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SERMON LXXXI.

Thine hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.—Ver. 73.

IN these words we have two things:—

1. The man of God’s argument, thy hands have made me and fashioned me.

2. His request, give me understanding to keep thy commandments.

1. For his argument. He pleadeth as God’s creature. Man is God’s immediate workmanship, both as to his body and his soul. Some apply the words, ‘Thy hands have made me,’ to the creation of the soul; and the other words, ‘and fashioned me,’ to the creation of the body; but we need not be so accurate. Both imply that he was wholly the work of God’s hand, a mere creature of his framing, and a creature exactly made; so made that he was also fashioned, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made,’ Ps. cxxxix. 14. The structure of man’s body darts a reverence and awe of God into the consciences of beholders; and he saith in the 15th verse, ‘I was curiously wrought:’ the Vulgar reads it acupictus—painted as with a needle. Man’s body is a curious piece of embroidery, that is to be seen in the bones, veins, and arteries, that 271spread and run throughout the body; which consideration increaseth the argument, not only as he was God’s work, but framed with a great deal of artifice.

2. Here is his request, ‘Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.’ In which he beggeth grace, that the faculty might be well disposed, ‘Give me understanding;’ and rightly exercised, ‘That I may learn thy commandments:’ that he might both know and keep his commandments. Surely he meaneth a saving knowledge: and therefore, when the work of grace is expressed by knowledge, a theoretical and notional knowledge is not understood, but that which is practical and operative; such a knowledge as doth work such a change both in the inward and outward man, as that mind, heart, and practice do express a conformity to God’s law. As Jer. xxiv. 7, ‘I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return to me with their whole heart:’ that is, all the blessings of the covenant he expresseth by giving them a heart to know him: they shall so know me as to acknowledge me for their God, and carry themselves accordingly in dutiful obedience to me. I will regard them as their God, and they shall regard me as my people. So when it is said, Col. iii. 10, that ‘the new man’ is ‘renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him,’ it is meant of a saving knowledge or acknowledgment of God, such as doth produce a perfect conformity to his law in both the tables; it is such a knowledge as is set out in righteousness; these are parallel expressions, Eph. iv. 24 Well, then, this new nature David prayeth for, ‘Give me understanding;’ not as though he were altogether a stranger to it, but as seeking further 1 degrees of it; such a spiritual understanding of the will of God as might bring him into a more perfect and entire submission there unto: ‘I am thy creature:’ let me be thy new creature; give me a faculty so clearly renewed that I may know and keep thy commandments.

Doct. That as we are creatures, we are some way encouraged to ask of God the grace of the new creature.

I shall draw forth the sense of the text and the doctrine in these propositions.

1. That man was made by God, or is God’s immediate workman ship. We have the first notice of it, Gen. i. 26, ‘Let us make man after our own image and likeness.’ God put more respect upon him than upon the rest of the work of his hands. His creation is expressed in other terms than were used before: ‘He said, Let there be light, and it was light;’ ‘Let there be dry land,’ &c. But here God speaketh as if he had called a consultation about it, ‘Let us make man:’ not as if there were more difficulty, or as if creating power were at a nonplus, but to show what special notice he taketh of us, and to point out the excellency which he did stamp upon man in his creation beyond the rest of the creatures. There was no creature but had some impress of God upon it, for everything which hath passed his hand carrieth God’s signature and mark; it showeth that it came from a being of infinite power and wisdom and goodness. But man hath his image and likeness stamped upon him: there you may discern God’s 272track and footprint, but here his very face. In his first moulding of him he would plainly and visibly discover himself. So again, when this making of man is explained, Gen. ii. 7, ‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.’ Before we read that man was created, here we see in what sort: his body was framed with great art, though of base materials; a handful of dust did God enliven and form into a beautiful frame. But for the frame within, he had a more excellent and perfect soul than God gave to any other creature; by the union of both these, man became a living soul. Heaven and earth were married in his person; the dust of the earth and an immortal spirit, which is called the breath of God, were sweetly linked and joined together, with a disposition and inclination to one another, the soul to the body, and the body to the soul. When he had raised the walls of the flesh, and built the house of the body with all its rooms, then he puts in a noble and divine guest to dwell in it, and both make up one man.

