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by the word of His power. Without His protecting hand, the heavens would now pass away with a great noise, and the earth and the works that are therein would be destroyed. All things, each moment of their existence, depend on Him for preservation. Not a second breath could we draw, unless He were here to deal out another, as the present one passes away. Not a step could we take, unless he supplied us with new strength as the former was exhausted. In Him, all creatures live, and move, and have their being. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created, and thou renewest the face of the earth. Thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled. Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. It is hardly necessary to observe that the Being who supports all, must be present with all.
God also is the disposer of all events. He has provided for the effects of every motion of body, and of every act of His intelligent creatures, whether lawful or unlawful, in such a manner as be foresaw would answer some wise purpose in his government of providence or grace. The latter acting freely, are justified or condemned, according as they obey or disobey his laws, but the action, though opposed to his will, is made in the issue to further some gracious end in his administration. For he compelleth even the wrath of man to praise Him. Whether we live or die, whether we are visited with prosperity or with adversity, whether with health or with sickness, it is God alone who directs. Not that the conduct of man has no influence upon these events. Both Scripture and experience assure us that the happiness or misery of man depends much upon himself; but it is by the enforcement of that law of Heaven which ordains that certain acts shall ordinarily produce certain effects. A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps. Each of these prerogatives proves that God must be omnipresent.
And how majestic, awful, and glorious a Being must He be! Who can meditate upon this perfection without exclaiming with Zophar, "canst thou by searching find out God! Canst thou find out the ALMIGHTY unto perfection? It is high as Heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. There is nothing to which we can liken the immensity of God.” “The earth is a point; the ocean a drop;" the universe an atom. Imagination looks with astonishment over the rolling worlds around us, and with self gratulation on the reach of its powers; but when attempting to scan the boundless extent of God's immensity, it is startled at the discovery of its shortsightedness, and with humility exclaims, “such knowledge is too wonderful for me;" it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Nay! the highest exalted angel cannot say, thus far extend the attributes of God, and no farther. Neither height nor depth, neither length nor breadth can measure them. How ought the contemplation of this subject to humble us under the mighty hand of God! Mankind, on viewing their possessions and superiority to many of their fellows, are too apt to feel, that they themselves are gods. Forgetful of Him who made them to differ from their brethren, they say, at least in heart, my hand and the might of my wisdom and power have gotten me these advantages. They practically deny that they are stewards of God, bound to promote His glory with the talents in their possession, and claim that as these talents are the reward of their own exertions, they have a right to dispose of them as they will. But let them measure themselves with the ALMIGHTY, and reflect that it is He from whom they have received all, who requires their obedience, and that He is present to take cognizance of their conduct, and will hold them responsible at the last great day, and their proud imaginations will be brought down. They will discover that the distance between them and the lowest of their race is altogether imperceptible, when compared with the distance between them and their God. Keeping this discovery in mind-and no man can be so insensible to his littleness as to exalt himself against God, or be puffed up by a consciousness of his superiority to his fellow men-he will be meek and lowly in spirit, looking upon all the family of Adam as his brethren, and ready to receive and practice that instruction, which is able to make him wise unto salvation.
