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unthankful, unrighteous; how perpetually debtors to his sovereign, free, and unbounded mercy
As the life of the Lord Jesus presents to us God in act, so does the Bible set before us God in word. The written word of God is given to mankind, to teach them to acknowledge Him in all their ways; to show to kings, generals, statesmen, and rulers, that their power is conferred by Him, who is acting in and by them, to fulfil His purposes : to warn them at the same time against supposing that it is their own wisdom that causes their successes ;
as we see in the cases of Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Cyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, Tyrus, &c., and to declare various relationships assumed by God towards man, and various institutions appointed by God, in order to keep these relationships ever in man's remembrance. Such are national governments under a Supreme, who is God's Vicegerent: churches under Pastors, who are in the stead of Christ: families, in the different connexions of Husband and wife, Parent and child, Master and servant.
We are instructed by the Catechism of the Church of England, that a Sacrament consists of two parts; of an outward and visible sign, and of an inward and spiritual grace. It is of much importance to bear this in mind with reference to all ordinances instituted by God. The value of ordinances consist in their being of God's appointment; and their efficacy to those who partake of them lies in their being seen to be His ordained channels for the communication of blessings to mankind; and in believing, and in expecting a benefit to accrue through their observance. This is not the consequence of caprice in God. The source and reason of it is, that the manifestation of Himself, His being, and His attributes, (His love prompting Him to will the participation of His own blessedness by others,) must be the ultimate end of God in all His acts of creation; since the existence or non-existence of the works of His own hands, can neither add to, nor take away from, His own perfect, self-originating, and unchangeable felicity. The communication of perfect blessedness, which is alone to be found in Himself, is the object of His work, in, by, through, and for the Lord Jesus Christ. To this all His dealings with mankind tend. His chastisements for sin bring His children to Himself : which is the clue whereby we may unravel all His dispensations, whether towards nations, churches, or individuals: and having been pleased to create such beings as we are, as best conducing to His ultimate end, it will be proved hereafter in the “ day of the revelation of the righteous judgments of God,” (Rom. ii. 5.) when we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive according to the things done in the body," (2 Cor. v. 10.) that God could have acted in no other way than that in which He has acted, consistently with the properties which He has bestowed upon His intelligent creatures. God has vouchsafed to reveal Himself: conformity to Him insures the happiness of the creature: non-conformity to, which is rebellion against, Him, insures the misery of the creature. This comes to pass, not in consequence of any arbitrary decree, ordering the one and the other, but arises out of the essential and indestructible properties of holiness and sinfulness, creator and creatureship
As the blood proceeding from the heart, is designed to carry warmth to the extremest member of the body, yet does it flow through the arteries and veins alone; and the part that is nearest to the heart cannot partake of the benefit of the circulation, until the blood has been oxygenated through the lungs, and made the whole circuit of the frame : or, as the root and trunk of a tree is ordained to swell and to increase in bulk, yet cannot do so from the sap as.it passes by into the branches, arresting it in its progress, but must wait until it has ascended into the minutest twigs, has been altered in the leaves, and then returned down the inner bark, to be converted into wood; so are the graces of God not scattered abroad promiscuously, but ordained to flow in certain channels; first to Christ as head, then to the members of Christ ; yet not direct from Him indefinitely, but through the channels and ordinances of His appointment;
to nations, through their Sovereign ; to churches, through their Ministers; to children, through their Parents; to families, through their Heads; to individuals, through Preachers, (Rom. x. 14.) “ Hence, when nations are sunk in depravity, their rulers are addressed; when churches are corrupt, their pastors; the leader of an army is held responsible for his men; the guide and supercargo of a vessel, for the vessel itself, and all on board."-Anderson.
Christ is the head of all things; all things were made by Him, and for Him; Christ is God, and Christ is man; the end of all creation is the manifestation of God in Christ. All things are seen by the Christian in reference to him: He is the author and source of all rule and government: to pourtray Him do all constituted authorities exist: as they plan and act with reference to Him, so are they holy; as they plan and act without reference to Him, so are they unholy, and in rebellion against Him. The Christian sees Christ as the head of all things. He not only, as the natural philosopher, and the