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النشر الإلكتروني

SERMON I.

NAHUM, CHAP. I, VERSE 7.

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

THE prophet, in this chapter, sets forth the majesty of God, his goodness to his people, and his indignation against his enemies. The figures which he makes use of are excessively grand and magnificent. Brethren, there is that commanding force, that powerful energy, that persuasive dignity in the sacred scriptures, which must strike every attentive hearer, which must arrest every thoughtful mind, and impress every well disposed person. In discoursing from the words of the text, I shall-1st, consider the goodness of God. 2dly: I shall notice the manifestation of this goodness when it is most needed. 3dly; reflect upon the omnicience of the Almighty; and conclude with some practical remarks. Let us consider then, in the first. place, the goodness of God; and how conspicuous is this attribute of the Deity? How strik

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ingly is it exemplified in his works? Survey the wonders of this great parent of the universe; but how small a portion, as Job says, is heard of him? how little do we know of his creative power and energy, the world, which we inhabit being but a speck, as it were, amongst his numerous productions? But to return, God is supremely and independently good, which cannot be said of any beside him. The angels in heaven are good; eminently so; for they are expressly styled by Christ himself, holy beings; but their goodness is derived from the fountain of purity whereas the Great Spirit who prevades all things, who fills all space, is infinitely and superlatively good and how diffusive is his benificence? How extensive his kindness? How vast his benevolence? He causes his sun to shine upon the evil and the good. He sends his rain upon the just and unjust. He supplies the wants of all living. He giveth food to all flesh. The young lions, as the psalmist observes, roaring after their prey, do seek their meat from God, and they seek it not in vain. The earth is full of his goodness; and so is the great and wide sea also. But are there not some who doubt of the divine benignity? Are there not some who call in question the superintending providence of God? Why then, say they, do we hear of famines and earthquakes? Why do we witness wars and commotions? Why do we

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behold sickness and death? How is it that man is born to trouble, and exposed to inclement seasons? How can we account for the disasters he meets with; for the misfortunes he suffers; for the inconvenience he is liable to; for the misery entailed upon him? My brethren, these supposed mysteries are easily unravelled, these objections are soon answered; they are then the woeful effects of sin, the natural consequences of transgression, the fruits of the curse. we may trace the goodness of God even in the above mentioned calamities, since the best of men, in their present fallen condition, could not bear an uninterrupted state of prosperity; they could not endure, as it were, continual sunshine bad as mankind are now, they would be much worse, were it not for the changing scenes of life; they would proceed to greater lengths in sin were it not for adverse circumstances: for afflictive dispensations. Hence we see sometimes the most depraved of our fellow creatures reclaimed by sickness and pain; we discern the most profligate restored to their right mind by the chastening hand of God; we behold the most thoughtless and inconsiderate roused to a sense of duty by the seasonable visitations of the Father of mercies. View the poor prodigal in the Gospel, departing from his father's house, wandering into a far country, and there spending his substance in riotous living, giving a loose

to his appetites, a criminal indulgence to his passions; from a state of affluence he is reduced to penury and want; into such a state of misery and disgrace was he brought, that he would fain have filled his belly with the husks which the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. But he came to himself, he confessed his guilt, and found mercy; and thousands besides him have had reason to adore the riches of divine goodness in permitting various evils to befal them, in consequence of which they have been brought to such serious thought, and close reflection, as have been attended with the happiest effects. I proceed, secondly, to notice the manifestation of the Almighty's goodness at a time when it is most needed. My text says "He is a strong hold in the time of trouble." No one is exempt from trouble, though many are from poverty and indigence; And how various are the calamties incident to human life? How complicated the miseries which rebellious mortals experience? but many are of our own procuring: How many bodily complaints are occasioned by the sin of intemperance? Numbers have brought themselves to an untimely end through debauchery and excess. Multitudes would have been living now, but for their abuse of the bounties of providence, and a considerable part of mankind pass their declining years in a state of infirmity and pain, and are made to drag out a

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