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vah,” and in all such cases must be understood to denote the Eternity, Self-Existence, and Immutability of that Being to whom it is applied. At other times it is used in a subordinate sense, and then it signifies “Master,” “ Governor,” “ Possessor," and the terms equivalent thereto. It is in the latter sense, more particularly, that the term is employed in the Collects; and in it, therefore, is involved that Relationship or Connexion which exists between masters and servants, subjects and princes, possessors and property possessed. God is our Master, and we are His servants; for we read in John, xiii. 13, “ Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am.” God is our King and Governor, and we are His subjects; for we read, Ps. xxii. 28, “ The kingdom is the Lord's, and He is the Governor among the nations.” God is our possessor or owner, and we are His peculiar treasure; for we read, in 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, “ Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.” This is a Relationship or Connexion which brings us yet nearer to God, which may be said to increase our claims, and so to extend our encouragements. If He who has created will not forsake His creatures, neither will He who has purchased and preserved forsake that in which His interest may be said to be enlarged and extended. Servants will present
petitions to their own Master and lord with more confidence than to the master of others : this increased confidence, therefore, may be ours, and when addressing God we may say with the Psalmist, “ Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that He have mercy upon us.”
The Relationship here involved is of a closer character still, and brings us into the immediate presence of our God. This relationship is, however, the privilege of the true believer alone; for in Gal. iii. 26, we read, “ Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” It is the believer alone who, whilst strangers and servants stand afar off, is admitted into the innermost circle as a son. Brought nigh by the blood of Christ, he draws close to his reconciled Father, and using the language of adoption he crieth, “ Abba, Father.” He realises the promise given in the word, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, “ Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the
Lord Almighty.” And when this privilege is his, what stronger ground of hope can ever be desired? For what father, who loves his children, will ever deny them any reasonable request, if able to grant it? And “ if ye being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.”
SECOND, Titles expressing Attributes.
[By “ an Attribute" we denote some perfection or quality belonging to the nature of God; and thus “an attribute” is very different from a mere name, which does not necessarily nor often express any such quality, whilst “an attribute” always does. Thus the titles, “ Almighty,” “Everlasting,” “ Everliving,” “Merciful,” and so on, are all used to express qualities or perfections belonging to the Deity; the qualities of unlimited power, unbounded duration, perpetual life, fullness of mercy, and so on; and these qualities are called "attributes."]
The chief Titles expressing attributes, introduced into the Collects, are as follows :
This term implies ability to do all things, the possession of all power in Himself, and over all created beings; so that “none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou ?”
It is an encouraging doctrine, because we are thereby assured that God is able to supply all our needs, to fulfil all our desires, to defend us from all our enemies, to keep us in all our paths, to raise us out of all our difficulties, and to preserve us safely in peace and comfort all the days of our lives.
This doctrine of God's almighty power is asserted in the following passages. Gen. xvii. 1; Xxxv. 11; Rev. i. 8; iv. 8; Job, v. 17.
It is illustrated or explained in the following. Matt. xix. 26; Luke, i. 37; Job, xlii. 2; Gen. xviii. 14; Isa. xliii. 13. It is applied, 1. By way of comfort - in Rom. viii. 31;
1 Pet. iii. 13; Eph. iii. 20; Jude, 24.
2. By way of warning-in Job, xi. 7; xv. , 24, 25; Acts, v. 39; Ps. lxxvi. 7.
Everlasting and Everliving.
The first of these Titles denotes Unbounded Duration ; the second, Perpetual Life : and are so far distinct that whereas both denote perpetuity of existence, yet the former might be said of existence without life; whereas the latter denotes
existence conjoined with life : a living state, as well as an existing state. They together shew, or rather affirm, that as God had never a beginning so will He never have an end, and that as He ever has lived so He ever will live.
These doctrines are encouraging, because they assure us that our springs of life shall never cease to flow, and that our fountains of blessings shall never be dried up: that though earthly friends may forsake us, and earth's comforts fail, though we ourselves may grow weary and our strength decay, yet that the years of our God shall never fail, and that they that wait upon Him shall renew their strength, so that they shall “run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.”
They are asserted in Ps. xc. 2; Deut. xxxii. 40; Ex. xv. 18; Ps. x. 16; Ps. xlv. 6; Isa. xl. 28; Rev. iv. 9; Isa. ix. 6; Jer. x. 10; Dan. iv. 39; Isa. lxiii. 16.
They are explained and illustrated in James, i. 17; Ps. cii. 25-27; Heb. xiii. 8; 1 John, ii. 15–17.
They are applied in Deut. xxxiii. 27; Heb. xiii. 20; Isa. lv. 3 ; Ps. lxxiii. 26; Isa. xxxii. 17; xl. 8; Hos. ii. 19. Merciful.
This title expresses a Fulness of Mercy with God. Mercy is undeserved kindness: yea more ;