A GLIMPSE of GOD: Or, A Treatise proving, That there is a GOD. Discovering the Grounds of Atheism. With Arguments of divers sorts against Atheists. Shewing also, the Unity of the Godhead, and the Trinity of the Persons; as likewise, what God is in himself, and and what he is to us; with particular Dis­courses on some of God's Attributes, viz. the Simplicity, Eternity, Incomprehensibili­ty, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Immutabili­ty, Omnipotency, Life, and Immortality of God: Scholastically and Practically handled. By that Eminent and Judicious Divine, Mr. THOMAS BYRDALL, Late Minister of the Word, and Preacher at Walsall in the County of Stafford.

Nil cum majori periculo ignoratur quam Deus: Inquisitione Dei opus est animo religioso & cauto: Religioso, ne ma­nibus illotis ad tanta mysteria temerè accedamus: cauto, ne vel nostris vel aliorum cogitationibus innitamur. Muscul. loc. com.

LONDON, Printed by A. Maxwel for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Sign of the Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheap-side, over against the great Conduit. 1665.

To the Right VVorshipful Sir Thomas Wilbraham of Woodhey in the County of Chester, Baronet; and to the Vertuous Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham, his Wife.

Right Worshipful,

THeology is that heavenly and sure Wisdom, revealed by the Holy Ghost in the Scrip­ture, touching thé know­ledg of God, and of our selves, where­by we are taught the way to Eternal Life. The design of this Treatise, is concerning God, to shew,

  • 1. That He is.
  • 2. What He is.

1. That God is: First, and most ge­nerally, God makes himself known by his Works, whereby his glory appeareth to the whole world. So the very Philoso­phers knew the Majesty of the InvisibleRom 1 20. God, viz. by the Creation; in which [Page] are two things: 1. the Greatness of the work: for by what Engines could the Creatures raise so great a building? 2. The artificial sitting of things together, sheweth it was some great Artificer that made it: the Majesty of God appeareth in the ordering and disposing of the whole Universe, which in Greek is called [...], and in Latin, Mundus, for the orderly disposing the parts, and the harmony thereof. It is reported, that Archimedes made a Sphere, wherein all the world was fram'd, and the frame thereof described, with the orderly course of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, the [...]bbing and flowing of the Sea, &c. Now as no man that saw this, would doubt but that it was an Artificer that made it, much less reason is there to call into question, whether the substantial world (whereof this was a shadow) was not made by a wise God of heaven and earth.

2. This may be further confirmed from Providence; [...], providenti [...], the word in Greek and Latin, betokens God's care concerning the whole world▪ and eve­ry part of it: The word in the Hebrew com­eth [Page] from H [...]sgiah, which signifieth, subti­litèr videre, vel despicere, an accurate sight, or looking down upon things.

Now when we see the effects of Provi­dence, the former and latter rain, summer and winter and all the creatures provided for, the course of things maintained, and every thing done in due order▪ this argues there is a God, whose governing hand holds all together. God is the first univer­sal Cause, and all creatures depend upon him as the secondary causes, who cannot work without help from the first and uni­versal cause.

3. Because in the subordination of ef­ficient causes, there cannot be processus in infinitum.

4. The works of unreasonable creatures, being many of them done according to reason, shew that they are guided by some higher intelligence; even as the Arrow that knows not the mark, is directed to it by the Archer. Hence it is said, that O­pus Naturae est opus intelligentiae.

5. Because the sense of the Deity is im­printed upon every mans's heart and con­science, [Page] which importeth an universal Cause by which it was imprinted. And al­beitCicer. d. Natur. De­ [...]r. lib. 1. Lactant. instit. Ca [...]. 10 l [...]b. 3 many things were feigned in the Re­ligion of the Heathen, yet this could not; for this is the ground and root of all other: for unless it be setled in men's minds, that there is a God, in vain are men exhorted to this or that way of worshipping: for, from this perswasion, that there is a God, Emergit omnis ad religionem propen­sio; and unless this be certainly belie­ved, all the mysteries of our Religion and Salvation will be no better, nor more cer­tain, than old wives fables; for hereupon they all depend.

Now as this Treatise will evidently shew you, That God is; so likewise, What God is. Indeed God cannot be defined, because of his Immensity; for, as Moses, we see his back-parts onely: but he may be described.

God is one in Essence, three in Persons, Jehovah E [...]ohim▪ or a Spirit having be­ing of himself, full of all perfection, un­capable of all defects.

1. He is one God, but three Persens; [Page] which is said onely of him, and of no crea­ture; therefore 'tis well to be put in, as a note to distinguish him from us.

But here it may be objected, That if the Father be God, and the Son (begotten of the Father) be God also, then there are more Gods than one? I answer, that God the Father begetteth God the Son, yet they are not two Gods, but one God; the meaning is, God the Father did not beget another God, but another Person. In the Three Persons, there is neither prius, nor posterius, being all Coeternal, by nature and time; yet in regard of order, the Father is first named, the Son in the se­cond, and the Holy Ghost in the last place; and in this regard, sometime the first work, viz. the work of Creation, is attributed to the Father, the work of Redemption to the Sonne, the work of Sanctification to the Holy Ghost, though they be all common and communicable: Nor doth this distinction any whit hinder the simple and indivisible unity, for the Son is one with the Father, because he consisteth of the same Spirit, and the [Page] Spirit is not diverse from the Father andPropter u­ [...] tatem naturae to­tus Pater in F [...]l [...]o & Spi [...]it [...], to­tus Spiritus S. in Pa­ [...]e & F [...] lio. Aug de [...]e. Fatemur q [...]od Pater est in Filio, & Fil [...]us in Patre, & D [...]us in Deo non p [...]r dupl­cem con­v [...]nie [...]t i­ [...]m gene­r [...]m con­j [...]nct [...] [...]m▪ n [...]c p [...]r insi [...]am [...] sed per naturae unitam simil [...]udinem. H [...]lar It was a [...] si [...] of Lombard, concerning some curious questions about t [...] Trin [...]ty, Ego nesc [...]o, non requi [...], sed consolabor [...]e ta [...]en, [...] n [...]sci [...]nt, Angeli non [...]ud [...]ve [...], Propheta [...]n [...] Apostol [...]s non interrog [...], [...] ipse non [...] c [...]ss [...]t [...] L [...]mb. [...]. the Son, because he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the whole nature is in every person: John 14. 30. I am in the Father, and the Father in me, saith Christ. St. Augustine saith, that by these terms, which note a distinction, is signified a difference in relation, not in substance, wherein they are one; and there­fore he saith elsewhere, Filius ad se Deus vocatur, ad Patrem Filius; the Son in respect of himself, is called God; in re­spect of the Father, he is called Son; in respect of substance, they have the same beginning, in relation the Father is the beginning of the Son. I conclude this, with that saying of the forementioned Father, Non possum unum cogitare, quin trium fulgore circumfundor, nec tria possum discernere, quin subito ad unum referor. I cannot think upon the [Page] Unity, but I am every way confounded with the brightness of the Trinity; nei­ther can I discern the Trinity, but I am suddenly brought back to the Unity.

Now this one God is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in Spirit and truth, John 4. 24. He hath being from himself, to distinguish him from all other crea­tures, who have a communicative being; he is full of all perfections, whereas eve­ry creature hath some perfection in him which another hath not, he hath simply all which may be had: Moreover, the best perfections of the creatures, do fall short of his perfections, both because they are infinite, and uncapable of any defects; the creatures be they never so exact, yet are they capable of defects; as a glass in a mans hand, though it be not broken, yet it is weak, and subject to be broken.

Now God (as to his Nature) he is simple, there is no composition of parts in him, neither doth he come into compositi­on with his creatures: He is infinite in duration, which is his Eternity; infinite in Essence, which is his Immensity; his [Page] presence is infinite, filling all places in heaven and earth. God who is every­where, and in every thing, doth wholly hear, wholly see, wholly effect every thing, saith Hilary; he is infinite in knowledge, understanding all things by his own Es­sence; he is his own knowledge, under­standing all things together, uno ictu & actu, and not successively, as the Schools speak; he is sempèr idem, alwayes the same, his Essence and Nature is unchange­able; other Essences or Substances, have accidents by which they are changed more or less, but no such thing can befall God, therefore he only is immutable; he is spiritual and incorpor [...]al, and therefore cannot be seen with mortal eyes; he is Al­mighty, able to do whatsoever he pleaseth, and his power both in its own nature, and the objects on which it worketh, is infinite and unmeasurable. I shall not insist upon these things, because the ensuing Treatise will furnish you with particular apt Dis­courses upon God and his Attributes.

Now Right Worshipful, and much Ho­noured Sir, I humbly dedicate this first [Page] Part of the description of God and his Attributes, unto your Self, and worthy Lady: To you, Sir, above all others, I commend the Patronage of this Treatise, as being now Patron of that place where the Worthy and Learned Authour (pre­sented thereunto by your Renowned Grand­father, Sir Richard Wilbraham) exer­cised his Ministry with good success for divers years, to whom also your Worship was (as I have been informed) a good Me­caenas. The scope of this Treatise will lead you to the knowledge of God, the unity of the Divine Essence, and the Trinity of the Persons subsisting in the Divine Es­sence. We cannot worship God aright, without some knowledge of this glorious and incomprehensible Truth, because the Trinity of Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, are both the object of our worship, and of our faith. This is life eternal, to know thee to be the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Christ Jesus, Joh. 17. 3. We are baptized in the Name of the Three Persons, which layeth an indispensable ne­cessity [Page] upon all Christians to know them in some measure.

There is a four-fold knowledge, or ra­ther four Properties or Qualifications of the knowledge of God.

1. A meer notional, or speculative knowledge of God, a knowledge which is only in the brain, and reacheth not the heart; like the Moon, which giveth light, but no warrnth to inferiour bodies. A man may (as St. Paul speaks) have all this knowledge, and yet his knowledge may profit him nothing; this makes men great Scholars, but not good Christians, and some great Scholars are but Dunces in Christianity. The deepest Philosopher that ever was (saving the reverence of the Schools) is but a Sot to the simplest Chri­stian that hath the saving knowledge of God in Christ; yet we are all to labour af­ter this speculative knowledge, for we can­not come to saving knowledge without a natural apprehension: Speculation is pre­vious to practice, but meer Speculation will not serve our turn.

2. There is a practical and ob [...]dienti­al [Page] knowledg which is required of us: pra­ctice is the end of knowledg: hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his Commandments, 1 John 2. 3. And indeed knowledg without obedience may be termed ignorance of God, and Christ saith, that such knowledg will greaten a mans torments in hell; he that knoweth, and doth not his masters will, shall be beaten with many stripes, Luk. 12. 47. A practical knowing Christian is a more knowing man, than he that hath all know­ledg without practice; some Divines give this definition of Divinity. Theologia est ars benè vivendi; Divinity is the art of holy living: he is a Divine Preacher that lives holily, he is a Divine Christian that lives obediently.

3. An affectionate knowledg of God, and the things of God is requisite to a Christian: if the star of knowledg doth not guid our affections to Christ, to love him, to desire him, this knowledg is nothing: Christian knowledg is love and delight in the person known to us, 'tis as the husband knows his wife, the father his child, and [Page] one friend knoweth another, loving and delighting in them. 'Tis a common rule: Verba sensus & intellectûs in scripturâ sempèr implicant affectum. Words of understanding and sense imply affection. God himself is said to know us and our ways, when he loveth and approveth of our persons and ways, and he is said not to know us, when he loves us not: in like manner we then know God, when we love him, and we cannot but love him, if we truly know him.

4. An experimental knowledg of God, a scientia gustus, as the School-men term it, a knowledg of taste, sapida scientia, a savoury knowledg of spiritual truths. O tast and see that the Lord is good. Ps. 34. 8. The more you taste of Gods goodness in your hearts, the more will you love him, and delight in him, your souls will then relish nothing but God, the sweetness of all creatures, pleasures, profits, will be unsa­voury to your souls; of all Christians those are the most knowing, that have tasted of sins bitterness, and Christs sweetness: he that hath once tasted of hony, doth more [Page] perfectly know the sweetness of it, than he that hath read a thousand books of the sweetnesse of it, but never tasted it. That Christian that hath tasted how gracious God in Christ is to him, and how bitter sin is, knows both better, than that Minister that hath onely read a thousand books or that Christian that hath onely heard a thousand Sermons of both. When we preach of the sweetness of God and his or­dinances to men that never had any expe­rimental knowledg, we do but commend dainty meats to dead pallates, and com­mend the Sunne to men that are blind; knowledg in the soul is both the eye, and light, if the light that is in a man be darkness, how great is that darkness? Why do the Generality of the world take phancy for faith, presumption and conceit for faith? is it not because they want this light of saving knowledg to discern the right hand of faith, from the left hand of phancy and presumption? now craving pardon for this my boldness, my prayer for you to God shall be that you may not be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledg [Page] of God; and now when the World is blew with envy, green in malice, and wither­ed in goodness, and when many great per­sons provide delitiously for their bellies, gloriously for their backs, and poorly for their souls; you may always be doing good, laying up in store for yo [...] selves a good foundation against the time to come, and laying hold of eternal life, that when o­thers shall be found among the foolish vir­gins, with their sic dicentes, so saying, you may be found among the good ser­vants with your sic facientes, so doing. I humbly take my leave and rest.

Much honoured Sir and Madam,
Your Worships most humble Servant in the Gospel. W. GEARING.
May. 1. 1665.

A Discourse shewing that there is a God; with Argu­ments against Atheism of divers sorts.

HEB. 11. 6: But without Faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and that he is a re­warder of them that diligently seek him.’


Sect. 1.

THese words have reference to the foregoing: Enoch was translated from this earthly vale of misery in­to a full possession of hea­venly happines before he was trans­lated he had communion and fellow­ship with God; and now he enjoyeth [Page 2] eternal fellowship with his God, with­out interruption for a moment, because he had this Testimony, that he pleased God; hence I observe,

That there is no heavenly happiness to be expected after death, without pleasing God on earth. Heaven is an holy place, and will not admit rebells. Abraham's bosome is no lodging-place for unbelieving miscreants. How came Enoch to please God? the Apostle shew­eth in this verse; it was by faith: With­out faith it is impossible to please him. By faith, I understand a Justifying faith, a fiduciall recumbency upon God in Christ.

By pleasing God, two things are understood.

1. Approbation: By faith, Enoch was approved of God; or, Enoch did ap­prove himself before God.

2 That he was justified, accepted of as a righteous person; his faith made his person acceptable, and his obedience well-pleasing: the gift sanctifieth not the altar, but the Altar the gift; the gold [Page 3] is therefore pretious, because it is the gold of the Temple: the same may be spoken of our persons and of our works: our good works make not our person good, but our person makes our works good; 'tis by faith our works are de­nominated good: A thousand duties and glorious works will no more benefit an unbelieving person, then crowns of gold and diamonds and Garlands of roses a filthy putrifying Carcass: all moral perfections, how glorious and gratious soever to outward appearance, yet are (as St. Augustine calls them) Splendida peccata, glittering sins, speaking of moral vertues in the unbelieving Heathens: you may learn hence these three things.

1. Whatsoever graces are in men, yet faith is the grace which makes them the delight of Gods eyes; the Apostle na­meth not one grace in Enoch, but his faith: Faith is the rich diamond in the ring of grace, 'tis the rose of Sharon in a garland of Lillies.

2. All unbelieving men, what glori­ous vertues soever are in them, yet can­not, [Page 4] nor shall obtain salvation: the knowledg of God from the creature was too dark a lant-horn, to guid the Philosophers feet in the way of eter­n [...]l peace and salvation: 'Tis no better then an ignis fatuus, which leads men into the p [...]t of destruction: it is only the light of the Gospel, which (like the star that guided the wise men to Christ) must bring us to Christ, and so to salvation.

3. The best works and duties of un­regenerate men please not God: for want of faith, God throws them a­way as execrable things; he will not touch them, because they are unclean.

Sect. 2.

Now in the next words the Apostle sheweth▪ what Faith is; here are two things.

1. Here is Credere Deum: a man must first be perswaded, that there is a God, or, that God is.

2. Credere in Deum; a believing inCredere Deum. God, or a reposing of confidence in God, as a bountifull rewarder of all them that seek him: Or thus; there are two thingsCredere in Deum. [Page 5] required in all that look to be made par­takers of eternal and glorious commu­nion with God in heaven:

1. There must be certa notitia veri Dei, a true and right knowledg of the true God.

2. There must be fiducia, a trust andFiducia Ass [...]ns [...]s in int [...]l­lectu, [...]t co [...]sensus in volu [...] ­tate confidence in God: There must be as­sensus in intellectu, & consensus in volun­tate; the Mind must apprehend God, and the Will must embrace God; this is true faith which makes a man to please God: for what is faith; but a fiduciall knowledg of God, or a know­ledg of God in Christ with applicati­on? But I will further open these three Phrases, and shall enquire.

1. What is this coming to God. 1. By coming to God, some understand believing in God: faith is called a com­ming to God in Christ. No man can come unto me, (i. e.) no man can be­lieve in me, unlesse the Father draw him, or raise him up to believe.

2. By Coming is rather meant a frui­tion of God; as the chief goodnesse and happines for in the following [Page 6] words he speaks of believing, A man must first believe that God is, and that he is a bountiful rewarder of such, before he will come unto him.

2. We are to enquire the meaning of that phrase; Must believe that he is. I answer: He must believe either thatBez. an­not in loc. there is a God, or els, as Beza hath it, that God is true and faithful in his free and gracious promises.

3. What is meant by the other phrase: And a rewarder of them that diligently seek him? I answer [...]. It is Beza's observation, that there is mutuall relation betvveen [...] & [...], praemium & ultrone­am promissionem, a free reward or gift, and a free gracious promise; and not inter mercedem & merita, between a re­ward and merits.

These words do much set out the nature of faith, as in these particulars.

1. Faith makes a man to see his wants and misery; otherwise it would not send him a begging; it makes a man to see that he is without God, without [Page 7] Christ, and so without all hopes and pro­mises of eternal salvation; therefore it sets men on work to seek God in Christ diligently, to be unsatiable and restless after Christ; God must be my God in Christ, or else I am in a reprobate con­dition.

2. Faith emptieth a man of all con­fidence in himself, and in the creatures, all are miserable comforters, broken reeds and cisterns, not a drop of Spiritual com­fort and heavenly hope is found in any thing. A man will never go out of himself to God in Christ, till he is knockt off from carnal confidences; the winds and waves must first beat him down, before he will lay his foundation upon the Rock.

3. Faith sheweth that God is a gra­tious and bountifull Rewarder of all them that put their trust in him, and assureth the trembling broken-hearted Sinner, that God will be his God, if he come unto him.


Sect. 1.

NOw having thus laid open the words, I will address my self [Page 8] to my intended subject; and the words that I will insist upon shall be these—Must believe that God is; or, that there is a God.

This is the first fundamental point of religion: A man knows and believes nothing, unless he first knows that there is a God: Can you believe the pardon of Sins, your salvation, your immortal glory, unless first you are perswaded there is a God? now because evermore there have been Atheists, and there is abundance of Atheism in our hearts, I will prove that there is a God, and this shall be the point,

That there is a God.

For this name or title of God; we must first know, it is nomen potestatis, & commune, non proprietatis, a name of power and jurisdiction, and 'tis com­mon, not of propriety.

1. It is common to the three Persons because it denoteth the divine Essence, which is one and the same in all the three persons,

2. It is common in this respect, be­cause [Page 9] extensivè, or abusivè, it is given to the creatures.

3. 'Tis given to Angels who are cal­led Elohim, Dij, Gods. Psal. 8. 6.

4. 'Tis given to men Psal. 82. I have said, Ye are Gods, but ye shall die like men. And the reason is, because Angels and Magistrates are partakers of some divine excellencies.

There is a two-fold kind of Arguments to prove there is a God: 1. Scriptu­ral, from the word of God, which is his own divine testimony of himself, that he is, and the solum objectum fidei, the onely object of faith.

2. There are Rational Arguments drawn from the creatures▪ and other things, which demonstrate there is a God; now because the Atheist that ei­ther thinketh there is no God or doubt­eth whether there be a God, will as well deny the Scripture to be the Word of God, as deny God himself; I will deal onely in the latter kind of Arguments; and in these I will not meddle▪ with the sublime Philosophical and Scholastical [Page 10] reasons, by which they demonstrate there is a God, but bring the most fa­miliar arguments, easy to be under­stood, and sufficient to convince; and it best beseems catecheticall discourse to instruct the ignorant.

Sect. 2.

The first argument I bring is fromArg. 1 the Creation of the world, which plain­ly testifieth, that there is a God: none but a God can make such a curious fa­brick as the world. The Scripture much insisteth upon it, to convince men there is a God: Moses wrote the book of Ge­nesis for this end to prove that there is a God, that did in the beginning cre­ate heaven and earth, and all the crea­tures in both. So Paul, Rom. 1. 20. tells us, that the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clear­ly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God­head. These Visible creatures do ma­nifest the invisible things of God, his wisdome, omnipotency, eternity, good­nesse, is seen in the creatures; so that [Page 11] an Ath [...]ist, or any man cannot o­pen his eyes, and look either upward or downward, or any way, but he may see a thousand preachers that there is a God: yea, the most despicable crea­tures are Doctores Theologiae: The very buzzing of a little fly, did make Pliny to confess the power of God.

In this one argument I shall use divers arguments; as

1. The creatures did not make them­selves;Plin. natur­hist. therefore there was a Creatour of them, and that is God: they did not make themselves for these two reasons: for, 1. Then there would be no vile, base, despicable creatures in the world: if a worm had the making of it self, it would not have made it self a worm, but a more noble and more glorious creature: no; it is God, the omnipo­tent potter, that took out an handfull of clay, out of the confused chaos, and made vessels, some creatures of honour, some of dishonour, according to the pleasure of his good will.

2. Had the creatures made them­selves, [Page 12] there had not been such an orderly subordination, and subjection of creatures to each other, and of all Creatures unto man. That the earth should bring forth grass and herbs, grass should serve the beasts, and beasts serve men, none but a God must work this subordination of creatures.

3. If the creature should make it self, then it should be before it self, and after it self; for the cause of a thing is before it's effect.

4. In the generation of man; the Fa­ther that beggetteth, doth not know what he begetteth; and the mother that conceiveth, doth not knovv what she contriveth; therefore it is God that frameth us, and the sexe, in our mother's womb.

2. This world and the creatures were not made by chance, therefore by a God: shouldst thou go into a Wilder­nesse, where is neither man nor beast, and behold there a stately House, thou wou [...]dest say; surely some man made it: should you find a Triangle made in the [Page 13] sands, as Aristippus did, you would say, some body made it: but here is the ar­gument.

The comely and most beautifull or­der and harmony that is among the crea­tures, sheweth that chance did not make them, which is a mother of confusion; but the wisdome of God made all things in weight and measure. Pythagoras be­holding a curious picture in a frame, said, Video Apellis manum hanc fecisse, I see the hand of Apelles hath done this: we cannot look upon the beautiful frame of the world, but we must acknowledg it the admirable work of the most wise God. Interroga pulchritudinem Coeli, & erit confessio Dei; Interroga pulchritu­dinem Terrae, & erit confessio Dei; Inter­roga pulchritudinem Aeris & Maris, & erit confessio Dei.

Neither were the creatures made by nature: but by Nature two things are understood, either Natura naturans, and that is God: or Natura naturata, which is nothing else but the course of things: This could not create.

1. Because we see some things which come not from nature; as, heroicall ver­tues in men.

2. If by nature; then the natural courses of things should not be hindred; but they have been hindered; therefore all things were made by a supream Es­sence.

3. There are innumerable creatures in the world; there is a diversity of their natures, and contrariety of creature a­gainst creature: yet that there is such an harmonious concord between them, argues there is a God that governs and over-rules all. What a difference is there between the heavens, and the earth, and seas? and if the creatures in their kinds, fish, foul, beasts, creep­ing things, and all make but one World, there is an hand that plays upon this Instrument, which makes the strings of divers notes to make such an harmony as they do.

In a word! The whole world of creatures are a world of demonstrative arguments to prove there is a God: such as these.

1. The consideration how all crea­tures in the world, the upper and low­er, serve to one main end; sc. the good of man.

2. The constant course of the crea­tures: the sun knoweth his going down, Psa. 104. 19. The sun ariseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to the place where he arose. Eccl. 1. 5. The sun is said freely to run his course, or (which is all one) to rejoyce to run it, Psal. 19. 5. The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits; All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they re­turn again, Eccl. 1. 6, 7.

3. The variety of seasons, as spring, summer, harvest, winter: Seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and nighr cease not, Gen. 8. 22. With these various seasons we are also to consider the particular pas­sages in them, as rains and showrs and [Page 16] the fruitfulness of the seasons: Can anyJer. of the vanities of the Gentiles give rain? it is in vain to cry O Baal hear us: The continual preservation and maintenance of the world; and the ordination of each several kind of creatures to their particular end; these things do suffici­ently prove that there is a God. Many more arguments of this nature might be brought, but I will conclude this argu­ment with that speech of Hugo Cardi­nalis. Hugo. Card. There is (saith he) a threefold voice of every creature to every man.

1. There is Vox famulantis: they tell thee, they are thy servants; the Sun, Moon, and Starrs, tell thee, they are thy servants: they are rest­less, and move every day to give thee light the clouds tell thee that they are carried about upon the wings of the wind to water the earth for thee: the earth tells thee, that she is plowed up, and brings forth corn and grass for thee: the beasts tell thee, that they are for thy use and serve.

2. There is vox admonentis, admo­nishing [Page 17] and instructing us of our duty to God that we should love that God; glorifie that God as God▪ praise that God that hath made them for our use, service and comfort.

3. There is vox comminantis: the creatures do threaten the Atheists, and all abominable disobedient wret­ches unto their God, to be their de­structions, and instruments of horri­ble vengeance to them: The fire threatens to burn the Atheists, and those that will not honour God, but rebell against him; the water threa­tens to drown them; the earth to swallow them up and to devour them.

Sect. 3.

The second argument shall be this:Arg. 2. All nations in the world did and do acknowledg a deity: it makes nothing for the Atheist that they worshipped many Gods, as the Host of heaven, Beasts, Herbs; yea some a red clout hanging upon a pole. Yet in that they had always something which they worshipped in a religious manner, and [Page 18] called in their own language, God; i [...] is argument sufficient, that all nation did acknowledg there is a God.

Yea, every man doth acknowledg there is a God: for those that are reckoned and esteemed of for most professed Atheists, yet 'tis more then probable, that they do not altogether deny a God, but onely deny that GodAquinas. takes any care in governing the lower and inferiour matters in the world: So Aquinas thinketh.

Others again say, that, professed A­theists did not, nor ever could, deny there was a God, but did endeavour to extinguish the knowledg of God in them.

Or, as others optativè: they did wish in their hearts that there were no God at all; and therefore gave them­selves over to act all wickedness against the knowledg of God, that so they might extinguish that shining know­ledg of God in their hearts, but could never.

S. Augustine saith of Atheists; that [Page 19] albeit there be some, who think or would perswade themselvs that there is no God, yet the most vile and desperate wretch that ever lived, would not say, There was no God: They that made it their work to study Atheism, could never extinguish the knowledg, that there is a God.

Sect. 4.

Because I had rather deal with wick­ed Atheists themselves, I will argue from Atheists themselves that there is a God,

1 From that discerning judgment ofArg. 1. good and evil in every man: all men do, and can discern evil from good, and say, Such an act is evil and unrea­sonable, such an act is good: which would not be, if there were not a God which is the supream Law-giver, who writes his laws upon the hearts of men, by which they judg of good and evil.

If this distinction of good from e­vil were from men; then what man did appoint to be good (though evil in it self) should be good, and what [Page 20] man did determine to be evil (though good in it sel [...]) should be evil: then the adulte [...]er would have his unclean­ness to be no sin▪ the drunkard would have [...] is drunkenness to be no sin; the murderer wou [...]d have murther to be no sin: men would not have any vices that they themselves are addicted unto, to be sin: But we pl [...]inly see, that men who are addicted to base lusts, e­ver condemn them for vices, both in themselves and others.

So again; other common notions of the law, engraven upon the consci­ences of all men, prove there is a God, as, that God is to be worshipped, that parents are to be honoured, and such like; these sh [...]w that there is an uni­versal cause stamping these upon mens hearts, which cause is God.

A second argument is taken fromA [...]g. 2 their own conscience: by this A­th [...]ists may be convinced there is a God: O Atheist! why doth t [...]y con­science terrifie thee, when thou dost ev [...]l, gripe thee with fearfull accusati­ons, [Page 21] condemn thee, bring old sins to thy remembrance, and witnesse them against thee, if it be not because 'tis Gods Vice-gerent in thy soul? The wicked flees when no man pursues him. Prov. 28. 1, Why dost thou fle [...]? there is no avenger of blood behind thee; there is no man nigh, yea it may be there is no man that knoweth the evil thou hast committed, and of which thy conscience accuseth thee, and for which it terrifieth thee with dam­na [...]le horrours. If there be no God, what need have you then to tr [...]mble and fear? if there be no judg, who will one day bring thee before his tri­bunal to give an account, and to doom thee to the lowest hell, why dost thou tremble and quake? the reason is, con­science even in Atheists doth pursue them, and tells them, that the just, sin▪ revenging God will one day bring them to judgment for those things which no man knoweth, but their own false and accusing hearts; and then no marvell, if such who are professed [Page 22] Atheists do tremble and are horribly a­fraid: if there were no God, 'tis no matter for all the accusations of thine own conscience.

3 Bec [...]use the wicked and the A­theistsArg. 3. themselves will make some striving and reluctancy against gross notorious secret Sins; They have sometimes suitable objects that serve their turn; a very fit opportunity to act their Sin, strong temptations; and (which is not the least motive) secrecy, no mortal eye behold's them; yet even then their hearts will smite them in the very tempta­tion, and reason the case with them before they commit the sin. Now from whence com [...]th that oppositi­on and reasoning? why should you fear the shame of the world? no eye beholds you in secret, in the dark; if you can keep your own counsel, why should you fear punishment? Sins that are unknown go unpunished: therefore it must needs come from God, who stirreth up Conscience [Page 23] within them in the temptation, like the Angel to withstand Balaam in his designes, and from an apprehension that there is a God, that doth see in secret their abominable acts, and will punish them for their sins.Ar [...] 4.

4. The fear of shame and of punish­ment is a demonstrative argument, to prove the notion of a God in our hearts: Shame was the first punish­ment God inflicted upon Adam for his Rebellion, and it is inflicted upon his posterity; that suppose a man were in a wilderness, far remote from every creature; let him act sin, he would presently be ashamed there, as if ma­ny men did know it. That doom of Pashur (whom the Lord called Magor­missabib, Jer. 20. 4, 5. and threatned to make a ter­rour to himself) is the judgment of many Atheists; they are terrours to themselves, even Magor-missabib, fear round about: every object they see, is an object of fear to them, so they are very Shames to themselves. What more plainly demonstrates to wicked [Page 24] men there is a God, then this secret shame, terrour, and reluctancy?

4 Because in their sicknesses, calami­ties,Arg 4▪ distresses, the most wicked A­theists will pray, and then call upon the name of that God whom they neglect at other times: God is not in all their thoughts before, but they live as they list; now let me demand of thee, O Atheist, why doest thou pray, and call upon God in the time of thy trouble and misery, if the [...]e be no God? In the storm that Jonas was in, all the Marriners betook them­selves to prayer; every man called up­on his God; and Jonas was awaked [...]ut of his sleep by them to call upon his God also: The Ship-master com­eth to him, saying, What meanest thou, J [...]n 1 6. O sleeper? arise call upon thy God, if so be that God will think of us, that we perish not: all men in distress will p [...]ay; the most Atheisticall drunkard, swearer, blasphemer, he that neglects Praier at other times, publique, pri­va [...]e, and scorneth at those that fre­quently [Page 25] use it and give themselves not over to work all wickednesse with greedinesse; yet in the time of his distresse, such a one will be religious, very devout, and not onely pray him­self, but also call to others to pray for him: so that Even Atheists them­selves are cleer demonstrations, that there is a God, and the most irreligi­ous persons accknowledge a religion.Arg, 5.

5 This also may be a manifest argu­ment to prove there is a God from A­theists themselves; because, even they who in their life-time did deny a God, have confessed & approved him in their deaths; their own accusation of them­selves upon their death beds, fearfully crying out upon their abominable and cursed by-past lives. Why O Atheist! dost thou then complain of thy drunk­ennesse, swearing, adultery, and curs­ed prophaness, if thou didst not appre­hend that there is a God? If there be no God, there is no fear of Hell after death, nor of Judgment after death—So again; their hideous roaring, and [Page 26] horrible quaking at the serious appre­hensions of their approaching Death, which make's standers by even to tremble because of them. Zeno truly said, To hear and see an Atheist dye,Im [...]m audire a­nimam ess [...]turum mag is pro­b [...]t Deum esse quam Doctores omnes. Zeno. will more demonstrate that there is a God, then all the learned can by their Arguments.

Now why do Atheists tremble, if there be no God? then death would be an annihilation of their Being: then no need of trembling and raving if there be no God; then no Judge to appear before, no burning Prison to torment the Wicked: But here is the ground of their trembling; the most professed Atheists have their serious thoughts that there is a God, that they are to ap­pear before him, that there is an Hell, and an Heaven, that their Souls are immortall, and that now their immor­tall Souls are tumbling into everlast­ing wo and destruction.

Again, God hath manifested him­self to Be, by the death of Atheists, by some fearfull and exemplary judge­ment [Page 27] upon them, as upon that Assyri­an, who bragged at a Feast, that he did never offer Sacrifice to a God, and was eaten up of Lice: So Lucian going to supper abroad, left his Hounds fast when he went, and as he returned home having railed against God and his Word, his Doggs fell mad, met him, and tore him to pieces. That Epitaph which was written upon Sennacheribs tomb, may be upon every Atheist's! [...]. Herodot. He that looks upon us, let him believe there is a God, and learn to fear him. The dreadful judgments executed upon Atheists, should be like the hand-wri­ting on the wall against Belshazzar, a matter of trembling, and perswasion there is a God; or, like Nebuchadnez­zars judgement, should force them to acknowledg there is a God.

There is a Devil therfore there is a God. A [...]g. ult. Those horrid & blasphemous injections concerning God argue there is a Devil, and so a God: because the injections are against a Deity? even that one injecti­on, whether there be a God or no: these [Page 28] horrid disputations of Atheistical hearts may to any understanding prove the [...]e is a God: 'Tis a diametrical oppositi­on to meditate or think there is a God, and to to think whether God is.


THe use of this point is first for conviction of Atheists: but oh tha [...] they were convinced, that doubt­lesse there is a God! never was there a miracle wrought to convince an A­theist, because any creature is suffici­ent; he cannot op [...]n his eyes any way, but he may s [...]e a world of arguments to convince him: What! canst thou behold the works o [...] God (which none can do [...]ut G [...]d) and be an Atheist? What an Athiest? when as thy inward conscience by her gripes will tell thee there is a G [...]d? W [...]at an Atheist? and yet in sickn [...]sse and trouble call upon God? if there be any among us that will not now acknowledg there is a God, yet when death cometh, they shall then find and approve that there is a God: and if there be any here that will not [Page 29] be convinced, let him alone, God shall put him to School to the D [...]vil, and he will learn him this lesson that there is a God

Now I will shew the severall sorts of Atheists, and the grounds of Atheism.

1. Some such there have been (and oh that there were none of th [...]t gene­ration left) who profess outwardly there is no God [...]t all: Such a one wasSueton in Calig. Caligula the Emperour, and yet in time of Thunder and Tempest▪ and such fearfull passages, did tremble as no man more; and would many a time hide himself in a Vault, as Histories relate.

2. There are David's fools, whoPsal. 41 [...]1. durst not for the shame of the World outwardly say, there is no God: yet in their hearts either wish there were no God at all, or would perswade them­selves there is no God at all, or (to use David's phrase) Say in their hearts Senec [...] there is no God. Seneca hath a remark­able speech of these two sorts: Menti­untur qui dicunt, se non sentire Deum [Page 30] esse: nam etsi tibi affirm [...]nt interdi [...], noctu tamen dubitant. They lye, saith he who say, they perceive not [...]here is a God; for although they affirm it to thee in the day time, yet by night they doubt of it.

3. Every wicked man is an Atheist; what boasts soever they make of their knowledge of God, their abominable works do deny God, Tit. 1. 16. The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God be­fore his eyes, Psal. 36. 1. The drunk­ennesse of the Drunkard is a denial of God; if the drunkard were perswaded there were a God, he would not give himself up to such swinish brutishnesse; the like may be said to those that de­light in secret sins.

4. Such as deny God in any thing through their gross Atheisticall thoughts of God.

1. Such as shut up God in Heaven, as a blind and ignorant God, not know­ing, or not regarding what is done here below, they imagine him a forgetfull [Page 31] God, or a God that seeth not. The Psal­mist gives us the lauguage of such men Psal. 73. 11. They say, how doth God know, and is there knowledg in the most high? So they deny God's Omnipre­sency and God's Omnisciency; which to think, is as it were, to un-God God.

2. Such as conceive God to be made all of mercy, and no justice, as the igno­rant think; or all made of justice, and no mercy, as all despairing persons do.

CHAP. IV. Sheweth the grounds of Atheism.

IN the next place I shall lay down the grounds of Atheism.

1. The first is, that naturall blind­nesse and ignorance of God that is in our hearts: Atheism is one branch that sprouts from that cursed root of bitter­nesse in us: when David tells us, that the fool hath said in his heart there is no God, Psal. 14. 1. it followeth in ver. 2. The Lord looked down from heaven to see if there were any that did under­stand [Page 32] and seek God: there is a naturall Atheism in all, which faith and saving knowledge expelleth: it is through ig­norance that carnall men have such gross conceits of God.

2. A second ground is, their sensuall desires of satisfying their base lusts: be­cause men give themselves up to sen­suality, and to work all manner of wickednesse, and would not be crossed in their courses, but would have an uncontroulable liberty; hence they perswade, or (at least) would per­swade themselves, there is no God.

3. 'Tis through the just Judgement of God upon ungodly men, that they are given over to such thoughts that there is no God; for when men shall labour to quench the light of Nature; and, although the invisible God be vi­sible in his works, yet will not they acknowledge him, but even wilfully study to be Atheists, God bereaves them of the thoughts and notions of God, and inflicts upon them a repro­bate mind, that they shall not retain him in their thoughts.

4. The impunity of wicked men makes Atheists: because they sin, and go unpunished, sin against God, and against Heaven, and no wrath and vengeance is revealed from Heaven upon them; hence they flatter them­selves with Atheisticall thoughts, ei­ther that there is no God, or that God is blind, and either sees not, or re­gard's not, what is done here below:Psal. 50. 21. or else they think that God is altogether such a one as themselves; not con­sidering there is a day of the revelati­of the righteous judgement of God coming upon them, when vengeance shall be paid; and not considering the drops of Divine vengeance that have already fallen upon some Atheisticall persons like to themselves.

5. A seared and hardened Consci­ence is another cause of practicall A­theism: because they feel no workings of conscience, no gripes, nor accusa­tions of conscience, no fears nor ter­rours as others, but live in the habitu­all practice of notorious sins, publique [Page 34] and private, and conscience is dead within them in regard of it's operati­ons; hence it is, that fools say in their heart, that there is no God: and so be­cause God and Conscience let them a­lone, they throw the rains upon their necks, do live most abominably, and fill up the measure of their sins, and treasure up wrath against the day of wrath; God abhorrs them, and gives them up to their lusts, and rese [...]ves them for wrath, and wrath for them: this is their punishment for the pre­sent, and it will be most bitter here­after, and when they shall feel the power of his Almighty wrath, and are blaspherning under it, then shall they acknowledge that there is a God.


THis should cause every one of us to humble our selves for those cursed seeds of Atheism that are in all our hearts, and cause us to oppose A­theism as one of the most detestable sins that is among us: we should hate and oppose it.

1. As a sin that is most against▪ the light of Nature; every creature, the least Gnat and Fly, and the meanest Worm, will confound a man that dis­pute's whether there be a God.

2. We should set our selves against this sin, as that which is most of all op­posite to God, against the very being of God himself, because it denyes his glorious Being: every Atheist doth as much as he can to destroy God, to un-God him, to throw him out of his Throne, to pull him out of Heaven.

3. We should oppose Atheism, as it is a mother of all prophanesse, and abominable licentiousnesse; for when men shall shake off the fear of a God, they will then fear to commit no sin; they will drink down iniquity like water, no abomination shall come amiss to them: When the Apostle gives us in a whole bed-roll of sins; There is none that understandeth and seeketh after God; They are altogether gone out of the way, and become unpro­fitable; [Page 36] their throat is an open. Se­pulchre, &c) Whose mouth is full of Cursing and Bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and mi­sery are in their wayes, and the way of peace they have not known; he laies down this as the ground of all; There is no fear of God before their eye, Rom. 3. 11. to 18. Where the fear of a God is not, there all manner of prophanesse will abound.

4. Atheism is such a sin, as is not found in Hell: for the very Devils do believe and tremble, Jam. 2. 19. they know there is a God, acknowledge him to Be: Atheism is not to be found in Hell.Fuller's p [...]. State.

On Earth are Atheists many;
In Hell there is not any.

He that now denies there is a God is more vile then a Devil; indeed they that will not now be convinced by the works of God, the torments of Hell will make them to acknowledg a God.


IF there be a God (your consciencesUse. do prove to your faces that there is a God; he is cleerly seen in his works, and you all professe you believe there is a God) then that God is to be worshipped: shew me thy belief that there is a God by thy Worshiping and serving him: otherwise thou art worse then the most barbarous Infidells, who Wo [...]shipped that which they acknowledged for their God. What, are there worse A­theists found among us, then among barbarous Infidells? I tremble to speak it; that it is so, is most certain: there are no worse Atheists, then those that know and assent there is a God, yet in Words and Works deny him.

Tell me, O Atheist! Why did God make thee? what, to serve thy lusts, to serve this World, to serve men, to serve Devils? every Child will answer, God made me to serve him. Shall God be frustrated of his end? will you rob [Page 38] God of his service, of his Day, of his Worship, of his honour and glory? why doth God give men up to their hearts lusts here, and hereafter to eter­nall vengeance, but because they saw the invisible God-head in his visible works, and did not glorifie him as God, Rom. 1. 23. An unclean A­dulterer, and an Atheisticall Drunk­ard do worse, they change the incor­ruptible God into a base lust.

Moreover; if there be a God, here's terrour for the Wicked, comfort for the Righteous.

1. Terrour for the wicked▪ How­ever you spend your daies in the ful­filling of your base lusts, and jeer at such as give not up themselves to work Wickednesse as you do; and though you live a while as if there were no God, yet know, it shall be ill with you because there is a God; for he will be avenged on all the Wicked of the Earth, and rain down fire and brim­stone from Heaven upon all such re­bellious miscreants, that they shall [Page 39] be forced to say; Verily there is a God that judgeth in the Heavens: if there be a God; then know for cer­tain, there is an Hell of horrour and darknesse for all ungodly Atheists

2. Here's comfort for the Godly; all ye that now fear God, bele [...]ve in him, honour and obey him; know ye, it shall be well with you: howev [...]r it fare with you for the present, it sh [...]ll be well with you in the end, maugre all the malice of men and Devils: walk on boldly in your uprightnesse, al­though you meet with Wolves and Lions in the way of holinesse, you shall be rewarded, because there is a God that loveth righteousness. If there be a righteous God, then verily there is a reward in store for righteous men; and a time coming when the wicked shall be turned into Hell, with them all that forget God; then shall all Atheists admire them whom they ab­horred, and glorifie that God, whom in works they now deny.

A Discourse of The Unity of the Godhead.

1 CO [...]. 8. 4, 5, 6.

We know that an Idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth▪ as there be Gods many, and Lords many:) But to us there is but one God, the Fa­ther, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.


THe occasion of these words was a Case of Conscience among the Christians in the Church of Corinth, concerning things offered to Idols, Whether it were lawfull for any to eat the flesh which was offered in sacrifice to them, and to be present a [...] such Feasts? S. Paul answereth the Case, and resolves the doubt in this and the two following Chapters; but more especially in this, and in the end of the tenth Chapter.

In this Chapter he layes down two main grounds of Christianity:

1. Concerning Charity; That Chri­stians ought to walk according to the great Rule of Charity, which aims at the good of the weak Bre [...]hren, and not according to their private and greater measure of knowledge: Know­ledge puffs [...]p, [...]ills us with pride; but Charity edifieth the weaker Brethren.

