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THE LORD HE IS GOD.
PSALM XCV. 6, 7.
O COME, LET US WORSHIP, AND FALL DOWN, AND KNEEL BEFORE THE LORD OUR MAKER. FOR HE
IS THE LORD OUR GOD; AND WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF HIS PASTURE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS HAND.
FROM the earliest records of the history of mankind, even urto the present hour, have been found, in all ages and in all nations, some ideas of a Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
Accustomed to look up with reverence to the most expert hunter or warrior of his Tribe, during his daring life; even the unenlightened savage was convinced, by Death, that his Chieftain's power had come to an end. Hence, still conscious that he wanted a protector to shield, an example to guide
him through this world's vicissitudes and perils; he began to hope that some all-powerful Being might exist beyond the skies, over whom Death had no control, and whose dominion over all creation might be, like himself, eternal.
The sun, that most glorious object of the material world, naturally attracted his attention; and to the sun, the moon, and stars, we accordingly find the religious worship of the heathen, generally, directly, or indirectly, paid.
Other Nations, as history informs us, fell down and worshipped stocks and stones, or hideous images of the gods whom they believed to have eternal power. Still, whatever was the object of their senseless adoration, it is plainly evident that some idea of a Deity was implanted in the breast of man ; an idea, whatever the pretended atheist may declare, never to be eradicated.
But even the poor uncultured savage began to find that his prayers were unheard by the gods of his imagination; that the sorrows of this life were greater than its joys. He beheld fraud and violence prosper; he saw the unequal distribution of property and
riches; he witnessed the inroads of sickness, and the encroachments of death.
Sickening, he turned from the contemplation of such evils; and, in his affliction, lifting his thoughts above the earth, a bright beam of hope directed him to the eternal God of mercy and his immortal soul was filled with a longing to know, to see, to love, to worship him. For " God," as the great Apostle of the heathen tells us, " left not himself without a witness in every nation ;" and by granting to man, after his first creation, a knowledge of good and evil, has led the human soul to honour and to worship him.
Moreover, we not only trace some idea of Divinity even in the most savage people, but we also plainly perceive, in the multiplicity of their gods, a trace of one Supreme Being ruling by, and from, his own exclusive power, over all other gods. This shews that the true God had wisely reserved to himself, in all the sheep of his hand, some clue by which he would, at his own good time, bring back the wanderer to the arms of his mercy. "For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting : and his truth endureth from generation to generation."
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Seeing, then, that the beber of one God Supreme, was, and slis, chemshed among all the inhabitants of the earn; let us now have recourse to that pure source of religious faith, contained in the oldest records of mankind. Records which, commencing with the creation of this beauteous world, and all which it contains, were first made known by the Lord our Maker to his servant Moses; and
thence continued, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, to the final consummation of all things.
All who have made the study of history with candour, care, and diligence, will acknowledge that the Bible, or Old Testament, is by far the most ancient record, or book,
And they, whose duties, or inclinations, have induced them to compare heathen literature with the sacred Scriptures; will agree with me in the opinion, that most of the moral and religious sentiments, which the unbeliever will attempt to put in comparison with the doctrines of Christianity; are, in fact, actually derived from those very Scriptures themselves.
On this point, I fear no contradiction from candid and well-informed readers; and, as a minister of the Church of Christ, "I speak boldly, as I ought to speak," when "justifying the ways of God to man.' One of our brethren, a fellow-minister of the Gospel, now living, a Prebendary of this Cathedral, just now become a Bishop of our Church: has ably proved this fact, in a great number of parallel passages from the writers of Greece