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extensive. In this respect, his knowledge is high, and above the reach of any of his creatures, who will never be able to keep their attention constantly confined to any one particular object in the universe. While they are attending or looking to one creature, being or object, they must cease attending or looking to another. But to the Deity the whole universe is like a globe or a sea of glass, persectly transparent, and constantly present. He has just as clear and full a view of all objects, at one moment as another; not a single cloud ever comes over his mind, or the objects wbich he perpetually contemplates. His knowledge is as constant and immutable as his existence. Besides,
3. God knows all things connectedly as well as individually and constantly. There is a connection which runs through all the works of God. One part is connected with another, and all the parts with the great whole. If it were possible for any created being to know all things individually and constantly, still his knowledge would be very imperfect, if he were ignorant of the connection which all things have to one another, and to the great system to which they belong as component parts. But God is light, and in him is no such darkness as this. He constantly sees all parts of the universe, in all their various and numerous relations and connections, and changes, and natural operations and influences. There is no individual creature or particle of matter, which stands detached from and unconnected with the whole material and intellectual universe: And there is no other eye than the omniscient eye of God, that ever did or ever will have a clear, perfect, and constant view of all things, in all their relations and conections. But God has as clear, constant and perfect a view of the relations and connections of all things, as he has of their individual existence. He knows what every creature and object is fit for, and what particular use, purpose, or design it may be made to answer. He knows the use of every thing he has made, unspeakably better than the most ingenious artist knows the use of the instruments which he employs in the practice of his art. This, which mankind call practical knowledge, the Deity possesses in absolute perfection. The mechanic, who is master of his art, knows not only every pin, and wheel, and spring in his machinery, but its use, connection and relation, in respect to the whole machine. God knows what he made every angel for; what he made every man for, and what be made every other creature and object for; and he knows their fitness for the purposes of their creation. This is knowing infinitely more, than any or all created beings ever did or ever will know. But I must still add,
4. God knows all things benevolently, as well as individually, constantly, and connectedly. This is essential to the highest degree of practical knowledge. We find that mankind are very often plunged in darkness, and know not what to do, because of the blindness of the heart. An evil beart never fails to blind and darken the acutest and strongest human understanding: This our Saviour taught when he said, “The light of the body is the eye: if thine ere be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." And the apostle John, in the next chapter to the text conveys the same sentiment: “ He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not wbither he goeth, because that darkDess hath blinded his mind.” But God is love, and in him is no malevolence at all. He views all things with the most benevolent
feelings, and therefore views them without the least partiality or i moral darkness. His eye is single, his heart is pure benevolence, ! and his infinite understanding is not in the least darkened by the
least blindness of the heart. Hence he not only knows all things individually, constantly and connectedly, but he also knows in all cases, what is best to be done. He has the most clear and perfect knowledge of what is right and best in practice, as well as in speculation. Among the innumerable myriads of his creatures, he always knows perfectly how to treat each individual, and how to dispose of each individual so as to answer the most wise, important, and benevolent purpose, taking the whole universe into view, through the interminable ages of eternity. The whole universe is constantly transparent to him; there is not a creature or object involved in darkoess; perfect light shines through the whole circle of creation, and he never is at the least loss how to act, or what to do, in regard to any individual, in any part of the universe. It is now natural to conclude,
III. That God will always do what is best with his creatures.. And,
1. Because he knows what is best to do with them. If he were in the least measure deficient in knowledge; if he did not see all things clearly, we could not justly expect that he would always do. right, and that which is for the best, all things considered. But since he is able to take all things into view at once, and to see every part in its connection with the whole intellectual system, there is ground to believe, that he always will do what is absolutely the wisest and the best. Certainly we have more reason to believe this concerning God, who is perfect in knowledge, than we have to: believe it concerning the wisest and best created being, whose views are bounded and imperfect. Real knowledge of what is best to be done is certainly necessary in order to any being's doing what is really best. Hence the perfect light in which all things constantly appear to God, is a strong presumptive evidence, that he always
does what is best to be done with every individual of bis numerous y creatures.
