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better not to know God, than to think of him amils : for in the one case we do but neglect him, and in the other case we dishonour him. 3. Which is religion compleat in us ; to resemble and imitate him, and to be in our measure and degree, so far as he is communicable to us, what God is in his height, excellency and perfection. This is to glory, that he doth understand and know me. To know God, of whom three things are affirmed. (1.) That he doth deal graciously and favourably; he knows our frame, he confiders of what we are made. (2.) That he doth act according to the reason of the thing or the right of the case, which is called judgment. (3.) That he doth act, fecundum equitatem caufæ, that is, according to the equity of the case i.e. in righteousness, dealing according to what is just and fit. And this the scripture doth abundantly declare ; I will name you some places. Pfalm. lxxxix. 14. Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne; merry and truth shall go before his face. Pfalm. cxix, 156. Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord : Pfalm. cxlv. 7. They Jhall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and small sing of thy righteousness. v. 8. The Lord is gracious and full of compasion, flow to anger and of great mercy ; v. 9. the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. God, when he did gratify Mojes to admit him to the sight of himself, he made this proclamation, gracious and merciful, full of loving-kindness, and of great mercy.
In the IIId place, you have in the words following the text, the assurance of these things, that God is. in them certainly; for in these things I delight, faith
the Lord. Now this you must know ; that which is in a rational and intelligent nature with complacence, harmony and delight, and is a matter of choice, is more certainly there, than any natural quality is fixed to an inferior agent. So that the fun doth not more certainly shine, nor the fire more certainly burn; heavy things do not more certainly descend by a principle of gravity, nor light things ascend by a disposition of levity, than an intelligent nature doth perform these things ; and they are there effectually, where an intelligent agent doth delight himself. So that do but consider this by the way : God is not formidable because of his omnipotence; though he is not subject to the controul of the whole world, and his own power cannot be limited by any thing below him ; yet you may be assured that you cannot be hurt from thence : you are out of danger, because God takes pleasure and delight in judgment and loving-kindness.
Thus have you the sum of the words. So that here to speak to the point, we are not to glory : what that imports I will fhew you. 1. Not in the good things of the mind,
Now the perfections of the mind (I mean of the understanding) are these two, intelligence and prudence. These are the perfections of the understanding. 2. You are not to glory in bonis corporis, in the good things of the body. Now the good things of the body are two; kealth and sirength. 3. You are not to glory in the good things. of fortune ; and they are two also ; wealth and honour. For fapientia mentis ; wisdom is a perfection of the mind : might is a perfection of the body ;
riches are the instruments of both; for by wealth a man is enabled to exercise liberality, magnificence, and to do things that are either for the honour of God in the world, for the advantage of human society, or for the relief of the poor and those that are in ncceffity.
Thus comprehensive is the prophet, let noi the wise man glory, &c. And pray take notice of four things ; first, of the word, glory. If. He doth not deny the things themselves to be good : for all those things that he instances in, are the gifts of God; they are God's blefling upon us, for which God is to be thanked, and in the enjoyment of them he is to be acknowledged. 2dly. He doth not disallow our having of them ; for we may say here, as St. Peter to Ananias and Sapphira, Acts v. 4. concerning his lands and his eitate, were they not in thy own power? There is no law that requires thee to alienate thy estate, nor art thou called upon to bring either part or all to the common stock of the church ; so that he was not challenged for having the land, neither did the apostle fay it was his duty to alienate or to sell it ; but for lying to the Holy Ghost, for dissimulation ; an act of treachery and falfhood. 3dly. He takes not away the use of these things, of none of them : for Psalm cxii. 5. The good man guides and orders his affairs with discretion, saith the Psalmist ; there is the use of wisdom; and Isa. xxviii. 26. there the husbandman's skill is attributed to God's direction ; God directs him how to prepare his ground and to fit his seed for the soil. Prov. xxii. 3. The prudent man foresees an evil and hides himself ; but the simple pass on and are
punished. Chron. vii. 2. you have there an honourable mention of valiant persons and men of might. 1 Kings XV. 23. even kings that are not upon the whole matter approved, because they did not follow the Lord fully, yet the might that they did is commended. Eccl. v. 18, 19. Bchold that which I have feen ; it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink ; and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun, all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and bath given him power to eat thercof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour ; this is the gift of God. Eccl. vi. 1, 2. There is an evil which I have seen under the fun, and it is common among men ; a man to whom God hath given riches, wealth and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his foul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth bim not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it. These men have the privilege of the horse and the afs, to carry all the day long a heavy load upon their backs, and at night to have it taken off from them, and they turned into the stable : they have power to see that so much is their own, but they have not command of what they have, neither have they power to do publick good, or to exercise acts of charity, nor to use themselves kindly. 4thly. He doth not deny advantage by these, Ecc. ii. 13. Wisdom exislleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
And we are wont to say, it is better and safer for a man to be envied than pitied. For he that is envied hath wherewithal, by which he may subfift, and by which he may make his defence ; but a man may
a man may be pitied
and starved. And we are wont to say, necessity makes men base. Now by these four things it appears that the prophet excludes none of them : and this shews, ift. The folly of popish superstitious votaries. They tell us of three states of perfection ; the state of single life ; the state of poverty and beggary ; the state of regular, i. e. blind, obedience. I have but to do with one of these states, that is the state of poverty or beggary. There is nothing of merit in this state, there is nothing that recommends a man in this state to God, but the exercise of virtue, submission to the divine difpenfations, patience and contendedness. It is a signal place, that of the apostle, Col. ii. 23. where, in a competition, he puts the fatisfying of nature's desires, and prefers this before pinching and starving the body. Some think it is mortification, but they are mistaken ; which things have indeed a few of wifdom, in will-worship, and bumility, and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the fatisfying of the flesh. The denying of a man's will, the keeping ourselves within the bounds of reason, that is perfection. To pretend to mortification by making a distinction between flesh and fish, by abstaining from flesh and drinking wine, these are cheats and impostures, there is nothing of religion in them. 2dly. I also do obferve all these four against that stinginess and envy of such as being in a lower state themselves, because they cannot otherwise satisfy their mal-content, malignity and envious dispositions towards those that are in a superior and better condition ; hold forth that despicableness, and being contemned in the world, think that that is religion : which is a cheat