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MAJESTY AND POWER OF GOD.
8 with God! how despicable all friendship, compared with his friendship and love!
§ 2. The book of nature may teach much respecting God, may at least declare his eternal power and godhead, but it is the book of grace alone that unfolds the brighter glories of Jehovah. Would you be intimate with God, the God of heaven, not with the idol, philosophers frame in their imagination, then search the Scriptures. That holy volume represents the adorable God as possessed of those excellencies which should excite the deepest reverence, and the most fervent love, in the human heart.
God is a Spirit. He created the heapens and the earth. He said, Let there be light, and there was light. The sun obeys his voice; and the stars of heaven appear at his command. He is the one Jehovah, and the only true God." Heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool. He reigneth h King for ever. He is clothed with majesti.k Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. He is the King eternal, immortal, invisible'; the only wise Göd.m To his enemies he is a consuming fire. He is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.•
In Providence, and in the works of nature, the power and majesty of God are displayed: He killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. He maketh poor and maketh rich. He raiseth the stormy wind, or maketh the storm a calm. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, or water-springs into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness ;9 or a dry desert to a watered field. He saith to the snow, be thou on the earth." He giveth rain, and sendeth waters upon the fields. He feedeth the fowls of the air, and clotheth the lilies of the field with more than kingly.glory ;' and so extensive is his providential care, that without him not a sparrow falleth to the ground."
The sublime description of the majesty and glory of God, in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, is as much superior to the loftiest descriptions, which unassisted poets or philosophers have given of the Deity, as the God it represents is superior to
(g) Matt. v. 34, 35.
(a) John iv. 24. (6) Gen, i, 1, 3. (c) Job ix. 7. (d) Isa, xl, 26. (e) Mark xii. 29. () John xvii. 3.
(h) Ps. xciii. 1. (i) Ps. xxix. 10. (k) Ps. xciii. 1. (1) Ps. xcvii. 2. (m) 1 Tim. i. 17. (») Heb. xii. 29. (0) Matt. x. 28. (p) 1 Sam. ii. 6, 8. (9) Ps. cvii. 25, &c.
Job xxxvii. 6. () Job v. 10. (6) Matt. vi. 26, &c. (u) Matt. x. 29. WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
the idols they extolled. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. All nations before him
are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing and vanity.
Survey this universe. Behold its oceans, in themselves a watery world. No line has ever measured their unfathomable depths. The swiftest ship would spend months or years in crossing them; yet to God, those vast and fathomless oceans are so insignificant, that he measureth the waters of the world in the hollow of his hand. Behold the heavens; the sun, the the stars of light; how brilliant is their glory! how immense their distances! but God meteth out heaven with a span; measures with a span, almost the least of measures, that vast and boundless field of grandeur and of glory. Behold the earth, its vast islands, its cloud-capt mountains, its unmeasured deserts; the fertile lands of its immense continents, where numerous nations find ample room for their residence, and which require a line thousands of miles in extent to measure either their length or their breadth ; but what are these vast regions, and this vast earth, before Jehovah! He comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and taketh up the islands as an atom. Survey the nations; perhaps a thousand millions of human beings. How immense the number ! yet to God so insignificant, that they are as a drop of a bucket, and as the small dust which lies unheeded on the balance; as nothing, less than nothing and vanity.
$ 3. Now glance at the unsearchable wisdom and infinite knowledge of God.
He is the Lord of hosts, wonderful in counsel. God the only wise. He seeth in secret. He seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. He searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. He is not an inattentive spectator of what passes in his wide empire. By him are actions weighed. The Lord looketh (0) Isa. xl. 12, 15, 17. (w) Isa. xxviii, 29. 4x) Rom. xvi. 17. (y) Matt. vi. 4.
() 1 Sam. xvi. 7.
(a) 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
(6) 1 Sam. ii, 3.
HOLINESS AND GOODNESS OF GOD.
10 from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men, he considereth all their works.
In this vast survey,
he beholds his children with peculiar love. The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy, to deliver their soul from death ;d to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.e
Would any wish to hide themselves from his all-piercing eye, it is impossible; for in him we live, and move, and have our being. He smiles in heaven ; he frowns in hell. The veil of night which hides all things from the eyes of man, hides nothing from his eye. No spot in the universe can be found that is beyond the reach of his arm, or where it should cease to be said, Thou, O God, seest me. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea ; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me ; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day : the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.8
§ 4. This adorable and all-seeing God is holy and amiable in the highest degree. He is glorious in holiness.h There is none holy as the Lord. He is of purer cyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. Just and true are his ways. He is the faithful God, who keepeth truth for ever."
