Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

things is absolutely perfect and complete : He can behold all the solemn worship of heaven, and the inmost thoughts of all that great assembly : he can behold all the sin, misery and confusion that overspread the whole earth, and the inmost temper of every mortal; and look through hell, and see all the rebellion, and blasphemy, and cunning devices of those infernal fiends ;-and all this at one all-comprehending view: And thus, as high Gov. ernor of the whole world, he continually beholds all things ; whereby a foundation is laid for the exercise of all his other perfections in his government over all. See the omniscience of God elegantly described in Psal. cxxxix. 1-12. And being perfectly acquainted with himself, as well as with all his creatures, he cannot but see what conduct from him towards them, will, all things considered, be most right, and fit, and amiable, and most becoming such an one as he is; and also what conduct from them to him is his due; and their duty. By his infinite understanding, he is perfectly acquainted with right and wrong -with what is fit, and what unfit: And, by the moral rectitude of his nature, he infinitely loves the one and hates the other, and is disposed to conduct accordingly ;-of which more presently. Psal. cxlvii. 1....Praise ye the Lord, for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comehy. -But why ?-Ver. 5...Great is our Lord and of great power ; HIS UNDERSTANDING IS INFINITE. But wherein does that

appear ? —Why, (ver. 4.) He telleth the number of the stars ; he calleth them all by their names. Now, if the infinite understanding of God may be seen in this one particular, much more is it in the regular ordering and disposing of all things, through. out the whole universe ; and that, not only in the natural, but also in the moral world.

(2) His infinite power is displayed in the government of the world : For he does according to his pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth ; so that none can stay his hand, or hinder the execution of his designs. Have rebellions broken out in any part of his dominions ?-he has manifestly had the rebels entirely in his hands : They have lain

absolutely at his mercy; and he has dealt with them according to his sovereign pleasure ; and none has been able to make any resistance ; nor has there been any to deliver them out of his hands. When rebellion broke out in heaven, he crushed the rebels in a moment : They fell beneath the weight of his hand ...they felt his power....they despaired...they sunk to hell ; and there he reserves them in chains ; nor can they stir from their dark abode, but by his special permission. And when rebel. lion broke out upon earth, the rebels were equally in his hands, and at his mercy, unable to make any resistance ; although he was pleased, in his infinite wisdom, to take another method with them : But he has since discovered his power, in treading down his implacable enemies, under foot, many a time : He destroyed the old world, burned Sodom, drowned Pharaoh and his hosts, and turned Nebuchadnezzar into a beast. If his enemies have exalted themselves, yet he has been above thembrought them down ; and discovered to all the world that they are in his hands, and without strength, at his disposal : Or if he has suffered them to go on and prosper, and exalt themselves greatly, yet still he has been above them, and has accomplished his designs by them, and at last has brought them down.Haughty Nebuchadnezzar, when he had broken the nations to pieces, as if he had been the hammer of the whole earth, now thought himself somebody; and Alexander the Great, when conquering the world, aspired to be thought the son of Jupiter : But the most high God, the great and almighty Governor of the world, always had such scourges of mankind only as a rod in his hand, with which he has executed judgment upon a wicked world. Howbeit, they meant not so, neither did their hearts think 80: But it was in their hearts to gratify their ambition, avarice, and revenge. However, he was above them; and always such have been, in his hands, as the ax is in the hands of him that heweth therewith, or as the saw is in the hands of him that shaketh it ; or as the rod is in the hand of him that lifteth it up. And when he has done with the rod, he always breaks it and burns it: See Isaiah x. 5-19.

* And as this great King has discovered his almighty power, by crushing rebellions in his kingdom, and subduing rebels, so he has, also, in protecting his friends, and working deliverance for his people : He made a path for his people through the sea; he led them through the wilderness: He gave them water to drink out of the rock ; and fed them with angels' food: In the day time he led them by a cloud, and all the night with the light of fire: He brought them to the promised land, and drove out the heathen before them; and, in all their distresses, whenever they cried unto him, he delivered them : And as the supreme Governor of the world, in the days of old, did thus discover his almighty power in governing among his intelligent creatures, so he is still, in various ways and manners, in his providential dispensations, evidently discovering that he can do all things : And his people see it and believe it; and admire and adore :Read Psal. cv.

