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moral good he causes to take place ; and there is ground of mourning in all the natural evils his creatures suffer, and in all the moral evils they commit. There is just cause to mourn for creatures, but no just cause to mourn for God. Therefore mourning for creatures is perfectly consistent with always rejoicing in God.---Notwithstanding the ten thousand natural and moral evils,that abound all over the world and wring the hearts of multitudes every day with anguish and sorrow, there is always abundant reason to rejoice in God. For God acts as wisely and benevolently in bringing about sin and misery, as in bringing about holiness and happiness. A patient may rejoice in the skill and benevolence of the surgeon, while he mourns and be wails the pains of amputation. Men may rejoice in God's wisdom and goodness in causing all things to take place as they do; and yet lament and mourn on account of a vast many things that do take place. God may, therefore, with great propriety require us always to rejoice that he is, and that he reigns, while he requires us to mourn for sin and misery in ourselves and others. This being true, I proceed as proposed,
III. To mention some peculiar reasons, why we should rejoice in God always.' And,
1. We have reason always to rejoice in God, because he always knows what is best to do with all his creatures. His understanding is infinite and ,
comprehends all his creatures and all his works at one clear, intuitive view. All creatures and all objects always lie equally open and naked to his all seeing eye, from eternity to eternity. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." He is the only wise God; and he alone knows what is wisest and best to do with all created beings and objects. He is light and in him there is no darkness at all. Amidst all the natural and moral evils, that abound and always will abound in the universe, he sees no doubtful or difficult cases; but always knows what is best to do and how it is best to treat every rational and irrational creature and every holy and unholy creature, in the innumerable circumstances in which they are placed. He is the only Being, who has this universal and all comprehensive knowledge. Among all created beings, there is not one, who knows all things.
The highest, noblest and wisest intelligent creatures cannot see all things at once ; and much less to all eternity. And of course, they cannot see what is best for theroselves, and much less what is best for their fellow creatures, through every period of their existence.
It is therefore, a matter of great and universal joy, that God always knows what is best for the whole intelligent universe, who always will be inseparably connected and have a mutual influence upon each other. There is no
a ground to rejoice in the knowledge or wisdom of any created beings, because their wisdom and knowledge are limited ; and they may err through ignorance or design. But there is a just and solid ground to rejoice in God, who always knows what is best for the whole intelligent universe, though more numerous than the stars of heaven.
2. We have always reason to rejoice in God, hecause he not only knows what is best to do with all his creatures, but is always immutably disposed to do what is best. He has them all under his eye and sees all their external circumstances and knows all their internal views and desires, hopes and fears, joys and
As a father feels towards his children, so the Father of mercies feels towards his whole family, whether in heaven, or earth, or any other part of the universe. He is good unto all and his tender mercies are over all his works. He beholds all his creatures from the highest to the lowest, with an impartial and benevolent eye. As he knows wbat is best, so he is always disposed to do what is best. This is far from being true in respect to short sighted and sinful crea. tures. They are not disposed to do what they know to be right and believe to be best ; but employ their rational powers in doing evil, instead of doing good; and would, were it in their power, destroy all the holiness & happiness in the universe. And since there is no ground of rejoicing in the goodness of any created beings, it is matter of high and pure joy, that there is
One Being, in whose boundless goodness there is a perinanent foundation always to rejoice. The perfect goodness of God is, in its own nature, a just and immutable cause of rejoicing aside from the ten thousands streams of goodness, which flow from it.There is, indeed, a good reason to rejoice in the streams of divine goodness ; but these are nothing and less than nothing, in comparison with the fountain of all good. All the good effects of divine goodness are in themselves considered, just cause of rejoicing ; but to rejoice in these properly, we ought to rejoice principally and supremely, because they tiow from God the fountain of all good ; who remains the same perfec ly good being, whether he directs the streams of his goodness to us, or to any of our fellow creatures; or whether he turns the strea'ns of his goodness from us to other objects of his benevolence, or complacency. As God is always disposed to do what is best in regard to his whole intelligent creation, we have always reason to rejoice in him, because he is disposed to do all things that are wisest and best to be done ; for we ought always to desire what is best should be done and to rejoice when we know that it is done. I must add,
3. We have reason to rejoice in God always, not only because he always knows what is best and is disposed to do what is best ; but absolutely able to do what is best. If his power were not as unlimited as he is wisdom and goodness, there would be no just foundlation to rejoice in him always. If there were a single ease, among all his creatures in any part of the universe, in which he could not do what he saw wisest and best to be done, it would shake all confidence in bim and forbid our ever rejoicing in him.
