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he mister be third
, which makes people sincerely employed only to give that clear knowledge,
In the third class, I should be obliged to con-
the first think of the account they must give It is not the limit prescribed to this sermon, of their ministry, and the second of the use that forbids my detailing the two remaining they have made of their time, and of their articles: but a reason of another kind. I fear, superstitious docility. should I characterize the two kinds of doc- I would rather offer you objects more attrines, which are both built on the foundation, tracting, and urge motives more tender. We but which, however, are not of equal value, I told you at the beginning of this discourse that myself should lay another foundation. The your duties, Christian people, have a close conreligion of Jesus Christ is founded on love. nexion with ours, and we may add, our destiJesus Christ is love. The virtue which he nation is closely connected with yours. most of all recommended to his disciples, is What will be the destiny of such as shall
have built on the foundations of Christianity I appeal here to those, who have some ideas " gold, silver, and precious stones?” What will of remnants of divisions yet amongst us. How be the destiny of those, who shall have exercan I, without rekindling a fire hid under em- cised such a ministry? What will be the desbers, and which we have done all in our power tiny of such as have incorporated themselves entirely to extinguish, show the vanity of dif- with it? Ah! my brethren, I place my hapferent classes of divers doctrines of wood, hay, piness and glory in not being able fully to anand stubble?
swer this question. I congratulate myself for In a first class, it would be necessary to not being able to find images lively enough to expose a ministry spent in questions of mere represent the pomp, with which I hope, my
most beloved auditors, you will one day be or among those who shall have lain in darkness adorned. Yet I love to contemplate that great and ignorance? day, in which the work of faithful ministers, Ah! My brethren, the first of our wishes, the and faithful Christians will be made manifest most affectionate of our prayers, our secret by fire. I love to fill my mind with the day, meditations, our public discourses, whatever in which God will "come to be glorified in his we undertake, whatever we are, we consecrate saints, and admired in all them that believe," to prepare you for that great day.
“What is 2 Thess. j. 10; when he shall call to the hea- ope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are vens “from above, and to the earth, that he not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus may judge his people,” Ps. 1. 4, saying, “Ga- Christ at his coming? Ye are our glory and ther my saints together unto me, those that our joy,” i Thess. ii. 19, 20. To God be have made a covenant with me by sacrifice," honour and praise for ever and ever. Amen. ver. 5. I love to satiate my soul with ideas of the redeemed of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, in company with ten
SERMON LXV. thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, Rev. v. 9. 11. At the head of this august body I see three chiefs.
THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD. The first is " Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith,” Heb. xii. 2. I see this
ROMANS xi. 3. divine leader presenting himself before his father o the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and with his wounds, his cross, and his blood, and saying, “Father, I have finished the work
knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his which thou gavest me to do. And now,
judgments, and his ways past finding out! Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, One of the principal causes of the depravity with the glory which I had with thee before the of mankind is, that they form mean ideas of world was," "John xvii. 4, 5. Having glorified God. The idea of the God we adore, and the the head, glorify the members, save my people. notion of the morality we ought to practise, Then will the eternal Father crown such just are two things closely connected together. If and holy petitions with success. Then will be we consider God as a being elevated, great and accomplished in regard to Jesus Christ this sublime, our morality will be great, sublime, magnificent promise, “ Ask of me and I shall and elevated too. Il, on the contrary, we congive thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and sider God as a being whose designs are narrow, the uttermost parts of the earth for thy posses- whose power is limited, and whose plans are sion," Ps. ii. 8. Such as oppose thine empire partial, we shall practise a morality adapted to govern “with a rod of iron, and dash them in such an imaginary God. pieces like a potter's vessel:” but enter thou My brethren, there are two very different unto thy kingdom with thy subjects, thy saints, ways of forming this sublime idea, which has thy well beloved, and share with them thy such an influence over religion and morality: glorious inheritance.
