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that whatever be their cause, it is unknown to us. Could we anticipate, or foresee, the cause, by which they are to be produced, we should also have a foreknowledge of the events themselves. Whatever cause comes into our view, all its effects appear with it. The former cannot be discovered without the latter. As the events of hereafter have no dependence, ultimately, on our will, or any efficiency, with which we are acquainted, we must, of necessity, continue ignorant of them, until actually brought into being. The same would hold good in regard to the divine Being, were not his own will the active source, whence all things are derived, and he were not necessarily acquainted with the operations of his own mind. He can no more foresee an effect without a foreknowledge of its cause, than we can. If any thing shall take place, in future, in dependence on any cause out of himself, of that effect he must be ignorant, until it has actually taken place, as fatally as the most short sighted of mortal men. Or if any thing could be supposed to come forth into existence without cause, of that, there could be no prescience, even in the mind of God. If a reason for this position be demanded, it is this, that the foreknowledge of such a supposed event has nothing to stand upon. The thing does not exist in itself, nor in relation to any other thing, and, therefore, to conceive of a possible clue, by which to get at the knowledge of it, is absurd. same difficulty will be found in the other
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 foreknowledge of God, and denying his positive efficiency, 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 events, 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 relation, and so on to infinity. Would we then receive the doctrine of God's entire foreknowledge 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." 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 any farther. It would be as irrational to suppose, that an effect, even the least imaginable, 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 judgments, 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 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." The searcher of hearts is not only aware of