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as any events in the natural world? Does He not use them as second causes to bring about his purposes, as really and as extensively, as he employs the most insensible things in creation ? I do not ask how this is done, or, whether you can comprehend the manner of it. My question is simply about the fact. Is not the fact certain ? and is it not clearly revealed ? Was not the volition of the man, who drew a bow at a venture, as really concerned in the death of Ahab, as the elastic power of the bow or the weight and sharpness of the arrow? Were not each of these embraced in God's plan, as means to an end, and alike under his control ?

And farther, do we not perceive that the natural and moral world are intimately conjoined, so that events in the one depend on events in the other ? The death of Ahab was a natural event, immediately produced by a natural cause—the arrow passing between the joints of his armor. But were there no moral causes inseparably connected with it? Where was the volition of the man that drew the bow, and where the volitions of Ahab, which brought him to the field of battle, and the volitions of other agents more immediately or remotely concerned ? All these were included as parts of a series in the arrangement of Providence. If it were not so, it is perfectly obvious, that God could have no fixed plan of operation, even with respect to the natural world. Yonder is a city in flames, and hundreds and thousands are thrown as beggars upon the world. Had God's providence no concern in the event? Whose were those flames which burnt with such remorseless fury? Those winds which fanned them till they bid defiance to all human effort? Dare we say that this calamity did not take place according to the design of providence-especially when we read what Jehovah claims for himself as the supreme disposer of events ? “ Is there evil in the city and the Lord hath noi done it? Who is he that saith and it cometh to pass, and the Lord commandeth it not ?" But allow that this calamity fell out according to the divine purpose—that it came as a righteous judgment upon the inhabitants of a guilty city, and I ask, when was this purpose formed? If God be unchangeable," and all his works are known un:o him from the foundation of the world," this purpose must have existed from eternity, and existed in view of the sins which this awful judgment was intended to chastise. The sin and the punishment were equally certain in the divine mind. But how came the city to be on fire? It was the work of an incendiary, who did it for the sake of reeking his vengeance on some hated individual, or perhaps for the single purpose of plunder. Did he then, or did he not, fulfill the purpose of God? Most assuredly God saw him and did not resist him. Nay, He knew from all eternity that he would perpetrate this deed, and he knew also the consequences. These we have admitted were a part of God's plan; for they were appointed as a punishment of the guilty.

Can we then separate this calamitous result from the cause,

that one made an item in God's counsel and the other did not ? that one was previously fixed and determined, and the other left uncertain ? You cannot, I am persuaded, reason in this way. Receive it then as a truth, that God governs both the moral and the natural world—the free actions of his creatures, whether good or evil, no less than events which occur in the material creation. Were it necessary to add farther proof, I might point to the history of Joseph and his brethren--where the wickedness of the latter in selling their brother into Egypt, is seen to be a part of God's counsel, in bringing about an important good. “ Ye thought evil against me," says the forgiving patriarch, when his brethren

and say

were humbled for their sin, “but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save much people alive."

I might also refer to the Assyrian king, whom God sent against the Israelites for their sins—but the fruit of whose stout heart he afterwards punished, because, though he fulfilled the divine purpose, in the calamities he inflicted, he did not mean so, neither did his heart think so." “ It was in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few.”'

I might, especially, insist upon the facts connected with our Lord's crucifixion-by which it appears that his enemies acted freely in doing those very things, which "God's hand and counsel had afore determined to be done;"_facts which settle the question, if the Bible can settle it, that the free and responsible actions of men are embraced in God's counsel, and are under the control of his providence. But, it may be asked, how can these things be? How can an action be free and yet predetermined ? Our answer is, The nature of an action is not altered by its being predetermined or otherwise. Every action is to be judged of by its nature, and this is to be ascertained by comparing it with the rule of duty. An action which is predetermined, is supposed to be made certain; and this certainty is often regarded as inconsistent with freedom. But is the fact so ? It was previously certain that our Lord would persevere in a course of spotless obedience, notwithstanding the temptations which assailed him ; nay, this was a matter firmly settled in the counsels of heaven. But did this certainty of obedience impair his freedom? or render his virtue less the subject of admiration ? It is impossible, we are assured, for God to lie. But is he not therefore free, infinitely free, in his adherence to truth? And is not his unchangeable veracity one of the glories of his character ? The mere certainty of action can surely never destroy the freedom of action. Were it so, there could be no sin in Satan, and no holiness in God. With regard to the former, it is not doubted that he will always continue unchangeably inclined to evil, and will do nothing but evil. Does this destroy his freedom, and render him henceforth only a mischievous machine? God and holy angels will doubtless retain their perfect rectitude forever; but do they therefore cease to be free? In our apprehension there was never a greater mistake than to suppose that uncertainty of action is necessary to freedom. For was not Ahab free when he determined to go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and to join in battle there, though the event of his going was made certain by the voice of prophecy and the purpose of God? Was not Judas free, when he deliberately betrayed his master, though this perfidious act was predicted by the Savior, and was one of the causes which led to his crucifixion-an event which God's hand and counsel had afore determined ? (Acts ii: 23—iv: 27, 28.)

What is it to be free, but to act spontaneously, or from choice?—which is in no degree incompatible with the divine purpose, or with the most perfect antecedent knowledge in the case. But if the subject cannot be explained to our satisfaction, let it remain unexplained till the light of eternity shall beam upon us. Let us not, however, on this acconnt, call in question either the fact that man is free, or that all his actions are subject to the divine control. Both propositions may be true, though we should be unable to reconcile them. They may stand firm on their own separate basis, supported by proof which is clear and unquestionable. What we know not, we should never suffer to invalidate what we do know. We know that we are free, because we are conscious of freedom, and because God treats us as accountable beings. We know that he presides over all his creatures and all their actions, because he has plainly reveal ed this truth, and because reason itself teaches us that creatures must ne cessarily be dependent on their Creator, and their agency be limited and controlled by his. Now what if it be so that we cannot fully understand how these two propositions agree; must it follow that either of them is false? We cannot fully understand the mysterious relations involved in the Trinity; yet we do not hesitate to admit ihe fact of such relations. We know not how matter acts upon mind, or mind upon matter ; yet we have no doubt, as in the case of soul and body, that they mutually affect each other. Instead of boldly questioning, therefore, what we cannot clearly understand, let us remember the weakness of our faculties, and humbly sit at the feet of Jehovah to learn. I deplore the rashness of the man who denies his responsibility, because he cannot reconcile it with his dependence on God, and in the language of ancient infidelity exclains, “Why doth he yet find fault, for who hath resisted his will ?” I deplore no less the error of him, who because he is free and accountable, denies his immediate and absolute dependence on his Creator, and makes the government of God over his creatures, but a government of expedientsa government of chance. Let us rather believe, what God has so distinctly declared, That he “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”—that “the wrath of man shall praise him, and the remainder of wrath he will restrain;" while at the same time, he “will bring every work into judgment,” and “ render to every man according to that which he hath done.”

The subject now presented lays a foundation for several important inferences. I shall close, however, with very briefly touching upon some of them.

1. While we admit that the providence of God is a great deep, not to be measured by the short line of the human understanding, one truth is certain, that the universe is in his hands, with all its numberless movements, and every event, great or small, is under his control. Can any doctrine be more consoling to a reflecting and pious mind ?

Who should have the government of the world if not its Creator? And where can all events be lodged so safely as in the hand of infinite wisdom? Is it not better that God should control the events of the moral universereigning throughout heaven, earth, and hell, with an energy which nothing can defeat, than that concerns of such infinite moment, should be left at uncertainties, and neither God nor creatures know what the final issue shall be? Without God on the throne, and a dominion absolute and universal, who could tell, but that “ final ruin would drive her plowshare o'er creation ?" But while he reigns, ye who love him have nothing to fear. You may be certain that there is no more sin, no more suffering in the world, than what he has wisely permitted and will overrule for his glory, that all the jarring opinions of men, and all the changes which occur in society, will be made to subserve the purposes of his government and to advance the holy and happy kingdom of his dear Son. In the language of David you may triumphantly say, "The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. Let the inultitude of the isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.''

