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Part II, term'd Almighty. There is no kind of Ability in any Creature, no Activity in any Caufe, but what proceeds from him as the first Cause of all: In him we live, move, and have our Being, and without him we can do nothing. He is not only the Caufe of all Being, but the Center of all Power; and as every thing in the World derives its Effence, fo does it receive its Operation from him.

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5. God may be farther ftyl'd Omnipotent, because there is no Refiftance to be made to his Power: In thy hand (faid King Jehoshaphat) there is Power and Might, fo that none is able to withstand thee; 2 Chron. 20. 6. And King Nebuchadnezzar having felt his Power, confeffeth thus to him He does according to his Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth; none can stay his Hand, or say unto him, What doft thou? Dan. 4. 35. There can be no fuccessful Refiftance, but where one comes with greater Force than he that goes against him. Now fince all Power is from God, there can be nothing but Weakness and Impotence against him; and thefe, to be fure, can make but a feeble and flender Refiftance. Hence it comes to pafs, that God can with equal Facility do the greatest things as the leaft; out of the fame Clay he can as eafily make a Veffel of Honour as Difhonour; and, like the Potter, is able to dafh them in pieces when he pleases: for who is able to refift his Will?

Laftly, God is the Almighty in refpect of the Extent of his Rule and Authority, which is over all his Works. The Lord hath prepared his Throne in the Heavens (faith the Pfalmift) and his Kingdom ruleth over all, Pfal. 103. 19. God is the Maker and Preserver, and by virtue thereof the Proprietor of all things: The Heavens are thine (faith David) and the Earth is alfo thine, and the Fulness thereof; yea, the whole World and all that dwell therein, for he made and fashion'd it, and confequently hath the fole Right of governing and difpofing all things in it. Hence we read, that God is the King of all the Earth, he reigneth over the Heathen, and his Dominion extendeth to the ends of the World. He is indeed the fole, abfolute, original, and independent Governour of the Univerfe; the Only Potentate, as St. Paul ftyles him, 1 Tim. 6. 15. All Authority and Power is deriv'd from him, and fubordinate to him; 'tis by his Commiffion that all earthly Kings reign, and Princes decree Fuftice. His Delegates and Vicegerents they are, to act for his Honour, and are accountable to him for the

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Exercife of their Dominion for the Most High ruleth in the Kingdoms of Men, and giveth them to whomsoever he will; Dan. 4. 25. In a word,

He that hath all Power in Heaven and Earth, and from whom all that are in both receive it, is truly and properly ftyl'd Almighty; which being frequently declar'd of God in Holy Scripture, we juftly believe him to be fo.

But are all things poffible to God? Does not the Apofle fay, 'tis impoffible for God to lye? Are not fome things out of the reach of his Power? As to make one and the fame thing to be and not to be, in the fame respect, or to be in diftant places at the fame time. If they are, how is he faid to be able to do all things? In answer to this, when we fay that God is Almighty, and able to do all things, it must be understood of all things within the reach of his Power, and agreeable to the Divine Perfections: for fome things imply a Repugnancy of being or fubfifting; as for a thing to be and not to be at the fame time, or to be in two or more diftant Places at once; which is to be one, and not one. These things implying a Contradiction, are not the Objects of Power, but being in themselves impoffible, cannot any way be done ; not for want of Power, but from the Incapacity of the thing: which is a Contradiction to all Power, and fo not within the reach of it.

Again, Some Things have a Repugnancy with the Di vine Nature and Perfections; and thefe are not within the Power of God, because they are inconfiftent with the Pu rity and Perfection of his Nature. Thus God cannot lye, or be unjust, or deny himself; for Truth, Juftice, and Holiness being divine Perfections, the contrary to them muft be Failings and Imperfections, and fo not to be afcrib'd to a Being that is abfolutely and infinitely perfect; and this is no Derogation from his Power, but a Removing from him all Weakness and Imperfection..

So that all things that are poffible, are within the Sphere. of God's Omnipotence, and nothing is impoffible to him which is not impoffible to be at all. Whatever is fo, is not within the Object of any Power; and certainly he may have all Power, who hath not that which belongeth to no Power.

Befide, 'tis no diminishing of God's Omnipotence to deny to him what is a Contradiction to his Effence. Thus we may fay (as one hath obferv'd) that he cannot fleep, becaufe his Being is spiritual and ever active; he cannot want, VOL. I. because

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Part II. because he is all fufficient; he cannot die, because he is neceffarily and effentially exiftent; he cannot be ignorant, because he is infinite in Knowledge, and knoweth all things; he cannot fin, because he is effentially holy: the doing of thefe things implies Impotence and Infirmity, and therefore must be remov'd from fo glorious and perfect a Being; and the not doing these things, is fo far from proving him not to be omnipotent, that as St. Auftin tells us, he cannot do them, because he is fo. In fhort,

God is Almighty, because he can do all things that may be done; and that he cannot do an ill thing, fhews that all his other Perfections are as effential to him as his Power.

Thus I have explain'd to you the Nature and Notion of God's Omnipotence; from which we may learn the following Leffons.

