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of his glory on the vessels of mercy,
This is the good end, for which wicked characters exist. This is the end, for which the scripture saith that Pharaoh was raised up. “For this same cause have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” Had there been no monument of divine power and justice, as Pharaoh was, to be exhibited in contrast with Israel, going forth triumphantly out of Egypt, the glory of God, as an avenging sovereign, would not have been seen ; nor his glory, as a merciful Saviour, discovered in its proper lustre. By pouring his vengeance upon the wicked, God gives an illustrious example of his justice in their doom ; and also brings into affecting view the exceeding greatness of his mercy in them that are saved. The Chaldean em. pire was raised up, not only to be a besom of destruction to other nations, who had be. come ripe for ruin ; but also to become it. self an example of the same overthrow, and thereby to exhibit an instance of God's right. eous judgments. " And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, until the very time of his land come ; and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him." This same course of events takes place in innumerable instances. While one, in the career of his wickedness, is helping on the plan of providence, as an instrument of divine indignation upon other sinners, he is preparing bitter ingredients for
his own cup. Thus God glorifies himself in the wicked by making them, sometimes the instruments, and sometimes the subjects, of his wrath. In this way he brings to light his power and justice on the vessels of wrath, and the greatness of his mercy on the sub. jects of redeeming grace.
Man's will the only ground of praise or blame.
2 CORINTHIANS, viii. 12.
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted ae cording to that a man hath, and not according to that he
S ed to be in connection with such preceding ones as have invited your particular attention to the subject of the divine character and government, a short review of what has been
exhibited, upon this point, may be proper and useful to prepare the way for what is now before us. From the scripture principle, that the Judge of all the earth will do right, we have been led to inquire what it is for God to do right, concluding that this, whatever it be, furnishes the only ground for the confidence of creatures in their supreme moral governor : that rectitude, and that only, inspires confidence, which makes.
it necessary it should be understood, that every creature may know the full authority he has to repose himself entirely and unreservedly upon the Deity. That God is able to do right, can lie under no possible hinderances, nor meet with any impediments, to the perfect execution of what his soul desireth, appears from his perfections, that he is omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and free from every bias depending on the influences of others.
Were he not fully able to perform his own pleasure to the utmost, it is obvious, that the confidence of no creature would be his due, for he could not do right, that is, do the proper work of God. And since he unites in himself all divine attri. butes, we have no room to doubt, that his throne is established in righteousness, that rectitude, complete rectitude, is the order of his kingdom. But as different persons may annex different ideas to the term rectitude, and may judge differently with respect to what is right and fit in a being, who stands at the head of universal existence, we have supposed this point required some particular attention and investigation. And to find the rights of the Godhead, or what is incum. bent on Jehovah, it will be seen, at once, that he must not be placed in the situation of any other. To be God over all, is a prerogative and a dignity, which, undoubtedly, belongs to him.
Our enquiry must have this in view, in all its stages. What then is right to be done by a being, who is supreme,
who is before all, and above all ? Would it be right for him to inflict an evil upon himself ? As this must be essentially opposite to the tempér of an intelligent being, so there can be no possible obligation to it, in one, who is self-existent, and before all other beings. And it will be easily perceived, that an obligation to do one's self no harm, implies an obligation to the contrary, viz. to do himself the most good in his power. As it would be wrong in God to do any thing dishonourable to his own name, so it is right for him to honour himself, in the highest possible degree ;, that is, make his own glory his ultimate end, in all things. To swerve from this principle, upon any occasion, would be an infringement upon his own rights, rob. bing himself of a dignity, which is inherent and inalienable.
This would be wrong, in any being whatever. A man would sin in giving up any thing, which was his own. The sacrifices, to which men are prompted by virtue and religion, imply, that nothing is, absolutely, their own. And as they have no real, independent property, even in them . selves, nor in any thing, which comes under their disposal, they are bound, by an indispensable obligation, to perform all those disinterested and generous services, which may be termed virtuous. Nothing can be right, but upon the supposition, that the contrary would be wrong.
And to pass over, or 0mit, any thing, which it would be right to do, must be judged criminal, an act of posi