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opposition to this doctrine; we will leave them to the day which shall try every man's work, of what sort it is ; at the same time being certain that if their hearts and all the exercises of them do oppose and reject the God who has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and they live and die with such hearts, they will be found to be workers of iniquity, and ranked with them who “know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
IV. Let all who believe this doctrine be concerned to live answerable to it, and constantly fear before this God, and live in the exercise and practice of every
branch of true godliness; and not, as many do, hold the truth in unrighteousness, and pervert it to bad purposes.
The Christian has learned to unite a conviction and sense of entire dependence on God, who orders and works all things according to his unchangeable decree, for every motion and right exercise of heart, with zeal and activity in religion, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, with self-diffidence, and a fense of his own insufficieney for any good thing, and a humble dependence on God for grace to do his duty; because he knows that God worketh in him both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure ; [Phil. ii. 12, 13.] And the stronger and more steady conviction he has that God overrules and orders all things for his own glory and the greatest good of the whole, even all the fin and rebellion of men, the more unreasonable and criminal does fin appear to him, as it is in its nature and tendenсу direct opposition to this event. And therefore the’. more does he loathe, abhor and condemn himself for his fins, and acknowledge his defert of eternal destruction : knowing that God's foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass, leaves the finner as free a moral agent, and as inexcusable and criminal, as if there were no decree in the case.
Blessed are they who understand thefe things, and know the only true God, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working; and Jesus Christ, whom he has fent, who exerciseth loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 18001:
The sins of men are so under the direction and con
troul of God, as to glorify him, and subserve the good of his kingdom, in every instance of it which he suffers to take place.
Psalm lxxvi. 10. Surely the wrath of man fhall praise
thee: the remainder of wratb fhalt thou restrain. IM N this pfalm God's care and protection of his church
is celebrated. In the midst of all revolutions, wars and confusions, which take place in the world, and the various and strong combinations of wicked men against his people, they are safe and happy under his care, who will effectually restrain all their enemies, and fnally ut. terly defeat and destroy them, and give deliverance, peace and falvation to his church,
In the words now to be considered, the absolute and universal dominion of God over all creatures and things is asserted, so that he can and will turn all the oppofition which is made to him and his government, however strong and violent, and however long it may continue, to promote his own glory, and answer the bett ends posible; and all the fins which would not fubferve these good ends, he can and will effectually restrain, sa that they shall not exist,
This very important and useful sentiment will be illufa trated and established by a particular explanation of this paflage of scripture, and the inferences to be made from it.
“ SURELY the wrath of man fhall praise thee." This is asserted not only as a truth, but as a most evident and certain truth, and of great importance to be believ,
ed and relied upon with the greatest confidence and assurance at all times, whatever seeming appearances there may be against it, and though we may not be able to see how it can possibly be true. This is expressed by the word surely, with which the sentiment is introduced.
The wrath of man comprehends all the rebellion and fins of men, that ever have or ever will take place, by which their hatred of God and his law and govern. ment, and strong opposition to these, is expressed. Mankind, ever since they have multiplied on earth, have, in general, been in arms, at war with God, and wit!ı each other; and this war has in numerous instances been carried on with great apparent engagedness, wrath and fury, in some more directly against God, and in others immediately against each other. All this is comprehended in the wrath of man, in our text : and fo are all the thoughts and exercises of heart and conduct, however private, and more or less apparent and strong, which are contrary to the law of God; for all thele are of the fame nature and kind with those sinful actiors in which men are more apparently, and with greater wrath and violence, combined against God and each other. And all the sins of good men, whether committed before they were converted or after, are included in this expression, as they are as really in opposition to God and his law, as the most open and avowed rebel. lion and rage against him, though not so strong and visible. Thus, all the sins of which men are guilty, whether greater or less, more secret or open, under whatever form or pretence they are committed, are in. cluded in the wrath of man, as they are all rebellion against God, and a violation of his law, and opposition to his cause, church and kingdom; though the more open and violent oppofition to the divine government, to the church and people of God, and to each other, may be more particularly intended by the expression. This is evident and certain, not only as all the fins of men are of the fame nature and evil tendency, but they are all fo united and combined, that if any instance and
degree degree of fin is made to praise God, it must do so in eyery. instance for the same reason ; and if it were not fo, the affertion in the words before us would be so partial as to be attended with great uncertainty, and of little use and importance in the application of it, as will appear in our further attention to the subject.
“The wrath of man fhall praise thee ;" that is, fhall honour and glorify thee. The sin of man fhall, in every inftance of it, be the occafion and made the means of the manifestation and display of the glorious character and perfections of God, which could not have been made to such advantage and in fo great a degree, in any other way, had not fin exifted in every instance in which it has done, or ever will do. This is not owing to the nature aud tendency of fin, confidered in itself; for it tends to directly the contrary, to dishonour him, and is a direct and awful opposition to the moral government, perfections and existence of God; but to his power, wisdom and goodnefs, by which he is able and disposed to overrule all the rebellion against him, even every sin which is committed, to answer his ends, and promote his own glory,
" The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain :" that is, that wrath and those fins of men which are not suite ed and necessary to answer this end, to be fo governed and overruled as to praise and glorify God, he will effectually restrain, and not suffer it to exift. This re. presents God as the fupreme, fovereign dispofer of all things and events, ordering what shall and what shall not exist, from the greatest to the leaft, and directing the will and actions of men in every motion and exertion, so that all depend upon his will whether they ihall have an existence or not; and this includes all the fins of men, as really as any other event whatever. The counsel of God's own will determined whether there fhould be any such thing as sin and rebellion, and how much of this should exift, even juft so much as should praise him, and no more; which neceffarily includes a determination concerning every instance or act*
of fin, whether greater or less ; as his determining that this earth should exist includes a determination how large it fhould be, of what materials it should be coinposed, and concerning every part, and every grain of fand, &c. of which it should consift. All this is neceffarily implied in the words under confideration. For in determining that sin fhould exift, and just so much as would praise him, and no more, there must be a determination concerning every act of sin that should take place.
The existence of the wrath of man, the continuance of it, the height to which it should rife, and all the confequences of it, depended as much upon the will of God, as did the existence of man, and of a particular providence to be exercised with respect to him froin the first to the last, containing the wisest and best plan, by which God is most praised and glorified, and the greatest good promoted. These are so united and blended together, the one implying the other, that all must exist together, in order to form a perfectly, wise plan, which shall be most to the glory of God, and the greatest good of the universe. For when it is faid, the wrath of man fhall praise God, it is equally afferted, that all the fin which does or ever shall take place shall promote the greatest glory and happiness of his king: dom, and of all his friends, who shall dwell in it for. ever; for their glory and happiness depend upon the glory of God, the manifestation and display of his glorious perfections, and will keep pace with this fora ever, the former necessarily taking place and rising in proportion to the greatness and increase of the latter, there being a necessary and infallible connection be. tween them ; so that whatever praises God, and serves to manifest and display his character and glory, equally promotes the happiness of all who are his friends, and the glory of his everlasting kingdom.
Of all this, there is the greatest assurance and certainty, expressed by the Pfalmift in our text ; but we have other strong, corroborative evidence of these fame