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character, or qualities; by which, I mean the perfections belonging to his nature.
With respect to the nature of God, the scriptures teach that he is invisible, infinite, eternal, one, yet consisting of three persons.
Each of these descriptions shall be separately considered.
I. God is invisible. “No man hath seen God at any time.”) We often read in scripture that the Lord appeared unto his people ; on those occasions a voice was heard, or their attention was drawn to some visible object; as when Moses saw the burning bush, and Jacob wrestled with a human figure ; yet they never supposed that their Maker was really present in that shape. Thus also when it is said, in the language of the Bible, Thy right hand shall hold me;" “the eye of the Lord is in every place beholding the evil and the good :” it is merely a striking way of ex. pressing his power and knowledge. To imagine that he has a bodily form and members like our own, would be to con
b 1 John, iy. 12.
fine his presence to a certain spot, and so to liken him to the vain and worthless idols of the heathen. How highly this dishonours God, he has shown in his terrible vengeance against those who presumed to make to themselves any graven image.” And Moses carefully reminded the Israelites, that, though God often condescended to visit them, yet, they “saw no manner of similitude.” We must therefore take heed never, even in our thoughts, to represent God to ourselves as present in one place more than another; or as clothed in any particular shape. “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
II. He is eternal. As all things were made by him, he must at one time have been alone: and as it is absurd to think of any being whatsoever that it has made itself, God must have been that which he now is from all eternity. David accordingly sings,“ before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, thou art God from
c St. John, iv. 24.
everlasting and world without end.”d And again, “Thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they shall perish, but thou shalt endure: they shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed ; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”. For, as all things are subject unto God, nothing has or can have power to put an end to his existence.
III. God is infinite. He is confined within no bounds, either in his qualities, his working, or his presence: earth, air, and sea, the unfathomable depths of hell, and the measureless space of heaven, are, at every moment, filled with the everlasting presence of the Most High. Beautifully is this expressed by the psalmist; “Whither shall I go from thy spirit, and whither shall I go from thy presence? If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou art there also. If I take the wings of the morning and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea, even
d Psalm xc. 2.
e Psalm cii, 26.
there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." f
. IV. With respect to the nature of our Creator, we read that he is one : “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Lord.” “ He is God, in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else.” Yet in this one God, the scriptures teach that there are three persons ; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In what manner these three divine persons form together one Being, which is God, the scriptures have not explained; probably our understandings are at present too narrow to comprehend the explanation: of this we may be at all events assured, that the knowledge, being withheld from us, is not necessary to our present happiness or salvation : that such however is the fact the Bible furnishes abundant proof. On the occasion of our blessed Lord's baptism in the river Jordan, all and each of these divine persons were manifested to the world. The Holy Ghost, as a dove, appeared hovering over Jesus ; and the voice of the Father
f Psalm cxxxix. 7.
& Deut. vi. 4.
was heard from heaven, saying, “ This is
“ my beloved Son, in whom I am well plea
* Through him,” viz. Christ, says St. Paul, “ we have access by one Spirit to the Father.” That the blessed Jesus is represented in scripture as God, equal in power and glory with the Father, we cannot for a moment doubt. “The Word was God.” “God was manifested in the flesh." i “ Feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Proof equally sufficient and undeniable is given respecting the God-head of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul declares that he was called to
~ be an apostle, separated unto the Gospel, by the commandment of God our Saviour.” Now, we read in the Acts, that “ The Holy Ghost said separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Who then is the Holy Ghost-who is the Saviour, but one God with the Father world without end?
Again therefore to declare in few words
h Matthew, iii. 16.
i 1 Tim. iii. 16. * Acts, xiii. 2.