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bel is very affecting. Proud, and voluptuous, and cruel, and idolatrous, and a king's daughter, and a king's wife also; she was pitched out of the window upon the wall by her own servants, trodden under foot by the horses of Jehu, and so garbled by the dogs, that no one could know her to say, This is Jezebel. Thus ever will the enemies of God perish, and their memories shall rot.
8. Women and Wives should here take careful warning, from the example of this wicked queen, Jezebel. Before this domestic murder of Naboth, this cursed woman, as she is called by Jehu, who lived through three reigns, had introduced idolatry; had slain the Lord's prophets; and stirred up the heart of her husband, and her sons, to do wickedly. But her day came at last. And even a false, and seducing prophetess was afterwards called by her name; and, like her, received a fearful ruin, as we read in the Apocalypse. Let then all wives hence learn, not to stir up their husbands to do wickedly, lest some Jehu of the Lord be sent to drive furiously his judgments against them, as he did against that wretched woman, Jezebel.
9. We learn, how soon the most secure, and numerous families may be cut off, by the judgments of God. In a moment, as it were, the seventy sons, and two and forty grandsons, of Ahab, had their heads in the baskets, and their bodies in the shearing-house pit, by the furious energy of the Lord's avenger, Jehu, when they saw no danger. Thus, in the midst of life, are men in death; and therefore should men be always ready.
10. We should learn, from the character of Jehu, to have our zeal according to knowledge. Jehu had zeal, but he had also much falsehood and fraud joined with it; and he retained his favourite idolatry. And his, Come, see my zeal, neutralized the whole. Thus should we guard against a partial subjection to God; and not think, because we perform some religious duties, that we may neglect others, which are less agreeable; if we would hope for the rewards, not merely of a partial, but of a universal obedience.
THE GOODNESS OF GOD.
Psalm lxxxvi, 5.
THOU, LORD, ART GOOD.
WHEN We look out into the world, does not the eye perceive, does not the heart feel, that the Lord is good to all the creatures he hath made; to the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, the herds on the hills, and the insects in the breeze; to every living thing that walks upon this beautiful green earth, swims within the cool dark waters, or flies beneath the warm blue sky?
But it will be my present purpose to prove, principally · from Scripture, that the Lord is particularly good to Mankind. Wherever we turn our view, whether up to the influences of the heavens, or down to the issues of the earth; whether into far distant lands, or abroad on the ocean; over the busy scenes of life, or into the domestic circle; all proves, that whatever may be the character of man, whether holy or unholy, grateful or ungrateful, the text ever has been, and is now abundantly true Thou, Lord, art good.
I. GOD IS GOOD TO MANKIND IN GENERAL. 1. God is good, not to one nation only, not to the crowded and cultivated citizen of London or of Paris, of Pekin or of Rome, merely, is he good; but to the scattered and less refined inhabitants of Kamscatka and the Isles of the Ocean; to the proud princes in the palace and the humble dwellers in the caves, is he alike good. Many, O Lord, cries grateful David, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thoughts which are to us-ward; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee e;
if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. And what says God in Jeremiah ? I will rejoice over them to do them good. And what says John? The Father himself loveth you. And Paul? Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. Surely, Thou, Lord, art good.
2. The goodness of God is impartial. God is no respecter of persons. The poor, as well as the rich, have souls equally welcome to be saved, and equally liable to be lost. Whether Jew or Gentile, he is the same Lord, rich unto all that call upon his name. We read that, in a temporal sense, he that gathered much had nothing to spare; and he that gathered little had no lack. Upon the just and the unjust, is sent the former and the latter rain; and seed-time, and harvest, health, friends, and worldly good things happen to all alike. And, in a spiritual sense, to all who will obey the truth, whether Scythian or Barbarian, bond or free, the answer is in Luke, that yet there is room. And in Revelation we read, Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely. How different is this, from the goodness of man.
The goodness of God is unchangeable. This goodness does not depend upon any caprice, nor is it liable to be withdrawn. It is not confined to one, or two, or any particular number of years, but is unlimited in all the years of man's pilgrimage. In Isaiah God says, Can a woman forget her sucking child? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. And again, The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee. And in Hebrews says God, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. How different is this also, from the goodness of man.
II. THE GOODNESS OF GOD IS MANIFESTED TOWARDS MANKIND, IN PARTICULAR INSTANCES.
1. In forming them for happiness. God was under no obligation to form man for happiness. He was perfectly happy in himself, and the happiness of man could not add to his happiness. But he did thus form man, be
cause he delights to communicate of his goodness. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. If man did not long continue in this happy garden, it was not from any want of the goodness of God, but of his own heart. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.
In their preservation. Who is there, that has not had reason to exclaim, O thou preserver of men! Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. I laid me down and slept; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me. Thy right hand upholdeth me. Who is it, that hath hitherto preserved us from lightning and tempest; from plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death? Surely, it is of the Lord's mercies, that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not. Great is thy faithfulness.
3. In providing for their support and comfort. It is of the Lord's pleasure and power, that mankind are created and preserved; but it is of his goodness that their lives are made comfortable. How few are there in the world, who cannot exclaim, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The rich man can say, Who satisfieth my mouth with good things. And the poor man can say, I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me. Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
4. In giving them the pleasures of domestic life. It is owing to the goodness of God, that man was not left to wander forlorn in lone places, without any confidence in his brother man, or any capacity for social enjoyment. But God setteth the solitary in families. They are blessed with the endearments of love and affection. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord. Their little ones rise up like olive plants about their table, the hope of their youth, and the stay of their age. In this thing, is not the Lord good?
5. In delivering them out of affliction, or supporting them under it. In this world, on account of sin, man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. But unto
those that trust in him, The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble. Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. It is he, who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction. He says, and it is a most gracious consolation to those called to endure the trials of this life, When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; and when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. He says to the dying father, Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me. He enables the dying father to reply to his orphans, Behold, I die; but God shall be with you.
6. In pardoning their sins. We are all ready to confess that we are sinners, and if sinners, that we need forgiveness. How good then is God, who pardoneth all who repent of their sins, and turn unto him. He looketh upon man, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profiteth me not, he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, though we have rebelled against him. Thou, Lord, art good; with thee there is forgiveness, that thou mayest be feared.
7. In giving them instruction and assistance. is good, in that man is not left to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling alone; but I will instruct and teach thee, says God, in the way which thou shalt go. 0 God, thou hast taught me from my youth, says pious David. My Father, thou art the guide of my youth, may we each one of us say. If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.
8. In granting them the hope of immortality. The goodness of God is not confined to this world, but is ex