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and in a variety of ways, it is taught and inculcated in the Holy Scriptures.
And if a person under all these advantages and instructions perseveres in renouncing and opposing this doctrine, as very disagreeable, and overthrowing all religion, with an obstinacy and zeal which appear to proceed from the disposition and feelings of the heart, we have reason to fear, yea, to determine, that the heart is not right with God, and that such opposition flows from this root of bitterness.
That the unrenewed, selfish, impenitent man should dislike and oppose this doctrine, can be easily accounted for. For it appears, from what has been said on this subject, that it must be, of all things, most disagreeable to him, and that to which one of such a disposition and character can never submit. But that he who is born of God, and has a humble, benevolent heart, and loves and fears God, and delights in the Bible, meditating therein day and night, is pleased to have God exalted as a glorious, omnipotent, unchangeable, infinitely wise and good sovereign of the universe, and to have proud man hum. bled and abased before him, that such a one should not believe that God has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, but oppose and be displeased with such a doctrine, is quite unaccountable.
II. This subject teaches us the reason and importance of making the glory of God our supreme end in all we do.
1. Because this is the highest, best, and most important end that can be proposed and pursued, and, therefore, most agreeable to wisdom and benevolence.
2. Because God himself makes this his end in all his works. This is asserted in the truth which is established in the fore. going discourse, viz., that God hath, for his own glory, foreordained whatsoever comes to pass; and it has been shown that this must be the supreme end of the infinitely wise and benev. olent Being in all he does, and that this is necessarily included in the assertion in our text, “ that whatsoever God doth, it shall be forever.” It is certainly reasonable that we should pursue the same end that God does in his works, and herein imitate him as his children. If it be wise and benevolent in God to lay a plan and pursue it to glorify himself, to make the brightest display of his own perfections, wisdom and benevolence will lead us to do all for the same end.
3. Because the glory of God, the greatest manifestation and display of the divine character and perfections, includes the greatest possible good of the created universe; for in producing and effecting this, the omnipotence, infinite wisdom and goodness of God are acted out and manifested to the greatest advantage to be seen by creatures. The glory of God and the greatest happiness of the creation, therefore, cannot be separated, as two distinct and different ends, since the one necessarily implies and involves the other. The highest happiness of a creature consists in the knowledge and enjoyment of God, in beholding, loving, and glorifying him; and, therefore, the more his perfections are manifested to the creation, the more happy will creatures be; and the greater the happiness and glory of the creation is, the more is God glorified, the greater is the display of his power, wisdom, and goodness. Does is not hence follow, that the glory of God implies all possible good, and, therefore, is to be sought as the supreme end? How reasonable and important then is it, that we should with zeal and fervor of mind constantly aim at this end, in obedience to the apostolic injunction, “ Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”!
1. Because he who makes the glory of God his supreme end, and consequently seeks the greatest good and happiness of the creation, in the kingdom of God, is necessarily happy himself. His benevolence, by which he makes this grand object his supreme end, and places his happiness in the glory of God and the greatest general good, will necessarily render him happy in seeing this end completely accomplished, as it will be to the utmost of his wishes, and far beyond his present conceptions. He must necessarily share in all this good, when it takes place, because, by the supposition, this is his chosen good; and while he seeks this as the grand object of his desire and happiness, and is at the same time assured that it shall be accomplished, he has a great degree of enjoyment. He, in a measure, enjoys the good he seeks, in the assured prospect that it will take place. Thus universal, disinterested benevolence, which seeks the glory of God and the general good, is the only affection which can interest us in that good which will take place to the highest degree, and give us our full share in it; whereas, the contrary affection, self-love, neces. sarily excludes from all true happiness, because the selfish person places not his happiness in the glory of God and the public good, the happiness and glory of his kingdom, but in his own exaltation, and private, personal good. He is, of course, an enemy to the only true good and happiness, and, so far as that takes place, he is necessarily excluded and unhappy.
