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it necessary it should be understood, that every creature may know the full authority he has to repose himself entirely and unreservedly upon the Deity. That God is able to do right, can lie under no possible hin, derances, nor meer with any impediments, to the perfect execution of what his soul desireth, appears from his perfections, that he is omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and free from every bias depending on the influ. ences of others. Were he not fully able to perform his own pleasure to the utmost, it is obvious, that the confidence of no creature would be his due, for he could not do right, that is, do the proper work of God. And since he unites in himself all divine attri. butes, we have no room to doubt, that his throne is established in righteousness, that rectitude, complete rectitude, is the order of his kingdom. But as different persons may annex different ideas to the term rectitude, and may judge differently with respect to what is right and fit in a being; who stands at the head of universal existence, we have supposed this point required some particular attention and investigation. And to find the rights of the Godhead, or what is incumbent on Jehovah, it will be seen, at once, that he must not be placed in the situation of any other. To be God over all, is a prerogative and a dignity, which, undoubtedly, belongs to him. Our enquiry must have this in view, in all its stages. What then is right to be done by a being, who is supremeg,
who is before all, and above all ? Would it be right for him to inflict an evil upon himself? As this must be essentially opposite to the temper of an intelligent being, so there can be no possible obligation to it, in one, who is self-existent, and before all other beings. And it will be easily perceived, that an obligation to do one's self no harm, implies an obligation to the contrary, viz. to do himself the most good in his power.
As it would be wrong in God to do any thing dishonourable to his own name, so it is right for him to honour himself, in the highest possible degree; that is, make his own glory his ultimate end, in all things. To swerve from this principle, upon any occasion, would be an infringement upon his own rights, rob. bing himself of a dignity, which is inherent and inalienable. This would be wrong, in any being whatever. A man would sin in giving up any thing, which was his own. The sacrifices, to which men are prompted by virtue and religion, imply, that nothing is, absolutely, their own. And as they have no real, independent property, even in thema. selves, nor in any thing, which comes urder their disposal, they are bound, by an indispensable obligation, to perform all those disinterested and generous services, which may be termed virtuous. Nothing can be right, but upon the supposition, that the contrary would be wrong.
And to pass over, or Omit, any thing, which it would be right to do, must be judged criminal, an act of posi
tive wickedness. If, in any given case, it would be right for a man to give a part of his substance to another person, it would be wrong for him to withhold it. All the rea. sons, that may be pleaded in justification of any action whatever, will go to disapprove and condemn the neglect ofit. If it be right for God to make his own glory his highest and last end, in the government of the world; then, to suppose he governs for any other end, is, in effect, charging him foolishly, or taxing him with wrong.
It does not appear, that he is at liberty to seek any inter
, est but his own; and that, if he were to do it, he would lose his right to the confidence of
every creature. It being a clear case, that the glory of God is the best and most wor. thy object to be pursued, it becomes certain; that a God of rectitude will propose this as the end of all his counsels and works. What ever he does, in eternity, or in time, will have this in view; and he will leave nothing undone, that can be of any use to accomplish this valuable purpose.
The best plan, that God can devise and execute, to stamp excel. lence and lustre upon his kingdom, and to establish the honour of his own name, must be the one, which is actually put in practice by his almighty hand. To suppose other wise, would be to say, either that God is not aiming at his own glory, or else, that he is incapable of obtaining the end he has in view, Either of which would be too impious and profane for any sober man. That God has
planned and will accomplish such a system of government, as will fill the universe with his praise, is evident from that view of the scriptures, which we have taken, since the present subject has been under examination. For this matchless, this unparalleled purpose, he has given being to the universe, as an im. mense whole, and to every individual crea. ture, however magnificient, or minute. For this purpose, only, he regulates them in their place, and perpetuates them in their order.
For this purpose variety is mixed with uniformity, pleasure accompanies pain, and a vast complication of events, bafiling all the calculations of men, evinces a mysterious providence in the whole. As creation is the theatre, upon which God displays himself, so it furnishes the instruments, by which he carries on and completes the work of glori. fying his own naine. All sorts of creatures bear a part in this most important concern ; though, in some, if not in all, instances, in a manner quite imperceptible, or inexplicable,
All intelligent creatures, from the highest to the lowest, have a sphere of influence allotted them. All in one way, or another, are used as God's instruments to build up and adorn his own kingdom. Saints are chosen vessels, in one department, and sinners in another. Thus have we found the true ground of confidence in God, such as is absolutely necessary to a comfortable view of our relation to the supreme Being, as depena dent creatures.
We have found, that he
worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; that he counsels and seeks his own glory as the final end of government ; and uses his creatures, as instruments in promot, ing it, and that this makes it safe for all creatures to put their trust in him. Though this result of our inquiry appears to be in the most perfect agreement with reason and scripture ; yet will not some be apt, with the perplexed and confounded Nichodemus, to cry out, “How can these things be ?” It is well known, that every important bible doctrine has met with objectors; and no one, perhaps, was ever more resolutely as. sailed, with a view to discredit it by the dif. ficulties, with which it is attended, than that of man's dependence on God and subordination to him, as a mere instruinent of his glory. A great many things have been sug. gested, and vehemently urged against this doctrine, with a view to overthrow it, and to prove it cannot be consistent with certain other sentiments, which are allowed to be contained in the gospel. Whether these objections are consistent with a humble submission to the authority of God, and that meekness in receiving the ingrafted word, which the apostle enjoins, I shall not stop here to inquire. And though I can see no possible way of giving a proper gloss to the bible,consistently with discarding the leading ideas, which I have been endeavouring to set before you, in that series of sermons, which is not yet closed ; and though, upon any