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thousands, that God has a right to act as a sovereign in this world, or in the world to come. Surely the understandings of men are darkened by the blindness of the heart; otherwise they could not help seeing and realizing the sovereignty of God, which he has so visibly displayed, for the express purpose of making the inhabitants of the earth to know, that he is God. God is as clearly to be seen in this world, as he ever has been, or will be, in any other world. Angels now look into this world to see the bright displays of his sovereignty, and of all his other perfections. T'he light here shines in darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. sing before nations and kingdoms, kings and princes, high and low, rich and poor, every day in his amiable and awful sover-, eignty, filling the hearts of some with joy, and wringing the hearts of others with sorrow. And it is impossible for any one of the human family to be happy in this world, or next, without seeing and loving his sovereignty.
6. Has God made of one blood all nations of men, and have they been so slow in coming to their present state of knowledge, holiness and happiness? then we have ground to think, that the world will stand many centuries longer. The earth is far from being fully inhabited. There is room for a far wider spread of the human family over the four quarters of the globe. Their numbers may increase an hundred fold; their knowledge may increase with their numbers; and their holiness and happiness may increase in proportion to their numbers and knowledge. God has made men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and it will undoubtedly be covered with them for a thousand years at least. The earth will be filled with holiness and happiness, and the glory of God, as the waters cover the seas, and bear a lively resemblance to the world above. The great and glorious fruits of the sufferings and death of the divine Redeemer, will be astonishingly great in the eyes of the whole intelligent creation, when his kingdom shall come, and his will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
7. Has God made of one blood all nations of men who now dwell on all the face of the earth, who have dwelt on the earth, and who will hereafter dwell on the earth? Then the whole family of Adam will be immensely numerous. If the seed of Abraham will be as the stars of heaven for multitude, what will be the seed of Adam ? Their numbers will be beyond human calculation, if not beyond human conception. This immense family are to have one universal and solemn meeting. For, “ when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all
nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." We shall all be placed in this solemn attitude on that great day, to hear our own doom, the door of the whole human race, and of the whole intelligent creation. The division will be irreversible. The righteous shall go away into life eternal ; but the wicked into everlasting punishment. “ The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." Are we prepared to see what we must see; to hear what we must hear; and to be where we must be, to all eternity? We are upon trial, and the trial will soon close, in eternal joy or sorrow. Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.
DIGNITY OF MAN.
DONATION OF BOOKS, BY DR. FRANKLIN, 1786.
Show thyself a man. -1 Kings ii. 2.
DAVID closed the scene of life with that propriety of conduct, and that composure of mind, which at once displayed the beauty of religion and the dignity of human nature. When the time of his departure drew nigh he had nothing to do to prepare for death, but only, like other pious and illustrious patriarchs, to converse with his friends, and to give them his last and best advice. And as he had, some time before, committed to Solomon the care of his family and government of his kingdom; so he felt a strong and ardent desire that this beloved son, in whom he had reposed such important trusts, should appear with dignity, and act a noble and worthy part upon the stage of life. Accordingly he called him into his presence, and with equal solemnity and affection, addressed him in these memorable words: “ I go the way of all the earth; be thou strong, therefore, and show thyself a man." This appellation sometimes signifies the dignity, and sometimes the meanness of our nature. Job makes use of it to express our meanness and turpitude in the sight of God. “ How can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold, even to the moon, and it shineth not, yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man that is a worm, and the Son of man which is a worm." But Isaiah employs this same appellative to represent the dignity of human nature, when he calls upon stupid idolaters to “remember this, and show themselves men." So here David, in his dying address to Solomon, "show thyself a man,” evidently means to use the term in the best sense,
and to urge him to act up to the dignity of his nature, and the end of his being.
Agreeably therefore to the spirit and intention of the text, the subject which now properly lies before us, is the dignity of man. And I hope the observations which shall be made upon this subject, will do honor to our nature in one view, and pour contempt upon it in another, and so lead us all into a clear and just apprehension of ourselves, which is the most useful, as well as the most rare and high attainment in knowledge.
The dignity of man appears from his bearing the image of his Maker. After God had created the heavens and the earth, and furnished the world with a rich profusion of vegetive and sensitive natures, he was pleased to form a more noble and intelligent creature to bear his image, and to be the lord of this lower creation. “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” This allows us to say that man is the offspring of God, a ray from the fountain of light, a drop from the ocean of intelligence. Though man, since the fall, comes into the world destitute of the moral image of God, yet, in the very frame and constitution of his nature, he still bears the natural image of his Maker. His soul is a transcript of the natural perfections of the Deity. God is a spirit, and so is the soul of man; God is intelligence and activity, and so is the soul of man. word, man is the living image of the living God, in whom is displayed more of the divine nature and glory, than in all the works and creatures of God upon earth. Agreeably therefore to the dignity of his nature, God hath placed him at the head of the world, and given him the dominion over all his works. Hence says the Psalmist, “ Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen; yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea.” How wide is the kingdom of man! how numerous his subjects! how great his dignity!
God has, besides, enstamped a dignity upon man by giving him not only a rational, but an immortal existence.
The soul, which is properly the man, shall survive the body and livefor ever.
This might be argued from the nature, the capacity, and the desires of the human mind, and from the authority of the wiser heathens, who have generally supposed the soul to be a spiritual and immortal principle in man. But since the heathen moralists might derive their opinion from a higher source than
the light of nature, and since every created object necessarily and solely depends, for continued existence, upon the will of the Creator; we choose to rest the evidence of this point upon the authority of the sacred oracles. Here indeed we find the immortality of the soul sufficiently established. Solomon saith, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth ?" And in another place, after describing the frailty and mortality of the body, he adds, “ Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Agreeably to this, our Lord declares that men are able to kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. And God has told us that he will, at the last day, separate the righteous from the wicked, and fix the latter in a miserable, but the former in a blessed immortality. Hence immortality appears to be the common property and dignity of the human kind.
The creatures and objects with which we are now surrounded, have but a short and momentary being. One species of insects, we are told, begin and end their existence in twentyfour hours. Others live and flutter a few hours longer, and then drop into their primitive dust. The larger animals, which people the air, the earth and the sea, do, day after day, in a thick and constant succession, die and dissolve into their own elements. And even the whole material system will, after a few ages, either by the immediate hand of God, or by the gradual operation of the laws of nature, be rolled together as a scroll, and tumbled into one vast and promiscuous ruin. But we shall survive all these ruins and ravages of time, and live the constant spectators of the successive scenes of eternity. And this renders us infinitely superior, in point of dignity and importance, to all the objects and creatures whose existence expires with time.
The dignity of man also appears from the great attention and regard which God hath paid to him. God indeed takes care of all his creatures, and his tender mercies are over all his works: but man has always been the favorite child of Providence. God, before he brought him into being, provided a large and beautiful world for his habitation; and ever since the day of his creation, he has commanded all nature to contribute to his support and happiness. For his good, he has appointed the sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night. Into his bosom he has ordered the earth and the sea to pour all their rich and copious blessings. And for his use and comfort he has given the fowls of the mountains, the beasts of the forests, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. He has also