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around the sun, with unremitting velocity-the comets returning from their long excursions in the distant regions of space, and flying towards the centre of our system with a velocity of hundreds of thousands of miles an hour-the sun himself, impelled towards some distant regon of space, and carrying along with him all his attendant planets—and, in a word, we have the strongest reason to conclude, that all the vast systems of the universe, which are more numerous than language can express—are in rapid incessant motion around the throne of the Eternal, carrying forward the grand designs of infinite wisdom which they were destined to accomplish.
INCOMPREHENSIBILITY OF GOD.
All the discoveries of modern science serve to exalt the Deity, but they do not contribute a single iota to the explanation of his purposes. They make him greater, but they do not make him more comprehensible. He is more shrouded in mystery than ever. It is not himself whom we see, it is his workmanship ; and every new addition to its grandeur or to its variety, which philosophy opens to our contemplation, throws our understanding at a greater distance than before, from the mind and conception of the sublime Architect. Instead of the God of a single world, we now see him presiding, in all the majesty of his high attributes, over a mighty range of innumerable systems. To our little eye he is wrapt in more awful mysteriousness; and every new glimpse which astronomy gives us of the universe, magnifies to the apprehension of our mind,
that impassable barrier which stands between the counsels of its sovereign, and those fugitive beings who strut their evanescent hour in the humblest of its mansions. If this invisible Being would only break that mysterious silence in which he has wrapt himself, we feel that a single word from his mouth would be worth a world of darkling speculations. Every new triumph which the mind of man achieves in the field of discovery, binds us more firmly to our Bible; and by the very proportion in which philosophy multiplies the wonders of God, do we prize that book, on which the evidence of history has stamped the character of his authentic communication.
HOLINESS OF GOD. “ Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name," say the blest inhabitants of heaven, “ for thou only art holy.” No other fountain of holiness is there in the universe than the God whom they adore. As his will is the standard and criterion of holiness, so his nature is essentially characterized by holiness. It is holiness. As well could he cease to be, as cease to be holy. Other holy beings there are ; but their holiness is derived and dependent. Pure and glorious as are the angels of light, yet so transcendently glorious is their Creator, that it is said, “He putteth no trust in his servants, and chargeth his angels with instability.” No confidence is to be placed in the stability even of their holiness, except as sustained by himself. Although in spotless sanctity they present their adorations before his throne, yet is their nature, in common with
all created nature, mutable. Of this who can entertain a doubt, that reflects on the awful apostasy of myriads of their family, now consigned to the blackness of darkness for ever! Nor does the security of those who retain their holiness and their bliss, result from any immutability in themselves, but from the purpose and the power of him whose they are, and whom they serve; in whose presence they are represented as veiling with their wings their faces, as if dazzled with the splendour of his holiness; and veiling with their wings their feet, as if conscious of unworthiness to approach the throne of his glory.
PATIENCE OF GOD.
Sin, in every shape, and form, and degree, is that abominable thing which God hates ; against which every attribute of his nature, and every principle of his government, must of necessity rise up in direct and unalterable hostility. Men are disposed to treat with lenity and indulgence those improprieties to which they are themselves inclined, while they would visit, with the full weight of punishment, offences to the commission of which they themselves feel no temptation. But never was there a sin of thought, or word, or action, which was not diametrically opposed to the unchanging nature of the blessed God. His name is holy ; his law is holy ; his throne is holy; his heaven is holy; and all its inhabitants are holy: and yet it is to the unholy, it is to those who are in rebellion against the attributes of his nature, that his wondrous patience is extended.
LOVE OF GOD.
How must the infinite Creator behave towards such audacious and impotent rebels? He can crush them in a moment; he can repress them into nothing again; he can extinguish all nature in the twinkling of an eye.-How is it that this has not happened thousands of years ago ? for this insolence of ours against the Almighty, is as universal and ancient as the history of man on the earth. What is that God, and who is He, that can persevere in bearing all this? He must have some character still greater than that of Creator, to unfold to the creatures he preserves in a state of such ungrateful rebellion. It is so ; for he has it in his power to be their Judge, and his own avenger every moment. But is it possible; can it be credited indeed ? He would be their FATHER-he wishes to call these insignificant apostates his children, and that they should call him Father. Omnipotent Justice ! how glorious art thou ; who canst vindicate thyself in the effusion of love upon the guilty, and transform thine awful decisions into the yearnings of parental affection towards abject apostates ! Ungrateful child! But thou art still more miserable than thou art rebelliousunhappy that thou knowest me not. No: thou shalt not be my hired servant-come to my arms, thou art my son still !
O God! this is creating indeed! Can the wretchedness of profligate apostasy warm Omnipotence into this? Can tremendous justice vindicate itself, in dissolving my contumacy, by cherishing me in a bosom burning with the affection of a parent? My Creator—my Father ! Is this possible ? Father to an unworthy reptile
of yesterday, and to-day tottering upon the very brink of destruction. Has the eternal Creator pronounced and sealed the immortal being and felicity of one too insignificant for his notice, and who might have been overlooked amongst the immensity of his works, by pronouncing himself, my Father? What have I been surfeiting upon ? One momentary expression of this paternal affection towards an outcast prodigal is worth all that he has created.–O sun! thou hast no warmth like this—thy brightest beams are cold. What do they avail without love love that no guilt, no oceans of provocation can quench !
God “knocks at the door” of our hearts, by the dispensations of his providence, by the declarations of his word, by the admonitions of conscience, by the influences of his Spirit.
GOODNESS OF GOD.
Consider the amiable, the delightful attribute of goodness, which belongs to the Deity in the most eminent degree, and is the source of all the good that exists in the world. It is this which recommends him to our love, produces confidence in his government, and acquiescence in his dispensations; enables us to expect his protection, and completely reconciles us to the contemplation of all his other perfections. This constitutes him the Father, as well as the absolute Sovereign of all his creatures. Self-existence and Eternity amaze and confound the mind; Omnipotence is awful and tremendous ; Justice is