Page images
PDF
EPUB

his anger.

the munition of rocks. No disappoint-, love and esteem in another. So it ment or injury can render him freiful. will be in the case under consideration. The greatest prosperityeven of his most Delight in the example of God will exunreasonable enemy, cannot awaken cite him to work out, or perfect that his envy, nor the utmost provocation, holiness which is, in the highest sense,

But, on the contrary, eve- his salvation, and a sense, that God ry occurrence induces him afresh to worketh in him both to will and to do, place his entire trust in God: To com- will lead bim to do it with fear and mit his way to the Lord, and rest fully trembling. Thus, will he be disposed satisfied that he will do all things well. to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. In the absolute perfection of God, he If indeed, we submit to God, and finds a sufficient reason for all the past, acquiesce in the divine will, is it not and all the present. Here he finds a certain we are well pleased with it? clue that leads through the whole laby-And if well pleased with it, is it not as rinth, a key that unlocks every myste-| certain we are conformed to it? And ry. In the divine perfection, he finds if conformed to it, shall we pot of nea pledge, that the future will be as cessity imitate it? If then we do not wisely conducted as the past, and con- imitate the divine will, must not all spire to the same eml. So that though our supposed submission be a mere he sees not into futurity, yet he shall delusion? The enemies of God are not be afraid of evil tidings, for his said to submit themselves to him, by heart is fixed irusting in the Lord; his reason of the greatness of his power. heart is established, he shall not be a- Psal. 66. 3. Yet in the old translation fraid.

of the bible, they are said to lie to him. Though he walk in darkness and There is a seeming submission to God have no light, though he be in the ut- which is no other than the effect most difficulty and distress ; yei will he of a curb put upon our native obstinatrust in the Lord, and stay upon his cy: bui real submision will have real God. Under the most severe tribula- obedience for its companion. tions, he will be patient with Job: and Secondly, We are to nsidler how with Paul will be rejoice. Under ev- strongly this duty is enforced by the reaery provocation he will exercise the son suggested in the text, namely, ibat meekness of Jesus Christ. The bur- the governor of the world is God inden of his song will always be: The deed. In attempting this, several things Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice, let will be mentioned which, as the naturthe multitude of the Isles be glad there-al and necessary result of his divinity, of. Thus will he delight himself in the unite to enforce the great command, Lord. He will rejoice in the Lord, " Be still." and joy in the God of his salvation. 1. If the governor of the world be

II. He will not only commit every God indeed ;-if he be possessed of thing to the conduct and disposal of his those attributes which constitute divinheavenly father; but follow his exam- ily, we may rest assured he will never ple so far as it is imitable by him.-- injure us neither mediately nor immeSome persons, upon fancying they be- || diately. lieve in the universal, wise, and holy Injustice always springs either from government of God; and that they ignorance of what is right, or an unjust themselves are interested in the loving disposition, both of which are inconkindnes of the Most High, sit supinely sistent with divinity. Shall not the Judge down in a state of stoicism; but the of all the earth do right? God cannot person who is still, in the sense of our lie ; nor can he injure his creatures. text, will be excited to imitate God by Being God, his nature is utterly abhorthe delight he has in his ways, word and rent of wrong, and be certainly knows character. We necessarily endeavor the partition between right and wrong. to imitate that ourselves, which we When, therefore, we are once convinced

that the governor of the world is God, those who were not particularly affect we shall be as fully convinced that he ed by it, but by the pious Jews themwill do us no injustice neither by his selves. Witness the holy Daniel, who own hand, immediately, nor by any was one of the captives in Babylon.means whatever. He may indeed, so it is abundantly worth our while to conduct towards us, as to occasion our|| read, with the most serious attention, proud hearts to censure him as unjust ;|| the ninth chapter of his prophecy, with yet none except a proud heart, can ev- a particular view to the present suber do so. It is true he oftentimes casts|ject. There he confesses the sins of his creatures into tribulation, and stings his nation, including his own with them, them with keen distress ; yet this, by and ascribes righteousness to God in no means, proves him unjust; for it all he had brought upon his people. may be we deserve it all.

