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nauseous to our senses cannot affect him. Darkness is uncomfortable to us: but the darkness and the light are all one to him. Wickedness may hurt a man; but if we multiply our transgressions, what can we do unto him? Job xxxv. 6, 8. To deny the immensity of God, says one, because of ill-scented places, is to measure God rather by the nicety of sense, than by the sagacity of reason.
Secordly, The next incommunicable attribute of God is eternity. Hence he is called the King eternal,' 1 Tim. i. 17. We find other things called eternal. But the eternity of all things besides God is only their having no end, though they had a beginning. Thus angels and the souls of men
a are eternal, because they shall never have an end. The covenant of grace is eternal, because the mercies of it shall last for ever. The gospel is eternal, because the effects of it shall never wear away. The redemption by Christ is eternal, for the saine reason. And the last judgment is so, because the consequences will be everlasting. But the eternity of God is his being without beginning and without end, Psal. xc. 2.
From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.' He was from everlasting before time, and will remain unto everlast. ing when time shall be no more; without beginning of life, or end of days,
Thirdly, The next incommunicable attribute of God is unchangeableness. God is immutable, that is, always the same, without any alteration. Hence it is said, Jam. i. 17. • With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,' Mal. iii. 6. I am the Lord, I change not. God makes changes upon the creatures, but is liable to no change himself.' Though he alters his dispensations, yet not his nature; but, by one pure and constant act of his will and power, effects what changes he pleases. He is the same in all his perfections, constant to his intentions, steady to his purpose, unchangeably fixed and persevering in all his de. crees and resolutions. When God is said to repent in scripture, Gen. vi. 6. 1 Sam. xv. 11. it denotes only a change of his outward conduct according to his infallible foresight and immutable will. He changes the way of his providential dealings according to the carriage and deportment of his creature, without changing his will, which is the rule of his providence. For otherwise that is an eternal truth, Num. xxiii. 19. “God is not a man, that he
should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent,' i Sam. xv. 29. “The strength of Israel will not lie, nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.?
Having taken a short view of the incommunicable attributes of God, I proceed now to consider those that are called communicable, viz. his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Now these things are in the creatures indeed, but they are in them in a finite way; but God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in these perfections, which no creature is op can be.
First, There is his being which is his nature or essence and existence, which are but one thing in God. Creatures indeed have a being, but it is only a finite being, a being that has a beginning, a changeable one, and that may have an end. But God's being is an infinite being, eternal and unchangeable. Hence he calls himself, Exod. iii. 14. I AM THAT I AM. Hence we may infer,
1. That God is incomprehensible, and his essence infinite and unbounded, Psal. cxlv. 3. His greatness is unsearchable. It is not possible for a finite understanding to comprehend all that is in God; but the nature of God is a boundless ocean that hath no shore, Job xi. 7. Canst thou by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection ?' And though God perfectly knows himself, that is because his understanding is infinite.
2. God is omnipresent and immense. He is present every where, but bounded no where, not only in respect of his virtue or influence, but of his essence. This clearly appears from the following passages, Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there: If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hard shall hold me.' Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. 'Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off ? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord, 1 Kings viii. 27. · Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee.' He is there where the thief is stealing, the unclean person grati
fying his base lusts, &c. though they see him not, and think themselves secure when no other eyes see them.
3. There is no succession in the duration of God; for where there is not a first, there cannot be a second moment of duration ; but God is eternal : And there can be no succession of time in God's duration, if he be unchangeable ; for that is a continual change. See 2 Pet. iii. 8. One day
• is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.'
4. God is independent, or self-sufficient. His being and perfections are underived, and not communicated to him, as all finite perfections are by him to the creature. This self-existence, or independence, is one of the highest glories of the divine nature, by which he is distinguished from all creatures, who live, move, and have their being in and from him. Therefore all our springs are in him, all that we enjoy or hope for is from him ; and we should be en
m tirely devoted to his service and honour.
5. Lastly, This doctrine affords full breasts of consolation to the godly, who have an infinite, eternal, and unchangeable friend, who will never leave nor forsake them, but render them completely blessed at last, and confirm them in that happy state for ever. And here is unspeakable terror to those whose enemy this great and eternal God is; for being his enemies, and dying in their rebellion, they shall suffer the whole vengeance and wrath threatened in his word, which he liveth for ever to inflict; and he will never alter what he hath threatened. Olet sinners be now persuaded to make this infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God, their friend through Jesus Christ, and so they shall infallibiy escape the wrath that is to come.