2. He sheweth what God is, and what a [...] Idol is; That God is but one, and all Idol gods are nothing; in these Verses. In the words ye may see four things:

1. A Negation of Idols to be gods, vers. 4.

2. A Concession of the Worlds I­dolatrous Judgment about God, ver. 5.

3. A main fundamental Position acknowledged by all Believers, and by all, that there is but one God.

4. A Description of this one God, vers. 6. Now for the plain opening of the Words.

We know that an Idol is nothing, &c.

We know] that is, We evidently [...]. know, and are fully perswaded, that an Idol is nothing: An Idol is said to be nothing, in these respects; Nothing is taken two ways,

1. Negativè, negatively; when it is a denial of it to be any thing at all in rerum naturâ: So an Idol is not said to be nothing, for it is something: the carved stocks and stones, the host of heaven, as the Sun, Moon, and Stars, the sublunary creatures, as Men, &c. are true natural things exposed to our view.

2. Nothing is taken privativè pri­vatively, which is a denial of that which it is taken or conceived to be, o [...] to represent: So an Idol is nothing.

Or else, an Idol is said to be nothing in these respects;

1. Though an Idol be something for matter and form, yet it hath no­thing of the nature of a God in it; therefore the Hebrew word [...] which signifies an Idol, is (according to some) quasi, non est Deus, it is not God; it [Page 43] hath not power and strength to help and comfort, or to do any good or evil: they are good for nothing, they will not help in distress, they cannot save nor destroy: Eyes have they, but they see not; ears, but they hear not; hands, but handle not: They that made them are like unto them.

2. 'Tis nothing, in opposition to that which is true and real, the very same thing we conceive it to be: but an Idol is an empty, foolish, vain ficti­on; so the word [...] signifieth va­num, a vain thing, mendacium, a ly­ing thing, a lie, as Isa. 4. and Idols are called vanities by the Prophet Je­remiah: both are spoken of Idol Gods.

3. 'Tis nothing: The Apostle here speaks of Idols by way of contempt, an Idol is nothing; it is not taken ad­jectivè, but substantivè; it is nihil, id est, res nihili, nothing, that is, a thing of no worth at all: a thing good for nothing; and in this sense they are likewise called Vanities, because they are for no purpose at all.

4. An Idol is nothing by way of representation: an Idol doth not re­present God to us; an Idol is not the resemblance, image, shape, or figure of the true God to us, therefore it is no­thing: therefore it is unlawfull to make any Image of God, because ex­presly forbidden: therefore Papists are gross Idolaters, in making the image of God like to an old man, because called the Ancient of dayes; it is im­possible to make a representation of God, because God is invisible.

5. 'Tis nothing, because an Idol can do nothing: Can any of the Vanities of the Gentiles cause rain? Jer. 14. 22. 'tis spoken of Idols. And God up­braids them by the Prophet Isaiah, chap. 44. vers. 9, &c. And Elijah mock [...] the Priests of Baal, that cut themselves with Knives and Lancers, crying ou [...] from morning until noon, O Baal▪ hear us: but when there was no voice, nor any that answered, Elijah derided them and said, Cry aloud, for he is a God; either he is talking, or he is pursuing▪ [Page 45] or he is in a journey, or paradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 1 Reg. 17. 27.

In the World:] By it we are to un­derstand the whole Universe in heaven and earth: that is, all the Idols which are figures or shapes of heavenly or earthly things are nothing.

Ver. 5.] In this verse the Apostle prevents by a Concession, what they might object to him: The Gentiles acknowledg many Gods in heaven and in earth, how can there be but one God?

'Tis most true, saith the Apostle; There be many that are called Gods, and were worshipped as Gods: as in heaven they worshipped sun, moon, and starrs; in earth men, as Jupiter, Saturn, their Images; in the Sea, Nep­tune; under the earth, Rhadamanthus and Proserpina: but all these are no­thing; they are the vanities of the Gentiles; these many Gods and Lords cannot make up one God or Lord; they are all seigned Gods.

Ver. 6. But unto us there is but one God] here the Apostle explodes the Heathenish fables of the many Gods▪ and sheweth that Christianity doth acknowledg, and Christians do be­lieve and profess but one God: let the heathen make to themselves as many Gods as the world hath crea­tures in it, yet we acknowledg but one God. Here the Apostle set [...] forth God with three Epithets.

1. He is the Father: whether it be taken essentially, for the first Per­son, or [...] for the Three per­sons, still it denotes but one God.

2. He is said to be the efficient cause of all things; of whom are all things.

3. He is the last end of all things, and we in him. Hence I note,

That there is but one God.


CHristians and Christian Religio [...] acknowledg but one only God▪ Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is o [...] [Page 47] Lord. Deut. 6. 4. Is there a God beside me? yea there is no God; I know not any. Isa. 44. 8. I am the Lord and there is none else, there is no God beside me. Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is none else, I am God and there is none like me. Isa. 46. 9. The first Commandement runs thus; Thou shalt have no other Gods be­fore me. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the onely true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. Joh. 17. 3.

In the handling of this, I will do these things; first I will shew how God is said to be One; then give the grounds of Polytheism, or how it came to pass, that men did imagine moe Gods then one; and then make Application.

A thing is said to be One diverse ways.

1. Aggregatione, as, many stones make but one heap, many parts make but one whole thing, one body; so God is not one, because there are not [Page 48] a multitude of Gods to make one.

2. A thing is one consensu, by con­sent; as many persons may be as one by their mutuall consent, as three witnesses testifying one thing; so God is not one.

3. A thing may be said to be one genere or specie, as the Logicians have it; man is one kind of living creatures: so Peter or Paul is but one in num­ber, or one individually contained under the specifical kind of Man; though Peter be one individual per­son, yet there be moe men beside him; so God is not one.

4. A thing is said to be one essen­tia, or natura, or numero; as that it hath no parts, nor genus nor species to be contain'd under: so God is said to be one, He is one by nature and es­sence; as that he is but one in number, or rather ante numerum; though there be three persons by number yet there is but one only God ratione essentia▪ so Luther speaking of the Trinity, said it is unissima Trinitas, or, this God is [Page 49] one, not unitate [...] & [...]. be­cause this would take away the plu­rality of Persons: now God is not one, unitate hypostatica, by a personal unity, but God is one onely, unitate [...] non unitate [...], by unity of Es­sence, not unity of Person.

5. God is said to be one, [...], that is the onely God, and none be­side him; he is one per remotionem plurium, he excludes all other Gods, there is no God in heaven or in earth, but this one onely God, John 17. 3.

That there is but one only God, Arg. 1. these arguments are able to evince.

Because there can be but one most perfect Being; therefore of necessity but one God, who is essentially and originally perfect, the very fountain of all good, and the perfection of all created beings: God is solus omnia, therefore most perfect, therefore butThere's none good but God verè, per­fectè sum­mè; sim­pliciter. one God, who is infinitely wise, in­finitely good, infinitely powerful, in­finitely holy; there is none good but God, truly, perfectly, chiefly, sim­ply.

If there should be more Gods then one, then there should be a distribu­tion of excellencies, there would be some perfection in one God which is not in the other; so each of them would be imperfect, neither should be God, because each imperfect; for there is no imperfection in the God­head; an imperfect God is no God.

Because that which hath Being fromArg. 2. himself, and is an absolute independent Being, can be but one; now God hath an absolute independent Being from him­self▪ therefore he calls himself Jehovah: which implies two things for our pur­pose, sc. that he hath being from him­self, and gives being to all other things: In him we live, and move, and have our being, Act. 17. and of him are all things.

Now that there is, and can be but one Being from himself, this reason may evince, because otherwise there would be progressus in infinitum: if God's Being be from another, then that which gave God his being should be God, and that had his being from [Page 51] another, and so you may reason infi­nitely; so tis absurd both in Divinity and Philosophy.

There can be but one first Cause,Arg 3 and one first mover, and one last end of all things; therefore but one God, who is the first cause of all things, and the last end of all things, Rom. 11. 36.

There can be but one infinite Being, one Almighty Being, one Omnipre­sentArg. 4. being; therefore but one God, who is onely Infinite, Omnipo [...]ent, and onely every where, Cujus centrum est ubiqùe & circumferentia nusquam, asT [...]ismegist [...] Trismegistus speaks of God. There can be but one Infinite; for if there were two distinct Infinite Beings, then there would be something in one which is not in another, then where there is any thing wanting, that is not Infinite, and so no God. There can be but one Omnipresent Being, as A­thenagoras argues well; if there be more Gods, where are they, seeing the one onely true God is every where.

The fifth Argument is from theArg. 5. [Page 52] Gentiles, who though they Wor­shipped [...]any Gods, yet still did ac­knowledge there was but one true God.

Because the Divine nature is indi­visible,A [...]g. 6. cannot be divided into parts: it is indivisible, because God is one simpliciter, unum simplicissimum, one most simple thing, admitting no parts nor number: if the Divine Nature were divisible into parts, then were it not one simple, but a compound entity.

CHAP. III. Sheweth the grounds how it came to pass▪ men made so many Gods besides God.

NOw the grounds whence it cam [...] to passe, that men made so ma­ny God's, besides the true God, wer [...] Jon. 1 6. these.

1. One Reason was, the great be­nefits which sometimes they receive [...] from men, who were eminent in som [...] Heroicall vertues, the blinded Gen­tiles would therefore honour and reve­rence them as Gods.

2. The creatures that were usefull were worshipped as gods (because of their usefulness) by those deluded Heathens: thus the people of Judah when they fell to Idolatry burnt in­cense (as they termed it) to the Queen of heaven, poured out drink offer­ings to her, and made her cakes to Worship her, Jerem. 44. for, say they to the Prophet, When we did thus, then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil, ver. 17. Therefore the Egyptians would worship Fire, Cattel, Onyons, Doggs, &c. and the Persians would worship the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

3. From a conceit that Devils did all mischief to them, therefore they would worship even Devils themselves to pacify them.

4. The Devil himself did earnestly labour to blind the eyes of the Hea­then by foretelling things to come, which begot in them an opinion of a Deity; therefore they did offer sacri­fice to them, and would go to their O­racles [Page 54] to demand future things, which gave them an ambiguous answer.

5. Sometimes they would frame a God according to their own lusts and wicked conditions, as, those that were given to lust and adultery made Venus their Goddesse; they that w [...]re given to theft made Mercury their God, they that were given to murther and war made Mars their God.

6. The Apostle gives the true rea­son of all, sc. God's judgement upon them, giving them up to a blind mind, and vain imaginations, for their con­tempt of the true and only God, R [...]m. 1. 21. 22, 23. Because that when they knew God▪ they glorified him not as God, neither were thankfull, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hea [...]t was darkened▪ professing them­selves wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corrup­tible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things; therefore God gave them up to their own hearts [Page 55] lusts; and so they changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and ser­ved the Creature more then the Creat [...]; who is blessed for ever, Amen. ver. 25. This is the reason why God gives men up to idolatry in these daies, 2▪ Thes. 2. 10, 11. The Apostle having de­scribed the coming of the man o [...] Sin to be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signes, and lying won­ders, and with all deceiveablenesse of un­righteousnesse, in them that perish, be­cause they received not the love of the truth that they might b [...] saved; he then tells us, that for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: when men shall re­sist the revealed truth of the onely true God, he gives them up to be­lieve lies.

7. Another ground why they made more Gods then one, was the very ground and argument of the Mani­chees, affirming there were two pri [...] ­ciples or beginnings of things; a sum­mum bonum, and a summum malum: [Page 56] a summum bonum from whence sprang all good; a summum malum, from whence issued forth all evil. Their ar­gument and reason is from the contra­ry effects of things, and the contrary works that are done; there are divers and very contrary effects to one ano­ther. Now two things will give full answer hereunto.

The diversity and contrariety of ef­fectsArg. i. argu [...]s not a contrariety and di­versity of causes; one thing may be the principle, from which issueth di­vers contrary effects: as for instance, As the Sun is one and the same cause, and yet worketh diversly upon divers subjects, his presence causeth light, his absence darknesse; it hardens clay, soften's wax; the Sun is the cause of the great heat in the Summer, and of the cold in the Winter, it ripeneth and rotteth fruit; it [...]awneth the Black­more's skin, it doth not do so to a­nother Nation: If contrary effects should argue contrary causes, then there should be two Suns; if one Sun [Page 57] can by his light and heat produce con­trary effects, why not one God form light and darkness, create good and evil?

Again; our own souls are notable instances: We see, one and the same soul worketh diversly; as, to will, and not will; it perceiveth various things, it understandeth divers things, it move's the body from place to place, it resteth the body. If one creature can produce various and divers things, then much more God; we may as well argue that there are two contrary souls in man, as argue▪ there be two Gods from diverse operations and ef­fects.

There is no summè malum principi­um, Arg. 2. as there is summè bonum, be­cause God, who is summè bonus, good in the highest manner, can and doth disperse, order, and govern the great­est evil, according as he will: for either it is Sin that is summè malum, or the Devil: now both Sin and Devils are all subject to Gods [Page 58] government; which would not be, if there were a summè malum princi­pium, as there is summè bonum, be­cause then there would be an equal power in both; that the chiefest evil would never endure the chiefest good, but would strongly oppose it.


IT is needlesse for me to confuteƲse. 1. the Heathens, who worshipped ma­ny Gods in heaven and earth; most kind of creatures were Gods to some nation or other; I know there are no such persons here among us; we are Christians and all say, I believe in God, so we profess but one God: It were needlesse for me any further to confute the old heresie of the Ma­nichees, which heresie St. Augustine Aug. in Haeres, c. 1. 7, 8. c. 6 22. &. 46. held before his conversion, because I believe there are none here that hold that wretched Tenet.

There are other Heretiques, cal­led Tritheitae, who held there were three Gods, and that upon this [Page 59] ground, because there were three Per­sons, and each person is very God: this errour ariseth from the ignorance of this, in that they consider not, that though the three Persons are tru­ly distinct, yet are they but one and the self same glorious Being and Es­sence: I hope there is none that hear­eth me, that thinketh the three per­sons in holy Trinity, to be three gods really distinct.

Now because the Heathen have worshipped many gods, and because m [...]ny errours have sprung from thence; I will draw these useful Considerations from the Premises.

1. We may see in them the most horrible pollution of nature by the fall of Adam, the strong and strange pronenesse of mans heart naturally to idolatry, and to make many Gods. How can we but wonder to consi­der, how reasonable Man should be so besotted, blinded and stupefied, as to fall down before stocks and stones, beasts and clouts, and worship them [Page 60] for gods? Hence God compareth them to Oxen and Asses, yea makes them more brutish, Isa. 1. 3.

2. We may see hence the full ne­cessity of having the holy Scriptures, which are Gods own Testimony of himself, as he is, and how many gods there are, or rather that there is but one God, the onely living and true God: Then what a mercy is it, to have the scriptures read and diligently prea­ched among us? Why did the Gen­tiles like blind Sodomites, go feeling and groping after God (as they for Lot's door▪) if haply they might find him, and therefore took creature's for God; but because they had not the light of the Word to discover the one glorious God to them? So how comes it to passe that Papists are kept under spiritual darknesse, and in an idola­trous worship: this is one reason, be­cause they are kept from reading the Scriptures in the mother-tongue. The Psalmist makes the word of God to be the greatest blessing, Psal. 147. 19. [Page 61] 20. He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Israel; he hath not dealt so with any nation, and as for his Judgments they have not known them.

3. Take heed of foolish reasonings about the Godhead, I mean about the Unity of the Godhead, and of thy foolish conceits, how three per­sons can be but one God; these fool­ish reasonings were the ground of the heresie of the Tritheites, as, How can three persons being very God, make one God? The best answer unto all such thoughts about the unity of the Godhead, is, to hold to the holy Scrip­tures: God in his word hath given this testimony, that there is but one God; I will believe no more Gods, because God hath said, There is but one God: I will acknowledg no more; His own testimony is the very ground why I will believe and acknowledg but one God. Take this for a rule, when once a man departs from the word of God, he exposeth himself to [Page 62] an hundred errors: What the German Proverb is concerning a Lie, is true of all errors, Nothing is more fruitful, one error begetteth another.


FRom hence I gather, that ChristUse 2. is God, equ [...]l with the Father, contrary to the Arrians of old, and Socinians of late, who maintain, that Christ is God, but yet diverse, and not of the same substance with the Father; for Christ must either be the same with the Father, or else there must of neces­sity be more Gods then one: Now if Christ be God, and diverse from the Father, then the Father and the Son; be two real distinct Gods, which is blasphemously false: 'Tis true, what learned Zanchy saith; A man makesZanch. de trib. Elo­him▪ more Gods, intra Deum, as well as ex­tra Deum: Intra Deum, as the Arrians and Photinians of old, and the Socini­ans unto this day.

If there be but one God, and we ac­knowledgeUse 3. but one God, then, as God [Page 63] is to have all worship, so only God is to be worshipped. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, Matt. 4. 10. There is the Act, that is to give Divine worship unto [...] quae quan­tum ad re­ligionem attinet, non nisi uni et soli Deo de­betur. Isidor. lib. 11. Aug. cont▪ Faust. Manic. lib. 20. God; and the object is both exclusive and inclusive: God must be worship­ped and served, and no other but he only; A place if well weighed, that would scatter all Popish shifting distin­ctions, concerning Divine Worship given to Creatures, as to Angels, Saints, and Images; as the common distinctions of [...] and [...] to God, [...] to the Creature: and to this may be added their hyperdulia to the Virgin Mary: But we find that [...] and [...] are promiscuously used for service to God and the creature; therefore it is a meer verbal distinction, because they signifie one and the same.

No distinction will excuse the Pa­pists from Idolatry: and, as they give Divine worship to others, rather then to God, they make moe Gods then [Page 64] one. Their own praiers put up to the Virgin Mary, testify against them, that they make her a God, praying to her for grace and mercy: yea, their put­ting up prayers to any other Saint, doth deify that Saint, because praier is an act of divine worship; 'Tis a prai­er of theirs, Sancte Petre, miserere mei, aperi mihi aditum Coeli, St. Peter have mercy upon me, open to me the gate of heaven. They say, they pray to God through the mediation of Saints, which is a wrong to Christ's intercessi­on; and 'tis evident, they pray to Saints, not onely as Intercessores, as Intercessours, but as beneficiorum d [...] ­tores, as givers of benefits, and be­stowers of blessings, which is God's property.

If the Virgin Mary were upon Earth, and did know what divine worship is given to her, and how the Papists pray to her as to a God, she would with all zealous indignation say unto them; Worship God, I can do you no good; so would all the Saints and Angels say, [Page 65] Worship the onely true God; We can of our selves do neither hurt nor good; and, could Images speak, they would deride their Worshippers; Oh what fools are these men to leave the true God, and pray to us, that can neither hear, nor see, much lesse can any way help them?

There is great reason, why onely God is to be Worshipped.

1. Because there is but one that isRaas. 1. the Author of our Being and well-be­ing: that, is the very ground of the Scoolmen, why God is to be Wor­shipped, because he is Author Creatio­nis & Beatitudinis nostrae: our Being is from God alone, not from Angels, Saints, Images, or any creature: from God alone is all our Happinesse, Isa. 45. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the Earth. And God gives this as the reason, for I am God, and there is none else; whosoever sets up a graven Image, and praieth unto it, he praieth unto a god that cannot save, ver. 20. Look unto all the creatures, [Page 66] and this is the voyce of all; We are no Sanctuary for you, we cannot help you; Angels, Saints, &c. and therefore worship God alone, who alone save's and damneth, who alone gives us all things richly to enjoy: yea God make's it his great work to do thee and me good, therefore should we Worship him.

Because God is the onely excellentReas. 2. Object; all divine excellencies are on­ly in him, and to him all honour, pow­er, glory, and great Majesty do be­long, therefore all Worship; because excellency is the ground of all Wor­ship; the more Excellency, the more Worship is due; and to him that is most Excellent, most Worship is due; as to a Prince more civil honour is due then to any Nobleman: God is the only true God whom we professe, and acknowledge; the Law, the Pro­phets, and the Apostles preach no o­ther God to be Worshipped, but the onely true God.


THis may give us an Use of admo­nitionUse. 4. or caution, that we do not set up more gods then one in our hoarts: A man may profess but one God, and give outward Worship to that one God, yet may set up many Idols in his heart▪ Though thou art neither Atheist, nor▪ Heathen, nor Papist, yet thou maist commit grosse Idolatry.

There are two sorts of Idols, and two sorts of Idolatry: there are out­ward Idols, as Statue's and Images of men, of Angels and Saints, of the Sun, Moon and Stars; and there be inward Idols, a man's lusts; the crea­tures set up in the heart, to which men give divine Worship, Ezek. 14. 3. When certain of the elders of Israel came to the Prophet Ezechiel and sate before him; the word of the Lord came to him, saying; Son of man, these men have set up their Idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face. There­fore [Page 68] Covetousnesse is said to be Idola­try, Col. 3 5. Eph. 5. 5 and a covetous man is an Idolater: and of all kind of Idolatry this is the worst, for a man to prostitute himself to his base lusts, for a worldling to fall down, and worship his gold and silver, to se [...]ve the unrighteous Mammon, for a god; for a Drunkard to adore his swinish brutishnesse; this kind of fil­thy▪ Idolatry is more true then strange.

I will shew when men make more gods then one in their hearts.

1. When men shall have an higher esteem of the creatures more than of God, make more account of their gold, silver, and lands, then of God; Gade­ren▪ like prefer their Hoggs before Christ, dung and drosse before the true gain: it is no Solecism to say of some men that they set an higher price upon their lusts, upon their pleasures, then they do on God; for the Apostle saith of some, that they are lovers of pleasure, more then lovers of God, 2 Tim. 3 4. In like manner, may it be truly said of too many, that they love [Page 69] their gain, their ease, their credit, their preferments more then God; whatso­ever their corrupt heart delighteth in, they prefer above God; they take more care to provide for their backs and bel­lies then to Worship God, God shall lose his Worship rather then their bel­lies shal want any of their delicious fare.

2. When men shall fear a creature more then God, and hazard the dis­pleasure of God, rather then displease men, fall down and worship Darius for fear of his Lions, obey man by dis­obeying God, God himself gives a check to this servile fear. Who art thou? that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the Son of man which shall be made as grasse? and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the Heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth, and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, Isa. 51. 13.

3. When men shall put more trust and confidence in the creatures then in God, as covetous men trust in uncer­tain [...] [Page 72] and all creatures; Whatsoever you do, 1 Cor. 10. 31 whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God. Dishonour him not in eating, as the people of Israel did, when they required meat for their lust, Psal. 78. 19. Labour to please him in all things; imitate the rivers, who receive waters from the sea, and send all their waters into the sea a­gain: none may challenge the glory of any thing he hath or doth to him­self; the glory must not rest upon him that hath any good, but must be returned to him that gave it.

3. Then expect from this one God all the good that you need, all com­fort in time of sorrow, all plenty in time of want, all refuge and safety in time of danger; expect every good thing, grace and eternal glory from him.

As the Psalmist speaks of promoti­on, it comes neither from the East nor from the West, nor from the North, nor from the South; so I may say of Salvation; look unto me, [Page 73] and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, Isa. 45. 22, as saith the Lord: hear ye, what the Great God of hea­ven cries to us out of heaven, look over the earth, and see whether ther [...] be a God like unto me. Saint Au­gustine saith, that every creature cries out to man, Ego non sum Deus, I am no God, I cannot save you, I cannot help you, I cannot comfort you; honours, riches, friends, all say, we cannot save you, therefore ex­pect Salvation from Him who is the onely true God, and author of all blessedness.

A Discourse of the Three Per­sons in the Sacred Trinity.

1. John 5. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy-Ghost, and these three are one.’

CHAP. 1.

THe coherence of these words is this: The Apostle St. John sets forth the excellency of two main graces, Love and Faith, in respect of the object of both: God is the prime object of Love, and Christ the sole ob­ject and matter of justifying Faith, from whence salvation is onely to be expect­ed, and so Faith apprehends him as the Author and finisher of our salva­tion.

Now that our Faith may rest upon Christ alone for salvation, the Apostle bringeth heaven and earth to witnesse the same, whose testimony are without all possible exception; God the Fa­ther, [Page 75] God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost do give this testimony, that Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and that life Eternal is in his Son; these three do bear record in heaven: and in earth the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood. The Spirit] that is the sanctifying efficacy of God's Spi­rit, purging and renewing our hearts. Water] put here for remission of Sins, typified by the legall purifications, and now sealed to us in Baptism: and Blood] put here for the infinite expi­atory price of our Redemption from Sin; all these testifie that salvation is onely from Jesus Christ.

The mention of the three Heavenly Witnesses are in the Text; the three Witnesses on earth are mentioned, ver. 8. Now to open the words of my Text.

There be three that bear record, [...], do witnesse or give testimony: The testimony or record is expressed, ver. 11. that life eternall is freely gi­ven to us of God, in his onely begot­ten [Page 76] Son: This is the record that God hath given to us eternall life, and this life is in his Son; to him must all the ends of the earth look for salvation.

In heaven] These words are leftBeza in loc. out in seven antient Copies, as the learned Beza observeth; but yet they are to be retained, that these three in heaven may answer the three in earth; and Jerome thinks, they were left outHieron. more through malice, then errour. 'Tis said in Heaven] [...], be­because in heaven the glorious God displaies the full brightnesse of his glo­ry, there he reigneth like a Glorious King.

1 The Father] here is taken [...], for the first Person of the Trini­ty: God is the Eternal Father of his Eternal Son Jesus Christ, by an E­ternal generation; he is the Father of all the Elect in Christ; the Father of all men by Creation.

He bears record of Christ: Take one Testimony for all, Matth. 3. 17. This (Jesus Christ whom John Baptist [Page 77] did baptize before your eyes) is my well-beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

2. The second witness is the Word] that is, the eternall Son of God: The Son of God hath many titles in the Scripture, and this is one, he is called The Word: many of the Antients en­deavour to give reasons of this title; but among all I will give but this one: he is called the Word.

The reason is, because Jesus Christ is the main subject of the Oracles of God, and of the whole Word: Moses, the Prophets, and Apostles do all preach Christ: our Saviour himself saith of Moses, that he wrote of him. Joh. 5. 45. To him also gave all the Prophets Witness: Search the Scriptures saith Christ (of the writings of the Prophets) they are they which testifiy of me, John 5. 39. the Apostles all preached Christ also; Thus Paul to King Agrippa; Having obtained help of God, saith he, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great [Page 78] saying no other things, then those which the Prophets and Moses did say should come; That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles, Acts 26. 22, 23. Christ is the main subject of the Scriptures; hence Count Anhalt said ofA worthy saying of the Count Anhalt on the Scrip­tures. the Scriptures, They were the swadling bands of the holy Child Jesus, who is found in every page.

Now Christ bears record of himself: his testimony of himself are his own words and Miracles; how hath he testified to the World, that he came to call Sinners to repentance, to seek and save that which is lost, and whosoever beleeveth on him should have, or, hath life everlasting.

3. The third witnesse is the Holy Ghost] the third person in the Trini­ty, called so ab officio, because he san­ctifieth God's Elect, and worketh all spirituall graces and motions in them.

He bears record of Jesus Christ. [Page 79] Mat. 3. 16. as soon as he was bapti­zed the heavens were opened to him, and the Spirit of God descended like a Dove, and lighted upon him. Act. 2. by his Apparition of fiery clo­ven tongues upon his Apostles; then the blessed Trinity proclaims Jesus Christ the onely Saviour, and from him we must by faith expect life eter­nal.

And these three are one.] There is a double exposition of these words [...], That is, [...], ad unum sunt: they agree in one, as if they were one and the same wit­nesse: so Calvin and Beza expound it.

Or else this: These three are one respectu essentiae, in respect of their essence; these three persons that bear record in heaven, are but one in es­sence. From these words I will briefly and soberly handle the doctrine con­cerning the glorious and undivided Trinity.


HEnce I note; that in the UnityObserv. of the Divine Essence there is a Plurality of persons: or, There are three persons, but one God. For proof hereof; whereas it is said Gen. 1. 1. that In the begining the Lord made heaven and earth; Some gather the mystery of the Trinity from these words Elohim Bara. Elohim is in the plural number denoting the Trinity of persons; and Bara, which signifies created is the singular number to de­note the unity of essence: Many ar­guments are brought to prove the Trinity from these words, as first, It were incongruous to put a word of the plural before a verb of the sin­gular number. 2. Because whom Mo­ses, calls here Elohim, he afterward calls Jehovah, which is the name of the Trinity. 3. Because Moses was not ignorant of the Trinity; would not silence it.

But others, though they approve of [Page 81] this as a pious and probable collecti­on, yet upon better arguments think the Mystery of the Trinity cannot be collected from these words: their rea­sons are these.

1. Because Elohim being put in­definitely, may signifie four or five persons as well as three, less or more; so there may be occasion given of making more or lesse persons, as well as three.

2. Because if Elohim signifie the Trinity here, it should signifie the Trinity in all other places of Scripture, but it doth not; and the placing of of it in the plural number with the verb in the singular is usual in Scri­prure without a Mystery, as Genes. 9. 15. Exod. 2. 3. Jos. 24. 19. Some say, 'tis put in the plural number prop­ter reverentiae amplitudinem, because the Majesty, power, wisdome, goodness of God is manifested in the creation.

Others would gather it from those words of Moses, Gen. 1. 26. And God said, Let Us make man in our Image, af­ter Our likeness,

Others again, gather the Mystery of the Trinity from the unanimous cry of the Seraphims, Isa. 6. 3. they cry Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty; therefore (say they) the word [holy] is trebled in relation to the Trinity, to the three Persons. But these are not plain and evident proofs of the Trinity. Holy, holy, holy, is tre­bled here, principally for these reasons:

1. To shew that the Angels do continually praise God.

2. To shew that the Seraphims do praise God with all vehemency and fer­vency.

3. To shew the infinite Perfection of his holinesse, that the tongues of Seraphims and Angels cannot express his holinesse.

There are more plain proofs of the plurality of persons in the Godhead. Mat. 3. there is a clear revelation of the Trinity: the Father speaks from heaven; the Son is incarnate, and is baptized; the holy Ghost descendeth in the shape of a Dove. Moreover, [Page 83] Mat. 28. 19. the Commission that our Saviour gives to his disciples runs thus: Go teach all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, baptizing them, tanquam in nomen unius veri Dei. It plainly sheweth, that there are three persons in the Deity, and that these are but one God. To be baptized in­to the name, is, to be bound to believe and obey, and worship this one God, the Trinity in the Unity, Joh. 15. 26. These three are one. John 17. 22.


THe further explication of this mysterious Doctrine of the bles­sed Trinity shall be by Questions.Quest. 1.

The first question shall be about the terms used both by ancient and modern Divines; Whether, seeing the Scripture hath no such terms as Divine Essence or Being] Person] or Trinity] they are then well used by Divines?

Though these terms are not literal­lySol. [Page 84] epxressed in any place of Scripture yet in it there is something fully equi­valent to them, and so are rightly used by Divines; as, to instance in all three,

1. For Essence and Being: the word [...], Essence or Being hath an equiva­lent phrase from that speech of God to Moses when he nameth himself, I AM, Exod. 3. 14. and Revel. 1. 8. where he is cal [...]ed [...], which is, it hath the same identity with Divine Essence or Being; so then that term may be used.

2. For Person, [...] there is a plain place for t [...]is, Heb. 1. 3. where Christ is said to be [...], The expresse Image of his Person. It is true! Some would have it translated, the expresse Image of his Substance, rather then of his Person: but this cannot be; because there can be no impresse of the Fathers sub­stance in the Son, because the same [...]ssence is in both: and then there would be a multiplication of the Di­vine [Page 85] Essence, therefore it is rightly translated the expresse image of his Person.

3. As for the word [...] Trinity: Nomen ab Arithmeti­cis, ad Theologos traductum. there is no such term in Scripture, but my Text will afford an equivalent term; there are three that bear record in heaven: this will warrant the law­full use of the term, Trinity:

In the second place may it be de­manded,Quest. 2 What is a person? Solu.

I answer, in general: A person is a Substance subsisting by it self, indivi­dual, and incommunicable: but this is rather a suppositum, then a persona: therefore they add, Intelligent, living, and active or doing] so Men, so An­gels are persons: other creatures sin­gularia, supposita individua; not per­sonae.

So then a Person is thus defined:A Person desi [...]ed. It is a substance subsisting by it self, indivisible, incommunicable, under­standing, living and working.

Now for the Persons in the God­head they are thus described: The Fa­ther, [Page 86] the Sonne, and the Holy-Ghost, are subsisting in the Divine Essence, undiviced, incommnica­ble, intelligent, by their properties di­stinguished among themselves, but not divided from each other: or, in brief, thus; A Person, in the Godhead, is the Divine Essence, distinguished by his pro­per manner of subsisting. To illustrate it; consider, that the Father is the Divine Essence subsisting by himself, under­standing, willing; distinguished from the Son and Holy-Ghost, by his pro­per manner of subsisting, or by his Personal property: As, the Father's Personal property is, To be of himself, and beget; The Personal property of the Son is, to be of the Father: And the Personal property of the Holy-Ghost is, to be from the Father and the Son: So that the Son is the Divine Essence subsisting by himself, undivided, incom­municable, understanding, willing; distinguished from the Father and the Holy-Ghost by his Personal property.

What is the Father, the Son, andQu [...]st 3. the Holy-Ghost?

The Father is Deus ingenitus▪ sed Sol. generans, God, not begotten but be­getting: The Son is God begotten, not begetting; the Holy-Ghost God neither begetting, nor begotten, but proceeding.

How do the Persons differ? Quest. 4.

They differ from the Essence, asSol. [...] modus rei à re ipsa, as the manner of a thing from the thing it self: for a per­son is essentia divina modisicata, or, li­mited with a certain manner of subsist­ing.

Now, would you understand how they differ among themselves; you must know, they do not differ in na­ture or being, for the same nature and being is in all: in the Deity there is not aliud & aliud, but alius & alius, the whole divine nature in each parti­cular Person.

They differ these three waies.

1. Respectu ordinis; in regard of Order: the Father is before the Son and Holy-Ghost, not in time and in dignity, for they are all C [...]-eternal and [Page 88] Coequal; but, in order, the Father is before the son, the Father and the Son before the Holy-Ghost.

2. They differ in operationibus ad intra, where the personal properties▪ or actions in the Father differ from the Son, because the Father begetteth, the Son is begotten.

3. In operationibus ad extra: The Father worketh of himself, by the Son; the Son, of the Father by the Holy-Ghost: hence Creation is first attributed to the Father, Redempti­on and dispensation to the Son, Sancti­fication to the Holy-Ghost; so that the same work is the work of the Fa­ther, Son, and Holy-Ghost, but there is not the same manner of working.


I Will now set down some Rules, which will much help us for the un­derstanding of this Mystery.

1. The divine Nature is not a fourth thing distinguished from the three Per­sons, but is the same with the three.

2. Hence each person is very God, because the Divine Essence is the same in each Person.

3. Hence you may see that there is but one God, although there be Three Persons; because they are one with the Essence, which is God.

4. Hence you may see, that all the Attributes given to the Essence, be­long to every Person; the Father Almighty, the Son Almighty, &c. There is but one Will in them, one Understanding, because there is but one Essence.

5. Hence all their works ad extra sunt indivisa, all their works outward­ly are undivided, because the Three Persons are undivided in Essence. Cre­ation, and Providence in One, are the actions of all Three.

6. Hence the Son and the Holy-Ghost are God by themselves, not by the Father. Some say, that the Essence is communicated from the Father to the Son, and from both to the Holy-Ghost; and so they are not [...] God [Page 90] of themselves: but I say, Filius acce­pit Persona de Persona, non Deus de Deo. filiationem, non deitatem, the Son received his filiation, not the Deity from the Father.

7. Hence the three Persons are [...], of the same nature, Coequal, Coeter­nal, not one before another in Essence, as the Eunomians falsly held. Not one before another, for in God there is neither Prius nor posterius; not one ex­celling another in Grace and Dignity, as the Arrians blasphemously held; but they are Coequal in their Divine per­fections and Attributes, because but one nature or Essence in all.

8. Hence they are one in another, the Father is in the Son, the Son in the Father, and both in the Holy-Ghost; they are still glorifying and delighting one in another.

9. These three Persons in the Di­vine Essence are not confused, or se­parated, or imaginary, but are really subsisting and distinguished.


BUt here, it may be objected; ThatObject. one thing should be three with­out multiplication implies a contra­diction.

I answer; In finite things it doth:Sol. but God is infinite, and so is not ca­pable of number or parts, and of multi­plication: we see the nature of man is multiplied according to the multi­plication of men, because 'tis finite, and so plurificabilis; but the Deity is infinite, and so not multiplicabilis.

There are two reasons given, why, though there be three Persons, yet there is but one God.

Because there is but one infinite Na­tureReas. 1. in the three Persons.

Because these three Persons are al­togetherReas. 2. inseparable. You will say perhaps, there is but one humane na­ture in all men: but here lies the dif­ference; though there is but one hu­manenature in men, yet men are sepa­rated from each other, but the three Per­sons [Page 92] in the holy Trinity, as they have but one infinite nature, so they are al­together inseparable.


THis should teach us to hate thatƲse 1. abominable Idolatry of such as make a representative Image of the Trinity: Such an Idol is nothing; it cannot possibly represent God, be­cause he is invisible, and he is infinite; no man can make a representation of Him; 'tis horribly unlawful, because expresly forbidden in the second Com­mandment: besides, it is an infinite wrong to our infinite God, that sinful Man should offer to represent his infi­nite nature, within the narrow com­pass of a Picture or Statue.

Here we may admire the infiniteUse 2. Love of God to Mankind, in that the glorious Trinity from Eternity de­lighted in themselves, & glorified each other; so they could have done to E­ternity, without Men or Angels: God the Father delighted with infinite joy [Page 93] in God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; they all delighted in each, and each in all: Yet such is the con­descension of this Glorious Trin [...]ty, that he hath set his infinite and un­changeable love upon us, and his de­light is with the Children of Men.

The Love of the Trinity appeareth in two special things.

1. The Love of the Father, the first Person in the Trinity, appeareth, in that he is become our Almighty and E­ternal Father in Christ. He could have rest satisfied in his onely begotten Son J [...]sus Christ: Yet behold his love! he saith to all Believers, Ye are all my beloved in Christ; I am well pleased with you in my onely beloved Son.

2. The Love of God the Son ap­peareth in these three things. 1. In that being equal with God, very God would become very Man, by his as­sumption of our nature, like unto us in all things, sin onely excepted, for our salvation. 2. In that he is our Almighty and Eternal Saviour, to [Page 94] save us from the eternal wrath of God to come. 3. In that being the onely begotten Son of God, he is content­ed to have us the sons of God; and being the Heir of all things, to have us to be Co-heirs with him. Magna be­nevolentia Bernard. est, Unicus natus est, & no­luit manere unus, saith Bernard. He goes to his Father in this manner; Fa­ther, I, that am thine onely begotten Son, am contented to be made the son of Man, that the sons of men may become the sons of God.

3. The Love of the Holy Ghost appeareth, in that he is become our sanctifier, the Almighty and Eternal Comforter of all the godly: What comfort shall or can they want, who have an infinite Comforter?

Their Love also appeareth in their joynt-actions in two things.

1. In that they will make all Be­lievers one with them, according to the Prayer of our Saviour for all the Faithful, Joh. 17. 21. That they all may be one, as thou, O Father, art in [Page 95] me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; and the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. Vers. 22, 23. That they may be one in the participation of glory and happiness with the Tri­nity: the glorious Trinity do pour forth all good things upon the Elect; he excepteth not his own glory and happines and the happiness of God the Father, is the fruition of God the Son and Holy Ghost: So shall the happiness of all believers be the full Vision and Fruition of this glorious God, they shall delight in God to all Eternity.

2. In that this glorious Trinity will be the reward of all them that dili­gently see God; What he said to A­braham, he saith to every Child of his, I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. For the present, the Almighty Trinity is a Shield to pro­tect, defend, save, comfort; and [Page 96] hereafter the glorious Trinity will be their infinite and eternal Reward.


BEhold here the incomparable andUse 3. unconceiveable happiness and pri­viledge of Believers, how mean, de­spicable, and troublesome soever their condition in the world be. Every Be­liever hath an eternal interest in this glorious Trinity. The Eternal Father is their Eternal Father, and he will shew forth his Almighty Power to save, protect, and defend them, and w [...]ll bless them with all good: the E­ternal Son is their Eternal Saviour, Brother and Co-heir: the Eternal Spirit is their Eternal Comforter and Sanctifier. This glorious Trinity do put forth their Eternal Attributes to work their eternal good: the infinite Power, the infinite Mercy, the infi­nite Wisdom, the infinite Goodness of this glorious Trinity, worketh their good; and they shall be all hap­py, if these three glorious Persons can make them so.

It was the answer of David to Saul's servants, Is it a small thing to be son in law to a King? Implying it to be an high honour and dignity to be the son of a King: the same may be spo­ken of every Believer; 'tis no small hononr and dignity for such poor crea­tures as Believers are, to be the Sons of God the Father, Brethren and Co­heirs with the Eternal Son of God, and to have the infinite blessed Spirit to be their Comforter.

Take heed then, O ye wicked of the earth, how ye do harm the Saints of God; their Father, their Saviour, their Comforter, will judge and avenge their wrongs: you cannot long wrong and oppress them, because God is their Father; Sin and Devils cannot damn them, because the Eternal Son of God is their Saviour; you see they can rejoyce in tribulation, because the Holy Ghost is their Comforter.

Seeing these glorious Persons doUse 4. delight in, and love each other, and glorifie one another; let it admonish [Page 98] us, that do profess three Persons and one God, to give all honour and wor­ship to this Trinity in unity; to put all our delight in glorifying this one God, with one mind and heart, and with all our hearts and souls. If God the Fa­ther be called Father by you, then hear what the Apostle exhorts you to; see that you pass the time of your soj [...]urn­ing here in fear; he is an holy Father, be ye holy, as he is holy: If you call the Eternal Son of God your brother, your Saviour, then strive after a confor­mity to his Image: if you call the Spirit of God your comforter, then take heed of grieving your comforter, by quenching and rebelling against his blessed motions: let your hearts be for God, let him have all your love, your desires, your esteem, and rest fully satisfied in him.

From the whole verse thus explained; we may draw two considerable uses.

1. We may behold a strong groundUse. of confidence and faith in Christ, we have it in that this glorious Trinity [Page 99] with one consent bare this record, that in Christ the son of God is life eternal: God the Father testifies this to all, that life eternal is from his Son: God the Son gives the same testimo­ny, I Am the life, and whosoever believeth on me, hath life eternal: And God the Holy Ghost gives this testimony; therefore you that look for life eternal, receive Christ, for in him eternal life is found; and you may be assured of it, the glorious Tri­nity hath spoken the word, therefore be confident.

2. It sheweth to us the horrid na­ture of the sin of unbelief, not only in that it is a full rejection of whole Christ, but also it make's the glori­ous Trinity a liar. 1 John 5. 10. God hath given this Testimony that par­don of Sin, righteousness, Life Eter­nal is in Jesus Christ, if thou believest not, dost thou not make God a liar?

A Discourse shewing, What GOD is.

Exod. 6. 3. And I appeared unto A­braham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.’


HAving already proved there is a God, and but one God, and in the Divivine Essence that there are Three Persons, I am now to shew what God is, and here I can shew no more then he hath revealed to us, even his back parts, his titles, and his names: As for his Essence never shall Angels or men know with a comprehensive knowledge; we come to the know­lede of God four waies.

1. Per viam negationis: by way of of negation: He is not this or that therefore this. S. Paul laboureth to convince the idolatrous Athenians, out [Page 101] of some of their own Poets, that we are the off-spring of God, and for that reason we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone engraven by Art, or man's de­vice, but God was he that made the World and all things therein, Lord of heaven and earth, and not dwelling in Temples made with hands; who is not Worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things, Acts, 17. 24, 25. 29.