2. The making of man now is the work of God, as well as the making of the first man was. God’s hands did not only make and fashion Adam, but David. He saith, ‘Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.’ The body of man is of God’s framing: Ps. cxxxix. 15, 16, ‘My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth: thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.’ Our bodies, you see there, though the matter were propagated by our parents, yet his hands made them and fashioned them. God is more our father than our natural parents are. Our parents know not whether the child will be male or female, beautiful or deformed cannot tell the number of the bones, muscles, veins, arteries: this God appointeth and frameth with curious artifice; so that of all visible creatures, there is none in any sort equalleth man in the curious composition of the body, whether we look upon the beauty and majesty of his person, or take notice of the variety, nature, and use of his several parts, with their composition and framing them together, with a wonderful order and correspondence one to another, as if they had been described by a model and platform set down in a book: so secretly and curiously was the matter framed in passing through all the changes in the womb till it came to a perfect formation. Then for the soul, God infuseth that: Eccles. xii. 7, ‘Then shall our dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit to God that gave it.’ God gave the body too, but especially the spirit, because there he worketh singly and immediately; therefore he is called ‘the Father of spirits.’ They do not run in the channel of carnal generation or fleshly descent, Heb. xii. 9. So Zedekiah swore by ‘the God that made his soul,’ Jer. xxxviii. 16. So Zech. xii. 1, ‘He formed the spirit of man within him.’ The parent doth instrumentally produce man in respect of his body, yet the soul is from God, and immediately created and infused into the body by him, and being put into that dead lump of clay, doth animate and quicken it for the most excellent employment.

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3. Man, that was created by God, was created to serve him: ‘He formed us from the womb to be his servants,’ as well as the first man, Isa. xlix. 5. Adam indeed was appointed for this use; all other creatures were made to serve God, but man especially by the design of his creation: other things ultimately and terminatively, but man immediately and nextly. God made all things for himself, Prov. xvi. 4; and Rom. xi. 36, ‘For of him and through him are all things; to whom be glory for ever, amen.’ Man is the mouth of the creation. Surely it is but reason that God should have the use of all that he gave us; that the author of life and being should have some glory by them; that he should dwell in the house he hath set up: he that made it hath most right to use it; that we should ‘glorify him with our bodies and souls, which are his,’ 1 Cor. vi. 20. Man is designed, engaged by greater mercies, furnished with great abilities, as at first endowed with God’s image; he hath faculties and capacities to know and glorify his creator. There are natural instincts given to other things, or inclinations to those things which are convenient to their own nature; but none of them are in a capacity to know what they are, and have, and where they are: they cannot frame a notion of him who gave them a being. Man is the mouth of the creation to speak for them: Ps. cxlv. 10, ‘All thy works praise thee, O Lord, and thy saints bless thee.’ He was made to love, and serve, and glorify God. The divine image inclined him to obedience at first.

