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fort and joy, fince all things are ordered in the wifeft and best manner, nothing could be added, or taken away, without rendering the divine plan lefs wife, perfect, and excellent.

It belongs to the infinitely wife, almighty, maker and owner of all things, and governor of all worlds, to order every event; especially the events of the moral world, and the moral actions of creatures, which are the most important: They must be determined and fixed by fomething, by undefigning chance, or by ignorance or folly, or by infinite wisdom. He who is infinitely wife and almighty, can do it in a way perfectly confiftent with the liberty and moral agency of his creatures; and this being every way most defirable, and the contrary fuppofition infinitely dreadful; when the friends of God fee this is done by him, and that his counsel with respect to every event, and all actions, ftands forever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations: They reft in this, and rejoice continually, and no man can take this comfort and joy from them. Though the earth be removed, or the mountains be carried into the midst of the fea, whatever events, and however evil in themselves, take place; yet they will not fear, but drink confolation at this river, the ftreams whereof make glad the city of God. "Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.'

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IV. THIS affords a folid, ftable foundation, for the moft unreserved, implicit confidence and truft in God. He superintends in all things. He is in the heavens, and hath done whatsoever he pleased; he will accomplish his own ends, and cannot be disappointed. Therefore his friends may truft in him with the greatest affurance, that, whatever appearances there may be against it, he will accomplish his own ends, glorify himself, fulfil all his promises

• Plalm, lxviii. 3.

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promifes to his people, and make them moft happy for ever. "O Lord of Hofts, bleffed is the man that truft eth in thee." Therefore,

V. THIS doctrine is fuited to promote true piety and holinefs. For this confifls in loving God, in trufting and rejoicing in him, and his government and works, ac knowledging him in all our ways, in feeing his hand in all events, in fubmitting to him, and obeying him. This doctrine is fo far from affording any juft ground of encouragement to fin, that fo far as it is understood and cordially embraced, it forms the heart to hate fin and love the law of God, and to the inoft hearty, cheerful fubmif fion to his government. Experience proves this to be true, and the reason of it is very obvious. For they who fee and approve of the wildom of God in making all things for himself, and ordering all things, even the fin of men, for his own glory; muft themselves defire and feek the glory of God; and this neceffarily implies an approbation of the law of God, and a cordial fubmiffion and obedience to it.

VI. HENCE may be inferred the propriety and im portance of preaching this doctrine, and of explaining and vindicating it, as it is revealed in the holy fcriptures.

Some who believe it is revealed in the Bible, yet think it ought not to be preached, or spoken of, as it is fucha myfterious doctrine, and is fo difficult and puzzling to many, and a ftumbling block to them, rather than to thei edification; and is liable to be mi fimproved to bad purposes.

But fuch must be under a great mistake. It is difhon ourable to God, and to the Bible, to fuppofe any trut which he has there revealed, is of a bad tendency, and therefore ought not to be published; yea, it is implicitly denying that the Bible is from God, and taking fides with the deift. Befides, there is a contradiction and abfurdity in the fuppofition, that it is a truth, and yet

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has a bad tendency; for this is impoffible in the nature of things. That which has a bad tendency, is error and falfehood; but truth has a direct contrary tendency, and effect, wherever it is received.

It is true, this doctrine may be preached imprudently, it may be reprefented in a partial and improper light; and fo that the hearers will not understand it. No one can be juftified for preaching this, or any other truth, in fuch a manner. But this is rather a reason why it fhould, with all other important truths, be thoroughly and fully preached, fo that they who are difpofed to attend, and willing to understand, may have opportunity to be inftructed. It is doubtlefs better, if there can be a better in the cafe, not to preach it at all, than to do it to the halves, juft mentioning it fometimes; for this is not the way to have it underflood, but tends to raife prejudices against it. But the beft and only wife way is, to preach it, and explain it clearly and fully, and give perfons opportunity, more privately, to propofe any objections they may have, that they may be removed.

And parents ought to be able and willing to teach it to their children; to explain it and fhow them the reafon of it, and the evidence there is in the fcripture of the truth of it. And though they might not fully underfland it in early age; yet a foundation would be hereby laid for their making improvement in understanding, as they advance in years: It is not fo difficult a doctrine, as many imagine, who perhaps never underflood it themfelves, through ftrong prejudices, which they imbibed, before they were well inftructed in it. A child of twelve or fourteen years old, who is carefully inftructed, and will attend, is capable of understanding and feeing the evidence and reasonableness of this doctrine; which must be believed as an important article of the chriftian faith, where the Bible is well underflood: However it be now, and has been, rejected by many, with the greatest contempt, boldness and affurance.

CHAP. V.

224 Concerning the Creation of the World. PART II.

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Concerning the Creation of the World, particularly of Man.

GOD began to execute his infinitely wife and good plan, which he had formed and fixed, by his unchangeable purpose and decree, in the work of creation. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Heaven and earth comprehend the whole creation, both that which is visible, and invisible, to man.

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This is faid to be in the beginning, to denote that creation, or every thing that is created, had a beginning, in oppofition to being eternal, or without a beginning; and because time and fucceffion of existence then began there being no other beginning of exiftence but this, and therefore no beginning before this, there being nothing before creation, but the Creator, whofe exiftence is with out beginning.

The creation is great, extenfive and manifold, and vaftly exceeds our knowledge and comprehenfion: Bu God fpake the whole into exiftence, from nothing, with infinite ease. He faid, He faid, "Let it be, and it was. H fpake, and it was done: He commanded, and it ftoo faft." The invifible heaven, which probably is intende when St. Paul speaks of the Third Heaven, and is calle by Solomon, "The Heaven of heavens," was in thi beginning created, and formed for the peculiar refidence of God, who is faid to have eftablished his throne in the heavens, to be and dwell there; and the place where angels

angels dwell; their creation being comprehended in the creation of heaven. And this is the heaven, to which the redeemed will be received, after the day of judgment, which our Saviour fays, was "prepared for them, from the foundation of the world.". This heaven and the angels were created then; but before this lower world was formed, and brought into order. Therefore it is reprefented by God, that when he created this earth, the angels were spectators of the work; for thefe are the morning ftars, and the fons of God, who are faid to fing together and fhout for joy, when the earth was formed.* God was pleased to create innumerable hofts of intelligent beings, with ftrong powers of mind, and large capacities, to be fpectators of his works, and attend to the numerous worlds and creatures, as they rofe into existence and order, and behold and admire infinite power, wildon and goodness; manifefled herein, and rejoice, adore and praise the Creator.

We have no knowledge of the existence of any other rational creatures, befides angels and men; and therefore we have no reason to conclude there are any other. Men may fuppofe there are many other ranks or kinds of rational creatures; but this, at moft, is but mere conjecture. The fuppofition that there are no more, feems to have a more folid foundation, viz. that divine revelation, makes no mention of any fuch; which it is reafonble to fuppose it would, if there were any; fince all rational creatures, under the fame moral government, must have fome connection and concern with each other.

The angels are often brought into view, in the holy fcriptures; and they are reprefented as having a particular concern and intereft in the future general judgment: Were there any other moral agents, they would have an equal concern in this judgment, and be members of the fame

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Job, xxxviii. 4, 7.

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