2 Per viam eminenti [...]; by way ofIn perfect­ionibu [...] datur su­pr [...]mum in qu [...]est sta­tus. Eminency: There are creatures Emi­nent in some one or other perfection, but God is most Eminent: There is wisdome, power, strength, justice, goodnesse, holinesse in the Scriptures, but God is most wise, powerful, just, good; and therefore 'tis usual with Scripture, speaking of excellent crea­tures to call them Gods things: Moun­tains are called the Mountains of God, Numb. 10. 33. The tall Cedars are called God's Cedars, Psal. 80. 11. [Page 102] Sometimes the Scripture compounds names with the name of God, as Ari­el, the strong Lion of God, teaching us, that when we behold any excel­lency in the creature, we should lift up our minds, tanquam per scalam, to the Infinite Excellencies that are in God.

3. We know God Per remotionem, by removing all imperfections and de­fects from God; as when we say God is Infinite, Immortall, Immutable, we remove all defects from God: he is most wise, there is no shadow of folly in him, he is most good, there is no shadow of evil in him.

4. Per viam causationis, by his Ef­ficiency; this sheweth that there is a God; the other three shew what God is, Et qualis Deus, what manner of God he is.

The Scripture make's known God to us all those waies, but especially by his titles or names, and by his Attri­butes: Concerning God's titles which shew his Nature to us, I will shew them here, and his Atributes hereaf­ter.

That his titles and names declare what God is, this text is plain for it, and nomen rei est notificatio rei, And I appeared, &c.

For the coherence of the words briefly this is to be considered.

Moses being sent to deliver Israel out of Egypt, was an occasion of their sorer labour, for Pharaoh and his mer­cilesse servants did redouble their tasks and slavery: The children of Israel were much grieved at it, and with a murmuring reproof did sharply rebuke Moses and Aaron, as appeareth, Exod. 5. 20, 21. Saying to them, the Lord look upon you, and judge, because you have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. Now in ver. 22, and 23. Moses made his and their condition known to the Lord, how the People were more vexed then formerly; Moses said to the Lord, Wherefore hast thou so evil in­treated this People? Why is it that thou hast sent me? for since I came to Phara­oh [Page 104] to speak in thy name, he hath done e­vil to this People, neither hast thou de­livered thy People at all. In this Chap­ter God answereth Moses in two things.

1. That Pharaoh should be com­pell'd to let Israel go: The Lord said to Moses, now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh, for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his Land, ver. 1.

2. For confirmation of Moses faith, and to calm the murmuring spirits of the distressed Israelites, God declareth what a God he is, and hath been to their Fathers of old, and what a God he will be to them, ver. 2, 3. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him; I am the Lord; And I appeared unto A­braham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them,

Here it may be demanded how is itQuest. said, that God did not make himself [Page 105] known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by his n [...]me Jehovah?

Nomen, the name Jehovah wasSol. 1. known to A [...]raham, Isaac; and Jacob, but not mysterium nominis, the myste­ry of the Name, this was revealed to Moses from God, and from Moses to the People: It is meant of the per­form [...]nce of his great promises made to Abraham: God did promise to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's Seed for an inheritance, which promise was not performed to him, but to his Seed after him: So that this is the mean­ing: God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, El Shaddai, God Almighty, in protecting, delivering and reward­ing them, but by his name Jehovah he was not known to them, God did not perform his promise made to Abraham, unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but un­to their Seed and posterity after them.


HEnce I observe, that God makesObserv. himself known what a God he is [Page 106] to his people by his name and titles: Gods names are agreeable to his na­ture, and divine properties, as he hath a being from himself, and gives being to all, so he is Jehovah, and called I AM; as his nature is omnipotent, so he is called El, Elohim, and Elo­hah, powerfull; as he is All-sufficient, so he is called Shaddai.

In the handling of his glorious names; I will first, give to you all his names, and the meaning of them; se­condly, I will insist principally upon the name Jehovah, because it is his most essential name.

The Hebrews have reckoned up many names of God, and all of them express God to us.

1. The first, is here in the Text, El Shaddai, God almighty; I shall speak nothing of the derivation of this word Shaddai in this place, because I intend to speak more largely of it hereafter; it intimates that God is All-suffici­ent, he wanteth nothing, but is in­finitely blessed with the infinite per­fections [Page 107] of his glorious being: by this name God makes himself▪ known to be self-sufficient, all-sufficient, absoute­ly perfect.

If God be All-sufficient, then shallUse. that man want nothing that hath God for his God, he that loseth all for God, shall find all in God. When Hannah complained for want of chil­dren, Elkanah said unto her, Am not I better to thee then ten sons? why weepest thou? So the Lord saith, I am God All-sufficient, and am not I bet­ter then all riches, honours, lands and friends? I am more sufficient to reward thee, then millions of worlds, of creatures can do.

2. The second name by which God expresseth his nature, is Elohim & Eloha; this name denote's the power and strength of God, to denote un­to us, that God is strong and pow­erful.

If God be Elohim, a strong power­fullUse 1. God, then he can do great and difficult matters for his Church and people.

2. If God be strong and powerful, then it is in vain to oppose him, to rebel, to rage against him and his Church; God is too strong for all enemies, too powerful for all the powers of hell.

3. If God hath named himself E­lohim, strong and powerfull, then fear not thou worm Jacob; though the Church be as worms in the esteem of their enemies, yet they need not fear, because God is their strong and pow­erful God.

3. The third name of God by which he makes himself known is Adonai, Do­minus, Lord; some derive the Word from a Word in the Hebrew, that sig­nifies judicare to judg, because God is Judg of all the world. Others derive it from a word which signifieth Basis, [...] a foundation, intimating that God is the upholder of all things; as the foundation of an house is the support of the whole building, so God is the upholder of the world, he upholdeth all things by the word of his power.

If God hath named himself Lord, Use. [Page 109] and that because he upholdeth all things, we may infer this comfort for the Church, he will uphold Jerusa­lem in all dangerous times and trou­bles, his Church is more dear to him than the World, and his people than all other creatures which he doth uphold.

2. Then acknowledg him to be Lord, by paying service to him, by obeying him; obey him and he will uphold you: how did he uphold Da­niel in the midst of a Den of Lions, be­cause he obeyed him?

4. Another name by which God hath expressed himself, is the Creator, the Maker of heaven [...]ne earth. Isa. 45. 11. 12. This sets forth God as the Author and [...]ountain of all our Being out of nothing.

5. Another name is, the high and lofty one, Isa. 57. 15. called so, re­spectu loci & dignitatis, in respect of place and dignity; the highest heaven is his lofty throne on which he sits to judg the world: therefore God is cal­led altissimus, Luk. 1. the highest.

If God be the high and lofty one,Use 1. then let the great ones tremble be­fore him, and that because God is higher then they Eccl. 5.

2. This sheweth who it is, that brings the proud ones in their proud attempts against his people down with shame and dishonour, sc. the high and lofty one who is above them in all things wherein they deal most proudly.

3. See the love of God to broken hearts, in that the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, who dwell­eth in the high and holy place, will vouchsafe to dwell with him that is of an humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the spirit of the contrite ones. Isa. 57. 15.

6. Another name is, Jehovah Tse­baoth, the Lord God of Hosts, his name is called by the name of The Lord of Hosts, that dwelleth between the Cherubims. 2. Sam. 6. 2. He is called the Lord of Hosts for two rea­sons.

1. To shew that he is the sole com­mander of all creatures in heaven and in earth: The Angels, they are his Host: A multitude of the heavenly Host, Luke 2. 12. The Sun, Moon, and all the Stars are called his Hosts: all creatures in the World are the Lord's Host's.

2. To shew that God is instar exer­cituum omnium, instead of all Hosts and Armies.

Then be ye all exhorted to be onUse 1. God's side, for his side is the strongest and will be the conquering side; he will give an Eternall overthrow to all his enemies.

2. Then let the Enemies of God be horribly afraid, because every day they walk in the midst of God's Armies: take heed you scoffers at Religion, ye persecutours of his Righteous Isaac's; Take heed ye Drunkards, how ye pro­voke God to anger; For if he give a commission to any of his Armies, and command the least creature in his Hosts to fall upon you, ye are destroy­ed for ever.

7. God nameth himself [...] the Holy One, the Holy One of Israel, Psal. 71. 22.

If God be Holy: then he cannotUse. 1. endure any Sin; he must needs hate Sin, and Sinners. Thou art of purer eyes then to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. Habak. 1. 13. Thou art not a God, that hast pleasure in wicked­nesse, neither shall evil dwell with thee: the foolish shall not stand in thy sight, and thou hatest all workers of iniquity, Psal. 5. 4, 5.

2. Labour to be Holy, as he is Holy: As he which hath called you is Holy, so be ye Holy in all manner of Conversation; Because it is written, Be ye Holy, for I am Holy, 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. God is free from all vice. There are three other names, whereby God hath made him­self known and they are called his Es­sential names, because they do denote [...] his being and all from one root, havah, or hadiah, esse, to be:

The first is Exod. 3. 14. Eheje I am that I am, or I will be what I will be, [Page 113] some make this name to be Gods extraordinary name; That of our Saviour, Rev. 1. 8. (I am he which is, and which was, and which is to come,) is the Interpretation of this name. Damascene saith, this nameDamasc. containeth all things in it, like a vast and infinite Ocean, without bounds.

The reason why God nameth him­self, I am that I am, or, I will be that I will be, is because he is the Being of Beings, subsisting by himself, as if he should say; I am my Being, I am my Essence; my Existence differeth not from my Essence, because I am that I am: and as I am, so I will be to all Eternity, the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; there is no shadow of change, no variablenesse at all in Me.

The second Name is Jah: Sing un­to God, sing praises to his Name, ex­tol him that rideth upon the Heavens by his name Jah, and rejoyce before [...] him, Psal. 68. 4. Now this name [Page 114] Jah; is but the contract of Jeho­vah, Jah ni­hil est ali­ud quam nomen [...] decurtatum; quod Ebraice doctissimi viri judicant, idque per s [...]ncopen, qua aliquid è medio dictionis eximitur▪ contractio autem syncopica apud Ebraeos si [...]ri soleat reducta vo [...]ali consonantis sequentis ad antecedentem, ut cum hac in u­nam vocem coalescat: [...]ndè e [...]iam sequi vocales illas esse nomi­ni [...] proprias, & camets ter [...]am esse camquè propriam Tetragrammati vocalem, Rivet. exercit. 14. in Genes. and signifieth the same, or [...], he is▪

The last name, is here in the Text [...] Jehovah: this is his memoriall to all generations. Jehovah Eloha A­braham, the Lord God of Abraham, Exod. 3. 15. This name was used al­ways when the Priest blessed the peo­ple, Num. 6. 24, 25▪ 26. The Lord, or Je­hovah bless thee, and keep thee. Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious to thee: Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace; It was thrice repeated. And this Name they were commanded to swear by: Thou shalt fear Jehovah thy God, and swear by his Name, Deut. 6. 13. The Jews had many grosse con­ceits [Page 115] of this name, and fearing to use it, say for it Adonai; scarce any but the Priest used it; they call it, Nomen Dei Zanch. de [...]ib. Elo­ham. lib. 1. cap. 12. ineffabile: but this name Jehovah is not unspeakable in regard of the Name; but in regard of the Essence of God set forth by it, as Zanchy noteth.

The Jews observe, that in God's Name Jehovah the Trinity is implied: Je signifies the Present-tense, Ho the Praeter-perfect tense, Vah the Future; and S. John alludes to this name, Rev. 1. 8. Which was, which is, and is to come. The Jews also observe, that in this name Jehovah, all the Hebrew letters are literae quiescentes, that denote rest, implying, that in God and from God is all our rest: every godly man is like Noah's Dove; he can find no rest nor satisfaction in any creature but in God; God is the godly mans Ark of rest and safety.


HEre I will do two things: First, I will shew what this Name impli­eth, and then draw some observations from it.

1. It implieth his Eternity, which is excellently interpreted, Rev. 1. 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come.

2. It implieth, that God hath Be­ing from himself, and subsisteth alone by himself, that he is absolutely an in­dependent Being; he onely is [...]

3. That he is ens entium, the effici­ent Being of all things; he giveth to all creatures their Being, to Angels their spiritual and intellectual being, and to men their being: In him we live, move, and have our being▪ Act. 17. 28.

4 It denoteth, that God is most true, constant, and faithful in his promises, as here in the Text: Your Fathers knew me by the Name Almighty, or, [Page 117] El Shaddai; that I am a God All­sufficient: that I am a rich God by giving them riches, a strong God by protecting and defending them, and helping them in their straits and ex­tremities: 'Tis true! I did promise to deliver them out of the land of Egypt, to give them the land of Canaan for their possession, to take them for my peculiar people from among the na­tions, but they saw not the fulfilling of these promises as now you that are their seed shall see: for you shall see that I am a God constant and faith­ful in all my promises made to your Fathers, for I will make them good to you because I am Jehovah.


THe points that I would draw from hence, and handle, shall be only these two.

1. That the Lord Jehovah doth on­lyObser. 1. subsist of himself, and all things subsist by him.

2. That the Lord will make good [Page 118] all his promises, because he is Jeho­va [...]. For the first: God only subsisteth, to speak properly; no creature can say, I AM, absolutely; no creature can say, I will be; but onely God can say, I am Alpha and Omega, the be­ginning and the ending, which Was, and which Is, and is to come.

I will shew the difference between God's subsistence and ours. The dif­ference lieth in these things that fol­low.

God's subsistence is eternal: Thou Differ. 1. art God from everlasting to everlasting; Psal. 90. 2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the Earth and the World were formed, God had a subsistence; and he can subsist if all the world were dissolved again into nothing: our subsistence is in time: Angels and men that shall live to e­ternity, yet are not from eternity: all other su [...]sistent beings shall be turn­ed into nothing.

God subsisteth independently: heDiffer. 2. depends upon no second causes, nor [Page 119] former causes: he is All-sufficient, his own essence is his own happiness: but creatures depend on secondary causes; Angels and men and all other crea­tures depend on him, 'tis he that con­tinueth all created beings in their be­ing; in him we live, move, and have our being; if he command, Return ye children of men into dust, he turn­eth them to destruction, and they are swallowed up of the grave; if he say, come again, all things shall stand and live before him.

God subsisteth immutably: MyDiffer. 3. name, saith he, is, I AM, that is, I am the same from eternity to eternity: the same yesterday, to day, and for ever; there is not so much as a sha­dow of change in God.

There is no encrease or decay in God; but he is as holy, as just, as powerful, as merciful, as perfect and blessed as ever he was: he is God merciful from everlasting to everlast­ing: now the subsistence of the crea­ture is mutable: We know there was [Page 120] a mutation among Angels; some of them kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation: Jude v. 6. Man also is a very mutable creature, he is subject to many changes: we see how all sublunary creatures continue not at one stay; but like the Moon, sometimes they are in the increase, sometimes in the full, sometimes in the decrease: some creatures (as An­gels) become immutable by participa­tion: God keeps and preserves them in their immutable condition: God can put an end to all the perfections in the creatures, and then change them again.

God subsisteth immediately by him­self,Differ. 4. without means: we do subsist by means, and by his blessing upon the means, we must eat, drink, sleep, or we cannot long subsist, and have a Being in the world:

The Reason is, because the Lord Jehovah hath being from himself, therefore he subsisteth by himself, and not by any other, yea he was from [Page 121] eternity, because from no cause; there­fore independently and immutably, because from no first cause: but we subsist in time, dependently and mu­tably, because we depend on him as the first cause; and therefore as God will, so we subsist, or not subsist. According to the presence of the sun so is the light continued in the air; if the Sun withdraws his light, then darkness covereth the earth, because light in the air subsisteth by the pre­sence of the sun: so because our life, health, strength, and all the comforts we do enjoy, do depend on God, and subsist by him; according to his pre­sence they stand; if he withdraw they soon fall: when the sea floweth, the ri­vers swell, when the seas ebb the ri­vers fall: so it is with creatures, ac­cording to the presence or absence of God.


THis discovers the folly of all such,Ʋse 1. as set their hearts upon any thing [Page 122] but God; that set their hearts upon riches, which cannot subsist, but take to themselves wings, and flie away as an Eagle toward heaven, Prov. 23. 5. And as Birds do flye from this tree to that tree, so do riches from this house to that house, from this man to that man. It likewise sheweth the folly of those that set their hearts upon pleasures, which are transient, and perish in the very use; and of those that make flesh their arm, put confidence in friends, or in the fa­vours of men, seeing none of these subsist of themselves, but on a sud­dain perish. We see that men do not subsist always; sometime their wealth decayeth, sometime their fa­vour and love decayeth, sometime their beauty decayeth: surely, then all those that depend upon them, do decay with them: all outward things are but sandy foundations for us to build all our hopes and comforts up­on: look over all the creatures, and see what creature can say, I am that [Page 123] I am, I will be what I will be: Riches, honours, pleasures, preferments, friends cannot say so: and therefore it is the greatest folly in the world, to set up the creatures that cannot subsist, and to neglect God: There is a curse pronounced against all those that trust in an arm of flesh, and do idolize and deifie creatures, and neglect God.

This may exhort you to trust in theUse 2. Lord Jehovah, who onely is, and sub­sisteth by himself, who hath said, He will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Now consider these Motives.

1. The Lord Jehovah can give be­ing, and doth give being to all things; he can create peace, comforts, mer­cies, health, strength, friends, grace, and every good thing: he can com­mand loving kindnesse, he can com­mand comfort and deliverance to Ja­cob; when he speaks the word, all things shall subsist according to thy desire: so then, let thy condition be what it will, if God be thy confi­dence, he can proportion all things [Page 124] to thy condition: Art thou in want? he can make plenty subsist. Art thou poor? he can make riches subsist. Art thou friendless? he can make friends to subsist again? Art thou in ter­rours fears and doubts? God can make pardon, grace, and full assurance of faith to subsist.

2 Because God Jehovah, as he subsists and gives being, so he can con­tinue the being and subsistence of all mercies, as far and as long as they shall make for thy good: he can make thy health to subsist, thy riches to sub­sist, thy strength, thy friends, thy life it self to subsist, all comforts in­ward and outward, spiritual and tem­poral to subsist: for it is God that bears up the world and all the creatures, and according to his will and pleasure, so shall thy comforts subsist.

3. When outward things decay, God will subsist, God wil subsist immutably, when there is a change of conditions fals out (as all outward things are perish­ing, unconstant, and mutable) Jeho­vah [Page 125] saith, I the Lord change not: when riches decay, God saith, I Jehovah am riches, &c. I AM, that is my name; so that all decays are made up in Gods subsistence, whose name is, I am, I will be.

4. When all things shall come to nought, friends, riches, health, strength, life and all, and shall subsist no lon­ger in thy self; then God will subsist, and make thee to subsist in eternal glory, then will he say, I am that I am, thy reward to eternity, thy hap­piness to eternity, thy eternal com­forter, thy eternal God.

This sheweth the happiness of allUse 3. Gods servants, because God doth e­ver subsist to direct them in all their ways, to protect them in all their dan­gers, to comfort them in all their tribulations, and abundantly to reward them, though they run thorow a thousand changes, yet the Lord sub­sisteth the same to them, and carries them thorow as upon Eagles wings: let a christians condition change, yet God will never leave him nor forsake him.

Then extol the name of this greatUse 4. Jehovah. Psal. 68. 4. that is, ac­knowledg that God onely is [...], is of himself, and subsisteth by himself; that God onely is: Riches are not. Prov. 23. 5. honours, pleasures are not; but God onely is; by him thou dost subsist.


A Second point I draw from this (that the Lord is Jehovah) shall be this.

That the Lord will make good all Observ. his promises to his Church and people, because he is Jehovah. 'Tis said, that now to them he will be made known by his name Jehovah; that he is a God giving being to his promises, commanding a full and due accomplish­ment of them. In the handling this point, I will do these four things. 1. I shall shew the meaning of being made known by the name Jehovah. Then 2. I will prove the point by Scri­pture, then by reason. 3. I will give the [Page 127] Rules concerning Gods fulfilling of promises; 4. Then make Applica­tion.

1. My name Jehovah implies these things in reference to his promises.

1. That I the Lord am faithful in my promises, will not deceive those that put their trust in me: Let men believe what my mouth hath spoken, and my power shall make my word to come to pass.

2. That I the Lord am true in myUse 1. promises: God is not as man, or as the son of man, he cannot lie; pro­mise one thing, and mean another; but what the Lord promiseth, he de­creeth to do. Gods actions shall be, and are as good as his words: Hath the Lord promised deliverance from all trouble, pardon of sins, peace of Con­science, grace and glory, every good thing? you shall see him true in all, failing in none, but all shall be made good to his Church and people.

3. That I the Lord am constant in my promises. Hath the Lord promi­sed [Page 128] this or that mercy to his Church and people? he will never repent of his promises: Men often waver after promises made; he will not waver, nor breed suspicion in our hearts: the Lord will firmly stand to his word. I the Lord have made promises of mer­cy to my people; the word is gone out of my mouth, I will never go back from my word, all the mercies and good things promised shall accompa­ny my word. The Lord hath said of his name Jehovah, This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations, Exod. 3. 15. A me­morial, of what things? It is a memo­rial of Gods faithfulness, truth and con­stancy in his promises, that all suc­ceeding generations shall see and ac­knowledge God to be faithful, true, and constant in keeping promises, in full and due accomplishment of them, I will ever be known to my Church and people by the name Jehovah.


Sect. 1.

NOw for proof of the Point, first by Scripture.

The Lord glorieth in this title, a God keeping Covenant: what! doth bind himself by promise in a Cove­nant? he will not fail in one condition on his part, he is circumstantially pun­ctual. Behold what he speaks of his Faithfulness in keeping Covenant, Jer. 31. 35, 36. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the Sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the Moon, and of the Stars for a light by night; which di­videth the Sea, when the waves thereof roar, the Lord of Hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a Nation be­fore me for ever: That look as the or­dinances of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, of Day and Night remain firm, un­alterable; so shall his Promises and Covenant made to his Church and People, be as firm and unalterable. [Page 130] And v. 37. he addeth, If Heaven above can be measured, and the foundation of the Earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord. As he proveth the immutability of his Covenant and Promises, from the im­mutability of the natural ordinances; so here he proveth it from an impos­sible thing: As 'tis impossible to mea­sure Heaven, to search the Earth to its center; so it is impossible, that ever the Cov [...]nant between God and his People should be broken. All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, Psal. 25. 10. These two are coupled toge­ther, because God truly performeth what he promiseth to his People, sc. his mercies; his promises of pardon of sins, sanctification, life eternal, di­rection of his people in the way to eternal life, this is his way of mercy: His way of truth, is, to fulfil these promises, to command these loving kindnesses to come to all his people, this is his way of truth. Now these [Page 131] are called the ways of Jehovah; be­cause it is Gods constant and faithful course, truly to per [...]orm his promises of Mercy. S. Paul tells us, 2 Tim. 2. 13. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Though men should mistrust the fidelity of his Word, and give no credit to him, yet God abides faithful and constant in his Promises, he cannot lie, he will not deny himself. Now God will perform all his promises, because his Name is Jehovah. It is observed by Zanchy, that as often as God in his Prophets doth promise any great Mercy, or threaten any grie­vous Judgment, he makes mention of this Name Jehovah; I am the Lord, or Jehovah.

Take some instances for all: Jer. 31. 31, 32, 33, 34. a place full of fe­deral Promises to his Church, con­cerning his putting his Law into their inward parts, and writing it on their hearts, of enlightening their minds, and pardoning the sins of his people, and such like; there he mentioneth [Page 132] this name divers time: Thus saith the Lord, or Jehovah: Thus saith Jeho­vah, I will make a new Covenant with them: Thus saith Jehovah, I will put my Law in their inward parts, &c. Thus saith Jehovah, I will forgive their iniquities, &c. to shew that he will make good his promises; they shall surely be pardoned, they shall be sanctified, they shall obey me. The fifth Chapter of Ezekiel is full of se­vere threatnings of fearful Judgments; and that those threatnings shall be ac­complished, the wicked shall see him as true and faithful in his Judgments and vengeance, as in Mercy and Peace. It is said, vers. 13. They shall know that I am Jehovah, that I am a God who will give and command a being to my threatnings as well as to my Promises; that I will create evil for the destruction of godless wretches, as create good for the peace, safety, and salvation of them that fear me.

Sect. 2.

Having proved the Point by Scrip­ture, [Page 133] I will also prove it by rea­son.

Because all the promises made toReas. 1. his church and people, are the very expressions of his efficacious will, to shew them mercy, to supply their wants with desirable comforts: what the Lord efficaciously willeth and in­tendeth, shall undoubtedly come to pass.

All the works of God are but the effects of his will: 'Tis said, God said let there be light, and there was light: let the earth bring forth herbs, let the trees bring forth fruit, according to their kind, and they did so: Gods saying is nothing else but his efficacious willing of the things, and as he willed things, so they came to pas so his promi­ses in the covenant of grace are no­thing else but his will to pardon, to sanctifie, to comfort, to deliver to give grace and glory: let mercy em­brace such a soul; let pardon be as­sur'd to such a sinner, let such lusts be mortifyed, let such deliverance be­tide [Page 134] such a person, and all cometh to pass, because he willeth the things, his promises are the expressions of his will. 'Tis an observable phrase used in Scripture command deliverance for Jacob, and command loving kindness, to shew to his people the efficacy of his will in making good his promi­ses: he hath promised deliverance, loving kindnesse, let it be to such a soul.

2. Because God is as able as he is willing: his name is Jehovah; it is the Lord that gives Being to all that have being, therefore he is able to give being to his promises as to his creatures, to give a being to promi­sed mercy, to promised pardon, to promised grace and glory, and what­soever good he hath promised. See what arguments God useth to en­courage his people to ask of him things to come. Isa. 45. 12. I have made the earth, and created men upon it: I, even my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have [Page 135] I commanded; he created man and all creatures, therefore he can create all good which he hath promised to his Church: therefore put God in mind of his promises to his Church, and importunately urge him with his pro­mises. Say to him, Lord thou hast commanded man to keep his pro­mise, to be faithfull of his word, thou hast promised this and that mer­cy, thou canst not deny thy self, being most faithfull, command this and that mercy. The Prophet Ma­lachy speaking of the creation of wo­m [...]n. Malac. 2. 15. saith, did not he make one? yet had he the residue of the Spirit, that is, he made but one woman for Adam; he could have made more, because of his abundance of Spirit: the Lord hath abundance of spirit, he hath made good his pro­mises to others, and can make them good to all that shall trust in him.

3. Because Gods performing his pro­mises to his Church and people is God's memorial, it is an everlasting [Page 136] memorial of him to all generations: succeeding generations come to know what God is, by his performance of promises, God is known by his name Jehovah, his mindfulness of his Co­venant and promises makes us mind­full of God. As God performing his promise of remission of sins, makes men in all ages to know that he is Jehovah, that pardoneth iniquity, transgressions and sins, and they from their own experience will make God known to be a God pardoning ini­quity: so the accomplishment of pro­mises of deliverance, promises of comfort in trouble accomplished, pro­mises of the things of this life, and and of the life that is to come ac­complished, makes him known to be faithfull and constant in his promi­ses, that he is a God that cannot lie, nor deny himself, but abideth faithful to all generations.


Sect. 1.

IN the third place, I willlay down the Rules concerning God's per­forming of his promises; and in the first place I must premise these distincti­ons.

1. That there are promises which concern Church in general, and there are promises which concern the mem­bers of the Church, each particular godly man, there are promises made to Jerusalem and promises made to the daughters of Jerusalem.

2. There are promises of temporal good things▪ and promises of spiri­tual good things, of spiritual blessings.

3. There are promises of grace it self, and mercy it self, and there are promises of the measure of grace.

The observable rules are these.

The promises to the Church in general are propheticall promises, they are prophecies as well as promises: so the accomplishment of them is to be prayed for, it shall be in Gods ap­pointed time.

The Jews prayed for the comming of the Messiah, long before his com­ming, yet he came not in the flesh till the fulness of the determinate time came: no question but the seed of Jacob prayed for the possession of Canaan, yet no possession till the years were expired, wherein God promi­sed to give them Canaan: The Church in many ages hath prayed for the subversion of the Kingdome of An­tichrist, yet Babylon the great is not fallen: the Church hath likewise pray­ed for the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in of the fulnesse of the Gentiles, yet the one is not con­verted, neither is the fulnesse of the other brought in: yet the Lord Je­hovah will make good these and such like promises in his own time, then shall the blessings of the promises, and the prayers of all Saints fall into the Churches lap. We must pray, and we may expect the accomplishment of the promises in due time, because we have the promises and the prophecies: [Page 139] but 'tis curiosity to calculate a set time, as to say positively, that in such a year Antichrist shall be overthrown; we are ignorant of the times and sea­sons when God will accomplish his promises to his Church, they are not clearly revealed unto us.

Sect. 2.

Now as touching those Promises that concern each particular member of the Church: First, concerning Promises about Grace, and spiritual Mercies, we are to observe these Rules.

1. That God will make good hisRule 1. Promises to all Believers, concerning pardon of sin, sanctification, adopti­on, perseverance, life eternal; and a Believer may be confident, that God will bestow these things undoubtedly upon him: by this name Jehovah he will be made known to all, and for these things thou mayest absolutely pray.

2. That God will give such a mea­sure of grace, of comfort, and assist­ance, [Page 140] as he knowerh to be fit for thee, not such and such a measure of grace and assistance as thou thinkest needful. Your heavenly Father knoweth what grace, what comfort, what assistance you most need: Be sure, what the Lord Jehovah doth fot thee, it is for the best.

3. That the Lord performeth his Promises in his own time, not in times that we prescribe to him; Heb. 4. 16. He will give grace and mercy in a time of need, [...], in opportunum auxilium, for a seasonable aid. It is said, 2 Cor. 6. 2. In a time accepted have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee. Therefore blessed is the man that waiteth always; when Gods time be­gins to dawn, then mercy shall shine forth. The Israelites did endure a long and sore bondage in Egypt, did groan heavily; yet Moses came not to deliver them, till the appointed time came.

4. When God's determinate time [Page 141] is come, then he will be made known by his Name Jehovah: the Lord is very punctual in the observation of moments, days, and years: as the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt was at the end of 430. years determined before, and then Moses came: at the fulness of time Christ came in the flesh: so in the fulness of time, par­don of sin, peace of conscience, com­fort and deliverance shall come, or whatsoever it be thou standest in need of. When we would have things done in our time, the Lord answers us, as Christ did his Mother, complaining there was no Wine; Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. Joh. 2. 4. When his hour was come, then he turned Wa­ter into Wine: So, when thou art in affliction, thou prayest, Lord, com­fort now, send deliverance now, send assurance now; our Saviour answer­eth, My time is not yet come; when that is come, then will I turn thy Wa­ter into Wine, then be it unto thee according to thy faith.

5. Now the Rule for temporal Pro­mises is; though godliness hath an interest, title and claim to all the Promises of this life, yet the Lord performeth not all the promises of this life to all that are Godly; but gives to all that which is good for them▪ Now the goodness of an outward thing lies not in the nature of a mer­cy, as in the conveniency and fitness of the mercy to thy heart.

Though godly men can lay claim to all Promises, yet all godly men have not fit hearts for all Promises. As for instance; Every godly man hath the promises of Riches, of Ho­nours, of Long-life; but every god­ly man hath not an heart fit for Riches or Honours: Should God give them Riches, they would perhaps wax proud, careless, loose, wanton, and their hearts, being puffed up, would make them kick and spurn against God; therefore God in his wisdome debarreth them from Riches. When godly men put temporal promises in suit in the Court [Page 143] of Request, God answereth them as our Saviour answered the Mother of Zebedee's children, that desi [...]ed, that her two sons might sit, one at his right hand, the other at his left hand in his Kingdome; Ye know not what ye ask; can ye be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? So ye may ask for Honours and Riches, but ye know not what ye ask, saith our Saviour; can ye be poor? can ye be contented? can ye be meek and lowly? can ye en­dure tribulation and persecution for righteousness sake?


NOw I proceed to make Applica­tion of the Point.

The first Use shall be for terrour toƲse 1. all such as go on in their sins, hearing what the just and faithful God doth threaten. The Lord Jehovah is as true, faithful and constant in his threatnings, as in his promises: what he hath spoken, shall undoubtedly fall upon the generation of the ungodly; [Page 144] he will be made known to the wicked by his name Jehovah, in the full ex­ecution of his threatnings, as in the full performance of his promises to the godly, and both in due time.

As in Heaven, all the Saints will put their seals to the Lord's truth and faithfulness in his promises: so in Hell, all the damned will put to their seals, that God is true in his threatnings. Lay your ears a while to the gates of Hell, and hearken to the howling out­cries that the damned Drunkards make, crying out to those that were their pot­companions, that are yet upon the face of the earth: Oh ye swinish Drunkards that are yet living, believe what your faithful Ministers say unto you from God; it is most true what you have been told, that no Drunkard shall inherit the Kingdome of God; God hath made himself known to us to be Jehovah, & faithful in his threatnings to us poor creatures. Attend to the howling of the damned in Hell, and may ye not hear them cry out to you; Hearken, ye proud [Page 145] wretches; will ye, proud creatures, see that God resisteth the proud? oh look upon us that are turn'd into hell for our pride; we see we feel now the cursed fruits of our pride. Then will the adul­terer and the lustful wanton cry out to their companions here upon earth, that went with them to harlots Houses; Oh we burned in lust, and now we suffer the vengeance of eternal fire; the Lord hath now made good his threatnings against us. Consider what God speaks of his threatnings in Ezek. 5. 13. 15. Then shall mine anger be ac­complished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comfort­ed: and they shall know that I the Lord, (or Jehovah) have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them: so it shall be a reproach, and a taunt; an instruction, and an a­stonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger, and in fu­ry, and in furious rebukes, then he confirmeth it thus: I Jehovah have spoken it.

Thre [...] things I will commend to the consideration of all persons concerning Gods threatnings.

1. Consider seriously; the Lord who threatens thee, he is not a man that he will repent; he cannot lie; but what his mouth hath uttered, shall come to pas if he hath threat­ned damnation to thee O impenitent sinner, damnation shall be thy por­tion; if God hath spoken against such a Nation, People, or Pe [...]son, that they shall be pluck't up and destroy­ed, it shall certainly come to pass, ex­cept they repent.

2. Consider how God hath threat­ned, and also executed judgment ac­co [...]ding to his thre [...]tnings upon the wo [...]ld: the old world was drowned according to his threatenings, by his name Jehovah he was made known unto them: He hath infl [...]cted his judgments upon the Church, the ve­quintessence of the whole world: Je­rusalem was threatened, Jerusalem was accordingly plagued: he hath in­flicted [Page 147] Judgments according to his threatnings upon his own children, the very quintessence of his Church: David a man after Gods own heart, felt the force of his threatnings: And as for particular persons; let drun­kards look upon Belshazzer, let Adul­terers look upon Zimry, let all pro­fane persons look upon Esau, let Worldlings consider Judas, and as our Saviour said to the Jews, speak­ing of the death of those men, upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell, ex­cept ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish: so say I to all Drunkards, and all profane persons, Except ye repent ye shall likewise perish; be­cause God is Jehovah, true and faith­ful in all his threatnings.

3. Consider thine own sins, and what God hath threatned against thee; if thou persistest in thy Sins; Art thou a drunkard? consider what God hath spoken against this sin, and go home and tremble, lest the Lord Jehovah bring that evil upon you: [Page 148] hath God said, that all the wicked shall be turned into hell? then let all wicked, wretches fear and tremble, lest God indeed turn them into hell; for he is the Lord Jehovah.


VVIll God make good all hisƲse 1. promises to his church and people, because he is Jehovah? then if ever you desire the accomplishment of Gods promises, see that you get into Christ, for the Lord is onely made known by his name Jehovah to such as are in Christ: all the pro­mises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen. 2. Cor. 1. 20. In Christ they are all Amen, so be it: Hath God promised deliverance, comfort, assurance, grace glory? whatsoever his promises be, they are all in Christ yea and Amen: let pardon be given to him that is in Christ, let comfort and assurance be given to him that is in Christ, &c. For God is Jehovah that makes all the promises, Christ [Page 149] is the meritorious cause of all the pro­mises, he purchased both the making and the performance of them: Christ is the ratifier of all the promises, he confirmes them to us, his blood is the blood of the Covenant: Christ is the treasurer of all God's promises, all are kept and lock't up within the breasts of Christ, and none shall have any but from him: Christ is the ful­filler of all the promises; therefore if you expect grace, peace, assurance, pardon, as they are promised, see that ye be first in Christ by faith, faith is as instrumentally necessary, as Christ is meritoriously necessary: The Lord Jehovah answereth every be­liever that pleads promises; Be it un­to thee according to thy faith: Dost thou ask for pardon? dost thou be­lieve, is Jehovah's answer? if so then be it unto thee as thou wilt: A wicked man, out of Christ, may as soon pluck a star out of the firmament, as the per­formance of one promise to himself.


THis point speaks comfort to allUse 3. that are believers, what greater comfort can be to such, than to have an interest in such a God, who is not onely All-sufficient, but also Je­hovah, and so can and will make good all his promises: Read over the book of God, and pick out all the pro­mises that are, and apply these salves to every sore of thine: God hath promised thee mercy and good ac­cording to thy condition; he will make good his promises to thee as far as they are good for thee: be confident thou shalt have any good thou needest in Gods due time: I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people, saith God to Moses, then he sent him to fetch them out of the house of bondage, so God takes notice of all thy afflictions inward and outward and accordingly in due time he will command deliverance, com­fort or whatsoever is good for thee.

That you may get comfort by the promises, observe these rules.

1. Be sure to lay up all kinds of promises, we are liable to s [...]veral wants, straits, dangers, miseries; God hath fitted sutable promises, as 'tis said of the Virgin Mary, that she did lay up his words in her heart; so do thou the promises against needful times: A promise in thy heart in time of need, is like a friend in the Court, will stand thee in pretious stead.

2. Acquaint thy heart with the nature of the promises. 1. Labour strongly to apprehend the truth and faithfulness of the Lord Jehovah in his promises, that they are yea and Amen, he will undoubtedly perform what he hath spoken, he will never go back from his word. 2. Labour to understand their goodness, let thy thoughts dwell upon the promise, till thou hast found out the riddle, digg into the bowels of a promise, as thou wouldst digg into the bowels of the earth for silver: Ignorance or weak [Page 152] apprehensions of the truth of the pro­mises of Gods all-sufficiency and faith­fulness, is the ground of distrustful, wavering and unbelieving thoughts: Ignorance of the good things in the promises is the ground of the not ap­plying of the promises. 3. Labour to know to what special condition the promise is made, so thou mayst rightly apply promises to thy spiritu­al maladies, the right salve to thy sore.

3. When thou art acquainted with the nature of the promises, then set faith a work, rely upon God who is Jehovah, for the accomplishing of the promises to thee, do thou hold fast by the promise, and hold God to his word; say to him as Jacob did, when he wrestled with him, I will not let thee go till thou hast blessed me; I will never let thee go, till thou hast made good this or that promise to me.

4. Labour to get a quiet and still frame of heart to wait for the accom­plishment of the Promises: This is to [Page 153] live by Faith in a Promise, to walk by Faith; for God will not by and by make good his Promises, but for ex­ercise of Faith, he defers execution of them. David would often call upon himself to wait upon the Lord, Wait on the Lord, O my soul; and would check himself for tumultuous and dis­trustful thoughts; Why art thou cast down, O my soul? why art thou disqui­eted within me? wait on God: for the Lord Jehovah will certainly in his ap­pointed time make good his promises to thee: if thou canst live by Faith, delays will not be tedious; He that be­lieveth will not make haste, Isa. 28. 16.

If the Lord will make his Promises good, because he is Jehovah; thenUse 4. answer all distrustful and unbelieving temptations with this, God is Je­hovah. A Believer shall find many strong temptations to unbelief: As about the Promises of Justification, this temptation may arise; Can the Lord pardon such a vile sinner as I am? 'Tis true, I read how he is a [Page 154] God pardoning sinners, but will he pardon me? Yes, God can pardon thee, because he is Jehovah, and will make good all his Promises. So in temptations against perseverance: I fear (saith a poor soul) I shall prove an Apostate, and fall away; and the Devil will be ready to second it: An­swer it by this, The Lord Jehovah hath promised to put his fear in my heart, that I shall not depart from him, Jer. 32. 40. and he being Jeho­vah, can make me to persevere and hold out to the end.

General Rules for the better understanding, What God is.

Exod. 3. 14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM.’


HAving briefly gone over the glo­rious Titles and Names of God, I will proceed to a plain handling of [Page 155] his glorious Attributes and properties. Before I come to particulars, I must lay down some general Rules for the better understanding of the nature of God.

1. The Attributes or Properties shew to us, what God is in himself; declare him to be most Wise, most Holy, Good, Perfect, Infinite, E­ternal, &c.

2. These Divine Excellencies are called Attributes, because the Scrip­ture ascribes them to God; acknow­ledges Him to be Infinite, Eternal, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, &c.

3. Gods Attributes are not acci­dental Qualities in Him; Goodness, Wisdome, Infiniteness, Omnipoten­cy, are his very Essence, not Accidents, as in creatures; Wisdome, Goodness. Holiness, Power, are qualities in crea­tures, as in Men and Angels.

Neither are they in God as [...] naturales, natural faculties: Under­derstanding and Will is in Man and Angels.

Neither are they in God as Affecti­ons and Passions: Love is in God, Ha­tred is in God, Joy is in God, not as they are in his creatures, affections, or passions.

But all the Attributes are really the same with his Essence; therefore they are spoken of God in abstracto, God is love, God is Mercy, God is Good­ness, God is Justice, &c.

4. Though there are many Proper­ties attributed to God, yet all these Properties are not really distinguished from each other, but they are all one and the same Essence: As when we say, God is infinite, God is merciful, God is powerful, &c. we are not to conceive, that his Mercy is really di­stinct from his Justice, his Wisdome, really distinct from his Power; but as they are the same with the Divine Es­sence, so they are with each other. As the Divine Essence is omnipo­tent, infinite, eternal, perfect, &c. Some Divines express this by a piece of Gold: a piece of Twenty shillings [Page 157] doth not contain in it twenty several distinct pieces of Silver; but 'tis one and the same piece which contains so many pieces in worth and value. So that the multitude of Attributes in God, is not in respect of so many glo­rious Excellencies really distinguished among themselves in God, but onely in respect of our manner of conceiving.

Our understandings are unable, and too weak to apprehend all his glorious excellencies: By one act of concei­ving we cannot conceive God to be infinite, omnipotent, holy, just, good by one act, but by divers acts.

Then again, there is not one Attri­bute so large, as to comprehend or ex­press his incomprehensible and inex­pressible Being: Therefore this we say, the divine Properties are not so many really distinct Vertues in God; but they are that Unica Essentia ad omnia sufficiens, one onely Essence, which is most merciful, most perfect, most holy, most powerful.

5. All God's Attributes are equal­ly [Page 158] and most unchangeably perfect in him, although we are not able to con­ceive an equality of them: God is as just as he is merciful, God is as mer­ciful as just; God is infinite in Power, in Wisdome, in Goodness, in Holi­ness.

One Reason is, Because they areReas. the same with the Divine Essence, which is infinite. Then God is in­commutably just, merciful, holy, good; Non recipiunt majùs & minùs: God is always the same God, and always most holy, most merciful, most good, most powerful.

2. Because he is infinite. A thing actually infinite cannot decrease nor increase; then he could not be infinite. What unspeakable comfort is this to the godly broken hearts, that the Lord is as gracious, as merciful now as ever, and so to eternity! what un­speakable terrour to the wicked, that God is as just now as ever, and so to eternity.

6. There is no contrariety in Gods [Page 159] Attributes: His Mercy is not contra­ry to his Justice, nor his Justice to his Mercy: Although there be Love and Hatred in God, yet none are contrary, quia ipsa misericordia in Deo est justitia, because the very Mercy of God is his Justice.

The Attributes are diverse in re­spect of their objects, not in respect of themselees: Mercy hath respect to the creature in misery, and Justice hath respect to the sinfulness of the crea­ture.

1. There can be no contrariety in God's Attributes; because contrariesReas. work the mutual destruction of each other; as heat destroys cold, light expels darkness, fire quencheth water.

2. Because two contraries cannot be in one subject in the highest degree; one and the same thing cannot be firey hot, and icy-cold: Now all God's properties are in summo gradu; God is summè just us, just in the highest manner, and summè misericors, mer­ciful in the highest degree.

