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short existence on the stage of time. To them it is a matter of very little importance, whether they occupy the highest or the lowest, the most conspicuous or the most obscure posts in society. It signifies but little to them, whether they ride in sumptuous equipages or walk on foot. To them it is a matter of very little consequence, whether superb processions attend their funerals, or their carcasses be laid in their graves without pomp and parade. Yet, when it pleaseth God to signalize any by gifts of this kind, he doth it like a God, if you will allow the expression, he doth it. so as to shew that his mighty hands hold all that can contribute to ennoble, and to elevate mankind. Observe his munificence to Solomon.
I have given thee riches and glory, said the Lord to him, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee, 1 Kings iii. 12, 13. In virtue of this promise, God loaded Solomon with temporal blessings: he gave him all. In virtue of this promise, silver was no more esteemed than stones in Jerusalem (the capital of this favorite of heaven) nor the cedars of Lebanon than the sycamore trees of the plain, % Chron. ix. 27.
God hath observed the same conduct to the he ralds of religion, in regard to the talents that form an orator. The truths they teach are too serious, and too interesting, to need the help of ornaments. The treasures of religion, which God committed to them, are so valuable, that it is needless for us to examine whether they be presented to us in earthen vessels, 2 Cor. iv. 7. But when the holy Spirit deigns to distinguish any one of his servants by gifts of this kind, my God! with what a rich profusion hath he the power of doing it! He fires the orator's imagination with a flame altogether di
vine; he elevates his ideas to the least accessible region of the universe, and dictates language above mortal mouths.
What kind of elocution can you alledge, of which the sacred authors have not given us the most perfect models ?
Is it the style proper for history ? A historian must assume, it should seem, as many different forms of speaking as there are different events in the subjects of his narration. And whoever gave such beautiful models of this style as Moses? Witness these words, which have acquired him the eulogium of a pagan critic:* God said, let there be light, and there was light, Gen. i. 3. Witness these, Isaac said, my father ; Abraham answered, Here am I my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering, chap. xxii. 7,8. Witness these words: Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him, and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me : and there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he lifted up his voice and wept, and said unto his brethren, I am Joseph : doth my father yet live ? Come near to me, I pray you, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt, chap. xlv. 1.
Is it the tender style? Who gave such beautiful nodels as the prophet Jeremiah ? Witness the
pathetic descriptions, and the affecting complaints in the Lamentations : The ways of Zion mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts : All her gates are desolate : her priests sigh : her virgins are aflicted : and she is in bitterness. Is it nothing
* Longinus, Sect. ix.
to you all ye that pass by? behold and see, if there' be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. For these things I weep, mine eye, mine eye runneth down, ch. i. 4, 12, 16.
Is it a style proper to terrify and confound? Who ever gave more beautiful models of this style than Ezekiel ? Witness, among many others, these expressions :- How weak is thine heart, saith the“, Lord God, seeing thou dost all these things : the work of an imperious whorish woman? A wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom, chap. xvi. 30, 32, 33.
Above all, is-it the lofty, noble, and sublime style? Whose models are comparable to the prophet Isaiah's ? Christian preacher, thou who studiest to convince, to persuade, to carry away the hearts of the people to whom God hath sent thee, neither make Cicero nor Demosthenes thy models ; investigate the ideas, and appropriate the language of the inspired writers. Heat thine imagination at the fire which inflamed them, and with them endeavor to elevate thy mind to the mansions of God, to the light which no man can approach 'unto, 1 Tim. vi. 16. Learn of these great masters to handle the sword of the Spirit, and to manage the word of God quick and powerful, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, Heb. iv. 12.
But, when I propose my text as a pattern of eloeution, far from your minds be the idea of a trifling orator's fraudulent art, whose ambition it is to exeeed his subject, and to lend his hero the virtues he wants. The portrait drawn by the prophet is infinitely inferior to his original. You will be fully
convinced of this, if you attend to the four following considerations of the grandeurs of God.
1. The sublimity of his essence. 2. The im mensity of his works. 3. The efficiency of his will. 4. The magnificence of some of his mighty acts, at certain periods, in favor of his church.
First, The sublimity of his essence. phet's mind was filled with this object. It is owing to this that he repeats the grand title Jehovah, THE LORD, which signifies I am by excellence, and which distinguisheth, by four grand characters, the essence of God, from the essence of creatures.
1. The essence of God is independent in its cause. God is a self-existent being. We exist, but ours is only a borrowed existence, for existence is foreign from us. There was time when we were not, and our origin is nothing: and as we should cease to be if God were only to give the word, so his word was necessary to give us existence at first. But God exists of himself: existence is his own : and he owes it only to himself, and to the eminence of his own perfections. An idea, in which it is difficult not to lose one's self, and which is incomprehensible to us, because it relates to an infinite attribute, and because all that is infinite absorbs a finite mind: but an idea, however, as true as it is incomprehensible. The existence of a mite, or of a grain of dust, or even of the most diminutive being in nature, is sufficient necessarily to conduct us to the independent, self-existent God.
Even the atheist is obliged by his own principles to agree with us in this article : I mean the atheist of some knowledge : the modern atheist. Let us thankfully own, my brethren, that the improvements, which a sound philosophy hath produced in the sciences, have been communicated even to atheism. Formerly, atheists could digest such pro
positions as these: the world hath not always subsisted; it was made of nothing. Now, these propositions are too gross for any to hazard his reputation on the advancing of them. Indeed, to affirm, that nothing hath made the world, is not only to advance an absurdity, it is to advance a contradiction. To say that nothing hath created the world, is to say that nothing hath not created the world ; and to say that nothing hath not created a world, which actually exists, is to deny the existence of the world. No rules of reasoning require us to answer people, who contradict themselves in so glaring a manner; and, on this article, we rank them with ideots. Modern atheists admit, as we do, a self-existent being. All the difference between them and us is this ; they attribute this eminent perfection to matter ; but we attribute it to God. The atheist derives his existence from a collection of atoms, which a blind chance had assembled : we ascribe our existence to a Being possessed of all possible perfections. The atheist discovers his God and Creator in a confused conjunction of bodies destitute of reason: we find our God and Creator in the Supreme Being, the fountain of all existence. But both we and the atheist are obliged to own an increated, self-existent Being. And as it is easy for a reasonable person to decide the question, whether this perfection agree to God or to matter, it is easy for him also to comprehend that God is a self-existent Being.
2. The essence of God is universal in its extent. God possesseth the reality of every thing that exists. A celebrated infidel, educated in your provinces, * (would to God none were educated here still !) This infidel, I say, invented a new way
* Benedict de Spinoza, was born at Amsterdam, and was educated in the same city ander Francis Vander Ende. Him Mons. Saurin means.