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darkness”-in sin of any kind, to have fellowship with him. He cannot take pleasure in the unholy, nor they in him. He cannot be united to them; neither can their hearts cleave to him. Their ways are filthy and abominable in his sight and his ways to them are always grievous. He that delights in sin, delights in that which grieves, offends, and dishonours his God; in that which strengthens the prince and kingdom of darkness; opposes the progress of piety and virtue in the world; renders the merciful designs of heaven towards mankind more or less abortive, according to his influence over others; beguiles his own soul of happiness; and, in a word, is an enemy to God, to himself, and his fellow-creatures. Hence it is that a holy God must oppose himself to such a character, for his own glory and the creature's good. The purity of the Divine nature, therefore, requires that the sinner should be changed, and become a new creature; that he should submit to the holy will of God; leave his carnal delights; act from new principles; seek to be reconciled to his much neglected and offended Maker; and yield himself up to walk in his fear, and act conformably to the dictates of reason, truth, and godliness; or the impure and unholy transgressor will feel the truth of that scripture, that God is a consuming fire, and that it is a fearful thing to fall into his sin-avenging hands.
THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. As God is the maker and upholder of all things, so is he the. governor and disposer of all, and especially of all his rational and intelligent creatures. He knows, as before observed, their natures, the utmost extent of their capacities, and ac. quaints himself with all their affairs. He governs them by just and equitable laws, and has a right to expect their services, since they receive all their good at his hand, and were made by him, and for him alone. He does not indeed rigorously exact this in our present state of weakness and vanity, for he is full of compassion, or we should all perish without hope; but, hav, ing provided assistance for us, he is justly displeased when we neglect or despise it. If these things are admitted, then we see the necessity of conversion ; for no man without it will quietly submit to the Divine authority. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” This enmity must then be removed, and this subjection take place, or we can never become part of his “holy nation, royal priesthood, peculiar people,” or acknowledge him as King of kinge, and Lord of lords; and what can effect this but conversion? On the subject of the Divine government to things are obvious his right to govern, and our duty to submit.
His right lo gorern.-As all created beings are, in the pature of things, infinitely beneath him in power, goodness, and excellency ; it would be the height of folly, pride, and presumption in any one to attempt to set aside his authority, to question his right, to deny his sovereignty, or to attempt to snatch the reins of government from his bands. The thought is shocking. He is before all, and wiser, greater, and better than all. He watches over all, without sleep or weariness; presides over the universe, without fatigue; supplies all wants, without being impoverished ; carries on all his vast designs, without toil and labour ; requires no assistance ; needs no counsellor ; never deserves reproof, for he never errs ; is not tempted with evil; is never alarmed by fear, or surprised by novelty; and no enemy can approach to hurt him. In short, he is God alone; all his works are truth; his ways judgment; he liveth for ever; his dominion is an everlasting dominion ; and his kingdon is from generation to generation. Every creature in heaven and earth should worship, love, and obey him; and say with the holy apostle, “Of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
How reasonable does all this appear to a pious and reflecting mind! And how base, unbecoming, and devilish are the principles and practices of those who impudently and maliciously oppose his authority and government, or deny his being! Oh, what thanks are due to the God of love for sending out of Sion the Deliverer, to turn away ungod, liness from Jacob—that he might have mercy upon all.” As, therefore, the proud, disloyal, hardened heart of man will continue to despise the authority, and trample on the righteous laws of his God, conversion is the only remedy : this will open his eyes, fill him with shame at his folly and ingratitude ; humble, and bring him to the throne of grace, There he will acknowledge his sin, thankfully accept of mercy, and begin to serve his much-offended God, in newness of life. Thus, from this short sketch, we see how utterly impossible it is for the most exalted creature to rule over the universe, and fill the place of the Deity; and, consequently, if it be governed at all, it belongs exclusively to him; and to “ him every knee should bow, and every tongue confess,” with joy and gratitude, “that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth ;" which conversion will enable all to do with all their hearts. Those that will not submit, must take the awful consequences of their rebellion ; for the purpose of the insulted Majesty of heaven is, to “ break them with a rod of iron ;” and, to “dash them in pieces, like a potter's vessel.”
