« Prev Lecture VI. Preached December 26, 1690. Next »

LECTURE VI.114114   Preached December 26, 1690.

II. There are hereupon most apparent and very blamable things, about which it is needful that we should be expostulated with, and that we do expostulate with ourselves concerning them: otherwise it would be in vain that another should reprove us, if we be not brought by it to reprove ourselves; or that another should expostulate with our own souls. And this we should do upon that which hath been opened and improved in respect of such things as these: as

1. Why are we yet so much in doubt concerning what is so clearly demonstrable? the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead, which are things so clearly seen (though they are in themselves invisible) by visible effects, by things that are made. Why are our minds yet pendulous and in suspense about so very plain and demonstrable things? For what, can it enter into our minds to think this world rose up out of itself, without a Maker, out of nothing? Who of us can endure (if 429he consider) the gross absurdity of such a thought? And since we may so easily be at a certainty, why are we not at certainty in so plain a case? why do not our minds come to a settlement? why are they so off and on? why do we hover and halt between two opinions, as we did not know whether God be God yea or no? or whether he were to be stuck to as such? as the prophet deals with that people so much divided in opinion between God and Baal. But indeed ours would be a worse division and more absurd for if we are divided in our own minds in this case it must be between a God and no God. There was no question among them, but there was and must be some God or other, but only the question was, whether that God the people owned, or another were the God; that was all the doubt, but this is a much wider case, when the question is between a God and no God; and nothing can be more evident than the things that are made, must have had some maker and author; it is a comfortable thing to ourselves to feel the ground firm under us as to this first and deepest fundamental; a very comfortable thing for us to feel that it shakes not. But know withal, it is a very dutiful thing towards our Maker to be at a point, and not to be always disputing, or to have perpetual disceptations within ourselves about that which is prerequisite to our duty; for that suspends all duty, and lays a restraint upon every thing of duty towards him; while we waver and hover in our spirits about so plain a thing as this. Let us be all at a certainty, when we may be so easily at a certainty; as certain (as I have urged to you) about this as we can be of any thing whatsoever: for we can not be more certain of any thing than we can be of this, that we ourselves are made things; for whatsoever is unmade must have been from everlasting, inasmuch as nothing that is made but it hath received a beginning of being. Whatsoever i unmade must have no beginning of being, must have been from everlasting. But can you be surer of any thing than that you have not been from everlasting? You know you have not been from everlasting, therefore you are made things. And again; you cannot be surer of any thing than you are of this, that you are such a sort of made things as can think, as have a power of thought: you are not more sure that you can see, than you are that you can think, and therefore you do know and are sure, that you have minds and spirits about you; for you are sure that flesh and blood and bones cannot think: you cannot be surer of any thing than you are of this, that this bulk of a body of yours, cannot exercise a thought. Well then, if you be a made sort of thing, and you find you have a power of thought belonging to you, and therefore that you have a mind and spirit 430 belonging to you, you must then have proceeded from an unmade mind and Spirit, an unmade self-subsisting mind and Spirit: and this is God, and can be nothing but God, this is all as plain as any thing is that we see with our eyes, therefore do not pretend to be uncertain in a matter wherein it is so easy to you to be at a certainty, when so much also doth depend upon it. And blame yourselves for this, if you have been pendulous in so plain a case hitherto. Why am I in doubt when I should have been loving, serving, fearing, and adoring this invisible Deity all this while? Why have I suffered doubts to hang on my mind in so plain a case? And,

