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cause they first deserted God. And why God left Pharaolt, and why the Egyptians were left to their hardness of heart, any one will see who considers their preceding behaviour to the Ifraelites. Why did he afterwards desert the heathen nations? Because when they knew God, they honoured him not as God. Yea, search the Scriptures all over, and you will find
man forsaken of God, before he has forsaken God. Wherefore those words, He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth, do not mean that God hardens or forfakes any man, without why or wherefore : seeing all the inspired Writings point out the cause, for which alone God forsakes man.
Lewis. But does not God himself say to Pharaoh, For this fame purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he get find fault? For who hath refifted his will! Nay, but ( man!- who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Here it seems, that Pharaoh was raised up for punishment, and that it was God's will he should sin, that God might be glorisied in his punishment. Fred. When God says, For this purpose have I raised thee, it does not refer to his creation, as if God had created him to punishment'; but when he was already wicked, God raised him up unto punishment, on account of his wickedness. His will here mentioned, is only, as was shewn before, his permissive will. • With regard to the Potter, we should observe that here are tio comparisons interwoven: the one, of vefsels which are made unto dishonour; the other, of vessels which are broken. For to be broken, and to be made to dishonour, is not the fame thing. The former comparison is this: as a potter, out of the saine mass makes reflels, fome to honourable, some to lels honourable uses, fo God, out of the same mass of mankind,
makes some men to be as eyes, or ears in the bošly of Christ, (such as Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists,) others to be as the feet or less honourable parts. Such are those to whom God has not imparted so large gifts, or raised to so high offices. And here none have reason to find fault with God, the Potter,
The other fimilitude is this. As a good and wife Potter makes no vessel on purpose to break it, so God never created any man, on purpose to destroy him. But if any veílel prove faulty, then he breaks it: and so if any man prove wicked,
, God destroys him. This is confirmed by St. Paul himself, saying, God willeth all men to be saved. And again, He hath concluded all under fin, that he may have mercy upon all. Mark that word, That he may have mercy upon all. It is therefore his will, not to destroy, but to have mercy even upon finners. Wherefore when God is compared to a Potter, it is to a good potter, who is not willing to lose his labour. We must also take care, not to make this text contradict those others, wherein God is compared to a Father, who knowetk how to give good gifts to his children.
Lewis. But when God knew what men would perish, why did he create them? Fred. You may suppose God to speak to the wicked Ifraelites in the following manner.
0 Israel! I created you for falvation : it was my design, that you
should besaved, not destroyed. Therefore, that you do perish, is wholly your own fault, who will not be saved; who will not do those things which I have commanded, which are necessary for your salvation. If you ask, But did I not foreknow that you would refuse salvation? I answer, this is nothing to you. For my foreknowing it, neither makes me guilty, nor you innocent. For whether I foreknew it, or not, you are guilty, who refused the salvation I offered. And I not only am blameless, but have deserved well of you, who have given you so many benefits, and would have given you more, had not you yourselves hindered. Wherefore suppose I did not foreknow your perverseness, does not your ingratitude and obfti
nacy deserve punishment? And suppose I did, is not my goodness so much the greater, who so loaded you with benefits, though I knew you would be ungrateful? Had I created you on purpose to destroy you, you might justly have complained. But as I created you to be saved, and you might have been saved if you would, you have only yourselves to blame.
If you still ask, Why I created you, if I knew you would perish? I answer, Woe unto the man that contendeth with his Maker; the clay with the potter! Shall the clay say to the potter, Why makest thou me thus? Woe to him, who asketh of his Father, why didst thou beget me? What is more unworthy, than for him who is created, to ask his Creator, why he created him? He might answer, You ought not to ask why I created you, but to thank me, that I did create you: and create you to happiness : if you perish it is your own fault, which I will turn to my own glory in punishing you. Not that I created you on purpose to punish you: (this would bring me no glory) but you deserve punishment, for making void my counsel against yourselves.
This is the true account of St. Paul's fimilitude of the potter, The sum is, God created no man for deftruction,
But as men are free agents, most of them will not obey God, and fo perish, and are called vessels of wrath. Not that they were created with that defign: but that was the event. Why the Apostle ftiles them vessels of wrath, appears from his own words: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteoul ness. You see, which are the vessels of wrath, namely, those men who hold the truth in unrighteousnefs. If you fay, they were created for this purpose. You excuse them; whereas St. Paul says, They are without excuse.
But let us weigh the passage in Jeremiah, from which this fimilitude of the Potter is taken, chap. xviii. ver. 1, &c. The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potler's house. Then I went down to
the potter's house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made was marred: fo he made another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 0 house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter ? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in my hand! At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and a kingdom, to pluck and to pull down, and to destroy it: if that nation turn from their cvil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. Now tell me, what is the cause of God's changing his purpose, and revoking their punishment ? Lewis. Their amendment. Fred. Therefore if that nation does not amend, it will be a vessel of wrath. Lewis. True. Fred. Therefore the wrath purposed against that nation may be avoided, as in the case of the Ninevites. Lewis. It may. Fred. Therefore that nation was not created to wrath. Lewis. It was not. Fred. And yet if it does not amend, wrath is purposed against it. Lewis, It is. Fred. You see therefore, the purpose of God is not inevitable; but it is his will that even those who are by that purpose destined to death, should yet repent and live.
He goes on. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and a kingdom, to build and to plant it: if it do evil in my fight, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them. Now tell me: when God says to any nation, Thou shalt live, is it his will that they should ? Lewis, It is. Fred. If that nation offends him, and so procures its own destruction, Does it not act contrary to his will? Lewis. Certainly. Fred. He does not then destroy it,, because he created it for destruction, but because it would not obey him. Lewis. True. Fred. But he did not create it, to disobey him. Lewis. No; for he would not have promised it lise, if he had created it to death. Fred. Therefore that nation becomes a vessel of wrath, through its own disobedience, not God's creation. On the whole then, God is a good potter, who makes no vessel, on purpose to destroy it. [To be continued.]
A Sermon on Romans viii. 19, 20, 21, 22,
The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the mania
festation of the fons of God, For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but
by reason of him that subjected it. Yet in hope that the creature itself also shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God. For we know, that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth
in pain together until now.
1. NOTHING is more fure, than that as the Lord is
TOTHING is inore sure, than that as the Lord is
loving to every man, fo his mercy is over all his works; all that have sense, all that are capable of pleasure or pain, of happiness or misery. In consequence of this, he openeth his hand, and filleth all things living with plenteousness: he prepareth food for cattle, as well as herbs for the children of men. He provideth for the fowls of the air, feeding the young ravens when they cry unto him. He sendeth the springs