« VorigeDoorgaan »
heaven. His is the kingdom over all creatures; he sits on the throne of his power, and gives out his will to all the rational world, which they are bound to obey, as the King's will, and laws of his kingdom, determining what they ought to do and what to forbear. The church has that will of the King in all points in the Bible, In heaven, all do it; in hell, none do it; in earth, fome do it, others not; and those who do it, do it but but imperfectly. So we pray, Thy will be done.
The will of God's commands is exceeding comprehensive, Psal. cxix. 66. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. It is but one will of God; but the objects of it, the things willed, are many; but as many as they are, fincere Christians do fincerely fulfil them, tho' not perfectly, Acts xiii. 22. I have found David,-a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will, Gr. all my wills. This whole will of God however may be reduced to two heads, viz. faith, and holiness.
1. Faith, i John iii. 2 3. This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ. And this is comprehended in that, Matth. vii. 21. Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, fall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Ye are to look on it as the Father's will, the will of God, that ye believe in his Son, 2 Cor. viii. 5. They gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. It is the great thing which he wills you to do, John vi. 29. This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. His dinner is prepared, he wills you to come to the marriage, Matth. xvii. 4. This answers all the objections, I may, not, I dare not,
I will not be welcome. It is God's will that ye come forward. And
ye have the prayers of all the saints to help you forward, Thy will be done. And the crosling of this will of God will ensure your ruin, more than any thing else, John iii. 18. He that believeth not is condemned already. Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth not shall be damned.
(1.) Faith is the first and leading will of God, 1 John ii. 23. forecited. If ye would do any part of the will of God, believe: for ye can do none of it, if ye do not this, Heb. xi. 6. For without faith it is impossible to please God. John xv. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. If ye do not begin with believing, all that ye do is nothing. As in arithmetic, if a thousand ciphers be set in a line, they are nothing, but if begun with a figure, they are all something ; so believe, and the rest will be the obedience of faith.
(2.) Faith is the last will of God. It is the Lord's last will, that ye believe in Christ, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth shall be saved. John iii. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Lord's will to man at first was, Do this and live. Now he cannot do that; but that he may not perish, his will now in the second covenant is, Believe, and ye shall be saved. The first not being complied with, the second came for man's help: but this fecond is the latt. If ye do not believe, there is no third to be looked for, but fiery indignation, Heb.
X. 26. 27.
2. Holiness, i Thess. iv. 3. This is the will of God, even your fanctification. God is a holy God, and cannot will unholiness. It is Satan's will, and your own corrupt will, that ye be unholy. But therein ye contradict the will of God, Rom. viii. 7. Because the care nal mind is enmity againt God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Every unholy thought, word, or action, is a going cross to the will of God, and therefore finners are said to vex his Holy Spirit, Il. Ixiii. 10. as men are vexed when their will is full contradicted and crofled. Holiness is,
(1.) The will of God's nature, 1 Pet. i. 16. Be ye holy, as I am holy. God has willed men to be holy ; and it was inconsistent with his nature to have wilied them to be unholy. Faith in a crucified Redeemer is God's will of free choice.' He did not will innocent
Adam to believe in a Mediator. He might, if he had pleased, never have provided that object of faith, and so there might never have been such a thing as faith in a Redeemer. But having once made man, he could not but will him to be a holy man. And fire and water may sooner agree than God's will and unholiness.
(2.) The will of his whole law. It is all pure, Pfal. xix. 8. A vein of holiness runs through the whole of it, and through every part. All the ten commandments are so many laws of holiness; all the enlargements on them in the Bible are so many directions and instructions for holiness of heart and life. There the Lord has parcelled out his will in fo many particulars, but holiness is the scope of them all.
(3.) The will of God to all men, yea all the rational creatures. That reason, Be ye holy, as I am hely, i Pet. i. 16. reaches all. The devils will not be con. demned, because they do not believe in Chrift; they have no warrant to believe in him, the gospel-offer is not made to them, Heb. ii. 16. Prov. viii. 4. but be. cause they are unholy. The Pagans will not be condemned neither for their unbelief, Rom. ii. 12. for ihe gospel is not revealed to them, but because they are unholy, Rom. i. 18. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
Secondly, The will of God's providence, Pfal. cxxxv. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleafed, that did he in heaven and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. He fits in heaven univerfal Monarch of the world, and has the disposal of all his creatures, and all that concern them, in his band, and is accountable to none for his difpofals, Dan. iv. 35. forecited. They are all his own, as being created by him, and for him ; and 10 he may do with them as the potter with his own clay, Matth. xx. 15. Now, this will of God's providence 1. be considered two ways.
1. As directing to duty, Psal. xxxii. 8. I will inOruc tl.ee, and teach thee in the way that thou shalt ge
God speaks by his works as well as by his word. The whole world have this fort of speech made from heaven to them, Pfal. xix. 1. 2. 3. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament seweth his bindywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unta night seweth knowledge. There is no Speech, nor language, where their voice is not beard. Providence Terves to point men to particular pieces of service, Gal. vi. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us da good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. · And therefore we must not be idle spectators of providence, Plal. cvii. ult. Whofo is wife, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. But we must observe the language and meaning thereof, proving what is the good and acceptable will of God to us in it.
2. As ordering and dispoling of events about ourselves and others, Matth. X. 29. 30. Are not two sparrows fold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without
Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. The world is a great family under the conduct and management of an infinitely: wise Master. And, for as broad and wide as it lies, his eye is in every part of it, and his hand too. And there is no person or thing but is under his provi. dence; and whatever befalls them is their portion or lot appointed by the great Master.
This all-disposing will of providence reaches particulars, with respect to men, to us innumerable, even all that concerns them. But they may be reduced to two heads.
(1.) Smiling providences in favourable dispensa. tions, Rom. ii. 4. The unthankful world is filled with these, for he doth good even to the unthankful and unholy. Every day his table is spread, and he loads men with his benefits; though the mess of some may be double to that of others, yet all feed at his cost.
(2.) Frowning providences, Micah vi. 9. The Lord's voicę crieth unto the city.--Henr ye the rod, and who hath
appointed it; and this in afflicting dispensations. It is the fame God who draws the white lines in one's lot, that draws the black ones too. It is the same hand that puts on the crown of prosperity, that pulls it off again. The fame God who gives the fair weather, also sends the foul, and after the blink the shower, and the clouds after the rain. If it go ill with a land, with a congregation, or with one's house, it is the will of the Lord that it should be fo.
And to all we are to say, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
II. I proceed to fhew by whom is God's will done in beaven.
1. By the bodies of heaven, the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars. God their Creator, when he made them, appointed their ends, motions, and courses ; and these they have steadily observed from the time of their creation, Psal. cxix. 89. 91. For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. They continue this day according to thine ordinances : for all are thy servants. The scoffers observe this, 2 Pet. iii. 4. All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, though they make a very bad ute of it. Though in the heavenly fabric these bodies are hugely great, and there are so many of them that men cannot number them, yet have they all, from the begin. ning to this day, observed and kept their motions and courses, without any breach of order, or any deviation whatsoever. In the mean time it is notorious, that engines made by men, and consisting of many wheels, with a variety of motions, are very hard to be kept right long, but they go out of their course. But these do the will of God steadily, evenly, and unweariedly, Pfal. xix. 5. 6. The sun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The sun and moon's ftanding still in Joshua's time, was no faltering nor