7. The Attributes of God are spo­ken of God both in concreto & ab­stracto, in the concrete, and in the ab­stract: God is Justice it self, Mercy it self, Goodness it self, Wisdome it self, Holiness it self; God is love, saith the Apostle; it is in the abstract: Then in the concrete, God is just, wise, holy, good, perfect. They are spoken of God in the abstract, to shew that he is essentially holy, good, &c. and spoken in the concrete, & sub­jectivè, to shew that God is good to his creatures, and that he doth truly exist.

For the distinction of his Attributes, observe but this one.

There are incommunicable Attri­butes, and communicable, per parti­cipationem & analogiam. His incom­municable Attributes are his Infinite­ness, his Eternity, his Simplicity, which no creature is capable of. His communicable Attributes are his Ju­stice, Mercy, Holiness, Power, Good­ness, &c. which are in the creatures, [Page 161] as in Man and Angels, by way of re­semblance and likeness.

They are in God, after an infinite eminency and perfection; in creatures by participation, as a drop in respect of the vast Ocean; are as light in a spark, in respect of the light of the Sun.

CHAP. II. Of the Simplicity of God.

THese are the General Rules con­cerning his Attributes or Pro­perties: I will now proceed to the handling of each particular Attribute; and the first Attribute shall be the Sim­plicity, or simpleness of God's nature, which is one of the incomunicable At­tributes of God, of which no creature is, or can be partaker, but onely by way of a small resemblance.

True it is, the word Simplicity, as applied to God, is not used in Scrip­ture; yet the sense is found, as in this Text, wherein God nameth himself, I am that I am; which noteth, that God is simply of himself, and by him­self [Page 162] most perfect; that whatsoever is [...]i quid in D [...]o est, D [...]us est. in God, is God.

I need not to stand upon the cohe­rence of the words: Moses was com­manded to fetch captived Israel out of Egypt, and before he would go, he de­sired God to tell him his Name, what he should say unto them, to perswade them to follow him; here God com­manded him to tell them, that, I am that I am, hath sent him; which name importeth, that God is simply that he is; and the Septuagint translate it, [...]XX. In­t [...]. [...]. [...], I am the Being, plain­ly noting to us, the Simplicity of God. Hence I note,

That God is most simple.

In the handling of this Attribute, this shall be my method: First, to shew what is meant by God's Simplicity; then prove it by Scripture and Reason; then apply it.

1. Simpleness or Simplicity is taken three ways.

1. For want of discretion or wis­dome: So men void of wit or com­mon [Page 163] capacity, are said to be simple, Prov. 1. 4. Solomon sheweth what the use of his Proverbs was, namely, to give subtilty to the simple. Prov. 9. 15. A foolish woman is clamorous, she is simple, and knoweth nothing: She cal­leth to passengers, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither. They are called simple, because they want spiritual wisdome and discretion; and till Go [...]'s Spirit anoint their eyes, they do not or cannot discern what is truly good, what is truly evil.

2. Simpleness or simplicity, is taken for sincerity and uprigh [...]ness: Simple men in this sense are taken for plain­hearted men, void of hypocrisie, dis­sembling, and wicked plots and de­vices. Psal. 116. 6. The Lord preser­veth the simple, that is, the upright in heart, the sincere persons, Rom. 16. 19. This simplicity the Lord approves of, and it is called by the Hebrews [...] uprightness: Thus God com­manded Abraham to be simple, Walk before me, and be upright, or simple;Gen. 17. 1. [Page 164] shun all hypocrisie & dissimulation wth men: To be without guile and fraud is simplicity; uptight dealing is simplicity.

3. Simplicity, is taken in opposition to mixture and composition: Thus refined Gold is pure and simple Gold, it is not mixed with dross: Water is simple, but mix it with Wine, 'tis compounded of several kinds. Sim­plicity, as 'tis attibuted to God, 'tis opposed to mixture and composition: There is no composition or mixture in God, but he is a pure Essence.

There are divers kinds of compo­sition, there is not the least shadow of any one of them in God. There is a Composition

  • Physical,
  • Logical,
  • Metaphysical.

1. A Physical Composition is to beF [...] mate­ri [...] & sor­mâ. compounded of Matter and Form; as Man is compounded of Soul and Body, the Body compounded of the fou [...] Ele­ments. This were gross, to conceive such a composition in God.

2. There is a composition; of a Ex g [...]nere e [...] d [...]ff [...]ren­tiâ. a kind, and a restraining difference, as man is compounded of a living crea­ture and reasonable, this also is gross to conceive of God.

3. There is a composition ex es­sentia Ex actu e [...] so [...] â. & existentia, ex actu & potentia, of being and existence, or of an actual being, or of a possible being: this com­ [...]osition is in the most simple creatures, as in Angels whose essence and ex­istence differ; who had once no actu­all being; but a being in a power, termed obedientiall, before they were created: now God's existence and es­sence is one and the same; and God is purus actus; he is eternal, he did actually exist from all eternity, There is a composition of a subject and ac­cident, as the wall and the colour in the wall: this composition is likewise in Angels; they are compounded of substance and accidents; and so the souls of men are, which are compara­tively simple creatures, as the power, goodness, holiness, wisedome in An­gels, [Page 166] are created qualities in them, they are not the essence and being of an Angel: now there is no such com­position in God: his properties are his essence: Gods holinesse is not a quality, but his very being and na­ture: so that when we say, God is most simple, we mean, that God is void of all composition and mix­ture.


NOw to prove the simplicity of God; it is said, John 4. 14. God is a Spirit: where to take men off from resting in ritual worshipping him, he sheweth, how God will be worshipped of us, in spirit and truth, and his reason is, because God is a spirit: So are Angels, so are the souls of men Spirits: but God is most spi­ritual, beyond all created spirits, there is no composition in God, as in crea­ted spirits. God is light, and in him is no darknesse at all. 1. Joh. 1. 5. he is all light, all mercy, and pure mercy [Page 167] he is all justice, and pure justice; he is all love and pure love: he is all ho­liness, without the least spot of defile­ment; he is all power, and without the least degree of weaknesse; he is all wisdome, and without the least degree of folly; God is simple, holy, wise, good, perfect: so when God is said to be life it self, it importeth his simplici­ty.

1. One Reason is, because if GodReas. were not purely simple, void of all composition, then he could not be from eternity, because whatsoever is compounded, is made of something, which in time is before it, all com­pounds are after the component; but God is eternal: Before me there was no God, saith the Lord. Isa. 43. 10.

2. If God be a compounded being; then the parts of which he consists must be before him, at least before in order of nature, if n [...]t in time: so God should not be eternal and immuta­ble, but may be resolved into nothing.

3. If God were compounded, then he could not be ens primum, ens a se, & ens per seipsum; not ens primum, because the efficient would before him; not ens a se, because then he had be­ing from the efficient, not per se, by himself.

4. Because God is most perfect; therefore most simple: the more per­fection, the more simplicity: God being most perfect, must of necessity be most simple.

5. God admits no diversity or com­position in himself, nor in the per­sons, nor in their operations: not in himself, because God is his own es­sence: not in the persons, because the whole and the same essence, is in all three persons: not in their opera­tions or works, because the same essence, which is the principle of all Divine actions is the same in all.

Before I make use, I will deduce these corollaries from Gods simplici­ty. [Page 169] 1. There is but one God, because there can be but one most simple being which is God.

2. Then Quicquid in Deo est, Deus est: Whatsoever is in God is God, Deus est [...] totaliter totum; for if there be any thing in God, which is not God, then he should not be most simple, but compounded of his be­ing and that which is of him, but it is not God.

3. Then whatsoever is spoken of God, is not accidentally, but essen­tially spoken of him: mercy is spoken of God essentially; his very essence is power, mercy, justice, All-sufficien­cy.


IF God be most simple; then what­soeverUse 1. God giveth, promiseth, or threatneth, he is sincere in all. Jam. 1. 5. God giveth to all men liberally; saith our translation, but the greek word [...] is sincerely and upright­ly. [Page 170] without any fraud or dissimulati­on: so the Lord is most upright, and sincere and simple in all his promi­ses, and likewise in all his threatnings. Hath the Lord promised to give such and such mercies, a believer may be confident he shall have them, God will not deceive him, he will not pro­m [...]se one thing and give another, but what he hath spoken: be thou upright toward him, he will sincere­ly make good his word: God never did nor can deceive any that put their trust in him.

So again, he is sincere in all his threat­nings, he will execute upon the un­godly what he denounced against them. Doth he threaten damnation to an impenitent wretch, then there dam­nation slumbers not: men through ig­norance and self love think that God is not▪ and will not be so severe and terrible, as his word sets him forth to be: but deceive not your selves, God is sincere, and if he speak the word, God is sincere, and if he [Page 171] speak the word, it shall come to pass▪

2. Seeing God is most simple,Use 2. hence it is, that he approveth of all sincere hearts, and accepts of all du­ties where he seeth sincerity: he pas­seth by many imperfections of his servants, because he sees they pray, they hear, they give almes, and whatsoever they do, they do all in sincerity of heart unto him: he hath promised to be a shield and sun to them who walk uprightly. Psal. 84. 11. A shield to preserve those that are sin­cere and simple in heart, a sun to com­fort and refresh them.

And indeed 'tis all the comfort of the Godly, that whatsoever they do to God and for God, is in simplici­ty of heart. 2 Cor. 1. 12. Our rejoyc­ing is this, the testimony of our Con­science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, &c. We have had our con­versation in the World. Though ma­ny imperfections and infirmities may adhere to the best duties of upright [Page 172] men, yet if conscience testifie to thee, thou dost them in simplicity and sin­cerity of heart, here is thy rejoycing: uprightness breeds boldness and hea­venly joy.

Hence it is that he abhors all hy­pocrites, in whose heart and perfor­mances there is abundance of fraud and guil; who have (as the Psalmist speaks) an heart and an heart, a double heart, because such persons are most opposite and contrary to his most simple nature; therefore he throws away all duties of hypocrites (how glorious soever they are to out­ward shew, to publique view) as so many abominations, as hateful things in his sight, for want of simplicity and sincerity of heart, which he looks in­to. When we go to duty, the Lord speaks as Jehu to Jehonadab, is thy heart right, plain and simple as mine is? then give thee mine hand, then pray and I will hear thee, then I will accept of all that thou dost: but if thy heart be false, double, full of fraud [Page 173] and guile, then bring no more vain ob­lations, your incense, your prayers are an a [...]omination to me, who am a most simple God, upright, sincere.

Sincerity is the life and soul of all our works, without which (how beau­tiful soever our works are in the eyes of men) they are stinking and abo­minable in the eyes of God; as loath­some in God's eyes, as stinking and putrifying carcasses are in ours: many splendid performances doth God re­ject, when not done with a perfect heart.

3. Seeing God is most simple, letUse 3. us strive after simplicity and singleness of heart: our simplicity is our sinceri­ty and singleness of heart; 'tis our perfection, 'tis our conformity to God.

What is it to do things in simplici­tyQuest. of heart?

An heart is said to be simple, whenSol. it proposeth one object or end to it self; and a double heart, when it pro­poseth a double end or object; as [Page 174] when a man proposeth God and him­self for his ends, God's glory and his own credit, and esteem among men; to give alms, to pray, preach, hear, to aim at himself and God together; such an one is an hypocrite, and God abhorreth his works: But singleness of heart proposeth none but God for his end and object onely; I will do such and such good works, saith a sin­cere soul, in obedience to God's com­mand, that God may be glorified, and I rejoyce in my performances as in that which is well-pleasing to him.

To this purpose consider these Mo­tives.

1. 'Tis the highest perfection of our works and persons, that we are sincere: There is no possibility for us to attain to a perfection of degrees, but to sincerity in this life.

2. The more single in heart and sin­cere thou art in all duties, the more doest thou grow in a conformity to God, who is most simple.

3. Sincerity and simplicity (like [Page 175] love) covereth abundance of infir­mities and imperfections in our per­formances: Though Satan should feed thee with a thousand suggestions in thy duties, yet if Conscience shall give thee this testimony, that thou didst them in simplicity of heart, thou hast matter of rejoycing.

4. It is the highest perfection of glorified Saints in Heaven, to be sim­ple and sincere; for though neither Angels nor Saints shall have simple beings, yet then and there they shall be without the mixture of all hypo­crisie and guile; they shall be perfect­ly holy, pure, upright, they shall de­light wholly in God, and purely love him.

Admire God's simplicity, and giveUse 4. him the glory of this most glorious Property of his, that he is so pure, that there is not in his nature the least mixture of pollution, nor the least tincture of defilement; he is so holy, that he is holiness onely, & totaliter sanctus, wholly, and altogether holy.

A Discourse of the Eternity of God.

Deut. 33. 27. The eternal God is thy Refuge.’


THis Chapter (as ye may see by the Contents) contains three things.

1. The Majesty of the God of Is­rael, from the first to the sixth verse.

2, The Blessings of the twelve Tribes of Israel, from vers. 6. to v. 26.

Then 3. from the 26. to the end, he sheweth the Excellency of Israel above all Nations; this belongeth to all the twelve Tribes, and not to any one in particular above the other.

Their Excellency lies in these things.

1. That God is the God of Israel, vers. 26. he is called the God of Je­s [...]run.

2. That God is for their help and R [...]uge: Other Nations had their ima­gined [Page 177] tutelar gods, which could not help nor protect them; but the true and onely God was Israel's Protector; there's no Protector like to him. From this, two excellent blessings follow;

1. Victory over their Enemies, be­cause God is their help and refuge, and his everlasting arms uphold them: The eternal God is thy refuge, and un­derneath are the everlasting arms, and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and say, Destroy them. 2. Be­sides their safety, the Heaven from above should drop down blessings up­on them, and the Earth should yield plenty to them, because God is their God: Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob s [...]ll be upon a land of corn and wine, also his heaven shall drop down dew. Vers. 28.

Then Moses breaks forth into a gra­tulatory exclamation: Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee? vers. 29. No Nation so happy as Israel, because God (to whom no God is like) is their God: The Eternal God is thy Refuge.


THe Point that I will handle from these words, is this;

That God is an Eternal God. Observ.

Here I will shew first, what Eter­nity is; then prove the Point by Scrip­ture and Reason; then make Use of it.

Eternity is taken three ways.

1. Propriè, properly: So it noteth to be without beginning and end; so God onely is Eternal.

2. Impropriè: So it noteth to have a beginning, but no ending; so An­gels, so the Souls of Men are eternal.

3. Abusivè: So some things are said to be eternal, which have had a beginning, and shall also have an end; they are called Eternal, in respect of their long continuance and duration; so Circumcision, and other Mosaical Ceremonies, were called Eternal or everlasting; and the Land of Canaan was called an everlasting possession, that is, they should continue for a long time.

I am to speak of that which is pro­perly and absolutely Eternal: That is therefore properly and absolutely E­ternal, which hath no beginning of his being, nor end; that is, without succession, always the same.

Three things are required in abso­lute Eternity.

1. That it hath no beginning of his being.

2. That there is no succession or al­teration in that being, nothing be­fore nor after, but is always the same; therefore Eternity is called, Nunc per­manens, or continuans; it is the same from Eternity to Eternity.

3. That it hath no End of his be­ing.

Here you may see a vast differenceThe dif­ferences between Time and Eternity. between Time and Eternity.

1. Time hath a beginning and end­ing; Time shall be no more.

2. In Time there is prius & poste­rius, past, present, and to come; but in Eternity, there is not praeteritio, nor futuritio, neither praeterition, nor fu­turition [Page 180] sed nunc sempèr stans.

3. Time compared to Eternity, is but a drop to the vast Ocean, or as a grain of Sand to the whole circum­ference of Heaven, or as a moment in respect of millions of millions of Ages: or else, Time is but as a momentany space in the midst of Eternity. There is an Everlasting from which Time is­sued, there is an Everlasting into which Time shall be swallowed up.

'Tis true, when we speak or think of Eternity, we rather look forward than backward; but we must look backward to Eternity before Time, as well as forward to Eternity after Time.


NOw that God is thus Eternal, that he hath no beginning of be­ing or ending, and in him is no suc­cession, but he is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever, shall be proved by Scripture and by Reason. First, by Scripture: Psal. 90. 2. From everlast­ing [Page 181] to everlasting thou art God. In respect of his eternity before time he is called the Ancient of days. Dan. 7. 9. and he is said to be everlasting, and to be a King of old. Psal. 74. 12. This sheweth he had no beginning. In respect of his eternity after time, he is called the everlasting God. Rom. 16. 26. An everlasting King, 1 Tim. 1. 17. That there is no succession or priority or posteriority in God, but is from everlasting to everlasting the same, we may see, Psalm. 102. 26. 27. The heavens shall perish, but thou shalt endure, yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end: therefore his mercy is said to be everlasting, Psal. 100. 5. he is merciful from eter­nity, and so to eternity: his king­dome is everlasting, his strength e­verlasting, his glory to be everlasting, denoting there is no succession or variation in God, but he is eternally [Page 182] the same. The Reasons of this point follow.

1. That which gave Being to allReas. 1. that ever hath, had, or shall have Be­ing, is eternal, without beginning or ending: now God gave being to all that hath being: who made the worlds, even from the highest hea­ven to the lowest hell, with all crea­tures contained in them, Heb. 11. 3. By him were made the ages or worlds; the word imports that both time and [...]. ages were made by him, as well as the creatures that have their continu­ance, some a longer duration, others a shorter. Hence God is called King of ages, 1 Tim. 1. 17. because all times and ages of the world are sub­ject to him: and he is said to be be­fore the worlds were made: Christ speaks of himself, and saith, The Prov 8. 22. ad. 30. ver. Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old, I was set up from everlasting, from the be­ginning, or ever the earth was: when there were no depths I was brought forth, [Page 183] when there were no fountains abounding with water: before the hills were set­led, before the mountains, was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the earth; when he prepared the heavens, I was there, &c. Then was I by him, as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoycing always be­fore him, Rejoycing in the habitable parts of the earth, and my delights were with the sons of men: here you may see that God was before the world was made, and that all the world was made by him.

2. He that had glory and honour before the world was, and whose de­crees and purposes were before the world was, is eternal; but God had glory before the world was. John 17. 5. Christ prayeth thus unto his Father, Father, glorifie thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. His decrees and purposes likewise [Page 184] were before the world began. 2 Tim. 1. 9. It is said that his own purpose and grace was given in Christ Jesus before the world began: the election of men to glory was before the world.

3. He that had being from him­self, is without beginning and ending: but God Jehovah had being from himself, and not from any other, for had he being from another, he could not be Jehovah, ens primum, ens ab­solutè independens.

4. He that onely gives eternal re­wards is eternal, quod efficit tale, magis tale: he that makes eternal things must be more eternal: the Lord onely gives eternal rewards, life eternal to believers, death eter­nal to impenitent unbelieving sinners; only God hath the keys that opens the everlasting doors of eternal life to set open for all his saints; he hath the keyes of everlasting damnation, and thither shall unbelieving miscreants enter.


IF God be eternal, then he onely isƲse 1. the true God whom we worship, be­cause he only is eternal; as Rabsha­keh in his boast cries out; where are the Gods of Zepharvaim, Henah and Ivah? all the gods of the nations pe­rished like the dung on the earth, but God abideth for ever, he will never desert and forsake those that worship him in Spirit and truth, but as he here promiseth Israel, so he doth to all his servants; the eter­nal God will be their refuge, their habitation.

2. If God be eternal, then all those make an ill bargain, that for the love of some base lust lose an e­ternal God, who prefer the fruition of pleasures and profits before him: What shall it profit a man to win the whole world and lose his own soul? the same and more may be spoken to such persons; what shall it profit a man to win a thousand worlds, and to [Page 186] lose an eternal and immortal God? The day is coming when all wret­ched worldlings shall cry out as Israel did at the sacrifice of Elijah; The Lord God he is God, the Lord God he is God? Baal is not God: so riches are not an eternal God, honors are not an eternal God, pleasures are not an eternal God, but God only is eter­nal: oh that I could now say, the eternal God is mine! It will be most just in that day for God to cast thee into eternal torments for rejecting him in this moment of thy life.

3. Then surely they are blessed, who have the eternal God for their resuge, for their portion: happy are the people that are in such a case, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 144. ult. speaking of outward prosperity, who have barns and fields full of corn, strong and fruitfull cattle; Esau's blessing, the [...]atnesse of the earth: but they rather are blessed that have the Lord to be their God, who have the Lord for their portion, who have the dew of heaven, [Page 187] which is Jacobs blessing: yea the ve­ry eternal God of heaven. All earth­ly treasures which the word so gree­dily seeks after, and on which wick­ed worldlings set their hearts, will at one time or other take their wings and flee away, and will be seen no more, but the eternal God never for­sakes those who take him for their refuge and portion; he is e [...]er­nal strength in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, Isa. 26. 4. He gives eternal comforts, eternal ho­nours, eternal riches, eternal plea­sures, Psal. 16. ult. Eternal glory, and if he be once thine, he is thine to Eternity.

4. Since God is eternal: learn hence what ground we have to put all trust and confidence in him; trust ye in the Lord for ever, Psal. 26. 4. There is no trust to the favour of creatures, to man, the greatest of men, because their breath is in their nostrils, the doors are always open; mans breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth. Psal. 146. 4. [Page 188] but God lives for ever: He is an eter­nal refuge, therefore thou mayest trust to him always in all dangers: His strength is eternal, therefore thou mayest trust him in thy greatest weak­nesses; his mercy endureth for ever, therefore thou shouldest never despair, but trust in his mercy for ever and ever, Psal. 52. 8. All in God is eternal; his Word, his Faithfulness, his Truth, he keepeth truth for ever, Psal. 146. 6.

5. This should encourage us to un­dergo momentany crosses, losses, dis­graces, troubles, for God, when God calls us to it, because he is eternal. Suppose thou endurest the loss of riches, they are but momentany, God will be eter­nal riches: If thou endurest momen­tany disgrace and dishonour, God will give thee eternal honour and glory: I reckon, (saith S. Paul) that all the af­flictions of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with that glory that shall be revealed, Rom. 8. 18. much less worthy are they to be compared with the eternal God of glory.

6. Here is an Use of Terrour to wicked men, who impenitently live and die in their sins: for, if God be eternal, then your damnation, your curse and sorrows in Hell shall be eter­nal: The fire in hell is eternal fire, because the eternal God made it, and will preserve it to eternity; therefore your damnation to that fire (O sin­ners) is eternal, because God is an eternal Judge, and his sentence and punishment shall be eternal, Isa. 30. 33. Tophet is ordained of old, &c. he hath made it deep and large, the pile there­of is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord like a stream of brimstone doth kindle it.


IN the next place, consider, if God be eternal, then is he a King eter­nal, and his dominion is for ever. This may appear,

1. From the continuance of his go­vernment and dominion, even from the foundations of the world. Earthly [Page 190] Kingdomes have had, and have their waxings and wanes, their increase and decrease, their glorious exaltations, and their heavy downfalls, and ruinous desolations: but the Kingdome of God is the same, yesterday, to day, and for ever. All creatures are under his dominion, and in subjection to his commands now, as at first; there is no decay in his government nor in creatures obedience, but still his will is fulfilled.

2. By his continual protection of his Church and People from genera­tion to generation; his Church never wanted Enemies, vowing the ruine and desolation of her, from her foun­dation; it hath been in all Ages like a Candle set upon the top of an high Hill, the blustring winds of malice, opposition, and persecution, pussing, blowing, and storming against it; yet the Eternal King hath preserved it, that they could never blow it ou [...]. There is a whole Hell of Devils, and a World of wicked Men, whose hearts [Page 191] Satan hath filled with malice against the Church; yet the gates of Hell could never prevail against it.

3. Because God to day and yester­day binds the Consciences of men, and so for ever: Conscience is God's Vicegerent, and Lord Deputy in the hearts of men; that Government en­dureth, his Laws do still bind the Conscience: Men's Consciences are terrified for the breach of his Laws; 'tis none but he can speak peace, or continue terrour.

4. His Kingdome is for ever: for at the destruction of the world, he will reign as absolute King in Heaven, and over Hell. In Heaven a glorious King, over Hell a just and terrible King; ho­nouring his Subjects with Crowns of immortal glory, and punishing the Re­bels with Chains of utter darknes he will tread down his Enemies, and they shall be trodden down into the pi [...] of everlasting confusion.

But it may be said, Albeit God beObject. an eternal King, yet the Enemies do [Page 192] sometimes prevail against the Church, how then doth he continually pro­tect it?

1. It is true, they may and do pre­vailSol. over part of the Church, but not over the whole, and never shall pre­vail; they may destroy the suburbs of this holy City, but never shall they rase Jerusalem down to the ground.

2. They may and do sometimes prevail over persons, not over the the cause, which is the Truth of God, and his [...]eligion: the bodies of God's Saints have been cast into the streets like mire, by the Antichristian party; but the Truths of God, which they professed, shall be preserved as a Jewel in a Cab [...]net.

3. The sufferings of the Saints are their spiritual warfare against the Ene­mies of Christ's Kingdome. Consi­der this▪ the Saints are never con­quered, though they suffer the spoil­ing of ther goods, the loss of their lives and liberties. While the ship is [Page 193] in a storm, we cannot say, 'tis cast away; but when it is split upon a rock, and men and goods are sunk in the Sea: So it is with Christians; while they are in storms they are not cast away, but when they make shipwrack of Faith. Oh, the dominion and pow­er of God over the Enemies malice, and a Christians heart, that he is not cast away in such storms!


NOw as God's dominion and pow­er, so likewise his glory is eter­nal. 1 Tim. 1. 17. the Apostle ascribes it to him. Here I will give general Reasons for all.

1. Because as God is from ever­lastingReas. 1. to everlasting, Psal. 90. 2. so whatsoever is in God, is from everlast­ing to everlasting; his dominion, his power and glory, all his prerogatives and properties are from everlasting to everlasting; if his mercy enduseth for ever, then his glory will endure for ever: so his justice, his power, and [Page 194] all his divine excellencies, being but the divine nature and essence, endure for ever; his glory then must endure for ever. God is glorified in Heaven by his Saints, because his mercy endureth for ever; he is likewise glorified in Hell, because his justice endureth for ever.

2. Because God is absolutely inde­pendingReas. 2. above all things whatsoever, therefore his dominion, power and glory, and all his divine excellencies are from eternity to eternity. What is the reason that all the excellencies in the Creatures are not from eterni­ty? it is because they are depending, and all came from an external cause. Why are the Creatures and created excellencies mutable and fading? It is because they depend upon that exter­nal cause, and according to his with­drawing, or putting forth his influence, so the creatures do flourish or wither: But God's dominion, power, and glo­ry are originally from himself, and not derivatively from an external [Page 195] cause: therefore without beginning, because he had none▪ and shall have no end, because there is none can put an end to his power and dominion.

'Tis by this eternal King that all earthly Kings do reign; and from him they receive honour, dominion, pow­er, and riches, and therefore at his pleasure they shall cast down their Crowns and Scepters before him: but God reigneth by himself, and hath his dominion, power, and glory in him­self, and from himself, therefore it is from eternity to eternity.

In the last place, the thoughts of this should wonderfully quicken us up to get an interest in this eternal and om­nipotent King of glorious state. Why do ye spend your days in the pursuit of perishing vanities? Suppose you had a Kingdome in this world, all the treasures, riches, strength, and all the glory of an earthly Kingdome; 'tis somewhat that would perhaps make your hearts to overflow with joy and pride, yet 'tis nothing in comparison [Page 196] of an interest in God. An earthly Kingdome is not for ever; earthly Princes die like ordinary men, then all their earthly honours, pleasures, treasures and riches die with them: the World it self had a beginning, and so shall have an end, then shall all the glory of the world pass away: but God is for ever, his Kingdome, power and glory are eternal; therefore in getting an eternal God, you shall ob­tain an eternal Kingdome, and eter­nal glory.

Be you Judges, whether it be not better to be godly, how miserable so­ever for the present, and to be glori­ous and happy in the enjoying of an eternal God for ever; or to be rich, potent, and glorious in this present world, and to be destroyed from the presence of God for ever. Lay to heart these things: Thy time is draw­ing nigh, when all thy worldly pomp, power, riches, honour, credit, esteem among the Rich in the world will be at an end; if you neglect a diligent [Page 197] seeking after an eternal good, what will ye do when your power and glory, and esteem, and riches shall fail, and you have no interest in this God of eternal power and glory? Wo unto you, when you shall be thrown out of the world, shut out of the Kingdom of God, and be both thrown and trodden down for enemies into the burning prison, to suffer the e­verlasting vengeance of the eternal King of glory.

A Discourse of Gods Infinite­ness, and Incomprehensibility.

1 Kings 8. 27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot con­tain thee, &c.


THese words are part of the pre­face of Solomon's prayer, which he made at the dedication of the Tem­ple, [Page 198] in which he sets out the incom­parable excellency of God ver. 23. And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like to thee in heaven above or earth beneath, who keepest Covenant and mercy with thy servants, that walk before thee with all their heart. Secondly, he sets forth the admirable faithfulness of God in keeping cove­nant, and performing promises. ver. 24. 25. Who hast kept with thy ser­vant David that thou promised'st him, thou spakest also wiih thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thy hand, as it is this day; therefore now O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, &c.

In this verse he sets forth the in­comprehensibleness and infinitenesse of his Majesty. I shall a little ex­plain the words, before I handle the attribute from them.

But will God indeed dwel on the earth?] God is said to dwel in hea­ven, per praesentiam gloriae, by the [Page 199] presence of his glory, because in hea­ven he sets out the fulness of his glo­ry to the view of Angels and Saints.

He dwelleth in his Saints per prae­sentiam gratiae, by his grace in their hearts.

He dweleth in his ordinances: so he is said to dwel at Jerusalem, be­cause in and by his ordinances, he communicateth himself to his peo­ple.

He dweleth every where by his essence and power in heaven, earth, hell.

These words shew that God dwels not in earth, and much less in that Temple circumscriptivè, as if so limi­ted in one place, as that he is no where else, as bodily things are; for here Solomon sheweth, that God's es­sence is infinite and incomprehensi­ble.

Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens, &c. the highest heavens are of a most vast circumference and [Page 200] capacity; and yet the heaven of hea­vens cannot comprehend the infinite essence of God: so that his argu­ment is a majori ad minus, from the greater to the les if the highest and largest heavens cannot contain God, much less this house which he had built, which is of a far less capacity than the earth.

CHAP. II.Observ.

HEnce I note: that God is an in­finite, and incomprehensible be­ing; here in the first place I will brief­ly shew what it is to be infinite; for d [...]stinction of infinitenesse take one for all. There is a four-fold infinite­ness.

1. An Infiniteness in respect of quantity; as if there should be a bo­dy that hath infinite dimensions, of infinite breadth, length and depth, God is not thus infinite, because he is not a body; neither is there any infinite body: the heaven of heavens are of a vast circumference, and the [Page 201] greatest of all bodies, yet it hath its bounds and limits,

2. There is that which is infinite in respect of number; so the sands on the sea are said to be infinite be­cause innumerable; the stars in the heaven be innumerable, yet be they not truly infinite, because there can be as many more stars and sands: neither way God is said to be infinite, because God is but one.

3. There is an infinite in respect of qualities inherent; so no creature is infinite, because there cannot be in­finite vertues in finite natures, as all created natures are: so God is not properly said to be infinite, because in God there are no qualities, and vertues, but improperly: God is said to be infinite in qualities, as they denote his pure essence, infinite in power, infinite in goodnesse, infinite in mercy: all in God is infinite, be­cause they are his very nature.

4. There is an infinite in respect of Being, Nature, or substance, to [Page 202] have an immeasurable, incomprehen­sible and unlimitted being or nature; so God and onely God is infinite, who onely is incomprehensible and unlimited: therefore he is said to be ubique & nusquam, every where and no where: he is no where circumscrip­tivè limited and bounded, ubique re­pletivè, every where filling all things▪ God comprehends all, and is com­prehended of nothing, his center is every where, his circumference no where.

When we say God is infinite, we mean he is a spirit of infinite extensi­on: when we say he is extended, it is meant secundum totalitem, not se­cundum partes, he is wholly extended, not part by part, therefore he is of infinite extension.


NOw that God is infinite and in­comprehensible, may appear by removing all bounds and limits of Be­ing: Creatures are bounded and limited with these bounds, with

  • Time.
  • Place.
  • Efficacy.
  • Their own Beings.

1. Creatures ar finite, and limited with their Essential Terms, as the An­g [...]lical nature is: but God hath no Essential Terms limiting and bounding him; his Essence is an unlimited Es­sence.

2. All creatures are bounded with Time: The Angels and Souls of Men, who have a being to eternity; yet had no being of duration when they were created: but God is infinite in dura­tion, he is not bounded with begin­ning nor end, but from everlasting to everlasting he is God.

3. Place is another bound or limit to creatures: Angels that are in Heaven, are not at the same time upon Earth. We see how every creature that is in this place, is so bounded, that he is not in another. And this is one strong Argument against Taansubstantiation: Christ's Body is not physically or na­turally [Page 204] in the Bread and Wine, but onely sacramentally, because being a body, he is (as all bodies) in a place circumscriptively: but no place sets bounds to God; he is every where, he filleth heaven and earth; the hea­ven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain him.

4. A thing is limited and bounded in respect of it's efficacy and operation. Angels are powerful, mighty in pow­er, yet their power is limited. Nihil agit ultra sphaeram activitatis; No­thing can go beyond his power. The School-men, speaking of Angels in place, say, they are in loco definitivè, that is, by applying their actions to this, and not to that place: the Sun throws out his light and heat at a great distance, yet it is bounded. Now God is infinite in respect of efficacy, and as he is. Is there any thing too hard for me, saith the Lord? Whatsoever is possi­ble, he can bring to pas his power is boundless, his mercy is boundless, not onely in respect of duration, but [Page 205] also in respect of operation; so that God is infinite in respect of Essence, therefore incomprehensible; infinite in respect duration, therefore eter­nal.

5. Intelligentiâ: Great things may be comprehended in the understand­ing of Angels and Men, but God sur­passeth our understandings: It is im­possibleMagnus denotat duo: mag­nitudinem extensionis, & magni­tudinem cujustibet perfectio­nis sapien­tiae, &c. for Men and Angels to con­ceive the greatness of God: The An­gels shall be prying and prying to eter­nity, yet never shall they see God ful­ly, perfectly, and comprehensively. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, his greatness is unsearchable, Psal. 145. 3. When God is said to be Great, it always noteth his Infinite­nes Great, beyond all conception of Angels and Men; could they con­ceive his greatness, God were not In­finite.

'Tis possible to search out the depth of the Sea, of the Earth, of the height of Heaven: but God is a bottomless Ocean of Majesty and perfection; 'tis [Page 206] impossible to reach the height, and to fathom the depth of God's Ma­jesty; you cannot come near him, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, visione comprehensiva, 1 Tim. 6. 16. his infinite Majesty will find the An­gels and Saints work to eternity to find him out, to comprehend him; and when they have done what they can, they cannot comprehend him. Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord? Jer. 23. 24. The heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool; where is the house that ye build unto me, and where is the place of my rest? Isa. 66. 1. Thus Zophar speaks to Job, Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to per­fection? It is high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper then hell, what canst thou know? the measure thereof is longer then the earth, and broader then the sea. Job 11. 7, 8, 9.


I Shall now lay down several Rea­sons to prove that God is infinite and incomprehensible.

1. If God were not incomprehen­sible,Reas. 1. then there may be something which is extra Deum, beyond, or above, or without God, which hath not his being in God: but these places of Scripture manifest, nothing can be above or beyound God. Psal. 139. 7. ad 12. sheweth, that there is no flee­ing from God's presence, and that no creature can be where God is not; Job 11. He is higher then the hea­vens, &c.

2. If God were not infinite and in­comprehensible,Reas. 2. then there would be something that is an adequate measure of his greatness: If there be any such measure of his greatness, then it should be the Heaven of heavens, which is of the largest capacity, seeing it con­taineth within it's compass, the whole created world; but this is not the [Page 208] measure; for behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain him: he is higher than the heavens, deeper than the earth,

3. If God were not infinite, butReas. 3. finite, then 'tis possible, that God might move from place to place, as finite bodies may.

4. If God were not infinite, thenReas. 4. it is possible for us to conceive some­thing may be greater than God; but it is impossible for the understanding of Men or Angels to conceive a thing may be greater than God: See in what manner the Prophet prayeth to God, and then tell me, whether we can conceive any thing greater than he? Jer. 32. 17, 18, 19. Ah Lord God, be­hold thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power, and stretch­ed-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Thou shewest loving kindness to thousands, &c. The great, the mighty God, the Lord of hosts is his name: Great in counsel, and mighty in working. For thine eyes are open upon [Page 209] all the ways of the sons of men, to give every one according to his ways, and ac­cording to the fruit of his doings. He is called, the blessed and onely Poten­tate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; Who onely hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour, and power everlasting, Amen. 1 Tim. 6. 15, 16.

Now these three things may fully evince, that God is infinite and incom­prehensible.

1. Because God is absolutely and eminently perfect; not so much as a negative imperfection is in God: All perfections are his essence, or rather his essence is all perfections; all infi­nite power, infinite mercy, infinite justice, infinite wisdom; therefore he is called, Pelagus essentiae, a sea of being, [...].

We may behold great perfection in the creatures; Angels are great in power, great in wisdome: but all the [Page 210] perfections that are in creatures, are but as a drop of a bucket in compa­rison of the main Ocean, they are as nothing.

2. God is infinitely powerful, there­fore infinite in his ess [...]nce: that he is infinite in power, witness his Creati­on of the world; there is an act and work proper onely to infinite power, witness the upholding the whole world by the word of his power.

3. From his great Creatures which he hath made, we may apprehend the I [...]finiteness of God. Quod efficit tale, est magis tale; ex pede Herculem. The Earth and Water are a vast and great globe; the Heaven (especially the Heaven of Heavens) is of a most vast and inconceiveable circumference; the very Sun, and but one Star in the Heavens, is far greater then the World is; now if God hath made such great things, he must needs be infinite; see what the Scripture speaks of the great creatures in comparison of God, Isa. 40. 10. Who hath measured the wa­ters [Page 211] in the hollow of his hand? and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a ballance? Behold the Nations are as a drop of a Bucket, and accounted as the small dust of the ballance, behold be taketh up the Isles as a very little thing; All Nations before him are as nothing, they are counted to him lesse then no­thing and vanity ver. 15. 17.


IF God be infinite, hence you mayƲse 1. learn what an evil sin is; that it is an infinite evil, because it is commit­ted against an infinite God. We mea­sure sin by the act, and not by the ob­ject: the act is transient, it passeth a­way, an idle word, a vain thought; a vain thought, as a vain thought, is lit­tle; and so we are apt to think the sin little, because we measure it according to the act▪ not by the object against whom it is committed. Men make no­thing [Page 212] of an Oath, of a Lye, of being drunk, even such gross sins as these are, b [...]cause they measure them by the act: but this is but a wrong Rule to measure your actions by; you must measure sin by the object against whom it is committed, which is God, and so every sin is an infinite evil. Thy idle words are infinite evils, because sin [...] against God; much more thy blas­phemies. Words spoken against the K [...]ng, and a small wrong done to his person, is Crimen laesae Majestatis, is high tre [...]son; but wor [...]s spoken against an ordinary man are not so; because 'tis the King against whom they are spoken, makes them treasonable, and brings death and destruction to him that speaks them. Hence it is, that God will punish every sin with an infi­nite punishment, in respect of durati­on: those sins of which thou makest no reckoning, the infinite God will inflict wrath upon thy soul for them. Thou makest no matter of thy idle words, and vain thoughts; oh know, [Page 213] that God will punish thy idle words, and vain thoughts, with infinite wrath. Psal. [...]0. 11. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear so is thy wrath.

Here is an Use of singular ComfortUse 2. to all broken-hearted sinners: God's mercies are infinite▪ his mercy is in­comprehensible. You think your sins are greater then can be pardoned; yet though thy sins be great and number­less, God's mercies are infinitely more infinite. Thou canst not out▪ vie God's mercies: Lay down as many sins as thou canst at st [...]ke, God will lay down infinite multi [...]udes of mercies. Turn thou from thy wicked ways, and be­lieve, and prove whether the Lord will not pour down mercies, that there shall not be room enough to receive them; God will abundantly pardon: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; For as the Heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts [Page 214] then your thoughts. As if God should say; your thoughts are, that you are the most notorious sinners, that are, that your sins are unpardonable; you think with your selves, is it possible, that such a sinner should find mercy? Will God be gracious to such a vile wretch as I am? Thou hast saith God, too shallow thoughts concern­ing me: my thoughts are not like thine; thy thoughts of my way of mercy are but finite poor con­ceits, but my thoughts of love and mercy to broken hearted sinners that humble themselves unfeignedly, are (like my self) infinite: I have infinite thoughts of mercy toward you, I have infinite thoughts of mercy for you; for as the heaven is higher then the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways, and my thoughts higher then your thoughts. Isa. 57. 7. 8. 9. When men do think their sins unpardonable, what do they they but make God finite? his mercies finite, his mercies com­prehensible?

3. If God be an infinite majesty;Use 3. this may serve as an use of instruction to us.

1. Then it concerns us, to behave our selves with all humility and reve­rence when we draw nigh to God: by how much greater a prince is, the more reverence we shew to him: God is great, infinite majesty, there­fore worthy of all fear, submission, and reverence▪ the Angels in heaven cover their faces standing in His pre­sence. Isa. 6. Beholding his infinite and most glorious majesty, and their own nothing, this is Solomon's ex­hortation to all that pray, to consi­der what a God he is to whom they pray, Eccles. 5. 2. Be not rash with thy mouth, &c. For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: God is a glori­ous infinite majesty, thou a poor, vile worm, therefore fear and trem­ble before him: when he beholdeth men behaving themselves irreverent­ly, irreligiously in his worship, he curseth the man and his service. Mal. 1. 14.

2. It instructeth us, what a most noble service Gods service; is; the greater the Person is, the more noble is his service; it is far more noble to serve Kings than to be a keeper of sheep; God is a great King, an infinite majesty, infinitely exceeding all the Majesty and state of earthly Kings; to serve him then, and to be his favourite, is far more noble than to serve Kings and Emperours: Theo­dosius thanked God more that he was a Christian, than an Emperour; there's no title in comparison of this, to be the servant of the great and in­finite God. Great personages can give great gifts to their servants; but God will give infinite, eternal rewards to all his faithfull servants, not the half of his Kingdome, but his kingdome to his servants.

4. If God be infinite; it furtherUse 4. teacheth us three things.

1. That this great God should have all our affections pitch upon him, root­ed and established in him; he is wor­thy [Page 217] of all possible love, possible fear, possible joy: we may over-love all things except God, we may over-love our own selves, our wives, our children, the creatures, and sin great­ly in loving them, but we cannot o­ver-love God: he is incomprehen­sible in respect of our love to him, as well as in our conceiving of him: God is worthy of more love, than your hearts are capaple of love. The Angels and blessed Saints burn with Love, and shall burn with love to him to all eternity, and yet they shall never love him enough: God is infinitely good, infinitely glorious, and therefore deserveth infinite love; and indeed none love God with a comprehensive love but himself. If ye were the sons of a Father who is infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely blessed and glorious, how would your natural love be toward him; such a one is the Lord our God.

2. It teacheth us whether we should [Page 218] go for satisfaction, even to God who i [...] infinite, and therefore can satisfie the vast desires of man: We see finite things cannot satisfie; we spend ou [...] thoughts and strength to seek satis­faction in the creatures, and all in vain, because they are vanity, finite things cannot satisfie our infinite desires. 'Tis God that is infinite, that fills Heaven, he can fill our hearts with all desirable and possible good: The whole soul will be satisfied with God; he will fill the understanding with knowledge, as he is infinite in wisdom; he will fill the will and affections with good, as he is infi­nitely good: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing, nor the heart with desiring, because when a man hath seen and heard many things, God will satisfie both ear, eye and heart, Psal. 17. 15.

3. It sheweth the wretched madness of most men, who spend all their thoughts, time, affections and labour about poor finite transitory things, as worldly Glory, Honours, Riches, &c. [Page 219] and neglect God, and embrace these shadows, these dreams, before an infi­nite God, in whom is infinite Glory, Honour, Riches; who is an infinite trea­sure of all perfections: If God be thy portion, then hast thou infinite Ho­nours, Riches, because thou hast an in­finite God; if thou enjoyest the world, and hast a world of Honours, of Riches, and all worldly Goods, and hast no in­terest in God, nor right to him; thou art infinitely poor, wretched and mise­rable. It is St. Augustins Meditation, Should I hear God say to a man, here are Riches for thee, there are Honors for thee, live every day as merry as the Sunshine, but nunquam videbis faciem meam, thou shalt never see my face, I should say, much good may the World do such a man, I should not envy him. A godly man on a Dunghil, is better than Ahashuerosh in all his Glory: Paul and Silas did sing in the Dungeon, because they had God there; when Belshazzer (wanting him) did tremble in his Palace in the midst of his mirth and musick.

