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That the blessed God is not only perfectly qualified to exercise a sovereign rule over the universe, but that he actually does exercise it, has always done so, and will do so to the end of time, is absolutely certaia and undeniable, and is uniformly asserted in the Scriptures of truth. It is unnecessary to stop here, in order to produce formal proof; it will be sufficiently evident while we point out some of the distinct instances of his sovereignty :-In the creation of the world in the fall of man-in the method appointed for his recovery-in the application of redemption to sinners and in all the temporal concerns of men, prosperous or adverse.
1. Observe the sovereignty of God in the creation of the world.
Why was this world made at all? Why made just when it was? Why made as it was? Why not made many ages before? Why organized as it is ? a sun in the centre ?-several planets (how many ?) revol. ving about it?--the earth in her present orbit ?—the moon attending her ?why other planets nearer the au, -ühers more remote ? Why was this globe inhabited ? and by such a creature as man, so like other beings in some respects, so unlike them in others ? A thousand such questions might be asked, One answer suffices for them all." For thy please ure they are and were created.” Other reasons we know not, nor is any other necessary.
2. The sovereignty of God may be noticed in the awful event of man's apostacy.
Before the fall, his Maker entered into a covenant with him, not for himself alone, but for all his posterity in and with him, as their head and representative. If he should fulfil the condition of that covenant, abstaining from the forbidden tree, as the pledge of his obedience, all his posterity would be confirmed in the same state of happiness, and in the divine favour : if he transgressed, all his posterity would be involved in the consequences of that transgression, and become liable to the same condemnation and misery with himself. Could all the posterity of Adam have been consulted, it is probable that all would readily have consented to this arrangement; but whether they would have approved or not, or whether men now approve or disapprove of this constitution of things, is of no manner of consequence. So God determined ; and doubtless he determined rightly. He gave Adam sufficient power to maintain his integrity ; but he left him free to fall. So his sovereignty appointed. Left to himself, he who could have stood, did fall, and by that fall
“ Brought death into the world, and all our woe !"
3. The sovereignty of God is displayed in the method he has been pleased to appoint for the recoy. ery of fallen man.
There was rebellion in heaven, as well as on earth. Angels rebelled, and were expelled from Heavennot all indeed ; and why not all? The sovereign goodness of God preserved the “elect angels” (1 Tim. v. 21) from falling; the rest “are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day.” But man, apostate man, became the object of divine compassion ; and no sooner did he need a Saviour, than a Saviour was promised-a Saviour who should assume the nature that had sinned, and restore the offender and his (believing) posterity to a better paradise than Adam lost. But why not include angels ? They were beings superior to man. Divine sovereignty passed them by ; " for verily he (the Redeemer) took not upon him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham”-“he took flesh and blood, that he might die, and by dying, make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Heb. ii. 17, &c.
That this method of reconciliation should be fixed upon, we ascribe to the divine sovereignty. That he should save any of the fallen race-that his Son
should be the Saviour,-that in order to his being a Saviour, he should be incarnate--be born of a virgin-be born where and when he was—be a poor man, and a man of sorrows-should speak, and act as never man did, yet be treated as never man was ; and that he who was to give life to the world, should himself die—die a violent death-die on the infamous cross, and that his so dying should be considered and accepted by a holy and just God as a sacrifice, satisfaction, and atonement for sin that his blood should cleanse from all sin ; and that, through faith in his blood, all sinners who believe should be freely, fully, and for ever justified, and entitled to everlasting life.Such was the divine constitution ; so God appointed in his sovereign pleasure ; and therefore we conclude that this method of salvation is right and good, excellent and glorious, every way worthy of its divine Author, who will be eternally glorified by the whole intelligent universe for adopting it.
4. The sovereignty of God is no less displayed in the application, than in the provision of this great salvation.
The glorious gospel, which is the power of God to salvation, to every one that believeth,” is sent to one place, and not to another. He has indeed authorized his disciples to proclaim his gospel “to every nation”-“to every creature ;'-and no small share of blame, it may be feared, attaches to the church, and especially to the ministers of it, that greater efforts have not been made in obedience to that authority : yet we cannot deny the exercise of divine sovereignty, in the unequal distribution of gospel light. In the days of the apostles, Macedonia was preferred to Bithynia ; and doubtless the providence of God directed the steps of the first Evangelists and of successive Missionaries. Some nations of the world are far more highly favoured than others. Many populous regions of Asia are destitute of a gleam of light, and others enjoy but a very small portion of it. Almost the whole of Africa lies in midnight darkness; and the vast continent of America knew nothing of the gospel till within a few centuries. Of all countries, Great Britain has the greatest cause for joy and gratitude. Here, surely, the sovereign goodness of God will be gladly acknowledged—“ He hath not dealt so with every land, praise ye the Lord.”
And will not every individual, who has “tasted that the Lord is gracious," ascribe all the light, the faith, the love, the hope that he enjoys, to the sovereignty of God? That he was pleased to send his gospel to the place of your abode (while others are passed by); that he should so order the circumstances of time and place, that you should be brought to hear the joyful sound ; and above all, that the eyes of your understanding should be enlightened, your heart softened and humbled, the Saviour revealed in you the hope of glory, and you enabled, perhaps, in the face of contempt and opposition, to own his cause and follow him fully ; wile probably those who heard the same sermons, and were placed in the same circumstances with you, remain in their natural state, and, like “ Gallio, care for none of these things," but despise and hate them, and speak all manner of evil of them and of you. Now, to what will you ascribe the difference?, Who maketh thee to differ from another ? Was it your own superior wisdom and goodness ? No; you will certainly say, “ By the grace of God I am what I am ; that grace was freely bestowed, and might justly have been withheld. Not unto me, O Lord ; not unto me, but to thy name be the praise and glory of the saving change. Such was the language of our adorable Lord when on earth, when the seventy disci. ples reported to him the success of their ministry. 6. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes ; even
so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Luke x. 21.
The sovereignty of God our Saviour is apparent in the constitution and ordinances of his church. He has appointed what officers should dispense his word, and superintend its concerns. He has ap. pointed the first day of the week instead of the seventh, to be the Christian Sabbath, for he is “ Lord of the Sabbath.” He has ordained the preaching of his word, prayer, and praise, to be the stated branches of public worship. He has appointed Sacraments, or external representations of spiritual blessings, and he has confined these to two in num. ber, Baptism and the Lord's Supper ; the first of these to be the badge of discipleship, shewing, by the use of water, that his religion was intended for the purification of all his people ; and by the bread and wine in the latter, that Christ crucified, whose death we therein remember and exhibit, is the food and support of every believer. That Christ thus appointed the ordinances of his worship in the church, is a high instance of his sovereignty, and every Christian is in duty and in love bound to submit to all his appointments.
5. The sovereignty of God is obvious in his disposal of the temporal affairs of men, whether as individuals or as nations.
As individuals. Our parentage, the circumstan. ces of our birth, the place, the time, all are arranged by the great Ruler. The powers we possess, of body and of mind; the degree of education we receive, and on which, frequently, so much, in after life, depends ; the culture or the neglect of the mind; the connections which we form, apparently the result, not so much of choice, as of what we call Accident, are all under the direction of Heaven ; and so are all our concerns, whether we enjoy uninterrupted health and good spirits, or whether we drag on heavily, with a sick body and a feeble mind; whether we forsake the land of the living at twenty