity and Perfedlion of our owa 



Nature. We fhould not fuffer the Luft of 
the Flefh, the Luft of the Eye, or the 
Pride of Life, any Profpedls of worldly 
Honours, Pleafures, or Gain, to entice us, 
or any Fears of worldly Evils to deter us 
from the Duty and Allegiance we owe him. 
If it ever happens, that the Commands of 
an earthly Monarch interfere with the Laws 
of the great King of Kings, aiid Lord of 
Lords, we muft not hefitate a Moment 
which to prefer ; for it is an eternal Truth, 
that we ought to obey God rather than 
Man, Adls v. 29. He alone is the Lord 
of Confcience ; and all Laws are in them- 
felves void, and incapable of laying aa 
Obligation upon us which are contrary to 
the divine. His Difpleafure is infinitely 
more to be feared than that of any, or all 
the Potentates upon Earth. They can 
only kill the Body, and after that have no 
more that they can do ; but he, after he hath 
killed, hath Power to caji into Hell ; as our 
Saviour fpeaks, Luke xii. 4, 5. And on 
the other Hand, his Favour is of infinite- 
ly greater Importance to us, than that of 
the greateft earthly Monarchs. He hath 
the Treafures of the Univerfe in his Hands, 
and is himfelf the infinite Good, the ever- " 
lafting Source of true Glory and Bleffed- 
nefs. They can at beft only beftow fonie 
B b 4 " tran« 


tfanfitory Riches and Honours on their 
Sen^ants and Favourites ; and what are 
thefe compared with that eternal Glory 
and Felicity with which God will reward 
thofe that love and ferve him in Sincerity ? 
This is a Reward far tranfcending what 
we could have challenged as ftriftly due 
to us, even though we had perfedily obey^ 
ed. How much lefs could we have claim- 
ed it on the Account of an Obedience fo 
imperfect and defedive as ours is ! But he 
will reward us, not merely according to 
pur Deferts, but according to the glorious 
Riches of his Grace m Jefus Chrijl^ through 
whom he is pleafed gracioufly to accept 
and reward our fincere Obedience, flowing 
from Faith and Love, though mixed with 
lamented Failures and Defeats. This is 
the Tenor of that Covenant which he hath 
cftabliihed with us through the Redeemer, 
and in which we are affured, that eternal 
Life is the Gift of God through "^efus 
Chrijiy to thofe that fincerely believe and 
obey him. Let us therefore make it our 
daily Care and Endeavour to obferve the 
holy and excellent Laws which he hath 
given us, and to go on in a patient Conti- 
nuance in well-doing, looking for the glo- 
rious appearing of our Lord Jefus Chriji^ 
n^hicb in his Times he Jhall JheWy who 
Z is 


is the blejfed and only Potentatey the King of 
Kings, and Lord of Lords ; who only hath 
Immortalityy dwelling in the Light which 
no Man can approach untOy whom no Man 
hath feeuy nor can fee -y to whom he Honour 
and Po^er everlajling. Amen. 


On doing all to the Glory of God, 


I GoRiN. X. 31. 

Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or what-* 
foever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. 

THIS excellent apoftolical Precept 
is fo admirably comprehenfive, 
and of fuch an exteniive Influence on the 
Conducft of the Chriftian Life, that it cer- 
tainly deferves a very particular and atten- 
tive Confideration. By a due Obferva- 
tion of this, we fhall, in fome Meafure, 
anfwer the noble End of our Beine, which 
IS to honour and glorify God on Earth, 
in order to our eternal Enjoyment of him 
in the heavenly World, 


380 DISCOURSE xx; 

For clearing the Connexion of thefc 
Words it muft be obferved, that the Apof- 
tle Paul in this Chapter declares to the 
Chriftian Converts, that they might with- 
out Scruple eat whatever v^2.% fold in the 
Shambles y afking no ^ejiions for Confcience^ 
fake-y yet at the fame Time he acquaints 
them, that whenever it happened, that 
their eating any Thing might be a Stum- 
blino--block to a weak Brother, and caufc 
their Liberty to be evil fpoken of, they 
fhould, out of a Regard to the Honour of 
God and Religion, and to the Edification 
of their Neighbour, abftain from what 
otherwife would have been in itfelf law- 
ful. And then he gives it as an excellent 
general Rule, Whether ye eat or drinky or 
whatfoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God, 
Eating and drinking is among us the moft 
common Adtions of Life; we are then 
apt to have little elfe in View than the 
fatisfying the Cravings of Nature, Yet 
even in eating and drinking we are to 
have an ultimate Regard to the Glory of 
God, We muft not eat and drink as the 
Brutes do, merely to gratify fenfual Ap- 
petite, but muft take Care that we do it 
in a regular Subordination to the divine 
Glory, as our higheft End. A Regard to 
this great End muft run through all our 
Actions, and influence our whole Condudt. 



In treating of this Subjed; I propofe, 
firft, to inquire into the juft Meaning and 
Extent of this Precept, Whether ye eat or 
drinks or whatfoever ye do, do all to the 
Glory of God. Secondly, I fhall fhew the 
Reafonablenefs of this Precept, and the 
Obligations we are under to glorify God in 
whatfoever we do. 

Firft, Let us offer fomething for explain- 
ing the juft Defign and Extent of this 
Precept. And here it will be proper to 
inquire, both what thofe Actions are 
which we are here required to do to the 
Glory of God, and what is to be underftood 
by our doing them to his Glory. 

As to the Adions here referred to, we 
are told in general, that whether we eat or 
drink, or whatfoever we do, we muft do all to 
the Glory of God, Nothing can be ex^- 
preffed or delivered in more comprehen- 
five Terms. It extends to all our Ac- 
tions. There is no Part of our Conduft 
and Behaviour, but what comes in one 
Degree or other under the Regulation of 
this Precept. The Adions of Life may 
be ranked under three principal Heads, 
natural, civil, and thofe of a moral and 
religious Nature^ and in each of thefe wc 
are to have a Refpedl to the Glory of God as 
our fupreme End. This holds even with 
regard to our natural Aftions themfelves, 



fuch as eating and drinking, and othei" 
Adions that tend to the Support of this 
animal Life, and the gratifying our natu- 
ral Appetites. Thefe, abftradly and in 
themfelves confidered, have nothing of 
moral Good or Evil in them ^ yet they 
are to be regulated in Men by a fuperior 
Regard to the Glory of God, v^ith refpedt 
to the Meafure and Degree of them, and 
feveral Circumftances attending them. The 
fame may be faid of thofe Actions which 
are defigned for our Recreation. This 
Precept alfo extends to civil Adions, or 
Actions that appertain to us as Members 
of civil Society, and of larger or lefler 
Communities, and to thofe Ufages which 
•the Cuftoms of Nations have introduced. 
But above all, this Precept extends to 
thofe Adtions which are diredlly and im- 
mediately of a moral and religious Na- 
ture. Such are the Duties required of us 
in the divine Law relating to God, our 
Neighbours, and ourfelves. All thefe fe- 
veral Kinds of Adlions which have been 
mentioned may be regarded as compre- 
hended under this general Diredlion. Let 
us therefore enquire in what Senfe it is to 
be underftood, that v/c are to do whatfo^ 
ever we do to the Glory of God. 

And in order to this, we muft, in the 
firft Place, fee that the Matter of every. 


one of our Adions be lawful in itfelf, 
net contrary to the Will or Law of God. 
It is not indeed neceffary that all our Ac- 
tions be as to. the Matter of them exprefs- 
ly commanded by God. But then we are, 
on no Pretence whatfoever, to allow our- 
felves in the Commiffion of any Thing 
that is forbidden in the divine Law^ for 
that A6tion, which as to the Matter of it 
is forbidden by God, can never be done to 
his Glory. No Intention, let it be ever 
fo fpacious, can fandlify any Aftion that is 
in itfelf evil. It is an invariable Rule, 
that we muft not do Evil that Good may 
come of it. Rom. iii. 8. When therefore 
we are required to do whatfoever we do to 
the Glory of God; it neceffarily fuppofes 
that we muft take Care, that all our Ac- 
tions be, as to the Matter of them, law- 
ful. We muft alfo be careful, that as to 
the Meafure or Manner of them there be 
nothing in them contrary to the divine 
Will, or unfuitable to our Charader as 
reafonable Creatures and Chriftians. Ma- 
ny Adlions which are in themfelves law- 
ful, or of an indifferent Nature, may be 
carried to fuch an Excefs, or attended with 
fuch Circumftances, as to render them 
culpable in the Sight of God, or at leaft 
inexpedient. It highly concerns us there- 
fore, if we would anfwer the true Defign 



of this Precept, to take Care that our 
Aftions be, as to the Matter and Manner 
of them, lawful and innocent, and fuch as 
do not in the leaft intrench on the Regard 
that is due to the Rules of Religion and 
Prudence, Charity and Decency. 

But that which is moft direftly intended 
here, is, that all our AcStions muft be ulti- 
mately devoted to the Glory ofGody as our 
fupreme governing End. The Glory of 
God is a Phrafe which frequently occurs 
in the facred Writings. It* is properly and 
originally to be underftood of the divine 
Perfedions, which, in themfelves confi- 
dered, are eternally and invariably the fame. 
This mav be called his eflential Glory, 
which h incapable of Acceffion or Dimi- 
nution. Nor can any Creature pretend, 
without the higheft Prefumption, in this 
Senfe to advance the Glory of God, or to 
add to the divine Perfedions and Happi- 
nefs. The only Senfe therefore in which 
any Creature can be faid to glorify God, 
is, that it may be inftrumental to fhew 
forth his Glory, and may contribute to 
the Manifeftation and Difplay of the di- 
vine Perfedions. We may then be faid to 
do what we do to his Glory, when we 
adt in fuch a Manner as to fhew the 
high Senfe we have of his fupreme Ma- 
jefty and Dominion, and of his infinite 



Perfedlions, his Wifdom> Power, Righte- 
©ufnefs, and Goodnefs; when we make aa 
amiable Reprefentation of him to the 
World, and endeavour to raife the fame 
religious Sentiments and Affedlions towards 
him in others, whieh we feel in our own 
Breafts; when we yield a dutiful unre- 
ferved Subjedlion to his Authority, and, as 
far as in us lies, anfwer the Defign of his 
moral Adminiftrations by contributing to 
promote good Order, Holinefs, and Happi- 
nefs, in ourfelves and others. God him- 
felf declares, Whofo offereth Fraife, glorifieth 
me ; and to him that ordei^eth his Converfation 
aright, will I /hew the Salvation of God. 
Pfal. 1. 23. Our Saviour faith to his Dif- 
ciples. Herein is my Father glorified^ that ye 
bear much Fruit, fo fhall ye be my Difci^ 
fles. John xv. 8. To the fame Purpofe 
is that Exhortation, Matt, v. 16. Let your 
Light Jo Jhine before Men, that they may fee 
your good Works, and glorify your Father 
which is in Heaven. And St. Paul prays for 
the Chriftian Converts, that they might 
be filled with the Fruits of Right eoufnefs, 
which are by Jefus Chrifi, to the Glory and 
PraifeofGod, Phil. i. 11. 

This may ferve to give us a general 
Notion of what is to be underftood by 
our doing whatfoever we do to the Glory of 
God. But it may be of Ufe to explain 

[Vol. L] C c this 


this Matter more diftinftly : And to thk 
Purpofe I would obferve, 

I ft. That this is not to be underftood in 
fo ftridl a Senfe as if we were to have no 
other End in View in any of our Adtions 
but the divine Glory, or as if we were to 
have an adual explicit Intention this Way 
in every fingle Adion we perform. 

There are feveral particular Ends which 
it is lawful for us to have in View, both 
with regard to ourfelves and others, in car- 
rying on the Bufinefs, or relifliing the En- 
joyments of human Life. The Glory of 
God is not deiigned to be the only End we 
are to aim at, exclufive of all others ; it is 
fufficient if it be the higheft End, to which 
every Thing elfe muft be fubordinate. 
Nor can we always have that great End 
adlually in our Thoughts, amidft the vaft 
Variety of Things v/hich employ our 
Minds, and engage our Attention in this 
prefent State. When therefore it is here 
required of us, that whether we eat or 
drink^ or whatfoever we doy we ftiould d7 
all to the Glory of God-, it iignifies, 

I ft, That we muft have an habitual 
fixed Intention . to pleafe and ferve Gody 
and to glorify him in the World 3 and that 
this muft have a governing Influence over 
us in the general Courfe of our Prac- 
tice. 3 



2dly, That we muft frequently have 
an adiual Intention this Way in the parti- 
cular A6lions we perform, when proper 
Opportunity offers, and the Cafe feems to 
require it. 

I ft, We muft have an habitual fixed 
Intention to pleafe and ferve God, and to 
glorify him in the World; and this muft 
have a governing Influence over us in the 
general Courfe of our Pradice. This ha- 
bitual Intention of glorifying God f ip~ 
pofes that our Souls are ftrongly im.preffed 
with a deep and lively Senfe of his adora- 
ble Perfections, his abfolute Propriety in 
us, and juft Dominion over us ; and the 
rightful Claim he hath to all the Service 
and Obedience we are capable of render- 
ing. And in confequence of this, it muft, 
be not merely a fudden tranfient Refolu- 
tion, but the deliberate fixed Purpofe of 
our Souls, that we will be for God, and 
not for another ; that we will live not un- 
to ourfelves but unto him ; and that we 
will make it our daily Care and Bufinefs 
to ferve and to obey him; and to walk 
before him unto all pleafing. Love to God, 
joined with a profound Reverence and ho- 
ly Fear of his divine Majefty, and Zeai 
for his Glory, muft become fo far the ha- 
bitual Temper and Difpofition of our 
Minds, as to diffufe its Influence through 
C e 2 our 


our whole Behaviour, fo as both to keep 
us from allowing ourfelves in any Thing 
that is contrary to his holy Nature and 
Will, and to be a powerful Incentive to 
thofe Adlions by which we may obtaia 
his Approbation, and fliew forth his 
Praifes and Virtues. As our Lord hath 
taught us to make it our conftant Prayer 
to God, that his Name may be hallowed 
or glorified ; fo to promote this great End 
by all proper Means in our Power, muft 
be the principal ruling Intention that ani- 
mates all our Endeavours, and direds and 
regulates our Pradlice. A Fear of offend- 
ing God, and a Defire of pleafing and ho- 
nouring him, muft run through the whole 
of our Converfation and Deportment, and 
engage us to deny Ungodlinefs and worldly 
Lufcs, and to live fobcrly, righteoufly, and 
godly, in this prefent World. We muft, 
in Conformity to the Will of God, and 
in Obedience to his Commands, follow 
the Things which are true, juft, and 
venerable, and pure and lovely, and vir- 
tuous and praife- worthy ; and by fuch a 
Courfe of Adlion w^e fliall glorify him in 
the World, and perform the Work which 
he hath given us to do. 

But 2dly, It muft not only be our fixed 
habitual Intention to pleafe and honour 
God in our general Courfe, but we muft 



very frequently have an adual Intention this 
Way, and muft propofe the Glory of God as 
our chief End in the particular Adions we 
perform. And indeed this is the natural 
Confequence of the former. Where there 
is a fincere habitual Intention of fervino- 
and glorifying God, it will frequently put 
the Soul upon adtually railing its Thoughts, 
Affedions, and Views, to the Supreme Be- 
ing, and aiming at his Glory as its princi- 
pal End* Many particular Occafions might 
be mentioned, in which this is highly 

Thus it fhould be more efpecially in our 
immediate Approaches unto God in religious 
Duties. We muft then have our Thoughts 
adually fixed on that glorious Majefty, and 
muft realize him as immediately prefent. 
In all the Parts of our religious Services, 
in our Petitions, Confeffions, and Thankf- 
givings ', in our attending on divine Ordi- 
nances, and reading or hearing his holy 
Word, we muft not have it in View, 
merely to be feen of Men, or to make a 
fair outward Shew and Appearance, but 
{hould have an adual Intention to glorify 
God in the World, to render him that Tri- 
bute of religious Homage and Adoration, 
which is fo juftly due to him, and to pro- 
mote cur fpiritual Improvement and 
Growth in Grace and Holinels, that we 
C c 3 may 


may be filled with tjiofe Fruits of Righte^^ 
oufnefsy which are by Jefus Chrifi, unto the 
Glory and Praife dJ God, 

And not only in religious Duties, but in 
Aclions that are of a civil Nature, we fhould 
often have an aftual Intention to ferve and 
glorify God. When v^e engage in any 
Affair or Action of Importance of any kind, 
as we fhould take care that it be lawful ill 
itfelf, and that there be nothing in it for 
Aiatter or Manner difagreeable to the Will 
of God, ib it is proper that we fhould 
commend it to the divine Bleffmg. And 
if we have a View, as we lawfully may, to 
our own Honour, or Pleafure, or Intereft, 
yet ftill all muft be in a regular Subordi- 
nation to the Glory of God as our fupremc 
iEnd, and in an entire Confiftency with it. 

Again, In entering on the Employment 
of every Day, in our feveral Callings and 
Stations, we fhould begin with an adual 
Intention of doing whatfoever we do, as 
in the Sight of God, and with an Eye to 
his Favour and Approbation. Every Mornr. 
ing fhould we commit ourfelves, and all our 
Concernments to him, whofe wife and good 
Providence hath appointed us our feveral 
Stations, and whofe Will it is, that we 
fhould exercife ourfelves in various Offices, 
according to the feveral Relations we bear, 
•and the Rank we hold in the Co^imunity. 



Thus muft we perform the Work of e very- 
Day in Subordination to the Will and to 
the Honour of God, doing what we do 
as unto the Lord, and not unto Men. 
Then ihall we anfwer the Defign ©f that 
excellent Exhortation, Be thou in the Fear 
of the Lord all the Day long, Prov. xxiii. 
17, and fhall be able, upon good Grounds, 
to conclude the Day, as well as begin it, 
with Acknowledgments of our conftant 
Dependence upon God, and our great Obli- 
gations to his Goodnefs, and with devoting 
ourfelves, and our Adtions and Affairs, to 
his Glory and Service. 

I add, and it it is what the Words of the 
Text lead us to take Notice of, that even 
in our natural Actions, fuch as eating and 
drinking, we muft have a Regard to the 
divine Glory. To fignify this is the^ Defign 
of that laudable Cuftom, of making a fhort 
Addrefs to God before and after our 
ftated Meals : a Cuftom which fome in 
the prefent Age feem willingly to difcard, 
as if they were afhamed of every Thing 
that has the Appearance of Religion \ but 
which is of the greateft Antiquity, both 
amongft Jews and Chriftians. The Jew5 
reckon it as one of the affirmative Precepts 
of the^ Law, Let every one blefs God in tak- 
ing his Repaji 3 to which purpofe they cite 
fpveral Texts of Scripture, And they have 
Cc4 beeii 


been from the moft ancient Times, and ftill 
are, very exad: in obferving it. And it 
may be gathered from feveral Paflages of 
the New Teftament, that this was the 
Practice of our Saviour himfelf, and his 
Apoftles : and that it conftantly obtained 
in the primitive Chriftian Church, appears 
from the Teftimony of the ancient Chrif- 
tian Writers. And it hath continued among 
Chriftians in a greater or lefs Degree ever 
fince. And it deferves our Notice, that it 
was cuftomary among the Heathens them- 
felves, as the learned have iliewn, efpecially 
among the ancient Greeks and Romans, to 
invocate their Deities, and to celebrate 
them at their Feafls and Entertainments : 
and this is faid to be the Ufage among 
the Chinefe and other Eaftern Nations at 
this Day : as it is alfo among the Maho- 
metans. So that it may be affirmed, that 
fomething like this has very generally ob- 
tained among all civilized Nations which 
have kept up any Form or Shew of Reli- 
gion. But it is not fufBcient merely to ufe 
a few Words in a formal Way ; we muft 
have an inward Senfe of our abfolute De- 
pendence upon God, and of our Obliga- 
tions to hini as our fpvereign Benefactor, 
who in his great Goodnefs provideth fov 
our daily Nourifhment, and not only for 
our Neceffiti^s, but for our Pleafure ; and 



it muft be our fincere Intention to employ 
the Strength which is thus dally repaired 
and renewed, in his Service, and to his 

Finally, We muft have an Eye to the 
Glory ofGody even in our Diverfions. We 
muft take Care that they be lawful in them- 
felves, and that they be kept v;ithin the 
Bounds of a due Moderation, and not car- 
ried to an Excefs. We muft ufe them as 
Recreations allowed us by our merciful 
heavenly Father, for preferving and pro- 
moting our Health, and exhilarating our 
Spirits, that we may be the better fitted for 
the chearful Difcharge of the various Du- 
ties incumbent upon us in this prefent 

Thus have I endeavoured to explain the 
true Intention and Defign of this compre- 
henfive Precept j Whether ye eat or drink, 
or whatfoever ye do^ do all to the Glory of 
God, I propofe in my next Difcourfe to 
fhew the Reafonablenefs of this Precept, 
and to offer fome other Confiderations for 
the farther Illuftration of this Subjedl. 




