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which is abfolutely rejected and excluded by the fimplicity and purity thereof; feeing therefore it can neither be from any power without him, nor any mixture within him, there can be no change at all made on him.
Arg. 3. That is by no means to be afcribed to God, which, at once, eclipfes the glory of his name, and overthrows the hopes and comforts of all his people.
But fo would the fuppofition of mutability in God do, this would level him with the vain changeable creature; whereas it is a principal part of his glory, that " He is not a man that he "fhould lie, neither the fon of man that he should repent," Numb. xxiii. 19. This allo would overthrow the hopes and comforts of all his people, which are built upon this attribute as upon their stable and folid foundation: Among divers others we find three principal privileges of the people of God, built upon his immutability, viz.
1. Their perfeverance in grace.
1. Their perfeverance in grace is built upon the foundation of God's unchangeablenefs; one main reason why Christians never repent of their choice of Chrift, and the ways of Godliness, is, because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, Rom. xi. 29. Should God but once repent of the gifts of his grace he hath bestowed on us, and alter in his love towards us, how foon would our love to God, and delight in God vanish, as the image in the glafs doth, when the man that looked upon it hath once turned away his face?
2. All their comfort in the promifes is built upon God's unchangeablenefs. The promises are the springs of confolation; fhould they fail and dry up, the whole world could not afford them one drop of fpiritual comfort to refresh their thirsty fouls the ftrength of our confolation immediately results from the stability and firmness of the fcripture promifes, Heb. vi. 18.
3. Their hope of eternal life depends upon the unchangeablenefs of God that hath promifed, Tit. i. 2. "In hope of eternal "life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Take away then the immutability of God, and you at once darken and eclipfe his glory, and overturn the perseverance, confolations, and hopes of all his people; but bleffed be God these things are built upon firm foundations.
1. His nature is unchangeable, "Thou art the fame for ever,” Pfal. cii. 27. The heavens though they be the pureft, and therefore the moft durable and unchangeable part of the creas
tion; yet they fhall perish and wax old, and be changed as a vefture, but our God is the fame for ever.
2. His power is unchangeable, Ifa. lix. 1. "The Lord's hand " is not (hortned." Time will enfeeble the ftrongest creature, and cut fhort the power of the hands of the mighty, they cannot do in their decrepit age as they were wont to do in their youthful and vigorous age; but the Lord's hand never is, nor can be shortned.
3. The counfels and purposes of his heart are unchangeable, Pfal. xxxiii. II. "The counsel of the Lord ftandeth for ever, "the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
4. The goodnefs, truth, and mercy of God are unchangeable, Pfal. c. 5. "The Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, " and his truth endureth to all generations.'
5. The word of God is unchangeable. Though all flesh be as grafs, and the goodiinefs thereof as the flower of the field, yet the word of our God fhall ftand for ever; all the promises contained therein are fure and ftedfaft: Not yea and nay, but yea and Amen for ever, 2 Cor. i. 20.
6. The love of God is an unchangeable love, Jer. xxxi. 3. "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
7. In a word, all the gracious pardons of God are unchangeable; as they are full without exceptions, fo they are final pardons without any revocation. "I will be merciful to their un"righteousness, and their iniquities and fins will I remember 66 no more," Heb. viii. 12. And thus much briefly of God's unchangeableness abfolutely confidered in itself.
Sect. II. Let us next confider, and briefly view the unchangeableness of God in its refpect and relation,
1. To his promises.
2. To his providences,
1. The immutability of God gives down its comforts to believers through the promises, there is no other way by which they can have a comfortable admiffion into this chamber or attribute of God; and there are fix forts of promifes in the word, by which it is highly improveable to their fupport and comfort in an evil day. For,
1. The unchangeable God hath engaged himself by promise to be with his people in all times, and in all ftraits, Heb. xiii. 5. "I will never leave thee nor forfake thee." The life, joy and comfort of a believer lies in the bofom of that promise, the conclufion of faith from thence is fweet and fure: If I fhall never be forfaken of my God, let hell and earth do their worst, I Cap never be miferable,
2. The unchangeable God hath promised to maintain their graces, and thereby his intereft in them for ever, Jer. xxxii. 40. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I "will not turn away from them to do them good: But I will ་ put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not turn away "from me." Where the Lord undertakes for both parts in the covenant, his own and theirs: I will not turn away from them ? Oh unexpreffible mercy! Yea, but Lord, may the poor believers fay, that is not so much my fear, as that my treacherous heart will turn away from thee. No, faith God, I will take care for that alfo: I will put my fear into thy heart, and, thou shalt never depart from me.
3. The unchangeable God hath promifed to establish the covenant with them for ever; fo that those who are once taken into that gracious covenant shall never be turned out of it again, Ifa. liv. 10. "The mountains (hall depart, and the hills be re"moved, but my kindness fhall not depart from thee, neither "fhall the covenant of my peace be removed, faith the Lord "that hath mercy on thee."
4. The unchangeable God hath fecured his loving-kindness to his people, by promise under all the trials and fmarting rods of affliction with which he chaftens them in this world; he hath referved to himself the liberty of afflicting them, but bound himself by promise never to remove his favour from them, Pfal. xxxix. 33, 34. "I will visit their tranfgreffion with the rod,
and their iniquity with ftripes, nevertheless my loving-kind"nefs will I not take from them, nor fuffer my faithfulness to "fail."
