Page images


with these insects. Before them | the things bestowed on them by there were no such locusts as the munificence of heaven ; they, neither afier them shall be also, by discontent with our own such. Hence Pharaoh called circumstances in life, all of for Moses and Aaron in haste, which are determined by infinite acknowledged his sin, and bego wisdom. As there is not a ged to be delivered from this just man on earth, who doeth death. And the Lord turned a good and sinneth not, so there mighty strong west wind, which is not one to be found, who is took away the locusts, and cast not, at some time, uneasy with them into the red sea. But Pha- the situation in which he is pla

raoh soon forgot this judgment, ced, although it be ordered by ' and still refused to let the peo- the infinitely wise providence of ple go.

God. Whenever this happens, (To be continued.) it is a virtual disapprobation of

divine sovereignty. The same opposition extends to the sove

reignty of God in dispensing The Sovereignty of God spiritual blessings, and hence

comes those objections, to the "HE divine sovereignty, in doctrines of revelation, which

dispensing favors to men, represent some to be subjects of • is a truth with which they are grace, while others fail of eter· very liable to be discontented. nal life. In view of what shall There is a natural pride and take place, the sinful either deny selfishness in the heart, which a different end to men after incline men to wish the divine death, or charge the Lord with will might, in all instances, be partiality in his government.accommodated to their own pri- It is my design to show, that vate interest. This principle the sovereignty of God, in the is so deeply fixed in our depra- different dispensation of his blesved natures, that nothing short sings, is consistent with infinite of almighty power can restrain, wisdom, justice and goodness. and nothing but the sanctifying To all his repining creatures, a grace of God can effectually holy God may fitly reply, “Is remove it from the heart. Al-it not lawful for me to do what though, in some minds, its I will with mine own? Is thine reigning power is overcome by eye evil because I am good ?". the grace of God, yet we see its I was led to these reflections remains, even in those who are by reading the parable of the best fortified by habits of recti- laborers in the vineyard, which lude, best instructed in the na. Christ spake to the Jews. There lure of Christian holiness, and cannot be a more proper motto, actually made partakers of di- for our remarks on divine sovevine grace. Few persons dare reignty, than the words aforeopenly deny the Lord's govern- mentioned, " Is it not lawful for ment to be wise and perfect ; me to do what I will with mine yet, how often do our hearts rise own ?" A number of Christ's in opposition ? This is done parables were designed to inwhen we envy others, or covet l struct the Jews in the purposes Vol. I. NO. 4.


