Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

lieve with all your heart, that he is, not only in name, but in deed and in truth, over all, God BLESSED FOR EVER. (Rom. is. 5.) I

grant, he is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; an infinitely holy and good being ; infinitely engaged to advance his own honour and the good of his own world. Igrant, that sin in its own nature is infinitely to his dishonour, and tends to the utter ruin of the whole universe. I grant also, that to set forth God's infinite abhorrence of sin, and its contrariety to his perfect felicity, and natural tendency really to put him to pain and distress his heart, God is often said, in the language of Scripture, to be grieved, to be vexed, to be wearied, to be tried, to be pressed as a curt full of sheaves ; and could sin finally disappoint God's glorious designs, and frustrate the original scheme he had in view in the creation of the uni verse, break up the plan on which his heart was so infinitely set ; could this be, I grant, that he would be not only less happy, (as you inadvertently have intimated, that in fact he now is, in saying, that he would have had “greater pleasure,” if things had been otherwise : p. 22.) I say, not only less happy, but really miserable ; and that to an infinite degree : even equal to his infinite regard to his own honour, and to the good of the universe. To see hiinself disappointed, finally and for ever, in what was infinitely dear to him; and that in spite of the utmost exertion of his infinite wisdom and almighty power; and disappointed by his own creatures, the clay in his own hands; headed by the devil, his avowed enemy, (were such an event possible,) would make him feel himself not to be almighty and all-sufficient; not to be God; not to be King, supreme and independent; but to lie at the mercy of his creatures ; yea, (horrible as the expression is,) to lie at the mercy of the devil, the grand enemy to God and to all good. Which feeling must render the misery of such a Being as God is, absolutely complete. For if the devil can break

up

God's schemes, just when he pleases ; God is absolutely at his mercy as to the accomplishment of any of them.

So certain, therefore, as we are, that he is, in fact, over all God blessed for ever; just so certain inay we be, that his sel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. And the

coun

* veni lah iag'ory.

wvervelenow that he is the LORD, and the whole

mes stilisteat almighty God, perfectly conscious of

Jenseit, absolutely superior to so much as one "sara kali Urlabe dea; and without the least uneasiness, in perett Jadult is possessed of an infinite degree of happi

mean et ma espress all in one word, he is over all God Mortet. Of whom, and by whom, and to whom, are all

Amen. mus; co rhom be glory for ever.

tome what if we cannot see fully into the reasons of the. vivre evaduct in the permission of sin, shall we think he has seyed wisely? Shall we think he does not mean to do what doveShall we give up the absolute perfection of the divine Patire Shall we ungod our Maker? rather than suspect

judgment! Or shall we give up our belief of the pertect happiness of the infinitely glorious and blessed God, sind believe him to be a very miserable being, rather than to think, that he can be pleased with that very plan, which he has in fact chosen, before all possible plans ? Or if he is perfectly pleased with his own plan, shall we fly in his face? Charge himn with being the author of sin ? and represent the devil, as the greatest saint, and God as the greatest sinner? as you seem to have, dear sir, with dreadful boldness, ventured to do. (p. 16, 17*.) Wherefore,

vur own

* Were it natural to all mankind, heartily to acquiesce in all the dispensations of divine providence, as being perfectly wise, holy, just, and good, exeepting only the permission of sin, it would not seem so likely, at first glance, that the fault was wholly in us in this case. It would be a strange case.

And we might be more at a loss to account for it. But it is not at all uncommon or strange for mankind to dislike the divine conduct in other instances, as well as this. Thus, it is a common thing for the crosses and troubles of life to sit heavy on the spirits of mankind. And a general murmuring goes round the world. And thousands think that none meet with so much trouble as themselves ; and that they have good reason to be discontented. Yet if they have good reason to be discontented, they are not to blame ; but the fault is in God, in whose hand the rod is, and from whom all our afflictions come. O, how hard is it for many a one under great afflictions to bring their hearts' sweetly to approve of the divine conduct, and love and bless the God that chastises them! O how difficult to get and maintain that frame of spirit, which holy Job expressed in these words, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away : blessed be. the name of the Lord ! But whence arises all this difficulty ? Not from any fault in God, all whose ways are wise, holy, just, and good. It is really best, most for

5. I pray you lay it down for a maxim, that sin is, in its own nature, just exactly the same abominable odious thing,

the honour of God and good of mankind, that this apostate race, who have rebelled against the great King of the universe, turned their backs upon the God that made them, and are idolizing the good things of this world, should be thus chastised, that they may know, that it is an evil and bitter thing to despise the Lord, to forsake the fountain of all good, and be experimentally convinced that all cisterns are broken cisterns; and driven to an absolute necessity to confess their sin, humble themselves, forsake their idols, and return to the only true and living God. But naturally we do not love to have our hearts humbled, weaned from the world, and to have God for the alone portion of our souls. And as we do not like the ends, so we cannot be pleased with the means. Did we like the one, the other might appear full of wisdom and beauty. If all the dispensations of providence were calculated to render us rich, honourable, and happy, in the fulness of all earthly good things, no reproach, no sickness, no losses, no troubles of any kind, that this world might be our heaven and our home, this would suit such ungodly, proud, worldly hearts as ours naturally are ; and we could love such a God, and think well of all his ways. But, alas ! besides all our present troubles, we are soon to die, leave this world we are so fond of, and to go and appear before our Judge, and receive according to our deeds. This is still more shocking. O how glad would many be, if there was no such thing as death, and no such day as the day of judgment! But above all, nothing is so dreadful as the eternal torments of hell. This shocks thousands and millions, and tempts them to call in question all the divine perfections. Especially, when all this is threatened in God's law, for the first transgression, for the least sin. (Gal. ü. 10.)

