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النشر الإلكتروني

the sovereign disposer of all events, the arbiter of life and death. He appoints the time, and manages all the circumstances of our dissolution. Our times are in God's hand.


1. What a wonderful being is God! He superintends all his works, and overrules all events in such a manner as to display his own glory, and bring to the universe the greatest possible good, without doing the least violence to the moral agency, or perfect liberty of his rational creatures.— That God can and does comprehend, in his designs, and control, in his providence, all events that will ever take place in the universe, and yet that his subjects remain free agents, and accountable for their actions, is fully taught in the scriptures. Men are represented, in all parts of the bible, as acting freely. They are punished and rewarded, and in every respect treated as rational creatures, as moral agents, whose actions are all voluntary. In fact, every man is conscious that he is not a mere machine, that in his moral conduct, no physical necessity operates. "Whatever he does is the result of choice absolutely unconstrained." At the same time, it is manifest, from a great variety of scripture declarations, and facts, that God is the sovereign of the universe, that he manages and controls all creatures and all events, and that he causes the most voluntary actions of his

subjects, to aid in the accomplishment of his designs. To explain this, to show how free-agency, and dependency harmonize in man, is beyond the capacity of finite minds. Nor would a complete comprehension of this subject afford us any peculiar benefit. The fact would not be any more certain than it is now, that God reigns without at all infringing our liberty. Let it, therefore, be remembered that notwithstanding the providence of God is as universal and particular as has been stated, yet men have a voluntary influence in forming their own characters, and in deciding their final destiny. The sinner acts freely in hardening his heart and fitting himself for destruction. While he trifles with divine things, and neglects the salvation of his soul, he does precisely what he chooses to do. And thus he is active in fixing his future doom, and will be able at the last day, to accuse none but himself with being the real cause of his final perdition. The saints also are active in the formation of their characters and in becoming meet for heaven. Though they are infinitely indebted to the grace of God, by which they are what they are, yet they are not idle, but actively engaged in making their calling and election sure. While they repent of their sins, believe in Christ, and walk in newness of life, they act most freely, and do nothing but what they choose to do, and thus they have an important influence in fitting themselves as vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory. Let none, there

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fore, think to find an excuse for their sins, in the plea, that they cannot act otherwise than they do. This is a refuge of lies, that will not screen the sinner from condemnation, when God shall call him to his bar. Our moral conduct is our own: it is free and unconstrained; for this we must render an account. Shall we then ever forget that our present conduct will have an influence vastly important, a bearing infinitely interesting, upon our future, eternal destiny.

2. The providence of God is matter of joy to the universe. "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice." None but the determined enemies of God, can be opposed to the divine government. They indeed who will not consent to be under the dominion of the king of heaven, have reason to tremble at the thought that "his kingdom ruleth over all." They have nothing to expect but to be dashed to pieces with a rod of iron. No wonder they are disposed to say in their hearts: "No God that minds the affairs of men." But their wishes will never be gratified. God will never relinquish his right of exercising a sovereign dominion over the works of his hands. He will continue to govern the world according to his own pleasure. And it is obviously the interest of all his loyal subjects that he should sit on the throne of the universe; because he will not fail to manage their concerns with perfect rectitude, and in the best manner that

infinite wisdom and benevolence can dictate. Ac cordingly the heavenly hosts are represented a» rejoicing in his government, saying "Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

3. Our subject shews us where we may find a refuge in trouble; "God is the refuge of his saints." Nothing can support us amidst the varied trials of life, but a firm confidence and trust in the divine government. If we overlook a particular providence and attribute events to chance, gloomy will be our situation, and cheerless our prospects. We can have no security for our most important interests. But if we see God on the throne, and are convinced that our times are in his hand, so that nothing can befal us without his permission; and if we can feel assured that all the dispensations of his providence, are dictated by unerring wisdom and boundless benevolence, we shall find a resting place for our souls, a refuge in trouble: a filial confidence in the perfect rectitude of all God's dealings with us, will lead to submission, and enable us to say: "All is right," "it is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good." Then we may possess our souls in patience, and be joyful in tribulation. Like the Psalmist, we shall trust in the Lord, and say, "Thou art my God, my times are in thy hand."

This subject will afford the mourning relatives of him whose cold remains are now before us, powerful motives for christian submission. The

times of your departed friend were in God's hand. All the circumstances of his death, were under the control of him, whose ways are perfect. The Lord hath done it. This should hush every rising murmur. You are not the only mourners to-day. Society laments the loss of a very valuable member. The poor are bereaved of a friend. They, however, cannot feel as you do, who have lost a husband, a father and a brother. It becomes you to view the hand of God in your affliction, and to aim to obtain a sanctified improvement of it. God only can afford you the consolation you need in this, the day of your sorrow. To him we commend you; to him we exhort you to go. May the God of all grace and consolation bind up the broken heart of the afflicted widow. You are called, Madam, to mourn the loss of your dearest earthly friend, the companion of your youth, the sharer of your joys and sorrows. While you mourn, you will endeavour not to murmur. hope that your husband has gone to rest. You believe that your loss is his gain. For almost sixty years, he has been a professed disciple of Christ. And you are acquainted with the evidence which he exhibited, during a long life, of being a real child of God. You do not sorrow as those who have no hope in the death of friends. May you trust in God, who is able to support you, and more than make up your present loss. Remember that your times are in the hands of the Lord. May you


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