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should hear the creature as we would hear God himself speaking to us : they speak to all countries in their own language. At first, God spake to the world not by words but things. Thus hath God engraven his name upon his works, as those that make watches, or any curious pieces, write their names upon them; as he that carred a buckler for Minerva, had so curiously inlaid his own name, that it could not be erased without defacing the whole work : so the creatures are but a draft and portraiture of God's glory.
(2.) Providences. These do more awaken us. God's daily benefits should bring him to our remembrance: “ Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from Heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts xiv. 17); “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deut. viii. 18). Especially, the sanctified remembrance of God's dealing with his people, is the way to keep the heart in the faith, love, and fear of God; and the forgetting his works is the cause of all defection and falling off to carnal courses and confidences : “ And forgat his works and his wonders that he had showed them” (Psalm lxxvüi. 11); “ They forgat God their Saviour, which had done great things in Egypt” (Psalın cvi. 21); “ And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side” (Judges viii. 34). It is a base ingratitude not to remember, prize, and esteem God for all this.
(3.) Ordinances. Ministry was instituted to put you in remembrance, and give you still new and fresh occasions to think of God: “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance” (2 Peter i, 12). Our business is not always to inform you of what you know not, but to inculcate and revive known truths; there being much forgetfulness, stupidness, and senselessness upon our spirits : “I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (2 Peter iii. 1). The impressions of God on our minds are soon defaced: we need to quicken and awaken your affections and resolutions to choose and cleare to God: “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ" (1 Tim. iv. 6). So sacraments are instituted to bring God to remembrance: “ This do in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. xi. 24); that we may remember his love, and our covenanted duty. The Sabbath was instituted for a remembrance and memorial of his creating, redeeming goodness.
(4.) The great office and work of the Spirit is to bring to remembrance: “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance" (John xiv. 26). We are apt to forget God, and instructions, and rebukes in their season: the Holy Ghost is our monitor.
3. God will not forget them that remember him: he will remember them at every turn : “ Then they that feared the Lord, spake osten one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name" (Mal. iii. 16): if he do not openly reward you with temporal deliverances, yet he taketh notice of every thought, and every word you speak for him, and taketh pleasure in you. It is u on record : if you have not the comfort of it now, you shall have it in a little time : because they thought of him, they spake of him, and owned him in an evil time, and therefore God is represented as hearing and booking; and the books shall one day be opened, and then you shall have your public reward,
DOCTRINE II.—God is best remembered when his name is studied.
First, When is his name studied? In the general, when we look upon him as he hath manifested himself in his word and works. More particularly, God is discorered sometimes by the name of his essence, sometimes by his attributes.
Ist, By the name of his essence. When Moses was very inquisitive to know his name (and God can best tell his own name), let us see what answer was made him: “And they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am that I Am” (Exod, üi. 13, 14). God was sending Moses upon a strange message: he was giving him commission to go and speak to a king, to dismiss and let go six hundred thousand of his subjects, to lead them to a place which God should show. Now, Moses thought for such a message he had need have good authority; therefore desireth a significant name, “I Am that I Am.” The form of the word showeth it was a wonderful, incomprehensible name: “ Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?" (Judy. xiji. 18.) This is enough to satisfy sober inquiry, though not wanton curiosity, enough for faith to work upon : The great “I Am” hath sent me. It showeth his unsearchableness. It is our manner of speech, when we would cover anything and not answer distinctly, we say, It is what it is; I have said what I have said. Finite understandings cannot comprehend him that is infinite, any more than you can empty the sea with a cockle-shell. He is the great and only Being, in comparison of which all else is nothing: “ All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity” (Isa. xl. 