2. Let us expostulate with ourselves about this, that our apprehensions of the eternal God are so feeble and languid and ineffectual as they have been hitherto, and for the most part (the Lord knows) yet are: that our minds have not only been in a dubious uncertainty, but that the apprehensions we have had, have had so little of vitality and efficacy and power in them, to form our spirits and govern our way and course agreeably thereunto. For (as was told you by way of inference) there needs not only clear knowledge, but vital knowledge of the Deity. And now let me a little further insist upon it, that is, that there is something more requisite, than certainty, some what besides a certainty of apprehension and knowledge about it. Such things as there are to be superadded thereto; that is efficacy, energy, and operative power. I may be certain of those things that do concern me Godward, or that do concern me in reference to my soul, and yet feel little of efficacy and power in the most certain and undoubting thoughts that I can have about such things: that is, though I may have as great a certainty about the objects of my mind as I can have about the objects of sense; yet the objects of sense do always strike with more efficacy than the objects of the mind do. Experience speaks this plainly, and I need but appeal to every one’s experience about it. I might illustrate it to you by a very plain and obvious instance or two, how much more the things that fall under present sense do affect us, than the things do that fall not under sense. Though we are not more certain about the one than we are about the other. As in reference to these bodies of ours, we are not more certain that we do at present feel any thing whether it be grateful or ungrateful to our sense than we are certain that at one time or other we shall die. But is there any one that doth sensibly fear death, and set himself thereupon to prepare for it, as he doth feel pain when that is upon him? Therefore I say, we do need something to be superadded to our certainty to enliven our apprehensions, a power 431and energy is needful to be superadded to them. As I told you before, we are as certain we can think, as we are certain we can see; we are not more sure we can see with our eye than we are sure that we can think with our minds: yet the things we do see with our eyes, do affect us more than the things we only apprehend with our minds: therefore do we need to have a great deal of efficacy and power superadded to the apprehensions of our minds concerning the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead. And since it is plain we do need it, that is, that such apprehensions often lie in our minds, and work nothing; but the case is with us as if we had them not, as if our minds were vacant of such apprehensions; surely we should not lie still patient in such a case as this; when these apprehensions of God are -the most important that can have place in our minds. Why are we so pleased with ourselves and so much at ease concerning this thing, that our apprehensions of the Godhead should have so little efficacy with them as they have to command our spirits? It is a relievable case as well as there is a necessity there should be relief sought and had in it. If he is pleased to shine into our minds himself, then there will be efficacy go with our certainty; when he is pleased to strike through the consistent darkness that doth inwrap our hearts, and to shine into our hearts by giving us the light of the knowledge of his own glory, then there will be power in our apprehensions of the invisible God, and then in his light we shall see light, as in that Psalm xxxvi. 9. Therefore, for this should we supplicate every day more earnestly than we do for daily bread; “I need thy delivering influence, O Lord, to quicken dead notions of things that lie in my mind, that they may have power and be operative in me, as much as I need daily bread, and momently breath.” This should be our sense, and with waiting and craving eyes should we be looking up daily and continually: for it is dutiful, that this should be the posture of made spirits towards the unmade Spirit, of produced spirits towards their great Parent, the original universal Spirit that is the Parent of all; that they may be continually maintained and held in life by vital communications from him? self, this he would take well: it is childlike, it is filial deportment towards the supreme, original, eternal Spirit, whose off spring their spirits are. A parent is pleased to have a child express and own his dependance upon him. When we cut off these spirits of ours that are made from the unmade eternal Spirit, this is apostacy, disloyalty; this is to set up ourselves and for ourselves, and no wonder if we languish and perish by it. And,

3. We should expostulate with ourselves about our so frequent 432 unmindfulness of the invisible eternal God, when we have so much occasion to mind him every hour; for the things that are made, reveal him to us continually: we cannot open our eyes, but we must see something or other that should put us in mind of God: we shall behold some of the made things, that should be still putting us in mind of their Maker, theirs and ours. And,