(3.) Again, His infinite wisdom is discovered in an endless variety of instances—in all his government throughout all his dominions—in his managing all things to the glory of his Majesty....to the good of his loyal subjects, and to the confusion of his foes. There has never any thing happened in all his dominions, and never will, but has been, and shall be made entirely subservient to his honor and glory : Even the contempt cast upon him by his rebellious subjects, he turns to his greater glory; as in the case of Pharaoh, who set up himself against God, and said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey him ? I know not the Lord, nor will I let Israel go. And he exalted himself, and dealt proudly and haughtily ; and hardened his heart, and was resolved he would not regard God, nor be bowed nor conquer. ed by him ; for he despised him in his heart: But the more he carried himself, as if there were no God, the more were the being and perfections of God made manifest ; for the more he hardened his heart—the more stout and stubborn he was, the more God honored himself in subduing him: Yea, God, in his infinite wisdom, suffered him to be as high and haughty-as stout and stubborn as he pleased; he took off all restraints from

E

him-permitted the magicians to imitate the miracles of Moses, so that Pharaoh, in seeing, might not see, nor be convinced ; and he ordered that the plagues should last but for a short season, that Pharaoh might have respite ; and thus it was that God hardened his heart: And God, in his infinite wisdom, did all this with a view to his own glory; as he tells Pharaoh by the hand of Moses-- "Such and such plagues I design to bring upon you, and to do so, and so, with you.” And, indeed, for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth...Exod. ix. 16: And, accordingly, God was illustriously honored, at last, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, at the Red Sea ; and the Egyptians, and all the neighboring nations, were made to know that he was the LORD; and his name became dreadful among the heathen: And we find that, in three or four hundred years after, the Philistines had not forgotten it; for, when the ark, in the days of Eli, was carried into the camp of Israel, the Philistines were sore afraid, and said, “God is come into the

camp: Woe unto us : Who shall deliver us out of the hands of these mighty Gods? These are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness," &C....I Sam. iv.

So God wisely ordered and over-ruled all things, that befel the children of Israel in the wilderness, to accomplish the ends he had in view: His designs were to get himself a great name, and fill the whole earth with his glory (Num. xiv, 21.); and to try and humble his people, and make them know, that it was not for their righteousness that he brought them into the land of Canaan, (Deut. ix.) And every thing that came to pass, for those forty years, was admirably calculated to attain these ends. The news of Pharaoh's overthrow-of God's coming down upon Mount Sinai, in the presence of all Israel, and abiding there so long a time, with such awful majesty; and of the pil. lar of cloud by day, and of fire by night of the manna--of the water flowing out of a rock, and following them-of their mur. murings and insurrections, and God's judgments upon them ;I say, the news of these, and other things of this nature, that

happened to them for those forty years, flew all the world over, and filled all the nations of the earth with the greatest astonish

. ment; and made them think there was no God like the God of Israel... (Numb. xiv. 13, 14, 15.) By all these things, and by God's bringing his people, at last, to the possession of the land of Canaan, according to his promise, there was exhibited a specimen of God's infinite knowledge, power, wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness and truth ; and that before the eyes of all the nations : And so the whole earth was filled with his glory ; i.e. with the clear manifestations of those perfections in which his glory consists. And thus his great end was obtained: And, in the mean time, all the wanderings, and trials, and sins, and sorrows of the children of Israel, together with all the wonderful works which their eyes beheld, and wherein God discovered himself for those forty years, had a natural tendency to try them, to humble them, and break their hearts; and make them know, that, not for their righteousness, nor for the uprightness of their hearts, did God, at last, shew them that great mercy : and to convince them of the exceeding great obligations they were under to love, and fear, and serve the Lord forever. And so, the other great end which God bad in view was accomplished.... Deut. viii. ix. & x. chap.--And now, all these things were by God wisely done ; and in this his conduct, his infinite wisdom is to be seen. And thus it is in all God's dispensations, throughout all his dominions, with regard to the whole universe in general, and to every intelligent creature in particular. His

• If God had so ordered that Abrabam had been born in the land of Canaan, and his posterity had multiplied greaily, and the other nations, gradually, by sicknesses and wars, had wasted away and come to nothing, until there were none but the posterity of Abrabam left, and they had filled the land, God's hand then would not have been seen....none of these excellent ends attained....all would have been resolved into natural causes. Therefore God contrived where Abraham should be born-how he should leave his own country-have a promise of the land of Cunaan ; and how his seed should come to be in Egypt—come to be in great bondage and distress ; how he would send, and how he would deliver thein, and how they should carry themselves, and what should happen ; and how every thing should turn out at last : he laid the whole plan, with a view to those excellent ends his eye was upon. It was wisely contrived, and, when it caine to be acted over, his infinite wisdom was discovered.

« VorigeDoorgaan »