On doing all to the Glory of God. 


I Cor. X. 31. 

Whether therefore ye eat or drinky or what* 
foever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. 

TN my former Difcourfe on thefe Words, 
feveral Things were offered for explain- 
ing the juft Defign and Extent of this Pre- 
x:ept. It was obferved, that it is admirably 
comprehenlive, and extends in a greater or 
lefs Degree to all our Aftions. It fuppofes, 
that all our Acftions muft, both as to the 
Matter of them, and as to the Manner or 
Degree, be lawful and innocent ; and that 
there muft be nothing in them contrary to 
the divine Will or Law, or which intrudes 
in the leaft on the Rules of Religion and 



Prudence, df Juftice, Charity, and De- 
cency. And it efpecially fignifies, that all 
our Adions muft be ultimately directed to 
the Glory of God as our fupreme governing 
End. This is not to be underflood, as if 
by any Thing we are capable of doing, we 
could make the leaft Acceffion to his ^^^xs.-- 
tial Glory, /. e. to his Perfedlion and Hap- 
pinefs. The only Senfe in which reafon- 
able Creatures can be faid to glorify God, 
is, that they may be inftrumental to fhew 
forth his Glory, or to contribute to the 
Manifeftation and Difplay of the divine Per- 
feffcions, and to anfwer the great Ends of his 
moral Adminiftration, by promoting good 
Order, Holinefs, and Happinefs, in them- 
felves and others. Thus to glorify God 
is the chief End we are to propofe in all 
our Adions : not as if it were poffible for 
us actually to think of God, and to have 
an explicit Intention in every (ingle Aftion 
we perform, to do it to his Glory \ but an 
habitual fixed Intention to pleafe and ferve 
God, and to glorify him in the World, muft 
run through the general Courfe of our 
Pradlce, and have a governing Influence 
over our whole Deportment. And we muft 
alfo frequently have an adlual Intention this 
Way, when a proper Opportunity offers 
in the particular Anions we perform. Se- 
veral Inftances were mentioned to illuftratc 



this, which I (hall not now repeat, but fhall 
proceed according to the Order propofed. 
Secondly, To iliew the Reafonablenefs 
of this Precept, and the Obligations we are 
under to do whatfoever we do to the Glory 
of God. 

And this will appear, if we confider, 
I ft. That this is, in the Nature of the 
Thing, the beft and nobleft End which we 
can pofTibly have in View. Man, as he is 
an intelligent Creature, muft propofe fbmc 
End which he is to have principally in 
View. And if we confult unprejudiced 
Reafon, the Glory of God is properly the 
higheft End, and every other End muft be 
in a Subferviency to this. As God is in 
himfelf the greateft and the beft of Beings, 
the original Source and Centre of all Per- 
fedlion and Happincfs, fo he is in the Na- 
ture of Things, the chief Good, and the 
ultimate End, ofisohcm, and through whonij 
and to whom are all Tubings, What other End 
can we reafonably propofe to ourfelves as the 
governing End in our general Condu(fl, but 
the Glory of God ? Would we propofe our 
own Honour, Profit, and Pleafure, the Ad- 
vancement of our own particular Interefts ? 
Would we make this our chief End ? But 
is it juft and reafonable, that our narrow 
felfifti Interefts fhould be put in Compe- 
tition with the fupreme, all-comprehending 



Interefts of the great Jehovah? Let us 
confider what God is, and what we our- 
felves are, and then let Reafon pronounce 
which is the beft and worthieft End ; the 
pleafmg, obeying and ferving God, or the 
pleafing ourfelves, and gratifying our own 
Appetites ? It is indeed lawful for us to 
have our own Eafe arid Intefeft in View, 
but then this muft be in a regular Subor- 
dination io the Glory of God, as our prin- 
cipal End. And God hath fo ordered it, 
that what is for the Advancement of his 
Honour, is alfo for our own trueft Advan- 
tage. Nothing is more certain, than that 
by ferving God, and promoting his Glory, 
wx fecure and promote our higheft Happi- 
hefs. Thefe, when rightly undefftood, are 
never really oppofed to one another. But 
Men, in their fhort-fighted Views, are often 
apt to oppofe what they imagine to be their 
prefent flefhly Interefts, to the Will and 
Glory of God : though this is unqueftion- 
ably the moft excellent End, to which no 
other End can be oppofed, without the 
moft manifeft Breach of all the Rules of 
Juftice and Order. 

2dly, It appears that we are under indif- 
penfable Obligations to do what we do ta 
the Glory of God, becaufe this is the End 
for which we were created. Even the ina- 
nimate and irrational Creation glorify God 



olDJedlively, bttt without intending it. Thus 
the Heavens 2Xt faid to declare the Glory of 
God, and the Firmament Jheweth forth hii 
Handy-worki ushQanng the bright Impreffes 
of God's infinite Wifdom> Power, and 
Goodnefs. But befides this, God made 
intellectual Creatures, which might be ca- 
pable of glorifying him ad:ively, and with 
a deliberate Choice of Heart, and Intention 
of Mind. He made Man upright, after 
his own Image, defigning him to ferve and 
honour his Maker, that he might be happy 
in his Favour and Love. To this End ho 
endued him with an Underftanding ta 
know God, and contemplate his glorious 
Perfedions, and a Will to chufe and fix 
upon him as his chief Good. He gave 
him Reafon to govern and correfl: his infe- 
rior Appetites and Paffions, and to diredl 
his Adlions to the nobleft Purpofes. It 
was for this that Man was furnilhed with 
Faculties and Capacities fo vaftly fuperior 
to the Brutes, that he might live propor- 
tionably to higher Ends than they. God 
made us, and not we ourf elves. Pfal. c. 3, 
and therefore we fliould live and adl not 
merely unto ourfelves, but unto him, and 
for that End for which he defigned us. By 
being our Creator, he is our abfolute Owner 
and Proprietor, our fupreme and rightful 
Lord, who hath an unalienable Claim to 



all the Service, Love, and Obedience, that 
we are capable of rendering : his Will and 
Law fhould be our Rule ; his Glory the 
chief End to which our Actions fhould be 
dircded. As far as we do this, we anfwer 
the great End of our Being, the End we 
are fent into the World for, and without 
which we fhould live to no valuable Pur- 
pofe at all. 

3dly, We fhould do all for the Glory 
, of God, becaufe we are continually fuflained 
and upheld by him in every Adion, and 
are daily receiving manifold Benefits from 
his bountiful Hand. As it is God that 
created us at firfl, fo it is in him that we 
H'OCy and fnovcy and have our Being. It is 
by a conflant Influence from him that we 
fubfifl. He gave us the Pov^'er of ading, 
and without his providential Concourfe we 
fliould not be able to put forth that Power 
to Exercife, What therefore can be more 
fit and jufl, than that as we ad: from him, 
fo we fhould ad for him in our daily 
Courfe ? And as we can do no Adion 
whatfoever, but by Strength which is 
originally derived from him, fo we fhould 
do no A6lion whatfoever, but in Subordi- 
nation to his Glory. If we eat or drink, it 
is he that furnilhes our Provifions, and 
caufeth them to nourifh and refrefh us; 
and in all our Adions of whatfoever kind, 
5 natural. 


natural, civil, moral, and religious, and even 
in our Diverlions themfelves ; it is God 
that upholdeth us in the Ufe of our Facul- 
ties, and Powers of Body and Mind ; and 
therefore we ihould take care, that all our 
Adtions be done in a Conformity to his Will, 
and in a due Subferviency to his Honour, 
who hath granted us Life and Favour, and 
whofe Vifitation preferves our Spirits. He 
daily fhdwers down numberlefs Benefits 
upon us, in the Courfe of his bountiful 
Providence: And whatfhouldbe the Effedl 
of all, but to lead us up to him, our glo- 
rious Author^ Preferver, and Benefa(5lor^ 
and to eno:ap:e us to live to him, as our 
chief Good and higheft End ? 

4thly, We are obliged to do whatfoever 
we do to the Glory of God^ bec^.ufe thus io 
glorify Gody is the End for which we were 
redeemed. God had a facred Propriety in 
us, and a Right to be glorified by us in our 
Adlions, on account of his Creation, and 
conftant Prefervation of us : and this Right 
is farther ftrengthened by his having re- 
deemed and bought us with the ineftima- 
ble Price of the Blood of his only begotten 
Son; Te are not your own^ faith St. Paul, 
for ye are bought with a Price ; therefore 
■ glorify God in your Bodies and Spirits, ivhich 
are his. i Cor. vi. 20. We muft glorify 
him with all the Faculties of the one, with 

[Vol, L] D d all 

402 DISCOURSE Xx:r. 

all the A4embers of the other, and confe- 
quently in all the Adiions of both. It 
was for this End Chrijl died for us, that we 
might henceforth live, not unto ourfelves, 
but unto him who died for us, and rofe 
again, and through him to God our hea- 
venly Father. He gave himfelffor us, that 
he might redeem us from a' I Iniquity , and 
purijy unto himfelf a peculiar People zea- 
lous of good TForks : and for this End he 
fends his Holy Spirit, to fandlify and aflift 
us in the Performance of our Duty ; and 
fets before us the moft excellent Precepts., 
and exceeding great and precious Promifes,. 
and raifes us to the moft glorious Hopes, 
the Hopes of being for ever happy in his 
gracious Favour and blifsful Prefence. The 
Defign of all this is, that we fhould be 
efFedually engaged to ferve and obey, and 
glorify him. And accordingly the Tenor 
cf the Chriftian Covenant and Vow, 
which all Chriji's faithful Difciples are 
brought under, is, that they fhould yield 
themfeives unto God, as thofe that are 
alive from the dead, and their Members 
as Inftruments of Righteoufnefs unto God, 
honouring him in all their Actions, as be- a chofen Generation, his ranfomed 
and peculiar People, to fliew forth the 
Praifes and Virtues of their God and 



Having thus fhewn the Indifpenfiible 
Obligations we are under, whether we eat 
or drink, or whatfoever we do, to do all to 
the Glory of God, I fliall conclude with 
feme fui table Refledlions. 

