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infinity to all he said or did, because he himself was and is infinite. How oft have I lamented to hear some of God's chosen ones lost in attempting to account for the different appellations given to Christ as Christ, as first begotten, and only begotten, and God's dear Son, and the like, until they have lost sight of his own eternal, inherent, and undivided GODHEAD. Brethren, I know not whether I have expressed myself on this sublime subject to your apprehension, but very sure I am, that this and this only, is the Scripture statement of the holy Trinity; and which corresponds to the first proposition in Moses's sermon, "Hear O Israel! the Lord our God is one Lord!"
I proceed now in the second place, according to my proposal, to consider what this High and Lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity, is, in covenant-engagements according to his own revelation of himself; when speaking to his people he calls himself "the Lord thy God." It will require but few observations in proof, that if Jehovah in his infinite condescension engages to be the God of his people, the purpose, the will, the pleasure, can only originate in himself, or be accomplished by himself; nothing on the part of the church could prompt to such marvellous grace, for it began before the church had being; and none less than God himself could be competent to propose or perform such mighty acts as are included in this high administration. But when we read in the Scriptures of eternal truth, that all the persons in Jehovah have alike engaged and guaranteed to each other to be a God to Israel, and that Israel is his people; here we not only trace the gracious footsteps of each, in proof of the personality in the persons in the GODHEAD, but the glorious persons come home endeared to our warmest affections, adoration, and praise, by those special and distinct acts, which
though emanating from one and the same God, yet set forth the personal love of each to the whole body the church; and are calculated to call forth corresponding returns in adoring "the love of God the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost."
Suffer me to detain you here with a practical observation. Do you ask how it is, and why it is, under such views of the love, and grace, and favour of the holy Three to my soul or your soul, we live on for the most part from day to day with such an unaccountable insensibility to the spiritual enjoyment of these things? The answer is at hand: we have too little regard to the personal acts of grace shewn us by the visits and manifestations of the holy Three in One. To look at the church of Christ in the present day, yea, the most spiritual church, one might be led to suppose that those divine promises Jesus left his church were not in the Bible. I often blush as I read the xivth chapter of the gospel by John; what a cluster of the richest love-tokens are there! but who is there that realizeth them in his soul from day to day!
But it is time to hasten to the third part I proposed, and which is the leading doctrine of my text: "Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God he is God, the faithful God."
The faithfulness of God, in his trinity of persons, is among all the other standards of character which constitute GODHEAD; his holiness, his unchangableness, his almightiness, his immensity, in short, all divine attributes are himself: for it is not with Jehovah the first cause, as it is with bis creatures in their effects; what they are and all they have is derivative; but his perfections are himself: and hence we find that when at any time Jehovah, in his trinity of persons, is about to make promise to his people, he
founds it in himself. A most beautiful illustration of this is given in the instance of Abraham; and as it is so exactly corresponding to the subject before us, of the divine faithfulness, which the Lord will have his people to know, I advert to it the rather.
The Holy Ghost hath thus related it in the beautiful simplicity of Scripture, in one of the chapters to the Hebrews, (chap. vi. 13.) "For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee and so after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife." And do observe what follows, which most blessedly shews that not to Abraham only the Lord had respect in this gracious assurance of his faithfulness; but as the Holy Ghost elsewhere explains it," now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made: he saith not, and to seeds, as of many, but as of one; and to thy seed, which is Christ." (Gal. iii. 16.) Hence, therefore, the Holy Ghost in his divine statement of this glorious perfecttion of the faithfulness of our Jehovah, in his epistle to the Hebrews, proceeds to observe, that "God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Brethren, pause over this precious relation of God's faithfulness; ponder well the word, the oath of Jehovah and then ask your own heart what shall arise, what can arise, to counteract the gracious and unalterable purposes of this "faithful God?"
But we must not stop here, for our faithful God
doth not. Jehovah delights (if we may presume to use the expression) to remind his Israel of the testimonies of his faithfulness. Many an hundred year had passed between Balak's hiring Balaam to curse God's people, which the Lord turned into blessing, and the Lord calling upon his people by his servant Micah the prophet, to bring it to remembrance. "O my people, (said the Lord) what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim to Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord." (Micah vi. 3-5.) And it is very blessed, not only to observe the faithful God in his dispensations to his people, but the exactness in that faithfulness the Lord had to his promises. Four hundred and thirty years the Lord for wise purposes had appointed Israel's being in bondage in Egypt; but so faithful is God that he suffered not an hour beyond it. (Exod. xii. 40-42 ) Seventy years the servitude of Israel in Babylon, but not a day more. (2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23.) It is good to watch the footsteps of God's faithfulness, for God is watching all the ways of his people, "watering them every moment, and keeping them night and day, that none shall hurt them." (Isaiah xxvii. 2, 3.)
It is time to enquire, and what was this Israel, to call forth this special regard of Jehovah? Moses tells you in this same Scripture, where he reminds Israel of his origin, his nothingness, and unworthiness: "the Lord did not set his love upon you for the righteousness or for the uprightness of thine heart, for thou art a stiff-necked people; neither did the Lord set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were
more in numbers than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you:" thus tracing his love where we trace his faithfulness, namely, wholly in himself. "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy." (Exod. xxxiii. 19.) Hence, you see, all begins in God, leads to God, terminates in God; and Jehovah, in his trinity of persons, hath founded the church in Christ; and it is "to the praise of the glory of his grace, the whole church of God is accepted in the Beloved." (Eph. i. 6.)
Brethren, I commend you, with myself and the whole church of Christ upon earth, to this faithful God: through his grace we have lived to count, in the arithmetic of life, our entrance upon a new year. Pause with me, and consider the distinguishing nature of this mercy. Look into the world, look into houses, families, and the neighbourhood around you, and calculate if you can, to what numbers death hath entered into their windows, and taken away the desire of their eyes with a stroke! And what are the rescources of the church of the living God, for all the pending events of the coming year? my text answers: "The faithful God." Having him for our confidence, and "our times are in his hand," all is well. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Faithful God, in thy trinity of persons, we look up in and through our most glorious Christ, and entreat thy sovereign Majesty to do by thy church and people as by Israel of old! Let thine eye be upon our British Judea, as it was of old upon Israel, from one end of the year even to the other end of the year; " and there command the blessing, even life for evermore." (Psalm cxxxiii. 3.)