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[Preached on the Fast Day, Feb. 25, 1795.)

PSALM xcvii. 1.




This pfalm is supposed to have been written by king David, on the occasion of a victory. He attributes nothing to his own power, but refers all the glory to God. To God, likewise, he attributes all the misfortunes that befal the wicked, either as punishment or as trial. The holy Prophet therefore rejoices in the idea that God, whether he gives prosperity or adversity, governs every thing. The Lord is king : the earth may be glad thereof; yea, the multitude of the isles may be glad thereof.

I shall

I shall consider these words by shewing you, first, what is meant by the Lord's being king : secondly, on what foundation the earth, and multitude of the isles, may be glad thereof; and, lastly, Ithall make an application to ourselves.

In the first place, the Lord is king, as he is the governor of all nature : all created things are under his control, and are only the instruments of his government. In his vast storehouse he has storms, infected air, earthquakes, and various other evils: he has likewise calm skies, fruitful fhowers, and abundant harvests. In short, pro{perity and adversity, in every shape ; and even the wickedness of man, so far as it affects mankind, (his own actions being always free,) are only various means by which God tries, punishes, and rewards the children of men...

Again, the Lord is king over mankind, as divided into nations. : Men form themselves into various governments, and amuse themselves with the wisdom with which their several schemes are conducted; but, in fact, all their governments and all their schemes are only the administrations of this great Ruler. Kings may suppose they govern, and generals may fuppofe they conquer;


but it is God that giveth power to the one, and force to the other, and conducts all their purposes to his own wise ends.

The Lord is king also over men, considered as individuals. There are various stations in the world-high and low, rich and poor ; and men - fuppose their own wisdom, industry, and prudence, procure them their various distinctions in life: but if we believe that the Lord is king, and that he ruleth the affairs of mankind, we must believe also, that nothing happens without his direction.

Thus the Lord is king over all naturemover mankind in general, not only in a state of fociety, but as individuals also.

But here, perhaps, fome may object, that if the Lord is king, and ruleth every thing, what occasion have we to do any thing? Why should the rulers of a country concern themselves about national affairs; or private men, about their several employments ? All they do signifies nothing. The Lord is king, and he will govern

the affairs of nations and men as he pleaseth, whether themfelves act, or not.

This is false reasoning. We do not know wbat God intends; but we know what he orders


to do, and therefore at any rate we should obey him. The fame God, who ordereth the affairs of nations and men, ordereth us also to use our wisdom and prudence, and every capa. city which he hath given us. Our actions, like every thing else, are God's instruments : by these he brings about the great purposes of his will, What these purposes are, we know not; but of this we may be assured, that, by obeying or disobeying him, we may turn ourselves into good instruments, or bad: bis instruments, certainly, in some fhape we must be. If the wicked man therefore skreen his wickedness by saying, that God turns his vices into benefits, let him consider what the scripture fays, It must needs be that offences come ; but woe be to that man by whom the offence cometh. God does not make men wicked; but if they make themselves wicked, he turns their wickedness to his own wise purposes.

Again, if a man pretend to say, he hath accom. plished any thing by his own wisdom or power, he is equally mistaken. The Lord is king, and for his own great purposes bestows wisdom, and power; which, at the same time the possessor may turn, if he please, to his own advantage : -as, in common Ufe, a factor may contribute to YOL. IV.


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carry on some general scheme of business for the person who employs him, and yet, at the same time, may receive a fair proportion himself from the emoluments of his office.

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HAVING thus seen that the Lord is king, let us, fecondly, see for what reason the earth, and the multitude of the istes, may be glad thereof.

If we were to see a country without any go. vernment, where every one did what was good in his own eyes ; that is, where rapine, spoil, and mischief of all kinds, would naturally exiltwhere there was no sense of duty to check, no laws to restrain, nor magistrates to punish how miferable would be the state of that country; and how happy would every man think himself, if order were introduced, and his life and pro perty rendered safe!i of the

In such a situation would this world be, if the -Lord was not king. What," can we suppose, would be the effea, if the things of this world were governed by chance? We fee what power the elements have what terrible effects are fometiines produced by storms and earthquakes, by tides and fubterranean firesti When there. fore we see all these dreadfal effects of the ele.


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