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1. From the Confideration of God's Infinite and Almighty Power, we may learn to live in a conftant Fear and Dread of him: for God is great, mighty, and terrible, and therefore to be fear'd of all that are round about him. Hence our Saviour warns us whom we fhould fear, to wit not Men who are all but frail, impotent Creatures fear God, who is able to deftroy both Soul and Body in Hell, Luke 12. 5. This fhould deter us from all Sin and Wickednefs, or doing any thing that may offend him. Solomon's Advice is, Contend not with any that is mightier than thou. And what madness then must it be, to contend with the Almighty? Do we provoke the Lord to Jealousy? (faith the Apoftle) are we stronger than he ?

2. We may learn from hence to live in all humble Duty and Obedience to him: I am the Almighty (faith God to Abraham) walk before me, and be thou perfect; Gen. 17. 1. He is the Sovereign Lord and Governour of the Univerfe, who hath a full Right to command us, and therefore it must be our Duty to obey: we live under his Government, and are fubjected to his Power and Providence, and 'tis happy for us that we are fo: which fhould teach us to live by his Laws, and readily perform his Commands.

3. The Confideration of God's Almighty Power, may ferve to ftrengthen our Faith and Hope in him: He is faithful that bath promis'd, and able to make it good; and therefore we may fafely rely upon him. Abraham Stagger'd not thro' Unbelief, being fully perfuaded that what he had promifed he was able alfo to perform.

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4. This may ferve to quicken our Devotion, and encourage us to call upon him; for he is both able to fupply our Wants, and hath declar'd himself ever ready and willing to do fo: God is infinite in Power, and able to do abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Hence our Saviour, in the clofe of that Prayer he gave us, hath taught us to say, For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and Glory; which may put Life into, our Petitions, and encourage us to hope for an Answer to them.

5. This may teach us Contentment in every Condition; for the Almighty Difpofer of all things deals out to every one their Portion, and may difpofe of his Bleffings as he pleases; and therefore we must not murmur nor repine at our lot, but be content and thankful whatever it be if it be profperous, let us ufe it to his Honour; if it be otherwife, let us patiently fubmit to his Will, faying with good Eli, It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good; and with David, I was dumb, and open'd not my Mouth, because it was thy doing; Pfal. 39. 9.

6. From God's Almighty Power in difpofing of all Events, we may learn not to engage in any unwarrantable Plots or Defigns; for there is no Wildom, nor Understanding, nor Counsel against the Lord; no Weapon either of Power or Policy form'd against him can profper; Numb. 14. 41. He turn'd Achitophel's Wifdom into Folly, he infatuates the Counfels of the Mighty, and bringeth the Devices of the Wicked to no effect.

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7. The Confideration of God's Omnipotence may afford abundant Confolation to the Church and People of God for they are under the continual Care and Infpection of an Almighty Power, which ftill watches over them for good, and is ever ready to preferve them: and who can defire greater Safety than to be under the Protection of an Almighty Arm? Who shall harm you, faith the Apoftle, if ye are Followers of that which is good? 1 Pet. 3. 13. meaning that there is an Almighty Power ftill prefiding over them, and nothing fhall hurt them while they own and stick to it. Therefore let us, with the Church in the Revelations, cry Allelujah, the Lord omnipotent reigneth; let us be glad, rejoyce, and give honour unto him: Rev. 19. 6.

To conclude, Let nothing fhake our Faith and Confidence in him, nothing leffen our Love and Fear of him, nothing withdraw our Honour and Obedience from him:

fo fhall we, who enjoy the Comfort and Benefit of his Almighty Power here, be for ever happy in celebrating the Praifes and Glory of it hereafter.

DISCOURSE VI.

GEN i. I.

In the Beginning, God created the Heaven and

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the Earth.

AVING explain'd the Nature and Notion of God's Omnipotence, from the word Almighty; I proceed now to the highest Inftance and Demonftration of it, contain'd in the laft Claufe of this Article, in those words, Maker of Heaven and Earth of which I fhall treat from the words read, In the Beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth. Where I muft enquire,

First, What is here meant by the Heaven and the Earth. Secondly, How both thefe are faid to be made. Thirdly, Why the making of them is peculiarly afcrib'd to God the Father. For the

First, We read that the antient Hebrews had no one word to fignify the World, and therefore were wont to exprefs it by these two, Heaven and Earth; and fometimes more, adding, the Sea and all things therein. This is the general Language of the Old Teftament, and is frequently follow'd and retain'd in the New. The Heavens and the Earth (we know) are the two great constituent Parts of the World, and are indeed the two great Apartments of this large and fpacious Fabrick: yea, we find the World often represented in Scripture as a great Houfe, Building, or Temple, where the Heavens are as it were the Arched Roof or Canopy, the Seat of the fuperiour invifible Beings; the Earth as the Floor or Pavement, where Mankind and all other Creatures walk and inhabit. Now because the Whole differs not from the Parts taken together and united, therefore by the Heaven and the Earth here we

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