If God be an infinite God, then letUse 5. this great God be thy confidence; he is infinite in power, trust to him, he is able to do what is possible to be done for thy good, he can do more than thou canst a [...]k or think. He is infinitely wise, therefore can order, dispose all things aright, though for the present they go cross to thy hopes and desires, yet in the event they shall be for thy good: He is infinitely good; trust to him in thy wants, he can fill thy heart with good, thy Barns, thy Purse with good.

God being a great God, must beUse 6. greatly praised, 'tis the Psalmists own use, Psal. 145. 3. Great is the Lord, and greatly to he praised. We use to praise great things that are good and excel­lent; we use to praise and commend wise powerful things; the Lord is great and infinite in power, wisdom, good­ness, give him the glory of his great­ness: whatsoever excellencies are in the creatu [...]e, consider how all are eminent­ly, infinitely in God; the World is great, but God is greater.

A Discourse of Gods Om­nipresence.

Jer. 23. 23, 24. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in se­cret places, that I shall not see him? Do not I fill Heaven and earth, saith the Lord?’


I Proceed from God's Infiniteness, to his Ubiquity or Omnipresence, which well followeth from his Immen­sity and Infinitenes for if Gods Es­sence be infinite, bounded with no place, then God must needs be essenti­ally present everywhere.

In these words, the Prophet confu­teth that gross and Atheistical conceit both of Hypocrites and wicked men: That God takes notice of things that are done near him, but not of things afar off; of things done in publick view, not in secret; he may behold Absalom committing wickedness on [Page 222] the house-top before the Sun, but be­holds not what men in their secret clo­sets, and in dark places do act; they think God can no more behold them in the dark, than men can do. The Pro­phet, or God by him testifieth to these Atheists, that he is a God afar off, as well as at hand; he beholds and seeth what is done in the earth, as well as what is done in the Heavens; and is as present to thee, when thou thinkest thy self afar off from him, as when thou wast more nigh.

Suppose thou hidest thy self in se­cret places, thinking that thou mayest hide thy self and actions from his sight, it is in vain: Go, slie, hide thy self un­der Mountains, or ar deep as the centre of the earth, or wrap thy self up in Clouds, yet the Lord is present, and beholds thee, and will judge and damn thee for thy secret sins. Here God gives a reason why he is a God afar off, as well as at hand, and seeth what men do in every secret place, because he fills Heaven and earth, he is in all places.


HEnce I Note, That God is every­whereObserv. present: This point I will first prove by Scripture, Psal. 139. from 7. to the 13. verse. In the foregoing verse he sheweth, how God knew his down-sitting, and up-rising, and all his thoughts, all his words, all his actions; not a thought, word or action, but God knew them altogether; God besets us behind, before, on each side, he com­passeth us about, therefore he seeth all. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? that is, from Gods knowledge, and under­standing of his wayes: If I ascend in­to Heaven, thou art there; that is, the place of thy special residence: If I make my Bed in Hell.] Hell is taken for the Grave: If I should be buried as deep as the centre of the earth, behold there thou art, Ver. 3. If I take the mings of the Morning.] He alludes to the swift spreading of the light of the Sun, which at day-break, in a moment spreads from East to West: If I should [Page 224] in a moment flie from one part of the World to another, yet I could not flie from thy presence: If men think the darkness shall cover them, the Night shineth as the day; darkness and light are both alike. Thou hast possessed my reins.] Thou canst not flie away from God, God hath possession of thee, God is more present to thee, than thy own soul is. Though they dig into Hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to Heaven, thence will I bring them down; and though they hide them­selves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the Sea &c. Am [...]s 9. 2, 3. It sheweth there is no escaping of Gods judgment, when he comes forthtvisit the iniqui­ties of rebellious persons. God is said not to be far from every one of us, for in him we live and move, and have our being: In him, Tanquam domicilio nos capiente, undique ambiente; God is thorough and thorough every one of us, we are in him, and he in us, Acts 17. 27, 28.

The World is in God, as a little Sponge in the v [...]st Sea; the Ocean compasseth it round about, and doth penetrate every part of the Sponge; or as a little Glass in the light of the Sun▪ the light is within it, and without it, pierceth thorow every part of it, and 'tis diffused round about it: Thus God is within every creature; is more present to the creature, than the crea­ture is to it self; he is within thy spirit, thy soul, and each particle of every thing; thy soul is more present to thee than: thy body. God is more present to thee than thine own soul.


IN the handling of this Attribute, I will shew what Gods Omnipre­sence is in divers particulars; then an­swer some Objections or Questions, and so make use of the point.

A thing is said to be in place three wayes.

1. Circumscriptivè; so all bodies are in place, circumscribed with local [Page 226] terms, so lim [...]te [...] in this place, as they cannot be in another place at▪ the same time; one part of the body is beyond another and each part hath its cer [...]ain dimensions.

2. Definitiv [...]; so Angels are in place, who have not one par [...] of their being beyond another, as bodies have [...] but in respect of their being & operation are in this o [...] that place, as they cannot be at the same time in another place.

3. Repl [...]tiv [...] filling every place, o [...] possessing all places real and imaginary, ye [...] ▪ beyond all imaginary places: So God is in place, filling Heaven, [...]th, Hell, all imaginary places, and beyond all imaginary places. Take these Pro­positions.

1. God is in all places at once; bodie [...] P [...]op. 1. may remove from place to place, An­gels may remove from place to place, from Heaven to Earth, from Earth to Heaven again, from this place to ano­ther place: but God is in all places at once; he fills Heaven and Earth, and Hell at once, and is immoveable, he [Page 227] doth not move from place to place. Wicked men may run from one part of the world to the other, climb up to Heaven, hide themselves in the bottom of the Sea, but cannot go from him▪ God is in all these places at once.

2. God is wholly everywhere;Prop. 2. whole God is in Heaven; whole God in earth; when we say God is every­where, we must not conceive▪ that part of God is here, and part of God in a­nother place; part in Heaven, part in earth, part in every creature; but all God, or whole God is in Heaven, is in earth, is everywhere: neither must we conceive that God▪ is more in this place, more in that place; a greater part of God in the greater part of the World, and a lesser part of God in the lesser part of the World: but as the Philosophers say of the Soul of man, that it is tota in toto, & tota in qualibe [...] parte, it is all in all, and all in every part; so whole God is in Heaven, and in earth, and whole God is in every part, he is totaliter totus, in every place. [Page 228] 3. Though God [...]e every where, andProp. 3. in every creature; yet God is not part of the creatu [...]e, nor is he defiled with the filthy creatures: though God be present tot [...]e wicked, and in the wick­ed, y [...]t not defiled with them: but God subsisteth in h [...]s glorious purity▪ separa­ted from all. God is conjunct [...] ssimu [...] & remotissimus▪ praesentissimus & segre­gatissimus: He is most near, as a man cannot be nearer to himself, than God is to him, yet God is infinitely remote from the creature, in respect of defile­ment from them, and being part of them.


AGain, God is present three wayes.

1. Per Potentiam, by his Power, up­holding, governing, preserving all things: In him we live, move, and have our being; [...]e [...]ause he is present, he gives life to eve [...]y living thing, motion to every moving thing, and prese [...]veth every thing in their being: God work­eth [Page 229] everywhere, having all creatures in subjection to him.

2. God is everywhere, per inspecti­onem, in respect of his knowledge: All things are naked, and bare before him: God beholdeth all things, actions, per­sons, thoughts, speeches, gestures, yea every creature at all times everywhere by one single view, and not one thing after another successively as we do: He beholdeth all things; thy secret thoughts and intents, thy hidden pur­poses, and the n [...]mble and qu [...]ck moti­ons of thy heart are as clear and n [...]ked, and visible to God, as the Moon in the clear Sky is to our eyes, and far more manifest and open to him.

3. God is everywhere present, per Essentiam, by his Ess [...]nce: His Es­sence fills Heaven and Earth; he is essentially present to every Creature, and in every Creature: The two for­mer wayes may be without an [...]ima [...]e presence, as the Sun is many thousand Miles distant from the earth, yet in re­spect of his light and heat, is presen [...] to [Page 230] the earth: A man may behold things afar off: but now God is indistantially present in every place; he is not a God afar off from any place, creature or per­son▪ but is intimately and essentially present in every place, in every crea­ture, in every person: so that when we say, God is every where present, we mean the Divine Essence is totally pre­sent in every place, and in every Crea­ture at once.


THere is good reason why GodReas. 1. should be in every place.

1. God being an infinite, great, and incomprehensible God, no place can possibly comprehend him, then must he needs be present everywhere; for either God is nusquàm, or alicubi, or ubiqu [...]: No where, in some certain place, or everywhere: You cannot say he is nowhere, for then there is no God; You cannot say he is in some certain place, for then he should [...]e a finite God, limited and circumscribed [Page 231] with local terms; therefore he must be ubiqu [...], every where, filling all pla­ces a [...] once; an infinite Being must needs be every where. And in this God doth infinitely excel all creatures whatsoever; the Air is every where, but yet onely in it's own region; the Waters of the Sea are every where in the depth, but yet wirhin it's bounds; the light of the Sun is of creatures most diffusive, and extended over the whole Hemisphere, yet the diffusion of it is bounded, the solid Earth is the bounds of it; but God is in Heaven, Earth, Hell, in all places, beyond all imagination, at once, fully, and un­limitedly.

2. Because every man, and what­soeverReas. 2. every man doth think, speak, or do, is in the presence of God, is be­fore God; therefore God is omnipre­sent. How is it possible, that all the godly should walk before him at once, and do all that they do in his presence, if God were not omnipresent, present with them, and beholding them? E­noch, [Page 232] Abraham, David, did walk before him, and all the godly do walk before him. So, as to the wicked themselves, all that they do, think, or speak, is be­fore him. And this sheweth, that God is infinitely present in every man, and to every man; yea, he is more near to us than our selves are, because he knoweth the thoughts of man what they are: all thy proud thoughts, [...]ll thy adulterous thoughts are before him, and not a word droppeth from thy tongue, but he heareth it alto­gether.

The Lord is said to see in secret: all thy secret filthiness acted in the darkest corners, dens, caves, and holes, deserts and wildernesses, the Lord beholdeth. Imagine the Adul­terer had his Dalilah with him, as deep as the centre of the earth, yet all would be acted before the Lord. See­ing then thou canst not do any thing any where, at any time, but 'tis be­fore God, he must needs be omnipre­sent. Darkness is as bright as noon [Page 233] to him; therefore in vain doth the A­dulterer wait for the twilight; the hidden and secret holes are as open to him as the tops of houses and mountains; therefore in vain do men hide their lewdness from God: Thou canst go no where and sin, but it is in the presence of a glorious God.


BEfore I make Application, it will be needful to answer some Questi­ons about God's omnipresence.

1. If God be every where present,Quest. 1. how is it said, that God is in heaven? as we say in the Preface of the Lord's Prayer, Our Father which art in Hea­ven. And Psal. 115. 3. Our God is in heaven. These seem to denote, that God is onely in heaven.

I answer, First, in respect of hisSol. 1. Divine Essence, God is as much in Earth, in Hell, every where, as he is in Heaven; God is totus ubique, whole God is every where.

2. God is said to be in heaven, [Page 234] [...] by way of eminency and excellency, in two respects.

1. Because in heaven he lays open and displayeth the full brightness of all his glorious perfections to the view of glorified Saints and Angels: there they behold him face to face, and stand continually in his blessed presence, in which presence there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore, Psal. 16. 11. The beholding of God's Majesty in heaven, is the eternal happiness, life, glory of his elect.

In Earth God doth not shew the brightness of his glory; the most that we behold of God, is but his back­parts; some beams of his Divine glo­ry in his Word and Ordinances, in his Creatures: and as for hell, his presence is terrible to the damned, he display­eth his full wrath and vengeance to them; they see not a glimpse of his glory, his face and his favour is eter­nally hidden from them. That's the meaning of that place in 2 Thess. 1. 9. where it is said of the wicked, that [Page 235] they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord; that is, from the presence of his favour, love, mercy, goodness, glory, in which is fulness of joy and life for evermore, God is present in heaven, present in hell: his presence in heaven is joyous, as the presence of a King to a Favourite; his presence in hell i [...] most terrible, as the presence of a King to a Traitor.

2. God is said to be in Heaven, to shew the vastness of his dominion o­ver all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth. Heaven is the Royal Throne of his Kingdome, his [...]ear, his Palace, his Court of Residence, Psal. 103. 19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens. Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my thron [...], Isa. 66. 1. The earth in comparison of heaven is his foot-stool. Hence it is, that God is said to dwell in hea­ven, to sit in heaven, to reign in hea­ven.

2. If God be every where present,Quest. 2. [Page 236] ho [...] is it then that God is said to dwell in his Sain [...]s, but for the wicked, he knows th [...]m afar off?

I answe [...], God is essentially and in­distanti [...]llySol. present to the wicked, as well as to, and in the godly; God is the preserver of both in their beings; in him both the godly and the wicked live, mov [...], and have their b [...]ing: But God is said to dw [...]ll in t [...]e godly by the presence of his grac [...], by the pre­sence of his comfortable favour, and in respect of his rule and government of their heart; the hearts of his Saints are his Throne, Palace, Seat, and House, as Heaven; therefore every godly man's heart is an heaven, Et De­us in illo coelo. 2 Cor 6. 16. he is said to dwell in them, and walk in them. But so he is not present to the wicked; they are vo [...]d of all grace, their hearts are very dens, and prisons, and very hells of sin, the throne of Satan the Prince of the Air, by whom they are ruled, and led captive at his pleasure, Eph. 2. 2.

It is said of Stephen that his heart was full of the holy Ghost, but of Ananias it is said, that Satan had fil­led his hea [...]t. Act. 5. A wicked man is full of the devil, and in this re­spect God is said to know the wicked afar off, he looketh on them, and all that they do as hateful abomina­tions. They are said to be withou [...] Christ, and without God in this world: So th [...]ugh God be present▪ to the wicked, and in the wicked, yet he dwells not in them: the presence of his essence notes not God's dwelling, but his dwelling is the efficacious work of his sanctifying and quickning spi­rit, his supping with his Saints.

3. If God be every where present,Quest. 3. then how is it said, that God de­parts from us, and comes unto us?

God doth not depart and comeSol▪ in respect of his essence, but in re­spect of his efficacy or working: God is said to draw nigh to his servants; when he gives them the sense of his gracious presence, the comfortable [Page 238] sense of his favour, and quickning their hearts to run the way of Gods commandements, and vouchsa [...]ing his p [...]esence with them in duties▪ God departeth from his servants, whe [...] he withdraws the presence of his [...]a­vour, the sen [...] of his grace, and the quickning ve [...]ud of his spirit, upon which follows [...]s [...]al [...]ears, horrour, and sadnesse of heart, and then their [...]uls (like Pharaoh's wheels) drive heavily in du [...]s: when God thus dea [...]eth with his servants; he is said to hide himself, and to cast them out of his presence.

Again God is said to draw nigh to the wicked, when he knocks at the doors of their souls by the motions of his spi [...]t for entrance, or when he breaks open the door, and cometh in, and casteth out Satan and chang­eth their heart.

And he is said to depart from the wicked, when his Spirit ceaseth to strive with them any longer, and leaveth them in their hardnesse, and [Page 239] and blindness, [...]o be blinded and har­dened more, and gives them up to their lusts, and to Satan, and to be ruled and swayed by them.

4. How is it said that Cain went Quest. 4. out from the presence of the Lord, see­ing God is present every where?

There is a double presence of God;Sol [...]. his Universal presence; his special pre­sence; his universal presence, the pre­sence of hi [...] essence Cain could not, nor can any man [...]y from▪ but as to his special presence among his sai [...]s, and in his ordinan [...]es, so Cain went from God's presence [...] when he left society with Adam, he forsook the presence of God in the Assem­bly of his Saints, he forsook the Church and worship of God, the place where he dwelleth: thus every man that absents himself from the communion of Saints in publique worship, goes out from the presence of the Lord: As often as any one purposely absenteth himself from the hearing of the word, and the publick [Page 240] worship, he goes from the presence of God; hence the publick worship and the coming to the ordinances are called our appearing before God. Psal. 84. 7. this is called the face of God, an [...] the beauty of the Lord, Psal. 27 4.


1. THis sheweth the sottish A­theismƲse 1. of many wicked per­sons, who if they can sin in secret from the sight of mortal men, pro­mise themselves security and safety from punishment, perswading them­selves that the immortal eye of the holy God, who cannot endure to be­hold sin, can no more see them in thee dark or in secret, than the mor­tal eyes of man. Oh tremble rather, for here is matter of terrour to such; your sins and your persons are always before God; he seeth thy secret sins acted in thy bosome; thy heart­pride, thy heart covetousness, thy heart-adultery, thy heart-murther, as [Page 241] well as the outward act: he sees thy filthy thoughts, as well as thy filthy actions, and heareth every word spo­ken by thee.

Thy sins committed in the dark at midnight, are all open to him, as thy sins committed at noon day in the face of the sun: thy sins acted in the most secret place that can be found, are open before him, as well as Ab­solo [...]s▪ adultery acted on the house top: as 'tis said of Nimrod, he was a migh­ty hunter before the Lord, so of the secret Adulterer, the speculative a­dulterer, he is a mighty adulterer before the Lord: so of the secret drunkard, he is a mighty drun­kard before the Lord: therefore in vain do men dig deep to hide their counsels from him; in vain doth the Adulteresse wipe her mouth, and say she hath done no evil; seeing all that men or women think, speak or do in publick, in secret, at midnight, and at noon, is before the Lord, who is more than a thousand eye-witnes­ses, [Page 242] more then if thou shouldst act sin upon a publique Stage in open mar­ket.

Then, if thy sins be acted before God, never imagine thou art free from vengeance; thy person is always before the sin-revenging God, who will not acquit the guilty; but be sure O sinner, his vengeance will pursue thee and overtake thee, and never leave till it hath destroyed thee with an everlasting destruction: as the Prophet speaketh of an impossi­bility of escaping his presence; the like may be said of his wrath; nei­ther shall the wicked flie from his wrath: though the wicked be hid from his fight in the bottom of the Sea, thence the Lord saith, he will command the Serpent, and it shall bite them: and though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence he saith, he will command the sword, and it shall slay them. Amos. 9. 3. 4▪ God will command this and that Plague to destroy them: he that fills [Page 243] Heaven and earth with his Essence, is able to fill all sinful places with his wrath.

2. The consideration of Gods Om­nipresence,Use 2. should be a Curb to restrain and keep us back from committing sin; we cannot sin but in his presence: if it were possible for thee to find out a place where God is not, then and there thou might'st take liberty to sin, and there thou maist commit folly securely: but dic ubi non est Deus? said the Phi­losopher to one, who asked, Where is God? Tell me, saith he, where God is not?

It was a Philosophers advice to some, That if they would keep them­selves from Vanity and Folly, they should alwayes imagine some severe Cato were beholding them; he had well said, if he had counselled them to have set God alwayes before their eyes.

What preserved Joseph from yield­ing to the adulterous Temptations of his unchaste Mistress, having a fair op­portunity [Page 244] to act in secret? How shall I do this wickedness, and sin against God? Gen. 39. 9. As if he had said, Though my Master and all his Servants behold us not, yet God whom I fear and serve, beholdeth me, how shall I sin in his presence? If we did reason thus with our selves, we should vanquish tempta­tions; and though we have the fairest opportunities to commit sin, yet we should stand in awe of him, and not sinne.

Why do wicked men take liberty to sin? 'Tis because the fear of God is not before their eyes. The Adulterer considers not, that he is sinning before God, and doing of that in his presence, which he durst not do▪ before a child: Why do men harbour such unclean thoughts in their hearts, and make their very hearts the Bawd, Whoremonger and Brothel-house, it is because they consider not, they act this filthiness be­fore the Lord. A young man being importuned by a Whore to lie with her, told her, he would, if she would [Page 245] go with him to a place where he shouldCas [...]ian. Collat. lead her; she asked whether he would go? he said, to the Market-place; she replied, there every one will see us: Then said he, go into the most secret place thou canst find out, and God will see us. You that take liberty to com­mit secret sins, who, if you can keep your selves from the sight of men, re­gard not what wickedness you act in the presence of God, let me tell you, That secret sinners are as notorious and desperate Atheists, as the most shameless Drunkard, and open-mouth­ed blasphemer: To this purpose I de­sire you seriously to consider these things.

1. No sin is secret, or can be acted in secret, because in the presence of God, who is more than a million of Witnesses. What sins are more secret than our wanton thoughts, our proud or worldly thoughts, than our vain thoughts; yet even these God know­eth altogether, not a thought, but is present before him: Thou hast possessed [Page 246] my reins, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 139. 13. God hath possession of our hearts, they are all naked before him.

2. There's no secret sin, but God will bring forth to publick Judgment: There is a day when God shall judge the secrets of all men by Jesus Christ, accord­ing to the Gospel, Rom. 2. 16. Secret sinners think their secresie will keep them from open shame, and publick punishment; no, God will judge thee for thy secret sins before men and An­gels: They are apt to bless God they were honest with their bodies, but God will tell thee thou hadst not an honest heart, whiles thou actedst such secret sins, and therefore he will condemn thee: What will be the shame of all those at that great day, but the ripping up of their secret sins? What will the Lord then say? You thought th [...]se men to be holy men, because you saw nothing but what was commendable in their outward Conversation, but yet in my presence they took liberty to be drunk, to be adulterous, proud, cove­tous, [Page 247] &c. That chaste man, as you thought him, was in his heart a most vile Adulterer, Sodomite, incestuous wretch, as any damned Sodomite: That sober man, as you took him to be, was in his heart a vile profane Drunkard, as any damned Drunkard: They have acted these things in the presence of me their God, which they durst not act in the presence of man: I was made no more reckoning of by them, than as a blind God, a careless, regardless God; rather an approver of them in their sins, than an hater of them.


3. HEnce we may learn the infiniteUse 3. patience and forbearance of God; how patient he is, seeing all sin is acted in his presence, and yet the Lord breaks not forth into fury, to con­sume the ungodly in a moment? O consider how many thousands of drun­kards are reeling and spewing before Gods face from day to day! How ma­ny millions of Swearers, do daily blas­pheme [Page 248] the dreadful and glorious Name of the Lord our God! How many thousand shameless Adulterers, delight in chambering and wantonness! Lay to heart, how the whole world of un­godly men, do daily act their Villanies before the face of God! He upholds the World, feeds, cloatheth, filleth the world with mercies; whereas he might bring a flood to drown the World, or rain down fire and brimstone to de­stroy the World in a moment: Could a man endure this? If God were man, then you Drunkards had been damned before now; but surely God is not man, therefore ye are not consumed.

Can a father alwayes bear with a prodigal son, that shall go to Taverns and Alehouses, and waste his means, and run in debt, and he often pay all, and no sooner is the debt paid, but he runs further into debt again? Or can a father endure to see his child lie and tumble in the midst of a dirty hole, though he take him out, w [...]sh his cloaths, and put on him clean vestures, [Page 249] yet he again runs into the place, and there soules them before his fathers face: Thus do wretched men before God, they wallow in sinful abominati­ons; wicked men tumble and plunge themselves in the mire of▪ sin before the face of God, and yet the Lord breaks not forth into fury. What King would endure to hear a Shimei alwayes railing against him to his face? yet God suffers the Swearer, the Blasphe­mer, the Scorner to abuse him to his face. What King would endure Rebels and Traytors to act Treason continu­ally, when it is in his power to take a­way their lives presently? yet God doth patiently bear with many millions of men, that rebel daily against his Laws and Government, who could in a moment turn all the ungodly into hell; this is strong conviction, that God is infinitely patient and long-suffering.

4. If God be Omnipresent, it shouldUse 4. instruct us in divers things.

1. It should teach us to be conscious of private duties, as well as publick; [Page 250] of prayer in our Closets, the door be­ing shut upon us, as of prayer in the o­pen Congregation: God is present to us, and with us in our private Closets, as in the publick house of prayer.

2. To be the same in our private duties, as in our publick services; as reverent, as fervent, as devout and hea­venly in the corner, as on the house­top, because all is done in the presence of God, who abhorreth publick fer­vency, and open devotion, when he seeth private profaneness, and secret coldness and remissness.

3. It should teach us to be square in all our aims, and intentions in our du­ties: Outward pretences are no cloak to hide rotten aims from God; all Hy­pocrites shew extream folly, when they think with Adam, to hide themselves among Trees, and to cover themselves with fig-leaves from the presence of the Lord, none (to speak properly) are Hypoc [...]ites before God; Hypocrisie is many times godliness in mans eye, but open profaneness in the sight of [Page 251] God. When you do duties, God looketh to your heart and rei [...]s, to the integrity of your hearts: Thy spirit and soul, is as naked in Gods eyes, as thy most glorious performances, all the rottenness and filth of painted Se­pulchres are still in the Nostrils of God.

4. It should teach us to come with preparedness to duties, because we go into the presence of an holy God, Ec­cles. 5. 1. The Bride puts on her robes to meet her Bridegroom; the King looketh upon his guests to see if they come with wedding garments: I will be sanctified by all them that draw nigh unto me, Lev. 10. 3.

5. It sheweth us that we may pray to God in any place: I will that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, &c. 1 Tim. 2. 8. We need not tye God to any place, but in all places, and at all times, we may and must lift up pure hands, because God is alwayes every­where present: Then need we not to direct our prayers to any Saint or An­gel, [Page 252] what need such Will-worship? when as God that heareth our prayers, is alwayes nigh to all that call upon him. There is as great a distance be­tween us and the glorified Saints, as the highest Heaven is from the earth; we may cry to them from morning to eve­ning, and be no more comforted, than Baal's Priests were, when they cryed from Morning until Noon, O Baal hear us.


THe next Use shall be of Exhor­tationƲse 5. 5. to divers things.

1. To walk continually in upright­ness, and sincere affection, as in the presence of God: How do Angels live? how do glorified Saints live? how holy, how pure, how heavenly are they, because they stand continually before God? Therefore I say to you, as God to Abraham, Be thou perfect; though we cannot attain to Angelica [...] perfection, yet labour to walk in per­fection of sincerity, because God besets [Page 253] thee behind and before, and observeth thy uprising, and down-lying.

2. To keep a strict watch over our hearts: Keep thy heart above all keep­ing, because God hath possession of thy heart: Look to thy thoughts, intenti­ons and purposes: What shall thy heart be a Den, a Sty, a Thorow-fare for vain thoughts, proud thoughts, un­clean thoughts? Beloved Hearers! Are ye not ashamed to speak openly what your hearts do meditate upon? and are ye not ashamed then to lodge such thoughts in Gods presence, who is and will be a Witness and a Judge of your thoughts? A vain mind is a very Atheistical mind; he that is proud in his thoughts, Adulterous in his thoughts, is a very Atheist in his mind: God doth in effect say to every sinner, I am God, and know your thoughts, and will judge your thoughts; I can see the world in thy thoughts; I can see pleasures▪ profits, vanities in thy thoughts; I can see thy Whores, thy cups, thy companions in thy thoughts, [Page 254] but God is not in all thy thoughts: God is most present, and yet he is a stranger to thee.

3. Be careful to approve your selves to God in an holy Conversation; though the World scoff at you, ac­count you as Hypocrites, for Humo­rists, yet be zealous for God, let the World judge as they please: Say as David to Michal, It is before the Lord, I will be holy I will be zealous.

4. It should encourage us to be a­bundant in private duties: What! though the World behold you not praying, giving Alms, you have God beholding you in secret, who is more than a world of eye-witnesses? not an holy thought of God (then which nothing can be more private) shall go unrewarded: Behold who is coming to give his sincere servants publick re­wards of glory for private service; let Pharisees have their loud Trumpets to sound forth their Alms, God will be thy Trumpetter to speak forth thy pri­vate duties, that Heaven, Earth and [Page 255] Hell shall ring of it, Angels and Saints, Devils and wicked men shall hear what thou didst for God, how uprightly thou didst serve him, and walkedst in sincerity before him.

6. If God be Omnipresent, thenUse 6. here is matter of singular comfort to the godly in all afflictions; he is and will be a present help to thee in all pla­ces, in all troubles; why should ye be terrified with fears of evil, when as God is present? Art thou a close Pri­soner, and in Bonds for Christs sake, God is present with thee in Prison? Nunquàm minûs solus quàm cùm solus: A close Prisoner of Jesus Christ may say, he is never less alone, than when alone: When thy Father and Mother shall forsake thee, or cannot, or will not own thee, help thee, and be present with thee, God is then present. Do evil men plot thy destruction, or thy trouble, they cannot harm thee, be­cause God is present? If thou shouldest run thorow St. Pauls troubles, all kind of troubles in all places, God saith to [Page 256] thee, as Ruth to Naomi, Where thou go­est, thither will I go; where thou dwel­lest, Isa. 42. 1, 2 there will I dwell, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Fear not, O Is­rael, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. David was resolved against all fears of man, and of all evil, Psal. 118. 6, 7. The Lord is on my side, I will not fear what man can do unto me; the Lord taketh my part with them that help me, therefore shall I see my desire upon mine enemy. A midst thine enemies, thou shalt have his presence of protection; in thy troubles thou shalt have the presence of his supporting comforts; in thy temptations the presence of his grace; in thy death the presence of his Spirit, the presence of his comforts and joyous favour; and after death thou shalt enjoy the presence of his [Page 257] glory, in which there is fulness of joy, and life for evermore.

A Discourse of Gods Omniscience.

Psal. 94. 8, 9, 10. Understand, O ye bru­tish among the people, and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the Heathen, shall not he correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?’


FRom God's Omnipresence, I pro­ceed to his Omniscience: for see­ing all things are done in his presence, he cannot but know all things, he be­ing intimately and indistantially pre­sent to every creature, and in every creature, he must necessarily know the creatures, and all their actions, inward, outward, in all circumstances. Now for the coherence and opening of these words.

In the two fi [...]st Verses, the Psalmist makes earnest request to God, to whom all vengeance belongeth, that being Ju [...]ge of the world, he would lift up his iron rod of vengeance, and break to piec [...]s the proud of the earth. In the five following Verses, he descri­beth the wicked, upon whom he prays divine vengeance may fall.

1. They were proud and insolent, boasting of their own heart's desire, tri­umphing in their ungodly courses. v. 4, 5

2. They were such, who for a long season, had abused the patience of God: therefore the Prophet cries out, How long, Lord, shall the wicked thus tri­umph? They grow the more wicked and insolent, because thou Lord takest not vengeance; long impunity breed's impenitency and impudency; There­fore how long, Lord, shall the wicked triumph? how long shall they utter and speak hard things, &c.

3. They are such as tyranically and barbarously abuse the people of God, l [...]ke wild Bores in the Lord's Vineyard, [Page 259] treading down his people like mire in the streets, miserably affl [...]cting and persecuting them: They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine he­ritage; They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless, Vers. 5, 6. where he amplifieth their barbarous cruelty, in that they spare none; unto the destitute widows, the poor fatherless children, the helpless and friendless strangers, to whom all compassion should be shewen, they shew cruelty.

In the seventh verse, is the depth and height of their impiety, the foun­tain of all their impudency and cruelty and ungodliness, viz. they perswade themselves, that God beholds them not, and what they do in earth: They say, the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Hence they run into all wickedness with greediness, and resolve so to do; because they think God knoweth not them, nor their mischievous doings, and so they shall escape divine vengeance.

Now in the Text, the Psalmist up­braids them for that Atheism, and tells them, that God takes notice of all their wickednes he understands and know­eth all that they do, and will take vengeance on them.

Understand, O ye brutish among the people.] By brutish some understand the ordinary common people of the world: But it is rather meant of those men, whether high or low, noble or base, rich or poor, that are Enemies to God's people, and yet think God seeth them not acting their wickednes he saith of such, they are no better then brute creatures, they know God no more than the Horse, or the brutish Ass.

Understand] that is, know, and take this for an undoubted truth, that the Lord sees and knows what ye do. Now see how he doth illustrate and prove it.

He that planted the ear, shall not he hear?] He that gives man the hearing ear, he much more must hear [him­self;] there is for all your words, your [Page 261] hard, proud, and ungodly speeches.

He that formed the eye, shall not he see?] He that gives man the seeing eye, shall not he much more see? there is for all your actions.

He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not [...]he correct?] He that hath taken vengeance upon others, that hath drown'd the World, burnt up Cities with fire and brimstone, shall not he take vengeance upon such proud, in­solent wretches as ye are?

He that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?] i. e. He that hath gi­ven to man an understanding faculty, whereby he is able to know and per­ceive things, shall not he much more know what is done? the Lord know­eth your vain thoughts, vers. 11. much more your outward actions.


SO then from these words [hear,] [see] and [know] I purpose to han­dle the glorious perfection of God's Wisdom and Knowledg. Thence I ob­serve,

That God is an all-knowing and wise

You see here, how God knows all our words, actions, and thoughts; for proof of the Point, read Job 28. 23, 24. God seeth and knoweth all things far and near, all that is under the heavens, as well as above the heavens: All things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4. 13. that is, all things are known of him perfectly and evidently, the [...] with [...] all things that are, with the causes and reasons of things. Act. 15. 18. Known unto God from the begin­ning of the world are all his works. I shall fu [...]ther prove the Point in the ex­plication of God's Omniscience, which I will plainly thus describe.

God's knowledg, is that gloriousDescript. Attribute whereby he perfectly knows all things whatsoever. Here I will shew [...]hree things; 1. Some Distincti­ons of God's Knowledg; 2. The Ob­ject of his Knowledg; 3. The manner and Properties of this his Knowledg.

As to the distinctions of Gods knowledg.

1. There is scientia simplicis intelli­gentiae, which is the knowledg of things that were, are, or shall be, or may be, though actually it shall never come to pass: whatsoever his power can do, he knoweth many things he can do, which he will not do, these he perfectly knoweth.

2. There is scientia Visionis, which is God's knowledg of all things, that were, are, or shall be, because they are necessary, free or contingent: This knowledg in respect of things to come, is called praescience or foreknowledg, but in respect of things past and pre­sent it is called knowledg. There is this difference between Gods knowledg and foreknowledg of things.

1. His knowledg, is general of all things whatsoever; his foreknowledg, is of things to come.

2. His knowledg, is of objects in­ternal and extrinsecal; his fore know­ledg, is onely of extrinsecall objects.

3. Knowledg is properly in God, fore knowledge is improperly in him, because 'tis in respect of things them­selves, and in respect of us.

Again, Gods knowledg, is

  • General.
  • Speciall.

General; so he knows all things what­soever; every creature, the causes andEminenter novit om­nia in s [...]ip so ut in causa, an t [...]cedentèr in rebus s [...] ­cundis, praesentèr in s [...]i [...]sis: infallibili­ter novit omnia p [...]opter in­sinitatem & immu­tahilitatem essentiae. reasons of all in himself, in themselves, in their causes with their circumstances: he knows all things in himself, as in the first cause eminently, antecedently in second causes, at present in the things themselves: he knoweth all things by reason of the infiniteness and immuta­bility of his essence, so he knoweth them infallibly.

His knowledg is also special: and so it is of the elect and reprobate of what Men or Angels do think: This again is twofold, either general, of all Men and Angels; or special: so he is said onely to know his elect, which is a knowledg with special love and approbation of their persons and acti­ons, [Page 265] Psal. 1. 6. The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, that is with a knowledg of approbation.

CHAP. III. Of the Objects of Gods knowledg.

NOw for the Objects of God's knowledg: In a word! omnesci­bile, whatsoever can be known he knoweth, but I will rank the objects of his knowledg into these three heads.

1. He knows all things that are past, as if they were now present: Psa. 90. 8. All thy sins secret and pub­lick, long agoe committed are before God, as if they were now in acting, thy adultery, thy oathes, thy drun­kennesse committed 10. or 20. years agone: Thou hast set our iniquities be­fore thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

2. God knoweth all creatures, all things present: here I shall speak espe­cially of his knowledg in reference to man. [Page 266] 1. He knows all our works, there is nothing thou canst do, or dost, whe­ther in the light or in the dark, in closets or in the house tops; but he knows it. Rev. 3. 1. Thus saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars, to the Angel of the Church▪ in Sardis, I know thy works, &c. I know what manner of works they are.

2. The Lord knows our hearts; he knows the sinfulness of the heart, he knows the deceitfulnesse of the heart, he knows w [...]at abominations are in the heart. The heart of man is deceitfull above all things, and despe­rately wicked, who can know it? he an­swereth, I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and accor­ding to the fruit of his doings. Jerem. 17. 9. 10. The Lord knoweth all the errors and sins which thou didst act in thy heart; who can understand▪ his error. saith David cleanse thou me from the secret faults. Psal. 19. 12. [Page 267] They are a people that do erre in their hearts, saith the Lord. Psal. 95. 10. God knows all the thoughts of our hearts, how momentany, suddain and transient soever they be; though they come in, and go out again in a moment, in the twinckling of an eye, yet he knows and observes them all: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Psal. 94. 11. Job. acknowledgeth this to God. I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought is with-holden from thee. Job. 42. 2. He knoweth all the imaginations of man's heart. God saw that the wickedness of man was great upon earth, and that every imaginati­on of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, Gen. 6. 5. The Lord likewise knoweth all the purposes and intentions, and counsels of the heart; he knoweth what your aimes are in all your undertakings; whether you intend his glory, or your own self in­terest, his word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [Page 268] Heb. 4. 12. When the Jews came with questions to Christ, as if they desired to be informed by him, our Saviour knowing their thoughts, knew that they came to entrap him.

3. The Lord knoweth all the words that we speak. There is not a word in my tongue, but loe, Oh Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Psal. 139. 4. The Lord knows every idle word that you speak, and will one day bring you to an ac­count for it, Matt. 12. He hath like­wise a book of remembrance to set down every good word, that they that fear the Lord speak one to another. Malach. 3. 16.

3. God knoweth all things to come; Thou understandest my thoughts afar off, saith David, Psal. 139. 2 When God sent Moses to Pharaoh, he tells him: I am sure, that the King of Egypt will not let you go, no not by a mighty hand; and I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders, which I will do in the midst thereof, and af­ter that he will let you go. Exod. 3. 19. 20. [Page 269] so he speaks of the Israelites, I know their imaginations which they go about, even now before I have brought them into the land which I sware. Deut. 31. 21.

CHAP. IV. Of the Properties of God's Knowledg.

NOw concerning the Properties of God's Knowledg, we are to un­derstand that,

1. God beholdeth all things uno in­tuitu, by one simple act, not by di­vers, as Angels and Men do; he knoweth all things intuitivè, not dis­cursivè, or successivè, as a man may see many particular objects at once that lie before him: but God sees in­finite objects intuitively at once, and therefore all things are said to be before him, even things past, and things to come: there is no praeterition nor fu­turition in God's Knowledg (to speak properly) for all things are present before him.

2. God knoweth all things most perfectly and evidently, not in part, or [Page 270] obscurely, as men do: but he know­eth all things fully and exactly; his knowledg is a perfect knowledg, that cannot be increased or diminished. God most perfectly knoweth himself▪ he also most perfectly knoweth all o­ther things besides himself: His under­standing is infinite, Psal. 147. 5. he knoweth things actually infinite.

3. God knoweth all things distinct­ly, not confusedly or universally, but he knoweth every particular and indi­vidual whatsoever; and by this distinct and proper knowledg he knoweth sin­gular things to come, even contingent: for to him, their first cause, they are necessary things; in respect of second causes, contingent: and by this distinct knowledg of his, he knoweth all the circumstances of all our words and acti­ons, with all the aggravations of them, as to persons, time, place, &c. The Lord distinctly knoweth the persons of all his chosen people. The founda­tion of the Lord standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth who are his. [Page 271] 2 Tim. 2. 19. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, saith our Saviour, Joh. 10. 14. he knoweth all their names. So the Lord to Moses, Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name, Exod. 33. 17. he know­eth the number even of the very hairs of their heads, they are all numbred by him, Luk. 12. 7.

4. God knoweth all things necessa­rily, immutably, and infallibly. God is his own knowledg, he understandeth all things therefore necessarily, and infallibly, neither can the knowledg of God be any more deceived than his will; this knowledg of God is semper eadem, always the same, not subject to any change or alteration: There be many devices in man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord that shall stand▪ Prov. 19. 21.

CHAP. V. Reasons to prove God's Omniscience.

THere are many Reasons may be given to prove God is Omni­scient.

1. Because God created all things;Reas. 1. therefore no creature is hid from him, but is open and naked before him, be­cause all are the works of his hands. Now the Rule is this, Agentes cum con­silio, those Agents that do work with counsel, do know all their works; and what Agent worketh with counsel, if the most wise God doth not? He makes all things with most deliberate and wise counsel: so then for the things themselves, God doth fully know them, making them by his knowledg and wise counsel; he knoweth thee likewise, unless thou wilt deny thy self to be his Creature.

2. Because there is no action whichReas. 2. any creature doth, but God cooperates and concurreth with and in the action: God enableth natural causes to produce natural actions; contingent causes to produce contingent actions; free and voluntary agents to produce free and voluntary actions: You cannot think a thought, you cannot speak a word, you cannot do an action without God: [Page 273] 'Tis the Lord enableth you to lie down, to rise up; or whatsoever any man doth, the Lord enables him to do it; yea, no wicked man can commit sin, act sin, either in secret, or in pub­lique, if God did not uphold him in the act; every action, as it is an action, is from God, but the sinfulness or obli­quity of it is from the Devil, or our selves: the Drunkard could not go to an Ale-house, nor the Adulterer to the house of the strange woman, if God did not uphold them in their acti­ons and motions; in Him, the worst sinner liveth, moveth, and hath his being, even in the worst action that he goes about: Therefore God must needs know all, because God doth not concurr with the creature ignorantly or rashly, but with knowledge and coun­sel.

3. God must necessarily know allReas. 3. things, because there is nothing done but what God did fore know, and from eternity decree should come to pass: All his decrees are acts of the [Page 274] Understanding and Will of God; but God did decree what should be: God knoweth he can make a thousand Worlds, and many thousand Crea­tures more than he hath made, onely God decrees to make but so many, who took an handful of clay out of the infinite mass, and made this world: So there is no action of any creature, but God hath decreed it, as it is an action; therefore he must needs fore­know it. There is not a thought in thy mind, nor a word in thy tongue, nor an action of thy hand, but comes within rhe compass of God's decree; therefore he is said to know our thoughts afar off: and the same may be said concerning his knowledg of our words and actions, yea, every circum­stance of all thy actions, what words, or what thoughts, at such a time, of such an object; therefore he must needs know all things altogether.

4. God doth order, guide, direct,Reas. 4. all creatures, and their actions, to some determinate end; therefore he must [Page 275] needs know all things, otherwise he could not guide and direct them: He guides and governeth all the inanimate creatures, and all the brutish creatures to their proper particular ends: Yea, when the World seemeth to be all out of order, the course of nature to be in a confusion, God wisely guideth tu­mults and confusions to a good end. God doth order, guide, and direct the sins of wicked men, therefore he must needs know all their sins; he prefixeth a time how long they shall sinne; the number of their sins, the measure of their sins; therefore he must needs know all their sins, he could not other­wise guide, direct, limit, permit, restrain them; wicked men cannot sin when they please, nor do what they list.

5. Because God's understanding isReas. 5. infinite, intensivè & extensivè: His understanding is his own Essence, there­fore he must know infinite objects, which could not be if he did not know all things, every particular individual object that is or can be. Whither shall [Page 276] I go from thy Spirit, saith David? Psal. 139. 7. that is, from Gods understand­ing; so Spirit is taken there: I can go no where, but God will know where I am, what I do, think or speak; in Hea­ven, in Hell, at the uttermost part of the earth, in dark or lightsom places; Gods Spirit is there, he understandeth and knoweth what thou and I do.

6. Again we may draw a Reason from two Instances.

1. That God knoweth what every man doth in publique or secret, may appear by the griping accusations of our own Consciences, bringing to mind our old transgressions, acted a g [...]eat while since, and it may be forgotten for a long time, yet Conscience hath brought them to mind: Now who make Conscience to consider▪ and to call to mind by-past transgressions, but God who is greater than our Con­sciences, and knoweth all things, and presen [...]s these to the eye of our Con­sciences? And what is the language of our Conscience, but God will judge thee for these things?

