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Serm. That may perhaps, in Some fenfe, be af

VII. formed also of some other Beings ; ) but it w signifies, He whose Being (or whose pro

per Name and Character ) is essentially årò rs • and invariably, which Is, and Was, and , &c. is to come. And This expression is very

agreeable to the Sublimity of the Prophetick Style. In other places, the Scripture sets forth the same thing, only in more

easy and popular expressions : Stiling God, άφθάρτα

the King immortal, 1 Tim. i. 17; which only. hath immortality, ch. vi. 16. that is, who only hath it immutably and independently : The incorruptible God, Rom. i. 23. and, from everlasting to everlasting, (that is, by an unchangeable essence, ) thou art God, Pf. xc. 2. All other things are changeable and perishable ; even the Frame of the Heavens themselves above, and

the Foundations of the Earth beneath ; Pl. cii. 26. They all shall perish, yea all of them shall

wax old like a garment; as a vesture skalt
thou change them, and they shall be chang-
ed; But Thou art the Same, the Same'
through all generations, and beyond all
generations still unchangeably the same.

2dly, In

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2dly, In respect of his Perfections Serm. likewife, as well as his Essence, God is VII. abfolutely unchangeable. Concerning those Perfections which flow necessarily from his Effence, and depend not on his Will, this is Self-evident; because whatever necessarily flows from any Cause or Principle, must likewise of necessity be as invariable, as the Cause or Principle from which it necessarily proceeds. Of This kind, are the Power, the Knowledge, the Wisdom, and the other natural Attributes of God; which having no dependence even upon his own Will, any more than his very Being itself has ; 'tis plain they can much less be subject to any Alteration, from any other Cause or Power whatsoever. Concerning those other Perfections, the Exercise whereof depends upon his Will : such are his Justice, Veracity, Goodness, Mercy, and all other moral Perfections ; the absolute Immutability of these, is not indeed fo obvious and self-evident; because it depends on the unchangeableness, not only of his Effence, but of his Will also. Nevertheless, upon careful consideration, the unchange

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ableness

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Serm.bleness of These likewise, will no less cerVII. tainly appear : Because in a Being who

a lways knows what is right to be done,

and can never possibly be deceived, or awed, or tempted, or imposed upon; his general Will or Intention, of doing always what is best and most fit and right, will in reality, though not upon the same ground of natural Necesity, yet in event, and upon the whole, be as certainly and truly unchangeable, as his very Essence itself. With great reason therefore does the Scripture thus speak of his Justice and Veracity, Pf. cxvii. 2. The Truth of the Lord endureth for ever ;' and PS. cxi. 3, 5, 7 8. His righteousness endureth for ever; he will ever be mindful of his covenant ; The works of his hands are verity amd judgment, all his commandments are sure ; Tbey stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in Truth and Uprightness. And concerning his Mercy and Goodness, Pf. xxxv. 5. Thy Mercy, O Lord, is in the Heavens, and thy Faithfulness reacbeth unto the clouds ; Thy righteousness is like the strong mountains, thy judgments are like the great deep. And

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the Apostle St James represents this to us Serm.
under a very elegant Similitude, ch. i. 17. VII.
Every good and perfect Gift, faith he,
cometh down from the Father of Lights,
with whom is no variableness neither sha-
dow of turning. The Comparison is ex-
tremely elegant, drawn from the conside-
ration of That which in corporeal things
is the least subject to change, viz. the
Sun shining in the Heavens. The Sun,
is the greatest, the most regular, the most
stable and constant Dispenser of Light
and Heat and fruitful influences, upon the
whole Face of This inferior World; yet
is his influence varied by different Moti-
ons, by Days and Nights, by Winter and
Summer, by Clouds, and Shadows, and by
alterations within its own Body. But
God, the Father of spiritual Light, the
Author and Disposer of all good and per-
fect Gifts, has in him no Motion, no Un-
certainty, no Alteration of any of his Per-
fections, no Variableness neither madow of
turning.

3dly, As God is unchangeable in his
Essence, and in the general Perfections of
his Nature ; fo is he also in the particular

Decrees

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SERM. Decrees and Purposes of his Will; and vil. likewise in his Laws, in his Promises,

and in his Threatnings. The Reason is; because, having all Power, and all Knowledge, he can never resolve upon any thing, which shall be either not possible, or not reasonable, to be accomplished. All finite Beings are frequently forced to change their Designs ; because they often find it impossible to finish what they begin, or unreasonable to pursue their first Intention : But in God, these things have no place.

He is unchangeable in all his Decrees and Purposes ; because having all things in his Power, and comprehending all things in his Fore-knowledge, he can by no Force be over-ruled ; he can by no surprize or unexpected accident be prevented; he can by no unforeseen Alteration in the reasons of things be himself changed in his Purpose. The Counsel of the Lord ftandeth for ever, and the thoughts of his Heart from generation to generation, Pf. xxxiii. 11. He is in one mind, and who can turn him ? and what bis Soul defireth, even That ke doth, Job xxxiii. 13.

Some

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