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inality of denying, or of complaining of the secret will of God. It is as criminal as to deny that he governs the world or to deny that he reigns in righteousness. But who would not be shocked to hear any man say, that God does not govern the world ; or that he governs it very unwisely, unjustly, and erroneously? There were some in Ezekiel's day, who boldly said, “The Lord hath forsaken the earth.” And there were many more, who boldly said, “ The ways of the Lord are not equal.” Are there not at this day, two just such classes of people ? One class, who boldly say, that God has not an eternal secret will or decree respecting all future events, and does not govern all things according to his original and eternal decree, but leaves all the moral world to act independently, without any divine control, and all the natural world to move on, without his constant care and superintendency. And another class, who boldly say, that “ the ways of the Lord are
66 not equal," and he orders, or suffers ten thousand things to take place, which he ought not to order, or suffer to exist." Must it not be highly displeasing to the creator, preserver, benefactor, and governour of the world, to hear his rational dependent, ungrateful, and undutiful creatures thus boldly deny the reality and rectitude of his universal government over them? God may properly address all, who use such language, as he addressed persons of the same character of old. “ Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord; yet ye say, what have we spoken so much against thee?" To deny the reality and rectitude of God's wise, holy, universal government, is tantamount to denying all obligation to love him, to obey him, to trust in him, and to serve him. And is this a small offence? Is it not sinning directly against God himself ? Is it not praetically calling upon all the intelligent creation, to rise up in open rebellion against their Maker! These questions must sooner or later, be answered, by all who live under that government of God, which he exercises over all his creatures and works, according to his eternaland secret will. Can we justify ourselves in denying his secret will, or in complaining of it? God was highly displeased with those who murmured, and perished in the wilderness. And he is still more displeased with those who murmur under greater light, and in the enjoyment of greater temporal and spiritual, blessings.
Finally, this subject affords, a just occasion for all to inquire, whether they rejoice, or regret, that God always has, does now, and always will govern them, according to his secret will, or immutable purpose, which exists in his own mind from eternity. This question, were all intelligent creatures in the universe to speak their minds upon it sincerely and fully, would draw a line of distinction between all holy and unholy men and angels. And they will all finally be characterized and separated, according to this essential distinction. Can there then, be a more proper and important question proposed to the consideration of all intelligent creatures than this : whether they are willing that God should treat them through every period of their existence, just as he eternally determined in his own wise and holy mind to treat them? The question is perfectly plain and intelligible. And some no doubt have solemnly considered it, and cheerfully answered it in their own mind. Though they know, that they once were entirely unwilling, that God should dispose of them for ever agreeably to his fixt and eternal purpose, yet they now know, that they have been, and still are willing, that God should do all his pleasure with them, and all his other rational and immortal creatures. But are there not some, who are conscious, that they always have been, and now are, unwilling, that God should dispose of them according to his secret and eternal purpose ? Can you, who are conscious of this, believe that you are friendly to God, and prepared to enjoy him, either in this life, or in the life to come? While you sit in judgment upon yourselves, must you not separate yourselves from God and from all his friends, and sentence yourselves to the doom of his incorrigible enemies ? But if you will now
only give up your disaffection to God, and rejoice in his character and government, and make his revealed will the rule of duty, you may reverse the sentence you have passed upon yourselves, and build a hope of eternal life, which cannot be shaken or destroyed. Be entreated then to rejoice in the Lord always, and receive the support and consolation, which will certainly flow from such a reconciliation to God.
THE SUPREME BEING THE ONLY PROPER OBJECT OF RELI
REVELATION xix. 10.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not ; I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.
The apostle tells us in the beginning of this chapter, that he had a vision of heaven, where she heard a voice which came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he saith unto me, write, blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, those are the true sayings of God." The apostle, it seems, supposed the person, who had been revealing to him the future glory and prosperity of the church, was Christ himself in his glorified state. Accordingly, in a transport of joy and gratitude, “ he fell at his feet to worship him.” But
' the person perceiving his mistake, justly reproved him for his well intended, but misapplied worship. 6 See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of 66 thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus.” This was as much as to say, “I am a mere creature, and though of the angelick order, yet thine equal in office. I am appointed to deliver these messages of God to thee, as thou art to deliver the same messages to thy
fellow men, and in this respect, we are brethren and fellow servants, and neither of us a proper object of religious worship, which is due to the supreme being alone: worship God.” The plain and full import of the text is,
That God is the only proper object of religious worship
This is the important point, which I shall endeavour to-establish in the present discourse. This will appear, if we consider,
1. That the scripture represents God as the only proper object of religious worship. God directed Moses to say to his people, “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” David taught the same doctrine that Moses did. He said, " great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens. Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Here David represents God as the creator and above all other beings, who had been worshipped in any part of the world, and required his people to give unto the true God that religious and supreme worship and glory, which are due to him alone. God says himself, “I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” And our Saviour said to satan, one of the greatest of created beings, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." I might cite a vast many more passages of scripture of the same import; but all who have read the bible