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There is no creature in the world, wherein we may not see enough to wonder at: for there is no worm of the earth, no spire of grass, no leaf, no twig, wherein we see not the footsteps of a Deity: the best visible creature is man; now what man is he that can make but an hair, or a straw, much less any sensitive creature, so as no less than an infinite power is seen in every object that presents itself to our eyes: if, therefore, we look only on the outside of these bodily substances, and we do not see God in everything, we are no better than brutish; make use merely of our sense without the least improvement of our faith or our reason. Contrary, then, to the opinion of those
men, who hold that a wise man should admire nothing, I say that a truly wise and good man should admire everything, or rather that infiniteness of wisdom and omnipotence which shows itself in every visible object.
And can there be who doubt there is a God,
Of matter or of mind; though you produce
Doom'd by some tyrant's hard decree to starve,
That some kind hand hath oped his prison door,
Little facts and circumstances, in the economy of Almighty God, have irresistible Bishop Hall. charms for me, and serve, like others more prominent, to show the perfect and beautiful manner in and for which, every thing has been created. In contemplating them, what a delightful lesson may we not learn! We may find in them the strongest testimonies of the truth of revelation, and the superintendence of an all-wise and benevolent Creator. It has been well said, that in the book of Nature is written in the plainest characters the existence of a God which Revelation takes for granted; of a God how full of contrivance! how fertile
in expedients! how benevolent in His ends! At work everywhere, everywhere too, with equal diligence; leaving nothing incomplete; finishing the hinge in the wing of an insect," as perfectly as if it were all He had to do; unconfounded by the multiplicity of objects, undistracted by their dispersion, unwearied by their incessant demands on Him, fresh as on that day when the morning-stars first sang together, and all nature shouted for joy.
Jesse. GOD-Necessity for the Existence of.
Notwithstanding the consequences which may justly be dreaded by sinful and incorrigible beings, it is certainly of all things most desirable that there should be a God. Social order, and civil government, with all the sublime contemplations of religion, its dignifying effect, and powerful consolations, clearly depend on the grand principle, that there is a Being who made and who governs the universe. Such a Being must be infinitely worthy of the adoration of His rational creatures; He must have a claim on their implicit obedience; and Here to Him they must all be accountable. lie the foundations of human happiness, and
And brought this bounty? Will he not invoke
Abuse his ear, nor wound his swelling soul
In presence of the angel Gratitude. Cowper.
There is no greater, at least no more palpable and convincing, argument of the existence of a Deity, than the admirable art and wisdom that
discovers itself in the make and constitution, the order and disposition, the ends and uses, of all the parts and members of this stately fabric of heaven and earth. For if in the works of art, as for example a curious edifice or machine, counsel, design, and direction to an end, appearing in the whole frame, and in all the several pieces of it, do necessarily infer the being and operation of some intelligent architect or engineer, why shall not also in the works of nature, that grandeur and magnificence, that excellent contrivance for beauty, order, use, &c., which is observable in them, of human art as infinite power and wisdom wherein they do as much transcend the effects of an Omnipotent and All-wise Creator. Ray. exceeds finite, infer the existence and efficiency
GOD-Nature demonstrating the Existence of.
particularly of that moral excellence, which even in this life approximates the rational creature to its highest attainable perfection; here too are the securities, and the only effective securities, of every constitution calculated to promote the present or the future felicities of man. Duncan.
Every created thing glorifies God in its place, by fulfilling His will, and the great purpose of His providence: but man alone can give tongue to every creature, and pronounce for all a general doxology.
Had not the covenant of mercy been infinitely holy, man could never have been saved. We stand in need of holiness as well as mercy. The grace of God in the child of God is infinitely more glorifying to God than the sun which shines by day, or the moon and stars which govern the night. Holiness raises man more highly above his fellow-men, than reason elevates him above the brute creation. The holiness of God reigns in hell, and ever will reign there: nor is the holiness of God less glorified in the condemnation of the wicked than in the salvation of the righteous. The law which executes the criminal is just as holy as the law which declares, "Thou shalt not kill." Howels.
Of old hast 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. David.
GOD-Majesty and Justice of
With God is terrible majesty. Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him. Job.
Because He hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and shew him My salvation.
