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would learn to resign it up to the wisdom of God. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly. When the question was asked the prophet, Ezek. xxxvii. 3. Can thefe dry bones live? he anfwers, Lord thou knoweft. That is excellent counfel, Prov. iii. 5. "Truft in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to "thine own understanding."

3. Improve the wisdom of God for yourselves in all difficult and diftrefsful cafes,

1. Reg of God to exercise his wifdom for you, when enemies confpire against you: fo did David, 2 Sam. xv. 31. "Lord, turn the counfel of Ahitophel into foolishness!" O it is the noblest and surest way to vanquish an enemy: it was but asked and done.

2. Comfort yourselves with this whenever you are at a lofs in your own thoughts, and know not what to do, then commit ali to Divine conduct; let God fteer for you in a storm; he loves to be trufted, Pfal. xxxvii. 5. "Commit thy way unto "the Lord, trust also in him, and he fhall bring it to pafs." 3. Encourage yourselves from this when the church is in the greatest danger, and most forcly fhaken; O that is a blessed promile, Zech. iii. 9. "Upon one stone fhall be feven eyes." Meaning Chrift, and the church built on him as the chief corner-ftone; the leven eyes are the feven eyes of providence, which are ne ver all asleep.

CHA P. VIII.

Opening that glorious attribute of divine faithfulness, as a third chamber of fecurity to the people of God, in times of diftrefs and danger.

Sect. I. HAVING viewed the faints refuge in the power and wisdom of God, we next proceed to a third chamber of fafety for the faints refuge, viz. The faithfulness of God.

In this attribute is our fafety and reft, amidst the confufions of the world, and daily difappointments we are vexed withal, through the vanity and falseness of the creatures: as to creatures, the very best of them are but vanity, jea, vanity of va nity, the vaineft vanity, Eccl. i. 2. "Every man in his best e"state is altogether vanity," Pfal. xxxix. 5. Yea, those that we expect most from, give us most of trouble, Mic. vii. 5. Neareft relations bring up the rear of forrows, Job vi. 15. "My bre

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"thren have dealt deceitfully as a brook." Efpecially their deceit appears moft, when we have most need of their help, Píal. cxlii. 4. How great a mercy is it then to have a refuge in the faithfulnefs of God as David had; "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me, refuge failed me, no man cared for my foul." And likewife the church, Mic, vii, 7. "I will look unto the Lord, I will wait "for the God of my falvation, my God will hear me." A time may come, when you shall not know where to truft in all this world. Let me therefore open to you this chamber of rest in the faithfulness of God, against fuch a day, and this I fhall do in a twofold confideration of it, viz.

1. Abfolutely in its own nature.

2. Relatively in the promises and providences of God.

1. Abfolutely, and fo the faithfulness of God is his fincerity, firmness, and conftancy in performing his word to his people in all times and cafes. So Mofes defcribes him to Ifrael, Deut. vii. 9. "Know therefore, that the Lord thy God he is God, "the faithful God." And Joshua appeals to their experience for the vindication of it, Josh. xxiii. 14. "Ye know in all your "hearts, and in all your fouls, that not one thing bath failed "of all the good which the Lord your God fpake con"cerning you; all are come to país, and not one thing hath "failed thereof." And it is also fully afferted, Jer. xxxi. 35, 36, 37. and greatly admired even in the darkest day, Lam. iii. 23. Great is thy faithfulness. And it is well for us that his faithfulness is great, for great is that weight that leans upon it, even all our hopes for both worlds, for this world, and for that to come, Tit. i, 2. "In hope of eternal life, which God that can"not lie promifed before the world began."

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It was a very difhonourable character that * Suidas gave of Tiberius, "That he never made thew of having what he defired to have, nor ever minded to do what he promised to "do:" but God is faithful, and that will appear by these following evidences of it.

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Evid. 1. By his exact fulfilling of his promifes of the longeft date. So, Acts vii. 6. four hundred and thirty years were run out before the promise of Ifrael's deliverance out of Egypt was accomplished; yet, Acts vii. 17. when the time of the promife was come, God was punctual to a day: Seventy years in Babylon, and at the expiration of that time, they returned,

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* Eorum quae appetebat ne quicquam prae fe ferebat, et eorum quae dicebat, ne quicquam facere volebat. Suidas.

2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. Men may forget, but God cannot, Ifa. xlix. 15, 16.

Evid. 2. By making way for his promises through the great. eft difficulties, and feeming impoffibilities. So to Abraham when old, Gen. xviii. 13, 14. "Is there any thing too hard for "the Lord? At the appointed time will I return unto thee, ac

cording to the time of life; and Sarah shall have a fon." And likewife to the Ifraelites, Can thefe dry bones live? Ezek. Xxxvii. 3. Difficulties are for men, not God, Gen. xviii. 14. What art thou, O great mountain, Zech. viii. 9. “If it be mar"vellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people, fhould it al"fo be marvellous in mine eyes? faith the Lord of hosts."

Evid. 3. By fulfilling promifes to his people, when their hopes and expectations have been given up. So Ezek. xxxvii, 11. Our bones are dry, our hope is loft, we are cut off for our part. And Ifa. xlix. 14. "Zion faid, The Lord hath forfaken

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me, and my Lord hath forgotten me." There may be much unbelief in good men, their faith may be forely ftaggered, yet God is faithful; men may question his promifes, yet God can not deny himself, 2 Tim. ii. 13.

