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DIVINE WISDOM IN THE CREATURES,
us. As there was some Prime Cause, which, by His power inspired them with their several instincts, so there must be some Supreme Wisdom which moves and guides them to their end. As their being manifests His power that endowed them, so their acting according to the rules of their nature, which they themselves understand not, manifests His wisdom in directing them. Everything that acts for an end, must know that end, or be directed by another to attain that end. The arrow doth not know who shoots it, or to what end it is shot, or what mark is aimed at; but the archer that puts it in, and darts it out of the bow, knows. A watch hath a regular motion, but neither the spring nor the wheels that move know the end of their motion; no man will judge a wisdom to be in the watch, but in the artificer that disposed the wheels and spring by a joint combination to produce such a motion for such an end. Doth either the sun that enlivens the earth, or the earth that travails with the plant, know what plant it produceth in such a soil—what temper it should be of—what fruit it should bear--and of what colour ? What plant knows its own medicinal qualities, its own beautiful flowers, and for what they are ordained ? When it strikes up its head from the earth, doth it know what proportion of them there will be ? Yet it produceth all these things in a state of ignorance. The sun warms the earth, concocts the humours, excites the virtue of it, and cherishes the seeds which are cast into her lap—-yet all unknown to the sun or the earth. Since, therefore, that Nature that is the immediate cause of those things, doth not understand its own quality, nor operation, nor the end of its action, that which thus directs them must be conceived to have an infinite wisdom. When things act by a rule they know not, and move for an end they understand not, and yet work harmoniously together for one end that all of them (we are sure) are ignorant of, it mounts up our minds to acknowledge the wisdom of that Supreme Cause, that hath ranged all
these inferior creatures in their order, and imprinted upon them the laws of their motions, according to the ideas in His own mind who orders the rule by which they act, and the end for which they act, and directs every motion according to their several natures, and therefore is possessed with infinite wisdom in His own nature.
Reas. 3. God is the fountain of all wisdom in the creatures, and therefore is infinitely wise Himself. As He hath a fulness of being in Himself, because the streams of being are derived to other things from Him, so He hath a fulness of wisdom, because He is the spring of wisdom to angels and men. That being must be infinitely wise from whence all other wisdom derives its original ; for nothing can be in the effect which is not eminently in the cause. The cause is always more perfect than the effect. If, therefore, the creatures are wise, the Creator must be much more wise. If the Creator were destitute of wisdom, the creature would be much more perfect than the Creator. If you consider the wisdom of the spider in her web, which is both her house and net—the artifice of the bee in her comb, which is both her chamber and granary—the provision of the ant in her repositories for com--the wisdom of the Creator is illustrated by them; whatsoever excellency you see in any creature, is an image of some excellency in God. The skill of the artificer is visible in the fruits of his art; a workman transcribes his spirit in the work of his hands. But the wisdom of rational creatures, as men, doth more illustrate it. All arts among men are the rays of Divine wisdom shining upon them, and by a common gift of the Spirit enlightening their minds to curious inventions. "I, Wisdom, find out the knowledge of witty inventions” (Prov. viii. 12)—that is, I give a faculty to men to find them out. Without any wisdom, all things would be buried in darkness and ignorance. Whatsoever wisdom there is in the world, it is but a shadow of the wisdom of God-a small rivulet derived from Him-a spark
GOD'S WISDOM IN MAN'S UNDERSTANDING,
leaping out from uncreated wisdom. “ He created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and makes the instruments” (Isa. liv. 16). The skill to use those weapons in warlike enterprises is from him—"I have created the waster to destroy." "Tis not meant of creating their persons, but communicating to them their art. He speaks it there to expel fear from the Church of all warlike preparations against it. He had given men the skill to form and use weapons, and could as well strip them of it, and defeat their purposes. The art of husbandry is a fruit of Divine teaching (Isa. xxviii. 24, 25). If those lower kinds of knowledge that are common to all nations, and easily learned by all, are discoveries of Divine wisdom, much more the nobler sciences, intellectual and political wisdom. “He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Dan. ii. 21). Speaking of the more abstruse parts of knowledge—“The inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding” (Job xxxii. 8). Hence the wisdom which Solomon expressed in the harlots' case was, in the judgment of all Israel, “ the wisdom of God” (1 Kings iii. 28) that is, a fruit of Divine wisdom, a beam communicated to him from God. Every man's soul is endowed more or less with those noble qualities. The soul of every man exceeds that of a brute. If the streams be so excellent, the fountain must be fuller and clearer. The First Spirit must infinitely more possess what other spirits derive from Him by creation. Were the wisdom of all the angels in heaven and men on earth collected in one spirit, it must be infinitely less than what is in the spring—for no creature can be equal to the Creator. As the highest creature already made, or that we can conceive may be made, by infinite power, would be infinitely below God in the notion of a creature, so it would be infinitely below God in the notion of wise.
