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This all-disposing will of Providence reaches particulars, with respect to men, to us innumerable, even all that concerns them. But they may be reduced to two heads.

(1.) Smiling providences, in favourable dispensations, Rom. ii. 4. The unthankful world is filled with these, for he doth good even to the unthankful and the unholy. Every day his table is spread, and he loads men with his benefits; though the mess of some may be double to that of others, yet all feed at his cost.

(2.) Frowning providences, Micah vi. 9. The Lord's voice crieth unto the city.-Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it ;' and this in afflicting dispensations. It is the same God who draws the white lines in one's lot, that draws the black ones too. It is the same hand that puts on the crown of prosperity, that pulls it off again. The same God who gives the fair weather, also sends the foul, and after the blink the shower, and the clouds after the rain. If it go ill with a land, with a congregation, or with one's house, it is the will of the Lord that it should be so.

And to all we are to say, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

II. I proceed to shew, by whom is God's will done in heaven.

1. By the bodies of heaven, the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars. God their Creator, when he made them, appointed their ends, motions, and courses; and these they have steadily observed from the time of their creation, Psal. cxix. 89, 91. For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. They continue this day according to thine ordinances for all are thy servants.' The scoffers observe this, 2 Pet. iii. 4. All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,' though they make a very bad use of it. Though in the heavenly fabric, these bodies are hugely great, and there are so many of them that men cannot number them, yet have they all, from the beginning to this day, observed and kept their motions and courses, without any breach of order, or any deviation whatsoever. In the mean time it is notorious, that engines made by men, and consisting of many wheels, with a variety of motions, are very hard to be kept right long, but they go out of their course. But these do the will of God steadily, evenly, and

unweariedly, Psal. xix. 5, 6. The sun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.' The sun and moon's standing still in Joshua's time, was no faltering nor disorder in their course, but it was in obedience to a particular will of God. And thus they cast us a fair copy of doing the will of God on earth.


2. By the angels of heaven. These glorious spirits, attendants of the great King, are obedient to the nod of their Maker, and fall in with every the least intimation of his will, Psal. ciii. 21. They do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.' Though they'excel in strength,' they entertain not the least thought of disputing his orders, ver. 20. They never put in an exception against the meanest piece of service that God puts in their hands, but are well content to minister unto worm man, Heb. i. ult. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?' They never use any shifts or offputs in the doing of his will; but when he speaks the word, it is done by them; the orders are readily and cheerfully complied with. Thus they also cast us a fair copy of doing the will of God, a copy of rational obedience. The saints in heaven do his will also after the same manner, Rev. vii. 5. having got a full answer of this petition as to themselves.

III. I shall now shew, what is the import of this petition, both with respect to the will of God's command, and his will of providence.

FIRST, I am to shew, the import of this petition with reference to the will of God's command. It imports something confessed, professed, and desired.

First, Something confessed. The children of God coming to him with this petition, confess, that,

1. The will of God is not done on earth as it is in heaven. There is no question but that all men on earth are obliged to do it with the same perfection as those in heaven do it, Matth. v. ult. Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' But, alas! it is not done. God has given men on earth his commands, and notified his will to


them; but it is not complied with. Though the higher world abides to this day in obedience to its Maker, yet the frame of the lower rational world is quite marred and unhinged. Though above there is a perfect calm, yet below a most unnatural rebellion is raised and continued, so that it is a region of disorder and confusion,


1st, Most men make their own will, and not God's, their law, and the rule of their actions, Rom. viii. 7: The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' All unregenerate men have shaken off the yoke of subjection to God, and instead. of serving God, 'serve divers lusts and pleasures,' Tit. iii. 3. If at any time they fall in with what is materially the will of God they do it, not because it is God's will, but because it is their own, and serves their own ends, as the Pharisees did in their almsgiving and prayers, &c. Matth. vi. 1.

2dly, The best men carry the yoke of subjection to the will of God very unevenly, Gal. v. 17. Though they are sincere, they are far from being perfect in doing the will of God. Their own will carries them aside in many things: though they sincerely design the shore for Immanuel's land, they keep not a straight course. The wind of temptations, and their own unruly passions, oft--times blow them aside, so that they are in danger of splitting on the rocks.

