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ons to his creatures. It is that which God will give an account of himself by, to the understandings of his creatures. For this I will produce many scriptures ; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne, Psal. xcvii. 2. Can any man understand this to be nothing but what is arbitrary? Job. viii. 3. and xxxiv. 12. Will he by power pervert that which is right ? Rom. iii. 3. Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. How insignificant are all these expressions, if all things be alike and arbitrary, if the difference of things be nothing else but fantastical and conceited ? and yet this and much more muft the atheist say, 'or else his opinion is worth nothing. For if there be a difference in things, he will be self-condemned. We have Abraham's queftion, Gen. xviii. 25. Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? these were certainly presumptuous, arrogant, and bold speeches to be said to God, if my notion were not true ; for these conclude will, and shut it up, as having no rule in this law of right. So Acts xvii. 31. it is said, God shall judge the world in righteousness
. If there be not difference in things, and a rule of right, these words signify nothing. I could quote you hundreds of places for this į all the ways of God are ways of truth of righteousness and of judgment. Can any man imagine, that this fignifiés no more, but that things are as will would have them. Therefore I tell you, (and it is that by which you and all the world shall be judged) that these are not bare words and titles, not shadows and imaginations. There is that which is decent and fitting to be done ; or that which is equal ; that
which is fair ; that which is comely and feemly : there is that which holds of itself, and is decent, comely and fitting. Truth and goodness are first in things, then in perfons ; and 'tis our duty to observe them, and our uprightness to comply with them. All things are not arbitrary and positive constitution, but there is that which is lovely and comely in itself ; and there is that which is impure and ugly in its own nature and quality; and if any man meddles with it, let him be sure it will disparage him, and render him contemptible, vile, and base. There is also that which is generous, noble and worthy, and will gain repute and credit to him that uses it. 'Tis not all one før an intelligent and voluntary agent, to do one thing or another; for there are rules of right wherewith all intelligent agents must comply, and they do righteously when they do, and sinfully when they do not. There is such a turpitude in some things, that there is no priviledge or protection; nothing that can be alledged that will gain a man liberty to do them, for they have an intrinsick malignity and impurity ; and these things are a disparagement to any person whatsoever. And there are things that are just and righteous, worthy and generous, that will recompence the person that is exercised in them.
And then God made man with a judgment of difcerning, and 'tis expected that man should judge and discern, and reason concerning things. And this is not so much our priviledge, as our charge and trust, to obferve the difference of things. The whole motion of the world below men, is nulled us
pon a moral consideration ; and no morality to be found in any agent below man : the motions of all elfe, are no better than mechanick. Now this is the foundation of fcripture, exhortation, and admonition : we are to examine by reason and by argument, because God applies to reason and judgment, and to understanding, which is inseparable to choice. and resolution.
In short, a man is accomplished by two things ift. By being enlightned in his intellectual facul, ties. 2dly. By being directed in his morals to refuse evil, and to do good ; and to chuse and determine things according to the difference of them. The ift.. is the perfection of a man's understanding. The ad. is the goodness of his mind, Phil. ii. 13. Work out your falvation with fear, for it is God that worketh in you, &c. This supposes a judgment of discerning; and then consequently, that God does expect, that a man, according to his apprehension and judgment, should chufe, resolve, and determine. Now where we are called upon to work in the affair of salvation ; see how cautiously the scripture speaks of it, Phil. ii. 1 2. Work out your own salvation, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his own good pleasures From hence no body should be discouraged from the sense of his own disability ; nor arrogate to himself, or be presumptuous ; for God worketh in him to will and to do of his good pleasure. If this notion were but well observ. ed, a great part of fome controversies, at this day; would be resolved ; for scripture doth attribute to us that which God doth with us : that which we do
is attributed to God; and that which God doth by us, is both ascribed to God, and to us ; ' we work, and God works; we are awakened, directed, and affifted 'by him, so that I think there is too much heat in many controversies, and a right ftating them would extinguish them from being in the world.
We see there is a direct and exact government in heavenly bodies. When did ever the fun fail ? It were prodigious if it should : and why should not we, that are guided by principles of reason and illumination, (which is a far greater communication from Gody why should we be fo irregular and in confiftent, since the lower creation is fo regular and uniform. For there is nothing of conflagration in the heavenly motions, because no oppofitions : and if we were uniform to principles of reason and right understanding, all motions with us would be fo, and tend to autual information and edification, but not at all to provocațion; or exasperation, one of another.'
Pray let me leave this notion with you, that there is a difference in things ; there is that which is comely, that which is regular, decent, and directed according to rule, and the standing principle of God's creation. You see how much time I have spent in the notion, or that which is the force of the argument ; we are to rejoice and give thanks, because it is comely. The reason lies in the quality of the thing, which doth suppose, that there is a difference in things; by which the atheist is excluded out of the world, and mens liberties restrained to that which is right. Tis no rule to a man's actions, to do that which
he may maintain by power and priviledge ; but to do that which is fit to be done, juft and right ; to comply in all things with the reason of things and the rule of right, and in all things to be according to the nature, mind and will of God, the law of juiftice, the rule of right, the reason of things. These are the laws, by which we are to act and govern our lives; and we are all børn under the power of them; and if this be not true, this
argument the psalmist is insignificant, praise ye the Lord, for it is comely. The reason of things therefore, is our rule, both in religion and converse, one with ano ther ; and though these are different forms of speech, yet they are always in conjunction. The reason of the mind is by these to be directed ; and indeed, all principles of religion are founded upon the surest, most constanty and highest reason in the world, There is nothing so intrinsically rational as religion is ; nothing so felf-evident, nothing that can so justify itself, or that hath such pure reason to commend itself, as religion hath ; for it gives an account of itself to our judgments and to our faculties; and this, God himself doth acknowledge, Ifa. v. 3. Judge, 4 pray you, between me and my vineyard. So, I Cor. xi. 13. Judge in your felves, is it comely, &c. He brings that for an argument, the indecency of it. But so much for the notion, That there is a difference in things; that good and evil are first in things ; right and wrong first in things themselves. This is not arbitrary, nor imagined, nor determined by power and priviledge, but there is good and evil, comely and uncomely in things themselves. A word of this particular case, and I have done.