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the Spirit, all things are. That which the Son doth hear of John xvi. the Father, and which the Spirit doth receive of the Father 13—15. and the Son, the same we have at the hands of the Spirit, as being the last, and therefore the nearest unto us in order, although in power the same with the second and the first. The wise and learned among the very heathens themselves, have all acknowledged some first cause, whereupon originally the being of all things dependeth. Neither have they otherwise spoken of that cause than as an agent, which knowing what and why it worketh, observeth in working a most exact order or law. Thus much is signified by that which Homer mentioneth, Alòs d'ételelero Boulñ. Thus much acknowledged by Mercurius Trismegistus, Toν πάντα κόσμον εποίησενό δημιουργός, ού χερσίν, αλλά λόγω.5 Thus much confessed by Anaxagoras and Plato, terming the maker of the world an intellectual worker. Finally, the Stoics, although imagining the first cause of all things to be fire, held nevertheless, that the same fire having art, did oδώ βαδίζειν επί γενέσει κόσμου. They all confess therefore, in the working of that first Cause, that counsel is used, reason followed, a way observed, that is
gay, constant order and law are kept, whereof itself must needs be author unto itself: otherwise it should have some worthier and higher to direct it, and so could not itself be the first; being the first, it can have no other than itself to be the author of that law which it willingly worketh by. God therefore is a law both to himself, and to all other things besides. To himself he is a law in all those things whereof our Saviour speaks, saying, "My Father worketh as yet, so I.” John God worketh nothing without cause. All those things which ". 17. are done by him, have some end for which they are done; and the end for which they are done, is a reason of his will to do them. His will had not inclined to create woman, but that he saw it could not be well if she were not created. “ Non est bonum, It is not good man should be alone;" therefore Gen. let us make a helper for him. That and nothing else is done i. 18. by God, which to leave undone were not so good. If therefore it be demanded, why God having power and ability infinite, the effects notwithstanding of that power are all so limited as we see they are the reason hereof is, the end which he
a Jupiter's counsel was accomplished. b The Creator made the whole world not with hands, but by reason. Stob. in Eclog. Phys.
& Proceed by a certain and a set way in the making of the world.
1. xi, 17.
Col. ii. 3.
hath proposed, and the law whereby his wisdom hath stinted the effects of his power in such sort, that it doth not work
infinitely, but correspondently unto that end for which it Sap. viii. worketh, even all things, xphotws, in most decent and comely
sort, all things in measure, number, and weight. The general end of God's eternal working, is the exercise of his most glorious and most abundant virtue: which abundance doth shew
itself in variety, and for that cause this variety is oftentimes Ephes. in Scripture expressed by the name of riches. “ The Lord hath Phil
. made all things for his own sake.” Not that any thing is made iv, 17. to be beneficial unto him, but all things for him to shew be
neficence and grace in them. The particular drift of every act Prov: proceeding eternally from God, we are not able to discern;
and therefore cannot always give the proper and certain reason of his works. Howbeit, undoubtedly, a proper and certain reason there is of every finite work of God, inasmuch as there is a law imposed upon it; which if there were not, it should be infinite even as the worker himself is. They err therefore, who think that of the will of God to do this or that, there is no reason besides his will. Many times no reason known to us; but that there is no reason thereof, I judge it
most unreasonable to imagine, inasmuch as he worketh all Ephes. things κατά την βουλήν του θελήματος αυτού, not only
cording to his own will," but“ the counsel of his own will.” And whatsoever is done with counsel or wise resolution, hath of necessity some reason why it should be done, albeit that reason be to us in some things so secret, that it forceth the wit of man to stand, as the blessed apostle himself doth, amazed thereat, “ O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments," &c. That law eternal which God himself hath made to himself, and thereby worketh all things, whereof he is the cause and author; that law, in the admirable frame whereof
shineth with most perfect beauty, the countenance of that Prov. wisdom which hath testified concerning herself, “ The Lord
possessed me in the beginning of his way, even before his works of old I was set up;" that law which hath been the pattern to make, and is the card to guide the world by; that law, which hath been of God, and with God everlastingly; that law, the author and observer whereof is, one only God, to be blessed for ever; how should either men or angels be able perfectly to behold? The book of this law. we
are neither able nor worthy to open and look into. That little whereof, which we darkly apprehend, we admire; the rest, with religious ignorance, we humbly and meekly adore. Seeing, therefore, that according to this law he worketh, “ of Rom. whom, through whom, and for whom, are all things;" although there seem unto us confusion and disorder in the affairs of this present world: “Tamen, quoniam bonus mundum Boet. lib. 4. rector temperat, recte fieri cuncta ne dubites: Letno man doubt de consol.
philos. but that every thing is well done, because the world is ruled by so good a guide," as transgresseth not his own law; than which, nothing can be more absolute, perfect, and just. The law whereby he worketh, is eternal, and therefore can have no show or colour of mutability. For which cause, a part of that law being opened in the promises which God hath made (because his promises are nothing else but declarations what God will do for the good of men) touching those promises the apostle hath witnessed, that God may as pos- 2 Tim. sibly deny himself, and not be God, as fail to perform them.
Heb. And concerning the counsel of God, he termeth it likewise vi. 17. a thing unchangeable; the counsel of God, and that law of God, whereof now we speak, being one. Nor is the freedom of the will of God any whit abated, let, or hindered, by means of this; because the imposition of this law upon himself, is his own free and voluntary act. This law therefore we may name eternal, being that order which God before all ages hath set down with himself for himself to do all things by.
