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Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth ? declare, if thou hast understanding, ch. xxvi. 7. 11. 14. Who hath laid the measures thereof? who hath stretched the line upon it? whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? who laid the corner-stone thereof, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea with doors, when I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it? when I brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? ch. xxxviii. 1, 2, 3, &c. He that reproveth God let him answer this, ch. xl. 2. O Lord, such knowledge is too wonderful for me ; it is too high, I cannot attain unto it!
4. But, my brethren, shall these he the only inferences from our text? shall we reap only speculations from this discourse ? shall we only believe, admire, and exclaim? Ah! from this idea of God, I see all the virtues issue which religion prescribes !
If such be the grandeur of the God I adore, miserable wretch! what ought my repentance to be! I, a contemptible worm, I, a creature whom God could tread beneath his feet, and crush into dust by a single act of his will, I have rebelled against the great God, I have endeavored to provoke him to jealousy, as if I had been stronger than he, 1 Cor. x. 22. I have insulted that Majesty which the angels of heayen adore; I have attacked God, with madness and boldness, on his throne, and in his empire. Is it possible to feel remorses too cutting for sins which the majesty of the offended, and the littleness of the offender, make so very atrocious ?
If such be the grandeur of God, what should our humility be! Grandees of the world, mortal divini
ties, who swell with vanity in the presence of God, oppose yourselves to the immense God. Behold his eternal ideas, his infinite knowledge, his general influence, his universal direction; enter his immense ocean of perfections and virtues, what are ye? a grain of dust, a point, an atom, a nothing.
If such be the grandeur of God, what ought our confidence to be! If God be for us, who can be against us? Rom. viii. 31. Poor creature, tossed about the world, as by so many winds, by hunger, by sickness, by persecution, by misery, by nakedness, by exile ; fear not in a vessel of which God himself is the piłot.
But above all, if such be the grandeur of God, if God be erery where present, what should our vigilance be! and, to return to the idea with which we began, what impression should this thought make on reasonable souls! God seeth me. When thou wast under the fig-tree, said Jesus Christ to Nathaniel, I saw thee, John i. 48. See Eceles: iii. 23, 24, 25. We do not know what Jesus Christ saw under the fig-tree, nor is it necessary now to inquire: but it was certainly something which, Nathaniel was fully persuaded, no mortal eye had seen! As soon, therefore,. as Jesus Christ had uttered these words, he believed, and said, Rabbi, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. My brethren, God useth the same language to each of you today: when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.
Thou hypocrite, when wrapped in a veil of religion, embellished with exterior piety, thou concealedst an impious heart, and didst endeavor to impose on God and man, I saw thee. I penetra ted all those labyrinths, I dissipated all those darknesses, I dived into all thy deep designs.
Thou worldling, who, with a prudence truly infernal, hast the art of giving a beautiful tint to the
most odious objects; who appearest not to hate thy neighbor, because thou dost not openly attack him; not to falsify thy promise, because thou hast the art of eluding it ; not to oppress thy dependents, because thou knowest how to impose silence on them: I saw thee, when thou gavest those sex cret stabs, when thou didst receive those bribes, and didst accumulate those wages of unrighteousness,
vengeance against thee. Thou slave to sensuality, ashamed of thine excesses before the face of the sun, I satu thee, when, with bars, and bolts, with obscurity and darkness, and complicated precautions, thou didst hide thyself from the eyes of men, defile the temple of God, and make the members of Christ the members of a harlot, 1 Cor. vi. 15.
My brethren, the discourses, whieh we usually preach to you, absorb your minds in a multitude of ideas. A collection of moral ideas, perhaps confound instead of instructing you, and when we attempt to engage you in too many reflections, you enter really into none. Behold an epitome of religion. Behold a morality in three words. Return to your houses, and every where carry this reflection with you, God seeth me, God seeth me. To all the wiles of the devil, to all the snares of the world, to all the baits of sin, oppose this reflection, God seeth me.
If, clothed with a human form, he were always in your path, were he to follow you to every place, were he always before you with his majestic face, with eyes flashing with lightning, with looks inspiring terror, dare ye before his august pre sence give a loose to your passions ? But you have been hearing that his majestic face is every where, those sparkling eyes do inspect you in every place, those terrible looks do consider you every where. Particularly, in the ensuing week, while you are pre
paring for the Lord's supper, recollect this.
God seeth me, as I see myself, unclean, ungrateful, and rebellious. O may this idea pro duce contrition and sorrow, a just remorse and a sound conversion, a holy and a fervent communion, crowned with graces and virtues. Happy, if, after our examination, we have a new heart! a heart agreeable to those eyes that search and try it! Happy, if, after our communion, after a new examination, we can say with the prophet, O Lord thou hast proved mine heart, thou hast tried me, and hast found nothing, Psal. xvii. 3. So be it. To God be honor and glory for ever. Amen.
The Grandeur of God.
Isaiah xl. 12 to 28.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand ? and
meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the na. tions 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. And l.ebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less' than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation, chooseth e tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? Have ye not heard ? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth 2 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the carth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in : that bringeth the princes to no. thing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted, yea, they shall not be sown, yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth : and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To ruhom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal ? saith the holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong