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heaven. His is the kingdom over all creatures; he fits on the throne of his power, and gives out his will to all the rational world, which they are bound to obey, as the King's will, and laws of his kingdom, determining what they ought to do and what to forbear. The church has that will of the King in all points in the Bible, In heaven, all do it; in hell, none do it; in earth, some do it, others not; and thofe who do it, do it but but imperfectly. So we pray, Thy will be done.
The will of God's commands is exceeding comprehenfive, Pfal. cxix. 96. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. It is but one will of God; but the objects of it, the things willed, are many; but as many as they are, fincere Chriftians do fincerely fulfil them, tho' not perfectly, Acts xiii. 22. I have found David,—a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will, Gr. all my wills. This whole will of God however may be reduced to two heads, viz. faith, and holiness.
1. Faith, 1 John iii. 23. This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Fefus Chrift. And this is comprehended in that, Matth. vii. 21. Not every one that faith unto me Lord, Lord, fhall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Ye are to look on it as the Father's will, the will of God, that ye believe in his Son, 2 Cor. viii. 5. They gave their own felves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. It is the great thing which he wills you to do, John vi. 29. This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath fent. His dinner is prepared, he wills you to come to the marriage, Matth. xxii. 4. This anfwers all the objections, I may not, I dare not, I will not be welcome. It is God's will that ye come forward. And ye have the prayers of all the faints to help you forward, Thy will be done. And the crofling of this will of God will enfure your ruin, more than any thing elfe, John iii. 18. He that believeth not is condemned already. Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth not fhall be damned.
(1.) Faith is the first and leading will of God, 1 John iii. 23. forecited. If ye would do any part of the will of God, believe: for ye can do none of it, if ye do not this, Heb. xi. 6. For without faith it is impoffible to please God. John xv. 5. Without me ye can do nothing. If ye do not begin with believing, all that ye do is nothing. As in arithmetic, if a thousand ciphers be fet in a line, they are nothing, but if begun with a figure, they are all fomething; fo believe, and the reft will be the obedience of faith.
(2.) Faith is the laft will of God. It is the Lord's laft will, that ye believe in Chrift, Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth fhall be faved. John iii. 16. God fo loved, the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlafting life. The Lord's will to man at firft was, Do this and live. Now he cannot do that; but that he may not perifh, his will now in the fecond covenant is, Believe, and ye fhall be faved. The first not being complied with, the fecond came for man's help: but this fecond is the laft. If ye do not believe, there is no third to be looked for, but fiery indignation, Heb. X. 26. 27.
2. Holiness, 1 Theff. iv. 3. This is the will of God, even your fanctification. God is a holy God, and cannot will unholinefs. It is Satan's will, and your own corrupt will, that ye be unholy. be unholy. But therein ye contradict the will of God, Rom. viii. 7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not fubject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Every unholy thought, word, or action, is a going cross to the will of God, and therefore finners are faid to vex his Holy Spirit, If. lxiii. 1o. as men are vexed when their will is ftill contradicted and croffed. Holinefs is,
(1.) The will of God's nature, 1 Pet. i. 16. Be ye holy, as I am holy. God has willed men to be holy; and it was inconfiftent with his nature to have willed them to be unholy. Faith in a crucified Redeemer is God's will of free choice. He did not will innocent VOL. III. 3 U
Adam to believe in a Mediator. He might, if he had pleased, never have provided that object of faith, and fo there might never have been fuch a thing as faith in a Redeemer. But having once made man, he could not but will him to be a holy man. And fire and water may fooner agree than God's will and unholiness.
(2.) The will of his whole law. It is all pure, Pfal. xix. 8. A vein of holinefs runs through the whole of it, and through every part. All the ten commandments are fo many laws of holiness; all the enlargements on them in the Bible are fo many directions and inftructions for holiness of heart and life. There the Lord has parcelled out his will in fo many particulars, but holinefs is the fcope of them all.
