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clusive, and furnishes the most striking 'that in the One Jehovah there are vindications of the divine unity, attend-Three-"the Father, the Word, and ed with just representations of the the Holy Spirit;" as Christ affirms, “I egregious incongruity of admitting the and the Father are One." 1 John, v. 7. awful thought, that there are “Gods John x. 30. Ignorance has insinuated many, and Lords many."
that this is adopting the creed of three That Being who fills with his pre- gods. But the charge is incompatible sence the vast and immeasurable area with truth, and contrary to the express of immensity—who pervades, by the avowal of the Bible. Perverted reason penetration of a single glance, the mi may aver, that the distinction in the nutest occurrences, or most potent Godhead is inadmissible, because it transactions of a thousand worlds-who cannot be comprehended. But the holds within the limits of his omni- same argument, if pursued, would lead potent grasp the mighty frame of univer eventually to complete Atheism : for if sal being, from the worlds that roll on we are not to believe in the Three who high, down to the invisible animalculæ bear record in heaven, because we are which swarm upon the leaf.-That he not able to explain the mode of their should be viewed as not the only God, existence, it will follow, that we must is a thought utterly repugnant to the not believe that there is a God, for none very nature of things. It is, however, can comprehend the modus of his being. from the Bible alone that we are effec- If in the essence of a single pebble, or tually taught this noble truth; where it | blade of tender grass, there are matters stands exhibited as an obvious matter which surpass our comprehension, how of belief, and is proved by plain argu- much more unsearchable must be the mentative deduction. When Moses Godhead of the Eternal ! Let those solemnly addressed the people on the who would bring the Deity to the level subject of their obedience to the Al of finite capacity, attend to the words mighty, who had blessed them so of a wise instructor, “Canst thou by richly with perpetual kindness, he di- searching find out God? Canst thou rects them to honour him as the only find out the Almighty to perfection ?" Lord. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord, Job xi. 7. “ Touching the Almighty, our God, is one Lord.” Deut. vi. 4. we cannot find him out.” Job xxxvii. 23. Speaking also of the mighty wonders 2. The Bible ascribes to God the they had beheld, he says, “Unto thee attribute of Eternity. To circumscribe it was shewed, that thou mightest the existence of Jehovah within the know that the Lord, he is God; there narrow limits of time, is at once reis none else besides him." Deut. iv. 35. ducing him to the condition of a creaIn the Prophecy of Isaiah, we have a ture; and to form conceptions of God, striking vindication of this important as having a commencement of being, is article of faith. “I am the Lord, and dérogatory to the perfection of his there is none else; there is no God be- glory. Here some of the wisest of the sides me. Look unto me, and be ye heathen wandered grossly from the path saved; for I am God, and there is of sound knowledge; whilst the prinnone else." chap. xlv. passim. The cipal part of them were left in complete apostle Paul, when instructing à society darkness. The gods they acknowledged of Christians who had been accustomed | were generally idolized heroes, or deified to venerate the idols of Greece, illus- tyrants. Beings who, while upon earth, trates the subject in the most beautiful were subject to adversity and death, and manner. “We know that an idol is often the victims of ambition and rage nothing in the world; and that there is whose days were measured by a mortal none other God but one, For though generation;-that they should share the there be that are called Gods, whether honours of a God, fully shews, that in beaven or in earth; (as there be gods their worshippers had lost sight of Him, many, and lords many,) but to us there “who was, and is, and is to come”-of is but one God, the Father, of whom whom the Bible says, “From everare all things, and we in him; and one lasting to everlasting, thou art God." Lord Jesus Christ, hy whom are all | Psal. xc. 2. ' If the Oriental Philosophy things, and we by him.” 1 Cor. viii. did admit the eternal existence of the 4-6.
