« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Those who are strangers to religion may flatier themselves that should they attain renewing grace and
get evidence of it, they should no more suffer from fear or horror, or the hidings of God's face, but that God would smile incessantly upon them and cause them to go on their way rejoicing. But this is far from being the case. Though when persons first attain a hope towards God, they are glad, their joy is soon interrupted-doubts and fears arise-their way is dark--"God hideth his face that hey cannot behold him. O that I were as in months pa 4-when God preserved me-when his candle shineü non my head, and by his light I walked through darkness--when the Almighty was yet with me.”
This hath been the complaint of many others beside benighted Job. It is often the language of the faints while in this dark world. " God often hides his face from those whom his foul loves, so that they walk on and are sad." This makes them long for heaven, because there " will be no night there, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor any more death."
In this life fanctification is imperfect. The saints carry about in them
about in them a " body of death." While this continues, they cannot have uninter, rupted peace, but must have intervals of darkneis and doubt. Those who have gone before us have often been troubled and distressed, and gone on : their way sorrowing.
This is the fruit of sin. Man was doomed to io at the apoitacy. It hath been from that cime tko
portion of humanity. None hath been exempted. Those whom St. John saw walking in white robes and rejoicing, in glory, had “come out of great tribulation.”
We can hope for nothing better than to " be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." We must travel the same road and can promise ourselves no better accom. modations on our journey. If Abram, the friend of God, felt horror of great darkness, after he had been called of God, we have no reason to expect trials less severe.
Let us not be discouraged, or faint in our minds. The way to glory lies through this dreary land--to us there is no other way. But the end will be light. If we keep heaven in our eye,
and press on unmoved by the difficulties, and unawed by the dangers which lie in our way,
our labor will not be in vain in the Lord." God will be
He will not leave us comfortless; but will support us under difficulties and guard us to his kingeom. After we shall have suffered awhile, . he will call us from our labors, and reward us with eternal rewards. “ Then shall we obtain joy gladness, and forrow and mourning fall flee away." And the time is fhort.
“He which testifieth these things, faith, surely I come quickly. Amen.” May we have such evi. dence of an interest in him, as may dispose us to answer, “ Even so come Lord Jefus.
Divine Impartiality considered.
ROMANS ii. 11. For there is no respect of persons with God. The divine impartiality is often asserted in the holy fcriptures ; and the assertion coincides with our natural ideas of deity. The pagans indeed attributed to their Gods, the vices, follies and weaknesses of men! But the beings whom they adored were mostly taken from among men, and might be considered as retaining human imperfections.Had unbiaffed reason been consulted to find out a supreme being, a different object would have been exhibited to view. But it is natural to mankind to fancy the deity such an one as themselves.
The origin of many erroneous conceptions of the divinity may be found in the persons who entertain them. To the jaundiced eye, objects appear discolored. To a mind thoroughly depraved, the source of truth may seem diftorted. Therefore the hope of the Epicure-therefore the portrait which some have drawn of the divine fovereign, rather resembling an earthly despot, than the Jehovah of the bible !
Yet God is visible in his works and ways.
They are fools and without excuse, who say, there is no God.” And as far as God
appears in the works of creation and providence, he appears as he is. Passion, prejudice, or depravity may disfigure or hide him ; but as far as the discoveries which God hath made of himself are received, his true character is difcerned. Of this character impartiality constitutes an
“ God is a rock, his work is perfect ; for all his ways are judgment ; a God of truth, and without iniquity ; just and right is he.”
This representation agrees with reason. According to his sense of it, every man will subscribe it. Yet different apprehensions are entertained respecting the divine impartiality, as refpe&ing every thing else. The ideas which some receive, others reject as unreasonable. This is not strange, Minds differ, no less than bodies.
We propose, with deference, now to exhibit our views of this interesting subject, the divine impartiali. ty, especially as it respects man.
This is the branch of divine impartiality referred to in the text, and commonly in the scriptures -There is no respect of persons with God.
It is important that we form just apprehensions on this subject. Mistakes might inspire ground. less expectations, and occasion practical errors, dishonorable to God, and mischeivous to man. But those which are just, have a tendency to pro. duce sentiments of rational respect and reverence for the supreme Governor and to point to the way of
peace and blessedness.
IMPARTIALITY doth not require an equality of powers or advantages--that creatures should in this view be treated alike, or made equal. Infinite wisdom and power are not restricted to a fameness in their plastic operations, or providen. tial apportionments. Neither is this fameness the order of heaven.
The number of creatures is great. We cannot reckon them up in order ; nor the different species. Among the myriads of the fame species, are discriminations, sufficient to distinguish them from one another. We observe this in our race, and in the creatures beneath us. Among mankind these differences are most noticeable and most interesting. They relate to every thing which belongs to man-to the mind, and to the body, and to the powers of each-to the temper-appetites-palfions-talents-trials--opportunities, and means of information. There is in every respect an almost infinite variety--differences which run into innumerable particulars. Variety may be consid. ered as a distinguishing trait in the works, and ways
of God. And all is right. When we confider the hand of God and his providential influence in them, we seem constrained to adopt the language of the pfalmift," O Lord how many are thy works ? In wisdom haft thou made them all : The earth is full of thy riches."
These are displays of divine sovereignty. They are beyond our comprehension. “ We see, but we understand not.” Of many things brought into being by divine efficiency, we know neither