Now, if it is as difficult to bring our hearts to be reconciled to all this, as to God's permitting sin ; although in all these particulars we must own God's conduct is wise, holy, just, and good, or give up the whole of divine revelation at once ;

have we not great reason to think that there is something amiss on our own hearts ? some general cause which produces all these effects? And if we are indeed natively enemies to God in the temper of our minds, as the Scriptures teach, it is not strange that we should feel a general dislike to all his ways. If we are blind to his glory, and regardless of his honour, and unconcerned about the spiritual good of the system, the best good of God's holy and eternal kiugdom ; and attached only to our own particular, unholy, and merely carnal interests, it is not strange that we should dislike the divine conduct towards the intellectual system, as much as the Israelites in the wilderness did God's conduct towards them. (Rom. vii. 5—11.) For, although on the whole, greater glory may be brought to God, and greater spiritual good to the system; yet if our hearts naturally are not suited with God's ends, neither will they be with his means : and so his whole plan, instead of appearing perfect in wisdom, glory, and beauty, may look as dark and gloomy to us, as did the divine dispensations to Israel of old. On the whole, I think we have infinitely more reason to believe, that the fault is in us, than in God: and that it much better becomes us to suspect our own hearts, than to “ doubt whether God does what is most for his own glory.” See these sentiments more enlarged upon in my sermons. (p. 43–49. 103.) VOL. II.

24

and not one whit the better, because God permits it to be, and because he intended, and because he will over-rule it to good. And believe it firmly, and act upon it steadily, that there is not the least imaginable reason to suspect the wisdom of the whole, or of any part of the divine conduct; because we cannot see what good ends he can have in view. The truth of both which observations has been at large illustrated already.

Is it not pride, my brother, unsufferable pride, in us, poor contemptible worms, to get up into the judgment-seat, call Almighty God to our bar, examine his conduct, and then boldly pronounce it bad ? And publicly tell the world, that he has not done that “which is most for his own glory?" And all, because we cannot see the reasons of his conduct, although we know at the same time, that our views are so contracted, that we are no proper judges ; and that it is impossible we should prove his present plan not to be the best? Yea, to be so engaged to slur our Maker's conduct, as to be vexed with a fellow-worm, who thinks it impossible God should act unwisely, and would therefore speak in behalf of the injured Majesty of heaven, and plead his cause, and endeavour to justify his ways to men ? And with indignation to cry out, “ You have no right to be so violently confident, that the present scheme is most for God's glory and the good of the moral system ;" “ I can offer reasons sufficient to balance your's, and make the contrary appear higły probable !" (p. 5, 6.) For I think, I can prove that in fact, God does not do what is most for his own glory :" and it is “ fallacy' to pretend that he " is obliged to do it !” (p. 12, 13.)

I Pray you, sir, give up this impious, blasphemous, principle, that “God does not do what is most for his glory.” And if you think it condescension, pray condescend, at least so far as to believe that God knows better than you do; and is infinitely more concerned, than you ever was, to do as well as he knows how. You would think it an intolerable reflection, if all your acquaintance should join to give you this character, riz. that in your daily conduct, and even in the most important affairs, you do not make conscience of acting according to your best judgment. O, blush, be ashamed, and be confounded, and never open your mouth to justify the im

a mere

pious reflection, you have, in the sight of all the country, cast upon the character of the Holy One of Israel. Lest, if you allow yourself, Pharaoh-like, to oppose your Maker, you, in the end, meet the same dreadful fate.

Rather, let us seek divine grace, from the God of all grace, that our hearts may be prepared to approve and love the works and ways of God, that when they shall in the next world more fully open to our view, we may be ready to join the general assembly of heaven, and cry,“ AMEN, HALLELUJAH!" O, let us get an heart to love his law, and to love the gospel of his Son, and heartily approve the daily dispensations of his providence ; all woich, analogous to the whole of his universal plan, are calcutated to exalt God, and humble the creature. And if we can be but heartily reconciled to those parts of the divine government, which are more near to our view; we shall be prepared heartily to approve of those parts, which are more remote; yea, and of the whole. For it is all of a piece.

When a sinner is at first savingly converted, he sees but a very small part of God's universal plan of government; but what he sees, he heartily approves and loves. And so he begins to be habitually prepared to approve and love the whole. He grows up into this divine temper. At the day of judgment this divine temper will be perfect. And so then he will be perfectly prepared to approve, admire, and with all his heart love and delight in God's universal plan ; which then will be opened to the view of the intellectual system. But those who, when on earth, had not the least disposition to approve and love any part of God's moral government, rightly understood, but were enemies to God, to his law, and gospel, and common dispensations of his providence towards mankind in this world, will, when the whole of God's universal plan is opened to view, feel no approbation ; but rather their enmity against God and all his ways, will break out and rage to perfection to eternal ages.

Wherefore, 6. And lastly, instead of indulging a quarrelling, cavilling, disputatious temper, and spending our precious time in finding fault with God's ways ; let us rather spend our leisure hours,

« AnteriorContinuar »