OF CREATION IN GENERAL.
Having considered the internal and eternal acts of the divint. mind, I proceed to consider the external acts of God. I shall begin wirh the work of creation, which is what God himself began with; and shall consider the following things concerning it.
I. What creation is. Sometimes it only signifies the natural production of creatures, by generation and propagation ; the birth of persons, in the common course of nature, is called the creation of them, Ezrk. xxi. 30. and xxviii. 14. Eccles. xii 1. Sometimes it designs acts of providence, in bringing about affairs of moment and importance in the world ; as whetl it is said, I form the light, and create darkness. It is to be un* dersiood of prosperous and adverse dispensations of providence, Isai. lv. 7. So the renewing of the face of the earth, and reproduction of herbs, plants, &c. is a creation, Psal. civ. 30. And the renewing of the world, in the end of time is called a creating new heavens and a new earth, Isai. lxv. 17. Sometimes it intends ihe doing somethmg unusual and wonderful; such as the earth's opening its mouth, Numb. xvi. 30. the wonderful protection of the ' hurch, Isai. iv. 5. and particularly the incarnation of the Son of God, Jer. xxxi. 22. To observe no more, creation may be distinguished into mediate and imme* diate; mediate creation is the production of beings, by the power of God, out of pre.existent matter, so God is said to create great whales and other fishes, which, at his command, the waters brought forth abundantly; and he created men, male and female; and yet man, as to his body, was made of the dust of the earth, and the woman out of the rib of man, Gen. i. 21, 27. and, indeed, all that was created on the five last days of the creation, was made out of matter which before existed, though indisposed of itself for such a production.— Immediate creation is the production of things out of nothing, as was the work of the first day^ the creating the heavens and the earth, the unformed chaos, and light commanded to arise upon it, Gen. i. 1—3. These are the original of things; so that all thing ultimately are made out of nothing, Heb. xi. 3. it cannot be conceived otherwise, than that the world was made out of nothing: for, if nothing existed from eternity, but God, there was nothing existing, out of which it could be made ; to say it was made out of pre-existent matter, is to beg the question; besides, that pre-existent matter must be made by him; for he has created all things, Rev. iv. 11. and if all things, nothing can be expected; and certainly not matter ; be that visible or invisible, one of them it must be; and both the one and the other are created of God, Col. i. 16. and this matter must be made out of nothing, so that it comes to the game thing, that all things are originally made out of nothing. Besides, there are some creatures, and those the most noble, as angels and the souls of men, which are immaterial, and therefore not made out of matter, and consequently are made out of nothing; and if these, why not others ? and if these and bthers, why not all things, even matter itself?
II. The objects of creation are all things, nothing excepted in the whole compass of finite nature ; Thou hast created ill things, and for thy pleasure, or by thy will, they are and were created, Rev. iv. 11. these are comprehended by Moses under the name of the heavens and the earth, Gen. i. 1. and more fully by the apostles, Acts iv. 24. and still more explicitly by the Angel, Rev. x, 6. i. The heavens and all in them ; these are often represented as made and created by God, Psal. viii. 3. and xix. 1. and cii. 25. They are spoken of in the plural number, for there are certainly three; we read of a third heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4. this .s,—l. The heaven of heavens; .ha habitation ol God, where angels dwell, and whtre glorified . saints will be in soul and body to all eternity. Now this is a place made and created by God, 1 Kings viii. 27. it is wh' re the angels are, who must have an uti, some where to be.in ; and here bodies are, which' require space and place, as those of Enoch and Elijah* and the human nature of Christ, here the bodies of those are, who rose at the time of his resurrection ; and all the bodies of the saints will be 10 all .ernity: this is by Christ distinguished as the place of the blessed* from that of the damned, John xiv. 2. 3. Luke xvl. 26. It ia called a city whose builder and maker is God, Heb. xi. 10. for he that built all things built this. 2. There is another heaven, lower than the former, and may be called the second, and bears the name of the starry heaven, because the sun, and moon, and stars are placed in it: Look towards heaven, and tell the stars, Gen xv. S. this reaches from the moon, to the place of the fixed stars. Now this, and all that in it are, were created by God, Gen. i. 16. 3. There is another heavi n, low; er than both the former, and may be called the serial heaven, Gen. vii. 3, 23. This wide expanse, or firmament of heaven, is the handy-work of God, and all things in it; not only the fowls that fly in it, but all the meteors gendered there ; as rain, snow; thunder and lightning. Hath the rain a father f Job. xxxvii. 6. in. The earth and all that is therein, Gen. i. 2, 9, 10. as this was made by God, so all things in it; the grass* the herbs, the plants, and trees upon it; the metals and minerals in the bowels of it* gold, silver, brass, and iron ; all the beasts of the field, and " the cattle on a thousand hills ;"—-" 111. The sea, and all that is in that; when God cleaved an hollow in the earth, the waters he drained of it, he gathered unto it; and gave those waters the name of seas, Gen. i. 10i Psal. xcv. 5. the marine plants and trees, and all the fishea that swim in it great and small, innumerable, Psa!. civ. 25,26< That the planets are so many worlds as our earth is, vaAtnai
th, fixed stars are so many suns to worlds unknown to us, are but the conjectures, however probable, of modern astronomers.
III. The next thing to be enquired into is, When creation began i this was not in eternity, but in time; an eternal creature is the greatest absurdity imaginable; In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, Gen. i. 1. And thou, Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the e*rth, &rc. Heb. i. 10. Some Plilosophers, and Aristotle at the head of them, have asserted the eternity of the world, but without any reason. To say the world, or matter, was co-eternal with God, is to make that itself God; for eternity is a perfection peculiar to God ; and where one perfection is, all are : what is eternal, is infinite and unbounded ; and if the world is eternal, it is infinite ; and then there must be two infinites, which is an absurdity not to be received. Besides, if eternal, it must necessarily exist; or exist by necessity of nature ; and so be self-existent, and consequently God ; yea, must be independent of him, and to which he can have no claim, nor any power and authority over it; whereas according to divine revelation, and even the reason of things, all things were according to the pleasure of God, or by his will, Rev. iv, 11. and therefore must be later than his will, being the effect of it. And as the world had a beginning, and all things in it, it does not appear to be of any great antiquity; it has not, as yet run out six thousand years: according to the Greek version, the age of the world is carried fourteen or fifteen hundred years higher; but the Hebrew text is the surest rule to go by: as for the accounts of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Chinese, which make the original of their kingdoms and states, many thousand of years higher still: these are only vain boasts, and fabulous relations, which have no foundation in true history. The origin of nations, according to the scriptures, which ap. pears to be the truest; and the invention of arts and sciences, and of various things necessary to human life; as of agriculture the bringing up of cattle ; making of various utensils of brass and iron, for the various businesses of life; and the find
ing out of letters; with many other things, which appear to be within the time the scripture assigns for the creation: plainly shew it could not be earlier, since without these, men could not be long: nor does any genuine history give an account of any thing more early, nor so early as the scriptures do ; and therefore we may safely conclude, that the origin of the world as given by that, is true ; for if the world had been eternal, or of so early a date as some kingdoms pretend unto, something or other done in those ancient times, would have been, some way or other transmitted to posterity. The time and season of the year when the world was created, some think was the vernal equinox, or spring of the year, when plants and trees are blooming; and have observed, in favour of this notion, that the redemption of man was wrought out at this time of the year, which is a restoration of the world. Others think the world was created in the autumnal equinox, when the fruits of the earth are ripe, and in their full perfection ; which seems more probable : and certain it is, that some nations of old, as the Egyptians and others began their year at this time; as did the Israelites, before their coming out of Egypt; and it may be observed, that the feast of ingathering the fruits of the earth, is said to be in the end of the year; and when a new year begun; see Exod. xii. 2. and xxiii. 16. But this is a mat. terofno great moment.
IV. The author of creation is God, and he only, Iaai. xl. 28. and xliu 5. and xliv. 24. Jer. x. 11. and more divine persons than one were concerned in this work, for we read of ere. ators and makers in the plural number, Eccl. xii. 1. Jobxxxv. 10. Psal. cxlix. 2. Isai. liv. 5. and a plural word for God is made use of at the first mention of the creation, Gen. i. It And this work of creation was wrought by God without any other cause, principal or instrumental; not principal, for then that would be equal with God ; nor instrumental; since creation is a production of things out of nothing, there was nothing for an instrument to operate upon; and since it was an instantaneous action, done in a moment, there could be no
opportunity of using and employing one: besides, this inEtrument must be either God or a creature; not God, because it is supposed to be distinct from him, and to be made use of by him; and if a creature, it must be used in. the creation of itself, which is an absurdity; tor then it must be and not be at the same moment; nor could, nor can creative power be communicated to a creature; this would be to make finite infinite, and so another God, which cannot be ; this would be to make God to act contrary to his nature, to deny himself, which he cannot do ; and to destroy all distinction between the crea* ture and the creator, and to introduce and justify the idolatry of the heathens, who worshipped the creature besides the ere. ator.
