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think I had been discoursing to men, who attended on the preacher without hearing the sermon, or who heard without understanding it ; I should think other proofs needful to demonstrate, that God alone merited the homage of supreme fear. Could I think I had been preaching to men, who were all absorbed in sense and matter, and who could form no ideas in their minds unless some material object were presented to their senses, or some imagery taken from sensible objects were used to excite them ; I would insist on the third part of this dis
If the idea of a Being, whose will is selfefficient, and who can act immediately on a spiritual soul, were not sufficient to incline you to render the homage of fear to God, I would represent him under the third notion which we gave you of him, as making all creatures fulfil his will. If tyrants, executioners, prisons, dungeons, racks, tortures, pincers, caldrons of boiling oil, gibbets, stakes, were necessary; if all nature, and all the elements were wanted to inspire that soul with fear, which is so far elevated above the elements, and all the powers of nature : I would prove to you that tyrants and executioners, prisons and dungeons, racks and tortures, and pincers, caldrons of boiling oil, gibbets and stakes, all nature and all the elements fulfil the designs of the King of nations ; and that when they seem the least under his direction, they are invariably accomplishing his will
. These are not imaginary ideas of mine : but they are taken from the same scriptures that establish the first ideas, which we have been explaining. What do our prophets and apostles say of tyrants, executioners, and persecutors? In what colors do they paint them? Behold how God contemns the proudest potentates : see how he mortifies and abases them. O Assyrian, the rod of my anger, the
staff in your hand is mine indignation : howbeit; thy heart doth not think so, Isa. X. 5, 7. The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers, chap. xiv. 5. Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, ver. 11-15. Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears, therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way thou camest, chap. xxxvii. 29. O ! how capable were our sacred authors of considering the grandees of the earth in their true point of light ! O ! how well they knew how to teach us what a king, or a tyrant, is in the presence of him, by whose command kings decree justice, Prov. viii. 15. and by whose permission, and even direction, tyrants decree injustice! The last words which we quoted from Isaiah, relate to Sennacherib. And who is this Sennacherib, whose general Rabshakeh, is come up with a great host to over-whelm Jerusalem? 2. Kings xviii. 17. Where is this great king of Assyria? What is this insolent, mortal, who saith : Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad ? Where are the gods of Sepharvuim? Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of mine hand ? Shall the Lord deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand ? ver. 33, 34. What is this Sennacherib? And what are all those who tread in his arrogant steps? They are wild beasts: but wild beasts in chains, conducted whither an almighty arm pleaseth to lead them. The power of this arm is a hook in the noses of these animals, a bridle in their lips'; it turneth them by the hook to the right or to the left, and it straighteneth or looseneth the bridle as it pleaseth. By this hook, by this bridle, God led the Assyrian beast without his knowing it, and when his heart did not think so : he led him from Assyria to Judea, from Judea to Assyria, and his wisdom required his presence in either place.
The prophets meant to inspire us with the same notion of insensible and inanimate beings, so that every thing which excites fear might lead us to fear the King of nations, who hath all things in his power, and moves all according to his own pleasure. We will not multiply proofs. The prophet, in the chapter out of which we have taken the text, mentions an object very fit to inspire us with the fear of the King of nations, who disposeth inanimate beings in such a manner: he describeth a tempest at sea.
The gravity of this discourse, the majesty of this place, and the character of this auditory will not allow those descriptions which a sportive fancy invents. We allow students to exercise their imaginations in an academy, and we pass over their glaring images in favor of their youth and inexperience: but sometimes descriptions supply the place of arguments, and a solid logic, not a puerile rhetoric requires them. We are now in this case. In order to humble man in the presence of the King of nations, we tell him, this King can make all creatures fulfil his will. With the same design, our prophet gives a sensible example of the power of God, by transporting man to the ocean, and by shewing him the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep, Psal. cvii. 24. God uttereth his voice, saith he, in a verse that follows the text, and there is a noise of a multitude of waters in the heavens. He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures, ver. 13. Thou dull stupid man who art not stricken with the idea of a God, whose will is self-efficient, and who alone can act immediately on an immaterial soul, come and behold some sensible proofs of that infinite power, of which metaphysical proofs can give thee no idea! And thou, proud insolent man! go aboard the best-built vessel, put out to sea, set the most vigilant watch, surround thyself with the most formidable instruments; what art thou, when God uttereth his voice? What art thou, when the noise resounds? What art thou, when torrents of rain seem to threaten a second deluge, and to make the globe which thou inhabitest one rolling sea? What art thou, when lightnings emit their terrible flashes ? What art thou, when the winds come roaring out of their treasures ? What art thou then? Verily, thou art no less than thou wast in thy palace. Thou art no less than when thou wast sitting at a delicious table. Thou art no less than thou wast when every thing contributed to thy pleasure. Thou art no less than when, at the head of thine army, thou wast the terror of nations, shaking the earth with the stunning noise of thy warlike instruments: for, at thy festal board within thy palace, among thy pleasures, at the head of thine armies, thou wast nothing before the King of nations. As an immaterial and immortal creature, thou art subject to his immediate power : but, to humble and to confound thee, he must manifest himself to thee in sensible objects. Behold him then in this formidable situation : try thy power against his : silence the noise of the multitude of waters : fasten the vessel that reeleth like a drunken man, Psal. cvii. 27. smooth the foaming waves
that mount thee up to heaven, ver. 26. fill up the horrible gulphs whither thou goest down to the bottoms of the mountains, Jonah ii. 7. dissipate the lightning that flasheth in thy face; hush the bellowing thunders; confine the winds in their caverns; assuage the anguish of thy soul, and prevent its melting and exhaling with fear. How diminutive is man ! my brethren. How many ways hath God to confound his pride! He uttereth his voice, and there is a noise of a multitude of waters in the heavens. He causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his trea
Who would not fear thee, 0 King of nations?
In this manner the prophets represent all beings, animate and inanimate, material and immaterial, as concurring in the Creator's will.
This is not a truth which requires the submission of faith, but every branch of it proceeds from reason, and is supported by experience. When God willeth the destruction, or the deliverance, of a people, all creation executes his design, when he is angry, every thing becomes an instrument of vengeance.
A cherub, brandishing a flaming sword, prevents the return of guilty man to paradise. The air infected, the earth covered wirh noxious plants, the brute creation enraged, wage war with the rebel. Grasshoppers become the Lord's great army, Joel ii. 11. flies swarm, waters change into blood, light turns to darkness, and all besiege the palace and the person of Pharoah. The heavens themselves, the stars in their courses fight against Sisera, Judges 5. 20. The earth yawns, and swallows up Dathan and Abiram in its frightful caverns. Fire consumes Nadab, and Abihu, Korah and his company. A fish buries alive the prevaricating Jonah in his wide mouth. But on the contrary, when God declares himself for a