reach a distant coast by having his sails spread in a stagnation of the air. I have intimated my fear that it is visionary to expect an unusual success in the human administration of religion, unless there are unusual omens; now a most emphatical spirit of prayer would be such an omen; and the individual who should solemnly determine to try its last possible efficacy, might probably find himself becoming a much more prevailing agent in his little sphere. And if the whole, or greater number of the disciples of Christianity, were, with an earnest, unalterable resolution of each, to combine that Heaven should not withhold one single influence which the very utmost effort of conspiring and persevering supplication would obtain, it would be a sign that a revolution of the world was at hand."

(Foster's Essays.)


IF good we plant, not vice will fill the place,
And rankest weeds the richest soils deface.
Learn how ungoverned thoughts the mind pervert,
And to disease all nourishment convert.

Ah happy she! whose wisdom learns to find,
A healthful fancy and a well trained mind.
A sick man's wildest dreams less wild are found,
Than the day visions of a mind unsound.
Disordered phantasies indulged too much,
Like harpies always taint what e'erthey touch.
Fly soothing solitude! fly vain desire!

Fly such soft verse as fans the dangerous fire;
Seek action, 'tis the scene which virtue loves,
The vigorous sun not only shines but moves.
From sickly thoughts with quick abhorrence start,
And rule the fancy, if you'd rule the heart.
By active goodness, by laborious schemes,
Subdue wild visions and delusive dreams.
No earthly good a Christian's views should bound,
Forever rising should his aims be found.
Leave that ficticious good your fancy feigns,
For scenes where real bliss eternal reigns.
Look to that region of immortal joys,
Where fear disturbs not, nor possession cloys
Beyond what fancy forms of rosy bowers,
Or blooming chaplets of unfading flowers,
Fairer than e'er imagination drew,
Or poet's warmest visions ever knew,
Press eager onward to those blissful plains
Where life eternal, joy perpetual reigns.

་ ་ མ་་




VOL. 1.]


JUNE, 1814.

[No. 12.


GOD claims to be the only living and true God. And this claim he founds untirely on his own deerees. He says by the prophet Isaiah, "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me: declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure." Here God claims divinity and supreme glory because he has formed, declared and been executing the most perfect scheme of conduct. He places all his glory on his decrees, and rests his divinity upon them; virtually declaring that if he had not decreed all things, he would not be God, nor worthy of supreme homage and glory.-Supported by the divine declaration, it is proposed, in the present essay, to illustrate this sentiment; The Decrees of God display all his glory.-I shall first explain the divine decrees; and then show that they display all the glory of God.

I. I am to explain the divine decrees:

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God existed before any other being. He existed alone:And while he thus existed alone, he proposed an end, and all the means necessary to accomplish that end. Among all possible ends he knew the best, and knowing it, he chose it. Hence the decrees of God are his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory he hath fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass." But to ilIustrate this general definition more fully, I would observe,

1. That the decrees of God are voluntary. It depended wholly upon the will of God, whether he would form such a scheme of conduct as he has formed, or not. He was under no natural necessity of doing, or determining to do any thing. This, however, is what many of the heathen philosophers supposed, and what some divines likewise suppose. But this supposition involves in it the proper idea of fate. If God was constrained to adopt any mode of conduct, he was, strictly speaking, under the absolute control of fate. This supposition, however, is inconceivable. For the first of all

beings must be absolutely supreme and above control. The truth is, God was under no other than a moral necessity of forming such a plan of things as he has formed. God, being possessed of moral perfections, was morally obliged to choose what appeared to infinite wisdom and goodness to be best. His decrees, therefore, were absolutely free and voluntary. They were the result of the counsel of his own will. They flowed freely from his own heart.

2. The decrees of God are eternal. God determined the end from the beginning, or from the foundation of the world, or from eternity. Hence his purpose is called his eternal purpose. It is as easy to conceive of God's decreeing, choo9ing, or determining from eternity, as of his existing or knowing from eternity. And though it be of no importance to creatures whether the decrees of God were formed in time, or from eternity; yet this is a matter of importance to God, for his own blessedness depends upon his own decrees. If God, therefore, were completely blessed from eternity, it is certain, that his decrees were formed from eternity.

3. God's decrees are universal. They comprise every thing. They respect every being, every object and every event, from the beginning of time to the end of time, and through the interminable ages of eternity. The smallest beings as well as the greatest, the smallest objects as well as the greatest, and the smallest events as well as the greatest, are all determined by the decrees of God. They take in every thing that ever was, or ever will be. They leave nothing in the universe in a state of contingency. What is decreed shall take place, and what is not decreed shall not take place.

