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changeable, it is implied, that one be subject to no alteration, as to the substance or mode of his being. None of God's creatures, with which we have any sensible acquaintance, have this kind of immutability. In the powers and circumstances of their being there is an almost incessant variation. Sometimes they are passing from less to greater maturity, and that by unequal degrees; at other times their strength declines, and they be come more feeble; and then again the cur rent is changed, and they are restored to former vigour. The bodies of men, which are a considerable part of their being, and their minds proportionably and by the laws of sympathy, are, sometimes, healthy, and at others, wan and sickly; sometimes wasting and going to decay then again resuming their former energy and firmness. Sometimes a faculty is lost, or rendered useless for a season, and then restored to the system again. Such like changes we see are perpetually taking place upon mankind, a striking demonstration that imperfections are interwoven with their physical nature; that, as to natural faculties, they are not the same, at all stages and periods of their existence; but are,in an almost constant rotation, passing out of one condition into another. Without making any comparison between what men are in life and what they are in death, between what they are in this world, and what they will be in the world to come; we need follow them only a short space of the round which Providence allots them in time to find
how full they are of changes, and how fitly the following words will apply: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein is he to be accounted of ?" If God were not infinitely above all changes of this kind, the same prudence, which requires us to cease from man,and forbear any dependence upon him, because he is frail and mutable, would also forbid our exercising confidence in the divine being, under an expectation that he would do right. It is of no importance, that God has infinite knowledge or power, if they may be either diminished or suspended. It is of no importance, that his being, in all its properties, is complete, at one time, if it be not so at all times. Whatever he is, in respect to his nature, at any given period, he must be from eternity to eternity, and that without the least possible alteration, or else his claim upon all intelligences for their approbation and confidence is unfounded.
Secondly. A being, who is absolutely unchangeable, is one, who experiences, or can experience, no alteration in his moral temper. He does not love and hate, honour and despise, seek and avoid, the same object, at different times, or as times and circumstances vary. It is said of our blessed Redeemer, that," having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.". A principal objection to the social state, un-. der the present circumstances of our fallen world, is the multiplied and incalculable
changes, which take place in the minds of men, as to the objects of their affections. Few maintain, from first to last, the same inviolable regard to those objects, which have once gained their affections. At first they admire; afterwards they become indifferent; and, by and by, positive antipathy and disgust take the place of cold dislike. The apostle Paul, once received as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus, and admired as a spiritual father and teacher, was afterwards denounced and re
viled as an enemy. “For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and given them Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth ?" With what ease, and apparent unconcern, men can abandon objects they have been accustomed to delight in, and even enthusiastically to dote upon, may be learnt from friends deserted, betrayed, and even persecuted; old connections suddenly broken up and new ones formed; former companions forsaken and shunned as odious, and new ones courted from among persons just before execrated as the vilest of the species; and even places of worship, once regarded as the scene of acceptable devotion and of important divine instruction, passed by with wagging heads, and eyes full of opprobrious scorn. And do men thus carelessly flit from object to object, and accomplish whole revolutions in the circle of their pursuits and inclinations, that they may be followers of God as dear children ?
or because God has set them an example of fluctuating at this rate? Does the Almighty favour and approve, to-day, what he will spurn, to-morrow? Did he ever commend that which afterwards became offensive and displeasing in his sight? Surely not, for he is of one mind, and none can turn him. The great ultimate end of divine government God can never cease to be pleased with. It is eternally the same, and cannot be laid aside for another, more grateful or interesting. And whatever comes in, as of inferior and secondary concern, the Deity is pleased with only, as it stands related to that final and supreme object of regard, which his heart is upon. And since his will has fixed the connection between things, and that which is their ultimate end, they can never present to his view a different countenance, at one time, from what they do at another, that his affections towards them should vary, from one period to another. Men are fleeting in their choice of objects to devote their attention to and lavish their affections upon, because their ideas of interest are variable; but the Deity is necessarily uniform in this. What ap
pears to him an ultimate good, at one time, must appear so at all times; and the best way to promote this ultimate, or supreme, good must forever appear to him, in its own true colours, and consequently, point out the meetest course for his all-wise providence. Were it otherwise, or could Jehovah be chargeably with such instability as often ap
pears in mcn, even the most consistent and correct; were he to change his favorites, capriciously giving and withholding his kindness and complacency, as they do; it would throw so dark a shade over his character, that all, acquainted with it, must be deterred from reposing confidence in him. One who could, upon any occasion or pretence, relinquish one pursuit, or object of affection, for another of an opposite kind, must be too voluble and trifling to manage the vast concerns of the universe. Hence we need not hesitate to infer, that the same regard which objects and creatures have hitherto met with from God, they will continue to receive from him, so long as they exist.
Thirdly. The immutability of God implies, that his government does and can undergo no alterations, as to the plan and principles of it. In the best systems of human government and jurisprudence, defects are continually coming to view. When reduced to the standard of practice, they are found wanting in many respects, and this leads to the alternative of alterations and amendments, that known inconveniences and incumbrances may be removed. Legislative authority sometimes gives being to laws, which operate unequally and injuriously. These must be repealed, and others enacted that shall be more just, and produce more equal advanta ges. Sometimes a law will fall short of the object contemplated, and then it must be replaced with one more fully to the purpose.