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reasons for peculiar gratitude to God. They have seen his great and special care, mercy and kindness towards themselves for many years.

And still they need great and special mercies from God. Becoming gratitude for past mercies is the right and the best method they can take to obtain and enjoy the mercies they now need and will need forever.

7. The death of an aged person is a very affecting event. It must be so to themselves and to their immediate connections. It must deeply affect the communities in which they have lived and have been known for many years. And how solemn must be their entrance into the world of spirits !

8. All other persons owe important duties to the aged. Every aged person ought to respect other aged persons, The ministers of the gospel are under bonds of special attention and service to the aged. And all Christians should be respectful and affectionate to those persons who have been so long in life and must be soon in death. Let children and youth regard with esteem and affection those persons whom God has regarded and preserved in infancy and childhood, in youth and manhood, in middle life, in the decline of years and even unto old age. God says by Moses, “ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head and honor the face of the old man and fear thy God: I am the Lord.”

9. The aged should be thankful and joyful that there is a foundation in the gospel for confidence, comfort and hope in death. May they be prepared and enabled to say, “ O death!

where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory ? Thanks be to God who giveth us the şictory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

XVII.

JOSEPH.

But as for you, he thought evil against me ; but God meant it unto good.

GENESIS, L. 20.

WHEN these words were spoken by Joseph, he was deeply affected by the conduct of his brethren and by the conduct of God towards himself. He clearly saw, that in the same events, in which their design was evil, the design of God was good. While his mind was comforted, by the subjection of their evil conduct to the good conduct of God, he desired that his brethren might, by the same reason, obtain relief and comfort. He had before said to his brethren, “Be not grieved, nor angry with your

. selves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life.” And again, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God.” When his brethren came to him, after the death of their father and confessed the evil they had done and asked him to forgive their sin, “ Joseph wept, when they spake unto him.” His mind was so filled by the good conduct of God towards him, that he could not be troubled by their evil conduct. Nor could he bear that they should be so grieved before him. “And Joseph said, Fear not ; for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought

? evil against me ; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not ; and I will nourish you

and

your little ones. And he comforted them and spake kindly

. unto them.” Joseph's view of his brethren’s conduct in subjection to the conduct of God had a powerful and happy influence upon himself and was suited to have a

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similar influence upon their affections and actions. The text then warrants the following doctrine, It is highly useful to perceive, that the designs of men to do evil are subject to the good designs of God.

To illustrate this doctrine, it is proposed,
1. To show why men may design to do evil.

1. They never design to do evil, because they are compelled to do it. The conduct of men in their affections, designs and acts is voluntary; and it cannot, in its nature, be subject to any compulsive influence. So far as any effect is produced by compulsion, it is not of a moral character and cannot be morally good, or evil. The evil conduct of men can never be the effect of compulsion. Nor,

2. Do they ever do evil, because they do not know the essential difference between good and evil. There is an essential and immutable difference between beneyolence and selfishness, holiness and wickedness. And this difference every person, who possesses common sense, is able to perceive, though it may not, in every instance of his conduct, be perceived on account of inattention and selfishness. No one ever intends to do evil, because he cannot know the nature of such conduct. Nor, 3. Do men ever design to do evil

, because they can ever justify any evil design. A design to do evil is forever criminal and deserves to be condemned for its intrinsic sinfulness. Men may always know, when they design and desire to do evil, before it is done, that they cannot justify such conduct, as well as they may know, after it is done, that it admits of no justification. Nor,

4. Do they design to do evil, because they can ever gain any real benefit to themselves by evil conduct. Evil conduct is commo

monly committed in order to obtain some supposed benefit. But they, who design and do evil, always injure themselves, and must suffer forever the bitter effects of their conduct, if God does not for his own sake interpose for their deliverance and salvation.

5. Men never do evil because they design and desire to accomplish the good designs of God. Every evil design and desire is totally and directly opposed to what is good. No one ever can, in a design to do evil, desire to

accomplish a good object. In the evil designs of men, by which God means to do good, they never mean nor desire to promote his good designs. Joseph's brethren did not mean to promote the good, which God meant to do, by their evil conduct. Why then do men ever design to do evil ? This question seems to admit of only one answer, which is,

6. That they design to do evil, that they may indulge and gratify their own evil feelings. The hearts of men are by nature full of evil and madness is in their hearts. They have no delight in what is good. They call evil good and good evil. In their evil designs they act from the spirit of selfishness and folly. There can be no good and wise reason for the love and practice of evil. It is written, “ The foolishness of fools is folly."

II. It is proposed to show, that the designs of men to do evil are subject to the designs of God to do good.

1. God cannot be indifferent respecting the designs of men to do evil

. Their designs, actions and affections are objects of his constant attention. He searches their hearts; he tries their reins; he weighs their actions; he

3 hears and records every word they speak. He requires that they should be constantly and perfectly holy. Can he then be indifferent in respect to any of their designs ?

2. His good designs are not subject to their evil designs. For his designs were formed in the eternal counsel of his own will. But their designs are formed in the fleeting moments of their transient existence on earth. His designs agree with his knowledge, power, goodness and wisdom. Their designs agree with their ignorance, weakness, wickedness and folly. Can the designs of God be subjected to the designs of man?

3. God includes the designs of man in his designs. For his designs are universal. They extend to all creatures and things, to all actions and events.

6. There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” And again, He“ worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

4. It is evident from the conduct of God, that the evil designs of men are subject to his good designs. They were so in respect to Joseph's brethren. Their evil designs were subject to the good designs of God. So were Atheists say,

the designs of Ahab, of Haman, of Judas and the murderers of the Lord Jesus Christ. What they meant for evil in their wicked designs and conduct, God meant for good.

5. That the designs of men to do evil are subject to the good designs of God is evident from the perfections of his character. His knowledge, power, goodness, wisdom, holiness and sovereignty enable, dispose, and oblige him to hold all men with their desires, designs and actions, under his supreme and glorious government and most wise, holy and powerful agency. God asserts and proclaims his universal agency and the accomplishment of his purposes to prove and show, that he is God.

III. It is to be shown that it is highly useful to perceive that the designs of men to do evil are subject to his good designs.

1. Such a knowledge of the divine designs is necessary to proper conduct towards God. Modern Infidels and

There is no such intelligent, benevolent and almighty being as Christians call God; for such a

; being could if he would and he would if he could, prevent the existence of evil. But according to the purpose and conduct of God, as taught in his word and shown by his works, he manifests his almighty power and infinite goodness by the existence of evil and the great and good effects, which he causes to rise from its existence. He shows himself to be God by the very designs and works, which Infidels declare to be inconsistent with his perfections. “ Let God be true, but every man a liar.” God said to Pharaoh, “ And in every deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” By his purpose and conduct in the existence of evil, God manifests his greatness and goodness, his holiness and sovereignty more fully and clearly than by any other method, that is possible, or conceivable even with God himself. In

he does not merely do as well as he can do, but as well he would do ; and he does what is as much greater, wiser and better than could be done if evil did not exist, as he is above all other beings. Absolute and universal sovereignty in his purposes and agency are essential to the divine nature and perfections, and to the duty which

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