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SER M. thither by our earnest prayers ; to make fit preparaXXI. tions for his reception and entertainment (by cleans
ing our hearts from all loathsome impurities), to make him welcome, and treat him kindly, with all civil respect, with all humble observance; not grieving and vexing him by our distasteful croflness and peevishness; not tempting him by our fond prefumption, or base treachery; not extinguishing his heavenly light and holy fire by our foul lufts, our damp stupidities, our cold neglects, our neglects to foment and nourish them by the food of devout meditations, and zealous desires : so let us mind him, as to admit gladly his gentle illapses, to delight in his most pleasant society, to hearken to his faithful suggestions, to comply with all his kindly motions, to behave ourselves modestly, consistently, and officiously toward him.
Thus should we employ our mind, all the faculties of our soul, our understanding, our will, our affections upon the blessed Trinity, the Supreme of all things above, the Founder of that celestial society, into which as Chriftians we are inserted; the Sovereign of that heavenly kingdom of which we are fubjects; the Fountain of all the good and happinels we can hope for in that superior state. To the performance of which duty there be arguments and inducements innumerable; it is the most proper and connatural cbject of our mind, that for which it is fittest, and for which it was designed ; the best intelligible, and infinitely most amiable of all things. It is the inoft worthy and noble object, the contemplation of which, and affection whereto, will most elevate, most enrich, most adorn, most enlarge the capacities, and most satisfy the appetites of our souls; it is the most sweet and pleafant object, wherein all light, all beauty, all perfection do shine'; the fight and love of which do .constitute Paradise, and beatify: Heaven itself... It is the most useful and beneficial object. of our mind,:which will best instruct us.
in what it concerneth us to know, will most incite s ER M. us to those duties which we are obliged to perform, XXI. will be most efficacious to the begetting in us thole dispositions, which are indispensibly requisite for the attainment and for the enjoyment of that everlasting bliss; unto which that one blessed Unity and glorious Trinity in its infinite mercy bring us all : To whom we be all glory, honour, and praise for ever. Amen.
S E R M O N XXII.
The Unsearchableness of God's Judgments.
Rom. xi. 33.
How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways pasi
finding out! THESE words are the close of a disputation, s E-R M.
wherein St. Paul was engaged with the advocates of Judaism, concerning God's providence toward his antient people, in rejecting the greatest part of them upon their refusal to embrace the Christian doctrine ; and in admitting the Gentile world to favour, upon its compliance with the overtures thereof proposed in the Gospel. In this proceeding those infidels could not discern God's hand, nor would allow such a dispensation worthy of hin, advancing several exceptions against it: God, said they, having espoused and confecrated us to himself; having to our fathers, in regard to their piety, made so absolute promises of benediction on their posterity; having consequently endowed us with luch privileges and choice pledges of his favour; having taken so much pains with us, and performed so great things in our behalf; having so long
SER M. avowed, supported, and cherished us; how can it XXII. .well consist with his wisdom, with his justice, with
his fidelity, with his constancy, thus instantly to abandon and repudiate us ? Doth not this dealing argue his former affections to have been misplaced ? Doth it not implead his antient covenant and law of imperfection? Doth it not supplant his own designs, and unravel all that he for so many ages hath been doing? Upon such accounts did this dispensation appear very strange and scandalous to them : but St. Paul, being infallibly assured of its truth, doth undertake to vindicate it from all milprisions, rendering a fair account of it, and assigning for it many fatisfactory reasons, drawn from the general equity of the cafe, from the nature of God, his attributes, and his relations to men ; from the congruity of this proceeding to the tenour of God's providence, to his inoft antient purposes, to the true intent of his promises, to his express declarations and predictions; to the state of things in the world, and the pressing needs of all mankind : such reasons (I say, which I have not time more explicitly to relate) doth the Apostle produce in favour of this great dispensation; the which did suffice to clear and justify it from all their objections : yet notwithstanding, after that he had steered his discourse through all these rocks, he thought it safe to cast anchor; winding up the contest in this modest intimation, that whatever he could say, might not perhaps exhaust the difficulty, or void all scruple; that therefore in this, and in all such cases, for entire satisfaction, we should have recourse to the incomprehensible wisdom of God, who frequently in the course of his providence doth act upon grounds, and ordereth things in methods, transcending our ability to discover or trace: to consider some causes and reasons of which incomprehensibility, and to ground thereon some practical advices, will be the Icope of my discourse: the reafons may be these :