The high and the low, the young and the old, the busy and the idle, alike shun acquaintance with God, as if His very name brought uneasiness, and disturbed our comfort and repose. If we mention God to the young, we too often seem to be troubling them with what they had rather forget in such early days while the aged dislike to be reminded of their misfortune, that their time on earth is drawing near to an end. If we mention God to the gay and happy, we appear to be interfering with their pleasures. If we mention Him to the great and to the learned, they will intimate that such subjects belong rather to a humbler class and station. But the poor and laborious, on their part, refer us to those who have more information and more leisure. Thus a large portion of mankind, in all classes, strive to keep God out of their thoughts, and to live, so far as in them lies, without Him in the world. Yes, without Him, who, as the Apostle says, is not far from any one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being. Why should they act so strangely and unreasonably, if they believed that acquaintance with God would give them peace. Bishop Sumner.
GOD-the Creator of Light.
And God said, Let there be light, and there Moscs. was light.
It is the nature of every artificer to tender and esteem his own work; and if God should not love His creature, it would reflect some
disparagement upon His workmanship, that He should make anything that He could not own. God's power never produces what His goodness cannot embrace. God oftentimes, in the same man, distinguishes between the sinner and the creature; as a creature, He can love him, while as a sinner He does afflict him. South
GOD-Celestial Love of.
Celestial love, with the affections of good and truth, and the perceptions thence derived, and at the same time with the delights of these affections and the thoughts thence derived, may be compared to a tree with beautiful branches, leaves, and fruits; the life's love is that tree; the branches, with the leaves, are the affections of good and truth, with their perceptions; and the fruits are the delights of the affections, with their thoughts.
GOD-Universal Love of.
Canst thou believe the vast eternal mind
That He would choose this waste, this barren and brought them forth at His first call: thus, ground,
He spake the word, and they were made; He
To teach the thin inhabitants around,
That Eye is fix'd on seraph throngs;
There is an Eye that never sleeps
When earthly loves decay.
The perfect love of God knoweth no difference between the poor and the rich.
GOD-Blessedness of Loving.
Unto them that love him, God causeth all things to work for the best. So that with Him, by the heavenly light of steadfast faith, they see life even in death; with Him, even in heaviness and sorrow, they fail not of joy and comfort; with Him even in poverty, affliction, and trouble, they neither perish, nor are forsaken. Coverdale,
Power is that glorious attribute of God Almighty, which furnishes the rest of His perfections. Tis His omnipotence that makes His wisdom and goodness effectual, and succeed to the length of His will. Thus, His decrees are immutable, and His counsels stand; this secures His prerogative, and guards the sovereignty of His being; 'twas His power which made His ideas fruitful, and struck the world out of His thought. Twas this which answered the model of the creation, gave birth to time and nature,
O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. 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 Thou art there.
If I take the
wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee. David.
confidential friend, telling your secrets, or alone planning them, if, I say, you saw an eye constantly fixed on you, from whose watching, though you strove ever so much, you could never escape; and even if you closed your own eye to avoid, you still fancied that to get rid of was impossible, that it could perceive your every thought? The supposition is awful enough. There is such an Eye, though the business and struggles of the world too often prevent us from considering this awful truth. In crowds we are too much interrupted, in the pursuit of self-interest we are too much perverted, in camps we are struggling for life and death, in courts we see none but the eye of a human sovereign; nevertheless, the Divine eye is always upon us, and when we least think of it, is noting all, and, whatever we may think of it, will remember all. De Vere.
There is something in the thought of being surrounded, even upon earth, by the Majesty on high, that gives a peculiar elevation and serenity of soul. To be assured in the loneliest hour of unknown or neglected sorrow, that every sigh ascends to the eternal Throne, and every secret prayer can be heard in heaven; to feel that, in every act of conscious rectitude, the heart can appeal, amidst all the contradictions of sinners, to One who seeth not as man seeth, produces a peace which the world can never give. Feeling itself, like Enoch walking with God, the heart perceives a spirituality and purity in every joy, a mercy and a balm in every sorrow, and, exalted above the intrusions of an intermeddling world, has
its "conversation in heaven."
Though all the doors are sure, and all our servants
And therefore, as we should avoid with fear,
At whose sight all the stars Hide their diminish'd heads. Milton. GOD-Loving Presence of.
God is the light which, never seen itself, makes all things visible, and clothes itself in colours. Thine eye feels not its ray, but thine heart feels its warmth. Richter.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. David.
Must not the conduct of a parent seem very unaccountable to a child when its inclinations are thwarted; when it is put to learn letters; when it is obliged to swallow bitter physic; to part with what it likes, and to suffer, and do, and see many things done, contrary to its own judgment? Will it not, therefore, follow from hence, by a parity of reason, that the little child man, when it takes upon itself to judge of parental providence-a thing of yesterday to criticise the economy of the Ancient of Days-will it not follow, I say, that such a judge of such matters must be apt to make very erroneous judgments, esteeming those things in themselves unaccountable which he i cannot account for; and concluding of some things, from an appearance of arbitrary carriage towards him, which is suited to his infancy and ignorance, that they are in themselves capricious or absurd, and cannot proceed from a wise, just, and benevolent God?
