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Eccl. iii. 14. I know that whatsoever God doth, it shall he forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God doth it, that men should fear before him.
THESE words have been explained in the foregoing discourse, and the truths contained in them have been found to be the following: that God hath in his wisdom and goodness, by his unchangeable decree, foreordained whatsoever comes to pass; that this truth, considered in its extent and consequences, is the only proper and sufficient foundation of the true piety of men.
The last mentioned truth is now under consideration, and has been in part illustrated and proved, by instancing in true love to God. We now proceed to consider other branches of piety, which are included in love, and grow out of this root or flock, and may be considered as different modifications of this same love; and to show that God, viewed as described in the text, is the only proper object of them.
2. The fear of God is an exercise of piety. This is put in our text, and in many other places in holy writ, for the whole of true piety, as has been observed. The reason of this doubtless is, because it is in a peculiar manner suited to express the pious exercises of a fallen creature, infinitely vile and guilty, and justly exposed to eternal destruction, into which he will infallibly fall, unless he be rescued by sovereign grace, who with humility and self diffidence, knowing that he is wholly lost in himself, trusts wholly in Christ, the only Saviour of sinners, whom he has offended, and is constantly offending; yet trusts in him alone, even in his infinite power and sovereign goodness, for pardon, righteousness, holiness, strength and redemption. And thus it 298is peculiarly adapted to express the mode or manner of the pious, religious exercises of sinners who believe in Christ, and are friends to God and the Redeemer; or the holiness of repenting, believing sinners, that is, real Christians.
It is plain, at the first view, that the God who is represented in our text, in his absolute independence, decrees and works, as it has been explained, is suited to lead men to fear before him, according to this general, comprehensive sense of fear, including the whole of piety; and that all those doctrines which are opposed to this, have a contrary tendency, and are not consistent with the fear of God, in this sense of it. But it may perhaps give some farther light on this subject, by more particularly considering the fear of God in a more restrained sense, and as a branch of true love or piety.
It is of importance to observe here, that fear is used in different and opposite senses in the Bible; because there are two forts of fear, one, that which implies holy, love, and is essential to true piety; the other is opposed to love, and is therefore the fear of those who are not friends to God, but enemies. This latter is intended by fear, in the following passages; 1 John iv. 18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment: he that feareth, is not made perfect in love.” 2 Tim. i. 7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Rom. viii. 15: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
These different kinds of fear may be in some measure illustrated by the following instance. An excellent father has a son and a servant, both of whom have been guilty of injuring him, and have fallen under his just displeasure. The son heartily repents, and loves his father, and is restored to his favour. But he keeps constantly in view the evil which he justly deserves, and which his father is able to inflict; he feels that he depends 299entirely upon his father’s goodness for an escape from that evil, and that he Hands in need of his constant aid and assistance to preserve him from offending again, and from that evil which he dreads so much. Both his father’s displeasure, and the evil consequence, are dreadful to him. He knows his father is able to punish in the most dreadful manner; he sees some of the family suffering the punishment every day, and others going in the way which will bring it upon them, unless they repent and reform in season; and has feelings answerable to what he sees. He knows he deserves to be thus punished as much as the worst of them, and depends entirely upon his father’s goodness to prevent it. He loves his father with all his heart, he approves of his conduct, and knows he does every thing right. He loves to have him supreme and independent in the family, and to have him order every thing, and to see his will done in all cases; he loves to be absolutely dependent upon him, and to have all the family so: and in the exercise of this love, and in the views now mentioned, he humbles himself before his father, and fears and trembles before him.
The servant who has offended his master, fears the rod, he dreads the punishment which is threatened, and knows he can inflict it; but he has no love to the father, his master; he wishes to be out of the family, and not dependent on him in any degree. He tries to pacify and please his master in his outward conduct, from the love of himself, because he fears the rod, and wishes to escape punishment. Thus he lives in continual slavish fear of his master, which disinterested love to him would cast out.
