Life eternall or, A treatise of the knowledge of the divine essence and attributes Delivered in XVIII. sermons. By the late faithfull and worthy minister of Iesus Christ, Iohn Preston, D. in Divinity, chaplaine in ordinary to his Majestie, master of Emmanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and sometimes preacher of Lincolns Inne.
Preston, John, 1587-1628., Ball, Thomas, 1589 or 90-1659., Goodwin, Thomas, 1600-1680.
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GODS NAME, AND ATTRIBVTES. THE FIRST SERMON.


HEBREWES 11.6.

He that commeth to God, must beleeve that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seeke him.

HAVING undertaken to goe through the whole body of Theologie, I will first give you a briefe definition of the thing it selfe, which we call Divini∣tie, it is this;

It is that heavenly wisdome,*or forme of wholesome words, revealed by the Holy Ghost, in the Scripture, touching the knowledge of Page  2 God, and our selves, whereby we are taught the way to eternall life.

[ 1] I call it [heavenly wisdome] for so it is called, 1 Cor. 2.13.*The wisdome which we teach, is not in the words, which mans wisdome teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. So likewise the Apostle in another place calls it, The forme of wholesome words;* that is, That systeme, or comprehension of wholesome Doctrine delivered in the Scripture.

Now it differs from other systemes, and bo∣dies of Sciences:*

1 Because it is revealed from above; all other knowledge is gathered from things below.

2 Againe, all other sciences are taught by men, but this is taught by the Holy Ghost.

3 All other knowledge is delivered in the writings of men, but this is revealed to us in the holy Word of God, which was written by God himselfe, though men were the mediate pen-men of it; therefore, I adde that, to distinguish it from all other Sciences; that, It is not revealed by men, but by the holy Ghost, not in bookes written by men, but in the holy Scriptures.

[ 2] In the next place I adde the object, about which this wisdome is conversant, it is the knowledge of God, and of our selves. And so it is likewise distin∣guished from all other knowledge, which hath some other objects. It is the knowledge of God, that is, of God, not simply considered, or abso∣lutely, in his Essence, but as he is in reference and relation to us.

And againe, it is not simply the knowledge of Page  3 our selves, (for many things in us belong to o∣ther arts and sciences) but as wee stand in refe∣rence to God; so that these are the two parts of it; the knowledge of God, in reference to us; and of our selves, in reference to him.

[ 3] Last of all, it is distinguished by the end, towhich it tends, which it aymes at, which is to teach us the way to eternall life: And therein it dif∣fers from all other sciences whatsoever; for they onely helpe some defects of understanding here in this present life: for where there is some fai∣ling or defect,* which common reason doth not helpe, there arts are invented to supply and recti∣fie those defects; but this doth somewhat more, it leads us the way to eternall life: for, as it hath in it a principall above all others, so it hath an higher end than others: for as the well-head is higher, so the streams ascend higher than others. And so much for this description, what this summe of the doctrine of Theologie is.*

The parts of it are two:

  • 1 Concerning God.
  • 2 Concerning our selves.

Now concerning God,* 2. things are to be known:*

  • 1 That he is; both these are set downe in the Text.
  • 2 What he is. both these are set downe in the Text.

1 That God is,* wee shall finde that there are two wayes to prove it, or to make it good to us:

  • 1 By the strength of naturall reason.
  • 2 By faith.*

That wee doe not deliver this vvithout ground, looke into Romans 1 20.*For the invi∣sible Page  4 things of him, that is, his eternall power, and God-head, are seene by the creation of the world, be∣ing considered in his workes, so that they are with∣out excuse. So likewise, Act. 17.27, 28. you shall see there what the Apostle saith,* that they should seeke after the Lord, if happily they might grope af∣ter him, and finde him: for he is not farre from eve∣ry one of us: for in him we live, move, and have our being: That is, by the very things that wee handle and touch, wee may know that there is a God; and also, by our owne life, motion, and be∣ing, we may learne that there is a Dietie, from whence these proceed: For the Apostle speaketh this to them, that had no Scripture to teach them. So likewise, Act. 14.17.*Neverthelesse, hee hath not left himselfe without witnesse, in giving us fruit∣full seasons: As if those did beare witnesse of him, that is, those workes of his in the creatures. So that you see, there are two wayes to come to the knowledge of this, that God is; One, I say, is by naturall reason: Or else to make it more plaine, we shall see this in these two things:

