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holiness and hatred of sin, which should occasion his proceeding rigorously against the wicked, must move him to succour the righteous and save them from harm. As He is the Judge of all the earth, he must do right.
The apostle has a similar conclusion in Rom. iii. 5. 6. “ But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man,) God forbid : for then how shall God judge the world ?” If God himself were to be found guilty of wrong, though in the smallest de. gree possible, how could he judge the world? how could he pass sentence of condemnation upon creatures for having violated the laws of eternal rectitude? We must have consi. dence in a judge, that he will do justice, or how can we submit to his decisions ? Abraham had this confidence in God, that it was not, and could not be, his will, when carry. ing into effect the wholesome regulations of his own government, with regard to moral subjects to involve righteous and unrighteous persons in 'one common and promiscuous ruin. It was a most solemn and affecting occasion that called forth from the lips of the sympathizing patriarch the pious expression of the text. He had feelings for his fellowmen, which rendered it trying to behold the time of their destruction at hand. 'The messengers of Heaven were even now on their way
towards Sodom, for the purpose of bringing it to speedy desolation. But the
patriarch, with all his tender concern for their well-being, yields them up into the hands of God, their righteous Judge, in a full persuasion, that not a soul of them, whatever might be his character, would ever have ground of complaint against God, for what might befall hiin. My brethren, we have all need, very often, to call to mind the sentiment of believing Abraham, expressed in our text, as the providences of God, in so many instances, wear a frowning aspect, and threaten an interruption to our own welfare and that of others. If we are full and fervent in our belief, that the Judge of all the earth will do right, what will be wanting to quiet and console our minds, even in the darkest hours? If we have confidence in the power that reigns, that he will never do amiss, where shall we go to find even one painful and perplexing consideration to mar our peace ? It is on account of wrongs, either real, or imaginary, that we suffer what we do from an unquiet and agitated frame of mind. A man fears nothing from one, in whom he places confidence, and concerning whom he has not the least jealousy or suspicion, that he will do him an injury. If we have entire confidence in the government of God, that, in all things, it will be perfect, without the smallest defect, can we dread any of its operations ? Why is it, that men do not universally trust in God, as invited in the scriptures, and so procure to them. selves the enjoyment of all good, but that
they have a disbelief, or doubts, at least, of the protection of Providence? They are not completely satisfied that God will do right; that he governs upon the most upright and equitable principles; and will eternally save himself from the imputation, or guilt, of partiality.
As our professed object is to show from the perfections of God, that all creatures have reason to place the most implicit and unbounded confidence in him ; we shall aim to pursue the subject in such a line, as to make ii obvious to common sense, that Jehovah, as his character is revealed to us, is a being who may be safely leaned upon, and ought to be trusted, without reserve, by every intelligent creature. It is one thing to claim the confidence of others, and another, to make it evident, beyond dispute, that we deserve it. God, in his word, does abundantly represent it to be the duty of creatures to put their trust in him ; but no one can feel it to be his duty to commit himself and all his interests into the hands of God, until he has at. tained such views of his character as will af ford him conviction of the propriety and safety of so doing. If God has not made it certain to us, that he will do right, or given us good reason to receive this as an established truth, it can never be imputed to us as a fault, that our confidence is not in him. But if, by attending to the light, which has been imparted, relative to the character an government of God, it can be clearly ascea
tained, that all his administrations are, and ever will be, such as impartial truth and goodness require; no doubt it will appear sin, and a sin of no small aggravation, to harbor uneasiness or disaffection towards any of his dealings. However disastrous, or uncomfortable to ourselves, particular incidents may appear ; yet if they do not imply a moral evil, nor any other kind of defect, in their efficient cause, they should not be considered as matter of regret, on the whole, and in a comprehensive point of view. If they are a genuine and legitimate expression of rectitude, we can have no good reason to deprecate their existence, or make them a subject of lamentation. If the overthrow of Sodom was a proper exhibition of the excellency and perfection of divine Providence, could Abraham, in the overlowing ardor of his piety, wish, on the whole, that it might not take place, as tenderly as he felt towards the unhappy victims ? Nothing can be approbated as right, and, at the same time, disapprobated as wrong
And whatever is right will oblige all rational beings to unite in its commendation; and, on the other hand, whatever is manifestly wrong will as powerfully constrain all to tesify against it. Who will say, that he can justify
himself, in withholding confi. dence from one, who, uniformly, and in all things, does to the utmost of what may be reasonably expected of him ? or who will pretend, that it is in his power to confide in one, who evidently falls short of what is in,
cumbent on him? A man will implicitly con. fide in his rulers, if he believes them to be, in all possible respects, fit to be entrusted with government: but if he has other views respecting them, his confidence will be diminished, in proportion to the greatness of their supposed defects.
But if I cannot entirely confide in one as a ruler, as a manager of those high concerns, in which I am interested as a member of the great body public and politic, it does not hence follow, that I dare not repose myself, unreservedly, upon him, as a private friend and companion. One may be worthy of being entrusted with mata ters of inferior magnitude, who is by no means entitled to the same confidence, in regard to more weighty and important affairs. Placing confidence in any being, supposes him qualified for the station he fills, and for all that naturally and of right devolves upon him in that station. The confidence of a child in a parent, implies assurance, that the parent will invariably conform to all the dice tates of parental affection ; will ever act as a parent should. And so of all other relations, which subsist between beings of an intelligent. social nature. Doing right is the basis of all confidence placed by one in another. To be: wholly destitute of this character, is to forfeit all confidence, and to expose ourselves to universal distrust; and so, in proportion as our good qualities fall short of perfection, we deprive ourselves of the confidence of those who know us. The character of dc.