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righteous cause of his injured father pleaded; so does every true Christian, every real child of God, love to hear the works and ways of the Holy One of Israel justified. And even when they cannot fully see the reasons of the divine conduct, they are disposed to believe that he has done well; because he is an absolutely perfect Being, who cannot err, Nor do I know how to be so uncharitable to the author of the Attempt, as to suppose that he will, on second thoughts, in good earnest abide by what he has published, Rather I hope, his belief that "supreme wisdom cannot err," will finally prevail over his doubts, that " God does in fact what is not most for his own glory."

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INTRODUCTION.

THAT God permits sin, is plain fact, cannot admit of dispute, and needs no proof. Or if any should be so weak as to deny the fact, it may be easily proved. For all acknowledge that sin is in the world; but if God had interposed, and effectually hindered its ever coming into the world, it never would have been. That he did not interpose and effectually hinder it, is therefore as certain, as that sin is now in the world. And God's not hindering sin, is what I call his permitting it. And this fact, that God permits sin, gives rise to this question, viz. Is it wisest and best, that God should conduct as he does in this affair?

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Had we a comprehensive view of God's universal plan, and a perfectly holy taste, the whole of the divine conduct towards the intellectual system, of course, must appear to us now in this world, perfect in wisdom, glory, and beauty; as, it is acknowledged, it will to all holy beings at the day of judgBut as the evil and dreadful consequences of sin to us at present engross our attention, and the good to be brought out of evil, how great soever it may be, is almost entirely out of sight, to be sure, to the generality of men; and not at all suited to please a vicious taste, were it in ever so clear a view; it is no wonder if it be very difficult to bring a guilty apostate world to think well of the divine conduct in this affair. And yet if we once conclude, that the Holy One of Israel has not

it is come! the joyful day is come!" I bring you tidings of great joy," said the angel, "for this day the Saviour is born."

I see not why the predictions of the glorious days are not as full and as plain as were the predictions of the Messiah; nor why we may not as firmly believe the setting up of his kingdom, as of old, they believed his coming in the flesh. It is certain this is a great objection of the Jews against our Jesus being the true Messiah, that the things prophesied of the Messiah have never been fulfilled in him. That the nations should beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more. And that there should be nothing to hurt or offend; the knowledge of the Lord filling the earth, as the waters do the seas, &c. &c. Nor do I see any possible way to answer their objection, but to say, these things are still to be accomplished.

And if they should be accomplished in all that GLORY, in which they are painted in the prophetic descriptions, nothing. hinders but that this plan, of all possible plans, may at last actually prove to be the best; in all respects the best. Most for God's glory, and most for the good of the system too; yea, so far as we are able to see, it seems as if this must be the case.

It is matter of the greatest joy, that all the affairs of the , universe are conducted by infinite wisdom. It is an honour that belongs to God, to govern the world which he has made; to govern his own world; to lay out and order the affairs of his own family. We think we have a right to lay out schemes for our own families, and should take it ill if our children or servants should dispute our right. Sovereign monarchs, in time of war, think they have a right to lay out a plan of operation for an ensuing campaign, and would take it ill if their right should be disputed by a private soldier. Much more has God a right to lay out an universal plan, for the conduct of all things, in a world to which he has an original, underived, absolute right; nor can he look upon the worm that dares dispute his right, but with infinite contempt and detestation. And, O what matter of infinite joy it is, that he has taken this work upon himself! not left things to the devil's control; nor to be decided by the lusts of an apostate

world; nor left all things to mere chance; but himself, in infinite wisdom, has laid out an universal plan; a plan perfect in glory and beauty. No mortal, that loves his plan, will think of disputing his right to lay it. And no mortal, that loves God himself; that loves his law, and loves his gospel, can be an enemy to his universal plan; for they all partake of the same nature, and shine forth in the same kind of beauty; holy, just, and good.

at rest.

O ye seed of Jacob! Joseph is safe, and Benjamin is safe; the honour God is safe, and the good of the system is safe; all is in good hands, and under the conduct of infinite wisdom. For the counsel of the Lord shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. (Isai. xlvi. 10.) Wherefore, set your hearts For let the state of the world and of the church look ever so dark, you may safely trust in the Lord, and stay yourselves upon your God, who is engaged in honour to conduct all well: and, for his GREAT NAME'S SAKE, he will not fail to do it. (See Ezek. xx.) You therefore, may, with the utmost serenity, leave the government of the world with him, and put an implicit faith in his wisdom and fidelity, and have nothing to do but your duty. Nothing, but to attend upon the business he has marked out for you; like a faithful soldier in an army, who trusts his general to conduct affairs, while he devotes himself to the business he is set about; and the more he rejoices in the wisdom of his general, the more alert will he be in discharging the duties of a soldier. Wherefore rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice. Let this be your first maxim, The Lord reigneth; and this your practice, Let the earth rejoice. (Psalm xcvii. 1.)

But it must be with an holy joy; with such a joy as results from a supreme love to God, and hatred of sin, as an infinite evil: with such a joy as St. Paul describes, (1 Cor. xiii. 6.) Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but in the truth: for no other joy will answer to the nature of God's universal plan, which is altogether suited to exalt the Deity, and set sin in an infinitely odious point of light, and to cause truth and right universally to take place.

There are some who say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of satan: who say they trust in the Lord,

done what is most for his own glory, nor what was wisest and best to do; we must inevitably give up the absolute perfection of the divine nature, which will overturn all religion by the roots.

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To say, "that secret things belong to God, and we ought not to think of this part of the divine conduct; nor is it our duty to believe it to be wise, or to acquiesce in it, as such ;" will not satisfy a pious judicious mind. Indeed, were it a secret thing, and had we no evidence of the fact, it might justly put an end to all our inquiries. But God's permitting sin is in truth no secret thing. It is revealed, it is as open and manifest as that God made and governs the world. It is often, very often, held up to our view in the holy Scriptures, by God himself, on purpose that we might think of it. And it is acknowledged on all hands, that it is our duty to search the scriptures, and take special notice of what we find written there, and meditate on every part of divine conduct therein held forth to our view; since the whole is calculated and designed for our instruction. Tim. iii. 16. And as it is an acknowledged fact, that God has permitted sin in millions of instances, from the beginning of the world to this day, and will continue to do so through eternal ages; so there is no avoiding a view of his conduct, but by the greatest stupidity, or shutting our eyes in the most obstinate manner. Nay, this will not do it; we cannot but think of it sometimes in this world, and shall for ever think of it in the world to come. And we must approve or disapprove; for it is so interesting an affair, that we cannot stand neuter. If we disapprove now, and for ever, we cannot acquiesce in God's ways in this world, nor join the heavenly hosts at the day of judgment, in saying, Amen Hallelujah. And God, of necessity, must look upon us as enemies to him and mal-contents in his kingdom, and treat us accordingly. It is therefore of the last importance that we approve. But if God's conduct is not wise, it is not our duty to approve of it. Rather we ought to be sorry, and lament that God has done as he has. Which would suppose him to be to blame. And which would imply that he is not an absolutely perfect being. And if so, he is not God. And if there is no God, all religion is overthrown. Therefore we must

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