1 There is enough in the very creation of the world, to declare him unto us.

2 There is a light of the understanding, or reason, put into us, whereby we are able to dis∣cerne those characters of God stamped in the creatures, whereby we may discerne the invisible things of God, his infinite power and wisdome; and when these are put together, that which is writ∣ten in the creature, there are arguments enough in them, and in us there is reason enough, to see Page  5 the force of those arguments, and thence we may conclude that there is a GOD, besides the argu∣ments of Scripture, that wee have to reveale it. For, though I said before, that Divinity was re∣vealed by the HOLY GHOST, yet there is this difference in the points of Theologie:* Some truths are wholly revealed, and have no foot-steps in the creatures, no prints in the creation, or in the workes of GOD, to discerne them by, and such are all the mysteries of the Gospell, and of the Tri∣nitie: other truths there are, that have some vestigia, some characters stamped upon the crea∣ture, whereby wee may discerne them, and such is this which wee now have in hand, that, There is a God.*

Therefore we will shew you these two things:

  • 1 How it is manifest from the creation.
  • 2 How this point is evident to you by faith.

3 A third thing i will adde, that this God whom we worship, is the only true God.

Now for the first, to explicate this, that, The power and God-head is seene in the creation of the world.

Besides those Demonstrations else-where handled,* drawne from the Creation in generall, as from:

1 The sweet concent and harmony the crea∣tures have among themselves.

2 The fitnesse and proportion of one unto another.

3 From the reasonable actions of creatures, in themselves unreasonable.

Page  64 The great and orderly provision that is made for all things.

5 The combination and dependance that is among them.

6 The impressions of skill and workmanship that is upon the creatures. All which argue that there is a God.

There remaine three other principall argu∣ments to demonstrate this:

[ 1] The consideration of the Originall of all things, which argues that they must needs bee made by GOD,* the Maker of Heaven and Earth; which wee will make good to you by these parti∣culars:

If man was made by him, for whom all things are made,* then it is certaine that they are made also. For the argument holds; If the best things in the world must have a beginning, then surely those things that are subserving, and subordinate to them, must much more have a beginning.

Now that man was made by him,* consider but this reason;

The father that begets, knowes not the making of him; the mother that conceives, knowes it not; neither doth the formative vertue, (as we call it) that is, that vigour that is in the materials, that shapes, and fashions, and articulates the body in the wombe, that knowes not what it doth. Now is is certaine; that he that makes any thing, must needs know it perfectly, and all the parts of it, though the stander by may be ignorant of it. As for example; he that makes a statue, knowes how Page  7 every particle is made; he that makes a Watch, or any ordinary worke of art, he knowes all the junctures, all the wheeles, and commissures of it, or else it is impossible that hee should make it: now all these that have a hand in making of man, know not the making of him, not the father, nor the mother, nor that which wee call the forma∣tive vertue, that is, that vigour which is in the materials, which workes and fashions the bodie, as the work-man doth a statue, and gives severall limbes to it, all these know it not: therefore hee must needs be made by God, and not by man: and therefore see how the Wise-man reasons, Psal. 94.9.*Hee that made the eye, shall he not see? he that made the eare, shall not he heare? &c. that is, he that is the maker of the engines, or organes, or senses, or limbes of the body, or hee that is maker of the soule, and faculties of it, it is cer∣taine that he must know, though others doe not, the making of the body and soule, the turnings of the will, and the windings of the understanding; all those other are but as pensils in the hand of him that doth all; the pensill knowes not what it doth, though it drawes all, it is guided by the hand of a skilfull Painter, else it could do nothing; the Painter only knoweth what he doth; so that formative vertue, that vigour that formes the bo∣die of a man, that knowes no more what it doth, than the pensill doth, but he in whose hand it is, who sets it on worke, it is he that gives vigour and vertue to that seed in the womb, from whence the bodie is raised, it is he that knows it, for it is he Page  8 that makes it. And this is the first particular by which wee prove that things were made, and had not their originall from themselves. The se∣cond is:

[ 2] If things were not made, then, it is certaine, that they must have a being from themselves:* Now to have a being from it selfe, is nothing else but to be God: for it is an inseparable propertie of God, to have his being from himselfe. Now if you will acknowledge, that the creatures had a being of themselves, they must needs be Gods; for it belongs to him alone, to have a being of himselfe, and from himselfe. The third followes, which I would have you chiefly to marke.