And we

If we attend, with equal candor, to shall rest assured this is the case, when the dealings of heaven in all the ca. once we perceive that God is God. lamities brought upon us, either by the

He takes from us, indeed, many of immediate hand of God, or through our comforts; but still he takes no the instrumentality of creatures, how more than his own. The Lord gave, ever malicious and perverse they may says Job, and the Lord hath taken away. have been; we shall not fail of finding He took away no more than he had God just in all his ways. We shall given, and all he gave was given as a find no reason to complain, or enterloan; or rather, committed to Job as atain one uneasy thought. We shall see, steward. The case is the same with all at once, that though God strips us of he gives. To one he commits ten tal- every good, he takes nothing but his ents, to another five, and to another own, and what he never encouraged one, and bids us all to occupy till he us to believe we should longer enjoy. come, in his providence, to resume, or If he inflict positive evil upon us, we continue them in our hands, accord-shall perceive it comes not unprovoking to his holy pleasure. Where is the ed from him, nor undeserved by us. injustice of this ? May he not do what If, then, we can suffer no injury from he will with his own? Sometimes he God, why should we be dissatisfied takes from us our enjoyments, without with his government? How unreasthie instrumentality of our fellow crea- onable

' to complain of him, who injures tures; and sometimes he makes use of neither us nor any other creature ! them; but we are wronged by him in Such a government calls for joy and neither case. What reason had the gladness instead of complaint. Under Jews to eomplain of God, when he the government of God, every crearaised up the Babylonian, and sent ture is secured in all his rights: none him to distress them, by laying waste of which shall ever be infringed. The their fields, pillaging their metropolis, instruments indeed, of which God rifling the temple and destroying it ;|| makes use, may indulge an unjustifiaputting their men to the sword, ravish-i ble spirit, and be most aggravatedly ing their virgins, ripping up the women wicked; but their employer is perfecto with child: introducing such a faminelly just. as occasioned the tender mother to If this be true, there cannot be any butcher, and eat the offspring of her reason to complain of the divine gowomb; and then to carry the remnantvernment, or to reject his example. of the people into captivity. Here was II. Since the governor of nature is a most distressing scene, contrived and God, his moral government is conseexecuted by God, through the instru-quently good. Being God, he must, of mentality of the proud Nebuchadnez- necessity, know what laws are best, zar. Yet he was just in all: Yea, so and establish these and these alone. conspicuous was his justice, as to be To say otherwise is, in effect, to deny seen and acknowledged, not only by his divinity. For an ignorant god, des

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

titute of goodness, is no God. We find | who can refrain from joy?
the law of God pronounced in scrip To object to the reasonableness of
ture, “Holy, just, and good.Holy, the penalties of the divine law is un-
because it has, and enjoins supreme reasonable: For, if when I am requir-
regard to God the supreme of being; ed by my Maker to receive the great-
just, because it inculcates justice, re-est happiness, I refuse it merely be-
quiring us to render to every one his cause it is not selfish but social; what
due; and because the penalties annex-do I deserve? Or rather what do I not
ed to the breach of it are just. Good, deserve? But I wander. The argu-
because obedience to it tends to our ment turns on the divinity of God. If
own good, to the good of other indi-he possess divine perfection he will
viduals, and to the collective good of never inflict an undeserved punishment
the intelligent universe. It inculcates on any creature.
love as the native source of every word We may figure a dreadful idea of
and action, and only spring of every eternal destruction, and tremble at the
thought. And what is love but a foun-overwhelming thought. Our sinful,
tain of life and delight ? Every action partial hearts may deny our desert of
of love gives pleasure to the author, such a punishment: but the moment
and aims at the pleasure of its object. we deny this, we deny the justice of
O how happy should we be, were we our judge, and of consequence, his di-
perfect in love! This would support us vinity. For, can there be divine per-
under all the crosses of our selfish in- fection where justice is wanting ? In-
clinations; and blunt the stings with justice is a horrid imperfection in the
which they are armed. It would di- creature; and could it be less so in the
minish our cares and pains, almost in- Creator ? If he be God, a just God; the
finitely, and bring with it all the bless-devils themselves have no reason to
ings of quietude and joy. Love is that complain. It is their indispensable du-
water which Christ gives, and which ty to be still, under the dispensations
becomes, in those who drink of it, a of divine justice. God doeth them no
well of living water, springing up into wrong, and if no wrong, they have no
eternal life. It is because of his love, reason to complain. The same may,
that the good man is satisfied from with equal truth, be said of all the fi-
himself. This is the earnest of the nally impenitent. Let us then be still,
heavenly inheritance. Love is the life under a sense of the moral government
and heaven of heaven itself. God is of our creator, as being the government
love, and he, who dwelleth in love, of him who is God in very deed.
dwelleth in God, and God in him. So III. Since God is God, we may rest
that the law of God does no more than assured that he loves those who love
require us to do that which is the most him. Though the Divine Being is ex-