5. The promises of a joyful refurrection from the dead are grounded upon the immutability of God, Matth. xxii, 32. “I "am the God of Abraham, the God of Ifaac, and the God of Ja
cob; God is not the God of the dead, but the God of the "living." Death hath made a great change upon them, but none upon their God; though they be not, he is still the fame: therefore they are not loft in death, but shall affuredly be found again in the refurrection.
6. To conclude, the promises of the faints eternal happi. nefs with God in heaven are founded in his immutability, 1 Cor. i. 8, 9. Tit. i. 2. By all which you see what a pleasant lodging is prepared for the faints in the unchangeable promiles of God, amidst all the changes and alterations here below.
2. Once more let us view the unchangeableness of God is his providences towards his people, whatever changes it makes upon us, or whatever changes we feem to difcern in it, no,
thing is more certain than this, that it holds one and the fame renor, purfues one and the fame defign in all that it doth upon us, or about us. Providences indeed are very variable, but the defigns and ends of God in them all are invariable, and the fame for ever. It is noted in Ezek. i. 12. "That the wheels "weat straight forward; whether the spirit was to go, they went, and they turned not when they went." As it is in nature, fo in providence, you have one day fair, halcyon, and bright, another dark and full of storms; one feafon hot, another cold; but all thefe ferve to one and the fame end and defign to make the earth fruitful; and the aim of all providences is to make you holy and happy. That is a sweet promife, Roth. viii. 28. All things fhall work together for good to them that "love God." This is the compafs by which all providences fteer their course, as a ship at fea doth by the chart: but more particularly let us note the unchangeablenefs of God in his providences of all kinds, effective and permiffive, and fee in them all his unchangeable righteousness and goodnefs.
1. It must needs be lo, confidering the unchangeableness of his decree, 2 Tim. ii. 19. "The foundation of God standeth "fure." Providences ferve, but never fruftrate; execute, but cannot make void the decree; fo that you may fay of the most afflicting providences, as David doth of the stormy winds, Pfal. exlviii. 8. They all fulfil his word.
2. The wifdom of God proves it; he will not faffer his works or permiffions to clash with his defigns and purpofes: Divine wildom fhews itself in the fteddy direction of all things to the altimate end. To open this in fome particulars, confider,
1. Doth the Lord permit wicked men to rage and infult, perfecute and vex his people? Yet all this while providence is in its right way, it walks in as direct a line to your good, as when it is in a more pleasant path of peace, Jer. xxiv. 5. "Thus faith "the Lord, the God of Ifrael, like thefe good figs, fo will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, "whom I have fent out of this place into the land of the Chal"deans for their good." Ifrael was fent to Babylon for their good. This improves your faith and patience, Rev. xiii. 10. Here is the patience and faith of the faints. So Rom. v. 2, 3.
By whom alfo we have access by faith into this grace, where"in we ftand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God; and not
only fo, but we glory in tribulations alfo; knowing that tri"bulation worketh patience." By this you are weaned from, and mortified to this world.
2. Doth the Lord in his providence order many and frequent
close and fmarting afflictions for you? Why, lo! here is the fame defign managing as effectually, as if all the peace and profperity in the world were ordered for you; the face of providence indeed is not the fame, but the love of God is ftill the fame; he loves you as much when he fmites, as when he smiles on you for what are his ends in afflicting you, and what the fanctified fruits of your afflictions? Is it not,
1. To purge your iniquitics? Ifa. xxvii. 9. "By this there"fore fhall the iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the "fruit to take away his fin."
2. To reduce your hearts to God? Pfal. cxix. 67. “Before "I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word." 3. To quicken you to your duties: Let the best man be without affictions, and he will quickly grow dull in the way of his duty.
3. Doth God let loose the chain of Satan to tempt and buffet you? Yet is he ftill the fame God to you as before; for do but obferve his ends in that permission, and you will find, that, by these things, the Lord is leading you towards that desired affurance of his love which your fouls long after. Few Christians attain to any confiderable fettlement of foul, but by fuch shakings and combats, the end of thefe permiffions is to put you to your knees, and blow up a greater flame and fervour of fpirit in prayer, 2. Cor. xii. 8. So that, eventually, thefe permiffions of providence prove fingular advantages and bleffings to you.
Sect. III. What remains then, feeing God is unchangeable in his love to his people, pursuing the great ends of all his gracious promises in a teddy courfe of providence, wherein he will never effect, or permit any thing that is really repugnant to his own glory, or their good; but that we enter alfo into this chamber of reft, fhut the doors about us, and comfortably improve the unchangeableness of God, while we see nothing but changes and troubles here below.
(1.) Enter into God's unchangeableness by faith, take up your lodging in this sweet attribute alfo; and to encourage your faith thereunto, feriously confider a few particulars.
1. Confider how conftant, firm and unchangeable God hath been to his people in all times and ftraits; not one among the many thousands of his people, that are paffed on before you, but by frequent and certain experience have found him fo. What a fingular encouragement is this to our faithn the cafe before us? Pfal. ix. 10. "They that know thy name, "will put their trust in thee, for thou, Lord, haft not forfaken them that feek thee." So Ifa. XXV. 4. "Thou haft been a