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felf would do, fo he does imagine God will do. 3. The crafty ; they think it to be divine wisdom to lead mens apprehensions any ways, because they allow themselves to circumvent and to deceive ; such are apt to think of God, that he speaks sometimes what he does not mean, and that he promises what he will not perform. I wonder how those of this temper can believe any of the promises of the gospel, to take them upon his word ; certainly they doubt of God's meaning in what he says, and of his performing what he promises, who make that foul explication of voluntas figni & voluntas beneplaciti, that is, the secret and revealed will of God. In truth there is but one will in God; this distinction expreffes only the same will in different states; the revealed will, is his will explained; his secret will, is that which is not declared ; 1 Cor. ii. II. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? Even so the things of God knows no man but the spirit of God. i, e. the will both of God and man, not declared. That cannot be ascribed to God as a perfection, which is dishonest in his creatures. As the crafty attribute to God, so also to men, what they find in themselves. For he that is dishoneft himself, can trust no body; he converseth with others, as taking them to be such as himself. The innocent and harmless are not subject to be jealous and suspicious ; but they that are otherwise, are afraid of every body ; also as they are in temper, so they ufe themselves to violence, fraud, deceit, and falfhood, throughout their conversations,
This is observable ; fcripture ascribes naughtiness of men towards one another, to the want of respect to God. Religion begins at respect to God; he that has none to God, has no true respect to any creature further than as the law or his own interest, does on blige him. The first obligation to honesty and integrity, is respect to God. If there be no respect to God, there is no conscience ; where there is no confcience, there is only care to maintain a man's self against human laws, or to maintain his own interest. Abraham said, Gen. xx. II. Surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will say me for my wife's fakee
Sam. ii. 12. The fons of Eli were the fons. of Belial, they knew not the Lord; having no regard to God, they offered violence to the women, to the scandal of their profeffion; they used force to take what they would, not being satisfied with their allotments. Jer: X. 21. They are become brutish, and have not fought the Lord; funk down below the use of reason ; Prová xvi. 6. By the fear of the Lord-men depart from evil. A man may depart from evil as the unjust judge did from oppression, by importunity, or to approve himfelf to men ; but if there be no respect to God, there. is no conscience. Yob gives this account of himself; thou knowest that I am not wicked, chap. x. 7. Psalm xlv. 7. God loves righteousness, and hates wickedness. And they that fear God are like him, are in reconciliation with him ; they hate all manner of evil: there is no approach to God, for him who allows himself. in wickedness : unto the wicked, God says, what haft thou to do to declare my statutes ? Psal. 1. 16. fo lii. 7. Lo this is the man that made not God his strength, but
trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthned bimself in his wickedness; whom, verse 5. God fall des Atroy and root out of the land of the living. Can any think that the moft holy God can endure or have patience with the wickedness of his creatures, when even the sacrifice of the wicked (Prov. xv. 8.) and his prayer, (Prov. xxviii. 9.) is an abomination to him? It is therefore advisable for men to deal honestly, entirely, fincerely; that they live under the power, and in the constant exercise of, that which is true religion, and matter of conscience ; or else to let religion altogether alone.
There is nothing of ugliness or deformity in the whole course of nature (whatsoever men think, for they abuse themselves ; but) there is nothing mon, strous, which gives us offence to look upon, and we cannot endure to see ; nothing that does defile or cause our loathing and deteftation ; that is comparable with the hideousness and abominable nature of fin. For that which is best in its rectitude, integrity and constitution of its nature, is worst in its corrupt .and degenerate state ; no carcass is more loathsome, than that of man, because it is the beautifulleft body when alive. The actions of man, if they be actions of virtue, done in reverence and respect to God, they are actions valuable above all the world. The sun's enlightening of the world is not comparable with an act of adoration of God, an act of vision or delectation in God. And by how much more excellent these motions of the highest creatures are, by so much more depraved, ugly, and deformed, are those actions which proceed from degeneracy and vice.
But in the judgment of good and evil we are very apt to deceive ourselves by fond opinion and partial dealing ; David himself, when he had done evil, continued under the guilt of it a whole year senseless ; yet when the prophet represented the matter to him as another's case, he could judge impartially, and be severe in his censure ; 2 Sam. xii. 15. his anger was greatly kindled, he that has done this thing shall surely die. Wherefore let us measure good and evil by the principles of reason and declarations from God; not by our own affectations and partial respects : for things do not alter upon our opinion ; things will be what they are, whatsoever we think of them : and whilst a man is under a false judgment, he is in no disposition to repent ; for no man repents of that wherein he does partially favour himself in point of judgment. Take therefore the certain grounds of good and evil from reason, which is the light of God's creation, and from the declarations of his will ; that so you may be able in all cafes, in all passages of your lives, to judge of good and evil, right and wrong, and may not deceive yourselves by fondness or partiality.
The great matters of religion.
PSALM V. 4. 5.
Ut now more particularly, to do right to the text,
it is necessary that I do declare on the one fide
and the other, what are the great matters of religion, and what are those things that will not consist with it.
And to instance in both kinds ; it is, first, indirpensably neceffary, upon account of religion and conscience, of approving ourselves to God, and main. taining interest in him, in order to lay a foundation of welfare here, and of happiness hereafter ; to do these four things. 1. To reverence and acknowledge the deity. 2. To live in love, and bear good will towards one another. 3. To deal justly, equally and fairly in all our transactions and dealings each with other. 4. To use nioderation and government of ourselves, in respect of the necessaries and conveniencies of this state. To all these, our state, religion and capacities do determine us; the state that God hath made us in, the relation that we stand in to God, and to one anotner, and our capacity; all these determine us to these duties.