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and a lustre to every other attribute of his nature? "Holy is his name," and his name includes all the perfections which compose his character. Were they not all distinguished and adorned by the quality of Holiness, he who sways the sceptre of the universe, might be the object of dread, but could not be the object of love, or of confidence. Nay, it would be scarcely too much to assert, that such a being might become the scourge and terror of the creation. Without Holiness, power might degenerate into tyranny, wisdom into subtlety, patience into connivance at sin, mercy into a partial fondness, and justice into vindictive severity. But it is the beauty and the glory of the divine character, that every attribute is in strict and intimate alliance with the perfection of Holiness.
So great is the glory of the divine Holiness, that it gives a species of sanctity to every thing to which it bears relation. Because heaven is the habitation of the Holy God, it is called his Holy heaven; because the temple was the place where he graciously afforded the indications of his presence, it was called his Holy temple; the very ground on which Jehovah condescended to admit Moses to an audience, was called Holy ground; the mountain on which the Saviour was transfigured, was called the Holy mount; the day set apart for divine worship, is called a Holy day; and, in a far higher sense, are the people of God called a Holy people; for while honored with this designation, they are required to demonstrate by their conduct, that it is not misapplied.
H. F. Burder.
THE MERCY OF GOD.
IN the great kingdom of providence, how many blessings are continually provided by the hand of God for the evil and unthankful race of Adam? In spite of all their innumerable provocations; in spite of their impiety, idolatry, lewdness, falsehood, oppressions, wars, and devastations; notwithstanding this great world has been from the beginning a temple of idols, a house of pollution, and a field of blood; the sun continually arises, the rain descends, the fields blossom, the harvests ripen, the seasons are fruitful, and the hearts of men are filled with food and gladness. In the divine precepts the same glorious disposition reigns; and mankind are required with infinite obligation, to imitate and assume this exalted character! "to be merciful as their Father who is in heaven is merciful." In the promises of the Gospel we are allured to this most amiable of all conduct by the reward of immortal life and glory, and hear God himself declaring, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." In the threatenings, we are deterred from the contrary conduct by the fearful denunciation of eternal woe.
In the mediation of our Redeemer we are presented with a perfect example of the nature and effects of this most lovely attribute; furnished by a life, of which this attribute was the soul and spirit; a life pure and excellent beyond all precedent, and all praise; and closed by a death full of shame and agony, voluntarily undergone from mere compassion to this perishing world, and beautified and adorned with this consummation of benevolence in its most divine form. In this we indeed behold "the glory of the only-begotten of
the Father, full of grace and truth." Here we are drawn with cords of love, that we may run after him. Dwight.
THE JUSTICE OF GOD.
How gloriously is God qualified by this attribute for the government of all things. In what an amiable, majestic, and dignified light is he here manifested to our view. Without this attribute all others would be vain. A ruler he might be, because his power would easily compel all beings to obey him. But he would be merely an arbitrary and despotic ruler, neither venerable nor lovely. No creature would or could serve him willingly, with either love or confidence. The fear which gendéreth bondage, would be the only principle of subjection; nor would any subjection or service secure his creatures from perpetual danger and
What a dreadful instrument would omnipotence be in the hands of an unjust being! What must not all creatures fear! What evils would they not suffer! What spectacles of vengeance and woe would not his arm call up into being! How instantaneously would all hope vanish, all safety cease, all good perish ! The universe would become a desert, a dungeon, an immense region of mourning, lamentation, and woe.
Now, all creatures are secure from every possible act of injustice from the hand of God. Powerful as he is, knowing all things as he does, these amazing attributes are employed only to discern that which is just and right, and to bring it in every instance to pass. Hence he is the universal safeguard of his un
numbered creatures, the rock on which their rights and interests immoveably rest, the proper and unfailing object of supreme and endless confidence. Wrong he cannot do, right he cannot fail to do. Submission to his will, his law, his government, is safe: and, when voluntary, is assured of the regard, the approbation, and the rewards which are promised to cheerful obedience.
Were God not possessed of this glorious attribute, his benevolence would be mere weakness. All froward, rebellious, obstinate creatures would presume on his want of energy to vindicate his own honor, and the rights of the suffering universe. A mind formed for immortal being, naturally makes progress in all its habits, and in the strength of all its powers. An evil mind, unrestrained by the awe or the exertion of omnipotence, would naturally increase in its pride, selfishness, malice, and cruelty; in a general disregard to the well-being of others, and in a supreme devotion to its private separate purposes. To all who oppose, to every thing which clashes with these things, such a mind is of course an enemy. Nor can any bounds be set to this enmity, or to its effects, except by God. himself. Were he to remain quiescent, in mere kindness and good wishes to the universe, the schemes of personal greatness, oppression, rage, revenge, and fury, which would be formed by evil beings, cannot be measured. Every evil being would become a fiend; and to tempt a race, to ruin a world, and to involve a system in misery, would be familiar events in the annals of the universe.
What reason have wicked men to fear the justice of God! The wicked are secured by God's perfect justice from the sufferance of any evil which they have not deserved; but, at the same time, are wholly exposed to the sufferance of all such evils as they have de
served. These are sufficiently dreadful to excite in their minds every degree of alarm, which man is capable of experiencing.
The denunciations of woe in the Scriptures of truth are couched in as awful terms as language can furnish. The God who is immutably and eternally just, as he uttered them in conformity to strict justice, so, in executing them, he will conform to the same justice in the most perfect manner.
Whatever their rebellion against God, their rejection of his Son, their deceit, injustice, and cruelty to each other, and their pollution of themselves, deserves, they will receive exactly at his hand, and will be rewarded exactly "according to their works." becomes every impenitent sinner to ask himself, what reward he ought to expect for a life spent wholly in rebellion of thought, word, and action; with no account of voluntary obedience, and millions of accounts of gross disobedience against his Maker?
It is plainly "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." In his hand, and within his knowledge and power, are all the avenues to woe, all the ingredients to misery. He is equally able to pierce the soul, and to agonize the body. There is no escape from his power, no concealment from his eye. What then will become of hardened sinners? How will the justice of God overwhelm them in consternation and horror at the great day!