Page images

ven Devils, and wicked Men, are under the Pro. vidence of God; Matth, viii. 31.

So the devils befought him, saying, Įf thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.' And e. vil Actions, as well as good, are within the Verge of it: Gen. xlv. 7. 'And God sent me before

you, to preserve you a posterity in the earth,

and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Yea, there is not any thing whatsoever, be it ever so small or casual, that falls out without the Providence of God: Matth. X. 29. 30. ' Are not two

sparrows fold for a farthing and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father, But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.'

The Works of Providence about the Creatures, are the preserving of them, and the governing of them and their actions. Providence preserves the Creatures, sustaining them in Being, and providing for their Support: Heb. i. 3.- Upholding ali

things by the word of his power.' Pfal. cxlv. 15. 16. . The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thoy

openest thine hand, and satisfieft the desire of e• very living thing.' No Creature whatfoever could keep itself in Being one Moment: But upon God's withdrawing the upholding Hand of his Providence, it would immediately return to nothing : Heb. i. 3. Providence governs the Creatures and their Actions, difpofing of them according to the divine Purpose: Prov. xxi. 1.'The king's heart is in the hand of thç { Lord, as the rivers of water : he turneth it whi.

thersoever he will.' Eph. i. 11. ' In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.' Pro



der the Pro. o the devils us out, suffer ne.' And e. in the Verge t me before n the earth,

deliverance.' er, be it ever out the Pro, Are not two one of them your Father, Inumbered!' e Creatures, governing of preserves the od providing pholding ali Pfal. cxiv. | thee, and ason. Thoy desire of efoever could upon

God's Providence, g eir Actions,

vidence governs sinful Actions, permitting them, bounding them, and over. ruling them to Good; AEls xiv. 16. 'Who in times past suffered all nastions to walk in their own ways. Pfal. lxxvi. 10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee : i the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.' Gen, 1. 20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; " but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.'

The Properties of the Works of Providence are these: They are most holy, wife, and powerful: Pfal. cxlv. 17. • The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.' Psal. civ. 24. ' O Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in

wisdom haft thou made them all.' Dan. iv. 35, He doth according to his own will in the army of

heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth : 6 and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, ( What dost thou? Wherefore, God is not the Author of Sin; no more than he. who rides a crooked Horse, is the Cause of his halting : James i. 13. Let no man say when he is tempted, I • am tempted of God : for God cannot be tempt.

ed with evil, neither tempteth he any man.' AH Dispensations of Providence are wisely ordered : Deut. xxxii. 4. He is the Rock, his work is per

fect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of

truth, and without iniquity; just and right is he.' And Providence cannot miss of its Designs and Ends : Ìf. xlvi. 10. My counsel shall stand, and

I will do all my pleasure.'

The Rule of the Works of Providence, is the Decree of God; whereof they, and the Works.of Creation, are an exact Accomplishment : Eph. i. 11. "In whom allo we have obtained an inherie

ne Purpose: e hand of the neth it whihom also we vredestinated

• tance,

worketh all will.' Pro.


tance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.'

Quest. 12. That special Ad of Providence did God exercise towards Man in the Estate wherein he was created?

Anf. When God had created Man, he, entered into a Covenant of Life with him, upon Condition of perfect Obedie ence; forbidding him to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, upon the pain of Death.

EXPLICATION. The Special Aët of Previdence towards Man newly created, was, God's making a Covenant of Life and Happiness with him. There are two Covenants for Life and Happiness to Man: And they are, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace : Gal. iv. 24. • For these are the

two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, • which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.'

The first Covenant was the Covenant of Works. It was made in Paradise, and before the Fall. The Parties contracting in it, were God and Adam: Gen. ii. 17. But of the tree of the knowledge of good • and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day * that thou eateft thereof, thou shalt surely die. But Adam represented all Mankind, as the Parties contracted for: Gen. ii. 17. forecited. Compared

to the pur:

after the

of Prode Man created? ed Man, Life with - Obedie

[ocr errors]

ne Tree

l, upon

with Rom. V. 1.2. By one man sin entered into the

world, and death by sin; and so death paffed upon | all men, for that all have sinned. There was no Mediator of this Covenant ; for as yet there was no Breach, by Sin, betwixt God and Man.

The Condition of the Covenant of Works, was perfect Obedience: Gal. iii. 12. ' And the law is

not of faith : but, The man that doth them, shall

live in them.' And it was to be perfect, in re. fpect of Parts, Degrees, and continuance : Gal. ¡ii. ro. For as many as are of the works of the • law, are under the curse : for it is written, Cur. fed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.' Matth. xxii. 37. ' Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy

heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy ¢ mind. So the least failing in any Part or Degree of Obedience, or for never so small a Time, would have broken this Covenant. The Law that was the Rule of this Obedience, was the Law of the ten Commands, and the Law forbidding to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil : Gal. iii. 10. and Gen. ï. 17. forecited. That Tree grew in Paradile, Gen. in 9. There was no Virtue in it to improve Men in Knowledge, as the Devil falsely suggested, Gen. iii. 5. For . God doth know, that in the day ye eat there

of, then your eyes shall be opened : and ye ? shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. compared with Jolin viii. 44. Ye are of your father

the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he {peaketh a. lys, he speaketh


rds Man venant of

are two an: And the Cove e are the unt Sinai, Agar.' of Works. all. The Lam: Gen. ge of good in the

day aurely die

he Parties Compared


of his own : for he is a lyar, and the father of it.' But that Name was put upon this Tree, to inti. mate, that by eating of it, Man would know to his sad Experience, the vast Difference between Good and Ill : Wherefore that Tree with that Name, was of Use, to be a Warning-piece to Man to beware of evil. Now, Adam knew the Law of the ten Commands, as they were impressed on his Heart in his Creation: Rom. ii. 15.' Which shew

the work of the law written in their hearts, their

conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts • the mean while accusing, or else excusing one an• other.” He knew the Law of the forbidden Tree, by Revelation, Gen. ii. 17. forecited. And he had sufficient Ability for the perfect Obedience required, Eccl. vii. 29. 'God made man upright.' '

The Promise of the Covenant of Works, was a Promise of Life: Gen. ii. 17. forecited. The Life promised was twofold; namely, one to be afforded him, during the Course of his probationary Obedience, another to be afforded him at the perfecting of it. The Life to have been afforded to Man during the Course of his probationary Obedience, was natural Life continued in Vigour and Comfort, and spiritual Life continued in Favour and Fellowship with God, Gen. ii. 17. forecited. This was the Reward of Obe. dience in Hand. The Life to have been afforded him at the perfecting of his Course, was eternal Life in consummate Happiness : Matth. xix. 16. 17. . And behold, one came and said unto him, Good

master, what good thing shall I do that I may

have eternal life? And he said unto him, If is thou wilt enter into life, keep the command$ ments.' And this was the Reward of Obedience in Hope. Adam, if he had continued obedient,

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »