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His Omnipotence and Wisdom,
[Ess. VI. thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end; " Ps. cii, 25—27. With "the Father of lights there is no variableness; neither shadow of turning :" James i, 17. This primary attribute of the Supreme Being is not only declared in these and other passages of Scripture, but is plainly expressed in that distinguishing name of God, which the Jews were accustomed to regard as too sacred to pronounce-Jehovah; for this title is derived from a verb signifying to be, and denotes the Eternal-him who ever has been, is, and ever shall be-him who exists simply, absolutely, and independently. "And God said unto Moses, 'I AM THAT I am, (in Hebrew, the verb from which the name Jehovah is derived,) thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you: Exod. iii, 14. Again-" And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, 'I AM JEHOVAH:"" Exod. vi, 2.
III. Jehovah, the Being who has alone existed from all eternity, is ever described in the Scriptures (in accordance with the unvarying dictates of true philosophy) as the First Cause of all other things-the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and whatsoever they contain. The Bible opens with the declaration, that "in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth:" Gen. i, 1. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth . . . for he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast:" Ps. xxxiii, 6-9. "God, that made the world, and all things therein," said the apostle Paul to the Athenians, "giveth to all life, and breath, and all things, and
displayed in Creation and
hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth. . . . . . . for in him we live and move and have our being:" Acts xvii, 24—28. "Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" Isa. xl, 12. "I form the light and create darkness.... I, the Lord, do all these things: "Isa. xlv, 7. "Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him all his angels; praise ye him all his hosts; praise ye him sun and moon; praise him all ye stars of light. Praise him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded, and they WERE CREATED: Ps. cxlviii, 1-5.
When the Lord had condescended to describe to his servant Job the wonders of the creation, Job answered, and said, "I know that thou canst do every thing:"ch. xlii, 2. "Ah, Lord God," exclaimed the prophet Jeremiah, "behold thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretchedout arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:" Jerxxxii, 17. "The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead:" Rom. i, 20. Thus is the doctrine of the omnipotence of God derived by the sacred writers from the acknowledged fact that he was the Creator of all things; nor is it possible for us to conceive a greater degree of power than that which was displayed by the Eternal, when he gave to all his creatures their first existence; when he produced an incomprehensibly extensive universe an universe consisting of organized substances, living creatures, rational, intelligent, beings-out of nothing. How
in the Maintenance of Nature. [Ess. VI.
often do the Scriptures testify that God alone was the Creator, not only of the earth, but of the heavens also, with all their starry host! When we examine these inspired declarations of unquestionable truth in the light of modern astronomy-when we reflect on God as the sole author of innumerable worlds and systems -when we carry forward our ideas (as analogy affords us sound reasons for doing) to the infinite variety of substance, life, and being, which those worlds, those systems, probably contain, we may indeed with reverence acknowledge that he is, in the strictest sense of the terms, what Scripture declares him to beALMIGHTY. Nor can we fail to arrive at the same conclusion, when we examine nature with a microscopic eye, and dwell on the marvellous efficacy displayed by an ever-acting Deity in the production of a muscle or a nerve-in the formation of an insect, a feather, or a leaf! But the works of nature, according to the doctrine of Scripture, as well as the conclusions of reason, afford evidences not only of the power but also of the wisdom of God. "He hath made the earth by his power; he hath established the world by his wisdom; and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion :" Jer, x, 12. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way," cries Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, "before his works of old..... When he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the depth; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundation of the earth; then I was by him, as one brought up with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: ch. viii, 22-30.
IV. As the original creation of all things is ever ascribed in the Scriptures to Jehovah, so do we learn
from them that by him alone all nature is maintained in its appointed order, and in its wonderful course of perpetual reproduction. "He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst...... He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart...... O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all! the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them, they gather; thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust. Thou sendeth forth thy Spirit, they are created; and thou renewest the face of the earth. The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works:" Ps. civ, 10-31; comp. cxlvii, 1520, &c. Infinite and unsearchable as is our Heavenly Father, every minute part of his creation is the object of his unfailing care. He clothes with radiance and beauty the "lilies of the field "—the grass which "today is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven:" Matt. vi, 29, 30. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?" said Jesus to his disciples, " and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your father :" Matt. x, 29.
V. Closely connected with the divine attribute of omnipotence is the unqualified and irresistible sovereignty which God exercises over all other beings.
[Ess. VI. Paul has sublimely described the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, "of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," as "the blessed and only potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see-to whom be honor and power everlasting:" 1 Tim. vi, 15, 16. "The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all:" Ps. ciii, 19. "I beheld," says Daniel, when relating his visions, "till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him !" vii, 9, 10. "O come, let us sing unto the Lord : let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. . . . for the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all Gods:" Ps. xcv, 1—3. "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice:" Ps. xcvii, 1. Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing :" Isa. xl, 15.. " O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven, and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" 2 Chron. xx, 6.
Nor is the wisdom of the Almighty to be discovered only in the works of creation; for, although his councils are often incomprehensible to our limited understanding, we are assured in the Scriptures that this divine attribute is the sure regulator of the course of events-of the order of providence. "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and