He, therefore, who, in this sense, denies himself, gives up all that separate, personal, private interest which self-love seeks, and, in this sense, loses his own life, shall find or save his life; that is, shall be truly and eternally happy in the exercise of disinterested affection to God and the members of his kingdom, which necessarily puts him in possession of the public good and happiness, and gives him his share in this social felicity, as one of the members of the society. But he who saves his life — that is, who, having no public, disinterested affection, seeks himself only, and is pursuing and seeking to save to himself a separate, private interest, for the sake of which he is ready to sacrifice and oppose the glory of God and the general good — shall lose his life; that is, shall lose or miss of all happiness, and must necessarily be miserable.
Thus we see in what respects, and for what reasons, it is our indispensable duty, and of the highest importance to us, to make the glory of God our supreme end in all we do; and, by what has been observed, we may learn what is implied in this. It is to set this above every thing else; to aim at and pursue nothing but this, and what is implied in it; to subordinate every thing with which we are concerned to the glory of God; to give up and devote ourselves, with all we have and are, to answer this end, without making any reserve, freely renouncing all supposable or possible interest or good for ourselves or others which is inconsistent with the glory of God, or which will not conduce to it and promote it.
III. They who desire to know their own character and the nature of their religious exercises, whether they bear the stamp of true piety, may examine and try themselves, by what has been exhibited on this subject, whether the God which is revealed in the Bible, unchangeable in his being, perfections, designs, decrees, and works, is the chosen and delightful object of their religious affections; of their love, fear, hope, and trust; of their gratitude and joy; of their adoration and praise, to whom they make confession, and pray with perseverance and pleasure ; and whether they are conscious that a God, who has not foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, could not be the object of these their pious affections.
As to those who dislike and oppose this doctrine, and say they cannot love and worship such a God, and yet think themselves truly pious and in the way to heaven, and that they are serving and honoring God in their opposition to this doctrine, we will leave them to the day which shall try every man's work, of what sort it is; at the same time being certain, that if their hearts and all the exercises of them do oppose and reject the God who has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and they live and die with such hearts, they will be found to be workers of iniquity, and ranked with them who “ know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
IV. Let all who believe this doctrine be concerned to live
answerable to it, and constantly fear before this God, and live in the exercise and practice of every branch of true godliness; and not, as many do, hold the truth in unrighteousness, and pervert it to bad purposes.
The Christian has learnt to unite a conviction and sense of entire dependence on God, who orders and works all things according to his unchangeable decree, for every motion and right exercise of heart, with zeal and activity in religion, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, with selfdiffidence, and a sense of his own insufficiency for any good thing, and a humble dependence on God for grace to do his duty, because he knows that God worketh in him both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, (Phil. ii. 12, 13;) and the stronger and more steady conviction he has that God overrules and orders all things for his own glory and the greatest good of the whole, even all the sin and rebellion of men, the more unreasonable and criminal does sin appear to him, as it is, in its nature and tendency, direct opposition to this evention and, therefore, the more does he loathe, abhor, and condemn himself for his sins, and acknowledge his desert of eternal destruction, knowing that God's foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass leaves the sinner as free a moral agent, and as inexcusable and criminal, as if there were no decree in the case.
Blessed are they who understand these things, and know the only true God, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, who exerciseth loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
The following articles were not received in season to be inserted in their
appropriate places, and are therefore placed here.
ON THE SLAVE TRADE.*
MR. EDITOR: It is thought the following hints are, at this time, worthy of the particular attention of the citizens of this state, and especially of our honorable legislators. You are, therefore, desired to insert them in your Mercury, devoted to the good of the public.
It is well known that, at the last session of the general assembly of this state, it was considered and debated, whether a law should be made to prohibit the slave trade to the inhabitants of this state, and that the motion was negatived by a considerable majority. It is presumed, not because the slave trade is thought justifiable, or, on the whole, advantageous to the state, but for the following reasons, which were urged:
I. It was said, that as the slaves were taken from the coast of Africa, not in the jurisdiction of this state, and might be carried to places equally out of the limits of our legislature, there could be no right or authority in this state to make such a law; and, therefore, to attempt to do it would be equally unreasonable and ridiculous.
This argument seems to be wholly founded on the supposition that the slave trade is, in itself, no moral evil, but lawful; for, it is presumed, none will dispute the right, propriety, and importance of prohibiting the inhabitants of this state committing violent depredation and murder on their fellowmen, in any part of the world. All will allow that the legis
* From the Newport Mercury of May 1, 1784. VOL. II.