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SERMON IV.

ON THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.

PSALM cxxxix. 2.

IV.

Thou art about my path and about my bed,

and spiest out all my ways. Among the many reasons which men have SERM. to excite them to a life of piety and virtue, there is none which, if duly considered, would have more weight with them than the omnipresence of God. By the omnipresence of God I mean that perfection of his, by which he is immediately present to every part of the creation, and by conse

quence

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SER M. quence intimately acquainted with every IV.

thing, which is going forward.

“ If we climb up into the heaven,” says the psalmist, “he is there; if we go down “ to hell, he is there also. If we take the

wings of the morning, and remain in the “uttermost parts of the sea ; even there “ also shall his hand lead us, and his right

hand shall hold us." By which is meant, that we can go to no place, however high or low, where God does not reside; we cannot transport ourselves so swiftly, but that his holy spirit will accompany and sustain us; nothing is so secret, that he does not discover it; "he is about our path, and about our bed, and spieth out all our ways ;” all our thoughts, words, and actions, are laid open and known to him.

It was the advice of a celebrated heathen moralist to his disciples, always to behave and conduct themselves, as if some eminently virtuous person was looking on and

obsery

observing them; as, with such an idea, SERM.

IV. they would be ashamed of the commission of any thing which was mean or wicked, and encouraged in the pursuit of whatever was honourable and worthy. Now if the bare imagination and faint persuasion of the observation of a good man were expected to have so much influence, what may not be looked for from the consideration of the actual presence of God ? — of that Being, before whom the highest orders of archangels fall down and worship, whom no man can see, and live !-of that Being, who not only views our actions themselves, but is intimately acquainted with the motives from which they spring !--of that Being, who is holiness itself, and of purer eyes than to be. hold iniquity! Surely if any thing can excite in us awe and reverence, and restrain us from the perpetration of wickedness, it must be an habitual recollection of the presence of our Creator:

When

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SERM. When we are in company with any perIV.

son, who is greatly our superior in rank, or in wisdom, and of whose integrity and gravity we have an high opinion, it has usually a great influence on our behaviour: we stand in awe, and are afraid to sin; we take care at least outwardly to deport ourselves according to the rules of decency and virtue, and are cautious to do nothing which may render us contemptible or disagreeable to him. Now if the eye of a fallible man has this restraint upon us, how much more should the eye of an all-perfect God! more particularly when we take into consideration, that God is not an unconcerned or helpless spectator of human actions, but highly interested in them, and fully able to reward or punish them. He has strictly forbidden a wicked life, and solemnly sworn that he will severely punish it ; his own honour therefore seems to be concerned in the execution of his threats, and we all

know

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