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nitely above all his creatures ; and his ways are above, their ways and his thoughts above their thoughts. He always knows what is best; can do what is best, and will do what is best, notwithstanding the short-sighted views, or selfish desires of any of his creatures. And they all have reason to rejoice in his absolute sovereignty. Christ rejoiced in it. “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” All the inhabitants of the earth have reason to rejoice, that the Lord reigneth as an absolute sovereign ; and all
the inhabitants of heaven do rejoice in his supremacy. The apostle John, speaking of what he saw and heard in heaven, says, “I beard as it were the voice of a great multitude and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia ; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” It is just matter of rejoicing to the whole intelligent creation, that God always acts as a sovereign, without the leasi control from any other being in the universe. His own blessedness and the bigbest felicity of all his holy creatures entirely de. pends upon his being and acting as a sovereign. For by acting in a sovereign and irresistible manner, he will infallibly overrule all things for his own glory, which will necessarily secure the highest good of all his benevolent and dutiful servants.
5. Since God places his highest happiness in promoting the highest happiness of his creatures, we have solid ground to believe, that he will fulfil all his great and precious promises to believers. He has inseparably connected their happiness with his own. If he will certainly seek his own blessedness, he will as certainly seek theirs; and if he is able to make himself most perfectly blessed, he is as able to make all those, whom he has set apart for himself, completely blessed. He has made as rich and large promises of good to his people as he can make. He has promised, that " all things shall work together for good to them that love him ; and that all things are theirs ; whether Paul, or
Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or thiays present, or things to come ; all are theirs." All the promises, which God has made to his people, are founded in his pure and perfect benevolence and can no more fail, than his benevolence can fail. And bis love to his creatures can no more fail than his love to himself, because it is pure disinterested love, which regards their good as his own. The same perfectly benevolent spirit, which moves him to seek his own blessedness, equally moves him to seek the blessedness of those, whom he has renewed and sanctified. he has begun a good work in them, he will irresistibly carry it on until it is completed. Though they may meet with a thousand difficulties, embarrassments, discouragements and fiery trials in their Christian course ; yet these will no more prevent their receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls, then they will prevent God's obtaining his supreme and ultimate end, even his own supreme and everlasting blessedness. For the very same things, which will pro
. mote bis glory, will equally promote their final felicity. Hence Christ said to his followers just before he left them to go to heaven, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”
6. If God places his own blessedness in promoting the highest good of the universe ; then there is the same solid ground to believe, that he will fulfil his threatenings to the wicked, as there is to believe that he will fulfil bis promises to the righteous. For the only reason, why he determined to save a part and not the whole of mankind, was because he saw that by saving only a part, he could promote the greatest good of the universe and most clearly act out the benevolence of his heart. His decree of reprobation originated in the same benevolence, in which his decree of election originated. So that there is the same reason to believe, that he will carry into effect his decree of reprobation, as there is, that he will carry into effect his decree of election. His own blessedness and the good of the universe, both necessarily require him to execute his decree of reprobation, as well as his decree of elec
tion. God's thréalenings to the finally wicked stand upon the same innovable foundation, that his prom, ises to the finally righteous do. They both stand upon the perfect, inmutable benevolence of God. The argument, the principal argument, therefore, which is usually employed to prove, that God will not fulfil his threatenings to the wicked, demonstratively proves that he will. The argument is taken from his infinite benevolence. It is said, that God is too good to make any of his creatures, even his most sinful ones, forever miserable. But it was owing to his benevolence to himself and to the universe, that he decreed to save a part and not the whole of the human race; and the same beneyolence will infallibly move him to execute this decree. There is precisely the same reason to believe, that God will fulfil his threatenings, as that he will fulfil his promises ; and the same reason to believe both, that there is, to believe that he is perfectly benevolent and infinitely blessed.
7. We learn from wbat has been said, that none can be miserable in time or eternity, but those, who are unwilling that God should promote the highest good of the universe. Those, who are desirous that God should do this, must be completely gratified and blessed, when they shall see this glorious and benevolent de. siga accomplished: But those, who are unwilling that God should bring about this happy event, must of necessity be completely disappointed and wretched. And do not those, who are hostile to the highest good of the universe, deserve the disapprobation and condemnation of all holy and benevolent beings? Do they not deserve the tokens of God's displeasure and of the displeasure of all the heavenly world? But who are they, that are unwilling God should promote the highest good of the universe ? They are certainly such, as are unwilling that God should glorify himself, by punishing the finally impenitent and incorrigible. And are there not many such in this world, who would rather God should not be glorified in promoting the highest blessedness of himself, and the highest happi. ness of the universe than that he should make either themselves or others miserable forever? All unre.
newed sinners possess such selfish feelings; and desire that God would make them happy, though it should diminish his own blessedness and obstruct the highest good of the universe. And they bitterly complain of God, if he will not gratify their selfish feelings. But it is morally impossible for him to gratify their selfish and sinful desires. He must pursue and accomplish his benevolent purposes, though it sinks them in end. less perdition. But this they might escape, if they would only renounce their unreasonable and selfish desires, and exercise pure and disinterested benevolence, which is their indispensable duty. God's ways are equal ; he regards the good, of the whole, more than the good of individuals ; but their ways are unequal ; for they regard the good of indi- . viduals more than the good of the whole. It would be infinitely wrong for God to renounce his benevolent object and pursue their selfish object. But it would be perfectly wise and right in them to renounce their object, and pursue bis. Therefore « let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord ; and he will have mercy upon bim ; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon”
Finally, let all the friends of God, appear on bis side, in this murmuring, repining, unbelieving rebellious world, who hate him and oppose him without a cause. Let them go on their way rejoicing, while others murmur and complain. Let them unite with God in carrying on his designs, while others attempt to counteract and oppose them. Let them love and promote truth, while others run into errors and fatal delusions. They have the greatest encouragement to do this ; for God is on their side and employing all his perfections for their good. He is promoting the most benevolent design, which he will infallibly accomplish. By its accomplishment, he will raise the holiness and bappiness of the universe to the highest possible perfection, which shall continue forever and ever. And in the highest holiness and happiness of the universe, God will perfectly gratify bis infinite benevolence and enjoy infinite and everlasting blessedness. Amen.