2. Again, God manifesteth the knowledge of all our counsels, plots, and secret devices, because he often turneth the malicious counsels of De­vilish Achitophels, into their own shame and destruction: 'Tis God that know­eth the thoughts of men to be vanity, and turneth their thoughts into vani­ty, their wisdom into folly, their mis­chievous plots into their own downfall and destruction; he takes the wise in their own craft. God did reveal to Da­vid, what the men of Keilah would do to him, and how Saul would follow him to Keilah, and so disappointed them; this is a most pregnant Argument of Gods Omnisciency: When wicked men sit and take counsel together, against the Lord, and his Anointed, God sits in Heaven, and laughs them to scorn.

7. Because without knowledge ofReas. 7. all particulars of our thoughts, words and actions, with all their circumstan­ces, God, who is the just Judge of all the world, cannot give righteous judg­ment. God hath said, That he will [Page 278] judge every man according to his works, which he cannot, did not he know the actions of men good and evil, with all their circumstances: Verily, saith our Saviour, Men shall give an account of every idle word, then God must know every word altogether that we speak. In the last day God will judge the se­crets of mens hearts; how can he judge thee for thy secret thoughts and intents, and aims, if the Lord did not know thy thoughts, every particular action of thy mind, though they pass away in thy mind in a moment? Gods judgment is infallible; if he did not know all; he may be deceived, and we might hide many things from God. Gods judgment is true; did not he know all things, he would not know how to judge men either to eternal death, or eternal life. Gods judgment shall be perfectly proportionable to the good or evil actions of men: How can he render proportionable vengeance to wicked men, and render to every man according to his works, if he did not [Page 279] know all particulars. Gods judgment will be publique in respect of bringing to light all secret wickednesses, and all secret duties; and this he could not do, did not he know all things?


Sect. 1.

1. THe first Use of this Point, is forƲse 1. Terrour to the wicked, whose atheistical hearts licence them to com­mit sin upon this blasphemous conceit: Tush, God knows not what we do; God regards, and sees us not: Well! He that made the eye, and gives to thee a seeing eye, he sees thee; there is for all thy actions. He that gave man the hearing ear, he heareth every word; there is for all thy words. He that gives to man the knowing heart, he knoweth all; there is for all thy thoughts: Therefore rejoyce thou Atheist, and let thy heart chear th [...]e; be filthy still in thy thoughts and affe­ctions; be thou unjust still in thy words and actions but yet know the Lord knows all, and for these things will bring thee to Judgm [...]n [...].

Mark what God will one day say to the wicked, and all Hypocrites, Depart from me ye wicked, I kniw you not, ye workers of iniquity. You may see God is said to know, and not to know the wicked: He knows that they are workers of iniquity, and knows all their works: He knows the Drunkard, and his drunkenness, &c. He knows their persons, and their actions, so as to hate them. He knows them so, as to bring them to judgment for all their works of iniquity. He knows them so, as to take vengeance on them, and to destroy them from his blessed pre­sence; but yet God knows them not so, as to approve of their persons or courses, so as to shew them the least love, the least favour or mercy. God will say to them, I know you not so, as to have any communion with you; to eternity you shall never know me, nor I you; better it were to be stricken thorow with a thousand Thunderbolts, than to hear God say, Depart, I know you not. So God retaliates wicked men [Page 281] in their own Coyn. The profane Drunkard saith to God, Tush, thou God knowest us not, or seest us not: And the Lord in answer saith, Tush, thou Drunkard, I know thee not, there­fore depart from me. Depart from us, saith the wicked man, we desire not, or love not the knowledge of thy wayes; the Lord answers them, Depart from me, I desire not thy company in my King­dom. When God shall thus doom them, the wicked themselves shall ad­mire Gods knowledge of them, and their wayes; when he shall bring to mind their transgressions, then they shall be forced to say to their shame and confusion, Verily there is not, and can­not be a thought in my mind, but thou Lord knowest it altogether.

2. The second Use is of Reproof,Use 2. to those that excuse or hide their sins; or like the Harlot, Prov. 7. Wipe their mouths, and say they have done no evil, when she had committed Adultery. All excuses, and whatsoever men use to justifie themselves, are meer vanity, be­cause [Page 282] God knows thy ways altogether, and will condemn thee, yea with a se­vere condemn [...]tion, and that because thou dost justifie thy self.

Some men conceive themselves to be innocent, because the darkness co­ve [...]s them and their sins; but God is light, and light will discover the ugly deeds of d [...]rkness to th [...] shame and damnation. Some men justifie them­selves because of s [...]crefie, they act sin in their thoughts, and God will con­demn them in publique view: Job saith▪ How should man be just with God, if he will contend with him he cannot answer him one of a thousand? Job 9. 2, 3. He will b [...]ing forth a thousand sins to condemn hi [...]. Job would not justifie himself: If I justifie my self, mine own mouth shall condemn me; if I say I am perfect, it shall also pr [...]ve me perverse, ver. 30, 31. If I wash my self with Snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own cloaths shall ab­hor me. Though thou wash thy self [Page 283] with Snow-water, and to publick view, thou hast a Snow-like innocency; yet God will plunge thee in a Ditch, thou wilt be as vile and loathsom in Gods eyes, as if thou wert vvallovving in a miry Ditch.

Sect. 2.

3. The third Use may serve forUse 3. Exhortation, to humble our selves before God, not to hide or exte­nuate any sin, but lay open our selves to the utmost by acknovvledging all to him vvho is greater than our hearts, and knovvs all.

1. It is a foolish conceit, to think vve inform God by our Self-accusati­ons and confessions; God knevv all before, and therefore Self-acc [...]s [...]tion and confession, is for our ovvn abase­ment, and the magnifying of Gods grace, to justifie him in all; this is, and must be the end of all our confessions: It is impossible for any one to make a particular confession of all his sins, yet God knovvs all, both the unknovvn er­rous, and the confessed transgr [...]ssions.

2. It is as fond likevvise to fear to confess sins, for fear of shame and sor­rovv issuing from it; because God knovving vvhat sins vve are guilty of, can shame and sadden us, if vve confess them not: God can set our sins in or­der before us, if vve foolishly cast them behind our backs. Oh vvhat shame of face, and horrour of spirit vvill seize upon all those vvho hide their sins, vvhen God that knovvs all, shall vvitness to their faces, that these things they have done: When God shall say, You thought that I vvas an ignorant God, that I savv not, neither regarded vvhat you did in your bodies: Lo all ye Angels and Saints, these sins did this man commit, let him deny one sin among a thousand if he can, his ovvn Conscience is my Witnes I vvill appeal to himself, and let the vvicked man speak vvhether he be not guilty of all the sins that I novv lay to his charge: Therefore Brethren, Humble your selves for your secret sins, before the great day come, when [Page 285] God shall judge the secrets of your hearts: If ye will not humble your selves before God, the just God w [...]ll humble you to the lowest Hell: If you will not confess what God knoweth, and your own Conscience with him, God will witness all your sins to your faces, before Angels, Men and Devils.

Sect. 3.

4. Doth the Lord know all thingsUse 4. perfectly and infallibly, the secret thoughts, intents and purposes of all our hearts? Then let us be admonished of these following things.

1. Let us take heed of acting pri­vate sins, for God knows what thou art doing: He whose eyes are fiery flaming eyes, seeth what thou dost in the dark­est corner: If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me; yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee, Psal. 139. 11, 12. There is nothing covered, that shall not be revea­led; nor hid, that shall not be known, [Page 286] L [...]k. 12. 2. Yea, there is no sin done covertly and closely, but the Lord knoweth it.

2. Be sure to walk uprightly; and whatsoever ye do, do all for God for upright ends; for Gods eye of appro­bation is not upon our duties and works, so much as i [...] is upon the since­rity and perfectness of our hearts; he discerneth the secret intents of our hearts, Hebr. 4. 13. Fair pretences, (like Jacoh's disguise) may make men to hope well, and to judge well of men; and as Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau; so may men bless God for your gifts, parts, dut [...]es, and bless you too; but the Lord knows all your pretences to be but vain, and looks thorough them upon your hearts.

It is a frequent phrase used of the Kings of Judah, They did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet the Lord regarded neither them, nor their right actions, because they did not right actions with an upright and perfect heart. Men may pray, and do other [Page 287] duties which are right in Gods eye, but 'tis the heart, the uprightness and per­fection of it, that makes the work or duty gracious; so that the Lord knows with what hearts men do duties, con­fess his Name, profess Religion, &c.

3. Seeing God knows all, hears all, sees all; then so think, speak and do all, as before one whose eye is upon all thy wayes, thoughts and actions. Would any proud, unchaste or wicked thoughts be harboured by us, did we consider that God understood them a­far off? I may invert that speech of the Apostle to servants, exhorting them not to serve their Masters with eye-service; implying, they should be faithful and diligent in their absence, as well as in their Masters presence; but walk ye, speak, think, do all with eye­service unto God, alwayes considering that God hears thee, God sees thee, God knoweth thy very thoughts. It were good if that Motto were written upon thy Bed, thy Couch, in thy Shop, over thy Table, in thy closet, or where­soever thou art.

Cave, Deus videt omnia.
O mortal Man beware,
God sees all things that are.

Sect. 4.

5. This may serve as an an Use of▪ En­couragementƲse 5. to the Godly, to go on in well-doing, to be fruitful and abundant in every good work, because God sees and knows all, and will one day ac­knowledge all that thou dost to thy praise and unspeakable comfort; as God said to the Church of Ephesus, Rev 2. 2. I know thy works, and thy la­bour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil, &c. The same will he say to all that are Godly, I know thy works, and what thou dost for me, and to me and mine, I know all thy secret prayers, sighs, tears and gro [...]ns; I know all thy words which thou [...]ast spoken: Gods knowledge is oftentimes put for his love, approbati­on [...]nd [...]elight; thy Prayers are my del [...]g [...]t, thy holy Discourses my de­l [...]g [...]t; yea, one day God will openly a [...]k [...]owledge all thy good works: Mat. [Page 289] 25. 35. I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye cloathed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Yea, God will recompence all thy gracious works with glory: Small expressions of thy love which thou madest little account of, will God recompence in that great day; a Cup of cold water, the Wi­dows Mite shall have a great reward.

6. This may likewise afford singularUse 6. comfort to the Godly in all their affli­ctions, in divers particulars.

1. In that God knows thee, O Christian, by name, as he did Moses; he will own thee in every conditi­on, in thy meanest and most afflict­ed condition: When the World is ashamed of thee, and thine ovvn familiar Friends dare not to acknow­ledge thee, he will acknovvledge thee: 'Tis no small matter for a King to ovvn and acknovvledge a man in his miseries.

2. Here's comfort in that God knows all thy wrongs, troubles, wants straits, temptations, [...]ffict [...]ons: when Israel was sorely opp [...]essed by the E­gyptians: the Lord said unto Moses, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task­masters, for I know their sorrows, and I am come down, to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians Exod. 3. 7, 8. So God saith to his people in affliction; I see how it is with thee: do not think thou art forgotten, or cast out of sight, when men are cast­ing stones at thee, I see what they do, and what thou dost suffer amongst them.

3. Here's special comfort to the godly, because when they are walking in their innocence, thinking no evil to the wicked▪ but praying for their good, yet then wicked men are plotting mischief to ruine them, and digg deep to hide their pernicious counsells a­gainst the Righteous: then the Lord [Page 291] knoweth all their thoughts, intents, and devilish purposes, and can fru­strate, and often doth disappoint them: he sits in heaven, and laughs them to scorn, and bringeth their consulted de­signs upon their own head.

4. Here's comfort: because when the Godly are entrapped in the snares of the wicked at any time, and to pre­sent sense no hope of deliverance is manifest, yea, they know not how it is possible for them to escape, yet let them not be discouraged, for God knows how, when, and by what means to deliver his own servants. 2 Pet. 2. 9. You are perhaps like righ­teous Lot, vexed from day to day, not onely with the filthy conversati­on of the wicked, but also by the ma­litious machinations of the ungodly to bring you to ruine, yet despair not, but comfort your selves in God, who knoweth how to deliver all that put their trust in him.

7. Hence be encouraged in God in all conditions; not onely because he [Page 292] knows your conditions, but also be­cause he knows how to carry you out in all conditions, to his glory and to your comfort. There be three times wherein we have need of Gods wisdome to help us, lest we be over­born.

1. Times of afflictions: when these come thick upon thee, thou knowst not what to do; God by these teach­eth thy heart knowledg, that these are his hand and providence, and their message is to teach thee to repent, to pray more fervently, to walk more humbly and closely with God.

2. Times of tentation, not only of tryal, but when thou art dogged with sinful tentations; God k [...]ows how to turn poison into Physick, and our so­rest maladies into curing medicines; he can turn sinful tentations to a great and spiritu [...]l advantage, and cause us thereby to be the more fruitful.

3. Times of straits and wants: then the Lord knoweth how to help and satisfie us: Your heavenly Father [Page 293] knoweth what things you stand in need of. Mat. 6. 32. And your God will supply all your wants.

Finally, when you cannot see the reason of things, Gods ways being a­bove your reach, let this be your de­termination, God is wise, and knows what he doth, and all he doth is most just: and cry out with Paul; oh the depths of his wisdome, how unsearch­able are his judgments; and his ways past finding out? and give to the on­ly wise God the glory of his wisdom, and of all his actions.

A Discourse of Gods immuta­bility.

Malach. 3. 6. I am the Lord, I change not.’


THis Chapter is a Prophecy of Christ's comming in the flesh [...], and to judgment, whose coming [...]s [Page 294] most desirable to the Godly, but to the wicked most terrible.

In the first verse he saith. Behold I send my Messenger.] that is, John Baptist, the forerunner of Christ: And the Lord whom ye seek. that is Christ, after whom the Godly did pant and breath? Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly. Even the Messenger of the covenant] scil. Christ, because in him God hath reconciled the world unto himself, and in him hath made a co­venant of sure and everlasting peace with his elect.—Whom ye delight in] Christ was, is, and shall be the onely joy and delight of all his chosen.

In the 2, 3, 4. Verses he sheweth the effect of his coming. The Pro­phet puts forth a question: Who shall abide his coming? he gives the rea­son, because Christ is a refining and purging fire to purge the godly, who are here compared to Gold, that can abide the fire: Christ will be a con­suming and devouring fire, to burn and devour all the wicked, that are [Page 295] not purged; the wicked are drosse which consumeth when the Gold is purified; when the Godly shall shine like stars in the firmament, the wicked shall burn like fi [...]ebrands in hell fire: Christ will be the glorious Saviour, and the terrible Judg. In verse 5. he tells the wicked, in what manner Christ will come neer unto them. I will come neer to you judgment.] you think I am a God afar off; but I will be neer you, when I come to judgment: I will be a swift witnesse against you▪] I will be a witness and a Judg against you, yea a swift one: you think I am slack in coming, but I shall come to you sooner than you are aware of: there are six sorts of persons he threatens to come against, sc. the sorcerers, the adulterers, the false swearers, those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stran­ger from his right, and those that fear not God; he brings in this in the last place, because the want of God's fear [Page 296] is the cause of all wickedness, and bold­ness in the practice of sin.

Now for the confirmation of the cer­tainty of this P [...]ophecy of his promi­ses and threatnings, he draweth an ar­gument from God's attribute; scil. his immutability, for I am God, and change not, &c. as if God had said: Be perswaded, that what I here pro­mise to the Godly, and threaten to the wicked, shall undoubtedly come to pass, because I am God that change not, I am always the same, and so is my word always the same, my pro­mises are immutable, my threatnings are immutable; that the rebellious sons of Israel are not consumed, it is not through your deserts: but for my pro­mise-sake, made to your fathers, which standeth firm and sure: I am now and always gracious, merciful, long-suffering; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed; you have provoked me to punish and to de­stroy you with temporal and eternal destruction; I might have forsaken [Page 297] you as you have forsaken me, and caused my mercy to have departed from you, and that long ere now, as you have departed from me: I might have destroyed your fathers in many foregoing generations, because they and you are departed from me, broken your covenant, cast me your God off from you; but I have not cast you away, and consumed you with my curses, because I am the Lord and change not.


THe point here to be consider­ed,Observ. is, That God is unchange­able. The Apostle proveth this. Jam. 1. 17. Saying, that with God there is no variableness nor shadow of turn­ing; there he shews that God is the most indificient and unchangeable fountain and giver of every good thing; he is still the same in the com­munication of his goodness: God is good, and hath done good, and ma­nifested his bounty to men in all ge­nerations [Page 298] that are past; he is still as good and bountifull, and doth do good, especially to such as are upright in heart; he is always the same, there is no variableness, no diminution, yea, there is not so much as a shaddow of change in him: far more free from any ap­pearance of change, than the sun from darknesse, or shaddow of dark­nesse: Heaven, Earth all creatures are liable to change they shall all be turned in and out, but God is the same Psalm. 102. 26, 27, 28. Thou art God from Eternity to Eternity. Psalm. 90. 2. So that phrase, I AM THAT I AM, shew­eth the unchangeablenesse of God.

In the prosecution of this, I will shew, what God's unchangeable­nesse is; wherein he is unchange­able, the reasons of the point [...], and answer some questions or objecti­ons, which seem to make against his unchangeablenesse, then make use of it

To be absolutely and simply un­changeable, requireth these Properties.

1. There must be no beginning: For all beginnings argue a change from a not being to a being; as when a creature is created, there is a change from a not being to a being: So in ge­neration, that which was not a child, becomes a child; so in alteration: Now the Lord hath no beginning of his being, he is from everlasting.

2. There must be no dissolution, corruption, or alteration: Creatures are therefore changeable, because the most noble of all are liable to an­nihilation. God can turn Angels into nothing, the sons of men into destru­ction; heaven and earth shall wax old like a garment: but now there can be no dissolution, corruption, or anni­hilation in God; Thou art God to ever­lasting.

3. There must be no addition, nor diminution, nor increase, nor decrease; as we see in all creatures, they may be more perfect then they are; they that [Page 300] are glorified, may and do increase in knowledge. Creatures may become also less then they are, as among the Angels, some of glorious Angels be­came ugly Devils; of happy Angels, miserable Devils; of pure Angels, unclean Spirits. So men may decrease and increase in knowledge and wis­dome, in all excellencies inward and outward: Righteous man is now be­come sinful; he that knew much, is be­come ignorant. So all Creatures are liable to alteration, either to become better or worse. But God is so per­fect, that he cannot be better or worse than he is; so good, that he cannot be better; so wise, that he cannot be more wise; so holy, that he cannot be more holy; he cannot increase in wis­dome and holiness, &c. And though the Lord deriveth and communicateth his bounty and goodness to the Crea­tures, yet there is no diminution of it: we see many thousand Stars derive their light from the Sun, yet the light of the Sun is no way diminished.


MOreover, God is Immutable or unchangeable all these ways.

1. God is unchangeable in his Be­ing: He is the same Being from ever­lasting to everlasting: I am that I am, I am the same Being now what I am; Before Abraham was I am, saith our Saviour, Joh. 8. 58. So God may say, Before Adam was, I am; before the foundations of the world, were I am: and when the foundations of the world shall be no more, God is the same Being.

2. God is unchangeable in all his glorious Perfections, and Properties or Attributes: his Almighty Power is unchangeable; his infinite Wisdome is unchangeable; his Goodness, Mer­cy, Justice, All-sufficiency are un­changeable; therefore his Love is said to be an everlasting love; his mercy en­dureth for ever, his goodness endureth continually.

3. God is unchangeable in his De­crees: [Page 302] Whatsoever God hath de­creed, shall come to pas according­ly all things shall be, and fall out. His Decree of Election is unalterable, 2 Tim. 2. 19. The foundation of the Lord standeth sure; that is, his Electi­on standeth sure, compared to a foun­dation for the immutable firmness of it. Pilate could say, What I have writ­ten, I have written; he would not al­ter the inscription on the Cross upon the Jews intreaty: God much more can say, What I have written in my Book of Life, shall be written; what I have blotted out of my Book, I will have never to be altered. His De­crees are called his Counsels; The counsels of the Lord stand for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Psal. 33. 11.

4. God is unchangeable in his Pro­mises and Threatnings: What good things he hath promised to give to his chosen, all shall be made good; what evil he hath threatned to bring upon the impenitently wicked, all shall [Page 203] come to pass. Balaam said, God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent, Numb. 23. 19. God is not a man, that he should lie, that is, promise and not perform, falsifie, or go back from his word; threaten, and not put his threat­nings in execution.

5. God is immutable in all his Af­fections: in his Love, in his Hatred; Whom he loveth, he loveth to the end; he loveth his Elect from everlasting to everlasting: Whom he hateth, he hateth to the end; the Damned are the immortal objects of his eternal ha­tred.

6. God is immutable in all his sa­ving Gifts. Rom. 11. 29. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. When God pardoneth, justifieth, san­stifieth, calleth, reconcileth any soul to himself, he never repenteth of so doing to any man, but what he doth shall stand inviolate.


MAny Reasons may be given to evidence to us, that God is un­changeable.

1. God is [...], he is the Lord Je­hovah, Reas. 1. hath being from himself, and not from any other cause: He is absolutely independent, and dependeth upon no other: All creatures have received their being from him, and depend upon him; therefore God onely is immutable, and all Creatures are changeable, and continue not in one stay: For the ground of change is, to have being, or any perfection from another, and always to be at the will and disposing of him from whom they have what they have; as a Subjects honours and dignities are received from his Prince's favour, and are at the will and dispo­sing of his Prince; if he withdraw the influence of his favour, his dignities wither, and are taken from him. Thus all Creatures receiving their being from God, are at God's disposing: if [Page 305] he speak the word, Let a Creature be made thus and thus, it is so; if he say, Let that Creature be turned into destruction, it is destroyed: If God withdraw the influence of his favour and supportance from the Creatures, they cannot subsist for a moment, but suffer a pitiful change; but now, God depending upon no superiour cause, not liable to the will, pleasure, dispo­sing of a supreme power, abideth the same for ever, without the least sha­dow of change.

2. God is Immutable, because heReas. 2. is most simple, void of all compositi­on: he is purus actus, a pure act; there is no passive power in him. All Creatures are therefore mutable, be­cause there is some composition in them. Man is obnoxious to dissoluti­on, because compounded of a body and soul; his body liable to alteration and corruption, because 'tis compound­ed of the elements. Even the Angels themselves, and the Souls of Men, which are the most simple, yet are [Page 306] compounded, [...]x actu & potentia, ex subjecto & accidente; therefore are they liable both to alteration, as we see in Devils; and also to annihilati­on, for God can turn them into no­thing again. But now in God there is no mixture, no composition; but whatsoever is in God, is God, is his Essence, therefore no alteration, or mutation can be in him.

3. Because God comprehendeth inReas. 3. him all fulness of perfection; he is in­finitely perfect, therefore he is immu­table. There is a double alteration which the Creature is liable unto; there is

Alteratio perfectiva,
Alteratio corruptiva.
A perfective alteration,
A destructive alteration.

A Creature may alter from good to bad, from bad to worse; so from bad to good, from good to better: There is no creature but is capable of more perfections then they have: An­gels, though they have great perfecti­ons, [Page 307] yet may be more gradually per­fect: but God being infinitely perfect, admits of no diminution nor increase; being infinitely wise, he cannot be wi­ser; being infinitely good, he cannot be better: for if God should thus change, then were he imperfect, and were not infinite: Now to say, that there may be a decrease of his perfecti­ons, then should God become imper­fect; and if God should lose some of his perfections, he might lose more, then God should be no God.

4. God is unchangeable in his De­crees,Reas. 4. Promises, and Threatnings, of which I touched before.

1. In his Decrees, because God is omniscient; so he foresees all incon­veniences, to prevent errour or mis­take; he cannot err, because he infal­libly foreknows all. Men may alter their Decrees, because they are igno­rant, and cannot foresee inconvenien­ces to prevent errors: but God fore­sees all, without the least error; there­fore what he decreeth shall stand firm.

2. Because God is omnipotent, therefore he can overcome all impedi­ments that may hinder and frustrate the execution of his Decrees. Men are hindred in their decrees by some over­powering impediment, but who can resist the omnipotent will of God?

He is unchangeable in his Promises and threatnings, because he is able and faithful, true and just; therefore will not, nor cannot deny himself.

CHAP. V. Objections about God's Immutability an­swered.

NOw let us clear some Questions, or Objections touching God's unchangeableness.

If God be immutable, how is heObject. 1. then said to repent? It is said, that he repented that he made man on the earth, Gen. 6. 6. And upon the repent­ance of the Ninivites, it is said, God repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto them, and did it not. Jon. 3. 10.

Repentance is spoken of God for ourSol. 1. understandings sake; when the Scri­pture saith, That God did repent of this or that thing, it speaks of God af­ter the manner of men for our learn­ing.

2. God is said to repent; not as if there were a change of mind in God, as when men repent; but when there is a change wrought in the creature, their change is his repentance. The destruction of the old World, is Gods repenting of making man upon the earth. The removing of plagues and curses (the evils which he inflicts up­on us) is Gods repentance of the evils he inflicteth: So the preventing of e­vils threatned, his bidding the Angel to put up his Sword drawn forth to de­stroy Jerusalem, is Gods repentance of the evil: So then there is a double change, subjectiva, or in agente▪ ob­jectiva, or in patiente: The change is altogether in the creature, the object and patient, not in God the agent.

If God be Immutable, how then isObject. 2. [Page 310] it said, That God is sometime angry with his people? and that sometimes he is said to rejoyce over them. Now he smiles upon them, and kisseth his Spouse; anon he withdraws himself, and frowns upon her; this argues a change of affections.

We must distinguish between GodsSol. 1. love to us, and joy over us; and our apprehension of his love and joy, be­tween his affection, and the sense of his affection to us. Gods love is immu­table, there's no decay in it; but there may be a decay and want of apprehen­sion in us.

2. The change is in us, not in God; our loose walking, or our falling into some sin, is the cause of our want of the apprehension of his favour: Shall we say that the fire heateth not, or that the Sun shines not, when we stand be­hind a Wall in the shade? We say that God changeth, when as we remove further from God, and set up a sin, like a partition Wall, between our souls, and the light of his countenance: So [Page 311] that as the Lord in another sense spake to Israel, O Israel, thy destruction is of thy self, Hos. 13. 9. But in me is thy help: May be spoken to all Christians, that have not their former quickning and ravishing apprehensions of Gods favour in Christ; Oh thou mourning and disconsolate soul! thy sorrow, thy spiritual darkness is from thy self; in me is thy comfort, and in my favour is light, without shadow of change▪ yet we are apt to conceive a mutation in God. As men in a Boat, do think the Trees and Banks on the shore do move, when the motion is in the Boat, and there's none in them: so we are apt to conceive a mutation in the im­mutable God, when the change is in us.

How is God immutable in his Word,Object. 3. Promises and Threatnings, when he threatens evil to persons, and infl [...]cts it not; promiseth mercy, and performs it not? As when he threatned▪ Heze­kiah, that he should dye, and not live, Isa. 38. and to destroy Nineveh with­in [Page 312] 40 dayes, and did not; and bade Mo­ses to let him alone, that he might con­sume the people.

Consider, that in Promises or Threat­nings,Sol. 1. though sometime the condition be not expressed, yet it is alwayes im­plied. I [...] God did promise or threaten absolutely without any condition, if he fulfilled not, he were mutable, and should deny himself; but seeing he promiseth upon condition, if not per­formed on our part, there is no change in God, he remains faithful to his Word: Do thou what he command­eth, God will make good what he pro­miseth.

2. If it be a temporal Promise, we must consider whether it be good for us: God doth consider it; and if it be not good for thee, he gives thee ano­ther comfort instead of that; yet he is immutable, because temporal promises have this condition implied, If they be good.

3. So again for Threatnings; they were with a condition of Repentance: [Page 313] If men repent not, he will shoot out the Arrows of his indignation; but if the wicked shall humble themselves, and turn from their wicked wayes, they shall live. Nineveh had been destroy­ed, had not Nineveh repented. Israel had been consumed, had not Moses made intercession: So Hezekiah hum­bled himself before the Lord, and prayed; so that still the change is in us, not in God; he abideth faithful in his promises and threatnings: Repent, and God will repent of the evil; but he that walketh contrary to God, God will walk contrary to him.

Gods Promises are mutable, so areObject. 4. his Threatnings, because they depend upon a mutable condition in men; as men are, so God makes good both.

'Tis true, in respect of mans nature,Sol. will, judgment and sense, mans Repen­tance or Impenitency (the condition of the promise) is annexed to a muta­ble thing; but neither his promises nor threatnings depend on us, but upon Gods immutable Decree: God makes [Page 314] good his promises to such to whom he Decreeth, to give Repentance, Faith, and new Obedience; he executes his threatnings on such who are in his just judgment given up to Impenitency.

CHAP. VI. Some Corollaries drawn from this point of God's Unchangeableness.

BEfore I make Application, I will draw some Inferences or Corol­laries from this Doctrine.

1. If God be immutable, then allCoroll. 1. things are in God from Eternity most perfectly. God is so [...]ull of all good from Eternity, that to Eternity it is impossible there should be any access of more good in him. God is so immuta­bly firmly good, that a diminution of his goodness is likewise impossible in a whole Eternity.

2. If God be immutable; thenCoroll. 2. though God make the World, and destroy the World, and turns things upside down, that nothing continues in one stay; he governeth the World, [Page 315] punisheth the wicked, blesseth the righ­teous, and brings forth innumerable e­vents, yet God abideth the same; and whatsoever falls out, comes to pass ac­cording to his immutable Decree.

3. If God be immutable, thenCoroll. 3. though the whole World should be turned into nothing, all the Angels and men that ever were or shall be, should be excluded from his glorious pre­sence, and be turned into destruction, yet God would be immutably happy and glorious; he being infinitely good, the whole good of the creature in com­parison of him is nothing.

CHAP. VII. The Uses of this Doctrine of God's Unchangeableness.

1. HEre is an Use of AdmonitionƲse 1. and Terrour to wicked men, in three things.

1. Hath God inflicted wrath upon wicked men in foregoing Ages? Hath God damned unclean Sodomites, judg­ed Whoremongers and Adulterers, de­stroyed [Page 316] Drunkards in the very act, as Belshazzar, and turned the Covetous into Hell? Then be admonished and tremble, lest the like condemnation betide thee for the like sins; for God is immutably holy, and hates sin in thee as in them immutably; he is just, and will inflict the like vengeance upon present impenitent sinners, as upon for­mer: as our Saviour said to the Jews, Think ye, that the Galileans, whose blood Pilate mingled with the blood of the Sa­crifices, Luk. 13. were greater sinners than you? I tell you nay, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Hath God cast other sinners into Hell for their wickedness, think ye they were greater sinners than you? I tell you nay, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish: For God is im­mutable in his hatred of sin, and in his threatnings against it.

2. It should admonish and instruct the wicked of the necessity of Repen­tance; either you must change, or God must change, but God changeth not; therefore either the profane [Page 317] Swearer, the beastly Drunkard must change their courses, or be damned: Except they repent, they must likewise perish.

3. It sheweth the misery of the Damned: God hates them, and his hatred is immutable; they are the ever living objects of his wrath, and of his hatred: If there were any probability or possibility of the alteration of their woful condition, the Damned might have some hope to be happy, and to get out of that fire: but the Damned being utterly rejected of God, become immutably impenitent; being immu­tably sinful, they are immutably mise­rable.

Sect. 2.

2. If God be immutable, then seeUse 2. here the vast difference between God and all creatures, he only is unchange­able. Look upon our selves, we are in daily change; to day we are in health, to morrow sick; to day per­haps we shine like Stars with outward Prosperity, anon covered with dismal [Page 318] Adversity. We change often in our purposes and resolutions; to day we resolve that this we will do, to morrow we are off the hinges: we are variable in our affections; to day we rejoyce, a­non we mourn and weep; we are con­stant in nothing but inconstancy. Look upon Friends, how inconstant are they in love, kindness, help and assistance▪ to day they love, to morrow they hate; to day very helpful, to morrow miserable comforters: Jobs Friends be­came his Adversaries.

Look upon your states and conditi­ons, nothing continues in one stay, all sublunary things, like the Moon, suf­fer their changes; but now God is ab­solutely unchangeable, and is the same to Eternity; and if God be thine once, he is thine to Eternity: Let health be changed into sickness, riche [...] into poverty, abundance into want, joy into sorrow, love of Friends into ha­tred, God will be thy unchangeable health, riches, comfort, friend, thy un­changeable God. The Lord speaketh [Page 319] thus to us. Ye sons of Jacob, take me for your portion, I change not: Look over the World, do not ye see that riches change, but I change not; I am a rich God, and will make you immutably rich; your states change, your lands and possessions go from one to ano­ther, but I the Lord am an immutable inheritance and possession. Your friends change; your wives, husbands, chil­dren, kindred, your nearest and dearest relations are unconstant and mutable, like Weather-cocks, every blast turns them about; but I the Lord am an un­changeable Father, an immutable hus­band, a constant friend; and when thy natural change by death cometh, when all things must and shall change (for all together with life must and shall take their wings, and flee away with you) God then abideth the same for ever; why will not then the sons of Ja­cob take him for their God?

Sect. 3.

3. We may learn hence the folly,Use 3. absurdity, and unreasonableness of all [Page 320] Backsliders, that in a storm shake off the unchangeable God, in departing from his wayes. Let me reason with Apostates for God, tell me what you find in your God; that you leave him and his wayes? What is God become a barren Wilderness, a dry Heath, an exhausted Fountain? What is God less good, less gracious, less merciful? Or what is God become like man, a Lyar, an unfaithful Friend, unfaithful in his promises, and will not do what he hath spoken? Is his countenance changed toward thee, as Haman ob­served in Ahasuerosh? Canst thou lay any, or all these to Gods charge? Why then dost thou leave him, and change thy Master? Take the world, and thy lusts, and serve them, are these things better than God? Is the world more durable than God? then dost thou make God a perishing God: Speak what thou findest in God, I know thou canst not belie so good a God. Oh what hellish and damned madness pos­sesseth thy brains, that thou art thus [Page 321] changed? Why changest thou thy zeal and forwardness in holy Duties, to coldness and deadness in Duties? Why art thou now so backward to the per­formance of them? Why hast thou changed thy outward professed Holi­ness, into Looseness, Dissoluteness and Profaneness, wretched Apostate! Let me tell thee, thou changest the better for the worse, and this is thy unhappy portion, that thou fallest from the mer­cies of God, into the hands and ven­geance of the same Unchangeable God.

Sect. 4.

4. If the Lord be Immutable, thenUse 4. if Christians find a change of comforts into sorrows, of light into darkness, of spiritual agility into spiritual deadness, let them blame themselves for these and the like changes: For sure the hand of Joab is in these matters. There is something in Israel is the cause that God goes not forth with their Armies, as the Scripture speaketh, When Israel fell before the men of Ai. O Christi­an, [Page 322] there is some change in thy course, or in thy heart, that thou dost find such a c [...]n [...]e of the sensible apprehensions of Gods love and favour to thee: If thou art unconstant in the strictness of thy course and conversation, and givest thy corrupt self, and carnal heart some ease, some liberty, and growest some­what loose in thy behaviour toward God, no marvel if in thy apprehensi­ons God seems as one that hath forgot­ten to be gracious and merciful, and un­mindful of his old loving kindnes God is the same, but thy unconstant walking with God, occasioneth such a change in thy soul.

It is with Christians, as the Papists superstitiously feign of souls in Purga­tory; sometime they say they are so scorched, that to cool themselves, they leap out of fire, into lakes of cold wa­ter; then they freeze with cold, and from thence leap into the fire again; this is a Popish fable, we may moralize it thus; sometimes while we are in this world, we are in one state and conditi­on, [Page 323] sometime in another, and are chan­ged into divers extreams. There are these two special causes of Christians changes in spirituals.

1. Uneven, unconstant walking with God, and before God, causeth an un­even and unconstant apprehension of his love and favour; though he abide the same for ever; when thou walkest close with God, keep thy heart close to his wayes, and thou shalt alwayes behold the light of his countenance, and joy in it; but when thou dost walk loosely and securely, thy loose walking causeth dimness, or no sense and sight of his love and favour; thou fallest into a disconsolate con­dition.

2. Some intervening lust or sin, causeth a change of thy sense, and ap­prehension of Gods favour. The Sun alwayes shineth, there is no dark­nes yet when the earth is betwe [...]n us and the Sun, as at Midnight, or else the foggy vapours arise out of the earth, and are condensed in some [Page 324] cloud, they hide the light of the Sun: So God is immutable, and with him there is no shadow of change, but when the World, or some foggy lust shall intervene, and stand between God and us, then a Christian sits in dis­mal darkness, beholds not the face of his gracious Father in Christ: And now the immutable Lord permits, and suffers such a change in thee, that thou maist find out that change of thy heart or conversation, or the accursed thing within thee; or, as we see when clouds cover the Sun, they are either dispelled with blasting winds, or dissolved into rain, before we enjoy the warm beams of the Sun; so must Christians either dissolve these foggy mists into tears of Repentance toward God, or God by some stormy affliction drives them away, that they may behold the light of his countenance again.

Sect. 5.

5. This may serve for Exhortati­on:Ʋse 5. If God be Immutable, then re­pose all thy confidence in God; trust [Page 325] him now and alwayes; for as he hath been, and is to thee, so he will be to thee unto Eternity. Hath God been gracious to thee in by-past conditions? Hath he delivered thee out of former Tribulations? Trust God for the pre­sent, and for the future: Hath he not said, I will never leave thee, nor for­sake thee. The reason is, because he changeth not; he hath been, and is now an immutable Buckler, Fortress, Tower, Rock of Defence; former experiences should embolden thee the more to depend upon him, in present or in future states and conditions, be­cause he is a God that changeth not: Are the like fears, difficulties, dan­gers upon thee now, remember the Lord is the same who changeth not, and he will give the like comforts, support, deliverance, as formerly he did?

David did find a change of his conditions, but never found a change in God; but when he made him his trust, he found God alwayes his De­liverer [Page 326] and C [...]mforter: Not only our experience, but whatsoever we find Recorded what God hath done for other Saints, may strengthen our trust in God. Put thou thy trust in God, and he will do for thee as great things, because he is the same God. Did he deliver Lot, he can deliver thee? Hath God pardoned others, he can pardon thee? and will do it, if thou repentest. There is no shadow of change in God, but he is immu­tably merciful and gracious. Bre­thren, take the Bible, read over the several passages of Gods Wisdom, Grace, Mercy, Power, Goodness to his Children, and know whatso­ever is written, is written for your learning and comfort, make ye the like use of God, who is alwayes the same, and changeth not: There is no condition can befall thee, but in this Paradise thou maist find an heal­ing Herb, apply thou the same pro­mises to thy self.

Sect. 6.

6. If God be unchangeable in hisUse 6. Decrees, Promises and Gifts, what Comfort doth it speak to all the God­ly? for being once made holy, you are immutably holy, and shall be im­mutably happy. Gods Immutabili­ty, is the Jachin and Boaz, the firm and inconcussible Pillars of our salva­tion; never shall a child of God fall away finally from God, because his Eternal Election is an immutable De­cree, ordaining thee to holiness, to glo­ry; his promises are unchangeable, Hath God spoken the word, it is the word of an immutable God, that hath said, Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast off, Joh. 6. 37. Fear not, God will never cast thee off: Hath God said, That he will put his fear into thy heart, that thou shalt never depart from him? Fear not fal­ling away, though a thousand Devils suggest to thee, that thou wilt prove an Apostate, and wilt before death depart from God. Fear not, I say, [Page 328] thou jealous Christian, God hath pro­mised that thou shalt never depart from him. All the Devils in Hell, all the glory and miseries in the world, all the lusts in thy heart shall never pull thee off from Gods hand, for every child of God is a precious Sig­net on Gods right hand. Gods pro­mises are immutable, therefore thy state of grace is unchangeable: The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Art thou called from a state of Nature to Grace, from sin to Christ, thou art immutably cal­led? Art thou justified, thou art im­mutably justified? Ye that are god­ly, take comfort in this, ye are e­ternally, immutably gracious and ho­ly, and shall be immutably glorious and happy; though death change thee, yet the Lord our God chang­eth not; and at the Resurrection day, thy corruption shall be changed into an immutable state of immortali­ty how unhappy, poor, miserable, despicable soever you are for the pre­sent, [Page 329] ye shall be changed into an im­mutable state of happiness, because the Lord our God is unchangeable.

Lastly, If God be immutable, andUse 7. change not, then endeavour to be like unto your God; our constancy, is our likeness to God's Immuta­bility.

1. Be constant in thy Affections to God, maintain a burning love to him, maintain a vehement desire af­ter him; God likes not ebbs and flows in our Affections, he regards not blazing Affections, like Straw­fires, that are quickly in, and quick­ly out. He loves thee to the end, John 13. 1. Do thou love him to the end; he rejoyceth over thee to the end, do thou rejoyce in the Lord alwayes, Phil. 4. 4.

2. Be constant and immutable in your Promises, Covenants, Reso­lutions and Purposes which ye make to God: Oh never deny thy self, and lye to thy God, in promising to be [Page 330] His, and then fall off, and serve thy lusts, far be it from thee.

3. Be constant and immutable in all thy Duties, and in a course of holines Pray continually, rejoyce evermore, in every thing give thanks. Hear the Word upon every occ [...]si­on, walk all the dayes of thy life in the fear of God; all things to thee are Mercy and Truth, let all thy wayes be Sincerity and Righteous­ness. God will make thee immuta­bly happy and glorious, if thou wilt be constant to him; as the old men said to Rehoboam, concerning the Tribes of Israel, Be thou theirs to day, and they will be thine for ever. So say I to thee, Be thou the Lords to day, and he will be thine for ever.

A Discourse of God's Invisibi­lity.

1 Tim. 1. 17. Now unto the King e­ternal, immortal, invisible, &c. be honour and glory for ever and e­ver, Amen.


SAint Paul having in the foregoing part of this chapter, laid down the s [...]p [...]rabundant grace of God in Christ, in making him of a persecutor to be­come a nursing father of the Church; of one that was injurious to the saints, to be most loving and tenderly af­fected to them, of a blasphemer to be an excellent preacher of the Gospel, and in receiving him into special fa­vour that was the chiefest of sinners (such are the the miraculous effects of God's superabundant grace in Christ) here his zeal, love and thankfulness to God breaks forth into fervent prais­ing of God, giving him the honour due unto his name.

Now to the King eternal—invisible &c. be honour and glory for ever and e­ver Amen.

As if he should say; seeing God hath evidently manifested to me his goodnesse, grace, and mercy in my conuersion; let him have all the ho­nour and glory for ever and ever. And lest his conversion should seem strange, he sheweth who was the Au­thor of it.

'Tis God that hath converted me, who is an eternal King, who can do all things, with whom nothing is im­possible; the eternal King can raise children out of stones, can make the greatest sinner the greatest Saint.

'Tis an immortal God, who ever liveth, and can give life to the dead, he that can make the earth to yield up her dead, he can make the graves of sin likewise to give up their dead, this immortal God raised up me from this death of sin.

It is an Invisible God; man can­not see him, nor his way of working; [Page 333] his works are visible, but the manner of his working is Invisible: that Paul was a convert is as clear as the sun shinneth but the manner of Gods working in his conversion was invisi­ble, it was above the ken of a carnal eye.

It is a wise God who sweetly order­eth, wisely brings to passe his coun­sels, therefore it is not impossible with God to convert the greatest sinners. Here you see are four attributes gi­ven to God.

1. King everlasting. [...], King of Ages, so called for two rea­sons. 1. Because he is the maker of time, of all ages and generations, [...], is taken sometimes for times created, Tit. 1. 2. Secondly, Be­cause he is King eternal, not onely ante temporis durationem, sed etiam omnem cogitationem, As St. Augustine in his book of confessions acknowledg­eth.August. Co [...]fess.

2. He is called King Immortall, [...]; sometimes this word de­notes incorruptible, pure and sincere, [Page 334] and without corruption, but here i [...] excludeth end of time or being, o else it signifies God that can not die.

