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life of faith. God's faithfulness, and our faith, are relative terms. His promises are the ground of our faith. Faith has a constant regard to them ; and our expectation of their fulfilment rests upon the faithfulness of God in performing them, and will generally be proportioned to our belief of that faithfulness. It is said of Sarah, the wife of Abraham, in reference to the long-promised heir, that "she judged him faithful who had promised; that is, she did so habitually, though her faith, like that of most believers, sometimes fluctuated. "She judged him to be faithful," and therefore expected the promised blessing. This, then, is the point. Do we, or do we not, judge a promising God to be a faithful God? If we do, we shall experience some degree of "joy and peace in believing :" if we do not doubts and fears will burden our minds, and cloud our prospects. By believing that God is faithful, we shall obtain peace, and in no other way. "Said I not unto thee" (that is, to Martha, at the grave of her brother Lazarus) "said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" And so the Lord speaks to us-If thou canst credit my testimony, rely on my promises, and trust my faithfulness to make them good to thee, thou shalt see my glory; thou shalt have my peace, which passeth understanding, to keep thy heart and mind, while in this vale of tears; and thou shalt hereafter be with me where I am, behold my glory, and share in it for ever. Has not each of us reason to say, "Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief!" Finally, Let us, in our humble measure, try to imitate the blessed God in this his glorious attribute; let us be "followers (imitators) of God as dear children;" let us imitate him in faithfulness. Even a heathen philosopher (Pythagoras), when asked, "What makes men like God?" answered, "Their speaking the truth.' Let not Christians be worse than heathens. Many, alas! called Christians, are so! The wicked are in the constant habit of lying;
"they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Ps. lviii. 3) and in this practice they resemble him who is "the father of lies;' ;" and without repentance and pardon, all" liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brim. stone, which is the second death." Rev. xxi. 8. But from this vain and wicked conversation every true believer is redeemed. God's children are described (Isa. Ixiii. 8) as lovers of truth :-"Surely, they are my people, children that will not lie." Let this be our character. Let us, as directed by the apostle, "speak every man truth with his neighbour." Above all, let the faithfulness of God to us, constrain us to be faithful to him. We are engaged by baptism, profession, and self-dedication, to be the Lord's; "let us, then, hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful who hath promised."
GOD, WITH ALL HIS PERFECTIONS, THE CHRISTIAN'S GOD.
Psalm xlviii. 14. For this God is our God, for ever and ever.
HE glorious perfections of Deity form the sub
ject of this volume; in which, after an introductory discourse on the importance of the knowledge of God, we have made a feeble attempt to display the power, the wisdom, the holiness, the justice, the omnipresence, the patience, the sovereignty, the goodness, the mercy, the love, and the faithfulness of God; and now, what remains but to exult in this glorious Being, and to say, in the triumphant language of the Psalmist, "This God is our God, for ever and ever!"
These words conclude a hymn of praise, composed, probably, on occasion of some eminent victory; but, undoubtedly, applicable to the glories of the gospel-church. The psalm begins with a declaration of the greatness of God, as he manifested himself in Sion. The situation of the temple, which was remarkably beautiful, afforded a suitable emblem of the Christian church, in which true happiness may certainly be found; there, the love of God in Christ is manifested and enjoyed, and there he presides for its infallible protection; and the Psalmist concludes with the words of our text, exulting in such a God, and in his interest in him, with the security it affords through life, to its termination. These words furnish us with a good conclusion to these discourses O
on the Divine Perfections, and it shall be our present business to prove that
It is the unspeakable privilege of believers, that God, in Christ, is their own God, and will be so for
A pious Jew, in ancient times, looking on all the nations around him, and beholding the heathen bowing to their pretended gods of wood and stone, would pity their stupidity; but contemplating the God that made the heavens, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, glorious in holiness, venerable in praises, and doing wonders, would, with sacred joy exclaim, "THIS God is our God!"" great is OUR God above all gods!"
The believer in Christ enjoys this privilege also for it is the grand blessing of the covenant of grace, as mentioned by St. Paul, in the eighth chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews (ver. 10): "This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel," (that is, with the church of Christ) "I will put my laws in their mind, and write them on their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
A covenant is either an agreement or an appointment. Covenant, in this place, signifies an appointment-a gracious appointment made by God himself, in behalf of all real Christians; the New covenant, in distinction from the Old covenant, made with the nation of Israel at Sinai, which consisted chiefly in precepts, prohibitions, and emblems of future blessings to be revealed in the gospel. This covenant was given by Moses, "but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." In the new covenant, or appointment, we have chiefly PROMISES-promises of all spiritual blessings, in and through Christ Jesus. One of these promises is "They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest,' ver. 11. The importance of this blessing was shewn
in the Introductory Sermon; and the design of all the following discourses is to promote the knowledge of God, in all his glorious perfections; but the chief blessing of all is," I will be their God." This comprehends all good things; it includes all that can be needed or desired; yea, infinitely more than "we can ask or think." We justly admire the perfections of God-what he is, in himself; but how much more admirable is it, to have a personal interest in him,-to know that he is all this to, and for his people; so that they may boldly say, " This God is our God!"
But let it be observed, that it is only in, and through Jesus Christ, that he becomes our God. He does not transact with man immediately, but through a Mediator: "No man cometh to the Father but by him; and, through him, God the Father cometh to men. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." Hence the name of the Saviour is "IMMANUEL"-that is, "God with us." As Immanuel, he is God in our nature; God engaged in our behalf; and manifested for our salvation. Through faith in his blood, the sinner comes to God, and obtains the pardon of all his sins, which is another blessing of the covenant, mentioned in ver. 12," I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." And by the influence of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in every believer, a separation from the world is effected, and a life of communion with God commenced, which shall never end; according to the promise recorded in 2 Cor. vi. 16, &c. "God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Truly happy, then, are all believers in