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cause he delights to communicate of his goodness. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. If man did not long continue in this happy garden, it was not from any want of the goodness of God, but of his own heart. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil.
2. In their preservation. Who is there, that has not had reason to exclaim, O thou preserver of men! Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. I laid me down and slept ; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me. Thy right hand upholdeth me. Who is it, that hath hitherto preserved us from lightning and tempest ; from plague, pestilence, and famine ; from battle and murder, and from sudden death ? Surely, it is of the Lord's mercies, that we are not consumed ; because his compassions fail not. Great is thy faithfulness.
3. In providing for their support and comfort. It is of the Lord's pleasure and power, that mankind are created and preserved ; but it is of his goodness that their lives are made comfortable. How few are there in the world, who cannot exclaim, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The rich man can say, Who satisfieth my mouth with good things. And the poor man can say, I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me. Thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness
4. In giving them the pleasures of domestic life. It is owing to the goodness of God, that man was not left to wander forlorn in lone places, without any confidence in his brother man, or any capacity for social enjoyment. But God setteth the solitary in families. They are blessed with the endearments of love and affection. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord. Their little ones rise up like olive plants about their table, the hope of their youth, and the stay of their age. In this thing, is not the Lord good ?
5. In delivering them out of affliction, or supporting them under it. In this world, on account of sin, man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. But unto
for the poor,
those that trust in him, The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in time of trouble. Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. It is he, who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction. He says, and it is a most gracious consolation to those called to endure the trials of this life, When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee ; and when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. He says to the dying father, Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive ; and let thy widows trust in me. He enables the dying father to reply to his orphans, Behold, I die ; but God shall be with you.
6. In pardoning their sins. We are all ready to confess that we are sinners, and if sinners, that we need forgiveness. How good then is God, who pardoneth all who repent of their sins, and turn unto him. He looketh upon man, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profiteth me not, he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel ? 0 Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. "The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, though we have rebelled against him. Thou, Lord, art good; with thee there is forgiveness, that thou mayest be feared.
7. In giving them instruction and assistance. God is good, in that man is not left to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling alone ; but I will instruct and teach thee, says God, in the way which thou shalt go.
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth, says pious David. My Father, thou art the guide of my youth, may we each one of us say. If
ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.
8. In granting them the hope of immortality. The goodness of God is not confined to this world, but is ex
tended throughout eternity to his chosen ones. My flesh also shall rest in hope, says the Psalmist. Thou wilt show me the path of life ; in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. As for me, says David, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy like
And again, God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave. With this triumphant hope, the pious soul can exclaim, O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory ?
9. In the promulgation of the Christian Religion. Herein is the goodness of God most manifestly displayed ; especially to us, who have the knowledge of a Saviour, whereby the hope of pardon is confirmed to believers. When by some mysterious, and melancholy fatuity, man had fallen from his high estate, and lost his hope of happiness; when there was no eye to pity, and no created arm to save ; then did thine eye pity, and thine arın wrought salvation, O thou lover of the souls of men! And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. The direction is always, Knock, and it shall be opened. The invitation is always, Come unto me, and ye shall in no wise be cast out. This is not said to the old or the young, the rich or the poor, the learned or the ignorant, in particular ; but to all — to all, who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and obey his gospel. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Whose heart will not burn within him, at such love as this? Whose lips will not be eager to respond to the text : Thou, Lord, art good.
If then the Goodness of God is thus manifested to Mankind in general ; if this goodness is impartial, and unchangeable : And if the goodness of God is likewise manifested to mankind in particular instances ; in forming them for happiness, in their preservation, in providing for their support and comfort, in giving them the pleasures of domestic life, in delivering them out of affliction or sup
porting them under it, in pardoning their sins, in giving them instruction and assistance, in granting them the hope of immortality, and in the promulgation of the christian religion ; if the Lord is so good to us, what return shall we render unto him, for all his loving kindness ? How shall we show our gratitude ? And how give evidence of the sincerity of it ? An answer to this may be comprised under three heads : Loving God; leading virtuous lives ; and loving the brotherhood.
1. We must love God. God is love. We should love him, because he first loved us. We should love God, because it is the first command in the Decalogue. In return for all his goodness, what doth God ask ? Simply this. He says, My son, give me thine heart. And in view of the many instances of the goodness of God to mankind, especially in that of sending a Saviour to redeem a captive world ; what heart but will exclaim in glowing rapture, with the Psalmist, Bless the Lord, o my soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction ; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. Let us never be reproached by others, or reproach ourselves, with ingratitude to God. Let it never be asked of us, Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise ? Let it never be said, They sang his praise, they soon forgat his works. Let it never be imputed unto us, When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.
2. We must lead virtuous lives. To be like God, who is continually doing good, we also must strive to do good. To be virtuous is to resemble the Deity. Obedience is the best expression of gratitude to the Supreme Being. Do that which is good, and no evil shall touch thee. To depart from wickedness is a thing pleasing to the Lord, and to forsake unrighteousness is a propitiation. They that sin are enemies to their own life. A little with righteousness, is better than much with unrighteousness. True dealing shall endure forever. Righteousness is im
mortal. Ever remember that, Great is the Truth. She doeth the things that are just. Above all things, truth beareth away the victory. Whatsoever thou takest in hand, remember the end, and thou shalt never do amiss. Let not your strength be the law of justice. Recollect that it is the fruit, that declareth if the tree have been dressed. Especially, let us all remember, in view of the goodness of God, that our goodness must be active. That prayers, without endeavours, are said to be like Rachel, in her solitary years, beautiful but barren. Then let us improve upon the proverb, so that our prayers may be like Rachel, in her happier years, not only beautiful but bearing
3. We must love the brotherhood. In imitation of God, we should love all mankind ; for he hath made the
mall and the great, and in things temporal, careth for all alike. But in imitation of him also, in things spiritual, we should especially love those, whom we believe to be of the household of faith. Hereby shall ye know if ye love me, if ye love one another. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. One man beareth hatred against another, and doth he seek pardon from the Lord ? he showeth no mercy to a man, which is like himself; and doth he ask forgiveness of his own sins ? If you conceive aught against another, be not hasty in your judgment. Admonish a friend ; it may be he hath not done it, and if he have done it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend; it may be he hath not said it, or if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend ; for many times it is a slander ; and believe not every tale. There is one that slippeth in his speech, but not from his heart ; and who is he, that hath not offended with his tongue ? In all things, judge of thy neighbour by thyself. In daily intercourse, remember that sweet language will multiply friends, and a fair speaking tongue will increase kind greetings. This, O Christian, is the command which we have heard from the beginning, and it will ever continue in unimpaired force, that he who loveth God, should love his brother also ; and should express that love, not in word and profession alone, but in deed and in truth. You are to love your neigh