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GOD the firft caufe, and laft end.

ROM. xi. 36.

For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.




AVING confidered the more eminent and SERM. abfolute perfections of the divine nature, as also that which refults from the infinite excellency and perfection of GoD compared with the imperfection of our understandings, I come in the last place to treat of fuch as are merely and purely relative; as that he is "the first cause, and the last end" of all things; to which purpose I have chofen these words. of the apoftle, for the fubject of my prefent difcourfe; "For of him, and through him, &c.”

The dependance of thefe words upon the former is briefly this. The apoftle had been fpeaking before in this chapter, feveral things that might tend to raise us to an admiration of the wifdom, and goodness, and mercy of GoD, in the difpenfation of his grace, for the falvation of men, both Jews and Gentiles, and therefore would have us afcribe this work wholly to GOD; the contrivance of it to his wisdom, and not to our own counfels, v. 34. "For "who hath known the mind of the LORD? and "who hath been his counfellor?" and the bestowing this grace, to his free goodnefs and mercy, and not to any defert of ours, v. 35. "Or who hath "first given to him, and it fhall be recompenfed to

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SERM. «him again?" Yea and not only in the difpenfation of grace, but of all good things; not only in this work of redemption, but also of creation, GoD is the fountain, and original, and firft caufe, from whence every thing proceeds; and the laft end, to which every thing is to be refered. "For of him," &c. i aura, "from him," the efficient caufe producing all things; di aur," by or through him," as the efficient conferving caufe of all things; is autoV, " and to him," as the final caufe of all things, and the end for which they were made.

The propofition I fhall fpeak to is, that God is the firft caufe and laft end.

First, I fhall a little explain the terms,
Secondly, confirm the propofition.
Thirdly, apply it.

First, for the explication of the terms.
1. That God is the first cause, fignifies,

1. Negatively, that he had no caufe, did not derive his being from any other, or does depend upon any other being; but that he was always, and eternally of himself.

2. Pofitively, that he is the cause of all things besides himself, the fountain and original of all created beings, from whom all things proceed, and upon whom all things depend; or that I may use the expreffion of St. John, John i. 3. which I know is appropriated to the fecond perfon in the Trinity,

By him all things were made, and without him "was nothing made that was made." So that when we attribute to GOD, that he is the firft, we mean, that there was nothing before him, and that he was before all things, and that all things are by him.

II. The laft end, that is, that all things refer to him; that is, the design and aim of all things that


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