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pel includes the desires and the designs, the exertions and enjoyments of the ever blessed God, in respect to himself and his creatures; in respect to heaven, earth and hell; and in respect to whatever exists in the universe from eternity to eternity. Now, to whom shall be ascribed the purpose of redemption with its eternal and infinite connections and consequences? Who has made all things? and who has made all things for himself? And has he no system of conduct? Is it scriptural, is it rational, is it possible, to believe that God according to the everlasting gospel, has a supreme regard to himself in all things? and yet, that he has not decreed all things? If a single fact can be known, and if a single truth can be learned by rational creatures, it is in fact true, that God has decreed all things. There is not a more rational, or a more scriptural sentiment in the whole system of natural and revealed religion, than the doctrine of divine decrees.The everlasting gospel is the eternal purpose of God, according to the counsel of his own will, by which for his own glory he hath foreordained whatsoever comes

to pass.

3. If the gospel be the eternal system of divine conduct, then, according to the gospel, God causes all things by his supreme agency. The angel, whom John saw "fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them, that dwell on the earth, and

to every nation and kindred and tongue and people," proclaimed with a loud voice the doctrines and duties, which compose the foundation of natural and revealed religion. This angel says, "Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him, that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." According to the everlasting gospel, fear, glory and worship are to be given to God by the nations and families of the earth. And they are to be given to him, on account of his supreme agency in the creation of all things. The whole system of the gospel exhibits the supreme agency of God, in the creation and government of all things, according to the eternal purpose of redemption through Jesus Christ.It is absurd to suppose that God formed this purpose in the council of his own will, unless he were able and willing to accomplish it. But he cannot accomplish it, only by his own supreme agency. If we understand the origin, the nature and effects of the gospel, we shall be obliged to admit, that God is the supreme cause of all things. The supreme object of God in the purpose of redemption must influence the whole system of his conduct. From this object he cannot deviate in a single instance, unless he turn from himself and renounce his glory forever. His supreme object disposes and obliges God to cause whatever is best, and to prevent whatever is not best in its

eternal connections and conse- is more fully and clearly taught

quences. God is the only being, who can know, and who can do what is best. And his knowledge and power enable and oblige him to do what is best, and to work all things after the counsel of his own will, which is perfect and infinite in wisdom and goodness. The gospel exhibits the supreme agency of God, throughout the universe, in the greatest brightness and beauty. If God be glorious, his gospel is glorious. And if his gospel is glorious, it is for the glory of his great name, that he should perfectly accomplish his eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus. The glorious gospel of the ever blessed God, therefore, affords abundant and decisive evidence, that he creates and causes, by his supreme agency, whatever exists in the universe. If the everlasting gospel be a rational system, it must agree with the perfections of the everlasting God. And it is one of the plainest and strongest dictates of reason, that God is the creator, preserver, governor and proprietor of all things, and that he causes, by his holy and supreme agency, whatever comes into existence from eternity to eternity. This sentiment respecting the universal agency of God agrees with his natural and moral perfections, with his purposes and conduct, with his law and gospel, and with whatever exists in the universe. Nor is there, a single truth, that

in the scriptures, than the doctrine, that God is the supreme cause of all things. Moses says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Job says of God, "He is in one mind and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth." The Psalmist says, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in earth, in the seas and all deep places." Solomon says, "The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” By Isaiah God says, "I am the Lord and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things." The Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, " Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground, without your Father.". And the apostle says, by the Holy Spirit, God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." It is, then, as certain and as evident, that God causes all things, by his own supreme agency, as it is that God exists. The everlasting gospel, therefore, teaches us to believe, and warrants us to say, what the apostle says, in respect to God-" For, of him and through him and to him are all things: to whom be glory forever, Amen."



The redemption of his people is the great object of God in the creation and government of his creatures. To obtain a correct knowledge of this object, it is necessary to perceive the character and condition of his people before they are redeemed; and their condition and their character when their redemption shall be completed in heaven. On these

subjects we have abundant instruction in the holy scriptures. The scriptures plainly exhibit the character, with which the people of God are born into the world; and their character after they are renewed, while they remain in this state of trial. And they plainly exhibit their character and condition, when they shall be collected and united in the kingdom of glory. That the people of God are to be so formed in this life, as to be perfectly united in their future and eternal existence, we are frequently and plainly taught in the scriptures. The union of christians in heaven engaged the attention and the affections of the Lord Jesus Christ in his noted prayer before he was betrayed into the hands of his enemies. That the same subject constantly employed the exertions of the apostles is evident from their instructions to christians and christian churches, which are recorded in their epistles. And it is evident from the whole system of divine truth, that all the members of the


