« السابقةمتابعة »
very malice and wickedness of your enemies, who will be apt to impute the ruin of the faints, to the defect of power in God; from whence those excellent arguments are drawn, Num. xiv. 15, 16. "Now if thou fhalt kill all this people as one man, "then the nations which have heard the fame of thee, will speak, "faying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into "the land which he fware unto them, therefore he hath flain "them in the wilderness." And again, Deut. xxxii. 26, 27. you will find the Lord improving this argument for them himself; if they do not plead it for themselves, he will. "I would fcatter "them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them "to ccafe from among men, were it not that I feared the wrath "of the enemy, left their adversaries fhould behave them"felves ftrangely, and left they should fay, Our hand is high, "and the Lord hath not done all this" O fee how much you are beholden to the very rage of your enemies, for your deliverances from them!
4. To conclude, the very reliance of your fouls by faith upon the power of God, your very leaning upon his arm engages it for your protection, Ifa. xxvi. 3. "Thou wilt keep him in "perfect peace, whofe mind is flayed on thee, because he truft"eth in thee." Puzzle not yourselves therefore any longer about qualifications; but know that the very acting of your faith on God, the recumbency of your fouls upon him, is that which will engage him for your defence, how weak and defective foever thou art in other refpects.
2. Having thus entered by faith into this chamber of divine power, the next counfel the text gives you, is, to fhut the door behind you, i. e. after the acting of your faith, and the quiet repofe of your fouls upon God's almighty power; then take heed left unbelieving fears and jealoufies creep in again, and disturb the rest of your fouls in God; you find a fad inftance of this in Mofes, Numb. xi. 21, 23. After so many glorious acts and triumphs of his faith, how were his heels tripped up by diffidence which crept in afterwards! Good men may be pofed with difficult providences, and made to flagger. The Ifraelites had lived upon miracles many years, yet Pfal. Ixxviii. 20. "Can he give bread alfo?" Good Martha objects difficulty to Chrift, John xi. 39. " By this time he flink"eth." Oh! it is a glorious thing to give God the glory of his almighty power in difficult cafes that we cannot comprehend. See Zech. viii. 6. "If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in thefe days, fhould it be as mar
"vellous in mine eyes? faith the Lord of hofts." Difficulties are for men, but not for God: because it is marvellous in your eyes, must it be so in God's! Various objections will be apt to arife in your hearts to drive you out of this your refuge. As,
Object. 1. Oh! but the long continuance of our troubles and diftreffes will fink our very hearts, Ifa. xl. 27. "Why fayeft "thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Ifrael, my way is hid from "the Lord, and my judgment is paffed over from my God."
Sol. But, oh! wait upon God without fainting, Heb. ii. 3. "The vifion is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it "shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because "it will furely come, it will not tarry."
Object. 2. Oh, but our former hopes and expectations of deJiverance are fruftrated, Jer viii. 15. "We looked for peace, "but no good came: and for a time of health, and behold "trouble."
Sol. Oh, but yet be not difcouraged fee how the Pfalmift begins the lxixth pfalm with trembling, and ends it with triumph; the husbandman waiteth, and fo must you.
Object. 3. But there is no fign or appearance of our deliver
Sol. What then, this is no new thing, Pfal. lxxiv. 9. "We "fee not our figns, there is no more any prophet, neither is "there any among us that knoweth how long."
Object. 4. But all things work contrary to our hope.
Sol. Why, fo did things with Abraham; yet fee, Rom. iv. 18. "Againft hope, he believed in hope."
3. Obferve further with delight, the outgoings and glorious workings of divine Power for you, and for the church in times of trouble; this is fweet entertainment for your fouls, it is food for faith, Pfal. lxxiv. 14. "Thou brakeft the heads of Leviathan "in pieces, and gaveft him to be meat to the people inhabit-· "ing the wilderness." And here I beseech you behold and admire,
1. Its myfterious and admirable protection of the faints in all their dangers. They feed as fheep in the midst of wolves, Luke x. 3. They lie among them that are fet on fire, Pfal. Jvii. 4. "Their habitation is in the midft of deceit," Jer. ix. 6. Yet they are kept in fafety by the mighty power of God.
2. Behold and admire it in cafting the bonds of restraint upon your enemies, that though they would, yet they cannot hurt you; our dangers are visible, and our fears great, but our fecurity and fafety admirable, Ifa. li. 13. “ Thou haft feared con
❝tinually every day, because of the fury of the oppreffor, as "if he were ready to deftroy; and where is the fury of the " oppreffor?
3. Behold its opening unexpected and unlikely refuges and fecurities for the faints, in their diftreffes; Ifa. xvi. 4. “Let "mine outcafts dwell with thee, Moab, be thou a covert to "them from the face of the spoiler; for the extortioner is at an "end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppreffors are confumed out of "the land." Rev. xii. 16. " The earth helped the woman, "and the earth opened her mouth, and fwallowed up the flood "which the dragon caft out of his mouth."
4. Behold it frustrating all the defigns of our enemies againft us, Ifa. liv. 17. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall profper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judg"ment thou shalt condemn. Behold, I have created the smith," Ifa. liv. 16. q. d. He that created the fmith, can order, as he pleaseth, the weapon made by him; hence our enemies are not mafters of their own defigns.
