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my own hopes, and my own fears; and whenever I act from other motives, I feel that I am misled by my own passions, my own appetites, my own mistaken views of things. A feeling always succeeds these unreasonable actions, that, had my mind exerted its natural powers, in considering the action I was about to do, the propriety of it in itself and its consequenees, I might and I should have acted otherways.Having these feelings, I feel all that liberty which rénders the morality of a man's actions properly his own, and makes him justly accountable for his conduct.

The liberty, therefore, of man, and the foreknowledge and providence of God, are equally certain, although the proof of each rest on different principles. Our feelings prove to every one of us that we are free reason and revelation teach us that the Deity knows and governs all things, that even "the thoughts of man he understandeth long before,"long before the thoughts arise-long before the man himself is born who is to think them. Now, when two distinct propositions are separately proved, each by its proper evidence, it is not a reason for denying either, that the human mind, upon the first hasty view, imagines a repugnance, and may perhaps find a difficulty in connecting them, even after the distinct proof of each is clearly perceived and undestood.

There is a wide difference between a paradox and a contradiction. Both, indeed, consist of two distinct propositions; and so far only are they alike: for of the two parts of a contradiction, the one or the other must necessarily be false.-of a paradox, both are often true, and yet when proved to be true, may continue paradoxical. This is the necessary consequence of our partial views of things. An intellect to which nothing should be paradoxical would be infinite. It may naturally be supposed that paradoxes must abound the most in metaphysics and divinity, "for who can find out God unto perfection?" yet they occur in other subjects; and any one who

should universally refuse his assent to propositions separately proved, because when connected they may seem paradoxical, would, in many instances, be justly laughed to scorn by the masters of those sciences which make the highest pretensions to certainty and demonstration.

In all these cases, there is generally in the nature of things a limit to each of the two contrasted propositions, beyond which neither can be extended without implying the falsehood of the other, and changing the paradox into a contradiction: and the whole difficulty of perceiving the connection and agreement between such propositions arises from this circumstance, that, by some inattention of the mind, these limits are overlooked.

Thus, in the case before us, we must not imagine such an arbitrary exercise of God's power over the minds and wills of subordinate agents, as should convert rational beings into mere machines, and leave the Deity charged with the follies and the crimes of men, nor must we, on the other hand, set up such a liberty of created beings, as, necessarily precluding the Divine foreknowledge of human actions, should take the government of the moral world out of the hands of God, and leave him nothing to do with the noblest part of his creation.

Section VIII.


He is the unsearchable God, and his government must be like himself. Facts, concerning both, he has graciously revealed. These we must admit upon the credit of his own testimony; with these we must satisfy our wishes, and limit our inquiry. "To intrude into those things which he hath not seen" because

God has not disclosed them, whether they relate to his arrangements for this world or the next, is the arrogance of one "vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind." There are secrets in our Lord's procedure which he will not explain to us in this life, and which may not, perhaps, be explained in the life to come. We can

not tell how he makes evil the minister of good: how he combines physical and moral agencies of different kind and order, in the production of blessings. We cannot so much as conjecture what bearings the system of redemption, in every part of its process, may have upon the relations of the universe; nor even what may be all the connections of providence in the occurrences of this moment, or of the last. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for us: it is high, we cannot attain it." Our Sovereign's way is in the sea, and his path in the deep waters; and his footsteps are not known.". When, therefore, we are surrounded with difficulty; when we cannot unriddle his conduct in particular dispensations, we must remember that he is God; that we are to "walk by faith;" and to trust him as implicity when we are in the "valley of the shadow of death," as when his "candle shines upon our heads." We must remember that it is not for us to be admitted into the cabinet of the King of kings; that creatures constituted as we are could not sustain the view of his unveiled agency; that it would confound, and scatter, and annihilate our little intellects. As often, then, as he retires from our observation, blending goodness with majesty, let us lay our hands upon our mouths and worship. This stateliness of our King can afford us no just ground of uneasiness. On the contrary, it contributes to our tranquility. For we know, that if his administration is mysterious, it is also wise.

"Great is our lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite." That infinite understanding watches over, and arranges, and directs all the affairs of his church and of the world. We are perplexed at every step; embarrassed by opposition; lost in con

fusion; fretted by disappointment; and ready to conclude in our haste, that all things are against our own good, and our Master's honour. But "this is our infirmity;" it is the dictate of impatience and indiscretion. We forget the "years of the right hand of the Most High." We are slow of heart in learning a lesson which shall soothe our spirits at the expense of our pride. We turn away from the consolation to be derived from believing that though we know not the connections and results of holy providence, our Lord Jesus knows them perfectly. With him there is no irregularity, no chance, no conjecture. Disposed, before his eye, in the most luminous and exquisite order the whole series of events occupy the very place and crisis where they are most effectually to subserve the purposes of his love. Not a moment of time is wasted, nor a fragment of action misapplied. What he does, we do not, indeed, know at present, but so far as we shall be permitted to know hereafter, we shall see that his most inscrutable procedure was guided by consummate wisdom: that our choice was often as foolish as our petulence was provoking; that the success of our own wishes would have been our most painful chastisement: would have diminished our happiness, and detracted from his praise.

Let us therefore, study to subject our ignorance to his knowledge; instead of prescribing, to obey; instead of questioning, to believe; to perform our part without that despondency which betrays a fear that our Lord may neglect his; and tacitly accuses him of a less concern than we feel for the glory of his own name. Let us not shrink from this duty as imposing too rigorous a condition upon our obedience, for a third character of his administration is righteousness.

"The sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre." If "Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne." In the times of old his redeemed "wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; but, nevertheless, he led them forth by the right way, that they

might go to a city of habitation." He loves his church and the members of it too tenderly to lay upon them any burdens, or expose them to any trials, which are not indispensable to their good. It is right for them 'to go through fire and through water,' that he may 'bring them out into a wealthy place,'-right to endure chastening,' that they may be partakers of his holiness'-right to have the sentence of death in themselves,' that they may trust in the living God, and that his strength may be perfected in their weakness.' It is right that he should endure with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruc. tion: that he should permit iniquity to abound, the love of many to wax cold,' and the danger of his church to accumulate, till the interposition of his arm be necessary and decisive. In the day of final retribution not one mouth shall be opened to complain of injustice. It will be seen that the Judge of all the earth has done right; that the works of his hands have been verity and judgment, and done every one of them, in truth and uprightness.' Let us, then, think not only respectfully, but reverently of his dispensations, repress the voice of murmur, and rebuke the spirit of discontent; wait, in faith and patience till he becomes his own interpreter, when the heavens shall declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.'

Section IX.


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I cannot find, in the lively oracles, a single distinctive mark of Deity which is not applied, without reserve or limitation, to the only begotten Son. All things that the Father hath are his.' Who is that mysterious WORD that was in the beginning, with God? Who is the Alpha and Omega, the begin

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