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ESSENTIAL TO TAE
MR. TIMOTHY THOMAS'S MEETING HOUSE,
NEAR DEVONSHIRE SQUARE,
BAPTIST MONTHLY MEETING,
September 22, 1803.
HE WITH HIS WHOLE POSTERITY MUST DIE:
ESSENTIAL TO THE
The profound, the awful, the interesting subject appointed for our consideration at this time, is, The JUSTICE of God; and the inspired saying to which I would now direct your serious attention is contained in
PSALM LXXXIX. 14,
Justice and Judgment are the habitation of thy
A declaration this, which is truly poetical, sublime, and important. The mode of expression is concise; the imagery is grand; and the sentiment conveyed is vastly momentous. For it enters deeply into the Divine Character, as revealed in Scripture; and into the great Plan of Redemption by Jesus Christ; as perhaps may appear in the prosecution of our subject.
Justice and Judgment are the habitation of thy Throne. JEHOVAH is here exhibited, by the sacred poet, under the character of a Sovereign, and of a Judge: he being presented to our adoring regard, as on his throne; the throne of universal empire, and of absolute dominion-as exercising his authority, and executing his laws, with an omnipotent, but impartial hand. For justice and judgment are the HABITATION, the PREPARATION, the ESTABLISHMENT, or the basis, of this throne. Our textual translation is, habitation; the marginal, establishment; the Septuagint, preparation; and, if I mistake not, our best modern interpreters render the original term, basis, or foundation; which, on the whole, seems most agreeable.
The basis, then, of Jehovah's government, or that on which it rests, is justice and judgment. By justice, I conceive, we are to understand the attribute so called : and, by judgment, the impartial exercise of that attribute in the Divine administration. So that were not the Most High to administer impartial justice in his moral government, he might be considered, if it be lawful to use the expressions, as abdicating his throne.
But though the inspired poet give such a representation of Jehovah's throne, as, detachedly considered, is not only adapted to sting the consciences of sinners, but also to plunge them in despair; yet, by immediately personifying those divine properties, Truth and Mercy, he opens a door of hope on behalf of wretches who deserve to perish. For, in allusion to the pomp, and state, and attendants of eastern monarchs, when they made a public appearance, he adds, Mercy and Truth shall go before thy fuce; to announce thy approach, to indicate thy preseuce, ani to excite expectation. Such are the outlines of this remarkable text.