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But though the whole creation should break, God is as able as ever. Hence the prophet says, Hab. iii. 17, 18. * Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Believers in Christ can never be undone, though the whole creation should disband and go into ruin. 4. His holiness. Some men are so wicked and malicious, that though they can, yet they will not keep their word. But it is not so with God. He cannot be charged with any wickedness; for there is no unrighteousness in him, Psal. xcii. 15. by reason of the perfect holiness of his nature. It is impossible for him to lie. The deceitfulness and treachery that is to be found in men, flows from the corruption that is lodged in their hearts; but the divine nature is infinitely pure and holy. “God is not a man, that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent; hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Numb. xxiii. 19. 5. His justice and righteousness. A man by virtue of a romise hath a right to the thing promised; so that it is #. due ; and justice requires to give every one their due. So God by his promise makes himself a debtor, and his justice obliges him to pay. Hence it is said, 1 John i. 9. * God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.’ He is faithful to pardon, as he hath promised it; and faithful in keeping promise, because he is just. Though it was his goodness and mercy to make the promise, yet his justice binds him to make it good. It is true, when God makes himself a debtor by his promise, it is indeed a debt of grace; yet it is a debt which it is just for God to pay. Therefore his word of promise is called “the word of his righteousness, Psal. cxix. 123. 6. The glory and honour of his name may give us full assurance of his faithfulness in making good his promises. He doth all things for his own glory; and therefore, wherever you find a promise, the honour of God is given as security for the performance of it. Hence his people plead this as a mighty argument to work for them. So Joshua, chap. vii. 9. “What wilt thou do unto thy great name * q. d. “O Lord, o honour is a thousand times more valuable than our lives. It is not much matter what become of us. But, O! it is of infinite importance that the glory of thy name be secured, and thy faithfulness kept pure and unspotted in the world.” We find Moses pleading to the same purpose, Exod. xxxii. 11, 12. ‘Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand 2 erefore should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth 2 Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people;’ q. d. “It will be sad enough for the hands of the Egyptians to fall upon thy people; but infinitely worse for the tongues of the Egyptians to fall upon thy name.' . In a word, the glory of all God's attributes is engaged for the performance of his promises, especially his faithfulness and power. Now, these are strong pillars upon which God's truth and faithfulness in keeping promise is built. He can as soon cease to be omniscient, unchangeable, omnipotent, infinitely just and holy, as he can cease to be true and faithful. He can as soon divest himself of his glory, and draw an eternal veil over all the shining perfections and excellencies of his nature, as cease to be faithful and true, But it is high time to finish this subject. Inf. 1. Is God infinitely true? Then all hypocrisy and dissimulation, all falsehood and dishonesty, in lying, cheating, and double-dealing, is most hateful to God, is most opposite to his holy nature, and flows from the devil and our lusts, as father and mother to them, John viii. 44. 2. This lets us see what a sure foundation we have for our faith in believing the truth of what is revealed in the hol scriptures; for they are the word of the God of truth, the word of God that cannot lie, The truth of God is an immoveable rock, upon which we may safely venture our salvation. The public faith of heaven is engaged for the happiness of believers; and can they ever have better security? The whole earth hangs upon the word of God's power; and shall not our faith hang upon the word of God's truth? There is nothing else we can rest upon, but the truth and faithfulness of God, We cannot trust in an arm of flesh,
for this will fail us in the time of our need; nor can we trust in our own hearts, for the Spirit of God tells us that he that doth so is a fool. All other things are sandy foundations, which cannot abide the storm and trial: but the truth of God is an immoveable rock that cannot be shaken. 3. Hence we see that the reformed Protestant religion is the only true religion that is in the world, because it is built upon the infallible truth and veracity of God. We have rea: son to be thankful to God, that it is not built upon such sandy foundations as human unwritten traditions, or any human testimony whatsoever. It is built upon the God of truth, and not upon fallible men. We admit the testimony of the church as an help to our faith, but not as the ground and foundation of it." The precious truths which we believe, we feceive them not upon the testimony of the churches, Popes, or councils, but upon the testimony of the God of truth that cannot lie. But the Popish religion hath no sure foundation. The faith of Papists is built upon the testimony of men; so that their religion hath no more certainty in it, than these men have of infallibility. 