4. Why are we so little conversant with God, so unconversable towards him, when he is continually surrounding us, compassing us about before and behind, in all the made things which do encompass us? God is in them, or they are all in him, all living, and moving, and having their being in him. This conversableness with God, or a disposition of spirit to converse with him, it imports more than bare minding of him, thinking of him; it carries in it an application of faith towards him. It is a thing that involves complacency in the nature of it, as you can any of you easily apprehend. I converse electively with whom or what I converse with, out of choice, and for a complacential inclination of my own mind. Oh! why is there no more of this with us towards God, the unmade and eternal Being, while he continually besets us in the things that are made, and who is nearer to us than we are to ourselves! He is in us if we would but look in, and meet with him, and apply ourselves to him. It was first the saying of a heathen, (taken up since and improved by many in the Christian church, both ancient and modern writers) “God is more inward to us, than we are to ourselves, and yet we will not converse with him.” It was Plato’s saying first. But will we not converse with him? How inexcusable a thing is this, his own creature to be a stranger to him; a creature that he made! “I that have made thee, (may he say) and made thee as thou art, given thee a reasonable, intelligent, apprehensive, immortal mind and spirit, and wilt thou not know me? wilt thou not converse with me? wilt thou not acquaint thyself with me? wilt thou not lead thy life with me?” What have we to say to this?

5. Why do we not more frequently do him homage, when we dwell in a world that is all his? Every thing that we can use and enjoy in it, are all made things, and made by him, and this world that contains and inwraps them all, itself a made thing, and we are made things; why are we not more frequently doing him homage? We can take up nothing, we can use nothing, we can enjoy nothing in all this whole world but what he hath made. And what! not do him homage, deep, inward, profound homage, how inexcusable is this! We know we did not make or furnish this world, we were brought into it, 433placed in it, and we find ourselves supplied with all things necessary for our support and for our accommodation, suitable to that sort of being that God hath given us. And shall we not do him frequent homage? Suppose a man should rush into one of your houses and set himself by your fire-side, and make use of such and such provisions of your house, as he can lay his hands on, and take no notice of you, would you lone; bear so barbarous a usage as this? And is not this the very case? You come here into this world that God hath made, and not you; and every thing is his that you can lay your hands upon, or make any use of, and to take up and use this and the other thing, and never look up, or not often look up to him; or not look up with a more delightful sense of your obligation to him, than (God knows) is too common with us; how can we defend ourselves against our own thoughts, against our own reasonings in this case? And further,

6. Why do we drive designs here in this world, apart from him, without reference to him? This, and that, and the other thing I do to please myself, or to advance myself without any thoughts of God, without any referring to him. I lay my designs without him; I will go to such and such a place, I will abide there so long, I will there do so and so, I will “buy and sell and get gain,” when we “ought to say, If the Lord will, I will do so and so.” He that is the Author and Lord of all this made world, what! do you think to move to and fro in it without reference to him, and drive designs for yourselves apart from him? Sure, the forming of a design should always be accompanied with an act of worship, there should still be a dedicating of our designs to him, as well as of ourselves: for what is plainer, than that he that is the Alpha, must be the Omega too? Hath he not made himself known to us by those conjunct titles, the first and the last? “Of him, and by him, and to him are all things,” that he alone might have the glory. There should be a tribute of glory paid him, in every thing we design, and more especially in reference to his design. When we come to take notice of that great design of his, Oh! how it might make our hearts shake within us, to think what sort of acknowledgments God hath in this world, even in that part of the world that is called Christian, in reference to some of the great things, and even the greatest thing that ever was done since there was such a world in being. That is, that extraordinary descent of God into the world, in the person of his own Son, taking upon him human flesh, becoming the Emmanuel, the divine nature, the invisible Godhead, in the second person, 434 uniting itself with the manhood. Here are acknowledgments of this made amongst us; but it might make our hearts shake within us, to think of what kind. That is, according to the usage of too many, the descent of our blessed Lord, the eternal Word in human flesh, they seem to think (that their practice expresseth) that the nativity of our Lord is not to be celebrated fitly, but by a debauch; they cannot fitly celebrate the nativity of Christ, but by being drunk. Monstrous wickedness! To think that the great God is to be worshipped so unsuitably to himself; when he is to be made the end of all things. The Former of all things; how is he made the end, otherwise than as he is glorified? But to glorify him, to pretend to glorify him by breaking his laws, by violating his known and most sacred precepts! By breaking the law, dishonourest thou God? Rom. ii. 23. That was bad enough: but it is much worse, by breaking the law, to dishonour God under the pretence of doing him honour, to think that [ honour him by so palpably dishonouring him. And,