And I ft. How juftly are thofe to be re- 
proved, who are (o far from anfwering the 
Defign of this Precept, that they difho- 
noiir God, inftead of glorifying him in 
their Adions. Do thofe do what they do 
to the Glory of God, who allow themfelves 
in Adions which are forbidden in the di- 
vine Law ? who blafpheme that facred 
Name, which they ought to reverence and 
adore, or at leaft treat it in a verv light 
and unbecoming Manner ? who profane 
God's holy Day, inftead of fandUfying it > 
and caft Contempt upon his Word and 
Ordinances ? Do thofe do what they ought 
to do to the Glory of God, who allow them* 
felves in the Breach of Juftice, Charity, and 
Mercy towards their Neighbours ? who in- 
jure them in their Perfons, by xA.6ts of Vio- 
lence, or defraud and over-reach them in 
their Dealings, or backbite and calum- 
niate them, and fpread evil Reports to 
their Prejudice ? Do thofe glorify God in 
their Aftions, who indulge thofe Lufts and 
Works of the Flefh, which we are com- 
manded to mortify, and which are fo con- 
trary to that Purity and Decency which 
D d 2 becomes 


becomes the Children of God, and the 
Dilciples of the holy Jefiis ? Do thofe eat 
and drink to the Glory of Gody who walk in 
Rioting and Drunkennefs, and have nothing 
in View but the Gratification of their bru- 
tifh Appetites ; or who neither look up to 
God for a Bleffing on their Food, nor are 
thankful to him for the Provifion he makes 
for their daily Suftenance and Support ? Can 
thofe be faid to glorify God in their Ac- 
tions, whofe whole Life is little elfe than a 
continual Succeffion of Diverfions and 
Amufements, as if this was the principal 
Thing they were fent into the World for ? 
and efpecially who give themfelves up to 
exceflivc Gaming, which, befides its being 
Mifpence of precious Time, is generally 
attended with bafe and corrupt Pradtices, 
and is produdlive of the moft pernicious 
Confequences, both to particular Perfons 
and Families, and to the Public ? Fi- 
nally, Do thofe do what they do to the Glory 
of God, who in the general Courfe of their 
Adtions make the pleafing of the Flcfh, 
and the Advancement of their worldly In- 
terefts, and the gratifying their Ambition 
and Avarice, their principal ruling End, 
to which tb-ey diredt all their Aims and 
Views, and which they pradlically prefer 
before the Service of God, and the pro- 
moting the Interefts of his Kingdom, 



And even as to thofe of us, whofe Hearts 
are in the main upright towards God, and 
fincerely difpofed and determined to ferve 
and glorify him in the World, we have 
Reafon to take Shame and ConfuiSon of Face 
unto ourfelves, when we confider how 
greatly we have been wanting in a due 
Regard to the Glory of God in our Acflions ? 
We have not fixed the Eye of our Minds 
on that glorious Being, fo frequently, and 
with that Affedion and Attention, which 
we might and ought to have done. How 
often have we engaged even in Adlions of 
Moment and Importance, without a fuit- 
able Senfe of our abfolute Dependence up- 
on God ? Have we not been often influenced 
and governed in our A(ftions by felfiifh in- 
terefted Ends and Views, rather than by 
a juft Refpecfl to the Gmy of God, and the 
Edification of our Neighbour ? Even in 
our religious Duties themfelves, how many 
Negligences and Defefts are we chargeable 
with, and how apt are we to take up with 
an outward fpiritlefs Formality, deflitute 
of Life and Power ! It becomes us there- 
fore, when we ferioufly compare our own 
Hearts and Lives with this moij comprehen- 
five Precept, to humble ourfelves deeply be-r 
fore God, and earneftly to implore his par^ 
doning Mercy, thro' Jefus Cfjrlji, whofe 
Plood cleanfeth from all Sin : and wherein 
D d 3 v/e 


we are fenfible we have been moft defedlive, 
let us fet ourfelves heartily to recfiify what 
has been amifs -, and ufe our utmo'ft Care 
and Diligence to approve ourfelves to God 
in our A6lions, and to do whatfoever we 
do to his Glory, And to affift you in this, 
I ihall briefly mention a few Diredions. 

I ft, See that you get your Hearts deeply 
afFedled and imprelfed with a Perfuafion of 
God's glorious Perfedions, his abfolute 
Propriety in us, and Dominion over us, by 
Right of Creation, Prefervation, and Re- 
demption. Confider his Excellency in 
himfeif, and the Relations he ftands in 
unto us, till you come to this as the deter- 
minate pradlical Refolution of your Minds ; 
that he is mofl juflly intitled to all the 
Obedience and Service you can render to 
him ; and that you are obliged by the moft 
facred Ties, to glorify him in all your Acti- 
ons, as far as you are capable of doing fo. 

2dly, You mufl make a lincere Dedica- 
tion and Surrender of yourfelves, and all 
that you have and are to God, through a 
Redeemer, upon the gracious and reafon^ 
able Terms of the Gofpel Covenant. This 
]s neceflary to lay the juft Foundation of 
an holy devoted Life. Till you thus yield 
up yourfelves unto God, you are not pro- 
perly fitted to glorify him in your Adions. 
This Covenant-furrender mull be abfolute 



and unreferved. It muft be entire and un- 
feigned, accompanied with a hearty Re- 
nunciation of the Devil, the ¥/oiid, and 
the Flefli, and of every Intereft whatfoevcr 
that comes in Competition with the Ho- 
nour and Duty we owe to our God and 
Saviour. And this Covenant-dedication 
iliould be folemnly renewed and redlified, 
as often as we approach the Table of the 

3dly, If you would do all that you do 
to the Glory of Gody you niuft do all that 
you do in the Name of Chrift, For it is 
in him that our Perfons and Services are 
accepted of God : and through him the 
gracious Influences of the Holy Spirit are 
commemorated to us. Hence the Apoftle 
exhorts in a Paflage nearly parallel to this. 
Col. iii. 17. Whatfoever ye do in Word or 
Deed, do all in the Name of Jfus Chrift 
givingT hanks to God and the Father by him. 

4thly, If you would do whatfoever ye do 
to the Glory of God, you muft labour to 
maintain a conftant Senfe of his all-feeing 
Eye, fetting the Lord always before you, 
and endeavouring to exercife daily Com- 
munion with him. No Day (hould pafs 
over us without offering up our ftated 
Tribute of Adoration, Prayer, and Thankf- 
giving to God. To him we fnould com- 
ipit ail our Ways, and on him caft our 
D d 4 Burdens 


Burdens and our Cares. We fhould rcr 
ceive the good Things we enjoy as from 
his Hand, and regard the Events which 
befall us as ordered by his Providence, 
A Regard to him mufi: mix with our 
worldly Employments, and with our focial 
Converfe ; nor muft we allow ourfelves in 
any A(ftions or Affairs, or in any Enjoy- 
ments, but what we may fafely, and with 
a good Confcience commend to his divine 
Bleffing and gracious Acceptance. Im- 
ploring the Afliftances of his Grace, we 
muft perform the Duties of our feveral 
Stations and Relations as in his Sight, and 
in Conformity to his Will and Appoint- 
ment ; and muft exercife ourfelves accord- 
ing to our Abilities and Opportunities in 
doing Good, and promoting Virtue and 
Happinefs in ourfelves and others. Here- 
by we ftiall, in our narrow Sphere, com- 
ply with the great Ends of his moral Ad- 
ininiftration. We m/ay then be faid to 
glorify God in the Earth, and to finilh 
the Work that he hath given us to do, and 
to ferve our Generation according to his 
Will. And thus to endeavour to glorify 
God is the fureft Way we can take to pro- 
mote our own true Honours and Intereft. 
For the greateft Honour a reafonable 
Cpature is capable of, is to be an Inftrument 
in honouring and obeying his Maker. 



And a Life thus employed is not only the 
moft honourable, but the mofl comfortable 
and delightful Life, even in this prefent 
State. No Pleafures arifing from worldly 
Affluence or fenfual Enjoyments can be 
compared to the divine Satisfadion which 
floweth from a Senfe of God's Acceptance 
and Approbation, and from a Confcioufnels 
that we are engaged in a Courfe of Action 
which is agreeable to his Will, and which 
he in his rich and fovereign Grace and 
Goodnefs will abundantly reward. And 
this leads me to the laft Thing I would 
obferve, which is, that if we now make 
it our earnefl Care and Endeavour to do 
whatfoever we do to the Glory of God; and 
therefore to glorify him on the Earth, 
we fhall enjoy him for ever in Heaven. 
He will gracioufly crown our fincere Aims 
and faithful Endeavours for the Advance- 
ment of his Honour, with a tranfcendent 
Glory and Felicity in his own immediate 
Prefence and Kingdom above, throughout 
the boundlefs Ages of Eternity, 


0?i heiiig Followers of God, 


Ephesians v. I. 

Be ye therefore Followers of Gody as dear 

NOTHING can poffibly give us a 
nobler Idea of the Nature and Excel- 
lency of true Religion, than that it is de- 
figned to raife us to a Conformity to God 
himfelf, the holieft and beft of Beings, 
the fupreme Original of Perfedion and 
Happinefs. Be ye perfeB^ faith our Savi- 
our, even as your Father which is in Heaven 
is perfect. Not as if it were poffible for 
us to attain to an equal Degree of Perfec- 


tion with God himfelf, which it were the 
higheft Impiety and Folly to imagine; 
but we muft, as far as we are able, make 
it our continual Care and earneft Endea- 
vour to refemble him more and more in 
thofe amiable Excellencies in which he is 
imitable by fuch Creatures as we are. And 
to engage us to this is the Defign of this im- 
portant and compreheniive Exhortation of 
the Apoftle; Be ye Follower Sy or as it 
might properly and literally be rendered, 
* Be ye Imitators', of Gody as dear Chil- 
dren : where it is plainly implied, both 
that all true Chriftians are in a fpecial 
Senfe the Children of God, and that as 
fuch, they are obliged to endeavour to imi^ 
tate and refemble him. 