4. Hence we may see matter of dreadful terror to all the wicked; for all the threatenings and curses of the law of a faithful God stand in full force against them, and will at last overwhelm them with rapid fury, if they do not fly to the mercy and grace of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, who by his obedience unto death satisfied all the demands of law and justice, in the room of all who will take the benefit of his undertaking. Though in their atheistical unbelief they may bless themselves, saying, that they shall have peace, though they walk in the imagination of their hearts, to add drunkenness unto thirst; yet the Lord will not spare them, but the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against them, and all the curses that are written in his holy book shall light upon them; yeahis wrathful vengeance, like an overflowing scourge, shall sweep them off the sinful stage of time into the depths of the devouring pit, where is nothing but weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. 5. Lastly, Imitate, God in this his adorable perfection, by o the truth in love,’ Eph. iv. 15. Let the strictest es of truth and sincerity be observed by you in all your dealings and converse with men. Lay aside all lying, false. hood, and dissimulation, all equivocations and secret reser
vations in your words and promises, and speak the truth every man with his neighbour. Thus we have given you a short description of what God is. Imperfect it is, and imperfect it must be, seeing he is incomprehensible. Do ye study to believe what is taught you of God, and apply to him, through the Son of his love, for further discoveries of his glorious perfections and excellencies; and at length ye shall see him as he is, having a more enlarged and extensive knowledge of him, his nature and ways; though even then ye will not be able to comprehend him. For it was a wise and judicious answer of one that was asked, What God is ; that if he knew that fully, he should be a God himself. And indeed that being which we can comprehend, cannot be God, because he is infinite. O study God and ye will increase in the knowledge of him.
OF THE UNITY OF GOD.
Deut. vi. 4.—Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one LoRD. 1 CoR. viii. 4.—We know that there is none other God but O720. CoMPARE JER. x. 10.—But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God.
E have, in several preceding discourses, been endeavouring a little to explain the description of God that is given in our shorter Catechism, agreeable to the holy scriptures; and although it has been very imperfect, seeing it is but little of God we can know here; yet I hope what has been said upon it will tend to your instruction, and establishment in the faith. I now proceed to the next question, relating to the unity of God; which we have very clearly and strongly confirmed by the three passages of scripture which I have read. In the first of these texts there are two things which we are taught to believe concerning God. (1.) That he is JEHOvah, a being infinitely and eternally perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient. (2.) That he is the one only God. Let us therefore have no other, nor desire to have any other. Some have thought that in this text there is a plain intimation of the Trinity of Persons in the unity of the Godhead; or here the name of God is thrice mentioned, and yet alldeclared to be but one. Happy they who have this one Lord for their God; for they have but one master to please, and but one benefactor to seek to. In the second text the unity of God is also clearly asserted: There is none other God but one. The third text presents us with a very amiable representation of God. (1.) As the true God. He is not a counterfeit, and a mere pretender to divinity, as idols are; but he is really what he has revealed himself to be. He is one upon whom we may depend, and in whom and by whom we cannot be deceived. (2.) As the living God. He is life itself has life in himself, and is the fountain of life to all the creatures. The gods of the heathen are dead things, worthless and useless; but ours is the living God, and hath immortality, From the three passages of scripture compared together, the following doctrine natively arises, viz. Doct. “There is but one only, the living and true God.” In discoursing this point, I shall shew, " I. Why God is called the living God, II. Why he is called the true God. III. That there is but one God. IV. Deduce some inferences. I. I am to shew why God is called the living God. 1. He is called the living God, in opposition to, and to distinguish him from dead idols, Psal. cxv. 4, 5, 6, 1 Thess. i. 9. These were but dead and lifeless things, stocks and stones, silver and gold, which the heathen nations did worship, neglecting the God that made the heavens and the earth. In this respect these idols were viler than the matter of which they were made, as the tree when in the ground had some life, but they had none. 2. Because God is the fountain of life, having all life in himself, John v. 26, and giving life to all things else. All life is in him and from him. (1.) Natural life, Acts xvii. 28. * For in him we live.’ 1 Tim. vi. 18. “Who quickeneth all things.” (2.) Spiritual life, Eph. ii. 1. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (3.) Eternal life, Col. iii. 4. ‘Christ is our life.” His giving of these to the creatures proves that they are in him, though in a more eminent way; for nothing can give what it has not,"