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PSAL. cxlv. 9.

The Lord is Good to All; and his
tender Mercies are over all his



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HO' every one of the Divine SER M. Perfections in particular, af- XIV. fords moft juft ground of A- WW doration and Honour; yet That which to Us completes the Idea of God, and reprefents him under the Notion of the Father as well as Lord of the Universe, and makes the Supreme Being and Governour of all things, to be no less the Object of our Hope and Love, than of our Admiration and Fear; is This VOL. I.



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SER M. glorious Attribute, of Goodness. Eternity XIV. and Immenfity, amaze our Thoughts: Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom, fill us with Admiration: Omnipotence or irrefiftible Power is great and adoreable; but at the fame time, if confidered fingly by itfelf, 'tis alfo dreadful and terrible: Dominion and Majefty clothed with perfect and impartial Justice, is worthy of the Higheft Praifes; but ftill to Sinners it appears rather awful and venerable, than the Object of Defire and Love: Holiness and Purity are inexpreffibly beautiful and amiable Perfections; but of too bright a Glory, for Sinners to contemplate with Delight. 'Tis Goodness, that finishes the Idea of God; and reprefents him to us under that lovely Character, of being the Beft, as well as the Greateft, Being in the Univerfe. This is That Attribute, which both in itself is infinitely amiable, and as a ground-work interwoven with all the Other Perfections of the divine Nature, makes every one of Them alfo to become Objects of our Love as well as of our Adoration. Immenfe and Eternal Goodnefs, Goodness All-powerful and All-wife, Goodness invested with Supreme Domini


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on, and tempering the rigour of unre- SE RM. lenting Juftice; This is indeed a Defcri- XIV. ption of a Perfect Being; a Character, truly worthy of God. This is That inexhauftible Fountain of Beneficence, from which the whole Frame of Nature derives its Being; by which all Creatures in the Universe, are continually supported and preferved; from which Man derives his prefent Enjoyments, and his future Hopes; which Angels, and Archangels, and the Spirits of just men made perfect, adore with never-ceafing Praises in the regions of eternal Happiness; and of which our Saviour himself, who, having been in the Bofom of his Father, knew infinitely better than All Thefe, what was his True and Effential Nature: affirms by way of Eminence and High Diftinction, that there is None Good, but One, that is God. The Pfalmift defcribes this Attribute elegantly, in the words of the Text ; The Lord is Good to All, and his tender Mercies are over All his Works.

IN the following Discourse upon which words, I fhall 1ft, endeavour to fhow briefly in general, What Goodness is: 2dly, I fhall prove that God is and cannot

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SERM. but be Good, according to this general XIV. Notion of Goodness: 3dly, I shall endeaN vour to fet forth diftinctly in what particular Inftances the divine Goodnefs has more peculiarly displayed itself: 4thly, I fhall confider the Difficulties or Objections which may be raised against this important doctrine, which is the Foundation of true Religion, and the great Guard against Superstition: And Laftly I fhall draw fome useful Inferences from the Whole.

IN the 1st place, 'tis neceffary to show briefly in general, What Goodness is. For unless we clearly and distinctly understand what Goodness is; 'tis evident we mean nothing, when we fay God is Good and ; confequently cannot be certain whether we honour him, or difhonour him, in giving him an unknown Character. Nothing therefore can be more abfurd, than the doctrine which has fometimes been advanced; that Goodness in God, is not the fame thing as Goodness in Men; but fomething altogether tranfcendent, and which we understand not. This, I say, is highly abfurd; Becaufe, if This were the cafe, it would plainly follow, that when

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when we affirm God to be Good, we SER M.
should only affirm we know not what; that XIV.
is, in reality we should affirm nothing at
all. There is indeed This difference; that
Goodness in Men, even in the Best of men,
is fhort and imperfect, frail and mutable,
unsteady and always mixt more or lefs
with Evil; and even in Angels and Arch-
angels themselves, 'tis finite and deficient ;
whereas in God alone, it is effential and
perfect. But ftill the Thing itself is every
where the fame. Goodness is every where
of the fame Nature, tho' not in the fame
proportion; and in All Beings whatsoever,
in whom it is found at all, it is the fame
in Kind, though not in Degree. If Good-..
nefs in God, were (as Some have imagin-
ed,) we know nor what, how could we
be commanded to imitate, what we do
not understand? or how should any man
know, whether he were likely to fare the
better or the worfe, by means of That
which he knows not what it is? What
Comfort can any man draw from the con-
fideration of the Divine Goodness, if he
means thereby only he knows not what;
any thing that Power, any thing that Do-
minion, any thing that Sovereignty can
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