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the sons of Jacob died, the divine promise, prophecy, and plan must have failed. But this could not be. And to prevent this, and preserte a posterity in the earth, Joseph must be in Egypt, as a prophet, to foretel the approaching famine, and see that provision was made to preserve this peculiar posterity. But that Joseph might be in Egypt, his brethren must sell him to the Ishmaelites; which they did from the basest motives. But, in consequence of this, under the government of God, the divine decree respecting the Messiah was fulfilled, which could not otherwise have been.
5. The truth of this doctrine appears, from the events of divine providence, in God's taking his chosen people from Egypt. We have shown that God designed that they should be in Egypt. It is equally evident, that he intended to take them out by a high hand, and an outstretched arm. But, that there might be an occasion for a display of his wisdom and power, Pharaoh must wickedly retain the people. This God had previously determined, and foretold, and for which he had prepared him, by hardening his heart. God says, “I am sure the king of Egypt will not let you go;" and he designed, that he should not let them go, except by a mighty hand. “And the Lord said to Moses, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand; but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." That Pharaoh was criminal in his conduct, notwithstanding God hardened his heart, and was executing his designs, through his instrumentality, appears from his own declaration and confession. He first wickedly denied the existence of a God; and inquired, " who is the Lord ? I know not the Lord.” But he was brought to acknowledge his existence, and confess that he had sinned against him. “I have sinned this time; the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Forgive, I pray thee, my sin; I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.” Pharaoh wickedly designed to destroy and cut off not a few;' but God had a different object in view. When it was told the king of Egypt, that the people fled, the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants, was turned against the people, and they said, why have we done this, that we have let the people go from serving us? And he made ready his chariots, and his horsemen, and pursued after them.' Here we see the wickedness of Pharaoh's design: he wished to destroy them; but God interposed, and overruled his conduct, contrary to his design, to glorify himself.
The people went out with a bigh hand, and Pharaoh pursued. God said, “In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power, and that my name may be declared, throughout all the earth. I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host and the Egyptians shall know, that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariot, and upon his horse
men.' Thus we see the design of God was, to glorify himself in Pharaoh ; for this cause he raised him up, to show in him his power, that his name might be declared throughout all the earth. God is glorified in all events and in all creatures; as well in the wicked, as the righteous. "The Lord hath made all things for himself,' or his own glory, 'yea, even the wicked, for the day of evil. God is always glorified by the displays of his character. His justice was displayed upon Pharaoh ; and by his dealings with him, his name is declared throughout all the earth. In view of the advancement of the divine glory in these events, and the display of the divine attributes, Moses, Aaron, Caleb, Joshua and other Israelites, sung that pathetic song, on the shore of the Red Sea, in which they rejoiced in the sovereign mercy of God in their preservation, and his sovereign justice, in the total destruction of Pharaoh and his army. Exod. xv.—Here we see how the saints rejoiced, at the execution of the divine decrees, through the agency of the wicked; in which God glorified the riches of his mercy, and the greatness of his power, in the manifestation of his adorable attributes.
6. The truth of the doctrine is further evident, from what took place respecting Judas and the Jews. All these events were particularly determined, and distinctly foretold. The prophets predicted the event, and the man. Acts iii. 18. “ But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” And Christ said to Judas, that he was the person who should fulfil the prophecy: “That the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth with me, hath lifted up his hand against me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. Truly the Son of Man goeth as it was written. For of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel, determined before to be done."
Here we have indisputable evidence, from the immutable word of God, that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, with all the circumstances connected with it, was positively determined. This decree was executed through the instrumentality of wicked men. Judas acknowledged his criminality, and said: 'I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.' Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Jews and Gentiles, who were accessary to the transaction, were all infinitely criminal in their conduct. “Him being delivered, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Here it is declared, that with wicked hands, or hearts, they engaged in this murderous act; notwithstanding which, they were instruments in God's hand of carrying into effect his decree ; and however evil, in itself, he overruled this
silest of conduct, to glorify his great name. In consequence of this event, Jesus was crucified-atonement was made for sin—a door of mercy was opened to a ruined, and perishing world—a proclamation of peace and pardon was sent to hell-deserving sinners-the law of God was maintained, and its divine excellence and purity manifested—the nature, tendency, and demerit of sin exhibited—a glorious church redeemed—a display of the whole of the divine character was made, at which all holy beings rejoice, in which they all delight, and by which the sum of happiness in the universe was, and will be, infinitely increased. So that, on the whole, there will be more holiness and consequent happiness in God's moral system, than there could have been, had not these events taken place. Thus we see, 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.
INFERENCES. 1. Does God execute many of his decrees, through the agency of wicked beings, and overrule their conduct to advance his glory; then he is not under the necessity of bringing them to repentance, that they may glorify him. Maný suppose, that none but the righteous, can glorify God. This is a mistaken notion. Our subject teaches us, and the scriptures declare, that “the Lord hath made all things for himself,” or to glorify him ; "yea, even the wicked,” who are made " for the day of evil,” or destruction. The finally impenitent shall advance God's glory. On them he will display his inflexible justice. Any creature, or thing, which is the occasion of bringing to view any part of the divine character, glorifies him. The devils, and impenitent in hell, as really occasion the display of divine justice, as holy angels and redeemed saints in heaven, do divine goodness and grace. When the attribute of justice is exhibited, the happiness of saints is increased. They say; " Alleluia, praise ye the Lord.” So that the wicked are the occasion of a manifestation of a part of the divine character, which could not be so gloriously displayed, in any other way; and as the exhibition of all the attributes of Jehovah is essential to produce the highest possible happiness of the universe; we see God is not under the necessity, and will not bring all moral beings to repentance, or a state of holiness and happiness, to glorify himself in their existence.
