« AnteriorContinuar »
eeed from his heart, and is not too sacred to be cast to the ground, there is an end forever to all confidence in hiin. The veracity of God is infinitely too important to be dispensed with. Without an entire belief in it, no one can cordially and unreservedly give him. self up into his hands, and patiently wait the issue of those providences, which are to bring him to his appointed destiny. But if the principle and end of God's government be the most perfect expression of himself, or the bringing forth to view of his own excellencies, his veracity will, of course, be rendered conspicuous, and raised above all suspicion. His truth will shine with a lustre, that shall infinitely exceed the brightness of the firmament. “ Heaven and earth shall pass away ; but my word shall not pass away. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful ; he cannot deny himself. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?” If God be really framing and perfecting the great scheme of Providence, purely to get honour to himself, he cannot do wrong by practising deceit, or going counter to his own declarations. Maintaining unimpeachable veracity, is but doing an indispensable act of justice to himself. It is but pursuing the plan of geta ting praise to his own name.
3. The divine government, by terminate ing on the glory of God as its object, gives assurance, that the righteous shall be blessed with peace, while the wicked are separated
to all evil. “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him ; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” By establish. ing and guarding himself in his own right; or, in other words, by paving the way to the fullest disclosure of his own perfections, in their true amiableness, God brings all faithful souls unto the enjoyment of that rich portion of mercy, which is provided for them ; and plunges the wicked into that pit of deserved ruin, which awaits them. In this way is it, that he gets glory to himself. Mo. ses beheld the glory of the Lord, when the Lord descended in the cloud and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 66 And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful, and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiv. ing iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” God would inevitably and necessarily fail of his glory, if he did not fulfil the terms of this declaration ; if he did not shew mercy and forgive sin as here expressed, and also impute to the guilty those offences, for which they have no true repentance. He is, therefore, doing justice to himself, providing eternal and unfading honours to rest upon his own name, in casting the iniquities of his people behind his back, and in rewarding the wicked, with the fruits of his displeasure. In this
point of view, the mercies of God to men are justice to himself, not less than his wrath upon the ungodly. And the Judge of all the earth will be guilty of no injustice. This is exemplified in the destruction of the im. penitent Sodomites, and the deliverance of just Lot. If God were not faithful to keep covenant-mercies for them that believe, and are righteous through faith ; and also to inflict threatened vengeance on unbelievers, the despisers of his grace, he would deny himself. He must, therefore, maintain his character for mercy and justice towards men, or he will leave behind him a sad proof of his disregard of himself ; that he no longer seeks his own glory, as a darling object. Hence we see, that for God to do right, is to act for his own glory, and to do those things which will best promote it. By carrying this work to perfection, he renders himself deserving of the unlimited confidence of creatures. Thi sbeing the work of God, infinitely stupendous,complicated,and arduous, and that which must lay the foundation of all confidence, or distrust in him, accordingly as it is executed ; it is natural to inquire, what are those powers and qualifications, which he possesses for acquitting himself in this most interesting and momentous concernment. One must have abilities proportioned to what is before him, to the business he has to perform, or else, instead of being trusted, he will be despised and treated with
He will be in the situation of the
man who begins to build and is not able to finish. To deserve the confidence of the whole rational world, God, who is head ever all, must be able to manage the vast machine of the universe, in the most unexceptionable manner. He must be possessed of all those attributes, which are requisite to constitute him the efficient source of the greatest possible good. And to be thus am. ply furnished for supremacy and universal rule, it is easy to see, that he must have infnite knowledge, infinite power, absolute immutability, and a perfect independence of all exterior influence. Without these he cannot be God, cannot do right, as the su. preme arbiter of the world, and the Judge of all the earth. That these are, actually, some of his glorious perfections, and that by them he is capacitated to work out and bring to maturity the most finished plan of government, such as is fit to inspire all its subjects with the fullest confidence in its measures and administrations, is what we shall endeavour to bring into view, and make manifest, in some future discourses ; but at present we shall not farther enlarge, but subjoin a few remarks by way of improvement and conclude.
1. If the rectitude of the Most High consists in his ultimate regard to himself, and in doing the best that can be done to promote his own glory, then it follows, that in order to do right, we must always have the same high end in view. Our righteousness
cannot be evangelical, if it clashes with the righteousness of God. Though our relation 'to God is different from his to us, and consequently the same specific conduct cannot indifferently befit us and the Deity ; yet it is a clear case, that creatures should have the same great object in view, that the Creator has. Upon any other supposition, they can have no union with God, nor be workers together with him. If the divine being pursues his own glory, as the great good he de. sires and aims at, a creature cannot more decidedly express his enmity to God, than by choosing a different interest, and seeking himself instead of God. The scripture accordingly requires, “whether ye eat, there. fore, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And this furthermore proves, that we are not mistaken in supposing, that God seeks his own glory, as his highest end : for he would not require his creatures to place that highest in their affections, which is not so in his. This would, in effect, be exciting them to variance with himself. The spirit of God can never be supposed to move us to that which is contrary to him. But nothing can consitute a greater opposition to God, than our aspiring to some end, which is different from what he cherishes as the prime object of his regard. In us, therefore, there can be no true moral rectitude, any father than we are influenced in our conduct by an ultimate reference to God's glory