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darkness, he will create it; when he has occasion to
H has never neglected to do what it was best for himn todo, nor been slack in fulfilling his purposes and promises. Nr has he ever failed to make his creatures, do what he saw necessary for them to do, in order to fulfil his purposes. Divine agency is not like human agency. Hunan agency is visible. Mankind see each other act. but the divine agency is invisible. They cannot see the hand of God which governs the world. He can work and none can let it. He can move those, who imagine that they move theinselves. He can guide those, who imagine that they guide themselves. He can make those aa
. swer his designs, who imagine that they are only answering their own. And be can defeat their
purposes, while they imagine he is p. moting wem. It is, therefore, just as certain, that God is constantly and irresistibiy carrying into exegution all his original and eternal purposes, by all the evil as well as the good that
takes place, as that he is able and disposed to do all his pleasure.
5. If God exercises an universal agency upon the hearts of men ; then he can form as many vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath as he decreed to form, in perfect consistency with their free agency. Divine agency & human agency are perfectly consistent. Divine agency consists in free, voluntary exercises; and humana gency consists in free, voluntary exercises. God can make men act right, freely, and act wrong, freely. He can make them love and bate, chouse and refuse ; and consequently can mould and fashion their hearts just as he pleases, consistently with their perfect free agency.
He has always been forming vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath from the beginning of the world to this day; and he is now exercising his powerful and irresistible agency upon the heart of every one of the human race and producing either holy or unboly exercises in it. The vessels of mercy act freely in embracing the gospel ; and the vessels of wrath act freely in rejecting it.
He can make as many as he pleases embrace tlie gospel in the day of his power, in one place and another. All sinners are in his hand as the clay is the hand of the potter; and he can turn the beart of one as easily as the heart of another from sin to holiness, from enmity to love, and from opposition to entire submission. Though God is creating darkness rather than light, and evil rather than good, here and in ten thousand other places in the world ; yet the time may not be far distant, when he will form light and not darkness, znake peace and not evil, here and all over the earth. His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, as well as destroy. His purposes have not changed, nor will his promises fail. He will work and none shall let it. He will display the riches of his grace here and every where else, as fully and as fast as possible. He is turning and overturning things in both the natural and moral world, as fast as possible, in favour of both Jews and Gentiles. He created darkness to prepare the way for light; and evil to prepare the way for peace. There is no ground for despondency under the universal agency and government of God. It
becomes the people of God to rejoice, that their God rei soeth, and is exercising an universal agency to pronote weir good and the good of the universe, as much and as fast as possible. Though God causes both darkness and evil ; yet in him there is no evil nor darkDess at all.
In his light, bis people may always see light; and in his government, his people may always see guod and enjoy peace. Let them only unite their hearts and hauds in carrying into execution his wise and holy purpo-03 ; and they may rest satisfied & comforied, that all things shall work together for their good.
6. If God be an universal agent and operates upon the hearts of all his intelligent creatures, then he will infallibly counteract the designs and disappoint the hopes of all his enemies, in every part of the universe. Though Gor gives all men full liberty to devise their own ways, yet he always directs their steps. Though his agency always controls their agency, yet it never destroy's it. They are perfectly free and they are conscious that they are perfectly free, notwithstanding his agency upon their hearts. 'Though his enemies freely sui voluntarily form a thousand designs to frustrate his designs; yet he always can and does fulfil bis own desigos and disappoints theirs. It is, as vain, as impious, for them to attempt to rise up against him and endeavor to frustrate his wise and holy purposes. For the counsel of the Lord shall stand ; and he will do all his pleasure. The enemies of God have often made the experiment and attempted to frustrate the counsel of God, but have always been disappointed. Pharaoh was disappointed Esau was disappointed. A hab was disappointed. Saul of Tarsus was disappointed. God will counteract the designs of all sinners at this day However numerous and powerful and confident the enemies of God may be, he will defeat all their designs ani exertions; and he will cause their folly and wickedness to manifest his wisdom and goodness. Their hands and their tongues and their hearts are constantly and entirely under the holy and sovereign agencyf God, who works all things after the counsel of his own will.
“For nf ! im d. through him and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
THE BLESSEDNESS OF GOD.
ROMANS, 1. 25.-Who is blessed forever.
As Paul was the great apostle of the Gentiles, so he was better qualified than any other of the apostles to instruct the Gentiles, in the great and essential doctrines of the g spel. And as he had not had an opportunity of preaching to the Church at Rome, which was principally composed of those, who were converted from heathenism to Christianity, he wrote this epistle to them, in order to give them a more clear, extensive and systematic knowledge of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, which they had professed to embrace. This is the apology he makes for writing to them. * Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let h therto, that I might have some fruit among you also even as among other Gentiles. I am a deitor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you, that are at Rome also’s but as he did not know that he ever should be permitted to go to Rome, he determined to write this letter to the Christians there for their spiritual instruction and edification. Accordingly, he first teaches them the kn wledge of the only living and true God, in contrast with the gross ignorance and idolatry of the heathen world, who were inexcusable for not acknowledging and glorifying their great Creator. " For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead ; so that they are without excuse. Because that when they know God, they glorified him not as God neither were
thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” He goes on to describe the corruption and idolatry of these heathens, until he says, “They changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen ".. Though the phrase, blessed God, be very commonly used, yet it seems to be very rarely understood. It is proposed, therefore, in this discourse,
1. To describe the blessedness of God; And,
To bless is to make happy ; and to be blessed is to be happy. But though it be easy to define the term blessed, when applied to the Deity, yet it is not so easy to form clear and just conceptions of the blessedness, or happiness of a being, who is all mind, or a pure immaterial spirit. “God is a Spirit,” who is neither material, nor connected with any thing material, as our spirits are. This obliges us to conceive of the divine felicity, as purely intellectual. The blessedness of God wholly consists in mental views, exercises and emotions. And this leads us to inquire what those mental views, exercises and emotions are, which conspire to produce his essential blessedness. And here I would observe,
1. He is necessarily happy in his benevolent feelings. God is love. He possesses not only the natural perfections of intelligence, wisdom and power, but also the moral attribute of universal benevolence. His benevolent heart is as large as his infinite understanding, which comprehends the knowledge of himself and of all intelligent and unintelligent creatures.
He has a full and adequate view of all his own great and amiable excellencies and perfections, which affords him the bigbest self-approbation. . He knows the infinite worth and importance of his own infinite existence; and he exercises both benevolence and complacency towards him. self, according to his supreme greatness and goodness. And he has the same constant and comprehensive view of all other beings besides himself ; and he feels per