« FöregåendeFortsätt »
2. Is not our subject of use to rectify our notions of God, and of the great end of his providence? Instead of placing God upon the throne, the views often entertained of him have the directly opposite effect. He is, indeed, acknowledged to be great; but to have motives of conduct utterly unworthy of him, who is first and last, and fills heaven and earth. Have we not been wont to ground our high approbation of God, upon an idea, that he employs all his vast, his boundless energies, in the service of his creatures? that he concerns himself chiefly in watching opportunities of waiting on them and doing them favour? Such views derogate exceedingly from the proper dignity of Jehovah. If he is attentive to the circumstances of creatures, and does much for their welfare, all this has respect to some other end of infinitely greater importance. In every instance of his kindness, he acts ultimately for himself and subordinately for them. They and their interests engross his care, because they are useful to make his own name appear glorious and great.
3. The view we have hitherto taken of our subject evidently tends to excite humility. The consideration, that God is all in all, must, if it has its influence, so teach us our own nothingness as to bring us into a most abased posture before God. We are
but the vessels which God has made for his own use. Our only importance in the sysem arises from our instrumentality in bring
ing honour to God; as the earthern vessel, in the potter's hand is important to answer his occasions. Our place and rank in the universe should teach us to appropriate nothing to ourselves, and to study nothing with so much zeal as to glorify God with our body and spirit which are God's.
Infinite knowledge an attribute of Deity
PSALM cxlvii. 5, last clause.
His understanding is infinite.
LTHOUGH the mystery of the Godhead is absolutely unfathomable to a finite mind; yet it is easy to see with what kind of attributes the Deity must be clothed, in order to his holding and exercising his own peculiar prerogatives. By some it is often alledged, that mysteries should never be meddled with, nor touched upon, because their depth is beyond the soundings of the short lines of our limited intellect. We must not dwell upon any thing which is too great for our comprehension. If this be a true doctrine, or a judicious maxim, in divinity, must be confessed, that we are now ventur
pon forbidden ground, in undertaking ourse upon the infinite knowledge of
Infinite knowledge an attribute of Deity. 53
God, as a divine attribute. That infinity is perfectly incomprehensible to a created mind, is what no one disbelieves. And that God is infinite in knowledge, or understanding, as well as other perfections, is not only asserted in the text, and in various other parts of the scriptures; but is admitted by all who seriously believe in the eternal existence of one God. Now, if it be unlawful for us to indulge a freedom of thought, or of expres sion, upon any subject, in which mystery is concerned, we lie under an absolute prohibition, either to advance a single idea respecting that knowledge of God, which is essential to his character, and which is so often brought into view in his word, or to speak in relation to any other branch of his divinity; for the whole is a mystery. "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." Is any one prepared to say, that if our minds are not capacious enough to take in all the objects of God's knowledge, or to measure the vast extent of his understanding, because it is immense; then we can derive no advantage from knowing that his understanding is infinitely superior to ours? The benefit arising from an acquaintance with divine mysteries, is not that we may be able so to develope and explore the mysterious truth,
that it shall cease to be a mystery, and appear to us in the same familiar and comprehensible point of light, that it does to the infinite God; but that we may perceive how great is the difference between the supreme Being and ourselves; what is the character of the eternal Sovereign, in distinction from all other beings. And though we can have no adequate idea of a being infinite in understanding, and infinite in all his other attributes, as that which has no bounds, surpasses all the powers of the created mind; yet this does not imply, that God's being thus highly exalted above us must be, to us, a useless truth. There are many reasons, why we should entertain such views of God, as accord with truth, with the actual extent of his attributes. One is, the necessity of it to our exercising confidence in him. Though we are unable, even in imagination, to run an infinite line, as the geometrician_marks. out the territory, which is given him to measure; and though we cannot possibly survey, in thought, an object of infinite magnitude, nor see, in any direction, how far infinity extends; yet, without any labour, we both see and feel, that a being, who is less than infinite, cannot be equal to the vast concerns of universal government; cannot share our confidence, as supreme ruler, and disposer of all things. We have before seen, that the Judge of all the earth, to merit the confidence of intelligences, must do right.. The next inquiry is what are the requisites.