The magnificence of God may be understood The second leaders are prophets, evangelists, by what is known of God, by the things that and apostles, appearing before God with the are inade, by the brilliancy of the sun, by the conquests they made, the nations they convert- extent of the firmament, and by all the various ed, the persecutions they endured for the love creatures which we behold; and judging of the of God and his gospel. Then will the promises workman by the work, we shall exclaim in made to these holy men be accomplished, “they sight of so inany wonderful works, "O Lord, that turn many to righteousness shall shine as how excellent is thy name in all the earth the stars for ever and ever. When the Son of Thou hast set thy glory above the heavens. man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the fingers, the indon and the stars which thou hast twelve tribes of Israel,” Daniel xii. 4; Matt. ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful xix. 28.
of him? And the son of man that thou visitest The third will be such ministers as bave him?" Rom. j. 19, 20; Ps. lviii. 1, &c. been “followers of the apostles even as they
But there is another way to know the magalso were of Christ.” I think I see these nificence of God, a way less accessible indeed, ministers humbled for their faults, convinced but more noble, and even more plain to the of their frailty, imploring the divine mercy for man, the eyes of whose understanding are enthe blemishes of their ministry: but yet with lightened, Eph. i. 18, that is, to judge of God, that humble confidence which the compassion not by the things that are seen, but by the of God allows, and saying, behold us, the doc- things that are not seen, not by what we know, trine we have preached, the minds we have but by what we do not know. In this sublime informed, the wanderers we have reclaimed, way the soul loses itself in a depth of divine and with the hearts which we have had the magnificence, like the seraphims, covers its face honour of animating with thy love. What, in before the majesty of God, and exclaims with that great day, what will be your destiny, the prophet," verily thou art a God that hidest Christian people? Will yours be the hearts thyself," Isa. xlv. 15. “ The secret things which we shall have animated with divine love, belong unto the Lord our God, but those things or those from which we never could banish the which are revealed belong to us, and to our love of the world? Shall you be among the children for ever,” Deut. xxix. 29. It is on backsliders whom we shall have reclaimed, or this obscure side, that we propose to show you among such as shall have persisted in sin? | the Deity to-day. Shall yours be the minds we have enlightened, i Darkness will serve us for light, and the im
" What is
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rise and Ale are the ent! depravity
7 idear of 3, and the
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Ser. LIV. Ser. LXV.)
n darkness penetrable depth of his decrees will fill our four different views, to open to you four great
minds with sound and practical knowledge. deeps, and to give you four reasons for exclaimvishes, the
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom ing with the apostle, "O the depth!"
and knowledge of God! How unsearchable The four ways in which God reveals himself Whatever are his judgments, and his ways past finding to man, are four manners to display his perfec
tions, and at the same time they are four abysses In order to enter into the mind of the apostle, in which our imperfect reason is lost. These
it is necessary to observe the subject to which ways are—first, an idea of the Deity-secondly, Lord Jesus
he applies the text, and never to lose sight of of nature-thirdly, of Providence-and fourth-
chiefly proposes to counteract a scandalous to speak thus, all shining with light, and yet Amen.
schism in the church of Rome. This church all covered with adorable darkness.
consider foreigners. For their parts, they path leading to God, a mirror of the Deity. COD.
thought they had a natural right to all the to prove this, it is not necessary to examine benefits of the Messiah, because, being born how we came by this idea, whether it be natural Jews, they were the legitimate heirs of Abra- or acquired, whether we derive it from our bam, to whom the promise was made, whereas parents or our tutors, whether the Creator has the Gentiles partook of these benefits only by immediately engraven it on the mind, or whemere favour." St. Paul attacks this prejudice, ther we ourselves have formed it by a chain of proves that Jews and Gentiles, being all alike principles and consequences; a question much under sin, had all an equal need of a covenant agitated in the schools, sometimes settled, and of grace; that both derived their calling from sometimes controverted, and on which both the mercy of God; that no one was rejected sides affirm many clear and substantial, though as a Gentile, or admitted as a Jew: but that opposite propositions. Of myself, I am always they only should share the salvation published fully persuaded that I have an idea of a Being by the Messiah who had been elected in the supremely excellent, and one of whose perfeceternal decrees of God. The Jews could not tions I am not able to omit without