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Q. 24. How should the Bible be regarded and treated?
A. It should be valued above all price, and understood in its plain and obvious sense; embraced firmly, meekly, and in its purity; perused and studied with reverence and gratitude, diligence and attention, faith and prayer, and carefully reduced to practice. To estimate lightly, to neglect, and thus to abuse the Bible, is to treat the messages of Heaven with contempt, to slight offered mercy, and to trifle with the interests of the soul and the solemnities of eternity.(r)
Character of God, natural and moral, as revealed in
the Sacred Scriptures.
Q. 1. What perfections, natural and moral, does God possess?
God, who is a pure spirit, that is, an immaterial being, possesses self-existence, eternity, immutability, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, independence, unity,* goodness, wisdom,+ holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.
to you, That every idle word, that man shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
(r) Ps. xix. 8, 10. The statules of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.--Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.—Joho viii. 24. I said therefore unto you, that
ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.--John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.--Matt. xxii. 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
* Unity in God seems to be a mode of existence, rather than a perfection of His nature, though it has generally been considered a perfection.
| Wisdom, when applied to God, is frequently used as a natural perfection, and then consists merely of His omniscience; or it means His devising the most effectụal methods for the accomplishment of his ends.
Q. 2. What is meant by the natural and what by the moral perfections of God?
A. By His natural perfections are meant those which do not involve moral character; and by His moral perfections are meant those which give character to Him as a moral being; Q. 3.
What are the natural perfections of God? A. They are self-existence, eternity, immutability, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, independence, and unity.
Q. 4. What are the moral perfections of God?
A. They are goodness, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.
Q. 5. What is meant by the self-existence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His self-existence is meant, that He exists not by any extrinsic, relative, or accidental cause, but that He exists in and of Himself, in other words, that there is no reason or ground of His existence out of Himself.That God is self-existent is evident from the fact, that He is the Author of all things, and that He Himself could not be created by any other being, but must be uncaused and eternal; and from the fact, that in Scripture, He is styled 'Jehovah,' 'I Am,' 'who is, who was, and who is to come.' These terms imply self-existence.(a)
Q. 6. What is meant by the eternity of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His eternity is meant His existence without beginning or end. There never was a time when He did not exist, and there never will he a time when He will not exist.
-That God possesses this perfection, is manifest from His self-existence, and from the express declarations of the Holy Scriptures.(6)
(a) Ps. Ixxxiii. 18. That man may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth.—Exod. iii. 14. And God said unto Moses, I Am that I Am. And he said, l'hus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.Rev. i. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia; Grace be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.
(6) Deut. xxxiii. 27. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.-Ps. xc. 2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Q. 7. What is meant by the immutability of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His immutability is meant His unchangeableness in His essence, perfections, purposes, promises, and threatenings.--This perfection of God is proved from His self-existence and eternity, from the unchanging order exhibited in the works of creation and providence, and from the Bible.(c)
Q. 8. What is meant by the omnipresence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His omnipresence is meant His being ever present in all places throughout the universe. He is confined to no part, and excluded from no part.—This perfection of God may
be argued from His other perfections, from His particular agency at all times in all parts of the universe, and from the Sacred Scriptures.(d)
Q. 9. What is meant by the omniscience of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His omniscience is meant His knowledge of all things without any limitation. His knowledge extends to all times, past, present, and future; and to all places, creatures, and events, distinctly, infallibly, and perpetually. - That God is possessed of this perfection, is evident from His purposes and designs; from His being the Creator, Preserver, and Governor, of all things; and from the express language of Scripture.(e)
Q. 10. What is meant by the omnipotence of God? and how is it proved!
(c) James i. 17. Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.-Ps. xxxiii. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
(d) Ps. cxxxix. 7—10. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I fee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
(e) 1 Sam. ii. 3. The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.-Ps. xciv. 9, 10. He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall be not see? he that chastiseth the heathen, shall not be correci? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?-Acts xv. 28. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.-1 Chron. xxviii. 9. The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.
A. By His omnipotence is meant His almighty power, His ability to do whatever, in the nature of things, is not impossible, or does not imply contradiction. That God is thus powerful, is manifest from his creating, preserving, and governing the universe; and from the testimony of the Scriptures.(f )
Q. 11. What is meant by the independence of God? and how is it proved!
A. By His independence is to be understood, that He does not depend for His existence, His perfections, or His blessedness, on any other being. —That He possesses this perfection, is evident from the consideration of His other perfections; and that He is above all things; and that they are entirely dependent on Him, and He, consequently, is independent of them; and that the Bible also teaches this perfection of God.(g)
Q. 12. What is meant by the unity of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His unity is meant His oneness of essence or nature, in opposition to plurality of essence or nature. When it is said, God is one, the meaning is, that there is but one self-existent being.- -The unity of God may be argued from His natural perfections, especially the infinity of them; from the unity of design discoverable in the works of creation and providence; from their being no necessity of more than one God; and from the explicit declarations of Scripture.(h)
Q. 13. What is meant by the Goodness of God? how is it proved!
A. By His Goodness is meant a disposition to bestow upon all His creatures, both in time and in eternity, every blessing, which is proper and best for them, and which it is consistent for Him, in view of His own glory and the
(f) Rev. xix. 6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Matt. xix. 26. But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
(8) Eph. iv. 6. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
(h) Deut. vi. 4. Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord.—2 Kings xix. 15. And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.
highest good of the universe, to bestow. This perfection of God is proved from the works of creation and providence; and from the Bible.(i)
Q. 14. What is meant by the wisdom of God? and how is it proved?
A. Wisdom in God is partly a natural, and partly a moral perfection. It unites the omniscience and goodness of God in accomplishing the greatest good in the universe; or it consists in knowing and choosing the best ends, and in knowing, choosing, and adopting the best means for the accomplishment of them. This perfection of God is proved from the Divine omniscience and goodness, from creation, providence and redemption; and from express declarations of Scripture.(j)
Q. 15. What is meant by the holiness of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His holiness is meant His perfect freedom from all sin—the perfect absolute purity and rectitude of His nature. That God possesses this perfection, is evident from His works of creation and providence; from His treatment of all moral beings; and from the instructions of His word. (K)
Q. 16. What is meant by the justice of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His justice is meant a disposition to do no wrong to any, and a disposition to do right by every one, or the rendering unto all their due. It is remunerative and punitive, and is exercised in conferring rewards on the holy, and in inflicting punishment on the unholy, and respects the future state, as well as the present. -That God possesses this perfection, may be argued from His other perfections; from the displays of His justice in the moral world; and from the Scriptures (1)
(i) Ps. cxix. 68. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.—Mat. xix. 17.
There is none good but one, that is God. (3) Rom. xvi. 27. To God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
(k) Isaiah i. 4. They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger.-Lev. xix. 2. Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
(1) Ps. cxix. 137. Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments.—Deut. xxxii. 4. A God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.