V. The manner and order of the creation; it was done at once by the mighty power of God, by his all commanding will and word, Be spake and it was done, he commanded and it flood fust, Psal. xxxiii. 9. Though God took six days for the creation of the world, the work of every day, and every particular work in each day, were done in a moment: on the first day by the word of the Lord the heavens and the earth were at once made, and light was called into being. On the second day the firmament of heaven. On the fourth day he made the sun, moon and stars.. On the filth day, in one moment of it, he bid the waters bring forth fowls, and in another moment of it, created great whales, ano fishes; on the sixth day, in one moment of it, he ordered the earth to bring forth living creatures; and in another moment on the same day, he, created man after his image ; and in another moment on the same day, he created the woman out of the rib of man. Thus pod proceeded from things less perfect to those more perfect, and from inanimate creatures to animate ones, and from irrational creatures to rational ones : when he had finished his work,, he pronounced them all very good. There remains nothing more to be observed but,
VI. The end of the creation of all things; and 1. The ultimate end is the glory of God, Prov. xvi. 4. particularly his infinite and almighty power, Rom. i. 20. Jer. xxxii. 17. Men are call, ed upon by the Psalmist to give thanks to God because he is good ; and the principal things instanced in, are the works of creation ; see Psal. xxxiii. 5. and cxxxvi. 1, 4, &c. to aft which may be added, the rich display that is made of the wisdom of God, Prov. iii. 19, 20. 2. The subordinate end is the good of man, Isai. xlv. 12, 18, particularly the world and all things were made for th? sake of Go i's chosen people ; in which, as on a stage and theatre, the great work of their redemption and salvation was to be performid in the most pub. lie manner ; and they have the best title to the world, even the present world, Christ being theirs, 1 Cor. iii. 22. 23, Psal. xxiv. 1. as well as the new heavens and the new earth are for their sakes, 2 Pet. iii. 13. yea the angels of Heaven are created for their use and service ; they are all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them wh'j are heirs of salvation, Heb. i. 14. wherefore upon the whole it becomes us to glorify God our creator, and to put our trust in him.
OF THE CREATION OF ANGELS.
Though the creation of angels is not expressly mentioned in the account of the creation by M.ses, yet it is implied in it; for the heavens include all that are in them: Moses in closing the account of the creation, observes, Thus the b. avens and the eirth were finished, and all the host of them, Gen. ii. I, Now of the hosts of heaven, the angeis are the principal part, Dan. ix. 35. Luke. ii. 13. and therefore must have been created within the six days; on what particular day is not certain, whether on the first, second, third, or fourth; all have been pitched upon by one or another; most probably the first, on which day the heavens were created. Though angels have not bodies, and so are not in place circumscriptive^ : yet, as they are creatures, they must have an ubi, a somewhere in which they are definitively; so that they are here, and not; there, and much leas every where: it is most reasonable therefore to conclude, that God made the heavens first, and then the angels to dwell in them. The angelic spirits were made altogether; for all those morning-stars, the sons of God, were present, and shouted at the foundation of the earth ; and all the host of heaven were made by the breath of God, Job. xxxviii. 7. Psal. xxxiii. 6. their numbers are many ; a multitude, Luke ii. 13. twelve legions, Matt. xxvi. 53. in Dan. vii. 10. a thousand thousands ; which number is greatly exceeded in the vision John saw, Rev. v. 11. an innumerable company, Heb. xii. 22. Concerning these excellent creatures of God, the following things may be observed.
I. Their names :'as for proper names, though there are many of them in the Apocryphal, and Jewish writings, yet in the sacred scriptures but few, perhaps no more than one, and that is Gabriel, the name of an angel sent with dispatches to Daniel, Zacharias, and to the virgin Mary, Dan. viii. 16. and ix. 21. Luke i. 19. 26. for as for Michael, the Archangel, he seems to be no other than Christ. The names and epithets of angels, are chiefly taken from their nature, Elohim is their principal one, translated gods, Psal.xcvii. 7. Because sent with messages from God, and because God's vicegerents, for a like reason they have the names of thrones, dominions, principalities and powers, Col. i. 16. If the text in Job. xxxviii. 7. is to be understood of angels, it furnishes us with other names and titles of them; as morning stars, and sons of God. They some, times have the name of men given them ; because they have appeared in an human form; such were two of those who appeared like men to Abraham, and afterwards to Lot; and two others seen by the women at Christ's sepulchre, Gen. xviii.2. and xix. 1, 5, 8. Luke xxiv. 4. The more common name is that of angels, or Messengers.
II. The nature of angels, which is expressed by the word spirits; so good angels are called spirits, and ministering spi. rits, Heb. i. 7. 14. and evil angels, unclean spirits, Matt. x. 1. Luke x. 17, 20. It is difficult with us to form any idea of a spirit; we rather know what it is not, than what it is ; A spirit hath notfesh and bones, as ye see me have, says Christ, Luke xxiv. 39. was it corporeal, a legion of spirits could never have a place in one man ; nor penetrate and pass through bodies, through doors bdk.ed and barred, as these angelic beings have ; they are possessed b£ great agility, and with great swiftness and speed descend from heaven, on occasion ; as Gabriel did, who flew swiftly, as swift as light from the sun, or lightening from the heavens ; they are invisible, and among the invisible things created by the Son of God. Once more, being incor. poreal and immaterial, they are immortal; they do not consist of parts, of matter capable of being disunited or dissolved. God, who only has immortality originally and of himself, has conferred immortality on the angelic spirits; and though he can annihilate them, he will not.
III. The qualities and excellencies of angels may be next considered; and they are more especially three, holiness, wisdom or knowledge, and power.—1. Holiness; they are called holy angels, Mark viii. 38. They are subject to the same laws and rules of morality snd righteousness that men are ; for they do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word, Psal. ciii. 20.—2. Wisdom and knowledge; it is an high strain of compliment in the woman of Tekoah to David; My Lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God; to know all things that are in the earth, 2 Sam. xiv. 20. They know much of God, being always in his presence, and behold, ing his face; and much of men, of wicked men, on whom, by divine direction, they inflict the judgments of God; and of good men, the heirs of salvation, to whom they are sent, as ministering spirits : they know much of the mysteries of providence, and of the mysteries of divine grace, Matt. xxiv. 36. —3. Power is another excellency of the angels ; they are called mighty angels, and are said to excel in strength; 2 Thess. i. 7. Psal. ciii. 20. they are capable, indeed, under a divine influence, of holding the four winds of heaven ; and of restraining hurtful things ; they have power, when they have leave, or are ordered to smite the bodies of men with diseases; as the men of S).lom with blindness, yea, with death itself, as seventy thousand Israelites, on account of David's numbering the people ; and a hundred and forty-five thousand Assyrians in one n.ght, as they lay encamped against Jerusalem. Herod the king, being smitten by an angel, was eaten of worms, and .heJ.
IV. Their office and employment, i. With respect to God ; their work is to praise him, to celebrate the glory of his perfect tions ; Praise ye him, all his angels, Psal. cxlviii. 2. and their work also lies in keeping the commandments of God, and to do his will in heaven and in earth, Zech. vi. 4, 5. n. With respect to Christ, on whom they are said to ascend anU descend, as they did on Jacob's ladder, a type of him, Gem xxviii. 12. John i. 51. they attended at the incarnation; they had the care and charge of him in his state of humiliation ; when he had fasted forty days they came and ministered food unto him; Matt. iv. 11. and one of them attended him in his agony in the garden, Luke xxii. 43. they were present at his resurrection Matt, xxviii. 2. Luke xxiv. 4;6, 23. they accompanied him at his assension to heaven, Psal. lxviii. 17, 18. Acts i. 10,11. 1 Tim. Hi. 16. and by them he will be attended at his second coming, 2 Thess. i. 7. Luke ix. 26. in. With, respect to the saints, to whom they are sent as ministering spirits : instances of which are,;—1. Preserving them in their infant state, which is what the apostle means when he says, that God separated hint from his mother's womb. Gal. i. 15. which providence may be thought to be chiefly executed by the ministry of angels. Though it is not certain, yet some scriptures countenance, Matt, xviii. 10. Actxii. 15. that every one has hia guardian angel, since sometimes more angels are deputed to one, and sorrietimes but one to many ; yet doubtless sainta from their birth are under the care of angels.—2» Providing food for them when in want of it, as an angel dressed food for the prophet Elijah, and called upon him to arise and eat, Matt. iv. 11. Psal. lxxviii. 25. 1 Kings xix. 5—8.—3. Keeping off diseases from them* He shall deliver thee from the noitomc pestilence—neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling; for he .shall give his angels charge over thee, i$ct Psal. xci. .1, 7, 11.—+. Directing and protecting in jemrnies* Gen. xxiv. r, 2", 48. so Jacob as he Was travelling, was met by the angels of God, who divided themselves into two hosts for his guard.—5. Keeping from dangers* and helping out of them ; Lot and his family were in danger of being destroyed in Sodom, the angels laid hold on their hands, Gen. xix. 15— 17. the preservation of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abedntgo, in the furnace of fire, and of Daniel in ihe lions' den, is ascrib* ed to angels, Dan. iii. 28. and vi. 22. the opening of the doors of the prison where the apostles were, and setting thent free ; and the deliverance of Peter from prison, were done by angels, Acts v. 19, 20. and xii. ", 10. With respect to things spiritual—1. Angels have been employed in revealing the mind and will of God to men. They attended at mount Sinai* Deut. xxxii. 2. An angel published the gospel, Luke ii. 10. 11. An angel made known to Daniel the time of the Messiah's coming, Dan. viii. 16—19. And an angel was sent to signify to the apostle John, the things that should come to pass in his time, and in all ages to the end of the world. Rev. i. 1.—2. Though the work of conversion is the sole Work of God, yet as he makes use of instruments in it, as ministers of the word, why may he not be thought to make use of angels ? This is certain, they are acquainted with the conversions of sinners, Luke xv. 7, 10.—S. They are useful in comforting the saints when in distress ; as they strengthened and comfort' •d Christ in his human nature, when in an agony, so they comfort his members, as they did Daniel, when in great terror, and the apostle Paul, in a tempest, Dan. ix. 23. Acts xxvii. 23, 24. If evil angels are capable of suggesting terrible and uncomfortable things, good angels are surely capable of suggesting: comfortable things. For—4. They greatly assist in repelling the temptations of Satan; for if they oppose themselves to* and have conflicts with evil angels, with respect to things political and civil, the affairs of kingdoms and states, in which the; hiterost anil church «f Christ are concerned, see Van. tt ttf
20. Rev. xii. 7. they, no doubt, bestir themselves in opposition to evil spirits, when they tempt believers to sin, or to despair, Eph. vi. 12. Zech. iii. 1, 2, 4, 4.-5. They are exceeding useful to saints in their dying moments; they carried the soul of Lazarus into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. and thus Elijah was carried to heaven, soul and body, in a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which were no other than angels, 2 Kings ii. 11.—6. Angels, as they will attend Christ at. his second coming, so they will be made use of by him, to gather the risen saints from the four quarters of the world, Matt. xlii. 40, 41. and xxiv. 31. From the whole it appears, that ang Is are creatures, and so not to be worshipped, Col. ii. 18. the angels themselves refuse and forbid it, Rev. xix. 10. and xxii. 8, 9. yet, notwithstanding, they are to be loved, valued, and esteemed by the saints, see 1 Cor. xi. 10. it is no small part of their gospel-privileges, for which they should be thankful, thai they are come to an innumerable company of angels, Heb. L 14. and xii. 22.
OF THE CREATION OF MAN.
Man was made last of all the creatures, being the chief and master-piece of the whole creation on earth. He is a compendium of the creation, and therefore is sometimes called a mii crocosm, a little world, the world in miniature. Man was made on the sixth and last day of the creation, and not before; nor were there any of the same species made before Adam, who is therefore called the first man Adam. What puts this out of all question, with those that believe the divine revelation, is, that it is expressly said, that before Adam was formed, thtre xoas not a man to till the ground, Gen. ii. 5. Man was made after, and upon a consultation held concerning his creation ; Let ua make man, Gen. i. 26. which is an address, not to second causes, nor is it an address to angels; but the address was made by Jehovah the Father, and the consultation was held by him, with the other two divine Persons in the Deity, the Son and Spirit; a like phrase see in chap. iii. 22. and xi. 7. Isai. vi. 8. The following things may be observed,
I. The author of his creation, God ; So God created man, Gen. i. 27. for we are all his offspring, and therefore are exhorted to remember our Creator, Eccles. xii. 1. or Creators; even Father, Son, and Spirit; hence we read of God our Makers, in various passages of scripture, Job xxxv. 10. Psal. cxlix. 2. Isai. liv. 5. It is pretty remarkable chat the word created should be used three times in one verse, where the creation of man is only spoken of; as it should seem to point out the three divine persons concerned therein, Gen. i. 27.
II. The constituent and essential parts of man, created by God which are two, body and soul; these appear at his first formation ; the one was made out of the dust, the other was breathed into him; and so at his dissolution, the one returns to the dust from whence it was; and the other to God that gave it. 1. The body which is a most wonderful structure ; ever,. muscle, vein, and artery, yea, the least fibre is set in its pri Lr place, to answer its designed end ; and all in just symn.wtry and proportion : to enter into a detail of particulars, more properly belongs to anatomy ; that art is now brought to such a degree of perfection, that by it most amazing discoveries are made in the structure ofthe human body ; as the circalation of the blood,&c. so that if may well be said of out bodies, as David said of his, I am fearfully a id woiiderfilhi madey Psal. exxxix. 14. The erect posture of the body is not to be omitted, by which man is fitted and directed to look upward to the heavens, to contemplate the glory of God. In the Greek language man has his name, Anthropos, from turning and looking upwards. The body of man was originally made immortal; not that it was so of itself; but God, who only has immortality, conferred it on the body of man. It is most clear from the word of God, that death did not arise from a necessity of nature, but from sin; it is expressly said, the body is dead because of sin, Rom. v. 12, 15. n. The soul is the other part of man created by God ; it is an inhabitant of the body, dwells in it, as in a tabernacle, and exists in a separate state after it; all which shew it is a substance, or subsistence of itself. It is not a corporal but a spiritual substance; not« bod\ as Tertullian, and others have thought; but a spirit, at it is often called in scripture, Eccles. xii. 7. Matt. xxvi. 41. Acts vii. 59. The souls of men are called the spirits of aH &tsh, to distinguish ihem from angelic spirits, Numb. xvi. 22. The body may be killed b\ men, but not the soul. Some h lve been, and are of opinion that the souls of men are ex traduce, as Tertullian. But if souls are by natural generation from their immediate parents, they must be derived either front their bodies, or from their bodies and souls, or from their souls only ; not from their bodies, for then they would be corporeal, whereas they are not; not from both bodies and souls; for then they would be partly corporeal, and partly incorporeal, which they are not; not from their souls only, for as an angel is not generated by an angel, so not a soul by a soul. Besides, if the souls of men are derived from the souls of parents, it is either from a part of them, or from the whole; not from a part, lor then the soul would be pariable and divisible, as matter is, and so not immaterial; and as not a part, so neither caa their whole souls be thought to he communicated to them, for then they would have none, and perish ; to such absurdities is this notion reducible, Basides, what is immaterial, as the soul is, can never be educed out of matter ; if the soul is generated out of the matter of parents, then it is, and must be material ; and if material, then coruptible; and if corruptible, (hen mortal. But what puts this matter out of doubt is, the distinction the apostle makes between the fathers of our flesh, and the Father of Spirits Hib. xii. 9,
III, lhe difference of sex in which man was created, is jnale and female, Gen. i. %7. Adam was formed, then Eve, X Tim. ii. 13. Man is a social creature, and therefore <iod in his wisdom thought it not prober that he should be alone, but provided a help-mate for him, to be a partner and companion with him, in civil and religious life. There were but one tnale and one female, at first created, and which were joined ^etfier iq marriage by the Lord himself, to teach, that bat one man and one woman only are to be joined together at one time in lawful wedlock: these two, male and female, first ere. ated, were made after the same image ; for the word man, includes both man and woman ; and Adam was a name common to them both in their creation, and when said to be made after the image of G^d, Gen. i. 26, 27. and v. 1,2. which image, as will hereafter be seen, lies much in righteousness and holiness. But they, Adam and Eve, sought out many inventions, sinful ones, andbO lost their righteousness. Which leads on to consider,
IV. The image of God in which man was created ; Cod said. Lit us make man in our own 'mage, and after our likeness, so God created man in his own image, Gen. i. 26. 27. Whether image and likeness are to be distinguished, as the one respecting the substantial form of man, his soul; the other certain accidents and qualities belonging to him ; or whether they signify the same is not very material; the latter seems probable; since in Gen. i. 27. .where image is mentioned, likeness is omitted; and, on the contrary, in Gen. v. 1. the word likeness is used, and image omitted. He is not in suck sense the image of God, as Jesus Christ the son of God is who is the express image of his Father's Person. Though there was in him some likt uess and resemblance of some of the perfections of God; which are called his im'uable ones, and by some communicable ; as holiness, righteousness, wisdom, &c. yet these perfections are not really in him, only some faint shadows of them ; the renewed and spiritual image of Ciod, in regenerate persons, is called a partaking of the divine nature, 2 Pety. i. 4. that is wrought in them, and impressed on them, which bears some resemblance to the divine nature. The seat of the image of God in man, is the whole man, both body and aoul; wherefore God is said to create man in his image ; not the soul only, nor the body only; but the whole man, Gen. i. 27. and v. 1. at the resurrection of the dead, the saints will most fully appear to bear the image of the heavenly One, 1 Thes. v. 23. i. The first man was made in the image of God in bio body in some respect; hence this is given as a reason why the blood of a man's body is not to be shed, because, In the image of God made he man, Gen. ix. 6. There is something divine and majestic in the countenance of man, in comparison of brute creatures. And it may be observed, that the perfections of God, many of them, are represented by the members of the human body ; as his all-seeing providence by eyes ; his attention to the petitions of his people, by ears, open to their cries ; and his power to deliver, by an arm and hand ; and his pleasure and displeasure, by his face being towards good men, and against bad men. I see no difficulty in admitting that the body of Adam was formed according to the idea of the body of Christ in the divine mind, and which may be the reason, at least in part, of that expression : Behold, the man is, or rather was as one of us. n. The principal seat of the image of God in man, is the soul. And this appears,—1. In the nature of the soul, which is spiritual, immaterial, immortal, and invisible, as God is. Moreover, the soul carries some shadow of likeness to God in its powers and faculties. 2. The image of God in the soul of man, of the first man particularly, appeared in the qualities of it; especially in its wisdom, and understanding, and in its righteousness and holiness, Eccles. vii.29. 3. The image of God in the whole man, soul and body, or in his person, lay in his immortality, natural to his soul, and conferred on his body ; and also in his dominion over the creatures. 4. This image lay too intthe blessedness of man, in his original state; for as God is God over all and blessed, and is the blessed and only Potentate ; so man, in a lower sense, was blessed above all the creatures. Adam's knowledge was natural knowledge; his holiness and righteousness, natural holiness and righteousness; the covenant made with him, a natural covenant; the communion he had with God, was in a natural way ; and all his benefits and blessings natural ones ; but believers in Christ are blessed with all spiritual blessings in him, and have a spiritual image enstamped upon them, which can never be lost; and into which they are changed from glory to glory, till it becomes perfect.
OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD.
Providence, of which we are now about to treat, must be considered as distinct from foresight, foreknowledge, and pre* destination; which all respect some act in the divine mind m eternity; this may be called eternal providence; but providence in time, which is what is now under consideration, and may be called actual providence, is the execution of whatsoever God has foreknown and determined; Who worked) all things after the counsel of his will, Eph. i. 11. The wise man says, There is a time to every purpose under the heaven; whatever is done under the heavens in time, there was a purpose for it ia eternity, Eccles. iii. 1—11. Purpose and providence, exactly tally and answer to each other; the one is the fulfilment of the other; Surely, as I have thought, saith the Lord, so shall it come to pass ,' and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, Lsai. xvi. 24.
The providence of God is not only expressed in scripture, by his sustaining, upholding, and preserving all things; but by his looking down upon the earth, and the inhabitants of it, Psal. xiv. 2. It may be argued from the senses which he imparts to men. He has placed the eyes and the ears in the head of the human body, to look out after and listen to what may turn to the advantage or disadvantage of the members of the body; hence the Psalmist reasons, He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? he that formed the eye, shall he not see ?
The words provide and providing, are sometimes used of men in general, and of masters of families in particular, who are to provide things honest in the sight of all men, both for themselves, and for all under their care; and, If any provide not for his own, he is worse than an infidel, Rom. xii. 17. 1 Tim. v. 8. which provision may give us an idea of the providence of God ; in that branch of it particularly, which concerns the provision which he, as the great master of his family, makes for it; The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season, fc?c. Psal. cxlv. 15, 16. even the
r, very ravens and their young, such mean and worthless crea> tures, are provided for by him ; Who provideth for the raven his food, when his young ones cry unto God? Job xxxviii. 41. Providence, with the heathens was reckoned as a deity, is represented like a good housewife, or mistress of a family, administering to the whole universe, and was pictured like a grave elderly matron ; this is one of the tides of the goddess Minerva
The providence of God is expressed by his care of his creatures ; Doth God take care of oxen 11 Cor. Ix. 9. It is particularly said of the land of Canaan, that it was a land which the Lordcareth for ; from one end of the year to the other, Ueut. xi. 12. God's sustentation of the world, his government of it, the view and notice he takes of it, the provision he makes for all creatures in it, and his care of, and concern for them; this is providence. I shall proceed,
I. To prove a divine providence, by which all things arc upheld, governed, guided, and directed. I. This appears from the light of nature. Hence the heathens held a providence ; all nations, even the most barbarous ; all the sects of the philosophers owned it, but one, the Epicureans, and that from a foolish notion that it was unworthy of God, and affected his happiness. Pythagoras, Plato, the Stoics, Seneca, Menedemus, the philosopher, all were advocates for the doctrine of providence. Chrysippus and Cicero wrote on the same subject also. Paul, in a discourse of his before the philosophers at Athens, concerning God and his providence, produces a passage from Aratus, one of their own poets, in proof of the same ; We are also his offspring, Acts xvii. 28. \\. Divine providence may be concluded from the Being of God ; the same arguments that prove the one, prove the other; if there is a God, there is a providence ; and if there is a providence, there is a God ; these mutually prove each other ; wherefore, when the Psalmist had observed, that ^;jhe fool said in hjs heart, there is no God, he imm. rliaielv ob^"•▼es the providence of God; The Lord looked down from the heaven upon the children of men, Psal. xiv. 1, 2. Those who allow there is a God, must confess that he does some, thing, and something famous and excellent; and nothing is more excellent than the administration of the world. To me, says Lucilius, he that does nothingi seems entirely not to be, to have no being. The oracle of Apollo, at Miletus, calls providence the first-born of God : and it is easy to observe* that the Lord puts the idolatrous heathens upon proving the truth of the deities they worshipped, by acts of providence, see Isai. xli. 22, 23. ni. The providence of God may be argued from the creation of the world; as the Being of God may be proved from thence, so the providence of God. God, the great builder of all things, does not act by them as an architect, that builds an house and has no farther concern with it, but leaves it to stand or fall of itself; or that builds a ship, and has nothing more to do with it; he takes the government of it, and steers and directs it; without his support and government of it, it could not long subsist: besides, there must be some ends for which it is created ; which ends it cannot attain and answer of itself; but must be directed and influenced by the Creator of it. iv. The perfections of God, and the display of them, make a providence necessary, particularly his power, wisdom, and goodness : since God has created the world, had he not supported.it, but left it to chance and fortune, it would have seemed as if he could not have supported it; since he made it with some views, and to answer some ends, had it not been guided by him, to answer these ends where had been his wisdom ; and to make a world of creatures, and then neglect them, and take no care of them, where would have been his goodness? v. It may be concluded from the worship of God ; which this is a powerful inducement to, and the ground of. Hence Cicere could say, " There are some philosophers* (meaning the Epicureans) who suppose that God takes no care of human affairs; but, says he, if this is true, what piety can there be ? what sanctity ? what religion ?" They are the ijberypes of the age, who in any period deny the providence
of God; such were those of that cast among the Jews, who said, The Lord hath forsaken the earth; and the Lord seeth noty Ezek. ix. 9. Zeph. i. 12. vi.' The settled and constant order of things, from the beginning of the world to this time, clearly evince a divine Providence ; the ordinances of the heavens, of the sun, moon, and stars, have never departed from their stated and fixed order and appointment; nor the covenant of the day and of the night ever been broken, Jer. xxxi. 35. Every year, in the winter-season, grass, herbs, and plants, wither and seem to die ; when, in the returning spring, which never fails to come, there is a reproduction of all these, a sort of a new creation of them ; Thou sendest forth thy Spirit; and they are created, and thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. civ. 30. I'o all which maybe added, the constant succession of men in all ages ; One generation passeth away and another generation cometh. All which can never be without an all-wise disposing Providence, vn. Were there not a supporting and superintending providence concerned in the world, and the things of it, all would soon fall into confusion and destruction. If God, that, has hung the earth upon nothing, let go his hold, it would drop into its original chaos, it would soon and easily be dissolved, did not the Lord bear up the pillars of it. vin. The many blessings of goodness, the daily benefits and favours, which are continually bestowed by God on his creatures, manifestly declare his providence : he has not left himself without this witness of it his provdential goodness in any age to any people, ix. The judgments of God in the earth, at different periods of time, are a demonstration of the providence of God. Who can believe that the universal deluge, and saving eight persons only in an ark, were the effects of chance, and that the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, was by accident, as a common fire is sometimes said to be ? The same may be observed of the captivities of the Israelites, the destruction of their neighbours, the Moabites, Edomites, &c. so that the name of one of them is not to be found in the world, as was foretold ; when they, though scattered up and down in it, are yet preserved. God is known by the judgments which be executeth, Psal. ix, 16. x. The fears of punishment and hopes of reward in men, shew the consci. ousness they have of the notice God takes of them and their actions, which is one branch of providence. Their fears declare their sense of a divine Being, why else were some of the Roman Csesars, as Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, so ter. ribly frighted at thunder and lightening? Verily he is a God thatjudgeth in the earth, Psal. lviii. 11.
II. I proceed to observe some distinctions which have been used by some, and may be useful to explain and confirm the doctrine of providence. 1. Providence may be considered as immediate and mediate, Immediate providence, is what is exercised by God, without the use of any mean, over and above means, and what means cannot reach unto. Yea, God's works are sometimes contrary to the nature of things, of means, and second causes ; as when he caused waters which naturally flow, to rise up and become heaps ; and the Sun, which naturally goes forth and forward as a giant to run his race, to stand still, as in the days of Joshua; and to go back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz, in the times of Hezekiah. He suffered not fire to singe the garments of Daniel's three companions, when, cast into a furnace of fire ; and caused lions, naturally voracious, to shut their mouths, and not touch Daniel, when cast into their den. Mediate providence is what is exercised in the use of means, or by them ; he sometimes makes use of means to produce great and noble effects, which are unlikely ; as when with a small army, he gives victory over a large one. Semetimes he makes proper means ineffectual to answer the end of them; what seems more for the safety of a country than a well mounted cavalry, and a well disciplined and numerous army ? and yet these are vain things for safety. Ordinarily, God works by means. There is a chain of second cause than depend upon the first; the Lord hears the heavens, and the hea» venshear the earth, and the earth hears the corn, and the wine, aid the oil, and they hear Jezreel. Hos, ii. 21t 22. He exercises his providence commonly by the use of means, to shew men that they are to make use of means, and not slight them ; no, sot even when events are certain to them ; as the cases of Hi zekiah, and Paul's mariners shew, Isai. xxxviii. 21. Acts xxvii. 31. Ii. Providence may be considered both as ordinary and extraordinary—C rdinary providence, is what is exercised in the common course of means, and by the chain of second cau es. From this law, fire burns, and sparks fly upward^ heavy bodies descend, and light ones ascend. Extraordinary providence, is that in which God goes out of his common way, and which consists of miraculous operations; as when he ordered rocks to be smitten, and waters gushed out; and rained manna near forty years in a wilderness. nt. Providence mav be considered as universal and singular; or, as gtneraland particular. Universal or general providence, is what is concerned with the whole world, and all things in it. A singular or particular providence, is concerned with every individual, and especially with rational creatures and their actions. Most certair. it is, that God, not only in his providence is concerned for the world in general, but for all individuals in it ; every star, Isai xl. 26. the cattle on a thousand hills, and even a sparrow, Matt. x. 29. iv. Providence may be considered as both common and special. Common providence is that which be'ongs to the whole world ; God is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, Psal. cxlv. 9. Special providence is what concerns the church of God in all ages. The Jewish Church, under the former dispensation; and the christian church under the gospel. God, as the God of providence, is the Saviour and Preserver of all men ; but especially of them that believe, 1 Tim. iv. 10. v. Providence may be considered as real and moral: real, is what concerns things, and the essence of them, by which they are sustained and preserved. Moral providence, or what is commonly called God's moral government of the world, respects rational creatures, angels and men ; a reasonable service is required of reasonable creates. I shall next observe,
III. The author of providence, the efficient Cause of it, and the instruments made use of by him in the administration of it. Elihu puts such a question as this, Who hath disposed the whole world? Job xxxiv. 13. the answer to it must be, All things are of him, in creation ; and all things are through him in providence ; and all things are to him directed and ordered to his glory, Rom. xi. 36. My father worketh hitherto, not in creation ; for the works of creation were finished: but in pro. vidence. Our Lord addresses his Father as the Lord of heaven and earth ; and adds, All things are delivered unto me of my Father, to subserve the ends of his mediatorial kingdom in a providential way, Matt. xi. 25. Christ, the Son of God, is equally concerned with his divine Father in the work of providence ; for whatsoever things he (the Father) doth, those al. so doth the Son likewise, John v. 17, 19. Nor is the holy Spi. rit to be excluded from the work of providence ; the renovation and reproduction of things, every returning spring are ascribed to him ; Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, and they are created; thou renewest the face of the earth, Psal. civ. 30. the government of the world, and the ordering and disposing of all things in it, are attributed to him, without the counsel and direction of others ; Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, &fc, or, being his counseller, hath taught him? &?c. Isai. xl, 13,14. The instruments God makes use of in the administration of providence are many.
I. Angels, good and bad. Good angels are the ministers, of God ; These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth, they are ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them who are heirs of salvation, see Psal. ciii, 19, 20. Zech. vi. 5. Heb. i. 14.— Evil angels are also sometimes employed; they were made use of in the plagues of Egypt; for the Psalmist says, God cast upon the Egyptians the fierceness of his anger, wrath and indignation, by sending evil angels among them, Psal. lxxviii. 49. An evil spirit offered himself to be a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahafi prophets, which he had leave to be, 1 Kings xxii. 21—34. Satan obtained leave from the Lord to destroy the substance, family, and health of Job ; and put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray his Lord.
II. Kings, princes, and civil magistrates, good and bad, have been, and are, instruments in the hands of God, Rom. xiii. 1, 4.
III. Ministers of the word, and masters of families, are, in their respective stations, instruments in the execution of the affairs of providence.
IV. Even irrational creatures are employed in providence to execute some parts of it; the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, being at the back and command of the great creator of them. The noisome beast is one of God's judgments; not only creatures of such bulk and strength have been made use of in providence, but even the meanest and most minute; as flies, frogs, and locusts, the latter is called the Lord's army, and his great camp, which sometimes have a commission to destroy a whole country, Joel ii. 11.
V. Inanimate creatures, the several meteors in the air, are under the direction of providence, and subservient to it. God has his treasures of snow and hail, which he sometimes plays upon the inhabitants of the earth ; every meteor in the heavens does his will; Fire and hail, snow and vapour, stormy wind fulfilling his word, Psal. cxlviii, 8. Whatever good or evil come to the children of men, by any and all of these instruments, are not to be attributed to them, but to the God of providence, Riches and honour come of tbee, says David, 1 Chron. xxix 12. in like manner Job through the providence of God, became the greatest man in the East for worldly substance, as well as other things; by the same providence he lost all; and though the Sabeans and Chaldeans were the instruments of it; he does not impute it to them, nor to Satan, who instigated them to it; but to the Lord, Job. i. 21.
VI. The several parts and branches, or acts of providence, of which it consists, are next to be considered ; and they are chiefly these two, conservation, or preservation of all things created, and the government of them; or the wise and orderly disposal of them, to answer the ends for which they are made and preserved. Conservation of creatures, and the sustentation of them in their being ; which is expressed by, Thou preservtst them all, Nehim. ix. 6.—Upholding all things by the word of his power, Heb. i. 2, 3.—By him all things consist, Col. i. 16, 17. 1. that the sustentation and preservation of the creatures in their being, is of God, and must be so, may be proved. 1. From the nature and perfections of God, particularly his independence, Rom. xi. 36. If creatures could or do support and preserve themselves in their being, they would be independent and then there would be more independents than one. 2. From the nature of creatures, which is to be dependent on the Creator; he that gives them life and breath, gives them all things for the support and preservation thereof, he holdeth our soul in life, Acts xvii, 25, 28. Job x. 12. Psal. lxvi. 9. 3. From the weakness of creatures to support and preserve themselves. There is no man that hath power over the Spirit, to r elain the Spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death, to keep it off from him; there is no discharge in that war, Eccles, viii. 8. Men cannot preserve their cattle, in which the chief substance of some men lies; could they, these would always be in good plight and case, and stand, and never fail; their sheep would continue to bring forth thousands, and their oxen would be always strong to labour, Psal. xlix. 7, 9. and cxliv. 13, 14. 4. The same power that was put forth in creation, is required and is necessary for the preservation of the creatures made, Rom. i. 20. Heb. i. 3. 5. Were God to withdraw his supporting hand and preserving power and influence, creatures would soon come to destruction and perish ; the whole fabric of the world would at once fall to pieces ; The earth, and all the inhabitants of it, are dissolved, that is, they would be, were it not for what follows, / bear up the pillars of it, Psal. lxxv. 3. Job was sensible of this, that he was held in life by the hand of God ; he therefore desires he would let loose his hand, and then he knew he should drop and die, for which he was solicitous, Job vi. 9. 6. The whole world is a building, and God is the architect of it; Be that built all things is God; but this building differs from any building of man. A man may erect an edifice, and when he has done, leave it to itself, to stand or fall; and it does stand without him, and oftentimes subsists many years after the architect is dead. But God, the great architect, has not only put together the world, but has made the very matter of which it consists, and for the support of that his almighty power that created it, is requisite and necessary. 7. Every creature is made for some end. The Lord hath made all things for himself, for his own glory, Prov. xvi. 4. wherefore it may be strongly concluded, that he will, as it is necessary he should, preserve them, that such an end may be answered, as it is, in fact; All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord! Psal. cxlv. 10.
II. To what and to whom this preservation extends and reaches. It includes all the creatures God has made ; O Lord, thou prcscrvest man and beast, Psal. xxxvi. 6. yea, every other creature. 1. Some of the individuals of the creation are sustained and preserved, as they were from the beginning; the prima materia, the first matter, of which all things were made, still continues; for matter is never annihilated, though it passcs into different forms and figures. A new star, so called, because not seen before, sometimes appears, but no one is lost. The heavens God has established by his understanding and power, so that they remain as they were ; and though it is said they shall perish wax old as a garment, and as a vesture be changed and folded, Prov. iii. 19. Psal. cii. 25, 2C. Heb. t. 11, 12. yet as a garment folded up siill remains, though in a different form; so the heavens will not perish, as to matter and sub. stance. Angels and the souls of men, are preserved in being, as they were first created; angels die not, nor do the souls of men, when their bodies do, but survive them, and live in a separate state till the resurrection.
2. some of the individuals of creatures, whiih are subject to corruption and death, are yet preservtd, as long as it is the pleasure of God ; as the beast of the field and the bodies of men ; for he pnserveth man and teast, Psal. xxxvi. 6. One generation pazseth away, and another generation comecb, but the earth akideth forever, and is full of inhabitants, fccclea. i. 4, The other branch of providence is government; if a man comes into a house, or a school, or a court of judicature, and taken notice of the order, manner, and discipline of things observed therein, he must conclude within himself, there is some one who presides there, and who is obeyed ; and much more in such motions, in which there is never any failure.
I. Inanimate creatures are governed, and guided, and di. rected by the providence of God, to do those things for which they were created, and so answer the ends ef their creation.
Ii. Animate creatures, but irrational, are governed, guided, and directed in providencce, by an instinct of nature, placed in them by their Creator, to such actions as are agreeable to their nature, and from which they scarce ever swerve ; thus With what art and skill do birds build their nests ? that little creature the ant provides its meat in the summer ; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet are so wise as to make their houses in the rocks. Birds of passage, as the stork, the turtle, the crane, and the swallow, know the appointed times of their going and coming and exactly observe them, Jer; viii. 7: Multitudes of instances of this kind might be given, nt. Rational creatures, as angels and men, are governed in a moral way, by a law, which for substance is the same to both, according to their different nature and circumstances. I proceed to consider,
V. The object of providence; which is the whole universe, all the creatures of it, and whatever is done in it. I. The whole inanimate creation. 1. The luminaries of the heavens. The sun daily sheds its benign influences on the earth to make it fruitful ; hence we read of precious fruits brought f..rth by the tun, Deut. xxxiii. 14. He commandeth the sun, and it rit
eth not, or is not seen for days together ; he causes it to gt down at noon, as it seems to do in an eclipse, and darkens the earth in a clear day. Job i\.7.The stars in their courses fought against Sisera, Judg. v. 20. they are of use, in providence, to mariners on the mighty waters. 2. The meteors in the heavens are under the direction of providence ; He o ndeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them, Job xxvi. 8. amazing it is, that such a body of water should be wrapped up in so thin a garment as a cloud ; E'ihu asks Job, Can any understand the spreading of the clouds ? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wonderous work of him which is perfect in knowledge ? Job xxxvii. 16. how such vast bodies move on evenly from place to place, and fall on those parts where in providence they are directed. 3. The winds are also at the disposal of providence ; he commands and raises the stormy wind, and causes it to subside, Psal. exxxv. 7. a clear proof of the Deity of our Lord ; who rebuked the winds and sea, and there was a calm. Rain is a wonderful blessing of providence, and falls by divine direction, sometimes on one part of the earth, and sometimes on another, as God pleases to dispose of it, Amos iv. 7, 8. Thunder and lightening are of God; Canst thou thunder with a voice like him ? Job xl. 9. 4. The providence of God is not only concerned with things inanimate in the heavens, but also in the earth, the several metals and minerals there ; such as gold, silver, brass, iron, &c. There is a vein for silver, and a place
for gold.- iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is ntolien
out of the stones, Job. xxviii. 1, 2. he gives them to whom he pleases, and as much of them as seems meet to him ; and directs men how to employ them, and improve them in trade and commerce, and in arts and manufactories. 5. The sea, as well as all that are therein, is at his command ; this unruly and unwieldy creature is managed by him, at his pleasure, as easily as an infant by its nurse. n. Animate creatures, or creatures with life ; though they have only either a vegetative life, or a sensitive, animal life, arc under the care of divine pro.idence. As every spire of grass proclaims a God so it also declares a providence, Consider the lilies of the field, how then grow, they toil not, neither do they spin, Matt. vi. 28—30. Other creatures that live a sensitive, animal life, are cared for in providence ; He giveth to the heast his food, and to the young ravens that cry, Psal. cxlvii. 9. Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your eavenly Father feedeth them. Matt. vii. 26. The Stoics, said, Dii magna curant, parva negligunt; the gods take care of great things, but neglect small ones : but if they are not unworthy of his creation, they cannot be unworthy of his providence, in. Rational creatures, angels and men, are more especially the objects of Divine providence, Good angels are directed by his providence, Dan. iv. 35. Evil angels are under restraints, Job i. 11,12. Men have their life and breath, and all things, from God ; the providence of God is concerned, 1. In the production of them into being. With respect to the time when, place where, and persons of whom he is born, Ecdes. iii. 1, 2. Acts xvii. 26. How wonderful does the providence of God appear in the case of a new.born infant, that when it cannot help itself, nor tell its wants, care is taken that such things should be done for it in that instant which are necessary, Ezek. xvi. 4. and that as it has been marvelously fed and nourished, in the dark cell of nature, as soon as it is brought to the light, the mother's breasts are filled with milk, to which it has a natural desirse ; and her heart is filled with tenderness for it, to do all that is in her power for it, and rather suffer herself, than that should want; this is all owing to divine providence. 2. The providence of God attends men in every stage of life into which they come. Some take to agriculture, or husbandry, in one branch of it or another; some to mechanic ' trades, and manufactories of different sorts ; in all which the providence of God greatly appears ; for as it is in the natural body, -f the whole lody were an eye, where were the hearing? if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling ? So it is in the body politic. The marriage-state of life, into which mos
men enter, is too important an affair to escape the providence of God; there is more truth in that'common saying, than many are aware of, that marriages are made in heaven, Gen. xxiv. 14—27. Ruth iv. 13, 14. When persons are setup in business their success depends on providence, Psal. exxvii. 2. Prov. x. 4, 22. it is an observation worth) of the wisest of men; the Lird muketh poor and maketh rich. All afflictions of whatever sort, are under the direction of providence, be they personal or family, or crosses, losses, and disappointments in trade and business, they are all sent, and set, and bounded by the providence of God, Job. v. 6. and xxiii. 14. he carries from the womb, even to old age and hoary hairs, Psal. lxxi.
9, 18. The term of life, as it is fixtd by God, it is finished by providence ; some die a violent, and others, for the most part a natural death; some in the prime of life, others in old age ; some suddenly, and in their full strength, whilst others drag on a tedious life, and consume and pine away gradually. Nor can the term of life be protracted be\ ond the bounds of days, months, and years, which God has fixed, nor be shortened, as not to be reached unto, Job. xiv. 5. When some are said not to live out half their days,; these live out all the days they are designed in providence to live; and yet live buthali those which, according to their own, and the expectations of their friends, and according to the common term of life ; threescore years and ten, it might be supposed they would have lived; so that if a person dies under five and thirty years of age, he may be said to live not half the days of man, though he has lived all the days that were allotted to him in providence.
There is a special providence, which is concerned with the people of God in particular; God is the Saviour of all men, in a providential way, but especially those of that believe, 1 Tim. iv.
10. Psal. xxxiii. 18. Many are the instances on divine record, of the special providence of God respecting the saints ; as Abraham and Sarah, Gen. xxii. Jacob, Joseph, and David. But besides those instances, and many others, there is a special providence that attends all the people of God. 1. Before conversion, even as soon as they are born; this is what the apostle seems to mean in Gal. i. 15. '1 hough it is not the only nor the principal thing, that may be intended in 2 Tim. i. 9. yet it seems to be part of the sense of ii, and not to be excluded from it; Who hath saved us, and called us; since the people of God are often saved from many imminent dangers, to which their lives are exposed before conversion; and so are saved before called, and saved to be called. 2. At conversion; as effectual calling itself is according to the purpose of God, as to time, place, and means ; so the providence of God is concerned in the bringing of it about agreeable thereunto ; there is a time fixed for it, called the time of life, and the time of love ; the time being come for the conversion of the woman of Samaria, and for the call of Zaccheus, Christ must needs go through Samaria and Jericho, when it does not appear that he had any reason to go through either, but on those accounts. The place where conversion shall be made is also fixed, Acts xviii. 10. wherefore the providence of God is often remarkably concerned either in bringing the gospel to such places, as it was brought to Philippi, for the sake of the conversion of Lydia and her houshold, and of the jailor and his, Acts xvi. 6, 8cc. or in bringing persons to the places where the gospel is, and casting them under the sound of it. Onesimus ran away from his master, was tiken up and cast into the same prison where the apostle Paul was, and by him was begotten in his bonds, Philem. 10. And as the gospel is the ordinary means of conversion, how providentially are some persons brought under it, and converted by it, led by curiosity to hear it, or with a malignant spirit to scoff at it, oppose and persecute it; and ministers, how providentially are they directed to insist on such a subject, to say such things, and drop such expressions, and which, perhaps they thought not of before, which, accompanied with a divine power, issue in conversion. Thus Austin, losing his subject, and digressing from it, fell upon the error of the Manichees, which proved the conversion of a great man of that heresy. 3. After conversion the providence of God appears, as well as before, in preserving his people
from many evils and dangers; angels are ministering spirits to them, have the charge of them, encompass about them, and protect them, Psal. xci. 11. in providing for their temporal good ; in directing them in all their ways ; in delivering them out of their afflictions ; and in being their God and guideeven unto death, Hom. viii. 28. iV. The providence of God is concerned in all actions ; in every thing that is done in the world, from the beginning to the end of it. God is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed, 1 Sam. ii. 3. 1. All natural actions, which are common or peculiar to every creature, as flying to the fowls, swimming to fishes, walk* ing to men and beasts ; all muscular motion is of God. 2. All nect.ssary actions ; such as either arise from the necessity of nature, or are so by the ordmation and appointment of God. Some are so by the necessity of nature ; as waters naturally and necessarily descend and flow ; and fire naturally and necessarily burns what is combustible, when put to it; and heavy things descend, and light things ascend ; that they are under the direction of providence, is clear, because they are sometimes controuled by it ; so the waters rose up and stood on an heap in the Red sea, and the river of Jordan, and made dry land for the Israelites to pass through. The nature of fire was so restrained in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, that it did not so much as singe or scent the clothes of the three companions of Daniel, cast into it. Other things are necessary by the appointment of God; so for instance, the sufferings of Christ being by the determinate council of God, were necessary ; so likewise offences must come. 3. All free and voluntary actions, which depend upon the free will of man are under the direction of the providence of God. The thoughts, purposes, schemes and determinations of the will of men, than which nothing is more free ; yet these are under the influence of divine providence. What more free and arbitrary than the heart, mind and will, of a sovereign despotic prince; yet the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water, he turneth it whithersoever he will; as resolute and, determined as it may be, it is in the hand of God; and it is
in his power to turn it as easily as canals of water may be cut by a gardner to water his garden ; or as the river Euphrates was cut by Cyrus, and its course diverted, and its waters drained, so that he could march his army into the midst of Babylon, through which it ran. 4. AH contingent actions, or such as are called chance matters, these fall under the divine providence. What may seem more a contingency, or matter of chance, than shooting of a bird flying, and fetching it to the ground ? when a bow is drawn, or a piece presented and levelled, how uncertain is it, whether it hits the bird or no; and yet 0ne sparrow shall not fall on the ground, that is, be shot, and drop on the ground, without your Father; without his knowledge, will, and providence, Matt. x. 29. and what is more contingent than the killing of a man, unawares, as it is described, Deut. xix. 4, 5. and yet the providence of God is so far concerned, in such an affair, that God is said to deliver such a man into the hand of his neighbour, Exod. xxi. 13. What we call accidental death, is providential: what can be thought more a chance-matter, than the casting of a lot, how it will issue ; and yet the issue, which is of God, is certain: The lot is cast into the lap. hut the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord, Prov. xvi. 33. The fist lot mentioned in scripture is that which was cast on the account of Achan, who had stolen a Babylonish garment, and a wedge of Gold, to find out which, Joshua had recourse to a lot; and in the whole process, how remarkable is the providedce of God, which directed to the tribe, to the family, to the household, and to the guilty person, Josh. vii. 16—20. The next lot, was that which was cast for the division of the land of Canaan, to the tribes of Israel, and which fell exactly agreeable to the prophecies of Jacob and Moses: thus, foT instance, it is suggested in both of them, that the tribe of Zebulon should have its situation by the sea, Gen. xlix. 13. The third lot we read of was that cast by Saul, to find out the person that had sinned, on whose account no answer was returned by the Lord, to an enquiry made, and Saul desired a perfect lot might be given between the people, . and him and Jonathan ; it was cast and the people escaped; it was cast again, and it fell on Jonathan, who had tasted honey that day, contrary to the charge and oath of Saul, xiv, 70—43. Once more, Jonah fleeing from the presence of the Lord, took shipping at Joppa, for Tarshish, when a tempest arose and endangered the ship, and frighted the mariners, who supposed it was for some evil done by some among them, and therefore cast lots to find out the person, and the lot fell on Jonah, whom God in his providence had provided a fish to swallow, when cast into the sea, Jonah i. 7'—17- v. All actions and things done in the world and among men, whether good or evil, are under the direction of providence; or that is some way or other concerned in them. Good actions. Those are of God, the fountain of all goodness; there is no good thing in fallen man naturally, and therefore no good thing comes out of him, nor is any good thing done by him. But of this more, when we come .to treat of the doctrine of effi* cacious Grace. There are many evil things done in the world, in which the providence of God is concerned ; and these are of two sorts, the evil of calamities, and the evil of sin.
1. The evils of calamities, &c. and these are either more public or more private. More public; such are the calamities and distresses on nations and kmgdoms, and bodies of men, and which are never without the providence of God; I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things, Isai. xlv. 7- In this sense arc we to understand the prophets when he says, Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it ? Amos iii. 6. he means any public calamity, affliction and distress. Where is now Thebes with its hundred gates, and Babylon with its broad walls, and the famous Persepolis, and Jerusalem the joy of the whole earth ? it cannot be thought that these cities came to destruction without the concern of providence : where are the famous monarchies which made such a figure in the world, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian and Roman, of which the latter only has a name, and that is all ? the fall of these, according to divine prediction, has been accomplished by divine providence, famine is one of God's arrows shot out of the bow of providence, Amos iv. 6. Hag. i. 11. and pestilence is another concerning which he says, J will send ox I have sent (he pestilence among them, Jer.xxix. 17. Amos iv. 10. Other calamities are of a more private nature and are either inflicted on wicked men by way of punishment for sin ; wherefore should a living man complain, a man fdt the punishment of his sins ? Lam. iii. 39. or they are inflicted on good men in love, and as fatherly corrections and chastisements ; for whom the Lord loveth, he chasten eth, and scourgeth every son that he rectiveth, Heb. xii. 6. wicked men, though they prosper are not so happy as they may be thought to be; for as our Lord says, A man's life, that is the happiness of it, ttnsisieth not in the abundance of the things which hepsssesstth, Luke xii. 15. Some have much, and have not a power to make use of it, either for their own comfort or the good of others j and where is the difference, between having and not having it ? others on the contrary are profuse and extravagant, and live very luxurious and debauched lives, and bring upon themselves painful or nauseous diseases, and distress of mind: so that they have neither ease of body nor peace of conscience, but racking pain and dreadful remorses; some, their .abundance will not suffer them to sleep, either through fear of losing what they have by thieves, &c. or through care, contriving schemes to encrease it; and some, envy seizes them and gnaws upon them, and they cannot enjoy themselves because a neighbour exceeds them in grandeur and wealth. A good man, though afflicted, is not so unhappy as is imagined ; he has more peace, than the wicked rich man in all his abunr dace; see Psal. xxxvii. 16. Prov.xv. 16* 17. besides,the good man, though poor in one sense, is rich in a better ; he is possessed of the riches of grace, and is entitled to the riches of glory. Hereafter the wicked rich man, will have his evil things; and Lazarus, the afflicted man will have his good things ; the one will be tormented, and the other comforted j and then justice will shine in its true lustre and glory.
3. There are the evils of fault, or sinful actions, from which the ., providence of God is not to be excluded. This is the greatest difficulty to be met with in the article of providence. There are two things to be set down for certain and eternal truths whether we are capable of reconciling them to our own satisfaction and that of othersi or not; the one is, that God is not and cannot be the author of sin ; the other is, that the providence of God has a concern with and in all sinful actions in some .sense or another. That God is not the author of sin is most certain, there is nothing siuful in his nature ; wherefore let no man say, ,when he is tempted, Jam tempted of God, James i. 13. and on the other hand, to exclude the providence of God from all concern in the sinful actions of men, is contrary to the independency of God, in whom all live and move and have their being, moreover to ex..mpt the providence of God from all concern in all sinful action, or in actions to which sin is annexed, would be to banish providence, in a good measure, out of the world ; Let the following things be observed for the settling of this point, and the removing of the above difficulty,
1. God supports men in their being, whilst they are sinning. He could have struck Ananias and Sapphira dead, before they committed the sin they did ; but he did not.—2. God in innumerable instances, does not hinder the commission of sin, when he could do it, if he would : that he can do it is certain, because he has done it ; he withheld Abimelech, Gen. xx. 6. and he that withheld Abimelech. could have withheld Adam, and any of his sons from sinning, whom he has not. He restrained Liiban from hurting Jacob, as Laban himself owned ; and hindered Baalam from cursing Israel, which he would gladly haVe done. And so God could prevent the innumerable sins of men, which yet he does not. We, as creatures are bound to hinder all the evil we can; but God is under no such obligation.—3. God permits sin to be done, or suffers to be in his providence. This is the language of scripture; Who in time past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; and these ways were sinful ones, Acts xiv. 16. This permission is not a connivance at sin ; nor a concession or grant of it; much less does it express any approbation of it; nor is it barely a leaving men to the liberty of their wills, to do as they please ; as Moses suffered the Jews to put away their wives when they pleased ; as though he were careless and indifferent about it: nor is it a/mere naked permission, but a voluntary one. 4. God is represented as active in things relative to it, he not only suffers men to walk in their sinful ways, but he gives them up to their own hearts' lusts; he gives them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things whicb are not convenient; he sends t/iem strong delusions, that they may believe a lie, Psal. Ixxxi. 12. Rom. i. 28. 2 Thess. ii. 11. Joseph's brethren sold him into Egypt, but God sent him thither. 5. It will be proper to distinguish between an act, and the obliquity of it; every action as an action, a natural one, is of God, the first Mover; but the obliquity and irregularity of the action, as it swerves from the rule of God's law, is from man: this is sometimes illustrated by divines, in such an instance as this. The sun in the firmament, when it exhales a nauseous scent from a dunghill, is the cause of the exhalation; but it is not the cause of the ill scent of it, that arises from the dunghill itself. So, 6. God in his providence, may put in the way of persons, things that are good in themselves; which may give an opportunity, and be the occasion of drawing out the corruptions of men's hearts; thus God in his providence directed Joseph to dream, and tell his dreams, which drew upon him the envy of his brethren ; and God put it into the heart of Jacob to send him to visit them in the fields, where they were feeding their flocks, and gave them an opportunity to form and execute evil against him. God gives to some men wealth and riches, and these are the occasions of much sin to them. He gives a law which forbids men to sin, but, as the apostle says, Sin taking occasion kti the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence, Rom. vii. 8. The gospel also sent to men, is the occasion of stirring up the corruption of their nature, their pride and pas. sions, to an opposition to it, and it becomes the savour of death Xtnto death unto them, 2 Cor. ii. 16, &c. 1. The concern of providence about sinful actions further appears in limiting and set. ting bounds; as to the waves of the sea, saying, hitherto shall thou come, and no further. Thus Joseph's brethren were restrained by the over-ruling providence of God; their first scheme was to put him to death ; this was disconcerted by Reuben, who proposed putting him into a pit, and let him starve there; from this also they were diverted by a motion of Judah's—8. God, in the affairs of providence, is to be considered as the Rector and Governor of the world, and the Judge of the whole earth; and in this branch of it, respecting sin, which he overrules either for the punishment of those who commit it, or of others, or else for good ; he sometimes punishes one sin with another. Plato says, a licence to sin, is the greatest punishment of sin. Sometimes God over-rules the sins of men for good; as the sin of Adam, for the glorifying of his perfections ; the crucifixion of Christ for the salvation of men, and Joseph's being sold into Egypt, for the saving many persons alive, Gen. 1. 20. To conclude this article of providence, let it be observed,—-\. That all the providences of God are executed in the wisest manner ; though they may not sometimes appear clear to us, O the depth of the riches, &c. Rom. xi: 33. 2. They are all done in the most holy and righteous manner, The Lord is righteous in all his ways, mnd holy in all his tvtrks, Psal. cxlv. 17. 3. They are executed with power irresistable; they are immutably performed, according to the unchangeable will of God, who works all things in providence after the counsel of his will; he does what he pleases. Wherefore, we should give to him the glory of all; observe with wonder and gratitude, the several steps of it, respecting ourselves and others; and put our trust in him for things temporal and spiritual; and at all times cast our care upon him, who cares for us ; seeing it is, and always will be, well with the righte, mis, in time and to all eternity.
OF THE CONFIRMATION OF THE ELECT, AND THE FALL OF THE NON.ELECT ANGELS.
Whereas there was a distinction made between them, of elect and non-elect, as has been shewn in a preceding chapter. I shall take notice,
I. Of the confirmation of the elect angels. Now the government of rational creatures is in a moral way by giving a law to them, as the rule of their obedience; and such a law was given to angels, not of a positive nature, nor a law in the form of a covenant; but it was a law implanted in their nature, the same in substance with the moral law writttn, so far as the precepts of it are suitable to spiritual substances; for such of them, and so much of them, as relate to the body and to corporeal actions, cannot agree with angels who are incorporeal. The obedience of angels was due to God, and could ' merit nothing pf him ; nor was their confirmation owing to the merits of Christ. But to the free favour and good will of God choosing them to a state of holiness and hnppines ; and to his putting them under the care and charge of Christ, as the Head of all principally and power, 1 Tim. v. 21. In this state of constant obedience and perfect holiness, they are immutably fixed by the will of God, as appears by their enjoy. ment of the presence of God perpetualK, they are called the angels of heaven; theirconstant and perfect obedience to the will of God, is made the pattern of obedience to it in men, Matt. vi. 10. The consummate happiness of the saints at the resurrection, being like to theirs; which supposes them to have continued in their original state. At the second coming of Christ, he shall descend from heaven with his mighty angels; the wicked will be tormented with fire and brimstone in their presence ; and consequendy the holy angels will be free from that torment.
