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S E R M. Love of God towards mankind, Now reXII. vealed by the preaching of his Son. The words next following, of God, and of the Fatherx and of Christ, are not rightly rendred j For they sound in that translation as if God and the Father were two distinct persons -, Whereas- they ought to be rendered, of God, even the Father; and also of Christ. In whom, adds the Apostle, ( summing up his whole Argument by way of Exclamation in the words of the Text,) are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom. The word, In whom, may by the construction equally be referred, either to God, or to Cbrijl j God even the Father, and Christ; in whom, in each or either of whom,, are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom. If k be understood as referring to Cod, even the Father; then it will be a declaration or acknowledgment of his Wisdom in general; that He, is the Author and Fountain of all Wisdom. But if it be applied to Chri'f; then it must be understood of the Wisdom of the Gojpel in particular; that ia Him was treasured up all that Wisdom of Gob\ which was to be manifested to mankind by the Gospel. In either way of understanding {landing it, the Sense is not much diffe-Sc R M. rent; and in Both, it, is a very useful Subject for our Meditations; the Wisdom of God more generally, or the Wisdom of Cod manifested in Christ more particu

WISDOM, is the right Use or Exercise of Knowledge; and differs from Knowledge, as the Use of a Power or Faculty differs from the Faculty itself 'Tis therefore in the divine Nature, a distinct Attribute from that of Knowledge; and, as such, I shall accordingly consider it in the following Discourse. And herein, for Method's fake, I shall 1st endeavour to show briefly in general, that God must of Necessity be infinitely Wise; zdly, I shall consider more distinctly and in particular, the different Manifestations of this divine "Wisdom, in his Works, in his Government, and in his Laws: and I shall show of what Use these Meditations may be unto us in Practise.

I. I N the First place, that God must of Necessity be infinitely Wise, appears from hence; that, being Himself the Alone original Cause and Author of all things; and knowing what each of their T 3 Powers

S E R M . Powers and Faculties can produce; and XL. feeing at one View all the possible. Cir

,*rv"Nj cumstances and Dispositions of things, all their mutual Relations and Dependencies, all their possible Compositions or Divisions, their Variations and Changes, their Fitness or Suitableness each to certain respective Ends and Purposes -, beholding (I fay) all these things at once, 'tis evident he cannot but of necessity always know, without possibility of Error, What is the Bcjl and Propcreft End to be brought about, in each one of the possible infinite cafes cr methods of disposing things j and which are the fittest Means to that End; and how those Means may best be ordered and directed, to accomplifli it accordingly: And, having no wrong Inclination : possibly to change his Will, any more than opposition possibly to withstand his Power; 'tis plain he will always actuatty effect, what in right and reason is fittest to be dene. Now This, is infinite or perfect Wisdom j To know always the Best End; to fee always the Means that will produce that End; to understand exactly how to apply those means to the accomplishing that End; and to have always

ways a right and invariable Inclination cr S E R TfUl to act accordingly. XII Again; every Unwise Action, or cir- t-/"v" cumstance of Action, must necessarily proceed, either from shortness of Understanding, or from Defect of Power, or from Faultiness of Will; Either that the Agent knows not, or that he can not, or that he will not do what is best. But now from each of these Defects, the Perfection of the divine Nature is infinitely removed. Therefore every Action of God, must of Necessity, ( meaning in the moral fense of the word Necessity,) be what is absolutely and in itself and upon the whole most Wife.

From some or other of these Defects, in some Degree, or in some Circumstances, no Other Being can be exempt. No other Being therefore, is perfectly Wise: But the Perfection, as in God it is complete and absolute, so to him Alone it is confined: The Apostle frequently stiling him, with the greatest Justice and Truth, God Only Wise. Yet Vain man would be Wise j Wise without, and Wife in oppojition to, his Maker: Profanely sometimes, and Atheistically Wife; though man be born T 4 like

$ikH.Iiif a wild ajses colt, Job xi. 12. that is, XII- though being short-lived as the Beasts that

^V>J perisli, he could neither give himself Being, nor continue it to himself when he had it> neither knows what things have been before him, nor what mall be after him, nor the millionth part of the things that are present with him. Philosophers, when beyond an humble Admiration of the Works of God, and a sober inquiry into the nature and operations of second causes under the direction of the first, they indulge themselves in feigning Schemes out of their own Imagination, and attempt in explaining Nature to exclude the God of Nature j profejjing themselves Wife, they become Fools, Rom. i. 22. and under the Notion of Science, vent the most ridiculous extravagancies. Politicians, Tyrants, the great Oppressors and Destroyers of the Earth, lay what they call Wife, and long fore-casted Designs. But yet, as Elihu well observes, fob xxxii. 9. Great men are not always Wife: For God often tumeth their Wisdom backward, and maketh their Counsel Foolishness ; blasting their deepest projects with the Breath of his Mouth, and dispersing them

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