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danger that he cannot prevent, then be thou fearful, and distrust him and spare not.
3. Remember also in thy lowest state, and in the church's greatest sufferings or dangers, that the Almighty is able to raise
his church or thee even in a moment. If you say, that it is true God can do it, but we know not whether he will; I answer, 1. I shall shew you in due place, how far he hath revealed his will for such deliverances. In sum, we have his promise," that all things shall worki together for our good,” (Rom. viii. 28,) and what would we have more! Would you have that which is evil for you?
2. At present, see that Omnipotency do establish thy confidence so far as it is concerned in the cause. As 1. Be sure that no work is too hard for the Almighty; do not so much as in the thoughts of thy heart, make question of his power, and say with those unbelievers, “ Can God furnish a table in the wilderness ? can he give bread also ? can he provide flesh ?" (Psal. lxxviii. 19, 20.) If really thou distrust not the power of God, believe then the most difficult or improbable things, as well as the easiest and most probable, if God reveal or promise them. The resurrection seemeth improbable to impotent man; but God hath promised it; and nothing is difficult to Omnipotency. The calling of the Jews; the ruin of the Turk; the downfall of the Pope; the unity of Christians, do all seem to us unlikely things; but all things to God are not only possible but easy. He is at no more labour to make a world, than to make a straw, or make a fly. “ Whatsoever pleased the Lord, that did he in heaven and earth, in the sea and in the depths.” (Psal. cxxxv. 6.) Dost thou think it improbable that ever all thy sins should be conquered ; and that ever thy soul should live with Christ among the holy saints and angels ; and that ever thy body, that must first be dust, should shine as the stars in the firmament of God? And why doth it seem to thee improbable? Is it not as easy to God as to cause the earth to stand on nothing, and the sun to run its daily course? If God had promised thee to live a day longer, or any small and common things, thou couldst then believe him; and is it not as easy to him to advance thee to everlasting glory, as to cause thee to live another hour, or to keep a hair of thy head from perishing ? Sin is too
strong for thee to overcome, but not for God. Death is too strong for thee to conquer, but not for Christ. Heaven is too high for thee to reach by thy own strength; but he that is there, and prepared it for thee, can take thee thither. Trust God or trust nothing; he that cannot trust in him shall despair for ever; for all other confidence will deceive him.
They that know his name, will put their trust in him; for the Lord hath not forsaken them that seek him.” (Psal. ix. 10.) All those that trust in him shall rejoice, and ever shout for joy, because he defendeth them. (Psal. v. 11.) “Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” (Psal. xl. 4.) “Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe." (Prov. xxix. 25.) O what hath Almightiness done in the world; and what for the church; and what for thee; and yet wilt thou distrust him ? “ O how great is the goodness that he hath laid up for them that fear him; which he hath wrought for them that trust in him before the sons of men !” (Psal. xxxi. 19.) “ The Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” (Psal. xxxiv. 22.) Are thy straits too great; thy work too hard ? “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also to him and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psal. xxxvii. 5.) In thy lowest state look up to the Almighty, and say, " What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee: In God have I put my trust; I will not fear, what man can do unto me.” (Psal. lvi. 3, 4.) Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer: my God; my strength; in whom I will put my trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psal. xviii. 2.) He is a buckler to all that trust in him. “ Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” (Psal. xx. 7.) Trust not in the creature; that is, in vanity and infirmity. There is not almightiness in man, or any other creature : “ It is better therefore to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man: it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in princes.” (Psal. cxviii. 7, 8.) What a working passage is that, Jer. xvii. 5-7, “ Thus saith the Lord, cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord ! for he shall be like the heath in the deserts, and shall not see when good
cometh. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, whose hope the Lord is; for he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh
2. Trust also in God, as one that is assured that no enemy is too strong for the Almighty: Alas, what is an army of dust to Omnipotency! If the Lord do but arise, his enemies will be scattered, and they that hate him will flee before him; as smoke is driven away, and as wax melteth before the fire, the wicked shall perish at the presence of the Lord. (Psal. Ixviii. 1, 2.) While the Lord of Hosts is for us, we need not fear if hosts come against us; at worst they can but kill our bodies; and “greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world.” (1 John iv. 4.) O what a match have the miserable enemies of the church! what a work do they undertake? what a desperate attempt do they enterprise? to strive against Heaven, and overcome Omnipotency!
3. Trust in the Lord, as one that believeth that no means or instruments are too small or weak for Almightiness successfully to use. No matter who the instrument be, how mean, and weak, and despicable, if it be but an Almighty hand that uses it. A few poor fishermen and despised people, shall pull down Satan's kingdom in the world, and conquer the greatest, and bring in the nations to the faith, if Omnipotency be with them.
4. The Almightiness of God must fill our hearts with courage and resolution in his cause, and make us go on with the greatest alacrity in his work. Though we must be doves and lambs for innocency and meekness; yet must we be soldiers for valour and stability. Shall we flag or shrink, that have Omnipotency on our side! Whoever scorneth thee, hateth thee, threateneth thee, imprisoneth thee, is not the Almighty enough to set against them all, for thy encouragement?
5. The Almightiness of God must be the comfort of all that have interest in him. O, did the blind world but see him that his Omnipotent, or know the strength that is engaged for the weakest saint, they would soon see which is the strongest side, and which to cleave to for their security. O blessed people, that have the Almighty on their side, and engaged with them against their enemies, and to do their works, and answer their desires ! How can any of them perish when the Almighty is engaged for their salvation ! " The Father is greater than all, and none shall take them out of his hands.” (John x. 29.) How glad would men be in the beginning of a war, to know which side will prove the stronger, that they may join with that. Can the side that God is on be conquered? If you are wise, observe what cause is his, and let that be yours. " It is hard to kick against the pricks." Woe to those souls that the Almighty is against, and that dash themselves on the Rock that they should build on.
CHAP. VIII. 7. The next attribute that must work upon us, is the Infinite Wisdom or Omniscience of God. “ His understanding is infinite.” (Psal. cxlvii. 5.) And the impressions that this should make upon our souls, are these :
1. Delight in wisdom, that you may in your places be like to God. The new man is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Col. iii. 10.) If God be infinitely wise, those then are the most excellent that are the wisest. Ignorance is the soul's blindness, and the privation of the image of God on the understanding.
“ Wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness." (Eceles. ii. 13.) To desire, as Adam did, any of that knowledge that God hath reserved to himself, or is unnecessary for us, is not indeed to be wise in our desires : unnecessary knowledge is but a trouble. But to know the Lord, and his revealed will, and the way of life, is the light and glory of our minds. He that hath lost his eyesight, hath lost his principal natural delight, and is as one out of the world while he is in it. And the ignorant souls that are void of the heavenly illumination, must needs be void of the delights of grace; and though they live in the visible church, where the beauty of holiness is the excellency of the saints, yet they do not see this beauty ; but are like the infidels that are out of the church, while they are in it. The blind are in continual danger; they know not where they set their feet; and they know not when to be confident, nor when to fear: sometimes they are afraid where there is no cause, because there may be cause for ought they know; and sometimes they are fearless at the very brink of death, and little think of the evil that they are near. Why do our poor deluded people so boldly live in an unconverted state, but because they know not where they are? Why do they so carelessly lie down and rise in an unsanctified condition, unpardoned, unready for death and judgment, and under the condemnation of the law, but because they know not the misery or danger in which they stand ? Why do they go ou so carelessly and wilfully in sin, and despise the counsel of their teachers, and of the Lord, and take a holy life as needless, but because they know not what they do? Men could not go so quietly or merrily to hell, with their eyes open, as they do when they are shut by ignorance. Whence is it, that such multitudes are still ungodly, under all the teachings and warnings of the Lord ; but because “ they have their understandings darkened, being alienated from the life of God, by the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; and therefore many being past feeling, have given them over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Ephes. iv. 18, 19.) Sin is the fruit of folly, and the greatest folly: they are “fools that make a jest of it.” (Prov. xiv. 9.) And it is for “want of wisdom that they die.” (Prov. x. 21; i.32.) The ignorant are prisoners to the prince of darkness. (Ephes. vi. 12; v. 8.)
“ Knowledge is despised by none but fools.” (Prov. i. 7. 22.) The conquest of so many subtle enemies, the performance of so many spiritual duties, which we must go through, if we will be saved, are works too hard for fools to do. The saving of a man's soul, is a work that requireth the greatest wisdom, and therefore the illumination of the mind is God's first work in the conversion of a sinner. (Acts xxvi. 18; Ephes. i. 18.) If Infinite Wisdom communicate to you but the smallest beam of heavenly light, it will change your and make you other men than before, and set you on another course; wisdom will be your guide, and keep you safe paths; it will cause you to refuse the evil, and to choose the good : it will shew you true happiness, and the way to obtain it; it will cause you to foresee the evil, and escape it, when fools go on and are destroyed. (Prov. xxii. 3.) Wisdom will teach you to know the season, and redeem your time, and walk exactly, when folly will leave you to too late repentance. (Ephes. v. 15.) There is not a soul in hell but was