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Purpose, the Springs break forth into the Rivers, which run among the Hills. Even the Earth it self, Unactive and Sluggish as it is, must not stand an Exception to the general Laws of Activity, which the Other natural Bodies are governed by, but bears its proper Part, and moves in Concert with them.
Thus it is in the Constitution of things Natural: It doth not fuffice that they do not act in a plain Opposition to the Intentions of their Maker, and the Laws assigned to them; but that they should not act at all, is likewise absolutely Inconsistent with their State, and the Design of their Author. Operation is the End of created Beings, and each must actually perform its proper Offices, in order to the Perfection of the Whole. And such a Course of Operations, proportioned to the different Conditions of Beings, is still more eminent in the intellectual and moral World. The blesfed Angels, which are vested with the Highest Principles of Activity, are most remarkable for the Quickness and Constancy of their Motions, in Obedience
: SER M'ON V. •197 to their Maker. Thus, in Jacob's Vision, we have an Account of * the Angels of God ascending and descending betwixt Earth and Heaven; And the Reason of this is plainly given by the Apostle, they are all ministring. Spirits: To which Purpose we read of t the seven Eyes, which are the seven SPIRITS of God sent forth into all the Earth. And when with these Passages of Scripture we compare those others, wherein we have an Account of the Angels standing round about the Throne, and falling before the Throne on their Faces, and worshipping God, we have in one view their Diligence in exercising Pofitive Acts of Homage and Obedience to the Almighty.
From all which it appears, that the several Powers and Capacities of all Beings are to be Actually exercised, according to the Direction and Appointment of God; and that if any of those Beings should only suspend the Exercise of their Powers and Capacities, so as not to act at All, according to their respective
Conditions, they would thereby as plainly violate the divine Appointment, as if they should Act in a Direct Contrariety to it.
Thus the general Laws of created Beings do point out our Obligation to Positivę Duty, or, the Actual Exercise of Goodness, and should be unto us a constant Rule of Instruction and Admonition; A method of Instruction, not only very Useful, in the Nature of it, and therefore necessary to be mentionded; but likewise recommended in the facred Scriptures themselves, the Standard and Fountain of spiritual Wisdom and Instruction.
There we are taught, that the Heavens declare the Glory of God, the Elements also, and the Compounds of them, Fire and Hail, Snow and Vapours, Wind and Storm, fulfilling his Word: There we have an Admonition to exert our selves in proper Testimonies of Duty to God, taken from the natural Notices and Regards which are exerted by inferiour Beings, the Ox knowing bis owner, and the Ass his Mater's Crib: There we are required
to learn Application, and Diligence in the Execution of Duty, from the Activity of very inconsiderable Creatures, labouring in pursuit of their natural Tendencies and Direction, Go to the Ant, thou Sluggard, consider her Ways, and be wise: There we are supplied by our Blessed Saviour Himself with an Argument, for the Actual Exercise of Goodness, taken from an Observation upon the Trees of the Field; * Every Tree that bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the Fire. Not only those Trees which produce Corrupt Fruit, but those which do not Actually bring forth Good Fruit, those which produce No Fruit at All, muft be destroyed. For, that this is the Meaning of the Text, is very plain from our Lord's Parable of the Fig-tree; The Owner whereof t said unto the dreffer of his Vineyard, Bebold, these three Years I come seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree, and find none; cut it down, why cumbreth it the Ground? To which nothing could justly be opposed but this, Lord, Matt. vii, 19. Lukę xiii,..
let it alone this Year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear Fruit, well; and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. When it finally proves Fruitless, it must, in all reason, be finally Destroyed.
To this purpose our Blessed Saviour, in the Parable of the * Seed Sown; represents the Faithful and only acceptable Servants of God under the View of That Seed, which Actually brought forth Fruit, fome an hundred-fold, fome sixty, and some thirty. And in the Parable of the + Talents; he introduceth the Person, who had hid bis Talent in the Earth, under the Character of a flothful, and wicked, and unprofitable Servant, and justly obnoxious to the severest Punishment: Where it should be well observed, that This Servant had not employed his Talent to his Lord's Detriment or Dishonour; that he had not Abused it, or perverted it to any Evil Purposes, in Contempt of his Lord, or direct Rebellion against him; he had not so much as
* Matth. xiii.
† Matth. xxv. : ,