« PreviousContinue »
future and eternal state. They know what he has done for them here. They know, that he has given his Son to suffer and die for them ; that he has put the gospel into their hands, that he has appointed men to use the means of grace with them; that he here waits to be gracious to them ; and that he sends his spirit to strive with them, and in a word, they know all that he does to form their characters & prepare them for their final destination. And when they see God fix them in their future and final condition, they will see and admire the glory of his conduct towards them, whether he fixes them in the world of light, or in the regions of darkness. While they praise God for his grace towards the vessels of mercy, they will also praise him for his justice towards the vessels of wrath. It will greatly augment the blessedness of the righteous to have the angels unite in praising God for their salvation ; and no less augment the misery of the wicked
1 to have the angels praise God for giving them a just recompense of reward. The knowledge of the glory of God, which angels obtain in this world, enables them to make much greater progress in the knowledge of the glory of God, in every other part of the universe, not only at present, but forever. And while they are now teaching themselves in the knowledge of the glory of God here, they are preparing to teach the children of God, when they shall arrive in the kingdom of their Father. They will know a vast deal more of God's conduct towards the saints, than they knew about it while here and when they first arrive in heaven.--Christians are constantly surrounded by a cloud of angelic witnesses ; and therefore it becomes them to lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset them and to run with patience the race set before them, until they join the general assembly and the Church of the first born in heaven.
6. If God gives brighter displays of his glory here, than any where else ; then all men, in this life, are in the most important stage of their existence. They here enjoy privileges and advantages, which they will never enjoy again, after they go off from the stage of life.
They here enjoy the best opportunities of securing the everlasting favor of God in this day of grace and space of repentance. They here enjoy the best opportunities of seeing the brightest displays of the glory of God; and at the same time of promoting it in building up his kingdom and increasing the number of his cordial subjects. These are infinitely important privileges, which will cease, as soon as we cease to live and act
the present stage of life. Saints and sinners are here in a situation to do more good, or to do more hurt, than they can ever do in any future period of their existence. Their lives are infinitely interesting to themselves and to others. It highly concerns all to improve the residue of their days to the best advantage for themselves and others. They can never retrieve the loss of time, nor the loss of opportunities of doing and of getting good. They have much to gain and much to loose. This ought deeply to impress the minds of the old and of the young, of parents and children and of speakers and hearers. It is summer now, but the winter of death will soon come. And now be pleased to ask yourselves, whether you have laid a good foundation for peace and comfort in the closing scenes of life? Have you so faithfully served God and your generation, as that you are prepared, as David was, to fall asleep in death? Have you seen, admired and enjoyed the displays of the glory of God, which he has made before your eyes and become prepared to see, admire and enjoy the future and eternal displays of his glory? Have you enjoyed angelic happiness here and so prepared to enjoy it hereafter ? Is your path, like the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day? Do you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, or does an expectation of seeing more of it, fill you with darkness, dread and despair? Only put these questions to yourselves and give an impartial answer to them; and you will determine an important point, which perhaps some of you have desired to be determined ; that is, whether you are
saints, or sinners, or whether you love darkness rather than light; and whether you are prepared for the world of light, or the world of darkness. If you now love the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, this light will arise and shine before your eyes with increasing brightness and beauty forever and ever. But if you hate the light of his glory, you will soon fall into the blackness of darkness and the endless torment and despair of hell.
THE SOVEREIG-ITTY OF GOD IN THE FORMATION
Romans, ix. 20.---Nay, but, o man, who art thou, that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him, that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ?
The apostle, in the preceding verses, introduces the doctrine of personal election to eternal life in its full extent, as implying personal reprobation to eternal destruction. And he illustrates the doctrine, by two memorable cases well known to the Jews. First, by the instance of Jacob and Esau. "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Next, by the instance of Pharaoh. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy, on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardeneth.” To this the apostle anticipates an objection.
6. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will ?” Instead of evading this ob
" jection, as some suppose he does, he gives a direct and full answer to it. "Nay, but, О man, who art thou:
, , that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him, that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ?” The apostle does not mean to say to the ob
" jector, you have no right to put a question to me, which no man can answer ; but he means to say is no ground for the question, “ Why doth he yet find fault,” any more than for the question, Why should not a creature find fault for being a creature? This is the plain sense of the text :
Men have no reason to complain of God for making then just such creatures as they are.
I shall, first, show, that God has mode them just such creatures as they are ; and, then, that they have no reason to complain, that he has made them what they are.
İ. God has made men just what they are, in distinction from all living creatures below them and from all rational creatures above them, in various respects. And,
1. In respect to their bodies. When God made the first man, he gave him just such a body as he pleased ; and just such a body as he intended to give to all bis numerous posterity. The human body we know is very different in size, in form, in strength, in activity and in sensibility, from the bodies of every species of the lower creation ; and it is no less different from the light, ethereal, transparent and splendi 1 vehicles, with which angels are clothed. There is a corporeal and visible dignity in the appearance of mankind, which is superior to the corporeal appearance of any other creatures on earth ; and perhaps, but a very little inferior to the corporeal appearance of the angels of light, Christ now appears and will always appear in the form of man in heaven ; and we can hardly suppose that his visible appearance will be less dignified than that of the highest angels. But notwithstanding the general uniformity in the corporeal appearance of mankind, by which they are distinguished from the higher and lower orders of creatures, there is a vast variety in the appearance of individuals, by which they are distinguishable from one another. Among the immense millions of mankind there are no two men exactly alike, in their size, their form, their complexion, their strength and activity. All this personal variety is owing to the design of our Creator. He bas made the bodies of all men just as he pleased. And so he bas,
2. Their intellectual powers and faculties, He has made as great a diversity in the intellectual talents of