Every one must see the difference between the filial fear of the ion, who loves his father, and the servile fear of the servant, who loves himself only; and the opposition of one to the other. And surely the difference and opposition between the godly fear of those who love God with disinterested benevolence, and the servile fear 300of those who do not love him, but are enemies to him, is much greater, and far more evident and striking.
Here it may be observed, that this servile fear, by which men are restrained from a careless, bold practice of open sin, and their attention to a future state, and pressing concern to escape hell and obtain salvation, is excited and kept up, this servile fear is necessarily awakened, and fills the soul with painful concern, when sinners are convinced of the truth of the doctrine in our text, and are made in some measure to feel it to be true. So long as God, in his greatness, omnipresence and terrible majesty, is not in their view, and they do not feel or see their absolute dependence upon him for all good, and even to escape hell and obtain heaven, but feel as if they had their life in their own hands, in this respect, they will not be afraid of God, but live in ease and security. But when they come to feel that they are in the hands of God, and that he will destroy or save them, as he pleases, they being absolutely dependent on him, they will begin to fear and stand in awe of him. And the more fully convinced they are of the truth contained in our text, the greater will be their fear and terror respecting their state and situation. This every one can witness who has been an observer of others in these matters, or has attended to his own feelings. And it may be asked, Where has any person been found, who has disbelieved the doctrine of God’s decrees, of his foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass, who has been under any soul-distressing fear of God, or of eternal destruction?
But pious, godly fear implies love to God, in a view of his infinite greatness and importance, and a sense of his infinitely beautiful and glorious character, unchangeably wise, good, upright, just, true and faithful, having decreed whatsoever comes to pass, and executing his decrees in creating, preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions, for his own glory, and the greatest good of the universe; or, which is the same, the greatest happiness and glory of his eternal kingdom. 301 And this God, who is the supreme object of love. Is also the object of pious reverence and fear, as necessarily implicd in true love. Thus pious love and fear imply and involve each other, and are really but one and the same affection, which this grand and glorious object is suited to excite. This fear of God implies a view and sense of his greatness and unlimited power, of his unchangeable designs, and our absolute and constant dependence on him, on his will, in every respect, for existence and every motion, and all good, he being our potter, and we the clay in his hand, living, moving and moved, and having our being, in him. It also implies a view and sense of our own infinite vileness and ill-desert, and of the infinite evil which God is able to inflict, and may justly bring upon us; and that his almighty power and sovereign grace alone can prevent our being destroyed forever, into which destruction many have fallen, and are falling continually; and that we depend wholly on him, even his sovereign, forfeited mercy, to prevent our going to eternal ruin, and on his constant energy and grace, to cause us to cleave to him, and go in the way to heaven, we being nothing but insufficiency and vanity, before the Infinite All-sufficient Being; and in this view exercising self-diffidence, humility, and trust and dependence in God, dreading his displeasure above all things, and submiting to him, with a disposition and desire to obey him in all things forever. All this is implied in the true fear of God. But it may be expressed in fewer words, and perhaps more clearly to some minds, thus: To fear God is to be properly affected with his infinite greatness and terrible majesty, threatening and punishing his implacable enemies with everlasting destruction; to feel ourselves and all the creation as nothing before him, and wholly dependent upon him; to be suitably affected with our own guilt and vileness, and our absolute dependence on his sovereign, undeserved mercy for pardon, and the renovation of our minds to holy exercises.
The whole of this is expressed or implied in the following passages of scripture: Luke xii. 5:—“Fear him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him.” All will grant that Christ here enjoins religious, pious fear of God, upon all who love him. And God is represented in his terrible majesty as the object of this fear, they being wholly in his hands, and dependent upon him, who is able, and may justly, if he pleases, cast them into hell, and make them miserable forever. Upon this two things may be observed:
1. That it is here supposed that God does cast some into hell, and inflict eternal evil upon them. For if this could not be done consistent with his character and perfections, or with his known design, merely his having power to do that which it is known he never will do, and cannot do confident with his moral perfection, does not render him more an obje6b of religious fear, than if he had no such power; and it would be only an empty bugbear and scarecrow, set up to excite fear without any reason; which cannot be supposed. If no such evil, as that of being cast into hell, had existence, or ever will be inflicted, in any instance, then it could not be reasonably proposed as an object of fear.
