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S E R M. out of his Book. Rev. iii. 5. Which XI- could not possibly be, if it was meant of

^^^•'an absolute Predestination. And on the contrary, Acts iii. 19, the Sins of them that repent, are said to be blotted out; that is, they shall not appear or be re* membred against them in judgment. And This concerning the Aft ions of Men.

The next, and more wonderful, Object of the divine Knowledge, is, the Hearts, the "Thoughts and Intentions of Men. JVe, and perhaps all created Beings, can judge of Persons, Only by their words and actions, and by the outward appearances in their behaviour: But God, is a Discerner of the Thoughts Heb. iv. an(i lntent$ of the Heart. 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, The Lord Jearcheth all Hearts, and underflandeth all the Imaginations of the Thoughts. And 1 Sam. xvi. 7, The Lord feeth not as Man feeth; For Man looketh on the outward appearance; but the Lord looketh on the Heart. Where-ever we are, he is always with us, and surrounds us with his boundless presence; he includes and penetrates every part of our Substance, fees into our inmost Thoughts and Purposes

eposes, and searches the most secret reees- S E R M. .les of our Hearts and Souls, with his un- XI. erring and all-seeing Eye. And 'This also is a Power necessary, in order to his judging the World with Equity. For Wickedness lies in the Heart, as well as in the Actions; And, Thou Jkalt not covet, is a Command, as well as Thou {halt not do ilL Whosoever looketh on a woman to dust .after her, that is, with an ill intension, -thp' without opportunity of any sinful ac7 i hath already (iaith our Saviour) committed adultery with her in his heart, Matf. v. 28. And ch. xv. 19, Cut of the Heart, faith -he, proceed evil Thoughts, Murders, Adulteries, Fornications, Tlfts, fajje-witnefs, Blasphemies. In order -therefore to the passing a righteous judgment concerning men's final state, 'tis necessary that the Judge be able to search the Hearts. And both Scripture and Reason, and the just and unavoidable Fears of ill-designing men, do sufficiently bear testimony to the Truth of the doctrine, that God is able to do This infallibly and without Error. Nay there are cases wliereki the Heart being deceitful, not only to others, but even to a man's self yoj,. I. $ also

SEr M.also by secret partiality and imperceptible prejudices; no perfect and unerring judg

^"^^ ment can be made of a man by any other, than by God only, i Cor. iv. 4. / judge not mine own self, faith St Paul; For I know nothing by myself, (I am not conscious of any thing to myself, so the words ought to be rendred ;) yet I am not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord. And 1 Job. iii. 20, If cur Heart condemn us, God is greater than, our heart, and knvweth all things.

But there is a further, and still more wonderful Object of the Divine Knowledge, than even the Hearts or Thoughts of Men; and That is, Future Events. He that gave all things those Powers and Faculties of which they enjoy, must be acknowledged to foresee what each of those Powers and Faculties will produce; and, thro' an infinite series of Causes, perceive at one View all things that ever shall be, as if they at present were. Even the most contingent Futurities, the actions of free Agents, cannot be conceived to be hidden from his foresight, who gave to his Creatures those very Powers of Will and Choice, by which they are free agents.


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Known unto God are all his Works, fromSerm. the Beginning of the World, Acts xv. 18. XI. The many predictions of future events, {~rs*~*** which have been in the World; were convincing evidences of the Truth of this Attribute, to the heathen philosophers j And even the common Reason of the vulgar taught them, that it could not be imagined, that the Knowledge of the infinite and eternal God, should be in any respect finite. There is in this Matter, one Difficulty only, which has in all Ages employed the Speculation of considering persons: Namely the following question, How Fore-knowledge in God, can be consistent with Liberty of ABion in Men. In order to remove which difficulty, it may not be improper to premise two things if, That our finite Understandings may very reasonably be allowed, not to be able to comprehend all the ways of infinite Knowledge; Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find cut the Almighty unto Perfection? It is as High as Heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than Hell, what canst thou know? The Measure thereof is longer than the Earth, and broader than the Sea. But S 2 This

S E R M. This Acknowledgment of the Incompre* XI- hensibleness of the Ways of God, must

^""^^ always be understood with relation to such things only, as do not imply any express Contradiction: For whenever That is the case, it cannot be faid concerning Jucb things, that they are incomprehensible, or what we cannot understand j but on the contrary, that they are such things which we do clearly and distinctly underr stand, that they cannot possibly be: The neceflary Falsity of all Such things being as clear to our Understandings, as the Self-evidence of the plainest Truths. At so, it must be observed, that this acknowledgment ought to be understood only of things exprcfjiy revealed, not of any hutnane doctrines,

,zdly, IT is further necessary to premise, that in the matter before us, the Question is not, whether Mcns Actions be free; but whether or no, and How, that Freedom of Action, which makes Men to be Men, can k consistent with Fore-knowledge of such Micns. For if these two things were really inconsistent, and could hy no means be reconciled j it would follow, not, that Mem Actions were not Free; (for That would


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