Sivut kuvina

tion, which brought him near to God, and to prepare him for an implicit and full reliance on the power, that had condescended to be. come obligated to him, Jehovah calls his attention to the dignity and rank of the being, from whom he was receiving such favourable notices and expressions of regard: As if he had said, you have been brought near, in covenant, to one, from whom you have received promises of the highest import, which are meant to entail the richest blessings upon yourself individually, upon your posterity, or seed, and, in you, upon all the nations of the earth. Have you considered who it is, that pledges himself for the accomplishment of all the good, which is treasured up in the above promises ? and by how great author. ity you are required, on your part, to be 0. bedient ? Is it a frail man, or one of the impotent gods of Chaldea, that has bound him. self to you, to pour choice blessings upon your head and to cause you to be a blessing? No : it is one infinitely greater than any of these ; it is the almighty God. “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." It was of no small importance to Abraham, to have some just idea of the perfections and character of that being, on whom he was to depend for the fulfilment of the terms of the covenant, which was to be his final inheritance, and to whom, on his part, he consented to yield unreserved subjection. With him it must have been a most. significant and interesting question. Is

the God whom I serve, and in whom all my hopes centre, able to execute all that he has promised, to make me as great and happy as his own voluntary assurances imply ? Is he able to give me security and quiet in the land of my pilgrimage, and to protect me from the insults of those, on whose territory I am called to abide, and among whom I sojourn,. not as a citizen, but as a stranger ? And, moreover, will he be able to put me, and all comprised within the provisions of his cove: nant, into possession of all the beatitude and glory, which is promised, whether of the life that now is, or of that which is to come ? Without some solid satisfaction upon the subject of such queries, Abraham could not have settled down upon the promises of God, however gracious and condescending the terms, in which they were expressed, and calmly waited for the result of his faith. He must have had such a persuasion as the a. postle to the Romans says he had, that what God had promised he was able also to performi That he might have this ground of confidence, and might have a sufficient inducement to embark with animation and vigour in tlie cause of godliness, the Deity, when proposing to him subject matter of faith and hope, promises something to authorize and support it.

“ I am the almighty God.” In your relation to me you ought, therefore, to be perfect ; to, be free from every possible blemish in your temper and carriage ; and may, furthermore, safely confide in the cero

tain fulfilment of all my promises. “ Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Since I, who have all power, am your friend, you need no oth. er defence, or safeguard from evil. Confide in me, and nothing shall harm you. Hence we see what abundant use of his own at. tribute of power Jehovah makes for an inducement to creatures to put confidence in him. If he were wanting in power, his being never so perfect in all his other attri. butes would not entitle him to be trusted, so entirely and unreservedly, as is necessary to the uninterrupted peace and tranquility of the mind. A man may boast of superior ingenuity in planning for himself, or others; yet if he wants abilities to execute, his talent at conceiving plans, however brilliant or distinguished it may appear, will be of no account. If a plan cannot go into practice, the least we can say of it is, that it might as well not have been projected. would it be, that God has benevolent counsels in his heart; that he prefers good to evil; that he is not satisfied with any thing short of the best interest and most perfect glory of the great system of being, taken together; if it could be supposed, that his power was less than his benevolence, or that he could not do the good that he would ? True it is, we admire a person of an excellent spirit, whether he be in circumstances to do much good or little. We esteem the goodness of

heart, independently of the idea of his

To what purpose



being able to act it out in outward good deeds, or his having it in his power to make others happy. The disposition itself is love. ly, whether or not it has a chance to shed its benign influence upon others. In like manner, had we evidence of the goodness of God, and not of his power, we should have ground of complacency, but not of confidence, in him. We should have reason to love and honour him for his benignity ; but could not lean upon him as a benefactor and help

Such a God could not be consistently sought to for the favours, which creatures need at the hand of the great Supreme. To be thoroughly furnished to the works of universal government; or to be able, in every thing, and upon all occasions, to do right ; the being, who has supreme authority, and holds the jurisdiction of all worlds, must be “ the almighty God." His

power must be sufficient to cause any effect whatever, which is needed to render the system perfect, or, in other words, to bring glory to God, in the highest possible degree. Upon supposition of the contrary, it is easy to see, that universal and unbounded confidence would not be due to God; and consequently, as moral governor, he would be justly exposed to contempt.

I suppose we shall not find any, professing to believe in the existence of one God, and at the same time denying his power to be infinite. His omnipotence is so often attested, in word and deed, that all will unite in

saying, it cannot be doubted. But this, per. haps, is no good reason, why we should not dwell upon the subject ; but content our. selves with allowing the thought casually to shoot through the mind; or with occasional. ly pronouncing the word ; or with superäcially glancing the eye over some of the objects, which bespeak such a power. Though this truth, so necessary and obvious, is or. dinarily confessed ; yet a denial of it is often implied ; at least, we may venture to say, it is but too seldom applied. The dependence of things upon God, the great cause of all, which immediately suggests the idea of his power, is but too constantly overlooked, or too carelessly noticed. And some, to secure a degree of independence to crea. tures, have, I may say, expressly limited the power of the holy One. It is not my object, in this discourse, to collect the passages of scripture, in which Deity is styled the almighty God, as in the text ; nor those which speak of his wonderful power, as in drown. ing the world, burning up the cities of Sod. om and Gomorrah, drying up the red sea, &c. &c. but to show

First. That God must have power to cause the existence of any thing which is necessary, or can be of use, to promote his own glory.

Secondly. That he must have power to continue the existence of such things. And Thirdly. That he must have power to use


« EdellinenJatka »