2. The belief that God's government is universal, extending to all the actions of his creatures, furnishes special ground for submission under those painful dispensations in which wicked men are the immediate instru


ments of our sufferings. David seems to have understood this, and to draw a powerful argument for submission under some of his heaviest trials, from the fact that they were appointed of God, though immediately inflicted by men. See him at that interesting moment, when he was driven out of Jerusalem by his son Absalom, and when Shimei on the opposite side of the valley cursed him to his face, and said, " Come out, come out thou bloody man, thou man of Belial.”. Abishai who stood by felt his anger kindle, and said, “Why should this dead dog curse my Lord the king? Let me go over I pray thee and take off his head." But David answered, Behold my son, which came forth of my

bowels seeketh

my life-how much more may this Benjamite seek it ? Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.” Such is the spirit we should feel when others injure us, whether by word or by deed—and the view we have taken of divine providence not only lays a foundation, but presents a powerful motive for the cultivation of this spirit.

3. Since all events are in God's hands, and he can order them as he will, we find ample encouragement for prayer. We perceive at once that there is nothing within the wide range of creatures or events, which he does not superintend, and which he cannot make subservient to his pleasure: of course, that we can ask or desire nothing which he is not competent to bestow-provided it accord with the purposes of infinite wisdom and love; and if it does not thus accord, we should most cheerfully relinquish it. But were the facts otherwise, and God's government did not extend to all the actions of his creatures, or did not extend to them with decisive and controlling influence--we might well fear that many of our petitions would be in vain, not because unseasonable or unimportant, but because beyond the reach of divine power.

Finally; If God reigns in the moral no less than in the natural world, and

every creature in the universe is but an instrument of his power; how inconceivably important is his friendship, and how dreadful must be his displeasure? There is no enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel-because there is no wisdom, nor counsel, nor might against the Lord. Those whom he blesses shall be blessed, and those whom he curses shall be cursed. Fly then to him, ye children of men, as your security ; take refuge under the shadow of his wings. This is a safe hiding place. No storms of earth or hell can reach you here—nothing can befall you, which an infinitely wise and gracious God will not overrule for your good. For as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so is the Lord round about them that fear him, and he will show them his corenant.

But as to you, who will not embrace this shelter, what must be your end ? God will move on the affairs of his kingdom without taking counsel of you. He will fulfill all his purposes : one of which he has declared to be, to destroy the enemies of his throne.

You may complain that you cannot understand the principles of his government;you may call in question his power and his right absolutely to control the events of his moral kingdom; but if you do not submit to his authority, trust in his mercy, and obey his will, he will make his power known in your destruction. Fall then at his feet, without delay, and accept the gracious terms which the gospel proposes, and which have a thousand times been pressed upon your attertion. He does not mock you when he holds out the scepter of mercy, nor does he speak without meaning when he tells you, that his wrath shall sweep away all the finally impenitent. Amen.

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" Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the National Preacher. It has opened a new channel for the religious influence of the press. It gives a durable form to a selection of able discourses ; and probably gains for them a more attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular intervals of time. The execution, so far as I have observed, is such as to satisfy the public expectation."

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“I have read, as I have had opportunity, the Numbers of the National Preacher with great satisfaction. I regard it as a work peculiarly desirable to clergymen, and at the same time, as worthy of a place in every intelligent family."


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“Mr. Dickinson has a clear and discriminating mind; and is himself at once an able writer and preacher. Having spent four years at the South and West, and become extensively acquainted with Ministers and Christians of different de. nominations; and having at the same time, an intimate knowledge of the religious state and wants of New England; perhaps no man is better qualified to make a powerfnl and salutary impression on the public mind, by combining, (and in a sense directing) the talents of our most eminent divines in his Monthly Preacher.

“Most sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those whose name and influence may make the work a blessing to many thousands."


“ The plan, proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable ministers of different denomina. tions of Christians in the United States, is one, which, in our opinion, may be ren. dered highly interesting, and extensively useful

. We do therefore willingly re. commend the undertaking to the patronage of the Christian community,

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“We do not hesitate to say, that Mr. Dickinson has adopted one of the happiest expedients hitherto devised, for eliciting that diversity of gifts,' in the Christian ministry, which infinite wisdom and benevolence have bestowed for the edification of the body of Christ, and for bringing sinners to the foot of the cross."

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