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to all evil. “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him." By establishing and guarding himself in his own right; or, in other words, by paving the way to the fullest disclosure of his own perfections, in their true amiableness, God brings all faithful souls unto the enjoyment of that rich portion of mercy, which is provided for them ; and plunges the wicked into that pit of deserved ruin, which awaits them. In this way is it, that he gets glory to himself. Moses beheld the glory of the Lord, when the Lord descended in the cloud and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 66 And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord Gød, merciful, and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” God would inevitably and necessarily fail of his glory, if he did not fulfil the terms of this declaration ; if he did not shew mercy and forgive sin as here expressed, and also impute to the guilty those offences, for which they have no true repentance.
He is, therefore, doing justice to himself, providing eternal and unfading honours to rest upon his own name, in casting the iniquities of his people behind his back, and in rewarding the wicked, with the fruits of his displeasure. In this
point of view, the mercies of God to men are justice to himself, not less than his wrath upon the ungodly. And the Judge of all the earth will be guilty of no injustice. This is exemplified in the destruction of the impenitent Sodomites, and the deliverance of just Lot. If God were not faithful to keep covenant-mercies for them that believe, and are righteous through faith ; and also to inflict threatened vengeance on unbeliev. ers, the despisers of his grace, he would deny himself. He must, therefore, maintain his character for mercy and justice towards men, or he will leave behind him a sad proof of his disregard of himself; that be no longer seeks his own glory, as a darling object. Hence we see, that for God to do right, is to act for his own glory, and to do those things which will best promote it. Dy carrying this work to perfection, he renders himself deserving of the unlimited confidence of creatures. Thi sbeing the work of God, infinitely stupendous,complicated,and arduous, and that which must lay the foundation of all confidence, or distrust in him, accordingly as it is executed ; it is natural to inquire, what are those powers and qualifications, which he possesses for acquitting himself in this most interesting and momentous concernment. One must have abilities propor
tioned to what is before him, to the business - he has to perform, or else, instead of being trusted, he will be despised and treated with
He will be in the situation of the
man who begins to build and is not able to finish. To deserve the confidence of the whole rational world, God, who is head over all, must be able to manage the vast machine of the universe, in the most unexceptionable manner. He must be possessed of all those attributes, which are requisite to constitute him the efficient source of the greatest possible good. And to be thus amply furnished for supremacy and universal rule, it is easy to see, that he must have infinite knowledge, infinite power, absolute immutability, and a perfect independence of all exterior influence." Without these he cannot be God, cannot do right, as the supreme arbiter of the world, and the Judge of all the earth. That these are, actually, some of his glorious perfections, and that by them he is capacitated to work out and bring to maturity the most finished plan of govern.. ment, such as is fit to inspire all its subjects with the fullest confidence in its measures and administrations, is what we shall endeavour to bring into view, and make manifest, in some future discourses ; but at present we shall not farther enlarge, but subjoin a few remarks by way of improvement and conclude.
1. If the rectitude of the Most High consists in his ultimate regard to himself, and in doing the best that can be done to pro.' mote his own glory, then it follows, that in order to do right, we must always have the same high end in view. Our righteousness
cannot be evangelical, if it clashes with the righteousness of God. Though our relation to God is different from his to us, and consequently the same specific conduct cannot indifferently befit us and the Deity ; yet it is a clear case, that creatures should have the same great object in view, that the Creator has. Upon any other supposition, they can have no union with God, nor be workers together with him. If the divine being pursues his own glory, as the great good he desires and aims at, a creature cannot more decidedly express his enmity to God, than by choosing a different interest, and seeking himself instead of God. The scripture accordingly requires, “ whether ye eat, therefore, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And this furthermore proves, that we are not mistaken in
supposing, that God seeks his own glory, as his highest end : for he would not require his creatures to place that highest in their affections, which is not so in his. This would, in effect, be exciting them to variance with himself. The spirit of God can never be supposed to move us to that which is contrary to him.
But nothing can consitute a greater opposition to God, than our aspiring to some end, which is different froni what he cherishes as the prime object of his regard. In us, therefore, there can be no true moral rectitude, any father than we are influenced in our conduct by an ultimate reference to God's glory
2. Is not our subject of use to rectify our notions of God, and of the great end of his providence ? Instead of placing God upon the throne, the views often entertained of him have the directly opposite effect. He is, indeed, acknowledged to be great ; but to have motives of conduct utterly unworthy of him, who is first and last, and fills heaven and earth. Have we not been wont to ground our high approbation of God, upon an idea, that he employs all his vast, his boundless energies, in the service of his creatures ? that he concerns himself chiefly in watching Opportunities of waiting on them and doing them favour? Such views derogate exceedingly from the proper dignity of Jehovah. If he is attentive to the circumstances of creatures, and does much for their welfare, all this has respect to some other end of infinitely greater importance. In every instance of his kindness, he acts ultimately for himself and subordinately for them. They and their interests engross his care, because they are useful to make his own name appear glorious and great.
3. The view we have hitherto taken of our subject evidently tends to excite humil. ity. The consideration, that God is all in all, must, if it has its influence, so teach us our own nothingness as to bring us into a most abased posture before God. but the vessels which God has made for his
Our only importance in the sysiem arises from our instrumentality in bring