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3. The appellation, Christian, has become very indefinite, as applied to Religious Publications in this country, being assumed by 2 Presbyterian, 2 Congregational, i Episcopalian, 2 Calvinist Baptist, 2 Christ-jan Bapa tist, 5 Universalist, 3 Unitarian, and 5 whose denomination is unknown.
ORDINATIONS AND INSTALLATIONS. 1827, Nov. 14th, Installed Rev. WILLIAM HARLOW, as Pastor of the Cong. Church in Barnstuble, South Parish, Ms. Sermon by Rev. Elijah Dexter, from Tim. iv, 2.
1828, Jan. 24th, Ordained Rev. HORATIO FLAGG, as Pastor of the Cong. Church in Hubbardston, Vt. Sermon by Rev. C. Walker of Rutland.
1828, Jan. 30th, Installed Rev. OREN TRACY, as Pastor of the Baptist Church in New-London, N. H. Sermon by Rev. Ira Pearson of Newport.
1828, Feb. 27th, Ordained Rev. CHARLES J. WARREN, as Pastor of the ist Cong. Church in Attleborough, Ms. Sermon by Rev. Alvan Cobb of Taunton, from James i. 18.
The following (says the Newburyport Ilerald) is the last production of
the Boston Bard.
THE DYING CHRISTIAN.
Oi pure and boundless joy.
Oh, who can gaze, with heedless sigh,
On scene so fair a this? The Christian's hope no fear can blight, Who but exclaims—"thus let me die, No pain his peace destroy ;
And be my end like his !”
SECRET DEVOTION. I love to steal awhilo away
And all my sighs and sorrows cast From every cumbering care,
On liim whom I adore.
I love by faith to roke a view
Of brighter scenes in henven: I love in solitude to shed
Such prospects oft my strength renew, The penitential tear,
While here by tempests driven.
May its departing ray
And lead to endless day.
ERRAT1_p. 34. I. 12 from top-for and read or.
p. 38. I. 21 from top-for ho r. no.
SERMON. LUKE XXII. 22.- And truly the Son of Man goeth, as it was determined; but wo unto that man, by whom he is betrayed.
It is a dictate of reason, and a declaration of scripture, that the gov. ernment of God is perfect, and his providence universal and particular.
The events of the universe must be under his control, or be regulated by a being less qualified to sway the sceptre of all worlds ; because, there is no other being possessed of infinite wisdom, power, and goodness. This is admitted, by persons of reflection, both among Christian and pagan nations.
Nebuchadnezzar said, “I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation :-He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou ?”
These sentiments are the dictates of common sense, confirmed by daily experience. No sound philosopher, Christian or Pagan, can reason himself into the belief, that there are more Gods than one; and this God must be the supreme sovereign and independent Ruler of the universe. “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, are from the Lord: as the rivers of water, he turneth it, withersoever he will. Whatsoever the Lord doeth, it shall be forever ; nothing can be put to, nor any thing taken from it, and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”—The scriptures must be fulfilled, the system of God accomplished, and the highest good of the universe luced. To effect these pbjects, God is pleased to make use of means, dictated by infinite wisdom. And in many instances, te uses wicked men, whose desires and designs, are directly the reverse of his. This is declared in the words of our text.
“ Truly the Son of Man goeth, as it was determined; but wo unto that man by whom he is betrayed.”
DOCTRINE. God executes many of his decrees, through the instrumentality of the wicked, contrary to their designs, and overrules their conduct, to advance his glory, and then destroys them.
I. Explain the doctrine.
I. Explain the doctrine. This is well defined in the Westminster larger catechism. “God's decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his own will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will."
II. Prove the doctrine to be true.
This appears from declarations of scripture, and events which have taken place.
1. From scripture: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” By the wrath of man,' we must understand his wicked conduct; and by its 'praising God,' his overruling it, in such a manner, as to advance the happiness of the universe. In doing this, he will bring to view, and display bis attributes, which always tend to produce the happiness of his moral system. These words also teach us, that no sin, that cannot be so overruled, shall be suffered to come into existence. "God will turn the curse into a blessing;' not that he will change the nature of a sinful act, and make it virtuous; but the act, being connected with other events, in the perfect scheme of Jehovah, the existence of which may depend on the existence of this event; he will so manage the whole, in the course of his infinite wisdom, that more happiness shall be in the universe, than if these events had not existed.
2. In recurring to events which have taken place, to illustrate our doctrine, we shall begin with the spostacy of some of the angels. We assume the fact, that this was as immutably determined, crucifixion of our Saviour, and ground the argument upon common sense, or reason, confirmed by scripture.
