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SE R M. ficult to be reconciled to his pre-con
ceived ideas of supreme wisdom and goodness in the Creator, as the sufferings and afflictions which in the course of Providence befal the just? The natural and moral world are, in this respect, counterparts to one another. Both are marked with the same characters, and carry the impress of the same powerful and gracious hand. In both, it is evidently the intention of the first Author not to render every thing level to our capacity; but in the midst of high design and order, to allow certain objects to appear, which contradict the ideas we had formed, and mock our vain researches. Now, if we are obliged to admit that the order and beau. ty of the natural world sufficiently prove it to be the work of a wise Creator, notwithstanding the seeming deformities which it exhibits; are we not led, by the same train of reasoning, to conclude that the moral world is under the direction of a wise Governor,
though much of what he now does weS ERM, cạnnot satisfactorily explain ?.
Secondly, The doctrine of the text is to be applied not only for silencing sceptics but for comforting the pious. Never let them be dejected by the darkness which now covers the ways of the Almighty. If he withdraws himself from their view, it is not because he neglects them; but because they are incapable of comprehending his designs ; because it were not for their good that all his designs were revealed to them. Instead of perplexing themselves about what is obscure, let them rest on the clear and authentic discoveries that have been given of the divine goodness. Let them rest on those great and signal facts that prove it; particularly on that illustrious fact, the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ, He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, will assuredly not always conceal himself from those who serve him. Though what he doçs they know not now, the
SERM. time approaches when they hall knozé
bereafter. Till that time come, let' them believe and trust; let them hope and adore. From this conclusion let them never depart, that to fear God and keep his commandments, is in every sitúa: tion the truest wisdom; that, if there be government in the universe at all, the virtuous and the worthy are loved and protected by Heaven ; that in due feason they shall reap if they faint not ; for the care of them is with the Lord, and their reward with the Most High
:: SER M-ON X..
On the SLAVERY of Vice.
2 PETER'ü: 19:
While they promise them liberty, they
themselves are the servants of corrup-
of the same is be brought in bondage. DONDAGE and subjection are dif-SERM,
D agreeable sounds to the ear, disagreeable ideas to the mind. The advocates of vice, taking advantage of those natural impressions, have in every age employed them for discrediting religion. They represent it as the bondage and
. SER M. confinement of the free-born foul of
man; as a state of perpetual constraint, formed by a system of severe rules, which designing men have contrived to impose as fetters on the multitude. On the other hand, they paint a licentious course to themselves, and hold it out to the world, as the gay and pleasurable enjoyment of life ; where, having surmounted the prejudices of education, and the timorous scruples of conscience, men can think and act at pleasure, and give full scope to every wish of the heart. But what if those pretended fans of freedom be themselves held in miferable subjection, and their boasts of liberty be no more than the swelling words of vanity? The Apostle asserts in the text, that while they promise liberty to others, they are the servants, or Naves, of corruption, overcome, and brought into bondage by it. This affertion of the Apostle I purpose to illustrate. I shall endeavour to make it appear, that no true liberty can arise from vice; that bad men undergo the