[ 3] If things have a being from themselves, it is certaine then that they are without causes;* as for example; That which hath no efficient cause, (that is) no maker, that hath no end. Looke up∣on all the workes made by man (that we may ex∣presse it to you;) take an house, or any worke, or instrument that man makes; therefore it hath an end, because he that made it, propounded such an end to himselfe; but if it have no maker, it can have no end: for the end of any thing is that which the maker aymes at. Now if things have no end, they could have no forme: for the forme and fashion of every thing ariseth only from the end, which the maker propounds to himselfe; as for example, the reason, why a knife hath such a fashion, is, because it was the end of the maker, to have it an instrument to cut with: the reason why an axe or hatchet hath another fashion, is, because Page  9 it might be an instrument to chop with; and the reason, why a key hath another fashion different from these, is, because the maker propounded to himselfe another end, in making of it, namely, to open lockes with; these are all made of the same matter, that is, of iron, but they have divers fa∣shions, because they have severall ends, which the maker propounds to himselfe. So that, if there be no ends of things, there is no forme, nor fa∣shion of them, because the ground of all their fa∣shions, is their severall ends. So then wee will put them all together; if there be no efficient, no maker of them, then there is no end, and if there be no end, then there is no forme nor fashion, and if there be no forme, then there is no matter, and so consequently, they have no cause; and that which is without any cause, must needs bee God; which I am sure none dares to affirme; and there∣fore they have not their being of themselves. But besides that negative argument, by bringing it to an impossibilitie, that the creatures should be Gods, wee will make it plaine by an affirmative argument, that all the creatures have an end.

For looke upon all the creatures, and we shall see that they have an end;* the end of the Sunne, Moone and Starres is, to serve the Earth; and the end of the Earth is, to bring forth Plants; and the end of Plants is, to feed the beasts: and so if you looke to all particular things else, you shall see that they have an end, and if they have an end, it is certaine, there is one did ayme at it, and did give those creatures, those several fashions, which Page  10 those severall ends did require: As for example, What is the reason, why a horse hath one fashi∣on, a dog another, sheepe another, and oxen ano∣ther? The reason is plaine, a horse was made to runne, and to carry men; the oxen to plow; a dog to hunt, and so of the rest. Now this can∣not be without an author, without a maker, from whom they have their beginning. So likewise this is plaine by the effects: for this is a sure rule: Whatsoever it is, that hath no other end, but it selfe, that seekes to provide for its owne happi∣nesse in looking no further than it selfe; and this is only in God, blessed for ever; he hath no end but himselfe, no cause above himselfe, therefore he lookes only to himselfe, and therein doth his happinesse consist. Take any thing that will not goe out of its owne sphere, but dwels within its owne compasse, stands upon its owne bottome to seeke its happinesse, that thing destroyes it selfe; looke to any of the creatures, and let them not stirre out of their owne shell, they perish there. So, take a man that hath no further end than him∣selfe,* let him seeke himselfe, make himselfe his end in all things he doth, looke only to his owne profit and commodity, such a man destroyes himselfe: for he is made to serve God, and men, and therein doth his happinesse consist, because that hee is made for such an end: take those that have beene serviceable to God, and men, that have spent themselves in serving God, with a perfect heart, we see that such men are happie men; and doe we not finde it by experience, that those Page  11 that have gone a contrary way, have destroyed themselves? And this is the third particular.

[ 4] 4 If things had no beginning,* if the world was from eternitie; what is the reason there are no monuments of more ancient times, than there are? For, if wee consider what eternity is, and what the vastnesse of it is, that when you have thought of millions of millions of yeares, yet still there is more beyond: if the world hath been of so long continuance, what is the reason, that things are but, as it were, newly ripened? what is the reason, that things are of no greater anti∣quity than they are? Take all the Writers that ever wrote, (besides the Scripture) and they all exceed not above foure thousand yeares; for they almost all agree in this, that the first man, that had ever any history written of him, was Ninus, who lived about Abrahams time, or a little be∣fore; Trogus Pompeius, and Diodorus Siculus a∣gree in this. Plutarch saith, that Theseus, was the first, before him there was no history of truth, nothing credible; and this is his expression: Take the Histories of times before Theseus, and you shall finde them to be but like skirts, in the maps, wherein you shall finde nothing but vast Seas. Varro, one of the most learned of their Writers, professeth, that before the kingdome of the Si∣cyonians, which begun after Ninus time, that be∣fore that time nothing was certaine, and the be∣ginning of that was doubtfull, and uncertain. And their usuall division of all history, into fabulous, and certaine, by Historians, is well knowne, to Page  12 those that are conversant in them; and yet the Hi∣storians, that are of any truth, began long after the Captivitie in Babylon; for Herodotus, that li∣ved after Esthers time, is counted the first that ever wrote in Prose, and he was above eight hun∣dred yeares after Moses time. For conclusion of this, we will only say, that which one of the an∣cientest of the Roman Poets, drawing this con∣clusion from the argument we have in hand, saith, If things were from eternitie, and had not a be∣ginning;

