« AnteriorContinuar »
Runs not the word of truth through every land,
If blessed Paul had stayed
And the saints' tuneful choir,
To analyze and enforce obedience as the life of Christian missions, will therefore be the object of the present argument.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My dear Redeemer's praise;
The triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master, and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
The honours of thy name.
Jesus, the name that calms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease; 'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, and health, and peace.
Let us obey, we then shall know,
Shall feel our sins forgiven;
And own that love is heaven.
THE WILL OF GOD. The belief in a God of infinite wisdom, goodness, and truth, involves the necessary conclusion that all truth, virtue, and happiness, must find in his nature their source, their foundation, and their standard. But as the nature of God can be made known to us only by the revelation of his will in his works and word, it follows that the revealed will of God is, practically, the only rule by which we can infallibly ascertain what is truth, what is virtue, and what is happiness; the only standard to which all the controversies of limited, imperfect, misguided reason must be brought; the only power by which all spiritual motion, energy, and success can be imparted; and the only centre of spiritual cohesion and attraction, by which all the movements of all the agencies of all his creatures are overruled, and made to work together for the furtherance of God's glorious designs.
As God's will—the term being used as expressing to us God's infinite wisdom, power, and holiness, acting according to his sovereign purposes—is the ultimate cause of all causes and of all effects, of all laws and of all power, it is very evident that this will of God, though to him one and the same, must be regarded by us in a two-fold aspect, that is, as secret and revealed.
As secret, the will of God is, like himself, infinite, eternal, all-comprehending, and, therefore, known only to himself, and justified, on grounds of reason and choice, only to himself. Extending as it does to all events, past, present, and future, and to the consummated results of all events, the will of God implies knowledge too wonderful for any finite understanding; deep things, unfathomable by any human reason; and things so high and unsearchable as to be even comprehensible only by the infinite Supreme, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Great God! how infinite art thou!
What worthless worms are we!
And pay their praise to thee.
Ere seas or stars were made:
Nature and time quite naked lie,
To thine immense survey
To the great, burning day.
Eternity, with all its years,
Stands present in thy view;
Great God! there's nothing new.
Our lives through various scenes are drawn,
And vex'd with trifling cares;
Thine undisturbed affairs. This being a universal and absolute truth, it is just as true of any one event in the succession of events, as it is of all events regarded as a whole. It is also as fully true of any particular scheme or course of divine providence, as it is of that universal scheme, of which each particular scheme is a link, an epoch, an event, a scene, a single act. The incomprehensibility of God's will is, therefore, just as true (but not more so) of the scheme of God's moral government over man in this world of his permitted trial, temptation, and apostasy—and of the plan and history of redemption—as it is of God's moral government over other worlds, and other intelligent races of beings. It is, in all cases, past our finding out, and beyond the range even of angelic scrutiny.
The gospel, considered as including the scheme and the whole administration of salvation, in all its dispensations, through all periods of time, and under all the changing vicissitudes of human society—though only one act in the endless drama of the divine government, is, nevertheless, in itself considered, a scheme of boundless extent. It comprehends a past, present, and future, which is to man illimitable. It extends beyond man and man's world, to other beings, and to other worlds, in ways and measures which we can neither conceive nor comprehend. Even this scheme of salvation, therefore, is one of which, before its revelation, we could have known absolutely nothing; of which we can know, even now, absolutely nothing-beyond what is revealed; of which we can witness only a single manifestation, as it passes before us in the great panoramic revolution of time; and which is revealed