2. If this evil of being cast into hell be a reality, God having power to do it, and actually doing it, whenever and in whatever instances he pleases, that is, when it is necessary for his glory, and the greatest good of the whole; this represents God as an object of religious fear, to those who feel themselves in his hands, and deserving of this evil; even when they consider themselves as secured from suffering it, by a divine promise through a Mediator. For still eternal torment in hell is a reality, and they deserve it as much as those who are actually cast into it; and are constantly dependent on God’s sovereign will, to be saved from it: and their escape from hell, and full, absolute and unconditional security that they shall not perish, cannot be said to be perfect: and completed, so long as they are on this side of heaven, 303in a state of probation, and until they are actually admitted there. Besides, while they, in the exercise of benevolence, behold their fellow Christians by profession, and their fellow men, among whom they live, and are uncertain that they will all escape hell, and see them in the hands of God, who casts them into hell, or saves them from this infinitely dreadful evil, as he pleases, they must have a sensation and exercises independent of their own personal concerns, and however secure they may consider themselves, which is properly called the fear of the Lord, and of the glory of his majesty. This is therefore enjoined upon all the people of God, as included in their pious obedience to him. [Deut. xxviii. 58:] “If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord, thy God, then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful,” &c.
And an affection of this same nature and kind will be exercised by the inhabitants of heaven forever, as necessarily included in love to God, in a view of his glorious, fearful, sovereign power and majesty, and of themselves and all creatures, as being infinitely below him, and as nothing in comparison with him, and wholly dependent upon him, for existence, every motion of their hearts, and all good, and in a clear view of his terrible wrath against sinners, and the dreadful punishment inflicted upon them. This is represented in the 15th chapter of the Revelation. John saw seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God; and at the same time he observed the inhabitants of heaven looking on, singing and saying, “Great and marvellous are thy works. Lord, God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy; for thy judgments are made manifest.” I proceed to mention another passage of scripture. [Phil. ii. 12, 13.] “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who 304worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure.” Here fear and trembling must mean such exercises of mind as are suitable to their dependence on God and his operating energy, for all things, even every motion of their hearts, of will and choice; for this their dependence on God is given as a reason why they should go on in a Christian course with fear and trembling: For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. They were hanging over hell, and must drop into it, unless supported and rescued by the omnipotent arm of God, working in them, and forming them both to will and to do that which was necessary in order to escape hell and obtain heaven; in which God was infinitely above all controul, and acted of his own good pleasure, after the counsel of his own will. Here the same idea is held up, and the same truth expressed, with that in our text, as the foundation and reason of man’s fearing before God, and working out his salvation with fear and trembling, viz. Their absolute dependence on God in all things, even for every thought and motion of heart, which he effectually causes to exist by his invisible, secret, almighty energy, according to his own pleasure, which must be unchangeable, and according to his eternal purpose, including all he would do to eternity in producing every thing, and ordering every event: so that there is but one endless chain of events, made up of innumerable links, of which the least existence, event and motion, and every circumstance, the most minute, is a necessary part, as well as the greatest; the whole being formed by the wise counsel and will of God, and entirely dependent upon him, and executed by him; and which cannot admit the least possible change or alteration, it being as firmly established and fixed as the existence and throne of the Almighty.
I conclude this head with observing, that it is beyond all controversy certain, that the fear of God, as it has been explained, supposes our dependence on him, viewing him as what he is, and ourselves as what we are; and 305 that, the more absolute, perfect; and universal this dependence is, the greater foundation there is for this fear, and this affection wiii be strong and constant in proportion to the view and sense we have of this dependence. Therefore the doctrine contained in our text says the best and most perfect foundation for the exercise of the. fear of God, and is every way suited to promote it; and every opinion and sentiment which contradicts this, and represents man as in any degree self-sufficient, and independent in any respect, is contrary to the true fear of God, and tends to prevent or destroy it.