Cur supra bellum Thebanum & funera Trojae
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetae?
If things were from eternitie, what is the reason, that before the Theban and Trojan warre, all the ancient Poets, and ancient Writers did not make mention of any thing? Doe you thinke, if things had beene from eternitie, there would be no monuments of them, if you consider the vastnesse of eternitie, what it is? So likewise for the beginning of Arts and Sciences; what is the reason that the origi∣nall of them is knowne? why were they no soo∣ner found out? why are they not sooner perfe∣cted? Printing, you know, is a late invention; and so is the invention of Letters: take all Scien∣ces, the ancientest, as Astrologie and Philosophy, as well as the Mathematickes; why are their authors yet known, & we see them in the blade, and not in the fruit? So for the Genealogies of men (for that I touch, because it is an argument insinuated by Paul, when hee disputed with the Heathens, Page  13Acts 17.26. That God hath made of one bloud all mankinde) you see evidently how one man begets another, and he another, &c. and so goe and take all the Genealogies in the Scripture, and in all other historiographers, we shall see, that they all come to one well-head. Now, I aske, if the world was from eternitie, what is the reason that there is but one fountaine, one bloud whereof we are all made? Why should they not be made all together? Why was not the earth peopled together, and in every Land a multitude of in∣habitants together, if they had beene from eter∣nitie, and had no beginning?

[ 2] The second principall Head, by which wee will make this good to you, that there is a God,* that made Heaven and Earth, is, the testimony of God himselfe. There is a double testimony; one is the written testimony, which we have in the Scripture; the other is, that testimony, which is written in the hearts of men.

Now, you know that all Nations do acknow∣ledge a God, (this we take for granted) yea, even those that have been lately discovered, that live, as it were, disjoyned from the rest of the world, yet they all have, and worship a God; those Na∣tions discovered lately by the Spaniards, in the West Indies, and those that have beene discovered since; all of them, without exception, have it written in their hearts, that there is a God. Now the strength of the argument lies in these two things:

1 I observe that phrase used, Rom. 2.15. It is Page  14 called a law written in their hearts.* Every mans soule is but, as it were, the table or paper, upon which the writing is; the thing written is this principle that we are now upon, that there is a God, that made Heaven and Earth: but now who is the Writer? surely it is God, which is evident by this; because it is a generall effect in the heart of every man living, and therefore it must come from a generall cause: from whence else shall it proceed? no particular cause can produce it; if it were, or had beene taught by some particular man, by some sect, in some one Nation or King∣dome, in one age, then, knowing the cause, wee should see that the effect would not exceed it, but when you finde it in the hearts of all men, in all Nations and ages; then you must conclude, it was an universall effect, written by the generall Author of all things, which is God alone; and so consequently, the argument hath this strength in it, that it is the testimony of God.

2 Besides, when you see every man looking after a God, and seeking him, it is an argument that there is one, though they doe not finde him: it is true, they pitch upon a false god, and goe the wrong way to seeke him, yet it shewes that there is such a Deity. For as in other things; when we see one affect that thing which another doth not; as to the eye of one, that is beautifull which is not to another, yet all affecting some beauty; it is an argument that beauty is the general object of all, and so in taste & other senses. So when we see men going different waies, some worshipping one God,Page  15 some another, yet all conspiring in this, to wor∣ship a God, it must needs argue that there is one: for this law ingraven in every mans heart, you will grant that it is a work of Nature at least, and the workes of Nature are not in vaine; even as, when you see the fire to ascend above the aire, it argues that there is a place where it would rest, though you never saw it; and as, in winter, when you see the Swallowes flying to a place, though you never saw the place, yet you must needs ga∣ther that there is one which Nature hath appoin∣ted them, and hath given them an instinct to flye unto, and there to be at rest; so when you see in every mans soule such an instigation to seeke God, though men never saw him, and the most goe the wrong way to seeke him, and take that for God which is not, yet this argues there is a Deitie which they intend. And this is the third.

[ 3] The last argument is taken from the soule of man,*the fashion of it, and the immortality of it.

[ 1] First, God is said to have made man after his owne Image; hee doth not meane his bodie, for that is not made after the Image of God; neither is it only that holinesse which was created in us, and now lost: for then he would not have said, Gen. 9.6.*He that sheds mans bloud, by man shall his bloud be shed, for in the Image of GOD made hee man. The principall intent of that place, is (for ought I can see or judge) of that Scripture (spea∣king of the naturall fashion of things, and not of the supernaturall graces) it is, to expresse that God hath given a soule to man, that carries the Page  16 Image of God, a likenesse to the Essence of God, immateriall, immortall, invisible; for there is a double Image of God in the soule, one in the sub∣stance of it, which is never lost; another is the su∣pernaturall grace, which is an Image of the knowledge, holinesse, and righteousnesse of God, and this is utterly lost. But the soule is the Image of the Essence of God, (as I may so speake) that is, it is a spirit immateriall, immortall, invisible, as he is; hath understanding and will, as he hath; he understands all things, and wils whatsoever he pleaseth. And you see an expression of him in your owne soule, which is an argument of the Deitie.

[ 2] Secondly, besides, the immortalitie of the soule, which argues it came not from any thing here below, but that it hath its originall from God; it came from GOD, and to GOD it must re∣turne; that is, it had not any beginning here, it had it from him, and to him againe it must re∣turne. For what is this body, wherein the soule is? it is but the case of the soule, the shell, and sheath of it; therefore the soule useth it but for a time, and dwels in it, as a man dwels in a house, while it is habitable, but when it is growne rui∣nous, he departeth: the soule useth the body, as a man doth a vessell, when it is broken, he layes it aside; or as a man doth an instrument, whilest it will be serviceable to him; but when it is no lon∣ger fit to play upon, he casts it aside; so doth the soule, as it were, lay aside the body: for it is but as a garment that a man useth; when it is worne Page  17 out, and threed-bare, he casts it off: so doth the soule with the body. And for the further proofe of this, and that it depends not on the body, nor hath its originall of it, or by it; consider the great acts of the soule, which are such, as cannot arise from the temper of the matter, be it never so curious: As the discourse of the soule from one generall to another; the apprehension of so high things, as God, and Angels; the devising of such things as never came into the senses. For, though it be true, that sounds and colours be car∣ried into the understanding by the senses; yet to make pictures of these colours, and musicke of these sounds, this is from the understanding with∣in: So the remembrance of things past; obser∣ving the condition of things, by comparing one with another. Now, looke upon bruit beasts, we see no actions but may arise from the temper of the matter; according to which their fancie and appetite are fashioned; though some actions are stronger than others, yet they arise not above the Well-head of sense: all those extraordinary things, which they are taught to doe, it is but for their food, as Hawkes, and some Pigeons, it is re∣ported, in Assyria that they carry Letters from one place to another, where they use to have food; so other beasts that act dancing, and such like motions, it is done by working on their sen∣ses: but come to man, there are other actions of his understanding and will in the soule: It is true indeed, in a man there are fancie and appetite, and these arise from the temper of the body; there∣fore Page  18 as the body hath a different temper, so there are severall appetites, dispositions and affections; some man longs after one thing, some after ano∣ther, but these are but the severall turnings of the sensuall appetite, (which is also seene in beasts) therefore when the soule is gone, these remaine no longer; but come to the higher part of the soule, the actions of the will, and understanding of man, and they are of an higher nature; the acts which they doe, have no dependance upon the body at all: Besides, come to the motions of the body; the soule guides and moves the body, as a Pilot doth a ship, (now the Pilot may be safe, though the ship be split upon the rocke.) Looke on beasts, they are led wholly as their ap∣petite carries them, and they must goe that way; therefore they are not ruled, as a Pilot governes a ship: but in men, their appetites would carry them hither, or thither, but the will saith no, and that hath the understanding for its counseller. So that the motions of the body arise not from the diversity of the sensuall appetites, as in all other creatures, but of the will and understanding; for the soule depends not upon the body, but the acts of the body depend upon it: therefore, when the body perisheth, the soule dies not; but, as a man that dwels in a house; if the house fall, he hath no dependance on it, but may goe away to ano∣ther house; so the soule hath no dependance up∣on the bodie at all; therefore you must not think that it doth die when the body perisheth.

