Imágenes de página

a moijt Accurate and Intimate Survey of every Created Being.

And as the Creatour hath the Complete Knowledge of Them, in their Original , the Eternal Ideas of them within Himself; so is he, in his own Essence, Immediately Present with every one of them. And therefore the Nature and Operations, and all the Circumstances of every Being are continually under His Inspection, continually Unfolded and Pis-: played before him.

So Firm and Sure are the Foundations of this great Truth delivered by the Apoftle, Hebr. iv. 13. Neither is there any creature that is not manifeft in his Sight: But all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him, with whom we have to do. « -•

And to these General Reasons of God's Knowledge may be reduced those passages of Scripture which represent his Particular and Perfect Knowledge of Human Affairs. Such are those Texts, which testisie either

ift, His Knowledge of our Outward Æions, or

idly, His Knowledge of our Me arts and Thoughts, or

idly. His Foreknowledge, or, his Knowledge of Future Events, even of Those which are properly contingent, and depend upon the Voluntary Resolutions and Determinations of Free Agents.

ift, The Infallible Word of God testifies his Knowledge of our Outward ABions. Thus we are taught, Job xxxiv. 21. His eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings; and in the words immediately following the Text, By him ABions are weighed: And Pf. cxxxix. 3. Thou art acquainted with all my ways. Our Power of Acting is- communicated by Him, and therefore our Exercise and Applications of that Power, which intirely Depends upon him, must be perfectly Known to him. And because He is always Immediately Present with us, 'tis as impossible for us to Act without his Knowledge, as to Subsist without his Support.

idly, The Scripture testifies God's

certain Knowledge of our Hearts and

Thoughts. Upon this Principle Holy David builds his Exhortations to Solo*no?/y

* Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfeff heart, and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcbeth all hearts, and understandeth all the Imaginations of the "thoughts.

Our Discernment cannot reach the Secrets of Mens Minds; and therefore, by their fruits ye JJoall know them, is the necessary Rule of our Judgment, as well as of our Charity. But God's Knowledge of our Hearts does not Depend upon, nor Want the Evidence of our outward behaviour. He sees Them Directly, as they are in Themselves: The Soul being in his Immediate Presence, as well as the Body, He observes the operations of the One, as Accurately as the Other, our Thoughts as Distinctly as our ABions.

^dly, The Scripture f testifies the Foreknowledge of God, or, his Knowledge of Future Events, even of Thofe which are properly Contingent, and depend upon the Voluntary Determinations of Free Agents. Nothing is more Evident, than

* iChron. xxviii. 9. \ Dan. ii. 28. Isa. xliii.9. —xlvi. 10.


that God Foresaw, and Foretold tie Bondage of his People in Ægypt, the Condemnation and Death of our Blessed Saviour, and the Circumstances of them. And indeed the Prophets are so many Incontestable Witnesses of God's Foreknowledge.

There is nothing Accidental, with respect to God, either in the works of Creation, or Providence. We should throw the Notion of a God quite out of the Question, if we should conceive the World either to be Made, or to be Governed by Chance. And if it be under a Regular, and Wise Government, it follows, that there must be Prescience in the Governour, and that his Permissions, upon which Much depends in the Government of the World, are no more Floating and Casual, than his Direct Appointments are, but are all settled and fixed by Infinite Wisdom; And therefore he hath in Himself as perfect Images of Those Operations of Free Agents, and of their Effects, which he will purely Permit, as of thofe Others, which he will Direct and Promote.

And And yft? his Foreknowledge does lay ho NeceJJlty upon the Agents, or Inter fere with the Liberty of their Wills and Actions; Which (to avoid more Nicer and Minute Disquisition) we may be satisfied in from this Single consideration , That the Liberty or Freedom of God's Own Will, and of His Actions^ is Perfect and 'Intire, notwithstanding that they are Foreknown by him. For it seems plain, that his Foreknowledge of such Events, as depend upon the Wills and Actions of Men, is no more Repugnant to the Freedom of their Wills, than his Foreknowledge of any thing* which he Himself does, and which, if He pleasethj may be let Alone, is Repugnant to the Freedom of his Own Will.

Men of Speculation have sometimes perplexed themselves, under this Argument, with a variety of Thoughts, which they could not Easily reconcile with one another; And it would be no Wonder, if our Notions of so Abstruse a point, should not beAdequate and Intire. Therefore I would conclude this Head with this Remark, That when a Fundamen^igA tal

« AnteriorContinuar »