Imatges de pàgina
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We ought not surely to be a moment off our guard, when we consider what frail and tranfitory beings we are, when we consider that this day, this night, this very hour, our souls may be required of us; should we not then be careful to have our lamp ready trimmed when the bridegroom ccmeth? We know not the time when the Lord shall appear: of that day and hour, knoweth no man; as a snare it shall come on all them that are on the face of the whole earth.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all things that Mall come to pass, and to stand before the son of

man.

ON THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD.

S E R M ON

XLVI.

PSALM CXXXIX, 2.

Thou art about my path, and about my bed, and

Spiest out all my ways. . ΤΗ

HE holy pfalmift, in the words of my

text, hath with his usual elegance and propriety, pointed out to 119, in one short fentence, two of the greatest and most distinguishing attributes of God, his Omnipresence and Omniscience; the serious and devout conside

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ration of which united and inseparable perfections, cannot but conspire to raise in us the mof noble, worthy, and exalted idea of the Supreme Being,

It must indeed be confeffed, (the best, though poor excuse for inattention to a truth fo iinportant) that confined as we are within the small compass of this fublunary world, and encircled by the narrow bounds of human knowledge, we are too apt to measure the powers of the Almighty by the unequal scale, of our own limited capacities. Our horizon is quickly terminated, and because we cannot fee for ourselves, we think it beyond the power of Omnipotence itself to enlarge the prospect. We cannot easily conceive a being extending itself through all space, yet whole and undivided; present at every period of time in every place; operating in every mode and form without change, diminution, or decay; comprehending at one view, all the various parts of the vast and boundless universe, and whilst it remains itfelf invisible, diffusing its influence, operating, enlivening and invigorating the whole visible creation.

It is, notwithstanding, at the same time, indisputable, that if there is a God, he must be both omnipresent and omniscient; he must see all things, or he cannot poisibly be bale to rule over, to govern, and to direct them.

Amongit all ihofe absurd and pernicious notions, which were so warmly embraced and propagated in the heathen world, there is not perhaps one so ridiculous, and withal so dero

gatory

gatory of the divine honour, as the do&trine attributed to Epicurus and his followers, who were weak enough to believe, or wicked enough to endeavour to make others believe, that the superiority of the divine nature, confifted merely in an exemption from care and folicitude ; in rest, flothfulness, and a total inactivity : in pursuance of this strange opinion, they represented their Gods as utterly unconcerned about the happiness or mifery of mankind, not in the least interested or folicitous in regard to their preservation ; enjoying themselves (if such could be deemed enjoyment) in uninterrupted peace, in a cold and lifeless tranquillity, leaving at the fame time every thing here below to the guidance of chance, fate, or they know not what invisible power which presided over human affairs, and kindly relieved them of the cares of mortality.

That deities thus idle and unworthy of the station assigned them, should meet with votaries as idle and as unworthy as themselves, will scarcely afford matter of surprise or adiniration to us; nor can we therefore wonder to find the heathen world at that time funk in indolence and luxury, careless of their conduct and behaviour; the slaves, in fort, of every vice and folly that could degrade and debase human nature.

But that the children of the Cod of Ifrael, that the enlightened followers of a crucified Saviour and Redeemer, those who acknowledge their steadfait belief in one unchangeable, 26tive, beneficent power, in whon, and through

whom,

whom, they move and live, and have their being, who every day and every hour experience his goodness, and may if they will be conscious that he is ever present with them: that they also should forget that he is omnipresent and omniscient, may well indeed raise our wonder and astonishment: that they should adopt as so many do, these Epicurean princi. ples, that they should imagine that their God also doth not concern himself in the conduct of human affairs; that he is not about their path and about their bed, and spying out all their ways, is, we must own, what cannot easily be accounted for.

Our God, we know, is a God who neither flumbers nor sleeps, a Being who doth not leave the work of his hands to the superintendance of chance or fate, but presides over, and protects that world which he hath made; a Being to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; who therefore, whatever vain suggestions pride may inspire us with, can never be impoled on, deceived, or deluded by us: is it not frange then, that whilft we busy ourselves in trifles, the meanest and most inconsiderable, and turn our eyes on every little spectacle which may amuse or divert us, an object fo noble, and a spectacle fo glorious as our Creator, and our God, should so frequently as it doth, escape our observation?

To what shall we attribute such a perverse inattention to that which is of the utmost concern to us? To what can we attribute it, but

to

to that pride and self-sufficiency, which is the corruption and disgrace of human nature? As man is a most proud, and most infolent being, as he doth himself look down with scorn, contempt, and insensibility, on the inferior part of the creation; it is not impossible but that he may judge of the Almighty from his own weak and imperfect nature; he may imagine that God is too great and too exalted to look down upon us, or take into his hands the guidance of human affairs; that therefore he is safe in the commission of his crimes, for the Lord will not see them, neither shall the God of Israel regard them.

But it will highly become him to consider, that a judgment fo rash will greatly heighten his guilt, and enflame his punishment: it will become him to consider, that God is a just, merciful, and beneficent being; that he thinks nothing beneath his notice, whatever we may think beneath our own; and that though he is exalted above the heaven of heavens, he doth, notwithstanding, humble himself to behold the things which are done among the children of men.

To forget that God is ever present with us, is a certain and infallible sign that we have no regard or efteem for him. When the affections are strongly attached to any thing, the idea of that darling object is perpetually offering itself to the imagination, insomuch, that how far foever it may be removed from our corporeal view, no distance of time or place can separate, or disunite it from the mind, which

dwells

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