Secondly, The next communicable attribute of God is wisdom. The personal wisdom of God is Christ, 1 Cor. i. 24. But this is his essential wisdom, which is that attribute of God whereby he knows himself, and all possible things, and how to dispose all things to the best ends. Hence he is said to know all things,' John xxi. 17. and to be God only wise,' Rom. xvi. 27. Now, God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his wisdom, Psal. cxlvii. 5. • His understanding is unsearchable.
The wisdom of God appears, 1. In the works of creation. The universe is a bright
mirror wherein the wisdom of God may be clearly seen. • The Lord by wisdom made the heavens,' Psal. cxxxvi. 5. · The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens,' Prov. iii. 19. • He hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.' More particularly, the wisdom of God appears, (1.) In the vast variety of creatures which he hath made. Hence the Psalmist cries out, · How manifold are thy works, O Lord! in wis dom hast thou made them all,' Psal. civ. 24. (2.) In the admirable and beautiful order and situation of the creatures. God hath marshalled every thing in its proper place and sphere. For instance, the sun, by its position displays the infinite wisdom of its Creator. It is placed in the midst of the planets, to enlighten them with its brightness, and inflame them with its heat, and thereby derive to them such benign qualities as make them beneficial to all mixed bodies. If it were raised as high as the stars, the earth would lose its prolific virtue, and remain a dead carcase for want of its quickening heat ; and if it were placed as low as the moon, the air would be inflamed with its excessive heat, the waters would be dried up, and every plant scorched. But at the due distance at which it is placed, it purifies the air, abates the superfluities of the waters, temperately warms the earth, and so serves all the purposes of life and vegetation. It could not be in another position without the disorder and hurt of universal nature. Again, the expansion of the air from the ethereal heavens to the earth is another testimony of divine wisdom: for it is transparent and of a subtile nature, and so a fit medium to convey light and celestial influences to this lower world. Moreover, the situation of the earth doth also trumpet forth the infinite wisdom of its Divine Maker: for it is as it were the pavement of the world, and placed lowermost, as being the heaviest body, and fit to receive the weightiest matter. (3.) In fitting every thing for its proper end and use, so that no. thing is unprofitable and useless. After the most diligent and accurate inquiry into the works of God, there is nothing to be found superfluous, and there is nothing defective. (4.) In the subordination of all its parts, to one common end. Though they are of different natures, as lines vastly distant in themselves, yet they all meet in VOL. I.
one common centre, namely, the good and preservation of the whole, Hos. ii. 21, 22. • 1 will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel.'
2. In the government of the world. God sits in his secret place, surrounded with clouds and darkness, holding the rudder of the world in his hand, and steering its course through all the floatings and tossings of casualty and contingency to his own appointed ends. There he grasps and turns the great engine of nature, fastening one pin and loosing another, moving and removing the several wheels of it, and framing the whole according to the eternal idea of his own understanding. By his governing providence he directs all the actions of his creatures; and, by the secret and efficacious penetration of the divine influence, he powerfully sways and determines them which
3. In the work of redemption. This is the very masterpiece of Divine wisdom ; and here shines the manifold or diversified wisdom of God, Eph. iii. 10. It appears, (1.) In the contrivance thereof. When man had ruined himself by sin, all the wisdom of men and angels could never have devised a method for his recovery. Heaven seemed to be divided upon this awful event. Mercy inclined to save man, but Justice interposed for satisfaction. Justice pleaded the law and the curse, by which the souls of sinners are forfeited to vengeance. Mercy, on the other hand, urged, Shall the Almighty build a glorious work, and suffer it to lie in eternal ruins ? shall the most excellent creature in the inferior world perish through the subtilty of a malicious and rebellious spirit? shall that arch-rebel triumph for ever, and raise his trophies from the final ruin of the works of the Most High ? Shall the reasonable creature lose the fruition of God, and God lose the subjection and service of his creature? and, shall all mankind be made in vain ? Mercy further pleaded, That if the rigorous demands of Justice be heard, it must lie an obscure and unregarded attribute in the divine essence for ever; that it alone must be excluded, while all the rest of the attributes had their share of honour. Thus the case was infinitely difficult, and not to be unravelled by the united wit of all the celestial spirits. A