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case, where the event is supposed to origi. nate in a cause, other than the divine will, or efficiency. To foresee the event, he must foresee the cause of it ; but he cannot foresee the cause, unless he foresees something as the cause of that, and so on until it can be traced to the efficient workings of his own mind. Some, in admitting the foreknowl. edge of God, and denying his positive effi. ciency, as the cause of what takes place, and in their ardor to make these appear consistent with each other, have been led to conclude, that divine knowledge, of future e. vents, especially, must stand upon some very mysterious and unaccountable basis. The end they would answer is to show, that there is no certainty in the event itself, that it will take place, before it has actually taken place ; and yet that God knows from eternity that it will take place. No wonder that mystery should be resorted to for shelter to such an hypothesis ! If the cause of any event whatever be not in God, there truly can be no certainty of its taking place ; and equally true is it, that God cannot know that it certainly will take place. God's knowledge of things to come rests upon this ground, therefore, that he is their sole cause. He knows they will take place, because he himself is the operative and efficient cause, that is to give them existence,and he knows all the counsels and purposes of his own heart. . What other beings may be supposed to counsel, determine, or bring to pass, independently of the
influences and dispensations of his own almighty hand, he cannot know, at least, not before the thing is brought to pass.
The event cannot be known only in relation to a cause producing it, and that cause, for the same reason, must be viewed in a similar rea lation, and so on to infinity. Would we then receive the doctrine of God's entire fore." knowledge of things future, we must do it upon this ground, viz. that all things are his" and owe their existence to his efficient will. His foreknowledge, upon that principle, is well stated in the words of James, which have already been quoted: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
1." It is easy to see how God may extend his foreknowledge, as far as his own influences extend ; and as it is needless, so is it impossible, to conceive that it should reach
It would be as irrational to suppose, that an effect, even the least ima. ginable, might take place, and the Deity not cause it ; as to suppose, there might be realities, either greater or smaller, to which his knowledge should not extend. As it is, and has fully appeared to be, an obvious truth,', that God is infinitely furnished to the work of universal rule, by having all knowledge; so the principle of this knowledge appears to be, that, “ of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” The subject may well suggest to us a similar thought, and inspire us with similar feelings to those expressed by the apostle in the words following: "Othe
depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his judginents, and his ways past finding
The present discourse I shall conclude with two reflections.
1. It is matter of grateful consideration to the people of God, to all upright and sincere christians, that God is omniscient, knows all their circumstances; their infirmities and wants; the humility, with which they deplore their multiplied offences and backslidings; the zeal, with which they serve their Lord and Redeemer; and the firmness, with which they rely
upon his grace in hope of eternal life, « For God," as says the apostle, “ is not unrighteous, to forget your work, and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” As God is infinite in understanding, he knows how to plead the cause of his chosen, how to deliver them out of temptation, and how to make all things subservient to their welfare.
2. That God is infinite in knowledge, is a thought, which is suited to minister terror to the ungodly. They cannot conceal the vilest of their abominations from his all-seeing eye. If I say, surely the darkness shall cov. er me;, even the night shall be light about
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee ; but the night shineth as the day : the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." The searcher of hearts is not anly aware of
all the secret and open wickedness of his enmies; but he knows how to adapt corrections and punishments to them. He knows how to guard his own honour, and turn their own. mischievous devices against themselves.
Omnipotence essential to Deity."
GENESIS xvii. 1.'
I am the almighty God.
HESE words, with others in their connection, are a sort of preface to one of the grand provisions of that gracious covenant, which God was pleased to establish be.'tween himself and Abraham his friend, who is called the father of the faithful. 66 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the almighty God; walk before me and be thou-perfect." This is introductory to the institution of circumcision for himself and his seed, as a token of that covenant, which includes all the promises that are in and by Christ. To solemnize the mind of the patriarch, to impress him with the im. portance and validity of the covenant transac,