chief Deity, yet, by teaching the eterIt is no disparagement of this truth, / nity of matter, and other chimerical that the Scripture leads us to believe and confused notions, it quite eclipsed the beauty and consistency of the doc- | Bible, lest haply its enemics should be trine. But the Scripture opens the found claiming as their own, what is grandeur of this divine perfection, and exclusively the fruit of its instructions. preserves a subserviency of instruction Let the whole fraternity of the wise, on the origin of matter, by shewing | from Zoroaster down to Cicero, be sumthat its commencement is dated from moned to the test; each with his voluthe period when the voice of Omnipo- minous productions; and let any or all tence formed it from nothing. When of them, produce a lesson upon the the mind has traced back the long chain Divine Omnipresence, equal in strength of days, and months, and years, and and beauty, with the following words of arrives at the point where they first David, who was born a shepherd. began, it is then compelled to make “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit; or a final stand, because its powers are whither shall I fee from thy presence ? inadequate to comprehend Eternity. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; But even then, and from the measure- if I make my bed in hell, behold thou ment of ten thousand years anterior, art there. If I take the wings of the yea, even from illiinitable duration, morning and dwell in the uttermost Jehovah existed, in the full possession parts of the sea: Even there shall thy of uncreated glory. How incomparably hand lead me, and, thy right hand shall sublime are the following passages of hold ine." Psal. cxxxix. 7, 10. Though the Bible. "The eternal God is thy this passage is of the most emphatic refuge, and underneath are the ever description, yet it is far from being the lasting arms." Deut. xxxii. 27. “Thus only portion of the Bible, where the saith the high and lofty One, that in- glory of God's ubiquity is exhibited. habiteth eternity, whose name is Holy."' * Behold the heaven, and heaven of Isa. lvii. 15. " Thy name is from ever- heavens cannot contain thee.” 1. Kings lasting.” Isa. Ixiii. 16. “Art thou not viii. 27. “Do not I fill heaven and earth from everlasting, () Lord, my God?" saith the Lord.” Jer. xxiii. 24. By di. Hab. i. 12. “Whose goings forth have ligently reflecting on the Omnipresent been of old, from everlasting.” Mic. v. 2. Majesty of the Lord, we learn the pro“ According to the eternal purpose, priety of that powerful affirmation, “My which he purposed in Christ Jesus, our glory will I not give to another, neither Lord.” Eph. jii. 11.
my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 3. We are taught in the Scripture that xlii. 8. God is Omnipresent, or that he posses. 4. In the Bible we learn, that God is ses the perfection of Ubiquity. Local. infinitely Wise. Through all the gradaity, or a limited compass of being, is tions of intellectual or sensitive endowpeculiar to every creature, even though ments, which characterize and distinthey should rise highest in the scale guish the works of nature--from the of created things. Man, both with re- smallest fly that floats upon the air, up gard to body and soul, is confined to a to the mighty seraph which soars above certain space, and the Angels are like the stars, we can only recognize one founwise the subjects of a circumscribed tain from whence these powers of intelexistence. It is impossible for any crea- ligence flow, and one grand cause why ture to be present in two places at the they do exist, (namely,) God, the Father same time. However rapid the progress of lights. We behold something truly of spirits may be, in moving through the amazing in the endless diversity and different parts of space, yet it is contrary vast variety in which these powers are to just conceptions to think that even seen, among the millions upon millions an Arch-angel could be upon earth and of those creatures, whom the Almighty in heaven precisely at the same moment. has formed, and to whom he has given Ubiquity, or infinite presence, is, there a capacity to know, and feel, and think. fore, an attribute only possessed by the But were all the organs of their respecgreat God. The question, then, with tive faculties collected into one, in comwhich we are concerned is, where this parison with the wisdom of God, they perfection of the Deity is most amply would be only as a drop of view, to unfolded ? whether in the Bible, or the the immeasurable ocean, or like a feelearned disquisitions of Sages and Philo- ble spark compared with the brightness sophers? Here let it be remembered, that of the sun. To Him the immense affairs the examination must be connected with of the whole concern of time are ever days anterior to the circulation of the present. “All things are naked and
spened unto the eyes of him with whom, not fall on the ground without your Fawe have to do : there is no creature that ther," Mat. x. 29. “The very hairs of is not manifest in his sight." Heb. your head are all numbered,” ver. 6. iv. 13.
| “He upholdeth all things by the word "He beholdeth all the sons of men." of his power." Heb. i. 3. Ps. xxxiii. 13. “Hell is naked before him, God's power directs all things.-"He and destruction hath no covering.” Job. doeth according to his will in the armies xxvi. 6. “Can any hide himself in of heaven, and among the inhabitants secret places, that I shall not see him?) of the earth,” Dan. iv. 35. “He causeth saith the Lord.” Jer. xxiii. 24. “There the day spring to know its place,” Job is no darkness where the workers of ini- xxxviii. 12. « He bindeth the sweet quity may hide themselves." Job.xxxiv. influences of Pleiades and looseth the 22. “If I say, surely the darkness shall bands of Orion,” Job. xxxviii. 31. Well cover me: even the night shall be light Inight the fables of Jupiter, the tales of about me; the darkness and the light Neptune, and the proud mysteries of are both alike to thee." Ps. cxxxix. Apollo retire and vanish when once the 11, 12. God's wisdom is not only repre Bible brought to view such glorious sented as pervading the whole universe, discoveries of the blessed God. but as displaying itself above the stupen 6. By the Scripture we are instructed dous and beautiful works of his hand. to know that God is holy, just, and good. ** How manifold are thy works, O Lord ! Let it not be thought that justice and in wisdom hast thou made them all.” Ps. holiness are vague uncertain terms, imciv. 24,
