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great work, by creatures of an intelligent nature, will be a subject of future consideration. At present we shall only subjoin one or two brief remarks.
1. It may be reckoned irrational and crim. inal in us to desire the annihilation of any thing, which God has made, or to wish that it had never come into being. This instead of submitting to the government of God, and heartily cooperating with him, would be virtually rising up in opposition to his wisdom and authority, to turn him aside from the channel, in which he chooses to work. There is no just reason why we should be sorry, that such and such things should have a place in the world, though they may be productive of vast evils; because a wise and holy God has chosen them to be his instruments in the affairs of government, and without them he could not do right. Every evil, in the plan of his providence, is an eventual good. Upon this consideration every reasonable and consistent being will be reconciled to it.
2. If God has made all things to be instrumental of his glory, his example should admonish us against using any of his creatures as instruments of gratifying our lusts and corrupt inclinations. The wisdom of God appears in making all things operate to good ; and if so, our wisdom cannot be consistent with our doing any thing with an evil intention, and with subordinating ang
g to our sinful propensities. Accordingly
the apostle says, “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof: Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin ; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
God glorifies himself by means of the church.
ISAIAH xliv. 23.
Sin3, O ye heavens ; for the Lord hath done it : shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.
T is of infinite importance rightly to
I understand the dispensations and ways of the most High. And when they are viewed in a true light, they will excite an universal transport of joy in the intelligent observers of them. God's dealings with the church are worthy of very particular attention and inquiry. To know how, and for what purpose, he manages her concerns, is of use to direct us in placing such confidence in his providence, as it justly deserves. In a for mer discourse, we have contemplated the whole system of creatures, as in a state of complete subordination to the will of God;
as having been created for the sole purpose of administering, in the hands of his
power, to the glory of his own name, and, in this sense, as being instrumental of accomplishing the great end of divine government, which is the honour and praise of the supreme Governor. As in the creation of things, the least equally with the greatest, God had no other end in view ; so this must be his object in the whole course of his pro. vidence. As one of the particulars under this general statement, I am now proposing to consider the church, or God's redeemed people, as answering the same final end in the general scale, that all other things do, though not in the same way. If God created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that his wisdom and grace might appear ; then no creature, of whatever rank or description, can be considered as existing for another purpose. This reduces the whole body of creatures to the condition of mere instru. ments. It divests them of all originality, and places them in the hands of their Maker, as the axe is in the hand of him, who heweth with it. If any thing is produced by the agency of creatures, the proper way of repre
, senting the matter, is to say ; that God wrought, and so brought about the effect, by their means. But though creatures are useful, only as they are instrumental of the good, which God has purposed in his eternal counsel, and brings to pass in his righteous providence ; yet their instrumentality
is not all of the same kind. In the deliver ance of Israel from Egypt, Moses was an instrument, and so was the red sea ; yet it is easy to see a difference in the use, which God made of these two agents, or instruments, in the great work, which he performed in favour of his church. Because the sphere of influence with intelligences is different from that, which is peculiar to creatures of a more ignoble, or less exalted, nature, it is not to be conceived that the one kind is any more or less a mere instrument, than the other. This would be as unreasonable, as to imagine, that, because a carpenter does not put his hammer and chissel to exactly the same use, they are not equally the instruments of his art. If Moses, in conducting Israel out of Egypt, acted the part of a faithful messenger and servant of the Lord of hosts, yielding obedience to a divine precept, and might, on this account, be considerered as praiseworthy ; yet this does not determine him to be any the less an instrument in the hand of God, than the red sea was, when it opened a way, , through its waters, for the ransomed of the Lord to pass though, and afterwards, with its returning waves, swallowed up the pursuing chariots and horsemen of Pharaoh's army
If the stars in their courses fought against Sisera, they were God's instruments in overthrowing that warrior and his forces; and Deborah and Barak, together with their companions in arms, were no more. If God makes use of the material heavens and the va