3. An entire, unreserved trust in God is an exercise of true piety, and essential to it. The only foundation for this is his all-sufficiency, his being unchangeable in. his goodness, truth and faithfulness, and omnipotent, supreme, or doing every thing as he pleases, and guiding all things by his constant, universal agency, so as to answer the most wise and best end. Every thing contrary to such a character is inconsistent with his being an object of unreserved trust and confidence to the pious mind. If God were not unchangeable in his attributes and designs, and had he not all creatures and things under his direction and controul; and could there be one motion or action in the universe independent of his direction, agency and will; and did he not know what is the best end, and what are the wisest and best means to accomplish it; and was he not unchangeably determined what he would do, in the exercise of infinite wisdom and goodness; the benevolent, pious mind would have no foundation of unreserved trust and confidence.
But our God is not so, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The pious mind, feeling his absolute, entire dependence, and the universal dependence of all things, on this God, whom he loves with all his heart, puts his whole trust in him, and relies upon him with the most unreserved 306 confidence, and the greatest satisfaction and pleasure, “He beholds the hand of God conducting all the hidden springs and movements of the universe, and, with a secret but unerring operation, directing every event,”99 Dr. Blair’s Sermons, vol. i. p. 46. so as to promote and effect the greatest possible good, his own glory and the greatest happiness of his kingdom, and of all who trust in him; and with pleasure places the greatest and most unreserved confidence in him, and calls all his care upon him. “He rests in the Lord, and waits patiently for him.”
Thus the pious, benevolent man trusts in God to glorify himself by all things, and all events, that take place, however dark, and of a contrary tendency, they may appear to him to be. And he implicitly, without seeing how it may be done, relies upon Him to bring good, unspeakable good, out of all evil; so that no event shall take place that shall not be best, on the whole, and all shall issue to the greatest advantage to his servants. and his eternal kingdom. And he places his hope and trust wholly in this God, for all he desires and wants for himself personally, and for his fellow creatures, for body or soul, in time and to eternity: and the language of his heart is that of David, [Psal. lxii. 5, &c.] “My soul, wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from him. He only is my Rock and my salvation; he is my defence: I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the Rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times, ye people; pour out your heart before him, God is a refuge for us.”
In short, this doctrine, inculcated in our text, and taught through the whole Bible, being understandingly and cordially received, will pull down and destroy that self-confidence and self-dependence, which is natural to man, and with which self love inspires him; it is levelled directly against the selfishness and pride of man, and suited to cast down every high thing in his heart, which 307 exalts itself against the knowledge of God; to exalt God, and humble man, and form him to cleave to God and the Redeemer, in a humble trust and dependence on Him alone. No wonder then that this doctrine is so disagreeable to those whose selfishness and pride have never been subdued, and has been so much opposed in this sinful world.
4. An entire, unconditional resignation to the will of God, and pleasing acquiescence in it, is an essential part of true piety. In order to this, the will of God must be considered as unchangeably wise and good, and as wisely ordering and guiding all events to answer a good end; and ordering all evil as the necessary occasion and means of the greatest good. God cannot be omnipotent, infinitely wise and good, unless he has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass; and therefore on any other supposition there would be no foundation or reason for an implicit, unreserved resignation to his will. The pious, benevolent mind cannot acquiesce in any thing or event which is not wise and good; it cannot be reconciled to evil, considered in itself, only as evil; but in order to be pleased with its taking place, it must be considered in its connection with the good of which it is the occasion. Therefore true resignation to the will of God does suppose him to guide all the movements in the universe, and order all events in infinite wisdom and goodness. In this view, and certain of this, the language of the pious, benevolent heart is, “Thy will be done;” without making any exception or condition. Whatever evil takes place respecting himself or others, he is ready to espouse the language of pious Eli: “It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth good unto him.” He with pleasure exerciseth an unreserved submission and resignation to the all-wise and infinitely good Being.
