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SERMONS

BY THE LATE

REV. JOSEPH LATHROP, D. D.

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The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

THE first clause in the text is similar to many other passages, which we meet with in scripture. "God hath created all things for his pleasure."-" He worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will."-" He does whatsoever he pleases-and does it for his name's sake."

Such expressions cannot be understood as importing, that God in his works aims to increase his felicity or gloriousness; or to make himself more happy, or more excellent, than he is in his nature. As he is an infinite, eternal, independent being, and possesses all perfections, he cannot be more happy, or more glorious, than he is in himself. "With him is no variableness or shadow of turning." But, as we learn from 'scripture, one end which God intends in his works, is to manifest to intelligent creatures his own existence and perfectness, that they may know him, believe in him, honor and adore him; and he has made intelligent creatures, that they might behold him in his works, render due honor to his name, and be happy in his favor.

There has been some dispute in the world concerning God's supreme and ultimate end in his works. But perhaps the subject is too deep for us. "Who can by searching find out God? Who can find out the Almighty unto perfection?" If we cannot comprehend an infinite being, how shall we reach the remotest end, search the profoundest depth, and climb to the loftiest height of his designs?"They are higher than heaven; what can we do? Deeper than hell; what can we know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea."

In our speculations on this subject, we can go no further than the admiring angels go, in their song of praise which St. John has recorded. "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure,” for thine own will, they were created." We can go no further than the inspired writers go. They say, "God is in the heavens ; he hath done whatsoever he pleased. He worketh according to the counsel of his will. Manifold are his works; in wisdom he hath made them all. How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out."

But though we cannot comprehend the works of God, or say they were made solely or supremely for this or that purpose, yet there are various uses to which we see them adapted, and for these uses we know they were designed. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work. The earth is full of his riches; all his works praise him." As they manifest his wisdom, power and beneficence, so it his will that we attend to the manifestations which he makes of himself in them, and exercise toward him correspondent regards. Though we cannot affirm that this or that was the sole or ultimate end of all creation, yet we know that God made rational creatures to serve him, discovers to them his character, that they may love and fear him; bestows on them his goodness, that they may imiitate and trust him; calls them to himself, that they may enjoy him.

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The words under consideration admit another construction, which seems to convey their proper meaning. "The Lord hath disposed and adjusted every thing to itself; or to the end for which it was designed."

Thus understood they teach us, that there is a harmony and consistency in all God's works, and one thing is adapted to another throughout the whole system of nature. Hence we conclude with certainty, that there is a God, who made and governs the universe.

When we attempt to prove God's existence from his works, the atheist will say, "The material world may have existed from eternity and without a creator to bring it into being." But how will he account for the design apparent in every thing which we are capable of examining?

No man who views a clock or watch, and sees how one wheel moves another, and all are moved by weights or springs, and the whole movement indigitates the hours of the day, and the minutes of the hour, can imagine, that this is a casual work, the result of chance; that it came into existence without an artificer, or was formed and put in motion without design. Less can we imagine, that the infinitely greater and more complicated works of nature existed of themselves, and continue their existence without a creating and sustaining hand.

Every thing which we examine, appears to be adapted to some end, and to be made with a design to accomplish that end. It must therefore be made by an intelligent, wise and designing power.

If we look up to the heavens, we behold numerous bodies moving with order and harmony, and without confusion or interference. These, we know, must have been adjusted at first, and be still guided by an infinitely wise and powerful Being. We perceive the influence of the sun diffusing light and heat through the world in which we dwell. We enjoy the bounty of the clouds in shedding rain on our fields and pastures, to render them productive of the fruits necessary for our support. We see innumerable tribes of animals, whose wants are supplied by the spontaneous productions of the earth; and these brought into existence in such places and seasons as afford them their necessary food. If we examine a human body-the body of an animal, an insect, or a plant, we find it consisting of various parts, all connected with, and subservient to one another, and adapted to its nurture, growth and perfection. There is wisdom-there is design every where

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