« VorigeDoorgaan »
to affist and befriend us here on Earth, and be fitted for the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the living God, where we shall be associated to an innumerable Company of Angels, and shall be Sharers with them in the same blissful Exercises and Enjoyments for ever.
Thirdly, This Subject may be improved for supporting and fortifying our Hearts against the slavish Fears of evil Spirits. Some there are who, through Fear of this Kind, are all their Life-time subject to Bondage. But the best Preservative against this, is a steady Belief of God's universal Government as extending to the evil Angels themselves. They are all under the Check and Control of his wise and righteous Providence, and can do no more than he permitteth. Let us therefore place our Confidence in him, and endeavour to secure an Interest in his Favour, and then we need not fear what all the Powers of Hell can do against us.
Lastly, Let us take Warning from the Fall and Punishment of the evil Angels. In them we may see, that no Eminences of Power, Abilities, or Splendor, can secure any Creatures against the Wrath of God, or can hinder them from being miserable if they allow themselves in a Course of wil
ful Sin and Disobedience. Let us not there, fore be high-minded but fear, and make it our continual Care and Endeavour to please and serve the great Lord of the Universe, the blessed and only Potentate, to whom be Honour and Power everlasting, Amen.
General Observations concerning God's
providential Government towards Mankind.
PSALM ciii. 19.
The Lord bath prepared his Throne in the
Heavens; and his Kingdom ruleth over all,
HESE Words of the Pfalmift
make a noble Representation of the Greatness and universal Extent of the divine Dominion ; but they seem to have a special Reference to God's Government of the rational moral part of the Creation. The principal of these, as far as we have
Notion of them, are Angels and Men. Some Observations have been made upon the Government of Divine Providence with regard to the Angels. Let us now consider the Government of God as exercised towards Mankind, which is that Part of the divine Administration in which we
more immediately concerned, and which it most nearly importeth us to know.
Man is undoubtedly the most excellent of all God's Works in this lower visible Part of the Creation; the only Being here on Earth capable of knowing and contemplating his Maker, of obeying and adoring him, and rejoicing in a Sense of his Favour and Approbation. The Wisdom, Power, and Goodness of God is eminently conspicuous in the wonderful Frame of his Body, but especially in the noble Faculties of his Soul, whereby. he is vastly superior to the Brutes, and is capable of rising in his Affections and Views beyond Things prefent, and sensible to Things spiritual and eternal, to the supreme, the infinite Good; which shews that he was designed for a sublime Felicity. And can it then be thought, that Providence, which extendeth its Care even to the inferior Animals, neglecțeth Man, the principal Inhabitant of this lower World, and to whom all the
other Classes of Beings here on Earth are subservient and subordinate ? Surely we have great Reason to think that the most wise and powerful and benevolent Lord and Parent of the Universe, whose Kingdom ruleth over all, doth in a special Manner exercise his Government and Care towards the human Race.
I shall first make some general Observations concerning the Nature and Methods of God's providential Administrations towards Mankind: And then shall proceed more, distinctly to consider the Influence and Agency of Divine Providence as extending both to Communities and to particular Persons, to the Hearts and Thoughts of all Men, to their outward Actions, and to the Events which befal them.
With regard to the Nature and Methods of God's providential Administrations towards Mankind, it is proper to observe in general,
First, That as Men are moral Agents, so God governeth them as such, and consequently hath given them a Law to be the Rule of their Conduct. That Man is a moral Agent is as evident as it is that he is a reasonable Creature, or that he is capable of Virtue and Vice, of Praise and Blame. And whatever some Persons may dispute in Speculation, moral or free A