Our duty is to submit to his authority.--As much good must be expected to arise from the Divine government to all that submit to it, it is not only reasonable, but highly expedient, that we pay strict attention to his blessed will in this matter; and this is strengthened by the consideration, that all must perish that disobey his holy commands. It is, there, fore, our duty, as it is our interest, to do all his righteous will. The reasonableness of this appears from two things: he has clearly revealed to us in his holy word what he requires, “ He hath shewn thee, O man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Which declaration is enlarged upon in many places: and what he ex-, pects us to be and do, he has graciously provided us the means whereby it may be performed. “ The Lord God is. a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no:
good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." He is a sun to give us light, and a shield to defend us; he will give grace to help and strengthen us, and glory, as a reward, and no good thing will he withhold. As he has not spared his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, with him he gives us all things-his Spirit, his word, his ministers, his ordinances, and all civil and temporal blessings; with all talents, privileges, opportunities, and helps necessary in order to our glorifying him, according to his good pleasure. And shall we be the slaves of sin and Satan? Shall we be enslaved by vile lusts, and be under the power of unruly passions and intemperate desires ? Shall we follow a mul. titude to do evil, and neglect the great and important work for which we came into the world ? Shall we have reason, memory, and will bestowed upon us-be rendered capable of conversing with God, and placed at the head of his works below, and not serve and glorify him? Shall we be crowned with so many favours--shall so much be done for us, and so much said to us, and all prove vain and fruitless ? Surely this ought not to be the case with any of us. It is our duty in all things to submit to our merciful God, and always do that which is pleasing in his sight; and as true conversion will produce all this, it is necessary for all to be converted.' The same truth also
THE DIVINE PROMISES.
Ir sometimes happens that when subjects have rebelled against their lawful prince, instead of punishing his enemies, moved with compassion, he offers them mercy, and on their submission, restores them to their forfeited privileges : so it is with God; he offers pardon and reconciliation to mankind, and declares his willingness to bury in oblivion all their former sins and ingratitude. These promises are numerous, and they clearly shew how desirous he is that we should be. truly converted to himself. As all the holy prophets, and those who have spoken in his name, are considered as his mouth, (Luke i. 70.) I would have every one " that hath
an ear to hear” hearken to the voice of their compassionate God, and take encouragement to turn to him. If we believe his gracious declarations, they cannot fail to have a blessed influence on our minds. Thus he speaks, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people—I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.--If ye confess your iniquity, and the iniquity of your fathers, and that ye have walked contrary unto me, I will not cast you away, neither will I abhor you, to destroy you utterly; for I am the Lord your God, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.- I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal.-Now, therefore, fear me, and serve me in sincerity and in truth—and set your heart and soul to seek me.--If thou prepare thy heart and stretch out thy hands toward me, thou shalt forget thy misery, and thou shalt be secure, for there is hope, and thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid. I know the number of thy iniquities which make thee afraid, and thou holdest me for thine enemy, and thinkest that I willingly break a leaf driven to and fro, and pursue the dry stubble; that I write bitter things against thee, and make thee to possess the iniquities of thy youth; but I am thy defence, and thou shalt have thy delight in the Almighty.-Thou shalt make thy prayer unto me, and I will hear thee—and the light shall shine upon thy ways.—1 look upon men, and if any say they have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it profiteth them not, I will deliver their souls from going down to the pit, and their lives shall see the light; for 1 have found a Ransom, and I have provided a Lamb for a Burnt-ofFERING.–Behold I am mighty and despise not any. I will bring the blind by a way they know not; I will lead them in paths which they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.-Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return unto me, and I will have mercy upon him, I will