ally existed with infinite splendour in his own incomprehensible mind. Independent of all possible beings and events, he sits at the head of the universe, unchanged, and incapable of change, amid all the successions, tossings, and tumults, by which it is agitated. When empires are overthrown, or angels fall; when suns are extinguished, and systems return to their original nothing; he is equally impassive and unmoved, as when sparrows expire, or the hair falls from our heads. Nothing can happen, nothing can be done, beyond his expectation, or without his permission. Nothing can frustrate his designs, and nothing disappoint or vary his purposes. All things, beside him, change and fluctuate without ceasing. Beings rise and expire. But his own existence, the thoughts which he entertains, the desires which he admits, the purposes which he forms, are “ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” Throughout the coming vast of eternity also, and the boundless tracts of immensity, he sees with serene complacency his own perfect purposes daily and invariably advancing, with a regular fulfilment, towards their absolute completion. In its own place, in its own time, and in its own manner, each exists in exact obedience to his order, and in exact accordance with his choice. Nothing lingers, nothing hastens; but his counsel exactly stands, and all his pleasure will be precisely accomplished.



God is supremely happy. “Then, a thousand years with him are as one day, and one day as a thousand years.” In the enjoyment of perfect happiness, the duration of time is imperceptible. Placed, as we are, in this valley of miseries, tasting only imperfect and embittered pleasures, it is very difficult for us to conceive the impression which felicity makes on an intelligence supremely happy. If the enjoyment of some small good makes us conceive, to a certain degree, a state in which ages appear moments, the miseries inseparable from our lives presently replunge us into a state, in which moments appear ages; and so powerfully apply our minds to each indivisible space of time spent in pain, that we think our sufferings have been long, when we have scarcely begun to suffer. But God is always happy, and always supremely happy; he always enjoys that perfect felicity, which makes a thousand years, ten thousand millions of years, vanish with an inconceivable rapidity. It would be unhappy not to enjoy this kind of felicity more than ten or twelve millions of years, because the impression which that felicity would make on the soul would be so powerful and lively, that it would render him who enjoyed it insensible to time: time would expire, and he would hardly perceive that he had enjoyed any thing, even when he had possessed happiness as long as I have supposed. God would be unhappy (allow me this expression) if his felicity were not eternal. But this is one of the subjects which must intimidate us, through the difficulty we meet with in comprehending it. We must have ideas beyond human. We must have terms which mankind have not yet invented. We ourselves must have participated the felicity of God; we must speak to men who also had partaken of it; and afterwards, we must have agreed together on a new language to express cach

idea excited by the happiness, of which he had made so blessed an experience. Represent to yourselves a Being who is approved by intelligences, skilful in virtues, in grandeurs, in objects worthy of praise ; a Being who loves order, and who has power to maintain it; a Being who is at the summit of felicity, and who knows that he shall be so for ever. O ages ! O millions of ages! O thousands of millions of ages! O duration, the longest that can be imagined by an intelligence, composed (if I may speak so) of all intelligences, how short must ye appear to so happy a Being! There is no time with him ; there is no measure of time. One thousand years, ten thousand years, one quarter of an hour, one instant, is almost the same. “A thousand years are with him as one day, and one day as a thousand years." pusand years."


God is a name my soul adores,

The Eternal Three, the Almighty One;
Nature and grace, with all their powers,

Confess the infinite unknown.
From thy great Self thy being springs,

Thou art thine own original;
Made up of uncreated things,

And self-sufficience bears them all.
Thy voice produc'd the seas and spheres,

Bade the waves roar, and planets shine;
But nothing like thyself appears,

Thro' all these spacious works of thine.
Far in the depths of space, thy throne

Burns with a lustre all its own :
In shining ranks beneath thy feet,
Angelic powers and splendours meet.

How shall affrighted mortals dare

To sing thy glory or thy grace;
Beneath thy feet we lie so far,

And see but shadows of thy face?
Great God, forgive our feeble lays,

Sound out thine own eternal praise ;
A song so vast, a theme so high,
Calls for the voice that tun'd the sky.


GREATNESS OF GOD. CONTEMPLATE the grandeur and extent of the earth which we inhabit. Think of its continents and its islands, its oceans and its rivers, its mountains and its valleys, its diversified productions, and its immense population. Ascend, in your contemplations, to the planetary system, of which our earth, vast as it is, forms but one of the minor globes; in magnitude less than a millionth part of that world of light around which it revolves, and from which it is distant nearly a hundred millions of miles. Think of the host of stars which twinkle in the firmament, and of the thousands not visible to the naked eye, which the telescope has served to discover. Imagine these, as it is most reasonable to imagine them, to be the suns and centres of other systems of worlds-worlds, not improbably, the scenes of conscious existence and enjoyment. Were it possible for you to visit one of these distant regions of the universe, other systems more remote might then come within your range of vision, of which no telescope fixed on earth can give us information. Were all these systems brought distinctly into view, even then

there would not be exhibited to your admiring and astonished gaze the full manifestation of the power of God, but only glorious specimens of that power which must be still unexhausted, undiminished, and which could, at pleasure, multiply suns and systems. “Lo! these are parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him; the thunder of his power who can understand ? 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. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ? 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. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity."

H. F. Burder.

GOODNESS OF GOD. He who is God, cannot but be good goodness is essential to the divine nature. Goodness is that which sheds a lustre on all the other attributes of the Deity. Goodness is the character by which JEHOVAH delights to make himself known; It is his NAME; and his name is inscribed, as with his own hand, on every part of his works. Wherever we turn our eyes, innumerable proofs of this

« ElőzőTovább »