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our greater Benefit.
For they can do no more to us than he seeth
proper to permit Him, therefore, let us reverence and adore ; on him let us place our Confidence, and not be afraid what any Creature can do unto us. And to this blessed and only Potentate, the Sovereign Lord of the Creation, who doth whatsoever he wills in Heaven and in Earth, be Glory and Dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
On God's providential Government
with regard to his reasonable Creatures, moral Agents.
PSALM ciii. 19. The Lord bath prepared his Throne in the Heavens į and his Kingdom ruleth over all.
HE Dominion and Government of
Divine Providence hath been confidered as extending to the inanimate Creation, or the material World, and also as extending to the sensitive Part of the Creation, or the Brute Animals : Let us now take a View of it as exercised towards reafonable Beings, moral Agents, which are undoubtedly the noblest and most excelVol. I.
lent of God's Creatures. The material System, whatever Order or Beauty may be found in it, is not itself conscious of that Beauty and Order; nor are mere fenfitive Beings capable of making proper Reflections upon it, or of admiring, obeying, adoring the great Parent and Lord of the Universe. This is the sole Privilege of rational, intelligent Beings. If therefore the Providence of God extendeth to any Creatures at all, we may be sure that he exerciseth a special Care over his reasonable Creatures; and, since he hath given them such noble Faculties and Powers, will
govern them in a Way suitable to those Faculties and Powers. And this certainly is the most admirable Part of the divine Administrations. For to govern numberless Millions of active intelligent Beings, so unconceivably various in their Thoughts, Inclinations, and Counsels, and who have each of them a Will of their own, and a Power of determining their own Actions; to exercise a constant Superintendency over them, and direct and order the Events relating to them, and to dispense to them
Re. tributions, not only according to their outward Conduct, but the inward Thoughts and Dispositions of their Hearts; I. say, thus to govern them without infringing the Liberty which belongeth to them as
moral Agents, must needs argue a Wisdom as well as Power, that exceedeth our Comprehension, and which can only be found in the infinite Mind.
It is God's Government of reasonable Creatures, which the Psalmist appears to have principally in View, when he faith that the Lord bath prepared, or, as it might be rendered, hath established his Throne in the Heavens ; and his Kingdom ruleth over all. Heaven is the most magnificent Part of his Dominion; there he exhibiteth the brightest Displays of his Majesty and Glory; and therefore it is represented in Scripture under the glorious Epithet of the Throne of God, and his Dwelling-place. There he reigneth over all the Hosts of Angels in their several bright Orders and Degrees. And accordingly the Pfalmift, in the Words immediately following, calleth upon the Angels to bless and adore the great universal Sovereign : Bless the Lord, ye his Angels, that excel in Strength, that do his Commandments, bearkening to the Voice of his Word. But though God reigneth most illustriously in Heaven, yet his Presence and Dominion is not confined there, His Kingdom ruleth over all. This vast Univerfe is his Empire, the Extent of which transcendeth all human Imagination. How many different Orders of reasonable G2