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different from those which he
them to us for. This certainly involveth in it a very heinous Guilt, and is a facrilegious Alienation of ourselves from his Service, to whom we do of Right belong. That is a heavy Charge which Daniel bringeth against Belshazzar, The God in whose Hand thy Breath is, and wkose are all thy Ways, hat thou not glorified. Dan. v. 23.
Thirdly, Another Reflection that is proper to be made on this Occasion is this, that fince God preserveth us every Moment,. since we cannot move a Limb, nor think a Thought without him, he must needs be perfectly acquainted with all our Thoughts,. Words, and Actions, and all the Events which befal us. Justly may every one of us say with the devout Pfalmift, Lord, thou knoweft my Down-fitting and mine Uprising, thou understandest my Thoughts afar of: Thou compañejt my Path, and my Lyingdown, and art acquainted with all my Ways. For there is not a Word in my Tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowelt it altogether. Pfal.
the least good Action we perform, and every good Motion which ariseth in four Hearts, Nor, on the other Hand, can any of our most secret Sins poflibly escape his Notice. For it is by his Influence that we are upheld in Being, even whilst we are
cxxxix. 2, 3, 4
committing those Sins against him. Our being able to commit them, our being preserved in Life whilst we do so, is a Proof that he is present with us, and, consequently, that he must know whatsoever we are doing in
Circumstance. Fourthly, How strange and inexcusable will our Conduct be, if we allow ourselves in an habitual Neglect and Forgetfulness of the Deity! Shall we be unmindful of him, without whom we cannot subsist a Moment, by whom we are constantly upheld in Being, and in the Use of all our reasoning and active Powers ? As soon ought we to forget that we ourselves exist. And yet so it is, that a great Part of Mankind go on from Day to Day, without ever thinking of that God to whom they owe it that they are able to think; and without speaking of him who gave, and continueth to them, the Faculty and Use of Speech. They act in too many Instances, as if there were no such Being at all, though without him they could not be. Amazing Perverseness! What a strange Depravation of a reasonable thinking Mind doth this argue! Let us carefully guard against it, and often realize God to our Minds, endeavouring to maintain a constant Sense of our abfolute Dependence upon him, so as to stand in Awe of his Power, to be thankful to
him for his great Goodness, and to be defirous above all Things of his Favour. For how great must his Power be which conftantly upholdeth this vast universal Frame, and all the numberless Orders of Beings in it! What Folly therefore would it be, for such Creatures as we are to dare to offend him, and provoke his just Displeasure! How easily could he destroy us in a Moment, and put an utter End to our Existence! Or, if he doth not think fit to do so, as not being consistent with the Designs of his most wise and righteous Providence, he can continue and uphold us in Being under those Punishments and Miseries we had brought upon ourselves by our Disobedience.
The last Reflection I would make upon this Subject is this, That since God continually preserveth us, he hath an undoubted Right to govern us.
And this leadeth to the other main Work of Divine Providence, viz. The Government of the World, which is what I propose next to confider.
On God's Government of the World:
And first, of bis Dominion over the inanimate Creation.
Psal. CXxxv. 6.
What foever the Lord pleased, that did be in
Heaven, and in Earth, in the Seas, and in all deep Places.
AVING considered the Providence
of God as exercised in the Presere vation of the World, let us now proceed to that which deferveth to be considered more at large, viz. His governing that World which he hath made, and which he continually upholdeth. And this providential Government of God may be regarded as
extending to every Part of this vast Universe, and all the Orders of Beings in it. The several kinds of Beings in the Creation, as far as they come under our Observation and Notice, may be distributed into three great Ranks, the inanimate, the sensitive, and the rational or moral. The Government of Providence, in the properest Sense, is to be understood of God's Administrations towards reasonable Creatures, moral Agents. But it may be also applied to his Dominion over the merely sensitive or Brute Animals; and in a still less
proper Sense to his Dominion over the inanimate Creation, which is always subject to his Will, and ordered by him as feemeth most fit to his infinite Wisdom. All these must be joined if we would form a just Notion of the Dominion and Sovereignty of the great Lord of the Universe.
First, I shall begin with considering the Government of God as extending to the inanimate Creation. As by his sustaining Influence he preserveth and maintaineth this vast material System in all its Parts, so by his Government of it, I here understand his directing and regulating the natural Causes and Effects of Things, so as to apply them to the wise Purposes of his Providence. How a Spirit or immaterial Be