4. We are not now what God made us at first, but are strangely disabled to serve him and please him: Eccles. vii. 29, ‘God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions:’ there is man’s original and his degeneration; what he was once made, and how far now unmade and departed from his primitive estate; his perfection by creation, and defection by sin: first made in a state of righteousness without sin, and now in a state of sin and misery without grace; was created with a holy disposition to enable and incline him to love, please, and obey God, but now hath found out many inventions, put to his shifts. Man was not contented to be at God’s finding, but would take his own course, and hath miserably shifted ever since to patch up a sorry happiness. So Rom. iii. 23, ‘All have sinned, and are come short of the glory of God.’ By glory of God is not meant his glorious reward, but his glorious image. Image is called glory, 1 Cor. xi. 7, ‘It is said of the man, that ‘he is the image and glory of God, as the woman is the glory of the man.’ So compare 2 Cor. iii. 18, ‘We beholding the glory of the Lord in a glass, &c. So here, we are ‘come short of the glory of God,’ that is, his glorious image. Hence it is that all our faculties are perverted, the mind is become blind and vain, the will stubborn and perverse, conscience stupid, the affections pre-occupied and entangled, and we find a manifest disproportion in all our faculties to things carnal and spiritual, sinful and holy. In the understanding there is a sharpness of apprehension in carnal things, but dull, slow, and blind in spiritual and heavenly things. Thoughts are spent freely and unweariedly about the one, but there is a tediousness and barrenness about the other; a will backward to what is good, but a strange bent and urging to what is evil. In that which is good we need a spur, in evil a bridle. These things persevere with 274us; but how fickle and changeable in any holy resolution!—the memory slippery in what is good, but firm and strong in what is evil; the affections quick, easily stirred, like tinder, catch fire at every spark; but as to that which is good, they are like fire in green wood, hardly kept in with much blowing. Again, our delight is soon moved by things pleasing to sense; a carnal gust and savour is very natural to us, and rife with us, Rom. viii. 5, but averse from the chiefest good, and everything that leadeth to it. Surely, then, we have need to go to God and complain of corruption, sometimes under the notion of a blind and dark mind, begging the illumination of the Spirit; some times under the notion of a dead, hard heart, or an unpersuadable will, begging his inclining as well as enlightening grace. Surely they are strangely hardened that do not see a need of a spiritual understanding. Nay, God’s children, after grace received, though sanctified betimes, yet halt of the old maim, dull in spirituals, alive and active in carnal matters. Carnal and worldly men act more uniformly and suitably to their principles than the children of God to theirs: Luke xvi. 8, ‘The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light:’ that is, more dexterous in the course of affairs. Grace for the present worketh but a partial cure: we have the advantage in matter of motive, we have better and higher things to mind; but they have the advantage in matter of principle; their principles are unbroken, but the principles of the best are mixed. We cannot do what we would in heavenly things; there is the back-bias of corruption that turns us away; and therefore they need to be instant with God to heal their souls; sometimes a blind mind, and sometimes a distempered heart.

5. We must be new made and born again before we can be apt or able to know or do the will of God; as Christ inferreth the necessity of regeneration from the corruption of nature—he had been discoursing with Nicodemus—‘You cannot enter into the kingdom of God; for that which is born of the flesh is flesh,’ John iii. 5, 6. Our souls naturally accommodate themselves to the flesh, and seek the good of the flesh, and all our thoughts and care, and life, and love run that way. Now, what was lost in Adam can only be recovered in Christ. It is not enough that God’s hands have once made us and fashioned us, but there is a necessity of being made and fashioned anew, of becoming ‘his workmanship in Christ Jesus,’ Eph. ii. 10; and so the words of the text may be interpreted in this sense: Thou hast made me once; Lord, new make me: thy hands made me; O Lord, give me a new heart, that I may obey thee. In the first birth God gave us a natural understanding; in the second, a spiritual understanding, that we may learn his commandments; first that we may be good, and then do good. The first birth gave us the natural faculty, the second, the grace, or those divine qualities which were lost by Adam’s sin. Better never been born, unless born again; better be a beast than a man, if the Lord give us not the knowledge of himself in Christ. The beasts, when they die, their misery and happiness dieth with them, death puts an end to their pain and pleasure; but, we that have reason and conscience to foresee the end and know the way, enter into perfect happiness or misery at death. Unless the Lord sanctify this reason, and give us 275a heart to know him in Christ, and choose that which is good, man is but a higher kind of beast, a wiser sort of beast, Ps. xlix. 12; for his soul is only employed to cater for the body, and his reason is prostituted to sense; the beast rides the man. We are not distinguished from the brutes by our senses, but our understanding and our reason. But in a carnal man, the soul is a kind of sense; it is wholly employed about the animal life. There is not a more brutish creature in the world than a worldly wicked man. Well, then, David had need to pray, Lord, thou hast given me reason; give me the knowledge of thyself and thy blessed will.

6. When we seek this grace, or any degree of it, it is a proper argument to urge that we are God’s creatures. So doth David here. I am now come to my very business, and therefore I shall a little show how far creation is pleadable, and may any way encourage us to ask spiritual understanding and renewing grace.