destroying relish such humbling ideas, nor accommodate the essence of the Supreme Being to whom it this doctrine to the prerogatives of their nation; belongs. I know too that there must be someand much less cpuld they admit the system of where without me an object answering to my the apostle on predestination. St. Paul ern- idea; for as I think, and as I know I am not ploys the chapter from which we have taken the author of the faculty that thinks within me, our text, and the two chapters before to remove I am obliged to conclude that a foreign cause their difficulties. He turns himself, so to has produced it. If this foreign cause is a being speak, on every side to elucidate the subject. that derives its existence from another foreign He reasons, proves, argues; but after he has cause, I am necessarily obliged to proceed from heaped proofs upon proofs, reasonings upon one step to another, and to go on till I find a reasonings, and solutions upon solutions, he self-existent being, and this self-existent being acknowledges, in the words of the text, that is the infinite Being. I have then an idea of he glories in falling beneath his subject. In the infinite Being. This idea is not a phantom some sense he classes himself with the most of my creation, it is the portrait of an original ignorant of his readers, allows that he has not that exists independently of my reflections. received a sufficient measure of the Spirit of This is the first way to the Creator; this is the God to enable him to fathom such depths, and first mirror of his perfections. he exclaims on the brink of this great profound, O how long, how infinitely extended is this “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom way! How impossible for the mind to pervade and knowledge of God! How unsearchable a distance so immense! . How obscure is this are his judgments, and his ways past finding mirror! How is my soul dismayed when I atout!" The apostle therefore wrote these words tempt to sail in this immeasurable ocean! of the “deep things of God” chiefly with a An infamous man, who lived in the beginning view to the conduct of God with regard to such of the last century, a man who conceived the as he appoints to glory, and such as he leaves most abominable design that ever was, who in perdition. I grant, were this text to be formed with eleven persons of his own cast a accurately discussed, it ought to be considered college of infidelity, from whence he might in regard to these events, and these doctrines; send his emissaries into all the world to rase but nothing hinders our examining it in a more out of every mind the opinion of the existence extensive view. The apostle lays down a of a God, this man took a very singular megeneral maxim, and takes occasion from a thod to prove that there was no God, that was particular subject to establish a universal truth, to state the general idea of God. He thought, that is, that such is the magnificence of God to define was to destroy it, and that to say what that it absorbs all our thought, and that to God is, was the best way to disprove his existattempt to reduce the conduct of God to a levelence. God,” said that impious man, "God with our frail reason is to be guilty of extreme is a being who exists through infinite ages, and rashness.
yet is not capable of past or to come, he fills This is what we will endeavour to prove. | all without being in any place, he is fixed withCome, Christians, follow us, and learn to know out situation, he pervades all without motion, yourselves, and to feel your insignificance. he is good without quality, great without quanWe are going, by showing you the Deity in tity, universal without parts, moving all things
Jifferent ich has porality
by the vandes
areas. of the u had indídl isites.
without being moved himself, his will consti- | will." All creatures in the universe owe their tutes his power, and his power is confounded existence to a single act of his will, and a thouwith his will, without all, within all, beyond sand new worlds wait only for such an act to all, before all, and after all."*
spring from nothing and to shine with glory, But though it be absurd to argue against the "God is above all," all being subject to his existence of God from the eminence of his power. “ Within all,” all being an emanaperfections, yet it is the wisdom of man to de- tion of his will. “Before all, after all.” rive from this subject inferences humbling to Stretch thine imagination, frail but haughty his proud and infatuated reason. We detest creature, try the utmost efforts of thy genius, the design of the writer just now mentioned, elevate thy meditations, collect thy thoughts, but we approve of a part of the definition see whether thou canst attain to comprehend which our atheist gives of God. Far from an existence without beginning, a duration pretending that such a definition degrades the without succession, a presence without circumobject of our worship from his supreme rank ference, an immobility without place, and agiin the scale of beings, it inclines us to pay him lity without motion, and many other attrithe most profound homage of which creatures butes which the mind can conceive, but which are capable, and to lay down our feeble reason language is too imperfect to express. See, before his infinite excellence.