“ High o'er the earth his mercy reigns,
“ His truth to endless years remains,
Venerable and lovely in his holiness, he is, if possible, still more lovely in his goodness and mercy. He is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. Of great mercy.p A merciful God. There is none good but God." He proclaimed his name Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
(d) Ps. xxxiii. 18, 19.
(c) Ps. xxxiii. 13.
(e) 2 Chron, xvi. 9. (SActs xvii. 28. (9) Ps. cxxxix. 7-12. (h) Exod. xv. 11. () 1 Sam. ii. 2. (k) Hab. i. 13.. (1) Rev. v. 3. (m) Deut. vii. 9. (n) Ps. xlvi. 6. (0) 2 Cor. i. 3. tp) Numb. xiv. 18. (a) Deut. iv. 31.
(r) Mak x. 18.
GOODNESS AND MERCY OF GOD.
11 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. The fountain of his goodness pours forth many, streams. He is not willing that any should perish, but ihat all should come to repentance. He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. He is a God ready to pardon,'
is gracious and full of compassion, is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." W “ He is plcnteous in mercy and truth."
The world might drink at the ocean of his love, and the ocean still be full. “ He giveth grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”y
He is the Father of all the righteous; “their Father in heaven;" "and like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.” A stronger principle of love than natural affection actuates him, “ If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him." Parental love in its strongest form cannot rival his. “ Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee,"c Love like this cannot be measured. “ Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens."d
Who can measure the heights of heaven? or stretch a line from the east unto the west ? Yet this were an easier task, than to tell the extent of divine love.
66 As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." This charming excellence is his delight. “ He delighteth in mercy;"" “and taketh pleasure in those that fear him, and that hope in his mercy."8 To sum up all in a few words, “ GOD IS LOVE."
His richest love is the love unfolded in the gospel; love, like an ocean, which has neither shore nor bottom, measure, beginning, nor end. “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” i
God com() Exod. xxxiv. 6. (1) 2 Pet. iii. 9. (u) Luke vi. 35.
(w) Ps. cxlv. 8, 9. (c) Ps. lxxxvi. 5. (y) Ps. lxxxiv. 11. (a) Ps, ciii. 13, 14.
(c) Isa. xlix. 15. (e) Ps. ciii, 11, 12. (f) Mic. vii. 18.
(h) 1 John iv, 16. (1) John iii. 16.
(v) Neh, ix, 17. (2) Matt. vi. 9. (d) Ps. xxxvi. 5.
(6) Matt. vii. 11.
(9) Ps. cxlvii. 11.
ETERNITY OF GOD. mendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."* • Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."! A pious writer observes,
“When God gave us his Son, he gave us an infinitely greater gift than the world : the Creator is infinitely more glorious than the creature, and the Son of God is the Creator of all things. God can make innumerable worlds by the word of his mouth; he has but one only Son, and he spared not his only Son, but gave him to the death of the cross for us all. God's love to his people is from everlasting to everlasting : but from everlasting to everlasting there is no manifestation of it known, or conceivable by us, that can be compared to this. The light of the sun is always the same, but it shines brightest to us at noon: the cross of Christ was the noon-tide of everlasting love; the meridian splendour of eternal mercy. There were many bright manifestations of the same love before, but they were like the light of the morning, that shines more and more unto the perfect day; and that perfect day was when Christ was on the cross, when darkness covered all the land."
Pursuing his schemes of love and mercy, he appears as “ the God of all grace, who hath called us to his eternal glory by Jesus Christ.” He loveth those who love his Son. “ It is their Father's good pleasure to give them the kingdom.". “ And God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city.' $ 5. All this love is like himself, eternal.
“ His mercy endureth for ever ;''? and“ is from everlasting to everlasting upon ; them that fear him."r “ The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment; but his salvation shall be for ever.'
He who manifests this love is “ the eternal God." " A thousand years in his sight are as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.“ One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."" inhabiteth eternity ;'* and such is that eternity, that, compared with it, one day and a thousand years are alike; they are both so insignificant, that one appears as long as the other. (4) Rom. v. 7, 8. (1) 1 John iv. 2, 10.
() Ps. cxxxvi. 1. (t) Deut. xxxiii. 27.
(v) 2 Pet. iii, 8. (w) Isa. Ivii. 15.
(m) 1 Pet. v. 10.
(0) Luke xii. 32. (s) Isa. li. 6.
(n) John xvi. 27.
(r) Ps. ciii. 17.
(P) Heb. xi. 16.
(1) Ps. Xc. 4.