of infinite wisdom, concerning one hour, and thou hast made the visible kingdom of God in them equal to us, which have this world. As this nation was borne the heat and burden of first called, had long exclusively the day.” But he answered one enjoyed the ordinances of reli- of them, “ Friend, I do thee no gion, and been the keepers of the wrong. Is it not lawful for oracles of God; they had im- me to do what I will with mine bibed an opinion, that the heathen own? Is thine eye evil because nations would be always left in I am good?” This is a sufficient their ignorance. They had over answer to every murmur against looked the prophecies, that the the sovereignty of God. No reafulness of the Gentiles should son can be assigned, why his difbe called to a knowledge of the ferent allotments, in temporal true God and his grace. Ex. things are less objectionable, than pressive of divine sovereignty, in his bestowment of spiritual they were told by our our divine blessings: But, in the former case, Lord, that many should come although the hearts of men may from the east and the west, from be uncasy, we do not hear them the north and the south, and sit cavilling; or if we did, it would down with Abraham, Isaac and at once be condemned as impiJacob, while the children of the ous. We should not suppose kingdom should be cast out. To that human pride would more assert divine sovereignty, we readily consent to divine sovefind Christ, at the conclusion of reignty in temporal than in etermany of his discourses, repeat- nal allotments; and it can be ing the same prophetic words, accounted for, only by a feeling with which the parable both be- of present necessity; while, gins and ends, “ So the last the need of divine favor, which shall be first, and the first last : will be felt in the ages to come for many are called, but few is not realized. Let us rememchosen." These words of Christ ber that the duration of existence were doubtless prophetic of the will make that present, which, same thing, which the apostle from the boundless term of etermeant, when he was considering nity to come, scarcely appears to the subject more largely, in the us, at this time, as real. eleventh chapter of his epistle That natural good is now disto the Romans, “ That blindness pensed,in very different measure, in part is happened to Israel, is a fact, which none will preuntil the fulness of the Gentiles tend to deny. All men are not come in.” The parable was de- made with the same degree of signed to instruet the Jews in intelligence, nor with the same two points; First, their own capacity for happiness. There danger: Secondly, the sovereign- is a great diversity in their unty of God in the bestowment of derstanding, powers of reason, his blessings. Therefore, at the memory and imagination, some conclusion, they are represented being more strong, and others as murmuring, “ When they weaker. Some are fitted for heard it they murmured against employments, which are both the good man of the house, say more pleasing and honorable ; ing, these last have wrought but, while others must act in a suberdinate sphere.-So, also, the 'not of the body ; Is it not, theredealings of divine providence, fore, of the borly? If the whole respecting worldly property, are body were an eye, where were infinitely diversified. Some are the hearing? And if they were in opulence, others in poverty; all one member, where were the some in health, others in sick-body ?” So, if there were not ness ; some continually pros- a different distribution of naturperous, while others are disap- al good in creating, and in dispointed and thwarted in whatever pensing to men, the natural per. they undertake. These differ- fection of the universe would be ences are not confined to indi. far less than we now behold. viduals, for we find them be- There would not be that display tween great collections of men. of infinite wisdom, which now When one nation is peaceful shines in the works of God. and great, another is rent with There could not be so many divisions and desolated by war. kinds of natural good as are now Some countries abound with enjoyed by creatures, nor would plenty, while others are destin- there be an opportunity for so ed to Jeanness. In all these full an exercise of moral virtue. things, we dare not deny the ef. For these reasons the sovereign ficiency of God, or impeach his wisdom of God may be justified, sovereignty. Reasons, known in his different appointment of naunto his wisdom, are the cause tural good to creatures, althoughi, of these distinctions. Doubt it may involve the poverty of less there is greater happiness some, the frequent disappointin the world, and society is better ment of others, and a low deadjusted, than if all men were gree of intellectual powers in treated alike in the bestowment many. of natural good. The great soci- Considered as the creator of ety of intelligent minds may be all things, God could be under compared to the naturaloranimal no obligations, to impart to any body, which, to make it perfect, of his creatures a greater quanrequires many members for dif. tity of natural good than they ferent offices. Arguments tak- have received. While there en from the same similitude, was no existence, there could be which the Apostle used to show no right of demand. It was fit the perfection of the Church, for the Lord to exercise his own the body of Christ, may be infinite power, wisdom and applied to this subject, to show goodness, in forming and orderthe necessity of such distinct- ing every creature with such naions, for the perfection of the tural and moral good, as his natural world and the intelli- wisdom saw to be best. Creagent system. “ For the body," tion was a favor never deserv. saith the apostle “is not one ed by those who received it ; member but many. If the and all powers, faculties and obfoot shall say, because I am jects of enjoyment are the free gift not the hand, I am not of the of infinite benevolence. Creabody; Is it not, therefore, of the tures have freely received their body? If the ear shall say, be- existence and all their objects of cause I am not the eye, I am the enjoyment; they can have no

right to demand more, or think )' should be extended to all. In hardly of God, because he hath his distribution of spiritual bles. not dispensed alike to all. Praise, sings and moral good, the Lord contentment, and an obedient hath a right to“ do what he will use of the faculties they have re- with his own." ceived is the duty of all, ard There may be, and doubtless this is as true of those who have are, infinitely wise reasons, for retained their innocence, as of such a dispensation of spiritual others, who have sinned. blessings as will save some,