II. The next remarkable event respecting angels, is the sin and fall of the non.elect angels. The heathens seem to have had some notion of the fall of the evil angels; for Plutarch speaks of daemons or devils, as expelled by the gods, and fallen from heaven. These angels, in their original estate of creation, were in a capacity of obeying the law that was given them; the estate they are now in, is not that in whi.h they were made ; it is expressly said of them, that they kept not their first estate, and abode not in the truth. Jade 6. which supposes a better estate than what they are now in ; but being left to the freedom of their will, which was mutable, they sinned and fell, to which fall of theirs, our Lord has respect, when he says, I beheld Satan, as lighteningy fall from heaven, Luke x. 18. Now concerning this the following things may be enquired into. i. What was the sin of the angels, by which they fell ? this cannot be said with precision, the scriptures being silent about it; yet it is generally supposed, and it is probable from the scriptures, that their sin was, 1. Pride; and which seems probable from 1 Tim. iii. 6, N t a novice, lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil; being guilty of the same sin, he is in danger of the same condemnation, pride goes before destruction, Prov. xvi. 18. They might first begin with contemplating their own perfections and excellences; as their wisdom, knowledge, strength, &c. which might issue in an over.weening opinion of themselves. This may be thought to be confirmed from the manner in which they tempted our first parents to rebel against God ; Te shall be as gods, knowing good and evil, Gen. iii. 5. as also by all the methods they have since taken to get themselves worshipped as gods, 2 Cor. iv. 4. 1 Cor. x. 20. Satan has prevailed upon the poor Indians, both eastern and western, to worship him openly as a devil; and nothing can be a greater instance of his pride, arrogance, and impudence, than the proposal he made to Christ, to give him all tht kingdoms of this world, if he would but fall down and worship him. 2. Some have thought that envy was the sin of the devils by which they fell; led thereunto by a saying in the Apocryphal book of Wisdom, Chap. ii. 24. By the envy of the devil, death entered into the world: envy and pride are inseparable;
the apostle joins these sins together, Jam A iv. 5, 6. the angels might envy the superior power and excellencies of God himself. And especially they might be envious at the Son of God, who they might understand, would in time assume human nature ; though the end and design of it they might not know ; and that in that nature he would sit at the right hand of God, which they were not admitted to. Satan always sought to oppose Christ in his person and offices; and hence he set up antichrist, whose doctrines are doctrines of devils. 3. Unbelief may also be taken into the account of the sin of the angels; they must disbelieve the eternal power of God, and his truth and faithfulness to his word, or they would not have dared to have sinned against him ; indeed their sins seem to be a complication of iniquity ; of pride, envy, and unbelief.— ii. There are several questions commonly asked, relative to the fall of angels ; to which a short answer may be returned ; as, 1. How and by what means they came to fall? they had no tempter ; there were no creatures in being capable of tempting them to sin : this is always spoken of as their own voluntary act and deed. It is very probable, that one of them famous above the rest for wisdom and strength, might begin the apostacy, and others followed his example. 2. It is sometimes asked, When the angels fell? to which may be answered, Not before the sixth day of the creation; for on the sixth day, when all the creatures were made : God saw every thing that be had made, and beheld it was very good. However, certain it is. that the fall of angels was very early: since the devil isi called a murderer from the b,ginning, John viii. 44. 3. This question is sometimes put, What number of the angels fell ? This cannot be said with any precision ; some have thought that as many fell as stood ; grounding it on a passage in Ezek. xli. 18. where it is said, that on the wall of the temple were carved, cherubim and palm-trees, a palm tree between a cherub and a cherub; by ch•rubim they understand angels, and by palm-trees good men, said to flourish like the palm-tree; and who are supposed to fill up the places of fallen angels; bat such a sense of the text cannot easily be established.—» Others have thought, that not so many fell as stood; since evil angels are never said to be innumerable, as the good angels are, Heb. xii. 22. Others fancy that a third part of the angels fell, this they take from Rev. xii. 4. where the dragon is said to draw with his tail the third part of the stars offit a. ven. It is certain that not a few of the angels, but many of them fell; so many possessed one man as to be called a legion, which consisted of some hundreds : yea, it seems there are various kinds of them, our Lord says, this kind goelh not out but by prayer and fasting, Matt. xii. 24, 26. Hi. The state and condition into which the angels were brought by sin, may next be considered. They were originally angels of light; full of light, knowledge, and understanding, but by sinning are become angels of darkness. They were once pure and holy creatures, but through their sin and fall, became unclean spirits, Matt. xiii. 38. Once they were lovers of God, , and of their fellow-creatures, but now at enmity to God, and all that is good, and spiteful and malicious to mankind. Satan is called emphatically the enemy. IV. Their punishment > and which is both of loss and sense ; they have lost the favour and presence of God, and they sensibly feel his wrath and indignation on them; the apostle Peter says, they were cast down to hell, 2 Pet. ii. 4. but where that is, it is not easy to say ; very probably upon their ejection outol heaven, they fell down into the air, since Satan is said to be the prince of the power of the air* Eph. ii. 2. from whence by divine permission they descend and patrol; they do not seem to have their full punishment inflicted on them; or are not yet in full torment, as may be learned from their words to Christ, Art thou come hither to torment us before our time ? Matt. viii. 29. and nre said to be reserved unto judgment, and unto the judgment of the great day; when their full sentence will be pronounced upon them.
* It was a notion of the Chaldeans, that the air is full of Damons, Lcart. £roem. ad. Vit. Plains, p. 5
OF MAN IN A STATE OF INNOCENCE*
Having considered the first and principal events of providence respecting angels, I shall proceed to consider such as respect man.
I. His being placed in the garden of Eden, as an inhabit tant to dwell in, for the support of his animal life ; and for his exercise in the culture and dressing of it. i. As his habitation ; And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden : and there he put the man whom be had formed, Gen. ii. 8. Though Adam was heir and lord of the whole world, yet there was one particular spot more excellent than all the resfy assigned him for his residence; even as a king of a large country has his royal seat, palace, and court in some particular part of it: this garden of Eden was not the whole world, as some have thought: this is clear from the man being said to be put into it when created, which shews that he was formed without it: we read of a land that was at the east of it; see Gen. iv. 16. It is called the garden of God; any spot that was uncommonly fruitful and delightful, is compared unto it, Gen. xiii. 10. Where this garden was, cannot be said with any certainty, whether in Armenia, Assyria, or in Judea) most probably it was in Mesopotamia, since we read of an Eden along with some places in that country, Isai. xxxvii. 12; However, it was so delightful a spot, at its first plantation, that the church of Christ is compared unto it, and is called, in al.* lusion to it, a garden inclosed—&n& her plants, an ir chard, or paradise of pomegranates, Cant. iv. 12, 13. Moreover, it was an emblem of the heavenly state, which is therefore called paradise, Luke xxiii. 43. ii. Adam was put into the gaideft of Eden for the support of his animal life, where grew trees, not only pleasant to the sight, but good for food; and Adam was allowed to eat of them all excepting one, Gen. ii. '16, 17. There are two trees particularly taken notice of; the tree of life, in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowled, t of gold and evil: the former is so called, because with the oher trees «f the garden, it was a means of maintaining Adam's animal
life, and perhaps the chief means of it:. it was a token that Adam had his natural life from God, the God of his life; and that it depended upon him, and that he might expect the continuance of it so long as he kept his state of integrity: it was also an emblem of Christ, who is therefore called the tree of life, Rev. xxii. 2. There was another tree, called the tree of knowledge, ofgood and evil, what that tree was, cannot be said; it is generally supposed to be the apple tree, founded upon a passage in cant. viii. 5. It had its name, not from any virtue it had of ripening the rational powers of man, and of encreasing and improving his knowledge, as say the Jews, who take Adam to be but a great baby, an infant in knowledge; whereas his knowledge of God, and of things natural and moral, was very great: and besides had he wanted knowledge, this tree could not be the means of accelerating and increasing it, since he was forbid to eat of it. But it was so called, either because God hereby tried and made known, whether Adam would obey his will or not; or eventually, since Adam knew by sad experience, what the good was he had lost, and might have enjoyed, nt- Adam was put into the garden of Eden to dres it end to keep it, Gen ii. 15. for the culture of it. This was a proper exercise for man in his state of innocence; for it was never the will of God that men should in any state live an idle life. Yet the work of man in the garden, was without toil and fatigue, he did not eat his bread with the sweat of his brow, as after his fall; but his service in it was attended with the utmost delight and pleasure; nor was it at all dishonourable to him, nor inconsistent with the high, honourable, and happy. estate in which he was. iv. What added to the delight and fruitfulness of the garden of Eden, was a river that went out of it to water it; which was parted into four heads or branches, the names of which were Pison, Gihon, and Hiddekel or Tigris, and Euphrates; symbols of the gospel, and of the everlasting love of God.
II. Another remarkable event in providence, relating to the honour of man in his state of innocence, is the bringing of all the creatures to him to give names unto them, and whatsoever names he gave them they were called by, Gen. ii. 19. The creatures being brought unto him for such a purpose, whether by the ministry of angels, or by an instinct in them, was putting him into the possession of them, as being their lord and proprietor.
III. Another providential event, and which shews the care of God over Adam, and his concern for him, is providing an help-mate for him, and a partner with him, in civil and religious things, man being a sociable creature, and whereas no suitable one could be found among the creatures, he cast the man into a deep sleep, and took out a rib from him, and of that made a woman, brought her to him, and joined them together in marriage ; which shews that marriage is honourable, being instituted in paradise, and not at all inconsistent .with the pure state of man in innocence; it was also typical of the marriage of Christ, the second Adam, and his church, see £ph. v. 31, 32.
OF THE LAW GIVEN TO ADAM, AND THE COVENANT MADE WITH HIM IN HIS STATE OF INNOCENCE.
J Shall endeavour to shew what that law was, that it was in the form of a covenant, and that Adam was a federal head in it.
I. The law given him was both of a natural and positive kind. The natural law, or law of nature, given to Adam, was con' created with him ; imprinted in his nature from the beginning of his existence ; which appears from the remains of it in the hearts of all men ; and from the inscription of this law, in a spiritual and evangelic manner, on regenerate persons, Jer. xxxi. 33. It is comprised in these two precepts, to which it is reduced by Christ, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God wit/i all thy heart; and thou shali love thy neighbour as thyself. Besides, this natural law, there were others of a positive kind. In all dispensations there have been ordinances of divine service,
there now are, and there were under the former dispensation, and so in a state of integrity. The eating of the fruit of a certain tree, is not the only positive law of God; however, it is certain that was one, which was given as a trial of man's obedience. Be it what it may, in which God is disobeyed, it matters not; and by so much the lesser that is which is forbidden, by so much the greater is the sin of disobedience, the more aggravated, and the more inexcusable,