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SER M.therefore he should never have created any XI. thing at all. The true Anfwer plainly is : Whatever is in itself, and in the nature of Things, reasonable to be done, 'tis fit should actually be done; And 'tis never the more nor the lefs reasonable, for things being known or not known beforehand. The reason of God's fending exhortations to wicked men, is not that he himself is ignorant what they will do, but that upon their own account 'tis reasonable they should be fo exhorted: And if the thing be reafonable in itself; it cannot ceafe to be fo,


the account of Foreknowledge. And This, concerning the Object or Extent of the divine Knowledge: 'Tis a Knowledge of all things abfolutely, without exception; a Knowledge of all the Actions of Men, a Knowledge of all their Thoughts, a Knowledge of all future and even contingent


2dly, WITH regard to the Manner of this divine Knowledge; tho' it is most unreafonable to imagine we can in any measure poffibly explain in particular, all the Ways, Manners, and Circumstances of infinite Knowledge; yet fome few general obfervations, fuch as these which follow,

follow, may be very usefully made by us SER M. upon this Head. That the divine Know- XI. ledge is not, for inftance, as Ours, and probably that of Angels alfo, is; a know

ledge of things by degrees and parts; seeI ing we can fix on but one fide of a thing,

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and confider it only in one view at once;
But 'tis a perfect comprehenfion of every
thing, in all poffible refpects at a time,
and in all poffible Circumftances together.
Again; it is not, as Ours, and poffibly
that of higher Beings than we, only a
fuperficial and external knowledge of
things, but an intimate and thorough pro-
Spect of their very inmost nature and ef-
fence, all things being naked and opened
(as the Apostle expreffes it) to the eyes of
Him with whom we have to do. Further
it is not, as Ours, and probably that of
the highest created Beings more or less is,
confufed and general; but a clear, diftinct,
and particular knowledge of every even
the minutest thing or circumftance; a
knowledge, which not a hair of our head
escapes, and without which not a Sparrow
falls to the ground. Lastly, it is not, as
Ours, acquired with difficulty, confiderati-
on, attention, and ftudy; but a Knowledge


SERM.neceffarily and perpetually arifing of itfelf XI. and infeparable even from the very existence of him whofe Effence is Omniprefent. And

This briefly with regard to the Manner of the divine Knowledge.

3dly, As to the Certainty of it, (which was the laft Circumftance I propofed to fpeak to,) I need but juft mention, that whereas Our Knowledge, (even of thofe things which we are well capable of understanding, ) is disturbed and hindred by innumerable caufes, by education and prejudice, by temper and intereft, by custom, humour, and disorders of mind or body; All which we must conftantly endeavour to conquer ; and may fo far do it, as to escape all fatal errors, though we cannot avoid numberlefs mistakes: And whereas the Knowledge even of the Highest Angels, is always mixed with fome degree of Uncertainty; as in that remarkable expreffion of the Archangel to Tobias, Moreover I fuppofe (fays he:) he was not certain; but, I suppose, (faith he) that she fhall bear thee children: The divine Knowledge on the contrary is in all things abfolutely infallible, without the leaft poffibility of any degree of being deceived. III. IT


III. IT remains, that I conclude with a SER M. XI. few Practical Inferences from the whole.

And ift, Ir the divine Knowledge is perfect, it is a proper Object of our Admiration and Honour. Of our Praifes indeed and Thanksgivings, his Goodnefs, Mercy, and Compaffion are more properly the Grounds: But to be admired and adored, is what every Perfection in the divine Nature equally claims. The small glimpses of Knowledge, which appear in Men; if they be fkilled in languages, that fictitious Learning which arifes merely from our Difperfion and Confusions; if they have improved themselves in the fudy of Philofophy, Hiftory, or other Sciences; even these small glimpses of Knowledge, cannot but raife in us fome proportion of Efteem. What Veneration then is due to Him, whole Knowledge is in Himfelf infinite, and who is the fole Author of whatever Knowledge is found in Any Other. And how should this teach us to think humbly and meanly of our felves, and of all Creatures, and of all their poffible acquirements! to confider, that we have and know nothing, but what we have received! (For who has put Wif


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SER M. dom in the inward parts? or who has gi


Ἡίλιος ὃς

βακὶ παντ'


ven Understanding to the Heart? Job xxxviii. 36. That Knowledge, and all other Faculties in created Beings, not only in Men, but even in the Highest Angels also, are but little Images and Shadows of Perfection; faint and derivative rays Light, from the incomprehenfible fountain of Glory! in Comparison of whom, our Knowledge itself is Ignorance, and our Light as Darkness!

2dly, IF God knows all, even our most fecret actions; then ought we conftantly to live under the Power of this Conviction, in all holy and godly conversation, both publickly and in private. "Twas 4 with great Elegancy, that the antient Heathen Poets defcribed the Sun in the Firmament, as overfeeing and beholding all things; but the Defcription is True, in propriety and ftrictnefs of Speech, only of the all-feeing Eye of the Father of Lights. And hence appears the Vanity, of worshipping Saints and Idols, or any other Beings which know not all things. Which Folly Elijah excellently ridiculed, when he told the prophets of Baal, that their God was pursuing, or talking, or in

a journey,


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