7. Why are we so prone to blame and censure the methods of his government over this world, which he hath made, and when by it, and the things in it that he hath made, he is proclaiming to us his eternal power and Godhead? Is he not able wisely and well to govern his own creation? Could he bring such a world as this out of nothing into being, and doth he not know what to do with it, now he hath made it, and how to order the concerns of it? Oh! how little is God reverenced as the Creator and Former of all things, when we take upon us to censure, and blame, and tax his doings? Why do we strive with him, when he gives not account of any of his matters? Job xxxiii. 13. He is far above it. And like it, is that xl. 2, “Shall he that contends with the Almighty, instruct him? He that reproves God let him answer it.” What! for man to take upon him to reprove God, to say he might have ordered things better, so and so, things might have been brought about in a fitter season, might have been done sooner, they might have been compassed by fitter methods, by more suitable instruments, and the like. Sure we forget ourselves when we consider not, that “the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead,” are ail testified by the things that are made. And what! cannot “the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead,” guide and manage things more wisely than we? “Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.” Isaiah 45. 9. Let them choose their match. And those many expressions 435we have from himself in the latter end of the book of Job; “Canst thou do so and so?” doth intimate this all along to them and to us, that unless we could do such and such things, unless we could lay the foundation of such a world as this; unless we could stretch out such another heaven, and form and establish such another earth, unless we could span the heavens with our hands, and measure the dust of the earth, and gather the winds in our fists, and set bounds and limits to the sea as we please, “You are not my match (saith God) unless you can do such and such things. And if you are not my match, why will you strive with me? why will you contend with me? why should your wisdom vie with mine, and your will with mine, and your interest with mine?” And again,

8. Why do we so little covet him for our portion, who is plainly proved by the things that are made to comprehend, in himself virtually, all the perfections of this world, and formally, infinitely more? For there must be infinitely more in himself than is laid out on creation. Do you think he did exhaust himself in making such a world as this? The world when all is done is but a finite thing, all that is made is but finite, but that which is unmade is still infinite. He that comprehends in himself all excellency, all goodness, all perfection, created and uncreated, must certainly be a sufficient portion for us. The absolutely perfect Being, or (which is all one in Scripture) God all-sufficient, must be a competent satisfying portion (one would think) for any one. Why then do we not covet him more for our portion? why is this not more the sense of our souls, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and who is there on earth that can come in comparison with thee?” “When heaven and earth are all made things and made by thee, there must be in thee infinitely more than in both.” But when we take up with so mean and little things in our thoughts, inasmuch as we know it belongs to the Deity to be the portion and blessedness of a soul) let us hereupon think with ourselves, what an affront we put upon the infinite eternal Godhead, to think it possible for any creature to fill up his room. It is a most insolent affront to the infinite eternal God, to think that any creature can be to you instead of God: an affront that you can never expiate with your blood. This is to undeify him. Him, whom in all your thoughts you should deify, you nullify, for make him any thing less than God and you make him nothing. And,

9. Why do we no more fear him as an enemy, when he hath demonstrated his eternal power and Godhead by the things that are made? and all the invisible things that belong to his 436 nature besides, are all demonstrated by the things that are made? Why do we not more fear to have such a one for our enemy? “Fear ye not me (saith the Lord) who hath bounded the sea that it cannot pass: and though the waves there of toss themselves they cannot go over,” (giving that one instance when he could have given thousands as great in that; Jeremiah) “what stupid creatures are you that you will not fear me, when ye have such an instance as this and thousands more always in view before you, of my invisible eternal Godhead, that hath in time displayed and shewed itself forth? And,