appy for ourselves. Had it called on alted to the pinacle of glory, though us to pursue private happiness with all he is wholly independent of his creaour might; and to make ourselves our tures, and the owner and supporter of God, it had been infinitely less calcu-them all; and has it in his

power to lated for our good. In sbort, it requires dispose of them at his pleasure: Yet us to partake of the blessedness of God, so condescending is he, that no beings angels, and saints, and enjoy the hap-| ever exercised a friendly spirit toward piness of our very enemies, by rejoic-him, without finding their friendship ing in their good. Love is the parentinet and rendered mutual by an infiof social joy; and while, in diffusive nitely stronger love in him. Witness goodness, it gives itself away to all, the divine conduct toward the heavenwithout design, it makes the joys of alily host, and toward our first parents, others its own.

while they continued friends to God, To whom can the government of in Paradise, God exercises, not only God give just cause of offence? Nay;lla kind and benevolent regard toward

tion of the most tender complacency | Hence it comes to pass, that wherev-
in them. His love to them is a pleas-er he observes a resemblance of his
ing love. Therefore it is said by the own perfection, he delights in it, accor-
prophet Zephaniah, chap. iii. verse 17. ding to the degree in which it takes
“ The Lord thy God, in the midst of place.
thee, is mighty, he will save, he will re Love to that which is glorious, and
joice over thee with joy ; he will rest a conspiring to manifest it, is an in-
in his love, he will joy over thee withstance of righteousness, and of love to
singing.” Nor is this kindness of God righteousness. That is, it is right for
to bis friends, and delight in them, the us and all beings, to love that which is
same with those affections sinners are excellent and glorious, and to do it
Jepresented as having towards their honor in every instance, and at all
friends, when it is said by our blessed times. Hence it is right, that whether
Lord, that they love those who love we eat or drink, or whatever we do,
them. Sinners love those who love to do it all to the glory of God; that
them, because the objects of their love is, to manifest the glory of God by ev-
are visibly engaged to promote their ery means in our power. In this way,
private interest, but the great God we exercise love to righteousness both
loves those who love him, because in God and in ourselves. The true
they are really engaged to promote the ground, therefore, on which God loves
common good of the universe; or be-| those who loves him, is their love to
cause they seek his glory. The essen-righteousness. Hence he says to Je-
tial glory of God consists in his infinite sus Christ, “ Thou hast loved righte-
abilities, and boundless, unconquerablelousness and hated iniquity; therefore
inclination to improve all those abili. God, even thy God, hath anointed thee
ties to the utmost, in doing good. His with the oil of gladness above thy fel-
aleclarative glory is a manifestation of lows.”
those abilities and this disposition; or Now, if God loves all those who love
it is his essential glory brought into the Him, and that, not on account of any
view of creatures. God, in glorifying partial affection they bear to Him, but
himself

, only brings his perfection into because they are lovers of that in Him, view. All creatures being improved which is right and glorious--and, if He by God as means of his glory, glorify will manifest this love on all occasions, him in a passive way; while some of what reason can there be to complain them, by aiming to make known his of His dealings? There is, on this suptrue character and perfection, do it position, every possible security and likewise, in an active manner

encouragement to those who do right It is in such a conduct, that friendship and love it. Hence God says to Cain, to God is both exercised and manifest-“ If thou doest well, shalt thou not be ed. This friendship to God is pleas-| accepted.” What can reasonable creaing to him, not because it is, or implies,tures desire more? Can we desire that aby partial attachment to his person, sin should be encouraged ? Suppose all or personal private interest; but be- sinners should be banished from the cause it is an attachment to that in bim Divine presence, and punished with dewhich is, in itself, glorious and excel-served destruction; would this be any lent. God seeks his own glory be- reason of complaint ? Far be it. It is cause it is glory, and not because it is not only enough to still our complaints, his own glory. For, were it possible that the Governor of the universe will E' or another to possess the same glori- forever encourage and secure virtue;

perfection with God himself, he but it is also matter of everlasting joy. ::1]d prize the same perfection in an- Let us then be still and know that God er, as he doth in himself, and seek is God. manifestation of it, as he doth the IV. Since God is God, there is na"festation of his own perfection. thing in him either evil or imperfect to

Dd

[ocr errors]

excite in us one disagreeable apprehen-|provocation. Looking through our sion. For great and unlimited as his souls, he saw that every imagination of power is, we need fear nothing. Indeed the thoughts of our hearts was only evil, the overgrown power of earthly poten- and that continually. He saw our hearts tates gives a just alarm to their sub- full of opposition to himself and his jects and neighbours. Not so, the pow-ways. We had forsaken the fountain er of God. For if he be God, his pow- of living water, and hewed to ourselves er is under the control of a godlike in-broken cisterns that could hold no waclination. It cannot, therefore, be ex. ter. He warns us of our folly, and that erted for any ungodlike purpose. So we must either return or perish. With that we may rest free from anxiety, what strength of affection; with what and rejoice in the divine power, since an ardent pathos did he call on us, it will be exerted in every instance for " Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die !" godlike purposes, and for those only. But we turned a deaf ear to the heay. The same may be said of every other enly charmer. Yet, astonishing! be divine attribute.

did not whet his glittering sword. The V. God is not only kind to his friends, heavens did not gather blackness, nor and just to all, but the divinity of his did the thunder of divine wrath burst nature diffuseth mercy to the misera- upon us. ble, and grace to the ill deserving.- In him we have lived, and moved, Those, whose conduct toward him has and had our being. He has been inbeen the most provoking, have shared finitely more attentive to us, than the largely in his bounty. Witness his deal-most affectionate parent ever was to a ings toward the fallen race of Adam. darling child, when in the utmost danThat God has done great things for the ger. Not a day bas passed in which inhabitants of this apostate world can- he has not given us food and raiment. not be doubted. Sin has rendered this Nor a moment but he has given us world, in some respects, like the mel-breath. Infinite compassion has exçiancholy dungeon in which criminalsted all his dealings: But the vilest inare confined from the time of their con- gratitude, rebellion and perverseness demnation till that of execution: a have marked all our actions. Such was mournful scene of woe! Yet, through the conduct of God toward us before the mercy and grace of God, it is be- his son came into the world, that hecome the anti-chamber of heaven. could exclaim with the greatest propri

We were miserable and God pitied|ety, “What more could I have done us! We were sinful, he detested us: for my vineyard that I have not done yet his pity neither ceased nor abated. in it.” Yet, after all, when he looked His bowels yearned towards us.

His that it should bring forth grapes it heart melted with compassion-he re- brought forth wild grapes; the grapes solved to exert himself in our favor-of Sodom and the clusters of Gomorto open a way through which all who rah. Still, not all our perverseness, nor will may be saved, and hecome kings all our provocations of God could inand priests to himself. His heart was duce him to forsake the merciful 80 full of the gracious scheme, and so scheme of our recovery: No, nor those immoveably fixed in it, that he hesita-l in connection with his infinite tenderted not at all, to sacrifice his own and|ness for the darling of his soul; for in only begotten son, upon the accursed the fulness of time his son came into tree, by the hands of wicked men. Hethe world. This occurrence gave us freely gave him for us all. For us! an opportunity to discover the real Who are we? What have we done to sentiments of our souls towards the facall forth such an instance of kindness ther of spirits, and of nature. We did from the Deity ? Alas! what indeed ! not let slip the opportunity unimprovGod had loaded us with goodness, and|ed; but, by murdering the son of God we have loaded him with contempt and in the flesh, discovered what farther

« PreviousContinue »