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is a Spirit, John 4. 24, that he is Invisible, Coloff. 1. 15. that he is unexpressible and unconceivable by any Corporeal Shape or Form, Isa. 40. 18. To whom will
liken God? Or what likeness will ye compare unto him? That he is Immense and Incomprehenfible ; that all the Nations of the World are unto him but as a drop of a Bucket, and are counted as the small Dust of a Ballance ; that all Nations before him are as nothing, and that they are counted to him less than nothing and Vanity, Isa. 40. 15. 17. And to the end that Men might not misapprehend him, or frame conceits of him by any of these things which are his Creatures, and the work of his Hands, when at the giving of the Law in Mount Sinai, he did most Gloriously reveal himself
, he appeared not in any visible Shape or likeness, Deut. 4. 15. Wherefore when God sets forth himself by any of the Creatures, or by any thing that is in them, he thereby only intends to lead us to the apprehensions of those his Attributes or Works which fomething iri such Creatures shadoweth forth unto us. So when the Scripture faith, The Lord is a Man of War, it thereby gives us to understand, that he is Armed
with Power to overcome and subdue all
Object. 4. But unless we should ap-
Answ. 1. To frame thoughts of God that are not agreeable to his Nature, or consonant to those Revelations of himself to us which he hath made in Scripture, is a very ill and undue means for fixing our thoughts. By the same Reason you might as well say, it were very expedient and useful for the fixing of our thoughts on God the better, to have an Image or an Idol before our Eyes when we Pray, to represent him to us. If God had judged this a Meet expedient,or useful help for fixing our thoughts
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on himself, he would never have fo expresly forbidden that way of Worship, and so severely threatened the practices of it, as in the Second Commandment he hath done.
2. For the fixing of our thoughts on God in Prayer, let us make use of such means as he himself allows and
1. Let us often Meditate on the Attributes of God, his infinite Power, Wisdom, Justice, Holinefs, Goodness, Truth, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Unchangeableness; and let us get deep and abiding Impressions of these and other Attributes upon our Hearts.
2. Let us upon all emergent occasions single out those Attributes that are most suitable to our present Condition, and Exigencies, as his Wisdom when we need his Counsel and Direction ; his Power when we are confli&ting with any great difficulties ; his. Justice and Holiness when we are Tempted to any Sin, or through the strength and violence of our Corruption in present danger of running into Sin; his infinite Mercy when we are ready to Despair ; his Truth when we find we begin to doubt of his Promises; his Unchange
ableness when we question the continuance of his Favour to us. If we thus set those Attributes of God before us that best suit the present Condition of our Souls, we shall find it so much the more easie to fix our thoughts upon them.
3. Let us be ever watchful over our Thoughts and Fancies, and keep our Hearts with all diligence at all times, that we may never entertain
any undue thoughts of God, or frame to our selves any such conceptions of him as are not agreeable to his Nature. The more narrowly we watch our Hearts, and the more heedfully we observe and govern our Fancies at other times, the less shall we be molested with undue thoughts of God in Prayer.
4. Let us not rush into the presence of God rudely and irreverently, but so far as our occasions will permit, let's take a little time to call in our thoughts, and fix them on God before we enter upon the Duty of Prayer. A few serious thoughts of God into whose presence we are to come, immediately before we address our selves to the Duty, will be a good help to prevent those our extravagant Fancies and misconceptions of him which we find we are too apt to give way to, and entertain. And thus I have done with the second part of this Chapter, in which Charity is commended from its duration, and in that respect preferred before Prophesies, Tongues and Knowledge.
I now proceed to the last Verse of the Chapter ; And now abideth. Faith, Hope, Charity, these three, but the greateft of these is Charity. In these words we have the Conclusion of the Apostles Discourse concerning the excellency of Charity, which, according to the Judgment of some of the best Interpreters, contains another Argument to prove the excellency of that Grace. Before the Apostle had preferred it before the most excellent Gifts ; here he prefers it before the chief of all other Graces, Faith and Hope. For our better understanding of the words, two things are to be inquired into, what Faith the Apostle here understands, and what the importance of the particle Now in this place
Now abideth Faith, Hope, Charity. For the first of these, although the Apostle ver. the ad. had been speaking of the Faith of Miracles, yet 'tis not that