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mote. The latter can do no better, than resort to uncertain experiment, owing to the scantiness of his understanding, as well as to the impotency of his other faculties. He must resolve upon some method for a trial, and he may succeed, and he may not. If the first effort fail, he has only, if possible, to repair the misfortune by another attempt. His knowledge of things can only be the result of experience. If it were thus with the great former of all things, how poor a claim would he have to the confidence of intelligences. While scanning the immensity of mere possibilities, with an all penetrating eye, he discerns the particular kind and order of events, which will best fulfil and draw forth into prominent view the benevolence of his heart. His knowledge of things will not be more consummate, after millions of ages have been spent in the formation and government of creatures, than it was millions of ages before such creatures had being. The infinitude of his understanding excludes the idea of its enlargement, of its becoming more perfect or more extensive, by a progression of exercise continued to any conceivable length. This perfection of divine knowledge is necessary to preclude all amendments in the scheme of providence. For if the supreme Governor is not, from all eternity, well aware of the things that are necessary to give the most exalted representation of his goodness ; there is room, at least, for some im. provementof his understanding, which would

infinitely soil the dignity and lustre of his Godhead. There is no perfection, where a possibility exists that errors may find their way into the system. If possible things are. not as much within the view of God, or as thoroughly understood by him, as things in actual existence, he must be, in a measure, unprepared to act, when any new event is to be brought forth. He must have known, before the world began, whether such a world as this were fittest to be an instrument of his glory, and of course, what comparison such a model bears to all others, or he could not be in a condition to perform the work of creation. To act upon uncertain principles,

, or ignorance of what will be the final event, is unworthy of God, as it must deprive him of all rational confidence from creatures.

With some it has been matter of displeasure, that the system of divine rule, which is presented before us in the events of the more al world, should be considered as the best specimen of divine skill and exertion. This has been thought to limit the holy One, as if he had done the best he could, in making such a world as this, and regulating its affairs as he has. But I see no ground, that such a complaint has to rest upon, unless it can be made apparent, or presumptive, at least, that Jehovah knew, thatsome other plan of prov. idence would have been better, but chose to pass it by for one less excellent ; or that his knowledge was not extensive enough to fathom all possible things, and so he fell into


That we

a mistake from mere ignorance. have no right to inquire how comprehensive the knowledge of God must have been from eternity, and hence should not pretend to say whether God has done and is doing the best possible, in character of moral Govern. or, is denied.

We are authorized by scripture example to carry our views of God back to a period prior to the foundation of the world. The apostle speaks of the eternal purpose of God, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. He calls our attention to the exercise of divine grace towards us, not only previous to our holding any personal existence of our own ; but also earlier than the time when other created things began to exist. - Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." If the scriptures, as in these instances and many others that might be mentioned, carry our minds farther back than the commencement of time, to recognize the efficient counsels of the Deity; then surely we are not overleaping the bourds of propriety, in reflecting upon the divine knowledge, in regard to things possible, in distinction from those which are real. We procceed,

Secondly, To treat of God's knowledge, as it relates to things actually existent. The Psalmist, in connection with the words of the text, is speaking of the wonders of the di. vine hand, and celebrating the benignant operations and dealings of Providence. He is ascribing to God that variety of seasonable and wholesome events, which beautifies the face of the world,and renders the situation of dependent creatures pleasant and prosperous. As Jehovah has all power to do good, so he has wisdom to point out the way. He is not subject to embarrassinents arising from acontracted and weak understanding. The things, which are greatest, and most remote from the place, in which we dwell, and where we are most sensibly impressed with the effects of a divine overruling hand, are not exempt from the scrutiny of an all-seeing eye. They are as much under the jurisdiction of the most High, and as closely begirt with his allsurrounding presence and inspection, as the things which stand nearer to our view, and most affectingly bespeak their origin from God, and their subjection to his never failing notice. " He telleth the number of the stars : he calleth them all by their names.” That his understanding is infinite, is an idea, which the Psalmist judges it natural to introduce, when considering his providence as extenda, ing, minutely, to the whole host of heaven, at the same time that it sustains the whole weight of those numerous and interesting events, which are every moment taking place, in the world we inhabit. If the countless

orbs, which move above our heads, through the wide expanse of heaven ; the earth, , which lies beneath our feet ; and the nameless mukitudes of creatures, which surround us on every hand, are all included within the circle of his knowledge, who claims them all as his own; and if they are all, in their natures, properties, and uses, perfectly obvious to his view; how vast, beyond our most en. larged conceptions, must be his understand. ing? If all created being, a small part of which is, doubtless, known to us, is linked together into onegreat and stupendous whole, under the care, inspection, and disposal of its grand proprietor, and is, by him, distinctly comprehended in the bulk, and is also most thoroughly known in every detached part, however great or small, we may well exclaim, in the words of our text, “ His understand. ing is infinite!” Instead of finding his equal, or one, who approaches any where near to a parity with him, go where we will, into whatever region of boundless space ; the most intelligent creature that exists, we must own, is not able to scan even the most inconsiderable and trifling of God's works. Take the smallest article of God's workmanship, and present it to the most knowing of the whole intelligent creation, and he will be utterly unable to comprehend it in all its pro. perties and relations. But such is the im. mensity of divine knowledge, that, with a single view, it takes in the whole of being, as to its substance, modes, accidents, and

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