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(i. e. mercifully appointed) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ himself. For that one God, who is above all, and through all, and in all, must with the greatest propriety be styled the FATHER OF ALL, OUR HEAVENLY Father, who governs all things in heaven and earth by his providence: this is a natural conclusion, nay, an unavoidable consequence, in that he is the Maker of both. But here I must satisfy you, why we give the attribute of ALMIGHTY to God, and what we mean by it.
First, then, we thereby profess to understand, and believe, that God has a right of absolute power and dominion over all the world. The Prophet Daniel supports us in this (iv. 34): His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And the Psalmist affirms the same (ciii. 19): The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all. (cxxxv. 6.) Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and in earth, in the sea, and in all deep places. By his being Almighty (as before observed) we also believe him to be possessed of infinite power of action; so that he can do all things, and with him nothing is impossible. By which we must ever understand, all things that do not imply a positive contradiction; for such a power would be entirely inconsistent with his wisdom for instance, all things that are not contrary to
his goodness and perfection to do, such as sin, or to be ignorant, or the like.
Now, the particular action by which God hath shown himself to be Almighty, is the formation of heaven and earth; which is the last thing I shall speak upon at this time.
Of heaven, we may admit two notions: first, that it is the world of glory, where God himself dwells, which also he made, as he did all other things; and secondly, that it is that visible part of the creation, which discovers to us the situation of the sun, the moon, the planets, and stars, and that space which contains the clouds and vapours, and the air so necessary to our bodily existence. In short, by the words heaven and earth together, we mean all things visible and invisible, as being all made and created by God. And by the earth in particular— that globe, ball, or world, in which we live, and all things in it. The Scriptures furnish many direct assurances of God's omnipotence or general power, in his works, and of the more particular manner of his working; the Prophet Nehemiah asserts his omnipotence in the lofty language of chap. ix, ver. 6: Thou, even thou, art God alone; thou hast made heaven, and the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things therein; and thou preservest them all. And as to the mode of his acting: some beings, we read, are produced by an immediate
act of power, as the angels and spirits of men; and thus was the first matter or substance produced, of which all other things are formed. This Moses proves in Gen. i. 1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth — he formed the outward mould of those vast bodies, by an effect of his WILL; which it is impossible our grovelling minds can comprehend; and from materials, equally easy for his creative and unbounded power to assemble for this purpose. To the other parts he gave a form according to his pleasure, from that matter or substance he before had made out of nothing, of which we can form any idea, as we plainly read in the book of Genesis, or birth of all things.
But the consideration of God's creation of the world, leads us to an inquiry whether he did not employ some agent in the work. As the Holy Scriptures expressly tell us, that all things were made by the WORD, who is represented by a person sometimes called the SoN; so St. John informs us, i. 3: All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. Now, the blessed WORD by whom God spake all things into being, is the same ever-adorable Person, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who came into the world to publish his Gospel, or glad tidings of peace to man, to strengthen our faith in the one eternal God, our heavenly Father, and die for us here, that we might live for
ever with him and his Father hereafter. And of both these truths we are well assured by the inspired word of God (Heb. i. 1, 2), who declares by his Apostle, that he hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, by whom he made the worlds. And of him, St. Paul speaking further, saith, Coloss. i. 14, and following verses, In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin. A particular belief in HIM is what is proposed to us as the next important article of our faith. Nothing of further moment respects our belief in God the FATHER, but that we trust in his preserving no less than creative power, the care of which he has likewise committed to the Son, who is represented, Hebrews, i, 3, to be the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person, and as upholding all things by the word of his power,
Thus have I shown you, from both the internal and external evidence of natural light and visible things, and, above all, from the neverfailing word of prophecy and divine revelation, that God is; the necessity of believing it, and the reason for it. Nor can I conclude this se rious and important subject with more propriety, than by a short address to you as servants of the Most High God, whom to serve is the greatest honour, to obey our greatest interest. Can our hearts, then, but burn within us (my brethren), while we contemplate the being,
and the deep things of God? Can we avoid exclaiming, with the Psalmist (lix. 17), Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing ; for thou, O God, art my refuge and my merciful God. Can we know thee, and not love thee! thou that surpassest all that created nature can comprehend in beauty-greatness-power-goodnessliberality-and magnificence! nay, in every perfection; and (which should principally affect us) in thy love to us! The awful consideration of the difference between God and man, might well restrain presumption in such creatures to approach thee. But thou permittest it; that is too little to say-thou commandest us to love thee. Holy, great, and glorious Being! that thou shouldst vouchsafe to communicate invaluable knowledge, and bestow inestimable mercy, to such insignificant and worthless creatures! that thou shouldst propose to us wisdom, that is, life itself, that surpasseth all understanding, the fear of Thee, for that is the beginning of wisdom; for who can study thee and thy doings without trembling at thy power? What is man, that thou so visitest him, or the son of man, that thou so regardest him ? In himself, he is a thing of nought, both from his unworthiness and the shortness of his days; but as he is the breath of thy lips, he is a candidate for a share in thy na¬ ture; and out of thy unbounded love, thou wouldst clothe him with glory and honour. As