Besides, the soule is not worne, it is not weary, Page  19 as other things are; the body is weary, and the spirits are weary: the body weares, as doth a garment, till it be wholly worne out: now, any thing that is not weary, it cannot perish; but, in the very actions of the soule it selfe there is no wearinesse, but whatsoever comes into the soule perfects it, with a naturall perfection, and it is the stronger for it; therefore it cannot be subject to decay, it cannot weare out, as other things doe, but the more notions it hath, the more perfect it is: the body, indeed, is weary with labour, and the spirits are weary, but the soule is not weary, but in the immediate acts of it, the soule it works still, even when the body sleepeth: Looke upon all the actions of the soule, and they are indepen∣dent, and as their independencie growes, so the soule growes younger and younger, and stronger and stronger, senescens juvenescit, and is not sub∣ject to decay, or mortalitie: as you see in a Chic∣ken, it growes still, and so the shell breakes, and falls off: so is it with the soule, the body hangs on it, but as a shell, and when the soule is growne to perfection, it falls away, and the soule returnes to the Maker.

The next thing that I should come to,* is to shew you how this is made evident by faith. When a man hath some rude thoughts of a thing, and hath some reason for it, he then begins to have some perswasion of it; but when, besides, a man wise and true, shall come, and tell him it is so, this addes much strength to his confidence: for when you come to discerne this God-head, and to know Page  20 it by reasons from the creatures, this may give you some perswasion; but when one shall come, and tell you out of the Scripture, made by a wise and true God, that it is so indeed; this makes you confirmed in it. Therefore the strength of the argument by faith, you may gather after this manner: Yee beleeve the Scriptures to be true, and that they are the Word of God; now this is contained in the Scriptures, that God made Heaven and Earth; therefore, beleeving the Scriptures to be the Word of God, and whatsoever is contai∣ned in them; hence faith layes hold upon it also, and so our consent growes strong and firme, that there is a God: After this manner you come to conclude it by faith. For what is faith? Faith is, but when a thing is propounded to you, even as an object set before the eye, there is an habit of faith within, that sees it what it is; for faith is nothing else, but a seeing of that which is: for though a thing is not true, because I beleeve it is so, yet things first are, and then I beleeve them. Faith doth not beleeve things imaginary, and such as have no ground; but whatsoever faith be∣leeves, it hath a being, and the things we beleeve, doe lye before the eye of reason, sanctified and elevated by the eye of faith; therefore Moses, when he goes about to set downe the Scripture, hee doth not prove things by reason, but pro∣pounds them, as, In the beginning GOD made the Heaven and Earth; he propounds the object, and leaves it to the eye of faith to looke upon. For the nature of faith is this: God hath given to man Page  21 an understanding facultie, (which we call, Rea∣son) the object of this is all the truths that are de∣livered in the world, & whatsoever hath a being. Now take all things that we are said to beleeve, and they also are things that are, and which are the true objects of the understanding and reason. But the understanding hath objects of two sorts:

1 Such as we may easily perceive, as the eye of man doth the object that is before him.

2 Such as we see with more difficulty, and can∣not doe▪ it, without something above the eye to elevate it: As the candle and the bignesse of it, the eye can see; but to know the bignesse of the Sunne, in the latitude of it, you must have instru∣ments of art to see it, and you must measure it by degrees, and so see it: So is it here, some things we may fully see by reason alone, and those are such as lye before us, and them wee may easi∣ly see: but other things there are, that though they are true, yet they are more remote, and further off; therefore they are harder to bee seene; and therefore we must have something to helpe our understanding to see them. So that indeed, Faith, it is but the lifting up of the un∣derstanding, by adding a new light to them and it; and therefore they are said to be revealed, not because they were not before, as if the revealing of them gave a being unto them; but, even as a new light in the night discovers to us that which we did not see before, and as a prospective glasse reveales to the eye, that which we could not see before, and by its owne power, the eye could not Page  22 reach unto. So that the way to strengthen our selves by this argument, is to beleeve the Scrip∣tures; and the things contained in them.

Now you should see, why we are to beleeve the Scriptures; but this wee must leave till the next time. We will now come to some use of the point, for wee are not to dismisse you without some application, but we must insert some uses here and there.

[Vse 1] When you heare these arguments, and this conclusion proving that there is a God,* the use you should make of it, is, to labour daily to strengthen our faith in this principle, and to have an eye at God in all our actions, for this is the reason given in the Text, why one man comes to God, because he beleeves that he is, and another doth not, be∣cause he beleeves it but by halves; if they did be∣leeve this fully, they would serve God with a perfect heart. What is the reason, that Moses breaks thorow all impediments,* he had temptati∣ons on both sides; Prosperitie and preferment on the one side, and adversity and afflictions on the other, yet he passeth thorow wealth and pover∣tie, honour and dishonour, and goes straight on in the way to heaven, and 〈◊〉 reason is added in the Text, because hee saw him that was invisible; even so, if you did see him that was invisible, the God wee now speake of, as you see a man that stands before you, your wayes would be more even, and wee should walke with him more up∣rightly than we doe, if we did but beleeve, that it is he that fills the heaven and earth; as he saith of himselfe, Ier. 23.24.*

Page  23Some may here say; [Object.] How can we see him that is invisible? here is oppositum in adjecto, to see him that is invisible.

[Answ.] Come to the body of a man, you can see no∣thing but the outside, the outward bulke and hide of the creature, yet there is an immateriall, invi∣sible substance within, that fils the body; so come to the body of the world, there is a God that fills Heaven and Earth, as the soule doth the body. Now to draw this a little nearer, that invisible, immateriall substance, the soule of man which stands at the doores of the body, and lookes out at the windows of the eyes, and of the eares, both to see and heare, which yet wee see not; yet it is this soule that doth all these; for if the soule be once gone out of the house of the body, the eye sees no more, the eare heares no more, than an house or chamber can see, when there is no body in it; and as it is the spirituall substance within the body that sees, and heares, and understands all; so apply this to God that dwells in Heaven and Earth; that as, though you see not the soule, yet every part of the body is full of it; so if we looke into the world, we see that it is filled, and yet God (like as the soule) is in every place, and fills it with his presence; he is present with every creature, he is in the aire, and in your selves, and seeth al your actions, and heareth al your words; and if we could bring our selves to a setled per∣swasion of this, it would cause us to walke more evenly with God than we do, and to converse with him after another manner; when a man is pre∣sent, Page  24 yea, are sollicitous, thinking what that soule thinkes of you, how that soule is affected to you; so if you beleeved God were in the world, it would make you have an eye to him in all your actions, as he hath an eye to you, and to have a speciall care to please him in all things, rather than to please men. And this is the ground of all the dif∣ference betweene men: One man beleeves it ful∣ly that there is such a mighty God; another be∣leeves it but by halves; and therefore one man hath a care, only to please God in all things, and to have an eye to him alone; the other beleeving it but by halves, he seeketh and earnestly followeth other things, and is not so sollicitous what the Lord thinkes of him.

The thing therfore which we exhort you unto, is, that you would endevor to strengthen that prin∣ciple more and more. We speake not to Atheists now, but to them that beleeve there is a God, and yet we do not think our labour lost: For, though there be an assent to this truth in us, yet it is such an one as may receive degrees, and may be streng∣thened: for I know that there are few perfect A∣theists, yet there are some degrees of Atheisme left in the best of Gods children, which wee take not notice of; for there is a two-fold Atheisme:

*1 One is, when a man thinkes that there is no God, and knowes he doth so.

2 Another kinde of Atheisme is, when a man doubts of the Deity, and observes it not. There are some degrees of doubting in the hearts of all men, as we shall see by these effects, that this un∣taken-notice-of Page  25 Atheisme doth produce. As, [ 1] when men shall avoid crosses, rather than sinne, not considering that the wrath and displeasure of God goes with it, which is the greatest evill that can befall us: What is the reason of it? That whereas the greatest crosse is exceeding light, if the wrath of God be put in the other ballance, what is the reason that yet this should over∣weigh the other, in our apprehension, if wee be fully perswaded of this principle, that God made Heaven and earth? What is the reason that when crosses and sinne come into competition, as two severall wayes, that we must goe one way; why will men rather turne aside from a crosse, to sinne against God, and violate the peace of their consci∣ences, rather than undergoe losses, or crosses, or imprisonment?

[ 2] Againe, what is the reason that we are so rea∣die to please, and loth to displease men, as a po∣tent friend or enemie, rather than God? If this principle were fully beleeved, that there is a God, that made Heaven and Earth, you would not doe so. The Prophet Isaiah doth expresse this most elegantly, Isai. 51.12, 13, 14.*Who art thou that art afraid of man that shall die, and the sonne of man, which shal be made as grasse, and forgettest the LORD thy Maker, which stretched forth the Heavens, and laid the foundation of the Earth? As if he should say, what Atheisme is this in the hearts of men?

