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solely on our own capricious resolutions, on our own feeble endeavours, we may in watchfulnes and prayer, in the worship and ordinances of the sanctuary, seek that strength from above, that power of the Holy Ghost which, in every temptation, however formidable, will be sufficient for us, and in every duty, however arduous, will be made perfect in our weakness.

Constantly then let us cherish the divine but mysterious truth, that in the Holy Spirit of God our virtues have an almighty Guardian, our sorrows a divine Comforter; and let us implore him to shed upon us, as he did upon Simeon of old, not the overpowering blaze of his miraculous gifts, but the soft and serene lustre of his celestial graces, to be unto us a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, a spirit of knowledge and true godliness, and to fill us with the spirit of his holy fear, to defend us from all evil, and especially from the awful guilt of resisting his grace and quenching his holy inspiration. Oh thou blessed Spirit ! lead us through all the changes and trials of this mortal life, to that heavenly state where the faith which thou dost now inspire, shall terminate in the blissful vision of the divine glory; and those duties which thou dost now enable us to discharge, shall all be resolved into the exalted work of praising and adoring, for ever and ever, thee, O Holy Ghost, with the Father and the Son, ever one God.

SERMON VII.

DUTIES INCULCATED BY THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.

ISAIAH lxiv. 8.

But now, O Lord, thou art our Father'; we are the clay, and thou

art the potter; and we are all the work of thy hand.

The people of Israel had been visited by the sore judgments of God. The prophet introduces them confessing their sins, acknowledging the justice of those judgments which their sins provoked, and adoring the sovereign power and authority of Jehovah in all his dispensations towards them. “But now, O Lord, thou art our Father”—thou hast made us, and dost guide, and preserve, and govern us; we are under thy almighty discipline and control. “ We are the clay, and thou art the potter”-thy power over us is as absolute and sovereign as that of the potter over the clay which he fashioneth according to his will.

66 We are all the work of thy hand”—and therefore bound to submit to, and adore thy righteous judgments.

All who believe in the being and providence of God, the Maker and Governor of all things, will, in words at least, be ready to acknowledge that they are the creatures of God's power; that they are subject to his government and control; that his sovereign authority none can resist; and that all the endowments of body and mind, and all the enjoyments and blessings of life, are the gifts of his bounty “ That they are the clay, and he is the potter; and they are all the work of his hand.” But though these truths, revealed in Scripture, åre sanctioned by the dictates of reason, and when proposed to the serious and unprejudiced judgment of mankind, will be generally received; yet, even among those who acknowledge them, there are few who properly consider the nature and obligation of the duties which result from them. Instead, therefore, of my attempting to prove or illustrate the sovereign authority of God over us, I shall take this as a truth admitted, and consider the duties that are founded upon it, as the practical part of the subject with which we are immediately concerned.

God is " our Father"-in that sense which makes him the source of our being, our endowments, and all our mercies, we are as absolutely and entirely subject to his control, as the passive “ clay" is to the formning hand of the “potter.”. “ We are the work of his hand,” and therefore subject to him as dependent creatures to an almighty Creator.

The consideration of the sovereign authority of God over us should

Teach us humility;

It should excite in us the sentiment of dependence;

It should produce profound submission;

It should lead us to render to him homage and obedience.

1. It should teach us humilitythe humility of temper, and the humility of intellect.

Pride and self-confidence ill become those who possess nothing which they have not received, and

which they do not hold at the will of a superior Being. The creatures who were produced by the fashioning hand of that almighty Creator, whose fiat in an instant would reduce them to the dust from whence they were taken, how idle in them to boast of the endowments which they possess, as if they were original and underived, and held by the certain tenure of their own will! The talents, the wealth, the honour, thạt for a moment elevate one man above another, what cause are they for the swelling emotions of self-confident pride? Proud man, what has he which he has not received ? The distinctions which now excite bis vanity and elate his pride, he has derived from the sovereign bounty of that almighty Being, who, if he had seen fit, could have conferred them on another humble individual, whom this vain boaster considers so far beneath him. We are in the hands of that Being, as clay in the hands of the potter, and he may crumble to pieces the pillars that support our pride, and reduce us to a level with those who are now the objects of our scorn. What are the lessons then which our dependence on the sovereign power of our almighty Maker should teach us!-to refer to him all the advantages and distinctions which we possess—to acknowledge them to be the gifts of his bounty, calling for humble gratitude instead of presumptuous pride-to rejoice in the possession of them with trembling, knowing the dependent tenure on which we hold them, the pleasure of God, who giveth not to man an account of his doings—and to adore the sovereign providence of him who is the Author of all our talents, distinctions, and advantages-and thus to acknowledge in deep humility his supreme and resistless authority.

From the unlimited power which God possesses over us, he derives the right to impose on us whatever commands he pleases, and to require our assent to whatever truths he may reveal. The source of intelligence and goodness, as well as of power, he justly claims the homage and obedience of the understandings, and wills and affections of his intelligent creatures. Let not then the human mind, but a ray of intelligence from the infinite and eternal source of reason, disclaim its dependent { origin, and oppose its feeble light to the brightness

of eternal wisdom. Let not man, the work of God's hands, disclaim the authority of him that made him, and set up his own derivative powers and dependent will, as the standard and source of truth and authority. Nay but, О man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to hiin that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over his clay ?"* Hath not the sovereigo Being in whose hands thou art, and who is infinite in truth and perfection, a right to require thy assent and obedience to whatever truths and commands he may choose to impose ?: Is there any source of truth but the eternal mind, any supreme Lawgiver but the almighty Maker who formed thee, any tribunal but that which he has constituted, to which, as a rational agent, thou wilt be called finally to account? Wilt thou presume to set up, independent of him, a standard of truth and virtue in the reason and nature of things? But who constituted the reason and nature of things! Who determined the immutable difference between truth and error, good

* Rom. ix. 20, 21.

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