10. Lastly: Why are we so prone to fear men, the creatures of God, while we so little fear and stand in awe of him? It is still a wrong to our Maker, a wrong done to God, considered under the notion of Creator. Look to that Isaiah li. 12. “Who art thou, that art afraid of a man that shall die, and the son of man that shall be as grass? and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, who stretched forth the heavens?” inasmuch as he is the Maker and Lord of all. This shews that it is an insolency against him and the rights of his Godhead, to place your supreme fear on any thing besides him. Therefore the form of speech there is very remarkable, “Who art thou, that art afraid of a man?” The form of speech is reprehensive and expostulatory, “Who art thou?” When people find themselves seized with any immoderate fears, they are wont to pity themselves, and to look upon it as an infelicity: but they forget it is a crime; and those words represent it as a crime, “who art thou that art afraid—who art thou?” what doth that signify? Why it signifies thus much, Thou takest too much upon thee, while thou thinkest thou art only to be pitied, thou dost little consider how faulty thou art, thou dost transpose the government, thou deposest the Lord thy Maker, and settest up a mortal thing upon his throne. Who art thou that takest upon thee at this rate, to undeify God and deify the creature, a mortal worm? Who art thou that turnest all things upside down, to depress the Maker and to exalt a little piece of animated clay into his place? This is very deeply to be considered, that to have our spirits more liable to be awed by a man, a mortal thing, than by the eternal immortal God. is a doing violence and a wrong to, and encroaching upon, the rights of the eternal Godhead. Well now, about such things as these we should expostulate with ourselves.

III. I shall shut up all with some particulars of most apparent duty, to which we need to be exhorted in reference to what hath been hitherto said. As,

437

1. Since “the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead,” are so clearly demonstrable by the things that are made, let us learn more to contemplate these invisible things of God, in the visible things that we have before our eyes: and know that it is an argument of very great spirituality so to do. Let the examples we have in Scripture engage our minds more this way. To look over such psalms as psalm the 8th. the 104th. and the 148th. all full of admiration of the works of God: and a great many more, with multitudes of passages of Scripture besides in other places; shewing how much the spirits of the saints of old have been exercised and taken up in admiring God upon those conspicuous appearances, that have been of his glory in the creation. I doubt there is altogether a fault among us that we so little apply our minds this way. But know it is our duty to be exercised in it, to take times on purpose to contemplate God in the creature, to behold and view the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead, in the things that are made. And,

2. Hereupon joyfully acknowledge this God for your God; considering the case of the blinded besotted pagans, who worship stocks and stones for deities, or the sun, moon, and stars; who pray to a god that cannot save: the generality of the more besotted of them; though it be true indeed, among pagans there have been those that have been much wiser and of more refined minds. But since it hath pleased God more expressly to manifest himself to you, joyfully acknowledge it, as his people of old have been wont to do. “Their gods are idols, the works of men’s hands; but our God made the heavens.” And as it is in that Jer. x. 11. “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” When there are such multitudes of fictitious deities under a doom to perish, all the idols of this world, and this world itself, that great idol, that is most set up and exalted against God; Oh! do you joyfully acknowledge this God for your God, that you are sure is the only living and true God. Our God that made the heavens; own your relation to him, walk in his name, as “all people will do, every one in the name of his God.”

3. Resign and devote yourselves absolutely to him, for you are made things, and he is your Maker. And can one have a greater right in any thing than that which he hath made, and made out of nothing? not given it an external accidental form only, but given it its whole being. And so is the matter between him and you. Wherefore it is to God you must give 438yourselves: give him your whole being, body and soul and all that you have: for it is all but made, and it is the right and property of him that made you.

