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fig-tree,' said Jesus Christ to Nathanael, 'I saw thee,' John i. 48. See Eccles. ii. 23-25. We do not know what Jesus Christ saw under the fig-tree, nor is it necessary now to inquire but it was certainly something which, Nathanael was fully persuaded, no mortal eye had seen. As soon, therefore, as Jesus Christ had uttered these words, he believed, and said, Rabbi, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.' My brethren, God useth the same language to each of you to-day: 'when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.'

Thou hypocrite, when, wrapped in a veil of religion, embellished with exterior piety, thou concealedst an impious heart, and didst endeavour to impose on God and man, I saw thee. I penetrated all those labyrinths, I dissipated all those darknesses, I dived into all thy deep designs.

ideas, perhaps, confound instead of instructing you, and when we attempt to engage you in too many reflections, ye enter really into none. Behold an epitome of religion. Behold a morality in three words. Return to your houses, and every where carry this reflection with you, God seeth me, God seeth me. To all the wiles of the devil, to all the snares of the world, to all the baits of cupidity, oppose this reflection, God seeth me. If, clothed with a human form, he were always in your path, were he to follow you to every place, were he always before you with his majestic face, with eyes flashing with light. ning, with looks inspiring terror, dare yo before his august presence give a loose to your passions? But ye have been hearing that his majestic face is every where, those sparkling eyes do inspect you in every place, those terrible looks do consider you every where. Particularly in the ensuing week, while ye are preparing for the Lord's supper, recollect this. Let each examine his own thyheart, and endeavour to search into his conscience, where he may discover so much weakness, so much corruption, so much hardness, so many unclean sources overflowing with so many excesses, and let this idea strike each of you, God seeth me. God seeth me, as I see myself, unclean, ungrateful, and rebellious. O may this idea produce contrition and sorrow, a just remorse and a sound conversion, a holy and a fervent communion, crowned with graces and virtues. Happy, if, after our examination, we have a new heart! a heart agreeable to those eyes that search and try it! Happy, if, after our communion, after a new examination, we can say with the prophet, O Lord, thou hast proved mine heart, thou hast tried me, and hast found nothing,' Ps. xvii. 3. So be it. To God be ho nour and glory for ever. Amen.


Thou worldling, who, with a prudence truly infernal, hast the art of giving a beautiful tint to the most odious objects: who appearest not to hate thy neighbour, because thou dost not openly attack him; not to falsify promise, because thou hast the art of eluding it; not to oppress thy dependants, because thou knowest how to impose silence on them: I saw thee, when thou gavest those secret stabs, when thou didst receive bribes, and didst accumulate those wages of unrighteousness, which cry for vengeance against thee.

Thou slave to sensuality, ashamed of thine excesses before the face of the sun, I saw thee, when, with bars and bolts, with obscurity and darkness, and complicated precautions, thou didst hide thyself from the eyes of men, defile the temple of God, and make the members of Christ the members of a harlot,' 1 Cor. vi. 15.


My brethren, the discourses, which we usually preach to you, absorb your minds in a multitude of ideas. A collection of moral


ISAIAH xl. 12-28.

Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand? aud meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? 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. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will he liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation, chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? Hath it not been told you from the beginning? Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted, yea, they shall not be sown, yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. 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. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel; My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? hast thou not known? hast thou not heard that the Lord is the everlasting God?


THE words, the lofty words of the text, require two sorts of observations: The first are necessary to explain and confirm the prophet's notions of God; the second to determine and to enforce his design in describing the Deity with so much pomp.

The prophet's notions of God are diffused through all the verses of the text. 'Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure? Who hath weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Behold, the nations are as the drop of a bucket. Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers.'

The prophet's design in describing the Deity with so much magnificence is to discountenance idolatry, of which there are two sorts. The first, I call religious idolatry, which consists in rendering that religious worship to a creature, which is due to none but God. The second, I call moral idolatry, which consists in distrusting the promises of God in dangerous crises, and in expecting that assistance from men which cannot be expected from God. In order to discountenance idolatry in religion, the prophet contents himself with describing it. The workman melteth a graven image, the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold.'

