Imatges de pÓgina


Chap. 8. in the City, the Leader in the Army, that is God in the

World. Thus Tully argues ; God is the most excellent being, and therefore must needs be Governour of the World. Plato's Idea's existing in the mind of God, were, as is thought, no other than his Decrees. The Fate of the Stoicks, is by fome taken for nothing else but the Providence of God. Hence the Epicureans, who denied Providence, in contempt called it, Anum fatidicam Stoicorum, the Stoicks foretelling old wo

There was excellent Divinity in the ancient Fable, That ngbross, or Providence, was Midwife to Latona, that is, Nature. The Creature, though ne

ver so pregnant with power, brings forth just nothing Auft. de civ. without it. Plotinus disputes, That the Providence 1. 10. 6. 14. of God reaches to the lowest things. The Flowers

have their beauty from an incommutable form; the sensible World comes from that intelligible one which is with God.

Reason evinces this Truth. A World without Si est Deus, utique Provi- a Providence is a very great absurdity: in such

a case how should God be God? May he be an infiDeus, nec aliter ei poteft nite Mind, and without forecast? or a pure Ad, and divinitas at do nothing at all among his creatures. May he be præterita te every-where present, and no-where profitable ? Or neat, & præ- fill all things, and signifie nothing

? May he be an infutura profple telligent Agent, and without an End? Or the Great ciat. La&t. de Alpha, and forget that he is Omega? May he be Crea

tor of all, and yet no Provisor? Or Almighty, and yet not reign over his own World? May he be infinitely Wife and Good, and yet neglect himself and his Creatures, his own glory and their good? Is it imaginable that such an One as he should frame a World out of nothing, and set it in delicate Order,


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meerly for Fortune to sport it self in, or to shuffle Chap.8.
down into confusion ? And how then could the
World be a World ? Or how could it stand in order,
or its parts hang together by links of amity ? With-
out the hand and touch of Providence, Nature would
jangle and be out of tune : without its glue and vira
tue, the whole system would unframe and fall asun-
der in a moment. If God, faith Bradwardine, should De Causa Dei,
cease to be, there could be nothing past or future, l. 1. C. 14.
true or false, possible or impossible, necessary or con-
tingent : so necessary is He. I may say, If God should
cease to work, there could be nothing in all the
world but perfe& nullity. So necessary is his Provi-

There are two great acts of Providence ; the one
is Conservative, which upholds all : The other Or-
dinative, which directs and disposes of all. Both are
eminently set forth in Jesus Christ.

The first act of Providence is Conservative, and upholds all; the Creature cannot preserve and immortalize it self, for then it would be a Self-subsistence, and a God to it felf: it stands juxta non esė, at the brink of nullîty; and unless that Divine Power which brought it from thence into being, hold it up there, it naturally returns and falls back into Nothing as its Center. Preservation is an influx of Being; and none but the Supreme Being, which is its own original, can afford such a thing. It is a continued Creation, and none but he who gives effe primo, the firlt being to a creature, can give elle porro, the sea cond or protracted being to it. Should he withdraw his influence, or cease continuo facere, still to go on preserving and dew-making, as it were, his Creature,

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Chap. 8. it would vanish into nothing; no creature could be

gin where he left, or carry on the work. Should all
the Angels in Heaven ory and put out all their strength,
to guard and keep up in being the least particle of
matter, and that but for one moment only, they could
do nothing, they could not be Creators at second
hand, I mean in point of Preservation. The Earth,
being the Center of the World, seems to stand fast,

without Providence it would waver into
nothing. The Sea is a vast spreading Element; and
yet were it not in the hand of Providence, it would
contract it self into nothing. The Heavens are strong
bodies, and yet all those glorious Arches, unless kept
in repair by Providence, would fall and totter down.
The Angels are immortal Spirits, and yet their im-
mortality is a donative and a continual spiration from
the Father of spirits ; the knot of their perpetuity
is Providence, and without it they would break and
diffolve into nothing. Providence, we see, contains
and preserves all things : a great truth this is, but it
was never so manifested as in Jesus Christ. If ever
any creature might preserve it felf, one would think
that the highest, noblest of all should do so; his hu-
man nature was lifted above the top of the Creation,
above the highest Angel : It was, which never any
Creature was before, assumed into the Person of
God ; yet it had no subsistence of its

own, it did not preserve it self; it was held by that Deity which it did cohabit with in the Person of the Word : still it was a Creature; it could not, like the Deity, spread it self over the World : it was not a self-subấstent or independent upon its Creator. Here we plainly see, that no creature, no not the highest, can support


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it self in being without Providence. Elhardus Lu- Chap. 8. binus, in his Book De Caufa Mali, hath drawn a very ingenious Scheme to shew the dependence of the Creature upon God; he sets the summum Ens uppermost, under it the scale of Creatures in their order, first Angels, then Men, then Beasts, then Vegetables, then meer being, under all imum nihil. As far as the summum Ens draws any thing ex imo nihilo, out of meer nothing, fo far it ascends the scale into be. ing, or life, or sense, or reason, or Angelical perfecti

As soon as he leaves it, it sinks down into the imum nihil, into nothing. This doth in a very lively manner set forth the dependence of the creature upon its Maker ; but it was never so fully set forth as in Jesus Christ: His human nature, though above the whole scale of creatures, is supported by the Deity: No creature now may presume that it can be a selffubfistent, or stand upon its own bottom; :all must confess a Providence fupporting and bearing of them up in being.

The second act of Providence is Ordinative, it directs and governs all : God steers the ship of the World, and all the passengers in it: He orders the great House, and all the Families of creatures in it. Providence turns every wheel in nature; and when there is a wheel within a wheel, intricacy and seeming crossness of motion; yet there is an eye in the wheel, a wise Providence which preserves order in confusions. All things are directed by congruous means to their proper end. There are millions of creatures which know not what an end is ; but Providence conducts them thither. Millions of Events are casual as to us; but there is a certainty in Provi,



Chap. 8. dence. Millions of acts are free as to us, yet Provi

dence hath a soveraignty over them. In all things God is Alpha and Omega, the first Mover, and the laft End; the wise Disposer and sure Moderator of every thing for his own glory. This great Truth is excellently fet forth in Christ. Three things will make this evident.

1. There was a signal Providence over Christ.

2. There was a great Providence over the fruit of his Satisfaction, in raising up a Church.

3. All other Providences may be reduced to the other two.

1. There was a signal Providence over Christ. Gods eye and heart were upon the Temple, which was but a type ; how much more intent must they be upon Christ who is the substance? Providence all-along had an eye upon him: It watched over his Genealogy ; a deluge swept away the corrupt World, but Noah must have an Ark; the true Noah, the Messiah, who is our rest and comfort, was to come from him. Abraham's body, and Sarah's womb, were both dead; yet there must be an Ifaac, that the true Ifaac, the joy of the Father , may come in the flesh from him. Ifaac was in a fort offered up, that he might be a type of Christ ; but not facrificed and actually slain, that Christ might come from him. Judah and Tamar commit incest, yet Providence is not at a stand ; no Medium is too hard for it ; even this way came the Holy One into the flesh. Ruth must leave her Countrey, and be married to Boaz, that David, and afterwards Christ, the true David, whose Kingdom was to be perpetual, might come from thence. The whole Scripture aims at Christ; but


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