[1.] In the general, I shall lay down this: It is a good way of reasoning with God to ask another gift because we have received one already. It is not a good way of reasoning with man, because he wastes by giving; but a good way with God, and that upon a double account. Partly because in some cases Deus donando debet—God by giving doth in effect bind himself to give more; as by giving life, to give food; by giving a body, to give raiment, Mat. vi. 25. God, by bending such a creature into the world, chargeth his providence to maintain him, as long as he will use him for his glory. God loveth to crown his own gifts: Zech. iii. 2, ‘Is not this a brand plucked out of the burnings?’ The thing pleaded there is, was not this a brand plucked out of the fire? One mercy is pleaded to obtain another mercy. So God bindeth himself to give perseverance, 2 Cor. i. 10; but this is not the case here; for by giving common benefits he doth not bind himself to give saving graces. And partly, too, because he doth not waste by giving: ‘His mercy endureth for ever.” The same reason is given for all those mercies, Ps. cxxxvi.; why the Lord chose a church, maintaineth his church, giveth daily bread: ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’ God is where he was at first: ‘He giveth liberally, and upbraideth not,’ James i. 5. He doth not say, I have given already. Now, a former common mercy showeth God’s readiness and freeness to give; the inclination to do good still abideth with him; he is as ready and as free to give still; daily bread: ‘His mercy endureth for ever:’ spiritual wisdom: ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’ Indeed, the giving of daily bread doth not necessarily bind God to give spiritual wisdom; but that which is not a sure ground to expect may be a probable encouragement to ask. And learn this, that though nothing can satisfy unbelief, yet faith can pick arguments out of anything, and make use of the most common benefits of creation to strengthen itself.

[2.] God beareth much affection to man as he is his creature and the work of his hands; and the saints plead it when they would be spared and when they would be saved. As Job, chap. x. 3, ‘Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands?’ So ver. 8 of that chapter, ‘Thy hands have made me and fashioned me, and yet thou dost destroy ma’ The 276sum and effect of these pleas is, it is strange that God should despise his own workmanship, especially a piece of such excellency as man is. Surely God is the readier to do good to man because he is the work of his hands. We see artificers, when they have made an excellent work, they are very chary and tender of it, and will not destroy it and break it in pieces. An instinct of nature teacheth us to love that which is our own by natural production; so it is an argument moving the Lord to much compassion to tell him that we are his workman ship: Isa. lxiv. 8, 9, ‘But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, thou art our potter; we are all the work of thine hands: be not wroth with us very sore, O Lord.’ This raiseth in us some hope of speeding and prevailing with God. The words of the text are emphatical, made and fashioned. God hath bestowed much care upon us to make and fashion us, and therefore he will pity us and spare us: Job xiv. 15, ‘Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.’ All these places show there is an argument in it that may raise our faith when other arguments fail.

[3.] Creation implieth some hope, because God forsaketh none but those who forsake him first. He might destroy us for our original sin, as we destroy serpents of a venomous nature before they have actually done any harm. Though man hath lost his goodness, God hath not. Every one of us in person doth actually break with God before he breaketh with us: 2 Chron. xv. 2, ‘If ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, David telleth Solomon, ‘If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever:’ he will not acknowledge thee. Take this rightly: that God giveth grace to any is his goodness; that to one more than another, is his distinguishing and elective love; that he denieth grace to any, is along of themselves, chargeable upon the creature, who abuse that common grace which, if improved, might have made them better; yea, though all deserve to be denied the grace of the Redeemer, yet it is not denied till after many wilful refusals, and by gross impenitency we turn the back upon God, when we will not implore our Creator’s bounty, but obstinately refuse it.

[4.] Seeing God is our creator, and the end of our creation is to serve God, we may the more confidently ask the grace which is necessary to enable us to serve him, that the same creating mercy which layeth on the obligation may help to discharge the debt. God is no Pharaoh, to require brick and give no straw, to appoint work and not to provide grace. Though he hath not absolutely promised to every individual person converting grace, yet he hath appointed certain means for the ungodly which they are bound to use in order to conversion; and if we consider the goodness of God, and the nature of those means, it is a great encouragement. Surely the assistances of grace are always ready: Mat. xxii. 5, ‘Come to the feast, all things are ready.’ None can tax him of backwardness. So our Saviour taxes the Jews: Mat. xxiii. 37, ‘I would have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing, but ye would not.’ When did God ever fail the waiting soul, or put away the creature that sought after grace to serve him? He is often beforehand with us, never behindhand; and we grossly and heinously forfeit all our means and helps before we lose them.

