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who will carefully attend to the matter, and observe the representation of it in the holy scriptures. All such instances, be they ever so many, may be called miracles, though invisible to man, being out of the reach of our perception, as they are of the same nature and kind with those instances above mentioned, in which, what is called the course of nature, is visibly, or to our senses, counteracted, and events take place contrary to it, which we call miracles.

This care and providence of God, in directing and governing all creatures and things, is universal, and constant, respecting all things at all times; and is ex. tended to the least, as well as the greatest and more important existence ; and is concerned in every event, however minute, and in our view inconsiderable. Not a sparrow, or the least bird or insect, falls to the ground, or dies, without the direction and agency of God. The hairs of our head are all carefully numbered ; and so many and not one more are ordered to exist, and not one is removed or broken, without the order and operation of the divine hand. And this is equally true of ev ery hair on men and beasts, and of each leaf in the forest, or spire of grass on the earth that ever have existed, or will exist, to the end of the world.

In the exercise of this divine providence, some events take place by the more immediate energy and God; and others by the instrumentality and agency of creatures, and by various mediums, and what are called second causes. But in all the events of the latter kind, the divine hand, power and energy, is as really and as much concerned and exerted, and is really as evident, and as much to be acknowledged, as if no instrument, agent, or second cause were used, or had any concern in the matter.

Because the creature or the instrument has no power to act or effect any thing, independent of God, or which is not given to him by God. And is in the hand of God, as the axe or saw is in the hand of the workman. This is the light in which divine revelation every where represents the providence of God, as every one who carefully attends to it, must be sensible. And what has been observed shows that this is perfectly con,

agency of sonant to reason; and that a different and contrary idea of divine providence is insupportable and inconsistent.*

IMPROVEMENT.

I. From this scriptural view of divine providence, it appears, that they are in a great and dangerous error, who believe and assert, that the creation, and all creatures, when once made, have power to subsist of them. selves, and stand alone by their own power, given to them in their creation ; and to continue in motion and action, independent of any immediate exertion of divine energy, to support and direct them : that creation and creatures, once made and put in order, go on in a regular course of their own accord; and that God does never interpose, or take any farther care of the works of his hand. Every one who has attended to the Bible must be sensible that such a notion is very inconsistent with that : And it is most unreasonable, as it supposes that which is impossible, viz. That the creature may subsist of itself, when once made, in a measure independent of the Creator. This is contrary to all true philosophy : and at the same time dishonourable to God, as if he did not take a particular and wise care of the things he has made, and exercise and manifest his power, wisdom and goodness, in preserving and governing the world, and all things in it. And it tends to suppress and even eradicate all true piety, by leading to conceive of the Creator, as at a distance, and in a great measure out of sight ; and as it obliterates a sense of our immediate dependence on God, and encourages self-dependence. In a word, it makes too much of creatures, and raises them infinitely too high, by which the Creator and Governor of the world is concealed and hid; whereas in a right view of divine providence, every creature and all events exhibit Deity to view, as constantly present in every thing, in the exercise of omniscience, power, wisdom, rectitude and goodness; and unite to impress

That such a divine providence as is here described and asserted, which is rational, and every where supposed and held up to view in the Bible, is perfectly consistent with the moral agency and liberty of man, appears from a foregoing chapter on the decrees of God.

that sense of the divine Being on the mind, and lead to that acknowledgment of him, in which all true piety most essentially consists.

II. We are, therefore, in the next place, led to observe, that the true philosophical and scriptural account of divine providence, opens the most ample field for the exercise of piety and religion ; as it leads us to see God in all things, and in every event ; to fear him, trust in him, and acknowledge him in all our ways, feeling our immediate, constant, absolute dependence upon him. This leads us to hear him speaking important truths, in an intelligible language, by all creatures and things with which we are surrounded, and in all events; which calls for answerable exercises of prayer, acknowledgments, thanksgiving and praise, and a constant glorifying him, in whose hand is our breath and all our ways. Of such exercises and expressions of piety we have many examples in the holy scriptures ; which, at the same time, appear perfectly rational.

III. Hence we learn the reasonableness and duty of a cheerful submission to God, and acquiescence in the events which take place under his direction and providence. Not to submit is to oppose God and his will, and to resist infinite wisdom and goodness. Every event that takes place is under the immediate direction of unerring wisdom and goodness, and ordered for the greatest good, to promote the most important and best ends; and is therefore so far from being the reasonable ground of any reluctance and regret in us, that we ought not only barely to submit, but to acquiesce with pleasure, and rejoice that God reigns, and hath done, and continues to do, whatsoever he pleaseth ; and worketh all things, according to the counsel of his own will.

IV. How safe and happy are they who put their trust in God! He who directs and governs all things, and orders every event; who is infinitely above all control, on whom all things entirely depend; who does whatso. ever he pleases in heaven and among the children of men on earth : He is engaged by repeated promises to them, that no evil shall come near them to hurt them : but that. every thing shall work together for their good. If God be thus for them, who or what can be against them ? The Lord reigneth, let them who trust in him always re. joice. Well may they say, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee !"

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CHAP. VII.

ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, AS IT RESPECTS

MORAL AGENTS, ANGELS AND MEN.

SECTION 1.

Concerning Divine Providence, as it respects the Angels.

AS moral agents are the highest and most noble and important part of the creation, they are the end of all the rest ; and all the inferior creatures and things were made, and are preserved and governed, for the sake of these, who are the subjects of moral government ; which is by far the most excellent and important. Of these, we know of none but angels and men : And it has been observed, that we have no evidence that there are any other creatures in the created universe, capable of moral government. We know nothing of the existence, number, capacity or employment of angels, but what we learn from divine revelation. We are there informed, that in their original formation, they were made a higher rank of beings than man, and with greater natural capacities ; that their number is very great ; that they were made perfectly holy, and under law to God, otherwise there would have been no foundation for the fall and ruin of any of them, by disobedience and sin, which we are told has been in fact the case. And were they not at first holy, there could have been no apostasy by rebellion, or by leaving their first state,

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But that they were under moral government, we may be certain, from the reason and nature of the case. They being made rational creatures and moral agents, and so capable of moral government, must be under such a government, in order to be treated properly, or accord. ing to their nature and capacity. A moral law is essential to moral government ; requiring of rational creatures those exercises, and that conduct, of which they are capable, and which are reasonable and proper. We

, are not expressly told what this law was, as it relates to angels, and what was particularly required of them. But we can be at no great loss about the general requirement of it. They must be under

obligation, from the first of their existence, to love God with all their hearts, and their fellow creatures as themselves. This therefore was required of them. The law they were under must require this, as it was the rule of their duty; and therefore must require the whole of their duty. This law did not, strictly speaking, make it their duty to exercise and express this love ; but required and commanded it, because it was their duty. And it could require no more, this being the whole of their duty; unless it were to point out in particular instances in what way they should exercise and express this love to God, and to other creatures, by express positive injunctions and prohibitions. How many, or whether any of these ; or if there were any, in the law given to angels, we are not particularly and expressly informed.

In order to this being a complete law, or having the nature of a law, so as to exercise and maintain moral government, there must be a penalty expressed or implied, threatening evil to disobedience to the precept : For if the creature be exposed to no evil, by disregarding the command, more than by, obeying, he cannot be said to be under any moral government ; nor does God express or exercise any authority, as moral Governor, if he neither inflicts nor threatens evil to the trans. gressor, And if it be a perfect law, and a perfect gov. ernment, as God's law and government certainly are, the evil or punishment threatened must be exactly proportioned to the crime, or the desert of the transgressor. And as the transgression of the law of God must be a VOL, I,

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