BENJAMIN KEACH. * At fifteen years of age, Mr Keach, who was the son of pious parents, was led to doubt the validity of the baptism which he had received in infancy, and joined a congregation of Baptists in the neighbourhood of his father's residence. There he was so much esteemed, that as early as his eighteenth year he was invited to preach, and with his warm temperament, his poetical fancy, and his ingenious expositions of Scripture, he soon became very popular. Not being a minister of the Church of England, he could not be ejected; but at the Restoration he was silenced, and suffered the hardships incident to Nonconformity, being often fined and imprisoned. Preaching, however, was not his only crime. In 1664 he published a little book entitled, “The Child's Instructor; or, a New and Easy Primer,” and for this he was tried at the Aylesbury assizes in the following October. The judge was Lord Chief-Justice Hyde, and the rough severity-almost approaching the coarseness of Jeffreys-of a man so able and intelligent as Clarendon, only shews the more strikingly how bitter were the prejudices then prevailing. Whilst his indictment was preparing, by way of filling up the time, his lordship upbraided the unfortunate prisoner, “What have you to do to take other men's trades out of their hands ? I believe you can preach as well as write books. Thus it is to let you, and such as you, have the Scriptures to wrest to your own destruction. In your
book you have made a new creed. I have seen three creeds before, but never saw a fourth till you made one”-adding, “I will try you for it before I sleep.” At last the indictment was ready, and it ran in the following strain :
“ Thou art here indicted by the name of Benjamin Keach of Winslow, in the county of Bucks, for that thou being a
* Born at Stokenham, Buckinghamshire, Feb. 29, 1640; died at London July 18, 1704,
seditious, heretical, and schismatical person, evilly and maliciously disposed, and disaffected to his Majesty's government and the government of the Church of England, didst maliciously and wickedly, on the first day of May, in the sixteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord the king, write, print, and publish, or cause to be written, printed, and published, one seditious and venomous book, entitled, “The Child's Instructor; or, a New and Easy Primer;' wherein are contained by way of question and answer these damnable positions, contrary to the Book of Common Prayer, and the Liturgy of the Church of England,—that is to say, in one place you have thus written
"• Question. Who are the right subjects of baptism ?
“ • Answer. Believers, or godly men and women only, who can make confession of their faith and repentance.'
“And in another place, you have maliciously and wickedly written these words
“Quest. How shall it go with the saints ?
“Ans. 0, very well. It is the day that they have longed for. Then shall they hear that sentence, “Come, ye blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” And so shall they reign with Christ on the earth a thousand years, even on Mount Sion, in the New Jerusalem ; for there will Christ's throne be, on which they must sit down with Him,'” &c.
The indictment also charged him with saying, “ Christ hath not chosen great rabbies and doctors, but rather the poor
and despised, and tradesmen,” as His ministers. On this point the judge expatiated in his charge with considerable indignation : “Because Christ when He was upon earth made choice of tradesmen to be His disciples, this fellow would have ministers to be such now-tailors, pedlars and tinkers--such fellows as he is. But it is otherwise now, as appears from the manner in which the Church has appointed them to be chosen,