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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1831, by A. DICKINSON, in the Office of the Southern District of New-York.
CONTENTS OF VOLS. IX. & X.
No. 1. VOL. 9.]
NEW-YORK, JUNE, 1834. [WHOLE NO. 97.
BY JAMES RICHARDS, D. D.
PROFESSOR OF CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY IN THE SEMINARY AT AUBURN, N. Y.
THE GREAT KING.
MALACHI, i. 14. For I am a great king, saith the Lord of hosts.
THERE are few truths of greater practical importance than the one here announced; and none perhaps which men are more inclined to forget. Of multitudes it may be said, God is not in all their thoughts; and of others, that though they think of him, it is only as their Creator and Benefactor, not as their holy and eternal king. They choose to forget him in this relation, that they may avoid the conviction of their own responsibility. But forgetfulness of God, or of the relations he sustains to us, can never annihilate those relations. He is a king upon his throne, swaying a scepter of universal and uncontroled authority. He is a great king, whose attributes it behoves us to consider, whose will it deeply concerns us to know and obey. This truth the prophet proclaims to the Israelites in the words before us, and proclaims it for the purpose of showing them the guilt of their hypocritical offerings. They had brought the torn, and the lame, and the sick, for a sacrifice, instead of animals "without blemish," as the law required. But what said the answer of God? 'Cursed be the man who hath in his flock a male, and voweth and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great king, saith the Lord of hosts; and my name is dreadful among the heathen." They had forgotten the majesty of Him with whom they had to do, and treated the great Lord of the universe with a species of disrespect which they would not have dared to offer to an earthly governor-a mere mortal like themselves.
To avoid treading in their guilty steps, let us constantly bear in mind the fact, that God is a great king-a fact immediately and emphatically asserted in the text, by God himself—and claiming on this account our special attention. Our object in the following discourse is twofold:-
I. To consider in what respects God is a great king; and
II. To apply the subject to some practical uses.
In what respects, then, is God a great king?
1. He is so, first of all, in regard to the greatness of his empire. "Is there any number of his armies, and on whom doth not his light arise ?" Cast your eye over the universe; stretch your imagination to the utmost; and can you tell where God's empire begins, or where it ends? You have seen the starry firmament, where unnumbered worlds roll through boundless space; you have felt lost in the immensity of God's works; but how little have you seen! and how little can you see, compared with what exists! It is but the threshold of Jehovah's kingdom that appears to the naked eye. Philosophy with her instruments reveals millions of other suns and other systems which lie far beyond. All that is visible to us bears no greater proportion to the whole of God's dominions, than a single grain of sand to the innumerable multitude which line the ebbing shore. How great a king then must God be, whose empire spreads through the boundless regions of his works--whose government includes in it every moral being in the universe-angels, men, devils, with all the inferior orders of creatures, wonderfully diversified in their natures, and crowding every part of the material world with their existence? Nay, how great a king must He be, whose government extends as well to inanimate as animated nature-who presides over every particle of matter in his vast dominions, and directs and controls its agency in the innumerable changes it is passing, or is destined to pass !
This wide and universal government of God the psalmist celebrates when he calls upon the whole creation, from its highest to its lowest forms, to praise the name of the Lord." Praise ye the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights; praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts; praise ye him, sun and moon; praise ye him, all ye stars of light; praise ye him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens: Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created; he hath also established them forever; he hath made a decree which they shall not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling his word; mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl; kings and all people, princes and all judges of the earth, both young men and maidens, old men and children; let them praise the name of the Lord; for his name alone is excellent, and his glory is above the earth and the heavens."
Every creature in the universe is here summoned to bear a part in God's praise, because a part of his empire and under his control.
2. God is a great king, not only as he possesses a great empire, whose