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thoughts or actions have their origin. Deut. xxxi. 16. · behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land,' &c. v. 20, 21. • then will they turn unto other gods,' &c. •for I know the imagination which they go about even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.' 2 Kings viii. 12. •I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel.'
III. With reference to the will, God is, 1st. infinitely pure and holy. Exod. xv. 11. glorious in holiness.' Josh. xxiv. 19. “ he is an holy God.' 1 Sam. ii. 2. there is none holy as Jehovah.' vi. 20. • before this holy God Jehovah.' Job xv. 15, the heavens are not clean in his sight.' Isai. vi. 2, 3.
he covered his face.....and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts.' xl. 25. saith the Holy One.' xli. 20. the Holy One of Israel.' Habak. i. 13. " thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil.'
2. He is most gracious. Exod. xxxiv. 6. mercisul and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. See also Psal. lxxxvi. 15. and ciï. 8. v. 4. “ neither shall evil dwell with thee.' xxv. 6. thy lovingkindnesses.....have been ever of old.' ciii. 11. great is his mercy toward them that fear bim.' v. 17. the mercy of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting.cxix. 68. thou art good, and doest good.' Lam. iii. 22. it is of the mercies of Jehovah that we are not consumed.' Matt. xix. 17.
there is none good but one, that is, God.' Luke vi. 36. . be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” 2 Cor. i. 3. the Father of mercies.' Eph. ii. 4. "rich in mercy.' 1 John iv. 8. God is love. And thus again God may be proved to be immutable, from the consideration of his infinite wisdom and goodness; since a being of infinite wisdom and goodness would neither wish to change an infinitely good. state for another, nor would he be able to change it without contradicting his own attributes.
3. As God is true by nature, so is he also true and faithful in respect of his will. Psal. xix. 7. the testimony of Jehovah is sure.' John vii. 28. he that sent me is true.' Rom. iii. 4. let God be true, but every man a liar.' 2 Tim. ii. 13. if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful.' 1 Cor. i. 9. and x. 13. . God is faithful.' Rev. vi. 10. O Lord, holy and true.'
4. He is also just. Deut. xxxii. 4. all his ways are judgement, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.' Psal. xxxvi. 6. thy righteousness is like the great mountains. cxix. 137. "righteous art thou, O Jehovah, and upright are thy judgements.' Isai. v. 16. • God....shall be sanctified in righteousness. It is not requisite to discuss at large in this place what is consistent or inconsistent with the justice of God, since if it be necessary to say any thing on so clear a subject, occasions will arise for introducing such observations as may be required in other parts of this work. Severity also is attributed to God. Rom. xi. 22. on them which fell, severity:
From all these attributes springs that infinite excellence of God which constitutes his true perfection, and causes him to abound in glory, and to be most deservedly and justly the supreme Lord of all things, according to the qualities so frequently ascribed to
him. Psal. xvi. 11. in thy presence is fulness of joy.' civ. 1. thou art clothed with honour and majesty.' Dan. vii. 10. thousand thousands ministered unto him. Matt. v. 48. bas your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' 1 Tim. i. 11. the blessed God.' vi. 15. “who is the blessed .... potentate.
Some description of this divine glory has been revealed, so far as it falls within the scope of human comprehension. Exod. xix. 18, &c. •mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke-. xxiv. 10, &c. “they saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. xxxiii. 9, 10. the cloudy pillar descended, &c. &c.-' and v. 18, &c. 1 Kings xix. 11. 6 behold, Jehovah passed by.' viii. 10, 11. 'the cloud filled the house of Jehovah.' xxii. 19. I saw Jehovah sitting on his throne.' Psal. xvii. 8, &c. and civ. Micah i. 3, &c. Nahum i. 3, &c. Isai. vi. Ezek. i. and viïi. 1-3. and x. 1, &c. and xliii. 2, 3. Habak. iii. 3, &c. Dan. vii. 9. Rev. iv.
It follows, finally, that God must be styled by us' wonderful, and incomprehensible. Judges xiii. 18., ' why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?' Psal. cxlv. 3. his greatness is unsearchable.' Isai. xl. 28. there is no searching of his understanding.
OF THE DIVINE DECREES.
HITHERTO I have considered that knowledge of God which is to be obtained from his nature. That which is derived from his efficiency is the next subject of inquiry.
The efficiency of God is either internal or external.
The internal efficiency of God is that which is independent of all extraneous agency. Such are his decrees. Eph. i. 9. “which he hath purposed in himself.'
The decrees of God are general or special. God's general decree is that whereby he has decreed from all eternity of his own most free and wise and holy purpose, whatever he willed, or whatever he was himself about to do.
Whatever, &c. Eph. i. 11. who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will ;' which comprehends whatever he himself works or wills singly, not what is done by others, or by himself in co-operation with those to whom he has conceded the natural power of free agency. The creation of the world, and the removal of the curse from the ground, Gen. viii. 21. are among his sole decrees.
From all eternity. Acts xv. 18. known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world.' 1 Cor. ii. 7. even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world.'
Of his own most freem; that is, without controul, impelled by no necessity, but according to his own will. Eph. i. 11. as before.
Most wise-; that is, according to his perfect foreknowledge of all things that were to be created. Acts ii. 23. by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.' iv. 28. for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. xv. 18. known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.' 1 Cor. ii. 7. the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world.' Eph. jii. 10, 11. “the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed.'
There is an absurdity, therefore, in separating the decrees or will of the Deity from his eternal counsel and foreknowledge, or in giving them priority of order. For the foreknowledge, of God is nothing but the wisdom of God, under another name, or that idea of every thing, which he had in his mind, to use the language of men, before he decreed any
Thus it is to be understood that God decreed nothing absolutely, which he left in the power of free agents,-a doctrine which is shewn by the whole canon of the Scripture.* Gen. xix. 17, 21. ' escape to:
* The following lines contain the sum of the doctrine laid down by Milton in this and the following chapter, and the coincidences of expression are not unfrequently as striking as the similarity of reasoning.
.. So will fall He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault?