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You are impiously dictating to him; and, in reality, are telling him, that you are, better able to direct yourselves than he is. My heart recoils at your conduct. I shudder to think that you can, with daring deliberation, thus « find fault with God.” What will be the end of persevering in this system? Let Christ, the faithful and true witness, be permitted to answer. man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy; God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book*.” May the Lord therefore give you repentance and pardon through him who died for sinners, and enable you to say from the heart, Thy Word is true from the beginning !
• Rev. xiii, 19,
Spirituality of God's Existence
DESCRIBED AND IMPROVED.
JOHN, CHAPTER IV.-VERSE 24.
God is a Spirit.
In what a beautiful and striking manner are the goodness and condescension of our Redeemer exhibited, in the various occurrences of his life! Perhaps a more pleasing exemplification of this remark cannot be selected, than from the narrative in the chapter before us. It represents the Lord of Glory prosecuting a journey of benevolence, under the painful sensations of hunger and thirst; and, through weariness, his soul fainting within him. Travelling from Judea to Galilee, he passed through Samaria. Here his weary limbs needed rest, and his exhausted spirits wanted refreshment. No downy couch was offered, however, for his reposeno hospitable door was open for his admittance. He sat down by a well, as being the best place of accommodation he
could meet with, and found it necessary to crave a little water, from a woman who had come thither to draw a supply for herself. ‘Both the water and the well were subjects which he improved for her spiritual edification. Her need of living water-even the graces of the Holy Spirit; his ability to impart it, and the nature of real religion, became the important topics of conversation. Traditionary knowledge and the influence of education, had led the woman to lay great stress upon the place where God ought to be worshipped: but our Lord taught her that divine worship did not consist so much in the place as in the manner in which that worship was performed. “The true worshippers," said he, “shall worship the father in spirit and in truth.”
And to prove the necessity of this, he introduced the assertion of the text-GOD IS A SPIRIT.
The certainty of God's existence, and the truth of the Scriptures, have already been proved. An illustration of the nature of the Divine Being, grounded on the unerring records of inspiration, may, therefore, now be introduced with propriety. Hence, on the authority of the text, we call your attention to a description and improvement of the SPIRITUALITY of God's exa istence.
In describing the nature of the Supreme Jehovah, we tread indeed on holy ground, and ought to use the utmost circumspection every step we take. We are in great danger of darkening counsel by words without knowledge. Still, however, while we humbly and cautiously adhere to those representations, which he has graciously given of himself in his own Word, it is hoped, that instead of being guilty of presumption, considerable spiritual improvement will be obtained. The description we have in view will lead us to consider God as an incorporeal, invisible, immortal, active, and Omnipresent Being.
I. It will be readily admitted that the Almighty, as a Spirit, is an incorporeal Being has not a bodily existence. A body consists of different members--these members are necessarily limited in their operations and extent: but the idea of the Great God being thus limited, is fraught with absurdity. When it is recollected, that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, that every creature in the celestial state, in this lower world, and in the regions of woe, are con tínually under his immediate notice, nothing can be more evident, than that his existence
bodily nature. Independent of argument, this sentiment is satisfactorily confirmed by our Lord's assertion, "A Spirit
hath not flesh and bones.". Should it be objected, that God is frequently represented in Scripture, as having bodily members, it must be replied, that these representations are figurative, that they are made in condescension to our weak capacities, and are designed to assist us in obtaining clearer, and more impressive ideas of him. Thus the eye of God denotes his omniscience the hand and arm of the Lord, his great power ; and his ear, his readiness in attending to our concerns. His sitting represents his unchangeableness---the light of his countenance intimates the manifestation of his favour; and the moving of his bowels, signifies his tender compassion. Indeed were we to contend, that God has a bodily shape, merely because bodily members and actions are ascribed to him, it might be argued, that he resembles a bird, for he is represented as having wings ; or that he is like a Lion or a Leopard, for, to these powerful animals he is compared, in the exercise of his strength and anger*. He is moreover called a rock, a horn, a fire, a sun, a vine, a shield, &c. Hence to understand all the Scripture-representations of God literally, would not only present him to our minds in the form of a man, but also lead us to change his glory into theimageof birds, and four-footed beasts,
Hofea, ch. xiii, v, 7 & 8.