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portioned out to some two or three score of us (cowards that we are !) would make martyrs of us all ! :
Psalm cxi. 2. “ The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.”—Here we are presented with motives for raising the song of praise to God. His works:- look at creation, how transcendently magnificent! Mark its origin. He spake, and it was done,- he commanded, the world stood fast; at his word, the earth, with all her variety, started into existence, and shone in all her beauty! The planets, the fixed stars, the sun in his glory, and the moon in mild majesty, with all their beneficial influences on our world, shone forth at his command;— the whole, in that beauty, order, variety, regularity, and suitableness for man's abode, displaying the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator. And while all that meets our unassisted eye proves this, it is equally seen when, by the aid of art, we view his more minute creations, — which are equally perfect, equally fitted for the scale of being in which they exist, as the most strong and the most stupendous that adorn our globe. His works : — look at his works of providence !- they are great. Here we see how he preserves and governs all that he made ; for this end he wields the elements, he speaks in the thunder, shakes the foundations of the mountains, and controls the tempest when it hath executed his commission. And as in the natural, so doth he rule and govern in the moral world. His work of redemption is great. The Son of his love was his free gift to man, that he might be saved from ruin ; the cross the stage of the highest display of that love — whose effects are the solace of the church while it exists upon earth, and whose eternal abode is heaven.
But it follows, that these works are only “sought out of those that take pleasure therein." True taste ever looks at the grand, the sublime, the beautiful, with pleasure. Is it the grand you are in quest' of? You would place your Edwin on the highest point of a bold promontory, and shew him the wide sea, urged on by the winds of heaven, rolling its waves impetuous to the shore ; — you would point out the cloud gathering blackness, and increasing in magnitude till, at the touch of Jehovah's finger, the lightning descends, the thunder roars and rattles through the sky, carrying desolation and terror over the affrighted world. — Is it the beautiful you wish him to contemplate ? You would place him on some river's bank,—you would point out vegetation in her highest perfection,- the vista, the woodland, the grove, the distant spire; the curling smoke marking the peaceful hamlet, the abode of man ; and the meandering stream reflecting the rays of a summer sun, like a thread of silver continued through a robe of inimitable beauty, as far as vision can reach, carrying fertility and health along with it. Now, men of holy taste seek such means of knowing God in his works. If they look on the sun, they see God who hath clothed him with his lustre, and imprinted unchanging regularity on his motions; and thus they regard the moon, the stars, and the endless beauties of nature. Those who see not God in these works are alike insensible as the ox or the ass. We are not only enjoined to look on all the works of creation, &c. as God's works; but we must diligently view them, inquire into them, so that we may become better acquainted with his wisdom, his power, his goodness, his faithfulness, as displayed in them. Thus ought the Christian to study God's works of providence, that he may become acquainted with God as the grand mover in all that comes to pass. Thus ought the young to read the history of past ages. In your progress pause and look behind the scene; read Rollin with the Bible in your hands; and by the light which this study will afford, you will be enabled to see much of God's hand ruling the nations in all past times.
demption as displayed in the Bible. While thus engaged, we become fellow-students with those pure and glorious beings, the angels, who desire to look into these things, and who have not the same reasons that we have for pursuing this most important study.
Ver. 3. “ His work is honourable and glorious; and his righteousness endureth for ever.” — God's works are honourable ; all worthy of himself, suitable to his nature to perform, to his grandeur to display, to his faithfulness to continue,-all are perfect, just, and complete. If we ever pause in contemplating them, and be inclined to question why sin appeared in our first parents, and other similar subjects, let us rest assured, that although we cannot see nor understand such things, God can do nothing wrong; that the whole may be made clear at a future time; or should they never be made known to us, still God is all perfection and goodness, and alone worthy of our most implicit confidence and trust.
His work of redemption is honourable. Grace is on the throne, with justice and omnipotence on her right hand and on her left, to maintain her gracious rule, and to secure to the penitent the full measure of unmerited love and mercy.
God's works are glorious. He shines forth in all. In his church he has shone and will continue to shine as her protector against all her foes, her supporter amid all dangers; he sparkles in the beauty and order of her institutions, and in the lives of many of her sons; and he sits on a throne of glory in heaven.
He is righteous. With him are no partialities, no novelties, no improper choice from interested motives. All his government is regular, orderly, most impartial, most just and upright, and worthy of himself, and of our most devout and cordial acquiescence.
What remains, therefore, but that we most ardently pursue the study of God's persections as seen in his works, that we may join with the Old Testament church in suitably praising his name?
Proverbs, xxiv. 11, 12. “ If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not : doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” — Here we see, that if we do not use all lawful means to relieve the oppressed and deliver those doomed to die, God shall so render unto us in our calamities.
There is a Providence. A clergyman in the north told your minister that, during a flood in the stream adjoining his house, seeing an individual approaching the opposite bank, he called to a man who was ploughing for him in a field hard by, to go and warn him against attempting to cross. The man replied, it was no business of his; other people knew the ford as well as he did. The individual approached, and in attempting to cross, was drowned. He proved to be this man's own father! All this indifference to the welfare of others, and readiness to take advantage of their depressed condition, may sometimes be found where a strict outward profession of religion is maintained.
John, xviii. 28. “Then led they Jesus unto the hall of judgment; and it was early ; and they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover. Pilate then went out unto them.” — Here we see these men scrupulously avoiding outward defilements, by refusing to enter the house of a heathen, while they were urging that heathen, unjustly, to condemn an innocent man — even while they were requiring the blood of the Son of God. Tell me not of tithing mint and cummin, of building churches, and subscribing to every charitable institution; these may all tend to the deceiving of ourselves, by affected tenderness of conscience before men and the world, while we may be drawing down the wrath of God by our bidden iniquities.
It is one thing to give our countenance to the cause of God, and to be very kind, as you are, to the minister of religion, and a very different thing to give our hearts to Jesus Christ.
Isaialı, xi. 10, 12.“ In that day there shall be a rout of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations,” 8c.— A banner is any mark of distinction in an arny to indicate where the general is, or the point to which the army must move; and is, in our day, generally a flag of silk, on which are painted certain devices called armorial bearings, by which nations or individuals are distinguished; and it is on this principle the Church of Rome sets up the cross in all public places and churches. But we must contend for the true meaning of Christ's banner, which is, that it should be set up in the heart, ruling over all our motives, passions, and lusts, and subduing all these to its sway; and not retaining its rule outwardly only, floating on the bosoms of our daughters, or displayed in our churches. When this internal dominion is established, then shall we, with David, rejoice that “God hath spoken in his holiness;" that in him we shall triumph over all our spiritual foes. It would also be in David's style for good men to parcel out those portions of our earth where the worship of the true Jehovah is unknown; and to say, in the faith of God's promises, behold Siberia, Tartary, China, Borneo, Central Africa, &c. Let us then set up the banner of God “for an ensign of the people.” Lo! here a church, there an assembly,– in yonder place a congregation, - where God shall rule and be worshipped, and from whence all thrones which obstruct and exalt themselves against Messiah's rule shall be swept away.
Psalm cix. 6.
“ Set thou a wicked man over him;