« AnteriorContinuar »
+ for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep
things of God.'
Quest. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach? Ant
. The Scriptures principally teachi, what Man is to believe, concerning God, and what Duty God requires of Man.
EXPLICATION. Principally to teach, is chiefly to teach. The Things that the Scriptures teach chiefly, are these two; Faith, and Obedience : 2 Tim. i. 13. 'Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ
Jesus.' The Faith which the Scriptures teach, is, What Man is to believe concerning God: The Obedience which the Scriptures teach, is, What Duty God requires of Man. Nothing can be an Article of Faith, necessary to be believed, nor a Duty, necessary to be done, but what is taught in the Scriptures. Howbeit, not only what is found in Scripture in express Words, but also what ariseth therefrom, by necessary Consequence, is to be reckoned taught therein : Matth. xxii. 32. '1
am the God of Abraham, and the God of Ifaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.'
Quest. 4. What is God?
Ans. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his. Being, Wildom,
Power, Holiness, Justice, Goodness, and Truth.
EXPLICATION No Creature can fully comprehend what God is : Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God?
canst thou find out the Almighty unto Perfection?' But he has revealed so much of himself in the Scriptures, as is necessary for us to know. For his sort of Being, he is a Spirit: And a Spirit is an immaterial Substance, without Flesh or Bones. He hath not then a Body nor any bodily Parts: Johniv. 24. God is a • Spirit.' Luke xxiv. 39. Behold my hands and my
feet; that it is I myself: handle me, and see, for a
spirit hath not fiesh and bones, as ye see me sheva Then Eyes, Ears, and such like bodily Parts aicribed to him in Scripture, are not to be understood properly : But by them we are to un. derstand an infinite Perfection of those Powers, which those Members ferve for in us. So the Eyes of God signify his infinite Power of discerning Objects, as by the Eye: His Ears signify his infinite Power of discerning Voices, as by the Ear. Moreover, God cannot be seen with bodily Eyes; no not with the Eyes of glorified Bodies in Heaven: Hence he is said to be invisible, and to dwell in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, i Tim. i. 17. and vi. 16. But God can be seen with the Eyes of the Mind, enlightened with the Light of "Grace here, and the Light of Glory in Heaven : Eph. i. 17. 18.' That
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him : the
eyes of your understanding being enlightened ;
that ye may know what is the hope of his call • ing, and what the riches of the glory of his in.
heritance in the saints. Finally, there is nothing which God is like unto: 18. xl. 18. ' To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will
ye compare unto him?' So we may not form any Imagination of him in our Minds, as we can do of an absent Man. Now, there are other Spirits besides God: And these are Angels and the Souls of Men. But the Difference betwixt God and them, lies here, that God is an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable Spirit ; and they are not so. The Attri. butes of God, or Perfections of the divine Nature, are of two Sorts; incommunicable, and communicable. His incommunicable Attributes, whereof there is no Vestige in the Creature, are his Infinity, Eternity, and Unchangeableness. God is infinite, in that he is whatsoever he is, without any Bounds or Measure : Job. xi. 7. 'Canst thou by searching find out God?
canst thop find out the Almighty unto Perfection?' He is without End : Psal. xc. 2. ' Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadít formed the earth and the world: even from everlasting
to everlasting thou art God.' He is uncharge. able, in that he is, and cannot but be always the same, without any Alteration whatsoever : James i. 17. Every good gift, and every perfect gift is ' from above, and cometh down from the Father • of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither fhadow of turning. He is then said to repent, not in respect of the Affi Etion of Repentance, but the Effect of it : Num. xxiii. 19.
"God is not a man, that he should lye; neither the son of man,
that he should repent: hath he said, and shall ne
not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not (make it good?' in that, without any. Change of his own Nature, Mind, or Will, he changeth his Difpenfations towards the Creatures, and makes Changes on them : Gen. vi. 7. ' And the Lord said, + I will destroy man, whom I have created, from
the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air: for
it repenteth me that I have made them.” His communicable Attributes, whereof there are some Scantlings or faint Images in the Creature, are his Being, Wisdom, Power, Holinefs, Juftice, Goodnefs, and Truth. The Difference between these Perfections, as they are in God, and as they are in the Creature, lies here, That they are all infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in God, but in the Creature not so. The Being of God is that Perfection whereby he is, and is what he is : Exod. iii. 14, " And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I ? AM: And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto « the children of Israel, I AM hath fent me unto
you.' His Wisdom is that whereby he knows himself, and all Things else, with the Way how to dispose of them to the best : Psal. cxlvii. 5. . Great
is our Lord, and of great power : his understand
ing is infinite.' His Power is that whereby he can do al! Things not inconsistent with his Nature :
jer: xxxii. 17. 'Ah, Lord God, behold, thou haft made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is no.
thing too hard for thee.' His Holiness is the perfect Purity of his Nature, whereby he delights in his own Purity, and in the Resemblance of it in the Creature : Hab. i. 13: Thou art of
purer eyes than to behold evil, and can't not look on iniquity.' His Juftice is the perfet Rectitude of his Nature, whereby he is juft in himself, and in all his Ways towards the Creature: Deut. xxxii. 4. ! He is the Rock, his work is per. 'fect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of
truth, and without iniquity, juft and right is he.' It is not consistent with his Nature, 10 let Sin pass unpunished: 2 Theff. i. 6. It is a righteous thing
with God, to recompense, tribulation to them " that trouble you' Compared with Gen. xviii. 25.
(That be far from thee, to do after this man. ner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the
earth do right?' His Goodness is that whereby he is good in himself, and the Author of all Good to be found in or about the Creature : Matth. xix. 17. 'Tere is none good but one, that is, God.' His Goodnefs is confitent with his Severity against the Wicked, in that it is the Property of Goodness to hate and punish Sin : Exod. xxxiii. 19. ' And
he said, I will make all my goodness pass before
thee, and I will proclaim the nameof the Lord be'fore thee ; and will be gracious to whom I will be
gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will ' hew mercy.” Compared with Chap. xxxiv. 7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity,
and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty. And it is consistent with the Afflictions laid on his own People, in that they flow from his Goodness : Job v. 6.
Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground.' And they tend to their Good: Pfal. cxix. 71. It is