Imágenes de páginas

his practice, solely to please the multi- S E R M. tude; who hath been ashamed of his Sa- ^^j viour and his words; and to gain favour with men, hath apostatised from the native sentiments and dictates of his heart ?—To fay aH in one word j there is a contest now between God and the world. These form the opposite sides which divide mankind. Consider well, to which of these you will chuse to adhere. On the one side, lie your allegiance, your honour, and your interest ., on the other, lie your guilt and your stiame. For the one, conscience and reason, for the other passion, and inclination, plead. On the one hand, are the approbation of God, immortal honour, and divine rewards; on the other, —remember and beware,—are the stings ©f conscience, endless piwiicti*rkeat, and endless inferny.



On the Wisdom of God.*

I Timothy i. 17.

Now unto the King Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only Wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

SE RM. TT is of the highest importance to reX ligious conduct, that our minds be filled with suitable conceptions of the attributes of God. They are the foundations

* This concluding discourse is chiefly intended, to be a general recapitulation of instances of the wisdom of Providence, several of which have been more fully illustrated in other discourses, contained in this, or in some - of the-preceding volumes.

[ocr errors]

dations of our reverence for him; and SE R M. '_ XX.

reverence is the foundation of religion, i^-r^f

All the divine perfections are interesting to man. Almighty power, in conjunction with Eternity and Omnipresence, naturally inspires solemn awe. Infinite Goodness relieves the mind from that oppression which Power alone would produce; and, from our experience of present benefits, and our remembrance of the past, creates love, gratitude, and trust. In the middle between these, stands the contemplation of divine Wisdom, which conjoins impressions of awe with those of comfort; and while it -humbles us into profound submission, encourages, at the fame time our reliance on that King eternal, immortal, and invisible, who is justly stiled in the text, the only wise God.

Among men, wisdom is. a quality entirely different from cunning or craft. It always supposes good and fair intention in the. person who possesses it; and imports, that laudable ends are pursued


SE R M. by proper and j ustifiable means. In like manner wisdom in the Supreme Being cannot be separated from the rectitude of his nature. It is, in him, an exertion of benevolence; and imports, that the purposes of justice and goodness are carried on and accomplished, by means the most effectual. To meditate on some of thole instances in which this divine wisdom is displayed, cannot but be highly favourable to the impressions both of piety, and of virtue.

It is difficult to fay, whether the natural, or the moral, world, afford the most conspicuous and striking displays of the wisdom of God. Not one, nor many discourses nor indeed the study and labour of a whole life, were, in any degree, sufficient to explore them. Of the proofs of wisdom which the natural world affords, I cannot attempt now to discourse. Any illustration os these would lead to discussions of a scientific kind, which more

properly 'belong to the philosopher; and SE RM.


on which philosophy has often employ- l
ed itself, with much utility and honour.
I mail only take notice that, in pro-
portion as human knowledge hath en-
larged its sphere of research and disco-
very, in the same proportion, hath the
wisdom of the Creator struck the minds
of all inquirers and observers, with
the highest admiration. All nature is
in truth a scene of wonders. In the
disposition of the heavenly bodies, and
the general arrangement of the system
of the universe ; in the structure of the
earth j in the endless variety of living
creatures that fill it and in the provi-
sion made for them all, to enable them
to fulfil the ends of their being, it is
not easy to determine, whether power,
wisdom, or goodness be most conspicu-
ous. It belongs not only to the hea-
vens to declare the glory of God, and to
the firmament to Jhew forth his handy-
work; in the smallest and most incon-
siderable, as well as in the most illus-
trious works of God, equalmarks ap-
pear of profound design and consum-


« AnteriorContinuar »