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vantage is there in earthly things, but as they are means by which you may supply your real wants, relieve the miseries and promote the happiness of those around you, and provide for yourselves treasures unfailing in the heavens ?
You look on the superiour condition of another, and are discontented with your own. But why discontented ? The abundance given him is not for his sake only : It is for your sake also, if you need it, and Providence sees best that you should receive it. The riches of one are a benefit to many. If he has not that benevolence, which becomes his ability, yet heaven is wise and good. Things are so constituted, that even from the miser's fountain some involuntary streams will run, at which others may drink and be refreshed. Whatever the rich man's heart may be, the God who gave him riches is as kind to others as to him. This man is as real. ly dependent on his fellow men, as the poorest of his neighbours, and can, no more than they, subsist without aid. The variety which we see in men's outward circumstances, is intended for general good. A perfect equality would be inconsistent with human happiness. It would put a stop to mutual succour and assistance ; to the reciprocation of benefits. It would weaken the springs of industry, and check the spirit of enterprise and invention. It would tend to poverty, rudeness and misery. The bounties of Providence are dispensed with wisdom; and all, though possessed by the sons of men in dif. ferent measures, tend to the general good. Every virtuous and industrious man draws from the common treasury a share according to his wants. The poor have this ; the rich can have no more. Let every man study to be quiet, to do his own business, and to be content with such things as he has.
To conclude : How glorious will God's providential government appear, in the result, when all
its designs, connexions and effects shall be unfolded to our view!
Now we see through a glass darkly; then we shall see with open face. Then we shall rejoice in that, which now is matter of complaint, and discern wisdom in that, which now looks like confusion. Let us acquiesce in the ways of God's providence, and submit to the terms of his gospel, and then all things are ours. Whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are ours, for we are Christ's, and Christ is God's. To him be glory. Amen.
The work of Redemption marvellous, but divine.
MATTHEW xxi. 48.
This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes,
I HE work here pronounced marvellous in the eyes of men, is the redemption of our fallen race by the Son of God, sent down from heaven, appearing in human flesh, dying on the cross, exalt. ed afterward to glory, and exalting believers with him.
This work, faintly exhibited in prophecy, was a subject of admiration ; displayed in the actual execution, it was a subject of higher admiration ; but its final result in the salvation of believers, will raise to greater height, and spread to wider extent, the admiration of God's manifold wisdom and unsearchable grace.
However the Redeemer may be despised and re. jected now, the day is coming, when he will be glo. rified in his saints, and admired in all them who believe. The stone, which has been set at nought by the builders, is made, and will appear to have been made, the head of the corner. God has laid in Sion a chief corner stone, chosen and precious ;
and he who buildeth thereon shall not be confound. ed. But to many it is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. They who fall on this stone shall be broken ; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
The Apostle observes, that the doctrine of Christ crucified for the sins of men, to some is foolishness ; but to others it appears to be the power and the wisdom of God.
The scheme of salvation opened in the gospel, all who contemplate it, must acknowledge to be won. derful. And some have thought the wonder too great to be believed. “Mankind,” they say, “ are an inconsiderable race of beings-probably the lowest in the rational scale. God is perfectly hap. py and glorious in himself, and cannot be made more or less so by the conduct or the condition of his creatures. Can it then be thought, that he would take all that concern for men which the gos. pel represents him to have done ; that he would so pity them in their guilt, as to send a Divine Re. deemer, in a human form too, yea, in the lowest condition of men-would subject him to an infa. mous death, number him with transgressors, and appoint him a grave with the wicked-would af. terward raise him to heaven in this same human body, and there place him at the head of his kingdom to manage the affairs of it for the benefit of believ. ers ?- Is there in man any dignity or importance which deserves such a singular interposition ?-Are not the means out of proportion to the end ?-Can we see any thing in the whole economy of Provi. dence at all resembling this ?”
Thus the mercy, which appears in the gospel, and which surely ought to recommend it to guilty creatures, has been urged as an objection against the truth of it.
The examination of this matter will lead us to some profitable meditations, and prepare the way for some serious reflections.
1. The wonderfulness of the scheme of redemption, exhibited in the gospel, is a presumptive evi. dence of its divinity. : · The farther it lies beyond the reach of human invention, the more reason is there to believe that it came from God. If it is quite a singular plan, and there is nothing in the whole system of nature that bears a resemblance to it, then there is nothing that could suggest it to the wit of men, or give a hint from which to frame it in the imagination ; consequently it must be wholly the contrivance of divine wisdom, and the discovery of divine revelation.
That men are guilty and impotent, is obvious to experience. This has ever been their acknowledg. ment and complaint. To inform them of this unhappy state, they have not needed revelation. How they may be recovered, is a natural inquiry. But, Could it, without any intimation, have entered into the heart of man, to imagine such a scheme as the gospel lays before: us ? If any had been disposed to frame a scheme for the amusement, or deception of their fellow creatures, Could they possibly have conceived so great, so singular a scheme as the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Son of God ? Man is indeed an inventive creature; but his invention appears rather in improy. ing on suggestions already made, than in originating things entirely new. The greatest discoveries, which have been made in arts and sciences, are the fruits of some fortunate accident, from which a hint was first taken, and afterward ripened by ex. periment. But as there could be nothing in nature to suggest the idea of the death of the Son of God for the sins of men, so it is absurd to suppose it a