Evid. 4. By God's appealing to his people, and referring the matter to their own judgment, Micah vi. 3, 4, 5: "O my peo.

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ple, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied "thee? Teftify against me, for I brought thee up out of the "land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the houfe of fervants, and I fent before thee Mofes, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab con"fulted,and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from "Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteousness of "the Lord;" q. d. If I have failed in a punctilio of my pro mife, fhew it: Did not Balak and Balaam court me, and try all ways to win me over to them by multitudes of facrifices? yet I did not defert you. So Jer. ii. 31. "O generation, fee

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ye the word of the Lord: Have I been a wilderness unto "Ifrael, a land of darkness? Wherefore fay my people, We are lords, we will come no more unto thee," Ifa. xliv. 8. Evid 5. The faithfulness of God is abundantly cleared by the conftant teftimonies given unto it in all ages by them that have tried it, they have all witneffed for God, and attested his unfpotted faithfulness to the generations that were to come. So did Jofhua, chap. xxiii 14. "All is come to pass;" and fo did Daniel, chap. ix 4. "O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him: with which David's teftimony concurs, Pfal. cxlvi. 6. "Happy

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is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whofe hope is "in the Lord his God, which made the heaven and earth, the "fea and all that therein is, which keepeth truth for ever." Thus his people have been witneffes in all generations, unto the faithfulness of God in his promifes; the confideration whereof leaves no doubt or objection behind it.

Sect, II. And if we enquire into the grounds and reasons why God is, and ever must be most faithful in performing his promifes, we shall find it is built upon stable and unfhaken pillars:

viz.

1. The holinefs of his nature.

2. The all-fufficiency of his power.

3. The honour of his name.

4. The unchangeableness of his nature.

1. The faithfulness of God is built upon the perfect holiness of his nature, by reafon whereof it is impoffible for God to lie, Tit. i. 2. Heb. vi. 18. The deceitfulness of man flows from the corruption of the human nature, but "God is not a man that "he fhould lie, peither the fon of man that he should repent; "hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and "shall he not make it good?" Num. xxiii. 19. If there be no defect in his being, there can be none in his working; if his nature be pure holiness, all his ways must be perfect faithfulnefs.

2. It is built upon the all-fufficiency of his power; whatsoever he hath promifed to his people, he is able to perform it; men fometimes falfify their promises, through the defects of ability to perform them; but God never out-promised himself; if he will work, none can lett, Ifa. xliii. 13. He can do whatsoever he pleafeth to do, Pfal. cxxxv. 6. The holiness of his nature engageth, and the almightiness of his power enables him to be faithful.

3. The glory and honour of his name may affure us of his faithfulnefs, in making good the promises, and all that good which is in the promises, to a tittle; for wherever you find a promife of God, you alfo find the name and honour of God given as a fecurity for the performance of it; and fo his name hath ever been pleaded with him by his people, as a mighty argument to work for them, Jofh. vii. 9. What wilt thou do for thy great name, q. d. Lord, thine honour is a thousand times more than our lives, it is no fuch great matter what becomes of us; but ah, Lord, it is of infinite concernment that the glory of thy name be secured, and thy faithfulness kept pure and unipotted in the world. So again, Exod. xxxii. 11, 12. “ And

*Moses befought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth "thy wrath wax hot against thy people which thou haft brought "out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a "mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and "fay, for mifchief did he bring them out to flay them in the mountains, and to confume them from the face of the earth? "turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against "thy people." q. d. It will be fad enough for the hands of the Egyptians to fall upon thy people, but infinitely worse for the tongues of the Egyptians to fall upon thy name.

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4. The unchangeableness of his nature gives us the fullest affurance of his faithfulness in the promises, Mal. iii. 6. " I am "the Lord, I change not; therefore ye fons of Jacob are not "confumed." God's unchangeableness is his people's indemnity, and best fecurity in the midst of dangers; as there is not yea and nay with God, neither fhould it be fo with our faith; that which gives fteadiness to the promises, thould give steadinefs alfo to our expectations for the performance of them : and fo much, briefly, of the faithfulness of God, abfolutely confidered in the nature and grounds of it.

2. Next let us view the faithfulness of God, as it relates to the many great and precious promises made unto his people før their fecurity, both in their

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1. Temporal
2. Spiritual.

Concernments.

1. We find the faithfulness of God pledged for the fecurity of his people, in their fpiritual and eternal concernments, against all their dangers and fears, threatening them on that account, and that more efpecially in these three refpects.

1. It is given them as their great and beft fecurity for the pardon of their fins, 1 John i. 9. "If we confefs our fins, he is "faithful and juft to forgive us our fins, and to cleanfe us from "all unrighteousness." Our greatest dauger comes from fin; guilt is a fountain of fears, a pardoned foul only can look other troubles in the face boldly: as guilt begets fear, fo pardon produces courage, and God's faithfulness in the covenant is, as it were, that pardon-office from whence we fetch our discharges and acquittances, Ifa. xliii. 25. "I, even I, am he that blotteth "out thy tranfgreffions for mine own fake." The promises of remiffion are made for Chrift's fake, and when made, they mult be fulfilled for his own, that is his faithfulness fake.

2. It is engaged for the perfeverance of the faints, and their continuance in the ways of God in the most hazardous and dif

VOL. IV.

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