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The character of God natural and moral, as revealed in the Sacred Scriptures.
Q. 1. What perfections, natural and moral, does God possess?
A. God, who is a pure spirit,(a) that is, an immaterial substance, or an essence distinct from matter, possesses self-existence, eternity, immutability, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, independence, unity, goodness, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.
Q. 2. What is meant by the self-existence of God, and how is it proved?
A. By His self-existence is meant, that He exists not by any extrinsic, relative, or accidental cause, but exists of and from Himself. There is no reason or ground of His existence out of Himself. That God is self-existent is evident from the fact, that He is the Author of all creatures and things, and that He Himself could not be created by any other being, nor be the effect of chance; but must be uncaused and eternal;—and from the fact, that in Scripture, He is styled “Jehovah," "I Am," “who is, who was, and who is to come.” These terms mean self-existence.(b)
(a) John 4. 24. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
(b) Ps. 83. 18. That man may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovalı, art the Most High over all the earth. Ex. 3. 14. And God said unto Moses I Am that I Am. And
Q. 3. What is meant by the eternity of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His eternity is meant His existence without beginning, succession, or end. There never was a time, when He did not exist, and there never will be a time when He will not exist.- That God possesses this perfection is manifest from His selfexistence, and the express declarations of the Holy Scriptures.()
Q. 4. What is meant by the immutability of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His immutability is meant His unchangeableness in His essence, perfections, purposes, promises, and threatenings. This perfection of Godis proved from His self-existence and eternity, from the unchanging order, exhibited in the works of creation and providence, and from the Bible.(a)
Q. 5. What is meant by the omnipresence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His omnipresence is meant His being ever present in every place throughout the universe. He is confined to no part, and excluded from no part. -This perfection of God may be argued from His infinite nature, from His general and particular agency at all times, in all parts of the universe, and from the Sacred Scriptures.) he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. Rev. 1. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia; Grace be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits, which are before his throne.
(c) Deut. 33. 27. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
(d) James 1. 17. Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Ps. 33. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
(e) Ps. 139. 7--10. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, if I make my bed in hell, behold thoi art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and well in
Q. 6. What is meant by the omniscience of God? and how is it proved?
1. By His omniscience is meant His knowledge of all things possible, and all things actual, without any limitation. His knowledge extends to all times, past, present, and future;—and to all places, creatures, things, and events, distinctly, infallibly, and perpetually. -That God is possessed of this perfection is evident from His purposes and designs, from His being the Creator, Preserver, Governour, and Disposer of all creatures and things, and from the express language of Scripture. (*)
Q. 7. What is meant by the omnipotence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His omnipotence is meant His almighty power-His ability to do whatever, in the nature of things, is not impossible, or does not imply contradiction. That God is thus powerful is manifest from his creating,* preserving, governing, and disposing of the whole universe-all finite existences, and from the testimony of the Scriptures.(5)
Q. 8. What is meant by the independence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His independence is to be understood, that He possesses His existence, His perfections,
the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold nie.
(f) Ps. 94. 9, 10. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? he that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? Acts 15. 18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 1 Chron. 28. 9. The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.
(s) Rev. 19. 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of inany waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Matt. 19. 26. But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
* The greatest effort of power known to us is the act of creating.
and all that belongs to Him, of and from Himself; or in a self-existent manner.- - That He possesses this perfection is evident from the consideration of His other perfections above mentioned, and that He is above all, and over all, creatures and things, and that they are entirely dependant on Him. He, consequently, must be independent of them. The Bible also teaches this perfection of God.(5)
Q. 9. What is meant by the unity of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His unity is meant His numerical oneness of essence or substance, in opposition to numerical plurality of essence or substance. When it is said God is one, the meaning is, that there is but one self-existent being.- This perfection* of God may be argued from His other natural perfections, from the unity of design discoverable in the works of creation and providence, from there being no necessity of more than one God, and from the explicit declarations of Scripture.(1)
Q. 10. What is meant by the goodness of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His goodness is meant a disposition to bestow, and the actually bestowing upon all His creatures, susceptible of pleasure and pain, both in time and in eternity, every good thing which is proper and best for them, and which it is consistent for Him, in view of the highest good of the universe, to bestow. It is immanent or communicative; benevolence in intention, or beneficence in action.
-This perfection of God is proved from the works of creation and providence, and from the Bible..)
(h) Eph. 4. 6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
(i) Deut. 6. 4. Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord.
* Unity in God seems to be a mode of existence, rather than a perfection of His nature, though it has generally been considered a perfcction.
Q. 11. What is meant by the wisdom of God? and how is it proved?
A. Wisdom in God is partly a natural, and partly a moral perfection.* 'It unites the omniscience and goodness of God, in accomplishing the greatest good in the universe; or it consists in knowing and choosing the best ends, and in knowing, choosing, and adopting the best means for the accomplishment of them.--This perfection of God is proved from the Divine omniscience and goodness, from creation, providence and redemption, and from the Sacred Scriptures.(5)
Q. 12. What is meant by the holiness of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His holiness is meant His perfect separateness from all sin-the perfect purity and rectitude of His nature. That God possesses this perfection, is evident from his works of creation and providence; from His treatment of all moral beings, and from express declarations of His word. (1)
Q. 13. What is meant by the justice of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His justice is meant, a disposition to do, and actually doing, no wrong to any, and a disposition to do, and actually doing, right by every one, or the rendering unto all their due. It is exercised
(j) Ps. 119. 68. Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
(k) Rom. 16. 27. To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
(1) Isa. 1. 4. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger:--Lev. 19. 2. Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God ain holy.
* Wisdom when applied to God is frequently used as a natural persection, and then consists merely in his omniscience, or in devising the best means for the accomplishment of the best ends,