« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
verfal Confort, and break forth into finging.
To this glorious universal Lord let us yield á willing and absolute Submiffion. As there are no Limits to his Authority, there must be no Bounds to our Obedience. We do not obey him as God, and acknowledge him to be what he is, the fupreme and absolute sovereign Lord, if we do not endeavour to obey all his Laws without Reserve, so as not to allow ourselves in the habitual Neglect or Violation of any of them. And as
we must yield an unreserved Obedience to all his Commands, so we must yield an entire Resignation to his disposing Will in all Things. For since he is our absolute Sovereign and Lord, he hath not only an indisputable Right to give us what Laws he thinks proper, but to order and appoint our Condition and Circumstances as he pleaseth. We must never, therefore, in any Instance, allow ourselves to murmur or repine at his Disposals, but must resolve to acquiesce in whatever Lot it shall feem fit to him to appoint us; still carrying this along with us, that whatever his
present Dispensations may appear to be, yet all Things shall be ordered for the best
the whole, so as in the final Issue to turn to the greater Benefit of those who sincerely love and obey him. For though he be an absolute Sovereign, yet he is infinitely holy, wise, and good, and never doeth any Thing but with the most wife and benevolent Views, worthy of himself, and of his own infinite Perfection.
On God's providential Government
towards good and evil Angels.
PSALM ciii. 19.
The Lord hath prepared bis Throne in the
Heavens; and his Kingdom ruleth over all.
HERE is scarce any Thing of great
Importance to us, than to endeavour to get just Notions of God's Government of the rational moral part of the Creation : Some general Observations were made concerning it in our former Discourse. It is proper now to consider it more. distinctly, as exercised towards the several Orders of reasonable Beings, the most remarkable
of which, as far as they come under our Notice, are Angels and Men.
I shall begin with considering the Government of Divine Providence towards the Angels.
Whosoever duly considereth what imperfect Creatures we are, will be naturally led to conclude, that we are not of the highest Order in the Scale of created Beings. Man is of a middle Nature, a Compound of Flesh and Spirit; and, as there are inferior Animals, that have Life and Sensation, and Bodies of Flesh, as we have, but are not endued with rational and intellectual Souls, so it is congruous to Rea... son, and the just Order of Things to suppose, that there are Spirits and Intelligencies, which either are not united to Bodies at all, or are not encumbered with such gross corruptible Bodies as Since this lower Earth is replenished with such a Variety of living Creatures, can it reasonably be imagined, that all the other Parts of this vast Universe are destitute of Inhabitants? And of these there
be various Orders and Degrees, many of which are probably of an higher and more excellent Kind than any that dwell in the inferior Regions. And accordingly, some Notion of such Kind of Beings hath obtained in all Nations and Ages, almost as uni
versally as the Belief of a God and a Providence. The holy Scriptures are very clear and express to this Purpose. There we are informed of great Numbers of Angels, or spiritual intellectual Beings superior to Man, many of whom are holy and happy, employing their vast Capacities in doing Good, and are called the elect Angels, and holy Angels; others of them, by wilful Disobedience, and an Abuse of their noble Powers, have fallen from their original Purity and Glory, and are represented as evil and malevolent Beings. But both the one and the other are under the Dominion of God, and the Government of his Providence.
First, God exerciseth a sovereign Rule over the good Angels; this is one Thing the Psalmist seems to have especially in View, when he here declares, that the Lord kath prepared his Throne in the Heavens ; and bis Kingdom ruleth over all. For he immediately adds, Bless the Lord ye his Angels, that excel in Strength, that do bis Commandments, hearkening to the Voice of his Word. Bless the Lord, all ye bis Hofts, ye Ministers of his that do his Pleasure. They are said to excel in Strength, and are elsewhere called mighty Angels, to signify that they are of great Power and Activity, compared with whom, the Sons of Men that dwell in Houses of Clay, are weak and feeble Beings. They