Imágenes de páginas

are made, is the illustration of God's glory some SERM. way or other, and the manifestation of his perfections. CLVII.

Secondly, for the confirmation, I shall briefly, according to my usual method, attempt it these two ways.

I. By natural light. The notion of a God contains in it all possible perfection. Now the utmost perfection we can imagine, is, for a being to be always of itself, before all other beings, and not only fo, but to be the cause of all other beings; that is, that there should be nothing, but what derives it's being from him, and continually depends upon him; from whence follows, that all things must refer to him, as their last end. For every wise agent acts with design, and in order to an end. Now the end is that which is best, which is most worthy the attaining, and that is God himself. Now his being and perfections are already, and the best next to the existence of his being and perfections, is the manifestation of them, which is called God's glory; and this is the highest end that we can imagine, to which all the effects of the divine power, and goodness, and wisdom, do refer.

And that these titles are to be attributed to God, is not only reasonable, when it is revealed and discovered, but was discovered by the natural light of the heathens. Hence it was that Aristotle gave to God those titles of the first being, the first cause, and the first mover; and his master Plato calls GOD " the author, and parent of all things, the maker " and architect of the world, and of all creatures ; “ the fountain and original of all things.” Porphyry calls him tò w pürov, the firit, from whence he reasons to this sense, that “ he is the ultimate end, “ and that all things move towards God, that all

" motions

A 3


SERM.“ motions center in him; because, saith he, it is most

proper and natural for things to refer to their ori

ginal, and to refer all to him, from whom they os receive all.” Antoninus, the emperor and philosopher, speaking of nature (which with the Stoicks signifies God) hath these words, which are so very like these of the apostle, that they may seem to be taken from him ; &x cã wavla, ivool wáula, eis oi wávla, “ Of thee are all things, in thee are all “ things, to thee are all things."

II. From scripture. Hither belong all those places where he declares himself to be “the first, and the “ last,” Isa. xli. 4. “Who hath wrought and done “ it, calling the generations from the beginning? I “ the Lord, the first, and with the last, I am he.” Isa. xliii. 10. “Before me there was no God formed," (or as it is in the margin)“ there was nothing form" ed of God, neither shall there be after me.” Ifa. xliv. 6. “ I am the first, and I am the last, and be

fides me there is no God.” Isa. xlviii. 12, 13. " I am the first, I am also the last, my hand hath “ laid the foundation of the earth, my right hand “ hath spread the heavens ;" which is as much as to say, he hath made the world, and was the first cause of all things. Rev. i. 8. “ I am alpha and “ omega, the beginning and the end, faith the “ LORD, which is, and which was, and which is

to come."
But more expresy, 1 Cor. viii. 6.

66 But to us “ there is but one God, the father, of whom are “ all things, and we by him, xj nucīs sīs autòn, " and we to him, and for him.” Acts xvii. 24. " God that made the world, and all things therein. V. 25. “He giveth to all life, and breath, and all “ things.” V. 28. “ In him we live, and move,

[ocr errors]


is and have our being.” V. 29. “For as much then SERM. “ as we are the off-spring of God.”

Hither we máy refer those texts which attribute the same to the second person in the Trinity, as the éternal wisdom and word of God, whereby all things were made, John. i. 3. “ All things were made by “ him, and without him was nothing made, that

was made.” V. 10. “And the world was made “ by him.” i Cor. viii, 6. “And one Lord Jesus “ CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by “ him.”. Eph. jii. 9.

" God, who created all " things by Jesus Christ.” Col. i. 16. “By him “ were all things created that are in heaven, and is that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether

they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,

or powers, all things were created by him, and " for him, and he is before all things, and by him " all things confift.” Heb. i. 2. By whom also “ he made the worlds.” And, v. 3.

“ Upholding all things by the word of his power.” Thirdly and lastly, to apply this doctrine.

Use. First, if God be the first cause of all things, who did at first produce all creatures, and does fince preserve them and govern them, and disposeth of all their concernments, and orders all things that befall them, from hence let us learn,

1. With humility and thankfulness to own, and acknowledge, and admire and bless God as the author and original of our being, as the spring and fountain of all the blessings and good things that we enjoy. If we do but consider what these words fignify, that God is the first cause of all things, we shall see great reason to own and acknowledge, to adore and praise him, and that with the greatest humility; because we have not given him any thing,


A 4

SERM. but have received all from him; he is the cause of CLVII., all things, who did freely and of his own good will

and pleasure communicate being to us, without any constraint or necessity, but what his own goodness laid upon him, Rev. iv. 11. “Thou art worthy, O “ LORD, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; “ for thou hast created all things, and for thy plea“ sure they are and were created.” We could not, before we were, deserve any thing from him, or move him by any argument, or importune him by intreaties to make us; but he freely gave us being; and ever since we depend upon him, and have been preserved by him, and cannot subsist one moment without the continued influence of the power and goodness which first called us out of nothing. He is the author of all the good, and the fountain of all those blessings, which for the present we enjoy, and for the future hope for.

When he made us at first, he designed us for happiness; and when we by oursin and wilful miscarriage fell short of the happiness which he designed us for, he sent his son into the world for our recovery, and gave his life for the ransom of our fouls, He hath not only admitted us into a new covenant, wherein he hath promised pardon, and eternal life to us; but he hath also purchased these blessings for us, by the most endearing price, the blood of his own son, and hath saved us in such a manner as may juftly astonish us. Upon thefe considerations we should awaken ourselves to the praise of God, and with the holy Psalmist, call up our fpirits, and summon all the powers and faculties of our souls to affift us in this work, Psal. ciii. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. “ Bless “ the LORD, O my foul, and all that is within me, « bless his holy name; bless the Lord, O my soul,


" and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all SERM.

thy iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who “ redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crown“ eth thee with loving kindness and tender mer“ cies;” it is he that “ satisfies our souls with good

things,” that hath promised eternal life and happiness to us, and must confer and bestow this upon us; “ Therefore our souls, and all that is within

us,” should “ bless his holy name.”

2. If God be the first cause, that is, orders all things that befal us, and by his providence disposeth of all our concernments, this should teach us with patience and quietness to submit to all events, to all evils and aMictions, that come upon us, as being disposed by his wise providence, and coming from him ; we are apt to attribute all things to the next and immediate agent, and to look no higher than second causes; not considering that all the motions of natural causes are directly subordinate to the first cause, and all the actions of free creatures are under the government of God's wise providence; so that nothing happens to us besides the designs and intention of God.

And methinks this is one particular excellency of the stile of the scripture above all other books, that the constant phrase of the sacred dialect is to attribute all events (excepting sins only) to God; so that every one that reads it cannot but take notice, that it is wrote with a more attentive consideration of God than any other book, as appears by those frequent and express acknowledgments of God as the cause of all events; so that what in other writers would be said to be done by this or that person, is afcribed to God. Therefore it is so often said, that


« AnteriorContinuar »