5. Repentance towards God, and humbling ourselves in his fight for our sins, is included in the exercise of Christian piety. This consists in a sense and acknowledgment of the evil of sin, of its ill desert, feeling ourselves 308 wholly blameable and answerable for it, abhorring it, and condemning ourselves for it, renouncing it, and turning from it; in which the sinner justifies God, and approves of his law, and condemns and takes shame to himself. This always takes place and is exercised in. the view of those truths, which are at least implied in the doctrine which we are considering. And it is impossible the heart should repent while it opposes this doctrine, and those truths which are contained in it. This can be done only by an impenitent, selfish, proud heart, which does always oppose and hate this doctrine, though the understanding and judgment may be convinced that it is true.
The doctrine of the decrees of God, foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass, for his own glory and the greatest general good, necessarily includes his hatred of sin, and the evil and criminal nature of it, as it opposes. the glory of God, and the general good; and the sinner, who is guilty of it, does herein express his enmity against God, and the good which is the object of his decrees: and were the natural tendency and consequence of sin to take place, without being counteracted, and overruled to answer an end which sin and the sinner oppose, God’s end in his decrees would be frustrated, he would be dishonoured, and good be destroyed by unlimited evil.
The sinner is as blameable and criminal, as if his sin was not overruled for good; for the nature of it is just as bad and unreasonable as if no good came of it; and sin is as great a crime as it would be, were there no divine decrees; and in some respects greater: for the sinner ads as freely as he could were there no decrees; he has all the freedom that is in the nature of things possible; he acts voluntarily, and he opposes the wile, holy and benevolent decrees of God, and that infinitely wise, beautiful and benevolent plan which he has laid, and is executing, even in that very sin and rebellion by which he is accomplishing it. When the sinner’s eyes are opened to see all this, he sees the evil of sin, as it is 309opposed to this infinitely great and glorious God, to all his wise and benevolent purposes and decrees, and to that wise, glorious and all-comprehending plan of his operations. He sees this, and adores, and his heart breaks and melts in contrition, and self-condemnation, humbling himself in the sight of this God. But the impenitent sinner is irreconcilable, and at enmity with such a God, and, in the pride and impiety of his heart, “replies against God,” and says, “Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?”
6. Religious joy in God, and his government and kingdom, is a branch of true piety. This is inculcated abundantly in the holy scripture; and Christians are commanded to “rejoice always in the Lord.” And we have many examples of the religious joy of pious persons. The fruit of the Spirit is joy. Believers rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and this joy no man can take from them. This is the joy of the benevolent heart, in the exercise of that love to God, which has been described above, beholding him infinitely great and most blessed forever, having an uncontroulable dominion over all, decreeing and fixing from eternity every thing, and all events, in the wisest and best manner, to promote and effect the most desirable and important end, and the greatest possible good of the whole. With this the benevolent mind is supported and pleased, in all the darkness, sin and evil which take place in this world, and in the view of what will exist forever in the world to come, knowing that God has ordered it all, for the sake of the good which he will bring out of it; that the wrath of man shall praise him; and the remainder of wrath, which would not answer this, or any good end, he will effectually restrain and prevent. In this view he has solid, lasting support, comfort and joy, and says, “The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous.”
And as this truth, taken in the full latitude of it, is suited to support, comfort and rejoice the heart of the 310pious friends of God, in whatever Situation they may be, and whatever may be the appearance of things around them; so it is the only truth which can support them. If they give up or let go their hold of this strong foundation and prop, they must link into gloom, sorrow and despair. If they have no certainty that God cannot be disappointed in his counsel and designs, and that he has fixed the best plan, including all events, which cannot be altered for the better; if they know not but things may take place, which are not on the whole best, but God might have been more glorified, and his people more happy, had they not come to pass; and did they believe this to be the case; they must: sink into darkness, grief and sorrow, which no consideration could remove, but must abide on their minds forever.