4. The decrees of God are absolutely perfect. They fix, determine and ensure a scheme of things absolutely without the least defect, one jot or tittle could not be altered for the better. When God formed his scheme, he was possessed of perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom, perfect goodness, and perfect power. He was able to discern, to choose and to execute the most perfect plan. And this he did absolutely establish from the beginning. God perfeetly pleased himself in his decrees; and he always will be pleased with them. Accordingly he has declared the end from the beginning. He has told his creatures that he is of one mind, and without the least variableness or shadow of change. All his purposes are fixed, known and approved by himself. I now proceed,

II. To show that the decrees of God display all his glory. Here I would observe,

1. The glory of God really consists in his decrees. The glory of any moral agent consists in his purposes, intentions or designs. No being has more real glory, than consists in his designs. And every being actually has so much real glory as consists in his designs. The designs of a moral agent are the measure of his character. This is true as to angels. Their glory is their goodness. And their goodness is as great as the good which they design and purpose to do.→ The real excellence and glory of a man is as great as the goodness of his intentions and designs. And so is the glory of God as great as the goodness of his designs, purposes or decrees. As God has decreed what is wisest and best, his decrees display his supreme glory.

2. Nothing short of the decrees of God will display his glory. His works of creation will not. Though these are numerous, great and complicated, yet they display no real glory aside from his designs. Whatever God might create, if he had no good purpose in creating the world, he had no glory in his works. His works of providence will not display his glory. Though it be true, that God governs all things with his own hands; though it be true that he carries the whole creation in the arms of his providence; and though it be true that he bestows much happiness upon his creatures; yet, after all, his providence displays no glory, aside from his original, supreme and ultimate end. If God had no good end in preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions, there would be no glory in divine providence.

So the laws of God cannot display his glory aside from his decrees. Though they be holy, just and good in their own nature; yet they cannot display the glory of God aside from his design in giving them. As much good as God desires and designs to produce by giving his laws to rational creatures, so much glory exists in giving these laws.

And this is generally true with respect to the gospel. This ean display no divine glory, aside from the ultimate design of it. If it were not designed for good; yea, if it were not originally designed for good, it must be a blemish, rather then a glory in the divine character and government. But,

5. The decrees of God display his whole character, and so display all his glory.

They display his divinity. If he were not God, he could not form a complete scheme of conduet and declare the end from the beginning; if he were not God, he could not form any design but what might be frustrated.

The decrees of God also display his unity. The strongest argument in nature for the unity of God is drawn from the

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apparent unity of design in the works of nature. If there were any being equal to God, he would limit and contract his design. Besides, the decrees of God display all his perfections. They display his power, his knowledge, his wisdom, his goodness, his truth, his justice, his mercy, his faithfulness and his sovereignty. The decrees of God will discover all his glory, that ever will be discovered.

In view of what has been said, it may be remarked,

1. That there is no force in the common objection against preaching the doctrine of God's decrees. The objection is, that the decrees of God can never be cleared up. But in the decrees of God there is nothing to clear up. His decrees are perfect and glorious. The doctrine of divine decrees is as plain as the truth of God's existence. When the decrees of God are truly and fully explained, it appears that in his decrees there is no darkness nor difficulty. They are as holy, wise and good as God himself.

2. To deny the deerees of God is virtually to deny his existence. For separate the decrees of God from his character, and he ceases to be God. Some say indeed, that the God of the Calvinists is not their God. But a God who has not fore ordained, for his own glory, whatsoever comes to pass, is not the God of the bible. They who do not worship that God, whose counsel shall stand and who will do all his pleasure, working all things after the counsel of his own will, do not worship the living and true God. But they worship a creature of their own imagination. They virtually deny the existence and reject the essential glory of the Supreme being.

3. All men are naturally enemies to the true character of God; for all men actually oppose his purposes which display his true glory. Careless sinners oppose the doctrine, and so do awakened sinners and false professors. carnal mind is enmity against God." Yet,

4. None can be saved without loving the decrees of God. None can love God without loving his purposes. For these display his true and glorious character. They, who truly love God, love his decrees; and they who oppose his deerees oppose God himself. And unless they repent and love God and his holy purposes, they must perish with his enemies. Con. Ev. Mag.

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No. VI.

HAVING in my former numbers, taken a pretty extensive view of the causes, the insidious progress and the terrible effects of intemperance, it is time to enqnire, whether

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