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that ocean of Almighty love, which is without a bottom and a shore ?
O! my God, when I contemplate thy sovereign will, which, from eternity, in highest wisdom, consulted my welfare, I am lost in astonishment.
When I reflect upon thy omnipotence, thy omnipresence, thy omniscience, thy infinite holiness, thy inviolable justice, thy unerring wisdom, thy faithfulness and truth, thy everlasting love, thy sovereign grace, thy patience and long-suffering--how I am filled with awe and dread. Yet faith can contemplate this bright display of uncreated excellence, and rejoice in thy infinite perfections as exhibited and harmonized in Jesus, the incarnate Word. Here I behold, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord. 0! that whilst beholding, I may be transformed into the lovely image of the Saviour, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Who does not long to feel the purifying effect of these sacred views of God in Christ? Lord, make me humble, whilst I meditate on thy humility; loving, whilst I think upon thy love; holy, whilst I dwell upon thy purity; just, whilst I contemplate thy righteousness; merciful, whilst I behold thy grace; joyful, whilst I review thy everlasting covenant. O! fill my heart with gratitude, and my mouth with praise. To thee, blessed Jesus, do I look. Remove all spiritual darkness from my mind; all spiritual deadness from my heart. Cause me to know thee, as my Saviour; to follow thee, as my leader; to love thee, as my friend; to trust in thee, as my atonement; to be found in thee, as my righteousness; to feed on thee, as the living bread; to walk in thee, as the way to the Father; and to dwell with thee in heaven for ever.
What comfort may every humble believer derive from the declaration of his Lord : 6 am I a God at
hand, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him ? not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?"
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
How happy must that soul be, whose refuge is always near. But to have an enemy always near us; an enemy armed with omnipotence—an enemy, made so by our wilful transgressions; is a consideration most appalling.
Yet this is the case, as it respects every impenitent sinner. The thought of such a God being ever near, whose eye is ever upon us; whose power can crush us in a moment; and drive the outcast spirit into outer darkness; would, one would think, awaken every dormant sensibility, and arouse every sleeping sinner. Yet, alas ! surrounded with such peril, the soul sleeps on in dreadful security, till either grace quicken it to repentance, or justice awaken it in the fire that shall never be quenched.
Lord, awaken my drowsy sense. Quicken all my powers. Draw me by the powerful constraining influence of thy love, and cause me to rejoice in this sacred truth, that thou art always near, my help in trouble, and my life in death.
When we begin to measure distances with respect to natural objects, we are lost in astonishment. What thought can reach the boundary of creation ? Many suns have probably been sending forth their rays in quick succession from the first moment of creation, whose light has not reached our earth. Who then can measure such distances ? And yet, what are millions of worlds revolving round each other, compared with infinite space, and eternal duration ? If we cannot by the boldest Aight of imagination conceive the mighty stretch of creation; how shall we dare to sin against that inconceivably glorious Being, who filleth heaven and earth with his presence-who inhabiteth eternity!
How truly sublime are the questions of the enraptured prophet Isaiah : “ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand; and meted out heaven with a span; and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ?"
“ Behold the nations are as the drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance : behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. “ All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing and vanity.”
“ It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers : that stretcheth out the heaven as a curtain ; and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”
“ Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary ; and the
young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Every doctrine of Scripture is designed to promote our growth in grace. They are given to us, not for speculation, but for practice. From this view of the divine immensity, we are taught humility, reverence, and circumspection.
Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, the eye of God is upon us, viewing us, not as an indifferent spectator, but taking cognizance of every action, of
every word, yea of every thought that rises in our minds; that from this awful, this continued, this never to be avoided scrutiny, our eternal condition may be fixed at the judgment-day.
How plain are the declarations of Scripture :
“God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” Eccles. xii. 14. “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” Acts xvii. 31. "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” Rom. ii. 16. “Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Rom. xiv. 12. “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels: and then he shall reward every one according to his works.” Matt. xvi. 27. For by actions, the sincerity of faith in Christ is best known and evidenced. And our reward, though not of debt but of grace, will be more or less glorious according to our works, those fruits of faith, done for Christ in this present world. See Matt. x. 42. xxv. 34. 40. Dan. xii. 3. Cor. xv. 41. 42.
In like manner, the punishment of unbelievers will be proportionate to their respective degrees of wickedness, and their comparative abuse of light, mercies, and privileges vouchsafed to them.
“ Wo unto thee, Chorazin, wo unto thee, Bethsaida : if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.”
“ Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Because our words will evidence the state of our hearts; and therefore prove us either in the faith or unregenerate before an assembled world.
“He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart.” 1 Cor. iv. 5.
How infinite is that omniscient God, who can search the deep recesses of every heart; yea, of hundreds of millions of hearts in every age, and at the same moment of time, without confounding in the least degree the motives and purposes of his rational creatures; and who at the great day of account will reveal to each his secret sins, while all shall stand speechless and self-condemned before his awful tribunal.
Lord, give me grace to judge myself now, that I may not be condemned in that day. O! send down thy blessed Spirit into my heart. Sanctify every thought, every affection and desire. Purge me with the cleansing blood of thy dear Son. Clothe me with his spotless righteousness; that, being viewed by thee, in Christ my Saviour, I may be saved with an everlasting salvation; and never be confounded world without end.
“ Thou, God, seest me." To feel the abiding impression of this solemn truth, would be a sacred preservative from sin. When an evil thought arises in my heart, should I like to divulge it to my nearest friend? Ah ! no. Conscience, shame, or a regard to his good opinion checks the disclosure. What! and shall I dare to indulge such a thought, exposed to my Almighty friend, and naked in his sight, when I would not dare to mention it to a fellow-worm ? Where is the fear of God? Where is the belief of his omniscience? Where is the awe of his omnipresence? Where is the dread of final judgment ? Yea, where is my love to Christ, who died to save me from my sins ? “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps ?” Job xxxi. 4.
This method of addressing conscience, may, through grace, present a powerful barrier against the