weigh, calculate, “It is as high as heaven, Yes, “ God is a being who exists through in- what canst thou do? Deeper than hell, what finite ages; and yet is not capable of past or to canst thou know? Canst thou by searching come." The vast number of ages which the find out God? Canst thou find out the Alrapidity of time has carried away, are as pre- mighty unto perfection?” Job ix. 7, 8. Let us sent to him as this very indivisible moment, then exclaim on the border of this abyss, “O and the most distant futurity does not conceal the depth!" any remote event from his eyes. He unites in II. The second way that leads us to the one single instant, the past, the present, and Creator, and at the same time the second abyss all periods to come. He is by excellence, “I in which our reason is lost, is the works of nuam that I am.” He loses nothing by ages ture. The study of nature is easy, and all the spent, he acquires nothing by succession. Yes, works of nature have a bright and luminous "God fills all without being in any place. side. In the style of a prophet," the heavens Ascend up into heaven, he is there. Make have a voice, which declare the glory of God:" your bed in hell, behold he is there. Take the and, as an apostle expresses it, creation is a wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- visible image of the invisible things of God:" most part of the sea, even there shall his hand yet there is also a dark obscure side. What a lead you. Say, surely the darkness shall cover prodigious variety of creatures are there beme, even the night shall be light about you,” yond the sphere of our senses! How many Ps. cxxxix. 8, &c. Yet he has no place, and thousands, how many ten thousand times ten the quality by which our bodies are enclosed in thousand spirits called angels, archangels, cho these walls, and adjusted with the particles of rubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, prinoair that surround us, cannot agree with his spi- palities, and powers," of all which we know rituality. “ God pervades all without mo- not either the properties, the operations, the tion.” The quickness of lightning, which in number, or the employment! What a prodian instant passes from east to west, cannot gious multitude of stars and suns, and revolvequal the rapidity with which his intelli- ing worlds, in comparison of which our earth gence ascends to the highest heavens, descends is nothing but a point, and of all which we to the deepest abysses, and visits in a moment know neither the variety, the glory, nor the apall parts of the universe. Yet he is immovea- pointment! How many things are there on ble, and does not quit one place to be present earth, plants, minerals, and animals, into the in another, but abides with his disciples on nature and use of which the industry of man earth, while he is in heaven, in the centre of could never penetrate! Why so much treasure felicity and glory. "His will constitutes his hid in the depths of the sea? Why such vast power, and his power does not differ from his countries, such impenetrable forests, and such
* The book from which our author quoted the above uninhabited climes as have never been surpassage, is entitled Ampitheatrum aeternae providen- veyed, and the whole of which perhaps will live-adversus athcos, &c. Lyons. 1615. 8vo.
never be discovered? What is the use of some thor Vanini was a Neapolitan, born in 1585. He was educated at Rome, and ordained a priest at Padua. He insects, and some monsters, which seem to be travelled into many countries, and was persecuted in
a burden to nature, and made only to disfigure inost. In 1614 he was imprisoned in England for forty- it? Why does the Creator deprive man of uine days. After his enlargement he became a monk in Guienne. From the convent he was banished for his im- many rich productions that would be of the morality. He found, however, powerful patrons. Mares- greatest advantage to him, while he abandons chal Bassompiere made him his chaplain, and his famous them to beasts of the field or fishes of the sea, Ampitheatre was approved by four persons, a doctor of which derive no benefit from them? Whence divinity, the vicar general of Lyons, the king's proctor, came rivers, fountains, winds, and tempests, and the lieutenant general of Lyons, in whichochen afficon: the power of the loadstone, and the ebbing and
that having read the book, there was nothing in it conIrary to the Roma Catholic faith," one example of the flowing of the tides? Philosopher! reply, or ignorance or carelessness, with which licensers of the rather avow your ignorance, and acknowledge press discharge their office, and consequently one argu: how deep the ways of your Creator are. ment among thousands for the freedom of the press. This unfortunate inan was condemned at Thoulouse to be burnt
But it is but little to humble man to detect 10 death, which sentence was executed Feb. 19, 1619. his ignorance on these subjects. It is not asThe execution of this cruel sentence, cast into logical tonishing that he should err in paths so subform, runs thus; Vanini denied the being of a God-the parliament of Thoulouse burnt Vanini-therefore there lime, and it is more glorious to him to have at
tempted these impracticable roads, than shame
in a God.
