Page images

streams seem to run for a while different and contrary ways: And if we view things at a distancet there seem to be innumerable obstacles and impediments in the way to hinder their ever uniting and coming to the ocean, as rocks and mountains and the like ; but yet if we trace them, they all unite at last, and all come to the same issue, disgorging themselves in one into the same great ocean.

Not one of all the streams fail of coming hither at last.

V. From the whole that has been said, we may strongly argue, that the scriptures are the word of God, because they alone inform us what God is about, or what he aims at in these works which he is doing in the world. God doubtless is pursuing some design, and carrying on some scheme, in the various changes and revolutions which from age to age come to pass in the world. It is most reasonable to suppose, that there is some certain great design to which Providence sub

ordinates all the great successive changes in the affairs of - the world which God has made. It is reasonable to suppose

that all revolutions from the beginning of the world to the end of it, are but the various parts of the same scheme, all conspiring to bring to pass that great event which the great Creator and Governor of the world has ultimately in view ; and that the scheme will not be finished, nor the design fully accomplished, and the great and ultimate event fully brought to

pass till the end of the world, and the last revolution is brought about.

Now there is nothing else that informs us what this scheme and design of God in his works is, but only the holy scriptures. Nothing else pretends to set in view the whole series of God's works of providence from beginning to end, and to inform us how all things were from God at first, and for what end they are, and how they were ordered from the beginning, and how they will proceed to the end of the world, and what they will come to at last, and how then all things shall be to God. Nothing else but the scriptures has any pretence for showing any manner of regular scheme or drift in those rev. olutions which God orders from age to age. Nothing else pretends to show what God would by the things which he has done, and is doing, and will do ; what he seeks and intends by them. Nothing else pretends to show, with any distinctness or certainty, how the world began at first, or to tell us the original of things. Nothing but the scriptures sets forth hoy God governed the world from the beginning of the generations of men upon the earth, in an orderly history; and nothing else sets before us how he will govern it to the end by an oredrly prophecy of future events ; agreeable to the challenge which God makes to the gods, and prophets, and teachers of the Heathen, in Isa. xli. 22, 23. 6. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen : Let them shew the former things what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.”

Reason shows that it is fit and requisite, that the intelligent and rational beings of the world should know something of God's scheme and design in his works; for they doubtless are the beings that are principally concerned. The thing that is God's great design in his works, is doubtless something concerning his reasonable creatures, rather than brute beasts and lifeless things. The revolutions by which God's great design is brought to pass, are doubtless revolutions chiefly among them, and which concern their state, and not the state of things without life or reason. And therefore surely it is requisite that they should know something of it ; especially seeing that reason teaches that God has given his rational creatures reason, and a capacity of seeing God in his works ; for this end that they may see God's glory in them, and give him the glory of them. But how can they see God's glory in his works, if they do not know what God's design in them is, and what he aims at by what he is doing in the world? And further, it is fit that mankind should be informed

something of God's design in the government of the world, because they are made capable of actively falling in with that design, and promoting of it, and acting herein as his friends and subjects ; it is therefore reasonable to suppose, that God has given mankind some revelation to inform them of this ; but

there is nothing else that does it but the Bible. In the Bible this is done. Hence we may learn an account of the first original of things, and an orderly account of the scheme of God's works from the first beginning through those ages that are beyond the reach of all other histories. Here we are told what God aims at in the whole, what is the great end, how he has contrived the grand design he drives at, and the great things he would accomplish by all. Here we have a most rational, excellent account of this matter, worthy of God, and exceedingly shewing forth the glory of his perfections, his majesty, his wisdom, his glorious holiness, and grace and love, and his exaltation above all, showing how he is the first and the last.

Here we are shewn the connexion of the various parts of the work of providence, and how all harmonizes, and is connected together in a regular, beautiful and glorious frame..... In the Bible we have an account of the whole scheme of prova idence, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, either in history or prophecy, and are told what will become of things at last ; how they will be finished off by a great day of judgment; and will issue in the subduing of God's enemies, and in the salvation and glory of his church, and setting up of the everlasting kingdom of his Son.