In treating of this Paffage I fhall, firfl:, 
offer fomething concerning the Charadler 
by which true Chriftians are here defcrib- 
ed, that they are God's dear Children, 

Secondly, I fhall enquire into the true 
Meaning and Extent of the Exhortation 
here given, or what is included in our be- 
ing Followers and Imitators of God ; and 
fhall fhcw the Obligations we are under to 
be fo. 

ifl. Let us confider the Chara(5ler by 
which true Chriftians are here defcribed, 
that they are God's dear Children, The 
Perfons whom the Apoftle here honours 



with this glorious Charadier, are thofe, 
whom in the Beginning of this Epiftle he 
calls, the Saints which are at Ephefus, and 
the faithful in Chrijl Jfus, And the Cha- 
rafter equally belongeth to all that in eve- 
ry Place believe in Jefus Chrijiy and love 
and obey him in Sincerity. 

There is indeed a general Senfe in which 
all Mankind may be faid to be the Chil- 
dren of God, in as much as he is the Au- 
thor of their Beings, from whom they de- 
rive their Exiftence in a far properer and 
nobler Senfe than they do from their earth- 
Iv Parents. To him we owe the wonder- 
ful and curious Frame of our Bodies, and 
he is the Father of our Spirits. He giv- 
cth us Life, and Breath, and all Things, 
and on him v/e continually depend. In 
this Senfe he may be faid to be the God 
and Father of the whole human Race. 
We are all his Offspring, as St. Paul ob- 
ferves to the Athenians by a Quotation 
frorri one of their own Poets. ABs xvii. 
29. And on this Account we are oblig- 
ed to love, obey, and honour him. 

But it is not merely in this Senfe that 
the Charadler of God's dear Children is 
to be underftood in this Paffage. Every 
one that is acquainted with the New 
Teftament muft be fenfible, that Chrift's 
faithful Difciples are there reprefented as 



the Children of Gad in a higher and more 
eminent Senfe, in which that Charafter is 
not equally applicable to all Mankind. It 
-is frequently fpoken of as a glorious Privi- 
lege, of which all true Chriftians are Par- 
takers, and which is owing to the fovereign 
Grace and free Love of God our heavenly 
Father through 'Jefus Chriji- Beholdy faith 
St. Johriy what Manner of Love the Father 
hath bejiowed upon us, that we JJjould be call- 
ed the Sons of God. And he adds. Beloved, 
now are we the Sons of God^ i John iii. i^ 
2. Now in this prefent State we Chrif- 
tians, the true Difciples and living Mem- 
bers of the holy fe/us, are the Sons of 
God. And it is frequently fignified, that 
It is through Jeftis Ckriji, i\\Q Son of his 
Love, that God admitteth us to this va- 
luable Privilege. To this Purpofe we 
are told, that God h.2Xki predeflinated iis 
to the Adoption of Children by fefus 
Chnji unto himfef Ephef. i. 5. And that 
when the Fubtefs of the Ifme was come^ 
God fent forth his Son, made of a 'Woman, 
made under the Law, that we might obtain 
the Adoption of Sons. Gal. iv. 4, 5. Ac- 
cordingly St. fohn obferveth, that to asma- 
ny as received hinty to them gave he Power, 
or * a Right,' to become the Sons of God, 
even to them that believe on his Name. Jo^n 
i. 12. We had by our Apoftacy from God 



forfeited all Intereft in his Favour, and caft 
ourfelves oat from the Privilege^; of his 
Family. The whole human Race had fall- 
en from their original Glory, from the 
Image and Favour of God, into a wretch- 
ed State of Sin and Mifery. They became 
alienated from the Life of God, and v/ere 
eftranged and far off from him. But God 
hath, in his infinite Wifdom and Goodnefs, 
fent his own Son into the World, and 
hath appointed him to the glorious Work 
of recovering us from cur ruinous and loft 
Eftate. And upon our receiving Chrijt Je-^ 
JiiSy this great appointed Saviour, with a 
true and living Faith produdlive of good 
Works, and heartily complying with the 
gracious Delign of his Undertaking, we 
are brought into a State of Favour with 
God, and into the dear and honourable 
Relation of his Children. 

Nor is this a mere nominal Relation ; 
all thofe to whom this Charadler truly be- 
longeth are regenerated by his Grace and 
Spirit, and are made Partakers of a divine 
Nature, as St. Peter nobly expreffeth it. 
They have a happy fancSifying Change 
wrought upon their Souls, with regard ta 
which they are faid, in the emphatic^l 
Language of holy Writ, to become new 
Men, and new Creatures, and to be born 
again, and born from above. They are 
3 borHf 


boruy as St. John fays, 7iot of Bloody nor of^ 
the Will of the Fle/h, nor of the Will of 
Man, but of God. John i. 13. to figni- 
fy that this is not owing to the mere 
Powers of unaffifted Nature, but to the 
gracious Operations of God's Holy Spirit. 
Accordingly they are faid to be born of 
the Spirit, John iii. 5, 6. To the fame 
Purpofe it is obferved by St. James, that df 
his oivn Will hath God begotten us with 
the Word of Truth. Jam. i. 18. Where it 
is intimated, that as God by his Spirit, of 
his own free Goodnefs, is the principal Ef- 
ficient; fo the Word by its Dodrines, 
Precepts, and Promifes, is the main Inftru- 
ment in effeding this great Change. Arid 
the fame Thing is fignified by St. Peter, 
v/hen he faith, that we are born again, 
not of corruptible Seed, but of incorruptible, 
by the Word of God, which liveth and ahid- 
eth for ever, i Pet. i. 23. and he addeth, 
Tihis is the Word which by the Gofpel is 
preached unto you. Ver. 25. This Word 
of God received into the Heart becom- 
eth a living Principle there, a Principle of 
all Holinefs and Goodnefs, the Principle 
of a fpiritual and divine Life. And he 
that is thus born of God, the Apoftle John 
tells us, doth not co??imit Sin, i. e. doth not 
go on in a Courfe of wilful prefumptuotis 
Sin and Difobedience -, for his Seed remain- 



ethJn him^ i. e. thofe holy and divine 
Difpofitions which are wrought in his Soul, 
are Principles of a permanent abiding Na- 
ture, fo that, as it is there added, he cannot 
Jin becaufc he is born oj God. i John iii. 0. 
And he had before obferved. If ye know 
that he is righteous, ye know that every one 
that doth Right eoufnefs is born of him. i John 
ii. 29. And thofe who are in this Senfe 
the Children of God, are the Objefts of 
his fpecial Love and Favour, as the Apof- 
tle fignifieth when he here calleth them 
God's dear Children. They are dear to 
God, his beloved, in whom he taketh a 
peculiar Complacency above the reft of 
Mankind. They have their Fellowihip or 
Communion with the Father, and with 
his Son Jefus Chriji. He fendeth his Ho- 
ly Spirit to dwell in them, to affift, guide, 
and comfort them. Becaufe ye are Sons, 
faith St. Paul, God hath fent forth the Spirit 
of his Son into your Hearts, crying, Abba^ 
Father, Gal. iv. 6. He granteth them a 
Liberty of Accefs to the Throne of his 
Grace, fo that they can come with an in- 
genuous Freedom and AfSance as Children 
to a Father. He provideth for them 
whatfoever he feeth to be really needful, 
and caufeth all Things to work together 
for their Good. And finally, he giveth 
them a Right and Title to a glorious 
[Vol. L] E e hea- 


heavenly Inheritance. For if we be Chil- 
dnriy then are we Heirs^ Heirs of God, and 
Joint^heirs with Chrijl. Rom. viii. 17. 
Heirs according to the Hope of eternal Life. 
Tit. iii. 7. 

Having confidered the Charader by 
which true Chriftians are here defcribed, 
that they are God's dear Children^ let us 

Secondly, To inquire into the true 
Meaning and Extent of the Exhortation 
here given, Be ye Followers^ or ' Imita- 
tors', of Gody as dear Children. 

And that we may have a right Notion 
of what is included in our being Followersy 
or Imitators, of Gody it is proper to ob- 

I ft. That there are peculiar Perfedlions 
and Prerogatives of the Deity, with regard 
to which God is not properly imitable by us. 
He is the eternal felf-exiftent Jehovah, who 
exifteth neceffarily from everlafting to ever- 
lafting. His Power is almighty and irre- 
liftible, w^hereby he created this vaft Uni- 
verfe out of Nothing, and doeth all Things 
according to the Counfel of his Will. 
He fiUeth Heaven and Earth with the 
Immenfity of his Prefence. His Omni- 
fcience comprehendeth all Things at once, 
paft, prefent, and to come. His Domi- 
nion is abfolutc, and lie ruleth all Things 



with an uncontrolled Sovereignty, and 
none can call him to an Account, or fay 
unto him. What doeft thou? In thefe 
Things it were the greateft Folly and Pre- 
fumption for any Creature to pretend to 
an Imitation of the Deity. An undue 
Affedation of being like God in his So- 
vereignty and Independency feems to have 
been the Sin of the Devils, which cafl 
them down from their firft Habitation. 
And fomething of this Kind entered into 
the Sin of our firft Parents. They were 
not content with the Rank afligned them ; 
they wanted to be their own Lords : Ye 
ihall be as Gods, was the Temptation 
which prevailed on them, and flattered 
their Ambition. And ever fince Men have 
been too prone to affecfl a Kind of Deity 
and Independency. They are for making 
themfelves their ultimate End, and their 
own Wi/h and Appetites their Rule, and 
are ready to lay in their Hearts, Who 
is Lord over us ? As if they had a 
Right to think, fpeak, and aift as they 
pleafe, v/ithout being accountable to any 
Superior. They have often been for arro- 
gating to themfelves a Kind of Omnifci- 
ence. Not content with the Knowledge 
of thofe Things that belong to them, 
they w^ould alfo know thofe fecret Things 
which belong to God. They are for af- 

E e 2 fuming 


fuming an univerfal Comprehenfian, as if 
they had a Right to have all the divine 
Councils laid open to them, and were able 
to grafp Infinity itfelf. To affedl to be 
like God in fuch Refpedls as thefe, is to 
break from the regular Subordination of 
Creatures. And what a ftrange Perverfi- 
ty is it, not to endeavour after a Conformi- 
ty to God in thofe Excellencies and Per- 
fedlions in which it is our Honour and 
Happinefs to imitate him, and yet to afFedt 
a Refemblance of him in thofe Inftances in 
which it is the moft criminal Prefumption 
to attempt it ! 

