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HIS LOVE fN CHRIST. 139
heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together:" Hos. xi, 8. The prodigal son, humbled under the miserable consequences of his dissolute life, returns with a penitent heart to his paternal home. His father beholds him, while he is yet a great way oft"—runs towards him—falls on his neck and kisses him—puts on him his best robe—kills the fatted calf for his entertainment—and fondly rejoices over him, because he was "dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is found:" Luke xy.
But it is in the scheme of redemption, as revealed to mankind in the Gospel of Jesus Christ—in that wonderful truth, that the Father gave the Son to be the sacrifice for sin, and the Saviour of sinners—that the mercy of God towards his corrupted and degraded children is displayed in all its brightness, and in all its consistency with the holiness of his nature. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us:" Rom. v, 8. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ:" Eph. ii, 4,5. "Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins:" I John iv, 10. When we contemplate this amazing scene, and are humbled in the view of it; when we hear the Spirit say, Come, and the bride say, Come, and in compliance with the invitation, draw near to the " fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness;" when we wash our robes, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, and " take the water of life freely"—then are we prepared to confess of a truth, the perfect holiness of Jehovah—then also can we enter into the strength and spirit of the apostle's
140 HIS TRUTH AND FAITHFULNESS.
declaration, that "God Is Love:" I John iv, 16. VI. Lastly, let it be observed that God is true and faithful. "The word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth:" Ps. xxxiii, 4. "The works of his hands are verity and judgment—all his commandments are sure; they stand fast for ever and ever; and are done in truth and uprightness: Ps. cxi, 7, 8. The truth, no less than the mercy of God, called forth the praises of his' inspired servants. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness, and for thy truth; for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name:" Ps. cxxxviii, 2. "The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations:" Ps. c, 5. "Also the Strength of Israel will not lie:" I Sam. xv, 29. "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself" II Tim. ii, 13. The divine quality so plainly declared in these and numerous other passages of Holy Writ, is of unutterable importance, because it affords a pledge of that eternal stability in the operation of all his other moral attributes, upon which his dependent creatures may place a perfect reliance. The word of the Lord is sure. His law is unalterable. His judgments are certain. His promises cannot fail. Let the wicked tremble before him, in the certain assurance that his threats will be executed—that the day of his wrath will come in its season. Let the righteous rejoice, because they have a faithful Creator, to whom, with absolute security, they may commit the keeping of their souls, I Pet. iv, 19; because "he which hath begun a good work in them, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," Phil, i, 6; because they have an hope " which entereth into that within the vail," as
"an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast," Heb. vi, 19; because " he is faithful that promised," Heb. x, 23; because God, who " sent redemption unto his people, hath commanded his covenant for ever:" Ps. cxi, 9.
Such is a feeble sketch of the account presented to us in the Scriptures, of the nature and character of God. In the recollection of the principal features of our subject, we are once more to observe, that there is no other God but Jehovah; that this one God is from eternity to eternity; that he gave existence to all other beings, and is alone the Creator of the heavens and the earth; that in the work of creation he displayed an absolute omnipotence and perfect wisdom; that he manifests the same attributes in the perpetual maintenance of the laws of nature; that he is the absolute sovereign of the universe, and orders the whole course of events by his providence; that he is invisible, yet omnipresent, filling his own works; that he is omniscient, penetrating the inmost recesses of the hearts of his children; that he is absolutely holy, the Fountain of purity, abhorring sin, rejecting and condemning all iniquity; that he is just, conducting his moral government on a system of righteous retribution, in which it is well with the good, and ill with the wicked; that in the application of this retributive system, he maintains a perfect equity; that he is good, abounding in benevolence towards all his sensitive creatures, protecting the injured and oppressed, and, in an especial manner, extending his fostering care to those who fear and serve him; that although he leave's the impenitent sinner to suffer, yet he comforts and supports every contrite mourner, and overrules the afflictions of the righteous to their eter142 CONCLUSION.
nal advantage; that he is willing to forgive, and rich in mercy towards the whole degraded family of mankind; that in the scheme of man's redemption, above all, it is made abundantly manifest, that God Is Love. Finally, that in his truth and faithfulness, we have an unfailing warrant that his judgments will be executed, his mercies perfected, and all his promises found to be yea and amen for ever.
In retiring from the consideration of this awful subject, must we not exclaim with the Psalmist, "When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him!" Must we not be humbled in the dust under a sense of the incomprehensible condescension of God, who is pleased to dwell in us, and to invite us as a father to dwell in Him? And ought we not to press with holy diligence after that better state of being, in which we shall know God, " even as we are known"—in which we shall find eternity not too long for contemplating the attributes, performing the will, and declaring the praises, of JEHOVAH?
ON THE UNION AND DISTINCTION IN THE DIVINE NATURE.
1 He contents of the preceding essay afford abundant evidence that the doctrine of the unity of God is not only explicitly declared by the inspired writers, but lies at the very foundation of their system of religion, and pervades it in every part. Whether they were led to write of his power, his omniscience, and his wisdom, or to expatiate on his moral attributes, it never failed to be on the allowed and declared principle, that there is no other God but Jehovah, the Creator and Governor of all things, the only proper object of spiritual allegiance and adoration. While, however, this primary truth must ever be held sacred on the authority of the Holy Scriptures, it is on the same authority that we admit another doctrine,— namely, that in his revealed operations, and more especially in the appointment and application of the scheme of man's redemption, God has manifested himself to us as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In order to the elucidation of this subject—a subject which ought never to be approached without a feeling of profound humility and reverence—we may