The omnipresence of God should cause us to fear exceedingly the commission of sin. “We can never sin with security, but in a place where the eye of God cannot behold us. And where is that place ? Had we a mind to escape his inspection, whither should we go? Heaven is the seat of his glory, creation the scene of his providence, and the grave itself will be the theatre of his power; so that our efforts will be equally vain, whether we ascend or descend, or fly abroad upon the wings of the morning light. The arm of the ALMIGHTY will still at pleasure prevent, and be ready to arrest the fugitives in their progress. Darkness may, indeed, conceal us and our deeds from the sight of men; but the divine presence like that of the sun, turns night into day, and makes all things manifest before God."*
Bear in mind then, brethren, that God is ever with you. He is with you in your families: observing your tempers, disposition, and conduct, and whether in obedience to Him you are bringing up your children in his nurture and admonition, or suffering them to go thoughtlessly on in the broad road which leadeth to destruction. He is with you in your retirements. He withdraws with you to your chambers, and compasseth about your beds, watching whether you are glad, and willing to shut the world from your minds, when no longer necessarily connected with it, or whether you still meditate upon it, and trust in it, as your portion, your happiness, your God. He is with you in your employments. He enters your studies, seeing whether you are seeking that wisdom which cometh from above, or only that wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with him. He goes with you to your farms, marking whether you are most diligent to cultivate the earth which he has given for your use, or the heart, which he has required you at the same time to cultivate for His use. He accompanies you to your merchandize, noticing whether you depart from truth and honesty, or whether you do unto all men as you would they should do unto you. And does He, my brethren, think ye, behold you with indifference in these several situations! No! He observes all your doings and all your goings, that He may check your evil propensities, overrule your wicked deeds for the accomplishment of his own purposes, and that every mouth may be stopped, and himself justified, when he comes to judge his people, and pass sentence on the impenitent. His eyes are in every place, and, as they are too pure to behold iniquity without begetting in Him a resolve to pour out indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon the perpetrator, always remember that it is an evil, and will prove a bitter thing to sin against the LORD. The omnipresence of God is a copious source of encouragement and comfort to the righteous. The eyes of the LORD are in every place beholding the good. He notes down in His book of remembrance the silent aspirations of their hearts, the deeds of charity which are done in secret, the good purposes which perish without coming to light, and the sufferings visible to no eye but his own, which they endure for Christ's sake.
He beholds the good to do them good. He defends them from the ten thousand enemies which lie in wait for their souls. He pours the balm of consolation into their wounded spirits, in their troubles. He supplies all their wants, spiritual and temporal. He makes every event subservient to their best interest. He enables them to do and suffer cheerfully whatever he appoints to them, saying to them, "fear not, for I am with thee," " be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Though it is appointed unto them, in common with others, once to die, though their spirit must return to Him that gave it, while its companion, the body, must moulder in the grave, or be spread abroad on the wings of the wind, yet will the eyes of the LORD see, and his power preserve and collect every part for a joyful resurrection, and an indissoluble reunion with the soul. What servant of God can reflect upon these things and ever be tempted to think it is in vain that I serve him. What servant of God can reflect upon these things, and not be happy, in any situation in which Providence may place him? He is as certainly under the eye and protection of God, as if he were the only being in the universe upon which he exercised his watchful care and benevolent affections.
The omnipresence of God should remind us of the gratitude due Him for His patience toward us, and for the gift of His Son. We cannot mingle with society without perceiving that the world lieth in wickedness. We cannot look into our own hearts without perceiving that there is much which does not often meet the public
ON: THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.
eye. And yet owing to our blindness and partiality, we "see but in part." How exceedingly sinful, and almost beyond number, must our sins be in the sight of God, whose eyes are in every place? Without experience, who could imagine that so pure and just a Being would for a moment suffer such an abuse of His mercies, contempt of his authority, and defiance of his power? Yet God has not only spared us, but loaded us daily with his mercies. He has not only delayed to cut us off in our sins, but " provided a ransom" for us in the person of His only begotten Son. The mercies given us in him exceed all human computation. Had he so far removed our condemnation as to suffer us to sink down into endless sleep after this life, who, on contemplating the penalty incurred, would not have felt that he is justly bound to love him with his wbole heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. But the purpose of God in Christ Jesus could not be limited to a negative blessing. He determined to raise us " from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; to remove from us all things offensive to Him, and fit us for the enjoyment of His glorious presence: to deliver us from hell, and admit us into the kingdom of heaven. Let these blessings be the subjects of our contemplation, adoration, and thanksgiving, day and night. Let us more closely examine our ways, and search our hearts, that we may more and more admire and adore the long-suffering of God in bearing with us, and his goodness in giving his Son to die for us, and let both have the designed effect and lead us to repentance.
If God be omnipresent, let us remember that he is in his holy temple. Veils of flesh and blood alone conceal him from our view. Could we open the eyes of our spirit, we should see Him as He is, a Spirit, filling the temple with his majesty. We should see Jesus Christ fulfilling his promise, and standing in the midst of us who are now gathered together in his name. Around him we should see the seraphim standing and covering themselves with their wings, in token of their unworthiness to appear in his glorious presence. With what lowliness does it become us, who are so far removed from their purity, to come before him, to implore the pardon of our numerous offences, and the continuance of his favors. Did we see things as they are, we should each exclaim with the prophet, "woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of