Our Duty, with refpedl to fuch Perfec- 
tions and Prerogatives of the Deity as 
have been mentioned, is not to afpire to 
an Imitation of them, but to adore him 
on the Account of them with the pro- 
foundeft Reverence, and to carry towards 
him with fuch AfFe<flions and Difpofitions 
of Mind as becometh us towards a Being 
poffefTed of fuch unparalleled Perfedlions 
and Prerogatives. It is very ufeful fre- 
quently to confider his neceflary eternal 
Exiftence, his abfolute Supremacy and 
Independency, his Immenfity, Omnifci- 
ence, and Omnipotency, which are ufual- 
ly called his natural or phyfical Attributes, 
as diftinguiihed from his moral, in order 
to fill us with the moft awful admiring 



Thoughts of that incomprehenfible Jeho- 
vah, and with the moft humbling 'Senfe 
of the infinite Diftance there is between 
him and us , yea, and between him and the 
moft glorious and exalted of ail created 
Beings. Oh with what profound Submif- 
fion and Veneration of Soul fhould we 
proftrate ourfelves at the Footftool of the 
great, the adorable I am, the immenfe, 
the felf-exiftent God, finking into the 
Duft before him for the Fear of the 
Lord, and the Glory of his Majefty, and 
acknowledging that we are in his Sight 
as nothing, yea even lefs than nothing, and 
Vanity! With what a devout Aftonifh- 
ment fliould we cry out. Thou art God, and 
there is none other bejides thee ! Who in the 
Heavens can be compared unto the Lord? or 
who among the Sons of the mighty can be likened 
unto the Lord? Canjl thou by fe arching find 
out God? Canft thou find out the Almighty 
unto Perfediion ? 

2dly, When we are urged to be Fol- 
lowers or Imitators of God, it is to be un- 
derftood of our endeavouring after a Con- 
formity to him in his amiable moral Ex- 
cellencies. It is in thefe that he propofeth 
himfelf to our Imitation -, and in thefe i. s 
our Privilege and Glory to refemble iiiui. 
It is true, that even with rep-ard to thefe, 
there muft be acknowledged to be a vail and 
E e 3 ineffable 


ineffable Difproportion between God and us. 
As he is infinite, fo all his Perfections and 
Attributes, even thofe we call his moral 
ones, are infinite too. And therefore thofe 
moral Perfedions, as they are in him, muft 
be infinitely fuperior to the Shadows and 
Refemblances of them which are to be 
obferved in us, or in any, the moll excel- 
lent, of his reafonable Creatures. And 
there are alfo fome Things which are juft 
and right in him, confidered as the fove- 
reio-n Lord of the Univerfe, which would 
not be fit and proper for us, in the Rela- 
tions we bear as his Creatures and Subjedls. 
But ftill it is certain, that making proper 
Allowances for the neceflTary Difference be- 
tween the infinite Jehovah and fuch Beings 
as we are, it is pofTiblQ for us to bear a 
real Conformity to him in his illuflrious 
moral Perfedtions. And as far as we 
do, fo we may be faid to be like him, or 
to imitate and refemble him in fuch a Mea- 
fure and Degree, as is fuited to the Order 
of our Being. This Conformity and Re~ 
femblance is only to be found in reafonable 
Creatures, moral Agents. And that we 
may have a more diUin6t Notion wherein 
it doth confift, I (hall make particular 
Mention of fome of thofe Inftances, wherein 
we are more efpecially concerned to afpire 
to an Imitation of the Deity. 



And I ft, God is a Being of infinite Ho- 
linefs and fpotlefs Purity, who hateth Sin 
with a perfeft Hatred ; and our being Fol- 
lowers of God, as dear Children^ includeth 
our endeavouring to refemble him by a real 
univerfal Holinefs of Heart and Life, and a 
prevailing Abhorrence and Deteftation of 
Sin. There is fcarce any one Character by 
which God is more frequently defcribed in 
the facred Writings, than that he is the Holy 
One, holy by Way of Eminency. This is 
reprefented as his Glory. Who is like un- 
to thee, O Lordy faith Mofes in his triumphal 
Song, glorious in Holinefs / Exod. xv. 11. 
Under this Character the Angels celebrate 
and adore him, faying with the profoundeft 
Reverence, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of 
" Hojis I And the Saints are exhorted to 
give Thanks at the Remembrance of his 
Holinefs. This Holinefs of God is not 
fo much to be underftood of any one par- 
ticular Perfeftion, as of the univerfal Rec- 
titude of his Nature, It includeth the 
pure Light of his- infinite Mind, whereby 
he hath a clear and perfeft Comprehenfion 
of all the moral Reafons and Relations of 
Things, and knoweth in every Inftance and 
Circumftance what is fitteft and beft. And 
it alfo includeth the perfed Reaitude of 
•his Will, whereby he is invariably inclined 
a^d determined to that which appeareth to 
E e 4 hi^ 


his own infinite Underftanding to be good, 
and pure, and excellent. Hence he hath 
an eternal and immutable Love of Order 
and moral Goodnefs, and an eternal Aver- 
fion to all moral Evil. We are told that 
he is of purer Eyes than to behold Evil^ and 
that he cannot look on Iniquity, Habak. i. 
13. /. e. he cannot look upon it w^ithout 
the utmoft Abhorrence. He hath taken 
many Ways to manifeft his Hatred againft 
Sin, by the Declaration of his Word, the 
Threatnings of his Law, and the Difpen- 
fations of his Providence. Not the leaft 
Stain of moral Corruption or Defilement 
can cleave to his infinite Mind. No irre- 
gular AfFedions, no corrupt Appetites and 
Paflions, can poffibly have Place there. And 
with regard to this it is juftly faid of God, 
that he is Lights and in him is ?io Darknefs at 
all : no Darknefs, either of Ignorance or 

Now this his Purity and Holinefs is that 
in which we are efpecially required to afpire 
after a Conformity to him. It is the Com- 
mand of God, Be ye holy^ for I am holy. 
And again, we are exhorted to be holy y as 
he who hath called us is holy in all manner of 
Converfaticn. i Pet. i. 15, 16. In our pre* 
fent corrupt and degenerate State, our Na- 
tures, Body and Soul, are defiled and un- 
clean, till renewed and regenerated by the 



Spirit and Grace of God. Sin hath fpread 
its polluting Influence through all our Fa- 
culties and Powers. But if we would ap- 
prove ourfelves the dear Children of God, 
we muft through his gracious Affiftances, 
which will not be wanting to ©ur fervent 
Prayers and fincere Endeavours, cleanfe our- 
felves from all Filthinefs both of Flefh and 
Spirit. We muft not content ourfelves 
with fome particular good Qualities, or a 
partial Reformation, but muft labour after 
an univerfal Recflitude and Purity of Heart 
and Life. We muft endeavour to get our 
Minds enlightened, and formed to a juft 
Difcernment of the moral Differences of 
Things, and our Wills fteadily difpofed and 
determined to approve, embrace, praftife, 
and purfue, that which we fee and know 
to be pure, and lovely, and virtuous, and 
praife- worthy. We muft no longer, as we 
are prone to do, delight in Sin, or roll it as 
a fweet Morfel under our Tongues ; but it 
muft be the Objedl of our juft Deteftation, 
as it is of God's. We muft hate it for its 
own intrinfic Malignity and Demerit, and 
for its abfolute Contrariety to his holy Na- 
ture and Will. It is true, there will ftill 
be fome Remains of Corruption cleaving 
to us in this imperfe<5l State, but we muft 
ftrive againft them more and more; and 
not for any Confiderations of fenfuai Plea- 



fure, or worldly Gain, allow ourfelves In 
any Courfe of known prefiimptuous Sin, 
or harbour and indulge any darling Iniquity 
in our Bofoms. It mufh be our conftant 
Care and Endeavour to watch againft the 
Temptations to which we are expofed, to 
mortify the Body of Sin more and more, 
and to perfedl Holinefs in the Fear of God. 
2dly, God is reprefented in Scripture as 
a Being of impartial Juftice, and perfect 
Righteoufnefs and Equity. Righteoufnefs 
in the largeft Senfe is of the fame Import 
with univerfal Holinefs ; but at prefent I 
take it, as it is often taken, in a more nar- 
row and limited Senfe, as fignifying Juftice, 
and a Difpofition to render that which is 
right and due to every one, and that in an 
equitable Proportion. And this alfo is an 
Attribute frequently afcribed to God in the 
facred Writings. He is often reprefented 
as the moft juil and righteous Governor of 
the World. Is there Unrighteoufnefs with 
God? faith St. Patil : God forbid. Rom. ix. 
1 4. Shall mt the Judge of all the Earth 
do right? Gen. xviii. 25. There is no 
Refped of Perfons with him : but he ren- 
dereth to every Man according to his Ways, 
and according to the Fruit of his Doings. 
Even when Clouds a?id Darkiiefs are rou?id 
about kimy and we cannot penetrate into 
the Reafons of his Difpenfation, yet ftill 



we arc fure that Right eon fnefs and Judg^ 
merit are the Habitation^ or Eftablifhment, 
of his Throne. Pfal. xcvii. 2, Wilt thou 
condemn him that is 7710ft juft ? faith Elihu : 
and he reprefenteth it as a monftrous Ab- 
furdity, to fuppofe that the Almighty would 
pervert Judg7nent, Job xxxiv. 12, 17. For^ 
as he there obferveth, the Work of a Mart 
'will he render unto him, and caufe every Man 
to fi7id accordi72g to his Ways. Ver. 1 1 . All 
his Dilpenfations are guided by the fteady 
Rules of Righteoufnefs and Equity ; from 
which nothing can ever miflead or bias 
him : no partial Affections, no unaccount- 
able Humour or Caprice, no narrow felfifh 
Interefts. Now in this we fhould endea- 
vour, as far as in us lieth, to imitate and 
refemble him. Thofe of the Sons of Men 
who are in exalted Stations, and Invefled 
with Power and Dominion, as Princes and 
Magiftrates, are in a particular Manner 
obliged to imitate God in the Righteouf- 
nefs and Equity of their Adminiftrations. 
They fliould execute Judgment with an 
equal and impartial Hand, and keep at the 
remoteft Diftance from all Injuflice and 
Oppreffion. And all Men in general 
fliould in their feveral Stations be careful 
to do juftly, and render unto all their Dues, 
not allowing themfelves to withhold from 
any tlicir Rights or to \vrong and defraud 



their Brother in any Matter. This is an 
Inftance of Conformity to God, which is 
abfolutely neceffary, if v/e would a<fl: up to 
the Charader of his Children. For in this 
the Children of God are manifeft, and 
the Children of the Devil. Wkofoever doth 
not Righteoufnefsy is 7iot of God, neither he 
that lonjeth not his Brother, i John iii. lo. 
The Faithfulnefs and Truth of God is 
another of thofe Attributes, in which we 
fliould afpire to an Imitation of him. But 
efpecially we fhould endeavour to refemble 
him in his Love and Goodnefs, But the 
Confideration of this, and fome other 
Things relating to this Subje^l, mull be 
referved for another Opportunity, 


On being Followers of God. 