plying any thing or nothing. Though 5. The doctrines of the Bible shew, ignorance may obliterate, in a great that God is Omnipotent. Power must measure, man's moral sensibility, yet it be either limited or infinite. Accord can never be totally eradicated. The ing to the nature of a being, su its power work of the law is written in the hearts or capacity of operation. But with all even of those who are not blessed with created beings we perceive certain lines revealed precepts. " Their conscience beyond which their power cannot pos- | bearing witness; and their thoughts the sibly extend, whereby we are enabled to mean while accusing or else excusing distinguish that which is peculiar to the one another.” Rom. ii. 15. In whatever power of God. The glory of Omnipo- light the gods of the heathen may have tence is unfolded in the Scripture as been represented, the true God must be sustaining a threefold excellence. It is considered as possessing the essence of spoken of as having formed all things- eternal and immaculate purity, connected as upholding all things—and as directing with unbounded goodness. In this light all things. There is something truly the Bible speaks of his righteousness and magnificent attaches to the thought of compassion; “The Lord our God is that almighty movement of creating righteous in all his works that he doeth." energy, which called universal nature Dan. ix. 14. “Justice and judgment are into being. Think of the lowest part of the the habitation of his throne.” Ps. lxxxix. dust of the earth-then think of earth it. 14. "Just and true are thy ways, thou self-from earth rise to the rolling orbs King of saints," Rev. xv. 3. « Holy, which move around the king of day.- holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” Is. vi. Go higher still, and mark the distant 1 3.6Who is like unto thee, O Lord, stars, fixed permanently, in endless num- glorious in holiness," Ex. xv. 11. "The bers, far beyond the scan of mortal Lord is good to all and his tender mereye.-Review the wide extended scene, cies are over all his works. Ps. cxlv. 9; and ask, who gave it birth: The Bible “He maketh his sun to rise on the evil gives the grand reply. “He spake, and and on the good, and sendeth rain on the it was done; he commanded, and it just and on the unjust.” Mat. v. 45. 4 He stood fast.” Ps. xxxiii. 9. “By the word is kind unto the unthankful and to the of the Lord were the heavens made: evil.” Luke. vi 35. and all the host of them by the breath of 7. God is shewn in the Bible to be inhis mouth." Ps. xxxiii. 6. “God cre- mutable. Mutability always supposes deated the heavens and the earth.” Gen. ficiency of power, or imperfection of wis. 1.1. “He upholds all things. In Him dom, because consummate knowledge .welive, and inove, and have our being,” and infinite power preclude all possibility Acts. xvii. 28. “By him all things of change or mutation. He who sustains consist,” Col. i. 18. "A sparrow shall the honour of the “Only wise God,"
and whose dominion is that of the “Lord | explained, and its abuse carefully Omnipotent,” must of necessity be un- guarded against? changeable. “ The counsel of the Lord If, in order to accept such invitations, standeth for ever; the thoughts of his a minister is induceci to neglect the inheart to all generations.” Ps. xxxiii. 11. struction of his own household, or to “I am the Lord; I change not.” Mal. iii. interfere frequently with family order.5. “He is the same yesterday to day and if he be obliged tu omit visiting the for ever. Heb. xiii. 8. “With whom there prosperous or the healthy-the sick, is no variableness, neither shadow of the afflicted, or the poor, of his church turning," James i. 17. Such then is the and congregation-If he so straiten development of Jehovah's ineffable glory, himself for time to read and to study, made known in what we Christians call that he acquires no new ideas, and is
THE BOOK. Upon this we rest one co generally, or even frequently obliged to gent evidence of its truth; and, until an preach half-studied sermons ;-may we equal discovery of his divine perfections not conclude, that the acceptance of can be fairly deduced from the compo- such invitations does not come within sitions of the wise, the learned, and the the line of duty? great of heathen times, we boldly take Many of our old divines spent too our stand upon the vantage ground of much time in their studies; they ininspiration, and say, that reason, refined l jured their health, and thus cut short reason, bids us receive the incontrover-their usefulness, while they were amasstable evidence of its sacred directions. ing large stores of knowledge, and Let those who scruple to admit the Bible writing learned folios, which few, como as the book of Heaven, suffer an affec- paratively, had time to read.* But tionate invitation, once carefully to ex- their writings, especially their smaller amine its gracious contents, lest they | works, their preaching, and their con. should at last have to make the shame- versation with their people, made their fuland unphilosophical confession of the hearers thinking Christians. deluded Hume, that they have never in The religious character is formed, all their lives attentively read the whole not merely by listening to sermons, of the Bible.
and attending devotional exercises, but I am, &c.
by meditation-by unreserved conversaPHILEMON.
tion-and by the books that we read. How much good may be done, espe
cially to the young, by a minister who, REMARKS ON PREACHING AND ( in his pastoral visits, recommends HEARING.
suitable books! Mr. Editor,
It would be happy if some preachers If you think the following letter, I could be convinced, that it is not mere which contains some remarks on / sermonizing, or even sermonizing des PREACHING and HeaRING, is calculated votionally, however frequently, that to suggest any useful hints to either constitutes instructive and scripturah ministers or private Christians, I shall | preuching. Ministers who do not give be obliged by its insertion in your theinselves much to reading and study, useful miscellany.
as well as to prayer, or who do not study in proportion to the frequency ol
their preaching, are apt to confine theniIt is said to be a maxim with some selves within too small á range. Som ministers, that an invitation to preach, important events, perhaps, by the is a call of duty. That it is often so, powerful operation on their minds, ha cannot be doubted; but is it not impor. given a peculiar cast to their selection tant, that the rule should be soberly of subjects. Unconsciously to them.
