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place, beholding the evil and the good.” Thus it appears from reason and scripture, that God is omnipresent. In some faint degree, we may realize the presence of God, in every object we behold. All are the expressions of his infinite wisdom, power and goodness; and all express the agency of a present God. Well may we conceive, from what our eyes behold, that he filleth all in all. His presence fills immensity. Another attribute of the Deity is, that he is an invisible Spirit; totally distinct from all material existence. He is the “King eternal, immortal, invisible.” Although “he is in all places, beholding the evil and the good;’ yet it is the testimony of the Saviour, that “No man hath seen God at any time.” “God is a Spirit,” immaterial and immortal. He has no more connection with material substance, than the departed souls of the dead. Accordingly it is considered in the scriptures, as one of the greatest of abominations for a man to frame in his own mind, or to attempt to frame with his hands any material likeness of God. This, which is called idolatry, is most expressly forbidden in the sacred decalogue. On this point, Moses was very particular, and very solemn, in his charge to the people, in the book of Deuteronomy. “The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments, and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female: the likeness of any beast that is on the earth; the likeness of any winged fowl, that flieth in the air. The likeness of any fish, &c. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou Seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou shouldest be driven to worship them and serve them. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” Possibly the design of God’s speaking so frequently out of the midst of the fire, was, to impress on the minds of his people, the important truth, that he is a pure, immaterial, invisible spirit; and, as such, is to be .. and adored. * God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Independence may also be considered as an essential attribute of the Deity. “For of him, and through him, and to him are all things.” He who is self-existent, is evidently independent. He is uncontrolled by fate, or blind chance or any other cause supposed. On him all creatures, actions and events depend. “In him we live, and move, and have our being.” “ His visitation preserveth our spirits.” “And he hath done as he hath pleased, in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth. None can stay his hand, nor say unto him what dost thou?” By our own experience, we find ourselves dependent. By our observation of all other creatures and things, so far as they fall under our notice, we discover their absolute dependence. Surely, that invisible and almighty power, on which all creatures, and things depend, must be perfectly independent. All the natural perfections of God, which have been considered, conspire to prove his independence. Who that realizes his etermity, immutability, omnipotence, omniscience, omtipresence, and invisible spirituality, can avoid the evidence of his independence 2 Should any still be disposed to call in question this glorious attribute of God; the point is established at once by a consideration of the universality of his providential government. If his govorning providence extends to all things, great or small, most certainly, he is the source of all dependence; and must, himself, be independent. Not to dilate any further, on the distinct perfections of God, which are denominated natural perfections; it may only be added, that, in all these perfections, he is infinite. Infinity is predicable of all the perfections of God, whether natural or moral. He is, in all desirable res. ects, an infinite being: “ His greatness is unsearcha.
le.” All his divine and glorious attributes are without bounds or limits. He is, in all respects, incomprehensible by finite minds. “None by searching can find out God.”...And all, that finite beings can report, after the most diligent search, is, “Lo these are parts of his ways; and how little a portion is heard of him.”
Having briefly investigated that part of the system of divine truth, which relates to the natural perfections of God; we proceed to a consideration of his moral perfections. And the sum and substance of the matter is expressed in these few, and emphatical words; “THE Loop ou R Gop Is Holy.” Holiness consists in love, or true benevolence; and this is the moral character of God. “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” In holy love, all goodness and righteousness consist. But the exercises and expressions of this love are various, as its objects and occasions are various. Accordingly the justice, mercy, wisdom, truth and faithfulness of God, have been generally stated, as so many distinct moral perfections, constituting his infinitely holy character. Justice, considered as characteristic of Jehovah, mani
festly consists in the exercise and expression of perfect benevolence. For, by his justice, he is disposed to vindicate and enforce his perfectly holy law. “The law of the Lord is perfect;” and in its precepts, Fo promises and threatnings, it is equally perfect, and infinitely important. Divine justice is an attribute, no less important, and no less glorious, than divine mercy. It is an attribute which the merciful Saviour deemed more important than all finite existence. Concerning the divine law, which is the expression of God’s inflexible justice, Christ declared, that, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle should in no wise pass from it, till all were fulfilled. Thus it is clearly evident, that infinite justice comes into the idea of divine goodness and benevolence. Even the vindictive justice of God, which consists in the execution of divine wrath, on the vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction; implies no malevolence in God, no plea
sure in the death of him that dieth ; but, on the other hand, as a benevolent Judge, full of tender mercy, he executes the sentence of death, with a view to the welfare of his moral kingdom. And the benevolence of God is as richly displayed, in shewing his wrath on the proper vessels of wrath, as in manifesting the riches of his #; On the vessels of mercy. God requires the praise and thanksgiving of his people, no less for the destruction of their enemies, than for their own deliverance. “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good ; for his mercy endureth forever. To him that divided the red sea into parts, for his mercy endureth, forever; and made Israel pass through i. midst of it; for his mercy endureth forever ; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the red sea; for his mercy endureth forever. To him that led his people through the wilderness; for his ". endureth forever. To him which smote great kings; for his mercy endureth forever; and slew famous kings; for his mercy endureth forever.” Thus we find, that the vengeance of the Lord, which is called his strange work, is a rich display of his holiness. As an infinitely holy God, “Vengeance belongeth unto the Lord. i. the execution of vindictive justice, “The Lord our God is holy.” We have now, in a great measure, anticipated the idea, that mercy is a distinct moral attribute of the Deity. Mercy consists in compassion, not only to the miserable ; but also to the wicked and ill deserving. All the favor and compassion of God towards this guilty world is of the nature of divine mercy. One great and capital expression of the mercy of God, is the gist of his Son to die for a lost and guilty world. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believ. othin him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” This expression of infinite love was of the nature of mercy. It is evident, therefore, that the mercy of God is no infringement on his justice. “Mercy and truth are met together ; righteousness and peace have kissed each otho” Accordingly, when God proclaimed his name to Moses, he proclaimed his mercy in connection with his justice, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gra
cious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity,transgression and sin, and that will, by no means clear the guilty ; .# the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrens’ children, unto the third and fourth generation.” Thus it appears, that the Lord our God is infinitely merciful ; and this is a branch of his holiness. Infinite wisdom, in the highest sense of the word, is also a moral perfection of God. This wisdom consists in discerning the best possible ends, and devising the best possible means for their accomplishment. This is the fountain of that “ wisdom in men which is from above, and is first pure, i.e. holy ; then peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” This wisdom, as it exists in the heart of the saints, is the principal thing. And if the Most High inspires the heart of his people with such a holy knowledge, and spiritual discernment; it implies, that he has, in himself, an infinite fullness of the same heavenly wisdom. With reference to the great work of redemption, wisdom is an appropriate name of Christ; and he is called the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Wisdom, in the sense of scripture, generally, and in the sense which has now been given, is of the nature of holiness; and is a glorious attribute of God. Finally. . The truth and faithfulness of God are the consummation of his character. Truth consists in representing things as they are, without the least disguise, or coloring: and faithfulness consists in a perfect and complete execution, or performance of whatever is promised or threatened; or in any way, becomes obligatory. The truth and faithfulness ; God are most Aoi. asserted in the scriptures. God that cannot lie, is the God whose character is set before us in the sacred oracles. We have also conclusive evidence of the truth and faithfulness of God, from the fulfilment of his word, in all instances, so far as we have had opportunity to be his witnesses. God’s testimony respecting all things, ap: pears to be true. He appears to be a God of truth, and withoutiniquity; “Just and right is he.”