Ephesians V. I. 
"Be ye Followers of God, as dear Children. 

IN a former Difcourfe of this remarkable 
Paflage, I firft confidered the Charadler 
by which true Chriftians are here defcribed, 
that they are God's dear Children. And 
then proceeded to enquire into the true 
Meaning and Extent of the important Ex- 
hortation here given. Be ye Follower Sy or as 
the Word might literally be rendered, * Be 
ye Imitators' of God, as dear Children. And 
after having obferved, that there are pecu- 
liar Perfedions and Prerogatives belonging 
to the Supreme Being, in which it were 



the mod criminal Folly and Prefumptioil 
to afFedt an Imitation of him ; it was 
fhewn, that the imitating or followiilg 
God, to which we are here exhorted, is to 
be underftood of endeavouring after a Con- 
formity to him in his amiable moral Excel- 
lencies. And particularly we muft endea- 
vour, as far as in us lieth, to refemble him 
in his Purity and Holinefs, and Detefta- 
tlon againft Sin; and in his impartial Juftice, 
Righteoufnefs, and Equity. 

I now obferve farther, that another of 
thofe Attributes in which we fhould afpire 
after a Conformity to God our heavenly 
Father, is his Fathfulnefs and Truth. He 
is defcribed by this Charadler, that he is 
the God of Truth, And we arc told that 
the I'ruth of the Lord endureth for ever^ 
and that his Faithfulness is unto all Gene^ 
rations : that he keepeth Covenant ; and 
that all his Promifes are Tea and Amen, 
/. e. they are faithful and true, and fliall 
moft certainly be accompliOied in the pro- 
per Seafon. We are affured that it is ini^ 
fojfible for God to /?>, as being abfolutely 
inconfiftent with the effential Reditude 
and Perfection of his Nature : that he 
loveth Truth in the i?iward FartSy and that 
lying Lips are an Abomination unto the Lord. 
If therefore we would approve ourfelves 
the Children of God, we muft get ourfelves 
4 pofiefled 


poffefled with a Love of Truth, and flievv 
a facred Regard to it in the whole of our 
Converfation. We muft put away from 
us all Hypocrify and Guile, all Falfliood 
and Diffimulation, and muft have our 
Loins girt about with Truth, as the Apoftle 
expreffeth it, Eph. v'u 14. An amiable 
Simplicity and godly Sincerity muft in- 
fluence and govern our whole Deportment, 
as oppofed to what is in Scripture called a 
double Hearty and a double Tongue. It is 
mentioned as a neceffary Part of the Cha- 
radler of a good Man, ^n^ho JJjall abide in 
the Tabernacle of God, and dwell in his hol^ 
Hilly that he walketh uprighthjy — and/peak- 
eth the Truth in his Heart ; and that he 
fweareth to his own Hurt, and changeth ?iot. 
Pfal. XV. I, 2, 4. And on the contrary, 
Falfliood and Deceit are reprefented as the 
black Lineaments of Satan's Image, whofe 
Charafter it is, that he is a Liar, and the 
Father of it. John viii. 44. 

But that which ought efpecially to be 
confidered, when we are inquiring what is 
included in our being Followers or Imita- 
tors of God, is that we fliould endeavour 
after a Conformity to him in Love and 
Goodnefs. There cannot be a nobler and 
more inviting Defcription of the Deity, 
than that which is given us by St John, 
I John iv. 8. God is Love. He is not only 



good and kind, but he is Love and Good- 
nefs itfelf ; it is his very Nature, as well 
as Delight. He is infinitely happy in 
himfelf, and in the Fulnefs of his ov^n Per- 
fedion : yet fuch is the Goodnefs and Be- 
nignity of his Nature, that he delighteth 
in the free and liberal Communications of 
his own Fulnefs. It was this that moved 
him to give Exiftenceto numberlefs Orders 
of Beings, and to make Provifion for them 
according to the Powers and Capacities he 
hath furnifhed them with. His Goodnefs 
is wide as this vaft Univerfe, diffufmg its 
beneficial Influences through Heaven and 
Earth. It is an overflowing Fountain from 
whence thofe Streams of Blefiings proceed, 
which refrefh and make glad the Creation 
of God. But efpecially he hath manifefted 
his Goodnefs towards us of the human 
Race, and that even in our corrupt and 
degenerate State. The Goodnefs of God 
as exercifed towards guilty fmful Crea- 
tures, who had off^ended him by their 
Tranfgreflions, is called his Mercy -, Mercj?-, 
that amiable Attribute by which hs is fo 
often defcribed and celebrated in the facred 
Writings. We are told that be delighteth 
in Mercy. Mic. vii. i8. It was this that 
prompted him to fend his own Son into the 
World, to redeem and fave us from the 
Miferies and Ruins we had brought upon 
_5 ourfelves. 


ourfelves, by our Apoftacy and Difobedience, 
and to die for us whilft we were yet Ene- 
mies. It is this that hath induced him to 
enter into a gracious Covenant with us, in 
which he offereth Pardon and Salvation up- 
on the moft merciful and condefcending 
Terms. How amiable is that Name and 
Charadler by v/hich he hath proclaimed 
himfelf, the Lo?'d, the Lord God, merciful 
and gracious, long-fuffering, and abundant in 
Goodnefs and 1'ruth, forgiving Iniquity^ 
TranfgreJJion, and Sin. Exod. xxxivi 6, 7. 
He often long beareth even with obftinatc 
prefumptuous Sinners, and exercifeth great 
Patience towards them, not willing that 
any fhould peri{h> but that all fhould come 
to Repentance. He caufeth his Sun to 
fhine, and his Rain to defcend, not only up- 
on the juft, but upon the unjuft, and doeth 
Good in the Methods of his common boun- 
tiful Providence, even to the unthankful 
and the evil. But he taketh a fpecial Com- 
placency in thofe who lay hold of his 
offered Grace, and who are renewed after 
his Image in Righteoufnefs and true Holi- 
nefs. To thefe he giveth the moft amazing 
Proofs of his diftinguifliing Love ^nd 
Goodnefs, and will crown their fincere, 
though imperfed: Obedience, with the glo- 
rious Reward of Life everlafting, that they 
may be happy in him to all Eternity. 
[Vol. L] F f ^o^v 


Now this Goodnefs, Love, and Mercy 
of God, is what we are particularly obliged 
to imitate. Hence, immediately after the 
Exhortation in the Text, Be ye Followers, 
or Imitators, of God as dear Childreriy it is 
added, and walk in Love, Our Love mulft 
in the firfl: Place be fixed upon God, the 
beft of Beings, the fupreme, the infinite 
Good : this mufl: be the noble governing 
Principle in our Souls, guiding and over- 
ruling all the inferior Affecflions : and then 
through him our Love muft be carried 
forth towards his Creatures, and towards 
thofe moft in whom we fee moft of his 
lovely Image. Our Delight fhould be in 
the excellent of the Earth, and we fhould 
love them as Brethren v/ith a pure Heart, 
fervently. But though we ought to bear 
a fpecial Affedtion towards them, our Bene- 
volence muft not be confined to them, but 
muft extend to the whole human Race. 
We muft, in Conformity to God, be ready- 
to do Good unto all, as far as the Sphere of 
our Ability reacheth,to fupply their Wants, 
to afilft them with our kind Oflices, and 
faccour them in their Diftreffes ; or at 
leaft, if we can do no more, they fhould 
have a Share in our kind Wifties, and in 
our Prayers ; not excepting even our Ene- 
mies themfelves, and thofe that have in- 
jured u&. For hereby we fhalJ become the 
5 Children 


Children of the Bigheji, and fhall fliew oar- 
fclves mercifiiU ^s our Father^ which is in 
Heaven, is merciful: which is what our 
Saviour exhorteth to. Luke vi. 3 c> 36. We 
muft endeavour to fubdue our Refentments, 
and to be flow to Anger, and ready to for- 
give, which argueth a godlike Difpofition, 
and is a Character by which God is fre- 
quently defcribed in the facred Writings. 
And this is what the Apoftle feemeth here 
to have particularly in View. For in the 
Words preceding the Text he faith, Let all 
Bitternefsy and Wrathy and Clamour, ^ a7id 
Evil-fpeaking be put away from you, with all 
Malice : And be ye kind one to another, tender- 
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God 
for Chrifs Sake hath forgiven you. ^ And 
then it follows. Be ye therefore Imitators 
of God, as dear Children. 