* It would, however, be an injustice to our forefathers, to suppose that they did read more solid works than we do. Christians, formerly, certainly had more leisure reading than we have; and their tables were not perpetually covered with a succes of periodical publications, and new works of general literature, as ours are. We an opportunity of obtaining more extensive information on many subjects; but peculiarly necessary for us to be on our guard, lest we dissipate our minds by variety content ourselves with superficial knowledge. The attainment of knowledge has bei much facilitated in modern times, that there is no apology for persons in a respect station in life remaining uninformed, or acquiring a mere gmatiering of knowledge.
selves, their minds turn, almost mecha. | wise, I suppose, we must leave them to nically, to a certain set of subjects; some of those preachers who cannot be principally, perhaps, because they are persuaded to address man as if he were most conversant with them.
compounded of both reason and pasSome of these preachers never ad- sions, but who confine themselves to vance beyond the elements of Christi- addresses to the passions alone. anity. Both their doctrinal and their Some of these sort of hearers justify experimental serinons teach the same the description of the late excellent Mr. few truths, in the same few terms. Newton: '“ They seem to think they
Revelation is a rich, inexhaustible were sent into the world only to hear mine: but in vain is its wealth de- sermons;" and of them he remarks, scribed to such men; they will seek for "Such persons may be fitly compared nothing but what lies near the surface, to Pharoah's lean kine: they devour a for they have no heart for labour. This great deal, but for want of a proper dineglect of thinking, in a public instruc- gestion they do not flourish; their souls tor, must produce in his discourses a are lean, they have little solid comfort, sameness nearly amounting to identity. and their profession abounds more in The people, accustomed to hear the leaves thau fruit."* These, in general, same thing, with but slight variations, and not the more intellectual hearers, if they approve, go away and say, “ It / are the persons who have itching ears, was very good," perhaps “ very pre. who must hear all the new preachers of cious;" while others, who care but the class they admire, though they aclittle for the truths themselves, listen quire nothing by hearing them; such as to a thrice-told tale, till they fall | teachers bearing as close a resemblance asleep. A sernion that contains ideas to each other, as coins of the same imwhich require some mental exertion to pression. keep up with the speaker, would seize In one of the above hints, it has been the mind, and employ the attention in taken for granted, that a minister is caa way that would preclude sleeping at pable of advising the young people of the time, and which would furnish sub- his Aock in the choice of books. But jects for reflection and conversation this implies that he has himself cultiafterwards.
vated a habit of reading; for it is obI have no doubt it will be urged by vious, that he who is uninformed on some,“ We must not adapt our sermons general subjects, or who reads no theoloexclusively to persons of intellect; few logical works but those of one author, would understand and enjoy them." I or one party, is by no means qualified doubt whether the hearers I have de- for this important part of his office. scribed, would not, even in that case, Indeed, if he happen to have many carry home quite as much as they do well educated young people in his con. pow—a few 'isolated sentences; and gregation, he is in imminent danger of bearers of good sense, who wish to be being left behind in the march of intelcome well acquainted with the various lect, and of losing, in maturer life, the parts of religion, would be much more influence he possessed over their minds interested by well studied sermons, on a in childhood. greater variety of subjects; and, by the Were I a preacher, I think I should exercise of the understanding which estinate the tendency and usefulness of such sermons would require, they would my labours, by the character of my hearers. gradually rise to higher degrees of re- If I perceived, instead of rising superior ligious knowledge, and to a capacity to the world, and renouncing its evil for receiving more intellectual instruc- maxims, tempers, and habits, they only tion. This would be the result, espe- admired my preaching.-If, instead of cially with the younger members of the being lights in the world, they were discongregation. For the present pleasure tinguished from their neighbours merely of the no-thinkers, I confess it would not by their regular attendance on public be so easy to provide. They wish to worship, I should fear I had not reached obtain a certain degree of mental ex- | their consciences. If I found them citement without mental effort. If well informed, but cold and heartless they are young, it may be possible to in religion;-more disposed to dispuimprove their habits of thinking; other- | tation than to prayer--more given to
.. . Omicron's Letters. Letter 13. - .