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sarily imply a purpose; mistakes are frequently made upon this subject; the two are often confounded, and the awful consequence of the error is, to charge God as the author of evil, and to assert that moral evil, as well as moral good, must be traced up to God. Oh no, my brethren, moral evil is to be traced alone to the creature, while moral good must be traced alone to the Creator. Everything that happens to or is immediately connected with the creature does not necessarily come to pass as an immediate consequence of its creation. No doubt the creature's creation is to be referred immediately to the Creator, but the creature's delinquency never can be. In the creation of a natural object its properties and the laws by which it is governed, may be traced immediately to God. If we consider the sun-its light and heat, we can trace immediately to the act and will of the Creator ; but when God calls a moral agent into being, it is not a matter of choice with the Creator, whether he shall create the creature inferior to himself. God cannot do impossibilities: the creature must necessarily be infinitely inferior ; God gave him a free-will, and if he chose to sin, his sin is not imputable to God, but his sin is the effect of his imperfection; it is to be traced to the creature's, necessary defectibility, which is the cause. It
does not, my brethren, derogate from the perfections of God to say he could not create a creature that must not be infinitely inferior to himself; the creature must be infinitely inferior to God; there is here then, an evident and necessary connection between the cause and effect; that is, between the creature's necessary defectibility and his transgression; but this effect does not flow from the act of creation. Doubtless God might, if he had chosen, have preserved man from falling ; but it is infinitely impossible that he should have influenced him to sin: and to appeal to that tribunal which I often appeal to, and which is the best tribunal of appeal, I mean that of conscience, let me ask any enlightened conscience, whether it can fix sin upon the decree of God, and not upon the delinquent himself. Is it not your will and pleasure to sin? It is necessary, my brethren, accurately and deeply to consider this subject, that we may know the difference between our character and that of God. To consider
II. THE COUNSEL AND PURPOSE OF GOD. My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. By counsel here, is meant covenant of mercy: here is one whose will is infinitely independent of any other being whatever; here is one, who knows all things from
the beginning, and all their possibilities without one single exception ; here is one who can learn nothing more; who knew all things from all eternity. “I will do all my pleasure :” here is the declaration of infinite power and sovereignty. Now no created being dare say this with impunity. What then is the rule for the conduct of a finite being, what for us who are his creatures? the inference is, that rule which God lays down must be my rule. Here is one who knows no will but his own. I have before observed that omniscience does not necessarily imply a purpose, but the purpose of God necessarily implies omniscience : wherein are we to trace all the blessings we enjoy in time, and all those which are secured to us through all eternity, but to the counsel of God? In this counsel we contemplate Father, Son, and Spirit, entering into covenant from all eternity. We see in this, One, who, as God the Father, appears as a holy God of vengeance threatening just destruction upon the sinner: we see One, as God the Son, covenanting to be a sin-atoning God, covenanting to die for our transgression--to fulfil all righteousness : we see One, as God the Holy Spirit, covenanting to quicken and renew and sanctify the sinner. We know these things must have been purposed from all eternity ; because all God brings to pass in time, he must
have purposed from all eternity; this necessarily flows from his omniscience: to suppose the contrary, is to deny the attributes of God. If we view that beautiful edifice Waterloo Bridge, or Westminster Abbey, or St. Paul's Cathedral, can we behold them, and possessing the sense of rational beings, contend that no architect planned them? Apply this to spiritual things; if we view a Saviour descending upon the earth, working out the great plan of redemption, can we, in like manner, say there was no purpose~no design ? Again, my brethren, how is it you who are here present have been taught to know the Lord ? Is it not all to be referred to the counsel of God ? “ My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." Is it to be referred to your own natural superiority, or to the Spirit of God ?
But to consider the state of man in this life, and to connect it with God's loving-kindness. “Who remembered us in our low estate; for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm cxxxvi. 23. And let us in the next place consider our own character, in order to learn from thence the necessity of this covenant, to raise and to quicken us : he tells us, “because I live, ye shall live also,” to guide us here and glorify us hereafter : I am not expressing myself too strongly when I say, the character and desert
of man exactly corresponds with the character and desert of an evil spirit. It is unnecessary for me to prove that man has sinned with all the malignity of Satan; and that man has many ways of sinning which Satan has not. Let no man suppose there is any thing in the covenant to drive him into sin—it is a covenant to saye—not to destroy. Doubtless God might, had he chosen it, have left all to perish without any such covenant. His covenant to save must be referred to his infinite sovereignty. Man owes the law of God a debt of obedience, and a debt of suffering. All innocent beings owe God's law a debt of obedience :--but we are naturally children of wrath, and owe the debt of suffering. It is necessary that we should thoroughly view the depravity of our characters. Some say, look out of self, look to Christ--this, in some sense, is true; but in order to see the exceeding preciousness of Christ, it is absolutely essential, that I should see the malignity of my own sins, to enable me to view accurately the nature of the sacrifice, and how Christ has paid the debt. My brethren, how has he done this? By being placed under the law as completely as you and I are; Christ became the debtor, both to the curse and the commandment; and he did what no one else could dohe endured the curse and fulfilled the com