17). You have not a true and full notion of God, if you conceive him only as the most eminent of all beings: no being must appear as being in his sight, and in comparison of him. As long as you only conceive God to be the best, you still attribute something to the creature ; for all comparatives include the positive. The creature is nothing in comparison with God; all the glory, perfection, and excellency of the world, do not amount to the value of a unit in regard of God's attributes : join never so many of them together, they cannot make up one number; they are nothing in his regard, and less than nothing. All created beings must utterly vanish out of sight when we think of God. As the sun doth not annihilitate the stars and make them nothing, yet it annihi. lates their appearance to our sight; some are of the first magnitude, some of the second, some of the third, but in the day-time all are alike, all are darkened by the sun's glory ; so it is here : there are degrees of perfection and excellency, if we compare one creature with another ; but let once the glorious brightness of God shine upon the soul, and in that light all their differences are unobserved. Angels, men, worms, they are all nothing, less than nothing, to be set up against God. This magnificent title, “I Am," darkened all, as if nothing else were. God did not tell Moses that he was the best, the highest, and the most glorious, but “I Am, and there is none else besides me;” nothing that hath its being of itself, nothing that can be properly called their own. Thus the incomprehensible selfexistence of God puts man into his original nothing. None but God can say, “ I Am,” because all things else are but borrowed drops of this selfsufficient fountain : other things are near to nothing. God most properly is, who never was nothing, never shall be nothing ; who may always, in all difference of time, say, “I Am;" and nothing else but God can say so. The Heaven and earth six thousand years ago could not say, We are. Adam could once bave said, I am, as to his existence in the compounded nature of man; but now he cannot say it. All the generations past were, but are not; and the present is, but will not be; and within a little while, who of us can say, I am ? No, our “ place will know us no more;" but God eternally saith, “I Am ;” not, I have been; or, I shall be ; but, “I Am.” Look a little backward, and you shall find man's beginning ; step a little forward, and you shall overtake his dissolution ; but God is stilī, “I Am:” he is one that is All before all, after all, and in all. He beholdeth from the mount of eternity all the successions and changes of the creature; and there is no succession or mutation in his knowledge. Well then, here is an answer for Pharaoh, and the Israelites, and all of you, to study on: “I Am that I Am.” I am the fountain of all being, that do unchangeably and eternally exist in myself and from myself.
2ndly, God hath described his name by his attributes. To go over all, the compass of a sermon will not permit. I shall single out three from all the rest ; his power, wisdom, and goodness, they are manifested in all that God doth.
1. In creation. Basil, 'Eroingev wg åyalos tò xohoinov, ws copos TÒ kallisov, wc duvaròç Tò péyisov. The goodness of God is seen in the usefulness of the creatures to man ; the power of God, in the stupendousness and wonderfulness of his works; his wisdom, in the apt structure, consti. tution, and order of all things. First he createth, then distinguisheth, then adorneth. The first work was to create the heavens and earth out of nothing, there is his power : his next work is a wise destination and ordination of all things, he distinguisheth night from day, darkness from light, waters above the firmament from waters beneath the firmament, the sea from the dry land, there is his wisdom: then he decketh the earth with plants, and furnisheth it with beasts, and storeth the sea with fishes, the firmament with stars, there is his goodness. Let us examine these more particularly, beginning
(1.) With his goodness. The creation is nothing else but an effusion of the bounty and goodness of God: he made the world, not that he might be happy, but that he might be liberal : he made the world, not by neces. sity, but at his pleasure: “ Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created” (Rev. iv. 1). God was happy enough without us; he had a fulness and absolute sufficiency within himself. His great aim was to raise up objects out of nothing, to whom he would communicate his goodness : the heavens and earth were made, that man might have a place for his exercise, and a dwelling for his rest, and in both might love, honour, serve, and glorify his Creator. God sits in his palace among his best creatures; and thither also will he translate man at length, if he be obedient, and observe the end of his creation. Thus his goodness appeareth.
