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templation of it. Suffer not the great honour and dignity of the human race, which is to know the eternal and invisible God, to acknowledge him, love him, and worship him, to decay and die away within you: this, alas! is the way of the far greater part of the world; but do you live in continual remembrance of your original, and assert your claim to heaven, as being originally from it, and soon to return to it again.

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The doctrines, we have been handling, are the great supports of faith, piety, and the whole of religion ; wherefore it is most just, that the zeal and care of the scholars should concur with that of their teachers, to have them well secured in the mind and affections : “ For a weak foundation," as the lawyers observe, “ is the ruin of the work *.” There are two principal pillars, and, as it were, the Jachin and Boaz of the living temples of God, which the apostle to the Hebrews lays down in these words: “ He, that cometh to God," (under which expression is comprehended every devout affection, and every act of religious worship) “must

* Debile emim fundamentum fallit opus.


believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

“ That God is,” not only implies, that he is eternal and self-existent; but also, that he is, to all other beings, the spring and fountain of what they are, and what they have, and, consequently, that he is the wise and powerful Creator of angels and men, and even of the whole universe; this is the first particular, “ That God is.The second, " that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," ascertains the providence and government of God, exemplified in its most eminent effect, with regard to mankind. For providence extends further than this, and comprehends in it a constant preservation and support of all things visible and invi. sible, whether in heaven or earth, and the sovereign government and disposal of them. Mechanics, when they have completed houses, ships, and other works they have been engaged in, leave them to take their fate in the world, and, for the most part, give themselves no further trouble about the acci. dents that may befal them. But the supreme architect, and wise Creator, never forsakes the works of his hands, but keeps his arms continually about it, to preserve it; sits at the helm to rule and govern it; is himself in every part of it, and fills the whole with his presence. So great a fabric could not possibly stand, without some guardian and ruler; nor can this be any other than the Creator himself: for who can pay a greater regard to it, support it more effectually, or govern it with greater

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wisdom, than he who made it ? “ Nothing can be more perfect than God, therefore it is necessary the world should be governed by him *,” says Ci. cero. And, they who take away providence, though they acknowledged God in words, in fact deny him t.”

If we believe that all things were produced out of nothing; the consequence is, that by the same powerful hand that created them, they must be preserved and supported, to keep them from falling back into their primitive nothing. It must be also owned, that, by the same powerful hand, the regular motions of the stars, the contexture of the elementary world, the various kinds of creatures, and the uninterrupted succession of their generations, are continued and preserved. Nor is divine providence to be confined within the heavens, or in the lower world restrained to the care of generals, in opposition to individuals; although the paripatetic school inclined too much to this opinion, and, even the master of that school, Aristotle himself, in his often quoted book, if it really be his, de Mundo. For, that providence extends to all things in this lower globe, from the highest to the lowest, and comprehends within its sphere particular, as well as general things, the least as well as the greatest, is confirmed not only by the doctrine of the sacred

* Nihil Deo præstantius, ab eo igitur regi necesse est. Cios

+ Qui providentiam negant, verbis licet Deum ponunt, reipsa tollunt.


scripture, but also by the testimony of all sound philosophy.

Therefore, in maintaining the doctrine of providence, 1st, we affirm, that the eternal mind has an absolute and perfect knowledge of all things in ge. neral, and every single one in particular ; nor does he see only those that are actually present, as they appear in their order upon the stage of the world; but at one view comprehends all that are past, as well as to come, as if they were all actually present before him*.” This the ancient philosopher Thales is said to have asserted expressly, even with regard to the hidden motions, and most secret thoughts of the human mind; for being asked, “ If any ones that does evil, can conceal it from God ? He answered, no, not even his evil thoughtst." 66 Nothing is left unprovided for, says St Basil, nothing is overlooked by God; his watchful eye sees all things, he is present every where, to give salvation to allt." Epictetus has also some very divine thoughts upon this subject S. .

And here, was any one to reflect seriously on the vast number of affairs, that are constantly in agitation in one province, or even in one city, the many political schemes and projects, the multiplicity of law matters, the still greater number of family-afa

* Τα έoνία ταλ' εσσόμενα προϊ' έoνία.
Η ει Θεόν τις λάθοι κακόν τι πράσσων ; ολλ έδε διανοέμενος.

+ 'Ουδέν άπρονόητον, έδεν ήμελημενον παρά Θεώ τανία σκοπευει ο ακοίμήθος όφθαλμος τάσι πάρει, σκορπίζων έκασω την σωλαριαν. Arr. lib. 1. cap. 12.

fairs, and all the particulars comprehended under so many general heads, he would be amazed and over-powered with the thoughts of a knowledge so incomprehensibly extensive.

This was the very thought which excited the divine Psalmist's admiration, and made him cry out with wonder and astonishment, “ Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it*.”

2dly, He not only knows all things, and takes notice of them, but he also rules and governs them : * He hath done whatever he pleased in the heavens and the earth, says the Psalmist:" and, “ He worketh all things, says the apostle, according to the counsel of his own will :” he does all things according to his pleasure; but that pleasure is influenced by his reason, all things absolutely; but yet all things with the greatest justice, sanctity, and prudence.

He views and governs the actions of men in a particular manner; he hath given him a law; he hath proposed rewards, and annexed punishments to enforce it, and engage man's obedience. And having discovered, as it were, an extraordinary concern about him, when he made him, as we have observed upon the words, “ Let us make man;" in like manner, he still continues to maintain an uncommon good will towards him; and, so to speak, an anxious concern about him : so that one of the ancients most justly called man, “ God's favourite creature.” And he spoke much to the purpose,

Psal. cxxxix. 6.

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