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we must without hesitation pronounce that God is WITHOUT BODY, PARTS, OR PASSIONS, “ God is a spirit (2), and a spirit hath not flesh or bones (a).”—“God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent (b).", When, therefore, the Scriptures speak of the face, eyes, ears, and hands of God, or of his grief, jealousy, anger, and other mental emotions, we are to consider that such language is only accommodated to the understandings of men ; and that those properties and qualities do in fact by no means belong to the Supreme Being. We can form no conception of the agency of a pure spiritual substance, and therefore, in speaking of God, we are under the necessity of using terms derived from ourselves, and which we cannot but know to be in reality inapplicable to him.
God having created all things out of nothing, and given to them their various and respective powers, and being able to change, annihilate, and dispose of every thing in the universe, in any manner which he pleases; and no substance either animate or inanimate, material or immaterial, being capable of resisting or impecling his will; it follows that the POWER of God is INFINITE.
“ In (2) Jolin, c.4. V. 24. (a) Luke, c. 24. v.39. (b) Numb. c. 23. v. 19.
“ In thy hand, O God, is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee (c)?"-" The Lord of Hosts hath purposed it, and who shall disannul it? his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back (d)?”
2“ He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will (e)."—With God all things are possible (f).”_“ With God nothing shall be impossible (g).”—“ He doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What dost thou (h)?” -“ The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God (i).”—“The Lord God omnipotent reigneth (k).”—But though with the holy patriarch we confess that “ God can do everything (1),” we must remember that Omnipotence itself does not extend to contradictions or impossibilities; “ God cannot lie (m),” inasmuch as that would be
(c) 2 Chr. C. 20. v.6. . (d) Is. c. 14. v. 27.
(m) Heb. c. 6. v. 18. Impossibile est ei mentiri ; et impossibile istud non infirmitatis est, sed virtutis et majestatis, quia veritas non recipit mendacium, nec Dei virtus levitatis errorem. Ambrose.
contrary to his perfect nature; nor can he recal past events, which is manifestly impossible (n). When, therefore, we say that the power of God is infinite, we mean that God is able to perform all things, which do not imply in themselves contradiction or impossibility.
The WISDOM of God is inferred from the general construction and government of the world, in which an attentive observer cannot but see evident marks of design, and in which all things are admirably adapted to their respective ends and purposes : “ O Lord, how manifold are thy works; in wisdom thou hast made them all (o).” We cannot form an idea of wisdom superior to that which is thus displayed ; nor can we conceive how the wisdom, or any other attribute. of the Deity, should be circumscribed by any boundary or limit; and therefore we conclude with the royal psalmist, that “the wisdom of God is infinite (p)."
The INFINITE WISDOM of God may also be considered, as including the knowledgeof allevents, past, present, and future, and of the thoughts, motives, and intentions of all his creatures. This
knowledge, (n) Move yop auts xav ©£O5 sepisetas, 'Αγενητα ποιειν οσσ’ αν η πεπραγμένα.
Agatho apud Aristot. (0) Ps. 104. V. 24. (p) Ps. 147. v.5.
knowledge, without restriction or exception, seems necessarily to belong to the Creator of the Universe, from whom every power, property, and relation is derived : “ Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world (9)."
" He that planted the ear, shall he not hear ? he that formed the eye, shall he not see ? he that teacheth men knowledge, shall not he know (r)?”-“ Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (s).”—“ The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts (t)."-" The Lord is a God of knowledge (u).”—“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God (2)!”
BY INFINITE GOODNESS is meant a disposition to communicate every possible degree of happiness to all created beings, of which their nature is capable. That this attribute belongs to God is evident from his general government of the world, and particularly from his dealings with mankind. It has pleased God to place men in a
(9) Acts, c. 15. v. 18.
(r) Ps.94. v.9 and 10. (t) i Chr. c. 28. v.9.
(x) Rom. c. 11. v. 33.
state of probation, and to endue them with free agency, which is essential to responsibility; he has furnished them with the means of attaining every degree of happiness consistent with the character of free and accountable beings; he has given them Jaws as rules of their conduct; he has proposed the most powerful and animating motives to obedience; and he has promised his assistance to those who sincerely endeavour to perform his will. Since then every thing which God has made is good; since he has provided for the preservation of all things, for their proper continuance and well-being; since he has bestowed many noble endowments, and a great variety of comforts and blessings, upon his rational creatures in this world; and since he has voluntarily and upon easy conditions, offered them everlasting happiness in a future life, to which no human merit could have the remotest claim, surely we may pronounce that the goodness of God is infinite, “boundless as his universal works, and endless as the ages of eternity (y).”“ The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works ().”—“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever (a).” ,
(y) Clarke, vol. 1. Sermon 14.