(2.) His power. He brought all things out of the womb of nothing. The powerful fiat was enough: “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power” (Isa. xl. 26). The force of the cause appeareth in the effect; and God's power, in the life and being of the creature. There is no artificer but he must have matter to work upon, or else his heart will fail him, and he can do nothing. All that man can do is to give some shape and form, or to fashion that in some new model which had a being
before ; but God made all things out of nothing: the inclination and beck of his will suffice for his great works. We have great toil and sweat in all things that we do ; but behold what a great work is done without any pain and travail ! It is troublesome to us to carry up a little piece of stone or timber to any building of ours; but God stretched out all these heavens in such an infinite compass by the word of his power, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
(3.) His wisdom. The admirableness and comely variety of God's works do easily offer it to our thoughts. In the frame of the work you may easily find out a wise workman : “ To him that by wisdom made the heavens, for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm cxxxvi. 5); so, “ The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth, by understanding hath he established the heavens” (Prov. ii. 19). The wisdom of God appeareth in the order of making and order of placing all the creatures. In making them: in simple things, God began with those that were most perfect; as his first creature was light, which of all qualities is the most pure and defecate, and is not stained by passing through places most impure; then all the other elements. In mixed bodies, God took another method, from imperfect to perfect : first things that have a being, as the firmament; then life, as plants; then sense, as beasts ; then reason, as men. First God would provide the places of Heaven and earth, then the creatures to dwell in them ; first the flood, then the creatures to be sustained by it. Provision was made for the inhabitants of the earth; as grass for beasts, and light for all living and moving creatures. Plants have a growing life, beasts a feeling life; then man was made, last of all creatures, as most excellent. Thus God would teach us to go on from good to better : man's palace was furnished with all things necessary; and they were placed and disposed in their apt cells, for the beauty and service of the whole; and then, like a prince, he was sent into the world to rule and reign. There are not so many animals in the earth as in the sea, to avoid the great waste of food, which would be consumed by the beasts of the land to the prejudice of man. But there is no end of these considerations. Only let me tell you, power is most eminently discovered in the creation : “ The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead” (Rom. i. 23): the first apprehensions which we are possessed with, and which are most obvious, are the infinite greatness and power of the Creator.
2. These are manifested in the whole structure of his word: his power, in the histories and prophecies, which declare what God hath done and shall do: his wisdom, in the precepts and counsels, and discovery of such mysteries : his goodness, in promises, institutions, and provisional helps. More particularly, in the law-part of his word, his goodness, that showeth man what his good : “He hath showed thee, o man, what is good” (Mic. vi. 8); his power, in threatening such punishments and promising such rewards, and in the wonderful efficacy of his word in the conscience : his wisdom, in stating such a rule, that hath such an admirable fitness for the governing and regulating of mankind. But, though all three shine forth in the law, and all in each part, yet his wisdom is most eminent : “Keep, therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding” (Deut. iv. 6). In the Gospel, still these three attributes appear, the wonderful wisdom, power, and goodness of God : his wisdom, in the orderly disposure of the covenant of grace: “Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow" (2 Sam. xxiii. 5); and contriving the excellent design and plot of salvation by Christ: “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. iii. 16): his power, in the incarnation, resurrection, and miracles of Christ; therefore Christ is called “the power of God and the wisdom of God :" but, above all, his love is magnified in the Gospel: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. v. 8); “ In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins"? (1 John iv. 9, 10); “ But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared” (Tit. üi. 4).
SERMON LXII. VERSE 55.—I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and
hare kept thy law. 3. These are discovered in daily providence. To rub up and revive our thoughts, God is pleased anew to set before us the glorious effects of his wisdom, goodness, and power ; his wisdom in the contexture of provi. dence, his power in the management of it, his goodness in the effects of it. His wisdom, in the beauty and order of his works, in guiding the course of nature, and disposing all things about his people. He doth all things well : “He hath made everything beautiful in his time” (Eccles. ii. 11), or in the true and proper season. Therefore, we that look upon Provi. dence by pieces, stumble at the seeming confusion and uncertainty of what falleth out, as if the affairs of the world were not under a wise government; but stay a little while till all the pieces of Providence be put together in one frame, and then you will see a marvellous wisdom in them. In the work of creation, all things were “ very good” (Gen. i. 31); so for these six thousand years as well as for the first six days. Those things which seem confused heaps when they lie asunder, when put together will appear a beautiful structure and building. So for his goodness, what part hath God been acting in the world for so long a time but that of mercy? He may be traced more by his acts of goodness than vengeance: “Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, ảyagotovūv, in that he did good, and gave us rain from Heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts xiv. 17). The whole world is a theatre of mercy. If at any time we wrest punishment out of his hand, it is with an aim of mercy : as he threateneth that he may not punish, so he punisheth that he may not punish for ever. For his power, that is notably discovered to us every day. If we would draw aside the covering of the creature, you might soon see the secret, almighty power of God which acteth in everything that falleth out. The same everlasting arm that made the creatures, is under them to support them: “Upholding all things by the word of his power" (Heb. i. 3). As they started out of nothing by his command, so