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works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”! Sometimes in the Scriptures the effect of true religion is put for religion itself the part for the whole. St. James says, “ Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this—to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”2 This cannot exist without the other blessings whence it flows. Christ died not only to atone, but as an example for believers; the great end of his work was to bring in an everlasting righteousness. If we know what it is to lay hold of the righteousness of Christ that justifies, we shall strive to do all things that are pleasing to him, and righteousness will be dear to us.
1 Matt. v. 16.
2 James i. 27.
Morning, December 31, 1820.
ON God's GOVERNMENT.
The Lord reigneth.—Psalm xcvii. 1.
Some few Sundays ago? I endeavoured to shew what the omnipotence of God was; and that that omnipotence was at all times the only refuge of the believer; and that unbelief in this attribute frequently robbed us of our privileges. This is necessarily connected with the subject before us. Could we fully comprehend this, and connect it with the truth, that God is represented as One who not only governs with infinite power, but who is also guided by infinite wisdom, we should perceive that he governs all things minutely. We have now arrived at the close of one year, and it may be said, have reached the threshold of another. Some of us, perhaps, in looking back upon the past year, may be inclined to wish that some things, that have occurred, had not happened. But in doing this we are forgetful that “the Lord reigneth.” We cannot, my brethren, wish that what has happened had not taken place, without being guilty of an act of rebellion against the King of kings, against a Being who is infinitely wise and good. In thus wishing, it is as much as to say, if I had the government of the world in my hands, I would have ordered some things more wisely. I would not say anything to discourage any of you; the things I am saying to you, I would say to myself. I can look back to the time when I quarrelled bitterly with God for having thwarted me in some favorite project, or for having blasted some favorite prospect; but now I look back, and can see that it was done in infinite wisdom, and I thank God I am beginning to see that “the Lord reigneth.”. . I propose to consider this morning, God's government, to consider God's reigning; and " I. THAT HE REIGNS NECESSARILY; ... · II. THAT HE REIGNS UNIVERSALLY, IN AND OVER THE LEAST EVENTS AND THINGS, AS WELL AS THE GREATEST; and in
1 October 22, 1820, supra page 79.
III. That GOD REIGNS IN THE HEART, AS A GOD OF GRACE.
It is impossible to bring the sinner's heart,
by nature rebellious, under the government of the King of kings, without the subduing power and quickening influence of the Spirit; and thus only shall we be enabled to deliver ourselves and our concerns into his hands, and become his subjects for time and eternity, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
I. GOD REIGNS NECESSARILY. God called everything we see into existence. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap; he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord : let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast.” | Universal being is perpetually dependent upon God, without the least single exception. Speaking of Jesus, he is said to “uphold all things by the word of his power.” 2 The Psalmist was conscious of this, “ Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live; and let me not be ashamed of my hope.”3 Connect this with the preceding verse, “ Depart from me, ye evil doers: for I will keep the commandments of my God;" then he adds, “hold thou me up, and I shall be safe : and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”1 His prayer was, rule thou and reign in me by thy Spirit ; give me not only a commandment, but also a power to obey the commandment. If God upholds all things, it follows, as an irresistible inference, all things are perpetually dependent upon him. And if he is essentially the possessor of all things, it also follows, he cannot transfer that dominion to another: an earthly sovereign may transfer his dominion, but God reigns over all, and it is impossible that he should transfer that dominion to another : the reason is obvious, because there is no one capable of receiving it. He must be the governor and preserver of all things, or all created being would sink into a mass of confusion. We find him a monarch in the least particle of matter. He rules over devils and men. Inanimate matter obeys God in every particular : rebellion alone exists in the heart of man and in devils : brutes obey him, and when they die, return to their original native dust.
i Psalm xxxiii. 6-9.
Heb. i. 3.
3 Psalm cxix. 116.