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spring, they tell us of the reviving approaches of the sun : But like foolish children, because they are near us, we love the flowers better than the sun; forgetting that the winter is drawing on. But spiritual mercies are as the sunshine that more immediately dependeth on, and floweth from the sun itself. And he that will not see and value) the sun by its light, will never see it! These beams come down to invite our minds and hearts to God; and if we shut the windows, or play till night, and they return without us, we shall be left to utter darkness.

The mercies of God must imprint upon our minds the fullest and deepest conceptions of him, as the most perfect, suitable, lovely object to the soul of man; when all our good is originally in him, and all flows from him, that hath the goodness of a means, and finally himself is all; not to love God then, is not to love goodness itself; and there is nothing but good that is suited to our love. Night and day therefore should the believer be drawing and deriving from God, by the views and tastes of his precious mercies, a sweetness of nature, and increase of holy love to God, as the bee sucks honey from the flowers. We should not now and then for a recreation light upon a flower, and meditate on some mercy of the Lord, but make this our work from day to day, and keep continually upon our souls, the lively tastes and deep impressions of the infinite goodness and amiableness of God. When we love God most, we are at the best, most pleasing to God; and our lives are sweetest to ourselves : And when we steep our minds in the believing thoughts of the abundant fatherly mercies of the Lord, we shall most abundantly love him. Every mercy is a suitor to us from God! The contents of them all is this, • My Son, give me thy heart. Love him that thus loveth thee.' Love him, or you reject him. O wonderful love ! that God will regard the love of man! that he will enter into a covenant of love! that he will be related to us in a relation of love! and that he will deal with us on terms of love! that he will give us leave to love him, that are so base, and have so loved earth and sin! yea, and that he will be so earnest a suitor for our love, as if he needed it, when it is only we that need! But the paths of love are mysterious and incomprehensible.

3. As God is in special a Benefactor and a Father to us,

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we must be the readiest and most diligent in obedience to him. Childlike duty is the most willing and unwearied kind of duty. Where love is the principle, we shall not be eye-servants, but delight to do the will of God, and wish, O that I could please him more! It is a singular delight to a gracious soul to be upon any acceptable duty; and the more he can do good, and please the Lord, that more he is pleased. As fatherly love and benefits are the fullest and the surest, so will filial duty be. The heart is no fit soil for mercies, if they grow not up to holy fruits. The more you love, the more cheerfully will you obey.

4. From hence we must well learn, both how God is man's end, and what are the chief means that lead us to him.

1. God is not the end of reason, nakedly considered, but he is finis amantis,' the end which love inclineth us to, and which by love is attained, and by love enjoyed : The understanding of which would resolve many great perplexing difficulties that. à natura finis' do step into our way in theological studies. I will name no more now, but only that it teacheth us, How both God and our own felicity in the fruition of him, may be said to be our ultimate end, without any contradiction, yet so that it be eminently and chiefly God. For it is a union (such as our natures are capable of) that is desired, in which the soul doth long to be swallowed up

in God : Understand but what a filial or friendly love is, and you may understand what a regular intention is, and how God must be the Christian's end.

2. And withal it shews us, that the most direct and excellent means of our felicity, and to our end, are those that are inost suited to the work of love. Others are means more remotely, and necessary in their places; but these directly. And therefore the promises and narratives of the love and mercy of the Lord, are the most direct and powerful part of the Gospel, conducing to our end : and the threatenings the remoter means.

And therefore as grace was advanced in the world, the promissory part of God's covenant or law, grew more illustrious, and the Gospel consisted so much of promises, that it is called “Glad tidings of great joy.” And therefore the most full demonstration of God's goodness and loveliness to our hearers, is the most excellent part of all our preaching, though it is not all. And

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therefore the meditation of redemption, is more powerful than the bare meditation of creation, because it is redemption that most eminently revealeth love. And therefore Christ is the principal means of life, because he is the principal messenger and demonstration of the Father's love, and by the wonders of love which he revealeth, and exhibiteth in his wondrous grace, he wins the soul to the love of God. For God will have external objective means, and internal effective means concur, because he will work on man agreeably to the nature of man. Though there was never given out such prevalent invincible measures of the Spirit, as Christ hath given for the renewing of those that he will save, yet shall not that Spirit do it without as excellent objective means. And though Christ, and the riches of his grace revealed in the Gospel, be the most wonderful objective means, yet shall not these do it without the internal effective means.

But when love doth shine to us so resplendently without us, in the face of the glorious Sun of Love, and is also set into us by the Spirit's illumination, that sheds abroad this love in our hearts, then will the holy fire burn, which comes from heaven, and leads to heaven, and will never rest till it have reached its

and brought us to the face and arms of God.