What hath been offered may fuffice for 
explaining the Meaning and Extent of the 
Exhortation in the Text, or what ^ is in- 
cluded in our being Fdilowers or Imitators 
of God. And that we are under indif- 
penfable Obligations to endeavour to imi- 
tate and refemble him in the Senfe already 
explained, needs no laborious Proof. Thofe 
moral Perfedions of God, in which we 
are called to an Imitation of him, are in 
themfelves mofl amiable and excellent, dc- 
fervino- the bio-heft Affeftion and Eftsera 
"^ Ff2 of 


of reafonable Beings. If it be our Duty 
to follow after the Things which are true, 
and juft, and pure, and venerable, and 
lovely, then certainly wc are never fo wor- 
thily employed, as when we are endeavour- 
ing, as far as we are capable of it, to re- 
femble the beft of Beings, the great Arche- 
type and Original of moral Goodnefs and 
Excellence. This is what we are obliged 
to as reafonable Beings, but efpecially as 
we are Chriftians, who profefs to be, in a 
fpecial Senfe, the Children of God. It is 
by this that we fhall prove our heavenly 
Extradion, that we are indeed born of 
God, and are made Partakers of a divine 
Nature. And it is by this that we ihall 
fliew, that we love him in Sincerity, as be- 
cometh his dear Children. To profefs to 
be the Children of God, and not to love 
him with all our Hearts, is a manifeft In- 
confiftency. And can we love him, and 
not endeavour to refemble him ? A fincere 
and fuperlative Love will naturally drav/ 
us to an Imitation of him, and tend to form 
our Souls into his amiable Likenefs. Add 
to this, that it is what he himfelf exprefsly 
requireth of us in his holy Word. And 
what a Condefcenfion is it in fo glorious a 
Being, that he not only alloweth, but com- 
mandeth us to afpire after a Conformity to 
him in his iliuftrious moral Perfections, 



and is pleafed to propofe himfelf to us as 
the Object of our Imitation. He requireth 
this of us, becaufe he delighteth in our 
Happinefs. And fliall not we efteem it 
our greateft Privilege, as well as Duty, to 
obey fo excellent a Command ? Efpecially 
lince the more efFedlually to engage and 
affift us to do fo, God hath been pleafed 
to fend his own Son into the World, the 
living unfpotted Image of his own Good- 
nefs and Purity, who hath /hewn us in 
his own facred Life and Pradice what it 
is ta be like God ; and in whom the amia- 
ble Excellencies of the Deity are brought 
nearer to our View, and more within the 
Reach of our Imitation. 

And now that we may make a right Im- 
provement of what hath been faid on this 
Subjedl, it highly concerneth us to exa- 
mine and try ourfelves, whether, and how 
far we have endeavoured to anfwer the Dc- 
fign of this important Exhortation, by 
following and imitating God as becometh 
his dear Children. He is a Beiiig of infi- 
nite Holinefs and fpotlefs Purity. Do we 
in fome Meafure refemble him in this ? 
Can we fay that we really hate and ab- 
hor Sin as the word of Evils, and that it 
is our earneft Defire and Endeavour to 
cleanfe ourfelves from all Filthiiv-fs of 
Flefh and Spirit ? Is univerfal Holinels 
F f 3 what 


what we afpire unto as the greateft Glory of 
our Natures ? and is it this which recom- 
mendeth Heaven itfelf to our Souls, that 
there we fhall be made perfect in Holinefs ? 
Or, on the other Hand, do we really de- 
light in Sin, and roll it as a fweet Mor- 
fel under our Tongue ? Are not the pre- 
vailing Affections and Difpofitions of our 
Hearts carnal and impure ? Is there not 
fome beloved Luft, lome darling Iniquity 
which we cherhh and indulge in our Bo- 
foms ? Again, God is a Being of impar- 
tial Juftice and Righteoufnefs, of invaria- 
ble Faithfulnefs and Truth. Do we in 
Conformity to him make it our conftant 
Endeavour to do juftly, and to render unto 
all their Dues ? Are we true and faithful 
in our Words and Promifes, fincere in the 
inward Difpofition of our Minds, and 
avcrfe to all Falihood and Guile ? Or, on 
the contrary, are we unrighteous and un- 
juft, ready, if we have Opportunity, to 
defraud and over-reach our Neighbour, if 
we can ferve our own private Intereft by 
it ? Are we among thofe that love and 
make a Lie, falfe and infincere in our 
Dealings towards God or Man ? Again, 
God is a Being of infinite Love and Good- 
iiefs, flow to Anger, and of great Mercy. 
Do we therefore delight in doing Good in 
Imitation of that glorious and beneficent 

Being ? 


Being ? Are we patient and merciful, as 
our heavenly Father is merciful, kind and 
tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as 
-God for ChrijV^ Sake hath forgiven us ? 
Or, on the contrary, are v^e of a narrow 
felfifh Difpofition, prone to envy the Wel- 
fare of our Fellow-creatures, inftead of re- 
joicing in their Happinefs, and endeavour- 
ing to promote it ? Are we of an implaca- 
ble unforgiving Temper of Mind, taking 
a malignant Pleafure in the Exercife of 
Malice and Revenge ? 

Thus ihould we try ourfelves whether 
we are Followers of God ; and by this we 
may form a proper Judgment concerning 
pur own State. If our Hearts condemn 
us not, then we may have Confidence to- 
wards God, and may rejoice in the Cha- 
radler and Privileges of his Children. But 
if we do not find the Lineaments of his 
blefifed Image upon our Souls, we have 
great Reafon to lament our degenerate State 
and Frame, acknowledging that God might 
juftly caft us away from his gracious Pre- 
fence. With penitent and contrite Hearts 
we fliould confefs before him our great 
Guilt and Unworthinefs, humbly implor- 
ing his pardoning Mercy. And we flaould 
be earneft in our Applications to him for 
the fandifying Influences of his Holy Spi- 
rit : that he would create in us clean 



Hearts, and renew us in the Spirit of our 
Minds, that we may be formed into his 
divine Likenefs. And to our Prayers we 
muft add diligent Endeavours in the Ufe 
of all proper Means on our Parts. Parti- 
cularly we muft fet ourfelves heartily to 
mortify and fubdue all fenfual and inordi- 
nate AfFedions and Lufts, than which no- 
thing hath a greater Tendency to deface the 
divine Image in our Souls. And let us 
often contemplate God's amiable moral 
Perfedlions^ efpecially in the affeding De- 
fcriptions that are given us of them in 
his holy Word. Nothing can be more 
ufeful than frequently to fix our Views on 
that infinitely perfed: Being, and the glori- 
ous Difcoveries he hath made to us of 
his Holinefs, Righteoufnefs, Goodnefs, and 
Truth. Thus to realize him to our Minds 
in the Meditations of Faith would have 
a happy Influence to transform us into his 
Likenefs. And fince, as was before hint- 
ed, our Lord ^efus Chrijl v/as the brighteft 
Image of the invifible Deity, let us be 
often looking unto '^^efusy and fet his Ex- 
ample before us as our Pattern. The more 
we endeavour to have the fame Mind in 
us that was in him, and to walk as he 
walked, the nearer fhall we be brought to 
a Conformity to God himfelf. 

I fhall 


I riiall conclude with oflFering two or 
three Confiderations which may ferve as 
fo many powerful Motives to enforce the 
Exhortation upon us. 

And I ft, To imitate and follow God is 
the higheft Glory and Perfection of the 
reafonable Nature. As God is the fu- 
preme Original and Source of all Perfec- 
tion, in whom is to be found every Thing 
that is truly excellent, glorious, venerable, 
and lovely, in the higheft poffible Degree 
of Eminency ; fo it is evident, that the 
more any reafonable Creature refembleth 
that great Original, the more valuable and 
truly excellent that Creature is. It was 
the Glory of Man in his primitive 
State, and his nobleft Diftin6tion above 
the inferior Brute Animals, that he was 
made after the Image of God, And 
when by his Apoftacy and Difobedience, 
this Image became fadly defaced, he with 
it loft his Happinefs and Glory. To re- 
ftore this bleffed Image was one great 
Defign of God's fending his Son, and 
communicating his Holy Spirit. And when 
the Soul is again renewed after the divine 
Image by the Spirit and Grace of God, 
it begins again to recover its Glory and 
Beauty, and to anfwer the original De- 
fign of its Creation. Then doth God look 
upon it with Complacency, and the blef- 


led Angels with Wonder and Joy behold 
the divine Image again fhining forth in 
the human Nature. It is then raifed to a 
noble Dignity, and hath a folid Foun- 
dation laid for inward Happinefs and 

2dly, It fhould farther engage us to be 
Followers of God in his imitable moral 
Perfections, to confider that this is the bed 
Way we can take to glorify him here 
below, and to ihew forth his Praifes and 
Virtues. We then honour God in the pro- 
pereft Manner, when we as it were be- 
come the living Images of the Deity, in 
whom the divine Goodnefs, Holinefs, and 
Truth, fliine with an amiable Luftre. This 
is the Glory he juftly expefteth from his 
dear Children, whom he hath in a fpecial 
Manner chofen to himfelf; and hereby 
they fliew the Power of his Grace, the 
Reality and Excellency of true Religion, 
and make a lovely Reprefentation of him 
to the World. 

3dly, Let it be confidered, that if we 
endeavour to be Followers and Imitators of 
God here on Earth, we flTiall be fitted 
for the immediate Villon and eternal En- 
joyment of him in the heavenly State. 
Thofe only that are in fome Degree like 
God here, lliall hereafter fee him as he 
is. If v/e nov/, with a pious Ambition, 



afpire to a Conformity to God our heaven- 
ly Father, as far as we are capable of at- 
taining to it ; if from Day to Day we en- 
deavour to grow up more and more into 
his bleffed Likenefs, in univerfal Holinefs 
and Righteoufnefs, in Faithfulnefs and 
Truth, in beneficent Goodnefs, Love, and 
Mercy ; we may be faid to have Heaven 
brought down to our Souls in fome happy 
Beginnings here on Earth. This will be 
a comforting Evidence to us that we are 
the dear Children of God, and Heirs of 
the heavenly Inheritance, and that when 
we depart hence, we fhall be for ever 
with the Lord. He who hath begun to 
form us into his own divine Likenefs, 
will perfedl the glorious Work in us, and 
raife us in the fitteft Seafon to his own 
beatific Prefence and Bofom, that we may 
reft and rejoice in him to all Eternity. 
Upon the whole, we may be aflured, that 
they who make it their earneft Endea- 
vour to follow and imitate God in his moral 
Excellencies in this prefent State, thefe are 
the Perfons that fhall in the heavenly 
World behold his Face in Righteoufnefs, 
and fhall be perfectly fa^isfied with his 

The Ejs^D of the First Volume,*