Oh then depend upon this power of God, for it is your fecurity; there is a twofold dependence, the one natural and neceffary, the other elective.
1. Natural dependence, fo all do, and muft depend upon him.
2. Elective and voluntary, and fo we all ought to depend upon him; and for your encouragement take this fcripture, Pfal. ix. 9, 10. "The Lord alfo will be a refuge for the oppreffed,
a refuge in times of trouble, and they that know thy name "will put their trust in thee, for thou, Lord, haft not forsaken "them that feek thee." And thus of the first attribute of God, prepared for the fafety of his people in times of trouble.
Opening that glorious attribute of Divine Wisdom, as a fecond chamber of fecurity to the faints in difficult times.
Sect. I. HE next chamber of divine protection, into which I fhall lead you, is the infinite wisdom of God; I call it the next, because I fo find it placed in fcripture, Job xxxvi. 5." He is mighty in power and wisdom." Dan. ii. 20. "Wisdom and might are his.”
This attribute may be fitly called the council-chamber of
heaven, where all things are contrived in the deepest wisdom, which are afterwards wrought in the world by power, Eph. i. 11. "He worketh all things after the counfel of his own will.” Counsel in the creature, implies weaknefs and defect; we are not able at one thought to fathom the depth of a bulinefs, and therefore must deliberate and fpend many thoughts about it, and when we have spent all our own thoughts, we are oft-times at a lofs, and muft, borrow help, and ask counsel of others; but in God it notes the perfection of his understanding, for as thofe acts of the creature which are the refults of deliberation and counfel, are the height and top of all rational contrivement; fo in its accommodation to God, it notes the excellent refults of his infinite and most perfect understanding.
Now this wisdom of God is to be confidered either as abfolute, or relatively.
1. Abfolutely in itself, and fo it is, That whereby he most perfectly and exactly knows himself, and all things without himfelf, ordering and difpofing them, in the most convenient manner, to the glory of his own name.
Wi.dom comprehends two things, 1. Knowledge of the nature of things, which, in the creature, is called science. 2. Knowledge how to govern, order and difpofe them, which, in the creature, is called prudence; thefe things in a man are but faint fhadows of that which is in God, in the most abfolute perfection; he fully knows himself, for his understanding is infinite, Pfal. cxlvii. 5. and the thoughts he thinks towards us, Jer. xxix. 11. And as he perfectly understands himself, fo likewife all things that are without himself, Acts xv. 18. “ Known
. unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Together with all the fecret defigns, thoughts, and purposes which lie hid from all others, in the inmost receffes of mens hearts, Pfal. cxxxix. 2.
And as he perfectly knows all things, fo he fully understands how to govern and direct them to the beft end, even the exalting of his own praise, Pfal. civ. 24. Rom. xi. 36. “For of him, "and through him, and to him are all things:" of him, as the efficient caufe; through him, as the conferving cause and to him, as the final caufe. And in this wife difpofition of all things, he hath a gracious respect to the good of his chofen, Rom. viii. 28. "All things thail work together for good to "them that love God." More particularly, the wisdom of God is to be confidered by us, in its excellent properties, amongst which, thefe four following are eminently confpicuous,
as it is the
3. Perfect, and
1. The wisdom of God is the original wifdom, from which all the wisdom found in angels or men is derived, and into that fountain we are directed to go, for fupplies of wifdom, James i. 5." If any man lack wifdom, let him ask it of God." There is indeed a spirit in man, but it is the inspiration of the Almighty that giveth understanding, Job xxxii. 8. The natural faculty is ours, but the illumination thereof is God's, the understanding. of the creature is the dial, which fignifies nothing till the fun fhine upon it.
2. God's wifdom is effential wildom. Wifdom in the creature is but a quality feparable from the fubject; but in God it is his nature, his very effence, he can as foon ceafe to be God, as to be most wife.
3. The wildom of God is perfect wisdom, full of itself, and exclusive of its contrary; the wifest of men are not wife at all times; the greatest wits are not without fome mixture of madnefs; it is an high attainment in human wifdom to underftand our own weakness and folly; the deepest heads are but fhallows, but the wifdom of God is an unfearchable depth, Rom. xi. 33. "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and "knowledge of God! how unfearchable are his judgments, "and his ways poft finding out !"
4. To conclude, the wifdom of God is the only wifdom . there is no wifdom without him, none against him, he is the only wife God, Jude verfe 25.
2. The wifdom of God must be confidered relatively, and that in a double refpect:
1. To his promifes. 2. To his providences.
Sect. II. Let us view it in its relation to the promises, where you shall find it made over by God to his people, for divers excellent ufes and purposes in times of diftrefs and danger. As,
1. It was made over to them in promises, for their direction and guidance when they knew not what to do, or which way to take. So Pfal. xxv. 9." The meek will he guide in judgment, "and the meek will he teach his way ;" and Ifa. )viii. 1 1. "Lord fhall guide thee continually;" and Pfal. xxxiii. 8. "I will guide thee with mine eye.' And with this the Pfal. mift encourages himself, Pfal. lxxiii. 24. "Thou shalt guide "me with thy counfel, and afterwards receive me to glory." O what an invaluable mercy is this! we fhould make shipwreck both of our temporal and eternal mercies quickly, were it not for the guidance of divine wisdom.