2. God not only knows what it is always best to do with his creatures, but is always able to do what he sees to be best to be done. Created beings often fail of doing what appears to them to be best, for want of power. But God can do every thing. There is none who can stay his hand; and there is nothing can impede or prevent, or even obstruct his operation. He is never weak, nor faint, nor weary. His power is equal to his knowledge, in point of constancy and universality. Creatures often have less power to act,
at one time than another; but we know that in God there is constant and everlasting strength. There is nothing too hard for the Lord. He is stronger than the strong man, or the mighty angel armed. His creatures have often singly and unitedly set themselres in opposition to him, and endeavored to counteract his operations; but who ever hardened himself against God, and prospered? In the course of nearly six thousand years, God has never found a difficult case, or met with an insuperable obstacle, in doing what was best. He has always had his enemies in derision, and despised all their subtilty, enmity, and feeble efforts to obstruct bis universal and irresistible providence. He has always been able to wither the hand lifted up against him, and to subdue the heart, which wished to oppose or destroy him. “ There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord.” He is able to make every creature and object in the universe subservient to bis own wise and holy purposes. He defeated the malignant designs of Joseph's brethren, and accomplished his own. He defeated the malignant designs of Pharaoh, and accomplished his own. He defeated the malignant designs of Judas, and accomplished his own. He has from time to time continually defeated the designs of Satan, and accomplished his own. And he is always able to surmount every obstacle that any of his creatures can throw in his way, and to do all his pleasure with them. And this is another presumptive evidence that he always will do what is best in regard to every one of his intelligent and immortal creatures. Perfect knowledge and power are necessary prerequisites to the doing of what is best. This leads me to observe,
3. That God's goodness is equal to his knowledge and power. He is good unto all
, and his tender mercies are over all his works. God is love, and his love is impartial and universal, extending in due proportion to the lowest as well as to the big hest of his creatures, and to every individual as well as to the wbole family of hear. en and earth. He takes no pleasure in the pain or punishment of any of his friends or enemies. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of bim that dieth.” And the prophet declares, that “ he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." The whole of God's moral character and glory consists in goodness. So he declared
So he declared to Moses, when he desired to see his glory. And it appears from the connection of our text, that when the apostle says, “ That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all," he has a principal reference to his perfect love or benevolence, which is perfectly free from moral darkness, or blindness of heart. Now, the perfect goodness of God, in connection with his perfect knowledge and power, completes the argument in favor of his always doing what is best with all his creatures. It is morally impossible, that God should ever neglect to do what is best, or do what is wrong, when he is both able and willing to do what is best. Unlimited knowledge, power and goodness in God, afford a plain demonstration, that he will always do right, and even what is absolutely best, in his treatment of all moral beings: It is not even con
ceivable, that a perfectly wise and powerful, and benevolent Being should ever do any thing but what is best. Hence Abrabam demands, “ Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And Moses declares, “ He is the rock; his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is be.” And David says, “ He is holy in all his ways, and righteous in all his works.” His conduct is like his character, perfectly holy, just and good.
HEADS OF IMPROVEMENT. 1. If God always knows and does wbat is best, then he cannot do too much in respect to his creatures. Many are disposed to think and say, that God interposes too much in the concerns of mankind, in the dispensations of his providence. They choose to be left more to themselves, and be more independent of God. But why do they think and speak in this manner, if God does no more than he is obliged to do; and if he always does what is best?
2. If God always knows and does what is best, then there is always a good reason for all mankind to rejoice, that he governs and directs all things in the universe. The concerns of the universe are infinitely important, and even the concerns of one human being are unspeakably interesting.
3. If God always knows and does what is best, then it is higlily criminal for any to murmur or complain of any of God's dealings. He has the same good design in every part of his conduct, towards every one of his creatures. One has no more reason to complain, than another. He treats every one as well as possible.
4. If God always knows and does what is best for his creatures, then it is never necessary that they should know what he intends to do with them, in order to know what they ought to do in respect to him. They ought to love, obey, submit, and serve him.
5. If God always knows and does what is best, then the reason why awakened sinners strive with and oppose God, is, they are afraid he will do right. They wish him to do wrong.
6. If God always knows and does what is best, then unreserved submission is a most reasonable thing. It is founded in the bighest reason—and is necessary to the highest happiness.
7. If God always knows and does what is best, then there is no ground to despair of the salvation of any sinners—the greatest, most stupid, or most obstinate.
8. If God always knows and does what is best, then no sinners have ground to despair of themselves. God knows and regards their case-will do what is right.
9. If God always knows and does what is best, then God's conduct towards the finally miserable, will not disturb, but promote the blessedness of saints and angels– It must, and it is said it will.
10. This subject affords a plain rule of trial.
11. This subject affords ground of hope and consolation to the righteous. This is the message from heaven--God is light, &'c.
12. This subject affords matter of terror to sinners. God will have something to do with them—will call or leave-savexpr destroy them.
For the Hopkinsian Magazine. REVIVAL MEASURES-NO. 4.
In my last number I premised a few facts which may serve as landmarks in this disci of measures to promote revivals of religion. It is now my design to contemplate the different tendency and effects of the two methods which in my first and second numbers I briefly described.
Before contemplating this subject in the mere light of expediency, let us reflect that the course pursued by Dr. Credulus is plain disobedience to the divine commands. The commission of every ambassador of Christ enjoins him to “Preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke aud exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afilictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” He is plainly told that “ all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thorougbly furnished unto all good works.” He is expressly commanded to “diminish not a word” from the divine testimony, and to be a faithful steward in dispensing the word of life, giving to every one a word in due season. To, conceal or withhold any part of the divine counsel and testimony, because the time has come when men will not endure sound doctrine, is to obey man, and disobey God. But what can persons ultimately expect to gain by turning from God and his decrees, his commands and bis glory. Did Saul gain any thing in the end, by refusing to fulfil all bis commission against Amalech? Did Jonah gain in the end by trying to conceal the message of the Lord to the Ninevites? Did the unfaithful prophets gain in the end, by being “partial in the law?"
The course adopted by Dr. C. is grossly dishonest. It is not declaring “ the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." It is far from an honest arowal of that scheme of divine truth, which he professes to believe. He keeps back some absolutely sundamental points which distinguish this scheme from others. It is not only not a fair representation of genuine Calvinism, but indirectly a positive misrepresentation of it. At least it will be generally so understood; for there is no medium between God's decreeing and not decreeing all things, causing and not causing all moral exercises, electing and not electing a certain definite number from all eternity to be sared, and choosing and not choosing on the whole the salvation of all. It is stealing the credit of the popularity and success of the scheme of another religious denomination, under false colors. This gross dishonesty and hypocrisy has long been noticed by Methodists, Unitarians, and Infidels, who have widely and justly complained of and reproached such professed Calvinists; and there is no way to