3. He is called invisible, God that can­not be seen, and of this attribute I am to speak.


HEnce I note that God is an in­visibleObserv. King, or God is invisible: Gods Invisibility is that divine per­fection, whereby his nature being so spiritual, cannot be seen, by any bo­dily eye. The Scripture sufficiently proveth this attribute of God, his glory, that is his essence is invisible. When Moses prayed, Lord I beseech thee, sh [...]w me thy glory; God answered him, thou canst not see my face, for Heb. 11. 27. there shall no man see me and live. Ex. 33. 18. 20. The invisible things of God, viz. his power, wisdom, good­nesse, are seen onely in the v [...]sible creatures which he hath made, Rom. 1. 20. but the face and essence of God cannot be seen; for to be invisible, is to be of such a nature as cannot be seen by any mortal eye.

A thing may be said to be invi­sible, to a mans eye divers ways.

1. When there is something be­tween he object and the eye, the ob­ject being visible in it self; thus the sun which is, primum visible, the chiefest visible thing, being set, can­not be seen; or when a Cloud is be­tween us and it: so we cannot see a picture when a curtain is drawn over it: in this sense God is not invisible, for there is nothing between God and us, for in him we live, move and have our being; we are in God; nothing can stand between God and us.

2. A thing is said to be invisible in respect of the indistance of the object, so we cannot discern it: put your hand upon your eye or any thing, you cannot see it, in respect of the neer­nesse of it, neither also in this respect is God said to be invisible.

3. In respect of the distance of the object from the eye, when the object is too remote from us, we cannot see i [...], though it be a mountain, because [Page 336] the sight is terminated and bounded, beyond which the eye cannot exceed or ken: and in this sense God is not invisible, for he is neer every one of us, that were it possible for bo­dily hands of flesh to touch and feel a spirit, we might touch and feel him. Act. 17.

4. A thing is said to be invisible, when the medium is not rightly dis­posed; as in the dark we can see nothing, because the air is not light, which is the medium or mean of see­ing, in that sense the School-men say God is invisible, because there is lu­men gloriae a light of glory required to behold God; and so God as he hath revealed himself in his word is invisible to sinners, because they are in darkness, and there is a thick vail of ignorante drawn over their eyes, that they cannot see God in his word of grace.

5. An object is invisible, through the glorious perfection of it, when there is not a proportion between the [Page 337] eye and the object; so the glorious Sun d [...]zleth the eyes, that we cannot look upon it: So God is inv [...]sible, there­fore he is stiled light inaccessible, unto which no mortal eye can approach. A thing is said to be invisible, in resp [...]ct of the nature or essence of it, being spiritual and incorporeal; and in this sence God is invisible, who is a Spirit, more spiritual than Angels; incorpore­al, though the Scripture attributeth to God eyes, hands, mouth, nose, &c. it speaks of him to us after the manner of men; but it sets forth the invisible things of God, by the visible parts of mans body, as by the eye Gods Omni­sciency, and his provident care, &c.

CHAP. III. Reasons to prove God's Invisibility.

THe Reasons to prove this Do­ctrine, are these.

1. Because if God were visible, thenReas. 1. we should see nothing in the world but God, because God being Omnipresent, immense and infinite, and so filling hea­ven [Page 338] and earth with his presence, then should we see nothing else but God, his immense Essence would exclude all o­ther visible objects.

2. Because if God were visible, thenReas. 2. God should be corporeal, and not a Spi­rit, because there is nothing subject to bodily senses, but what is corporeal. This was our Saviours Argument to confirm his staggering Disciples, after his Resurrection, That he was truly the Christ that was crucified, and risen a­gain, because they might feel and see him, for a spirit had not flesh and bones as he had, Luk. 24. as if he had said, Were I a spirit, you could not feel me, because spirits are not subject to sensi­ble qualities. Now God being a spirit, and [...]ot corporeal, we cannot see him with these eyes.

3. We know there are many crea­turesReas. 3. that are invisible, therefore much more must God the Creatour of them be invisible. The wind, whose blustering gusts we feel, whose sound we hear, yet we cannot see, nor do we know whence it [Page 339] cometh, nor whither it goeth, as our Sa­viour tells us, John 3. 8. The Air is in­visible; the soul of man is invisible, we cannot see the essence of it, while the soul is in the body, we see it not, when the soul at death departs from the bo­dy, we see it not: The Angels and De­vils are invisible, the Angels that pro­tect and preserve us, the Devils that tempt us are invisible, these we see not, therefore God is invisible; therefore if an Heathen should upbraid us, you wor­ship a God whom you see not, where is your God? shew him to us, that we may see him. We may answer him, Therefore we worship the true God, for the true God is invisible; a God that is visible, is not the true God; those visible stocks and stones which ye worship, are not gods: They cannot do evil, nei­ther is it in them also to do good; but the invisible God he is the true God, the living God, and an everlasting King, Jer. 10. 10.

Here [...]t may be demanded, whetherQuest. 1. God be visible in Heaven?

1. We shall in Heaven beholdSol. 1. Christ in his Humanity, God man with these bodily eyes, as Job speaks, I know that my Redeemer liveth; and though af­ter my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for my self, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be con­sumed within me, Job 19. 25, 26, 27. Be­hold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, R [...]v. 1. 7.

2. We shall see God, that is, we shall see his glory with the eye of the body to our intimate satisfaction, though we shall not see the Divine Essence. Philip makes this request to Christ, Lord shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us, John 14. 8. The Saints in Heaven shall see so much of God, as shall satisfie them.

3. With the eye of the mind we shall see God more clearly; our intel­lectual sight of God shall be much clearer than now it is, our understand­ing and mental sight of him shall be in­finitely beyond what now we are able to conceive of him.

4. In heaven we cannot see God com­prehensively, as much as he is to be known; thus no man hath seen him, nor can see him, 1 Tim. 6. 16. Men and Angels shall never be able fully to comprehend him.

Seeing God is invisible, is it lawfulQuest. 2. for us to frame conceits of God, or to frame an image of God in our minds, to help us in our devotion?

1. It is unlawful, because againstSol. 1. the second Commandment; which forbids not onely all corporeal, but also mental representations of God.

2. It is impossible to make an image of God, because we never saw him: No man hath seen God at any time, Joh. 1. 18. Christ tells the Jews (speaking of his Father) Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape, Joh. 5. 37. Moses tells the Israelites (a peo­ple very prone to Idolatry) The Lord spake to you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude, or vision, onely ye heard a voice. Deut. 4. 12.

3. God is a Spirit, and no man is able to make an image or representati­on of a spirit: all such mental conceits of God, are idolatrous.

How then may we conceive of GodQuest. 3. in Prayer?

We are so to conceive of him, as heSol. hath revealed himself in his Word; that h [...] is a Spirit, most wise, most just, most holy, most powerful, &c.


Sect. 1.

THis condemneth the idolatrousUse 1. custome of the Papists, who make visible representations, pictures, and images of the invisible God; they picture God the Father like an old man, because he is called, the Ancient of dayes; they make blasphemous pictures of the invisible and glorious Trinity, as three heads on one body: Monstrous blasphemy! Not to med­dle with their fond arguments and tri­fling distinctions, by which they would just [...]fie themselves in this practice; as that they are Helps to Devotion, &c. [Page 343] But I may say, they are rather Hin­drances to Devotion, than Helps; pulling the mind down from God to the Creature made; for the mind will be apt to follow the eye. They say, they make them not objects of their devotion, but motives to stir up and quicken their devotion: But whatso­ever they can say, they cannot answer this one prohibition of God, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven, &c. Exod. 20. 3. a Com­mand which God often repeateth, be­cause the Lord knoweth man is natu­rally prone to Idolatry, and that sen­sual men are prone to a sensual worsh [...]p of a sensible Deity: Therefore the Papists have taken a wise course to uphold their idolatrous worship, by expunging the second Commandment out of the Decalogue; but let them look how they can be able to undergo that severe curse, Rev. 22 19. threat­ned against those that shall diminish any of the words or Commandments of God.

2. Seeing God is invisible, thisUse 2. should admonish us to take heed of any mental conceits of God in our minds and representations of him in our fancies. When we go to prayer otherwise than what his Word allow­eth, viz. that we go to one, who is most gracious, merciful, &c. we may be idolatrous in respect of our thoughts and conceits, as well as in worshipping Pictures and Images: and what are these conceits, but gods of our own making and framing? Conceits of God in our minds beside the Word of God, (which many apprehend to be good) come from these two fountains:

1. Partly from our corrupt natures; there is a bitter root of Idolatry and Superstition in every man's nature; these conceits are blossoms and buds of this cursed root; so many Adders bred and crawling out of this dunghil, and we are greatly to humble our souls for them, as for other sins.

2. These fantastical conceits that we have of the invisible God, are like­wise [Page 345] of the Devil's suggestion; who if he cannot bring us to down-right I­dolatry, to worship Pictures, yet he will suggest false resemblances of God to our minds, and so to make us commit mental Idolatry. Therefore concern­ing these conceits of God, who is invi­sible, and the resemblances of him in our minds, I will say th [...]se two things.

1. If we harbour such conceits of God, though we think to do it to quicken our devotion, and to keep our hearts in awe of God, during the duty we perform to him; yet know, they are breaches of the second Com­mandment, which forbids mental re­semblances, as well as visible by Pi­ctures or graven Images, and resolve to offend God so no more.

2. Seeing it is exceeding hard for us to abstain from sinful thoughts, con­ceits, and mental resemblances of God, and that the Devil will ever be suggest­ing them; if you strive aga [...]nst them, and do hate them, as you hate an ido­latrous image of the divine invisible [Page 346] Essence, then they are the Devil's sins, and your burdens; God will then cure you of this infirmity, and not condemnUse 3. you for it.

Sect. 2.

3. Is God invisible, then be admo­nished from hence, not to conceive that God cannot see us, because we cannot see him; as children shutting or blinding their own eyes, think that no body else sees them: So the wick­ed, because they see not God, are rea­dy to say, Tush, God sees us not: they break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage: they slay the wid­dow and the stranger, and murder the fatherles yet they say, the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Psal. 94. 6, 7. But this inv [...]sible God hath an all-seeing eye to behold what we do; he sees all our secret thoughts, he searcheth and trieth our ways, he sees all our hypocrisies, fil­thiness, and all our unfruitful works of darkness. All the wicked shall one day know to their shame and horrour, that he saw them when they saw no [...] him: [Page 347] when he shall lay open all their wick­edness: he will say to the wicked man, These things thou hast done; I the Judg of all the world am an eye-witness of these things, & wil testifie against thee.

Therefore think not, ye Atheists, that ye can sin securely, that no eye seeth you; and that ye may take liber­ty to sin, when you are in places where no mortal eye can behold you; the im­mortal, all-seeing, and every where piercing eye of God beholds you.

4. Labour to live and walk as if youUse 4. saw him that is invisible: When you are alone, then walk circumspectly, because the invisible God beholds you; Say to thy self, Shall I, being alone, sin this or that sin to which I am tempt­ed? the invisible God beholdeth me; and if he see me, it is more then if all Angels and Men did look upon me in the act. What though I may take away a Babylonish garment, a golden wedge, and there may be all possible secresie offered me, yet I will not touch it, because the invisible God sees me, [Page 348] and sure he will find me out, and make my sin find me out. I have set God al­ways before mine eyes, saith David, and this kept him in his uprightness. Though God be invisible, yet walk thou so, as having God before thine eyes, as if thou didst continually see him. So it is said of Moses, Heb. 11. 27. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fear­ing the wrath of the King, for he endu­red, as seeing him that is invisible. He did not fear the wrath of Pharaoh King of Egypt, he durst not abide in Egypt, he was contented to endure his share, as seeing him who is invisible; he fear­ed the wrath of the invisible God more than the wrath of visible Pharaoh.

5. If God be invisible, then doubt­lessUse 5. there are glorious things prepared for the godly, which are yet invisible. The best things of Christianity are in­visible; the sincerity and truth of grace is hidden from the world, Your life is hid with Christ in God, Col. 3. 3. your life of grace, your life of comfort, and your life of glory too. The Saints [Page 349] themselves are a mystery, the world knoweth them not. 1 Joh. 3. 1. But the reward which God hath in store for his people is much more invisible; God hath prepared such things for his people, as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entred into the heart of man to conceive: Therefore a Christi­an with an eye of Faith should look, not to the things that are seen, which are temporal; but to the things which are not seen, that are eternal, 2 Cor. 4. ult.

Sect. 3.

6. This may justifie the godly man'sƲse 6. self-denial, and willing parting with the visible things of this world: All visible delights, honours, and advan­tages, they are content to part with all; all miseries visible they patiently undergo, which the world counts madnes here is the Reason, They live by Faith, and not by Sense; have hopes of better and invisible things, invisible Riches, invisible Joys and Pleasures; they see invisible [Page 350] treasures of happiness, and in the hopes of these, they can part with all visible things: They see invisible torments treading on the heels of visible plea­sures, therefore they regard not the visible pleasures of sin, which are but for a season: Therefore the godly are happy, because they have hopes of invisible happines and the hope of those excellent and invisible things doth blast the glory of all visible excel­lencies, and quench the flame of all visible miseries.

7. Here's comfort to the godly inUse 7 two things.

1. Against invisible Enemies; the Devil is an invisible enemy, and by se­cret ways, such as we see not, seeketh to destroy our immortal sou [...]s; but this may comfort them, that they have an invisible God to confound the in­visible stratagems of invisible De­vils.

2. Against all afflictions whatso­ever. 1. Because God hath invisible ways to work out our deliverance and [Page 351] salvation for us: God's working is in­visible, though his works are manifest and visible. 2. He hath invisible com­forts to revive the hearts of his people, when their hearts are ready to faint within them. He hath also Promises of invisible rewards wherewith to suc­cour them.

Lastly, Though God be invisible,Use 8. yet we may come to the sight of his glory, to our unspeakable joy, and endless comfort. Will ye see God hereafter, then labour for pure hearts; pure eyes shall see God, and a pure heart shall enjoy him: Without holi­ness, no man shall enjoy God, nor see him in his glory. As light is necessa­ry to enable us to behold things here which are visible; so is holiness neces­sary for the man that will behold him that is invisible: What is that black­ness of darkness which eternally hin­dreth the damned from seeing God, but the woful impurity and uncleanness of their hearts and lives?

A Discourse of God's Perfection.

Matth. 5. 43. Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’


OUr Saviour having given the true and full sence of the Law, and refuted the gross Interpretations and errors of the Phar [...]sees, in the close of the Chapter sets down Rules of Be­haviour towards our Enemies; which he urgeth from God's own dealing, he is kind to the unkind, good to the evil, and watereth the unjust with showers of his blessing; theu let your love be extended to all, to thy Enemy as well as to thy Brother. Are the mouthes of thine Enemies full of cursings? do thou bless even such. Do thine Ene­mies seek thy [...]uine? do thou seek their good: Let thy Prayers ascend to the throne of grace, for such as persecute thee, and bring thee before Rulers for Christ's N [...]m [...]. This is God's way, his glory, his perfection; and where [Page 353] we see such effects of love in any man, we may say that God is in that man of a truth, one made partaker of the divine nature, he so well resembleth God.

My Text is an extraordinary con­clusion▪ pressing us to imitate God, whom we call father,

Be ye therefore perfect, &c.
Erasm. in loc.

For explication: Erasmus render's the Greek word [...] in the future tense; ye shall be perfect. But among the Hebrews, the future of the indica­tive is often taken for the Imperative mood: Beza making it an Hebraism. translateth imperatively. Be ye perfect; [...]ez Annot. and gives this sense of it; by loving your enemies you declare and make it evident, that you are perfect, and the children of God—or, Be ye per­fect, Strive after perfection, A Chri­stian is said to be perfect three ways.

1. Conatu, by endeavouring after perfection, St. Paul acknowledged, [Page 354] that he was not al [...]eady perfect, but saith he, I follow after perfection. Phil. 3. 12. And to the Hebrews he saith, let us go on unto perfection, Heb. 6. 1.

2. Affectu; by breathing and pan­ting after perfection; a Christians be­ing sensible of imperfection, makes him to breath after perfection, he de­sireth to be perfectly holy.

3. Inchoativè or seminaliter; he hath in him the seeds of all grace as a Child hath all the parts of a man,Perfectio p [...]rtium. Perfectio graduum. though he hath not the growth of a man: a Christian hath all the graces of the Spirit in him, though he hath not all the degrees of them; he hath a perfection of parts, not of degrees; the one a Christian hath, the other he strives after. But how must we be perfect? it is thus laid down.

As your father which is in heaven is perfect.

As.] Is not nota a qualitatis, a note [Page 355] of equality, to be equally perfect as God, but not a similitudinis, a note of resemblance, to be like unto God. A candle is aquè lucida, though not equal to the sun in light.

The word [...] translated perfect, [...] perductum est. according to the Grammar, doth not properly pertain to him. [...] is that which hath an imperfect beginning, and is now brought to perfection: God never had beginning, God was not made, therefore as Zanchy well ob­serveth, the Hebrew word which signi, [...] fieth perfection (which most of all suit­eth with Gods perfection) cometh from a word which signifieth universal, for Gods perfection is nothing else but a fullness of all excellencies.


HEnce I note; that God is mostObserv. perfect; for explication whereof, I shall first shew what perfection is, then how God is perfect.

A thing is said to be perfect two ways.

1. When of imperfect, it is made perfect: thus the whole world of a rude and imperfect Chaos, was made ad­mirably perfect, so God cannot be said to be perfect.

2. A thing is said to be perfect, when there is nothing wanting to the complement and perfection of its na­ture: thus a man is perfect, when there is nothing wanting, to the com­plement and perfection of his nature; thus God is perfect, who hath all, and wanteth nothing, This is the de­scription of it.

Gods Perfection is that gloriousGod's Per­fection described. and Divine Property, by which he hath an infinite fulnesse of all per­fection, without any defect or im­perfection. A thing is said to be per­fect privativè, when it wants no­thing, which pertains to the nature of it, so are all things perfect in their kind, yet there is a negative imperfection, for each creature may be better; Angels have this nega­tive imperfection, now in God as [Page 357] there is no imperfection, so he is fully and absoutely perfect. Or briefly: Gods perfection is his infinite fullness of all excellencies pertaining to the per­fection of his divine nature, he want­eth nothing, neither can any thing be added to him.

In God there is an all-fullnesse of all kinds, degrees, and extents of being and excellencies: this is implyed in that name by which he chargeth Moses to reveal him to the children of Israel, I am hath sent me to you, I am is my name, Exod. 3. 14. I am all things, I am wise­dome, I am power, I am mercy, I am goodness, I am grace and glory: I am riches, honours, beauty, blessedness, &c. Hence the Scripture calleth God by the name of every thing, a sun, a shield, a rock, a tower, &c. It im­plies three things.

1. That all execellencies are in God, all wisdome, all power, all goodnesse, grace, glory, majesty, beauty, riches, honours, holinesse, whatsoever is a perfection or excellency, is in God.

2. That all these perfections are in God in a most eminent and infinite manner, he is most eminently and infi­nitely holy, wise, good, powerful, &c.

3. There can be no addition to, nor diminution from his perfection; he is so holy, that he cannot be more holy, nor can he be lesse holy than he is. Moreover,

1. God is perfect in his Essence, ha­ving a most bl [...]ssed, absolute, and inde­pendent be [...]ng; his Nature is perfect.

2. God is perfect in his Attributes, perfectly Almighty, perfectly Omnis­cien [...], perfectly Omnipresent, &c.

3. In his Wo [...]ks: He is the Rock, his work is perfect &c. Deut. 32. 4. His works of Creation, Providence, Justi­fic [...]t [...]on, Sanctification, Glorification are perfect.

But to shew how God is perfect, I may the better do it in these following conclusions

1. God hath not his perfection from another, but from himself; for before any thing was, he was absolutely per­fect; [Page 359] therefore from himself, he is pri­mum bonum, the first good, therefore the first perfection; but all creatures have their perfection in him as the Fountain, as the Sun hath light from it self, and the Stars from him; as the Sea hath water from it self, and all the Ri­vers their water from the Sea: What hast thou, O man, which thou hast not received from God? whatsoever excel­lency any one hath, it came from God.

2. Gods perfection is a boundless and unlimited perfection; for having it from himself, he hath none to set bounds or limits to him, but his own self, who is infinite and unlimited. The perfection of the most excellent crea­tures is limited, that measure of per­fection it hath which God vouchsafeth to it; the Angels themselves have no other, and can have no greater perfecti­on than God bestoweth.

3. Divine perfection is but one sim­ple and entire form or being, though God be perfectly holy, wise, just, &c. yet all is but one and the same simple [Page 360] being. These perfections are not di­verse habits and qualities in God; the perfections of creatures are various and distinct habits and qualities, as wisdom, goodness, holiness, power, which are all distinct in them. Zanchy fitly ex­presseth it; the Sea is but one and en­tire body of water, thus God is a Sea of perfection; but Rivers are so many distinct things, though they come from the Sea, and run into the Sea, and do partake of the nature of the Soil through which they run, thus are the perfections that are in the creatures.

4. God is so perfect, that he cannot be more perfect, nor less, because all his p [...]r [...]ection is from himself, but the crea­tures may be more perfect; Angels may increase in power, wisdom, knowledge, and creatures may become less perfect, as the Angels, that of blessed, holy Angels, became cursed, unholy; and mi­serable Devils.

5. God is purely perfect, there is not the least mixture of imperfection in God, either privative, or negative; [Page 361] Creatures have some mixtures, Angels have a negative imperfection.

6. God is immutably perfect, there is no possibility for God to lose any de­gree of his perfection: Creatures, (though perfect) are in a possibility of losing their perfection, as Angels did, and as Adam did; the elect Angels are now preserved in their state of perfecti­on by the power of God.

7. God is indeficiently perfect: God continually communicateth his com­municable perfections to his creatures, which are innumerable, yet is there not the least dimution of his own perfecti­ons; all excellencies are derived from him, as light from the Sun. God is as full of excellency, as if there were not one creature partaking of his excellen­cies.


THus having opened the nature of God's perfection, I proceed to prove it by Scripture, and by Reason. First, as for Scripture, the Apostle tells us, 1 John 1. 5. That God is light, and [Page 362] in him is no darkness at all; he is most pure and perfect light; he is essential­ly light, and perfectly light, essentially and perfectly holy; and St. John is not contented to have said, He is light, but addeth, In him there is no darknes there is not the least want, defect or imperfection in God, not so much as the least shadow of imperfection in him. God saith, Gen. 17. 1. I am God all-suf­ficient, and Gods sufficiency is nothing else but his perfection: I am God, who have perfect power and wisdom. &c.

The Reasons of the point are these.

1. Because there is no want of anyReas. 1. good in him, therefore he is most per­fect; want is an imperfection; there is no want of riches, of honour, of wis­dom, of power in God. There is nulla perfectionis privatio, no priva­tion of perfection; Nulla negatio, no Negation of Perfection in God, as Divines speak; whatsoever per­fection is in God, is most fully in him. Dyonisius saith, God is [...], so perfect, that nothing can be concei­ved [Page 363] so perfectly great, glorious, good, wise; but God is infinitely most great, good, wise, glorious, &c.

2. Because all perfections in creaturesReas. 2. are from God, therefore he is most per­fect; every good and perfect gift com­eth down from the Father of lights, therefore he hath every good gift in him. What hast thou, but what thou hast received from God, wisdom from God, strength from God, &c. therefore he that giveth to all wisdom, hath all wisdom in himself without any want.

3. Because as he giveth perfection toReas. 3. all creatures, so he giveth without spen­ding any of his perfection; though he gives much, yet he hath not the lesse, but is as perfect, as if no creature had a­ny perfection from him. This argues that a man hath a vast estate, when he hath sufficient for himself, and to give to others; but this argues that God is exceeding, and rich after another man­ner than men are; for let the richest m [...]n give to many, he hath so much the l [...]sse; but when God giveth, he hath [Page 364] nothing the lesse: Though Heaven and earth, and every creature be full of his perfections, communicated from him to them, yet God hath not the lesse, there­fore certainly he is most perfect. All creatures are so many thousand thou­sand vessels of his perfections, yet God is still a boundlesse and bottomlesse Sea of perfection, so then God is,

  • [...]
  • [...]
  • [...]

4. Because God is not infinite, if notReas. 4. perfect; for were there are any shadow of imperfection, or any defect in him, then some perfection may be further added to him, and if so, then were he not infinite.

5. Because otherwise he could not beReas. 5. infinitely blessed, and perfectly blessed; if so be God were not perfect in all his glorious perfections; to perfect blessed­nesse, is required perfect a aggregatio om­nium bonorum, a perfect aggregation of all good things; the least imperfection detracteth from his blessednesse.

CHAP. IV. Objections against God's Perfections an­swered.

BUt here it may be objected, HowObject. 1. can God be said to be most per­fect of himself, when he made all things for himself? Prov. 16. 4.

Things are made for a threefold endSol. to him that makes them.

1. To be auxiliary or helpful to him: Thus the Artificer makes Tools for helps to him in his calling. Thus Kings gather Forces for helps to them. Thus the Israelites gathered Manna to help them in their penury. In this sense God made nothing for himself, as need­ing the help of any creature; though God be the Lord of Hosts, yet he needs not the powers of his creatures, of all the Troops in Heaven and earth to help him, God is perfectly all-suffici­ent without these.

2. To augment and increase the power, greatness and happiness of man. Men get more Riches, to make them­selves more great, and outwardly hap­py. [Page 366] Kings multiply Men and Horses, to make themselves more Potent, and to enlarge their Dominions, to make themselves greater Monarchs; all crea­tures, the more they have, the more perfect they waxe; but now God did not make all things, or any thing to en­crease his greatnesse, or power, or hap­pinesse. The reason is because God was perfectly happy, great and glori­ous, before there was a creature made, and is so, if no creatures were, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.

3. God made all things for himself, meerly that he might lay open himself, and communicate his goodnesse and perfection to the creatures. God that is perfectly good, made all, that he might bestow his goodnesse upon all, his wisdom to some, his power to o­thers, this noteth the perfection of Gods goodness: Bonum est sui diffusivum; it is the nature of good, to be diffusive of goodnesse. The Stars were not made for the Sun, as if the Sun had need of their light; but they are made, that [Page 367] the Sun might communicate light unto them, and make them shine; so the creatures were not made for God, as If he had need of them; but he hath made them, to communicate his goodness to them.

4. God made them for the manifest­ation of his own glory by the crea­tures: We come to acknowledge the divine perfections which are in God, by beholding the scattered perfections in creatures; for we must flie to imper­fect things, to admire the perfection of God. Suppose we had never seen the Sun, but onely the bright Stars, and knew that there is a Sun, from whom they borrowed all their light, how glo­rious should we conceive the Sun to be? Thus it is with God; we see the twinkling perfections in the creatures, but not the glorious perfection of God; but now we know, that all these come from God: how perfect is that God that made creatures so per­fect? And this is to glorifie God.

If Creatures do not glorifie God,Object. 2▪ [Page 368] then God is not perfect, for glory per­taineth to perfection: therefore when creatures give glory to him, they add some perfection to him; when they do not glorifie him, he wanteth some perfection.

God's glory is to be considered twoSol. ways, as the School-men observe;

  • Ad intra,
  • Ad extra.

1. Ad intra: As glory denoteth his divine perfections in himself; God him­self delighting in the beholding his own glorious perfections; so God's glory is most perfect, it cannot increase nor decrease, it is always the same.

2. Ad extra; as it implies the crea­tures acknowledging of these perfecti­ons in God: If the creatures do, or do not glorifie him, by acknowledg­ing [...]im, yet he is not imperfect­ly glorious; for the creatures ac­knowledgment doth not add, and the creatures not glorifying doth not di­minish his glory. The creature by glo­rify [...]ng him doth but only manifest and [Page 369] testifie what is in God: As for exam­ple; a man that is wise, witty, or learn­ed, if we praise him, we add not to his learning; if we do not praise him, we diminish not his learning; our praise is but a testification of it; praise him, or not praise him, he remaineth wise and learned: So it is with God; whether we glorifie, or not glorifie him, he re­maineth perfect. The Sun were a glo­rious creature in it self, were there no eye to behold it it, no tongue to speak of it.

If God be perfect, so as that he want­ethObject. 3. nothing, why then doth he require our worship and service?

I answer: Not that he needeth ourSol. 1. service: Other Lords need the service of their servants; the greatest Princes in the world, need the service of their Subjects; but God doth not; he is perfectly happy, if we did not serve him. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou [Page 370] him? or what receiveth he at thy hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art, and thy righteousness may profit the son of man. Job 35. 6, 7, 8. If we sin, we hurt him not, we onely make our selves miserable. Do ye provoke me to anger? no wretches! it is to the confusion of your own faces. If we be righteous, he is not ben [...]fited by us; he needeth not our prayers, our obedience, our faith, onely we are blessed in so doing: Our serving of God is our perfection, and the more holy we are, the more we grow up in perfection and resemblance of our heavenly Father.

2. God requireth our service in way of justice, because we are bound to serve him who is our Lord.

3. God requireth our service, not for his own benefit, because being per­fect, he needeth it not; but for our own happy benefit and profit: Our disobe­dience is our greatest imperfection, and the procuring cause of all our misery; our obedience to him is our perfection, and an an [...]ecedent condition of our per­fect glory and happiness.

CHAP. V. Practical Inferences from the considera­tion of God's Perfection.

HEnce see, that it is of meer graceInfer. 1. that any are saved. What if all the sons of men had been for ever cast into the pit of perdition, it had been nothing to God; as when the old world was drowned, what was it to God? his perfection was not diminished, when they all perished. Dispute not why so few are saved; wonder rather that any are saved, seeing God was infinite­ly perfect in himself, when no man or creature had any being, and will be per­fect, if all had been lost: He needeth neither men nor Angels to praise him; therefore every one that is saved may say, Lord, we are saved, not because thou didst need us, or our services, or praises, but because thou art gracious to whom thou wilt be gracious.

2. This should wean us, and all ourInfer. 2. thoughts and affections, from all crea­tures, [Page 372] which are full of imperfections; at best, they have but a diminutive or derivative perfection: and place them upon God, who is an infinitely perfect good. What need we to set our hearts on drops of perfection, when we may have the incomprehensible and [...]a­thomless sea of perfection?


THis informs us, why God throwsUse 1. away, and loatheth the duties, sa­crifices, and performances of the wick­ed, viz. because they are done with rotten, unsound, and wicked hearts. He being a Spirit, a perfect God, looks at those that serve him with perfect hearts, and where the heart is found or imperfect. He regards no more the wicked man's praying, than he doth the blessing of an Idol; yea, he hates his most glorious duties, as wilful mur­der, Malac. 1. 8. It was a great sin in the time of the Law, to offer up the lame, and the blind of the flock to God, who [Page 373] required the best of the herd, and of the flock for sacrifice: It is no less an evil, to offer up lame or blind prayers, or any act of lame or blind obedience. What makes your duties so lame, so blind, but your rotten and imperfect hearts? Your imperfect hearts, make your duties and persous abominable. It is said of Amaziah King of Judah, that he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart, 2 Chron. 25. 2. the good duties of the wicked, are sins to them; both they and their services are rejected: This will cut the unsound heart to the quick, when he shall hear Christ say to him; It is true, these and these good works thou hast done, these duties and such like thou hast performed; but yet he will say to them, as sometime he did to the Angel of the Church in Sar­dis, I have not found thy works perfect before God, Rev. 3. 2. therefore all thy works are but lost labour.

2. If God be a most perfect God, thisUse 2. infinite perfection of God should make [Page 374] us the more to humble our selves be­fore God, to be low and base in our own eyes, and that in diverse Re­spects.

1. In respect of our great imperfec­tions: God is light, we are darknesse; God is Almighty, we Impotent; God is Eternal, we Mortal; God is Good, we Evil; God is Holy, we Impure; God only Wise, we Foolish; we are very Beasts before him; God hath all perfections, we all imperfections in us.

2. In respect of the very graces in us, the consideration of Gods infinite perfe­ctions, should make us be base and low in our own eyes, though we were full of the graces of Gods Spirit, because our very perfections have much imperfec­tion in them; our faith is mingled with much unbelief, our repentance with impenitency, our patience with impa­tience, and our obedience with much disobedience: If the most perfect God should observe the imperfections of our perfections, the defects of our graces, [Page 375] the ungodlinesse of our very godliness, (as I may so speak) who then could stand before him? yea, had we our cre­ated perfection, and were as perfect as Adam in innocence, yet still we should be base in our own eyes, looking to Gods infinite perfections. The glorious Angels, who are the most perfect crea­tures, yet cover their faces standing be­fore God, as being unworthy to be­hold the infinite perfections of so glo­rious a God.

3. Be humbled in respect of all your Services and duties, that ye do to God, and for God, and that in three respects.

1. In that all we do, is but little in comparison of what God requireth at our hands: We do not bring in that full Tale of bricks, of prayers, of du­ties, of works which God requireth at our hands, and which we are bound to perform to our God. He that doth most, is very deficient; therefore we should be humbled, considering what perfection God requireth at our hands.

2. In respect of the manifold im­perfections that adhere to all our servi­ces and duties: As we said but now of graces, so of duties, if God should mark the imperfections of them, woe unto us, woe unto us for our praying and hearing, &c. woe unto us for our duties and services; considering what perfection of duties the perfect God requireth, how God commandeth us to pray, to hear his Word, to meditate upon it, to examine our selves, than he that prayes and heareth, and medita­teth most and best, may be in his own eyes, as if he had not prayed, nor heard, nor done any thing at all.

3. In this respect, that he doth all that he can do, yet is he an unprofitable servant, because God being most per­fect, is no whit the better, and more perfect by all our duties, by all our o­bedience all our goodnesse, righteous­nesse and performances extend not to him; therefore never pride your selves in your duties, but go on in a course of obedience, and be humbled still.

4. How should we be base and low in our own eyes before this perfect God, considering his infinite perfection of holiness, righteousness, purity, and then look back upon our sins, our pride, filthiness, and all manner of imperfec­tions: There is an infinite disproporti­on between us as creatures, and God as Creatour; but the consideration of the vast disproportion between a most pure and perfect, most holy God, and such impure creatures as we are, the thoughts hereof should make us ashamed, and make us base in our eyes, and to walk humbly with our God.


IS God most perfect, from whomUse 3. all eminent perfections in us are derived? then you that have receiv­ed better perfections from God, than your Brethren, learn hence these duties.

1. Do not despise them who are not endued with such excellencies as you [Page 378] are: Hath God given to thee a wiser heart, a better judgment, a fuller purse, a more lovely body, than to many o­thers? do not proudly glory in these things, and do not so puffe up thy self, as that he that wanteth them, seemeth vile in thine eyes: This was the advice of St. Paul to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 4 6, 7. These things (saith he) I have in a figure transferred to my self, and to Apollo for your [...]akes, that ye might learn in us not to think of men▪ above that which is written, that no one of you be puf­fed up for one against another. Paul and Apollo were two eminent men in the Church, yet were both stewards of the manifold gifts and graces of God; though the gifts of Ministers be hea­venly, yet they are earthly vessels: So then whatsoever gifts are in you, learn by us to think of your selves and o­thers, not above that which is written, and be not puffed up for one against a­nother: The reason followeth, For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what eminent perfection hast thou which [Page 379] thou hast not received? Did not God the Authour of all perfections, distinguish thee from others? who made thee a vessel of honour? didst thou not re­ceive all from God, who giveth to whom he pleaseth, and gave thee such and such perfections, and not to ano­ther? it is but a vanity and ridiculous Folly in Stewards to be proud of their Lords riches.

2. Let God have the praise of all thy perfections, let not men magnifie thee, but magnifie God in thee. They glori­fied God in me, saith Paul. Let men glorifie God in thy wisdom, who is most wise, and gave thee a wise heart; and glorifie God in thy knowledge, who is Omniscient, and gave thee knowledge, Thus Paul, that vessel of grace, It is no more I, but the grace of God in me: That he was so emi­nently diligent in preaching the Gos­pel, and that his preaching was so pow­erful, this was not from me, but from the grace of God in me, it was God that did all by me.

3. Seek all Perfection from God: It is madness for a man to burn Candle light, when he may have day-light, as much as he can desire; and to fetch wa­ter from a Bucket, when he hath a Fountain near him; and as great mad­ness it is for men to seek perfections from any, but from God; he alone can make you perfect in every thing. Dost thou lack wisdom, ask it of God, who is perfectly wise? Art thou weak, and dost thou lack strength and power, ask it of God, who is perfectly Omnipotent? what­soever it be thou wantest, see but thy need, and go to him from whom every good and perfect gift cometh.


HERE is also an Use of Com­fortUse 4. to the Godly, who groan under their manifold Imper­fections: Consider what a God you have, whose infinite Perfections, are Comforts against your Imper­fections; [Page 381] you are weak, but your God is perfectly strong, perfectly Omnipo­tent: You are Fools, and unwise, but your God is perfectly wise; you are unrighteous, your Saviour is perfectly righteous; your obedience is imper­fect, but his obedience is perfect; all your graces are imperfect, his graces are perfect for you; all your duties are full of imperfections, but Christ perfec [...] ­eth them; We are compleat in him, Colos. 2. 10. Separate a Christian from Christ, he is imperfect, but in him he is compleat; all our graces and du­ties are compleat in him, and God looks upon us as we are in Christ; therefore did St. Paul labour to be found in him, because his own righteousnesse was im­perfect, and Christs righteousness was a most perfect righteousness, Phil. 3. 9.

2. Here's comfort also in this re­spect, because the same God who hath begun good work in you, will perfect the same Phil. 1. 6. All Gods words are perfect: he lef [...] not off creating, [Page 382] till he had perfected the work of crea­tion; and Christ ceased not till he had finished the work of Redemption: so hath God begun the work of Sancti­fication in thee, he will never leave till he hath perfected the work of grace in thee, he will perfect the work of Faith, the work of Repentance and of every grace in thee: every grain of mustard seed shall become a tree: thy whole lump shall be leavened. The work of Sanctification is compared to the rising of the sun. Pro. 4. 18. when the day once begins to dawn, it still en­creaseth, till it come to high noon: so when once the light of the sun of righ­teousness begins to dawn upon thy soul, it shall encrease more and more in thy soul, unto higher degrees of per­fection.

3. Here is further comfort in that God being perfect, will do away all your imperfections, and make you per­fectly holy, happy and glorious, now we know God in part, there is a time when we shall know him perfectly, per­fectly [Page 383] love him, joy in him, and we shall perfectly enjoy him who is all perfecti­on. All imperfections shall be done a­way; all bodily imperfections: this im­perfection of mortality shall be swal­lowed up of immortallity; our death shall be swallowed up of life. All im­perfect graces shall be done away; as sorrow for sin [he will wipe away all tears from our eyes] Repentence, pa­tience, &c. and some Divines think that faith it self is a grace not requi­site in glorifyed Saints, seeing all pro­mises are resolved into vision: then all imperfect graces shall be made perfect, that there shall be as great a distance between a Saint in this life, and a saint in his perfect glory, as between Solo­mon in the womb, and Solomon in all royal glory.

CHAP. X. An Use of Exhortation to divers Duties.

Sect. 1.

SEeing God is perfect, then be ex­hortedUse 5. to imitate God in his per­fection, and to serve God with a per­fect heart, which is the thing he so much requireth; the service that is onely well-pleasing, crowned with perfect reward; and without this kind of perfection, all glorious du­ties are no other, in God's account, than the cursed works of darkness. The Exhortation is to a double Duty.

1. To be perfect as God is perfect: We may be, we must be perfect as God is perfect. We cannot be equal­ly perfect as God; we must strive af­ter a perfection of resemblance, al­though we cannot possibly attain to a perfection of equality, created nature being uncapable thereof.

Now here I will shew how we may be perfect, as God is per­fect; and then shew, what it is to serve God with a perfect heart. Now first, That we may be per­fect as God is perfect;

1. Let us lahour to get all grace to exist in us; As God's perfection is the fulness of all excellencies re­quired to the nature of God; so is a Christians perfection, an having of all grace requisite to a childe of God; as perfection of parts is re­quisire to make a man perfect. Were there a defect but of one excellency in God, he were imper­fect: were there but one member in a body defective, it were an imperfect body; so the want of one grace makes an imperfect Saint: therefore the Apostle Peter exhorteth to add to faith, vertue; and to vertue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to tem­perance, patience; and to patience, godlines and to godliness, brotherly­kindnes [Page 386] and to brotherly kindness, charity, 2 Pet. 2. 5, 6. And St. Paul exhorteth us to be filled with the Spirit, wherein there is no excess, Ephes. 5. 18. It is impossible for a man to be too holy, too gracious. Covetous men add ground to ground, house to house, field to field, when they resolve to be rich; thus Saints should add one vertue to another, if they will be perfect as God is perfect.

2. We must grow in these acqui­red graces; the more we grow in them, the more we come near God in perfection; the more holy we grow, the nearer we come to him that is perfectly holy; as a grow­ing childe comes near the stature and perfection of a man. He is not in any wise perfect, that grows not more perfect: A dead childe grows not, painted trees grow not, and so will never come to perfection: Thy holiness is but a dead holiness, thy faith but a dead [Page 387] or painted faith, if it grow not: Gods perfections are eminent in him; we must strive to be eminent as he is; this was St. Paul's endea­vour. The perfection of Saints in this life is to be sensible of imper­fections, and to desi [...]e more per­fection. Take it my brethren, for a sure rule, that the work of grace was never begun in that heart, where God doth not by dgrees perfect the work; for he is perfect in all his works; perfect in the work of Sanctification of his elect, as in the Creation of them.

3. We should extend the work of grace in us as far as possibly we can. Let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing, Jam. 1. 4. Let pa­tience have its perfect work in all afflictions, and to all men. There are two Graces, wherein we should resemble God in our per­fections.

First, The one is in love to our [Page 388] enemies; the sun of our love must shine upon them; so doth God's perfect love, and in so doing ye shall be like your heavenly Father.

Secondly, In mercifulnes in the works of mercy to the distressed, yea even to enemies themselves; Luk. 6. 38. And in so doing ye shall be like your heavenly Father: So that from those places we may see what it is to be petfect as God is perfect. A merciful man, whose mercy runs round the circumfe­rence, is perfect as God is perfect; a loving man, that can pray for, bless, pardon, even his enemies, is perfect as God is perfect.

SECT. 2.

NOw I come briefly to the next branch of the Exhorta­tion.

Is God perfect? then serve him with a perfect heart. God speaks to us, as David to Solomon; And now Solomon my Son, serve God with a perfect heart, and with a [Page 389] willing mind, 1 Chron. 28. 6. Thus God speaks to every one of us, Thou my son, the son of my grace, the son of my love, of my mercy, serve thou me with a perfect heart. Now what it is to serve God with a per­fect heart, these three things will shew.

1. To serve God with thy whole heart, with all thy mind, will and af­fections; The whole soul must be taken up with God in his service; lift up thy heart to God as well as thine eyes; bow thy heart as well as thy knees; do all thy duties with thy whole heart; a divided, a distracted heart, is an imperfect heart.

2. To set up pure aims and ends in thy heart in all services done to God: A sincere heart, is a perfect heart; to serve God with such an heart, is to serve him with a per­fect heart: Then do we serve God sincerely, when we seek to advance God in all that we do; we seek that [Page 390] God may be glorified, and so in all acts of obedience. Jehu's heart was not perfect, because he did not seek God in doing the will of God: A man may serve himself in doing God's will.

3. To have in thy heart a full respect to all Gods commandments; when it is in thy heart to do all God's Commandments with all thy heart; to be wanting in no duty, in no act of obedience, this is to be perfect; Such a man as this, is a man after God's own heart. Some give this rea­son why David is said to be a a man after God's own heart, viz. because he was so zealous for God: Others, because he was so full of praises. But this is the Ho­ly Ghosts reason, Acts 13. 22. Da­vid is called a man God's after own heart, because, he fulfilled all Gods will, to do all which God commandeth. We say the eye is perfectly drawn in a picture, when [Page 391] it equally looks upon all in the same room; So that is a perfect heart which equally looks to all Commandments of God. Now to stir you up to serve God with a perfect heart, consider these Mo­tives:

Motive 1. Where perfection of heart is, there the weakect per­formances are accepted; the Wi­dowsLuk. 21. 2, 3. two mites were better ac­cepted, then the great largesses of the rich; the infirmities of the Saints, in their faithful services, because done with a perfect heart. Job had bitter temptations, and murmrings, and many impatient fits, yet all were forgotten; for what saith the holy Ghost? have ye not heard of the patience of Job? Jam. 5. 11.