For the purpose of discrediting idolatry in morals, he opposeth the grandeur of God to the most grand objects among men, I mean earthly kinge. God (saith the prophet)

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'Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand? Who hath meted out heaven with a span? Who hath comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure? Who hath weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? All nations before him are as the drop of a bucket. He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. He sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers.' What loftiness of expression! The deference that we pay to the sacred writers is not founded on the beauty of their diction. They do not affect to come to us with the enticing words of man's wisdom,' 1 Cor. ii. 4. We cannot help observing, however, in some of their writings, the most perfect models of eloquence. God seems to have dispensed talents of this kind, in the same manner as he has sometimes bestowed tem

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poral blessings of another kind. Riches and grandeurs are too mean, and too unsatisfying, to constitute the felicity of a creature formed in the image of God. Immortal men, who are called to participate felicity and glory with their God, are indifferent to the part which they act, during their short existence on the stage of time. To them it is a matter of very little importance, whether they occupy the highest or the lowest, the most conspicuous or the most obscure posts in society. It signifies but little to them, whether they ride in sumptuous equipages, or walk on foot. To them it is a matter of very little consequence, whether superb processions attend their funerals, or their bodies be laid in their graves without pomp or parade. Yet, when it pleases God to signalize any by gifts of this kind, he does it like a God, if ye will allow the expression, he does it so as to show that his mighty hands hold all that can contribute to ennoble and elevate mankind. Observe his munificence to Solomon. 'I have given thee riches and glory,' said the Lord to him, ' so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee,' 1 Kings iii. 12, 13. In virtue of this promise, God loaded Solomon with temporal blessings: he gave him all. In virtue of his promise, 'silver was no more esteemed than stones in Jerusalem,' the capital of this favourite of heaven, ' nor the cedars of Lebanon than the sycamore trees of the plain, 2 Chron. ix. 27.

God has observed the same conduct to the heralds of religion, in regard to the talents that form an orator. The truths which they teach are too serious, and too interesting, to need the help of ornaments. The treasures of religion, which God commits to them are so valuable, that it is needless for us to examine whether they be presented to us in earthen vessels,' 2 Cor. iv. 7. But when the Holy Spirit deigns to distinguish any one of his servants by gifts of this kind, my God! with what a rich profusion hath he the power of doing it! He fires the orator's imagination with a flame altogether divine: he elevates his ideas to the least accessible region of the universe, and dictates language above mortal mouths.

What kind of elocution can ye allege, of which the sacred authors have not given us the most perfect models?

Is it the style proper for history? An historian must assume, it should seem, as many different forms of speaking, as there are different events in the subjects of his narration. And who ever gave such beautiful models of this style as Moses? Witness these words, which have acquired him the eulogium of a pagan critic :* God said, Let there be light, and there was light,' Gen. i. 3. Witness these, 'Isaac said, My father; Abraham answered, Here am I my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burntoffering, chap. xxii. 7, 8. Witness these words. "Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him, and he cried,

* Longinus, sect. ix.

Cause every man to go out from me: and there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he lifted up his voice and wept, and said unto his brethren, I am Joseph: doth my father yet live? Come near to me, I pray you, I am Joseph, your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt,' chap. xlv. 1.

Is it the tender style? Who ever gave such beautiful models as the prophet Jeremiah? Witness the pathetic descriptions, and the affecting complaints in the Lamentations:



The ways of Zion mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: All her gates are desolate her priests sigh: her virgins are afflicted and she is in bitterness. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. For these things I weep: mine eye, mine eye runneth down,' chap. i. 4. 12. 16.

Is it a style proper to terrify and confound? Who ever gave more beautiful models of this style than Ezekiel? Witness, among many others, these expressions: How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou dost all these things: the work of an imperious whorish woman? A wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom,' chap. xvi. 30. 32, 33.

Above all, is it the lofty, noble, and sublime style? Whose models are comparable to the prophet Isaiah's? Christian preacher, thou who studiest to convince, to persuade, to carry away the hearts of the people to whom God hath sent thee, neither make Cicero nor Demosthenes thy models; investigate the ideas, and appropriate the language of the inspired writers. Heat thine imagination at the fire which inflamed them, and with them, endeavour to elevate the mind to the mansions of God, to the light which no man can approach unto,' 1 Tim. vi. 16 Learn of these great masters to handle the sword of the Spirit,' and to manage the word of God quick and powerful, even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit; and of the joints and marrow,' Heb. iv. 12.

But when I propose my text as a pattern of elocution, far from your minds be the idea of a trifling orator's fraudful art, whose ambition it is to exceed his subject, and to lend his hero the virtues that he wants. The portrait drawn by the prophet is infinitely inferior to his original. Ye will be fully con vinced of this, if ye attend to the four following considerations of the grandeurs of God:

1. The sublimity of his essence. 2. The immensity of his works. 3. The efficiency of his will. 4. The magnificence of some of his mighty acts, at certain periods, in favour of

his church.

First, The sublimity of his essence. The prophet's mind was filled with this object. It is owing to this that he repeats the grand title of Jehovah, THE LORD, which signifies I am by excellence, and which distinguishes, by four grand characters, the essence of God, from the essence of creatures.

