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banks' which your industry has opposed to them, when a devouring fire reduceth your houses to ashes, it is he who makes the winds his messengers, and his ministers flames of fire, Psal. civ. 4.
When everything succeeds according to our wishes, he is there. He influenceth prosperity. Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows. It is God who giveth his beloved sleep, Psal. cxxvii. 1, 2.
When our understanding is informed, he is there. He influenceth our knowledge. For in his light we see light, Psal. xxxvi. 9. He lighteth every man that cometh into the world, John i. 9.
When our heart disposeth us to our duties, he is there. He influenceth our virtues. It is he who worketh in us, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, Phil. ii. 13. It is he who giveth us not only to believe but to suffer for his sake, chap. i. 29. It is he who giveth to all that ask him, liberally, und apbraideth not, James i. 5. ; When the grossest errors cover us, he is there. He influenceth errors. It is God who sends strong delusions that men should believe a lie, 2 Thess. ii.
11. Go make the heart of this people fat, and . maketheir ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, Isa. vi. 10. ; When we violate the laws of righteousness, he is there. He influenceth sins, even the greatest sins. Witness Pharaoh, whose heart he hardened, Exod. iv. 21. Witness Shimei, whom the Lord bade to curse David, 2 Sam. xvi. 11. Witness what Isaiah said, the Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst of Egypt, ch. xix. 14.
When magistrates, our earthly gods, consult and deliberate, he is there. He influenceth policy. It is he who hath the hearts of kings in his hand, and turneth them as the rivers of water, Prov. xxi. 1. It is he who giveth kings in his anger, and taketh them away in his wrath, Hosea xiii. 11 It is he who maketh the Assyrian the rod of his anger, Isaiah x. 5. Herod and Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel did rehat his hand and his counsel determined before to be done, Acts iv. 27, 28.
When we live, when we die, he is there. He influenceth life and death. Man's days are determined, the number of his months are with him, he has appointed his bounds that he cannot pass, Job. xiv. 5. To God the Lord belongs the issues from death, Psal. Ixviii. 20. He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up, 1 Sam. ii. 6. .
He influences the least events as well as the most considerable. Not being fatigued with the care of great things, he can occupy himself about the smallest without prejudice to the rest ; number the hairs of our heads, and not let even a sparrow fall without his will. Matt. x. 29,30. : But. 3. When God communicates himself to all, when he thus acts on all, when he diffuseth himself thus through the whole, he connects all with his own designs, and makes all serve his own counsels : and this is our third idea of his immensity and omnipresence. God is present with all, because he directs all.
Doth he call the creatures into existence ? it is to manifest his perfections. It is to have subjects on whom he may shower his favors; it is, as it were, to go out of himself, and to form through the whole universe a concert resounding the Creator's existence and glory... For the invisible things of God, even his eternal power and godhead are understood
by the things that are made, Rom. i. 20. The heavers declare the glory of God, and the firriament shervéth his handy-rvork. Day unto day uttereth speech, night into night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where there voice is heard, Psal. xix. 1, 2, 3.
Doth he préserve his créatures ? it is to answer his own designs, the depth of which no finite mind can fathom ; but designs which we shall one day know, and admire his wisdom when we know them, às we adore it now, though we know them not. ... Doth he send plagues, wars, famines ? it is to make those feel his justice who have abused his goodness, it is to avenge the violation of his law, the contempt of his gospel, the forgetting and forsaking of the interest of his church. · Doth he afford us prosperity ? it is to draw us with the bands of love, Hosea xi. 4. it is to reveal himself to us by that love which is his essence; it is to engage us to imitate him, who never leaves himself without witness in doing good, Acts xiv.
Doth he impart knowledge to us ? it is to discover the shares that surround us, the miseries that threaten us, the origin from which we sprang, the course of life we should follow, and the end at which we should aim.
Doth he communicate virtues ? it is to animate us in our race; it is to convince us that there is a mighty arm to raise us from the abyss into which our natural corruption hath plunged us ; it is that we may work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knoroing that God worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure, Phil. ii. 12, 13.
Doth he send us error ? it is to make us respect that truth whrich we have resisted..
Doth he abandon us to our vices ? it is to punisik us for some other vices which we have comunitted voluntarily and freely; so that, if we could comprehend it, his love for holiness never appears more clearly, than when he abandons men to vice in this manner.
Doth he raise up kings ? it is always to oblige them to administer justice, to protect the widow and the orphan, to maintain order and religion. Yet, he often permits them to violate equity, to oppress their people, and to become the scourges of his anger. By them he frequently teacheth us how little account he makes of human grandeurs, seeing he bestows them sometimes upon unworthy men, upon men allured by voluptuousness, governed by ambition, and dazzled with their own glory, upon men who. ridicule piety, sell their consciences, negotiate faith and religion, sacrificing the souls of their children to the infamous passions that govern themselves.
Doth he prolong our life? it is because he is long suffering to us, 2 Pet. iii. 9. it is because he opens in our favor the riches of his goodness, and forbearance to lead us to repentance, Rom. ii. 4. . Doth he call us to die? it is to open those eternal books in which our actions are registered; it is to gather our souls into his bosom, to bind them up in the bundle of life, 1 Sam. xxv. 29. to mix them with the ransomed armies of all nations, tongues, and people, Rev. vii. 9.
Such are our ideas of the omnipresence of God. Thus God seeth all, influenceth all, directeth all. In this sense we are to understand this magnificent language of scripture. Will God indeed dwell on the earth ? behold, the heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, 1 Kings viii. 27. Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, Isa. Ixvi. ). Where is the house that ye build unto me? do I not fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ? am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. This is what the heathens had a glimpse of, when they said, that God was a circle, the centre of which was every where, and its circumference no where. That all things were full of Jupiter. That he filled all his works. That, fly whither we would, we were always before his eyes. This is what the followers of Mahomet meant, when they said, that where there were two persons, God made the third : where there were three, God made the fourth. Akove all, this was our prophet's meaning throughout the Psalm, a part of which we have explained. “ O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, I cannot attain unto it. 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 part of the sea ; even there-shal 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," ver. I, &c.