3. I am not ignorant, that by law eternal, the learned for 'The law the most part do understand the order, not which God hath which naeternally purposed himself in all his works to observe, but have given rather that, which with himself he hath set down as expedient serve, and to be kept by all his creatures, according to the several con- their necesditions wherewith he hath endued them. They who thus are ner of accustomed to speak, apply the name of law unto that only keeping it. rule of working, which superior authority imposeth ; whereàs we somewhat more enlarging the sense thereof, term any kind of rule or canon, whereby actions are framed, a law. Now that law, which, as it is laid up in the bosom of God, they call eternal, receiveth, according unto the different kind of things which are subject unto it, different and sundry kinds of names. That part of it which ordereth natural agents, we call usually nature's law; that which angels do clearly behold, and without any answering observe, is a law celes
them to ob
tial and heavenly; the law of reason, that which bindeth creatures reasonable in this world, and with which by reason they most plainly perceive themselves bound ; that which bindeth them, and is not known but by special revelation from God, Divine law. Human law, that which out of the law, either of reason or of God, men probably gathering to be expedient they make it a law. All things therefore, which are as they ought to be, are conformed unto this second law eternal; and even those things which to this eternal law are not conformable, are notwithstanding in some sort ordered by the first eternal law. For what good or evil is there under the sun; what action correspondent or repugnant unto the law which God hath imposed upon his creatures, but in, or upon it, God doth work according to the law which himself hath eternally purposed to keep ; that is to say, the first eternal law ? So that a twofold law eternal being thus made, it is not hard to conceive how they both take place in all things. Wherefore to come to the law of nature, albeit thereby we sometimes mean that manner of working which God hath set for each created thing to keep; yet forasmuch as those things are termed most properly natural agents, which keep the law of their kind unwittingly, as the heavens and elements of the world, which can do no otherwise than they do ; and forasmuch as we give unto intellectual natures, the name of voluntary agents, that so we may distinguish them from the other; expedient it will be, that we sever the law of nature observed by the one, from that which the other is tied unto. Touching the former, their strict keeping of one tenure, statute, and law, is spoken of by all, but hath in it more than men have as yet attained to know, or perhaps ever shall attain, seeing the travail of wading herein is given of God to the sons of men; that perceiving how much the least thing in the world hath in it more than the wisest are able to reach unto, they may by this means learn humility. Moses, in describing the work of creation, attributeth speech unto God: “God said, Let there be light: let there be a firmament: let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place : let the earth bring forth : let there be lights in the firmament of heaven.” Was this only the intent of Moses, to signify the infinite greatness of God's power, by the easiness of his accomplishing such effects, without travail, pain, or labour? Surely, it seemeth that Moses had herein, besides this, a farther purpose, namely, first, to teach that God did not work as a necessary, but a voluntary agent, intending beforehand, and decreeing with himself, that which did outwardly proceed from him. Secondly, to shew that God did then institute a law natural to be observed by creatures ; and therefore, according to the manner of laws, the institution thereof is described, as being established by solemn injunction. His commanding those things to be which are, and to be in such sort as they are, to keep that tenure and course which they do, importeth the establishment of nature's law. The world's first creation, and the preservation since of things created, what is it, but only so far forth a manifestation by execution, what the eternal law of God is concerning things natural ? And as it cometh to pass in a kingdom rightly ordered, that after a law is once published, it presently takes effect far and wide, all states framing themselves thereunto; even so let us think it fareth in the natural course of the world : since the time that God did first proclaim the edicts of his law upon it, heaven and earth have hearkened unto his voice, and their labour hath been to do his will : “ he made a law for the rain;" he gave his “ decree unto the sea, that the waters should not pass
d Id omne, quod in rebus creatis fit, est materia legis æternæ. Th. I. 1, 2. q. 93. art. 46. Nullo modo aliquid legibus summi creatoris ordinationiquo subtrahitur, a quo pax aniversitatis administrator. August. de Civit. Dei, lib. xix. cap. 22. Immo et peccatum, quatenns a deo jaste permittitur, cadit in legem æternam. Etiam legi æternæ sabjicitar peccatam ; quatenus voluntaria legis transgressio pænale quod. dam incommodum animæ inserit, juxta illud Augustini, Jussisti Domine, et sio est, ut pæna sua sibi sit omnis animus inordinatas. Confes. lib. i. cap. 12, Nec male scholastici. Quemadmodum, inquiunt, videmus res naturales contingentes, hoc ipso quod a fine culari suo, atque adeo a lege æterna exorbitant, in eandem legem æternam incidere, quatenus consequuntur aliam finem a lege etiam æterna ipsis in casa particulari constitutum : sic verisimile est, homines, etiam cum peocant, et desciscant a lege æterna ut præcipiente, reincidere in ordinem æternæ legis ut punieutis.
his commandment.” Now, if nature should intermit her course, and leave altogether, though it were but for awhile, the observation of her own laws; if those principal and mother-elements of the world, whereof all things in this lower world are made, should lose the qualities which now they have; if the frame of that heavenly arch erected over our heads should loosen and dissolve itself; if celestial spheres should forget their wonted motions, and by irregular volubility turn themselves any way as it might happen; if the prince of the lights of heaven, Psalm which now as a giant doth run his unwearied course, should, as it were, through a languishing faintness, begin to stand, and to rest himself; if the moon should wander from her beaten