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separately proved, because when connected thay may seem paradoxical, would, in many instances, be justly laughed to scorn by the masters of those sciences which make the highest pretensions to certainty and demonstration.
In all these cases, there is generally in the nature of things a limit to each of the two contrasted propositions, beyond which neither can be extended without implying the falsehood of the other, and changing the paradox into a contradiction: and the whole difficulty of perceiving the connection and agreement between such propositions arises from this circumstance, that, by some inattention of the mind, these limits are overlooked.
Thus, in the case before us, we must not imagine such an arbitrary exercise of God's power over the minds and wills of subordinate agents, as should convert rational beings into mere machines, and leave the Deity charged with the follies and the crimes of men,-nor must we, on the other hand, set up such a liberty of created beings, as, necessarily precluding the Divine foreknowledge of human actions, should take the government of the moral world out of the hands of God, and leave him nothing to do with the noblest part of his creation.
On the Character and Government of God.
He is the unsearchable God, and his government: must be like himself. Facts, concerning both, he has graciously revealed. These we must admit upon the credit of his own testimony; with these we must satisfy our wishes, and limit our inquiry. "To intrude into those things which he hath not seen" because God has not disclosed them, whether they relate to
his arrangements for this world or the next, is the arrogance of one "vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. There are secrets in our Lord's procedure which he will not explain to us in this life, and which may not, perhaps, be explained in the life to come. We cannot tell how he makes evil the minister of good: how he combines physical and moral agencies of different kind and order, in the production of blessings. We cannot so much as conjecture what bearings the system of redemption, in every part of its process, may have upon the relations of the universe; nor even what may be all the connections of providence in the occurrences of this moment, or of the last. 'Such knowledge is too wonderful for us: it is high, we cannot attain it.' Our Sovereign's' way is in the sea, and his path in the deep waters; and his footsteps are not known.' When, therefore, we are surrounded with difficulty; when we cannot unriddle his conduct in particular dispensations, we must remember that he is God; that we are to walk by faith;' and to trust him as implicitly when we are in the valley of the shadow of death,' as when his candle shines upon our heads.' We must remember that it is not for us to be admitted into the cabinet of the King of kings; that creatures constituted as we are could not sustain the view of his unveiled agency; that it would confound, and scatter, and annihilate our little intellects. As often, then, as he retires from our observation, blending goodness with majesty, let us lay our hands upon our mouths and worship. This stateliness of our King can afford us no just ground of uneasiness. On the contrary, it contributes to our tranquility : For we know, that if his administration is mysterious, it is also wise.
'Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite.' That infinite understanding watches over, and arranges, and directs all the affairs of his church and of the world. We are perplexed at every step; embarressed by opposition; lost in confusion; fretted by disappointment; and ready to con
clude, in our haste, that all things are against our own good, and our Master's honor. But this is our infirmity; it is the dictate of impatience and indiscretion. We forget the years of the right hand of the Most High.' We are slow of heart in learning a lesson which shall soothe our spirits at the expense of our pride. We turn away from the consolation to be derived from believing that though we know not the connections and results of holy providence, our Lord Jesus knows them perfectly. With him there is no irregularity, no chance, no conjecture. Disposed, before his eye, in the most luminous and exquisite order the whole series of events occupy the very place and crisis where they are most effectually to subserve the purposes of his love. Not a moment of time is wasted, nor a fragment of action misapplied. What he does, we do not, indeed, know at present, but so far as we shall be permitted to know hereafter, we shall see that his most inscrutable procedure was guided by consummate wisdom: that our choice was often as foolish as our petulance was provoking; that the success of our own wishes would have been our most painful chastisement; would have diminished our happiness, and detracted from his praise.
Let us therefore, study to subject our ignorance to his knowledge; instead of prescribing, to obey; instead of questioning, to believe; to perform our part without that despondency which betrays a fear that our Lord may neglect his; and tacitly accuses him of a less concern than we feel for the glory of his own name. Let us not shrink from this duty as imposing too rigorous a condition upon our obedience, for a third character of his administration is righteousness. The sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre.' If Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.' In the times of old his redeemed 'wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; but, nevertheless, he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.' He loves his church
and the members of it too tenderly to lay upon them any burdens, or expose them to any trials, which are not indispensible to their good. It is right for them to go through fire and through water,' that he may 'bring them out into a wealthy place,'-right to endure chastening,' that they may be partakers of his holiness' right to have the sentence of death in themselves,' that they may trust in the living God, and that his strength may be perfected in their weakness.' It is right that he should endure with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:' that he should permit iniquity to abound, the love of many to wax cold,' and the dangers of his church to accumulate, till the interposition of his arm be necessary and decisive. In the day of final retribution not one mouth shall be opened to complain of injustice. It will be seen that the Judge of all the earth has done right; that the works of his hands have been verity and judgment, and done every one of them, in truth and uprightness.' Let us, then, think not only respectfully, but reverently of his dispensations, repress the voice of murmur, and rebuke the spirit of discontent; wait, in faith and patience till he become his own interpreter, when 'the heavens shall declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.'
The Divinity of Jesus Christ.
I cannot find, in the lively oracles, a single distinctive mark of deity which is not applied, without reserve or limitation, to the only begotten Son. All things that the Father hath are his.' Who is that mysterious WORD that was in the beginning, with God? Who is the Alpha and Omega, the begin
ning and the ending, the first and the last, the Almighty? Who is he that knows what is in man,' because he searches the deep and dark recesses of the heart? Who is the Omnipresent, that has promised, Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them? the light of whose countenance is, at the same moment, the joy of heaven, and the salvation of earth who is incircled by the Seraphim on high, and 'walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks: who is in this assembly; in all the assembles of his people: in every worshipping family: in every closet of prayer: in every holy heart. 'Whose hands have stretched out
the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth?' Who hath replenished them with inhabitants, and garnished them with beauty; having created all things that are in both, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers By Whom do all things consist? Who is the governor among the nations, having on his vesture and on his thigh a name written King of kings and Lord of lords.' Whom is it the Father's will that 'all men should honor, even as they honor himself :' Whom has he commanded his angels to worship? whom to obey? Before whom do the devils tremble? Who is qualified to redeem millions of sinners' from the wrath to come," and preserve them, by his grace, to his everlasting kingdom? Who raiseth the dead, in trespasses and sins,? having life in himself, to quicken whom he will,' at whose voice shall all that are in their graves come forth; and death and heli' surrender their numerous and forgotten captives? Who shall weigh, in the balance of Judgment, the destinies of angels and men? dispose of the thrones of paradise and bestow eternal life? Shall I submit to the decision of reason? Shall I ask a response from heaven? Shall I summon the devils from their chains of darkness? The response from heaven sounds in my ears; reason approves, and the devils confessThis, O Christians, is none other than the GREAT GOD our SAVIOUR!