How rational, worthy, and excellent a revelation is this ! And how excellent a book is the Bible, which contains so much beyond all other books in the world ! And what characters are here of its being indeed a divine book ! A book that the great Jehovah has given to mankind for their instruction, without which we should be left in miserable darkness and confusion.

VI. From what has been said, we may see the glorious majesty and power of God in this affair of redemption : Especially is God glorious in power. His glorious power appears in upholding his church for so long a time, and carrying on this work ; upholding it often times when it was but as a little spark of fire, or as smoking flax, in which the fire was almost gone out, and the powers of earth and hell were coma bined to destroy it. Yet God has never suffered them tą VOL. II.

3 A

quench it, and finally will bring forth judgment unto victory. God glorifes his strength in his church's weakness ; in causing his people, who are like a number of little infants, finally to triumph over all earth and hell ; so that they shall tread on the lion and adder ; the young lion and dragon shall they trample under foot. The glorious power of God appears in conquering his many and inighty enemies by that person who was once an infant in a manger, and appeared as a poor, weak, despised man. He conquers them and triumphs over them in their own weapon, the cross.

The glorious majesty of God appears in conquering all those mighty enemies of the church one age after another ; in conquering Satan, that proud and strong spirit, and all his hellish host ; in bringing him down under foot, long after he had vaunted himself as God of this world, and when he did his utinost to support himself in his kingdom.

God's power gloriously appears in conquering Satan when exalted in that strongest and most potent Heathen kingdom that ever he had, the Roman empire. Christ, our Michael, has overcome him, and the devil was cast out, and there was found no more place for him in heaven ; but he was cast out unto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Again, his power gloriously appears in conquering him in that kingdom wherein his pride, and subtlety, and cruelty, above all appears, viz. the kingdom of Antichrist. It gloriously appears in conquering him in that greatest and strongest combination and opposition of the devil and his adherents against Christ and his church, just before the fall of Antichrist, wherein his visible kingdom has a fatal blow given it, on which an universal downfall of it follows all over the world.

The glorious power of God appears in thus conquering the devil, and bringing him under foot, time after time, after long time given him to strengthen himself to his utmost, as he was once overthrown in his Heathen Roman empire, after he had been making himself strong in those parts of the world, ever since the building of Babel. It appears also in overthrowing his kingdom more fatally and universally all over the world, after he had again another opportunity given him to strengthen himself to his utmost for many ages by setting up those two great kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahomet, and to establish his interest in the Heathen world. We have seen how these kingdoms of God's enemies, that, before God appears, look strong, as though it was impossible to overthrow them ; yet, time after time, when God appears, they seem to melt away, as the fat of lambs before the fire, and are driven away as the chaff before the whirlwind, or the smoke out of the chimney.

Those mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mabomet, which have made such a figure for so many ages together, and have trampled the world under foot, when God comes to appear, will vanish

away like a shadow, and will as it were disappear of themselves, and come to nothing, as the darkness in a room does, when the light is brought in. What are God's enemies in his hands? How is their greatest strength weakness when he rises up! And how weak will they all appear together at the day of judgment! Thus we may apply those words in the song of Moses, Exod. xv. 6. “ Thy right hand, O, Lord, is become glorious in power ; thy right hand. O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy." And how great doth the majesty of God appear in overturning the world from time to time, to accomplish his designs, and at last in causing the earth and heavens to flee away, for the advancement of the glory of his kingdom!

VII. From what has been said, we may see the glorious wisdom of God. It shows the wisdom of God in creating the world, in that he has created it for such an excellent use, to accomplish in it so glorious a work. And it shows the wisdom of divine providence, that he brings such great good out of such great evil, in making the fall and ruin of mankind, which in itself is so sorrowful and deplorable, an occasion of accomplishing such a glorious work as this work of redemption, and of erecting such a glorious building, whose top should reach unto heaven, and of bringing his elect to a state of such unspeakable happiness. And how glorious doth the

« PreviousContinue »