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throweth both the Wisdom and Justice of God: It would render his Government Ty. rannical, and even like to that of Hell, which sports in the Misery of Mankind. God is a most wise Being, and cannot do such a vain Act ; he is a most just Being, and cannot execute such an unjust Sentence. He never afflicts, or profpers Men by extraordinary Power in this Life, but either for their Reward, their Punishment, or their Correction. As for the Prosperity or Affliction, which may befal Men in the ordinary Course of the Government of the World, they may refpect indeed none of all those Ends, nor do they concern our present Cafe.

Lastly, The Opinion of Job, that God interposeth not extraordinarily in the Affairs of Mankind, might be confuted from the fame Attributes and Considerations. For we must not suppose that God allowed and ratified whatsoever he had said, when he gave such an illustrious Testimony of Integrity to him in the close of the Book. That was only to vindicate him from the Aspersions of his Friends, more particularly Eliphaz and Elihu, maintaining that his Affliãtions had befallen him for the Enormity of his antecedent Sins. God confirmed not his Speeches made in answer to them by this Suffrage; and therefore Job himself deploreth the rathness of his Opinion in xlii. 6. Wherefore I abhor my self, and repent in dust and ashes. And indeed nothing could be more false, or

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derogatory to the Majesty of God, and the Preservation of his Honour among Men. Only Job asserted not pertinaciously, as his Friends did their Opinions; he concluded not peremptorily, but only confessed, that he could not discover any extraordinary interposition of God, by visible Effects in this Life.

An Opinion indeed, which too many have taken up, and some do yet maintain; but which cannot be allowed without the utter ruin of Religion aud Reason alfo. For do we not believe that God is infinitely Good and Just; that he is supreme Governor of the World, both in this Life, and after Death? But can we conceive Him to be infinitely Good, who after having created Man, and settled him in the World, rakes no farther care of him, abandons him to Chance, and there stops the Emanations of his Goodncss? Can he be perfectly Just; who makes no Provision for the universal Calamities, or Oppressions of Mankind, which cannot but often happen, notwithstanding the ordinary Laws of his Government, which consist only in maintaining the Course of Nature? Do we not destroy his Government, when we confine it only to another Life, or perhaps allow it no place in either? Since God hath created the World, the Government of it hath become necessary to him; and then not to derive at any time, any extraordinary influences upon it, will be no more com

mendable, mendable, than for a temporal Prince to fit still and be unconcerned for the Affairs of his Kingdom.

Thus far Reason will direct us; but then Revelation giveth usgreater assurance of the constant and immediate Protection of God even in this Life. We have the Promises of this Life, and of that which is to come ; we are told, That all things shall work together for good to us; That what foever we shall ask of God with Faith, excluding doubt, he will do it, and that he will never leave us, nor forsake us. All these and many more such Arguments, include an extraordinary Influence of God, whereby he administers the Government of theWorld, fatisfies his Justice, and declares his Goodness.

Thus all the Attributes of God naturally lead us to the Worship of him; thus we cannot conceive his Nature without adoring it; cannot consider his Judgments and Justice without fearing his Displeasure, and obeying his Commands; thus are we on every side surrounded with Arguments of our Duty. May God by his Grace improve the Efficacy of these Arguments to every one of us, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Preach'd on the 4th of August

, 1689. at Lambeth Chapel.

ROM. XII. 3. For I say unto you, through the grace given

unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.

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MONG all the miscarriages of Mankind, none are more fatal, and at the

same time more ordinary, than those which proceed from a mistaken Opinion of their own Nature or Merits. It is a deplorable misfortune indeed, that Man fhould be subject to Mistakes in a Matter fo nearly concerning himself; that he, who pretends to fathom Heaven and Earth, to discover the Properties of invisible Beings, and extend his Knowledge both to precedent and future Times, should remain in the dark as to his own Condition, and entertain erro

neous

nouš Opinions of his own, either natural or acquired Merits.

Not to comprehend perfectly the Nature of God, is no wonder; the infinity of Essence furpafseth the Capacity of our finite Understandings. Not to conceive accurately the Properties of immaterial Beings, whether Angels or separate Souls, may be excusable; immateriality may easily confound an Apprehension inured only to sensible Objects: but to be mistaken in the Nature, the Dignity, the Capacities of our felves, might be justly admired, if the frequency of such Mistakes did not take off the Admiration of them. If they extended no farther than Speculation, they might perhaps be pardoned, and befit the Consideration of Philosophers only and thinking Men; but when they reach to almost all the Actions of the Soul, introduce false Principles of Practice, which at last become fatal to the real Interest of Mankind, it will concern all Men to take notice of them, and to acquire more just Conceptions.

To this purpose Reason invites us, the Scripture directs us, to enter inter into the serious Consideration of our selyes, to contract our Thoughts, and not carry them beyond our Merits; to form a just Efteem of our Perfections, and not in an over-weening Confidence of them, enlarge our Pretensions beyond the Rules of Justice and Sobriety. Which is the Sum of the Exhortati

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