4. Trust in him with all your hearts, commit yourselves entirely and cheerfully to him. Who would scruple to do so to so kind and benign a Maker? for was it not in his choice and power once, whether he would have made you or not? was it not determinate by him? by his pleasure, whether you should be or not be? If you have devoted yourselves to him, so as to be his by choice and consent, as well as by natural right, know then that you have all the encouragement in the world to in trust and commit yourselves to him as to a faithful Creator; as the expression is 1 Pet. iv. 19. This is a thing not enough understood, the obligation that lies upon us to own God more frequently and solemnly, under the notion of our Creator, We think the notion wherein we should own him, more to be that of a Father, and as in Christ he hath been a Redeemer to us: but these things are not to exclude one another by any means. It is very true indeed, that all the interest we had in him as Creator, was lost and forfeited by the apostacy: but that matter being, by the Redeemer, made up between him and all those that, in the Redeemer, accept him and take him for their God, we are not now to think his Creatorship is to be absorbed and swallowed up in any other supervening notion, by any means. We are now, by redeeming grace and mercy, brought to that state and pass, that we may own him comfortably as a Creator again. So that whereas, we had lost all right and interest in him, as such, by our apostacy: a restitution being made, now we are to commit ourselves to him, as a faithful Creator. Faithfulness hath reference to a promise, and a covenant. We are to commit ourselves now to him as a Creator, under obligation. There was a covenant made at first, between himself and his innocent creature; that covenant was broken by the apostacy; so that he could be challenged upon faithfulness no longer. But now, that matter being composed and made up by the Redeemer, by a Mediator, there is a new covenant made, and now faithfulness hath place in reference to him as a Creator, and we are to own him as such, and trust in him, and commit ourselves to him as such. And,

5. You should hereupon, cease from solicitude about the issue of things in reference to yourselves, or in reference to the whole community that you profess to be of, even that people that he hath in this world. Solicitude should cease about private and more public concerns; you should reckon that yourselves and all things, are in the best hands in which they could 439lie, or into which they could be put. In reference to things devoted yourselves, intrusted yourselves to him upon invitation; not presumptuously, but as being warranted and encouraged by himself. Then it is a wrong to him to be anxious what he will that relate to yourselves, you have committed yourselves to him, do with you. What! will he not shew mercy to the soul he hath made? Indeed, his having made it, if there be no expiation of sin, would have availed nothing; for there is a case when “he that made them would not have mercy on them, and he that formed. them will shew them no favour:” Isaiah xxvii. 11. That is, when they are in rebellion against him and will not be reconciled to him; but when a reconciliation is brought about, and you have surrendered to him the soul that he hath made, it is a great iniquity and wrong to him to suppose, that he will not now deal with you as a faithful Creator. Therefore, though now you know your soul is lodged in flesh, and within a little while this mortal frame must drop in pieces and fall into the dust, yet never be solicitous what he will do with your soul, or what will become of it after all: you do betrust, you have committed it to him, who is the most absolutely perfect God, and the most absolutely perfect Being. All things that he hath made demonstrate him to be so: and who would be afraid to let his soul rest in the midst of infinite, immense goodness? “His soul shall dwell at ease:” (as it is said of one that fears God) but very faintly, and beneath the significancy of that expression it is rendered, Psalm xxv. 13. “His soul shall dwell in goodness (that is the expression) who feareth God,” shall take up its rest, sweet and pleasant rest as men are wont to do at night. Who would be solicitous when he is to commit and put his soul into the midst of immense and boundless goodness, as his must be who is the Author of all made things? for they all spring from goodness, goodness that would diffuse itself and flow arbitrarily and freely in such a creation as this. And,

6. Live more adoring lives. Let us labour to habituate ourselves, our spirits more to adoration, seeing the invisible things of God, his eternal power and Godhead are continually seen in things that are made. Let that sentence be engraven as a motto upon each of our hearts and inwrought into our souls: “Come let us worship and bow down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Let every thing that serves to put us in mind of him, prompt us immediately to worship, and bow down the head before him, upon such apprehensions of God, such demonstrations of his love, of his power, and goodness and 440 greatness as offer themselves to our view. Let us presently bow and worship, take notice and adore.