true church of God will finally be collected and formed into one society. But they are now greatly dispersed; and in many respects very different. Some members of the church have finished their labors and trials on earth and entered upon that rest, which remains for the people of God in heaven. Other members have been renewed, but are yet imperfect and afflicted in this state of sin and sorrow. There are other persons, who were given to Christ in the covenant of redemption, that yet live in their native blindness, enmity and unbelief. these respects they, who are to be the united members of the Redeemer's spiritual body, are very different. They are also very different in other respects. They greatly differ in their constitutional temperament and their temporal circumstances. They also differ in their natural talents and intellectual acquirements. Nor are they less different in their spiritual endowments. Some have been endowed with the spirit of prophecy and the power of miracles. Respecting their services and sufferings in the kingdom of God, some have been endowed with one talent, some with two talents and some with five talents. In their moral character, as they are born into the world, though they are alike, yet being wholly selfish and sinful, they have no union of sentiment, affection, interest and enjoyment. That vast number of rational beings, who are

to compose the church of God in heaven and to be perfectly united in one body, as they are to be found from the commencement of their existence, until they shall be collected in the kingdom of glory, are in the greatest variety of the most discordant circumstances.-They form a perfect chaos. No two members of the church, which is to be formed into a society of perfect order, beauty, love and joy, are alike in any respect, except it be, that they are hateful and hate one another; until they are renewed by the Holy Spirit. Of such materials the spiritual temple of the living God is to be formed with such order and unity, that he may walk in it and dwell in it without the least offence or disturbance forever. To become perfectly harmonious and beautiful, all the members of the church, which is the body of Christ, must be united, formed and bound together by the tenderest and strongest bonds. Respecting the union of christians in heaven the following remarks may be worthy of particular attention.

1. All the members of the church will, in heaven, be united in sentiment. In this life the people of God have such a knowledge of divine truth, as is peculiar to themselves and as agrees with the divine oracles. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "It is written in the prophets-and they shall all be taught of God.. Every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, com

eth vnto me." To the saints at Corinth the apostle writes, “He, that is spiritual, judgeth all things." And John says to christians, " ye have an unction from the Holy One and know all things.”— Though the people of God have, in this life, a peculiar knowledge of divine subjects and do know the truth, as it is in Jesus, yet they are not perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Respecting many subjects they are greatly ignorant and erroneous. But in heaven, though their knowledge will be limited forever, they will be free from darkness, error and delusion, respecting the subjects, on which they shall form and embrace any sentiment. The apostle says, "Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." glory of God, without any veil, will shine upon his people in heaven. Their attention will be turned and fixed upon the same objects. And while they behold the same objects, in the pure and clear light of heaven, their views will exactly agree, so far as they extend. Though the views of some persons will be more enlarged than the views of other persons, yet there will be no discord in their views. So far as they advance, they will advance in the perfect light of truth, and be united in their sentiments.


2. In heaven the people of God will be perfectly united in affec

tion. So far as their peculiar character is formed on earth, they are of one heart. They have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love." That pure and holy love, which is the moral perfection of the living God, and which he requires of his rational creatures, he produces in the hearts of his people. This love is the essence of their peculiar character, and forms their moral excellence and beauty. In the exercise of holy affections they love God with supreme and ardent love. They repent of their sins. They believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. They delight in his doctrines, commands and promises. They love all objects with impartial affection. And all holy beings they love with complacency. Let any object be placed before the minds of such beings, as are perfectly holy; and in view of it the same affections will arise in all their hearts. Though a vast number of very different objects will pass before the minds of the saints in heaven, the same pure and holy affections will be excited in the hearts of the innumerable multitude. They will be arrayed in the beauty of holiness. And holiness is the bond of perfection, which unites all holy beings in pure and ardent affection and friendship. Being perfect in love, all the members of the church in heaven will be affected in the same manner by every object they shall perceive. When the millions and millions of the redeemed

people of God shall be collected in heaven, there will never arise, during their eternal existence, the least discordant affection, though their hearts will be tried by every object, that can be placed before their minds. Holy love will fill their hearts. And they will dwell in pure and perfect love forever and ever.

3. All the members of the church in heaven will be united in interest. Among selfish creatures there are as many opposing interests, as there are individuals. For every one seeks his own. Hence selfish creatures are in a state of enmity and contention. Though they are alike in their moral character, being supremely and totally selfish, yet they are perfectly opposed and hostile in their interests.That the members of the church may be perfectly united in interest, it is necessary no one should have any selfish interest; but that all should desire and promote the same objects. No one must seek any object, which all do not desire to have sought. Neither any one, nor any number of the saints in heaven, will seek any selfish or separate interest. Every one will esteem the happiness of the others according to its importance.— And they will be perfectly united in their estimation and promotion of the objects, which God has regarded and pursued in his purposes and exertions. This world has been in a state of constant enmity and violence, on account of the conflicting interests of differ

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