(3.) The will of God to all men, yea all the rational creatures. That reason, Be ye holy, as I am hely, 1 Pet. i. 16. reaches all. The devils will not be condemned, because they do not believe in Chrift; they have no warrant to believe in him, the gospel-offer is not made to them, Heb. ii. 16. Prov. viii. 4. but because they are unholy. The Pagans will not be condemned neither for their unbelief, Rom. ii. 12. for the gofpel is not revealed to them, but because they are unholy, Rom. i. 18. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteoufnefs of
Secondly, The will of God's providence, Pfal. cxxxv. 6. Whatfoever the Lord pleafed, that did he in heaven and in earth, in the feas, and all deep places. He fits in heaven univerfal Monarch of the world, and has the difpofal of all his creatures, and all that concern them, in his hand, and is accountable to none for his difpofals, Dan. iv. 35. forecited. They are all his own, as being created by him, and for him; and fo he may do with them as the potter with his own clay, Matth. xx. 15. Now, this will of God's providence I be confidered two ways.
1. As directing to duty, Pfal. xxxii. 8. I will infruct thee, and teach thee in the way that thou shalt go.
God fpeaks by his works as well as by his word. The whole world have this fort of fpeech made from heaven to them, Pfal. xix. 1. 2. 3. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament fheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night fheweth knowledge. There is no fpeech, nor language, where their voice is not heard. Providence ferves to point men to particular pieces of service, Gal. vi. 10. As we have therefore opportunity, let us da good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. And therefore we muft not be idle spectators of providence, Pfal. cvii. ult. Whofo is wife, and will obferve these things, even they fhall understand the loving kindness of the Lord. But we muft obferve the language and meaning thereof, proving what is the good and acceptable will of God to us in it.
2. As ordering and difpofing of events about ourfelves and others, Matth. x. 29. 30. Are not two fparrows fold for a farthing? and one of them fhall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. The world is a great family under the conduct and management of an infinitelywife Master. And, for as broad and wide as it lies, his eye is in every part of it, and his hand too. And there is no perfon or thing but is under his provi dence; and whatever befalls them is their portion or lot appointed by the great Mafter.
This all-difpofing will of providence reaches particulars, with refpect to men, to us innumerable, even all that concerns them. But they may be reduced to two heads.
(1.) Smiling providences in favourable difpenfations, Rom. ii. 4. The unthankful world is filled with these, for he doth good even to the unthankful and unholy. Every day his table is fpread, and he loads men with his benefits; though the mefs of fome may be double to that of others, yet all feed at his coft.
(2.) Frowning providences, Micah vi. 9. The Lord's voice crieth unto the city.-Hear ye the rod, and who hath
appointed it; and this in afflicting difpenfations. It is the fame God who draws the white lines in one's lot, that draws the black ones too. It is the fame hand that puts on the crown of profperity, that pulls it off again. The fame God who gives the fair weather, alfo fends the foul, and after the blink the shower, and the clouds after the rain. If it go ill with a land, with a congregation, or with one's house, it is the will of the Lord that it should be fo.
And to all we are to fay, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
II. I proceed to fhew by whom is God's will done in heaven.
1. By the bodies of heaven, the heavenly bodies, the fun, moon, and ftars. God their Creator, when he made them, appointed their ends, motions, and courses; and thefe they have fteadily obferved from the time of their creation, Pfal, cxix. 89. 91. For ever, O Lord, thy word is fettled in heaven. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy Servants. The fcoffers obferve this, 2 Pet. iii. 4. All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, though they make a very bad ufe of it. Though in the heavenly fabric thefe bodies are hugely great, and there are fo many of them that men cannot number them, yet have they all, from the begin. ning to this day, obferved and kept their motions and courfes, without any breach of order, or any de viation whatfoever. In the mean time it is notorious, that engines made by men, and confifting of many wheels, with a variety of motions, are very hard to be kept right long, but they go out of their courfe. But thefe do the will of God fteadily, evenly, and unweariedly, Pfal. xix. 5. 6. The fun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The fun and moon's ftanding ftill in Joshua's time, was no faltering nor