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plish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Upon the certain fulfilment of all that God has spoken, whether it be to the joy of the righteous, or to the sorrow of the wicked, his character so depends, that were the least failure to be supposed possible, it would break up the whole ground of that confidence in him, which is the believer's only source of quietness and peace. Sixthly. The unchangeableness of God implies, that no new thoughts or ideas can come into his mind. In our own experience we know nothing of mental exercise, only what consists in a successive change of perceptions and volitions. One idea follows another, and one act of will takes place after another. Thus is it with the ideas and imaginations of our minds, as it is with the generations of men, one passeth away and another cometh. Hence it appears, that changeableness is one of the most common and necessary attributes of men. We cannot dismiss one thought, or impression, for another, without undergoing a change. For the mind is not exactly in the same mode, or condition, with its present thought, that it was with the one it last had. As often as one idea succeeds another, the mind may be said to experience a change; for it is not, while this succession of thoughts is going on, the same, in all respects, at one time, that it is at another. And so far as a difference exists of any kind, there is a change. . With regard to the structure of a mind, we know and can conceive of no one, to which this mutability is not incidental. ... We cannot frame an idea of a mind, in which there is no succession of thoughts; and yet we are ‘sure that God must be such an one, or else he cannot be such a being as the universe needs for its head. If there be such a thing with him as novelty, or something he always had not, he must be of a limited capacity, and of limited powers, and consequently unfit for infinite dominion. With whatever his mind is occupied, at one time, it is at all times; or else he passes from one state to another, in plying a change, which is contrary to the text and all proper views of the supreme being, “I am the Lord, I change not.” I shall close this discourse with reflecting, . that it must be impiety, and a dishonour to . God, for any creature to imagine, that the Deity may be drawn aside from the channel of his own inflexible will and firm purposes. by anything, however interesting, from even the highest of created intelligences. This, however, is not to discourage addresses to God for his blessing, presented with devout reverence and humility... If, however, we go to him, under a notion, that by much importunity and fervour, we shall be able to . disengage him from the prosecution of his own favourite course, and incline him towards that which is more especially agreeable to ourselves, our mistake will not be a . M. m.
trifling nor an innocent one. If our hope of success in prayer is built on the supposition, that God is not immutable, and may, therefore, be prevailed with to abandon his own interest and come over to ours, sad and melancholy, indeed, is our unpreparedness to wait on God, as suppliants. But what room, says one, is there for prayer, if God be thus inflexible in his own ways * Will not all prayer, according to this, degenerate into a useless ceremony ? The truly devout, and they who really seek God, pray, because God has connected asking and receiving together; . . because they are joined together, in his eternal counsels, never to be put asunder ; and not because Jehovah is so weak and changeable that he cannot resist the importunity of man. The unchangeableness of God is the grand refuge, to which those escape, as on: the wings of prayer, whose heart is fixed. trusting in God.
God under influence from no other being.
EPHESIANS i. 1 1. latt clause.
Who wolketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
I, c. is the portion of his people, and the fountain of all their happiness and glory; if saints and angels in heaven make it their delightful and incessant employment. to enquire into the mysteries of the Godhead, that they may never fail of fresh matter for joyful adoration and praise ; need I entertain any apprehensions lest I should weary your patience by continuing to dwell upon the subject of Deity. Can you ever be tired of hearing about God, provided your attention be called to such representations and views of him, as are furnished in his own most holy word : What being is there in the universe, in whose character and works we are so deeply interested, as in his?: How important is it, then, that we have the fullest and best understanding of his perfections and government, that our capacity and circumstances will admit 2 What avails all other knowledge to him, who is ignorant of God? As a moral being, he will derive more benefit from the slightest real acquaintance with the divine character, than from the largest discovery of all other objects in the universe. It is because his welfare is more deeply involved in, and affected by, what may be considered as the real complexion of God’s character, than all other possible: things. However indifferent we may, therefore, feel towards other things, and however unconcerned about excelling in our knowl. edge of them ; yet if we have any wisdom: of thought, or rational consideration, we cannot esteem it of little importance, whether we have right conceptions of God. We cannot better conceive of the business of the heavenly world, as carried on, uninterruptedly, to eternity, than that it consists in the utmost stretch of the mind after clearer and more enlarged discoveries of God. And if eternal ages of intense application to this study will not fatigue the glorified inhabitants of the upper world, nor, in any degree, wear upon their patience ; should we, who must owe all our happiness to the same objects, and influences, think our minds unreasonably burdened with this momentous theme if urged upon us for a few weeks in succession... O that, with a devout and holy.