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holiness, usefulness and happiness. And they will perceive that he causes all things, in their connections and consequences, to work together for their good. So that all tears shall be wiped from their eyes : and their sorrow shall be turned into joy.
2. In the most trying events, God pursues the great purpose of redemption. Of Jesus Christ the Apostle declares, that "all things were created by him and for him ”; and that he is the head over all things to the church.” Every saint is a member of the church, of which Christ is the head. In his designs and conduct towards each saint, God regards his whole redeemed family. In his conduct towards Abel and Enoch, Noah and Abraham, Jacob and Joseph and every other pious person, God designs to promote the interest of his kingdom in all ages. The events, which were so painful to Jacob, were designed to promote the salvation of his pious descendants through the periods of time and the holiness and happiness of the millions, who shall be redeemed from the earth. How light and transient will the trials of Jacob and the sorrows of Job appear, when compared with their great and happy effects in their connection with the purpose and work of redemption!
3. In the events of his providence, however evil in themselves, God regards the highest interests of the universe. His own glory in his holy kingdom is his supreme object in the wonders of creation and providence. To this object he makes all the movements of this world to be subservient. Every event that exists, is connected in the counsel and work of God with the interests and glories of his eternal kingdom. In their communion with God and in the possession and enjoyment of all things, his people will be more than satisfied; they will be gratified and triumphant respecting their troubles and sorrows on earth.
4. By the most trying events of his providence, God manifests his perfections. By their trials, with their effects, his people learn and know that he is the Lord; that he is what he declares himself to be ; that there is no other god and that there is none like him. But in no other way does it appear to be possible for God, so fully and clearly to manifest his power, knowledge, goodness,
right is he.”
wisdom and sovereignty. It is by their knowledge and enjoyment of God, as he shows himself to his people by the trying events of his providence, that they are instructed and prepared to be forever satisfied with his perfections, designs and works.
This subject offers the following remarks.
1. It is very unwise to judge the ways of God by the ways of man. His objects are infinite and eternal. But the objects of men are confined to themselves and are but for a moment. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." By the apostle it is written, " The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Why then should we, in our weakness and folly, sit in judgment upon his power and wisdom? Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock; his work is perfect : for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity; just and
2. The people of God will be most thankful to him for their severest trials. The events by which they have been most afflicted and humbled, will be instrumental of their highest happiness and exaltation. Their greatest light and joy, in the knowledge and favor of God, will arise from the scenes and events of the
darkness and sorrow. What Jacob once thought to be most against him, he found to be most in his favor. To the people of God the greatest good will arise from the existence of the greatest evil. And they will praise God, in their loudest and sweetest songs, for such trials as were the most painful and humbling to their hearts.
3. The future state of the righteous will be exceedingly glorious. By their redemption God will most perfectly manifest his perfections and gratify his infinite and eternal goodness. His glory and happiness in his people will be their glory and happiness forever and ever.
And they will sing a song, which none can learn but they who are redeemed from the earth.
4. We may perceive the only way for such persons as are not truly pious, to obtain real and permanent happi
It cannot be found from any resources or exertions within themselves. It cannot be found in the pursuits and enjoyments of this world. It cannot be found in creatures. It can be found only in God and in the wonders of his power and wisdom and mercy. They who turn to God and submit themselves to his wise and holy government, will rejoice to say in life and in death and forever, “ It is the Lord ; let him do as seemeth him good." Amen.
DEATH OF AGED PERSONS.
And the time drew nigh that Israel must die.
GENESIS, XLVII. 29.
WHEN Joseph introduced his father to Pharaoh, he said
life been and have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” So affecting and sorrowful was Jacob's account of his past life! From the time he gave this account he “ lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. And the time drew nigh that Israel must die.” Though Jacob called the days of his years few and evil, yet he was an aged man, when the time of his life is compared with the days, which mankind generally live. And now the time that he must die was near. From the text it is proposed to consider the following observation, The time of their death is near to aged persons.
On this subject it is proposed,
I. To show in what death consists. And it may be observed,
1. That it does not consist in the annihilation of the rational spirit. _The human spirit is essentially different from matter. For it possesses intelligence, sensibility and consciousness; which are not properties of material existence. Nor is a connection or union with matter necessary to the existence of a rational spirit. Such a spirit may exist when it is not confined to the human body. But neither the human body, nor any other material existence can be made intelligent, sensible and conscious. It is the spirit which sees, hears and feels through the organs of perception and sensation. But without the
spirit there can be no intelligence, nor sensibility by any possible modification of material existence. Though the body, at death, ceases to manifest the sensations and actions of the spirit; yet there is no reason to believe that the spirit does not exist when the body dies.
2. Death does not consist in the removal of the spirit to an insensible condition. There is no evidence from the nature of the spirit, nor from its conscious connection with the body before it dies, nor from experience and observation, that the human spirit ever does exist in total insensibility. Consciousness of its own existence appears to be inseparable from an intelligent and sensible spirit. The scriptures certainly teach and show, in the fullest and plainest manner, that when the body dies the spirit passes
into a state of increased and invigorated sensibility. 3. Death consists in the temporary separation of the spirit from the body to which it belongs. It is the body dies. And the body is dead because the spirit, which is
. capable of perception and sensation, departs from it and leaves it, as matter must be in its own nature, unintelligent and insensible.
II. It is to be shown why all persons must die. The union between the human spirit and body is intimate and wonderful. They are so formed and connected, that it would seem as if they would be and ought to be, naturally, inseparable. Why then must all persons die ?
1. They must die on account of the decays of nature, which exist in connection with human sinfulness. There is reason to believe that mankind might have been preserved from painful labors and anxious cares, from weakness, sickness and decay; and that they would have been so, if they had not become sinful and subject to the divine displeasure. But in their present sinful state they are subject to such evils, as must weaken and destroy the action of the spirit through the body. Whenever the body is so worn, wearied, sickened, or decayed, that the spirit cannot use it, in any degree and manner, for its agency, the spirit leaves it and it is lifeless.
2. All human beings must die on account of the sentence which God has passed upon all men. God has formed the union that exists between the human body