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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
unclean lips, and yet mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts." Great and glorious Lord God command one of thy seraphim to fly to us as he flew to him; bid him touch our mouths as he touched his, with “a live coal from off the altar," and in this day of grace and mercy, let him say to us as he said to him, "lo! this hath touched thy lips and thy iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Then shall our souls bless thee, and “all that is within us shall bless thy holy name.” Then shall we no longer honor thee with our lips, while our heart is far from thee, but shall worship thee in spirit and in truth. Then, whatever thou callest us to do, or to suffer, we shall say, dispose of us and deal with us, Lord, according as seemeth to thee good.
And let us, my brethren, “take heed how we hear;" God is present to notice the reception which his word finds in our hearts. When Moses gave the law to the Israelites, they feared greatly and trembled, because sensible that they were in the presence of their God. They saw his lightnings and heard his thunderings, and scarcely had he begun to promulgate his laws when all hearts were united, and all Sinai echoed with one voice, saying, all that thou hast spoken, we will do. Let us remember that God is here, and addresses us through his holy word, as certainly as he did them; that we stand before him as guilty creatures, seeking pardon, as blinded creatures seeking light, as ruined creatures seeking salvation. Let us, therefore, never depart from his holy temple, and forget what manner of persons he has declared us to be, and what we must do to inherit eternal life. Let us always enter it with a spirit of reverence, of penitence, of thanksgiving, of devotion, and of attention, fully realizing that God is here. Let us always leave it, bearing some new portion of grace, some better established doctrine, some clearer view of duty, some new desires after heaven, some firmer resolution of forsaking our evil ways, and of returning to our God, some increased anxiety of redeeming the time that is past, by meeting him in future with hearts less polluted by sin, and more devoted to his glory. Let
us, in short, not only here, but every where, remember that the eyes of the LORD are in every place beholding the evil and the good, and let our whole conduct be regulated with a view to the account which we are to render.
SERMON BY THE RIGHT REV. NATHANIEL BOWEN, D. D.
ON THE OFFICE OF DEACONS IN THE CHURCH:
BY THE RIGHT REV. NATHANIEL BOWEN, D. D., BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AND RECTOR OF ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, CHARLESTON.
Deuteronomy x., 8, 9.-" The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant
of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inherit
Only a short time had elapsed after the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, when Moses received the commands and instructions of JEHOVAH, relative to the tabernacle, its structure, furniture, services and ministers. In evidence of his will to all ages and generations of men, that all things appertaining to his immediate worship and service should be held worthy of their sacred regard and care, God himself thus, in the minutest manner, originally prescribed them, and established them to be observed by an ordinance for ever. And when all things were prepared according to the instructions which Moses had received in the Mount, and the Tabernacle was reared and furnished, Aaron, according to the same instructions, was solemnly invested with the Priest's office; while the sons of Aaron, Moses also annointed, as he did their father, that they too might minister with him in the Priest's office; whose annointing was for an everlasting Priesthood, throughout their generations.
The whole tribe of Levi, distinguished by their purity from the pollution of the idolatry with which the rest of the children of Israel had corrupted themselves at the foot of Sinai, were afterward set apart from the nation, by an express command, to serve in the inferior offices of the sanctuary; to minister unto Aaron the Priest, (as the language of the original command concerning