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second causes, either necessarily, freely or contingently.
III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work
counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.
a Gen. viii. 22. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease. Jer. xxxi. 35. Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name. Ex. xxi. 13. If a man lie not in wait, but God deliver him into his hand, then I will appoint thee a place whither he shall flee. 1 Kings xxii. 34. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. Isa. x. 6, 7. I will send him against an hypocritical nation; and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down. -Howbeit, he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off nations not a few.
b Acts xxvii. 24, 31. Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Cæsar: and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.-Paul said to the centurion, and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. Isa. lv. 10, 11. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow, from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the Bower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.
IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men,' and that not by
c Hos. i. 7. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
d Rom. iv. 19, 20, 21. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead; when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb. He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. And being fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
e 2 Kings vi. 6. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither, and the iron did swim. Dan. iii. 27. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their heads singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
f Rom. xi. 32, 33. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, with 1 Chron. xxi. 1. And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 1 Chron. x. 4, 13, 14. Then said Saul to his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not, for he was sore afraid. So Saul took
a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof pro
a sword, and fell upon it.-So Saul died, for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit to inquire of it; and inquired not of the Lord; therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse. 2 Sam. xvi. 10. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? See also Acts iv. 27, 28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy head and thy counsel determined before to be done.
g Psa. lxxvi. 10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. 2 Kings xix. 28. Because thy rage against me and thy tumult is come up into mine ears, therefore I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way which thou camest.
h Gen. 1. 20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Isa. x. 6, 7, 12. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit, he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so, but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.-Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
ceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is, nor can be the author or approver of sin.i
V. The most wise, righteous and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close
i 1 John ii. 16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. Psa. 1. 21. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. See also, James i. 13, 14, 17. Let no man Bay when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.-Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
j 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, 26, 31. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.-Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.
and constant dependence for their support upon himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.*
VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;"
* 2 Cor. xii. 7, 8, 9. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the measenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for the: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Psa. lxxiii. throughout. Psa. lxxvii. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12. Mark xiv. 66th ver. to the end. John xxi. 15, 16, 17.
1 Rom. i. 24, 26, 28, and xi. 7, 8. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves;-For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:-And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.-What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded, (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
Deut. xxix. 4. Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.