Gods providence, a sermon preached before the honourable House of Commons at their late solemne fast, Decemb. 28, 1642, in S. Margarets Church at Westminster by Ed. Corbett ...
Corbet, Edward, d. 1658.

2.God is All-knowing and Omnipresent with the Creatures.

What power of Man or Angell can cloud the Eyes of the Al∣mightie? what darknesse hideth from his face with whom the night shineth as the day;* the darknesse and light are both a like. A heathen will tell thee God is neare thee, he is with thee, he is with∣in thee; a father will tell thee, God is never from thee, the Shool∣men will tell thee, God is more present with thee then thou art with thy self, and give good reasons for what they say: And a∣bove all Saint Paul will tell thee Heb. 4.13. All things are naked and open unto the Eyes of him, with whom we have to do: No∣thing can escape his knowledge,* we are as it were divided and bowelled, without our clothes, without our skin, in the sight of Page  7 God. But when we are lockt in our chambers, the windowes shut, the curtaine drawn over our heads, when we are compassed about with stone walls, who then shall see us? Nemo te videt (saith Saint Bernard) non tamen nullus: No man indeed can see thee, but he seeth thee before whose tribunall thou must one day stand and give an account for every idle word. Thy good Angells see thee, and greeve at thy sinne, the Divell seeth thee, and rejoyceth at thy follie. The stones in the wall see thee, and are ready when God pleaseth to fall upon thee and to grinde thee to powder. But Gods power doth not rest here, his all seeing Eye is not termi∣nated in words and actions. He searcheth the raines,* he reads cleer∣ly the book of our soule, he heares our thoughts. this House of our body, walls of flesh cannot exclude the rayes of that Omnipotent Majestie, David in the 94. Psa. 81. will call them fools, who think o∣therwise; & he will give a reason for it in the 92. v. He that planted the eare shall not he heare? or he that formed the eye shall not he see? he that made the heart, shall not he know the wayes and works thereof? But Gods Eyes are purer yet, and I have not ex∣pressed the least part of their brightnesse: God understands our thoughts a far off Psal. 139.2. from all eternitie, saith Lyranus up∣pon that place, as soone as he had existence himself, and he was never without existence, he did know all the purposes, the secret motions, the deepest roote and grounde of all our cogitations. But alas who can measure that which is infinite? Our great God knoweth more yet, and which may make us adore and admire and tremble, beholds us in our proper and corrupt condition, he discerns much filth and great staines in the fairest soule, he seeth our carnall thoughts, our worldly thoughts, our presumptuous thoughts, our suspitious thoughts, our partiall thoughts, our curi∣ous thoughts, our vaine thoughts,* he seeth our wisest thoughts are foolishnesse, and our best thoughts have enough to condemne us. But O worme that I am, ashes, and nothing, and worse then nothing; why do I endeavour to fathome the depth of Gods knowledge, to describe that light which looketh further and further and hath no end of looking further. Whatsoever God seeth (and he seeth whatsoever hath been, and whatsoever is, Page  8 whatsoever will be or may be, he seeth whatsoever is to be seene and whatsoever is not to be seene) he rules and governs and com∣mands,* he directs to his own glory and mans salvation. Philoso∣phy will teach us that Angels can discover bad thoughts, by wicked actions, and judge of the soul by the temper of the body: But to see us from everlasting, and to see us in our. native fowle∣nesse and deformity, to know our thoughts before they were and so long before they were to dispose of them to his own ends, this is that altitudo of which Saint Paul speaks, into which the further we descend, the lower we may sink, and the more we know, the more we are ignorant.

O thou Christian then whosoever thou art, having fought a good fight, made conscience of thy ways, and kept thy selfe straight in the middest of a crooked generation, do not hang down thy head or remit one jot of thy zeale in goodnesse for the reproaches of Men, or the unjust censures of all the world, rather revive and quicken thy industry in every good cause, inflame thy holy life, and in despite of all the sharp arrowes of calumniation, run joyfully in the race of Gods service, raise thy languishing thoughts with David in the consideration of thy own sinceritie and innocence and single heart, comfort thy self with the ex∣ample of Christ,* who despised the shame for the joy which was set before him, and satisfie thy soule with Jobs resolution, behold now my witnesse is in Heaven, and my record is on high. When thou art going to any lewd Act, profane company, vaine pleasure, remember the God of Israel looks upon thee: If profit unhappily move thee to injustice, oppression or any other service of the Divell, if rotten lusts, unconstant honour, base ends, lay siege unto thy soul and endanger thy spirituall safety call to mind the presence of the Almightie. This one weapon of Divine Ar∣mory is powerful enough to confound a whole world of tempta∣tions and to conquer Hell it self. For will any man cut a purse be∣fore the Iudges face, and when he is sitting upon the Bench? will any man commit adultery in the open streets? Nothing hinders vice so much as nakednes: & if Seneca speak true, the greatest part of sins are committed for want of witnesses. How tender were Page  9 the primitive Christians herein? Who would not tell a lie to save their lives as Justin Martyr relates.* Saint Augustin proceeds further and will not admit a lie for the salvation of a mans soule. But Job hath a straine above all and will not have a lie told for the glory of God: that glory which is the greatest Good, which is the end of all things, which Moses preferr'd before his own e∣verlasting happinesse. O mercyfull Father how are we degene∣rated from those pious resolutions! what Spirit hardens our hearts? and devoures the conscience of these later generations which make lying a Profession, and are constant in nothing else? which maintaine the lawfulnesse thereof, and confirme on truths with Oathes and Imprecations. In Davids time the fool said in his heart there is no God, he durst not speak it with his tongue: But our Atheisme is raised to that height and boldnesse that we dare professe it in our words and Actions, we dare brag of our un∣cleannes in contempt as it were of heaven and in scorn of the Al∣mightie. Adde to this the filthines of sinne which our Saviour tells us Math. 15. defiles the Man, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 makes him Common which, by an Hebraisme, is profane, uncleane, beastly. Agreeable to which is that of Saint James lay aside all filthines and super∣fluitie of naughtines, filthines in the abstract, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 naughtines which is an excrement a nastie thing as odious and detestable in the nostrills of the Almightie, as our very excrements are to us. Vpon which ground Devout Anselme professed that he would rather be in Hell and free from sinne,* then polluted with the fil∣thines thereof possesse the Kingdome of Heaven. Now if every sinne be of this blotting beastly condition, if the Almightie be∣holds them in their vilest shape, in their greatest deformitie, what shall we think of those crying sinns, of unfaithfulnesse,* blasphe∣my, whoredom, murther, how do they difile us? what beasts and black Divells do they make us? what shall we think of this great and famous City lately the Governernesse of Truth, and Crown of true Religion, but now the sink and stinking dirt of all Heresies? My Author is in print and passeth without contradiction, and in a lan∣guage which forraigne Nations may understand: And this he further speaks as neare as I can translate him. I dare be bold to say Page  10 that more sects are risen in London in a yeare and half past then in the whole Christian world since the Apostles times in 1600 yeares: Irenaus reckons up about 20 diverse sects of Hereticks, Tertullian 27. Theo∣doret 76. Epiphan. 80. August. 88. Damas. 100. Philast. 128. All which being dead and buried many centuries of yeares since, are raised at this time and recalled from Hell by Handicrafts men, and the baser sort of people not without the great evill of the Londoners; Neither is there yet an end of multiplying Religions. I must confesse I stand amazed at the relation. And know not whether I should be angry with the book, or sorry for the Author, wish to the one lesse bitter∣nesse, or to the other more charitie.