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a journey, or perhaps he fleepeth and must be
3dly, IF God knows, not only our most
S ER M.
4thly, Ir God knows all future Events, Mat. vi. then may we fafely depend and truft on 31, &c. his Providence, without being over-foli-magnâq ; citous for the time to come. We are ve- ducti, ry apt to covet Riches, Honour, or Pow- Conjugier; But God fees how perhaps these things we fo earnestly defire, hurtful to us; or how ill we should it, when perhaps they were again fudden taken from us.
very mus, parbe tumque
bear illis Notum qui pueri, qua lifque futura fit
FOR the fame reafon therefore, neither
uxor. Ζεῦ Βασι λεῦ τὰ
our Zs Bao
ought we on the contrary to boast
Actions; For it has been before shown,
5thly, Ir God Alone knows future events, as appears by the prophets challenging falfe Gods to foretell fuch events; then hence appears the Wickedness and Folly, of pretending to foreknow things by the Help either of Men or Devils. "Tis obfervable that no perfons are lefs careful to ascribe to God his due Honour, than those who are very ready to afcribe to other Fowers, to delufive Impostures or Diabolical Artifices, more than their due. And God accordingly defcribes himself, as taking Delight in fruftrating the tokens of the Liars, and making diviners mad, as turning wife men backward, and making their knowledge foolish, I. xliv. 25,
Laftly, Ir God Alone knoweth the Thoughts of men, then neither ought We to be forward in judging others, any further than their Actions give plain reafon fo to do; For who art thou that judgest another man's fervant? to his own Maler he ftandeth or falieth, Rom. xiv. 4; and 1 Cor. iv. 5. neither fhould we be too much concerned at Others judging uncharitably concerning Us, if in our Confciences we ftand innocent before God, and have not by indifcreet behaviour given men juft occafion of offence. SER
In whom are hid all the Treasures
N the foregoing chapter, the SER M. Apostle having very elo- XII. quently magnified the Grace (that is, the gracious and merciful Declarations) of God in the Gofpel, ver. 6 and 12. and having fet forth in the loftieft Expreffions the Dignity of the Perfon of Chrift, ver. 15. and the glorious Effects of his Sufferings, upon those who through Repentance and renewed Obedience were made VOL I. partakers
SER M. partakers of the reconciliation purchased XII. by his Blood, ver. 21. concludes with a
joyful mention of his own Sufferings alfo, after the example of Chrift, ver. 24. Of this Gofpel, fays he, I Paul was made a Minister, Who now rejoice in my Sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the Afflictions of Christ in my Flesh, for his Body's fake which is the Church. The Church of Rome has found, in this expreffion of the Apoftle, the Doctrine of the Merit of the Saints: For if St Paul filled up that which was behind of the Sufferings of Chrift, for his Body the Church; it follows, they think, that the Sufferings of St Paul, must consequently be in proportion a Stock of Merit for the Church. But the real Meaning of the Apoftle's words, is very different from what they vainly conceive. For, to fill up that which is behind of the Afflictions of Christ, does not fignify to compleat any thing that lacked to be added after the Sufferings of Chrift, as if the Sufferings of Chrift were not in Point of Merit fufficient of themselves; but it fignifies, to accomplish that which remained to be fulfilled of thofe prophecies, which foretold
that after the Sufferings of Chrift, his SER M. Servants likewife fhould therein follow his XII.
example. And these Sufferings of the Apoftle's, were alfo indeed for his Body's fake which is the Church; that is, for the Benefit indeed, not of the Church in future Ages, by way of Merit; but of the Church then prefent, by way of Example and Encouragement and bearing Teftimony to the Truth; On which greatly depended the propagation of the Goipel.
IN this 2d chapter, the Apostle proceeds to express his great Concern for the Coloffians, and his earneft defire of their Improvement both in the Knowledge and in the Practice of Religion; ver. 1 and 2, how great Conflict I have for you, your Hearts may be
knit together in
love, and unto all riches of the full Assu rance of Understanding; to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Chrift; In whom are hid all the Treafures of Wisdom.
To the acknowledgement of the mystery of God; that is, to the publick advancement of the Gofpel, and of the Glory of God therein manifefted; and that all men may acknowledge the myfterious or wonderful T 2