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Joy which the Righteous is attributed to God; and that which God doth by us, is both ascribed to God, and to us ; we work, and God works ; we are awakened, directed, and assisted by him, so that I think there is too much heat in many controversies, and a right stating them would extinguish them from being in the world.
We see there is a direct and exact government in heavenly bodies. When did ever the fun fail ? It were prodigious if it should : and why should not we, that are guided by principles of reason and illumination, (which is a far greater communication from God) why should we be so irregular and inconsistent, since the lower creation is so regular and uniform ? For there is nothing of conflagration in the heavenly motions, because no oppositions : and if we were uniform to principles of reason and right understanding, all motions with us would be fo, and tend to inutual information and edification, but not at all to provocation, or exasperation, one of another.
Pray let me leave this notion with you, that there is a difference in things; there is that which is comely, that which is regular, decent, and directed according to rule, and the standing principle of God's creation. You see how much time I have spent in the notion, or that which is the force of the argument ; we are to rejoice and give thanks, because it is comely. The reason lies in the quality of the thing, which doth fuppofe, that there is a difference in things; by which the atheist is excluded out of the world, and mens liberties restrained to that which is right, 'Tis no rule to a man's actions, to do that which
the may maintain by power and priviledge ; but to do that which is fit to be done, just and right : to comply in all things with the reason of things, and the rule of right, and in all things to be according to the nature, mind and will of God, the law of jua stice, the rule of right, the reason of things. These are the laws, by which we are to act and govern our lives';, and we are all born under the power of them : and if this be not true, this argument of the psalmist is insignificant, praise ye the Lord, for it. is comely. The reason of things therefore, is our rule, both in religion and converse, one with ano ther; and though these are different forms of speech, yet they are always in conjunction. The reason of the mind is by these to be directed ; and indeed, all principles of religion are founded upon the surest, most constant, and highest reafon in the world. There is nothing so intrinsically rational as religion is ; nothing so, self-evident, nothing that can so justify itself, or that hath such pure reason to commend itfelf, as religion hath ; for it gives an account of its self to our judgments and to our faculties; and this». God himself doth acknowledge, Ifa. v. 3. Judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. So, 1 Cor. xi. 13. Judge in your selves, is it comely, &c. He, brings that for an argument, the indecency of it., But so much for the notion, That there is a diffe-, rence in things ; that good and evil are first in things, right and wrong first in things themselves. This is not arbitrary, nor imagined, nor determined by power, and priviledge, but there is good and evil, comely, and uncomely in things themselves, A. word of this particular case, and I have done.
Praise is comely. It is nature's sense, 'tis the im-" port of any man's reason: every man's mind tells him that this is decent; and no man can have peace, quiet and satisfaction in the contrary ; unless he be funk down into baseness, and degenerated into a fordid temper, he will acknowledge the kindness of his benefactor. Now, because God doth infinitely tranfcend all the benefactors in the world, if any man doth not acknowledge his goodness, and praise him for his benefits, he is sunk down into baseness, and fallen beneath his creation and nature. .
God loves us, and therefore he doth us good : we love God because we are partakers of his benefits. Ņow praise and thankfgiving is all the return that our necefsity and beggary is capable of: and it is. very comely for us, that are so much beholden to the divine goodness, to make our due acknowledge ments ; and therefore it is observed that in ingrati-. tude there is a connexion of all vice. All disingenuity and baseness are concentred in the bowels of ingratitude. He that will not be engaged by kindness, no cords of man will hold him. It is observed both by God and man, as degeneracy in its ultimate. issue, the greatest depravation that nature is capable of, to be insensible of courtesies, and not to make due acknowledgments. How often doth David complain of those perfons, that were obliged to him by kindness, that they turned his enemies, Psal. xli. and xlv. he that fat at meat with me, hath lift up his heel against me. How is he represented by him, as a most fordid wretched person, one that was degenerated to the fullest degree? and then God him
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self complains, Deut. xxxii. 15. Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked, he forsook God that made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his falvation. God and man complains of the ungrateful, because all favours and courtesies are lost. Yea, 'tis well observed, that it is the only way to make a desperate enemy, to bestow kindness upon an unthankful perfon. And this is too well known, that those that have been made friends by courtesy, proving false, have been the greatest betrayers. Therefore, of all persons and tempers, the insensible and ungrateful are the worst : yea, truly, these are the very pests of the world, the enemies of human nature ; they harden mens hearts, who otherwise were free to do cour, tesies, because they do not know but that they may make an enemy. I will make this out (viz. the baseness of ingratitude) in these two words. . 1. Because nothing is more due to God than our gratitude ; for he loadeth us with his benefits, and is pleased to please us, and doth many things to gratify us.
2. By this we give testimony of our minds to God; for we have nothing at all to sacrifice to God, but the consent of our minds ; an ingenuous acknowledgement. We have nothing to bring him, but the consent of our minds; and this the grateful person doth, and by this he signifies, that if it were within his compass, he would requite the divine goodness ; for ’tis not so much the gift, as the mind of the giver. He that is unthanksul, is most full of himself, and apt to think that all the world was made for him, and that all men are bound to be his servants, and to attend his purpose, and that he may serve himself of all mens parts, powers, priviledges and opportunities į but he himself is exempt from all men ; so that he is an enemy to God and mene
PSALM xxxix. 11. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity,
thou makest his beauty to consume away like a math ;
surely every man is vanity. Selah. MTOTHING is less true, nothing more unTV becoming us, limited, finite, and fallible
creatures, than the thought of independency and felf-sufficiency. And indeed, the whole creation of God, in comparison with God himself, is less than the dust of the balance; and if you come to compare, will hold no weight. Nothing becomes us more, than to know what we are : no. thing befits us better, than that we know our own ftate, and to be sensible of our own dependence and necessity, and to make due acknowledgement to God. If a man seriously weigh these words, he will always veil to God, humble himself, fubmit, and deprecate. So many things there are emphatical in these words, When thou, &c.