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SERM. Love of God towards mankind, Now re XII. vealed by the preaching of his Son. The ~ words next following, of God, and of the
Father, and of Chrift, are not rightly rendred; For they found in that tranflation, as if God and the Father were two diftinct perfons; Whereas they ought to be rendered, of God, even the Father; and alfo of Christ. In whom, adds the Apoftle, (fumming up his whole Argument by way of Exclamation in the words of the Text,) are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom. The word, In whom, may by the conftruction equally be referred, either to God, or to Chrift; God even the Father, and Chrift; in whom, in each or either of whom, are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom. If it be understood as referring to God, even the Father; then it will be a declaration or acknowledgment of his Wisdom in general; that He, is the Author and Fountain of all Wisdom. But if it be applied to Chrift; then it must be understood of the Wisdom of the Gospel in particular; that in Him was treasured up all that Wisdom of God which was to be manifefted to mankind by the Gofpel. In either way of underftanding.
tanding it, the Senfe is not much diffe-SE R M. rent; and in Both, it is a very ufeful XII. Subject for our Meditations; the Wisdom of God more generally, or the Wisdom of God manifefted in Chrift more particuLarly.
WISDOM, is the right Ufe or Exercife of Knowledge; and differs from Knowledge, as the Ufe of a Power or Faculty differs from the Faculty itself. 'Tis therefore in the divine Nature, a distinct Attribute from that of Knowledge; and, ST as fuch, I fhall accordingly confider it in the following Difcourfe. And herein, e for Method's fake, I fhall 1ft endeavour to fhow briefly in general, that God must of Neceffity be infinitely Wife; 2dly, I fhall confider more diftinctly and in particular, the different Manifestations of this divine Wisdom, in his Works, in his Government, and in his Laws: and 3dly, I fhall fhow of what Ufe thefe Meditations may be unto us in Practife.
I. IN the First place, that God muft of Neceffity be infinitely Wife, appears from hence; that, being Himself the Alone original Cause and Author of all things; and knowing what each of their I 3
SERM. Powers and Faculties can produce; XII. seeing at one View all the poffible. Circumstances and Difpofitions of things, all their mutual Relations and Dependencies, all their poffible Compofitions or Divitions, their Variations and Changes, their Fitnefs or Suitablenefs each to certain refpective Ends and Purposes; beholding (I fay) all these things at once, 'tis evident he cannot but of neceffity always know, without poffibility of Error, What is the Beft and Propereft End to be brought about, in each one of the poffible infinite cafes or methods of difpofing things; and which are the fitteft Means to that End; and how thofe Means may best be ordered and directed, to accomplish it accordingly And, having no wrong Inclination poffibly to change his Will, any more than oppofition poffibly to withstand his Power; 'tis plain he will always actually effect, what in right and reafon is fittest to be done. Now This, is infinite or perfect Wisdom; To know always the Beft End; to fee always the Means that will produce that End; to understand exactly how to apply thofe means to the accomplishing that End; and to have al
ways a right and invariable Inclination or SER M. Will to act accordingly.
AGAIN; every Unwife Action, or circumstance of Action, must neceffarily proceed, either from fhortnefs of Underftanding, or from Defect of Power, or from Faultinefs of Will; Either that the Agent knows not, or that he can not, or that he will not do what is beft. But now from each of these Defects, the Perfection of the divine Nature is infinitely removed. Therefore every Action of God, muft of Neceffity, (meaning in the moral fense of the word Neceffity,) be what is abfolutely and in itself and upon the whole moft Wife.
FROM fome or other of thefe Defects, in fome Degree, or in fome Circumstances, no Other Being can be exempt. No other Being therefore, is perfectly Wife: But the Perfection, as in God it is complete and abfolute, fo to him Alone it is confined: The Apostle frequently ftiling him, with the greatest Juftice and Truth, God Only Wife. Yet Vain man would be Wife; Wife without, and Wife in oppofition to, his Maker Profanely fometimes, and Atheistically Wife; though man be born ΤΑ like
SERM.like a wild affes colt, Job xi. 12. that is, XII. though being short-lived as the Beafts that perifh, he could neither give himself Being, nor continue it to himself when he had it; neither knows what things have been before him, nor what shall be after him, nor the millionth part of the things that are prefent with him. Philofophers, when beyond an humble Admiration of the Works of God, and a fober inquiry into the nature and operations of fecond caufes under the direction of the firft, they indulge themfelves in feigning Schemes out of their own Imagination, and attempt in explaining Nature to exclude the God of Nature; profeffing themfelves Wife, they become Fools, Rom. i. 22. and under the Notion of Science, vent the most ridiculous extravagancies. Politicians, Tyrants, the great Oppreffors and Deftroyers of the Earth, lay what they call Wife, and long fore-cafted Designs. But yet, as Elibu well obferves, Job xxxii. 9. Great men are not always Wife: For God often turneth their Wisdom backward, and maketh their Counsel Foolishnefs; blafting their deepest projects with the Breath of his Mouth, and difperfing them