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otherwise dealt withal. God draws with the cords of a man, viz. persuasion and instruction ; and if God draws, it is expected we should follow him. God works with us, and it follows that we should work out the affairs of our salvation with care and diligence. This gives you an account of some scriptures, whereat some may stumble. As that of God's hardning Pharaoh's heart; Pharaoh goes on wilfully and impenitently to fin against God, and resolves to be stubborn ; and God withdraws upon provocations; and with-holds his grace, and lets him alone ; and this is called the hardning of Pharaoh's heart. When men affect to be arbitrary and lawless, God leaves them to their own hearts lusts, and gives them over-to vile affections. And this is the case accounted for in Ifa. vi. 9, 10. Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed but understand not, and see ye indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, left they fee with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and convert, and be healed. And this is referred to, fix times in the new testament, viz. Matt. xiii. 14. and Mark v. 12. and Luke vii. 10. and John xii. 40. and Axts xxviii. 26. and Rom. xi. 8. Not that this is spoken prophetically, but spoken by the prophet first, and by the evangelists and the apostle afterward, referring to the prophet in the like cases. For this is only hat is consequent upon men's disobedience ; nothing was antecedently intended by God. But to justify God in this case two things I lay down. I/. None are wicked through any neglect of God; but by their own wil


fulness. 2diy. None are miserable by God's contrivance, but by their own wickedness. Sothat God is free from the blood of all men ;our destruction is of ourselves, but our salvation is of God. So that thofe scriptures that represent God terrible, are in the cafe of man's consenting to wilful sin, and continuing impenitent. God in this case, upon provocation, gives men up to their own hearts lusts.

For the third objection. The necessity of justice in case of sin. This will be resolved by a true explication of justice. God's justice is the same with his integrity and uprightness. Now these consist with the reason of the thing, and the right of the case :-these are the perfections of his nature; from which no action of God varies. But without prejudice to these, fcripture attributes to God kindness and severity ; Rom. xi. 22. And these are limited and determined by his will ; in respect whereof 'tis said, He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy : and he doth exercise loving-kindness and judgment and righteousnessin the earth, Ex. xxxiii. 19. Jer. ix. 24. Loving-kindness that is of grace, the other two are of justice. But in regard of the loving-kindness of God, he is master of his own right; and he doth as he pleafeth; for his grace is free, and his will is the law to him ; and itis apparent that he hath done differently ; as in the case of men and angels, John iii. 16. Godfa loved the world, that he gave his only begotten fon, that whafoever believeth in him should not perish, but have lafting life. And then for the angels, it is said, 2

God spared not the angels that finned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains


Pet. ii. 4.

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of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. In the one case is his loving-kindness, and in the other his feverity. He exerciseth judgment according to the law of his nature he exerciseth loving kindness according to the law of his will. Now to bring this home to the case. I say, if God punish sin where sin is committed, it is just; God may justly do it, for sin deserves punishment. But we cannot say it is necessary that God should punish sin ; for if you say that, you takeaway God's liberty, you destroy all acts ofgrace, you leave no room for repentance. Just if it be done, but not just to be done ; for then it cannot be undone, but God must be unjust; and then God cannot pardon. If we affirm the latter, we may make a law for God. God may if he please remit and abate of his own right ; for every one that is an owner may difpofe of his own if he will. They who receive not these things, I dare say, they are wanting to a folid foundation of their own faith. It is justice in God to do men good, and it is goodness in God to punis fin if unrepented, faith Origen.

II. The next thing in the method of the discourse is explication of the several phrases in the text. In the text you have five several words ; not that they denote several perfections in God, but express divine goodness suitable to our case and condition; the same in God, but distinguished by the quality of the case.

ift. He is gracious ; which imports three things. ist. So as to do good freely, without constraint. 2dly. Because he doth good, above the measure of right and just. 3dly. Because he doth good, without antecedent desert, or after recompence,



2dly. He is merciful; take that also in three particulars. I/. So as to compassionate his creatures in misery, 2dly. So as to help them, in respect of their infirmities. 3dly. So as to pardon their iniquities.

3dly. He is now to anger; and that also in three particulars. ift. So as not to take advantage against his creatures. 2dly. So as to overlook provocation. 3dly. So as to allow space for repentance.

4thly. He is of great kindness ; take that also in three particulars. Ift. What he doth, he doth in pure good will, and for our good. 2dly. Not in expectation of being benefited by us. 3dly. It is infinite, not according to the proportion or disposition of the receiver.

5thly. He repenteth him of the evil; take that in four particulars. 1/t. So as either it comes not at all : or, 2dly. It proves not what we fear and imagine. Or, 3dly. It stays but a while if it do come. Or, 4.thly. He turns it into good. I give you but hints, and leave the rest to your meditation.

III. The third thing in the method of the discourse is confirmation of the truth of the proposition in the text. There are four names and titles given to God that make this out.

Ist. His creation in infinite goodness, wisdom and power. This speaks God to be full of goodness ; for communication speaks goodness in the principle. The variety, order, and fitness of things to their ends, declare the wisdom of God. And to bring things together fo remotely distant, non ens to ens, declares his power. . 2dly. Conservation, protection, and government, de


clare God to be good, and full of loving-kindness ; in which respect God works and we work; for we are all workers together with God.

3dly. Restoration and recovery out of the state of fin and misery, speaks God's goodness. When we were undone, when we had marred and spoiled ourselves, God finds out a way

for our recovery. 4thly. Future confirmation and settlement in glory and happiness, the miracle of God's goodness, wildom and power. These four things abundantly declare God good and gracious.

IV. The fourth thing in the method of the discourse, is matter of caution, in two particulars.

ist. Not to abuse this declaration of divine goodnefs, either by holding truth in unrighteousness, or turning the grace of God into wantonness. Having therefore these promises (dearly beloved) let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. vii. 1. Should we abuse his goodness, it were to produce an effect contrary to the principle.

2dly. Let there be no hasty or rash judgment. If any thing seem harsh in the dispensation of providence, we may understand it in a little time; therefore he that believes should not make haste.

We are in the hands of a good God; whatsoever the appearance is, undoubtedly this representation of God is true, viz. That he is gracious and merciful, flow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. And although we cannot understand presently, in the particulars, what God doth ; yet it is undoubtedly true, that it is a mild and gentle spirit, and loving to mankind, that governs the world.

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