2. God will surely protect such; they are his jewels; the Lord highly prizeth them, and would have all the world take notice of such men: God even boasteth of [Page 392] such men. Job 1. 1. the Lord saith of Joh, that he was a man that was perfect and upright; he speaks it in the commendation of his per­fectness.

Ʋse 6. Is God perfect? the very consideration of God's perfection, may teach us what a woful creature a wicked man is: Hell is not more contrary to Heaven, and the black­ness of darkness to the brightest shine, then a wicked man is oppo­site to God: The Lord is perfectly full of all divine excellencies and perfections: A wicked man is full of all hideous deformities and imper­fections: God is perfectly pure; the wicked are perfectly impure; God perfectly holy and righteous; the wicked perfectly unholy, and full of all unrighteousness. You that call God Father (as there is no wicked man but calleth God Father) if he be your Father, where is your perfection of like­ness, of resemblance to him? [Page 393] What? to be a swinish drunkard, is this to be perfect as God is per­fect? What? to be unclean and fil­thy, is this Gods perfection? the most pure and perfect God dis­claims you all, and looketh upon you as Bastards, and not as Sons, and gives you up to your Father the Devil; You are perfect as the Devil your Father is perfect, per­fectly wicked, perfectly blasphe­mous, perfectly hating holiness, hating it with a perfect hatred: And God will make the impenitent to be like the devil, perfectly cursed, and perfectly miserable as the De­vil is.

A discourse concerning Gods Omnipotency.

Gen. 17. 1. I am the Almighty God; Walk before me, and be thou perfect.’


I Proceed to another of Gods glorious attributes; viz. his Power or Omnipotency, whereby he is able to do whatsoever is possi­ble, whatsoever pleaseth him; but before I handle it, I will first open the Text.

God (as we may see in the fore­going Chapters) had vouchsafed to speak to Abraham four times: First, In Chaldea, Gen. 12. 1. when he bade him to leave his Country and Kindred, promising to bless him, and of him to make a great Nation. S [...]condly, he appeared to him in [Page 395] Sichem, in the land of Canaan, Chap. 12. 7. promising him that land for his inheritance. Thirdly, At Bethel, after Lots departure from him, Gen. 13. 14. There he promiseth him a numbe [...]less poste­rity. Fourthly, At Hebron, Gen. 15. 13. Now in this Chapter is Gods appearing to Abraham the [...]ifth time; and for the time when God appeared to him, it is here set down, when Abraham was ninety nine years old; the place where is concealed; It is thought to have been in Hebron; it is very probable that this apparition of God was visible, because Abraham being struck with a reverential fear of God, fell on his face, Chap. 17. 3. At this time God doth renew the Covenant, and his promises made with Abraham long before; and for confirmation hereof, God did ordain [...]ircumcision to be a sign and seal of the Covenant to all generations.

For the description of the Co­venant, it is first in general; Se­condly, more specially described. The general description is in the Text; This is the very sum of the Covenant; it sheweth the inter­changeable on mutual bargain, Covenant or promise between God and Abraham. The Covenant on Gods part is, I am God Almighty: The Covenant on Abrahams part is, Walk before me and be thou perfect. Now for the opening of the words.

I am the Almighty God.

I am [...] here are two names of God, El, which denoteth the power and strength of God, I am a strong, powerful God; I make all things, and uphold all things by the word of my power: and Shaddai, this hath two significations; it is translated Almighty, or Omnipo­tent, from the word [...] destruere, to destroy, because God is a strong God to destroy his enemies; the [Page 397] strongest creatures are not able to stand before him, if his wrath be kindled but a little; or it signi­fieth his Alsufficiency; I am God alsufficient: either from [...] mamma, signifying a Dugg, because God filleth every living thing with every good thing; or else from [...] & [...] qui est sufficiens, who is self-sufficient, and all-sufficient; he needeth nothing to make him happy, and he is able to make all others happy.

The Septuagint leaves out the Epi­thite Almighty, and re [...]deth the words, Ego sum Deus tuus, I am thy God.

I am the Almighty God.

This doth not onely set forth what God is in himself, but what God is to Abraham, and to all the faithful seed; I am thine Almighty God, I am Almighty to save thee, Almighty to destroy thine enemies: This title, or Epithet, calleth for three things from all that en­ter [Page 398] into Covenant with God.

1. To reverence and worship his glorious and Almighty Majesty; Abraham in token of his reverence and adoration, presently fell upon his face.

2. To trust in him, as if God had said, Know for certain, what I covenan [...] to do, I will do, for I am Almighty; there is no good so great but I can and will give it to you; there is no evil so great and terrible, but I can and will remove and keep off from the people that are in Co­venant with me.

3. I am God Almighty: There­fore fear to provoke me to anger; it is in vain for proud miscreants to rise up in Rebellion against me, for I am an Almighty God, I can and shall easily destroy you.

This is the Covenant on Gods part, which is promissory; Now the Covenant on Abrahams part is obligatory, binding Abraham and all the faithful, to walk before [Page 399] God in uprighteousness. The people in covenant with God, are bound to perform two things.

1. To walk before God: This phrase imports this: sc. what the constant course of people in Co­venant with God is: for walking in Scripture denoteth the whole course and progress of a mans life from step to step, till he cometh to the end of his life; and it con­cerneth faith and manners, to walk before God, or with God. It is to beleive in God, to put all thy trust in him, to depend upon God onely, to serve him onely, to obey him according to his will.

Or, in a word, walking before God, or with God, importeth these two things.

1. To embrace the promises by faith.

2. To do all duties and acts of obedience which God requireth.

And be thou perfect.

Here is modus ambulandi, the [Page 400] modification of a Christian course, that we walk before God sincerely and uprightly, without hypocrisie and dissimulation; to have a due respect to all Gods Commandments, to be consciencious of all duties little and great, and not to fail in any.

I shall now speak of the first in­terpretation, I am the Almighty God; and shall first treat of these words absolutely; not as they are Gods promise what he will be to all that are in Covenant with him.


GOd is an Almighty God: HereObserv. you have his own testimony, what a God he is, who knoweth his own strength and power; I am God Almighty; So when he appear­ed to Jacob, Gen. 45. 11. I am God Almighty, Rev. 1. 8. he is called, [...], the Almighty: I know [Page 401] some distinguish these two words, [...], and [...], the one signifieth that power whereby he doth all things, the other whereby he upholdeth and governeth all things that he maketh: so some render this word omnitenens, quia omnia tenet. Thus the Angels say of God, holy, holy, holy, Lord, the God Almighty: there are two Articles [...], to shew that no­thing is Almighty but God one­ly.

In the handling of this Attri­bute, I will first shew what God's Power and Omnipotency is; There are two words that signifie power, [...] & [...], potentia & potestas: they are thus distinguished; [...], or potestas, is taken for authority, right, or jurisdiction, as a King hath over his Subjects, a Master o­ver his servant, Matth. 28. 18. All power is given me, saith Christ, [...], omnis potestas, authori­tas, or jus, is given to me. [...], [Page 402] or potentia, is that perfection whereby one is able to do any thing; and of this I shall discourse. There is duplex potentia, a double power.

Potentia activa,
Potentia passiva:
An active power,
A passive power.

There is a passive power, which receiveth or suffereth from an A­gent, but acteth not: this is not in God, who is purus actus, a pure act: God is not obnoxious to any alteration or mutation; there is nothing but an active power in God. So then God is said to be po­tent, powerful, because he can do, and will do whatsoever he plea­seth: and Omnipotens, Almighty, because he can do whatsoever is possible to be done. This Omni­potency is twofold.

First, their is Absoluta Omnipo­tentia; God's absolute Omnipoten­cy: He is absolutely and perfectly [Page 303] Almighty; he can do whatsoever his infinite understanding concei­veth may be done; he can make thousands of worlds if he please, he can make infinite moe creatures then there are. St. Paul saith, Eph. 2. 20. God can do more abundantly then we can ask or think: It is im­possible for the understandings of men and Angels to conceive what God can do; he is able to do more abundantly then the vast thoughts and conceits of Angels can com­prehend: And of this Omnipoten­cy the Scripture speaketh, when it calleth God the Almighty.

Secondly, There is Potentia Dei actualis, or ordinaria, as the Schools term it; the actual or ordinary power of God; but more proper­ly called his actual Omnipotency, which is this: not onely that God can do more then he will; but that God effectually, perfectly and really doth whatsoever he willeth to be done. And it is Zanchi's ob­servation, [Page 404] That when soever the Prophets joyn Gods power to his pro­mises, it always denoteth Gods actu­al Omnipotency; because God will really and truly make good his pro­mises. So that this now is the short description of God's Omnipotency; It is the most glorious perfectionDescripti­on of Gods Omnipo­tency. of God, whereby he doth whatso­ever he will, and can do whatsoe­ver is possible to be done.


BUt we shall the better behold the nature of Omnipotency in these following things. There are these things required in Almighti­ness, or to be Almighty.

1. That he can effect whatsoe­ver is possible to be done: So that Omne possibile est objectum Omnipo­tentiae; every thing possible is an ob­ject of Omnipotency. Mark 10. 27. All things are possible with God. So Luk. 1. 37. There is nothing that the [Page 405] heart can conceive, or the tongue express, but God can do: So Jer. 32. 27. Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: Is there any thing too hard for me? Tell me, what thing is there that I cannot do? I know not any thing that is hard to do but I can do it.

2. That he can do all things facillime, very easily. God Almigh­ty can do all things most easily; what more easie then to command a thing to be done? if he speak the word it is done instantly: If he doth but say, Let there be light, let a world be created, let Heaven and Earth, let Sun Moon and Stars be made, and they are made in­stantly according to his word. Con­sider what a great work the whole world is, with all the creatures con­tained in it; the Almighty God did but give forth a word of com­mand, and they were all made. By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made, and all the hosts of [Page 406] them, by the breath of his month: he spake, and it was done, he com­manded and it stood fast, Psa. 33. 6, 9. so God can command mer­cies, comforts, and all are done ac­cordingly, what more easie way of doing? this sheweth that God is Omnipotent.

3. That he can do all things ir­resistibiliter, without resistance, let, hinderance, opposition, and difficulty: this the Lord Almighty doth: there is no power can make resistance, there is no power can hinder him; he can remove Moun­tains, dash Rocks to peices, puff and blow away all creatures; Om­nipotency infinitely surpasseth all power, all is subject to this omni­potency; Angels in Heaven, Devils in Hell, Men on Earth, and all crea­tures, he saith to the deep be dry, Is. 44. 27. he commandeth the earth and it openeth her mouth, Num. 16. 30, 31.

4. To be Almighty, is to do whatsoever he pleaseth, and to [Page 407] be able to do more then he will: this onely God can do whatsoever he pleaseth, Psa. 115. 3. yea, God can do more then he will do, Mat. 3. 9. God can turn stones into men, into beleiving Children, and dung­hills into stars.

CHAP. IV. Reasons to prove Gods Omnipotency.

THat God is Omnipotent, may appear by divers Reasons.

Reason. 1. It is evident from the Creation of the World; to create the least creature is an act of Omni­potency, incommunicable to any creature. Angels are mighty in power, yet cannot they create the least contemptible worm; if to create, demonstrates an Almighty power, then much more the cre­ation of this vaste world, with all creatures within it, sheweth God to be Omnipotent; lift up your [Page 408] eyes to Heaven, cast them upon the earth, behold all creatures in it, and all are the work of his fin­gers, Psa. 8. 3. As Nebuchadnezzar in his pride boasted; (Is not this great Babel that I have built, for the house of my Kingdom, by the might of my power, and honour of my Ma­jesty?) may much better be spoken by the Lord of the world; Is not this great Heaven above, this great Earth below, that which I have builded, which I have created by the might of my power, and for the honour of my Majesty? Expede Herculem, you may guess at the giant like stature of Hercules, by the length of his foot: you may see what an Almighty God I am, by the world which I have made, which in comparison of my Almighty power, is but as a drop of a Bucket to the vast O­cean.

2. As the creation, so the up­holding and preservation of the [Page 409] whole world, sheweth his Almighty power; the same power is required to uphold, which is to make it: he made the world by the word of his power, so he upholds all things by the word of his power, Heb. 1. 3. therefore the conservation of the world is, Creatio continuata, a continued creation: and the word [...], Omnipotent, im­porteth him that upholdeth, guid­eth, and governeth all things; if the same hand did not uphold this glorious fabrick, it would in a mo­ment be turned into its first no­thing.

Reas. 3. That the strong and mighty creatures are all subject to him, ruled and ordered by him, are at his beck, and cannot but execute his will, argues his Al­mighty power. The Angels are great in power; the good Angels flye from Heaven to do his will, if he commandeth. The principa­lities and powers of Hell cannot [Page 410] stir an inch, but at his pleasure; if he saith to the deep, be dry, the Seas are dry; if he saith to the Earth, open, it openeth its mouth; if he commandeth the Mountains to remove, they are gone; if he smites the Rocks, they become dust; if millions of Men should op­pose him, he can destroy them in a moment: As the men of Beth­shemesh cried out, who is able to stand before the mighty God of Hea­ven? so the world of creatures may cry, tis not this world, nor a thousand more can stand before this mighty God.

Reas. 4. If all the power of all creatures in Heaven, Earth, and Hell could meet in one creature, yet all would be but as a drop in comparison of Gods Almighty power, yet there is much power in the creatures, all is derived from him, even the great power of the Angels: Now he that hath given to thousands of creatures great [Page 411] power, he is much more powerful who is the Almighty God; if An­gels be great in power, if beasts be so powerful, if Rocks and Mountains be so strong, what is God the giver of this power? if drops of power be so great, what is the Sea?

Reas. 5. Gods power is infinite, therefore Omnipotent, natura sua, in his nature; because his Omnipotency is his very essence, infinite in respect of his nature, by which he doth whatsoever he doth; his action is never so great, but it can be greater, more intended, infinite in respect of the objects; there can be no end of his works; he can make infinite more creatures then he hath made; A Limner or Painter that can draw one Picture, can make more, he that can fansie a Palace, and according to the idea of it in his mind can build it, can build more: God that hath made one World, can with as [Page 412] much ease create many more.

Reas. 6. As Gods understanding, knowledge, or wisdom is, so is his power; whatsoever Gods infinite understanding can conceive to be done, that can his power do: A Painter can outwardly draw what he inwardly imagineth: So saith the Apostle, God can do more a­bundantly for us then we can ask or think, Ephes. 3. 20. It is impossi­ble for us to conceive what God can do.

CHAP. V. Diverse Questions about Gods Omni­potency Answered.

QUest. 1. But here it may be demanded, whether God can do things which by nature are im­possible?

Sol. There are two kinds of im­possibilities; either things that are impossible to nature; As,

1. Things that are contrary, or above the ordinary course of na­ture, as that the fire should not burn, that Iron should swim, the sun stand still; these God can do, and hath done; though these things be contrary to the natural course of creatures, yet they are not re­puguant to the nature of crea­tures.

2. There are things impossible by nature, that is, repugnant to the very being, and nature of the creature; these things God can­not do, not prop [...]er defectum po­tentiae, as if there were want of power in God, but because the be­ing and nature of the creature is incapable of it.

As for instance in things that imply a contradiction: that a thing should be and not be at the same instant; or that a man should not be a living creature; or for one and the same body to be in diverse places at one instant; these things [Page 414] God cannot do, not for want of power in God, as if he were not Omnipotent; but because it is re­pugnant to the very being and na­ture of the thing it self: It is re­pugnant to the nature of man to be no living creature, to a body to be in moe places at once.

Quest. 2. If God be omnipotent, how is it said, he cannot lye, he cannot deny himself, with such like phrases?

Sol. That God cannot lye, can­not deny himself, cannot change, or sin, these things argue the per­fection of his power, that he is Omnipotent; for these things argue defect, not power; and not to do these things which are contrary to his nature, argueth his glorious and absolute perfection; that the Sun hath no darkness, or (as it is) cannot be dark and be a Sun, ar­gues the excellency and perfection of that creature; so when we say, God cannot lye, cannot deny him­self, [Page 415] cannot repent or change, ar­gues his great perfection. God cannot disenable himself, and do any thing that will not stand with his own glory.

These three things will answer all Objections against his Omnipo­tency.

1. God cannot do what is con­trary to the being of a creature, or repugnant to the nature of a creature, as such a creature.

2. God cannot do such things as should imply any defect in him.

3. In Scripture, his cannot do such and such things, is taken for his will not; he will not do such or such a thing, as Gen. 19. 22. Haste thee to Zoar, saith God to Lot, e­scape thither, for I cannot do any thing, till thou come there; that is, I will do nothing till thou come thither, because I will deliver thee from this destruction of fire.

Quest. 3. Seeing God is Omnipo­tent, Why was he six days in making [Page 416] the world? he could have made it in a moment.

Sol. Besides other reasons, let this suffice, it was his pleasure to be six days in making the world; his will is reason enough of his actions.

Quest. 4. Why doth God use the ministry of Angels and other crea­tures, being Omnipotent? he needs not their help.

Sol. Among other reasons let this suffice; God doth not employ them, as if he needed them in his working, but because he will have his creatures do his service: that a servant doth his Masters work, ar­gues not weakness in his Master: the ministry of Angels and men argues no defect of power in God.


SECT. 1.

IF God be Omnipotent, then youƲse 1. that are wicked be ye admonish­ed;

1. To take heed of walking any longer in the stubbornness of your own hearts against God, cease to provoke him to anger; for accor­ding to his power so is his wrath; if ye will walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to you, cloathed with almighty wrath. And if his power and wrath be against you, then all the Angels, Devils and creatures in heaven and earth are against you; all the plagues, curses and vengeance that God can in­flict upon you, that the earth af­fords, that hell affords, are against you: Therefore if ye will walk contrary to God, prepare ye to meet the Almighty God in most horrible and almighty wrath. But [Page 418] tell me O sinner! hast thou the strength of stones to bear his wrath? such strength is too weak: God can break the rocks and pound them to pouder, much more thy stubborn heart; If he touch the mountains they will smoak; much more when he shall inflict full stroaks of vengeance upon thy soul and body.

What saith the Apostle? Do we provoke the Lord to anger? are we stronger then he? Can ye stubborn sinners grapple with the terrible wrath of the Almighty God? or can ye overcome him, when ye shall meet him cloathed with al­mighty vengeance? if ye can, you can do more then all the De­vils in hell can do, for they trem­ble at the power of his wrath.

2. Let the stout-hearted and stubborn sinners be admonished to humble themselves before this Al­mighty God, and fear to sin any more against him: Go and break [Page 319] your hearts, and humble your souls deeply, and make your peace with Almighty God, before the decree bring forth his irresistible wrath. Our most conquering contention, and wrestling with God, is our se­rious humiliation under the migh­ty hand of God. Brethren, either your hearts must be broken with the sense of sin, or else the Al­mighty God will break you all to pieces, like a potters vessel, with his iron rod; either you must cast your selves down before him, or God in his wrath will cast you into the lowest hell, Isa. 27. 4, 5. But you will say, how shall we do it? What said the Leaper to Christ, Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean: Go ye to Christ and say, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst humble my proud heart; Lord, if thou wilt thou canst break my stubborn heart; Lord, if thou wilt thou canst soften this hard­ned heart of mine; Lord, if thou wilt thou canst smite this rook of mine, [Page 420] and rivers of tears shall gush out. I see it is an hard matter for such proud stubborn hearts to be humbled but nothing is impossible for thee.

SECT. 2.

THe second Use is a use of ter­rorƲse 2. to the professed enemies of God's Church and people.

1. God will shew forth his al­mighty power and wrath against his Churches enemies to their utter destruction; however the Nimrods, the mighty hunters before the Lord, may set themselves in their pride, fury and malice against his people, yet these lofty mountains shall be made plain, and these A­nakims, these great Nimrods shall be driven away by his Almighty wrath as the chaff before the wind. The Lord who is King of his Church is most wise, and there­fore can frustrate and bring to no­thing all their devices; he is Al­mighty, therefore can destroy them with a sudden destruction.

Ʋse 2. Here is comfort to God's people, Be not affraid thou worm Jacob: for the Almighty God that hath all power, all might, all strength, is thy sheild, buckler, tower; God is on thy right hand, and left hand, before thee, be­hinde thee, to uphold, preserve, defend and save thee. If God be with us who can be against us? if God be with you, who is he that can harm you? let all the furies of hell with their malice and madness set upon you, yet Ʋmbra Dei plus valet, quam mille gladii hominum, mille sagittae, mille exercitus: The shadow of Gods protection will be more available for your help, then a thousand swords and darts of men, then a thousand Armies are able to do you hurt.

Ʋse 4. Then be exhorted to pray with confidence at all times, and daily to depend upon Almighty God: So long as there is a possi­bility that the thing may be done, [Page 422] though small or no probability in respect of the outward secondary causes and means appear, yet pray; because every thing is possible to Almighty God, and he will put forth his Almighty power to do what shall make for his glory and thy good. Despair of no mercy whatsoever, Eph. 3. 20. God can do abundantly above what ye can ask or think; God can do great matters, give great mercies, he can give great deliverances, remove great evils, confound the crafty, overcome the mighty; therefore pray still; you can­not ask so great things as God can do for you; you cannot think of so great things as God can do; yet the mind can conceive greater things then the tongue can utter; ask and think as great things as you can, yet God can do, and give more abun­dantly.

Despair likewise of no person, despair not of the conversion of thy wife, and children, and friends, af­ter [Page 423] whose salvation thy soul long­eth, pray for them and continue in so doing; because all things are possible to God, he can break hearts he can change hearts, convert the stubborn, humble the proud; he can draw a Camel through a needles eie.

Be exhorted likewise to depend always upon the Almighty God, let him be thy stay, trust and confi­dence in the greatest streights dif­ficulties, perplexlties, or in what condition soever. What! are means weak? its no matter, God is Al­mighty, and can bring mighty things to pass by small means. Do means go cross? it is no mat­ter; God is Almighty, and can make contraries to work thy hap­piness. Do means fail? God is Al­mighty, and can do any thing with­out means: All things are possible to him that beleiveth, that depend­eth on the Lord the Almighty God.

Ʋse 5. If God be Almighty; then be ye lifted up ye heads that [Page 424] hang down, and be strong ye feeble knees; Gods almighty power is matter of great comfort. Art thou weak? be not cast down, but hope in God and he can strengthen thee to do all things. Art thou faint? be not cast down, God Almighty can renew thy strength, that thou shalt run and not be weary, walk, and not be faint, Isa. 40. 31. Art thou afraid thou shalt not hold out, but fall back from God? the almighty pow­er of God shall keep thee through faith unto salvation. Gods almigh­ty power is a Christians strong hold and garrison. Art thou afraid of tentations? Gods almighty power is sufficient to bear thee up and out of the most fearful tentations. Hast thou a dead heart? God's almigh­ty spirit will quicken thee: Fear no affliction, for God's almighty power shall make thee more then a conqueror in all these. Fear not death nor the grave; for Gods al­mighty power can raise thee from [Page 425] the dust, and make thy body glo­rious, like unto the glorious body of Christ.

A discourse of the Life and Immortality of God.

Hebr. 3. 12. Take heed brethern, lest there he in any of you an evil heart of unbeleif, in departing from the living God.’


THe Author of this Epistle, doubtless was St. Paul: the chief subject of it is Christ; A se­condary drift and scope of it, is to deter such as make profession of the faith of Christ from backsliding and departing from Christ, as ap­pears by this Chapter, and by the fourth and tenth Chapters. In his [Page 426] speaking of Christ he sets him forth two ways.

1. In his absolute and personal excellency; in the beginning of the first Chapter.

2. In his comparative excellency; being compared with Angels, Pro­phets, and Priests, and Levitical Sacrifices, he sheweth how Christ infinitely transcends all these. He sheweth how far he excelleth all the glorious Angels in the first Chapter, and that in divers par­ticulars.

1. He is the natural Son of God.

2. He is the heir of all things.

3. He is the Creatour and Lord of Angels, him all the glorious An­gels worship and adore.

Then he shews Christs transcen­dent excellency above all Pro­phets; he instanceth in Moses, the first and Prince of Prophets, here in this third Chapter, setting forth the excellency of Moses in an high manner, that he might the better [Page 427] declare the transcendent excellen­cy of Christ above him.

The thing chiefly commended in Moses, was his faithfulness in Gods House (by house, understand not a material, but a spiritual house) his Church. Now Christ excelled Moses in two things.

1. Christ was the Son of God; Moses a Servant.

2. Christ was builder and Master of the House; Moses was part of this house.

Now in the following Verses, the Apostle strongly inferreth, that Christ is more excellent then An­gels and Moses. We ought to give more heed to the word spoken by him, then to the word spoken by Angels or by Moses; and this he presseth from the danger of un­beleif, after men have heard and received the Gospel of Christ. Those that did not beleive Moses, were not suffered to enter into Canaan, but perished in the Wil­dernes [Page 428] Now the Apostle tells the Hebrews, that as God dealt with their forefathers for their unbelief, so will he deal with all unbeleivers, they shall never en­ter into his glorious rest, but shall perish eternally.

My Text is a serious admonition to all, to beware of unbeleif, see­ing it shuts men out of heavenly rest, and throws them headlong into hellish torments. Wherefore]Calv. in loc. for so Calvin thinketh, is to be referred to this twelfth verse, all the foregoing words being a Pa­renthesis; take heed, lest there be in any of you, &c.

In the words there are these three things considerable.

1. A dangerous disease, to which those that make profession of Christ are subject, viz. Apostacy from Christ, who is here stiled a living God.

2. The cause of that dangerous disease, is an evil heart of unbeleif, [Page 429] it is an hebraism, put for an evil unbeleiving heart, where the Apo­stle doth describe unbeleif by an elegant paranomasia. [...], unbeleif is Apostacy.

3. The cure and remedy both of the root and disease; Take heed, [...], look about you, look cir­cumspectly, above all things take heed of an unbeleiving heart, for in time of trial it will make you to fall off from God. There are these four points observable from these words.

1. That an unbeleiving heart, isObserv. the evil heart.

2. That an unbeleiving heart, is the cause of Apostacy from God.

3. Christians must specially watch and keep their own hearts.

4. That our God is a living God.


MY purpose is onely to handle the last point, viz. that attri­bute [Page 430] of the life of God; That God from whom unbeleivers back-slide is a living God.

The life of God is taken two ways in Scripture.

1. For that life whereby God li­vethVita Dei dicitur, vel quâ vivit in nobis qui regene­rati sumus. in his Saints, or a Saints godly life, [...]ph. 4. 18. The Apostle set­ting forth the state of unregenerate persons, men addicted to their lusts, saith, They are alienated from the life of God; that is, have no acquaintance with the holy, hea­venly and spiritual life, this life is here called the life of God; and Gal. 2. 20. it is called the life of Christ; I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; this life is also called the life of the spirit, and beleivers are also said to live in the spirit, Gal. 5. 25. But this life I am not to speak of.

2. Tis taken for that essentialVel quà ipse vivit in sese. life of God, or that life which God liveth himself, and in himself, and which is very God himself. In him [Page 431] was life, saith John of Christ, as God, John 1. 4. that is, essentia vivens ab aeterno in aeternum, that living essence who lives for ever and ever, giving life to all others; and this I am to speak of: As the life of God is taken two ways, so again living God is taken two ways in Scripture.

1. Either it is opposed unto dead and false gods, 1 Thes. 1. 9. Ye turned from idols, which cannot hear, speak, or do any thing for you, to the living and true God; Or,

2. Living God, implies that God is a powerful, lively, and effectual God, Heb. 10. 31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, most powerful, able to destroy body and soul; or, who eternally liveth to take eternal vengeance on your immortal souls. This being premised, I will briefly shew, what the life of God is. Thus it is described.

It is Gods own divine being,Descr. who of himself doth all things, and is the Author of all life in his creatures.

Or thus, It is the divine being, who of himself, understandeth, willeth, and loveth infinitely, and is the fountain of all life, being, and motion in all his creatures, both bodily and spiritual. Let me give it in parts.

1. It is the divine being, so it isAnima, vivere, & operationes vitae. distinguished from the life of crea­tures, for in their life are three things; the soul, by which it li­veth; the life it self; and the actions of life, distinguished in the creatures; but in God, the essence, life, and the actions of life, are one and the same; his life is nothing else but his very being, hence he is called that life, and life eternal, and the living God.

2. Who of himself doth all things, or of himself understandeth, wil­leth, and loveth all things, and in [Page 433] this he is distinguished from the life of creatures, for they live in ano­ther; live, move, and have their being in God; but he most inde­pendently lives of himself, under­standeth and willeth of himself, therefore called Jehovah, who hath being from himself.

3. He is the Author of all life in his Creatures, in him they live; if he withdraw himself, Creatures are turned into destruction: if he say, Return again ye sons of men; they live, Psa. 90. 3. of dry bones he makes living men, and of living men he makes dry bones. Tis said, he breathed the spirit of life into Adam, and he takes away mans breath again. Some Divines make a fivefold life of men.

1. The life of nature, and this God is the Author of, he made man a living soul; In him was life, and that life was the light of men, Joh. 1. 4.

2. The life of grace; and it is [Page 434] God alone that quickens men that are dead in trespasses and sins, to live the life of godliness, Eph. 2. 1.

3. The life of comfort; Sorrow is called death, Psa. 116. 8. Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, &c. What is the eternal death of the damned, but eternal sorrow? sorrow is cal­led the vale of death; Now it is the Lord that speaks peace, and cre­ates joy to disconsolate spirits; Vita nihil aliud est, quam actio cum de­lectatione, as some define it: and what is the life of Angels and Saints, but unspeakable and endless joy in God?

4. Resurrection of dead men to life; God onely by his almighty power, can command the graves to yeild up their dead, and make each soul to possess its own body, after a long divorce made by death. God alone brings these two old friends together, which at first were loth to part, and then shall [Page 335] never part again, but shall then live with God for ever, or else dye a living death with Devils in Hell.

5. A life of glory, which he a­lone gives to all the godly; Christ saith of his sheep, Joh. 10. 28. I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

CHAP. III. Of the Properties of the life of God, with reasons to prove him to be a living God.

NOw I shall explicate Gods life further in the properties of it.

1. It is a most perfect and blessed life; because there is nothing wan­ting to make his life most perfect, he living of himself, independ­ing.

2. It is an immutable life; there is no change nor alteration of his life; man is up and down, [Page 436] sometimes brought as low as death anon revived, and walks again in the land of the living; Gods life is always the most happy, glorious and delightsom life.

3. It is an immortal and eternal life, it hath no beginning, neither is it capable of dying; God can­not cease to be.

Now I shall prove that God is a living God by Scripture and Rea­son. For Scripture, read Deut. 32. 40. I lift up my hand to heaven, and say I live for ever. This lifting up the hand was either a sign of swearing, or a gesture used by such as took an oath, Gen. 14. 22. as Abram said to the King of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand to the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth. Sometimes it was a sign to make the hearers more at­tentive; Thus saith the Lord, Be­hold I will lift up my hand to the Gen­tiles, and set up my standard to the people, &c. Isa. 49. 22. Both ways [Page 437] it may be taken here, though in the former properly; for there Moses brings in God swearing, I say, I live for ever; God speaks like a living God. I say, saith God, None but he can say so: Should creatures be so impudent as to say, I say I live, God will make them appear to be but dead dogs. God saith, I live for ever; admit crea­tures may say we live; yet herein is the living God discerned, I live for ever: Before the world was, I lived, and when the world shall have an end, I live, Psal. 42. 2. Da­vid calls him the living God. Now the Reasons of it are these.

Reas. 1. Because whatsoever is a perfection in the creature, is most eminent in God. Of all natural perfection life is the principal, it is better then beauty, strength, wis­dom, nothing is more dear then life: Skin for skin, and all that a man hath will he give for his life. A living Dog is better then a dead [Page 438] Lion, Eccles. 9. 4. One living Soul­dier is better then an huge Army of dead Souldiers; a living beggar is better then a rich Nobleman. Now if life be such a perfection, then surely God is living, and his life is most perfect, and most eminent: If God were a dead God, he should want the greatest perfection; then many living creatures would be better then God himself; he is no God, if he be not a living God.

Reas. 2. From the actions of God, we may evidently argue him to be a living God; he knows all things, he wills all things, he makes all things; he is a God that heareth our prayers, and granteth the very desires of our hearts, giveth the very things we beg, which he could not do, were he not a living God. What makes him the onely true God? but because he is a living God. The false gods, the Idolls, the vanities of the Gentiles, have eyes, and see not; ears, and hear not; [Page 439] hands, and work not. Baal could not hear his Priests crying aloud to him, O Baal hear us; therefore they are no gods: But God hath eyes to see all things, yea the se­crets of mens hearts; ears to hear the desires and groans of the poor and dictressed; therefore he only is the true and living God.

Reas. 3. All our life is from him, therefore he is a living God; there­fore Christ is called The author of life, Acts 3. With thee is the fountain of life, Psal. 36. 9. Life natural, spi­ritual, eternal is from God as the fountain; therefore he is called life, not onely because he is life essentialitèr, essentially; but also effectivè, effectually. And by the Platonists he is called [...]; The soul of the world; he quickens and governs the whole world, and hath all the lives of his creatures in his hands, I kill, I make alive, I save, I destroy, Deut. 32. 39.

CHAP. IV. Of the Immortality of God.

NOw because the Immortality of God (though it be a distinct Attribute) falls under, and in with the life of God; I will annex a brief discourse of the nature of it, and so make application of the life and immortallity of God together. God is a living God, and this life of God is not subject to death, where­fore he is called immortal. Now I shall give a brief description of Gods Immortality.

It is that perfection of God, Des [...]r. whereby his life cannot be separated from him by death. God cannot cease to live; God cannot dye, 1 Tim. 1. 16. The Reasons of it are these.

Reas. 1. Because God is most sim­ple, void of all composition of bo­dy and soul: or a principle of life, and life it self being the same in [Page 441] God, his own essence is his life. On­ly things which are compounded, are subject to dissolution: Man be­ing compounded of soul and body is obnoxious to a separation by death; where there is no union, there is no separation; where there can be no separation of parts there can be no death or morta­lity.

Quest. But are not Angels and the souls of men immortal, who are not subject to death? therefore not God onely.

Sol. 1. It is true, Angels and the souls of men are immortal, but they are subject to annihilation, which God is not: Angels and souls of men may cease to be, but God can­not cease to be.

2. Angels and the Souls of men are immortal dependently; God conserveth them in their being, they are kept by the power of God; but God is immortal absolutely and independently.

3. Angels and souls of men are immortal per participationem, by participation; God makes them partakers of his immortality.

4. There is an analogical mor­tality in Angels and the souls of men, though they cannot cease to live, yet they may cease to be hap­py, and to live miserably to eter­nity. The damnation of the Apo­state Angels is a kind of death; so the damned souls suffer a kind of death: Damnation is called in Scri­pture the second death; it were better that such souls did perish as the souls of beasts; and when they cease to live this natural life in the body, that they did cease to be.

CHAP. V. Ʋses drawn from the life of God.

IF God be the living God, thenƲse 1. he is the onely true God, to be [Page 443] feared of all, and to be worship­ped.

1. To be feared, because he on­ly can kill and make alive, he a­lone preserves men from destructi­on, and turns men into destructi­on. The vanities of the Gentiles can neither do good nor hurt, nei­ther save nor destroy; they have hands but cannot strike a man into destruction, nor pluck a man from destruction. When Daniel was cast into the den of lions, the living God preserved him from death; when his accusers were thrown in, their Idols and golden images could not preserve them, but the living God destroyed them: See what a good use Darius, an heathen King made of it, and what a charge he giveth; Dan. 6. 26. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my Kingdom, men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; the reason followeth, for he is the living God; the Ima­ges whom we adore for God, are [Page 444] dead things; how doth he prove that God is a living God? vers. 27. he delivereth, and rescueth, &c. therefore fear and tremble before him; the gods whom we serve, can neither deliver, nor rescue, nor work signs and wonders; the like argument Christ useth to per­swade us to fear God, because be­ing a living God, he can destroy both body and soul.

2. He is the onely true God to be worshipped, because a living God, and therefore can hear, help, and save all such as worship him in spirit and truth; men shew no greater madness in the world, nor do more un-man themselves, then in worship­ing dead stocks and stones, who have carved hands, but are dead hands and cannot save; have carved ears, but are dead and cannot hear; such were the gods of the Heathen; and to adore dead stocks, was the fruit of their blind Religion; and the Pa­pists that pretend to know the true [Page 445] God are no less sottish; what is their Bread-Worship, Altar-Worship, Crucifix-Worship, but a robbing of the living God of his glory, and gi­ving it to dead senseless crea­tures?

Ʋse 2. Is God a living God? then commit your lives to him in well­doing; trust the eternal living God with your mortal lives, and fear not the rage and malice of evil men, for they cannot take away your lives from you, unless God permit them; not an hair shall fall from your head without his knowledge, then much less shall a drop of your blood fall, much less a limb shall be cut off from your bodies; much less shall they take away your lives from you, if the living God will keep them and preserve them; See Davids practice in a time when his enraged Enemies consulted to take away his life from him; They devised to take away my life, but I trusted in thee O Lord; I [Page 446] said, thou art my God, my times are in thy hand, deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, &c. Psalm 31. 13, 14, 15. all our times are in the hands of the living God; our time of life, the continuance and length of it; our time of death, the manner, moment, and instrument of it, all is in the hands of the living God; thy life and death are not in thine enemies hands, they cannot take away thy life at their pleasure; wherefore commit thy life to God, and fear not the rage of enemies. Should we at any time forsake God to please men, for the pre­servation of life, and betake our selves to sinful shifts, it may fall out to us, as Christ foretold; He that saves his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for Christs sake shall save it, even this natural life, or the eternal life of the im­mortal soul. Therefore if ye will have us to dye, let us not be much [Page 447] troubled, but be ready to give up our lives into the hands of the living God, and if he will have us dye, we can but dye; as the Leapers said at the gate of Sa­maria, the living God can give us a better life, and if the Lord will, he can deliver us from death. The three Children were more regardful of their duty to God, then of their lives, Dan. 3. 16, 17, 18. this was the sum, whe­ther God would deliver them, or not deliver them, they were not anxiously careful, they were care­ful to serve God, but careless a­bout the saving of their lives: Better it were that the fiery Fur­nace should consume their lives, then that the fire of Hell should consume their souls.

Ʋse 3. Hence there is good ground we should place all our confidence in God, and in no crea­tures whatsoever, because they are all dead perishing vanities; if we [Page 448] may confide in any creature, then may we put confidence in Princes, because they are great and power­ful, they are Gods on earth, and can afford the best aid and help to men in distres yet consider that in Psa. 146. 3, 4, 5. Put not your trust in Princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Princes, though they are great in power, yet they are the Sons of men, and obnoxious to the com­mon condition of mankind; they are vain, mortal, they dye and perish, and when they dye all their thoughts perish; all the pur­poses, plots, designs and intenti­ons of Princes to do men good, dye with them, and their favou­rites are left to shift for themselves. Then the Psalmist, Vers. 5. breaks forth into admiration of such a man, who maketh God his help, his aid, his confidence and hope; he is a living God, he cannot dye, he is a great God, and his great­ness [Page 349] is a living greatnes and none of all Gods thoughts perish, but they endure from one genera­tion to another; if we must not put confidence in Princes, then much less are we to trust in uncer­tain riches, in uncertain honours, in in Houses and Lands, for these are all dead things, and more vain, and less able to help then man; when riches are gone and perish, the li­ving God will and can aid us; all the creatures are by fits, but so many dead dogs before the living God.

Ʋse 4. [...]s God a living God, and the fountain of all life and motion? then we should not despair of any, though they through corrupt lusts do even stink in the nostrils of the godly, yet the living God can breath the spirit of life upon them, and make a dead sinner become a living soul to God, a dead drunkard, and a dead worldling, buried under a dung­hil, become a living soul to God; tis no superstition for you that live the [Page 450] life of God, to pray for such dead, for a living husband to pray for his dead wife, a living father to pray for his dead children; so when God shall bring a Minister, as he did the Prophet Ezekiel into a valley of dead bones, of dead sinners, and say unto him, Prophecy: O ye dead sin­ners, hear ye the word of the Lord, and while we are prophecying, God should cause the breath of life, bones and sinews to come upon these dry bones, should we then despair of the quickening of any dead soul? we are to mourn over the dead, but not as men without hope of their better and more glorious life and condition; the living God can yet make them live the life of God; we should do therefore for sinful men, as David did for his sick Child, while it was living, he humbled his soul, laid on the ground, fasted and praied for the childs recovery; while there was hope, he would not give over praying; so while there is hope [Page 451] of a mans resurrection from death to life, of his conversion from sin to God, be not wanting in all means, for in so doing you may save a soul.

This likewise may teach the god­ly in all their dead and dull tempers of heart, whether to go for life and motion, sc. to the living God, in whom, as all naturally live, move, and have their being; so the Saints in him have their spiritual being, life and motion. Thus David prayeth nine times, in Psa. 119. that God would quicken him; as who should say, my heart is dead, my prayers are dead and lazy, I have no heart to any good; but thou who art the living God canst quicken me, and re­vive me, and enlarge my heart, and make me to run the way of thy com­mandments. Therefore in all your deadest frames be more frequent in prayer, do not give over because thou findest not thy heart so fer­vent. It is reported of that holy Martyr Mr. Bradford, that when [Page 452] he went about any duty, he would never give over, till he found some reviving from God; if he confessed his sins, he would confess till he found his heart melting and mour­ning; if he prayed for pardon, he would still beg for pardon, till he found his heart somewhat eased of his sins; in praying for grace, he would never give over till he found his heart warmed in prayer; go then and do likewise, in all thy dead frames, importune the living God till he doth revive thy spirit.

Ʋse 5. This should comfort the godly against the fear of death, and the forerunners of death; ye are for the present the Sons of the living God, ye are come to the City of the living God, what need you to fear to dye, seeing God will give you life eternal? ye are the living stones of the Temple of the living God, and he can raise your dead bodies, when mouldered into dust, and make both soul and body live gloriously and e­ternally? [Page 453] when a godly man dieth, eternal life swalloweth him up; did ever man fear to go to bed, to put on better apparel; shall we be a­fraid to die, to put on glory, immor­tality, and eternal life?

Ʋse 6. Take heed of sinning a­gainst God, because he liveth to take vengeance upon stubborn Rebels; he is a living God, and takes exact notice what sinners do, and lives for ever to torment the wicked to eter­nity. The wicked need not fear e­ternal death, if they did sin against a dead God; but God who is life eter­nal, will doom them to eternal death.

Ʋse 7. Here see the folly of Apo­states, in departing from a living God to embrace dead creatures, that forsake the fountain of living waters, and run to a pool that one warm day will dry up; as Mephibo­sheth said to David, proferring him kindness for Jonathan his fathers sake: What is thy servant, that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as: [Page 454] I am? So do creatures say to Apo­states, What are we thy servants, that that thou shouldest take thy heart and eye from off a living God, and look upon such dead dogs as honours, riches, and preferments are? or ra­ther speak to them, as David to Saul, 1 Sam. 24. 14. after whom is the King of Israel come out? a [...]ter whom dost thou pursue, after a dead dog, after a flea? dost thou pursue after a vile and base crea­ture? and cast off a most blessed God, the fountain of all glory and happiness. O ye Apostates, seeing you forsake a living God, ye shall die the death; God li­veth for ever to see sore execution done upon you, this shall be your dying life in Hell, to bemoan your departure from the living God.

CHAP. VI. Ʋses drawn from Gods Immortality.

IS God an immortal God? thenƲse 1. hence behold the infinite love of Christ, who being immortal, yet would become subject to death; an immortal God, become a mortal man for our salvation▪ Rom. 5. 8.

2 Seeing God is immortal, hence we may see what a beam of divine perfection we lost by the fall of A­dam; we were made immortal, but our sin makes us mortal, and liable to all mortal and sore diseases; we lose a double immortality be­cause of sin, the immortality of our bodies; and which is worse, in some sense, we lose the immortality of our souls; Sin brings eternal death; will ye still go in sin? hath it not done enough to you, in making you obnoxious to death, but will ye bring upon you the eternal death of your immortal souls?

3. This likewise should allay the fears of death in us, God being immortal, we also shall be immor­tal; these mortal bodies shall put on immortality.

4. See that ye fear God more then men, the wrath of God more then the rage of men; be­cause man is but mortal, and their rage and fury is but mortal; when their breath goeth forth their rage ceaseth; but as God is immortal, so is his wrath an immortal wrath, as he will never cease to be, so the fire of his wrath shall never be quenched.


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