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seal upon his arm. Though their love may wax cold, yet his love will never cease; though they may forget him, yet he will never forget them. He will keep them in the hollow of his hand, and guard them as the apple of his eye. He will cause all things to work together for their good. He will raise them as high in holiness and happiness, as infinite power, wisdom, and goodness can raise them. With what joy and transport, therefore, may they look up to God and say, "Whom have we in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that we desire beside thee. Thy favor is life; and thy loving kindness is better than life!"
5. This subject warns sinners to flee from the wrath to come. God is angry with the wicked every day, and his wrath continually abides upon them. And though he now waits to be gracious to them, and endures them with much long suffering and patience; yet, unless they repent and become cordially reconciled to him, he will whet his glittering sword, and his hand will take hold on judgment, and he will give them a just recompense of reward. It will be a terrible thing for sinners to fall into the hands of the living God, who is a consuming fire, and whose wrath will burn to the lowest hell. But God is now seated on a throne of grace. Let the wicked therefore forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
THE GLORY OF GOD ILLUSTRATED.
EXODUS Xxxiii, 18, 19.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before
MOSES became early acquainted with God. He enjoyed peculiar manifestations of his favor in the family of Pharaoh. In his retirement in Midian, he maintained, for forty years, a near and familiar intercourse with the Deity. At length, he was called to the great and arduous work of leading the people of God from the house of bondage to the land of promise. This gave him still better opportunities of seeing the glory of God, and of enjoying the manifestations of his love. God freely conversed with him, face to face, as a man converses with his friend. He not only saw the displays of divine vengeance in the plagues poured upon Egypt, and the displays of divine love in the mercies granted to Israel; but he was let into the designs of the Deity, and employed as an instrument of making them known to his people. Under these happy circumstances, he made a rapid progress, both in the knowledge and the love of God. The more he saw of the divine glory, at one time, the more he wished to see of it, at another. Having just been interceding with God to pardon his people, for making and worshipping the golden calf, and having received assurance that God would both preserve and guide them through the wilderness, by his gracious and visible presence; he
makes a particular request for himself, which though. God seems to deny, yet he more than grants. The request is, "I beseech thee, shew me thy glory." The answer is, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee." The promise of God here seems to surpass the petition of Moses. He desires a visible display of God's visible glory. This God denies, but promises to give him something better, even a bright display of his moral glory. "I will make all my goodness pass before thee." These words, in this connexion, plainly teach us,
That God necessarily displays all his glory, by displaying all his goodness.
To illustrate this subject, I shall,
I. Consider what is to be understood by the glory of God.
II. Consider what is to be understood by his displaying all his goodness.
III. Show, that by doing this, he necessarily displays all his glory.
I. Let us consider what we are to understand by the glory of God. The glory of any moral agent is that intrinsic moral excellence, which renders him worthy of approbation and esteem. This is never seated in the understanding, but in the heart. There is no moral excellence in a man's intellectual powers, but only in his disposition to employ them to some valuable purpose. All intrinsic moral excellence lies in the heart. Here we always look for it, and here only can we ever find it. A man who possesses a good heart, or a truly benevolent disposition, is a man of real worth. Such is our idea of the glory of a finite, rational, moral agent. And since we derive our first ideas of glory from rational and benevolent creatures, we are obliged to consider the glory of God to be, of the
same nature with the glory of other moral beings. Ac cordingly, we must suppose, that the glory of God is that intrinsic moral excellence, which is seated in his heart, and which renders him worthy of the supreme love and homage of all his intelligent creatures. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he: and as God thinketh in his heart, so is he. God is love. And in this consists his real, intrinsic, supreme, moral excellence and glory. I proceed,
II. To consider what is to be understood by God's displaying all his goodness. His promise to Moses is very singular and very significant. "I will make all my goodness pass before thee." That God may dis play all his goodness, he must do two things.
1. He must display his goodness to as high a degree as possible. Though there be no degrees of goodness in God himself, yet there must be degrees of displaying it to creatures of limited capacities. God, who knows all things, knows the highest degree, to which his goodness can be displayed. He is perfectly ac quainted with the capacities of all his creatures, and with all the ways of displaying his goodness to the view of their minds. And unless he gives them as clear and full a display of his goodness, as they are capable of beholding, it cannot be said, with propriety, that he displays all his goodness. But when he displays as much of his goodness as they are capable of comprehending, then he may be said in that respect, to display all his goodness.
2. God's displaying all his goodness further implies his displaying it in all its branches, and agreeably to the various natures and characters of his dependent creatures. In particular,
1. It implies displaying his benevolence towards all sensitive natures. Nothing more is necessary to ren
der any creature the proper object of benevolence, than a mere capacity of enjoying happiness and suffering pain. And as all the creatures of God possess this capacity; so they are all the objects of his benevolent feelings. He hears the young ravens when they cry. He opens his hand and satisfies the desire of every liv ing thing. He is good unto all; and his tender mercies are over all his works. He regards with a benevolent eye, the highest angel, and the lowest insect. His perfect goodness is perfect benevolence towards all the proper objects of benevolence. And it is impossi'ble, that he should display all his goodness, without displaying universal benevolence towards all his crea tures, whether rational or irrational, whether virtuous or vicious. Mere benevolence has no respect to character, but only to capacity. And, therefore, God displays his benevolent regards to the lowest as well as the highest, and to the worst as well as to the best, of his creatures.
2. In order to display all his goodness, God must display his complacency towards all holy beings. The goodness of the Deity naturally and necessarily inclines him to love goodness, wherever he sees it. Those creatures, therefore, who are virtuous and holy, are the objects of his complacency and delight. He not only desires their happiness, but loves their characters. Accordingly we read; "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him. The Lord loveth the righteous." And to Zion it is said, "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty: he will save thee, he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." God loved Moses, and manifested his love to him, by conversing freely with him, as a man converses with his friend. John