1. The essence of God is independent in its cause. God is a self-existent Being. We


exist, but ours is only a borrowed existence, for existence is foreign from us. There was time when we were not, and our origin is nothing and as we should cease to be if God were only to give the word, so his word was necessary to give us existence at first. But God exists of himself: existence is his own; and he owes it only to himself, and to the eminence of his own perfections. An idea, in which it is difficult not to lose one's self, and which is incomprehensible to us, because it relates to an infinite attribute, and because all that is infinite absorbs a finite mind: but an idea, however, as true as it is incomprehensible. The existence of a mite, or of a grain of dust, or even of the most diminutive being in nature, is sufficiently necessary to conduct us to the independent, self-existent God.

Even the atheist is obliged by his own principles to agree with us in this article: I mean the atheist of some knowledge; the modern atheist. Let us thankfully own, my brethren, that the improvements which a sound philosophy has produced in the sciences, have been communicated even to atheism. Formerly, atheists could digest such propositions as these: The world has not always subsisted; it was made of nothing Now these propositions are too gross for any to hazard his reputation on the advancing of them. Indeed, to affirm that nothing has made the world, is not only to advance an absurdity, it is to advance a contradiction. To say that nothing has created the world, is to say that nothing has not created the world; and to say that nothing has not created a world which actually exists, is to deny the existence of the world. No rules of reasoning require us to answer people who contradict themselves in so glaring a manner and on this article, we rank them with idiots. Modern atheists admit, as we do, a 'self-existent being. All the difference between them and us is this: they attribute this eminent perfection to matter; but we attribute it to God. The atheist derives his existence from a collection of atoms, which a blind chance had assembled: we ascribe our existence to a Being possessed of all possible perfections. The atheist discovers his God and Creator in a confused conjunction of bodies destitute of reason: we find our God and Creator in the Supreme Being, the fountain of all existence. But both we and the atheist are obliged to own an uncreated, selfexistent Being. And as it is easy for a reasonable person to decide the question, whether this perfection agree to God or to matter, it is easy for him also to comprehend that God is a self-existent Being.

2. The essence of God is universal in its extent. God possesses the reality of every thing that exists. A celebrated infidel, educated in your provinces, (would to God none were educated here still!) this infidel, I say, invented a new way of publishing atheism, by disguising it. I am mistaking in saying new for it would be easy to prove, that the miserable Spinoza* had not the glory of in

Benedict de Spinoza was born at Amsterdam, and was educated in the same city under Francis Vander Ende.



venting it; he only revived a
He says, that there is a God, but that this
God is only the universality and assemblage
of creatures that every being is a modifica
tion of God; that the sun is God, as giving
light, that aliments are God, as affording
nourishment; and so of the rest. What a
system! What an abominable system! But
this system, all abominable as it is, has, how-
ever, some truth, or some foundation. God
is not diffused through all these different be-
ings: God is not divided; but he possesses
all the perfections of the universe, and it is
by this notion of God, that the true religion
is distinguished from superstition. The su-
perstitious, struck with the beauty of some
particular being, made that being the object
of their adoration. One, struck with the
beauty of the stars, said, that the stars were
gods. Another, astonished at the splendour
of the sun, said that the sun was God. De-
mocritus, surprised at the beauty of fire, said,
that God was a material fire. Chrysippus,
amazed at the beauty of that necessity, which
causeth every thing to answer its destination,
said, that God was fate. Parmenides, affect-
ed with the beautiful extent of heaven and
earth, said, that God was that extent.

But God is all this, because he eminently possesses all this. An ancient heathen said of Camillus, that he was the whole Roman republic to him: and Toxaris, when he had procured Anacharsis the acquaintance of Sofon, said to him: This is Athens, this is Greece; thou art no longer a stranger, thou hast seen the whole.' Let us sanctify this thought by applying it to God. God is all the Roman republic, all Greece, the whole world and all its inhabitants. Yes, he is the beauty of the stars, the brightness of the sun, the purity of fire, the subtilty of ethereal matter, the expanse of heaven, and the law of fate; he is the sagacity of the politician, the penetration of the philosopher, the bravery of the soldier, the undaunted courage, and the cautious coolness of the general. If, among these qualities, there be any incom patible with the purity of his essence, and therefore inapplicable to him, yet in this sense they belong to him, all are subject to his empire, and act only by his will. He is, as an ancient writer expresses it, a boundless ocean of existence. From this ocean of existence all created beings, like so many rivulets, flow. From this ocean of light proceeded the sun with its brightness, the stars with their glitter, along with all the brilliancies of other beings that approach their nature. From this ocean of wisdom came those profound politicians, who penetrate the deepest recesses of the human heart; hence those sublime philosophers, who explore the hea vens by the marvels of dioptrics, and descend into the bowels of the earth by their knowledge of nature; and hence all those superior geniuses, who cultivate the sciences, and the liberal arts, and who constitute the beauty of the intelligent world. In him we live, and move, and have our being,' Acts xvii. 28. We breathe his air, and we are animated by his spirit; it is his power that upholds, his

*See Dr. Clarke on the Attributes. Vol. I. prop. 3.

knowledge that informs, and his wisdom that conducts us.

