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be taught; it is like the foundation of all other revealed doctrines and intimately concerns us as men and as christians. Redemption may be compared to a theatre,on which we behold each Divine Person assuming a distinct, particular office, and acting a distinct, particular part. The Father is introduced as proposing the recovery of man; devising a scheme by which the glories of the Godhead might be secured, and our nature promoted to greater dignity and joy than if sin had not entered; he then solemnly ordains his own Son as Mediator, imputes to him the transgressions of his people, consecrates him Lord of the new creation, and promises him many sons and daughters as a reward for his humiliation: we find the Son, coequal, and coeternal with the Father, cordially acquiescing in the plan proposed, offering to assume the nature of man although degraded by sin, paying down the price demanded, and thus obtaining eternal redemption for his people. The Holy Ghost, the third Person in the ever blessed Jehovah, undertakes to finish the scheme of our salvation, to take possession of the elect soul in the midst of its abominations, to renew it, to sanctify it, and render it a fit inhabitant of the heavenly world. Such is the doctrine of revelation respecting the Trinity of persons in the Godhead; and to conceal this truth would be to throw a veil over the glories of redemption ; to deny the essential existence of either, or his immediate agency in our salvation, would be like knocking a pillar from beneath a building, the whole fabric must totter and fall.
2. The unlimited dominion which the Lord God exercises over all his creatures; that absolute, independent, adorable sovereignty, with which he disposes of them and their actions for the advancement of his own glory, is also a part of this wisdom revealed in the gospel.
The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all.” Every being, whether rational or irrational, whether visible or invisible, from the loftiest angel in heaven, to the least atom which floats in the air, or the least insect which moves upon the earth, is. open to his view, upheld by his power, and controled by his sovereign pleasure ; his will is the absolute rule, and his glory the ultimate end of all their actions. If a sparrow ascends from earth to heaven, bis power raises it; if it falls from heaven to earth, his pleasure permits it ; does an angel leave his mansion in glory for the purpose of ministering to an heir of salvation, he is sent forth to that employment, his commission is: received from the high court of heaven;. does a Cyrus invade the Assyrian empire, enter their city, and liberate oppressed Israel, he is anointed of the Lord for that purpose, although he knows neither the decree determining it, nor the arm which crowns his enterprise with success. « The whole creation, from the seraph down to the invisi
ble atom, ministers to the supreme will, and is under the special observation, government, and direction of the omnipotent mind; who sees all, himself unseen ; who upholds all, hinself unsustained; who guides all, himself guided by none; and who changes all, himself unchanged. His sovereign will is the first link, his unalterable decree the second, and his all-active providence the third in the great chain of causes; what his will determined, that his decree established, and his providence either mediately, or immediately effects: his will was the adorable spring of all; his decree marked out the channel, and his providence directs the stream." For of him as the original cause, and through him as the constant, omnipotent upholder, and to him as the ultimate end are all things ; to whom be glory for ever.
This constant, unfelt, yet uncontroled agency
of Jehovah, in the disposal of his creatures, is a mystery. Who can comprehend the manner in which he acts in all, and through all, and over all ; and yet all act with a freedom the most perfect and unlimited ; all act as voluntarily in all respects as if there was neither decree determining, nor agency supporting, nor power over-ruling their actions. The counsel of the Lord that must stand, he will do all his pleasure, and yet every rational agent acts according to its pleasure : HE does according to his will in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth; and yet the armies both in heaven and earth
are performing their will, and accountable for their conduct. This part of the divine wisdom however mysterious must be unreservedly taught. To deny the decrees of the Eternal, and his sovereignty in “ governing all his creatures, and all their actions, is practically to invert the order of the universe ; it is to render the Creator dependant on the will of his creature, and not the creature on the Creator : “ To imagine,” as a learned author reinarks, “ to imagine that a being of boundless wisdom, power and goodness would create a world, and not sit at the helm afterwards, but turn us adrift to shift for ourselves, like a huge vessel without a pilot, is a supposition which subverts every notion of the Deity, gives the lie to every page of the bible, contradicts our daily experience, and insults the common reason of mankind."
Every reader is at liberty to determine for himself ; but for my own part I cannot believe the bible, and doubt the sovereignty of God in fore-ordaining all things from eternity, and over-ruling and governing all things in time: I do not more plainly read, that “ all scripture is given by inspiration of God,” than I read “ that he worketh all things after the counsel of his own will;" that the “ counsel of tlie Lord standeth for ever, and the thoughts of his heart to all ge
ions ;” that although “the lot is cast into the lap, the whole disposal thereof is of the Lord." Among the various passages
which prove the sovereign, absolute agency of God in disposing of all things, and that this agency operates in conformity to an eternal, independent purpose, let the following suffice : “ For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel are gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel had determined before to be done." This purpose,although formed from eternity, is executed in all its circumstances, and at the precise time, as really as if the persons had been impelled by some natural and irresistible necessity, to do whatsoever ; and yet their liberty of action is not in the least affected ; they were gathered together ; they conspired by mutual consent and agreement; Judas acted as freely in betraying his Lord, as any traitor in selling his country or captain ; Pilate acted as freely in condemning him, as any man who sacrifices his conscience to gratify a party; the people of Israel were as free in crucifying this Lord of glory, as any mob in murdering a man against whom they have conceived an implacable enmity ; in this, as in innumerable other instances, the unconditional, eternal appointment of God perfectly harmonizes with the freedom of the moral agent; his purpose is minutely and fully executed, and the cup of their iniquity filled up.
3. The universal corruption of human nature, our entire disposition to evil, and powe