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[5.] There is encouragement to faith a pari, from the resemblance and likeness that is between his making us at first and his new-making of us in Jesus Christ. It is called a creation, Eph. ii. 10; Eph. iv. 24, ‘The new man, which after God is created,’ &c.; 2 Cor. iv. 6, ‘God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts.’ The author is the same God to whom it belongeth to create. We have the human nature from him, and can have it from no other, much less can we have the divine nature from any other but him, Ps. li. 5, or else we should not have it at all. It is not implanted in our nature, or attainable by any industry of ours: ‘It is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth,’ Rom. ix. 16, but the immediate work of God; it is the work of his omnipotency. So dead and indisposed are we by nature to holiness and grace, that no less than creating power is required to work it in us. Besides, we were created freely, without any merit of ours; so we expect from the same goodness such saving knowledge as may change our hearts. There is this double encouragement—there is God’s omnipotent power, and his free giving us his image at first, Rom. iv. 17.

[6.] If we consider the manner of pleading, and the good frame of heart implied in the pleader, we may better understand the cogency of the argument; and though the argument itself doth not necessarily infer the help of grace, yet the manner of pleading showeth some preparative work of grace, and such meet the Lord in the stated order of commerce between him and his creatures, and shall receive his blessing. And then the argument will be strong in this petition, ‘Give understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.’ Here are many things implied, such as are wrought by God in those to whom God will vouchsafe the grace.

(1.) An acknowledgment of the debt, that man, being God’s creature, is obliged to serve him; as he was not made by himself, so not for himself; and should no more cease from intending God as an end, than he can cease from depending on God as a principle. Now, it is long ere we are brought to this. You know how the rebels are described and set out, Ps. xii. 4, ‘Our tongues are our own; who is lord over us?’ Now God hath gained one great end with us when we are sensible of our obligation to him, and are brought to acknowledge the debt, and that love, duty, and service we owe to him. Wherefore doth God press duty upon carnal men, who are no way competent or able to perform it? Divines tell us, to demand his right, as a creditor doth of a prodigal debtor, and to make us sensible that we stand bound to God in the debt of obedience.

(2.) Here is a will to pay, or a heart set upon service and obedience; for this is a speech becoming one heartily devoted to God, ‘Thy hands have made me,’ &c. He would willingly return to his creator’s service, and glorify him with what was made by him: I acknowledge that I am obliged, as I am the work of thine hands, to live in a faithful obedience to thee; Lord, I give up myself to this work. Mark, this is a good spirit; he doth not beg his own comfort, but ability for ser vice, that he might so know his master’s will as to do it. Now this is repentance towards God, when we are heartily willing to return to our duty more than to our comfort, Acts ii. 21; there is more hope of that 278soul that rather seeketh obedience than comfort, and where there is a resolved will and purpose to devote ourselves to the Lord, to please him, and serve him. This was God’s end in his new covenant grace, and Christ’s end in redemption, to restore us to obedience as well as to favour, and put us into a capacity of service again: Heb. ix. 14, ‘Purge our consciences from dead works to serve the living God;’ 1 Peter ii. 24, ‘Who his own self bare our sins in his body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness.’ He died to weaken the love of sin in our hearts, and to advance the life and power of grace and righteousness.