5. And from the fatherly relation and love of God, we must learn to trust him, and rest our souls in his securing love. Shall we distrúst a Father ? an Omnipotent Father! Therefore is this relation prefixed to the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, and we begin with “Our Father which art in heaven," that when we remember his love, and our interest in him, and his allsufficiency, wem ay be encouraged to trust him, and make our addresses to him. If a Father, and such a Father, smite me, I will submit, and kiss the rod : for I know it is the healing fruit of love. If a Father, and such

. a Father, afflict me, wound me, deal strangely with me, and grieve my flesh, let me not murmur or distrust him ; for he well understandeth what he doth; and nothing that shall hurt me finally can come from Omnipotent paternal love. If a Father, and such a Father, kill me, yet let me trust in him, and let not my soul repine at his proceedings, nor tremble at the separating stroke of death. A beast knows not when we strive with him, what we intend, whether to

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cure, or to kill him : But a child need not fear a killing blow, nor a loving soul a damning death, from such a Father. If he be a Father, where is his love and trust?

6. If God be our Father, and so wonderful a benefactor to us, then thanks and praise must be our most constant work, and must be studied above all the rest of duty, and most diligently performed. If the tongue of man, which is called his glory, be made for any thing, and good for any thing, it is to give the Lord his glory, in the thankful acknowledgment of his love and mercies, and the daily cheerful praises of his name. Let this then be the Christian's work.

7. The children of such a Father, should live a contented, cheerful life. Diligence becometh them, but not contrivances for worldly greatness, nor carking cares for that which their Father hath promised them to care for. Humility and reverence beseemeth them, but not dejection and despondency of mind, and a still complaining, fearful, troubled, disconsolate soul. If the children of such a Father shall not be bold, and confident, and cheerful, let joy and confidence then be banished from the earth, and be renounced by all the sons of men.

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CHAP. XVI. 15. There are yet divers subordinate attributes of God, that being comprised in the forementioned, may be passed over with the briefer touch. And the next that I shall speak of is, his Freedom. And God is free in more senses than one ; but for brevity, I shall speak of all together.

1. And first, God hath a natural Freedom of Will, being determined to will by nothing without him, nor liable to any necessity, but what is consistent with perfect blessedness and liberty. His own being, and blessedness, and perfections, are not the objects of his election; and therefore not of that which we call freewill: But all his works without, as creation, providence, redemption, &c. are the effects of his freewill: Not but that his will concerning all these, hath a necessity of existence: for God did from eternity will the creation, and all that is done in time; and therefore from eternity that will existing, had a necessity of existence: but yet it was free, because it proceedeth not necessarily from the very nature of God: God was God before he made the

world, or redeemed it, or did the things that are daily done, And therefore one part of the schoolmen maintain, not only that there is contingency from God, but that there could be no contingency in the creature, if it had not its original in God: The liberty of God being the fountain of contingency.

2. There is also an eminency both of dominion and sovereignty in God, according to which he may be called Free. His absoluteness of propriety freeth him from the restraint of any obligation, but what floweth from his own freewill, from disposing of his own as he pleases. And his absolute Sovereignty freeth him from the obligation of his own laws, as laws, though he will still be true to his promises and predictions. Let man therefore take heed how he questioneth his Maker, or censureth his laws, or works, or ways.

CHAP. XVII. 16. Another attribute of God is his Justice. With submission, I conceive that this is not to be said to be from eternity, any otherwise than all God's relations are (as Creator, Redeemer, &c.); because there is no time with God. For though the blessed nature denominated Just is from eternity, yet not the formality or denomination of justice. For justice is an attribute of God as he is Governor only; and he was not Governor, till he had creatures to govern: and he could not be a Just Governor when he was no Governor. The de. nomination did not arise till the creation had laid the foundation. Many questions may be resolved hence, which I will not trouble you to recite.

Justice in God is the perfection of his nature, as it givetli · every one his due, or governeth the world in the most per

fect orders for the ends of government. Because he is Just, he will reward the righteous, and difference between the godly and the wicked : for that governor that useth all alike is not just. The “crown of righteousness” is given by him as a “Righteous Judge.” (2 Tim. iv. 8.)

1. The Justice of God is substantially (in men we call it an inclination) in his nature, and so it is eternal.

2. It is founded formally in his relation of Governor.

3. It is expressively first in his laws: For as a Just Governor he made them suited to the subjects, objects and ends.

4. It is expressively secondarily in his judgments and

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