ful to have done so without success. There when we occupy the chair of a professor, when are other objects more proper to humble hu- we make it a law to answer every question, it man reason. Objects in appearance less sub- is easy to talk, and, as the Wise Man expresses ject to difficulty absorb the mind of man, when it, to "find a great deal to say."* There is an ever he attempts thoroughly to investigate art, which is called maintaining a thesis, and them. Let him consider himself, and he will this art is very properly named, for it does not lose himself in meditating on his own essence. consist in weighing and solving difficulties, or What is man? What is that soul which thinks in acknowledging our ignorance; but in perand reflects What constitutes the union of a sisting to affirm our own position, and obstispirit with a portion of matter? What is that nately to defend it. But when we retire to matter to which a spirit is united? So many our studies, coolly meditate, and endeavour to questions, so many abysses, so many unfathom- satisfy ourselves, if we have any accuracy of able depths in the ways of the Creator. thought, we reason in another manner. Eve
What is the soul of man? In what does its ry sincere and ingenuous man must acknowessence consist? Is it the power of displaying ledge that solidity, weight, light, and extent, his faculties. But then this consequence would are subjects, on which many very curious, and follow, that a soul may have the essence of a very finely imagined things have been said, but soul, without having ever thought, reasoned, which to this day leave the mind almost in as or reflected, provided it has the power of doing much uncertainty as before. Thus the sub80. Is it the act of thinking But then it lime genius, this author of so many volumes, would follow, that a spirit, when it ceases to this consummate philosopher cannot explain think, ceases to be a spirit, which seems con- what a grain of dust is, so that one atom, one trary to experience. What then is a soul? Is single atom, is a rock fatal to all his philosoit a collection of successive thoughts? But phy, against it all his science is dashed, shiphow can such and such thoughts, not one of wrecked, and lost. which apart is essential to a soul, constitute Let us conclude that nature, this mirror dethe essence of it when they are joined together? scriptive of God, is dark and obscure. This is Is it something distinct from all these? Give emphatically expressed by two inspired writers, us, if it be possible, a clear idea of this subject. the apostle Paul and holý Job. The first says, What is a soul? Is it a substance immaterial, “ God hath made all nations of men, the earth, indivisible, different from body, and which can- the appointed seasons, and the bounds of men's not be enveloped in its ruins' Certainly: but habitation, that they should seek the Lord, if when we give you this notion, we rather tell haply they might feel after him and find him," you what the soul is not, than what it is. You Acts xvii. 26. 29. “This is both a passable will say, you remove false notions, but you road to God, and an unfathomable abyss." give us no true and positive ideas; you tell us “That they might seek the Lord;" this is a way indeed that spirit is not body, but you do not leading to God. “That they might find him explain what spirit is, and we demand an idea by feeling after him;” this is the abyss. In like clear, real, and adequate.
manner Job describes in lively colours the mulAs I confound myself by considering the na- titude and variety of the works of the Creator, ture of my soul, so I am perplexed again when and finishes by acknowledging, that all we I examine the union of this soul with this body. know is nothing in comparison of what we are Let us be informed, by what miracle a sub- ignorant of. “He stretched out the north over stance without extension and without parts, the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon can be united to a substance material and ex- nothing. He hath compassed the waters with tended? What connexion is there between bounds. The pillars of heaven tremble, and willing to move and motion? What relation are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the has a trace on the brain to an idea of the mind? sea with his power. By his spirit he hath garHow does the soul go in search of ideas before nished the heavens, his hand hath formed the ideas present themselves? If ideas present them- crooked serpent.” 'Yet "these are only part selves, what occasion for search? "To have re- of his ways!” Job xxvi. 7, &c. Weigh these course to the power of God is wise, I grant, expressions well. This firmament, this earth, if we avail ourselves of this answer to avoid these waters, these pillars of heaven, this boundour iqnorance; but if we use it to cover that, less space, the sun with its light, heaven with if we pretend to explain every thing by saying its stars, the earth with its plants, the sea with God is omnipotent, and can do all these things, its fish, these, “lo, these are only parts of his we certainly deceive ourselves. It is to say, I ways, but how little a portion is heard of him!” know nothing, in philosophical terms, and The glorious extent of his power who can unwhen, it should seem, we affect to say, I per- derstand! Let us then, placed as we are on the fectly understand it.
borders of the works of nature, humbly exclaim, In fine, I demand an explication of the hu- “O the depth!" man body. What am I saying the human III. Providence is the third path to God, and body! I take the smallest particle of it; I take affords us new motives to adore his perfections: only one atom, one little grain of dust, and I but which also confounds the mind, and makes give it to be examined by all the schools, and all the universities in the world. This atom * Eccles. vii. 29. The English translation of this text has extent, it may be divided, it is capable of is, man has sought out many inventions. The French
Bible reads, Ont cherche beaucoup de descouts, that is, motion, it reflects light, and every one of these mankind has found out a great many questions to ask, and properties furnishes a thousand and a thousand a great many sophisms to affirm on this subject; or in questions, which the greatest philosophers can other words, a great deal to say concerning the origioal
The original vague terms are rea
dered by some critics, lpse se infinites miseuerit quaesMy brethren, when we are in the schools, I tionibus.
rectitude of man.