God is a perfect being; it follows then, that he must have a perfect plan. He is immutable; his plan then, must be unchangeable. If it is perfect and immutable, it contains all the events which ever have taken place, or will take place. “The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart, to all generations. Forever, Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Whatsoever the Lord doeth, it shall be forever ; nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it, and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” This perfect, immutable system of God, must of course, embrace the apostacy of some angels, an event which we know has taken place. That their rebellion was wicked, needs no proof; the sentiment accords with the feeling of all moral beings. That they were active, in this event, is equally clear; for their apostacy consisted in voluntary action. Without voluntary action, there could have been no apostacy,
crime. This undoubtedly originated in pride ; and was gratified without respect to the glory of God, and overruled, contrary to their designs, to promote this object, and ultimately, resulted in their interminable misery. If they had sought the glory of God, in this act, there could have been no apostacy, no sin ; for this constitutes such holy beings. Holiness consists in seeking the glory of God; but in their conduct, they were totally selfish. God's glory is advanced, by the display of his attributes ; and the display of all his attributes is essential to the highest happiness of the universe. As the felicity of the universe is derived from the display of his attributes ; this happiness cannot be enjoyed without their display. But that all the attributes of God might be displayed, there must be suitable beings on whom they might be displayed. The attribute of justice, could never have been exhibited, unless some holy beings had apostatized; and all finite intelligences would have remained in eternal ignorance of this darling attribute; and consequently, the moral system deprived of all that happiness derived from the display of it. But some angels did apostatize. They were suitable subjects, on whom God might display the attribute of justice. He did ; and in this there was a new discovery of the divine character. All holy intelligences rejoiced in it; by which their felicity was inconceivably increased. In beholding this new source of delight, the happiness of all holy beings was 80 increased, that the sum of felicity, or additional happiness, occasioned by the manifestation of this attribute, exceeded the sum of happiness enjoyed by the apostate angels, previous to their apostacy: so that, on the whole, there was more happiness in the universe, after their apostacy, than before their fall.
Hence God executes some of his decrees, through the instrumentality of wicked beings, and overrules their wicked conduct, contrary to their designs, to advance his glory, which is the highest happines of the universe.
3. This further appears, from the events of divine providence, relative to the apostacy of our first parents. That this was previously determined, appears from the arguments used to prove the perfection and immutability of the divine plan. That the serpent was criminal in his conduct, is evident, from the deception and falsehood used to accomplish his design. His language to our first parents was, Thou shalt not surely die ; the contrary of which, he knew to be the fact, from sad experience of the faithfulness and immutability of God. Yet, through his instrumentality, the event took place; and from the awful threatening denounced by the Creator, on our first parents, it is also evident, they were criminal: “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die;" which declaration could never have been made, if apostacy was not infinitely criminal.
Thus we see, this previous determination was carried into effect, through the instrumentality of wicked beings; and it is equally evident, it was overruled to advance the happiness of the moral system, or the glory of God.
In consequence of this event, a Saviour was brought to view, in whose mediation appeared the eternal mercy of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Hallelujahs, on a new theme, now resounded through the heavenly arches. No tongue can express, nor heart conceive, the joy and felicity occasioned by the developement of this display of infinite goodness. Angels, and all the holy intelligences of heaven, rejoice over one sinner saved by grace. How then can we conceive of the sum of happiness occasioned by the display of the divine character, in the coming of the Messiah, and the salvation of a redeemed church?
This never could have been, had not our first parents been deceived and wickedly apostatized ; and in consequence of this, it is abundantly evident, that there will be, eventually, much more happiness in the universe, than if this event had not taken place.
4. The truth of the doctrine appears from the events connected with the conduct of the sons of Israel, with respect to Joseph.
The sons of Jacob sold Joseph their brother, to the Ishmaelites. That this was an event, God had previously determined, is evident, from the words of Joseph : "God did send me before you, to preserve life. And God sent me before you, to preserve you a posterity in the earth. So now, it was not you that sent me hither, but God." In this, we distinctly see the accomplishment of God's eternal designs brought about, through the instrumentality of wicked men.
This they acknowledged themselves. They said to Joseph, "Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin, for they did evil unto thee; and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father.” Joseph answered them thus: “As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it for good." Thus God has a benevolent end in view, in executing his purposes, through the instrumentality of the wicked; though they mean evil. “ The patriarchs moved with envy sold Joseph into Egypt." Acts vii. 9. But God overruled their wickedness, contrary to their designs, to advance his glory. Joseph says, the design of God was, “to save much people alive, to preserve a posterity in the earth, by a great deliverance.”
By the coming of the Messiah, the Saviour of sinners, we may see how God overruled this event, to promote the happiness of the universe. He was to come in the line of Israel. There was a sore dearth in the land where Jacob was; also, in all that region of country. This drought 'vas of seven years' continuance ; in which time, all must have died, had not extraordinary provision becn made. Had