For if his power should fail in one instance, it would be impossible for us to know that it would not fail in ten thousand instances; and in those, which would be most injurious, if not destructive to the holiness and happiness of the whole intelligent creation. If he were not able to govern any, or all his rebellious creatures, we should have no permanent foundation to rejoice in his government, either in time, or eternity. Indeed, we should have
no just ground to rejoice always in his wisdom, or in his goodness, if he were not always able to do what he saw to be best. But the scripture assures us, that his power is absolutely unlimited and irresistible. Job says, “ I know that thou canst do every thing.” The power of God is almighty and irresistible. There is none can stay his hand He has the same controling and irresistible power over all bis creatures, that the potter has over the clay. The Psalmist says, “Our God is in the heavens ; he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” And he always is able to do whatsoever. he pleases. If he knows what is best and is pleased to do whatever is best, he certainly always will do what is best. God is an infinitely wise and benevolent and powerful being, who has furnied the wisest and best designs and who is infinitely more zealous to employ his almighty power to accomplish them, than any of his creatures are to employ all their powers and faculties to accomplish any of their most important and desirable purposes. That such a being exists & rules in the armies of heaven above and among the inhabitants of this lower world, is a matter of just and universal joy to the whole intelligent creation. The apostle had good ground to call upon all Christians to rejoice in the Lord always. And David had as good ground to call upon all mankind to rejoice in God. "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice ; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him : righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne » This is calling upon mankind to rejoice in God always, notwithstanding the innumerable evils, which are a just occasion of lamentation, sorrow and mourning. There is every thing in God, which always renders him worthy of the trust, the confidence and joy of the whole world and the whole universe.
1. It appears from what has been said, that to rejoice in God always is the most difficult duty, that Cnristians have to perform. They are required to rejoice, in God always, to rejoice evermore. There is no duty more expressly and repeatedly enjoined upon good men, than rejoicing in the Lord, or before the Lord. The pious Israelites were required to rejoice before the Lord, with all their children and households. David calls upon all good men to rejoice in the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord, Oye righteous. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous ; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” It seems to be a very easy duty to rejoice in the Lord sometimes, but not so easy to rejoice in him always. But Christians are commanded to rejoice in the Lord always, amidst all the calamities, afflictions, bereavements, sorrows and trials, which fall upon the world in general and upon themselves in particular. Hence says the apostle Peter to Christians scattered all over the world, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you : but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when bis glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” To rejoice in God always implies something different from rejoicing in his favours and from rejoicing in his frowns. It implies rejoicing in his goodness, which seeks the highest good of the universe and not the separate highest good of any individual creature in the universe. Rejoicing in God can flow from nothing but a disinterested love to God and the good of all intelligent beings; which disposes a person to be willing, that God should seek his own glory and the highest holiness and happiness of his holy creatures. God's goodness is disinterested, impartial and universal ; and none but those, who possess the same kind of goodness, can rejoice in his good
It is owing to his goodness, that he introduced natural and moral evils into his original and eternal purpose of creation; and it is equally owing to his goodness, that these evils have abounded and will continue to abound, as long as the world stands and sinful and miserable creatures exist. And to rejoice in his goodness is to rejoice, that all these evils take place under his universal government. To rejoice in God is to