7. Let us subject ourselves most absolutely to his government, both legal and providential. Doth it not belong to him to give laws to his creatures that are capable of government by law, that have been entirely and wholly made by him? Should not he give laws, even to our minds and to our spirits, and lay them under the obligation of his laws? This is sure the most reasonable thing in the world. Why should he not prescribe to my mind, who is himself an unmade mind, while mine is but a made mind? Why should not he prescribe to me how my spirit should work this way or that, while he is an eternal Spirit and Mind. My spirit that sprung from him, why should not he direct it, even by a law, how to think, how to dispose of my thoughts this way and that, when he hath given me a power to think? Why should I not use my apprehensive power and knowledge for him from whom I received it? He that knows my mould and frame, and hath given me that intelligent spirit that I have, shall I not keep it in perpetual subjection to him, receive laws from his mouth, never think my self at liberty, and in an indifferency to use my thoughts as I will, and let out my affections as I will; but all under his law? And then, as to his providential government, shall not he do what he will with his creatures, with the thing that he hath made? How reasonable is it, how just towards him and how good for itself to be subject to him? Then I am quiet if I can live under his government, to be disposed of by him as he pleaseth: otherwise there is a continual war between him and me: and so a continual war between me and myself; affection against conscience, passion against judgment: for there will al ways be something in me as long as I live, as long as I have a reasonable intelligent being, that will take the part of God against unreasonable rebellious passions, and I shall be a self-judged creature before him in his sight. And,

8. Lastly: Let us always propound him to ourselves as the Object of our religion: and take pleasure in the thought of this, that we have found out an object of religion, which we have revealed to us, that he hath himself, revealed to us himself as the great and only Object of religion: the one indisputable One, so as no controversy remains now concerning it. And whereas, it is the business of all religion, to pay all duty to God and expect and seek all relief and felicity from him, let us demean ourselves towards him accordingly. And consider with ourselves, that in making his mind known to us, giving 441us to know himself, he hath given us to know ourselves also, so as to understand that being creatures, made things, we are made for another. That which cannot he by itself, must not be for itself: what more reasonable thing in all the world? Therefore, our business must be with him as the final, ultimate, animative Object of our religion; and that designing duty to him and felicity to ourselves, we have to do with him as the Object of religion under that twofold notion, as one that we are to glorify, and as one whom we are to enjoy for ever. And this now shews us much of ourselves. That is, shewing us what our nature and state are, it shews us what our end of business must be, and that is a very great thing. And this is, we must understand, what we were made for. And this being the first head of Christian religion, (indeed of all religion) it resolves the first question that every one is concerned to make to himself: What was I made for? What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy him: to pay all duty to him and to expect all felicity and blessedness from him; and to seek it. It is thus only that you can come to know what you are here in this world for: and it were a lamentable case, to know the several powers and faculties that belong to our natures, and not to know what all these are for. To know I am such a creature, of such a mould and frame, and not to know what these are made for! This would be a very sad consideration to a serious and considering mind, if it were not to be collected and found out what they were made for. As if one that never saw a watch in his life before he finds it by casualty and chance, and sees a great deal of curiosity in the workmanship, yet cannot imagine what it is intended for, what it was made for; it stands still and he knows not how to set it going, or if he did, he doth not understand the use of it. Here is the case with an intelligent creature, a man if he should contemplate himself, and not contemplate his Maker, his end. Here I have a strange kind of being, I have a body and I have a soul inhabiting that body; but I do not know why such a creature as I came to have a place in the world, why I have such a being, what I am to do, and what I was made for. But now by this you come to know what it is you were made for. If you know you have a Maker, you must know you were made for him, to glorify him and to enjoy him for ever: and it is a great thing to have made this step; when we have taken notice of our own faculties and powers, and what our structure and frame are. Now to know whose we are, what satisfaction is it to the mind 442 of man! to know this, that I am made to glorify and enjoy him that made me. But when you come to be at a loss, (as all in the fallen state are) “what course shall I take to glorify and enjoy God?” Why, we that are here wandering in such a wilderness as we are in, and so benighted, so bemisted as we are: if we have no instruction, no guidance, no rule, we are at a sad loss. Therefore it is the greatest joy in the world to a considering mind to have it plainly evidenced to him, that there is a discovery come forth from God, suitable to the forlorn state of the creature, a word from heaven, a written word that he himself hath delivered down to us, to teach us how we are to glorify him, and how we are to enjoy him which will be the next thing we shall come unto.

443
« Prev Lecture VI. Preached December 26, 1690. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |