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Sins may come to pass, which they suppose amongst other Things to be fore-ordained to come to pass. For this would be to pray for contrary Things, since, under this Petition, that Prayer is certainly included, that I may not sin, and that others may not fin and yet according to the forementioned Doctrine the Petition might include the direct Contrary, that is, that I and others may

sin if we were fore-ordained to it. But they speak rather according to Reason and Scripture, who say, that God foreseeing what wicked Men would do, if they were not hindred by his irresistible Power, decreed to leave them under their Liberty of finning in many Instances, and withal to bring Good out of their Evil

. Thus the Ambition and Tyranny of Heathen Kings was sometimes the Rod of God's Anger, to punish the Sins of his own People. Thus the Treachery of Judas proved one Means of bringing about that Redemption by the Death of Christ, which God had fore-ordained. And thus all kind of Evils are brought under his Providence without making Man's Sin to be the Effect of God's Decree, that is, of his Will.

But they are only the Commands of God ftill that are to be understood by his Will in this Petition, not those Counsels whereby the Sins of Men are over-rul'd to bring about his gracious and holy Purposes, and


that because there is no such Will of God performed in Heaven. For we pray that God's Will may be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. But in Heaven God's Will is perfectly obeyed. There is no Sin, no Evil, no Misery there, to be over-ruld to good Ends, not because God could not do it, if there was any Occasion, but that there is no such Occasion; and God, who would not suffer the fall’n Angels to tarry there, will suffer nothing that is unclean to enter there.

Wherefore the absolute Predetermination of Sin, which Doctrine is in it self False, and the making the foreseen Sins of Men the Means of bringing about wise and good Ends, which Doctrine is in it self True, are neither of them the Will of God, which we pray to be done in this Petition, because the first is not the Will of God, and the second is not That Will which Heaven yields any Example of

...) It remains then to enquire, whether the rest of God's Decrees concerning Things that are to come to pass, be in part that Will of God which we pray may be done.

And I shall shew that these cannot be intended in this place.

That by the Will of God here we are not to understand his Counsels and Decrees concerning Events that shall infallibly come to pass, tho' without the Foresight of any Evil done by. Man, is plain from this Confideration, that the doing of God's Will in Heaven is mentioned in this Petition as the Pattern of doing his Will on Earth. And this supposes what is always too true in the Experience, that his Will is not so perfectly done upon Earth as it is in Heaven, but that there is a compleat and perfect Example of doing his Will there, which we de: lire may be imitated by us here, where indeed it is seldom done in good Proportion to that Exactness wherewith it is done in Heaven. But we all know, that whatever God doth ordain should come to pass, is equally done, and with the fame Infallibility comes to pass, whether in Heaven oř on Earth. Those Providences of God, whichi are Executions of his absolute Promises, or his absolute Decrees, do no more fail uponi Earth than they do in Heaven. For the Counsel of the Lord that shall stand, Prov. 19. 21. and nothing can possibly hinder it. But now that Will which we pray may be done in this Petition, is not fo perfectly done upon Earth as it is in Heaven: And therefore it cannot be the Will of God's Decrees concerning any Events whatsoever, for that is equally accomplished in Heaven, and on Earth.

It seems plain then that the Laws of God, which he hath prescribed to us for the Rule of our Actions are to be under


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ftood in this place by the Will of God, and They Only. And I do not fee what can be alledged to the contrary, but this, that in this Petition, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, all good Men pray for nothing less than an absolute Resignation of themselves to the Providences of God, that they may in this approve his Ordaining of all Things in the World, his Sending of Affictions and Judgments, nay, and his Permission of Sins, To far as he permits them, that

they may be fully satisfied that he does all Things for the best, and that there is not the least Fault to be charged upon his Providence, nor ought there to be any Complaint of, or the least Murmuring against it : So that, let our Portion in this Life be what it will, be it for the better or the worse, as to our outward Condition, yet we ought not only to be Patient, but to be Thankful, and Chearfully to rely upon his Wisdom, Power and Goodness, and constantly to expect the fulfilling of all his gracious Promises. All good Men have thus understood this Petition, and I make no question but this in part ought to be understood by it, and falls under it. But then all this is plainly reducible to the Obedience of God's Commands. For such an Apprehension as this of God's Ways and Providences, that he is righteous in all his Ways, and holy in all his Works, is not only a Duty


required in Scripture, but shewn by natural Reason, and the Light of Nature. For he that is infinitely wife and good can do nothing but what is agreeable to infinite Wisdom and Goodness. And therefore whatever happens in the World to our selves or others, which we cannot endure without Trouble, should not yet quite deject us, because it happened by the Permifsion and Over-ruling of that Divine Providence which governs the World, to which nothing is Casual, which suffers nothing to ftraggle out of its Notice; and therefore because it is the Providence of the most just, wise, and good Being, we are or ought to be sure that it will produce Good out of this Evil, and he will make that which at present cannot be joyous, but grievous, to bring forth Events for his own Glory, and for our Good, tho' the Manner of it cannot be comprehended readily by our short Understand. ings. A Chearful and Contented Spirit under Affli&tions is our Duty, by virtue of a Number of Precepts in the Gospel, and shewn in divers Examples of Scripture. It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken

away, blessed be the Name of the Lord. And says our Saviour, Not my Will, but thine be done. We must in Duty submit our selves to the Hand of God. We must cast our Care upon him, who careth for us.


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