(3.) There is implied in it a confession of impotency, that God cannot be glorified and served by him unless he be renewed and strengthened by grace; not by him as a creature till he be made a new creature, or have renewed influences of grace from him. God permitted the lapse and fall of mankind, that they may come to him as needy creatures, and take all out of his hands. Man’s great error, which occasioned his fall, was that he would live alone apart from God, be sufficient to his own happiness. We greedily caught at that word, ‘Ye shall be as gods,’ Gen. iii. 5. The meaning was, not in a blessed conformity, but a cursed self-sufficiency. Man would be his own god, desired to have his stock in his own hands, and would be no more at God’s finding: Gen. iii. 22, ‘The man is become as one of us,’ to live as an independent being. Well, then, to cure this, God would reduce him to an utter necessity, that he might bring him to an entire dependence, and might come as a beggarly indigent creature, expecting all from God, putting no confidence in his own righteousness for his justification, nor natural power and strength for sanctification: Gal. ii. 19, ‘I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.’ The rigorous exaction of perfect obedience under the hazard of the curse of the law maketh them dead to the law; the curse of the law puts them so hard to it, that they are forced to fly to Christ to be freed from condemnation; and the spiritual nature of the law, as it is a rule of obedience, driveth them to see there is nothing in themselves tending to righteousness, and holiness, to the glory of God, without the power of his Spirit: they that ‘serve in the newness of the spirit,’ Rom. vii. 6. God bringeth us at last to this: Mat. xix. 26, ‘With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Well, then, when we are brought to see our impotency, we are at a good pass, and lie obvious to his grace.

(4.) It implies an earnest desire after grace; and that is a good frame of heart, when not satisfied with common benefits. David was not satisfied with his natural being, but seeketh after a spiritual being. What is that he prayeth so earnestly for, but an enlightened mind and a renewed heart, and all that he might be obedient to God? Thus we are more fitted to receive grace. A conscience of our duty is a great matter in fallen man, who is turned rebel against God and a traitor to his maker, who is impatient and self-willed, and all for casting off the yoke, Ps. ii. 3. Well, to have a heart set upon duty and obedience, that is the next step; the third was a sense of impotency; now this fourth a desire of grace: such the Lord hath promised to satisfy, Mat. v. 6. These open unto God, and are ready to take in his grace. Come 279as creatures earnestly desiring to do your creator’s will, and in the best manner, and will God refuse you? Because I am thy creature, teach me to serve thee, who art my creator.

(5.) There is one thing more in this plea, a persuasion of God’s goodness to his creatures. This is the very ground and reason why this plea is used: Pa cxlv. 9, ‘The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.’ There is a great deal of fatherly care and mercy to his creatures, till by their impenitency, persisted in against the means of grace, they render themselves incapable of it The first battery which Satan laid to man’s heart tended to undermine the sense of God’s goodness to the creature, as if God were envious: Gen. iii. 5, ‘Doth not God know that in the day ye eat thereof;’ as if God envied their happiness: this the devil would instil. To have good thoughts of God is a great means to reduce us and bring us back again to him. We frighten ourselves away from him by entertaining needless jealousies of him, as if he sought our destruction, or delighted in it Surely he will not destroy a poor soul that lieth submissively at his feet, and is grieved he can no better please him and serve him. The man that had hard thoughts of God neglected his duty: Mat. xxv. 24, 25, ‘I knew thou wast an austere master, therefore I hid my talent in a napkin;’ that is the legalism and carnal bondage that is in us, which makes us full of jealousies of God, and doth mightily hinder and obstruct our duty.

Use. The use is to press you to come to God as creatures, to beg relief and help for your souls: this will be of use to us in many cases.

1. To the scrupulous, who are upon regenerating, that are not sure that the work of grace is wrought in them. You cannot call God Father by the spirit of adoption; yet own him as a creator. Come to him as one that formed you: your desire is to return to him.

2. It is of use to believers when under desertions, and God appeareth against them in a way of wrath, and all God’s dispensations seem to speak nothing but wrath: yet come to him as the creator. Lord, ‘we are the work of thy hands.’ If you cannot plead the covenant of Abraham, which was made with believers, plead the covenant of Noah, which was made with man and all creatures: Isa. liv. 9, ‘For this is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee;’ there may be a great storm, but no deluge. When all is wrath to a poor soul, let it come to him in the covenant of Noah.

3. It will be of use in pleading for grace for your children, who are as yet, it may be, graceless and disobedient: ‘Thy hands have made and fashioned them.’ Desire him to renew his image upon them by the spirit of grace.

In short, the sum of all is, here is encouragement: God is good to all his creatures, especially to man, most especially to man seeking after him, and seeking after him for grace, that we and ours may obey him, and do him better service than ever yet we have done.

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