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SUMMARY OF SERMON XI.
REVELATIONS, CHAP. XI.VERSE 17.
EVERY attribute of God is a proper and useful object of our consideration, as being apt to remind us of our duty, and excite us to the practice of it; for which purposes this of omnipotence, mentioned in the text, is of much avail, and deserves serious consideration : some reasons for this assigned. Explanation of the title or attribute Tavtokpárwp, which we render Almighty or omnipotent, as frequently ascribed to God in a peculiar and characteristical manner: the use of it in the New Tes. tament is by citation or imitation transferred from the Greek of the Old Testament, where it serves to express those two famous and usual names of God, Sabaoth and Shaddai : it is shown especially to answer to the former, which primitively seems to import God's universal conduct and management of all creatures.
But the sense of the word need not be so limited; for its common latitude hath been authenticated in the holy fountains of truth, the New Testament; and is there taken to signify the sum of divine perfections and pre-eminency: it may accordingly denote, 1. right or authority over all beings : 2. power to do all things : 3, the actual exercise of such authority and power in ruling all things: 4. the possession of all things: 5. the preservation or upholding all things: these particulars are next surveyed.
1. God is Tavtokpátwp, as having a just right and authority over all things, being naturally the sovereign Lord and Emperor of the world ; this shown to have been the opinion of
Pagan philosophers, as well as of the Prophets and Christian Apostles ; &c.
2. He is also such in regard to his infinite power, as that word may signify omnipotent: this head enlarged on and illustrated from Scripture.
3. He is also so, because he doth actually exercise all dominion, and continually exert his power, according to his good pleasure; for the Lord hath prepared his throne in heaven, and his kingdom ruleth over all; &c. This dilated on.
4. God is aavtokpárwp, as the true proprietary and just possessor of all things: the heavens, saith the Psalmist, are thine ; the earth also is thine; &c.
5. Also as containing and comprehending all things by his immense presence and infinite capacity. I fill heaven and earth, saith God in Jeremiah ; and king Solomon in his prayer observes, the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee ; &c.
6. Lastly, God is Tavtokpárwp, in regard that he sustains and preserves all things : see Nehemiah ix. 6. Col. i. 17. &c.
The belief and consideration of these particulars are of great importance, and may have a very useful influence on our practice : for,
I. If God be the just Sovereign of all things, having a right to govern the world, and actually exercising it; then
1. We see our condition here; that we live not in an anarchy, or in perfect liberty to follow our own will, &c. 2. We understand our duty, as subjects and vassals, &c. 3. We may
hence discern the heinousness of every sin, as committed against the crown and dignity of God. 4. We may learn what reason we have to be content in every condition, since our station is allotted to us by unquestionable right, &c. 5. It is matter of great consolation to reflect that we and all the world are under such a governor, who is no usurper and tyrant, but a most just, wise, and gracious sovereign, &c. : this point dilated on.
II. The belief of God's immense and uncontrollable power is also of great importance and influence on practice. 1. It serves to beget in us a due awe and dread of him; &c. 2. It consequently dissuades and deters us in a high manner from sin, nothing being more reasonable than that advice of the preacher, contend not with him that is mightier than thou. : 3. Whence the consideration of this point may dispose us to weigh well our counsels, &c. 4. It may also serve to depress confidence in ourselves, and in all other things, as to any security they can afford : 5. it therefore may be of special efficacy to quell and mortify in us the vices of pride, arrogance, self-will, &c. 6. Also to breed and nourish faith in God, as to the certain performance of his word and promises, which, be they never so difficult, he is so able to perform, &c. 7. Hence also particularly it may produce and cherish faith in the sufficiency of God's Providence, and induce us intirely to rely on it: this topic enlarged on. 8. Farther, it affords comfort and encouragement to us in the undertaking and prosecution of honest and prudent enterprises, giving us hope and confidence in their success : this head also enlarged on.
III. That notion of the word Almighty, which implies God's being universal proprietary and possessor of all things, has also many good uses. We
thence learn, 1. That we are not our own, and therefore are obliged to submit with patience to his disposal of us. 2. We ought to be content with that share of accommodations which he allows, since all things are his, and we can claim nothing from him : 3. to be · satisfied when he withdraws that of which he has before afforded us the enjoyment: 4. to be heartily thankful for all we ever have or enjoy: 5. carefully to manage and employ all which is put into our hands for his interest and service: 6. to be humble and sober, not to be conceited, or to glory in regard to any thing we love.
IV. That sense, according to which the word signifies
God's containing all things by his immense presence, is also of most excellent use.
We thereby may learn with what care, circumspection, modesty, and integrity we ought always to manage our conversation and behavior; since we continually think, and speak, and act in the immediate presence of God, whose eyes are on the ways of men, &c. Hence also we are prompted to frequent addresses of prayer, thanksgiving, and all kind of adoration.
V. Lastly, the consideration that God upholds all things, and consequently ourselves, in being, may powerfully deter us from offending him : for put the case, that our life and all the comforts of living depended on the bounty and pleasure of any person ; should we not be very wary and fearful of offending such an one ? Application of this in respect to God. Conclusion,
The Father Almighty,
REVELATIONS, CHAP. XI.-VERSE 17.
O Lord God Almighty.
EVERY attribute of God is a proper and useful object for our consideration ; as being apt to mind us of our duty, and to excite us to the practice thereof; to beget in us those dispositions of mind (that love and reverence toward God, that faith and hope in him) which we ought to have; and to draw from us real performances of obedience to him : each of them doth ground obligations to piety, and yieldeth arguments to the practice thereof; to which purposes, that considering this divine attribute, 'Almighty,' (mentioned in our text,) doth much avail, and that it therefore well deserveth to be pressed on us, will appear more distinctly from the application we shall make thereof: at present we may perceive how considerable it is, by observing in gross; 1. That it is frequently in holy Scripture singled forth, as most proper to God; as most fully expressive of his glorious excellency and majesty; particularly the most illuminate ministers of God's praise, the seraphim's in Isaiah, the four wights (or living creatures) in this book; and the twenty-four elders in this place, do therefore use it. 2. It is that attribute, which is alone most expressly set down in our Creed, as especially necessary to be believed and considered : we say therein, I believe in God the Father almighty. 3. It is that with which we daily address our devotions unto God; in our prayers we say, Almighty and most merciful Father;' in our praises we cry, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God