2. There is in all men naturally an utter indisposition and unfitness for the will of God's command. There was a sweet harmony betwixt the will of God and the powers of man's soul at first, Eccl. vii. 29. but that is gone. Sin has broken the concord, and marred the harmony; so that there is a sad jarring betwixt the two now. They are indisposed,

1st, For knowing it, for discerning what the will of God is, 1 Cor. ii. 14. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.' Sin has raised a mist, so that the travellers cannot know the way, but are apt to chuse by-paths of destruction, instead of the King's high-way; to call evil good, and good evil to put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

2dly, For doing it, Psal. xiv. 3. There is none that doth good, no not one.' They are bunglers at that work, at best, they have lost the holy art of going by that rule. They have no skill of steering their course to the shore of Immu

nuel's land.

Man naturally is under a threefold indisposi

tion to it.

(1.) An inability to know or do the will of God. He has no head for it, 1 Cor. ii. 14. just above quoted. Like Samson, we have lost our two eyes in that point. The gospel is a doctrine of mysteries, that requires a saving illumination to understand it, Eph. i. 17. Even the law itself in its spirituality is not discerned without a new light from the Lord, Rom. vii. 9. And we have no hands for it neither, John xv. 5. 2 Cor. iii. 5. It is above our natural reach.

(2.) An unwillingness to know or do it. As we have neither head nor hand for it, so we have no heart for it neither, till a day of power change our hearts, Psal. cx. 3. And hence it is that the truths of God which are practical are neglected, as not desired, Job xxi. 14, And when they force their entry into the head, they are held prisoners there, that they may not exert their efficacy in the heart, Rom. i. 18. And much more unwilling are we to do it, Hos. iv. 16. Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer.'

(3.) A bias in the will to the wrong side, a bent and propensity to follow our own will, and the lusts of our own heart, Psal. xiv. 1. There is no God,' is the language of every man's heart by nature. They would set up themselves for their own rule and their own end, and contend with their Maker for the sovereignty, that it should be according to their own will with them, and not according to his. Again, it imports,

Secondly, Something professed. The children of God, coming to their Father with this profession, profess, that,

1. It is the grief of their hearts, that God's will is not done by themselves or others, as it is done in heaven, Matt. xxi. 29. Psal. cxix. 136. A gracious person has the law written in his heart. He knows it, and esteems it to be righteous in all things, the doing of it to be both one's duty and interest, Psal. cxix. 128. The heart inclines to the doing of it, though corruption and temptation drive him by it, Gal. v. 17. Hence proceeds sorrow of heart, that it is not done.

2. That God by the power of his grace, is able to reform this, and to frame the souls of men on earth to the doing his will, as in heaven, Prov. xxi. 1. He can new-frame men's will, give it a new bent of conformity to his own, and fix it too therein, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. So they put their own and

others hearts in God's hand, that he may set them in a way of obedience, Psal. cxix. 36. It imports also,

Thirdly, Something desired. And there are two things here desired of God by all the saints.

1. That he would by his grace remove from themselves and others all spiritual blindness and cause them to know his will, Eph. i. 17, 18, There can be no doing of God's will, without first knowing what it is, Rom. xiv. ult. For suppose one to do what God requires, who yet does not know that he requires it, it is plain that one in such a case does it, not because it is the will of God, but because it is his own. There is a natural blindness in all, and the remains of it are in the regenerate. This hides the will of God from them in many particulars, and so hinders them from doing it. But the children of God desire to know it in all things.

This desire to know the will of God is a mark of sinceri

ty, if it be attended with these two properties.

(1.) If it be universal, if the soul really desires to know the whole will of God, Rom. vii. 22; not only some shreds of the law, but the whole law, Psal. cxix. 6. Hypocrites may desire to know some parts of God's will, which are most agreeable to their own ends and inclinations. But happy they whose souls are opened to receive the intimations of the divine will in all things.

(2.) If it be practical, if they desire to know his whole will that they may conform themselves to it, Psal. ciii. 18. There may be a desire of the knowledge of God's will for speculation, to know it for the sake of knowledge, which may be found in the ungodly. But to desire the knowledge of it for the sake of practice, is a mark of sincerity.

Such a desire is a sure mark; because,

[1.] It evidences a heart reconciled to the whole will of God, Heb. viii. 10. The unrenewed heart is never so reconciled, Rom. viii. 7. And therefore, since they have no inclination to let in the whole law into their heart, they do what they can to keep it out of their heads, and are willingly ignorant of what they are unwilling to practice, Job xxi. 14.

[2.] It evidences a heart ready to part with every known sin, with any thing whatsoever, upon the discovery of its contrariety to the will of God, Psal. xix. 12. It is an evidence of an honest heart to be content to be searched, Psal. cxxxix.

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