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known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God. Several very important ideas are brought into view in the text, which are,
1. The manifold wisdom of God, appearing to the glorified inhabitants of heaven.
2. This discovery was eternally purposed in Jesus Christ.
3. It is to be communicated through the church, or that dispensation of mercy, by which are gathered together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.
4. The whole creation subsists in relation to this design, as the end of its existence.
5. This mystery was hid in God, until it was made known by the gospel.
6. To make it known and impress it, ag a matter equally applicable to Jews and Gentiles, and as constituting a great bond of fel. lowship between them, the apostolic ministry was instituted.
The whole matter will appear by attending to what begins with the second, and ends with the twelfth verse, of the context. “ If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me to you.ward ; How that by revelaa tion he made known unto me the mystery ; as I wrote afore in few words ; Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit ; That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and
of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel ; Whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me, by the effectu. al working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gintiles the unsearchable riches of Christ
; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ To the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the inanifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." mystery is exhibited to the view of men and ángels, in which the wisdom of God appears manifold and preeminent. As here is matter to engage the attention of the supreme being, hunan and angellic minds may well be swallowed up in it. As an object most estimable and dear to God, it attracts the thoughts and desires of all the holy subjects of his kingdom. Because they love God, they rejoice to see his wisdom shine. And that his wisdom may glow with reful. gent beams, to enlighten and warm the souls of all intelligences ; a channel is opened for the pouring forth of his gladsome and exhilirating rays.
God has made the world,
that the world may praise him, by proving how transcendently high and unexampled is his goodness, and by conducting the eye of every faithful inquirer to a character, which has, in itself, charms enough to captivate and feast the immortal soul to an inexhaustible eternity. “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” For every act of Deity, a reason, no doubt, may be assigned. Whether or not we are able to see all, or any, of the subordinate ends, which are proposed in the several operations of his hand ; yet we are assured that one great last end is respected in every work which he does. In our text we are reminded of the creation of all things as being his work; and we are expressly tolu for what intent all things were made by him, viz. that “ unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wise dom of God." From the text we may, therefore, deduce the following doctrinal proposition, viz.
The whole creation is instrumental, in the hands of God, of displaying his wisdom, and bringing glory to his name ; and for this purpose only does it exist.
Having before him, in eternity, the darling object of exhibiting the most perfectly excellent and amiable character, his counsels were occupied in devising the means best adapted to this end.
In pursuance of the dictates of his wisdom, all things, which have
being, were brought forth ; a certain indication to us, that such things are the best suited to illustrate and make manifest the Deity; that they are a set of the best chosen instruments for accomplishing his purposes and giving a most exalted dignity and splendor to his government. We cannot conceive, that any thing should have been made, only in reference to some preconcerted end. There never was an instance of a man's exerting himself, in any cause whatever, when it might not have been asked him, Why do you thus ? implying, that there was something, aside from the act itself, inducing him to it. If a man speaks, it is to amuse, edify, or comfort, either himself or others; and so, if he exercise any other faculty. Intelligent nature is such, that we cannot conceive of one as acting without intending something beyond the action itself. For the same reason we cannot conceive of God's creating things, but with a design to render them answerable to a purpose, which he has pura posed in himself. Should it be asked, Why do creatures exist? would it be a sufficient answer to say, That they may exist? Or if it should be asked why they are made
good and happy, would it satisfy to answer, That they: may be good and happy ? Would it be rational to suppose God might have made a world, merely that there might be such à thing in existence, not having it at all in view whether it would be of use or not? Or would it be any honour to God to imagine
he might create a certain given number of happy beings, purely that there might be existences of such a description, and not because it was any pleasure to him to create them, or to behold chem in existence? If
you, my hearers, should meet with a man fabri. cating a curious machine, and should ask him what he intended by it, or what induce. ment he had to give form to such a thing, and he should answer you, that he had none, only that there might be such a thing in being; for he neither had any pleasure in constructing it, nor expected to derive either pleasure or advantage from it, after it was made ; what would you think of him? You would certainly conclude, that his mind was of so singular a texture, that you could have no idea of it. If God has made any thing, not intending it as an instrument for compassing some end, to which such creature is to be rendered entirely subservient, he is like the man who builds a machine without motive, or without regarding any benefit to hiinself, or any satisfaction from conferring a benefit on others. If a man employs himself in giving form to any thing, merely for the pleasure he takes in operating upon such a piece of machinery, when he has got through and perfected his work, he will lay: it aside, or devote it to destruction ; because his end is fully answered. If his object is to use it for a season for pleasure, or gain, that term being expired, he casts it away as usea less. If God had any thing in view, in makin