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saints, or sinners, or whether you love darkness rather than light ; and whether you are prepared for the world of light, or the world of darkness. If love the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, this light will arise and shine before your eyes with increasing brightness and beauty forever and ever. But if you hate the light of his glory, you will soon fall into the blackness of darkness and the endless torment and despair of hell.
THE SOVEREIG-ITTY OF GOD IN THE FORMATION
Romans, ix. 20.---Nay, but, Oman, who art thou, that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him, that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ?
T'he apostle, in the preceding verses, introduces the doctrine of personal election to eternal life in its full extent, as implying personal reprobation to eternal destruction. And he illustrates the doctrine, by two memorable cases well known to the Jews. First, by the instance of Jacob and Esau. "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Next, by the instance of Pharaoh. "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same 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.” To this the apostle anticipates an objection.
6. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will ?” Instead of evading this objection, as some suppose he does, he gives a direct and full answer to it. "Nay, but, О man, who art thou: that repliest against God ? shall the thing formed say unto him, that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus ?" The apostle does not mean to say to the objector, you have no right to put a question to me, which no man can answer ; but he means to say
there is no ground for the question, “Why doth he yet find fault,” any more than for the question, Why should not a creature find fault for being a creature ? This is the plain sense of the text:
Men have no reason to complain of God for making them just such creatures as they are.
I shall, first, show, that God has made them just such creatures as they are ; and, then, that they have no reason to complain, that he has made them what they are.
I. God has made men just what they are, in distinction from all living creatures below them and from all rational creatures above them, in various respects. And,
1. In respect to their bodies. When God made the first man, he gave him just such a body as he pleased ; and just such a body as he intended to give to all bis numerous posterity. The human body we know is very different in size, in form, in strength, in activity and in sensibility, from the bodies of every species of the lower creation ; and it is no less different from the light, ethereal, transparent and splendil vehicles, with which angels are clothed. There is a corporeal and visible dignity in the appearance of mankind, wbich is superior to the corporeal appearance of any other creatures on earth ; and perhaps, but a very little inferior to the corporeal appearance of the angels of light, Christ now appears and will always appear in the form of man in heaven ; and we can hardly suppose that his visible appearance will be less dignified than that of the highest angels. But notwithstanding the general uniformity in the corporeal appearance of mankind, by which they are distinguished from the higher and lower orders of creatures, there is a vast variety in the appearance of individuals, by which they are distinguishable from one another. Among the immense millions of mankind there are no two men exactly alike, in their size, their form, their complexion, their strength and activity. All this personal variety is owing to the design of our Creator. He bas made the bodies of all men just as he pleased. And so he bas,
2. Their intellectual powers and faculties. He has made as great a diversity in the intellectual talents of
men, as in their corporeal properties. He has given to some men a more solid and acute and comprehensive understanding than to others.
He has given a stronger and more retentive memory to some men than to others. He has given a livelier and more brilliant imagination to some men than to others. And he has given a more easy and flowing eloquence to some men than to others. Though the intellectual talents of mankind in general appear very nearly equal; yet there is a wide and discernable difference between the lowest and highest talents of some of the human race. God has diversified and distinguished mankind as much by their intellectual powers, as by their corporeal forms and features and external circumstances. He has made them to differ in all these respects, just as much as he pleased. And he exercises the same sovereignty,
3. In forming their hearts, or moral exercises. We read, that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” This image of God did not consist in Adam's corporeal form, nor in his intellectual faculties, but in his moral exercises. Ad. am had the same moral exercises before he sinned, that his posterity have after they are renewed. When they are renewed in the spirit of their mind, they are said to“ put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” God creates the hearts of all men, as well as their rational powers. David asserts, “ The Lord looketh from heaven ; he beholdeth all the sons of men." And he adds, "he fashioneth their hearts alike.” God is said to take away the stony heart from sinners and to give them an heart of flesh, and when he does this, they are said to become new creatures. In order to make men moral agents and accountable ereatures, it is as necessary that God should make their hearts, as well as their understandings. Whether their hearts consist in moral exercises, or in something that is the foundation of them, they must be created. When God created Adam, he created not only his body and his understanding, but his heart. And he has created all mankind in respect to their bodies, their understandings and hearts, just as he pleased and just as they all actually exist. Or he has, as the apostle says, Made of one blood all nations of men, who dwell on all the face of the earth,” in all the innumerable varieties which appear in their corporeal, intellectual and moral qualities. Whatever men find that they actually are, they may be assured, that God made them thus. I now proceed to show,
II. That they have no reason to complain, that God has made them just such creatures as they are. This will appear, if we consider,
1. That God had an original and independent right to create them. He had just as good a right to create them, as not to create them, or any other creature, or object. And who will presume to deny, that he had a right not to create the heavens and the earth ; not to create the angels in heaven; not to create man upon the earth ; not to create the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the field and every thing that has life and breath and creeps upon the earth ? He had a right not to bring these, or any other creatures and objects out of nothing into being. He had a right to exist alone from eternity unto eternity and never exert his almighty power in producing any creature, or object, in any part of unbounded space. He had this original and independent right not to create, because his not creating could not infringe upon the rights of any other being in the universe. And for the very same reason, he had an absolute independent right to create, because his creating could not infringe upon the right of any being not to be created ; for no being had a right not to be created. God had a right to create angels, because his creating them could not infringe upon their rights, for they had no rights before they were created. They could neither choose, nor refuse to be created ; and God's creating them was neither agreeable nor disagreeable to their choice. And it is equally true, that God had a right to create mankind; because his creating them could not infringe upon their rights ; for they had no rights before they were created. They