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most odious objects; who appearest not to hate thy neighbor, because thou dost not openly attack him ; not to falsify thy promise, because thou hast the art of eluding it ; not to oppress thy dependents, because thou knowest how to impose silence on them: I saw thee, when thou gavest those secret stabs, when thou didst receive those bribes, and didst accumulate those wages of unrighteousness, which cry for vengeance against thee.
Thou slave to sensuality, ashamed of thine excesses before the face of the sun, I saw thee, when, with bars, and bolts, with obscurity and darkness, and complicated precautions, thou didst hide thyself from the eyes of men, defile the temple of God, and make the members of Christ the members of a harlot, 1 Cor. vi. 15.
„My brethren, the discourses, which we usually preach to you, absorb your minds in a multitude
a of ideas. A collection of moral ideas, perhaps confound instead of instructing you, and when we attempt to engage you in too many reflections, you enter really into none. Behold an epitome of religion. Behold a morality in three words. Return to your houses, and every where carry this re
. flection with you, God seeth me, God seeth me. To all the wiles of the devil, to all the snares of the world, to all the baits of sin, oppose this reflection, God seeth me. If, clothed with a human form, he were always in your path, were he to follow you to every place, were he always before you with his majestic face, with eyes flashing with lightning, with looks inspiring terror, dare ye before his august pre sence give a loose to your passions? But you have been hearing that his majestic face is every where, those sparkling eyes do inspect you in every place, those terrible looks do consider you every where. Particularly, in the ensuing week, while you are pre
paring for the Lord's supper, recollect this, Let each examine his own heart, and endeavor to search into his conscience, where he may discover so much weakness, so much corruption, so much hardness, so many unclean sources overflowing with so many excesses, and let this idea strike each of you, God
, seeth me.
God seeth me, as I see myself, unclean, ungrateful, and rebellious. O may this idea produce contrition and sorrow, a just remorse and a sound conversion, a holy and a fervent communion, crowned with graces and virtues, Happy, if, after our examination, we have a new heart a heart agreeable to those eyes that search and try it ! Happy, if, after our communion, after a new examina, tion, we can say with the prophet, O Lord thou hast proved mine heart, thou hast tried me, and hast found nothing, Psal. xvii. 3. So be it. To God be honor and glory for ever, Amen,
The Grandeur of God.
Isaiah xl. 12 to 28.
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? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding ? Behold, the nations are as a 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. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? · or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth lt over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation, choosethľ a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare & graven image that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning ? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth ? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in : that bringeth the princes to no. thing ; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted, yea, they shall not be sown, yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth : and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal ? saith the holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power, not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel: My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? hast thou not known? hast thou not heard that the Lord is the everlasting God?
two sorts of observations: the first are necessary to explain and confirm the prophet's notions of God; the second to determine and to enforce his design in describing the Deity with so much pomp.
The prophet's notions of God are diffused through all the verses of the text. 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? Who hath weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ?. Bekold, the nations are as the drop of a bucket. Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers.
The prophet's design in describing the Deity with so much magnificence is to discountenance idolatry, of which there are two sorts. The first, I call religious idolatry, which consists in rendering that religious worship to a creature, which is due to none but God. The second, I call moral idolatry, which consists in distrusting the promises of God in dangerous crises, and in expecting that assitance from men which cannot be expected from God. In order to discountenance idolatry in religion, the prophet contents himself with describing it. The workman melteth a graven image, the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold.
For the purpose of discrediting idolatry in morals, he opposeth the grandeur of God to the most grand objects among men, I mean earthly kings. God, saith the prophet, bringeth the princes to nothing, he shall blow upon them, and the whirlwind shall
take them away as stubble. Why sayest thou, o Jacob, and speakest, O Israel ; My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? and so on.
This subject may seem perhaps too copious for one discourse, however, it will not exceed the limits of this; and we will venture to detain you a moment, before we attend to the matter, in re, marking the manner, that is, the style of our prophet, and the expressive sublimity of our text. It is a composition, which not only surpasses the finest passages of the most celebrated profane authors, but perhaps exceeds the loftiest parts of the holy scriptures.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand? Who hath meted out heaven with a span? Who hath comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure? Who hath weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? AN nations before him are as the drop of a bucket. He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers. What loftiness of expression! The deference we pay to the sacred writers is not founded on the beauty of their diction. They do not affect to come to us with the enticing words of man's wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. 4. We cannot help observing, however, in some of their writings, the most perfect models of eloquence: God seems to have dispensed talents of this kind, in the same manner as he hath sometimes bestowed temporal blessings of another kind. Riches and grandeurs are too mean, and too unsatisfying to consitute the felicity of a creature formed in the image of God. Immortal men, who are called to participate felicity and glory with their God, are indifferent to the part they act, during their