2. Does God execute many of his decrees, through the instrumentality of the wicked, and overrule their wickedness to glorify him; then they never disappoint God. This cannot be in any respect; for God has foreordained and arranged all their conduct, from the day of their birth, to the day of their death. The designs and ways of the wicked, are under his control, according to his purpose, and are overruled for his glory, in which, he is never disappointed. It is as easy for God to order the conduct of wicked beings, in such a manner, 28 to glorify him, as to effect any other of his decrees. He has declared, in many instances, that he has brought good to the universe, in consequence of the existence of evil. If God has done this, in the instances which have been brought to view, and in numerous others which might be mentioned; then it is evident, he may, in every instance, and it is certain, his goodness and power will dispose and enable him to do it, in all possible cases. Hence it is clear, God never can be disappointed, in the existence, conduct and ultimate destiny of the wicked. They are, and eternally will be, disappointed. Their schemes shall be frustrated, and they shall be destroyed by their own devices, but, they can never disappoint God nor frustrate any of hiş designs,
3. Does God execute many of his decrees through the agency of the wicked, and overrule their wickedness, to advance his glory ; we see, in the light of this subject, that, after God has effected his purpoges by them, he destroys the criminal instruments, in their career of impenitence. This was true, with respect to the apostate angels. God carried into execution his designs through their agency, and then destroyed them. “ And the great dragon was cast out, and his angels were cast out with him; and the devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone-and shall be tormented, day and night, forever and ever."
The same is true, with respect to the serpent, who seduced our first parents. After God had accomplished his purposes, through his agency, he was cursed, and doomed to eternal perdition. God executed his decrees, respecting his children in Egypt, through the instrumentality of Pharaoh, and his host, and then destroyed them, in their mad career of rebellion, in the Red Sea, and consigned them to rụin.
So with the proud king of Assyria. God used him as a rod to correct his people. "Howbeit he meant not so; neither did his heart think so; but it was in his heart, to destroy, and cut off nations not & few.” But God used him to effect his own purpose, in punishing his people, that he might overrule the event for his own glory. Which he did; and says the prophet, “When the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, God will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks."
Thus God dealt with Judas. His conduct was decreed and foretold. God effected his purposes, respecting our Saviour, through his instrumentality, overruled it for his own glory, and then sent this wicked instrument “lo his own place." This will be true, with respect to all impenitent beings.
4. Does God execute many of his decrees, through the instrumen. dalies of the wicked, and overrule their conduct to advance his glors;
then sinners, on the whole, are not detrimental to God's moral system, por do they diminish its felicity, but, are of use to the universe. Sin is an infinite evil. The natural tendency of sin is, to remove holiness, and extirpate happiness from the universe. Sin is not of use, because there is any thing in it, which is God-like, or good in itself nor because, God in his providence alters the nature of sin; but, because God overrules it, or orders events connected with it, in such a manner, as to bring more happiness into the moral system, than though it had not exi od. This was the case, in the various instances which have been mentioned. And if God has, in one instance, 80 conducted the affairs of the universe, as to make the existence of sin, the occasion of happiness ; then this may be the case, in every instance. And he has declared, this shall be the case, and no sin shall exist, which cannot, and shall not be so overruled. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain.” Hence, then, we see, that though sin is an infinite evil, the tendency of which is, to destroy the happiness of moral be. ings ; yet, under the government of God, it shall be so overruled, that, on the whole, sin and sinners, shall be of use, and the occasion of an increased degree of happiness to the universe.
5. Does God execute many of his decrees, through the agency of sinful beings, and overrule their wickedness to advance his glory 3 then he is not under the necessity of extirpating sin from the universe, to produce the greatest possible happiness of the moral system. It is supposed by some, that to make the universe happy, in the high est possible degree, all sin must be annihilated, or driven out of the universe. But this is not necessary--it cannot be. God will over rule, all the evil in the universe, in such a manner, as to make it the occasion of happiness. But the existence of sin, and sinners, eternal. ly, is absolutely necessary to the greatest felicity of God's system. This is evident, from his character. That the greatest possible hap. piness of the universe, is his ultimate object, is certain from his infi. nite goodness. That sin does exist, in God's world, and under his government, is perfectly clear. He is a being of infinite wisdom, infinite goodness, and infinite power. Then, his infinite wisdom, must from eternity, have distinctly seen the existence of sin. His infinite power was sufficient to have prevented its existence, if this had been desirable; and his infinite goodness, would have moved him to have interposed his power, had not its existence, on the whole, been necessary. No other consistent reason can be assigned, why sin does exist in the universe. Hence it is not only evident, that it is the will of God, that sin, and sinners, should exist in the universe ; but, that it is necessary that they should eternally exist, to produce the greatest happiness of the moral system. The happiness of all beings, consists in holiness, or love to God. Holiness consists in beholding with