The Second Information.
IF no man knoweth, What is good for a man in this Life, then it Informeth us, That we should be as ready to receive evil, as well as good, at the Hands of God. We are not to be our own Carvers in respect of Conditions. When Job was in his sad Condition, the Devil stirred up his Wife, to tempt him to Blasphemy, and Impa∣tiency. But see what answer Job returns to her, Job 2. 10. Thou speakest as one of the foolish Wo∣men, &c. Where First, He Reprehends her. Se∣condly, He Instructeth Her. Shall we, saith he, receive Good at the Hands of God, and not re∣ceive Evil; (q. d.) Have I, for so many Years, received so many good things, and blessings, from the Hand of God; and shall I not now, receive these Crosses and Afflictions? Now, receiving Evil from the Hand of God, stands in this, In a Sweet, and Patient Submission, to the Will and Dispensa∣tion of God; being content, with what God send∣eth, whether it be good or evil, and that upon these Considerations.
1. That God knoweth, what is better for us in this life, then we do; since no Man knoweth, what is good for man in this life.
2. That Good and Evil, come both, from one and the same God. It is the Lord that gives, and that takes away. As we have Blessings, by Divine Page 91 Donation, so Afflictions, by Divine Ordination. It is God, that bringeth not only Men, and their Comforts, but also Men, and their Crosses, toge∣ther.
3. As Good and Evil, come from the same God, so they may come from the same Affection in God; They may both come from Love. The Apostle James, puts this Question, Can a Fountain send forth sweet water and bitter? Jam. 3. 11. Yet from the same Fountain of Divine Love, may issue the sweet Waters of Comfort, and the bitter Waters of Afflictions. The same Love, that moves a Fa∣ther, to bestow an Inheritance on his Child, moves him also, to Correct his Child.
4. All Evils, come from a God, that hath a So∣veraign Power over us, and may do with us, what he pleaseth. A God that may give, and take away; and who can say to Him, What doest Thou? A God that hath Right to all that we have, and so may take away what he please. In taking away, he takes a∣way, but what is His own. It is observable in Scri∣pture, That the Lord claimeth an Interest, in all that belongs to Man, (viz.) The Earth, and the Fulness thereof; and so, whatsoever it affordeth to man, Whether Fields, full of Corn; or Foulds, full of Sheep; or Orchards, full of Fruit; or Sta∣bles, full of Meat. The very Cattel, and the Beasts of the Earth, are the Lords, Psal. 50. 10. All the Beasts of the Forrest are mine. The Beasts of the Forrest, are of a wild nature, and commonly know no Master; and yet of these, The Lord saith, they are His: So also, He saith of Gold, and Silver, Hag. 2. 8. Thy Gold and Silver, is mine. Yea, the Wool, and the Flax we have. Hos. 2. 8. He saith, Page 92It is His. So that God, in taking away any thing from us, takes away but what is His own.
5. All Evils, come from the Hand of a Powerful God, with whom there is no Contending. When a great Philosopher was chekt, for yielding in a Discourse he had with Adrian the Emperour, he gave this Answer, Should I not yield to him, that hath Thirty Legions at command? There is no Contesting with Soveraignty, no Resisting Omnipotency, no Striving with our Maker. The Earthen Pitcher, by striking against a Rock, doth but dash it self to pieces.
6. All Evils, come from a Righteous God, that can do His creature no wrong, Gen. 18. 25. Shall not the Judg of all the Earth do Right? Rom. 3. 5. Is God Vnrighteous, (saith the Apostle) that taketh Vengeance? And he answereth it, with a God forbid. So we may say, Is God Unrighteous, that sendeth Affliction? God forbid, Deut. 32. 4. All His wayes are Judgment.
7. All Evils come from that God, that can bring Good out of Evil, and Light out of Dark∣ness; that can turn Water into Wine, and make us Spiritual Gainers, by Temporal Afflictions. He sometimes pulls down, to build up better; and sometimes takes away, when He intends a greater Good.
Thus for the Use of Information.