3. The essence of God is unchangeable in its exercise. Creatures only pass from noth ing to existence, and from existence to nothing. Their existence is rather a continual variation than a permanent state; and they are all carried away with the same vicissitudes. Hardly are we children before we become men: hardly are we arrived at manhood before we become old; and as soon as we become old we die. We love to-day what we hated yesterday, and to-morrow we shall hate what to-day we love. David has given us a just definition of man. He defines him a phantom, who only appears, and who appears only in a vain show, Ps. xxxix. 6. But I the Lord change not: the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,' Mal. iii. 6. Heb. xiii. 8. He is, as it were, the fixed point, on which revolve all the creatures in the universe, without the partaking himself of their revolutions.

4. Finally, the divine essence is eternal in its duration: Hast thou not known (saith our prophet,) that he is the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth? When we attempt to measure the duration of God, by tracing it beyond the first periods of this universe, we lose ourselves in the unfathomable depths of eternity: we heap ages upon ages, millions of years upon millions of years; but no beginning of his existence can we find. And when we endeavour to stretch our thoughts, and to penetrate the most remote futurity, again we heap ages upon ages, millions of years upon millions of years, and lose ourselves again in the same abyss, perceiving, that he can have no end, as he had no beginning. He is 'the ancient of days, the alpha and omega, the first and the last,' Dan. vii. 9. He is, he was, he is to come,' Rev. i. 8. Before the mountains were brought forth, before the earth and the world were formed, even from everlasting to everlasting he is God,' Ps. xc. 2. And, when the mountains shall be dissolved, when the foundations of the earth shall be destroyed, when all sensible objects shall be folded up like a vesture, he will be the everlasting God, Heb. i. 12. will be, when they exist no more, as he was before they existed at all.

Secondly, Having judged of the grandeur of God by the sublimity of his essence, judge of it by the immensity of his works. The prophet invites us to this meditation in the words of my text. 'It is he that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things. It is he who 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.' But who can pretend to discuss, in a single article of one sermon, a subject, which whole volumes could not contain? For if there be a subject, in which simple narration resembles rhetorical bombast, it is undoubtedly this.

A novice is frightened at hearing what astronomers assert; that the sun is a million times bigger than the earth: that the naked

eye discovers more than a thousand fixed stars, which are so many suns to enlighten unknown systems: that with the help of glasses we may discover an almost infinite number: that two thousand have been reckoned in one constellation; and that, without exaggerating, they may be numbered at more than two millions: that what are called nebulous stars, of which there is an innumerable multitude, that appear to us as if they were involved in little misty clouds, are all asemblages of stars.

A novice is frightened, when he is told, that there is such a prodigious distance between the earth and the sun, that a body, moving with the greatest rapidity that art could produce, would take up twenty-five years in passing from the one to the other: that it would take up seven hundred and fifty thousand to pass from the earth to the nearest of the fixed stars and to the most distant more than a hundred millions of years.


A novice is frightened: (do not accuse me, my brethren, of wandering from the subject of this discourse, for the saints, who are proposed in scripture as patterns to us, cherished their devotions with meditations of this kind: at the sight of these grand objects they exclaimed, O Lord, when we consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindiul of him? and the son of man that thou visitest him?' Psal. viii. 3. 4. And my text engages me to fix your attention upon these objects: lift up your eyes on high and behold.) A novice is frightened, when he is assured, that although the stars, which form a constellation, seem to touch one another, yet the distances of those that are nearest together can be ascertained, and that even words are wanting to express the spaces which sepa rate those that are the greatest distances from each other; that if two men were observing two fixed stars, from two parts of the earth, the most distant from each other, the lines that went from their eyes, and terminated on that star, would be confounded together; that it would be the same with two men, were one of them upon earth, and the other in the sun, though the sun and the earth are at such a prodigious distance from each other; so inconsiderable is that distance in comparison of the space which separates both from the star. All this startles a novice and yet, what are these bodies, countless in their number, and enormous in their size? What are these unmeasurable spaces, which absorb our senses and imaginations? What are all these in comparison of what reason discovers? Shall we be puerile enough to persuade ourselves that there is nothing beyond what we see? Have we not reason to think, that there are spaces far, far beyond, full of the Creator's wonders, and af. fording matter of contemplation to the thousand thousands, to the ten thousand times ten thousand intelligences that he has made? Dan. vii. 10.

Here let us pause. Over all this universe God reigns. But what is man even in com. parison of this earth? Let him reflect on himself (I borrow the words of a modern

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