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In a sense consistent with this, we must understand the command, to do all things to the glory of God. We must not imagine, that our righteousness is gain to him—that our services turn to his real benefit—that our praises add any thing to his excellency. Such ideas of him would be impious. But we then act to his glory, when we imitate his goodness by doing good to mankind—when we obey his commands on the motives which he proposes—and when we shew forth the glory of his char. acter, in such a manner as to promote the virtue and happiness of our fellow creatures. Herein is our heavenly Father glorified, that we bring forth much fruit. We are to abound in the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God. Our light is to shine before men, that, seeing our good works, they may glorify God. We are to give glory to God, by exercising repentance and making confession of our sins. Whatev. er we do, we are to do it to his glory, giving no offence to any man, and not seeking our own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
2. Our subject leads us to admire the grand scheme of God's providence.
His dispensations, both of mercy and correction toward particular persons and nations, look beyond those who are the immediate objects of them; and produce effects more distant than we can tracemore extensive than we can comprehend—more numerous than we can conceive. The mercies granted to the Jews, were not for their sakes only, but for his name's sake, that it might be known among the heathen. When we contemplate the history of his dealings toward them, we see consequences of great and general importance produced by means, which seemed at first to respect them only. The ways of his providence are still as wise and gracious
-still as complex and interesting, as those which are the subject of sacred history,
When we review those dispensations, which more immediately concern ourselves, we often find great effects produced by causes which to us seemed small-happy consequences following, at a distance, from events which in the time of them, promised nothing-substantial good issuing from occurren. ces, which had a contrary aspect-and trouble growing out of measures, which we fondly adopted and eagerly pursued. And besides this connexion of things, which we are able to discover, there is doubtless a more remote and important connexion, which, in the present state, we never discern. " What God does we know not now, but shall know hereafter.”
We see, or think we see, worldly good and evil distributed with great inequality. Some are rich, and others poor. Health of body and success in business, attend one man'; sickness, disappointment and perplexity, are the painful lot of another. We wonder why there is this difference. Impatience complains, that God's ways are not equal. But these are matters concerning which we are not capable of judging. We see but in part. The inward pains which corrupt the rich man's enjoyments, and the - hidden consolations which refresh the spirits of the poor and afflicted, may essentially alter the balance.
The external difference which we observe, may be more owing to men's different tempers, aims and manner of conduct, than we imagine. And even so far as this difference is properly and directly provi. dential, it is the effect, not of partiality in the Sulpreme Disposer, but of his general goodness. The circumstances of a particular person are ordered, not for his sake only, but for the sake of others. These circumstances may be productive of consequences which we cannot foresee, and do not even suspect. Until we can comprehend the various relations and connexions of things, and discern how one man's
condition will affect another, and what consequences will issue from particular events, we are incompetent judges of the wisdom and equity of provi. dence. "He who governs the world, is a God of truth, and without iniquity. He is a rock, his way is perfect; just and right is he. Let us never sus. pect his ways are unequal. Let us never indulge an impatient, murmuring spirit ; but learn in every state to be content.
3. We see the proper foundation of submission and gratitude under all the dealings of God. It is a humble sense of our unworthiness. Be ashamed and confounded for all your ways, says the prophet.
If you enjoy prosperity, imagine not, that heaven gives it for your sake, either for your worthiness, or solely for your use ; but remember that God distributes the bounties of his providence, with a sove. reign hand, to the just and unjust, as his wisdom sees best--that his bounty is the source of all your enjoyments—that you are not worthy of the least of all the mercies which he has shewed you—and that you are to glorify him by an imitation of his good. ness, in promoting virtue and happiness among your fellow mortals.
If you suffer adversity, utter no complaints-indulge no impatience ; but be confounded for all your iniquities. These have forfeited the blessings which you have lost, and merited the pains which you feel. Every good is undeserved-every affliction is less than you deserve. The more humble thoughts you entertain of yourselves, the more contented and thankful you will be, and the less disposed to complain of Providence, and to envy or despise your fellow men.
Humility in the heart, is the groundwork of reli. gion. Till we know ourselves, we shall neither love God, nor our duty. When we know ourselves, we shall be humble, for we can find nothing
within us, nothing done by us, which will justify a spirit of pride. The more clearly we see our own unworthiness, the more highly we shall admire God's goodness. The deeper sense we have of our own ignorance, the more we shall confide in his wisdomthe more sensibly we realize our impotence and dependence, the more readily we shall submit to his sovereignty.
The proper effect of God's mercies, is to melt us into a godly sorrow for our sins. Not for our sakes does he grant them, but that we may be a ashamed and confounded for all our ways. His goodness will lead an ingenious mind to repentance. The humble penitent takes serious notice of the ways of God, and sees mercy in those dispensations, of which he once complained. He examines himself, and discovers iniquity in those works of his own, in which once he gloried. He was formerly alive without the law ; but when the commandment comes, sin revives, and he dies. When the law enters, the offence abounds. He sees that his remedy is not in himself-he repairs to the mercy of God. He remembers, and is confounded, and never opens his mouth any more because of his 'shame, when God is pacified toward him for all that he has done. Let us consider and know ourselves, and contem. plate the ways of God's providence and grace, and we shall admire his wisdom and love, and shall condemn our own folly and ingratitude. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us ; but unto thy name be glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
God works, not for our Sakes only, but for his
EZEKIEL Xxxvi. 38.
Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, bc it known
unto you ;
I HE deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon is the work of God here referred to. This was attended with such circum. stances, as proved it to be eminently his work. When the captivity of Sion was turned, then said they among the heathen, “ The Lord hath done great things for them.” Under such a sudden and surprising change of condition, there was danger, that, being lifted up with pride, they would vainly imagine, their own virtue had entitled them to so great a favour, and God had too high a regard for them to punish them any more. This caution is therefore repeatedly given them, Not for your sakes do I this, be it known unto you, but for my holy name's sake, which ye had profancd among the heathen. Be ashamed and confounded for all your ways.