Whence else are also those deceits, lyes, and shiftings, to make things faire with men, when they know that God is offended with it, who seeth all things.

Page  26What is the reason that men are so sensible of outward shame, more than of secret sinnes; and care so much what men thinke of them, and speake of them, and not what God sees or knows? Doth not this declare that men think as those A∣theists of whom Iob speakes, Iob 22. and doe they not conceive in some degree, as those doe, as if GOD did not descend beneath the circle of the hea∣vens to the earth,* and his eyes were barred by the curtaines of the night, that he did not take notice of the wayes of men; and looke how men doe this in a greater measure, so much greater A∣theisme they have.

[ 4] Againe, if you doe beleeve that there is such a God, what is the reason when you have any thing to doe, that you runne to creatures, and seek help from them, and busie your selves wholly about outward meanes, and seeke not to God by prayer, and renewing of your repentance? if you did fully beleeve that there is a God, you would ra∣ther doe this.

[ 5] Againe, What is the reason that men are car∣ried away with the present, as Aristotle cals it, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, this same very (nunc) doth transport a man from the wayes of vertue to vice, that they are too busie about the body, and are carelesse of the immortall soule, that they suffer that to lye, like a forlorne prisoner, and to sterve within them? Would you doe so, if you did beleeve that there is such a God, that made the soule, to whom it must returne and give an account, and live with him for ever?

Page  27 [ 6] Againe, what is the reason that men doe seeke so for the things of this life, are so carefull in building houses, gathering estates, and preparing for themselves here such goodly mansions for their bodies, and spend no time to adorne the soule? (when yet these doe but grace us amongst men, and are only for present use) and looke not for those things which commend the soule to God, and regard not eternity in which the soule must live? I say, what is the reason of this, if there be not some grounds of secret Atheisme in men?

[ 7] What is the reason that there is such stupidity in men, that the threatnings will not move them, they will be moved with nothing, like beasts, but present strokes, that they doe not fore-see the plague to prevent it, but go on, and are punished? And so for Gods promises and rewards; Why will you not forbeare sinne, that you may receive the promises, and the rewards? Whence is this stupiditie both wayes? Why are we as beasts, led with sensuality, that we will not be drawne to that which belongs to God▪ and his Kingdome? Is not this an argument of secret Atheisme and impiety in the heart of every man, more or lesse?

[ 8] Againe, what is the reason, that when men come into the presence of God, they carry them∣selves so negligently, not caring how their soules are clad, and what the behaviour of their spirits is before him? If you should come before men, you would looke that your cloaths be neat and Page  28 decent, and you will carry your selves with such reverence, as becomes him, in whose presence you stand; this proceeds from Atheisme, in the hearts of men, not beleeving the Lord to be hee that fills the Heaven, and the Earth: Therefore, as you finde these things in you, more or lesse, so labour to confirme this principle more and more to your selves; and you should say, when you heare these arguments, certainly I will beleeve it more firmely, surely I will hover no more about it. To what end are more lights brought, but that you should see things more clearely, which you did not before? So that this double use you shall make of it:

[ 1] One is, to fix this conclusion in you hearts, and to fasten it daily upon your soules.

[Vse 2] The second is, if there be such a mightie God, then labour to draw such consequences as may arise from such a conclusion.*

As, if there be such a one that fils Heaven and Earth; then looke upon him, as one that sees all you doe, and heares whatsoever you speake: As when you see a ship passe thorow the sea, and see the sailes applied to the wind, and taken downe, and hoysed up againe, as the wind requires, and shall see it keepe such a constant course, to such a haven, avoiding the rockes and sands, you will say, surely there is one within that guides it; for it could not doe this of it selfe: or as when you look upon the body of man, and see it live and move, and doe the actions of a living man; you must needs say, the bodie could not doe this of it selfe, Page  29 but there must be something within that quic∣kens it, and causeth all the actions; even so when you looke upon the creatures, and see them to doe such things, which of themselves they are no more able to doe, than the body can doe the acti∣ons that it doth, without the soule: therefore hence you may gather that there is a God, that fils Heaven and Earth, and doth whatsoever hee pleaseth; and if this be so, then draw nigh to him, converse with him, and walke with him from day to day; observe him in all his dealings with us, and our dealings with him, and one with another; be thankfull to him for all the blessings wee enjoy, and flye to him for succour in all dangers, and upon all occasions.