And when they behold the sin and universal apostacy of mankind, and the infinitely dreadful evils that are the attendants and consequence of this, and know that this was not accidental, or aside from the divine plan; but has been ordered and determined by God, that the way might be opened for Redemption by the Son of God, the most glorious work of God, by which he is glorified, the Redeemer exalted and honoured forever; and the redeemed made most happy in the eternal kingdom of God, in which they hope also to share, and behold and love and serve and praise this God without end; their benevolent joy rises still higher. And the more they contemplate this divine contrivance and plan, with all its appendages, and discern the manifold wisdom, and boundless goodness of it, the more does their joy increase, and they are ready to exclaim, with St. Paul, “O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first; given to him? and it shall be recompensed unto him again. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things; to whom, be glory forever. Amen,”311
The selfish man may have a great degree of religious joy; but it is entirely of a different nature and kind from the joy of the truly pious and benevolent, and there is no true piety in it; because there is no true respect to God in it, no disinterested regard to his glory, and the public, general good, or the good of others. It is the joy of the hypocrite, of the false hearted man, who regards and seeks himself only, his own supposed private, personal good. If he thinks God loves him, and intends to make him happy forever, this gives him great joy, while his mind is contracted down to his little self, and he has no disinterested pleasure and joy, in beholding God, in his glorious character and unlimited dominion, and infinite, independent felicity, doing whatsoever he pleases, ordering all events for his own glory and the general good; nor is he willing to be so dependent on God, and so wholly indebted to him for all good, as is implied in his foreordaining whatsoever comes to pass. “A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this.” But the language of the pious friend of God is, “Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations:” [Psal. xcii. 4, 5, 6; xxxiii. 11.] “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together:” [Psal. xxxiv. 2, 3.]
7. Devotion, which consists in the worship of God, in Adoration, Confession, Profession, Self-dedication, Petition, Thanksgiving, and Praise, is a great and important branch of piety. I shall consider each of these parts of devotion now mentioned, and show that the doctrine which has been deduced from our text, and explained, is so far from being inconsistent with these, that it is suited to excite and promote them, and the only proper foundation of them.311
Adoration consists in recollecting and attending to, and, with profound awe and religious fear, revering, the infinitely excellent and glorious perfections and character of the Most High God, manifested in his wonderful works, and most wise and universal government, in a solemn address to him.
Now, no arguments are needed to prove, that a Being of infinite greatness, power, rectitude, wisdom and goodness, who is above all controul, doing what he pleases, and ordering and directing every thing by his counsel and decree, with irresistible energy, to answer the best end—that such a Being is the only proper object of this adoration, and that the more clear conviction and greater impression and sense any one has of such a Being and character, the stronger and more fervent will the exercises of his heart be in humble adoration; and this is the only object that is suited to continue and increase it forever. And the thought that God might be changeable in his designs, and had not decreed whatsoever comes to pass, but that many things do take place contrary to his will, and so as to render his plan of operation less perfect than otherwise it would have been, must tend greatly to damp, if not wholly destroy, the most devout and rational adoration, and is inconsistent with the complete enjoyment and happiness of the devout mind.
Confession of sin, unworthiness, wretchedness, absolute dependence on God and his sovereign grace, &c. is essential to the devotion of a sinner: a conviction and feeling sense of all this is implied in all his pious exercises, and intermixed with them.
All this is implied in repentance, which has been considered; and it has been shown that the truth under consideration is suited to promote this. The more clear view the sinner has of the excellency of the divine character, of the absolute, independent supremacy of God, of his infinite wisdom, rectitude and goodness, and his entire dependence on the power and operation of God, the greater sense he must have of his obligation to love 313and obey him; and consequently of his own guilt, vileness and ill desert as a sinner and rebel against this God; and feel himself utterly lost and undone: and therefore the more freely and fully will he confess all this. Profession, self-dedication to God, Thanksgiving and praise, in which the devout worshipper of God expresses before him his love to him, and all the friendly, pious feelings of his heart; devotes himself to God, willing to serve him, to be, do and suffer whatever God pleases and requires, and to be used by him to answer his wise purposes; acknowledging the goodness of God, admiring and praising him for what he is, and for what he does; all this is grounded on the infinite perfection, and glory of the Deity, who is “over all God blessed forever,” supreme, independent, “wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working;” whole energy guides every motion and event in the universe, according to the counsel of his own will. A being who is not supreme, not so powerful, wise and good, as necessarily to foreordain whatsoever comes to pass, could not be the proper object: of these devout exercises of the pious geart.314
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