An objection to divine sove while othere are left to perish reignty is most commonly made, in their chosen way. It is not from that dispensation of divine for sinful and deceived' men to grace, by which some are say, how far it is proper God brought to eternal life, and oth should extend the benefits of ers are left to perish in their sovereign grace. If justice resins. Let a solemn question be quired the forgiveness of all sinproposed. Might not a holy ners, doubtless, all would be God, in righteousness, have left forgiven, whether fallen angels all men to perish for ever ? Alor fallen men ; but, when forthough the scriptures do most giveness is on the ground of clearly reveal a dispensation of free grace, infinite wisdom must grace, through which sinners determine the point ; and infimay be restored to the favor of nile wisdom will be determined God, yet they always ascribe by the greatest glory of God. The this to undeserved grace. God most high Jehovah, in the distridid not give his Son to die be-bution of his favors, acts as the cause men deserved his com- father of an immense family. passion ; neither, because they He will do that which is for could make him any adequate re- their good and his own glory, ward for his grace. This won- although, some of his delin. derful gift was designed to dis- quent children are thereby left play his glory in the infinite to eat the bitter fruits of what treasures of his grace. How they have sowed. It is not far this grace shall extend in for short sighted mortals ! It is the forgiveness of sin, must be not for the finite creatures of determined by infinite wisdom, a moment to dictate to infinite which knoweth and is disposed wisdom what is best for his own to do what is best. The choice glory, or for the good of his eterand provision of the means of nal kingdom, in dispensing the salvation are from God himself ; favors of grace, or executing deconsequently, he may use his served punishment on the memown wisdom, in extending the bers of that great family, which benefit: If it would have been is under his control. We are just in God to leave all men un- assured that an immense multider sin, he may do the same, in tude shall attain eternal life, thro' any particular instance, accor- the grace of God: We have ding to his good pleasure.- equal assurance that some will When wisdom sees it best to fall short of everlasting life.grant an undeserved favor to We know that men are free to some, justice doth not require it choose life or death, and that

God is sovereign in executing hath often been the işstrument the counsels of his will ; still, of impressing sentiments, which means are necessary for pro- afterwards influenced the councuring an interest in his grace, sels of nations, and a pious and they will doubtless be so schoolmaster is one of the most for ever.

successful ministers, either of • The following traths are made religion or impiety. Precept certain to us by the word of and example have a great influGod.

ence on every age ; on youth He is just, so that no creature they make an impression which will ever suffer punishment be- is not worn away by years, and yond what is deserved :--He no other means can be substia hath no delight in punishment, tuted in their place. The young for its own sake, and where it is mind is made thus, impressible, inflicted, it will be to advance that it may receive such princihis own glory, which is the ples of virtue as will prove salusame thing as the good of his tary thro' life ; but as the young kingdom - The redeemed will may mingle with unprincipled be saved by free grace, and in people, the same cause may exfinite wisdom is sufficient to de- pose them to fatal evils. Vice termine its extension. All the may enter at those avenues of requirements of the gospel are the mind which were designed reasonable, and such as pe- for the introduction of virtue. rish will fail of life, through The sensibility of youth may their own inexcusable impeni- prove destructive as well as sa. tence. God is the Creator and lutary. We often hear, both we are his property. Unless from the pulpit and the press, his grace is obstinately resisted parental fidelity, in the serious we may hope for salvation. Je education of children, urged by hovah is a sovereign God, and unanswerable arguments. The hath a right to do what he will public teachers of religion adwith bis own.”

dress our youth, as it becomes Q.

faithful ministers to do. Still, there is a danger to which nei. ther the pulpit nor pres3 has

been sufficiently attentive ; it is TO THE EDITOR OF THE CON- that depravity, both of princiNECTICUT MAGAZINE. ples and morals, which is too

often imbibed at our common SIR,

schools. It is a commendable TRAIN up a child in the custom in this country to send

a when he is old he will not de- some place of instruction suited part from it,” is a maxim of the to their capacity, where they wise man, which experience may obtain the first rudiments hath always approved. The of science. Public bounty enopinions and manners of the courages the practice. Where young are formed by the influ- there is a numerous family of ence of their nurses and instruc-children, it is convenient for the tors. A pious mother or nursel parents to dispose of them, a

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »