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above them, and infinitely greater than theirs, that is able to limit and control them, and an higher Tribunal to which they are accountable.
Hence the wife Man mentioneth it as a Consideration which should support us against the Oppression of earthly Princes or Magistrates, that be that is higher than the highest, regardeth, and there be higher than they, Éccl. v. 8. God is said to be the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. 1 Tim. vi. 159 and to be a great King above all Gods. Pfàl. xcv. 3. The mightiest earthly Monarchs cannot be said to be strictly absolụte and independent: For, as they all depend upon God, so they all have some Dependence upon their Fellow-creatures, and even upon their own Subjects ; they need the Affistance of their Inferiors ; nor can they properly governor execute their Laws by themselves. But God's Dominion and Sovereignty is independent as his Existence. His Authority is self-derived, and centring in himself alone. As he is all-sufficient and self-sufficient, so he needeth no external Assistance or Support for any Thing without him to maintain and establish his Government. And if he useth Inftruments in the Management or Administration of it, it is not that he standeth in the least need of their Counsel or Allift
ance. Justly therefore is he called, not only the blessed, but the only Potentate, 1 Tim vi. 15. because there is no other that is properly supreme, and an absolute Potentate, but he alone.
This absolute Sovereignty of God and of his Government, is frequently and strongly described in the holy Scriptures, and seem eth to be one Thing particularly intended here, when it is said that the Lord bath established bis Tbrone in the Heavens. To the same Purpose it is declared, Psal. cxv. 3. Our God is in Heaven, he hath done whatsoever be pleased. We are assured, that all Things were created not only by him, but for him. Col. i. 16. and that for his Pleasure they are, and were created. Rev. iv.
And as his good Pleasure was the Cause of their being made, fo according to his good Pleasure they are disposed and governed : He is said to work all Things according to the Counsel of his own Will. Eph. i. 11. He doeth all Things according to his own Will; but it is called the Counfel of his Will, to signify, that though it is sovereign absolute Will, it is not mere arbitrary unreasonable Will, but proceedeth upon
the wisest Reasons, always known to himself, though often hidden from us. Nebuchadnezzar, that haughty Monarch, was brought to such a Sense of God's abso
lute Dominion and Sovereignty, that he made that noble Acknowledgment, All the Inhabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing ; and he doeth according to bis Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth; and none can stay his Hand, or say unto him, Wbat does thou ? Dan. iv. 35. His Power over us is compared to that of the Potter over his Clay. Jer. xviii. 6. O House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this Potter ? faith the Lord. Behold, as the Clay is in the Potters Hands, jo are ye in mine Hand, O House of Israel. And Isa. xlv. 9. Wo unto him that striveth with his Maker: Let the Potsherd Prive with the Potsherds of the Earth: Shall the Clay say unto him that fashioneth: it, Wbat makest thou ? or thy Work, He hath no Hands?
God hath a Right to do many Things towards his Creatures, which they have no Right to do towards one another. Earthly Princes are of the fame Kind of Beings with their Subjects, Flesh and Blood as well as they; and as they did not give them Existence, so they have not a proper absolute Right over their Lives, to take them away at their own Pleasure. But God is the absolute Lord of the Lives and Properties of his Creatures, and can dispose of them as seemeth fit to his infinite Wisdom. The Lord killeth, and maketh alive ; he bringeth down to the Grave, and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich ; be bringeth low, and liftetb up. I Sam. ii. 6, 7. As the Creature des riveth all from his Will and Pleasure, and absolutely dependeth upon him, so no Creature can have a proper Claim against him, either for Life or Property, which it is in his power to withdraw or to conti, nue, as best answereth the Ends of his Providence. And in this he transgresseth no Rule of Justice : For he is not bound by the Laws made for securing Mens Lives and Properties against one another. The Justice of God's Government and Providence is of a transcendent Nature, and is pat tied down to our scanty Rules; but is measured by a much superior Rule, the Reason of his all-comprehending Mind, which will ever carry him to do what is, all Things considered, best and fittest upon the whole, and what becometh his own glorious Perfections, and the Relations he fustaineth towards his Creatures.
From this absolụte and independent Dominion and Sovereignty of God, it followeth, that there must needs be many Things in the Course of his Administrations, which are above our Reach, and of which we cannot pretend to be competent
Judges. Even with regard to earthly Sovereigns, it would be justly looked upon as contrary to the Duty of good Subjects, and to the Reverence they owe to Authority, to find Fault with every Thing in the Princes Actings they do not know the Reason of, and to expect to be let into all the Secrets of Government. Many Cases there are, in which it would be account: ed highly arrogant to demand a Reason from an earthly Prince or Master, for his acting after this or that Manner in Matters that depend upon his own Prerogative and free Pleasure. And much more inexcusably insolent would it be for such Creatures as we are, or for any created Beings, to pretend to demand a Reason for all God's Proceedings, as if we had a Right to censure every Thing in the Course of his Dispensations which we cannot precisely account for. Wby dost thou Arive against him ? (faith Elihu) for be giveth not an Account of any of his Matters. Job xxxiii. Who can search the Depths of his sacred Counsels, or undertake exactly to define what he, in his infinite Wisdom and absolụte Sovereignty, may rightfully ordain and appoint? If we would but allow God the Rights of a Sovereign, in the free Distribution of his Favours, in ordering the Times, Seasons, Manner, Degrees of conferring