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Consider who he was that is here commemorated, what he did, and what he suffered. Remember, that stones in the street might have been in your place; animated with living souls ; changed into men better than yourselves; and now looking forward with brighter hopes of a happy eternity.

With this affecting consideration in full view, let each of you ask himself, “ Why was I made to hear the voice of the

Son of God, and live. Why was I not a heathen, an infidel, an atheist ? Why was I not cast off for ever? Why “ am I not now weeping and wailing in the blackness of dark"ness, and suffering the vengeance of eternal life? Why am “ I permitted to sing the praises of forgiving, redeeming, and "sanctifying love? Why am I permitted to rejoice in innu"merable blessings which are past, and to supplicate far more “and greater blessings yet to come? Why can I look for“ward to death, the grave, and the judgment, not only with“out horror, but even with hope ? Why am I able on the

wings of faith to enter eternity, and humbly to expect, as “my unchangeable portion there, an exceeding and eternal “ weight of glory? In answer to all these questions, you will " be compelled to exclaim, - Even so, Father ; for so it seem“eth good in thy sight.""

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ISAIAH LV. 8-9. “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways

my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways

higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Whenever we consider, originally, a revelation of the will of God as a subject of investigation, we are, perhaps always, prepared either to discover or to imagine difficulties attending such a work. That it may be attended with difficulties is universally admitted; that it must be, is to my own mind equally evident. Of these some will owe their origin to our disposition, and others to our ignorance. The disposition of man is evi, dently opposed to what must be the will of so perfect and glorious a being as God, and to the duties which such a being cannot fail to require. The actual expressions of the will of God in his providence are, in multiplied instances, strenuously opposed by our race. To question, to murmur, and to rebel against the divine government, is extensively as well as plainly characteristical of man, and clearly congenial to the human heart. A revelation, disclosing to us further accounts of the divine' pleasure, and making it more distinctly known, imust accord with those parts of that pleasure which are discovered in creation and providence. It must, therefore, be regarded as a thing of course, that we should be prepared to find fault with such a revelation. Nay, it ought to be expected, that we should murmur against it with more dissatisfaction, and oppose it with more hostility, because it would more distinctly unfold the will of its author. If the character and pleasure of God, when seen imperfectly, awaken dislike, the same things, when more fully seen, must awaken greater dislike in the same mind.

But all the difficulties attending such a work do not arise from our dispositions. Not a small number of them are derived from our ignorance : the works of God are filled with difficulties of this nature. It is rationally to be supposed, that such a revelation would, in greater or less degrees, be fraught with them also.

When things which we have not known before are revealed to us, the revelation necessarily communicates various other things, with which these are inseparably connected. The things revealed are naturally attended with the same difficulties, or at least with a part of them, which are found in the works of God; and the things connected with these, and necessarily yet imperfectly disclosed in such a revelation, must involve more if not greater difficulties, from the imperfection of the disclosure. As the field of knowledge is boundless, and as our faculties continue the same, whatever the revelation may be, our perplexities must increase with every enlargement of its discoveries. Every thing revealed to us must, of course, disclose imperfectly many with which it is connected, and our perplexities must multiply at every step in the progress of the revelation.

Accordant with this account, I readily acknowledge, is the nature of the Scriptures, the professed revelation of the character and will of God. There are in this volume many things which are hard to be understood ; difficulties, which will seem such to a mind well disposed, which will puzzle all readers, and leave most not unfrequently in the dark.

To show that these things are no objections against the Scriptures, and ought not for a moment to perplex those who believe in them, or hinder the faith of those who do not, is the design of the following discourse. It is my intention to show that these difficult and incomprehensible things are things of course, and, in the nature of the case, necessary and unavoidable. Should I succeed in this attempt, it will be seen that no difficulty, which becomes such merely because we cannot unravel it or comprehend its nature and connections, ought at all to hinder our belief. When the difficulty arises solely out of the greatness and complication of the subject, and the comparative littleness of our minds, it can never be an objection against the doctrine which it is supposed to embarrass. If this be not admitted, we are left without any means of obtaining satisfaction in our present state.

Nor shall we be less at a loss at every period of our existence. In whatever degree our faculties may hereafter be invigorated, or our information enlarged, it will still be equally true, that the ways and works of God will, throughout eternity, be incomprehensible by our minds. Indeed, a little thought will convince us that the more we know the more we shall perceive which is yet to be known. All this will to us be mysterious. The objects which are partially understood, will ever involve mysteries ; and, as these objects are multiplied, mysteries will also be multiplied.

The thoughts of God, mentioned in the text, naturally denote his plans or counsels, and the ways of God, his coursels carried into execution ; or, in other words, his works both of creation and providence. These in the text are said to be higher than ours, as the heavens are higher than the earth, i. e. they are immeasurably distant from ours, and incomprehensibly more exalted.

With these explanations, it will be easily seen, that the text declares the following doctrines :

I. That the purposes, plans, and actions of God are exceedingly unlike ours; and

II. That they are beyond measure more noble and excellent than ours.

To illustrate these doctrines, and to derive from them some practical remarks, will be the combined object of this dis


I. That the purposes, plans, and actions of God are exceedingly unlike ours is easily and unanswerably evinced by a comparison of the character of God with that of ourselves.

and, at


We are but just introduced into existence. Our powers are feeble and very limited. Our knowledge is scarcely begun,

the same time, is mingled with many errors. The constitution by which we hold our present life, is absolutely dependent, frail, crushed before the moth, and hastening to e grave. We are also sinful creatures.

Our disposition is plainly opposed to the will of our Creator. What he chooses, we dislike; what he commands, we refuse. His conduct we arraign, and against his government we rebel.

God, on the contrary, is infinitely great, wise, and good. All things possible and actual are perfectly seen and known by his Omniscient eye; all actual things he has done ; all possible things he can do. His moral character is infinitely perfect, the sum of all wisdom, justice, holiness, goodness, and truth. From this character are derived his law and his vernment; both perfect like himself; both aiming at the best ends, and accomplishing them in the best manner; both requiring the best conduct, and claiming for their author the supreme adoration, confidence, and love of all intelligent creatures.

It is hardly necessary to add, that the purposes, plans, and actions of beings so totally unlike, must differ equally with their characters.


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II. The same truth is evident also from the nature and the end of the purposes and plans formed by God, compared with

those of men.

The plans formed by ourselves are calculated for a little spot of earth, and for a moment of time. · Those of the infinite mind are intended to reach through eternity and immensity, to comprise all existence, and to include all the actions and all the destinies of the endless multitude of creatures which he has made. The consequences which arise out of them are innumerable and incomprehensible to any mind, beside that to which they owe their existence.

Our own plans respect chiefly or wholly 'ourselves, and a few other beings around us, most or all of whom are our con

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