Berkeley. GOD-Belief in the Superintendence of. When any one acknowledges a moral governor of the world; perceives that domestic and social relations are perpetually operating, and seem intended to operate, to retain and direct men in the path of duty; and feels that the voice of conscience, the peace of heart which results from a course of virtue, and the consolations of devotion, are ever ready to assume their office, as our guides and aids in the conduct of all our actions;-he will probably be willing to acknowledge also that the means of i a moral government of each individual are not wanting and will no longer be oppressed or disturbed by the apprehension that the superintendence of the world may be too difficult for its Ruler, and that any of His subjects and servants may be overlooked. He will no more fear that the moral than that the physical laws of God's creation should be forgotten in any particular case: and as he knows that every sparrow which falls to the ground contains in its structure innumerable marks of the Divine care and kindness, he will be persuaded that every man, however apparently humble and insignificant, will have his moral being dealt with according to the laws of God's wisdom and love; will be enlightened, supported, and raised, if he use the appointed means which God's administration of the world! of moral light and good offers to his use.
GOD-Necessity for the Superintendence GOD-Perfection of the Works of. of.
Our existence is dependent on a succession of changes, which are taking place at every moment in ourselves, over which we have no power whatever, but of which, each one involves the necessity of the existence, and the superintending power, of the Deity. The existence of the whole material universe is of the same nature. Now, each of these changes is, with infinite skill, adapted to the relative conditions of all the beings whom they affect, and they are subjected to laws, which are most evident expressions of Almighty power, of unsearchable wisdom, and exhaustless goodness. Now, were we merely intellectual beings, it would not be possible for us to consider anything more than these laws themselves; but, inasmuch as we are intellectual and also moral beings, we are capable not only of considering the laws, but also the attributes, of the Creator from whom such laws are the emanations. As everything which we can know teaches a lesson concerning God; if we connect that lesson with everything we learn, everything will be resplendent with
the attributes of Deity. By using, in this manner, the knowledge which is everywhere spread before us, we shall habitually cultivate a devout temper of mind. Thus, "the heavens will declare unto us the glory of God, and the firmament will show His handy work;" thus, "day unto day will utter speech, and night unto night show forth knowledge of Him." Wayland.
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty for all that is in the heaven and in the earth, is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all. David.
Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all. Nehemiah.
I cannot tell by what logic we call a toad, a bear, and an elephant, ugly, they being created in those outward shapes and figures which best express the actions of their inward forms, and having past that general visitation of God, who saw that all that He had made was good, that is, conformable to His will, which abhors deformity, and is the rule of order and beauty. Sir Thomas Brown.
What an immense workman is God! in miniature as well as in the great. With the one hand, perhaps, He is making a ring of one hundred thousand miles in diameter, to revolve round a planet like Saturn, and with the other is forming a tooth in the ray of the feather of a humming-bird, or a point in the claw of the foot of a microscopic insect. When He works in miniature, every thing is gilded, polished, and perfect, but whatever is made by human art, as a needle, &c., when viewed by a microscope, appears rough, and coarse, and bungling. Bishop Law.
God is the source and fountain of love, and which may be divided into three parts-the receiving from Him, the conforming to Him, and the reposing and trusting in Him. Burton.
It were better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of Him; for the one is unbelief, and the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity.
The power of godliness, among other things, hath these three advantages.
It makes a man do everything strongly and mightily; and whatever might take a man off from duty, or distract or distrust him in it, all falls to nothing before this power.
It makes a man inflexible in the ways of God, that he shall neither turn to the right hand nor to the left, but take straight steps towards the mark set before him.
It makes a man invincible from all evils and enemies, because all the power against him is but the power of the creature, but the power in him is the power of God. And the power of God easily overcomes the mightiest power of the creature, but is never overcome by it.
To conclude the power of godliness is the doer of every duty in God's kingdom, the subduer of every sin, the conqueror of each tribulation and temptation, the life of every performance, the glory of each grace, the beauty of a Christian's life, the stability of his conversation, the lustre of his religion, his great honour and excellency both in doing and suffering; yea, it is the very glory of God Himself in the church of God; for by faith the Lord arises on us, and by this power of godliness His glory is seen upon us. W. Dell.